Song of the Day

The Love I Make

DOWNLOAD:The Love I Make

I’m gonna get back to spittin’ out the free tunes with a wonderously boogylicious funk number from from the Nashville quartet, Tim Chad & Sherry. Apparently there is no one named Tim, Chad, or Sherry in the band, which was put together by Brian Kotzur, who used to drum for The Silver Jews. ‘The Love I Make’ is from their just-released debut album, Baby We Can Work It Out, and you can follow the boys over on their MySpace Page

The BEST New TV Show of the Day

Things have been quiet on The List lately…mostly ‘cuz I’ve been busy with work, but also ‘cuz I’ve just been lazy. It’s just been too damned hot to muster up the strength to hammer away a few pithy thoughts for you guys, so I decided to just ignore the place and maybe you would all go away, but that didn’t work so I guess I gotta get back on the horse.

I’ve been wanting to spread the word about my newest fave TV show…Louie…a must-watch for your Tuesday nights! Louis CK has created (he writes and directs every episode) kind of a Seinfeld for the New Millennium…it’s amazingly funny, it’s smartly written and best of all, it doesn’t follow any kind of normal structure you’re used to seeing on TV…every week it’s like they forgot what they did last week and started over! You can catch up on the back episodes over at FX, but please…set your DVR’s to FX every Tuesday night at 11:00PM…’re gonna thank me as you die laughing!

And for those of you chained to a cubicle, the following clip is completely Not Safe For Work !!!

You Need This…

…if you are an early adopter of the iPhone 4 and have experienced the ‘Death Grip’ dropped-call syndrome.

WIth Apple getting ready for their BIG press conference later today, is offering FREE iWrap Bumpers that are supposed to minimize the antennae issues the iPhone is supposed to have. Just pay the $2.99 shipping & handling charge and they’ll fire of a swanky rubber band in your choice of six designers colors that will make you whole again! Of course, some folks say the rubber bumper won’t fix a thing and places like this are dumping the previously $20 iWrap before Steve Jobs comes out to say they’re worthless, but it does add a bit of color to an otherwise monochromatic phone.

Ain’t life grand?!!

How’d You Do That?!!

Click on Any Image for Full-Size

Ever since I posted THIS Song of the Day last week, I’ve been getting e-mails from photo geeks around the World asking me about the shot of Kate Tucker in that field. I’ve had more theories tossed my way than I ever could have imagined, from the type of lighting…did I use an HMI spotlight or studio strobes or small, battery-powered flash units…to whether or not Kate was even in the field…a lot of you actually are convinced she was shot in the studio and stripped into a stock field shot! All of this speculation knocked me out, especially since the truth is that it was a kind of a throwaway that neither Kate or I thought was working, so we bailed on it and moved on to another idea after only five or six frames!

So…for your photo-geeky viewing enjoyment…here’s a breakdown of the shot and the post-processing steps involved in making it look the way it does…

We shot this on the Hasselblad H1 with the Leaf Aptus 75 back which gave us this very normal, if a little flat, RAW file. To keep the lighting dramatic, the only light I used is that Profoto beauty dish (with a grid) you see above her head. It was powered by a Profoto 7B at about half power which nicely darkened the mid-day ambient light down to mimic twilight…

Next, I had to do a bit of cosmetic retouching and obviously the light boom and sandbag had to go, but since I grey-balanced the shot heavy on the blue side, I had to bring back the vivid red of the dress and yellow tone of the guitar. I also lowered the contrast and added a bit of shadow detail using the ‘Shadow/Highlights’ adjustment because I knew that a few steps down the line I would be amping up the levels and contrast a lot…

Now came some color correction. Leaf RAW files are inherently flat and need a lotta help to get the kind of color I like in my final images, and in this case, because of that very blue white-balance I did, I inserted a Color Adjustment Layer and added 20 Red to the shadows and 20 Cyan to the highlights…

…then I added a Selective Color Adjustment Layer and really increased the Blue and Cyan levels…

Next, I pumped up the contrast in the Curves and Levels Adjustment Layers…

…and the contrast went up even more when I duplicated the image layer, converted it to ‘Soft Light’ and applied a healthy dose of the High Pass filter set at a radius of 150 pixels…

With the higher contrast, the High Pass layer added a lot of drama, but I still felt I had to draw more attention to Kate, so in a final step I created a new Overlay Layer (filled with 50% grey) and I ‘burned’ down the horizon line, the grass on either side of her and a bit of the sky, then I dodged the grass directly around her to make more of a spotlight effect…

That’s it…a simple photo in only seven steps!!! And here are all of those steps…side-by-side…one final time…

Song of the Day

Help I’m Alive (Daytrotter Session)

DOWNLOAD: Help I’m Alive

Back at SXSW last March, long before 14 year-old, vampire-obsessed girls were humming their music because it was featured prominently in the newest “Twilight” movie, Emily Haines and the guys from Metric got together with the Daytrotter crew and did a quickie session of two acoustic tracks from last years album “Fantasies”‘Gimme Sympathy’, which I’ve featured twice on The List (acoustic back in January and the album version last year) and today’s song, a beautiful version of ‘Help I’m Alive’. My only question is why did it take Daytrotter so long to get this out? Here’s the album cut so you can hear the contrast…

Help I’m Alive (Album Version)

DOWNLOAD: Help I’m Alive

Now if you haven’t already bookmarked Daytrotter, this cut should convince you what a great music resource it has become. As much as I love the album version of this song, hearing Emily’s vocal striped away from the slick layers of production makes for a new experience and I gotta say, I am truly moved. So do yourself a favor and hook up with Daytrotter at and then go make friends with Metric on their MySpace Page and over at

R.I.P. Harvey Pekar

Underground comic book writer, working-class everyman and World-class curmudgeon, Harvey Pekar, checked out yesterday after 70 years of pissing off pretty much anybody who got close to him. For those of you who had never read American Splendor, it was a series of autobiographical comic books written by Harvey and illustrated by a laundry list of top-shelf underground talent that included Robert Crumb, David Collier, Drew Friedman, Gary Dumm and Joe Zabel. Who could have ever imagined that the adventures of a file clerk at a Veteran’s Administration hospital would catch the attention of so many, but Harvey’s mundane, everyday situations made him famous enough that he was a regular on David Letterman and had a movie made about his life starring Paul Giamatti. Well, until he got under the skin of Dave’s bosses at General Electric with an on-air rant where he criticized Letterman for being nothing but a shill for the corporation.

So Adios, Harvey…you were a true original…..and here is that last NBC appearance…

Song of the Day/Show of the Night

Roman Candles

DOWNLOAD: Roman Candles

Before I get outta here, I’m dropping a rare Saturday song ‘cuz I went to see Kate play Spike Hill in Brooklyn last night as she kicked off her latest solo release, White Horses. The show was great, the crowd was stoked and to cap it off she did a totally rocked-out version of ‘Roman Candles’, one of my favorite songs and one I’ve been trying to get her to include on the set list more often! And for all you New York types who haven’t fled the city for the beaches this weekend, she’s playing a set tonight at Rockwood Music Hall, so if you’re just sitting around wondering when the heat wave is gonna break, get off your ass and head downtown for a bit of fun!

You can follow Kate on her MySpace Page

Song of the Day

Sleep Forever

DOWNLOAD: Sleep Forever

It’s been more than a year since Crocodiles graced the pages of The List with Neon Jesus, and their debut album, Summer of Hate, tore up the blogosphere and they toured across the US and Europe opening for bands like Holy Fuck and The Horrors…but now they’re back with more buzzy, swirling, My Bloody Valentine-like psych-rock on this Summertime 7″ release. ‘Sleep Forever’ is meant to whet your appetite for their new full-length release due out September 14th on Fat Possum Records. I’m diggin’ singer Brandon Welchez’s laid-back vocals, but what really stands out is the tight production on this song is a noticeable change from last year’s intentionally punkier, lo-fi album.

You can hang with Crocodiles over on MySpace

There are NO words…..

If you’re not a Food Network junkie, there’s a chance you don’t know Sandra Lee, but trust me…just sit back and enjoy!!! Take my word for it…it’s delicious!!!

I gotta say…I really feel like cocktail time!!!

Song of the Day

She’s Lost Control (Joy Division Cover)

DOWNLOAD: She’s Lost Control

Let’s have a bit of fun before we all head out for the long weekend! Hank and Cupcakes are a Drum & Bass Duo (please don’t call them techno!) that arrived in Brooklyn from Israel a little more than a year ago who have quickly built up a reputation for having one of the most infectious stage shows around. Over the years, lotsa bands have covered Joy Division’s ‘She’s Lost Control’, but I don’t remember anybody sexing it up into a dance number…’s just what you need whie you’re stuck in traffic on the way to the beach for the Fourth!

Check out Hank and Cupcakes on their website or over on their MySpace Page

Song of the Day

Be Brave


Thanks to Adrian for turning me onto today’s song. He sent me a link to a Nick Knight-directed video of Kate Moss shimmy-shakin’ to this twangy, foot-stomping, lo-fi, jangly little blues number and I’ve been diggin’ it all morning. The Strange Boys are a simple little garage band from from Austin, Texas that blew up overnight with last year’s killer debut, The Strange Boys and Girls Club, and now they’re following up with Be Brave, an R&B meets country charmer that sounds as destined to be featured in an iPod ad if ever I heard one! Lead singer and songwriter Ryan Sambol isn’t gonna be mistake for Pavarotti any time soon, but he sings with such emotion and charisma that you get instantly caught up in the rollicking fun that ensues.

Follow The Strange Boys on MySpace