Music, Podcasts

One Great Song from the Great Lake Swimmers

Today’s posting will be a simple one.

There will be no whining about Your Monkey’s failed job search, no belabored attempts to put pop culture into context, no complaining about the general unsound state of the planet, and no bad banana jokes.

Instead we will have a very mellow and melodic song from the Great Lake Swimmers, which came to your Monkey courtesy of the KEXP song of the day podcast. Here is a link to the station’s site.

Thanks to KEXP for putting out the song, to the Great Lake Swimmers for allowing it to be a free download, and to Nettwerk music for posting the video on YouTube.

Here’s a link to the Great Lake Swimmers’ website, too.


Why This Monkey is Smitten With Tori Amos

It has very little to do with her music. Sure, Your Monkey has been a casual fan of Tori A and might even cop to owning a few CDs if we were just talking one on one together and not in a room full of guys from the soccer team.

And sure, the fetching red hair and powerful voice don’t hurt her case either.

But what Your Monkey absolutely loves about Tori Amos is her willingness to throw people out of her shows who insist on talking through her performance. This is by far the best solution to dealing with an increasingly self-centered society comprised of people who insist on talking through everything.

Your Monkey recently went to a Jenny Lewis show at the Boston House of Blues and was irritated by all the chatter that was going on in the crowd. Click here to relive that experience.

Talking during a show ruins the atmosphere  and breaks the spell between the performer and the audience and is generally a pretty rude thing to do.

Not only do you run the risk of upsetting the performer, but you are also preventing fans from focusing on the musical performance because they become too obsessed with trying to figure out why you can’t shut the f–k up for two seconds.

Tori Amos thinks so, too. She has decided to simply toss the offenders out on their ear. Bravo! Check out this story here for all the details.

Oh worshipful, wonderful Tori A!  From now on I will call you Tori A-most (As in “a most” wonderful human being). Here is a song to celebrate the beginning of a beautiful friendship.


In Which the Darkness Returns in Earnest

The Darkness crept in the door on Tuesday night and settled in for a long stay. You didn’t expect to see him so soon, did you?

Especially not after a spirited soccer practice in the summer rain. Especially not when you were thinking that there is no better feeling in the world then to be streaking across a soccer field at top speed on your way to the goal.

But your body was weak and your defenses were down and the Darkness crept right in.

And the Darkness is a tricky house guest. He always comes when you least expect it, and he always overstays his welcome.

This time around he has been determined to test out every bed in every room of your mental house. He’s slept on the twin bed in your brainstem, napped on the futon in your cerebral cortex, and stretched out on the deck chair in your medulla oblongata.

The Darkness says that none of this is worth doing. You and your stupid blog and your lack of original thoughts. You and this mess of ideas and concepts that go nowhere and do nothing. You and your horrible musical tastes. No one likes what you do.

You really aren’t good at anything, are you? You failed at everything you’ve tried so far and now you’re failing at this, too.

The Darkness is a tricky master. Even though he may disappear from time to time, he never really leaves.

This is all dialetics, man.


Today’s Psychedelic Music Interlude is Interrupted by Heavy Petting

Today’s Psychedelic Music Interlude comes to us from the Athens, GA-based band Dead Confederate.

This band is not that far out there on the weirdness scale, but they are excellent musicians who create a psychedelic experience through the sheer force of their music.

We’re talking heavy guitar riffs, powerful drum rolls, and slowly building songs that peak with an overwhelming wall of sound.

The Wikipedia entry for this band describes their sound as a mix of Nirvana and My Morning Jacket, but that’s not quite right.

It’s perhaps more appropriate that one of Dead Confederate’s first MySpace friends is your Monkey’s best beloved neo-psychedelic band The Black Angels.

If My Morning Jacket had a one night stand with the Black Angels, their (courtney) love child might rightly be Dead Confederate.

Dead Confederate released an album last year called Wrecking Ball. Your Monkey suspects very strongly that they put on an excellent live show, but he has not yet had the chance to track them down.

How about another show in Boston sometime?

Here is a link to their myspace site.

Shameless self indulgence

Seven Reasons Why I Haven’t Been Able to Post Until Now

Despite what you may have heard, your Monkey is not some excuse-mongering hypocrite who goes around explaining away his personal shortcomings by blaming others and pointing his non-opposable digits at any convenient target.

That being said, it is possible that some or all of these reasons are valid excuses for not having posted in nearly a week.

  1. A series of extra-long meetings at your Monkey’s day job have taken him out of his usual podcast-powered isolation tank of typing and proofreading. With no time to listen to podcasts, he hasn’t been able to find much worth sharing. It’s not like he has his own ideas.
  2. Pressure of following up 100th post anniversary spectacular was almost too much to bear.
  3. Time usually spent blogging was instead spent responding to enthusiastic inquiries from potential employees, graciously accepting civic awards, and politely declining calls to run for political office.
  4. Time usually spent blogging was instead used to create an elaborate fantasy world that has no bearing on reality (see reason 3).
  5. In angry response to oversaturated & overstimulated web world of blogs and Facebook pages and twitter feeds, your Monkey decided to join a group of radical anachronists who communicate only through 140-character Morse Code messages.
  6. Fatalistic “just waiting around to die”  lifeview of Monkey’s 93-year-old grandmother temporarily stole his will to write (and possibly to live).
  7. Sometimes the ideas just don’t come.
Shameless self indulgence, Writing

100th Blog Post Interview Spectacular

In which your Monkey once again shamelessly cribs the technique of the self-interview (as popularized by Dave Eggers in his Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius) in order to ask himself the questions that no one else dares (or cares) to ask.

Q.  So Monkey, this is your 100th Blog Post! Congratulations are in order…

A. Is it really my 100th post already? Gosh how time does fly. Thanks so much for pointing that out. To be honest with you, I hadn’t even noticed that we were approaching such a milestone. I’m glad there are true fans like you to keep track of such things for me.

Q.  So what have you learned about blogging so far?

A. Great question. So far I have learned that WordPress is a pretty great platform to have your blog on. It’s fairly easy for a lay monkey like myself to figure out, loading videos and images is a breeze, and the back-end analytics are great.

It’s easy to see who has visited your site, what links they have clicked on, and what searches on the web led them to your pages.

Q. So it must be a thrill to publish a post and then sit back and watch all the traffic it gets?

A. Umm. Not so much. The analytics are both a blessing and a curse. It’s good to see that a post is doing well, but it can be kind of disheartening when you publish a post that gets very few or no hits.

Q. Surely such a thing has never happened to such a tremendous writer as yourself….

A. My, my, you do have a way with flattery. Sure, plenty of posts have gone unread. But I think that is the price of competing against so many different blogs and so many different ideas on the internet. You have to be grateful for any page reads that you get.

Q. So what are you most proud of thus far?

A. A tremendous question! You certainly are an excellent interviewer. And probably a great lover as well. As I said in our previous self-interview, any chance I get to promote an artist, podcast, or movie that I love is a win in my book.

I have been happy to do my very small part for a blog like Me Like Good Music (excellently written music reviews), a fantastic online radio station like Radio Nowhere, or podcasts like Coverville, Filmspotting and Sound Opinions.

Q. So what is next?

A. More of the same I guess. Most importantly, there will be more music and movie reviews, and more talking about the oh-so-important podcasts that keep me entertained during my dreary work day. More updates on my search for new full time work. More of my hapless attempts to find work on Craiglist or Elance.  And many, many more shamelessly self-serving posts like this one.

Q. Speaking of self-serving nonsense, can we end this ridiculous fake interview now?

A. No more questions. Here’s a song instead.

The Black Angels are an Austin, Texas based band that make a unique brand of droning psychedelic music. The tone and lyrics can be dark and dim, and yet it has this driving, pulsating beat that you can’t possibly resist. Get ready for a nightmare hippie dance party!


Jenny Lewis Sings, But Boston Won’t Listen

Your Monkey actually made it out of the house last night to check out an excellent performance by Jenny Lewis at the House of Blues in Boston. Lewis is an amazingly talented singer who performs with great energy and hits literally every note of her studio tracks when she’s on the stage.

It was a great show, tainted only by the fact that no one in the audience would shut up for 10 seconds while she was performing. Your Monkey has never heard so much chattering in all his life.

Lewis was able to blast through the chatter during her more upbeat numbers, but every time the tempo slowed down the voices kept creeping in. It’s a shame that those who talked missed out on the nuances of an amazing performance.

What’s funny is that some of these same people will spend upwards of $60 on souvenirs at the merchandising table, and then not even bother to pay attention to the show. Maybe getting the poster and wearing the t-shirt and carrying the tote bag is worth more than the show itself.


Here is some Lewis for those who weren’t at the show. She played this as the first song in her encore last night. In this Monkey’s humble opinion, it was the highlight of the show.