Friday, October 31, 2008


Given the occasion, I had to switch it up. Be safe out there, my fiends.

Holiday Bonus - why the hell not?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Chinese Democracy?!

I don't think anybody's holding their breath on this one (a lesson learned over the last decade and a half), but it appears that Guns N' Roses Chinese Democracy album may finally be released this year.

Most of us thought it wouldn't ever happen. Some of us kind of hoped it would never happen. Count me in the latter camp.
Ever since this project began, and especially when the band started playing shows in 2000 (and again last year), I've just sort of rolled my eyes.

I cannot tell a lie. I have a deep-rooted appreciation for Guns n' Roses. They were the first band that I really got into, perhaps even obsessed with back in the day. Guns n' Roses was my graduation from a steady diet of pop music into rock and roll. Their music was contraband in our house (God forbid that obscenities should send me on a path of destruction!). I had to smuggle them in on tapes friends made for me or hide the cds that I bought when my parents dropped us off at the mall. I taped all of their videos off of MTV, and watched them obsessively (including the Rockumentary - remember those?).

So it's not as if I write off Guns n' Roses from the history of rock music. But that's just my problem - this isn't Guns n' Roses. It's Axl Rose using the band name that he had the foresight to retain when they broke up. Now, I'm not going to downplay Axl's creative contribution to G n' R's music. But he was merely one element. While there were some switchouts from the original lineup (Matt Sorum for Stephen Adler, Gilby Clarke for Izzy Straddlin'), the core of the band was always Axl, Slash and Duff. THAT was Guns n' Roses.

So I take issue with operating under the Guns n' Roses moniker. It's almost like David Lee Roth recording solo records under the Van Halen name.

And of course, 1999's "Oh My God" (from the End of Days soundtrack) and the regrouped band's performance at the 2002 VMAs did little to restore any confidence.

A good friend of mine (who, despite much overlap in our tastes, I spar with frequently on music matters) saw Guns n' Roses last year. He said it was incredible, the band was great, Axl was in good form, the set was solid, etc. I'm suspect. Said friend also said that the songs he's heard off Chinese Democracy are better than anything on the Use Your Illusion albums, which I dismiss immediately. I actually view those albums as their best.

All of this said, I've been critical of Chinese Democracy as a concept. Is Axl Rose still relevant at all? Even if the album was to see the light of day, could it really be any good minus Slash and Duff?

All of that remains to be seen I suppose. I have very low expectations, and I won't be rushing out to buy the thing. However, I will say that the buzz as the album allegedly nears release got me a little excited last week, and I listened to all of the G n' R albums in succession, which I still love.

The title track is now streaming on the band's website and through imeem. Take a listen:

Chinese Democracy - Guns N Roses

It's so-so. It isn't horrible (certainly better than "Oh My God"), but it's not great either. It sounds like a lot of other contemporary radio rock.

We'll just have to wait and see (hear) how the album plays out (if it isn't pulled), but I'm not so excited/interested in it. I'll give it a fair listen, but my expectations or horribly (and understandably) low.

For now, I'll just rock out to this:

Friday, October 24, 2008

Friday Funk

I've recovered from my New Orleans trip (which included much great music, as anticipated). But for now, back to the funk. Here's a slice of potentially cheesy, but still delicious 1980s funk.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Friday Funk

New Q-tip, and it's pretty good!

Happy weekend y'all. I'm spending it in New Orleans - if you don't hear from me in a few days, send a lawyer.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

marathon mix

Today was the marathon. I finished! And roughly at the time I had estimated (4:25). The good news is that there was absolutely no enforcement of the ludicrous headphone ban, so I had much quality time with my meticulously constructed playlist! I share it now for your perusal. I won't notate each, but will chime in here and there.

Get Yr. Move On: Gonzo's Marathon Mix

1. Iggy Pop - Lust for Life

This was the perfect opener! I initially had Jamie Lidell's "Another Day," because I've found that to be a great start to a morning run, but nixed it. Glad I did.

2. Santogold - You'll Find a Way
3. We Are Scientists - The Great Escape

4. Battles - Atlas

Another running favorite. In a discussion of running music lately, a friend stated something along the lines that "Battles will get you going and make you want to kill anyone in your path." I restrained the violence, but this is a great running song. It always reminds me of seeing them in Iowa City in 2007 when, launching into this song, the entire packed audience began jumping in unison, making me question solidity The Picador's building structure.

5. Gary Glitter - Rock and Roll, part 1

Maybe a sports cliche, but eff it. Also, this is the less-attended to vocal part of the track, which I've always loved. Perfect beat.

6. Hot Hot Heat - No, Not Now
7. The Ting Tings - That's Not My Name
8. The White Stripes - Seven Nation Army
9. The Clash - The Magnificent Seven

Non running-related comment - this is potentially my favorite Clash song. Maybe.

10. Busta Rhymes - Dangerous

In making this playlist, I wanted to include a few songs I haven't listened to in a while. Hearing this today, I was struck by how great this song is. Generally I gravitate towards The Coming when I want some Busta, but this is certainly a standout from the follow-up. I don't care much for anything after that. Too bad - he has such a great voice and sense of vocalic rhythm.

11. LL Cool J - I'm Bad
12. Public Enemy - Public Enemy No. 1
13. Outkast -Gasoline Dreams
14. Gnarls Barkley - Go Go Gadget Gospel

Sure, they have a song called "Run," but that's a) obvious and b) from their newer album, which I am not fond of at all. I've always liked this for running though, and I actually think that the first time I listened to the album was at the track in Iowa City. Money quote: "If you're wonderin' what it look like, look at me."

15. David Bowie - Little Wonder
16. Prodigy - Smack My Bitch Up

Heh - again one I hadn't listened to in a while and why not? It was between this and "Breathe," but this is much more in your face.

17. Bonde Do Role - Marina do Bairro
18. MIA - Bucky Done Gun
19. Yoko Ono - Yang Yang (down & dirty mix)

I definitely wanted a Yoko remix included, as the Yes, I'm a Witch and Open Your Box collections were common running soundtracks in 2007. I'm pleased with this choice for the beat and I really paid attention to the vocal manipulation. Very cool.

20. No Doubt feat. Prince - Waiting Room

Non running-related comment - interesting that this sounds much more like a Prince song and that the collaboration on Prince's album ("So Far, So Pleased") sounds much more like a No Doubt song. Hmmm.

21. CSS - Move

I've been loving this album, and this song especially. "Better get your move on." Of course, it's about dancing and not running, but as I say - very blurry line in my world.

22. Pop Levi - Wannamama
23. L7 - Fuel My Fire
24. Misfits - Children in Heat
25. Motorhead - Killed by Death
26. Megadeth - Take No Prisoners
27. Body Count - There Goes the Neighborhood

A much needed venture into the rock world. The L7 track is an old favorite. The Motorhead song was PERFECT and made me feel like I could destroy the world. The Megadeth is another classic that hails from my metal roots, and Body Count - Ice-T does rock - doesn't get much harder than that.

28. Danger Mouse - 99 Problems
29. Run DMC - King of Rock

Run DMC is one of my very favorite running accompaniments.

30. Public Enemy - Shut 'Em Down
31. Public Enemy - Fight the Power (Fear of a Black Planet mix)
32. Public Enemy - Night of the Living Baseheads

As is Public Enemy. This was around mile 13. I saw Kate from the sidelines and all I could do was wave a peace sign and shout "FLAVA FLAAAAAAAAAAV!" I don't think she (or anyone) knew what to make of that.

33. Ice Cube & George Clinton - Bop Gun (One Nation)
34. Prince - Black Sweat (Hot Thing FC mix)
35. Prince - Let's Work
36. Prince - Housequake
37. Prince - Sexy Dancer

Yes! First Prince set. I had to settle down here, lest people hear me saying "Sexy Dancer, want your body, want your body" and take it the wrong way.

38. Gwen Stefani - What You Waiting For?
39. Daft Punk - Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger

Infinitely better than the Kanye version, for sure.

40. Justice - D.A.N.C.E.
41. Michael Jackson - Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'
42. The Jacksons feat. Mick Jagger - State of Shock
43. Michael Jackson - Bad

I was talking a walk break for a bit, but then the breakdown to "Wanna be Startin' Somethin'" came on and I had to get moving. Mama se, mama sa, mama cu sa.

44. Nikka Costa - Can'tneverdidnothin'

One of my most motivational songs in many respects.

45. The White Stripes - Blue Orchid
46. Ram Jam - Black Betty
47. Nazareth - Hair of the Dog
48. Van Halen - Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love
49. Van Halen - Hang 'Em High
50. Van Halen - Everybody Wants Some!!
51. Van Halen - Unchained

So begins the second rock set. I recently realized that the Ram Jam song has kind of a White Stripes vibe to it. And I learned from the 20k this May that a little Van Halen goes a long way. I definitely picked up the pace when "Everybody Wants Some!!" came on.

52. Guns n' Roses - You Could Be Mine

Ass kicking. And I was definitely feeling some T-2 action as well.

53. New York Dolls - Human Being
54. Iggy & the Stooges - Raw Power
55. Iggy & the Stooges - Search and Destroy

The Stooges are another of my favorite running pick-me-ups. Search and Destroy, bitches.

56. The Noisettes - Don't Give Up
57. The Beastie Boys - Sabotage
58. Snap! - The Power

I HAD to put Snap! on here of course. And this was well placed in the trajectory of the day, for sure.

59. Santogold - Unstoppable

Love it, but skipped it.

60. LL Cool J - Mama Said Knock You Out

No brainer here. Another point where I found myself muttering the words along the way.

61. The Roots - Here I Come
62. MIA - Fire Fire

Skipped these two.

63. Cee-Lo - Bad Mutha
64. Old Dirty Bastard - You Don't Want to Fuck With Me
65. Run DMC - Can You Rock it Like This

The ODB track has a strangely Rocky-esque bombastic backing. And I already mentioned my running relationship with Run DMC. I can rock it like that.

66. Chromeo - You're So Gangsta

I think this somehow disappeared?

67. James Brown - Living in America

This was it! This was the song that took me home! I've never really liked "Eye of the Tiger" (too schlocky '80s rock) and the Rocky theme is so overplayed. But this from Rocky...III? IV? I always forget - is my favorite song from any Rocky ever. Including Warrant's horrid cover of "We Will Rock You" from Rocky V. What was particularly awesome was that (unplanned, for sure) I crossed the finish line right after JB shouts "PITTSBURGH, PA" in the break. Glory!

68. Prince - Endorphinmachine
69. Prince - Let's Pretend We're Married
70. Madonna - Burning Up (12" version)
71. Prince and the Revolution - Baby, I'm a Star

Didn't get to these, but ah well.

Marathon Musings

All in all, it was a great day. The weather was perfect, I felt (and still feel) surprisingly good. I had no shame in taking a few walk breaks. And it's true what they say - you end up breaking the distance down. "I've only got a 20k to go. I've done that before." "I've only got a 10k to go, I've done that before." I've only got a 5k to go? HA!" And when I hit mile marker 25, I definitely said to myself "Fuck it, let's go all in from here on out." And it was great.

During the training process, so many people said to me "Wow, that's great. I'd love to do that but...." or "I could never do that!" Everybody has their reasons, but the fact that I did this today seriously makes me feel like anybody can do it. If you would have asked me to do a marathon a year ago, I might have said the same thing. But here we are.

Now I'm setting my sights on the Pittsburgh marathon in May. I predict more hills, but better scenery.

I'd like to include a photo, but I won't get those for a few days, and my camera conked out on Kate. But here's a victory shot anyhow.

And now, I shall proceed to indulge in cocktails for the rest of the evening.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Friday Funk

Slammin' song, which a friend recently pointed out is perfect for amping up on a run. To that end, tomorrow I attempt my first marathon. Earlier this week I compiled a 71-track playlist (which I'll share later) to help me along. I hope to not take that long to complete, but just in case! Of course, the verdict is still out on how the headphone ban will be treated at this race. One books, the Baltimore marathon states the USATF mandate, but not sure whether or not it will be enforced. I'm taking it just in case. If not, I think I'll be ok. My battery died about an hour into a 20 mile run a few weeks ago and I was fine. Would have been better with music, but fine nonetheless. And in the event that the ban is enforced, there promises to be a bunch of novelty along the course - "theme" miles (The Babe Ruth Mile, the Preakness Mile, The Italian Mile, The Star Spangled Banner Mile ... ???), a gummy bear station, and I imagine some live music. Regarding the last point, I hope their choices are better than those of the Dam to Dam 20k. I love Johnny Cash, but he really isn't what I want to hear when running. Unless I'm running from THE LAW.

Have a funky weekend, everyone!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Chormeo: DC 10/4

I promised a report, and I hereby make good on that promise, though it may be brief.

As I mentioned earlier, I've been wanting to see these guys basically since I heard Fancy Footwork last year. So in August when I got a myspace message announcing a brief fall tour including DC, I had to jump on it. Especially since they vowed to play all of the Fancy Footwork LP.

I do wish shows would be advertised more accurately. For instance, no mention of an opener on the ticket or the web, but there was an opening DJ. Wasn't really my thing.

The venue was the famous 9:30 club. Cool place, nice layout, expensive drinks (thought that might be more DC than the club). I was told the place had incredible sound. The only thing that keeps me from 100% agreement is that as with so many shows, the vocals were too low in the mix. But other than that, it was pretty great sound wise.

But that's all boring setup. Chromeo finally hit the stage, mannequin legs in tow. They were exactly what I anticipated - well executed, entertaining, silly. I appreciate that Pee only talks/sings through a talkbox. There was also a great deal of crowd participation, which surprised me a bit. Not that Chromeo is a totally unknown band (the show was after all sold out and sponsored by MySpace), I just didn't expect it. Of course, it shouldn't surprise me given that they are such a catchy, funky little combo.

True to their word, they played the entire FF album, although not in sequence. Peppered within the set were selections from their first LP, which I'd never heard previously. [I did give it a listen this week, and it's kind of OK.] Highlights for me were "Bonafide Lovin'" (which included an intro lifted from "Money for Nothing), "Fancy Footwork," "Mama's Boy" and "100%." And "Call Me Up." Ok, maybe there wasn't a particular high point. I love the album to death and they played the whole thing. There was also a brief medley led by Pee (of course on the talkbox) through some Journey songs. Most of you know my distaste for Journey, so this was probably a low point for me. But was Chromeo.

In short, it was $20 well spent. If there was a bit more space and I had a few more drinks, I probably would have danced my ass off. Alas, it was a sold out, packed house and I had to drive back to Baltimore. But Chromeo live definitely gets the Gonzo seal of approval. As our new friend Peter shouted at the band, "THAT'S SOME GOOD GODDAMNED MUSIC, BOYS!"

Friday, October 3, 2008

Friday Funk

Funkateers - apologies for my absence last week. We were in quite the snafu with Verizon. To make up for it, let's do a double shot this week, aight?

I've raved about Chromeo's Fancy Footwork here before, and if I know you personally, I've likely praised the album in person as well. It is absolutely one of my favorite records from 2007, and one of the best getting-ready-to-go-out / party albums I've heard in a while. I'm also totally stoked, because I'll be seeing these chaps at the 9:30 club on Saturday, finally! (I'm sad to be missing The Bird and the Bee in Baltimore, but alas.)

First up is the song that drew me in initially. Here's the highly amusing video for "Bonafide Lovin'" :

And here we have the boys performing "Fancy Footwork" on Jimmy Kimmel Live from this past summer:


I'll post a report on the show in a couple of days. In the meantime, have a great weekend and stay funky!