Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Top 30 songs 2008

Spending a quiet New Year's Eve sequestered at home, getting crazy with the digital storage opportunities, publishing podcasts and making lists. Jason and Kim came over and we played games and listened to the top 30. They approved. So did Bekah and our as-yet-unborn son. In some ways, when I look at this list, I realize that I mostly liked white indie rock and Americana music in 2008. But after all, I am getting older and less adventurous...

I have a really great post brewing but you can't rush the definitive New Year statement, so stay tuned for that. It's cold for Fresno out there tonight.

1. Sequestered in Memphis by The Hold Steady from Stay Positive
2. Skinny Love by Bon Iver from For Emma, Forever Ago
3. Video Tapez feat. Del The Funky Homosapien by AmpLive from RainyDayz Remixes
4. Gobbledigook by Sigur Ros from med sud
5. Un-Named by Leona Naess from Thirteens
6. American Dirt by Matthew Ryan from Matthew Ryan Vs. The Silver State
7. Weightless by Nada Surf from Lucky
8. Grapevine Fires by Death Cab for Cutie from Narrow Stairs
9. Got Friends by The Jealous Sound from Got Friends ep
10. Magick by Ryan Adams and the Cardinals from Cardinology
11. Gillian Was a Horse by Damien Jurado from Caught in the Trees
12. 14 Forever by Stars from Sad Robot
13. Centennial by Tokyo Police Club
14. Kids by MGMT from Oracular Spectacular
15. High Lonsome by The Gaslight Anthem from The '59 Sound
16. Antique Bull by Brendan Canning from Something for All of Us
17. Closer by Jars of Clay (single)
18. 42 by Coldplay from Viva La Vida
19. Open Bar Reception by Jimmy Eat World from limited edition Chase This Light
20. The World We Live In by The Killers from Day and Age
21. Red Star by Third Eye Blind (ep)
22. Confidence Man by Matt Pryor from Confidence Man
23. It's a New Day by (single)
24. Cobwebs by Ryan Adams and the Cardinals from Cardinology
25. Temporary People by Joseph Arthur and The Lonely Astronauts from Temporary People
26. I'm Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance With You by Black Kids from Partie Traumatic
27. The Captive Mind by The Helio Sequence from Keep Your Eyes Ahead
28. Motel in Memphis by Old Crow Medicine Show from Tennessee Pusher
29. The Tears and Music of Love by Deerhoof from Offend Maggie
30. Furr by Blitzen Trapper from Furr

Monday, December 15, 2008

My Top Albums 2008

From the moment I heard Bon Iver's gorgeous, glimmering monument to winter and love lost, For Emma, Forever Ago, I knew Justin Vernon had me at hello. Picking my top albums this year wasn't as difficult as some years past, somewhat curiously. Maybe because I'm getting older and more nostalgic, it seems like some artists are nearly automatic when they release a record (or as Jarred put it Paul Westerberg could poop in a bag and you'd love it, however the joke's on you my friend because Paul did release a single-track 43 minute digital album called 49 which, while awesome of course, did not make the top 20) like The Hold Steady, Ryan Adams, Leona Naess, Damien Jurado and Matt Pryor. All those records are great but still not as great as Sigur Ros' sunny, glacial-defying breakthrough, Med sud I eyrum vid spilum endalaust. In fact, the hardest choice was whether or not to include Coldplay in the top ten or second-ten. I really did want to place Viva La Vida that high due to it bringing mildy risky and mostly totally brillaint to the mainstream, but I couldn't bring myself to place both The Killers and Coldplay in the top ten. So, even though I am currently wearing out Day and Age, Brandon Flowers had to end up below the fold. So, here it is, call me old and cranky but I very rarely buy singles.

1. Bon Iver :: For Emma, Forever Ago
2. Sigur Ros :: Med sud I eyrum vid spilum endalaust
3. The Hold Steady :: Stay Positive
4. Matthew Ryan :: Matthew Ryan Vs. The Silver State
5. The Gaslight Anthem :: The '59 Sound
6. Ryan Adams and The Cardinals :: Cardinology
7. Coldplay :: Viva La Vida or Death and all his friends
8. Leona Naess :: Thirteens
9. Matt Pryor :: Confidence Man
10. Death Cab for Cutie :: Narrow Stairs
10. Stars :: Sad Robot ep

Ten others worth mentioning.

Deerhoof :: Offend Maggie
Hammock :: Maybe They Will Sing For Us Tomorrow
The Killers :: Day and Age
Damien Jurado :: Caught In The Trees
Army Navy :: s/t
Brendan Canning :: Something For All of Us
Nada Surf :: Lucky
The Listening :: Transmission 1
Starflyer 59 :: Dial M
Joseph Arthur and the Lonely Astronauts :: Temporary People

Saturday, December 13, 2008

A Message from Congressman Radanovich

Dear Mr. Townsend:

Thank you for contacting me regarding United States foreign assistance. It is a pleasure to hear from you on this important issue.

On June 11, 2008, Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) introduced H. Res. 1268, which expresses the sense of the House of Representatives that United States foreign assistance is a critical instrument for achieving our national security goals and that modernizing United States foreign assistance should become a national priority.

H.Res 1268 calls for the modernization of United States foreign aid practices to effectively meet 21st century global challenges, such as terrorism, poverty, pandemic disease, energy security, failed or failing states, food insecurity, a lack of or slow economic growth, and population and migration issues. Foreign aid is a primary means for America to bolster our own national security as we mitigate threats by strengthening democratic states around the world and protect the dignity and inalienable rights of the individual.

I share in your concerns that the United States must recognize its importance in the global community. Poverty and hunger are the terrible effects of both natural and man-made disasters, and we should act responsibly in response to them. However, providing foreign aid is not limited to simply funneling money into different projects and organizations. Many citizens in developing countries struggle with poverty and hunger due to the corruption of their governments or the lack of infrastructure to support aid programs to their nation.

We must be certain that all development assistance is protected by institutional safeguards to make sure that funds go to nations that are actively working to improve the social welfare of their citizens, are supporting open markets and economic growth, and are not controlled by corrupt government officials. We must be certain that the aid we provide is going to line the stomachs of the hungry and not the pocketbooks of the corrupt and powerful.

An important aspect of foreign aid concerns the protection of Children and vulnerable populations during international crises and conflicts. During times of natural disasters and military operations, civilians are regrettably but inescapably victims of the tumultuous times. Even the most careful military operation can result in the accidental harm to civilian livelihood. The United States, other nations, and many international organizations are vigilant in their protection of the vulnerable, and provide humanitarian aid and rehabilitation when possible.

H.Res. 1268 awaited action in the House Committee on Foreign Affairs until the end of the 110th Congress. Rest assured, if I have the opportunity to vote on related legislation in the 111th Congress, I will keep your concerns in mind.

Finally, I encourage you to visit my website at to get the most current information on my work in Congress. Once again, thank you for contacting me. Please keep in touch.

It kind of seems like Radanovich is talking around the issues a wee bit here but at least he sent me a computer generated response.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

tuesday's rubies in the rubble

today was long. earlier on the way to buy 75 earplugs at guitar center, we got in an accident. not serious, but serious enough to leave a crack in the front of our plastic car. on the way home from back to back rehearsals, my toyota broke down a half mile from my house and I pushed it home. i think it's the alternator.

in other news, the film love song for bobby long is not very entertaining. here's a video from the overdubs show at full circle brew co.

Monday, December 1, 2008

World AIDS Day

Tonight, a couple of us participated in a Broken Bread Poverty meal for World AIDS Day, we fasted during the day and ate the corn/soy porridge blend dropped by the
UN during emergency situations. I was struck once again, by the scope of the global pandemic and by the generally tepid response from those of us in America. Granted, we generally tend to rely on celebrities and corporations for our information and advocacy. Sometimes these campaigns turn into enduring and effective organizations, see ONE, the campaign to make poverty history. Sometimes these campaigns are less than effective, see the RED campaign which seems to exist to make multi-national corporations look responsible. (Although, to be fair RED Wire music looks pretty cool)

Regardless of what the rich and famous do, it is time for those of us average Americans to do more and that's what's so encouraging about Acting on AIDS, a grassroots organization that began with college students in Seattle and eventually became an off shoot of World Vision. I had the opportunity to meet James Pedrick, from the national team for Acting on AIDS. Pedrick has recently relocated to Washington DC. When I met him last year at the Global Summit on AIDS, shortly before Mrs. Clinton's speech, I was very impressed not only with his grasp of the issues (to be expected for an expert in the field) but also with his thoughtful, philosophically sound approach to AIDS advocacy in post-modern youth culture. Engaging young adults will take more than a facebook page or a targeted campaign (see the RED product line) Also, kudos to World Vision, for having the flexibility to take in AOA without taking it over and saddling them with a bunch of fund raising goals.

Below is some text from the Advocacy Petition, which you should consider signing if you are a human being.

Considered the greatest humanitarian disaster of our time, the AIDS crisis is leaving a generation of children in jeopardy. In 2006 alone, AIDS killed an estimated 380,000 children under the age of 15. By 2010, there will be 15.7 million children orphaned by AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa and 20.2 million children orphaned by the disease globally. AIDS destabilizes families and entire societies, leaving children without the care and support necessary to survive, grow and thrive.

In order to continue exercising leadership on this issue, the United States must:

>> Fully fund the Presidents Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief over the next five years by providing at least $7 billion in fiscal year 2009;

>> Commit to setting aside 10 percent of AIDS funding for orphans and vulnerable children;

>> Given the deadly synergy between HIV and AIDS and malaria, fulfill the commitment to providing $48 billion over the next five years HIV and AIDS, malaria and other diseases.

America has become a strong leader in the fight against HIV and AIDS. I, along with World Vision, ask that Congress continue to increase the U.S. contribution to the global AIDS fight and ensure that AIDS-affected children are not forgotten.

Monday, November 24, 2008

mallonee videos

Dug up two videos: The first, a video for the haunted, cracked beauty of "Resplendent", a song that seems more appropriate today than it did in 2000, now that we are at the tail end of the Bush-era.

How much of this was meant to be?
How much the work of the devil?
How far can one man's eyes really see
in these days of toil and trouble?

How much of this is failing flesh?
How much the course of retribution?
My my how loudly we plead our innocence
long after we've made our contribution.

The second is a Bob Dylan cover, by way of the Byrds more pop version. "My Back Pages."

vigilantes of love, bill mallonee

I stayed up way too late last night pondering/researching/ruminating on the life and times of a certain songwriting hero of mine, Bill Mallonee formerly/currently of Vigilantes of Love. See Wikipedia article.

Bill has fallen on some hard times recently, so if you like what you hear, please consider purchasing some of his records. Also, there are some good deals available. I just got Audible Sigh from Amazon mp3 for $6.99 even though I own the disc somewhere. Part of me feels like editorializing on Bill's uniquely American story but I'll leave that up to this excellent piece in CT and instead recommend that you give his music a chance.

I recommend the songs, "Resplendant" and "Goes with Saying" from Audible Sigh but my favorite VOL record is "To the Roof of The Sky."

Friday, October 17, 2008

missed blog action day of course, boho alien article

ah crap, for the second year in a row, I missed blog action day...

this year's theme was global poverty, a topic that I am incredibly passionate about so you can imagine my dismay when I logged on one day late and was too demoralized to even post earlier this week. however, I can take solace in the fact that I am involved in some concrete efforts to reduce poverty, both locally and globally and this is at least a small part of the reason that I have been such a poor blogger lately.

regardless, in honor of blog action day, which I missed, I thought that I would reprint the article I published a while back in the bohemian alien, which is currently offline for a while. here it is if you're interested.

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about toothbrushes and bicycle crashes.

My boss, the honorable Rev. Bob Willis, has a saying related to biking for transportation safety-related issues. “Respect the Ride,” he says. About a year ago, iPod in hand and helmetless, I managed to hit a rock (or a bottle?) and wound up getting my face glued back together in the emergency room at Clovis Community Hospital. I did not respect the ride. Fortunately, my injuries were relatively minor but in response, I now wear a helmet (O.K., most of the time, I wear one) and I try to ride unencumbered by objects like fountain drinks or textbooks in my hands.

A couple of months ago, I was privileged to spend some time in the countryside outside Ensenada, Mexico with some very poor indigenous Indian children whose families could not even afford proper food, much less toothbrushes for their large families.

Many of the families we met there had come up from the Oaxaca province in southern Mexico to find a better quality of life and instead wound up as indentured servants, indebted to farm owners who leverage the families travel costs against any meager wages they earn. They live in refugee-style camps, bathing outdoors and sleeping in chicken coops or plastic tarps draped over trees.

These living conditions were shocking and brutal, rivaling anything I’ve seen on television or elsewhere. In my life, I’ve been fortunate to travel all over the world, from South America to Asia to Eastern Europe and more, and I have never witnessed up-close the poverty that I saw there, only 70 miles from the U.S. border.

Tragically, the children themselves are often victims of discrimination and have little-to-no educational opportunities. Many of the Indians from Oaxaca are non-Spanish monolingual and are unable to adjust to the culture of Baja California. The children live in the rural camps, far from the Mexican school system, and often work all day in the fields with their parents. These families who come from far away in search of opportunities are then stranded without opportunity.

As accurately as I understand it from my western perspective, these families are de facto slaves.

On the same trip to Ensenada, my wife Bekah and I were given the opportunity to speak for a group of about 20 local pastors and their wives. I talked about Amos Chapter 5, pointing out that the culture of the day was filled with wickedness and oppression because the people had lost their commitment to justice and the Kingdom of God. I shared that unless we who are the church repent and return to remembering the poor, we will never see transformation in culture or fulfill our missional calling to be the hope of the world.

As you might imagine, I felt some discomfort at telling a group of ministers in Mexico, many of who sacrifice every day for their calling and who are likely poorer than I am, to remember the poor and to pursue the call of justice.

Many of the pastors had teenage children and were anxious to hear about our own experiences growing up in the church. As a group, they were concerned about the destructive trajectory of youth culture in Mexico and its effect on their kids. We agreed that much of popular culture is rotten. However, it is not just popular culture that is damaged; our culture within the church has been equally shaped by the forces of materialism, greed and selfishness and is in need of transformation.

Which brings us back to bicycle crashes and toothbrushes.

There was real joy evident in the faces of the children when we distributed toothbrushes and hygiene items. I believe that our ministry there, both relational and relief oriented, was an act of compassionate and pleasing worship.

But the systematic cycle of poverty for migrant farm workers is a multi-faceted and complex problem, one that will take decades to solve. Advocating for the outcast, the marginalized, the oppressed and the poor will require a lifetime of patience, willful determination and the cultivation of Christ-like attributes. If I am going to commit my life to following the commands of Jesus and to his calling to be part of his mission to redeem the world, than I need to learn to “Respect the Ride.”

Meaning that it is a hard road I and my friends are called to. Meaning that a missional calling on behalf of the poor will be a hard sell in our often morally bankrupt “Christian” culture. Meaning that I have no choice but to get rid of some things that might encumber me.

Like bitterness, anger and despair.

The blatant injustice of things I have seen might make me angry. When I feel like a second-class Christian in my job as a pastor because I don’t have Red State political beliefs, I might get bitter. When I am confronted with the scale of global poverty, of 25,000 children starving to death today, I might be overwhelmed by despair.

Arturo Paoli says “We can move in the direction of justice, but if our personal relationships don’t become more human, we haven’t moved in the direction of the reign of God and, in the long run, we will discover that our point of arrival is just another form of tyranny.”

When I read that, I am convicted.

Because the cause of Christian Justice is a marathon, not a sprint, and putting aside my own minor frustrations and tribulations (honestly, they are nothing compared to the concerns facing malnourished children without clean drinking water) is not only recommended, it is a requirement.

Friday, September 12, 2008

tired and stuff

it's been a long, long time since I posted a proper blog, Jul 23rd to be specific. this entry is not a return to form, rather it's just a chance to say that I am excited to play some overdubs shows with my new guitar and pedal board and that I felt compelled to share this unreleased video.

many good things are in the pipeline (not the oil pipeline though, that's just black death).

Friday, August 8, 2008

Big Oil in Ecuador

I haven't had much time to blog lately, but I thought I'd share this illuminating quote from Big Oil. You too, can get this kind of stuff from Sojourners magazine.

"We can't let little countries screw around with big companies like this—companies that have made big investments around the world."

- a Chevron lobbyist, who asked not to be identified, speaking about a lawsuit brought on behalf of thousands of Indigenous Ecuadorian peasants over the dumping of billions of gallons of toxic oil wastes into their region's rivers and streams. Chevron is pressuring the Bush administration to eliminate special trade preferences for Ecuador if its government doesn't quash the case. (Source: Newsweek)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

the starline, the sky at nighttime, circles and circles

Last night I ventured out into the unseasonably temperate Fresno night to see Circles and Circles
at the band's one year birthday party show, put on by Love, the Captive.

I quite enjoyed myself, not only were Circles and Circles very good, think post-apocalyptic-era Death Cab for Cutie meets the BSS presents solo records from Brendan Canning and Kevin Drew, but I also thoroughly enjoyed Aspen Hollow and The Ready Aim Fire.

The RAF were plagued by lighting and sound issues, as were Circles and Circles, plus vocalist Dave Trautz vocals were shrouded in the most-intense reverb since My Morning Jacket recorded it's first record. In spite of all that, they were energetic, spunky, entertaining and the songs were of the variety of Vagrant-records-circa 1999 post-punk that you just don't hear these days. Also, they had some nice synthesizers and they cop to being influenced by Counting Crows on their website. In fact, I liked them so much that I bought the record, Strong Enough from iTunes.

Upon hearing it twice, I still really like them, however, I am wondering if there is some happy middle ground between the live insano-verb and the relatively dry vocals on the record?

here's a great video by circles and circles, a great fresno band already and only one year into existence.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

i'm sick of the american league

sorry everyone for the lack of meaningful blog entries, Bob returned to the office and I breathed a sigh of relief. I've really enjoyed the past three weeks but they have been crazy nonetheless. No sign of the craziness abating but I should get some more blogging in (as is the case with rocknroll, it seems kind of silly to think of blogging as a priority item, still I press on)

Two videos for you tonight: my Revenger vs. Reconciler talk (the audio is pretty horrible though due to the fact that the guitar amp microphones are the source so it may be futile) and the overdubs playing "drive all night" at yoshi now on saturday afternoon. the audio is surprisingly good on that one.

I had to make a hard choice and miss Jesus for President, did anyone else go? What happened? I caught Claiborne's blog in Sojo on Monday but no specific mention of Fresno.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

aquatic recreation, G8, George W. Bush

Watching Amelia play in her kiddie pool this afternoon in the 106-degree heat, I was compelled to reflect on how much we are blessed just to live in a country with a clean water supply that is abundant enough for us to water our lawns with and even, gasp! to enjoy water recreation. That fact alone is pretty incredible.

So despite the 111 forecast for tomorrow and in spite of the less-than-desirable air quality and in spite of the failing economy and the war on Iraq and the high gas prices, I choose to be thankful that I live here, in Fresno, in California, in one of the most prosperous countries in the history of mankind. I'm looking forward to hearing from my friends and coworkers Nate and Dave(that looks like COW workers if you read fast) who have arrived safely in the Congo and begun the Jubilee project.

Meanwhile, as the G8 summit continues-- in spite of international pressure, it appears as though the power countries may not reaffirm their commitment to the continent of Africa.
If so, this could spell disaster for many of the relief efforts currently under way. One question I have for all of the band-wagon AIDS-crusading celebrities...where are you now? Is the election of a democratic president really more important than supporting the current administration on one of the few things Bush has really done well: advocate for Africa and AIDS relief? I am no Dubya fan but I will give hime credit for staying true to the cause.

wholesome character(s), red letters, talking

I'm in the final leg of my three consecutive weeks of speaking on the Red Letters of Jesus as found in the Sermon on the Mount. Last week was the hardest because I spoke in all three gatherings but it has been both illuminating and painful in some ways to learn what all of you 50-weeks-a-year teaching pastors go through.

If any of you are interested, here's the second of three talks that I gave at 10:15 am on Sunday.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

G8 Urgent Action Needed

Monday, the Financial Times reported that the G8 leaders may be planning to backtrack on their promises to the world’s poor. Yesterday, Reuters reported tensions are building between African and G8 leaders as the G8 fail to deliver on their aid commitments.

This news is disappointing, and shows that our efforts are desperately needed.

I just signed a petition asking the G8 take urgent action against extreme poverty, and I'm hoping that you'll join me.

Sign the petition now at:

There has been a lot of progress against extreme poverty in recent years, but, as recent headlines about the global food crisis will tell you, there is still much to be done.

When we unite with one voice and call upon our leaders to take action, we can and will solve these problems.

[Though the canned text sounds a little, well, canned, I appreciate whoever writes it so I left it alone but if you haven't signed the original ONE declaration, you can do so on the right column of this blog, if you're already a ONE member please sign the petition.]

Friday, June 27, 2008

faux occult. narrative theology, sigur ros, broken social scene, club fred, fresno bulldogs, alkaline trio

Another week in the whirlwind...trying to understand where the sermon on the mount fits into the narrative arc of the Bible, listening to the new Alkaline Trio record, cooking taco salad for 140 people, cursing my best friend for moving back to Idaho. Oh, we also played a show to a few brave souls at club fred, dropped by the big celebration yesterday at Beiden Field, and are going to the farmer's market and grizzlies tonight. Since I took one class at Fresno State in 1998, I can also say that I've been through two National Championship baseball season (Fullerton in '04).

In between those events a bunch of other things transpired, and I missed both Euro semifinal games. My cousins are staying with us this weekend and I just ate with my friend Jason at Thai Palms. If you can't tell, I struggle with both focus and chronology.

If you choose to ignore the faux occultism and satanic references as I do, and instead recognize the Alkaline Trio as gloomy punk pop heirs to the Cure than you might love them as much as I do. The last several albums have been questionable but their latest, Agony and Irony, sounds on first listen like a welcome return to form. Nobody writes better break up songs and as it turns out, they also churn out some dark-leaning true love songs while they're at it. Maybe I'll get out to their summer tour, but that would also require that I figure out when and where they're playing.

I've also been enjoying the new Sigur Ros album. Beginning this week, I'm speaking for three consecutive weeks in our Red Letters series. While I am pretty stoked for the opportunity, I am also not too skilled at organizing my week to leave space for the amount of contemplation, study and prayer I'd like to make time for.

Over time, I've grown to love this wonderful, smoggy, irritatingly provincial city we live in. It's very imperfections are the reasons that I believe we need to love it...AND work to correct some serious injustices. Problems like this one...have been haunting me since I took the drive WAY down Chestnut to Fresno Pacific and saw some houses/apartments that looked like they wouldn't have been occupied during the Dust Bowl. Someone needs to stand up for what's right and stop these greedy corporate bastards from taking advantage of the poor. {UPDATE: Having spent more time on Mr. Defrees' site, I must point out that I cannot agree with his position on illegal/undocumented workers but I do appreciate a site like his and the constant challenges he throws down for those with the power to change things}

I'm praying about what to do next.

Monday, June 23, 2008

God allows crazy people to get themselves on the air

My friends just love to send me clips of Christians behaving in lunatic fashion...generally, I don't like to waste a ton of time pointing out what we all already know but sometimes, I (and you maybe) need some comic relief. I mean, we can't necessarily judge people by their looniest moments but you can be funny. This one's for you Jason Nill.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

amelia jane townsend, mexico, euro 2008, the jealous sound

Amelia is going to be dedicated today at Northpark. Bekah's parents and my family have all converged in Fresno for the first time since she was born in Davis and so we'll be able to celebrate her symbolic dedication. Practically, we dedicated her to God the moment that she was born. In other news, we can now announce that in late January 2009, we will be welcoming another life into our family...or in less stately terms, Bekah done got herself knocked up.

I'm pretty excited about the jealous sound ep that is allegedly coming out on tuesday...however, I have my doubts about this release date seeing as how neither the band nor the label, have done any kind of promotion other than post a release date and allow the speculation to run rampant. I understand that the band is finished and all but you'd think a little communication would be the polite way to proceed.

Euro 2008 update: does any one else wish this thing would never end?

You may or may not have noticed that I haven't been posting much lately...between the launch of our new Sunday night gathering, our Mission trip to Mexico and Bekah's morning sickness, I have been unfaithful to my silly little blog....if that's all I've been unfaithful to then I suppose everything is pretty all right.

Friday, June 13, 2008

mixtapes: cliche and oh so grand

so cassette tape images are rapidly becoming all the rage, guess we'd better redesign the overdubs site soon. I found out tonight that leona naess and ryan adams were once engaged. they both make an appearance on the following mix...

time for bed.


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

your war takes all your time; modest ambitions

it's difficult to get perspective when you are in the middle of the someone who finds it awkward standing still, I find that I am just about always embroiled in some situation or another.

here I am, typing, worried about booking the right shows, worried about our new sunday gathering, worried about a funeral on friday, worried about our overnight drive to mexico sunday night, worried that i should be working on a book or something more productive than blogging and songwriting. worried that my daughter is going to grow up in some hellish america where the rich tyrannize the poor and decide who can get married and who can have kids and who can breathe the air. worried that rocknroll is childish in the face of AIDS and terrorism.

there is much to celebrate, there is much to consider, there is much conversation to share. i cannot shake the feeling that after 28 years, I still don't really know how to live or how to love. here is where we are but my mind is always over there.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

new bio and side headache

i've been listening to british sea power, though I should really be trying to sleep...

the overdubs practiced the other night and it sounded good, much noisier. I really like the alt-country vibe of some of our previous shows but they left me missing the rock, plus we just played too many ballads.

i have a headache on the side of my face.

if you want to see some cool videos check out the black cab sessions Brilliant Idea!!

Friday, May 30, 2008


I remember holding your hand
for the first time
I remember the moon in your eyes
for the first time
crush me

In an alternate reality, CUSH is the probably the biggest band in the world. In this one, they made one brilliant album and played a few brilliant of which I was so fortunate to see at the Glass House in Pomona, California. My friends Matthew Powell and Justin Landis accompanied my now-wife and I to that Violet Burning/Cush double bill. From what I understand, there may be another CUSH full length at some point, but it seems that Michael Knott, will sadly, never play with the band again. Therefore, as good as the Prayer Chain instrumentalists are, they are only half as good without the juggernaut that is Mr. Mike Knott.

Below is a great version of "Crush Me" from their self-titled record and a messy, crazed version of Knott's own "Cool"/"Thru" medley. Prickett gets down on this one.

Here's to hope in things that will never be.

Monday, May 26, 2008

keith giles quote

My friend, Keith Giles, wrote this in the Subversive Underground, in an article about the recent Evangelical Manifesto. The best thing about Keith, is that he really walks out what he talks. The guy pastors a church called The Mission, doesn't take a salary and every cent they collect (from tithes and offerings) goes to the poor.They don't even use it to buy paper goods or snacks.

"The reason why Christianity in America is toxic to most people is that those who are called to be representatives of Jesus have done a terrible job. This is why I cannot bring myself to be indentified as a "Christian" to someone outside the Church. They hear that term and they equate me with the big-haired, money-hungry, gay-bashing, waiting-for-the-rapture brand of Believer. That is not who I am. That is not the Jesus I follow."

Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Nightly News, The Myriad, Postal Service, serve me vs. serve us, links, bohemian alien, coffee, IVY

At lunch yesterday with my friend Dave W. (see his brilliant, lightning-quick insights ) a conversation about his blog, holy heteroclite (not to be confused with a french clothing company), led me to the startling realization that I need to link to more stuff in my blog to raise my profile on google.

Granted, this blog already shows up as fourth or fifth on the list for "Ryan Townsend" sometimes higher but typically below my Canadian and British doppelgangers.

At Northpark, we're gearing up for the big change. At the Grind, they're playing the one and only Postal Service record. I just finished The Nightly News by Jonathan Hickman, a nasty little graphic novel about a cult who murder journalists because the media is an agent of government control. Definitely not a feel-good story but thought-provoking and entertaining. Check out Hickman's blog, Pronea.

My new column debuted in the Bohemian Alien this past week... I am grateful to be included among the manyv great artists over there, so check it out if you have a chance. More on the Alien to come...

And finally, I was sitting here and realized that I MUST immediately listen to the song, "Got a Feeling" by the fantastic and criminally underrated, Ivy. Is there a youtube video for it? Yes, yes there is.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

sweetheart, you're so cruel

Man United win 6-5 on penalties, in the pouring rain after midnight in Moscow. Poor John Terry missed for Chelsea with a chance to win it after Ronaldo missed. I just knew Anelka was going to go left and Van D knew it too. Very thrilling...Chelsea fans must be totally disappointed.

I am even a little bummed.

UEFA Champions League

I just got back from lunch with my friend Dave, to discover that the CL Final between Manchester United and Chelsea had gone to extra time... I was recording it old school style on VHS but now I can watch the end live on espn 360.

Now it's going to penalties in my one-time hometown of Moscow.

Crazy exciting, maybe unjust but fun for this Tottenham supporter, I suppose I want Chelsea to win because they are the underdogs.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

the overdubs in the bee

Mike Oz of the Fresno Bee was so kind as to interview us (me) for last Friday's edition of the 7 Section. You can check it out online here...
the overdubs, artists you should know

in other news, I'm going on vacation tomorrow but I hope to use some of my time off to continue the cover songs podcast series. friday's show at the Joe was top notch. stay tuned for more shows. if you want us to play at something, drop us a line.

happy end of the weekending,


Thursday, May 8, 2008

bixby canyon bridge

This morning, as I peddled my bike faster than usual on my way to a day at the office that promises to be busier/more hectic than usual, I felt that peculiar sense of place and time that can descend when one hears the perfect song at the perfect time. For me that song was "Bixby Canoyon Bridge" by Death Cab for Cutie from their new record Narrow Stairs (out next week 5/13). It's been a tense week for me, getting ready to go on vacation, doing an interview for the paper, practicing for Friday's show, writing a column for the bohemian-alien, designing banners and cards, putting together a Mission Team for June's launch, and hopefully finishing a term paper before class this afternoon. That tension is nicely reflected in the song, which opens as melodic, beautiful, and sad as any song the band has done before and then eventually lurches towards a noisy, chaotic climax that is still pretty darn hum-able. Kind of like life these days.
Tomorrow's the big return to Kuppajoe. We're supposed to go on at 9:45 or 10:00 but if you can come out early to check out the other bands, Amoeba Defense and Kinship. I'm stoked to see both of them so you better believe I'll be there early. Here's the flyer I did for the show. No time for links but you can find stuff if you look hard.

Friday, May 2, 2008

the future, the present, the bike trailer and the polyphonic spree, 100 posts later

Today was a excellent day off, except that we went to Wal Mart to get the oil changed on the 'Nox. But even that wasn't so bad because Amelia fell asleep in my arms while we browsed the garden section. While we're on the subject of Wal Mart, has any one else been there lately? I only go maybe three times a year if I can help it but today it seemed as though no one was working...only a few people in uniform trying to run this big, gigantic store? I will say this, the guys in the auto section were extremely friendly and helpful and so the money we save didn't come at too high a price. They also were surprisingly not overworked, my dad mentioned that oil changes might be the first things put off during a recession.
We got the bike trailer hooked up that Justin and Jen gave us today and rode over to the church so Bekah could help set up for a MOPS yard sale and then we had date night so we rode home, ate some Burger King that Larry gave us and now Bekah's gardening and I'm hoping the Giants will hang on to thie 5-4 lead in the 10th.
Also, today I stumbled onto the latest Polyphonic Spree record, The Fragile Army, in my itunes library, I love it when that happens. You completely forget that you have an album that you maybe listened to three songs of and suddenly, it grips you and won't let go.

I saw Tim DeLaughter (when he and fellow Spree members Mark Pirro and Bryan Wakeland were in the band Tripping Daisy) play at the Juke Joint in Springfield, MO way back in 1998 and loved their then-evolving-past-grunge-into-something-much-more-pop show. The next year, guitarist Wes Bergen died, leading to the band's demise. It's taken me a while to warm up the Spree's sprawling 23-member lineup, it initially seemed too gimmicky. However, I love the latest record and the video above, tugs at the heart strings for those of us who consider ourselves people predominantly concerned with parenting, working, who also happen to still want to play some rock music with friends. "we're better together" **
In other news, this is my 100th post. Also, the Giants managed to lose in the bottom of the 10th on a two run homer by Burrell. Also, every Christian worship ad that comes out on Fox Soccer Channel is even more embarrassing than the last.

Monday, April 28, 2008

updates on activities, internet, writing, recording, raising a daughter

it's been a busy week followed by a busy weekend and now it's another week. if you enjoy nonsense like that last sentence then maybe you'll like my future contributions to ezine bohemian alien.

I'm saving all of my coherence for the article-to-be-published-in-early-may. On the overdubs front, we've got two shows in May, which is about all we can handle. I'm also working on a Michael Knott tribute ep in my spare time and will likely release some tracks via the overdubs podcast.

Like many of you, I wish I'd spent this past weekend at Coachella, watching Prince and many other artists, but youtube will have to suffice yet again. Somehow, Warped Tour in Fresno doesn't quite have the same appeal. See Prince below...

Thursday, April 24, 2008

you, me, everyone

Thanks to Dave for introducing me to Mixwit, is it better than project playlist? Well, it's cooler for sure and you don't know what song is coming next, like a real mixtape. However, those of us who make these things know, that it's unlikely anyone in this day and age would have the patience to listen to fifteen songs, even great ones, consecutively, without skipping ahead. Enjoy, happy skipping ahead...future American taste-makers.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

"the silent tsunami" world hunger crisis

"It's being called the "Silent Tsunami." In three years, prices for the basic staples that feed the world—wheat, rice and corn—have risen by a staggering 83%. For people in the developing world, affording enough food to eat is becoming a daily struggle for survival.

The New York Times is reporting that in Haiti, people are eating cakes made of mud mixed with a little sugar and oil to try and beat the hunger pangs. Without action to stop the upward spiral of food prices, 100 million people around the world will face deeper poverty and hunger, and hundreds of thousands will confront famine and starvation.

In the face of this suffering, we cannot be silent."

Celebrity activism has given activism a bad name. Greedy corporations have co-opted legitimate justice causes, like the caring for the environment, like the HIV/AIDS crisis in order to make more money. And yet, no matter what their motives, true help still brings hope and redemption. Political pressure on the G8 countries may not convert reluctant action into righteous action but it is still action and still VITAL. Please consider taking action on this important issue. I have seen first hand the crushing effects of poverty on people who spend everything on one meal per day and it will take regular people like you and me to create the kind of public will to influence leaders of these countries to take the kind of global action that is needed. Please consider taking action here.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Corporate America, Earth Day, the public good and private interests

So, it's Earth Day, happy Earth Day everyone, and hypocrisy is out in full force. I am hardly innocent in this matter, as Bob Willis, my boss, pointed out to me this morning. He said, "You are a hypocrite. You rode your bike on Earth Day but left the lights on in your office when you left for staff meeting."

Which brings me to, does anyone really believe that all these Multi National Corporations really care about being GREEN? This morning I got an email from Levis that said "Celebrate Earth Day with 10 percent off all ECO green line jeans." Bottom line, from Exxon-Mobil to Fox to NBC to GAP to Starbucks to Nike to your Aunt Susan's pretzel business, corporations do NOT have a social conscience. Sure, some are better than others but they are built for one thing: Profit. Therefore, when it comes to commitment to conservation, respect for nature and concern over climate change, businesses (esp MEGA businesses) are suddenly interested because BY APPEARING RESPONSIBLE AND CONSCIENTIOUS, THEY CAN MAKE MORE MONEY. Some MNCs are worse than others but mostly they range from uninformed and ignorant to blatantly evil when it comes to issues of justice. That's why the public must care about issues and not fall for some easy marketing opportunities once a year. The public good must be championed guessed it, the public.

The best way to be green on Earth Day of course, would be to not watch tv, not eat at Chipotle and most of all, not waste precious energy resources on something as trivial as blogging.

Friday, April 18, 2008

no posts this week, whatever, Il Postino?

Sorry everyone for my poor stewardship of the tiny blog audience that I don't ever influence.

This is plagiarized from the wikipedia:

l Postino is a 1994 Italian language film directed by Michael Radford. The film was originally released in the U.S. as The Postman, a straight translation of the Italian title.[1] However, since the release of Kevin Costner's film of the same name, the film has been released on DVD as Il Postino: The Postman, and English-language film critics often refer to the film by its Italian title alone.

The film tells a fictional story in which the real life Chilean poet Pablo Neruda forms a relationship with a simple postman who learns to love poetry. It stars Philippe Noiret, Massimo Troisi and Maria Grazia Cucinotta. The screenplay was adapted by Anna Pavignano, Michael Radford, Furio Scarpelli, Giacomo Scarpelli and Massimo Troisi from the novel El cartero de Neruda by Antonio Skármeta. Skármeta himself had previously adapted his novel for the screen in 1983 as Ardiente paciencia.

Writer/star Massimo Troisi postponed heart surgery so that he could complete the film. The day after filming was completed, he suffered a fatal heart attack.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Myriad, i don't want my mtv, however, this is a good band

So, this morning was the first time in a long while that I watched a few videos on VH1, nothing too earth shaking but since I don't watch or listen to the radio, I did find that pop music is not as annoying when you've been removed for a while.

Unrelated to that, I did get ahold of a copy of The Myriad's new ep, which is a teaser for the forthcoming With Arrows, With Poise which is apparently coming out sometime soon, though the record has been delayed many times. Winner of some kind of mtv2's next big thing contest, this is definitely a band to be aware of. My friend Ginny from Davis turned me on to this band and the first record, You Can't Trust a Ladder was pretty decent. However, based on what I've heard of the Prelude to ARROWS ep, this new record has the potential to be phenomenal. Vaguely post-punk, vaguely british, vaguely new wave, all infectious and kind of what radiohead might sound like if they were younger and willing to make hit singles.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

a swedish flyer; celebration c

This flyer is my homage to the film Be Kind Rewind...I basically SWEDED a wallpaper they used to promote the film. But more importantly, I hope some of you are already making plans to be there already...

Happy Wednesday,



Monday, April 7, 2008

indie rock in the information age; the overdubs

Post-modernism leaves many things up for interpretation...good band names are often in the eye of the domain owner. Two years ago when I embarked on the journey of choosing a band name for my solo project turned community musical chairs turned full-fledged band (hopefully), I largely evaluated names based on domain availability. Such is the reality of indie rock in the information age. was available and hence, the band ::: the overdubs ::: was born.

of course, the overdubs already existed, we were called girlfriend in a coma before that and we did own, however people generally pre-judged us as a Smiths cover band and though I liked the Smiths a good deal (certainly enough to name the band after them) we weren't really about being a facsimile of someone else.

so, here is where we are. two years in, one album released. enough money made to cover the two year godaddy renewal and some dollars banked against the future. when you consider the travel, hosting costs and podcasting, we've probably only lost a few dollars. the future is now ... and it's happening slowly. the next two years should be fun, if nothing else. I still think we have a fine, fun album in us.

Here's a clip of the overdubs then: (gf in a coma style)

john thomas-guitar; travis goode-drums; brett rash-bass; bekah townsend-keys, vocals; ryan townsend

be kind rewind; sweded

lest I be mistaken for a corporate shill, let me begin by saying that last blog entry I name dropped emusic and now I'm going to mention New Line Cinema's Be Kind Rewind but ONLY because, a) emusic is the underdog of corporate indie music sites and b) Be Kind Rewind, though it comes from a major studio is quite funny and not likely to make billions of dollars.

I saw the film with my cousin on Saturday and while it's hardly a classic in the vein of Michel Gondry's best film Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind, it is as enjoyable as his last film The Science of Sleep. Critics are rightly pointing out that the funniest parts of the movie are the "Sweded" remakes of Hollywood films but the Ghostbusters remake is easily worth the price of admission alone. Look for this word, sweded, to be in our/my vocabulary for a long time... I'm posting the film official trailer and then Gondry's own Sweded version.

Also if you visit the Internet via the official website, be ware it (The Internet) itself, has also been sweded.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

the Giants game

and I have Brian Wilson on my fantasy team ... even though I'll have to endure a bunch more Beach Boys jokes I would really appreciate it if he became the next Roberto Hernandez at least. Last night, btw, I finally slept thanks to combination of utter exhaustion, taking the pill early in the day, and cough syrup. now i need to sleep early and get up early tomorrow but 2-1 over the Dodgers is worth staying up too late for.

i'm listening to apostle of hustle's folkloric feel right now, courtesy of emusic, a fine service that gave me 75 downloads for rejoining and no, I don't work for them. anyhow, i owned this record once--courtesy of arts and crafts record company by way of the Daily Titan and promptly sold to Amoeba Records in Hollywood without giving it a chance. we all make mistakes mister. this is not just folky jam band music but rather indie rock folky jam music and I mean that in the best possible way.

good night.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

listen here, read below

INSOMNIAC's playlist, songs not to sleep to, levaquin

For each of the last four nights, I've been suffering from insomnia. I have not slept more than two or three hours each night and the earliest I've managed to get to sleep has been 4:00 AM. The cause for this has been unknown to me until today and though I am no stranger to sleeplessness, I have typically eased into a cycle rather than been bludgeoned by a sudden inability to sleep.

Turns out I am suffering side effects from the very strong antibiotic Levaquin, which was prescribed to me after I developed a sinus infection immediately following a run of lesser antibiotics for my ear infection the week before. So I am both relieved and incredulous. Relieved to know that I am not going crazy laying there at night thinking about the San Francisco Giants, Fyodor Dostoevsky, and presidential politics. Incredulous that the happy people pictured on the website don't look like they are suffering at all, in fact, it looks like their lives have been enhanced by the "Powerful once a day bacterial killer." Thanks a lot, Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

here are ten songs that are good for listening when you can't sleep:

"3 Speed" by Eels
a moving song that questions both faith and gender yet one that's also strangely comforting; both audacious and humble in a way that only E can deliver.

"Lump Sum" by Bon Iver
currently one of my favorite songs, gorgeous harmonies, understated beat, crazy good

"Transatlanticism" by Death Cab for Cutie
"I need you so much closer"

"In the Sun" by Joseph Arthur
Always a good choice

"Happy Birthday" by The Innocence Mission
Amelia's favorite band

"Heretics" by Andrew Bird
"All I Need is You" by United Live
"Open Your Eyes" by Snow Patrol
"All I Need" by Radiohead
"Come thou Fount of Every Blessing" by Sufjan Stevens

Monday, March 31, 2008

superdrag! 28 weeks

Today Amelia was putting her mischief into action and she not only touched the rotating cd tower but she actually pulled out Superdrag's Regretfully Yours, proving that good taste does indeed pass from parent to child. I suppose this would also explain my dad claiming that U2 has always been his favorite band...haha, love you dad. All of that to say, I am overtly and openly thrilled in a very geeky way about the NEW Superdrag album currently being recorded. See the videos posted below.

Despite Bekah's advisements to not bring that "demonic craziness into my house", I watched 28 Weeks Later tonight. I have been a fan of the zombie genre for quite some time and I enjoyed the sequel for the most part. Although I though Danny Boyle's gritty DV original was far superior to the glossy big budget part 2. As with most franchises, 28 Years Later looks like it's shaping up to be the worst of the trilogy. (that is if they make it, I can be relatively sure a third film is already in production without even checking IMDB)

Monday, March 24, 2008

Resurrection Day, myspace, waking up

Turns out that if you leave one leg up on the desk for an hour and a half while surfing the web and reading emails, your leg and foot will feel dead. "Dead", in this case, being defined as the state that exists immediately following "asleep."

I have to confess, I that I sometimes read the blogs of random myspacers that I stumble upon when viewing a band/artist page of someone of whom I would consider myself to be a fan of. (sidenote: I am very wordy on Mondays, I can't speak because I used all my words up at our 5 Easter gatherings but now, I most definitely can ramble on and on)

Sometimes, I visit people's pages and then am overcome with despair, both for the sad sorry state of popular culture and also for what I imagine the increasingly slim chances of said culture turning around. However, I must say, that more often than not, I am actually encouraged by the communities of faith, affirmation and spirituality that I encounter, unexpectedly, in the craziest places. Some of these characters are part of a local church, many appear to not be. If nothing else, it's good to know that on the web, a place that certainly provides ample space for the darkest of dark corners and spaces, that there is still a good deal of life to be found.

I don't point that out to marginalize or de-emphasize the importance of gathering together in traditional faith communities or to be a part of an outpost of the Church, capital C. I love the church and I agree with Rick Warren that the Church is the hope for the world. I also think that it's really The People who are part of The Church that are the hope for the world. It seems to be pretty popular these days (from within and from without) to talk about what's wrong with the church, just visit a bible bookstore's "emerging" section to see what I'm talking about. Many of these critiques are valid, many people who claim to "hate" church and christians also carry with them valid pain and confusion. But until we are able to move beyond critiques and trendy apologetics and get down to the business of actually "being" The Church, we will continue to miss an incredible opportunity for a rebirth, for a resurrection, for an awakening.

I pray for a resurrection in culture, for things like hope, purity, kindness, self-control to return. I pray for an awakening in myself, for me to learn to get off my high horse ass and start actually living like a follower of Jesus, a member of His Church, and a human being. I affirm the resurrection of Jesus that we celebrate to be the turning point of all history. Over time, though, we tend to lose the plot and God has repeatedly, relentlessly, intervened to bring us back. The problem here is not orthodox Christianity, the problem is US. My prayer this Easter is that we will see another move of God. Not another self-proclaimed "movement" but something that is true, pure and undeniable. I believe that this is already happening, that God is already calling us to repent, to change our course and to remember the outcast, the poor, the marginalized and the broken. I want to be a better listener.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Community, the poor, either or both and

This past weekend, at the Non Con (or non-conference for the uninitiated), I was confronted with the reality that I don't have many meaningful relationships with poor people. I often advocate for the poor, I practice activism on behalf of the poor and support causes, but I don't take enough time to get to know individuals or to get involved in their lives. It didn't use to be this way when I used to be one of the poor, as opposed to one of the educated lower middle class struggling to hang on to what I've got.

I used to spend a lot of time working with teenagers who'd suffered abuse and neglect. I used to spend time talking with homeless people. Now, I spend more time talking to other people about working with poor people, foster children and the homeless. Clearly, it's not an either/or proposition but a both/and. And if our little community cares for the poor the way Jesus did, than we can't just serve the poor but we need to worship with them as well. They need to be at the center of our community instead of benefiting solely from times of intentional outreach. Ministry (what we do inside the church) need not be separated from Evangelism (what we do outside the church) because they are both part of Mission.

Community can be hard though. It requires a lot of each of us. Maybe the hardest part being that we have to accept others if they are to accept us because if we don't accept them first than we will never be open to allowing them to know us, which is the first step toward acceptance.

"God’s love sets me free to enter into community with other people—even when the community is a very limited one and is not the total communion that my heart desires. Only when I live in communion with God can I live in a community that is not perfect. Only then can I love the other person and create a space in which we might be quite distant or very close, but we can still allow something new to be born—a child, friendship, joy, community, a space where strangers and guests can be received."

- Henri Nouwen
Lecture at Scarritt-Bennett Center

Thanks to Sojourners Verse and Voice for pointing me to this quote.

Friday, March 14, 2008

downtime in downtown

Except for the brief Chuck Norris post, the blog has been silent for awhile due to a few projects and duties that have required much of my time. However, now I finally have a chance to write you from my seat on the Pacific Surf Liner headed south from LA to Santa Ana. This weekend, I’m attending the Non-Con, a conference for people who hate conferences. I’ll definitely keep you all posted on the interesting conversations happening there as I’m able. I also have a few thoughts on LA from my time at Union Station today that I’ll write later.

I’ve been feeling a bit crispy around the edges lately and have needed some downtime, hence today’s 7-hour train and bus ride instead of a white-knuckle 5 hour Friday drive down from Fresno. We just stopped in Fullerton, a town near to my heart since it’s where I finally settled down and went to one college for an extended period of time. Right here off the tracks at the Santa Fe Cafe, my friend Brett (also known as Anthony Archer) played a show we went to last April or was it two years ago? My memory is definitely getting worse.

A girl up ahead of me is reading Soul Cravings, by Erwin McManus…too bad I won’t have time to ask her about it since I get off in roughly ten minutes.

I’m 86 songs into my 259 track “train ride to orange county for the non conference” playlist. I’ve also been playing Worldwide Soccer Manager 2007, reading the book unchristian, working on a birthday video for my father in law, planning the completion of a web site, reading the Fresno Bee, and realizing that a whole hell of a lot of people wear sandals in southern California. To me, train station bathrooms and open toes don’t mix.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

chuck norris, google, humor?

ok, so sometimes i'm late to the game and you may have already tried this but if you haven't, i'd recommend it.

go to

find chuck norris into the search field

click i'm feeling lucky


Wednesday, March 5, 2008

come all you weary, wednesday is remix day

O.C. band Thrice released an ep called Come All You Weary + b-sides on iTunes yesterday. The title track is particularly good, it recalls the best of singer Dustin Kensrue's solo record from last year but seems to add the dynamics and creativity of the whole band. Of course, it sounds nothing like the band used to sound like.

I've long been an admirer of Thrice from afar, they are one of those bands that I have wanted to get more into but haven't, yet... however, "Come All You Weary" and "The Whaler" (included in the playlist) are reasons enough to take another look at the post-hardcore stalwarts.

today's playlist also includes a couple of remixes that I have playing over and over, AmpLive's Radiohead remix "Video Tapez feat. Del the Funky Homosapien"; "Hurricane (Camp America remix) by Athlete; and "This Time is the Last Time (Wave Remix)" by Mae. Anybody remember Mae before the overcooked, uselessly prog-y major label debut? The Radiohead remix is sublime and smooth and recalls Del's great work on the first Gorrilaz album. Athlete, well, I just love them, ok?

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

RIP Larry Norman, other thoughts, celebration, fresno

I really enjoy The Grind, it’s a pleasant place to get some work done and decompress a little. Here, one can enjoy free Wi-Fi, drink decent coffee and even chat with friendly baristas. Only problem is, I took my headphones off momentarily and am now hearing Phil Collins dreadful “I Can’t Dance.” On another humorous note, when I misspelled ‘barisstas’, my spell checker suggested ‘barristers’ … maybe someone’s trying to tell me something about my habit of sharing RIAA-registered material with … my wife. Which is totally protected, so I’m good. I don’t really feel like using complete sentences today--anyhow.

This past Thursday, we had our second celebration at Northpark and it was a phenomenal success, no thanks to me. I have to give credit to God, all of our leaders and my wife, especially. Five minutes before it was to begin I was still trying to get the computer plugged in to the projector and the sound set up and was sweating profusely. Regardless, we had over 70 people turn up and it was mostly a big, noisy party but we also sang together and prayed and all around were able to celebrate the transformational changes that God is bringing to our groups and lives. I have some poor quality video footage that I’m currently trying to upload. I keep losing the connection…

Last week I had the privilege of meeting the Rev Dave Wainscott, who pastors a local church plant and who was has a phenomenal blog that you should check out … Dave also has more applications on his facebook account than anyone I know … I also don’t know of anyone else who can get theology, pop culture, politics and movies into the same sentence.

Here’s a funny blog that sort of relates to my soccer post from yesterday, but rest assured, I like stuff that white people like but I also really do like soccer.

My friend Joel Lang and I discovered Larry Norman’s Only Visiting This Planet on vinyl (I think, I suppose it could have been the 1990 CD reissue but I’m pretty sure it was the actual LP) and promptly dubbed it to tape in 1993. I must have listened to that record 500 times at least. Funny thing was, the other side of the 90 minute cassette (it was type II chrome=better quality) had Six Feet Deep, the hardcore geniuses who would later form Brandston. Norman would never make another album as good as that one but it was highly influential on both my budding 13-year old music taste and on the nagging feeling that the Christian faith should somehow not be confined to a Christian Bookstore Ghetto but actually be something that was lived out in the “normal” world. At the time, the “normal” world was something of a mystery to me as I had mostly known only the WWJD subculture. It was with great sadness that I read about Norman’s death last week, knowing that he was both a brilliant artist and an enigmatic, sometimes troubled man. Having seen David Di Sabatino’s documentary about Lonnie Frisbee, I look forward to his treatment of the Larry Norman story and hope for some more insight into this fascinating Christian/artist (which is different from Christian Artist, I think). I also am SO thrilled to learn that Norman was collaborating with Frank Black (The Pixies) and Isaac Brock (Modest Mouse) on a new album. Apparently, I’m not the only one who thought “Six O’Clock News” was ridiculously cool. Especially, the sample of the flight attendant.

celebration b rough footage

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Monday, March 3, 2008

the beautiful game; tottenham hotspur fc

During the last five years or so, I've progressed from an appreciator of soccer (or football in the rest of the world) to a full flown fan. Like I've said before, I believe if something is worth doing, it's worth overdoing. For some reason, I embraced Tottenham Hotspur Football Club as my English team and have watched them place 5th in the EPL the last two seasons. This current season started poorly and then a coaching change led to fortunes eventually turning around for the team to beat Chelsea in the Carling Cup. Here's what it looked like, on TV at least. Take that John Thomas.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

7/4 shoreline, I'm 8/5 present

this one is especially for justin, and his infatuation with 7/4 time signatures. I am putting together a mix tape for tonight's celebration b here at northpark and had to include this song. this is a version performed on Conan O'Brien.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

the candidates respond!

On February 12, ONE members started a petition asking each of the 2008 presidential candidates to pledge to visit Africa during his or her first term in office. In just two week, more than 100,000 have added their names to the action.

Here's the petition text:

As a voter in the 2008 Presidential election, I'm asking you to pledge to visit Africa during your first term in office. It is my hope that your trip will increase U.S.-African cooperation, save lives and help build a better, more secure future for millions of the world's poorest people.

Last week and this week, ONE members delivered these petitions to each campaign office in person. See each candidate's official reply below.

Sen. Clinton

"Today I received a petition from more than 85,000 Americans who are members of the ONE campaign. I applaud their activism and share their urgent concern for the challenges of poverty and AIDS, especially in Africa... I am also committed to visiting Africa during my first term as President, to see the progress of our efforts and to assess first hand the necessary strategies to combat disease and poverty..."

[Read her full statement]

Gov. Huckabee

"The ONE Campaign members have been a significant presence throughout this election season and have done a tremendous job of raising awareness of the plight of the poorest people on earth... I will go to Africa in my first term and will continue to make a difference globally by strengthening such initiatives as the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the President's Malaria Initiative and the Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria..."

[Read his full statement]

Sen. McCain

"I have received the petition from more than 85,000 Americans who are members of the ONE campaign. I am proud of the volunteer-driven effort behind ONE and the commitment ONE's members have shown toward serving a cause greater than their own self-interest... As president, I look forward to visiting Africa and working with afflicted nations there and elsewhere to communicate that we expect a level of governance, transparency, and effectiveness from them in order to ensure that their aid makes a concrete and positive impact on people's lives."

[Read his full statement]

Sen. Obama

"The ONE campaign stands as an example of how ordinary people can come together to change the world from the bottom up. I was honored to receive a petition from 75,000 ONE campaign members, and share your commitment to fight global poverty and disease - particularly in Africa. I will continue to fight for bipartisan renewal and expansion of the global HIV/AIDS relief program, and look forward to visiting Africa during my first term as President of the United States..."

four posts a week?

I've clearly been lagging behind my stated goal of at least four posts a week. One result of experiencing so many "experiences" lately (Amelia's first birthday, Amelia's first cardiogram, preparing for Amelia's first surgery [ear tubes to fend off ear infections], 28th birthday, speaking in morning services while using a lapel mic and drawing pictures on the white board) is that I have been strangely reticent to write about them. Now those of you that know me, know that I am rarely at a loss for some armchair philosophizing or musical rhapsodizing but I must admit that when it comes to analyzing and understanding my own life stage, lately I have not been inspired to share it all. Perhaps, later I can have more perspective...

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

wednesday; bon iver

in the spirit of trying to do anything but finish my notes for sunday's talk, i had to write this quikc post to say that I am overwhelmed by Bon Iver's For Emma, Forever Ago. what an incredible record... it's been awhile since an artist has leaned out of the headphones and grabbed me by the heart... home recorded during a four month seclusion during a snowy Wisconsin winter, the album sounds about like what you'd expect from that statement, only WAY better. The dynamics are fierce, the songs memorable and the emotional pull undeniable. Enough to make me start using capitalization. I highly recommend you check it out, on iTunes or otherwise. I wonder if the record is available on vinyl?