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.