Archive for October, 2008


Bollywood for Barak

A while back I posted a bunch of songs to convince folks to vote.

Now a little video to throw in the mix:

Now get out & vote dammit! If you aren’t registered to vote you’ve still a couple days left. October 20 is the deadline for mail in registration in California. Click here for a registration form. Lots of national voter info here.


RIP: Alton Ellis

Jamaican music icon and Rocksteady Godfather Alton Ellis passed away at the Hammersmith Hospital Friday night at the age of 70 following a protracted battle with lymphatic cancer.  The father of Lovers Rock was experiencing a well deserved career resurgence until collapsing at London’s 100 Club back in August.  A better tribute than I could possibly manage is penned by Laurence Cane-Honeysett at the Trojan Records website.


I’m Still In Love


Aimee Mann Daytrotter Session, Bimbo’s tickets on sale

The good folks at Daytrotter posted a live session by Aimee Mann this week. If you’ve never been to Daytrotter give yourself plenty of time to wander about the place. It’s an endless treasure trove of intimate performances from up & comers as well as some of indie rock’s bigger names. Mann’s session features four selections from her 7th solo album, @#%&*! Smilers, a collection of lush, urgently gorgeous pop vignettes of brutally honest personal exploration focusing on the fractured and flawed. In short, Mann at what she does best.

Here’s a taste:

31 Today (live on Daytrotter)

Click on the picture above to get the whole session. I highly recommend picking up a copy of @#%&*! Smilers here. The 3rd installment of Aimee Mann’s Annual Christmas Show pulls into Bimbo’s 365 Club in SF on December 9. Tickets went on sale today and can be purchased right here.


The Clash live at The Agora in Cleveland, OH 2/13/79

A new Clash album, Live At Shea Stadium came out yesterday.  I’ll probably pick it up as a memento of that ill-fated 1982 tour opening for The Who and the last time I got to see them live. I can still remember the field of the Oakland Coliseum crowded with classic rock fans having a hard time wrapping their ears around one of the most vital bands (on a good day) in the history of any genre. Two tunes I recall clearly were a blistering ‘Police On My Back’ and ‘Guns Of Brixton’ with Joe Strummer & Paul Simonon swapping instruments (both songs are on the Shea Stadium setlist as well). Ironic that what was supposed to be the last Who show in the Bay Area (they were calling it a Farewell Tour…  right) turned out to be one of the last proper Clash shows with Mick Jones in California. 1999′s live collection From Here To Eternity was disappointingly flat and a couple of those performances were from this Shea Stadium show. While the few reviews of Live At Shea I’ve seen so far are positive I’d love to see some earlier shows surface. In that spirit here’s without a doubt my favorite live recording of a band that changed my life. A younger, leaner Clash just two weeks into their first trip through the US on the Pearl Harbour (sic) Tour.

The Clash at The Agora in Cleveland, OH 2/13/79

I’m So Bored With The USA

Drug Stabbing Time

Jail Guitar Doors

Tommy Gun

City Of The Dead

Hate And War

White Man In Hammersmith Palais

Safe European Home

Stay Free

English Civil War

Guns On The Roof

Police And Thieves

Capital Radio

Janie Jones


Julie’s Been Working For The Drug Squad

London’s Burning

White Riot

Complete Control

What’s My Name

Here’s the whole deal in a zip file: The Clash – Agora 1979 (lesser quality mp3′s but with a different mix of four tracks from a King Biscuit Flower Hour broadcast as a bonus + artwork)

There’s a wealth of information about this gig and many others at the invaluable Clash gigography site Black Market Clash (click here for this one). And as if this performance wasn’t enough imagine seeing the opening act: BO DIDDLEY! The sound gets a bit dodgy after ‘Julie’s Been Working…’ but as a whole this captures the intensity of the Clash at their best; careening from gloriously sloppy to air tight and the extended ‘Police & Theives’ is a thing of singular beauty. If you haven’t seen the film Rude Boy yet RUN to your nearest video joint and get the DVD re-issue.


New music (twang dept.)

Real Love – Lucinda Williams w/ Matthew Sweet & Susanna Hoffs

Lucinda’s ninth solo record charges out of the gate with a vengeance on this punked-up opening track.  Jim Lauderdale, Tim Easton, Charlie Louvin and Elvis Costello scatter guest vocals throughout this fine follow up to last year’s incredible West. Little Honey is out this Tuesday but if you pre-order through Amazon before then you get a bonus mp3 of the as yet unreleased “Bone of Contention” for free! The Devine Ms. Williams plays the Fillmore on November 16 & 17. More tour dates here.

Seven Year Blues – Charlie Haden & The Haden Triplets

Only blood relations can harmonize like that! So let me get this straight: one of the greatest jazz bassists of the last half century spent his early childhood in a vocal group led by his mother and father (and included all his siblings) that hosted a Grand Ole Opry-like variety show called Korn’s-A-Krackin (sic). I had no f-ing idea. His wife, triplet daughters and son are joined by guests like Pat Metheny, Rosanne Cash, Vince Gill, Bruce Hornsby (who does his best to ruin Petra Haden’s lead vocal turn), Stuart Duncan, Jerry Douglas, Sam Bush, Ricky Skaggs, Elvis Costello and Jack Black (married to his daughter Tanya). And you already know how much I dig Petra Haden! Family & Friends – Rambling Boy is available now on Decca Records.

Middle Management – Bishop Allen

One of the “get it here only” tracks (along with new tunes from Vampire Weekend & Army Navy) off the soundtrack to yet another hipster movie I haven’t seen yet. This song leaps out of the speakers and keeps my toes tapping. If you dig it too check out their full length The Broken String, one of my favorite records from last year. These merry Brooklynites pull into the Independent in SF November 12. More music and tour dates on their myspace page.


Calexico at The Fillmore

Calexico delivered a fabulous set at The Fillmore Sunday night dominated by songs from the new record Carried To Dust.  I’m sure Joey Burns and John Convertino are just as tired of the term “return to form” as Mike Mills and his compatriots in R.E.M. I don’t know what everyone’s’ prattling on about. I loved Garden Ruin and thought Sunday’s version of ‘Roka’ was good enough to hope for more off that record. From the limited listens I’ve been able to give the new album I agree it feels more like their breakthrough Feast Of Wire (which provided five songs to the set) but implying Garden Ruin was a misstep does it a grave disservice. Of course when all is said & done Calexico is first and foremost a live band so the fact that they only played one song from Garden Ruin gives NHT the impression that John & Joey aren’t very fond of that record either.

Anyway, below is my attempt at reconstructing Sunday’s show. Unless otherwise noted  this is from their show at The Fillmore back on 7/16/04 (at least it’s the same room). I’ve included a few bonuses since I don’t have a recording of Calexico doing the fantastic Jorge Ben cover that Jairo Zavala sang or the new song my old friends from Chico Barbara and Terry Manning came out to play (they do a great version of The Handsome Family’s ‘Too Much Wine’ too BTW).

Calexico at The Fillmore 9/28/08 (reconstructed)

Gypsy’s Curse #

Roka #

Bend To The Road *

Across The Wire

Man Made Lake * @

Sister City (improvised song?)

Sunken Waltz

Writer’s Minor Holiday *

El Gatillo (Trigger Revisited) *

Inspiracion *

Two Silver Trees *

Quattro (World Drifts In)

Slowness *

Alone Again Or (Love cover)

The News About William *

Not Even Stevie Nicks

Victor Jara’s Hands*

Crystal Frontier


Minas de Cobre

Better by Bounds (featuring Barbara & Terry Manning)

Fractured Air (Tornado Watch) *

Comanche (Jorge Ben cover)

Jesus And Tequila (Minutemen cover)

Guero Canelo

* – These are all new songs. If you want to hear ‘em buy the new record here.

# – recorded in someone’s living room in front of about 100 people in Berlin on 4/1/06 (I kid you not & that’s all I know about this recording)

@ – from a Morning Becomes Eclectic session circa 2002

Bonus Tracks

Alone & Forsaken (Hank Williams cover with Neko Case from the same ’04 Fillmore show)

Comanche (from the debut record from Jairo Zavala’s regular band Depedro, based in Madrid)

All Tomorrows Parties (Velvet Underground cover with Iron & Wine from the 9:30 Club in DC on 11/30/05 while touring to support their brilliant collaboration In The Reins)

Setlist courtesy of the Calexico setlist archive. BTW: Calexico’s very taper friendly. If you want more live recordings check out the Internet Archives for shows posted by fans and the band themselves

Catch me on KALX in Berkeley

I host the Cuppa Joe show on KALX in Berkeley every other Wednesday from 6 to 9 PM. You can tune at 90.7 or online by clicking HERE ------------------------------------------- NEXT SHOW: October 28 FUNDRAISER SHOW!! ------------------------------------------- Check out past playlists HERE
Got something I HAVE TO HEAR? Wanna send me free stuff? Email me at


Quick note about the tunes

The mp3s on this blog are to give folks a little taste. Imagine they're those little pouches on the bag your Sunday paper comes in. You know, the one's with a packet containing just enough toothpaste to brush your teeth once or twice. They are left up for a limited time. If you find something you like support the artists by dragging your friends to their shows and/or buying their CDs/records/schwag. If you are the artist (or their label/representative) and don't want an mp3 on here, please email me ( and I'll remove it posthaste.
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