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Archive for July, 2009

Notes from Vivace’s July Soundtrack

5 Days Dirty: “Sound of Revolution”

Gangi: “Waiting on the Line”

Saint Motel: “Dear Dictator”

The Shakers: “Distress Signal”

Neo Geo: “Can’t Catch Me”

AutoPop: “Depredator” (more…)

CD Collections, Already Dead? Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Do the Denial Shake.

(enjoy the special soundtrack that accompanies this installment of  “Gimme Gimme Schlock Treatment” provided via 8tracks)

We can all agree that thanks to iTunes, iPods, and CDRS , our old CD libraries have become completely irrelevant.  Fact: No one needs cds anymore. At least that is what I’m currently trying to tell myself. I’ve done something today that is forcing me to falsely embrace this mantra. You see, thanks to my recent actions I’m currently in a state of denial.

santa-monica-1Today was the day I decided to take my once untouchable CDs to SecondSpin to trade in for cash. As it already stands my extensive cd collection had already been whittled down to just the bare bones of a music aficionados life blood Long ago I convinced myself that I could part ways with most of my cds after copying them over to my external hard drive…and from there another external hard drive.Yes, two hard drives are a bit excessive but I couldn’t live with myself if I lost all of those mp3s. Finally feeling secure about the backups I was freed to sell back these old cds to Second Spin (for more cds) that I had no emotional attachment to.

So long “…And You Will Know Us From the Trail of the Dead”. We had some good times “Franz Ferdinand”. Hate to see you go, but I love to watch you leave “Rilo Kiley”. Even though I had all of my music (117 gigs) backed up on MULTIPLE hard drives I could never bring myself to sell back certain cds, even if they hadn’t seen the light of a CD player laser since Clinton was in office.

Nevertheless I wanted cash for a new bike so I convinced myself it was time to clean house. I grabbed the remnants of a once proud collection and headed over to SecondSpin. Stepping into the store I felt a bit panicked. As I watched the salesclerk examine each cd for scratches I found my cds taking on a life of their own, making desperate last minute pleas with me. Elvis Costello’s Greatest Hits tried playing the whole “We look alike! Don’t do this” card. I didn’t bite. The Who’s Tommy looked at me as if I murdered Keith Moon and said “If I knew this was going to happen I would have joined Quadrophenia in the trunk of the Prius, all scratched up. At least those discs died with some dignity!The BeatlesThe White Album” looked at me incredulously as if to say “Um, HELLOOO I’m the White Album. You’re joking right?” Afraid not lads. That decision triggered something in me. I was frightened. I realized if I could hand over an album like The White Album for $9 I was capable of truly horrific things.

Years of memories and emotions came flooding in as I watched the register put prices on pieces of my life. These cds with their album art, their cd silk screen, and their cases each with their unique cracks all have specific stories that wouldn’t make sense to their new owners. They’d be lost on everyone but me. How could I abandon them and how could they love anyone else. I was the Daniel Plainview of SecondSpin. At that point I knew what it felt like to give up a child for adoption. True, it wasn’t hard to say goodbye to Me First and the Gimme Gimmes. Sure they hold a special place in my heart, but it’s more for novelty’s sake…like the time I hooked up with that wonky eyed fat girl with the onion breath. It was a great story and everyone had a good laugh but nothing inspiring came of it. The same cannot be said for The Flaming Lips’ The Soft Bulletin…which I turned in for a measly $2. This was an album that re-introduced me to a band that I once thought was a one hit wonder. As it would turn out, I was reacquainted with a band that blew away their “She Don’t Use Jelly” one hit wonder label and this album would become the Pet Sounds of the late 90’s.

Some cds were too scratched up to be returned, others were not returnable as the store’s inventory was already at full capacity and each time I feigned indignation at these “slights”. In reality I was celebrating the salesclerk’s overly judgmental eye. Radiohead’s The Bends was rejected due to cd laser burning from overplaying that I immediately could translate back to when I first got the cd and I played it at least 1000 times in my old “top of the line” Sony cd walkman ( “Look it even comes with a wired remote!” ). That disc was my introduction to Radiohead outside of “Creep”. Even if it was scratch free I’m not sure $3 would be worth kissing goodbye the memory of riding in the backseat of a car studying the liner lyrics to “Black Star” till my eyes hurt.

The parting pains for Interpol, The Raconteurs, and Sigur Ros were there, but not nearly as bad as what I would see waiting for me at the bottom of the return pile: Beck’s Sea ChangeDare I part ways with Beck Hansen’s ode to breakup? What would I look to when I too suffered from crushing personal loss or heartbreak? Hearing it on my iPod simply would not do the trick. This album has always had a strong hold over me and I couldn’t bring myself to part ways with it. I hoped, no PRAYED that it would fail the scratch inspection. It didn’t. Of Course. As I inched closer to see what the return would net the salesclerk compassionately responded “Are you sure you’d like to return this?” I feebly responded with “Um…only if it’s more than $2”. As soon as I got $2 out of my mouth the register responded with, rather curtly I might add, a return price of $2.50. It surely heard me and now was testing my resolve. We both sat there string at Beck’s face, for what seemed like forever until I finally snatched the cd off the counter and said “I’ll keep it I need something to listen to on the way home”. Luckily the salesclerk was unaware that I easily have 80+ ripped cds in my car. It didn’t matter.

To me, nothing would feel more perfect to me than listening to “Already Dead” as I drove home with the dirtiest feeling $80 that I’ve ever put in my wallet. As I sit here looking at my return receipt taunting me like a long paper snake of lament part of me wants to drive back to the store and explain to “Brett” and his hipster moustache that I made a huge mistake. He could keep Maladroit and Chulahoma but not Icky Thump. Surely he’d made mistakes in the past hadn’t he? Could he not understand? Had he no regrets? I feel like Jason Robards in Magnolia pontificating about the pains of our actions. This is the regret that you make. He had nurse Phillip Seymour Hoffman to voice his regrets to. Now all I have is Beck.

So stupid, that fucking mind! Stupid! Jesus Christ! What would I think, did I think for what I’d done?”Earl Patridge (Magnolia)

Already dead to me now”
‘Coz it feels like I’m watching something die”
Beck Hanson (Already Dead)

YOUNG AND RECKLESS IN L.A.: Stories of a Girl without Hesitation – ‘BUY THE TICKET, TAKE THE RIDE!’











I was trying to think of a witty line to describe how much I liked this man. I couldn’t come up with anything. Sometimes words fail to capture a moment you won’t forget , a time, a place or an individual that you hold in the highest of regards. I remember the first time I read Hunter S Thompson and I don’t think I’ve been the same since.

Hunter S Thompson was born on July 18, 1937 and died in 2005. Everyone knows the story of how he died. Like Hemingway before him it was by his own choice. I happen to think this is the best way to go out, on your own terms, but something tells me we might have had the same point of view on a few things.

Hunter was what I refer to as the last of the great dinosaurs that roamed the earth. Beautiful and frightening. A ferocious beast, in the best way possible. He lived a life that couldn’t be replicated if you tried. That’s a good thing, could you imagine the United States chock full of little HS Thompson’s? It would be mayhem and chaos in the streets. I might enjoy it myself but I think the average everyday citizen would be a little frightened, locked tight behind their blockaded front doors.

So much of what is currently going on in the world mystifies me, we live in a nation of post 9/11 fear . It’s just the way it is, as times and politics change. Unless you choose to say, “Fuck the rules, fuck the status quo – I’ll make my own rules ” and Mr Thompson did indeed do that.

I could wax poetic about this for hours on end so I’ll just give you a little of what made him so great and why I think this man was the coolest.

Truth in words.

Imagine such a concept? In today’s shallow pool of silly journalism and Fox 11 news he wrote a slightly exaggerated , eternally entertaining interpretation of the goings on around him Not like the silly tabloid journalism that infiltrates the news and magazines on the stands. He took a piece of American life and revealed it for it’s absurdity. For better or for worse.

If I’d written all the truth I knew for the past ten years, about 600 people – including me – would be rotting in prison cells from Rio to Seattle today. Absolute truth is a very rare and dangerous commodity in the context of professional journalism

The TV business is uglier than most things. It is normally perceived as some kind of cruel and shallow money trench through the heart of the journalism industry, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free and good men die like dogs, for no good

FEAR is not an option.

Yes, he wrote Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. A fantastic read but there is so much more to be learned from the man. So go out, find those things called a bookstore and buy some of his others works. I can tell you without a doubt they are just as entertaining, just as fearless and just as Hunter as the most popular book that everyone knows.

The Edge… there is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over

Don’t be afraid to live and make mistakes.

Hunter was a gentleman from the south .Chivalrous, unruly, brilliant and human. Humans make mistakes, they place their feet in places that sometimes they should not go. But – there is something to be said for those steps. So take them and make them. In the end, it’s still the end.

For every moment of triumph, for every instance of beauty, many souls must be trampled

No man is so foolish but he may sometimes give another good counsel, and no man so wise that he may not easily err if he takes no other counsel than his own. He that is taught only by himself has a fool for a master.”

In honor of Hunter, in the month of his birth, get out from behind your computers, your television, your X-box & live your life. Take a chance & make your own way, whichever way it may be. This life is over before you even know what hit you – so make it good.

I’ll leave you with my two favorite lines from the good Doctor himself:

Buy the ticket, take the ride” and “I feel the same way about Disco as I do about herpes.”

Check out Gonzo in your bookstores!

And while you’re at it, pick yourself up some Hemingway – Hunter would like that!

Ms. Amanda Jones

Interview with Adam Marsland

Adam MarslandAdam Marsland and his Chaos Band have been around in LA for years, churning out intricate, melodic, literate power pop. On August 18, they will unleash on the unsuspecting public a magnum opus of sorts: Go West, a double album containing 23 stylistically varied songs. The album, which traces a loose narrative, is impressive and beautiful and I got an advance copy because I played viola on two songs. Which means I get to 1) snicker smugly about my prodigious connectedness, and 2) perform a journalistic feat which I believe is known as “breaking a story.” That’s right, this is an exclusive.

Having caught the interview bug last week, I decided to sit down with Adam and barrage him with ridiculous questions. Well, I didn’t really “sit down” with him; we were in completely different parts of town at the time. But we were both using computers, so I can pretty safely say that we were both sitting down. In celebration of the doubleness of the album under discussion, this column is over TWICE normal length! (OK, that wasn’t really the plan, but that’s how it worked out.)

ES: First of all, thank you for meeting me in this secret, clandestine location on the Internet, where dreams become reality and reality becomes a waking nightmare from which there is no escape. Now, from the “General Knowledge” category, for $200: How much training and slaving and practicing and heartbreak went into being able to play the various instruments you can play?

AM: It came out of growing up in a small town. There weren’t many musicians and they were into a totally different kind of playing. I remember trying to record my songs when I was 16… I brought in a drummer and he couldn’t understand how to play the part. So I sent him home and did the drums myself. I didn’t really know how to play, but I knew how it should sound, and it did come out better. So that’s how it started. I only had training on piano, the rest I just picked up as needed.

The real difficult part for me was the singing. I had a horrible singing voice, the worst ever. I had years and years of people “suggesting” I should let someone else sing before I was able to pull off a good vocal. I like to say if I can learn to sing, anyone can. I just really wanted to do it, and I just kept with it until I finally got good at it. The most fun thing about GO WEST was being able to lay down great vocals in the space of about a half hour. It was literally the easiest part of the process. I’ve wanted that since I was a kid.

ES: Additionally, because I am the sort of person who likes to know these things, what did you study in school?

AM: I dropped out of college early on. I graduated a few months after my 17th birthday and I was already in the music world and the working world by then. College was a distant third and I just couldn’t be bothered with it.

ES: My sources have revealed to me that you have some sort of dark and mysterious connection to the Beach Boys. Are my sources big fat filthy liars, or is there a grain of truth on the beach of their inane babbling? (more…)

We’ll Always Have Chemistry

chemistry1We’ll always have Chemistry“…a simple and harmless statement.

This was the closing line to a message that a guy friend named “Seth” (name has been changed) in high school had penned to me in one of my high school yearbooks. I think I had at least one class with this guy each year. Chemistry was one of them.

See? Nothing to that statement.

It’s always interesting to see how differently not only guys and girls but different types of people altogether process information and what comes out as a result.

A few weekends ago I went to a wedding with an ex-boyfriend, and so I don’t have to call him “the ex” let’s use his middle name, Andrew. I will rarely if ever, disclose much about my personal life and relationships as I like my privacy and it’s not everyone’s business. Writing about places I go, things I’m involved in, or past and current adventures with friends is fine but the rest is pretty much off limits.

However, since this relationship is in the past, the relationship ended amicably, and he is ok with this I’ll share since I think people can relate

After deciding that we’d go together to this wedding, (most of the people who were to be at this wedding were previously mutual friends) I reluctantly agreed to drive there together as well. We spent most of the drive to the wedding location filling each other in on what we’re currently up to, about who we still talk to, and laughing at the people who thought we were back together just because we were going to this wedding together. Although, I don’t keep my ex-boyfriends around in my daily life we are all still on good terms. So if I run into any of them ever (which never happens) it’s fine, I don’t date jerks. As with any old friend, the conversation turned reminiscent.

When we were together, Andrew had a friend who was in a relationship with a super jealous girl where they seemed to be arguing or about to start arguing anytime we saw them. We had to be around this a lot as my then boyfriend and his friend were involved in a project together and this situation was a constant issue for everyone involved. Everyone was sick of it. This girl seemed to be convinced that every girl was after her boyfriend, which was really NOT the case. I’m sure you know the type.

Anyhow, I had inquired about his friend and if he still talked to him and talking about them made us go back to us and the subject of fighting/arguing. We actually rarely argued, so it took us a minute or two to actually remember our own biggest fight. We both started laughing once we remembered it at almost the same time. It was that simple statement, “We’ll always have Chemistry,” that caused the argument by being so hugely misconstrued.

There are numerous other messages in the yearbook, that a boyfriend might’ve or should’ve been more concerned with, yet he was fixated on that one. He asked who Seth was, and I responded by saying something like “Oh he was this guy I had a bunch of classes with…totally super smart sweet guy,” and continued on to say, “Junior year we had a math class together, and he made this comic book of me and three other girls [I think I still have this at my parent's home somewhere with all of the yearbooks and old photos] that were in the same math groups all of the time. It was so funny [and it was funny!].” (more…)

An ‘Unlit’ Saturday


all photos by Andrea Carroll courtesy of Robotanists

Unlit 1 by Andrea CarrollUnlit was a somewhat exclusive traveling night time house party started by British singer/songwriter Jont that I was lucky enough to attend a couple of times back in 2005 when I’d first moved to LA, before it’s lengthy hiatus set in. Since the parties featured live acoustic musical performances, I would imagine that it was thought best to keep the guest list to a minimum and therefore only invite core supporters of the movement to ensure that they wouldn’t be shut down. These parties have taken place not only here in the states, but also regularly occur in London, England where Jont spends much of his time.

Last Saturday Lady Di and I went to a daytime installment of Unlit.

When I got the invite, I was glad to see it coming back and even though I had been under the weather I knew I had to make it. Most of you know I am a strong supporter of creators in any of the arts collaborating with their peers and building their own communities that offer support to each other. Communities of this sort serve as incubators to great talent and sadly there are never enough of them.

The return took place poolside at the home of Tony Berg in Brentwood, who graciously lent his home to the event. People sat around the pool drinking, mingling, playing catch up, and enjoying the special acoustic performances as well as dj-ing by friend Jon Hershfield ( Jon credits the original Unlit parties as being “where he learned to dj from the closet of Jont’s apartment.

Unlit Jon H by Andrea Carroll

Unlit 2 by Andrea Carroll

Unlit poolside 2 by Andrea Carroll


(click on images to enlarge)




Jont and Jon Hershfield alternated mcing/hosting duties saying a few kind words about each artist (which included Jont, Robotanists, Marvelous Toy, and Jay Matsueda, among many other guest appearances) prior to their performances.

Unlit Robotanists by Andrea Carroll

The great thing about shows like Unlit, where the artists are forced to perform completely stripped down versions of their songs, is that true talent is easily identified. It is always great to see bands like our old friends in the Robotanists translate over well acoustically (which is not always the case with bands that have such a full live musical sound when plugged in). However, Lead singer Sarah Ellquist had no problem projecting her voice to the audience.

This was Lady Di’s first Unlit, and I think she came away with the same appreciation for it as I had after the first time I’d attended one almost 4 years ago.

Cheers to many more Unlits!

Bloomfest 1Bloomfest 2Robotanists will be performing Saturday at BLOOMFEST  (716 Traction Avenue, LA 90013 ), which will feature 14-Live Bands, Art , Films, Beer,  Etc. FREE ADMISSION