Monday, January 31, 2005

10,000 Songs (Peace Is Now) 

My iTunes library hit the mythical 10,000 songs plateau this morning when Ben Folds Five's "Sports & Wine" was added to the collection, along with the rest of their debut album. Still more than three gigs of space left on the 40 gig iPod, too. Then the real pruning begins. And just like Mr. Anderson told Beavis and Butt-head when they were trimming the tree in his yard, "It ain't what you cut—it's what you don't cut."

Friday, January 28, 2005

Friday Night Rock & Roll Lights 

It's the switcheroo this weekend. I'm spinning tonight, Friday, instead of Saturday; the inimitable DJ Timmah takes over the booth for Saturday. 10 p.m. at The Goldhawk. Be there or be cold.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Pitty Sing at Rothko 

Introducing several songs with the not-so-subtle announcement "Now we fuck you up," Pitty Sing acquitted themselves quite nicely at Rothko last night for their day-after-release-day show. On the heels of the fine 2004 EP Demons, You Are The Stars In Cars 'Til I Die, their self-titled debut full-length streeted Tuesday.

Also hitting the racks this week are two new Bright Eyes albums, a live Pernice Brothers record that I'm dying to hear, and, if it still matters to anyone, a new Chemical Brothers record.

So, the tide of new 2005 music begins, and here I am lamenting the dozens of 2004 records I meant to get my hands on that still haven't made it into my collection. Steven Wright said it best: "You can't have everything; where would you put it?"

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Creed plays Maxwell's 

I should be seeing Ted Leo right this second, but I came home early instead. It was a nice benefit for a good cause at Rothko tonight, but the bands were running an hour and a half behind, and I need to catch up on my beauty sleep. The Head Set were great as usual (disclosure: I work with two of them at my day job, and one of the other two also used to work there), and Apollo Sunshine, who I had not heard before, were also pretty cool.

The coolest thing of the night, though, was the conversation going on among three teenagers (two guys, one girl) sitting behind me on the bus back to Hoboken. I only caught the last couple minutes because I was listening to my iPod, but they were talking about music, and I couldn't help but see a bit of my teenage self in them. "Did you hear Creed got back together?" said one of them. There were sounds of dismay. "But come on," the kid continued, "if Creed played Maxwell's, wouldn't you go? I mean, just to see who goes to a Creed show?" Talk segued into Maxwell's, and that Unwritten Law had recently played there. And for some reason, the topic of the first Lollapalooza came up. "Yeah, cause who was it," the kid began, "Anthrax, Ice-T..."

That's when I turned around to drop some knowledge. "First Lollapalooza?" "Yeah." "I was there," I announced. "Jane's Addiction," I said as I began counting with my fingers, "Ice-T, Siouxsie & The Banshees, Nine Inch Nails, Butthole Surfers, Rollins Band." I admit that I left out Living Colour; it's late and I'm exhausted.

I don't know if the kids were impressed or just thought I was weird, but the episode gave me some little glimmer of hope about these kids today...

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Video Survived The Radio Star, And A Foot Of Snow 

Thrilled to report that my first stab at incorporating music videos in a DJ set went snowwingly. We had a good neighborhood crowd. The worse the weather is in Hoboken, the better it usually is for business at the local bars; this was the case last night.

Ok, so the video screen in the back room isn't exactly a Jumbotron. But working some old and new videos into the set was a lot of fun for me, and people seemed to dig it. More to come. Time to beef up the DVD collection...

Friday, January 21, 2005

I heard you on my wireless back in '52 

My gig this Saturday night at The Goldhawk will be my first foray into the world of VJing music video.

It's not a huge screen, but for the first time there is a TV installed in the back room lounge, and in addition to running cool visuals to accompany the music all night, I will be mixing music videos—with audio—into the set. Barring any technical problemas, if you hang out in the back room you may or may not see videos by The Smiths, The Cure, The Clash, Devo, The Strokes, The Raveonettes, Blur, The Stone Roses, Michael Jackson, and I'm not gonna tell you who else...

As usual, I start around 10 p.m. and go until last call, around 2:30. Details are always on the main page, but since I haven't posted the info to the blog in a while, here it is...

DJ Mike C. spins rock & roll.
Saturdays, 10 p.m. till...

at The Goldhawk
936 Park Ave., corner of 10th St.
Hoboken, NJ

Thursday, January 20, 2005

The Futility Of It All 

Not that I'm going to revise it now, but the list below is already moot; I forgot "Day Tripper/We Can Work It Out." Sigh.

I'm So Bored With The U.S.A. 

To take my mind off Bush II: The Wrath Of Khan, I stumbled on this poll, courtesy of Michelangelo Matos' fine blog. Choose your 50 favorites from the list of 999 U.K. number one songs. But don't be rude; do it quickly. If you want your vote counted, lists are due at 7 p.m. EST tonight.

Here's what I came up with on the fly. It may be worth noting that if I had made this list six months ago, two of the top 10—"Dreadlock Holiday" and "Happy Talk"—would not have made the top 50. Those happen to be two of my five or so most-listened to songs of the last few months, and wouldn't you know it, they were U.K. number ones.

1. Glad All Over - The Dave Clark Five
2. She Loves You - The Beatles
3. Don't You Want Me - The Human League
4. A Town Called Malice/Precious - The Jam
5. Dreadlock Holiday - 10cc
6. Make It Easy On Yourself - The Walker Brothers
7. I Feel Love - Donna Summer
8. Happy Talk - Captain Sensible
9. Brass In Pocket - The Pretenders
10. The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore - The Walker Brothers

11. Tears Of A Clown - Smokey Robinson & The Miracles
12. I'm Not In Love - 10cc
13. It's Not Unusual - Tom Jones
14. Je T'Aime...Moi Non Plus - Jane Birkin & Serge Gainsbourg
15. Ashes To Ashes - David Bowie
16. A Hard Day's Night - The Beatles
17. I Feel Fine - The Beatles
18. Maggie May - Rod Stewart
19. Nothing Compares 2 U - Sinead O'Connor
20. Sunny Afternoon - The Kinks

21. Atomic - Blondie
22. Don't Go Breaking My Heart - Elton John & Kiki Dee
23. Concrete And Clay - Unit Four Plus Two
24. Sugar Sugar - The Archies
25. West End Girls - Pet Shop Boys
26. Good Vibrations - The Beach Boys
27. Wannabe - Spice Girls
28. Band Of Gold - Freda Payne
29. Reach Out I'll Be There - The Four Tops
30. Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick - Ian Dury & The Blockheads

31. Cars - Gary Numan
32. Space Oddity - David Bowie
33. I Feel For You - Chaka Khan
34. I'm A Believer - The Monkees
35. The Ballad Of John & Yoko - The Beatles
36. Something Stupid - Frank & Nancy Sinatra
37. Heart Of Glass - Blondie
38. Hey Jude - The Beatles
39. Going Underground / Dreams Of Children - The Jam
40. Without You - Nilsson

41. I've Gotta Get A Message To You - The Bee Gees
42. Da Ya Think I'm Sexy - Rod Stewart
43. Merry Xmas Everybody - Slade
44. True - Spandau Ballet
45. Needles & Pins - The Searchers
46. Go Now - The Moody Blues
47. Bohemian Rhapsody - Queen
48. Can't Get You Out Of My Head - Kylie Minogue
49. Jumping Jack Flash - The Rolling Stones
50. Shakin' All Over - Johnny Kidd & The Pirates

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Here Comes President Kill Again 

Here comes President Kill again
Surrounded by all of his killing men
Telling us who, why, where and when
President Kill wants killing again

Hooray, ring out the bells
King Conscience is dead
Hooray, now back in your cells
We've President Kill instead

Here comes President Kill again
Broadcasting from his killing den
Dressed in pounds and dollars and yen
President Kill wants killing again

Hooray, hang out the flags
Queen Caring is dead
Hooray, we'll stack body bags
for President Kill instead

Ain't democracy wonderful?
Them Russians can't win
Ain't democracy wonderful?
Let's us vote someone like that in

Here comes President Kill again
From pure White House to Number 10
Taking lives with a smoking pen
President Kill wants killing again

Hooray, everything's great
Now President Kill is dead
Hooray, I'll bet you can't wait
To vote for President Kill instead

Lyrics by Andy Partridge, 1989

Friday, January 14, 2005

On a side note 

Can anyone explain to me why car alarms haven't been outlawed? They are nothing more than a public nuisance, especially in the narrow, car-laden streets of Hoboken. I think the last time a human being heard a car alarm and actually thought to themself, "Oh my God, someone is trying to steal that car!" was sometime around 1987. Can we just admit that they serve no purpose to society whatsoever, and they need to go? I'll support a $500 fine for first offense.

And while we're at it, how about jail time for people who don't pick up after their dog's shit on the sidewalk?

Sorry for the rant. I'm actually in a good mood today.

Big ups to Jersey City bloggers—and to Tris McCall, who is quick to point out that he doesn't consider himself one.

Sad Salvation 

My first foray into web radio broadcasting is coming to an end. For nearly a year, I've had a continuous stream of music that I programmed broadcasting on Hoboken Rock City Radio, through Live 365. It's a great idea, but it has riddled with difficulties.

Though I have a few dedicated, supportive listeners, the site's broadcasting platform wasn't the easiest for some people to tackle. Admittedly, Live 365 does make every potential listener jump through a few hoops in order to listen to anything. You have to sign up for a membership which, despite being free, is always going to turn off a good number of people. And some people who did make it that far had problems accessing the stream, for whatever reason. The audio stream itself wasn't of the highest sound quality, and the time-consuming nature of ripping and uploading the MP3s and sequencing them wasn't as much fun as I'd hoped it would be.

My membership cancellation hasn't gone through yet, so for the time being you can still listen. I hope to return to web radio soon, or better yet get me a show on a real live radio station, but for time being, if you want to hear me spin, you're gonna have to come out to a gig. I'm back at The Goldhawk on Saturday, Jan. 22. And some potential Manhattan gigs seem to be percolating; stay tuned.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Flix 2004 

When you decide to travel the path of musical obsessiveness, sometimes other art forms fall by the wayside. Oh sure, some music geeks also manage to be film geeks as well, but I've never been one of those. I have enough trouble keeping up with all the music I want to hear, and on balance I'd rather spend my time listening to new things I haven't heard before than chew up a couple hours with a movie. Still, I do enjoy a good flick.

Some years, I wouldn't even be able to make a top 10 list of the year's best movies that I saw. I've gone entire calendar years only going to four or five movies in the theater, period. Being a Netflix subscriber for the last year and a few months has forced me to watch more movies, and as a result I think I've paid a little more attention to film this year. So the most shocking thing about the cinematic year that just ended is that I actually saw 10 movies I feel are worthy of being in a top 10 list. In fact, I saw almost every movie I that I very badly wanted to see. There are a few others I'm interested in, a couple of which I hope to catch in the theaters (Merchant Of Venice, The Life Aquatic) and most of the rest I'll probably watch via Netflix eventually (Friday Night Lights, The Incredibles, The Day After Tomorrow, and the Jersey epics Garden State and Harold And Kumar Go To White Castle). But the only one I'm really dying to see is Aquatic, because I love Wes Anderson. And yes, I know word of mouth on this is so bad, and I'm expecting it to suck in an incredibly frustrating "This could have been great if only..." kind of way.

One measure of how important this list is to me, and how much stock anyone should put in it, might be the fact that unlike the endless revisions my annual music lists undergo, this list of flicks took me about five minutes to rank. Here goes nothing.

Mike C.'s Top 10 Flicks Of 2004

1. Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind
Concept and execution converge in a poetic, beautiful, funny, frightening, and damn near perfect movie.

2. Sideways
Though perhaps a tadoverrated, this teen sex comedy aimed at the over-35 set does seem startlingly real, other than the stunning Virginia Madsen being attracted to disheveled Paul Giamatti thing.

3. Napoleon Dynamite
Believe the hype; if you see only one film that brilliantly uses When In Rome's "The Promise" this year, see Napoleon Dynamite.

4. Mayor Of The Sunset Strip
5. Super Size Me
6. Fahrenheit 911
The three documentaries aren't in a row intentionally, but for the purpose of a summary it's convenient that it worked out that way. The most (only?) obscure film on this list, Mayor is a heartbreaking work of staggering insanity that tells the story of one of the most influential radio DJs in rock history, KROQ's Rodney Bingenheimer. Super plays out its premise with enough charm to sustain its rather obvious conclusion; its cultural legacy will be that McDonald's actually did do away with the Super Size in this film's wake. While I agree with probably 97 percent of Michael Moore's tirade, 911 is by far the weakest of his feature films, with just way too much smarm going on.

7. Kill Bill Vol. 2
Thankfully less bloody than the first half, the Q-Dog made a pretty engaging little movie out of not very much.

8. I Heart Huckabees
I didn't really heart this big-film-trying-to-seem-like-a-little-quirky-film, but I did like it.

9. The Motorcycle Diaries
10. Maria Full Of Grace
Both halves of the subtitled Latin American duo rounding out the top 10 were imperfect and at times predictable, but both were also worthwhile visual treats.

Win: DodgeBall
Please kill me.

Place: Starsky & Hutch

Show: A Day Without A Mexican
Unbearably cloying and preachy.

Bonus: Top 12 Non-2004 Movies Watched In 2004 Via Netflix,
None Of Which I Had Ever Seen Before

(in reverse chronological order)

Bubba Ho-Tep (2003)
About Schmidt (2002)
Winged Migration (2001)
Three Kings (1999)
Network (1976)
All The President's Men (1976)
Dog Day Afternoon (1975)
Easy Rider (1969)
Rosemary's Baby (1968)
12 Angry Men (1957)
The Wild One (1954)
Rashomon (1950)

Monday, January 03, 2005

Meet the new year, same as the old year 

Whew. My top 10 albums and singles lists are done, finalized, submitted to The Village Voice for the Pazz & Jop poll. Am I relieved? Not really, no. I'll be taking most of the rest of January to finish the remainder of my expando-lists. And because I don't have the full lists finished yet, I won't be revealing my top tens just yet. Gotta leave a little suspense for everyone.

Anyway, it's been three days, and I think I've recovered from my third consecutive Goldhawk New Year's bash. And I'll cast aside false modesty and declare that, aside from my ill-conceived spin of 90125-era Yes during my seventh hour of spinning, I was so thrilled with what I played that I'm tempted to call it one of the five or ten best performances of my life. What's even funnier about that, too, is that normally my favorite gigs are the ones during which I get away with musical murder, playing favorite obscurities and having people actually dig them; this was not that kind of show. Oh, I busted unknown quantities like Endgames and Pitty Sing early. But while my pre-midnight choice of Zager & Evans seemed to mystify some—and I challenge anyone to name a song with a title containing a number that more closely resembles the year that was five minutes away when I played it—the bulk of the post-midnight insanity featured me spinning, in addition to my usual rock & roll raves, a smattering of the sort of Top 40 fare I usually avoid scrupulously.

So why did I mix Britney and Justin, not to mention Haddaway and The Spice Girls, into the usual Killers/Franz/Human League/Beatles motif? I think New Year's Eve is the perfect night to come down from the high horse, let the hair down, do a little dance, make a little love, and whatever other clichés come to mind. Sure, in the right venue it might be a total blast to do an obscuro hipster's New Year's party. And while The Goldhawk crowd is usually pretty hip, and New Year's was no different, if there's ever a night to lean a little farther toward the middle, it's a night when everyone's paid $70 for a four-hour open bar and wants to get stupid. Besides, I would have been remiss to celebrate the year that just ended without playing its two most ubiquitous jams, Usher's "Yeah!" and Snoop's "Drop It Like It's Hot." Let the record reflect that, in order to play the Usher track, I first had to remove the shrink-wrap from the CD. While standing in the DJ booth. I'd argue that was the punkest moment of the night, especially considering that I don't even like the song. "Yeah!" will probably will top the Pazz & Jop singles poll if "Take Me Out" doesn't, but I just don't get it. It might have sounded revolutionary if it had been the theme song to a Nickelodeon series in the '80s, but in 2003 that song simply did not grate my parmesan.

So a lot of people got silly and danced. "Summer Wind" was a slow-dance hit; otherwise, it was high energy basically all night. I was thrilled beyond belief a little after midnight when I got a request for ABC's "The Look Of Love," which is only my favorite song of all time. There was a hip couple parked at the corner of the back bar for the better part of the night—until they started cutting the rug, that is—and the female half of the pair knew the words to practically everything I played. At one point, a nice guy came up to the booth and said, "I've been coming here for two years, and I've never heard this music here before." My obvious retort: "And you never will again." I owe the incomparable front bar staff some requests that I did not get to, but Pete, Amber, and Butch know where to find me. As New Year's is the one night that the Hoboken cops don't bust the bars for staying open as late as they want to, I played an hour later than I normally do, and this was after starting at 9:30, a half hour earlier than the norm. Then, after closing with Captain Sensible's incomparable version of the South Pacific tune "Happy Talk" (as sampled in 2003 by Dizzee Rascal), I found out we were staying open even later, and I got to unleash an encore set that went nearly another half hour. As Michael Kay would say, "Bonus cantos!"

If I could do it over, I'd play "Enjoy Yourself" by The Specials in place of the Yes song. That aside, I think this was the best of my five New Year's gigs. Onward and upward. Maybe this year won't be so bad after all.

Coming soon...actual new 2005 content 

A full New Year's report tonight. I'm busy finalizing my top 10 lists for the Village Voice, which are due today. Hope everyone's well so far this year.

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