Wednesday morning I wasn’t sure if I wanted to spend the evening releasing D-Rockets on, or playing the 3rd Street Pub’s open-mic night. Ended up going for the both/and; ran home in the afternoon and made the upload for Matt Wisecarver’s Secret Fantasy, wrote a short email to the list, and called up Nick to ride shotgun into Lee’s Summit.

We cruised in just after nine to a small local pub, half-filled with co-eds still home from school in the last days of summer. And Jody with Jimmie, a couple friendly faces who didn’t know what they were in for. One guy was trying to bartend and set up sound, so it was slow going.

Around 9:30 it seemed like the speakers were coming to life. But up on stage, plugged in, all we had was nasty, amp-fried distortion; after twiddling for a few minutes, I cut the cords and stepped off the stage onto the bar floor. From that point, straining to strum and sing louder than the background noise of the club, I played for a solid 45 minutes: “America Votes 2032,” “I Don’t Even Know How Right This Sounds,” “With A Little Help From My Friends,” “Corrupting The Youth,” and a terrible cut of Goldfinger’s “Superman” – I plain forgot the second verse, crashed, and burned. Only the friendlies heard, though.

Eventually somebody with the 3rd Street brought in a new amp and re-wired the sound. I played a short plugged-in set of “SOS,” “Market Stress,” and the “J. Cougar Mellensong.” A cat named Micah followed up, playing some killer originals and a cover of Chris Cornell’s “Sunshower” – the only other person I’ve known who plays that song.

Last week was my first-ever open mic. I’ll be heading back to the 3rd Street Pub eventually, and maybe others around town; I like the idea of calling out a “guerilla gig” and descending on a place for the night. More time to chat, no sound gear to move, no pressure to be entertaining for two consecutive hours; everybody wins.

D-Rockets Released

Last night Mr. Furious Records released Matt Wisecarver’s Secret Fantasy EP from new artist D-Rockets. The EP is available now on the m u s i c page.

D-Rockets non-secret identity is Derek from The Return. The Return is a Ventura, CA indie/rock/ska/punk/reggae band that you will love; visit the mini-site for their new record Danger Danger Silent Stranger and STREAM THEIR WHOLE RECORD; then when you love it, you can order it for 8 bucks. $8!!!111. Build Me A Reason is also very fine.

Derek with The Return are coming to Nebraska next month: 9/16 in Omaha at the Sokol, 9/17 in Lincoln at Knickerbockers (yeah, but go anyway!), and 9/18 in Omaha at SHAG.

The Return is on Missing Words Records. And we couldn’t be happier that D-Rockets is on Mr. Furious Records (not to the exclusion of other Records!).

Random thoughts for a Wednesday-

I was going to do another blog about hip-hop, but instead, I wanted to write a blog that facilitated more discussion, because I like it when that happens.  So, I am going to lay out a couple questions I’ve been kicking around, and you can tell me what you think, MFR fans.

1.  You know when musicians say that they are creative because they take drugs, and that they need drugs to write the music they write?  Is this valid, or a bunch of crap?  And why?  Is there any middle grounds here?

2.  Should you ever judge an album in the context of prior experiences with the band?  Simply put, should I judge the new Spoon record as a thing in itself (as if it were the only Spoon record ever), or should I hold it up to the bar that has been set by their previous albums?

3.  If an artist starts sucking, (a), do you think they realize that they suck, or are they oblivious?  More importantly, (b), should they care?  Do they have an obligation to quit making music?  What if it’s enjoyable for them, but not for anyone else?  Because they could theoritically keep riding the money-machine-mobile long after they’ve exhausted their originality/creativity (see Paul McCartney), or they could cash out when they know they probably couldn’t do anything else worth recording (see Jay-Z, IF he really retired), or they could go out in a blaze of glory at a young age, leaving your music catalogue pretty much immaculate and safe from being tainted by possible crappy works in later years (see Elliott Smith, John Lennon, Buddy Holly, and countless others). 

Discuss.  I’ve love to read comments and hear some intense discussion.  Go!

AUDIO NUTS & BOLTS; FURIOUS CHANGES? is a massive digital library project that collects and preserves digital resources: web pages, images, audio files, video, etc. I stumbled on the link (and not for the first time, though I’d forgotten about it) the other day, and was drawn to a news announcement stating that the group had reached a milestone. Along with 20,000 concerts and netlabel-albums have been compiled and are freely available to download and share. Read the announcement here.

“Self,” I thought, “aren’t you looking for more server space for Mr. Furious Records’ music? That many archived shows implies significant stroage abilities. Plus exposure to an entire network of people who love free, tradable music.” After learning about the technological side of preparing a “seed” (eTree’s word for a digital audio project/show/recording) I wonder if MFR should move the nuts and bolts of our operation to would of course stay, looking and working the same as now; the changes would be in the music files. From eTree, the songs would be availalble in lossless FLAC format, as well as VBR-mp3 and lo-fi mp3. I imagine the direct links on the MFR page would link to the VBR-mp3s (about the same audio quality as the 128-bit m4as we use now, maybe better) and each album would have a link to its page at eTree for users who want the FLACS or lo-fi files. For example, look at this Matisyahu show page; every MFR album would have a similar one.



While I’m looking for a new favorite record shop in Kansas City, here’s the skinny on my last trip to Cheapo in Uptown, Minneapolis. A place I hate to love, because I can never leave for less than 40 bucks…

Some good finds in the “Recent Arrivals” made this trip A) solid from an economic standpoint (only paid full price for Vicious Vicious) and B) a good example of my listening habits, which are quirkier than you may imagine.

Vicious Vicious / Don’t Look So Surprised – You must see Erik Appelwick to fully appreciate his solo act plus guests, Vicious Vicious; 6’6″ or more of pale WASP small-town South Dakotan, with gangly hands that I imagine could palm medicine balls, or reach about two octaves on piano. This man makes weirdly soulful pop-funk music that you won’t believe until you see him do it.

Gatsby’s American Dream / Volcano – Their first record, Why We Fight, arrived at KDNE for radio play and I got hooked. Volcano sounds more like Ribbons & Sugar, but with less self-conscious effort and more color.

311 / Evolver – Was the only studio album I had missed; problem solved. Then, just this morning, 311 was the featured album on the iTunes new music email. Guess I didn’t know how big they still were; it was a happy surprise.

Presidents of the United States of America / II – I like everything Presidents’ frontman Chris Ballew has ever done.

Kanye West / The College Dropout – Cory listens to this record constantly. Of course, he listens to Faith Hill too…

Ozma / Rock and Roll Part Three – Ozma is as over-wrought as Pinkerton, sounds like Blue Album b-sides, and writes songs about things like “Apple Trees,” “Natalie Portman,” and being “In Search of 1988.”

Ozma / The Doubble Donkey Disc – A combination of the band’s Russian Coldfusion and Bootytraps EPs.

Q Rocks Sampler – Tracks from Foo Fighters, Hot Hot Heat, System of a Down, The Donnas, My Morning Jacket, and Muse are certainly worth a buck.

US3 / “Cantaloop” single – $1 (instead of 99 cents at iTunes) bought 2 remixes, an instrumental version (I’ll probably freestyle over it later tonight to impress girls) and the radio edit (!!!111) for this mid-90s pop oddity. I have a vivid memory of eating lunch with Muff at Runza on Main St., the “What’s up?” sample perking my ears for reasons unknown.

Monsters of Rap – I have a thing about not buying records that have been advertised on TV (not that I’m often tempted) but for Wreckz-N-Effect, A Tribe Called Quest, Sir Mix-A-Lot, DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, and Tone Loc, I was pleased to make an exception.