A Word About Our Recent Silence…

No doubt many of you have noticed a sharp (and for the past week or so, total) dropoff in posts here at the OQ. This is certainly uncharacteristic of us, and is in a way a source of some embarrassment. I offer, therefore, in a spirit of humility, an explanation and an apology.

A very close member of my family had a heart attack on Christmas Eve, and much of my time has been spent travelling between Baton Rouge and Jackson. The good news is that the worst is over and that a full recovery is expected. So much for me.

Badger, the lifeblood of this blog, is himself going through a period of transition. A move, a job change, and a host of personal matters have tied up a large chunk of his time. I’m sure he’ll comment profusely on these issues as time and inclination allows.

Suffice it to say that we plan on coming back with a bang, as it were, for the New Year. There is much to discuss and much to learn. Thank you for your patience.

a rough draft of that album ballot

As of noon today, these are the only albums that i know will make my list, occupying the Top 2 slots:
The Clientele Strange Geometry
Animal Collective Feels

These three will make the Top 10, but i don’t know where they will turn up:
LCD Soundsystem LCD Soundsystem
Deerhoof Runners Four
Bonnie “Prince” Billy/Matthew Sweeney Superwolf

These probably will make the cut, but i gotta chew on them some more:
Konono No. 1 Congotronics
The Mountain Goats The Sunset Tree
MIA Arular

All of these are longshots, especially when something i forgot pops into my head:
Old Time Relijun 2012
The Howling Hex All Night Fox
Eluvium Talk Amongst the Trees

Stuff that i like, but are disqualified for various reasons too idiosyncratic to explain with the time i have left before work. I hope that ihave the motivation to explain tonight. They will not appear on the list:
Damien Youth Phantoms of Fables (This one is obvious. I’m friends with him, and i voted for “Red Ghost Mother” as a Top Ten Single last year, as i hadn’t heard the whole album yet. It’s 2004 for me.)
Super Furry Animals Love Kraft
Spoon Gimme Fiction
Stephen Malkmus Face the Truth
Okkervil River Black Sheep Boy
The White Stripes Get Behind Me Satan

Notice that i have absolutely no hip hop this year. I’m not happy with myself for that.

I know that there’s some obvious stuff slipping through the cracks, 2005 albums i’ve listened to dozens of times this year in pure bliss, but with my addled brain, have forgotten in the past couple of months.

The singles ballot is going to be tougher…

Cheney’s iPod

I’ll get back to condemning the evil of the Bush administration in a minute, as every one of those bastards are the worst sort of traitors, in to the ideals of democracy, if immediately obvious by the laws of the United States (time is on my side,) but has anyone seriously considered that Cheney might not be listening to music at all?

It very well is the sort of fluffy press release trying to humanize the most detestable man in the Bush administration, connecting him with a popular Christmas gift, and giving him a little more human dimension, but i get the feeling that Cheney might be listening to something else on his iPod, recordings of verbal briefings and such. How else is he going to keep up with all of the domestic spying unless he has his own special podcast devoted to them? Maybe he has playlists of special phone conversations of his politicial enemies. I dunno…

2005 in review: music & books

For the past few weeks, i’ve been struggling with my own private hell, a completely unnecessary construct of my own creation. It’s certainly been a major stumbling block for the blog, which came immediately after the biggest month of traffic i’ve experienced in six years of blogging. Ehhh… no big deal really… It’s been a weird fall and winter.

I’m still struggling with my Pazz & Jop ballot. The albums will be easy, but i know that once those are submitted, an obvious omission will slap me in the face. The singles will be harder, as i have drifted so far away from pop in 2005, that it’s rough trying to guess what has been on the radio. I know that it’s supposed to be my personal picks, but i actually believe in pop music in theory, and get irritated with the notion that i might resort to picking all album tracks of bands with guitars with mumbling men singing. The only way that i’m going to catch up is by cribbing notes from ILM or better yet, Hilary’s list (only five of which i can recall hearing, even if i loved all of that pathetically low number.) I dunno if that’s what i want to do though.

I’m going for a long damned walk after this post, and slapping together a rough draft for my 2005 favorite album list.

As for books, i don’t even recall what i’ve read at this point. The blog was supposed to be my journal for that, but i omitted dozens of books, because they were too trifling or i felt inadequate to react.

Before 2005, i only owned Orhan Pamuk’s Snow, which sat on the shelf unread, gathering dust. It’s still on the shelf unread. However, i’ve now read My Name Is Red, The Black Book, The White Castle, and Istanbul, and he’s without a doubt one of my favorite writers, not just of this year, but all years. As the rumblings of his trial loomed closer, the outrage grew from my support of the man on principle to something far greater, as i genuinely love this writer. I’m stunned how deeply his observations on perception and identity resonate, even though i still have no clue why these reach me when he weaves them so closely with the Turkish national character, and the struggle between the East and the West.

The other big discovery for me has been Kelly Link. (I posted about her here and here.) I read first Magic for Beginners, then Stranger Things Happen, then bought the Trampoline anthology (still unread) and Angelica Gorodischer’s Kalpa Imperial, both from Small Beer Press. Please don’t let her get pigeonholed into some genre ghetto or get bogged down in some other American literary scene. It may seem absurdly grandiose for me to see this, but i can see her one day reaching the world stage. No, i don’t have the courage to back up such a claim this morning.

Odd. I just noticed that most of the books that i affected me most were read in the second half of the year, and most of those have been library books.

Sounds of the KaliYuga

TOP RECORDS OF THE YEAR

Feathers (Family) – Self Titled

naive and beautiful. cult of fossils and stars. their music is remarkable, their choruses golden wheat. children who sweat and talk to spirits.

CocoRosie – Noah’s Ark

this has been trashed by the media. people always want to burn witches. they’re adorable. especially when they get carried away.

Damien Youth – Phantoms of Fables

older and wiser, with marijuana in his room.

Birch Book – Vol. 1

b’eirth’s pop record. a stoned groove. a more serious, less silly, donovan. he has an awesome voice.

Animal Collective – Feels

a humid collection of songs. really kind of kinky in a psychedelic, love the one you’re with, rock sort of way.

Nick Castro – Further from Grace

a sailboat on a sea of convoluted folk.

Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti – Worn Copy

it’s a mess. he’s eaten all the flies on the sherbert, and now he wants to order a pizza.

Devendra Banhart – Cripple Crow

all the silliness of donovan. the fonz is wearing paisley. fireflies in a tequila bottle.

Wolf Parade – Apologies to the Queen Mary

really catchy. eno and bowie inspired indie rock done right.

Aesop Rock – Fast Cars, Danger, Fire and Knives

the first pressing came with a lyric book. these tracks are icing on the cake. it’s hard not to like aesop rock, because he does so much right. what the left should be. no professors in the building.

REISSUES AND DISCOVERIES

Chrysalis – Definition

Ramases – Space Hymns

Tall Dwarfs – Weeville and Forksongs

Bill Fay – Time of the Last Persecution

Tower Recordings – Folkscene

Nick Castro – A Spy in the House of God

Feathers (family) cdrs – Gnomeozoic Live, Tour Paint, and Kurt Sings… i even like the black metal band (not sure what they’re called though).

My favorite albums for 2005

Here’s the list of my favorite albums in 2005. I’ll put the number 1 on the front page, and the rest of the list is in the comments…

01 The Bassholes – st
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    The most innovative album for 2005 which keeps a deep connection with traditions of rock’n’roll. Don Howland is a part of that tradition himself, so this all has even more weight. I can only hope that more bands will follow the trends started on this record.

Sonic Youth go hard rock

The new extended version of Sonic Youth classic “Goo” has a very short hard rock “version” of “Dirty Boots”. It’s delicious. Here it is. I wish they played the whole thing this way.

‘Pataphysics, an Introduction

The Guardian has a fluffy intro to ‘Pataphysics (and Alfred Jarry) here.

Most interesting to me is this section:

But while Jarry, immersed in the artistic circus of literary Paris in the early 1900s, may have conceived of ‘Pataphysics, it only flourished after his death when, in 1948, a collective of avant-garde writers and artists set up the College de ‘Pataphysique.

With early members including Eugene Ionesco, Joan Miró and Marcel Duchamp, the college revived Jarry’s works and was the first to stage Ionesco’s plays. The Oulipo or Workshop of Potential Literature – a literary movement famed for inventing writing constraints – was formed as a sub-committee. (Typical of Oulipo methods is Georges Perec’s 300-page novel, A Void, written without the letter e).

In 1975, the college made a decision. It was to go underground and see what happened: an experiment in survival. For the next 25 years it was a secret – emerging only in 2000 happily confident it could remain intact. Today, it’s a thriving organisation of more than 1,000 members. The upper echelons still bulge with literary luminaries including Umberto Eco. Nonsensical bureaucracy is its hallmark and with a remit to conduct useless research, the college seems more of a joke than a serious enterprise.

Two things: 1. Did anyone else know that Oulipo was a “sub-committee” of a larger ‘Pataphysical College? 2. Where do I sign up?

There is one hell of a post on things ‘pataphysical in the archives of the nonist.

‘Let’s Go! Go! Go! With Ringo’

Nabbed off the Scram web-blog (where I can also be found posting these days) – Infectious and gooey, girl-group Beatles’ novelty with a back-story to make your head spin! Read on and rock on!

A few nights ago–the anniversary of John Lennon’s death, actually–my friend Sean Carrillo sent me a link to a deliciously goofy MP3. It was a novelty single his wife Bibbe Hansen recorded with two girlfriends in 1964 as The Whippets: “Let’s Go Go Go With Ringo.” This primitive girl group 45 would be a hoot in its own right, but it becomes all the neater when you reflect that Bibbe was the littlest Warhol superstar, daughter of happenings Fluxus artist Al Hansen and later mother to Beck, while Janet Whippet (link includes audio) was the only child of Jack Kerouac. Charlotte Rosenthal, meanwhile, had interesting taste in friends…

Bibbe Hansen Is/Was A Fox

The Whippets – Let’s Go Go Go With Ringo

11,000 year old boat building site in New York?

The fact that they are asserting that it’s a 11,000 year old boat-building site seems quite odd. Just how unique is this?

A group of Army archaeologists have made a unique discovery at Fort Drum in New York. They’ve found a prehistoric boat-building site near what would have been the shoreline of glacial Lake Iroquois. Archaeologists say the site is about 11,000 years old. That’s around the time Indians first arrived. The findings will be presented next spring at an annual archaeology conference. Fort Drum is currently expanding for a new brigade of 6,000 soldiers. Any time the ground of a federal installation is disturbed, archaeologists must first survey the site.