Tuesday, August 31, 2010


The fusion of traditional Native American music and Ska is long overdue. Who wants to join my new band? I need a drummer, a flautist, and someone who can make really awesome sand paintings. We'll play gigs around Moab. We'll get a track on Pure Moods vol. 5. It's gonna be huge!

Suggestions for names? I'm thinking Skavajo Nation but I don't think Kokopelli has anything to with the Navajo.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

earnestness, sincerity, dancing hippie indians

I was gonna go to bed and I was like "waitaminute isn't there a Pink Floyd song called Learning to Fly and didn't I used to like that song and doesn't the video have a flying Indian?"

The answer to all that is yes. I looked up the video on YouTube and the video is a Pure Moods style time capsule of early '90s hippiedom. It's ridiculous in a wearing-a-dr.seuss-hat-around-campus-while-looking-for-your-lost-hackey-sack way. Also the song sucks.

Or does it? It's a good song but Pink Floyd ruined it. Which is weird because it's their song. What I'm saying is, someone wrote a good song and then Pink Floyd, or should I say "Pink Floyd" since it's actually some corporation made up of three guys that were in Pink Floyd, three backup singers, a percussionist playing soul-less synthetic drum pads, a dumb looking bass player with a dumb looking bass, four extra guitarists, and months of production. "Learning to Fly" at it's heart is a good song, but it was ruined by layers and layers of ultra slick production, stripped of any feeling or emotion it may have had.

So I set out to find a good cover version of it.

If you've ever looked for a song on YouTube you've no doubt run across countless cover version of that song, performed in someone's bedroom with their crummy-sounding electric guitar, the reverb turned up too high, a distant look in their eyes as they concentrate so hard, trying not to screw it up. The framing on the camera is always bad, and when they're done you see them stand up to turn the camera off. Those videos are the exact opposite of these videos.

Mrs. Pretty Barbie is saying to the world "look at me aren't I so hot aren't I so great you're so lucky to even see me" while the amateur musician videos are saying to the world "I have worked so hard on this I have spent so much time alone practicing will you please just acknowledge me and let me know I'm not alone."

Er, that's my interpretation of them anyway. I have a weird fascination with these amateur cover videos. They're so earnest. I admire earnestness and sincerity.

I finally found that cover of "Learning to Fly" that I was looking for, performed by my new favorite musician, Robert Che Hoyer.

Why do I like this guy so much? Well,

a) he's weird looking
b) I love his voice! It's so unique. His voice is the audio manifestation of the burning sensation in your esophagus after downing a shot of cheap whiskey. Best as I can tell he's a Frenchman trying to sound Irish
c) he's almost painfully earnest and sincere
d) how old is he do you think?
e) how often does he water that cactus?

He has some 180 songs on his YouTube channel, and I really think he's got something good going. He's putting a whole new angle on these songs that you've heard a million times, and revealing a side to the songs you may never have considered. Take these two for example. These are two of my favorite Beatles songs. There's no denying that these are happy little tunes, but what makes the Beatles versions so special to me is that even though they're happy and bouncy tunes there's a sense of wistfulness and melancholy hiding inside of the melodies. They manage to be optimistic and mournful at the same time. Robert Che Hoyer is able to really bring that out within the songs.

His wild strumming, his strained, unusual voice, and the fact that he sometimes makes mistakes give these songs an immediacy and an expressiveness that you'll never find in the original studio versions.

His description of this one:

"The Biggest Speedball I see cames here and say Hey I make the tube and then was THE PASSENGER"

You said it, man.

Robert Che Hoyer

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

what turns up in the dark?

Whaaa what is this it's too bright!

There we go. Why that looks like Modest Mouse.

So, every summer Salt Lake City hosts the Twilight Concert Series. Apparently it's been going on for 23 years but I only became aware of it in the last three years or so. Probably around the same time the Twilight books became popular. They bring in these big-time (well, big-time for hipsters) bands to play free shows. Up until this year I'd never been so I'm telling tales out of school here but I had heard bad things. Because it's free, the shows just become a thing-to-do. Which is cool, but it means if you actually like the band playing you'll have to deal with a million people that just want to drink beer outside and show off their beards. You'll also have to deal with punk-ass tree climbers.

This year the lineup is the most exciting one yet. Two of my favorite bands, Modest Mouse and the New Pornographers were coming, which meant I finally had to go to some Twilight Concerts.

The venue this year is Pioneer Park. Sounds nice right? I guess it is a nice park on its own but it's full of bums and drug deals and broken bottle fights. My whole life there have been efforts to clean it up that have failed.

Modest Mouse! Wow what a bad experience this was. 40,000 people showed up! That's too many people for anything. The park was fenced off so there were only two entrances. I was in that line for ninety minutes. Then once I got inside the park the setup was such that all the masses of people were funneled into a funnel not big enough to hold them and I spent half an hour being all squished! I was ready to bag it when Natali heroically found me and took me to a safe place.

I guess the show was cool. I really liked Modest Mouse last time I saw them but you know, it was just them playing their songs. I guess that's what live music is. Maybe I was just in a bad mood, but I felt like something was missing. Then I went to Hires Big H and it was also too crowded.

So I was way nervous about seeing my favorite band, the New Pornographers. I don't want them to be ruined for me! I got to the park way early but sauntered right in, and found maybe two dozen people milling about the stage. Perfect!

The band had the full line-up and blasted through twenty-three songs in just under two hours. I was worried it would be an abbreviated show because of the 10pm curfew.

Usual the band has a lot of stage banter but this time they stuck with the songs.

A miserably hot day turned into a lovely night.

Fourth time I've seen them live, and definitely the best. Or at least, the most fun I've had at one of their shows. Great set-list, mixing in the favorites from all five or their albums.

And then it was over.

And then I accidentally punched Michelle in the face.

But then I went to Maverick and my favorite the Peanut Butter Twix was on sale four for $2 THAT IS UNPRECEDENTED!!!

Wow what a great night.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

kicking my heart in the ass

This is how I picture myself, all the time.

But I've been wrong. I'm really this.

When really, I need to be like this.

(but not gay)

I dunno. I've just been thinking a lot about Scott Pilgrim lately.