Friday, February 27, 2009

From the Vault: Tha Dogg Pound - "New York, New York"

It was early 1996... I was skipping school quite often, eating brown sugar and cinnamon pop tarts for breakfast each day and I really wanted Tha Dogg Pound "Dogg Food" CD...namely for the song "New York, New York". Death Row records had just signed 2pac "fresh out of jail" and they were poised to be the biggest thing the rap music industry had ever seen.

Kurupt was to Death Row records what Tony Kukoc was to the 1995-1996 Chicago Bulls: that stellar piece of the team you never really noticed then, but certainly take notice now that you look back. This video reminds me of how interesting the mid 90's were for rap music: rappers had legitimate beefs that did not fade after two months of radio interviews. Death Row not only made a song mocking the mecca of east coast rap, but they went there and filmed it too!

By the end of 1996, 2pac was dead and Biggie didn't have much longer before he met his demise. It is great to look back at a time in the genre when things were going as good as they possibly could be. Tha Dogg Pound eventually dissolved along with the Death Row empire and songs like "New York, New York" now serve only as a reminder of their work.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

World Trade Center Bombed: 16 Years Ago Today...

The 1993 World Trade Center bombing occurred on February 26, 1993, when a car bomb was detonated below Tower One of the World Trade Center in New York City. The 1,500 lb urea nitrate-hydrogen gas enhanced device was intended to knock the North Tower (Tower One) into the South Tower (Tower Two), bringing both towers down and killing thousands of people. It failed to do so, but did kill six people and injured 1,042.

The attack was planned by a group of conspirators including Ramzi Yousef, Mahmud Abouhalima, Mohammad Salameh, Nidal Ayyad, Abdul Rahman Yasin and Ahmad Ajaj. They received financing from Khaled Shaikh Mohammed, Yousef's uncle. In March 1994, four men were convicted of carrying out the bombing: Abouhalima, Ajaj, Ayyad and Salameh. The charges included conspiracy, explosive destruction of property and interstate transportation of explosives. And in November 1997, two more were convicted: Yousef, the mastermind behind the bombings, and Eyad Ismoil, who drove the truck carrying the bomb.

Ramzi Yousef and a Jordanian friend, Eyad Ismoil, drove a yellow Ryder van into Lower Manhattan, and pulled into the public parking garage beneath the World Trade Center around noon. Yousef ignited the 20-foot fuse, and fled. Twelve minutes later, at 12:17:37 pm, the bomb exploded in the underground garage, generating an estimated pressure of 150,000 psi. The bomb opened a 98 foot wide hole through four sublevels of concrete. The detonation velocity of this bomb was about 15,000 ft/s.

The bomb instantly cut off the center's main electrical power line, knocking out the emergency lighting system. The bomb caused smoke to rise up to the 93rd floor of both towers, including through the stairwells which were not pressurized. With thick smoke filling the stairwells, evacuation was difficult for building occupants and led to many smoke inhalation injuries. Hundreds were trapped in elevators in the towers when the power was cut, including a group of 17 kindergartners, on their way down from the South Tower observation deck, who were trapped between the 35th and 36th floors for five hours.

Also as a result of the loss of electricity most of New York City's radio and television stations lost their over-the-air broadcast signal for almost a week, with television stations only being able to broadcast via cable and satellite via a microwave hookup between the stations and three of the New York area's largest cable companies, Cablevision, Comcast, and Time Warner Cable. Telephone service for much of Lower Manhattan was also disrupted.

Altogether, six people were killed and 1,042 others were injured, most during the evacuation that followed the blast. The towers did not collapse, according to Yousef's plan, but the explosion did damage the garage badly. Nevertheless, had the car been parked closer to the WTC's poured concrete foundations, Yousef's plan might have succeeded. Yousef escaped to Pakistan several hours later after the bombing.

Yousef had left Jersey City much earlier in the morning, thus questions linger as to why he waited to noon to attack when the parking area was much less crowded. Conspirator Mahmud Abouhalima later stated that the original plan was to attack the United Nations headquarters earlier in the morning. Author Simon Reeve theorized that something went wrong, such as Yousef encountering too much security, and the target was changed to be the World Trade Center.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

5 Artists I Would Like to See Live (If I Had a Time Machine) Vol. 3

The artists listed are either:

A) dead
B) still alive but I have no desire to see them now
C) the band is no longer performing together
D) some/all of the above

1. Bob Dylan, 1966/1975

Dylan went electric in 1966 and pissed off the entire United Kingdom. Dylan starting painting his face white in 1975...and he kind of went off the deep end around the same time (likely not a coincidence). I like the idea of seeing him in 1966 for the purpose of witnessing that monumental shift in the evolution of music. I like the idea of Bob Dylan live in 1975 because this was the point in time where "Blood on the Tracks" came out and he found himself in a whole other realm of creativity.

Song I would most like to see performed live: "Knockin' on Heaven's Door"

2. Joy Division, 1980

The true pioneers of the post-punk movement were at the top of the world in 1980, before it all came crumbling down. On May, 18th of that year, the enigmatic lead singer Ian Curtis hanged himself on the eve of the band heading to the United States for their first U.S. tour. Joy Division shows hold legendary status in the eyes of many, not only for the fact that the life of Curtis was so short but, more so because they were such a great band. I would certainly jump at the chance to see one of their final performances, knowing the light was about to be shut out forever.

Song I would most want to see performed live: "Love Will Tear Us Apart"/"Atmosphere"

3. Talking Heads, 1984

Maybe the most original band in the history of "bands" as we know them. The whole Talking Heads at CBGB's would be great and all, but...who would really pass up the chance to see them on the 'Stop Making Sense' tour?! Looking back now, everyone knows that the Talkings Heads stuck around for another two years before splitting up...but, this period was certainly the crest of the wave.

Song I would most want to see performed live: "This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)"

4. Waylon Jennings, 1979

Give me a genie in a bottle and this would probably be one of my three wishes. Waylon holds a huge place in my heart and I cannot imagine how amazing this would have been. Waylon had it on lock in 1979. Album after album, his star power continued to grow (as did his cocaine addiction). Not only would I love to see him perform about a 4 hour show, but I'd also like to nab a genuine Waylon t-shirt.

Song I would most want to see performed live: "Memories of You and I"

5. The Who, 1973

Admittedly, I am not a huge Who guy. I like them, I just don't love them as much as many other people do...but, I know a good thing when I see one. The Who are famous for playing really LOUD and tearing up shit. I know that I would certainly skip the Cincinnati show in 1979 where eleven people were trampled to death, but I would have loved to have had the chance to see them on the "Quadrophenia" tour.

Song I would most want to see performed live: "Love Reign O'er Me"

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Guest List: The Broken Parade

Welcome to the latest edition of "Guest List". Each week, we ask one of our favorite artists to fill us in on what they've been up to lately: which tracks they can't stop spinning, what books they can't put down, and what new bands they've caught on tour. This week, it's none other than internet blogger The Broken Parade (a.k.a. Mikeal Davis).

Favorite new songs of the past year?

I ranked Kevin Drew's "Untitled 2" as my favorite song of 2008. The intro and outro of Girl Talk's "Feed the Animals" and "Animal in You Care" + "Call It a Ritual" off of Wolf Parade's album rounded out the top 5 for the year.

Favorite older songs of the moment?

I watched a really great documentary about the kidnapping/corruption epidemic in Sao Paulo, Brazil called 'Manda Bala' and it had a great song by Tim Maia titled "Nobody Can Live Forever". Other than that, I was introduced to a Stevie Nicks demo titled "Blue Water" which is apparently a stolen demo from many years ago. Still a great song.

Favorite new band?

Not that I think their album is that AMAZING, but it's still a good listen: Empire of the Sun

Artist with whom I'd most like to collaborate?

Greg Gillis (a.k.a. Girl Talk). I think Greg and I could spend a month together working on samples and come up with "Feed the Animals 2.0" pretty quickly. He is really amazing and what a great personality.

Favorite song ever?

"Southern Cross" by Crosby, Stills & Nash. "Gypsy" by Fleetwood Mac is closely following. Both songs are a source of great inspiration, nostalgia for me. I've listened to both songs a ridiculous amount of times in my life and they keep getting better so...

Last great concert you saw?

Wolf Parade at Southgate House in Newport, KY. I had been waiting to see them for over 3 years and they certainly did not disappoint. Loud, energetic and amazing. My only complaint was that they did not play "Dinner Bells" but I did get to request it from co-lead singer Dan Boeckner, so that was kool.

Last great book you read?

I haven't picked up a book in quite some time. I do know that the last book I was reading was a biography on sci-fi write Phillip K. Dick.

Favorite piece of musical equipment?

The computer, more specifically Sony Acid Mix software.

Favorite record shop?

The internet. Haha. I used to work at a Karma Records, so I have to give the nod to Karma...despite the fact that they're going the way of the dinosaur.

First record you bought for yourself?

I think it was summer of 1987? I was heading to Florida the next morning and I picked up Def Leppard 'Hysteria' tape at Target. It pretty much became my world for that week ahead.

One popular band you would like to see fade into obscurity?

Where do I start? Fall Out Boy quickly comes to mind.

One obscure band you think should be more popular?

In the internet age, this is a hard question to answer. I think Alaska in Winter is certainly being overlooked. I think Abe Vigoda are doing some really interesting and different things with music. I also think Deerhunter deserves to be heard by more people.

Best purchase of the past year?

I'd have to say upgrading to the 80GB iPod classic. The 30GB just was not allowing me the freedom to dump bulk amounts of music onto it. I am sure at some point, the 80GB will be replaced with the 120GB. That'll be awhile though.

Best you thing you did in the past year?

Finally getting back out to the Los Angeles after a 4 year hiatus plus I went with Monique, so it was great to be with her as she experienced it for the first time.

Favorite TV show at the moment?

I consider 'PTI' a ritual more than mere entertainment. I still love 'Intervention' and 'Good Eats' amongst others.

Favorite radio program?

NPR All Songs Considered/WECI 91.5

Your ringtone?

"It sounds like I am in a dentist office". Call me old fashioned, call me what you will but I just go with the standard ring. Nothing fancy.

Top 5 Songs I am Currently Listening To...

1. Animal Collective - "Winters Love (Redux)"
2. Lotus Plaza - "These Years"
3. Lotus Plaza - "Sunday Night"
4. M.I.A. - "20 Dollar"
5. White Williams - "Route to Palm"

Monday, February 23, 2009

Top 10 U.S. Cities I Wouldn't Mind Calling Home

I am one of those people who used to hate where they lived, simply because I wanted more out of life than what my current home was giving me. I have learned through several changes of location over the years that no matter where you live, somewhere else is always going to seem more appealing. Here is a list of ten places I would not mind calling "home" for a couple months or... the rest of my life.

1. Mesa, Arizona

For those who know me, this is a given. I have wanted to be in the southwest desert for about 10 years now. This is where I would like to make my permanent soon as possible please.

2. Los Angeles, California

I've been to L.A. three separate times and I love the city, just not all the baggage that comes with it.

3. New York City, New York

The last great U.S. city I have yet to visit. Despite the fact that I've never been, I already know that I wouldn't mind spending a few months here to experience it. (Disclaimer: I would likely be eaten alive)

4. Honolulu, Hawaii

Why not? Visiting Hawaii is one thing...but, could you imagine actually calling it home?

5. Portland, Oregon

Everything I know about Portland screams my name. The music, the culture, the heroin...wait, scratch the heroin. Portland strikes me as a city that could teach me a lot in a short amount of time.

6. Austin, Texas

If for no other reason than to live in the city that hosts the annual South by Southwest (SXSW) music festival. I've heard great things about the music, film and art culture in Austin.

7. Billings, Montana

Billings seems like it would be a great place to get away from everything and write a novel or solve a rubik's cube.

8. Washington, D.C.

I guess D.C. is kind of the "dark horse" of my list. I went to D.C. on an 8th grade field trip and really enjoyed the immense history of the city. Dismemberment Plan and Dave Chappelle called this place home at one time or another, seems like a good place to be for a temporary amount of time.

9. Provo, Utah

Provo is kind of my agoraphobic dream. If I really wanted to get lost inside myself, this seems like the best option in which to complete that goal.

10. Seattle, Washington

Despite the fact that Seattle has been hit with the "wettest city" in the United States title (which is actually not true, it isn't even in the top 10 wettest cities!) I would still give it a chance for the culture, the music scene and the seafood.

Suggested Listening:

Simply Red - "Home (Reprise)"

Friday, February 20, 2009

4 Years Ago Today: Hunter S. Thompson Dies From a Self-Inflicted Gunshot Wound

4 years ago today, the life and work of one of the greatest American writers abruptly stopped as the result of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to to the head. Hunter S. Thompson was many things, but crazy and brilliant are the two best descriptions of the man. Hunter was a journalist and author who became widely known for his book "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas". Thompson is credited with creating "Gonzo" journalism, which is a style of reporting where the reporters involvement in the action ultimately makes them a central character in the story itself. Hunter ingested about every drug under the sun, drank a sea of booze and shot more guns than John Wayne. He was truly "Gonzo". Hunter S. Thompson is one of my all-time favorite writers and he is dearly missed by his friends and fans alike.

Hunter S. Thompson suicide note:

What family and police describe as a suicide note was delivered to his wife four days before his death and later published by Rolling Stone. Entitled "Football Season Is Over", it read:

"No More Games. No More Bombs. No More Walking. No More Fun. No More Swimming. 67. That is 17 years past 50. 17 more than I needed or wanted. Boring. I am always bitchy. No Fun — for anybody. 67. You are getting Greedy. Act your old age. Relax — This won't hurt."

Here is a poem I wrote on 2/20/2005:

"Requiescat for Hunter S. Thompson"

Sitting here at the typewriter
one beer into the night

I am left to believe that sometimes,
the only way out is -

a way out

another great writer dead
(chose the same method as Hemingway)

Of all the thoughts he had, I wonder

which one was his last?

was it the past or the future that pulled the trigger?

we may never know

Hunter, you left us
but what you gave us:

keys to the locks inside the mind,

words that will never cease to penetrate those who read them...

will never leave us

- Mikeal P. Davis

Suggested Reading:

Suggested Viewing:

Suggested Listening:

Bob Dylan - "Mr. Tambourine Man"

Warren Zevon - "Lawyers, Guns and Money"

(these were Hunter's two favorite songs)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Soundtrack to the Apocalypse: The Top 10 Songs I Would Listen to as the World Ends...

According to the Mayan, the apocalypse is set to take place on Decemeber 23rd, 2012. I guess we'll have to wait to find out about the accuracy of that, but I am prepared just in case the proverbial end comes earlier than expected. We've all thought about it: "how would I react to finding out that I have only a few hours left to live?" I can't answer for you, but I do know that I have a list of songs that would make up the soundtrack to my final moments of my life on this planet (this is an actual playlist on my iPod). Half of the songs are pure ambient, the other half of them hold an abyss of emotion for me personally and would therefore comfort me in those final moments of contemplating what it all had meant.

(in order)

1. Crowded House - "Don't Dream It's Over"
2. M83 - "I Guess I'm Floating"
3. Bob Dylan - "Knockin' on Heaven's Door"
4. Modest Mouse - "Blame It on the Tetons"
5. Stars of the Lid - "The Evil that Never Arrived"
6. M83 - "Slight Night Shiver"
7. Sigur Rós - "Untitled 4 ("Njósnavélin")"
8. Aphex Twin - "Avril 14th"
9. Moby - "Chord Sounds"
10. Radiohead - "Motion Picture Soundtrack"

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

"It's the Only Way to Cars"

We've all seen the 'Cribs' episodes with the very expensive fleet of cars is on display, needless to say...sometimes when you have too much money, you simply have too much money. Here are the three vehicles I would purchase if money were no issue. Please take note that all three price tags total the price of one average 'Cribs' car. That isn't asking too much is it?

Land Rover LR3

Make/Model: Land Rover LR3
Year: 2009
Color: Graphite
Price: $58,000

Audi A4

Make/Model: Audi A4
Year: 2009
Color: Black
Price: $48,000

Jeep Renegade CJ-7

Make/Model: Jeep Renegade CJ-7
Year: 1980
Color: White (with vintage design)
Price: approx. $2,500-$5,000

Suggested viewing:

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

5 Artists I Would Like to See Live (If I Had a Time Machine) Vol. 2

The artists listed are either:

A) dead
B) still alive but I have no desire to see them now
C) the band is no longer performing together
D) some/all of the above

1. Fleetwood Mac, 1980

I am actually breaking my own rule here and going to see Fleetwood Mac live this April on their final "farewell tour". Something about seeing Fleetwood Mac towards the end of the 'Tusk' tour would be way too much to pass up. To me, this was the most creative period in Mac's history. The cocaine use was rampant, the music was amazing and the 80's were only beginning.

song I would most want to see performed: "Beautiful Child"

2. Neil Young, 1973

I saw Neil Young at Farm Aid in 2001 and it was amazing. Neil (like Fleetwood Mac) is on my short list of artists I would see perform from their deathbed. However, if I were able to choose a point in time that I could see Neil Young it would most definitely be in 1973. Neil would play all the soon-to-be legendary tracks from 'Harvest' along with all his other previously released gems.

song I would most want to see performed: "Journey Through the Past"

3. Harry Chapin, 1981

Let's get one thing straight here: I absolutely love Harry Chapin. I understand that he will always be known for "Cat's in the Cradle", but Chapin was so much more than that one hit song. A dedicated humanitarian who fought to help end world hunger, Chapin often played shows for the price of a few canned goods. Harry Chapin made his audiences a part of the intimate live experience, regaling them in story and life lessons. If I had the chance, I would pay just about any dollar amount to see Harry Chapin live.

song I would most want to see performed: "W*O*L*D*"/"Story of a Life"

4. Pink Floyd, 1975

5 years after the loss of their lead singer Syd Barrett to prolonged LSD abuse, and only 2 years after the release of the mammoth success "Dark Side of the Moon", Pink Floyd found themselves on top of the music industry...and they didn't like it. So, in 1975 Pink Floyd created a 4 song album about 2 subjects: their fallen leader Syd Barrett ("Shine on You Crazy Diamond"/"Wish You Were Here) and the record industry ("Welcome to the Machine"/"Have a Cigar"). I personally think that this was most the creative point in their career, so naturally I would choose to see them at that time.

song I would most want to see performed: "Wish You Were Here"

5. N.W.A., 1989

You would be an idiot to not want to see the Mount Rushmore of west coast rap music. N.W.A. created an entire genre of music that still flourishes today. N.W.A. were only around from 1987 to 1991, but in that short amount of time they changed everything. Just the thought of seeing these guys in their very early 20's is enough to make you want to invent a real flux capacitor.

song I would most want to see performed: "Straight Outta Compton"

Monday, February 16, 2009

From The Vault: Presidents of the United States of America - "Lump"

In honor (or dishonor) of president's day, why not dig up one of the worst song of the 90's? The Presidents of the United States of America were the product of the post-grunge mid 90's...and were pretty much the defintion of awful. At the time of its release, I was a freshman in high school struggling to not fail French class, Chris Webber was on the Washington Bullets and I had a pretty unhealthy obsession of eating peanut butter directly out of the jar. "Lump" played at least once an hour on MTV and it was as much a novelty song then as it is a forgotten novelty song now. Does anyone really care if they ever hear "Lump" again? I will let you think of that answer.

The song lyrics were derived from a dream Chris Ballew, lead singer, had while fighting pneumonia. The lyrics give a seemingly nonsensical description of a girl named or nicknamed "Lump", from the point of view of someone who knew her personally (and who is implied to have been infatuated with her) and who muses at whether or not she is still alive. Lump is, during the song, lying in a swamp. It is uncertain whether she is catatonic, unconscious, or dying. Her life, as it is described, seemed to have been a wasted one. She is implied to be unintelligent and/or disturbed ("Lump lingered last in line for brains / And the ones she got were sorta rotten and insane"). It is also implied that Lump was sexually promiscuous and failed to accomplish much ("She spent her twenties between the sheets / Life limped along at subsonic speeds"). The narrator concludes by suggesting that he is no longer concerned/infatuated with Lump ("Is this Lump outta my head? / I think so").

A second interpretation is that the song is a metaphor for the benign tumor Chris Ballew discovered in his head during his battle with pneumonia. This is partially evidenced in the lines ("Lump sat alone in a boggy marsh / Totally motionless except for her heart / Mud flowed up into lump's pyjammas / She totally confused all the passing piranhas") murky swamp being his brain and the piranhas being the many doctors that had missed the tumor.

Top 5 Songs I am Currently Listening To...

1. Animal Collective - "What Would I Want Sky (Live BBC version)"
2. Beirut - "The Concubine"
3. Beirut - "My Wife, Lost in the Wild"
4. Swan Lake - "All Fires"
5. DJ/rupture - "Plays John Cassavettes pt. 2: Ekkehard Ehlers"

Friday, February 13, 2009

"By The Time I Get to Arizona..."

It may not count for anything, but who cares? I love NBA All-Star weekend. The All-Star events start tonite @ 7pm with the celebrity game and end on sunday evening with the actual All-Star game. The following is rundown of my predictions, etc.

Rookies vs. Sophmore Challenge:

maybe the worst jerseys ever?

Rookie Team Roster:

Michael Beasley, Miami Heat
Rudy Fernandez, Portland Trail Blazers
Marc Gasol, Memphis Grizzlies
Eric Gordon, Los Angeles Clippers
Brook Lopez, New Jersey Nets
O.J. Mayo, Memphis Grizzlies
Greg Oden, Portland Trail Blazers
Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls
Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder

Sophomore Team roster:

Aaron Brooks, Houston Rockets
Wilson Chandler, New York Knicks
Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder
Jeff Green, Oklahoma City Thunder
Al Horford, Atlanta Hawks
Luis Scola, Houston Rockets
Al Thornton, Los Angeles Clippers
Rodney Stuckey, Detroit Pistons
Thaddeus Young, Philadelphia Sixers

Rookies have not beat the Sophomores since 2002, but I think that changes this year. The rookie team is loaded with talent.

Final Score Prediction: Rookies 142 Sophomores 121

'Rookies vs. Sophomores' MVP Prediction:

Chicago Bulls PG, Derrick Rose

3-Point Shootout:


Mike Bibby, Atlanta Hawks
Daequan Cook, Miami Heat
Danny Granger, Indiana Pacers
Jason Kapono, Toronto Raptors
Rashard Lewis, Orlando Magic
Roger Mason, San Antonio Spurs

My prediction: Mike Bibby

Dunk Contest:

Dwight Howard looked pretty good last year, probably going to look even better this year. I am picking him to win it again.

Dunk Contest Participants:

Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic
Nate Robinson, New York Knicks
Rudy Fernandez, Portland Trailblazers
J.R. Smith, Denver Nuggets

The 58th Annual All-Star Game:

I would love to see the current roster wear the jerseys from the last time the All-Star game was in Phoenix way back in 1995

anything would be better than these hideous things:

All-Star Roster:

Eastern Conference


Allen Iverson, Detroit Pistons
Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat
LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers*
Kevin Garnett, Boston Celtics*
Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic*


Devin Harris New Jersey Nets
Mo Williams Cleveland Cavaliers
Paul Pierce, Boston Celtics
Rashard Lewis, Orlando Magic
Danny Granger, Indiana Pacers
Ray Allen, Boston Celtics
Joe Johnson, Atlanta Hawks*

Western Conference


Chris Paul, New Orleans Hornets*
Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers*
Amare Stoudemire, Phoenix Suns*
Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs
Yao Ming, Houston Rockets


Tony Parker, San Antonio Spurs
Chauncey Billups, Denver Nuggets
Brandon Roy, Portland Trailblazers
David West, New Orleans Hornets
Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks
Pau Gasol, Los Angeles Lakers*
Shaquille O'Neal, Phoenix Suns*

* denotes that I voted as an All-Star

All-Star Game Winner Prediction:

Final Score Prediction:

East 136 West 124

All-Star Game MVP Prediction:

LBJ23 won his first All-Star MVP in 2006 and then won his 2nd last year in New Orleans. LeBron is playing so well that I just don't see anyone else being able to match him in this game. MVP # 3 is coming up on sunday nite.

For more info: