Matt Carstens

Zeptember: Matt’s Top Ten

Honestly I was never THAT into Zeppelin. I had a little phase in junior high like every kid that likes rock and roll does, but it mostly consisted of my playing my burnt Zeppelin live album that “the Paine” gave me over and over and over and over again. In those few months, I was ALL about Led Zeppelin. I remember this one specific instance where we were taking my brother to the airport at like eight in the morning and I stuck that CD in the car stereo and everybody was like, “Do we have to listen to this?” I was just really confused why no one wanted to rock. It rocks!

My Zeppelin collection is pretty sparse, consisting now of only I, III and IV, so these are just the top 10 that I’ve enjoyed listening back to over the last week.

10. I Can’t Quit On You Baby
One thing that really came back to me listening to all these songs again was just how much I miss jamming. More specifically how I miss just playing the drums. This song just grooves like I could never groove. By the time I was done playing this song we’d be be playing 260 BPM. Plant’s lyrical rhythms also really add to that as well. Each line is delivered just a little bit later, and that latency just has you sitting on the edge of your seat.

9. Rock & Roll
I’m not going to try to pick obscure songs to be cool, so this is just one of the great songs that I loved growing up. Since I’ve been doing a lot of research on recording and how to become a better engineer etc., one of the things I noticed about these recordings is that a lot of the songs are spaced very openly. You can tell it’s just drums/bass/guitar/ vocals. Except this one. Just a wall of rock.

8. Communication Breakdown
I have a soft spot for the ones we performed obviously. This is one that I was always just exhausted after. My right leg would just be burning by the end of the song because of the constant kick drum, not to mention it was the end of the set usually, so I was just going as nuts as I could possibly go. John Bonham must have calves the size of my waist.

7. Four Sticks
I don’t even know what John Bonham’s doing here. Like I sit down and listen to it over and over again. I’m pretty sure it’s more than just him playing percussion, but then I tell myself it’s John Bonham, stop trying to figure out what he’s doing. It’s impossible. Just listen.

6. Black Dog
I never struggled more playing the drums than whenever “the Paine” broke out into a jam with this song. I couldn’t wrap my head around how Bonham played that slow, subdivided groove to a riff with so many notes. Maybe he couldn’t figure out how to play a faster groove so he just played a “fuckin’ money beat”. Maybe he was being teased from another band who had “label interest.” Who knows.

5. Misty Mountain Hop
So Plant saw a bunch of hippies in a park, he didn’t know what time it was, so he stayed a while. Then it got dark. So some homeless guys told him to get in a line. This line was for tea and fun. Then the homeless people told Plant to go in to a deep self-examination. Then he warns people that if they go in the streets, they better open their eyes. Or they might be hit by a car or something. This song is weird. But it rocks.

4. Out on the Tiles
I love unison bass/guitar riffs. Especially when they span odd measures. This is also an example of something Bonham does that I could never do no matter how much I practiced. I had to buy a double bass pedal to be able to play triplets. Bonham just gets drunk and plays them all day long. Maybe I should have been drinking.

3. Immigrant Song
This song was always really disappointing to me, because of how much I didn’t really enjoy III that much. I started listening to it and was like, “Yeah this rocks!” But only to be disappointed by the next 40 minutes and 33 seconds of my life. I’ve grown to appreciate the album more, but I still am a little disappointed every time I hear it.

2. Good Times Bad Times
Dun Dun. Dun Dun. Dun Dun. Dun Dun. Is there really anything else to say. This is really the epitome of Zeppelin. Rockin’ guitar solo, sweet bass fills, in your face and technically intricate drums, and Plant being, well, Plant. One thing I love about this song is the harmonies on the verses. I wish they did more of that.

1. Stairway to Heaven
You know what? Fuck it. I’m putting it as my number one because it is. One of my proudest memories of the Defenestrators is how we practiced the shit out of this song for what seemed like months. I loved playing the keyboard flute, and I loved even more coming in with that simple, yet powerful, tom fill (biggest regret is missing that cue, but I couldn’t hear anything! I swear!) It’s a shame it’s so over played, but at the same time that just reiterates how great of a song it really is.

I can’t wait for “Who knows?” tomorrow!

Get Some Poon

Poon – Get Some EP
Get Some, the newest release from the sexiest band in the world, POON, debuted Thursday night at the number 3 slot on’s newest artist page. The instant hit EP is a fan favorite, and is sure to catapult the group back to the fame and fortune they once new.
The EP took a little over three weeks to record, but would have been finished sooner if bass player Izzy Cummings hadn’t disappeared without a trace for two weeks straight. His arrival in the studio yesterday was celebrated as the group finished the EP, taking no longer than one take on every track.
With hit singles like (I’m Your) Lovin’ Flame and Witchita to go along with the epic Rock Gospel, it’s sure to be an instant classic.

What I Would do

Not a very pleasant time in Marinerville. Anyone who watched yesterday’s game is ready to jump off a cliff. If you read USS Mariner this morning, you’re even more depressed. The seasons probably over unless we go on one of those 20 game winning streaks like those pesky A’s did back in the day.

This really is the worst-case scenario that nobody planned for. No one thought Lopez, Figgins, Johnson, Moore, etc would be this bad. We knew going in there were risked. We could have set our watch to the fact that Bradley would freak out and Jack Wilson would get hurt. But there were things that we could have done better roster wise. And while our playoff hopes might be lost, there are moves that can be and should be made internally to squeeze every last win out of this schedule, because my lord we need it.

Griffey to the 15 day DL for CSS (Carlos Silva Syndrome)
It’s no secret, Junior is bad. He is awful. He is terrible. There is no way around it. I love him dearly and I hate to say this. But the fact of the matter is we have two players on the team that can’t play the field. That is unacceptable for a professional baseball team. You cannot waste two roster spots. The boys at LL had a great idea to put Jr. on the DL until around August, and if we’re out of it by then he can come back and parade around like last year. That is the ideal plan, because every day that he is on this roster, our chances of winning are slimmer. At this point in their respective careers, Sweeney does have more life left, and as terrible as he is, Junior is just that much worse.

When Bradley comes back, slide him in to full time DH role while Saunders takes over in LF full time
Hopefully when Bradley comes back, there will have been a miraculous change of character, he will be born again and start hitting. He was hitting when he left, and we could really use some of that as has been well documented. But we need Bradley in that lineup EVERY GOD DAMN DAY. You cannot put him in left field as much as you did before, because he will get hurt. He plays harder than his body will allow and gets hurt, so limiting him to DH is the best thing for everybody involved. Plus by doing this we get to keep trotting Saunders out there, who is a stud in the field and at the plate. Sweeney will become the back up DH/pinch hitter and Langerhans will be your greatest Mariner of all time 4th outfielder.

Get rid of Jesus/Sean White
It’s one thing to have two players that can never pick up a glove and it’s an entirely other thing to have that plus a seven man bullpen. Bedard is set to come back in early June and with the way things are shaking out it looks as if Hyphen has already lost his rotation spot. So you’re probably gonna move him to the bullpen leaving you with Aardsma-Lowe-Kelley-League-Snell-RRS. By getting rid of both Junior and the extra pitcher, it leaves you much more flexibility. No one wants Tui to play short stop in a Major League Baseball game. And with Jack Wilson seeming to have been constructed out of glass, you need an effective backup like Josh Wilson that can eat innings at SS with out totally embarrassing himself at the plate. Plus Sean White sucks. He has two strike outs this year. In total. TWO!

So there’s all I can think of for now. We needed a lot of things to go our way and until we do some of these things we are only hampering our chances even further.

Sign him up!

Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle has a nice little tidbit of information for all those fans that are still getting over the tragic “Eric Byrnes” era. Byrnsy is doing just fine and found a everyday job, in a slow pitch softball league.

Wednesday night, in the Menlo Park League, Byrnes, the cleanup hitter, led off the bottom of the second inning against Vintage Construction.
The Vintage pitcher was Bill Lopez, who, as a local Little League coach, passed over 9-year-old Eric Byrnes in a draft.

Revenge time, 25 years later: Byrnes hit the first pitch deep over the left-field fence. When he arrived back at the dugout, Lopez nodded and rolled the ball to Byrnes, a souvenir of his first slow-pitch homer.

If come August the Dutch Goose need a sweet-swinging lefty, hopefully the M’s can make another deal.


I’ve often enjoyed the Game Day screen shots you see around the M’s blogosphere, so here’s my first attempt.

First let’s look at Ryan Langerhans’, greatest Mariner of all time, triumphant home run last night.

That is one fat sunova bitch fastball. Langerhans is extremely patient. Yes, he is only batting .143, but that is only based on 14 at bats. He’s walked eight times already in his brief time up here, getting on base at a .455 clip. His patience allows him to punish pitches like this one. Yeah he’s not going to hit 30 bombs, but he’s also not going to get himself out like Mr. Sweeney. He’s going to wait for that sweet pitch even if it means striking out looking every once in a while. These are reasons I love Langerhans so very very much.

On to Griffey. Junior is extremely patient as well. He is also looking for that one fastball he can still handle.

The problem is, he can’t handle it any longer. Here’s his juicy fastball:

These are both very similar pitches. Junior’s was around 94 MPH while Langerhans’ was around 92. They both arrived at the plate around 85 MPH. Juniors broke about 2.2″ while Langerhans’ broke 3.8″.  Junior’s is a bit higher in the strike zone, which is usually what they tell pitchers NOT to do while they are pitching to future HOFers.

The point I’m trying to make is, yes Griffey is done. I hate saying it. It saddens me greatly. But we are at the point where Griffey is really dragging the team down. Sure this comparison is based on 2 isolated at bats, but we’ve seen this all year. Griffey has to guess, and even when he guesses right, he’s incapable of doing anything with it. At this point in his career he is WORSE than Langerhans. He is WORSE than Josh Wilson. If Wak batting him 7th behind those two says anything, it says “Hey Junior, we really appreciate all you’ve done, but go home to Orlando and be with your family.” 

Retrospecticus: The New Pornographers

I was working on this and thought it would make Colin shit the bed if I made it three retrospectici (plural?) in a row. My all time favorite alternative super-group is coming out with a new album tomorrow. I’m glad I pre-ordered it on iTunes so that they can bill me when it comes out. Romantic (2000)

This is probably the album I listen to the least, but by know means is it the worst. You can tell that the band has not really found it’s identity with this first release and kind of almost stumbles their way into power pop prowess.

Leading off with the swinging title track sung by Neko Case, the album is filled with upbeat songs that no one is quite sure what about. Filled with crunchy guitars, sweet harmonies, and plenty of synth to go around, the BC native hipsters found a new sound that does not resemble the bands from which they came.

Like all the albums, vocal duties are split up between AC Newman, Case, and Dan Bejar (that dumb guy that no one likes quite as much). It was rated #24 on the list of Greatest Indie Albums of All Time by Blender Magazine in 2007. Pretty good eh?

Favorite Tracks: “Mass Romantic”, “Slow Decent into Alcoholism”, and “The Mary Martin Show”. Electric Version (2003)

Realizing that none of their solo projects were nearly as good as what they were doing together, they came back and made this. More of the same stylistically, but improving on every aspect. While “Mass Romantic” was a good first attempt, “Electric Version” really let everybody know that they had arrived. It even has the Rock Band song!

The one complaint is that this is the album that it seemed like Neko Case was getting less and less air time. I really wish I liked her solo stuff more, because she really thrives in this style of music. Newman’s great, Bejar less so, but Case is just the best. She doesn’t take part in songwriting as far as I know. Maybe Newman should just write all of her solo stuff. Yeah that would work!

So basically it’s a more perfected version of “Mass Romantic.” Sweet. Super sweet.

Favorite Tracks: “The New Face of Zero and One”, “From Blown Speakers”, “Miss Teen Wordpower”. Cinema (2005)

This is the first New Pornographer album I physically bought. I remember very vividly going to Best Buy and being like, “Yeah this is awesome.” I remember seeing the cover and being like, “Yeah this is awesome.” Then I listened to it and I was like, “Meh, this is pretty good.”

Definitely my least favorite of the the four, Twin Cinema built off the success of “Electric Version”, but unfortunately the songwriting just was not as strong. It is almost as if they tried to change their approach musically, but changed their mind half way through and tried to revert to their old ways.

It’s not as if it is a bad album, but it’s just not one I go out of my way to listen to. There are definitely some tracks that stand out like the title track and “Jackie, Dressed in Cobra’s”. Maybe I’m being too hard on it, but maybe not.

Favorite Tracks: “Twin Cinema”, “Jackie Dressed in Cobras”, and “Bones of an Idol”. (2007)

This time they changed their approach musically, and it worked! I’d say the same energy is still present in their rocking ways, but there is definitely a different feel. The instrumentation is much more natural replacing the synthesizers with brass and strings.

Emotionally I think it is a much fuller album. Not necessarily lyrically, but again the feel makes it seem like they are not just out to have fun anymore. Unlike the first two albums where it made you feel like dancing and partying, this makes you want to stand up and fight for something that you are not quite sure what it is yet. All of this sounds strange, but it makes sense in my head. My favorite part in the whole album, maybe in their whole discography, comes in “Adventures in Solitude” when the violin does a beautiful transition into the bridge/chorus and Case takes over the vocals. One of my favorite melody’s ever right there.

I think this is going to be a tough act to follow, but I am glad they won back my fandom with “Challengers”.

Favorite Tracks: “My Rights Versus Yours”, “All The Things That Go To Make Heaven and Earth”, “Go Places”, and “Adventures in Solitude”.

So I guess Pre-Ordering an album on iTunes means that when you try to download it it does not work. So yeah. iTunes, give me my money back.