Sunday, September 30, 2007

Orange Alert's Music Minute

The Illuminea contest ended this week, and we have chosen a winner (pulled straight from the Cubs Hat! Go Cubs!). Here is the winning playlist:

1. William Shatner - What Have You Done
2. The Concretes - Change In The Weather
3. Stars - The Big Fight
4. Fiest - One Evening
5. Illuminea - Homewrecker
6. Cowboy Junkies - If You Were The Woman And I Was The Man
7. Kings Of Convenience - Love Is No Big Truth
8. Nina Simone - The Other Woman
9. Squirrel Nut Zippers - Meant To Be

You read that correctly, William Shatner! Congrats to the first place winner.

Here was the runner-up who will also be receiving a quality High Two release.

1. Philosophia-The Guggenheim Grotto
2. Homewrecker-Illuminea
3. Silver Lining-Rilo Kiley
4. I Turn My Camera On-Spoon
5. Boy With A Coin-Iron & Wine
6. Sticks and Stones-The Pierces
7. The Hounds of Love-The Futureheads
8. Nature of the Experiment-Tokyo Police Club
9. Textbook-We Are Scientists
10. Song for the Fields-Fields
11. Lonely By Your Side-Azzio da Bass

Thanks to Illuminea, High Two Records, and Sneak Attack Media for sponsoring this contest.

Amore!Phonics announced this week that they will be rereleasing two out of print Viva Voce albums as a double disc LP. "LOVERS, LEAD THE WAY!" and "THE HEAT CAN MELT YOUR BRAIN", originally released in 2003 and 2004 respectively, both of these sought-after albums have long since been out of print. Together nearly a decade, Anita Robinson and Kevin Robinson have been a consistent force in indie music and now they are finally receiving the recognition that they are due. Listen to: "Fashionably Lonely" (from Lovers, Lead The Way!) (mp3) and "Free Nude Celebs" (from The Heat Can Melt Your Brain) (mp3)

With his debut album, 2006's Breaking Kayfabe, just dropping in the UK this past week, and word spreading about the nature of soon to be released follow-up, After Party Babies, I thought it was the perfect time to get in touch with Cadence Weapon. His interview with Orange Alert will appear on October 12th, but in the meantime you can reacquaint yourself with a couple of the Kayfabe classics. Listen to: Sharks (mp3) and Black Hand (mp3)

And be sure to catch his live show:


10.17.07 - New York, NY - Insound Party @ Galapagos
10.17.07 - New York, NY - Pirate Party @ TBA
10.17.07 - New York, NY - After The Jump Fest @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
10.18.07 - New York, NY - Canadian Blast Party @ Fat Baby
10.19.07 - New York, NY - Crashin' In UnCMJ Party @ Galapagos

10.22.07 - Seattle, WA - Nectar Lounge
10.23.07 - Portland, OR - Someday Lounge
10.25.07 - San Francisco, CA - Independent
10.26.07 - Pomona, CA - Glass House
10.28.07 - Los Angeles, CA - The Troubadour
10.29.07 - San Diego, CA - Beauty Bar
10.30.07 - Phoenix, AZ - Modified Arts
11.01.07 - Abilene, TX - Monks
11.02.07 - Denton, TX - Hailey's
11.03.07 - Austin, TX - Fun Fun Fun Festival *Cadence Weapon Stage 3 w/Girl Talk, Diplo, Busdriver + more
11.05.07 - Birmingham, AL - Bottle Tree
11.06.07 - Atlanta, GA - Drunken Unicorn
11.07.07 - Charleston, SC - Map Room
11.09.07 - Philadelphia, PA - First Unitarian Church
11.10.07 - Hoboken, NJ - Maxwells
11.11.07 - New York, NY - Bowery Ballroom
11.12.07 - Boston, MA - Middle East

This band has really been receiving a lot buzz lately, but it has all been warranted. Earlier this month the band released its fifth album, Good Bad, Not Evil, and this also marked the groups first studio album for VICE Records. The album brilliantly covers everything from dirty psychedelic blues songs to fuzzy lo-fi pop ditties. Black Lips have been all over the place lately, but my favorite was their recent appearance on the Spinner's Interface. Listen to: Cold Hands (mp3)

One band of my favorite bands at the moment is the Dallas based duo, Tree Wave. Paul Slocum is a mad genius, utilizing a Commodore 64 home computer (1983), Atari 2600 video game console (1977), a Compaq Portable II 80286 personal computer (1986), and a Epson LQ 500 dot matrix printer (1985) to produce the most detailed and fascinating electronic backdrop for the lovely voice of Lauren Gray. To purchase their debut EP, Cabana EP, was actually release 3 years ago, but it is just as relevant today. If you are in Dallas, Paul will be performing Tree Wave material at solo set Oct 9th at The Granada in Dallas, also appearing are Matthew Dear and Mobius Band. Listen to: May Banners (mp3) and Sleep (mp3)

The Peel Back: Geggy Tah "Sacred Cow" (1996)

Before Greg Kurstin was a "Bee" he was one half of the band Geggy Tah. Though probably considered by most to be a "one hit wonder", Geggy Tah actually released three albums on Luaka Bop/Virgin Records between the years 1994 and 2001. Musically, their sound ranges from downtempo electronic love songs to raucous rock tunes. Their one hit appeared on the 1996 release "Sacred Cow", "Whoever You Are" was an infectious mix of hip hop beats with well placed samples and a funky little guitar riff. It definitely caught my attention back then, and still makes me smile today.

Geggy Tah "Sacred Cow"
Granddad's Opening Address/Whoever You Are (mp3)/Lotta Stuff (mp3)/Century Plant 2000/Sacred Cow/House Of Usher (Inside) (mp3)/Don't Close The Door/Such A Beautiful Night/She Withers/Las Vegas With The Lights Out/Mem/Shed/Gina

Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Watch List

1. Arms - Arms is Todd Goldstein of The Harlem Shakes, and he has crafted a few very imaginative indie tunes. He currently has a single out on i-tunes called "Whirring", and a debut album out next year. There is more info on myspace. Listen to: Kids Aflame (mp3)
2. CoCoComa - Chicago, IL is home to the husband and wife team of Bill & Lisa Roe with Mike Fitzpatrick, and they love to play incredible dance-punk tunes. This music is fun and infectious! Listen to: Fever (mp3)
3. North of the City - It all about potential! Baraboo, WI is the place to be if have to be north of the city, and if you want to make quality electro-pop.

1. "The Boy who Thought Himself a Seal" by Andy Riverbed - Thieves Jargon is back from hiatus, and back with a wealth of great literature. This one was one of my favorites.
2. "Ten Halogens, and an Ordered Shade Explode to a/ One Disordered Glory" by Marty Esworthy - This is from the September issue of Literary Chaos. There is also a poem by Justin Hyde over there this month.
3. "Natural Selection" by Elizabeth J. Colen - I found this one over at Juked. I find myself drawn to tales of suburban life gone wrong.
4. "Fresh and Real Original - Talking Smack with Nick Ostdick" - This is great interview conducted by Ben Tanzer and featuring the editor of RAGAD Nick Ostdick.

1. Flotsam & Jetsam Limited Edition of 50 - The incredible Calvin Johnson has recently released this limited edition print through Thumbtack Press. $60
2. NRG Potato Chips - I would always get strange looks when I would order coffee with my meal at a business lunch, or brew at fresh during lunch in the cafeteria. Well, not anymore with the help of NRG caffeinated potato chips! - $29.70 (case of 30 bags)
3. Chicago Cubs 2007 NL Central Division Champions Shirt - Wow, that was quick! - $24.99

1. Cram Mag Issue #5 - This is a very well-written zine. Cram brings together the latest and greatest articles from popular websites and upcoming authors and produces it into an easy to read on screen or print, pdf-package. CRAM aims to be an informative and entertaining read, much in the same vein as Time, The New Yorker, or Wired magazines. Get it here.
2. To build my own Death Trap! - Haven't you always wanted to design your own cigarette box? If you have check Byodp today!

1. I don't know where I have been, but I just discovered "The IT Crowd". It is not the office, but it is still hilarious! Check out this video.
2. Beautiful rendition of a beautiful song, Beirut and Edward Droste "Cliquot" from La Blogotheque
3. Lucky Man, "The Man on the Street Testimonials" featuring Nick Ostdick, Sam, and some other guy...

Saturday Morning Cartoon

This morning while you enjoy a nice bowl of G.I. Joe Action Stars Cereal watch this brand new video from Turzi.


Friday, September 28, 2007

Band of the Week

dj BC

Picture yourself in the middle of a club dancing to your favorite songs, enjoying life, when suddenly you hear the booming guitar intro from a Led Zeppelin or Jimi Hendrix song. You stop and look around, trying to figure out why the DJ is playing this type of music. Then, without warning the beat kicks in and you start dancing again, but are unsure of what is coming next. With ease Biz Markie starts flowing over the top, and you lose your mind.

That is the beauty and the art of the mashup or the bootleg or bastard pop. The DJ takes an instrumental from one genre and seamlessly blends it with an a cappella from another genre to create a brand new song and genre. Musicians, producers, and DJs have been doing this for many many years, but the mashup as it stands today really came into play around 2001. Since that time there have been many bootleggers, many websites, many cease and desist orders, and many quality mashups. One DJ that has consistently produces quality songs and great full-length albums is Boston's dj BC (a.k.a. Bob Cronin). Although his individual tracks are not to be missed, BC is most notorious for his albums. From The Beastles, to Glassbreaks, to Wu-Orleans, BC has an ear for beats and rhythms. Unfortunately, none of the these album were ever available for distribution because of their legal status.

This fall BC has an official album coming out with Big D and The Kids Table on Fork in Hand Records. It contain 17 remixes, dub cuts, and mashups featuring Wayne and Wax. Since BC is invovled with this project you know there has to be a remix contest associated with it. For details on the contest go here, but don't miss out it ends January 1st. This is a huge step forward for BC, and he recently took some time to talk to us about that step, and his work in general.

Orange Alert (OA): How long have you been creating mashups and how did you first discover this talent?
dj BC (BC): I have been making "mashups" as such since 2004, but I was making remixes and sound collages (some of which could be considered mashes) for a while before that, starting in about 1993 when I took an electronic music class in college and bought a 4-track recorder.

OA: I have enjoyed all of your mashups and various mashup albums, but my favorite is probably "Hotbreaker". Do you have a song that you are most proud of? What is the best mash-up that you have ever heard?
BC: I am proud of all my babies. I have a particular affection for Glassbreaks, being a big Philip Glass fan- and I really like how the tracks turned out on that one. It was a strange combination that worked far better than I would have expected, and John Forte (Fugees producer and hiphop artist) named it as his favorite BC project to date. And I also like Wu Orleans, as I love the city of New Orleans and feel a particular affinity for it, having been married there about a year and a half ago. Wu Orleans is well liked, and apparently will effect the direction of the new Big D and The Kids Table record, which is pretty cool.

OA: Tell us about your new project, "Strictly Mixed and Mashed", with Big D and The Kids Table.
BC: Working with Big D and The Kids Table was an honor, and the band treated me with the utmost respect, as an artist in my own right. That's pretty rare, as remixes (and to some extent, remix artists) are sometimes treated as a disposable commodity. Not in this case- I was given the stem files and free reign to do what I liked. The band offered input throughout the process, which really allowed me to improve upon the tunes and make the record the best it could be. The whole thing took more than a year, start to finish, and I am really proud of the end result. We begin the mastering process this week.

OA: What is it like performing with a band, and promoting an official product?
BC: It's awesome. No one can sue me! And the band has a loyal- and growing- fanbase, so that's obviously a huge plus. For an underground type like myself, the idea of having an officially pressed CD, colored vinyl, T-Shirts- all that kind of stuff is kind of cool.

OA:Why do you think there have been so many legal issues surrounding mash-ups and the bootleg sites? The songs are not being sold and the original artists are always credited, but still a lot of great sites get shut down.
BC: Because it's illegal to distribute other people's work, and the labels/artists are not always happy with how the music is presented or made available. They perhaps see a missed opportunity to make money, or they hate the remix, or something. I can only speculate. Whats more puzzling is why more sites DON'T get shut down.

OA:It seems as though the popularity of the mashup has declined in the last year or two, but the quality of the product has remained consistent and in many cases improved. What is your opinion of the current state of bootleg culture?
BC: I dunno. I have been sort of out of the loop while I made the record, to be honest. I haven't kept up on all the new releases. But the tracks are still of interest to listeners, there are still good ones coming out, there are cool mashups nights maintaining and growing, such as Bootie, which has spread across the US and gone international.

OA: What is next for dj Bc?
BC: First, the upcoming release, and hopefully some work with Big D promoting it. Then, helping Big D with a few tracks on their new album. Also in the works, a hip hop record of originals with some New York rappers/friends o' mine from Brooklyn and Harlem. Maybe with a guest MC from Paris on a track. Hopefully, on a real label.

Bonus Questions:
OA: Coffee? If yes, what is your favorite type of coffee and where is your favorite coffee spot?
BC: Not really. Though I drank a lot of it in France during a recent trip, usually it makes me feel like I am having a heart attack. I prefer Red Bull when i need a kick.

OA: List your top 5 favorite artists to mashup:
BC: Come on. This is tough. It changes from day to day, which is what makes it interesting, right? But I like using Motown, classics, underground and conscious rappers like Talib Kweli, Mos Def, Tribe called Quest, De la Soul (when i can find the pellas) and I like using unusual, unexpected or "classic" sources for the instrumentals.

Here is a sample of some of the songs BC has created that are currently available:

Straight from his appreance in Paris this month (find more here):
Dyer Rechauffer (Led Zeppelin vs TTC feat Omnikrom and Ghislain Poirier) (mp3)

Hott and Dumb (Hot Butter vs 7L and Esoteric) (mp3)
The Reel Hip Hop (Das EFX vs Liz Carroll) (mp3)

For more information on dj BC please visit his website, and for a taste of the new album go here.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Writer's Corner

Karl Koweski
The concept of a return is typically applied to investments, you purchase a stock or invest in a money market and anticipate a return on your investment. However, this concept can easily be applied to a child's investment in their father, a wife's investment in her husband, a vacationers investment a wild wild west show, a man's investment in his car, and so on. It is when these returns begin to diminish that our quality of life suffers, as well as the lives around us. Chicagoan turned Alabama resident, Karl Koweski's latest chapbook, Diminishing Returns, touches on this concept and many more. From the first line ("I walk the road, feeling the eyes on me:") to the last ("but a rectangular patch of dirt"), Karl utilizes a simple and straightforward approach to beautifully illustrate the far reaching universal truths of his life. However, he never lets a good punchline get by him.

Recently, Karl took some time answer a few our questions about returns, and his role at Zygote in my Coffee.

Orange Alert (OA): The idea of Diminishing Returns in a broader sense is quite compelling. For me this seems to be a larger theme through out the book and not simply the title of the first poem, whether it is in family relations, intimate relationships, or the quality of the modern novel, our return on invest seems to be decreasing. Was this the intent? Is it truly diminishing or has our perception just changed?
Karl Koweski (KK): I gotta admit, when compiling poems for a chapbook, I'm more inclined to just throw poems at the wall and see what sticks. In terms of subject matter, I'm all over the place. While David and I were vetting poems for Diminishing Returns, the theme arose immediately. It's a concept I've been unable to escape from. I'm 32 years old, much too young to be bitching about how much better things use to be, but that's the view I'm developing. It's my perspective, but I think few people can deny the world's losing cohesion. The nightly news constantly reinforces the point. The polar ice caps are melting, our freedoms are eroding. Gas prices are skyrocketing. Everyone has their hand out, it's getting to the point where more people are losing their houses, than buying houses. And Britney Spears is getting chubby. These are the things I've conditioned myself to ignore during the course of day to day living. Then I sit down at work, open a 75 cent bag of Doritoes and find only seven chips inside. Diminishing Returns is my reflection of the fact that the large package of Reeses Peanut Butter Cups use to have four cups. Now it has only three despite the escalation in price.

OA: Your pairing of "Where My Shadow Should Be" and "The Cat's in the Cradle..." is striking, but perhaps a needed social commentary. How has your approach to writing changed since you became a father?
KK: Life informs my art and there's nothing more important in my life than my children. With the birth of my first child, Gloria, my approach to everything changed. Writing wise, I know every hour I spend writing is an hour I'm taking away from my kids. Usually I can manage to squeeze a couple hours a night in between their bedtime and the time I go to sleep. When you know you only have a finite period of time, it helps you focus on the story, poem or novel at hand. As far as subject, one of my biggest fears is that I'm not doing enough as their father to prepare them for a world that aims to hurt them every chance it gets. The best way I know to deal with my fears is to write them out. The best way I know to try to wrap my mind around society's ills continually bombarding us whether it's on the nightly news or happening down the street is to write it out.

OA: Sunnyoutside is a quality press, I love the type setting of the titles of each poem and your photo on the cover is a perfect tie-in with a few of your poems. How important to you is the presentation of your work? Do you believe that fonts and imagines can add to the readers overall impression of the content?
KK: Thanks! David used a type called "Underground Engraved" for the titles. He'll be glad to hear the compliment. Presentation is very important. I take my work seriously and I'm proud to see it printed in such a professional manner. I've been fortunate to work with some of the best publishers in the small press. Guys like Kevin Sampsell at Future Tense. Bill Roberts at Bottle of Smoke. Andrew Lander at Showcase and now David Michael McNamara at Sunnyoutside. All four of them are true craftsmen. You can't go wrong ordering any of the books in the Sunnyoutside line. I ordinarily don't interfere too much with the design aspect. I prefer to stick with the writing. I think sometimes poets get wrapped up concocting fancy covers in the hopes of off-setting the mediocrity of the words within. I trust the publishers to do right by me and after seven chaps, I haven't been let down yet.

OA: You mention Buk & Kerouac as "former" influences in "My Literary Domestication". Who or what are some of your current influences? What inspires you to keep going?
KK: Current influences include Arthur Nersesian, Jonathan Ames, Russell Banks, Denis Johnson, Steve Almond, Umberto Eco, Nick Tosches, Nick Hornsby. Buk and Kerouac were always more of a lifestyle influence than anything literary. Inspiration is something I find from within rather than from without. Writing has never been a choice for me.

OA: How are things going with Zygote in my Coffee? Are there any big plans or events in store?
KK: There's always a whole lot going on at Besides the biweekly online journal featuring some of the best established and up-and-coming writers in the small press, we'll soon be releasing the fourth print issue of Zygote. Nothing in the small press compares to the content and design. We've also added a second co-editor, Aleathia Drehmer. In December, Zygote will hit the 100 th online issue and we're going to celebrate this milestone with a commemorative print edition limited to 100 copies featuring the work of twenty writers. Also on the horizon, Tainted Coffee Press will be printing the winning chapbook of the Outsider Writers Jack Micheline Memorial chapbook contest.

OA: What's next for Karl Koweski?
KK: I really don't know. I just completed a crime novel. I'm doing a last soft edit on that and fishing around for literary representation. I'm six thousand words into a second novel titled "Knuckle Society". That's taken up most of my writing time. Mostly I just keep trying to keep the pen moving. I'll probably have another poetry collection out within the next six months. Perhaps a short story collection. All I can say is check out my myspace page for the latest info.

Bonus Questions:

OA: Coffee? If yes what is your favorite type of coffee and where is your favorite spot?
KK: I like coffee, but I'm not the coffeehouse sort of person. Usually I'll just drink a few cups in the morning at work and that's usually Folgers or Maxwell House or whatever's available. A few shakes of sugar and a dash of french vanilla cream. That's good enough for me.

OA: Do you ever listen to music while you write? Who are some of your favorites currently and of all-time?
KK: I actually don't listen to music while I write. When I'm working on a story, I need to hear the cadence of the dialogue in my head and background music disturbs the flow. Any other time I listen to the sort of music I grew up with. Iron Maiden, Danzig, Nick Cave, Leonard Cohen, Johnny Cash, Nine Inch Nails and Guns and Roses. I like The Cramps, Dropkick Murphys, Ike Reilly Assassination. My favorite band would likely be Monster Magnet.

For more information on Karl Koweski please visit his myspace page, and to purchase Diminshing Returns visit here.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Artist of the Week

"Fairy Whores, Bliss Ninnies, and the Very Glory" mixed media on linen, 60" x 72"

Jackie Tileston

"Artists provide access to certain regions of the visible, and the objects they make become more and more secondary. They don't really "create" anymore, they reorganize. There are two dominant figures in today's culture: the DJ and the programmer. Both deal with things that are already produced. The common point between relational aesthetics and Post-Production is this idea that to communicate or have relations with other people, you need tools. Culture is this box of tools." - Nicolas Bourriaud, Interview with Bennett Simpson April, 2001

The concept of a semionauts is intriguing and quiet relevant to most of the creative output of the information age. A term coined by Nicolas Bourriaud in his book "Postproduction", a semionaut is someone who produces a creative output through the utilization of existing material, concepts, beats, words, and so on. It focuses more on building upon history and expanding the cultural signs and values, then the abstract originality that some strive to achieve. It is the blending of these various materials and genres that will ultimately create an original work.

Jackie Tileston is a Philadelphia-based painter and winner of a 2006 Guggenheim Fellowship, and she recently debut her latest work at Chicago’s Zg Gallery. The exhibit, Adventures of the Semionauts, opened on September 7th and runs through October 13th. When describing her work in her most recent artist statement Jackie uses words like "knit", "reconstruct", "feed off", but she lays out her main objective in these two sentences. "I am interested in visual democracies, nomadic thinking, rearranging hierarchies, and trying to fuse personal expression with shared social and cultural spaces, in full pictorial glory. My goal is that my work can transform its multiple sources into a stronger, weirder, and more complex pictorial version of the world, a millennial baroque environment of inclusion." Much like the DJ we will hear from later this week, Jackie is taking these various sources found in the global/cultural tool box and combining them with equal parts imagination and ingenuity to create an incredibly unique universe.

Recently, Jackie took some time to answer a few of our questions.

Orange Alert (OA): How would you describe your work?
Jackie Tileston (JT): Complex, multilayered, intense, nomadic, heterotopic, colorful, visually opulent. The day I was in the gallery in Chicago there were a bunch of high school students prowling the galleries on assignment. I heard some describe the paintings as "rock star" and "mad cool". I like that.

OA: You utilize a variety different of paints and pigments in your work. How did this "collage" approach come about? Does each type of paint represent something different in your work?
JT: No, the materials don't represent anything specific, but each material does function differently in terms of its sensual presence, and how it creates space. For example, the powdered pigments, which tend to float, have a completely different feel from the oil enamel, which tends to be very glossy and sits right on the surface. I've always been attracted to the physical realities of paintings and how they are made, and I want my paintings to be completely satisfying in this regard....We're so used to seeing images mediated by the computer and media that have no physicality or surface.

"Disembodied Under Different Skies" mixed media on linen, 60" x 72"

OA: At first I was intrigued by the names of your pieces, but then I read that you only began to name your work to ease the confusion between you and your dealer. Is there any meaning behind the titles of your pieces? Do you prefer to have titles on your work, as way to distinguish your work from "Untitled 221"? Can a clever title like "Disembodied Under Different Skies" make a piece more memorable?
JT: I've never been a fan of the "untitled #205" way of titling work, but neither do I want a title to try and "explain" the piece, which is condescending. I usually try and find titles that fit the sensibility of the work, or the experience I want to create, or are provocative/evocative. I like titles that expand the reading of the painting rather than closing it down. I do think a good title can make a painting memorable (hopefully the image itself is too). A critic from L.A. once said to me "You give good title". I was flattered.

OA: Your current show at Zg Gallery, Adventures of Semionauts, is you second show in Chicago. What is your impression of the Chicago gallery scene? How does it compare to New York and Philly?
JT: I can't say I'm all that familiar with the scene there. New York is, well, New York, and there really isn't anything to compare with it's intensity, quantity, importance, etc. The Philly gallery scene is probably sleepier than Chicago, more dominated by younger artists and alternative spaces because of the large number of art schools/universities here. In terms of galleries/collectors, we're very close to NYC, which means if there are serious contemporary collectors, they are probably shopping in Chelsea and not Old City.

OA: What does the word "Semionauts" mean to you?
JT: It's a word I encountered while reading Nicholas Bourriaud's "Postproduction" essay - I suspect he made it up. It refers to those (like DJ's, internet users, artists) who invent pathways through signs and cultures, imagining the links and relations between disparate sites. It seemed like a pretty good description of what I'm trying to do with my work, so I used the word for the title of my show. I like that people have to try and infer the meaning by combining "semiotics" and "astronauts".....

Bonus Questions:
OA: Coffee? If yes what is your favorite type of coffee and where is your favorite coffee spot?
JT: Sorry. I'm a tea hound. Earl Grey, lemon, two spoons of sugar. My house.

OA: Do you listen to music while you paint? Who are some of your favorites while painting and in general?
JT: I almost ALWAYS listen to music in the studio. It helps keep out brain chatter and maintain flow. I do have one rule, which is NO lyrics in English while I'm working - most of them
tend to whine, and that's not really what I'm going for in the work, so I don't want that vibe in my head. I listen to mostly world/fusion/ambient/indian/techno stuff, in and out of the studio. Current favorites are DJ Cheb i Sabbah, Nitin Sawhney, Karsh Kale, Loop Guru, Gigi, kirtan stuff, etc.

Jackie is currently involved in another exhibit in New York, entitled "Crazy Beautiful" at the Kenise Barnes Fine Art Gallery. The exhibit also features Julie Gross, Cristi Rinklin, Trisha Wright, and Kirk McCarthy, and it runs through October 13th.

For more information on Jackie Tileston please visit her website.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

New Release Tuesday

Photo by Tim And Barry

Tunng (pictured above) - Good Arrows Listen to: Bricks (mp3)
Stars - In Our Bedroom After the War (Stream) Listen to: The Night Starts Here (mp3)
Office - A Night at The Ritz (Stream) Listen to: The Ritz (mp3)
Jose Gonzalez - In Our Nature (Stream) Listen to: Teardrops (mp3)
Devendra Banhart - Smoke Rolls Down Thunder Canyon (Stream) Listen to: So Long Old Bean (mp3)
Iron and Wine - The Shepard's Dog Listen to: The Boy With A Coin (mp3)
Magik Markers - Boss Listen to: Taste (mp3)
Sea Wolf - Leaves In The River (Stream) Listen to: You're a Wolf (mp3)
Loney, Dear - Sologne (US Release) Listen to: The Battle of Trinidad and Tobago (mp3)
The Bird and The Bee - Please Clap Your Hands
Matt Pond PA - Last Light (Stream)
Mum - Go Go Smear The Posion Ivy Listen to: They Made Frogs Smoke 'til They Exploded (mp3)
Erin McKeown - Lafayette
Ewan Pearson - Piece Work Listen to: Song for the Fields (Ewan Pearson Remix) (mp3)
Army of the Pharoahs - Ritual Battle
Two Gallants - Two Gallants Listen to: Despite What You've Been Told (mp3)
Working For a Nuclear Free City - Businessmen & Ghosts
Athlete - Beyond The Neighbourhood
Ivan Ives - Iconoclast Listen to: Victory (feat. Vast Aire) (mp3)
Nellie McKay - Obligatory Villagers
The Cave Singers - Invitation Songs (Stream)

Knocked Up
Coffee Date

Monday, September 24, 2007

Monday Morning Mix

Let go, dance free around the office or bedroom or wherever you may be. Let the music take hold and move you. Enjoy" Orange Alert's Dance Party", featuring Simian Mobile Disco, The Wombats, Daft Punk, Muscles, Justice and more...

Artwork: "Dance Party" by Inka Essenhigh

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Orange Alert's Music Minute

I love to see Chicago music get hyped in a big way, and this past week I received an e-mail regarding one of my favorite Chicago duos. Here is the opening: "Hip Hop tag team featuring Mae-Shi-mash-upper Yea Big and professional-stuntman-by-day Kid Static to release debut album of “retro-futuristic” comic book beats and rhymes". These two are bringing back the fun, energetic hip-hop, but can still battle when needed. Fans of Ugly Duckling, Blue Scholars, and Glue take note... here comes Yea Big and Kid Static! Listen to: Run to the Facts (mp3) and Duck, Mother F***ers! (mp3)

I am a little scared, but then again I scare easily. Sightings sound is forceful and brewed in a dark place most humans are afraid to travel. "Bass, drum and guitars meshed together with a synthetic twine envisioned in future think tanks. Literally the sound of human progress darkened with a profound fidelity so loud the dark matter of the universe quivers in a deadly orgasm. Guitar, bass and drums reconfigured for a new purpose." Listen to: Perforated (mp3)

Friend EP - out November 5th (6th in US) - contains a lush, dramatic and varied collection of songs and collaborations. Material from both previous Grizzly Bear albums has been reworked & covered by several stars of the international alternative scene - including CSS, Band of Horses and Atlas Sound (aka Deerhunter). Beirut and The Dirty Projectors also bring extra vocals to the already powerful choral force. In addition to collaborations there's also new songs by Grizzly Bear, and even the band's version of a song by 60's group The Crystals. Friend EP Tracklisting You can preview the first track on the EP over at Stereogum.

Part confessional. Part dance party. It's never quite clear what Innerpartysystem offers their listeners. The keen observer will allow themselves to be drawn in by the anxious beats, pensive blips and ominous thrashing tones while, lyrically, the band entangles you in sordid narratives with themes of lust, drugs, heresy, honesty, love and the insatiable pursuits of the darkest night life. Sometimes the result is numbing and ominous, sometimes it's nervous and twisted, sometimes mindless and danceable, however, Innerpartysystem are always subtly challenging. Join the party today, the The Download EP is now available on itunes. Listen to: Don't Stop (mp3)

The Peel Back: Lush "Spooky"

The year was 1992, and I was a young kid living in the Chicago Suburbs without cable but with an interest in music. One night I stumble across a locally produced show, on I believe channel 66 at the time, called JBTV. Jerry Bryant quickly became my main source for new music, but it was one night in particular that Jerry played this video with an enchanting girl with fire red hair floating in what appeared to be water. Her hair moved and flowed as the music swilled and echoed in a way that I had not heard before. I had just been introduced to shoegazing, but I did not realize that until later. I never really got too into the movement, but I never forgot Lush.


Stray/Nothing Natural (mp3)/Tiny Smiles/Covert/Ocean (mp3)/For Love/Superblast! (mp3)/Untogether/Fantasy/Take/Laura/Monochrome

Saturday, September 22, 2007

The Watch List

1. The Wet Secrets - Edmonton, Alberta CA is where The Wet Secrets hide. Lyle Bell of Shout Out Out Out Out and and Trevor Anderson of The Vertical Struts form this side project back in 2005. Now the set to independently release a new album this fall that will feature remixes from Cadence Weapon. They are billed as Edmonton's Raunchiest Band, check them out for yourself. Listen to: Secret March (mp3)
2. Gillan Edgar - A British-based, Scottish-voiced troubadour/songsmith, really what more do you need to know.
3. Plushgun - Dan Ingala is 23 years-old and from NYC, he claims to be indie-electro-licious, and I can't say I disagree. This is bedroom composition at its finest! Listen to: Just Impossible (mp3)

1. "Remember Those Bicycles You Left At My House?" by Nick Ostdick - It reads like a letter from an ex who really doesn't care how you feel about the break, and is secretly trying to rub your face in it. (If you weren't aware, you can see Nick tonight at Quimby's. Click here for details!)
2. Diode Issue #1 - "Enter diode, teeming with 'poetry that excites and energizes. . . .poetry that uses language that crackles and sparks.' We set out to find poetry that creates an arc between writer and reader, an arc that hums with the live current of language."
3. "Company ponders the possibilities surrounding switching sides in the War on Terrorism" by Matt Carmichael - I think the title says it all.
4. "I was a Preteen Nightmare" by Jill Summer - I just read this on recommendation from Nick Ostdick, and he did not stear me wrong. I sometime worry about linking to THE2HAND too often, but I just can't help it they continously deliver the goods.

1. The Free Ride Pen - Designed by Jean Pierre Lepine, this pen is beautiful. $152
2. Mr. Coffee's MRX35 - Redesign for the anniversary this is the maker of the future! You can see a picture here. $75

1. Bdbbdb Issue #1 "Stands"- This is the first issue of a nice little lit zine from Chicago put together by Diego Leclery.
2. Artzmania Art Crimes Special Edition - Graffiti has a rich history and is well represented in this special issue of Artzmania.
3. Do it Your Mole - You can never have enough mole's... mice that's another story. Go, download, cut, fold, bend, rip! Mole it!

1. Battles "Tonto" - This is really this first at Battles soon to be released album Tonto+ Ep.
2. "About a Son" movie trailer - I was never a Nirvana fan, but I would be lying if I said this did not look good.
3. Dinosaur Literary Corner - Ben this is money, this should be an ongoing series. I would love to see more of the dinosaurs reviews. (If you weren't aware, you can see Ben Tanzer tonight at Quimby's. Click here for details!)

Saturday Morning Cartoon

This morning while you have your bowl of Mr. Wonderfull's Surprize enjoy this tripped out video from the beat magician Daedelus.


Friday, September 21, 2007

Band of the Week


The story of Illuminea is really a story of friendship, with the initial friendship dating back all the way to 1995. This is when a 14-year Marc Alan Goodman (vocals/Guitar) met a 12-year sonic youth fan named Peter Angevine (drums). The two became friends and recording partners. However, the magic did not happen until Marc was in college and met Minna Choi (vocals/keyboards) and Jen Appel (vocals/guitar). Marc and Jen began recording together and knew there was a special musical connection. It is while Marc was mixing the duo's first demo that he heard R.E.M.'s song "E-bow the Letter" and mistook the word aluminium for illumina. A band name was found, and they quickly expanded to include Minna and Peter. It was at that time that Minna emerged as the third singer/song writer, and brought a new style to an already diverse band. Over the next few years the band grew and recorded their self-released debut Lp, Nightlight. The album received quite a bit of press in Philly and across the country.

Now, in 2007, the band has changed its name from Illumina to Illuminea, signed to the wonderful Philly label High Two and released their sophomore effort "Out of Our Mouths".This album is ever shifting between the three singer/songwriters, yet the feel is consistent throughout and the focus is on the theme of sorrow leading to hope. Sonically powerful and wide-ranging, their sound has been dubbed chamber-pop, but it shifts fluently from dubbed tinged, slow reggae grooves to high energy orchestral rock and gracefully covers the space between.

Recently, Jen Appel and Minna Choi of Illuminea took some time to answer a few our questions.

Orange Alert (OA): The original spelling of Illuminea sprang forth from a misinterpretation of a Michael Stipe lyric. What were the chances that another band would also call themselves Illumina? How was the decision made to alter the name and not pursue or contact the other Illumina?
Jen: Apparently, the chances were high, as there were two other bands with that name in different parts of the world, as well as a record label and a genetics company. We decided it was probably easier to come up with a new name rather than stirring up some trouble with the other illumina's. We're definitely not into trouble making. Well, not all of us.

OA: I have read that one of the goals of the band is to utilize as many instruments as possible. Is there an instrument that you wanted to use on this album, but were unable to fit in? Besides Air Guitar, what is the most unusual instrument you have used in a recording or while performing on stage?
Jen: Yeah, I wanted to use an autoharp on "I Can't Wait" and i bought one from a guy on Craig's List for $40, however he neglected to give me the peg required to tune it, and so we couldn't get it to play in, well, any key at all. Other than that, all of our deepest instrumental dreams came true on this record. I think the most unusual instrument we've used while recording has been the marxophone. Everyone should have one of these if you can find one. It sort of sounds like a depressed rusty mandolin.

OA: With three distinct singer/songwriters, how is it decided which songs from which songwriter make the final cut of the album? How many were originally brought by Jen, Marc, and Minna? Does this process ever lend itself to conflict or do the long standing friendships allow the process to be purely creative?
Jen: We recorded about seventeen songs for this album and ultimately came up with a sequence that determined what songs would be on it. With seven people in the band, everyone is going to have a favorite, and everyone is going to have a song they don't want to be on the record, but the key to being in a band with a large group of people is learning the meaning of the word "compromise" immediately. We never say "Oh, we need x amount of Marc songs" or "Hey, we should have more Jen songs" -- we really focus on the collection of songs that we feel goes together best, even when that means they are vastly different in style/approach. Seven people with lots of far-reaching influences are always going to come to the table with different ideas of what the record should be, but I think we've really mastered the ability to meet in the middle somewhere. And to throw tantrums.

OA: It may just be who I have been focusing on lately, but I seem to be continuously mentioning Philly lately. What is your opinion of the current scene in Philly? What was it like to be able to sign to a local label like High Two Records?
Minna: I'm the one person in the band who's never lived in Philly, so my view of the Philly scene is probably a little biased in that i've only been exposed to the good side of the Philly scene on our show weekends. When I think Philly, I think of R5, bowerbird, of really stringent tastes, strong opinions and extremes, which is not a bad thing. The musicians and listeners I've come across in Philly are really knowledgeable because they took the time to listen to it themselves.

To sign to a true Philly label like High Two felt like a really natural extension of what we were doing all along. Half of illuminea lives in NY and half lives in Philly but if you look at our shows, we really thrive in Philly, and I think signing to a label like High Two was a perfect fit.

OA: In conjunction with the current mixtape/playlist contest, if Illuminea was to make a mixtape of their musical influences what would it look like?
Minna: Bjork. Chavez. Tom Waits. Weezer. Whitney Houston. Phil Collins. Mark Kozelek. Normal Love. The Book of Knots. It's all bands and artists who are extreme versions of themselves in the sense that they do exactly what they want to do and do it better than anyone else. Something I think is kind of a Philly trait, from an outsider point of view anyway...

OA: What's next for Illuminea?
Minna: I think we are still getting used to being on a label, it's such a luxury to have someone care on your behalf, we're still kind of pinching ourselves. We have new songs which have yet to be recorded but we are going to continue to play more shows and hopefully will start playing in cities we've never before, Pittsburgh? Baltimore? LA??? The possibilities are exciting.

Out of Our Mouths

In Retrospect/Living In Sin/Homewrecker (mp3)/Build Your Own/Sugaring (mp3)/To Lose You As A Friend/Sleep it Off/New Walk/Done by Hand/I Waited Too Long to Tell You How I Feel/Out of Our Mouths/I Can't Wait

For more information on Illuminea please visit their website or check out their myspace page.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Writer's Corner

Jason Jordan

What does it mean to be experimental? Initially, I felt that this label may have a negative connotation, seeing that one definition of the word is unproven. However, without experimentation there is no advancement, and this Indiana native is definitely advancing the principles and overall aesthetic of the short story. Jason Jordan not only has wildly inventive content and character's, but the utilization of fonts, images and page breaks keeps the reader captivated.

His debut Powering the Devil's Circus consists of pieces of short fiction ranging in subject matter from cat worship to the love life of a tube, and of course the namesake autobiographical novella. The novella follows Jason through a Christian high school and then college at Indiana University Southeast. It really maps his journey thus far, and gives the reader a glimpse at what is on the horizon.

Recently, Jason took some time out from worshiping his cats and running decomP to answer a few of my questions.

Orange Alert (OA): The novella portion of your book seems at times to be more of a journal of your life up to this point. The names haven't even been changed to protect the not so innocent. If this is the case, how did you decide to speak with such truth?
Jason Jordan (JJ): It should be noted that most of the names weren’t changed. In fact, I can only think of about three characters, based on real people, whose names I changed. A few characters were entirely made-up, but of those who weren’t, I felt that I represented them both accurately and fairly. If I said anything too negative, I changed the name simply to protect myself. Overall, I didn’t feel the need to disguise the nonfiction parts of the novella, nor did I think I’d step on anyone’s toes by relaying my version of the truth.

OA: How difficult was it to write an ending to a story that has really just begun?
JJ: The ending of the novella was pretty difficult to write because I wasn’t sure what was gonna happen after the time or the during the time in which I finished it. I did know, however, that I’d most likely leave Louisville – for school or work – so I did have something to go on in that respect. But yeah, it’s not easy offering closure, while avoiding a cliffhanger, to a story that has no foreseeable end in sight.

OA: What is it about the Christian upbringing or education that pushes so many people in the opposite direction?
JJ: When you’re consistently beat over the head with something, the natural reaction is to either fully embrace it or fully reject it, I think. In addition, I believe one of the things that dooms many young churchgoers/Christians is the overprotective nature of their parents, so that when they do have the freedom to experiment (drinking, drugs, sex, etc.), there’s a greater chance they’ll enjoy these so-called taboos, which may be instrumental in leading them astray. The upbringing never leaves you, though. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about God, or the idea of God, in some capacity.

OA: You mention both Mike Smith and Mickey Hess frequently in "Devil's Circus". How has their work and their presence in your life affected you as a writer? Who are some of your other literary influences?
JJ: The influence of them on me was great since they were the ones who got me interested in writing in the first place. I admired the work they were doing, and still do, but I think they showed me that writing is very much alive, and that there are others out there who are writing great things, and that it’s possible to get involved in a community, which is incredibly gratifying.
There are a handful of writers who’ve really impressed me over the past few years, but early on, I’d say I was most impressed by Donald Barthelme, Charles Bukowski, Haruki Murakami, George Saunders, Rupert Thomson, Hunter S. Thompson, and Kurt Vonnegut. As for my contemporaries who I’ve interacted with at one point or another, Al Burian, Elizabeth Crane, Debra Di Blasi, Todd Dills, Joe Meno, Nick Ostdick, Kevin Sampsell, Patrick Somerville, Ben Tanzer. Mickey and Mike, too, of course!

OA: I've heard the word "experimental" used to describe your work. In fact it is on the back cover of your book. Personally I enjoy the shifting fonts and changing formats in the short pieces, do your consider yourself experimental?
JJ: I suppose so. It’s difficult to accept a categorization, though, when you don’t necessarily always write in one vein. For instance, I’ve been going through a period where I haven’t written anything I’d call experimental. I’ve mostly been writing either literary or surrealist fiction. But, since I’m in the MFA program at Chatham, I’m being forced to stick to a concrete deadline with stories, so I’m beginning to experiment again. My newest work is akin to “Tube,” “Being a Friend Means,” and other stories that take liberties with format, etc. I get bored easily if I stick to traditional storytelling for too long, which is probably why I have the urge to switch things up so much.

OA: You recently took the helm of the on-line literary journal decomP. Were you as surprised by Mike's decision as the rest of us were? What are your plans for the future of the journal?
JJ: I was and wasn’t surprised by Mike’s decision to step down from decomP. On the one hand, Mike did a great job using the resources he had to turn the zine into a flourishing, online publication. On the other hand, by the time he’ll be finished with it, he’ll have run it for three and a half years. At a certain point, I could sense that he was losing his enthusiasm and drive, plus everyone gets burnt out after a while. I mean, he put a lot of work, time, and money into it. Even so, I’m glad he stayed on to witness decomP gain in popularity rather than fade from disinterest. I remember when we wouldn’t receive submissions for weeks on end, but at the time we closed submissions for the year, we were getting several a day.

I can’t say I have grandiose plans for decomP, but optimally, what I would like to eventually do is pay our contributors and publish a print edition. I doubt the latter would adhere to a regular schedule, though. We’ll see what happens, and perhaps the fifth anniversary would be the time to act on one or both of those proposals. Regardless, in January ’08, decomP’s web address, submission email address, and submission guidelines will change, so be on the lookout in the new year. The January issue will be a sparse offering while I’m adjusting to web design, among other responsibilities that come with running a zine. We won’t have any reserve acceptances, either, so we’ll need a couple weeks, I’m sure, to have a full issue ready for publication. February will be the true return. Lastly, I’ll probably be in the market for an Assistant Editor who’s able to sift through poetry submissions. Keep an eye open if interested.

OA: What's next for Jason Jordan?
JJ: Lists are fun, so here’s one in order of importance:

  • finish my M.F.A. in Fiction Writing from Chatham University
  • get a job teaching writing at a college/university OR obtain a Ph.D. and then start teaching
  • get a literary agent

  • find a publisher for my novel The Dying Horse

  • find a publisher for my second collection Hundreds of Feet in the Air

Bonus Questions:

OA: Coffee? If yes, what is your favorite type of coffee and where is your favorite coffee spot?
JJ: Yes! I love coffee, and drink it every day. I take it either hot or cold, but always black. No cream. No sugar. For some reason, I gravitate towards Latin American coffee (from any LA country, really), and coincidentally, I’m also taking a grad-level Latin American Literature course this semester.

I have a couple different coffee spots. In New Albany, it’s Coffee Crossing. In Louisville, it’s the Heine Bros. Coffee on the corner of Easter Pkwy. and Bardstown Rd. My Pittsburgh hotspot is TBD.

OA: We all know you are metal head, so I will challenge you to list your top 5 metal albums of all-time.
JJ: This question is so difficult because I can either list my top 5 albums based on history and taste, or I can stick with just taste. I’m gonna ignore historical significance and base my picks on taste alone.

In alphabetical order:
Agalloch – Ashes Against the Grain
Cynic – Focus
Dream Theater – Images and Words
Emperor – Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk
Megadeth – Rust in Peace

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Artist of the Week

Ezara Hoffman

The idea of allowing the paint, specifically oil paint, to somehow dictate the flow and the feel of a painting in fascinating. The approach can start in many different ways, but for recent graduate of The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Ezara Hoffman, it begins with an object. She studies the object, observes the details, but when it comes time to create she allows the substance of the paint to take over and guide her to completion. The result is magical or as my resident kindergartner so eloquently phrased it, "it's candy!". To her the explosions and streaks and swirls, could not possibly be anything else, but the highest form of pleasure... candy!

As stated, Ezara Hoffman, is a recent graduate of The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. During her time in graduate school she compiled quite a resume of local showings, and since her graduation she participated in group showings around Chicago, including Who Art Thou? at this years Lollapalooza. Currently, she is involved in a collective group showing in Austria entitled Fifths.

Recently, Ezara returned from Austria and answered a few of my questions.

Orange Alert (OA): How would you describe your style of painting?
Ezara Hoffman (EH): I work in oil painting. Oil paint has the fluid quality and dense pigment that attracts me. My paintings reflect the material and the means of making the work. While I paint, I look at objects, sketches and photographs and also I create still-life situations to use as models.

OA: What did you learn about yourself and your work during your time at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago?
EH: During grad school, I made a lot of work. My painting changed as I worked through new concerns and as I saw my work from new perspectives. I felt challenged by the critiques from my teachers and other students, but always, I developed as a result of their comments.

OA: As your work evolves do you find yourself drawn to a specific color pallet? How do you utilize color in your pieces?
EH: Yes and no. Every color has a specific quality and I am concerned with how the colors interact. I am considering using a limited palette for the next paintings, but I cannot decide this until I am sitting in front of the support.

OA: Who are some of your biggest influences artistically?
EH: Recently I have been interested in design. A few weeks ago I saw an amazing Kolo Moser show and also a Sigmar Polke retrospective.

OA: You currently are involved in a group show in Austria as part of their Swingr show called "Fifths". How did you get involved in that show and will you be traveling to Austria?
EH: Actually, I just returned from Austria for the Fifths show. The show is up until the 20th of September when there is a Finissage reception. The opening was wonderful and many people commented that the work was somewhat different from their expectation in a nonprofit 'offspace' show. It is a handsome show with such strong voices from the artists. The show came about after one artist who curates Swingr was in Chicago on a residency last summer and he invited us to participate.

OA: What's next for Ezara Hoffman?
EH: Right now, I am working on new paintings and thinking about still-life and transformation. I am looking forward to seeing the paintings from my new ideas. On Dec 2, I have a solo show reception at Devening Projects and in February I have a solo at the Contemporary Art Workshop.

Bonus Questions:

OA: Coffee? If yes, what is your favorite type of coffee and where is your favorite coffee spot?
EH: When I lived on the northside near Berwyn I spent a lot of time at the coffee shop 'Pause'. Usually, I order regular coffee or sometimes cappuccino, but I am no expert.

OA: Does music ever affect your work? Who are some of your favorite musician currently?
EH: Music is influential. It is best for me to work without music, but I like to listen to music when I am not working. Recently, I've been listening to Jamie Lidell and Wolf Parade.

For more information on Ezara Hoffman please visit her website.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

New Release Tuesday

Health - Health Listen to: Crimewave (mp3)
Sleeping States - There The Open Spaces Listen to: Rivers (mp3)
Rogue Wave - Asleep at Heaven's Gate Listen to: Chicago x 12 (mp3)
Kate Nash - Foundations Ep Listen to: Foundations (mp3)
Hard-Fi - Once Upon a Time in The West Listen To: Suburban Knights (mp3)
Firefox AK - Madame, Madame! (US Release) Listen to: Habibi (mp3)
Endless Mic - Baby Geniuses Listen to: Watching Your World (mp3)
Plastiscines - LP1 Listen to: Pop In, Pop Out (mp3)
Songs of the Green Pheasant - Gyllyng Street Listen to: Boats (mp3)
Motion City Soundtrack - Even if it Kills Me
Underworld - Crocodile (Single)

Polyphonic Spree - Live from Austin Texas

Monday, September 17, 2007

Monday Morning Mix

This week's mix is inspired by several different things, but first and foremost this amazing painting by Libby Kleine Modern. However, it also marks my return to the site after a three and half day vacation (Hence the first song in the mix by Bobby Birdman). My thanks goes out to Dan for stepping up involvement with the site this weekend.

Also, track 9 on the mix would qualify me for the mixtape contest, if I could enter. It is that easy, just submit a short playlist and be entered to win.

Please enjoy "TV Wants to Plug into Enchilada Casserole" featuring music from The Shins, Jens Lekman, Animal Collective, Bodies of Water, Patrick Wolf and more...

Artwork: "TV Wants to Plug into Enchilada Casserole" by Libby Kleine Modern

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Coffee Talk

After finishing the Rowan Scarborough book, Sabotoge : America's Enemies Within the CIA, I thought we would end Summer and start up the Coffee Talk with the ideas and evidence based within this book.

As a quick summary, Rowan Scarborough uses 216 pages to lay out his evidence from investigative journalism to prove that members and former members of the CIA are involved in partisan politics and are using classified information to discredit and attack the White House Administration through leaks to the mainstream media outlets. Also included, are attacks on key Administration officials by Democrats to discredit their roles in an effort (mostly successful in my opinion) to oust those officials from office.

To go into more detail, we'll start where the book starts...with Congressman Pete Hoekstra's "secret" letter to President Bush on May 18, 2006 concerning the nominee of Steve Kappes as Deputy Director of the CIA. (Ironically, I was able to find a copy of the actual letter on the internet that was released by the New York Times in an effort to show that Pete Hoekstra was concerned about the Administration withholding key information in their inquiries with the House and Senate Intelligence Committees with Hoekstra is a part of.) Here is the letter from the NYT article and website.

Although the letter shows concern on multiple areas, the book focuses on the statement in the letter "I have been long concerned that a strong and well-positioned group within the Agency intentionally under-minded the Administration and its policies." On the 3rd page of the book Scarborough has another quote from this time Pat Roberts of the Senate Intelligence Committee remarking, "What concerns me what appears to be a campaign of press leaks by the CIA in an effort to discredit the President."

Added to the CIA leaks to attack the President and the Administration were former Senior Analyst at the CIA, Ray McGovern, and CIA analyst Bill Christison who have both helped the 9/11 Truth Movement and helped propel the conspiracy theories that a missile hit the Pentagon and that 9/11 was an inside job with their founding of the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity organization. (Just type any of the three names and hundreds to thousands of articles will come up mostly from,, and numerous mainstream media articles they they have written and been "counter-terrorist analysts."

Then the last main players in the book are the media giants of the New York Times and Washington Post who have been publishing the damaging leaks and have helped shape the minds of Americans and foreigners alike. Some of the leaks mentioned were of reproduced parts of the National Intelligence Estimate, but only of the most negative assessments to the war according to Scarborough. (here's a list from the White House of NYT articles that they are refuting) Then the Washington Post revealed secret holding cells in Europe and elsewhere for captured al Qaeda leaders which embarrassed the Administration w/ supporting countries in the war on terror. One of the CIA sources was a Democratic John Kerry supporter, Mary McCarthy according the book.

The biggest leak was when the NYT disclosed a top secret program of instantaneous eavesdropping on suspected terrorists who were calling people withing the United States. Here's the article. Not only was this an embarrisment which Bush had to have a press conference about 3 days later, but it keyed al Qaeda into our method of NSA surveillance to track and key in on them. According to Scarborough, Hoekstra told him that al Qaeda then changed all of their communications methods to reach people within the US and it has made intercepting calls much more difficult. As a side note, in the book Scarborough quotes General Michael Hayden, who ran the NSA in 2001 as saying, "Had this program been in effect prior to 9/11, it is my professional judgement that we would have detected some of the 9/11 al Qaeda operatives in the United States, and we would have identified them as such."

This was all laid out in the first 7 pages of the book. From there he talks about how the Clinton Administration had eroded the CIA during the military cuts for 8 years in which the CIA lost at least 30% of its analytical and operating branches in Latin America and Asia. Indonesia had only 3 CIA officers by the mid 1990's (largest Muslim country). He also required the CIA to not deal with unsavory characters for sources which eliminates most of the good intelligence for terrorist organizations. Clinton also virtually stopped new recruiting by the mid-1990's, and you can see what a dire situation it is now when the CIA has commercials to recruit people on TV (as a friend pointed out while discussing this a couple days ago). Scarborough reported that if the CIA wanted good HUMINT (human intelligence) to get info from Iraq, it needed to develop those sources 20 to 30 years ago. Scarborough claims that the CIA had been in retreat since 1975, when Senator Frank Church's committee on intelligence exposed CIA misdeeds and made it difficult for the agency to recruit new agents. Instead, the CIA and intellligence community had to rely on defectors and sources that would lie for money or security. (See any intelligence report and you'll see the kind of people that were our sources) Phase II of the Select Committee on Intelligence discussing WMD Programs or Information used from the Iraqi National Congress

To top everything off, (and in my opinion is the most telling of the Democratic attacks on the Administration) the committee that was assembled to inquire into 9/11 and the War in Iraq, of which I put copies of Phase II reports above and Phase I below, were engaged in a partisan battle started by the Democrats and an internal memo that basically states that they would try to "castigate the majority for seeking to limit the scope of the inquiry", leak promising leads to the media, and then whatever the committee finds, demand another investigation into the same matters by an independent body - and do it on a schedule that coincides with the election. Here are two congressional records discussing this. Nov 5, 2003 w/ details of the memo Nov. 7, 2003 discussion continued

So not only does he paint a picture that parts of the CIA are leaking information to discredit the Administration, but they could not even perform their duty of providing national security intelligence to senior US policymakers. (See Mission on the sidebar of the CIA's website) Scarborough throughout the book goes into detail on how key CIA leaks and misinformation that were either incorrect, ficticious, or otherwise have damaged the Administration. Here is a list topics which I may go into in more detail at a future time...

CIA shortfalls
Defense Department and Rumsfeld needing to create intelligence divisions w/in the Army
Ahmed Chalabi and the INC
Pres. Bush State of the Union address and the Africa/uranium reference
John Bolton, his Heritage Foundation speech and his WMD speech
Donald Rumsfeld and Gen. John Keane
Paul Pillar's speeches and book Terrorism and US Foreign Policy
Tyler Drumheller, his no WMD claim, and Curveball
Valerie Plame and Joe Wilson w/ Niger - Iraq connection
Patrick Fitzgerald investigation of of Niger-Iraq connection
Richard Armitage as source
Iran and lack of intelligence

With the apparent attack against the White House, George W. Bush and his Administration by members of the Democratic party and their supporters, how do you think the media has impacted your view of the US government in general and the current President in particular?

How has the emergence of the Internet and blogs like this one coupled with the rise of conspiracy theories relating to the media press releases, CIA leaks and anti-war advocates affected your opinion of the US government, the President and the War on Terror?

How has this posting affected your view of the media, the Democrats, and internet based articles?

Talk amongst yourselves.