Tuesday, September 28, 2010

NEWS: I played live music in front of people for the first time in like 5 years the other day. My band Carpet Crawlers played the excellent Poetry Vs. Fiction event in Geneva at the fantastical Cracker Factory, aka the coolest space in the area, or maybe the world. The photo to the left (click on it) is what Carpet Crawlers looked like when we weren't playing, or between our two songs, one of which scared the hell out of people. Tyler (drums) played like Animal from the Muppets, and the acoustics of the giant room made him sound like 100 drummers at once. The guy serving wine at the other end of the building actually spilled shit when Tyler played. I played the analog synth and didn't blow people's ears out as much. On the first song I tried to make these weird fire works/bird noises. Second song was a little quieter, more like spaceships computing that was also kind of Earth-ish? It was like later Coltrane crossed with Goblin, or Zombi, but with maybe one vague concept to guide us that wasn't even a concept. College professors liked us, and some people walked out. It ruled so much. The poetry and fiction readers were excellent, and I especially liked Mike Faloon's work. I picked up his book, The Hanging Gardens of Split Rock, and I'm convinced it's great even though I haven't yet read it. He saw Servotron at least twice, what more do you need to know? But seriously I'm going to read it and you should pick it up.

Speaking of books, I need to stop buying books. I buy like four a week now. Today I got two in the mail (Charles Willeford's I Was Looking For a Street, Bruce Russell's Left-Handed Blows) and ordered another one (Bruno Schulz's The Street of Crocodiles and Other Stories). I also just got Joan Didion's The White Album, and I have two Raymond Chandler books that I bought over the summer that I haven't even flipped through yet. I also got Bill Callahan's book, Hans Fallada's Every Man Dies Alone, and a copy of Bukowski's Women that I bought after I got breakfast with my friend Brady during one of his two visits this summer. This is on top of the 3-5 comics I buy PER WEEK, and the stack of books I borrowed from my dad two years ago (Hemingway, Pynchon, Mailer, etc.), and Looking For The Magic (which I started over a year ago), and Americana, which I'm almost through but should have been through back in July, when I spent a week either sitting around the house in extreme sloth-mode or going to my sister's pool and drinking Coronas. What the hell am I doing? When do I think I'm gonna read all this shit? On lunch breaks? In the 20 minutes between when I get into bed and when I fall asleep? I've finished a couple things: Julia Wertz's Drinking At The Movies and the 6th volume of Scalped. If you've read Wertz's Fart Party books (the first volume is due to be reissued shortly) or seen her work on the www internet, you know what to expect. Funny stuff, and some kind of serious stuff, but then more funny stuff. It's good. Scalped is second only to Stray Bullets in my mind. I want someone to make an HBO series out of it, but I can't decide who (like who I want to exec produce it, adapt it, direct the episodes). Oh and Johnny Ryan's Prison Pit: Book Two and the second Fuck This Life book should be added to your cart RIGHT THIS SECOND.

My music-buying has been just as bad. I went to the Antique Mall in Farmington to see if I could find a good belated b-day gift for my friend Justin. I wanted to find something cool for his garage/ping-pong area/darts room. He has a nice portrait of Kenny Rogers in there, so I was looking for something along those lines. Maybe just another portrait of Kenny Rogers. Instead I saw more used Nazi memorabilia than I expected (flags, arm bands, moderately scorched SS helmets) and got creeped out thinking about the local market for that shit, and then I bought collectible drinking glasses (Charlie Brown, Empire Strikes Back) and some older reasonably-priced LPs--Neil Young's first record, Johnny Cash's Bitter Tears, Todd Rundgren's Something/Anything?, and Rolling Stones's Flowers. Young and Stones records were musts because I've had "I've Been Waiting For You" and "Back Street Girl" in my head a lot. Cash and Rundgren could've waited, but I wanted them. Most of my favorite songs now are long as shit. Bardo Pond's "Lomand", Bo Hansson's "Migration Suite", Law Of The Rope's "Thy Own Throat", New Life's "New Life". I like short songs, too. Aias' "La Truita", Cheap Trick's "He's A Whore". The Arts' "I Am Ye Charged Black Candle Cursings", The Sapphires' "Who Do You Love". Birkin and Gainesbourg's "Orang Outan" can be hard to shake. So stupid. There are a million things I'm overlooking right now. I'll think of them later.

Anyway, I'll update this thing more. I've had complaints. New issue of geneva13 should be out maybe next month? I already wrote my piece, about Fall music/reading material. Go get the Love Pork tape and go see Beast Man in Rochester on...Thursday? Gotta double check that.

Friday, July 23, 2010

TOTAL RECAP: I'm moved into my new apartment, which is located exactly where I described it in my last post. I didn't mention that it's also next to a performance square area, where boring live bands play as loud as they can every thursday night (cover bands, bands that have singers who really want to SING, etc.), and where teens hang out after dark and start fights, call each other "MOTHERFUCKER" and "PUSSY" and wear wife-beaters and giant shorts. The Old Farmer's Inn Bar is down the street, too. Do you like human garbage? Leathery faces? I look at that place and imagine what the inside might be like. It's gotta be like the back of the Bang Bang Bar, it just has to be.

But anyway, some things from the past month and a half, when I didn't have internet or cable for a while. I read a lot: comics, Brian Evenson's Baby Leg, Bryan Charles' book about Wowee Zowee, parts of Luc Sante's The Factory of Facts. I'm working my way through Don DeLillo's Americana. Holy shit, can he write. I picked up his Libra and Mao II, probably gonna start them next. I also started Bruce Eaton's book about Radio City, plus Christopher Hitchens' new book (speedy recovery!). I went to Charleston, South Carolina to meet up with my friend Melinda, and we took a car down to Florida. We saw vultures, helicopter bugs, a fully naked older gentleman by the side of the road near the beach. We swam with some fish in the waters off Key West, saw a woman with a confederate flag bikini top, saw chickens and roosters roaming free. I drank at the bar where Hemingway drank. There were two of them, actually, and one of them had old bras hanging from the ceiling. I sat on a stool with Arlo Guthrie's name on it. When we walked around Charleston, I decided I should live there.

Music-wise, I've been buying records left and right and listening to the same 3 or 4 things over and over. The Cap'n Jazz vinyl re-issue is cool for the songs, obviously, and also for Tim Kinsella's liner notes, which are...bleak? I can't tell. But they're worth a read. There's a Chain and The Gang 7" out now that's much better than the full-length, and the full-length isn't even bad. Looks like it's sold out at K (I just barely got a copy, it was a miracle), so check around. Got the Kinks Pye Set, which is on constant rotation. Favorite song right now is "Don't Ever Change". Or "Tired Of Waiting For You", or "Something Better Beginning". I'm stuck on Kinda Kinks, basically. Yesterday I put on my Hank Williams best-of set and put a public access fishing show on mute and it was pretty relaxing. I like "I Can't Help It (If I'm Still In Love With You)" and "Jambalaya". Last month, I was driving down Park Ave, listening to the first Meat Puppets album, and I started almost crying. Long story, slipped back into a fog for a minute, but it's a funny picture. Some guy driving down the street on a beautiful day, blaring "Dolphin Field" or "Melons Rising", sniffling. I finally started listening to Smog, too.

Shit, I was planning on writing a lot more, and now I can't remember anything. And this is my last day of vacation so I want to be extra lazy, so fuck this. Go look at my tumblr if you haven't (just put up my 500th post, a picture of a ceramic Santa praying to a ceramic baby Jesus). More songs and funny videos (THIS!) and photos. Oh and some drawings I unearthed. I think I may have done them, but I can't remember. One is of my William "Fridge" Perry action figure. Be sure to watch Louis CK's show, too. The opening credits alone crack me up. I'm working on a podcast for geneva13, which should be done maybe in the next week (please do not hold your breath). Playlist is settled, I'll let you know. RIP Andy Hummel and Harvey Pekar.

Monday, May 31, 2010

I'll be pretty much basically internetless for a couple weeks, but I swear you won't even notice. In the meantime, check out some things, starting with "The Other Girls". I know I mention Vivian Girls all the time, and if you're not interested, fine. Be that way. But I like that Cassie Ramone sometimes has a Stevie Nicks voice without trying (it's more pronounced on "Moped Girls"), and I'm 100% down with a chorus that goes "I just wanna spend my time inside my mind". Also, it starts with a crazy fake-out, like Costello's "Man Out Of Time" and Beauty Pill's "Rideshare". Also, it's 6 minutes and kind of builds to something. Also, it's just good. Elsewhere: I've been listening to the White Fence record all the time, Helium videos are enjoyable, Personal & the Pizzas are the best band going. Oh and my friend Kelley, who does a great blog called Psychedelic Elvis, will be in town this week spinning oldies, which should be ragical. So yeah, lots of things. See you soon from my new place above the jewelers and the salvation army, next to the upstairs bank offices! See you in the car, best wishes, Milhouse.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

I don't know a sin I haven't found.
Hey! Sorry I blanked on the whole month of March and almost all of April. Hope people are still reading this even though I kind of jumped ship to Tumblr for no reason (other than laziness probably?). I also hope people (you specifically) went out and tore shit up on Record Store Day 2010. I wasn't even excited about it until the day before, when I read the list of decent RSD releases and then had this sudden realization that I still love music and buying records. I mostly buy comics now, it's weird. But I bought a ton of vinyl, more than I thought I would, and felt great about it. The stores I like got a bunch of money and the shelves I like got more things to hold. And I actually managed to find a bunch of this year's RSD-only vinyl releases! Last year I couldn't find any. I had to scour eBay later and pick up some of them for slightly inflated prices. One that I still haven't picked up (at least in physical form) from last year is The Breeders' Fate To Fatal 12". You can download it pretty easy, but last I checked it was around $40 on eBay, limited to 500 copies, hand-screened, I think. But has everyone heard it? It's easier to handle than Mountain Battles, which is great, but takes some patience. Fate To Fatal feels a little fresher, totally unforced. It's not a long journey. It's only four songs. The title track comes direct from the '90s. "The Last Time" isn't a Stones cover, but does feature Mark Lanegan. A guy's voice on a Breeders song! So disorienting. "Chances Are" might break your heart at the right time. "Pinnacle Hollow" sounds like a Neil Young cover, but I'm pretty sure it isn't. It's a big vista and some hard, vague truths, the details never articulated but their presence hovering all around. I can go on and on about The Breeders, but I won't (I already have, sort of). I just didn't know if people had heard this record, and I wonder if people put new Breeders stuff into the "I'll check that out later" pile. You should check this one out now, or at least sooner.

The Breeders - "Fate To Fatal"
The Breeders - "The Last Time"
The Breeders - "Chances Are"
The Breeders - "Pinnacle Hollow"

Meanwhile: I'm going through a big Mississippi Records phase, or really a Mississippi Tape Comp phase. Download most/all of their tapes from the Root Blog. Type the word "mississippi" into the search field and go nuts. My favorites are What Are These Things With Big Black Wings? and Men With Broken Hearts. Oh and War Declaration is great, too. They're all good. Also going through an Everly Brothers phase. "Kentucky" and "Down In The Willow Garden" are good examples. Also obsessed with Stray Bullets. Do you have some of the later issues and do you want to let me borrow them? I take good care of borrowed books. I'd treat Stray Bullets back issues like the Shroud of Turin or the original Constitution. It's the best series I've ever read, at least so far. Also: new Max Morton zine, Mentholated Suburbia, is available now. I'm only telling you this because I already got my copy.

ps--Happy Birthday Leah!! Last night at her party we watched this video, plus the AVNs, which were drastically short, I thought. I got her an issue of a vintage adult mag called Black Silk Stockings, which I bought at the Antique Mall on 332 and had to ask an old lady to fetch for me from behind a glass case. Also got her the "Get Out of My Dreams" 45. Leah, if you're reading this: you still have two more gifts on the way. Barf Town 2: More Barfing!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

To this day I swear it was nice.
When I mentioned Silk Flowers' As Above So Below record a couple months back, I sort of downplayed just how much I was listening to it. There was a point right after I got it (middle of December) when I would put it on after work and play it for what felt like hours--side A, flip, side B, flip, side A, flip, etc. That's calmed down a bit, but hasn't really stopped, and now I have it on my iPod and sometimes listen to it while walking around delivering mail. It's so good! And strange. In the song I posted before ("Falling Palms"), there are notes that get played and then immediately begin to fly out of control, like they can't be reigned in, and even though the song doesn't feature any vocals or words, there's some kind of narrative going on. And the creep-o synths at the beginning, and the guitars that come in! It's fucking great. But who do you recommend this to? People who post pictures of themselves holding Bauhaus records? People who like Cold Cave? I actually don't know anything about Bauhaus. With Cold Cave, you can run close to something like Pille Palle Alle Pralle (that's not a knock, either), while Silk Flowers could be working in an office down the hall from Eliane Radigue, where she's playing drones using an old refrigerator or some kind of air conditioning unit. I'm not saying you can't dance to it or meet girls to it, it's just different. Aviram Cohen sounds like he's making fun of '50s horror villains, and there are distant mechanical/extra-musical sounds, the sound of a car idling and computer thought bubbles and TV static. Sometimes you're in the castle level of a Sega game, sometimes the chord changes are awesome. Are you into those types of things? Maybe you're into zoning out and dancing a little bit, or staying home and picturing night life, or maybe you like drawings. Maybe you like finding things in a place you wouldn't have thought to look. I just think this record kills.

Silk Flowers - "I Walk With You"
Silk Flowers - "Crescent Glow"

I turned 30 a couple weeks ago, and it wasn't so bad. I'd assumed it would feel like a kind of death, or like it would have a sting to it, but it didn't. When you're in your 20s, it's your job to be reckless and sleep on people's floors, have questionable facial hair, fuck things up repeatedly, do a lot of heavy thinking even though you really, really don't know shit. Turning 30 was a big step away from that. It felt like a retirement from that. I was in Barnes and Noble the other day and I heard what I think may have been Vampire Weekend on the in-store radio. I got some books, paid for them, and walked out. Whoever that music is for is officially none of my business, you know what I mean? I'm 30. They're not talking to me (lyrically, maybe; musically, not even close). Breaking music down by age-group isn't a great thing and it doesn't always work, but sometimes it does. It might not apply to Vic Chesnutt. He was 45 when he died this past Christmas, and plenty of people loved his music, and when I saw him back in whenever it was, June or July, it wasn't just a crowd of people 30 and up watching him. I went with Leah, who's 25, and when I mentioned the show later to my friend Erik, who I think is like 21-22, he was pissed that he hadn't gone. I've just been listening to At The Cut a lot, and I've been daydreaming about travelling south and having a house of my own, and reading a lot and getting a dog. There's something about his songs that makes the pace of being older seem nice and appropriate, and never boring. Listen to the guitars (strings?) on "Philip Guston"! The Silver Mt. Zion people and Guy Picciotto did an incredible job here as well. It's a really beautiful record. Oh and the lyrics to "We Hovered With Short Wings" go like this (capitalized just like it is in lyric booklet):

we hovered with Short wings
over the Hillock hillcrest
Our breath like radiation
glowing, showing Bones
with Much bellowing And roaring
a Change of Directioning
We wrench around
dumbfounded At our wretchedness
hungry As a hunter
our Breath is Keen opinion
the Old guard plays patty-cake
with The edgy Conferees

Vic Chesnutt - "We Hovered With Short Wings"
Vic Chesnutt - "Phillip Guston"
Vic Chesnutt - "Flirted With You All My Life"

Some other things (tumblr things): Deep Wound, Pussycat, Mark McCoy, and this Hope Sandoval & The Warm Inventions song that sounded like a Truth & Soul comp song from a distance the other night. Seriously great. Two books I read this morning were Noir and Mesmo Delivery (not trying to brag, but the copy I read is an original Ad House version!), plus a big chunk of Kill All Your Darlings. Constant bookworming! Also watched Inglourious Basterds again and continue to be in love with Emmanuelle Mimieux. Also, did you know Middle America broke up? WHAT THE FUCK. My other new band project, long in the planning stages, will now feature a girl named Debbie playing bass and hopefully, if we're lucky, an ounce of what MA had going on. I wish I could post a song from their demo/tape but I forgot to have Tyler burn it for me. Next time.

Friday, February 19, 2010

General update: Hey! So, I've been in a total fucking fog for the past two months. I've been staring straight ahead at nothing, shoving food into my mouth without even tasting it, talking to people and not really thinking about what I'm saying. I think Christmas was good, and then New Year's was alright, and then everything kind of went haywire, so I kind of went autopilot. I started reading, pretty much all the time, and when I listened to music, it was partly just so that I wouldn't have to hear myself think. There was a lot of Figure 8 ("I Better Be Quiet Now", "LA", "Everything Means Nothing To Me"), and I tried to picture Prince covering those songs. Then there was Big Star ("The Ballad of El Goodo", "Thirteen", "September Gurls") because I guess I needed '70s pop in a huge way, and then a lot of Roxy Music ("Beauty Queen", "2 HB") and the first Eno record ("The Paw Paw Negro Blowtorch") to balance it out. Tons of Elvis Costello, too ("Accidents Will Happen", "I Stand Accused", "Man Out Of Time"). Lately I've been jazzed about the LA Nuggets box ("Jump Jive & Harmonize", "If You Want This Love", "The Times To Come") and ESPECIALLY the Max G. Morton mixtapes over at Workin' Nights (the other mixes are probably great, too, I just haven't listened to them yet; I've heard good things about Tortilla Blanket). Oh and Agoraphobic Nosebleed, Galaxie 500, Oliver Onions, Neon Blud, Felt Letters, and some other shit. I think I spent a lot of time looking at pictures, either at They Don't Call Them Lovers... or at A Journey Round My Skull. Negative Pleasure is pretty cool, too, but I can't stand people who are maniac tumblrs. A couple posts a day, tops! For the love of christ! Oh and, not sure if these were secrets, but I love comics and I love Erykah Badu (I still need that Taco Loco record!). I'm trying to focus on things that are great/awesome/sawesome, and less on things that are horrible or things that I miss terribly from the moment I wake up, through my whole workday, through my dinners/beer blasts, through Buckingham Commons hang-outs, through comic talk and movie watching, through grocery shops and long commutes, 30th birthdays, Puppy Bowls, games of Phase 10 and Skip-Bo, all the way until I finally, finally fall asleep. Two of those good/great things are: I'm going to be DJing a wedding for some rad people in May, and I have a new band project in the works. There are always things that are totally not shit-tastic at all. So obvious! What else? Fuck, I don't know. More posts soon, and it won't just be me rambling about whatever. Album talk! For real!