February 2007

New music to KUCI

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Hey folks. My name's Kyle, and I'm the music director over at KUCI. When I was contacted to help write for this fine website, one of things they wanted from me was for me to publish the weekly music blurbs I write for all the new releases I add to the KUCI library. So here, for your reading pleasure, are the new releases for 2/27/07. Enjoy.

Word up, folks.

So, before I start with this week’s edition of “CDs that I am adding to
the KUCI library because I think they're really good and/or I think the DJs
will want to play 'em”, I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce
myself. I know that these things are going up around the internet tubes
now, and I figure people should get a little glimpse into who I am,
thereby putting a human face on these ramblings. My name is Kyle. I enjoy
things that are funny, hugs, and books, and I have never punched my mom
(and can’t foresee a situation where I would, except one where maybe she
gets poisoned by some weird toxin, and only a punch in the face by your
firstborn son will save you). So, now that the rumors that I’m a grumpy,
illiterate mom-puncher who hates hugs are put to rest, allow us to get
into “the blurbs”.

1. !!! – Myth Takes (Warp)
You hear that? That’s the sound of a million asses shaking their asses
off. That’s right. The asses of asses. Can you wrap your brain around
that? It’s OK if not. It’s like when you ride a merry-go-round on your
back and look up into the cloudless sky and get really dizzy and freaked
out and think you’re going to fall INTO the sky forever. That was a little
glimpse into the life of 3rd grade Kyle. At any rate, !!! (pronounced
chik-chik-chik, or any series of repetitive onomatopoeia), are back with
another round of funky dancefloor disco-punk numbers to inappropriately
grind up on people to. Like a mixture of Can, LCD Soundsystem, and
Parliament, !!! are going to make you sweat, girl. And guy. !!! aren’t
sexist. They’re sex-Y. There is a big difference. One gets you punched.
The other gets you crazy makeouts.

2. The Capstan Shafts – Her Versus the Sad Cold Eventually (Asaurus)
The first time one of this guy’s CDs showed up in my office, it was a
CD-R, wrapped in Xeroxed paper that had the tracklisting. The little punk
inside of me was stoked that someone was doing some straight up DIY
guerrilla radio marketing, so I popped it in. At that point, my inner tiny
punk pissed off and my outer pop-geek did such a crazy dance that it
scared a baby. This guy writes short attention span pop-bombs in the same
vein as Guided By Voices and Half-Handed Cloud. Who the hell needs a three
minute song when you have an album full of minute-and-a-half,
catchy-as-SARS, FANTASTIC choruses? Now, Dean Wells (the man behind the
Capstan Shafts) sent me another Xeroxed, cd-r’d CD, and I’m thrilled to
add it to the library.

3. Black Lips – Los Valientes del Mundo Nuevo (Vice)
So, Vice signs these dudes, and wants to think of an appropriate way to
kick off their rock-n-roll spotlight. Could there really be any other way
to do this than to have a huge, balls-out rock-n-roll show in Tiajuana with
a bunch of hookers, blow, and a donkey painted like a zebra? This album is
a live documentation of that concert. Black Lips hoarsely tear through
twelve old school tunes of Guitar Wolf meets King Kahn & BBQ garage rock
abandon on this slighty-south-of-the-border live album. You like rock and
roll swagger? These dudes are so swaggery, that I just had to invent the
word “swaggery”, which looks really weird.

4. The Eternals – Heavy International (Aesthetics)
So, what do you expect a band that has toured with Fugazi, Mars Volta,
Hood, Stereolab, Tortoise, Konono No1, and Anti Pop Consortium to sound
like? No, seriously, dudes. What the fuck am I supposed to compare this
to? It’s groovy world-electro-rock? Sort of? Really dubby at points. Just
smear all of those bands I mentioned earlier into some weird Pollack
painting and you got these guys, I guess. Laid back, tropical

5. The Blank Tapes – Landfair (Self-relesed)
These dudes are local, folks. Costa Mesa, in fact. They COULD be my
neighbors, except my neighbors are drunken, reggae-loving frat boys on one
side and bitchy girls with tans so deep they look homeless on the other.
But, theoretically. They COULD be. The Blank Tapes lay down some pleasant,
indie-radio-friendly pop jams. I’m not going to go on record as saying
that these dudes are going to blow your mind by re-inventing the pop
wheel. But I WILL say that they make fun Kinks-loving pop tunes you can
chill to. I will also say the word “frumpy”, because that’s basically just
a fun word to say.

6. The Subjects – With the Ease Grace Precision and Cleverness of Human
Beings (Pretty Activity)
Way to not have proper comma use, The Subjects. Also, is the fact that the
band is made up of two high school teachers, and two of their students
creepy? I can’t imagine starting a band with any of my high school
teachers. Except maybe my stroked-out Health class teacher who doubled as
a football coach. Imagine if you will, a stroke victim who coaches high
school football drawing erect penises on a chalkboard. Now imagine that as
a band. Tell me I’m not a genius. At any rate, the Subjects probably
aren’t stroke victims. What they ARE is a band of folks making
easy-to-digest pseudo-prog. These aren’t Dream Theater noodle-fests or Don
Caballero drum-offs. This is indie rock which doesn’t stick with straight
convention and has, deep down, a penchant for arenas.

7. Small Leaks Sink Ships – Until the World is Happy; Wake up You
Sleepyhead Sun (No Sleep)
What the hell? Did they have a sale on ridiculously long album names this
week? ZING!!! The little sticker the promo company slapped on this album
compared it to Minus the Bear and the Mars Volta. So, I throw it into my
trusty little boombox to give it a shot, and I’m greeted with the chiming,
arpeggio-ing guitar notes that sound like Minus the Bear. OK. So the promo
company aren’t total liars. OK. Where does the Mars Volta come in. I mean,
these songs sound like they have a point (oooooooooh. Burn.) Then the dude
starts singing, and I’m like “There we go.” So, imagine indie-prog with
the spazzy vox of Cedix Bixler-Zavala and you got this band. Easy as tasty

8. The One AM Radio – This Too Will Pass (Dangerbird)
My first experience with this band came with seeing him open for Phil
Elverum/Microphones/Mount Eerie at the very amazing Che Café down in San
Diego. My SECOND experience with the One AM Radio (Hrishikesh Hirway to
his mom) was when he popped up on the Daedelus album “Exquisite Corpse”.
And my third was my ex-gf playing me his split with Ted Leo. So, this guy
rolls with experi-forest-pop folks, tweeky jazz-electro-hop dudes, and
dapper indie-rock gents. His solo stuff is WAY closer to the first one
than the second (and has a dash of the third). Singer-songwriter stuff
with a solid palette of sounds by a guy who could possibly be lumped in
with stuff like Pinback, Owen, Appleseed Cast, etc. Except it’s not as
eeeeeeeeemo as some of those (extra Es for extra dEpression). I seriously
just spent ten minutes looking for a synonym for sadness that began with
E, but none exist. My joke. It fails. John of Monday's "Minus Numbers" radio show just said “elegiac” is a word for sadness. There we go.

Now, if you’ll excuse me. I’m gonna go home, get into my pajamas, and make
sure my bathroom has a fresh Febreeze air freshener in it before people
come over for the KUCI management meeting tonight.



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You'll never believe it, but this really happened to me...


...and then I told my boss to suck it. He said no, so I stabbed him in the neck with my red, medium point bic.

What to Wear to Work

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I attended a fashion show at the South Coast Plaza Nordstrom on Saturday, Feb. 24 title "What to Wear to Work." The answer: a suit. Like we didn't know that!

The Dilemma and the Trip

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What's a girl to do when two of her favorite people are playing on the same night? Well, she's gotta prioritize, and then hope that the second priority is playing somewhere within driving distance on another night. Such was the dilemma I faced last Friday:

Todd Snider at the Troubadour.

Or Pete Yorn at the Wiltern.

Insert dramatic stager here.

Technically, I'd seen Pete Yorn most recently - but that was only for one song when he opened for the Dixie Chicks (we were delayed a bit at the will call window). I'd seen Todd Snider before, I believe over the summer, for his full set.

Pete won the Friday night show.

Oh, but I wasn't done yet.

A glance at Todd's touring schedule showed that he'd be playing at the Belly Up Tavern in Solana Beach the day before Pete would be at the Wiltern.

I currently have Thursdays off, and have the luxury of being able to spend the day driving almost to San Diego for a show.


I left around 2pm, thinking that maybe I'd find a hotel room and stay in Solana Beach for the night, before driving back up to LA on Friday. As I drove, it occurred to me that this was President's Day Weekend, and that maybe, maybe I'd want to consider driving back late Thursday night.

Once I'd made that decision, I could be a little more leisurely about my drive. I was past San Clemente by 5p, but since the doors didn't even open until 7p, I figured I had plenty of time to kill. Along the 5, I stopped at a viewpoint and watched the waves roll in and a military huey land and take off (I have a total thing for Marines).

Continuing down the 5, I stopped in Leucadia for dinner. I had margaritas and enchiladas at Davina's Cabo Grill & Cantina overlooking the ocean (I've never had cashews on chicken enchiladas before - but they were enjoyable), before continuing my drive to Solana Beach.

I found the Belly Up Tavern in Cedros' Design District. With still plenty of time to kill before the show, I found myself wandering around by the shops there, without actually going in them, because, as I discovered, everything in San Diego closes around 6p. Once I made my way into the venue, I decided that the Belly Up Tavern is the best place to see a show ever. As you can probably guess, it has a nautical theme, but it also has plenty of places to sit and watch a show (oh, and by the way, parking is free, too, quite the rarity in LA).

A performer I'd never heard of, Sara Petite, was opening for Todd. She was a bit self-conscious as she took the stage, but she shouldn't have been. The acoustics at the Belly Up carried her voice well, and her songs, while mostly based on people she knew personally, bore the stamp of a songwriter who knows how to relate to other people. Sonically, she reminded me of Nanci Griffith and Iris DeMent, and I bought her CD at the end of the night, but was disappointed that the CD's production had muffled many of her lovely vocals.

Todd Snider was his usual hysterical self. Like many Americana acts - a simple CD doesn't do justice to the live show. Accompanied only by his guitar, Todd doesn't deny that he's a political artist, but also doesn't shove it down your throat. He says, "I'm going to sing you some songs, and I'm not going to try to change your mind about anything," but Todd's logic is so compelling, you almost gotta. "Seems to me the people who are worried about gay marriage are people who've got nothing else to be scared of," Todd comments. Todd's pretty opinionated, but he doesn't preach about it - he sings about it, and lets his artistry do the talking for him. I think this crowd appreciated that, but it didn't seem like they gave Mojo Nixon the same reception when he joined Todd for his encore, and started screaming "The war is bullshit! The surge is bullshit!" Regardless, I do think they appreciated Todd, as was evidenced by the crowd at the merch table following the show, which sold Todd Snider CDs, poster, floppy hats (yes, I bought one), and paintings by Todd’s wife.

Driving back, I called my partner-in-crime for the Pete Yorn show the following night, and told her that if we couldn’t get tickets for Pete, we had to see Todd again Friday night. She said she already had tickets for Pete, but she appreciated my back-up plan.

Pete was great, too, by the way. After his show, I went on amazon and bought the Pete CDs that I didn’t have.

But Todd. Yes, Todd.

Kamping Out

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Ted Russell Kamp is the latest of talented sidemen stepping out to the front lines, joining the ranks of Will Kimbrough, Jedd Hughes, and Keith Gattis. Ted's worked for the past several years as Shooter Jenning's bass player, and last month, released his sophomore solo CD Divisadero.

Ted's been smart enough to take what he's learned from Shooter, but develop his own style within that. Like Shooter, Ted's sound is roots-rock, but unlike Shooter, Ted's emphasis is on the roots, and less on the rock, and much more informed by the likes of Gram Parsons. And indeed, Ted's been involved in the LA music scene much longer than he's been known as "Shooter Jennings' bass player;" Ted was previously the lead singer for a band called Ponticello (perhaps you heard this band play live on my show on KUCI back in the day).

Ted celebrated with a CD release party at the world-famous Derby on Friday, January 31st, and for me, it marked a "rediscovery" of TRK. Shooter Jennings (who provides guest vocals on one track of Ted's new album, as does Shooter's mom - Jessi Colter - not bad company to keep on one's sophomore album, eh?) made an appearance for a song, and Mike Stinson kept the beat for Ted, before taking the lead on his own set, which followed Ted's.

I think most of the crowd was there to see Mike Stinson, but if that's the avenue that gets them exposed to Ted Russell Kamp, I can certainly live with that.

American Hardcore DVD Release

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Sandra asks, "What is Podcasting?"

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Barflies.net ladies Sandra Mendoza-Daly, Julie Wanda Espy, and Ms. Jen Hanen record a question and answer on “What is Podcasting?”

Julie Wanda answers on licensing issues and studio recording. Ms. Jen answers on the easy, do-it-yourself podcasting with your computer, its on board microphone, and Odeo.