Once again, my DSL connection is burning up with all the wonders of music and the internet. So in order to save you from time-wasting mouse clicks, here is the best of the best:
Few things in life are more disappointing than getting birth announcements in the mail. While the miracle of life might be worth celebrating, for me it's just another friend funeral—an announcement that I won't be hanging out and drinking with that friend anytime soon. So future parents, pay attention: You can soften the blow to your pals with Rattle-n-Roll announcements. This San Diego company turns boring pictures of newborns into cool-looking announcements that resemble concert posters. Let's face it, it will be at least 10 more years before you can start ruining your kids' lives by forcing them to live out your failed dreams. So at least get off on the right foot with a baby announcement that makes your offspring seem like a genuine superstar.
The BeerBelly, thebeerbelly.com
If you're anything like me, you like live music and you like to kill the pain of everyday life with alcohol. But over-priced club drinks do as much damage to my wallet as they do my liver. So next time I head out to a concert, I'm getting myself the BeerBelly. This "sling" is basically a polyurethane flask that makes your stash of hidden hooch appear to be nothing more than a beer belly. With the help of a dispensing tube, you can suck down all the alcohol you desire, and avoid drinking a watered-down domestic beer served to you in a plastic cup. It's also great for sporting events, since last time I checked beers at Blazers games were pushing $7, and as much as I love them that is one team that is hard to watch sober. PS This is totally illegal.
Neil Young, Living with War
(Now available from most music download sites; in stores May 8.) Leave it to the flannel dinosaur that is Neil Young to set the internet ablaze with the hastily recorded and instantly streamed Living with War album. This album could be a watershed moment where widely known musicians can respond to current events—via song—in almost real time. It's a shame it took this long, especially since previous efforts like Eminem's anti-Bush single "Mosh" were released far too late in the 2004 election cycle, hitting the internet just days before ballots were cast. Although Living with War has its fair share of eye-rolling lyrics that feel like they were swiped from Peter, Paul & Mary's songbook, the album is classic Young, right down to the backup singers and raucous backing band. He's no Phil Ochs, but as far as mainstream musicians go, Young is bolder than Springsteen and far more intelligent than Green Day in getting his protest message across. Plus, it doesn't seem that Young has gotten more liberal as he's grown older, it's just that we've just reached a point in this country that the corruption from the Oval Office has managed to finally anger a demographic that helped put the administration there.