Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Santogold's "Creator"

All the cool kids are drooling over Santogold's self-titled album, released today. I've heard four tracks, and I'm not really into it. Like the McCain daughters listening to the Dandy Warhols, I feel like I'm forcin' it when I try to be a fan ("it" being my presumed hipness). But I have to admit, the single "Creator" is awesome-impossible to listen to without dancing. Listen here:

[original source]

P.S. I read that she attended Germantown Friends School, which probably means I played her in field hockey - ha!

ESD#41: Mos for sale

An evil, evil man offered E $800 for Mosley yesterday. I'll spare you all the creepy details.

Due to this disturbing experience, E was super playful and affectionate with Mos all night. So, it was no surprise when I found both of my pups curled up on the floor together sleeping.

Of course, now Mos owes us $800. Time to start acting in those Smoke Bulga videos!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Prince covers Radiohead's "Creep" (video)

Everyone and their mom has posted this video of Prince covering Radiohead's "Creep" at Coachella. I'm posting this for my man and my sister, who, unlike me, don't read a million music blogs.

This is pretty amazing.

If I were Prince, I think I would've chosen "Airbag." I'm not really sure why; it just seems to suit him.

P.S. Is anyone still a little bitter that he didn't perform "Kiss" at the Super Bowl a couple years back?

Howard Zinn, take 2

Thursday night, E and I saw Howard Zinn speak, as I promised here. Zinn and Mike Konopacki discussed their new graphic adaptation, A People's History of American Empire and included a screening of a short film (narrated by Viggo Mortensen) with images from the book. You can watch it here:

Of my many ideas for blogs far more entertaining and informative than this one, one of my favorites is a blog that reviews book readings either in the style of a rock concert or in the style of the author in question. I asked E to write a short one for Zinn, but I don't think he's going to do it. The rock concert style is easy, because look at the folks lined up to see this legend (round the block!).

Parodying Zinn's writing style is a bit more challenging, but I'm sure I could create some narrative around the class tensions of the audience. Of course, in reality, the entire audience consisted of wealthy, well-educated Cantabridgians. The Q&A, usually the time when self-aggrandizing audience members plug their latest venture or their own intelligence was surprisingly good.

New York friends, you should see Zinn on May 3rd at Cooper Union Great Hall at 1pm.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The National's "Start a War" (video)

I know this is super old, but I'm just so darn excited about Vincent Moon's documentary of The National A Skin, A Night that I thought I'd throw this on the blog.

Dirty Projectors' "Rise Above" (video from MFA concert)

Awesome! The Boston Phoenix has video of "Rise Above" from the Dirty Projectors concert at the MFA I went to back in March. So good. Congrats to these guys for being signed to Domino. They absolutely deserve all the praise being thrown at them right now.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


Instead of documenting new music I’ve been listening to, I thought I’d give a shout out to an old favorite.


Doves is allegedly coming out with a new album on 6/24. I say allegedly, because only a few people claim this, none of which are the Doves nor their label. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it’s true. It’s been three way too long years since Some Cities.

In February, Andy (the drummer) blogged, saying they’ve already recorded 5 tracks. He also posted adorable photos of his new baby. You know how all babies kind of look alike? His baby looks decidedly British.

Here are some of my favorite Doves tracks.

I thought to be super cheesy I’d add a countdown to the right column. Ha! Love it! Thanks to Matt for helping me with the code.

*! added by me. Considering how many bands these days add ! in the middle of their names, I thought it was necessary to explain. I kind of like the idea of a band name that includes an animal plus "!". Lemurs! Meerkats! Ants!

ESD#40: more political junk

As many have pointed out (including me), the NY Times has been phoning it in lately. But they really hit the nail on the head today with this editorial that basically takes back their early endorsement of Hillary.
"The Pennsylvania campaign, which produced yet another inconclusive result on Tuesday, was even meaner, more vacuous, more desperate, and more filled with pandering than the mean, vacuous, desperate, pander-filled contests that preceded it.

Voters are getting tired of it; it is demeaning the political process; and it does not work. It is past time for Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton to acknowledge that the negativity, for which she is mostly responsible, does nothing but harm to her, her opponent, her party and the 2008 election." more...


It may be tearing apart the Democratic Party, but at least this highly contested race is good for humor.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Patriot's Day

With one hour of Patriot's Day to go, I just found these photos of some of my favorite patriots. At the time, I think we were going for "high school graduation photos," but I think the patriot theme works just as well. Here's my man and my cousins.

El Perro del Mar, A.A. Bondy

And here continues my promotion of new albums streaming on AOL's Spinner. El Perro del Mar (come see her at the Middle East with me in May!*) and A.A. Bondy. Good stuff, friends.

*All the cool kids are hyping up her upcoming tour with Lykke Li--it should be awesome.

Eddie Vedder's "I am a Patriot"

It's Patriot's Day AKA Boston Marathon Day. For those of you non-Boston folk, you should know that it's a holiday here. So in honor of this day, and with apologies to my British father, let's listen to Eddie Vedder's "I Am a Patriot," the version performed at the Nader rally at Madison Square Garden, which I attended in a more naive period in my life, as I wrote about here.

[original source]

Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Acorn's "Low Gravity"

To put it mildly, I'm a wee bit obsessed with Glory Hope Mountain, the latest album from The Acorn. It honestly makes me a little weepy when I listen to it.

I just can't believe this Ottawa-based band hasn't been hyped up like crazy since SXSW. If ever there were a hype worthy band, it's The Acorn. We'll see what happens when they hit NYC in a couple of weeks. Can't wait to see them in Boston on 5/7!

Here's my favorite track "Low Gravity."

[original source]

Friday, April 18, 2008

Robert Reich, take 2

If I was being serious when I claimed that Robert Reich is my president (which I kind of was), then it's settled. I'm rooting for Obama. Reich is endorsing him today on his blog. It's kind of shocking. See the report here.

"30 Rock": Alec or Billy?

On "30 Rock" last night, Tracy electrocutes himself while listening to "We Didn't Start the Fire." As Billy Joel repeats "Nixon, Nixon, Nixon..." Tracy dreams that Richard Nixon is convincing him to join the Republican Party.

It was a really fun scene, but....

Did anyone else think that when Alec Baldwin's character became Richard Nixon, he just looked like Billy Baldwin? Anyone?!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Gnarls Barkley's "Elpuoc Ddo"

To quote my friend Luke: "Wait, wait, listen, guys! He's singing backwards! Backwards! It's genius!" He says this every time we listen to ODB's "Shimmy Shimmy Ya" (which surprisingly is quite often).

Gnarls Barkley is likewise offering their album Odd Couple backwards for free download here. And like ODB, it's genius.

Beirut's "Gulag Orkestar"

Shhh... don't tell E, but I just bought Beirut's Gulag Orkestar (an album we already own) on vinyl. This is probably one of the most pretentious things I've done all week, up there with suggesting we see !!! when they come to Boston next month (oh, yes; that's not a typo, but their name, usually pronounced "chk chk chk"). [Ed.--I also forgot to mention criticizing a good non-profit. That was pretty pretentious, too.]

So now E and I are even after he paid a ridiculous amount for the Radiohead's In Rainbows download.

I made you a mix-tape #6

My second muxtape. Listen here. Listen to my first muxtape here. Artists includes:

Andrew Bird
Your Vegas
Lupe Fiasco
Jack Penate
LCD Soundsystem
The Black Lips
Mobius Band
Sigur Ros


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

ESD#39: Robert Reich is my president

Boston is a small town--so small that I recognize certain strangers I see on a regular basis. Not exactly a stranger, but about weekly I walk by a young guy who was a guest speaker for my Transportation Policy class. I think he’s an aide in the Patrick Administration or something.

Every time I see him, I’m sort of overcome by a feeling of bitterness, because he’s just one of those guys. Those guys. He’s maybe 6’4” with broad shoulders and dark hair. He has a deep voice and is always impeccably dressed. And my bitter, bitter heart assumes that life has served him everything on a silver platter, because he just looks so damn presidential.

And as crazy as this sounds, I think this perspective affects my view of the current election (though I recognize that heart almost always trumps reason in people’s voting patterns). I believe that far more radical than electing a woman or a black man is electing someone who looks like Robert Reich (and, yes, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention his height). And the fact that Hillary Clinton dated Reich in college totally endears her to me. Of course, she did end up marrying the far more presidential looking man.

ESD#38: it is as it was

With the risk of being overly generous, I thought the Boston Globe's top headline today was absolutely brilliant. In regards to the Pope's U.S. visit, the headline read:

A hearty welcome, a contrite tone

It pithily sums up both the event and the underlying motivation for it.

If the editors had slightly reworded it to "A gracious welcome, a contrite spirit," it would have neatly summed up all of Christian theology, too.


So who wants to write the screenplay for the inevitable inspirational teacher / inner city students film version of RZA's latest endeavor?

From WuChess:
"WuChess is a new online chess + hip-hop community that will offer live game play, chat rooms, tournaments, lessons and exhibitions featuring RZA and special guests.

WuChess will donate a large part of revenue to the Hip-Hop Chess Federation to fund scholarships."

Sigur Ros' "Hoppipolla"

As I mentioned way back when, our friend Ivan sent us an awesome mix, which among many things, introduced us to Andrew Bird and got M.I.A. stuck in our heads for days. i-tunes didn't recognize any details for the last track, so for weeks I've been listening to this song thinking, "What is this beautiful craziness?"

So today I had the wisdom to google "band made up language" (I'm totally serious) and immediately figured out it was Sigur Ros.

So now Sigur Ros is tied with Dirty Projectors for music I find most mesmerizing. I'm kind of obsessed.

Here's Hoppipolla:

On a related subject, I think shoegazing is my new favorite ridiculous music genre name. Cocteau Twins was a trailblazer in the genre, and they share a producer with M83, so Cocteau Twins is my new artist to investigate.


Over the past couple days, I've been listening to a lot of ambient, electronica stuff. I'm really diggin' the new M83 album and hope to see them in a few weeks at the Middle East. I even listened to Tangerine Dream, getting a little nostalgic for my high school art class days (can't beat the Legend Soundtrack!).

My new favorite is CocoRosie. Here's a playlist:

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Busta Rhymes, take three (last one, I promise!)

Here's our final confirmation that we all need to collectively agree to stop listening to Busta Rhymes. I promise this is the last Busta post. Unless the guy kills someone or cries on The Oprah Winfrey Show or something.

One caveat, though: "Woo-Hah" will still remain in my top three start up songs when I play for the big leagues. Oh what was that you asked? The other two? That would be Beatnuts' "Watch Out Now" and Shyne's "Bad Boys." And if all those fail, I'll take Black Rob's "Woah," which is really the poor man's "Bad Boys."

Via Vibe Magazine via Nah Right:
"After signing with Dr. Dre’s Aftermath Entertainment in 2004—this after selling more than four million records during a 10-year run at Elektra and a brief stint with J Records—Busta shed his dreads, shaving them in a ceremonious video clip.

“It was time to get fresh and new,” he said at the time. But when he lost his hair, he lost something else, too— his vibrant, playful persona. He was also bulking up, prompting speculation that he might be on steroids. Busta was going gangsta, at least according to his lyrics and the headlines.

Ramirez’s murder seemed to complete Busta’s transformation. Even the threat of a grand jury subpoena couldn’t get him to talk. He was defiant, but the cops stayed on his case, and he seemed to be cracking under the stress."

Monday, April 14, 2008

Last Night's Concert: Rogue Wave

Crappy photo. The good ones are at mel.opho.be.

E and I saw Rogue Wave at the Paradise on Friday. I wrote a review and took photos for my new favorite Boston-based music site mel.opho.be. Read it here.

A personal anecdote not included in the review? I know 28 is not that old. But it sure feels old when you're standing behind a bunch of 18-year-olds and the club plays Chemical Brothers' "Setting Sun" and Portishead's "Sour Times." Because when E and I started singing while the young folk looked on incredulously, we realized that those songs were popular when we were 18. And these whippersnappers don't even know them. Aaack!

More thoughts from the weekend....

I had a personal breakthrough Saturday night while attending a fundraiser for a certain non-profit popular with the hipster crowd. After seven years of working for non-profits, I sort of over analyze how non-profits market their work and wrestle with my own involvement with it. Despite the fact that this event was helping a wonderful organization and there was a really fun vibe to it, certain things about it rubbed me the wrong way.

After they completed the program part of the night and the event turned into a (no joke) hipster dance party, I was borderline anxiety-attack and was like, "we need to get the hell out of here."

But here's where the breakthrough comes in. I suddenly realized, hey, I'm in a room with lots of fun people, good music, dancing, and free beer, and (most of) the people are here to celebrate the great work this organization is doing in my community. So why don't I just get over myself and have fun? And I did. So, yea, personal breakthrough!

P.S. I've written about 90% of a Wu-Tang essay touching on this theme, but I can't bring myself to finish it. There are about four other 90% completed Wu-Tang essays. Does anyone really care about these essays? How has this blog become all about music and random personal anecdotes? I really intended for this blog to motivate me to write essays. Ugh.

I'll probably stop blogging soon or change styles. Though, my sister asked me not to stop, since it's the most up-to-date we've been on each other's lives in years.* Maybe I'll just change the blog to "notes to my sister."

*Though, um, sis, I don't think I've told you I decided not to enroll in my grad program. Woops. More on that later.

The Kooks' "Konk"

As is my habit, I'm directing you over to AOL's Spinner to stream [all expired] a new release. This time it's The Kooks. Super fun, British poppy goodness.

I'm sad (for me) that their Paradise show sold out so quickly (also, I REALLY want to see opener The Morning Benders).

The Tristan Prettyman album is good, too, but at the moment, I find folk music to be excrutiatingly boring. If you feel otherwise, you should check it out [Ed.-Woah, that was fast. Prettyman is already gone. But they added Phantom Planet (so good!) and The Duke Spirit (so good!)].

[Ed.-Sorry, can I just promote one more album that's on Spinner right now? M83. Melodic, ambient, French electronica. Pretty, pretty stuff. They're playing the Middle East in a couple of weeks. Hmmm...]

Beirut moment of the day

Beirut is the Soundtrack of My Life Moment of the Day*: a crazy lady on the street was dramatically marching in place perfectly in time to "Nantes" as it played on my ipod. Awesome!

In honor of this moment, let's watch one of my favorite Takeaway shows, "Nantes".

*In case anyone was dying to know what happened with my plan to get Beirut played during the Vancouver Winter Olympics, they shut down ice skating on the Frog Pond a couple days after I wrote that post. Oh well.

And while we're on the subject of post updates, the movie being filmed in Boston is "The Proposal" with Ryan Reynolds and Sandra Bullock. Totally boring, except the fact that Ryan Reynolds is dating ScoJo, and she's been visiting him while he films. ScoJo!!!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

A.A. Bondy's "There's a Reason"

I'm really lovin' A.A. Bondy, who performed on Conan O'Brien last night. Great folksy, rootsy stuff for people who don't normally love folksy, rootsy stuff, e.g., me.

Here's "There's a Reason":

[original source]

Friday, April 11, 2008

Busta Rhymes, take two

In a very odd coincidence, Busta Rhymes gave his first full interview regarding the death of his bodyguard the day I wrote this rant about it. Hmm… I didn’t know I was so influential in the hip-hop community.

For reasons I can’t explain, I listened to all ten minutes of this interview. And for further reasons I can’t explain, I transcribed some of it:
"It’s not about me not cooperating with the police. I can’t talk about things I didn’t see… I don’t know if people want me to make up a lie…

The no snitch thing… people get the concept of snitchin and not snitchin confused… snitchin is when you’re involved with a crime and you tell on somebody else who was with you to save your own ass. If you’re a victim of a situation and you tell, that don’t make you a snitch.

So just for the record, I have no reason not to tell if I knew the truth, because I wasn’t involved with that crime… If I knew who did that to my man, I would gratefully tell.

If you did something to someone I love… if I told the police or not… I would find you and you would be dealt with accordingly… That’s not snitching. That’s dealing with shit accordingly… Do something to me, I’m going to do it back."
OK, Busta. We understand what snitching is. There’s no confusion. Snitching is what Shyne should have done to get P. Diddy’s ass thrown in jail instead of his own. But then he would have lost his recording career, and would have gotten himself killed the second he was a free man. Good thing he converted to Judaism and is now part of the royal Belize family.

No one is accusing you of not snitching in that sense.

What we take issue with is the idea that you weren’t “involved with the crime.” Sure you didn’t physically witness the crime with your own eyes. However, it’s safe to assume that if someone killed your bodyguard outside of a studio that contained your entire crew, that someone had a problem with YOU. And you know who that someone is. And you should have gone to the police with that information.

You asked what the people want from you. That’s what we want. Plain and simple.

What we don’t want? Eye for an eye. This goes directly against what you claim in this video--that Izzy didn't die in vain, because the video is about unity. Unity is ending the cycle of violence, which you're clearly not willing to do.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

ESD#37: return of the tub-ohs!

It's 70 degrees in Boston right now. And that means...


E and I bought four of these things at IKEA, and after realizing they were the greatest invention of our time, bought four more.

Time to drag these mother-uckers up on the roof for the first impromptu roof deck party of the season.

Here's a collection of photos of the tub-ohs at their finest (a bbq / jazz concert from last year).

Hon, have you seen all of Anna's photos? There are some hilarious ones of the kids on the mic. I can't remember... what was the song they performed? Man, these photos are making me excited for the summer. I love my neighborhood so much.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Busta Rhymes' "Touch It (remix)"

There are so many things I need to say about this video.

First and foremost, how is it possible that I've never heard this remix? It's no secret, that I love, love, LOVE this song despite the fact that I vowed to stop listening to Busta Rhymes after he refused to cooperate with the police after his bodyguard was shot and killed. Which brings me to...

Second, this is the video that was being filmed when Busta's bodyguard Israel Ramirez was killed outside the studio. Busta takes the first 40 seconds to dedicate the video to Ramirez. I am in no way questioning Busta's sincerity in his deep sorrow related to the death of his friend, a father of three young children. However, it's despicable--DESPICABLE--that he claims that Israel did not die in vain, because this video is about unity in the hip-hop community. Putting Mary J. Blige, Missy Elliot, Rah Digga, Papoose, Lloyd Banks and DMX in a room together is not unity.

You know what unity is, Busta? It's admitting to your contribution to needless violence, committing to making amends for your actions, and cooperating with the police when you're a witness to a murder.

Phew. OK, let's get superficial.

- This song is GENIUS! and begging for a remix. Why did it not get more airplay?

- It is also no secret that I'm obsessed with stepping. Little known fact about E? He coached the step squad at his last school. Thus, the intro to this video is awesome.

- Mary J. Blige is freakin' amazing in this.

- I love Missy, but I hate it when she compares herself to more typically beautiful women. "Like I have Beyonce Hips." "Like I could be like Nia Long." Ugh. You do this in EVERY. SONG.

- I love it when Lloyd Banks "turns it up." This is the most energy Lloyd Banks has ever shown in a song.

- Who the hell is Papoose? Am I really this out of touch with music? [Ed.--explained in the comments.]

- DMX? Really? REALLY?

- Why is Sean Paul in this video if he doesn't perform? [Ed.--I think he's there, because there's a ten minute version of this song with even more artists. I can't get my hands on it, though.]

Black Kids' "Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover"

Ridiculous. Can't wait to see these guys in a couple weeks. Ignore the poor grammar, and cue memories of Dylan and Kelly kissing on the beach while Brenda was in Paris.

P.S. Do you think anyone will watch the new 90210? Isn't Gossip Girl enough?

From Pardon My Memory:

[original source]

good vs. bad live hip-hop

RZA’s a producer, not a rapper. Not to get all controversial here, but I’m not the first to say it.

Nevertheless, I’m kind of intrigued about his upcoming tour. He’s skipping Boston, so I’d have to road trip. This is further tempting, because the Trocadero in Philly would be perfect for RZA’s crazy shit. Then again, I haven’t been to the Troc in probably, uh, 12 years? It may have changed.

To make a huge generalization here, it’s difficult for hip-hop to be good live. So I’ve come up with guidelines for good and bad live hip-hop.

Three ways to make live hip-hop good:

1. Live band. Think: The Roots. You can’t deny the supporting beats of ?uestlove and the diverse group of back-up vocals. Due to their collective musical genius, they get a little too experimental live (honestly, I think I once suffered through a 20 minute bass solo in “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”, but that’s when you go use the bathroom). However, they balance it with crowd-pleasing medleys of old-school hip-hop classics. I saw The Roots (or 80% of the Roots) back up Jay-Z, and the live band had a similar enhancing effect.

2. One mic freestylin’ + simple back beat. Think: Akrobatik. No pretensions here. Just showcasing the artist’s undeniable rhyming ability and love of the craft.

3. Insanely huge production that makes you forget what clowns the artists are. Think: this P-Diddy / Usher / Busta Rhymes / Pharrell performance from MTV’s 2002 Video Music Awards (note: "Pass the Courvoisier" starts at 2.45):

Two ways to make live hip-hop bad:

1. One guy + DJ pretending to mix it up, but really he just pressed play on the artist’s last album. Think: Common and Lupe Fiasco. Much, much love to you guys, but really now. Step it up. Q-Tip might be the exception to this. He’s just so damn charming and full of energy, and his beats are classic.

2. Huge ensemble who have never practiced as a group and have smoked enough weed to kill a horse. Do I have to tell you? I’ve only seen them live in videos, but man. Wu-Tang is incredibly painful to watch.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

ESD#36: what's in a name?

The border of Lower Roxbury, a Boston neighborhood of questionable existence, and which neither the South End nor Roxbury has completely claimed as its own.

E requested this post. Hopefully I'll do justice to what I assume he wanted me to say.

There was a shooting last night a couple blocks from our house. As usual, the Boston Globe and Boston Herald reported it differently.

The Globe reported that a black man was shot in Roxbury at a public housing development.

The Herald reported that a man (no mention of race) was "gunned down" in an "ambush" in the South End (no mention of the type of residence).

The cynical interpretation of this difference is quite simple. The Globe's readers, who are upper middle class, want to hear that violence is contained within the black community of Roxbury, a neighborhood where most readers would not consider moving to. The Herald, which is far more sensational, wants to report that violence occurs in a wealthy neighborhood; also, there's particular resentment of the South End considering a long history of racial strife and aggressive gentrification.

In all fairness, I don't know how the papers received their information or their policies on reporting victims' identities. But a likely scenario is that they received a Boston Police Department notice with the address in D4: South End/Roxbury, and they made their own choice of how to report it.

The question of whether our neighborhood is South End or Roxbury is a complicated one for many historical, social and political reasons. So I've decided to take inventory of various views. Here's the quick summary, with explanations to follow.

Where is 2 Lattimore Ct. (scene of the crime)? According to...

City of Boston, Dept. of Neighborhood Development: SOUTH END

City of Boston, Redevelopment Authority: SOUTH END (but... read below)

City of Boston, Housing Authority: ROXBURY (but... read below)

U.S. Post Office: unclear

Google Maps: SOUTH END

The People: mixed opinion

Further explanation...

Boston, DND: SOUTH END. The address falls under the DND South End profile and map. The historical context of this is that during urban renewal in the 1950s and 1960s, the State planned to put I-95 through Boston and prepared the way by clearing the majority of my neighborhood of houses and businesses. What was then known as "Lower Roxbury" was intended to be erased from the map. After years of aggressive community protest, the plan was canceled and what remains are some small clusters of single family row homes (where I live) and subsidized housing. With the urban renewal plan, the DND South End map's southern boundary was Melnea Cass Blvd., encompassing all of Lower Roxbury, because the latter would no longer exist. The DND hasn't updated the map since the plan was canceled.

BRA: SOUTH END. The census, a publication of the BRA, includes our neighborhood in the South End. However, The Roxbury Strategic Master Plan includes our neighborhood, with the historically accurate label of Lower Roxbury.

Boston Housing Authority: ROXBURY (kind of)
. The shooting occurred at Lenox / Camden, whose address, according to the BHA, is in Roxbury. However, their map shows it within the border of the South End.

U.S. Post Office: unclear. The address of the crime falls under 02118; about 90% of 02118 is unquestionably part of the South End. All of what once is / was called Lower Roxbury falls under 02118 except the small cluster of single family homes where I live. This is why I have to walk two miles to the post office in Mission Hill and why technically my address is "Roxbury Crossing", which is actually not a perceived neighborhood at all. The Roxbury Crossing zip code is Mission Hill plus a small group of homes behind Roxbury Community College. With the USPS zip code finder, searching for the address with "Boston" returns Boston, 02118; but searching with "Roxbury" returns Roxbury, 02118.

Google Maps: SOUTH END. The search returns "Boston". If you search for the address with Roxbury, it returns "Boston (near Roxbury)."

The People: divided. The most simplistic summary of opinions is that those who feel a historical connection to Lower Roxbury (very few) consider it as such. Those who are concerned with neighborhood perception related to real estate values prefer the South End label. This came to a head recently when some neighbors pushed for getting permit parking in our neighborhood, presumably knowing that the City would put up South End signs. We expected to hear more protest from the old school folks, but in the end, some of them liked the idea of having South End parking stickers, because parking in the South End is so difficult. In the end, we did get permit parking, and they do say South End.

And then there are people like E and I who are just trying not to be part of the problem, but because of our income level, are inevitably part of the problem.

Like I said, it's complicated.

ESD#35: Boston movies

Best. Philip. Seymour. Hoffman. Cameo. Ever.

Someone is filming a movie today on the Common--or at least, that's where the trailers and catering are. I'm excited, because if they're filming on the Common, that likely means that Boston is prominently featured.

On the other hand, I walked by a trailer with a sign that read "Buster's in here. Don't open the door." Hmmm. This smells of a romantic comedy featuring a cute little cockapoo. Maybe I should open the door a crack, come back in a few hours with Mosley, and be like, "Hey guys, casting for a pit bull mix that likes to sigh a lot?" [Ed.--Who am I kidding? Mos' only chance to be in film is auditioning for a Smoke Bulga video.]

As much as I love movies featuring Boston, it's a bit distracting to watch. Here are some geographical inaccuracies from my two favorite Boston based movies "Gone Baby Gone" and "Next Stop Wonderland".

Gone Baby Gone (from the scene filmed down the street from me):

- Haitian druglords do not operate on Shawmut Ave. There's plenty of other unsavory operations here, but Blue Hill Hyde Park Ave. is more popular with the Haitian community. To be fair, I don't think they explicitly mentioned the neighborhood.

Next Stop Wonderland

- No one goes on a date along the East Boston waterfront. And if they did, they wouldn't then walk home to the Back Bay. What did you do, walk through the tunnel? Swim?

- If you work in the medical district, The Burren in Davis Square is not your after work watering hole. So you all hopped on the 47 and transferred to the red line? I doubt it. You'd all be at Boston Beer Works.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Cut Copy's "In Ghost Colours"

I just streamed the new Cut Copy cd at AOL [Ed.-expired]. Can’t wait to see them in a few weeks! Cut Copy is not for everyone. And by everyone I mean E.

If you own “Waiting for the Sirens Call,” can listen to E.L.O. unironically and would love Dave Gahan even if he got a nose job, this is for you. And by New Order-loving, Xanadu-reciting, Depeche Mode-obsessing you, I mean my sister.

Single White Female

Last night, while listening to High Places, I told E I was considering going all Single White Female, cutting big bangs, buying a casio, and recording songs, to which he replied, "How can you do that while you're touring with Beirut?"

This was like last weekend, when my friend Meg and I saw Sufjan Stevens on tv, and I said, "That's my pretend boyfriend."

She responded, "Is that because he looks just like your husband?" Bless your heart, Meg; he really doesn't. E doesn't even own a baseball cap.

Bottom line is: my friends and family really shouldn't indulge my little indie rock fantasies.

But speaking of my upcoming tour with Beirut, according to their website, Beirut canceled all of their European shows, and Zach is re-visioning the band. I'm getting really nervous that I'll never see him live.

Dave Chappelle & my dad are soulmates

According to ?uestlove, Dave Chappelle has two songs in his piano repertoire, one of which is "Misty". That same fact holds true for my father. He never took a piano lesson, yet he plays the most soulful and heartfelt version of "Misty" I've ever heard. As I mentioned over here (towards the end of the post), his mother was a concert pianist, so it's in his blood, I guess.

Tonight I watched "Dave Chappelle's Block Party" (where I learned that nice little bit of trivia), about three years later than everyone else. It's pretty much my favorite thing in the world right now. I made a little mix of my favorite songs from the artists featured in the documentary. Enjoy!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Last Night's Concert: Dirty Projectors

I’m breaking my promise to write a proper concert review of the No Kids / Dirty Projectors show at the MFA. I got in from my last minute trip to Philadelphia at 9pm, and despite a 3 minute drive from my house to the MFA, we only caught the last five songs of the Dirty Projectors. I've started a review maybe five times, but can't ever finish it.

So... my opinion of Dirty Projectors in a nutshell? Arguably the most interesting, enthralling and unique music out there right now. Truly amazing stuff.

Mel.opho.be pretty much wrote the review I would have written (honestly, my partial review likewise included the phrase "middle school auditorium"), so just read theirs. They have beautiful photos, too.

Listen to the Dirty Projectors at their Myspace page. Start with the song "Rise Above". It's my favorite (and their show closer).

Last Night's Concert: French Kicks

Last night, E and I saw the French Kicks with Aberdeen City and two other small bands at the Middle East Upstairs. I liked one of the openers, Pomegranates. You can listen to them on their Myspace page. I heard they were from Cincinnati, so I yelled out "Don't trash the 'Nati!" My friend Jenny taught me that line. It came from an anti-litter campaign.

We saw Aberdeen City open up for Snow Patrol at the [insert bank name] Pavilion in Boston a couple years ago. If I recall correctly, it was one of those once in a lifetime things, where the opener fell through, so they called up a random Boston band a couple days before the show. It was really weird to see them with 150 people after seeing them with 4,000. I think they're kind of better in the bigger space. Good luck getting that gig again, guys!

The French Kicks were great. The sound was kind of bad for all the bands, though. Here are my terrible camera phone photos.

Method Man's PSA

This one's dedicated to E. Warning: this is Method Man, so there's some obscenity. It kind of goes without saying, but I'm saying it anyway.

Friday, April 4, 2008

I made you a mix-tape #5

To be exact, I made you a muxtape. Listen here. It's all new stuff (well, at least new in the past year). Here's the list of tracks:

Adele - Last Night (Strokes cover)
Blonde Acid Cult - Shake It Loose
Beirut - Elephant Gun
Black Kids - I'm Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance With You
Mystery Jets - Flakes
High Places - Shared Islands
Phantom Planet - Leader Leader
Jay-Z - Ain't I
French Kicks - Also Ran
Dirty Projectors - No More
The Acorn - Flood Part 1
Misha - Summersend

New Kids on the Block, take two

I watched the Today Show this morning, because New Kids on the Block (!!!), as I discussed here.

Usually, I stay far away from tv news, because I always yell at the screen, but the Today Show had their A game on today. Perhaps they knew that well-educated snobs yet stooooopid NKOTB fans like me would be watching.

They did a number of segments on Martin Luther King, commemorating the 40th anniversary of his death. What was further interesting is that his son called on the presidential candidates to commit to creating a cabinet position to address poverty, and Obama has spoken with him regarding this. Hmmm... I wonder what John Edwards is up to these days?

So after being surprisingly impressed with the Today Show, they ran a segment about kid criminals and showed a 13-year-old African-American kid in handcuffs from some sensational killing a couple years ago. I was outraged. Way to reverse all the good you did with your MLK coverage, Today Show. I don't think I'm being overly sensitive about this. Though maybe it's normal now for tv news programs to show images of children who commit crimes; I wouldn't know.

I missed the whole New Kids segment, because I had to get to work, but I did hear Donnie on Kiss 108 this morning. He said they're coming up to Boston after the Today Show, they'll stop by the radio studio, and party it up in Boston tonight. So, who wants to stalk Kiss 108's offices and Felt this evening? E and I are going to see the French Kicks tonight at the Middle East, but maybe the New Kids are indie rock fans. Well, not Jordan, of course. But maybe Jon?

Thursday, April 3, 2008

ESD#34: Philly trip photo essay

As I mentioned here, I went to Philly last weekend. I don't think this blogging business will last more than a few more weeks, so I decided to blog about every excruciating detail of the trip to sort of help capture this time in my life. It's long, so grab a sandwich, and read my Philly photo essay here.

Topics discussed: pig shoulders, Hartford hip-hop, potent martinis, war talk, adult alternative music, Babies 'R Us, high school

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

ESD#33: Howard Zinn

When I read that Howard Zinn was publishing a graphic novel form of People's History of the United States, I kind of scoffed at the idea.

Then after seeing some of the illustrations, I'm like, "Oh... I get it now." It looks intriguing. I'm going to try to score some tickets to the reading at Brattle Theatre on the 24th. Ooh, my first book reading in ages.

New Kids on the Block

Can we take a moment to talk about NKOTB and their "first group photo in 15 years, exclusively on Yahoo!"?

I feel qualified to do so considering i) as a nine-year-old, my neighbor and I choreographed dances to the entire "Hangin' Tough" album (even back in 1988, we were doing it ironically), and ii) I'm a legit Bostonian now.

From left to right.

Joey: You look good. Really good. Everyone in Boston adores you. You can do no wrong. I even got a little teary during that scene in Boston Public when you tried to convince a student not to drag race on Storrow Drive. And I loved that "Stay the Same" song. You are too perfect for words. And dare I say, too perfect for the rest of these clowns.

Jon: You make me nervous. Really nervous. I seem to recall that you suffer from some serious social anxiety disorder. You look like you're about to tip over, and I'm afraid this might happen on the "Today Show". If it's any consolation, have I ever told you that you were my NKOTB crush when I was nine? I guess it makes sense, because I always went for the father figure type in boy bands (Kevin from Backstreet Boys, J.C. Chavez from 'N Sync, Jeff from 98 Degrees).

Donnie: You make me nervous. Really nervous. You've always scared me, and this was before your shirtless scene in The Sixth Sense. But that suit looks great on you.

Jordan: You make me nervous. Really nervous. I'm afraid that when all your fans start screaming during Joey's solo, you're going to storm off the stage, like you did on The Surreal Life. In fact, you look like you're about to storm out of this photo. I know you need some self-confidence, so I'm going to admit right here and now that I LOVED the "Give it To You" song. I know it wasn't the comeback you were hoping for, but I thought it was super catchy. My roommate and I sophomore year of college would dance and dance any time it played on MTV.

Danny: You look like an ape. Always have, always will. And I never go for the beefcake type in boy bands. Sorry.

* * *

Joey McIntyre's "Stay the Same":

Jordan Knight's "Give It to You":

[Editor's note: Oh my goodness. I posted this Jordan Knight video without really watching it. When I did, I realized that not only did my roommate and I dance to the video, but we also learned the choreography! It all came back to me, and I did the moves in my office (yea for private offices!). Wow. I'm a bigger fan than I realize.]

Los Campesinos' "Hold On Now, Youngster"

I'm once again plugging AOL's streaming of new cds. Listen to Los Campesinos' "Hold On Now, Youngster" here [expired]. I think "British pop punk" sums them up neatly. I'm debating whether or not to see them when they come to the Paradise. Hmmm...

Here's the video for "Death to Los Campesinos!".

And here's the video for "My Year in Lists". Lots of quick cuts make my head hurt. But in a cute way!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

ESD#32 follow-up

Another one for the new blog I want to create. E pointed me to this Underworld video. They literally depict the lyrics by throwing fingerpainting text on the screen. Awesome!

Kanye West / Sufjan Stevens mash-up

Best mash-up ever! Kanye West vs. Sufjan Stevens: "Zombies Walk"

From I Guess I'm Floating:

[original source]

ESD#32: extremely literal videos

While running errands today, I heard the Dobie Gray song “Drift Away”. You know the one: “Give me the beat boys and free my soul…” Every time I hear this song, I start uncontrollably giggling, as it evokes the image of Dawson Leary’s father singing it in his car, dropping ice cream, and then actually DRIFTING AWAY into oncoming traffic, GETTING HIMSELF KILLED!

Thank you, thank you, thank you YouTube for having this scene!

I’ve always assumed that the writers of Dawson’s Creek appreciated that melodrama is often funny and that the literal depiction of drifting away was intentional. Otherwise, I guess I’m the only one with a sick sense of humor.

This also speaks to my love of literal depictions of lyrics in music videos. Hands down, the best example is Hinder’s “Lips of an Angel”. You may recall, this was the most asinine song of 2006, and is, thus, perfect for the most asinine literal depiction of lyrics in a music video (why doesn’t the MTV Video Music Awards have this category?).
Lyric: I don’t know why you’re calling me so late
Action: Guy on phone

Lyric: My girl’s in the next room
Action: Girl’s in the next room
Thanks again, YouTube! The first 20 seconds of this video are priceless.

Related to this concept is when a song uses a metaphor and then takes it to its logical conclusion. This is also a favorite of mine.

The best example in a current hit is J. Holiday’s “Suffocate,” which is arguably more of a conceit than a metaphor when you consider the title.
Lyric: I can't breathe when you talk to me.. Somebody call the paramedics
I think I might start a new blog with examples similar to these. I know I’d read it!