Introducing... The Chazzcast!

As one astute listener of the many moods of larrydigital recently pointed out (ok, it was my wife), the majority of music that I play in my podcast is old. Very old. In my latest episode, Episode 5: Bring It On Down To Soulsville, the most current song I play is from 1975. I try to include more recent music when possible, as evidenced in Episode 4: It's A Brand New Day, but I can't really help the fact that I enjoy older music. It's what I play because it's what I like. I guess the fact that I rarely listen to music for pleasure these days doesn't help either. I'm just usually screening for potential podcasts inclusions so occasionally I'll pepper in something from this century, but mostly my screening has me reaching backwards through the years.

So what's a music fan who wants to hear more current music to do?

Well, check out the Chazzcast, of course! My main man Jim Chadwick caught the podcast bug himself and put together The Blue Chair (the podcast's actual name, don't call it The Chazzcast), a sampling of some of Jim's favorite songs from the past year. I thoroughly enjoyed the The Blue Chair myself because as I mentioned, it featured a lot of new stuff that I wasn't all that familiar with. I'd read about a lot of bands in The Blue Chair but I hadn't had to opportunity to actually listen to most of them.

Part of the reason I began my podcast is because I was tired of hearing the same 12 songs an hour on terrestrial radio stations and I'm not about to plunk down my hard earned eCash on stuff that I've never heard (no, I'd rather spend my cash on songs I've heard a thousand times before). Plus I'm far too cheap to pay for satellite radio. So I'm glad that there's at least two new very different outlets for music these days. Even though I'm fairly certain that Jim and I are each other's podcast's only listeners.

You want Isaac Hayes and Desmond Dekker? I'm your guy. You want some Devendra Barhart and PJ Harvey? Jim's your man. I try to specialize on artists that are largely forgotten while Jim plays artists that are largely ignored by conventional outlets (although some of Jim's do get a metric ass-ton of attention from rock critics). There's some great music out there old and new, I just wish sometimes that it wasn't such a pain in the ass to discover that music.

Ok, long story short: Go listen to The Blue Chair!


the many moods of larrydigital, pt. 5

To download podcast: Click here.

As I mentioned in my last podcast post, while I try to produce my episodes monthly, I may start cranking them out more frequently if I had the time. Well, this month I had the time.

I figured out a few technical problems this time around (remember, I'm still learning this whole podcast thing) so I think the overall sound quality is a little better. The main complaint about my podcasts, besides gripes about my lame anecdotes, has been that my vocals have generally been low. But like I said, I think I've worked that out.

Quick story about this episode, I didn't notice until I completed my final mix that one of the songs in this podcast indirectly mentions another song later in the same podcast. Maybe. In "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised," Gil Scott-Heron says "The theme song will not be written by Jim Webb, Francis Scott Key, nor sung by Glen Campbell..." Well, it turns out that Isaac Hayes' "By The Time I Get To Phoenix" originally was written by Jim Webb and it was sung by Glen Campbell. There's a 50/50 chance that Gil was referring to "Wichita Lineman" which Jim Webb wrote specifically for Glen Campbell after being impressed by Glenn's version of "Phoenix." But I'm going to say that Gil's referring to "Phoenix" because it makes a better story. Ok!

Comments regarding this podcast are always welcome so feel free to email me at larrydigital@gmail.com, or you can post a message at my iTunes page. Either form of feedback would be greatly appreciated.

Episode 5: Bring It On Down To Soulsville Tracklist

1. larry's intro
2. "So Very Hard To Go" by Tower of Power
3. "Walk Away From Love" by David Ruffin
4. larry's interlude #1
5. "Theme From Cleopatra Jones" by J.J. Johnson
6. "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised" by Gil Scott-Heron
7. larry's interlude #2
8. "Do You Feel It?" by The Joe Cuba Sextet
9. "Eso Se Baila Así" by Willie Colon
10. "Unaddressed Letter" by Dave "Baby" Cortez
11. larry's interlude #3
12. "La La at the End" by Norman Brown & The Chosen Few
13. "It Ain't Me, Babe" by Bob & Marcia
14. larry's interlude #4
15. "Is It True?" by Brenda Lee
16. "Ambush" by Maria Dallas
17. "Laisse Tomber Les Filles" by France Gall
18. larry's interlude #5/outro
19. "By The Time I Get To Phoenix" by Isaac Hayes

This episode's theme song is "Jesusita en Chihuahua" by Mariachi México de Pepe Villa.


Superman Is Dead

As you might have gathered, I'm not a Shaquille O'Neal fan. One of the trademarks I guess of Shaq's career has been his self-proclaimed "Superman" title. From the "S" tattoo on his bicep to his custom made car to his turn as a Superman-related character in the dreadful, dreadful movie Steel, Shaq's affinity for Superman has been well documented and the association has stuck.

Well, all that's over. After the NBA's All-Star festivities last night in New Orleans, it appears there's a new Superman in town. During the dunk contest, Orlando Magic All-Star center Dwight Howard, broke out a special dunk. He removed his jersey to reveal a Superman shirt, put on a Superman cape and proceeded to fly through the air. Normally I'm not a fan of the dunk contest, preferring in-game dunks to these completely staged productions. But I have to admit, Dwight's dunk was pretty spectacular. Shortly after his dunk, the arena filled with the Superman theme song, specifically for Dwight.

Dwight's been steadily improving since coming into the league 4 years ago and just this afternoon, he made his first appearance as a starter in the NBA All-Star game. Coincidentally, Shaq's been declining over the last 3 years, mostly due to injuries. And, to add insult to said injuries, Dwight was introduced as Dwight "Superman" Howard. Ironically, Dwight's inclusion as a starter ends Shaq's run of 14 consecutive All-Star appearances.

Sorry, Shaq, it appears that you've been replaced.

Superman is dead. Long live Superman.


Van Hunt @ Temple Bar

You know what I like? Live music.

There was a time in my life when I used to go to at least one concert a month. I don't the opportunity to do that too often these days but when I heard that Van Hunt was performing at the Temple Bar in Santa Monica this weekend, I made a point to make it on down and check him out.

If you haven't heard of Van Hunt, don't worry, you are far from being alone. Sure, he's a Grammy winner and all but really, he's not all that popular. And since he recently got dropped from his label, I don't expect him to get more popular any time soon.


That doesn't make him any less talented and he really is a gifted artist. It turned out that his gig at the Temple Bar was actually Van's first ever solo acoustic performance. Truth be told, had I known that, I probably wouldn't have gone. As much as I like Van, I'm not really into his slower R&B stuff, preferring his more funky stuff. Check out my podcast the many moods of larrydigital, Episode 1: Fever in the Funkhouse for a sample of what I'm talking about.

Despite not really being a fan of his more soulful stuff, I thought Van put on a really good show. He played a nice mix of stuff and he really interacted with the crowd well, which was a plus. It was a pretty small venue, as you may or may not be able to tell from the picture above, I was only about 20 feet from the stage.

What really struck me about the show was its totally diverse crowd. Whether it was the older Korean ladies in line (the short one called the tall one unni) or the middle aged white woman reminiscing about her days as a Soul Train dancer or the bespectaled Mexican guy with his pregnant Filipino wife, we were all there for the same thing. Regardless of who we were or where we were from, we were all there to enjoy a fun show and great music from Van Hunt.

His opening act, a woman named Chrissy DePaul, wasn't as entertaining. Don't get me wrong, she had a nice singing voice. Her lyrics on the other hand, left a lot to be desired. And bland lyrics from a solo singer-songwriter is never a good thing. She bore a striking resemblance to Shannon from Lost and apparently, her day job is busking at the San Monica Promenade. At one point she mentioned that she wrote her following number while "performing" at the Promenade. The lyrics went like this... I'm standing on the corner with a guitar in my hand. Hmmm, ok. Another song, about a beautiful person in her life... You're more beautiful than the most beautiful thing I've ever seen. Ugh. A third, this one about how you can't make someone love you... You can't make someone love you, you can't make someone love you, repeated 20 times. Booooring. Don't get me wrong, I admire Chrissy for having the courage to get on stage and perform but for me, this was just another example of why I never go to a concert for the opening act. Except, of course, for that time in 1994 when I went to the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium to see Rage Against the Machine open for House of Pain.

Van Hunt performs at the Temple Bar next on February 19 and again on March 6. If you're a fan of soul, R&B or just plain good music, you should do yourself a favor and check him out.


Devean George... Still A Dick

There are few players in the NBA that I hate more than Devean George.

The thing about Devean is that he fell ass backwards into a situation where he was drafted by the Lakers in 1999 (one spot ahead of Russian superstar Andrei "AK-47" Kirilenko, by the way) and immediately got a chance to win three championships as part of Phil Jackson-led reboot of the Lakers franchise. What irks me about Devean is that somewhere along the road to the Finals, he seemed to believe that he was a part of the reason for the Lakers' success and not just the warm body on the bench that he was. Sure, Devean started for a season but hey, Slava Medvedenko was a starter once too, you know.

Using logic that defies explanation, the Lakers resigned him in 2002 but eventually let him walk away in 2006 for nothing. And let me tell you something, in the NBA, teams have a salary cap so players with expiring contracts have value regardless of their basketball skillz. An expiring contract wipes away a part of a team's cap for the next season which means they can now spend that money on another, possibly more desirable player. Dig the Kwame Brown for Pau Gasol trade. Kwame sucks, but his $9 million dollar expiring contract is a huge deal. Obviously, it has value, the Lakers got an All-Star in return for it. Next season, the Grizzlies can now use that $9 million that formerly paid Kwame's salary for another player that, unlike Kwame, might actually be worth a $9 million a year salary.

So if you're an NBA player with an expiring contract, one of two things usually happens: you're either resigned or your contract is traded. With those options in mind, the Lakers did neither with Devean George. Which means that he was so terrible, not even his expiring contract could entice a team to take him on.

I'll admit, when the Dallas Mavericks signed him as a free agent in 2006, I was a little baffled. By this time, Devean's once promising game had deteriorated to practically nothing but I figured that the only reason Mavericks' owner Mark Cuban offered him a contract was probably because of Devean's playoff experience. I mean, with the Mavericks choking in the playoffs two years in a row, a little veteran leadership might be what Dallas needed. That had to be the reason but honestly, there's nothing else that Devean George could possibly offer the Mavs.

Fast forward to today. In 2008, Devean George is once again a player with an expiring contract. Word broke yesterday that the New Jersey Nets have agreed to trade 9-time All-Star and the 1995 co-Rookie of the year Jason Kidd and forward Malik "How Am I Still in the NBA?" Allen to the Mavericks in return for the human foul machine DeSagana Diop (expiring contract), the shockingly useless Devean George (expiring contract), 75-year-old shooting guard Jerry Stackhouse, bench warmer extraordinare Maurice Ager (averaging 1.3 points and 0.3 rebounds per game), point guard Devin "Where Da White Women At?" Harris, two future first round picks and $3 million in cash. A trade, by the way, that Mark Cuban himself denied earlier this week. As a Laker fan, I love this trade. I mean, Jason Kidd is Jason Kidd, future NBA Hall of Famer no question, but I don't think he's enough to get Dallas over the hump. And call me crazy but I believe that losing a big body in DeSagana Diop is going to hurt the Mavs come playoff time. With Shaq and Gasol now in the West, Western Conference front courts are getting bigger. You're going to need that size down the line. Still, it's a very nice haul for the Nets. They'll be able to clear some cap space plus Devin Harris is a nice catch. And first round picks are always useful. Unless, of course, your name is Billy Knight. The package for Jason Kidd is much better than the pu-pu platters that the Grizzlies got for Pau Gasol or the Minnesota Timberwolves got for Kevin Garnett. If I'm Rod Thorn, I'd take that deal in a heartbeat too.

But not so fast.

Apparently, the deal has hit a snag. Devean George is refusing to waive his Bird rights which means that he's effectively vetoed the trade to New Jersey. Long story short about Bird rights, they allow teams to exceed the salary cap to resign their own veteran players. To complete this trade, Devean would have to waive the Bird rights provision of his contract and is refusing to do so. It doesn't make a whole lot of sense because there's no way that a journeyman player is going to endear himself to a team to the point where they'd consider resigning him if all he is doing is preventing a 9-time All-Star from joining said team. So why is he even bothering? Probably to leverage a new contract extension from the Nets. He's been bitching all year long about not getting playing time for the Mavericks and most likely wants some sort of multi-year commitment from the Nets. But here's the deal jackass, unless your name is Yi Jianlian, you've got to earn your minutes in the NBA. Devean wasn't playing for the Mavs because he sucks. Last night against the Portland Trailblazers, after word of his trade veto became public knowledge, Devean went 0 for 11 in 33 minutes. 0 for 11! At some point, you'd think he'd have stopped shooting, right? There's no doubt in my mind that this trade will go down, but only after Devean has angled a new deal for himself. So right now, Devean holds two NBA franchises in limbo just so he can finagle a new contract that he obviously doesn't deserve.

So like I said, Devean George... still a dick.

Real quick, about the Kidd to Mavericks trade, and the Pau Gasol to the Lakers trade, and the Shaq to the Suns trade... what the fuck Eastern Conference? Are you planning on keeping any All-Stars at all or are you going to ship them all to the West? How long until LeBron James or Chris Bosh get shipped west? It's bad enough that there's a massive quality gap between the Eastern and Western Conferences as it is, there's no need to make it worse by trading away what few legitimate stars you have left. If the NBA playoffs started today, three teams in the West (Houston Rockets, Denver Nuggets and the Golden State Warriors) are tied for the eighth (and last) place seed with a record of 32-20. In the East, a team with a record of 32-20 would be in THIRD PLACE.

Eastern Conference... more like Leastern Conference, am I rite?!


Heaven's Gonna Need A Bigger Boat

I like to tell myself that I don't watch a lot of television but I do. In addition to watching an entire assload of sports, I tend to watch a lot of movies as well. In the last month alone, I figure that I've seen about 20 movies. Mostly foreign films (preferably the kind where everybody dies and I don't completely understand what happened at the end..... hellloooooo Tokyo Drifter) and films from the 1970s. By sheer coincidence, I've recently watched The French Connection, Jaws 2 and All That Jazz.

Yep, all Roy Scheider films.

So it was a little bit of a bummer when I read that he died yesterday in Arkansas.

While I won't go as far as saying that Roy Scheider was one of my favorite actors (that's reserved for Robert Duvall and Clint Eastwood), I will say that I thought that he was a very talented man. His career may have tapered off a little towards the end but he left movie buffs like myself with a truly classic body of work.

Slow ahead, Chief Brody, slow ahead.


Shaq Still Suqks

It's official.

I will never be the general manager of an NBA team.

Earlier today, the Phoenix Suns traded Shawn Marion to the Miami Heat for Shaquille O'Neal. The Heat also received perennial under- achiever Marcus Banks in the deal. I simply do not understand the logic behind this move. I mean, everything about this trade screams PANIC MOVE. Maybe to somehow combat the Lakers' acquisition of Pau Gasol or something but as evidenced by the Lakers' loss to the Atlanta Hawks earlier today, there really was no need to make ridiculous moves just yet.

I mean, yes, Shaq is a former MVP and a former 14-time All-Star but that seems like it was 100 years ago. Truly, in his day, Shaquille O'Neal was the most dominant center of his generation but unfortunately, his day is long, long, looooong over. He's been plagued by injuries all season long and for him to fit into the Suns' uptempo game, Shaq would have to show a level of motivation that seems to have left him years ago. Shawn Marion, it should be noted, is also a former All-Star. He's younger, faster, has a cheaper contract and is far more suited to the Suns run-and-gun style. Marion's a stud, so it's not quite the sack of magic beans that the Lakers got in return for Shaquille in 2004. But, it's been reported that Marion doesn't get along with Suns' big man Amare Stoudamire and is planning to opt out of his contract at the end of the year. So I suppose that the Suns figured that they may as well trade him than lose him at the end of the year for nothing.

But still.

The knock on the Suns is that while they are a talented team, they don't quite have all the pieces to beat the elite teams in the West like the San Antonio Spurs or the Dallas Mavericks. Which is true, by the way. The Suns usually murder teams during the regular season and sort of fizzle out in the playoffs. So yes, they probably needed to make some sort of move but trading for a massive injury risk player that is clearly past his prime.

Currently, the Suns are ahead of the Lakers in the Pacific Division (barely!) and first in the Western Conference so it's business as usual for them. Yes, they could've done something but the rumored deal with the Charlotte Bobcats for Emeka Okafor or the other rumored deal with the Philadelphia 76ers for Samuel Dalembert would have made far, far more sense. In either of those cases you're rolling the dice with younger players. Plus, neither one of those dudes is the defensive liability that Shaq is at this point in his career. All the Suns have done by trading for Shaq is made their championship window even smaller. A 34-year-old Steve Nash and a 35-year-old Shaquille O'Neal has a window of maybe, maybe a year and half and then all bets are off.

Actually, you know what, I've thought about it and this Suns/Heat swap is a great trade... for the Lakers.


the many moods of larrydigital, pt. 4

To download podcast: Click here.

It has always been my intention to publish podcasts monthly. So far I've been sticking to that fairly lofty goal. I say lofty because I'm a big ass procrastinator. I have a tendency to get sidetracked with ridiculous stuff which really kills my creative process, such as it is. For example, I work in pieces so pieces of podcast five through nine are already completed. This most recent podcast was finished about 12 days ago but for some reason, I couldn't find a title that I felt comfortable with. The most meaningless part of the podcast (assuming that the entire podcast itself has a meaning) and I get held up by it. Dumb, right? But that's how it is with me sometimes.

Anyway, like I was saying, I've always meant to publish these monthly because I'm trying like hell to stick to my self-imposed deadlines for new stuff. It's working me. But I was thinking, what happens if I finish a podcast early? As I mentioned, this one was done 12 days ago. Supposing for a second that I had a title, should I have just sat on it until the first week of the month? Probably not. My long-winded point is this, I might start churning these things out more frequently. I'll always have at least one a month, and usually during the first week of the month, but don't be too surprised if once in a while, you get an extra one. That'll be a special treat for the 4 people (including me) who actually listen to my podcast.

I've been asked by a few people about the groovy bongo background music that I played in Episode 3: Your Ace From Outer Space. It's the instrumental version of a song called "Mad Monster Party Theme" by Maury Laws and it's from the soundtrack of a 1968 Rankin & Bass animated special called, you guessed it, Mad Monster Party. Rankin & Bass is the company that's responsible for that stop-motion Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer special that gets aired every Christmas, the one with an animated Burl Ives as Sam the Snowman. The soundtrack for Mad Monster Party is available on Amazon.com if you're really that interested in the song. The soundtrack has two versions of the song, the instrumental version that I played and another version featuring vocals by Ethel Ennis.

You know, I was toying with the idea of having a theme for this podcast, despite my whole "no themes" philosophy. I figure, I broke the no themes thing with the second episode, why not do it again with the fourth? Maybe love songs since Valentine's Day is right around the corner (or more correctly, an anti-love song theme) or maybe a podcast full of my favorite karaoke songs but ultimately decided against it. I do like the idea though so maybe I'll do it the line. You've been warned! By the way, I also do a tremendous version of "Baby Got Back." It's truly inspiring.

Real quick, I'd like to take a moment to beg for your support. if you've downloaded the podcast and enjoy it (or even if you didn't enjoy it) please take a moment and drop me a feedback on my iTunes page. My podcast may not be the greatest one in existence but I'm fairly pleased with it. And because of that, I'd like to reach as many people as possible. I figure that a few feedback messages, positive or negative, will at least show that some people are listening and may inspire someone to take a chance on my little podcast that could. Thanks in advance for your support.

Ok, that's it. Enough of my prattling. Enjoy Episode 4 of the many moods of larrydigital, It's A Brand New Day.

Episode 4: It's A Brand New Day Tracklist

1. larry's intro
2. "This Woman" by Desmond Dekker & The Aces
3. "Lovers Rock" by Freddie McGregor
4. "Clean Up Woman" by Betty Wright
5. larry's interlude #1
6. "Blind Man Can See It" by James Brown
7. "Jungle Fever" by The Chakachas
8. larry's interlude #2
9. "Shoot the Pump" by J. Walter Negro & The Loose Jointz
10. "Don't Worry About It" by N.E.R.D.
11. "Helicopter (Weird Science Remix)" by Bloc Party
12. larry's interlude #3
13. "The Salmon Dance" by The Chemical Brothers
14. "Here" by Luscious Jackson
15. larry's interlude #4
16. "Love Sweet Sound" by Groove Armada
17. "Pretty Girls Don't Dance" by Felix Da Housecat
18. larry's interlude #5/outro
19. "It's the Beat" by Simian Mobile Disco

PS. This month's theme song is "Silver Dollar" by The Skatalites.


Friends, Romans, Laker Fans...

I've come to bury Kwame Brown, not to praise him.

You know, for the record, I never really hated Kwame Brown. Sure, as a Laker fan, he pisses me off a ton of times. Believe me, there were no shortage of reasons to dislike the guy. Whether it was his lack of basketball IQ, his hands of stone, his consistent ability to miss point blank lay ups or the fact that he launched overpriced cakes with better accuracy than he shot a basketball, it was always something with Kwame.

Like I said, I never hated him because they way I saw it, it wasn't his fault that he was terrible basketball player. It wasn't his fault that general managers tripped over themselves to offer him ridiculous contracts. It wasn't his fault that Michael Jordan himself hand picked Kwame as the #1 overall pick of the 2001 NBA draft. I believe that Kwame, despite all of his faults (and there are many), means well. And that counts for something, right?

I mean, he's not an unrepentant jackass like Stephen Jackson or a overpaid tub of goo that just doesn't get it like Zach Randolph or just a plain fucking lunatic like Ron Artest. Kwame's biggest fault that he was a low court IQ player that couldn't wrap his cornrows around the triangle offense. But like I said, he's means well.

However, none of that matters anymore because this afternoon, the Kwame Brown Era in Los Angeles came to a crashing end. This afternoon, the Los Angeles Lakers traded Kwame Brown, rookie point guard Javaris Crittenton and two future 1st round picks to the Memphis Grizzlies for the 2002 Rookie of the Year and former 2006 All-Star (and the object of my not-so-secret mancrush) Pau Gasol (pronounced "pow"). In a cruel twist of fate, the Grizzlies also received the rights to Marc Gasol, Pau's younger brother, who the Lakers selected in the second round of the 2007 draft. Bummer for Marc, right? Imagine that.... Marc, I've got some good news and bad news for you.... The good news, your brother Pau is joining us on the Lakers, the bad news....

As evidenced by this cover from the July 2007 Spanish edition of Rolling Stone magazine, Pau Gasol is a rock star. He's actually my 2nd favorite player in the NBA (right behind Dirk "German Jesus" Nowitzki) so I don't think I can fully express how awesome it is that he's coming to my favorite team. What's extra awesome about this trade (awesomer!) is that Pau shores up the Lakers' front court which has been woefully thin since Andrew Bynum went down and it makes the Lakers legitimate title contenders in the Western Conference. I'd have to say that not counting Karl Malone (because his tenure was brief and injury-ridden), Pau is the best power forward the Lakers have had since Big Game James Worthy. Which may not sound like much considering that my pregnant wife is a better defender right now than Slava Medvedenko was when he was actually starting but I think you understand my point.

As painful as it is for me to say, I think Mitch Kupchak deserves serious consideration for the NBA's General Manager of the Year. It's painful because up until now, we Laker fans have suffered through Mitch's decisions. Drafting Brian Cook over Josh Howard? Really? Signing Smush Parker and Aaron McKie? Seriously? Signing and then waiving Koko Archibong? Hey Mitch, you never, ever waive a guy named Archibong. NEVER.

And unlike Danny Ainge, who used the ghost of Red Auberbach to force Kevin McHale to trade Kevin Garnett to the Boston Celtics for a song, Mitch Kupchak didn't have too many trades until very recently and rebuilt the Lakers in this most difficult way possible.... through the draft. Of course, the Gasol trade is a huge boost, as was the Trevor Ariza trade albeit in a small manner, but if you look at the team Mitch has crafted, it's built to win now and it's ready for the future thanks to the presence of Jordan Farmar, Ronny Turiaf, Sasha "The Machine" Vujacic, etc.

Anyway, the Lakers are back, ladies and gentlemen. It's going to be an exciting ride. And I don't know about you guys but I think I'd kill to see the Lakers and the Celtics in the 2008 NBA Finals.