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.