Wednesday, December 10, 2008

It's been a slow education.
The dream I had last night was great. I was in Japan for a conference, and we were walking back to our hotel that was built along a lake with a great view. We went around the back of the hotel and saw a series of these things that looked like giant hurdles (if you're familiar with the steeplechase, they were like the big hurdle that's right before the puddle of water) in rows leading down a hill from the back of the hotel to the lake (running parallel with the hotel). We looked out on the water and saw a guy driving a boat that was actually a piece of earth that had broken off from the mainland. He had just stuck a steering wheel in the piece of land, and was ferrying about 10-15 tigers, who were all sitting the same way and looking at us standing on the hill looking at them. The guy driving the boat decided to dock, without realizing that as soon as he got near the land the tigers could run after us, probably eat us. I thought about how fast I could run if that happened, and what exactly the tigers would do. How quickly would they start chasing us? If one of them swatted at me with their paw, how bad would it hurt? The driver got close enough to land that a couple of tigers were able to jump out. We started running towards the hotel. The two other guys from my office were way ahead of me, and one of them did a flip off one of the hurdles and landed on his hotel room balcony, about three floors up. I knew I wasn't going to be able to do that and wouldn't be able to outrun the tigers. I remembered I had the power to levitate, so I closed my eyes, concentrated, and started to float away.

Later, I walked down to a clothing store where my friend Kate was working. They only carried t-shirts, and left them in piles on the floor instead of putting them on shelves or hangers. She was playing a recording of her daughter saying the letter "X" over and over. She told me she had a live video of one of my old bands playing a show in Florida. I couldn't remember what show she was talking about, so she got the tape and played it on one of the TVs. I was playing bass with no shirt on and we sounded a lot like Palatka. A couple kids who were big fans of the band were in the store and started talking to me. One of them asked, "Which one was the wimpiest guy?" I figured he was talking about Brady, but I said, "Well...we were all wimps." I left the store to finish delivering some mail, but I had to drive through a mall that also had subway cars running through it. I had to be extremely careful not to get in the way of any of the trains, and I had to listen for these alarms that meant a train was coming through. I heard one of the alarms going off and tried to park the mail truck in a corner. I had to do an awkward parallel park and kept moving like 1 ft. backwards and 1 ft. forwards, totally fucking it up and saying, "Sorry, I'm new here." The alarms kept sounding and I finally got the truck parked, and then woke up to the sound of my phone ringing.

This was a much better dream than the one I had the night before, where my grandmother called me up and asked how I was doing, and then, her voice kind of breaking, said, "Well...I think I'm ready to kill myself." She hung up and then I tried calling my parents, but their line was busy. Finally I went over to their house and they just asked me exactly what she'd said, like word for word. I woke up around then. It's not that I think she would really do that or say that she was going to do that, or fucking call me up and tell me she was going to do it right before she did it, but I do know she wants to die. The last time I went to see her at DeMay, she asked me to read from a large-print daily devotional prayer book. I read the one for that day, something about using prayer or faith as a shield or a sword in the battle for...I don't remember exactly. It was about God. Then it had a prayer at the end and I read that, too. I didn't feel uncomfortable reading it. When I finished, I looked up and she had her head down and was covering her face. She looked up and I could see her eyes were teared up. Then I was like, "So...yeah". She looked at me and said, "You know what I pray for, don't you? For the Lord to take me." She said this with a smile on her face, like she was acknowledging that it was a funny thing, or that it was one of those things that doesn't seem funny until you mention it to someone. I think most people who have a good sense of humor and also get retardedly depressed would understand. I laughed when she said it. She'd said it before to me and my mom, and I think I said something like, "Well, you can't tell God what to do." This time I just said, "It'll happen when it happens." I changed the subject and asked about a picture of her parents that she had on one of her shelves. Then I gave her a piece of gum. I left and walked past the common area, where these three women in wheelchairs were sitting in a row watching A Carol Christmas on a huge-screen TV. I could see William Shatner's giant head talking to Tori Spelling's weird face and these women staring at it from about 4 feet away. When I first got to my grandmother's room, a nurse was helping her into the bathroom, so I waited on her couch and read one of the daily devotionals, written by a woman about her daughter, who'd wanted to be a ballerina when she was little, but got cancer and wound up dying roughly 18 years later. This is like the only thing my grandmother reads.

I drove to my sister's and then back to my apartment, listening to Bright Flight. Dave Berman's lyrics are the best--ridiculous sometimes but absolutely true. I have to get his book. Sometimes his voice--untrained and flat, but pleasant and reassuring--sends what would ordinarily just be good lyrics into another place. I got Bright Flight a few years ago, when I was working in Phelps. I never gave it a good listen, and when I was driving home, I looked at the tracklist and really wanted "Horseleg Swastikas" to be an awesome song, just because of the title. I'm not advocating being a Nazi, I just feel like most great song titles are paired with lackluster songs, and vice versa. Plus, swastikas were around way before the Nazis. My friend Andrew did a paper on the history of the swastika when we were seniors in high school. We drove from Newark the the U of R library so he could look up info. He was kind of freaking out about it. I half-assedly looked up info for my paper, which was about Punk, and in all likelihood the worst thing I've ever written. I'm not even sure I read Andrew's paper, or if he wound up finishing it. When I was driving I thought, we should be able to mention the word swastika or use it in a song and not have it be some loaded thing. We should be able to use it as part of something else entirely, that maybe turns the word swastika, or the idea of a horseleg swastika, or whatever you had previously thought of when you heard the word swastika, into something warm and sad and funny, something less race-hatey. With everything we have to suffer through--ABC Family movies, deadlines, being born without certain talents, wanting to die but not wanting to do it yourself--we should be able to say or not say whatever the fuck we want.

Silver Jews - "Horseleg Swastikas"
Silver Jews - "Room Games and Diamond Rain"
Silver Jews - "Tennesee"

I have to admit I'm mostly listening to The Sads' Silent Show LP. I'll maybe write more about it later. What else was I going to mention? Bands covering The Clean are Times New Viking and Pavement. Pavement's cover of "The Killing Moon" is a lot better, although what the fuck are "Major Leagues" b-sides doing on the Brighten The Corners re-ish? Do I need to read the liner notes more carefully? Did someone else need to do something more carefully? I haven't listened to the whole Street Carnage Radio with Paul Stanley, but I'm going to! I'm also going to download all this Huggy Bear stuff eventually, but in the meantime I'm looking at the hottest Debbie Harry photos ever. Christmas post is coming.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Failures Gary Wilson
Failures Gary Wilson
Failures Gary Wilson
Failures Gary Wilson
Failures Gary Wilson
Failures Gary Wilson
Failures Gary Wilson
Failures Gary Wilson
Failures Gary Wilson
Failures Gary Wilson
Failures Gary Wilson
Failures Gary Wilson
Failures Gary Wilson
Failures Gary Wilson

Also, more of the same old thing: BH, BT, BD. I'm ok with it, though. Oh and lots of Cult Ritual. I have a 24-hour heart monitor strapped to me as we speak, and some mystery ailment that's not terrible, but maybe it is? I have no idea. But I know I got great parents. And I can't shower until tomorrow afternoon. New thing for geneva13 got handed in, and includes a true story about listening to Genesis that goes, "I'm listening to Genesis", and that's the end of the story. More later.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

I know I said Failures and Gary Wilson, but I feel like I gotta do some Halloween shit/month-end wrap-up shit. I can't really top last year's Halloweenr, but how about Xela's "The Illuminated" or Aethenor? I'm almost positive I mentioned the Xela tape before and then I just linked to a page that had a comment section where someone linked to a download. Pretty chintzy, so here's the whole thing, side A and side B. I don't think I ever mentioned Aethenor. I think I was actually going to save it for a scary music post. I guess I should say these are both good if you want "extended noise inside a cabin where you're going to die at the hands of a weird guy". Picking out songs that are supposed to be scary is kind of dorky, though. Maybe something like "Ghost Walk" or "Walking On My Grave" would be better? All I've been into lately is Earth (old and new-ish) or Shop Assistants or Black Tambourine. Not really horrifying, but good for cold drives and snow showers before it turns 60 degrees again. Finding out that I was laying on the couch while reunited Harriet The Spy was playing "Retarding Dimensionally" in Ohio was kind of horrifying, though. Somebody please do one of those "play that whole album" shows with them doing Unfuckwithable, PLEASE. It'll only take 20 minutes and I'll get to sing along to "I tried real hard to give myself a cold by getting my hair all wet/it never worked/it never even parted my hair down the middle" and "I'll be waiting in the parking lot with a fistful of food". I have so much to do--zines, mailing things, blowing up on youtube, hanging out with Ixor--and I already had a reasonable amount of time to do it. Oh well. Have a good Ghoul's Night Out! Your Fiend, Matt.

PS--"Animal Imagination"

Friday, October 17, 2008

You may look cute, but you puke all over it.
So yeah, Kurt Vile. Probably the biggest reason I got way into him is that he's like a guy you went to school with who was mostly quiet but always said funny shit and could draw really well, who never seemed bothered by anything and always knew exactly what was going on. Maybe I got that more from the interview he did with the guy from Clockcleaner or the interview some guy did with him that was all text messages, but I think it comes through in the music, too. He's that guy doing Leonard Cohen and The Church and Springsteen and Eno, recording weird loops and songs that are spacey and funny (but not jokey) in his room, and then hanging out later. It was what I needed to hear, especially during a summer that was kind of horrendous. Parts of it were good--the train ride down to see Harvey Milk, hanging out with Amy at her apartment before the show, the week that Andrew and Sara were here, seeing Sex Vid and Monotonix in one day. But mostly it was just a big hollow feeling and watching things go retarded. At a certain point I said "Fuck, I gotta do something", and started working on the zine that I've since been real lazy about, but is still happening and is still going to be pretty alright. And when I wasn't doing that, I went out driving during the record gas price bullshit and listened to Constant Hitmaker in between Shuggie Otis records and Dylan bootlegs, tried to find that lunar eclipse or whatever it was, looked at the trees and big open fields and got fucking lost. What else can you do when shit sucks and nobody's around, but it's really nice outside? Listen to a guy who can play like Elliott Smith and says "I got a trumpet, I know where to dump it".

Kurt Vile - "Space Forklift"
Kurt Vile - "Don't Get Cute"
Kurt Vile - "Classic Rock In Spring/Freeway In Mind"

I finally got real crazy about the Ai Aso/Wata She's So Heavy split, just in the last week. I got it months and months ago during my big Michio Kurihara phase, when I was listening to his Sunset Notes record and the Boris/Michio Rainbow record all the time, but I was lagging on it for whatever reason. Crazy shit, especially since Ai Aso sings on the best shit on Sunset Notes (I've listened to "The Wind's Twelve Quarters" so many times and I'm still not sick of it), and the line-up on Wata's song is basically Boris with Michio, maybe even from the Rainbow sessions, but I'm not totally sure. Not to mention the 7" comes with a huge booklet of photos of Ai Aso and Wata looking really pretty. Who's not going to buy this, even though it's kind of expensive? And the songs, holy shit. Ai covers King Crimson and does it spare with big drums and organ and guitar, and it's perfect. Wata covers Masashi Kitamura, who I don't know anything about, but it doesn't necessarily matter if you do. The song is a fucking killer. It's one of those beautiful slow building power-ballad-y jams that Boris always takes to the stratosphere. I don't even like it when they do the super rock stuff. I literally fall asleep when they do that. But when they get all quiet and then WAIL over a sad part, I wake up.

Ai Aso - "Islands"
Wata - "Angel"

Oh speaking of Shuggie, he's on the cover of the new Wax Poetics. And on the other cover is MF Doom. NICE. I went down to the Carolinas and listened to Interpol for the first time in forever. It was actually really good. The rest of the time I just wanted to listen to the Germs and the Buzzcocks, and then "Terrapin". I heard David Scott Stone hasn't been using his modular synth lately, which is maybe a good thing. The first song on side B of his Teardrops 7" is cool, but the rest of it is some snoozy noise. I hate saying that. I just want to hear his hardcore band! What else? Oh yeah, I already have a couple leads, but if you have a copy of the Ninja Turtles' Coming Out Of Their Shells Tour video (not the Making Of... video), and want to get rid of it, contact me immediately, please. Next post will be about Failures and Gary Wilson, no question about it. Maybe I'll mention Times New Viking. Err, I'll just do that now.

PS--Divshare issues have been worked out! You can listen to the songs without downloading anything. I'll fix the last couple posts so you can do that with those songs, too.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Holy christ, is September over already? Shit. Alright, well: I wrote a thing about a youtube clip of Nation of Ulysses (above) for Geneva13. Maybe you already knew that? I also go on to say that NOU were really good and other bands are good, too. If you want a copy, send $2 to here. Definitely read the TJ/Nahide Bascakir interview and the Betsy Francechi interview and Lesley Adams' piece about drying her clothes. Definitely read the whole thing, actually. For those who already read my piece and wanted to hear the bonus jams for Fall, here goes: Ted Curson, Soccer Team, and a different Kurt Vile song than the one I mentioned (I don't have an mp3 of "Everyone Is Talkin" lying around). Sorry they're not playing on the embedded player and going straight into download mode. I don't know what the deal is. I think it's some weird quicktime issue, even though they aren't supposed to be quicktime files? If you know another server with a player option, PLEASE TELL ME. I want to go on and on about Kurt Vile and Asa Osborne and Astrud Gilberto, but I don't have the time/brain for it right now. I will really soon, though, so check back like this week even. I could sort of go on and on about Nisennenmondai, Wound, anything coming out of Heartworm. So pissed I didn't order Scarecrow the second I saw it on sale. What was I doing? I've been listening to Beat Happening a lot, too. Jamboree mostly, and Black Candy. How the fuck did this happen? Probably started with a lot of Unrest. Some definite "what would Chunklet think?" going on while I drive around. Fuck it. It's not like I'm not going to order my copy of My Love Is Higher... first thing. I think I need a replacement cover for my Courtesy... vinyl, too. I feel bad for Henry re: Courtesy blunders that were beyond his control, but not too bad re: everything else he does/gets to do. Oh and I can't stop listening to Ahmad Jamal, or the two records I have anyway. When I said "jazz records" in my last post, that's what I meant. There's something about the covers (1, 2) alone. Vivian Girls had that video and a WFMU set. Still pretty in love with them a lot (note the shirt). Ten years ago they could have been playing with Operation: Cliff Clavin and I Farm and The Knockouts, maybe De La Hoya, too (Counter-Clockwise, Pissants, old Nobody Cares, etc?). 18-19 year old me with bleached hair and a blue zip hoodie with a Standfast patch on the back would have been in Chud heaven. Is that how anyone else thinks of them? I'll end on a totally unrelated note and say that The Man Who Wasn't There is a perfect movie. That and Ultra Flesh. If you know the last line of "I Hate Summer", you know how I feel.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Something for August, last minute! I just wanted to mention Ariel Pink because I've been way into him lately. I've liked him for a while, but I never really tried to push him on anyone. He does weird prog-pop on a four-track and sometimes sings like Frankie Valli. He puts out a bunch of records every year and all his cds are like 70 minutes long. He can write a catchy chorus about Bin Laden, but it'll be in the middle of a 20-minute suite. I could see people thinking "What the hell is this? I need to listen to Robert Palmer." Or "I haven't heard Minor Threat in a while, let's listen to that", or "I'm going to put on Licensed To Ill because I know all the words". I've gone back and forth on him, too. There was "Helen" and that video where he's like "I'M SATANIC", but then I thought he was biting R. Stevie Moore and Gary Wilson way too hard. The whole Blank Dogs scene came out and sounded like an oversimplified, cheap Ariel knock-off, but then I was like, this is kind of more palatable, and they're actually coming from a totally different place. It took hearing his live set on WFMU for me to finally understand the nuances. With a backing band, he sounds incredible. Check the difference between the WFMU "L'estat" and the original. Or if you're into garage jams, check the cover of "Calm Me Down". I can also understand being creeped out by Ariel Pink, but he brings back vibes that are never going to come back. Like this guy's face (minus the vag eyes), they exist only in the past. I don't know if that makes sense. I just like stuff like "Suicide Notice". Put aside the Paw Tracks hatred for a second, that's all I'm saying! If you can't, at least watch this review of Best Game. Beyond that, just listen to some jazz records. That's all I got. Sorry I've been phoning it in all summer. I've been standing in two time zones, wondering what time to be home. Werts zine will still be totally in your face, but not until later September or maybe October-ish. My periodical is way late. I might be a published author somewhere else, though. I'll let you know.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

From the Dept. of Summer Bummers Dept.: Soiled Mattress and The Springs are playing their last show tonight in NYC. Actually they're maybe even playing right now. If you're in NY the City, go to The Yard next to the Gowanus Canal. I have no idea what any of that means. You can also go here to find out more info. This totally blows, though. I've loved these guys since I saw their "Tidal Wave" video (above) way back when. There was even a point maybe a year or so ago when nothing made me happier than listening to the Springtime! record over and over and over again. I think I said that like 7 or 8 months ago, but it's still true. Go buy it here, or go buy the cd with Springtime! and Honk Honk Bonk! here. Eventually go buy the Honk Honk Bonk! 12" back at Teardrops. Also, go look at the Fader video they did. I tried to watch it but my computer is not hi-tech enough. They also have some good news about future Mattress-related projects. Other good news: this 2-part Ian Svenonius essay on Marion Barry. I'd also like to point out that back in '95 or '96 when Mary J. was singing "You're alllll I neeeeed to get byyyyy" she was talking about listening to Deep Wound after spending 40 minutes just trying to leave Geneva. Fuck bicyclists, fuck athletes, fuck NORMS in general. I think I just moshed in my room. Werts Quarterly Review out by the end of the month!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Just so I have something to show for June 2008, here's some things: another Cohen cover by Harvey Milk (from the Daymare press of Life...), this Delphine song that can't be ignored, these Vivian Girls songs from the record you almost could have gotten but now you'll have to wait until Fall, and some bootleg Blood On The Tracks tracks below a lot of blabbering. Also, the Werts zine is moving along at the slowest possible speeds, but it WILL be out and in your hands and into your life soonish. In the meantime, go see Straight, No Chaser and L'antietam if you're in the same city they're in. Do everything you can not to make this a Summer of Bummers.

PS: I don't know if anyone read the Ben Ratliff piece about Thrones in the New York Times last month, but I swear I didn't see it until like 3 days after I wrote my thing. Am I too weirded out by this? I don't know.


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

"If I am a perfection-
ist, I do a pretty shitty
job of it."

At the Thrones show last week, Tyler and I did the same thing. Joe Preston--the one man in the one-man band that is Thrones (as well as collaborator with the Melvins, Earth, Sunn 0))), High On Fire, and Harvey Milk)--played a slow, creepy song with drawn-out high notes on his bass, while his sequencer and pedals did other things, and we both stood there with our eyes closed and took it in. It's a fucking really dorky thing to say you did, but it was hard not to do it. He ended his set with "Obolus", and it sounded like he was breathing whole choirs of gold sparks into the microphone and I felt like I was at the end of a movie or possibly at the end of my life. Thrones songs can do that to you. They can fuck you up privately even in a public place where things are relatively normal. They can make it seem like something happened but you didn't know what it was. For some reason it wasn't really like this the last time I saw him, two years prior almost to the day and at the same club. All I remember of that show was us getting really lost on the way there, and my friend Mel telling me about some poem she'd written for a class that involved the term "comatose cocks", and Thrones being pretty loud and goofy. The only thing goofy about this time was maybe Joe Preston's hair and Jason Schulmerich's comment about Werner Herzog remaking Bad Lieutenant with Nicolas Cage (which I honestly thought was a clever joke until I found out it was TRUE). Jason also told us about listening to Thrones on acid years ago, being gone for days and out in the woods and something about being on the bus. He didn't get into too many details. I told him my "Thrones-related mania" story, which wasn't as exciting, of being alone at my old apartment and staying up late listening to Day Late, Dollar Short and looking out into the hallway from my bedroom and suddenly being terrified. I didn't want to look into any of the other rooms. I didn't know what was out there. Jason tapped me on the chest and said, "You were scared of what was IN HERE."

Thrones - "Obolus"
Thrones - "Algol"
Thrones - "Simon Legree"

This page is gonna be on hiatus (it wasn't already??) for most of the next month while I try to get an actual, on-paper zine together. It'll be just like this page only it'll be multiple pages and mostly interviews and probably not have any reviews of records. And it'll have a cool cover, hopefully! In the meantime, devote yourself to listening to Morricone, Jackson Conti, F/i, and this Xela tape. Throw in some Dutronc, too, even if you're like "alright, enough with French shit already" to yourself. And most importantly, be excited for Life...The Best Game In Town. Also, watch the trailer for Zardoz, but NOT the movie itself. You can skip Indiana Jones and the This Is Awful, as well.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

C'est la confiance et le courage.
Holy crap, am I behind on this thing or what? I think I forgot how to write these posts. But I also timed it perfectly, since I just got a Moog the other day and I was going to write about Steve Moore's Demo 2003. Originally issued in an edition of 50 CD-Rs, The Hlava label recently stepped up and reissued it as an LP in a slightly less impossible edition of 500 (it's also available as a download from his myspace space). If you're into Zombi--Moore's main gig--then you're definitely a nerd and you're definitely ready for this. Or if you're into any kind of Goblin-y soundtrack work, you'll again be a nerd and be happy and possibly scared. Or if you thought Andrew MacLaren's songs on the Newark! Here Too! comp. were the best songs, you'll have something new to secretly be really jazzed about. Nothing terribly complicated and obviously owing a huge debt to the backlog of Tomitas and Jarres and Carloses, etc., but fuck it. He does it like he fucking means it. Put this on and SPACE OUT! Or don't put this on if you don't really want to space out.

Steve Moore - "The Jefferson Institute"
Steve Moore - "Waves"
Steve Moore - "The White Knight"

There's also the Bastro/Codeine 7". I feel like I read something that said this was more of a collaborative record than a traditional split, but I'm still not sure. The A-side--a cover of Pierre Barouh and Francis Lai's "A L'ombre Des Nous"--is credited to the songwriters, while the B-side--a jarring piece of moody, discordant late-80s instrumental art-punk in five or so actual pieces called "Produkt"--is credited to both Bastro and Codeine. And if you look up info on either song you'll get multiple answers for who did what. But what's probably more important is that both songs will make you wish you were living in 1991. Or that 1991 was living in 2008. That was my initial reaction anyway. "A L'ombre Des Nous" especially is a total devastator. I put it on and kind of had my jaw dropped. Who does something like this anymore? Who finds the slow Slint jams in old soundtrack ballads? I never fucked with Codeine since I've never been able to make it through a whole Low record in one sitting, but they kill it on this 7" and I'm wondering what else they've killed. And "Produkt" is throwaway Bastro jams that are still pretty cool and summarize the entire '90s DIY hardcore aesthetic (which they more-or-less helped prototype). But again, my main feeling about this record was that it was the most refreshing punk record I'd heard in a while. And it's not even that the punk/hardcore/etc. scene now is that bad. I think I can actually say that now. Melodic hardcore looks like it's died out completely (at least around here, hopefully everywhere). Kids seem to be getting weirder and funnier and making bands that are weird and funny. Knowing when to start and when to stop is crucial, whether you're making music that's terrible or complaining about music that's terrible. Shit gets old and edges can get rounded off to the point where you're literally opening for Third Eye Blind. But there's always something else going on, and there's still the possibility that you'll hear a band covering a really good French song brilliantly and, at times, without a French accent.

Bastro/Codeine - "A L'ombre Des Nous"
Bastro/Codeine - "Produkt"

Check out the Plantlife song "Fool For U" here, or at least check out the first couple minutes (it's kind of long). The Santogold song isn't bad either. Errr no, actually--check out this Santogold song first. Imagine if that was on the radio instead of shitty Gwen Stefani songs. The world would be a little better. I found an old episode of MST3K that I've been trying to remember for 10 years. You can watch it starting here. What else?? Hmmm...oh this Doom beat is another reason I wanted a Moog. If you can tell me what the sample is from, I will be your biggest fan. Oh and thank you Kevin for giving me a really nice shout-out on Kpunk! I have never been called sharp and thoughtful in my life, I don't think.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

I know where you're coming from.
After we saw The Brown Bunny at the Dryden, Andrew and Tyler and I drove to Wegmans. We were in my 2002 Geo Prizm that might've had a Charles Bronson sticker on it at that point, which is probably the only thing I missed about that car after I got rid of it. It was in September or October. It was the nice kind of chilly that happens around then. You're not ready for it, and your teeth chatter and you fidget when you're outside but you really like it. Summer gets boring after a while. We were listening to a dub of my dad's copy of the White Album that has a skip partway through "Piggies", and I drove through a pothole right during the skip so it sounded like the pothole caused it. We got to Wegmans and I bought an Upstate Farms Cookies n' Cream Milk and it was fucking GREAT, and I tried to remember what happened in the movie, but I could barely remember anything. I remembered Chloe Sevigny smoking crack and some motorcycle race. I remembered Tyler and I cracking up during that scene where Vincent Gallo is talking to Chloe's mom and her grandma(?) is off to the side making a weird face, although when I saw it again it wasn't that funny. I remembered a huge blowjob even though Chloe was dead(?). And those were all kind of hazy. They're hazy even now. The only part that was clear then and now was that shot of rain coming down on his windshield as he's driving and the Gordon Lightfoot song playing over it. I don't pick up young girls at gas stations or drive bikes or get giant blowjobs much, but I do drive around and feel sad. That was like my whole life at that point. After I saw Repulsion, it was roughly the same deal. There was Catherine Deneuve looking young and unbelievably good. There was her rolling over in her bed and some random guy being there who maybe wasn't really there. There was the scene where she's talking to her friend at work about going to the movies where it seems like she's getting her shit together and is going to be fine. There was the dead guy in the bathtub. There were weird laytex hands coming through the wall. Mostly, though, there was her walking through the streets of London to upbeat early '60s jazz jams that sounded like they were supposed to be in another movie. I think about time travel to the '60-'70s and regular travel to Europe all the time, and every once in a while I think about what my personal theme song (for lack of a better term) would be. Hers was "Carol's Walk", I think (see if you can figure it out by reading this). I'd like mine to be any number of other Chico Hamilton songs or Cal Tjader stuff I've heard lately--West Coast-ish and breezy. Or "Ilgaz", for real. In truth it's probably closer to "Policenauts" at any given time, which I guess isn't bad. But not now.

Chico Hamilton - "Carol's Walk"
Chico Hamilton - "Languid Morbosity"
Chico Hamilton - "Sophisticated Thrilling"

I guess there are other songs besides "Night Of Joy" and "Dean's Dream" and whatever this Black Majesty song is called, but like what are they? Also: Tyler, this is that other Farah song from After Dark; Leah, I couldn't find a space for this on Homegirls: The Album (plus it's really long and I wasn't sure you'd be into it); Kelley, I posted this up before but wasn't sure if you'd heard it. That should cover my full readership, as far as I know. Do you read this and want a song directed at you? Let me know somehow. Oh and DUH--go here now!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

I thought it best if I cry.
It's got to be cool to be one of those guys who can rattle off a bunch of nonsense and have it come out perfectly formed and incredible, or to be one of those guys who can say one or two things that hang with you forever and almost call you out on some hidden shit you'd hidden even from yourself. The best I could do when I was in a band was stuff like "I've got a boner curse" and "We are not South America" and other stuff that was even more embarrassing, and in conversation I'll occasionally say stuff like "eat those farts like Pac-Man". It's not really the same thing. I'm not one of those guys. Mayo Thompson is definitely one of those guys, although I'm basing that on one week of listening to a reissue of his 1969 album Corky's Debt To His Father, and actually the most interesting thing about the record is that all the songs--as structured as they obviously are--feel like they could fall apart at any second but never do. I'm not really sure how they (Thompson and a bunch of people I'm guessing are from The Red Krayola) managed to keep it together--either by sheer will or mutual agreement not to stop playing until someone gave some kind of signal, or by playing really good bass lines and organ lines and horn parts (that are seriously the best things you'll hear all day), or because Thompson's voice sounds like D. Boon as Syd Barrett, or because he uses that voice to sing lines like "I'd like to get you alone just to know what you'd do". Or it could be otherworldly forces at work, turning what should be something creepy and irritating into something funny and awesome and relatable.

Mayo Thompson - "Dear Betty Baby"
Mayo Thompson - "Horses"
Mayo Thompson - "To You"

Speaking of otherworldly forces, check out Arthur Lipsett's Soundtracks, recently issued as an LP in limited numbers by Global A. While working for the National Film Board of Canada, Lipsett created sound and film collages that blew a lot of young filmmaker minds (apparently there's a reference in Star Wars to one of Lipsett's films) in the '60s. Soundtracks literally presents the complete audio tracks from four of his short films, and even without the visuals it's pretty fascinating and eerie--like Twilight Zone episodes constructed entirely out of random documentary footage. There's something terrifying about listening to disembodied speeches and machine sounds from the past, like it's coming from beyond the grave, but I can't stop listening. Plus, watch the first like 40 seconds of "21-87". It's the scariest shit. Not all of his work (or the little bit that I've seen) is that unsettling. Some of it's just beautiful shots of basic things you'd probably never see otherwise, and disparate elements put together to create a narrative. Whatever's happening on screen or on tape, though, there's a constant feeling that the world is really interesting and huge and there are ghostly things floating in the ether, above all else.

Arthur Lipsett Soundtracks

What else could you want? "I Feel", rare spy music, Failures, Heather Perkins? Everything Blank Dogs has ever done mixed in with good recommendations? I made a muxtape on my day off last week. Maybe you'll like that! You can listen to it here. It's got some songs I've mentioned here and some songs that are beyond discussion. It'll be up for a couple more days, and then I'll probably do a new one (I put a link up top, if you want to check). I'm going to try to do one every week, assuming I don't get sick of it, which is pretty likely.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

You should not square it off.
Sorry. There's a new Clutchy Hopkins record out on Ubiquity called Walking Backwards and it's wonderful--probably the official album of Summer evenings 2008, but just as essential to getting through some March-April doldrums, if you have those. It's not even about him living in a cave or maybe/maybe not existing, either. He could be Rainn Wilson and it would still be about songs broadcast out of some uncharted quadrant of the funk/jazz/soul/hip-hop feedback loop, that have their own interior logic and speak on the realities and surrealities of living without any actual speaking. And even when there are vocals, they're from that Ecko school of the blues (though maybe Darondo has better/worse cred than that?). It's like they were reading mine and Tyler's minds! Nothing as extreme as "I Got Kicked Off The Oprah Show" or Barbara Carr, but still. He made that shit work! You got an ass kickin' comin'!

Clutchy Hopkins - "Horny Tickle"
Clutchy Hopkins - "Percy's On The One"
Clutchy Hopkins feat. Darondo - "Love of a Woman"

The other day at work I had a 20 minute break between stuff I had to do (between getting back from delivering Expresses and having to go pick up mail from Hobart & William Smith), so I decided to go hang out in my car. While a bunch of my co-workers were chatting and maybe making plans to get some beers at Trotta's after work, I sat in my car listening to part of Gastr Del Sol's The Harp Factory On Lake Street, absently picked at scabs on my hand, counted some of the change in one of my cupholders, tried to fall asleep, and then read something about Taylor Swift in the latest issue of Blender. What the hell is wrong with me? Three weeks earlier, I left Jim Seidel's retirement party feeling like shit, wishing I had been better friends with him, wishing there was at least one person at work who I had any real connection with (maybe someone who hates it as much as I do?), and wondering why I keep a comfortable distance from everything when I know I'll only end up feeling uncomfortable and retarded and awkward later. And then a few days go by and I'm there in my car, zoning right back into "This Job Is Fucking Stupid/Being Alone Is Awesome" mode. I'd rather do NOTHING by myself than potentially do anything with you guys. I'd rather listen to some random There Will Be Blood/Silent Way hybrid and David Grubbs sing-talking (I think it's David Grubbs) than shoot the shit. Is that terrible? I mean I like Gastr Del Sol. I like that they did pretentious things but were natural and charming about it, and I can appreciate that they're part of a larger tradition of dorks doing cool shit. But it seems like the flip side of that appreciation is that, professionally, I'm going to continue being probably the worst version of myself for the rest of my life. It's the price you pay for trying really hard not to pay a price.

Gastr Del Sol - "The Harp Factory On Lake Street"

YESSSSSSSSSSS! Also, get your Bohack record here and your Venom and Cannibal Coke stage banter here. My favorite part of Discreet Charm can be found here starting at around the 4:51 mark. Sorry there are no subtitles. You can make up your own dialogue! If all else fails, go with Hugh or Lenny or Prince Vince. Or..."o"...skip directly to "Hollywood Freaks" and Dock Ellis' story.

Monday, March 17, 2008

All alone (I) saw a spark.
I was really reluctant to talk about Belong's Colorloss Record. I saw Pitchfork liked it a lot, which should have made it immediately suspect, and then I read a review of the Pitchfork review that made me feel totally grossed out about music writing and the internet. It was like watching Henry: Portrait Of A Serial Killer or something. It was like that feeling. But I can't deny that I like Colorloss Record. If daylight savings time and very, very early mornings fucked you up to the point where you were partly hallucinating all last week, you might like it in the same way that I do. That's a really specific endorsement. There's also the spectre of ambient German stuff from the '70s, British psych (all the songs are old psych covers), black metal drones, and avant classical work that I'm only kind of familiar with hanging over the whole record. And it's understandably been tagged as a shoegaze thing, although it's the most extreme shoegaze shit I've heard. Like you're half listening to air and half listening to a band roaring from down a hallway, which maybe makes it sound like it would be too challenging or really not enjoyable, but it actually feels right. Some things are just better when they sound terrible! Or maybe a better thing to say would be "production and engineering decisions are very important". Like there are those guitar parts that pop up towards the end of Blur's "Coffee and TV", where it sounds like there's something really wrong with Graham Coxon's guitar and it's probably going to explode. How did he get that sound? What the fuck is Belong even playing? Sometimes it's completely about the sound of something and nothing else.

Belong - "Late Night"
Belong - "My Clown"

"Frankie Teardrop" is the official Tyler-Matt national anthem. I'm not sure what that says exactly. Also, "Miami Morning Coming Down II" is different from "Miami Morning Coming Down I". I'm not crazy about Shane Smith, but anything about North Korea is fascinating and scary, and I'm fucking amazed they were able to a.) go there b.) shoot anything and c.) not get trapped forever in a North Korean prison FOREVER or brutally executed. Check out these snacks.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Yeah, I'd love a minute of time.
Hey, just want to talk about The Amps' Pacer real quick. Like literally I'm writing this as fast as I can because I don't want to get bogged down writing some long thing. I started thinking about Pacer after I saw The Breeders the other night. They played a couple songs from it almost right off the bat, which was a little unexpected (even though "Full On Idle" wound up on Title TK, but they didn't even play that) and nice. They also played a lot of stuff from Pod, which I still don't know very well, and a bunch of new stuff from Mountain Battles (including the song they just posted up on their site), and "No Aloha" and "Safari" and "Happiness Is a Warm Gun". It was a great show all around--they were fun, it wasn't too loud, nobody was obnoxious, I didn't get bored at all, there were only two bands on the bill, etc. Every show should be like that, minus the snow and cold, and maybe with some free coatchecks? But yeah, Pacer. This was the first Breeders-related record I ever got, and it was as much a summer '96 soundtrack for me as the KIDS soundtrack and Orange. Actually, this was probably the kind of band I really wanted to do before I wanted to do a band like The Chuds. Or if I could've done a combination of The Amps and "Dang". That would have been my shit! That could still be my shit. Pacer maybe isn't as nuanced as The Breeders' stuff, which is good and bad. Good in the sense that it's straight-up from start to finish and I can listen to the whole thing in one sitting and really enjoy it. But the weirder stuff on Breeders' records, or the stuff that doesn't work great or doesn't register at first but gets better the more you listen, is so good. Imperfections can be the whole deal. What's that Dean Martin line? "The problem with things that are perfect is that they're not very good"? Maybe it's not Dean Martin. It's on one of those Soft Focus episodes. Anyway, I can't remember the exact Amps line-up. I know it was Kim Deal and friends. You can find out somewhere (maybe in old copies of Spin you still haven't thrown out?), but it doesn't say in the liner notes. And it was released in '95, maybe while Kelly Deal was trying to clean up? How weird is it that she was on heroin? Maybe it's because she looks like a younger version of a woman I work with or because she was so funny and friendly and healthy-looking at the show, but I can't picture it at all. Also, were The Breeders the first to incorporate post-girl group girl group sounds into alternative rock? And are The Breeders one of the great punk bands of all time? These are things to think about.

The Amps - "I Am Decided"
The Amps - "Mom's Drunk"
The Amps - "Dedicated"

If you're in Rochester tomorrow (3/11), go see the last Ghost Harm show at the Bug Jar. Now there's one good band in town. Oh and Raunchy Sex is playing. I mean, there will be Raunchy Sex at the show? Check out this tape. Check out "Why Should I Love You". Check out Alf Metal.

Monday, March 03, 2008

My darling, I don't know.
Real quick, some things for a really nice day that's totally over at this point! First is Bully Records' recent Obession compilation, which has so many things going for it it's not even funny. There's the woman with headphones about to kiss a droid head on the cover, for starters. There's the general wealth and variety of obscure global '60s/'70s fun--mellow Brazilian sunshine and wild party jams that sound like actual parties, Turkish drug rock, Indian Saz-rockers, Uruguayan freakouts, distorted Peruvian soul men, Argentinian space pop, etc. There's more specific stuff, like the pre-Greg Ginn guitar at the beginning of Erkin Koray's "Hor Gorme Garibi", the sped-up Motown and guitar flutters of Ovni 87's "Sueno Un Camino", and the weird structure and instrumentation and adorable flatness of Suely E Os Kantikus' "Esperanto". There's the fact that you don't have to be an archaeologist with a money bin to hear these songs. And maybe most importantly, there's the larger function a compilation like this serves, reminding us that, while we have to suffer through Three Doors Down videos at the movies and local Cricket commercials, there are still a few people out there who aren't (or at least weren't) striving to be embarrassing dipshits. If you see this album anywhere at any time, get it.

Ovni 87 - "Sueno Un Camino"
Atomic Forest - "Obsession '77"
Erkin Koray - "Hor Gorme Garibi"
Suely E Os Kantikus - "Esperanto"

And also, there's Sven Libaek and His Orchestra and their Solar Flares. I know, more library shit for dorks, but hear me out. This is Sven's space-themed rarity from 1974, which means homemade synths, soft everything, and great song titles like "In Nebular Orbit", "Destination Omega 3", and "No Flowers On Venus". If you're obsessed with old episodes of Cosmos, you will doubly think this is awesome, maybe even as awesome as Carl Sagan's voice, wardrobe, fake spaceship, and ability to connect Dutch pioneers and ancient Greek heretics to future space endeavors. And like Obsession, this is another situation where you don't have to spend several figures that you don't have, thanks to Vadim. If you want to, though, check out Votary (who are in the process of putting out vinyl re-issues of a bunch of Australian jazz jewels, including the full Inner Space) and their secondhand list.

Sven Libaek - "Destination Omega 3"
Sven Libaek - "No Flowers On Venus"
Sven Libaek - "...And Beyond"

Other great comp. songs are Unwound and Honor Role. I don't know how, but I forgot to mention lost Rites of Spring demos, again brought to you by Chunklet, who are putting on a SXSW show that's also the best show of the modern age. Also, fuck it--I like the new Dead Meadow and I like Mogollar. Peace out, Jimmy.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

We'll get over it,
we'll go
around it.

It took me a while, but I finally dipped into the second disc of The Clean's 2003 Anthology collection. The first disc's '80-'82 material -- garage-y punk filtered through New Zealand hillsides, inexplicable hippie/Rugrats artwork, goofball/potentially serious shit going down at the same time -- became a weekly, then daily thing for me without me even realizing it. Meanwhile, the second disc sat there, filling me with later-era LP dread (see: Black Flag, Minutemen, Bad Brains, etc.). But as it turns out, the songs culled from 1989's Vehicle, 1994's Modern Rock, and 1996's Unknown Country that fill up disc 2 are perhaps catchier, stranger, and more endearing than even their classic early work. The tracks from Vehicle illustrate the correct use of late '80s/early '90s college rock (a genre I have an endless soft spot for, if not always the stomach) and have been playing on a loop in my head for weeks, while the songs from Modern Rock and Unknown Country get mellow and odd, sometimes turning into Spacemen 3 jams minus the drugs, if that's possible. The end result is a lot of instant nostalgia tripping to that '90s era I was born just a little too late or too shy to be a part of, and I guess that's really the main draw for me as far as The Clean goes. They wrote great pop songs without being super obvious about it, that remind me of things I didn't get to do. They were informal and had sort of a small-town vibe, and did simple things that worked while doing weirder things that worked just as well.

The Clean - "Drawing to a Hole" (from Vehicle)
The Clean - "The Blue" (from Vehicle)
The Clean - "Secret Place" (from Modern Rock)
The Clean - "Franz Kafka at the Zoo" (from Unknown Country)

Part of the reason I haven't posted much in the past few weeks is that I've been been working these really long days that put me in general space-out mode, delivering mail like a zombie, driving dead-eyed through dark grey countryside, and not moving for whole weekends at a clip. It's not a life I would recommend to anyone, but it puts you in the ideal mindset for Guitar Soli, the Numero Group's latest addition to their Wayfaring Strangers lost-folk series. If you're not into solo acoustic instrumental finger-picking in the Fahey/Kottke/American Primitive vein, I would say maybe stay the fuck away from this. But I would also say that even within the songs that are too bluesy or showy or formal, there are solid genuine moments, and that the best of Guitar Soli's obscure, self-funded, mostly-'70s material works with mood and creepy notes and uses blues-slides only enough to remind me why I like stuff like Beggar's Banquet. There is also the added bonus and mystique of lost '70s dad dudes who became religiously obsessive about acoustic possibilities and forms, some developing and building their own instruments, and some recording lone genius demos and then saying "I was just too lazy to retune the guitar". And as usual, The Numeros' impeccable research and beautiful packaging are on display, with particularly awesome original artwork from Mike Davis.

Richard Crandell - "Diagonal"
William Eaton - "Untitled"
Dan Lambert - "Charley Town"

First of all: belated song for Linda Werts is "The Golden Age". Second of all: Drill, Saw, Vise's "Local 12" kills and I feel retarded for having forgotten about them. Thirdly, here's that Bonnie "Prince" Billy cover I mentioned a couple posts ago. A couple TV things that deserve entire posts unto themselves: the Faces doing "Maybe I'm Amazed" and Johnny Knoxville & Co. dancing around to "Alright" at the end of their MTV takeover (sorry there's no clip of this...or is there??). They're also good for counter-acting the unstoppable despair of The Wire's final season. Goddamn.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Secret thinkers sometimes listening aloud.
It's a shame that Weird War never really caught on. What was the problem exactly? Were the line-up and name changes too confusing? Was the mission behind this particular Ian Svenonius-led group not clear enough (if so, go here)? Was their aesthetic too much of a pastiche? Were people alright with perpetual teenage greasers seceding from the U.S. and '60s garage gospel, but not alright with economically disadvantaged Funkadelic/foreign psych pop theorists trying to dismantle the culture? Were people tired of trying to figure out if something was for real or a joke, or if it could be everything at once? Were people not into Alex Minoff's guitar tone? And what about 2004's If You Can't Beat 'Em, Bite 'Em? It wasn't the second coming of I Suck On That Emotion (nothing could be), but it was something. It had "AK-47", perhaps their greatest moment/greatest song ever written. It had these great inspirational songs, like the title track (which has a rap at the end by JJ Rox that reminds of that part in "She Ain't Got The Boom Like I Do") and the soothing, Eddie Hazel-ish "One By One". It had cover art inspired by Lou Reed's Live: Take No Prisoners, and came with a fold-out board game. Not to mention, have you seen the video for "Grand Fraud", or their performance of "AK-47" on the first Burn To Shine DVD, or even just a picture of it? OR their performance of "Session Man" from Las Historias Mas Sexy Del Mundo? Not saying Soft Focus and The Psychic Soviet aren't great, or that Extra Golden isn't cool, or even that everything Weird War did was spectacular. But even when they were off, they were still kind of on.

Weird War - "AK-47"
Weird War - "If You Can't Beat 'Em, Bite 'Em"
Weird War - "One By One"

Some 30 years earlier, there was David Bowie's Young Americans. Ostensibly his Soul/R&B record, it was coked-out and personalized and skewed enough to be closer to a white pop Funkadelic thing (sidebar: if there's a connection between Young Americans and Weird War, it's a song like "Fascination"). It also features two of his more enduring hits (the title track and "Fame"), Carlos Alomar playing guitar, a Beatles cover, and sometimes brilliantly shoddy vocal work. When I think of Young Americans, though, I immediately think of the song "Win". I got really obsessed with it when I first heard it, right around the time I was making a 2nd mix cd for my friend Teresa. I haven't seen her in a while. I saw her at my friend John's wedding, where we realized we both dance like '80s teens, and then I saw her again exactly a year ago, at my surprise 27th birthday party, where she and her husband, Jeff (aka Licky), gave me a plastic robot claw and a large poster of hairless cats. A few years prior I made her a cd just before she left for school in New York, which included, among other things, Bowie's "Sons of the Silent Age" (from 1977's "Heroes"). Months later I sent her the crappier sequel mix that also included "Win", and it struck me later that in both cases the Bowie songs felt like centerpieces. I wanted her to hear "Mannequin" and "Hoe Cakes" and everything, but the Bowie shit was a little more important. Lyrically both songs say things that would make more sense coming from someone else, a real intimate hysteria and weirdness that was world's apart from where we were. But they're also full of dialogue with a more general sense of personal history. Bowie isn't singing to someone he barely knows, he's singing to someone who's going to understand what he's trying to say, even if it's something like "I feel you driving and you're only the wheel". Even if it's a couple really good songs that have nothing to do with anything, but are kind of like, "Our history isn't exciting, but it's a still a history, and that's something."

David Bowie - "Win"
David Bowie - "Fascination"
David Bowie - "Young Americans"

Total hits from another great Tyler Wertsday mix include Al Kooper, Funkadelic (did I just fucking mention them again??), and Scorps, and that's just within the first five songs. Mi Ami's "Ark of the Covenant" is music to my ears, LITERALLY. Their African Rhythms 12" is finally out and I'm pumped and psyched, but I was big into Black Eyes, like a lot. Also--The fucking Whip demo! Also, Thin Lizzy is awesome and Soulja Boy constantly outdoes himself. These are facts.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Cosseted by white hazy mornings.
Goddamn! One of the great things I got for Christmas (and I got nothing but solid gold hits from people) was a burned copy of The Music Library, the collection of '60s/'70s sound library/mood music/source music tracks compiled by Johnny Trunk and friends as a bonus egg to his/their definitive overview of the Library Record scene. Some total nerd shit, for sure, but also, as Melanie Wood put it when she gave it to me, an album that "has Matt Werts written all over it". Yup, this is the music that soundtracks my ideal world, in case you weren't sure. In more general terms, this is something the Doom/Madlib/Morricone fan in your life will potentially go bonkers over. Tons of vintage cornball jazz and funk and pop that's more incredible and transporting than what most people take way serious, not to mention the perfect score for flipping through those Taschen ad books. Especially check out Guy Pedersen's "Kermesse Non Heroique", which is like the "Payload Theme Song" of rare library jams, sort of. Thank you again, Mel (and Jesse?)!

Guy Pedersen - "Kermesse Non Heroique"
Luis Conti - "Zapata"
Basil Kirchin and Roy Neave - "First Step (b)"

Another wonderful New Year's time record that needs some shouting out is Michio Kurihara's solo record from last year, Sunset Notes. If I had technically heard this in 2007, it would have made my year-end wrap-up. I should've just included it anyway. Kurihara is probably best known for his endless work in the Japanese psych community (Ghost, White Heaven, etc.) and with former Galaxie 500-ers Damon & Naomi, who released Sunset Notes on their 20/20/20 label. I had only been aware of him through his collaborative album with Japanese doom-gazers Boris, last year's (or maybe it was 2006's) increasingly awesome Rainbow. On Rainbow, he goes all over the place and gets super wild (seriously check the last couple minutes of "Starship Narrator"), but Sunset Notes is much more restrained and rarely gets psyched out. It's more college rock and surf worship and soothing lite ballads sung by Ai Aso--kind of a virtuoso's bedroom project, which means you get low-key experiments, but they're presided over by a legit genius guy and his friends, who are also pretty legit. I think my new goal for any band I play in from now on should be to sound like "Twilight Mystery of a Russian Cowboy". Imagine hearing that played by some band at a house show! Holy shit.

Michio Kurihara - "Twilight Mystery of a Russian Cowboy"
Michio Kurihara - "The Wind's Twelve Quarters"
Boris with Michio Kurihara - "Starship Narrator"

Damn, what else? Uhhh, ESG's "Erase You" and The Savages' "The World Ain't Round, It's Square". If I could put up Chico Hamilton's "People" and Bonny Billy's Phil Ochs cover, I totally would. If you're not reading Indestructible Wolves of the Apocalypse Junkyard, you're crazy, but if you are reading it, you're probably also crazy. Be sure to check out his soundtrack picks. Check out Lovefingers' picks while you're at it. And definitely, definitely check out David Lynch on phone movie-watching. Take that, Larry Brown.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

It's so obvious.
So yeah, 2007: The Year That Was.
I bought a bunch of Harry Pussy records and French stuff. I watched The Wire a lot. I wore the same pair of pants virtually every day. I think that pretty much covers it. As far as albums, mini-albums, tapes, mini-tapes, etc. go, there was a ton of stuff that totally ripped. No Age took Brian Eno and loud bedroom punk and united absolutely everyone in the world ("Boy Void", "Dead Plane"). Big Business delivered another pleaser, this time with the assistance of master helpy David Scott Stone ("Hands Up", "Another Beautiful Day In The Pacific Northwest"). Para One released a fuzzy, warm, melancholy space-synth score to what looks to be a heavy-shit film involving water gymnastics ("Naissance des Pieuvres", "Sunless"). Fucked Up continued their gimmick of being really interesting and good in a scene that's predominantly neither ("Year of the Pig"). The Budos Band came back with more dusty afro-soul, only the dust was sand and the soul was possessed ("Origin of Man", "Mas O Menos"). Dawn McCarthy & Bonny Billy made it possible to have The Letting Go on two consecutive year-end lists ("Strange Form of Life", "Lay and Love"). Italians Do It Better was the other awesome label of the year, dropping d.i.y. italo-disco hits from Glass Candy, Farah, and others that made me want to dance kind of slow and relaxed ("Law of Life", "Etheric Device"). Bone Awl and Blank Dogs released an onslaught of severely angry black metal and warped new wave, respectively, and I had trouble keeping up with it ("Smiling Star-Wide", "Leaving The Light On"). PJ Harvey went for broke and made a pretty affecting record centered around the piano when she wasn't necessarily that proficient on it ("Silence", "White Chalk"). Gonzales did the same thing, only he was pretty proficient and he did it a couple years ago, though it wasn't officially released in the States until this year ("Gogol", "Gentle Threat"). Oh and Deerhoof were awesome, again ("The Galaxist", "Look Away"). As usual, there were great things I didn't get around to and mediocre things I took a chance on and terrible things that people seemed to love for whatever reason. The stuff I really spent time with, though, was pretty fucking decent.

In my last post (before the Christmas one) I mentioned that I was "truly bowled over by one record in particular". That record was Vothana's Hoang Gia 10". While the indie world continued to champion a lot of patronizing shlock and Radiohead awkwardly tried to stay inside and outside the music business by making their new album available in every conceivable format at every conceivable price, Vothana (aka Vietnamese black metal savant/U.S. resident Lord Nebulah) produced another genius epic vortex of extreme misanthropic extremeness and blown-out melodic triumphs, then destroyed the remaining copies of the already-limited MLP with a set of hammers when he feared it had fallen into the wrong hands, eventually swearing off any and all distribution to the States. In 2007 this felt awesome, as though someone was finally being brutally honest about how shitty, corrupt, thoughtless, and culturally barren the world (and particularly America) had become, and doing it through 15-minute blasts of nuclear-winter white noise histrionics, unintelligible demon growls, comically over-the-top anti-religious fury, layers of corpse paint, and a sense of exclusivity. (As a side note, some of these ideas pop up in the latest issue of ANP Quarterly. In Cali Dewitt's interview with artist and Youth Attack label head Mark McCoy, McCoy touches on the non-monetary value of limited records, that "to keep something obscure is all we have left to maintain its importance--once it is dispelled it becomes safe again". In Aaron Rose's interview with filmmaker Harmony Korine, he talks briefly about Norwegian Black Metal, its use in his 1997 film Gummo, and how "it was just like the least commercial music that a person could create!") Of course, what Nebulah is actually saying on Hoang Gia is probably a lot of paranoid ramblings about "Jew traitors" and "Zog". But the music is so genuinely compelling and thrashy and, in many ways, ambiguous, that it leaves itself open to all kinds of dramatic interpretation. Getting past the often retarded black metal aesthetics and absurd hate spiels (and, fuck, even finding a copy) is obviously the tough part, but if you're up for the challenge, you can maybe pick up on what made Hoang Gia the most astounding, mind-warping record I heard all year (and, in all likelihood, what made his other release this year, Trên Con Duòng Danh Vong, the most astounding, mind-warping record I will never hear).

Apologies of course for all my holiday and post-holiday laziness. I will make it up to you by directing you to this. I'm dying to talk about other things, so check back soon.