Desert Island Albums – Volume 2

19 08 2013

Beck – Midnite Vultures (1999)



Midnite Vultures is both an excellent party album and an excellent fuck soundtrack.  With the exception of the frenetic opening track Sexx Laws (which, due to its energy and immediacy was my wake up song for the better part of my sophomore year in college) the album maintains a chill, rolling vibe that suits both romance and revelry. Beck crafts decent vibe and employs many sounds that I consider 90s hallmarks: the overblown horns in the first two tracks, the gleefully trashy drums throughout, the SFX like laser zaps and dumped garbage cans sprinkled here and there… His lyrics are hilarious and layered in a way that allows him to spout wisdom without taking himself too seriously.
Damning confession: Get Real Paid came on and I was moved to dance like Buffalo Bill.
Mitigating disclaimer: I was well into my second bottle of wine, and had just purchased a full-length mirror.



  • Sexx Laws: Arrive home, offer your guest a drink

  • Nicotine & Gravy: Initiate makeout sequence

  • Mixed Bizness: Discard clothes as you make your way to the bedroom,

light-to-medium petting

  • Get Real Paid: Excuse yourself to go ‘freshen up’, splash some water on your

junk, take a moment to get nasty in the bathroom mirror

  • Hollywood Freaks: Tonsil hockey Stanley Cup, mutual manual stimulation

  • Peaches & Cream: Oral stimulation -give

  • Broken Train: Oral stimulation -receive

  • Milk & Honey: Everyone’s favorite number

  • Beautiful Way: Initiate genital intercourse

  • Pressure Zone: Bang it the fuck out

  • Debra: Cool down -cuddle if applicable; if not, retreat to bathroom and make weird noises. If your guest is experienced, they will be dressed and ordering a Lyft by the time you emerge

Who Will Buy These Memories?

25 02 2012

Times being what they are, and since we’re not home alot, BT is making the tough move of thinning the herd a little and putting a few of his beloved Fender basses up for sale.  Rather than deal with the anonymity (and hassle) of Ebay, we’re checking to see if any there are any players here interested in bringing a little piece of Uptown home with them.

Fender Precision Bass [SOLD]

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Desert Blizzards and Other Abominations

7 11 2011

We spent the day in a desert snowstorm. During the leg of the trip where you see signs like: LAST GAS FOR 126 MILES. At times it was like the old Windows ‘Starfield’ screensaver was laid over the windshield and we couldn’t see the center line of the road because so much snow was sticking, then a half-mile it would clear so much that you wonder if the snow was a hallucination –dry roads, flurry-free air…the only evidence that you weren’t crazy being flung away by the windshield wipers.
We saw a sheep with the head of a tortoise. Read the rest of this entry »

We Can Only Hold Her For So Long

28 07 2011

The previous night was the highlight of my summer -I was visiting my hometown and met up with some old friends, including my high school crush.  Since my ten-year-reunion (which I didn’t attend) I’ve made it a point to look up my old gang whenever I’m not tourwhoring it through town.  The night started with a small group, just four of us, and within a couple of hours it was down to just me and HSC.  So we decided to hit a bar in the gayborhood called Woody’s (too clichè, I know).  There was some country pop spinning, and the line-dancing crowd (which I had previously disdained) was tearing up the floor with furious footwork.  I was a good sport and let him teach me a few of the dances (a barn dance, and a reel, and a basic two-step) while his buddies cheered us on.  Then after sitting a few out to catch a beer …and my breath, watching him work the floor, he pulls me back into the fray to slow dance -you’ve gotta understand, I’ve carried a torch for this guy for so long that my hand is a burnt and blackened ruin…

So the next day I’m sitting in my car reading over a late-night response text from him asking “Awww  why don’t you?” [move back to Jersey] and trying to compose the perfect 160 character response that makes up for the fact that I totally pussied-out on telling HSC how I really feel when we were face-to-face.

Then my phone rings.

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Heard It On the (KDH)X

14 07 2011

It’s really incredible when you can look back on one moment in your life when someone gave you a particular piece of advice that then caused your life to go in a new and better direction.  That’s sort of how we look back on Roo from the Gramaphone telling us to get in touch with KDHX the first time we were coming down to play St Louis.  As we talked about earlier, we had a few false starts in the Lou, but thanks to KDHX’s love and support, we’ve been able to play there 6 times in the last 18 months and build up a amazing group of friends and fans.  Hell, we played the Firebird last Saturday and part of the gig was ALL YOU CAN EAT GOURMET ICE CREAM.  WTF?  what’s next, keys to the Fireworks, Candy, and Puppy dog store?

So in addition to playing the 5th Annual Indie Rock Ice Cream Social, we stopped by KDHX’s Euclid Street studios to lay down some songs and chat with Roy Kasten.

Roy Kasten & the Uptown Sound

We were thrilled to meet fellow Chicagoans Sarah & the Tall Boys, who were doing the session right before us, and then borrow their sublime pedal steel ace, Gabriel Stutz, to add some shimmery flare to “Missing Things”. We went from twang to skank to Beat, and KDHX was cool with it because that’s just how they roll. Thanks guys!

The Road to Solid Sound

10 07 2011

Billy with Jeff & JCB @ Solid Sound Festival

I was always inspired by Wilco. At one point before Yankee Hotel Foxtrot was released I was listening to an advance pressing at the YMCA everyday in Philadelphia. I talked their head of PR to sending it to me, posing as a writer. I’d listen to Jeff Tweedy’s close mic’d words while running the treadmill and watching a class of obese women do aerobics through the glass. I was planning on getting fit, saving money, moving to Chicago, starting a band, signing to Bloodshot, touring the world, and making a hit record. I was still a long way off. But I had the right soundtrack.
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Is It 2011 Yet?

8 12 2010

The holidaze are upon, so it’s a little crazy, but we’re working on “2010 In Review” blog, talking about our favorite shows and records of the past year. But for now we’re just trying to wrap our brains around the fact that we traveled over 27,000 miles to play 53 shows in 24 cities, 10 states, 7 autonomous communities, 3 countries, 2 provinces, and 1 federal district this year.

In the mean time, check out a video from the Blockley in Philly of one of the new songs we’re working for the new record.

No full shows until late January, but we’ll be helping out at Second City’s Letters To Santa benefit in Chicago on Tuesday December 14th. For those who can’t be there in person, there will be a live webcast. Keep an eye on the website!