“Loro” by Pinback (San Diego)

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Pall Jenkins of The Black Heart Procession (a bandmate of Pinback’s Zach Smith in Three Mile Pilot) once told me that 3MP wound up on a Geffen Records (however briefly) due to a major label bidding-tornado that set in on San Diego in the mid-90’s. Their scene nor the greater public saw any major fruit from that, but the bands did have a laugh at the whole thing.

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I’m not sure whether or how that strange series of events fed into the union of Smith with oft-bearded musical genius/sci-fi geek Rob Crow to birth Pinback, but we can all be glad it happened. I’m also not sure what it is about San Diego per se that influenced the duo’s unique sound, either. The other 3MP spin-off, The Black Heart Procession, don’t sound anything like San Diego looks, but I guess that isn’t the point. Night falls, hearts get broken, and people get wronged everywhere.

Anyway, I’ve been busy with some end-of-semester responsibilities, lit review and writing work, but here’s “Loro,” a highlight from Pinback’s debut album (which they just reissued in a limited run for Record Store Day this year) that will form the best three and a half minutes of your Monday.

I’ve just started a new Vimeo account for this page, and I’ll be sharing a few anticipated choice items in the next few days, so stay tuned.

Your Feet are Going to be on the Ground

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Why I didn’t inaugurate this site with this video is beyond me. It may be the most bare-bones “geographical” song (and video) ever recorded, “Green” is celebrating it’s 25th anniversary, and who can say no to those long-extinct flowing locks that Michael Stipe once owned? Say what you want about their post-I.R.S. output (at least post-1996); few bands (if any) had a higher batting average (and at-bats aka albums) across the 1980s. Enjoy this fancy choreography and the Buck/Mills/Stipe/Berry long jump competition. If you’re confused, check with the sun.

So I’m Told That Chicago’s Cold…

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I apologize for the lack of updates to this site recently. I was so submerged in thesis territory that I nearly put two spaces after that last period. I’m sitting in Chicago’s downtown loop right now, about to head off to the Cultural Studies Association meeting. I unfortunately wasn’t able to be here for my allotted presentation time, but I’ll see if I can swing something today. At any rate, it seems like a great conference with a lot of interesting people presenting research across the board of the humanities and social sciences.

I’m not sure if I’ve expounded on this yet, but I simply love Chicago and I’m quite happy to be back in the windy city. As a trinket of said love, here’s a great song by Braid, who weren’t technically from Chicago (they formed in Champaign) but I can’t help but think of whenever Chicagoland comes up in emoversation. Whenever I get time I’ll write something about emotion, affect, and the “midwest sound” (Braid, Empire State Games, any one of the Kinsellas’ 235 bands), but for now, enjoy this gem of late-90’s nostalgia. As Bob Nanna shouts, “Check it out.”

Tom Waits sings with the Rolling Stones in Oakland

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Considering how an English band have made a 50-year career out of appropriating old American blues standards (and doing it well, for the most part), why not bring the American master on board for a spirited rendition of the Willie Dixon standard? In NorCal, no less. Thankfully, a bunch of obnoxious people videoing the show on their cell phones have made it possible for us to see it.

Youth Brigade – “Sink with Kalifornija”

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So, I wrote this chapter for a forthcoming book about the hostile spatial dynamics that face women involved with the punk scene. I used the case study of a Youth Brigade show I saw in Fullerton last year, so I’m sure the BYO kids will love it if the book makes it into any of their hands. Some people may take it as an indictment of the band, but that isn’t the reality at all.

In fact, Youth Brigade have been (as I allude to in the chapter) one of the pillars of the Southern CA punk scene for over three decades. Additionally, the opening track of their first full-length (the official version, at least) is one of punk rock’s greatest “geographic” anthems. Hope it wakes you all up this drowsy mid-afternoon. Enjoy!