I am a lifelong resident of the Puget Sound and have lived in Seattle for the past 31 years. I am married and have two kids and I have a demanding job. All of those things take up a great deal of my time, otherwise you'd see more content on this blog.
What I'm reading: Silence, by Shusaku Endo; All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr; and Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates.
Favorite Films: Apocalypse Now, Brazil, The Big Lebowski, Fargo, The 400 Blows.
What I'm listening to: Angel Olsen, Drive By Truckers, Leonard Cohen, and Nick Cave (always).
I trust you’ve all enjoyed drinking the Trump Fucker cocktail through the summer months. I’ve mixed dozens and served them to many friends. Everybody loves the highly alcoholic drink but hates its namesake.
Now that this brutal election season is well underway, and fall is just around the corner, it’s time for a smooth bourbon-based drink that will keep you warm and cozy while you watch the debates or while you try to forget them.
This cocktail is made from much more common spirits than the Trump cocktail. The Biden cocktail has about half the ingredients – all of which are very common and not too expensive.
And it’s very simple to mix. Pour the Makers, Kahlua, and Disaronno into a mixing glass half full of large ice cubes (you don’t want to water the drink down), add three dashes of chocolate bitters and stir gently for about 20 seconds. Strain the mixture into a chilled martini glass and add a maraschino cherry.
What you get is a rich, smooth mixture that tastes kind of like a Manhattan, but is darker, sweeter, and has a coffee kick and a nutty finish. It’s perfect for “Sleepy” Joe Biden.
I have tried this with rye, and found that it gives the drink a sharper taste. I also tried a couple of different bourbons but settled on Maker’s Mark, because it blends well with the two liqueurs.
It’s been a month since I put up any new music, and I’ve discovered several albums that are worth adding to the list. Let’s start with Nick Cave’s cover of “Cosmic Dancer” by T. Rex from the upcoming all-star tribute album titled, AngelHeaded Hipster set to be released on September 4, 2020. It will be a double album with 26 tracks featuring U2, Elton John, Joan Jett, Perry Farrell, Sean Lennon, Lucinda Williams, and more!
What should you drink during the six months between now and Election Day? I think you should try my tasty new cocktail recipe that allows you to vent your frustrations with Donald Trump while you make it, laugh while you sip it and savor the complex, somewhat bittersweet orange-spice flavors that result from the perfect harmony of ingredients and the cathartic process of preparing it.
¾ oz vodka
¾ oz Ferrand Dry Curaçao (this is important – do not substitute – and it’s also great in a Mai-Tai)
½ oz dark rum (Pyrat, Cayman Reef Barbados, and Kōloa Gold are good choices for dark rum. Bacardi would probably be good too)
Pour all the ingredients in a shaker about one-third full of ice cubes. Pick up the shaker and raise it to eye level. Imagine that it’s Donald Trump’s head and then shake it violently. Feel free to scream as you continue to shake it mercilessly until your hands are so cold they hurt.
Pour the drink into a old fashioned glass or rocks glass (or even an absinthe glass) with ice – preferably one large ice cube but, in a pinch, a few normal size cubes will do. The color of the drink should match the orangey hue of Donald’s spray tan.
Garnish with one or two lychee fruits and, for optimum presentation, place a blueberry in the opening of the each lychee. If you make it right, it looks like this.
Many people are not familiar with Terry Allen and the Panhandle Mystery Band. I think I first heard him on KEXP’s Swingin’ Doors show around twenty years ago when Don Slack played “Gimme a Ride to Heaven” from the the 1983 album Bloodlines. I bought that album and have been following him ever since. No Depression describes his new album, Just Like Moby Dick, like this;
Instead of a voyage on the Pequod, Allen takes his listeners on a journey that covers a lot of ground, from Houdini facing death after life in “Houdini Didn’t Like the Spiritualists” to a town lamenting the loss of its last local dancer in “Death of the Last Stripper.” Allen brings clown-killing vampires into the light on “City of the Vampires” and delivers the storytelling masterpiece “Pirate Jenny,” which serves as a nod to Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht’s original of the same name.
Here is “Sailin’ on Through”. Enjoy!
Drive By Truckers have been putting out great southern rock music for decades now. They are not shy about expressing their political views, so it’s no surprise that during this year of a presidential election they have released their most political album ever, The Unraveling. Here’s their response to the nutjob, Christian, second-amendment crowd who won’t do anything about the epidemic of mass killings committed with ridiculously powerful automatic weapons except offer up their “Thoughts and Prayers”.
Stephen Malkmus has put out several solo albums, and they all sound a little different – some sound similar to his seminal band Pavement, some a little like Sonic Youth, some are bit electronic, and this new one titled Traditional Techniques is less rock, less electric, more acoustic, and maybe sounds a little bit like Wilco.
This next one is the title track from Tré Burt’s new album, Caught it From the Rye. You will probably find that the instrumentation and vocals sound very much like someone you know. Sean Jewell over at American Standard Time, in a somewhat amusing fashion, goes to great lengths not to name that singer/songwriter, because well… Sean has his own set of principles to which he must adhere.
I, on the other hand, will name that person. He happens to be an artist I have been listing to quite a bit lately. Bob Dylan has released two new songs on YouTube in the past three weeks. I won’t post the actual videos, because they are already ubiquitous on the internet. “Murder Most Foul“, about the assassination of President Kennedy and what it means to the American psyche, was released a few weeks ago. Today he released “I Contain Multitudes” which seems to be about all the things that have influenced his work.
After nine days in intensive care at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, John Prine passed away at the age of 73 due to complications from COVID-19. Last weekend, he was intubated — a process that involves inserting a tube down a patient’s throat to assist with moving air in and out of the lungs — as family members and the Oh Boy Records team continued to update fans on his condition via social media. Prine was a high-risk patient, due to his squamous cell cancer diagnosis in 1998, lung cancer in 2013, heart surgery last summer, and recent hip injury that canceled his February tour dates.
Beloved, of course, in the roots music community, Prine was also greatly respected around the world for his vivid, often humorous storytelling. Beginning with his 1971 self-titled album — a record that Rolling Stone dubbed one of the 500 greatest of all time, replete with classics like “Paradise” and “Angel from Montgomery” — and through to his 2018 LP Tree of Forgiveness, Prine captured the simplicities and the complexities of the human existence in stark and stunning glory.
Yesterday evening, friends texted me regarding his death, and I asked them what songs they would like to see posted. Here’s Zippy’s selection from John Prine’s first album.
And Jen chose “In Spite of Ourselves” the title track from his 1999 album.
Gorby chose what is probably his most-famous song covered by Bonnie Raitt.
And Kyri chose “When I Get to Heaven” live from Austin City Limits.
Rolling Stone has reported that Marianne Faithfull was admitted to a London hospital with cold-like symptoms and tested positive for coronavirus. Her manager, François Ravard, says she is stable and responding to treatments.
The album of hers that first caught my attention is her 1979 masterpiece, Broken English.
Here is the title track set to an “Anti-war film made with a montage of various images including Picasso, Goya, Heartfield, Daumier, Kollwitz, and others”.
And here is a video of Marianne working with Nick Cave and Warren Ellis in the studio recording “The Gypsy Faerie Queen” and getting interviewed by Nick.
What Ballard Looks Like During the Coronavirus Pandemic
Ballard is the neighborhood where I live in Northwest Seattle, Washington that was a sleepy little Scandinavian neighborhood when I moved in. It’s gone through many changes over the past few decades that have made it a destination for Seattleites and for tourists from all over the country and the world. It’s where people go to drink, because there are many great bars and restaurants, plus the world famous Tractor Tavern music venue.
I took a walk through Ballard last weekend to see how the coronavirus shutdown has changed it.
Ballard was a bustling neighborhood with many thriving locally owned businesses, but now they are all hurting because of the severe economic slowdown brought on by the social distancing required to stop the spread of the highly contagious, deadly coronavirus. I can only hope the pandemic soon wanes and that Ballard, Seattle, Washington, and the rest of America and the world can get back to normal. I want all of these businesses to survive, but I don’t think all of them can without some huge help from the state and federal government, and from all the locals pitching in to buy what they can from them when they can.
The Great Recession was about “Too Big to Fail”. This recession is going to be all about “Too Small to Fail”.
This compilation is a fundraiser for the staff of the Ballard Avenue music venues that have been forced to shut down due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The bartenders, sound technicians & door attendants at Conor Byrne Pub, Hotel Albatross, The Sunset Tavern & The Tractor Tavern are our family and make sure that we as musicians have a place to play as well as build and sustain our community.
To celebrate these noble warriors, all the artists on this compilation have recorded their own version of Casey Ruff’s song “You Don’t Bother Me” a song celebrating friendships, good times and hangovers made on Ballard Avenue
The country musician John Prine has been hospitalised and is in now in a stable condition after experiencing symptoms of coronavirus. A post to his official Twitter account said that Prine, 73, had been taken to the hospital on Thursday and intubated on Saturday.
Via Mike Mills’ twitter feed, watch this video today.
Do you find yourself running out of words to describe President Donald J. Trump? Well then you’ve come to the right place. I started compiling a personal dictionary of adjectives to describe him since he began his campaign that I’d like to share with you now. This is a work in progress that I will keep at the top of the blog for awhile – maybe until Election Day. I plan to link the words to news stories and opinion pieces that are apropos to the words.
Here are the words you can use to meticulously describe President Trump.