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Monday, June 30, 2003
Siobhan Donaghy- Overrated
I doubt anyone could overrate this song. This was the girl that had the musical taste that was unsuitable for the rest of the Sugababes? It sounds like a subpar Massive Attack track. Although I'm getting to the chorus now. This is nice. Oops. Back into the verse.
Wednesday, June 25, 2003
Tuesday, June 24, 2003
My God. For once, I feel like I have ultimate clarity.
In a month I may hate this album. I dunno. I may listen to it about one hundred and twenty-five times and be sick to death of it.
"Inertiatic Esp." And I don't want to describe the music. But this vital rush suddenly takes over my entire body, and it's just the most immediate thing. And the vocals: "now / I'm / lost" - shit. But the delivery. My god, this man can howl. And as the guitars trickle in, like the hairs on the back of your neck, an impending doom, the wail reaches you down in your stomach, the pit, and my head rolls. From side to side. "I'm lost, I'm lost, now I'm lost." Apparently, De-loused in the Comatorium is about being in a coma. I feel like I'm in a dream. Like I've been touched by something else, Touched By The Hand Of God.
And drums roll in and out, and at the same time I want to run kill eat sleep feel masturbate scream birth create dance hurt drink and that primal urge to do is there. And it's so good. Punk Floyd, motherfuckers. The music is like so many things you've heard, but you haven't. And it takes you far, far away, and it's eerie, and dirty, and playful, and free - and it's about their friend who committed suicide. I have no idea what Cedric Bixler is talking about. But I know what it means to me - that freedom. Those deep inner urges.
My girlfriend told me today that she's so incredibly angry and she knows why. And that it's something big and important, but "not really." And she won't tell me, at least until she's stoned. But I think I know what it is - and even if I did, I felt like playing "Eriatarka" for her. So she could know what it means to truly be lost in something that you will spend your entire life trying to emulate, trying to make something half as good. And it's enchanting, and beautiful, and angry, and a journey - like the album. And there's pain in the voices, and the guitars sway. The guitar roars and the voices hurl. You are yanked across everything you've known.
It's almost spiritual.
Thursday, June 19, 2003
I'm an absolute sucker for anything on VH1, as long as it's a retrospective or in list form. After taking a much needed week-long sabbatical from cable television, I returned to the greet the top 100 songs of the last 25 years. Although this will not replace my true passion, I Love the 80s, the highlight so far is among the best moments of the network.
Yes, Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” made it to #49. In the midst of yelling at Melissa Etheridge to get off my damn television (it apparently worked for Rain Pryor), I missed the build-up, but I swear to god that Steve Perry, former lead singer of Journey, actually said “I think you’re all believin’ and you can’t stop.” In the midst of all this, I found out that Journey: Tribute to America had not fully made the rounds as I had previously thought. As great as my mystical Steve Perry moment was, this is an absolute classic of post-ironic Flash animation.
Saule, Apollo, Etc.
The Saule album is likeable enough, although I tend to side with Kareem with regards to its long-term noteworthiness. It lacks that wooziness and depth that makes Jeck the best of the 'vinyl citation' camp of turntablists, but definitely scores points in the 'hypnotic' department - sometimes to its detriment. After a few months with it, I've decided that the twists are even fewer and farther apart than I initially thought and that there's a certain obviousness to them (including one moment I still snicker at for pulling a soft/loud trick I've called 'the turntable Slint').. Overall, however, the surface is still pretty enough to warrant the occasional spin, and it requires the perfect amount of attention for listening while driving (which, to borrow Todd's roundabout style, might be a pretty hefty compliment in itself).
Showtime at the Apollo is mandatory summer viewing for everyone. Singlehandedly blows all network 'reality' and 'comedy' shows out of the water - theres drama aplenty, moments of a blissful surreality in which Apollo's traditionally brutal audience cheers for a scrawny Asian man who warbles through astounding versions of soul classics (a flickering vision of some sort of alternate universe utopia, I'm sure), and a monthly appearance by some eight-year-old drummer who kicks shit all over my ten years of trying to plays those things. Oh, and a clown with some of the most uncomfortable homoerotic undertones available on late-night TV. Take that, Blind Date!
Lastly, a notice for everyone fortunate enough to live in a city with a decent film community... Matthew Barney's stellar Cremaster cycle is playing in select cities throughout the next month or two. It's a truly astounding work, one of the great art accomplishments of our time, and features an alternately gorgeous and terrifying score by Jonathan Bepler... If you have to pick, see Cremaster 3, which features the most brilliant integration of sound and action I've seen since Jan Svankmajer's 'Alice' precision-punctured my ears a year and a half ago. Runners up - Cremaster 5, in which Bepler crafts the only lyric opera I've ever enjoyed so thoroughly, and Cremaster 2, the most visually arresting of the series (w/ excellent cameos by ex-Slayer Dave Lombardo and Morbid Angel's Steve Tucker as the metaphorical voice of a bee-swarmed Johnny Cash - see it and (maybe) understand).
Summer's finest pleasure so far? Closer promximity to my lady, Wolf Eyes CD-Rs from friends across the country, Duos for Doris, Todd's fucking AMAZING mix cds (tricking me into loving a Le Tigre remix and putting me under the Kompakt spell), nine hours a day of filing and headphones, inconsistent air conditioning, and VH1's constant re-running of their hilariously savage 80's series. Yikes.
Sunday, June 15, 2003
Saule- Saule and Saturday Night Network Television
I think the thing that is most interesting about that album is the almost hypnotic quality of it. It's almost cinematic, with movements that unfold gracefully over long stretches of time. It's a beautiful thing, but I also agree with Kareem, in part, as I haven't heard it in a few weeks and can only vaguely remember what it sounds like. Judging by how much new music I listen to, that might actually be a glowing endorsement.
In other news- and I think Joe will agree with me here- Showtime at the Apollo Amateur Night is the best thing on television on Saturday night. Far better than any of the so-called comedy shows.
Friday, June 13, 2003
My take on Saule: When Kareem reviewed Saule, Todd told me I should check it out despite his negative review, because it'd be right up my alley, and guess what? It is. I gotta respectfully disagree with the review; this music doesn't just "denote" emotion, it really is emotional. At least, it strikes me that way upon one listen. I have to wait for it to really sink in to tell if it'll have much staying power, but my first impression is that it's absolutely gorgeous, and there were a number of moments that really stood out as highlights. Different strokes for different folks and all that; I'm just letting you folks know, don't dismiss this record b/c of only one review. If you like Philip Jeck or Janek Schaeffer or any of those other awesome turntable dudes, this is of similar quality.
Thursday, June 12, 2003
Paint It Black review: nice job, captured the essence of the record very well.
Two notes though: "Paint It Black" didn't really lead off Aftermath, it was just a single tacked onto the American version of the album, as the custom went at that time. And the mystery band left off the comp was Melt-Banana, not the Boredoms. I still want to hear their interpretation, I bet it's amazing.
Wednesday, June 11, 2003
Tuesday, June 10, 2003
Monday, June 09, 2003
ah, the weird, wonderful world of vincent gallo - a fine place to stop by from time to time, but perhaps not to stay, at least if the current (anti) publicity blitz surrounding his new film "the brown bunny" is anything to go by. seems his newest film has the cannes film crowd buzzing, and not in a good way - "bunny," which is primarily composed of many extended slow-mo shots of gallo himself, received the second lowest rating by cannes film judges, a meager 0.6 out of a possible 5. and gallo seems to agree with their judgment, referring to the film as a "disaster and a waste of time" in a recent round of interviews. not that that means he's taking the criticism lying down, at least not when said criticism comes from the mouth of roger ebert: a recent "new york post" article saw gallo referring to ebert as "a fat pig" with "the physique of a slave trader." ebert's take on the bizarre situation can be found here (thanks to melissa maerz, whose fine blog can be found here, for the link). ebert seems surprised that anyone is interested in seeing the film; all i know is, if it's even half as good as "buffalo 66," i'm gonna love it.
and, as a quick aside, DO NOT whatever you do rent "full frontal," by steven soderbergh. amateurish, grainy, visually unappealing, massively self-indulgent, and near incomprehensible, it almost undoes all the good work he did with riveting films like "traffic," "the limey," and "ocean's eleven." almost. and while ebert may indeed have a less-than-impressive physique (not sure about the "slave trader" reference, but that's gallo for you), his take on "full frontal" is pretty much dead-on: read about it here.
Krautrocksampler Slow Off the Mark? --
Ok, so Cope may not have been the only one late to the party -- Simon Reynolds called me out months ago on my Sehr Kosmische blog entry in March and I haven't responded (though I'm not sure anyone cared). Honcho Burns also asked a few questions that I utterly ignored. But hey, since this argument is all about timeliness anyway, now seems as good as any to respond...
Without knowing for sure, I think Simon's main objection was my claim that Cope "single-handedly revived a bygone era by way of an encyclopedic knowledge communicated with the excitement of a bonafide enthusiast." With apologies for my own hyperbolic prose, what I meant was less "Julian Cope revived this dead music" (since, as Simon points out, it wasn't really dead) so much as he revived the era and made it a cultural event of sorts. And on that, I don't think there's much dispute. Witness:
Prior to Krautrocksampler, only a few of the records contained therein were available -- and those that were, were often tough to hunt down (a much more difficult proposition in the pre-Internet age). But during the time between the first and second editions of the book (I had the 2nd), almost every entry on Cope's Krautrock Top 50 list was reissued or made available -- such as those on the lovely and quasi-legal Germanofon label, who provided me with my lovely, quasi-legal version of the first Harmonia record, among others. Suddenly, Cope was everywhere, writing specials and giving interviews in every rag I can remember: Rolling Stone, Mojo (more than once, I believe). As I recall, every one of those articles used that SAME picture of him w/ his early-90s long hair and Ray-Bans -- gesturing intensely while he lectured some moron at Rolling Stone about, oh I dunno, Walter Wegmüller's Tarot. The point being, it was a fairly MASSIVE press blitz that got the ball rolling on Krautrock, which in turn got the ball rolling on more reissues, which in turn gave Cope more to yak about, which got more records reissued…and so on.
So no, Cope was hardly the first guy to dig this stuff up -- anyone with more than a cursory knowledge of pop history or post-punk would have known about it. I myself was hardly an expert in either, but had come across Can's Spoon reissues in the early 90s on my own and fallen pretty hard. But as I recall it, there was exactly ONE other remotely comprehensive Krautrock reference guide at the time of Krautrocksampler’s publication -- and that was in German, rendering it useless to most people who'd care.
Certainly German über-roadie, Klaus Mueller, featured in a dismissive Perfect Sound Forever "recollection" in 1997 wasn't among those who did care. At least, not much. While everyone has a right to his opinion, Mueller seemed to never have liked much of the music in the first place, and appears to have a rather crotchety sense of "I Was THERE!!!" ownership. In any event, he seems kind of oblivious to what was clearly a cultural event – if not for him and his country, for record geeks abroad. Which was kind of my point in the first place.
Hope this clarifies...
hey folks. new writer on stylus, posting on the blog for the first time. i already know nick, who is a fellow ILXOR. Haven't got much time to write now, so I'll be brief. The new radiohead record is a disappointment - not a patch on any of the last 3. I actually quite enjoy the electronic numbers - The Gloaming in particular - but there's a hatful of tracks that are neither texturally interesting, nor particularly melodic. As for blur, they really were at their best back in their Britpop days, but "Think Tank" is a step back in the right direction after "13" (which was let-down badly by Orbit's heavy-handed production). As for Spiritualized - they went so far into self-parody on the last record I'm not sure I could listen to them again.
talk to you later...
Thursday, June 05, 2003
The Music Biz in a Pearl Jam
Oh gosh, with a heavy work schedule this month this is the sort of levity I needed. An odd, agenda-pushing distortion of reality beamed in from some other dimension in which Pearl Jam’s departure from Epic spells the beginning of the end for the major labels. Apparently, Pearl Jam are the "most popular and important American rock band of the ’90s" and no longer need the services of their major label, Epic. So I guess an exponential collapse of record sales by a band that now doesn’t even go platinum is a brave step forward instead of quitting before they’re let go. Why isn’t this being called what it is? A past-the-sell-by-date group conceding their relevance and commercial appeal and selling their product directly to their now devoted but cult-like following. It probably does make more business sense in this case to sell directly to those still hanging old for dear, old times but if this isn’t going to grow the band’s audience (it’s not), how is it proof that the direct sales are the way forward?
The writer’s ideas about why PJ is still popular are precious, too. Ah, the old '70s arena rock idea that ticket sales = contemporary relevance and popularity instead of silly things like, say, radio play and record sales. I guess REO/Styx and Jimmy Buffet playing amphitheaters means those bands are really big, too. Any cursory look at concert box office reveals that circuit to be mostly a cash cow for aging rockers but a total non-starter as a window to contemporary music. He goes on to say both that "So what is at stake? Everything. If the marquee band can leave the most important label in recording history [!] with impunity, then the major label lock on the music business is over" and claim that combined sales of 1.2 million for the 72 live albums is some sort of success. What? "The marquee band" stopped making videos, working major-label promotions and—guess what?—they stopped selling records. And I suck at math, but 1.2 million divided by 72 isn’t exactly a sales record that is going to shake the foundation of the record industry. Pearl Jam: Their appeal isn’t waning only getting more selective.
Sunday, June 01, 2003
"Murder on the Dancefloor"
I've just come back from the May Fest in Chicago's Lincoln Square neighborhood which essentially, along with Oktoberfest, acts as a German-American book end to the summer on the far north side. As I left, the German band -- which had moved through aryan oompa to KC and the Sunshine Band -- was playing this Sophie Ellis-Baxtor song, and I realized that what makes the song is not the psuedo disco/hi-NRG sonics but the posh English vowel sounds. Like Avril, it's all in the a, e, i, o, u and sometimes y's. Without those vowel sounds, it's a celebration; with them, it's a lament, a paean to the humdrum, soul-sucking necessity of nightlife a la "nightclubbing" -- and all the more perfect for it.