Overheard while walking to the grocery store:

A mother walks next to her young son riding on his first bike, full training-wheel-action in effect. Two bike cops ride slowly by on the sidewalk, one with his helmet dangling off his handlebars.

"Momma, why do I have to wear a helmet if the police man doesn't haf to?"

"Cause the police man is stupid, honey."



Heard this enough yet? Another jam currently in the can't-get-away-from-it category. But yeah, it is catchy. Welcome to the Ghostland Observatory.

• Ghostland Observatory - Sad Sad City

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Black Label Bicycle Club threw a Michael Jackson's "Thriller" themed dance party this past weekend. I love to be reminded how much their DJs (Dirtyfingers, Stache, Andersonic) can really tear it up. All while dripping fake blood all over the place too.



Thriller, Thriller, Thriller, Thriller, Thriller, Thriller, Thriller.

• Ben Gibbard - Thriller (Live)

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(photos from the 2006 Bicycle Film Festival in NYC: Bikes, Aa performing, crowd surfing during Matt & Kim, Brendt Barbur, ticket line, watching the films, foot down competition, track stand, skids, after party)

I know I'm really late on this, but here are photos from this year's Bicycle Film Festival. Some highlights in my mind were Peter Sutherland's "Pedal," "M.A.S.H." "God's Children," "Bike On Bike," and the much-discussed film with the Black Label Bike Club, "B.I.K.E."

"Pedal" was an informative and intimate look at a cross-section of NYC bike messengers, including a little trip into the subway tunnels to check out the sleeping quarters for one messenger.

"M.A.S.H." is going to do for track bikes what various videos and movies did for skateboarding and bmxs in the 80s. Tricks, skids, and smooth slippin' through traffic, it all looks so coooooool.

"God's Children" is a doc(moc?)umentary about kids in Arizona who get tired of bikes being stolen, so they set up traps to catch the thieves and then leave them bound in duct tape in the middle of the road with a sign saying "I steal bikes" taped to them. My heroes.

"Bike On Bike" is bike porn, which I didn't think could be done as well as it turned out. Amused and impressed.

And of course, the long-awaited "B.I.K.E." I was prepared for something much worse than what I saw, so I was pleasantly surprised. The Q & A got a little rowdy after the film, but Conrad from Black Label eventually got up and gave his opinion and I think everyone understood his stance pretty well. And for the dumbass in the audience who was complaining because there was footage of Black Label members driving a car to Minneapolis. . . when you ride YOUR bike from NYC to Minnesota, THEN you can sit there and call other people out for using petroleum-based transportation to get halfway across the country. Okay?



So to make up for the questionable taste in yesterday's musical selection, here's a killer cover I can't get enough of lately. Snowden doing The Zombies' "Time Of The Season." I love it when a band can actually make you love a great song even more.

• Snowden - Time Of The Season

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I had a delivery up in the east 90s tonight, and since I was headed home to Brooklyn after that, I decided to take the east side greenway for the first time. If I had any idea what it was like I would have stayed far away. Often narrow, poorly-lit, and mostly paved with brick-like cobblestone things, it was annoying to say the least. So as I'm grumbling to myself while approaching the 59th st. bridge, I find that the path suddenly just stops. You are forced to cross the JFK and then ride over 36 blocks down to 23rd st. to get back on, where it is also very dark and full of potholes. All in all, the trip on the "greenway" took me twice as long as taking an avenue, and was actually less enjoyable. Great job DOT, keep up the good work keeping NYC unpleasant.



I can't decide if I find this catchy, or obnoxious. What say you?

• Queens Of Noize - Indie Boys Don't Deserve It

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I bitch about riding my bike in the city a fair bit on this site. And I'm guessing most of the people who read this are also bike riders in nyc, so it's generally a familiar topic. But in case there are a few of you out there who don't know what I'm talking about first-hand, here's an excellent little video from Lars Klove that sums it up pretty well.



And here's a rough cut from local avant-noise boys, Pterodactyl, off their someday-forthcoming release. And it's the sans-bird-noises version.

• Pterodactyl - Polio (Rough)

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(all above polaroid photos by Mike Brodie)

It's been a loooooong time since I've run across any photography that has really given me cause to pause. But that all changed when someone sent me a link to the work of Mike Brodie. He has a knack for capturing amazingly intimate portraits, mostly of people that could be said to be on the "fringes of society." Punks, train-hoppers, crusties, artists living in the woods, DIY-or-die type folks. People who are typically not the first to let others invade their protected privacy with a camera. . . unless of course you are one of them. I feel indebted to Mr. Brodie not only for his beautiful images, but also for reminding us that there are many people out there who don't like things the way they are, and they live their lives to change it.



Sometimes I forget how much I like Mogwai. And then I remember. Like right now.

• Mogwai - Glasgow Mega-Snake

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The problem with Disney movies is that they always make it seem like bad guys are a rare occurrence in the world as a whole. That the majority of people are cute talking bunnies that have no ulterior motive other than to fall in love. But it's actually the opposite that is true. Damn you Disney.

Oh, and apparently I have an admirer appropriator, of a few of my Lovefoxxx photos anyway.




• Brian Eno - Baby's On Fire

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Okay this is kind of messed up, a t-shirt with a drawing of the hand-sign for the Bloods Gang on it, courtesy of the Blood Is (was) The New Black girl. For privileged white suburban hipsters only, apparently.



Sorry that the tracks yesterday were taken down, but when the band asks, you do. I want to support bands here, and if posting something isn't viewed as a positive thing by them, then I am more than happy to remove it. To make up for it, here's the slightly similar The Eames Era with "The Year Of The Waitress." While it might have a mild resemblance to El Madmo, I definitely think it's better. So be consoled by that, I guess.

• The Eames Era - Year Of The Waitress

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(11-Grammy-Award-winning Norah Jones performing incognito, more photos here)

So I ended up seeing Norah Jones perform with her new "rock" band at the Delancey last weekend. It was worth suffering through the obnoxious-midwest-bar opening bands, although not overwhelmingly. Imagine what the queen of adult contemporary music would sound like if she was trying to be cute and rock out. Okay, well it was better than that. Her strongest points were the lyrics. . . cute, simple, and often a little vulgar. All in all, it was kinda like Liz Phair if she wasn't such a wussy. What I didn't know was that there was a literal mafia of the big-wigs of music blogging in attendance. Not that I could have recognized anyone. But having the first opportunity to poke around online since last wednesday, I came across a blitzkrieg of blogger splooge about this show. Most notably, Gothamist, Stereogum, and Brooklyn Vegan. So I missed the boat on this one, but whatever, I don't sail on the same ocean anyway.



So it would seem logical to post some tracks by the aforementioned Ms. Jones' new band, El Madmo, wouldn't it? Okay then, judge for yourself.

El Madmo - Vampire Guy

El Madmo - Carlo

(removed at the request of the artist)

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(Photos from Sunday's memorial ride to Far Rockaway for Andre Anderson, more photos here.)

This past weekend nearly did me in. There was so much going on, and people needed photos of all of it. Thursday feels like a month ago. But enough whining, there's important stuff to get to.

Sunday was the Times Up memorial ride to Far Rockaway for Andre Anderson. In case you aren't familiar with Andre's story, he was hit and killed by a reckless driver this past Septemeber while riding home. Andre was 14 and an avid BMX rider. The driver that hit him did so while speeding and attempting to swerve around him. He was hit so hard that his BMX was cut in two. None of this makes Andre's case all that unique (unfortunately). What does make it different was the driver's reaction. Immediately after killing Andre, the driver exited his vehicle and ran back to another SUV that his friend was driving, so they could get their stories/excuses straight. He did not check on Andre's condition, or attempt to help him. And it only gets worse. Jose Vicens, the driver, was not charged with anything, not given a breathalizer, and there has not, nor appears to be any chance of an investigation into Andre's death. Despite witnesses who have come forward claiming that the accident was Vicens' fault, the NYPD has refused to take any other statements and have chosen not to look into the matter. Vicens' statement also makes the lack of an investigation worse. He admits to speeding as well as seeing Andre and swerving not once, but twice. He does not claim to have applied the brakes at any point or honked his horn. And perhaps the most disturbing is that when Vicens finally did hit Andre, he was trying to pass him in the right side. The Queens District Attorney Richard Brown was informed of this incident, and has also elected not to investigate. Remember when I said it gets worse? Jose Vicens has gone so far as to show a blatant lack of remorse for killing Andre, which he demonstrated in the great coloseum of our time, Myspace:


User name: Spiked Cuervo

Hobby: sending bikers flying in the air

"Thanks for the shots and beer, you RULE!! Sucks about the paper and shit, but ya know none of that shit wont matter in 5 years
Ahh that was fun, smoking hooka in the parking lot of Dunkin Donuts, people clapping for us, peeing on cop cars... priceless.... Oh, and I win"


"The paper" in question was the only article that ran about Andre's death. It appeared in the local Far Rockaway newspaper, The Wave. The other creepy thing learned through Vicens' Myspace account is that a lot of his friends are police officers. A more in-depth examination of this incident can be found over at Cars Suck.

So this past Sunday, Times Up organized a ride to Far Rockaway to pay respects at Andre's memorial and visit with his mother on Mother's Day. It was cold and cloudy, almost silent along the shore, the only noise seemed to be the rolling thunder of bikes on the wooden boardwalk. Andre's mother and family came out to talk about him at a small memorial on the grassy median of Shore Front Parkway. She then invited everyone back to her house and served up a huge meal of soul food for everyone. Before leaving, she also invited all the riders and their families back to her house for a BBQ in August.



This might seem a bit heavy-handed to some of you to couple this track with this particular post. And I can understand that. But I kind of don't care, and think this is an amazing song. An sad, lofty, lost-in-itself cover of Roy Orbison's "Crying". . . in Spanish. (and yes i know it's from "Mulholland Drive")

• Rebekah Del Rio - Llorando (Crying)

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superheros are my new heros. a gang of people dressed up in costumes have been stealing fancy food from restaurants and supermarkets and then giving it to some of the poorest people in germany. even with more than a dozen vehicles and helicopters in pursuit, the authorities haven't been able to catch them yet. more over at Bombs And Shields too.

A humorous explanation of the recent government attempts to remove net neutrality, as laid out by Ask A Ninja.

a short flash animation about the war, resisting the draft, and the tradition of uprising by soldiers in unnecessary wars. the part where a soldier's coffin sprouts a gas pump handle to fuel suvs is pretty sick.

and a friend of mine (who've i've posted here before) is playing as part of the Accordion Fest this saturday at Pianos.


HANG THE LIGHTS to perform gloriously at ACCORDION FEST!

On Saturday, May 13, 2006 at 9:00 pm

Hang the Lights, the solo songwriting project of Joshua Camp, will be performing. It's a little country and a little creepy as Appalachian waltzes and two-steps clash with middle eastern rhythms. This three-piece group, featuring accordion, bass, and drums- will perform Camp's songs about lycanthropy, coelacanths, satellites, and heartbreak.

For samples visit their myspace

Doors will open promptly at 7:30
Jonathan Vincent at 8:00
Hang the Lights at 9:00
Corn Mo at 10:00
and The Main Squeeze Orchestra on at 11:00.
Tickets can be purchased at the door for $10 the night of the show.
Pianos is located at 158 Ludlow at Stanton St. on Manhattan's Lower East Side. Please visit Pianos website for more details.




so mp3 bloggers have been pissing their pants for this guy, Beirut, lately. and as i've mentioned before, when that happens i tend to be trepidacious. it usually turns out to be some tepid boring band like The Stills or something. however i am wrong sometimes (like The Arcade Fire and Say Hi To Your Mom), and you can chalk up my slow pace on this band to one of those times. Zach Condon uses a smorgasboard of instruments, a lot of them reminiscent of a traveling gypsy band (such as a "trumpet from Paris, farfisa organ, accordion, piano, ukelele, mandolin, glockenspiel, violin, cello, tambourine, the air powered organ I bought on twelth street, congo drum donated from the neighbors..."). there are definitely strains of Final Fantasy floating around, but that's not really a bad thing. it's the perfect accompaniment to warm you up for an accordion festival.

• Beirut - Mount Wroclai (Idle Days)

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(photos from "The Magnificent Mistake")

so a friend of mine put together an brilliant event last weekend. he organized a group dinner with musical performances inside a huge abandoned factory in brooklyn. and i was lucky enough to get to climb up and down rope ladders to attend along with about forty other people. it was truly amazing, and aside from the part where i got lost for over an hour with all the plates and forks, it went really well. so well in fact that the Village Voice wrote an article about it.



this track was recorded at the event of Marc Scrivo performing live while suspended from a rope in a 12 story tall cement tube. the sound was incredible, as it seeped and trickled to you from the dozens of holes in the floor that echoed his voice. when listening to it, picture yourself in near blackness, surrounded by shadowy figures shuffling about, on a huge open floor with dark holes every six feet or so that will plunge you to a certain death, and the only light being that leaking in through windows that look some twenty stories out over south brooklyn. it was like that, but better.

• Marc Scrivo - Phillipe

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sorry i've been absent. i was upstate in the mountains assisting a friend on some photo production work, with zero cell phone and no internet for the majority of it. however there is a lot going on back here in nyc, including the always-anticipated Bicycle Film Festival. tonight is the opening night party at Union Pool with some awesome local acts. and it's pay-what-you-wish as a donation to the great legal organization Free Wheels. it's gonna be jump-around-knock-someone-down fun.


Bicycle Film Fest 2006! 
Opening Night Party at Union Pool in Brooklyn
Wednesday May 10 at 10pm
484 Union Ave at Meeker Avenue
Bands Bands and Fun
$ = by donation for Free Wheels

Matt and Kim
Home Video




i've previously posted tracks from two of the three bands playing tonight, so i figure it's best to round it out and get number three up here as well. here's Home Video with "Melon." definitely a darker, moodier, slightly more ambient approach than the other bands on the bill. fans of Pinback will be diggin' on this.

• Home Video - Melon

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So this is a new strategy for corporations, taking one from the mafia tip-book. Internet providers want to start being able to charge websites money to keep their sites working properly. If the sites don't pay the "protection money," their site will intentionally process slowly, at the behest of these data providers. You can imagine what that will mean for the millions of small independent, non-revenue-generating sites out there as well. All thanks to a new bill being voted on next week by Congress. Please sign the petition below. Over 400,000 signatures have been gathered so far, and some representatives have already switched sides as this issue gains notice in the general public.



Do you buy books online, use Google, or download to an iPod? Everything we do online will be hurt if Congress passes a radical law next week that gives giant corporations more control over what we do and see on the Internet.

Internet providers like AT&T are lobbying Congress hard to gut Network Neutralitythe Internet's First Amendment and the key to Internet freedom. Net Neutrality prevents AT&T from choosing which websites open most easily for you based on which site pays AT&T more. Currently BarnesandNoble.com doesn't have to outbid Amazon for the right to work properly on your computer.

If Net Neutrality is gutted, almost every popular sitefrom Google to eBay to iTunesmust either pay protection money to Internet companies like AT&T or risk having their websites process slowly. That why these high-tech pioneers and others are opposing Congress' effort to gut Internet freedom.

Simply put, network neutrality means that no web site's traffic has precedence over any other's...Whether a user searches for recipes using Google, reads an article on snopes.com, or looks at a friend's MySpace profile, all of that data is treated equally and delivered from the originating web site to the user's web browser with the same priority. In recent months, however, some of the telephone and cable companies that control the telecommunications networks over which Internet data flows have floated the idea of creating the electronic equivalent of a paid carpool lane.

If companies like AT&T have their way, Web sites ranging from Google to eBay to iTunes either pay protection money to get into the "fast lane" or risk opening slowly on your computer. We can't let the Internetthis incredible medium which has been such a revolutionary force for democratic participation, economic innovation, and free speechbecome captive to large corporations.

You can do your part today. Can you sign this petition from MoveOn.org telling your member of Congress to preserve Internet freedom? Click here




so this cover has been floating around for a while. Ray Lamontagne's take on the ridiculously popular Gnarls Barkley track "Crazy." Gnarls Barkley is the (brilliant) collaboration of Danger Mouse and Cee-lo Green. the original sets a new standard for soulfulness, layered over some refreshing beats. and the cover does a good job keeping it in tact through acoustic reinterpretation. here's both for a little comparison listening (and since most of you probably already have the first track, if not the second one too). you should probably get familiar with Gnarls Barkley, you're going to be hearing it wherever you go all summer.

• Gnarls Barkley - Crazy

• Ray Lamontagne - Crazy

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(bushwick is beautiful)

so i got stuck with jury duty today. it was an expected mix of bored, weird, and annoying. i feel like i should be able to give some perceptive insight into the brooklyn legal system, but all i can say is that jurors are a bunch of people who would rather be somewhere else. especially when it's really nice outside. after leaving, i was almost hit twice (on my bike) by cops running red lights. and then had the pleasure of watching a small white coupe fly down bushwick ave going about 55 mph. . . they had to swerve around a cop cruiser to avoid hitting it, and the cops just watched them go. but i'm glad to see they're so busy handing out all those bicycle violations. we wouldn't want those cyclists to run amok, someone might get hurt.



some of you are going to hate me for posting this. how could i possibly go from Crimpshrine to this feel-good laid-back pop? i honestly don't know, just go with what i feel. and lately i've been pretty stressed, so this is a mildly cheesy antidote. it does have some summer-cute potential, like slow jams in front of the fan. but don't worry, i'll post something better tomorrow. we're all allowed to have our off-days once in a while, after all.

• Under The Influence Of Giants - Mama's Room

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(photos from the Matt & Kim and Defiance, Ohio show in brooklyn the other night, a couple more here)

small men should have small dreams, the tales of hollywood are not for them. finding satisfaction in the simple things in life is a better way to learn happiness. big men may have big dreams. but big men are usually hollow, so all the riches of life that fall upon them are lost, clinking around like coins on the rocks that line the bottom of a big man.



"Eye Of The Tiger". . . the 80s just wouldn't have been the same without this song. well 80s hero movies wouldn't have anyway. Here's a nice palatable acoustic cover. not exactly what it takes to turn you into a bedroom Balboa, but sometimes you're just not in the mood for an injection of machismo. and that's okay.

• Josh Joplin - Eye Of The Tiger

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do you remember your first punk tape? that first mix that some spikey-haired cool kid gave you that introduced your young and susceptible mind to the world of punk rock. . . remember that? i do. i still listen to it fairly often. and when i give away all my old tapes (in a month or so), you can bet that this will not be one of them. the only tapes i'll be keeping are a couple made by friends in high school, and all the ones my old roommate Ian made me. man that kid could make a killer mix tape. anyway, go dig up your first punk tape, blow the dust off of it, and leave the track listing in the comments. i'm really curious to hear what turned people to the punk side of life. here's mine:

Avail - March
Fifteen - Ain't Life A Drag
Fifteen - Petroleum Distillation
Fifteen - Perfection
Rancid - Radio, Radio, Radio
Rancid - Just A Feeling
Rancid - Someone's Gonna Die
Screeching Weasel - American Dream
Screeching Weasel - I Can See Clearly
Screeching Weasel - Veronica Hates Me
Screeching Weasel - I Wanna Be With You Tonight
Operation Ivy - Here We Go Again
Operation Ivy - Healthy Body, Sick Mind
Crimpshrine - Bricks
Crimpshrine - In My Mind
Crimpshrine - Sleep, What's That?
Crimpshrine - Tomorrow
Endpoint - Day's After
Endpoint - Caste
The Queers - I Hate Everything
The Queers - Fuck The World
The Queers - Drop The Attitude Fucker
The Queers - Ben Weasel
The Queers - Live This Life
Cringer - Cocktail Molotov
Cringer - Understand
Screeching Weasel - My Right
Screeching Weasel - Love
Screeching Weasel - I Wanna Be Naked
Screeching Weasel - Supermarket Fantasy
Propaghandi - Haillie Sellasse, Up Your Ass
Gorrilla Biscuits - Things We Say
Avail - Kiss Off (live show with interruption by skinheads)
Wire - 1 2 X U

and on a sad and slightly related note, Clovis book store on bedford apparently closed. i went by there today and they were selling their furniture out on the street. it was a neat little book store. . . now it'll probably end up being the first starbucks in brooklyn or something. oh, and it's related cause Aaron Cometbus used to work there (see below for details).



i love all the bands on that tape, and would probably post all of them if i had a lot more free time. but whatever. one of the gems by far is the extremely-influential band Crimpshrine. composed of members that would later go on to lead the band Fifteen (Jeff Ott), head Maximum Rock N Roll (Paul Curran), and Aaron Cometbus of Cometbus zine fame. . . to call them a punk powerhouse would be an understatement.

• Crimpshrine - Tomorrow

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