June 29, 2006

Thoughts and Prayers

Thoughts and prayers go out to Lamar Odom and his family tonight.

June 27, 2006

New Music Tuesday: Easy Listening

A bit of guilty pleasure of mine, only because I think these guys are really popular with the little girls, but Dashboard Confessional are all over my iTunes music library. Their 2003 effort A Mark, a Mission, a Brand, a Scar has some great power pop rock on it. They're one of those bands who have some pretty famous fans, but still haven't registered their own fame fully yet. All it took for me to buy the CD was standing at a listening station in the Tower Records in Dublin a few Christmases ago when I heard the opening track "Hands Down" I was already putting the CD in a stack of purchases. Lots of people including myself have been waiting anxiously for another album...let me tell you, the wait is over. Today they released Dusk and Summer and it's pretty good. If you're looking for a change of pace or a fun summer CD, here's your chance. Did I mention Daniel Lanois produced Dusk? If you're looking for a track or two to get warmed up to them, I recommend snagging "Hands Down," "So Long, So Long" (which features Adam Duritz from Counting Crows), "Ghost of a Good Thing," "Vindicated" (from Spider-Man 2) and while you're at it, you might as well pick up the MTV2 Album Covers album where they play a few tunes from R.E.M.'s Automatic for the People featuring a guest appearance from Michael Stipe and then Stipe "covers" "Hands Down" with help from Dashboard.
Grant Lee Phillips also released a CD of 80's covers called Nineteeneighties. I haven't had a chance to listen to it, but I like me some Grant Lee and some of the songs he's done are pretty epic MKinMotion 80's songs. You owe it to Grant Lee if you only know him for his appearances on Gilmore Girls, which I don't know from experience but rather his bio I just brushed up on. Check out anything from Grant Lee Buffalo, but I will recommend anything from Mighty Joe Moon and Jubilee, his solo Virginia Creeper is also excellent.

Triangulation Trifecta

I had three people link to me today in posts. In return for some bonus traffic from them, I in turn refer you to them.

An old friend, Erik is looking for some help with a childhood memory of animal trading cards. I couldn't resist an old-school WWF reference. Welcome friends of Sath who are not in turn friends of mine. I have to exploit Erik's MustacheMarch photo, it looks like it should be hanging in a post office in Clackamas County.
One of my favorite ladies on the planet, KRex across the pond, is busy with her job...and if you knew exactly what she did and who she does it for, you might know why she's busy these days. In lieu of her busyness, she directed people to my blog to check out the YouTube of Shining. I welcome you from across the pond, from Seattle, and from around the world. K-Rex, if your hawaii pictures hadn't been lost when I lost my hard drive, you might see yourself bikini clad right here, instead I will steal your papparazzi photo.

My Fort Wayne post caught the attention of Mitch Harper a blogger who spends his blogging time documenting all there is about Fort Wayne, Indiana. As I said to him in a reply to an email, I've been to Indianapolis, to South Bend, to Muncie, to Upland, even to Kokomo and Gas City, I've crossed his state via the 80 and the 64, but have yet to visit Fort Wayne. Maybe it will get a pushpin for Project: MKinMotion.

Speaking of Project: MKinMotion, feel free to make donations via the paypal button or by purchasing iPods or music from iTunes or Amazon.

Speaking of Google traffic, I feel sorry for the people who've stopped by over the past week or so that put "Superman Returns" into Google and found my post about Albert Pujols.

For those of you concerned, I've been working steady 8-5 at a job that doesn't allow me to even check email throughout the day, so my time to post is limited throughout the week, though I will be putting together a New Music Tuesday if I can muster the energy.

June 26, 2006

Fort Wayne, Indiana....Internet Capitol of the World

I know if you're subscribed with an RSS feed or finding this via a search engine, you're looking to a link about Fort Wayne. To those of you, I'm sorry. Instead, I'm just going to let you know that about 12% of the traffic to my blog the last few days has been from Fort Wayne. You might ask yourself, does he know someone in Fort Wayne? The answer is no. Did Springsteen play Fort Wayne recently? Not that I'm aware of? Why so popular in Fort Wayne? Well, for all I know not a single person from Ft. Wayne has been to my blog in the last few days, however, I've had hits from all over the country that are registering from Ft. Wayne. How do I know they're not from Fort Wayne other than the fact I don't know anyone that lives there? Because they have ip addresses like or.comcast.net or ga.comcast.net or gci.net or ptldor.dsl-w.verizon.net. I'd love to think I was that popular anywhere, but I guess I'm spread out as always.

Monday: YouTube of the Week

June 24, 2006

Album of the Week: The American Experience

The 1980's was a rough time for a lot of legends. Neil Young, Bob Dylan, and Paul McCartney not coincidentally all in the top of most people's lists of legends all had a pretty hard time with the 80's.
One artist who didn't have the same bad luck in the 80's was Bruce Springsteen. Born to Run made Springsteen a legend, Born in the USA made him a god. The Boss released 3 albums between 1982 and 1987 that showcase some of his greatest songwriting and despite the 80's happening, he manages to still relate to the common man, the rejected man, the lonely man, the 80's man. Bruce Springsteen is a storyteller who happens to tell his stories in song. If someone were to come up to me and say, "I understand Bruce Springsteen is supposed to be incredible, but I don't know any of his stuff, where do I start?" I would tell them to go out and buy 5 albums. 3 of the albums would be the albums of the 80's. Whether Bruce is with the highly produced E-Street band or sitting in a bathroom with a guitar, harmonica and microphone, the sound is there, the lyrics are there. You don't have to agree with his portrait of America or his politics, but from his live shows to his studio sessions, you'll have to give him your respect.
So here, whether you are a diehard fan of the Boss, a casual listener, or the person I described, here are 5 albums that need to be in your collection. They embody the American experience over the past 100 years. Bruce may be a pretty normal guy, but he writes for the true common man. In the words of Bono,
"Bruce is a very unusual rock star, really, isn't he? I mean, he hasn't done the things most rock stars do. He got rich and famous, but never embarrassed himself with all that success, did he? No drug busts, no blood changes in Switzerland. Even more remarkable, no golfing! No bad hair period, even in the '80s. No wearing of dresses in videos. No embarrassing movie roles, no pet snakes, no monkeys. No exhibitions of his own paintings. No public brawling or setting himself on fire on the weekend...They call him the Boss. Well that's a bunch of crap. He's not the boss. He works FOR us. More than a boss, he's the owner, because more than anyone else, Bruce Springsteen owns America's heart."

1975's Born to Run This album is responsible for putting Springsteen and New Jersey on the map of rock and roll. The album contains some of the classics and some lesser known gems.
Must haves within the must have: Thunder Road, Born to Run, Jungleland

1982's NebraskaA stripped down album that consists mostly of noises the Boss could make on his own in his home. The E-Street band joined him in the studio to record it, and they decided to go with the demos Bruce had recorded on his own.
Must haves within the must have: Atlantic City, Used Cars, Nebraska

1984's Born in the U.S.A. Pretty much the closest thing to pop music Bruce did in the 80's. You know the words, or at least think you know the words to the title track, but mine the record a little deeper and you'll find the true gold.
Must haves within the must have: My Hometown, Downbound Train, I'm on Fire, No Surrender

1987's Tunnel of LoveThe follow-up to Born in the USA, including the E-Street band again, this album is thicker than it first appears. If you only remember the title track, give it another listen.
Must haves within the must have: Brilliant Disguise, Tunnel of Love, One Step Up

1995's The Ghost of Tom JoadAnother album that featured Springsteen stripped down, he visits the early 20th century piece of the American Experience with immigration and emigration.
Must haves within the must have: Across the Border, The Ghost of Tom Joad, Dry Lightning

And if you're in a spending mood, I would suggest you go ahead and pick up Devils & Dust, The River, Darkness on the Edge of Town and The Wild, The Innocent and the E Street Shuffle.

Alcatraz of the Rockies

I've never taken the boat out to Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay. It's on the list of things to do this summer. I was reading an article about Terry Nichols this week and the writer mentioned Supermax, the prison where Nichols is kept. That's a cool name for a prison, but it's not the true name. The Supermax or Florence or ADX Florence is the ultimate in maximum security prisons located in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. It's the home of some pretty bad dudes. Here's a who's who of some of the prisoners held there. Instead of giving you a biography of these guys, I challenge you to google them and see why they are being held in the world's most high security prison. You crimelibrary folks should love this.

Ted Kaczynski
Zacarias Moussaoui
Woody Harrelson's dad
Ramzi Yousef
Omar Abdel-Rahman
Larry Hoover
Richard Reid
Eric Rudolph
Tupac Shakur's stepfather
Matthew Hale
Luis Felipe
Dwight York
Sammy Gravano

Let me know if you find anything interesting about these guys. And in case you were planning your summer vacation and needed a stop in Colorado, here's the application to visit (pdf). I can't imagine a lot of smiling happening in this place.

June 22, 2006

New Music Tuesday: Past Due

The companion CD for the 2005 Austin City Limits festival is available for purchase. As you may remember I went to Austin for this and had a great time. Included on the CD is Jet, Theivery Corporation, Aqualung, The Frames, The Black Crowes, Mike Doughty and others. It was a great time and a great time to relive on CD.
One of my favorite moments of the Austin City Limits festival last September was Keane's set. They have energy, catchy music and led the crowd of hot, tired, dusty people on a roller coaster of sound. I bought Hopes and Fears a couple Christmas' ago down here in California because there was a degree of buzz about it and I hadn't heard that buzz in Alaska. It's a great album and works for many moods. In addition to being featured on the ACL festival CD, they followed up with Under the Iron Sea out this Tuesday. The first single "Is It Any Wonder?" has a lot of similarities to Achtung/Zooropa era U2, which was a great era for the boys. There are plenty of great moments on Iron Sea and it's highly recommended for a summer pick.
Also out Tuesday is a live album from Counting Crows. New Amsterdam was recorded in 2003 when they were touring supporting their Greatest Hits album and they deliver some of the greatest hits in this new live CD. If you've never seen them live or heard one of their live shows, this could be a great place to start.
There was a blitz of people purchasing music with last week's offering from Strays Don't Sleep, I appreciate the support for them as well as the commission that comes my way. I thank you and I offer you this tidbit...Strays Don't Sleep will be playing Late Night with Conan O'Brien. I love me some Conan and some Strays Don't Sleep. The night to stay up or to set your Tivo's or Windows Media Center's or other DVR options for June 28th. Consult your local NBC affiliate for exact times.

And here are your product links.

2005 Austin City Limits Festival (iTunes)
Keane - Under the Iron Sea (iTunes)
Counting Crows - New Amsterdam (iTunes)
and for good measure:
Strays Don't Sleep - Strays Don't Sleep (iTunes)

The New Magic 8 Ball

Per KRex's request, and we know I listen to her by the evidence of the 10 female songwriters post, here's my magic 8 ball listening from this morning. The premise is you flip through your music and answer the following questions with the songs that come up on random. Some fit, others don't. Feel free to play along at home. And by the way, the song that came on after all of this was typed up: "Bullet in the Head" Rage Against the Machine. No one worry, though, see number 1.

1. What is my day going to be like?

“Caught With a Smile on My Face” The Jayhawks

2. How does the world see you?

“Bell Boy” The Who (If this is any indication of how the world views me, I’m collecting tips)

3. Will I have a happy life?

“Monkey” Counting Crows (Monkey is a good answer to any yes or no question, but if 4. I'm stuck in the lonely spiral Adam's whining about, that sucks)

4. What do my friends really think of me?

“Frail and Bedazzled” Smashing Pumpkins

5. Do people secret lust after me?

“Whatever Happened” The Strokes

6. How can I make myself happy?

“The Lone Wolf” Kathleen Edwards

7. What should I do with my life?

Jersey Girl” Tom Waits

8. What am I afraid of?

“God Only Knows” The Beach Boys (I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried)

9. What is my biggest regret?

Meadowlake Street” Ryan Adams & the Cardinals

“I used to be the house that you lived in
Down on Meadowlake Street
When you moved they cut down the maple tree
I carved your name into”

10. What is my biggest extravagance?

“A Million Miles Away” The Plimsouls

11. What is some good advice for me?

“Dreaming in Two Hour Drives” Teitur

12. How will I be remembered?

“Shelter” Ray LaMontagne

13. What should my theme song be?

“Bad Medicine” Bon Jovi

“Your love is like bad medicine,

Bad medicine is what I need”

14. What song will play at my funeral?

“Double Cure” Vigilantes of Love

15. If I could change one thing about my life, what would it be?

“Should I Stay or Should I Go?” The Clash

June 21, 2006


In all the installations I've had to do since my hard drive meltdown, I forgot about the peice of software from Last.fm that enables my listening to be documented here. I just installed it, so I'm back on line with it.


I feel overdue for a post. I know I owe an Album of the Week from Sunday and a New Music Tuesday, and I will get to those...Promise. And I have a songwriter article pretty much written to post later too. To kick off the day, the summer solstice, the longest day of the year, I will give you another 18 tracks of randomness from my iTunes...If you don't remember the last time I did this I click random and tell you the first 18 songs that the random robot chooses from my ever expanding 66 days of music...so here we go, and remember no editing, so I can't be held responsible if horrible songs show up.

1. Mint Royale - From Rusholme With Love
2. Neilson Hubbard - Paper Star (live)
3. Jose Gonzales - Save Your Day
4. Uncle Tupelo - Nothing
5. Death Cab for Cutie - The Sound of Settling (live)
6. Claude Shalle - Santa Maria (Del Buen Ayre) --You'd recognize it if you heard it.
7. Red Hot Chili Peppers - I Could Have Lied
8. Oasis - The Girl in the Dirty Shirt
9. Turin Brakes - Rain City
10. Notorious BIG - Big Poppa -- I put this on someone's CD, but I can't remember who or why.
11. Loverboy - Working for the Weekend
12. Led Zeppelin - The Ocean
13. The Beatles - Three Cool Cats
14. Boz Scaggs - Payday -- I can't put my finger on Boz's genre, but I know it's smooth.
15. The Ramones - Rockaway Beach
16. John Mayer - Back to You (live)
17. Live - Mother Earth is a Vicious Crowd
18. Ryan Adams - Chin Up, Cheer Up

And that's 1.1 hours.

June 18, 2006

Who is older?

Here's a quick game for a Sunday evening or Monday morning depending on when you read through blogs. I will give you two celebrities and you have to answer who is older. I know in this day and age of Google and IMDB, this shouldn't be tough, so I'm including links to the answers, I'm just looking to stimulate your brain into thinking about it. Is your first instinct correct?

Nicolas Cage or Tom Cruise?

Ozzy Osbourne or Kenny Loggins?

Barry Williams (TV's Greg Brady) or Terry "Hulk" Hogan?

Dave Grohl (of the Foo Fighters) or Nick Lachey?

Brett Favre or John Smoltz?

Renee Zellweger or Winona Ryder?

Johnny Depp or John Cusack?

Matthew Fox (Jack Sheppard on Lost) or Colin Farrell?

Andy Milonakis or Ashton Kutcher?

Will Farrell or Will Smith?

Jennifer Aniston or Angelina Jolie?

So how did you do?

June 17, 2006

Quotable Crowe, Part Two

Critics did not like Elizabethtown, but I knew I wanted to see it from the first trailer I saw. That was probably close to a year ago. Maybe a trailer before "War of the Worlds." As I mentioned in the previous post, I'm a big fan of Cameron Crowe's work. Yes, even maybe especially, Jerry Maguire. So last night I finally watched Elizabethtown to complete the Cameron Crowe library. I can't tell you how much I enjoyed it on so many levels. You may have seen it and not liked it, but here I give you 10 reasons to like it.

10. Orlando Bloom plays a floppy haired kid from Oregon. Great helicopter shots of Portland.

9. Cousin Jesse - "I teach my kids about the things that really matter. I will teach them about Abraham Lincoln and Ronnie Van Zandt, because they are equally important in my house."

8. The Soundtrack is fantastic. Ryan Adams at the right times, My Morning Jacket as Ruckus, Tom Petty, Elton John and some original songs to the film also. TMF said it was, "only a extended mix tape with moving pictures." He used it as a derogatory comment, but I think it's a well made music video.

7. "Rusty's Learning to Listen" video tape.

6. Ashton Kutcher who was originally cast as Drew dropped out early in filming.

5. Susan Sarandon. I've had a long term problem with Susan Sarandon and haven't liked her in movies with few exceptions (Moonlight Mile and Bull Durham), but in this movie I liked her character and I think she did a good job being uncomfortable and in grief.

4. Chuck Hasboro or Chuck and Cindy.

3. Cameron Crowe must have infiltrated my hard drive before it fried last week because I think he stole some of my ideas. At least now I don't have to re-write a couple of my stories.

2. The Ultimate Road Trip.

1. Claire Colburn. Kirsten Dunst's character is a quirky southern girl that has great conversation and makes the ultimate road trip compilation. You're forced to fall in love with her.

So it's just your basic Oregon boy meets southern girl in random serendipitous circumstances surrounded by great scenery, characters and music. Nothing I can relate to at all. I highly recommend this movie. If you've seen it already, isn't it time to give it another chance?

June 16, 2006

Quotable Crowe

I stumbled onto a video montage of Cameron Crowe's films on the internet yesterday and it got me thinking about this guy's work. With Say Anything, Singles, Jerry Maguire, Almost Famous, Vanilla Sky and the yet to be seen Elizabethtown, he's got a pretty good set of movies. He also wrote Fast Times at Ridgemount High, which may make up for Vanilla Sky being a remake. He won the Oscar for Original Screenplay for Almost Famous. There are two things that are clear when thinking through his work. First, his movies are quotable. Secondly he has some great soundtracks, not just the CD's that come out with the movie poster as the cover, but the songs he uses in the films all seem to be part of the fabric of the film. Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes," Springsteen's "Secret Garden," Elton John's "Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters" all are significant songs away from these movies, but who can hear "In Your Eyes" and not think of Lloyd Dobler holding up the stereo? So, here's the challenge, post a comment with a quote from a Cameron Crowe movie to prove my point.

June 15, 2006

New Music Tuesday: Timewarp

So, not only is it Thursday, but I also thought that Tuesday was the 20th; hence the timewarp. Thinking it was the 20th had me overlooking one of the highest anticipated albums of my year. For at least a year, I've been hearing tracks leaked from Strays Don't Sleep's self titled album. If you remember I wrote a lot about Strays when I had the chance to see them open for Josh Rouse here and here (There are also some tracks available on their myspace page). I can't say enough about these songs. They're beautiful, they're heart wrenching, they're well written, well performed and well produced. Do yourself a favor and spend the $10.89. I purchased the tracks I didn't already have with some leftover credits in the Music Store.

Strays Don't Sleep - Strays Don't Sleep (iTunes)

Top Ten Thursday: Female Songwriters

I dedicate this post to K-Rex across the pond. I found in my research, that many female songwriters collaborate in their songwriting. I'm not sure the degree to which this collaboration goes, but other than Sarah McLachlan these are all women who write their own songs. Some great stuff. Pictures added by request.

10.Tori AmosFor proof see: "Silent All These Years," "Cornflake Girl," "Sleeps With Butterflies"

9. Fiona Apple For proof see: "Criminal," "O Sailor," "Slow Like Honey," and "Fast as You Can"

8. Natalie Merchant For proof see: "Carnival," "I'm Not the Man" [10,000 Maniacs], "Wonder"

7. Lisa Loeb For proof see: "Stay (I Missed You)," "Falling in Love," "Truthfully," and "Do You Sleep?"

6. Lucinda Williams (yes, I'm in the audience somewhere in this photo) For proof see: "Drunken Angel," "Righteously," "Passionate Kisses" and "Changed the Locks"

5. Victoria WilliamsFor proof see: "Crazy Mary," "Opelousas," "Lights," "Why Look at the Moon."

4. Sarah McLachlanFor proof see: "Building a Mystery," "Fumbling Towards Ecstasy," "Good Enough," "World on Fire." (She is a collaborative songwriter with Pierre Marchand)

3. Carole King
For proof see: "I Feel the Earth Move", "You Make Me Feel (Like a Natural Woman)", "Will You Love Me Tomorrow?", and the James Taylor popularized "You've Got A Friend"

2. Aimee MannFor proof see: "Wise Up," "Goodbye To You," "Voices Carry," ['Til Tuesday] and "Pavlov's Bell."

1. Joni MitchellFor proof see: "Big Yellow Taxi," "Both Sides Now," "Blue," and "California."

Songwriters: Pt. 2

I got a quite lengthy email this morning from TMF both commending me and chiding me for my list of songwriters. He suggested a few that I left off of the list. What I've decided to do is focus some attention on the craft of songwriting by focusing on a few people from time to time. Some of you remember my series of posts on great album covers, this will be in a similar vein. If you have suggestions of songwriters to feature, send an email to me at mkinmotion[at]gmail[dot]com.

According to TMF, left off the list:

Johnny Cash (sorry man, it's best living songwriters, didn't you get the news in Valdez?)
Matthew Ryan
Daniel Lanois
Mark Olson
Lucinda Williams
Terry Scott Taylor

I think that phrase I used before "You can't get much better than _______" keeps resonating with a lot of my music. I'll put together the first installment of featured songwriter and see how it goes. I'm also intrigued by songwriting teams ala the Johns from TMBG, Olson/Louris in the 90s, Farrar/Tweedy, Sarah McLachlan/Pierre Marchand, etc. I'm gonna see if I can get some real responses from people who are actually on these lists to contribute. It's an overlooked art and the craft deserves some attention.

June 14, 2006


Before there was the Office (U.S.), there was the Office (UK); Before there was the Office UK, there was Office Space. Believe it or not before Office Space, people said phrases exploited by these movies regularly without doing it in a way to reference a movie or TV show. People actually used to say "Workin' hard or hardly workin'?" or "Someone's got a case of the Mondays" or anything Blumberg says without saying it as a joke. The cover sheet on the TPS report, and the guy who claims someone took his stapler, and the paper jamming fax machine, and the few minutes of actual work that one can get away with accomplishing in an 8-10 hour shift are all based on realities. Now if someone says they have to go meet with the Bobs or that they're gonna have to play catch up most likely they're referencing the movie. What I'm looking for is a little audience participation...what are the phrases in offices today that are the cliches and comedy bits of tomorrow. I will even start you off with this gem that drives me crazy:

"But at the end of the day, ___________"

So put them in the comments and say you remember when people actually said it in seriousness and not as a joke.

June 13, 2006


I've expressed my admiration for the craft of songwriting before, so it should come as no surprise that I'm enthralled with the feature in the latest Paste Magazine. They decided to chronicle the 100 greatest living songwriters. Some surprises, some obvious choices. Though 100 is a big number there are still some brilliant songwriters who haven't cracked that list yet. Unfortunately in the nature of life, this list is organic in that there will constantly be people leaving it, opening up spots for new artists. I've read a lot about songwriting. Songwriting and music production are two things that fascinate me to no end. I think it's the writer in me that finds song crafting so interesting. To some people the first thing they think of when they hear the term songwriting is lyrics. Others don't even hear the lyrics until the composition of the music sets in. I see both sides. In some of the articles I've read, I've been amazed at how some legendary songwriters say it's all about the lyrics. I saw his point at the time, after all, putting G, C, F and B flat together has been done for years, and how many melodies can there be? Perhaps it really is the lyric that keeps your attention beyond saying, "This sounds just like ______." Yeah, yeah, I know the music goes deeper than the chord progression and the vocal melody. There are layers, there's the rhythm section's contribution...there's a lot to it. That is why I'm so fascinated. That being said, here's a tidbit from Paste's list...the top 15.

1. Bob Dylan
2. Neil Young
3. Bruce Springsteen
4. Tom Waits
5. Paul McCartney
6. Leonard Cohen
7. Brian Wilson
8. Elvis Costello
9. Joni Mitchell
11.Randy Newman
12.The Rolling Stones
13.Paul Simon
14.Stevie Wonder
15.Willie Nelson

Personally, though I might agree with the list of 100 in it's entirety, I don't agree with the order. Bob Dylan is at the top of my list, but I'd put Springsteen at 2 and McCartney at 3. Paul Simon would jump up.

I know you're all wondering about others on the list so here's a few highlights.

U2 is 18
Van Morrison is 20
David Bowie is 16
Jeff Tweedy is 24
REM is 26
Radiohead 27
Tom Petty 29
Beck 36
Kristofferson 38
Ryan Adams 43
Jackson Browne 45
Sufjan 47
Sting 62
Bill Mallonee 65
Michael Jackson 72
Pink Floyd 80
They Might Be Giants 84
Drive-By Truckers 91
Joseph Arthur 93
Josh Ritter 97
T Bone Burnett 100

As I read through the magazine, a phrase keeps coming out of my head..."You can't get much better than ______." When you think about songwriting and what some of these people have put together, it's pretty unbelievable.

So here's MKinMotion's top 20 with all my biases and personal feelings infused.

20. Kris Kristofferson
19. They Might Be Giants
18. Roger Waters
17. Vedder/Gossard
16. Coldplay
15. Radiohead
14. David Bowie
13. Jackson Browne
12. Tom Waits
11. R.E.M.
10. Adam Duritz
9. Jeff Tweedy
8. Ryan Adams
7. Van Morrison
6. Neil Young
5. U2
4. Paul Simon
3. Paul McCartney
2. Bruce Springsteen
1. Bob Dylan

Send in your own list if you want to MKinMotion[at]gmail[dot]com. I'll be putting together a Wednesday Q&A for tomorrow, so if you want to be included, get your questions in today.

What Ever Happened To New Music Tuesday?

I got this question in an email from a friend. I answered it in a reply, but I will answer it for all of you, as well.

"There were a few weeks in a row where I couldn't get excited about any of the new releases, so I held of on promoting something that I wasn't excited about, call it blogtegrity. Perhaps when a great album comes out, I'll feature it on a Tuesday post, but until then, I'm out of the rhythm of daily posts and weekly release posts."

I will say that I'm very excited about the new Keane album and the new Counting Crows live album. Both are supposedly released today, but neither are available at the iTunes music store, so maybe I've got bad info. Old 97's are also releasing a greatest hits album, but I'm still not sure how I feel about greatest hits albums...let alone greatest hits albums from bands who've only had a few albums.

Well, that's all. Has anyone listened to the summer songs file? If so let me know your thoughts. The way I had to post it because of it's size doesn't let me know at all whether anyone has even touched it.

June 11, 2006

Album of the Week: Röntgen Equivalent Man

Allegedly at some point in the last 25 years, Peter Buck said that he though he and his band had what it took to make one of the top ten albums in rock n' roll history. He also allegedly said that he is R.E.M. Okay a cheap joke, but what can I say? I was listening to an interview of Peter Buck this morning. He's quite a fascinating guy. The interviewer asked him about the quote and asked him how he thought R.E.M. had done on his declaration. It was interesting to hear him say that naturally there are gods, citing the Beach Boys, Beatles, Dylan, James Brown, Miles Davis, but that they've walked with gods and can hold their own in their era. Then he goes on to say that he'd never claim it, even if he thought it was true. Smart man. So if we cancel out the Beatles and Stones, Dylan and Van; then look at the last 30 years or so of music, you have to throw a few R.E.M. songs onto the greatest hits of that time period. Not only have they crafted some brilliant songs, but built incredible albums around those songs. You can't make it through the 80's without Green, the 90's without Out of Time or Automatic for the People. What I find interesting is that you could put 10 people in a room together and just about everyone in there would have a different favorite R.E.M. album. I even met a guy once whose favorite R.E.M. album was New Adventures in Hi-Fi, which upon looking at my collection in iTunes, I only had one song from the album despite having most every other song they've put out. I know some people that love Monster and think that R.E.M. were at their best with pop rock songs like "What's the Frequency Kenneth?". Of course the interview I listened to made me think of how to come up with a list of the greatest albums of the last 30 or so years, but I'll hold off on that and limit it to a couple from R.E.M. that are guaranteed to make the list.
Of course, I love the first 5 albums from these guys. Murmur, Reckoning, Fables of the Reconstruction, Lifes Rich Pageant and even Dead Letter Office show what it was like to be perhaps the first Southern Alternative Rock band in the 80s. There are very rich portraits of the South mixed with politics and their own struggle to break out of the South. In 1987, they teamed up with producer Scott Litt for the first time and put together Document. Suddenly songs like "One I Love" and "It's the End of the World..." were on the radio all across America. And though I don't discredit their career up until this point, in 1987 R.E.M. had arrived. Soon after Document, they released Eponymous which was a sort of greatest hits album and also the last album they did for IRS records. It was almost as if the combination of meeting Scott Litt, switching labels and providing closure with Eponymous was setting the table for what was to come next.
In late 1988, R.E.M. released Green. Then 1991 saw them release Out of Time, followed by 1992's Automatic for the People and 1994's Monster. A string of 4 albums that any musician would envy in 6 years. Critics and fans have knocks on each of these albums for different reasons: too commercial, too rock-n-roll, too folksy, too this, too that. I happen to hold these 4 albums among some of the best albums to come out in that 6 year period. Still to this day, I'll type R.E.M. into the search box in iTunes and click (with CTRL) these four albums, shuffle and let go for a couple hours, and actually as I wrote that, I built a playlist so I don't have to take those steps. Both musically and lyrically these albums stand both the test of time and the test of MKinMotion music snobbery. For iTunes Music Store or for Amazon, click the appropriate links below.

R.E.M. - Green - 1988
Hit Songs: Stand, Orange Crush
Highly recommended tracks: Turn You Inside-Out, You Are the Everything, Pop Song 89
R.E.M. - Out of Time - 1991
Hit Songs: Losing My Religion, Shiny Happy People, Radio Song
Highly recommended tracks: Low, Country Feedback, Belong, Near Wild Heaven
R.E.M. - Automatic for the People - 1992
Hit Songs: Man on the Moon, Drive, Everybody Hurts
Highly recommended tracks: Try Not To Breathe, Nightswimming, Star Me Kitten
R.E.M. - Monster - 1994
Hit Songs: What's the Frequency Kenneth?, Star 69, Bang and Blame
Highly recommended tracks: Crush with Eyeliner, Strange Currencies, Tongue

And to show tribute to the early years, here's a couple of mp3's of early stuff.

So. Central Rain from Reckoning
Talk About the Passion from Murmur

June 8, 2006

Josh Ritter on Amazon

Want to know how good Josh Ritter is?

Check this out. Not a link to the store, but to their "TV" show.

The Supply and Demand of Parachutes

Summer songs make me think of something else from my Tent Guy days. We had a habit of assigning a CD to be played constantly on repeat for days on end. Recovering the Satellites from Counting Crows played for most of a week in Wisconsin. Wilco’s Being There played for several days in Virginia. On a solo drive from Chicago to Portland, I bought three CDs in a Target in Minneapolis and listened to those three CDs over and over again for the 2500 miles. Coldplay’s Parachutes, Bon Jovi’s Cross Road, and Weezer’s green self-titled album were in that rotation. That summer opened my ears to Travis and Ryan Adams and re-opened my ears to Wilco and The Jayhawks. When I left that job in mid-show (yeah, we called them shows), I left Parachutes in the truck. Riche listened to it over and over without having any clue who it was…remember this was early in the Coldplay career. Coldplay has since become a staple to summer songs, roadtrips and air travel. They got me to Austin after all. In the summer of 2003 there was about a month where all I listened to was Hard Candy from Counting Crows and Ryan Adam’s Gold. They’re connected by the relationship of Adam Duritz and Ryan Adams. Adam sings on "Answering Bell" and Ryan sings on a song and co-wrote a song on Hard Candy. Lots and lots of fishing trips had those CDs running on repeat. Summer of 2004 saw Matthew Ryan as mentioned in a previous post. Summer of 2005 was my first summer with an iPod, and boy does it make a difference. I was thinking about it yesterday as I listened to Stadium Arcadium. I keep my iPod on shuffle because I listen mainly to playlists I’ve set up, so when I want to listen to an album, I don’t hear it in order any more. Thinking back on those days of Parachutes, Hard Candy and Being There, I think I’m missing out on something by listening to a shuffle. Part of it might be the lack of complete albums in my collection these days. Of course I have all the older stuff in its entirety (by old stuff I mean anything before the complete digital age of 2004), but these days if I buy music, I rarely buy a whole album, but rather find the tracks on iTunes (or other means) and don’t waste time or money on the full album. There’s a goal for this summer, fill in the blanks on albums. Anyway, so this is a playlist of summer songs…not necessarily my summer, nor this summer, but summer. I’ve mashed them together into a one track file that’s you’re encouraged to download and load onto your iPod. It will also fit onto one CD, so if you haven’t joined the iPod revolution but still have the technology to burn a CD, you’re set with Summer Songs Volume 1. Does Volume 1 suggest there will be a Volume 2? We’ll see. There are countless Summer Songs so I can imagine making more, but sharing them in this way, I’m not sure. Maybe this is the beginning of the MKinMotion podcast revolution. Maybe I’ll record some copy in between songs in the future. Maybe I’ll get musicians to talk about their songs or songwriting behind the song. Maybe I’ll get friends to share their songs. The possibilities are there…I guess it’s more up to you than anything. Good ol’ supply and demand: You provide the demand, I’ll supply.

"Summer Songs: Volume 1" playlist (download the file) [right-click and chose "save as"]

Links below are to iTunes Music Store

1988 – George Michael – Faith
I spent two weeks in the summer of 1988 traveling around the country with my family. I had just finished the 7th grade. This song made plenty of appearances in the tape player.

1989 – Aerosmith – What it Takes
I remember counting the “Let it Go’s” at the end of the song. My concentration no longer lets me keep track of them.

1990 – World Party – Put The Message in the Box
Lots of great music came out of the late 80’s early nineties, but World Party’s Goodbye Jumbo was one of the first “Alternative” albums I bought.

1991 – Red Hot Chili Peppers – Taste the Pain
The summer of ‘91 was spent enjoying 95-cent-a-gallon gasoline in my 1979 Subaru wagon. Riche and I enjoyed lots of Super Big Gulps, Chilitos and Mother’s Milk.

1992 – Guns ‘n Roses – Yesterdays
The last great summer of high school had the BLB running in lots of different directions, but our first summer together, and how can this song not bring back fond memories of whatever you were doing in the summer of 1992.

1993 – U2 – Stay (Faraway, So Close!)
Still one of the greatest songs ever written. The summer of 1993 had lots of U2 fans scratching their heads at Zooropa. Many consider it a throwaway album but I think it still gets tracks onto the MKinMotion greatest U2 songs.

1994 – Johnny Cash – Drive On
I spent about a month with The Mad Fishicist and his family in Los Angeles in the summer of 1994. One of the greatest camping trips of my life took The Mad Fishicist, MKinMotion, The Chindo and characters from their stories in the flesh to the famous Hunter Mountain in the Mojave Desert. Good times were had by all, guaranteed. Johnny Cash was making a comeback with us, the young generation, and warming the heart of The Mad Fishicist’s uncle.

1995 – Counting Crows – Sullivan Street
I don’t remember much about the summer of 1995, but I do remember listening to August and Everything After plenty.

1996 – The Cranberries – Dreams
This is one of the great summer songs for a few years, but a special time during the summer of 1996. It makes me think how strange it was that I was ever that young.

1997 – Third Eye Blind – Good For You
Plenty of guitar for those of you that started to think I was going soft.

1998 – The Sundays – Summertime
An anthem for making iced lattes and Screamer shakes.

1999 – LEN – Steal My Sunshine
In another life, this was my theme, it’s still catchy and bright 7 years after the fact.

2000 – The Jayhawks – I’m Gonna Make You Love Me
The summer of 2000 is a bit of a blur now. I do remember The Jayhawks putting out Smile, and you better believe it did the trick to make me smile.

2001 – Wilco – Monday
That summer of 2001 on the road definitely would have developed a great left arm tan, if it weren’t for all the work done in the sunshine. A great song on a great album by a great album.

2002 – Radiohead – The Bends (No iTunes)
Summer of 2002 involved a 3000 mile drive from Portland, Oregon to Anchorage, Alaska and all the weight that it carried. Without going too deep, this song stayed in the 6 disc changer of the Jetta the whole way up there.

2003 – Counting Crows – Holiday in Spain
Hard Candy needed a store bought copy and a burned copy for me in 2003. I think I wore them both out. This song summed it all up at the time, now it just makes me wish I were at Costa del Sol.

2004 – Matthew Ryan – Fathers & Compromise
Not available for your purchase, but definitely a beautiful song. I’m not sure I’ve scratched the surface of what this song is all about. This is a live track taken from his 2004 tour that I serendipitously saw in Portland while on vacation. Such a talent!

2005 – David Byrne – Glass, Concrete & Stone
A fun song that forces you to move at least some part of your body. Has a lot of meaning for my summer of 2005. Everything’s possible when you’re an animal.

2006 – Guillemots – Trains to Brazil
A great song from a band about to explode. Maybe this year’s Arcade Fire.

Apple iTunes

Dress Red - Red Dress

Today is a day that’s taking me back to a few jobs I’ve had over the last few years. First off, I’m in Mountain View…no Alaska, I’m not down the street, I’m in the heart of the Silicon Valley. My assignment today was to take a family friend to a seminar gig. Mountain View is pretty cool. Not only is it the home of Shoreline Amphitheater, but has a very cool little downtown area…that’s where I am right now. So why does this bring up memories of jobs I’ve had? Well, my job in Alaska was in the prestigious Anchorage neighborhood of Mt. View. There’s a much different demographic than the millionaires that surround me at this Starbucks. Those of you that have either been to Anchorage or live(d) there know what I’m saying. So what else? Well, I was listening to K-Fog a bit this morning and one of the morning drive-time guys is riding in the California AIDS ride. In the summer of 2001, I spent a week and a half working the AIDS ride. It starts at the marina in San Francisco and ends in Los Angeles. Today the guy reported that it was red dress day. I remember this day, anyone who’s ever had anything to do with the California AIDS ride would remember this day too. It started as “dress red day” because the course wound around the coastal roads of the south central coast…the idea was to look like a moving living breathing cycling AIDS ribbon. Well, leave it to these guys to interpret it as red dress day. Gay-Straight-Liberal-Conservative, whatever your normal daily life consists of, this day is a day to dress in drag. It’s pretty wild to see hundreds of these guys pour into a campsite with their red dresses…mostly sundresses, but there were some cocktail dresses and as the DJ said this morning, sluttier dresses (why is spell check having a hard time with sluttier?). Tonight the ride lands in Lompoc, California…Lompoc holds a fond place in my heart because when I was there last, I was put in charge of a campsite. I met the client in the middle of an empty field and within a few hours, there was a tent city complete with hospital, massage, chiropractors, podiatrists, and lots of people in red dresses. It was both one of the greatest summers of my life and one of the worst. Looking back on it though, even the miseries make for good stories and the good times make for even better stories.
The third job this all takes me back to is the two years I put in as a barista at Coffee People in Portland. Watching the leisure crowd that could somehow spend hours in a coffee shop with their laptop typing who knows what. Between 1998 and 2000, there wasn’t wifi or blogging (yeah, I know there was, but not on any large scale) or my iPod to drown out the steaming of milk and chatter of millionaires (I just had to add iPod, wifi and blogging to my dictionary, so that tells you something).
I had a lot of thoughts yesterday when Blogger was down for most of the day about what to type up, so this is my chance to catch up on the thoughts I scribbled down in my black spiral notebook. Stay posted.

June 6, 2006

My Hard Drive Strained an Oblique

Yesterday I experienced a meltdown of my hard drive. Luckily not the one that holds all my music, but unluckily the one that housed windows as well as the all important My Documents folder. So I'm still tweaking piece by piece to get back to where I left off. I've had to install lots of software, remember a lot of URLs that were favorites, and wait through plenty of Windows Updates. I had some things backed up on my laptop, but for the most part I'm starting over. Lots of writing gone, lots of pictures gone, lots of time spent gone. It's definately made me come up with some backup processes to avoid the headache again. Nothing like corrupt files in your root. The tech support lady that helped me try to salvage data, said I was lucky to be able to just reinstall on the same hard drive, she thought I'd have to get a new one. On the positive side, though, I got rid of a bunch of junk that wasn't uninstalling. Fresh, clean Windows.

D-Day, H-Hour

On June 6, 1944, Allied troops began the liberation of Europe at Normandy. The 82nd and 101st Airborne divisions as well as the British 6th Airborne division dropped inland while the US, British, and Canadian infantry stormed the beaches. Operation Overlord as it was called, led to the liberation of France and set the German army in motion of their eventual surrender nearly a year later.
Many people have come up with creative things that the D in D-Day stands for, the truth being that it doesn't really stand for anything. D-Day was and is a term that the military uses both to keep true dates secret and to allow variable days. In order to get the full effect the Allied armies were going for, the invasion at Normandy had to be kept secret. Even the soldiers themselves didn't learn where or what they were preparing for until the last minute. This the date was discussed as D-Day H-Hour. The plans were put on hold for a day due to weather. Many other operations were planned as diversions for the Axis intelligence to learn of including an invasion through Norway or the South of France. In one operation dummys were dropped with parachutes to draw the attention and divert forces from the true drop zones.
53,700 soldiers on the Allied side were killed during this invasion of Europe, while over 150,000 were wounded. Today as you sip your Starbucks coffee or lift a frosty beer, think of these men who ran into enemy fire, some who threw themselves out of airplanes into exploding anti-aircraft shells. Think of these heroes who gave up everything and think of the heroes of today who are putting themselves in the middle of a messy situation so that liberty can be extended to people who cried out for it. Warfare may have changed significantly in the last 62 years, but the heart of a hero remains the same and is something none of us should take for granted, regardless of our politics or personal ideals. God bless the men who went to battle then and God bless our troops today.

June 4, 2006

Album of the Week: The Guilty Pleasures Edition

Musical guilty pleasures. We all have them. For some it's top 40 radio, for others it's pop country music. For me, it's power pop bands from the 90s. They're a bit like the equivalent to the hair bands that were peaking as the world was moving past them...you know, Firehouse? Have I mentioned on here that I once went to a Warrant/Trixter/Firehouse concert? By choice? Anyway, aside from posting a Trixter hit at the bottom of this, I'll admit my guilty pleasure music for this week's albums of the week.

Goo Goo Dolls - Dizzy Up The Girl (iTunes)
Imagine if the music community held Bono's charisma, charm and looks against him while the band was trying to make it in the early 80's. They might have turned out like Goo Goo Dolls. I first heard of them when they released the single "Name," which I still think is a great song. When A Boy Named Goo was released in 1995 with "Name" getting them noticed, they'd been releasing music for 8 years. So, when Dizzy Up The Girl came out, it was make or break for them. Considering their song "Iris" had gotten so much attention from "City of Angels" there was no doubt that the following album would do well. With songs like "Black Balloon" and "Slide" it secretly made it into my library. The songs still come up on shuffles and I even put one of the tracks on a CD I made last summer. Goo Goo Dolls have released a few more albums since Dizzy, but none have seen the commercial success like they had in the late 90s.

Matchbox 20 - Yourself or Someone Like You (iTunes)
I'll admit, I, like you, dismissed Matchbox 20 the second I heard them. It wasn't until years later that I gave them a chance. I borrowed a couple of their CDs from a friend and thought I was just borrowing fuel for the fire I'd been burning against this friend for calling them his favorite band. No one has Matchbox 20 as their favorite band, do they? The first thing I looked at when I had the CD was who wrote the songs. I expected perhaps the guitar player or someone outside of the band to be writing the songs for these pretty boys to play and sing. Much to my chagrine, Rob Thomas, the king of pretty boys wrote the majority of their songs. Everybody has heard "Push," "3 A.M." and "Real World" from the 1996 album, but if you scratch below the surface as I forced myself to do in 2003, you will find some really gems. I highly recommend "Kody," "Back 2 Good" and "Long Day." Since my experience of trying to hate Matchbox 20, I've accumulated their three albums plus Rob Thomas' solo album. Definately not my favorite band, but some great music. There, I said it.

Gin Blossoms - New Miserable Experience (iTunes)
I think if it weren't for the time that Gin Blossoms came around, they'd have a better reputation. The songwriting on New Miserable Experience is very taut. With the hits like "Hey Jelousy," and "Found Out About You," songs like "Until I Fall Away" and "Allison Road" were overlooked as the gems they are. If you don't know anything about Gin Blossoms, just think about this. Imagine yourself as a guitar player with a knack for songwriting...you write a couple of great songs, form a band, then get fired from that band because you can't stay sober. Tormented by the success the band is having with his songs and still struggling with his alcoholism, Doug Hopkins took his life in December of 1993. Hopkins wrote "Hey Jelousy" and "Found Out About You." His suicide was just another charge in Gin Blossoms' move up the charts. They had a hit with "Til I Hear it From You" on the Empire Records Soundtrack and released another album in 1996, but failed to hang on to the success that New Miserable Experience brought them. They're releasing an album later this year 10 years after Congratulations...I'm Sorry.

To go along with the iTunes links, here are a few samples for you to download.

Goo Goo Dolls - Black Balloon
Matchbox 20 - Back 2 Good
Gin Blossoms - Until I Fall Away
As promised Trixter's "Give it to Me Good" in case you forgot.