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Although the headlines have continued to frustrate the living daylights out of me (hugging being banned in school/Iraq war costs skyrocketing to over 1.6 TRILLION dollars /1 in 4 homeless are veterans/Chinese manufactured toys continue to endanger our children), I haven’t really had the desire/energy to do any blogging lately since my life’s been a bit too full of uncertainty and limbo. In times like these, instead of doing what I should (like packing), I tend to turn to my drug of choice: MUSIC! (Yes, I have done some packing while listening to music, but…)

My all-time “turn that mood around” artist is, without a doubt, Bob Marley (especially “Three Little Birds“), closely followed by local Southern California bands Common Sense (LOVE “Say the Word“), B-Side Players, and Ozomatli, along with a heaping helping of Blues Traveler. Then to go a bit old school I’ve just got to throw in some Elvis Costello, Joe Jackson, and The Kinks. And since blues music is right next to reggae at my soul’s core, there’s got to be some John Lee Hooker (regret having not seen him before he passed), B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Shemekia Copeland, and Candye Kane. Topping it all off are more recent faves The Cliks, Placebo, and The Cat Empire.

Yup, a bit on the eclectic side when it comes to music, so thank goodness for iTunes party shuffle to keep me happy with a constant rotation of my favorite artists and music. Seriously, if you put ANY of the above mentioned artists on the CD player my mood would instantly change…for the better! Come to think of it, I’ve seen all but four of them live, so I’m sure the great memories of their concerts and the fun times we had must have something to do with their music’s ability to change my mood. Don’t you all have music that can do the same thing for you? I hope so because it would be such a shame if you didn’t–if music didn’t affect your life the way it does mine. Then again, maybe it’s just me!

Sadly I missed the return concert the other day of B-Side Players to San Diego after their recent tour. I am really enjoying their new album “Fire in the Youth“, although truth be told I’m still a sucker for their older stuff (again, possibly due to having seen them in concert so many times). I thought I’d introduce those of you unfamiliar with this high-energy, positive message, deeply talented band, with the following video of them talking about their band, their music, and their latest release. I’ll also see what other B-Side Players videos I can round up to really help you enjoy their music, but the truth is that no video could EVER come close to capturing the energy of a live B-Side Players concert. Take one in when you can!

B-Side Players “Fire In The Youth” EPK

B-Side Players twist on “Could You Be Loved”

“Nuestras Demandas”

The following Action Alert was obtained from the FAIR (Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting) website (after first hearing about it from a Health Care For All/OneCare Now.org bulletin) via their use of a Creative Commons license. I’m including below a couple of additional video links relating to the news report mentioned, but if you’d like to read the transcript or see the video of the CBS News report in question first, click here. And if you are so inclined after viewing and reading, please take part in FAIR‘s Action Alert.

Action Alert

CBS’s ‘Sicko’ Spin
Americans Don’t Want Single-Payer Health—Except They Do

6/25/07

On the June 22 broadcast of CBS Evening News, reporter Jeff Greenfield’s critique of Michael Moore’s documentary Sicko relied on a single premise: that the U.S. public and its political leaders do not embrace Moore’s preferred solution (a single-payer system, where medical care is provided by private doctors and hospitals but paid for by the government). But that argument is at odds with the available evidence.

While noting that Moore’s film “features affecting stories of personal suffering at the hands of indifferent corporations,” Greenfield argued that even though presidential candidates “have all talked a lot about changing the health care system…no one, Democrat or Republican, has come close to advocating the kind of government-run national health system Michael Moore proposes.” This is incorrect; Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D.-Ohio), a presidential contender, supports the very same approach, as do dozens of congressmembers who have co-sponsored H.R. 676, a bill that would provide single-payer coverage in the United States. Ironically, Kucinich appears on the screen next to Moore as Greenfield made this false claim.

Greenfield elaborated on this storyline, claiming that the U.S. does not have universal health coverage because “Americans are just different.” He went on to quote Paul Ginsburg of the Center for Studying Health System Change: “We’re much less willing to have government make decisions for people than is the case in Canada and Europe. It’s a cultural difference.”

That assessment is contradicted by recent polling. In a recent CNN poll (5/4-5/6/07), 64 percent of respondents supported the idea that “government should provide a national health insurance program for all Americans, even if this would require higher taxes.” And a recent CBS/New York Times poll (2/23-27/07) found 64 percent support for the idea that the federal government should “guarantee health insurance for all,” and 60 percent supported paying higher taxes to provide such coverage. Additionally, 50 percent believed “fundamental changes” to the healthcare system were necessary, and another 40 percent thought the country needed to “completely rebuild” the system.

If Greenfield meant to say that political elites are slow to act on public opinion, he’s surely correct (and this would apply to many other political issues as well). The same is true of elite media outlets, which have dismissed and maligned single-payer healthcare for years. Imagine what the polls would like if there were a serious discussion of the issue, instead of dismissals from the likes of Jeff Greenfield.

ACTION: Tell CBS Evening News to correct Jeff Greenfield’s assertions about public opinion and single-payer health coverage. You could also point out that Dennis Kucinich—a proponent of such a system—is in fact a presidential candidate.

CONTACT:
CBS Evening News
(212) 975-3691
evening@cbsnews.com

Also send your comments to CBS Public Eye:
publiceye@cbs.com

CBS First Look with Jeff Greenfield “Will SiCKO Have a Political Impact?”

CBS EYE-To-EYE with Jeff Greenfield and Michael Moore

Sooo don’t have time for a full blog entry, but just HAD to implore you all to hit one of The Cat Empire shows when they’re touring in your neighborhood. The show at the Belly Up last night (5/8/07) was INCREDIBLE, and I wish, wish, wish, I could make their show at The Key Club in Los Angeles on Thursday night, but two “week night” shows just don’t work with my schedule. You will NOT be disappointed in one of their live shows. I’ll write more later, but just wanted to let you know to start making plans! 🙂 Here is my previous entry which lists their upcoming shows (they’re in San Francisco tonight 5/9/07).

A couple cool reads:

Cat Empire busy dancing with ‘Two Shoes’-Examiner.com

Jackson Jackson strikes back-Adelaide Now

“As a member of the Cat Empire, Harry Angus is used to breaking the rules. he is used to people being unsure of how to define the Cat Empire’s sound.”

Just a heads up that one of my current obsessions, The Cat Empire, (the others being The Cliks and Amy Winehouse) will be on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno TONIGHT (5/7/07). The email I’m including below says that they’ll be performing “The Car Song”, but I could have sworn they sent out a previous notice saying they were playing “The Chariot”–either is cool. I’ll include both videos for you.

Tomorrow night we’ll be having a blast at their show at The Belly Up in Solana Beach, CA! Soooo in need of a night of immersing myself in some good music, and escaping the realities of life for a few hours. (LYB and miss ya! ;))

***Just caught the boys on The Tonight Show. I think my poochie must be a Cat Empire fan, too, because he jumped on the bed and woke me up about one minute before the Leno appearance (never fear, had the VCR set ;)). Harry seemed a bit restrained in the beginning, as if he was trying really hard to NOT move outside some predetermined space, but boy did he burst with energy after playing the trumpet. The audience needed to have a LOT more excitement (bad audience, bad audience ;). And oh my goodness, was Felix looking HOT, HOT, HOT with that shorter hair and sans hat, or what?! Why yes he was! What a great tease the Leno gig was for the show tonight…can’t wait! But for now it’s back to sawing logs. Night.***

The Cat Empire “The Car Song”

The Cat Empire “The Chariot”

From The Cat Empire:

The Cat Empire on Leno/Cali Tour/Summer Dates Announced

The Cat Empire will make their third US late night TV appearance in 2007 tonight (May 7th) when they perform “The Car Song” on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. The Tonight Show is on NBC and airs at 11:30PM in most cities. Be sure to tune in!

After their Tonight Show performance they’ll be hitting the road for three California shows.

5/8 San Diego, CA — The Belly Up
5/9 San Francisco, CA — The Grand Ballroom
5/10 Los Angeles, CA — Key Club

You can purchase tickets for any of these shows at Ticketmaster

We’ve also announced that The Cat Empire will be joining us stateside for June-July as they tour North America this summer.

6/28 Atlanta, GA – Roxy
6/29 Chattanooga, TN – Rhythm and Brews
6/30 Nashville, TN – Mercy Lounge
7/01 Ann Arbor, MI – Mountain Stage
7/03 Pittsburgh, PA – Diesel Club (WYEP)
7/05 Milwaukee, WI – Summerfest
7/06 Minneapolis, MN – Basilica Block Party
7/07 Winnipeg, MB – Winnipeg Folk Fest
7/10 Chicago, IL – Double Door
7/11 Toronto, ON – Kool Haus
7/13 Ottawa, ON – Ottawa Blues Festival
7/14 Quebec City, QC – Festival D’Ete
7/15 Montreal, QC – Olympia
7/16 Albany NY, – WEQX Festival
7/18 Burlington, VT – Higher Ground
7/19 Portland, ME – Alive at Five Monument Square
7/20 Trumansburg, NY – Grassroots Festival
7/21 Camden, NJ – WXPN All About The Music Festival
7/22 New York NY TBA May 22nd
7/25 Providence, RI – Lupos
7/26 Boston, MA – WBOS Copley Square
7/27 Baltimore, MD – Rams Head Live
7/28 Floyd, VA – Floyd Fest

And be sure to visit this link to see a few live videos from TCE’s Winter Tour visit to San Francisco. You can also stop by Amplifier Magazine Online, where Ryan (bass) gives us the low down on the perfect mix CD.

Sooooo thrilled to get an email newsletter from my favorite small venue saying that one of my latest obsessions, The Cat Empire, will be playing there in a couple of months! Just when things are icky some good news comes along. Happy, happy, happy! Hmmm, think I need a little happy The Cat Empire music to go along with the happy mood…cue the videos. (Gee, did I mention this news makes me VERY happy? 😉)

Performing “Sly” on Letterman:

Here’s a link to their official YouTube page which has some fun, silly videos the band has made on the road. Enjoy! Oh, and have YOU gone out and bought their un-freaking-believable CD “Two Shoes” yet? What? No?! Sheesh, could you BE any lazier? (Said in my best Chandler voice) It’s on iTunes for a mere $9.99, and their 6 song EP “The Cat Empire”, with some other fun tunes, is only $3.99. And you don’t even have to get dressed to buy it and be listening right away. Now I’m not saying you’re sitting there at your computer naked, but…

Actually…um…are ya? Well then, “Hello, hello.” 😉

“Hello” video:

 

Okay, so I already tried to pound some Two Shoes CD (The Cat Empire) into your noggins few days back, but figured I needed to mention them again since they, and Amy Winehouse, are two bands to look out for as rising stars in the United States, now that they’ve both released their big CDs stateside.

The Cat Empire released Two Shoes in their native Australia April 14, 2005, where it went platinum within three weeks! It wasn’t until February 2007 Velour Recordings released Two Shoes in the United States, with it debuting at #49 on Billboard’s Top Heatseekers chart. Look for them to be doing a stateside tour starting this July, so hit iTunes or your local record store to prepare yourself with Two Shoes.

As for Amy Winehouse(received the Brits British Solo Female Artist Award, and Back to Black has gone triple-platinum in the UK), it’s been torture the last weeks since first being introduced to her music because it wasn’t available in the states. I had to pacify myself with the paltry offerings her MySpace page gave, but no longer since TODAY is the day that anyone who loves a great earthy, soulful voice with equal parts Nina Simone, Etta James, and any 60’s girl group you can think of (including the beehive hairdo!), all shaken to witty real-life lyrical perfection, can run out to their local record shop OR hit up iTunes as I did, for Back to Black. There are two versions available, the clean or the explicit lyric versions, on iTunes for $9.99. I did see that amazon.com and bn.com had the CD for under $9 each–quite the bargain!

Since I’ve already posted a couple of The Cat Empire‘s videos in my previous entry on them, I’ll treat you to three from Amy Winehouse. Enjoy!

From Back to Black, here’s the video for “Rehab”, the video/song that got me addicted to the gal, pun intended. 😉

Here’s the video for the second single from Back to Black, “You Know I’m No Good.”

And for all-around fun, here she is with Paul Weller doing “Heard it Through the Grapevine.”

OH-MY-GOSH, I am BEYOND addicted to this band!!! And I only heard about The Cat Empire for the first time last week when my TV crush, Craig Ferguson (sigh…drool…), had them on The Late Late Show. Bought “Two Shoes” on iTunes the next morning, and CANNOT stop playing it! Just wish iTunes had all of The Cat Empire CDs available…fingers crossed that will happen soon.

It’s hard to try and fit their music into any particular genre. To me they’re a cross between Sublime, Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Common Sense (local SoCal band), Ozomatli, B-Side Players, with a heavy dose of the Buena Vista Social Club ensemble of musicians thrown in for good measure. (They did record “Two Shoes” at the same studio BVSC did in Cuba!) They are a high-energy, body-shaking, positive, up-beat band, with the frosting on the cake being the fact they have brass in their band! Gotta love it! (Well, except for you, Jackson! ;)) I can only imagine the energy created at one of their live performances…can’t wait to find out!

Guess they’re just starting to ‘hit it big’ in the US now with the release of “Two Shoes” stateside. They have been around a few years and according to their web site, have had a couple of tours in the US since May 2005. I was SO incredibly disappointed when I saw that they JUST played one of my favorite venues, The Belly Up in Solana Beach, CA, just ONE FREAKING MONTH AGO!! Sigh.

Anyway, here’s the video of The Cat Empire performing “Sly” on The Late Late Show last week (they also played it on Letterman), and another video, “Days Like These”, that’s bound to put you in a care-free, gorgeous summer day mood (takes about 20 seconds to start). And being the giver that I am, here’s a link to YouTube so you can have a blast discovering their fun, energetic, positive music for yourself. Enjoy!

Additional The Cat Empire-related posts:

Sniffin’ out the info

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