Thursday, November 20, 2008

Christmas Music Goes Indie

One of my favorite pop culture blogs, Pop Candy, pointed out that is streaming a “Holiday Mixer” radio station populated with festive tunes from some of my favorite indie artists, including Eels, The Decemberists, and Matt Pond PA.

Normally, I’m one to eschew everything Christmas until after Thanksgiving, but based on current store displays, apparently there are those out there who get into the holiday spirit a little early. If that’s the case with you, I recommend checking out If you’re going to start listening to holiday music now, at least give yourself the opportunity hear "Donna and Blitzen" by Badly Drawn Boy or "Season's Greetings" by Robbers on High Street.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Ben Folds Has Yet to Disappoint

The first time I saw Ben Folds (with Ben Folds Five) was nearly a decade ago when he opened up for The Counting Crows at UC Berkeley’s open-air Greek Theatre. I had no idea who he was, but I was taken in by his energy, story telling and piano skills. The release of Rockin’ the Suburbs sealed the deal, and I’ve been an avid fan ever sense.

Since that time, I saw him open for Tori Amos at the San Diego State University open-air amphitheatre, and then a couple of years later again when he headlined at San Diego’s Copley Symphony Hall (Rufus Wainwright opened). I will always remember the latter concert for his cover of Dr. Dre’s “Bitches Ain’t Shit.” That song never fails to crack me up. It even inspired a choir group to sing it a capella.

Each concert has been better than the last, so when I saw that he was coming to the Warfield in San Francisco, I made sure I was online with Ticketmaster the moment tickets went on sale. And, given that I hate Ticketmaster, that’s saying something.

The concert was last Thursday, and Ben Folds has yet to disappoint. I love that he takes the time to talk to the audience and give background on songs. During one of these moments, he talked about how prior to the official release of “Way to Normal” he leaked an entire fake album as a joke. Recorded in one night in Dublin, Ben Folds created 9 original songs that turned out to have the same song titles as the official album, but completely different lyrics and melodies. He played both versions of several songs during the concert, and you’d never know that one was put together in a night.

The bottom line – if you ever have a chance to see Ben Folds live, make sure you do. You won’t be disappointed.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Yet-to-be-released Cure Tribute Album Streams on

Robert Smith If you happen to be a fan of indie music with a soft spot for The Cure, you should know that is streaming a new Cure Tribute Album, Just Like Heaven, that won’t be released officially until January 27. Featuring such bands as The Rosebuds and The Submarines, this album brings a fresh perspective to classic Cure songs. Personal favorites include “Just Like Heaven” by Joy Zipper “In Between Days” by Kitty Karlyle and “A Night Like This” by Julie Peel. Check it out.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

I’m Barack! Obama Brings Random Banter Out of Hiatus

Barack ObamaI’m 37 years old, and I’ve never been so captivated or moved by a presidential election. As soon as Barack threw his hat into the ring to run for president, I knew there was something special about him. A few months into his campaign, I came to realize that he would be an excellent president. However, I was worried that there was no way the American people would elect a black man named Barack Hussein Obama. I’ve never been so grateful to be wrong.

America has shown that it recognizes the qualities of a great leader and can tear down racial divides and scare-tactics to elect him. Obama has a big job ahead of him, but I trust that he is the best man for the job. One might argue his lack of executive experience, but the discipline and strategy he employed with his campaign demonstrates his capabilities. Plus, he has the intellectual chops and relentless drive to quickly get up to speed on any topic necessary.

As a writer, I was also drawn in by an AP story today entitled, “Writers welcome a literary president-elect.” While the ability to turn a phrase isn’t a requirement of the presidency, it’s a welcome change to the last 8 years - and I think it will help restore respect for our country abroad. I relish not being able to cringe at future white house press conferences.

The election of Barack Obama is a historic occasion, and I hope it’s more than a political milestone, but instead a turning-point for our nation, marking a shift towards greater integrity in our domestic and foreign policies.