HITS Daily Double
“I only watched
Will and Grace
one time
one day/
Wish I hadn’t
because TiVo
now thinks
I’m gay.”
——from “Weird Al” Yankovic’s parody of "Lose Yourself"


Time to Stop Banging Your Head Against the Wall. Now Get Outta Here, You Knucklehead.
Music is the most portable of diversions—it comes in units that are typically less than five minutes in length, and unlike most other forms of entertainment, a song can be played over and over again. Because music is so essential when you’re on the road, we’re putting the focus this week on those handy little five-inch discs—the ones you score from your label friends and the kind whose contents you assemble yourself. And speaking of music, a bunch of us cesspool dwellers kick-started the holiday weekend Wednesday night, some checking out Jason Mraz, who showed that he’s rapidly growing into his approaching stardom during his set at the House of Blues, and others getting pumped up about The Thorns, who played their first show as a full, six-piece band (it also happened to be their first paying gig) in thoroughly convincing fashion at the venerable Troubadour. They encored with “Warmth of the Sun,” the Beach Boys song they’d covered in a recent episode of American Dreams. If we had a copy of it, we’d make it the last track of the getaway compilation CD below.

1. The Matrix Reloaded: The reviews have been mixed for the second film in the series, and the reaction around the armpit of Sherman Oaks from people who’ve seen it has been all over the place as well. Marc Pollack loved it, calling it “a great ride” (but remember, Pollack’s taste runs to White Lion); Todd Hensley’s reservations stem from the fact that Reloaded is necessarily a narrative bridge to the finale, and thus “all setup—but I didn’t mind that it was half a movie”; and Lenny Beer was heard to whine, “That movie sucked!” But don’t let Beer dissuade you—no matter what anybody says, Reloaded has to be considered a must-see movie, and the cineplexes are sure to be packed during the next four days. Or maybe you'd prefer to spend Memorial Day at Disneyland... —BS

2. Memorial Day Weekend Getaway Compilation: The following 80-minute CD has been assembled with driving in mind. It’ll get you from L.A. to Santa Barbara or to Anaheim and back, assuming you don't hit traffic (which is, of course, highly unlikely). If you glanced at the song list earlier, you saw a different title for this compilation, and I've added one additional song, cuz when I started burning the disc on Friday afternoon, I found there was room for it. Apparently, I can't leave well enough alone.
Hit the Ground Running
1. Sam Roberts, “Brother Down”
2. The Roots, “The Seed (2.0)”
3. Fleetwood Mac, “Running Through the Garden”
4. Dandy Warhols, “You Were the Last High”
5. Taxiride, “Saffron” (Gregg Wattenberg remix)
6. The Thorns, “Runaway Feeling”
7. Dan Wilson, “Cry”
8. Pete Yorn, “Pass Me By”
9 The Soundtrack of Our Lives, “Sister Surround”
10. The Jayhawks, “Tailspin”
11. Rooney, “Blueside”
12. Maroon 5, “Harder to Breathe”
13. Dandy Warhols, “Hit Rock Bottom”
14. Caesars, “(I’m Gonna) Kick You Out”
15. Idlewild, “You Held the World in Your Arms”
16. Gavin DeGraw, "Follow Through"
17. Fleetwood Mac, “What’s the World Coming To?”
18. Sam Roberts, “Where Have All the Good People Gone?” (long version)
19. The Thorns, "Among the Living"
20. The Jayhawks, "Stumbling Through the Dark"
21. Calexico, “Quattro (“World Drifts In)” (remix edit) BS

3. Promo Weasel Stupid Site of the Week: Dude, where can we score some righteous weed—and what’d you say your name was? http://www.electricartists.com/cannabiscup/stoner.html —ES

4. Strong Words: I had a realization while blasting the rough mixes of the upcoming Super Human Strength album (due soon on an indie label TBD): Other bands are pussies. It’s not just that this L.A. rock trio could bench-press most of the self-pitying riff-mongers currently choking the charts. And it’s not simply that SHS are men enough to pour passion, integrity and melody into their pummeling, adrenalized tunes. The sonic formula isn’t brand-new: burly backbeats, precision-drill starts and stops, speaker-shredding power chords, anthemically hooky choruses garnished with tasty, psychedelic guitar leads. So what is it about this band that makes me—a man of a certain age who appreciates the dulcet harmonies of the Thorns—want to get a tattoo of a naked chick on my bicep and flip off the nearest authority figure? It’s the wailing, cathartic gestalt of it all, baby. Singer-guitarist-songwriter Wic Coleman is a bespectacled bruiser of a dude with a biker’s heart, a poet’s soul and a survivor’s sense of irony; his raspy, lived-in voice conveys the pain, humor and hard-won independence of his finely crafted songs. And what songs they are: the barreling, obscenely catchy “Only Guessing,” the volatile “Anything You Want,” the rueful “Burned Out,” the slam-dunk “Top of the World,” the epic “Pressed in Wax,” drug-cooking singalong “The Basement Song,” the elemental, propulsive “Repeat It.” For those of you who crave influence equations, SHS has been described as “Foo Fighters meet Elvis Costello” or “Husker Du, Queens of the Stone Age and the Buzzcocks in a blender.” However you break it down, it’s great. See this band. Listen to this band. SG

5. More Sam Roberts Love: Last week, I rhapsodized about this young, Montreal-based rock dude after a friend from Toronto came to L.A. and played me his indie EP, The Inhuman Condition. Since then, I’ve learned that Roberts’ debut album, We Were Born in a Flame, which contains the three best songs from the EP, is coming out on Universal next Tuesday in Canada and on June 17 in the States. I further discovered that Uni signed him after the Lipman brothers noticed that Roberts was outselling their acts above the border, inspiring them to fly cross-country to catch a show in Vancouver, after which they offered him a deal on the spot. Look, I realize a lot of you think every word on this site is bought and paid for, so I find great irony in the fact that I “discovered” what I thought was this cool, obscure indie guy at the very moment a big U.S. label was setting his record up as a major priority. Duh. But at the same time, I’m delighted I was in the dark about Uni’s intentions, because my ignorance allowed me to get excited about an exceptional new artist in the purest, most traditional way: getting turned on by a friend. For the record, the more I hear “Brother Down,” Roberts’ first Canadian hit and the first U.S. single, the more I believe it has the groove and hooks to be a multi-format radio hit. The latest Canadian single is a newly tightened up version of the equally memorable “Where Have All the Good People Gone.” Unfortunately, the upcoming album doesn’t include the six-minute-plus original, which builds to an absolutely breathtaking climax—all the more reason you need to score a copy of The Inhuman Condition as well as the album. You’ll thank me for this tip. —BS

6. Jill Kushner Personally Invites You to Her Next Show: Craving the standup? Or perhaps just craving me? I get it. I feel you. Fuck it, I will feel you. Come on out. Saturday, 9:30 p.m. at M Bar, 1253 N. Vine St. at Fountain, in the mini-mall, next to the El Floridita dance hall, (pronounced, dahhhhnce, for sure) where some of you may have gotten your dance on. Particularly you ethnic kinds, or the ones who like to hang with you ethnic kinds. See you there? Love you so much that it's almost awkward. JK

7. Lou Reed, NYC Man—The Ultimate Lou Reed Collection (BMG Heritage): The new BMG catalog label gets off to an auspicious start with this wide-ranging compilation, which was sequenced by the artist himself in an autobiographical narrative grouped in terms of themes and style instead of chronology. Starting off with “Who Am I,” an unreleased track from his latest album, The Raven, through the Velvets’ “Pale Blue Eyes,” the album is the aural equivalent of Reed mentor, poet Delmore Schwartz’ oft-repeated dictum, “In dreams begin responsibilities.” It goes from the beginning of a lifelong love of playing in the band (“Sweet Jane,” “Rock & Roll”), through his dalliances with drugs (“I’m Waiting for the Man,“ “White Light/White Heat,” “Street Hassle”), sadomasochism (“Berlin,” “Caroline Says,” “The Kids,” “Walk on the Wild Side,” “Kill Your Sons,” “Vicious,” “The Blue Mask,” “I’ll Be Your Mirror”) and the eternal yin-yang of transcendence and immolation (“Magic and Loss,” “Ecstasy”). The second disc moves beyond both addiction (“Heroin”) and recovery (“The Last Shot,” “Perfect Day”), to an ode to his New York City roots (“Dirty Blvd.”) and a final back-to-the-future, now not-so-innocent romanticism of ”Pale Blue Eyes.” The record intersperses familiar material with more obscure tracks like “Shooting Star” and “Rock Minuet,” countering the notion that Reed’s best work was with the Velvets. From the evidence of this comprehensive, two-disc document, his solo output encompasses a vision that has spawned a long-lived, varied musical career, one that seems far from over. RT

8. That Madonna’s a Real Cut-Up: You knew it had to happen. That “spoof” file cleverly put into circulation on P2P file-sharing systems such as KaZaA that posed as a song file of Madonna’s “American Life” did far more than vex those trying to scam her tunes for free—it gave the world a pristine sample of the elder stateswoman of pop culture saying (as if to a child?), “What the fuck do you think you're doing?” It was inevitable that it would turn up on record sooner or later, but there’s already an entire web site devoted to cataloging “remixes” of the phrase. The Madonna Remix Project features an image of the singer lifted from her latest work, with the slogan “Madonna—RIAA Puppet” added for good measure. The site has links to about 30 electronica-type mixes, each prominently featuring the now-famous admonishment. Antipiracy effort gone wrong or ingenious brand-awareness campaign? You make the call. —JO

9. “Weird Al” Yankovic, Poodle Hat (Volcano): There’s a reason why this quintessential novelty artist has lasted 20 years, despite the sophomoric, Mad magazine undertow. “Weird Al” has a firm grasp of the pop culture landscape at any moment in time, and his longtime band kicks serious ass. His new collection’s first single is a spot-on parody of Eminem’s “Lose Yourself,” called “Couch Potato,” touching on Al’s love of remote control TV and including the classic zeitgeist line, “I only watched Will and Grace one time one day/Wish I hadn’t because TiVo now thinks I’m gay.” Of course, you could have predicted Al would rhyme “Complicated” with “constipated” and his Spider-Man narrative set to Billy Joel’s “Piano Man” is a little too pat. But anyone who can play an “Angry White Boy Polka” accordion medley which includes The White Stripes, The Strokes, System of a Down and Papa Roach is welcome in my pantheon, alongside Jerry Samuels (Napoleon XIV), Spike Jonze, Buchanan & Goodman, Allan Sherman, the Chipmunks, Senator Bobby and Vaughn Meader. —RT

10. NBA Draft Lottery: It’s all but official now that the ping pong balls have spoken: Akron high school millionaire LeBron James will be wearing the colors of the Cleveland Cavaliers this fall; the Detroit Pistons, currently fighting for their lives against the New Jersey Nets, will reportedly take Darko Milicic, the Serbian seven-foot southpaw who turns 18 on June 2, with the second pick (which they got from Memphis); and the Denver Nuggets, picking third, will undoubtedly go for Carmelo Anthony. Here’s the order of the rest of the draft: 4. Toronto, 5. Miami, 6. Clippers, 7. Chicago, 8. Milwaukee, 9. the woebegone Knicks, 10. Washington, 11. Golden State, 12. Seattle, 13. Memphis. Now, this is perfect fodder for idle-time banter, which is why they invented instant messaging. For example...
Trakin: Can you believe the Detroit Pistons' luck? Nce front line—Milicic and Wallace. Sheez.
Scoppa: I know. They might actually get good—but not in time to stop the Nets from sweeping them.
Trakin: Even Denver looks more promising than my Knicks. First draft lottery tout has them picking Nick Collison from Kansas. Whaddaya think of him?
Scoppa: I like him, but you never know about those homegrown whities.
Trakin: I couldn't believe Jerry West getting jobbed there. That was kinda dramatic at the end. Memphis rolling the dice and losing... Tough luck. I still like his team better than my Knicks.
Scoppa: For Otis Thorpe in 1997. Is that ironic or just dumb?
Trakin: I'd take Stromile Swift in a second for that ninth pick.
Scoppa: I'll bet you would.
Trakin: Those trades'll come back to bite you...sooner or later.
Scoppa: Mebbe you'll wind up with some Euro we never heard of.
Trakin: This draft is a crapshoot after the first three. It's a whole lotta flawed or mystery players.
Scoppa: Seems to get more that way every year.
Trakin: Yeah, there's hardly a senior in the bunch anymore...weird.
Scoppa: Just two white guys from Kansas.
Trakin: Geez, to think that's what the Knicks have left to choose from, a coupla white guys from Kansas... —BS

The Thorns, The Thorns (Aware/Columbia):
The self-titled album from the trio of Matthew Sweet, Shawn Mullins and Pete Droge is an unabashedly lovely and tuneful affair on the surface whose musical intricacy and dramatic depth reveal themselves progressively, through repeated listens. The three career solo artists got together for this project when they discovered that their voices just happen to produce a magnificent blend. Consequently, the three collaborators wrote and arranged their material with vocal harmonies in mind; as a result, the record achieves a sort of formal perfection of the sort rarely heard since the 1970s. But the attention to aural architecture doesn’t mean they’ve neglected drama: The first single, the Sweet-led “I Can’t Remember” is a breakup song of immense poignancy (“Many could live on what we have wasted/All because we never knew how much we had”); opener “Runaway Feeling,” initiated by Droge, inhabits prime Tom Petty territory; their cover of the Jayhawks’ “Blue” does the brilliant song full justice; “No Blue Sky,” with Mullins in the foreground, has a drop-dead gorgeous payoff; and Sweet’s “Now I Know” packs more bittersweet beauty into 1:50 than many acts manage in their careers. A couple of the 13 songs are mere cotton candy, leading some reviewers to conclude that the album is lightweight, despite plenty of evidence to the contrary. OK, so it’s not a perfect record, but it’s addictive nonetheless—sounds to me like the ultimate summertime companion. Bud Scoppa

Third Eye Blind, Out of the Vein (Elektra): It took Stephan Jenkins three years to finish his band’s third album, and at least that long to get over his tabloid romance with Charlize Theron. Produced by Jenkins in the band’s new homemade analog studio, the disc boasts those patented classic rock/grunge-pop melodies, with plenty of bloodletting on the tracks. The opening “Faster” praises the joys of sex (“She mouths the words please to the poster on the ceiling”), while the single, “Blinded (When I See You)” and “Forget Myself” (“The brilliant girl with the famous thighs/Then the cameras click then we are stars”) look back, sadder but wiser. The Clash-like “Danger” and the brooding “Misfits” use a reggae beat to explore the bond between performer and fan, which remains an inspiration for these touring vets, who sound raring to get back out there. Roy T rakin

Bruce Almighty (Universal)
Premise: Jim Carrey is a whiner who gets to switch places with Morgan Freeman as God and walk on water.
Stars: Carrey, Freeman, Jennifer Aniston, Nora Dunn, Philip Baker Hall.
Director: Tom Shadyac has directed some of Carrey’s most successful films in Liar Liar and Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, while screenwriter Steve Oederkirk directed and wrote the Ace Ventura : When Nature Calls sequel.
Thumbs Up: A return to the earlier, funnier Carrey is always welcome.
Thumbs Down: Haven’t we seen this before with John Denver and George Burns?
Soundtrack: Varese-Sarabande album includes hits by Joan Osborne, Elvis Costello, Fatboy Slim, Mick Jagger and Snap (the ubiquitous “The Power”), with score by veteran John Debney.
Website: www.brucealmighty.com is a clean, nifty celestial site which gives you all the pertinent information, including the story, about the film, cast, behind the scenes, photo gallery, downloads, e-cards, trailer, soundtrack and ticket information.

The In-Laws (Warner Bros.)
Premise: Re-make of 1979 Peter Falk-Alan Arkin comedy about prospective fathers-in-law, one of whom is a regular guy (dentist in the original, foot doctor here) and the other a possible government agent (in this one, a CIA operative).
Stars: Albert Brooks is the straight guy to Michael Douglas’ manic spy. Also: Candice Bergen, Robin Tunney, Emmy Laybourne.
Director: Andrew Fleming, who has scored doing comedy (Dick) and horror (The Craft), with a screenplay by remake specialist Nat Mauldin (Doctor Dolittle, The Preacher’s Wife).
Thumbs Up: Premise is a good one, byplay between Brooks and Douglas looks promising.
Thumbs Down: Remakes are usually never as good as the original, which in this case was impeccable.
Soundtrack: Rhino Records album includes two previously unreleased Paul McCartney songs (“A Love For You” and a version of “Live and Let Die”); classic rock from Badfinger, Elvis Presley and Bee Gees; funk from KC & the Sunshine Band, Chic and Cameo as well as tracks by B.J. Thomas, Ella Fitzgerald, Mel Torme, Michel Legrand, Claudine Longet and Yma Sumac.
Website: www.Thein-Laws.WarnerBros.com is a fun, lively site that includes info on the filmmakers, the soundtrack, the cast, the soundtrack allows you to see video and enter a contest to “get married on the red carpet.”

Tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock—do you hear that? It’s the sound of my biological clock ticking. At least that’s what my father told me yesterday. To be exact, it was more like, “You know, you’re not getting any younger. Your biological clock is ticking.” He followed his smart-ass comment with a hearty chuckle. I’m glad he could make himself laugh, as well as everyone in the office when I told them what he’d said. I can’t fault him for his overly sexist way of thinking. He’s simply a Midwestern father who wants to see his daughter happy, taken care of and not living in L.A., and he equates happiness with being married. I also think he’s sick of paying for my plane tickets home and my car payments when I spend all my money on shoes. I think my dad assumes that if I had a husband, he would no longer have to support my shopping addiction, because my husband would assume those responsibilities. So he’s pushing for a husband, and not just any husband, but one with a really good job. It’s tough being daddy’s little girl. This week’s cocktail is dedicated to my Midwestern father and his Midwestern ideals.

Hoosier Martini
1 oz. Buffalo Grass vodka (Its actual name is Zubrowka. It’s vodka flavored with grass found only in the forests of Eastern Poland, which are inhabited by buffalo. So, unless you’re going to Poland, I would suggest using Ketel One, because it’s my favorite.)
1 oz. Bacardi rum
Shake with ice, strain into a martini glass and garnish with a twist

Buffalo Grass vodka is about as hard to find as an unmarried Hoosier woman my age. That’s why I escaped Indiana and became a California gal. Unfortunately, my dad doesn’t see it that way.

In hopes of slowing down my biological clock, I went out after work with a co-worker and consumed a few (too many) apple martinis. We went to an old HITS haunt, Pineapple Hill, and the bartender was very happy to see us. As it turns out, back in the old days, when the music industry was flourishing, the generous tips from various HITS weasels paid this guy’s rent, and then some, during their weekly post-deadline Drunk Club meetings, which were often held there. I was a little worried about being associated with the Drunk Club, considering some of the stories I’ve heard. As I should be, because upon leaving I did the unthinkable—I dialed drunk. I admit it. Yes, I drunk-dialed, and not just once. I tried my hardest to knock out every man in my life in one clean drunk sweep. By simply pressing SEND on your cell phone, you can turn a man from being smitten with you to hating you. To make my situation even worse, I wasn’t a happy, horny drunk dialer—no, I was an angry one. I slurred accusations and hung up on the sweetest guy in my life—not once, not twice, but three times. Thank God I finally passed out after the third call. The worst part of the night was the “Oh Shit!” moment I had when I woke up in the middle of the night, totally dehydrated and a little more sober, finally realizing I had committed the ultimate drinking crime. This is when the fun begins. I get to work, extremely hung over, and have to make the dreaded “I’m sorry” phone calls. It’s like squeezing lime juice in a cut—it stings. The victim of your drunken rampage couldn’t sleep, because you kept calling, pissing him off and then hanging up on him, so he’s had hours to stew over what he was going to say to you when you call to apologize. All of this would be prevented if somebody would invite the phone breathalizer. If you’re over the legal limit, the only number that can be dialed from your phone is the cab company. This would save many of us from the shame of the morning-after apologies and kissing up.

De’s L.A. bar pick of the week: I’m positive that I’m not the only person who has been driven to drunk-dialing after a few drinks at the Pineapple Hill, and I’m not going to be the last. I love this place, even though it led to my HUGE hangover and an escapade that I won’t live down for a very long time. Don’t make the same mistake I did by drinking a lot and eating nothing. Instead, grub one of the great burgers at the Pineapple and leave your phone at home.

I’m leaving for a long weekend in Mexico—Thank God I don’t have cell service there, because margaritas and bad beer could conceivably lead to a repeat performance. I hope everyone has a safe and fun Memorial Day weekend. Don’t forget to mix up some Hoosier Martinis and watch the world-famous Indianapolis 500 this Sunday. Until next week—hugs and kisses. Denise Bayles

Contributors: Denise Bayles, Lenny Beer, Darren Cava, Simon Glickman, Todd Hensley, Jon O’Hara, Marc Pollack, Erika Strada and Roy Trakin

Edited by Bud Scoppa