Guest List: Sally Ride

Welcome to the MFR edition of Pitchfork’s Guest List. This week, I asked myself to fill you in on what I’ve been up to lately: which tracks I can’t stop spinning, what books I can’t put down, and what new bands they’ve caught on tour. This week it’s Sally Ride’s howie.

>> Favorite New Songs of the Past Year

There were a couple tracks on a recent Paste mag CD that I really liked; The Mooney Suzuki’s “99%” (I thought it was a cover! But heard the rest of the record isn’t much) and Henegar-Union Street Sacred Harp Convention’s “Antioch 277.” Hearing that for the first time was spiritual. I always feel six months or a year behind on new music.

I like to see where critical opinion sort of settles out, because most new bands/songs are forgotten by that point. I was more than a year behind on the Arcade Fire’s first record and they kept popping up, so I finally got it, and dug it.

I’m sure there will be some “favorite” stuff from the new Return record, when I get it. I don’t know. “Favorite” is hard for me. I guess that’s going to make this list kind of weird to do. Now that I think about it, everything on the new Spoon record is a favorite. And Kansas City’s OxBlood Records put out a local comp; “Made Concrete” by Republic Tigers and “How To Love Her” by In The Pines are favs.

>> Favorite Older Songs at the Moment

Elvis Costello, “Lipstick Vogue.” I’ve been on an Elvis Costello kick, but this one always stands out. Joe Henry, “Richard Pryor Addresses a Tearful Nation.” Joe has a new album, Civilians, coming out real soon; this song is from Scar, which I discovered when I was in college radio. U2, “Bullet in a Blue Sky.” I can’t think, some 70’s band, “Hot Child in the City.”

>> Favorite New Band

I discovered Snowden this year, and their Anti-Anti is super-good. Ladyfinger (ne) are still “new” in my book. Lovers in Transit. Phoenix is new to me!

>> Best Recent Concert

It’s been a long time since I went to a show that I wasn’t also playing. We played with Black Tie Massacre, and that was fun.

>> Favorite Song Ever

This is an impossible question, but there are some songs off the top of my head that I give five stars in my iTunes. It’s a rare thing.

  • “Fitted Shirt,” Spoon
  • “What’s Golden,” Jurassic 5
  • “Our Mother of Perpetual Helpdesk,” The Marlboro Chorus
  • “You’re It,” Halloween Alaska
  • “Crie,” Blacklight Sunshine
  • “Fully OK,” Shacker/Cory Kibler
  • “Sweet Lord in Heaven,” Mike Doughty
  • “Her Loss,” JV All*stars

>> Last Great Film I Saw

Ack. I don’t see enough film. Children of Men, maybe?

>> Last Great Book I Read

“The Essential Tillich,” an anthology of Paul Tillich’s theology taken from his academic work, popular books, and sermons. It’s changing my life and has led me to other great books of his like “The Courage to Be.”

>> Favorite Piece of Musical Equipment

Right now, Jill’s bass, which she loaned to me to use on 5*C demos. I’m practicing a lot at home, just figuring out how not to play it too hard and building up some strength in my hands.  I might have to go get a bass, it’s pretty fun. It’s like doing line drawings, where guitar chords are more like solid shapes.

I’ve been into my classical guitar lately, too, fingerpicking and playing quieter. That’s been a big thing I’ve learned in the last year or year-and-a-half that I haven’t talked about much; learning to play quietly but maintain the sense of motion and dance. I kind of had to because of the Pilgrimage experience on Sunday nights and playing around the table after dinner without inhibiting the conversation. All my acoustic stuff from here on out will be the better for it.

>> Favorite Record Shop

KC doesn’t have jack for record shops, as far as I can tell. I hit Half-Price Books every month or two for a load of used stuff, so I never know exactly what I’ll find. It’s always a surprise. Sometimes I’m amazed at what they’re selling for three bones.

>> Best Purchase of the Past Year

Did I get my keyboard over a year ago? Yeah, I think. I don’t know, between music, good food, and the Tillich book… those are all good purchases. I don’t buy too much.

>> Best Thing I Did This Year

If 5*C ever makes a record, then it will have been keeping the band together. If not… maybe writing SR’s upcoming You Have To Wear the Boots. That, or singing All-4-One’s “So Much In Love” at Nick & Lara’s wedding!

>> Favorite Music Venue

In KC, probably recordBar. Good food, comfy room, good sound. I really liked the Triple Rock Social Club in Minneapolis, though.

>> Favorite TV Show at the Moment

Joss Whedon’s “Firefly.” I’m watching it a third time on DVD with Tim, Jill, and Brandon. We still have disc 4 and the movie, Serenity, ahead of us.

>> Favorite Radio Show

I just discovered Radio Lab, and their episode on morality was insightful. Sonic Spectrum is starting up in Kansas City again on 96.5 FM, Wednesday nights, and I mean to check that out more consistently than I did the old show on 89.3.

>> My Ringtone

“Clubbin’,” one of the presets on my Nokia candybar. Pretty intense. “Hey Howie, is that your phone? 2004 is calling!”