Photo by Jeanne Rice> Jennifer Corday, "I Know." A beautiful song that sweeps the listener into its emotional vortex. Seemingly about the end of an affair, it's actually about losing her drummer.
> Jilted John, True Love Stories. This is without a doubt one of the most hilarious albums ever made, and it was a big influence on, among others, Jarvis Cocker of Pulp. True Love Stories is a concept CD that deals with adolescent angst as we follow John through his paper-route days, hear about his pet mice, watch boy meet girl, see him get betrayed by his best friend, get drunk, run away to the big city, meet an older woman, get spat out, return home, eat chips, listen to T-Rex, and become a grown-up! Spend the rest of your life trying to track this one down.
> The Galaxy Concert Theatre. A great place for shows because of its flexibility. You can be sophisticated and have dinner at a good table. You can be normal and sit farther back or stand at the bar. You can be a kid and mosh in the pit. You can be "Hollywood" and remain in the anteroom, watching bands on the big-screen TV. Or you can be a celebrity and go in one of those little private rooms upstairs.
> The Hostage Situation. A great local compilation that I just received. They're all here—the Pushers, the Smut Peddlers, the Bleeders, the Crowd, Smogtown, the Spooky, Bonecrusher and many more. OC's best testament to the longevity of punk. And all for $6.99!
> The Cuckoo's Nest. I just read that John Zubieta of Zubie's fame died, and his obituary reminded me of those pitched battles out on Placentia Avenue in Costa Mesa that happened when the Cuckoo's Nest and Zubie's patrons left their venues simultaneously. There are no clubs with that same feeling of unity and identity anymore. Or is it just part of the aging process? And where is Jerry Roach now?
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> Andy White, Compilation. This was a revelation to me. I have no idea how this Irish singer/songwriter had eluded me. From the pure joy of "Six String Street" to the storytelling of "Looking for James Joyce's Grave," this is a CD of rare poetic power.
> Strunz and Farah, Best Of. As I write a lot, I have a hard time concentrating if I'm listening to songs with lyrics. On the other hand, silence is very disconcerting. So this is the perfect accompaniment to another editorial crucifixion of Dr. Laura or George W. Gore. These guys are a couple of the world's best guitarists.
> Chain Reaction. A very cool place. However, being more than 20 years old (waaaay more), I feel like a pedophile whenever I go there. This is definitely a place for kids, and they make it a great, very safe environment. The talent lineup here is unbelievable every month.
> Logic Trance. A series of trance compilations. These tracks are similar to the best classical music in their ability to transport you to a heightened level of awareness (no, no, no, I do not take chemical enhancers!). This is the perfect accompaniment to writing a high-energy piece, such as my recent Chaucer essay (on which, incidentally, after a 30-year education gap, I received an A).