Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Craig Finn (The Hold Steady) Announces 2012 Solo Tour

Craig's Tumblr

2012 Tour Dates and Honolulu Blues Preview

Hey Everyone,

As you might have heard, my solo release Clear Heart Full Eyes comes out January 24 on Vagrant in the US, January 23 on Full Time Hobby in the UK / EU, and it will be available on Longtime Listener in Australia. Shortly afterwards I will be taking the songs on tour. Below is the first part of the dates. I’m really excited to be playing these songs live, and I hope you’ll join us at the shows. A very cool band from North Carolina called Mount Moriah will be supporting. It’s going to be a lot fun.

Tickets for these shows go on sale Friday November 18.

Meanwhile, you can listen to a stream of the song Honolulu Blues here. The lyrics are below. I hope you enjoy.

Stay Positive.
Craig Finn
2012 Tour Dates:
Honolulu Blues Lyrics

A man darkened our doorway. He said he’s here to share the good news. He had a smile straight from the movies. But when I looked down at his shoes. There were holes and they showed his toes. The right was left. The black was brown. And later on in the garage I couldn’t find my chainsaw. In the distance I heard trees just falling down.

I was underneath the city. I was riding around on trains. Fell asleep before Nassau Ave. And I ended up in Maine. There were big tall trees and rocky coastline. And the waves came in so wild. But for all the natural beauty there were still so many kids that were asking me for something that could help them to get high.

We’re all good. We’re all bad. We’re euphoric and we’re sad. We roll the rock away and check the tomb. We’re awake and we’re aware that we’re confused and cold and scared. And the cross reminds us that He died for me and you. Woke up in the ocean with the Honolulu Blues.

Joan Didion and Graham Greene. Said roughly the same thing. You bring your Jesus to the jungle. Try to teach people to sing All the hymns that you love because you learned them as a kid and they make perfect sense to you. There’s a point in time when thousands die. And you’ve got to maybe think that maybe Jesus isn’t getting through.

We’re freezing in the forest. There’s no wood to heat the house. We took axes to the furniture. We pulled the floorboards out. There’s animals scratching at the door. And they know we’re gonna die. There were big tall trees and rocky coastline. And the waves came in so wild.

We’re all wild. We’re all free. We’re all back from Tennessee. With the souvenirs to prove that we were there. We’re flying around in planes. We’re riding around in trains. Searching out those panoramic views. Woke up in the ocean with the Honolulu Blues.

We’re all good. We’re all bad. We’re euphoric and we’re sad. We roll the rock away and check the tomb. We’re awake and we’re alarmed at the scars scratched in your arm. The cross reminds us that He died for me and you. Woke up in Oahu with the Honolulu Blues.

Note from mikedx1: P.S. Once more, The Hold Steady is not a reggae band, nor do they play rock steady or ska...

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Tune Yards live, Wonder Ballroom, Portland, November 21, 2011

Threesomes are the new twosomes.

One-by-one they came. Two by two, three by three.

Some were fags or dykes. Others, merely bi or straight.

All of them came to see Tune Yards, or, more precisely, tUnE-yArDs, the art project/indie music vehicle for performance artist Merrill Garbus and friends.

Her website is here:

She is a white (American) girl who does (mostly) African-style music, using drums, vocal, and ukelele loops (some pre-recorded, some made live), which she then plays against live, building layer upon layer, leading to the inevitable crescendo of cacophony and rhythm.

At the Wonder Ballroom in Portland last night, she played with a bass player and two sax guys and the result was stunning.

A word about the crowd. "Can I borrow your facepaint?" was a question I had never heard asked before at a show but I heard it a couple of times last night. These motherfuckers came prepared.

When Merrill asked who had seen them before and who was there for the first time, the crowd was about evenly split. But the number of people sporting stripes of war paint on their faces, ready for battle, showed that this crowd was full of fanatics of the girl and her music.

That Merrill would become an instant icon for indie women everywhere is a no brainer (or a bird brainer, as the case may be), even more so for young women and queer women.

It sure was nice to see all those dykes there, rockin' out. I haven't seen so many dykes at a show since.... uh, Wild Flag (feat Carrie Brownstein) two weeks ago.

And the threesomes. Uh... saw several groups of 3 hanging out, hugging, kissing, dancing together. Thus, my opening line "threesomes are the new twosomes". Hey, three heads are better than two and MUCH better than one...

Oh, the concert. Opener Pat Jordache, a former Merrill collaborator, put on a great show.

(to be continued, still tired from last night...)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Amp Magazine: Dead Boys' Cheetah Chrome on Occupy

Cheetah Chrome (Dead Boys / Batusis) speaks out about the Occupy Movement

“The future’s here right now, if you’re willing to pay the price” – MC5
I love the Occupy Wall Street / (Your town name here) movement! It has teeth, scares the hell out of Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity (“I hear you can even buy heroin at the one in Boston!”) and has the support of both the President and Michael Moore, two people I respect greatly.
Income inequality is nothing new in this country, but it is now to a ridiculous point, able to be ignored only by those who are in that top bracket and are part of the problem, and their misguided, unwitting minions. The “ Occupy” movement is only the first stirrings of what will eventually be something very much like Tiananmen Square or the Arab Spring riots. It’s coming, it’s inevitable, and it won’t be pretty. People are pissed, and if this country doesn’t learn from the history book, we’re doomed to repeat some very stupid and avoidable mistakes. While it doesn’t seem like the time to be setting up guillotines next to the bull statue on Bowling Green in Downtown Manhattan yet, if the arrogant rich in this country don’t begin to listen to the multitudes, things could very well head in that direction very quickly.
 “Although (country name) in ( year) faced economic difficulties, mostly concerning the equitability oftaxation, it was one of the richest and most powerful nations of (name continent) The (name of country) people also enjoyed more political freedom and a lower incidence of arbitrary punishment than any of their fellow Europeans. However,( name of leader) his ministers, and the widespread (name of country) nobility had become immensely unpopular. This was a consequence of the fact that peasants and, to a lesser extent, the bourgeoisie, were burdened with ruinously-high taxes levied to support wealthy aristocrats and their sumptuous, often gluttonous, lifestyles.”  (Source – Wikipedia)
Sound familiar?
This is from the page “Causes of the French Revolution” on Wikipedia. The only real difference is that the peasants and bourgeoisie aren’t burdened with ruinously high taxes to support the lifestyles of our aristocrats. But they are being forced to pay more than their share of the tax burden for two wars and to bail out the very banks and financial institutions that have preyed on them mercilessly and caused the second greatest financial crises in history, which could realistically morph into the worst.
This is not by accident, it is not the natural order of things, and it is not the invisible hand of the free market. This is by design, the result of policies put in place by the first true puppet President of this country in our lifetimes, Ronald Reagan. When one of the first priorities of a new President is to appoint Donald T. Regan, the former CEO of Merrill, Lynch & Co. as Treasury Secretary and appoints him to head something called the Depository Institutions Deregulation Committee, it should appear to any thinking human that the fix is really in. Especially after this same Donald T. Regan told the President of The United States, allegedly the most powerful leader in the free world, to “speed it up” during a speech to the NYSE ; coincidentally, Reagan was also the first sitting President to visit that institution. Then they came up with the Garn – St. Germaine Depository Institutions Act, which ultimately caused the S&L collapse and raised the ceiling of allowable investment by banks in nonresidential real estate from 20% to 40%. They then began the dismantling of the Glass – Steagall Act of 1933, which separated investment banks from commercial banks, mainly in order to avoid debacles exactly like the one in 2008. It was to protect consumers from having to assume the risks for greedy bankers inventing high stakes games of chance with their savings. They finally got it repealed in 1999 by the Republican 105thCongress, with help from enough Democrats to piss me off.
Ian Fleming once said “Once is happenstance; twice is coincidence; three times is enemy action.”
This brings us to the 2000 election, and we all know what happened there. It was stolen, plain and simple, by the same people who set Reagan up as their puppet in 1980. And who does he bring in as his crew? Rumsfeld, Cheney, Wolfowitz, Powell and Armitage – all former Reagan appointees, all back to finish what they’d started.
And finish it they did – the housing bubble, the bailouts, TARP – all planned, all successful. This was a silent coup, not a shot fired. In fact they got half of the country to defend their actions to keep “Socialism” from taking over our society of alleged good ,moral Christians.
Which is why you see the numbers the way they look today– the bottom 1/5 of workers saw their incomes increase by 20% over the past 30 years; the middle 60 percent of workers by less than 40 %; the top 1/5 by 65%. And the top 1% of earners – 275 fucking percent!!!!!
How do they do it? By not giving raises, not hiring Americans, cutting benefits like health care and writing their yachts off on their tax returns as second homes and their $100,000 planes and cars as offices. By having their cronies in Washington keep giving them tax cuts while cutting programs for those who need them as well as cutting their wages and benefits. By accepting “subsidies” and sweetheart deals that use public funds for private business, while calling programs put in place to keep children from going hungry and elderly people from going without medications “welfare”. By preying on the ignorant and oppressing the poor; by rigging the game and tilting the playing field so the ball always rolls to their side.
Basically, by being dishonest and fooling you into accepting it. Hell, a lot of you even respect it. These are not nice people; these are not respectable people. These are traitors and thieves.
We seem to suffer from a form of mental illness as a culture. If America was a guy undergoing psychoanalysis, that guy would show most of the attributes of a schizophrenic serial killer : on one side we are cruel to animals, have sex with and otherwise abuse our kids , have little or no consideration for the feelings of others, cover up abuses by others, we steal, we lie, we cheat, we abuse drugs and alcohol , place criminals on pedestals and worship people with money more than we do any icon in any religion. We go to church on Sunday morning and screw our brother’s wife on Sunday night. And boy, do we love kickin’ ass! Give us a reason, good or bad, to kick ass and we are THERE!
We often mistake kindness for weakness, stubbornness for resolve and see ignorance as opportunity to be taken advantage of. Profit alone is seen as reason for war.
We also consistently repeat the same mistakes over and over and expect different results i.e. tax cuts for the rich – this isn’t some proposed idea that hasn’t happened yet, though you’d think it was. They got their fucking tax cuts both in 2001 and in 2003, and Obama let them ride in 2009 – really jump started the old economy, didn’t it?
A large portion of us live by and play by the rules to varying degrees, help others, work to save animals and abused children, don’t lie, cheat or steal , try not to make waves and in general offset the bad side. They believe in art as a strong part of culture, that the better educated the populace is the stronger a nation is, that war is necessary only in event of an unprovoked attack or if diplomacy fails. The problem with that side is it doesn’t get the attention the other side gets, it doesn’t make as much noise.
I really think that this movement is the noise of that side, only now beginning to grow.
This is why people are camping out in parks and legislative plazas across the country. The Occupy Wall Street movement has taken on the weight of the Viet Nam War protests of the 1960’s and ‘70’s. Those protests ended that war, and they showed the power the American people have in numbers, when those numbers are gathered in public places, willing to fight the police and stand their ground for what they believe to be the right cause. What happens in the privacy of the voting booth can be manipulated to their advantage more easily than what happens on the streets.
And these protests can end this war. And yes, it is a war – and much as our leaders want to avoid saying it, it’s a class war. A class war begun against the American people by Wall Street with the help of the Reagan Administration in 1980, and again by the Bush administrations in 1988 and 2000. This battle is being joined in exactly the right place.
The protesters don’t begrudge the top 1% their success – they’ve earned it. The grudge is against them keeping everyone whose backs they have ridden to the top on from enjoying even part of that success, from having a salary that keeps up with the cost of living, from adequate health care, from affordable schools, from comfortable retirement. For looking down at their country from their positions of privilege and power, seeing the situation that exists and doing nothing to help and in fact hindering efforts to turn the situation around. . For not willingly giving anything back to the country and the people that let them become successful, as their fathers and grandfathers did.
“A growing proportion of the French citizenry had absorbed the ideas of ‘equality’ and ‘freedom of the individual’ as presented by VoltaireDenis DiderotTurgot, and other philosophers and social theorists ofthe Enlightenment. The American Revolution demonstrated that it was plausible for Enlightenment ideas about how a government should be organized could actually be put into practice. Some American diplomats, like Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, had lived in Paris where they consorted freely with members of the French intellectual class. Furthermore, contact between American revolutionaries and the French troops who served as anti-British mercenaries in North America helped spread revolutionary ideals to the French people. After a time, many of the French began to attack the undemocratic nature of their own government, push for freedom of speech, challenge the Roman Catholic Church, and decry the prerogatives of the nobles. “ (Source – Wikipedia)
Hmmmmm – Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson consorting freely with people who eventually overthrew their King and slaughtered aristocrats in the public squares. Makes ya think, don’t it? Whose side do you think the founders of this country would be on now? Almost makes it seem like it’s our patriotic duty to rise up and put these assholes in their place, doesn’t it?
Well, it is.
Now we just need the numbers. In a nation where an election can be stolen if it’s anywhere near close, only overwhelming numbers will do. The more support and the more bodies that can be counted , that show up at Occupy protests, the sooner we can see this nation back on the right track. We need an “Occupy Washington” where at least a million people drop everything and go to the capital to show support . Yea, the cops are gonna show up, people are gonna go to jail, and they’ll throw out the rule book to stop it. But they did in the ‘60’s too. Remember Kent State?
The main thing is we need the numbers, in public, where we can see each other and know that we are not alone. We need the numbers, using Twitter and Facebook, filming police brutality and agitation and posting it on YouTube-they have no qualms about using cameras on us, remember. Also remember that what happens in the streets can’t be ignored or twisted to fit their agenda; what happens in a voting booth can.
Anything worth having is worth fighting for. Defending your country is considered to be one of the noblest of acts. Well, it needs defending now. Not from Afghanis, Iraqis, shadowy terrorist organizations or religions different from ours. It needs to be defended from being taken over by 1% its own people – White men in business suits who feel comfortable telling the President of The United States to “speed it up” in public, on camera. Who feel entitled to play games of chance with your future and that of your children.
Believe me, the only thing more dangerous than our government is the people that own it. So please, do everything you can to support this movement and help it to succeed.
Remember, it’s about numbers – when the time comes, stand up IN PUBLIC and be counted.
I’m Cheetah Chrome, and I approve this message.
*EDITOR’S NOTE* Cheetah included some videos, which we’ve pasted below! – Enjoy!*
Regan Telling Reagan to speed it up…
The French Revolution…South Park Style!
And some MC5…

Sunday, November 13, 2011

illmaculate live at Branx, Portland, November 12, 2011, Skrill Walton Tour

illmaculate, a pint-sized multi-racial powerhouse rapper extraordinaire, hails from the St. Johns neighborhood of north Portland, Oregon, USA (Earth), and has participated in, and won, rap battles all over the planet.

On November 8, 2011, he released his new EP Skrill Walton for free download at:

... and started an 8-city West Coast tour to promote said EP, along with a few chosen friends.

illmac started his set by inviting pals OnlyOne and Everybody Knows to the stage to battle...

... then he did some killer tracks from The Green Tape and Skrill Walton...

if you haven't checked out the rap battles at Grind Time, you should do so now....

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Only Three Major Record Labels left? Warner, Sony, and Universal...

What does that mean for music fans?

.... and iTunes is the biggest music store.... real record stores shutting down left and right..

what does this mean for musicians? for indie labels?

will the death of the major labels and the rise of the internet, technology, and social media mean that artists can communicate more effectively and more directly to their fans, make new fans, and invite people to experience their newest recordings, live performances, writings, videos, photos, artwork, etc. in real time? Can artists make a living this way? Or should they trust corporate behemoths to trickle down a few pennies to a few lucky corporately-approved artists?

EMI Split in Half, Sold to Universal and Sony

And then there were three major labels: After nine months of Citigroup-owned limbo, the beleaguered EMI, which was the most successful of the Big 4 record labels not too long ago, has been split in half and sold off to two of its former competitors, Sony and Universal.According to, Sony has purchased EMI Music Publishing, while the overgrowing Vivendi/Universal Music Group picked up the crown jewel, the EMI recorded music division, which includes the works of the Beatles, Pink Floyd, pre-2007 Radiohead, and a roster that currently includes Coldplay, Gorillaz, and Katy Perry.
Considering Terra Firma bought EMI as a whole for £3.4 billion in 2007, the £1.2 billion Universal/Vivendi spent to purchase EMI's recorded music division is a bargain, even in this climate where music sales are down significantly. Without getting too deep into the business details -- does anyone really care that the payments are " 7 x EBITDA prior to synergies" -- the deal essentially means EMI will continue running as they have been in recent years, except now they'll be better managed.
No more Guy Hands and Terra Firma epic failing all over the place, no more Citigroup bankers who wouldn't know a hit song if it punched them in the face. People who actually understand the music industry are back atop of the corporate ladder. "[Universal] have assembled the most talented group of executives in the industry today and their success speaks for itself. This can only be a positive for the artists and executives at EMI," Coldplay's manager Dave Holmes said in a statement. For now, the EMI hierarchy -- the execs, A&R, the artists etc. -- will continue to work under the EMI name, since that company's moniker is the most prestigious in music.
Ironically, when it was revealed earlier this week that David Bowie was thinking about ditching EMIwhen his contract expired, Universal was the favorite to acquire the Thin White Duke's catalog. Now that Universal essentially owns the company that owns the Bowie discography -- until January 2012, at least -- it's unlikely he'll go anywhere. Same goes for the Rolling Stones and Queen: Both of those classic rock groups also left EMI in recent years for the greener pastures of Universal, but they now all find themselves back under one roof with their former label.
As Mick Jagger said in a statement following news of the sale, "This is a very positive development and I particularly welcome the fact that EMI will once again be owned by people who really do have music in their blood."

Unknown Mortal Orchestra live at Bunk Bar, Portland, November 11, 2011

you may have heard of Unknown Mortal Orchestra aka UMO...

psychedelic guitar whiz and indie pop maestro ruban nielson moves from new zealand to portland, makes music, his song "ffunny friends" becomes a viral hit, unknown mortal orchestra emerges as a three-piece, album & tour, notable cmj 2011 appearance(s)...

their music is.... psychedelic indie pop, with some riffs that wouldn't be out of place in a soul or motown song ("how can u luv me" sounds like it could be michael jackson covering prince), but then there's that wild rock guitar coming in from out of the blue...

How can you love me, when you don’t like me, baby?

How can you look at me and not see

the lonely tears?

And I don’t know what went wrong.
Or why this feeling's gone.

Lonely tears are not better.

Little blue houses
Sitting high on the mountainside
Little blue houses
Sitting high on the mountainside

Oh, to be high on the mountainside...
Oh, to be high on the mountainside...

Maybe all the wolves could lose my scent
and I could stay here for a while

Little safe houses
Sitting high on the mountainside
Little safe houses
Sitting high on the mountainside

Oh, to be safe on the mountainside...
Oh, to be safe on the mountainside...

saw them a few months back at Doug Fir, opening up for yuck. i thought they blew yuck off the stage.

at the doug fir, they played entirely in the dark (because they're mysterious, don't you know...). here, they weren't much more lit up, and perhaps these videos are not so fascinating visually, but i post them because sonically they are so unique... what a sound! you hear on record, but live their sounds really comes alive... especially with the guitar improvisation...

also, gotta like a guy who starts the show by lighting a watermelon bong and smoking it while sitting on the front of the stage... then passing it around... later asking if anyone had refilled it... oh those friendly Kiwis...

They ended with the single "How Can U Luv Me" and did a cover of "Vitamin C" by Can for the encore.

Blurry photos and dark videos by me, Michael Donnelly (mikedx1 on YouTube) for ThisSmallPlanet/NewMusicToday