Cheap laughs at somebody’s expense

Here’s a surefire way to torture yourself into wicked depression: Imagine what music will sound like under a Bible Spice administration.

No way, you say. Sen. Noun + Verb + Hanoi Hilton is at the top of the ticket, not SnowJob SquareGlasses. And the old wrinkly guy has enough good sense to decline an invitation to go snowmobile racing with Winky McNixon’s hunky hubby, and they have food tasters in case any of those Bullwinkle briskets or Alaskan crabs show up in the White House kitchen stamped “compliments of that place you can see from Russia.” Besides, he’s all superhealthy and up to the stress of a four-year presidency, right?

Better start getting used to lots of awful Celtic flute music, comrades. Ya dig old Air Supply? Imagine those heinous hits piped out from every corner 24-seven. And Michael Flatley will make a huge comeback, and there’ll be bad fake Irish dancing in the public square. You betcha.

Come to think of it, though, eight years of the current White House incumbent hasn’t been all that great for music, either: On the bimbo side, Paris Hilton, Jessica and Ashlee Simpson, Heidi Montag and “it’s Britney, bitch”; on the himbo side, well, let’s just not go there.

And because this isn’t a political column, let’s just stop with the politics entirely. Well, maybe one exception: If you guys over at Mercury Public Affairs want to buy me a steak dinner and ply me with martinis, I’ll consider writing about that barbershop quartet that’s been tearing up local Republican fundraisers. Teensy problem, though: I’m a vegetarian teetotaler.

That said, even when things are not hunky dory, politically or economically, people still make interesting music. Consider Jake Mann, the one-time Davis resident relocated to San Francisco who’s just released a companion disc to last year’s Daytime Ghost, helpfully titled, well, Daytime Ghost: Out-takes & Remixes.

This is some real trippy, long-drive, get-lost-in-the-Delta music, with plenty of low-fidelity hallucinatory thrum and squawk to thrill you if that’s your fancy. There are two versions of the title track, of which the Mark Oi remix just kills, plus five others, including a sweet version of the top-notch “Satellite,” an aurally prismatic “Tone Blows Down” and a Limon remix of “Take You for a Ride” that features some sweetly creepy synth tones. (And for you Bible Spice fans, there’s a director’s cut of “Valdez, I Go.”)

Mann will play the Old Firehouse in Davis on Thursday, November 13. You can find his new record (like its predecessor, on Michael “Cool as Folk” Leahy’s Crossbill label) at

Speaking of Dick Cheney and copious amounts of alcohol, a Seattle band named Ghosts of Wyoming has been hanging around these parts lately. Songwriter Earl Brooks joins the throng of musicians moving to the River City to make it big (well, Not an Airplane’s Nick Shattell moved here from Modesto recently).

The band’s 14-song CD, Snowy River, is loaded, no pun intended, with lots of country-rock tunes about booze, along with the point of view one gets when they stay reasonably liquored up every day. Now I wouldn’t say Brooks is a songwriting genius—a few of the songs sound tossed off, with melodies that follow the chord progressions too closely, lyrics that aren’t exactly Harlan Howard caliber and a delivery that’s closer to Lou Reed or Jonathan Richman than George Jones. But there are some fine tunes, too, like “Ghosts,” and Brooks and company make it work with a combination of punker-turned-country exuberance and old-fashioned charm.

You can see Ghosts of Wyoming at 10 p.m. on Saturday, October 11, at the Ryan Seng Collective, 1301 I Street, and at the Blue Lamp on Friday, November 28, or hear them at