MY NEW YEAR'S ADVICE TO YOU, IN FLORIDA IPHONE PHOTOS

OMG THE YEAR IS CHANGING AGAIN!!! DIDN'T THIS JUST HAPPEN 365 DAYS AGO??? WHO IS IN CHARGE OF THIS???

Well, off you go 2012...2013 is barging its way into town and we all gotta DEAL. Since this occasion is often marked by thoughtful reflection I thought I would use a few photos I've taken around Florida the last few days as prompts to give you sage advice you probably don't want. But please to enjoy anyway and DON'T DRINKENDRIVE!

1. If you are going animal print, WORK IT.

























PEOPLE LIKE LISTS: MY 15 FAVORITE ALBUMS OF 2012

Once again, my year was filled with great new music. If you believe 2012 did not have great new music, you are a doo doo head. For me, this year was hyper-focused on all my beloved California-based garage/psych/punk favorites; it's really what I kept going back to, but a few outliers got their hooks into me, too.



THE ONE BRILLIANT SONG ALBUMS

S/T by King Tuff (Sub Pop): This is a good album, but "Anthem" stands out as majestically rock n' roll perfect, somehow spanning decades seamlessly. From the Keith Moon-style drums to the vaguely-Scottish-bagpipe guitar to the baby-voiced sing-song-y melody, it just soars above the rest in fist-pumping, lighter-flicking glory.

King Tuff, "Anthem"



Port Of Morrow by The Shins (Columbia): Upon first listen, I was disappointed in Port Of Morrow. Nothing grabbed me, and although James Mercer remains an incredible vocalist, I wondered if he was reaching the recycling-own-work point as a songwriter. But with "September," he breaks through by crafting with elegant, exquisite poetic detail a heart-on-sleeve love song for wife Marisa Kula. It arguably stands with the best work by McCartney, or Tweedy, or really, anyone.

The Shins, "September"



THE RETRO DREAMPOP CHILL OUT

Lonerism by Tame Impala (Modular): Tame Impala's sophomore album didn't receive the almost-universal enthusiastic notice that 2010's Innerspeaker did; a common musical career occurrence, but often undeserved. Lonerism is a solid record: clever, very listenable, and very unique.

Tame Impala, "Feels Like We Only Go Backwards"



'70S POP HUNG UPSIDE-DOWN

2 by Mac DeMarco (Captured Tracks): A twisted weirdness permeates DeMarco's second album, like if one decided to take mid-'70s Top 10 AOR pop songs and dement them with wobbles and stretches and a bizarre surf tremolo. It sets your brain a little askew, like if you took too much cold medicine and watched hours and hours of old reruns of "Adam-12."

Mac DeMarco, "Cooking Up Something Good"



DEEP DARK INDIE 

Shields by Grizzly Bear (Warp): I think you have to be in a mood to listen to Grizzly Bear, or at least I do. Their work is centered on pretty melody and intense, smart lyrics, with backing ranging from dramatic orchestral statement rock to simple acoustic folk. It's excellent music to write a thesis by; not so much for playing a game of "Twister."

Grizzly Bear, "Half Gate"



SOLID AS A ROCK

Researching the Blues by Redd Kross (Merge): The first new Redd Kross album since 1997?? YES! And, man, they really did it up right here. The production is tighttighttight, the songs consistently good throughout, and the whole thing is just is a ton 'o fun. Sounds amazing live, too, so like, WHAT MORE WOULD YOU WANT? PRO!

Redd Kross, "Stay Away From Downtown"



Butter by Turbo Fruits (Serpents & Snakes): This lovely bunch of boys from Nashville deliver their garage rock with tiny little touches of country picker, early-'60s balladry, the Velvet Underground, late '70s cowpunk, and, yes, Deep Purple. If you listen to "Butter," I believe you will LIKE IT.

Turbo Fruits, "Sweet Thang"



THE CALIFORNIA GARAGE PSYCH BABIES

S/T by Sic Alps (Drag City): The grooviest of my groovers, Sic Alps offers up a kaleidoscopic wonderland -- kinda sweet, kinda dirty, a floaty haze punctuated by overdrive guitars. The more I listen to it, the lovelier I think it is.

Sic Alps, "God Bless Her, I Miss Her"




Putrifiers II by Thee Oh Sees (In The Red): This is a fact, people: Thee Oh Sees are one of the best, if not thee best, live band playing out these days. Seriously, if you haven't seen them, you are missing out, because it is always hardcore crazy fun. What you don't get to hear at an Oh Sees show is their quieter  and more experimental songs. Putrifiers II is the band showing all of what they do, and I might almost decide to call it downright artistic. This album deserves to be on everyone's Top List this year. "Flood's New Light" is as damn catchy as any song you'll hear.

Thee Oh Sees, "Flood's New Light"



Family Perfume Vols. 1 & 2 by White Fence (Woodsist): These albums, released a few weeks apart, are 80 minutes of liquid light show psychedelia, both embraced and distorted, trippy and irreverent. Throughout, Tim Presley constructs songs that have the feel of a multi-level puzzle; you hear something new in the pieces each time you listen. There is no one else like him.

White Fence, "Swagger Vets and Double Moon"



Hair by Ty Segall & White Fence (Drag City): WHAAA? An album collaboration by TWO of my MOST FAVORITE MUSICAL PEOPLES??? HOW DOES LIFE GET BETTER?? Originally the two got together to put together a single but the session went so well that they just kept writing and recording and ended up with an album's worth of coolness. They dig each other, and you can hear it.

Ty Segall & White Fence, "Scissor People"



Slaughterhouse and Twins by Ty Segall (Drag City): It was certainly the year of SONGS SONGS SONGS for both White Fence and Ty Segall, both releasing three (three!!) albums in 2012. It was my total pleasure this year to be able to see Segall perform multiple times this year, and to hear the growth in the band and the songs happen in leaps and bounds REAL TIME was just an amazing experience for me. Ty gets better and better, and already started out great, so, YES. What a talented guy, talented band...rock n' roll not only lives, but thrives here.

Ty Segall, "I Bought My Eyes"



Ty Segall, "You're The Doctor"



AND...MY MOST-FAVORITE ALBUM OF THE YEAR WAS...

Everybody's Got It Easy But Me by The Intelligence (In The Red): My iTunes stats do not lie -- this album was by far the one I listened to the most this year. Why? Because the Intelligence are, well, intelligent. Lars Finberg's lyrics never fail to spark up my brain with the unexpected, whether drily funny, wicked in observational clarity, or sometimes heartbreakingly hopeless. As the band moves from dense and blown-out lo-fi production values to a more-accessible and cleaner sound, we get to actually sing along with the cool lyrics whilst rocking out. I love the whole damn thing.

The Intelligence, "Hippy Provider"


Thank you, musicians, for making life better. Here's to 2013!

IPHONE PHOTO ROUNDUP: THE FLORIDA TOURIST SHOP

I've had my eye on this HUGE Florida souvenir shop in Hollywood for awhile now, and finally got inside it today. WHAT A LOAD OF FABULOUS CRAP! It just goes on and on and on. I ended up buying a mood ring with dolphins and turtles on it, a couple of t-shirts, some Key Lime cookies, an alligator grabby thing, and some flip-flops. I took photos of some of the displays for you. Please to enjoy!

























HEY! FLORIDA FOLKS! SOME SOFLA TRANSPORTATION HAIKUS

Hey! Florida Folks!
Stop with all your jaywalking!
You are risking death!

The crosswalk is like
Ten feet away! Go to it
And remain alive!

Hey! Florida Folks!
Stop with all your swerving cars!
Cutting off trucks! Cars!

What are you thinking??
You aren't all NASCAR drivers!
Wait! Maybe you are!

Hey! Florida Folks!
Allow people to merge, 'K?
Ev'ry other car!

It assists in the
Efficient flow of traffic
And stops rage build-up.

Hey! Florida Folks!
I love your weird sunny state and
You should be more safe!

Coral Gables, Florida 1950: Chevrolet's "Road To Romance"


Traffic Safety Film: "Dick Wakes Up"



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WELCOME BACK TO FLORIDA, POPTHOMOLOGY!

Hey now! Well, guess WHAT? Popthomology will be coming to you for the next couple of weeks once again from sunny South Florida! I can't even believe by the end of the first week of January, I will have spent six weeks of the year here! All due, of course, to the gracious and generous hospitality from the friends I have made here, and I thank them profusely. Miss Ten is also with me again -- the trip was her surprise Christmas present, the thing she wanted most of all.

We went to the Seattle airport on Christmas Night and found that exactly none of the restaurants were open, so our Christmas Dinner was a pretty unremarkable snack box meal from the magazine stand, which we ate with good humor nonetheless.


























MY MOM'S CHRISTMAS LETTER TO MY FAMILY, 12/25/12

I think this was my favorite present that I received for Christmas: a letter from my mother, which we opened and read here at home in Washington State. She is 2000 miles away in Wisconsin today. Here it is.
"Evidence of the existence of love is visible by smiles, hugs, kisses, words. It is invisible as well, evidenced by a warm feeling, a sweet memory, a safe haven in the midst of a bitter cold storm or a lonely place.
Love is not only received in a box tied with pretty ribbons, nor is it always a spoken thing.
You know that because of many difference circumstances, people do not know how to express or to show love. Sometimes it is not possible to afford, get about, buy, or know what to buy for a lovely gift. But the wonderful thing about love is that it is one of those invisible wonders (like the air we breathe) that can be given at any time or place.
So, I am sending you this card full of love. Don't worry if some spills out when you open the envelope -- it is jam-packed full and there is plenty for all of you. I should know. Why, even as I put a stamp on it there was so much of it, I wondered if it needed more postage applied.
Shake the envelope even after you think you have emptied it. More will spill out and maybe even expand to fill the room. What marvelous stuff is love! Also, do not worry about running out of love because it has always been known that it is magical and can be given and shared indefinitely and is just like dust that accumulates on furniture -- it keeps showing up.
When separated by time and miles, love can be sent at any hour from wherever you are without mail. phone, Skype, fax, or tweet. Every time I think of you, love is on its way from my heart to yours."

20 WEIRD RECORD COVERS FROM THE CHRISTMAS EVE GOODWILL STORE!

It was a first: I must say I have never, ever before spent part of my Christmas Eve shopping at Goodwill, but that's where I was tonight, looking for a few small crucial last-minute items. While I was there I could not help but peruse the record section, and as always, found some oddities to share with you, MY HOLIDAY GIFT TO YOU. Please to enjoy!

WHY WHY WHY WHY would a band name themselves after one of the UGLIEST MONKEYS EVER and then have the UGLY MONKEY on the cover?? MANDRILL. WTF. Who is EVER going to walk into a store and ask for the latest MANDRILL album???






























PHOTOS: "THE ROLLING STONES" HOLIDAY PARTY WITH DANCER & PRANCER, TACOCAT, DJ MIKE NIPPER @ TRACTOR TAVERN, SEATTLE, 12/22/12

The Tractor Tavern in Seattle's Ballard neighborhood was packed last night with happy rocked-out revelers, many (LIKE ME) dressed in holiday-themed clothing, ready to roll with three of our MOST FUN BANDS: garage poppies TacocaT, holiday-themed surf instrumentalists Dancer and Prancer (featuring Santa on jingling things), and a very fine Rolling Stones cover band called, yes, "The Rolling Stones." My pal Kitty and I arrived early and got a prime spot at the front so's I could take some nice pikchurz for ya, and I just had the best time, I really did. Shannon Perry acted as MC, people were dancing onstage, many beers were consumed, there was a kissing booth, and lovely friends, too. Gawd bless us, everyone! (Be sure to click on the Flickr links to see even more photos! WHOA!)

















MY 20 FAVORITE 2012 CONCERT PHOTOGRAPHY SMILES, CAUGHT BY YOURS TRULY, ME

I'm so grateful for yet another wonderful year for concerts for me, made extra super by being able to photograph shows from my homebase of Seattle all the way to a crazy tourist bar in the Bahamas. I've shot at big arenas and tiny clubs and festivals and on a cruise ship. I've had the luck to be able to photograph some of my most-favorite artists several times in one year. I hope that I have been able to continue to improve as a photographer, while always trying my best to bring back images that are interesting, cool, funny, or thoughtful, and worth your time to view. I really, really love doing it.

I am putting a little spin on "my favorite concert shots that I've taken from this year," because something that I have noticed about myself as a photographer is that I am a "smile stalker." Even if I may be shooting the most dour band in the world, I will wait and wait to find that split second when the joy or absurdity of performance breaks through and there's an onstage grin. CLICK. Why? I asked myself, why do I gravitate towards smile pix rather than moody pix or epic leaping guitar god pix? I think perhaps it's because I smile so much when I am listening to music or watching a show, from sheer musical happiness or chortling at drummer dropping his sticks or confetti landing on Wayne Coyne's nose during a Flaming Lips show. I love seeing musicians enjoy playing music. So, with this in mind, I would like to share with you my favorite onstage smile photos from the shows that I've shot in 2012. Perhaps they will make you smile, too, and that is a worthy and good thing. Please to enjoy!

King Khan, King Khan & the Shrines, Bruise Cruise Kickoff Party The Stage, Miami, FL. 2/9/12

IMG_9835


























WELCOME TO RANDOM FRIDAY: SOCCER TURKEYS, AUSSIE SIGNS, & ONE OF THE BEST COVERS OF "GLORIA" EVER

Hey, I'm going out tonight BECAUSE I CAN and OUT IS FUN! YOU, however, are stuck at home reading THIS THING. In my infinite compassion for you, here I bring you...

Three tri-color Texas turkeys playing soccer...



...funny signs my friend Beth found while living in Australia...







...and finally, this WICKED 1967 cover of Them's "Gloria," which I heard this morning on the always-perfect Aquarium Drunkard on SIRIUS XMU's Blog Radio. Oh myyyyyyy!

Robb London & Soul Unlimited, "Funny Situation/Gloria"


See? It's not so bad, staying in and reading this thing!



A BRIEF QUESTIONING OF "SANTA & JESUS" ART

I remember as a tiny girl trying to work out the concept of "Christmas." I would pepper my mother with questions as long as she could tolerate WHY WHY WHY BUT HOW AND THEN HOW before redirecting me to something less complex like a snack. It would go something like this:

So, what is Christmas? The celebration of Jesus' birth. 
So, it's like a birthday party but for someone who is dead? Well, yes, but he's not really dead. 
Why doesn't he come to his party then? Because he's in Heaven. 
Well, how is he supposed to get his cake and presents? We don't give Jesus presents and cake on Christmas. We give each other presents.
So, it's like a birthday party for us! No, no, no...we are thankful and generous like Jesus was.
Is Santa Jesus? Um, no.
Well, why does he give us presents on Christmas? He's a very nice man and wants to celebrate Christmas with us.
So, how does he fly all around the world in a single night with reindeer? It's special magic.
So, is Santa God? No.
Is Santa a superhero or a crime fighter? No.
Is Santa related to Jesus? No.
Do we celebrate all dead people on their birthdays with lots of presents? No, just Jesus.
Why don't we celebrate God's birthday and when is God's birthday? I...I...no one knows when God's birthday is or if he ever had a birthday.
How could anyone not have a birthday?? Because God isn't human like we are.
Then how come Jesus is a human and he's related to God? Because Jesus' mother was human.
So, God was married to Jesus' mom? No..I...well...no, she was married to Joseph.
Then how was she Jesus' mom if she wasn't married to God? Um...a miracle happened.
Is Miracle Whip made by God? Would you like some milk and cookies?

This went on with the questioning becoming more and more pointed until I was around five years old and I decided the whole lot was not making any sense whatsoever, but I still wanted to score on the present front. Santa and Jesus would be coming around at the end of each year no matter what I thought, the cheery, tubby secular toymaker vs. the holy and rather underweight Son 'O God.

Today, I'd like to share a few pieces of art that take on the idea of that Dynamic Duo of December, sometimes in a positive light, sometimes not.

There are a lot of these: Santa Kneeling At The Manger Of Baby Jesus. Now let's just think about this for a moment. Baby J was born two thousand years ago, right?  This particular Santa guy -- the overweight one with the jolliness and the beard and the red suit and the elves and reindeer and stuff -- really only dates back to 1823 when Clement C. Moore's "A Visit From St. Nicholas" was published. SANTA WASN'T AT THE BARN, PEOPLE! There probably wasn't even enough food to eat back then that would make anyone that fat, either.





















MISS TEN'S "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" A-Z ALPHABET BOOK

At some point in their school years, I think most kids are asked to make some kind of "A-to-Z" picture book, similar to all those they probably looked in their earliest years. Today, Miss Ten came home with her "United States of America" A-Z book, which I found delightful. It's heavy on holidays, not fantastically correct on the spelling end of things, but rather artistic and an interesting view into KID MIND. USA USA USA! Please to enjoy!




















THIS YEAR'S HOLIDAY POST OFFICE LINE HAIKUS

'Tis seven days 'til
Christmas and lo! Here I am!
Mailing packages.

Why so late? Indeed,
I ask myself each year, and
The answer is: DUMB.

The line, she is long
The patience, she is short, and
All are so grumpy.

Hey, Lady In Front,
Don't you glare at me! It was
Not I who farted!

Express Lane! Single
Item Only, the sign says.
People cannot read.

Even more must leave
The counter to fill out right
Forms. They, too, are dumb.

Everyone! Listen!
I hear my future head cold
In all y'all's coughs!

"OK if it gets
There the 26th?" asks clerk.
"Yes," said Jewish man.

I find that today
There's no bragging having a
Very large package.

Wincing, the clerk says,
"Ooh, forty-three dollars for
Priority Mail."

Wincing, I reply,
"Ooh, OK, go ahead," and
I leave, dumb and poor.











STOCK PHOTO FUN WITH PHOTOSHOP!

I find this very relaxing to do and very entertaining. Click to enlarge the creepiness and please to enjoy!



I'M WAY BUSY, BUT HERE IS A TODDLER LAUGHING AT A CHRISTMAS TREE

Hey, it's better than most of the the dumb holiday specials, it's only 32 seconds long, and there are no commercials. SOLID CONTENT!

Baby Laughs At Christmas Tree




HOLIDAY HEAD CLEARER: THE WORST "O HOLY NIGHT" & WHO DUN IT

Are you like me at this point in December, nearly in a bloated diabetic coma from too many holiday sweets, irritable because WHERE IS THE TAPE and WHERE IS THE DAMN SCISSORS when I need to wrap a package to take to HELLISH LINE in the post office, and annoyed to have to go and stop my child from taking advantage of the patient dog, who does not enjoy being dressed up as Rudolph? If so, maybe you'd like to do what I like to do to clear my mind and raise my spirits for a few minutes. I listen to this, the worst version of "O Holy Night" ever recorded.

The Worst "O Holy Night"



If you ever need to clear a room of lingering guests or infestations of other pests, this will do it.

Anyway, it wasn't until today that I found out the backstory on this recording, and thought I would share that with you today as well. Steve Mauldin takes great pains here to convince us that he is indeed the original vocalist, and I believe him, and furthermore enjoy him taking credit for such ear pain. Bless you, sir; your terrible singing, deliberate or not, is delightful.

"O Holy Night" Singer Steve Mauldin



(Christmas Tree 2012, decorated by Miss Ten)


THE ONLY THING I WILL SAY ABOUT YET ANOTHER MASS SHOOTING

If you believe that as an American citizen, you have the inalienable right to own any kind of gun and to carry it anywhere you go, so be it. You've got millions of people who agree with you. My suggestion? If you insist on your guns coming with laughably-poor access controls, I insist that you bear your part of the responsibility for the thousands of gun murders we have in the United States every year. 

Your gun license should arrive with a week's MANDATORY full-time duty helping to clean up bloody gun-related crime scenes. 

Get right down in there, cowboys. Help mop up the blood of a dozen or so children murdered in their classrooms. Pick up pieces of bodies shot to pieces. Listen to the screams and anguish from parents and spouses and friends whose lives are forever ruined. Dive in there and see and feel what it is really like, all this horror and gore and misery to protect your paranoid worldview that criminals are coming to get you and that the government will form a military dictatorship and that you, John Fucking Wayne, will always have the presence of mind and perfect skills to save the day with your firearm. 

Stand there in reality, and then have the balls to tell those families to their faces how important your goddamn guns are to you.


PHOTOS & SHOW REVIEW: TY SEGALL, NIGHT BEATS, SANDRIDER @ NEUMOS, SEATTLE WA, 12/11/12

It's a good thing Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood is known for its funky diversity, for I had a public moment last Tuesday night. As my friend Kitty and I walked to Quinn's to get a pre-show dinner and meet up with mutual pal Mike, across the street at Neumos through an opened side door BLASTED Ty Segall's soundcheck. I couldn't help myself. I started leaping up and down and singing along like a damn grinning maniac.

"AHH!!!" I exclaimed to Kitty and anyone else who was nearby, "That's 'You're The Doctor!' That's my favorite song off of 'Twins!' AHH!! YAY!! WHEEE!"

Kitty smiled indulgently at me, and I eventually contained myself long enough go inside Quinn's to eat a a very delicious burger. But then back we went to Neumos, for another varied and great night of bitchen rock n' roll. I brought my cameras and sturdy earplugs, so that I may keep hearing music later.

























(poster photo by Christopher Garland)

MISS TEN'S SCHOOL CARTOON

Two pages, sums it up pretty well. Click to enlarge.


"A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS" IN SNOW GIFS

Charles Schulz' 1965 holiday classic, "A Charlie Brown Christmas," was a game-changing, genre-busting piece of filmmaking, disguised as a simple children's television special. Blending in darker elements of pop psychology, religion vs. secularism, and the easy cruelty children often show each other, "A Charlie Brown Christmas" was thought-provoking, complex, and yet very entertaining and uplifting, accessible to both children and adults. It was one of those things that made a deep impression upon me, one which I really didn't fully realize for decades after I first viewed it.

Today, I bring you a highly abbreviated and silent version of the film, in the slightly-black-humored spirit of the original film. It's nothing but endless looping animated gifs of snow scenes in the film. Please to enjoy.



















MY FAVORITE HIGH SCHOOL YEARBOOK PAGE OF ALL TIME

I don't know where it's from. I don't know when it's from, although it smells like mid-1980s. It matters not, because the all-around awesomeness of this one high school yearbook page transcends time and place. I can't definitively decide which graduating senior I like best here...but perhaps it just has to go to Mike Diana. Yes, I think so.

Click to enlarge and please to enjoy!


A FEW PHILOSOPHICAL REFLECTIONS FROM MY MOM ON HER 86TH BIRTHDAY

My mom is 86 years old today! I asked her for a few reflections on the day.
How lucky can you be? I can follow my interests. I can see, so I can read. I can walk and get around and do things by myself! 
As much as this big house is a burden and not appropriate for someone my age, it's like I live in a park, with beautiful pines and oaks. I made chicken soup the other day, and threw the extra stuff out into the side yard and watchied a little red squirrel bring some chicken skin to his mother, avoiding nasty crows and bluejays. I have my new little herd of 15 wild turkeys that come by! There's deer and herons!

My birthday is full of gifts and I am always remembered my children  I don’t dare mention anything I like, because poof! There's an Amazon box! I'm going to get to use my favorite tool in the world, the box cutter!


You learn not to sweat the small stuff at my age. You don’t linger on small mistakes or get embarrassed. People are more forgiving when you are older because they say, "Oh, she's old," which is great! It isn’t all bad, it isn't all rust. 

I look at the lottery winners and wonder, "Well, do you have the whole package?" Do you have people in your life that like you, that love you, that are there for you when you need a helping hand? We are surrounded by images of bad crummy stuff, but then a perfect stranger comes  along and does something nice like gives you a seat. It doesn’t have to be a big thing. I don’t know very many people luckier than I am.
I don't know many people luckier than I am. Happy birthday, Mom.