Thursday, September 29, 2005

it's that time of year again

Yes folks, I woke up this morning and my heat was on. We all know what THAT means. In the next week, all the crap that's been sitting dormant in the pipes will get kicked out into the air and I'll come down with the coughingsneezingdeathsickness. Happens every damn year. It's currently only 46° (that's about 8° for my international readers). It's nice, 'cause it means the return of blankets and cats snuggling up to you when you sleep and spending the afternoons huddled on the couch with a good book and a cup of coffee, but it also means the aforementioned nasty diseasitude. Blech.

Couldn't get in touch with Ken yesterday, so again no practice. He's out of town for the next couple weeks. Dammit. We WILL rock again, I promise you.

Monday, September 26, 2005

how the hell did YOU get here?

I read a story about Google-bombing this morning that made me wonder where this blog-o-goodness ranked among searches for "Mitre." I gave up around 200. "Mitre music""? First up: a Scottish brass sheet music store. The music isn't made of brass, it's for brass instruments. You probably knew that. Anyway, #18 was a review of "Sympathy For Agamemnon" that failed to load. Getting warmer, I suppose. At #82 I found another review (a very good one, at that). By 200, I'd found a few more reviews, but still not this blog. "Mitre drone"? no dice. "Mitre ambient"? nada.

So, for those of you who, according to my tracker, HAVE found this blog through a search the hell did you get here?

And for those more technologically astute than I, is there a way I can get this blog to show up on search engines? I mean, I'm at home with the fact that mitre isn't exactly a household name, but what do I need to do? If I make self-referential links (such as the ones in this post) will that help?

Friday, September 23, 2005

zapruder point / eric ziegenhagen

saw the mighty Zapruder Point last night with their new setup--Dan on electric geetar, Casey on bass (not easy for a pregnant lady), and Tom on snare, cymbal, sleighbells, and suitcase. It was the second time this year I've seen a suitcase used as a bass drum--the other was Eels with strings. They sounded great, though their set was pretty short.

I'd never been to Sylvie's before. It's kind of a funky room with blacklights and darts.

anyway, then the incomparable Eric Ziegenhagen hit the stage. I'd never seen him play electric before--it really added a new depth to his music. If you ever get a chance to see Eric, do so. His shows are always intimate and entertaining, with plenty of between-song banter about his life, the origin of the song he's about to play, or the origin of life. Check out some of his songs here.

As it was a school night, I then bailed.

Thursday, September 22, 2005


Ken bailed on practice last night, but next week I swear we're going to rock the hizzouse, as the kids say. I picked up a new toy--I bought a replacement for my Ibanez delay unit that frotzed out off of Craigslist. Sweet. Can't wait to add that to the mix.

Zapruder Point tonight.

I had a dream last night that I was reading a Thomas Bernhard novel on the train and someone started talking to me about Bernhard. Weird. I've been meaning to read another one of his books--perhaps I should actually do it.

New taste sensation: take one (1) Wendy's Frosty. add Bailey's to taste. Enjoy. Great for those hot September nights.

been digging the new Rosebuds album, "Birds Make Good Neighbors." Sweet, sweet pop with heartfelt singersongwriter-y type lyrics and great male/female harmonies. ch-ch-ch-check 'em out.

Monday, September 19, 2005


Today be International Talk Like A Pirate Day, thanks to John "Ol' Chumbucket" Baur and Mark "Cap'n Slappy" Summers. Read Dave Barry's column detailing the humble beginnings of this wonderful worldwide celebration.

Disney's version of Treasure Island has always been a favorite of mine. It was made in 1950, before Disney totally wussed out. A kid shoots a pirate in the face. Let me repeat that in case you missed it. A kid shoots a pirate in the face. One of my favorite Disney moments, along with the sequences in Swiss Family Robinson where the kids make hand grenades out of coconuts and the little kid digs a pit and lures a tiger into it so that the tiger can eat the invading pirates alive. Aladdin this ain't.

Oh, right, music. I wussed out on practice last week because I was exhausted. I wussed out on seeing Mono on Friday because I was exhausted. Tonight The Rosebuds are playing, but the weather sucks, the show starts pretty late, it's kind of a pain to get home from Subterranean, and it's raining. So yeah, my wuss-o-meter is peaking.

Looks like Fold Your Wings will be around by the end of the year.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Alasdair Gray

I spent most of the weekend (it's Indian Summer now, so forget all that nostalgic autumn stuff I wrote last week) on the couch with Loki, drinking coffee and reading Alasdair Gray's masterpiece Lanark: A Life in Four Books. (obviously, I also figured out how to make a little side-link to what I'm reading...I'm so smrt.) Gray is a Scottish novelist/poet/playwright/illustrator/painter/screenwriter, and Lanark was his first novel. I've read several of his other novels (one of which, Poor Things, is excellent, though I found the others a bit lacking), and I've been meaning to read Lanark for quite a while now. Every time I see Caleb he asks me if I've read it yet. I finally started it last week and I've hardly been able to put it down. I can't really explain it so well...check out the reader reviews on Amazon. So yeah...relaxing.

On a completely unrelated note, Richard Roeper (of all people) wrote this scathing collection of quotes and commentary on the recent Katrina debacle, and features what is quite possibly the most depressing thing I've ever read:

"The guy who runs this building I'm in, emergency management, he's responsible for everything. His mother was trapped in a St. Bernard nursing home and every day she called him and said, 'Are you coming, son? Is somebody coming?' [starting to cry] And he said, 'Yeah, Mama, somebody's coming to get you. Somebody's coming to get you on Tuesday. Somebody's coming to get you on Wednesday. Somebody's coming to get you on Thursday. Somebody's coming to get you on Friday.' And she drowned Friday night. She drowned Friday night." -- Jefferson Parish president Aaron Broussard, Sept. 4, on NBC's "Meet the Press," in one of the defining media moments of all the hurricane coverage.

I'm trying my damndest not to rant and rave about this whole situation, but it's difficult. It seems like such a monumental fustercluck on everybody's part...I don't understand how the hell it happened. I should stop before I start throwing objects around the office.

Saturday, September 10, 2005


My friend and co-worker Tom Evans (not the same Tom as below) celebrates 2 years in the States today (he's from England). So last night Tom, his wife Paula, and I went to see local shoegaze heroes Sybris at Schuba's. I didn't quite know what to expect--one of my co-workers had nothing good to say about them, but Tom said they were good. Ah hell, it was for a good cause; couldn't let Tom celebrate alone. The opening band did nothing for me, and I left during the headliner, but Sybris totally brought the rock. They sounded kind of like Swervedriver or Ride fronted by Cat Power. Or something. Anyway, they play out a lot, so if you get a chance, check 'em out. Their self-titled debut album is out on Flameshovel records.

Friday, September 09, 2005

puppies and kitties and chinchillas and stuff

okay, so today I was planning to write about Bob Dylan, as I've been digging the new Bootleg Series album (and am getting psyched for the Scorsese-directed documentary). however, I'm going to save that for another time.

I got to work this morning and I've been reading about all the homeless and abandoned animals in New Orleans and other areas hit by Hurricane Katrina. I'm totally depressed. The people who got killed...well, I don't want to sound callous, but there was ample warning, plus the city set up shelters. Humans knew what was coming and made decisions. I'm not going to go into the way the whole thing was (mis)managed...that's a rant for another time. My point is, the dogs and cats and parrots of New Orleans had no say in the matter. There are stories of dogs trapped on the roofs of burning buildings, cats hiding from people trying to rescue them, animals starving in the streets, drinking contaminated water, dying while watching over the corpses of their owners. And it breaks my heart. The idea of getting rescued from such a horrible situation only to be told that I couldn't bring Loki with me...I don't even want to think about it.

So please, if you've got some spare change, make a donation. There are several animal rescue charities out there. I donated to the Humane Society's Disaster Relief Fund. Loki and I thank you.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Yulia Tymoshenko

politics generally want to make me drive a stake through my head, but I was saddened to hear the news this morning that Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko fired Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, the most beautiful woman in politics.

oh well, she may no longer be Prime Minister of Ukraine, but she's still Prime Minister of my heart.

gears turning

for most of practice yesterday I wasn't terribly happy with the way I was playing. at one point Ken and I were playing these interlocking patterns that worked pretty well, but I felt I could have done better. I was getting a little frustrated when we fell into this long, lush drone that sounded great.

gears are turning and things are falling into place for Fold Your Wings, which is nice. I'll post more info as soon as things are finalized (more or less).

the weather's cooling off and it's starting to become autumn here in Chicago. As a kid, summer was always my favorite season, due to the whole no school thing. Being (nominally) an adult and living in the city, summer is kind of a joke. I still have to go to work every day, plus it's oppressively hot and humid? Sign me right up! Plus there's the fact that you remember summer being great when you were a kid, but it's a giant letdown. Autumn, on the other hand, is great. The weather is cooler, but not the knock-down, drag-out freeze of a Chicago winter. The occasional smell of burning leaves. That three-day period when the leaves change and fall on the ground before they become a muddy pile of rotting filth that lays on the streets until the following spring. Really, it's better in New England, but I'll take what I can get.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005


Let's say for the sake of argument that your telephone rings at 1:30 AM. You ignore it, figuring it's a wrong number. Immediately after it stops ringing, it starts ringing again. It must be an emergency. You race to the phone and pick it up. A friend of yours is in Albuquerque and has, let's just say, had a bit too much scotch, and really, REALLY wants to tell you that a) you're his only friend in the central time zone and b) he just saw someone perform Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" at a karaoke bar.

You know, just for the sake of argument. Sean, I love you, but one of these days I might have to kick your ass.

Last night, after drinking a farewell toast to everyone's favorite hapless seaman, I proceeded to my four-track to break in the microphone Mark gave me for my birthday. I recorded five acoustic covers: one each by Bob Dylan, Gutterball, Mudhoney, Treble Charger, and my good friend Zapruder Point. One live track of acoustic guitar and vocal, with minor overdubs on the Dylan and Treble Charger songs. The Neil Young, Bjørk, Velvet Underground, and John Frusciante covers I was planning on doing didn't come together, though perhaps at another point.

Also, I fixed the links in my previous post. Sorry 'bout that--the Museum of Science & Industry took down all their Body Worlds stuff as soon as the exhibit ended.

oh, and I just wanted to add a link to this story from CTA Tattler--more proof that people, by and large, are idiots.

Monday, September 05, 2005

I see dead people

Went to the Museum of Science and Technology last night during the final throes of the Body Worlds exhibit--human specimens that have gone through the process of plastination and posed so that you can actually see how the body functions and how all the various organs relate to each other. It was truly amazing. For me, the most amazing thing was a hand and forearm that they'd taken away everything except for the arteries. Pretty amazing.

Again, this has nothing to do with music. Sorry.

[note: I fixed these links. Sorry 'bout that.]

Saturday, September 03, 2005


Ribs are good food. If you're ever in Chicago, check out the Chicago Rib House.

you should also get a drink at the Signature Lounge, which has a pretty amazing view:

so yeah, my friend Tom and his fiancee Jenny were here this week. This has nothing to do with music. I apologize.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Lee Hazlewood

If somebody could please explain the Lee Hazlewood song "Some Velvet Morning" to me, I'd really appreciate it. If you haven't heard it, it's totally schizophrenic. It's sung by Lee and Nancy Sinatra. Lee sings this really dark section about Phaedra, then Nancy (as Phaedra) sings about "dragonflies and daffodils"--it's this weird schizophrenic late 60's pop song that sounds (especially at the very end) like two totally different songs that have been spliced together. Somehow, it's totally awesome.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Billy Bragg

I've been listening to a lot of Billy Bragg this morning. He's one of those artists whose music is as fresh every time I go back to it. However, I have to say his stuff from the 90's and beyond doesn't fare as well as his early electric troubador material. From William Bloke on, his material just doesn't hold a candle to lines like "in the end it took me a dictionary / to find out the meaning of unrequited", "I never made the first team, I just made the first team laugh" and "I saw two shooting stars last night / I wished on them, but they were only satellites / Is it wrong to wish on space hardware? / I wish, I wish, I wish you cared." (I confess that "A Pict Song," "Upfield," and "The Space Race is Over" are pretty solid, however). I mean, come on, "I steal a kiss from you in the supermarket / I walk you down the aisle, you fill my basket"? Please. Admittedly, "The Milkman of Human Kindness" is pretty weak, too, but I digress.

Anyway, if you haven't already, do yourself a favor and pick up some early Billy Bragg. Though I suppose maybe you should wait, as I hear he's re-issuing some of that stuff with bonus tracks and whatnot.
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