Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 01.28.03

evening

Already reconsidering my position on Dean. He’s a very strong advocate of state’s rights, and is so strongly for it that he winds up supporting the Confederate flag on the flags of various Southern states. For a guy from the Northeast likely to be written off as a damn Yankee, he’s finding a consistent path to win the allegiance of those redneck bastards who ride around their truck with a gunrack full of rifles in the back window and a bumpersticker saying “We will not forget!” with a Confederate battle flag next to it. State’s rights are not something i’m particularly crazy about, as too often it’s a loophole for corporations in evading taxes and regulations.

afternoon

Maybe i’m naive (more than my norm,) but i’m listening to the NPR interview with Howard Dean, and he seems to be my Democratic pick. He does not shy away from saying that the Bush administration is divisive and manipulative, relying on ethnic and regional tensions to keep people at each other’s throats while they push through their repugnant, self-rewarding agendas. He didn’t just say that he disagreed with Bush liek Lieberman yesterday. I could hear the outrage in his voice. Good stuff. He happens to be pro-gun, which most of the time i’m not, but i’m willing to rethink that stance, as i know i’m a reactionary sometimes.

Speaking of being reactionary, Joe Klein did an interview earlier. A caller insisted that the Democratic Party must move to the left, and stop trying to be Republican, but he became irate with that suggestion. Although he had been critical of Lieberman earlier, saying that he lacks the fire that he needs, it became clear that when he kept referring to him as Joe and talking about how laidback Joe is., that Klein is entirely too comfortable with the jackasses who are the DLC. Now that i recall Klein kept insisting that Dean had ideas to bring to the platform, but he’s an outsider and an unknown who doesn’t really have a chance. Aha. If the DLC doesn’t give Dean their stamp of approval, then that’s a major plus.

Klein was also saying the left is reactionary and pessimistic. No, i’m reactionary and pessimistic of course, but those labels are as meaningless these days as “partisan”. What’s optimistic? Givign the rich a lot of tax cuts and hope that they might do something with that money that might stimulate the economy out of looming depression? That’s the kind of optimism that convinces one to sped a whole paycheck on lottery tickets. Moderated pessimism with so many charlatans and crooks around is probably a good thing.

“Moby Octopad”. I haven’t hear this Yo La Tengo song in ages, as i owned it only on vinyl, and every time i’ve downloaded it, it disappears. It’s still a song that has a major groove for me, but those piano breaks are nowhere near as snazzy as they first seemed to me. It still has that classic bass line, but as strung out and sleepy as i feel right now, it’s not luring me into a spacey haze… which is what those piano breaks broke, through shards of brittle ice at me from out of nowhere.

Despite that little burst of disappointment, I Hear the Heart Beating as One is a fave of mine while i don’t give a damn for And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out. No, i don’t know why. There are no special memories or insights connected to either album for me. Both are strangely neutral, never getting any kind of anchor in my emotional universe. I need to find that other album to figure this out…….

Whoops. “Green Arrow”. One of the thing i hate about the city is that i miss the crickets. Although i never had a bunch of baseball loving record collectors serenading me while i lay out on the lawn listening to crickets, this one is evoking a lot of memories, although perhaps it might as well be field recording or some New Age mediatation track, from what i’m getting out of it. Enough of that…. i could feel a creative visualization coming on, and as good as it was feeling, finding one’s center and creating a personal inventory doesn’t seem to be appealing when i need to get back to studying.

Acquired another Microphones album. I must have bruised my brain. This was one of the bands i truly hated, and now it’s becoming my favorite band of the past couple of weeks. Sometimes i think this all stems from self-loathing, as the music that i hated a year ago was hated by my old self, and since i might hate my old self (yet to be proven!) this Me of Now plays at being contrarian and pisses in the face of Me of the Past, trying to subvert every prejudice.

morning

Just cannot get enough of that Justin Timberlake. I noticed yesterday that on the cover of Vibe (i think) that he is wearing a t-shirt for MC5, with a White Panther emblem on it! Yeah, yeah, i know about Shania and her torn Ramones t-shirt, but somehow this is more logical. If he’d only grow his ‘fro back out like Rob Tyner’s, then it would be. Then again, a couple of the guys in the Turtles had those too. Unite the power of urban soul, righteous Detroit motherfuckers, and subversive sunshine pop!

Hail Satan!

I’m supposed to be getting groceries, then studying. Whoops.

Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 01.27.03

afternoon

Cannot remember whether i mentioned that the “Here & Now” show theme that our NPR affiliate picked up sounds just like Julian Cope’s “Soldier Blue” off Peggy Suicide. It baffles me every time. It’s possibly this is the third time i’ve had to mention it.

There’s supposd to be a series of interviews this week on the frontrunner Democratic nominees, and today i’m having the bad luck of listening to that limp pseudo-moderate Lieberman. He has no fire and still makes stabs at that fiction called bipartisanship.

Now have the Raveonettes, splitting the difference between the White Stripes and the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. Because of the drone (which seems to be my mood today,) they win out over deletion.

Back to the Black Keys… the cover of the Beatles’ “She Said” might be my favorite thing by them yet. It reminds me more of the ’60s R&B bands trying to cover their Merseybeat contemporaries, and it almost sounds like a live take. Not great, but it evoked a false memory for me. On the other hand, it reminds me of that GE commercial in which i finally figured out that Gomez were really reheated Joe Cocker (a bad thing indeed.)

It’s too bad that more people now feel the need to record whole albums rather than singles. Both of these bands would benefit from that limit. Then again, i’m listening to entirely too many records, crippling my own musical enjoyment.

morning

Might as well commit the inevitably, but after scrambling to download Pig Lib, i’m completely ambivalent about it. Admittedly the only thing i really dug about the debut album was that silly pirate song. “The Hook”, so not caring for the followup is no surprise. I already wrote that it sounds like ’70s rock, right? Then i’ve already written too much.

Also have listened to the Black Keys, namechecked in both the lists of Mojo and Magnet. It would be cool to have on a jukebox while i was playing pool, something i might do about twice a year, and i might prefer to hear something else. It’s the kind of thing that i might hear thumping through someone’s wall, to think that they are having a hellaciously good time there, only to walk around the wall to see that they are sitting there bored in a sea of empty beer bottles, staring at that same wall.

I’m over thirty, and i’ve heard almost all of these bands mentioned in this Village Voice piece. Although i’m no fan of any of these bands, i don’t believe that the writer understands that these bands all have different target audiences. He lumps them all together simply because he hates them.

It’s rare that i have the money to buy any of the Hyped to Death series, but once again, i woke up to remember that i desperately want these. The first Teenline comp is now playing, and while i have yet to learn how to tell one band apart from the next, it’s near perfect…. except for the Sgt. Arms song that makes me think of the rolling credits of shit teen movies set in early ’80s SoCal, which not a good or nostalgic thing. Yes, i’m incredibly predictable in my taste for post-Big Star Anglophiles.

And predictably, i really do like the Brendan Benson album Lapalco. I know the guy is supposed to be in Berkeley, but with references to Metairie, Lapalco, and Mississippi, i am wondering what his connection to New Orleans might be, aside from a casually distanced allegiance to Alex Chilton? It fits well into the flwo of the morning after the Teenline comp……….

but i’m bored with pop made by guitars this morning. No, using the Justin Timberlake i downloaded in the giddy aftermath of the photo op with the Flaming Lips is not going to work.

Spacemen 3? Am i trying to hard to be obtuse? I’m trying to study for the civil service exam, to escape the bookstore, and the stomp and drone repetition seems to go well with picking between A, B, C, & D. It’s Taking Drugs to Make Music to Make Drugs to Make Music….. it’s as if we’ve agreed to let each other alone while still mildly conscious of each other’s presence, a self-absorbed dissonant kind of Muzak. I can live with it.

This site has probably already made the rounds in links, but i just discovered Being Charlie Kaufman. The best thing about it for me today as it settled a nagging question i had about one of the bits in Adaptation when Charlie told Donald to make the detective also the killer he’s searching for in the screenplay Donald’s writing. It sounded like a reference to Philip K. Dick’s A Scanner Darkly to me, even though Charlie dismissed it as an idiotic, unfilmable idea. It turns out that in real life Kaufmna was indeed working on a screenplay for A Scanner Darkly, although he has dropped out of the project and the new screenwriter has discarded Kaufman’s work.

Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 01.24.03

The photo of Justin Timberlake and the Flaming Lips together warms me. Sometimes my old prejudices against pop stem from how the mainstream is a turgid inbred pool, only acknowledging their fellow travellers in the same predictable pool. The Flaming Lips are far from an underground indie band, but they are outside of my expectations of who Justin Timberlake might want to see in concert. The more omniverous and aware pop is, the more comfortable i am listening to it. Hell, if Justin Timberlake started espousing the virtues of the Super Furry Animals, i could embrace him as a brother.

Work last night was silly. Since my sideways promotion that managed not to net me any kind of raise, my work ethic has been severely impaired. A few of us gathered together to pore over a book arrogantly calling itself the Great Rock Discography, trying to reach a consensus on every entry we ran across. We had very, very few agreements, and not one of us has shit tastes. All it really did is convince me that i must burn that many more CDs to make certain that others do not live another day without having a chance to hear that music…

Damien emailed me last night though, and now i’m wrestling with stuff that i’m finding hard to find or even harder to listen to. Josef K, much read about, but never heard is proving to be a new Holy Grail. Ludus is another, one i’ve never heard before, but Damien thought it was along the lines of the Buzzcocks and Magazine. Instead, it’s an artier kind of post-punk band, easy to respect but harder to love.

It’s the second week in a row that i’ve had the displeasure to run into the Girls on Top show on KLSU. While the DJs might be quite nice people, their notion that they shall champion women in rock by playing Sarah McLaughlin, K’s Choice, and Ani DiFranco week after week after week is incredibly misguided. I’m not exactly crazy about Ludus yet, but that’s just a random band thrown in my face today that shows a lot more than a tiny spark of feminine creativity. Why must so many people accept that shit as actually representative of female imagination?

One of my friends at work is obsessed with anything from the Pacific Northwest, or more accurately, aligned with K Records. I now have the Microphones Mt. Eerie, and am giving it a chance. Although i’ve already reached about ten different spots where i want to cry out Bullshit! yank the disc from the player and hurl it across the room, it’s really set quite a mood. I was stuck in a writer’s block all day, until this was on. Perhaps it let me accept that any old crap can be committed to permanent record, be it music or writing, but it’s actually affected my mood as well, as i was feeling disconnected and lonely again.

It’s managed to fill the space of this apartment without infecting it with a melody that i don’t need, instead coaxing stuff out of my head that i didn’t even know was there, leeching off all of the negative emotions……. well at least until the middle of the actual song “Mt. Eerie” which is turning into a quietly explosive catharsis of silliness, but distracting as hell.

Bush. Can you believe that the bastard is having one of his anonymous lackeys saying shit like this? “The President considers this nation to be at war, and, as such, considers any opposition to his policies to be no less than an act of treason.” As some sites are trying to point out, Dubya’s grandaddy Prescott was a Nazi collaborator. Dubya’s daddy was also the man selling weapons to Saddam all through the ’80s when they decided that Iran was the enemy, and Cheney was making oil deals with Saddam via Halliburton only a couple of years ago. AND…. George W. Bush went AWOL from the Air National Guard (a position he was barely qualified for uin the first place, and did not deserve to have.)

So because i think that war on Iraq is a terrible idea, and these shitty tax cuts for the rich are class warfare against the working classes, and just about everything he does he based on morally bankrupt reasoning suddenly i am a traitor? No.

You, sir, Mr. George W. Bush, are traitor. You are a fucking scumbag that should be impeached right now, removed from office, and put on trial. Most of the people reading this probably already know my reasons for believing these to be logical and justified actions.

Even if Bush was legally elected to occupy the Oval Office, he doesn’t have the right to throw around the word treason like he’s (ahem, Karl Rove really) been having his proxies do. Even with a real president, if a portion of American people disagree with him, it is their right and duty to oppose him at every turn through the options offered in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. That is what was American democracy. A president occupies the executive office. He does not become the actual embodiment of the government and rule by divine right. Please let the mainstream media catch this statement, and figure out what kind of mind would utter such bullshit as opposing the Bush administration is treason.

Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 01.21.03

afternoon

what a surprise. i still don’t have my class, and i’m even more lonely and bored than i was a couple of hours ago.

Tried listening to the Roots Phrenology, but as good as it is, it was jarring after all of other stuff i’d been playing earlier. I then tried to Koobas, but old pop-psych is no less jarring than hip-hop. So i settled on Sigur Ros. I know less about the band than the average person. I seized upon them earlier, liked them, but quickly discarded them because i wanted songs, damn it, not soundscapes. Damien has been on a year long fixation with though, and i made him a copy of the new album (). It seemed time to give another chance, especially after i found something special in Mum. Uh…. no. Mum’s for me, but Sigur Ros is not. It sounds pretty, and it would probably be greater if i was bombed out of my mind, nearly paralytic on hard liquor, sleeping pills, or a hallucinogenic.

There’s nothing wrong with the music that i can point to. It’s actually swirling psychedlia at points, something i almost always embrace, but it sometimes feels far too grand for me. It’s the same problem i had in finding something i could cling to in OK Computer. It’s not that the music is too good for me, but it sails right over my head. This is made even worse by the fact that two of my best friends love this stuff. No, they do not force me to listen to it. I’m just missing a few thousand words in the vocabulary of our shared musical language now.

One confession though: the words Wizard’s Hat keeps popping into my head, probably adding to the distance i feel.

morning

A roundup of two weeks worth in mindless aquisition and mistakes.

Stanislav gave me a still-in-the-shrinkwrap copy of Cheap Wine, the other project of the main main of the Electric 6, and loaned me copies of Greil Marcus’ Mystery Train, Barney Hoskins’ Glam, and Michael Hicks’ Sixties Rock. Haven’t made progress in any of it yet, as i have barely read anything at all.

Zane gave me copies of the first two Caravan albums, the Koobas, and July the Friday before last. No chance to listen to any of those yet either.

However, skipped Damien Youth & the Cosmic Cult at Augustine’s that Friday. That was a mistake, as they have been doing exactly what i wanted them to do, speeding up the songs. They even did a cover of Pete Shelley’s “Homosapien”.

Stanislav’s substitute DJ was playing Loverboy “Everybody’s Working for the Weekend” on the Little Lighthouse the other day, and it had me thoroughly baffled. I didn’t know it was a sub until much later, so i sat there rolling my eyes and trying to figure out what he was getting at, as this is a highly uncharacteristic choice. It weirded me out that i could so easily trick myself into believing that it was Rik Ocasek produced Guided by Voices song

Hung out with Damien last Monday. Finally have a copy of Onanisms. Haven’t given it a thorough listening yet, but it is NOT filled with new songs… more like soundscapes and spoken word. It does have one of the few recorded performances of “Remember Me” with possibily definitive Please Don’t Kill Me Jesus freakout. Starr has yet to turn three and is already singing “I’ll Be Your Mirror”.

Ploughed through some more chapters of Thompson’s Kingdom of Fear. It improved, jumping into nearly contemporary events, but then the fucker goes off to rant about motorcycles. I haven’t picked it up again.

Finally had access to the comic book The Invisibles, although it’s disappointing to learn i read the last installation first, exactly what i was trying to avoid. A lot of people with good taste love this thing, and i think i do too, but i cannot stop thinking that it’s Hellblazer crossed with Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea’s Illuminatus! I don’t want to play at being some jaded fucker saying that i already been there and done that when i know that series changed a lot of people’s lives. Besides, i want to nurse the counterculture anarchist motherfucker inside me right now, as working in retail is killing a little bit of that self.

Soulseek is working. We haven’t figuired out quite what was going on, but it wound up being a trick with Louise pointing out that if we unplug the cable modem and wait a few seconds, it can start right back up like a charm. With the year end lists of Mojo and Uncut, i’m trawling all of the stuff that slipped through my fimngers before, only to find that 2002 is just as good as any other year, maybe better. Living in Cardiff to check out the new singles released every week and finally embracing pop music in 2001 made it seem like there was so much more great music, but in 2002, i had already adapted to the massive volume of music that i could never get the time to explore. I’m just numb.

Anyway, Louise has started a new job in the office of French department at LSU, and that leaves us with totally incongruent schedules. I’m sitting here by myself for the first time in a year unable to know what to do with myself and more than a little bit lonely. That’s what drove this blog in 2001, loneliness and boredom. That might fuel it again until i know what to do with myself properly.

While trying to register that damned Technical Writing correspondence course at SLU, i’ve already listened to the Coral, Múm, and Four Tet. I’m burning CDs like there’s no tomorrow, to be able to hear Iron & Wine, Silver Jews, Bonnie Prince Billy, Brendan Benson, Mudhoney, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, the Hellacopters, and a slew of other stuff. (No progress on making the pop single comps that i intend to make. )Opinions? It all sounds really fucking good. At this point, i feel like a matchmaking hub, passing out CDs to the person i know who might most appreciate it, still paying off that karmic debt for the generosity of dozens of other people who have helped me musically through the years.

Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 01.09.03

Soulseek isn’t working for me. Depressing. I have massive amount of singles missed from last year i need to hear, as well as the upcoming unreleased albums

Have made a massive dent in the new Hunter S. Thompson book, Kingdom of Fear. It’s hasn’t been terribly rewarding. The guy’s writing from an exceptionally distant, numbly disconnected self-imposed exile. He dismisses Bush as a stupid pawn, but seems baffled as to how the nation got there. He keeps grabbing at those same threads, and doesn’t seem to be able to weave cloth out of it. One can feel the man begging Nixon to come back from the grave. I don’t know if i’ll be making it all of the way through this one.

Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 01.08.03

Uh…. i’m a little weirded out this morning. The realization of Hey! It’s January! New releases! hit me and the scrabble for the new stuff began. Reading XRRF, i ran across a strange of mention of a video for Nick Cave that has his purists upset with him, for deliberately making it look more like a mainstream MTV video, probably as a pisstake.

Maybe not a pisstake. I have one song from Nocturama so far, “Dead Man in My Bed”, and until Nick’s voice popped in, i was absolutely sure i had a mislabelled track. It’s a RAWK song… not quite like Murder Ballads, as it’s lurching forward so quickly that it doesn’t seem to take the time to turn its head and wink at you. It might be a fun song in a live show, but it sounds wildly inappropriate, a much younger man’s song, from an altogether different man than recorded what he has. The closest comparison is the uptempo numbers from Let Love In, but without the same wildness. This song seems to know right where it’s going. Maybe he was just bored with being brooding and introspective.

Aha. Now i have “Bring It On”. With the video that is described on XRRF, this is a lot more amusing. It’s still not one of his most stellar efforts, but more along the lines of expectations. Either way, i’m not sure if either is a good thing, but i depend on a regular fix of Nick.

Fighting Against Making the Pie Higher 01.07.03

Still nothing going on musically. Even the stuff i downloaded for Christmas presents for friends never got burned. However, i now have two days per week off again, and the shifts are shorter. Combined with the challenge that some of my friends at work have resolved to be published this year, at least i feel like writing again.

Wait, there is something weird going on musically. A syndicated news magazine has just made its appearance on the local NPR affiliate, filling a midday slot. (Yeah, i swore off NPR this November, as it’s gradually moving more to the right wing, and hearing George Bush’s name without any negative connotation to it makes my blood pressure go up. The show’s content is still a mystery, but i swear that it’s a clip from Julian Cope’s “Soldier Blue” off Peggy Suicide.

Also, i’m a little embarrassed that the new Volkswagen commercial, that underlines the drudgery of the office workplace, makes use of ELO to the point that ELO seems near perfect. I have nothing against ELO, but didn’t even recognuize the song as the original. Lou had to point it out to me, before i went through a fruitless searching of the band covering the song. All it took was some snappy camera work and video editing, and i was suckered. I hate how visually oriented i can be, but it is nice to have it adjust my hearing every so often.

I’m still making up my mind on Loose Fur. There’s no doubt that i like it, but the degree to which is evading me. One minute i am embracing it as a perfect collaboration between two artist that i have a lot of “respect” for… but minutes later, i’m pissed off at the word “respect” because i don’t havve time right now to listen to music that i respect. I need more music i love. Loose Fur is often just gliding along whether i’m there or not. The emotional distance is staggering. It’s an aural sculpture best suited for a coffee table right now. At the moment i feel far more challenged by the Roots, and i have barely give that Phrenology a fair listening.

I did manage to get in one miore bit of idiocy though. I keep thinking about the in-the-red drums of “Race for the Prize” and was surprised that this carried over into Phrenology… until i realized that it wasn’t the Roots’ choice but mine. I never can manage to get the equalizer levels to a decent level. i’d make the world’s worst soundman.

Lou gave me Gabe Hudson’s Dear Mr. President for Christmas. I had to get a book that Dubya’s people dubbed unpatriotic. It was a quick read, zipped through in a couple of days. Absurdist unrealistic war comedy, and timed just perfect for this new round of bullying Iraq.

With a gift certificate, i picked up a George Saunders book that i gave away awhile back CivilWarLand in Bad Decline, and yesterday i found a dirt cheap copy of his The Very Persistent Gapper of Frip. Saunders is the real reason why i begged for a copy of the Gabe Hudson book, as he wrote a blurb on the dustjacket. It confuses met that Pastoralia and the Very Persistent Gappers of Frip are lumped in the bargain books with books that make no pretense about being pulp. As soon as i get a decent paycheck, i’m buying the rest of the copies of Pastoralia, and give them away.

After a whole year, we have finally settled into this apartment. We’ve been treating this place like a motel room until we put the Christmas tree up (which we only took down today. In a few weeks, it should be in soaking in some marsh trying to stave off erosion.) On New Year’s Day, we pulled down the clothes from the shelves in the closet, pulled out Lou’s boxed books, and shelved those instead. I pulled a chair into the closet and hung out with them for awhile, arranging them imaginary genres, a lot like my CDs are normally kept (which they are not now. Most are still in Husser, and the ones here are in pure chaos.)

We also dropped by Cottonwood Books to see what used books that we could dredge up, and Lou found a Jim Dodge book that i never could manage to get in when in Mandeville, Not Fade Away. I really thought that it might be out-of-print