Music AND Lyrics  

Posted by Mike Todd

Even though I'm a millennial, born with mouse in hand, glazed over eyes, and an incredulity with anything without an "i" in front of it, I would rather not chain memories of a great album like Robert Plant & Alison Krauss's Raising Sand to bad posture and a stupefied look on my face. Perhaps you don't have drool running down your face when you use a computer, but as the digital age is nearing its teenage years, you have to admit real is becoming overrated. Human interaction is becoming automated. Even entire movies, shot traditionally with real people are becoming animated. Before long, tag-lines will tout "100% Real Actors!" as if they are the real bacon in McMuffins. To me, it all seems like a big joke. Aston Kutcher, get your butt out here and tell us that we're Punk'd already. We've waited long enough.

Anyway, while that hunky heartthrob gets his hair teased and blush applied in preparation for the uncovering, I've got some time to say a little "What the Fuck?" to iTunes. If I only had that printable booklet to hold onto, then maybe I wouldn't have to associate The Bill Evans Trio with looking for an electric shaver on eBay. It can't be that difficult to send the file from a graphic designer's computer to some server. Why do only a handful of new releases get the special treatment and why do most of them have to be total crap?

Right now I'd like to say, "Maybe it's just because I'm old-fashioned. I've been on this world a lot of years. I deserve to have my stubborn opinion." I can't say that. I'm nineteen. I'm a millennial. So what do you think?

Sail Away  

Posted by Mike Todd

If you've seen the wildly popular Toy Story or a number of other Disney movies, you probably know there's this one guy whose voice can be heard in the background. It sounds like this guy had a stroke and got the chance to sing through Make a Wish. Granted, the songs he performs are all near masterpieces, but nevertheless, you don't have to pay a cover charge at a nursing home when you go.

What you may not realize is that the man behind the microphone, Randy Newman, is one of America's best living songwriters. He will be putting out a new studio album this August. But, to tide yourself over until then, be sure to check out an album he released over thirty-five years ago. I'm going to keep this post short, as I've got to go to work early tomorrow, but I hope to elaborate sometime soon. It's near perfect.

Randy Newman--Sail Away

Finally! A Good Song With a Jew's Harp!  

Posted by Mike Todd

Okay, so I haven't been looking far and wide for a song with a Jew's harp, but what a find Ben Sollee was! He's so fresh that I can't even find a source with a pronunciation of his last name! I am just so happy; I think the four exclamation points so far illustrate that.

I've read that some people have compared him to the venerable Andrew Bird, but I don't hear it. Perhaps it's the subject matter, being something other than dark matter or over-my-head scientific gunk. Perhaps it's his straightforward writing style, without any wandering and with a fuller sound. Perhaps in my mind I simply cannot fit anyone else in Andrew's nest, outfitted with only the best synaptic connections.Yet, you could see some connection there, if you're on drugs, listening to these lines from "How to See the Sun Rise":

"Teach me baby. Oh, I promise I'll get it this time, how to hold a bird in my hand and watch it grow. See those feathers bloom? But don't let it fly. Even though that's what it's supposed to do." Dude! He totally owns him!

I find myself drifting just like Andy himself. Anyway, have a listen. It'll do your spirit good.

PS: He does look a little like Jude Law with glasses. Not another man crush!

Ben Sollee--How to See the Sun Rise
Ben Sollee--A Change is Gonna Come

Tom Waits True Confessions  

Posted by Mike Todd

In another fit of brilliance—for those of you keeping score at home, this is approximately fit of brilliance number 12,425—previously mentioned Tom Waits released an interview a few weeks ago that I just caught wind of. I don't want to give too much away but both the interviewer and interviewee are captivating and screwed up inside... in a good way.

Once you've clicked the title above and have been hooked in by a killer of a lead sentence, you had better read all the way to the last line or you'll miss out on some of the many iotas of humor and wisdom tucked away in the folds.

Trust me. Tom Waits knows if you didn't make it to the end. And he can get cranky, I hear.

Tom Waits? Anyone?  

Posted by Mike Todd

There are purported to be six fans of the man with the husky voice within a five-mile radius of my current location, but the census was taken over eight years ago. I may ask my dad to come along; that is, if I secure any tickets from the thicket of a Halsey, Nebraska sized forest. Check it out on Wikipedia. It's man-made and small. Tom loves to make his devotees fight for a chance to see him.

I'm serious. If anyone else would like to meet up or coordinate buying, I'd be all over that. The offer's on the table. I'm thinking St. Louis.

The least I'd have to pay for a ticket is 70 buckaroos. You know, I don't think so.

Back and Better Than Ever (very soon)  

Posted by Mike Todd

For everyone who has been waiting patiently or has been refreshing this page every minute for the past two or three days, have I got news for you! I'm on my way back to the states, on a plane this very moment. Once I get settled in back in Alliance I plan on hunkering down and writing one album review each day of the new and the old.

Along with that, I fully intend on continuing the once a week themed blogs, and hope to create a few more to round the week out. If anyone has suggestions, or would like to point a fellow blogger just getting his feet wet, don't shy away from writing an email. I promise to always reply to everything that finds its way into my inbox concerning What Might Have Been Lost.

These are ambitious goals, but I am going to have all the time in the world this summer, and I'm going to do all I can do to escape the clutches of boredom.

For the time being, feast your eyes upon the most beautiful beach (in my opinion) of the whole Yucatan Peninsula.

Different Time Zones  

Posted by Mike Todd

Now I know I promised that I'd be on sabbatical — not really a sabbatical, but I like to sound professional — for three weeks, learning about the ins and outs of Cozumel, Mexico's mass media, but I'm going to break that promise and post some thoughts on the music of my hotel bar after the jump.

The Saturday before boarding a plane for Cozumel, Mexico, I scrambled up and down the stairs and from room to room to prepare myself for anything and everything. After all, I was going on a three-week study abroad trip by myself and wouldn’t be able to rely on family and friends for an umbrella left behind or sunscreen forgotten. Three hours full of spatial suppositions and strenuous squeezing passed, and I was left with a suitcase busting at the zippers, full of both the essential and the frivolous. But even that amount of effort didn’t prepare me to hear Jock Jams. Jock Jams? Is it really 2008 down here? I have to wonder. Was the plane was outfitted with a flux capacitor, and I didn’t see it? Heck, it did have a suicide door.

At any rate, for those of you who may not know, Jock Jams was an album of songs meant to pump up the athletes and fans of 1995. Here at the Hotel Barracuda’s pool and beach area, timeless classics songs I practiced free throws with my babysitter to like “Strike It Up” and “Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)” are on constant rotation. All walks of tourists belly up to the poolside bar and drink just enough to try their hand at singing along. Even while basking in the sunlight, looking out onto the sparkling blue water, and drinking some ice cold lemonade, I get a sour taste in my mouth when I hear “I’m Every Woman,” another 1990’s dance song, sung by Whitney Houston, for the third time in two days.

This feeling gets further exacerbated into stomach pain by the knowledge of the emergence of emo’s in Mexico, something I learned from an island native and English teacher, Aar√≥n Barquet (in above picture). He says it’s hard to miss them. You can find the weepy teenagers, clad in dark clothing sulking about under dim street lights around the town of San Miguel. I wince hearing the news, because I mistakenly thought that this was something uniquely American, something I would be able to gladly forget and leave behind with my camera’s batteries.

My surprise proves that there is a definite link between the two countries: mass media. Though trends may catch on a year or two or 13 years later, there is no avoiding the power of television, newspapers, and radio. But don’t ask me. Call up Naughty By Nature. You may just have to be on hold for a few minutes as he negotiates a contract with another resort hotel for the rights to “Hip Hop Hooray.”

One Big, Fat Apology or Two  

Posted by Mike Todd

Let's see. What is nineteen minus four? A book by George Orwell?

I'm sorry I haven't posted anything in over two weeks now. I was initially busy with finals that were rearing their ugly head at the end of the semester. That business got over with on Monday the 5th. I drove back -- and vaguely remember falling in love with a good number of tracks on the way, but have now forgotten what they were -- on Tuesday, decompressed for a few days and then set off on a week sojourn to Utah and Arizona. That brings me to last Thursday. After a couple days of lazing around, I left for Lincoln again Saturday because of the study abroad trip, which takes me to Cozumel tomorrow! I'm pretty excited, and that's an understatement.

So, only a wee month old, this blog has already experienced the electronic bed rest has likely befallen every other blog. Maybe three weeks of incubation will do the trick. (that's the second apology... I'll be signing off for a full three weeks)

Toned Down Grand Theft Auto  

Posted by Mike Todd

I know this has nothing to do with music, but I couldn't help but post it. See for yourself.

New Additions To Asthmatic Kitty  

Posted by Mike Todd

There are only a few record labels I can rattle off. Of these, Asthmatic Kitty comes in first place solely because of its poster boy and founder, Sufjan Stevens, who has been my long-standing hero in the indie world.

A couple days ago the label added six new artists and one visual artist to their lineup. Ermasse Zoupla, DM Stith, Welcome Wagon, I Heart Lung, Shannon Stephens, Osso, and illustrator Laura Park are probably just now sitting at the dinner table with father "Soof" while he gives the benediction.

You can join in their unending hymn by clicking this:

Extinct No More  

Posted by Mike Todd

I apologize for the cheesy title, but I can't think after listening to The Dodos. Their second LP, "Visiter", dropped about a month ago and has already garnered an overwhelming amount of good press from all corners of the blogosphere. Even Pitchfork, normally a group of downright pretentious blokes, are surprisingly and bluntly deeming the first single of the record, "Fools", one of the year's best tracks. Now I know, for me at least, this April has seemed to take millennia to get through, but still, is it that good? Yes. Aren't they jumping the gun? No, not at all.

Look. This is me, proud of the best purchase I'll make in a long, long while.

The Dodos—Fools
The Dodos—Red and Purple

Excuse me... WHAT?  

Posted by Mike Todd

Someone has eclipsed Elvis and is nipping at the heels of The Beatles in most number one singles on the Billboard charts. Care to venture a guess? You'll never get it. Oh, you think you can, huh. All right, I'll wait...

Jeez, I'll come right out and say it while I vomit in my mouth a little. Mariah Carey.


Yeah, her. I knew she was popular, but really, when did this happen?!? In light of this news, I declare today the saddest day in the history of my relationship with music. Let's just all pray that when she wakes up tomorrow she'll have a revelation, become a monk, and never sing a note again in her life. At least allow Paul and Ringo to keep some dignity before they join John and George.

A candlelight vigil in honor of the music industry that once was will be held at midnight tonight wherever you are.

The Best and the Brightest  

Posted by Mike Todd

Usually when I walk past Kauffman Hall, the dorm that houses those fortunate enough to be in the J.D. Edwards program here on campus, I'll only give it a passing glance. It's a building like the rest, and nothing sets it apart other than the fact that students aren't going in or out of it. It was rumored that there wasn't a soul inside, only empty rooms. But today that rumor was dispelled.

As I walked back to my room after grabbing lunch, I heard the faint roar of rap music pervading the air. I then noticed a small crowd of people gawking. When I turned my head, I saw the most hilarious anything I've seen since coming to Lincoln. A group of maybe twenty guys were shirtless and dancing in sync on the balcony. I stood there with a friend of mine for a good five minutes.

So in honor of those silly dudes, here are some more sillies with a cover of one of the greatest rap songs of all time.

Barenaked Ladies—Fight the Power


Posted by Mike Todd

Buster Behind Bars

Early this morning, just as the sun was beginning to break over the horizon, a young, freckled man in his late teens with auburn hair and commonly seen wearing a wide smile was taken into custody after nearly a month of lying low.

This perpetrator of such heinous crimes as funkin' without a license and gettin' jiggy with it in areas clearly marked as sidewalks had tried to beat the rap for his immoral offenses countless times, and was getting more proficient at slipping between the cracks each day. But, of the multitude of pseudonyms he checked into hotels with, the culprit was going by MC Check One-Two when a bellhop named PandoraJam (hint, hint Mac users...Google it) accidentally bumped into him, sending the nefarious miscreant's signature scuffed-up iPod flying, uncovering Lincoln Nebraska's number one most wanted.

In response, all the compulsive gadabout could say was, "Each Monday you will find four freakin' fly and free songs for your enjoyment. This week I am spotlighting a few tunes that will make you feel like a criminal on the run, whether you like it or not."

Quiet Village—Circus of Horror
The Isley Brothers—Fight the Power (Pt. 2)
Braces Tower—Eleven Twelve
Booker T & The MG's—Green Onions

Honus Honus Hears a "Who?"  

Posted by Mike Todd

Courting dads at college isn't easy. You've got to do all the planning, and you've got to keep him awake. All the while you've got to show off what you've been doing with your life away from home. (What have I been doing with my life here?)

This weekend my dad drove across Nebraska for the Husker football game that was sold out and we didn't have tickets for. You can understand that we were undoubtedly in a pickle. To set things straight, and have something to do, instead of joining some eighty thousand fans clad in red, black, and white at a game between two sides of the same team, we bought tickets to the baseball game on Friday. But God threw us a curveball and froze us out two innings in.

Luckily, though, while eating lunch Friday I had come across an article in the Daily Nebraskan telling about the perfect Saturday night outing: a Yeasayer and Man Man concert at the Slowdown in Omaha. I have been there three times this year, and it has proven to be a hotspot for the skinny, white, hooded types with a good ear for music. But how about somewhat stubborn fifty-year-olds? Apparently, all walks of life can enjoy the place if rowdy and raucous bands with a penchant for infectious, dark melodies are playing.

Yeasayer (yay-say-er) took the stage after we all had been primed with wide-panning views of the Moon, Earth, and Jupiter projected onto the screen set up behind the drum set. I wasn't sure what to expect from the group, although I had heard they played one of the best shows at South By Southwest. It turns out they're not too bad. But they weren't great.

Each song individually would have blown me away, but as a whole it was tiring. My dad and I were both in agreement that the drummer kicked some serious behind, but after a half an hour, I found that he employed essentially the same style for each tune. Now, a day later, and a heck of a lot less tuckered out, I can't stop myself from tapping my foot. The jury is still out for me, but how about you hear for yourself a couple samplers, and let the deluge of comments commence? More on Man Man after the jump.

All Hour Cymbals

I've always been in love with bands who connect with the crowd, but before last night I hadn't seen one who could connect right off the bat, get the audience jumping, and not say a word in between songs. It was remarkable that Man Man could pull it off.

They kept the blood pumping with segues seamlessly plopped in what would have been silence, and battered our eardrums with organized noise for nearly two hours. I couldn't get enough. The lead singer, Honus Honus aka Ryan, bore a resemblance to Thelonious Monk in the way he rose his hands over his main live instrument, a Rhodes piano, and brought them down violently on the keys almost without reason. What came out though, were the only notes that could have worked.

When I say main instrument, I mean one of a bucketload of instruments. He even used the stage's walls! And the rest of the group followed suit, pulling out guitars, bells, tin cans, animal callers, and things I can't even begin to describe. It was wild.

I don't care who you are. Everyone wants to head bang their troubles away every once in awhile. Man Man gives you that opportunity. Crank up these cuts from their third LP, Rabbit Habits.

Rabbit Habits
Man Man--Hurly-Burly
Man Man--Big Trouble