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March 31, 2005;/h3>

{     Drive By Truckers - 3/26/05 South Gate House Newport, Ky.     }    

My little brother surprised me with tickets to this show last Friday. I've been a fan of the band's most recent albums- 2004's The Dirty South and 2003's Decoration Day, and was happy to finally get a chance to see Drive By Truckers live, especially at a venue so well-suited to their particular take on southern rock. They hit the stage around 10pm, and what followed was damn near a religious experience. The Truckers turned it out for almost 3 hours, soaring through a mix of older material (culled from their recently re-issued first two albums Gangstabilly and Pizza Deliverance) and newer stuff from Southern Rock Opera, Decoration Day and The Dirty South, with a few surprises thrown in. 21 songs in the main set, with an encore of 6 more and a little solo piece by Mr. Patterson Hood in-between. I've never attended a more personable live performance. We might as well have been shit-kickin' on the back porch, passing a bottle of whiskey amongst friends. And that kind of sums up their whole approach- what they do isn't for everybody, but those that feel it are invited to linger, with each song pulling you a bit closer and closer into the fold.

     » (tour dates, merch + more)


March 25, 2005;/h3>

{     Bill Hicks- Satirist, Social Critic, Stand-Up Comedian     }    

billhicks.jpg This is the first official DVD release from the late stand-up comedian Bill Hicks. This contains three classic performances �One Night Stand� from Chicago, �Revelations� from London, and �Relentless� from Montreal " which feature Bills brash sense of humor that earned him comparisons to Lenny Bruce and Sam Kinison. Hicks died in 1994 long before he ever got a chance to rise to stardom and one thing i�ve noticed is that there is alot of talk of Bill�s in-your-face humor, however not enough is mentioned about how he was a thinking-mans comic (a la George Carlin). His abrasive humor shines in a bit where he calls non-smokers "obnoxious, self-righteous slugs" and there is plenty of Bush bashing (Bush senior) as well. In addition, there are also poigniant moments when he talks of how we can end world hunger. Accompanying this disc is a touching 40 minute documentary titled �It�s Just A Wild Ride� which features family and friends (David Letterman, Jay Leno, Eddie Izzard, and Richard Jeni) reflecting on Bill�s life and work. This is a perfect introduction to those who haven�t seen/heard Bill Hicks material. - Written by Jay, read more of his reviews at

     » Listen


{     Prefuse 73 - Surrounded by Silence     }    

People say "Hip Hop is dead." It's actually getting old. Really fucking old. There are certain artists out there in every genre, in every field, that push the limits. They are bold and brave enough to take things and bend the "rules" - they actually twist, distort, and throw things in a blender if need be. Scott Heron ( AKA Prefuse 73 ) wrote this . . . " I know this album runs a bit varied, hard to swallow and without knowing what the hell i'm getting at, it's the first record i've done where I had to listen to it and go; "what the fuck?"- you know? This music is for me, for you, for the next person. i'm trying to connect with you as personally as time allows. . ." I'm actually listening to Prefuse 73's latest album Surrounded by silence as I type this up. There is a country guitar of sorts on one of the tracks and I'm like - how the hell? When I was 13, I asked my dad for my very first cassette tape - Public Enemy's "It takes a nation. . ." I have grown up with Hip Hop since and I can honestly tell you Hip Hop is not dead, it's grown and become things that many people would have never imagined. Surrounded by Silence is the best release of 05' thus far and I think will be a significant album in the history of Hip Hop.

     » Prefuse 73
     » Bleep


March 24, 2005;/h3>

{     Animal Man - Grant Morrison     }    

Before he rescued the JLA and the X-Men from banality or created the post-modern (quasi)super-team The Invisibles, Grant Morrison flexed his writerly muscle penning the first 26 issues of Animal Man for DC Comics. This was back in 1988, and the comics world was just beginning to deal with the impact and creative fallout of Alan Moore's work on The Watchmen, as the industry found itself struggling to cater to a more mature, self-aware and intelligent readership. Morrison proved himself to be worthy of the challenge, crafting one of the most cerebral yet entertaining story arcs in comic book history, utilizing an obscure hero from DC Comic's past- the all but forgotten Animal Man. At first glance, Animal Man is a rather two-dimensional character; he's got the traditionally alliterative secret identity (Buddy Baker), cheap gimmicky powers, a completely shallow origin story, a brightly-colored spandex uniform and a ridiculous Rogue's Gallery of animal-themed arch-enemies (including the deliciously silly Mod Gorilla Boss). Instead of "reinventing" Animal Man, Morrison chose to leave this dated history intact, and to insert the character into the present day. As issue #1 opens, we find Buddy Baker leading a fairly normal suburbanized existence. He's no longer officially a superhero, but works as a Hollywood stuntman, using his powers to eke out a middle-class living for his wife and kids.

     » Animal Man (Book 1)
     » Origin of the Species (Book 2)
     » Deus Ex Machina (Book 3)

By Adam in Reading

March 22, 2005;/h3>

{     Bright Eyes - Digital Ash In a Digital Urn     }    

Yeah, I know it's destined to be outshined by I'm Wide Awake It's Morning, but this other (less critically-adored) Bright Eyes release includes one of the most devastating new-wavish electro-pop tunes I've ever heard- "Arc of Time (Time Code)". It's also chock full of anthemic synth, catchy-ass melodies and all the raw self-concious charm that has become the trademark of frontman Conor Oberst. And it's just bursting at the seams with lucid and literate songwriting; here's a taste from the album's second track "Gold Mine Gutted"- "It was Don Delillo, whiskey neat and a blinking midnight clock. Speakers on a TV stand just a turntable to watch. Only smoke came out our mouths on all those hooded-sweatshirt walks. We were a stroke of luck. We were a gold mine that gutted us...."

Film & TV

March 21, 2005;/h3>

{     Inside Deep Throat     }    

Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato, directors of the quite amazing documentary 'The Eyes of Tammy Faye' and the less-than-amazing feature film 'Party Monster', return to their forte with 'Inside Deep Throat', a documentary piece covering the controversy that surrounded the highly successful and seminal (pun firmly intended) 70's porno film. A taut political climate along with very real (although sometimes misguided) artistic intentions allowed this somewhat mediocre porno film, made for a mere $25,000, to gross 600 million dollars nationally, unleashing a holy shitstorm by the religious right along the way.

     » The Inside Deep Throat Website and Directors Journal.


March 16, 2005;/h3>

{     Inara George - All Rise     }    

There's something effortlessly sophisticated about Inara George's breathy intonation and off-kilter delivery; her debut recording, All Rise, is not only one of the more palatable albums I've heard in a while, but also one of the most refreshing. It carries a certain comfortable familiarity, as though Ms. George had laced her words with some sort of emotional deja vu. This album sounds like how my life feels. Producer Michael Andrews is certainly owed some of the credit for this- as composer of scores for the film Donnie Darko and the TV series Freaks and Geeks, he's mastered the ability of soundtracking life's ups and downs. Andrews sets the perfect stage for Ms. George's vocal talents, smartly threading melodies around her voice, capturing even her softest whispers. This subtle sonic embroidery proves essential to the album's success- it would have been very easy to allow her voice to dominate All Rise, resulting in a tepid Topanga Canyon-style cabaret, or to let the instrumental track blare over the nuances of her delivery. Thankfully, we're spared such heavy-handedness, and the results are sublime.

     » Official Inara George website
     » Everloving Records


March 14, 2005;/h3>

{     Geisha Girls- Buckingham/Regrets single     }    

geisha.jpg Alright, anyone who knows me knows that this is one band that I can never seem to shut up about. In fact I should be on their payroll considering the fact that I am constantly promoting them. Simply put, this is exactly the kind of get-up-and-go soundtrack for your next night on the town. It�s hard to believe they�re not officially signed yet...record labels, are you out there? Geisha Girls, ironically are neither geishas nor girls but rather three guys who happen to be caught in a beautiful time warp of late 70�s, early 80�s Brit-flavored punk rock. Influenced by the likes of Gang of Four, Public Image Limited and Violent Femmes this trio now seems primed to take the world by storm. You can catch them down in Austin for sxsw and later in the month in L.A. at The Derby and The Troubadour. The bad news (for you modern lovers) is that in true punk rock fashion Geisha Girls material is available only on record. The good news is that a cd is in the works. In the meantime you�ll just have to convert this one over if you wanna add this to your ipod playlist. For added fun check out their debut self-titled EP. Catch a taste of the Geisha Girls via their myspace account. - Written by Jay, read more of his reviews at

     » buy


March 9, 2005;/h3>

{     The Perceptionists "Black Dialogue"     }    

Yo. And now, some shit from the ill side. These guys sound like lasers coming through my speakers. In the sphere of the more conscious hiphop, I have been following Lif and Akrobat for some time now as masters of (quite accessible) powerful political activist and spiritually inclined hiphop. And finally, I gots to see them live with Fakts One yesterday night @ Paradiso venue, Amsterdam. I'll tell you man, it was mayhem from track one. An interesting mush of tight, rich, almost lush production tactics, mixage and fearless honesty. Respect to these cats to the spinal core, spreading awareness and discussing universal topics with vision on corporate power in global society, right media information cutoff and artistic complacency. Universal rap soldiers of the true path. Supported by Guru, Humpty Hump and Phonte, their album Black Dialogue drops March 22nd.

     » Def Jux Recordings
     » Mr Lif


{     The Blind Swordsman: Zatoichi     }    

zatoichi.jpg The Zatoichi series is the longest running and most successful series in Japanese history. For this latest installment writer/director Takeshi Kitano enters the role of the blind nomad (orignally played by Shintaro Katsuwho) and enters (in his usual low-key fashion) a remote village controlled by warring gangs. Disguised as a masseur Zatoichi conceals his lightning-swift skills with a sword until absolutely necessary...which in this case is in the opening of the film. When the blind swordsman�s path collides with henchmen from the mob who governs the town, the stage is set for a bloody showdown. Just don�t blink...Zatoichi�s single-stroke moves and the hyper-quick fight scenes might be over before you know it. In the process Zatoichi encounters two geishas who have a hidden agenda of their own and learns of a ronin who is hired to hunt him down. There are well over a dozen Zatoichi films that are equally entertaining, so you're gonna want to go ahead and get started on viewing these real soon. This is like that first hit of will only whet your appitite for the other Zatoichi films. As an added bonus this is sold with the gangland thriller Sonatine. - Written by Jay, read more of his reviews at

     » official site

     » Buy it...


March 8, 2005;/h3>

{     Tom Bihn - "Treason Tag" T-Shirt     }    

Port Angeles, Washington-based Tom Bihn makes some of the finest pieces of portage known to man. Whether we're talking laptop sleeves, backpacks or messenger bags, Tom Bihn products are revered for the quality and workmanship that go into each piece they produce. They've also become known for something else as of late- their biting sense of humor. The graphic on this T-Shirt is a reproduction of the care label that's sewn into several of the company's best-selling bags (see below for a list). It's not so different from any other standard care label really, until you get down to that little bit of French that's tucked onto the end. It reads; "Nous sommes desoles que notre president soit un idiot. Nous navons pas vote pour lui." Translation: "We are sorry that our President is an idiot. We did not vote for him."

     » Tom Bihn "French Label" T-Shirt


March 7, 2005;/h3>

{     Waterfield Bags     }    

So I stumbled upon this Gem of a bag on a recent trip to Minneapolis. A friend had one and I sat there and marveled over it's construction. It's durable, rugged, and has a seat belt like buckle for a closure. I mean seriously - what else can you ask for? Well, turns out that Gary and the crew at SF Bags take the products very, very, very seriously. The times I have called have left me hanging up the phone and saying to myself "wow - that's a shop that cares and has it together." I just ordered one of the slip cases for my wife and her brand spanking new ibook - and yet again - I was bowled over by the construction and quality of the product. If you are in the market for a new bag or slipcase - or for some wonderful customer service - look no further! Waterfield Bags . . . Contributed by Ness

     » Waterfield


March 4, 2005;/h3>

{     The Woes - Coalmine EP     }    

woes.jpgEver since I got ahold of this seven song EP, I just haven't been able to put it down. The Woes are sometimes a solo act, but more often are a three or five piece ensemble with an organ, harp, accordian, banjo, horn, or stand-up bass that all seem to cater to lead singer Osei Essed�s growling vocals ( a la Howlin Wolf or RL Burnside with a dash of Tom Waits). The Woes distinct brand of lowdown country blues will warm your heart and leave you pining for simpler times. The swampy banjo riff in "That's All Goodnight" will keep lingering around in your head long after the song is over. I�m not sure if it�s the subtle horn arrangements (as in �Pity�) or the wailing harp (on �Maureen�), but I suddenly find myself longing to be down in New Orleans with some hush puppies and cheap liqour in hand. The Woes perforn weekly at various NYC venues such as Tonic, Terra Club, Sidewalk Cafe, The Knitting Factory, CB�s 13, or The Apocalypse Lounge. The Coalmine EP is currently available at live shows. They are currently working on their second album. The Woes will have a website up and running soon, in the meantime check 'em out via their MySpace account and get a taste for yourself. - Written by Jay, read more of his reviews at

     » Listen to The Woes

Electronics & Gadgets

March 1, 2005;/h3>

{     iLap by Rain Design, Inc.     }    

The Apple PowerBook line are undeniably aesthetic marvels in the world of notebook computers. At only 1 inch in height and clad in a brushed aluminum these powerful little computers just make other notebooks look plain bad. This industrial chic design comes at a price though. That price is heat. Though it may not be the most impressive processor in the world of computer, the PowerPC G4 still manages to crank up the temperature. When this bad little girl starts working she can dump an uncomfortable amount of heat in your lap. Don't believe me? Come on over to my apartment and watch the extended version of _Return of the King_ in a pair of shorts. You'll be looking for an ice pack long before Frodo comes anywhere near Mount Doom.

     » Rain Design, Inc.

     » Buy it...

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