Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Verve Plays the Theater at MSG 4.29.8

Tom and I took a pretty quick drive into the city last night to catch The Verve at the Theater at MSG. We'd found out about tickets two weeks ago when there were only seats in the 300 sections. Last week they slashed those ticket prices in half and suddenly the 200 section was widely available for seats. We're a bit suspicious of these tactics, Ticketmaster.

Thankfully, Tom talked me into going, as it was a really enjoyable show and after the small venues that I'd been in recently, it felt like a huge experience. If only the people in our section would have stood up and danced, but that didn't stop us. Fortunately, the two girls behind us were huge fans and quickly jumped up, too, which led to a column two people wide standing in our section and everyone else seated. This might be why I love the small venues with no seating, it at least forces everyone to stand.

Ironically, as I type this, Ben Harper's Drugs Don't Work from Live from Mars started playing in shuffle mode. The music gods are smiling on me again.

Bittersweet Symphony

Check out the new song, Love is Pain, and Lucky Man on my YouTube video page. I'll try to post the audio files later, too.

Set List
A New Decade
This Is Music
Space & Time
Life's An Ocean
Already There
Weeping Willow
Sit and Wonder
The Rolling People
Velvet Morning
Drugs Don't Work
Lucky Man
Come On

Bittersweet Symphony
Love Is Pain

Song Highlights: Sonnet (what can I say, this girl likes a ballad), Drugs Don't Work, Velvet Morning, Come On.

The Verve - Sonnet (live at the Theater at MSG).mp3
The Verve - Lucky Man (live at the Theater at MSG).mp3
The Verve - Bittersweet Symphony (live at the Theater at MSG).mp3
The Verve - Love is Pain (live at the Theater at MSG).mp3

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


Metafilter dug up quite the gem a few days ago with this post. Most of the musicians have been living on the grounds of the Kinshasha Zoo and have been disabled by polio. Mefite Flapjax put together some amazing background info on the group, their music and their battle with the UN. Definitely worth reading more...

Monday, April 28, 2008

Shawn Smith - The Diamond Hand

I first heard Shawn Smith's Ring That Bell last Tuesday on KEXP and it is probably the only memorable moment in the first day of my month of 3:30 wake-ups. I might not remember much from the last week, but his song continues to play in my head.

While his cd, The Diamond Hand, was released last month in the US, it is available today for all of those across the pond, who can also catch him touring through Scotland and England beginning next week. My musical spending has gotten out of control, so I'm heading to Best Buy as an honorary Scot and picking up his cd with some rewards points tomorrow. I'll be back with a musical wrap-up after I can give it a good listen. And yes, Ring that Bell will go up once I get my hands on it. Patience, everyone.

Shawn is a Washington native and has played on his own, as the front man for Brad, a musical side project with Stone Gossard; and as a guest on various other projects. I love the story of Brad's name selection. They wanted to name the band Shame, but that was already taken by a guy named Brad. You can see where this went. Brad really plays live, but they did come out to support Barack Obama in Seattle this fall . (Note to Dommie: You should love Shawn, simply because Stone does.)

Here is Shawn Smith doing Suffering from a few years back.

The Purple One Covers Radiohead's Creep at Coachella + Bonus George Harrison Cover

The Purple One covers Radiohead's Creep at Coachella. Only he takes it from the first person perspective to the second person, changing it from I'm a Creep to You're a Creep. I don't care. I still love it.

Speaking of Prince covers, he blew my mind the first time I saw this performance of While My Guitar Gently Weeps in a tribute to George Harrison. There was a confused backlash the day after the performance, as Prince just goes nuts on the solo and you can see that Petty wants to keep singing but doesn't know what to do. It's amazing.

Audio Files for both at the end.

After a Saturday night full of Radiohead and Prince references, this made me smile for a multitude of reasons as I watch at 4 am. (And after watching both videos, I said to myself, I know why Carmen and Apollonia would wait fully made up for the Purple One. These are things a girl should never admit to, dammit.)

Prince - Creep - Live at Coachella.mp3
Prince - While My Guitar Gently Weeps.mp3

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Someone Didn't Listen to Whitney!

I believe the children are our future
Teach them well and let them lead the way

Oh Whitney, why didn't the life lessons of your embarrassingly good 80s music reach this family? (Full Disclosure: I did make a Best Hits by Jessi Whitney volume in college. Obviously, it was not as popular as my Little Johnny Cougar volume.) I'm afraid that they must've only caught the Whitney life lessons from that tragically good reality show, Being Bobby Brown.

This video on CNN made me laugh out loud for a long time at the :17 mark, but then I realized how horrible this kid's life and future is going to be.

Awful Quotes from Latarian Milton
“I took my grandma car because I got mad at my mom and then I decided to have my friend come in and he smokes with cigarettes”

“I wanted to do it because it’s fun. It’s fun to do bad things, drive into a car.”

“I wanted to do hoodrat stuff with my friend.”

When asked if he should be punished?
“Just a little bit, no video games for a weekend.”

Ironically, GTA IV comes out this week, so he's not going to be able to enjoy the video version of his life with everyone else on Tuesday.

Where is my mind?

Last Monday I accepted an offer to work each morning for the next month from 5 - 9 am, then head to my regular job. This means that I'm now waking up an hour or two after I usually go to bed. It's completely thrown off my sleep schedule and my regular life, but I couldn't pass up the chance to make some extra money. While most of it is going into my savings account, I can't help but think about finally buying a, a notebook is so much better than a desktop for my next move.

The blog may go a little quiet for a while and for those of you who call me, bear with me and my craziness for the next few weeks...

The Pixies - Where is My Mind (Live)
Jame Blunt - Where is My Mind (cover)

Thanks to Ryan's Smashing Life for introducing me to the cover a few months back. Having the cover in my collection, justifies my other two James Blunt songs on the iPod.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Bon Iver - The Wolves (Act I & II) Video

This Bon Iver video makes me want to fall asleep in front of a fire at a secluded cabin. There's nothing like Justin Vernon to calm me and put me in a good place for bed, so I was excited to happen upon the video tonight, even if it had been out for a few months. It's been a long, but very enjoyable weekend, and it's time for this girl to catch up on her sleep.

And with everything he does, the creation of the video has a touching story to it. This album and his live sets hold such a place with me and the stories add such a visual mythology to the experience.

Cloud Cult play The Bowery Ballroom 4.18.08

Cloud Cult played their second NYC show at The Bowery on Friday night, after a show at Union Hall in Brooklyn the night before. The Forms and Illinois, who are actually from Philly, opened for the band.

I'd been introduced to the band in the fall and should've gone to their show in September, but already had plans and never explored the band until the last few months, after meeting Jeff, who LOVES the band. It was great to learn their story and from someone who is so passionate about the band and it was definitely an added bonus that there was so much of their music already out there for me to discover, unlike some of the new bands who only have an EP. Cloud Cult released Feel Good Ghosts on their site right before I left on a long business trip around the country, so I took it as a sign to purchase that and The Meaning of 8 before I left.

I didn't know what to expect as I settled into my flight to Phoenix with the records ready on my iPod, but I found myself loving the juxtaposition of the strings and piano with the electronic, bombastic side, tied together in a bundle of emotions and imagery. I'd never been brought to tears before upon a first listen, but found myself overwhelmed by their album on the flight. Jeff's extensive lessons on the meaning behind the music definitely didn't help as I was pulled in by the lyrics. Their music has gotten inside me and it battles Bon Iver each night for my musical selection as I go to sleep.

I don't have the set list from the concert, but below is the video I took of Chain Reaction earlier in the night and their encore, Love You All. Mp3s of both songs follow, as well. (I have a few more clips on YouTube, too.) And for those of you who have yet to experience a Cloud Cult show, you can get a glimpse of Craig's wife, Connie, as she paints in the background. My favorite Cloud Cult fan told me that the other visual artist, Scott, had to travel back to Minnesota after his dog suddenly passed away, so there was only one painting to auction that night. I've always wondered when the winner would take possession of the painting, but as we left The Bowery that night, the winner was awkwardly carrying it down the street without any sort of wrapping or protection--he even had to set it on the street a few times in an attempt to get a better grip. Should've grabbed a cab, buddy.

Definitely a great show and such a different, but entirely genuine, concert experience. I only wish I'd been smart enough to pick them over ND football in the fall.

Chain Reaction

Love You All (encore)

Chain Reaction (Live)
Love You All (Live)

Jessi is Living (or at least meeting) the Dream, Bob Love and The Blog's Biggest Fan

After coming home from Cloud Cult around 330 Saturday morning, I managed to grab a few hours of sleep before a highly entertaining wake-up call. We roamed around Connecticut a bit before deciding to join the boys in Hoboken. While it's great whenever the four of us can get together, our honorary fifth, TJ, was in town last night and from about 8 o'clock on, he decided to be Pope Timbo the Une. Lots of papal blessings ensued, which might have led to his victory with Jody over Perry and I in the final game of Buckhunter. (Let the record show that we won the first series.) I just wish I had photos of TJ doing the blessings and I really should've brought the camera out for more of the evening--I need some more recent photos of my ND crew.

The blog uncovered its biggest fan last night and really should've bought him a drink, but he's nice enough to pay for everything, so the blog owes him one. When he's not searching for himself on the blog, he likes to see which famous people I'm hanging out with, so this roll of random photos is for him. And those non-famous people, we'll get to them down at the bottom of this one...

That's me, Hakeem "The Dream" Olajuwon and Stacey Brown in Houston

Me and Bob Love. I'd just caught his story on ESPN's Black Magic two days before flying to Chicago to meet him. He was a lot of fun.

That's Kevin being famously ridiculous with me. We are not happy with him for not taking a serious photo--therefore, he has to suffer the indignity of exposure on the internets. All was forgiven though once we started playing Buckhunter.

And no, Kevin and I are not dating and trying to match. We won't date each other, because we love to match our clothes and doing that while in a couple is very strange.

(Note to Perry: while I'm feeding your love of famous people photos, keep in mind that this is a music blog and reading those posts will keep you from the 10 page emails of new music I tend to send and we need to have a music exchange date, which will overwhelm your macbook and your musical sensibilities, but make your commute far better.)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Brett Discovers The Seascape

When Brett isn't wearing a tuxedo and trying to jump into bed with my (male) roommates, he's really good at being my office music friend. Two days ago he sent me his latest favorites from hypem and amazingly, he'd found a band based only a few miles from our office in Norwalk. He was so excited to have found a local group to replace last year's obsession--Al Payson. (More on that if my heart ever heels.)

The Seascape is a group of 17 year old high schoolers in Darien, who've been playing since they were 13 and doing Christmas songs at school, before moving onto write and perform their own material. After listening to a few of their songs last night, I emailed our office live music crew to see if they were up for catching their show next Friday, only to discover that they're playing at the local teen center--not exactly conducive to a group of twenty-somethings who enjoy having some beers while listening to music. But if you're under the drinking age, catch their show next week at The Depot--it's only 5 bucks and who knows, maybe we'll show up, afterall.

And thanks to Quick Before It Melts for putting their stuff out there for us to discover.

Constantines + Feist - Islands in the Stream

I can't get enough of this song. I was quite skeptical when I first read about it, but the streaming audio tab has been open in Firefox for 3 days now and I continue to hit play. It's so beautiful in its simplicity.

When I was five, my Grandma (or Gama as I now call her) constantly declared a love for Kenny Rogers, which she later came to regret when the news hit about his 900 numbers (and, yes, she was very much over him even before seeing pictures of the plastic surgery). For Christmas that year, she wanted Santa to bring her Kenny Rogers in his sack, but he just brought her some cowboy boots.

This song me back to all those memories and I think Dolly and Gama would both approve of this rendition.

(Thank you Canada, once again.)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Jessi's Reading on Tax Day!

I did my taxes Thursday night and finished my CT taxes a day early, wiring the government money in both instances. At least that stimulus check will be coming soon. In other tax day news, Dunkin Donuts was offering a free donut as tax relief when you bought a coffee, making my somewhat daily trek across the street with Tommy even sweeter. (And for those who know Tommy, you know that nothing about us is the glazed donut was just the icing on our highly irreverent, cynical, but always funny friendship.)

That's me and Tommy on the end, with our other Team CCC members, Stacey and Kate, plus a very tan Greg Norman in Naples last December.

Anyways, we've had a few lazy days on Harbor Drive, allowing me to catch up on my liberal media. Here's what's grabbed my attention lately.

I was amazed to see The New Yorker go so low as to write about The Hills, but its Frenemy Territory article pretty much summed up why Jeremy and I continue to watch it, yet complain about what idiots the girls are throughout the show, "“The Hills” isn’t aiming to stimulate or inspire; I think people watch it mostly to figure out why they’re watching it." If I ever figure this out, I'll let you know.

Thankfully, The New Yorker returned to its usual fare with Nick Paumgarten's piece on elevators, which intermittently told the anxiety-inducing story of Nick White's 41 hours stuck in a McGraw-Hill elevator. I've been stuck twice. Once on a kindergarten field trip at the community hospital--our class split in two and I was in the lucky group to be stuck for about 20-30 minutes, until they opened the doors and started hoisting us out. The second time was in college when I was once again amazed by my own strength as the elevator slowed and ended up creeping to the basement of my dorm after I accidentally caused the inner doors to open. The last incident had me cowering in the corner as we appeared to be trapped, while Jody and Best Friend just laughed at me. I will admit to a love of the elevator in O'Shaughnessy that would take us to the college radio station for the late shows. Be sure to check out the security tape of Nick's time in the elevator. Interesting Tidbit: The door close button doesn't actually work and is a psychological empowerment trick on all elevators built in the last 20 years.

I'm taking it as another sign that I really need to move into the city with news that Manhattan rents have dropped, combined with Gawker's map of just how little people in New York make. Go Jessi! Your low sports salary will get you somewhere, afterall!

Slate discusses the significant carbon imprint of the Olympic Torch's trek around the world. During its four month trek, it will emit more carbon than a typical American would in two lifetimes. Hope you can blow the flame out, protesters! (Oh Canada, you know we love hippie protesters!)

Slate followed that up with a piece on the next mortgage crisis: Prime Mortgages in California. As interest rates are about to reset, many home owners are finding that their mortgage is twice the current value of their home and choosing to simply give the keys to the bank and walk away. For a second, I was glad that my student loans have kept me down so much that there's no way I'll ever own a home in the near future and at least don't have to worry about this.

I can't get enough of Ryan Adam's blog and am sad that he's almost done with it. His post about himself is fantastic and discusses all the women he hasn't dated (take that New York Magazine) and how some hack writer has ruined his reputation with the mis-told story that he kicked the kid out of his show after yelling Summer of '69. I've come to love Ryan Adams over the last 9 months and Jody still has fantastic plans to see him live, simply to be kicked out of his show. Jody, I guess the dream is over. (Or as Crowded House would tell you, Don't Dream It's Over...there's still a chance he'd snap at you.)

Sunday, April 13, 2008

A Skin, A Night - Vincent Moon's film about The National's Boxer

Continuing with news about The National, Vincent Moon's film - A Skin, A Night will finally be released on May 20th. I first discovered him when I learned about this project at the release of Boxer last year and have fallen in love with all of his work. Yes, in my enthusiasm one day, I even spouted off an email to Vincent Moon, but never received a reply...someday. I can't wait to get my hands on this DVD and then see the band at the Garden on June 19th.

Below are the film's trailer and my favorite song from Boxer, Gospel, which was filmed on a sail boat--the sound of lapping water makes it even better.

The DVD comes with The Virginia EP.
01 "You've Done It Again, Virginia" (previously unreleased)
02 "Santa Clara" (UK b-side)
03 "Blank Slate" (UK b-side)
04 "Tall Saint" (demo)
05 "Without Permission" (unreleased cover)
06 "Forever After Days" (demo)
07 "Rest Of Years" (demo)
08 "Slow Show" (demo)
09 "Lucky You" (Daytrotter session)
10 "Mansion On The Hill" (live)
11 "Fake Empire" (live)
12 "About Today" (live)

Jessi Meets The National (or at least Matt) in Central Park!

I am still ecstatic about my random encounter with Matt Berninger from The National in Central Park on Tuesday. I'd been in the city for meetings on Monday and Tuesday and finished around 4 that day. I was meeting Kevin for a drink after work and his office was a block away from my building. I was in stilettos for the second day in a row and already so close to Kevin's place, but something was drawing me to the park, aching feet be damned.

I walked into the entrance at Columbus Circle, ready to sit in my favorite row of benches and there was Matt on the second bench. I knew immediately, but it took a second glance to convince myself. Besides, only musicians and artists can get away with the funky, green sunglasses he was wearing. (This from the girl who was in all black and white.) I sat down next to him and introduced myself, managed to say that I LOVE The National! and then we chatted for a few minutes. He was enjoying the day around town with another guy from Dayton, which I learned after excitedly announcing that I'm from Ohio. After establishing myself as the crazy girl from Ohio, I told him that I didn't want to be a stalker, so I'd go sit across the way, but it was great to meet him. I had my camera and kinda wished that I'd gotten a picture with him, but I was afraid that it would ruin the moment.

I was so proud of myself for keeping it together and having a regular conversation, but kinda wish that I'd told him that
  1. I was so happy that they came out for a second encore to play Gospel in Brooklyn in February.
  2. I wish they'd told the crowd to stand on Friday night, because one shouldn't be forced to sit at their concerts.
  3. Their music has overtaken my life in the past year, but I have yet to tire of it and continue to find bootlegs to add to my collection.
  4. My YouTube videos won over a few people from the crowd at the South Street Seaport who left with a bad impression due to some bad acoustics and the setup of the stacks. Fortunately, I was 5 rows back and the sound came across perfectly on my little Sony camera. (Still, not enough people are watching my videos of the band. I should be much more famous than I am. )
  5. And if they ever need someone to work on their tour, I'd leave my job in a second.

I grabbed a seat a little further down the row and was able to hold it together until they left the park at which time I immediately called my favorite music friends and was excitedly yelling about my encounter, throwing fist-pumps in the air and howling like our favorite Canadian gambling partner in Vegas. There was an Adrian Brody-esque European guy across the way who I first assumed must think I was absolutely insane, but he was actually quite intrigued. And if I hadn't been talking to The Warners, I would've ventured over to say hello before he left.

The best part of this story is the karmic revelation it brought me. I'd gotten in touch with Cloud Cult's manager in order to meet the band at their upcoming show, since they're Jeff's favorite band and I love making connections in the music industry. I was amazed when he wrote back that it would be cool and very proud of myself, but also a little sad that no one would ever get me backstage to meet The National. (Yes, there was even stomping about this, combined with my general crankiness on Monday.) Yet, the universe righted itself on Tuesday, when amazingly, the lead singer of my favorite band was sitting right in front of me. I decided that it was the universe's way of telling me to still do good things for people, even if things don't seem to be going the right way, everything will work itself out.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Meatloaf--what have you done?

If I haven't admitted to it already, my love of Meatloaf will be exposed in a few days anyway when Best Friend makes a guest appearance on the blog, so I'm going to give everyone the full disclosure now. I have always ADORED Meatloaf. Bat Out of Hell II was released when I was in middle school and the music video for I Would Do Anything for Love had just enough gothic/medieval inspiration to make me want to be the girl in the video. It also didn't help that VH1's music programming has been overly predictable from the start and I knew that I could watch the video most mornings in the 5 minutes before the school bus rolled down my street. Little did I know that this obsession would bond Best Friend and I six years down the road.

I don't know how it started but Best Friend was listening to Meatloaf one day in his dorm room. As with most of Best Friend's music collection, it's full of the embarrassingly good stuff, but he's not at all ashamed to play any of it. I probably strolled into his room, declared my mutual love for Meatloaf, slammed and locked the door, and the first of our choreographed routines came to life. Each subsequent performance was analyzed to make sure there was enough fake sweating and elaborate arm gestures to make Meat proud. These routines would go down in infamy and there are still people waiting for a live performance. (Okay, I think that's only Perry and he seems perfectly content with not knowing what actually goes on in one.)

A few years later, Meatloaf had a supporting role in Fight Club which has forever changed my mental image of him as a large, overly sweaty man into a large, somewhat sweaty man with tits. Imagine my surprise when I find the below ad for AT&T's Go Phone and not only is Meatloaf strangely skinny (well, comparatively), but he's turned his song into a kitschy ad, complete with fellow 80's star, Tiffany. I couldn't help but think that their choreography was severely lacking compared to the shows that Best Friend and I performed back in Stanford Hall. Meat--I'm going to block this from my memory and pretend that it never happened. For both of our sakes.