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WHAT'S NEW IN iJAMMING!...
THE SPRING CLEANING HITLIST
Cassette tapes from yester-year
ERASURE Live in New York
THE SPRING HITLIST
Albums, singles, a movie, a book, food and more...
THE IJAMMING! INTERVIEW
Mick Jones on Joe Strummer
SO MUCH WINE, SO LITTLE TIME
18 Wines from four dinners
The FischerSpooner Album Release Party
PONT NEUF 2003
Vin De Pays du Gard, France
BRIGHTON ROCKS BROOKLYN
The Go! Team at Southpaw
THE MARCH HITLIST:
NOTES FROM A POSH NIGHT OUT:
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Dinner
Bremerton 'Selkirk' Shiraz 2000 Langhorne Creek, Australia
THE IJAMMING! INTERVIEW:
FEATURED WINE REGION:
THE FEBRUARY HITLIST:
Chemical Brothers, Lemon Jelly, Slits, Erasure, T.H. White, M83, Tim Booth and more
JEAN LALLEMENT CHAMPAGNE BRUT NV
THE JANUARY HITLIST:
They Almost Got Away: The Best Of The Rest of 2004:
The IJAMMING! Interview:
Matt Friedberger of The Fiery Furnaces on Pete Townshend
MINUTES OF A 'MIRACLE':
The Birth of our baby Noel
2004: THE YEAR IN REVIEW
1) The Best Album & Singles
2) Most Disappointing Albums
3) Best Wines of 2004
THE GREAT COMMUNICATOR:
TED LEO in concert
THE DECEMBER HITLIST:
Album reviews of Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen, John Cale, Nick Cave, The Scumfrog, Freq Nasty, DFA, Grip Weeds, High Dials
THE IJAMMING! INTERVIEW:
Wayne Kramer on Pete Townshend
JOHN PEEL: A Tribute
The Clash: The Complete Guide To Their Music available online through amazon.co.uk, and at all good UK bookstores.
CLASH PAGES now online
Read excerpts from the book. Plus: Mick Jones interview. Go!
The biggest night out that you'll ever have in." Jockey Slut
"Hedonism will have you gripped from start to finish, guaranteed." International DJ
Tony Fletcher's debut novel HEDONISM is out now. For more information and to read excerpts, click here.
HEDONISM is available mail order in the USA from Barnes&Noble.com. It's available mail order in the UK from amazon.co.uk or musicroom.com.
DEAR BOY The British edition of the Keith Moon biography is available in paperback at book stores, amazon.com and amazon co.uk. More info here.
REMARKS REMADE The first ever R.E.M. biography fully updated with ten new chapters covering Reveal and beyond. Available at UK bookstores, amazon.co.uk and musicroom. Available at select stores in the States and through BN.com.
MOON The American edition of the Keith Moon biography is available in paperback at book stores, amazon.com, bn.com and amazon co.uk. More info here
iJAMMING! is a music and lifestyle web site hosted by
author, journalist and dee jay Tony Fletcher.
Click on the buttons above to access the different areas of the site.
For the latest additions, see What's New
To find a specific item, use the search engine
Tony's current musings follow below.
Previous musings are archived here.
As always, Douglas Wolk, writing in the Village Voice, has interesting things to say about the price and the value of recorded music. Citing Linkin Park's Hybrid Theory as an example, he notes how you can pay anywhere from $18.98 for a list price CD to $1.08 for digital files from the "dubiously legal" allofmp3.com.
He also states the following:
"The British newspaper The Guardian cites a study claiming that men make up 96 percent of the market for paid music downloads. (Just over 50 percent of Americans who buy music are female, according to the Recording Industry Association of America.)"
It would be interesting to know if the Guardian study applied merely to Britain. Or what percentage of American downloaders are female.
If you're wondering why there should be such disparity, you can find an answer elsewhere in the Voice, where Joy Press reviews British author Tom Hodginkson's book How To Be Idle and notes that:
"Women are completely invisible here
Maybe that's because men have a natural talent for goofing off, whereas women have historically been left to hold together the family when men wander off."
We all know you can't trust The Sun, but a couple of dodgy British villains nonetheless had faith that the tabloid would hand over £30,000 in cash for a stolen advance copy of the new Harry Potter book. The so-called journalist lived up to his paper's long-standing reputation for dishonesty and himself tried to himself steal the book. At which the original thieves brought out guns and fired shots over the Sun man's head. (Sadly, they missed.) In the meantime, the Daily Mirror had also been offered a copy of the book and, after an initial meeting with the thieves, tipped the police off to itswhereabouts. The thieves are now in custody, the book is back with its publishers, and both tabloids have great stories to post on their front pages. The rest of us novelists are left wishing that our work could only be considered worthy of such a true crime story.
It's been a bad week for true crimes though. On Monday, here in Brooklyn, a 9-year old girl stabbed her 11-year old 'friend' to death with a single blow to the chest in an indoor tug-of-war over a ball.
"The mother had gone upstairs in her building to borrow a comb for the girl when the fight with Queen took place. Neighbors said she had been gone only a few minutes.
While in West Yorkshire, a community is coming to terms with the attempted hanging of a 5-year old by a group of 11 and 12 year olds.
"(The boy) is believed to have been taken from the garden of his home, less than quarter of a mile from the woodland, while his mother was washing up.
He was treated for severe bruising around his neck and cuts and bruises to his body.
The incident is being treated as a suspected murder attempt rather than a minor assault or stupid prank. Three boys and two girls, aged 11 and 12, spent Wednesday night at a police station, being questioned on suspicion of attempted murder because of the scale of the younger child's injuries."
I can't leave for the weekend on such a downer. And I won't. Over a year after it opened, I finally got to spend time at Total Wine Bar, right round the corner from my house. Why so long to try a place I knew I would love? Well, I don't have the time for casual drinking out these days, and most of my wine-loving friends prefer the 'offline' BYO dinner format. My local drinking friends generally prefer a pint when it's time to go out and catch up. And that time is limited there are few of us dads with the flexibility to goof off, I mean download music, I mean stop by the local wine bar while our wives keep the families together.
The inobtrusive Total Wine Bar: Conveniently located next to Peperoncino restaurant. A new wine store, Sip, is set to open directly opposite. (i.e., from where I took this picture.)
Anyway, I'm happy to confirm what others clearly already know, that Total is a friendly place with a cheerfully unconventional line-up of wines, almost all of them available by the glass. I tried a Pinot Noir from Chile a combination that scared me until I saw that the wine, a Veranda 2003, is a partnership between the Chilean producer Vinedos Corpora and Burgundy's own Domaine Boisson. A successfulpartnership: the wine was bright and cheery and smooth as silk, a wonderful representation of that most fickle of noble grapes. We then tried a Pinot Noir from Saintsbury wines in Carneros. Though Californian, this is not the type of Pinot as raved about in Sideways, given that it comes from the warm climes of the northern Napa Valley rather than the southern Santa Barbara County of that movie's setting. And this Saintsbury turned out to be the second Carneros Pinot I've had of late that I found a little abrasive and tannic, in need of chilling to remove its rough edges. (Or arguably in need of short term cellaring.) I actually preferred the less expensive Chilean wine. My friend and I followed this taste-off with an Australian 'sticky': a Campbell's Rutherglen Tokay, surprisingly similar in style to the winery's Muscat dessert wine which I raved about years ago. Absolutely delicious, but not cheap, at $10 a glass. And therein lies the other reason I've deliberately shied away from frequenting Total: I'm perfectly aware that hanging out in a wine bar in a newly gentrified area like mine is an expensive past-time. Fortunately my drinking friend was treating. Here's to the do-ers.
The Rockin' and Shockin' format was founded by iJamming! Pub regular po1ntman. Feel free to post your own list here.
ROCKIN': The weather warms up just in time for the holiday weekend
SHOCKIN': It rains anyway.
R: The Drive-In has opened for the summer already in Hunter.
S: It's within walking distance.
R: The dialogue in the new Star Wars movie is better than in the last one.
S: It could hardly have been worse, could it?
R: The roasted garlic soup at the recently opened Roasted Garlic restaurant in Red Hook. (That's Red Hook, Dutchess County, not Red Hook in Brooklyn.)
S: They brought me the soup after my main course.
R: There's a place in Rhinebeck, Dutchess County, called A Spot Of Tea that serves cream teas, scones, Welsh rarebit and chip butties.
S: Is this really what the English wish to be known for?
Some Spotted Dick with that Spot Of Tea? This very English Rhinebeck cafe will gladly oblige. (And no, we didn't go in.)
R: Posie's birthday falls on a holiday this year.
S: Unfortunately, her birthday is also the day her father passed away. RIP, David, gentle giant.
R: Getting up at 7am to run a 15k (9.3m) road race in Woodstock on a Holiday Monday.
S: It's also Posie's birthday.
R: The smaller the field, the faster I go: I pass the finish line in just over 70 minutes.
S: The smaller the field, the stronger the competition: I'm only in the top third.
R: I run the last 1.3 miles at a 6:40 pace
S: Someone runs the whole race at a 5:30 pace
R: Runners are rewarded with free beer
S: I don't partake.
Free beer for hardened runners at 10.30 on a Holiday Monday. Those who think America is a puritan country should think again!
R: Crystal Palace star (for now), Andy Johnson, is chosen to play for England in the USA.
S: He's left on the bench the one time I go see England play.
R: Michael Owen's third goal for England against Colombia, at Giants Stadium.
S: Alan Smith, not Andy Johnson, is brought on in Owen's place.
R: The England-Colombia game is followed by Metro Stars vs. Chicago Fire.
S: The Metro Stars vs. Chicago Fire. You have no idea how much I want to believe in American football. I mean, soccer in America. (You know what I mean.) One day, the standard will be better than English non-league. Based on the opening 15 minutes of this sorry affair, that day is a long way off.
R: The camaraderie between English and Colombian fans in a mostly non-segregated Giants Stadium.
S: The Colombian gang-banger type who succeeds in starting a fight even though the English, contrary to reputation, do their best to ignore him.
R: During the 90th minute fracas I catch, one-handed, a beer bottle thrown my way by these Colombian troublemakers.
S: That someone would spend $6.75 on a bottle of Bud and not even drink it. (Then again
R: My (lack of) hair cut is fashionable in the England end.
S: What is it with the English male and baldness?
R: Barely pubesecent American girls supporting England.
S: They're only here for David Beckham
Michael Owen makes it three. Lovely cross by Beckham.
R: The French vote down the European Constitution
S: Andrew Sullivan finds it a reason to praise Thatcher
R: Good lawyers.
S: Good lawyers.
R: Hunter Mountain is hosting a rock festival this weekend for WDST's 25th birthday.
S: It's full of jam bands. (And $40 a ticket.)
R: The line-up for this year's Siren Festival has been announced
S: It's not a patch on last year's
Double shocking: This may be our last chance to enjoy Coney Island in all it natural glory before it's turned into "a cross between Las Vegas and Disneyland."
R: The line-up for the Celebrate Brooklyn festival has been announced
S: It's not as good as last year's.
R: I'm given an Alan Stivell double CD at a friend's yard sale.
S: I'm given Emma Townshend's CD with it
R: The Who are making a documentary movie.
S: What's wrong with The Kids Are Alright?
R: The Step On One Off. Now that our babies (DJ Nick Cain is also a proud new dad) are sleeping through the night, we can stay up all night.
S: Posie and I are due at a friend's kid's first birthday party the following lunchtime 125 miles away. Babies always find a way to cut into your sleep.
Don't call it a comeback. This is one night only.
R: West Ham win their Play-Off game on Bank Holiday Monday to return to the Premiership . (I have a soft spot for any team in claret and blue.)
S: Crystal Palace beat West Ham in the same game last year, and now look where they are.
R: Sheffield Wednesday are back in the Championship. (I have a soft spot for any team with loyal supporters.)
S: Crystal Palace are back in the Championship with them.
R: Hull City are in the Championship. (I have a soft spot for any team close to where I was born and coached by a former Palace idol like Peter Taylor.)
S: Crystal Palace are in the Championship with them.
R: Man Utd fans protesting the takeover of their club. Sayeth Manchester Central MP Tony Lloyd, "I'm devastated that someone can come along and say 'this is all mine.'"
S: That only now do they know how it feels for the rest of us football fans.
Campbell takes on big brother responsibilities. Noel looks up lovingly. Or is that just hungrily?
R: Watching Campbell feed Noel solid food.
S: Clearing up after the pair of them.
R: It's so easy to make Noel laugh
S: It's just as easy to make him cry.
R: Dooce's post about her baby's explosive poop.
S: The last sentence.
R: The Stone Roses may reform
With Ian Brown on vocals.
R: U2 admit that the album Pop "didn't communicate the way it was intended to."
S: They're threatening to remix and rerelease it.
R: The Strokes have just finished recording their third album.
S: They're threatening to mix and release it. (Sorry, couldn't help that.)
R: The song 'Lock and Load' by Rockethouse is getting tons of airplay on KEXP. The unsigned "new" New York band is the buzz of the moment.
S: This is the same 'Lock And Load' as I've had in MP3 form since this time in 2002, when I reviewed Rockethouse under their previous name, Aerial Love Feed.
R: My 71-year old mother has found a new Middle East country to visit.
S: She's going to Syria this weekend. (Seriously.)
R: Shona joins the iJamming! Pub.
S: 26 years on and she's still a terrible tease.
R: A wine-loving friend turns 40 and celebrates by opening half a dozen aged Barolos.
S: The 1958 Borgogno Barolo still tastes young.
R: Two days later, another wine dinner.
S: We still haven't gotten over the last one.
R: My bottle of 1995 Château Musar, Lebanon's famed mix of Rhone and Bordeaux style grapes (and the country's only wine to be made during every year of the civil war) is drinking beautifully.
S: Someone brings a Barolo less than a decade old and opens it.
R: The Romarantin grape, the sole ingredient in the Loire appellation Cour-Cheverny. Expect a featured wine review some time soon.
S: The Menu Pineau grape. The bottle this grape is fermented into is called Originel. Well, that's one way of putting it. Undrinkable would be another.
R: The new copy of Cooleh magazine, which I excitedly open up on a busy subway ride through town.
S: The full-page picture of adult movie actress Brittany Andrews, wearing nothing but a strap-on, and shot from below, which I inadvertently open straight up to on that same busy subway ride through town.
This is not the page I opened up at. This is.
R: Listening to the archived stream of a 24-hour old Blue Room radio show, handling e-mail, taking virtual tours of other people's houses, watching a slide show of our Holiday Weekend pictures, viewing video interviews with the England players, and updating my web site
all from a completely cordless and wireless laptop, while lying on the bed.
S: That we expect as much from our computers.
New wave wine fans like yours salivate at the sight of innovative blends. So many grapes, so many combinations. Would you like some Syrah with your Zinfandel, sir? Some Pinot Gris with that Chardonnay, Madam? Consider it done.*
But blending grapes that don't have centuries of proven compatibility behind them is a hit and miss affair. I recently tasted three white wines, all of which included the bright acidity of Sauvignon Blanc, the classically neutral blending properties of Chardonnay and the tropical fruit profile of Viognier, and yet which offered three markedly different results. Interestingly, the cheapest was by far the most enjoyable.
At the top end of the market, Conundrum is an established Californian blend of five white grapes, from well known Napa producers Caymus. The winery would have you believe that Conundrum's core attraction is the Muscat grape's distinctive floral aroma, but Caymus has a habit of burying the overall blend in oak to produce a blousy, boozy, heady, somewhat sweet wine dominated by the scent of vanilla and the texture of wood. It's the kind of wine that new world wine wanna-be's with more money than sense it retails for $24 or more swoon over. And I plead guilty: I've bought it in the past and I've loved it. But I've since come to dislike this overpowering approach to wine-making, and my initial impression of the 2003 Conundrum was exactly as I expected and defined up above all oak and sweetness. Yet once I got it in the mouth, I was pleasantly surprised: as well as the Muscat's spicy orange glow, I was able to taste a significant amount of my treasured Viognier, and some healthy brightness and acidity from Sauvignon Blanc. (The other grapes, Semillon and Chardonnay were inobtrusive, as tends to be their nature though I assume that these were the grapes given the oak treatment.) Conundrum remains blatantly overdressed, but in that upscale way that acts as an aphrodisiac for the easily woo'd date.
The Domaine Saint-Geogres D'Ibry hails from the delightfully named Vin de Pays des Côtes de Thongue in southern France, and its Cuvée 'Excellence,' judging by the spelling, has clearly been designed for the English speaking market. The blend - Chardonnay (40%), Sauvignon Blanc (20%), Muscat (15%) and Viognier (25%) - is similar to the Conundrum's, but the wine is not. Unlike the relatively closed Conundrum, the Excellence exploded on the nose with the aromas of Muscat and Viognier. (The back label gushed about "saffron, bay leaves, rosemary, thyme and juniper," which is an unnecessarily effusive way of stating "Provencal herbs.") Either way, I could have sniffed at it all night. And maybe I should have done, because, on the palate, it was heavy. Dead heavy. I got all the appropriate Viognier notes, but the wine was sadly lacking finesse, and absent too the freshness of its Californian counterpart. Some of this may have been down to the record-breaking heat of the 2003 vintage short of artificially 'acidifying' their wines, European producers are having a nightmare getting any vibrancy into their bottles and some of it may just be the wine-maker's inexperience. It wasn't offensive but at $15 for a Vins de Pays, it was expensive and it did not live up to its name.
But what do you know? Head down the price scale, to the $10 mark, and find that CLINE CELLARS' recently introduced Red Truck White 2003 blend does everything it promises and more. Sauvignon Blanc from the Oakley region is blended with Viognier from Sonoma, along with, perhaps, a small amount of the latter grape's Rhône relatives Marsanne and Roussanne. (The label lists these four grapes, but the web site references some Chardonnay too. An e-mail exchange with winemaker Charlie Tsegeletos revealed that Chardonnay actually makes up a whopping third of the blend, supposedly added to this year's vintage, at the last minute, and after the label was printed. Tsegeletos no longer seems sure about the Marsanne and Roussanne. It's obviously hard for Cline to keep up with all its experiments, but I feel it's only right, if not mandatory, that its labels be accurate.) The complete lack of oak distinguishes the Red Truck White from its overly heady Californian rival Conundrum, while the difference in vintage conditions may be what separates it from the overly heavy southern French Excellence. What we get instead is what we were hoping for: a bold yellow color (the Chardonnay), a nose that wafts of Viognier's perfume, that same grape's tropical tendencies on the palate, but with the bright acidity of the Sauvignon Blanc shining through too, bringing some welcome citrus fruit and a tangy finish to the blend. It's a delightfully refreshing and yet flavor-packed medium-bodied wine, equally suitable as an aperitif or a dinner accompaniment. It's proof that the blending of different grapes, while an imperfect art form, occasionally delivers excellence and that, as always, higher prices do not guarantee better wines. Score one more for Cline.
MUSIC? Blends like these are an upbeat spring time type of thing, for sipping while experimenting with different musical forms. Try the Red Truck White with The Dissociatives' mix of electronic and pop, or The Bees' very modern take on sixties soul.
*- In case any one thinks I'm in Cline's pocket given my frequently favorable reviews of their wines, let me note I also recently tasted the label's new Pinot Gris-Chardonnay blend and found that it combined the worst of both worlds.
BOOK YOUR PLANE TICKETS! HIRE YOUR BABYSITTER! DIG OUT YOUR BEST JOE BLOGGS! RETURN THE POSTERS! THE RUMORS ARE TRUE...
NEED REMINDING WHAT ALL THE FUSS IS ABOUT? CHECK THE STEP ON HALL OF INFAMY, TWO PAGES OF PHOTOS FROM OUR EIGHTEEN MONTH RUN, JULY 2003-DECEMBER 2004, NEWLY UPLOADED HERE. AND HERE. CERTAIN iJAMMING! PUB MEMBERS MAY RECOGNIZE THEMSELVES IN VARIOUS STAGES OF DISREPUTE.
GOING UP IN THE WORLD by APOCALYPSE now available on iTunes!
If you haven't bought the album, try a single song.
Only 99c each in the USA.
Only 79p each in the UK.
APOCALYPSE ARCHIVE PAGES START HERE.
May 23-29: Live reviews of Kasabian, Gang Of Four, Mercury Rev, Doves, Radio 4, The Ordinary Boys, The Hong Kong, West Indian Girl
May 16-22: 5th Avenue Street Fair,Stellastarr* live, Spizz Energi, CBGB, Guy Pratt, Clash
May 9-15: Brooklyn Beats, New York Nights, Cider With Roadies, Spizz, Clash, Basquiat,
May 2-8: The Spring (Cleaning) Hitlist, Cure vs. Smiths, Happy Endings, Brooklyn Real Estate Bust, Save CBGB: Eat More Chocolate
April 25-May 1: Erasure live, LeNell's Wine store, Happy Endings, Peter Hook
April 18-24: Rockin' & Shockin', M83/Ulrich Schnauss live, NJ Marathon, Ribolla Gialla wine
April 11-17: The Spring Hitlist, Springtime In Brooklyn, Restaurant Reviews, Supermom!
April 4-10: Twenty wine reviews, FischerSpooner, KEXP, Loveless, Rockin' & Shockin'
Mar 28-April 3: Loathsome! Daft! Human! Overload! Rockin' & Shockin'
Mar 21-27: The Go! Team live, Ian Brown dead, Pont Neuf wine, Hall Of Fame rules, Cocotte restaurant, Marilyn Monroe/Jean-Michel Basquiat exhibitions
Mar 14-20: The March Hitlist, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Dinner report,
Mar 7-13: Bouillabaisse 126 restaurant review; Going Up In The World; Dandy Mama; Tim Booth
Feb 21-Mar 6: Live reviews: Ian Brown, Schizo Fun Addict, Soft Explosions, The Stands. Wine review: Langhorne Creek Selkirk Shiraz.
Feb 14-20: Ten Words Of Wisdom, Weblinks, Stone Roses demos, Lyceum revisited, Bandol wine review
Feb 7-13: Fanzines, Village Voice Pazz & Jop Poll, Chord & Tabs, The Plug Awards, Tear Down The Discos, Jean Lallement Champagne review
Jan 31-Feb 6: Erasure/Tim Booth/M83/T.H. White album reviews. WebFriends Day. The Jam vs. The Smiths vs. The USA, Iraq elections
Jan 24-30: Chemical Brothers/Lemon Jelly/Slits album reviews. Ted Leo/Benzos live reviews. Gang of Four/Specials/Happy Mondays/Farm/Bureau reunions. Tempranillo wine reviews.
Jan 17-23: The January Hitlist: Those That Almost Got Away, Revolutions, Remixes, Remisses, Justin Timberlake, Fiery Furnaces, Jimmy Edgar live
Jan 10-16: Tsunami observations/relief efforts/fund-raisers, Best Wines of 2004, British vs. American charts, Alba Chambourcin wine review
Jan 3-9: The Best Of 2004 - Albums and Singles; Biggest Disappointments of 2004; Minutes of A Miracle: Our Son Noel; New York Club Nights
2004 MUSINGS ARE LISTED HERE
2003 MUSINGS ARE LISTED HERE
2002 MUSINGS ARE LISTED HERE:
iJamming! Site Copyright Tony Fletcher 2005