Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 06.30.01

Just got in from going with Lou on a mortgage payment, and she let me run through every record shop we came across. while i managed to control myself in Spiller’s from getting Captain Beefheart’s Ice Cream for Crow and the Seeds reissue of The Seeds/Web of Sound, but we ran across a used CD stall in the market, Kelly’s Records and wound up buying The Dandy Warhols Come Down and Richard Davies’ There’s Never Been a Crowd Like This. I was not even as excited about them as finding an LP that i didn’t buy with this outlandish cover that Damien used to hang on the wall, except i cannot recall whether Beggar’s Opera is truly crap or not. The first album had some brilliantly outlandish costumes though, the kind that would be fun to slap together on an autumn afternoon, and drink bad wine with.

forget all that for now though. What’s important is Sparks! Lou played me a comp tape this morning, before we went out, and it’s really all i can think about. I have not listened to it enough to write anything much, as i have not heard Sparks in years, and i have never heard them quite like this. They are a lot funnier to me now, and the helium vocals are no longer a weakness. I can only hope to pull together some cohensive impressions to write down soon, because while they were a band that i could respect in an oddball way before, they are turning into a band that i love.

The NSA is reading this right now. Then again, they read everything, and i read a recent book that they are relatively incompetent.

Carbon dating is being called into question. Ha ha. All of the evidence that has been stacked against humanity’s presence on the earth longer than science and history says we have is going to wind up stacked on the other side after awhile. Uranium dating is supposedly the way to go.

The brain isn’t the same thing as the mind. Science is going to wind up proving the existence of the soul. That’s another of my bets that i want to wager on, but i don’t want to set a dealine as soon as 2010.

Cool Salon article with astronomer that delves into starseed and intelligent design theories. Darling’s book Life Everywhere looks like a necessary read.

Via Plastic. The G8 meeting this July looks to be dangerous. The Italian seem more moderate, but the Austrians are threatening to shoot protestors. Are things going to continue to escalate at this rate? If 100,000 protestors show up, can the EU really validate the vow of crushing them as ethical? Bush will stay on an aircraft carrier during the Genioa summit. Isn’t this weirdly militarisitic for an economic summit?

Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 06.29.01

Umberto Eco’s Foucault’s Pendulum. I’m still only about 100 pages into the book, but i’m trapped. I keep having to flip back a few pages to make certain i read what i thought that i read. I wish that i had some of my outlandish history books and conspiracy theories all laid out on a table while i’m reading this book, because i get wrapped up in the crazy details that i am somewhat familiar with, concerning the history of the Cathars, Knights Templar and the Grail myth… and actually begin to forget that the book is fiction, and suddenly Eco will throw in something that seems like an intentional error, but instead of being irritating, it has me even more hooked than before, as i don’t know what is real and what is total fiction anymore, because it’s being presented by fictional characters who are liars and frauds. Of course, in real life it’s mostly lies and frauds too. Holy Blood, Holy Grail shows that, often by accident, but the lies and frauds woven together become too seductive to let go of, no matter how unravelled they become. .

These stories of the Bush administration making handguns more readily available, yet simultaneously reducing access to the President for security reasons makes no sense.. well, that’s untrue. It does make a weird sense. It’s just that i’d rather have a president who is readily available to the public than to have a handgun. I don’t want anyone to harm a hair on the head of that sniveling coward bastard that is in the White House now, but i don’t want him or his handlers governing from behind closed doors. It’s creepy. And if Bush is to be protected from this proliferation of hanguns, what about the rest of us? Are we safe if he feels that he is not? Or is this some gamble to get rid of hanguns altogether, by pushing America to one extreme, only to grin broadly when the American people beg to have handguns taken away altogether after the relaxing of sensible waiting periods and background checks has caused enough chaos?

Cheney’s playing games. Considering the current investigation by the GAO into the questionable nature of his Energy Task Force, for once i believe that Cheny is exaggerating the condition of his heart rather than glossing over the severity. It’s a smokescreen, or it’s signifying that he’s losing his control over the situation. Bastard.

I really want to see that show coming on Channel 4 about the 100 Greatest Children’s Shows. It’s bound to have a lot of great songs that i forgot or never knew. Lou’s turned me onto that groovy Roobarb sound, and i need more.

Everyone else is going to post it, and it’s on every mainstream music site, but… Courtney Love is insane. (Via Plastic.) I had no intention of buy a Nirvana boxed set, but this conflict is just stupidly obscene with its pretentious posturing and grasping materiliasm. It’s a rare person who is going to state otherwise, i suspect, but i still feel the need to express that the surviving band members of Nirvana ought to be making most of the decisions, not Courtney Love. The great thing about the short article is the lyrics on the sidebar. It would be no stretch of the imagination whatsoever to accept them as Cobain’s feelings about Courtney. It makes more sense for Kris Novoselic to promote election reform.

Apparently no one on ILM cares as much i do about the White Stripes. Oh, well… at least i can laugh along with the Dave Navarro thread

The Russians are taking their old space shuttle out of mothballs. Hopefully all of us can keep thinking forward instead, and get the space elevator built instead. I didn’t realize that NASA was seriously considering it.

Serious investigation of active volcanism on Mars. No, it’s science, not my conspiracy stuff…

Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 06.28.01

Fuck! I actually was getting a little bored with music the past couple of days, as anyone reading the pages could tell. Now i have some White Stripes mp3s to listen to! Complete delinquent music! Snotnosed garage! I had some mp3s last year, but i lost ’em, and for som reason, every time i read about the Strokes, i wondered about the White Stripes. “Why hasn’t anyone been recording music like this?” my foot! Who wants to sound like the Strokes when you can grab a friend and go DIY apeshit. The White Stripes make Jon Spencer look subtle. Listening to this, i want to get a wheelbarrow full of bricks, haul them upstairs, and play some White Stripes, jumping up and down on the bed, and throwing the bricks at passing cars, to sneer at anyone who dares question my righteous unrighteousness.

The AMG manages to make the White Stripes sound like some intellectual exercise in minimilism, but to me, it sounds like dream practice session that happens once in a lifetime when the rest of the band doesn’t show up, and the two who did show up manage to pull of the improbable. I’m actually eager for the album White Blood Cells to be released on July 3rd.

I found the Clinic news on Pitchfork, but as everyone knows, they don’t give stable links, so it just seems best to parrot what they have… the new album is complete, but it has no title or release date. They also mentioned that four of the songs could be one that were on John Peel last year, “The Bridge”, “Jouster”, “Nuns”, and “Daishki”

We went to that pub down the road to watch the karaoke last night. I’m completely floored by the concept right now, and there’s no way that i can make it more preposterous. Actually, my semi-serious joke about Bowie’s “Life on Mars” falls flat, as it’s really in the machine. Lou’s daring me to carry out my threat as it can be no more insane than what we are seeing. A man in his late seventies did an impassioned rendition of “Steamy Windows” and then a mad interpretation of the Kinks’ “Sunny Afternoon”, with followups by the deranged, six foot five inch stoop-shouldered madman who sings every song in the style of Bob Dylan, and a soulful piece by the local crossdresser, all of thisaccompanied by a pair of inbred twin brothers dancing like someone cut their hamstrings.

No, even i don’t believe that this is the fingerprints of alien activity, but these shots of the odd lights on Jupiter’s moon Io certainly look cool. I don’t know what to make of Varuna though, as now scientisits are claiming it may be a planet, but a few weeks ago, i read some pieces that because of the size of Varuna relative to Charon and Pluto, that they were suspecting that Pluto might truly qualify as a planet.

Feel a little too strung out to write much today. I don’t have the constitution to drink five pints of lager in a smoke-filled room anymore.

Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 06.27.01

The truth is that i wanted to use a line from Air’s “Radio #1”, but i have the lyrics all screwed up, and there’re enough things to make fun of me for besides screwing up simple lyrics.

I get so mad at rock stars when they admit to not knowing something that i think is absolutely essential, even if it’s completely unrelated to their style of music. Yeah, it’s totally irrational, but i have this childish notion that most musicians have an encyclopediac knowledge of pop and rock music that dwarfs my own feeble skills. So when i read about some multi-platinum artist who is being hailed as a masterful craftsman of the pop song, and then says he only heard David Bowie’s Hunky Dory for the first time in the past few weeks, i wonder if he’s a liar, an idiot, or a lucky, lucky person. It’s no big deal if the average person hasn’t heard it, or even if a music lover hates it, but a Pop Star who has not heard Hunky Dory, and even confesses to owning lots of records just to decorate his room, and not to listen to them? That’s infuriating. His rock star license ought to be revoked. The troglodytes who gleefully revel in their ignorance and egomaniacally declare that they don’t listen to other music because they are geniuses are not so bad, but these others… they strike me as even more egomaniacal careerists. Quite often, it’s easy to get the impression that the only reason why they started recording songs is because they want to be famous and make money, not because they love music. This is not a teribly informed opinion, but it’s the gut reaction that i had after reading the Travis interview in NME. I have been actually fond of the band for just being pleasant guys who write pleasant songs, but now i just want to knock Fran Healy about. Can anyone point out some other pop star who might balance this out, who knows too much about pop music?

After all of the Strokes talk, i think i understand a little more of it. I downloaded a track called “Rhythm Song”, a live track, and while it’s sloppy and not recorded all that well, it does have a certain energy to it, but not enough to validate the furor (and in this one, the singer sounds more like Jim Morrison than Lou Reed, which is a lot more interesting with Jim fronting a NY punk band, as the whole Lou Reed thing was done by that Lou Reed guy.) Then there’s “Eller 4” which goes for the throat and gets it over with quick, exciting and fun buut nothing to build a career on. “Hard to Explain” belongs in the soundtrack of some gritty youthful romantic comedy, with some hipster star and starlets, and then the cross-marketing can begin.

In fact, i’ve found another thing that might get hyped, Spiral Stairs’ Preston School of Industry, and despite what Mr. Goldberg says, i find it lacklustre. It seems more sincere than inspired, but admittedly these are live tracks, and there’s no real correlation between live and studio versions in my experience, as the more live Strokes i download, the better they sound.. Then again, i think McCartney’s solo records are better than Lennon’s. And the coolest music that i’ve heard today came on the radio that the workmen are playing, something i never could identify, with a huge cello sound and phased vocals beneath a brass section. For all i know it was Wizzard.

The headline of this story on “intelligent design” is misleading. Evolution is a fact, not hogwash. However, it’s doubtful whether it’s the only mechanism or whether it works precisely as it’s proposed right now. Some biological interactions are too complex to have evolved in 4 billion years. It doesn’t even necessarily point towards intelligent design. even Carl Sagan was partial to the starseed theory, with life arising not on earth, but drifting through space and contaminating the fertile incubator of earth.

Besides… nothing is necessarily “too complex”… it’s all in what one accepts as God. It’s peculiar how conservative the strict evolutionists can be, as all they seem to be able to envision is a white-bearded man in the sky. Why can’t the actual mechanisms that govern the nature of reality be God? Screw that…. time for some Fritjof Capra or Fred Alan Wolf, since i’m just borrowing notions from them. It’s silly that they are arguing about who or what God is capable of and why, when they don’t even know what time is.

This correlation between the Loch Ness Monster and seismic events actually makes sense to me, but not the way that the researcher intends. The correlation seems relevant, but if the creature is only sighted during times like this, it could be pointed out that animals react strangle to earth tremors, and that’s why the creature only appears rarely. See what circular logic and belief in the unprovable can do to you? I’m a wreck.

More of Kennewick Man’s bones are found. Actually, they were just stuck in a neglected shoebox. Damn it. They’ll probably just bury it. I still want to read Skull Wars though, as i’m sympathetic to people wanting to define their own history, but not at the price of dogmatic political correctness. It’s so easy to get overtaken with curiosity, but honestly, i wouldn’yt mind if my relatives were dug up and had their bones analyzed if something interesting would result, even if i disagreed with it. Yes, that’s another cultural attitude being elevated, but i cannot accept that every attitude is valid.

Possibly Yeti hair? It has not been able to have its DNA matched to any known animal, and this is by a professor of Human Genetics at the Oxford Institute of Molecular Medicine, not a zealot amateur cryptozoologist.

Here’s the official odds. (via Plastic again) I’m placing my bets on the discovery of exterrestrial life by 2010, but am bummed out on the cutoff date of 2010, because i’m eager to bet on that polar shift too, not that i wil be able to collect.

Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 06.26.01

It’s a strange day. Last night i was dreaming as if my brain cells were various subdirectories in which i was trying to compile all sorts of Belle & Sebastian rarities and demos, but an incomplete file of “Welcome to the Jungle” wound up in there somehow, in which Axl just kept howling and howling. After awhile, it bled into “A Century of Fakers” and made complete sense, with Axl’s howling instead of the swirling keyboard. My waking hours have not been that much better. I ran down to the Tesco to pick up a head of lettuce and some sugar this morning, but felt people staring at me. I feel like anyone any moment will somehow recognize me as an American, but it didn’t explain why they would be staring. It turns out what i was walking about the store muttering that “Hot Tamales” song by Robert Johnson again. One day, that song is going to get me institutionalized.

Tom Ewing has his Death of Pop piece on Barbelith? I found this on Plastic, where’s there’s even more responses to it. Freaky Trigger is getting around. I don’t really have anything to comment on the article or the responses, as i don’t care for those kinds of pop icons. They mean as much to me as the packaging of a bottle of Coke, and what matters to me is that it doesn’t taste as good as it used to. I’m thrilled to stumble onto Barbelith (which probably means that it’s doomed) which has all kinds of quirky links and interesting points of view, as i saw the links before, and thought that they had something to do with Jane Fonda.

I agree with this Pitchfork review on the song selection of that Apples in Stereo EP, as i hate too much repackaging and alternate takes, but aside from the increasingly lackluster, unspirited reviews, this dreadful seriousness is getting even more wearisome. So they hate cloying children’s music… fine. They just love those imperious, scowling artists, but try to play childish music, “a completely soulless Jackson 5 groove and an annoying, beeping synthesized rhythm?” Does anyone think that sounds like a description of Stereolab? That’s as bad as my hamfisted description yesterday of the Gorillaz mp3s i downloaded, making them roughly analogous to the Beta Band, which is absolute blasphemy.

NME has a tracklisting of the new Spiritualized album. It mentions “heavily orchestral” and that a hundred musician were used for the recording of the album. Yes, i’m eager to hear the album, but i still have to type it… Emerson, Lake and Palmer, anyone?

I feel all weird and awkward about getting into Radiohead again. My brief history with the band: Caught first single “Creep”, and loved it for that moment, but now it seems tame compared to my memory of it. Didn’t care much at all for the album Pablo Honey. Liked the singles from The Bends, but didn’t want to get burned again, as i was relatively broke in those days, and too busy spending what music money i had on getting CDs of stuff that i had taped from Damien’s vinyl. I bought OK Computer only after Zane’s urging, and found it too miserablist for the giddy guitar pop and fetishist lo-fi that i preferred at the time. Thus, even though i have listened to the band for nearly eight years, the rest of you reading this page probably know the band far better than i do. While i get the jokes and the references with Radiohead, i now feel like i’m in a remedial course of some sort with the band. I’ve now downloaded a double-fistful of B-sides, all profiled and examined in the Q feature, and scratching my head once again over what left me cold about the band, as even the B-sides seem to shimmer. Here’s a list just in case anyone else cares to find them, but i’m just not ready to say anything about them, especially when there’s also Amnesiac to listen to:

  • Killer Cars
  • Banana Co.
  • The Trickster
  • Punchdrunk Lovesick Singalong
  • You Never Wash Up After Yourself
  • Maquiladora
  • India Rubber
  • How Can You Be Sure?
  • Talk Show Host
  • Bishop’s Robes
  • Pearly
  • A Reminder
  • Palo Alto
  • Trans-Atlantic Drawl (okay, i can write about this one. It’s the B-side of The Pyramid Song, and even though it just seems to be pissy little rant about music magazine, but it’s an abrasive micro-Frankenstein monster that almost seems like a sop for those still aching for the guitar rock album that many expected Amnesiac to be. I rather like it.)

New albums i long for… Pram and the new Bonny Billy EP. I shall confess nothing else right now.

There’s a most interesting article on Salon about the future of the Internet… not about teleporting cups of coffee through fiber optics or , but about the ever-nastier war between Microsoft and AOL. for all of my paranoia about the government, corporations, even extraterrestrials, i have not been terribly worried about the Web being hijacked just yet. Most of the sites i read are independent, and i probably will stick with Netscape for awhile when i get back to the States, eben though that browser is deader than a doornail. However, this matter of Smart Tags is pretty nasty. There’s no way that this fits into fair trade laws. Passport is no better. Windows XP is not nice at all from what this Salon article says, and in all likelyhood, it will crash constantly too. It’s about time to switch to Linux, and i cannot wait to build my own server.

The General Accounting Office is continuing the pressure on investigating cheny’s Energy Task Force? Oh, come on! he’s never going to stand for this. Cheney has a nasty temper. That’s why that poor buffoon Bush is the front man.

Article on how bodies might be “incorruptible” on Discover.

the Pyramids built by big kites. Bullshit. What they are ignoring is that the Pyraminds were built before there was a desert there to have desert winds. However, no Egyptologist wants to acknowledge that, only geologists. Via Plastic. I’m glad to read in the comments that most readers see the hollowness of the claim, but to claim “ethnocentricty” that the ancient Egyptians could not have built it with Stone or Bronze Age technology? Moron. No, the Egyptians were even more advanced than us “Westerners” give them credit for. Most likely they fell upon another dark age. Even today, we probably could not pull together the resources exactly right to recapture the precision of the Pyramids. Civilization most likely fell with a global cataclysm, and when it falls again, we’ll be lucky that it will rise again. Oh, and even if i want o play conservative, it was NOT done by slaves, but by a citizen workforce in the off-season from farming. Slaves? they’ve been watching “The Ten Commandments” too much.

Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 06.25.01

It’s hard to write about music the past few days, as i have been listening to almost no music the past two days, aside from really getting into the soundtrack of a Miss Marple movie that was on in the background (lots of funky harpsichord,) a bunch of Gorillaz mp3s that i downloaded out of sheer perversity, and some other songs that were downloaded because they were mentioned on other sites. It’s really not a big deal. We went to Bath, and this morning the washing machine began to leak. Anyway…

Glorious Noise tried to champion the Gorillaz album, but even they lost heart, and shrugged it off as not that bad, but certainly not great. The perversity that i was mentioning ais that i have no desire to say anything bad about the Gorillaz album. I really and truly like Blur and Damon Albarn. The song “Clint Eastwood” doesn’t bother me at all, and i rather like the Albarn chorus. The song that Ferrar sings on is pleasant enough as well. However, I have yet to run across anybody who is enthusiastic about the album. Sadly, it didn’t even occur to me to be perverse, and try to find some sort of neglected greatness about it until it’s too late. Even in downloaded mp3s, i completely forgot that i might want to hear any of this album, getting into Scandanavian heavy metal instead. Anyway, i found the rest of the album rather blah. Slowish sparse beats, samey vocals, spacey noises, with occasional acoustic guitar strums (Damn, so far that sounds much like the Beta Band?!) and a guest to break things up a little every few tracks. Admittedly, i kinda like “Rehash” and “5/4” , and parts of other tracks, but the reason i remain lukewarm towards the album is because i like Blur, and find Gorillaz lacking, not because i hate Damon Albarn. I still have not figured out what’s so loathesome about him in comparison to the arrogance of so many other pop stars.

(hours later)In my total lack of inspiration, i picked up the new issue of Q to find an interview with Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett. Delusions that “Clint Eastwood” is as big as “Song 2”, even though every other action movie out of Hollywood uses “Song 2” in the the soundtrack, something “Clint Eastwood” is extremely unlikely to repeat. Lots of bragging about partying, large quantities of drugs, namedropping of Big Stars… okay, i remember why Albarn is so loathesome to so many people, although he still seems no worse than many. However, it’s one of Hewlett’s comment that is relevant, even drawn out into one of the blurbs to be even more obvious, “Twelve-year-olds are probably getting the most enjoyment out of Gorillaz, becuase they’re not thinking, Oh, it’s those two wankers.” (Which Albarn amens shortly afterwards.) See? Music by cartoons. Screw all of this adolescent sexual awakening and avant guarde tech production. If i was twelve years old, Gorillaz would probably be the coolest band in the world.

Yet despite all of this manuveuring and justification for the nonvillification of Gorillaz, i’ve been downloading Radiohead B-sides this afternoon, rather than the rest of the Gorillaz album. Why? Two newly discovered reasons why i think Thom Yorke is cool… One: he talks about the way that Tom Waits records albums (although i think he was thinking about Mule Variations when he said Bone Machine, an easy switch, but i could be wrong… Two: He bought Julian Cope’s book The Modern Antiquarian and went on some of the walking tours… Three: (okay, i said two…) he thinks the horns in “The National Anthem” are funny too.. Four: They were not being ironic or sarcastic in saying that they were inspired by the Ink Spots.

There’s also a short interview with the Beta Band in this magazine. The seriousness makes me wince, but it doesn’t surprise me. Lots of dour resentment at pigeoholers and hipsters, but as uncomfortable as some of it makes me, i agree with almost all of it.

I forgot about the Tindersticks. Vale introduced me to them several years ago (happy birthday Vale) and i lost track of them after Curtains. Although i not in the mood for dark, velvety, brandy-huffing music lately, it’s probably going to turn into a must-have, even though i don’t even own Simple Pleasures. .

Pearls That Are His Eyes is going on hiatus for awhile. Kathleen explains why.

I’d love to attend this art show. It’s more of a nod towards the RE:Search compilations than Rolling Stone or Q flogging back catalogues.

The Henry Kissinger Quote of the Day: (Evian, France, May 21, 1992)

“Today American’s would be outraged if U.N. troops entered Los Angeles to restore order; tomorrow they will be grateful. This is especially true if they were told there was an outside threat from beyond, whether real or promulgated, that threatened our very existence. It is then that all peoples of the world will plead with world leaders to deliver them from this evil. The one thing every man fears is the unknown. When presented with this scenario, individual rights will be willingly relinquished for the guarantee of their well being granted to them by their world government.”

Go down the page to find the boldface headline of Miami Redux. It explains how the preppie Republican thugs that stopped the recount in Miami-Dade last year are getting together to scramble more elections. If you read the account of what happened in Jake Tapper’s book Down and Dirty, this is downright spooky, in a nonparanoid conspiracy-mongering way even.

I feel awkward making any kind of political comments or links on the page right now. Not being in the U.S., i feel less qualified to criticize, as i’m not in my own country to attempt to do something about it. I don’t care what other citizens of the world say, as they are doing what they can from where they are. I joked that i would leave the country if Bush’s people managed to make things worse, and here i am on the other side of the ocean with Louise. The joke’s not so funny now. Much of my righteous fire feels cold now, and it’s a struggle to write anything social or political, and not feel like a total ass. i hope that this is a temporary feeling.

But this Bush quote still scares me, “We should not let legitimate environmental and labor concerns undermine the capacity of the president to make good free trade agreements.” THAT is why he should not be given the fast-track approval than Clinton managed to lose for the presidency, and why everyone should fight the WTO.

Via Plastic. I’m surprised that doctors want those awful consumer designer drug ads off the air. In my experience, doctors are all too triggerhappy with their ballpoint pens and prescription pads. It may seem odd, but i find the story reassuring that there’s more doctors with ethics than i suspected.

Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 06.22.01

I became so addicted to mp3s that i neglected the comp CDs that Michael Orr kindly sent me before i left Louisiana. However, it is hard to shake off that addictive rush one gets from hearing albums that won’t be released for weeks. (Beta Band’s Hot Shots 2 is possibly going to be their best yet. I have four mp3s now, as well as the single, and must restrain myself from spoiling any other surprises that might turn up on the album, even if they are unpleasant ones.) Michael sent a bunch of the latter day power-pop that i wanted to hear, but didn’t know the names to search, like the Judy’s, the Figgs, Teenage Head, and You Am I. So far, my faves of this batch are the Judy’s, as they seem the rawest and closest to recording for the simple love of their own rock icons as anyone else. Skeletally individualistic. Yep. They really do remind me of the Undertones, which is a major plus, and now that i can see that they were underdogs who were practically my neighbors, it’s hard not to love them. Without even an entry for their albums, i feel quite lucky to have these songs. Thanks, Michael!

However, that doesn’t mean that i didn’t download some stuff early this morning anyway. Still a victim of any kind of hype or meme, i sought out some Turbonegro. Nothing. All connections busy. They keep getting mentioned on various weblogs as the band for loud, offensive rock, and my curiosity has boiled over. However, it turns out that the Hellacopters are pretty easy to track down, and a Scandanavian Lynyrd Skynyrd actually does tickle my funnybone (and Otis is an asshole in the best kinda way, leaving me with one of my favorite quotes of the week, “Regression is death, but what’s more rock ‘n roll than death?” I feel like such a fan today. The article annoyed me the first tiem i read it honestly, but today….. ) especially with my little bouts of homesickness. (There’s a carpark being built behind this house, and i’m shocked and stunned that the construction workers listen to the same brand of bland balladeer lite rock that the secretaries back home love to listen to. Where is the Deep Purple and Black Sabbath? Or the “country” hat acts? Line dancing was a big novelty over here awhile back, wasn’t it? Oh, to hell with it.) Anyway, i downloaded some Hellacopters new stuff, and liked it. It’s silly. Just don’t ask me to buy any.

Better yet (for the point i was trying to get to, not musically,) i stumbled onto Nebula, more of that dumb stoner metal. This is not so much a search for new bands that i will cherish, love, and honor, so much as trying to figure out what Julian Cope is trying to do with Brain Donor. He’s always seemed ahead of the curve to me, with psych, ’60s garage, Krautrock, but now he seems just a little out of step. (okay, a lot.) I’m trying to get into the spirit of Brain Donor, but i cannot even get a handle on it on its own terms.

It’s fun being part of what you might believe is an exclusive audience. I’ve loved standing in the audience at Damien’s shows, with him singing about hermaphrodite Jesuses and delicate songs about blowjobs, to have people yell, ” You can’t sing that about my God!” or walk out in disgust, because the tension became as much a part of the show as the artistry. I “got” it. I understood. I’ve felt that way about most of Julian Cope’s work too. I “got” it. There’s nothing New Agey or flakey about it. Read Head On/ Repossessed. Cope has more cognizance of what he’s done and doing than any other rock musician i can think of, aside from Tom Waits. However, with Brain Donor, I’m baffled. Did he put out an abysmally awful record by accident, or is he pulling an Andy Kaufman routine? It’s not as if the conflict on whether to laugh at him or with him is tearing me apart, but him being one of the musicians who has put out music that has genuinely touched me, i want to understand, not because he deserves to be understood or because i deserve to know…. aw, fuck it. It’s a damned goofy record.

See what kinda abstract bullshit pops up when you are straining to hear a knock at the door, to see if the man who is to assess the value of the house is going to show up on time?

Oh, and apparently Paul is fretting as he turned Lou onto WinMX, and wants the love he needs. Thanks Paul, for that, and the Jim White and Joe Pernice autographs.

Pop Shots summarizes a lot of what’s going on in music weblogs right now in its 6/21 entry. Some of the sites and features up right now, i was unaware of. I’ve also noticed that I’m getting hits from Jejune, and want to reciprocate the link. And two sites that i always intend to read, but keep going in the same circles, are Scrubbles and oh, damn it. Lost it again. Maybe tomorrow. . Yes, i’m adding the links more for my benefit than anyone else’s. My bookmark folders tend to get cluttered.

I rarely remember too much of what i write, but i got a number of keyword search for “Chuck Eddy twerp”. Heh. I really wrote that, and someone is trying to find it? There’s also “Jeff Mangum” searches as well. It seems that more people find this site through my loopy superficial prejudices than anything else.

ha! $30 million dollars to say , “Check’s in the mail! Thank Mr. Bush!” when the truth is that hardly anyone is getting anything, so treasure your precious letter. Maybe you can take him to court over breach of contract.

Absolutely bizarre. Yes, it’s one of those alien abduction and implantation stories, but i read of no other like this one.

Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 06.21.01

It’s the summer solstice and Ray Davies’ birthday.

Freaky Trigger has returned. The unmanifesto that Ned has written has me grinning, with mentions of Tool, Moulin Rouge, Turkish psych, and the Frogs. There’s several excellent pieces in this issue, but anything i write at this point would be kneejerk reaction, which is my favorite indulgence, but i’d prefer to make clear how happy i am to have the site back first. Although i don’t think that Pornography of Semiotics should be allowed to be a publicity stunt. They need to chain him to the TV set, and make him talk about that Dave Navarro video.

I’m torn. I’ve found that I Monster single “Daydream in Blue”, and… well, i’m sorry. I like it. Beta Band’s “Squares” truly is its twin, through a mirror darkly. I underestimated how important that looped sample was. No matter. One is the big summery commercial endorsement that one hears piped into shops while walking down the sidewalk. One is the song you hear late at night, when the high has worn off, and no one is there to comfort you. No matter, the Beta Band has lots of other great songs coming up on Hot Shots 2, as i ran across “Quiet”, with soaring uncharacteristically possibly optimistic lyrics, and huge blustering drums. Sunshine garage (the U.S. version) pop for the socially paralyzed paranoid schizophrenic.

Outkast “Speedballin” I cannot make up my mind about it. The rhythm is excellent. The repeating staccato horns are driving. The cheesey spooky keyboards are fine. The acoustic guitar break is appropriately wacky. I know it’s supposed to have a bulletlike tragectory, but i’m missing a bass end. My favorite part of the song is when the guest vocalist jumps in, completely apeshit, yelling about catching fire, with the jazzy electric piano smacks.

The “Jonathan David” single is getting to be more than okay. It’s great. I want to challenge that NME guy to some rassling. Sick sheep my foot. I used to worm sheep, and they put up more than a struggle than many people ever would. Sheep get a bad rap. Putting the three songs on repeat, and then listening on headphones had me hypnotized by the elaborate interplay of chiming guitars on “Middle Distance Runner”. The string son “Carriage Clock” are eerily familiar (any clue where it’s nicked from?) and while the vocal melody is similiar to a “Century of Fakers” i see no shame in that. It’s a B-side. As for the A-side, the more i hear it, the more it grows on me, particularly since it’s possibly a joke on the relationship of the songwriters.

Finally heard Brave Captain’s The Fingertip Saint Sessions, and i forgive that poor monkey for Wake Up Boo now. It feels more organic, and only one song reaches for that slick Beach Boy stuff, and i can take that in moderation.

Luke‘s seen Banzai too. I’m still doing unnaturally well in the betting too, although i was robbed in the shopping cart jousting. The first round was not inconclusive. The white knight hit a bump. That was a technicality. He had already beaten the black knight.

Via Plastic. Yage is hard enough to find, from what i’ve read, without Colombia (and the U.S. government supporting this action) spraying it. In fact, it’s just fucking stupid. there’s ethnobotanists running around down there trying to catalogue and preserve unknown species of plants down there, and it’s not enough that the lumber industry wants to clear cut everything, or that farmers are desperate for farmland, but the damned government has to poison everything in the lame attempt to keep drugs priences high so that they can maintain their profit margin. I admit to being pro-yage, and the shamanic tradition (read One River or Tales of a Shaman’s Apprentice,) but this is just shortsighted. Do they really know what they are spraying down there?? The answer is almost certainly a resounding NO.

Also via Plastic. There’s some sort of oddball project on identifying the “DNA” of music. I shudder because it sounds like wrongheaded thinking to me. It’s almost like applying eugenics to music. Eugenics are bad, folks. Don’t get too scientific. It turns you into a monster.

Whoops. Neutrinos have some mass after all. It doesn’t affect my day-to-day world at all. I just love revisions in scientific theory though.

Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 06.20.01

Although i have not found the cure to being citybound, last night Lou revealed WinMX to me. With all of the computer troubles that i’ve been having this spring, i was still ignorant of its power. She could probably sense my withdrawal from my record collection, and without anything to keep me busy all day yet, this is the perfect solution. With her superior connection speed, it took no time to check out those other two Strokes tracks. They’re okay. There’s a nice sloppy guitar solo on “Last Nite”. “Barely Legal” might be my favorite of the three tracks, as i just like the way that the song is constructed, continuing along at a rollicking pace, but not monotonously. I don’t know what to add to that. Michael Orr reported that he’s seen them live, and they were indeed exciting, but even he agrees that this recorded tracks lack something. i still think it’s more fun to pretend to be the young Rolling Stones, as for some reason i keep wanting to compare them to the Brian Jonestown Massacre. Not only do you get more songs for your money, with at least twenty revisionist songs per disc compared to a measly three, but cocky arrogance without an overheating hype machine is even more endearing.

Before going any further, i must confess that Lou’s mp3 collection, although much smaller, is far more eclectic than mine ever was. To further illustrate without truly revealing too much, my favorite song of today is the Wombles “Wombling Merry Christmas”

The new SFA single ” Juxtaposed with U” does indeed seem to reference the Avalanches single “Since I Left You”, like Kathleen mentioned. If it was not such a logical extension of “Northern Lites”, i’d be upset. As for the vocoder, it’s been part of their bag of tricks for awhile, and they flogged the hell out of it on “Whereever I Lay My Phone”. Without knowing SFA’s past work, it would easy to mistake it for bandwagon jumping, when it was clearly part of their turf to begin with.

By the way, it doesn’t bother me that a lot of critics are “discovering” that Air is not being ironic at all, to quote the review in Uncut 49, “68 percent MOR, 13 percent AOR, and 19 percent something else with a limp, or camp, twist that might once upon a time been called groovy.” Fuck ’em. I’ll buy their toothpaste, and my tteeth will shine like diamonds. I get scientific at times too, but it’s been annoying me lately. Another place it annoyed me was in the NME review of B&S’s “Jonathan David” 10 percent more tuneful, they’d be the sort of dross Neil Finn casually sticks in the bin on his occasional bad days. And if they were 10 percent crapper then the sad probability is that B&S probably would have been accidentally rounded up and shot in the fucking head by MAFF slaughtermen ages ago under the erroneous impression that they were sick sheep.” Oooo… he gets to be scientific and macho. Looking at his photo, i see a balding man with a sweaty forehead, a lot like me. I think he’s macho. Maybe i’m wrong. It bugged me when i bought the B&S single on Monday morning, and the guy behind the counter looked at me as if i was mad. I don’t look twee enough. Prejudice. It deeply bugs me that some critics try to pull of statistics (even if tongue in cheek) and rabid partisanship at the same time. It might be preferable that each critic specifies which parent was the favorite, what toy was played with most in childhood, the memory of one’s first sexual experience, and how many drugs have been ingested and what kinds. I’d trust someone who’d qualify music who gave these details than someone who spits out a lot of random numbers. Qualify it, don’t quantify it, you fuckers. Who are you bastards?

By the way, more of the endless juxtapostion and scrambling for a sell-by date for Air and Daft Punk in Village Voice. I’m still not electronically liteate enough to understand or remark. I’m stuck back on Neu! There’s also a piece on the Clientele, but i know little about them either.

Beta Band’s “Squares” seems a far superior single to “Life”. It’s still not the deconstructionist cybernetic fossil i expected, but it’s more… um, melodic? Drifting dreaming rationalization of the fears of the subconsciousness. Sample or no sample conflict, they should have stuck with “Squares” as the first single.

Oh, and another album that i’m eager to hear is the new Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci. I felt Gorky 5 and Spanish Dance Troupe didn’t quite hit the spot with me (although i may rediscover them in the years to come,) but Blue Trees reaffirmed my faith.

My current Top Five Favorite Television shows are:

  1. The Simpsons
  2. Banzai
  3. Junkyard Wars
  4. The West Wing
  5. Survivor (the American version)

See anything unusual about that? No? Damn you! Banzai is brilliantly insane. I saw it for the first time last night. Of course, I’m probably exactly the type of person that a show like this is geared towards, there must be an audience for it, but it almost seems too weird to exist. Lou was worried that i won most of the bets offered, but i was most embarrassed that i thought that it would take only 30 balloons to lift a guinea hen into the air. Flashing lights. Bad graphics. Bad dubbing. Outlandish costumes. Yelling. Possibly fake or grossly exaggerated accents. It seems to be on every night this week.

It feels a little strange to walk around in the morning, pleased as hell with my mini-adventures of finding out where a dirty little stream goes, or what is on top of a mountain-hill, with a big silly grin plastered on my face. Unfortunately, the people around here are not much for looking you in the eye, let alone smiling back or saying good morning. I feel somewhat homesick when Lou’s not around. Aside from the creaks in my knees, part of the reason why i’m holed up in the house is to avoid inadvertantly smiling at sternfaced people.

Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 06.19.01

I’m not used to having neighbors. Until last week, when i wanted to ROCK OUT, and get wacky with loud, abrasive music, i’d crank the stereo up, and if the horses, cattle, or sheep got upset, well, they’d have to give me a written complaint. As i type right now, i can hear people thumping about in the house next door, and no matter how well i can lie to myself, i cannot quite convince myself that they’d run out the in street rejoicing that i’ve decided that this afternoon’s most appropriate soundtrack should be the Stooges’ Raw Power. How can you city folks put up with this? Playing quietly raucous music just loses the vibe, and headphones make me paranoid about losing my hearing even more quickly than i already am. Rather than listen to loud music softly, i’m finding it easier to play soft music, in spite of my moods. That leaves me with Pernice Bros’ Overcome with Happiness, an album i rather love, but it’s like forcing me to sip a nice wine instead of washing down fistfuls of amphetamines with oversweetened coffee.

While i wasn’t that excited about the new Spiritualized album, as i liked the band that recorded the last album, but not enough to buy Lupine Howl, the fever is beginning to grow again. September 10th is the day that i’m waiting for. Thighpaulsandra says that it makes the last album sound like demos. That’s bad… possibly overproduced? However, i heard some dancey remix of Spiritualized in Virgin today, so bombastic production might be fun.

Just finished Chuck Palahniuk’s Survivor. None of my friends’ had recommended it to me, but i was curious to see whether it lived up to the reputation of the movie commentary on Fight Club, as they raved about the book, but i didn’t want to read it since i assume that i might know large portions of the plot. What impressed me? All of the vaguely perverse Hints from Heloise tips that were strewn through it… the misanthropy that will not admit to being humor. What bothered me: the fact that it relies on the same trick of narration of Fight Club. All through the book, i was becoming eager to read another Palahniuk book in the future, but if that’s all that he has in his bag of tricks, i’m not so certain. Sometimes i even want to shake Vonnegutt by the shoulders for such recycling. Nonetheless, David Fincher wants to make more movies of Palahniuk’s novels.

Have started reading Umberto Eco’s Foucalt’s Pendulum, another book that i intended to read on the plane, but it’s proving to be labor intensive, although i am hooked by the beautiful language, elaborate imagery, and esoteric references that i keep being surprised that i actually get. However to have something to read as i drop off to sleep might

An unknown species of spiders! cool! i might have to jump in a train and steal one, and make it my pet, and call him Stanley. Mysterious live poisonous spiders are so much more exciting than more dinosaur fossils.

Via Plastic. So opinions are supposed to be genetic? I dunno. If my grandparents knew a quarter of the stuff i posted on this page, they might have reported me as a “communist,” not that it took much to do that. Then again, one grandmother used to call up the college and tell them that they were communists for teaching the Bill of Rights. Such are the effects of McCarthyism.

Shh… Don’t pay attention to the Cydonia conspiracists who say that the Face was demolished by a nuclear weapon. That’s too far gone. This site does a pretty good job of showing the pattern of release of certain images in certain angles, with certain filters, and it hasreaffirmed my distrust of NASA, while at the same time i want more funding for the agency.

Cyberspaceorbit got all clever, and started checking for German references to Antartica. Trusting that he must have translated through Babelfish these pages supposedly talk about what the Nazis (CIA) testing UFO-type vehicles down there because of the magnetic anomalies and isolation, and apparently there’s also mention of parallel universes.

I don’t know how to accept the accompanying comments, but the resemblance between these two photos, one being McVeigh, and one being an ATF agent at Waco, is just damned eerie. It deeply bothered me that McVeigh was executed, with all of talking heads babbling on and on about “closure” when “closure” seemed really to mean closing further avenues to investigate

The General Accounting Office is looking into Cheney’s energy task force. No sense in much comment. I thought, as it seemed that they had the goods on Karl Rove and his Intel stock. Cheney will frown, and it will all disappear. Enron’s stock will rise more.

Today i walked up Caerphilly Mountain, which was surprsingly easy, as i overestimated how tall it was, and how steep the slope might be. The real problem was foolishly walking all of the way from Roath before climbing, as it took half of the day when i needed to get home. It was amusing to see the hoof and mouth warnings at the beginning of the path, with the decayed carcass, the intact spine and ribs laid bare as a xylophone, witha fleshy head, as a warning to scare any walkers off.