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This year's best-o'-the-year mix is ready to go:

Disc 1:

  1. Bloc Party, "Like Eating Glass" (from Silent Alarm)
  2. The Mustn'ts, "Opening Night" (from The Mustn'ts)
  3. Portastatic, "I Wanna Know Girls" (from Bright Ideas)
  4. Minus the Bear, "The Fix" (from Menos el Oso)
  5. System of a Down, "Violent Pornography" (from Mezmerize)
  6. Gatsby's American Dream, "Theatre" (from Volcano)
  7. Of Montreal, "The Party's Crashing Us" (from The Sunlandic Twins)
  8. The German Art Students, "Triumph of the Human Spirit" (from Name-Droppers)
  9. Sufjan Stevens, "Chicago (To String Remix By Jongalloway)" (from Illinois)
  10. The Hold Steady, "Chicago Seemed Tired Last Night" (from Separation Sunday)
  11. Mike Doughty, "Madeline and Nine" (from Haughty Melodic)
  12. The Dilettantes, "Bullets in the Gun" (from Hearts and Flowers)
  13. Jail, "First to Pinch" (from Kept Me Spitting)
  14. Thunderbirds Are Now!, "From: Skulls" (from Justamustache)
  15. Kaiser Chiefs, "Na Na Na Na Naa" (from Employment)
  16. Cruiserweight, "This Ain't No Beach Party" (from Sweet Weaponry)
  17. Garbage, "Honeybee" (from Run Baby Run)
  18. Juliana Hatfield, "What Do I Care" (from Made in China)
  19. The Like, "Mrs. Actually" (from Are You Thinking What I'm Thinking?)
  20. Petra Haden and Bill Frisell, "Floaty" (from Petra Haden and Bill Frisell)

Disc 2:

  1. Armor For Sleep, "Awkward Last Words" (from What to Do When You Are Dead)
  2. Troubled Hubble, "Bees" (from Making Beds in a Burning House)
  3. OK Go, "A Good Idea at the Time" (from Oh No)
  4. Metric, "Monster Hospital" (from Live It Out)
  5. The Bravery, "Fearless" (from The Bravery)
  6. The Chemical Brothers ft. Kele Okereke, "Believe" (from Push the Button)
  7. Nine Inch Nails, "You Know What You Are?" (from With Teeth)
  8. Hail Social, "Feeling Is Wrong" (from Hail Social)
  9. Motion City Soundtrack, "Everything Is Alright" (from Commit This to Memory)
  10. The Aquabats, "Hot Summer Nights (Won't Last Forever)!" (from Charge!!)
  11. Fall Out Boy, "Nobody Puts Baby in the Corner" (from From Under the Cork Tree)
  12. ...And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead, "Caterwaul" (from Worlds Apart)
  13. Robbers on High Street, "Spanish Teeth" (from Tree City)
  14. Erin McKeown, "Air" (from We Will Become Like Birds)
  15. Hey Mercedes, "Warm Chords" (from Unorchestrated)
  16. Franz Ferdinand, "The Fallen" (from You Could Have It So Much Better)
  17. Hot Hot Heat, "Dirty Mouth" (from Elevator)
  18. Maritime, "Tearing Up the Oxygen" (from We, the Vehicles)
  19. The Legendary K.O., "George Bush Doesn't Care About Black People" (download)
  20. Eisley, "I Wasn't Prepared" (from Room Noises)
  21. Harvey Danger, "Little Round Mirrors" (from Little By Little...)

posted by Aaron S. Veenstra
Music ... Permalink ...
Comments (4)


NO!: THE LIFE AND TIMES (#7, NOV 5 2005).

The Life and Times

"The Cold Wai"

Live at
Club 770
Madison, WI
Nov 5, 2005

There was a time, between grunge and post-rock, where it looked like shimmery, heavy, intricate rock was going to take over the indie world. And then it didn't. A handful of bands took up the sound being molded by the likes of Hum and Jawbox, one of which, Shiner, was the precursor to the Life and Times. This track is a new song, but the ten songs on their debut LP, Suburban Hymns make for a compelling and cohesive album and live set. Truth be told, I liked these guys a lot more than Murder By Death, whom they were opening for. They're never going to light up Myspace, but hearing their fuzzrock in a cafeteria full of spastic high school students was enthralling.

posted by Aaron S. Veenstra
NO!: The Podcast (Archived) ... Permalink




We went out into the shopping madness this morning for a couple hours, looking for two things. One, a secret present for Emily, they still had at Circuit City. The other, a 200GB hard drive for $30 at Staples, had been sold out since they opened. Apparently 200 people were lined up at 6:00 AM to buy as many as they could. Meanwhile, Pricewatch lists the same thing for as low as $73, so I'm not that broken up about it.

posted by Aaron S. Veenstra
Around Madison ... Permalink



NO!: CAKE (#6, APR 27 2005).


from Pressure Chief

Live at
Orpheum Theatre
Madison, WI
Apr 27, 2005

Pushing along, workmanlike, out of the 90's, I never expected Cake to be a live show powerhouse. They're at the point where they really should be finding themselves in smaller venues again, maybe trying to get one of those old-timer's contracts with Sanctuary. And yet, there they were, packing a theatre with relatively young fans and remaking the art of the sing-along pop blast. They commanded the stage like nobody else I saw this year, with the possible exception of Mike Doughty, and like I don't think I've seen generally since Bob Pollard ruled Summerfest a few years ago.

And after the show, Emily got to shake John McCrea's hand, which was pretty awesome.

posted by Aaron S. Veenstra
NO!: The Podcast (Archived) ... Permalink



NO!: OK GO (#5, FEB 18 2005).


"No Sign of Life"
from Oh No

Live at
The Annex
Madison, WI
Feb 18, 2005

Seems like quite a while ago, and long before they became backyard-dancing sensations, that OK Go showed up at the Annex with a bunch of new material. (They also showed up at the Annex again just four days ago, but not so much with new stuff.) With a new guitarist on hand, and a new album being sat on by Capitol until late summer, the band killed a crowd that seemed skeptical that any kind of follow-up to their self-titled debut could work. But between the manic hotness of some of their old songs and the dirty bite of the new ones, they put on one of best sets of 2005.

posted by Aaron S. Veenstra
NO!: The Podcast (Archived) ... Permalink




Thunderbirds Are Now!

"Sound Issues/Smart Ideas"

Live at
The Annex
Madison, WI
Oct 29, 2005

I've talked about this show before, but man, what a show! They played three new songs, even though their latest album is only half a year old, and this was probably the best one. And since this was officially a Halloween show, their keyboard/second guitar guy put on an old California Raisin costume for a while. I still don't get why nobody else was really into the craziness that they had going.

posted by Aaron S. Veenstra
NO!: The Podcast (Archived) ... Permalink




The podcast finally made it through to the big directory at the iTunes Music Store (click here to see it in action) but it's not quite... whole anymore. You see, the iTMS doesn't like dick. Specifically, it doesn't like the name of the German Art Students track I posted last week, "Dick Clark." "Dick" is now "D**k."

Presumably you also can't do podcasts about Dick Cheney, George Bush, cockfighting, pussywillows, titmice or the North Pole.

posted by Aaron S. Veenstra
Music ... Permalink



Details here. The money bit from Target's shill:

As an Equal Opportunity Employer, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 also requires us to accommodate our team members' sincerely held religious beliefs.

In the rare event that a pharmacist's beliefs conflict with filling a guest's prescription for the emergency contraceptive Plan B, our policy requires our pharmacists to take responsibility for ensuring that the guest's prescription is filled in a timely and respectful manner, either by another Target pharmacist or a different pharmacy.

The emergency contraceptive Plan B is the only medication for which this policy applies.

What? I don't recall Title VII having a subsection that indicates that it only applies to cases involving Plan B. What if some asshole "pharmacist" at Target decides not to give out birth control? Is that not a sincerely held belief? Morons.

posted by Aaron S. Veenstra
Politics ... Permalink


NO!: THE HOLD STEADY (#3, MAY 28 2005).

The Hold Steady


Live at
Sound Fix
Brooklyn, NY
May 28, 2005

Last May, we went to New York for five days for a big communication research conference. We didn't have any particular plan for entertaining ourselves when not at the conference, but upon arriving we found out Rilo Kiley was in town that very night. Awesome! Except, the show was sold out, and really, we never could've gotten from the airport to the hotel to the show in time anyway. Luckily, though, the Hold Steady had an acoustic set at a record store in Williamsburg, which sated our live music needs and our viewing-hipsters-in-their-natural-habitat needs. And the really great thing was that they played this unreleased song, "212-MARGARITA," about those law firm ads in the NYC subways. Sweet!

posted by Aaron S. Veenstra
NO!: The Podcast (Archived) ... Permalink




Congress generally doesn't get very good approval ratings, as a body; however, these low scores usually don't translate into big changes in the biannual elections. The reason is that most voters, despite not approving of Congress in the aggregate, do approve of their Representives. So, when you see polls that ask, "Who would you like to see control Congress after the next election cycle: the Democrats or the Republicans?" it doesn't really matter that the Democrats have a healthy lead. But a poll like the new one from NBC and The Wall Street Journal is something else entirely:

In the 2006 election for U.S. Congress, do you feel that your representative deserves to be reelected, or do you think it is time to give a new person a chance? (10/2005 results in parens)

Deserves to be reelected 37 (49)
Give new person a chance 51 (34)

For big change to happen in the make-up of Congress, general dissatisfaction has to turn into specific dissatisfaction with the one Representative you have some control over. It appears that's happened.

posted by Aaron S. Veenstra
Politics ... Permalink



The German Art Students

"Dick Clark"
from Name-Droppers

Live at
Lunchtime Live in Capitol Square
Madison, WI
July 12, 2005

Local power-popsters the German Art Students, recently dethroned as Madison's favorite band by Garbage, are on baby-induced hiatus these days. Their new record features a song called "Dick Clark" -- the true tale of their experience in a select competition of unsigned bands, run by the old man's production company. They didn't win, but they got a good song out of explaining the loss.

posted by Aaron S. Veenstra
NO!: The Podcast (Archived) ... Permalink



NO!: JAIL (#1, AUG 12 2005).


from Kept Me Spitting

Live at
Onopa Brewing Co.
Milwaukee, WI
August 12, 2005

Jail released their second CD last August (previously discussed here), and this song opened their set at the release party. The show was typically odd, as local act release shows often are -- two bands I'd never heard of, whose music wasn't particularly compatible with Jail's, opened, to less than enthusiastic reception from the crowd. During Jail's set, a couple of hipsters dressed in flapper clothes went kind of nuts near the stage. I assumed they were known by the band, but that turned out not to be the case.

posted by Aaron S. Veenstra
NO!: The Podcast (Archived) ... Permalink



Today I'm launching the "No, THIS is what I call music" video podcast. I'll be releasing videos a couple times a week of live performances I've recorded with my fancy digital camera. The videos are encoded with MPEG-4 video and AAC audio, so they will play in Quicktime Player and iTunes and on the new video-enabled iPod. This is the first time I've taken the NO! brand into the world of video, but previous audio releases can be found here. If you or your band are featured in this podcast, please don't sue me!

This week I'll be posted a couple of local bands; next week I've got new songs from both Thunderbirds Are Now! and the Hold Steady. I have a pretty good backlog of material to post, so be sure you subscribe to get the fresh stuff automatically downloaded. To subscribe, simply add http://feeds.feedburner.com/NoPodcast to your favorite podcast reader.

posted by Aaron S. Veenstra
Music ... Permalink




I saw the Hold Steady last weekend, and they put on a pretty good show, but what really impressed me was the set by Thunderbirds Are Now!, who opened the show. (The Constantines, who played in-between, were largely forgettable, and I continue to hold the opinion that they are extremely overrated.) They were musically tight and energetic without coming across as phony, plus they had the songs to back it up. So why wasn't anybody going crazy for it except for me? This was probably the best indie rock bill Madison has seen all year -- three prominent, national touring acts, the opening two of which have each recently played headlining shows in town -- and nobody could get up for the loud, beat-heavy movement of TAN! because they were the first band up. Weird.

Relatedly, I saw Murder By Death at a surprisingly packed show last night, and openers the Life and Times made MBD look like a ten-year-old's birthday party. I hadn't heard anything by them before, but they have some connection to Shiner, and it shows -- also a bit of the Hum and Cave In sound in there, too.

posted by Aaron S. Veenstra
Music ... Permalink




A couple weeks ago, despite the overwhelmingly obvious stupidity of the move, the Society of Professional Journalists gave Judith Miller their "First Amendment Award" for helping the government secretly smear a critic by refusing to testify against Scooter Libby, even though she actually had testified by the time they gave her the award. Oddly, since Miller seems to be such a hero to them, the SPJ has not rebuked Tim Russert, Matt Cooper or Bob Novak for not going to jail, nor, to the best of my knowledge, have they rebuked Novak for publishing his treasonous column in the first place.

But now this, from the new president-elect of the SPJ:

The U.S. Senate acted unwisely when it closed its chamber for the first time in 25 years this week. Senate Democrats claimed the move was necessary to discuss a 'derelict' Senate Intelligence Committee's review of prewar issues. Senate Democrats clearly want more information about government intelligence leading up to the war in Iraq. SPJ contends that the best way to get that information is by conducting inquiry and debate out in the open so that the public can make observations, demand answers and hold government officials accountable for their actions. It makes so sense to criticize or combat secrecy with more secrecy.

Are you kidding? Aside from the factual wrongness of this (the Senate went into closed session at least six times during the Clinton impeachment alone), the superficial tone-deafness of the statement is just astounding. Holden Lewis, via Romenesko, hits the important points, so I won't bother to restate them, but can you believe this is our press corps? One of our professors used to tell his Intro to Mass Comm students that the one subject where journalists had as much expertise as the people they were covering was politics; he doesn't tell them that anymore.

posted by Aaron S. Veenstra
Politics ... Permalink