Saturday, August 28, 2010

Vedder to Join the Cubs

Chicago: Wrigley Field

ESPN's Page 2 is reporting that Eddie Vedder and John Cusack are in talks to play Cubs in a film adaptation of Andy Van Slyke's book, The Curse: The Cubs Win!  The Cubs Win! ... Or Do They?  It's not exactly his acting debut, but then again, if you've seen Singles, you know that it might be.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Guided Tour of Binaural: Grievance

Sorry for abandoning the series last week.  Life interrupted, and I only realized my faux pas last night.  Perhaps we'll get you all caught up this weekend. 
- Brandon

by stip


If Grievance ends Binaural suddenly we have a very different record on our hands. The fact that it does not (and is followed by 4 of the darkest songs on the record) is significant. On a record that sometimes feels like drowning Grievance is a last gasp, the sound of one last deep breath before going under, possibly for good.

This is one of the best political songs in their catalog—probably their best. Despite knowing that it’s about the WTO protests, it works in part because it is not specifically tied to that moment in time . There are details in the lyrics--Progress laced with ramifications/progress, taste it, invest it all/for every tool they lend us, a loss of independence--that ground it in the politics of that moment, but they’re also describing a process and a power relationship that transcends the WTO and the World Bank. Instead it’s a call for frustrated underdogs to rally around something larger than themselves and to demand more.

Politics is about power, no matter how much we try to obscure that (just like any talk about states rights during the civil war turns back to slavery), and in modern democratic politics there are two sources of power—money and mass. Money dominates, and we accept it because it manages to clothe itself in democratic symbols (we have elections, so the people rule, right?) and because we’ve had a tendency going back 100 years or more to equate markets with freedom, which means that everything that happens reflects people’s choices. The world is a consequence of our individual actions, the results are fair, and we own them. Our world is governed by a theodicy no different in practice than the belief that God has already written everyone’s fates or the divine right of kings. The point of this theodicy is to systematically disarm and in some cases delegitimate the power of mass against money.

Grievance is a war cry, an attempt to awaken within people a reassertion of the power of mass, and with it democracy. Like Insignificance, Grievance requires us to first recognize just how powerless we currently are. It demands that we call our current system, our illusions of freedom, into question. Unlike Insignificance, the characters in this song are agents capable of acting. Insignificance asks us to bear witness. Grievance urges us to act—to see the world for how it really is, and confront it. There is no immediate space for action when bombs are dropping down, when your life is being destroyed by forces far away for whom you and your life is an abstraction. But that's not the case here. The great promise of democratic regime is the possibility that people will use it, the great fear of those with power is what will happen when mass decides to awaken, when they realize that they deserve something more. The sticks come down, but they can only do this as long as we divide ourselves. They can only come down as long as we let them.

As is the case on pretty much every song on Binaural, the music helps tell this story. It starts off somewhat playful and sarcastic, dismissive of illusions. It gets frustrated more than it gets angry. Grievance doesn’t punch its enemy in the face. It grabs its allies by the shoulders and tries to get them to focus. It shakes them awake. We see this in Eddie’s vocal performance too. There isn’t anger in Grievance as much as there is exasperation, which should tell us who the audience is.

The song culminates with its statement of principles. Life derives its meaning from the ability to act. We’re not really free unless we’re agents, and we become agents when we embrace that desire to live. Grievance urges us to remember that it is the act itself, and the hope and faith that create it, that makes anything and everything possible.

If Binaural ends with this thought then we are listening to a record of redemption. But it doesn’t, and so Grievance is an outlier on the record—a reminder of what once was and perhaps might be again someday, but are currently not. Like I Am Mine on Riot Act, it is an ember to preserve, in the hope that one day there can be a new fire.

Best of the Nineties, Sweet Sixteen

It has been a Long Road to the Red Mosquito's Best of the Nineties Sweet Sixteen!  Yield, this is Not For You.  Yes, that's right, Yield is completely in the Rearviewmirror.  As the leading album, Vitalogy may be headed for Immortality.

State of Love and Trust vs. Last Exit

Alive vs. Indifference
Black vs. Rearview Mirror
Porch vs. Tremor Christ
In My Tree vs. Release
Corduroy vs. Animal
Immortality vs. Long Road
Hail Hail vs. Not For You

There's no need for Indifference, Release your votes.  VOTE NOW!

More Brad Dates

Much like Pearl Jam ... no love for the South.

Sept. 27 – High Dive, Seattle WA.

Sept. 28 – High Dive, Seattle WA.

Oct. 1 – Val Air Ballroom, Des Moines IA. *

Oct. 3 – Double Door, Chicago IL.

Oct. 4 – House of Blues, Cleveland OH. *

Oct. 5 – LC Amphitheater, Columbus OH. *


Oct. 6 – Brown Theater, Louisville KY. *

Oct. 8 – World Cafe, Philadelphia PA. *

Oct. 9 – 930 Club, Washington DC. (early show)

Oct. 10 – Bowery Ballroom, New York NY.

October 11th – IN-STORE TBC

October 12th – Cain’s Ballroom, Tulsa OK. *

October 13th – IN-STORE TBC October 13th – The Pageant, St. Louis MO. *

October 14th – Uptown Theater, Kansas City MO. *

*Supporting Band of Horses.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

All That's Sacred, Episode #64

Episode #64 is now available.

It’s been pretty busy with the new job so I recruited some help hosting this week’s episode from an old friend of the band. If you’re a newbie, it might require a bit of an explanation but I hope you all will ultimately be more amused than annoyed. :)

ATS #64 is comprised almost entirely of miscellaneous email and vmail listener requests. I really appreciate all the continued correspondence and support. I wish I could stay more engaged in responding to everyone in a timely manner. Please know that I receive and read and hear everything and that it’s all absolutely vital to the success of the podcast. Many, many thanks. 

If you’re down south this weekend, I’d be sure to be in Little Rock for a special night with EV and friends benefitting the WM3. If you’re in my neighborhood next week, hope to see y’all at the Hootenanny for a Healthy Gulf on 9/2. And according to Stone in Billboard, this year’s Bridge School Benefit is going to double as the band’s 20th anniversary celebration. Hail hail the lucky ones, indeed. Be sure to check with the folks at the Wishlist Foundation for deets on any pre-party fundraisers for all these gigs.

Then head to our forums to discuss it!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

No Heads Are Better Than One, Now Available

Jack Irons' new album, No Heads Are Better Than One, is now available in the Ten Club's Goods Section.  It's $10.00 with free shipping to the U.S. ($4.50 S&H world wide)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Stone Talks, Pearl Jam Fans Listen

Pearl Jam - 7.6.10 - Venice

Thanks to TwoFeetThick and All That's Sacred who [simultaneious?] posted this Billboard article in which Stone Gossard confirms Bridge School, announces a possible 2011 South American Tour, and hints at some studio time for Pearl Jam in the very near future.

The full Stone interview is here.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Hold The Date? October 23 and 24, 2010

I'd still call this a rumor, but AntiQuiet is reporting that Mike McCready told their buddy that Pearl Jam is planning on a performance at this year's Bridge School Benefit.

Pearl Jam lead guitarist Mike McCready appeared onstage with Star Anna at Spaceland in Silver Lake, CA Wednesday night, and before the show passed on word to a friend of ours that all of Pearl Jam will make a return to the annual benefit concert this year.

The 24th Annual Bridge School Benefit Concert will be held on October 23rd & 24th, a non-profit charity concert held in Mountain View, CA every October at the Shoreline Amphitheatre. The concerts – which most often feature stripped-down acoustic sets from performers – are all organized by Rock legend Neil Young and his lovely wife, Pegi. All the shows’ proceeds benefit the Bridge School, which assists children with severe physical impairments and complex needs.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

"Better Days" Free at Starbucks

Eddie Vedder's Better Days is the Starbucks Pick of the Week.  The Eat Pray Love Soundtrack has been featured prominently on counters for some time, but now you can pick up a little red card with a code for a free download at iTunes.  Stop in on a Starbucks this week!

All That's Sacred, Episode #63

Episode #63 is now available.

It’s another slow PJ news week… I think the only things worth noting are actually happening today. First, the tickets for the 8/28 Voices For Justice show benefiting the WM3 in Little Rock, AR and featuring Eddie Vedder are going on sale today at 9AM CDT. Later tonight in LA, Mike McCready will be sitting in with Star Anna during her show at Spaceland. And don’t forget, Mike and Star and friends will be playing the Hootenanny for a Healthy Gulf on 9/2 at Seattle’s Moore Theater.

New albums are here! Brad’s new record dropped last week. Check out my review of the LP and their recent in-store performance at Easy Street Records’ Queen Anne location. They’ll be back onstage opening a few midwest dates for Band Of Horses later in October. Also, the mighty Jack Irons has a new solo album landing on 8/24 and should be available through Ten Club.

Today on ATS #63 we are exploring another theme that was suggested a long, long time ago – a song’s maiden voyage. It’s a cool moment when a new song sets sail for the first time in front of a live audience. The song selection is a nice, varied sampling and spans the band’s entire history. We even manage to play a few songs that have never even been featured on the podcast. It’s hard to believe after all these episodes, but there are still a handful of songs that have never been played on ATS.

In other ATS news, I think we are going to try and go back to a weekly show. I talk about it more on the podcast but the bottom line is I miss doing it weekly. Plus, I got a new job recently and that should make it easier to schedule since I’m no longer on the hunt for new employment. So we’re going to give it a go. I also want to give a huge shout-out to listener Igor Gruda for designing a badass new ATS logo for the Facebook and Twitter sites. Thank you, Igor!

Thanks for listening and I hope you enjoy this week’s show.

Then head to our forums to discuss it!

August 18: Mike McCready in L.A.

2010-04-30: Star Anna & The Laughing Dogs @ Tractor Tavern, Seattle, WA

Tonight's Star Anna & The Laughing Dogs show at Spaceland will feature a special guest that you may know!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Guided Tour of Binaural: Of The Girl

by stip

Of The Girl

Of the Girl undeniably creates an interesting atmosphere, smokey and seductive, full of mystery and dark, forbidding promises. But at the same time the atmosphere never really goes anywhere. The song spends its time sitting at the bar, fantasizing about the girl at the other end, but never makes it move. The swells in the song during the chorus reinforce this—they sound like they’re pushing something away, instead of drawing it closer. Mike’s leads and fills underneath the rest of the song give it an air of frustrated indecision (especially during the outro, where you can hear him arguing with himself)—someone making the same mistake over and over because they don’t know how to do anything else.

The lyrics in this song are simple, fairly understated, and not particularly memorable, but the sentiment fits the music well, as does Eddie’s lack of commitment (there’s not the resignation of Riot Act here, instead we find someone so familiar with a scene that’s played out for them so many times before that it’s hard to get excited about it. Of the Girl doesn’t tell a story. There are no details here (other than the quarter to four lyric, and I have no real sense of what that’s referring to or signifying). Instead, like so much of Binaural, it’s a warning or a cautionary tale. It’s the story of someone looking for love, looking for meaningful human connections with other people, but because he doesn’t love (or cannot forgive) himself he can’t bridge that gap between himself and the other people. He knows what he needs but every time he gets close to finding it he sabotages himself. He’s trapped in that pattern and can’t figure out how to escape it. There’s no grand conclusion here. The music doesn’t quite fade out as much as it peters out somewhat inconclusively. There’s no need to resolve itself because this is all going to have to play itself out again the next day, and the day after that, and the day after that—as long as the subject can’t overcome himself and the barriers he places in his way he’s going to be stuck in this loop forever, this enervating and perpetual now . A number of the songs on Binaural aspire to make grand and sweeping statements, but that’s not Of the girl. It’s just another lonely moment on a lonely record.

Pearl Jam on the Palladia - September 5

Look for an airing of at least part of Pearl Jam's Hard Rock Calling performance on MTV's HD channel.  Palladia is running an Outdoor Music Week and they'll feature the Hard Rock Calling Festival on September 5th.


Sunday, September 5 “Hard Rock Calling 2010″: Airs at 9PM*

Shot in London’s Hyde Park in June 2010, the 2-hour highlight show features some of rock and R&B’s best-known talent including Paul McCartney, Pearl Jam, Stevie Wonder, Elvis Costello, Ben Harper, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Jamiroquai and Crowded House. A 2-hour version will air the Friday after the Palladia premiere on September 10 at 11PM* on VH1’s “Friday Night Alright.”

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Brad to Tour the Midwest

... with Band of Horses.

Brad & Friends 4/14/10

October 1st – Val Air Ballroom, Des Moines IA.

October 4th – House of Blues, Cleveland OH.

October 5th – LC Amphitheater, Columbus OH.

October 6th – Brown Theater, Louisville KY.

October 12th – Cain’s Ballroom, Tulsa OK.

October 13th – The Pageant, St. Louis MO.

October 14th – Uptown Theater, Kansas City MO.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

All That's Sacred, Episode #62

Episode #61 is now available.

As promised, ATS #62 returns for a bonus off-week episode featuring nothing but Pearl Jam tunes! I dug deep into the mailbag of unexplored listener suggestions and decided to highlight alternate versions of songs throughout the years. We’ve spotlighted some of these reinterpretations before but this is the first time we’ve dedicated an entire podcast to them. There is some great stuff here and it’s fun to listen and compare to the official releases.

As always, thanks for listening and thanks for all the great participation. I really appreciate everyone tuning in and all the continued correspondence and encouragement. It was fun to return to our ATS roots and bust out a themed show for the first time in a while. I hope you dig it!

Then head to our forums to discuss it!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Coming to Little Rock: Eddie Vedder

Pearl Jam - 6.22.10 - Dublin

While I was sitting on my ass, watching TV, TwoFeetThick and All That's Sacred are finding facts and reporting shit.  Time for me to catch up!  Look for Eddie this August 28th in Little Rock, Arkansas for the West Memphis 3 Benefit at the Quapaw Quarter United Methodist Church.  Ticket information will be coming soon to those on the WM3 supporter e-mail list.  Good luck being among the lucky 700 that will fit into the church!

Stone Gossard: The Salmon Song

Stewardship Partners of Full Circle Farm were treated to the debut of a new Stone Gossard song, The Salmon Song, at a recent community dinner.  We're still waiting on that Stone solo album (How long ago was that announced?  A year?  More?  Oh well, no sour grapes here.).  Maybe this will make the cut.

Stone Gossard, along with Barbara Ireland and Keith Lowe singing the 'Salmon Song' for a fabulous night of local wine, food and music our at Carnation's Full Circle Farm as a benefit for Stewardship Partners. The event promoted awareness of local farms that provide healthy food and actively participate in environmental stewardship.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Have a Brad-erific Weekend!

Brad & Friends 4/14/10

My copy of Best Friends? came in the mail today, but even if yours didn't, you can listen to the album at Brad's Facebook page or check out the KEXP Studio Session.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Guided Tour of Binaural: Insignificance

by stip


Insignificance is one of the crown jewels of Binaural. It’s a monster song, and it’s fitting that we find it in the middle of the record as it is, perhaps even more than Nothing As It Seems, the song that embodies the spirit of the Binaural, the way in which it and Riot Act represent a wrong turn, or the lowest point, of the character profile that has developed (and is perhaps still developing) over 9 records and almost 20 years of music.

Insignificance, as the title would indicate, is a song about the loss of agency—about realizing how little power we have, how much we are at the mercy of people and forces beyond our control. It’s perhaps the first moment in the band’s history where they openly addressed this (with the exception, perhaps, of Bugs—but it’s telling that there it was on an experimental track, and here it is on what is probably the flagship song of the record), and tried to come to grips with it. Even songs like Immortality or Indifference ask questions or pose provocative scenarios. They let the listener decide whether it all makes a difference, and you can certainly intimate from the surrounding songs on those records that it does. Binaural does not offer us much in the way of hope, but it doesn’t quite surrender either. Instead, in the darkest of spaces and in the most stressful of times it reasserts our fundamental humanity—it reminds us that we all want to live, that we all want to be heard, that we all want a voice—and that even if it is denied to us that denial is a crime and needs to be answered.

Musically Insignificance is quite possibly the most sophisticated piece of music Eddie ever wrote, although much of this is due to the song the rest of the band constructed around his skeleton. Insignificance sounds like its chorus. It’s not that loud a song, but it sounds like a war. The rolling, distorted guitars, the low end, the drums, the starts and stops—they all work to convey this sense of destruction and collapse, of bombs exploding, buildings collapsing, people dying. Even the quieter parts of the song (the bridge, for instance) have a feeling of impending doom—the guitar is nervous, the bass foreboding, the urgent build into the final chorus prophesying the end. It’s an impressive piece of work, and a great example of Pearl Jam really using the studio to perfection, as there’s never been a live version of this song that comes close to capturing the atmosphere. The energy perhaps, but not the atmosphere.

Although I’m not sure the live version necessarily captures the particular energy of the studio version either. The live versions of so many Pearl Jam songs mean something different then darker incarnations of those songs on the records. Alive becomes a question, not a celebration. Betterman becomes the promise of a better life and better days. Not For You becomes a song about inclusion. And it’s impossible to sing a song about your own insignificance with a room of 20000 people signing it with you.

Like the music, Eddie’s vocal performance on the record captures the essence of the song perfectly. For such a dynamic song Eddie’s voice is muted, even subdued. The natural move on a song like this is to swing for the fences, to be as aggressive as possible, to defy the lyrics with the performance. Instead Eddie can’t overcome the music. He sings underneath it. His plea for forgiveness can’t be heard over the dropping bombs, and it would almost be a lie if it was—that’s the sense of absurd tragedy that the song wants to capture. Even the most important moment in the song “It’s instilled to want to live” has a hard time registering over the musical firestorm that takes us into the last chorus.

Lyrically this is one of the best songs Eddie’s ever written, with a great mixture of mysterious, provocative images and the simple truths that the empathy and conviction in his voice manages to make profound. Just about every lyric in the song is worth looking at. I’ll leave it others to bring up some of the ones that I miss, but a few of my favorites
“the swallowed seeds of arrogance, breeding in the thoughts of ten thousand fools who fight irrelevance”
This is probably the most clever lyric in the song (perhaps even on the record). It sounds like an accusatory lyric, and the first instinct of the listener is to think that he’s taking a shot at the masters of war dooming the innocent subjects of the song, but instead it’s a lyric about the victims themselves, a celebration of the ‘arrogance’—the sense of self worth and basic human dignity that leads to people reasserting their humanity in impossible conditions and the way in which innocence given a voice bears witness and demands an accounting for the sins of war and the abstract euphemistic distance between those who order bombs to drop and the people they murder.
“Please forgive our hometown in our insignificance”
There’s two meanings here. Eddie is singing about he people dying—the innocent victims who pay the price for the actions of others, who have to die because others dreamed of war—but he’s also singing about himself, about the Americans who have others murder in their name, who have to take responsibility for what they cannot control. This song meant something very different to me the first day of the Iraq War, watching footage of ‘shock and awe’ on CNN when all I could say was ‘I’m sorry’, then it ever did before.

I also love the ‘play C3, let the song protest’ and the ‘I was alone and far away when I heard the band start playing’—for the recognition that even in these times of powerlessness we’re not truly alone—that there are others who have given voice to what we’re thinking, what we’re feeling, and that we are not alone in our witness.

Insignificance doesn’t have a happy ending. It doesn’t end with the joyful coda and promise of Grievance. Unlike most anti-war songs it doesn’t accuse, at least not directly, as the ability to accuse is the act of an agent, and this is a song about the loss of agency. Insignificance does remind us that if we’re powerless together it is better then being powerless alone, and it raises all the right moral questions, but it’s a chilling, dark reminder of the odds against us if we want to assert control over our lives, and hold those in power responsible for the damage they’ve done and reminds us that even if there is such a thing as a necessary war, there is no such thing as a just one.

Video: Better Days by Eddie Vedder

Rolling Stone, Brasil, has apparently gotten their hands on the official video of Better Days.  It consists solely of clips from the film, Eat Love Pray, and sadly, no clips of Ed singing.  Regardless, enjoy ...

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Best of the Nineties!

The excitement continues with Red Mosquito's Best of the Nineties Tournament!  Who will be Alive at the end?  Who will be a Deadman?  Who will achieve Immortality at the end of the Long Road?

Only you can decide.

All That's Sacred, Episode #61

Episode #61 is now available.

Despite the guys taking some time off, there is still a lot happening with upcoming SoundgardenBradDeranged Diction, and Hootenanny gigs. I figured this down time afforded us the perfect opportunity to reconnect with original Pearl Jam drummer Dave Krusen and continue the conversation started on ATS #59. Dave himself has been keeping busy and will be playing his first gig in 9 years tonight with Unified Theory at the King King Hollywood. If you are lucky enough to be local for any of these shows, I would strongly encourage you to check them out.

As a result of all this side project activity, ATS #61 is a bit light on the PJ tunes as we dive into some music that is a step or two removed from the band. Rest assured though, we will be back next week with a bonus off-week traditional themed ATS podcast featuring nothing but Pearl Jam. 

Thanks for always tuning in and hope you enjoy #61.

Then head to our forums to discuss it!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Truth About Abruzzese dug up this video.  It'll kill a little time until more Pearl Jam news hits.

Monday, August 2, 2010

No Heads Are Better Than One

I'm probably a little late in reporting this, but I wasn't sure if I was blogging about the side projects of former band members.  There seems to be excitement about this in the Pearl Jam community, and Jack is reporting that the album will be available via Monkeywrench Records, so it's time for me to "break the news!"

August 24th is the release date for Jack Irons' second solo album, No Heads Are Better Than One.

Today marks the release of the first single, Love Is All We Want, on video.

Monkeywrench Records Gear

Better move fast because the trucker hats are already sold out!  Ten Club has Monkeywrench Records wearables for sale.  T-shirts and hoodies are in "very limited quantities."

If you miss out, you can always grab the 12-sticker Pearl Jam Music Designs sticker pack.  It's a pretty nice deal at $10.

Hootenanny for a Healthy Gulf

Hootenanny For Haiti 2/28/10

The details on the latest Hootenanny installment are in:



Thursday, Sept 2, 2010, 7:30PM

$20 Advance

$25 Day of Show

(Not including fees)

Purchase Tickets On-line


STG Presents Hootenanny For A Healthy Gulf with Duff McKagan, Mike McCready & Friends at The Moore Theatre in Seattle on Thursday, September 2, 2010.

Northwest musicians Star Anna, Ty Bailie, Justin Davis, Tim DiJulio, Chris & Rick Friel, Mike McCready, Duff McKagan, Mark Pickerel, Jeff Rouse, Kim Virant, Kristen Ward, Gary Westlake, and friends unite for an extraordinary evening of music to benefit the Gulf Coast.

Hootenanny For A Healthy Gulf will include a silent auction, raffle and audience sing-a-long. These, along with the proceeds from ticket sales, will support the efforts of Gulf Restoration Network (GRN), the only non-profit exclusively focused on the health of the Gulf of Mexico.

Hootenanny For A Healthy Gulf is possible by the generous donations of the artists and STG. Special thanks to for waiving its per-ticket service charges.

In addition, 10% of sales at Tom Douglas' Palace Kitchen on the night of the event (Sept 2 only) will be donated to GRN.

*Check back for more information on silent auction and raffle prizes!