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Friday, December 29, 2006

Ode to the Norton Furniture Guy

Posted By on Fri, Dec 29, 2006 at 5:07 PM

Confession: Sometimes, I go for days without drinking, which means I go days without staying up past midnight, since there's nothing to do past midnight besides get drunk. (Okay, so I don't do well with the women; thank you sooooo much for asking.) Being sober is fine. But, if I'm being honest, there's something I miss when I don't stay up late: The Norton Furniture Guy. Fortunately, I recently discovered this bit on YouTube, which immediately cured my intense pangs of desire for Marc Brown's creepy, creepy sales pitch. Enjoy — Joe P. Tone

Local Discs 2006: The Honorable Others

Posted By on Fri, Dec 29, 2006 at 4:57 PM

Bone Thugs-n-Harmony
In this week's issue, the Scene's resident music nerds gave you their ten most played Cleveland jams of 2006, but they felt like more discs just had to be listed (they're music nerds). So here are the honorable mentions for 2006: 20goto10, Elizabeth. Haunted by Ghosts (Plastiq Musiq): Dark, sensual, female-fronted electro-rock. Beyond Fear, Beyond Fear (SPV): Ex-Judas Priest/current Iced Earth frontman Tim "Ripper" Owens' killer thrash/power-metal hybrid. The Black Diamonds, Black Diamonds (Bad Breaker): 18-year-olds who play rawk like it's 1976. Winners of Scene readers' Song of the Year with "Cold Cold Heart." The Black Keys, Magic Potion (Nonesuch): Akron's fave blues duo gets raw and rocks out. Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, Thug Stories (Koch): Cleveland's OGs prove they still have it. Emeralds, Laying Under Leaves cassette (self-released): Damn near indescribable, but lets go with this: Young dudes launching Eno's ambient drone into deep, deep outer/inner space. Flat Can Co./Yeti Scalp, Death to False Improv Vol. 1 (self-released): After years of metalbore, I mean core, dominating the rockier regions of Cleveland' soundscape, this split release explodes with noise-rock freakery, promising one thing: "Look out, Cleveland, the storm is comin' through, and it's runnin' right up on you." The Homostupids, Brutal Birthday 7" (Richie Records/TestosterTunes), and The Glow 7" (My Mind's Eye Records): Nasty little records exploding with shitty production, offensive humor, and squealing PUNK ROCK, as defined by the Electric Eels and Lil Bunnies. Perfect. The Lovekill, These Moments Are Momentum (Eyeball): Dynamic post-hardcore that's actually closer to tense indie-rock. Mushroomhead, Savior Sorrow (Megaforce): Masked men cranking-out underrated art-metal. Patrick Sweany Band, C'mon C'mere (Nine Mile Records): Patrick Sweany plays raw, rootsy blues so sensuous that his guitar wants to make out with him. Ray Cash, C.O.D. (Sony): Hip-hop that's NOT thugged-out. Roue', Totally Fuckin Totally (self-released): Killer, passionate indie- rock. Saul Glennon, Trilogy 1: How Can You Call That Music? (GDR): Smart, catchy, lively indie-pop. Self Destruct Button, Natural Selection Of Accidents (Tower Control): Jae Kristoff can barely be heard when playing live, but here his malleable voice finds its home amidst a nightmare of noise, static, and earnest hardcore. Skeleton Witch, Worship the Witch EP (self-released): From the ancient North Coast shores comes an amazing display of thrash metal mastery. Skeleton Witch possess the look, attitude, and chops to make 'em metal gods. Years of Fire, Visceral Departure (Thorp Records): With former members of Ascension and Chimaira, this metalcore-thrash crossover kills and rules total ass. -- Justin F. Farrar, D.X. Ferris, Matthew Chernus, Matt Gorey, and Duane Verh.

ESPN Geek Questions Cavs

Posted By on Fri, Dec 29, 2006 at 3:59 PM

ESPN: We won't know if the Cavs are real till they head west to take on the likes of Alllen Iverson
If the Cavs should resolve anything this new year, it's to get Eric Snow more involved in the offense. The guy's scoring like a rookie benchwarmer on starter minutes. But if there's room for one more thing, it should be to shut up John Hollinger. In his column Wednesday, Hollinger, ESPN's pro-hoops stats geek, rates our boys "merely average" at the season's quarter turn. He says the Cavs have been feasting on patsies and that they're really worse than their record. Unfortunately, you can't read the column unless you've got a subscription to ESPN's pricey Insider service; but C-Notes bums smokes off a guy who bums passwords off another. So we hopped a link in the bum chain and lifted the only paragraph you need to read before the geekspeak gives you a headache:
"Of Cleveland's 26 games, 16 have been played against teams with losing records, and there's a huge disparity by conference as well. Only seven of the Cavs' first 26 games have been against the vastly superior Western Conference, including only one against the five West teams with the best records. Additionally, 15 of the 26 contests have been at home."
Hollinger says all that crap means the Cavs have played the league's second-easiest schedule. And he says that next month's seven-game West Coast swing — which includes stops in Sacramento and Phoenix and a tilt against the new, Allen Iverson-led Denver Nuggets — could prove a "huge reality check." Sure, he's smart. But he's bald, too. And anybody that's telling you to bet the Memphis Grizzlies will win more games this season than the Cavs deserves the extra forehead. — Jason Nedley

Remembering Boom Goldberg

Posted By on Fri, Dec 29, 2006 at 3:48 PM

Legendary former WMMS DJ Len "Boom" Goldberg was found dead in his home Wednesday, December 27. He was 74. Goldberg was the voice of the city's most storied rock station, 100.7 FM "The Buzzard," for three decades. Scene contributor Matt Wardlaw, a DJ for 92.3 K-ROCK, recalls Goldberg: During my time working at WMMS in the '90s, I was lucky enough to realize a number of dreams beyond the initial dream come true of working at one of the most legendary rock stations in the United States. Certainly, it was a once in a lifetime experience to work alongside Len "Boom" Goldberg. Boom was the one and only voice of The Buzzard for over 3 decades, and touched many people throughout the Cleveland listening area with his distinctive voice. Behind the scenes, Goldberg definitely had an opinion, and was never afraid to share that opinion. One of my favorite memories was during a station meeting announcing a new incoming morning show that would be joining WMMS. The show was made up of non-Clevelanders, and Boom blasted the move as the incoming morning show sat in the meeting, no doubt wondering what they had gotten themselves into. Boom was my role model in so many ways, and it was cool that even in his 70s, he remained as passionate as a music fan as he was back in the day when WMMS was breaking new artists like David Bowie and Bruce Springsteen. Boom was a mentor to many of us, and was very generous in sharing the things that he had learned during his years in the biz. With the passing of Len "Boom" Goldberg, it is truly the end of an era, and we have lost yet another local treasure. Like so many, I am thankful for the time that I got to spend in his world, and for the time that he chose to spend in mine. — Matt Wardlaw

Trouble for Ohio's Vineyards

Posted By on Fri, Dec 29, 2006 at 2:37 PM

The warm temperatures may be doing wonders for our complexions, but they're wreaking absolute havoc on Ohio's vineyards. December is normally the time of year when winemakers force themselves out of bed in the middle of the night to harvest their late winter grapes. The fruit is then pressed into a sweet "ice wine." The problem, however, is that if the vines don't freeze, the wine can't be made. Because of the spring-like temperatures, winemakers are scared that ice wine won't be bottled this year. And that would be a huge travesty for Ohio winemakers, who bank on ice wine as one of the region's specialties. ''No one that I know of in the whole eastern United States and Canada has harvested any ice wine,'' sighs Tony Debevc, owner of Debonne Vineyards in Madison. --Rebecca Meiser

Our Brave Critic's Top 10 CDs for 2006

Posted By on Fri, Dec 29, 2006 at 12:29 PM

Hold Steady
'Tis the season... To drink too much Christmas Ale. To feign joy over really crappy gifts. To make Top 10 lists. Every year around this time, I'm asked to submit a list of my favorite albums of the past 12 months to various publications across the country. As we head into 2007, I leave you with the CDs that rocked my 2006. 1. The Hold Steady -- Boys and Girls in America: It's about sex, drugs, and rock and roll. In that order. 2. TV on the Radio -- Return to Cookie Mountain: In which Brooklyn weirdos reach a peak and make some noise. 3. My Chemical Romance -- The Black Parade: Death has never been so pretentious. 4. Bob Dylan -- Modern Times: Old man kicks up his heels, has a laugh, pines for Alicia Keys. 5. Arctic Monkeys -- Whatever People Say I Am, That Is What I'm Not: Brash Brits spend the night getting drunk and kicked out of clubs. 6. Dixie Chicks -- Taking the Long Way: Memo to country radio: fuck off. 7. Todd Snider — The Devil You Know: Memo to George W.: fuck off. 8. The Decemberists — The Crane Wife: Hot trend: dressing like Victorian dandies, playing '70s-style prog. 9. Nelly Furtado — Loose: Who knew there was a tasty pop tart hiding in the boring folkie? 10. Regina Spektor — Begin to Hope: Jilted by one of the Strokes, Russian cutie gets even. --Michael Gallucci

James Brown: King 0f the World

Posted By on Fri, Dec 29, 2006 at 11:53 AM

Who's the most influential musician of the 20th century? It's gotta be one of the more popular barroom debates that doesn't involve sports. After knocking back a half-dozen beers (or more), introduction of this issue will always induce a motley crew of C-Town drunkards to spit names back and forth, including all the usual suspects: the Boss, Jimi, the King, the Beatles, the Chairman of the Board, Robert Johnson, Zep, the Stones. Maybe some joker will make a play for the Lizard King, or better yet, Joe Walsh. And then there's the winetaster: He ain't one of the bar's regulars, but he dives in nonetheless, namedropping Bird, Trane, or Miles. Captain Merlot has a valid point (especially with Miles). But, c'mon, this is the Westside. Save it for your pals at the winery. One name that doesn't get tossed around enough is James Brown. He basically invented funk, soul, and modern R&B. But lets look at this argument from a global perspective (sorry, I'm beginning to sound like that winetaster). In the late-'60s, Brown created a brand new song structure. Crank Sex Machine and Love Power Peace. Dissolving European-derived melody and harmony, as well as the verse-chorus-verse format, the JBs began playing extended, open-ended grooves, wherein every musician contributes to the overall rhythm — a dance track, basically. This structure would go on to form the basis of dub/reggae, disco, hip-hop, techno, house, jungle, trance, crunk, ragga, reggaet�n, etc., etc., etc. For better or worse, modern dance music dominates the planet, and Brown is the godfather from which it all springs. Of course, outside of token comments about inventing funk and soul, Brown's professional and artistic accomplishments have gone largely unnoticed by mainstream American media. In fact, since his death early Christmas morning, a large chunk of news coverage has been devoted to Brown's personal problems. If it had been Dylan or McCartney going down instead of Brown, fans would be treated to days, weeks, maybe even months of prime television time devoted to these artists' cultural significance. Since this ain't gonna be the case with Brown, here's a showcase of the Godfather of Soul: "I Feel Good" "Super Bad" featuring some wild dance moves. "Sex Machine" -- Justin Farrar


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