Sunday, July 31, 2005

Currently Listening
Day I Forgot
By Pete Yorn
all at once
see related
August? It's August?

Crap. I'm really beginning to freak out. By the end of this month, what was once a summer of carelessness will come to a screeching halt. I'll be going from working part-time to... being a full time student, part time assistant, and a student-teacher. I'll be taking my first masters level courses with a cohort that, after some investigation, includes many students who've graduated from more affluent colleges such as Stanford and though that thought doesn't intimidate me or automatically place them on a higher pedestal, the thought of having to deal with what I'll expect as restrained arrogance doesn't comfort me either. I'm freaking out because in a month, I could conceivably be student-teaching Kindegartners, first, or second grade. Please be second graders, I don't think I'm safe to be left alone with K or 1. Even then, I'm freaking out because I may disappoint my supervisor. I'm freaking out because I've never had courses run until 10pm.

August? Bring back July! I wish I could write this in lyrical format, otherwise it just sounds like I'm complaining.

Friday, July 29, 2005

open thread (will probably cater more towards xanga blogsite)

what artists / songs cause you to cry? or get teary-eyed? or just out-right emotional? it could be because of the lyrics, the vocals, anything.

a few i can name:

damien rice (too many to count)
mindy smith (falling, it's amazing, down in flames)
hem (leave me here, waltz, eveningland, carry me home... on and on...)
sixpence none the richer (tension is a passing note)
alison krauss (new favorite)
pete yorn (all at once, sense)
toad (windmills)
nickel creek (let it fall)

feel free to comment.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

another quick scribble before i forget -

i somehow snuck my way into nickel creek's private show tonight!! without tickets and without partner in crime, heather, i trekked up the half hour up to redwood city in hopes of finding a contest winner going solo who could sneak me in as their "guest". a good sign ensued as i stumbled upon a free parking spot next to the little fox theater. further good signs came after needing to potty, i entered a mexican restaurant next to where i parked and charmed my way into using the bathroom.

so i see a small crowd of ten or so contestant winners lined up and, innocently, asked the woman at the end of the line how she got tickets, then if she had a guest. in comes her boyfriend, doh! BUT. she tells me that someone in front of her was going solo. so my savior's name is Bob, also from San Jose, an older gentleman in his fifties who graciously sympathized with my situation and let's me be his guest! how about that. one wrapped vip bracelet later and i was inside primed for nickel creek with about 150 others.

the show? two sets. first set is a full run of tracks 1-14 of their new album (why must the fire die? pick it up aug. 9. ) awesome set, the new songs sound tight live. anthony and eveline are much more appreciated after hearing them live again. set #2 was close to a play-by-request with the band in full jam mode. covers of radiohead's nice dreams, a pair of nirvana tracks, a little outkast, another bob dylan track aside from their album cover, a sam phillips track, a tenacious d track, and a few others. encore included an unmiked, acoustic version of cuckoo's nest with mark schatz clogging umm... requests included smoothie song, lighthouse, ode to a butterfly, reasons why, green and gray...

that's bout it - maybe more written later when i'm coherent.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

An exclusive live session EP is up on iTunes!!! Find it here:

Nickel Creek - Live Session - EP (iTunes Exclusive)

The track listing is as follows:

1. Jealous of the Moon
2. When In Rome
3. Smoothie Song
4. Scotch & Chocolate
I just purchased my first iTunes tunes.  You should too. 

Fumbling through Sean (Watkins of Nickel Creek)'s blog, I saw this!  Is it just me or is that, um, Teitur, just another favorite songwriter of mine's, over there in the center?  Geez, what a small world. 

While I'm at it, this one cracks me up.    Check the rest out over here.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Google's updated "personalized homepage" has a few interesting features that makes it potentially really cool as an internet portal for when you're stuck using a computer other than yours and need quick access to your favorite sites. Two great new features to take a look at is the ability to add customized RSS feeds (as you can see I added a few such as digg and my poor man's tivo) and adding links to your favorite bookmarks (which i did not take advantage of in this screenshot).

Screenshot Link (was too big to fit)

Beck plays Mexican restaurant in San Francisco

Sony to pay $10M in payola scandal (one reason why radio is full of shit today.)

Currently Listening
Poetry & Airplanes
By Teitur
see related
Because I haven't had the opportunity to dress up and celebrate in awhile, I thought it'd be fun to post up some shots of my friend's wedding from tonight - My old manager, Bruce, at Blockbuster finally got hitched at the age of thirty-five and we had an alcheehol-tinged (my, uh, second of the weekend) reunion of our old crew. Hard to imagine that its been almost a year since I left and since we were all in the same room. I hope it doesn't take another getting married to do so again! ... Anywho, congratulations Bruce!

So, after being rejected in the random drawing to catch Nickel Creek's preview tour stop at Redwood City on Wednesday, I had one last chance to "win" free tickets to this invite only-by-radio-station show. KFOG passed out five passes to catch this invite show over the air, but alas, even with cellular and landline phonelines in hand, I got the message after about twenty minutes of redialing to a busy signal. Just wasn't to be, was it? I've even posted online on KFOG's ticket swap practically begging for a way in
Hi! I'm desperately trying to find an extra ticket to go to this private concert hosted by KFOG - I'm a huge Nickel Creek fan who would be forever grateful to anyone who is open to letting this huge fan come along. Name your price, either monetary or dinner, or whatever. I can't imagine the Creek rolling to town and me not being there.

AIM - xxx

And no response, as of yet :-( SO. What does that leave me to do? Well, here's how desperate I stand. And thanks Heather for following along, if you're still up for it :-) Fellow Creekster Heather and I plan to meet up early before the Wednesday show, hopefully catching a glimpse of soundcheck and possibly find a way in. Maybe we'll create signs. Maybe we'll ask the guests who're going solo if we could buy them a beer to let us be their "guest" as the invites are allowed one guest. Who knows. But, if that doesn't work, we'll have dinner in downtown Redwood City and at least get to catch up, since I haven't seen her in months. Sound crazy? Yeah, I bet. But a night with Nickel Creek is a night of total fulfillment for me, and hopefully some of the very readers of this blog. It's our choice of drug. All seems right with everything if just for those few hours, and hopefully for the next few days. It leaves you smiling.

Must listen to song: Ryan Adams and the Cardinals - "Let it Ride"

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Quick, scribbled album review that I keep forgetting to write -

Nickel Creek – Why Should the Fire Die?

What defines the makeup of an excellent album? Is it the cohesiveness and tightly strung together group of songs that come together in relation towards say… its lyrical interpretation? How the songs fit together sonically? These are usually what the often loosely used term, concept album, is often attributed to and immediately a few favorite recent albums come to mind such as Ryan Adams’ Love is Hell, Damien Rice’s O, Glen Phillips’ Winter Pays for Summer and Ray LaMontagne’s debut. All of these albums ironically are similar in their lyrical observations of the triggerpoints that leave emotional moments in our lives. Or is an album deemed excellent simply by containing great songs, however disconnected they may be? This is a trend I see conitnuing to emerge as ever-dominant in our society, just take a look at iTunes and their 99 cent song. The other day I saw another one of those NOW albums coming out, which is just a collection of singles all put into one. Just a few years ago, many artists were reluctant to have their music sold on iTunes and other similar internet-based shops strictly because they felt that their music had to be listened as a whole, not simply by song.

Shoot, I went off topic, but there is a correlation here to what I’m getting at with this Nickel Creek album. First of all, this latest album introduced new producers taking over Alison Krauss’s role for the band, as the band wanted to produce a more “organic sounding” album that could realize and match the intense energy (and what it is!) of their live shows. As a result, the fourteen songs on this album are beautiful. As typical with their live shows, the band jumps from genre to genre, proving to their listener their ever-widening range of sound. Songs such as When in Rome and Best of Luck are catchy and almost anthemic to the point where fans will wink at rock influences. Can’t Complain and Helena sound as though they could have been plucked from Chris Thile’s last solo effort, Deceiver, and are sung by Chris with a sense of angst/urgency. Scotch & Chocolate, First and Last Waltz, and Anthony were popular live tracks that thankfully made the album, with Scotch being an instrumental that reminds fans of the mish-mashing tempo of their hit instrumental, Smoothie Song, from their last record This Side that was so enjoyable and made you want to move around and even bob your head to. Anthony is Sara’s first Nickel Creek penned song that takes you back to the 20’s with its style and sound that reminds you of AM radio. Jealous of the Moon and a cover of Bob Dylan’s Tomorrow is a Long Time are have that comfortable, folkish sound that isn’t all too complicated, but is a breath of fresh air. Doubting Thomas and the title track, Why Should the Fire Die? both feature excellent harmonies with the latter sounding CSNY-ish, if looking for comparison.

Overall, this album is good and acts as a great representative of where the band is at this stage. The band’s focus on proving their diverse musical palette is largely proven through their contrasting yet equally strong tracks. Yet, and this gets to my definition of a great album, my only problem with the album comes from simply what was said. Listening to the album and listening live is quite different and it can be cumbersome and a bit unpleasant listening to this album in term of flow, whereas the first two albums sonically did not diverge from each respective album’s tracks. The sonic disconnect from one song to another on the new album often makes the album hard to spin an entire time straight through. But, hey, I could change my mind after a few more spins. Great music isn’t supposed to be easy the first time through, anyhow.

Catch the new video, When in Rome, at

Currently Watching
The Beautiful Country
By Damien Nguyen
see related

Friday, July 15, 2005

[EDIT] "Snoop Dogg plays the San Jose Civic August 4, with $30 tickets on sale at ticketmaster Sunday." While not someone I'd go see (though he rocked Live 8), good to see diverse artists at the Civic. (prior artist include: Kelly Clarkson, Billy Idol, Beck, The Pixies all within the last few months)

*Blogger readers -> There's now a digg section on the right hand corner of this site, typically full of tech and other news that interest me - always changing, it might be worth a look.
For local readers, be happy to know that the Civic Auditorium in San Jose could be the next happenin' musical venue playing fiddle to large scale bands that normally would take a South Bay-er an hour each way to San Francisco for shows! I caught Beck and Le Tigre this past week and to simplify, think of the floor layout, but slightly larger, of San Francisco's Fillmore and half of the balcony's seating of (again) San Francisco's Warfield Theater, and you've got yourself the Civic Auditorium. Very, very cool.

Le Tigre

This band, a band definitely hand picked by Beck, plays what they call "feminist punk electronic music"... which is about accurate! I'll admit their music and performance was not something I'd come across in my past experience, their incredibly danceable music set to a video stream of odd and eighties looking transitions slideshow somehow just made sense.


Beck, oh Beck, which musical genius was going to show up on this night? Never experiencing a live Beck show before, that really became a valid question. Would we see the hip-hop/electronic version of Beck, the crooning heartbroken version of Sea Change fame, or the 70's funk of Mutation?

At least for this tour, we saw the electronic Beck, with hints and a little sprinkling of his mellower side during a show-stealing acoustic set. Taking heavily from his latest, Guero, and Odelay (Where It's At, Devil's Haircut, The New Pollution), Beck performed straight on with a full band and a video backdrop reminiscent of those visualization images you'll see when you play music set to iTunes or Windows Media Player. Best of show included an improved on the spot acoustic rendition and sing along of Nelly's Hot in Herre (hope i spelled it right?), because geez it was (and still is!) over 90 degrees here in San Jose! Acoustic performances of The Golden Age, a take from his heartbreaker of an album, Sea Change,, and Crap Hands rose above all else.
this week = beck, le tigre, constant checking of jury duty status, john hiatt, harry potter, ice cream social, telephone misinterpretations (or so i think).

Currently Listening
By Ray LaMontagne
see related

Monday, July 11, 2005

Blogging.. list style today.

* Have not written in nearly a week, but that doesn't mean I have not neglected. Xanga readers, check out johnny 1.1 over at blogger. it's just a site mirror of this, but with a design more at home to me than what I'm given here at Xanga. Finally added a banner and some color/link changes. Firefox recommended for viewing.

* Dido has always been an enjoyable listen; Her mix of trip-hop, melencholic, sometimes electronic and sometimes folk-sounding music accompanied by her honest lyrics have always been a favorite, but I just realized after watching her latest DVD how well her voice carries live! A definite recommendation to anyone, this live album proves why she has sold countless millions in the UK (something I didn't realize until I researched after watching this DVD). Great soft-focus video directing as well, one of the better captured-on-video concerts.

* Still waiting for word on the promotional preview tour from Nickel Creek. KFOG, you're giving me ulcers.

* Live 8 is still on my mind. A little vindication that the g8 has doubled the aid after the last minute push by Live 8 among others. If you missed or want to watch any of Live 8, check out this site, Live 8 Video Downloads, to download any of the video streams courtesy of AOL. It's amazing, especially of London's. Highlights obviously were Coldplay with Richard Ashcroft, U2 and Paul McCartney, Dido performing Seven Seconds, and Pink Floyd's set.

* While on the subject of London, it's just mind-numbing the range of emotion to think a city can go through in one week. Thoughts, prayers, and hopes of resolve are all I can say.

* Open thread discussion (sorry matt good, i'm stealing this idea from you): discuss harry potter's new book, due out saturday the 16th. do you care? are you excited? are you sick of the hype? predictions? do you ask yourself why i am even bringing this up?

* Jury Duty up this week. Anybody with stories?


Currently Watching
Dido Live (DVD/CD Set)
see related

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

amateur photoblog - fourth of july weekend

santa cruz beach.  not me sticking out my finger there.

me and my niece.

This was my favorite shot.

For each of these fireworks shots, there were about ten bad ones.

Monday, July 04, 2005

[EDIT] Crap, it's a radio station tour where you can only win tickets :( Well, I'll still try my hardest.

Nickel Creek - 7.27.05 - Little Fox Theater, Redwood City.

Think my heart stopped for a second. I'm ecstatic beyond belief It's been too long between shows!!!

P.S. Little Fox = Super small venue!!

Saturday, July 02, 2005

I wish Bob Geldof and those involved in the Live 8 initiative nothing but success and truly hope that their efforts are able to make some sort of impact. And while I disagree with the fact that they have cuddled up to G8 leaders thinking it best to make inroads by playing within the system, I agree that global poverty is an issue that must be addressed. Unfortunately, our entire way of life must be called into question to realistically do so.

Matthew Good wrote a thought-provoking op-ed piece about his skepticism on the overall effectiveness of today’s Live 8 concerts that really does strike a chord with looking beyond the obvious, that the issue of poverty in Africa is more than just attempting to create funding for those impoverished in that country. It stretches beyond that and into how we live our own life, how the comforts that we’ve grown to deem necessary is at the expense of the exploitation of developing countries. Check out his thoughts here.

Though at this very moment as I’m writing this, Pink Floyd is performing live in London on the television that I’ve been glued to for the past five some odd hours. Oddly enough, I had not planned on catching more than a few minutes of these Live 8 concerts today, but realizing how massive this event is (and not having anything to do today, luckily!), I just couldn’t put it down. A million people in Philadelphia, unbelievable amounts of bands I’d die to see playing in London (Coldplay, U2, Keane, Pink Floyd, Snow Patrol, Richard Ashcroft, Scissor Sisters, Joss Stone, Dido, Madonna, Sting… it goes on and on), Green Day being presented as from Oakland, California (go bay area!) in Berlin, it’s just a neat feeling that, even though I’m not physically at any of these shows, I feel as though I’m part of something huge. I guess the optimistic side of me thinks that something as massive as this will make a difference when the G8 meets.

Nevertheless, politics aside, how often do you see Coldplay backing up Richard Ashcroft singing The Verve’s “Bittersweet Symphony”? Or Pink Floyd reuniting after twenty some odd years? Or Paul McCartney with U2? Hell, I even felt it when Jay-Z and Linkin Park performed together, something I’d never typically say.

No real point to this post, but I just needed to put down the neat experience that Live 8 has culled from me. It will definitely interest me the outcome of this show, whether or not it affects the G8’s decision to put down more money to help those impoverished, and whether that money will even do any good in the long run. I’d hate to agree with Mr. Good but I share some of his doubts.

If anything, though, at least today’ll leave us with one of the greatest concert experiences ever. That’s why I wish I were in London today Well, Sir Paul McCartney’s playing live at this very moment, so I’ll leave it at that.