29 April 2008

God Said "HA!"

The Little America Tour is coming soon — just five or six weeks away. And, boy, am I looking forward to it. An escape from my adult life and stresses. Me, the Beetle, the iPod, the road. Friends at every stop, bloggers at every cocktail bar. And R.E.M. to curl my toes at night. Yep, it’s a dream come true.

But methinks He doesn’t want me to go.

A couple of weeks ago, I did the unthinkable (well, the unthinkable in MY world). While balancing my checkbook, I found I was way ahead cashwise, so I transferred $650 from my check account into my savings account, earmarked for the tour. I paid off my credit cards about 18 months ago, and so far have kept the balances to nil — a balance I want to keep in anticipation of upcoming (and intentionally cryptic) life decisions.

Got up for work the next morning … pop into the previously mentioned Beetle … and nothing happened when I turn the key. The damn car is as dead as Abe Vigoda was once rumored to be. I had wisely reupped with AAA last month, so I called. The heroes showed up in less than thirty. It wasn’t a battery issue as I’d prayed to the God mocking me above. Oh, no. It looked to be the fuel pump. And so my silver Beetle hopped on the back of a tow truck while I hopped in the cab, and we headed to my friendly neighborhood mechanic.

Cost to replace the fuel pump? $661. My vacation savings, just twelve hours old, went back into my checking account.

But my mechanic is a class act. He detailed my car before I picked it up — at no charge.

God Laughs Again

Two days later. I had a fun, jam-packed [continue inserting clichés here] Saturday planned. Favorite Boy was in town, caring for his post-op mama. We went to high school together, so I’d arranged for us to hang with some of our favorites: Janice, my CHS BFF during the day, then dinner with Holly and Randy that night. We were going to spend the day in our old school ‘hood since it’s seen a major revitalization and none of us live there anymore.

Well, so much for plans well made. Hop in the car … turn the key … the same nothing. I quickly called Janice to make alternate plans in my little corner of the world, while the Beetle sat in the drive, mocking me with its disabilities.

The day was great, however. Many mojitas and a martini later, I was relaxed, laughing, enjoying the day, my friends, my man. I have so many great people in my life.

But Monday morning brought another tow-de-force for me. The AAA wrecker met me after breakfast and carted my car back to my mechanic. The wallet got a reprieve; it appeared to be a bad fuel pump. They replaced it at no charge and sent me on my merry way.

Readers wonder: Just how many trite phrases can she squeeze in one blog post?

And so I spent the next several days saying silent prayers as I turned the key. Made it to work … to Nick Lowe … to Tapes ‘n’ Tapes ... to dinner with Favorite Boy. A good week after all.

Okay, Yahweh, It’s No Longer Funny

Turn the calendar to this past Saturday. I’m watching the news and eating lunch before meeting Swirly Girl at an arts festival. The weekend anchor mentions that the Dubya rebates will be direct-deposited in the coming days. I think, “I can transfer that cash into my vaca-savings account, and my balance will be where it was last week.”

One hour later, I’m dressed and ready to fill my pockets with new baubles and unnecessary plastic objects. Pop in the car … turn the key … nothing happens. A-f*cking-gain. The Lord obviously heard my vacation savings plan, and continued his toying. Is this Groundhog Day: The Musical?

I slam the car door … call Favorite Boy to whine and snivel … and walked to the nearest MARTA station. Swirly Girl knew how to turn that frown into a smile, taking me out for post-baubling swirls. Nothing like tequila and sangria to relax a carless girl.

So, we’re duplicating Monday. I really am beginning to feel like Bill Murray. Mechanic David apologizes and promises to install a cross. I wait, gnawing nails and calculating just how much I can afford to pay to have my car’s internal organs rebuilt. (I come up with $57.28.) The MD calls late in the afternoon to let me know they can’t figure out what’s burning up fuel pumps. They’re going to take apart my fuel system to see if there’s something wrong in my tank.

“Is there anyone who hates you enough to put sugar in your tank?” he asks.

Sugar in my bowl, yes. My tank? No.

And so they keep my car overnight, while I spend the evening saying shiva to my vacation plans. I start tentatively canceling the week’s dinner plans … fill Favorite Boy’s text message inbox with car lamentations … and gnaw on the few remaining nails.

I get The Call at 2 p.m. this afternoon. Volkswagen has finally ‘fessed up that there’s a bad lot of fuel pumps out there; several VWs have landed again and again at the dealer in the last several days.

New fuel pump is installed. Car is running.

But I’m still saying prayers. And wondering what else He has planned to f*ck with my Little America Tour.

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27 April 2008

Calling Clinton and Stacey

Last week was a rough one. A couple of highs — Nick Lowe and Ron Sexsmith at Variety Playhouse, dinner with Favorite Boy — but most of it was soul-sucking minutes dealing with car problems and work blandness and crap. What better way to close those 168 suck-ass hours than hitting a concert?

And so I went with Scrivener to see Tapes ‘n’ Tapes. Drained and limp, I donned the most comfortable clothes I could grab: faded jeans and Avias, R.E.M. T-shirt over a longsleeved white one. Popped the lenses, put on my glasses, slung my orange Nepalese messenger bag over my shoulder, and I was off to The Earl.

Ready to groove … casually

The opening act was White Denim, a garage band from Austin. Scrivener and I kept trying to guess the age of the bass player — who looked like the bastard child of Mike Mills and my friend Renae. If he was twenty, I want the name of his moisturizer.

Tapes ‘n’ Tapes hit the stage around 11:20, and I hit the bar. While ordering my cocktail of choice (bottled water; did I mention it was a rough week?), a guy grabbed my arm and told me he loved our opening set. When I looked at him quizzically, he said, “Aren’t you the bass player?”

Um, no. I have two decades and two tits on the bass player.

Mama’s right, I guess. I need to wear lipstick whenever I go out.

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25 April 2008

Mix Tape Friday: The Wizard of Oz

It appears that Fridays are no longer my own. Beloved Aussie blog vivant Mountjoy, from Ribbed for Your Pleasure, recently retired from the blogworld (something about continuing life as a grown-up), and asked to host a mix tape as his e-swan song. I didn’t want to start an international incident, so I'm giving him my page for the day. Mountjoy, throw some tunes on the barbie and get this mix tape rolling.

Okay, Coffey addicts, welcome to a special Down Under edition of the Friday Mix Tape. Beth has kindly agreed to let me mix up the tunes this week, and in doing so has given me the chance to put a compilation of home grown music from Australia and New Zealand out there for your enjoyment. Couple that with the fact that today is ANZAC Day (the down under equivalent of Memorial Day, when we celebrate our war dead) and I hope you will take this slice of Southern Hemisphere hospitality and enjoy.

I make no apologies for the bias of this collection — it is retro and fairly clichéd, but it’s also a cross-section of the music that makes me proud to be an Aussie, and at the same time sad that a lot of these acts never went on to bigger and better things. It’s a safe bet that if you aren’t from these parts of the globe, you will have missed a lot of this magic. Many of these tracks were staples heard on the radio when I was a teenager growing up in Sydney in the 1970s, and although the majority have disbanded, most still get plenty of radio airplay today.

Editor’s Note: The track listing is chronological so that you can sit back, listen, and experience Mountjoy’s life and maturation via his homeland’s turntable. I've been listening to the mix all week, and feel more worldly and aurally educated than I did a week ago. Oh, and the songs are awesome.

I’ve tried to avoid the obvious choices — so while INXS are present, you’ll hear “Burn for You” from The Swing, the album many Aussies think is their best, capturing them at their prime before they hit the big time with Listen Like Thieves and Kick. Cold Chisel’s “Khe Sanh” is my concession to public opinion — this song is the unofficial national anthem for a generation, spoiled only by over-saturation on the radio even today, some 30 years since its original release. Not all of you will find a song like “Tenterfield Saddler”— an autobiographical song, almost country & western, by the late Peter Allen (who was a master songwriter, penning Olivia Newton John’s “I Honestly Love You,” also part of the list today) — to your taste, but to hear the man who is probably best known for the flamboyant “I Go to Rio” singing so soulfully about his life story is a timeless.

Making the song choices for this list was incredibly hard; nearly every act represented here has a fistful of songs I wish I could share. The best I can do is to give you a taste, and hope maybe you’ll find your own diamonds within this grab bag. So from Johnny O’Keefe’s 1959 cover version of the Isley Brother’s “Shout,” all the way through to Powderfinger’s 2007 hit “Lost and Running,” I invite you to sit back, download, and enjoy some of the best pop and rock music Down Under has had to offer in the past half a century.

Johnny O’Keefe :: Shout

The Easybeats :: Friday on My Mind

Daddy Cool :: Eagle Rock

Billy Thorpe & The Aztecs :: Most People I Know (Think That I'm Crazy)

Peter Allen :: Tenterfield Saddler

Stevie Wright :: Evie (Part 1)

Olivia Newton John :: I Honestly Love You

Skyhooks :: Living in the 70s

Sherbet :: Howzat!

Jon English :: Hollywood Seven

Dragon :: April Sun in Cuba

Cold Chisel :: Khe Sanh

Ignatious Jones :: I’m Not Like Everybody Else

The Angels :: Marsellies

Australian Crawl :: The Boys Light Up

Mental as Anything :: Berserk Warriors

Men at Work :: Who Can It Be Now

The Church :: Almost With You

Splitz Enz :: Six Months in a Leaky Boat

The Divinyls :: Boys in Town

Midnight Oil :: Power and the Passion

INXS :: Burn for You

Mondo Rock :: Come Said the Boy

Mi-Sex :: Down the Line

Jimmy Barnes :: I’d Die to Be with You Tonight

Do-Ré-Mi :: Man Overboard

Paul Kelly :: To Her Door

The Go Betweens :: Streets of Your Town

Richard Clapton :: Deep Water

Hunters and Collectors :: Throw Your Arms Around Me

John Farnham :: That’s Freedom

Hoodoo Gurus :: 1000 Miles Away

Crowded House :: Weather with You

Noiseworks :: Hot Chilli Woman

Weddings Parties Anything :: Father’s Day

Wendy Matthews :: The Day You Went Away

Kylie Minogue :: Cowboy Style

Delta Goodrem :: In This Life

Powderfinger :: Lost and Running

It may take days to get to Australia — but you can get there aurally in a snap with this handy zip file. It extracts file counterclockwise, however.

Beth will be back to mixing tapes next week — tapes with R.E.M. tunes, no doubt.

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22 April 2008

A Doctor’s Note

Nope, I haven’t run off to stalk Michael Stipe. Nor have I gone all Luddite on you. Or died.

I have blogger’s elbow. My right elbow aches like a mutha-(shut your mouth!) these days, thanks to long hours spent writing in my cubicle. It hurts when I’m in the keyboard position, so I’ve been staying away from Al Gore’s Internet in the evenings.

For those of you who haven't read the entire Cup chronicles, during daylight hours I’m a corporate communicator — which means I write newsletters and annual reports, announcements and posters, reports and presentations, anything that needs to be read by my coworkers. Translation: I write a lot.

Yeah, I know; lame excuse. But at least you get free music every Friday. Watch for my triumphant return to the blogworld — here and in your comment boxes — in the coming days.

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18 April 2008

Mix Tape Friday: Left of the Dial (Side B)

Today’s post was mixed together and written by Tenacious S. It’s a great homage to her college radio years — and the songs kick aural ass! Enjoy it. Praise her here and on her blog; she deserves it.

Take it away, Tenacious S!

A Love Song for College Radio: 1984–88

I think all of us are a collage influenced by those we’ve known throughout our lives. Some periods of our lives allow us to be more open to influence, changing us as we interact with others, seeing and hearing the world the way that they do. For me, college was that time and my years in college radio influenced more than just what I listened to. Music to an avid music fan speaks volumes about who they are and what moves them.

WCAL and WUSC presented me with the opportunity to meet some amazing people and for their influence to expand my own musical vocabulary. There was music that I loved that I brought with me to my experience at the stations and music that I learned to love through the passion of my friends. This is a love song to my friends from a time gone by and to the music that has shaped who I am today.

SIDE 1: The WCAL Years (1984–86)

Porl Thompson, Joy, Julianne (WCAL's fearless GM), Lol Tolhurst, and me backstage after The Cure's Head on the Door Tour show in Detroit.

Hüsker Dü :: Hate Paper Doll

Phil and Derek
I started doing college radio because I listened to Phil and Derek’s show, and they invited my roommate, Jeanne, and me down to the station to hang. Best choice of my life.

The Jesus & Mary Chain :: The Hardest Walk

One of the perks of working at the station was reviewing new albums. I remember flopping this one onto the turntable and feeling my brain vibrate in a way I never knew it could. It felt a little dirty, but it felt so good.

Tones on Tail :: Performance

Dwayne was one of my good friends and was responsible for spoon feeding me Bauhaus and its derivatives. If you ever want to know what my brain actually sounds like, well, this is it.

The Cure :: A Night Like This

Julianne was the General Manager of our little station. More than once, we hopped into a car and drove some crazy distance to see a show. We had the very good fortune of scoring backstage passes for The Cure’s Head on the Door tour show in Detroit and got to meet the band. They were really nice guys and liked our trench coats. I swear I have never blown anything up. It was only a fashion statement.

The Smiths :: There Is a Light That Never Goes Out

Chad loved The Smiths. I loved The Smiths. Lulu loved The Smiths. Coaster Punchman loved The Smiths. Chad almost died of heatstroke at The Aragon Ballroom at their show, but damn, it was amazing. That Morrisey guy is quite a frontman!

Lloyd Cole & The Commotions :: Brand New Friend

Lloyd Cole is everything that was good about college radio in the ‘80s. You could write a good song and people would play it. No corporate pizzazz was needed. Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy every time I hear this album.

The Jazz Butcher :: The Devil Is My Friend

Dwayne is double-billed because he was probably the most influential person in the development of my musical taste. I think I still have the notes Dwayne gave me from the cassettes he would make for me. There were smiley faces next to songs he really loved. This was one of them.

The Suburbs :: Love Is the Law

Jeanne was my very best friend at WCAL and at Calvin. She was from Minneapolis, and The Suburbs defined that city for me at the time. She was my partner on my very first show. At first, she did the talking and I was DJ girl spinning the records, but soon I figured it out and was able to do two things at once and we went our separate ways.

Red Hot Chili Peppers :: True Men Don’t Kill Coyotes

Brent was the Music Director my first year at the station. He had just spent a lot of time in LA and came back with this cool record from this cool unknown band. Brent taught me a lot about how to program a station and how to deal with the labels.

Misfits :: Where Eagles Dare

Technically a song reissued in a year that I was in college, Mark loved this and everyone knew he was a huge Misfits fan. Truth be known, I was a huge Mark fan, but I am only 5’1’’ and Mark the last he measured himself was 6’7”. Folks, I’m just saying, there’s not enough love in the world that will fix that problem.

SIDE 2: The WUSC Years (1986–88)

Yes, I changed schools just to work at a better college radio station. I am that smart!

Me in my room during my WUSC years.
What was important to me? I wonder?
[Editor's Note: Check out the blue poster to TenS' right.]

Sisters of Mercy :: Dominion/Mother Russia

Vanessa was a cool chick. We had a lot in common. We were both English majors, we both liked a lot of the same music, we both, uh, liked a lot of the same boys.

Violent Femmes :: Kiss Off

OK, this might seem a little out of order, but Lulu did figure into my college radio career. I listened to what she listened to as well. Lu liked the twangier stuff. I liked the crunchier stuff. The only time I have ever heard Lulu go silent was when I handed her the microphone at the station. Who knew?

The Flaming Lips :: One Million Billionth of a Millisecond on a Sunday Morning

God bless Seana for turning me onto some of the more psychedelic-type bands. Seana, at the time, loved really garagey-sounding bands. She also has one of the best laughs on the planet.

The The :: Sweet Bird of Truth

Zork, a.k.a Bill, had amazing taste in music and an album collection that I lusted after. Plus, I believe he had military base privileges to buy beer on Sunday, which was a problem in South Carolina.

Hoodoo Gurus :: Hell for Leather

Heather was my best friend at the station and in life in South Carolina. Our house was called the Hoodoo Hut, probably because Heather loved the Hoodoo Gurus — and why not?

XTC :: Grass

Chris worked at the station and because I ended up living in a house with him, I ended up dating his brother (later discussion). Chris’ room was across from mine and I was always glad that Chris loved XTC as much as I did.

Marshall Crenshaw :: The Distance Between Us

Brother of Chris, bass player in a local band named Bedlam Hour, love of my life my last year in college. I almost get a little misty-eyed when I think about this song and I think about Jon. Jon was a smart, gentle guy that graced my life for a year. I often feel bad about how it ended and wish him well in my heart. Although we never really speak anymore, he left his love of Marshall Crenshaw with me. That’s a pretty great gift.

New Model Army :: 51st State of America

Johnny (Fish) was destined for greatness. He was the reason I transferred down there. I heard him on a panel at the convention and he loved college radio the way that I did and was pretty much my guru. He seemed to understand that a band could be cool and make money at the same time, and he was ready to promote that idea. Shocking, I know.

Beastie Boys :: Brass Monkey

Jeannie was and is one of the coolest girls I have ever known. She was one of the first people I knew who had a Mohawk and now she is a roller-derby girl. Now that’s cool!

American Music Club :: At My Mercy

If Johnny was the guru, Janet was the Yoda. She was the graduate student who broke all the rules and worked at the station even when she wasn’t supposed to. Janet was a genius in school and had what I thought to be very sophisticated musical taste.

Ministry :: Everyday Is Halloween

Dragged this with me from Chicago to wherever I landed. Kind of was my credo at the time.

Jason & The Scorchers :: Golden Ball and Chain

Paige was a Chicago girl who embraced the South with all her heart. I think of Paige and I think of alternative country music. Trust me when I tell you, this was an acquired taste for me.

The Replacements :: I Will Dare

Michael and I trained together at WUSC and did our on-air test together. In my mind, at the time, he was the physical manifestation of my inner rock self.

Naked Raygun :: Peacemaker

How could I talk about college radio or me without mentioning Naked Raygun? They were my local heroes and one of my very first interviews. I had to fight with Michael to use them for my on-air test. They are still one of my very favoritest bands of all time. Never bland, full of big crunchy guitar and Chicago swagger. They are my heart and soul.

The Cult :: Wildflower

Vinnie was my roommate and good friends with Chris. He was literally deaf in one ear, but it didn’t ever stop him from playing what he loved at 11.

Take the easy route to the mid-1980s: download the zip file.

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11 April 2008

Mix Tape Friday: Left of the Dial (Side A)

A Love Song for College Radio: 1980–81

I’ve waxed nostalgically a time or eleven about my college radio days. It was one of the best times of my life. It was all about being young with no responsibilities, discovering new bands, going to a music club nearly every night of the week, dancing the days away, spending my days at the station instead of in class. Many of the records from my time there — 1980–81 — are still among my favorites. I was there at a good time — post-punk and new wave ruled our airwaves. I wish I could put in writing how thrilling it was the first time I dropped the needle on The Pretenders' debut album, or Roxy Music's cover of "In the Midnight Hour" (still my favorite Bryan Ferry song), or the first Psychedelic Furs album (we gave away a hot-pink — a psychedelic — faux fur coat).

Yes, a Side B is coming next Friday. Covering the college radio years of 1984–88, it’s Tenacious S' contest-winning mix tape! And it’s a groovy one, kids. We’ll cover 1982–83 later this spring; some amazing songs came out during those two years.

My college radio station was Georgia State University’s WRAS — 88.5 on your FM dial. Album 88 has long been considered one of the top college stations in the country, and is the only college station broadcasting on 100,000 watts. (Somewhere I have a mix tape that starts with R.E.M.’s Mike Mills’ congratulating WRAS on getting those 100,000 watts.)

Sadly, I never had a shift, never got to play deejay. I spent 1980–81 as the station’s public relations/public affairs director, coordinating giveaways (which means I was on the guest list at the Agora Ballroom and 688 Club every night of the week) and PSAs. I desperately wanted a shift … but I talk way too fast for radio … and when I slow down to a normal speed … well, I sound rather drawly. I did get my FCC license, though.

Today I finally get to be a WRAS jock. The record is paused at the quarter turn, ready to spin. And so I present 44 songs about 88.5.

The Jam :: That’s Entertainment!

The Clash :: The Magnificent Seven

The Pretenders :: Tattooed Love Boys

Talking Heads :: Once in a Lifetime

Graham Parker :: Endless Night

English Beat :: Tears of a Clown

Mission of Burma :: Academy Fight Song

The B-52’s :: Quiche Lorraine

Roxy Music :: In the Midnight Hour

Blondie :: Rapture

XTC :: Generals and Majors

Buzzcocks :: Everybody’s Happy Nowadays

Peter Gabriel :: I Don’t Remember

R.E.M. :: Radio Free Europe (original Hibtone single)

Soft Boys :: Queen of Eyes

Siouxsie & The Banshees :: Spellbound

Gang of Four :: What We All Want

Devo :: Girl U Want

The Replacements :: More Cigarettes

Dead Kennedys :: Holiday in Cambodia

Spizzenergi :: Where’s Captain Kirk?

Swimming Pool Q’s :: Rat Bait

The Specials :: Rat Race

X :: Los Angeles

10,000 Maniacs :: Groove Dub

Altered Images :: I Could Be Happy

Squeeze :: Pulling Mussels (From the Shell)

Rockpile :: Teacher Teacher

The Police :: Spirits in the Material World

Joy Division :: Love Will Tear Us Apart

Patti Smith Group :: Dancing Barefoot

Psychedelic Furs :: Imitation of Christ

Pylon :: Crazy

Wreckless Eric :: Broken Doll

Split Enz :: One Step Ahead

The Stranglers :: Golden Brown

Suicide :: Johnny Dance

Oh-OK :: Whore Boy

Young Marble Giants :: Salad Days

Elvis Costello & The Attractions :: New Amsterdam

Bill Nelson :: Do You Dream in Colour

Method Actors :: Rang-A-Tang

The Basics :: Sexual Object

The Thrills:: Hey! (Not Another Face in the Crowd)

The Ramones:: Rock ‘n’ Roll High School

Who has time to right-click forty-four times? Grab the zip file instead. The zip file includes a bonus track: the most requested song from my WRAS days — “Sweet Transvestite.” Yeah, I know it came out in 1975 — but for some reason its popularity never waned with our listeners.

To keep today's tape at 44 for 88.5, I had to cut some great songs from my college radio era: Joe Jackson and The dB's ... Joan Armatrading's "Me Myself I" (the first free album I got at the station, with English Beat's I Just Can't Stop It!) ... Georgia's The Brains and The Producers ... maybe there's a part two that must be mixed.

Putting together this mix tape brought back some great concert memories: The B-52’s at the Agora Ballroom, Fred walking one of those invisible dog leashes during “Quiche Lorraine” … Talking Heads at Agora for their Remain in Light tour (and I could have partied with them until dawn, had I left my friends on the floor and gone to the VIP section as invited) … R.E.M. at 688, opening for Gang of Four … local bands like The Basics and Swimming Pool Q’s and The Method Actors. It was a fun time to be in Atlanta.

We had some great in-studio moments and interviews. My favorite? Split Enz performing in the studio. (Remember their groovy laser-etched vinyl for True Colors?) Is it worth bragging that The Moody Blues’ Justin Hayward held my hand the entire time he was in the studio promoting his solo album? Or is that as lame as my Eddie Money moment?

You know, it may be worth it to register for some classes and finally get that shift.

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08 April 2008

Little America

I have friends up and down the Eastern Seaboard, and for years I’ve dreamed of taking a roadtrip to drop in on each one for a day or two. I’d get to spend time with my beloveds — and have time to myself, the sunroof open, the iPod blaring, the mind relaxing. I love roadtrips.

I’ve long fantasized about following R.E.M. on tour, catching as many shows as I can. I want to dance and sing and be twentysomething again. This may be my last chance — plus, Modest Mouse and The National are opening.

Like a Reese’s Cup, I’m combining two fab wannas into one great trip: The Cup of Coffey 2008 Summer Tour.

Here are the tour details:

B. June 10: Raleigh. Favorite Boy and I are going to this show — and we wouldn’t mind some R.E.M.-loving company.

C. June 11: Washington DC. Evil Genius (or maybe it's Evil Evil Genius) says he may be there with Red or Pezda’s Ghost. We’re trying to get Pistols at Dawn to join us — because I’m convinced he secretly loves R.E.M. and hates Journey. I bet I can get him to shoot for a beer, though.

D. June 13: Boston. After DC, I’ll hop in the car and head to Connecticut and BFF Renae’s house. We’ll work our way up to the Boston show, where The Bastard may join us. Who else wants to dance on Tweeter Center grass with us?

E. June 14: Jones Beach. This is a maybe show. I may decide to crash on Renae’s sofa and have some girl time — unless one or seven of you New York-based bloggers want to meet me at the show.

F. June 18: Philadelphia. This is another maybe show, as my Phillie pal may be across the country on business.

G. June 21: Atlanta. The last night of my tour, appropriately back at home. Scrivener, Swirly Girl, and I have pit tix. It’s gonna be a night of whirling dervishes.

I can promise this will be a night you’ll remember for years … if only to experience Beth in R.E.M. Mode.

I’m getting lawn tickets — which means you can join me if you’re going to be in North Carolina, or DC, or Boston, or New York, or Phillie in June. We’ll dance. Cocktail. Dish and laugh. And enjoy one helluva great show.

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04 April 2008

Mix Tape Friday: The Ones I Love

And that, of course, would be R.E.M.

We’ve been in Acceleration this week. In case you didn’t know, R.E.M.’s fourteenth studio album, Accelerate, was released this week to great reviews and great dance moves up and down my hallway.

Psssssst: Have you heard the news?

Secondly, Saturday marks the twenty-eighth anniversary of the band’s first performance — a big day on the calendars of us R.E.M. nerds. Can you imagine doing the same job with the same folks for nearly thirty years?

This has been a fun week for me — and I want you to join in the fun, to understand why I’ve loved R.E.M. totally and completely for most of my adult life. To help you get in that Athens frame of mind, here are fifty of my favorite non-album tracks — B-sides, fan club singles, cuts from soundtracks and tribute albums, a couple of live tracks.

Check in this weekend for one more R.E.M.-centric post — and a big announcement.

Let's start with a love song of sorts to R.E.M., and then dive into the cool tunes.

Pavement :: Unseen Power of the Picket Fence

R.E.M. :: Windout

R.E.M. :: Funtime

R.E.M. :: First We Take Manhattan

R.E.M. :: Burning Down

R.E.M. :: See No Evil

R.E.M. :: Bad Day

R.E.M. :: All the Right Friends

R.E.M. :: After Hours

R.E.M. :: Academy Fight Song

R.E.M. :: Sex Bomb

R.E.M. :: Ghost Riders

R.E.M. :: Chance (Dub)

R.E.M. :: There She Goes Again

R.E.M. :: Wall of Death

R.E.M. :: Memphis Train Blues

R.E.M. :: Adagio

R.E.M. :: Pale Blue Eyes

R.E.M. :: I Will Survive

R.E.M. :: Live for Today

R.E.M. :: Jimmy Crack Corn/Behind Closed Doors

R.E.M. :: Bandwagon

R.E.M. :: Dark Globe

R.E.M. :: The Lions Sleeps Tonight

R.E.M. :: Hot Java

R.E.M. feat. The Muppets :: Furry Happy Monsters

R.E.M. :: Only in America

R.E.M. :: Arms of Love

R.E.M. :: Baby Baby

R.E.M. :: Love Is All Around

R.E.M. feat. Robyn Hitchcock + Billy Bragg :: Tom’s Diner

R.E.M. :: Femme Fatale

R.E.M. feat. Kate Pearson :: Fretless

R.E.M. :: Wicked Game

R.E.M. :: Summertime

R.E.M. :: 2JN

R.E.M. :: Surfing the Ganges

R.E.M. :: The Passenger

R.E.M. :: Tired of Singing Trouble

R.E.M. :: Walter’s Theme

R.E.M. :: Sponge

R.E.M. :: Animal

R.E.M. feat. William S. Burroughs :: Star Me Kitten

R.E.M. :: #9 Dream

R.E.M. :: Jesus Christ

R.E.M. :: Favorite Writer

R.E.M. :: Dream (All I Have to Do)

R.E.M. :: Crazy

R.E.M. :: Wichita Lineman

R.E.M. feat. Bruce Springsteen :: Because the Night

Automatic Baby :: One

Too Accelerated to download each track? Take the shortcut to the zip file.

I could go on … and on … and on about every damn one of these tracks, but I’m trying hard not to bore you with minutiae. But let me point out what a groovy pool of artists R.E.M. has covered: Velvet Underground, Television and Mission of Burma, Big Star and Patti Smith, Leonard Cohen and Richard Thompson, Iggy and Syd — even Athens neighbors Pylon, Magnapop, and Vic Chesnutt.

These songs have me too distracted to continue typing. Think it’s time to Winamp up the room and dance. Hope you love this tape.

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03 April 2008

Who Needs Klosterman or Fricke

when you have Stephen Colbert?

This is one of the best, most insightful — and, well, damn funny — interviews with R.E.M. I’ve ever seen. The Peabodiment of TV news anchors threw some tough questions at my boys, but they held up under all that scrutiny — and made me laugh until I cried.

The boys performed “Supernatural Superserious” — and the performance is on “The Colbert Report” Web site.

I am loving Michael's style these days. The boy knows how to wear a suit, doesn't he?

Acceleration week continues!

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01 April 2008

Live from Rockefeller Plaza

In case you missed R.E.M. this morning on the “Today” show:

Losing My Religion

Supernatural Superserious

It’s a weeklong Accelerate celebration — I guess that’s an Acceleration!

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Accelerate My Heart

Yeah, okay, maybe the title reeks of hyperbole. But just a little. I haven’t been this excited about a new R.E.M. album since New Adventures in Hi-Fi was released in the fall of 1996.

And today I get to hold Accelerate in my excited little hands!

No more online streaming. The end of leaked MP3s. I’ve downloaded my preordered iTunes, counted down the minutes to the CD clasp. Every moment not spent in meetings will be spent groovin’ to the album.

And I’m gonna rawk!

It’s a short album — but, oh, what my boys can do in thirtysomething minutes. Some say it's a return to the Document days. I think my boys have finally gotten over Bill Berry leaving, and they're having fun playing together again.

Join me in the Accelerate celebration. I hope you caught their interview with Anthony Mason on “Sunday Morning” over the weekend; it was a good interview. R.E.M. is performing on “The Today Show” this morning (which I’ll miss, seeing as I work hard for the money). They’re also scheduled to be on “The Colbert Report” tomorrow night — the first time a band has performed on the show.

Yeah, yeah. Chris Funk battled guitars with Colbert a year or so ago — but it wasn’t the full Decemberists lineup.

It’s going to be a week of R.E.M. An announcement, a love song of sorts, some trivia, great tunes.

Damn, I am one happy girl today.

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