Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Signed 'Meet the Beatles' sells for $115,000

Dude, a Meet The Beatle cover signed by all four Beatles as a gift for George Harrison's sister has sold at auction for more than $115,000.

The sale, to an unidentified buyer, was believed to set a record price for a signed Beatles album purchased at a public sale, said Mark Zakarin, president of the online auction company

The exact price, with the buyer's commission, was $115,228.82.

Bidding began at $25,000. The copy of "Meet The Beatles," the band's first U.S. release on Capitol Records, was put up for sale by Harrison's sister, Louise. The sale was held Friday.

Harrison wrote above his signature: "To Lou with love from 'Brother'!!" John Lennon's inscription read, "To Lou many love from John Lennon X." Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr expressed similar feelings when all four signed the album cover while aboard a train to Washington for a 1964 concert.

Hmmm. I think I need to talk to AllState...

That's crazy money for a signed lp.


Monday, December 25, 2006

RIP JB & Get Well PW

James Brown, the singer, songwriter, bandleader and dancer, who indelibly transformed 20th-century music, died early today at Emory Crawford Long Hospital in Atlanta, where he been admitted on Saturday with pneumonia, his agent, Frank Copsidas, said. Mr. Brown was 73 years old and lived in Beech Island, S.C., near the Georgia border.

And almost equally sucky - Paul Westerberg severely injured his left hand and could be sidelined for a year, according to a blog posting from Jim Walsh, a Minneapolis writer and friend of the former Replacements lead singer.

"A week or so again he put a screwdriver through his left hand trying to get some wax out of a candle and cut some nerves and ripped some cartilage and hurt himself pretty bad," Walsh reported. "He's in a cast. He's seen a couple of doctors who say he won't be able to play guitar for a year."

A spokesperson for Vagrant, for which Westerberg records, did not respond to a request for comment.

The injury comes on the heels of a very productive 2006 for Westerberg. Aside from scoring and providing the soundtrack to the animated film "Open Season," he also reunited with his Replacements colleagues Tommy Stinson and Chris Mars for the first time in 15 years to record two new songs for the Rhino retrospective "Don't You Know Who I Think I Was? The Best of the Replacements."

I Hope everyone has a Merry Christmas!


Westerberg Photo by: Christian Lantry

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Monday, December 18, 2006

A Perfect Tiki Room Martini

The Perfect Tiki Room Martini is an elusive thang, no doubt. But it's simpler than you may think. Read on...

First and foremost, at least for me, is cranking up Superchunk's Martinis On The Roof...

Ahhh, That's Right. Now that that's playing in the background we're good to go.

The trick to the perfect Tiki Room Martini lies in the vermouth. More specifically, it's the LACK of vermouth.

Shaker (preferably metal, although plastic will work too)
Large Martini Glass
Refrigerator (seems obvious, I know, but it's important)
Olive Spear

6 oz Gin or Vodka
A splash of Dry Vermouth
Olives (1 to 3 is traditional) or Lemon Peel
Ice (cubes will work, crushed is better)

Ahead of Time:
Start by refrigerating your vermouth for the amount of time it takes for the bottle to get cold (at least an hour). I'll explain why in a bit. Chill a Martini glass in the refrigerator or the freezer for about 10 minutes. You can go for less time, but we like our Tiki Room Martinis at the lowest possible temperature.

The Mixing:
Take the glass out of the fridge/freezer and pour a small amount of Vermouth into it. Here's the important bit: swirl the vermouth in the glass so that the sides of the glass are coated. DISCARD THE REMAINING VERMOUTH. Spear an olive or two, and put it in the glass. Pour your gin or vodka (gin is better) into a shaker over copious amounts of ice. Shake the living crap out of it. Seriously, shake it like a revival preacher shaking the devil out of a sinner. Strain into the glass, and you're good to go.

Technically you're supposed to eat the olives first, but I won't tell if you don't.

Some Explanation
The reason for refrigerating your vermouth is so that you don't warm your glass when you swirl with it. I know it seems like a waste of good alcohol to toss the vermouth remaining in the glass, but trust me, it makes the end result so much better, that it's well worth it. I suppose you could save it, since it's barely even touched the glass, but that just sounds strange to me.

Also, the reason crushed ice is better than cubes is that the surface are of the crushed ice is significantly greater than that of the cubes (like a heatsink in reverse). Greater surface area equals greater cooling power.

Now, having said all that, my person favorite variation is to replace the olives with a lemon twist. Take a small twist of lemon rind, rub it around the edge of the glass, throw it in, and pour the gin over that. My wife Chrissy and Tiki Room regulars Tina and Tish really dig their Tiki Room Martinis Dirty with a hit of olive juice.

Not to start a flame war, but here are my favorite brands of spirits for use in martinis. I prefer Beefeater gin to all others. As for vodka, Skyy is my personal favorite, as I find Absolut has too much bite for my taste. And Grey Goose does not suck.
Man, I could use martini right now.



Check out the Martini ©FlashThang we did for this years Tina Toast Christmas Party:
A Tina Toast
Concept, Design, Illustration: HMK, Programming: Erik Arredondo and James Lewis. Music: Zigo.

Also thanks to zaxus for the martini details.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Christmas Rewind

I've been a little slammed this December with, you know, life, work and the usual, so this is kind of a lazy post - but a not so lazy post if you're new to Necessito La Music!

Last year I made it through the entire month of December, each and every day, posting some of my favorite and obscure Christmas gems.

If you missed it, fear not and behold the beauty and power of the blog!

Here's a day by day posting of last December's goodies all on one page - and like most things that proove worth while, you're usually best off starting at the bottom (of the page!)

Enjoy and Happy Chistmas!

Take Me Back: Audio Stcking Stuffers!



Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The Bridge Of Stolen Bicycles

WARNING: This new video, The Bridge Of Stolen Bicycles, from John Dufilho and HMK Archives, for reasons unknown, might be considered disturbing to some.

Some report feelings of deja-vu while others discuss having trouble sleeping for days due to flashbacks following the initial experience.

Please proceed with caution.

Thank you,


And also for your consideration...

My Circuits Are Blown

Monday, October 30, 2006

Hangover Square

This is from one of my favorite composers, Sir Bernard Herrmann.

Hangover Square came out in 1945. Werner Janssen conducts the Janssen Symphony of Los Angeles.

The track is 10:15, so it might take a little while to download.

It's perfect moody, moody music for this time of year.

"Horror was never so fascinating!" Whatever that means....

My lap top is wigging out so this file is over here for now: Hangover Square

Big thanks to Lee Hartsfeld, I visit his awesome audio site at least once a week - so should you!

Check out: Music You (Possibly) Won't Hear Anyplace Else.




Monday, October 23, 2006

Hammond Eggs!

Hey kids. Are you like me? Do you sometimes get a craving for some real music - especially those crazy way back Hammond B3 sounds?

Well you're in luck. Now there's a nice, mellow and muscially nutritional way to get your day started. My good bud Sir Brian Parrish, aka Dr.Suavetone's latest podcast concept, Hammond Eggs, is already up to episode 3! It's a bluesy jazz kinda vibe with an emphesis on the B3 that I really think you'll really dig.

Brian and I share alot of this old school vinyl with each other and I came up with a Hammond Eggs mix for the good Doctor and now we're sharing it with y'all!

So what are you waiting for - belly up and get yourself a nice platter of fresh Hammond Eggs now!

Download them all!

Make it louder,


Thursday, October 19, 2006

Bermuda Triange Shorts

Here's the teaser opening track from my upcoming IF Podcast of really short songs and tunes relating to wearing shorts.

Dig Bermuda Triange Shorts from Man or Astro-Man? off of their super surfy 1994 Destroy All Astromen!

Make It Louder!


Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Tonic For The Troops

The Rats' second album, 1978's A Tonic for the Troops, my personal favorite, was their most commercially successful. It stayed on the UK albums chart for over a year, leading many music critics to dub 1978 as 'The Year of the Rat' in England.

It featured the hit single, "Rat Trap", which became the first ever song by an Irish band to reach #1 in the UK, as well as the first 'New Wave' song to do likewise.

In addition to this historic single, the band also released "Like Clockwork", a song popular as an opener to their live performances, "Me And Howard Hughes" and "She's So Modern".

Keep in mind that, like most of my posts, this is directly from vinyl so you just might get some of those sexy pops or crackles - I actually sort of dig'em. A Tonic For The Troops came out my sophmore year of high school and I remember playing the shit out of this lp.

And is it just me or is there a hint of Springsteen in this Boomtown Rat classic Rat Trap?



Monday, October 16, 2006

Adios CBGB's

Just after 1 a.m. on Monday morning, the last notes of live music rang from the stage of CBGB & OMFUG, the Bowery club where punk-rock invented itself. Patti Smith finished the club's final concert with her ballad "Elegie," growing teary-eyed as she read a list of dead punk-rock musicians and advocates. But just before it, she had worked up a galvanizing crescendo -- from poetry recitation to rock song to guitar-charged incantation -- in a medley of "Horses" and "Gloria," proclaiming with a triumphant rasp, "Jesus died for somebody's sins/But not for CBGB's."

The songs came from her debut album, "Horses," which was released in 1975, when Ms. Smith and CBGB were making each other famous. She was a poet turned rocker, tapping and then redoubling the energy she found in basic three-chord songs. The club -- its initials mean Country Bluegrass Blues and Other Music for Uplifting Gormandizers -- was a hangout in a dire location. But its owner, Hilly Kristal, agreed to book artistically ambitious, high-concept, generally primitivist bands that defied the commercial imperatives of early-1970's rock. It was a neighborhood place in a low-rent neighborhood that happened to house artists and derelicts side by side, inspiring some hard-nosed art. During her set, Ms. Smith described CBGB as, "This place that Hilly so generously offered to us to create new ideas, to fail, to make mistakes, to reach new heights."

In some ways CBGB, which opened in December 1973, ended its life as it had started. It never moved from its initial location, which was originally under a Bowery flophouse, now a homeless shelter. It never changed its floor plan, with a long bar lit by neon beer signs on the way to an uneven floor, a peeling ceiling, a peculiarly angled stage and notorious bathrooms. Through the years, the sound system was improved until its clean roar could make any power chord sound explosive. Mostly, however, CBGB just grew more encrusted: with dust, with band posters stuck on every available surface, with bodily fluids from performers and patrons. Ms. Smith did some casual spitting of her own during her set.

But in a historical long shot, CBGB got lucky. The concepts of bands booked there turned out to be durable ones: Ms. Smith's blunt, visionary and primal songs; Talking Heads' nervously oblique funk, and especially the Ramones' terse, blaring, catchy rockers, which came to define punk-rock. Having nurtured bands like those--and later post-punk bands from Sonic Youth to Living Colour--CBGB became a rock landmark. Its reputation grew strong enough to coast on. Even as its regular bookings grew far less selective through the 1990's and 2000's, every now and then a big-name band would play there as a pilgrimage.

Yet CBGB remained a neighborhood joint. The club's last show wasn't some stage-managed, all-star sendoff destined to be a television special (although it was broadcast live on Sirius satellite radio.) It was just two sets by Ms. Smith with her band and two guests: Flea, the bassist from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Richard Lloyd, one of the two guitarists in Television, the band whose early gigs defined CBGB. Ms. Smith's sets included Television's "Marquee Moon," with Mr. Lloyd, and songs from other CBGB bands: Blondie's hit "The Tide is High," the Dead Boys' "Sonic Reducer" and a Ramones medley sung by her guitarist, Lenny Kaye, who changed the lyrics of "Do You Remember Rock and Roll Radio?" from "It's the end of the century" to "It's the end of CBGB." Ms. Smith was ignoring one of Mr. Kristal's early conditions for CBGB bands--that they only perform their own songs--but forgivably.

The end of a long and painful denouement for a punk-rock institution.
Punk-rock never promised that it was built to last. The songs always seemed ready to self-destruct; simple and brief, they were often just three chords and a burst of frustration or pugnacity or humor. Some of the musicians were self-destructive, too. Yet punk, as codified by the Ramones, has turned out to fulfill some perennial adolescent need, and it persisted. Bands kept coming along and embracing it, some lasting just long enough for a few local gigs--and possibly a set on one of CBGB's nightly septuple bills--and others becoming the first step for musicians who would go on to bigger things. Punk infiltrated a suburban underground in the 1980's, created its own do-it-yourself circuit, and eventually emerged as million-selling punk-pop in the 1990's. Improbably, CBGB persisted too: an institution built on music that originally sought to topple institutions.

It's a shame to lose any working club in New York City with so much history and, even rarer, such outstanding sound. The prospect of a recreated CBGB in Las Vegas, even with original artifacts, can't make up for it; Las Vegas isn't in the neighborhood. But CBGB did its job so well it created its own competition and heirs. Bands whose music is based on what came out of CBGB in the 1970's perform everywhere from the Mercury Lounge to Madison Square Garden. The closing of CBGB is the end of a lovable chunk of New York City real estate, but it's far from the end of an era. After a yearlong goodbye--since CBGB's disputes with its landlord, the nonprofit Bowery Residents' Committee, first surfaced in 2005--too much mourning is unnecessary.

"Kids, they'll find some other club," Ms. Smith insisted during her set. "You just got a place, just some crappy place, that nobody wants, and you got one guy who believes in you, and you just do your thing. And anybody can do that, anywhere in the world, any time."

After her set was over and the club had partly cleared out, Ms. Smith returned to the stage for a silent postcript. As fans held up outstretched hands, Ms. Smith reached into a bag and handed out little black pins. They read, "What remains is future."

Thanks to By Jon Pereles

Friday, October 13, 2006

Wilco Tonight!

My buds Parrish and Carlos, better know as Swirl are treating me to the Wilco show at Sunset Satation tonight as a late Birthday gift.

I really hope they play She's A Jar.

What a great way to start the weekend - hope yours is cool!

Thanks guys!



Saturday, October 07, 2006

Album Covers Battle

This is for anyone who spends time organizing their album art in iTunes, a must-must-see!

Go check out Man VS MAgnets's Album Covers Battle!



Thursday, October 05, 2006

I.F.09.06: Irregular Frequency Podcast

So, what do Brigitte Bardot, Ginger, Mary Anne, Mary Jane and Mrs. Howell all have in common?

They're all included on the September Edition of my I.F. Podcast.

Sorry, no White Stripes, Bon Jovi or Kenny G - just some retro hip vibes that are probably older than you are and you'll never find on iTunes.

So c'mon, whether you're working, surfing, or just chilling, why not sample a half hour of some ®Totally Bitchin' vibes courtesy of the SharkThang (that's me...) and my super tasty vintage vinyl stash!

You'll be hooked in no time!

Listen or download I.F.09.06 Now!

And as usual, your comments, complaints and requests are totally welcome.

Make It Louder,


Monday, October 02, 2006

Happy Birthday To Me!

Crank up the Cracker!

And just so you know, in 1870 on October 2, Rome became the capital city of Italy.

Make It Louder,


Friday, September 29, 2006

New Lemonheads!

After almost 10 years the Lemonheads are back and rocking! Evan Dando’s latest version of the band now includes Karl Alvarez and Bill Stevenson of All/Descendents fame. It also features guest apperances by Dinosaur Jr. front man J. Mascis on guitar - that's right!

I’m totally stoked for this album and it's just in time for my birthday!

Check out Become the Enemy.

The official street date is today so go get it!

Make It Louder,


Thursday, September 21, 2006

That's The Ticket! Tiki Bongo!

Go make your own ticket: Ticket Generator or check out some Tiki Bongo: Let's Go Back To The Tiki Room

See you at the show!

Have fun,


Sunday, September 17, 2006

Why Does Rice Play Texas?

I was listening to side one of First Man on the Moon while cleaning the Tiki Room this morning and this totally cracked me up.

The record, a commemorative of Appollo 11 narrated by Hugh Downs, starts off with John F. Kennedy speaking at Rice University September 12, 1962, almost 44 years to the day before Texas spanks Rice 52-7.

...There is no strife, no prejudice, no national conflict in outer space as yet. Its hazards are hostile to us all. Its conquest deserves the best of all mankind, and its opportunity for peaceful cooperation many never come again.

But why, some say, the moon?

Why choose this as our goal?

And they may well ask why climb the highest mountain?

Why, 35 years ago, fly the Atlantic?

Why does Rice play Texas?"

Good question Mr. President.

Check out Side One of First Man On The Moon. It's only 2:59. If anyone can't remember how things turned out and is interested in Side 2, let me know and I'll put it up.



Friday, September 15, 2006

Rock On Jackie!

Here's a quick little post of a few seemingly random tunes for my buddy Jackie and his lovely wife Amelia in honor of their busy red carpet weekend.

The theme song for Saturday: Sugar Sugar by the fabulous Archies!

And for Sunday, preferably over some Cafe Du Monde coffee and beignets: Kim Wilde's Kids In America.

And, because no matter what day it is, life's always better with a little cowbell: Crank up the Stone's Honky Tonk Women.

And Happy Birthday to Trey, Michelle, Carlos and Steve!

Have a great weekend dudes!


And this is one from the All The King's Men...

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Happy Trails Ann!

Happy Trails Ann

Sad day here in Texas.

Ann Richards, the 45th governor our great state of Texas back in 1990, died Wednesday after a six-month battle with cancer.

She was 73.

She was a wicked funny lady with a sassy homespun charm and a tough, positive, pioneer spirit and truly one of the best things about Texas.

With her bright silver hair, a weathered face and an affinity for cobalt blue suits and pearls, Richards was also the quintessential Texas woman.

On then-Vice President George Bush: "Poor George, he can't help it. He was born with a silver foot in his mouth."

She won cheers at the 1988 Democratic National Convention when she reminded everyone that Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did: "She just did it backwards and in high heels."

Rest in Peace Ann, Happy Trails.

I miss you already!


Sunday, September 10, 2006

Good Day Sunshine!

Ah, Sunday morning. Good hot coffee, the Sunday New York Times and 90.1 KSYM's The Best of The Beatles With Richard Turner.

Richard is host of "The Best of The Beatles With Richard Turner", the longest running show in the history of KSYM radio 90.1 fm in San Antonio, Texas. Richard started his show in 1986 while attending the Radio, Television, Video and Film Department of San Antonio College.

Now, 20 years later, his Beatles program has become a positive, and significant, entity of San Antonio the community. Richard's program has a huge following that makes up for approximately 20% to 30% of the stations support mechanism each year during their annual pledge drives, proving that his listening audience is one of the largest of KSYM's diverse format.

Here's couple of mellow Beatles covers you might want to add to your Sunday Sountrack mix that I guarantee Richard won't be playing.

These are both from the Soulful Strings 1968 album, Another Exposure.

First track is Hello, Goodbye followed by Lady Madonna.

Enjoy, And Thanks Richard!


Saturday, September 09, 2006

Wes Montgomery

I meant to post this for the Full Moon on the 7th...

It's a super sexy mello little swoon tune from Wes Montgomery off of his truly hip Willow Weep For Me lp.

Although the official release of this album was 1969 on the Down Beat label, the quartet tracks were recorded between June 22 and 27, 1965 at the Half Note in New York City for Verve and then the brass and reed overdubs were recorded October 8, 1968 in New York City.

Dig: Oh You Crazy Moon.

Enjoy your weekend,


Thursday, September 07, 2006


Nice. We're finally getting a break from one of the hottest summers on record. And while we're on the subject of records - treat yourself to these hip 45s. I'm putting a Totally Twistin' compilation together and these are a few of the stand outs so far.

Let's go back to 1964 and start this micro Twist Party with Orchestre James Award's goofy Batman influenced number called Tanganyka Twist!

Next up is the Migiani Grand Orchestre with their 1962 diity Swim Twist!

And finally, we've got one more twist tune from 1964 by Lou Cleveland et Son Orchestre De Danse with their appropriatly titled One More Twist!

So move some furniture and get twistin'!



Chant Of The Moon

In honor of tonight's Full Moon - from his 1959 album VooDoo, Robert Drasnin's enchanting Chant Of The Moon.

Drasnin also composed the incedental music for three episodes of Hawaii Five-0.

Lots more here: Robert Drasnin.


Friday, September 01, 2006

And The Winner Is...

And dig this: I Made It!!

Have a great weekend,


Thursday, August 31, 2006

Hopelessly Devo-ted

My friend Tim Foley sent me this answering the question: If you we're asked to do a poster for the Devo show in San Antonio, what would it look like?

Check out Tim's other talents at his newly launched monkey-men-in-business-suits venture as a partner of the soon to be famous (really!) GoFullContact!

Thanks Tim - now get back to work you freak!


Tuesday, August 29, 2006


Pitchfork: How a tiny web outfit became the most influential tastemaker on the music scene.

If you enjoy, have an interest in, play, hate, like, dance, record or listen to music, this is an awesome must read from kids over at Wired.

Go to: Pitchfork Media.

Do you remember?

It was wonderful...

Make it louder,


Monday, August 28, 2006

Like + Love 001

If You Like This:

You'll Love This:

Saturday, August 26, 2006

When In Rome, blow off the opening band...

Lost my voice at the Devo show last night.

And my legs and feet hurt from jumping up and down.

Shane and John drove down from Austin and we had a micro pre-game session over a couple of beers in the Tiki Room. The brewskis Shane brought had a shark on the lable. Not a bad brew.

We decide to blow off the opening band. - When in Rome. When in Rome? I must have been sick the week they were famous.


There was an awesome refreshing breeze last night. The crowd was cool but the beer lines (Swiller Lite, uh, got any water?) were way too long. Richard Butler of the Psychedelic Furs sounded great. Shane and I were hanging in the beer line talking to Langly and Justine. The sun was just setting, the Furs were about to go on so Shane and I, trusting our rock & roll instincts, decided to cruise to the front and join John. Next thing you know, the lights drop and they kick straight into Love My Way! Perfect.

And yeah Tim, they did play some stuff off of Duty Now For The Future - Wiggly World rocked and Smart Patrol/Mr. DNA was some good old fashioned frenzied punk! But golly, us Spuds got not real Satisfaction cause they for some reason forgot to start the meeting with our Devo Corporate Anthem. Must have been the heat.

When all our bones and muscles hurt, what's so funny about that?

Still, it makes me wanna move!

Deathray Davies Tonight @ The Limelight on North St. Mary's Street in beautiful down town San Antonio.


A Man Is Real - Not Made Of Steel!


Friday, August 25, 2006

Are We Not Men?


Yes, Tonight!

Devo! At The Sunken Garden Theatre, an awesome outdoor venue that's just a 10 minute walk from my house!

This will be my 6th time to see the bad boys from Akron Ohio. And like alot of things in life, the first time was the best!

I've got a Gut Feeling tonight's gonna be hot!

The Psychodelic Furs are opening up - sounds like a Slap Your Mammy blast of fun.

Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah!
(These opening lyrics from Uncontrolable Urge explian exactly how I'm feeling about tonights show!)


Dude - no shit - I just ran into Mark Mothersbaugh at Central Market across the street from my office and he totally frosted me! Really!

I was leaving Joe Barfield a message regarding my 2 free tickets (That's Right!) and I jokingly said I was wandering around CM with the first Devo album under my arm hoping for an autograph. As I was fixin' to head down the stairs outside he was walking up.

He was all dapper in a white fedora and starched out duds and I said excuse me.

Uh Excuse, me. (He walks past me going faster) Oh man c'mon.

I finally said I'll see you tonight and he turned around barely smiling and walked away. Shit!

Anyway, it's still gonna rock.



UPDATE II: It most certainly did! Rock That is...

Recycling The Throwaways

The kids over at A Bunch of Beatniks Riding a Rocket (a MP3 label disguised as a blog) are offering an entire CD of really cool low-fi indie pop from the likes of The World Record, Kincaid, The Smittens, and one of my all time favorites - Masters Of The Hemisphere.

As if the title of this freebie doesn't make it clear enough, this is a compilation of songs that never quite made it on to an official release. And after a listen or two you'll understand why.

But don't let that stop you! There are a few gems - including Stay In Your Shoes from The Mendoza Line, Colin Clary's Absinthe Minded, the hilarious Pierre Pierce from The Poison Control Center, Hey Jacques Le Brain by The World Record and Canal Styles Masters Of The Hemisphere.

You can click here for the Recycling The Throwaways zip file now!

Enjoy and have a great weekend!



Thursday, August 24, 2006

Pluto the 9th Planet? Nein!

And now, a moment of silence followed by a simple space dirge as we ponder todays down grade of our former 9th Planet, Pluto, to a dwarf. Nein!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Music Makes Your Brain Happy

As a rock producer, Daniel Levitin worked with Stevie Wonder, the Grateful Dead and Chris Isaak. But the music business began to change, and a disillusioned Levitin turned to academia, where a career in neuroscience beckoned.

Sixteen years after he made the switch, Levitin is an associate professor at McGill University in Montreal and one of the world's leading experts in cognitive music perception.

In his new book, This Is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession, Levitin explores research into how our brains process the works of artists as varied as Beethoven, the Beatles and Britney Spears, and why they make us feel so good. Wired News picks his brain about how it all works.

Wired News: Are there any myths about music that neuroscientists have exposed?

Daniel Levitin: I think we've debunked the myth of talent. It doesn't appear that there's anything like a music gene or center in the brain that Stevie Wonder has that nobody else has.

There's no evidence that (talented people) have a different brain structure or different wiring than the rest of us initially, although we do know that becoming an expert in anything -- like chess or race-car driving or journalism -- does change the brain and creates circuitry that's more efficient at doing what you're an expert at.

What there might be is a genetic or neural predisposition toward things like patience and eye-hand coordination. (On the other hand), you can be born with a physiology that gives you a pleasant-sounding voice, but that doesn't guarantee you'll have a career as a singer.

WN: What does music tell us about the brain?

Levitin: Through studies of music and the brain, we've learned to map out specific areas involved in emotion, timing and perception -- and production of sequences. They've told us how the brain deals with patterns and how it completes them when there's misinformation.

What we're learning about the part in the frontal lobe called BA47 is the most exciting. Music suggests that it's a region that helps us predict what comes next in a sequence.

WN: What have we learned about music perception from people with brain disorders or injuries?

Levitin: We've learned that musical ability is actually not one ability but a set of abilities, a dozen or more. Through brain damage, you can lose one component and not necessarily lose the others. You can lose rhythm and retain pitch, for example, that kind of thing. We see equivalents in the visual domain: People lose color perception or shape perception.

I think of the brain as a computational device: It has a bunch of little components that perform calculations on some small aspect of the problem, and another part of the brain has to stitch it all together, like a tapestry or a quilt.

WN: You write that you're more interested in the mind than the brain. What's the difference?

Levitin: The brain is a bunch of neurons, chemicals, water and blood.... The mind is the thoughts that arise from the brain. Anatomists and neuroanatomists are particularly interested in understanding how the brain is formed and how cells communicate. They're really looking at the architecture and geography of the brain....

What we're trying to do is figure out (which) parts of the brain do what and how they communicate with each other. But not simply on a level of description that discusses only neuron and cells, but one that also talks about real ideas, thoughts and memories.

WN: From an evolutionary perspective, why have humans developed music?

Levitin: There are a number of different theories. One theory is that music is an evolutionary accident, piggybacking on language: We exploited language to create music just for our own pleasure. A competing view, one that Darwin held, is that music was selected by evolution because it signals certain kinds of intellectual, physical and sexual fitness to a potential mate.

WN: How does that play out in rock 'n' roll, for example?

Levitin: (Research has shown that) if women could choose who they'd like to be impregnated by, they'd choose a rock star. There's something about the rock star's genes that is signaling creativity, flexibility of thinking, flexibility of mind and body, an ability to express and process emotions -- not to mention that (musical talent) signals that if you can waste your time on something that has no immediate impact on food-gathering and shelter, you've got your food-gathering and shelter taken care of.

WN: Do any animals show an appreciation for music?

Levitin: There's no evidence they do -- that birdsong is used in the same way we (use it, for instance, or) that animals use it for recreation. And some of the fundamental things we take for granted about music don't exist in the animal kingdom.

WN: What are we learning about the link between music and emotion in the brain?

Levitin: Music activates the same parts of the brain and causes the same neurochemical cocktail as a lot of other pleasurable activities like orgasms or eating chocolate -- or if you're a gambler winning a bet or using drugs if you're a drug user. Serotonin and dopamine are both involved.

WN: Could music be an antidepressant?

Levitin: It is already -- most people in Western society use music to regulate moods, whether it's playing something peppy in the morning or something soothing at the end of a hard day, or something that will motivate them to exercise. Joni Mitchell told me that someone once said before there was Prozac, there was her.

WN: What is an earworm, and what doctor do I see if I get one?

Levitin: It's the name the Germans give to these songs that get stuck in your head that you can't get rid of. If they're really bothersome, you can do what Neil Young told me: Become a professional songwriter. He writes songs to get them out of his head.

Failing that, the second thing you can do is go to a doctor and have them prescribe an antidepressant or anti-anxiety drug like Prozac or Ativan. Or the most common option, find an equally annoying song that's not bothering you right now, and it will replace the earworm with another one.

Thanks to Randy Dotinga at Wired

Dear Luke...

There are genius funny lyrics in Steely Dan songs, but they also often come off as dudes who take themselves really, really seriously. But maybe it's just their special sense of humor that makes it all work.

Check out this open letter to Luke Wilson asking for his help in getting his brother to apologize for making a terrible movie out of one of their songs.

It's totally worth reading start to finish.


Big thanks to Mac at portastatic.

Monday, August 21, 2006

How to Pick Up Chicks

This one is for my friend Sir Joe Barfied.

The Five Stars 1958 ditty about the art of picking up chicks -Picking The Wrong Chicken

And if you're looking for a home in downtown San Antonio you should check out Joe's Turf.



Sunday, August 20, 2006

Honey Pie Vs Brown Sugar

Here's One Take...

My take?




Saturday, August 19, 2006

C'est Si Tiki Bongo!


Allright, it's Saturday Night. Thanks for stopping by.

You're soooo lucky! Today I've got some groovy, mid 60's, French, get-up-n-move vibes for you that'll remind you that yes - it's still summer! I'm thinking these will work nicely with just about anything you might have going on after the sun goes down today. Come to think of it, and although I haven't tested them sitting around the pool (yet!) these would go absolutely perfect with a nice poolside cold one.

Either way, here's hoping at least one of these French gems make it on to your permanent Saturday night mix. I've got this twistin' trio in both my Bohemian Mai Tai Jet Set playlist and the Official A Night at The Fabulous Tiki Room playlist.

First up, from 1966, the happy-go-lucky Twist A Go Go from Eddie Warner & les Nelson Boys (256 kbps 3.7MB)

Next, a sweet little finger snappin' vibes and keyboard combo circa 1964 that's really anything but what you might expect with a title like Ah! Quel Surf!, dig if you will Ah! Quel Surf! This is from Orchestre Jean Tordo off of the C'est Si Bon 45 (256 kbps 3.8MB)

"You gotta live like you're on vacation." Sir Diamond David Lee Roth

And finally, for my buddy Jackie, (and perhaps you or anyone else that just might need a song to make 'em smile and thank their lucky stars for everything they've got) a hip shakin' 1965 ditty called Forgeron Twist by Les Star Twisters. This is a single from The Dansons avec Les Star Twisters et Viviane Chantel LP. (256 kbps 4.1MB)

And, remember - Summer's not over yet!

C'est Si Tiki Bongo!


Wednesday, August 16, 2006

This Might Work...

One way to find out...

Launch Audio Stream

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Let Go Of Your Pickle!

I Noticed Even The Crickets Were Acting Weird Up Here!

You must have patience Grasshopper - this is 10.5 MB File.


Monday, August 14, 2006

The Love Life of the Octopus

Dig the trippy The Love Life of the Octopus off of Yo La Tengo's The Sounds of the Sounds of Science. And hey, while you're listening, you might as well check out this awesome collection of Octopus Covers!



Sunday, August 13, 2006

Man In Space

This is pretty sweet. Man in Space with Sounds was composed by Arthur Attilio Mineo in the early 50s and was played through the sound system in "The Bubbleator", an exhibit that was part of the 1962 Seattle Space Age World's Fair.

"The Bubbleator" was a 150-passenger spherical clear plastic elevator that moved 2.5 million people through the "World of Tomorrow" displays that promised an easier life ahead and a glimpse of life in the future!

To accompany their journey, the sound system piped in the evocative orchestral and electronic music of Man in Space with Sounds that helped to create a futurist experience for the passengers. How cool is that?

According to Amazon, once the producers of the CD version managed to track down Attilio Mineo to arrange the licensing, it was discovered that the master tapes for Man in Space with Sounds were lost forever. An original 1962 LP, like this one, was used for the recording on the CD.

This, the original LP, was released in limited quantities on the World's Fair record label around 1962 in two versions; one with a short peice of spoken word introduction before each track and one without the introductions. Neither LP was in stereo.

So what are you waiting for? Transport yourself by listening to this spoken word version, ripped directly from the original vinyl. All in glorious Mono! Grab Man In Space now!

(By the way, this is a 45.3 MB zip file of the entire album, painstakingly ripped from vinyl, just for you plus the original album cover art. As always, these audio files are for research purposes only.)

Enjoy your journey!


Saturday, August 12, 2006

Elevate Your Saturday Night with the The Sepia Frank Sinatra!

Dig this nice little 1947 ditty from Jump Blues King Jo Jo Adams. After just one listen to When I'm In My Tea I think you'll agree that this should be a permanent addition to your official Saturday night mix.

Here's a little Jo Jo history:

Born circa 1918, Alabama
Died 27 Februay, 1988, Chicago, Illinois

"I started playing the blues when I saw a man standing on the stage and he was getting big money. He had a red pocket hand'chief around his neck and coveralls and I said, 'That's not the way it's supposed to go'. I introduced color to the stage. My tailor-made tails that were 55 inches long - when I spun around you could shoot dice on them!"

Seldom remembered today among the greats of jump blues, Jo Jo Adams was once quite a celebrity in the 1940s and 1950s Chicago music and entertainment circle. A comedian/singer/dancer/emcee and leader of a successful revue, the few remaining images and film clips we have of the man (for example, his performances from the 1949 William Alexander short "Burlesque In Harlem"), shows a slim, dapper, Cab Calloway-like performer, an impression borne out by his jazzy recordings such as When I'm In My Tea.

Once billed as "The Sepia Frank Sinatra" (more for his build and sartorial elegance than his vocal style), Jo Jo Adams was born in Alabama around 1918. Little is known of his early life, except that he sang with a quartet called the Big Four Jubilee singers, and that he was on Chicago's South Side by 1945, playing venues such as the Ritz Show Lounge, and first recorded in early 1946 with guitarist Freddie Williams' band for Williams' own Melody Lane Record Shop label.

Within a few weeks, Melody Lane had become Hy-Tone Records and the two Adams releases were reissued on the new label. During the summer of 1946, Adams was in Los Angeles, recording for Aladdin Records with the Maxwell Davis All Stars and appearing with Clifford Scott at the Hideaway Club, however, by the end of the year, he was back in Chicago recording for Hy-Tone, this time with veteran guitarist Floyd Smith's Combo (Smith had been famous for his influential 1939 hit Floyd's Guitar Blues recorded with Andy Kirk's Orchestra and had only just left the Kirk band at the time of his Hy-Tone session).

In July 1947, "Doctor Jo Jo" as he was sometimes billed, recorded a four track session for Aristocrat Records with Tom Archia's All Stars, and in early 1948 he was recalled by Archia to sing the wonderful, two-part Cabbage Head - an updating of the ancient British ballad "Our Gudeman"(aka Seven Nights Drunk). Apart from his welcome appearance in the aforementioned musical short "Burlesque In Harlem" - in which he performs the risqué I Like To Hucklebuck before displaying his terpsichorean skill with an exotic dancer - Adams appears to have disappeared from the recording scene for a full four years (he is known to have joined Memphis Slim's Houserockers as a singer briefly in 1950), returning in November 1952 to cut six sides for Art Sheridan's Chance Records with trumpeter Melvin Moore's Orchestra.

His last known release was issued the following year on Al Benson's Parrot label, backed by a small unit headed by drummer Red Saunders and arranged by Sun Ra. Although the recordings were sparse, Adams appeared often in the early 1950s at the Flame Show Bar with his own revue "The Jo Jo Show".

He is listed as being part of a couple of rock 'n' roll revues at the Trianon Ballroom and the Regal Theatre in 1955 and also at a club called Budland in late 1958, and then seems to have vanished into obscurity for the last 30 years of his life (Living Blues reported that he would still occasionally play in his neighbourhood of 64th and Maryland).

He died in Chicago on 27th February 1988.

Thanks to Dave Penny and his Living Blues interview with Jo Jo.