Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 04.30.01

Heh heh. Pitchfork has reviewed Gorrilaz, and it’s solidly okay album according to them (at a 7.0) That seems to be what the NME did too. I still have only heard vague clips from it, never a whole song, I confess… (Basically it was juyst the chorus of “Clint Eastwood”) I don’t know why i revel in these lukewarm praises, when a lot of people weblogs are cursing Gorrilaz. I’m still confused by the whole crusade against this project, the same way that I’m confused why so many people like Jennifer Lopez and Madonna.

Pitchfork news (why bother with a link? it will be wiped clean by tomorrow) also says Will Oldham will be releasing an album of six covers, from PJ Harvey (no surprise) to Tim McGraw (uhhhhhhhh….) By the way, Fargo Rock City went on talking about how the true inheritors of Glam Metal are the “country” acts like Tim McGraw and Faith Hill. The themes of the videos are often even the same, with the garbage job, telling off the boss, only to open the back door to see the band playing out back to rescue the blue collar guy. Okay, ALL genres of music seem to use this cliched video, but the glam metal and new “country” fits like hand in glove to me.

Heard about the eleven people being evacuated from Anarctica? It’s real news. However, there’s some weirdness attached to it, in that the real problem might be a nuclear reactor meltdown. Oops.

In trying to figure out what some unlabelled CDs were, I’ve found myself listening to the Millennium, the ultimate in Sunshine Pop. The opening sequence with that harpsichord and big booming drums, probably needs to be sampled as a backing track for someone out there. This album still freaks me out somewhat in that it sounds more liek a revival effort than an original period piece, as the production is so crisp, and blends every idea that people had come up with at the time. Yep. It definitely sounds like a ’60s record. It can be argued that it sounds very dated, but why bother? I cannot believe that i never ever heard a song by this band until a year or two ago. People throw around the notion of Brian Wilson being such a genius for Pet Sounds, but this album is as good or better, and since I have a deep prejudice against the Beach Boys, yeah, it’s definitely better. This album is more neglected than both Love and the Left Banke! Okay, Begin came 2 years after Pet Sounds, 1968 compared to 1966, but i just threw on Pet Sounds to make the comparison to my ears. Wooo… more people ought to try this. I’m still eager to hear Millennium’s Again, which the evil Poptones released last year.

The other unlabelled CD turned out to be the White Noise’s An Electric Storm. Freaky, I have not heard this one since Zane first made it for me last year. Strange sing-song vocals. Lots of odd sound samples. Bizarre effects. It’s “trippy” but it doesn’t sound like a ’60s record to me, but some fringe ’80s record made almost in a post-punk frenzy. The electronics are too prevalent. This one definitely is not a genre piece. At times, it sounds like it beat Eno to the punch by a few years, both in catchy dissonance and creepy ambience. Not for everyone, but it’s definitely a great thinking piece on what could have happened in music, if the youth culture in the late ’60s were really as wigged out as they pretended to be. Even if it still sounds like a very dated 1969 to you, please acknowledge that singing about Visitations and Hell were not common fare at that time.

Never heard Pearls Before Swine. Just realized that. Should i? Oh of course the answer is YES, but i mean…. right now?

Thinking about my revisionist memory, and realizing that Billy and the Boingers has thrown a monkeywrench into what i thought was reality, it’s seeming that my intro to rock music was a lot quicker than i thought it was. Suddenly months have been compressed into short weeks. It was a deep plunged, because in less than a year’s time, i KNOW that I was listening to Tom Waits and REM, with the same certainty of Billy and the Boingers. There’s certain markers of time that reveal why, but it has me fascinated by what other holes in my memory that i might be having.

Lou sent me this site about 24 Hour Party People, the upcoming film about the Manchester scene. It’s hard for me to know what to make of it, as this is something that i know nothing about. I will one day. The site seems a bit difficult to navigate, but maybe there’s something there for someone else. With my crippled computer, it only causes nasty Blue Screens of Death.

Just because i wanted to see what i might be missing, I picked up one of those mix dance that come with DJ magazine out of the garbage at work. I get bored after about five to ten seconds, every damned time. My mind tells it, “Okay, we have the gist. Where is it going?” Well, nowhere. People want to dance apparently. Making it explode or dropping the beat out unexpectedly or skipping aroudn the tempo or building weird polyrhythms is not what dancing is all about. I hate being such a jerk about this, as either the track outright sucks, or it sounds like a basic track that someone forgot to come back to and play Frankenstein with. Just add a damned melody!

We know that commercial radio generally sucks, and basically why, but Salon still has a pretty good back story on it, and the parties that need to be strung up from the highest tree, just like Tom Dooley. After reading this, I’ll bet that the record companies have more regrets about screwing Napster. In fact, the law that the record companies used to nail Napster might turn out to be unconstitutional, after they tried to bully academics.

Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 04.29.01

There’s a virus in my body right now that has tricked my bones and tendons into believing that they are the husk of a dead spider, as i want to curl up in a ball and sleep, waiting until this strange stiffness disappears.

It’s difficult not to feel rather bad about the poaching of Freaky Trigger’s domain name. I never even knew that the domain name was registered, as i used old links to arrive there apparently. This, right after the Entertainment Weekly review and link. That kind of bad luck is not life destroying, but it’s fairly unbelievable, the kind reserved for the perpetual underdogs. I never thought of Freaky Trigger like that, and still don’t. As much as i disagree with the some of the opinions, I can understand and respect most of them. Yet, still Buddyhead has their moment of glory in the Spin. There’s something very wrong karmically about this. As for this practice of snatching up domain names in bulk to resell to the people who came up with the names, it’s ethically bankrupt.

But, yeah… i couldn’t help myself. I bought that issue of Spin, especially after Us Against Them, Monosyllabic, and NYLPM bringing attention to the Washington Post’s critique of the feature. I didn’t realize that most of the articles were already online, as i don’t check the Spin site often. Immediate reactions…

  • It’s strange to see Joe Strummer naming the Television Personalities as his choice for Best Punk Band. It’s also strange to see “Part Time Punks” at #14 in a throwaway sidebar about the twenty Greatest Punk Songs Ever. So the TVP really are punk? Then why aren’t they on the Fifty Most Essential Punk Albums feature? That brings us to….
  • If TVPs are supposed to be punk, yet didn’t make the cut on the 50 Most Essential, then why are picks like Pussy Galore, Big Black, Green Day, Rancid, Ministry, the Jesus and Mary Chain, and Rage Against the fucking Machine doing on there? I’m not sure if the Beat Happening would even exist without the TVPs. If there’s some taboo against the TVP that I’m not aware of, then how about the Pastels? This disagreement is entirely different from my disagreement with the Best Album Covers of Q. This goes beyond a difference of opinion to serious doubts about the integrity of the writing of any of these articles. Okay, okay… so it’s only Spin. I’m taking this far too seriously perhaps… but if those belong on there, who are these people called the Adverts and the Damned? Please just don’t namedrop!
  • Nice to see a SoCal article, but it makes sense that bands like the Germs were more inspired by the Runaways than the Ramones, who they thought were “a revival of tornjeaned, long-haried hippies.” In SoCal, according to a bunch of morons like Offspring, Rancid and Social Distortion, punk never died. Ahem…
  • Too much SoCal punk in the 50 Most Essential. This combined with that book Fargo Rock City (more on that in a minute) has been drawing forth all kinds of strange memories of music that I once listened to in high school, and completely forgot. I was thinking in between those six months of thrash metal (what i thought until yesterday was my official intro to rock and roll) and then exploration to classic rock and college rock… wrong. Somewhere in there was a big dose of Suicidal Tendencies, Black Flag, Bad Brains, Butthole Surfers… you get the picture. In a way. I’m even more sensitive about this than the mercifully brief thrash metal period, as i can rationalize that in an odd way.
  • Back in 1987, i definitely knew that punk was all about being annoying and obnoxious, and being absolutely nihilistic. This Spin album seemed to come across like that. It’s hard to feel comfortable knowing what anything is all about, but from the music that I’ve been listening to over the years, punk seems more about immediacy and DIY. Being annoying and obnoxious extends to all genres of music, and being nihilistic… well, it’s a seductive nonphilosophy adopted by some flashy (hee hee)punk bands, but punk about nihilism? No way!

Now that my little Maximumrockandroll moment is over, i figured something out about my intro to rock music. It was not through some dubbed copies of Slayer “Reign in Blood”, Fear “The Record” and Metallica “Kill ’em All”. I was through Bloom County’s Billy and the Boingers. I now remember playing that flexi of “I’m a Boinger/U Stink but I Luv U” constantly. This completely screws up my chronology of what i thought was my intro to music, as this cartoon collection has a copyright date of 1987. However, it reinforces my belief that if i didn’t start listening to Robyn Hitchcock, I would have become a Weird Al Yankovic fan. That’s very scary indeed. However, it would be quite cool if I could find that flexi, as i’d rather like to listen to it right now.

Even though i finished Fargo Rock City, and felt as if some of the arguments that the author made absolutely sucked, I had to borrow it anyway, as i felt some resonance with some other things that he threw in. It was odd that he wrote about desert island disks in that book, as i read his similar notion of the lack of practicality in having any, aside from the gold reissues of Pink Floyd, so that he could fashion them into arrowheads or trade them with any natives on the island. That had me think of something else though, if i did play the game, and have to take ten albums to listen to, I would not take my own favorites. What would probably be more fun is getting the opinions of ten different friends whose musical taste I respect, and asking them to pick out one Great Album that they are certain that i have never heard before. Those would be some fun Desert Island Discs.

What be the best way to handle these Mystery Desert Island Greats? Ration them out over the years? Plunge into them and write massive letters cursing the taste of your friends that you might not be able to send?

Because of this recent Search and Destroy ILM thread, I’m listening to Julian Cope’s 20 Mothers. Several people consistently chose Autogeddon and 20 Mothers as weak efforts. Autogeddon is one of my favorites now, but i can empathize with those people who hate it, as one has to buy into the entire Cope persona and ideology. But 20 Mothers? It might be one of Cope’s best album for singles since Saint Julian! I don’t know what these people want? It does surprise me to see that Ned Raggett, the current editor of Freaky Trigger, did the album entry in the AMG. I knew his name was familiar from the start, and i knew he wrote for the AMG, as i even saw his name on some Damned entries the other day. (this is making me a lot more tolerant of occasional NYLPM opinions that drive me batty, as it’s a rare person who will name a Cope album as a favorite in my experience.)

Oh, damn. i cannot figure out how to work those further thoughts about Fargo Rock City into anything. How about Klosterman’s attempt to deconstruct the video trilogy of Guns and Roses’ “November Rain”, “Don’t Cry”, and “Estranged”? He compares the result of Axl’s vision to DaDa and Kafka, and makes points about the departure of Izzy akin to Paul Is Dead when it turned out that poor Izzy was really gone. Then he draws from what became of Axl afterwards, how he withdrew to Sedona, Arizona and became a New Age freak. (I’m not sure if i ever mentioned that the line-up of Axl’s band at that recent show in Brazil actually intrigued me, even though when i read the subsequent descrition of the music, that brief interest evaporated.) If only Klosterman had access to Joseph Campbell to consult, he could con me into believing that there was something truly mythic in the failure of what was Guns and Roses. I think in a way, he actually did pull off that con, as I put down the book after that chapter laughing at the insanity of it all.

It’s hard to decide which I like better on the review on Shrub’s First 100 Days of Pretending to Be President, Maureen Dowd or the Washington Post. Probably the Washington Post, as details exactly how dumb he truly is, without getting personal about it, and points out that there’s no question that Shrub lost the popular vote.

Men in Black investigate a Chupacabra sighting. It cannot get too much better than that!

Fightign Against Making the Pie Higher 04.27.01

Shucks. They booted Elisabeth on Survivor last night. It was necessary, as no one wants to compete at the end for votes to win against a big-eyed girl who is always smiling sweetly and sincerely, but i was still rooting for her. I’m happy so long as Keith does not win now, not that I dislike him intensely… just enough not to want him to win.

I picked up that 100 Best Record Covers by Q magazine, not because I agree with it, but because there’s some definite curveballs in it. It’s obviously not really a 100 Best, but a bunch that people decided were quite cool, and some other albums that they did not dare leave out, or have their mailboxes flooded with complaints. I cannot believe that they put in the Louvin Brothers’ Satan Is Real though. If they were going to go through the thrift store bins, they definitely could have used Merrill Womach‘s Happy Again. I shall never forget the quote on the inside gatefold, “Dear God! Please don’t let that be my husband!” there’s also an unusual number of ’90s albums in the selection, and odd choices at that. Primal Scream’s XTRMNTR as one of the 100 Best? Who picks this? (Someone named Dorian Lynsky apparently.) Admittedly, i like the album cover somewhat, as well as Chemical Brothers’ Surrender and Radiohead’s OK Computer…. but none of them would have come close to me. I guess that i don’t understand graphic design.

I take it back. While I’m glad to see old favorites like the Beatles’ Butcher Cover and Julian Cope’s Fried, as much as i like David Bowie’s Aladdin Sane, Syd Barrett’s Madcap Laughs, and Kin Crimson’s Lark’s Tongue in Aspic, it’s not necessary to see them anymore and they are happily left off. The more i flip through the page, I rather wish that the whole thing had been 45 sleeves by bands that I’ve never heard of, or only have stuff on reissues of. One of my favorite covers in this whole thing is the single for the Buzzcocks’ “Orgasm Addict”. Never saw the image of the woman with the iron for a head, and toothy grins on her breasts before. And while Kraftwerk leaves me clod, the stark red and black of The Man Machine, with their pasty white faces… it’s brilliantly striking. This book is probably not worth any real record collector having (although it is for me, as i don’t have enough time to read much this week and like bright colors) but it reminds me how many great covers that I’ve never seen are out there, some containing records that I might as well throw away. One of these years, someone’s going to create an encyclopedic CD-ROM of the graphic design of record sleeves… and it’s going to go beyond rock. Whoever you are out there, hurry up.

Can there really be this many hardcore Julian Cope fans, or can no one else be bothered to listen to the new Brain Donor single? There’s blurb on NME, and while NME offered no rating, the readers have it at 9.3! I will have no part in bringing it lower, as it seems amusing, but I’m still incredulous.

Actually, i have to admit this morning I’m just listening to mp3s again… mostly Elvis Costello stuff from This Year’s Model and My Aim Is True. Why? I dunno. My favorite song of his is still “Radio, Radio” and i bought these albums in an ’80s fit (even though technically they’re ’70s.) I really like the songwriting, the production, and sometimes even his voice… but there’s something that leaves me distanced from Costello. Perhaps he’s been so thoroughly embraced by the critical establishment that I feel as if those songs are no longer to be enjoyed, but to be mused over while people stroke their chins. One could argue that about the Beatles too, except that lots of little kids love the Beatles. Costello is just not that immediate and all-embracing.

Cool! A theropod dinosaur fossil has been found in the Gobi Desert with primitive feathers! You know! Like velociraptors and T-Rex! I love how since i was a little boy, how dinosaurs have changed from dull, big, slow lizards, to swift, adaptive dinosaurs! They have actually become even more alien in a way.

Scientists are drawing the conclusions that either giant planets are formed rarely or rapidly from the evidence they are garnering by watching what seems to be planetary formation through the Hubble telescope. If planets like Jupiter are rare, that might be a blow against highly evolved life on many rocky plants liek our own through the universe, as one popular theory says that the big gas planets actually shield Earth from catastrophe inducing comet strikes, taking the brunt of those blows through the millenniea.

Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 04.26.01

Weirdly, I had a dream about everyone having some kind of evolutionary jump in the brain or soul to which they could chop up pop songs in ways that no one ever thought before, and with the technology that we have now, great sample and beats that never occurred to anyone before were being thrown together, and people were excitedly passing around homemade tapes and CDs trying to fathom what they were doing, and how suddenly everyone instinctively could put together everything perfectly. The only anxiety was that there was too much to listen to… not a particularly great dream, but i was disappointed not to have some of the songs i heard in that dream when i woke up.

The Television Personalities kept surfacing in the collection, but it was the later stuff, the psychic wasteland that leaves one feeling hollow and numb. Somehow “And Don’t the Kids Just Love It” wound up on top. No one could be digging through that stuff, but… yes, it’s definitely my favorite TVP album. It’s the crudest, the funniest (aside from the earlier singles,) the freshest, the most childlike (without coming across as fetishist,) the quickest, and the most flailing… and i still stick by the notion that “Look Back in Anger” is the perfect lost Who song. I can feel the windmill attacks on the guitar by a gawky teenager. Although I don’t really don’t have enough material to know whether this incarnation of the band played this well live, it’s become a dream of mine. “Well?” you ask in total incredulous disbelief? Yeah. Well. For some reason, this is one of those albums that my mind can flesh out into heroic proportions. It just resonates with me, and probably without knowing the hard luck stories that pester Dan Treacy for the rest of his life. Actually, they appeared in that Mojo that listed reader’s favorite “cult heroes”… but i never expect a decent article out of it, since they list “I Was a Mod Before You Was a Mod” was the last record, when even the AMG lists “Don’t Cry Baby, It’s Only a Movie”. Shit. I hear crackle… almost as if the pop of vinyl spinning… on the CD…. is it a poorer release than i recall, or is my original CD going bad? Part of me reveals in such homey noise, but i never noticed it before, and fear losing this CD again.

More than any other record than i can think of offhand, it wanted me to want to be in a band! Listening to it now, I still want to borrow my guitar back, and start fleshing out the half-baked ideas that popped up over the years. Of course, that’s insane, but it’s damned inspiring album that can trick me (on that particular matter. I actually left that part off earlier, and caught it at the last minute. I’m tricked by albums quite often, but not many convince me that I can do it if i just believed.)

Yesterday, one of the few remaining relatively cool managers in the bookstore proudly showed me this book about glam metal in the ’80s, and i nearly laughed in his face to tell him how damned awful that is, but he stood there reading excerpts from it, as i started to squirm…. and it was funny. On my breaks, i read large chunks of the book, and while i am thoroughly unconvinced about hidden merit of the music, as i clearly remember it, and it almost all sucked, the author’s humor and enthusiasm is infectious. I liked reading the book just to see what he was going to say next, not just about music, but about living in a farming community where the thre biggest arguments were about Ford versus Chevy, John Deere versus International Harvester, and whether Def Leppard was a metal band or not… about living in the ’80s without any access to MTV. It was not that he was a maniac. Anything but! He was just honest, self-effacing, and clever…. not what one expects from an unrepetant glam metal fan at all. It’s actually some of my favorite music writing in ages. Perhaps I’m being hasty, as i’ve not made it even halfway through the book yet, but i cannot recommend highly enough, in getting inside of the mind of a glam metal fan who is not an idiot. The name of the book is Fargo Rock City : A Heavy Metal Odyssey in Rural North Dakota and the author is Chuck Klosterman. He pays a strange homage to Lester Bangs and that bastard Chuck Eddy.

I feel that this book fell through a hole in the sky as some kind of punishment for mentioning that Motley Crue and Mott the Hoople connection. I cannot even claim glam metal as a “guilty pleasure.” It legitimately annoys and disturbs me… but i love this book so far. It’s worth a perusal just to have him draw the spiritual and iconic connections between Axl Rose and people like Morrissey, Kurt Cobain, and Bono. The biggest faults i can find, even if one accepts his bizarro value system is that he seriously undervalues the musicality of the New York Dolls (they were a lot more important than just being cross-dressers, and if not important… better sounding… ) the influence of T-Rex (it doesn’t matter how folky he was before in Tyrannosaurus Rex,) and NO mention of Mott the Hoople.

In Zygote Records news, or nonnews rather, as things are moving slower than i hoped, Zane Armstrong wrote to tell me that he still has all of his old 4-track tapes, but he cannot do anything with them, as he uses an 8-track with a harddrive now, and has little time, other than to work on new material with varous projects. It seems that the biggest problem with this label is that there’s going to be too many ideas, and not enough single-minded ambition. It seems odd, but it might be that everyone loves music too much to try to turn it into a commercial venture. It’s not a setback though, as i’m actually rushing things again.

In typical dyslexic fashion, i didn’t know that whoever it was on Am I Cool or Not? last week was supposed to be a celebrity. I might not have posted if I had. Am kind of pleased with my answer though, although if i had known it was Momus, i would have been too self-conscious to write anything at all.

Damn. I thought that it could be a joke when Bush demanded to know that whether the crew of the spyplane had bibles and were getting exercise when they were being held by the Chinese. The Guardian says it’s no joke. Moron. He’s gotten us into more trouble with China too, as he wants to play cowboy in his speeches. I heard on NPR that China is not paying attention to the gaffe, but that’s probably because they grasp the fact that this twerp is not in charge of anything. (More spooky, the conspiracists say that China has the invasion of Taiwan slated for the Fall of 2002.) If i had know that Bush was in New Orleans yesterday, i probably would have skipped work to hang out with angry environmentalists. When they showed the footage on the news, despite the huge crowds, they were still quite vocal in their protests, and one must keep in mind that Louisiana is supposed to be deeply Republican right now.

Glorious Noise’s folks posted their desert island discs. I frequently feel too conservative and predictable when it comes to music, but even though i cannot really pick a bad album out of their lists, as it’s all stuff i have an treasure or lust after (the Anthology of American Music.) However, thinking back to the times that I’ve gone camping, I suspect that even if i did have a means of keeping some desert island discs, and always being able to play those ten… i would rather bring nothing at all. One album tends to make me think of another, sometimes out of boredom, sometimes out of curiosity.. and the sound of wind and surf would probably mean more to me if i was to isolated the rest of my life. Yes, i love music, and would miss it terribly, but my imagination would probably deify these album more in my head if i never had to hear them again. It bugs me when i’m at work when a fragment of a song gets lodged in my head, and as soon as i get into the door of the house that evening, i put on the song to find not only did i have it wrong, but i like my wrong version better. It seems like it would be more interesting to use my own faulty memory as the Great Ark of music than a piece of plastic, if i was to spend the rest of my life in isolation, in the wilderness. (Now change this to a small, empty, blank room, and my answer would change entirely.)

There’s lots of UFOs this week. I thought it had been observed that there has been less sightings of them when there’s big solar flares? It’s probably more government craft dosing us with chemicals or bio-innoculations, as the chemtrails are criss-crossing the Northwest again. Honestly, I only suspect what the chemtrails might be, but i’ve seen those in the sky too.

Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 04.25.01

It really was not much of a choice back in 1992, but it was easy for me to embrace PJ Harvey. Being kinda naive, and all around silly, it seemed like i had to pick a side between Harvey and Tori Amos. Watching videos yesterday, that meaningless snap decision seemed to mean a lot more. They were playing blocks of women in rock on M2, and Harvey’s video for “Man-Size” came on. I remember a lot of Tori Amos’ videos, and not one seems to paint her as nakedly as that “Man- Size” video paints Harvey. Yeah, it was never a contest. I don’t know what state of mind she was in when the video was filmed. However, it was more raw and believable than most any other video I’ve seen. Even though her latest album doesn’t do anything for me at all, it seems that I will always have a place in my heart for someone who will do such an odd little video as that one, with her in her underwear, totally asexual, vomiting forth the kind of emotion that seems easiest to evoke when one is most alone. But it’s not her music that i want to listen to right now.

Actually, what i want to listen to are a bunch of kinetic, sneering mp3s to get me ready for a long day of emptiness, to fuel the embers that may keep me going all day… Magazine “Shot by Both Sides”, Tom Waits “Goin’ Out West”, Cheap Trick “ELO Kiddies”, Elvis Costello “Radio, Radio”, Modern Lovers “Roadrunner”, Velvet Underground “Lonesome Cowboy Bill”, Bob Dylan “Maggie’s Farm”, the Clash “Janie Jones”, Macha “The Buddha Nature”, Captain Beefheart “Electricity”, Julian Cope “Out of My Mind on Dope and Speed”… it doesn’t quite work like a mixtape or CD, as i get impatient before the song ends, and switch to the next one, and there’s no unifying theme, aside from that they all work as well as coffee or speed.

I can almost always count on Raindogs to give me some cool links or stories. Someone asked a somewhat out-there question about Brigham Young University devising a method to read old scrolls that were accidentally preserved by the ashes of volcanoes. Here’s the story of how a digital device will reveal lost works of the classical Greek and Roman world. This reminded someone else of a similiar story of a text of Archimedes accidentally discovered on the pages of a recycled book bound in medieval time, and those stories are here, here, and here. It’s just the kind of cool stuff that excites my imagination. Nothing earthshaking has been revealed… yet.

Salon’s unveiled its premium edition, and the teaser is for a feature called Bushed. It’s like subscribing to a service to have someone to stalk the Shrub for you. Just what is his favorite brand of peanut butter? I just don’t know if I want to pay $30/year for it? After all, reading about how cute other people’s belly buttons are gets me fairly irritated in that special, hyperactively self-righteous way, and that’s free.

There’s an interview on Salon with the oddball Republican governor of New Mexico Gary Johnson. this gibbering maniac wants to end the war on drugs, as it’s not a criminal problem but a health problem. I know zilch about this guy’s politics, but he’s talking sense. And he’s a politician. And a Republican. What the hell is going on here? I cannot think of a good conspiracy theory to throw into the mix.

The Nation points out that the man tapped to head the Latin American in the American State Department is Otto Reich, the Reagan era propaganda architect of the Contra-Sandinista conflict. Creepy. It’s bad enough that Shrub’s handlers keep drawing in old blood, but it’s worse that it’s quite often some of the worst conspirators. Why isn’t there an public outrage letting this criminal in office? Because no one know about it or cares.

Another petition to flood U.S. politicians’ mailboxes…. this time it’s about privacy. They are trying to fight against a set of very weird rules about medical privacy that the Clinton administration set into motion. Shrub’s people are going along with it. It’a all quite New World Order and Orwellian. Fight it.

Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 04.24.01

in moping about my silly nowhere job, I nelgected some cool stuff, just as to be expected.

Splendid has a nice interview with Robyn Hitchcock, although it doesn’t reveal anything that any Hitchcock fan would already know… except somehow i didn’t know about the Underwatermoonlight.com website.

I’m also over two weeks late in discovering the interview with the Dismemberment Plan on Nude as the News, although i guess that one could just as well read their own website.

When i alluded to the secret government operatives among the “Black Bloc” anarchists, i meant to cite Acid Dreams as a reference. Yeah, it’s supposed to be the history of LSD, but LSD and the CIA are tightly linked, and the legitimate documention of government operatives, manipulating and sometimes even creatingthe counter-culture is downright weird. (Tim Leary was almost certainly one of their operatives!) Since i know.believe that acid is essentially a benign drug, it doesn’t scare me to read what insanity the CIA and the NSA dreamed up, but after Vietnam, and the rise of import of cocaine and heroin, the joke is not funny anymore, getting into Noam Chomsky territory. No, i don’t know any good books on that subject offhand. It scares me a little.

After all of the bland fake television psychics, I’ve been happy to see Cleo all over M2, and the rest of cabel television. I couldn’t stand those idiots that sat around smiling at each other, liky they were on the view. Instead, Cleo gets on there with some presumably Jamaican accent, and sasses people, and has crazy facial tics and accuses people of lying, and best yet… gives bad news! Yep. It’s the exact same company with different marketing, but I like how the fake psychics have adopted reality, and dare to bilk you out of money with bad news. Imagine how Internet video will progress. Think about the Live Nude Girls sites. Now swap that with a Live Voodoo Priestess, who will kill and gut a rooster on camera to divine the future in its entrails, and then have the audacity to warn that you have been hexed, and will die of a brain aneurysm, unless you authorize your credit card via PayPal for her to whip up a counter charm! I love technology.

Lou reminded me this morning of one of my favorite reasons why I’m going to be in Britain, aside from the simple pleasure of living with her. General Weirdness. She informed me that in the new Fortean Times there’s been a new Big Cat sighting in Wales. Since i spend quite a few evenings looking up at the sky with binoculars, and there was more light pollution in Wales than there was here, I’m going to have to find a new insane hobby, and it might involve climbing up and down the mountains carrying Louise piggyback, as we look for mystery Big Cats. The last roundup i could find onlien is from 1999, but there’s more out there somewhere.

Also… watched “Rounders” last night. Perfectly good actors all squandered on an utterly predictable plot. No real sense that there was ever goign to be a true loss. I was actually surprised that Edward Norton’s character merely disappeared, and not dead, but it was not much of a surprise.

Just read on the late updated Pitchfork that Subpop is releasing a compilation of Radio Birdman. Cool! I hate reading abotu those bands that are supposed to be fantastic, but everythign is out-of-print. Although i often read of people complaing about the glut of releases that don’t mean anything, I love being able to get my hands on such varied stuff in time and space, even if another might label it all as rock, and not all that varied from Coil to Chuck Berry. Mojo even promised features on a bunch of cult artists people wrote in about in issue 87, and these things are always coordinated.

They also mention a new Ron Sexsmith album? Dylan, I still have not heard his music. Do you know anythign about this?

Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 04.24.01

It’s hard to find music to fit with today. It’s cool, drizzling, and green. I feel worn out, and it’s hard to find new links for stories that seem cool or funny. Probably am distracted. Have too much that needs to be done in the next month, before leaving for Cardiff to be with Louise, but it all seems to be a waste of time.

I forgot to mention yesterday that I watched “X-Files” for the first time in many weeks on Sunday, and it was absolute shit. Apparently they are grooming the two new agents to take over the X-files in toto next season, but last night’s episode was painful filler. The acting didn’t bother me at all. It was the writing. Whoever hacked that script out needs to be banned from scriptwriting, or the director must be fired. It’s hard to figure out. This nebulous “thread of evil” was never fleshed out, or made to feel any more monstrous than the evil that happens everyday life. Why would these two agents be able to sense psychically this particular thread? The victims of the “thread of evil” were half-painted and cast aside, as if no one could make up their mind about them. The resolution was no resolution, and the little girl left alone in the world was casually cast aside, in favor of her mother in restraints, and cute exchanges between Mulder and Scully. It did not even come off as juxtaposition. The images and scenes seemed placed together haphazardly, even though there was supposed to be a sense of foreshowing with this psychic connection to this “thread of evil.” I saw some of the earlier episodes this year, and thought that the series might survive, but after that episode, it’s obvious that it shoudl be killed NOW.

Have on a $1.99 CD at the moment, Damned’s Damned But Not Forgotten. The AMG entry only gives it three stars, but i’m enjoying it a lot more than I suspected I would. I cannot figure out when the album really is, as it seems to be a compilation of Strawberries and some other album that i cannot figure out? Is it some re-recording or alternate takes of a previous album and some B-sides? My knowledge of the Damned is pathetic, as i skipped them early on, for reasons that cannot be deciphered now. Either it was arbitrarily decided in a fevered fit that all punk was shouting over three sloppy chords, or that anything goths like is something i should avoid, as I’m not and never was a goth, but i listen to too much of the same music as what many self-proclaimed goths claim sometimes. It’s creepy how upbeat they are, and how perfectly this apparently tossed-off record fits into the rest of my ’80s albums that I very much like. I have no relationship with this album other than mild surprise, as not only is it pleasantly good in a raucous guitar poppy way, but it was practically free, and it has been behind the seat of the truck for several weeks, after i bought it in a compulsive fit. It’s certainly leagues better than Captain Sensible’s World of Geoffrey Brown, which i bought a couple of years ago in a similiar fit.

After this, I’m trying to play Tom Waits’ Small Change, but it’s getting a little too maudlin for today. It’s actually time for to get absolutely morbid with Bonnie Prince Billy.

It seems that up to 253 people are still incarcerated in Quebec, in protest related matters. Don’t know how true that number is.

Want to see the true “thread of evil?” Check out this broadcast of former Secretaries of State of the U.S. discussing Shrub’s foreign policy, sponsored by the nefarious Council on Foreign Relations. So much evil, all in one room…

Am a little cranky today, as since i gave my managers a month and a half notice before i left, they’ve consistently been sticking me with crummy shifts and duties. It’s infuriating that I tried to help them out like this, by giving lots of advance notice, and never slacking up, after lots of people kept their departures secret until the last minute. I remember how difficult that was for the store, and didn’t want to leave the people that I’ve liked working with for so long in the lurch. However, the managers, or at least one specific manager, has been taking advantage of the situation to treat me as poorly as possible, and then threatens to fire me if my attitude doesn’t improve, or if i continue to complain. This is the same bookstore that we have lazy bastards like “George” working, and even better, a lunatic that harrasses another coworker so much that he’s made half-hearted attempts to run her off the road at night on the way home. However, if i point out that I’ve had to work less paying hours on more lousier shifts (meaning more work for less pay,) and having to assume boring details that no one else in my position has had to do, then I’m being a disruption.

I’ve loved working at this bookstore, but i cannot wait to do my time and get out, if an incompetent, petty tyrant wants to make me twist in the wind for the next four weeks. It’s actually much worse than I’m describing, but it’s too difficult to explain with it becoming idiotically technical, and extremely petty, to the point of me being invited to the wedding of ex-assistant manager, and because of the vindictiveness of this other assisstant manager, I’m now the only lead or manager who has to work that, stuck with a skeleton crew of new people and a couple of people who never intended to go to the wedding. It’s fairly obvious, but nonetheless, the fool thinks that if she keeps insisting that I’m not being singled out, that i will believe it.

Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 04.23.01

This is odd. Two-thirds of the sites that i read in the morning, completely unrelated to each other in subject and geographic area, all seem to have their servers down.

Not much time today, but after listening to pieces of Big Star’s Third: Sister Lovers and Chris Bell’s I Am the Cosmos, I’m wondering how much more American power pop that I’m missing out on. Well, a lot, i know… and none of them are going to have the fiery epic tragedy of Big Star (Or Badfinger, but they are not American anyway.) Damien mentioned that he and Boone have been listening to stuff like the Plimsouls, the Shoes, Dwight Twilley, and the Nerves, but I’ve never heard any of this stuff consciously. It’s hard to tell hether it’s worth the effort. I didn’t even know what i was getting myself in for when I picked up Third: Sister Lovers in a used cd bin. It was one of those bands that I heard a lot about, but for some reason, Damien owned nothing by them, so they remained an enigma, Mentioning that the Posies worked with Alex Chilton in the reunion would only be a turnoff to me. The copy that I have looks as if someone shot it with an air rifle. The only songs that i was able to get into on that first listen were “Jesus Christ” as it sounded extremely cynical, and “Nighttime” as it seemed the saddest without turning into a bilious monster in production, without the cowbells, offkey guitar, funky (in a bad way) pedal effects, and utterly broken vocals. I’d been listening to challenging stuff for years, but somehow, Third: Sister Lovers was harder to get into, as i was expecting something easily accessable, something disposable. It makes perfect sense now. It’s trying to get back into myself, where i was when i first listened to the album, that’s turning out to be rather hard. Anyway, I fear getting into the rest of American power-pop, as it doesn’t have the mythic shadow of Big Star, the immediacy of Cheap Trick, or the easy cultism of the Flamin’ Groovies. I hate being disappointed.

And since Pitchfork seems to be one of th only sites that I regualrly read that is working and updated, it might as well be mentioned that the Destroyer “Streethawk” record. Whaddya mean, no hooks? that’s supposed to be good thing? Because it’s done on purpose? I admit that I’m intrigued, but that first half of the review did indeed turn me off.It might be far too clever for my tastes, to slow to grow on me. A much lower rating is given to the Clientele’s Suburban Light, but like every other mention of it, the review mentions how it evokes the sound of the ’60s. Sometimes i get even more curious by that than by whether there’s good hooks on a record, because it intrigues me to know what the hell people think the ’60s sound like. Too many people said that about every single Elephant 6 project, and look how silly that sounds in retrospect. Besides, it’s a sad, reflective album according to this guy, and i like my sad, reflective albums to be as comfortable as an old blanket, yet megalithic in scope. I’m an obsessive review reader who always gets confused by others’ words and feelings. Damn it. Music itself does that to me.

LOOK! He's shouting AND pointing! In WHITE PANTS no less! Since i almost feel like I’m stretching for material, even though I’ve been trying to remember to mention this for days, I may as well mention how Damien told me not long ago that Motley Crue started as a Mott the Hoople cover band, and the Mot in Motley Crue was a nod to them. It goes further in that one of the guys from Mott the Hoople (I actually forgot which one, but I’ll bet it was that “replacement” for Ian Hunter, Nigel Benjamin) recorded an album with Motley Crue backing him that has never been released. I’m certain that it could not be any worse, than Shouting and Pointing, but if it is, that probably makes it even more essential to hear! I cannot listen to this album at all, nor do i own it, but occassionally, i look it up in the AMG when i need a good laugh. Can you imagine the guys who saw this album cover, and though, We need to be in a band! Everyone talks about All the Young Dudes, but I’ll bet this album launched more bands than any other. It was bigger than punk ever was in Kenner, Louisiana, bra!

Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 04.22.01

Sheesh. It’s been ages since i checked the Head Heritage site. I didn’t realize that Cope was actually going to release a Brain Donor album,. let alone two singles. I listened to the clip on the site, and it sounds like a bad ripoff of “Kick Out the Jams” run through a phaser. It’s embarrassing to beg Lou to pick up the debut single, as right now, even i think it sucks. However, it looks as if it might suck so bad that it might be worth having, like that Creme Brulee single “Voodoo Lady” which Lou keeps insisting that i must download. (The League of Gentlemen are getting far too deep into the motivation of the character Les, in a good way.) Even if the Brain Donor album is unlistenable, it looks really fun, with Cope and company all glammed out in garish day-glo colors on the sleeve, and even if it’s a failure, Cope will pull of a spectacular failure, and i will be proud of it eventually in some twisted sense.

It’s a Captain Beefheart kinda morning! Doc at Radar Station! When it gets to this point, it’s easy to see why there’s rumors that the Captain resents Tom Waits, as this album seems like the most logical springboard for Swordfishtrombone and beyond. (Listen to “Ashtray Heart”) I still don’t have the whole Beefheart discography, unlike Tom Waits, because as cool as the Captain sounds, and as clever as the Captain’s lyrics can be, Waits still touches something raw in me. Nonetheless, i deeply respect the Captain, and find his music intriguing and raucous… the stuff of greatness. It’s just that i don’t need greatness all of the time. As wild as Trout Mask Replica is, I don’t put it on unless i have the time and energy to concentrate on it, and i think that i pulled around the corner of understanding this record many months ago. I worry that whenever i get Lick My Decals Off Baby that i might be starting on fresh ground. Do i really understnad the sound of that incarnation of the Magic Band, or did the familiarity of Trout Mask Replica, after repeated listens, innoculate me to the chaos? Somebody’s had too much to think!

Don’t let this quote disappear. In this CNN article that will probably switch URLs pretty quickly as it shuffles into the archives, Colin Powell says about the fumes of the tear gas, in the very last line of the article, “It didn’t affect me, but an old infantryman always remembers what tear gas and pot smell like when you walk into the barracks.” What’s this about pot? I sincerely doubt whether everyone standing outside those fences, surrounded by cops, are agoing to be smoking so much pot that you can smell it over the tear gas. No, this is a deliberate statement to tarnish the image of the protestors as a bunch of drug-users, to keep the conservatives who believe in the utterly absurd War on Drugs, from aligning with the possibly pot-smoking liberals. Divide and conquer, and keep everyone focused on issues that will not affect their sneaky “free trade” agreements. According to this CNN article, the police estimate that there’s 30,000 people who have turned out so far to protest. Do you believe that the majority of this 30,000 are a bunch of potsmoking hippies or average citizens?

I’m still trying to figure out the tone of this paper by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service. It’s just weird. I do agree that this fiends plotting for globalization have the right to express their views, but it’s wrong to hide behind democracy. Look at point 15 in the paper. No one is hindering the “elected officials” in expressing their views. The protestors are inhibiting decisions that these “elected officials” were not elected to make. After all, George W. Bush barely qualifies as an “elected official,” since he was not really elected. “Elected officials” are ideally supposed to serve the people, not act as if they hit the jackpot in the lottery and can force whatever agenda that suits their own whims down the throats of the people. They can talk all they want, but as long as they keep presenting plans that are not informed by the will of the people, the people are empowered to hinder those plans by any legal means, right?

I don’t think that I’ve given the Independent Media Center a proper link yet. Yes, it’s quite a downer of a site, but it’s hard not to appreciate it.

Peter Buck gets arrested for acting up on a plane? Peter Buck?! Weird. My theory is that one of the attendants must have been poking a pointed stick at him. That’s pretty irritating, those pointed sticks…

Am beginning to regret just a little that I’m skipping Jazzfest in New Orleans yet again, which is just an hour and half away, but it’s really not worth it.

Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 04.21.01

Never posted twice in the same day, to my memory, but found some nice links.

Stop the FTAA. It’s about time i stumbled across this site. Conservatives, liberals, and anarchists all agree on this one. After reading the comparisons of the stories presented in Pearls That Are His Eyes, don’t be surprised if those were secret police beating the regular policeman in the incident described. Naomi Klein’s column points out that some cops seem to be dressed as protestors. Many times in the past, covert operatives masquerading as protestors will hurt normal law officers to ruin the impact of any message real protestors might have. Dressed in black? Yeah, some anarchists love to wear black.. but so do the covert operatives who ride around in those black helicopters the lunatics in Montana bunkers worry about.

Get “up-to-the-minute” updates on the protests against the summit in Quebec. Okay, so i’m late, and it’s almost over. An analysis on the purpose of the Quebec Wall and it’s legality. Okay, smartass, it’s to keep people out. However, with all of the lawyers and philosophers playing pundit, it’s good to have some grounding on the illegality of the law, and the sinister plots likely being forged behind it.

And i’m listening to lots of Ramones right now. Before this, i was reading that Mojo featuring the ’70s CBGB scene, and getting excited about Television, the New York Dolls, the Heartbreakers (Must confess… never heard them!) and the Ramones all over again. To be perfectly honest, i cannot listen to more than five or six songs by the Ramones before i have to switch to something else for a little while, but I’m trying to keep energized and manic, and edgy.. and all of that nonsense.