July 29, 2008

Remember To Remember Me: Wilco Plays Anchorage's Moose's Tooth

There's something to be said for a band that can make the opening line of a concert "I dreamed of killing you again last night, and it felt alright to me" sound beautiful. That's the opening line of "Via Chicago", which Wilco used to open their Anchorage show Saturday night. Anchorage did well filling the parking lot of Moose's Tooth despite the rain. It rained all day and all night Saturday, but it didn't stop people from showing up and showing Wilco much deserved love. Jeff Tweedy made several references to the weather and the hardcore Alaskans who refused to let it affect us. The set was flush with popular tunes with a few new songs mixed in. One of the new songs was ironically "Sunny Feeling." The crowd was into it and stuck it out despite the weather. The mix of beautiful folk based songs overlayed by loud and rowdy bursts from Nels Cline and Glenn Kotche were perfectly executed. Overall, it was pretty surreal to see Wilco playing Anchorage. Local guys The Whipsaws (who've gotten plenty of pub on this blog) opened the show with a high quality set any band in the states would be proud of.

Anchorage Daily News Review (set list is in the comments of the ADN article)

July 23, 2008

Last.fm Only Gets Better

Occasionally I've seen the module above show my top 8 listened to artists (which adds Springsteen and Counting Crows into the mix), but it's a new and improved view of what I've been listening to. In all fairness, the majority of my music listening has been at work lately and I rely heavily on data CD's of MP3's, to which I have entire discs of my favorite artists, but the counts go back to 2006, so what can you say? If you haven't checked it out at all, or lately, give Last.fm your attention.

July 19, 2008

Everyday Music Series: Dave Matthews Band, Before These Crowded Streets (1998)

I've often thought of the mixed feelings that must be associated within a musician when they put together a great album. There's so much work that to have a successful product must be so satisfying, but there must also be a sense of anxiety. To make a great album, so many things have to come together perfectly. There needs to be great songwriting, great performances, and great production. A record company would also say that the marketing of the album is key to making it great too, but so many great albums don't get discovered until well after the record company has stopped promoting them, the art of a great album will be timeless. All three facets I mention above need to be solid. A collection of well written songs can get lost if the performance lacks depth or the production doesn't bring it all together.
An album like Before These Crowded Streets is one of those times that songwriting, performance, and production all came together. People that loved Dave Matthews for songs like "Satellite" and "Crash" probably had a hard time initially getting their heads wrapped around BTCS, because with a couple of exceptions, the album went in a different direction that previous DMB albums. To me the album is a perfect melding of darker, minor key undertone with melodic almost anthemic bridges and choruses. There's a common feel throughout the album. The first single released from the album was "Don't Drink The Water" which set the tone for the mainstream reaction with it's haunting, deep rhythm set against an uplifting chorus. Mix in Bela Fleck's bango and Alanis Morissette's background vocals and it's hard to find a piece of the spectrum that isn't used by producer Steve Lillywhite. The songs are thick but still had commercial appeal with "Stay (Wasting Time)" and "Crush" getting lots of airtime back in the day. Well worth tracking down a copy and giving it a second shot. Near perfect albums are rare, and I'm not sure Dave Matthews has released anything close to the perfection of Before These Crowded Streets. My favorites are "Pig", "Halloween", "Don't Drink the Water", "The Stone" and "Crush".

July 13, 2008

How Did You Get So Into Music?

A friend and colleague asked me that yesterday and I kind of blanked on a good answer, so my answer likely resembled mumblings about rock and roll, growing up in the 80's, coming of age during grunge, etc. I think I could probably write a book to answer the question if I could organize my thoughts. It's an interesting question that I'm certain to explore here. In the meantime, feel free to answer the question for yourself in the comments.

July 7, 2008

Ticket To Ride

I started a new ongoing project this past weekend when I found a box full of photos and ticket stubs. Here is a link to the Flickr photo set for concert/sporting event tickets I've gone through. The cache I found mostly fell within the 14 months I lived in California, but definitely isn't a complete collection yet. I know there are plenty more buried in various boxes throughout my home, so I will continue to update it as new tickets come along and I find more old ones.

July 6, 2008

Paste Magazine Mentions Anchorage Pizza

There's a little Anchorage love in the newest issue of Paste Magazine. In the section titled "The Informer" July 26 is owned by a picture of Jeff Tweedy with the copy if you can't read it "7/26 Wilco plays the 12th-anniversary party of some place called The Moose's Tooth in Anchorage, Alaska." I know a handful of people who were hanging around the Moose's Tooth 12 years ago...probably sitting around talking about Wilco's Being There enjoying Pipeline Stout or a Fairweather I.P.A. with Alaska's best pizza. Judging by the response to Son Volt, Third Eye Blind, and even Elton John at least Wilco will walk away from their July 26 show knowing what Anchorage and the Moose's Tooth are all about.

June 20, 2008

Viva La Vida En Viernes

In an effort to post more regularly, I offer you some new(er) music that's getting a lot of play with me on this summer Friday.

Coldplay - Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends
Jakob Dylan - Seeing Things
Death Cab For Cutie - Narrow Stairs
Weezer - Weezer (The Red Album)
My Morning Jacket - Evil Urges

I can vouch for these. Check them out.

June 16, 2008

My Father's Day, First Pitches, and a Bit About Tim Russert

I don’t have a bucket list. I do have a mental list of things I’d like to say I’ve done, and yesterday I got to officially cross one off. I threw out the first pitch at a baseball game. Now, it wasn’t Fenway or even PGE Park as I have always imagined, but I enjoyed the opportunity tremendously.

It’s one of those things that is both easy and hard to check off of a list. DigiTel, the company I work for is a sponsor of the Mat-Su Miners based in Palmer, AK. Yesterday we were the primary sponsor for the game. It involved lots of giveaways, and the opportunity to throw out the first pitch. With my love of baseball and my years of playing the sport, I jumped at the chance.

The combination of baseball and business makes it fitting that this event happened on Father’s Day. When I was a kid, my dad would come home from a full day of work to play catch, catch my often wild pitches, coach third base at games (who loved to send base runners to steal home), and was always the most supportive dad on all the teams I played on.

My dad has been a great example to me in business too. He’s always said that having a firm understanding of how the little things make up the big picture helps making big decisions easier.

Years and years ago, I took a summer job working as a contractor for his company while they went through an inventory management system installation. My work consisted of lots of data entry and working out the kinks on the database as it was implemented to the warehouse. Spending as much time with the warehouse guys gave me a good appreciation for how the blue collar working guys saw my dad. Union tensions were pretty high that summer as a few other unions went on strike, but getting the perspective of the union warehouse guys of my dad and his role in operations management let me know that he wasn’t just another ‘suit’ to them. Whether it was because he understood the parts of the whole, or because he found common ground relationally with the guys, they respected him and his role whether the union appreciated that or not.

He’s been an example of how to lead, how to organize and how to remain loyal despite the company not always being loyal to you.

I'm a weekly watcher of both Meet the Press and Tim Russert's MSNBC show, so the sad news of his death and the tributes that followed have been showing up in my Tivo recordings a lot the last few days. One thing Tom Brokaw and James Carville talked about on the special Meet The Press yesterday was how Tim Russert would become a fan of what his friends were fans of, he'd call Carville about LSU touchdowns, Mike Barnicle even mentioned how excited he was Thursday night about the Celtics coming back to beat the Lakers (I can't share that enthusiasm) with a midnight phone call. My dad shares this enthusiasm not just about sports teams, but will go above and beyond to learn about what his friends and family are in to. Whether it means buying an album on iTunes, sending articles about a particular industry to a friend, or calling the moment the last out of the Red Sox winning the World Series, he's dedicated to finding or creating common ground.

Whether baseball, business, or life, my dad has been a great influence on who I am and who I want to be. Thanks, Dad for the example, the advice (the more true; the harder to take), and for making time for a game of catch (even as adults). Know that I’ve found those times priceless.

June 9, 2008

turns out this post is all about gordon lachance

I've been reading Wil Wheaton's blog as long as I've known what a blog was. Today is the first time that I can remember him writing about Stand By Me. Never a big fan of Star Trek: The Next Generation, but Stand By Me is #1 on my list of favorite movies. I'm sure it has to do with me being 12ish the first time I saw it. I've also read the book several times...and to truly prove just how big of a Stand By Me goof ball I am, my friends and I submitted Senior Memories for each of the 4 main characters in Stand By Me to our high school yearbook. Not only did Gordie, Chris, Vern and Teddy get immortalized in the Hillsboro High School yearbook in 1993, but also the members of U2 apparently graduated with me too. Seems like it would've been harder to get things published in the yearbook, but alas it wasn't even due to my being on yearbook staff that these slipped by.

(Photo via Wil Wheaton's flickr photos)

June 8, 2008

Son Volt at First Tap

Every month the folks at Moose's Tooth celebrate the first tap of the month. Thursday night they did so with the help of Alt.Country/Americana royalty. I've mentioned Son Volt before as royalty when I saw them at the Fillmore in San Francisco just before jumping on a plane and returning to Alaska. So it wasn't my first time seeing them, but believe it or not in my nearly 5 years of living in Anchorage, this was my first time attending a first tap event. Local singer/songwriter Jared Woods opened the night with some sensitive songwriter songs...to which a friend who hadn't heard Son Volt before leaned over and asked if this is what Son Volt sounded like. I've seen Jared Woods several times in several different venues and combinations, but Thursday was the first time I didn't enjoy his schtick. It's common practice for bands that come to Alaska to book local talent to open for them. And I'm happy to see when Wilco (featured on the front page of Wikipedia today) plays in Anchorage in July, The Whipsaws are the opening act.
Once Son Volt took the stage, they hit hard and kept punching. Several classic Son Volt songs as well as a good mix of songs from The Search. It didn't seem like there was the same level of energy on stage in the Beartooth as there was at the Fillmore last year, but it may have been the difference between leaning against the legendary stage and being seated in a booth at the back of the theater pub. All in all, it was a great show and showed again that if musicians however big show up in Anchorage, the crowds will follow.

May 29, 2008

Elton John in the 49th State

Elton John stepped onto the Sullivan Arena stage on Wednesday night like he owned the place. While I have no doubt that with nearly 50 years of albums and tours, he can afford the place; it took a unique interaction with an Alaskan crowd to win the favor of the whole town. To recap the degree of buzz surrounding Sir Elton’s Alaskan journey, you must know that big name artists don’t come to Anchorage. And sometimes if they do book a show in Anchorage, there’s a long history of artists canceling their shows. As I mentioned in a previous post, Elton John originally booked 2 Alaska shows as part of a complete the USA effort to play all 50 states. The Anchorage show sold out in 58 minutes, which led to concert promoters scheduling a second Anchorage show for Friday night, which apparently sold out in 55 minutes.

With a little back story it should come as no surprise to you that there was a lot of energy in the air Wednesday night. Fairly promptly after 8pm, Elton John took the stage to thunderous applause. He made a point to wave and salute each section of the arena. Throughout his performance he consistently smiled and waved, and acknowledged the entire crowd. Speaking of the performance…it couldn’t have been better! He kicked off the two and a half hour set with “Your Song” and mixed in with several lesser known songs from older albums, he thrilled the crowd with classics like “Tiny Dancer”, “Daniel”, and “Levon.”

Above all it was a great reminder of how much Elton John has contributed to the musical landscape over the past 40 years. Everyone has their “Tiny Dancer” moment like one of my favorite Almost Famous scenes. Everyone has a “Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters” moment or “Someone Saved My Life Tonight” moment. And whether images of Marilyn Monroe or Diana, Princess of Wales come to mind during “Candle in the Wind” the point is that Elton John’s music has done one of those amazing things by moving you, sticking in your mind or just bringing a pleasant memory back to you.

(Anchorage Daily News review)

May 20, 2008

New Music Tuesday: Re-Arrange Us and Get Better

I've had "Get Better" rattling around my head for the last few weeks whenever something else isn't distracting my mind. I purposely avoided the pre-release that Mates of State was offering on their myspace page...and boy did it pay off. This morning I grabbed the new album off of AmazonMP3 ($7.99 as opposed to the $9.99 iTunes is charging) and I love it. I've only listened to it twice all the way through it, but already love the energy and feeling of the album. Don't ask me to explain any deeper meaning of the video below for "Get Better" just know that it's my song of the summer so far. As I've done before I highly recommend checking out 2006's Bring It Back and add Re-Arrange Us to the list of must have albums for 2008. I will warn you now that this album could lead to smiling, dreaming better dreams, foot tapping and a general feeling of hope. If I were a Portlander still, I'd drop everything and drive to Bend to see them play the Schwab on Saturday. Enjoy the vid.

May 11, 2008

My Mother's Day

My mom is the greatest! Here are a few pics to show a few of the ways that she is great.

My mom met INXS.My mom always has time for a trip to Disneyland.My mom loves a good time and always knows how to dress for an occasion.My mom is a great leader, especially when an adventure is afoot. My mom loves to hike and is never afraid of where her feet might take her.My mom is cringing at having these 5 pictures of her up on my blog but is so polite, I won't hear about it. Love you, Mom.

May 10, 2008

There's A Lesson To Be Learned From Elton John

When Elton John announced he was coming to Anchorage, there was a buzz in the city. I can't tell you how many friends and co-workers asked "Are you going to Elton John?" There was an excitement with people young and old.
Let's back up a bit. My understanding of what is bringing Sir Elton to Anchorage is there are a handful of states he's never played in the US, so with his greatest hits tour, he scheduled himself in places like Vermont and Alaska. He scheduled one show in Anchorage and one in Fairbanks.
So, back to Elton.
The tickets went on sale Monday morning at 10am local time. I'm a big fan of old Elton, and can occasionally tolerate new stuff when I don't have control of the music. I find myself singing along with his songs...even occasionally a Lion King era song. So in light of it being a greatest hits tour and the novelty of him coming to Anchorage, I logged into my lucky Ticketmaster.com account at 9:50am and rested my browser on the Elton John/Sullivan Arena page. At 9:58, I hit refresh and where it previously said "Not Available Until May 5 at 10am" now said select your tickets. Grabbed best available and had the confirmation email by 10:02. I watched Anchorage Twitterers chattering about trying to get tickets and soon after received a breaking news email from ADN.com that the Elton John show sold out in 58 minutes. He has since added a second night after the Fairbanks show that goes on sale Monday (5/12), but this is where the lesson can be learned.
No it's not a lesson of how a lucky Ticketmaster.com account can beat people who camp out all night at the brick and mortar box office, no it's not a lesson in how Twitter can guide you to the least busy Fred Meyer (though, it could've), it's a lesson for musicians and bands that ignore the Anchorage market. Sure there isn't a great venue, sure it costs a lot of money to bring extravagant sets and 100 piece bands, but what Elton John can teach you is that if you make the effort, Anchorage will show up. I haven't seen any stats on how fast Wilco, Third Eye Blind or Son Volt tickets are selling for their summer dates, but many more people have heard of Elton John than any of them.
So let this be the summer that re-defines Anchorage as a must stop on any North American tour. We're hostages of ClearChannel up here so the discovery of new music is a challenge for the average Alaskan, but even when Colin Hay came up last summer the Discovery Theater was packed, not to mention plenty of local talent that would love to say they opened for a big nationally recognized band. So, for the record, when Elton plays Sullivan Arena on May 28th, I'll be singing along from row 15.

April 22, 2008

New Music Tuesday: Revisiting Matthew Ryan vs. The Silver State

Life hasn't gotten any less hectic since I cut my Matthew Ryan review to 6 words, but in all the busyness, I've had plenty of time to digest the new album. The album kicks off with "Dulce Et Decorum Est" which not only sets up the album, it showcases the eloquence and beauty Ryan puts into crafting his songs. The title is Latin for "it is sweet and right" and the rhythm, melody and the haunting echo of Kate York's vocals draw me in to where I almost don't notice the introduction of the violin into the sound scape. One of the elements I've always loved about Matthew Ryan's music is the way he injects his unique whisper-like voice into the songs whether they are a slow or an upbeat song, it's still a bit of sadness and joy mixed up. Other highlights on the album are "Closing In" and "Meet Me By The River" wherein Brian Bequette adds haunting guitar to the picture drawn. "A Rainy Night in Soho" ("Now I'm not singing for the future/though I'm not dreaming of the past/I'm not talking about the first time/I never think about the last") is best taken with two fingers of whiskey, neat in a rocks glass. Again Matthew Ryan brings blue collar themes that are reminiscent of Springsteen like in "American Dirt", but in the same breath there are elements that sound like an analog new wave. The combo that was assembled to record this album pushed Ryan's brilliance to a new place. While he revisits some of the energy of his earlier records, it's definitely more sonic and organic than his last album From a Late Night High Rise which leaned a lot on the quiet and electronic. If you ask me, he has a strong enough track record that he's set himself up to be a can't miss artist from here on out. Matthew Ryan vs. The Silver State is a solid addition to the library. Just don't confuse him with (near)future first round draft pick Matt Ryan.

I forgot to include the tour dates for the MRVSS Tour...no West Coast, and of course no Alaska, but if you find yourself anywhere near these dates, it'll be well worth your time and effort to see him live.

May 1 ASHEVILLE, NC The Grey Eagle
May 2 ATLANTA, GA Eddie's Attic
May 3 CHARLOTTE, NC The Evening Muse
May 4 RALEIGH, NC Berkeley Café
May 6 ARLINGTON, VA The Iota
May 7 NEW YORK, NY The Living Room
May 8 PHILADELPHIA, PA World Café Live
May 9 PITTSBURGH, PA Thursday's
May 10 INDIANAPOLIS, IN Sam's Saloon
May 13 CHICAGO, IL Schuba's
May 14 CLEVELAND, OH Beachland Tavern
May 15 ANN ARBOR, MI The Ark
May 16 FORT WAYNE, IN Come2Go
May 17 NASHVILLE, TN Mercy Lounge

April 14, 2008

Reader Poll

Update...Over 100 unique visitors in the last two days and only 3 votes came out of that...I've lost your attention more than I thought, haven't I?

5 votes when all is said and done and no one said less less less...

April 5, 2008

Coming to Anchorage This Summer?

Maybe you are or maybe you aren't, but here are a few people who are:

June 5th Moose's Tooth First Tap (but at Beartooth Theatre) - Son Volt (more info)

June 21st Moose's Tooth Solstice Show - Third Eye Blind (more info)

July 26th Moose's Tooth 12th Anniversary Show - Wilco (more info)

April 1, 2008

New Music Tuesday: 6 Word Quick Reviews

I spent a lot of time today listening to Matthew Ryan's new album and R.E.M.'s new album. Without enough time to do either of these albums justice with a Tuesday night review, I give you 6 word reviews. Click on images to go to Amazonmp3 where you can purchase or sample.
Matthew Ryan - Matthew Ryan vs. The Silver State
Beauty that sneaks up on you.
R.E.M. - Accelerate
Best R.E.M. album since 1994's Monster.

Below, a screenshot of what my morning looked like...just a snippet of hours of great music. (More)

March 26, 2008

New Music Tuesday: Tuesday Mornings & Wednesday Nights

So I broke my recent rule of not buying music via iTunes on Tuesday. I admit it. My one caveat I mentioned was that I would buy exclusives, and that's what got me to give them my money. I bought Counting Crows' Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings from iTunes because there was an exclusive bonus track or two that wouldn't have been included in an Amazonmp3 purchase. I'm impressed with the album. If you don't know anything about it, as the title suggests it's a 2-part album representing the contrasts of Saturday Nights (sin) and Sunday Mornings (redemption). There's beauty, there's emotion, there's some great songwriting. It's hard to believe their last full album came out in 2002. In some ways though, isn't it a little hard to believe that 2002 was that long ago? If you're like many and only buy a few songs here and there, I recommend "Insignificant", "Washington Square" (he's talking about Dublin, Ireland and not Dublin, California, despite mentioning traveling the highway from Dublin to Berkeley[ref]), "Los Angeles" (written with Ryan Adams during the recording of Adams' Gold), "Cowboys", and "Le Ballet d'or"

The whole album is worth the purchase (with or without bonus tracks). Here's the link to Amazon.

Best Actor in a Movie (Drama)

I flipped and flopped on this as I typed it...I'm limiting myself to 5, by the way. Ultimately Daniel Day Lewis won the Oscar and the Golden Globe, but as I mentioned in the previous post, I haven't seen There Will Be Blood yet. (Not to mention it wasn't released in Alaska until well into January of 2008, maybe even February.

George Clooney, Michael Clayton
Emile Hirsch, Into the Wild
Viggo Mortensen, Eastern Promises
Samuel L. Jackson, Black Snake Moan
Joaquin Phoenix, We Own the Night

March 24, 2008

Best Movie (Drama)

A post has been sitting in my drafts folder for months now, and rather than delete it, I'm going to spread it out. Know that these were originally going to come out before the Oscars, but had they, I would have just had to edit them anyway because I've just caught up on some great movies from 2007. FYI - I'll follow Oscar rules and only include work released between Jan 1, 2007 and Dec 31, 2007. But my categories will resemble more along the lines of the Golden Globes to include TV and broader categories. I'm not picking a winner, that's up to you...

To get started...here are my Best Movie (Drama) nominees.

No Country For Old Men
Eastern Promises
American Gangster
We Own the Night
Michael Clayton

For the record I haven't seen There Will Be Blood, yet.Vote for your favorite or your winner or submit one you think I left out in the comments.

March 18, 2008

New Music Tuesday: Catching Up on New Music

If you've been reading me for a while, you know I used to be pretty diligent about posting every Tuesday about the new music that was released that day that I could recommend. It's been a while...in fact you have to go back to September when I bought 3 albums with 3 services (iTunes, eMusic, and Amazonmp3). So this is a bit of catching up on new music over the last few months that I can recommend...because you can be sure that I purchased (or received a demo) all of these selections. And to show progress made since testing the 3 services, I now download the majority of my music via Amazonmp3 and eMusic...resorting to iTunes only for an occasional exclusive or free iTunes plus content.

Drive-By Truckers - Brighter Than Creation's Dark
A very solid post Jason Isbell album with some great contributions from bassist Shonna Tucker.

Cat Power - Jukebox
Another great covers album from Chan. I think I've mentioned her philosophy on covers before, but I tend to agree with her when she sings the way she does.

Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago
I don't think I've read a single review that doesn't compare this album to Iron & Wine or Nick Drake...can't really argue with the comparison, nor can you go wrong being compared to them.

Mike Doughty - Golden Delicious
A great mix of sounds on the follow up to an MKinMotion favorite (Haughty Melodic)...and who didn't have at least 27 Jennifers (Jenns, Jennys, etc) in their school? And a rock n roll blogger on top of all that.

Nada Surf - Lucky
Very solid album from indie rock die hards.

Vampire Weekend - Vampire Weekend
As mentioned in a previous post, they've already played the talk show circuit and SNL, and there's still a good chance you haven't listened to their album...go on, give it a shot.

Chris Walla - Field Manual
Guitarist and producer from Death Cab (and Portlander) busts out a great little album with plenty of depth.

Kaki King - Dreaming of Revenge
I'm not sure any one can keep up with Kaki on guitar...definitely good, definitely unique.

Kate Nash - Made of Bricks
There something about her accent...

The Black Crowes - Warpaint
Riche was more excited about this one, but there's plenty about this album that takes me back to Shake Your Money Maker and The Southern Harmony... glory days.

Daniel Lanois - Here Is What Is
To most he's both more known and unknown as a producer of U2, Peter Gabriel, Bob Dylan, etc, but the guy can put together great songs. Now available via traditional methods as well.

Jason Collett - Here's To Being Here
Another solo album from Broken Social Scene's Jason Collett...but this one feels more like he's into it than some other solo stuff I've heard. I consistently catch myself loving songs as they come up on random on the iPod.

Gary Louris - Vagabonds
I could go on and on about The Jayhawks and Golden Smog...and I have...so I'll cut right to saying this album lives up to what you would assume would happen when an Americana royal does a solo album.

And released this week:
The Dodos - Visiter
These guys opened for Hothouse Flowers back in September 2006 in San Francisco and they've got a great unique sound.
She & Him - Volume One
This is a collaboration of Portlander M.Ward and actress Zooey Deschanel.

Next week I might be too wrapped up in Counting Crows new release to post a review of it...a long time coming. What music has grabbed you lately?

March 11, 2008

Twitter in Plain English [Video]

If you're still not convinced Twitter has any value, this video may not sway you at all...however it does a pretty good job of explaining the value (via the Twitter Blog). After all, if you visit here looking for new posts, you might be looking in the wrong place for day to day content. As always, follow me at twitter.com/mkinmotion

March 3, 2008

A Word About Wilco

I think it says a lot about the music industry to have Wilco play Saturday Night Live...and apparently from plenty of Google searches landing here, there's some hunger for more info about them. Why Wikipedia isn't your first search for info about a band, is beyond me, but I'll indulge you. I knew of Wilco because I knew of Uncle Tupelo, but didn't really give them much of a chance to enter my collective playlist until the summer of 2001. I spent 3 days in North Carolina, and Virginia, with a quick trip to Brooklyn and Boston and spent much of that time listening to Wilco's Being There which at the time was 5 years old (Disc One if you're keeping score at home). In an age when you might find it hard to name 5 successful American rock bands (I challenge you to list your five in the comments), Wilco consistently proves that Rock and Roll can live when it's chasing the edge of innovation. If you've been holding out it's time you give this Grammy winning band a shot.

(Photo from 2005 Austin City Limits Festival)
Clips of the two songs Wilco performed have been uploaded and taken down from YouTube several times over the last few days, so if you're interested in seeing their performances of "Walken" and "Hate It Here" but I've heard some good things about Hulu.

A post addressing the traffic to this blog looking for Wilco info wouldn't be complete without some recommendations. In the days of digital downloads, it makes more sense to list some tracks that will give you a more complete picture of Wilco. Here are my 20 favorite Wilco tracks, not in order of preference, but rather how they would sound good on a CD. Paring down to 20 was tough and even as I dropped them into a playlist I found myself resigning to the fact that I'm leaving out a lot of great music. So check these tracks out and don't be afraid of anything in the Wilco catalog.

A disclaimer: I think Yankee Hotel Foxtrot is to Wilco what OK Computer is to Radiohead, what Joshua Tree/Achtung Baby is to U2, what Vitalogy is to Pearl Jam, what August and Everything After is to Counting Crows...and that bias may show through in my track selection.
1. "I'm the Man Who Loves You" from Yankee Hotel Foxtrot

"All I can be is a busy sea of
spinning wheels and hands that feel
for stones to throw and feet that run but
they come back home, make no difference
ever known, make no difference
ever known to me"

2. "ELT" from Summerteeth
3. "At Least That's What You Said" (Live) from Kicking Television [Nels Cline makes all the difference, though the studio version holds its own]
4. "Hotel Arizona" from Being There
5. "Ashes of American Flags" from Yankee Hotel Foxtrot

"All my lies are always wishes"

6. "Hummingbird" from A Ghost is Born

"Remember to remember me
Standing still in your past
Floating fast like a hummingbird"

7. "I Got You(At the End of a Century)" from Being There
Gotta love the tambourine...
8. "Impossible Germany" from Sky Blue Sky
9. "Radio Cure" from Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
10. "The Late Greats" from A Ghost is Born
11. "Far, Far Away" from Being There
12. "I Am Trying To Break Your Heart" from Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
13. "Monday" from Being There
14. "Passenger Side" from A.M.

"Hey, wake up, your eyes weren't open wide
For the last couple of miles you've been swerving from side to side
You're gonna make me spill my beer,
If you don't learn how to steer
Passenger side, passenger side,
I don't like riding on the passenger side"

15. "Via Chicago" from Summerteeth
16. "Kingpin" from Being There
17. "Jesus, etc." from Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
18. "The Lonely 1" from Being There
19. "Hell is Chrome" from A Ghost is Born
20. "Misunderstood" from Being There

"There's a fortune inside your head
All you touch turns to lead
You think you might just crawl back in bed
The fortune inside your head"

[Bonus Hidden Track] "Poor Places" from Yankee Hotel Foxtrot

Vampire Weekend are scheduled to play SNL March 8, which is an even further trip away from the mainstream.

And by the way I can't figure out why, but I giggled the whole way through the SNL Digital Short with Ellen Page waking up from dreams. Don't know why, but it was hilarious.

Stock up on Wilco at iTunes or Amazonmp3.com

February 20, 2008


Work has been busy leading up to this coming weekend. While things won't necessarily get less busy, they will get less hectic provided this weekend goes smoothly. So while I have some time, here are some random notes.

Shaq looks strange in a Suns jersey. If someone had told you in 1995 that Grant Hill and Shaquille O'Neal would play on the same team, you'd probably assume they'd be favored to win a championship. Shaq was drafted #1 overall in 1992 and Grant Hill was drafted #3 overall in 1994.

Jason Kidd returned to the Mavericks who originally drafted him in 1994 (#2 overall). He's not the only player lately to return to their original team. Steve Nash made this move a few years back when he rejoined the Suns after his time with Dallas. Chris Webber recently signed with the Golden State Warriors who didn't draft him but traded for him on draft day. Not only does he return to the Warriors, but he returns to Don Nelson who coached the Warriors during Webber's first stint. Keith Van Horn was involved in the Kidd trade, and while he hasn't played for a few years, he technically returned to the New Jersey Nets who drafted him #2 overall in 1997.

The trend of NBA players being traded as well as free agency always tends to muddy the memories of current players' original teams. Afterall, who could forget Tracy McGrady the Raptor or Chauncey Billups the Celtic?

With respect to LOST:
What a great season so far! Lots of new questions...
I think I know how Jack and Claire discover that they're (half)brother and (half)sister.
I think I know who's in the coffin and why.

Perhaps coincidentally following a trend. Gary Louris joins Dan Wilson in releasing a solo album. Both musicians are more famous as a part of bands (Louris from the Jayhawks and Wilson from Semisonic), but the common ground continues in that they both worked with the Dixie Chicks on their Grammy winning album. Louris' album hit stores (and more commonly, online outlets) this week and it sounds good. You might remember my raving of Gary Louris when I saw him with side project Golden Smog.

February 17, 2008

Not About Me

I've been contemplating writing an 'about me' article that would tell readers about me. I'm not sure how detailed I would be...or how serious for that matter. If you've got an opinion or think you know what should go in an 'about me' write-up, let me know in the comments.

February 14, 2008

Caught Off Guard

Do you ever find yourself caught off guard by something that seems like it should be familiar? Let me explain. Apply the question to music. There are probably songs that you've heard hundreds if not thousands of times...but then one day something about the song clicks...like you're hearing it for the first time...it might even cause you to look down at your iPod to check and see what song it is. I'll admit, sometimes it's just the volume, or sometimes it's just one line that makes "extra" sense.
Photo credit (Flickr: RealMerlin)
I don't remember when exactly, but I remember vividly one morning driving on the Marquam Bridge in Portland. It was early so the sun was just rising in the East. At the peak of the Eastbound level of the Marquam bridge, on a clear day, at that time of the morning, Mt. Hood is hard to miss. Why do I remember one particular time of crossing the bridge? Something about the light made the mountain look bigger, better, brighter...and it caught me off guard. I can't explain what was so special very eloquently, but it's been years since I've driven that drive and I still remember one morning.

I think there's something to those two things that we miss 99.9999% of our lives. Whether it be routine or busyness or jadedness, there's something to be said for allowing yourself to be caught off guard by a great song or a great sunrise or anything else that seems routine or habit (FYI, the sun rises every day in most parts of the world). Let it happen and embrace it.

February 5, 2008

Welcome to the Lakers, Pau

Pau Gasol made his debut with the Lakers tonight, and shined. I've been pinching myself all week with the notion that the Lakers basically got this guy for Kwame Brown.


Because I don't belong to a party, I'm not a voter today. I've voted Republican and supported the Republican party all my life. I think I've mentioned previously that there's a difference in an Oregon Republican from the national perception of the Republican Party as a whole. I grew up with names like Hatfield and Packwood, conservative in many ways, but also a regard for the environment, social programs, civil rights, etc. I will not officially begin to cover a candidate until there are 1 candidate in each party (could be as soon as tonight), but I can tell you the candidate I'm supporting today rhymes with Yo Mama. Alaska is a wild card when it comes to Democrats, but I think McCain has a strong hold on the Republican delegates. Polls close in AK tonight at 8:30 local time which is technically Super Wednesday on the East Coast.

January 28, 2008

Dance Off

I got a bunch of traffic on the East Coast throughout the day from Google searches for "Dance War". I wanted to set the record straight that I did not blog about (what I found in doing some research) a TV show on ABC. In fact, you can go to the Fine Films site and watch a trailer for War/Dance to see some of the beauty, insight, and unspoken call to action mentioned in my previous post. You can also read up about the movement coming out of the film.

January 26, 2008


A friend of mine has an exciting job. Among other things, she's working with some filmmakers on a documentary. When she first told me about the project, she was really excited about one of the other films the filmmakers made. It had done well at Sundance last year; winning Best Directing for Documentary and nominated for the Grand Jury Prize for Documentary. Pretty impressive stuff. She was so excited about their previous film that she sent me a copy. It was so impulsive, that she sent it to an old address. She sent a second copy and I got a chance to finally watch it. The movie is War/Dance or War Dance. And it happens to have been nominated for an Academy Award earlier this week for Best Documentary. I absolutely love the movie and here is a short summary and three points that merit it's nomination.

Uganda is having it's National Music Festival and filmmakers Sean Fine and Andrea Nix Fine follow three members of a refugee camp school as they train for and compete in the competition. They are the only team coming out of the war zone to compete.

Beauty: The film is insanely beautiful. All aspects from the dance, the colors, the landscapes of Uganda and the sounds. The visuals, stories, and sounds help to create images that don't leave your consciousness very quickly.

Insight: Whether the team won anything or not, the subject was found in the bush of Uganda and pursued. It shows incredible insight into the heart of the story; these amazing kids who won't let the terrible hand they've been dealt in life to affect their attitudes and their outlook. The selfless adults that work with these children are also so amazing.

Unspoken Call to Action: Never in the film do they try to tell us something. The innocently show us a story unfold and let us react. There is no celebrity who tells you how you can help these children. There's no connection to an organization to donate money to. There is no call to action. The filmmakers leave it to you to draw your own conclusions. Many people will be able to watch this movie without letting themselves be changed by the story or the exposure to the world, many other people will hear the unspoken call to make a difference in their world.I can't comment on the next project from Sean Fine and Andrea Nix Fine, but I trust their vision, insight and ability to expose the world to us in the form of Documentary film. I'll be rooting for them come Oscar time. It will be released on DVD officially on April 15.

January 20, 2008

Memes: Who Starts These Things, Anyway?!?

They used to be part of the repertoire of those who sent lots of forwarded emails. Now it happens more with Myspace bulletins and blogs. So where do they come from? Who writes the jokes, the stories, the urban legends, or the lists of favorites? I wouldn't be surprised if they all originated with Nigerian princes. Anyway, I've been thinking about a thread on the old forum on the BLB website. Long since lost and likely forgotten, at the time it provided hours of entertainment. It consisted of everyone involved with the BLB project listing 20 things about themselves that people didn't know. It got creative, funny, and also educational too. So, if you feel like beating me to the punch, (I'm contemplating starting the meme) type up 20 things about yourself on your blog and include a link to this post so I see it. If nothing else, you'll get a link from me.

The Layman at SFMOMA

While in the Bay Area over Christmas, I had the opportunity to visit the Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco. What an interesting and beautiful place. While I only spent a couple of hours there and didn't see anywhere near everything there is to see. I went through the Joseph Cornell exhibit, the Olafur Eliasson exhibit, and the Mattisse and Beyond exhibit. Art museums are wonderful places. There's no way that you can't walk away without being inspired. I stood and looked at the Picasso painting above (Scene De Rue). Pablo Picasso painted it when he was just 19 and it was actually "lost" but found behind another painting. While Picasso may have thought of it as a lesser work or even scratch paper, it captivated me. The little jpg doesn't do it justice. And because it's generally considered a lesser work, I've yet to find a shop selling a print.
Whether you "get it" or not, there is so much value in experiencing art in a museum or gallery setting and I highly recommend SFMOMA. Just don't loose your parking garage ticket.
If you live in a town that has an art museum or a modern art museum, do yourself a favor and don't take it for granted.

January 14, 2008

Future Posts: Some From You, Some From Me

I have a lot of friends who don't blog themselves, but in some ways, blog vicariously through me. I'm fine with that. While I'd love to read their thoughts as they come through Google Reader, I've come to terms with it. But occasionally I'll tell a story or have a conversation offline and then I get an email asking why it didn't show up on mkinmotion.com. Well, as you can tell, I don't blog very regularly anymore so every conversation, every story or every great point I make doesn't make it onto the blog. But with numerous requests and a few recent ideas, here are some future posts you can look forward to in the coming days.

- My Return to College
- My Ride Along with Anchorage Police Department (this might be the most requested I've ever had)
- My thoughts on MOMA (I may just have to add a blurb about tiger attacks)
- My thoughts on The Beat Museum
- The state of College Football
- Odd similarities between air travel and laundromats

And in light of adding #1 to an already busy schedule, I'll have to pencil these in over the next week. If you've got any last minute requests for me to add to the list, you can comment or email.

January 9, 2008

New Roles and New Opportunites in a New Age

“Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope...”

- Robert F. Kennedy

There have been times in the world’s history where great men and women have stepped into these roles with the sole motivation to make a difference and change the world as much as they could. Names like Benjamin Franklin, Mother Teresa, Susan B. Anthony, Mahatma Gandhi, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr., Desmond Tutu, and many other people throughout time. None of them were Presidents or Kings or Queens, but all of them have shifted the world we live in today.
As I watch coverage of the 2008 election, I think of all the quality people who are seeking the highest office in America. Only one of them will win in November, so what happens with the rest of them? Likely they will go back to being Senators, Representatives, and some of them will just stay candidates for the next time it comes around. I think what this country and this world need now are more people who are willing to use their ideas, their “power” and their abilities to step into the roles of world-changers. I think we live in a cynical time where we distrust a celebrity or politician who wants to use their voice to speak for others. That’s an us problem and shouldn’t deter great people from stepping up. I’m sure the cynics were rough on Susan B. Anthony and we know how they treated MLK.
Immediately I think of people like Al Gore, Bill Gates, Bono, even George Clooney. They seem to be using what influence they have whether it is money, celebrity or political clout to take on their issues. Al Gore has been outspoken in his crusade to improve our environment, you may not agree with everything he says, but you can respect his effort. Bono has been outspoken against many things in his career, but lately his focus has been on AIDS, hunger and poverty in Africa. Bill Gates is walking away from Microsoft later this year to go full time with his foundation that ambitiously is going after the issue of world health. George Clooney has been trying for years to get America to listen to Darfur’s cries. And these 4 guys are just a few that come to mind immediately. With the grassroots support we’ve seen in this election for a Ron Paul or Barack Obama or John Edwards, they have an incredible chance to take on a role in history if they aren’t selected to represent their party or their country. I believe we live in a time that needs more people and less government stepping in to fight against hunger, world health, intolerance, human rights, liberty (whether democratic or not) and squabbles between countries that lead to war. So my challenge to these candidates and the question I would ask if given the chance: If you don’t win the nomination or the presidency, how will you continue to change the world? I think the answers would not only pave the way for a great post election lifestyle, but also give you a pretty good idea of what they would be like as a president.

January 4, 2008

Promises Promises: More Best of 2007

As mentioned, previously, here are my best tracks of 2007. I think above anything else, 2007 was the year for light and poppy hooks for me. You can search for demos of the songs on Hype Machine or follow the links to iTunes.

Again, no particular order and in no way inclusive:

Spoon - You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb
I'm From Barcelona - We're From Barcelona
M.I.A. - Paper Planes
The National - Fake Empire
Travis - My Eyes (youtube)
Josh Ritter - (tie) Right Moves & Rumors
Feist - (tie) 1,2,3,4 & My Moon, My Man (youtube) & (youtube)
Okkervil River - Our Life is Not a Movie or Maybe
Bloc Party - I Still Remember
Derek Webb - I Wanna Marry You All Over Again
Coconut Records - West Coast
Dan Wilson - Easy Silence (originally written by Wilson for the Dixie Chicks, but wonderfully done by him)
Robert Plant & Alison Krauss - Gone Gone Gone (Done Moved On)
Ryan Adams - Halloweenhead
Eddie Vedder - Hard Sun
Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings - 100 Days, 100 Nights
Kings of Leon - On Call
Elvis Perkins - Emile's Vietnam in the Sky
The Arcade Fire - Keep the Car Running
Josh Rouse - Hollywood Bass Player
Andrew Bird - Imitosis
Wilco - Impossible Germany
The New Pornographers - Myriad Harbour
Paul McCartney - Dance Tonight (youtube, still not a horn playing prairie dog)
Peter Bjorn & John - Young Folks (youtube) For the record, this is my ringtone
The Shins - Sleeping Lessons
[In honor of Heather from I AM FUEL, YOU ARE FRIENDS] The Swimmers - Heaven (not available on iTunes, but on their myspace page)

Somedays the Internet is Extra-Awesome

Heather from I AM FUEL, YOU ARE FRIENDS was a guest on NPR's World Cafe to talk about the best albums of 2007. Give it a listen (she has a link on her blog). If you remember we were in the same room for Josh Ritter's show in San Francisco back in March, though I did not recognize her. Many of her favorites fall in line with mine. And it's a great intro to music blogs and their impact on music.

That same post about Josh Ritter included a quick two sentence review of Nicki Chambly (now Bluhm). I recently noticed some traffic coming from NickiChambly.fuzz.com and followed the link back to the press tab of her profile where that article is listed. Thanks Nicki, and/or your people.

Sometimes I feel like I'm the only fan of Matthew Ryan because I never see him getting press despite being amazing, engaged with his fans, and critically heralded. Well, this morning while reading through my feeds, I came to an article about his home recordings Dissent from the Living Room and Hopeless to Hopeful being posted. The first thing Riche ever trusted the internet enough to buy online was Dissent and I remember being really impressed with the fact that Matthew Ryan would number and sign each copy (and I was impressed that my copy of These are Field Recordings was also signed). Since then I've become a huge fan, but Hopeless has always eluded me. So I followed the link and downloaded it. As Heather discussed in the interview above, sometimes artists are supportive and sometimes they're apprehensive about having their stuff posted for free. Here's what Matthew Ryan posted on his MySpace page about the albums being posted:
"After I left A&M Records I started working on my 4track. This was only a handful of years ago, the internet was just getting warmer. I'm still not sure how Napster took off with all that dial-up going on. But I started releasing some DIYs on my soon to be relaunched website (matthewryanonline.com). Dissent From The Living Room and Hopeless To Hopeful are very raw home-recordings. Some of these songs went on to be part of future records when they were "properly" recorded. So, I was burning the discs and making the artwork and trying to keep up. I didn't think I sell more than 40 or 50 CDs. It was amazing, because it was the first time I realized we were all out here looking for each other. There were humans across all those wires. The truth is, these DIY records were the first time that I made any real income from releases. The submarine word of mouth was very inspiring. And it was a very large part of why I'm still doing this. They went on to sell so well and consistently that I took them down because I couldn't keep up. And I genuinely felt bad when CDs took to long to arrive or, and I'll admit it now, I sometimes forgot to mail them!

So if you don't have these, go on ahead and grab them. I'm glad they're available at this blogspot. Plus, I don't have to grab scissors and lick stamps.

Share the link with anyone you know that might be looking for these songs."