I've owned the 2LP of The Name Of This Band Is Talking Heads since 1984, but I can't tell you how wonderful this expanded masterpiece of a 2CD is.
Rhino Records is a national treasure. To say nothing of Talking Heads.
I've owned the 2LP of The Name Of This Band Is Talking Heads since 1984, but I can't tell you how wonderful this expanded masterpiece of a 2CD is.
Rhino Records is a national treasure. To say nothing of Talking Heads.
Tim has written a nice review of the LCD Soundsystem show in Boston last week. I heartily agree with his sentiments, but to summarize, it was a fucking fantastic. Best show I've seen in a long time, and that includes Thievery Corporation, Spoon, and McLusky.
Hmm. Well, Mclusky was damn good...still and all, LCD Soundsystem kicked total ass, and clobbered barriers between genres, doing some punk, some electronica, dance and noise all at once. At one point I remarked that they're more like Trans Am than Trans Am is. Which of course isn't true, b/c Trans Am avoids vocals, and James Murphy does the vocal thing very entertainingly. But TA is the closest thing I can think of to LCD's "melange," if you will. Will you?
[It's Fugazi Month at rotorglow.com/blog. For the month of July, for no particular reason other than I've been listening to them a lot, each post's title will be a Fugazi lyric. I'll try to make it vaguely topical.]
Cindy, Tim, Kat and I went to see Sunburned Hand of the Man and Four Tet at the MFA last week. It was supposed to be outdoors in the courtyard, but the weather didn't cooperate. So it was inside the big auditorium--Note to Malcolm Rogers: It's great that you're doing these events, and I know you don't have many options if the weather goes bad, but that's a terrible place to see music.
I have no pix of SHOTM, but I got a few of Four Tet in action. (Not that there's much to see.) Initially, I wasn't really sure what I though of his set. It was notably free of the beats and melodies that make his records so interesting (to me), so it was more of a noise set than I was expecting.
Over the last few days I've been remembering it more fondly, though, and I'll probably go see him at the Middle East when Sept rolls around.
Been on a bit of a music buying spree lately. Here's what been rotating oh so heavily:
20 Years of Dischord: Fantastic 3xCD compilation covering the first 20 years of Dischord Records. A song from every band, and a 3rd CD of unreleased/live stuff. And a, like, 130 page book with pix and history of each band. Some I knew about, others I didn't. In particular, this led me to....
Polymer and Post Mortem Anthem, both by Bluetip. Not sure how I missed this before, but I did. Diamond-saw guitars and lyrics to match. "I'm told my house is haunted, but I don't recall inviting you."
The Evens, S/T: Great, mellow-but-intense angsty stuff from Ian MacKaye and Amy Farina. Nice boy/girl harmonies and a baritone guitar, which I confess I'd never heard of before. Great stuff, very different and at the same time oddly similar to other Dischord/MacKaye Weltschmerz. Even the Fork likes it.
Man...So good. Old faves updated and played live (or at least, in front of an audience). Lots of the songs are now kind of house-y, but they're low and funky. Wish I could see them someday.
The Cherry Valance: TCV3 Grunchy (yep, new word..so?), sweaty, AC/DC-ish, double-drumkit cock rock. Everybody say "yeah."
Some of these things are not like the others. But hey....
"Got most of the big shit, there's still boxes inside. Tell me if you mind this is all I can take."
So, I've been grooving on some mixes over the last couple days. Only a few of them are still online, so links might be at a premium, but I'll try to describe why the mixes are so awesome.
The most recent thing to kick my ass is an Ursula 1000 mix on Lime Sorbet. Two standouts here are a Red Astaire white label called Back to the Old School, and a remix of Stevie Wonder's "Superstition" by (I guess) someone/something called "Wonder Boots." If you're reading this before 22 Sep 05, check out the mix. It's stupendous.
Now, I've seen Ursula 1000 a couple times, including an earth-shaking set at the old Lava Lounge (Lava Bar?) atop the HoJo in Kenmore Square in 2001. Brother Cleve had a regular night there a few years ago, and the seque into Ursula 1000's set was amazing. Quite a night. Ursula 1000's records are stupendous too, though I'm not sure anything matches All Systems Are Go-Go. There's supposed to be a new studio record out soon.
Segundo: Tim pointed me to an incredible guest set by Stromba on Beats in Space. A ton of old funked up reggae and dub. Never heard of Stromba before, and since they didn't deign to run down the setlist, I have no sense of who did any of the tracks. One stood out, though: a live version of Gary Numan's "Cars" on steel drums. Not the best song in the set, but certainly the weirdest.
There've been a variety of amazing Tiefschwarz mixes knocking around, and as I type this I'm listening to the new Tiefschwarz studio album Eat Books. I tried to wait for it to be released domestically, but all I could find was imports for US$25. I'm sure I'll buy it on CD too at some point, but for now I'm stuck with 128kbps.
Seems like there was more, especially given the foundation-rocking appearance of the nano on the scene, but I guess this is going to have to do for now.
I'll stop here, lest I have to change categories.
EDIT: durrr....left out a bunch of quotes in those links, which munged the whole post. I'm often more coherent than that. All fixed now.
(Why do I get a special thrill from typing that?)
And it was. So. Fucking. Amazing.
At first I only thought it was going to be Nickodemus, but as Nappy G setup his stuff, it was clearly going to be a Turntables on the Hudson show. I've seen them a few times--on the Hudson, even. And each time has been amazing for one reason or another. This was no exception. **
I guess this time it was because of the close quarters (instead of a pier on the river), the good sound, the fact that I could see what Nappy G was drumming on from 8 feet away, the cast of characters, and a bunch of intangibles. (Strange, unplacable* euphoria?) Every time Nickodemus spins, I'm just floored. And for a change, it was all about the music this time.
Bhangra, Egyptian, salsa, you name it....it was quite an experience.
I don't typically smile for 2 hours straight. But I did tonight.
Thanks, y'all. I needed that.
EDITS (because it's my blog, and I can do that):
*Seems this isn't the word I mean. So let's just go with "je ne sais quoi."
**I rewrote this paragraph because....well, because at 0200 this morning I wasn't making any sense. But now I am.
EDIT, 1044: Fixed the links.
I've been doing some thinking lately (="off and on for a number of years") about what is necessary (vs. "sufficient", which is a different concept altogether) to be happy. What i really want to be doing, where, and with whom. Job, housing, friends, music, food (shoot, I sound like Mark Renton)...sure, these are important. And I got 'em. But are they the right kinds to really sink my teeth into and enjoy?
More after the jump, if you dare.
I'm going to write a little about today. I'm not going to write about the amusingly rude gestures the crazy (young, soccer-mom-ish) broad in the white Taurus wagon made at me after I gently beeped at her as she made an illegal right-on-red into my lane. I'm not going to talk about the great exchange I had with a cab driver at a stop light, after we'd both watched a souped-up Mustang zoom away in a cloud of oil smoke and tinny dime-store custom exhaust noise....
Well, maybe I will talk about that a little, because after the soccer-mom screamed at me and mimed fellatio (and not in a good way--trust me on this) while giving me the finger, the taxi driver (of all people) somewhat restored my sense that not everyone is crazy...
So, he yells over at me and says, "I hope your car doesn't sound like that [meaning the 'Stang] because even though it was a nice car it sounded like shit, and was burning oil like crazy, because he ain't changing it often enough."
"No," I replied, "this sounds a whole lot better than that, and it doesn't burn a drop." When the light went green, he hung back so he could listen to me pull away. I heard him yell "Oh YEAH! Sweet!" Then he caught me in the tunnel under the Science Center and stuck his head out to hear more. So I hit the gas again and zoomed (rather faster than I'd planned) to the light at the top of the hill. The taxi caught me and flew by (through a yellow) while giving me a thumbs-up out the window. (His hand was in some kind of splint, so I guess he couldn't use it to hold the steering wheel.)
So that was cool.
Anyway, I'm not really going to talk about all that. I'm going to talk about Bob Log III, a brilliant one-man-band psycho (video links thereupon are very likely NSFW...) who wears a leisure suit and an open-faced motorcycle helmet with a telephone receiver stuck in the eyeshield. He plays slide guitar, bass drum, hi-hat and drum machine, and is quite unlike anything you've seen before.
More after the jump.
And it's really true: we saw not one, but two Lamborghini Gallardos stopped at a light. It felt kind of surreal. And it was really amazing to hear them revving up off in the distance a few minutes later as I walked home. Even more surreal.
Whatever else Celexa does or doesn't do to one's neural chemistry and outlook, it sure makes for great (=vivid) dreams.
Now, sleeping till 1530, as I did on Saturday, helps with that too. (The dream thing, I mean.) But I was again reminded of how creative I can be when I'm not actually awake. I increasingly find that the dreams are informed by real-life events or stresses; I know that happens to other people a lot, but not me, unless I'm popping pills. For instance, this past week the lease on my parking space ran out.* So I spent the 2nd half of the week scouring Craig's List looking for parking. I found a space close by, and went through more than a few hoops to see the space, decide to take it, find out it was already taken but be told there was another one available close by, go see that, decide to take it, get certified checks to pay for it, try to arrange to drop off the checks, then be forgotten about, etc. etc.
So what do I dream about last night? Parking. And groceries. And neighbors. And carrying groceries from my parking space to my apartment, and shaking my head in disgust at how everyone was crowding my space with their (lack of) parking skill. And a big Infiniti sedan which was apparently a present to myself to give me something to drive during the winter. And drive I did, around the old neighborhood in Media, PA, (in which, btw, I haven't lived since I was 13) where I hit 90 mph on a two block stretch, and reveled in all the trunk space compared to Veloce, and then the Infiniti sedan turned into a van with room for at least 12, and I was describing how much of a change it was from my Mazda, and saying why I loved all the torque of the big V6 (shared with any number of Nissan/Infiniti cars, like the 350Z and Altima). But then I was visiting my neighbor back in Cambridge to handover my keys (or something) for some reason, and we started making out. And after that there was a four-wheel "bicycle" that I was riding recklessly in Somerville, controlling with handlebar buttons for speed and braking (both of which functions, by the way, were spectacularly thrilling--these thumb-activiated triggers were super-sensitive), but not getting the steering part right, so I basically kept running into walls. I'd go for a test ride on a "bike" I was thinking about buying, and careen down a ramp onto the bottom level of a mall in Somerville, then try to steer but hit the wall. People I (barely) knew were there, having some kind of reunion. And some athletic person who was visiting from another coast was apologizing for not being able to score more cans of Coke for all of us, but she felt like she'd worn out her welcome with the hosts, so those of us who came late (presumably because our four-wheeled "bikes" couldn't be steered) were out of luck (at least as far as Coke was concerned). So we were left to escape the shopping mall by wading across a decorative reflecting pond which had a very narrow path of stones about 4 feet below the surface of the pond. If we couldn't stay on the path, we'd have to swim. Getting to the other side of the ornamental pond meant keeping quiet and not turning on a flashlight (wtf?) because all the people on the other side of the pond were trying to attract "sprites," which were these weirdly shy creatures of the night, and flashlights would scare them away. And then I was waiting in Somerville (yes, again) to meet up with my friends John and Katie because they needed some pictures taken of them after their wedding, but they'd carried all the equipment on the Green Line, and it involved a lot of film projection equipment, like the movies substitute teachers in 9th grade would show, but with the equipment running amok. So there were film reels spinning, and hundreds of feet of film ending up on the floor of my apartment--all critical to the photo shoot, but all equally uncontrollable.
So, parking was on the brains. Along with, apparently, a few other things.
I didn't use to have those sorts of dreams, but. Now I do.
Have you heard Federation X? I've been listening to them a lot lately. They're responsible for the quote at the top of this screen (at least as I type this--I might be changing it soon--mousing over it will tell you whether I have or haven't), and have exactly the right kind of rocking misanthropy, and kind of sound that only a trio with two four-string guitars and a fucking INTENSELY SAVAGE drummer can produce. Metal for the soul. Like the Dirty Three but with less (=zero) violin and still all those intangibles that make music so great.
It either fits or it doesn't.
*Which is more or less ok. I was starting to become frustrated with the lack of skill of my parking neighbors, and though the space was super-close to my apartment (and relatively inexpensive as these things go), I was getting close to needing to write a "Dear Neighbor" letter to people so that I actually had room to fit into my space. So maybe it was just time to move on.
What's better (and more rare) than a sunny top-down morning in November? Well, not much. At least, not much that I'll muse about on a web page. So maybe the better question is, how can you improve on a top-down day in November and keep your clothes on?
Idly search for, find, and then purchase, a Black Taj album, of course.
Today, I found it. And in addition to the song linked above, another one to tide me over till the record arrives.
Skynrd goes to Morocco.....
Let's start with that last title first. I should have been asleep at least an hour ago, on account of I need to be at work early to finish something that I was still writing at 8:30 (thats 2030 to my European readers) tonight. But as is usually the case when I work late, my decompression takes a fixed amount of time. If I'd gotten home at 11 (2300), I'd still need 4 (4) hours to unwind.
Of course, even when I get home at 6 (1800), I still don't get to sleep much before 1 (0100).
Be that as it may, I love the Internets. Yesterday, a crisp, warmish fall day that only a muggy-summer apologist such as myself could find fault with, my day was salvaged by a padded mailer in my mailbox. Barely 48 hours after I'd placed the order, my Back Taj record had arrived (from Tennessee, I think). Let's hear it for micropayments, small record labels, and Your United States Postal Service.
Part of the reason I'm still awake is that I thought it might be good for me to have some quality time today with the mere thrumming sound of the blood rushing through my head, instead of augmenting that with the stoner-Zep stylings of Black Taj, as I have been doing since tearing open the package yesterday. I've seriously been listening to it essentially nonstop, with some time out for Arrested Development last night.
On the whole, clearly, it's a fine, FINE record. As you might expect, there's a lot of Polvo in the sound. But there's also a lot of other stoner-rock from the QOTSA end of the Polvo/QOTSA continuum in there too. The "Skynrd in Morocco" crack I made the other day is still largely true, though maybe not the Morocco part. (One R, two Cs....) (I can't figure out what country Skynrd would have to go to to make this record, but that's fine; I bet they wouldn't have gotten a visa.)
And get this: one song, which I remember from the show, and which kicks major ass, is called Octastone. And that, for better or worse, now makes me think of this.
Final note: the review of the Black Taj show I saw in '03 is actually quite inaccurate. This band shreds, and "acquired taste" or "stoner shit" don't apply.
Final note #2/aside: because two Black Taj folks had also played together in Idyll Swords (along with Chuck Johnson from Spatula, whose record Even The Thorny Acacia was a touchstone of mine when it came out), I was moved to dig around in the "archives" for the one Idyll Swords record I have. No luck yet, which is worrisome.
This has me a little bummed-out. The day I bought my first Link Wray album was a beautiful Carolina late fall day, I blasted it from my living room, while Brian and I sat in lawn chairs in the back of my Toyota pickup, drinking a mini-keg of DAB we'd bought. And the first time I saw Southern Culture on the Skids, they were celebrating Link Wray's birthday. Hence, they threw links of sausage (get it?) at the crowd, instead of fried chicken.
I figured I was in heaven.
I have simultaneously a load of stuff and absolutely nothing to write about, so I'll start by going over some recent musical gems.
Tim introduced me to some tasty new stuff I didn't know much about before:
Isolee's "Wearemonster": More super-glitchy, cold, funky minimal/micro/whatever techno. Tim and I saw him spin a few months ago, and it was superb.
Atmosphere's "You Can't Imagine How Much Fun We're Having": Great underground-ish (though who knows what that term means anymore?) hip-hop. Nice beats and several killer lines, though also some iffy ones. But hey. I keep playing it, so it must be pretty good.
Finally, and most overwhelmingly, there's Halcyon's massive archive of Nü Pschidt mixes. They're live in-store mixes of the new arrivals, and they're dope. Particularly (in my opinion) this one and that one. But there's about a year's worth up there, so start exploring.
Some recent junk to throw out from the mental attic:
Item: I made some New Year's resolutions, and I'm not going to say specifically what they are. But, just for fun, some keywords, in no particular order: sleep, autocross, money, honesty, Winter Music Conference, action without consequences, badass, Eames, playing to win.
Item: I picked up a new copy (on CD) of AC/DC's masterwork Back in Black last week, and it's hard to overstate just how awesome that record is. Every few months I still pull out my vinyl copy which I got for my birthday sometime in junior high school, or whatever it was called where went to school. (As an aside, my original vinyl LP has only black-on-black cover art, with the words "Back in Black" and AC/DC logo embossed on it--perhaps inspiration for Nigel Tufnel's famous question?) Along with Computer World, I am always amazed at how much better music can sound when there's a diamond chip hugging the jagged (yet microscopic) curves of a spiral groove on a piece of soft plastic colored with carbon black. When that groove is in the shape of 10 songs, with 3 chords in the form of a few verses, a chorus or two, a couple of guitar soli and a bridge to hold it all together, with words about Satan, sour mash, hookers, and the everlasting power of rock in the face of death and despair, well....it's pretty tough to beat, even 25 years after its release. The CD sounds fine too, and is a spectacular album for driving.
By the way, you might laugh at me about all this, but I don't care. I know I'm right.
Item: Also, I learned that I can leave my apartment as Satan's bells begin to toll, walk to Hollywood Express and be back home before Brian Johnson asks to put his "love into you, babe" and kindly offers to cut someone's cake with his knife.... I never really knew just how long it took me to walk up there and back, but apparently it's really not that far.
Item: The windowsill at the head of my bed makes a perfect place to put a beer when I'm reading or writing. The mattress holds the beer on the sill and against the sash, and if I open the window a couple inches, the brew stays cold, at least in winter.
Item: Apple introduced Intel-powered hardware today, and the final CPU transition in computer history is underway. Meet the MacBook Pro.
Item: There are certain times when driving is as much fun as I've ever had with my clothes on. Or at least, fully zipped.
I just saw the Touch Me Theres play at Charlie's Kitchen. Now, Charlie's is a great place; the food is...pretty good for being a dive; the beer selection is very good (I typically go for Chimay on tap, since it's hard to find).
And the jukebox is without peer, at least around these parts. Tonight I heard some Deadbolt, which I never thought I'd hear outside of Sleazefest or some San Diego voodoobilly whorehouse (whatever that might be like). Or, I guess, my own apartment. Not that there's usually anything similar, hypothetically, about a San Diego whorehouse and my apartment. But I have seen some crazy shit in a go-go cage while (trying to) keep an eye on the tiki/reverb/death-surf stylings of Deadbolt, and I guess each time I hear them there's a bit of a Pavlovian response....
...Which, like many Pavlovian responses, wasn't rewarded this time. But regardless the point is that hearing Deadbolt on the jukebox is good. So that's another point in Charlie's favor.
And for the trifecta, by god, seeing the Touch Me Theres cover Gut Feeling, in a punked-out, lo-fi, amateurish kindofa, broken cymbals (which, frankly, sound shitty, but hey) bad sound, obstructed view sortofa dive bar way was completely sublime. Don the New Daddy Drummer sang backup vocals, and it was all just stupendous.
Somewhere Mothersbaugh is smiling. Even though he's not dead.
It's kind of hard to for me to say just how amazing I think Halcyon used to be. It catered to my every vice (well....except two--one of which was simply because there's no parking around there, and the other only because I didn't hang out there quite often enough): food, beer, coffee, records, furniture, art (but, as I say, not the other two...).
Stupendous record collection, great sandwiches, amazing beer selection (Chimay! Hennepin!), nice espresso, and the swankest used retro-mod-New Frontier-Barbarella furniture you could imagine. They had a couple of turntables, and DJs would do in-store mixes while you sip coffee, eat a bagel, or both. Imagine if Other Music still had a Boston store, and merged with Abodeon the Enormous Room, Zeitgeist and 1369.
They've moved now, from funky Smith Street to becoming-funky Dumbo, and are focusing on records. But it's still the Hanging Gardens of DJ Culture. And Francis Harris, aka Adultnapper, does a weekly-ish mix of new stuff that comes into the store. Done live, in one take, they are universally brilliant. Glitchy, funky, deep and seamless. And they're all archived. There's a new, questionably-useful Flash interface for them all; or you can dig down a directory and find all the mp3s.
Go forth and be musical.
This is Brian, my best friend from college.
Brian and I used to play in a band called Wicked Bison.
Now he plays bass and sings in a band called Hooper.
Hooper writes songs about the movies of Burt Reynolds, including, of course, the masterwork Hooper, about the adventures of an aging stuntman.
Hooper (the band) has been around for a number of years. I think I saw first saw them in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, in 1992 or 1993. Most recently, I saw them play in New York City, in April, 2005.
Hooper is playing again on April 8, at the Lakeside Lounge, in NYC's East Village. I'm going to be there, and you should be too. I can't wait.
(11:02:24) Tim: I want a job where people hand me records to play
(11:02:40) Tim: and I can't accept them because I am currently mixing and drinking a beer
(11:02:46) Tim: "Just set it down over there"
I could argue that test driving or something along those lines might do the trick too, but I don't think that would be any "better" than playing records.
On the T this morning was a tall, well- (if strangely-) dressed middle aged woman, with horn rimmed glasses, black Reeboks, a single long braid, and a long, grey wool coat with three black panels sewn into the back. She looked schoolmarm-ish, was smiling a lot, and seemed painfully, earnest. She walked quickly, and needlessly, pacing around the platform and train. She seemed to be everywhere. I figure she's some kind of colonel or lieutenant in the Salvation Army, home on leave for a couple of weeks.
And everytime I saw here, my iPod was one step ahead of me. First, I was listening to Killing Floor, by Verbena. Then a bit later there was Running With the Devil, and Jamie's Cryin', both by Van Halen. And finally Hell's Bells.
And as she did her snap-turns exiting the train, I felt that we made a good team, keeping good and evil in balance.
Considering that I generally agree with him on most things, Cory Doctorow (unintentionally) finds a way to bug me surprisingly often.
Seems that eMusic is changing their subscription plans, to give only 30 downloads for $9.95 a month. Down from 40 downloads/month. Down from unlimited, when the service started. Somehow, Cory thinks this is unfair to subscribers even though current subscribers are grandfathered in at the old download cap.
So eMusic is raising their prices. BFD. It's one of the things businesses do as they get successful (another is that they cut prices to go for market share). Even with the new prices, eMusic is still more free (as in beer) than iTunes, and (more critically to someone like Cory) more free (as in speech) than iTunes.
Go figure. You'd think someone who's so against DRM would be willing to pay more for DRM-free music.
I wish he'd calm down somtimes.
The Police just blew the roof off the Grammys. And that kind of blows my mind. Because there're a few things I thought I'd never see again; and the Police is one of them.
Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, Van Halen, REM and (the most of the greatly) Patti Smith were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame today.