Friday, December 23, 2011


                   (She whips her hair back n' forth also, Willow Smith!)

I'm dipping my toe into the Lana Del Rey fracas, with the Sirius XMU version of Video Games. It's been a while since I've seen such a polarizing figure in the music scene. Deep hatred, or deep nerd love, is all I've come across in my LDR experiences, nothing in between. I can only say, for myself, that there is far worse out there in the Pop Spectrum.

And yes, her attractiveness has undoubtedly made her a target. As well as the fact that she doesn't sit in front of a piano, a la Tori Amos, and perform any instruments. The whole, Lana Del Rey is actually "Lizzy Grant" issue, plus she comes from powerful, parental influence and success, yes, these can all be factors in loathing and ridiculing her, I agree.

However, you cannot deny the well polished product that is her brand of Pop music. The Born to Die video is an example. Her inevitable skyrocketing success, has just been stamped by an upcoming musical guest slot on SNL in January.

Check out the Sirius XMU session version of Video Games below. Also check out a collection of live clips, when LDR played the Troubadour earlier this month. I must confess, I think a lot of these live clips seem more like a terrible performance at a small town mall, but hey...being a big star is often a work in progress.

"Video Games" (Live on Sirius XMU) by Lana Del Rey

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Top 10 Things of 2011

I think 2011 marked a new low, in regards to the amount of blogging I've done...but having a baby seriously alters your life, and I welcome it. Look for EENC to get back to as much regularity as possible, in 2012. Despite the lack of posts, it didn't mean I wasn't getting hyped on the new that was out there. I just couldn't resist, so here's my top 10 for 2011:

10)A$AP Rocky "LiveLifeLoveA$AP Mixtape" -- What does Aesop Rock think of A$ap Rocky, I wonder? Either way, I am a fan of this Eazy-E look-a-like hailing from Harlem. Lana Del Rey attempted to add street credit, by saying she's a fan.

9)Arcade Fire's "We Used To Wait" video. -- I went to college with the gentleman who directed this video, amongst Kanye videos also in his resume. So innovative, I couldn't get enough of this when it first surfaced Google Maps.

8)Jay Z + Kanye West "Watch The Throne" -- Having a daughter impeded my wife and I from seeing the 'Throne' tour stop in LA, as I hear we missed a hell of a treat. Consolation: this album, that seems to be the product of two egos keeping themselves in check for a brief while.

7)Yuck "S/T" -- Hearing a band make a record that could've been in my adolescent era, along with the likes of Teenage Fanclub, Dinosaur Jr., etc., makes me have faith in the youth of today. This album, and subsequent deluxe edition sounds so brilliant to me, based on it's familiarity.

6)Portlandia -- The genius of Fred Armisen + Carrie Browenstein was such a pleasant surprise for me this past year. I can't wait for season 2, early in '12.

5)Forgetters "S/T" -- Blake's newest 3-piece incarnation provided a short 4 song EP, that much like Yuck, felt familiar, but so welcome in my book. Seeing them play at The Echo was one of my live highlights of last year, also.

4)Youth Lagoon "The Year of Hibernation" -- Quiet. Slow building. This record really does lend itself to the band's proclamation, "Music is meant to be listened to, very late at night."

3)Drake "Take Care" -- I can't believe this record ranks so high on my top 10. I can't even listen to the album as a whole. But the tracks that do stand out, really, really, really stand out. Judge for yourself.

2)New Look "The Ballad" -- 2011 is the year everyone went Gaga for Lana Del Rey, but this is my personal female sung anthem right here:

1)10.20.11 -- The day my daughter, Gigi, was born. Best day of my life. Best day of 2011.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Friday night is also okay for fighting...

Two great events taking place for you Angelenos tonight. First off, DJ extraordinaire Z-Trip will be at the graciously restored Hollywood Palladium tonight, for the L.A. installment of the Rock Boxx Tour, featuring De La Soul, Nosaj Thing, and Daddy Kev. Tickets are still available at Live Nation. Should be a wild party at the Palladium, as Z-Trip's live skills makes Girl Talk look like a robot...wait, I mean a Jive Turkey. Visit Z-Trip's official site, and check out his free downloads, even as far back, as his groundbreaking Uneasy Listening collaborations.

Check out an interview from last year, with, with Z-Trip. About 1:01 into the interview, a great mix of Z-Trip combining Jane's Addiction and M.I.A.

And the other worthwhile event tonight, takes place at Pehrspace. Buddies of this blog: Cardboard Lamb, The Health Club, and Franco Near Death will be joined by local L.A. good guys, George Glass.

Doors open at 9pm, all ages, $5 donation. Visit the Pehrspace site for venue information.

Cardboard Lamb live at Satellite.

The Health Club live at Sattelite.

George Glass live

"Do the Long Goodbye" by Cardboard Lamb
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Friday, July 1, 2011

Port of Call

Here's a new track from the forthcoming Beirut album, The Rip Tide. Sure to make all of the critic's and blogosphere's End of Year lists, along the likes of Bon Iver's self-titled release, the album is already riding strong, with the release of the first single, East Harlem. I happen to like Port of Call, the album closer, which feels like it could easily have been on the band's 2006 Gulag Orkestar release.

"Port of Call" by Beirut

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The Rip Tide will be released on August 30th. You can pre-order it at Insound. For all Angelenos, Beirut will be performing at The Greek Theater October 4th.

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Friday, April 22, 2011

Delta Mirror Remix, Reimagine, Redux

The Delta Mirror have been compiling a collection of remixes and covers by other artists for about the last year or so. They're ready and available for free download. New life is definitely breathed into the already wonderful Machines That Listen.

Also included, is a cover of And The Radio Played On, by their Chico, CA buddies, The Shimmies. Odd Nosdam, Busdriver, and Blue Sky Black Death, are some of the artists that take a stab at reworking the Delta Mirror. Head over to the Lefse Records site, to download the album for free.

Check out "Going To Town" as remixed by Swingset Committee, below.

"Going To Town (Swingset Committee Remix)"

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Visit the Delta Mirror Facebook page, and tell frontman Craig Gordon how dreamy he is.

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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Helen Ficalora, Liz Lemon, and my Christmas Shopping Debacle

In the almost four years my wife and I have been together, there have been numerous, oddly coincidental and eerie parallels to Tina Fey's Liz Lemon character on 30 Rock, and my own wife. From mannerisms, to "Night Cheese", and now the fact that Tina Fey and my wife are simultaneously pregnant, I'm always on the look out for what's next for them to share?

Prior to this past Christmas, I got the idea to get my wife the necklace Liz Lemon wears on 30 Rock, with of course my wife's initials on them. Research led me to Helen Ficalora, the designer of Liz's necklace.

I went to the Beverly Hills store, to purchase two, "V" & "G" letter charms, plus one 14K chain. Each alphabet charm disc cost $145, and the chain was $85. I'm not ashamed to admit that in this downward spiral of an economy has left my once respectable wage earnings, to something I'd never imagine I'd have to live off of, much like many Americans in this country.

So, the grand total of $375 + tax I would have to spend at Helen Ficalora was something I'd been saving for, for a couple of paychecks, before Christmas. Enter my journey to the Beverly Hills Helen Ficalora store. It's a well lit, quaint but elegant, boutique store. The help was friendly upon entrance.

The woman who ended up ringing me up at the register seemed frazzled. We all have our off days I thought, so no big deal. "Your total for today will be, five hundred...", she went on to say. My mind shut off at this point. Was there a higher sales tax in the wonderful city of Beverly Hills? I already felt like the prostitute version of Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, upon entering the store...I don't do much shopping time in the 90210.

As my credit card was being processed, the young lady could not get over the confused and distraught look on my face, and realized I had in fact, been overcharged. She realized her mistake, and said she would simply refund the overage amount. I asked if it would be easier to refund the entire amount, and start from scratch, but she insisted this is their protocol. Long story short, she refunded the incorrect amount(which was less than what was stated on my invoice), which later caused me an overdraft charge. The refund process had also caused a suspension of funds at my bank (the week of Christmas shopping), and I was leaving the store with a bevvy of receipts, that looked like I was about to participate in a ticker-tape parade.

Well, I had taken to Yelp to relay the mishaps of my experience, to warn other HF shoppers, and even wrote the store manager an old-fashioned, mailed letter. Neither of which garnered a response.

Two weeks ago, I received a voicemail from a woman claiming to be Helen Ficalora. She wanted to speak to me personally, regarding what had happened. I told my wife, and her response was, "Yeah right. Mrs. Fields just sent me an email for that bad batch of cookies we bought last week." It turns out, one of Helen's children had been reading the responses at their various locations on Yelp, and passed word of what I'd written onto Helen herself.

Any person who has a spouse, knows that an opportunity to prove their spouse's doubts wrong cannot be passed up, so I called Mrs. Ficalora back. It was in fact, the real Helen Ficalora. She was genuinely apologetic, incredibly gracious, and a wondeful listener. She made no excuses for what went wrong, but really compelled me to commit to the rare excercise these days, of forgiveness. I was truly humbled that someone of her stature would take the time to reach out to me, directly. And listen to me. If only more business owners had the kindness of Helen Ficalora. And, the ability to understand that every employee is a direct representation of their image as a business owner.

Also, Helen graciously sent me a check to cover my overdraft expenses. And to boot, she sent me a little something extra, when she heard it was my wife's birthday coming up, as well. The truth is, she didn't have to do any of these things, but yet she wanted to. And did so, without any pretenses. She even confessed that she had "been dreading contacting me for quite some time", as my Yelp review conveyed an impression of me being fairly irate. Her honesty was incredibly refreshing.

The fact that someone of her stature, took the time to track me down, and call me directly, is something that is truly unheard of these days, and something I will always remember. I will always think of her good gesture, whenever I pass any Helen Ficalora store, look at my wife's charm necklace, or watch Liz Lemon on 30 Rock. Unfortunately for my pocket book, I think our household will be supporting the Helen Ficalora name for quite some time to come, which I will gladly participate in, given Helen's goodwill.

An exclamation point, to this story for me personally, is this article that I stumbled upon this article in People Magazine a while ago, that can attest to the nature of Helen Ficalora.

Visit the Helen Ficalora Store online.

"Like" Helen Ficalora on Facebook.

"No Woman, No Cry" (Studio Version) by Bob Marley & The Wailers


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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Shuffle Up and Deal

I like to pretend there is a magical musical goblin in the heart of my iPod that is in charge of making decisions like playing Gangstarr, preceded by The Velvet Underground, when on the 'shuffle' option. Just to remind me about the opposite ends of spectrums.

Well, the following two songs came about the other day, and now, I cannot have one without the other. The first song is from the Oscar winning soundtrack score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, the highly emotionally stirring, musical salutation to "The Social Network". Check out "Hand Covers Bruise" below, to be immediately followed by...

"The Passenger Seat" by Death Cab For Cutie. Written approximately seven years prior to the release of "The Social Network", this Gibbard & Company track exists on a very similar musical plane.

To me, these two tracks are the musical equivalent of the party game where everyone writes down story fragments onto a piece of paper, and they are later put together to form one coincidental, and cohesive story.

It is important to note, you must listen to these tracks in reverse chronological order, to prove my theory. Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross, immediately followed by Mr. Zooey Deschanel.

"Hand Covers Bruise" by Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
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"The Passenger Seat" by Death Cab For Cutie

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