Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 10.31.01

Halloween is the closest thing i have to a religious holiday.

It’s all the Olson Twins’ fault. I wound up listening to Sebadoh’s Bakesale yesterday afternoon. It’s an album that i cannot write anything about in terms of music, because it’s more of mnemonic device of a certain time, which happened to be around cool, cloudless autumn days like these… pain pills and nausea included. I’m not really in that Sebadoh vibe right now, and doubt if i ever will be again, but it’s little creepy on how important an album it was for me. While i believe thast i had GbV Bee Thousand on vinyl first, it was a borrowed tape of Bakesale that i often listened to in the truck. I still enjoy the quirkiness of Bee Thousand, but Bakesale encapsulates that extremely delayed adolescent angst that cropped up in my twenties. Lou Barlow, you whining shithead… yeah, i’m a little delerious…

No, those are not pleasant memories. Let’s skip this….

It was exciting for all of five seconds to read the headline that the Strokes already have a tribute band, and i was hoping it would be fronted by Mary-Kate and Ashley, but instead it’s some lame Casio keyboard instrumentals.

I meant to addyesterday before the Neptunes and Timbaland could not rescue the Olsens that they get Ryan Adams to cowrite a song with them, and then duet with Elton John, but i accidentally deleted that part.

I listened to Brain Donor’s Love, Peace, & Fuck again, after bringing it up on ILM in reference to random fandom, and i just cannot get into endless (well, twenty minute) jams that deliberately ape the worst excesses of ’70s metal. I don’t know why the Krautrock instrumentals on Jehovahkill seemed fanstastic (and still do) and when i hear Neu! do that, am even more thrilled. It seems like a different chemical, and i don’t like the aftertaste.

I love this ILM thread, as i feel like a rebel for loving the Beatles.

I was going to make some stupid comment about how i actually prefer The Great Escape to Parklife on that contrary thread, but the truth was that i actually used to hate the song “Girls & Boys” just because it had that dancey, clubby synth vibe, and in the past year, i’ve been cured of that. I think conventional wisdom is that this is supposed to be Blur’s best album, and i’ve resisted that opinion for years. The spoken word of the title track still bugs me, as it’s not what bears my repeatedly listening, and the carnival keys of “Far Out” might work for Tom Waits, but with Blur remains merely annoying, and the vaguely exotica of the strings on “To the End” still doesn’t sit well. Nah, this is not working…

I gotta jump forward and then back up. The first Blur album that i bought is actually Blur, after the decline of Britpop, a genre that i knew nothing about. NME and Melody Maker were not sold anywhere here, and the only exposure that i had to either Blur or Oasis was through the first alt-rock station of the area, 106.1, which seemed to have a degree of freedom in its playlists for the time, with a DJ or two saying their names as if they were magic words, but the song would come on, and they made no impression on me whatsoever…”Aha, the new Ned’s Atomic Dustbin.” (a band that i remembered hyped for having two basses, which seemed pathetically pedestrian after i saw Primus in ’91. No, i never did get out much.) I wasn’t going to waste a second on that nonsense if i could get back to listening to my tapes of Tom Waits, Nick Cave, Pavement, and Julian Cope.

It’s actually Julian Cope’s fault that i got into Britpop at all, even if i was years late. Sort of. It just as much Pavement’s fault. I bought Blur because they had been hanging out with Pavement, and at the time, i was buying warped 45s to offshoots like the Silver Jews. It was okay, although i had friends who said that i ought to get their early stuff, as they had songs that sounded like Barrett Pink Floyd. I didn’t really believe that, as i had a dim memory of “She’s So High” and baggy left me cold. However, i’m a spendthrift and bought The Great Escape and What’s the Story Morning Glory? anyway. Instead of reflecting knowingly on Lad Culture or wondering about the great tabloid war, i thought, “Hey! This sounds an awful lot like 20 Mothers! They obviously dig Julian Cope.”

Ignorance and innocence can get you in such trouble. Anyway, i’ve stuck with Blur, and became annoyed with Oasis’ brash arrogance without a shred of proof to back up their boasts, which stopped being funny after only a few short weeks after i realized that i could read the NME online. (I don’t recall much coverage on Addicted to Noise, perhaps because i ignored it in favor of my fixation with lo-fi at the time.) The other stumbling block was that i preferred relative latecomers like Supergrass, Super Furry Animals, and Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci anyway, and given the choice, i’d listen to their albums nearly every time, letting the Fallen Britpop Giants gather dust where they lay.

The other thing that i’m listening to while searching for jobs online is the Magnetic Fields 69 Love Songs, trying to figure out why ILM seems to hate it now. My memory is foggy, but i swear that i read something with Freaky Trigger that helped convert me to it in the first place. No deep insight. I like the fact that i cannnot listen to the whole thing at any one time, but can let it play at random to have a different favorite song every time. I can understand the accusations of insincerity of Blur better than the Magnetic Fields, and even that never detracted me from Blur. If 69 Love Songs was distilled to a single album of the best songs, i’d probably be utterly indifferent to it, because the sensation of wandering through museum of stiff robots singing songs is amusing. Stephin Merritt and Ryan Adams ought to get together for a steel cage match.

Damn it. I took that Punk Test, and wound up, Punk Like Hank at 52%. He qualifiesd as a “smart punk?” I’m fucked.

Out of the original batch of pain pills and too cheap to go get the strong stuff prescribed Monday. Enough for today. I hate this, as i’m getting more hits (readers) than usual, and my consciousness feels crippled at the moment, leaving me to offer writing more muddled than usual.

Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 10.30.01

I apologizing for disappearing yesterday. i was in dental surgery for four hours. The abscess reappeared Friday night, and i’ve been on a steady diet of antiobiotics, painkillers, and yogurt since then. Britney’s dentists (although, waitaminute… i’ve been going to this dentist nearly as long as Britney’s been alive, and went to school with the other one…) now has the whole mess ripped out, and i’m on the mend, and can listen to music and read again.

One thing that i must exorcise is how even those damned atmospheric New Agers cannot resist ripping off another artist wholesale. it’s not enough to play tinkling painos, and throw in whale calls and wind chimes, there was one guy named Kamal that had a song called “Ripples” that completely ripped off a piece by Vangelis’ Opera Sauvage, which in my numbed state seemed to be the worst offense imaginable. I don’t even listen to Vangelis, so there seemed deeply offensive that i could so easily pick out plagiarism in a genre that i don’t give a damn about. i’d prefer not to be able to tell one piece from the next, but i was jolted into consciousness by the theft, and my teeth knew it.

I had the slight urge to do some idiosynchratic parallelism between Eno and Vangelis, and why one is cool and the other is not, but i feel shity enough. i don’t want to bore myself to death. I only liked Eno when he was glam, and Vangelis when in Aphrodite’s Child.

Although i still intend to make that This Summer Past mixtape that i’ve been swearing to do for a week (i cannot believe that i’ve been back in Louisiana for a week now,) Amnesiac is turning out to be a great soundtrack for a morning of a bloodied mouth and weak pain pills. I was going to put “I Might Be Wrong” on the mix, as that guitar sound still amuses me, and seems like a pedal-stomping, turn-hugging kinda driving song. It also happens to be the Radiohead song Darnielle is writing about this week. It’s disturbing to be a sycophant, but i wish that he would write more pieces on music that i thought that i was familiar with, as it becomes more than just a song after reading his pieces.

Lou started mailing some of my music magazines back, and i found that Simon Reynolds mentioned that Pulp – Led Zeppelin connection first. However, i don’t hear “Kashmir” like him. It’s another, almost poppier one. Yes, that’s still plaguing me almost a week later.

I saw the video for the Strokes “Late Nite” on M2. The retro look of the video probably shouldn’t have come as a surprise, but it did anyway. I probably could have told that it was a contemporary band, even if i had missed out on the Strokes hype, because of the crispness of the video production, but it was strange to see how far they push that retro look.

Juanita posted a link to a Strokes article on Raindogs. I still fall back on my stance that the band is merely good, and not great, but the ability to play them loudly for the first time., i can see what’s so fun about them more easily. I’m also late in saying that i’m glad that they trotted “New York City Cops” because whil some of those guys may be heroes, when they and the firemen use their newly recognized cred to bash Hilary Clinton, fuck ’em. they may be brave, but some of them really aren’t all that smart if they believe that Bush and company are any less mercenary than her. Back to that later…

it’s annoying me to death that the only tea in the house is Earl Grey, and i’m not up for driving anywhere safely. I just want some plain old tea, not a cup full of flowers right now. No, i’m not supposed to be drinking hot tea, but they didn’t expressly forbid either. Okay… i give up… no tea…

Splendid is going daily, all seven days of the week, on November 5th! I’m already overwhelmed with the amount of daily sites that i check in on, but a daily music review site is something else, as i’m addicted to reviews, no matter how wrong or right they are. (i am surprised that Luke seemed to like the recent Kingsbury Manx album.) I have to admit that if i’m not spoonfed small doses, i skim too much.

Pitchfork has a new interview with “Radiohead’s other favorite band,” Clinic. (I presume that Neumu meant the Beta Band as the first. It’s funny how i enjoy listening to both the Beta Band and Clinic more than Radiohead.) It’s a little disappointing to find that they are rather straightforward and open about their vagueness. I don’t want to be told by a band that they are deliberately being obtuse in their music, and most of it means nothing. Part of the reason why i enjoy Clinic so much more than the Strokes is because i understand the language of sputtering incoherence better than swaggering bravado. It actually ties into one of the new Freaky Trigger articles that i read before that interview…

I didn’t think i agreed with what Ned gets out of lyrics in music. I’m still not sure. However, evenm though i’m a bit of a lyric obsessive, i can only remember the briefest of fragments, and often incorrectly. The lyrics that i love best are the ones that i don’t understand or paint images that are difficult for me to grasp. I do care about lyrics, but i don’t care about lyrics presented to give a cohesive, clear narrative, unless it’s a good, old-fashioned, folky murder ballad. I want the depth and meaning to be something i take there, like the monsters living in the dark of the woods, past the light of the campfire. After reading enough interviews, i can decide that any artist is a shamefaced liar, if i am to continue to enjoy listening to the music. There’d better be demons and ghosts in those shadows, and not just dust and lint for any music that is be anything more than bubblegum or raw noise for me.

Incidentally, i have a severe comprehension disability in reading poetry. Straight prose i can breeze through, but poetry makes my eyes slide right off the page, as i cannot focus on the lines. It’s possibly a form of dyslexia or a brain new learning disability that i’ve made up.

Yes, in addition to the lyric article there’s been more Freaky Trigger updates. I haven’t heard the Bran Van 3000, and hope to get to toTom’s article on vocals tomorrow.

Unlike Glorious Noise, i don’t think that it’s necessarily a bad thing that the Olsen Twins are covering the Weezer song “Islands in the Sun”. In fact, i think it’s great. An ex-manager of mine and I had a running bet when they were going to turn to soft-porn calendars, at age 18 or 21, because that’s what twins in the entertainment do if they are not in music, a la the Deals or those guys in the Proclaimers. If they do music, they might be able to keep away from those damned calendars, and the fact that they are covering Weezer is endlessly entertaining. I’m actually warming up to the green album, now that it doesn’t seem to be on anyone’s shortlists to help their memories for the end of the year, and because their webmaster likes Scrubbles, which is a great show of taste. The Olsen Twins could turn into a mad cabaret act. All of those fuckers loved Ricky Nelson go from Ozzie & Harriet’s kid to great rockabilly might-have-been.

More songs that the Olsen Twins should consider covering:

  1. Belle & Sebastian “We Rule the School” – Oh, this one was born for an after-school special, and i could see every mixed-up eleven year old buying this one. It’s a bubblegum indiepop Claudine monster times two with the Olsen Twins. It probably shouldn’t open any album by them, but it sprang into my head first.
  2. The Beach Boys “The Lonely Sea” – Anyone who wants to build their hipster cred in a hurry needs to cover some Brian Wilson, and while i’m sure that somewhere in their career, the Olsen Twins have sung along in a shlockfest for something like “Surfin’ U.S.A.” they need something a little meatier this time, and it would make a great B-side for their cover of Weezer’s “Islands in the Sun”.
  3. Nico “I’m Not Saying” – Although i love that Nico, i have the suspcion that the Olsden Twins could do wonders with this one, perhaps in berets and black & white striped shirts dancing around the Eiffel Tower with baguettes.
  4. Big Star “Thirteen” – Aw, come on. They’ve covered Brian Wilson. The next goalpost would have to be covering this song.
  5. The Undertones “Teenage Kicks” – Of course, they are going to have to change the gender to reflect the female singers, but they are going to need a hard rocker to keep the energy high
  6. The Buzzcocks “Ever Fallen in Love?” – Is the perfect B-side to their Undertones cover. Heartbreakers, aren’t they?
  7. Smog “Teenage Spaceship” – Okay, so it’s a bit of a downer, but it has the word teenage in it, and covering Bill Callahan works for Cat Power, doesn’t it? They could sing it up on the roof of their New England farmhouse with orange and red leaves falling down out of an empty night sky.
  8. Beulah “If We Can Land on the Moon” – The Olsens are definitely going to need an upper after that one, and it has that “Let’s put on a show!” vibe screaming from it.
  9. The Strokes “Late Nite” – I guess that they are trying to stay contemporary with picking Weezer, but they can get even more cutting edge with covering the Strokes. It can be their Big Song when they get into the Battle of the Bands, and all of the judges look at each other with stunned looks but tapping their toes.
  10. The Small Faces “Lazy Sunday” – There has to be a song that they play in their garage while they get ready for the Battle of the Bands, and they don’t want to trot out their Big Song just yet, but wanna show that they having a grand old time as rock and rollers.
  11. Blur “Girls & Boys” – Aha! this is where we get a curve ball! This is when the Olsens break up and go solo for a few months! This is for the Electro-Olsen!
  12. Air “Sexy Boy” – the B-side of the Electro-Olsen. Of course, it’s a pointless song to cover, but don’t let that stop her.
  13. Sebadoh “License to Confuse” – Sorry. It’s because they are covering Weezer that popped this one into my head. While Electro-Olsen gets all decadent and explorative, the other Olsen becomes repressed, self-absorbed, and angry, becoming LoFi-Olsen.
  14. PJ Harvey “Down by the Water” – Lo-Fi Olsen tries to get in touch with her feminine side while staying strong.

At this point, the Olsens reunite, and are intent on writing their own material for awhile, prduced by the Neptunes and Timbaland of course, and the result sinks like a stone, which only pushes them back to the relentless march of soft-porn calendars.

Glorious Noise also have a great write-up of the Wilco offshoot Autumn Defense.

There was a connection made on Tangents that i was not certain was intentional, but this is how i like to interpret it… that the White Stripes are Wireizing the blues that have been bloated up into prog-like proportions. Contrasting them to Led Zeppelin didn’t quite pull it off. I’m going to pretend that this is how i justify my adoration for the White Stripes for awhile.

There’s also a write-up of the 10/26 Spiritualized show in Boston on Slatch.

It’s awful that in grad school that they tell Jeff the same things that they told me in high school. i completely empathize with his desire not to be called a good critic, probably among ther most ugly and damning of all compliments.

By the way, i’ll be arbitrarily working on a novel this November too, although i still don’t feel it in my head or soul. Maybe chipping it out with a boxcutter would work.

I guess that i’m a dork, but one small relief to being so far from Lou right now is that Toonami has a whole new line-up. See? Easily pacified, and kept from world-crushing depression by badly dubbed garish images with flashing lights. Anyway, I cannot believe that they dug up what seems to be an old Gundam series, 8 MS Team, the original Dragonball, the Boo Saga for Dragonball Z, and Batman Beyond.

i apologize for this post seeming incomplete or half-hearted today, as i feel wretched, and i’m getting heartburn from damned antibiotics and yogurt.

Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 10.26.01

Ever get food cravings from songs? Because i was mulling over whether i wanted to listen to Leonard Cohen The Future, to see if i can suffer through the cheesey synths, i decided to listen to an old Best of instead, and from “Suzanne” realized that I didn’t want to hear The Future or even listen to Leonard Cohen, but sit outside watching the trees blow in the wind drinking tea and eating oranges. I swear that i do not listen to music to dictate a lifestyle to my hobbled imagination, but there it is…

but i did wind up dragging the stereo out on an extension cord, and skipping around that album, then a handful of the actual albums until i played most every song on them. I’m not remotely in a heartbroken and jaded mood lately, since this is one of the happiest times of my life, but i think that the Leonard Cohen yearning might coem from my parents urging me to burn all of my old journals and letters, because Louise and i are starting a new life, and those troubled writings are too much baggage. Maybe i should. These albums might be a better shorthand for those dark years than anything i could dredge from that dross.

Incidentally, “Famous Blue Raincoat” is the first Leonard Cohen song that i ever heard. Damien played it for me on some stormy spring afternoon, as he made mixtapes for someone. The lines You’re living for nothing now/ I hope you’re keeping some kind of record drove a nail right through my heart, and i think i ordered that Best of the next day from Columbia House. It’s a line directed to a character i never was or will be, but it spoke to me more directly than most any other song i heard at that time. I only became more meticulous in my obsession of journaling, although now “Chelsea Hotel” and I can’t keep track of each fallen robin is more appropriate in these brighter times.

As i had to run to Hammond (haircut and job applications. Lou & my family said my hair looks better when i don’t cut it myself) and was bored of my own tapes, i wound up listening to some mixtapes that i neglected to send to a friend months ago, yet still have close at hand gathering dust. It turned out to be an oddsnapshot of what i was listening to back in June, a bookmark that confused me with what happened to the past five months. (I’m starting on a mixtape of those months as i type this.) It bothered me that it didn’t sound as unfamiliar as it should have, making me feel as i have not put as much musical distance between now and then as i should have. It should have been a nice little retrospective, and instead made me feel like i’m stuck musically. The music is nothing to be embarrassed of…. the Undertones, Wire, Captain Beefheart, the Only Ones, and Elvis Presley (okay, that last one makes no sense, and i cannot recall why “Mystery Train” seemed like a great idea in that particular mix no matter how much i like the song.) Yes, i have a deep and righteous fear of stagnation.

It did drag out yet another of my favorite B-sides though… Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds doing “King Kong Kitchee Kitchee Me Oh”. The violent glee that he can spit out a childhood favorite thrills me, making me feel as if i knew how bloody and passionate a song it was all along. Nick Cave is one artist that can get away with doing covers and not sound like a conservative traditionalist. Given a choice of rock interpretation of the blues, i’d pick Nick over both the White Stripes and Zeppelin any day. Barely controlled dissonance and the viciousness to back up the boasts means everything.

Another tape was more interesting though, because i made it reluctantly, because it was requests, a tape of Elephant 6 bands. I do have a soft spot for those bands, and have many of the albums, but became bored with whole albums. Listening to them as the ’90s version of Nuggets bands, with a couple of gems in each one is making me want to do the tape over properly. The voices still get a bit too reedy and nerdy at times, but they coax a fuzz out of guitars that feels like the frays of a favorite old shirt, the sort that shouldn’t be worn in public but i do anyway.

I neglected to mention that last week, Lou and i had free tickets to see the Divine Comedy. I was actually quite excited, as it was unexpected, and unexpected is often a lot more fun. There were two opening bands, one a drawn-out multinational group that was playing such low-ebb vibe music that they were best suited for someone’s living room. The next band was better for the venue, standing room only, hot as hell, with everyone with beer in hand. It managed to mix up the sound palette somewhat with a trumpet and violin, and they had a couple of good sinlges, but i think that the singer needed more presence for them to be the huge band that they obviously want to be.

The Divine Comedy was an absolute disappointment though. They decided to perform sitting down, and playing acoustic. With the audience barely even having room to move, and a low stage, the wall of bodies guaranteed that there was nothing to be seen. Because of the venue, the sound also sucked, so we could stare past the backs of people’s heads at a seemingly empty stage to hear a more than a little bit of muddled bit of feedback and an overly casual, almost muted performance. We had to leave early, as we would have enjoyed staying home to listen to the records more.

My parents have been taping the episodes of Survivor: Africa that i missed, and i watched them all yesterday. Sorry. 9/11 didn’t quench my tatste for trashy reality television, as Lou and i have been watching “Pop Idol” and “Model Behavior” with glee for weeks, and i hope that she can stomach keeping me updated until she comes here. Anyway, i’m rooting for the tattooed hipster, the slightly delusional Mother Africa woman (who is a cancer survivor so her slight flakiness is a strength,) or the goofy soccer player. I want to see the lazy bastards with the bead necklaces to be annihilated, although it seems that they are now poised to pick off the older people who did all of the chores.

I’ve been avoiding politics the past few days, as i keep getting hits for peoplelooking for “funny songs about bin Laden” but i should mention that the somewhat credible rumor that bin Laden has access to nuclear materials has arisen again.

There’s also a weird article in the Telegraph, saying, “Targets were selected because they were thought to be poorly defended and could be easily filmed to demonstrate that ground troops could go where they wanted.” Is this just the opinion of the reporter or is this a paraphrase from an unnamed official? If it’s the latter, it’s definitely just a PR war, and just forget about any promises for justice.

Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 10.25.01

Last night i converted my parents to downloading music again, by getting on Audiogalaxy to do searches for obscure cowboy singers. They are also giving me some leniency on downloads, as i solved the mystery of the shrinking internet connection speed last night…. with the discovery of fire ants nesting in the phone box. Unfortunately, as i type this, the electricity flashed off, and there’s no phone signal whatsoever anymore even after the lights have returned.

On the flight across the Atlantic, i became the closest to becoming airsick in my short experience flying. I think that it must have been a lack of oxygen and that i lost a few brain cells. Okay, a lot of brain cells. Why? Because saying that the Pulp song had a Led Zeppelin riff that i could not identify was irritating me. I had to pull out CD-Rs of the boxed set that i copied last year from Coty (yes, the same guy that i recently mocked for his obsession with Pink Floyd.) I don’t think that i’ve listened to them since copying them, as it didn’t seem necessary. It actually seemed unnecessary that i waste $10 in blank disks copying them, but i did it anyway, as i thought that sometime in the years to come i’d get nostalgic.

I don’t feel nostalgic. I actually enjoyed listening to some of the songs, off albums that i never cared for, not even in 1989, like Presence, In Through the Out Door, and Physical Graffiti. What the hell is wrong with me? No, i refuse to connect it with my fondness for the White Stripes. I still don’t think that they sound much alike, aside from hijacking the blues, and are going for very different goals. I don’t want to argue the punk versus prog ethic, especially since the lines have been blurred more with each year i listen to the genres. Yeah, post-punk… skip it…..

It’s embarrassing, as i have fun slagging Led Zeppelin, but i had to admit the glee of cranking up the stereo this morning. (If i change my mind about post-Barrett Pink Floyd, i’ll admit that too.) It feels like the pure bombast and predictability is needed somehow, yet i still deny it’s nostalgia. People have been praising Jay-Z and his megalomania, finding something to grin and gape at in the spectacle, even wave their hands in the air at the vibe. In the small doeses that i’ve been doling myself out today, with those damned pounding beats, blues plundered guitar strangling, and vocal histrionics, it seems like another facet of the same mad delusions. If somehow i could strip the identity of Led Zeppelin from the music, i could enjoy writing about it more,and describe what i’m getting out of it, aside from loudness.

Anyway, i got that out of my system…. forgive me. What’s my penance?

The Teardrop Explodes is really where it’s at. I think that Pulp pushing me into that fleeting Led Zeppelin micro-obsession (and i never figured out what song that Pulp guitar riff was from) snapped me out of loud music, into the beauty of the pop song. Only recently have i begun to listen past Cope’s voice and lyrics (still my favorite thing about TX) past that ’80s production that i was convinced for the longest time was the worst thing that happened to music, to hearing the bass popping up and down and the ringing chime of the guitars. I’d rather be torn apart by intricate swirling near-chaos than beaten over the head with a maul. Rather than having my soul pounding out of me, my lifeblood is sliced out by sharp fragments, bursts of horns, a brief snarl of guitar, deft jabs of drum fills, and volleys of keyboard swells…. who wants to play with bullyboy wannabe demigods when trickster shamans are calling you out?

I love it when i cannot tell what a song is about or a possibly nonsense lyric that seems to have a veiled vision lurking behind the seemingly guilty words.

It’s Kilimanjaro that i’m listening to today, playing a few songs, then trekking back to play pieces again to make certain that i heard what i heard. Offhand, it’s my favorite debut album by any band. I’m still so scatterbained that i confuse the names of the songs at times, even with the titles in the lyrics of the songs. It’s not so much a flowing album, as one delightful (what a limp word) bunch of colors spattered in a frenzy.

“Strange House in the Snow” has to be one of the greatest B-sides ever. I bring it up every so often, perhaps not that long ago, but it shocks me to have so coherent a song can so efficiently spew a geyser of bile and razorblades in my face. The fey cousin of the Birthday Party, the demon faerie who snatches babies out of cradles and leaves strange, goggle-eyed husks of creatures in their stead. It’s gorgeously hideous, a hypnotic freak. The relentless saw of the violin (that’s what i assume it is) is the hook for me. I can only imagine that they decided that it fucking well sounded like an abomination, and built the whole song around that hideous, rhythmic shriek. Go ahead… correct me if i’m wrong, as i really would like to know. It’s also one of Cope’s most freaked out vocal performances, in a career full of notable freak-outs.

For something easy to read, i picked up that Vanity Fair music issue, and while they managed to buy some cred with a pretty photo of Tom Waits and Johnny Cash (who is looking damned tired,) it managed to annoy me quite a bit in just a few words. The second installment of the Rock Snob’s Dictionary is only half-clever, in that it seems to be patting itself on the back for revealing “secret” trends and codewords, but it has a gratingly condescending attitude, taking the chance to slam Mojo at every turn for instance. Slamming Mojo is healthy and fun, but for Vanity Fair to call it melanin deficient seems a little hypocritical, even if it’s meant to be an “ironic” joke. The last year or two of Mojo have had a soul-funk issue and a Marvin Gaye cover, and they review every blues, soul, or funk reissue with (graven) wooden reverence. Vanity Fair does one issue per year now of music. What’s their specialty?

Conversely, Vanity Fair defines the Meters as something unfit for mainstream consumption because of “the algorithmic complexity of their music.” Eh? The Meters are practically the house party band of Mardi Gras, discounting Professor Longhair. They are making the Meters sound inaccessable, and what kind of music could anyone really listen to during drunken debauchery? Accessable music. Nothing against Parliament, but the Meters are far easier to groove on in recordings. Anyone who makes the Meters sound like anything other than fun is an insufferable prick, and namechecking Damon Albarn as a fan is just a dirty, dirty slander on the Meters. Hitler loved Wagner. (Psssst… i’m still a Blur and even a Gorillaz fan though. i just know what Albarn means in some circles.) There’s almost a backhanded racism to the entry, making them sound difficult, but only for white people to enjoy. Screw you, Vanity Fair.

How accurate can it be anyway when it says that Madonna’s album Music is responsible for the mainstream revival of the vocoder? (Maybe i’m wrong, as it’s not my specialty, but i thought it was Cher with that “Believe” song.)

It’s not an article meant to inspire trust, but to amuse, but it still stinks when they want to mock snobs, yet in the article about the Brill Building, decry modern prefab pop for that good-old fashioned crafted prefab pop. With features on Elvis and John Lennon to match their cutting edge photo layout and Rock Snob Dictionary, they are even more firmly more archly middlebrowed and conservative than the people that they try to rib. I wonder why they even bother with a music issue at all.

I was quite happy to hear that someone at KLSU did a radio show with Damien Youth. (yeah, i still plan to finish that interview with him one day.) I haven’t heard the actual show yet, but it seems that he just let Damien play acoustic versions of his songs for most of the show. I wish that i could pick up KLSU from here, as it seems that Stanislav has quite a cool show.

Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 10.24.01

As it’s obvious, i took a week off. Since i had to come back to the States, and Louise has to stay in Cardiff to sell the house, as the bastard who was buying it pulled some ridiculous demands, only to walk out, she’s stuck there, while i do the paperwork for the INS. The week off to concentrate on my last time with her for a few weeks was more than important.

This morning i’ve spent unpacking and trying to rebuild my computer, which is worse off than i recalled. Anyway… i’ll stow the personal stuff for later…

In the desperate attempt to stave off depression, it’s Loud Music Day. There’s no neighbors here, and the worst i could is scare a few deer out of the rose garden. A few “Bombs over Bagdad”, “Raw Power”, “Mutiny in Heaven” (whoops. mistake! not the right mood) and “Goin’ Out West” kinda tracks gives me some small comfort in being so far from Lou, as it also means no more city for the moment.

(Another downside, almost meaningless in comparison, is that the phone lines have deteriorated even more in my absence. People talking sound as if they are down a well, and the 56K modem connects at 16K, if at all. I called Bell South for repairs, but don’t wonder why i might dispense with links to stories or sites for awhile, as it’s a pain to get anythjing loaded at all.)

It’s really a Cheap Trick/ Tom Waits kinda day for me though, with Cheap Trick first three albums lined up back to back, with a chaser of . I really wish that i had some Badfinger handy, but i’ll get to that later…

It amuses me how many of Cheap Trick songs are probably about heroin, in a completely different tone from Velvet Underground, or more contemporary, Spiritualized. “Top of the World” has him gleefully jumping around with a silly sneer and a needle hanging out of the arm, instead of the sleazy trash chic or the thick whited haze. The only problems that i have with the album Heaven Tonight are that “Takin’ Me Back” has those keyboards that wound up on albums by bands like Foreigner and Styx, bands that i predict will always be on my Hate List, and that “On the Radio” is too heavy a cheese for me to digest, with that yammering DJ on the outro. The bonus track of the raw “Surrender” makes up for them though, nearly punkish, in that nonpunkish Undertones way. The snarling bark of the ending refrain of mommy’s all right daddy’s all right on that outtake has a viciousness that they lost in recordings when they decided those Foreigner keyboards and power ballads were cool in the ’80s. Fools! How did they keep that feeling live though?

As for Tom Waits, i’m listening to them in a cinematic fashion, particularly Black Rider, Alice, and Bone Machine, all in a movie that i’m not nearly roughly suave enough to star in. Music that outshines the movies in your head that feature yourself have powerful imagery. It’s arguable that i have a weak imagination, but i don’t care to make that argument. The urge came from slapping in the Night on Earth soundtrack to hear the song, “On the Other Side of the World” because it seemed to sum up the situation, but the coat is too big for me, and best worn by someone with more burdens and broader shoulders.

Pulp We Love Life. This is the last album that i bought before leaving Cardiff (as well as the single by Orange Can, which so far seems a huge disappointment, since i’m into loud music today, or at least music that can be played loudly) That opener “Weeds” still reminds me of CW McCall’s “Convoy” in a good way, and now the second song seems something inspired from the diatribes of Julian Cope…. if only a mention of Odin was tossed in, or a slander against the Romans and straight lines, it would have been complete. It’s almost blasphemous to say that “The Night Minnie Temperly Died” has an almost Led Zeppelin riff gratuitously thrown in. The whole album is surprisingly guitar oriented for me. Perhaps naively, I was expected far more synths and strings on this album, but being the Luddite that i am, guitars are most nice indeed.

It still surprises me that “The Wickerman” is so huge of a cult movie, most recently inspiring the Pulp song. Damien had a copy of it on grainy video, and we’d watch it to get wound up on those damned Christians. I believe in the life eternal! It’s the second spoken word piece on the album, but unlike many other spoken wiord pieces, it seems to be holding up on repeatedly plays… in way, he outpagans Cope’s “Don’t Call Me Mark Chapman” by using what’s apparently accessable shorthand. Yeah, and part of the reason why i keep thinking of Cope is because of Scott Walker and Fire Escape in the Sky.

Is anyone going to kick my ass for saying that at times, We Love Life also invokes some Smiths-like elusive quality, more than any other record that i’ve heard this year? I know virtually nothing about the Smiths, aside from some albums that i bought last spring that i’ve not given much time yet.

The Swingle Singers as back-up vocalists were not even remotely as wacky a choice as i thought that they were going to be. I listened to those Christmas carol albums too much.

Yeah, We Love Life is fucking fantastic. I hadn’t been looking forward to it that much, compared to some other albums this year. If Wilco’s album doesn’t come out this year, and if those spoken word bits don’t become tiresome, it may very well be my favorite album this year. Rings Around the World is still easier for me to sing along to, which is incredibly important to me, but my awe for this album is only on the rise today, with my first chance to study it, and reflect. The double-sided single of “Trees/ Sunrise” didn’t do this album justice, as it flows as elegantly and lyrically as any album that i’ve cared about since… oh, maybe Summerteeth.

Godlike genius of Jarvis Cocker indeed… i’ll probably be rehashing this album whenever i’m not moaning about the injustice done to Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.

Wow. NYLPM has lurched back to life something fierce, regular posts, a lot of pruning of dormant and abandoned sites, and the welcome addition of yet more sites that i had no clue existed.. Am most flattered and grateful that Tom put me in his current favorite Top Ten. Admittedly, i was thinking of skipping getting back to posting on here until i rebuilt my computer, but now i’m spurred into keeping this damned thing active, as i’m terrible at following through on oaths to myself.

I cannot access the IL* boards though. Conspiracy?

It’s surprising how easily i slipped right back into listening to NPR in the mornings, but found that i’m not the least bit more informed than i have been for months. It was cool to hear the personal side of the scientists bent on the exploration of Mars, and the importance of the Odyssey probe in orbit of that planet right now, but while i knew that CNN was hyping anthrax, i expected better from NPR. Oh, well…

I now get to mention that it’s a really bad idea to iron your letters. I hope that no one actually took that advice. Try the microwave instead.

Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 10.17.01

Collating Bones will be a new daily read thanks to NYLPM. He writes things that i don’t expect many people to say, even though i think that he’s wrong about the Beta Band, and that Hot Shots 2 is superior to the early EPs. However, with comments on bands like the Blossom Toes, i’m still converted.

Via DJ Martian, i found the Declaration of Intent of the new British zine Careless Talk Costs Lives. It seems interesting, just to have a new zine around, and while i have not read Tangents in ages, i didn’t know that even more detailed information about the zine and Everett True was only a few clicks away. I gotta remedy that oversight, along with a few others.

It was weird to see John Fante as the cover feature, as we were talking about him last night. No, we missed Murry the Hump last night, as almost everyone was too drunk. Now i will not get to see Teflon Monkey either. Oh, well…. plans about music and such become secondary aroudn the life-changing ceremonies and rituals, even if Louise and i managed to elude almost all of the pomp

Although the anthrax sent to Daschle turns out to be weapons-grade, and the handwriting and reference to Israel and Allah (also in the letter sent to Brokaw) would seem to point to the Middle East, i’m still not convinced that it’s not from domestic terrorists. It’s not a big conspiracy, but i think some people are just looking for an excuse to bomb Iraq.

Still worried about anthrax? Just iron all of you letters. It’s that ebola-like disease everyone oughta worry about if they want to worry.

Big night tonight. We’re watching the Booker Prize. No, really…

This is to be the shortest update in months, because i have a nasty cold. I wasn’t planning on writing at all, being our wedding day and all.

Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 10.16.01

Lou had wrangled free tickets to see Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci last night, but with the busy week that we’re having, and as rotten as i feel, with aching joints and a sore throat, i actually chickened out, staying home to huff paint fumes while Lou decided to paint a radiator. Yes, there’s to be some kind of bachelor party tonight, although i don’t see why i need one. We’re going to see Murry the Hump, and i’m going to use that as my excuse not to drink, although that excuse sounds lame already.

I also bought a single by the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club yesterday. forgot to mention that. I recalled a vague reference to it somewhere, and almost confused them with the Streets (and no, i had not downloaded that song yet, so they could have sounded just the same for all i knew.) I rather like the song, but with two reservations… the first is that this style is getting a little worn in 2001, and most likely, there’s not going to be one album worth buying, leaving it wide open for singles comps five or ten years from now for Rhino Records. The second reservation is that i’m not exactly crazy about song bellyaching about whatever happened to rock and roll. After all, Bob Seger did it first and worst, and i don’t care for any band that lines up to moan for the Old Times. No matter how sleek, hip, and decadent they manage to make themselves look, they brand themselves as sour grapes and lacking in vision before they have even finished their first single. However, it sounds pretty good for something easily pigeonholed near the Strokes, French Kicks, Dandy Warhols, Brian Jonestown Massacre, Mooney Suzuki, and Oneida. Get the picture?

Ran across a New Orleans blog. I found others today, but this one mentions Wilco (an article that i hadn’t read yet,) and food that i’ve been missing. the other ones all seem to be goth. I’m a native, and i still don’t see what is so intensely gothic about New Orleans.

Did i already mention that we finally found a place that sells okra here? It’s only a few blocks away, right on City Road. I spent months looking for okra, damn it. Seafood gumbo this weekend.

Richard Z sent me a link to an article concerning Wilco, and how in the future there might not be such a thing as a lost album, like the Beach Boys Smile. (I’m now eager to track down those Jay Bennett demos.) I wish that they delved further into that concept. I actually disagree. There’s still going to be plenty of lost albums, as i know more than enough crazy musicians, good ones, that never have a record deal, and don’t record songs just to shop them. They fill up tape after tape either to entertain themselves or because of some darker compulsion. There’s also widely recognized artists that still go a little nuts and decide to destroy their work in a fit of rage or dissatisfaction. No lost albums ever again? Ha!

I still don’t have the second disc of the debut album of the Beta Band, only released as a limited promo, the one everyone says was self-indulgent, noodling crap. I still want it.

The White Stripes say that they turned down a $1 million deal to appear in one of those Gap ads, like Daft Punk. That’s kinda cool, but i recall not so long ago when Beck refused to let “Beercan” be used in an advert, as he said it was not what he was about, commercializing his music, but now i cannot listen to Midnite Vultures without thinking of NBC sitcoms.

When Senator Daschle’s office received anthrax, with nothing else to any government official that i know of, massive doubts about the anthrax attacks being connected to Osama bin Laden. It would be nice to know whether Daschle’s anthrax was the same as that found in New York, or like the kind found in Florida. My current suspicion is that the Florida anthrax is linked to bin Laden, as well as the Malaysian letter sent to Reno, but many of the rest are domestic terrorists. Take into account the new rash of threats against abortion clinics. Most likely, these are from people with the Army of God. Even the New York Times has an article pointing out that American extremist right wing groups has an obsession with biological weapons, and while there was a certain rationale on why foreign terrorists would concentrate on the media, why would they focus on just one high profile government official, who happens to be a Democrat? Something weird is going on, and the sane members of the right wing need to reassess why they are trying to appease the most vocally rabid of their constituents.

The Republicans followed through on their threat to put the brakes on foreign aid until they got their judicial nominees rubber stamped. Even though they are now the minority party, they filibustered, and the Democrats seem to be giving in because they are too cautious or cowardly to cry foul. Besides, who is going to listen?

Online Journal has a commentary on the food drops in Afghanistan, and it quotes several reputable sources, including Doctors Without Borders, who say that air drops are useless, and the only aid that could helped would be landbased. Quote: The U.S. has been dropping 37,000 meals a day on a country where several million Afghans face the imminent threat of starvation. Some of the food, inevitably, is landing on minefields. Do the math. Rumsfield knows, and insists that we just look on the bright side, for the people who do get fed. We might as well say that we dropped a couple of small bombs on Afghanistan, and that we probably hit something important, and go home, but we’re not going to do that, are we?

remember all of that talk about wiping out the debts of all of the underdeveloped debtor nations? Here’s another reason why it’s never going to happen. Pakistan’s cooperation is being coaxed with the promise from Colin Powell of the cancellation of that debt. Imagine if they had already cancelled that debt in goodwill. There just wouldn’t be as much to hang over these nations’ heads.

By the way, Colin Powell seems to be pulling in favors to stop the hawks from extending the war to Iraq, calling in the ex-head of U.S. military focused on Central Asia to advise restraint.

Eight more extrasolar planets are discovered, bringing total close to eighty. Woo hoo!

Stephen Hawking is insane, incidentally. I’m all for space colonies, but Hawkin is the one that said recently that we must genetically engineer ourselves, lest computers and robots out-compete us. What the hell is he really envisioning about the future? Why doesn’t he save up all of his ideas, and write a book on the future of mankind? That way people wouldn’t resort to Hawking’s dismissals when i get excited about the possibility of time travel, because people will know that he’s out of his gourd at last.

Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 10.15.01

Bought the new Beta Band single “Human Being.” Caught part of the video on the Big Breafast this morning, and it looks nonsensical. I don’t think that i need images to go with the Beta Band to trick me into loving the music even more. The video for SFA’s “Rings Around the World” was complimentary and fun, but the video for “Human Being” seems to detract from the song somehow, puncturing how emotionally stirring it can be. (It’s a guy in a Viking helmet being administered to by a nurse.) I am still not certain whether the Beta Band are insecure or cynical. The new B-side “Unknown” seems to be a bit of an oddball. It’s a great song, but it would never have fit on Hot Shots 2, as it sounds very raw, very garage (in the lo-fi sense.) It’s almost punchy and rocking, for the Beta Band.

In Virgin they were playing the new Britney single, and it’s fucking annoying…. which endears it to me. I wish that Britney wasn’t on it, or that it used that passive role lyrics, or just not use the word slave, because that’s one tfetish that i am not into. It also needs white noise. Yeah, everything needs more white noise right now. It soothes schizophrenics. Introducing more white noise to pop music might be better than all of these chemical antidotes that are being rammed down everyone’s throats.

For the most part, i giveth not a shit for UK garage. At first i thought that there was a lot of cool little noises in them, but after too much radio, they all beginning to sound the same. However, after this NYLPM piece, and the mention that this song by the Streets is somewhat like John Cooper Clarke fronting Artful Dodger (no, i don’t really know who the latter is,) i had to hear “Has It Come to This?”. Tom’s not kidding, as while i’m still ambivalent to the music, it is damned lyrical, and eerily sharp. (I missed the point that it’s supposed to be lock down your aerial, and thought it was knock down your aerial. The specter of rebellion plants all kinds of weird things in my head.) Maybe it is novelty, but it’s still impressively unexpected. Thanks.

New Mojo. God DAMN! Pink Floyd again? That’s just wrong! With that and a feature on the Sgt. Pepper movie that is almost nostalgic about that piece of coke-fueled trash that only could have been worse if the Eagles were somehow involved, they took a big step backwards from that great punk issue, and that surprisingly interesting Collections zine. Macy Gray didn’t help either. Off her and stick Kelis in instead. As usual, i bought it anyway, but i am back to the embarrassment of someone who is a creature of habit than championing anything i believe in. Even Dave Gilmour seem tired of Pink Floyd, and would rather work with Paul McCartney, the Pretty things, and Robyn Hitchcock right now.

Nonetheless, no matter how uncool it is, i’m thrilled to see that Supergrass are ready to record their new album. The article in that Mojo says that they will not be producing their own album, like last time, because they were disappointed with the sound in retrospect. Gaz is describing the 20 new songs as “more direct” which i hope means short.

Splendid has the first review that i’ve seen on the Dismemberment Plan Change, and it comes across as a mature album for the reviewer. I don’t know what that means, as i’m a relative latecomer to the D-Plan, but the stuff that i heard on mp3 (some live) seemed decidedly less manical.

I found out that i have two links from Radio Free Narnia, probably out of the problems that i don’t have a proper name for this blog, or that it’s too long. I love blogs that mix music and social commentary. Weirdly though. it’s the overheard comment about the yeti relating to Afghanistan that has lodged in my head the worst. Thanks, Mark.

Did i forget to mention that Dancing About Architecture has a piece on Bob Dylan? Probably. No, i haven’t heard it yet. I haven’t even heard that previous Bob Dylan album that everyone said was a return to form, because i figured that everyone was lying because they wanted to believe. Or that i was broke and never got around to it. I cannot remember. One of these years….

Sunday, we went to see “The Man Who Wasn’t There”, the new Coen Brothers film. After my recent obsession with Amelie, and watching Moulin Rouge twice, it was a bit hard to warm to it, especially as the Coen followup to “O Brother Where Art Thou?” I’m not saying that i don’t like it, it’s just that with the way things are right now in my life and in the world, i don’t know whether i love it just yet. It’s more about the feeling that i had when i walked out of the movie than when i was watching it or the actual quality. It looked great though. The way that the light fell, the way that scenes were framed, the composition of what was in the frame, the tone of Billy Bob Thornton’s voice… even the way that the smoke from the cigarettes curled, and there was a lot of smoke from cigarettes. And a lot of smoke. And mirrors. Figuratively, that is.

I don’t know if it was my mood or not, but yesterday, i had the understanding why some people hate the Coens for being emotionally hollow now. Because i was not laughing as much as i usually do, i could focus more on emotional development, and i’m not comfortable with what i saw. Besides, without me laughing so much at the odd language and dialects, i was left wondering whether it was an homage or a pisstake, because it sure as hell wasn’t a straight noir. I’m not sure if i can laugh along at the joke at the end, when i really give a damn about what happens by that time. I refuse to interpret this as meaning the movie is bad, because i know a lot of movie lovers are going to prefer “The Man Who Wasn’t There” to a somewhat cornball feature like “O Brother Where Art Thou”, but i’m in the mood for anything a little more upbeat at the moment, as even “Jesus’s Son” was a bundle of sunshine compared to the ending of this one. No, please don’t tell me than downbeat is more real. With each year i age, the less pessimism and darkness seems any more real to me than sweetness and light. I hope it stays at an even balance and that by fifty i’m not writing meditation and self-esteem books though.

Insurance companies do not need to be bailed out by taxpayers! I cannot even comprehend how they can say this without smirking, and saying, “Aw, just kidding.” If they cannot or will not insure things because of the threat of terrorism, fuck ’em. That’s the whole concept of insurance. If they cannot handle it, it’s time to close up shop, because they don’t deserve profits if they need taxpaer money to do it. Just federalize them, like they should be doing with the airlines. Sorry to sound like a socialist, but it makes no sense to give money to the government so that they can give it to coporations, who have taken the rest of normal citizens’ money, and especially insurance companies. That’s like selling lotto tickets, with the expectation that no one is going to win, but when someone does, then say “I don’t have the money. Could you give it to me so that i pay you off? I wouldn’t want to break my word.”

I ran across the story about how possibly some of the hijackers of the flights on 9/11 had no clue that they were in for a suicide mission, but in running through random blogs last night, i found one blog that made a great connection, how quite possibly, there might have been more hijackings and suicide attacks, but the hired muscle found out the truth, leaving the trained suicidal pilots high and dry. Good call! I like that theory. I’ve read some articles that said that forty pilots might be trained and ready to go, but where they are going to get the people to back them, with air marshals in the planes, and the public now knowing that even if they are nice and quiet, they will not go home to their families. That last thought pisses me off yet again, because they probably tried to behave rationally and peacably to something horrible, even if it was just out of fear… oh, nevermind… i’m not bringing anything new to this.

Shit. i knew that China is launching a probe to the Moon, but now they are planning a lunar base. Unless the U.S. military already secretly has one up there, NASA had best get its ass in gear, because this is embarrassing. Yes, i know that there’s a war going on. So what? That’s what was going on in the ’60s and ’70s. What did we come away more respected for? The Vietnam War or the Apollo missions? If all of this hot air about capitalism and competition means anything than the U.S. needs to take up the challenge, no offense to China.

Yes, i’m still for rebuilding Afghanistan, and Africa, no less, and no, i have no clue where the money would come from, but i know that money on space exploration is not a waste. You’re reading this on a computer on the internet, right?

Anyone think that i should not be thinking about anything other than the crisis at hand? Tell that to the Republican senators holding $15.6 billion in foreign aid hostage right now, until Bush’s judiciary nominees are approved by their Democratic counterparts. They justify themselves with, “”There is no higher priority than filling the vacancies that exist in our federal courts,” tying it to the anti-terrorism legislation, but considering that relief effort for Afghanistan is not even reaching the right people and also has been reported as woefully insufficient, i don’t think that getting those judges is the highest priority. I know it is not.

Once again, i defer to Tom Tomorrow.

The night out Friday was pretty fun, but we barely talked about Julian Cope. It seems that he stopped listening after 20 Mothers, even though he loved the cover. He’d rather talk about Fugazi, a band that i know virtually nothing about. On only five pints, i was fairly bombed, and it took me the rest of the weekend to recover… partly because i was drinking on an empty stomach, but more that after years of drinking things better used for stripping paint, that i am the lightest of lightweights drinking.

Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 10.12.01

In the movie Amelie, there’s a couple scenes in which Amelie tapes things off television, to send to her neighbor, and one of the clips is of a woman playing some raucous electric guitar in front of a gospel choir. I thought she looked like Pearl Bailey, but looking at her AMG entry, i cannot see any evidence that she played guitar. Any clues?

Wanna make your head hurt? Read this ILM thread discussing pop music. Aside from the mind-boggling length and sometimes overly wordy discussion about songs that tell one to shake one’s ass, it’s amazingly great. It even spawned a doubting musing on the new Britney single from Bleeding Ears, saying that the music is seeming too self-conscious, written by critical ears, with the production outstripping the actual artist singing. The odd thing is that while i have not heard the song yet, i like Ian’s description of “I’m a Slave 4 U” being someone’s idea of future-pop, instead of future-pop, because it makes me think of Joe Meek and all of those crazy Re:Search records. Unfortunately, i reject Britney just because i feel like it, so “I’m a Slave 4 You”, with the Neptunes or not, i’m not going to be enjoying unless i find an instrumental.

I also liked that he pointed back to Skykicking for a pro version of that Britany single, on September 7th, nearly two-thirds of the way down the page. Yeah, yeah, i should have been reading that blog all along, and i should have paid attention to the original rush on the song, but my head was somewhere else.

I finally did download some Prefuse 73, “Radio Attack”, and i’ll be damned, this shit is tops! It’s not something that i would listen to much, as i’m not crazy about instrumental music (yes, it’s a severe handicap on my part, even though there’s exceptions…. like the Neptunes..) but the seamless, flowing blend of beats, noise, and samples is a new highwater mark for the boundaries that hip-hop has pushed. Then again, i am a sucker for bursts of white noise.

I noticed some other things in that Mojo magazine that i ignored the first time, the things i’m too ignorant of to know to give a damn about. First, there’s the piece on Chic. I ignored them not because they seemed to be disco, but because Niles Rodgers is always on VH-1 making comments on everything under the sun, and he ought to be doing something better. Is he a musician or someone who should be blogging? However, now that i know that he was in the Sesame Streeet house band, he seems a lot cooler. Besides, Chic seems to be going through meme in some of the blogs that i read. It’s nice to have more background.

The other interesting piece is waking me up to Flying Dutchman Records. Armando and Voz had me scratchign my head on ECT Records, and now i have another oddball label that seems to be in touch with something that i want to understand. ESP is another one of those labels. It’s not that owning this music would make me be any cooler, but it might let me feel more complete, more whole musically. There’s something heartwarming about a record label that would put political speeches on vinyl just because they believed it was important.

The first song on this month’s Uncut comp, “East Polar Opposite Can Dream”, has me hooked. It’s by a band that i never heard of Magoo, although apparently they have been around awhile, and in a way, they have some holdover from that ’80s production to my tin ears. (Perhaps it’s all of the reverb.) It dares to be spacey and bombastic without being downbeat or angry. The soaring backing vocals add a lot weird nasality of the lead vocals. It’s so eerily familiar that it’s probably derivative of something, but i like it anyway.

There’s also a Dr. John song on there that i hadn’t noticed. HMV must have been playing something from one of his earlier albums that i missed, as this track off Creole Moon is way too fucking slick. It’s definitely Dr. John, and it reeks of N’Awlins, but this is too smooth-vibed a groove for me, with the feel of seasoned session men and a schmoozy producer. Uncut calls this “raw?” Crackheads. His voice does sound good though. This is the stuff Offbeat eats up, but i like mine with a fistful of gravel and rust. He’s still one cool bastard though.

This is a disturbing story about the head of security of the FAA resigning because he was pressured to reassign the new air marshals, to flights which Cabinet members were flying on, to prove flying is really safe, when flights that were estimated to have greater risk of hijacking would be left defenseless. Once again, it’s about appearances, not reality, and more about protecting the image of corporations than the protection of citizens and consumers. If Canavan was correct, and resigned because of this, he’s a most honorable man.

The questions cropping up on what the hell has been going on in Florida is not terribly reassuring either.

Just in case you need to be reassured that Cheney is still in control

The weird comfort about the anthrax in NYC is that if that’s the best that the terrorists can do with biological weapons is that perhaps the threat can be contained

While i was at the bookstore, i read The Boondocks comic, and while some of it just didn’t work for me, when i finished the book we had, i was pro-Boondocks. The fact that it’s rubbing people the wrong way about Osama bin Laden only makes me want to buy it. It’s getting more feathers ruffled than Bloom County ever seemed to do, and i think that’s good thing, even when i disagree with the point of view.

Review of Wilco playing in St. Louis on the Barlow Farms blog. That’s an odd choice for an opening act, but i probably would have enjoyed it too. I love this Daypop site right now.

We’re going to meet some more of Lou’s friends tonight, and for the first time, to my knowledge, i’m going to meet a fan of Julian Cope face to face who is not a resident of Hammond, Louisiana. This is going to be a little odd. I’ll bet he doesn’t have the Brain Donor album though

Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 10.11.01

Ever look on your stats page and wonder why on earth anyone from the U.S. Department of Justice is looking at your page? i hope that they just love music, or on the trail of that bastard Bert. Go get him, U.S. DOJ!

This morning i have an email from Expedia telling me a different one than the one that i had yesterday, a toll free one. It’s still ABBA “Mama Mia” though. I think the strategy for using a single, simple song is that one cannot count how many songs are played, and one looped song from ABBA can trick even a hawkeyed fiend glued to the phone with a stopwatch. Incidentally, the breaks to assure me how important my call is and that all operators are busy is varied anywhere from a minute to twenty seconds. It must be another deliberate attempt to muddy the waters on the passage of time.

Although i have some good news that i’d rather save for another day (even though it’s been announced to many people already,) today’s been a shitty day, so it’s not going to be much of an update today.

There’s plenty of copies of N.E.R.D. In Search of… at Virgin. Lack of availability is not why so few people seem to be talking about it. I cannot guess what the problem is. It’s a great record, damn it, even if the humor is a little dorky. I love them all the more for daring to appear uncool.

I picked up the new copy of Mojo Collections, with a young David Bowie on the cover. Although it focuses on the money behind record collecting at times, it’s still pretty satisfying, more than Uncut has been recently. I’m a little disappointed that they skimped on the stories about the Pretty Things, Aphrodite’s Child (who i nearly forgot about in the past year,) and the Great Society, but the rest of it seems promising, no matter how backwards lookin it is. This seems to be healthy stuff…. which it always is if i don’t know too much about it already. First with the David Bowie in the ’60s feature (another cool uncool dork,) an interview with Dr. John (who fits my craving for New Orleans, and i heard his album Creole Moon the other day in HMV, and it sounded above average,) and the Top Fifty Single produced by Phil Spector, which will be a great wish list on Audiogalaxy, nicely balancing out those 100 Punk Singles in last months regular Mojo. I love lists with a little bit of background and description like those, as long as the list doesn’t become too obvious, like most normal Mojo lists are.

the disc though, of artists doing songs prefame, is stellar. Not only does it manage to justify why some of the artists rose to fame, but it makes me wonder where some of them went wrong, as they never topped what they did when they were unknown. My favorite tracks off it for the moment are Parliament “Come In Out of the Rain”, First Gear “Leave My Kitten Alone”, Marc Bolan “Hippy Gumbo”, and Episode Six “I Can See Through You”. I don’t know how that last one slipped through my grasp during my psych phase. The Nico song “I’m Not Sayin'” is so weirdly upbeat that it must be heard to be believed. The only one that i don’t care for is the “Telephone Blues” track, which is kinda barroom blues that sinks my ship. However, the CD alone is worth the £3.99, and even if one hates Mojo, as so many of my contemporaries seem to do, the zine could be chunked, and the money would be well spent. Sheesh. i suddenly had a flush of self-consciousness at how that sounded. Fuck it.

Are you reading the Permafrost Countdown 20 Albums of the ’90s? Well, you oughta be, and i’m kicking myself for losing a copy of Tilt that i’m not certain i ever listened to, particularly since i’m abnomally excited about the new Pulp album.

Oops. i almost forgot to mention that we dragged some of Lou’s friends from work to see Amelie last night. None of them got the same joy that we got out of it, although Lewis had a nice nap. I noticed a few things in it this time that might be part of the annoyances for certain critics that i previously missed…. the repetitive painting of the Renoir was obviously a comment on filmmaking, as was the interpretation of the photos of the mystery man. I should probably reserve further comment until more people see the movie though. Yep, i still love it, and as much as i enjoyed Moulin Rouge, Amelie makes it look shabby and shallow. Oh, wait… Moulin Rouge was supposed to be shallow…. damn.

Yeah, i forgot to work on the YHF lyrics. It’s just been a bad day, which is best left alone for the moment. I did get one part of the interview with Damien back, and sent follow-up questions, but am a little perplexed with some of his music answers. I need to get him up to speed on some recent bands, as i think he’s turned his focus onto the darker, dustier regions of his record collection, as he’s talking about Peter Blegvad, John Greaves, Ingram Marshall, and Daevid Allen. That’s a good thing, but damn it, i wanted to talk about a few records from 2001, and i’m gettin the impression that he hasn’t bothered to listen to single one yet.

I swear that i have a great reason to be uninspired today.