Sunday, October 31, 2010

Rocktober 31st!

Jay-O-Lantern. Someone dared me to carve this.
On the last day of Rocktober Elliott Brood gave to me....31 more years of Rocktober!

Elliott Brood - 31 years.mp3
Buy: Mountain Meadows (2009)

I selected this song for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the fact that there are very few song with the number 31 in them. Elliott Brood is a trio based out of Toronto who describe themselves as "death country." Perfect for Halloween. Listen to that evil banjo creek along in the background. Chilling. Burrr.

If you need more Halloween tunes, check out A Truer Sound, where he has posted not one, not two, but three comps of tricks and treats.

Yesterday The Bottle Rockets posed something cryptic on their Facebook/Twitter accounts: "don't wanna jinx it, but, it's lookin' like January may be bringing a surprise you'll probably never expect. We sure didn't. Stay tuned..." To which, of course, people started speculating about an Uncle Tupelo reunion. They replied, "Kids, this is a great time to start spreading rumors..." Holy crap! An Uncle Tupelo reunion would either be incredibly awesome or a colossal alt country disaster. Regardless, if this happens, I want to be there in the front row.

Or, since it was on the Bottle Rockets' sites, it could be a Coffee Creek reunion, which would be equally spectacular. Coffee Creek was a short-lived Uncle Tupelo side project which featured Brian Hanneman of the Bottle Rockets. They had four total shows, all in the basement of Cicero's in St. Louis (where I used to hang out in the late 90s). They played mostly country and punk coves.

Or, none of these reunions could happen and it may just be a cool new album or gig or something. I honestly can't see Farrar and Tweedy getting back together after all these years, but what the fuck do I know.

Since I tortured you with that evil Jay Farrar pumpkin, here are some slightly evil tunes that will get you excited about potential reunions. Next year I'm carving Craig Finn. The Jay-O-Lantern is staring at me through my windows and freaking me out. Time to lose that candle...

Jay Farrar - Lucifer Sam.mp3
From: Stone Steel & Bright Lights (2004, CD out of print, but you can find it digitally everywhere)

Uncle Tupelo - Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down.mp3
From: Live Bootleg, Blue Note, Columbia, Missouri (April 29, 1994)

Coffee Creek - I Wanna Destroy You.mp3
From: Live Bootleg, Cicero's, St. Louis, Missouri (June 11, 1992)

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Rocktober 29th and 30th

On the 29th day of Rocktober Matthew Ryan gave to me....a rockin' little number about being pissed off at your father.

Matthew Ryan - Fd29yrblues.mp3
From: Dissent from the Living Room (2002, out of print)

Dissent from the Living room was self-recorded on a four-track in Ryan's home, and sold exclusively over his website. If you do a little Googling you can find the album in digital format. Or you can ask me nicely! Also, Rocktober 29th is my mom's birthday. She spent the day playing golf, which is not so trivial in late October in Wisconsin. Happy Birthday Rockstar Mom!

On the 30th of Rocktober The Skeletons gave to me....a little hard labor rockabilly!

The Skeletons - Thirty Days in the Workhouse.mp3
From: In the Flesh (1988, out of print)

There are a ton of different bands named The Skeletons. This one formed in Springfield, Missouri, in the late 70s and frequently toured with Dave Alvin. They released three albums in the 90s. I can't find any current info on whether they still record and tour.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Rocktober 26 to 28: We're Almost There....

Rocktober!  Get it?  No?!  Ok....I'll go stand over there...
On the 26th day of Rocktober Shel Silverstein gave to me...a 26 second song! Actually, this song is 27 seconds.

My Morning Jacket - 26 Second Song.mp3
Buy: Twistable Turnable Man: A Musical Tribute to Shel Silverstein (2010)

On the 27th day of Rocktober Drew Kennedy gave to me...a hotel room from the perspective of a somewhat sketchy, but earnest, front desk clerk.

Drew Kennedy - Room #27.mp3
Buy: An Audio Guide to Cross Country Travel (2009)

I discovered Kennedy's music via an interview he did with my colleague at Farce the Music. I am immediately a fan of anyone who can put up with that kind of jackassery. The fact that his music is fantastic is a bonus. If you go to Kennedy's web site, you will see a free music tab on the far right where you can download a live acoustic album, Alone, But Not Lonely. As Kennedy says on his web site, "If you like what you hear, come see me at a show, pick up a copy of my last studio record, An Audio Guide To Cross Country Travel, tell a friend where they can download the album. And if you don’t dig what you hear, at least it didn’t cost you anything."

On the 28th day of Rocktober, Tim Barry gave to of the best albums of 2010!

Tim Barry - (Memento Mori).mp3
Buy: 28th & Stonewall (2010)

I hope people remember this album when they write out their 2010 best-of lists. 28th & Stonewall came out in January, and it seems to me that people often forget about early releases when making their yearly lists. 28th & Stonewall refers to an intersection in Barry's home town of Richmond, Virginia, and I would love to know about the significance of this particular corner. I've had the pleasure of seeing Barry twice in the last year, in February with Chuck Ragan and in July with the Gaslight Anthem. He's playing Toronto again on Nov. 16 at the Wrongbar, but I don't think I am going to go. I love Barry's music and he puts on an amazing show, but when I saw him at the Wrongbar with Ragan, I got my ass kicked by moshers and other assholes. I'm a small girl who doesn't appreciate a foot in the face. The next day I had tons of bruises all over me. And Wrongbar security was nonexistent. Sorry Tim, but I'll have to catch you next time, and hopefully you will play at a better venue.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Ruling Rocktober

Rocktober Rocks and Rules!

On the 23rd day of Rocktober, I was having problems coming up with a track so I consulted with my friends and got the following recommendations....

The Demon Beat - Bad Man.mp3
Buy: Shit, We're 23 (2010)

AutopsyIV at highly recommends this record, and when AutopsyIV talks, I listen! To quote Mr. Autopsy, "I'll describe [The Demon Beat] as a trio that plays rock and roll the way it’s supposed to be played; loud, raw and deliberate, sans the genre mixing, irony and apologies that seem to permeate the kids these days." And since this isn't exactly a "23" song but a 23 album (see also Rocktober 3rd), I have a bonus track.

David Childers - Room 23.mp3
Buy: Room #23 (2003)

As recommended by TruerSound, a song about death in a haunted hotel room, perfect for Halloween. S-P-O-O-K-Y!

On the 24th day of Rocktober Mark Arm gave to me...a reason to drink!

Mudhoney - Twenty Four.mp3
Buy: Superfuzz Bigmuff (1990, deluxe reissue 2008)

What a great song about getting drunk and not letting people try to change who you are. "I've been drunk for twenty four hours! I'll stay drunk for twenty four more! Yeah!" I can't find the exact quote right now, but I remember reading something by Eddie Vedder that said something like, "No matter what happens with Pearl Jam, we'll always be Mudhoney's bitch." Awesome.

On the 25th day of Rocktober Peter Cetera gave to early morning song writing lesson.

Chicago - 25 or 6 to 4.mp3
Buy: Chicago II (1970)

Per AllMusic: "According to Billboard chart statistics, Chicago is second only to the Beach Boys as the most successful American rock band of all time, in terms of both albums and singles." WOW. Admit it, you love this song. It was Chicago's first top five hit. No one could top Cetera's soaring vocals in the 1970s. But what has Cetera done since that crappy ballad from the Karate Kid? Apparently, a Christmas album. Barf.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Rollin' through Rocktober

Rollin', Rollin', Rollin'...Rawhide!

This photo has nothing to do with anything. I just like it.
Still playing catch-up with Rocktober...

On the 20th day of Rocktober Commander Cody had me climb twenty flights of stairs. Phew!

Commander Cody and his Lost Planet Airmen - 20 Flight Rock.mp3
Buy (mp3 only): Lost In The Ozone (1971)

Many know Commander Cody as a country artist, but he also played a lot of rock and roll. Call this one rockabilly, or country rock, or rocking oldies, but I dare you not to shake your ass to it.

Bonus! Here's a cover of "20 Flight Rock" by my friend's band.

Huntley Slim and the Suburban Cowboys - 20 Flight Rock.mp3
From: The Sherway Sessions (2008)

Huntley Slim and the Suburban Cowboys recorded a bunch of stuff one random morning in the basement of a house on Sherway Street in suburban Ottawa. It turned out pretty good!

I once had to climb 18 flights to my high rise apartment during a power outage. I had to get up to my apartment before my beer got warm! I also once climbed the stairs of the CN Tower for charity, back when I was young and in shape. Sigh.

On the 21st day of Rocktober Greg Graffin gave to me...a Japanese-only EP!

Bad Religion - 21st Century (Digital Boy).mp3
From: Infected Live EP (1995)

"21st Century (Digital Boy)" was originally released in 1990? I'm old. Although that song is still relevant and still kicks fucking ass 20 years later. This version was recorded live on MTV in 1995. I just read that Greg Graffin is originally from Wisconsin and has a Ph.D. in some type life science. Holy shit! Greg Graffin and I might be the same person! Dude!

On the 22nd day of Rocktober Richard Buckner made me cry.

Richard Buckner - 22.mp3
Buy (mp3 only) : Bloomed (1998)

How the fuck is the Bloomed CD out of print? I know this song isn't quite "rocking," but it's about as rocking as Buckner gets, which is fine with me. There is something about the sweet sadness in Buckner's voice that makes me want to listen to him while watching the days getting shorter and the leaves turning red. Which subsequently leads me to drinking a lot of bourbon...

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Rocktober Redux

Like Brett Favre and his miserable 2010 season, I completely dropped the Rocktober ball. Time to get my shit together and quickly pick up where I left off.

On the 17th day of Rocktober, Sid Vicious gave to me....nothing! He's a lazy sod.

The Sex Pistols - Seventeen.mp3
Buy: Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols (1977)

On the 18th day of Rocktober, Patterson Hood gave to Alice Cooper cover.

Drive-By Truckers - I'm Eighteen.mp3
From: Bootleg from somewhere which I found on the internets (2009)

On the 19th day of Rocktober, Rhett Miller gave to me...a sappy power pop song about being young and dumb. This song is dedicated to A Truer Sound and all of his girlfriends.

Old 97's - Nineteen.mp3
Buy: Fight Songs (1999)

I really wanted to post the below song instead of The Sex Pistols track, but I can't find my Monsters of Rock CD. Hair metal rules!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Cory Branan and Drag the River, Oct. 4, Horseshoe Tavern, Toronto

Photo by MatzohBall77
I have been following the music of Cory Branan and Drag the River for a long time. In fact, Drag the River's album You Can't Live This Way was my favorite album of 2008. I've been trying to see these guys live for years, and have been stewing about the fact that they haven't toured Toronto in my tenure in this city. It turns out that they hadn't toured Toronto, or Eastern Canada, period. Their Toronto debut at the Horseshoe Tavern on October 4th was their last stop on their North American tour before heading off to pillage Europe.

Branan opened the show with a short acoustic set. There were only about 30 people there, which is, sadly, not surprising for an alt country show in downtown Toronto on a Monday night (see my Scott Miller review where only about 10 people were paying attention to him). Despite the low turnout, everyone there was there to see Branan/DTR, and everyone was paying attention to the show (i.e. minimal background chatter). Branan sounded fantastic. He's a hell of a guitar player and one entertaining dude. After the second song Jon Snodgrass of DTR joined Branan on stage for some sweet harmonizing. Holy crap do Branan and Snodgrass sound great together. Their voices are completely different, but they complement each other incredibly well. Even my buddy Jenny leaned over and said, "This sounds really good." Branan and Snodgrass put out a split album last year, but they should seriously consider doing an acoustic duets album. See the video below.

I got a chance to chat with Branan after his set. What a totally nice dude! He said that he has a new album ready to go and it should be released some time in the spring of 2011. Branan mentioned that he is "very proud" of the new album, and that it is full of storytelling, something which Branan excels at. My pea brain is already plotting to somehow get Branan to play a gig at the Dakota Tavern in support of this new album sometime next spring. Please?

Cory Branan Set List
1. Eh? I couldn't place this song and I wasn't even drunk (yet). I will presume that it's a new one.
2. Survivor Blues
3. Karen's Song
4. Tall Green Grass
5. The Corner
6. Sour Mash
7. Tame
8.Walk Around.mp3
Buy (Vinyl): Cory Branan & Jon Snodgrass (2009)
-->Also widely available in MP3 format.
9. Wreck of the Sultana
10. Girl Named Go

Check out this video that my virtual pal romeosidvicious, contributor to, filmed in Houston in early September.


After a short break, the audience doubled in size, and Drag the River ambled onto the stage, with singers Jon Snodgrass and Chad Price on electric and acoustic guitars, respectively. I'm going to describe this set as pseudo-disorganized chaos. DTR is not the kind of band to show up with a prepared set list. It was basically Jon asking the audience what they wanted to hear, selecting a random request, then ripping into it. This is essentially how it went down for three hours. Snodgrass and Price alternated lead singer duties, while bassist J.J. Nobody and drummer Steve Bauer kept the singers in line.

The band meandered through originals and covers. They covered their favorite songs by their contemporaries such as Bad Astronaut and The Bottle Rockets, classics by Sam Cooke and Thin Lizzy, and even songs by their previous bands, Armchair Martian and ALL. I am pretty sure that I was only person in the audience, maybe in all of Ontario, or maybe even in all of Canada, who got it when Snodgrass, a native of St. Joseph, Missouri, threw in a reference to Festus, Missouri, during "Indianapolis." Spending six years of my life in St. Louis finally pays off in obscure Missouri geography references.

Drag the River was all over their extensive catalog, going back to some of their 2000 demos, right up through new, unreleased songs. Everyone got to hear their favorites. How Snodgrass and Price have the stamina for this type of show, I do not know. But hell, they are professionals. As Snodgrass said, "I'm looking forward to my 40s since I've never had a fucking day job!" Which made me seethe in jealousy.

Drag the River set list
1. Me and Joe Drove Out to California
2. So Lonely
3. Strange
4. Calloused Heart #2
5. Brookfield
6. Mars Motors
7. Disbelieve
8. Br00tal
9. Booze and Pills
10. Indianapolis (The Bottle Rockets)
11. Death of the Life of the Party
12. Tobacco Fields.mp3
Buy: You Can't Live This Way (2008)
13. Medicine
14. Eh? I went to get a beer and missed this one.
15. Amazing G.
16. She Used to Smile
17. Spiderman, Wolfman
18. Until I Say So (ALL)
19. Tomorrow Morning
20. Dancing in the Moonlight (Thin Lizzy)
21. Having a Party (Sam Cooke)
22. Get Drunk.mp3
Buy: Closed (2002)
23. New
24. Jessica's Suicide (Bad Astronaut)
Note: I'm hammered at this point, so my set list taking skillz really go to hell.
25. New, I think
26. New
27. Hybrid Moments (Misfits)
28. Eh? Drunk. Maybe new?
29. Crocodile
30. Hang Dog
31. Tired and Fired
32. Break Your Frame (Bad Astronaut)
33. Peachy Tuscadero

Yeah, 33 songs is nuts, and they weren't finished! I had to leave at this point because I was, as the French say, "Chateau Shitfaced," and I had to be at work in six and a half hours. I only know that "Peachy Tuscadero" was playing when I left because I ran into Branan on my way out and he told me that "Peachy Tuscadero" is the name of Chad Price's dog. At least, I think that's what he told me. I hope I didn't just make that up.

I bought their goofy gig T-shirt (logo below). A friend said to me, "That is the most ridiculous shirt I have ever seen." Which is exactly the point. When people ask about the shirt, which looks like it was drawn by a five-year-old, I say, "It's by Jon Snodgrass who is in Drag the River. They put on a killer show at the Horseshoe with Cory Branan...." and I get to tell people about what a kick-ass, crazy night I had, and introduce them to their new favorite artists.

DTR first formed in 1996, and put out their first demos in 2000, and Branan released his first album in 2002. That's 18 collective years from first album to playing in Toronto. Gentlemen, let's tour up this way a little more often, OK?

Snodgrass, Price, Branan, and Austin Lucas are currently touring Europe. I know there are a bunch of readers of this blog from Germany and the UK. I insist that you catch one of these shows. In fact, I would love it if one of you would write a guest post, a little European perspective. Contact me at rockstaraimz at gmail dot com if you are interested. I would love a review from Barcelona because that city rules and Nov 2 is my fucking birthday, dammit.

17 London @ Windmill Brixton
18 Aachen @ AZ
19 Hamburg @ Logo
20 Hannover @ Mephisto
21 Kiel @ Roter Salon @ Pumpe
22 Leipzig @ Conne Island
23 Zwiesel @ Jugendcafé
24 Vienna @ B72
25 Budapest @ Könyvtar Klub
26 Ljubljana @ Metelkova
27 Ora (Auer) - Piccolo Teatro Aur-Ora
28 Freiburg - Swamp
29 Pontlevoy - Le Commerce
30 Alsasua @ Squad
31 Madrid @ Sala Pequenya Betti

1 Orihuela @ Sala La Gramola
2 Barcelona @ Rocksound
3 Toulouse @ El Camino
4 Besancon @ La Cour des Miracles
5 Trier @ Exhaus
6 Basel @ Kaserne w/ Mad Caddies
7 Munich @ 59 to 1
8 Berlin @ Lovelite
10 Bad Hersfeld @ Zigeunerkeller
11 Schwalmstedt @ Bunker
12 Dresden @ az conni
13 Prague @ Akropolis
14 Wiesbaden @ Schlachthof

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Rocktober 16th

I'm a big cheater today because I couldn't decide between two different songs, so I will give you two! The Rocktober Music Fairy is kind and generous indeed!

On the sixteenth day of Rocktober Ryan Adams gave to me....16 days!

Whiskeytown - 16 Days.mp3
Buy: Strangers Almanac (1997, Deluxe Reissue 2008)

On the sixteenth day of Rocktober Ben Nichols gave to me....a sixteen-year-old!

Lucero - Sixteen.mp3
Buy: Nobody's Darlings (2005)

Strangr's Almanac is an alt country classic. I highly recommend the 2008 deluxe edition. I was informed tonight that tickets to the Frank Turner/Lucero/Social Distortion gig on Oct. 23 is sold out. Goddammit. Who wants to sell me their ticket?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Rocktober 15th

On the 15th day of Rocktober Jay Farrar gave to me...fifteen keys.

Uncle Tupelo - Fifteen Keys.mp3
Buy: Anodyne (1993, reissued 2003)

Anodyne still sounds as good and as relevant as it did when it was released in 1993. In fact, I would argue that all of the Uncle Tupelo catalog has held up very well over the last two decades. Anodyne in particular has a perfect balance of country and rock music. It was Uncle Tupelo's only major label release. The album was recorded live in studio, and each song was recorded in only one take. It was the only Uncle Tupelo album to completely lack overdubbing. Unfortunately, it was during the making of this album where Jay Farrar and Jeff Tweedy started to hate each other. Uncle Tupelo broke up shortly after the Anodyne promotional tour.

Bonus! Since it's Jay Farrar Friday, here is "Fifteen Keys" from that fateful tour.

Uncle Tupelo - Fifteen Keys.mp3
From: The Blue Note, Columbia, Missouri, April 29, 1994

Double Bonus!! This fall also mark's the 15th anniversary of Jay Farrar's/Son Volt's opus Trace, which was released on September 19, 1995. Trace is easily one of the best alt country albums ever recorded, and one could make a strong argument that it also holds up well as a classic country album.

Son Volt - Catching On.mp3
Buy: Trace (1995)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Rocktober 14th

On the fourteenth day of Rocktober Bob Pollard gave to me...a 14 Cheerleader Coldfront.

Guided by Voices - 14 Cheerleader Coldfront.mp3
Buy: The Best of Guided By Voices: Human Amusements At Hourly Rates (2003)

That's probably my favorite title that I came up with. I was at a high school basketball game, a tournament; I think in was in Centerville [Ohio]. And they had so many cheerleaders. I counted fourteen all the way across the court, facing the crowd. They were all really pretty and you could see that they were obviously kind of stuck on themselves, they were just staring-the point is that it was obviously about them; it wasn't about the game, it was about them. And that's when I said, "Look at the fourteen cheerleader coldfront." I had to write that down. Then [band mate] Toby [Sprout]-it was actually Toby's song, but it needed some lyrics. In fact it was the only song that Toby and I ever sat down and worked on together, truly cowrote together. - Robert Pollard

From: Guided by Voices: A Brief History: Twenty-One Years of Hunting Accidents in the Forests of Rock and Roll (2005) by James Greer

My buddy Rick gave me that excellent book for Christmas one year. If you are making your Christmas lists out early this year, remember that I like books, and I like music, and I really like books about music.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Rocktober 13th

On the thirteenth day of Rocktober Alex Chilton gave to me....a killer cover of his song "Thirteen."

Elliott Smith - Thirteen.mp3 (Big Star cover)
From: The Complete Live Covers compiled by Rawkblog. This version was recorded on June 2, 1998.

Such a sweet song about the naive innocence of adolescence, made even sweeter by Elliott Smith's tender voice. Yeah, I know it's "Rocktober," but this is about as rocking as Smith gets, which is fine by me.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Rocktober 12th

On the twelfth day of Rocktober Mick Jagger gave to me...a scarey midnight rambler!

12 midnight! Get it????

The Rolling Stones - Midnight Rambler.mp3
From: Rocks Off Live, Perth, Australia (1973)

Actually, Mick Jagger didn't really give this to me. I got it from my colleague over at Captain's Dead, a killer blog based out of New Orleans. I'm not sure the links are active anymore, but you should be able to find this entire bootleg on the internets somewhere. It's a great recording from my favorite Stones era.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Rocktober 11th

On the 11th day of Rocktober Jason Becker gave to me....Eleven Blue Egyptians!

Jason Becker - Eleven Blue Egyptians.mp3
Buy: Perpetual Burn (1988)

I was having problems coming up with a Rocktober 11th song, so I consulted with my recovering metal-head friend Rid, and he enlightened me to the music and the story of Jason Becker. In short, Becker was a guitar prodigy releasing his first solo album and the above track when he was only 18 years old. At age 20 he was touring with David Lee Roth. Unfortunately, also at age 20, Becker was diagnose with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's Disease), a terrible affliction which causes one to lose complete control of voluntary muscle movement. The really awful part of this disease is that although the body slowly wastes away, the person retains complete cognitive ability and is acutely aware of what is happening to them. Physicist Stephen Hawking is another famous person afflicted with ALS.

When Becker was diagnosed in 1990, he was given three to five years to live. Today he is still alive and despite the fact that he has no control over any of his muscles, he still composes music. His father developed a computer system with which he can communicate using head and eye movements, and a friend developed software to help him compose music. In 2008 he released an album of remastered and news songs entitled Collection. Notable guest guitarists on this album include Marty Friedman, Greg Howe, Joe Satriani, Michael Lee Firkins, Steve Vai, and Steve Hunter. The album also includes a reworking of Bob Dylan's "Meet Me in the Morning." (Which I would love to hear. Help a sister out?)

On this Canadian Thanksgiving Day, I am thankful that Rid introduced me to Jason Becker, and I wish Becker all of the best in fighting this disease. In my research on Becker I found this incredibly touching tribute page. You can also find loads of Becker tributes on youtube, not to mention an amazing 20 minute mini documentary on his life. To quote one user from his Last.FM page, "God was scared that Jason Becker might take his throne."

And finally, here's my Canadian Thanksgiving present to you, an Aimz original, made with all of the Sharpies, highlighters, and scrap paper that I had on hand. Pretty good, eh? Have a great one!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Rocktober 10th

On the tenth day of Rocktober Dan Auerbach gave to me...a ten cent pistol. I needed something to go with my nine bullets.

The Black Keys - Ten Cent Pistol.mp3
Buy: Brothers (2010)

If you like blues-based rock, then you will like Brothers. It's one of the best albums of 2010.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Rocktober 9th

On the ninth day of Rocktober Patterson Hood gave to me...nine bullets, of course!

Drive-By Truckers - Nine Bullets.mp3
Buy: Pizza Deliverance (1999)

I could seriously do this entire Rocktober series entirely in Drive-By Truckers songs.

Check out Nine Bullets namesake blog run by my buddy AutopsyIV. If you are in the Tampa area, AutopsyIV is throwing an anniversary bash for his blog tonight!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Rocktober 8th

On the 8th day of Rocktober Bob Mould gave to me...some sweet pills that made me fly!

One of the best covers ever.

Husker Du - Eight Miles High.mp3
Buy: Eight Miles High/Makes No Sense At All EP (1991)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Rocktober 7th

On the 7th day of Rocktober, The Devil Makes Three gave to me....Jack Daniels!

I'm more of Jimbo drinker, but that doesn't matter as this song, like whiskey, rules!

The Devil Makes Three - Old Number Seven.mp3
Buy: The Devil Makes Three (2007)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Rocktober 6th

On the sixth day of Rocktober, Hank Thompson gave to me...BEER!

Hank Thompson & His Brazos Valley Boys - Six Pack of Beer.mp3
From: Every Which Way But Loose Soundtrack (1978, out of print)

Nothing like drinking beer and watching a trucker movie! Per wikipedia: "Clint Eastwood's appearance in the film, after his string of spaghetti western and Dirty Harry roles, somewhat startled the film industry and he was reportedly advised against making it. Panned by critics, the film went on to become an enormous success and became, along with its 1980 sequel Any Which Way You Can, two of the highest grossing Eastwood films." It had a $5,200,000 budget, and eventually grossed $51,900,000 in US rentals. Awesome.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Watching Rappers at the Border

I can't count the number of times where I have seen one of my favorite bands/artists in concert, only to have them complain about getting hassled and/or held up at the US/Canadian border by surly/grumpy Canadian customs and immigrations officers. I actually got to witness this "musician" vs. "THE MAN" interaction last Friday, and it was pretty entertaining. I use "musician" in quotes because these juvenile delinquents claimed to be rappers, and I use "THE MAN" in quotes as THE MAN was actually a woman.

Regular readers of this blog (all three of you) will know that je ne suis pas Canadienne, or something. I had serious immigration issues last week relating to my job. I won't bore you with the details, but suffice to say that my immigration lawyer suggested that I drive to the Ontario/New York border and talk directly to Customs and Immigration Canada (CIC). I put my Drive-By Truckers T-shirt in the laundry basket, put on a nice pair of pants, leather heals, and a cashmere sweater, and headed to the Niagara Falls CIC office with a tree's worth of legal documents.

While I was waiting in the tiny, crowded CIC office I saw a pack of five scruffy looking dudes approaching the office. These guys did not look good, in fact, you could see the stink lines emanating from their crusty clothing. I verified their stench when they walked by me, a mixture of B.O., cigarettes, stale cheap whiskey, and possibly malt liquor. And just to be clear, as I already mentioned that they claimed to be rappers, the pack was mixed racially: at least three of them were Caucasian, and the other two seemed to be bi-racial.

They handed over their documents to the CIC lady and waited with me and the other two dozen or so people in the waiting room (which had 6 chairs total). I noticed that some of them had New York driver's licenses. You can still drive across the US/Canada border without a passport. About ten minutes later an agent wearing black gloves carrying an armload of CDs entered the office. I bet he was searching their cars for drugs, which is ridiculous as everyone knows that you can get much better drugs for much more reasonable prices in Canada.

Anyway, the gloved man held up the CDs and said, "Are you going to sell these in Canada?"
Rapper Kid, "No, sir. We are giving those away for free."
Gloved Man, "Are you sure?"
Rapper Kid, "Yes sir. They are promotional material."

As if! I was pretending to read my newspaper and listen to Willie Nelson on my MP3 player, which was on mute, but actually I was giggling to myself.

Two of the dudes were cleared to leave, and one other was called up to the CIC agent, who I will refer to as IL (Immigration Lady). The dude in question had tattoos all over his arms, wore a button down short sleeve shirt, shorts, tube socks pulled up to his knees, and flip flops. I will call him Tat Rapper (TR). He made me look like a genius for dressing up professionally.

IL: "Have you ever been arrested?"
TR: "No."
IL: "Yes you have. It's right here on my computer screen."
TR: "(silence)"
Aimz: (snickering under my breath)
IL: "Do you know that it is a serious crime to lie to a federal agent?"
TR: "(silence)"
IL: "Why don't you tell me what happened?"

I couldn't exactly hear the next part, but the IL essentially gave him a break and let him tell his story. Apparently he was arrested, but never charged with anything.

IL: "What do you do for a living?"
TR: "I'm a rapper!"
IL: "Ooooo kaaaayyy. How old are you?"
TR: "20"
IL points at the other two guys (O2) and asks: "What do you do?"
O2: "We are the co-managers."
Aimz: Puuuullleaase. How can one 20-year-old rapper need two managers? Rolling my eyes behind my newspaper. But I could tell that these guys were actually scared shitless.
IL: "How old are you?"
O2: "I'm 20." "I'm 23."

IL glared at them, gave them another lecture on lying to federal agents, and eventually let them go. Shortly later on my case was settled and I was allowed to legally live and work in Canada again. I like to think that these idiots made me look like an outstanding, upstanding, model Canadian resident. So I say thank you to theses morons, and hope they didn't trash the Best Western on Carlton St. too badly.

After witnessing this debacle, here is my advice for US musicians traveling into Canada:
1. Try to shower before you hit the border. Or at least try not to smell really bad. And use some deodorant. And put on some clean clothes.
2. Leave your stash in the US.
3. Do a better job of hiding your "promotional material" in your car.
4. Don't lie to federal agents.

Here's an amazing song about crossing the border from New York into Ontario. It's from a trucker's perspective, but anyone who has done a lot of international driving, like me, can relate to it.

David Francey - Borderline.mp3
Buy: Torn Screen Door (1999)

Rocktober 5th

On the fifth day of Rocktober, someone gave to me....five Dylan bootlegs! Enjoy.

Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window?.mp3
From: Highway 61 Revisited Again (outtakes, 1965)

I'm Not There.mp3
From: A Tree With Roots (1967)

Big River.mp3 (with The Band)
From: The Genuine Basement Tapes, Vol. 5 (1967)

Rock Me Momma.mp3
From: Genuine Bootleg Series 1 (1973)

I Believe in You.mp3
From: Massey Hall Bootleg, Toronto, Canada (1980)

Monday, October 4, 2010

Rocktober 4th

On the fourth day of Rocktober, the Old 97's gave to me, a four leaf clover. But it ain't done one single lick of good. I'm still a drunk I'm still a loser, living in a lousy neighborhood.

One of my favorite songs from one of my Top 5 desert island albums. And how bad-ass is Excene Cervenka on secondary vocals?

Four Leaf Clover.mp3
Buy: Too Far to Care (1997)

The Old 97's release their eighth studio album The Grand Theatre Volume One on Oct. 12, and have a bunch of tour dates scheduled for December and January (none in Toronto, pout).

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Rocktober 3rd

On the third day of Rocktober Joel Plaskett gave to me.....a shitload of verbs from his album Three. Through, Pine, Wait, Gone, Run, Shine On, Heartless, Down, Beyond, Rewind, Precious, Rollin', On, and my favorite...

Deny, Deny, Deny.mp3
Buy (Amazon): Three (2009)
Buy (Maple Music): Three (2009)

We love Canadian Indie Rock!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Rocktober 2nd

On the second day of Rocktober, Emmylou Harris gave to me...

Two More Bottles of Wine.mp3
Buy: Quarter Moon in a Ten Cent Town (2004 reissue, orig. 1978)

And if you don't think that Emmylous Harris rocks, then screw you!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Rocktober 1st

On the first day of Rocktober, James Hetfield gave to me, "One" by Metallica.

I was going to post the MP3, but I'm sure their label would file a copyright infringement complaint against me, and I don't need that shit. Remember when they sued Napster in 2000, and then you got to see Lars Ulrich's multi-million dollar art collection in Some Kind of Monster? That movie sucked, but it didn't suck as much as the two albums Metallica has released post Monster.

Back to the subject at hand, Rocktober. I was 17 when this video came out, Iraq War numero uno was in full swing thanks to George HW Bush, and this video completely blew my fucking mind. Then I found the book at a used book store, stayed up all night reading it, and my 17-year-old brain melted. Sorry the quality is crap, but Warner Bros won't let bloggers embed the official video. Lars apparently needs more art.

Synchronized headbanging at 4:39!

Buy Book: Dalton Trumbo - Johnny Got His Gun (orig. 1939)

Buy CD: Metallica - ...And Justice For All (1990)