Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 11.21.02

So it’s not fair to compare Blur’s new single “Don’t Bomb When You’re the Bomb” to Oasis’ “Hindu Times” but that’s the only thing that makes it sound all that great. It’s sounds like a bunch of goofy kids who had a line that they thought sounded cool in a fit of profound daftness deciding to run it into the ground with whatever thriftstore electronics happened to be lying about played into a handy PC, realizing that they need a vague melody and settling on something from the dim recesses of their pot-addled minds…. a Christmas carol.

This is bad stuff. Maybe I could have embraced it a couple of years ago but this is filler noodling. This is not the waffling of my feelings about Gorillaz. What happened to the poppiness of Gorillaz? Blur is now Albarn’s “experimental” band? It could only pass for experimental, as long as the word remains in quotes. How experimental is it when (selected haphazardly from my harddrive….) a Fatboy Slim remix of the Beastie Boys sounds hipper? All right, all right…. that’s a cheap shot and deliberately wildly inaccurate…. How about the new Add (N) to (X) album? What the hell is Blur on about? Put Loud Like Nature in your hat and sort that out, Albarn, if you can fit it in there with your over-swollen balding noggin. “Hindu Times” is sounding better and better….

I’m reaching deep down inside myself trying to find some childish enthusiasm, something unjaded…. but i’m not even jaded! This single is a damned stupid joke! How arrogant can this jackass Albarn be to release this as the new Blur single, with those easy references to the single itself being a bomb, while also referencing his critical accolades from Gorillaz and his Mali plunderings, being the bomb? It’s not funny. It’s not clever. Fuckwit.

How on earth have i managed to waste three paragraphs devoted to this sad sophomoric bullshit?

Admittedly… it’s easier to write when something seems particularly shitty.

And i quite possibly could have liked it if it wasn’t Blur. Maybe.

…and because of my work schedule i’ve been catching Conan O’Brien a lot more meaning that Carson Daly is back on my radar. It’s unbelievable that this milquetoast still has a late night show. Everyone has already taken shot at that bland frozen dork, but it’s hard to work any anger at all, aside from the fact that any randomly selected person from the street would make a more compelling host. Just another quick bit of stating the obvious.

I found out why the other manager is doing her best to slander me. I’ve been slow on catching the rumor that the store manager wants to step down. It’s still a nasty bit of business, but her actions at least have a goal, that she wants that position and wants to discredit any possible competition, rather than hating me for no apparent reason.

Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 11.21.02

Lou found an article in People last night saying that Daniel Radcliffe is a fan of the Sex Pistols, the Undertones, the New York Dolls, and the Stranglers. This is not exactly what i’d suspect for Harry Potter to be into. All judgement and speculations are reserved.

Still kinda not up on any new music. Have been listening to Pere Ubu, Captain Beefheart, Wire, and the Buzzcocks. It’s a bit of a rut.

The closest thing to “new” is realizing that Four Tet is not a exactly a generic post-rock band, and that if they (he) is touring with the Super Furry Animals, then it’s worth the download. Trippy and imaginative, but my impatience is not serving me well.

Oh yeah…. that ten songs randomly pulled from adding every mp3 on harddrive to Winamp….

  • Peaches “Lovertits”
  • Jandek “They Told Me I was a Fool”
  • Eminem “Winthout Me”
  • Del Shannon “Needles & Pins”
  • Yeah Yeah Yeah “Maps”
  • Nelly “Girlfriend”
  • Wire “12XU”
  • Theme from League of Gentlemen
  • Flaming Lips “Knives Out”
  • Liars “Every Two Hours with a Ducks Fan”

What does it all mean? Not a damned thing.

Am now trying to make it through Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth, but it’s a little too painful in its dissection of banal loneliness. Or is that lonely banality? The tangents into Jimmy’s imagination are inspired, but it only tweaks the pain of of the whole story.

Cannot make up mind what to go into yet, now that i’ve read all of the off-center comics in the bookstore.

Guess everyone is already clued in that convicted felon Poindexter is now definitely going to be supervising a database compiling all of the data on American citizens that can be gathered, from purchases to travel to reading habits… if they must force us into a police state, then couldn’t they find someone who at least seems to have some kind of integrity and no rap sheet?

Oh, wait, now they have our secret police project going from the Pentagon, leaving Poindexter, and going to the Department of Justice and John Ashcroft. Bible-beating, apocalypse-mongering bigot he might be, but Ashcroft isn’t a felon. Is this really supposed to be good news?

Mucked about with the links yesterday. They stilll need some tinkering. I cannot keep track of all of the sites i try to read via bookmarks, so they must all go on the webpage. Any referrals on your pages from mine are misleading, as most often it’s just me looking for updates. No need to reciprocate. This is just an attempt to be systematic so i can stop losing track of things. Now i gotta work on moving it to the server space i paid for months ago.

Noticed that i’ve been demoted on the NYLPM links, and i deserved the demotion long ago. Unfortunately, i cannot find my old voice, even after a whole pot of coffee or six or seven espresso shots. A new voice is even harder.

 

Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 11.20.02

I’m not going to worry about the ranking of Pitchfork’s 80s albums, but it does irk me that Julian Cope, Captain Beefheart, Magazine (who actually don’t make the cutoff dates on further examination but fuck it…) and the Birthday Party (do three Fall records really need praise without a Birthday Party release in sight? Absolutely not.) are nowhere to be seen on there. Some of the multiple entires of single bands probably need to pared down, and i have severe problems in accepting that Sonic Youth is important as Pitchfork claims they are.

I am a bit embarrassed that i’ve never ever heard of This Heat. I still haven’t heard them. However, i looked them up, and whoever chose to champion them this time around picked the right time, as the effort worked on at least one person.

Anyway, the ILM thread…. (I haven’t had a chance to read them regularly in so long that i don’t know when this looney notion of arbitrarily creating lists by throwing numbers in front of a concise post. ) They’re still a thoughtful bunch, but they are becoming so flippant that i don’t have the time to puzzle out what nugget of insight might be buried in the irony or absurdity.

Not reading any new books just yet. I took far too long with the new Eco, and am struggling reassesss how to utilize my time. Instead, the handful of comics that are at the bookstore have been my stopgap, with my new faves being Boulevard of Broken Dreams by Deitch and Caricature by Clowes.

The Deitch book was more absorbing for me, touching on some bit of weirdness by a foreward that could be total bullshit that i choose to believe completely. I was sick on Monday night, and felt a tinge of what could have passed for an acid flashback, feeling distanced from all of my surroundings and turning into a magnet for dwarfs, high pitched squeaky-voiced people, thousand-yard-stare folks, and buttondown freaks with dadaesque questions. This is the environment that i stumbled through the new Deitch book, and i can readily believe that this weird demonic cartoon cat entity is floating about the ethereal world, an extradimensional hanger-on, a cousin to Mescalito, midwifing dawn of the cartoon age. Some of the images are still haunting me days later, and i’m craving more of his style of drawing and storytelling.

The Clowes book is exceptionally dark, and it amuses me that people are writing that they miss the girls from Ghost World. So what? Clowes is about the creepiness that is everyone, the loathing and hatred of all of makind, our smothering by nauseating self-examination and self-delusion. It’s a devilish funhouse mirror to peer through, and his ability to unnerve is admirable… but i don’t want to experience it all of the time. It’s worthy Clowes endeavor though, and it’s actually bit more hopeful and sentimental than i recall him being before. The Halloween story almost seems sweet, which quite possibly means i’m misinterpreting the hell out of it.

Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 11.16.02

Conning myself into believing that daily updates will ever happen again needs to be stopped soon. Most of the guilt and shame has ebbed away, but some yet remains.

The other night i ran into someone on Soulseek that i don’t even know the name of, who goes by the alias of Jukeboxzero. He urged me to download the new album by Plush called Fed, and it’s been one of the coolest things to run across in months. It feels like it’s splitting the difference between baroquely soulful chamber pop and the jazzy inflections of Lambchop. It’s not a genre that i’m all that familiar with, so i’m not exactly comfortable judging it, as it might be tired cliches that only sound fresh and exciting to a novice like myself, however, the songs are actually sticking in my head days after i last heard them.

Somehow i also missed out on the Mountain Goats’ new album Tallahassee, which jukeboxzero also pressed upon me. Although it’s been long proven that fidelity and production are not everything, it’s kinda nice to hear that some of the sounds my imagination has painted into the empty spaces were not all that fanciful, that the little touches of keyboards and vocal double tracking do indeed cross Darnielle’s mind while he’s writing.

We’re managign to listen to Stanislav’s show for the first tiem in a few weeks. I haven’t figured out what the theme might be this time.

Rainer Maria played Baton Rouge last night, and i resisted popping up to heckle them.

i cannot even pretend i’ve heard or thought about much other music than this.

Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 11.11.02

The Christmas music has begun… on Thursday actually…

Am trying to pull together a comp CD from what Nitsuh wrote for Pitchfork, but it’s damned hard digging up some of these tracks. It’s a rough job for me to learn to appreciate electroclash, as it’s embracing some of the stuff that irked me most about the ’80s, the stuff that caused me to go into a cocoon. The more violent they seem, the more i understand them. I don’t know what my connection between electronics, tension, and violence is. Anything electronic that is meant to soothe only irritates or bores.

Example. The nine minute long track i expected not to make it through, Golden Boy & Miss Kitten “Ripping Kitten” actually works for me. Not because of the vocals droning on about killing….. no, no, no…. it’s about the midtempo driving beat with the nearly random additions of muted sirenlike keys and then the occasional appearance of an incessant knocing that seems counter to the primary beat, throwing a little dissonant percussion into the mix.

One coworker (the folky Sleater-Kinney guy) and I were picking on a coworker (the one i had feared working with because of a previous encounter before we all worked at the same bookstore) for her emo bands. Now i find that Pitchfork reveals that a band that seemed perfectly damned good turns out to be an emo band. Is Hot Hot Heat emo? There seems to be too much humor and sarcasm in it. Earnestness certainly doesn’t seem to be a quality of theirs. Maybe i’m just projecting sarcasm into them….

Read a little bit more of those Kurt Cobain journals, but not that much. Have barely had a chance to pick up a book this weekend. The book seems a little more inteesting, but not because of any inherent genius of Cobain’s. It only grounds him further to the familiar stomping grounds of post-adolescence. He can be embraced as a brother. I have volumes of notebooks filled with easily arguably better material than what’s in Cobain’s journals, but i never had a chance at writing the songs that he did….

These are the kind of writings that make me feel, “Poor bastard,” not out of lost genius, but because he never had a chance to growout of some of his more embarrassing indulgences. Or grow into new ones like Pete Townsend.

I will try to slog through some more of that book, as Kurt seems to have been a decent enough guy, and i am fond of the music, but damn it…. i do enough navalgazing on my own.

Anyway… those touchscreen voting machines. Enough of you have already read the articles that complain about there being no hard copy record of the ballots, no receipts given to the voters to guarantee anything. A few people counter these complaints with people being overly suspicious and being sore losers. Bullshit.

First, pay attention to any damned business, who might have at least two different records of the same information, and commonly more than that. Redundancy is an insurance against fraud or accident. These new touchscreen voting machines do not take that into account. Why is it that my bookstore can pull up the receipts for every single transaction we have done up on a journal that is kept on our server, info that is also kept on the home office, and with most transaction on credit cards, send paper copies to every day? That’s three different copies, and they keep a record of every single book one buys, even ones paid for in cash (although one’s identity is safe unless one uses a discount card.) Why isn’t there any such redundancy of filing information for voting? We want to stay anonymous in our votes, but we need more than a single harddrive with no paper output to record our votes.

Second, we never asked anyone to get those stupid machines. They just showed up with everyone patting themselves on the back about boldly stepping into the future. I actually bet tht in the rural area that i grew up and vote in that many other people who are conservatives are as suspicious of those computers as i am. Most of them don’t even use computers, and feel like they have the devil in them. If they were asked about our old machines versus a computer, and told to make a choice, they’d never accept those damned touchscreen things.

I’m unclear on how much those things cost too. In that rural area, we have no cable, as the cable company just doesn’t want to go there, and there’s plenty of other utilities and services that have not made it up that way yet. However, the spread of these touchscreen voting machines is like wildfire. Thirty minutes away in Hammond they cannot even keep a decent amount of ATMs working, but now in relatively secluded dairy country, it was absolutely necessary to replace perfectly servicable voting machines with the touchscreen system.

And now some of the elections that had too obvious “errors” with those damned machines are being reversed. They will not be so sloppy in their deceit in the future.

Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 11.08.02

I’m still leafing through the Kurt Cobain journals at work. No thoughts have lodged in my head. The good stuff reads like a personal zine, and the awful stuff is dimestore navalgazing headfuck. Obviously, it’s not nearly as compelling as advertised. The photos of every page is definite overkill. It’s not fun to dismiss Cobain and Nirvana, but i have yet to find deeper meaning in this new milestone in the cult of celebrity, and this is the opinion of someone who compulsively reads blogs. I’m not quite giving up on the book yet though.

Am trying to make up my mind on the manufactured guitar pop of OK GO…. whether it’s nice candy or repackaged evil. It felt superficially remarkable that they are on Capitol, just like those Dandy Warhols…. perhaps some A&R guy is trying to sign bands that they know will be hunky-dory for Gap and cell phone ads.

Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 11.07.02

Quick post. KLSU is still getting better, with more old stuff slipped into the mix, even back to the ’60s, even if some of it seems cliched or overplayed, it’s stuff that is no longer as welcome as it once was on classic rock radio (Hendrix and the Who where now on classic rock it’s Styx and Journey.) It felt a little conservative to hear Led Zeppelin after the Cure, but somethign clicked before that i hadn’t heard before….. it was “Dancing Days”…. It doesn’t have that cocksure swagger like many of their other songs. There seems a childish innocence to it. I have no particular prejudice against Led Zeppelin anyway, but for some reason, this song wouldn’t sound out of place on a Big Star album or being covered by an early ’80 punk band. Maybe the Undertones? It sounds more like sweetened power-pop somehow than a blues revamp.

KLSU still needs more songs with less guitars.

Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 11.06.02

So it happened…. i voted in Husser yesterday morning, and it was one of those damned computer touchscreens, replacing those beautifully clunky old machines that clicked, whirre and clunk that have been around since the dawn of my conscious memory in the early ’70s. The moment i saw that damned thing i felt that all was lost anyway. There’s kind of a numbness setting in this morning.

I guess it’s silly to hope that Chafee switches to become a Democrat, instead of just independent, and the same goes for Jeffords…

Last night as the crew left the store, they somehow latched onto the intro of the Zombies “Time of the Season”, having four people singing along with it (not me.) Quite an odd little moment.

No new music for me. I have my PTTL mix CD from Voz that just surfaced again, from beneath a stack of junk mail and bills, but there doesn’t seem an appropriate time to listen to it. The music at work is so bad that i don’t listen to much music at all right now, as silence is that welcome. Last night i turned down the system at the bookstore again, but forgot to turn it up again when we left the store, so my little secret rebellion to save our ears has probably been discovered, and will likely be crushed.

No Calexico this week, despite the free tickets that someone from KLSU wrangled for us to make up for screwing up our tickets for Victoria Williams. There’s still a chance for Wilco tomorrow night, but i have to open the store the next morning, so it seems unlikely as well.

Am refusing the revisit the new Beck album, but Lou taped his appearance on the Conana OBrien show last week. Quite a bit better. Wayne Coyne can get away with singing absolutely bald lyrics like that and get away with it because of his earnestness. Not so with Beck, but having the backing of the Flaming Lips added some air of freshness that Sea Change just does not have for me.

However, two nights later, the Flaming Lips performance on Halloween night blew the Beck performance away. Beck’s stabs at sincerity are shown up by a bunch of guys in animal suits, fronted by a pirate (and Lou pointed out that Wayne used to work in a fast food restaurant that had him dress in similiar gear.) Po-faced sincerity versus childish exuberance…. childish exuberance wins. Life needs to be leavened with absurdity sometimes.

Excuse me. I gotta go reaffirm my musical allegiances.