American Analog Set live mp3s

We sadly missed the American Analog Set shows when they recently came to New York, but the kind people at Bradley’s Almanac have got our back. Check out a complete set of MP3s from their recent live show in Cambridge. [Via Brooklyn Vegan]

Songs Illinois

We don’t usually do posts to promote other blogs, but if you haven’t discovered Songs Illinois do yourself a favor and check it out. It’s the perfect antidote to the New York blogs that are always discussing the same two or three bands. Their specialty is alt-country and folk—in the realm of Will Oldham and Mendoza Line—and best of all, they always turn us onto music (and labels) we’ve yet to discover by providing lots of free downloads. Check ’em out here. We recommend downloading Arena Rock’s Winechuggers, as per their suggestion.

LA Times doesn't know difference between an exaggeration and a lie

The LA Times says Bush “exaggerated.” We say he lied. Decide for yourself: [From the same LA Times story]

1. “[An Iraqi defector code-named Curveball] was the chief source of inaccurate prewar U.S. accusations that Baghdad had biological weapons”
2. “Curveball never claimed to produce germ weapons and never saw anyone else do so.”
3. “Curveball’s German handlers for the last six years said his information was often vague, mostly secondhand and impossible to confirm. ‘This was not substantial evidence,’ said a senior German intelligence official… ‘We made clear we could not verify the things he said… He [Curveball] is not a stable, psychologically stable guy.'”
4. “The White House… ignored evidence gathered by United Nations weapons inspectors shortly before the war that disproved Curveball’s account… [and] punished in-house critics who provided proof that he had lied”

Forget Plamegate. Forget Clinton’s blow job. Neither caused 1500 US deaths or enabled the use of chemical weapons against civilians. Can we hurry up and fire this pig fucker from Texas?

Worst. Wonder. Woman. Costume. Ever

Hearing Ohio Republican Jean Schmidt’s vile response to John P. Murtha yesterday was enough to turn our stomachs:
“Cowards cut and run” she said. “Marines never do” [the video is here]
Never mind that Murtha is a distinguished war vet who was visibly moved by the amount of carnage he has personally witnessed while visiting Iraq and vet hospitals. Once again, the GOP makes a mockery of the freedom we are supposedly fighting for by attacking any voice of dissent as unpatriotic.
Thank God Catch softened the blow by focusing our attention where it should be, on Schmidt’s bizarre wardrobe.

“Worst. Wonder. Woman. Costume. Ever”

Thanks Catch, we needed that laugh.

The Complete Sun Recordings, 1955-1958

The new Johnny Cash biopic starts this weekend and thus far the reviews are pretty solid. It’s no secret that we’re huge Cash fans (who isn’t) so we’re excited to see if Joaquin and Reese can pull off a believable Johnny and June.
There have been so many Cash box sets and collections since his death, the recent release of his The Complete Sun Recordings 1955-1958 arrived two weeks ago with little fanfare. Nonetheless, this three-disk collection is essential for any fan of his music. For those used to hearing the more raucous versions of Cash classics like “I Walk the Line” and “Ring of Fire” included on the legendary Folsom Prison live record, The Complete Sun Recordings showcases a more intimate and subdued side of Cash. The box set includes the studio originals of most of his classic songs, not to mention dozens of forgotten jewels. From the liner notes:

“Can you imagine ‘I Walk the Line’ with a steel guitar?” That rhetorical question, posed by Sun Records president Sam Phillips, went to the heart of Johnny Cash’s years at Sun…
Cash’s signature “boom-chicka-boom” sound, heard on his first Sun record (and nearly every record thereafter), was born of necessity… A steel guitarist accompanied Cash to his first session, but quit after one song, leaving Cash with a guitarist who could only play boom-chicka-boom. Sam Phillips’ stroke of genius was to not care that this very spare sound was unlike Webb Pierce or Faron Young or Hank Williams. He realized that Cash’s baritone needed no more ornamentation than that provided by the remains of his ragged little band…
Cash said, “I didn’t put a steel guitar in my band because everybody has a steel guitar in their band. “Don’t listen to the music on the record, listen to the rhythm.”

Everyone loves the iconic Cash baritone, but listen to the rhythm. It was first put on record in his Sun Recordings. [track list here via Artist Direct]

IL's Top 40 Bands in America Today

Information Leafblower posted their blog poll of the top bands in America. It’s a strange list that could be more aptly titled “Top 40 Bands in America That East Coast Bloggers and Pitchfork Obsessed Over in 2005.” That said, blogger obsession number one, “Clap Your Hands Say Yeah,” are strangely not on the list. We obsessed about them too this year, because they’re damn good. The National secured the number two spot on the list. Come on guys, they’re just not that exciting. Fiery Furnaces also secured a top spot when they would be better served with a stern punishment. Their 2004 release Rehearsing My Choir is unlistenable. And the king of hype, Kanye West, got a top billing since indie kids have to always include a hip hop artist to be well-rounded. There were also the obligatory ironic choices like Kelly Clarkson. That said, it’s a decent overview of today’s top indie bands put together by most of our favorite bloggers, One Louder and Brooklyn Vegan are impeccable. Best of all, the list correctly put Sufjan in the number one spot, where he should be. On another note, we were sad to see Of Montreal, The Shins, Deerhoof, Will Oldham, Grizzly Bear, Chad Vangaalen, nearly all metal bands, and any electronic band not associated with DFA excluded. Check out the full list here.

GOP-led Congress robs NY after passing bill with $24 billion in pork

Congressional budget negotiators have decided to take back $125 million in Sept. 11 aid from New York, which had fought to keep the money to treat sick and injured ground zero workers, lawmakers said Tuesday.
New York officials had sought for months to hold onto the funding, originally meant to cover increased worker compensation costs stemming from the 2001 terror attacks [AP]

Meanwhile, the pork-filled Highway Bill posed no problems for Congressional leaders, on either side of the aisle:

The $286 billion legislation was stuffed with 6,000 pet projects for lawmakers’ districts, including what critics denounce as a $223 million “Bridge to Nowhere” that would replace a 7-minute ferry ride in a sparsely populated area of Alaska. Usually members of Congress cannot wait to rush home and brag about such bounty — a staggering number of parking lots, bus depots, bike paths and new interchanges for just about every congressional district in the country that added $24 billion to the overall cost of maintaining the nation’s highways and bridges in the coming years [WaPo]

Kansas School Board Agues That Teaching Facts Is Not "Neutral"

From NYTimes:

On Tuesday, fueled by the popular opposition to the Darwinian theory of evolution, the Kansas State Board of Education… promulgated a new definition of science itself.
The changes in the official state definition are subtle and lawyerly, and involve mainly the removal of two words: “natural explanations.” But they are a red flag to scientists, who say the changes obliterate the distinction between the natural and the supernatural that goes back to Galileo and the foundations of science…
Adrian Melott, a physics professor at the University of Kansas who has long been fighting Darwin’s opponents, said, “The only reason to take out ‘natural explanations’ is if you want to open the door to supernatural explanations.”
Gerald Holton, a professor of the history of science at Harvard, said removing those two words and the framework they set means “anything goes.”
The authors of these changes say that presuming the laws of science can explain all natural phenomena promotes materialism, secular humanism, atheism and leads to the idea that life is accidental. Indeed, they say in material online at, it may even be unconstitutional to promulgate that attitude in a classroom because it is not ideologically “neutral.”