No more book stores, no more record stores and no more Sound City.

Maybe it’s because I’ve been home enough to get caught up on some reading, news and music, or maybe it’s because South by Southwest, the incredible music, film and interactive media showcase event in Austin, TX is on, or maybe it’s just one of those cycles when there is a lot of great music, film and books  out there, but wow, my Saturday mornings on NPR and Sundays browsing the NY Times and local book reviews have been killing it of late.


The biggest thrill for me, currently in the midst of a full-on Dave Grohl love crush, is his new documentary about the legendary LA recording studio, Sound City, an official Sundance 2013 selection.

Sound City was the place where “men went to make rock and roll records”.  It was a tape based studio where real musicians played real music and that magical chemistry happened.  Nirvana recorded Nevermind there and Tom Petty, Metallica, The Foos, Chili Peppers, Fleetwood Mac, Cheap Trick, Johnny Cash, Guns n Roses are just a few of the bands that recorded rock history in the studio with brown shag carpet on the wall.   And when Dave goes out to make anything, he does it right;  Sound City is written by Mark Monroe  (The Cove) and edited by Paul Crowder (Dogtown and  Z Boys) and the soundtrack features Grohl with some of the legends who recorded at Sound City – Tom Petty, Trent Reznor, Mick Fleetwood and some who didn’t like Paul McCartney.    It’s a study in answer to Dave’s question, “How do we keep music sounding like people?”   Here is “From Can to Can’t”  featuring  – OMG – Dave Grohl, Corey Taylor (Slipknot and Stone Sour <3),  Rick Nielsen (Cheap Trick) and Scott Reeder.  I had a little moment just listening to this!!

What else has caught my ear or eye recently?  I’ve taken on a new job with a steep learning curve, so I’m reading a lot of work related material, but the new release from Marina Adshade, “Dollars and Sex; How Economics Influences Sex and Love” made me put down “The New Leaders Action Plan” for a browse through her data packed study of the intersection of personal and social economics with love and sex.

dollars and sex

I think an equation like this would do wonders for sex education in high schools:

Probability of Pregnancy (0.45) x Probability of Marriage (0.48) x Foregone Income from Marriage ($50,000) = Expected Cost of Promiscuity ($10,800).

What I’m wondering about though is how she calculates the foregone income from marriage number?  There is also the “unexpected fact that STI’s are on the rise in the over-50’s population as a consequence of increasing rates of casual sex and extremely low rates of condom usage”.    I’m wondering what part of that was “unexpected”?

Trying to stick with my speed blog mantra (no more than 30 minutes to write – well that was a fail!) here’s a round up of what I’ve found new and remarkable in the music world in the last few weeks.

Johnny Marr “The Messenger”.    Godlike guitar genius, Smiths alumni, awesome.


Tribute albums are not usually my thing, but for a tribute someone I was lucky enough to know, “The Music is You: A Tribute to John Denver”,  I’ll make an exception.  And I think this track listing shows the depth and variety of talent his music influenced.  “Simple, pure and beautiful”.  And I”m super,  excited to see a relatively unknown Canadian singer I happen to love, Kathleen Edwards, on this list.

“Leaving on a Jet Plane” by My Morning Jacket
“Take Me To Tomorrow” by Dave Matthews
“All of My Memories” by Kathleen Edwards
“Prisoners” by J Mascis and Sharon Van Etten
“Sunshine On My Shoulders” by Train
“Back Home Again” by Old Crow Medicine Show
“This Old Guitar” by Lucinda Williams
“Some Days are Diamonds” by Amos Lee
“Rocky Mountain High” by Allen Stone
“Annie’s Song” by Brett Dennen and Milow
“Looking For Space” by Evan Dando
“Take Me Home, Country Roads” by Brandi Carlile and Emmylou Harris
“The Eagle and The Hawk” by Blind Pilot
“I Guess He’d Rather Be In Colorado” by Mary Chapin Carpenter
“Darcy Farrow” by Josh Ritter and Barnstar!
“Wooden Indian” by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros

Not one to rest on his musical laurels or embark on one of those shite nostalgia rip off tours, Bryan Ferry decided to reimagine some of his best work as 1920’s jazz age songs.  He is a true student of music whose knowledge is broad and deep.   The Jazz Age is not a vanity piece, it’s a fascinating exploration of how really good music transcends ages and genres.  Some of them work out better than others, but it’s definitely worth a listen.   I could see myself standing in the Spotted Cat on Frenchman’s Street in NOLA listening to the Cotton Mouth Kings play any of these.  High praise.

In indie land I’ve fallen for  Ivan and Alyosha and The Lone Bellow, both at SXSW.  The Lone Bellow aren’t new to me, they are following the path laid down by The Civil Wars and I’m glad to see them getting some wider recognition.  “The Two Sides of Lonely” is mesmerizing, haunting, gorgeous.

And if you have any doubt they are Civil Wars and not Lady Antebellum, check out their Tiny Desk Concert.

Ivan and Alyosha are almost my hometown heroes, coming from just south of the border in Seattle, WA.  Can’t wait to catch them at Showbox.

The title is a bit tongue-in-cheek. There are still lots of great independent book and music stores out there, but sadly, no more Sound City.  I’ve got a lot of travel coming up real soon.  Abusing my  iTunes account and getting loaded for those cross-country flights.   That was  waaay too much fun.


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