Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 04.29.02

evening

It looks like Wilco’s going to be on Letterman tonight, playing “Heavy Metal Drummer” it seems. I forgot to mention that i saw Belle & Sebastian play “Waking Up to Us” on Conan Friday night, and they were so painfully uncomfortable on camera that it made both me & Lou laugh. They still don’t still sound as shambling as they used to sound, but it was peculiar to see so many people on a stage with so little desire to be on it.

On NPR this evening, there was a suckass survey of the Billboard charts.The only thing that they got right was praising Kylie and how “Can’t Get You Out of My Head” is perfectly crafted and insidiously catchy, but i’m almost certain that this reviewer said something about her being a teen idol in the ’80s, and that it’s been a long time since she’s put out an album. Although he had already blown whatever cred he might have had before this by praising the mediocrity of nu-soul that is Ashanti, only saying that she has room to improve and become more of an individual. With the clueless Kylie comment, i don’t know why this guy gets paid to write about pop music. He went on to slam Pink “Get This Party Started” as being unsubtle and crass as opposed to Ashanti (comparing her to Al Green.) Why did they bother?

Tom Waits’ Alice can now be heard through streaming Realaudio from ANTI. This is really my first full listening to the new version of the album. No concrete thoughts yet, but i will not be one of those bastards who will declare that the demos were better. He’s due to appear on Letterman on May 8th.

Who wants to see P. Diddy in a show like the Osbournes? I fucking don’t. It’s going to be painful in the way that he will posture for the camera, and not allow the general audience to see anything as beautifully banal as what Ozzy served up. Someone suggested Redman or Method Man. What happened to those ideas? They were great on Cribs, and P Diddy has all of the charisma of a used car dealer.

Come to think of it, after watching Fishing with John, i wish that VH-1 would try to compete with MTV, and follow Tom Waits around, not that he’d ever stomach such nonsense. Too private a guy…

morning

Eminem’s “Without Me” barely even sounds like hip hop to me anymore. It breezes through so quickly that it seems like pure pop, because it’s all immediate gratification and very little cruel challenging. I missed out on the whole Eminem thing the first two times around, but it seems like he’s deliberately made himself more accessable. Now that everyone’s gotten used to him, he puts out a single that parents wouldn’t mind buying for their kids, because it’s so relatively innocuous (my favorite word lately) and playful. No, i don’t think he’s gone toothless. This has to be the candy on the end of some barbed hook, suckering in the nice folks when they shuck out the money for the kids with tears in their eyes, who just want more Slim. The album itself is bound to be bile and poison made plastic, if his desire to subvert and pervert is intact. Even if it isn’t, so fucking what….

Wow. Boom Selection and Freaky Trigger were not kidding about that Sugababes song “Freak Like Me”. It’s a lo-fi space-age soul-glam gem. (Hyphens are fab.)

I’ve been trying to pay attention to the American Top 40 radio, but despite whatever the chart says (which isn’t much) the radio plays the same songs that were being played months ago, and with very little rotation of those few. I want less of those warbling crooners and growling post-grungers, and more progressive bubblegum. It’s still pissing me off that Pink’s follow-up single was a self-hating naval-gazing pseudo-rock thing, instead another chunk of sugary jet fuel.

It seemed like my store-bought copy of YHF finally arrived from Amazon yesterday, but the box was ten times too big. It turns out that my brother (who already sent a late and quite pricey wedding gift out of the blue that morning) sent a month late birthday present as well… a Palm m100 (?) I don’t even know what to do with the thing, as a practical use for it might be beyond me. What the hell do normal tech people use these for?

So the guys who started the Venezuelan coup are taking refuge in the U.S. Why is the U. S. even bother trying to pretend that it didn’t manufacture the whole thing?

And a condemning piece on the U.S.’s lack of faith in democracy.

Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 04.28.02

evening

For all of my disconnected rambling on YHF, i haven’t really been listening to it lately. Today i’ve been listening to the Shins Oh! Inverted World, realizing that i shortchanged it as pretty but unspectacular ’60s pop, but now it’s seeping into my dreams. This is NOT the kind of album that i expected to grow in time.

And i should be listening to the Super Furry Animals anyway, since the trek to New Orleans on Wednesday night still seems to be on. Meeting Zane there as well, so this is turning into a bigger outing than expected. In case that makes no sense, i must explain that since Lou & i moved to Baton Rouge, i’ve been quite lazy about contacting all friends, and haven’t seen most of them since January, if that recently.

That Already Dead book by Denis Johnson left me feeling like the story was not finished. It wasn’t particularly confusing to see the walk-in soul concept, something from my overfamiliarity with New Age stuff, and it was nice to see reincarnation being realized as something not bound to one direction in time, but the plot made me feel all funny. People died for reasons that completely escaped me. The story comes to a close with a coldblooded murderer on the loose, with no attempt to explain the consequences. It simply happened. Happy endings are not necessary, nor is some form of immediate justice, but for a book so absorbed in the concept of karma, the way Johnson deliberately flaunts the flow of the rest of the book in actually rewarding the murderer at the end has bugged the shit out of me. It pisses me off, as i must have missed something important not to understand why the book turned out the way it did, and worry if it’s my fault or weakness somehow. Am now reading both The Unusual Life of Tristan Smith by Carey and Billy Liar by Waterhouse.

Despite whatever problems i had with Already Dead though, am definitely reading more of Johnson, as the story was irrelevant to how fucking great some of the passages were.

The Guardian says the U.S. Navy was aiding the Venezuelan coup against Chavez. That’s a lot more direct involvement than i was expecting… the usual CIA connections and a few sly winks diplomatically.

It’s hard to tell what to make of the Rumsfeld memo. He’s insisting that the armed forces are stretched too thin, and troops need to be pulled back. In other words, they want to leave Afghanistan as a black hole in the hands of questionable warlords, just as they said that they would not, so that they can smack around Saddam again, and run around in Columbia. I don’t believe for a second that this has anything to do with the budget, as this adminstration simply doesn’t worry about deficit spending and the future.

morning

We’re back in Baton Rouge, so it’s back to that Village voice review of YHF. Me? Obsessed? I’m swearing off it tonight.

Jeff Ward wrote me over the weekend, bringing up the last thing that i could clearly remember wanting to post Friday… lyrics. The reviewer harps on about lyrics of YHF, while saying the album only sounds fresh if one doesn’t listen to hip hop. Ahem. Lyrically, when stripped of the beats and funky noises, the lyrics of most hip hop are naff as fuck. And to take the piss of Tweedy because he’s a whitebread, Midwest poseur trying to blow his troubles into something of mythic despair is not much different from the hollow chestbeating of how diamondhard and rough some MCs declare they are, when in actuality, some of these guys are just trying to blow smoke up everyone’s asses as some of them are just as not all that urban. (No, i’m too uninformed to confidently point to any particular hip hopper and say that he’s not for real…. but i’ve read and heard enough not to accept all boasts at face value.) It’s clearly two different standards to two genres of music for that writer, and it’s another form of racism or whatever that whole clash of urban versus suburban is, if it has nothing to do with race. Fine, he doesn’t like being from the Midwest. Self-loathing only goers so far in making analyses though… wait until that writer hits a midlife crisis, and wants to re-evaluate his roots. There needs to be a balance between denial of one’s past and embracing new values.

Whether one likes the record or not is another matter, but invoking the innovation of hip hop while clearly being obsessed with lyrics and posturing is just the wrong thing to do. He would have been better off focusing on slashing how the edgy (ha ha) production and mixing of YHF are really quite conservative. No matter how hard he tries, he will not convince me that a rallying of “Get ur freak on” or “H to the Izzo” is any less daft than “I am trying to break your heart,” (no matter how great the seeming nonsense of “H to the Izzo” sounds.)

What Jeff also brought up that i wasn’t thinking about is how pop culture and “high” culture refuse to get along. He finds it quite silly, since “high” culture is really just yesterday’s pop culture, and the strict line drawn between the two is artificial. Shit. Am running out of time again.

Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 04.26.02

The other ideas about the Village Voice YHF review never gelled, so ti seemed best to leave it alone, and watch Survivor like i’ve managed to con Lou into doing every Thursday night. However, i’ll try to pull it together this morning in the few minues before this suckass job…..

The backhanded compliment that YHF is great album only if one hasn’t been listening to a lot of hip-hop still seems true to me, but it sticks in my craw. The reference to “whiteboy aesthetic” and suburbia and “English Lit classes” and “ought to be working in a bookstore” stews down into a self-loathing of the writer, as it seems to be drawing from his own experience, simmering with disappointment at who he is, a middle-class honkey who went to college. This splits into two divisions at least, questions of race idenity and questions of education and possibly any intellectulism.

The race one i don’t realy want to touch, as it makes me uncomfortable (in the same sense that i’ve been treading on eggshells with the whole Israel/ Palestine thing lately,) but… sure, Wilco’s a honky band. However, the link to Big Star and Sister Lovers points to Alex Chilton and Stax. That possibly references all kinds of things that i don’t have time or propwer background to explore, as it might all be bullshit anyway. It kinda makes me scratch my head when a writer knowingly throws in soemthing like race, because the artist is automatically born to lose. I don’t know why he wants to cling to the urban belief that suburbia has no culture or flavor, especially the Midwest suburbia, but it does. The more its human products go into denial of it, the greater the disconnection grows… and they write songs about how low they feel? The small personal melancholy that Hoard dismisses is actually something else, the disaffection of suburbia. If all culture i voided by strip malls, what else is one left with? Is the album merely a product of such a background, or is it a stone lobbed against it?

As for the education one, that pisses me off a little. The review is in the fucking Village Voice. What’s this mudslinging about wanting to work in a bookstore? Or college literature classes? It’s not that Yankee Hotel Foxtrot is that intellectual a record, but because it’s not lowest common denominator, suddenly it’s pretentious. If Wilco released a whooping, hollering balls-to-the-wall album, they’d be posers. If they release an album that’s arch and polite, they are pretentious. The album that they did put out seems to be the most honest one that they can put out, but because it tries to be ambiguous to let the listener find his own meaning, it’s dishonest. This whole contest is rigged. I’m getting sick of these slaps at trying to be intellectual (even if it doesn’t work.) Look at the piss-ant in the Oval Office, and tell me to my face that making sincere or even half-hearted stabs at being intellectual is pretentious.

Actually i’m not defending YHF on that case, but i am fed up with the dumbing down of the world, and America in particular. This album will have no power in dragging the battle either way, but a good reviewer like Hoard ought to stop playing with that concept.

For this reason i wanted to throw some silly aphorism like Wilco is the American Belle & Sebastian into the mix. (I think the American Radiohead label is bullshit too, incidentally.) It has little to do with the music. It’s about the pigeonholing of a songwriter for trying to be literate, writing sad self-absorbed songs, and for being an ex-student. Wish there was time to expand that, but it doesn’t really mean anything anyway. Just another aphorism.

I like his album even though it reminds me too much of being stuck in Michigan, doing my best to keep the real world at bay.” Funny that he quotes “Reservations” when it’s “Poor Places” that he’s perhaps accidentally (but maybe not) that he is referencing. The song is not an apology, but it does explain how self-absorbed the narrator is, while all of the world drowns out his miniature melancholy.

i did miss that he wrote would-be miniaturist. which changes the whole slant on that. I spent time yesterday chewing over who else is a miniaturist, and why it’s not a bad thing, but missed the point entirely that the writer didn’t say it was a bad thing. Fuck it. Outta time and i’m boring myself with tossing out obvious rhetorical questions that never have decent answers.

Mojo keeps championing some band called the Soundtrack of Our Lives as the new psycheledelic masters. I sensed bullshit right off, as it’s an abysmal name for a band, and the cover of the album that i saw looked like a the cover of a certain live Pink Floyd disc.However, most of the time i trust the AMG, and the entry compared them to Super Furry Animals, Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci, and the Beta Band. I was downloading whatever i could find within seconds. Unfortunately, whoever wrote that entry must never have heard any of the referenced bands, as this poor band’s music is plodding, trad-rock. What on earth do these writers hear when they listen to these other bands, and think that they sound like like anythihng other than a by-the-numbers

Someone on ILM brought up Mogwai derisively the other day, but it reminded me of what i thought …and You Will Know Us by the Trail of Our Dead would sound like, except in more recognizable song structures of verse chorus something or the other, with a vocalist that bellowed like an elephant being flayed alive. As it stands, they just don’t seem bombastic enough to have that name.

Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 04.25.02

Ehhh…. maybe Tom does sound a little like this guy reviewing Yankee Hotel Foxtrot sometimes, but i don’t see how that’s a bad thing. Even though i don’t agree with it on a number of points, i like it a lot more than most of the other reviews that i’ve read, as themost of the positive reviews seem to be pulled off some template. It’s fun to see someone who throws up his shoulders in apathy, but makes the effort to articulate why, delving into his own personal experiences and providing some meaty examples to back himself up. Even the nasty little first paragraph is not that far off… whatever Tweedy wants people to think, he has said openly that there’s a hell of a lot less goig on in the songs lyrically than many people assume.

I agree with Scott, who makes perfect sense. The story of YHF is a fantastic hammer to beat against the record companies as to how clueless they are, as good or bad, it’s NOT an inaccessable avant guard album. It’s a fucking pop album. It’s more pop than Sister Lovers, with the same aethetic, and sometimes one of the most important things about a piece of music is how accessable it is, how much it can spread. No, we don’t need a thousand Wilco knock-offs, but it’s great to see people hear this to wonder what the hell is wrong with the music industry to be scared by this.

In the review the Grateful Dead album American Beauty is referenced. In typical skipping around reading anything, because i thought that he was referencing the recent movie. I had mixed feelings about that movie, even though it was widely acclaimed, as i just couldn’t relate. It was hard to relate to a midlife crisis of some whitey suburbanite, and the death at the end seemed almost gratuitous. Is this how YHF comes across musically to some people? The writer brought up YHF is only interesting is one hasn’tbeen listening tp a lot of hip-hop. Yeah, this definitely related, but more of that middle class (American compared to British, as i’ve found out how different those two concepts are….) self-loathing and self-absorption, born in the suburbs with nothing to say and nothing to feel might not be what the music world needs, but if it’s done well, it’s done well. Even in pointing to how pedestrian the album is, he still writes that.

Anyway, let that guy write more reviews for the Village Voice. Need to look him up this evening to see what else he’s done. It’s not necessarily a brave thing to slag a record like YHF, but he seemed more honest than many people. My biggest gripe is that the writer doesn’t want to recognize that depression is depression, and nothing has to be that wrong to have the whole world fall away beneath you into a yawning abyss. Everyone belongs to self-loathing and self-destruction if the chemicals in the brain mysteriously fall out of balance. It’s not cancer as such, but… oh, fuck it. Barely even scratched the surface of just that one review.

Why is folky such a bad word?

Why does miniaturist sometimes seem an insult?

Probably going to run this review and album all more into the ground tonight.

A review that actually pissed me off is the lead review in that Mojo, where some jackass fires off about how someone finally made a fun record, like they used to do back in ’91, in the Cornershop album, but in dismissing Fatboy Slim, Basement Jaxx, and Daft Punk by name (and calling them mainstream, which may or may not be true, but so what?) he pretty gives it away that is obsessed with guitars, and is tryign to redraw the lines of musical evolution to reaffirm his obsession with his youth, to reaffirm in his own mind that Screamadelica and the Happy Mondays were never topped. Bastard.

Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 04.24.02

evening

What would be funnier is that if the record label was telling the truth, and that there really are no tapes of the Ryan Adams covers of the Strokes Is This It? as sice Ryan said it himself, they are calling him a liar. Maybe none of those songs he says that he’s recorded really exist.

Some commentator was yammering on NPR this moring about how honest Karen Hughes is, how she really is leaving her job because of her family, but then when it switched to how the White House might change in her absence, it was weird. It was a sore point in mentioning that the only member of the staff that has been with Bush longer than Hughes is Karl Rove. When the power vacuum was mused upon, it was funny how he wanted to gloss over how Karl Rove’s power will only grow. In this piece, a short comment is that, “Hughes often served as a counterweight to Rove, softening his hard-nosed political instincts by wrapping them in homespun words and images that gave Bush a common appeal.” I bet that she ran up against Rove on some key policy, an he steamrolled her, dimishing her role so much that it would have been humiliating and pointless to continue. The little story abotu Rove and Bartlett coming in to measure her office whiel she is still in it was no joke. It was a pure chestbeating bullying, out in the open so brazen that no one could believe it. Yes, pure speculation on my part.

Shit. The West Wing has some fo the real people from the West Wing on it. I don’t want to see them for entertainment. They are too flawed, too corrupt….

Reorganized some of the links according to who updates most, which is vaguely related to who i read most often (and it’s not really in that order,) and deleted some old faves that have not been updated in ages, some that clearly announced they were over, but i remained in denial.

morning

The first thing i flipped to in the Mojo was the Beefheart interview, only to find that the interviewer was fucking Bono. It immediately put me off reading (all reading! i’m typing this blindfolded) and it pains me to know that i’m going to read it anyway.

Downloaded a lot of Playgroup tracks, as some trusted blogs assure that they are where it’s at, only to find most of it is just way too smooth for my consumption and enjoyment. The ones with Edwyn Collins singing hold some interest for me, just because it’s a familiar key to get a grasp on the song, the slightest of emotional grips. Aside from that, right now the music makes me feel like i’m in a car commercial. This is no judgement on the quality at all, but it’s too true to what i suspect is dance aesthetic. Since i cannot dance, it totally goes over my head. I need more bastardization to understand or feel. It bugs me when the only word that springs to mind is “craftsmanship,” like in the context of a sleekly designed moulded plastic chair. My failing….

Thanks to Clive, i now know what “The Boys Are Back in Town” sounds like filtered through Belle & Sebastian. It just seemed too odd to miss, but i still hate the song and Thin Lizzy too. Nonetheless, i think it actually sounds more interesting than their Velvets cover, something that excited me before i heard it. Is there a rough list of all of the covers Belle & Sebastian have done? My interest is that pathetically focused lately, as i loved their cover of Badfinger in Cardiff last summer….

which only brings up Badfinger. Why the hell don’t i listen to them more right now? There’s only a handful of songs on my harddrive right now, things like “Money” which i avoid because songs with the word “money” usually turn me off. For all of my desire to find new music and play at being a completist, these few tracks stuck in a forgotten subdirectory are bringing me more pleasure than anything else this morning. Every squelchy Abbey Roadism guitar riff behind the verse makes me smile. It’s hard to find a power-pop band to live up to them and Cheap Trick.

Still trying to find more commentary explaining why the U.S. was bent on ousting the head of the group that regulates chemical weapons in the world. It has everything to do with the U.S. pushing its insane agenda of warring upon Iraq, making certain that Iraq will not be properly inspected, so that the U.S. can be more belligerent in its accusations and demands.

Stale link probably already overused and a few days old, but Terry Jones’ smartassery connecting the Bush criticism of Venezuela to the debacle in Florida in 2000 is just done so nicely.

Off to do more legally questionable work at the lab. Not happy about this. Have been stalling as long as possible, hopign that someone says, “No, i cannot imagine why we thought that this would be a good idea.”

Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 04.23.02

evening

The issue of Mojo i bought today (sucker) looks promising. A reprint of a Captain Beefheart interview, the Buzzcocks, Lambchop, and a dozen small items that perk my interest. And i actually have a hankering for some Elvis. I’ll probably regret it.

Did i ever mention that Damien sold a crushed Little Debbie’s brownie in a jar as Elvis’ death turd? Probably. Found out this morning that an unreleased song that Damien did, that i’m too timid to post as it’s somewhat creepy and sick (owing up to the reputation as the bogeyman he got in Hammond,) has a melody that picks up a fraction of the Kim Fowley song “Bubblegum”. The two songs really have nothing else in common, but i have a trainspotting fetish of finding where certain riffs and melodies came from. I have the same ongoing game with Cope songs.

It was quite cool to hear Jeff Tweedy being interviewed on All Things Considered. It was not new ground, and Jeff again used the joke about how Reprise acted as if Wilco turned in Metal Machine Music when they thought that they were eagerly turning in Herman’s Hermits (which still tickles my simple brain.) Jeff keeps talking about art coming from somewhere else, out there, but i haven’t found any articles or interviews that flesh out his idea of what out there is, on some kind of spirituality, although it’s a bad idea to ask most any artist about this, except maybe Julian Cope and Ol’ Dirty Bastard (who was once an authority on most anything before they broke the poor guy. Long live Big Baby Jesus.) Still, i want to know why he disassociates himself so much from the creation, although it was disappointing to hear that the breakup of the previous lineup of the band was ignored.

Oh, and i am perfectly happy that Pitchfork gave YHF a 10.0, even though the references to the Eagles and country only serve to piss me off. It’s not very country. Let go of the alt-country connection please. And there is a secret and there is a code. It doesn’t even mater whether Tweedy knows it, and he seems to acknowledge that. The universe will reveal itself as it wills it. There may be no god as such, but there are no accidents either.

Damn, i feel so full of shit tonight. Blame that Denis Johnson book.

My secret today? I don’t really get Uncle Tupelo. Never listen to them.

Downloading Luke Haines tonight. Finally remembered that as a priority.

There’s bound to be another reason why Karen Hughes (wasn’t familiar with her name, but knew her face) left the White House for Texas. Someone that power hungry being there in the Bush camp from the very beginning of campaigning doesn’t walk out because of her family.

He’s a Republican and pro-life (although not as rabidly insensitive as many,) but i find the notion of a tax on sci-fi to fund NASA rather funny… but something i would willingly pay, not that i buy much related to sci-fi anymore. The proposal of a constitutional convention when 30,000 colonists are on the moon is a bit premature though.

morning

Some of the new Belle & Sebastian songs from the Storytelling soundtrack have appeared on Audiogalaxy. Be warned. The title track “Storytelling” is an Isobel song. However, because it’s so uptempo and busy, she’s not allowed to drown in the flattened preciousness of her own voice, and it’s not nearly as twee as you might imagine. Okay, i’m lying… it’s pretty twee. However, the strength of the rest of the track drags her voice along into a nice stride.

“Scooby Driver” is kinda in the vein of “Legal Man” sans sitar but the haters of “Legal Man” (i’m not one of them) must know that it’s only a minute long. I don’t see any use for it except filling up some space at the end of a cramped mixtape.

“I Don’t Want to Play Football” is a Murdoch sung piano piece so short and sparse that it’s hard to accept that it’s not clipped off. Actually it seems more twee than the Isobel song! I can get behind the self-conscious losers of almost all of their songs, but the character of this song is so briefly sketched that he is easily the biggest whiner and least sympathetic in the Belle & Sebastian mythology. I might actually loathe this song.

“Black & White Unite” seems to be the real centerpiece. It’s so breezily ’60s folk that i’m embarrassed that i love it so, but the lyrics have not really made an impression yet. Although this might be more common than i remember, it seems odd that there’s no actual characters in this song, with it more abstract and distanced until 3 minutes in, when an “I” finally appears.

So far i’ve only managed to score a live version of “Big John Shaft” with Murdoch singing, which sound much stronger simply because of my prejudice with the voice. and my imagination of what could be done. It kinda spooks me to find that a live version of “Wandering Alone” already has the whole audience clapping in time to the rhythm. Was the song that widely disseminated?

Once again, i am torn on whether i like the album or not, as it doesn’t live up to expectations, but at least this time they have only put one song on it that actually actively BUGS me, and surprisingly it’s a Murdoch number. Hmmmm….

Fuck it. I’m downloading a shitload of Kim Fowley. Stanislav played him on his show two weeks ago, and i haven’t been able to get that freak out of my head.

Am still on the fence about Eminem dressing up like Osama bin Laden. If it pisses off a lot of people, i’m for it. If it’s a cheapshot that makes a lot of folks go, “Hell yeah, Slim!” i’m against it.

Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 04.22.02

evening

Sorry about slight update tonight. Have spent this evening watching the second episode of Eco-Challenge. Such a sucker for that crap… still downloading music with no intention of listening to it in any forseeable future. I might take to burying the discs out in the courtyard, underneath the banana plants.

Not listening to music tonight, and have little to write about it. Reading Denis Johnson’s Already Dead, finding that the further i plunge into it, the more absorbed i am into these bunch of psychotics, dropouts, and addicts in northern California. While the plot hasn’t quite grabbed me, every so often he throw out a perfect barbed observation that characters should say, but rarely use in fiction, or go into descriptive passages that are purest poetic mysticism.

Off to read.

morning

Write-up of an impressive Prince concert on ILM. Would be more excited about that, but when Lou & i dropped by Coop’s to get a bite to eat on Saturday, whoever was in control of the jukebox was playign the shit out of Prince so loudly that we could barely hear each other talk.

Have cleared out the hardrive of a lot of mp3s that are not immediately essential listening, and in truth, i’ve barely listened to most of them. Free space has gone from less that a GB to 6 GB.

Currently entertained by the summary of the career of the Velvet Underground by Jonathan Richman. It’s a novelty, of course, but i cannot figure out whether to pigeonhole it as a nugget of a history lesson (imagine a version of Schoolhouse Rock that’s actually about rock. commission Jonathan Richman to write a few more tunes then scour out other odd gems referencing rock history. Is anyone handy with Flah animation? i love bad ideas.) the boiled-down essentials of most critical writing about them, or a religious testimonial.

Also found the download that song that was recently featured in Skykicking, Latrelle’s “Dirty Girl (remix)”. Fucking awesome (although it’s hard for me not to like masterfully cannibalized Bowie.) It takes me right back to Saturday mornings, waiting for the first few seconds of Soul Train so that my brother could sate his passion for trains in the usual cartoon that proceeded the show. watchign the Soul Train sail through space. Amped up funk. Read the Skykicking article, and then find the song if the writing perks your interest at all, as it lives up to every expectation raised by the piece.

Disco still doesn’t do a thing for me. Wish that there was time to elaborate on that simple sentiment, as i remembered somethign in shower, but fuck it.

I love the Beta Band. Not many other bands would have soldiered on with an unplanned acoustic show if they lost electricity.

Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 04.21.02

evening

Chris Carter sucks. Tonight’s X-Files episode was totally unnecessary and gratuitous. We know the good guys lose…. in fact, the Lone Gunmen almost ALWAYS lost. that was the whole point of them. They finally won, and he kills them, because he’s a lazy arrogant shit who is more absorbed in the fact that he created the series than in the fact that the (dumb) fans kept it alive, making him a very wealthy man. It was wrong, wrong, wrong. There’s bigger things to be concerned with in the world, but i’m annoyed tonight, and hope Chris Carter retires, as i cannot say enough bad things about him tonight. He could have killed the entire rest of the cast for all i cared. The Lone Gunmen were the true heart of the show.

Sheesh. I’m overreacting. Minutes later, i just don’t care that much.

It’s hard not to play sour grapes, and turn my whole back on the show, calling the bastard a exploitative tourist who never really understood the whole conspiracy world, since he couldn’t even keep his own facile theories straight, let alone put a toe in the Labyrinth, to fuck around with Chapel Perilous.

I don’t have “Starsailor nude” folks. The hits i’m looking for are “Ari Fleischer nude” (raising up in the ranks slowly) and “John Ashcroft Cockfarmer.” I think i can even get a googlewhack out of Ashcroft Cockfarmer right now since the only two pages to appear are both part of this site. It might not qualify as a technicality. It rather bugs me that only 94 hits show for “cockfarmer” as i am latecomer to the use of the word. Raise the awareness!

Yet another Wilco article in NY Times. Not too much added to what is already known, except for details on how some songs were recorded, like a handheld electric fan was used to strum guitar and the keys of a keyboard were taped down in “Poor Places”. Nice aesthetic.

CNN mentions that there were protestors in Washington asking for peace. Counterpunch says that there were 200,000 protestors. Reuters figures vary anywhere from 35,000 to 70,000. More media coverage is given to a handful of religious zealots picketing a racey movie! I had to use search engines to find links to the stories, as opposed to seeing it on the front page.

morning

It’s quite disturbing to be switching to MTV2 to see if they are playing any amusing videos (not unless Nickelback counts, and they definitely do not,) to flip onto a religious station, to see a sweating obese man in camouflage, with the stage heavily sanndbagged like a bunker and draped in even more camo that looks more like a hunting retreat’s decor than a true bunker, to see this sweating obese man then start swinging a huge metal broadsword over his head.

Is it just the eyebrows or does that singer from Dashboard Confessional look like a slightly more macho Morrissey? Am still groggy this morning, and cannot get online to check photos. And that bastard from Nickelback looks like Sammy Hagar. Stop recycling looks, you fuckers. There must be some vats of reject clones that they couldn’t manage to get to accept the templates of the originals, so they gave these defective clones guitars and told them to do heir best, which is pretty damned wretched.

This Stars thing by Moby reminds me of a drained-out version of some unwritten Bowie B-side. Kinda like a rented Bowie impersonator from the Heroes era (does such an animal exist?) forgetting exactly what Ziggy what all about, then doing it anyway, since the money was green enough. I actually kinda like it, i must admit, as it browbeats a mantra that i’m well familiar with and believe. It’s just that Moby comes across as a miserable evangelist to convert people who don’t need converting. At least he wears a spacesuit instead of camo.

Finally saw Clinic’ “Walking with Thee” on MTV2 for myself. I just caught that animated neuron in the brain of the male mannequin and am now obsessed with finding out whether it’s a Peter Fowler Monsterism. Still stuck offline though.

Why is Ludacris living like an Ewok? The Ewoks were the most uncool thing about the original Star Wars trilogy. Singing chickens alway rock though. I always dug Gonzo’s chorus of chickens. Aside from the Hasil Adkins chickens, there’s that damned Beastie Boys “Blue Nun” thing that i still secretly groove on. Bring on the chickens.

Lou & i have sworn an oath to see the Super Furry Animals at the Shim Sham on May 1st. Tomorrow i’m telling work that i must take the next day off, so as to feel obligated to take some action. I might even wear a tourist Welsh flag t-shirt (that i bought for friends as gifts, but since i haven’t seen most of them after almost six months…) to make a total ass of myself. After all, one of the fun moments yesterday was when i did get a hit-and-run positive acknowledgement of my Wilco shirt yesterday, with guy who gave me a thumbs up. Quite adolescent of me, but this is a new experience, damn it.

Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 04.20.02

evening

I forgot how much i hate hipsters. I wore my Wilco shirt today because it was handy, and i like it. On a whim, Lou & i went down to New Orleans. We stopped at Magazine Street to walk around, and before we made it twenty steps away from the truck, some heavily tattooed youngster with a ponytail took a gander at my shirt, sneered, and nodded derisively to his companion to get a load of the guy with the Wilco shirt. For so long, i strived to be Generic Man, with not a sign as to what i may or may not be into displayed on my person. I was sneered at before as Generic Man, but with Wilco as the target i felt wounded. (Yep, i’m an insecure bastard basically.) It’s been so long since i’ve been around hipsters that i forgot how pointlessly cruel they can be. Normally i am derided by folks who cannot understand

It’s likely he was the sort of the guy who is only into Minor Threat, as Fugazi is a sellout. What a miserable fuck.

When in the Quarter, i also remembered how much i hated some gutterpunks too. The adventures of Aaron Cometbus and others are still revered by me, and i’ve had friends who have been gutterpunks, but these panhandling jackasses who piss where they eat and don’t bathe as a symbol of status instead of hardship…. I want to be sympathetic to counterculture of all varieties, but these are the selfish, sometimes parasitic fools that make me understand why reactionary conservatives treat the true homeless the cruel way that they do.

It’s so easy to be against unhygenic, aggressive gutterpunks and sneering hipsters, but unfortunately i’m left with the cliched reactions to them.

Aside from that though, it was a great day out.

morning

So is Layne Staley dead or not? Confession: back in 1990, i really liked “Man in the Box” foolishly enough, as i got a kick out of songs that used Jesus in a slightly unconventional manner. Either i’ve become jaded to the whole blasphemy to the mainstream sctick or there seems a distinct lack of taking the piss of Jesus in the mainstream these days, taking all of the mystic symbolism out to make way for the grim rote Protestant interpretation.

The more time passes, the more i am truly enjoying the Streets as more than novelty. I’m still wondering if there’s really that much of an influence of John Cooper Clarke or Jilted John, but now i’m getting into the beats and the spoken rhythms in addition to the absurd lyrics. Yes, it’s taken a long damned time to appreciate it as actual music, and not something that makes me laugh. I wasn’t expecting Original Pirate Material to become one of my favorite records in the least, as i don’t get into music that owes so heavily to dance culture, but this music is so utterly undanceable. It’s one of the albums that puts me into a character of my misinterpretation of the album, something that i cherish in the right circumstances. My lager drinking last night could have somethign to do with this, but nowdays, i’m such a lightweight now that a single 12 ounce wiped me out.

Stanislav’s playing some new Tom Waits from Blood Money this morning, a song that i haven’t heard before as a full fledged studio song. I also forgot to thank him for playing some Television Personalities last week. I didn’t even get to hear it, as i was rushing out of the lab to my truck, and was stuck trying to arm the alarm, which went terribly wrong, making me miss the rest of the show.

I don’t know whether it’s traditional for the Secretary of Defense to purge defense advisory boards of members of the rival parties, but considering that Rumsfeld is not exactly the wisest of the Bush cabinet (corrupt or not, some of the people in the Cabinet are less deranged than others,) it’s probably not a great idea to have a bunch of people to rubber stamp his bad policies. Also, once again for the umpteenth time, even if Bush was legitimately elected, it was not by popular election, as he clearly lost that. I wish that the United States had more than two strong parties, and was forced to build its government from coalitions, rather than this winner-takes-all bullshit, as the Republican party is screwing things up so badly that there will not be any chance of accurate representation of the American people for years after they are ousted.

Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 04.19.02

evening

I’m drinking beer. It is unlikely this will help tonight’s post.

Great story on the magic of the perfectly skipping CD, to be more than a skipping CD, but an excellent piece of music indistiguishable from intentional design. Maybe.

Especially enjoyed Slatch’s link to the Paul’s Boutique site that identifies the samples, because it answered a question that i’ve been meaning to ask for years… what the hell that noise on some Latin albums, that i first noticed on Os Mutantes, that sounds like a squeegee being run across glass. It’s a “cuica” and apparently it’s actually African.

Electromagnetic crowd control. (yes, it’s an old story.) This cannot be good. Blasting people with electromagnetic radiation to cause pain seems to me, without any evidence, that it would cause longterm nerve damage under field conditions.

morning

Tom brings up a band that i’ve never head of until this morning, the Wildbunch, and if the world doesn’t need a new Sweet, then i’ll be damned. I like the whole New Rock thing, but sometimes the overwhelming levels of puritanism get even too much for me, as more than the fun rough roots, i crave more camp in rock. I cannot believe that the singer of “Danger! High Voltage!” has Jack White of the White Stripes singing. Any further confirmation on this? Everything else i’m reading doesn’t point to this, and the Quicktime video on the Wildbunch site, even has a brief digitally inserted pisstake of a decidedly fake cameo of him. No telling what this means.

And i still think No Rock & Roll Fun deserves some kind of government subsidy for reading and interpreting NME for us. It has to be a public health service, to keep people from the dangers of high blood pressure and dental repair or dangerously high levels of apathy which may lead to catatonia.

Ha. The plan to drill in ANWR was defeated for now. It pisses me off that both of my senators, who pretend to be Democrats but are really petrochemical industry whores, both switched sides to vote for it. Screw you, Breaux and Landrieu, for your eagerness to bring the pollution that makes Louisiana’s Cancer Alley what it is today to more places across the United States.

It’s also been asserted by someone in Chavez’s office that a U.S. military attache was with the plotters of the Venezuelan coup right before it happened. I need more news on it. I already believe it, but i want names, times, and multiple independent sources.