Thursday, March 31, 2005

Spencer Swallows a Tennis Ball

A couple of weeks ago my throat was really bothering me. I'd had the usual cold symptoms - all stuffed up, sore throat - but after the cold went away my throat was still bugging me. When I was little, I used to roll up entire pieces of Wonderbread and shove them in my mouth. On more than one occasion the bread got stuck in my throat. That is exactly what my throat felt like.

After about a week, the pain still hadn’t gone away. I figured I should probably do something about it. I started out with our friend, the internet. WebMD didn’t really seem to have the answers so I had to head to Google. (Note: be careful when typing the word “throat” into a search engine)

I starting reading that feeling you have something stuck in your throat is sometimes associated with throat cancer. That got me a little worried. My web search also turned up the following, "Three weeks later a friend's German shepherd got a tennis ball caught in his throat." Maybe that was my problem. Either way, I figured I’d better call the doctor.

The doctor asked me what the problem was. “Well, Doc, I think I may have swallowed a tennis ball.”

He looked around in there and then said, “We’re going to have to take a blood test.” He then told me that he thought I might have a thyroid problem. Hmm, that doesn’t sound too good. “Don’t worry,” he assured me, “while this would’ve killed you 40 years ago, it’s quite curable today.” Yep, that’s assuring.

Traci immediately researched thyroid diseases and found that it can lead to goiters. “I don’t think I can love you with a goiter,” she said. Comforting.

I heard back from the doctor a few days later. It’s not thyroid, but he doesn’t know what it is. I’m telling you, it’s a freaking tennis ball.

"Hey Fitty Cent, It's Me, God."

This has to be one of the weirdest things I've read lately. The Korn guitar player "Head" has quit the band, gone off to Jerusalem to be baptized and is now a super-missionary. If that's not interesting enough, who's his first prospective convert? 50 Cent.

Apparently, he's been trying to contact 50 to let him know that God is very concerned about him and wants him to come back to the fold. Head has even written 50 a song about it.

Check out a couple of stories about it on

March Consumption

I have made a strange goal to keep track of all of the new music and literature that I consume each month for an entire year. Here's March:


Bloc Party – Silent Alarm
Bright Eyes – Digital Ash, Digital Urn
Daft Punk – Human After All
Iron & Wine – Woman King
Keane – Hopes and Fears
Lucky Boy Confusion – s/t
Goldfinger – Open Your Eyes
Handsome Boy Modeling School – White People
United States of Electronica – s/t
Low – The Great Destroyer
Fiona Apple – Extraordinary Machine
Wonderful – God Bless This Pad
Scissor Sisters – s/t


Hairstyles of the Damned byJoe Meno
Don't Try this at Home by Dave Navarro and Neil Strauss

Monday, March 28, 2005

Get Your Bracket On

Though I was bummed that the Utes fell to Kentucky (apparently, the Utes forgot that freethrows are important), I am happy to report that I am tied for the lead in the office bracket pool going into the Final Four. Come on, Illinois, don't let me down!


Friday, March 25, 2005

Email, it's on the way out

My parents just got new flip phones. My mom had her old phone for at least two years, but never set up the voicemail. "Why would I want to have to listen to messages?" she asked. "Then I would just have to call people back." Even though she has her phone with her, don't bother trying to reach her - the phone's going to be turned off. She only turns on her phone when she wants to make a call.

I was trying to help them get their phones set up the other night. I was telling them about some of the helpful features - voice recognition calling, speed dial, etc. They didn't want anything to do with it. I mentioned that they could even check their email on their phones.

"Email," my dad chimes in, "what a waste of time. I don't understand why people make such a big deal about email." I am sure that my dad has email at his work and I say, "What's your email address?"


"Maybe I'll want to email you something sometime."

"Nope. I don't do email. I won't look at it."

"What's your email address?"


"Don @ what?"

"Just 'Don?'"

"Yep, send it to 'Don' and I'll get it."

My dad's pretty sure that email is just a crazy fad - much like my sideburns, which he is always telling me to get rid of - and it'll be going away any day now. I just want to give you all the heads-up. Write all the emails you can while you have the chance, it'll be soon going the way of the 8-track. If you have any questions feel free to email my dad at: "Don." Don't worry, it'll get to him.

Death by Salt

Each year, SLUG (a local music magazine) releases a compilation CD of unreleased local music. I decided to submit "Record Store." While I certainly don't think its the best song ever written, I am hoping it is one of the 60 best songs that the folks at SLUG will hear. Last year they put out 60 songs on three discs. I think they received more than 200 songs. It won't break my heart if the song doesn't make the cut, but I am crossing my fingers that it will. I had to submit the song, a photo and a band bio. Of course, that also means that I had to have a band name. Following the advice of my friend G-Rock, I decided to simply go with Sutherland Manifesto.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Dry Your Eyes, Mate

I'm still upset about Daft Punk, but it's going to be okay. (To prove I'm not being overdramatic check out this review) There are a ton of new records that I am looking forward to in the next few weeks. Millencolin is releasing Kingwood April 12, which they promise will be a return to punk. You can check out "Biftek Supernova" at I am happy to warn that it may rock your face off.

Also, Pedro the Lion's David Bazan has teamed up again with TW Walsh to form a band called Headphones. It basically sounds just like Pedro, except that all guitars have been replaced with electronic instruments. While it's not the greatest thing in the world, it's a nice curiosity record. You can stream the whole thing here. The album will be released May 10.

Other good news includes a new Hot Hot Heat record on April 5 and an Eels double album at the end of April.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Human After All

I'm just really upset right now, that's all there is to it. I love Daft Punk. I was very excited the other day when I saw that their new album, Human After All, is being streamed on I didn't hesitate to check it out.

Human After All is a misnomer. On this Parisian duo's third album, the robots have scrapped all of the human elements that made their last record Discovery a near masterpiece. Don't get me wrong, it's always been very clear that Daft Punk is an electronic group, but their previous records have combined a lot of different elements. Human After All is void of any human vocals or instrumentation. Gone are the funk basslines and mad guitar work. In working to recreate themselves, the duo may have taken a step back.

The album starts of strong with the title track - an upbeat, guitar and vocoder medley. By track two, it sounds like the duo is really hitting their stride. "Prime time of your life" weaves robotic voices in an out and, just when the song heads towards a climax, the momentum gets lost in an accelerating pattern of fuzz. Maybe great for the end of album, but out of place as the second track.

It's all down hill from there. "Robot Rock" begins with a nice loop, but never becomes more than that and "Steam Machine" is an out-of-place noise track. Daft Punk finally gets into a nice groove on "Make Love" before giving way to the unfortunate "The Brain Washer."

The album ends on a positive note with "Emotion," a drawn-out, come down track. It's too bad that the previous tracks didn't give anything to come down from.

All of this said, I will probably still buy the record, set for release on March 15. I have given it several listens, hoping it would grow on me. Thus far, it hasn't. It really gets me down because there has been a four year gap between each of their releases. Am I going to have to wait until 2009 for Daft Punk to redeem themselves?

Monday, March 07, 2005

Hang the DJ

Well, I have now used up 2 minutes and 45 seconds of my 15 minutes of fame. I made my radio debut on Friday. I got about 15 seconds of airtime on the "Z Morning Zoo" on 97.1 KZHT. I wanted to talk about how my new EP is finally finished, but instead I stuck to talking about the SLCC Health Science Center.

Radio was more fun to do than hanging with boring old Shelley Osterloh. It was pretty laid back. One minute I was just standing around in the studio and the next I was talking. 15 seconds later I was being thanked for coming out. Whatev.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Monthly Consumption

I have made a strange goal to keep track of all of the new music and literature that I consume each month for an entire year. Here's my first update:


Mike Doughty--Skittish/Rockity Roll
Styrofoam--Nothing's Lost
Hot Water Music--The New What's Next
Ambulance LTD--LP
Gorillaz--G Sides
Everlast--Eat at Whitey's
Air--10,000 HZ
Jamiroqui--Funk Odyssey
Hawthorne Heights-- The Silence in Black and White
Caller Nine--s/t
Jeremy Blanchard-Chronology
Aqualung--Strange and Beautiful


Small Town Odds by Jason Headley
Gala (Dutch) by Ronald Giphart

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Ole, Ole, Ole: Bouncing Souls in Vegas

For once, I was lucky in Vegas - I was able to catch the Bouncing Souls at the House of Blues during our Presidents' Day Weekend trip. The Souls filled the middle slot of the "Tales from the Gutter Tour" featuring The Briefs and Me First & The Gimme Gimmes.

Though it was a bit of a disappointment that they weren't headlining, the Souls certainly didn't disappoint. The set was full of material from their latest record Anchors Aweigh. They opened up with that album's opening track "Apartment 5F."

As the songs slowed down a bit it was quite apparent that leader singer Greg Attonito's voice was in a bad state. His voice didn't just sound bad, it sounded painful. While a lesser band may have skipped the gig completely, the Souls kept swinging - Greg kept the crowd going by constantly jumping into it.

About halfway through the set, Greg's sore voice seemed to loosen up a bit and the band tour through such classics as "K8 is Great," "Say Anything" and "Hopeless Romantic." The tracks from the new album were a lot stronger live, especially the airtight "Highway Kings." The band ended its 45-minute set with the beautiful "Night on Earth."

The most memorable part of the evening came thanks to some of the idiots standing in front of us. One kid was wearing a belt that had an electronic marquee for a belt buckle. He could type in whatever he wanted it to say and then the message would scroll across the screen.* He found it necessary to both hold the screen above his head and to continuously rotate it so everyone could see it. What did he want to broadcast to the audience? He spent half the time scrolling “Me First and the Gimmie Gimmies” (spelled incorrectly) – I guess that was in case anyone was unsure which band they had paid to see - and the other half advertising “Somebody Brew Me.” Surprisingly enough, some very desperate girl did eventually buy him a beer. I imagine his arm must have been tired after holding that stupid thing up for three straight hours.

*I was happy to see an advertisement for these belts in Rolling Stone yesterday. For $95 you can buy a belt that will annoy fellow concert-goers.