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I made a run to Perfomer’s Music today to pick up some recorder swag.  Great store, but I was even more blown away by its location: the 9th floor of the amaaazing Fine Arts Building.  If you’re ever in Chicago, you got to check this place out if for anything to ride a manned elevator for the first time.  The place is full of artists and music–tonight piano and opera echoed through the halls.  I really wished I had brought my camera, but there are some ok flickr photos out there, including this one of the store where I got my stuff.

My previously slow descent into decrepit nerdiness just picked up pace.  I joined the Oak Park Recorder Society this week and brought the average age of the group down by 5 years, which is impressive since there are about 15 people in the group. (do the math)  In any case, it’s a pretty ambitious group playing everything from typical x-mas music (Nutcracker stuff) to Baroque to even older stuff.  Everyone has a full complement of recorders and some even have crumhorns and even a couple contrabasses. (oooOOOOooooooh)

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I took the train all over yesterday to see some free music and to hang out with some Seattle friends. The free music was at the museum of contemporary art and involved a bunch of locals. I came to see Califone, but got there early enough to catch the 1900s set, which was really infectious. Really cute, poppy songs with tight playing and vocals…and they had some synchronized dance moves. They have a new album coming out, and I’ll probably get it.

chica2.JPG guess who’s dancing? (the blurry one)

Califone was quite a bit different (but still great). Being at the very front, I got to meat Califone’s biggest fans, including a 40-50 year old lady from Indiana…let’s call her Betty. Califone was really extending out their songs–they only got 4 or 5 in the hour set. As Betty put it, ‘it seems like the music is just out of control with so many layers, and then–they just pull it all together!’ Sho-nuff: and yesterday they had an additional horn section courtesy of the Bitter Tears (yes, they do wear wedding gowns at their own shows). One of the guys even brought a wee little bell for one of the songs.

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After the show, I checked out the museum, which was very cool, but they didn’t allow pictures. Just go see it for yourself. And then, I met up with the Petersens who introduced me to a few of their good friends in Evanston. Good to see some familiar faces. Okay, I need to get going since I’m getting trained on the new AFM tomorrow, bright and early.

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What could possibly drag me out of my hole to put something on my website? Why my new music crush of course! That would be Rodrigo y Gabriela! (that’s rodgab for those in the know) I guess folks around here knew about them already since their upcoming showbox show (April 24) is already sold out. Pity, they’re supposed to amazing live. I guess I’ll just have to get my fix elsewhere…and maybe even I can learn how to play their brand of thrashmetalfolk. (yeah, right!) I think I ran into them vi Kottke. Otherwise I’ve been trying to learn how to pop (get to 0:45) and lock (the ending is soooo cool)

Quite the productive day.

In food news–made some type of ragu-on-polenta thingy last night and did it up at the stumbling goat over on Phinney ridge. Both were good. I also did my produce run on my bike today for the first time in a while. Ended up getting a watermelon, which was probably not the smartest idea. I also noticed that the U-district farmer’s market is up and running again–no one told me! I thought it was coming back in May!? Time to get me some cheese and greens.

Lordy, this year’s Sasquatch has the best lineup yet (imho). Each day is really quite good, with even the lesser-known, often-local acts (see the blow, the thermals, mirah, grizzly bear) adding to a terrific lineup of heavies (i.e. arcade fire, bjork, spoon, interpol, mia, beasties). Should be good weekend in George.

…I went snowboarding for Josh’s 30th, played some embarrassing full court b-ball for the first time since 3rd grade, and got a case of really good wine. All of which would make perfectly good blog entries I guess, so what amazing event should force me to shake the dust out of timfoolery?

That would be Secaucus, the once impossible-to-find, highly regarded album by the Wrens which has just been re-released! Used copies once circulated for $100-300 and are now $10.99 on Amazon. This just tickes me to death.

Oh yeah–fyi: I will be in Minnesota in a week, so let me know if you want to hang out (I already talked to Reinke, but I’d like to see Jon, Chuck, etc)

Well, I do have a tiny home…um, so as I mentioned earlier, I got this little faux surround sound speaker system from this small company in Massachusettes. It’s pretty cute and a pretty good fit for me (cheap and lacking space). So far, not bad: the surroundiness can be a little breathtaking, but can be taken a little too far.  Let’s review the test of the mini ZVOX, gentle readers:zvox.JPG

  • My Thang (James Brown) : With the phase cue knob cranked all the way, that opening gong really shimmers from one side of the room to the other.  Bass is really rich…tweeters do sound like they’re coming from my sides.  Pretty good so far…let’s check that middle range..
  • Neighborhood #3 (Arcade Fire) : Bass is a little heavier here than I like, but it does sound a lot more ‘live’…It appears I’m going to be a lot more sensitive to levels now than before.
  • Desert Search for Techno Allah (Mr. Bungle) : verrrry nice.  Basically testing every possible type of music with this one song.  Much better than with my giant blue+gray aiwa, with a nice restrained echo.
  • Only Shallow (My Bloody Valentine) : mostly ok.  Haven’t heard any static here, but the surroundiness of the overdubbed guitars is making me a little seasick (maybe that’s how it’s supposed to be?)
  • Star Witness (Neko Case) : This is where the zvox shines.  Neko sounds rich and shimmery.  I suspect that this system will work better for acoustic stuff than ‘wall of sound’ type productions.
  • The Wire, season III : …and whatdyaknow–it dramatically improves the sound and feel of dvd’s (well, it was the mono output from my tv previously).  If you have not seen this show yet, give it a shot–but start from the beginning.  It’s a ridiculously complex show with a million characters, each of which is more well-rounded than 99% of what you’ve seen so far.

Ok, you’ve made it this far: here’s a special-extra-bonus picture of a present Echo left me this morning.  She really, really hates toilet paper.

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For a time, I was buying a cd every two weeks, usually scouring the quality used bins at cellophane. Honestly, I haven’t boughten one in many months. The latest reason: ctrax–this free (sort of) download site available to UW students. They have a pretty decent selection (no Coco Rosie though), but everything’s the infamous DRM format. To the best of my knowledge, DRM works within the windows framework making it impossible to burn the song to a cd, making the songs trackable if you manage to distribute them, and forcing you to use media player (making a lot of mac users rightfully grumpy). Anyways, there are ways around DRM (do your own homework), so lately I’ve been on quite the music binge.

After much research, I finally got a new speaker/receiver system to replace the ugly blue and gray aiwa boom box I’ve been using since undergrad. As for the tunes, here’s some rec’s: I’ve finally gotten into cat power (you are free‘s a-sides are a trip)…m. ward’s latest is pretty nice…sharon jones gets me going…and I keep getting brazilian girls stuck in my head…you UW students should check out the site–it takes a little time to get it set up, but it’s sort of nice..

Comaradas: ¡Hay tanto la musica en este sitio — algo para cada uno! (si usted tiene gusto de jugar la vieja música clásica que es…Jugaré algún Bach en mi recordero bajo esta noche, ninguna duda…¿No es el Internet magnífico? …autorización, necesito volver a mi trabajo sobre la radiografía inelástica non-resonant, q-dependiente dispersando del hielo y a una cierta teoría del grupo que implica funciones de Green–¡adios!)

(vía Metafiltero)

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Andrea got back on Sunday night and we spent her first day back at Bumbershoot. I can only be brief, but it was tons of funs. There’s captions on the pictures, in case you need an explanation.

Nubia is one of Andrea's BFFs I liked their vests at least... Qui moi? (at a one-reel fest) SKINNNNERRR!!!time to go home...that's going to take a while to clean up.. Posers...It turns out they're in the optical regime... Tribe takes the stage for the first time in eight years... ...and Andrea is quite excited. Coco Rosie wins best band of the night (surprisingly) hack on old man, hack on