Friday, July 29, 2005

do you believe planets are aligned? it always fascinates me the way that history and astronimy coincide in fantastical ways. there is no plan, but everything happens for a reason. i am moving to philadelphia in less than two weeks. finally leaving the hometown. sad, but happy, excited. a mix of emotions that is long overdue. i crave the unknown and the unknown awaits. i won't be posting much these days. my schedule is intense and i feel like a receptacle rather than an outlet right now. but i would anticipate the extreme upon return. there is something brewing, something magic, and you have front row seats. life is amazing. treat each other nice and believe in UFOs.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Me on the MC5 for Stylus. Think that Kramer-Davis-Thompson group will record an album? The Stooges are, the New York Dolls are, Big Star are. I can't imagine they want to be left out.

Friday, July 22, 2005

I don't always link to the US Singles Jukebox columns on Stylus, as I figure if you care you'd know to check each Friday. That said, I gave no track less than a 5 and two got 7's, which may make it the most consistent week in ages. Plus I coined the termed "sassy-blando" for one of the 7's.

Rating music is a worthless sop to the simple-minded, but here's the logic I apply when higher forces dictate the presence of numerics:

10 = "Under Pressure" by Queen & David Bowie
9 = my eyes roll in the back of my head when I describe it
8 = must-get
7 = might-keep
6 = entertaining enough for radio
5 = inoffensively mediocre
4 = offensively mediocre
3 = repulsive
2 = I punch the table when somebody says it's not that bad.
1 = I've quit reviewing music in response.
0 = I've killed myself in fear of hearing it again.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

While trying to explain my intense fascination and affection for Electric Six on IM, I noted "haha I sound like xgau talking about the New York Dolls." Since then I've been indulging in my standard x = y + z fun-fun, in this case being Electric Six = New York Dolls + 30 years of American downfall. Good time charlies with an l-u-v of rock trash and apocalyptic grandeur ("would you make it with FRANKENSTEIN?"), Good People Thinking Bad Thoughts. Since a whole lot of cool jazz has gone down since the Dolls (punk, pop-metal, disco, new wave) the band has plenty of fresh touchstones to plunder.

That said, the problem with realizing what Great Old Thing a Fresh Young Thing resembles is that you can probably guess the outcome. The uncertain fate of Senor Smoke in their own frikkin' country could easily inspire Dick Valentine to settle for EITHER apocalyptic freak show or happy showmanship, and I'm guessing he'll pick the latter. While the good-natured if ineffectual life of a Buster Poindexter is a comfortable fate that Valentine has certainly earned, it's kind of a bummer to know the script beforehand. Those who know the past are condemned to watch everybody else repeat it (btw, if Valentine proves me wrong, no one will be happier than me).

THAT SAID, a whole lot of people seem to bone on for acts that scream 1991 to me, even though that leads to 1994 to 1998 to 2001 to right back where we are rather quickly. Electric Six at least harken back to 1973, back to PROTO-PUNK (they even cover "Street Life"!), back to a more fertile field than what was wrought by Lollapaloozers. Strawmen who pine for the glory days of SST-thru-Nirvana should be forced to listen to "Boulevard Of Broken Dreams" on a 24-hour loop. Indie rock, while slightly rife with a variety of lyrical joys and sonic pleasures, is basically a farm league where arty/collegiate weirdos prove their commercial worth to corporations. Even if they stick with their Merge or their Saddle Creek they're still lickin' some Clear Channel, some Yahoo Music, some MTV. Their big accomplishment is a top 50 debut on the Billboard Hot 100, a no. 16 nod on the Modern Rock Top 20. Gold.

Electric Six, as PROTO-punk, represent a kind of shameless musical buggery that could inspire a kick-hankerin' Steve Jones, be appreciated by a deconstructioneer like Johnny Rotten and serve as a safety net for a conflicted freak like W. Axl Rose. Their songs are exaggerations today, but God and/or Satan willing, some kid in 2025 might wonder what the big deal is - "I heard they're crazy, but it's just rock."

Monday, July 18, 2005

Radio show playlist:

And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead - Let It Dive
Belle & Sebastian - Lord Anthony
Clinic - The Second Line
Decemberists - The Sporting Life
Emperor X - Shut Shut Up
Fall - Touch Sensitive
Grandaddy - The Group Who Couldn't Say
Hold Steady - Stevie Nix
Ida - Written On My Face
Jesus And Mary Chain - Just Like Honey
Keren Ann - One Day Without
Louis XIV - All The Little Pieces
Mountain Goats - Have To Explode
New Wet Kojak - Do The Math
Osker - Contention
Papas Fritas - Say Goodbye
Queens Of The Stone Age - I Never Came
Raveonettes - Love In A Trash Can
Spoon - Was It You
Thunderbirds Are Now - From: Skulls
Urge Overkill - Goodbye To Guyville
VCR - Rad
Wire - A Series Of Snakes
XTC - Are You Receiving Me?
Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Y Control
Electric Six - Rock'n'Roll Evacuation
Electric Six - Jimmy Carter
Electric Six - Be My Dark Angel
Electric Six - Vibrator
Electric Six - Radio Ga Ga

Guess who finally can listen to Senor Smoke on disc? Thanks to Jefferson for the mp3s. With friends like this, why bother figuring out how to make your computer Soulseek-friendly?

The most recent Billboard Top 50 single I like is "Get It Poppin'," eight weeks old. WTF? It's summer! Shouldn't newbies be popping up every week? Pop radio (at least in central PA - God, I can't wait to hear the Philly stations) feels mad stagnant right now. I'm finding myself actually looking forward to "Don't Phunk With My Heart." The weather is muggy, I've got a million things to get done and no new summer jam to brighten it up. I guess I should be glad I haven't heard Bo Bice yet.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

This is probably not the treatment for the upcoming video for "This Year" by the Mountain Goats.

"I broke free on a Saturday morning..."
Shot of Tatooine's twin suns.

"put the pedal to the floor..."
Luke zooming around in desert cruiser.

"my broken home behind me, and good things ahead..."
shot of his family's burnt out home.

"a girl name Cathy wants a little of my time..."
Luke stares at R2-D2's projection of Leia.

"six cyllinders..."
TIE-fighters and x-wings battle in space

"I am gonna make it through this year, if it kills me..."
various pilots are shot up and electrocuted during space battle.

"I played video games in a drunken haze..."
Luke has lightsaber practice with an orb.

"the taste of scotch rich on my tongue..."
Han drinks in the bar on Tatooine, Luke enters.

"and then Cathy showed up..."
Luke and Han remove stormtrooper helmets in front of a captured Leia.

"twin high maintenance machines..."
C-3PO and R2-D2 scurry down a hallway.

"I am gonna make it through this year, if it kills me..."
Laser fight between our helmet-free heroes and storm troopers.

"I drove home in the California dusk..."
Team piles into the cockpit of the Millenium Falcon.

"the look on my stepfathers face..."
Darth Vader staring out window towards space.

"the motor screaming, stuck in second gear..."
Falcon switches into light speed.

"the scene ends badly as you might imagine..."
One-handed luke silently screams "no!" as darth reaches out to him on the platform.

"in a cavalcade of anger and fear..."
Luke leaps off platform, falls down giant shaft.

"there will be feasting, and dancing in Jerusalem next year.."
The celebration on the Moon Of Endor from Return Of The Jedi.

"I am gonna make it through this year, if it kills me..."
Luke hangs on antenna until finally found by Leia, Lando et al.

Video ends with shot of Falcon shifting into light speed.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Michael Dahlquist of Silkworm was killed in a car accident on Thursday afternoon (more info at ILX courtesy of Maria). If you've never heard the band's "Don't Look Back," download it here. Dude kicks ass on that track.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

DJed at Roustabout for what will likely be the last time (unless they let me be a "guest DJ from Philly" when visiting). My friend William, who had never done it before, joined in - I played one track, then he did, then me, then him, etc. He played a lot of great, respectable rock from the 80s and earlier; I played bands from the 90s on that ripped them off (plus some golden oldies to prove I could).

XTC - Statue Of Liberty
Billy Childish - I'm A Confused Man
Sloan - False Alarm
Au Pairs - We're So Cool
Cheap Trick - Clock Strikes Ten
Wire - Map Ref
Helium - Superball
Public Nuisance - Love Is A Feeling
Gun Club - Sex Beat
Mekons - Millionaire
Marbles - Out Of Zone
Cure - Jumping Someone Else's Train
Bloc Party - Banquet
Dream Syndicate - Definitely Clean
Clinic - The Second Line
Misfits - Teenagers From Mars
Buzzcocks - I Don't Mind
Josef K - Sorry For Laughing

Then the opening band played two songs and stopped, eventually explaining that they were doing a 'soundcheck.' Hmm. Both A.R.E. and Amps are my choices cuz William put in the wrong disc - sounded like klezmer or something (not that I know what klezmer sounds like).

A.R.E. Weapons - Don't Be Scared
Amps - Tipp City
Bush Tetras - Cowboys In Africa
McLusky - To Hell With Good Intentions
Stooges - Down On The Street
Wipers - Over The Edge
Magazine - I Love You, You Big Dummy

Then the band, which looked like the D-Plan and sounded like the D-Plan if you removed everything but indie jazzbo, played. Names removed to protect the guilty from a depressing google.

Louis XIV - Paper Doll
Comsat Angels - Waiting For A Miracle
Diodes - Tired Of Waking Up Tired
Os Mutantes - Batmocambo
Talking Heads - Sugar On My Tongue
Clean - Tally Ho
REM - Wolves, Lower
Spirit - Animal Zoo
Nick Lowe - So It Goes
Silver Apples - Program

Second band followed. Sounded like Rilo Kiley (or Letters To Cleo, same diff) and the singer herkyjerked like Ashlee Simpson. Good for them. William started off the last dj set despite ending the previous, as he had a song by an artist from the band's home state.

Normals - Almost Ready
Interpol - Evil
Social Distortion - Makin' Believe
LeTigre - Deceptacon
Television Personalities - Part-Time Punks
Swell Maps - Spitfire Parade
Flamin' Groovies - Absolutely Sweet Marie
Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Y Control
The Sound - Party In My Mind
Queens Of The Stone Age - Broken Box
Daniel Johnston - Love Wheel
Electric Six - Electric Demons In Love
Heartbreakers - Born To Lose
Rocket From The Crypt - Turkish Revenge
Eddie & The Hot Rods - Do What You Want To Do
Spinto Band - Oh, Mandy
Rezillos - Destination Venus
Electric Six - The Future Is In The Future

How's that for an enjoyable nerdout?

Monday, July 11, 2005

Reporting mid-radio show (no playlist today cuz my selections aren't THAT inspired - feel free to listen all the same) to note that "Live Again" is up at The Hut along with another bevvy of reliably remarkable goodies from Johnny Forks. The man is a champ.

I have burnt and taped so many albums from this place over the years, met so many great people - I should never complain about the constrictiveness of playing swear-free indie. This station has been a blessing. My first weekly show was Saturday 7-9am! The 1999 spring semester! Memories, sniffles, etc. I'll do more inspired shows for the rest of the month, scout's honor. You should listen! Every Monday 11am-1pm EST, click the Lion link on the left. I'll even talk in funny voices. Not today, though. Today is my last uninvolved plow-through. Proof: I'm playing "Ageless Beauty" by Stars followed by the Decemberists. What am I, Starbucks?

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Dom Passantino is a great writer. Watch this dude. To haters, if you can't be cynical about the music industry, what CAN you be cynical about? Is it really that offensive to run into a sarcastic non-booster? Especially one so descriptive, one whose sardonic humor is this entertaining? If so, you really have no reason to be reading criticism. Stick with press releases.

Spent a lot of time this week making friends listen to TP3.Reloaded and watch the Trapped In The Closet DVD. Spent a lot of time watching friends laugh their ass off in disbelief. There's always a desire to use phrases like "artless" or "so bad its good," but they cloak the level of craft that must go into these campy miracles. Without the exuberance of his voice, the quality of the music and his gift for narrative, how would these ridiculous songs be so memorable? While he's no peer of Green, Gaye or Prince as an artist, he certainly trumps Pendergrass and Parker Jr. as entertainers. He sounds so spontaneous while mixing the crass and grandly passionate that he must either be an idiot savant or an irreverent comic genius, possibly both. The inexplicability is part of the appeal.

I'm not sure how many people are familiar with Frank Kogan's free lunch concept, but one thing I've wondered is whether these unspoken qualities become saleable if the artist stays in the media eye. Is Michael Jackson's paranoia really a secret goody today rather than an obvious trait? Likewise, R. Kelly's penchant for the absurd, evident from the very beginning ("I Like The Crotch On You," anyone?), has become more and more flagrant with each TP release: "Bump'n'Grind" to "Feelin' On Yo' Booty" to "Sex In The Kitchen." I have a hard time imagining anybody missing the batshit while listening to TP3.Reloaded, and that lack of restraint is part of what makes this my favorite Kelly album to date. Aside from a watered-down Usher rip (his only real competition as an entertainer these days) and maybe "(Sex) Love Is What We Makin'" every track is either energetic or completely bananas (those nutzoid slow jams have more juice than usual, too). His voice has only grown more lithe and pleasureful with time, and while nothing has the earnest gravity of "Turn Back The Hands Of Time," "Down Low" or even "Heaven, I Need A Hug," I don't think he's necessarily lost the ability to affect on that level. This time he's just not bothering to try.

As for the criminal allegations, I tend to assume all celebrities inject meth into their eyeballs while beating servants and molesting farm animals. If they're accused and found guilty of misdeeds, they should suffer the consequences. While I understand if others can't enjoy the art created by criminals or perverts, I can't give up my Chuck Berry and I can't give up my Kells.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Here's a link to "Live Again" by the Ying Yang Twins featuring Adam Levine of Maroon 5, my favorite track of 2005 to date. I've never used yousendit before, but I wanted to do it at least once.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Working in an empty library from 9-5 today meant getting watch a hell of a lot of live8 on aol. Caught some of the mtv coverage later. Evidently if you want to see the bands you should go online, if you want to learn more about the cause you should go online and if you want to see VJs wax poetic between gargantuan ad breaks you should watch TV like Bob asked you to.

Top ten ironies
1. Snoop Dogg and pals making peace signs while chanting "nah nah nahnah nah nah hey hey hey Snoop Dogg" a few minutes after "Cuz I never hesitate to put a nigga on his back." I'm sure the G8 were moved.

2. Madonna holding the hand of a girl who was twenty minutes from death until Live Aid happened (proving that charity is great, just so 1985) and asking if the audience is ready for the revolution while, an ocean away, Toby Keith celebrates the ability of Americans to leave the specifics of their indiscretions in the foreign country they were committed.

3. But, Tim, if we erase world debt, the poor in Africa won't live like they're dying!

4. If there's anybody who believes the powerful should forgive debts, it's a pimp. A big pimp.

5. Will Smith is under the impression that its rare for me to get to see bands and sign a petition.

6. Ipod ads on the big screens in Philly. "We Don't Want Your Money," right.

7. Bob Geldof is a dick.

8. Caught a "Thank You" ad made of participants' video clips on VH1 between two airings of "Comfortably Numb."

9. At one point I was actually moved. I've never heard Roxy Music's cover of "Jealous Guy" before.

10. People are defending this impotent, guilt-appeasing fanfare and fellatio in the name of awareness, as if anybody doesn't know people are dying in Africa. More people learned about Razorlight today than Africa.

On a lighter note, my good friend William demanded I list my top 5 songs of all time last night. Here's what I offered.

1. Queen & David Bowie, "Under Pressure"
2. Bob Dylan, "Like A Rolling Stone"
3. Adam & The Ants, "Stand And Deliver"
4. Sugar Ray, "Someday"
5. Sir Mix-A-Lot, "Baby Got Back"

I'll stand by that.

Friday, July 01, 2005

What do free star-studded concerts have to do with showing a global desire to end debt in Africa? I wonder how many people would show up for these acts without the cause compared to how many people would show up for the cause without the acts. I'm guessing most would check out the big name bands for free in the name of bagels, in the name of Wal-Mart, in the name of Scrabble. Live8 means jack shit.

You don't know how glad I am that I'm not moving to Philly until August.