Harper's Magazine , in an effort to boost their print circulation, randomly mailed me an 8 page booklet containing this article called "The Case For Impeachment" . In it I found the following sentence, which nicely sums a lot of things up: "The fiction of permanent war allows it [the Bush Administration] to seize, in the name of the national security, the instruments of tyranny." The rise of fascism is nothing new. I vaguely remember hearing something about Germany in the 30's? And there was also that book all the adults were talking about my third grade year? Yet each day the sun rises, and we live to hurtle through space, and these political patterns limit our human potential, and really what's an individual to do? This past Saturday we returned to Wombat and began recording the third Liza & the WonderWheels record. The day was a little jumpy - we're just establishing our rhythm for how we're going to work on this new project - going about things differently just as we did between our first two records. Joe & Andy achieved a gorgeous take of "Learning Lessons" on the second pass later in the day - the kind of track that is so shinning it's now just happily gleaming in a corner of my mind, begging to be built upon. We dailied up a good take of "The Hats" too that's vital and energetic and just bursting with the joy of life. It's not quite all the way settled, but that kind of jet engine feel may be perfect for the song and this is rock and roll. We did go to Hank's on Friday, also known as the bizarre-o Freddy's. From the outside Hank's looks like a shack left over from, and not tended to since, the 70's. It's much cozier inside than I expected, and unlike Freddy's is just one room so the people at the bar hear the bands (and the people in the bands hear the conversation of the people at the bar). I've described the beauty of seeing Erica Smith and her band before, and this show was no exception. She glows, even when she doesn't know it, and her band is 2/3 Love Camp 7 + one TRIFECTAman, which means her killer voice and composed lyrics are backed with a ton of brainpower and talent. Before her played a bunch of old burn outs who looked great as they stumbled about in their Trash & Vaudeville getting the night off to an hour's late start. I'm sure they are fun people who have good hearts. They sounded like the New York Dolls, but they played tired, and I witnessed a chunk of the band + friends break off immediately after the set to leave the bar only to return in time to talk, tight-jawed through Erica's set with glittering eyes and important hand movements. I third band called themselves "cemetery and western" on their Web site, but may have taken a new direction since their Americana-a-billy bio was written? I heard shades of REM, then they played a Psychedelic Furs cover. I thought they were one of those bands that sounds really good - smooth singer, shades of Elvis - but lack the hooks to stick a memorable song in my brain. Their songs were all equally good, but essentially very similar. The reason we stuck around, and exceeded our self-imposed night-before-recording curfew was to see Randi Russo. It wasn't the best situation - we left half-way through at 1:30 after suffering with her through several minutes of buzzing, crackling, and checking when the sound guy couldn't figure out which line to put her guitar through - but it was enough to intrigue me: her interesting guitar work, cool songs you want to hear over again and figure out, then, once the music got going, a smile, even with all the circumstances, that seemed to say "I have my artistic convictions and in this moment we are getting close to playing them out." I swapped a MEET THE ANIMAL for her 2001 record Solar Bipolar , and with one listen can see why it's been so acclaimed as an indie release. I put it on while washing dishes and ended up cleaning the stove because I wanted to hear it the whole way through. Seriously. Excitingly, I'm just in time to catch the release of her new record this Thursday at 10pm at the Cake Shop. She'll have a decent sound system and will be in her element... I can't wait to see as this show will surely rock!