Nothing to say about Phrenology yet, but i’m definitely feeling it today.
Forgot to mention that on Sunday that i noticed that the Second Line show is back on KLSU. Then again, i might have just been working every time it’s been on last fall, but i doubt it. I read that all that kind of jazz is an evolutionary dead-end, like garage rock, but the truth is that while i listen to more garage rock, a good New Orleans brass band can almost make me move to the music, something gagrge rock can never do. A few of my friends may tease me about this, as New Orleans music is a bit of a cliche around here, meant as the audible hook for tourist traps, so watered down and predictable that it’s a total waste of time. However, when i listen to WWOZ or that Second Line show on Sundays on KLSU, i don’t feel formulas. I don’t know whether the new wave of second line has informed hip hop or vice versa, or it’s just a continuing tradition running through all music that is just more obvious in these genres. The loose interplay of the instruments, hollered call-outs, and the urge to participate somehow just get inside my skin. I need to call that guy while he’s on air soon, and beg for playlists. (He rarely announces exactly what it is he’s playing.) This will be stuff i’ll actually have to buy as it’s unlikely to be downloadable.
Bought the new Magnet, with Tom Petty on the cover. Sheesh… did they really need to do a feature on Tom Petty and another on Pearl Jam? That’s over-tilled ground. The real fun comes when they reflect on over-tilled ground like all of the press Ryan Adams gets, and all of the uncritical analysis of Jay Bennett leaving Wilco. These two revisitations of old topics were the best things in this issue for me. It’s easy enough to accept that Ryan Adams is too big of an asshole to bother with anymore, but it’s still fun for me to see the man unmasked as the petulant pottymouth child that he is. I want more of that.
The addendums to the Jay Bennett interview were nice too. YHF has been talked to death, but the unveiling of bad feelings, true or not, makes the manufactured mythology a little more acceptable. there has to be a struggle to have a story, and struggles against corporations are boring. No personality there. No one likes fighting faceless monoliths. Better stories are made from people, like that Cain & Abel stuff. If Cain rose up and killed a corporation, it wouldn’t have quite the impact, would it? Fleshing out Bennett’s troubles is better than focusing on wily Wilco tricking Reprise to throw them into the briar patch.
Anyway, Magnet really didn’t follow up on the ideas. The columns are better suited for a blog, despite all of the valiant efforts to contact the artists they write about. It was cool to see that one writer decided that for all of the presumed shallowness of electro-clash, it’s basically all right. However, if they want to bemoan dissent becoming commodified, then they damned well ought to spew some righteous dissent themselves.
i feel the need to whine about the Bush junta, but i gotta wash the dishes and go to work. with all of the censorship lately, i was actually getting spooked about writing about it.
We went to see the film “Adaptation” last night. Yep. The first two-thirds are brilliant, leaving me with a gaping grin on my face wanting to cheer, “Right on, motherfucker!” because it documented my every failure in writing (except for the nagging detail that Kaufman actually DID produce something, let alone something great.) The last third was funny and dark in the sense that “Being John Malkovich” was funny and dark, but it felt liek a letdown after the transcendence of the first two-thirds. Actually, what i perceived as the fall-off doesn’t even bother me, because there seemed to be nowhere else to go. It was an honest attempt to throw one’s arms into the air and try to serve up want the audience might crave, while still trying to pull meaning from that wreckage instead of standing back and sneering cynically.
Zwan seems listenable, but aside froma handful of singles, i lost total inerest in Billy Corgan after gish. Yes, i was in that phase when i didn’t know quite what indie was all about, but i was beginnign to perceive the difference between major and independent label. I imagined that Smashing Pumpkins was some nice little tuneful underground phenomenon. Damien had been playing some Black Sun Ensemble albums that i really dug at the time, and i imagined that Smashing Pumkins came from the same vein. (Yes, i checked the AMG, and the Black Sun Ensemble are not highly regarded, but at that time, they were something on the verge of mindblowing for me.) I had no clue that i was going to be bombarded with Corgan’s nasal whine for a decade, and become bored to death with his angst.
Anyway, speaking of old names that provide more nostalgic pleasure thn i would expect, the new Mudhoney album seems pretty good. No, it’s not Superfuzz Bigmuff, so it’s actually less predictable than Zwan for me. They sound like the goddamned Stooges. It’s practically a lost album. It puzzles me how these guys looking backwards seem more progressive than Billy the Prog-Pop Kid. It’s not that they are exploring new ground overall, but they have changed as a band, while Zwan is still Smashing Pumpkins. I really tried with Zwan, as Fluxblog and the Rub both had me eager to download it, until i remembered that albumwise, Corgan’s never made me swoon.
I feel like a jackass for getting more out of listening to what is essentially now a Stooges tribute band.
Incidentally, one of the Zwan songs (“Yeah!”) rips J Geils Band “Centerfold” and a dozen other songs from that era.
My favorite thing about Mary Star of the Sea is the cover. It looks just like a Move album. I bet Corgan likes the Move. Both Corgan and Roy Wood have played at the same Cheap Trick shows. Why doesn’t he sound more like Roy Wood? Does his baldness mean he intends to be the anti-Wizzard?
Aha. I just read that Pig Lib is available. I’m falling all over myself trying to acquire it while not crashign the computer while burning CDs for friends, even though i’m probably just going to shrug it off as a lesser effort, just because i’m lazy….