Friday, April 27, 2007

Coach vs. Coachella

Since I am a music writer, a music writer based in Southern California no less, I should be all amped up this weekend about the massive Coachella music festival. I guess it's another great bill. Crowded House has reformed. But quite frankly I haven't paid that much attention. out of sight out of mind, perhaps. I'm not going to be there so why get emotionally involved in what I'm missing.
However, I'm not going to be in New York City either for the NFL draft, or any of the teams' draft rooms, yet I'm emotionally involved there. maybe not as much as I once was. but I still have been checking various mock drafts (although not so much that I'd paid a site to see) in order to check on what the "experts" think. and I won't be sitting home all weekend watching the ESPN coverage - just watching it when I can.
I was remembering yesterday how I was doing mock drafts before it became such a business. When the Seattle Seahawks came into the NFL, I did my own draft for them. not in real time, but the next day. I think I drafted Jackie Slater, who later went on to be an all-pro with the Rams. Oh, and I'm not even a Seahawks fan. they were just the new expansion team.
And while I no longer, buy the draft mags and make predictions, the draft has been engrained in my dna. I don't think I can even explain why. can other otherwise rational draftniks explain why? those who don't get paid for being a draft expert? my wife just rolls her eyes over it.
so hopefully by some time after noon on Saturday, after my hometown team the Cleveland Browns make their first round selection (Peterson? Quinn? Thomas? someone else?) then my preoccupation will dissipate (and move on to something this)
enjoy your weekend
and don't spend it all watching tv
Michael B

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The Return of the Wurlitzer Jukebox

Okay, more catching up of old business. Last week, word came out that there’ll be a reunion of the fabulous early 80s Welsh cult band Young Marble Giant.
(Here’s how Pitchfork reported it:
Your reaction will either be HOORAY or who???, depending if this name rings any bells. But of course isn’t that always the case.
For those uninitiated, YMG was a quirky DYI new wave band featuring Alison Statton’s charmingly deadpan vocals, Backing her were Stuart Moxham on guitar and organ and his brother Phil on bass. That was it. not drummer. Not even a “bunnyman” drum machine if memory serves.
On a personal note, YMG were one of those odd bands you hear in college that catch your ear and find a place in your heart. I think it was Susan, the head of my small college’s small radio station who had the album. The vinyl album. Yes, I’m talking about the dinosaur days.
Anyways, their debut full length Colossal Youth was full of oddly appealing minimalistic pop. Songs like Searching for Mr. Right, Music for Evenings, Wurlitzer Jukebox and Credit in the Straight World stick out as standouts. You can go to youtube to find some old clips
but better yet just find the music and listen in some dark, lonely room. There’s an eerie, other worldly feel to the music that old performance video doesn’t do justice. Yes, they are an acquired taste but one worth exploring imho.
If I had been thinking about it Music for Evenings might have made a good blog title.
Oh well...
Michael B.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Cleveland (30) Rocks

okay, I’ll cop to it early on. I’m from Cleveland, Ohio. Even though I’ve lived more years in Los Angeles than Cleveland. Cleveland’s my hometown and I still carry that Cleveland chip on my shoulder. The city has been the butt of jokes for so long that you’d think it’s a mine that has been stripped bare.

But I have to tip my cap (Browns, Tribe, Cavs, Barons if you got it) to the folks at 30 Rock. Last week they did a hilarious “salute” to the Cleve that got big laughs from this Ohio ex-pat. Part of the genius of it was that they poked fun at both Cleveland and New York City so it didn’t seem like just another comic gang-tackle on the “Mistake By the Lake”.

And in case you missed it, you can find it somewhere on

Oh, and see I'm getting better. Now I'm just talking about something that happened last week, not a half a year ago.

Okay, back to work or sleep.

Michael B

Welcome to...Musical Shapes

Welcome to the inaugural posting of Musical Shapes. The idea came to me last fall when I was in Nashville for the Americana Music Conference and saw a performance by Carlene Carter. I was a fan of hers back in her heydays of the late '70s and early '80s. I had read about her addiction problems and was curious about what she'd be like. She didn't disappoint. She was in great voice - full-bodied rockin country - and had a great presence on stage. It was one of those experiences that I felt I wanted to share. To stand up on a virtual rooftop and shout to the world: "Hey, Carlene Carter is back and just as cool as she ever was!"

Okay, so that was some seven months ago and I'm only now starting a blog. (and I pledge not to take seven months between future posts) But it's still timely to spread the word on Carlene. Check out her website for more information about her new cd that she's label searching.

Oh, wait, what about this name, Musical Shapes, you're asking. Well, it's the name of Carlene Carter's wonderful 1980 record. Not that this will be about her. Far from it. But the album did have a terrific mix of New Wave, Country and Rock music - three styles that I really dig. Also I'll be writing about music in various shapes and sizes, although I'll be peeking at other topics with my semi-random ramblings...ah, observations.

And I'm not going to more about me at his moment. I thought it might be better to do piecemeal over the course of the blogs. Or maybe I'm just too sleepy to get into my life and interests at this moment.

and now I'll let you back to your lives...