Saturday, September 30, 2006

Favorite Songs of 2006 Thus Far

If I made you a mix tape for Christmas it would sound like this:

- Dokkoise House (with face covered), Anathallo
- Trains to Brazil, The Guillemots
- Rally, Phoenix
- Hellodrama, What Made Milwaukee Famous
- Girl In the War, Josh Ritter
- Ice Age, Pete Yorn
- Sons & Daughters, The Decemberists
- Lazy Eye, Silversun Pickups
- Be Good, Tokyo Police Club
- Fraud in the 80s, Mates of State
- Yeah Yeah Yeah Song, Flaming Lips
- Imaginary Girl, The Bees (US)
- Chasing Cars, Snow Patrol
- Wolves at Night, Manchester Orchestra
- Man O'War, Eric Bachmann
- Painting by Chagall, The Weepies
- Otherside of the World, KT Tunstall
- Adlai Stevenson, Sufjan Stevens
- Postcards from Italy, Beirut

Friday, September 29, 2006

I Got Picked For the Census

Allyson and I got three alerts from the government, all on the same day.

The first one said "You've been selected to participate in the US Census. You recently got a letter from us about this. You are required by the US Government to complete this survey." The second one said "You've been selected to participate in the US Census. You will receive more information soon." The third one was a mammoth survey.

I'm not gonna lie -- I was pretty stoked to be selected for the Census. Well, stoked our apartment was selected....

But the survey was so complicated that even with a BBA I still had trouble completing it and following directions. (What's that you say? A government-issued initiative was complicated and confusing?! Shocking!). It was like a scantron test from hell.

Here are some things that worry me about this:

- Nowhere on the census survey does it say "Please use pencil." Nor is it in either of the two letters accompanying the survey. Instead, that requirement is buried in the instruction manual in the fourth paragraph of text.

- In the census survey, it asks "Is this person Spanish/Hispanic/Latino?" and subsequently, "Do you speak another language other than English?" ... however, all the government-issued letters, the mammoth survey, and even the instruction manual are ALL IN ENGLISH! I'm pro-American, and I know the government you want these results to be pro-American, but really... no habla espanol? [Note: there is an alert on the front of the survey that tells Spanish speaking residents to call a toll-free number... why can't I call a toll-free number?? Stop discriminating, Uncle Sam!!]

- There is a question related to job function... it asks, "What kind of work was this person doing [during person's chief job activity or business last week]?" I felt kind of shallow writing, "Going to concerts" so I put "Strategic Marketing." What if your job was to dress as a hot dog and hand out flyers on the street? Or you were a computer hacker? Or a hooker? How would you describe that? Actually -- I don't want to know... but how nice that in America you can be whatever you wanna be.

- All kidding aside, there was one question that I was ineligible for that I thought was very humbling. It was related to military service and asked if the citizen had served on active duty in the US Armed Forces during any of these periods:
  • September 2001 or later;
  • August 1990 to August 2001 (including Persian Gulf War);
  • September 1980 to July 1990;
  • May 1975 to August 1980;
  • May 1975 to August 1980;
  • Vietnam era (August 1964 to April 1975);
  • March 1961 to July 1964;
  • February 1955 to February 1961;
  • Korean War (July 1950 to January 1955);
  • January 1947 to June 1950;
  • World War II (December 1941 to December 1946)
  • November 1941 or earlier

It's amazing to think how many people have served during those time periods; how many battles were fought, how many lives were lost, and how quickly we forget.

1.5 hours later, Allyson and I completed the survey. It will be mailed to the government on Monday. [There was no reply-by date listed on any of the materials, by the way]. So, if there is a warrant issued for our arrest for not filling it out, please let this be our statement that yes, we completed it... and it is late, I blame it on the US Postal Service...


(posted to

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Deja Vu

Wow, a lot happened this week... 10 days of festival, 12+ concerts (including VACO at Smith's Olde Bar last night), my birthday, and, oh yeah... my car got broken into AGAIN!

Let's face it, folks -- I drive a Ford Taurus. It might as well be a Dodge Stratus. There is nothing in my car worth taking, not even a CD player.

The whole thing was very deja vu... went out to my car Sunday morning, just like the last time, and found some items displaced. Took a few minutes to realize what had happen. The same policeman reported to the scene this time around. "We really need to stop meeting like this, officer," I said. He agreed, and then we talked about robber tactics.

This time around my car manual was really stolen, but that's about all that was left to take after Robber #1. Robber #2 left my aviator sunglasses, a copy of People Magazine, and my Tiffany tape (I really thought this would be a hotter item... maybe on eBay). He was also kind enough to disperse about 600 promotional stickers (reserved for the festival) across my car like confetti. Thanks for the celebration, Robber #2.

More on the festival and Sufjan Stevens birthday date to come.


Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Birthday + Sufjan + Drinks = Your Presence Requested

Sufjan Stevens has agreed to be my birthday date tomorrow night and will perform at the Fox Theatre for Paste Rock'n'Reel Festival to celebrate -- you know, just a small gathering... close family and friends...

It's nice he's arranged all that. He's got big shoes to fill, though. Last year Sir Paul McCartney played me some hits at Philips Arena. 80,000 people singing "nah...nah, nah... NAH NAH NAH NAAAAH!" at the end of "Hey Jude"? Pretty stellar.

But back to Sufjan... some of my friends and business colleagues went to the Nashville show and said it is an amazing and life-altering experience. Awesome. Because I had a horrible year (Sir Paul, that was not your fault) and I would like to turn that around with this birthday.

So I extend this invitation to you, my friends (and if you're just a stalker, please ignore this invitation... I'm sure you've already done some undercover work to figure out my plans). Join me for the show or for drinks before and/or after the show. I plan on making a night of it. You should too.

Inquire within for details (you know, just in case I have a lazy stalker).

- CK

Worthy Pursuits and Playlists - Paste Rock'n'Reel

New music you should look (and listen!) for

The 2nd Annual Paste Rock'n'Reel Festival kicked off Friday (I will now shamelessly plug it in my email). We're having 11 shows and 50 bands. I've written about a few of the bands in previous emails (like My Brightest Diamond) but there are a bunch I'd never heard of before. Upon listening, I discovered some I liked a lot (thanks, OK Productions, for booking those bands). Over the next two weeks, I'll highlight some of them...

The Futurists - Atlanta, GA - Unsigned

The Futurists recently got a makeover -- new name, new producer, better stage presence, better lyrics. They make powerpop rock music you can dance or headbang to -- your choice. Their MySpace page is loading weird so go to PureVolume -- you can download the songs if you want, which is cool because we all like free music.

Good Chance You'll Like This Artist If You Like:
Mars Volta, Franz Ferdinand, Muse

Band of Horses - Seattle, WA - Sub Pop - New Release: Everything All the Time

When Sam Beam of Iron & Wine is your fan, you can go a long way. Just ask Band of Horses, who were signed to Sub Pop Records, Iron & Wine's label. I wish I'd listened to this album (and their previous EP) a lot earlier... it's pretty stellar. One of the two Horses recently left the band but the band is still touring (and headlined the festival on Sunday) so I suppose the music will go on. Hear some at

Good Chance You'll Like This Artist If You Life:
Iron & Wine, My Morning Jacket, Neil Young, Wolf Parade

Jil Station - Atlanta, GA - Unsigned - New Release: Still Love

Don't be confused: this is a band, not a woman. Average age -- 19 years old. They haven't been together too long but sound pretty polished (maybe it's the studio work). They also sound a lot older than they look. Good ol' glam rock (without being tools), plus piano medleys, and 70s influences shine on their album. You can download their single at -- again, free music is always nice...

Good Chance You'll Like This Artist If You Like:
The Killers, The Who, Jet

And a playlist...

The whole 'everyone-send-a-song-for-a-playlist' idea was not wildly successful... BUT those of you who did send songs sent a heckuva lot... so here it is...

Playlist from Summer 2006
Jack Johnson - Better Together
Switchfoot - We Are One Tonight
Panic! at the Disco - The Only Difference Between Martyrdom and Suicide is Press Coverage
Red Hot Chili Peppers - Tell Me, Baby
AFI - Miss Murder
Gnarles Barkley - Gone Daddy Gone
Justin Timberlake - Sexy Back
Wolfmother - Woman
NERD - Rock Star (Jason Nevins remix)
Gavin Degraw - Belief
Jessica Simpson - Public Affair
Sheryl Crow - Real Gone
Ashley Parker Angel - Let U Go
Corinne Bailey Rae - Put Your Records On
OK Go - Here It Goes Again
Head Automatica - Graduation Day
Rock Kills Kid - Paralyzed
Kelis - Bossy
Snow Patrol - Chasing Cars
Death Cab for Cutie - I'll follow you into the dark
Muse - Exopolitic
Beatles - Hey Jude
Jack Johnson - Constellations

That's all for now... CK

(This is from a weekly email distribution. To be added, email me)

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

What happens if you play a country record backwards?

You get your man back, your car back, your dog back, your money back.

Well, I've never owned a dog, all my money seems to go to Brick Store, and my man done gone run off fer good.... but I did get my car back!!

The Saga of G-JE (that's my car) continued this week when the engine failed. I'd start driving and feel as though there was an earthquake underneath me. Then it started accelerating on its own, even when I hit the brakes... scary, right?

I took it to the dealership only to find out that the DPFE sensor failed, which caused a build up of carbon, which caused too much exhaust in the EGR... (the what??)

G-JE is back safe and sound now (after a hefty I-really-want-to-cry-about-this-but-I-still-have-a-better-life-than-most bill). Now it can sit in the garage and wait to get broken into again (two more robberies this week).

Too bad I am no country star; I'd have a lot to sing about this week.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Worthy Pursuits & Playlists -- September 9 2006

Hello. I fell off the face of the Earth but decided that was overrated, so here are some overdue recommendations...

Worthy Pursuits & Playlists
New Music You Should Look (and Listen!) For...

Pete Yorn -- New Jersey -- Columbia Records -- New Release: Nightcrawler

Pete Yorn, my love... it's been too long.... what took you so long? Yorn's debut release, musicforthemorningafter, was fantastic and the first part of what he intended to be a musical trilogy. The second album, Day I Forgot, was solid but (appropriately enough) forgetable... his third album, Nightcrawler, makes up for it. Good mix between rock ("Policies") and ballads ("Ice Age" is a nice one), with songs that are distinctive and require repeat listens. To preview it, I'd probably head over to Amazon if I were you ... MySpace loads slow, and his website only has one song on it... Definitely in my top 5 albums of the year and worth purchasing.

Good Chance You'll Like This Artist If You Like: Pearl Jam, Bruce Springsteen, Son Volt/Jay Farrar, Rufus Wainwright

Guillemots -- London, UK -- Fantastic Plastic -- New Release: Through the Windowpane

In my opinion, buzzworthy British bands are set to suffer the same fate as Beanie Babies... cute, collectable, but essentially overvalued. Still, critics waste no time proclaiming them to be "worth the hype" and "the next big thing." But how many have come close to surpassing Oasis? Didn't they say that about Arctic Monkeys? One day, we'll all put those records in the attic with the Beanie Babies and Pogs...

Here's a buzzworth British band that we can all love, though -- the Guillemots. [Despite my rant above, I think it's okay to call them buzzworthy because the four members are from England, Brazil, Canada, and Scotland... more worldly than British...]. The music is an ecclectic mess of instruments, heart-on-sleeve lyrics, and "little bursts of sonic madness that flit around like overproduced Eighties butterflies." It's not overwhelming, though -- it's inviting. Hear songs, including the new single "Trains To Brazil," at

Good Chance You'll Like This Artist If You Like: Beck, The Beatles, Flaming Lips, Coldplay if they were rumaging through a vintage store for new sounds and took themselves less seriously

Sigur Ros -- Iceland -- Geffen Records -- New Release: Saeglopur EP

My boss once told me, "Sigur Ros' music sounds best when you're sitting in the dark with only your stereo." It also sounds nice in Wes Anderson films, symphony halls, and as a backdrop to your less-than-glamorous-but-certainly-important life experiences. Last year, Sigur Ros released "Takk..." and on that album was a song called "Saeglopur." They just released an EP with that wonderful song and three others, plus their amazing music videos. If you like to keep things interesting and appreciate beautiful music, listen to some Sigur Ros. Don't expect to understand the words, unless you know Icelandic... even then you may be out of luck -- the band sang all the lyrics to their untitled album -- "( )" -- in a language they made up ("Hopelandic").

Good Chance You'll Like This Artist If You Like: Thom Yorke and Radiohead; intense, cathartic music


How about everybody sends a favorite song of the summer? Email or post them here.

Cool? Cool.

- CK