Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 09.28.01

I have been going over REM Reveal trying to see what i missed the first time, why i dismissed it as nice housework music, when Peter Buck still gives such nice interviews, and apparently still believes in music. I played it twice yesterday while cooking dinner and writing a letter, and yes, it’s getting under my skin. Then, in listening to it this morning on headphones, it cranked up a few more notches in my estimation, because it really does seem music built for such an environment. Then i decided to read a few reviews again to see what i should give more chances or listen to more critically, and find on the AMG a review that confirms all of my previous suspicions, particularly, “This is mood music, not music that creates a mood…” Sigh. i was doing so well too.

Then again, i don’t even own Up, as the video for “Daysleeper” annoyed me, and think that New Adventures in Hi-Fi was pretty damned good, because it was a sprawling mess. (I thought of it as a grandiose B-side collection rather than an official album.) Reveal is still too delicate an album to reach out and grab me, too comfortable with its own prettiness and craft to try to seduce my ears. It’s a perfect field of flowers as i walk down the path to get somewhere else. I hate giving all of this very faint praise to an album that i’m slowly growing to love, but it neither brutalizes or hypnotizes me. I like the way it sounds; the strings, synths, and electronic squiggles, but whatever hooks the songs have are more finely polished than sharp & barbed enough to keep under the skin.

It’s taken months for me to get this far with Reveal, and that seems wrong. R.E.M. were one of the first bands that i embraced after my brief flirtation with heavy metal. I worried that i might have been trying too hard to love SFA’s Rings Around the World, after initial disappointment this summer, but each time i put it on, it makes more sense, with something else to cherish and love. I feel foolish for not hearing some of what imissed those first listens. With Reveal, no matter how my appreciation grows, I remain certain that it is just as slippery as it first seemed, and this time i know it’s no shortcoming of my own.

Shit. i just realized that i haven’t written specifically about a single song, as i orginally intended. Not today…

I met Lou in town after work, and HMV was having a sale. I resisted it yesterday, but that’s because i was browsing while the store was empty. With the feeding frenzy going on, i feel victim to believing that i could not live a moment more without a 2 CD set of the Rezillos, the first Divine comedy album, the collected singles of Curtis Mayfield, and a CD replacement of Magazine Magic, Murder, & the Weather for a scratched vinyl, which had replaced a stretched tape (and it’s my least favorite Magazine album.) Crazy, eh? What’s crazier is that the Undertones singles collection was for sale too, and i wanted to stand there pushing copies into people’s hands, insisting hawkishly that they will love them or else.

It didn’t help that i was trapped next to an elderly man in a tweed coat that smelled of strange acrid chemicals that i couldn’t identify with certainty as body odor.

Compare these two piece on Neumu on Gillian Welch, one ruminating on whether she hates mp3s and the other on her loathing of the record industry. I’ll betcha she doesn’t hate mp3s. The first piece uses her lyrics as evidence of the artist losing out to filesharing, which bugged me. I don’t like being called irresponsible for being an obsessive downloader when i probably have spent more money on records than many of these jhournalists have spent. It’s very preachy, sanctimonious crap. I have all of the Wilco Yankee Hotel Foxtrot mp3s right now, but when it is officially released, i shall buy it that very day with hope. The second piece makes more sense, with the corporation sticking to the artist. For him seeming somewhat liberal, i don’t see why Goldberg keeps trying to address both sides. The record labels screw the artitsts, like they always did. Music sales are up, not down. It bothers me that he’s going to use the same artist Gillian Welch to illustrate the evils of the corporatiion, when several weeks ago, those same words were addressed to the consumer. Okay, you love the Strokes and want to sing their praises. Now please pick a side between consumer and corporation. Picking the artist isn’t a defensible way out, because the music listeners can at least offer love, something the record labels almost never do. Is the art about money or love?

Speaking of money, i wish that someone would spring for the cash to get the dream zine, the anti-NME of ILM, published. From what i can understand, it’s timely, contemporary, contemptuous of press releases, emotional, reverent, and irreverent. I wish it existed, because i’d buy every issue.

Freaky Trigger updates. Plenty to read, and nothing to say about any of it yet.

Nanette of Amplified to Rock shall be on Jeopardy. Spread the word through all of blogdom. This is going to be good.

Can you believe that Bush really encouraged people to go to Disney World (down in Florida, no less? Jeb must need the tourism, after the black eye that florida got from being the haven for the terrorists to learn to fly planes.) Gee, it’s what normal Americans do. Don’t forget to be a good little consumer for our entertainment industry.

Why is everyone acting so shocked that the Prime Minister of Italy is behaving like a bigot? Isn’t he a fascist? Just the other day the jackasses at Plastic were braying about how important that it was that Communism was defeated in Italy in the ’70s, forgetting that it was the Communists who fought in the resistance against Mussolini, and it’s the nationalists who are trying to rehabilitate him as a hero.

Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 09.27.01

The monitor is being cranky today, so i had to change the background just to read what i’m typing. I don’t know if this shall be permanent.

I cannot recall who got it in my head (probably somone on ILM,) but i’m now convinced that SFA’s Gruff really is singing post-rock geritol on “Rings Around the World”, and not post water in tow. I don’t know what post water is anyway. (The carbon rods in a nuclear reactor?) Whoever you are, thanks for infecting my brain with garbled lyrics. This was weeks ago, and it’s still happily stuck there.

Before i can write anything about music, i have to exorcise the thoughts on the movie i just saw, Tears of the Black Tiger. Before i make too many criticisms, i highly recommend this movie. It’s in Thai, so it’s subtitled, but it visually nutty as can be, and it’s gleefully wreckless with props, special effects, acting, flashbacks, and cliched plot twists. Don’t listen to the maniacs who want to compare it to Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon just because it’s Asian, whichever one they choose to demonize or praise, because there’s a completely different vibe to it, like a watercolor to a silkscreen. I had a big grin on my face through most of the movie, because the dementia ran rampant, but there was one huge weakness…. the romance. I’m not just being a male in saying that, because i don’t mind romance in a film. When bombed out of my mind, i can find overblown popous romances better than real comedies, like Titanic, a horrible film that tickles me silly. However, if one is to have romance with a bunch of Thai cowboys who escaped from PeeWee’s Playhouse (one with a brilliant paste-on pencil-thin mustache that kept moving slightly in shot to shot,) with the acting chops to boot, shooting revolvers that have streams of sparks stream out of them for a foot with each shot, and gut wounds that spew gore across the whole screen, that romance damned well be over-the-top. It wasn’t. In a less garish, less silly movie, the romance might have worked. It was wooden and full of gel shots, but it seemed too straight compared to the rest of the film. It pretty much killed the ending, but if you watching the film, don’t watch it to find out how it ends, but how it arrived there, which for the most part is in style.

I don’t quite know what to compare it to. It’s been compared to Westerns by many critics, but i find it funny that some of the most revered Westerns are just reinterpretations of Japanese movies. So it’s East gone West returned East, picking up some mighty gaudy garments along the way. It’s never explained why they wear cowboy hats, ride horses and shoot six-guns, but why should they? I haven’t seen that many Asian movies, aside from Hong Kong’s John Wu, China’s Kaige Chen, and Japan’s Kurosawa and anime. Now that i think of it, there’s a lot more, but i keep thinking of Evil Dead when i think of Tears of the Black Tiger, or at least the style that Sam Raimi acquired. I don’t feel so comfortable trying to figure out the influences of filmmakers as i do with music.

Oh, and there’s a dancing midget in it too, and yes, he has a cowboy costume too. See? Definitely a ten out of ten.

What i wanted to write about today is how often i forget that Tom Waits was just as brilliant in the ’70s as i insist he became with Swordfishtrombones. Last night, Louise put on a tape of Waits performing, almost an acoustic set, and while i’ve heard tapes of him playing in the ’70s, i’d never seen anything at that length. Bones Howe very much crippled him with his production. I still bristle at anyone calling Tom Waits being insincere by being theatrical, but i didn’t realize how theatrical he was nearly a decade before Big Time, and that his affair with glitter confetti began so early. I had no clue that he was performing on homemade sets, with gas pumps, streelights, and trashcans. He even had changes in costume when he sang as different character, often on stage. For some reason, even though i’ve been listening to Waits for what seems twelve years, i had no clue that his stage production was full blown at that point of his career.

As for the music, without those strings, the Beat flavor of many of his songs is drawn even more to the front, letting his voice have the edge that it’s supposed to have, letting the emotion flow free instead of drip as syrup. In fact, of the bass, sax, and drums that accompany him, the space of the venue they are playing lets them breathe more than they seem to on the albums, let alone that they all have the elbow room to improvise and use it. Louise could have turned the sound off, and we could have just watched Tom make faces, and we’d be entertained though. I should point out that we met through a Tom Waits listserv.

I think it was from a performance on “Later… with Jools Holland” and it ought to be on DVD. Still waiting to see what the goodies on the Big Time DVD are going to be. (Correction: Louise says it was Arena.)

Amen to Goldberg. Wilco is taking chances that make me proud of a band.

Yep. I knew that the Republicans were going to take advantage of this crisis, to drill for oil where it shouldn’t be drilled for, in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Sick opportunists. The Sierra Club has already rolled belly up in honor of bipartisanship. Fools.

Screw helping out the corporations. Why must they keep screwing over the unemployed? They did the same thing to carworkers in the ’80s when the executives decided to cut their losses, by removing the people who actually produce the products and services.

Everyone already knows that Ari Fleischer is a prick and a liar, right? So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that he abuses his position to criticize Bill Maher. I’ve already read some people say that if Maher is to have free speech, then Fleischer should as well, but as Press Secretary, in times like these, he should have better things to do. “…this is not a time for remarks like that; there never is.” It sounds spooky, eh? This is from a man who has been sitting next to a jackass throwing around words like crusade, evil, and coward too casually, fanning the fires of rage against the U.S. Again, I am fairly certain that free speech is more important than a “free” market.

Teleportation is becoming more real to science. Weird. I’ll bet that they can do this with time as well as space, and time travel will become a little less improbable now.

It damned well better not be this bad back in Hammond. Personally, i believe in quite a lot, even though it’s not on paper or stone, but i would love to have it summed up by a blank frame. However, it’s what those jackasses think a blank frame means that scares me.

Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 09.26.01

I finally went to the dentist to get a permanent filling for that drilled tooth i have from the root canal a couple of months ago. There was a problem. I have another cracked filling, and there was not time to do either of the fillings. The best that she could have done is take out the temporary filling of the front tooth, and see what needs to be done. Unfortunately, plans have changed, and i probably will no longer be staying Cardiff until November, because Louise and i need to do a lot of stupid paperwork, and the economy in the States is so poor that i had best get a job now, and it’s a little too challenging to work in the States from Wales. It’s a crap day.

Bit of Badger Trivia: My old dentist back in Hammond used to be the same dentist that Britany Spears had, although i had no idea who Britany was at the time. She was probably still a Mousekateer.

Back to that Ryan Adams guy for a bit… he’s really going for that rock star thing, isn’t he? In looking at the cover of the album, as well as the liner notes, he has that rock star pose down. In the boklet, he’s even tossing around a gun! How American is that? Not very, considering when one looks at the cover to realize he’s hanging the flag upside down! Ha ha! I suddenly realized that Ryan Adams might not be stocked in Walmart, in the throes of patriotic fervor that the U.S. is in, a simple upside down Old Glory is once again real controversy, and not Rock and Roll® . I wonder when the right wing zealots are going to catch on?

After comparing his slow Dylanesque and Young numbers to the Stonesy ones, i’m not so sure whether the Pink Hearts is going to be as rollicking as i hoped. They still have promise, but Adams’ strength seems to be the slower numbers. Yeah, i’m supposed to be more familiar with Ryan Adams because Paul introduced me to him awhile back, but Gold is the one that is being absorbed as a whole.

Fuck it. I just realized that it’s all the White Stripes’ fault. I’m not in the mood for Stonesisms when i have pledged allegiance (for awhile at least) to skeletal garage interpretation. By the time Brian Jones was out of the Stones they were on the slide in my ear anyway. I’m not certain whether “Hotel Yorba” is the best choice for a single from White Blood Cells, but since the White Stripes are never going to crack the charts anyway, because they are just a NME wet dream, it’s as good a choice as any. There’s something sweet about the delusion that an acoustic porch stomper is going to be the breakout from the album. I thought that they might pick a flared-out, treble-charged rocker like “Fell in Love with a Girl”

(I didn’t have a clue that White Blood Cells was an import here, as it was cheap. one of my favorite memories from London was actually getting sneered at by a real live indie record store clerk for buying this album.)

I wonder if even the people who hate Gorillaz will ask what the hell the Gallagher Bros have to boast about at the moment. It would be nice if the interviewer had the nerve and stun gun to ask the bastard exactly how Gorillaz are worse than Steps and exactly what level of maturity has one reached in the scheme of headslapping. Is this covered in Maslow?

There’s a new Pitchfork thread moaning about how 2001 is poor year for music. That topic drives me crazy, and i doubt whether the people who cry and moan the loudest really love music all that much, so much as gushing in rabid fandom over a select group of records, and are waiting for that perfect wave, like a surfer, instead of plunging into the ocean. The odder thing is that it occured to me to check their profiles, and they are frequently freshmen or sophomores in college. Why does anyone want to be so jaded so fast? Are they so scared of loving something that they are going to regret later? Was i this bad at that age? I suspect that i was, but i didn’t have the internet, which opened up the whole world for me musically. I don’t want to become age conscious any more than i want to become a grumbler that every year for music is not as good as the previous one, but these people are tempting.

So there never was a threat on Air Force One? Misunderstanding my foot.

And there’s no way that Dubya deserves the Nobel Peace Prize yet. To consider now, before anything has happened, is insane. Once again, he’s awarded something, just because of his name and title. The Nobel Prize should not be turned an award akin to the trophy for perfect attendance.

I was reading this article on the growing intolerance of dissent in America, but then someone posted on Metafilter that the Onion did a new issue on the terrorist attacks only. I thought that they were going to stay silent on this one? No matter, as i’ve been laughing so hard out of desperation that a few tears have been trickling down my cheeks.

I still have not voted for anything on the Blog Twinning Project. It also seems time to give it (and As Above) permanent links. As of the time i last checked, i fianlly have a twin, after an extened five way tie, with Popshots, who has some of the same Almost Twins. It’s far from an overwhelming landslide yet. Florida still has to be counted. Oddly, i don’t think any of the sites that i’m supposed to have so much in common with are that alike, but we are a hell of a lot more alike than the others i’ve been exploring… I’ve been checking out a lot of the sites on there, and my heart’s sinking because there’s too much to read, and there seems no way that i could make an informed vote without relying upon the people who have voted before me. Also, i’m becoming cross-eyed trying to read that tiny damned font.

Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 09.25.01

Ryan Adams Gold was played about five times on the stereo yesterday. I’ve only listened to the new Gorky’s once. What does this mean? Probably not a damned thing, because as much as i love Gold right now, after the fifth listen, i was eager for something else, anything else, like dead silence.

Anyone who cares to hear this album has probably read as many reviews of Gold as i have. I’ve read at least three so far, referencing the Rolling Stones, Neil Young, the Band, and Bob Dylan. I don’t quite know if referencing is the right word though, because sometimes it seems like Adams is actually play acting, trying on different sounds and voices to see how comfortable it is. Snarky remark: sometimes he gets way too comfortable with his Rolling Stones persona. Best persona… when Adams pulls that Bob Dylan Nashville Skyline voice out. I don’t have Nashville Skyline around here, but i swear he lifted some parts of melodies straight off that album, like “Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here With You” and “Lay Lady Lay”. There’s also some Basement Tapes feel to it, but that’s harder for me to feel, as i don’t have that one here either, and the fragments lodged in my head are more splintered. But with Nashville Skyline, i can even hear the tone and style of the electric guitar in Adams tracks like “Nobody Girl” (which is one of my favorite songs on Gold.)

Lemme just stick with “Nobody Girl” for a moment… i didn’t have a clue that this was a ten minute song the first time that i heard it, even after reading the liner notes, so the gradual build of it took me by surprise. With sixteen songs and a bonus disc, i expected it to whisk by, an unfinished fragment of a song, but it goes beyond a nodding acknowledgement to working itself into a passion of its own sentiment, and sprawls across the wall like a broken bottle of ink, hurled in a moment of realization to get the point that there’s feeling behind the words. I still have not made up my mind on the longevity of this album in my collection, but the moments like this make the album far more than an artist playing dress-up.

And the Neil Young. How could Adams deny he’s aping heroes? Does he bother? Does he just decide, i’m going to sing like Neil Young now. doesn’t he know that singing like Neil Young is a whole genre unto itself, even if most of it has spacey noises behind it? Why the hell doesn’t he have spacey noises behind his Neil Young impersonation? Should i kick his ass? Should i sit on the couch with touch tone phone pressing buttons at random while making whooshing noises with my mouth?

I don’t know where the Uncut reviewer gets the Who’s “Pinball Wizard” out of the first track “New York New York” because in the context of the rest of the influences, i’m sticking with it being an homage to the Allman Brothers, that instrumental that i cannot recall the name for the life of me, because i’d rather listen to the Who than the Allman Brothers anyway, but that Allman Bros song has been used in every other car commercial in the ’90s that i can recall. (“Jessica” maybe?)

That’s more than enough Ryan Adams for today.

Jesus’ Son. I refuse to watch “Requiem for a Dream” because i don’t need that kind of devastating emotional impact when i have too much of the real thing hanging around. It’s still a junky movie, and full of loss and heartbreak, but Billy Crudup walks through it with such wide-eyed well-meaning that i barely flinched when the needles came out or when the spasms started. People have been giving grudging respect to the movie saying that the acting is good, but there’s no plot, and it’s just a drug romp. No, no, no… it’s more. Throw in some themes about humanity, mortality, compassion, and love. what does it mean? How does it say it? I dunno. i think people who take too many multisyllabic words to describe an abstract painting are liars. Jesus’ Son is not abstract, but to weight it down with too many definitions is bullshit, sticking a saddle on the back of a sparrow.

Someone tried to compare it (unfavorably) to Drugstore Cowboy and Trainspotting, but what about the titles of each of these movies? Drugstore Cowboy was the rush of the maverick on the fringe of society. Trainspotting is the indulgence of useless behavior. Jesus’ Son? Figure it out.

I still don’t get Tenacious D, but Jack Black was awesome in this movie, reminding me of a friend of mine so vividly that I became a little confused on how there can be two oddball freaks like this, down to wardrobe and speech mannerisms. I know that the book has been around for awhile, but i very well have lived the bunny incident without any knowledge of the book existing. How many wintery epiphanies born of strange pills and dead animals in a pickup truck can there be? Where are you, Jason?

The soundtrack is stellar. Joe Henry managed to trick me into accepting Wilco as a band from the ’70s, even though i damned well know better. However, as cool as Joe Henry seems to be, i really ought to be downloading some Tommy Roe right now, but after “Wabash Cannonball” which has nothing to do with Jesus’ Son, but i’ll have to explain that some other time.

Poor George Bush. If stories like how the older brother of Osama bin Laden was an investor in Bush’s first business venture Arbusto Energy gets spread around, he’s going to look mighty awkward. Bin Laden has 55 brothers and sisters so it’s not that close, in my opinion. Thetre’s an old James Hatfield (yes, the dead guy who did jail time for cocaine) piece explaining the connection, through an old Air National Guard buddy (who also had a questionable service record) named James R. Bath, who had CIA connections according to Time magazine. I still refuse to believe that George Dubya has sense to pull a deal together like that, so it goes back to Poppy Bush (aka George I.) Hatfield never manages to make a connection between Osama and his eldest brother though (who is dead incidentally.) I’m suspicious, but don’t want to leap top conclusions yet.

Opium is in production again (via Metafilter) Yeah, that $43 million was well spent. Most likely the aid that it was to provide to farmers never materialized, because it was spent on weapons and training instead.

does anyone else find it absolutely hilarious that the U.S. decides that it wants to pay its dues in the U.N. now? Okay, so it’s not that funny.

When it comes to antiglobalization, i feel that many of the commentors on Plastic are quite naive or arrogant. In fact, they are quite willing to payt themselves on the back for most anything, and when someone posts a story about how the Internet may be great for unmediated news, it’s also full of lies and half-truths. (Note the use of the word unmediated instead of uncensored.) Not once did any of the wise people at Plastic point out that of course the New York Times is going to do anything it can to disparage the internet or any rival news source. (I don’t have any respect for the integrity of a newspaper willing to sneer at conspiracies about the assassination of John F. Kennedy if they swallowed the Warren Commission report.) The story is biased, and these self-described “cynics” even fall for the press release by Clear Channel that the list was never official, never examing the language the disavowal of the list really meant. Yes, i still scour all of these digested websites, but i’m getting quite sick of these “I Told You So” pundits who don’t truly believe in anything. For the most part, the media is vain and lazy, and the many of the mod-conscious people are sycophants.

Oh, yeah, globalization. I’m still against it, as long as it gives more power to corporations. Democracy does not mean free market, any more than free market really means true competition.

And cynicism? I’m just scared. I’m scared that there’s more truth in this article than anyone is ready to face after so much pointless death. Don’t read it if you don’tr want to believe in conspiracies, because this is a most ugly one.

It’s spooky how intent some of the possible terrorists were in crop dusters, to th point that they might just steal one still. I spoke to my father on the phone today, and he said that the whole ag industrial is scared to death, because they have always been selfconscious after the OKC bombing, and they don’t want to screw up again. He confirmed my notions that some plants now have armed guards at night. He actually sounded spooked on the phone, which unnrved me as much as anything else.

Anyway, the comet fly-by last weekend was a success. Cool, eh? I didn’t think they could do it, with all of the bad luck recently.

Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 09.24.01

After screwing up trying to donate some boxes of odds and ends tjhat Louise is getting rid of, i walked into the city center to get Ryan Adams Gold and Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci. Instead of rushing home to throw them on the stereo, i hung out in the front of a Starbuck’s (yeah, a damned Starbucks. No, their coffee is not that good, I prefer Community coffee from back home, or the local chain PJ’s) and studiously pored over the jewel boxes and the booklets, reading lyrics and acknowledgements. Why these records? Why not?

Wait. Please, please, someone tell me what the hell song was playing in Virgin… I didn’t have my ink pen in my pocket to write on my hand, so i wasn’t able to take detailed notes. I don’t even care if it turns out to be a shit derivative song by a shit derivative artist, because i like it. It was hip-hop. It had a chorus that pretty much consisted of We ain’t gonna…. but i forgot what they ain’t gonna do. And the sample it was based off, it had the funkiest bass that popped all over the place, like a red rubber ball in an elevator.

Anyway, i don’t want to say anything substantial about the records just yet, as i have not listened to them enough, except that i cannot make up my mind whether Ryan Adams is a gifted songwriter or a brilliant ripoff artist. However, i got into something that i remember Tom Waits saying one time, about judging people by their shoes. It’s a lot more fun than it sounds, and as excited as i was about those albums, they just became a prop to hide the fact that i was checking out shoes and lots of them. Did i learn anything? Hell, no.

Huge article on Kurt Cobain and Nirvana. I still don’t know what to say about them. It might be as bad about writing about the Beatles for me, even though every time, i’d pick the Beatles as more essential to my music listening collection. I get the impression that ten years is not long enough for a good sense of retrospection. I skipped my high school reunion because ten years is too early.

It’s hard to let go of this Yankee Hotel Foxtrot connection to postWTC America in my head. i know that i’m bringing a lot of emotional weight to YHF, when possibly originally it was a metaphor for a relationship, but when i think of

“Picking apples for Kings and Queens of things i’ve never seen” i think of some worker in some far off land (or not so far off. Like the exploitation of Mexico,) producing for the U.S. and it kinda ties in with “Poor Places” where it’s hot in the poor places tonight, but i’m not going outside, the guy who lives average blue collar life, but doesn’t want to think about the other people, the nonAmericans.

And in “Ashes of the American Flag”, he goes on about money, cigarettes, and Diet Coca Cola (a product that has infiltrated every place under the sun it seems) but blurs it with loss and love. I’m trying to figure out the transition from the spirit of America to postmodern consumerism, and how this connects with interpersonal relationships, but i’m shuit with all of that pseudo-thematic exploration. It’s easier to use keywords as signposts and guess what’s happening in the fog.

There seems to be a theme of not just being an American, but what America is to the world, and how the average American muddles through it absorbed in his own pain. That radio transmission theme has to fit into it somewhere, with Yankee Hotel Foxtrot as the album title, the end of “Poor Places” and the name of the song “Radio Cure”. I cannot make an assertion about the commercialism of the radio song being a commercial product that is beamed back into the skies, the invisible thread that continues the cycle and binds it all tighter and tighter until it snaps. “Jesus, Ect” keeps that planetary scale going

with the two songs that don’t seem to fit (“Heavy Metal Drummer” & “I’m the Man Who Loves You”,) it turns into a vague nostalgia, and there’s a reference to a letter again. The loss of innocence as America is forced out into the world stage again in globalization? In the months to come, it could turn into the musings of an oversea soldier (total bullshit. Then again, when i’m not overcome with emotion and caffiene, everything seems like total bullshit.) Then again, “I’m the Man Who Loves You” comes across as total bullshit, because the line that might mean the most is title, and the rest is garbled stream-of-consciousness asides that is meant to flesh out that thought, but never quite goes anywhere, like much of what i write.

“Pot Kettle Black” is where the truth comes out, but it’s a soliloquy, not a letter, is my bet.

i love how opaque Tweedy can be lyrically, as virtually any meaning can be grafted into it, but not once do i ever get the feeling that he’s writing nonsense, and it does mean something to him. The downside is that i feel more insane than my prog rock friends who used to dwell on the philosophy of Neil Peart.

It’s probably a mistake, but i signed up for that blog twinning project too. (got link from Somnolence) i haven’t even voted for anythign yet, as i’m taking it too seriously. i think that i need to get liquored up one night, and getting reading and clicking. Most of the names seem unfamiliar.

If i had been posting this weekend, which i didn’t feel like doing, i could have been on top of this story about the FBI grounding all crop dusters for the time being. The last i heard that i heard before the new ban was that the threat was not that great, but my father is the manager of a fertilizer plant. A lot of the people that he distributes fertilizers and chemicals to were scared, as the FBI was trying to track down any suspicious customers. I was confident that everything was all right, because the industry switched over from ammonium nitrate to the less volatile ammonium sulfate for the nitrogen content of most blended fertilizers, and my father knows most of his customers fairly well, as does most of the people he distributes to. It is one instance where the Good Old Boy network could save the day.

However, when i read the mention of a cropduster manual, i was spooked. I don’t believe that they could get their hands on as many agricultural chemicals as it might seem, particularly dangerous pesticides, but maybe, just maybe they have those biological weapons after all. Can you say TERROR?

Sheesh. i actually have a lot to write about today, as i’ve actually had adventures at the carboot sale with Louise and Marilyn, as well as watching several movies, none of which i have anything bad to say about, but off the top of my head, “The Straight Story” and “Jesus’ Son” are rattling around my skull something awful, and i cannot wait to post about them tomorrow. Gotta wash the dust off my face cook dinner now.

Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 09.21.01

I’ve really been missing my family this week. I’ve never been away from them for so long and so far. Sorry if the melancholy starts seeping into my words. I was even thinking of skipping of posting today, but i noticed that hits were piling up anyway. I hope this works.

When Wilco was talking about Yankee Hotel Foxtrot sounding different post-WTC, they were not kidding. It’s not just “War on War” and my delusional take on “Poor Places”, it’s nearly the whole album, with the exception of maybe two songs, “Heavy Metal Drummer” and “I’m the Man Who Loves You”, it could be a concept album about an unspecified catastrophe, specifically an American one. The first words out of Tweedy’s mouth is I am an American… even though he follows that with aquarium drinker. Yeah, i’m stretching it with the opener, and am infused with the demon of projection, but you try listening to the songs about swaying buildings, war, distance, love, and ashes of flags, and try to get thoughts of New York out of your head. I played it twice while cooking dinner last night (an odd chicken chili stew) and had myself worked up enough to have to sit on the steps of Lou’s postage stamp garden trying to compose myself, as some renegade part of my brain was composing a warped libretto.

Unwound. Leaves Turn Inside of You Hey! They are pretty cool! Goldberg is not just getting giddy needlessly. What surprises me even more though is that i used to collect their zine Punk in My Vitamins (well, three issues) and even had a cassette single of Long Hind Legs that i have stowed away somewhere. It’s most odd to have a connection like that pop out of nowhere. I read abrasive in many reviews, so i skipped them. Threy are not nearly as abrasive as what i would define as abrasive. Textured and dissonant perhaps, but my ears are not bleeding and my soul is not scarred. I’m in no position to decide that this is one of my favorites yet, but it’s far more cerebral than i expected it to be. It’s a bit of a post-punk prog, to blend genre labels again.

The other band that i’m looking into is My Morning Jacket. Someone mentioned it on Pitchfork message boards as their favorite of the year, and seemed to be sincere. Lazily i did look them up in the AMG too, and there definitely is a Neil Young in space (in a low orbit, as opposed to interstellar cruising) or Flaming Lips unplugged feel to them. Very warm, despite the reverbed to hell and back vocals, and it is a bit weird that they are on Darla Records, as they could very well be on the maligned Poptones. After going on about how i wanted to have Comus (crazed pagan folk) on my old chemical crown bonfires, At Dawn is beginning to make perfect sense as a 4 AM kinda record, staring into the embers as the stars fade out in a blanket of lavender, and the birds begin to stir, listening to that fading voice and the crystalline chime of the guitars.

The next thing that i want to check out is Emperor, because John Darnielle is insane, and he actually invoked the names of the Divine Comedy, James Brown, and Django Reinhardt in describing a black metal band. Yes, i understand that they aren’t supposed to sound like any of those bands, but my head is spinning anyway.

First it was Body Count and “Cop Killer”. Now it’s the Strokes. It’s just a bad idea to write songs about cops, isn’t it? I’m trying to think of more songs that slam cops, but i cannot think of too many at the moment. Although i was thinking of skipping the album, since i have the EPs, but now i might have to have Is This It? just because it’s forbidden.

There’s a summary/review of the new Superchunk album Here’s to Shutting Up over on Thinking of Hesterman. Page down to September 19th. Forgot to be reading them.

Ha! 13 Tales of Urban Bohemia is getting a re-release in the UK, just because of that Vodaphone ad. It’s not even the best song on the album, being a snotty, unapologetic “Brown Sugar” rewrite. It’s a little odd to me, since they just released a few weeks ago “Godless” as a single here, and it apparently sank without a trace.I read that “Solid” is going to be used as the theme song for a Fox show too. It would delight me to no end that the Dandys eat up the inches of columns devoted to the Strokes, just because i’m an evil bastard that prefer bands to pay their dues.

Excellent photos of David Byrne live on Armando’s site.

Ever since Josh linked Ethel the Blog, i’ve been meaning to read it faithfully, but i slacked already. However, i checked in to see an excellent reprint from TomPaine.com. It’s the same thing that i’ve been thinking since they reopened the stock market. Why on earth does the right-wing glorify the private sector when they are the ones that sell out the people, and when a real crisis occurs, it’s the people in public services that we rely on, who are overworked and underpaid. And yes, i thought it was obscene when all f these patriotic brokers who cry out how American capitalism sold their stocks rather than held on. If you recall, the market was already stabilized in the world markets. If those peope in the private sector were truly ready to stand up for America, they would have held their ground. The market wouldn’t have dropped if people hadn’t started trying to take advantage of it. Think of the firefighters who marched blindly up those towers trying to save lives before trying to make a quick buck. Their families now have no one to provide for them as those firemen did. I know i’m sitting here safely, with little to contribute other than a few dollars, but i still think it’s important that Americans reassess the professions that we should glorify instead of these parasites who worship the dollar so much that they are ready to sell out their country with the smell of the corpses their dead countrymen only blocks away.

Incidentally, although Metafilter seems dead at the moment, there was a link to a story about how Chinese sweatshops are working overtime to produce enough American flags to meet the sudden patrotic fervor that has overtaken the nation. Think about what the flag is supposed to mean. It’s very strange. When i can find the link i shall post it again.

Also lost on Metafilter is a story about how bin Laden has already fled to Iran or Pakistan incognito. Uh-oh. It’s very bad if he’s in Pakistan, because his presence will only strengthen the resolve of the protestors there. This had best be an extended mission that ends with real humanitarian effort, because the current government of Pakistan might fall in the months or years to come because of the unpopular political decision of Musharraf.

Now the war on terrorism is supposed to last ten years, but it is to be like the war on poverty and the war on drugs. That is not reassuring. However, Congress is pushing through weird laws to combat terrorism even though they have little to do with terrorism, and mostly to do with drugs.

I should probably find the original Wall Street Journal editorial, but check this Washington Post commentary on the mercernary behavior of the conservatives pushing their agendas down the throat of the public just because they are too stunned to resist. I apologize for being so cynical, but when the Wall Street Journal pushes for those unpalatable domestic policies now, it’s disturbing. How Machiavellian are they really? Damn this nonsense of realpolitik.

Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 09.20.01

It’s getting harder to write about music with each day, rather than easier. When the shock wore off, it began sinking in how much worse it’s goign to get before it gets better. The webpage has been a nice distraction these past few months, but distracting oneself temporarily is not the same as living in denial. I don’t want to live in denial. Please tell me when i seem too removed from reality.

Repeating what everyone has already said once again: Operation Infinite Justice is a hell of a boneheaded name. It sounds like a poorly plotted and even more poorly illustrated, double-sized one-shot from the dark days of Marvel Comics. (Uh? Which one of the dark days? There’s so many to pick.) I think that the only way that they can remedy this is by dressing up all of the soldiers in red, white, and blue spandex, much like Captain America, and have a Big Patriotic Battle Cry.

One problem. Osama bin Laden is not the Red Skull.

Louise is going to give me a cross-eyed look for contemplating something as wretched as this… in the media-manufactured battle to #1 in Britian between the ex-Posh Spice and the Singing Budgie, i am rooting for Kylie. She did sing a duet with Nick Cave after all.

Great writeup of the appearance of Wilco on a Chicago radio station last night on Glorious Noise. I cannot believe that he went to sleep with an hour left to the show, but the truth is that i’d do something just as lame, if it’s in the name of sleep. They comment on the new meaning of some of the songs, like “War on War” but i’m more curious about the take on “Poor Places” as i still think it sounds like isolationism. If you check the comments of the piece, you can get the info on an FTP server that someone has stored the whole WXRT appearance. Cool, eh?

Remember how Popshots joked that at the MTV VMA that the award was changed at the last minute to Mudvayne, because they looked more flashy? There might be more truth to that then it seemed, and Gorillaz gets the shaft. £20,000 though? Isn’t that a bit steep?

It embarrassed me somewhat that Jeff found my old Top 40 list, because it’s a little different now. Some bands don’t even belong on there anymore. I’m trying to piece a new one together, but it’s more likely that i’m going to post it on this thread than anywhere else. In trying to remember the albums that i’m most looking forward to, i’m realizing that i want but have skipped for the moment, like Of Montreal Coquelicot Asleep in the Poppies, Beulah The Coast Is Never Clear, Ladybug Transistor Argyle Heir, & Circulatory System Circulatory System. Yep, all stuff related to E6 easier to acquire in the States.And there’s the Superchunk album. Then there’s Air 10,000 Hz Legend and Daft Punk Discovery, both of which i thought would turn up in used CD shops by now here. I swear eternal allegiance to Nick Cave, yet do not own No More Shall We Part yet. What does this mean to you? Well, nothing really, but it’s beginning to sink in how much i haven’t had a chance to hear, despite by best intentions, without many of chances of taking real risks.

I was reading this Pitchfork message board thread (whoops. lost it,) with people jockeying already for their nominations of the Album of the Year. Fine, that’s fun, even though there’s a few months left. What i’m puzzled by is the number of people saying that it has been a slow music year. I’ve barely been able to keep up with releases

The other thing that i don’t understand is all of the people bonding on how they don’t get the Beta Band. I could vaguely understand the confusion on the Dismemberment Plan, because i recall what it was like before conversion, but the Beta Band? (i thought more people on a Pitchfork board would worship D-Plan anyway.) Hot Shots 2 might very well be my favorite album of 2001, tied with Wilco’s YHF. I fear getting into one of my self-righteous moods, beating the walls, and punching the table on reasonable defences on why such and such an albums sucks. The mindsets of different message boards boggles my mind when i step outside of my normal wanderings. Why is it that more people seem willing to defend the Microphones over Guided by Voices? Just because it’s Pitchfork, or is this more about times moving on, and critical stalwarts shall now lose their luster?

As for Radiohead, i had backed into my pleasant corner in which they were now everything that they were supposed to be, to most everyone. However, even people who i depend heavily upon for their tastes just don’t care for Kid A and Amnesiac. Louise cringes when she hears them (specifially when “Knives Out” came on a commercial,) and she owns most of Laibach’s albums. I don’t see Radiohead anywhere on Jeff’s list, and Damien hasn’t said a word about either of these records in email. Sometimes i am a lot more out on a limb than i realize. Then again, i still think that OK Computer is merely an okay album, with cool guitars, but more bombastic than i care to listen to most of the time.

But what about Hot Shots 2? I can understand why people would dislike Radiohead more than the Beta Band. There’s more baggage. Yeah, it looks like i need to do some blog searches on who hates the Beta Band and why. A few dismissals of “boring” by unfamiliar characters doesn’t work for me. Unfinished examination on my part. Sometimes i fear to hear the weaknesses about my own favorite musc, but this is one instance that i’d like to pursue.

I was joking that Creed is going to conquer the psychically wounded America if they had a new album coming out. With as much insipidly patriotic and overtly saccharine Christian stuff that is leaking across the ocean like untreated sewage post WTC, each CD would become a magic talisman shilled by Jesus to protect against the Devil in the Smoke

They do have a new album. Oh, shit. Be warned. The New Crusades will be upon us to the soundtrack of maudlin post-grunge played by righteously brooding rock stars.

Wow. I’m stunned that Bill Maher took so defiant a stand on the casual way that everyone has been throwing around the word coward. In fact, i think it was a little stupid. People are going to want to crucify him for saying that those terrorists were brave, and American servicemen who launch high-tech missle are cowards.

There’s yet another Michael Moore letter posted, and he’s pissed. He’s going to make a lot of enemies like this, but i love him all the more for it. I disagree with hm on a few things this time, and i think that he even made a factual error, because i believe Barabra Olson was int he plane that hit the Pentagon, but what the hell…..

There’s an alert on more attacks this coming weekend. I’m going to trust the FBI on this one.

Am still sticking with Jeff Ward‘s comparison of this “war” to the one that was waged early in the 19th Century against the Barbary Pirates. someone else named the pirates of the Caribbean, but it went a lot further than that. I believe that the battles ranged all of the way from the Atlantic coast of the U.S. to Tunisia. Unfortunately, as accurate as the analogy is, no lessons are learned from history, particularly by the some of the same swine who tried to interpret the intentions of the “Framers of the Constitution” (remember how popular that phrase was for a time?) to their own ends. I doubt if any revelatory insights to foreign policy or how to fight will come from knowing this, but if the talking heads say this is the First Time that America has fought a war like this, you can sneer at their hyperbole.

Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 09.19.01

Feel crummy today. Cannot even be bothered to download all that much. It seemed like a great idea to check out the Pink Fairies, and then go back into the Deviants. They make a great followup to all of the Stooges and MC5 influenced bands that i’ve been listening to, and Julian Cope’s Brain Donor must be as much an homage to the Deviants as the other two, not so much as in riffs, but daring to be brutally stupid in some deranged effort to be transcendent.

In trying to get more info out of Damien on new bands that he likes, all i could get out of him was some Add N to (X), which is only sort of new, and i used to have some mp3s by them. I agree with the reviewer in the AMG, because the violence of the songs from Avant Hard to Add Insult to Injury. Yes, i’m still in my weird noises phase.

The Dandy Warhols are promising an album next year, and swear that they are in the studio now. After listening to bits of their albums in order, i’m more eager for the album by the week. I used to have a shame about confessing how much i like this band, and it deeply bugged me that 13 Tales from Urban Bohemia entertained me more than most albums in 2000, because i felt like a whore, but who care anymore.. of course, they said this last spring, but this time they really mean it. yeah.

From Belle & Sebastian.co.uk:

Belle & Sebastian are to release another single entitled ‘The Season Has Arrived’ worldwide on November 12th. The single also features “I Love My Car” – a live favourite from the recent UK shows – and the previously unheard “Marx and Engels”. More details on the single to come

Damn. By that time, Lou & i will be on the train for Gatwick. I don’t recall being that crazy about “I Love My Car” though. Still trying to figure out what they are doing with those songs from the Peel Session.

Have you read that Radiohead concert review on Somnolence yet? No? Then please do.

Supposedly Clear Channel banned nothing. Chris warned me that the list was merely drawn up by an employee, but I now suspect that it’s corporate speak. After all, it say that local programers pick their own playlists, and considering that they all sound pretty much the same, there’s some kind of guidance or suggestion. Note that in the release that they never deny that the list exists! They just said that Clear Channel has banned nothing, and programming was left to the people who understood their markets. Damn! and ILM has caught onto the legalese language too. Just something small like the manipulation of langugae on something as innocuous as radio station playlists should make everyone more sensitive to the exact language of all of the more important press releases flying around at the moment.

Primal Scream gets all flustered, not knowing what to do with their song “Bomb the Pentagon”. It will probably just be retitled. I’ve been looking for it on Audiogalaxy, and it hasn’t turned up. Yes, i still like Primal Scream, and enjoy XTRMNTR.

Last night, Louise and i saw some of the worst footage that we have seen yet on Channel 4, since the actual crashes and collapse, lots of video with no commentary of the rubble of the WTC. I knew it was going to be horrible, and while they still didn’t show anything that might have once been a person, and the smell could never be transmitted, i still was not prepared for such a nightmarish, post-apocalyptic landscape. I wonder if this same footage has been broadcast in the States, because on CNN, the anchors have repeatedly stated that they were not allowed to take video of anything. All i could think about is Dresden, Nagasaki, and Hiroshima, and the grim relief that the rest of New York City has survived.

Escapism is the key for the day, at least for a little while. I forgot to mention that i’m glad that the previous season of Farscape is on BBC2. I missed this show since i worked at the bookstore. For a time it was getting a little too complacent in its romantic entanglements, and the tension on the ship had relaxed to the point where i wondered if it was going to sink into a Star Trek: Voyager tone. Yuck. I still don’t know where the hell the character Stark came from, and occasionally feel lost on certain developments concerning Scorpius and the Peacekeepers, but sometimes simple ignorance gives the illusion of depth. Besides, it only proves that the show definitely is not static. Anyway, at the moment, it might be my favorite sci-fi show again. Although only one major character has died, i don’t doubt that they would lose another if it seemed right for the plot.

I love how they insult and threaten each other, with no clear leader or direction, and sometimes work counter to each other’s efforts. The language flows more naturally than any other sci-fi series that I’m aware of, and having a contemporary human who makes pop culture references, making limp jokes about Star Trek and Star Wars that fall flat, even if they were not falling on deaf ears anyway. Yes, the plots still follow familiar formulas most of the time, but i’m too caught up in the atmosphere, both of the special effects and the conflict between the characters, to get bored. That’s one way to avoid reality for a few minutes.

I’m encouraged by the Israelis and the Palestinians declaring a truce. Please let there something good come of last Tuesday and there be lasting peace.

Am most bummed out that the rumor about the Palestinians celebrating the bombing of the WTC is probably false, but some of the reasons that they cite why it must be real are pretty shoddy. Because sommeone at CNN said so? If i want to believe that this is propaganda, they wouldn’t just shrug to admit that they faked it. Because one Palestinian actually refers to the WTC? I know what editing is. Because other organizations reported the same thing? I’ve read enough articles ont he shrinkage of the foreign bureaus, and know that from what happened with Clinton and his impeachment that often one reporter would take his story straight from another story rather than bothering to investigate firsthand. Slander my foot. I am looking at CNN, and it has the caption War Against Terror. I’m supposed to trust these guys implicitly?

I’ve looked for the past couple of days for the connections between Prescott Bush Sr. and opium. I read it in a couple of books before, but i have not found a direct link online yet. Prescott was a prominent member of Yale’s Skull & Bones, which was founded by a man William Harrison Russell who built his fortune in the opium trade. Skull & Bones was synonymous with the “Russell Trust Association”, set up by William Russell. However, i cannot make the jump from there. Prescott Bush worked for Harriman, investment banks. However, i cannot find a noncrazy source to make the connection to the opium trade, just contact with China, and this means nothing in terms of Afganistan, because sooner or later every country is going to come up. I still believe there’s a link, but i cannot document it, and poor Dubya has nothing more to do with the drug trade than his coke-snorting days in the ’70s. Just forget about it. Right now it just doesn’t seem worth it.

There’s going to be an interesting comet fly-by this Saturday, and it should give up some data that might form some new theories. Maybe. The probe has finished all of its normal missions, so this one is a bonus.

Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 09.18.01

Oh, that wacky Clearstream. I thought it might be a joke when i first stumbled over it, but i didn’t investigate until NYLPM posted it. Agreed, i cannot see how any of of these songs are more questionable than those crap tributes, a la that version of the theme from Titanic with Leo and Kate getting all emotional. (“King of the World!”). I’m extremely encouraged that a lot of other blogs have already been protesting this insanity, but then again, if they were the popular opinion of the rest of the American people right now, the world might be a lot safer than it is today.

Black Sabbath “War Pigs” As far as i know, this is an anti-war song.

John Lennon “Imagine” I actually expected the DJs to be playing the hell out of this, but i guess not since the U.S.A. is a Christian Nation, as ordained by God, prophesized in the Boof of Revelations. It’s bound to be in there somewhere isn’t it? It’s next to the verse that says that Jesus preferred to speak in English. We don’t want no godless song about peace.

Elton John “Benny & the Jets” Oh, great. Every song with the words jet, plane or fly is now banned. This song is not even about flying or planes! it’s the name of a fictional rock band! I looked for it, but i could find Wings’ “Jet” anywhere on the list. Guess that they missed it, but “Live & Let Die” gets the ax.

The Bangles “Walk Like an Egyptian” Whoever compiled this is a racist. This is not exactly a P.C. song in the first place, but to ban it because it might inflame hatred against Arabs? Dementia!

Cat Stevens. Speaking of Racism (with a capital R)….

The Beatles “Ticket to Ride” I always thought this song was about a train? Or is this some veiled allusion to death? I understand “Day in the Life” to an extent, even though i think NO SONGS should be banned, because those lines I heard the news today, oh boy./ Four thousand holes in Blackburn Lancashire./ And though the holes were rather small,/ They had to count them all./ Now they know how many holes it takes to fill the Albert Hall. No, that’s not particularly comforting.

Louis Armstrong “What a Wonderful World” Evil cynicism. Are we only allowed to say that the world is a horrible ugly place now? Oh, wait, they banned all of Rage AGainst the Machine’s songs. What is the range here? This is so scattershot and unbalanced that they might as well ban all music. Remember how Americans were mocking the Taliban for banning the internet for news? I was most pissed off about “New York New York” until i saw this one. Not only do they not even understand what defiance is, but something sincerely sentimental, as opposed to that Frankensteined news reel rubbish?

Paer Lace “The Night Chicago Died” It was New York, not Chicago. Why not ban all songs with cities in the name, as it might give terrorist ideas. We know that they are crazy for the radio.

Led Zeppelin “Stairway to Heaven” Hey! Maybe this is not a bad idea after all! I cannot imagie American radio without the classic rock stations flogging this poor dead horse.

Anyway, i have to agree with Michael Moore yet again. I find it more offensive that reopening the New York Stock Exchange making money, and keeping business going, despite the horrid deaths right down the street. Yeah, i know it has to open sooner or later, but when i hear reporters talk about it as a sense of reality comes to them when it’s back to business. Huh? The stock market is an economic fiction. The rubble out there covering thousands of human bodies who had family and friends are reality. Don’t try to tell me that these ephemeral trades on the margins are more real than death and grief

Okay, backing off on that one…. .

Has anyone else noted that they have started dating the reviews on Pitchfork? Great idea! I like things that add more context for an album to be placed into, anchoring it in time, admiting that those thoughts might be relevant on that day, but possibly not in the future. Time can do a lot for a record. Monolithic pronouncements are clumsy.

i found those Clinic John Peel Sessions. (The last time i had tried it was with WinMX. Once again, praise be to Audiogalaxy!) They weren’t kidding around when they promised that they were going to have more fully fleshed out song, even though they aren’t any longer than anything from Clinic or Internal Wrangler. However, i think that Clinic doing fully fleshed out songs is a bad idea. Yes, these four tracks are great, and have that same ramshackle garage sound, and the distinctive toystore organs, but three out of four songs don’t seem as if they are going to topple down upon you, encircling you in a pile a of junk that you have no clue how it managed to be stacked so high. “Dysheeki” (that’s how it’s spelled on Audiogalaxy) is that exception. Seek it out.

I was more than a little disappointed to discover that the CNN footage of the Palestinians celebrating at the attack on the WTC quite possibly is real. Of course, according to Snopes, i’m supposed to accept without question that they definitely are real because a guy at CNN said that they were real. Also, theres supposed to be a Palestinian in that footage commenting on the WTC. Gee, that video editing technology must be hard to get.

Another thing that’s bugging me is that on Raindogs, there was a discussion (albeit not a very good one,) about who is really running the government. The sad thing is that i agreed with the guy i believe is a insensitive prick of a bully. Yes, there is a shadow government. No, the CIA is not a tool, but actually does dictate policy. Someone accused the loudmouth of watching Oliver Stone’s “JFK” too much. It bugs me not to want to defend the jerk with the fact that Oliver Stone did not invent the magic bullet or the grassy knoll, let alone Cambodia, Chile, or Iran-Contra.

I’m still down on Bush, but am glad that whoever is writing his scripts wants people to know that casualties are inevitable. People need to remember that, and telling the truth in this case is honorable, i guess. Still, it was unnerving when Bush started taking questions, to stumble and blunder through awkward language, cliches, and vapidity. The reference to the “Wanted: Dead or Alive” poster must have been a new low. The press has jazzed it up since. Let’s hope that Cheney’s heart holds up.

There’s disturbing story on TomPaine.com, about how the American media have been shutting down their foreign bureaus, increasing the isolation of the U.S. even more interesting is how the writer describes why bin Laden is popular among arabs, and surprisingly, it’s not simply because of the hatred of Israel. Some of this breaks down into a more complex class war, between the oil rich sheiks who are believed to be decadent and corrupting, and the common people dedicated to Islam.

Read the Syd Barrett piece on Last Plane to Jakarta, and feeling in awe of Darnielle again. It’s turning into a weekly occurence. I gotta admit that my bond to Barrett is a little hard to admit though. I’m not one of the people who thought his breakdown was cute or funny, or thought that he just couldn’t take the stress. While i had been turned onto Barrett years before, when i was drowned in his music was right after i came out of the psych hospital, and had very nearly lost my own sense of cohesion of self. I don’t even know where i got the money, perhaps from working on that constuction site with the crackheads, but i bought that three CD boxed set at the insistence of that same girl that i had a crush on, the one that browbeat me with how i was not as much of a genius or enlightened spiritually as the people up in Ruston who became Elephant 6 people. she had a Jack Kerouac boxed set, and i had the Barrett, and we were to tape them for each other before she went back to Ruston. (I cannot recall whether she made those Kerouac tapes, but weirdly, she gave me those Mountain Goat tapes i mentioned awhile back.)

At the time it was not psych music. I hadn’t tried to immerse myself into specific genres. It was music that scared me, because it made too much sense. I didn’t get better when i came out of that hospital. It only made the doubts and delusions worse, because with all of the drugs that they had pumped into me, there were no more lucid moments, and the glimpses of who i was became more distorted and more grotesque. And here was Barrett, mapping out a path through territory that was terrifyingly familiar. Was there going to be a way out? No, Syd Barrett was annihilated. It was like checking ice walls for marks of a pick or graffitti, trying to figure out where he went wrong, trying to find the true way out, turning the corner to catch ghoulish reflection of oneself.

Overidentification. Yes, that’s really what happened. I never found a way out. I still worry about being a Barrett without the beautiful sputtering flames, as i still have not been able to pick up the thread from where i first went astray. I still don’t know whether to smile with familiar affection or to cry. As much as i love artists influenced by Barrett, i find it extremely difficult to listen to the original.

It’s Franks Wild Years on the headphones right now though. Tom Waits is a great substitute since i don’t have “New York New York” on my Sinatra comp. Thinking aboput Kathleen Brennan only reinforces my idea that Tori Amos didn’t know what she was getting herself into. In tori’s press releases, i read that she wanted to take the male voices of the creators of the songs, and give them a feminine perspective, but Brennan cowrites a lot of Wats’ songs, perhaps more than shows up in the credits, not that Tom doesn’t make every effort to make sure that she gets her fair share.

Forgot to finish a paragraph yesterday. It was extremely funny to read all of those, “What do you think of Radiohead?” questions. It’s so biased! it didn’t really surprise me with a magazine that predictably was going to have OK Computer as it’s #1, but i wish that they needled each of the artists a lot more about Radiohead, steering every question back to Yorke and company. It would have been better if people began getting pissed off and trashed Radiohead. The only answer that was negative did annoy me though, because it was that dork fromt eh Stereophonics saying that they should lighten up because it’s “only” music. Jackass. Moby’s answer was just pathetic, saying that he’d wish that they’d write more songs like “High & Dry”. Twerps. I only wish that more people had the honesty, shallowness, dorkiness, or arrogance to say things like that though. Yeah, in these self-absorbed, self-reflective times, i want everyone to be a music critic. Stupid.

Pastoralia. The latest George Saunders book is out in paperback. Surrealist short stories, that take a longr unblinking look at reality than those realist bastards. My friend Phillip really turned me onto Saunders, because he had a day off, got some coffee, sat in a park in New Orleans, read Pastorilia, and ruined his whole day, as it’s a complete downer. He confessed that it wasn’t the best way to recommend a book, but it worked for me. I’m already two-thirds of the way through it, as it’s a slim book, but it’s very bit as good as CivilWarLand in Bad Decline. P.S. I haven’t quite grasped his fascination with historical theme parks, but he uses them to devastating effect. And yes, he did it before Palahniuk wrote Choke.

By the way, the Democrats are fools to give in on missle defense that doesn’t work. It was a waste of money before September 11th, and it remains a waste of money. It was obvious that the U.S. is vulnerable to terrorist attacks, as i have repeatedly echoed others more informed, so even though i didn’t imagine it on this scale, and this horrific, the actual act was not a surprise. However, ballistic missles are still out of most nations’ reach. If money is to be spent on defense, it can go towards paying the soldiers better than they are paid now.

By the way, i like this Salon essay on the flag and patriotic songs. He even invokes the name of Woody guthrie and the “secret” (suppressed) versions of “This Land Is Your Land”.

No news on Holly’s uncle or which of my friends are among the 35,000 reserves called up.

Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 09.16.01

I was checking out the Mercury Prize knockoff, Shortlist of Music, and their actual long list. I don’t know if i agree with them, but i don’t see how it’s going to hurt. even though it’s not the best album on the list (today i think it’s Hot Shots II,) i’m rooting for the Dandy Warhols, because they want to sellout, they want to be huge, and are not shy about saying it. Besides, if PJ Harvey gets the Mercury for what i think are Americanism, it would be funny if the Dandys got it for their Anglophilia. At the Drive-In broke up, Cannibal Ox would scare the hell out of people, the Blind Boys of Alabama doesn’t appeal to the main demographic this “awarrd” appeals to, Gorillaz is a novelty act, Ryan Adams has enough momentum, Sigur Ros is too obtuse, the Shins are too obscurely indie, the White Stripes aren’t pop enough, Tortoise makes no sense, Pete Yorn seems like a nice guy but nice is not enough, Daft Punk is too French, Air is French and are not in a Gap commercial, Godspeed You Black Emperor too downer, Nikka Costas ugh, Gillian Welch is too alt-country, Fantomas? What maniac nominated them? and the rest i cannot think of anything to say about.

The Q magazine wasn’t that good, even though it was fun after last week. The best thing was how they asked most every artist that they talked to (except from Mani from Primal Scream/Stone Roses, oddly. Or would that be tellingly? I dunno.)

I am the World Trade Center chickened out, and changed their name according to Pitchfork. I guess that i probably would have too. They may have been lynched by zealots who thought that they were mocking the crashes, unaware that the band existed before the tragedy.

I am thrilled about the Clinic news though, as the album is finished. It just will not be released until next year. I still have not tracked down any of those songs from the John Peel session, “The Bridge,” “Jouster,” “The Nuns,” and “Daishiki.”

The Dickies “Banana Splits” Damn! I might not like this if it was recorded in the ’90s, because it would have been smirking irony, but this seems like authentic giddy snotty brattiness. This bears only the slightest resemblance to bands like Third Eye Blind covering the theme from Scooby Doo, because it feels done in a completely different spirit. Dig those muppety tra la las! I suspect Supergrass owes the Dickies to an extent.

Beck “Diamond Dogs” Who is Beck supposed to be dating now? Winona Ryder? Or was that last year? I like Beck’s old stuff, but something seems missing now. I’m wondering if it has something to do with his personal life, something that doesn’t come up that much. Ever since he broke up with the longtime girlfriend that he has been with since he became prominent, there’s been an emotional hollowness to everything he’s done. Yeah, a lot of people feel that it was there all along, but i don’t, so play along if you can. It even goes into how he refused to let “Where It’s At” be used in a beer commercial, but with Midnite Vultures, he pimped those songs out for everything they were worth, and i cannot listen to the album without thinking of NBC. Something is wrong with him. While i loved his cover of Skip Spence’s “Halo of Gold”, i’m gettiing bored with the endless tribute compilation contributions. Mend your broken heart, O Lost Indie Boy, because it seems that you have lost your soul.

Oh, the music. It sounds like Beck never made it out of the oxygen tent, and where’s the rallying cry, “This ain’t rock & roll! This is genocide!”?

The Nerves. “Hanging on the Telephone” If you are into indie rock, and don’t know who the Nerves are, go download this song now, as you will not believe that it was recorded back in 1976. I’ve read how the reference the early Beatles and that style, but they sound too modern for that. Listen to the attack on the guitar and the geeky howl of the singing. Since they were not quite punk, and on the verge of new wave, i thought that they might sound like the Knack, or perhaps be a little backwards looking like the Flamin’ Groovies, but no, no, no… listen to this song, and then pick up Spoon’s Girls Can Tell from this spring to compare. Some of the territories of the post-Nirvana seem as silly as oceans full of mermaids and sea serpents on old maps, because all of that becomes irrelevant to the evolution of the guitar-driven pop song. The Nerves are a band to be mourned 25 years after the fact, even if some of their other songs are not giving me that same sense of time displaced shock. Oh, and while they don’t have that New York punk grit, they are better than the Strokes, but you already knew that, didn’t you?

Oh, sorry to keep ragging the Strokes, because i must confess that while i already liked them, i like their music even more listening to all of this neglected punk and powerpop, but hate their critical accolades even more.

The Shoes. “Tomorrow Night” Jangle-pop guitars! Soft, slightly wounded singing! Tight, crisp drums! Oooos in the harmonies! A piercing micro-solo that’s announced a handful of buzzsaw chords at 1:36, and fades away shyly, as if in deference to the pleading, begging, and promising, trying to cover up how intense the underlying emotions really are.

Pere Ubu “30 Seconds Over Tokyo” Sometimes reading too much about a song can ruin it. While the song isn’t ruined, i knew too damned much about how mindblowing this song has been for some artits and critics. However, it also managed to do the impossible, living up to my expectations. David thomas has made a lot of comments through the years that have pissed me off, even if i cannot remember him. I recall even tolerant Vale calling him an asshole in reaction to one of his radio interviews. It never occured to me that goth might owe a lot to Pere Ubu. I wanna listen to this late at night on a cheap boombox on failing batteries out in the woods.

Oneida “Bein’ Free” First i had downloaded “Doin’ Business in Japan” and found that this new punkish psychedelic band was actually another of those New York bands pretending to be Detroit. However, this song has bleeping, screeching keyboards, like the cinders of shattered satellites burning up on reentry, and they completely dominate the song, making the band more than one of those cookie cutter wannabe Stooges. I can only hope that they exploit those space debris keys more in the new album.

1910 Fruitgum Company “Simon Says” After getting that Dickies song, i remembered that i wanted to listen to more bubblegum from the early ’70s, and this was the first band that i could think of. The more i hear of these bands, the more i understand why some people pick on the twee indiepop and some of the second tier Elephant 6 efforts. Want more, but it loses flavor quickly.

Timbaland & Magoo “I’m Music” Man o man, i hope that Timbaland changes his mind about releasing this one, if it’s to be an epitaph of Aaliyah, because it’s kinda banal. It’s going to take a lot more than some panning of crispy sound effects to dress this up. More another time.

Swell Maps “Read About Seymour” I always wanted to get into this band, and the obsessive part of me that likes to trace geneologies wondered what the band was like, because since Jowe Head joined the Television Personalities, the Swell Maps must have been cool. Well, they are cool, and i feel stupid for not checking them out until now. I can justify why i haven’t investigated bands like the Nerves because they are obscure, or Pere Ubu because i think David Thomas is a jerk, but they fit too perfectly into pop cuklture obsessive art-punk pigeonhole that i love. I’m reading in this Mojo that the song is a response to reading an article by Marc Bolan about a ’60s mod cult figure. What could be a better reason for writing a song? They are a noisier band than the TVP, with cluttered drums and percussion, rolls of barbwire guitar, and a grabbag of thrown in dissonant sounds, seeming more likely to slash your wrists than their own, but i might change my mind with more songs.

Heartbreakers “Chinese Rocks” Big Dumb Rock about Drugs. It took me forever to discover the New York Dolls, but it might be time to move into the post-Dolls material. I cannot believe how blunt it is! Mojo is claiming it was Thunder’s attempt to top VU’s “Heroin”, but even though i think it’s great rock song, it’s kinda silly and cartoonish. Like Motley Crue. Ugh. That is not what i want to think about. For a song that details losing everything, material possessions and love, it’s weirdly upbeat. I’d like to pretend it’s forced and ironic, but it just seems mixed-up.

Ian Brown “F.E.A.R.” Because i never got into the Stone Roses, and could give less than a fig about the solo endeavors that followed, i just never heard any of Ian Brown’s stuff. It’s too British to cross the ocean, perhaps. However, when i run across the occasional interview, i’m entertained by the talk of monkeys and dolphins. Lots of electronic masking, and strings. It seems kinda lazy to me, and i’m not even judging against the Stone Roses, as they mean nothing to me. I think that i’ll stick with the wacky interviews, unless someone can clue me into a better song.

Major Matt Mason USA “Rockstar” More of that anti-folk with some comedy value, although this one seems more natural, not going for the slapstick and pratfalls. I still have a bit of a prejudice against the style of music, not because i dislike it, but because it reminds me of open mike nights and times where there’s no other venue to play other than a coffeehouse. However, there’s some genuine emotional weight to the clever observations. I’d probably clap out of more than politeness.

Tori Amos “Time” Several years ago, i thought that Tori’s cover of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” was interesting. I’m afraid of listening to it again, because this limp reading of Tom Waits’ “Time” is spookily unimaginative. She doesn’t even bother to try to make the song her own, as she reads it in a raspy voice, which only sets off all of the alarms in my head that say Faker! Poor Tori probably picked one of the toughest Waits songs to cover, for me at least. I don’t think anyone could cover “Time” credibly. Part of the reason is because perhaps Tom and Kathleen (his wife) know what the hell some of those lines are about, as sometimes the references and symbolism become fairly impenetrable. The fact that she left it a stark arrangement for voice and piano was sensible, knowing that the lyrics and melody cannot abide any further dressing, but maybe she should have just picked “Downtown Train” like old Rod Stewart.

According to a couple of guys who work for the Washington Times, there is no doubt that bin Laden posseses nuclear weapons. I believe this before i believe the people who say that because there was no chemical or biological weapons aboard the airliners, that’s all of the resources that the terrorists possess. That’s nonsense. This is all a trap, both tactically and politically.

It’s too late now though. Even though the Taleban had 72 hours to respond to Pakistan’s request to turn over bin Laden, anywhere from two dozen to fifty American special forces have already landed in Pakistan.

There’s a small problem with rebuilding the WTC. It cannot be as high as it was without extensive redesigns because i was watching CNN today, and they commented on how the only reason why they let it be built in the way it was because they chose to exempt it from certain safety standards. If they build a new building, it needs to be able to be evacuated more quickly.