Saturday, June 19, 2010

Gina Villalobos, Second Dan, and the Del-Lords: thank you, Eliot Wagner!

Eliot Wagner has a great music blog called Now I've Heard Everything. I had the pleasure of meeting him at last week's Brooklyn Blogfest. Eliot does a periodic (about five or six times a year) podcast, and he gave me a CD of the current edition. When I played it, my initial feeling that Eliot and I are musical soul mates was confirmed. There's not a single cut on it that I don't like, and some that I think are spectacular. There are cuts by artists I've long admired, such as John Hiatt, Graham Parker, Peter Wolf, and Neil Young. What I'm most grateful for, though, is being introduced to some singers and groups of which I had been ignorant.

Californian Gina Villalobos works in the tradition called "alternative country" or "Americana", a genre with roots that extend back into old time country, bluegrass, honky-tonk, blues, rhythm and blues, and rockabilly. Eliot's podcast includes two great cuts of hers: "Why" and "Fooling Around". The clip above is of "What I'd Do", from her 2005 U.K. tour, and courtesy of her ponyvilllalobos channel on YouTube.

Eliot found out about Second Dan while attending a party for bloggers, where he met their lead guitarist. Second Dan is exemplary of the introspective side of the New York indie scene. The cut on Eliot's podcast is "Today", from their new album, Angeline. The clip above is of "Running Out Of Feelings", and is accompanied by an animation that is unsubtly polemical, but nonetheless well done and effective. It's from their seconddan YouTube channel.

I'd heard of the Del-Lords before; they're a band that formed in 1984, founded by Scott Kempner, formerly with the Dictators (and thus a bandmate of my fellow Bells of Hell patron, Handsome Dick Manitoba). They enjoyed their greatest popularity in the late '80s, and broke up in the '90s. They recently re-formed, and have released an EP of new songs, Under Construction, which includes the track on Eliot's podcast, a steady rocker that could fit well in the soundtrack of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, "When the Drugs Kick In" (you can hear it by going to their website). Their style is simple, straight-ahead, loud rock and roll. The clip above shows them covering the Dead Boys' "Sonic Reducer" at Magasinet, Gothenberg, Sweden in 1990, courtesy of bsf006.

Friday, June 18, 2010

If I post this, will I doom the Mets?

All I had to do, it seems, is kvetch about the Mets' dismal performance on the road, for them to go on a tear and win six straight away games. Yes, I know, these were at the expense of two of the three presently worst teams (the Mariners are now half a game worse than the Indians) in the Phony Baseball League (and it raises what for me is an awkward question: Could the DH rule be a Good Thing for the Mets in their current configuration?).

So, once again, I ponder the Schroedinger's cat question: Will my posting this mean that the Mets will collapse in what, to many of their fans, will be the most important "road" series of the season; the one against the despised Bronx Bullies?

I'll start to get the answer this evening. I tremble slightly as I move the cursor to "publish post".

Update: Sam Metsfan, whose blog, Those Mets, I've just had the pleasure to discover, has an altogether better outlook going into this weekend's series.

Second update: Things are off to a good start.

Third update (6.19): Things didn't go so well today, as Pelfrey had difficulties early and lost his duel with Hughes, who had an identical 9-1 record going into the game. Meanwhile, reviewing yesterday's New York Times, I found this interesting piece by Tyler Kepner, in which he compares the 2010 Mets with the 2005 Yankees.

Fourth update (6.20): Yuck. Santana gets tagged with another loss, but this time he gives up four runs. At least we can say the Mets split the season series.