06 May 2008

The Swell Season

There's so much to be said about an evening with the Swell Season. But I think Glen Hansard likely said it all last Friday night. He told stories about ghostbusting exorcists. He rambled about the evils of malls—specifically the monstrous Gateway that functions as a home/neighbor to the Depot (I could go on and on about the amazing-ness of the Depot... such a wonderful venue). His best line of the night was a commentary on the mall's food court: "Airline food from every country? No thanks..."

It felt like we'd all wandered into a gigantic living room and Glen and the boys had grabbed a couple guitars, Marketa had settled in at the piano and we were in for an all-nighter. At points it seemed we'd get just that. Every song had a story or a there's-really-no-point-to-this introduction. We were old friends, catching up after a few years separated by the Atlantic. For those of you who have seen the show, it's something to appreciate. More than a few friends have remarked (none more realistically than D, though) that it's the kind of show that makes you want to leave your job and follow them around the country for a little while, buying scalped tickets and sleeping in your car.

Sadly, my videos (and the photos above) didn't turn out so great. I'll leave one here and you can click here to watch another and here for a final oh-no-my-batteries-are-dying clip. The sound is good even if the visuals are lacking. I suppose my final thought on the show is that, even though Glen and Mar and the rest of the crew never looked me in the eye and we never exchanged as much as an awkward "hey," I walked away with a new batch of Irish friends. If/when we bump into each other again, it'll feel like a another reunion and I'll half-expect a slap on the back and a pint of Guinness.

Also... Kyality has pointed out that approximately 90% of my posts arrive between 9:00am and 10:00am... and today maintains the trend. I guess that should tell you something about my work habits. I don't know if this is the appropriate place, but there's some news on that front coming soon. Then again, the six of you who read this probably already know...

02 May 2008

Tonight's The Night

It takes a minute or two to load (or at least it is on my machine this morning), but it's so so so so worth it.

01 May 2008

La Blogotheque Keeps Bringing The Noise

I must've fallen asleep... there's no other possible explanation for my missing La Blogotheque recent addition of a new series of concert videos. Back On Stages features actual concert footage (a brilliant supplement to the music-in-the-streets approach of the Take Away Shows). I've had a hard time figuring out what other acts have been featured so far—the navigation on the site is exactly clear—but all I needed was this massive dose of Bon Iver to know that I needed to stay tuned.

There are five featured videos and each one is f-f-f-f-fantastic. The best part is that you can watch the relatively nice embedded versions or DOWNLOAD THE QUICKTIME FILES! (Click that nifty little "QuickTime" link below the player.) My personal fave: Lump Sum. Watch it now. You won't regret it.

30 April 2008

Program Your TiVos, Kids

It appears that VH1 (yeah, VH1... I'm dumbfounded, too) will broadcast a Radiohead show filmed in their basement recording studio this weekend. To be exact, it's scheduled for May 3 at midnight. Check your local listings and, if you're anything like me, set your digital video recording devices in case you fall asleep on the couch while trying to pry your eyelids open four hours past your customary bedtime (did I mention that I'm an old man?).

Here's a masterful preview clip of Reckoner—my favorite In Rainbows track. I know I've said it before, but I can't get over what charismatic performers the Radioheads actually are. It's continually mystifying to hear album tracks that may have originally sounded distant or slightly inhuman turned into full-blown, groovy rockers.


23 April 2008

Let's Not Try To Figure Out Everything At Once

This is not a breaking-news blahg. Never has been. Probably never will be. More than anything, I guess, it's a personal-reaction-to-what's-out-there blahg. And that's just too much to keep track of. Anyway, I've loved Fake Empire from the first second I heard it way back when. If I had to pick between Boxer favorites, this opening track wins every time. This morning, the track knocked my socks off and nearly had me sobbing as I looked for my freeway exit. That's probably too much information, but today feels like the kind of day that's just chock full of too much information.

And that brings me to the point of this post. A few months back, Scott Cudmore dropped an absolutely stunning, ridiculously beautiful (but somehow unofficial) video for Fake Empire. You just have to see it to know what I'm gushing about. Also... I'm lamenting the fact that this YouTube version is the best embeddable player I could find... so please do yourself a favor and WATCH THE PRISTINE QUICKTIME CLIP HERE.

If you're just too lazy to click, this'll do (but I'm very very disappointed in you):

18 April 2008


I think I've mentioned before that upto12 headquarters is dialed into the Scrubs re-runs every night on channel 14. Typically, I'll catch one of the two back-to-back episodes around 10:30pm. There's something soothing about the show that helps me delete my mental cookies and settle in for a decent night's sleep. I can't totally put my finger on what exactly blew me away about the first two-plus minutes of last night's episode — but it featured Colin Hay's acoustic version of the Men At Work track, Overkill. If you haven't seen the entire episode, it's a good one (from Season 2, maybe? In fact... you may be able to watch it here...) and the magic of YouTube has put the Colin Hay montage at your fingertips. Give it a look. I'm relatively certain you'll be buying Overkill off iTunes within 4 minutes...

Also, the Colin Hay bit reminded me of the incredible Polyphonic Spree performance on another episode. I don't completely remember the backstory... but a patient at Sacred Heart wants to play with his band and somehow the good doctors work it out so the band shows up and the sickie gets to wave his tambourine. Mostly, the clip makes me sad that I never saw the Polyphonic Spree during the white-robe era. Again, at your fingertips:

The bottom line: I love Scrubs. And sometimes that love is rewarded with moments of musical crossover bliss. Something Kyality would call intertextual nuggetism. I watch Scrubs for a chuckle, but every now and again I get a bonus — Colin Hay, the Spree, Keri Russell...

In other news, there's some gossip floating around that Scrubs will show up with 18 more episodes on ABC next year. Strange, but good (very good) news.

10 April 2008

Feist - Deer Valley - July 17

Uh. Yeah. My super-crush of the last 18 months (or is has it been longer?) is coming to town. Leslie Feist in the summertime on a mountainside. This could be enjoyable, right?

Info here. Pre-sale is on now, so get a move-on, kids.

08 April 2008

I'm Not A Copycat, I Just Seem Like One

It feels as though I'm constantly biting the tires of SRO... and, honestly, there are worse things to be accused of. But the kind folks who run that music video site just posted the trailer for the long-awaited (by me, anyway) A Skin, A Night—a film about the National directed by Vincent Moon. I've praised Mr. Moon before for his work with the Take Away Shows and it's no surprise that my expectations are through the roof.

Watch the trailer:

A Few Quick Thoughts

If you haven't seen it, Pitchfork.tv launched yesterday. And (shocker), I kinda love it. The video quality is outstanding and the content is pretty deep for a site just getting off the ground. Take a few minutes and browse around if you've got the time and you're sure to find something you love. Everything is on-demand (duh...) and P-Fork even takes a few lighthearted stabs at their well-deserved, holier-than-thou, we-hate-everything-you-like reputation. On top of music videos and live performances, Pitchfork.tv also promises to air documentaries and other assorted, musically awesome stuff.

We've all suffered long enough in the void created by MTV's refusal to air music videos and/or any music related shows—and, while I don't know if this is the ultimate remedy, Pitchfork.tv seems to fill the void quite nicely. If you'd like to read the thoughts of folks who actually know what they're talking about, Creativity Online has a short Q&A with Ryan Schreiber, who started Pitchfork and is now heading up the .tv efforts. Our friends at SRO (who recently reminded us that they're "always angry, but sometimes [they] just keep it in check") also have their opinions.

In other news, I've added an imeem playlist to the sidebar. It's a major work in progress and this is my first stab at the embedded player. If you have suggestions for better widgets or whatever, let me know. I'm all ears. I'm also dropping it here in this post for kicks... mostly to see how it all works/looks and to explore some options for the future. Enjoy or something, yeah?

07 April 2008

And On The Seventh Day...

Despite the nasty weather (seriously, snow in April... again?!), it's growing season for all who unite in the cause of mustacheosity. You probably remember the shenanigans from last year and this year promises to be better than ever. You can watch the progress and grasp the sheer dudeness of the holiday HERE. Seven days in, I'm not feeling horrible about my upper lip:

You've got 28 days to sharpen your look. In the meantime, stay away from the razor fill your mind with only the purest, most mustachioed thoughts.

04 April 2008

I Wanted To Hate It

On occasion, the upto12 household simply can't find a babysitter. Last night was one of those occasions. Mrs. upto12 ran through the (figurative) rolodex of neighborhood sitters and came up empty. So, instead of enjoying a nice sit-down meal ("nice" being an extremely relative term) and the romantic comedy of the month (Definitely, Maybe... surprisingly rated in the 70s on Rotten Tomatoes), the Wilson Bros were sent to bed early and Mrs. upto12 grabbed a bag of burgers and fries from local grease pit Ab's. My mission was to rent a suitable replacement for D,M at the RedBox kiosk down the road from upto12 headquarters. Selection was poor, especially in the rom-com category. In fact, there was really only one option:

I wanted to hate it. I really did. But I just couldn't. Catherine Z-Jones (yeah, I just linked to her IMDB in case you didn't know who she was... aws) was decent. Aaron Eckhart's butt-chin was solid and the little girl from a hundred recent movies wasn't even remotely hateable. I must be losing my ability to hate sappy rom-coms... next thing you know I'll be dishing my opinion on 27 Dresses and Fool's Gold. Brace yourselves.

03 April 2008

We'll Shine Together

This is old news and the sometimes-angry, mostly-radical folks over at SRO posted about it a while back, but I've been recently re-enthralled with Rihanna (Beyonce, Jr for those of you in the know...). I really just can't get enough of R&B/pop songs with ridiculous lyrics. A song about an umbrella? I'm in. To top it off, this collaboration is relatively fantastic. More stunningly beautiful R&B stars should join forces with British dance/rock/pop bands. I'm being serious. Beyoncé plus Arctic Monkeys? Golden. Leona Lewis plus Hot Chip? Woo-hoo. Fergie plus New Order? Well... even an idea this gnarly might have its limits.

Also, I know nothing about Klaxons, but lots of Brits seem to like them, it appears they don't typically wear sleeves on their shirts and they move around rather smoothly while they rock. Now I'm intrigued. If you can recommend them, shout it out loud and clear. Ey! Ey!

31 March 2008

Those Are the Marks My Feet Made In The Sand

Every now and again, a work trip turns into a vacation. For an hour or two, anyway. I spent the weekend in the LBC and actually managed to see two movies, eat some BBQ, watch some basketball, take a nap on the beach and finish it all off with a blood-clotting ribeye steak. It all made me feel a little sheepish for having such a sourpuss attitude about work-related travel. I've used the "nice place, but it's not like I'll get to enjoy it" line about 27 times too many. You're all sick of it and, now, so am I. So I apologize for being such a malcontent. It really just took a 53-minute nap on the beach to change my heart.

There's no other point to this post. Just an apology. Take it at face value and move on with your day...

28 March 2008

I Paid $7.75

Is it irony that the tagline for this movie is "You get what you pay for"? I might have to check with an irony expert, but I'm thinking that it is the very definition of irony. I mean, I paid $7.75 (the matinee price here in the LBC) and I guess I didn't deserve more than two or three laughs. Although seeing a movie with four co-workers and being the only five folks in the theater adds some value, right?

Come to think of it all... I'm not sure what I expected. Can I complain when I'm the idiot who placed such high hopes on such an obviously bad movie? I mean, I think the trailer settles the irony question once and for all. The tagline has no ironic value... it's just the truth. I paid $7.75 (along with a piece of my soul) and got exactly what I paid for.

19 March 2008

Trip-Hop, You Don't Stop

I'd heard the news a while back, but somehow the gravity of it escaped me. After a strange disappearance (was the Roseland NYC album really 11 years ago?!), Portishead returns in April with it's third LP. That extended absence has me realizing that I've neglected Portishead over the last couple years. And I've also neglected to preach the wonders of Portishead to the younger generation. You know, the kids who might have only been 11 or 12 when Roseland NYC dropped.

So, without getting into the nuts and bolts of Portishead's trip-hop sound and the sheer face-slapping power of Beth Gibbons' vocal trickery, I think I'll leave you with a gateway sample of what makes Portishead so incredible. You won't likely find a song as stunning and stop-what-you're-doing-right-now-and-give-your-full-attention-to-this as the track "Roads"—especially in its live, NYC perfection. Don't blame me if you end up watching this roughly 26 times in the next three hours.

Like what you've seen/heard? The first single ("Machine Gun") from the new album is available for purchase here (there's some tricky pounds/dollars conversion involved). For some reason it's not up on iTunes yet. If you're afraid of the conversion and just can't wait... well, I'll leave the illegal options upto you and keep my pious self out of it.

18 March 2008

An Open Letter

It's no secret at this point—I can't be trusted with this blahg. Just when you think I've established some sense of regularity and commitment, I let you down. I don't blame you for abandoning upto12. You say you haven't abandoned me? I know better. Google tells me that you're a fickle bunch and that you need more than one lousy (and quickly crushed) YouTube embed over the course of a month. And that's okay. I can appreciate your need for content. This is the worldwide web and there are roughly two bazillion other sites competing for your precious traffic and calculated clicks.

So I'm coming clean. I'm offering up some full disclosure. I owe you some accountability after 39 days of bad blahg behavior. So... whether you care to read it all or not, you're getting every viable excuse I've got.

1. The upto12 family took a vacation. Five days in California and as many rides on the Buzz Blaster as the Wilson Brothers could talk me into. But the Tower of Terror and a morning at Seal Beach made up for all the blasting. How is this an excuse for bad blahging? I have no idea.

2. Too much work-related travel. Two-and-a-half days in Mexico City. Another two-and-a-half in Frankfurt, Germany. And about 35 hours on a plane. Maybe it was only 30... but still. Flying a total of 25 hours to spend just more than twice that in Germany isn't ideal. On the bright side, it was my first trip to Europe and the bratwurst was exactly the high-fat-content blood blizzard I'd been hoping for.

3. Books. I've been reading. A lot. Probably more in the last two months than in the last two years combined. What has Mr. upto12 been reading? Two books by Jonathan Safran Foer. One by Cormac McCarthy. One by Nick Hornby (a re-run). Lots of magazines. And now I've started a novel by a girl named Zadie. In short, I've been allowing fiction to break my heart and put it back together again. The Safran Foer books were amazing. The Road still has me wrecked two weeks after I finished it. The re-run was perfect. And the magazines have given me enough fodder to start two months of conversations with the phrase, "I just read an article...." Now that I'm on the literacy bandwagon, feel free to leave your recommendations in the comments.

4. Basketball. I watch too much. I care too much. And I'm afraid I'm rubbing off on the upto12 offspring. Last week, the older Wilson started begging me to take him to a game. Time to start scrounging for some free tix.

5. Work. With a capital "W."

6. Rob & Big. If you're not watching this show, you're missing out. It's the funniest half-hour television has to offer—a strange and mostly ridiculous, laugh-out-loud buddy comedy somehow wrapped up in a reality-show format. I know it's on MTV. But just believe me on this one. Hop on the iTunes store and download the Season 3 premiere ("Poop in the Pool"). If you don't like it, I'll refund your money. Yeah, I know it's a free download. I was trying to be funny. I failed? I guess that's to be expected, isn't it?

7. Listening to Bon Iver on repeat (and anywhere I can find a live set). Someone needs to stop me. I'm serious. It's an epidemic. This collection of the most haunting, broken songs I've heard in ages feels like the perfect stuck-in-the-fog-of-a-too-long-winter album. And if these songs aren't somehow featured in the soundtrack of the film version of The Road, I'm going to be sorely disappointed. The only problem with Bon Iver is the pronunciation. Apparently, it's Bone Ee-Vayr (say it like a Frenchman and it makes sense, I guess), but I just can't bring myself to adopt the haughty tone required by that phonic breakdown. And that leaves me with Bawn Eye-Vuhr, which is certainly no better. Help, please.

8. Wasting loads of time here and here.

That's all I've got. (Well, I guess I've neglected to mention just flat-out laziness.) I'll keep trying not to fall off the face of the earth. You do the same, yeah?

08 February 2008

I Just Robbed A Grocery Store

Forecast: Mostly sunny and 70°-ish (I'm pretending not to see the "Few Showers" mid-week). Hate me.

05 February 2008

I Want My BBC

There are a few reasons I wish I lived in the UK. Among them: the English Premier League, Nick Hornby, Bloc Party, Radiohead, Ricky Gervais. I had no idea, however, that the good ol' BBC (I think the Brits call it "the Beeb," yeah?) would give me another reason to jump the pond. Later With Jools Holland appears to be one of the most radical music-based shows of all time—proven by the celebratory 200th episode featuring Feist, Cat Power, Radiohead, Mary J. Blige, Dionne Warwick and Robyn Hitchcock.

I've seen bits and pieces of other episodes online and, strangely, through Comcast On Demand. But this episode is mind-'sploding. A couple video highlights for your viewing pleasure (all three clips are great, but I'm continually blown away by Thom Yorke and the Radioheads... just amazing musicians and bizarrely charismatic performers):

01 February 2008

A Zero-Media Review

I made it out of the suburbs and into downtown SLC for the French Quarter in-store performance at Slowtrain last night (holy moly... I think there are at least five prepositions in that sentence...). I wanted to take a picture or condense some of the happenings to a QuickTime file, but it just didn't seem right. The crowd was small. The atmosphere was friendly. And I really just didn't feel like being the annoying guy with a camera who couldn't wait to post some multimedia nuggets on his blahg. So I've got nothing for you to enjoy. Nothing but a reminder to go out and support the musicians you admire. Drive a couple miles. Walk through a block or two of slush. Drop a five-dollar bill in the donations box. Remember that most artists still have day jobs—or did before they left on a 12-city tour that doesn't include a single "real" venue.

French Quarter has been playing houses and record stores and bus stops for the past month or so. And it was apparent. They knocked out a 40-minute set, asked for some water and then tried to sell a record or two. The whole situation somehow uplifted and sank my spirits at the same time. Some bands/artists/troubadours deserve better. A custom bus. A hot shower. A night in a motel. A non-truck-stop dinner.

I guess this no-media review is no more than a simple request: If you appreciate a band (or if we want to get big-picture here, if you appreciate anyone), don't miss a chance to let them know. I've no doubt that French Quarter lost money on their tour. They probably have to go back to a cubicle or bookstore or produce department somewhere to gather enough change to make another album. But seeing/meeting/talking to 40 fans in a record store in Utah and another 50 in a house in Oregon just might convince them that it's all worth it.

29 January 2008


Watch this (maybe you've already seen it):

Then this:

Get it? Michel Gondry is a strange, radical genius. Seriously.

Thanks for making my day, Creent.

25 January 2008

They've Done It Again

I knew there was a video in the works for Black Mirror. I had no idea it would be THIS.

Have fun fiddling with the audio and removing different tracks (drums, vocals, hurdy-gurdy, etc.) to create your own version of the song. Crazy Canucks and their interactive, web-based musical videos... Applause!

UPDATE: This is blowing my mind. A couple killer audio combinations:
  • 1+2+5=just vocals and drums
  • 1+5+6=just vocals and strings
Dig in. Leave your favorite mash-ups in the comments, yeah?

CORRECTION: I should be referring to these mixes as "mash-downs" (thank you, Kyality). And don't forget to hit the spacebar, kids...!

I Can't Explain Why (And I'm Sure I'll Immediately Regret It)

But I feel compelled to share this photograph:

My little brother unearthed what appears to be my first appearance in an American Apparel ad. I can't stop looking at it. Wow. Just wow. Do you feel sorry for this kid? Do you appreciate his unknown hipster fashion? Can you say anything to help me finally digest what I keep seeing here?

24 January 2008

Feist + Fireworks = New Levels of Crushness

Patrick Daughters delivers another stunning clip for Feist, this time for my favorite Reminder track, I Feel It All. There's not a lot to say about it other than it's fantastic and I've been watching it for the last 24 minutes, straight. Start your day the only way you should — watch it right now:

Check out the higher-quality QuickTime HERE.

Remember when she sang the same song on a bus? I do.

14 January 2008

The Mystery, Revealed

I didn't mean to tease the upto12-reading audience for an extended period of time. In fact, I didn't mean to tease at all. The truth is, I mostly forgot that I had hinted at a mystery album until a few of you reminded me. Anyway, friendly shopkeep Chris at Slowtrain ran straight to the shelves and grabbed this album when I told him to pick my final purchase on Thursday:

As far as a review goes, let's just say that I have no plans for taking Chris up on his if-you-don't-like-it-I'll-buy-it-back guarantee. In fact, I wouldn't even think of it. As far as I can tell, French Quarter is a one-man, singer-songwriter operation that dabbles in the sort of hushed emotional songs I tend to enjoy a bit too much. It's solid stuff and begs for repeated listenings before you can form any sort of opinion about the album as a whole.

Let's do this music critic/record label style: If you're a fan of Bon Iver or Andrew Bird or any other soothing, strumming, soft spoken crooners (even Elliott Smith fits the bill), you'll dig this album. Pick it up at Slowtrain or other independent record stores in your area.

Visit the French Quarter MySpace page (as much as I typically detest MySpace pages, it appears to be the only online source for info about the band/man/etc.).

10 January 2008

Lunch Meeting = Slowtrain

If you live in the greater Salt Lake metropolis and you're not buying your music at Slowtrain, it's time someone called you to repentance. Taking advantage of a lunch meeting downtown, I emptied my pockets of any remaining Christmas cash and felt good doing so. Shopkeeper Chris was playing a Mirah album that found its way into my bag (along with an Elliott Smith record and the newish Band of Horses LP) and — seeing as I still had about $15 to burn — let him choose my final purchase.

I don't want to spoil the surprise until I've given it a good listen, but Chris is a kind fellow who even backed the choice with an if-you-don't-like-it-I'll-buy-it-back-from-you guarantee — and that's about as solid a recommendation you'll find anywhere.

So that's that. Slowtrain is awesome and I only feel moderately self-conscious and lame every time I talk to the good folks there. Which, if you're wondering, is a hu-u-uge upgrade over the way I normally feel at record stores.


A Warning (I Guess)

Ever have the feeling that today is gonna be the day (totally not in the Wonderwall sort of way) to change things for a while? I've got that feeling today. That no matter how it all goes down, things are gonna be different tomorrow. There's no avoiding it and no going back. And there's no telling if it's in a good way or a bad way. Truth told, it'll probably fall somewhere between in the end. And that's okay, too.

I guess I'm just saying that when everything's all scrambled tomorrow, don't say I didn't warn you.

07 January 2008

The Shortest Flight To Minneapolis, Ever

A couple months ago, Nick Hornby's newest novel, SLAM, was on sale at the Costco for $10. I threw it in the cart and I don't think Mrs. upto12 even noticed it was there hiding between the dino nuggets and the boneless/skinless chicken breasts. Still, last weekend's non-stop from SLC to Minneapolis (and the return) were the first opportunity I had to dig in.

It goes without saying that I loved it. I've made no secret of my Nick Hornby fandom here. But SLAM was a cut above even my more favorite Hornby works. I can't describe it and it's likely illogical (like everything else I love/enjoy/obsess about). It may have something to do with Tony Hawk. It may have something to do with child rearing. And it may not having anything to do with either. Just know that Nick Hornby's characters are some of the most endearing, likable, funny people you'll ever meet. And I was sad that SLAM ended after a mere 309 pages.

Buy the book wherever you prefer to buy books. I'd lend you mine, but it's already been promised to Kyality. And then Kakie. And then about 18 other people.

02 January 2008

Let's Not Forget...

One of my more idealistic arguments against end-of-year lists is that they all seem to place the grandest importance on albums, movies, songs, artists, etc. that have only had to establish their place in our minds for a month or two or three (or 12 at the most)—as a result slightly minimizing and/or abandoning the lasting greatness of artifacts that've maintained their place for a decade or more. I have a hard time believing that we'll all feel the same way about things a few years (or even weeks) down the road. Some things need time. I may adore the new Spoon album right now, but it's only been spinning 'round my noggin for a couple months at this point. What if its charm wears thin? And what if something else I've only given half a chance becomes my album of the quarter century?

With all this running through my mind, I've spent tonight doing a few essential things (mowing down some day-old Kung Pao, bathing the Wilson brothers), a few not-so-essential things (recounting some Christmas cash to see if I really have enough for a new guitar) and procrastinating everything else (work, mostly). To keep spirits up around the upto12 home – and likely spurred by the recent re-release of this classic – I fired up U2's Rattle and Hum.

I've been in love with R+H for more than 15 years (it's been out for 20 and if that doesn't make you feel old, I don't know what will) and after spending the last three weeks reading about the grandeur of bands that haven't been around for 15 months and albums that haven't been listened to 15 times, R+H stands out as something incredible and still unmatched. From the opening bars of Helter Skelter, Bono abuses the audience with every possible aside, rant and sermon. In some ways, it's unthinkable — here's an up-and-coming Irish band, fresh off a huge commercial success, covering the Beatles and Dylan-via-Hendrix (and even sampling Hendrix's Star Spangled Banner later on...), jamming with B.B. King, stammering about the hills of San Salvador and U.S. foreign policy. There's no subtlety within the tracks of R+H; every note seems packed with bombast and brash overstatement.

And somehow, in the midst of it all, it's the details and the almost-under-the-radar moments that drive R+H to its celebrated status: the breath-y "yeah" as Desire kicks off, the fade-out of Van Diemen's Land that leads to the single question from an interviewer (Q: "What would you say has happened between the writing of the Joshua Tree album, the recording of the Joshua Tree album and, uh, the tour and now the new songs?" A: "I don't know."), the Edge letting loose with flourishes of non-solo solos that still blister my ears, Bono's reference to Hill Street Blues in Bullet the Blue Sky...

In the last 10+ years, I've made a hundred mixtapes featuring tracks from R+H and nearly every one of them has included a mash-up of the Bonologues (thanks, Kyality) found on this album. It's just too perfect to have Side B open with Bono asking, "Am I bugging you?" a dozen times (not an easy task in the CD-to-cassette days) with an emphatic "I don't mean to bug ya!" at the end of it all. Another perfect bite: Bono's enunciation of "Ar-tists! A-gainst! A-par-t-heid!"

Yeah, this post is a mess. I'm too emotional about Rattle and Hum to write anything reasonably subjective or convincing, but if you've got it in your iTunes or on CD or on tape or 8-track or vinyl, do me a favor: Put it on, turn it up, sing along. Close your eyes at the crucial turns and the burned-in-your-brain choruses. Think about the trapeze artist and the little person you vaguely remember from the All I Want Is You video. And, remember that some albums should be on your Best Of lists every year—no matter when they were released.

p.s. - If any of you happen to find R+H on vinyl in better-than-average shape, just buy it and send it my way. The used vinyl selection here in the greater SLC metropolis lacks. I'll reimburse your costs, yeah?

01 January 2008

Happy New Year, Indeed

Maybe I'll gather some end-of-year thoughts and name a couple favorites. Maybe (I'd hate to make/break any promises here...). Until then, Thom Yorke and the boys delivered another fantastic webcast last night. This time they played all of In Rainbows. Yeah, all of it. No complaints here (obviously), but since when did the Paranoid Androids become the superfriends of cyberspace? I guess the boys bought a new server and aren't afraid to use it. Good on them, eh?