Monday, July 31, 2006

Q: Can 10,000 Hipsters Dance To A Jam Band? A: YES!!!!!!!!

I just got back from the pitchfork music festival this morning. Both days were equally good, so I would say it really comes down to your own preferences to decide the better day. My own favorites were Art Brut, and Liars. Two decidely awesome acts with great personality on stage. We got a great video of The Futureheads playing that game they always do for Hounds of Love, which will hopefully be linked from Youtube as soon as we get the power back on at my apartment.

As a whole its a strange experience. Seeing so many bands that are suited to smaller clubs and similar venues play to massive outdoor audiences is a really intresting concept. Pacing is also a big issue. During Yo La Tengo, one of the last acts, people were leaving the crowd in a constant trickle. I'm sure they love the band, but standing in the heat for 16 hours over two days takes it toll, its the I-like-this-but-I'd-like-it-as-much-sitting-down-over-there syndrome.

The most intresting part of the whole event, not surprisingly, comes down to Os Mutantes, the final act. From someone who used to go to jam band shows in the past, I would say the atmosphere was almost identical. Devandra Banhart and a bandmate guested during a song. Guest artists are a total jamband trait. They teased While My Guitar Gently Weeps. Teasers are an even more obvious jam trait, while the song is also an indicator of it. Not to mention the abundance of soloing and basically generic super happy grooves being laid into. Then there was the crowd. It was really interesting to see a crowd so large who had been nodding along to Spoon minutes before get coaxed into a jumping, cheering excstatic mass of hippies. I liked the show a lot, but was it some kind of sign of the times? Was is some elaborate joke constructed by Ryan Schrieber? Was it just a misunderstanding of what would happen when the band reunited after such a long abscence? Would people have noticed if the band had suddenly morphed into String Cheese mid-song?

I'd always assumed that indie fans hated jam despite a few people I've met here and there who have the two types of music coexisting peacefully in their CD books. Maybe most of the people had never actually experienced the real energy that makes jam such a huge force in music and didn't recognize their sworn enemy when it hit. Whatever the reasons, people loved it.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Robert Altman is really old.

Me and OMGIMike made it back from northern Michigan, alive, although we did get caught in 2 1/2 big-ass thunderstorms and 2 traffic jams. But it was straight because we had sandwiches that we stole from band camp and an ipod full of Indian Music. We heard that Wendys’ in MI have this special cherry frostie that doesn’t exits anywhere else in America (because it’s the Cherry State), but the Wendy’s we stopped at didn’t have them and seemed surprised that we expected them to. So I got chocolate, dammit. I thought the cherry frostie accounted for 60% of Michigan's tourism, but I guess it has more to do with all the lakes. Sadly, you can’t believe everything you hear about Michigan because everyone from Michigan is a liar.

Anyway, I saw the new Robert Altman film A Prairie Home Companion. I’ve never been that big of a fan of his, but he’s such a formal master that he’s usually worth watching. I actually thought it was pretty great. Like most of his classic work, (ie Nashville, MASH, Short Cuts), it was a big ensemble piece where a bunch of handpicked actors, mostly Altman repertory veterans, are given near-free reign to improvise their way through a large interlaced narrative that, although wandering, is always governed by Altman’s omniscient and fatalist (almost fascist) structure. As a consequence of this dense overhead view, emotional and personal character content is largely sacrificed for a greater socio-cultural angle. In otherwords, the movies are often distant or cold (and long), which doesn’t always translate to an entertaining 2-3 hours. Indeed, Home Companion seemed to be retreading this form at its surface, but I felt that it had a sincere warmth and depth (of character rather than analysis) that his previous “big picture” works often lack. The man is getting real old. I think he started directing in the early 50’s, and apparently there’s been a lot of gossip about this being his last flick. All I can say is that it certainly seems that way; the movie is drenched with a teary-eyed optimism only possible through the lens of nostalgia, and rather than pushing us through scenes to drive home a central point, the camera work and pacing lovingly meander through every backstage moment and on-stage performance. It’s as if the old man is taking his time, relishing his last cinematic outing. Here, the camera seems to be an active participant in the experience, rather than an offscreen force controlling the outcome.

I know I’ve already written too much, but a few weeks later I saw a fantastic Altman movie from ’85 I had never heard of called Fool For Love, which both starred and was based on a play by the great Sam Shepard. Rather that having a huge scope, it paired the focus down to four residents at a mysterious run-down New Mexican motel, probing their pasts and identities. I won’t go into how great it was, but it was one of the best films I’d seen in a while; existing in this strange yet extremely entertaining mix of hard-lined realism and surrealist dream-scape. Definitely my favorite Altman flick. I’m sure that no one who gives a fuck is reading this, but if you’ve seen the movie please help me figure out why it was so awesome.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Stockholm WI

We went to Stockholm WI a few days ago. Being from the original, real if you will, Stockholm I thought that would be interesting. In all the ways a city-girl would, " Look how tiny it is!", " Look they only have 3 streets" and so on and so forth. It was really tiny, and they did have very few streets. It was super funny. I can´t help it. I have no idea why it´s so funny, but it is. It IS. When I got there, I actually said " Oh my God, I´m freaking out". And I was. I calmed down after going to the Stockholm museum, which was a tiny room. Filled with stuff and pictures of dead people, like most museums, except very very tiny. I got two rusty buttons that say I Love Stockholm , wisconsin. No one was impressed by me being from the Real Stockholm, they just said "oh". Apparently, and I know this is crazy, I am not the only person from Real Stockholm who ever visited Stockholm Wi. I imagined I would be, and that they would greet me like the queen I am. I guess I´m not really even swedish, and the old man at the museum found out when I signed the guestbook. I guess it was obvious since my last name is romanian and even contains the very unswedish and possibly scary, exotic letter "Z". He called my bluff and laughed at me.

band camp lose

me and Mazur have been visiting our friend Zach at interlochen band camp in Michigan, it's where art lives, at least that's what they say, what the fuck. Music nerds are crazy. What the fuck. It's cool though cuz we get free food, the only problem is we have to dress like all the other music nerds, or they'll catch on and kick us out. Mazur fits in better than I do. So today we dressed up in our navy blue shorts and blue dress shirts and went to the middle-school girls dining hall to eat. We were the only males and the only ones older than 18. The elementary students are forced to wear dark-blue knee socks while the middle school girls had to wear red knee socks and the older girls light blue. It was like a dirty-dirty time warp. but at least I knew what girls I could check out and not feel too dirty. I was also informed that the age of consent in Michigan is only 16. This was good news. Unfortunately I have not yet taken advantage of this. Just kidding I'm not a pervert, especially if having sex with a 16 year old isn't considered perverted. but I guess I'll have the rest of my life to take advantage of Michigan's laws.

Next time when I'm home I'll post some music.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

HiM - Robber's Knot

HiM - Suddered

Not to be confused with their alter ego HIM, the much more famous Finnish rock band, whom I believe are christian rock but havent had the urge to ever find out for sure.
This mostly instrumental group has a sound that I can't help compare to jam, but at the same time covers a very different ground. Imagine a jazz inflected group with the same mentality as a jam band, only with discerning tastes and a tendancy towards minimalism creating a sound that leans toward the improvised soundscapes of labelmates Animal Collective. It makes me think that Can are not actually as far from the Grateful Dead as I once thought. Theres something really special here but I can't put my finger on it, maybe thats why I like it so much.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Daniel Johnston - Mind Contorted

After my shift at W.O.R.T. was over I started walking towards State street. I was listening to Mind Contorted by Daniel Johnston. Like many of his other songs it breaks your heart with its sincerity, confusion and hopes for happiness. Daniel Johnston is definitely one of my favourites. He´s the kind of artist that people say "he´s the kind of artist you either love or hate" about. I don´t think that´s necessarily true. There´s plenty of people who don´t know what to think, who like some songs but get weirded out by most of them, " Guys, I don´t know about this one, this is a little too much...something". Those people should pay more attention to the subtleties of his extreme charm. Then everyone could love Daniel and everything would be fine.

Anyways, what happen was, I saw a very tanned man have a seizure of some sort. He was lying face down on the ground, shaking. I stopped and stared, my music too loud for me to feel like any of it was real. A fireman on his way home from work was standing over him talking on the phone. He saw me stop and gave me a very american " I got this"-look as he kicked away the Tanned Man´s sun shades. They were too close to the Tanned Mans face and he could hurt himself. As i walked away I started thinking about how this was real and I turned it into a fucking music video in my head. Bra-vo. I think I might have lost my soul somewhere...maybe MTV stole it when I was just a kid. Now when I listen to the song, I can almost see the shaking Tanned Man mouth the words " If you could see me now you would be much perplexed, and if you could see me now your mind would be contorted".

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Nairobi via Robert Fripp in the 80s

Extra Golden - Ok-Oyot System

Who the hell do these guys think they are? Something is either golden or not golden, theres no "extra" golden. Ugghhh.

Well despite a complete lack of sense, this title track is pretty amazing. Maybe its that same lack of common sense that led them to believe they could just take the musical traditions that have evolved in two places 7548 miles (12148 km) (6559 nautical miles) apart and across an ocean, just mix them together seamlessly and throw in a Discipline-era King Crimson breakdown 3 minutes in for good measure.
Screamin' Cyn Cyn and The Pons - Sticker Book

This is ohmygodimmike. I'm posting a song by screaming cyn-cyn and the pons, they're a cool band from Madison WI. I am supposed to write about general culture, that means shit talk at the end of the song. My co-bloggers wrote about j-punk and John Waters on there first post. Anyone who likes john Waters is a sick individual. Also, everyone knows J-rap is where it's at, not j-punk. at least if you're a real I-talian.

In our picture we are in the lake of the devil. you can see it conforming into our faces. Like a devil in the forest and into the rocks. Streaming our conscience over our picture.

I Don't know how I'm suppose to write about culture when I'm American. It's hard for Americans to write about culture when they don't listen to any music without guitars and don't watch any movies with subtitles. Maybe this post will be about spirtual bonding with the third world. An american tourist in Manilla tries buying pot from a street vendor. The next thing he knows he's in a phillipino jail with smugglers from all across the world. He tries to explain his situation by stating that he isn't a criminal and he's only here becuase he was falsely accused of trying to bring a remote strain of asian mushroom to cure south Americans who were suffering from symptoms previously unknown to south America. Obvioulsy this was a lie, and the other prisoners knew it and came up with ellaborate lies as to why they were in prison.

By the time he was released (3 months later) he had very misconcieved judgments of law in southeast asia. He was under the impression that petting a dog on the abdomen was highly illegal in the Phillipines. He knew that prostitution was legal but was told that not ejaculating into a germatically sealed container was prosicuted to the highest degree. This was so all American tourists who visited the brothels could have there holy DNA procreated into the Phillipino society. Everyone in the jail laughed when they realized he believed them. So when they raped him they said they would send their sperm to his mother so she could have the child of the man who tore his ass-hole wide and gapping.

Why do I tell this story, I don't know and you have even less idea than I do, so I welcome your comments.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

CGI Jizzim

This is Mazur. I'm suppost to write about flicks, so here goes:

I love John Waters movies. LOVE ‘em. No one, with the arguable exception of early Almodovar or Jack Smith, has to ability to bring so much snidely winking social commentary to the stale melodrama and simultaneously so much sincere aesthetic examination and existential questioning to trashy gross-out narratives. I don’t know of anyone who can evoke both the banal drudgery and intense surreality of lower middle-class suburban life so seamlessly and effectively. Most importantly, his movies are just really really funny.
Anyway, I finally saw his new one, A Dirty Shame. With it he does what most lifetime eclectic filmmakers seem to do near the end of their careers, overtly cannibalize their old style and content. It usually seems to stem from attacks that they have gone soft or sold out, so, stepping up to the plate (or the chopping block), they make an extremely self-conscious return to form, often lacking the original energy and spontaneity that gave their initial cinematic rebellion its power. However, these films often benefit greatly from a more mature and confident eye as only a veteran after a lifetime in the trenches can possess. It’s as if they are finally able to exhale, assured of their sucess. Examples would be Scorsese’s Bringing out the Dead, Lynch’s Mulholland Dr., and Bunuel’s The Phantom of Liberty, all great films. I think, though, that A Dirty Shame may be one of the best examples of this phenomenon simply because Waters' style of campy enlightened entertainment lends itself so well to the financial upgrades not possible in his early works. He is able to realize the bright almost psychedelic Douglas Sirk-esq pallet of suburbia hinted at in Polyester and give us beautifully cheesy computer effects like ass-banging squirrels, hedges shaped like nutsacks, and knots in trees that look suspiciously like anuses. When most oldschool directors try to use CGI effects to flex their new financial muscle, the results are lame at best, but here it fits in perfectly with his well-established style, enhancing rather that upstaging the content. Check it out, it’s pretty damn entertaining.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006


Recently I've been listening to a lot of hardcore Japanese punk. I can't handle it. 7inch just keeps on posting it. Everytime I think I have a handle on it they post like 12 flexis, a few 7" and an EP. So much of it is sooo good too. Its difficult to listen to, but once youre in that mode its all so good. You hear all modern japanese noise in it, not that I'm an expert, but these are the roots. Not that only good things came out of japanese punk. I can't remember the names, but I listened to every japanese band that played at coachella who I could find something for online and every punk band except for a few were pretty power poppy. For some reason they sent a lot of mainstream stuff over thinking wed like that more.
Anyways, I'm not huge on the really heavy japanese noise thats come out recently like Merzbow, or Melt Banana, the latter of whom I still like a lot, but just never really listen to....Boris is still pretty awesome. Maybe I like the old shit because it feels so underground, or maybe its that because its underground its more pure.
Heres pretty much my favorite post 7 inch has done in the "Japanese" section. I'd feel bad about outsourcing their songs so heres a link to the post. Its a permalink so it should be working. Dead Punx On The Roof if perfect art to me.

Monday, July 17, 2006


The Minutemen - Mr. Robot's Holy Orders

This first message from Wintermute was transmitted via a signal that travelled backwards through time, and manifested itself as this 2 minute guitar solo intro by D Boon recorded live on March 1st, 1985.

Also Intresting Via SF Signal. Motorola's flip phone was inspired by the original Star Trek communicators. Yes that's right, your cool new phone is based on an idea from star trek. But don't come crawling back to the Trek now, we can tell if you fake liking it.

MGMT - Time To Pretend

I'm posting a song that Said the Gramophone did earlier because I like it so much and their link expired already. It's been one of a few songs that have been stuck in my head for the past month or so since it went up. Other said few songs will be put up in the future, save for nuclear warfare or the shifting of the earth into a lower zone of thought which would obviously render computer technology useless.

transmission incoming...

(note: messages from the magellanic clouds may be difficult to understand due to inferior technological capabilities in the inner galaxy)