Friday, January 30, 2009

Y La Bamba: Mythical and Post-Modern

As I've mentioned before, I'm a fan of PWRFL POWER. And when I went to see him play on December 6 at the Artistery, I really didn't know anything about the opening acts.

When I walked in, I was surprised by how many people there were. I wasn't expecting four dozen people because on my walk down the stairs into the venue, they had been silent. It was between songs and the entire crowd seemed like they were in a trance. Then Luz Elena and Ben of Y La Bamba started another and I saw why.

There was one word in my mind. Otherworldly. The Latin-folk harmonies were like time travel. But the music was also shattered, like a Cortázar story. So it made sense to me when, while I was interviewing her for this story that appears in today's Oregonian, Luz Elena said that when she sings in Spanish, "there's an alchemy about Latin and the roots of it. I feel like it's stained with magic."

Y La Bamba plays in Seattle tonight and at Backspace tomorrow with Black Whales and Oh Captain, My Captain.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Batum Interview

Bless our video editor Matt Miadich for making it look like none of this ever happened. Although it wasn't good enough for this blog that called this the "worst interview in the history of basketball." It's nice to be a superlative! C'mon. The part where his voice gets high is pretty funny.

View the full lesson on English, baby!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Proof, if you needed it, that the Portland Music Awards are complete and utter bullshit

I just received a press release listing the nominees for the Music Spectator-sponsored Portland Music Awards. One of the nominees struck me as rather odd.

Best Compilation Album of the Year:
'Failing Records: Volume' by Failing Records
'PDX Pop Now! 2008' by PDX Pop Now!
'We Rock For Food' by The Union Records
'Lights Out 11'by KINK fm
'Rose City' by the Rose City Project you notice that the volume is left blank for Failing Records? I wonder why that is. Oh yeah, it's because Failing Records didn't release a compilation this year (I just emailed with them to verify this).

There are so, so many things that make this award ceremony a complete farce, but I think this proves what anyone skimming the nominees would suspect--that Craig Marquardo, or whoever is picking these, is just picking the most predictable, acceptable, Portland-embraced artists/venues etc, without giving any real thought to their accomplishments or, in the case of compilation CDs, bothering to listen to them or even verify that they exist. Frankly, it's insulting to those nominees who do deserve recognition in their field.

For the record, I like Failing Records and would probably have voted for them if they released a compilation in 2008 or if I cared enough to actually vote for the PMAs. But look at the other categories if you want some laughs. Here are the nominees for best performance by a touring artist:

Imogen Heap
The Police
Ben Harper
Bryan Adams
Chris Isaak

Oh, neat. Just add John Meyer to the list and we're set. What? He didn't play here this year? Who cares!

UPDATE: 1/19/09
I've emailed with Craig Marquardo a little and it turns out the nomination process was open to the public, not selected by Music Spectator. Marquardo says that 6,200 nominations were made and since then 20,000 people have voted for the awards. This means that the public nominated a non-existent album. I'm not really sure what to make of that.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Nowhere to Lay His Head

At a time when the news is full of lost jobs and lost savings, what have the people who have neither lost?

Anawim is a Portland church that is primarily by the homeless and for the homeless. I found more hope there than I had expected to when I started this story that ran in today's Oregonian. But the short answer to the above question--which didn't make it into the story--is that, according to the people I talked to, small scale philanthropy is down too. Steve Kimes, the head of Anawim, related stories of people holding signs on the street for money during the recent snow storm. Normally adverse conditions make for more giving, but apparently they took in less than on a normal day. Steve Hanserd who I interviewed for this story, said that fewer homes are leaving their cans on the curb. Luckily there was snow for him to shovel at the time of the story.

Anawim online
. Image by Faith Cathcart. Kimes on the right.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Simms on Canzano

It was only a matter of time before something like this happened. I mean, I've gotten away with a lot of silly things, like tricking a local musician into a date in the guise of an interview and there's that whole fisting thing and the time I tried to become a stripper. But why did my downfall have to take place in front of the entire Portland Trail Blazers and about 30 or so members of the media on a day when there's already a Blazers media circus?

Well, that last part is pretty fortunate, actually. If you're going to screw up, make sure it's a big enough screw up to make it news worthy. I'll let John Canzano of 95.5 The Game explain this for me. This aired yesterday. Be sure to keep listening until I call in and explain myself and what English, baby! was doing there.

I now present one of the official "top five goofy moments in Blazer practice history!"

Oh, and here's the sort of video Canzano was asking for.