Come Find The Lost Cartographers At The Empty Bottle

The Lost Cartographers have hit the (kinda, sorta, in our minds at least) big-time. We’ll be playing Chicago’s legendary Empty Bottle on May 4 — our biggest show yet, taking place on the same stage where famous acts like the Flaming Lips once played. As part of the Bottle’s new “$3 Sunday” series, we’ll be joined by old-school country troubadors the Long Gone Lonesome Boys and singer-songwriter Heather Perry (whose drummer happens to be an old bandmate of mine from my freshman year at Oberlin). The show starts at 9pm and the cover is, unsurprisingly, $3 (you can buy tickets in advance).

Amitabh 2008: Yes, he can.

He’s back.

Amitabh (he needs two names about as much as Jesus does) has had many jobs over the years: Angry Young Man, (disgraced–er, retired) Member of Parliament, original host of the Indian version of “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?“, Bollywood’s Elder Statesman-cum-Answer to Chuck Norris… and now, future Prime Minister of the United States. You might remember the abortive 2004 campaign by the guys over at Badmash to get him elected president (I still regret not buying an “Amitabh for America” t-shirt), but they’re apparently changing tactics this time around by making him run for a different office entirely. When Gabbar Singh calls at 3am, isn’t this the man you want answering the phone? He makes McCain look like Ralph Wiggum.

Of course, to me, Amitabh will always be Anthony Gonzalves, erstwhile drunk and Christian hero of possibly the greatest movie ever made. In honor of the upcoming Easter holiday, please see this clip as proof that while Barack Obama may sound like Lincoln, only Amitabh can pull off the stovepipe hat.

(Want to hear my remix of this song? Check out my music page or my GarageBand page.)

Lost & Lonesome

Last Saturday, fellow Lost Cartographer Gabrielle Schafer and I played a short three-song acoustic set at the Charleston as the guests of the Long Gone Lonesome Boys. Aside from being incredibly nice guys, the Boys put on an amazing show, and the LGLBs’ John Milne was kind enough to give me a copy of their second cd, “Lonesome Time.” While the disc doesn’t quite capture the fun and energy of their live set, you should check it out if you enjoy 50s and 60s country along the lines of the Louvin Brothers or anything from Sun Records. Like fellow Chicagoan Robbie Fulks, the LGLBs provide this classic material with wicked wit and a decidedly 21st-century twist (e.g. one of their songs is called “www.lonesome.com,” and features the line “tired of Googling porn/and playing with my flugelhorn”). If you can catch them live, by all means do so — but if you can’t, you should pick up this record.

My Top Five Albums of 2007

Ok, it’s about a month too late for “best of ” lists, and the idea of “best albums” seems so 20th-century in this Age of Shuffle. But I still wanted to note some of my favorites from this year.

Surprisingly, some of my favorite bands’ eagerly anticipated new albums didn’t make the cut (Arcade Fire, the Shins, Wilco). Instead, my list is headed by two bands I found out about just this year: