Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 05.31.01

So it’s “Ladpance”? i apologize. i saw the Neptunes/NERD video again. It’s not as ugly as i thought it was. The guy shoves the girl because she’s rubbing up against him, which is something i’ve actually been forced to do before. That’s what i get for reading & watching television at the same time. While i still cannot make out the lyrics well (has anyone caught on that between my low attention span & cloth ears, that i misinterpret almost everything on the first try? Fairly typical for someone obsessed with content and lyrics probably.) i did catch some couplets about the government that made me smile, then vanish from my mind as quicksilver. I just like its funkiness, and prefer to defer to NYLPM for a true analysis. Does anyone know why the name of the video is “Ladpance” instead of “Lapdance” though?

Um. How long has this Poe video been on M2? i didn’t even know it existed. Did it just pop into existence because i read House of Leaves, and had problems with the book? Freaky. Anyway, “Hey Pretty” couldn’t be less related to the overall tone of the book. Too garish. Too Garbage. And i guess that it’s supposed to creep me out to have Poe writhing about two thirds-clothed while her brother reads one of the sex-scenes from his book. All it’s doing is ruining anything good that i took away from the book, which was a damned fun read. The notion that it’s all just a crummy piece of cross-marketing is overwhelming now.

Are we supposed to take Nikka Costa seriously? Or, after the relative flop of Midnite Vultures, did Beck have a nervous breakdown & invent a transsexual faux-funk-soul persona? (He wears those pasties on his implanted breasts well. Not once did they slip with all of the mike stand humping.) I’ve been seeing the profiles for “her” in all of the slick magazines, but in no way was i prepared for… this. There’s just no way that the video for “Life a Feather” cannot be a joke, or dare i say it… ironic.

As much as i love David Bowie (at least the ’70s Bowie right now,) Diamond Dogs does not get played often on my stereo. I left it in for the whole ride yesterday, although for me, it only goes downhill after the lines This ain’t rock and roll/ This is genocide! i zoned out after that until a spectacular What the Fuck moment. “1984” never sounded more preposterous than it did that second. “What the hell was he on?” was the first thing to cross my mind, but that’s a dumb question, since the obvious answer is, “Lots of cocaine.” There’s a thread active on ILM about records so bad that they are brilliant. As far as i know, no one has mentioned Tiny Tim, but he’s such an obvious novelty, when just the song “1984” is so brilliantly awful that it has not quite sunk in yet. Horror keys. Funky guitar. Disco strings. The silly para-operatic vocals… the basic conceit of writing a song so hamhanded illustrating the vision of George Orwell. Awesomely awful.

Way after the fact, but i finally got hear the new Air track (or see the video rather,) “#1 Radio”. I’m infatuated with that song now. I think Lou had already warned me that i would be. Now the Splendid review makes a lot more sense. It doesn’t change my world, but it does give a sudden rush. I will admit that i was disstracted by the video though, as people were doing the robot. In my last days at the bookstore, it seemed funny to be the Animatronic Bookseller, not that anyone laughed.

Another Obvious Observation: The lyrics of Nu-metal seem to be a result of too many pop pyschologists on daytime talk shows. Repeatedly it’s been observed that they sound like the poetry of an angst-ridden adolescent, but with the emo-like nearly imageless lyrics, sounding like abuse victims confessing on Montel Williams… this fixation upon feeling without metaphor… it’s a sickness. Does anyone think antidepressants would help? they could scream out the chemical composition of their pills, which might turn out some brilliant biochemists down the road, and with all of the designer drugs on the market, would definitely provide more lyrical variety. And tust me, a lot of those chemicals rhyme like none’s business. Incidentaly, this reminds me of how Damien drove himself a little crazy trying to find out what the hell “hexachlorophine” was, as it was in a Bonzo Dog Band song. I think that either he wanted to try it if it was a drug, or kill someone if it was a poison. He was oddly not disappointed when it turned out to be a soap additive at one time.

I don’t care if Jenna Bush drinks underage. However, from what i’m reading, she’s gets to get away with a lot of lame behavior that would have most parents keeping their kid under lockdown. More than that, she definitely revels in her privileged position, sneering in the face of the law, despite repeated violations. I hate picking on the Bush daughters, as i felt sorry for Chelsea Clinton for eight years, but she simply did not behave like these morons.

Since when does “bottom” mean 80% of the citizens? No tax break for you!

Why does Bush harp on and on about testing teachers on their ability (when it’s hard to get quality teachers anyway, as the pay is shit, and the hours suck,) yet goes on to cut a successful literacy program by 70% in his budget? Schools are not longer about creating literate, informed citizens. They are about minimally supervised daycare while both parents are out of the home working barely living wage jobs. Why doesn’t anyone see it? What’s with this Orwellian doubletalk? Maybe David Bowie ought to write a disco song about it. Oh, he did. “I’m Afraid of Americans”. Nice jacket.

More evidence of global warming. It’s not in this article, but some loopy one that i lost the link to, but there’s still “scientists” scientifically insisting that it’s all a hoax, or if they do admit it, some are even so audacious enough to say that it’s because we have too many trees.

enough bitterness for today.

Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 05.30.01

Okay, i just remembered why i had this nagging feeling that i loved grunge at one point in my life. All of this revisionist critics had me believing thta Bush and Candlebox were “grunge.” Bullshit! In cleaning my room yesterda, i found Mudhoney’s Superfuzz Bigmuff! Gawd-damn! Keee-Rist! This is one of the first CDs that i ever bought. This CD was the source for many tapes for the stoners in Hammond who played their store-bought tapes into tattered shreds. The infamous Bradley Hoover (who looked and dressed a lot like Tracey Pew of the Birthday Party, but acted more like a member of the backing band of David Allen Coe,) actually thanked me on a number of occasions for getting a taped copy to him. I haven’t heard this album since years before i got into the Stooges, & amazingly, it’s held up quite well over the years. When it fell out from behind some old Far Side collections, i was prepared to cringe & pretend it never happened. Evil curiosity took hold, & it wound up in the stereo, with no regrets. It’s nasty, funny, and blistering, in small doses. So much for Exhibit A in the attempt to vindicate any memory of grunge. I’m getting the feeling this is a personal thing, and ought to keep my mouth shut.

In a way, it’s the converse of the young couples who are desperately trying to grow old gracefully with the bands of their era, whether they liked the band at the tiem or not. I’m more used to the phenomenon with people slightly older than me, hooked on Journey, Boston, and Styx, but it fits Hammond too. There’s nothing that’s ever topped Mudhoney, Pigface, and Big Black in their minds. These demented bastards break their backs all day with hard labor jobs, to come home to smoke a bowl, have a Milwaukee’s Beast, & nod off to Jesus Lizard. Is this a common phenomenon?

No, don’t worry about me. I’ve already moved onto Smog’s Knock Knock. In fact, i’m in such a musically rabid mood today that i wish that i owned ALL of the albums featured on Pitchfork today,

I saw the video to the Netunes’ “lapdance. When it was a faceless instrumental, it rocked. Now the imagery that goes along with it just spoils the song. It’s gritty, dirty misogyny. It was impossible even to notice the lyrics, which i hadn’t heard before either. Tom Ewing notes how rare it is to hear politicians mentioned in lyrics, & especially in a song as funky as “Lapdance”. Cool. Unfortunately, i was not able to notice clever lyrics when i see a guy roughly shove some blank-faced, seemingly numb girl. I like the sound of the Neptunes from the instrumental mp3s i have, but thgat imagery… no, no, no. I’ve seen enough of that in real life. No more. (And this is from someone who only minutes before was revelling in the raunchy stupidity of Mudhoney.)

Oh, & i’ve been listening to lots of Harry Nilsson, which is a little peculiar, as i only own one album by him, Nilsson Schmilsson. I think that i just liked the name. He fits perfectly into my current Muppet music obsession, since it turns that the Muppets did a cover of the “Coconut” song… how could they have not done a cover? It’s more fun in any case to have the “Coconut” song stuck in my head than “Jet” right now. Damn it. I should have typed “Jet”. It’s stuck in my head again… you put the lime in the coconut and drink it all up see? All better! I love the bouncy sound to it. How during the second chorus of saying “doctor” each time the second vocal track whizzes off into the echo, in a drunken monkey madness. How there’s Woo-woo! and Yah-yah! and Whoa-whoa! in the song for the simple joy that they should there. Okay, so it’s novelty song… it’s a cool album for more than that. However, that’s all i care to comment on today, and if it was thirty minutes of just the “Coconut” song, i could see definite times where that’s the only album i would want or need to play, and still might have to put it on repeat. It evokes a giddy state of a lowered consciouness.

For all i know, I might never visit this site again, but in a quick search for interviews with Danielewski, to see if he was sincerely trying or full of shit, i found Flak Magazine’s review of House of Leaves. It’s worth mentioning for just this sentence, “In many ways, reading “House of Leaves” is akin to what it must have been like when turntable owners in the ’60s and ’70s discovered they could play their Beatles, Electric Light Orchestra and Led Zeppelin Records backward.” Yeah! That’s what i should have written! I have no clue what that would make Pynchon, but House of Leaves as the ELO of the cut-up, annotated novel makes perfect sense! (hmmm… Pynchon as the Beatles? Nah… Stravinsky? better.) He seems like a nice enough fellow in his interview, and i’m glad that he’s succeeded, but it confirmed my negtivity about the novel. He’s more concerned about the obvious symbolism in the fonts than the mechanics of the actual story. Goodbye Blue Sky!

(i really did enjoy the book. Please overlook any harshness on my part.)

Bush uses “scientifically” as a verbal crutch as much as i use “actually” and “really,” which is kinda cute… except he has speechwriters, and i don’t. And i actually and really mean to use those words….and he is lying when he says “scientifically”. And shit. (Just a little more verbal diarrhea for you.)

Wanna know why Bush’s tax cuts expire in 2011? Check your Mayan calendar! He’s in on it!

And faith based charity…. it sounded like a crock of shit to line the pockets of certain religious organizations to keep them toeing the right-wing line… but according to the actual budget, they are not even going to follow through with this? This is not a matter of being bi-partisan and working towards a spirit of compromise. It’s just weird.

And a bizarre story that the American general who formerly headed NATO wanted to attack Russian troops in Kosovo? Did this really happen? According to this, only a sensible British general stood in his way. Creepy.

I saw the stories of the new photos of the Face on Mars. I’m still unconvinced of NASA’s stance. Why? they weren’t even trying to get good shots. Check this out.

Weird spider web stuff in Saudi Arabi. I was listening to NPR this morning, and there’s a faction that was complaining about the U.S. military personnel that are still there, long after the Persian Gulf War. Almost certainly it’s related to chemtrails and those strange military aircraft, even though the witness says no.

But to hell with all that. I want a baby Chupacabra.

Anyway, i’m now reading Mary Doria Russell’s The Sparrow, and fully intended to finish it last night, but read a book about rampant corruption at Disney instead. Depressing stuff. No further comment.

Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 05.29.01

It’s embarrassing to explain to explain that the reason why i’ve not been updating the website is because i’ve destroyed my own computer. When i returned from Mike and Stephanie’s wedding, the Athlon that my brother has been promising for over a year was waiting. In no time, I had the computer dismantled & rebuilt around the new CPU & motherboard. Unfortunately, with conflicting drivers, registry errors, & corrupt .CAB files, the Athlon driven computer was more crippled than the lightning-fried K6-2 one. Trying to rebuild the old one has been a lost cause as well. For now, i’ll have to post when i can on borrowed on computers, until i’m in Wales with Louise.

It’s maddening how much i’ve had to miss… Jeffords going independent & possibly lifting the Republican stranglehold on the Senate (but with scumbag Democrats like Breaux and Landrieu, so what? They voted for Shrub’s evil budget plan) several amusing Pitchfork reviews (Weezer, Tool, & REM) the track listing & commentary on SFA’s new album, which seems potentially brilliant (despite repeated mentions of the Beach Boys,) and lots of reports & photos of chemtrails throughout the U.S.

It tickled me when Tool outsold REM on their release date, mostly because i like to see marketing by corporations go wrong. The last time i checked, they were running dead even in the store. That’s a pity, because, without a doubt, Reveal is a good (not great, so far) album, perfect for doing housework, while Tool’s Lateralus merely gives me a big old headache. (Not that i need a defense, but i bought the Tool album as a wedding present for Mike, and Reveal for myself, as what’s $12 difference going to make with the obscene prices of plane tickets.) I’ve seen Tool in concert twice, & feel like their hearts are in the right place sometimes, but Lateralus is just a big Blah. I like them for the precise reason that Brent does not… “gothic stop-motion Primus” sounds entertaining to me. Someone else wrote that Lateralus is Tool’s Lark’s Tongue in Aspic. Wrong. It’s Tool’s Thrak. Lark’s Tongue in Aspic had a definite organic feel & some fiery inspiration. Thrak was muddle-headed experiments in formalism that wound up being used extensively in sports highlight films… now apply that to the Tool aesthetic. A big yuck, huh? Here… say it with me…. Yuck.

As for REM’s Reveal, it’s definitely okay. The allusions to Document had me looking for a kind of raw, garage rave-up, especially since Peter Buck has been playing with Scott McCaughey and getting surly on airlines. Nope… just a nice housework album, meditatively washing the dishes, contemplatively folding the towels… which makes me think of the people that pick up Reveal from the display racks to examine it. Young couples with a toddler or two, bent on being respectable and upright, but wanting to cling to a band of their “rebellious” youth, even though they might have really been rocking out to Bon Jovi.. you know… the obvious target market. Anyway, originally i planned to make fun of how the album’s cover looks a lot like the Burger King version of Two Against Nature, but where does one go with a comment like that?.

By the way, i just don’t care about Weezer. i remember 1994. i remember the Blue Album. i remember the hoards of guys ironically wearing buttondown shirts with names that was not theirs on the upper left breast. i remember the girls who loved them. Outsiders, my crooked-toed foot… it all struck me as an inverted mating strategy at the time, and it still does now.

Without being able to get online, it’s been easy to read. I plunged through the second book in Pullman’s Dark Materials trilogy The Subtle Knife, to be surprised how theoretical physics & heretical theology are tossed about as child’s play. It feels even more vindicating than before for pushing these books on kids who have finished the four Harry Potter books, but were not ready for the Lord of the Rings. Aside from the comcepts that it introduces in such easy terms, it doesn’t follow the standard trilogy formula, like… oh, Star Wars. Consider how Empire Strikes Back was the the darkest, and in a sense, the most satisfying (for me.) So far, the Dark Materials trilogy seems to have that flavor, of redemption only through great loss, and when one thinks that the loss has been paid in full, and it’s time for the upswing in fortunes, the bottom drops out.

Finished James Morrow’s Only Begotten Daughter, but felt a little cheated, as i didn’t know that it it was the dry-run for the Corpus Dei trilogy. It revisits most of the same conflicts, images, and even a character or two. it’s hard to fault him too much, as right when i start to kick myself for plowing onwards, as it would be better to move on to another of his books, like the Eternal Footman, and then he’ll toss out a phrase or sentence that will leave me floored with amazement. Hell, sometimes just laughter, as while describing the smell of the muzzle of a pistol as being like “Robbie the Robot’s asshole” isn’t necessarily brilliant, it’s weird comic relief in a suicide scene. I’ve read four of his books so far, and feel devastated at the end of each one, but i keep coming back for more, as the surreal narratives are addictive.

I also managed to read House of Leaves, recommended for over a year by my now ex-coworker Merritt (yeah, i finally quit my job at the bookstore.) David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest, and all those damned footnotes left me feelign mighty ambivalent a few years ago, although i should give him another try now that the chemicals that were fogging my perception are gone, as House of Leaves proved to be engrossing, even if deeply flawed once i finished. Large sections of the book seemed to be filler & dead ends… not necessarily, “Aha! Gotcha!” clever dead ends, but accidental deadends, in which the author decides to keep something tidy or mysterious, but merely leaves a reader irritated. For example the second narrator Johnny Truant (as the first narrator would be the anonymous editor) keeps hinting about Zampano & what motivates him. Unfortunately, it never seems to come to fruitio. As i’ve read reviews after completing the book, Zampano is a take on Borges, a literary puzzlemaster (somethign i would never have noticed, as i don’t have that kind of literary depth.) However, who is Zampano supposed to be in the context of the book?

Even Danielewski seems to have forgotten that Zampano was writing about a book that Johnny Truant could not find any proof of its existence. A facile explanation would be that Truant was too far gone in psychosis to remember that most of the footnotes were inaccurate or outright lies. It definitely bugs me that no one ever asks why. No one explores Zampano’s relationship with the stray cats, after that detail is mentioned. No idea is ever fleshed out about how Truant keeps having seemingly meaningless sex with women who are acquainted with Zampano. Right when it seems to be becoming a theme, it’s punctured and forgotten. It’s arguable that that the structure of the book is like the house itself, but it’s obvious where Danielewski intends that. These trapdoors fight against the notion of an unornamented labyrinth winding back into the world.

When i was reading House of Leaves, i was enthralled, even reading the book by flashlight when the power went out (and it truly could not get much more properly atmospheric than that.) Now that i’m finished with the book, i’m left with too many questions, & not the kind a mystery leaves, but second-guessing the motives of the author. One of the oddest clues to that was a throwaway piece of cross-marketing, saying that one can “hear” House of Leaves on the new Poe album. I remember Poe, even though she’s an artist that i never contemplate. Checking the trusty old AMG, it seems that Danielewski and Poe are brother and sister, and their father was a documentary filmmaker. Suddenly House of Leaves seems less than a sloppy pseudointellectual game, & more like an awkward veiled confessional. No, i don’t know what i prefer it to be. It was an enjoyable book, in its peculiar way, but challenging in ways the author possibly did not intend.

Damien’s new album Lark has been delayed. I was already having problems with time, money, & paperwork, but it turns out that Damien wants another album as the first “official” Zygote Records release, Onanism. All i know is that it’s supposed to be less pop, but with Damien, that often only means odder lyrics and more sonic experimentation, as he’s hardpressed not to write a catchy melody. Lark is not even to be released next according to the currenbt schedule, but a folkish album called Tail of the Shadow. Damien’s also mentioned that Zane’s confirmed that he’s compiling a new album. Instead of excitement, i feel impatience, and anger at myself, as i feel more like an obstacle than a facilatator.

I give up. I’m now obligated to buy Radiohead’s Amnesiac. I heard “I Could Be Wrong” on the radio, & the perverse appropriation of the Outlaw Country Guitar seized my attention, making me wonder if Radiohead really does have a sense of humor, or at least, a sense of the absurd that can pass as humor. Innovation (or what is intended to be innovation) does seem all that worthwhile if a sense of humor is not involved.

To break with all reality… my Paul McCartney renaissance came through… surprise, Damien. Paul just seemed to be a tired, worn-out boring fucker after the Beatles. While i avoided rock music until my late teens, that was an avoidance excepting all that music deemed inoffensive enough to be pumped into every shopping mall and supermarket. The number of times that i must have heard “Jet”, “Live & Let Die”, and “Band on the Run” by the age seventeen was innumerable, and really… quite inexcusable. When i began listening to the Beatles, Paul was the Muzak Beatle. Solo McCartney seemed to be as interesting as Yanni or Kenny G. It was surprising to discover that the “Uncle Albert/ Admiral Halsey” song was not by the Beatles, but just plain old Paul, but it just didn’t seem worth the trouble. It was not until i started playing Guided by Voices albums to Damien that he answered with the first two solo Paul records, saying that if i wanted warm, homey Beatlesque sounds, that GbV was great, but Paul did it first and better. Listening to these albums back to back on a rainy summer afternoon in still revelatory. Taking the albums out of context with McCartney’s career, but keeping the songs in context with the albums… yeah, these are wrongly maligned! No fair! However, the only reason i’m thinking of any of this is because that new McCartney and Wings comp was on in-store play for Barnes & Noble, and it was driving me, a McCartney sympathizer, bonkers. Every hours or so, i had to remind myself that he meant well, and was not trying to poison my mind with nonsensical words and melodies that barred all higher thought. Damned Muzak Beatle!

Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 05.18.01

Today i shall be a cockfarmer. In a fit of mediocrity, i listened to World Cafe on KSLU on the way to work. That’s somewhat unfair (note “like” and not “love”,) many of the artists pop up on World Cafe. However, most honestly, there’s a lot of tepid singer/songwriters on there, as well as a bunch of toothless revivalism (pick one, pick any vaguely rootsy genre.) I put it on to laugh at it, to sneer arrogantly how much Damien’s Lark is (although that’s essentially playing solitaire with a stacked deck and marked cards.) However, to my perpetual embarrassment, i too embraced conservative critical canon. First came Tim Buckley… and while i totally missed the lyrics, after hearing him sing, it was a “wow” experience. The seemingly overrated bastard could be sublimely transcendent in just a few sung notes. It was time to slap my forehead against the steering wheel. Then came another dead bastard, Gram Parsons, who i’ve held responsible for the rise of bands like the Eagles (and his fondness of those damned Nudie suits was just perverse,) only what i heard was so unEagles… so natural, so vital, so instantly familiar to something in my bones from my childhood… yeah, i loved it. I was ready to break the CD music moratorium over him. To hell with curiosity about the new Weezer, new Tool, and new REM… Gram Parsons was where it’s at. (i didn’t.) So please call me a conservative canonical cockfarmer today.

I truly hate making up my mind to be against something, and then falling in love with the music anyway. Brain versus heart… and the brain almost always loses out.

In my goony explorations of rock’s past, i haven’t really turned around to look at now in rock. Sure, i have the latest Guided by Voices and Bonnie Prince Billy, but when it comes to playing futurist and divining what may transpire in few years, i become extremely myopic. Through NYLPM (and the whole truth be known, a couple of my friends at the bookstore, but NYLPM allowed me to rationalize and describe) i’ve learned to appreciate the sounds of Timbaland and the Neptunes. However, while i never found reason to mock Brent DiCrescenzo’s whacked-out Radiohead reviews, as they seemed appropriately gonzo, i cannot bring myself to love Radiohead. They are likable, worth respecting, and i own most of their work, but if i cannot repeatedly goad myself into a rabid frenzy, something seems amiss.

I like the Stop Smiling review/article on Amnesiac, if only to curse my luck at having my CD burner rendered useless, as a mix of Radiohead, the Beta Band, the Neptunes, the Dismemberment Plan, Outkast, Super Furry Animals, Timbaland, and maybe some Clinic. Then i could pretend that i too am on the vanguard of the future, but i really got all of those albums and songs because they made me want to jump and around, and grin madly…. except for poor old Radiohead. I felt ethically obligated to support Radiohead’s Kid A. I cannot figure out what is missing for me. I became vaguely interested when i saw Yorke spazz-dance on the “Idioteque” video, but i still think i need something else that will make me laugh. Maybe if Yorke dressed up as the Blinky Bear, and bit a journalist, i could feel that vibe. It would be easier for him to do that than for me to pretend that i knew where pop music is going and when.

This has to be a joke. I’ve learned to shrug off any appearance in Neutral Milk Hotel in Top Tens, as i just like to go off on NMH on principle, not on musicality. Manic Street Preachers… if i can had to cast aside my perverted anti-Mangum fetish (who i am feeling weirdly sympathetic for, now that i finally saw just ONE well-written, bad review,) Keeeee-RIST! There’s just nothing redeemable about the Manic Street Preachers, as the pretentious mediocrity is excruciating. The Holy Bible? What else came out in 1994? Probably ten other records that deserve to be on there more. I was going to start in about Super Furry Animals, but why use a cannon to dispatch a mosquito? (Besides, it doesn’t fit the 1994 thing there.) Stone Temple Pilot’s Purple is classier! And they ave three words in their name too! Ha!

Seriously… if one is looking for a monolithic Rock Statement, one cannot go wrong with Julian Cope’s Jehovahkill or Peggy Suicide. And he’s still alive. What’s all the fuss with Dead Bastards? Even my new fondness for Gram Parsons and early Tim Buckley has not weakened my Dead Bastard stance.

Oh yeah… back to that sudden softening in my NMH prejudice… i was listening to KSLU again on the way home last night, and the guy Corbett was playing lots of emo again. It pisses me off that i cannot pick WWOZ ( i must write about the hipness of that station soon) or WTUL, so i hung through it, just seeing how bad it was going to get (pretty good, actually, as some nutty Japanese pop came on, as well as Fantomas!) but i was actually cursing the DJ for his workmanlike tastes, and hoping that he’d play that Major Organ album. I could get all fiery righteously angry about the wakery and indulgence, and yell at the radio, “Make a real album you bastard!” because secretly, in my deepest core, i believe that he probably can. His voice still drives me batty, and i feel like some of the lyrics and behavior are affectations, and i still have Jen Ledet to curse, but i’d rather listen to the critically panned Major Organ, than another block of emo songs that have lyrics containing, “remember”, “summer”, or “feelings”. Damn it. After repeated exposure, emo is beginning lyrically to sound like a strident Boston or REO Speedwagon.

All of this nonsense about a missle defense shield looks a lot stupider when one finds out how many terrorist groups posses nuclear devices, devices that are not delivered by missles. Defense shield equals stupid, wasteful boondoggle. The U.S. might as well build a Great Wall along all of its borders if it wants to be so xenophobic and isolationist, because it would be more effective than a Missle Defense Shield. I fear that one day that someone might actually seriously propose that Great Wall idea though. Lots of Americans are becoming loony about the Chinese anyway.

Ain’t it scary that McVeigh keeps insisting that he acted alone? The more he protests, the more obvious it is that he’s trying to protect the people that helped him… meaning that there are more domestic terrorists on the loose, or the US government has promised him a nice setup for his family in exchange for his cooperation in the coverup. I’m not even convinced that elements of the government were not involved in the first place, as i’ve seen some crazy articles pointing that way!

I gotta go stand in my friend Mike’s wedding tomorrow. He and Stephanie are getting married down in Gonzales, and i’m not the least bit prepared. Whoops.

Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 05.17.01

More on the Move… while i prefer the mid-period stuff, and sometimes consider that thunderous proto-pop-metal stuff to be nearly a different band, i love that heavy stuff by the Move too. Hell, “Lightning Never Strikes Tiwice” has one of the best uses of a sitar in a ’60s song for me, right up there with the Stones’ “Fade to Black”. I like it better than Cream anyway, as it goes without saying that i turn a baleful eye towards anything with Eric Clapton in it. “Hello Suzie” is proto-Cheap Trick! That reminds me of what a twisted bastard Roy Wood was, with all of his creepy allusions to stalking and misfits characters, an obvious hero for Rick Neilson. It really makes me like the Move all that much more for creating sad, syrupy stringfilled songs like “Beautiful Daughter” within months of “Brontosaurus”.

Those wacky folks on ILM… they organized a poll of their favorite albums. I’m so glad that i didn’t vote, as while i like almost all of the albums, it just comes across a little nonsensical… like all lists really. I want to tossle everybody’s hair, and saying, “Aw… that’s so sweet. I didn’t know you cared.” Sometimes i’ve worried that i’m lurking among the NOW GestaPOP on those boards, but they’re so darned cute when they are conservative. Seriously… i think some lurkers must have stuffed the ballot box, and ILM being a democracy, they let it slide.

I watched “The West Wing” last night, and would be raving about it this morning, as it contained one of the oddest moments in television that i recall in awhile, in which the President because angry with God, after the death of an old friend, and then begans an indictment of God with all of the misfortunes that befall humanity every day. That was strange enough for mainstream television, but when he furiously began spewing Latin, i was about to break out in a fit of giggling. I loved it! Unfortunately, while the intensity of the writing and the acting did not step down one iota in the next fifteen minutes, that bastard “Snuffy” who scores the show stuck a damned Mark Knopfler song in there, and fucked up the whole thing with sappy mawkish-rawkish bravado. I guess that they were trying to go with that cowboyish “one man’s battle” nonsense, but that’s never what i like about “The West Wing”. I love the idealization of what politics could be in, with duty to the People at the front of one’s thoughts, and that feeling seems served best by a sappy, utterly disposable, sweeping orchestral score than fucking Mark Knopfler.

Sheesh… site of the week on NYLPM? That’s a nice honor, but i feel weird about the site’s writing being referred to as “intelligent” by Tom. I do pride myself on the length of posts and regularity, but that’s kind of like the kid in school with perfect attendance, which is nothing that i’d ever aspire to before. Intelligent? He must be something alluding to some quality akin to that “intelligent” dance music. Yeah.

I picked up the master of the “official” debut of Zygote Records yesterday evening from Damien. It seemed it was going to be a matter of scrawling some directions on a blank piece of paer, and tossing it in the post. Now it’s turning into a huge production of faxes, phone calls, film that i didn’t know we needed from the estimate i received, signatures of releases… I hoped to use CDman, but i’m wondering whether there’s a simpler way to do this. (Email me if you have a suggestion.) My Big Worry last night whether Lark was not going to be as strong as Sunfield or Jinx, and i shrugged it off, as it’s still one of the best albums i’ve heard for this year, even if i’m completely biased in every respect, and now that I’m listening to it again at a proper volume with few distractions (as last night i didn’t need to explain “Test Tube Jesus” so it was at minimal level,) i feel silly for worrying about that. It’s the best kind of skewed pop (even a wee bit sick, actually) one can get out of simple guitar and keyboard (rather acoustic this time round,) with a perfect clear voice, on an old four-track. Once again, the Big Obstacle is Working Within the System.

Watch out for that Monkey Man. Apparently he has three buttons in his chest in which he can also become invisible, and extra-strong. I love stories like this better than more substantial stuff. Hysteria is fascinating. There’s more stories here in New Delhi’s Pioneer city section, where it’s already being delcared a fraud, but i will not let go of a good Monkey Man story unless absolutely forced.

Boston Globe takes note of Cheney’s weird remark about conservation of energy resources as indulging personal virtue. Screw that, even if he is right by numbers. Think of a change of consciousness of the public, to conserve, and those numbers will add up. Brazil is going to have worse blackouts this summer than California, as to be expected, but it’s perfectly okay for us Americans to keep wasting energy, as it’s American to live in luxury. Ari Fleischer said so himself.

Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 05.16.01

This is the point which i become pissed off at my own sloppiness in writing about music, about anything… “baroque psych-pop”? I feel uncomfortable with slapping that label on the Move. I had “Blackberry Way” and “Curly” on the brain, two of my favorite Move songs. However, as i was at work yesterday, bored out of my head with inaction in the cafe, the intro to “Brontosaurus” began lumbering through, like a nagging conscience. Then songs like “Lightning Never Strikes Twice” and “California Man” (unbelievable that i forgot this one, since i was playing Cheap Trick to death recently) seep through. Damn it. It wasn’t even as if anyone was going to call me on it anyway. Besides, I muddled writing about the sound of the Creation even more… but i enjoy the Move more. Yeah, yeah… they’re supposed to be a “second tier” even more than the Creation. The Creation had Pete Townsend trying to poach the guitaist Phillips, and even had Townsend join the Creation fan club, but the Move had Roy Wood playing Frankenstein with “Strawberry Fields” and “Penny Lane” to create “Blackberry Way which is damned near perfect as a derivative song can be. Lester Bangs and Julian Cope could find brilliance in bands aping the Rolling Stones badly. Why is it so hard to honor a man who managed occasionally to out-Beatles the Beatles? Prejudice!

I meant to come back and elaborate on that notion, but why bother? It’s silly enough as it is.

At first, it was difficult to take Julian Cope at his word about Krautrock in the early ’90s, but fortunately Damien already had some most cool Amon Duul 2 albums that he made great tape comps from. (And these were supposedly the “lesser” efforts from the mid ’70s, when they were accused of incorporating cabaret elements.) It was fairly easy to embrace Cope’s promotion of Krautrock then, but in reading about Neu! and Faust, i was lost. That was obsessive collector territory. There was no way that i could afford the import CDs, let alone the old vinyl. I don’t even know whether there were any import CDs actually. This might as well be the music of the Atlantean (Antarctica. Don’t believe i’ll let that go for a second.) civilization.

Now the market is glutted. In the issue of Uncut, both a boxed set of Faust and three CDs from Neu! are reviewed. Neu! beats the shit out of Faust, seemingly, from what i’ve read, for the exact same qualities. Remember, i’ve never consciously heard either of these bands…. only read article after article, and many references to them. According to these Uncut reviews (Faust’s by Ian McDonald and Neu! by Simon Reynolds. I only just started following who rock journalists are, so please forgive me for just knowing their names, not what they stand for) Faust are merely a bunch of stoners in the shadows of Can, Zappa, and the VU, but Neu! references nothing, only spawning through parthenogenesis the likes of Berlin Bowie, Stereolab, Spiritualized, and Sonic Youth. Without the ability to listen to them, i feel that something is amiss. The second side of Faust is “slung together.” When Neu! runs out of money to record side 2 of Neu! 2, and merely plays one single twice more at strange speeds, it’s genius. Are you sensing the disparity too? Just look at the photos. Faust has some sweaty, hairy madman in nasty slacks jamming on a double neck guitar. Neu! has a tasteful black & white shot of its geniuses in repose. Maybe this is the way that it’s supposed to be. However, it seems very trend driven from here, with the heaps of hipster liner notes thrust upon Neu!

Perhaps i’m a fool for taking Julian Cope at his word on the genius of both bands, but these Uncut reviews seem to reek of favoritism through image and elitism. Maybe the actual numbers of stars for each is correct, but the actual assessments seem lacking. Oh, yeah…. my assessments are always lacking… but they are paid for it. I’m just goofing off to have fun.

It was amusing at Barnes and Noble yesterday, as the corporation seems either to have completely misjudged its demographic, or it got slapped in the face for trying to push its agenda. We had 45 of R.E.M.’s Reveal (and 45 more on order!) We sold just one. We had five Tool albums, and they were all gone shortly after noon. The one Weezer was gone before 11:30 AM. (Even though i’m tickled silly by another bitter Pitchfork review, this time for Weezer, we still should have had more than one!) By the way, i feel quite stupid that I didn’t realize that Maynard has been wearing wigs and bald caps, but i like him even better for those kind of theatrics for some reason.

Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 05.15.01

To keep from thinking too much about those bands on the second Nuggets boxed set, it seems a good idea to revisit the ones on there that i do know. It may seem counterintuitive, but this is the way it works for me. I can get my fill of a genre fairly quickly. Anyway, because of all of the Alan McGee nonsense, it seemed best to listen to the Creation… who don’t sound a thing like anything that was ever on the Creation label to me, which only supports everyone else’s notion that Alan McGee was a coke-addled jackass. Whoops. That’s not what i was going for. As much as i love the raw punch of the production, the wild feedback of the guitars (sometimes it sounds more buzzsawish than anything that i can think of offhand,) and the general moddishness of it all, it’s hard to listen to the albums that i have because they are for collectors… every single alternate take and mix is thrown into the stew, and it detracts from flow. When one culls the top tracks from the two double LPs, and condenses it down to “Making Time”, “How Does It Feel to Feel”, “Biff Bang Pow”, “Painter Man”, one has one of the best damned EPs of the ’60s. It’s easy to see why the ’60s Brit obsessives have been become cultish in their devotion, but why they continue after they have every bit of recorded output is a mystery.

Then again, after that, my ears are hurting again, as the sound is muddy and harsh. That’s why it took me years to reach back to the early Pretty Things and early Small Faces. There’s a place for that, but that’s party of the reason why i latched onto the more baroque psych-pop stuff like the Move, as it was more sugarcoated. Yeah, i’m a sissy sometimes, but this is something odder. I actually find the dissonance of the VU’s “Sister Ray” less abrasive than early British R&B. I cannot put my finger on why right now, because i just figured out this anomaly.

I love this Pitchfork review of Major Organ and His Adding Machine. First, the reviewer comes to a “What the fuck is this? moment. The disappointment over the noodling is overwhelming, yet he continues to stick the blame on characters like Julian Koster, Kevin Barnes, and Bill Doss. It’s a deeply codependent relationship, as the reviewer still makes remarks like saying sometimes a brilliant musician creates a single wanky album and it’s still forgivable, and in accepting the annoying nature of this album (most cheesily) “no amount of man gum can patch that up.” Actually, think about how many records that poor Mangum is on, and how many of them are brilliant. Now please stop raising your Mangum expectations so high, and everyone will be a lot happier. It irks me, frustrates you, and probably makes Mangum’s tasks a lot harder.

Via Glorious Noise. An interview on Salon with Christgau. (i need to start paying attention to linking to the backdoor version of news sites more.) It’s funny that he’s sticking with his notion that Radiohead sucks, (even though even i think he’s wrong,) as well as Dr. Dre (and i agree with him just to be a bastard, as i don’t like Dre,) yet he admits that he was wrong about the Wu-Tang Clan. I still don’t know whether he’s right or not, but it’s nice to see him admit that he can be wrong. It’s also amusing to see him clinging onto Sleater-Kinney. A few days ago, it would have seemed like more evidence that he’s a stuffy asshole, but now he just seems more human (in the sad way) and extremely crazy. Records are not comforting to him. None of them! What a horrible confession! Get his man in a support group. And then there’s the notion of the book that he hopes to write of the entire history of popular music… going back to Ancient Greece. This is from a man who could not even write a comprehensible “consumer guide” on the ’90s! What fuels this obsession of “more is better?” Did he have a secret obsession with the Guinness Book of World Records as a youth, or did that competitive relationship with his father skew his values more than he realizes? “Yeah… yeah…. and i can do it in…. 6,725 words! Tops! I know i can! All I have to do is invent a new alphabet, with special pictographs… Hey! Give me back my keyboard!”

Through Lukelog, there’s a write-up on the next offering from David Lynch, Mulholland Drive. I actually skipped most of the article, because i don’t want to know too much.

There’s a bunch of weird stories floating about how dear old VP Dick Cheney has no presidential ambitions, that he’s just a good old guy that loves to work… why is’nt it just stated outright that he’s really the acting president? This kind of reporting is rather creepy, as it ignores the obvious implications of the observations and the answers.

Gorillaz is getting a TV special! goody, goody… i cannot wait for the righteous backlash of disgust on ILM.

Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 05.14.01

Still cannot enjoy listening to much music. Cold has developed into congestion, and congestion into earache. Had to call in sick today, as working yesterday only aggravated the illness, which is really minor, but why bother to push my luck? Anyway…

Wow! I cannot believe that this story about alien bacteria being revived in Italy is not on more front page headlines. It supports the panspermia theory, which i forgot that Francis Crick even came forward to support recently. Note that some scientists are saying that the organisms are too similiar to terrestrial ones, while others are claiming that their genetic code is entirely diffrent. Who am i supposed to believe? I want more hard research, and hopefully, because this is being mentioned by Discovery news, it’s more in the mainstream of science than the other stuff i love to post. How this might fit in with the discovery of an ancient seabed near the Great Wall of China, and what kind fossils of early bacteria they might find there is hard to imagine too. It can only be hoped that they find complex organisms earlier than the establishment expects. So what if i’m biased?

Via Metafilter. An awesome article on the mummies found in the Tarim Basin of the Xinjiang province of China. It’s interesting that this researcher Victor Mair is intent upon connecting these mummies to the European Iceman Otzi. No, i don’t have a clue in my foggy state of mind to connect to my obsession of lost advanced civilizations all around the globe, but whether whether it fits this maniacal notion or not, I like accepted historical doctrince being turned on its head.

The FBI has a sense of humor. In checking this piece about an old Air Force document to the FBI released through the Freedom of Information Act, I found that the FBI has all kinds of odd stuff open to the public, from investigations on cattle mutilations to UFO sightings. Yes, the document does check out as really being on the FBI’s site, but i feel more amused than shocked or surprised.

Via Raindogs. An odd piece on the death of rock and roll being actually when someone loudly declares it’s over, when actually, he’s stopped listening. The allusion to Colonel Kurtz’s last words is somewhat nice, but Kurtz did die soon afterwards. Rock’s not dying. And yes, Hornby did screw up saying only a 16 year old could care about Kid A, but many weblogs have pointed that out before. I guess that it matters that Hornby thinks that only a 16 year old from born before 1970 is supposed to matter. Christgau is a bad example for someone who is still listening, because while he claims that more great music is being produced than ever before, he’s doing an awful job classifying and grading it. Anyway, the piece is appreciated.

I agree. I don’t think that this new “crowned face” on Mars is created by intelligent design. It just doesn’t have the feel of the the orginal face.

Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 05.13.01

As far as I’m concerned, Lou Reed is still dead.

Although i could not get through much of the book, as i just cannot concentrate, I started on The Golden Compass by Phillip Pullman. I borrowed it from the store thinking it was a pulp novel, and would offset the adult nature of anythign else I was reading. Wrong. It’s a Great Book, nested in between Harry Potter and C.S. Lewis (not just the Narnia books, but the theological wrestling of his Space Trilogy.) Am only halfway through it, but i should pay more attention to what kids buy in that store, as apparently they have better taste than the adults.

Forget all of this recount of overvotes and undervotes. They still have not accounted for the police roadblocks, polling places closed early, and voters being purged from the records illegally. Those people never got a vote.

The FBI really does have dossiers on most American citizens, and most of these files are filled with useless and misleading information. If you read this article, the writer explores his own file, and finds it bizarrely misleading. The FBI only spends about $8 million per year on this largely nonsensical information, but it still leaves me baffled as to how much of this could prove useful, and why it’s necessary for the FBI to have any of it, accurate or not.

If I’m here in Louisiana for the next senate election, I will vote for a moderate Republican before i vote for Senator Breaux, as he’s sold out yet again on the budget. At least i could trust a moderate Republican to get more opposition.

Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 05.12.01

Douglas Adams died yesterday. He was only 49 years old. It was of a heart attack. I haven’t read one of his books in years, but i loved his books in my teens, and could recite long passages out of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy back then. I’m still convinced that he should have quit after the first three Hitchhiker’s books, leaving So Long and Thanks for All the Fish and Mostly Harmless as apocryphal. It’s not hitting me as hard as i thought it might, as I became rather pissed off with him for becoming so bitter and angry with what he was most famous for. (the text adventure game for Hitchhiker’s is still one of the most fun computer games that i’ve ever played.) I wish that he had not died so young, and hope that he was not as unhappy and joyless as that last Hitchhiker’s book hinted. No, i didn’t read anything else after that.

Via NYLPM, via Scrubbles… (is this the way that internet etiquette supposed to work? isn’t this like the proliferation of hyphenated surnames?) a second boxed set of Nuggets! Okay, it’s nice, but i’m faking my enthusiasm. It’s several years too late for me. From the track listing, it turns out that i own about half of these tracks, and have heard most of them, and there’s a reason why i don’t own them. There would be gaping holes in my collection without the Move, the Creation, Tomorrow, the Small Faces, and the Pretty Things. In my mind, there’s a hole of the collection of anyone who deeply cares about ’60s pop music who isn’t familiar with them, even if they hate the bands. Somewhere around here, i have copies of the Twilights, the Action, the UK Kaleidescope, We All Together, Les Fleur De Lys, the Idle Race, Los Shakers, Os Mutantes, and Blossom Toes, all copied from Damien or Zane. Quite a few of the rest are owned by my friends, except we never got around to the trades, and i’m not wringing my hands over them, except for the Easybeats. So i have access to these records already, and the only reason to buy this boxed set might be for the liner notes, and those are online too. (The track by track analysis is the best though.)

No, no, and no. I won’t defend everything on the Poptones label, but i know that this nonsense about Poptones being responsible for harming rock and roll at all is absolute rubbish (although i’d never claim that ILM is responsible for harming rock and roll either.) . It’s a matter of personal taste, and there doesn’t seem to be one post on this ILM thread that confesses that. This is not being accusatory or defensive. It’s just a thread that makes me rather uncomfortable, especially since it seems to be a pro-Poptones person doing all of the fighting. I don’t see the bands on Poptones as a bunch of wannabe Gallagher Brothers, but as obsessive historians, and the wonders of the Nuggets compilations (and others like it) would be lost if someone did not return to that particular well for inspiration, even if the ideas are no longer that fresh. Even the punk and swing revivals have their reasons, and meaningful results. Music is cannibalism even more so than innovation at times. Ugh. I regret even writing about this at all already.

This cold still has me extremely loopy and dull, so it’s not fun to write today. Just want to curl up and sleep, if my nasal passages could just stay clear.