Musica Justicia

Alright, new feature.

I drive for my job. A lot. Frequently I wish I was a public defender, assigned to one courtroom, or at the least, one courthouse, and I had one commute a day. But it is not to be. In our practice, it is common to go to two courthouses in a morning, sometimes even more. And Cook County is not small. To drive from Skokie at the 2nd Municipal District (up the unbelievably clusterfucked Edens Expressway) to 111th and Ellis (felony preliminary courtroom) is 31.5 miles. Of Chicago city driving.

Or let’s say from Bridgeview, the 5th Municipal District, to Belmont and Western for misdemeanor or felony review. That’s a cool 29.7 miles.

Now, I live on the near northside of Chicago…Roscoe Village aka “Cougar Town.” This is a great location because I’m minutes from the interstate and pretty much in the middle of town. Still, I drive a good hour plus a day. When I’m not listening to NPR, ESPN Radio, an actual sporting event (i.e. Cubs or Sox) or conservative talk radio, I’m listening to music. Lots of it. I’ll break down my radio habits (don’t worry, I don’t listen to conservative talk radio because I agree with it, it’s so that I understand the enemy) in a later post, but this is the first in a weekly series on what will be in my CD player this week.

And yes, I use my car’s CD player, not an iPod hook up. My Maxima doesn’t have a neat jack that allows me to just plug one in and I think the radio links sound like crap. Besides, I’m anal about my music, 90% of which I get digitally these days, and I back up EVERYTHING I buy immediately onto CD. Needless to say, I have a lot of CD’s. Somewhere over 2000 and counting.

This week I am listening to:
Band: Why?
Album: Alopecia
Style: Rock
Picture They Might Be Giants meets King Missile. A combination of spoken word meets nasally tenor sung over post-rock beats, Why? had me at hello. It reminds of when I listened to the weirdest music I could find in high school just to see if I could take it. Except, they write pop songs you can actually sing along to.

Band: Jay-Z
Album: Reasonable Doubt
Style: Hip Hop

I don’t really need to introduce to you who Jay-Z is, right? This album is fascinating, not just because it’s his first, but you can hear the superstar he’s going to become right out the gates. Unbelievable flow, perfect delivery, great beats. This is a solid 5-star album. Besides, he frequently makes accurate legal statements in his songs (see “99 Problems” on his Black album, where the following exchange takes place between Jay-Z and a cop “License and registration and step out of the car / Are you carryin’ a weapon on you I know a lot of you are / I ain’t steppin out of shit all my paper’s legit / Well, do you mind if I look round the car a little bit? / Well my glove compartment is locked so are the trunk in the back / And I know my rights so you gon’ need a warrant for that / Aren’t you sharp as a tack, you some type of lawyer or something’? / Or somebody important or somethin’? / Nah, I ain’t pass the bar but i know a little bit / Enough that you won’t illegally search my shit).

Band: The Hold Steady
Album: Almost Killed Me
Style: Rock
I’m gearing up for the release of their new album “Stay Positive” in July by going back, week by week, and re-listening to each of their old albums to make sure I get the big picture. This band is a divisive one. My girlfriend thinks they’re nails on a chalkboard. I think they’re the best band of the last decade. Craig Finn, the lead singer, doesn’t really sing. He sort of sing/talks his way through tales of drugs, despair, homelessness, skaters, addicts, punks, drinking and more drugs. And the band rocks to the nth degree. Also, Finn is a huge baseball fan, and in fact, recorded the “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” song played at the Metrodome for the Twins (he’s from Minneapolis, and although lives in Brooklyn now, like all the hip kids, still sings almost exclusively about the Twin Cities). I can’t recommend this band more highly.

That’s enough for this week. Next week, three more!


One response to “Musica Justicia

    Protecting Your Rights on the Internet
    Tel 44-(0)208-323 8013
    Fax 44-(0)208 323 8080

    Hi Musica Justicia,

    On behalf of Rough Trade / Beggars Digital, Vagrant and The Hold Steady, many thanks for plugging “Stay Positive” (street date 14th July and advance, digital release date 9th June) … .. thanks, also, on behalf of the label and the band for not posting any pirate links to unreleased (studio) material and, if your readers want good quality, non-pirated, preview tracks, “Sequestered in Memphis” is available for fans and bloggers to stream / link to / post etc on the band’s MySpace … .. check-out and for details on “Stay Positive” and the band’s 2008 shows … .. for a limited period a play-through of “Stay Positive” shall also be available on the band’s MySpace and on NME (, although these are for promotional purposes only and the artist and labels have kindly asked fans and bloggers not to host or link to pirate copies of the full album on-line – for which many thanks in advance.

    Thanks again for your plug.



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