She filled my head with the awful noise of her disppointment and the Pet Shop Boys

I was going to write about how I was sitting around today watching the Bengals lose yet another game, but the lucky bastards just scored and took the lead on an amazing series of events. They probably still won't make the playoffs so I guess my disappointment will ultimately be rewarded. How's that for a bright outlook on the new year?

I figured I'd end my year the way I started it, by listening to an album on Declan. Today I've made it to England, Half English the most recent studio album by Billy Bragg, released in 2002.

Billy hasn't done an album in awhile because he's been contemplating what it means to be English, and this album represents the musical seed of those thoughts. There are tunes about immigration, international influence and the death of the British Empire. It's a little brooding and angry but still contains some of those funny lyrical nuggets that make me love Billy so.

(Update, the Steelers just scored so the Bengals are back on their way to losing.)

What I remember most about England, Half English, though, is it contains one of the truly terrible protest songs and possibly the worst one Billy Bragg has ever written. I've always liked Billy's political tunes, even if I don't always agree with them, because they were catchy and/or funny. Sadly "NPWA" is neither. It's a ponderous rant about the World Bank. Seriously, the World Bank ("NPWA" stands for the choral chant, "No power without accountability.") The song is stuck right in the middle of the album, interrupting any flow that might otherwise exist. Thanks, Billy.

As always, my favorite tunes on the album are about relationships. "Jane Allen" about an old flame looking for a hookup and "Another Kind Of Judy" about god knows what, but it's sweet. Some have frowned on the world music style backing band on the album. Fans of old school, Billy-and-a-guitar albums might be overwhelmed with all the stuff going on, but don't mind it. It does sounds like it could old, though, so I hope the next album is a return to simplicity. I also hope it's a return to protest songs that don't suck.

(Update: The Bengals just scored again, so they're back in the lead. This team is such a flirt, but they never call.)


This is what you face when geography breaks

I have to admit, I've been remiss. I guess that's true about so many things, but this one involves music so I correct it here.

Remember way back in February when I wrote perhaps my meanest post ever about the poor, innocent, Mid-Ohio band called Bel Auburn? I had admitted to having a bad day, but I'm still not a fan of their first album, Cathedrals.

Well, back in August I got a lovely email from Jared (who I'm guessing is the same Jared that is described on their web site as the guy "who writes all the lyrics and makes noise with his guitar"). He asked that I please download their new album Lullabies in A&C and give it a listen. I was warned that it, too, is a concept album ("We sincerely can't help it," explained Jared).

That's fair, I can give Bel Auburn another shot. Also, today I am filled with Christmas cheer so my feelings on the album won't be colored by a bad mood. I also just love the thought that Jared thinks I am an important enough blogger to have my opinions valued. Doesn't he know nobody reads this thing, and of the dozen or so who do, half of them are cats? Well, never mind, I guess you guys want a verdict. (And some tuna?)

I declare Lullabies in A&C to be not bad. "Roses" is a lovely song with all the pop sensibility I love so much. The production quality seems to be higher this time and there is an acceptable amount of the electronic pops and twitters that the kids seem to like these days. The songs are full of building crescendos and interesting guitars. The only drawback for me are the lyrics. While there are a couple of good lines scattered here and there, I am a lyrics freak and demand lines a little deeper than "Someday I hope you'll find the time to pick up all the pieces." It's the kind of thing a high school emo kid might write in a letter to his sad, sad girlfriend. I'm sorry, Jared, but it's true.

I am also happy to report that Bel Auburn has a new web page that no longer declares them gods of indie rock. Overall I'm left with a pretty good impression. Lullabies in A&C has managed to keep a place in my ever more crowded iPod. These days that's getting to be quite an accomplishment. You can also go to their website yourself, listen to the album, then tell me how wrong I am. Either way, have a Merry Christmas!


Who explains sexual harassment to you and me?

It's an exciting day people! Well, it's exciting if you live very near to me or perhaps work with me, because that means you have received a brand new copy of my new mix CD. See, here it is. Isn't it beautiful?

This mix is a little more moody and strange than some of my others, but I'm exceedingly happy
with it. Chances are, if you know me, you'll get a copy. If you're not sure about that, though, feel free to email me and grovel. If you include an address I'll probably send you one.


Hanging out with mom, trying on his father's tights

Now that all my world travels are over, I guess it's time to get back to the regular iPod listening. I'm sure Declan's felt a little neglected lately (except on those long airplane rides where he's a life saver). Anyway, it's time to get through some of these letter "E" albums and get moving.

Unfortunately, I feel like I've said about as much as I can about Blink 182. They make me want to break stuff (in a good way) and if I ever had to play a 16-year-old boy in a movie I would listen to nothing but Blink to get into the role. Also, I love them.

Enema Of The State is today's album and continues to be my favorite Blink 182 album. It's not as subtle as some of their later stuff, but who needs subtle when you're talking about off-color punk pop songs? Subtle kind of ruins it.

Still, "Adam's Song" is a sweet and poignant track about suicide. Mix that in with "What's My Age Again?" about acting stupid and you pretty much have the soundtrack for adolescence or for those of us who still wish for those days (only once in awhile).

Throw in the fact that I have great memories that involve this album through much of 2000 and 2001 and Enema Of The State becomes one of those albums that can never leave my iPod. It's just too good.


'Tis the season

I did some Christmas shopping this weekend and while I was out I picked up an extra toy. First, I don't get to buy toys much these days. I don't know a lot of kids (except Joshuetta) so I'm more of an electronics and sweater kind of buyer. I noticed a sign at the city building that said they were doing a toy drive, so I got my chance to venture down the toy aisle.

Did you know that My Little Pony is back? I had a few of them when I was a kid so I had to pick one up for the toy drive. It was a yellow unicorn that came with its own little brush. Thanks to Wal-Mart's low everyday prices, it only cost $5, too.

So I dropped off my new toy at the gift drive box today and was filled with the Christmas spirit. I love the thought of some kid getting a shiny new yellow unicorn. Gosh, I hope they like it. If you get the chance, go buy a toy for some kid this Christmas. It feels good and it's a nice excuse to find out that Power Rangers still exist.


I have dreams of orca whales and owls

Things are finally getting back to normal after all my great globe trotting adventures. I'm not sure that's all good. It's always nice to live a completely different life for awhile and always a little strange to come back to the daily grind.

So now that I'm back to that daily grind, people keep asking me about our trip to London. I won't give you a minute by minute rundown of the whole trip. It would be like watching someone's overly long slide show. I'll give you some highlights, though:

- First of all, I hope all of you who donated money to the Sad and British Motherland trip fund received your postcards. We filled them out at one of my favorite places in London, The Windsor Castle Pub. There we had winter Pimm's filled with lots of yummy oranges and lemons. We also sat across from the only guy under 30 who voted for George Bush twice! He was filling his British date's head with lots of interesting (mis)information about America. We finally had to get out of there before his republicaness rubbed off on us. Anyway, thanks to your money, all three of us drank for free until Thursday. It was awesome.

- On Sunday we went to the Tate Modern and participated in art. They had these big tube slides that you could ride on. We got there early for our (free!) tickets and went on the 3, 4 and 5 story slides. I guess that made us modern artists.

- One of our favorite nights was when we went to Fabric. Fatboy Slim had the place packed and the dancefloor was just a mass of moving people. We couldn't go anywhere, but everyone was laughing and dancing. Really, the best thing about Fatboy Slim was that survived Fatboy Slim.

After Fatboy we went to another room and saw Damon Albarn. His set was a little more poppy but he did use some stuff from the Gorillaz that was pretty cool. Carrie had had her fill of the big beat so we went to a third room to hear some more techno style stuff. We danced for about three hours straight fueled by just the right amount of Red Bull and vodka. On the cab ride home Carrie was desperate for a cheese omelet but they seem to be in short supply in London these days.

- Earlier that night, we went to a Socialist bookstore to hear Billy Bragg talk. He's so cute and earnest and he gave us a lot to think about. Afterwards, Jeff and I got his new book which he signed for us. Double awesome!

- Wednesday we took a train to Bath to see the Roman baths, drink the metallic tasting spring water and actually take a dip, too. We had a cool little outdoor hotsprings pool all to ourselves until the very end when some sketchy guy came in and took like 30 minutes to change. We think he was shooting up. He totally spoiled our macaque moment.

- Our last night was perhaps the strangest. We were going to go on a pub walk in Judi Dench's neighborhood up in Hampstead but a guy jumped in front of a subway train in Camden. So instead we went drinking in Camden. The bar we went to, Monkey Chews, was pretty awesome. Jeff and I had caipirinhas and they whipped up a tasty bloody Mary for Carrie. On the way there, one of these guys went past us. It was a strange night indeed.

After we got back to the hotel, we realized we were very hungry. We called our neighborhood Dominos and before we knew it an amazingly hot pizza was at our door. A cool biker guy delivered it and as I was closing the door, Jeff exclaimed, "He's from the future!" It could have been the caipirinha but it was the funniest thing ever. That was one damn good pizza, too.

That's all I can come up with for now. If you want to see more photos, go here. Oh sure, there's Stonehenge, the London Eye and Avenue Q but I'm getting worn out.


Have you guys heard of Regina Spektor? I think I'm a little late on this chick but she's really cool. Like Fiona Apple with more bodyfat and Russian sass. I just got her new album and I highly recommend it. I have a feeling one of her songs will be making an appearance on my winter mix CD, whenever I get around to that.


They're just tryin' to put the "punk" back into punctured lung

A giant election hangover abounds here at major metropolitan newspaper, today. Everyone is tired and grumpy, including me. The only glimmer of brightness appeared when Rumsfeld's resignation was announced. People smiled for a bit then went back to their caffeine jitters.

If that weren't enough, I'm further distracted by thoughts of my upcoming trip to London. How can I be expected to chose a photo for page B3 when I have to decide what day would be best to visit the Tower of London? Honestly, people! So today I am doing my best to get through work and preparing for England by listening to Declan's next album Employment by the Kaiser Chiefs.

After giving Employment a listen, I do feel compelled to take back some of the bad things I've said about them in the past. They appeared on the scene in America in early 2005, during the height of hyped new, New Wave bands like The Bravery, The Killers and Franz Ferdinand. It was just one more album to throw on the pile of derivative 80's stuff. On a closer listen, though, the Kaiser Chiefs standout as more inventive and thoughtful than most of their contemporaries. Their popular single "I Predict A Riot" might not show it, but much of their music has a sort of cabaret feel to it. Their lyrics are pretty fun, too. Any band that uses the word "pneumothorax" in a song is okay in my book.


It's quite possible that I'm your third man, girl, but it's a fact that I'm the seventh son

You guys are the best! Thanks to a last minute donation from Josh, we're up to $105 on our trip fund. When this started, I was going to be thrilled if I managed to sucker people into giving me $10 so I guess you're all 10 times better than I thought you were.

In other London news, it looks like we're going to have some special events lined up for our trip. Carrie wanted to go to a club called Fabric while we're there and it turns out that Fatboy Slim (yes, that Fatboy Slim) will be doing a set for a benefit show on Thursday. Also, Damon Albarn (from Blur and Gorillaz) will be DJing, too. It's like the 90's have come back!


Tonight's review will be short. The first of Declan's albums in the letter "E" is Elephant by the White Stripes. It is my least favorite White Stripes album, and I don't even like the band as much as I think I should.

I mean, I feel like I should be a really big White Stripes fan. They're a little crazy and I love it when Jack White is sporting a jaunty moustache, but man, that whole guitar and drum thing just doesn't do it for me. Get Behind Me Satan won me back a little bit but I often just find their albums repetitive. It's good thing I didn't buy this album. Shawn actually just gave me a copy. I guess he knew what was coming.


Only you can make a difference!

I can't believe it's almost here! In just two short weeks, Jeff, Carrie and I will be leaving for the Sad & British Tour of the Motherland. We're all busy trying to pay attention at work while still finishing our last minute planning. Exhausting, but fun.

So now for the big news! Thanks to some generous donations, the Sad & British fund is up to a whopping $95. I can't believe it either. This is going to add up to a lot more beer than I originally imagined. Everyone has been so cool that I'm going to send all the donors a postcard from our trip. Melissa, that means we'll need an address from you. The rest I should have from Paypal.

But time's not up yet! We're so close to triple digits that I'm hoping someone can help us make it to at least $100. So if you've waited your whole life for a postcard from London, today's your day. I'll be taking donations for one more week so let's see if we can get those last five bucks. You guys rock!


I can't be too cool in a tree with my pants down

Man! I was gonna go to bed early tonight and perhaps read the Salman Rushdie book I need to finish for the book club. See, people, this is my usual life.

But then Ass Man went and became an internet sensation.

In deference to Melissa's modesty (and the fact that my parents read this blog) I'll send the more incriminating photos to Melissa for her to do with them what she likes. First, let's start with some more pleasant images.

The weather was lovely out in California. I sometimes forget how beautiful it is out there. The light is gorgeous and it makes every photo look better. Even cheesy ones of me at the Highway 20 overlook.

I have to mention that on the way back into town, I came across a car accident. A truck was all rolled over and stuff was everywhere. I don't think anyone was hurt, but I was secretly thrilled to have finally beaten John Hart to an accident scene.

Brett's party was great, too. It felt very California, very Sideways without the whole drinking of the spit bucket. Paige (now Joshuetta) was wearing her butterfly dress. I heard all about it, we're best buddies! Here's a blurry photo of her showing me how she brings it around town just like SpongeBob.

She's four and a half now, Josh. If there's one thing I learned on this trip is that time flies, especially when it comes to kids growing up. Here's Joshuetta and Sharla.

And now that I've filled your day with hearts and butterflies, we'll get to Ass Man. See, earlier in the evening Melissa and I went to dinner with Janet and George. It was awesome and George paid so that made it even better. Sometime over dinner, though, we decided that I was famous in Nevada City. So when a crazy old guy came up to us at Cooper's (Nevada County's official headquarters of Crazy Old Guys) we told him I was famous.

Well, there was talk of autographs and, as luck would have it, I had a Shaprie in my bag.

See?That's my autograph right above the fakey fake dog tag and to the left of the gross eagle tattoo.

But Ass Man was really into Melissa. As we demurely sipped our Manhattans, he convinced her that she, too, could be famous if she'd only sign his favorite part of his body.

There it is. The creation of Ass Man. I knew that one day, all those years of photojournalism study would pay off. To see the final product, you'll have to bug Melissa. She's in possession of the final photo. Let me just say Grateful Dead tattoos are involved.


Considering the theme of tonight's post, it seems like a great time to tackle the last of the "D" albums, Dude Ranch by Blink 182.

There's not much Blink 182 than songs about asses and they're everywhere on this album. It was released in 1997 and their single "Dammit" gave them they're first hint of popularity. In fact my first memory on the band is hearing that song on the radio while coming back from shooting and Oktoberfest assignment on Hermann, Missouri when I was in college.

Sharla, however, will note that this is the last album the band made before drummer Travis Barker joined the band. I will note that the rhythm section sounds much muddier on Dude Ranch than any of their later releases. It could be production quality, but I also think Travis is a crisper drummer. So there!

Overall, it's a classic Blink album with songs about peeping toms and getting caught drinking by your parents. Still, I like their later stuff (with songs about drinking with your friends, and watching girls at parties) better. It's more sophisticated. Seriously, it really is.


Life is never easy, even in the sun

My college roommate, Aimee, used to tell a story about a visit to her friend Michele's house. You see, Aimee was born to Californian parents who fed her fruits, vegetables and mango chutney. Oh, and turkey dogs. Aimee liked turkey dogs just fine. They tasted like turkey dogs.

One day, not long after meeting Michele, Aimee was by her house after school. Michele comes from a long line of Kentuckians who drink their bourbon neat and know what burgoo is. Michele's mom cooked up some honest to goodness hot dogs for the girls. Aimee had one bite and suddenly realized what she'd been missing. A turkey dog is nice, but it's no hot dog.

This is how I feel about Driving Rain by Paul McCartney. I could mark all his Beatles work as my hot dog moment but I don't think that's really fair. I'd developed a certain tolerance for bad McCartney solo albums over the years. Victories were small and widely spaced and that was okay. They were turkey dogs (or in McCartney's case, not dogs). But last year McCartney released Chaos in Creation in the Backyard and it was a real life hot dog. Now, it's difficult to go back and listen to his recent solo work without thinking about the work he may have been capable of.

Driving Rain is an interesting album. It was first original songs McCartney released after the death of his wife, Linda. There's a sadness even to the poppy tunes that he'd never had before. It definitely has its moments. These days though, just buy Chaos and Creation and enjoy a real hot dog for once.


Josh once again has a working blog so feel free to click that link over there and harass him. I also think I'm going to start a contest to come up with the name of the new blog he's bound to start in about 6 months when he gets sick of the one he has now. I vote for www.yesiampeeingonyou.com.


Okay, I lied

I'm just full of empty promises lately. In a surprising turn of events, I actually spent most of the weekend actually cleaning (and playing football and watching football and watching DVDs...). I did get around to going through a few MidPoint photos so I'll give you those. I think we can all see why Mads has been deemed a national security threat and is being sent back to Europe.

See, here he is assaulting a perfectly good American:

I tried to intervene and rescue Jeff, but he was unimpressed:

Mads had obviously brainwashed Jeff with his Danish mental powers and they both turned on me:

The highlight of my night came early, though. Here's me and the guy from Ballroom Dancing rockin' out with a tambourine:

Oh, and this was the other highlight of my night:


Most girls who come to Bloomington only come here to find husbands

I was just looking through all the MidPoint pictures in my camera tonight. There are a lot more on there than I remember. Then again, I was not always in possession of the aforementioned camera so I can't possibly be responsible for all if them. Can I?

I'll be frantically cleaning all weekend in preparation for my parents' visit the following weekend so that means lots of procrastination. Procrastination means even more blog entries so watch this space for some of those photos. Let me just tell you now that if you ever get a chance to see a band called Ballroom Dancing or Nathan Asher and the Infantry or Coltrane Motion, you should go see them. All three are awesome in totally different ways but an excellent show is sure to be coming your way.


I guess it's time to hit the long avoided second to last "D" album. I have to admit that I picked up Drag It Up by the Old 97's quite awhile ago, but I hadn't really listened to it until last week. I'd read some disappointing reviews and I was really into lead singer Rhett Miller's solo albums (The Believer and The Instigator) at the time so I didn't feel like I was missing anything.

And, truth is, I don't think I was.

Are the Old 97's past their prime? I'm not sure. Everything just sounded a little rehashed. There were a couple of nice surprises in "Bloomington" and "Coahuila" but it wasn't an album that I adored like so many of their former releases had been. Maybe my expectations are too high these days.

That said, I was really excited to find out that Rhett Miller will be in town next weekend for Tall Stacks. I'll have the parents in town but maybe I can sneak away for a little sad & alt-country rockin'.


Okay, one final random note. Billy Bragg has a new book coming out about Englishness and the national identity, blah, blah, blah. I'm sure it will be interesting but I won't be raring to read it. What I am excited about, though, is that he will be giving a talk and then signing copies of the book at a socialist bookstore in London while we're on the Sad & British Tour of the Motherland. That's right, Billy Bragg in his natural habitat! This is exactly the kind of thing I was hoping to catch during our visit. Now, if I can run into Elvis Costello at a pub and see Oasis play an impromptu show everything will be perfect.


It takes gallons of wine to quiet the blood

I spent all day being lazy and recovering from my awesome MidPoint weekend. I really think that this year I saw some of my favorite bands ever. Too bad the weather wasn't nicer. I'm sure I'll have more to say later (including an update on a band from last year) but that's it for now.

I really just wanted to update the fund raising efforts of the Sad & British Tour of the Motherland. I'm proud to announce that I've raised $40 so far. Thanks to donations from Meggan, Summer and even Shawn we've blown right by my original goal of $5. Now, I've set a new goal of $10,000. Why not aim high, huh? So pass this link around to your billionaire friends and let's make this happen! Only seven weeks to go!

Seriously, though, you guys are great for actually sending me money. There will be toasts in your honor.


Summer, this one's for you

A dead pigeon lies on Pine Street in downtown Texarkana, Texas, Monday, Sept. 11, 2006. The city's annual festival this past weekend was marred by dead pigeons nose-diving into pavement and others dying on downtown sidewalks after they ate poisoned corn from the roof of a nearby bank branch. (AP Photo/The Texarkana Gazette, Aaron Street)


In this land of strangers there are dangers

A conversation with Josh (as remembered by Eileen)
6:47 EDT 9/6/07

re: Doolittle by The Pixies

Me: I'm kind of having a hard time figuring out what to say about Doolittle.

Josh: Two words - seminal.

Me: But that's the problem, I don't think it is.

Josh: Yes, and seminal isn't two words.

Me: Ohh, okay Mr. copy editor!

Josh: It's a good album.

Me: "Debaser" and "Here Comes Your Man" are great! Everything else - ehh.

Josh: "Tame" is a good song.

Me: Ehh

Josh: This conversation should be your review. I think it pretty much captures your opinion.

And so it does, Josh, so it does.


Make me a sandwich

A new Jimmy John's opened downtown a few weeks ago. It think they've been trying to drum up some business because they offer free delivery and have been putting out flyers everywhere. So I swung by about a month ago to check it out. It was about three in the afternoon and the place was fully staffed but dead. I placed my order, then the manager told the guy ringing me up that he had this one. Yes, a free sandwich!

The free sandwich did just what it was designed to do. I became a big supporter of the new Jimmy John's and told everyone about my awesome free food experience. I went back a couple more times and had a lovely, if not overly exciting, sandwich experience.

Then, today I returned for lunch after a fairly long absence. It was right at noon and the place was much more crowded. After I placed my order, though, the woman just said, "thank you' and closed the cash register. I had scored another free sandwich!

So tonight I was reflecting on my good fortune. Did the manager remember me, perhaps? Did I just naturally seem like a nice person who deserved free things? Then I remembered that I was wearing the exact same shirt the last time I got a free sandwich. It is a lovely shirt - bright green with a boat neck - but its overly complicated care instructions (Delicate cycle, what's that?) means I don't wear it much. But now that I know green shirt = free sandwich I'm gonna be wearing it every day. Really, though, it probably just has something to do with boobies...


A shadow came this morning and left some candy in my shoe

At least the asking for money got all you guys talking again. See how I bring people together! I'm really hoping Warren Buffett will stumble upon my blog. It sounds like he has nothing better to do with his cash and we all know what a fan of Omaha I am.

I feel like I should give you, dear reader, an update on my life but sadly it has mostly been work, work, work. Jeff and Mads (the Dane) and I are going whitewater rafting in West Virginia next weekend. We're meeting up with Carrie there who has sadly left us for the excitement of the greater Washington D.C. metropolitan area (Summer, I really need to get you two in touch with each other). It has all the makings of a Deliverance moment, but I'm thinking it's just gonna be fun. Beckley, West Virginia, we are coming to rock you!


So on to today's album. This one has a long history with me. I'm pretty sure I first bought Don't Try This At Home by Billy Bragg on tape at the record store in the Texarkana mall when I was in 9th grade. I was a big fan of 120 Minutes on Mtv and they played the video for "Sexuality" about three times total. That was enough, though. I was sold.

So I bought the tape, listened to "Sexuality" over and over again and gave the whole thing a listen a couple of times. I liked it, but eventually gave up on it. It just seemed too British and I didn't understand half the stuff he was singing about (like what the hell is a "two up, two down two point five with a dish on the roof for the soaps?").

The poor tape just sat around in a drawer until the summer of 1998. I'd just gotten back from a semester in London and my "English" was much better. I popped the tape in and suddenly I understood everything. In the next year I bought every Billy Bragg album I could get my hands on in Columbia, Missouri and I've been a huge fan ever since.

Don't Try This At Home also happens to be an excellent album in the Billy Bragg discography. It was a major departure from his early work that usually just featured Billy and his guitar. The songs are more musically intricate but they still keep all the emotion and humor that I love in all his stuff. I'm going to say it's my third favorite Billy Bragg album, but number one in sentimental value.


You get your history from the Union Jack

I'm a terrible saver - I mean really terrible. My life (more specifically, my car) has a way of popping up with unseen expenses to take care of any good saving I may have been doing, anyway. Thanks, life!

But every once in awhile something comes along that really motivates me to save. Summer can recall the great lengths I went to save the money for my first guitar during eighth grade. I even went so far as to team up with my friend April who was strict about only eating exactly half her lunch every day. I ate the other half and saved my weekly allotment of lunch money to "feed the piggy" - bank, that is. I'm not sure I ever told my parents about that but there you go.

I don't remember how long it took me to save up the $250 I needed but it seemed like forever. I collected spare change from friends and saved every penny I found on a sidewalk. So with those memories running through my head this week, I thought I'd bust out with the modern day equivalent.

This November Jeff, Carrie and I are heading over to London for a week. I like to consider it a refresher course for the blog. A necessary expense as it were. I've been doing a little saving, but why not hit up my friends, too?

So over there on the right you'll see a little donation button. In just a couple clicks you can help make the Sad & British tour a reality. C'mon, think of how good it will make you feel to help send a blogger to the home of all her inspiration. I'll also throw this out there. If you donate $100 or more I'll post a photo of the three of us in front of any place of you choice in the London metropolitan area. Wouldn't that be a dream come true?

Really, though, this is about fun. Toss me a buck or two and we'll see what it all adds up to. Who knows, maybe it will be enough for a full pint of beer!


Keeping with the British theme, today's album is one I was never going to own. I had given up on Britpop kings Oasis after their really awful album, 2002's Heathen Chemistry. In my mind, the band I had loved was dead, never to make good music again.

Ah, but minds always change. Jeff talked me into going to see them play in Cincinnati in March and then hooked me up with their new album Don't Believe The Truth. I'd heard the plodding first single "Lyla" and didn't have high hopes for the rest of it. I gave it a listen, though, and was pleasantly surprised. It's not earth shattering. It won't change your mind about Oasis, but Don't Believe The Truth is good! My hope was renewed. Maybe this band has a future after all.

"Part Of The Queue" and "Keep The Dream Alive" are as good as anything the band has ever done. It also seems like a little (just a little) of their sneer is gone. Maybe that's not good for a band built upon pure bravado, but maybe it will help them see when they're making terrible music. If there are any lapsed Oasis fans out there, I officially declare it safe to head back to the record store.


Mouse hunt

There is a mouse somewhere in my apartment. He's actually kind of cute - very little and black with back legs that make him hop around the room. How did he get in my house, you may ask? Why the thanks goes to Tippy.

Tippy loves to catch mice, but it's not fun unless he brings them back into the apartment perfectly unharmed, gently cradled between his big sharp teeth. I can usually trap them before they get too far but I wasn't quick enough last night. I spent a couple hours shining a flashlight into every corner and cranny in a futile attempt to find the escaped rodent. Tippy, assuming that I had already done my job of disposing of the animal, lounged calmly in the middle of the living room.

There was no sign of the mouse this morning either. I'm hoping he wasn't riddled with internal injuries and crawled off somewhere dark and quiet to die. Then, I will only discover his presence from the disgusting smell emanating from an inaccessible corner of my apartment. Maybe while I'm at work tonight Tippy will find a sign of the mouse, thus renewing his interest in the hunt. He's a really good mouser when he puts his mind to it so, with any luck, the source of my mouse problem will also be the solution.


Standing on the shoulders of giants leaves me cold

I've been sort of out of ideas to write about the last couple weeks. I've read a couple good books and one okay one, but the writing - not so much. I choose to blame it on the heat.

My album today is an easy one, Document by R.E.M. I've had this one for a long time and it's been a good friend. I didn't buy it when it was released in 1987, though. I have to admit to being one of those bandwagon R.E.M. fans who jumped on board after 1991's Out Of Time. I worked my way backwards, and until about 1999 every R.E.M. I bought was like a perfect encapsulation of my life at the time I bought it. In other words, it was my instant soundtrack for that year.

I'm trying to remember when exactly I picked up Document and I think it was about 1992. It was an early acquisition due to the presence of everybody's favorite song "It's The End Of The World As We Know It." It's still a sweet tune, but I also enjoy the two bird themed songs on the album "Disturbance At The Heron House" and "King Of Birds." What's up with that? It also contains the minor hit "The One I Love" which one of my sharp readers had picked as an inappropriate love song. That's a good call. I never liked that song anyway.


If you look to the right, you will notice my new picture. I have to say I'm not a huge fan of it but I wanted to update my photo with the longer haired version of myself. Unfortunately, Tippy was not being cooperative. We'll working on getting a better one so watch that space.

I should take this time to let you all know that Josh's birthday is tomorrow. Unlike Shawn, he is not a lady so I'm happy to say he'll be turning the big 3-0. If he still had a blog that worked, I'd suggest that people leave a message for him. Instead, I'll suggest that everyone go out their front door (or onto their back porch, etc.) and scream "Happy Birthday Josh!" at exactly 6 a.m. eastern daylight time tomorrow. Trust me, your neighbors will love it.

Now I have to go. Project Runway will be on in a minute!


It always rains like hell on the Loser's Day parade

If you scroll down a bit, you'll see the fancy new plugin that Lala has set up. Feel free to browse through my record collection. I can take it.

The problem with Lala is it's there to take advantage of all your moments of weakness. A couple months ago I was thinking that I didn't have any Goo Goo Dolls music. There's good reason. Like Fastball, they're a radio band. I won't change the station when they come on, but I've never felt compelled to buy an album. But then I decided that for less than two bucks, I might be compelled to get a Goo Goo Dolls album. I added it to my Lala want list and Dizzy Up The Girl was on its way to me before I had a chance to change my mind.

So now I'm sitting here listening to the aforementioned tome and it's not bad. It's not good either, though. I still like songs like "Slide" and "Black Balloon" but I'm not sure I really needed to own them. That could get me into a larger issue about how mp3's have made music a disposable commodity to be collected and discarded easily. When you can download an mp3 for free or get a CD for $1.75, something gets lost along the way.

I don't think teenagers sit around anguishing over which CD they should buy anymore. I used to hold my $15 bucks tightly and pray that the album I was about to buy was actually good. If you knew a cool record store you might actually get to hear more than the one song they were playing on the radio, but it was still a crapshoot. Now, you just have a friend burn you a copy. It's not the same, but that's what makes me old. Kids these days . . .


I saw The Whigs the other night at a club with about ten other people. They were excellent and turned out to be really sweet guys. If you're near one of their upcoming shows, I suggest you go check them out so you can say I knew them when. Also tell them Eileen from Cincinnati says hi. They won't remember me but they'll be nice about it. So if I perhaps lived near Milwaukee and was free next Friday, I might go to Rave Bar and see a cool band (ahem, Shawn, ahem).


So True

Somebody at work this forwarded this to me and now I must share it with you. I'm off to The Whigs' show later tonight so that's all you're getting for now. If you'd like to read this directly off the Philadelphia Inquirer's website or want to email it to somebody, go here.

Read it here! It's hot outside!

By Tom Ferrick Jr.

Inquirer Columnist

I don't get this weather. It's crazy.

Have you noticed it keeps getting hotter and hotter?

It seems to happen this way every year, especially in July and August.

I can't understand it.

Here at the paper, we are trying to understand it, too.

We sent out a team of reporters yesterday, who fanned across the region.

When they came back, they reported: It is hot everywhere! Very hot!

The city editor said: You mean everywhere?!

They said: Yes, everywhere!

He said: This is front-page news!

And so it was done.

Ditto television.

Counting overtime, the stations probably spent $250,000 yesterday to tell you that it is summer and that it is hot.

They had people standing in South Philadelphia, Center City, as far as Bucks County, and they reported back live that it was hot, everywhere.

Of course, they were wearing business suits and ties, so no wonder they were hot.

They should have followed some of the helpful hints we gave readers the other day about what to do when it gets hot:

For one thing, wear lightweight, loose-fitting clothes.

You should also drink lots of liquids, preferably water. Beer will make you sweat and give you a headache.

Stay cool

I have other helpful hints:

1. Don't wear wool clothing. It itches and will make you really hot.

2. Try to stay cool. Don't sit in a room with all the windows closed. Use a fan to circulate the air or, preferably, an air conditioner.

3. Don't run out to buy an air conditioner today. Everyone else who just read No. 2 is trying to do the same thing. The managers of the stores tell us the air conditioners are flying off the shelves. That's what they always say when we ask them. Of course, we never ask them until it is really hot.

4. Whatever you do, don't sit in a room with the windows closed, wearing wool clothing and drinking beer. It is a recipe for disaster. At the very least, wear something that is light and loose fitting. A bedsheet will do.

For those of us in the news biz, there is only one thing more exciting than heat. It is record heat.

For record heat, we will remake the front page and use Pearl Harbor-sized type and write headlines that say:

Record Heat Scorches Region!

We will then proceed to tell you that it was hot yesterday.

Television has us beat. It can tell you that it was hot today.

Here are some more helpful hints:

5. Don't watch television. Watching those TV reporters standing in front of the cameras will only make you hotter.

6. Buy two newspapers. Read one and use the other to fan yourself. It will help alleviate the heat. This is especially true if you insist on sitting in a closed room, wearing a bedsheet and drinking beer.

Forever sidebars

In addition to telling you it was hot yesterday, we can also tell you many interesting tidbits about the heat. We call these sidebars.

For instance, we sent reporters out the other day to find the places in the region that smelled the worst because of the heat. Get it? That's a sidebar.

Tomorrow, if it stays hot, we will think of other sidebars. Maybe we will go out and ask people how they are coping with the heat. Once the editors put their minds to it, the sidebar possibilities are endless.

Did you know that heat waves are a major cause of back injuries among reporters? It comes from hiding under their desks for hours at a time, trying to avoid sidebars.

I predict this heat wave will end before we run out of ideas for sidebars. Then it will gradually get cooler. Then the leaves will fall from the trees. Then it will get really cold. Then it will snow.

As I told you, this weather is crazy.

I have some helpful hints for snow, too. One is to dress in warm clothing, sit in a room with all the windows closed, and drink beer. It will keep you nice and warm.

Now, if you will excuse me, I must go change my bedsheet.


When they call last call, you look so contagious


Carrie had a great idea this week and now I can't wait to reap the benefits. Get this - sushi and Pirates of the Caribbean. Yes! So tonight we're going for some raw fish followed by a movie I can't believe I'm so excited to see. Avast ye mateys, it's sure to be awesome!

So here's the thing with suddenly working all the time. I actually still listen to music every day, I just don't get time to write about it. The music benefits, though, because I find myself listening to an album at least a couple times before I get around to blogging. Collective Soul is probably angry that I didn't give them that kind of consideration.

Today's album is another one of Josh's famous mix CDs and actually the first one I ever got from him. I don't know if he made any earlier ones, but for me it all starts with Dirty Beats.

Now I've written before about how I was unfamiliar with the ways of hip-hop until a boy from North Dakota showed me the light. Well, this CD threw me right into the deep end of the pool. The Pharcyde, Tricky, The Roots, The Wu-Tang Clan and Outkast all make appearances and this is back in like 2001 when all those didn't necessarily have hit records.

I consider Dirty Beats the most daring of Josh's mix CDs but not really my favorite. It can be some work to get through as it assaults my delicate sensibilities with crazy rapping and extra sad folk songs. It does include "Macy Day Parade" by Michael Penn and "Dancing Lessons" by Sinead O'Connor (which I would like to point out that I had used in a previous mix) though. Both songs I count as a couple of my favorite tunes in this whole world.


I was in Seattle last weekend and I promise some photos soon. I'd also like to wish Shawn a belated happy birthday. He's a lady, though, so I won't mention his age.

Also, you've all been warned. Next year (7/3/07) I'm turning 30 and there will be parties in San Francisco. Clear your calendars now.


Winter came to Omaha, it left us looking like a bride

This whole not blogging very often thing is crazy! When I finally get around to sitting down I have so much to get through. Let's begin at the beginning, shall we? My friends and I went to St. Louis this weekend for our friend Sarah's wedding. Road trip! Oh, I have photos, too.

So, after our six hour drive (that we survived with the help of some rockin' tunes from Declan) we headed straight for the arch. I've been up it a few times, but it was especially wobbly this time. That made me giggle and made Carrie nervous. See there's Carrie, Jeff and Jim before our bold adventure to the top!

They also have a Thomas Jefferson statue at the arch. I think my new hobby is going to be getting my picture taken kissing TJ statues all over this land. Just believe me when I tell you this isn't the first time I've been in a photo like this.

Anyway, after the crazy elevator ride, we were rewarded with a lovely view, and a great welcome to the city that never sleeps (except between the hours of 2 a.m. and 8 a.m).

The next day we went on a brewery tour to see where Budweiser comes from. It was really cool because I pretty much like any factory tour but I love them even more when drinks are involved.

But then we had to rush back and get ready for the wedding because that's why we drove all that way in the first place. The wedding itself was lovely. Sarah looked gorgeous and Austin was very cute in his tux. Those two are gonna have cute little kids someday. That's all I'm saying.

The wedding also had that most mythical of creatures, the "open bar." Much like true love itself, it is a gift from god when discovered and something to be cherished. The best thing about an open bar - you end up with photos like this.

Who loves ya, Baby?

The trip back was a quiet event with much napping, but I think we were all happy campers. Now I have a few days to recover before I head out to meet the family in Seattle. Sadly, there will be no open bar there.


Now here's the best part. I actually listened to an album, too, and it's one of my faves. Digital Ash In A Digital Urn was high on my top ten list of albums last year. It was released on the same day as the other Bright Eyes album I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning and, like children, it's very hard for me to love one more than the other.

I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning got a lot of the press last year, though. It's soft and acoustic and accessible. Digital Ash is noisy and loud and really kind of grating the first time you hear it. If you take some time to get to know it, though, it's very rewarding. "Take It Easy (Love Nothing)" has been my personal theme song for the last year or so and I start all my 5k runs with it. Just for that, I may love Digital Ash a little bit more.

There's a point in the listening when the electronics and noise just start to make sense. Conor Oberst's voice helps hold everything together and lets me know we're going on an interesting trip. Noise can be scary, but he makes it okay.


I've kissed you more than twice and now I'm working on your dad

I really must stop these long absences, but lately it's been more than my schedule that's kept me from blogging, it's the beautiful game. I get up at nine every morning and there it is waiting for me. This morning it was a 0-0 tie between Japan and Croatia. Not the most exciting game, but still a great way to start the day. After hours of World Cup viewing, though, I've reached some conclusions about soccer and why Americans don't like it:

1. The announcers constantly say it's "a man's game" but any game that features dramatic dives and fake injuries can't honestly be "a man's game" unless those men are drama queens, which brings me to my next thought.

2. Soccer players are like thoroughbreds. They're sleek and well groomed, easily scared and prone to silly injuries. It's so strange watching them prance around out on the field only to cry to the ref whenever someone trips them. It feels distinctly un-American.

3. Americans have a hard time liking any sport that doesn't involve constant forward movement. I'm sure it says something about our worldview but, like hockey, soccer often requires that the ball go backwards to get farther forward. It's a concept most Americans just can't get behind. Why would anyone ever give up ground?

Despite these quandaries, I'm a huge fan of the World Cup. I love it because it challenges so many things Americans hold to be true. Counties like Brazil and Portugal suddenly become world powers and we're only left with "girly man" jokes. We can hate soccer all we want. I'm sure that would be just fine with the rest of the world.


Oh, I also listened to an album today. Perhaps it's fitting that it's a British album that I never quite got. I never feel like I'm hip enough to listen to Different Class by Pulp. It's like cool kids music. It's dark and sexy and full of stories about people who are unlike any of the people I've ever met. Jarvis Cocker is one sad and British guy that I don't love. Mostly, it's because I don't think he's really that sad. It sounds like he's having too much fun.

If you think you might like Pulp, though, you should check out William Shatner's cover of "Common People." Unbeatable!


All my friends keep telling me that you can't drink or get drunk for free

One question keeps running through my head as I listen to today's album. Why is it called DGC Rarities, Vol. 1?

Were they planning on future volumes and just never got around to it? Did grunge go out of style before volume 2? I mean it's a pretty bold move to announce something as "Volume 1." You're pretty much obligated to put out follow-up volumes. Unless, your name is David Geffen, I guess.

So this mysterious volume of rarities was released on July 5, 1994 at the height of grunge. It featured b-sides from the famous (Nirvana) and nearly famous (that dog) artists who were signed to Geffen Records at the time. It's a surprisingly good collection that I've been reluctant to remove from Declan even though things are getting pretty crowded on him nowadays. A concentrated little taste of everything grunge, it would have been a perfect addition to any 1994 time capsule. It's a perfect sample of everything that was musically cool at the time.

There's one band on the album that sticks out like a sore thumb, though. In 1994 (as today) Counting Crows was considered far from grunge. Their endlessly catchy tune "Einstein On The Beach" is set smack dab in the middle of the album to wake everyone from their fuzzy guitar stupor. Hey, it's a great song and, frankly, probably the main reason I bought this album in 1994, but it's like a game of "one of these things is not like the others." If David Geffen doesn't have to pay attention to things like volume 1's, I guess he can rewrite the rules of grunge, too.


Hey, I just got a bunch of invites to lala.com and if you sign up I get a free t-shirt. There's no cost to you and it fun to check out so email (sadandbritish@gmail.com) me if you want an invite. There are seven different shirts and I want to collect them all. C'mon, help me out!


I lost my leg like I lost my way

I know, you guys are probably thinking I'm like Josh and have decided I'm too good for a blog. Not true, not true. I'm not too good for anything. OK, well, maybe prostitution. I'd like to think I'm too good for that. Truth is, my work hours have changed and now I'm trying to figure out when I'm actually going to sit down to write. Plus, I'm lazy.

I know you don't want to hear about how my parents came down for Memorial Day and we went to the Maker's Mark distillery. We got to dip our very own bottles into a vat of wax (insert your own off color joke here). The whole place smelled like the barrels at a garden store or my mom's fruitcakes. Sadly, some of you don't know what either of those smell like. Your loss.

What you're dying to hear about is Demon Days by Gorillaz. I guess I should have waited another day to write about this album, considering the title. It would have made a nice 6/6/06 post. Oh well. Anyway, Demon Days is decent. I think I like it more than their first album, but I've pretty much decided that Gorillaz is a singles band for me. I'll be happy to buy all their catchy songs on iTunes from now on and leave the full albums to someone else. I just never like them that much. "Feel Good Inc." though? Song of the year for 2005.


Everybody should wish my buddy Jeff a happy birthday tomorrow. I won't tell you how old he is (he's a fast runner for his age) but I do have to say he ended up with the coolest birthday in memory. He's having a 666 party to celebrate tomorrow. Aren't you jealous?


There you go, waving your arms like a girl

I'm pretty sure I'd like Ryan Adams more if I could just keep up with him. The guy puts out like an album a week and it's just really too much. Many of his songs are great, but if any musician needed an editor it's this guy. The world doesn't deserve to hear every little tune you pluck out your guitar, Mr. Adams, unless it's "Summer Of '69" that song was great.

Anyway, today's album is Demolition, released just 364 days after his first solo album, Gold. I didn't buy it back in 2002 because, while I was a moderate fan of Gold, I couldn't bring myself to buy another Ryan Adams album so soon. Like Gold, Demolition is a spotty affair that has some really great songs scattered amongst a field of what other musicians might call filler, but I'm sure Mr. Adams calls little pieces of his soul. He can be dramatic like that. You could edit Gold and Demolition down to one amazing album, but alas!

If someone gives you a copy of Demoltion, don't turn it down. I'm sure you'll find a couple things you like. Otherwise, I suggest waiting for the greatest hits.


I have to tell everybody about my true find of the weekend. After posting it on my Amazon wish list for months with no success, I fianlly purchased The Right Spectacle - The Very Best of Elvis Costello. It's a DVD complilation of every video Elvis has released from This Year's Model through Mighty Like a Rose.

Now, I was happy just to have all the videos but it turns out the DVD also features commentary from the man himself. I spent a lovely evening this Friday listening to Elvis drolly commenting on how drunk he and The Attractions were during almost every video. I guess you have to be a fan, but it was a real treat. I plan to subject many friends and acquaintances to it over the coming months.


Maybe I'll call or write you a letter

Choo, choo! Do you hear that? Yep, it's the nostalgia train pulling in for a nice long stop at the Eileen depot. What album merits a visit from the nostalgia train? It's Deluxe by Better Than Ezra.

Deluxe was released on February 28, 1995, mere months before I was to graduate high school and prime memory making time. Add that to the fact that the first single, "Good" was on the radio every five minutes and it literally became a soundtrack to my life. I've also been a Better Than Ezra fan ever since.

I don't have many really specific memories that go with Deluxe. It just gives me a general feeling of all the excitement and giddiness that goes with graduating. It's funny that I love this album so much because there are some truly horrible songs on here (see "Teenager"). I guess a little nostalgia always helps gloss over imperfections.


Here's a quick installment of NEW MUSIC MONDAY for you. Go out right now and pick up How We Operate by Gomez. It's a little more acoustic than their other stuff but I really think it may be my album of the summer.


No matter what the fashion, you'll always be my style

I got Deja Vu All Over Again from the library a couple months ago, but I guess I never got past the first half. It starts out so strong that I was all "Oh yeah, John Fogerty's back!" I never made it to the song about SUVs. That's right it's all about how computers and lattes, cell phones and the aforementioned vehicles have made us empty shells of humanity. I get it you old hippie, we're all going to hell. Oh well, more Twinkies for me.


Give me gin and tonic

I didn't want to like them. I was a Beatles fan and everything I'd read told me Oasis was just a flash in the pan Beatles knockoff. I was a senior in high school and hadn't really embraced the full extent of my sad and Britishness. I had no idea what the future had in the store.

"Supersonic" was released as a single and I turned up my nose at all those silly rhyming lyrics. They wished they were the Beatles all right. Then, I borrowed the CD from Rishi Kundi. It wasn't doing much for me until the drums kicked in at the beginning of "Live Forever." By the time it was released as a single, I was hooked. Seriously, those drums still give me chills.

I eventually bought my very own copy of Definitely Maybe and it his been a solid companion through the years. It's not all nostalgia either. These are the songs I'm still living my life to and they're great every time.


I hit the city and I lost my band

I know, I know, it's been a long time. Let's just say things have been busy. I've had a very Cincinnati month with trips to the symphony, a Reds game and Kings Island. I also learned that if you run a 5k then ride a bunch of roller coasters, you won't be able to figure out what made you sore. These are true life lessons, people.

I think I've also been a little reluctant to write about today's album, Decade by Neil Young. It's actually a two disk set that has pretty much everything I'd ever want by Mr. Young. That doesn't really explain why I own two more of his albums, does it?

Neil Young is one of those "Great Books" artists for me. Knowing his music is essential to a solid background in rock and roll but it doesn't do much for me. Sure, there are individual songs I enjoy but I sometimes have a hard time figuring out what all the fuss is about.

So I did my required listening today. I mean it's good stuff. Every artist should hope they end of with a body of work this good. Neil Young just doesn't transcend music. He doesn't take me to a new place in my head or make me see things differently so, for me, he'll continue to just be a history lesson.


If I was more continental and less judgmental, maybe I'd believe

I know about Deathray thanks to Golden Shoulders. A few years ago I went to a Golden Shoulders show in Nevada City and Deathray was on the bill, too. I sat politely through many of the songs, but I slowly found myself being captivated by the music. They were winning me over. By the time they were done, I was the proud owner of their 2000 album and their 2002 EP. The band was really sweet and very excited that I bought two CDs. It had been a slow night.

Deathray is made up of many former Cake members, but they really sound nothing like their former band. Think more new wave, like The Cars but with a deep pop sensibility. Sometimes there are few too many electronic pops and fuzz for me, but overall, they have a really nice sound. Their self-titled album has several catchy songs that will get stuck in your head, like "10:15" and "Now That I am Blind." I'm not as big a fan of their EP, White Sleeves, but I'll get to that (much) later.

So here's the moral of this story. Get out there and go see some bands. Give them a chance and if you like their stuff, buy their CD at the show. It will make their night and you might actually end up with a good album or two. It's the circle of life, people.


Listen honey, there's nothing you can do to offend me anymore

A couple months ago we met The Decemberists, the drama geeks of indie music. Today, let me introduce you to the literary magazine staff of indie music, Belle and Sebastian.

The word "twee" is often bandied about when describing Belle and Sebastian's music. It is cute. They write sweet little tunes about the dramas of everyday life. And they're not afraid to rhyme. It's probably singer Stuart Murdoch's vocals that earn that label the most, though. His voice is as soft and wispy as a half sheet of premium toilet paper (How's that for a simile?).

What makes Belle and Sebastian the literary magazine staff of indie rock is their lyrics. Those everyday dramas get poured over and twisted into beautiful and endless couplets. They take pride in all those rhymes which can make them seem thoughtful or pompous. You make the call.

So today's album is Dear Catastrophe Waitress. It's my second favorite Belle and Sebastian album after Tigermilk. Close listeners who also have my last mix CD will spot "If She Wants Me" and another favorite of mine "Piazza, New York Catcher." It's a very listenable album and something I like to break out fairly regularly. Belle and Sebastian are known for their passionate fans, though, I can't really say I'm one of them. Even though I worked for the literary magazine in high school, I never edited it.


It's better when a group isn't playing

After a weekend of endless partying and a couple days of election coverage, it's time to get back to the blog. I'd like to say it was a refreshing break, but grueling is really more the word that comes to mind. There's really only so much beer one can drink in a 48 hour period (and I think Josh discovered that this weekend). Topping it all off with election night pizza is never a good idea either.

So what does Declan have in store for me today? Oh, it's Deadringer by RJD2. I did a little reading and discovered that despite his name, he is not a robot. He's actually from just up the road in Columbus. I still like to imagine he's a robot, though.

Deadringer came out in 2002 just after Moby's follow-up to Play, a bloated pompous album called 18. I mention Moby because that's who RJD2 will remind you of. Moby, but better. Deadringer is everything 18 wasn't. It combines old soul samples with new beats and throws in a few extra treats like actual rapping. The samples are more varied than Moby and the beats are pretty good, too. My only criticism is there seems to be too many mid-tempo songs. Sometimes the tracks just blend into each other too much.

So I would definitely recommend RJD2 for anyone who wonders what the hell happened to Moby. Just let it go and buy an album from this robot guy instead.

My CD shopping list for this weekend:
Hardest Way To Make An Easy Living - The Streets
How We Operate - Gomez
Best Party Ever - Boy Least Likely To
The Loon - Tapes 'N Tapes