Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 03.30.02

I hate what i wrote about “Panic Room” last night, as it’s bland, but although i enjoyed the movie, that’s how i felt hours later… bland. After reading several reviews last night, i began to piece together how the movie could have been improved to become mildly challenging, but since it’s from those reviews, anyone else could figure it out for themselves. I did want to add that it still surprises me that Dwight Yokum has no problem whatsoever playing the most unempathetic, irredeemable villains.

I managed to find a song that i lost by Damien Youth, “Roxy”…. except it’s the wrong one! The loon re-recorded it, when it sounded fantastic in its original version, with the Ian Hunter/ Steve Harley pisstake vocals falling on top of each other from line to line, and with the cheaper nastier synths, it was so madly claustrophobic, to the point that i could manage him crouched up in a crawlspace like a demented spider spying on her. Now with him singing in his natural voice and something better than a four-track, it still sounds good, but hollow in some way that i cannot figure out. It’s cool that he found some Here Come the Warm Jets squiggles to fit in there, but where is this space coming from? I wonder if an artist works too long with exclusively with a 4-track (Bob Pollard) he becomes so cramped by his cage that larger confines confound him. It quite possibly is somethign else altogether, a limitation of my own listening, preferring the sloppy and rough to polish and professional.

We’ll be in Husser this weekend, so i doubt if there will be updates until Monday.

Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 03.29.02

evening

We went to see “Panic Room” this afternoon. It was definitely okay. I was questioning why the hell i dragged Lou to see a thriller, because i tend to get too nervous at movies, crossing my legs every few minutes, shifting in my seat, flinching, and staring at the walls at even the most cliched tense moment. The people in audiences with me must suffer greatly (although i suspect the more annoying people in the film were the ones immediately behind us who discussed the first third of the movie as Parade of Homes decorating exhibit, and the last two-thirds askign what the hell was happening, and which character was which… ) Essentially, it was “Home Alone” with maiming and death. Even the kid bore a vague resemblance to Macaulay Culkin (which i think was a deliberate reference joke as the references to various Hitchcock movies.) Unfortunately, it was “just” a thriller, and wrestled with no larger themes so obviously as “Fight Club” or “Seven”. (Nope, have not seen “The Game”.) Three hours later, all i can remember from the movie are some fantastic shots and a few funny lines. I doubt if the movie could hvae been improved much, as it was too stifling to explode.

Weirdly, the bad reviews are making me want to see “Death to Smoochy” now. There might be something to a movie that so many people find hideous and distasteful. No, don’t worry. We’re really not going to waste the money, but i’m fascinated by the awful in certain phases of the moon.

Lou pointed me in the direction of Launch.com because she ran across some videos that she knew I’ve never seen. Once again now, i’m obsessed with the Beta Band. The brand of thrift store basement psychedelia fascinates me. In most ways, i guess the videos for their songs actually outright suck, as they are home movies with almost no production values, with the staple special (ed) effect of running everything backwards if it doesn’t looked peculiar enough. However, since they look a lot like the Monkees’ skits, that’s a plus. However, i feel even more kinship with them now because…. well… i hate writing about this kind of stuff on the web without rewriting and editing because it is vaguely incriminating and can be used out-of-context. Fuck it. I’ll get the nerve one of these days.

Also had no clue that there was a video for Nick Cave’s “Red Right Hand” I don’t care how cliche or campy the black & white gothic posturing is, it’s fab. And to see Nick not just dancing, but dancing with a golf club is one of those special moments that i’ll probably pull up when i need some cheering up.

I’m still baffled to the Wilco “Outtasite (Outta Mind)” video, as while this was about the time when i decided buying Being There was a good idea, it looks remarkably like a video that David Lee Roth might put out for Skyscraper. Ugh. I think it was actually the goggles though. Because of the goggles worn by John Hartford on the cover of Aeroplane, outsized aviator goggles seemed cool to me for some reason as a child, to the point that i wanted my own pair. Because i couldn’t afford to buy any, i wound up wearing welding goggles around, although i couldn’t see a thing through them.

However, if i see one more advert for Incubus, or the first few seconds for that X-ecutioners video, i’m going to eviscerate somebody with the edge of a broken CD. I cannot stand the smug enunciations of that Incubus singer, who seems caught up with the notion that if he speaks clearly and archly enough, that the whole world will buy into this Intellectual Rock Star who doesn’t button his shirt low enough to cover his naval when a stiff breeze blows. I don’t care if he owns the book The Holographic Universe or not. He’s a twerp.

morning

Downloaded the latest album by the Czars because i read someone post that it is very much like Summerteeth, and while there’s no regret in discovering a band that writes sad, pretty songs, it doesn’t sound like Summerteeth to me, as that was an album with very little country influence, and the guitars were subjugated to those vintage keyboards. Although songs like “Killjoy” have that arrangement, as a whole, The Ugly People Vs. the Beautiful People sounds more like Radiohead pulling a Notorious Byrd Brothers routine. Pretty good, possibly great (but a little too languid for me, with that accomplished, mannered singing) but now i have other fish to fry because…

After months of trying to remember a recommendation buzzing around the back of the brain, Hedwig & the Angry Inch has flickered back into my consciousness. No, i still have not seen the movie, but it’s not ruining my appreciation for the soundtrack, which is turning into my favorite album for awhile, as i expecting 45 minutes of sub New York Dolls material, but it’s so much more. It turns out to be crazily diverse, and it turns out to be far more rewarding than the Velvet Goldmine soundtrack, as it didn’t bother with covers that could never live up to the originals. Of course, it’s a bit bombastic, but with glam, it has to be bombastic. It also kicks the shit out of the James Cameron’s (Cameron Crowe!!! David Raposa quickly corrected me. Yeah, i have problems, as they are both hacks, but that was pretty boneheaded!) Almost Famous house band Stillwater without even making the effort. (Why Cameron was more fascinated with pedestrian boogie rock than glam is baffling.) While i enjoyed Moulin Rouge, the music for it outright sucked, aside from the absurdity of the pastiche pop songs sung by the nonsinger actors. I wish Hedwig & the Angry Inch was a real band….

The fact that it’s a movie soundtrack only reminds me that Lou makes better compilations than i do because she thinks cinematically, and works out of playful memories rather than being absorbed in what might have some underlying theme. It’s a natural instinct in her, while i’m stuck inside of the context of albums, even after the reinvention of the single with the rise of mp3s. It’s an old problem for me. Damien would introduce me to a band through one of his obsessively slected and sequenced mixtapes, then i’d beg the albums to tape them, only to copy them track for track as they originally appeared by the album, and stripping whatever alchemy came together from those mixtapes that could make the cheesiest of bands sound brilliant. I’m afraid that i subconsciously get caught up in what the artist intends to in the sequencing. Hopefully with the addition of the boots i will catch up on meaning for the listener alone, instead of subconsciously trying to slip into another skin.

Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 03.28.02

evening

I have a goddamned allergy headache, and one of the mad crickets has fired up his leg fiddling for the next few hours.

It was another day for mediocre music. Even in just the few shot weeks that i’ve been listening to KLSU, it’s gone to straight indie, with only a little hip-hop of the least confrontational variety and old music being reserved exclusively as an occasional track by New Order or Joy Division, the two of the three bands reserved for oldies on indie rock stations. (The third is the unrelated Violent Femmes.) So i gave up waiting….

The pop stations also sucked, and the classic rock and oldies stations are not worth bothering with. I’m so confused. I refuse to believe that right now is a bad time for music, even regular plain old mainstream pop music. However, the radio seems uninterested in right now right now, and would rather revisit bland tunes from last year that have yet to return any dividends from their marketing promotion. Am so bored with both the indie and pop worlds right now, and desperate to find some other way to be exposed to new music other than Audiogalaxy.

A well worded op-ed piece on why the Bush adminstration is not a conservative adminstration, but rather a totalitarian one, even before the cloak of 9/11 to shroud it.

Yep. I still watch Survivor. Tonight’s episode was so rigged we were laughing at how transparent it was. However, since i don’t watch it as a game show as such, the manipulations were fantastic, as I absolutely loathe Rob and Sean just like Mark Burnett wants most of his viewers to do. It’s no longer that surprising to watch, but i still am entertained by watching people grab up crabs and complain about each other being greedy and arrogant.

morning

a long news piece on new Will Oldham West Coast tour on Neumu. Apparently he’s going to be playing new songs, as an album is to be released this fall, as well as a side project EP this June. The blacl speedo reference is new to me, and scares me shitless.

Anything that connects Bono to Tom Waits has to be a bad thing. The Coen Brothers are startign a record label called DMZ Records (as a subsidary to Columbia,) and will include Elvis Costello, Tom Waits, T-Bone Burnett, Sam Shepherd, and Wim Wenders. Why? I dunno.

Incidentally, Bono gets on my nerves just like any number of reasonable humans out there. I heard the obsequious feature on him on All Things Considered, as The Rock Star Who Matters, and wondered if the newsreaders were not embarrassed to have various political pundits lauding that raging egomaniac. Yes, i know that the man actually does give large sums of money to charitable organizations, but look at hsi face…. raging egomania. At least it’s taken him to more uselful places than that leather panted twit singer in Creed.

downloaded a song called “The Jam” from a band called the Rapture that DJ Martian is mentioning today as have bright potential. Shee-it! It makes me nauseated, in a good way. I’ve never heard a band take that much feedback (different from MBV feedback. it’s the high pitched whistling noises) and do something with it. Inspiring, but it truly does something strange to my inner ear that fucks me up. Highly recommended if you are not such a wuss when it comes to dissonant noise like me.

Have $5 billion laying around? Make Charley and Willy’s dreams come true…. build the Great Space Elevator. Sooner or later, some corporations or the military are going to wake up to realize how far China has progressed in the space race (which is NOT over) and realize that America’s been wasting money on useless things like tactical nuclear weapons.

Damn it. Missed “Greg the Bunny” last night, not that i was expecting it to be good. I just happen to be fixated bythe puppets in the adverts, which didn’t even make me laugh. However, one big plus that i read about, NO LAUGH TRACK. Any comedy that goes without a laugh track has something going for it.

Instead i watched the wheezing West Wing. I still enjoy the show, but in keeping with its idealistic, shoulda, coulda, woulda, it has hobbled itself into near irrelevance. Before it could reinvent what Clinton would have done if he was truly a progressive president, instead of a charismatic corporate sellout, or mock Bush’s people for their narrowmindedness. Now the Bush administration has become so far removed from moderate mainstream policies that the West Wing cannot get close enough to the stories in the news today to reflect its take on how to handle these issues. Shadow governments? Insider dealings with energy corporations to make their own laws? Wiping their collective asses with the Bill of Rights? The West Wing cannot mirror that without going against the nature of every character on the show. Instead, they have the president running a campaiign against a dimwitted, pro-oil Republican who is the governor of Florida, an obvious composite of Bushes.

It’s lost all relevance, and the only way to gain some fo that back is to have Bartlett lose his re-election campaign, to have the American people in the world of the West Wing do the unthinkable, elect an incompetent as president. He could staff his cabinet with all manner of slime, and THEN have a revelation…. that he wants to do the right thing (there has to be someone sympathetic in the show)…. and week after week, fail as his puppet masters pull the rug out for under him. Of course, the show would be cancelled, but it would be relevant and could dumb down what is actually going on in the White House for a few weeks.

Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 03.27.02

evening

I just realized that the local alterna-rock station (104.9 call ltters have an X in them somewhere. has been playing the new Weezer single “Dope Nose” for awhile now, and i simply did not recognize the song, which is quite foolish as i downloaded it awhile back. Whatever the strategy, be it a genuine fight against the system or one with all of the drama of a pro-wrestling match, i like the way that Maladroit‘s release is being handled by the band. However, i really don’t get the new single “Dope Nose”. I genuinely like “Hash Pipe” better with i’s pot-pie boogie groove, the absurd falsetto, and misanthropic lyrics. “Dope Nose” is another of those under three minute songs, crunchy and straightforward, but it’s just nice power pop, even if the lyrics are still a bit twisted for power pop (other than Cheap Trick,) with an utterly unironic, overpracticed guitar solo that sticks out like a pine tree on a prairie. I’d like it as a B side to something if that guitar solo was excised, but oh well…. it’s none of my business.

I started a log this morning while in the lab, on every song that came on KLSU…. except that every song that came on was a limp chunk of filler by a singer-songwriter. It had me most upset, realizing that indie sometimes really is only about finding a market with less competition, with gullible DJs willing to champion anything if it’s not labelled mainstream explicitly. It didn’t get any better until i was on the road to pick up some water samples down the river, when apparently the DJ ran out of steam and asked for requests, only to be forced to play Bikini Kill (despite my occasional diatribes against Kathleen Hanna, i worshipped her as a god today after the crap she overthrew) and the Super Furry Animals. No, it wasn’t me that called.

…and for the first time, i realized that the intro for Rage Against the Machine’s “People of the Sun” sounds a hell of a lot like Aldo Nova’s “Rock and Roll Fantasy”. Wow. that’s a very bad connection to make, not that it will affect me in the least, as i don’t listen to RATM.

the Washington Post says that Bush made an executive order that closely followed ideas outlined by the American Petroleum Institute. Heh…. Daniel Schorr wrote an open letter to Cheney, as apparently one passage of the order was verbatim.

Cheney’s trip to the Middle East didn’t really fail when he didn’t intend to do anything at all. No link or story. I just never believed that he went over to the Middle East for anything other than appearances, beat his chest (watch that heart) about Iraq, or to talk oil with the Saudis.

KLSU faded out as i was down by the Sunshine Bridge, so i ran through the search to land for a few minutes on Walton & Johnson, two local DJs that have bugged me for years, but have been around so long that i’ve grown tolerant of them. Anyway, instead of their usual pseudo-libertarian pro-redneck bullshit, they were rattling people’s cages on the authenticity of the Bible, getting people burning up the phone lines trying to prove to them that god hates homosexuals through quoting dodgy verses, only to have the DJs point out that no one knows what the Christian bible actually said before numerous translations, edits, and wholesale rewrites (even if some of their facts were wrong.) It seems natural for radio shock jocks to rattle the chains of some members of their audience, but to push the religion button in the American South is suicidal. I wouldn’t term what i heard this morning as “brave” but i was wondering what the people at work were thinking, as this was the station that they were listening to before i left. It’s not important in any large scheme of things or a real trend. It was just an odd moment from radio that i normally find predictable.

morning

I was wrong. Zinn’s book does have a bibliography. It’s embarrassing that i paged right past it repeatedly, not seeing it. The references are lumped together by chapter, and not footnoted though. Yesterday was just a bad day.

What does this guy mean that promo video is good enough eason why Van Halen should not bring David Lee Roth back as their singer? Because he’s out of their league? It sounds like it verges on Ed Wood badness, thus it must be great, even if it’s calculated ’80s “weirdness.” Cope’s fixation with him is making more sense. Via ILM.

New Josh thought with an eagerly awaited followup… about Tom Waits not really being avant guarde, but not exactly easily accessable to the mainstream, a la Radiohead’s last two albums.

Discovered the band Kaito through this Village Voice article that also touches upon Clinic. I like the description “splattercore rhythmic sense” amd wonder where i first read it, meaning it was nicked from someone. Thrashier and thinner than Clinic has become, but with the same contempt for articulating actual words. It’s making me listen to Life Without Buildings (a band that i liked, but didn’t throw mysaelf into) in a different way, although Kaito has dominance over my ADD warped brain with more two minute songs. Also means that i need to listen more carefully to Liliput/ Kleenex, which sadly was stuck in a neglected subdirectory, and now seems a more obviosu progenitor to Clinic than those Nuggets bands.

Those damned energy papers. Here’s a list of the companies that met with Bush officials, along with the amount of money they gave to the campaign. It’s so helpful that much of the relevant information was blanked out, and the papers were just delivered under the deadline. What a stupid game the Bushies are playing…. however, after reading Zinn, and remembering everything that was swept under the rug in Watergate and Iran-Contra, nothing’s really going to happen, is it?

Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 03.26.02

evening

I was amused to hear the White Stripes “Fell in Love with a Girl” on commercial radio again, but this time, it was followed up by that song “Lump” by the Presidents of the United States…. and it fit. Nothing against that song, as i have no dislike for it, but the fact that these two songs flowed well together is NOT a good thing for me. So much for the fresh, energetic take on rock and roll i was imagining ths song to be, or at least until i forget this particular epiphany.

Today’s book to read was that Howard Zinn book, the People’s History of the United States. I feel emotionally exhausted tonight, as that book is painful to read. After a few pages, one feels wrecked on how wrong the United States can be, and still remain unchallenged by its own citizens. I started at World War I, then moved up. It’s too hard to write about it right now, although one thing that bugged me deeply is that for all of its quotes, there are no citations to primary or secondary sources. It also doesn’t help that there’s barely a glimmer of hope until the passages about fighting for civil rights. It’s actually burned me out on the whole political obsession tonight, as i felt more hope with the weird little man who stole Einstein’s brain and gummed up the system.

If the ETs on the moon will allow us to build up there, a couple of scientists believe that they have found the perfect place to build a lab on the moon, on Malapert Mountain. It’s in sunlight 90% of the time and there’s possibly frozen water in a nearby crater. It would be fantastic for exploring deep space with radio telescopes.

NASA is working on an anti-gravity machine though. Seriously.

Australian scientist insists that it’s not water shaping Mars, but carbon dioxide. He sees lots of evidence of explosions in the past, and feels that this could happen more likely with frozen carbon dioxide which would take less energy to boil.

morning

We’ve been up since about 3:30 AM this morning because of hail beating on the windows and lightning cracking all about. I want to give a lame excuse about that being how i cannot make it to work.

Aha. The indiffently anticipated Pitchfork review of N.E.R.D. The original release garnered NO glowing reviews according to Pitchfork… uh…. bullshit. I still have some stowed around the place, in Mojo and Uncut, i believe, and they were raves. That leaves little incentive on bothering with the rest of the review, but the writer does catch on to what others who have heard both versions seem to have written, that the live beats do not add much to the production. It seems that he’s heard both versions too, as he refers to the original version of “Brain” sounding “clever” but doesn’t touch the rest of the album, not even the briefest mention of “Truth or Dare” or “Run to the Sun” is enough to damn the rest of the review to the level of their review of Rooty.

I have no intention to listen to the new Neil Young album. Honestly, i haven’t bothered with Silver & Gold either, but there’s some morbid curiosity on whether “Let’s Roll” is as bad as that Alan Jackson narrowminded piece of schlock. Apparently it’s worse than just that song, as Let’s Build a Car relates the mood of the whole album to the aura of the modern day Brian Wilson… utterly lost….. scary.

After the Kerplink and MM recommendations, i dug up what might be the new Cornershop, but is “Motion the Eleven” supposed to be a form of electronic reggae? Isn’t this the band that was playfully taking shots at the Beatles for appropriating Indian music for Britian with their version of “Norwegian Wood”? Is this consistent, or have they taken a detour? I don’t see why Cornershop cannot embrace any style that they want to embrace, but i swear i remember a lot of rhetoric about the Beatles and their sitars, and do not see how this is different. Oh, well… skip it and find “Spectral Mornings”… cannot wait to put that on a mixtape for a long drive, multi-layered groove that is more recognizable. “Brimful of Asha” is the only song i truly remember from them, and while it had a great hook, it was run into the ground, to the extent that they might have only written one minute of a song, then looped it. “Spectral Mornings” is over 14 minutes long, and hasn’t managed to wear itself out on my ears yet. They really opened it up, even though it has some of the same evil repetition… it’s just that the cirles are not as constrictively tight.

The truth has been out for months, but only now am i finding out that the $43 million given to the Taliban was supposedly a twist of the truth. Ehhhh…. think of the money being given to Columbia now, allegedly to fight drugs, but are really about protecting oil pipelines. The truth of this $43 million is less clearcut than whether Kenny Lay did a sleepover with Bobby Clinton

Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 03.25.02

Barely any music content today. Just haven’t been listening when i’m reading. Finished the Driving with Mr. Albert book. It didn’t quite belong in a science section, perhaps more in anthropology, dealing with Einstein as a cultural icon. There were some occasional great passages, but it was a quite a breezy read overall. Harvey, the man who kept the brain under questionable legal circumstances for 40 years, remains an enigma. It’s hinted that he truly did save the brain for future science, and out of the hands who would most ruthlessly exploit it, but it’s not certain fi that was ever Harvey’s original intent.

the book did worry me when the author started his cross-country trek with the eighty-four year old man who possessed the brain of Einstein in a piece of Tupperware by listing what tapes that he was going to bring with them, checking off Soul Coughing, Pavement, Hank Williams, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Son Volt, and Buddy Holly. While i might have a few things in common with the writer musically, it seemed a glaring distraction. It was just a minor detail that says more about my fixations than anything else though.

Damn. Just found out the Beta Band are playing the New Orleans House of Blues on April 4th. I almost certainly cannot go.

Downloaded the live versions of the new Courtney Love material she claims is garage rock. It sounds like plain old grunge, and she needs to get off this puerile trip of calling people out by name with hollow threats. It’s going to get her hurt one day. She certainly does have a set of lungs on her though.

Permanent link goes to Alacran, and the Mondo Alacran link page makes my head spin. I also put up some that i’ve delayed putting up for ages and one that used to drive me crazy, avoided reading for my own good, and now i cannot remember what bent my nose so out of joint.

Lou stayed up to watch SNL the other night, and saw Creed for the first time. She seems to hate them instinctively, but she’s also on a campaign to convince me that the leather pants wearing singer has the exact same face as Steve Guttenberg.

Certain elements of the press are trying to manufacture a scandal about Army Secretary Thomas E. White using a military jet to land in Aspen to close the sale of the house, but i don’t think that it’s that big a deal, as it was actually on the way back from where he had official business, and in the long run it may have been a bigger waste of money to have him running back out to Aspen on a commercial jet. However, White making thirteen calls to Enron prior to selling his shares in October is crooked as hell, especially considering that he is an ex-Enron executive. It’s pointing towards insider trading of Enron stock within the Bush administration. Cheney probably did the same thing, but covered his tracks better.

It truly pissed me off that i could not access greenspun, as the show would have been much better with this ILE thread. Page down to the long series of comments to Anthony if one is in a hurry.

I had few opinions on the Oscars last night, but it irked me to see so many choices that did not seem made by the merit of the actual film or performance, but instead on who deserved it for things that had nothing to do with them. Of course, it’s always like that… anyway, not only did the movies we saw get shut out… Amelie, Memento, The Man Who Wasn’t There, and Moulin Rouge, but movies that we wanted to see The Royal Tenenbaums too. Only The Fellowship of the Ring made any showing, and i wasn’t sure it was all that remarkable a movie other than in technical achievements. Although i have not seen Black Hawk Down, i refuse to believe that it’s any good after reading some of Ridley Scott’s remarkably uninformed comments about why the troops were pulled out of Somalia, and how this lead to 9/11. “Boom boom. USA! USA!” Yeah, bullshit, buddy….

Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 03.24.02

I lost a day somewhere in here, and i’ll be damned if i can be bothered to figure out how it happened.

Reading Skykicking this morning to find that Lou was trying to turn me onto something that might make more sense to me now…. Part-T-One “I’m So Crazy”… she saw them on TOTP, and said it was quite mad and infectious, but when we downloaded it, i connected it mentally to Andrew WK for some reason. However, erasing that line and connecting to Basement Jaxx “Where’s Your Head At?”….. now that is good. It’s still not “Where’s Your Head At?” though, which thrusts its middle finger in your face in the opening seconds of the song, spraying rabid spittle in your face.

Incidentally, i nearly went off my “If It Has Monkeys It Must Be Good” theory after Lou & i went to St. Francisville to check out the houses on the Audobon Tour, as some madwoman seemingly has psychically picked up my every thought of bad notions of decorating wih mokeys and actually used them with no awareness of how hideous it truly is. Monkeys in fezzes everywhere, playing cards, baring teeth, eating bananas…

What i’m trying to do this morning while firing off late emails is cobbling together a Tall Dwarfs comp. I found a song on one of the harddrives, probably after reading something about New Zealand reissues, only to think that the song “Nothing’s Ever Going to Happen” is fantastic. The version i’m looking at on the AMG says it’s only supposed to be three minutes, but this one is twice that at six minutes. The downbeat, singalong chant thrown against slightly dissonant, psychy strings building and building to…. well… nothing. Nothing happens. Great anti-anthem.

Also trying to track down more information about Guided by Voices’ next album, Universal Truths And Cycles. It’s to be released June 18th, have 19 songs, and be about 46 minutes long. Supposedly the song, “Everywhere With Helicopter” is already floating around.

Have been mulling over whether to go to Jazzfest, as i am still leery of getting on the Fairgrounds with Jimmy Buffett or Lenny Kravitz anywhere in the immediate vicinity, but good old bacwards looking Mojo is helping out…. apparently April 30th to May 2nd, there’s somethign being put on by the Mystic Knights of the Mau-Mau putting on the Ponderosa Stomp at the Fine Arts Theater. It looks like a much better line-up, except there’s one problem… i really want to see the Super Furry Animals at the Shim Sham on May 1st. The deciding factor is probably going to be cost. $33 per ticket is a lotta money for the Ponderosa Stomp, even if it is a hell of a lot of music. It would also be fun to see the SFA just because we kept bumping into a few of them in Cardiff, aside from the CD signing, and there’s the perverse and highly unlikely hope that they might remember us. (The first time we didn’t recognize Bunf at all, and thought he was a drunk pickpocket.)

Incidentally, i noticed that Ralph Nader is giving a lecture at LSU on April 9th. I cannot make up my mind whether i want to be lectured either.

Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 03.22.02

evening

Oops. I forgot. semi-offically Hot Shots 2 was my favorite album of 2001, not We Love Life. See? This whole favorite thing is too hard. Now i claim both though.

Remembered one of the records that i’ve been meaning to acquire on CD since 1994, but never managed to track it down…. Vic Chesnutt Drunk. It was another album that i received the same time as Palace Brothers, the Mountain Goats, and those Neutral Milk Hotel demos, all idiosyncratic singers, but i understood Vic in some peculiar way right off. I fear it might be his tendency to throw obscenities into lyrics without blinking or making an issue of it. The mocking self-deprecation and straightforwardness drew me right into grinning empathy, even at the bleakest points of Drunk.

I cannot defend everyone else who has yelled it, but i know why i used to yell “Play Free Bird’!” to a certain local band. They were supposed to be a punk band at the time, but they really and truly wanted to play “Free Bird” and only wanted an excuse. After all, their singer used to insist that Creedence Clearwater Revival was the first punk band. The payoff came when they actually did play “Free Bird” so transcedentally sloppy and full of rage that all of the months of needling was worth it. Maybe “Free Bird” should not be added to every repertoire though….

Lou & i went to a clearance bookshop in Gonzales. Even though i was convinced that there would be nothing there but a bunch of romance and mystery novels from three years ago, i found so many desirable books that i wound up leaving dozens behind, just because we’re in dead water between paydays. Nonetheless, we managed to pick for only a few dollars, Paul Auster’s Moon Palace, Jack Kerouac’s Dharma Bums, Roddy Doyle’s The Woman Who Walked into Doors, Clyde Edgerton’s Redeye, Mario Vargas Llosa’s Death in the Andes, Edward Abbey’s Desert Solitaire, Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States, and Paterniti’s Driving Mr. Albert.

Already three-fifths of the way through with Wait Until Spring, Bandini so i had to get something else. Was a little disappointed to find that this book goes back to Arturo’s childhood in Colorado, which i already read in small doses in the anthology The Big Hunger. Great stuff, but the squalid childhood is not as immediately rewarding as the perfect descriptions of Arturo’s writing process.

Maybe i don’t have to buy albums for awhile, but the book buying compulsion is still there, and this clearance book store is my new methodone treatment.

morning

I listened to Lou’s Bubbleglampop (subtitled Mulletized!) mix yesterday, but had to listen so quietly to avoid questioning looks from coworkers, as she deliberately made it as goofy as possible, that i was not able to enjoy it as much as i could have. The tracklisting?

1. Gary Glitter “Rock & Roll”

2. Dead End Kids “Have I the Right?”

3. Showaddywaddy “Under the Moon of Love

4. Alvin Stardust “My Coo Ca Choo”

5. Chicory Tip “Son of My Father”

6. Bay City Roller “Bye Bye Baby”

7. Mud “Tiger Feet”

8. Sweet “Wig Wam Bam”

9. Showaddywaddy “Some Girls”

10. Gary Glitter “Do You Wanna Touch Me”

11. Smokie “Needles & Pins

12. Bay City Rollers “The Bump”

13. Kenny “Fancy Pants”

14. Sweet “Funny Funny”

15. Showaddywaddy “You Got What It Takes”

16. Sutherland Brothers “Lying in the Arms of Mary”

17. Our Kid “You Just Might See Me Cry”

18. T-Rex “Children of the Revolution”

19. Denim “The Osmonds”

So far my fave (discounting T-Rex and Denim, which are cheats) is the absurd “Fancy Pants” song. That falsetto chorus keeps getting me to put on this glazed goofy face of shock, after that rubberband guitar. I cannot get enough of it. I’m also amused by how much that Smokie song owes to the Byrds’ “I’ll Feel a Whole Lot Better”! Yeah, it’s a song probably predates the Byrds when first sung, but this version is still cool.

It was fun to run across this YHF thread on I Love Music. It felt odd to realize that no one seems to have mentioned it since the album first leaked out online, and the negative opinions do not dissuade me. However, what’s even better is that i was listening to Pulp’s We Love Life, so recently back in my possession, and wondering why the fuck no one has been talking about this record since it came out, wondering if it even came out in the U.S. (Apparently on April 9th, but it’s expensive.) Since YHF was going to have its official release in 2002, Pulp’s We Love Life had edged out every other album for favorite of 2001… (at least i remember that way, and too lazy to look it up to see if i confessed that.) Reading Mojo, i saw that the Isle of Wight festival is being resurrected, and while i like most of the bands mentioned, all of them were that return to the roots kinda stuff (meaning too much homogeneity) except for… Pulp.

Coem Americans, give the new Pulp album a chance, and don’t dismiss it with a wave and say it’s too English or some such nonsense. Britian seems to have already forgotten one of their best albums, the fickle bastards.

Incidentally, while Yankee Hotel Foxtrot my very well be my favorite album of 2002, it’s not a given. After all, two Tom Waits albums come out only weeks after it, and even more likely, something else will take me by surprise.Also, a lot of Wilco obsessives are bitching about “Heavy Metal Drummer” being the first sigle, as it’s not representative of the whole album, a silly piece of nostalgic fluff… one of the reasons it’s the perfect choice. I want more fun songs on the radio, not more truly elegiac ones. Mourning’s over. Move on.

It’s not right that Bush moves to make personal medical information freely available to anyone who wants it, considering that it may be used by insurance companies or ay other company when interviewing a possible hire. It’s even less right that he is having all federal websites scrubbed of previously public information that supposedly concerns information about weapons of mass destruction, because of the potential threat of those pesky terrorists.

One place to start protesting is here.

With all of this shit about the book Bias by Goldberg, obsessed with liberal bias in the media today, it is impossible to believe anything in the news, because this guy gets his podium to scare the media into being even more conservative than it is. I heard clips of Bush whining about the rejection of Pickering “hurts our democracy” all over the news, but i barly heard mention of this more thoughtful, supportable statement by Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev, “George W. Bush is president of the United States, not king of the United States. He is President Bush. He is President George, not King George.” Reid said he felt compelled to “express some concern about statements from the administration, including from the president, that the Senate’s treatment of judicial nominees ‘hurts our democracy.’ His statement is unsettling, unfounded, and it is a misunderstanding of the fundamental separation of powers in the Constitution, the checks and balances in the founders’ design. “In our democracy, the president is not given unchecked powers to pack the courts and give lifetime appointments to anyone who shares his view. Instead, the Constitution provides a democratic check on the power of appointment by requiring the advice and consent of the Senate.”

Oh, and Goldberg’s book is refuted statistically in this article. The “liberal media” is a myth.

It looks like the Senate is gaining momentum in getting the courage revealing the connections between Enron and the White House. Too bad that it has to be Lieberman taking the plunge, as i don’t like him one bit, a careerist who seems to believe in nothing but power.

I need to remember to keep checking out the progress on Jim Hightower’s Rolling Thunder Downhome Democracy Tour, because to steer clear from the influence of sellouts like Lieberman, more grassroots organizations need to spring up.

Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 03.21.02

Sorry about the lack of posts yesterday. Left for work early to get more overtime, only to discover that some jerk had changed the timeclock, setting far ahead. Also finished John Fante’s Ask the Dust, and needed to get more to read, thus an extended trip to the bookstore was in order. Gotta recommend Ask the Dust. After reading a few pages, i’d have to take a break to walk around, as my consciousness was altered to pick up every gritty detail, that self-awareness was so far removed and minutely analytically, with the bare minimum of words, that i was left with a bit of an identity crisis. Self-hating writer rattles off a few small stories in near anonymity in his environment through stream-of-consciousness letters, becomes obsessed with a waitress who falls in love with another man who doesn’t want her, and the mututally abusive relationship that unfolds between them.

It’s pointless to gripe about the last issue of Uncut, featuring Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young. It’s one thing to get bored of the endless rehashes of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, but to read the hyperbole about how world shaking and consciousness altering the harmonies of CSNY are just pisses me off into rage. These songs are not lost. They are FM classic rock and golden oldies fodder i’ve heard hundreds, if not thousands of times… and i was not all that impressed the first time, in teenaged wide wonderment at everything. People falling on their knees? Starting a new religion? What a bunch of addled cokeheads… it bugs me that anyone other than VH-1 would continue to propagate such myth, as the people who can swallow such shit are concerned with other things than buying the latest repackaging or nostalgia reunion album.

Think of the new territory that CSNY explored, and the long legacy that they inspired…. shit. Before someone wrote that article, he could have went, “Oh, hmmmm… ‘Ohio’…. yep. that’s about it,” and saved us all of the trouble, unless he wanted to explain what a shithole Los Angeles was for rock and roll in the ’70s, cocaine cowboys deluded with godhood and insipid singer-songwriters who would have been following their true muse in writing greeting cards. Anyway…

Ahem. but i still bought a copy of the Mojo with people talking about their heroes. When will i stop encouraging this kind of stuff by shelling out money for it? I’ll probably be grousing about something in it tonight.

Jess informed me that MTV2 is indeed playing the new Clinic video. Despite all of the nearly nude shimmying dancers performing simulated sex acts in other videos over the years, i truly believed that there was no way that close-ups of plastic breasts, and mannikins getting experimental in sex positions was going to be too much for the censors. Wrong again.

The $98 million for aid in the drug war in Columbia is really protection money for an oil pipeline. Connect this to environmentalism, low gas mileage cars, and figure out who the true terrorists are. Yes, i know that the guys doing the bommbing are no innocents either, but American coporations are encouraging the assassination of union leaders.

Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 03.20.02

evening

Sorry about harping on about Courtney Love’s idiocy twice in one day, but again on NME, she’s mouthing off about almost hitting poor little Christina Aguilera. Why? Because Christina took a verbal shot at her for having Linda Perry (apparently the Desmond Child of alt-rock) writing songs for her. Amusing because it shows Courtney yet again cannot produce a project without some sort of collaborator… not so oddly enough with someone who writes songs for the pop people, while Courtney is mouthing off about bringing back real garage rock. Even more amusing because Courtney, in trying to jump on a bandwagon, doesn’t realize that Aguilera has beat her to the punch without lifting a finger, because of the “Stroke of Genie-us” boot.

I dunno. It just seems a peculiar little episode illustrating perfectly the hypocrisy, the irony, and the absurdity of mock war of rock versus pop right now. Someone more articulate could write a thesis from this.

Felt very little when i heard the new White Stripes single on mainstream radio (while KLSU is still sticking with “Hotel Yorba”.) However, a few minutes ago, i found the link to the video for “Fell in Love with a Girl” on Catherine’s page. Those damned Lego blocks with that punchy little song becomes something else altogether for me, into one of those jawdropping entranced moments. No, it’s not going to change the world or start a revolution, but this is now one of my favorite videos of all time, after only a couple of plays.

That Clinic “Walking with Thee” video is never going to get shown on MTV2 though. Too sexual.

got some of my absent CDs back from Damien in the post today. Am so happy to see that latest Pulp album as well as the SFA back in the fold.

Read that shoegazing article in Magnet. I found the bit that Andy mentioned and it is fairly tasteless. Incidentally, i know virtually nothing about shoegazing, aside from owning Loveless. The closest i have come to this genre is an awkward story that i feel like indulging myself in giving a limp synopsis…

in 1994, a friend of mine had a sloppy punk band. Hammond had a glut of sloppy punk bands that year, and his was one of the most interesting. However, he was bored with the sound, and no one in the band was progressing much. Some members even just wanted to turn it into a cover band. However, he got ahold of Hum’s You’d Prefer an Astronaut. Yes, i know that that is not truly shoegazing band, but he became obsessed with feedback for the sake of feedback, something the rest of the band didn’t care for. Eventually he hooked up with a new guitarist that turned him on to My Bloody Valentine, Ride, Slowdive, Lush, Swervedriver, and Medicine. Honestly, i was not able to follow that obsession with feedback. Reading that Magnet article with the snippets of quotes disparaging pop songs, and talking about these mysterious unexplored landscapes of sound that shoegazers were exploring before Britpop swept them away just sounds sour. No one really stopped them from recordiing in this age of digital technology. Besides, i’ve taken a hell of a lot of drugs over the years, and as cool as dissonance is, i’ve never become schizoid enough to find my only solace in white noise.

morning

Just woke up…. sorry if this morning’s post seems cobbled together.

Lengthy Clinic interview on Neumu. Unfortunately, i didn’t get much out of this particularly feature, so have little to say. Hopefully i missed something, and someone else will catch it. It’s hard to tell if the interviewer was asking the wrong questions, that Clinic being one of those micro-niche bands has very few answers, or that it was just an off night for one or both. It’s more than what i could have done. However, the serious tone doesn’t relate to how the music makes me feel. I want to know what other new records that they have found, or what they plan on doing, or just anything more than trudging the same finely siftly sands of Velvets/ Modern Lovers/ Nuggets trying to find a grain of new truth.

Courney Love is still an idiot. Now she claims to be writing Nuggets style material. That’s so last season. And the attempt to link herself to the Strokes by some chestbeating rivalry is pathetic. I do remember that Julian from the Strokes has been baffled about her writing a song about him.

In the new Magnet (I’m still looking for that stupid rock cliche/ suicide mention that Andy read, and have not found it,) there’s a few angry letters to the editor about their slash piece on Ryan Adams, which still kinda amuses me. While it’s irresponsible, i enjoyed the shitstirring, as much as i like bad controversial reviews on Pitchfork, as examples of what not to do, but still gets talked about. Now in NME, there’s a short interview with Ryan Adams slamming his own work, calling it a bunch of singer/ songwriting crap. It seems that his pal Elton John has rubbed off on him, with the psychotic swings in atitude and opinion. And yes, not only does he talk about the Strokes, but has recorded the whole of Is This It? as blues. For someone who affects being burned out on his own overexposure, it’s peculiar that he turns to the music of the Strokes.

I feel like a fool for starting to read NME again, but am just curious. I found that I rather like a couple of songs by their new darlings the Vines, who in the song “Factory” sound like a young Paul McCartney fronting, ahem, an American Nuggets garage band doing something vaguely reggae informed, but with the feel of “Helter Skelter” and not Olabdee Olabdah bra shit. Shit. There definitely needs to be some new trends quick.

Anyway, i’m eagerly awaiting Lou to finish a mix CD for me, some songs that that make her laugh, the stuff that she remembers as being vaguely glam or bubblegum, bands like Smokie, Chicory Tip, Showaddywaddy, the Dead End Kids, and Kenny. I’m spying on the mix this mornign before she wakes up, and it’s more fun than so much of the other stuff that i’ve been mucking about with.

Aside from Lou’s CD yet to be burned, i’m taking suggestions from Damien, who seems to be recommending things that he cannot afford to experiment with himself. After all, how else could have have come up with Silverhead, a band that i could never imagine him listening to himself, as they sound nothing like his beloved space-glitter freaks White Witch. However, i’m intrigued by revisiting the Skyhooks…. are they really singing a dresserful of Leonard Cohens in “Ego Is Not a Dirty Word”.