I and Feist

The Feist/Apostle of Hustle/Stars show at Bimbo's on Saturday night was a real treat, even if I did miss most of the 2nd half while I was interviewing Ms. Feist. We all know she's a talented musician, but I can now attest that she's also gracious, genuine, thoughtful and funny. Let It Die comes out in the US soon on Cherrytree/Interscope, but why wait? Buy it now for the low price of $10US from the fine folks at Arts & Crafts.

PS -- John Doe will be performing "Hwy 5" live on Conan O'Brien this Thursday, 3/31, with the lovely Ms. Neko Case. You fancy types should set your Tivos accordingly.

PPS -- I had to write this post twice, because Blogger.com is being characteristically uncooperative. I'm loath to complain too much about a service that is completely free of charge, but I'm thinking of referring to Blogger as Bugger from here on out, puns intended.


Is this for real, or is it an old "Saturday Night Live" skit starring Maya Rudolph? If not, it should be. I like when she points to her right hand with her left hand.

[via TinyLuckyGenius]


Check out a thorough and informative post on Feist at The Tofu Hut here.


Read my interview with The Ditty Bops on SFist here. Please and thanks.

I think I've set a personal record for SFist postings this week. Whew.

Did anyone see "The Apprentice" last night? First of all, did anyone apologize to Craig? His teammates completely rejected his idea, which turned out to be such a success that Home Depot launched a nationwide promotion around it. Hello!

But it was the board room-firing ritual that really floored me. Erin walked in there with a protective force-field around her. Trump has been so obviously enraptured by her looks, poise and impressive tenacity that she walked into the board room 100% invincible, and she knew it. Everyone pointed their finger at Erin to get fired, but you could tell Trump was having none of it, and was looking for any reason to can either Angie or hot-head chaw-chewing Chris. And then it happened:

"Well," Trump sighed, "I have to listen to my trusted advisors George and Carolyn, who tell me I can't fire Angie, so..."

Erin smirks and interjects "Do you have to listen to them, Mr. Trump?" [wiggle, wink].

There's the line. There's Erin pole-vaulting over the line.

Cut to the uber-composed Carolyn, whose normally placid stare has been replaced with enraged bug-eyes and flared nostrils. You can almost see smoke coming out of her ears. A few hairs have even escaped from her perfect coif, so you know that the depths of Erin's disrespect were not lost on her. Trump's vision clears, and he cans his beloved Erin for being a wise guy.

I liked Erin, she's tough, smart and attractive. But her self-assuredness is a clear threat -- to herself and others. It's not the last we'll see of her. Read the transcript and relive the trainwreck here.


Read this week's "When The Lights Go Down In The City" concerts column on SFist, please and thanks. It was fun to write this week.

Thanks to Real Rhapsody, I'm surprised to have enjoyed these new records:
Martha Wainwright's BMFA
Marianne Faithfull's Before the Poison

Check them out.


Read my SXSW wrap up for SFist here.

Reader poll:

Does this look like networking to you? Is that what the kids are calling it these days? Click here to see crucial music industry networking in its full glory.


For the love of John Doe.

Allow me to say a few words about my friend on the eve of the release date for his amazing new CD Forever Hasn't Happened Yet.

If you didn't catch his three performances during SXSW, you can still...

-- Read a nice CD review by Jim Farber here.
"Doe can afford to be dry in his lyrics because his voice communicates an unusual degree of emotion. His greatest gift, in fact, is his ability to express humanity in his vocals. Exuding a masculinity untainted by macho swagger, he has become an icon of American goodness in both his music and his movie performances."
-- Download or stream the track "Hwy 5," co-written with Exene and sung with Neko Case, from the Yep Roc site.

-- Catch him on one of his tour dates (say hi to my boys in the Nick Luca trio).

-- Watch Conan O'Brien on Thursday March 31st when John performs live.

-- Buy Forever Hasn't Happened Yet when it comes out tomorrow, will ya? (If you buy from Amazon, you can stream the record immediately. On the Amazon page you can also download "Forever For You," a duet with Jane Wiedlin & my favorite song off of his last record.)

-- Free music from artisthenewreligion! To the first person who emails me at sfist.music(at)gmail.com, I'll send a code for a free iTunes download of "Ready" from the new record.


I'm back from SXSW and will post about it soon, but for now I leave you with my new favorite blog:

DogBlog. Does this guy have any idea how happy his blog makes me? He deserves an award.

(via n-judah love song)


SXSW is upon us, and I greet it with one arm open and one arm crossed against my chest. Ambivalence sums up my true feelings toward the festival.

On the one hand (of the open arm):
  • It gives me a chance to go back to the gorgeousness of Austin

  • I get to see my friends from across the US (NYC, Seattle, LA, etc.) and overseas (see you soon, Simon!)

  • I can catch music by hundreds of great bands (OK tens of great bands because no one can be in 20 places at once)

  • I always meet at least one or six new people who I'll keep in touch with

  • Tex-Mex. Queso. BREAKFAST TACOS.

  • But on the other hand (crossed arm):
  • It's expensive. I don't have a corporate sponsor to buy me a badge and the wristband is useless for any crowded show

  • So many non-Austin artists are denied showcases due to lack of inside hook-ups, yet the same roster of crappy local bands plays year after year

  • I'm especially frustrated right now because the music press liaison denied me a last minute press badge for SFist. Hey, I know they've got rules, and it's insanely busy there right now, but in the time it took her to email me back three denials, she coulda ran that badge through the laminating machine and have been done with it.
  • The tiebreaking factors that draw me down south each year are the lure of friends, Tex Mex, and the mysterious and magical free party list. I don't know who compiles said list, but without it, I'd be lost, and with it, I hardly miss having a badge or wristband. At least during daylight hours. Thanks anonymous list-compiler!


    I'm still puzzled as to why SXSW did not select "Amazing Grace: Jeff Buckley" to screen during the film or music festival. HELLO? Matt Dentler, you claim to be a music fan, in addition to a film afficionado. How did you fall asleep on this one? Austinites love Jeff, and AGJB has sold out at every film festival (usually two screenings per fest) including Woodstock, CMJ, Leeds, and just this past week Cinequest. (Read Mary-Lynn's review of the doc on SFist.com.) Yes, I'm in the documentary and have become friends with the filmmakers and Mary since I met them through this project. But I'm also a fan of Jeff, and can honestly say that, aside from my involvement in it, the documentary is amazing. I wonder if we'll ever find out why SXSW just wasn't interested.

    Not to worry, plenty of other festivals are interested in hosting some sold out screenings of their own. Check out upcoming screenings at:
    -> FEST: Festival de Cinema e Video Jovem de Espinho in March
    -> Belfast Film Festival in April
    -> Buenos Aires International Film Festival of Independent Films in April
    -> Seattle International Film Festival in May, the most highly attended film festival in the U.S., and one of 6 North American Film Festivals that qualifies a film for the Independent Spirit Awards.


    Speaking of SFist.com, they just named me Music Editor. Thanks SFist!


    Read my review of last Friday's CocoRosie and Antony and the Johnsons show on SFist here.

    Last night I got to see my good friend Kevin, who I haven't seen in years, and finally meet his lovely wife Karen. Kevin's one of my closest friends from college, so it was great to hang out with them. They came with us to the Feist and Kings of Convenience show at Great American -- yet another double bill that blew me away. I'm happy to report that Ms. Feist is as sweet as she is talented.

    Tonight is Cinequest's first screening of Amazing Grace: Jeff Buckley, so I'm looking forward to hanging out with Nyla and Peter and seeing Laurie and Mary for the first time since last October. More later...


    I'm adding this to my wish list:

    The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less by Barry Schwartz

    I've been fascinated with what I refer to as the "burden of too many choices" for years now. It looks like this book addresses just that. Read this excerpt from the excellent Powell's review by Doug Brown:

    "In the film 'Moscow on the Hudson,' Robin Williams plays a Communist-era Russian defector in New York City. In a memorable scene, he goes to a supermarket for coffee; encountering an aisle full of different brands of coffee to choose from, he faints from the overload, mumbling the word "coffee" over and over. Barry Schwartz understands the feeling. Schwartz is not a "let's get back to the good old days when we had nothing and liked it" Luddite; he acknowledges the freedom to make choices is a vital part of the richness of our lives. The paradox is that the more options we have, the less satisfied we often are with the choices we make.

    Schwartz splits people into maximizers and satisficers. Maximizers feel the need to try all possible options; they have to find the very best one. Satisficers are willing to try a few things and select that which is good enough. Studies suggest that maximizers are often less happy with their choices than satisficers, largely because maximizers are more emotionally invested in those choices. Maximizers spend much more time and energy making choices; instead of going to one store and trying a couple of items, they must go to all the stores and try all the items."
    I wonder if Schwartz applies his theories to the dating scene in big cities. I've often thought it's harder for maximizer-types to settle down and choose a mate when they live in a huge city like Manhattan, knowing that there's a slew of new candidates around every corner. Think about a smaller community, where there is a finite number of eligible mates in your age range -- it might be easier to make a choice and stick with what you've got. But with the advent of internet dating, even people in small communities can expand their search to anywhere around the world. Makes me wonder about how beneficial all this "progress" really is for us. I can't wait to read this.


    Odds & Sods

    How come I had to hear about Daniel Johns' new band via Anna Nicole Smith's latest shameful exploit? Listen to the The Disassociatives here.

    Now that "Project Runway" has run its course, what shall we do with our Wednesday evenings? Watch the latest installment of "America's Next Top Model," obviously.

    I'm listening to the Stars album Set Yourself On Fire for the first time and I'm totally digging it. I think I need to send a love letter to Arts & Crafts.

    Very excited about the CocoRosie and Antony and the Johnsons show on Friday. I wrote about them in my latest installment of "When The Lights Go Down In The City."

    In book news, I regrettably lost my copy of Birth of Venus somewhere during my trip to LA to interview for Fontana. I was 300 pages into the brilliant novel, and now I'm either going to have to buy it again for the last 80 pages, or spend an afternoon in the book store to finish it because I'd rather spend $15 on a new book. Like Emma Forrest's latest that I just bought, Cherries in the Snow. I hope I'll enjoy it as much as I did Namedropper, her first novel. She describes herself as a female Nick Hornby, which I'm not sure I agree with, but what I wouldn't give to write like a female Nick Hornby myself.


    I've been meaning to blog about podcasting for a while now. I downloaded iPodder a couple of weeks ago but have yet to install it, so I can't write an informed post yet. From what I understand, podcasting enables you to download radio shows into your iPod (or mp3 player of your choice) to listen to at your leisure.

    Think of it as: iPod is the new Tivo.

    Read this article in the NYT about local company Odeo which aims to be a forerunner in the podcasting movement. (I found the link to the article from Gen's site.) Seems as though podcasting stands to give both commercial radio and satellite radio a run for their money in terms of popularity, especially with anyone who loves music/is technologically inclined enough/has free time/has the disposable income to own an iPod. But I'm not sure if Odeo or any other company will figure out a way to turn a profit off of podcasting.

    Also, while you're at it, check out the launch of UpTo11.net, a new music recommendation service. Type in the name of one or more bands you like, and UpTo11 searches through thousands of music collections to show what your fellow fans are also listening to. For instance, type in Spoon + Ryan Adams and you'll get a whole list of what other fans of Spoon and Ryan Adams are listening to. Click on one of the suggestions, like Broken Social Scene, and you'll see their popular songs with links to purchase them, any Wikipedia information that's available, and interesting stats on the band's popularity. The site's not too easy on the eyes as of yet, but it's an interesting solution to the ongoing problem of how to find new music.

    Howdy ladies and gents. I haven't blogged lately because every time I sit down at my laptop, I'm willing it to send me a job lead so I can abandon the ranks of the unemployed. No luck yet.

    Anyone else feeling bombarded by too much celebrity information? I'm entertained by celebrity antics as much or more as the next guy; I read the occasional People magazine, watch award shows, read Gawker and the like. But has it not gone a little overboard lately?

    I think the hacked Sidekicks are what put me over the edge. Instead of giving us fresh insight to a misunderstood celebrity, the information found in their Sidekicks makes their caricatures even more over-the-top. Now we have hacked-Sidekick confirmation that Paris Hilton really is vapid and vain in her personal time, and Fred Durst truly is a dirtball rock-n-roll cliche. Somebody surprise us already! Could the next celebrity's hacked-Sidekick reveal that they read books, do charity work, care about someone other than themselves?

    Being a fan of conspiracy theories, I wonder if these Sidekick-hacks could be a part of a secret advertising campaign. A very successful one. Incidentally, I saw my first Sidekick up close last Thursday night at the Papercuts/Built Like Alaska/Heavenly States/Portastatic show. Ted from Heavenly States whipped out his Sidekick to enter in John Vanderslice's contact info, proving that Sidekicks really are for celebs, Bay Area indie rock style.

    In better news, yesterday was a fantastic mail day for me. LT sent me this funny tshirt, and I got a magical package from Arts & Crafts, which included the Feist record. Hallelujah! Looks like Feist's record is coming out in the States, and she'll be touring my way soon.

    For the (fashion) record, I have to make the prediction that sequins are coming back. And you can go here to bid on clothing from the Project Runway finale.

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