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recommended boston area events

tuesday, december 4th

kelly hogan

@ johnny d's

thursday, december 6th

conor oberst

@ converse hall, tremont st.

thursday, december 6th

jason isbell &

the 400 unit

@ the sinclair

friday, december 7th

the weisstronauts 14th

annual holiday jubilee

with guests tsunami of sound

preacher jack, & the derangers

@ the midway cafe, jp

friday, december 7th


moving mountains


@ the sinclair

saturday, december 8th

patrick watson

@ the sinclair

saturday, december 8th

the faint perform

"danse macabre"


icky blossoms

@ the paradise

sunday, december 9th

band of horses

@ house of blues

sunday, december 9th



@ the paradise

wednesday, december 12th

concrete blonde

jim bianco

@ the sinclair

thursday, december 13th

annual boston christmas cavalcade

benefit for the homeless

featuring tons of artists

(see fb event for details)

@ johnny d's

thursday, december 13th

nada surf

eternal summers

@ the paradise

thursday, december 13th

mates of state

in the valley below

@ brighton music hall

friday, december 14th

forgetters (blake from

jawbreaker's band)

& more tba

@ democracy center, harvard square

sunday, december 30th

sufjan stevens

sheila saputo

@ the royale

monday, december 31st

my morning jacket

@ agganis arena

monday, december 31st

deer tick

two gallants

@ the sinclair

monday, january 7th


@ the paradise

tuesday, january 8th


@ great scott

saturday, january 19th

mission of burma

@ the sinclair

sunday, january 20th

camper van beethoven


@ the middle east down

sunday, january 20th


@ the orpheum

sunday, january 20th

ra ra riot

@ the paradise

sunday, january 27th


@ great scott

tuesday, january 29th

kathleen edwards

sera cahoone

@ brighton music hall

wednesday, february 13th

yo la tengo

@ the paradise

saturday, march 2nd

unknown mortal orchestra

@ brighton music hall

tuesday, march 12th

tame impala

@ house of blues

thursday, march 14th

jukebox the ghost

matt pond pa

lighthouse and the whaler

@ brighton music hall

tuesday, march 26th

yo la tengo

@ the paradise

wednesday & thursday

april 3rd & 4th

they might be giants

@ the paradise

visit tourfilter for more shows

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Here Comes the Flood

Finally caught my first Red Sox game of the summer last night, and the only thing that kept it from being an absolutely perfect evening at the ballpark was the fact that, well, we didn't freakin' win.

Incredible seats in a front row (leg room!), ideal weather, Schilling on the mound against a mediocre Tampa Bay. All the ingredients were there, but still no victory. Remarkably, it seems I've mentally separated myself enough from my seemingly lifeless team that I can still enjoy the hell out of a game even when we, um, suck. Which, lately, is quite a lot.

Oh, and I think I may have caught Manny Ramirez's 'flu-like-symptoms'. Thanks a lot, slugger.

So it's time to play blog-catch-up, fast and not-really-furious ...

You may notice that my little MP3 of the Week thang is back with a live Franz Ferdinand song from their recent appearance on Conan. Their performance of that song was what pulled me onto the bandwagon (their on-stage energy helped a lot), and I think it sounds a hell of a lot better than the album version.

Going to try to keep the weekly mp3 going for awhile, knowing I get discouraged by the pure awesomeness of the constant linkage over at LHB and CW. I am but the student to those mp3 masters.

You can finally order the very promising "I Could Live In Hope: A Tribute to Low" cd direct from Fractured Discs, beating it's September 2nd release date by a few weeks. That's what impatient me just did. Ah, sweet PayPal, how I love thee.

The details, from the Fractured site...
It's been ten years since the release of Low's beautiful first album, 1994s I Could Live in Hope. In celebration of this milestone we, being such staunch admirers of Low, have gathered together a few of Low's personal friends and fans to record their own definitive versions of the eleven songs that appeared on the actual release. We took creative liberty by slightly skewing the original tracklisting to include two starkly contrasting versions of the often requested first song 'words'. Much like the amazing originals, We Could Live in Hope's twelve gorgeously rendered interpretations will ultimately capture, softly shape and soothe your mood. Their collective sounds resonate and sway within that raw, utopian essence of what makes Low so familiar to us all- that glorious uniqueness of feeling simultaneously safe and vulnerable. By fans, from fans, for fans. Fractured Discs sincerely hopes that you enjoy this tribute.


1. Daniel G. Harmann - words
2. Pale Horse and Rider - fear
3. The Strugglers - cut
4. A Northern Chorus - slide
5. Mark Kozelek - lazy
6. Kid Dakota - lullaby
7. Misc / ill lit - sea
8. Jessica Bailiff - down
9. The Winter Blanket - drag
10. Idaho - rope
11. Migala - words
12. His Name is Alive (w/Nanang Tatang) - sunshine 'super low rmx'
That lineup is ace, and I'm so looking forward to hearing the Mark Kozelek and Idaho contributions.

Doom 3 is indeed all that and a big, bloody bag of chips. I wasn't going to splurge for it, but winning a $50 Best Buy gift took care of that. And, well, wow. After a couple initial crashes (and an update to the latest and greatest ATI video drivers), I was off and gunning. It's smooth, gorgeous, and yes, freakin' scary. Turn off the lights, turn up the sound, be prepared to jump out of your seat every few minutes. They've perfected the first-person shooter interface, and I'm especially digging the whole PDA-updates-as-mission-info thing. Talk about attention to detail. I found a web address in an in-game email, and sure enough... it's an existing page for the fictional Union Aerospace Corporation. Nice.

Oh, and I'm generally not into pure fighting games, but this trailer for the upcoming Fight Club game looks pretty spiffy.

Long as we're talkin' videogames, here, have some online retro game links. Not old school enough for you? Grab some ancient Scott Adams text adventure action. I think I just crushed my nostalgia quotient.

Oh, fine, here's some more: Floppy Sleeve Flashback

Amie and I caught the 'feel bad movie of the summer!', aka Open Water, last week. I can admire the skill that went into making a film that triggers such an intense emotional reaction (especially in Amie), while still not being able to say that we 'enjoyed' it. Or even liked it. One thing's for sure... whatever small desire I had to try open water diving someday has disappeared. Gone. Snorkling? Doubtful.

I have a theory. Maybe the husband & wife filmmaking (and diving) team behind this thing were getting tired of increasing crowds at their favorite scuba spots, and decided to do something about it. If that's the case... nice work, ya twisted freaks.

Seen quite a few other flicks recently, including the excellent (and missed by many) Spartan, a film both written and directed by David Mamet. I was hooked into this Val Kilmer spy-fest from the get-go (although I had to stop myself from thinking about Top Secret!). Mamet's dialogue crackles, even with one-too-many sentences ending in the word "baby". Swingers this ain't. Way cool to see a command post set up right inside Harvard Stadium, and to watch a helicopter fly over the Charles and land right on that football field, not a mile from my house. Wonder when they filmed it, and why I wasn't payin' attention.

I also rented, and loved, Dirty Pretty Things. Can't get enough Audrey Tatou, and lead-guy Chiwetel Ejiofor blew me away. (Really glad to know this is the man they've cast as "The Operative" in the now-filming Firefly feature film, Serenity). How can you not enjoy a love story set against a tale of live organ stealing? Seriously, rent away.

And I really wanted to like Vozvrashcheniye (aka The Return). I saw it alone in London and it did absolutely nothing for me. Well, it looked good, but that's about it. I found it too long, deadly slow, and entirely depressing. I'm game for the occasional stab at Russian cinema, but this one just didn't float my boat. So to speak. (you won't get that terrible joke unless you've seen the film. and if you've seen it... i'm so sorry.)

I was pretty riveted by the carjacking eppy of Six Feet Under a couple weeks back, glued to the set during David's abduction by that freak-boy named Jake. Watching Garden State soon after, I knew that Kenny, the cop who pulled over Large's speeding motorcycle, looked pretty familiar. Whoa, same guy. His name's Michael Weston, and damn, he can act.

Jimmy Eat World's next album, Futures, is recorded, mastered, and on the way for October 19th. Their Clarity is one of my favorite records, but Bleed American didn't stick with me very well. Entered my ears but never settled in my brain. A little too much riffin' and rockin', not enough sweetness and light. I'm probably hoping in vain for a return to form, rather than an even more power-chordy direction, but if the third song in this preview medley is any indication, I might get a little bit of it. They've got that clip streaming on their site, so I grabbed it for download. The three songs sampled there are supposedly Pain, Just Tonight, and Polaris.

I finally picked up Top Shelf's "Conversation #1", a collaborative mini-comic from James "American Elf" Kochalka & Craig "Goodbye, Chunky Rice" Thompson, and I'm so damn glad I did. They emailed half-finished panels back and forth, completing each other's work using photoshop, each responding to dialogue that meanders around the subject of the religion, self-expression, and the true meaning of art. I loved every bit of it, totally dug the blending of their styles, the way it flowed so naturally from one page to the next. Plus, there's cute little talking birds and an evil octopus. What's not to love?

Check out a recent interview with James Kochalka in the Onion AV Club. And buy his collected Sketchbook Diaries. Epic masterwork of the year.

Everyone in my little IT/InfoSec circle is talking about the big Windows XP SP2 update that was officially released on Friday, and is being slowly rolled out to users over the next few weeks. I grabbed it over the weekend and did a bunch of testing. The verdict: Nice work, Microsoft. It's slick, easy to install, didn't screw anything up on my machine (at least not yet), and has some excellent user interface changes.

The new wireless network selection screen is much improved, the Security Center is nice and simple (will definitely help your average virus-prone home (l)user). I like the little changes as well as the big ones... new icons for wireless network connections, a new download confirmation dialogue, a slicker firewall interface. All good. The new firewall implementation even integrates with existing software firewalls like Zonealarm and Checkpoint SecureClient's VPN Policy Server. With SC's SecureClient Verification, you can just choose to 'ignore' Windows Internet Connection Firewall (ICF), and still connect from home like a champ. Saves us many headaches here at work.

Just one minor bug so far: It upgrades Internet Explorer, which inadvertently renders Lotus Notes Sametime Meeting functions inoperable. No worky. Hopefully Lotus will release a patch or a newer version sometime soon, since that's the chat client we use here in the office.

If you're looking to grab the XP SP2 update quick-like, before your machine gets it automatically, check out this post over at Kevin Rose's site (the comments have some BitTorrent download locations). If you're patient, and want your own disk copy, place your order with Microsoft here.

Very glad to find out that The Wire: Season 1 will be out on DVD in a couple months. Oh, how I adore this show, and I missed a few episodes from the first year. Funny how Comcast "On Demand" doesn't actually have the shows available that I, uh, demand.

Here's an old article on the show from CNN. If you're not watching The Wire, you damn well should be, especially if you were a fan of Homicide. And if you are watching, hey, didja catch Nick Sobotka in the Manchurian Candidate remake? Don't blink, ya might miss him.

Speaking of great shows on DVD, this Arrested Development: Season One set looks super sweet. Comes out right around the same time as the Wire, in late October. My birthday prezzie list is growing.

OoooOOoo... just a couple more weeks until the Donnie Darko Director's Cut hits theaters here in Boston. I dropped an email to Newmarket Films asking if and when Boston would be one of the 'select cities', and they responded with a Brattle Theatre release date of August 27th. That's the same place I saw the original on it's first run, so not too surprising. Cannot wait.

I have my doubts about the film itself, but the soundtrack to Wicker Park looks great. Acoustic Death Cab for Cutie, an unreleased Stills track, non-album Shins and Postal Service, plus Snow Patrol and Mazzy Star. Whoa. Are good soundtrack albums making a comeback? Between this and Garden State, could we be returning to the days of Pretty in Pink and A Matter of Degrees?

The next batch of VH1's guilty-pleasure Bands Reunited arrives on September 6th, and the lineup is kind of... meh. I'm slightly into seeing ambushed attempts to reunite The English Beat, and even ABC (Shoot that poison arrow, baby), but The Motels, Haircut 100, and freakin' New Kids On The Block?! Yeah, I'm sure that one went well. Got a feeling there's no concert at the end of that shortened episode.

It's a good time to be a tv sci-fi fan. Not only do we get the much-deserved return of Farscape to our screens in October (check out that trailer), and a Firefly movie next year, but we may also get a Firefly comic book to go along with it. Joss Whedon, who now seems more than comfortable writing comics himself, would be penning them, of course. Hooray for multimedia pop-culture marketing.

From screen to comics, and from comics to screen: Look, Sin City Posters. I'm trying to restrain my hopes, but it just ain't happenin'.

I'm always missing cool guests or good bands on late night TV, even with two TiVo's in da house. Mostly, it's just because I wasn't paying attention. Well, I found a place that makes it easy, The Late Night TV Page. Complete guest schedules for late night (and some daytime) programming, updated often. They've even got a variety of handy RSS feeds. Nice.

I just realized that I may never have shared up the link for Pilot To Gunner's Barrio Superstarrio video. Consider that remedied, and keep an eye out for a second video sometime soon.

Ok, that's it. I'm outta time, outta gas, and my fast-typing fingers are sore. I really gotta work on my post pacing, y'know?

featured mp3 download
neil halstead
live in cambridge, ma
on november 14th, 2008
previously: joy formidable - boston 2011

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