Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 05.31.02

evening
Aha! KLSU has been playing a song that i rather like, kinda swirling overdriven psychedelia tune with a sort of ’80s production, with the guy singing like… uh… Jim Morrisson. Okay, forget that last part. They have been sayign that it’s a band called Citizen Bird, but it turns out that the band is actually Silverbullit (unfortunate name that reminds me of Bob Seger and cheap beer) and goes by Citizen Bird in the U.S. for legal reasons. Yeah, they are Swedish, but they don’t sound anything like the Hives, the Hellacopters, or Turbonegro, but are not bland, tepid dadrock like poor old Soundtrack of Our Lives.

There was something that bugged me about the Pitchfork review of Weezer’s Maladroit, but it wasn’t until i read the blurb they used for Metacritic that i could put a finger on it: With Maladroit, Weezer has finally given the full punt to the nerd-rock label they sorta invented and always shunned, settling instead for being our generation’s version of Cheap Trick. What the hell is wrong with being the new Cheap Trick? I’d pick the new Cheap Trick every day of the week over Weezer! Comparison to the new Star Wars movies was inspired, but pretending that wanting to be Cheap Trick instead of nerd rock is just silly. I’m fairly certain Cheap Trick had as much of a hand in creating nerd rock as Weezer did. It’s not exactly a new genre if one reads Rick Neilsen’s lyrics. Hell, and he paid lots of homage to the Move. Roy Wood was arguably a nerd rock pioneer. I am not arguing that Maladriot is a great record. I argue that even though Weezer are definitely an okay, sometimes great band, Pinkerton is not the groundbreaking album that many people think that it is, but another link in a chain.

I like that Palm, but i found that writing in a proper paper notebook has helped me compose better, although tonight’s post is not demonstrative of that. It seemed fun during downtime today to write down my musical history yet again, finding things that i either forgot or glossed over in the past. I’ll try to hammer some of it out tomorrow morning, as my eyes are a bit red tonight.

morning

It’s probably a safe bet to say that Norman Cook was in the right in the argument with Damon Albarn, and now understanding what an asshole Albarn is, he seems to be behaving like a spoiled brat, unable to get over difference with anyone who disagrees with him, as he’s even unwilling to speak to Cook, according to Cook. What kind of nerve was touched when it was pointed out that Albarn has been making music that some see as dance music, something Albarn entirely dismisses as shit?
Incidentally, i’ve switched out of the punk trawl on Audiogalaxy and swapped up to the British dancey rock music that i never bothered with before. Yes, i admit it. I never even bothered with the Stone Roses or the Happy Mondays. I could probably bluff my way through identifying a song, because i have a dim memory of the local alternative radio station playing one or two songs each by them in the early ’90s, not that the melodies or rhythms stuck. It wasn’t angry (?) or weird (?? enough for me at the time, either musically or lyrically. Anything that seemed remotely dancey was the territory of the guys who rode around in the cars that go Boom. Now i can clearly hear the difference between the stuff that came out of House and the cars that went Boom, but still cannot explain it. Because of the asinine statements of Alban, i now want to go back in time to embrace this music, at least to the point of familiarity, even if i find that i can never love it.

It amused me to get a message from the White Stripes mailing list that they wanted fans to dance onstage when the band plays on the MTV Movie Awards, but the only folks who could come up accordding to the MTV folks had to look like they are between 18 to 25 years old. The webmaster was quite apologetic. Yeah, it’s well known that the channel vigorously enforces a youthful image, but it’s still funny.

De Stijl has edged out White Blood Cells in my fave White Stripes album incidentally. I had only been listening to it a little while before the recent album came out, so it was pushed away in favor of the newer album that was getting all of the press. Yeah, this one has more of the Led Zeppelinisms (that i used to deny, i think) and more sloppy overdubs, but it doesn’t have the Saviors of Rock labels slapped all over it. I’ll stick with them in their little room before they go to the big room. It’s not quite the same as accusing them of selling out, but hearing music without in being chained down by other’s expectations. Yeah. Right.

It took a long time for me to get around to reading that piece on Ari Fleischer in the New Republic. I’ve already read some commentary that says this is because the media has become toothless, lazy, and flabby, but it seems more likely some papers don’t want to waste the time of better reporters talking to a lying worm like Ari, so throw the more inexperienced and indifferent ones into the pit. I have to concede that he’s brilliant at being a cheating weasel, with a style born of pure sophistry that requires amazing willpower and cleverness, but this is a man that the American people should NOT want in government. We don’t need a snide, unethcial bastard to browbeat people trying to ask legitimate questions. It’s government, not a game. If this administration keeps insisting that they are running everything like a business, avoiding questions in the manner Fleischer does only points to how they believe in deceiving shareholders.

Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 05.30.02

evening

Today i wrote some mopey stuff wondering why Julian Cope is still obsessed with the sludgey power trio, as he’s stayed ahead of the curve of every trend that has popped up through the ’90s, not as a hipster, but as a pioneer eccentric, like Lee Marvin in Paint Your Wagon who is always moving along to the next frontier town, hoping to strike gold, only to find that it gets too crowded. Fuck all that. I deleted it. I never forgot why i love his music so, but the new album of the month at Head Heritage isn’t one of those obscurist gems for vinyl fetishists only, but a populist classic like James Brown’s The Payback.

Ah, the mad talk of shamanism in rock. Music as a tool to state of consciousness. I need to reassess everything i’ve drifted into lately, the perverse studies in sociology and economics of pop music, and get back into weird mysticism. It feels like better fit for my needs in enjoying music.

Anyway, i hope that this doesn’t mean that Cope’s recording a funk album, as while i’m eager for a change from the power trio, his previous forays into funk have been a little… i dunno…

morning

Tom and Fred aren’t kidding about “Lisa’s Got the Hives”. That addictive lock-groove was excised from “Hate to Say I Told You So” and welds Lisa Lopes’ “Block Party” to it, and it does indeed rock. Or pop. Whatever. I had missed spotting this one from Boom Selection. It doesn’t have that same feel of rewriting 1979 as “Stroke of Genie-Us” but feels more contemporary. In some peculiar way, it becomes like a late answer to “Bombs Over Bagdad” for me. I remember the video for “Block Party” was quite colorful and crazy-looking, but shrugged it off, as Lopes could be such a psychotic freak. Only now am i beginning to miss that particular pop star for something other than her obnoxious mouth and willingness to burn down the house.

Sometimes it really does come down to just a guitar…. but it never hurts to have a genuine freak in the house. I have tried downloading a few of Lisa Lopes actual songs, but the ones i grabbed are not nearly as manic, kinda soft, fluffy and optimistically socially conscious. Shit. I wanted a quick fix of sugar and got burned. Even “Block Party” was too slow, even though it’s still catchy, more lazy and summery. Screw that. I have no patience. I need the mainline.

Sorry. Not much to post this morning. Am still obsessed with what may the final days of harvesting from Audiogalaxy, and cannot focus on much music specifically. Much of it is just a bunch of punk that is kinda murky and blurred when totally submerged in vats of the stuff. No, i’m no connoisseur.

Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 05.29.02

Back to the NME reprints (as last night we decided to watch a movie)… the covers of the NMEs stuck in there betray a lot towards the all-punk/ all-the-time coverage. To see Fleetwood Mac still slapped in bold letters on a photo of an old cover is most amusing on a zine crammed with loopy diatribes on credibility, sincerity, and punk aesthetic. How must have those writers felt about sharing pages with the bloated rock that punk was supposedly wiping away?

There’s also a weird fascination I have with Tony Parsons now. He’s the one who caught my eye in trying to rubbish the Buzzcocks, and now i recognize him as an Important Personage. I noticed that the only ones that he seemed to like were Sham 69 and the Damned, or anything that he could immediately spin into something that he can pass off as his brand of intellectualism. He really pisses me off, but he gives me something to react to, to define my own opinions. I am certainly not anti-intellectual, but his ax-job on the Ramones for not being more than the cretins they were was nearly indefensible. There was even a letter reproduced, of a reader convinced that the writers were more interested in the artists justifying their work than the actual creation of it. Intent or no intent, if the work can stand on its own, it shouldn’t be slandered for some worm’s perverse agenda. I am eager to find more stuff by him, just a buzz off my inane self-righteousness.

I downloaded a bunch of Johnny Thunders in my gluttony, feeling more obligated by a feeling of completeness (as i still haven’t grown tired of the New York Dolls.) Weirdly, these songs are turning out to be some of my fave recent downloads. They are not terribly original, but they work a hell of a lot better than many of the new garage bands i’ve been downloading for my own personal Nuggets 2002 compilation that i will never make. I almiost conned myself into some dishonesty in that it’s closer to the “originals” somehow, as he has so many covers of older artists, but the Rolling Stones nearly predate him by a decade. It could also the Tragic Artist angle, or that he just never managed to become as bored with music as the Rolling Stones, with a shorter life and fewer albums.

The first time i ever heard of Johnny Thunders was in a New Orleans zine, with odd conspiracy theoriies of how he died. A friend of friend wrote it, but i had no idea who the New York Dolls were. Since the only other artist i recall being in that zine was GG Allin, someone i was familiar with, as Damien tried to sucker me into seeing him just to mess with my impressionable mind.(This was before Allin died.) I steered away from Johnny Thunders and the New York Dolls because of that tenuous association in my mind. The musical roadmaps in my brain are often scars of false first impressions.

Some of the thicker callers on that morning radio show are certain that the evil liberal media are just trying to make Bush look bad in Europe. A couple of them insisted that they were focusing on just a couple of protestors, while everyone else in Europe was welcoming him with open arms, because they love him so. Okay, i’m exaggerating, but only a little. Some Americans are so desperate to believe in these stooge than they will wave away photos and video as misleading instead of being objective enough to bother to find out the truth for themselves.

Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 05.28.02

evening

First, i must admit that the tangent i went on about doughnuts and the Mafia was drawn from some coffee delusion in which i conjured up a whole imaginary Simpsons episode with Homer and Fat Tony. My whole point fell apart because i sat around letting that run through my head instead of being more coherent. Second, Todd’s desire for his favorite indie bands to go to major labels so that they are embraced by the masses is a noble one, but there’s so many damned bands for me to listen to that if every one of them that i truly believed in became huge, there wouldn’t be enough wealth in the world to go around. I swear that I’m not really a communist, but i like the wealth a lot more evenly distributed. Even if corporations were all warm, fuzzy fountains of goodness, there needs to be something more relevant than what is essentially a lottery system.

I changed my mind about those NME reprints. The articles themselve are fine, but i began feeling the gaping holes of the also-rans that are being edited out of history. Including the mistakes about what became canon is a nice touch, but it’s not enough. I want to read the bloated hyberbole of the folks who fell through the cracks anyway, undeservedly AND deseservedly. It’s the perspectives and the passions that are needed, not just more words to shore up the established legends (although closer to the head of the river is much nicer….)

morning

Actually i read Travis Morrison’s post (which is no longer there on the Dismemberment Plan site) as one of him being quite comfortable with the role that he’s in now. The bullying demands of a corporation, hinting at promises that may never keep and saying that it is only through them can they achieve their goals, is damned offensive. Todd at OHJ confuses me. It’s about corporations having the money, but expecting an artist to hand over free stuff to them, when the “help” was unsolicited… Morisson’s right…the coprorations can pay $16 for a CD, the same that they expect consumers to shell out (while pissing away millions themselves)…. it’s just poor manners on the part of the coporation to barge up to a indie band to stretch a budget for such brash people. Who has the larger budget? The Dismemberment Plan or Sony? Does “professional” mean that one must obsequiously hand over anything and everything to the multiconglomerate that makes a rumbling?

How about doughnuts instead? Travis Morrison is a damned good doughnut baker with a small business. Some guys from the Mafia (a less legal criminal organization) breeze in and demand free doughnuts for themselves, and out of the kindness of their hearts, they might cut Morrison and company in for a piece of the action, even if the doughnuts aren’t good. (It just so happens that Morrison’s doughnuts are damned tasty.) Travis says no. The Mafia makes certain to try to run Dismemberment Plan’s Doughnuts out of business by making sure that they never get a good doughnut distributor and get crowded out for shelf space.

So why is it when an artist says no on principle, he’s more likely to get tarred as arrogant?

A simple, “no,” is not good enough anymore. Hell, the Dismemberment Plan didn’t go nearly far enough.

It’s not even about being an indie band or an artist. It’s about being a human being, and choosing to stand on one’s own feet for the sake of honor. Perhaps it was pissy of Travis to post the letter and make the comments that he should, but corporations are engaged in class warfare, from the janitor to the secretary to technicians to the singer in a band, so there’s no sense in trying to be polite. They will steamroll everyone. It’s worth taking a small stand as a human being not to be pushed around.

Last night we watched “From Hell”. Yeah, it’s based on a graphic novel by Alan Moore and features that wacky Johnny Depp, but I never understood the fascination with Jack the Ripper. Yeah, it’s a string of unsolved gruesome murders, but there’s so many through history that this popularity of this particular rash of them confuses me. If it’s because a member of the elite ruling class was probably involved, that holds no water either, as the elite ruling class is always up to such pranks. If it’s because there seemed to be a ritual nature to them, like shown in this movie, then it’s even more confusing as to why anyone wants to connect it to “the birth of the 20th century,” as ritual murders are as old as religion itself.

Oh yeah… the movie…. i don’t know what to say about that. I’m aware of how many liberties they took with the story. Heather Graham continues to piss me off for some reason. Johnny Depp played it straight, and for some reason i’m convinced that he’s really a comic actor.

Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 05.27.02

evening

The Bayou on Chime Street burned down from what i’m reading. This very much bums me out. It was one of the very first places that i ever went into a bar, aside from Mariner’s Inn in Hammond. The only reference that i can make to it is that would allow anyone to place it in a larger context is that it was used in the film sex, lies, & videotape but it was something else for me. It was a college bar, but it used to seem somewhat dodgy to my youthful eyes. It the late ’80s it was one of the few places i knew that would play “college rock” like they sold at the record shop a block over Paradise Records (which shut down last year.) My friend Mike would even go sell plasma at the blood bank up the street when he used to live nearby. I’d drive all of the way from Hammond to play pool there sometimes, and many of the other Hammond exiles who wandered to Baton Rouge found a home there. It was more of a symbol for me than an actual hangout, so it’s burning has affected me strangely. No, i haven’t bothered to look at what might remain.

Speaking of local stuff, I checked out the tabloid photos of Britney Spears drinking underage and doing the bump with some guys at a local bar, Extra Innings in Hammond. (Yes, we bought groceries today.) While i don’t doubt the events took place and Extra Innings was one of those frat bars i could never stomach going in, i must point out that it’s a sports bar. While dancing may take place, and there’s definite underage drinking (like any college bar,) i would bet hard money that there’s no bars in Hammond, Louisiana that have velvet ropes for people wanting to go in, like the ones in the tabloid. Someone may have seen Britney there, but those photos were probably not taken in Hammond.

I’m in a panic download state. Until we have two incomes again, i cannot afford to keep myself in music, so i’m now downloading things that i don’t even want, and because the RIAA is being so mean, i’m burning it all, instead of listening and deleting. Bastards. I only used to do this in large scale with artists that were long dead, and their royalties probably never go to the families, like those early country blues and ragtime artists.

We went to the (corporate) bookstore today, and i was unable to resist a magazine that had “Uncut presents PUNK” across the top. When Q did it, it took no willpower to resist, as I have learned to hate the letter Q, but Uncut still carries some credibility for my low standards. Little did i know that i was buying the NME reprints! I hadn’t seen these on the shelves before, and i’m not certain that i would have ought them if i knew what they were, as i still plan to subscribe one day to Rock’s Back Pages. Nonetheless, i’m impressed.

It’s odd to see that the writings actually live up to the testimonials i’ve read about them. It’s inspiring to see how many mistakes different writers made (and the one that leaps to mind is one guy trashing the Buzzcocks’s “Orgasm Addict”,) but they are still left in the mix, and not playing much on revising their own history.

The Germans were brilliant in adopting the pretzel as an object of protest. I’ve been meaning to write that for weeks, but it works quite well, right up there with the wooden shoes of the Dutch used to stick in machinery in the origin of the word sabotage.

I found this piece from Bush Watch, who i’m relying upon for accurate translation (and Babelfish confirms it.) The translation: “Washington – It was Condoleezza Rice, White House foreign affairs advisor to Bush, who helped her boss get out of an embarrassing situation. In a discussion between presidents George W. Bush, 55, (USA) and Fernando Henrique Cardoso, 71, (Brazil), Bush had astonished his colleague with the question: ‘Do you have blacks, too?’ While the Brazilian showed surprise over the Bush question, Rice, 47, cleared Bush up: “Mr. President, Brazil has probably more blacks than the USA. Some say it is the country with the most blacks outside of Africa.” Brazil president Cardoso judged afterwards: With reference to Latin America, Bush is ‘still in training.'” Yet more evidence that Dubya is clearly unqualified for the job, not that we didn’t have enough.

It was also amusing to have Dubya tell the Germans that Saddam Hussein must go because he’s a dictator who has gassed his own people, in the name of racial purity. That was a nice little diplomatic faux pas. Don’t worry, Georgie. Even the U.S. dosed its own unknowing citizens with biological weapons.

It has been pointed out that the weapons treaty that Bush signed with Putin actually helps terrorists, because this stupid administration wants to put nukes into storage instead of destroying them. Russia’s oing to be forced to do that to, to keep at a level closer to the U.S., but unfortunately, they do not have the same security for making sure that they stay in storage. Some will get lost in the shuffle, sold by corrupt officials in an unstable economy.

morning

Lou is sure that there is a connection between the shoe bomber and David Blaine. I meant to post that almost a week ago.

Fuck the RIAA. To go after Audiogalaxy is just malicious, as it’s one file-sharing site that actually does try to keep a lot of songs off of their site. Admittedly, i have taken advantage of the free mp3s lately, because money’s tight, but i have still been buying records that i already had copies of through mp3, and last summer, i spent enough money on CDs to earn a hell of a lot of good karma, considering that i delete much of what is downloaded. It enrages me to read what is posted on the RIAA site (which i do not care to link to,) because even the language that they use is misleading and inflammatory.

It’s been a time to watch movies. “Attack of the Clones” we watched Saturday in Hammond. I don’t really care whether it’s a good movie. It was everything it needed to be as a Star Wars film for me. Wooden acting? There was acting in this film? I didn’t notice.

The plot was no suprise. It’s been floating around online for at least three years, and i read one version that was nearly shot-for-shot what was on screen while The Phantom Menace was still in the theaters. As an 8 year old boy, it rocked, and i still want all of the toys (as i was always a sucker for the aliens and robots.)

Commonly acknowledged weak point of film…. Hayden Christensen? He creeped me out as Anakin more than Darth Vader ever did. As a clumsy, sullen teenager with delusions of grandeur, he’s far more unpredictable. He still doesn’t measure up to the over-the-top hysteria of Luke Skywalker in The Empire Strikes Back, when Darth Vader reveals that he’s Luke’s father, i can see the moody twerp becoming a Sith Lord. No, really…

The romance was not so much romantic as sick…. just the way that i would imagine it. Yes, it’s stunted emotionally and is extremely cliched… blah blah blah… Star Wars was made as homage to the Saturday morning serials that Lucas used to watch in cinemas as a kid. It’s a space opera, not avant guarde cinema. It is pulp made to be pulp. Forget anything Joseph Campbell said (although i still believe much of it.) Cliches are archetypes. Was Lucas sublime about it? Naw. However, it’s the greatest of pulp.

“The Others” we watched Saturday night. It’s another one of those “we’re already dead and don’t know it” flicks. Despite how i feel about the movie we watched Sunday night, this movie seemed quite well done to me. It convinced me with the peculiar lighting and stark decor that the house was quite creepy. Nicole Kidman was far better off in this film than she would have been in “Panic Room” (which was quite a disappointment, growing worse as the weeks go by and i realize how little it made an impact with me.) It’s difficult to say anything about it, because i was satisfied, yet don’t want to overpraise it, only to look back and wonder why i was so sloppy.

Sunday night we watched “Vanilla Sky”. It was quite enjoyable to mock Tom Cruise for two hours, and it had a nice little twist, although these twists, like “The Others” are getting to be a little predictable. That aside, when the protagonist is to be an insufferable ass as Tom Cruise, one has to try a lot harder to elicit sympathy for him. Crowe couldn’t do it. It is bad enough in real life when one cannot figure out what Penelope Cruz is doing with a plastic dwarf like Cruise, but in a movie, there’s supposed to be more control of the strange vagaries of the universe. Well, after all, in the reality of the movie, they only met a couple of times, so perhaps i shouldn’t focus on that. Instead, why would anyone give a damn about a spoiled rich kid who breezes through life without a thought as to how his actions affects others? I received the impression that his time spent in the lucid dreaming of cryogenics was somehow supposed to have transformed him, but he was the same person going out as when he came in to my eyes.

Where was the transformation? I have not seen the original film, but i expect that some subtle touches were lost in the translation to the Tom Cruise acting vocabulary. Subtle? Fuck it… the man probably could flatten a mountain range of emotion into a tight palette of self-gratified smirks and self-righteous scowls.

Incidentally, as musical as the movie was, and as much of the music that i liked, much of it was heavy-handed and grating. Of course, the murder/rape scene drowned out by the Monkees “The Porpoise Song” was disturbingly over-the-top enough for me admit that something was going on there, but a lot of the choices seemed more about a single line in the song, or the title, as opposed to the actual meaning of the song. It all left me cold…. it was “Eyes Wide Shut” with a rock and roll soundtrack as far as i was concerned.

This bullshit about the psyche of the American male is making me puke. If Tom Cruise is tapped into the archetype whose shadow that we all fall under, then let the slaughter of the whole gender begin. NOW.

I doubt whether it’s worth listening to the commentary track on the DVD, but i put it on anyway…. (there’s only a couple of hours before these DVS have to go back.) The only thing Crowe’s said that has any resonance for me is creating one’s own iconography. Unfortunaely, mine’s so patchwork and sloppy that it’s dissolving into meaningless chaos. Cameron Crowe tries SO hard though, that his use of these icons is less like epic mythology, and more of the trainspotting of Star Wars. It’s more fun to watch Jango Fett smack his head on the door of the spaceship (spotted it first time without any warning or help!) than imagining the meaning of David Aames’ record collection.

It’s becoming hard to criticize the commentary, because Crowe is such a dork, eager to please and be loved, that the final impact of the film is rendered irrelevant, because i know that he wanted so badly to do well. It’s just painfully indulgent though. Best example: his kid makes an appearance babbling. It’s an overly earnest Kevin Smith without the sarcasm.

One more thing… David Aames is not nearly as disfigured as he thinks he is, and that mask (even if that is a carryover from the original) reminds me of a certain sextoy that a friend of mine used to have nailed to the door of his house.

NASA finally confirms that there’s massive reservoirs of frozen ice beneath the surface of Mars… at least on the Southern Hemisphere.

Jetlagged my foot… Bush was making these nasty comments because he is a thin-skinned snivelling bastard who hides behind his position to keep from answering the tough questions. It’s yet more proof why this man should not be in the Oval Office, representing the American people. Incidentally, i probably would have been grouchier than him, as i don’t deal with jetlag well, but yet again, i am not the president. Why must standards of diplomatic protocol be lowered for this asshole?

Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 05.22.02

evening

My frogponding differ from Darnielle’s. Usually i leave the AMG open while hopping around Audiogalaxy. While sometimes i try to see how tangential “similiar artists” can become, i more consevatively stick to jumping around in genre or style, trying to see if there’s “key artists” that i’ve never heard. I still have this feeling of inadequacy in music knowledge and am constantly trying to learn the fundamentals… even though the truth is that i know enough to get by.

i apologize. i’m fully aware of the reputation of Mojo, despite my obsessive reading it for year. However, i believe that Mojo Collections is a great magazine, more adventurous & eclectic than the zine that spawned it. there’s not much in the way of writing, as it’s mostly flashy images with grab-bag lists, but it tips a bold toe in every genre, scattered throughout the latter half of the 20th century. It doesn’t bother me how much is glossed over, as they make the most obscure band seem iconic. Perhaps it’s because of the brevity that the music isn’t exposed as banal. There’s also great love put into the profiles, obviously less about what Mojo is expected to enshrine by readers who want their heroes enshrined, but writers championing their own less likely fetishes. Kill me.

Two people at work desrve a lot of credit. The other day KLSU played that fab ‘Catstep’ remix with my beloved singing robot, and in a fit of madness, i called them in to hear it. One is the Kid Rock fan and the other is the sappy country fan who has a soft spot for the Monkees. As the radio sputtered and convulsed with alien beats and vile electronic squiggles, they listened carefully, laughed politely, and did not call me crazy. This is one of the few times that i’ve let anyone at the lab in on my music world. i don’t know i chose to let them gave a glimpse of it with such an atypical example.

After reading the Pitchfork review of the new Elf Power, stick with the Splendid one. Apparently the Pitchfork reviewer thinks that Winter Is Coming is the band’s highwater mark. I have tried to be understanding of this record for the past couple of years, but now that Creatures is out, i can say that Winter Is Coming is just a chore to listen to. Despite (because) of the touch of Dave Fridmann, it sounds like it was produced by someone hopped up on Robitussen and rum, with cotton wadded into one ear and a darning needle stuck through the drum of the other. It was all experiment with sound through awkward mixing. Putting the guitars so dominant over the vocals, or panning the rhythm to one side and the guitars to the other is more annoying than thought-provoking for me. Creatures is a return to form, with more of their characteristic melodies.

Back to the Hives…. i nearly wrecked the car on the Atchafalaya Spillway today trying to sing along to “Hate to Say I Told You So”. There’s certain songs that push me into a dangerous hysteria just from trying to reach the proper tone of voice, and in mastering the proper vocal and rasp, my brain just was not getting enough oxygen and i grew faint. It didn’t help that i was trying to pound the kick drum along with my left foot, nearly popping the hood latch. I won’t be listening to that song while driving again.

Alice and Blood Money are out of rotation for the moment. Alice = Melancholy. Blood Money = Despair. They’re messing me up a wee bit too much right now.

I had a strange incident today. Listening to the usual talk show that comes on in the morning Walton & Johnson, I became so irritated with them throwing aroudn the label of “communist” that i begged a coworker to borrow her account and send a poorly composed response. “Communist” came up when they were talking about Aaron Sorkin and Martin Sheen. Sorkin’s an arrogant cokehead, even if he created and writes one of the television shows that i watch most often. As for Martin Sheen., whatever faults he has, he’d be better in the Oval Office than the spoiled brat we have now. I wound up rattling something off about fascists (which i think the U.S. is in far more danger from now,) and making some tenuous connection to Dubya’s grandpappy being a Nazi sympathizer. It threw me for a loop this evening to find that Walton actually responded.

It wasn’t much. He defined his use of the word “communism” and suggested that i probably am one, but it wasn’t necessarly ugly. Hell, i might be a communist compared to most people’s concept of it, even though i think that most people who think that they are capitalists are either liars are misguided, because we sure as hell are not in a free market. Regardless of economic theory, i believe in democracy, which is something i doubt that this adminstration does, and the cognitive dissonace of these DJs rattling off about every civil liberty they can think of while allying themselves with the corporate behemoths and religious zealots of the Republican Right absolutely baffles me.

One of the few Republicans worth a damn, John McCain, is calling for an investigation of 9/11, and who knew what when. I hope that his opening statment, “President Bush is a patriot,” is some perverse irony though. Why? right here…

The White House has admitted that they are using the warnings of terrorists politically. That’s pretty damned bold. I wish that the article named the aide who dared to make that statement, because even though it’s the obvious truth, it’s not much better than my speculation without names.

It’s also been pointed out that the photo of Bush on the plane on the phone being sold for fundraisers is misleading.

morning

Yesterday i also was listening to both Supergrass and the Buzzcocks to make some lame comparision between them (just for me,) as i’ve felt sorry for Supergrass lately, thinking that they’ve very much fallen by the wayside while contemporaries like the Super Furry Animals have run rings around them in quality work in guitar pop. (Goddamned run-on sentence.) However, i mostly just wanted to listen to the Buzzcocks, and anything else that might crank me out of a bad mood. I completely forgot that the Buzzcocks have a song that leaves me feeling hollow every time.

It’s “I Believe”… it captures frustration and disapppointment born of the sin of idealism as perfectly as any song i can think of this morning.

That’s about all there is to say about it for me today. Of course, i believe there’s lots of love to go around in the world, and i even have some of it, but lately the news seems so cynical and calculated, with no concern for truth or hope that i want to asphyxiate myself in bubblewrap.

Because of the OHJ Blog, i went to check out what Travis Morrison wrote of the the Dismemberment Plan website. I think that Evan of OHJ was just in a bad place when he wrote what he wrote, so don’t mind that…. that’s the idealism that i was lookinn for this morning. Yet again, i had to look to music to do it, to tell corporations to fuck off in their absurd demands, that trying to blackmail free items from someone with the promise of nothing simply because a corporate name is behind them is wrong. The Plan is not even made of mainstream music haters…. they are simply human beings with a vision of their own that will not be bullied by the dollar. Yeah, i’m naive, but even more than their music, i admire the forthrightness of the Dismemberment Plan.

And check out their Top Ten Greatest Songs list… it would make quite a comp CD.

Lou’s proven conclusively that the kid in the movie “About a Boy” looks just like Dave Hill from Slade. She gave me the phtos, but i don’t post photos to this page anymore.

Yeah, we went to see that movie on Sunday. I don’t care to write about it, as i don’t feel like writing good things, because i quite enjoyed it. It was a simple comedy, and a Hugh Grant one at that, so it’s probably proper and fashionable to slag it off, but it was actually what i was in the mood for, an implausible redemption story that leaves one all warm and fuzzy if suspension of disbelef is clung to desperately.

It’s all about run-on sentences today.

Lynn Cheney was on the View yesterday when i dropped by the apartment to see Lou yesterday morning. She was blathering on about how children need to learn more about the history of this country instead of pop icons like Eminem. (It seems like it was him she named.) Then the arrogant fool starts reading from a children’s book promoting patriotism, and quoting Thomas Paine, saying that children should know what a great man he was. Thomas Paine?! I wish they knew, but you cannot co-opt him for your condescending, cloying conservative causes. Thomas Paine would be the biggest opponent of the Bush administration (and virtually all of the rest of the government) if he was alive today, as he’d be outraged by their obscene lust for secrecy and power.

So what the hell is this story about the Justice Department finally doing something about the disenfranchised Florida voters of 2000? Don’t they realize that they are essentially admitting that Bush’s people committed fraud? Is this just the effort to sweep it all under the rug while everyone is scared shitless by these spurious terrorist warnings?

Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 05.21.02

It’s all about malaise lately. Part of the lack of updates, i can blame on Geocities being down. Part i can blame with my new infatuation with the game Black & White, and following my habits with video games, that will only last another 20 minutes of me playing it. Part of the problem is more depression about the media’s inability to ignore the smoke Cheney’s blowing up their collective asses with these nonspecific threats, and follow through with the hard questions that were beginning to finally get to the heart of the matter on Thursday… and now we are back to square one, with Bush refusing to take the blame like a man….. probably because it’s a lot more nasty that simple negligence on his part.

Anyway, today was another day to listen to music, as it was an extended car trip…

The Hives. I changed my mind about them. I thought they were okay, but kinda generic. The current single played on KLSU, “Main Offender” is merely okay. However, i know Zane & Stanislav quite enjoy them, and that made me listen again. Tossed Veni, Vidi, Vicious on, and once again, it’s proven that most music sounds better on a good car stereo. The edges were rougher than i thought, and the energy sounds like genuine abandon, not hipster posturing…. which i should have been able to guess with the band being composed mostly of pudgy guys in matching suits. How could they credibly pull off the lazy pseudo-cool of the Strokes? Who would want them to?

Blood Money. I have been exposed to Alice more often, so i keep grabbing Blood Money to listen to. Honestly, the first song on the album, “Misery Is the River of the World” might be one of my least favorite Waits songs, and very nearly turned me off the album. It’s just too damned negative, and knowing what i know about Tom, it just doesn’t ring true. Unless he wrote it during a time in his life worse than when he conjured up Alice, it sounds forced.

Luke Martin has reviews for both Alice and Blood Money on Splendid.

The Waits interview on Fresh Air was… ehh… weird. It was not Tom’s fault. It seemed like Gross was trying to challenge Waits for some reason, and had a lot of odd preconceptions about him, like him being an atheist or that his dad was Mexican. She kept playing tracks from Blood Money, which i think is less representative of Tom’s true character. Despite the creepiness of the subject matter, Alice is a warmer, more sentimental record.

Yeah, i gotta warm up again. I feel a bit off. Today sucks.

Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 05.17.02

evening

Too little, too late for Ashcroft. We need more evidence on why he was flying on charter jets than a simple say-so of the agencies trying to cover their own asses. We need documentation on this unnamed, nonspecific threat against him before it can be accepted. There’s no reason why this statement should be trusted. In fact, making a statement like this without any evidence only makes me more suspicious.

morning

Nothing to report musically this morning. I went back on that old country-blues obsession again, trying to figure out the secret language people are talking when they reference different artists, like weird demigods. Arcane codes that exclude me liek that drive me nuts.

Lou bought speaking with the Angel, and despite all of my slandering of Nick Hornby lately, i had every intention of reading it. I started last night only to find that Hornby’s son is autistic, and suddenly i have pangs of regret for calling him a muscially conservative jackass. If i hadn’t said it, well, i meant to say it… anyway, i think that i can be a little more empathetic to his tastes now, since some taste is governed by the life one must live. It makes more sense that he looks backwards nostalgically now. Why? I dunno…

Let me first explain that despite my outrage with all of this lying, i’m still not sure if the Bush administration could have prevented what happened in September. After all, he’s incredibly incompetent, not up to the job of being president. It would still be cool to see him impeached, as his adminstration seems to have done more ethically questionably things in the past year that all of the Whitewater investigation could unearth.

Salon pointed me back to that weird story from last summer about Bush going to Genoa, but insisting that he stay aboard a carrier, while the Italian authorities placed missle batteries around the area, because they knew of the danger of terrorists suicide bombing with a plane. The Bush administration swearing that the teerorists would “engage in hijacking in the traditional pre-9/11 sense… not for the use of an airplane as a missile” is an outright lie.

This kinda blows a hole in my notion that they never bothered to secure against domestic hijackings, because they wanted a little incident to stir up the American people into a frenzy to send troops to Afghanistan to crush the Taliban so that the oil pipeline could go through. While i think the Bush administration is ruthless and manipulative, willing to put American citizens in danger (like a standard hijacking) to push its selfish agendas, i find it hard to believe that they are so evil as to guarantee so many die just for that pipeline. That’s a little too much to swallow….

To say that no one agency had all of the clues is false as well, because if measures were taken to defend the president against a suicide plan attack in Genoa in July, enough agencies knew to consider it as a legitimate scenario.

Also, remember that back in July (and compare that to how the current stories are saying that they had advanced warning only as recenly as August. Bullshit. Let’s stop pussyfooting around,) that Ashcroft was flying in a private chartered jet because the FBI assessed a threat and “advised” him. So what was that threat? It seems fairly obvious now…. Taking these protective measures for Ashcroft for domestic flights also undermines the lame excuse that they believed that the threat was just overseas.

Then there’s still that unaswered question that who shorted airline stocks in the month before 9/11, and profited immensely from the tragedy. Although it was airline specific, showing whoever was doing this knew which airlines would be hijacked, are we really so sure that it’s al-Qaida?

As for Cheney’s warning to the Democrats, “They need to be very cautious not to seek political advantage by making incendiary suggestions, as were made by some today, that the White House had advance information that would have prevented the tragic attacks of 9/11.” SHUT UP, ASSHOLE. You and Bush already sought to take political advantage of 9/11, trying to push through demented domestic policies because you just happened to be in office for 9/11, managing to spin your bungled handling of the situation into some kind of mandate of your Divine Right. I hope the Democrats bring them down like a bunch of bloodthirsty hyenas, because that’s what this adminstration deserves for their self-righteous arrogance. This beats Clinton and his snotty finger wagging….

Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 05.16.02

Inexplicably got up an hour early, at 4 am, and have little to show for it.

Best bad joke of week: So Solid Crew are currently working on 12 albums between them, but with good behaviour they might be releasing just four to six of them. This is the kind of smartassery i aspire to…

I saw the deoderant commercial featuring Redman and Method Man. I swear, they are being wasted when they shoudl be doing an Osbournes style sitcom.

Damon Albarn “Sunset Coming On” This sounds like a dozen of other songs all strung together, Almost all of them are on the tip of my mind, but the most indicative of them is that the chorus reminds me of a fragment of Sting’s “Fields of Gold”. Yes, it seems Damon truly does want to be the new Sting, even though the other prick hasn’t seen fit to drop dead yet. It’s all falling into place now. I’d still rather kick Kid Rock’s ass for now though…

Someone brought a couple of bands to Baton Rouge last week without telling anyone, the Ex-Models and the Liars. Yep, they are featured in the new Magnet as the “new” post-punk. The Ex-Models remind me of early XTC without the desire to bother with anythinn resembling melody. Let’s reach into the grabbag of adjectives and come out with the words angular and staccato. There’s also direct Talking Heads references with the anti-cover “Girlfriend Is Worse” even though it sticks to a harsher palette than either one of those bands. I cannot figure out what the Liars sound more like early ’90s indie rock without me being able to reference one similiar band credibly, but it’s before all harsher bands who used funky bass riffs decided to emulate Primus. They even have a half-hour jam that reminds me of standing in a barroom assuring myself that i’m having a great time, but weighing each minute to see if my pleasure capacity has been reached and how it’s time to go to bed. It seems that the two together would have been a good live show. damn.

I still am enjoying the Westerberg albums, but it just occurred to me that as soon as the roots rockers get ahold of it, they are going to play it to death, making me cringe like a beaten dog as soon as the first few chords of any of the songs are bashed out.

New blog that’s beginning in a flurry of activity… Hipster Detritus. Lots of links to old reviews he wrote for freelance with commentary on how he’s changed his mind since writing that review, which is always a plus. Absolute pronouncements are for suckers.

Yeah, yeah, the Bush administration had prior warning of the al-Qaida plan to hijack planes. Let’s give the bastards a split-second of the benefit of the doubt that they didn’t take it seriously… now, quick! Remember that Dubya’s folks told the CIA to back off on bin Laden? Or now that the Taliban has been dispersed, there’s an oil pipeline being pushed through Afghanistan? Remember Enron, the Taliban and the carpet of gold? Yep. They let 9/11 happen, although i doubt whether they thought it was going to turn out as horrifically as it did. Can we get the ball rolling to impeach Dubya now?

Although i think selling the photos of Bush looking all pensive on 9/11 is tasteless, it doesn’t seem as like anything any other jerk of a politician of any party wouldn’t do if trying to cash in for his allies. Take another look at those photos, and think about how the little twerp KNEW that something like this was going to happen. It almost makes me want to buy one to frame, to illustrate every day how far in over his head this little twerp is.

Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 05.15.02

It’s another limp, unfinished update. There’s plenty of material to write about lately, but since many webpages that i read are going through some slow times, i feel a bit frustrated. It’s difficult to explain. Without constant reaction, momentum seems lost. Anyway…

…until then, please give a damn about pop and take part in the newly opened Freaky Trigger Pop Focus Group (#6).

For the most part the Mojo Wilco article is just more of the same, but it managed to snare me for a few seconds when staring at the title dBpm, blinking at the letters to see if anything could be deciphered. Yes, apparently a new album has been recorded, but i wouldn’t expect arelease any time soon. In Magnet, Tweedy was also quoted in hoping that Wilco could record an album a month, then pulling songs from each ‘album’ to make a Best of for the year. (In Mojo, he’s more realistic,saying that they will record again in June. No hint asvto when dBpm was actually recorded.) Take a hint, Ryan Adams? Or are they really going to pull a Radiohead stunt just to live up to that silly moniker the American Radiohead, and have a Kid A & Amnesiac?

Glorious Noise has an interview with Jay Bennett. He’s bending over backwards to be diplomatic, and there’s no mention of the Magnet mention of drug abuse, which seems unlikely as Jay’s articulate and outspoken. I’m still hesitant on what i’ve heard of 4 am though.

Tom Waits has written song for Solomon Burke’s album, Don’t Give Up on Me. i’d be more interested, except that reading High Fidelty makes me worry that i’d end up like Nick Hornby.

In a fit of magazine gullability, i downloaded the new Paul Westerberg albums, both Mono and Stereo. It kicks dirts all over Ryan Adams’ Gold, and I’m one of those blasphemers that just don’t get the Replacements. Sloppy, indulgent, slightly predictable… and fairly inspired. It just gives me a warm feeling to hear it.

The rabid hatred of Damon Albarn on ILX suddenly makes a hell of a lot more sense after reading the Uncut interview with him about the Mali music record. He boasts that his silly little melodica that he trotted off with to Mali to plunk about upon while recording more accomplished, less well-known musicians helped get him a Grammy nomination for best rap record, as if this truly adds legitimacy to his toy. He tells a story about meeting Tony Blair, to have Blair ask him for advice, which Albarn freely dispenses. He admits to not knowing how to use Pro-Tools, but he boasts that he knows how to tell people how to use it. Gee, why can’t we all be Damon Albarn? In fact, i think i will, starting to get a hat to cover whatever bald spot i might be growing so i can play at denying my mortality. Bastard.

And up to this point, i’ve bought every Blur album. Now i just want to smack Albarn.

Incidentally, i’ve been feeling weirdly aggressive lately. I was thinking about some odd thing about why i hate some raging egomanics and love others, and wound up thinking of Ziggy Stardust (love) and Kid Rock (hate) for no apparent reason while filling the nitrogen tanks the other day. There was no logic why i picked those two, but i did know that my coworker who was running the gamma spectrometer hates David Bowie. It turns out that she loves Kid Rock, and gleefully announced that he is coming in concert. (I think she’s wrong.) Out of nowhere, i blurted that i could kick his ass and would eagerly do so if given the opportunity.

While i was able to restrain myself from describing what i’d like to do to him, i still felt compelled to convince her that because i could kick Kid Rock’s ass, that his music wasn’t valid. No, i don’t know what’s wrong with me lately. Too much exposure to redneckery? It never affected me before in more saturated environments.

Speaking of shitheads, Courtney is bluffing. There’s not 100 hours worth of material, and there’s no way that Kid A is a reference point. Why must she bullshit about everything?

Politics: Too disgusted to write about it lately. Books: Stalled in all books. Everything else: I feel awkward commenting on lately.