Sunday, May 25, 2008

Evil Twins

Look at the pictures above. Who are these guys? Are they brothers? Twins separated at birth? No, they are the frontmen for two of the most popular rock bands in the Northwest: Seattle's Death Cab For Cutie and Portland's The Decemberists. The former band is led by Ben Gibbard (top photo) and the latter by Colin Meloy (bottom photo). Has anyone ever noticed that these guys look nearly identical? Same pudgy face, same shaggy haircut, same taste in western shirts. They probably even share the same optometrist. But here's the biggest similarity of all: both of their bands are completely overrated. No, their music isn't terrible, it's just very average. So average, in fact, that it's a mystery how either of them became popular in the first place. And yet The Decemberists recently played to huge crowds at a Barack Obama rally in Oregon. It's hard to imagine anyone getting pumped up for a politician by this band. And Death Cab played for the Dalai Lama during his visit here last month. I'm sure the Dalai Lama enjoyed the show; he's totally into sensitive white-boy indie rock these days. Okay, I realize that I'm being a bit harsh. And maybe I just haven't heard the right songs to be convinced of their talent. So if anyone out there can tell me what I'm missing, I'm all ears.

To contrast with the aformentioned bands, Radio Concord is presenting you with a song by one of the most underrated (and unheard) bands from the Northwest: The Whip. They were only active for a very brief period at the start of the decade, but it's fair to say that if they ever got the chance to play at a Barack Obama rally, there would be rioting in the streets. Their ex-bassist/vocalist continues to pummel eardrums with his current band, Big Business; if they ever roll through your town, I encourage you to check 'em out.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Middle America

Hi folks,

I just got back from Oklahoma, where Cindy and I were attending the funeral of her grandmother. That event is a little too personal to discuss in a forum like this, but I will say that I'm glad I went, and I was fortunate to meet a lot of Cindy's relatives while I was there.

I found Oklahoma to be interesting from a cultural perspective. Here are a few observations I had during my visit:

- The tiny town of Gage, where the funeral was held, is one of the vanishing towns of America. I can imagine that Main Street was a hub of activity 50 years ago, but everything is boarded up and deserted nowadays.

- Every medium-sized town has a WalMart. I wonder if that explains something about the previous observation. We also happened to drive through Kingfisher, the birthplace of Sam Walton.

- Beef tastes especially good in Oklahoma. Maybe it's fresher there.

- If you're ever in Oklahoma, make sure you visit the city of Guthrie, home to the largest historic district in the country. We didn't have time for more than a drive-through, but it looked cool.

The Radio Concord song of the week is "White Winter Hymnal", by Seattle band Fleet Foxes. Enjoy:

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Radio Concord

Hello friends,
Today marks the debut of Radio Concord, an ongoing feature on this blog aimed at keeping you up to date on the current music scene. Thanks to streaming audio websites such as SeeqPod, iLike, and Imeem, it's easy to discover and listen to all sorts of new bands. In fact, there is so much music out there that it can be overwhelming. My computerized assistant LABRUSCA has been busy scouring these sites to find music that it thinks will match the tastes of the Concord demographic (thirty-something, college-educated, lots of free time). From now on, each blog post will include a song that I, er, LABRUSCA has recently discovered and deemed worthy enough to share with you folks.

This week's song is "Fools", by The Dodos. I don't know too much about these guys, except that they are a guitar-drums duo from San Francisco. Check it out:

Wednesday, May 7, 2008


Hi folks,

Mr. Concord has a cold this week. I'm sure you're all eager to hear me whine and complain about how miserable I feel, so I'm going to spend the entirety of today's post focusing on my sickness. Specifically, I'm going to talk about cold remedies. Since everyone gets a cold from time to time, this post should provide you with some useful information.

I seem to get sick about once a year, and as a result I've become somewhat of a connoisseur of cold medicines. Here's a brief overview of what I've tried in the past:
Pseudoephedrine- One of my faves. This drug has been more difficult to obtain recently due to its role in the production of methamphetimine. As long as you don't go to the store looking like trailer trash, the pharmacist will probably sell it to you without any hassle.
Phenylephrine- Most over-the-counter remedies use this now instead of pseudophedrine. It's a poor substitute, in my opinion. The Hyundai of cold medicines.
Dextromethorphan- This is a cough suppressant, but in large doses it can act as a hallucinogen. I'm no junkie, but if you're going to suffer through a horrible cold, you might as well reward yourself.

Cough Drops:

Hall's Mentho-Lyptus- The gold standard. Decent menthol content, with a fresh, minty finish.
Hall's Ice Blue- These have an even higher menthol content, so they're sure to get the job done. Slightly harsh afertaste. A real man's cough drop.
Luden's Wild Cherry- I remember eating these when I was a kid. The active ingredient here is pectin, which means they're totally worthless. For babies only.
Ricola- This one has a nice, sweet flavor, balanced by notes of peppermint and sage. The menthol content is rather low, though.
Robitussin Honey Center- This is by far my favorite cough drop. As the name indicates, these are filled with delicious, soothing honey. I would eat these even if I didn't have a cold. Five stars.

That's all for now. Not the most entertaining post, I know, but I should be in better shape next week. Keep me in your prayers. Love, Grape Boy.