Frank Black Dissects Doolittle

Charles Thompson, AKA Black Francis and Frank Black provides a personal perspective on Doolittle on this week’s Sound Opinions rock talk show – which airs from Chicago and hosted by two rock music writers and critics Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot from Chicago Sun Times and the Chicago Tribune respectively.

Doolittle is the subject of the show’s Classic Album Dissection of the Pixies landmark 1989 release. As it turns out, Mr. Black is actually extremely gregarious, opinionated and funny as hell and provides insights into the Pixies and the album – such as the origin of the album’s title (which does, in fact, involve the “slicing up eyeballs”), how the demos and final tracks were recorded, where his names came from and the real story behind “Here Comes Your Man”. If you’re a Pixies fan – it’s a must listen. I sat in my car today tuned into NPR catching the last half hour – with my son listening. He now knows more about the Pixies than any other eight year old on the planet.

There’s a few minutes of general music news before the interview starts. Click here to stream the interview.

Tasty Track – Beach Comber by Real Estate

Having spent several Summers during high school at the Jersey Shore, I can relate to the hazy dreamy imagery conjured up by the Ridgewood NJ band Real Estateon their self-titled album singing about loving and losing among the dunes. After a few rounds through the record, I get flavors of Yo La Tengo and Panda Bear

For those who think the Garden State is nothing but a bunch of freeways book-ended by Newark and Trenton, take a listen to the album to get a small taste of magical moments that can happen on the mid-Atlantic.

This track Beach Comber is shimmery slice of lo-fi pop has a killer hook that echoes for hours if not days after hearing it.

Beach Comber

Call of Duty Modern Warfare is My Son’s Pong

I was just recently at a friend’s house who is a big fan of Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 and who had his Play Station hooked-up to an 80″ HD plasma screen TV with insanely powerful surround sound home theater system. I’ve actually played CoD 2 a few years ago and was very aware of CoD MW2 but hadn’t actually seen the game. Needless to say, I was slacked jaw and blown away from the total experience. The realistic nature of the game – the fact that you’re effectively controlling a character in a life-like movie setting is simply amazing.

Given that our kids were running around, we played a few segments of the game that weren’t too bad in terms of violence and blood (which there’s a lot in the game). A couple of times, I let my son, who was dying to see it, actually play a few minutes here and there in sequences that were not any worse than a scene from the many action movies he’s seen like Hulk or Spider Man or Star Wars.

It then occurred to me that I was close to his age when Pong was first released. Pong, released in 1972 by Atari, is officially the first commercially successful video game, which ultimately led to the start of the video game industry. And it’s taken 38 years to get from that black and white paddle game to a completely photo realistic hyper-sensory experience that puts the player in the middle of intense fire fights and battles all over the world (Brazil, Russia, Middle East).

The question that quickly followed my realization was what kind of games will my son and daughter be playing with their kids in 38 years or 28 years or 18 years? Given the non-linear acceleration of computational power and broadband speeds and inverse relationship between the cost and capacity of storage – it truly boggles my mind to try to imagine what kind of gaming experience our children will have. Fully immersive gaming closets with bio-feedback interfaces? In-brain gaming implants? Bio-chemical hallucinatory mind-trips with full body stimulation…  avatars?

What will cause our children to look back at games like Modern Warfare 2 with fond memories and chuckle at the primitive and crude graphics, controls and game play? What will they be experiencing that will make MW2 look like Pong? As a parent and a closet gamer – it’s a very fun, exhilarating but also kinda scary question to ponder.

Tasty Track – This Isn’t Farm Life by The Essex Green

Instead of doing a write-up on the album – here’s a track from “Cannibal Sea” from the Brooklyn-based group The Essex Green that I’ve been listening to now for about three weeks straight – “This Isn’t Farm Life”.  A nice mix of New Pornographers and Belle & Sebastian (which I honestly thought before reading the Pitchfork review) – with a Shins lyrical bent. It’s a great smart pop song.

Essex Green – This Isn’t Farm Life

Dads, Be Prepared. Worry More.

When I was younger I used to read (or more accurately “skim”) Cosmopolitan Magazine because it offered me what I thought at the time was insight into how women think, what they want and what they’re looking for. Way back in the day – when I was doing this, occasionally I’d stumble on a couple of bits and pieces that I actually used. If nothing else, it provided interesting material for chatting up a cutey pie on a Friday night.

Recently, I’ve found more relevant and more helpful content at DoubleX – a women’s focused website with buckets of well written content on news, politics, parenting, relationships, etc. that I access usually through my Slate.com visits. As a husband and father, the Cosmo sex quiz or “How to Get Guys to Buy You Whatever You Want” articles aren’t as helpful anymore… go figure.

Click here for an article I came across highlighting an interesting perspective that men ultimately suffer more than women when their kids leave for college.  This is consistent with my personal experience (and distant recollections) that guys take longer to get over serious relationships simply because we aren’t skilled at managing and sharing our emotions  –  with ourselves or our friends, which helps tremendously in coming to terms with a break-up and moving on.

The DoubleX article details how men, who – according to the piece “…don’t worry about things until they happen”, aren’t prepared for the shift that’s required when a child leaves home. The author, Mimi Swartz, writes that she (and her friends) begin the process months if not years before, thinking, worrying and mourning the pending seperation and are therefore better prepared when it happens and consequently able to work through the process much more quickly – and easily. With men, apparently not…

So Pops, if you want to make things easier for yourself when it does happen – start now. Although my kids are still in elementary school, I do try to really be present and relish every moment I can get – cuz it’s flying by so fast, college applications will be flying out the door in what will seem like a blink of an eye.

I’d love to hear from any dads (or moms) that can validate (or refute) this but it makes a lot of sense to me.