Under 30

I can't complain but sometimes I still do

Friday, November 17, 2006

iPod Journal for October 2006

A few years ago I started making mix CDs of songs I was listening to a lot during a particular month. It was an idea I stole from Cameron Crowe, who kept monthly mix tapes as a sort of musical journal. I like it because music is my best memory jogger, and I can listen to a disc I made in Sept. 2003 and remember exactly what I was doing that month.

Here is my iPod journal for October 2006:

1. Ray Price, "Night Life"
2. Sloan, "Pen Pals"
3. The Dears, "Hate Then Love"
4. Phish, "Fluffhead" (Live)
5. The Who, "Love Reign O'er Me"
6. Kings Of Leon, "Taper Jean Girl"
7. Ghostface Killah, "Jellyfish"
8. Justin Timberlake, "What Goes Around"
9. The Life And Times, "Ave Maria"
10. Hall And Oates, "Kiss On My List"
11. Midlake, "Roscoe"
12. Pete Yorn, "The Man"
13. Olivia Tremor Control, "No Growing (Exegesis)"
14. My Morning Jacket, "Run Thru" (Live)
15. Creedence Clearwater Revival, "Bad Moon Rising"
16. Jenny Lewis with The Watson Twins, "You Are What You Love"
17. The Beatles, "If I Fell"
18. Kris Kristofferson, "Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down"
19. Michael Runion, "Red Pony"
20. The Hollies, "My Back Pages"
21. Sean Lennon, "Would I Be The One"
22. Robert Pollard, "Serious Bird Woman (You Turn Me On)"
23. Caesars, "It's Not The Fall That Hurts"
24. The Rolling Stones, "Slave"
25. Slayer, "Angel of Death"
26. The Long Winters, "Clouds"
27. The Hold Steady, "First Day"
28. XTC, "Wrapped in Grey"
29. Phil Collins, "Take Me Home"
30. Cheap Trick, "Take Me To The Top" (Live)
31. The Allman Brothers Band, "Blue Sky"
32. Aretha Franklin with Ray Charles, "Spirit In The Dark (Reprise)" (Live)

Random thoughts about religious TV

I'm a big fan of religious programming, and in Milwaukee there are two awesome Christian channels I check almost daily. One of my favorite shows is We Sold Our Souls For Rock 'n' Roll, which is about how Satan is at work in the music of AC/DC, Metallica, and, um, Sting. (Solo material, sure, but The Police?) It reminds me of when I was 14, and this youngish, mullet-haired preacher came to my church to talk about "backward masking," which is when rock bands put evil messages on their records that subconciously inspire teens to get stoned and blow their heads off.

I love religious programming because it's terrible at doing what it's supposed to do, which is convert people. In We Sold Our Souls For Rock 'n' Roll, rock lyrics are printed over flames and screaming devils, and a disembodied voice disputes the sickly Satanic messages coming from songs like "You Shook Me All Night Long." Anybody who has actually heard rock music doesn't take AC/DC lyrics seriously. When Gene Simmons spits blood, everybody knows it's a joke. So when We Sold Our Souls For Rock 'n' Roll warns listeners against the "danger" this music presents, it just makes the church seem out-of-touch. I feel dumb writing this because it seems so obvious, but the powers that be at the religious TV channels are totally oblivious to it. Case in point: The other night I was flipping through the on-screen guide when I noticed Kirk Cameron was hosting a show on how to talk to people about your faith on the religious channel. I'm not sure it's possible for a show synopsis to be more enticing than this.

Kirk (and a mustochioed British guy whose name escapes me) chatted for a half-hour about different scenarios that Christians find themselves in when trying to convert people. Talking about your faith is a natural impulse, Kirk explained, because anyone who doesn't accept Jeezus will perish. Anyway, the point of the show was this: Christians are being too nice when talking about God. In order to convert people, you have to explain in bloody detail the lifetime of damnation that awaits if you don't accept the Caucausian Jeezus Christ in your life.

Talking about burning in hell fire for waching Desperate Housewives is hilarious, not persuasive. What Christians need to do is talk about what awaits believers in heaven; namely, topless virgin angels and all the cheeseburgers you can eat. Pitch it as an invest in the future, like mutual funds. Death is the ultimate retirement, and should be sold as such. Of course, I endorse what Kirk is saying 1,000 percent. I like my religious programming crazy, after all.

My A.V. Club interview with My Morning Jacket drummer Patrick Hallahan

Despite putting a relatively modern pop sheen on its dreamy guitar jams for 2005’s Z, My Morning Jacket has always been a classic rock band. Which is why it makes perfect sense that the Louisville, Ky.-based fivepiece recently released Okonokos, a double live album and concept DVD. Double live albums, even for the most galvanizing stage performers, often are too much of a good thing. But Okonokos is an exhilarating listen that never overstays its welcome over 21 tracks. In fact, the infusion of energy, clarity and volume into the band’s sometimes sleepy, always reverb-heavy songs make Okonokos the definitive My Morning Jacket album. The DVD is a treat, too, interspersing terrific footage from The Fillmore in San Francisco with a campy storyline involving a social outcast lost in the 19th century, a mystical llama and other Songs Remains The Same-style nonsense. Hard-hitting drummer Patrick Hallahan recently spoke with The A.V. Club about Okonokos, his favorite live albums of all-time, and whether he wishes he were dead.

The A.V. Club: What are some of your favorite live albums?

Patrick Hallahan: For my 4th birthday my parents bought me my first album ever, Simon & Garfunkel – The Concert In Central Park. That one has always been a love of mine. There’s always (The Who’s) Live At Leeds. KISS’ Alive!, I thought it was amazing that it was a live album and it outsold their other albums. I have a lot of great Neil Young bootlegs and some awesome live albums.

AVC: Why do a live My Morning Jacket CD/DVD now?

PH: It just felt right. We were in a really good headspace. The band has grown so close together. We started taking it more seriously, that we need to capture this moment, so when we’re older we can look back and show our kids.

AVC: There are fake obituaries for each band member in the liner notes. Any significance to that?

PH: You know, we all joked about dying at 27 and we made it happen. [Laughs.] It was just a joke.

AVC: I was going to ask a pretentious question about whether this album represents the end of a chapter for the band, and if the obituaries imply a rebirth.

PH: I think you’re reading way too much into it. We like to make ourselves laugh. [Laughs] That’s pretty much it.

AVC: There are a number of My Morning Jacket bootlegs floating around. How do you feel about concert tapers?

PH: There’s an open invitation for audio recording at our shows. It’s nice to keep a little slice of your night, something you can go back to and trade with your friends. I think it’s good karma to keep tapers in the mix because they keep this whole thing alive.

AVC: My Morning Jacket has played with jam bands and indie rock bands. Do you feel like you belong to either scene, or is the band separate from both?

PH: I don’t think we’re necessarily separate from what’s going on, but we’re not really lumped into one scene, which I think is both a blessing and a curse. The curse is that it’s probably harder for journalists such as yourself to label us and convey to people who haven’t heard us what we sound like. But it’s a blessing in that we get to play with so many bands and we get to experience so many great festivals. We look out at the audience and have such as array of fans.

AVC: Is the band working on a new album?

PH: We’re going to tour for the rest of this year, and then we’re going to take an indefinite period of time off to write an album. We haven’t started anything yet.

AVC: From 1999’s The Tennessee Fire to 2005’s Z, there has been a clear evolution in My Morning Jacket’s sound. Where’s the band headed creatively after this?

PH: I have no idea. We keep that open and relative to what is going on around us. I think the band is always in a constant state of evolution, and where and when that evolution happens isn’t really up to us. I have no idea what it will sound like. I know the core of it will still be there and it will probably be drenched in reverb.