Archive | March, 2004

Prince Paul

31 Mar

At SXSW, I met a publicist for Razor and Tie who just sent me the new Prince Paul CD, Politics of the Business. (That’s pretty cool of her, considering I’ll never be able to review it for work, although she did point out the one acoustic track–ha!) I listened to it yesterday on the way home from work, not paying too close attention, but it did remind me of De La Soul and the days when I liked rap. The lyrics are great, skewering different aspects of the music business, the scene, etc., and the music is good, but doesn’t take itself too seriously. Plus, Dave Chappelle is on some of the skits between songs. I haven’t finished listening to it yet, but it could be a keeper.

On All Things Considered the other day, they reviewed a CD by Franz Ferdinand. It sounds pretty cool–like the Strokes only not pretentious.

Advertisements

Why I Should Never Start a Project at 10pm

31 Mar

I finished my plaid dishcloth (from my I Can’t Believe I’m Knitting book–it’s actually a good book) last week on my lunch breaks and while we were up in Tahoe this past weekend.

So I decided to start on Nakiska, a cable-knit headband. It’s my first project with cables, my first with circular needles, and my first with anything smaller than an 8 needle (it uses 5s). I went to Dharma Trading in San Rafael (my work LYS), and the lady there was a huge help, giving me advice on what length of circular needles I should use and gushing about the Classic Elite Lush yarn. It is pretty darn soft.

So, after an evening of proofing (a really fun crafty girlie book called You Can Do It!–I can’t wait until it comes out), I decided to stay up for another fifteen minutes, watch some TiVo (Chad’s newest toy), and cast on the yarn for the headband. Unfortunately, I’ve never worked with yarn like this before, and it immediately got completely tangled up. Two hours later, I almost had it untangled and my demeanor alternated between infuriated, bitter, miserable, and Zen-like acceptance. A half hour later than that, the part I had straightened out got tangled, I pulled out the scissors, and now I have two nice little compact balls. So much for getting to bed early. I hope the rest of the project goes more smoothly. I cast on the next day at lunch and knitted two rows. My seed stitch is a little wonky, but I’m just going to charge right through it. We’ll see how it goes…

Here’s my half-finished Eve. I need more Splash! Dharma doesn’t carry it in black and I haven’t been able to make it to ImagiKnit since I bought it. Dang it!

Magnetic Fields “i” and Sam Phillips “A Boot and a Shoe”

25 Mar

Derk handed me the new Magnetic Fields CD, i (which will be released on Nonesuch in May). It’s great–the same kind of top-notch quirky songwriting as on 69 Love Songs Vol. 1. One of the songs, I think it’s “I’m Tongue-Tied,” sounds like an old vocal tune from the ’20s-’40s. And “I Don’t Believe You” is an early favorite. I couldn’t help thinking of Aimee Mann as I was listening to it. Good stuff.

Sam Phillips’ new album, A Boot and a Shoe, is also another one to watch out for. I loved her last album, Fan Dance. Oddly catchy, for me, the new one falls into that post-Tom Waits twisted barroom jazz that I’ve been really into lately. Joe Henry is the only other example I can think of at the moment.

I just checked out the Nonesuch website briefly. What a roster: Bill Frisell, Wilco, David Byrne, Randy Newman. What a great bunch of wackos.

Chad and I are heading to LA next weekend to see wee Jon Brion at Largo. Should be good…

Carole Lombard Flower–Finished!

24 Mar

Finally! A photo! (Thanks, Chad.) I just finished the leaves and put it all together yesterday. Better late than never…

Carole Lombard velvet flower

So now the remaining projects on my to-do list are:

  • Photo album for Haas and Ben
  • Wreath for mom (and practice wreath for myself). Yes, this was supposed to be a Christmas present.
  • Crate and Barrel-style floor cushions. I’m SO CLOSE with these. I just need to cut the foam padding, fill the slipcovers, close them up, and finish the edges and sew the buttons.
  • My Christmas stocking (again, almost done)
  • Christmas ornaments

You can see that I’m leaving myself quite a bit of time to finish those last two items, yet with my resolution to only work on one craft project at a time (plus one knitting project), it’s still so daunting. The one upside is that I’m down to five projects from ten at the beginning of January. The downside is that I’m still where I was a month ago…

SXSW Highlights

22 Mar

What a crazy week! Panels and discussions all day, concerts all night. Trying to choose from about 100 different bands each night was quite a challenge. Here’s a quick list of who I saw:


  • Nora O’Connor: great alt-country singer and acoustic guitarist, former member of Andrew Bird’s Bowl of Fire. Bird joined her for a few songs and was great. I can’t wait to hear her debut album (should be released on Bloodshot later this year).
  • Madeleine Peyroux: resurfaces from oblivion seven years after her awesome debut Dreamland playing some Tom Waits-influenced timeless jazz. Her version of an Elliott Smith song, “Between the Bars,” was bewildering, in a great way. It sounded like a jazz standard when she and her band did it.
  • Grey DeLisle: Unfortunately, we didn’t hear much of her since the power went out after the second song we heard. To add insult to injury, she was playing at Coyote Ugly’s (yep, like the movie and while they were trying to fix the problem, the “bartenders” got up on the bar and danced to “Welcome to the Jungle.” Very strange. Once the power went back on, I could see that her husband, Murray from the Old 97’s, played bass, and the guitar player came out into the audience for his last couple of solos.
  • Garrison Starr: I liked her better live than I remembered her record.
  • Little Richard: Initially, I thought, “Wow! He can still sing! AND play the piano!” And then I realized his back-up singer was doing quite a bit of the more histrionic stuff and that he had a second piano player. Chad did get me some religious propaganda and a signed photo of Little Richard that one of his people was handing out as souvenirs.
  • Old Crow Medicine Show: I wanted to like them more than I did. I just can’t accept those 6-string banjos as bona fide instruments.
  • The Black Keys: One of the highlights, definitely. They follow the same formula as the White Stripes but do it so much better. Soulful vocals that hark back to early blues, guitar parts that remind me of Led Zeppelin, and drums that put Meg White’s boring recorded parts to shame (I’ve heard she’s much better live, though).
  • British Sea Power: Sucked.
  • Calexico: The quarter of a song we heard through the window made me realize I should have gone to see them rather than BSP.
  • Robyn Hitchcock: Great solo acoustic show. At the end, he clearly wanted to do an encore, but since they wouldn’t let him, he went to the back of the room and performed completely acoustically for all of us who gathered around. It was such a communal moment–everyone singing harmonies to his lead on “Stayin’ Alive.” John Wesley Harding joined him for another song, and then we all sang along to “Baby You’re a Rich Man.” It reminded me of the Jon Brion shows at Largo.

    Robyn Hitchcock at SXSW.

  • Patty Griffin: She and her band were great, but the @#$%! audience talked throughout her ENTIRE show. So disappointing.
  • Iron & Wine: See Patty Griffin. A fight almost broke out between some drunk girl, her friend?, and the guy who yelled, “Would the people in the back please shut the F up?” (He received wild applause for that comment.) I do want to check out the new album, though.

SXSW Highlights

21 Mar

What a crazy week! Panels and discussions all day, concerts all night. Trying to choose from about 100 different bands each night was quite a challenge. Here’s a quick list of who I saw:

Nora O’Connor: great alt-country singer and acoustic guitarist, former member of Andrew Bird’s Bowl of Fire. Bird joined her for a few songs and was great. I can’t wait to hear her debut album (should be released on Bloodshot later this year).

Madeleine Peyroux: resurfaces from oblivion seven years after her awesome debut Dreamland playing some Tom Waits-influenced timeless jazz. Her version of an Elliott Smith song, “Between the Bars,” was bewildering, in a great way. It sounded like a jazz standard when she and her band did it.

Grey DeLisle: Unfortunately, we didn’t hear much of her since the power went out after the second song we heard. To add insult to injury, she was playing at Coyote Ugly’s (yep, like the movie and while they were trying to fix the problem, the “bartenders” got up on the bar and danced to “Welcome to the Jungle.” Very strange. Once the power went back on, I could see that her husband, Murray from the Old 97’s, played bass, and the guitar player came out into the audience for his last couple of solos.

Garrison Starr: I liked her better live than I remembered her record.

Little Richard: Initially, I thought, “Wow! He can still sing! AND play the piano!” And then I realized his back-up singer was doing quite a bit of the more histrionic stuff and that he had a second piano player. Chad did get me some religious propaganda and a signed photo of Little Richard that one of his people was handing out as souvenirs.

Old Crow Medicine Show: I wanted to like them more than I did. I just can’t accept those 6-string banjos as bona fide instruments.

The Black Keys: One of the highlights, definitely. They follow the same formula as the White Stripes but do it so much better. Soulful vocals that hark back to early blues, guitar parts that remind me of Led Zeppelin, and drums that put Meg White’s boring recorded parts to shame (I’ve heard she’s much better live, though).

British Sea Power: Sucked.

Calexico: The quarter of a song we heard through the window made me realize I should have gone to see them rather than BSP.

Robyn Hitchcock: Great solo acoustic show. At the end, he clearly wanted to do an encore, but since they wouldn’t let him, he went to the back of the room and performed completely acoustically for all of us who gathered around. It was such a communal moment–everyone singing harmonies to his lead on “Stayin’ Alive.” John Wesley Harding joined him for another song, and then we all sang along to “Baby You’re a Rich Man.” It reminded me of the Jon Brion shows at Largo.

Robyn Hitchcock at SXSW.

Patty Griffin: She and her band were great, but the @#$%! audience talked throughout her ENTIRE show. So disappointing.

Iron & Wine: See Patty Griffin. A fight almost broke out between some drunk girl, her friend?, and the guy who yelled, “Would the people in the back please shut the F up?” (He received wild applause for that comment.) I do want to check out the new album, though.

Carole Lombard Flower

15 Mar

I took the Carole Lombard Velvet Flower class at the Sewing Workshop on Saturday with Arlene Baker, which was probably the most fun craft class I’ve ever taken. Well, I suppose fun isn’t quite the word (trying to turn a 1/2″ bias tube of cotton velvet made me realize why she specified rayon or silk velvet on the supplies list). But it was definitely rewarding. Even though my flower is far from perfect, I think it’s the thing that I’ve made that I’m most proud of since the very first thing I finished (a gigantic pair of PJ bottoms). I’ll post pictures soon. And Arlene was a GREAT teacher.