Tuesday, July 03, 2007

spend your summer thinking 'bout the apple...

a while back i had a girlfriend whose dad was fond of saying on july 4th that "summer's over". while i'm not that fatalistic about what the day means, i am a bit amazed that the year is alredy half over. seriously, i feel like just last week was new year's day, and the other day was my birthday. so wha the hell have i been doing the last few months? besides drowning in work, that is.

first, there's been music. lots.

a few weeks ago i finally got around to watching the robyn hitchcock documentary "sex, food, death... & insects" shown on sundance. it's mostly the story of how his new band the venus 3 came together. it was also a view into his artistic process, one that includes both stellar musicianship and songwriting ability and an unmatched gift for improvisation.

i've spent a small fortune on cds and shows lately, mostly to good results (the less said about the disappointing voxtrot show the better). this last week the national/broken west show made me a happy man. i knew going in that i'd like the broken west. their record i can't go on i'll go on is near the top of my list so far for the year. their show was a bit more subdued than i thought it would be and at the start they looked like they'd just woken from a nap. but they finished strong and overall were good. kexp(**) plays the national quite often, but i hadn't yet gotten any of their records. so while i was more or less familiar with them, i wasn't totally sure what to expect. what we got was quite good -- layered guitars, keys and violin that made the slow songs rich and haunting.

upcoming shows include band of horses this week at gamh (if i can find tix on craigslist), and in august an incredible run that includes yo la tengo, patti smith, magic numbers, detroit cobras, and wilco. not to mention the new pornographers in september.

beyond that, it's been trips to pt. reyes, getting my knee healthy so i can get out and play soccer again (and shed some of the love handles i've built up while less active), and this last week getting over a nasty summer cold. no vacation this year (well, there was a plan to go to hawaii, but the break-up scotched that {oh yeah, so that's meant more dating...which is both fun and tiring}). with 80,000 miles in the bank at united and the saving of vacation time, that means a three-week trip very far away is possible next summer. at the moment southeast asia is high on my list, but i'm also intrigued by the idea of spain, portugal and a trek along the north coast of morocco. so many possibilities...

so yeah, summer's hardly over. still much more to do.

** (i should add as an aside that the possibility that stations like kexp might be forced out of netcasting thanks to the stupid and shortsighted decision by the copyright royalty board to increase royalty rates on internet broadcasts. i don't argue that performers should be compensated, but the fact is without the increase in listeners garnered by web radio, many artists wouldn't get as much attention and as a result sell as many records. the riaa and naras {of which i'm a voting member} are only seeing the issue as affecting the big webcasters like yahoo...the real impact will be felt down the line at the more shoestring budget stations, including many college stations. hopefully congress will pass legislation to make the crb's increase a bit more fair to low-budget operators who may serve a decent-sized audience but do not generate much profit, if any.)

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