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Monday, September 03, 2007

YouTube - Upsilon Acrux


Thursday, July 26, 2007

Not So Black and White

Speaking of understatements of the year, the meandering and subtly pummeling guitar solo in Rwake's "Inverted Overtures" is hardly worth mentioning to your wine-drinking friends. But it ought to earn you huge kudos among neighborhood Oprah watchers when you inappropriately blurt out, "'Voices of Omens' is the greatest doom metal offering to come out of Arkansas in coon's age!" during the next "Book Club" get-together.

Which reminds me, there are these three fat, bald, Real Estate guys who "work out" at my gym (yes, I own a gym now). Typically, they're rolling the so-called executive workout: a leisurely bike ride with a twice-as-long hot tub soak. They chat amongst themselves, in hushed E.F. Hutton-like tones, such micro-wisdoms as:

"Profundi's 'Omega Rising' cements Jens Ryden's reputation as a man among boys in the black metal genre.

"On a different note, Sinoia Caves' 'Naro Way' might be the most breathtakingly beautiful two minutes and thirty-six seconds of music I've heard in the last year. If it were any longer, it'd be too much.

"The new Kylesa and Cellador records will certainly scratch your power metal itch, but why bother when you've got 'Piece of Mind' and 'Number' in your collection. Even last year's surprisingly strong 'Matter of Life and Death' knocks socks off of those comparative johnny-come-homage offerings."

No, they really do say this stuff. I should know. I make it my daily task to eavesdrop on sweaty people.

And my broker says...

He was stopped at a red light in downtown Denver behind a cop car, and he witnessed a black man strolling up the sidewalk to cross the street in front of him:

"The guy had a nice, almost joyous, lilt to his step until he looked up and saw the cop. And when they say Randall Cunningham used to throw frozen ropes, Kev, what I saw, at that very instant, was the act of a rope flash-freezing before my eyes.

"Where that man's spine was the rope.

"The vocabulary of body language contains expression greater than words.

"It was as if the man instantly realized, upon spotting the cop, that he had something to hide. And you know what, Kev? He did. His skin color.

"But don't take my word for it, there's all sorts of studies on the shit. Google it sometime. The mind fucking reels. Even NBA refs whistle the brothers more often than white guys.

"Speaking of which, how about that ref that got caught fixing games?"

I was calling to put a couple K on AAPL. Only in the time it took my rep to relay his little anecdote, the price shot up another 8% on sick iPhone revenues and I missed my window yet again.


Monday, July 16, 2007

ouchbadge69

I'm likely late to this party, but what's with the proliferation of "Intro" tracks these days? It's like indie rock just discovered 90s hip hop.

And speaking of things so last week, what about the Wholefoods CEO posting on his company's Yahoo message board? Bagging on his comp with such classic boardroom put downs like, "Yeah but, he's got tiny stores!" Presumably in his spare time. A CEO. I thought those guys were busy. I don't even have time to post fairly pat observations like this more than once or twice a week, let alone run a fucking company. Anyway...

Speaking of so last year, have we talked about my positive outlook on Kampfar's "Kvass" yet? I'm very bullish on their prospects to show significant positive returns in a negative burn-down-your-house-of-worship sort of way for the next few quarters in my ipod. While not proprietary, Kampfar's technology, specifically of the information variety, bolstered by strong human capital, very experienced and highly skilled in areas relative to industry "best practices", gives them a strategic advantage over their competition in the black metal marketplace.

Full disclosure: I like to play with matches and I'm a part-time vegan.

Check me out on the Kammerflimmer Kollektief (KMFL) board later for my insight into their long-term volume and gain prospects.


Tuesday, July 03, 2007

A Stunning Tapestry of Justice*

[* - As my malapropism-proficient friend would likely put this, our shared travesty. The aforementioned hyphenated term, qualifier of "friend", which, in and of itself, seems like an oxymoron as in, "How could one be proficient in the use of something seemingly accidental, unless one were, say, Yogi Berra?" But therein lies the genius, if you will, that it is not because of the propensity to use malaprops creatively and seemingly unintentionally it is rather, and at least partially, a consistent happy accident. Though, once again, I digress...]

Somehow, loading up Car Bomb's "Centralia" on my ipod seems fitting right now. So what if it falls into that hyper technical mathcore trap of samey-ness? At times, it's the kind of stuff that'll make you say, "The Blood Brothers?" Though, it's only fair I finally offer a mea culpa of sorts on the Brothers. It may have taken me four years to get over my screamo-vocals hangup with them, but I think I'm finally willing to offer grudging respect. Ups to "Young Machetes" on that front then.

Speaking of wielding swords and not offering mea culpas...

Well now, he's gone and done it for you; the Lord President's gotten Scooter Libby out of the can just in time for him to make your kick ass Fourth of July barbecue tomorrow. And not a moment too-fucking-soon as someone's gotta pop for that bottle of Louis XIII you promised your Bimmer-owning neighbor. So if that just doesn't put a shit-covered cherry on top of this the most vile and utterly criminal White House in the history of the Union, then dropping bombs on Iran surely will. Keep your DishTV's tuned to the Emergency Fox News Management System for further details...

In the meantime, and if you haven't already burned your CDRs, here are a half a dozen or so perhaps subtler cuts to blend into your otherwise angst-filled Public Enemy, Rage Against the Machine and Bob Dylan-flecked Independence Day mixtapes:

Thom Yorke - Atoms for Peace
Circle Jerks - Deny Everything
Rivulets - Happy Ending
Minutemen - Theatre is the Life of You
Godspeed You Black Emperor - The Dead Flag Blues
John Vanderslice - Off the Grid
The Clash - White Riot
Slint - Good Morning, Captain


Friday, June 29, 2007

But the Market Shall Police Itself

Our white, decrepit, conservative friends at the Supreme Court are at it again. And, yes I realize that, technically speaking, Clarence Uncle Tom Thomas is a black man, but just don't tip him off to that fact. (See Orlando Patterson's review of the recently-released account of the Judge's vampire-mirror pathology for further instruction.) In yesterday's ruling taking down public school integration, the usual fucking suspects effectively spun back the clock on race progress in this country by about 50 years to that glorious Leave It to Beaver time in America where homogeneity was king. Won't be long now before The Authorities will be dusting off and rolling out the old firehoses.

Hello Elvis, Buddy, and Bill! Hello "Colored" drinking fountains! And, hello, to you David Byrne's "(Nothing But) Flowers" drifting from my car stereo speakers this morning...

This was a Pizza Hut, Now it's all covered with daisies...


Okay, tell you what, Rich White Guys, I'll make you a deal on behalf of the rest of us: I'll let you turn back the clock on race, civil liberties, and keeping "fags" in the closet, if we can have our fucking livelihoods back. Gone are big box stores, incremental margin increases at the expense of poverty-level America, and cheap fucking Made in Chinese sweatshop shit that breaks within two and a half minutes of opening. Making a comeback are Mom and Pop, quality over the bottom line, some sort of minimum level of actual democratization of the marketplace and, oh yeah... daisies.

''So few,'' [Justice Stephen] Breyer said, ''have so quickly changed so much.''


And yet, even as things change, for oh so many, they still remain the same. Dalek humps into my headphones this morning:

Six hundred years, ain't a fucking thing different.


And it's beyond-words fitting a message for this dark day, so close to the Fourth of July. Quick, somebody ask that cunt Peggy Noonan if this means it's dusk in America.

While you're at it then, too, ask the record companies how well the market polices itself. As the remains of their dank business model whisper in mildewed tatters, do you think for even a second Sony might consider anything other than raising CD prices in a desperate attempt to bleed dry the six remaining record-buyers left in the world? Maybe EMI can find 8-year-old Chinese musicians to become their new "artists" and Yousendit their songs straight to the nearest Best Buy for covering in a high-gloss photo of a slutty, half-clothed, anonymous preteen clone, for your instant consumption. And when that doesn't work, whatever handful of customers remain after having died of toxic toothpaste, unsafe steel-belted radials, and tainted petfood tainted chicken, will finally get the pleasure of a $5 album and nickel-a-song downloads for life!


Thursday, June 28, 2007

Meanwhile A Guitar Gently Weeps

There's that thing about the cello being the instrument which most resembles the human voice. And then there are the sounds that Alison Chesley's getting out of it. And it shall be a sweet diversion from the Larry Manzanares story here in Denver, which I can't seem to shake.

Today's Denver Post cover story certainly didn't help matters.

The real fucking tragedy here, and it won't be the last one like this, is that this seemingly large-hearted man was tried and convicted in the press before he was afforded his due process. Unfortunately, Larry imposed his own sentence last week: a bullet to the head. Over a stolen laptop fucking computer.

Have the blogs really put so much pressure on the fishwrap and radiowave press corps that they have to resort to feeding-frenzy levels of hype to compete? I mean really. What, the fucking Paris Hilton story hasn't been tantalizing enough?

Again, what does this have to do with the subject at hand, and cellos at that? Seems Larry was a bit of an amateur luthier. That, and the fact that I'm utterly amazed his wife and brother could even bring themselves to speak to the same press that dragged the poor man to his death. As they say in 12-step programs all over the country, "You're a much stronger man than I".

There's also a juxtaposition that, if I believed some sort of "there is no such thing as coincidence" mental midgetry, might cause me to chuck it all and join the nearest god squad. (Luckily, however, I have intellectually and emotionally developed beyond the age of twelve, so there's no chance of that happening.) And today while, ironically, listening to "Year Zero" (I pushed a button and elected him to office...), I'm getting stimulation-overloaded with the President whining on CNN about his lost shot at an immigration reform "legacy", and mulling over Poor Larry, it occurs to me that if our Dipshit-in-Chief had even a fleck of conscience rather than a Tin Man-like abyss where a heart should be, he might have long ago done the same, out of shame. But have they, these "men" of power, no shame indeed. Could one have achieved such "great" levels of ambition and power if there existed an ounce of ignominy within? Possible, but doubtful given the evidence.

And there too lies Kurt Cobain.


Wednesday, June 27, 2007

In a Basement Bedroom Where Sons Don't Peek

While we're speaking of black metal, someone needs to go on record about the new Blut Aus Nord. Especially if you're one of those few, like me, who aren't quite "neck deep" in one-man-band bleakness just yet. The moniker, roughly translated from the French, means: "Norse Black Flag". Specifically, "Mort" is like a black metal version of instrumental, late period Flag. Seriously. Or I'm hearing shit. Which wouldn't be anything new either.

Which reminds me, I finally saw "American Hardcore" the other night. And, well duh, of course it was hard nipples. Even if you didn't read the Steve Blush book, you'll find the DVD version just as maddeningly incomplete as the softcover. But what could you expect in a tight 90 minutes? And, so, it's safe to say that Rollins-era Flag came out smelling like a fuck-you-skins-long-haired, tatted rose. Which is all right by me, since that's the era I grew up with. In other words, I'm not ashamed to say I only discovered the Keith Morris stuff (and Chavo and Dez) later. To me, Morris was the Circle Jerks' frontman; and what a dumbass look I had on my face when I realized different.

So, and yes, it can be argued that Keith and Ron and Dez had some fine chops and as far as hardcore goes, it's tough to beat "Jealous Again" and "Nervous Breakdown". But let's face facts, Black Flag didn't hit their stride until Rollins came on board and "Damaged" was laid down. I certainly won't begrudge you if you'll claim they got winded pretty quickly thereafter and I don't mind admitting that I came at those early singles and EPs from a backward drift. I mean, shit, do I have to have been Damo-Suzuki-hair-sweat close to wax philosophic about "Ege Bamayasi"? Of course I wasn't there! But, now, were you?

As in You:

I saw a pre-Panic rehearsal in 1976, before Morris joined the band, where Ginn's cat meowed into a mic for a half an hour. Brilliant! Anything post-Reyes, Dud. F Rollins, he's a self-promoter.

Ginn's cat-fronted band > Panic > Anyone Not Rollins > Damaged



Hey You, you're losing, you're losing, you're losing, your Vitamin C...


Monday, June 25, 2007

Bird Songs, Rustling Trees, Bent in a Kiln-Like Wind, Over 90 Degrees

Last week came word that the Supreme Court, again, severely limited the right of Americans to hold Wall Street accountable for anything. And while we can bemoan the fact the George Bush's Supreme Court may do horrendous things to a woman's right to choose eventually, we'd be parsing a subject which affects, what, a couple of hundred citizens a year? Don't get me wrong, I'm firmly in the choice camp on this one. But, after all, isn't this just the kind of smokescreen the Boardroom Fat Cats want us all distracted by while they continue to gobble up even the sparest of change falling through the holes in the pockets of your well-worn dungarees? Not that you could afford new ones, even if you prioritized them above 99¢ cheeseburgers, petrol for your Pacer, or Da Capo best-ofs.

And so then, isn't what this was really all about anyway? Stacking the court with pro-biz whores like Roberts and Alito means you can expect more Ledbetter v. Goodyear decisions in the future, though nobody will be marching on Washington over it. While the rest of you may split hairs over when life begins, I'll be over here in the corner pointing out exactly when it ends: the moment you get chewed up into the gears of the Capitalist machinery and become known as "consumer", "employee", and both.

In the meantime, I'll take umbrage in Trent Reznor's latest work and RTX's new "Western Xterminator". (Damn you Believer Mag for cursing my mind to pour over the Catholic allegories in the Nine Inch Nails catalog!) So what if the hessians want to bicker about what constitutes "true metal"? Herrema's got me headbangin' like she's conjuring Maiden or Triumph and what does it matter whether she's bringing it from the indie hinterlands or from on top of a Columbia Records-financed monitor at Castle Donington? Can't we all agree that in music, as in art, the end justifies the means? (Even if the equation rarely holds true elsewhere. See: aforementioned business discussion.)

So it's currently and quite nearly impossible to escape All Jack, All the Time while Mr. White does his "Icky Thump" stump. But I'd like to go on record as stating, though I've got nothing against the piano, I'm glad Jack's got his axe back. Now, if you don't mind, I'll take a pass and let others conjure comparisons to Zeppelin-esque past triumphs such as "De Stijl" and "Elephant".

And if we're going to be splitting hairs, then, why not argue all day long about something like "Ride the Lightning" v. "Master"? Either way, there's no sense to it, since you'll both be right and, besides, the point is moot what with cost of memory so low these days.


Thursday, June 21, 2007

15 Minutes A Day. And It Shows.

[ed. Insert riff here about needing another creative outlet, releasing the din that hums between the ears, having something to say, and so we're taking another stab at it, etc.]

So I'm reading this joint ("The Prison Poets of Guantanamo Find a Publisher") in the WSJ yesterday (just the "Journal", ya know) and it's a nice enough story, adding more fuel to that =what the fuck fascist regime do we live under= V8 that still howls, but here's the part that turns the crankshaft at higher rpms:


"While a few detainees at Guantanamo Bay have made efforts to author what they claim to be poetry, given the nature of their writings they have seemingly not done so for the sake of art," says Cmdr. J.D. Gordon, a Defense Department spokesman.


What? "No comment" would've been too fucking classy for the DoD? Likely. What a fucking prick. Even if -- and, yes, some of the examples cited in the column won't make you forget Yeats any time soon -- the poetry sucks, what task is served by a Defense spokesman "lowering" himself to the level of our "enemy combatants"? The comment is illustrative of the type of smug fratboy pettiness emanating from our nation's capital like someone left the water in the bong all summer break and now it's been kicked over and drips down into the pages of the Washington Post and studios of CNN.

But what does this have to do with music? Well, Commander Fuckstick's attempt at crit aside, some of the poetry samples therein speak of the songs of birds. Which, serendipitously, I had just been thinking of a day earlier thanks to musicthing's nod to Captain Beefheart's 10 Commandments for Guitarists:

1. LISTEN TO THE BIRDS That's where all the music comes from. Birds know everything about how it should sound and where that sound should come from. And watch hummingbirds. They fly really fast, but a lot of times they aren't going anywhere.


Which dovetails (cough) nicely back to music, "the Journal", Guantanamo, thick-necked dimbulb Bushies, and fascism. I think the Capt. has a point. Lately, [ed. Don't go into protracted melancholia about taking time to smell flowers, listen to birds, bullshit, nobody will want to hear it] I've been listening to a lot of black metal and it seems if one were to pull out their Encyclopeadia Metallum, they'd probably find that nature plays a heavy role in the thing. Or maybe I just stole that from Stosuy. Either way, it's true; even if it is hard to describe to your indie pop pals.

Wolves in the Throne Room's "Diadem of 12 Stars" may not have any birds chirping on it (then again, it may -- who am I to instruct what to take away from your experience?), but it puts me squarely in and of one with nature and all that [ed. Please be careful not to veer too far down hippie path here]. To say that it sounds exactly like standing in a clearing, subfreezing, grey and fogged in, with snow falling all around you would be to invoke Agalloch's "Ashes Against the Grain", actually, but wouldn't necessarily be far off. Did I mention they're from the Pacific Northwest? (Yeah, Agalloch too.)

There's that. And there's what Joe Baiza's been up to; according to the Beefheart blog (linked on musicthing), tossing out a rendition of "Lick My Decals Off, Baby" in Puttanesca (myspace link complete with vid).

Now back to what the birds are trying to tell me...


Monday, June 18, 2007

Snippets of new Radiohead on Youtube
So, yeah.



Friday, October 13, 2006

Hell's Eulogy

Read Richard Hell's fine op ed on CBGB's end of days. I'm still grappling with the piece's conclusion regarding the seminal club's permanent exhibition in Vegas. But who am I to to wave my finger and shout blasphemy? I'm going to defer to Mr. Hell, as I wasn't there then, and bein's how I'm couchbound on a Friday night in Denver I clearly never will be.

CBGB’s was like a big playhouse, site of conspiracies, orgies, delirium, refuge, boredom, meanness, jealousy, kindness, but most of all youth. Things felt and done the first time are more vivid. CBGB’s is where many things were felt with that vividness. That feeling is the real identity of the club, to me. And it’s horrible, or at least seriously sad, to lose it. But then, apparently, we aren’t really going to lose it.

CBGB’s is going to be dismantled and reconstructed as an exhibit in Las Vegas, like Elvis. I like that. A lot. I really hope it happens as intended.


And at this moment, as I try to find a conclusion to this piece, the well used refrain from "Blitzkrieg Bop" trax the stats at the end of tonight's Mets/Cardinals game. There's either a joke or seeds of a rant in there somewhere...


Tuesday, October 03, 2006

"It's quite gratifying to realize you were smarter than all the people who were telling you you were gonna fail."

Albini talks new Shellac, T&G, Electrical Audio, and recording the new Stooges record...

One rumor that's been following the project is that Jack White will play on the disc or produce it, but Albini has heard nothing either way. "I really have no idea. . . . There may be a point where an Edwardian carriage pulls up in front of the studio and Jack White and his footmen step out," he says. "By the way, I've never used the word 'footmen' in conversation before."


Chicago Reader interview


Monday, August 21, 2006

Speaking of troubling, I just read about this...

Now the Music Industry Wants Guitarists to Stop Sharing

Where the hell am I going to go for my unreliable -- and unmastered -- guitar tabs? No, seriously, this blows.


WWJD

In these troubling theocratic times (e.g.) I take comfort in the words of the Kennedys:

All religions make me wanna throw up / All religions make me sick / All religions make me wanna throw up / All religions suck / They all claim that they have the truth / They’ll set you free / Just give ‘em money and they’ll set you free / Free for a fee / They claim that they have “the Answer” / When they don’t even know the Question / They’re just a bunch of liars / They just want your money / They just want your consciousness / (Chorus) / All religions suck / All religions make me wanna throw up / All religions suck / All religions make me wanna BLEAH / They really make me sick / They really make me sick / They really make me sick / They really make me sick / They really make me sick / They really make me ILL


Thursday, August 10, 2006

Genealogy of Pop and Rock Music

Oh I totally want this.
Be sure to check out the other posters too. They're amazing.


Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Johnny Marr joins Modest Mouse

Okay, cool.  How'd I miss this last week?
 
http://pitchforkmedia.com...
 


Noxagt - Noxagt (2006)

A little bit like a lyricless, doomed up Jesus Lizard.  Or, how about that rhythm section...
 
(aka Where Have all the Violas Gone?)


Saturday, July 22, 2006

volcano! "Beautiful Seizure" is pretty much the hottest thing going right now. (more later...)

myspace
website
radio sess



Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Where have all the good times gone? The Graying of the Record Store

The answer is known. Can't say I don't already miss the local shop, though. Reminds me of my college days in Champaign-Urbana, getting vibed by Rick Sims of the Didjits, who clerked at the Record Swap in Champaign, for what he perceived to be my lame music purchases. It was as subtle as an eye-roll, but we've surely all been there. It just hurt that much more coming from the local rock god.

(P.S. This should lead into a segue of the Touch & Go Recs anniversary bash...)


There's a very engaging interview with Greg Dulli in this week's Onion.


Tuesday, July 11, 2006

A few new tracks worth listening to/talking about:

Mastodon, "Crystal Skull" (windows media) - also streaming here - To say the new album "Blood Mountain" sounds very promising based on this cut, is to be understated.

Squarepusher (streaming on the Warp homepage) - This has been mentioned elsewhere as more of a "Go Plastic" drum-n-bass single (i.e. "My Red Hot Car") than an "Ultravisitor" synthesis offering. So, I can't argue with it. New lp's called "Hello Everything".

Mars Volta, "Viscera Eyes" - Don't like the wank? Tough. The new lp's called "Amputechture" and the Frusch adds his chops to the mix.

(via: everywhere)


The Science of Sleep

Oh man this looks kind of awesome. Pretentiously artsy? Possibly. Tops "Eternal Sunshine"? Dunno, could. Similarily heartbreaking and universally relative? Bloody likely. Shit, then slather something like "You Heart Is an Empty Room" over the top - possibly the most redeeming track of the last Death Cab - and I'm afraid I'm kinda melty and well, sold.


My buddy Tim sent me this amusing take on "Sweet Child O' Mine" in an e-mail. It's currently at McSweeney's. Scroll down until you see: Notes on "Sweet Child O' Mine,"as Delivered to Axl Rose by His Editor.

The funniest thing I've read in weeks...

Oh my god there's more.


Saturday, July 08, 2006

If I were really clever, I would've clipped it, scanned it, and posted it here. 'Cuz you'll never believe me now...

The day or two after the Tom Petty-Pearl Jam gig, the Denver Post ran a review in the print version (would've been last Sunday), accompanied by a picture of Eddie Vedder with a capiton that began:

"Grunge legend, Eddie Vedder..."

Thank you. I quit.

It seems, and but of course, this qualifier is generally used in reference to the late Mr. Cobain. But please don't forget to add Jack Endino (there credited as progenitor of said sound), Kim Thayil, and the whole band Tad to the list.


Ahh... finally, the holy grail:



Now I could be wrong, but I've looked up and down the web for this clip. Back in the day, those wild and not-so-worky dotcom days, when one could use his pr0nspertise to track down the Pam and Tommy fuck vid in 2.6 seconds, this still was still unattainable. To my knowledge, it's not worthy of the SNL musical performance DVDs. But thanks to YouTube...


I take back anything bad I ever said about the guy: Adam Carolla hangs up on Coulter

(file under: radio, mp3)


Sunday, June 25, 2006

Kelly likes shoes

Pretty genius. I guess this has been making the rounds for a few weeks or months. I'm old.


Monday, June 12, 2006

Sonic Discrepancies

(let's try again...)  Today's three reviews of Sonic Youth's brilliant new album "Rather Ripped" in Pitchfork, TMT, and Stylus perfectly illustrate the biases that each of these sites bring to the table, respectively: Hipper than thou, Beyond hip, Popper than thou.
 
Brandon Stosuy plays it up the middle, unwilling to go as far as he seems to want to in giving the album a 7.5.  It's probably a lot closer to a high 8 or low 9 in Pfork-speak, and Brandon seems to admit as much when he says the record's a "grower", but I get the sense that he may be holding back for fear of dropping the third-in-a-row "glorious return"/accessiblity type hype on the Youth out of the Pfork stable.  And besides, how do you write 500-plus words on "Ripped" and not even mention "Rats"?  Lee's requisite cut (always always referred to as such) nearly steals the freakin' show, except that the rest of the play has too much production value to allow it.  e.g. As has been oft-repeated already, Kim's back in a big way.  [For what it's worth, Stosuy's been my favorite 'fork reviewer of late and his value-added commentary about cribbing roadmaps of the underground from SY-liners of yore is spot-on and greatly appreciated by this pre-Internet avant-dilettante.]
 
The, presumably, 12-year-old kid they got to review the album over at TMT is clearly in over his head in giving it a 3/5.  Copping to complete naivete, the joint begins, "Being born a bit too late and without the proper context, I really can't say that Daydream Nation is my favorite SY album."  Zip, what?  No point in reading any further -- timing and placement have absolutely nothing to do with "Daydream's" prominent seat at the head table.  (Note to Marvin: please assign these things to someone who: A. knows something about the band and their legacy, and B. knows something about music in general.  Thanks.)  Then again, this suitably demonstrates the where-TMT-be-at-ness of it all: For every ill-conceived review brought forth from their url, there is probably 1/10th of a not-yet-released record from a not-yet-heard-of artist being introduced to yours truly.  e.g. Thanks for the Zu tip.
 
Now what to do about those over-the-pond popsters at Stylus.  You knew if there was a compliment forthcoming for the Youth is was going to be of the back-handed variety from the typewriters of those chaps.  And surely their lead-in, "Archetypal indie rockers sacrifice art for rock bullshit, glorious bullshit..." qualifies as such despite the author's attempts at drawing a "bullshit" theme around the fakery required to top charts.  So I guess it wasn't a complete surprise that Stylus would be enamored of what is, admittedly, the most accessible SY offering since "Experimental Jet Set".  But the apologetic tone struck by the writer for even, gasp, daring to recommend such a non-mainstream-"mainstream" record by a group of NYC dinosaurs is almost as cute as it is obvious.
 
It's probably not a stretch to call this record their best since the early nineties (looking in "Goo's" direction).  Though I don't want to discount the overlooked and underrated "Thousand Leaves", I think it's fair to say this is different animal from that one. 
 
Now, as far as the bias this-here "site" brings to the table?  If'n it's me talking, call it: Crankier than thou.
 
Links:
http://pitchforkmedia.com/record-reviews/s/sonic-youth/rather-ripped.shtml
http://tinymixtapes.com/musicreviews/s/sonic_youth.htm
http://www.stylusmagazine.com/reviews/sonic-youth/rather-ripped.htm
 


Sonic Discrepancies


Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Life Imitates Punk

On Fox News' Your World, Jonathan Hoenig, managing member of Capitalistpig Asset Management LLC, asserted that bombing Iran would raise the Dow Jones industrial average. Hoening stated: "[F]rankly, if you want to see the Dow go up, let's get the bombers in the air and neutralize this Iranian threat. We've gone to the negotiating table, we have danced around with these people" and "that's not going to help this country nor the stock market."

Fear: "Let's have a war! Jack up the Dow Jones!"

Links: http://mediamatters.org/items/200606060009
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0000057BR/103-6948913-0956625?v=glance&n=5174


Saturday, May 20, 2006

Lordi Lordi Lordi

I'm thinking that this will make Kevin very happy.


Monday, May 08, 2006

Grant McLennan

It's a long story between me and the Go-Betweens, so I'll try to keep it to the point, which is that there are now no more Go-Betweens as of sometime on Saturday when Grant McLennan died in the most untimely way. Preparing for a party at his home in Brisbane, supposedly to celebrate the fact that EMI had recently purchased their catalogue, thus making them financially secure for the first time ever, Grant began to feel unwell and took to his bed. Friends found him later that evening. He had a heart attack. He was 48. Poetic injustice has always followed the Go-Betweens around, but not like this.

I'll be honest with you: as I got older, Robert Forster became my favorite Go-Between. Something about his archness, the timbre of his voice as he too aged, his beautifully odd lyrical style, his enduring charm and elan. But Grant was the one who provided my entree to the band. He wrote the three songs that most people will know if they know anything about the Go-Betweens: "Cattle and Cane," "Bachelor Kisses," and "Streets of Your Town," and I would defy anyone to name three more beautiful or affecting songs, musically or lyrically. When you hear Grant sing these songs it's like it's sunny and it's raining at the same time. Beautifully fresh and open, disguising something ultimately a little off-kilter, but you can't quite put your finger on what it is.

Of the two singer-songwriters in the band (and by the way, isn't it odd that Grant's last name is a weird amalgam of Lennon and McCartney?), Grant was the poppy one, the cuddly one, the most immediately melodic one. He wrote "Right Here," a paean, sort of, to not letting go of something good, although the one thing about the Go-Betweens you should know is that they're never straightforward. From 16 Lovers Lane, their best album, Grant wrote "Love Goes On," "Quiet Heart," "The Devil's Eye," "Streets of Your Town," and "Was There Anything I Could Do." If I'd written those songs, I would have retired immediately and waited for my MacArthur genius fellowship to arrive in the mail. But sadly, this was the album that convinced the Go-Betweens the world wasn't ready for them, or at least that it wasn't prepared to buy their records in numbers large enough to feed them on a regular basis. So they hung it up for ten years until they got back together with some members of Sleater-Kinney and made The Friends of Rachel Worth in 2000.

Neither McLennan's nor Forster's solo careers really achieved the same soaring critical heights of the Go-Betweens, which is kind of strange, really, because it's not like they collaborated in the conventional way. Go-Betweens albums are an alternating yin and yang of Grant songs and Robert songs, so you'd think you could just cut and paste their solo albums into a series of lost Go-Betweens records, but it doesn't work. I've tried. They only very occasionally sang on each other's songs or switched off verses, two rare examples being 16 Lovers Lane's "Clouds," and "Too Much Of One Thing" from their second (and best) reunion album "Bright Yellow Bright Orange." Mostly, though, they served as true complements to each other, each prismatically reflecting the perspective of the other one.

I saw them live, once, last spring at the Cat's Cradle in North Carolina, on a Sunday evening. It was by far the smallest market they played in on their brief U.S. tour. They probably only did it as a favor to their American label, Yep Roc, which is based in Chapel Hill. The other dates on the tour were New York, Chicago, big cities, sophisticated audiences. The crowd was full of people who had come a very long way to see them, all eager to share Go-Betweens memories. We struggled through a couple of unremarkable opening acts (well, one was OK, but one was dreadful) until the Go-Betweens took the stage around 10. It was incredibly good, but it took a little time to reveal itself,as the best things sometimes do, like, say, a Go-Betweens album. Robert Forster was immediately delightful, working his eyebrows and projecting a dapper impishness throughout. Grant, though, seemed a little off at first. Perhaps he wondered what they were doing there. Hadn't they left Australia all those years ago just to escape this very parochial kind of experience? His guitar didn't work right. His mike cut out and he had to abbreviate a song at the beginning of the set. He said something about how maybe it was just "one of those nights." Some of us started to wonder if perhaps the sunny disposition was a little bit of an act which disguised a passive agressive prima donna. But he didn't reckon with the crowd, which was determined to love him and Robert and to make them enjoy themselves as much as we were bound to do ourselves.

By the time he performed "Streets of Your Town," and then "Cattle and Cane" as an encore, I thought that I might bawl openly in front of hundreds and hundreds of hip grown ups. But I wasn't even embarrassed. There was joy in the air. Grant took the microphone off the stand, hunched over it and did something kind of remarkable with "Cattle and Cane," a Go-Betweens standard if there ever was one. He remade it. It approached hip hop in its angularity, and yet retained its bucolic and nostalgic wonder. He seemed like he was having a good time. He couldn't possibly have had as good a time as we did. I raved to my friend Amy in the car afterwards. She raved back. We wanted to go back and do it all over again. We couldn't believe how fortunate we had just been, to see such beautiful people and such great artists at their absolute peak in the most unlikely circumstance.

Robert Forster has already put any speculation to rest about the future of the band. He said: "The Go-Betweens have made their final album. They have played their final show. We let it rest at that, being very proud of what we have done." Of course. They are unimaginable without each other. My life is unimaginable without them. Some people talk about important art and they mention people like Bach and Mozart and Coltrane and Picasso and so on, and that's fine. You can't argue with that. But in my canon, there are no more important artists than the Go-Betweens, for their wit and wisdom, their perfectly tasteful aesthetic, their feminism, their vision, their compassion, and their humanity. Grant was a full and equal partner in that enterprise and I can't imagine life without him.

So much for "to the point." I could write about this band for the rest of my life.


Tinymixtapes is reporting that Grant McLennan of the Go-Betweens died on Saturday. link

I don't know much Go-Betweens, but what I've heard I enjoy immensely. And, of course, it's always tragic when someone passes so young. I have Rod's encouragement and enthusiasm about the band to thank for turning me onto these guys in the first place. I'm anxious to hear what he has to say. Perhaps in a post above?

Update: I see where Pfork posted on this over the weekend. Their piece includes a link to the video for "Bachelor Kisses" from the album Spring Hill Fair.

The BBC article says he died in his sleep.


Tuesday, May 02, 2006


Friday, April 21, 2006

Yay for (Canadian) teens! They heart vinyl!

Perhaps we're not doomed after all...oh right.

Anyway, I always have to chuckle when I see vinyl referred to as a dead medium. At least in the musical world that you (our teeming bands of loyal readers) and I live in, vinyl doesn't seem to be dead at all and is indeed offered as a purchasing option for many-a-release. And while I'll admit that my ipod still rules my world, and even though I'm babysitting a sweet turntable that's currently unplugged in my basement (this is not how i treat all my charges, mind you), and my remaining crate of records gathers much dust, well, I heart vinyl too, kids. It's big art and huggable width and music you can see. I've been swearing for a couple of years now that I'm gonna buy all my current favorite albums on vinyl and I totally will just you wait.


I did however, come one step closer to plugging in that turntable that's not mine. I finally found a vinyl (it's all that exists) copy of MIA's (not that Galang girl) glorious (as I remember it) After the Fact on Ebay. It's an out-of-print gem from my youth that I've been dying to hear again since I misplaced my wretched dubbed cassette copy too many years ago. I was begining to think I dreamt that band, as finding reference to it amid the hype around that other MIA proved a bit of a challenge. There's next to nothing on AMG, but for what it's worth, a little trivia: Two MIA members went on to form the glorious, before-their-time Big Drill Car. Someone out there has got to remember and love this stuff...right?

So yeah, vinyl. \m/



Smashing Pumpkins Site Says 'It's Official'... Band Has Reunited

Oh, it's official all right: Billy Corgan's desperately clinging to the few remaining threads of his performing career. I can't suppose I blame him. I think, however, he'd be smart to focus on production and composition work ala Linda Perry. (He single-handedly kept Courtney Trainwreck's poplife afloat for another year or two.) Then, fivesix years down the line he can make a man-and-a-stool acoustic comeback which will be received hugely.

Alas, this has all the earmarks of bad (and not good "bad").

As a bigfan, I hope I'm wrong.

(via djmartian)


Wednesday, April 19, 2006

George Bush: Metalhead? "I Am the Decider"? Isn't that a cut off of Sad Wings of Destiny?

Oh, no wait, that's "Deceiver".


Friday, April 14, 2006

I can play old Van Halen and tons of other sh*t too. It's not even f*cking funny. Every time I walk into Guitar Center pretty much everyone in the whole store knows it's f*cking on, b*tch! Link

This guy is rooling it right now. Also: theblackmetaldialogues


Thursday, April 13, 2006

Yardstick

Something about there being no accounting for taste, or different strokes for different folks, and all that jazz.  But I can't, quite frankly, understand why everyone and their mother/brother/sister/daddy just ain't in love with Fiona's latest, and highly controversial*, work.  At least, of course (and much belabored, this point), the early, leaked, Jon Brion, not-the-Elizondo-version, that version, version.  Of course. 
 
Am I not missing something?  Am I hearing something that's simply not there?  Usually, nay always, I'm missing something.  Like that Broken Social Scene record from last year that's finally clicking: I was missing something.  A lot, it turns out.  But here, at Fiona's, it's all there.  Laid bare. 
 
I guess I just feel, that even after it's been all said and done, and it's just you and your cans in the dark with "Extraordinary Machine", and you come back to me and make the most compelling case ever, "Arrangements are overwrought (of course they aren't), the wavering vocals are played in this post-Win Butler era (duude, please), she's too skinny (don't be silly, it's an aural art), etc...," that I'm still not buying.  I'm thinking, if you're not "hearing it" then what are those ears doing on the sides of your head?  What a waste.  Give em to someone who can use 'em, or give 'em to me and I'll be the hott four-eared superfreak of nature over here. 
 
But then, there's no accounting for taste.  I'm trying to count beans anyway.
 
* - Maybe only in my mind, on the ILM board, in the zines, blogs, and in indie kids' minds during their last Blender jackoff session.


Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Parochialism, Pt. I

Recently, while listening to Eleventh Dream Day's superb "El Moodio", it dawned that I wish I had more time here to hype the hometown bands of my youth.  For, seemingly, the brilliance is in endless supply.  We've touched on Smoking Popes, Naked Raygun, Califone, Steve Albini, to name a few.. but I yearn for the time to wax at slightly longer length about these and many other Chitown artists (looking at you, Yow).  And maybe I'll actually get to it too. 
 
In the interim, I came across this tidbit (by Jason Ankeny on AMG) about the aforementioned Dream Day -- and in the process discovered Thrill Jockey is set to release a new long-player, their first in six years, two weeks from today (!) -- "One of the most resilient and criminally underappreciated bands to rise from the Midwestern underground community..."  Spot on.  And, just as my high school English teacher said about a soon-to-be-released Woody Allen flick lo these many years ago, "I owe to him to go see it on opening night,"  I owe it to EDD to go pick up "Zeros and Ones" on 4/25.


OMG!

When is the new Pearl Jam gonna leak already??!!  I can't take it another minute!


Coming soon on DVD...

(This thing writes itself...)
 
Battle Royale: MiniKiss v. TinyKiss - Last Man, er, Standing!
 
Link: http://www.calendarlive.com/music...