Friday, November 10, 2006

Congratulations ... now get to work.

It's been a heady week. It began with great trepidation, blossomed into elation, and now I find that I’m becoming more grounded in pragmatism. I have high hopes for our country, now I beg and plead of the Democrats in power: DO NOT FUCK IT UP.

The Dems have a chance to actually get something done now, and I truly believe that Bush might be willing to work along with them as long as everyone remains reasonable. I applaud Nancy Pelosi's pledge to keep the dogs at bay, and not unleash a slew of subpoenas (or even an impeachment charge) on the thumped Republicans. Since I believe many Republican gains were made previously by appealing to voter's "moral standards" in an effort to mask the fiscal damage the voters were doing themselves, I find this observation from the current issue of The Economist to be a heartening one:

There are some signs that social conservatism has peaked: a bid to ban abortion failed in South Dakota; a ban on gay marriage failed for the first time in Arizona; and in Ohio the Bible-bashing Ken Blackwell, who aspired to be governor, went down in flames.

This signals, to me at least, the early failings of "hot-button" topics as motivators, and I hope it ushers in a new era of voters perhaps paying more attention to issues that loom larger I their day-to-day life. At least on a national scale.

Okay, that's it on politics, at least for a while.


And now, time for the (semi-regular) Friday Five!

Yes, you've all been very good this week, so I reckon I can reward you with five more songs geared towards expanding the horizons of your listening habits. This week we’ve got a little of everything. Do you like bedroom pop a la The Postal Service? (Well, judging by their album sales, I think the question is more "who doesn't?".) How about sleazy rockin' Hollywood starlets? Hard hitting indie unknowns? French electro-poppers? How about Reunited pop-proggers? You do? You like 'em all?

Well of course you do. You are a person of great distinction and taste, otherwise you wouldn't be a regular visitor around these parts, right? I love it when we agree on things. We're just so perfect together, you and I, aren't we?

Before I unleash these goodies, though, here's a bit of an advance warning. Rudy and I will be DJing at The Pontiac together next Tuesday. This is our first appearance together in a couple months, and our first appearance together at The Pontiac since before the beginning of the summer!

(Okay, technically we are DJing a friend's wedding this weekend, but you’re not invited to that. So, let's just say this will be our first "public" appearance together in a long time.)

It will be serious fun.

Okay, the tunes. Only Son is a one-man band out of New York led by the guy pictured to the right. From what I can gather the dude usually tours with a guitar and his iPod, though it seems as if he breaks out a full band ensemble from time to time. I think I warmed to his debut album, The Drop To The Top so quickly because it really sounds like my friend Josiah’s solo stuff he was doing outside of his own band, Light FM, a while ago.

Only Son "Long Live the Future"

Next up is a tune off the latest Juliette & The Licks album, Four On The Floor. The group is led by, um, Juliette Lewis (the young lady pictured above mid-freak out), but please don’t hold that against them. Their debut was a bit (okay, very) uneven, but their sophomore effort is SO much better. The lady loves her some New York Dolls and The Stooges, and while the first album felt like she was trying too hard, now I think she's got the hang of it. I think "Purgatory Blues" is a stand-out track on the album since it sees her tempering her sneer a bit to make room for a smidgen of melody that expands to reach for the rafters.

Juliette & The Licks "Purgatory Blues"

This next band, The Plastic Constellations, was recommended to me by a female mechanic last year. I had actually just gotten their Crusades album in the mail a few days before, and her rabid raving about the album moved it to the top of my listening pile. I listened to it, dug it, and then promptly forgot about it in the holiday haze. As I was going through CDs to listen to at work this week, I came across their disc and decided to see how it stood up. You know, since music is "so yesterday" within a week of it's release now, right? Well, I think it's still pretty swell. I've chosen "Sancho Paza" because it is the tune I would earmark as the "hit single" if the band ever cared about that sort of thing. But I assure you they do not.

The Plastic Constellations "Sancho Panza"

This next band has actually been getting a little coverage, so you can consider me officially late to the party. I got the disc months ago, gave it a cursory listen, and then decided to put on the pile of "listen to more closely and write up later" ... where it stayed unlistened to and unwritten about. Bad Tankboy. Prototypes are French, and this fact is betrayed by the fact that they, oh so presumptively, sing in French. I couldn't understand a word of it! Well, except for when they say "merde." Then I giggle a little. For the most part the whole album is a bunch of bouncy tinny tunes made for the benefit of jetsetting sixteen year olds with nothing better to do than slurp caviar in a mud wrestling ring. In "Autonomie" they shamelessly rip off Marc Bolan and I love it. (They rip of ? and the Mysterian on "Dis Moi" too, so I'm actually not sure if they're paying homage to the bands, or if it's just an unwitting theft instigated by the cultural metaconsciousness.)

Prototypes "Autonomie"

I know we're all excited about the Genesis reunion. Oh so excited. Okay, maybe not THAT excited. I suppose if it was going to be a version of the band co-led by Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins, I might get a little tweaked, but it's just the latter-day line-up, so suckage is almost guaranteed. I would like to point out that all of the band's latter career did not totally suck. Sure, when we listen to Invisible Touch now, we are much more likely to think of those puppets or the graating title track, or that awful karaoke tape of "Sussudio" I made at an amusement park when the album came out. Oh wait, did I say that last part out loud?

When we visited Chicago when I was a kid (I was born here, but did not grow up here) I vivdly remember driving around, at the end of a long road trip, with "The Brazilian" playing on the car stereo. I lived in southern Texas at the time, and skyscrapers were an exotic piece of landscape my young brain had never encountered before. The juxtaposition of the music and the metal and glass canyons was, and actually still is, one of my most powerful and emotional memories.

Genesis "The Brazilian"

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