Favorite Song of the Day: The Blues

Primary 1 feat. Nina Persson – The Blues

It’s been awhile since a new song has really excited me but finally a new bit of music to savor and I’m swooning! The other day my ears perked up when I heard the melancholy strains and driving beats of Primary 1’s The Blues. The vocals are amazing too and whoa, its a duet! Nina Persson formerly of The Cardigans is a guest vocalist. I’ve always had a thing for male/female duets perhaps it started with Human League’s Don’t You Want Me but it’s continued on with songs like The Postal Service’s Nothing Better and Kings of Convenience’s Know How. The Blues is another to add to the list. There are echoes of 80s new wave bands in this song but who? Berlin? The Motels? Whatever, this is my song for the summer, and will probably end up as a reminder of my melancholy 2010 days.

Check here for Primary 1’s blog. They are also offering The Blues as a free download!

Primary 1 from their Facebook page

Oh la la!

This is why Mexico beat France in their last World Cup game. All the talented French kids (with berets!) are busy dancing tecktonik in their parent’s basements instead of paying attention to football.

Favorite Song of the Day: The Light From a Cake

Camper Van Beethoven – The Light From a Cake

I’m alternating between heavy and light
Between meaning and nonsense
And having a drink
I have counted all the lines on the road
Between here and los angeles
That pass straight below
And I’m dreaming of a light, and it comes from your head
’cause you move just like you’re a train
Not like a car, no, no, it would never be the same
And the light from your eyes is like the light from a cake
I was thinking of a cake
To lift off this burden
To lighten this weight
One sweet little cake
Dervishes run the head of a pin
We are sleeping like angels
And living like devils again
And I am waiting for the heaviness in the air to break
And reveal some small, irrelevant truth
’cause we move like we are suspended in ether
And the light from your eyes spills from the moon

Favorite Things: Amok Bookstore


In my early years, I lived in Echo Park. I went for long walks with Amok Bookstore being my main destination. The folks who worked there never much talked to me or my friends but they didn’t hate us either like other Silver Lake shop proprietors who gave us the “buy something or leave” look.
We appreciated their selection of radical literature, strange music guides and bizarre ephemera. There were no hipsters in the 90s but if there were, they’d probably like Amok.

The original location was right behind where Casbah Cafe is now.

Rio Grande


Through the efforts of helpful genealogists and far removed cousins on the Tellez side of my family, I’ve come to discover some of the geographic roots of my family. I’ve known for awhile my family had a long history in the Southwest, mostly in southern New Mexico and Arizona but I didn’t know my family was one of the first to move to the northern territories, then known as New Mexico. There are records that show early relatives living in El Paso del Norte as early as the 1700s. At one time, El Paso was part of New Mexico but eventually was annexed by Texas. I became curious about the history of the area and came across a book called Rio Grande, a very subjective historical look at the regions surrounding the Rio Grande (Rio Bravo). There’s lots of references to “peasants” “savages” and other language that is now unacceptable in the book’s many anecdotal passages. Despite the writer’s old school perspectives, he is quite honest when describing historical vignettes, such as this short excerpt on the story of Socorro, New Mexico.


After the war with Mexico, Texas claimed the Rio Grande as it’s eastern boundary, Socorro was just over the river, safely on New Mexican soil, but it was a focal point for westward-drifting Texans. These early Texans were hard men, fighting men, and they hated Mexicans. A few brave words about the Alamo and Davy Crockett would work any Texan into a Mexican killing-mood. The Texans came with came armed with “head rights” which were bits of paper issued by the government of Texas to veterans of its wars and other settlers, entitling the holder to any quarter section of Texas land not already occupied. Head rights were brought and sold and were practically currency.

…They [Mexicans] had a certain skill with knives but they were helpless before these men with six shooters on their hips. It was a part of the Texan tradition that all Mexicans were cowards but in fact the westering Texans were an armed invasion of an unarmed community. It was one of those gradual and unrecorded movements that work more change than formal wars and often spill more blood.

The Texans were not empowered to take occupied lands but Mexicans did not count with them as occupants. They took lands that had been supporting families in undisputed possession for a century. Murder and bluff were their methods and the short and deadly six shooter was their only attorney. The Texans were all cattlemen. They came driving their herds of longhorns before them. The Mexicans were shepherds and sheep were driven off the range wherever the cattle went. Whole herds were stampeded over cliffs and killed. Sheep-herders were terrorized or killed. It was a favorite device to surround a sheep camp at night and shoot into its cooking fire as a gentle intimation to move on.

…Many Mexicans gave up their homes and migrated. The town of Dona Ana was spotted with Texas head rights and filled with belligerent Texans. Sixty of the inhabitants packed up their goods and led by Don Rafael Ruelas, their ruling rico, departed to find new homes in Old Mexico.

—excerpt from the book Rio Grande by Harvey Fergusson, William Morrow and Company, New York, 1955.