Category Archives: music

Music’s great, but the crowd sucks

I think we’ve all run into this… I know I have more often than I’d like to remember.

A little ditty by Wil Wheton about the perennial live music problem: the other people you attend with. Language alert for younger and more sensitive viewers. 🙂


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Festival Imperial

There’s a certain irony to a Chicagoan first seeing Smashing Pumpkins in concert in central america… in my defense, I didn’t get into Smashing until after I’d moved away for school. By the time I was back in town they’d broken up and Billy Corgan was going through his Zwan phase.


Festival Imperial rocked as hard as it should, providing the kind of thrills a festival show should. Some folks were bummed by Smashing Pumpkins’ long jam featuring “What’s that Sound” and “The Star Spangled Banner,” but it was a mighty fine show. (Okay… so I started heading toward the exit after 20m of jam… I had to get up early the next morning. I at least stayed close enough to hear them finish up with Cherub Rock.)

Incubus was also on order that night, they put in a fine performance, and one that better suited the general expectation of “they’re going to play the songs we all love.” A little jamming, but not much.


I’d have liked 10-15 minute jams from them both, but I’m one of those snotty “you can see a band’s musicianship in their ability to jam without it sucking” kinds of people.

Good festival… and the best bus service I’ve ever had at a rock show. Wandered around for 45 minutes looking for the buses due to bad signage and still managed to beat home friends that had driven and got stuck in the post-concert traffic.

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Como son los gustos

For the past 2 years I’ve been using to collecting info about the music I listen to. Time to look at how things have changed over time…


Top artists for 2006
  1. Matthew Sweet
  2. Creedence Clearwater Revival
  3. Gorillaz
  4. Dixie Chicks
  5. Cibo Matto
  6. The White Stripes
  7. Puffy
  8. Lynyrd Skynyrd
  9. The Darkness
  10. 菅野よう子

  11. They Might Be Giants
  12. Queen
  13. The Pinker Tones
  14. David Bowie
  15. Gnarls Barkley
A mix of power pop, classic rock, alternative, electronica, j-rock, and geek rock with dashes of country and hip hop.


Top artists for 2007
  1. Juan Luis Guerra
  2. Malpais
  3. Aterciopelados
  4. Joaquin Sabina
  5. Ojos de Brujo
  6. Ruben Blades & Willie Colon
  7. Puffy
  8. Ricardo Arjona
  9. Matthew Sweet
  10. Evanescence
  11. Chambao
  12. Si*Se
  13. Jerry Rivera
  14. Queen
  15. Jesse & Joy
A bit of a change, though I doubt it comes as a surprise to anyone.
I was all about carribean music before arriving in Costa Rica, but I get a kick out of how my tico coworkers are reacquainting me with old metal and alternative stuff in english I used to like but never really got into the habit of listening to.


Originally posted on

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Elsa Basil

elsa basil



It was my birthday Oct 3 and I decided to celebrate at my favorite club in San José. As luck would have it, a Nicaraguan singer songwriter came a playin’, promoting her new album Para que no mueran las palabras.

The concert was great, the music enjoyable, and my terrible luck in celebrating my birthday continues. As almost always happens, plans made with the best celebratory hopes finished with me celebrating alone.

But the music was good, and my tablemates were interesting and nice enough people.

If you can chisel some out of your daily grind, make some time to give a listen to Elsa Basil and her sabor Nica.

Originally posted on

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On Vox: Vox Hunt: It’s Like You’re There

Audio: Share your favorite track from a live album.
Submitted by -Lisa.

Stormy Monday

The Allman Brothers Band

The Allman Brothers Band's Live at Fillmore East is a fine, fine concert album, and their rendition of "Stormy Monday" a very smooth take on a great blues standard.

El Album En Vivo en Fillmore East por el Allman Brother Band es un album buenísimo, y su versión de "Stormy Monday" una interpretación bien suave de un estandard de blues.

Originally posted on

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Other people’s words: Plástico

Been thinking a lot lately about the key refrain in Rubén Blades and Willie Colón’s song Plástico. In salsa music, there’s a section of the lyric voiced by the singer then repeated by band members that (as I’ve heard) drives home the key lyric of a song.

In the case of Plástico

Se ven las caras, pero nunca el corazón.
You see the faces, but never the heart.

The song uses it a couple different ways, but what struck me is how this illustrates the necessity of communication and action in order for people to know you–people see your face but not your heart when they look at you. Your heart can’t be seen unless you make it visible through your actions or your efforts to connect with other people (verbally, bloglike, ims, whatever).

When I was a teenager, I naively thought that people just saw quality when it was there. I still think that’s possible, but I don’t think it happens nearly as often as we’d like. Life’s busy and we don’t have time to examine people that aren’t talking to us or interacting with us or others closeby. You can have a great heart, but if you don’t let the world see it through your action, people will only ever see your face.

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Aterciopelados, run don’t walk

So many things I want to write, we’ll see if I manage to get on top of any of it this weekend.

Until then… check out Aterciopelados (wikipedia, myspace, official (es)). Sure, I’m an easy mark for a Columbian alternative rock band that blends tribal music into their sound… but even if you don’t understand the words, there’s some wonderful things going on here musically.

There’s more music posting to do, but getting the urgent stuff out first.

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