Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Neil Young is Awesome

Neil Young - Lets Impeach The President

I like this song but I don't really get what its about. Its some kind of weird obscure artist thing.

Also I found a recording of the Harlan Ellison speech at the WorldCon Hugo Awards I mentioned in my last post. Quite an obnoxious old man, but still awesome....or not judge for yourself.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Hugo Bullshit

Recently the Hugo Awards for 2006 were announced. In case youre unfamiliar with what that means, the Hugos are generally accepted as the most prestigious awards in Science Fiction. I am a big fan a science fiction. I am also a science fiction purist, as in I think theres a lot of crap in the sci-fi world. This crap can basically be summed up by the standard practice of combining the sci-fi and fantasy sections in almost every book store. The man who invented geosynchronous orbits used by satellites long before they were invented (Arthur Clarke) should not be shelved with bullshit about dragons and unicorns. Dammit. At least Harlan Ellison talked shit to everyone there. Ah yes the old school is keepin' it real.
So I've skimmed through and read some of the nominees and one of my favorite new writers lost the novelette category to a story about a unicorn and a befuddled magician named Schendrick. Thats cool its nothing new really, but I wish he’d at least have lost to an actual science fiction story as that what the awards are supposed to be about. I started searching around to prove to myself that there is still some quality out there, the picture above was another loser for the 3D art awards given by a seperate organization called the Chelsea awards. Don’t bother looking for them though if you were thinking about it, because most everything is more crap.
So the writer I mentioned before is Paolo Bacigalupi whose story was made available once it was nominated here. Its really an intresting read, a lot of commentary about corporate hunger to own the world, what it does to people, and the approaching crisis of limited resources, but it still doesnt come off as heavy handed in any way unless you count sourt of obscure technology. I found a really intresting 2 year old interview with him that is pretty revealing. He is actually not all that active in the community, which is probably a good thing, and got a call from the same Harlan Ellison a while back telling him to get out of sci-fi while he still could. Good thing he didn’t since we need more people in there doing it the way it should be done.
Oh yeah, here are some songs written by unicorns from the future, that may or may not have been played in outer space.

Kraftwerk - Spacelab

John Anderson and Vangelis - I'll Find My Way Home

William S. Burroughs and Kurt Cobain - The Priest They Called Him

Monday, August 28, 2006

A Transmission on the Midnight Radio

I’m back in sunny Boulder Colorado to finish up my last semester of college. Basically I have 4 months to figure out the direction of my life, but all my ideas up to now suck. The best I can think of is to become a grip for porno shoots in Miami, but I have a feeling the world of documented fucking isn’t for me. When I got off the plane in Denver, I was expecting there to be a swarm of reporters because of the whole Benet Ramsey Once Again thing, but I was sorely dissapointed. Hopefully it was just a slow day, because there’s nothing I like better than wallowing in media whoredum.

Anyway, in previous posts I referenced some music that I couldn’t upload becuase it was in Colorado, so I’m gonna put all that shit up now.
Midnight Radio - Hedwig and the Angry Inch
The Long Grift - Hedwig and the Angry Inch

Every single song on this album is really good, but here are a couple of the great ones. I posted the second one mainly because it’s not actually in the movie.

Sex Boy - Liars

The Fountain and its Monologue - Liars

Again Liars are in my opinion, the best new rock band out there (if you can think of a better band, post it in the comments, and be wrong). Here are the B sides from W.F.O.G.W.T.B.O.O.O. (We Fenced Other Gardens With The Bones Of Our Own), the single off their second album. Taken together, they make the evolution from They Were Wrong So We Drowned to Drum’s Not Dead more understandable. Sex Boy is a live cover of a Germs song, who are fucking crazy in their own right.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

High School

I saw “Snakes on a Plane” but I have nothing to say about it. Except that it was about 50 times better than I thought it was going to be. Well, that’s not true. It was more like 15 times better. But I saw it at Madison’s great old Orpheum Theatre, and they had cans of Pabst for a buck, and I had several bucks on me. That helped, a lot. I in no way want to encourage alcohol abuse, but if you plan on seeing this movie, the only merciful thing to do is probably to consume alcohol, from a can. I’ve never seen a movie that tried so hard to be bad, so hard that it was, good?

The summer is ending and people are dropping like flies. Earlier this month, me, DJ, and OMGIMike went to a going away party for an old high school friend who is moving to L.A. to try and make it as an actor. Another Wisconsin kid ecstatic to go wait in traffic and fork over his fry-cook’s salary to King Schwarzenegger. All cynicism aside, good luck you ballsy motherfucker. Anyway, at the par-tay I saw many kids I hadn’t seen since graduation all those years ago. Everyone either got hotter or fatter. Joe just got out of the Air Force and said it had “treated him well,” Dan looks like a sexy pirate and has been living in Scotland, and Katie has a 3 year old kid, was voted best barber in the Midwest, and told me and DJ that our hair cuts “sucked.” Your haircut sucked Katie.

It was like wandering around a drunken timewarp. Numbers and promises (and no doubt some saliva) were exchanged, but without any actual obligations. Fun indeed, but not the kind of fun I particularly need to do again, at least for another 5 years (I wonder how many babies will have been spit out by then)? Anyway, just like breasts and marijuana, I was exposed to badass music from the 1970’s in High School, the most badass of all being Black Sabbath (obviously). They were only a scary name until Natvig sold me “Paranoid” during Poli Sci, which prompted me to buy “Black Sabbath” (self-titled) on the way to pick up my date for the Midwinter Dance. I was late as a result and she was deeply offended. And then, while standing in her living room, the cut I had given my self whilst shaving hurriedly began to bleed, and her mom had to go get me a kleenex. I was not exposed to breasts that night.

The cd store I bought Black Sabbath at no longer exists, but I found a used copy of “Never Say Die” a few weeks ago at a store which does still exist, allowing me to finally complete my collection of Ozzy fronted Sabbath (fuck that Dio shit). Below is a sweet song off of it. Sabbath was so hardcore, they could use synthesizers. They could use the fuck out of them.

Black Sabbath – Junior’s Eyes

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Larry Yes - Naked

Larry Yes comes from a group of artists in New Mexico who also run the record label discobolus. The other artists are good as well, psychedelic folk musicians basically, but Larrys voice gets me the most. His voice was annoying at first to me, but by the end of the first track here where hes singing the wordless chorus over and over youre totally hooked in its catchyness.

Larry Yes - Live Your Lovely Smile

There are only two people who know what this song is about Larry Yes and whoever its to. We can make assumptions and educated guesses, hypothesize if you will, but well just never be sure. The song was intended to be sung right into the head of the reciever, wasting almost no time on verses and just singing the chorus again and again. The idea that someones smile is so lovely that theres no time to be wasted on sadness is a nice one to me.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Why do I never post?

How about I'm a fucking bookstore clerk and I've been working a whole lot recently. And you know what, writing in you 3rd language is hard, even though I assure you writing in my 1st ( romanian) would be close to impossible. I CAN do it, if i absolutely must, but I will come off like a 5-year old.

Last night my friends dragged me to one of the really nice east side bars and for some reason, they were playing one of my favourite Daniel Johnston songs, Lousy Weekend. Actually it's not for " some reason", Daniel Johnston is trendy now, or I should say again. ( I´m thinking he must have been pretty happening when Kurt Cobain sported his Hi How Are You? t-shirt at the height of his career). Maybe it's because everybody who´s seen the Devil and Daniel Johnston thinks they understand him now. Maybe it´s just a beautiful and artful documentary that people tend to love, rich or poor. One thing's for sure though, fancy Stockholm bars are very sensitive to what's hip and cool right NOW, and last night I learned that Daniel Johnston is tren-dy. God Bless him. I hope everybody will shower him with love and money, because it seems like he needs both. ( I too think I understand mr. Johnston after seeing the documentary).
I want to post a very different song now, something not Daniel Johnston, something happy, something fast and funky and about incest. You guessed it, something Prince.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Kobra Summer In My Head

Johnny Kobra - Can't Get Enough

Maybe I like "Can't Get Enough" so much right now because summer is winding down by now and when the rain comes, it comes thicker and longer. Maybe its that the charm of the nice weather has worn off and I find myself sitting in the shade more and more often. Maybe its that this song just rocks anyways despite the time of year. I might feel this way about this song even in the dead of winter. Awwwwwwww man I wish I could've rocked out to this on that road trip last month.
Of this album I really only dig this song, its sort of teetering on the edge of the oversized egos (that come through hardcore in the voice) of '80s rock. Still, I love this song. Maybe the one-hit-wonderness of it is what makes it so awesome. I can't get enough of "I Can't Get Enough." It sounds exactly like a Stockholmite (I'm assuming Laz is friends with him) who moved to LA to make it big, everything he was going for is totally pulled off here.

It was cold, and it rained, so I felt like an actor.

Recently me, DJ, and our friend Natvig (of the awesome death metal band Burial of an Era) went to see "Strangers with Candy" at a theater slated for demolition this fall. I thought the movie was very funny, but not nearly as good as I expected. But then again, how can a 97 min. movie live up to the cumulative high points from three seasons worth of a show? Like the movie, the series was filled with comedic hits and misses, but the movie's misses were just more disappointing because you could hear all that expensive film stock running through the projector. Still, I’m sure it’s better than any other comedy out now.

But the reason I’m writing this is to gush over the preview I saw for John Cameron Mitchell’s new flick "Shortbus" which I am probably more excited for than any other upcoming film. Mitchell is the one man dynamo behind 2001’s fantastic Hedwig and the Angry Inch which he wrote (based on his Broadway musical), directed, sang and stared in. Because of the preview, me, DJ and OMGIMike watched Hedwig again a few nights later. Being a musical (and one staring a flamboyant drag queen as a punk rock neuter) it’s necessarily excessive. I’m not a fan of musicals, and usually the foundational conceit and exaggeration turns me off, but here it totally works. Being a film which stems from, cannibalizes, and eventually spits out the heavy handed ideology of the cold war and the plastic transcendence of 70’s glam rock and rock operas, the film’s artificiality and excessiveness create the perfect framework to deal with the products and repercussions of such didactic world-views. The many over-the-top rock numbers (which overtly reference Tommy, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust, Dr. Strangelove, The Marriage of Maria Braun, Douglas Sirk and more) along with the exaggerated set design, acting and plot, all serve to buffer the highly symbolic film. The character Hedwig (Mitchell), who due to a botched sex change (intended to allow her safe transit over the wall) now has neither a cock nor cunt, functions primarily as a symbol of both division and union. Through her/him, Mitchell equates the dichotomy of slave world/free world to the equally rigid and artificial one of man/woman, and later to the Christian notion of good/evil and freedom/security (via Adam and Eve). Whenever the film’s symbolic decadence gets too much to bear, Mitchell cranks up the volume even more, making it clear that we are on the level of metaphor or hyperbole and that such heightened symbolism is the only way to deal with the divisive rhetoric of which Hedwig is a product. However, the film doens't get lost in cold metaphoric dealings, rather it quite warmly addresses issues of true love, loss, and identity within its diametric framework. Although all the lesser elements meld together seamlessly to express and advence the really quite beautiful symbolic statement(s) of the film, all the rock songs still stand alone completely. Truly, this is one of the best soundtracks/concept albums of recent memory. I’m still in my old stomping ground of Madison WI and, being away from my record collection, am unable to post my favorite songs from the album yet, but I promise to do so when I get back. No text, just the fucking music.

I don’t know much about "Shortbus" except it looks sexy and artsy as hell, Sarxy, which of course is nothing new (look at Antonioni or Lynch). Supposedly, it’s loose and highly improvised plot follows several couples (from all parts of the homo-hetero spectrum) as they explore…stuff. You can read more about it here.

And you can watch the short yet highly enticing trailer for it here.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Cowboys and Riot Grrrls

Randomly, I watched Coppola’s The Rain People and the recent director's cut rerelase of Peckinpah’s The Wild Bunch in succession this week. I didn't watch them together on purpose, but they're both textbook examples of the American New Wave which was basically a movement where a bunch of 1960s film school grads (“the Movie Brats”) got fed up with the Hollywood mainstream and started making “B” pictures ripping off the European Youth Cinema movements. The Wild Bunch was seriously one of the most violent movies I’ve ever seen, its balletic shoot-em-up scenes leading directly into the styles of blood junkies like John Woo and Quentin Tarantino. Here are some fucked-up things that happened between the opening and closing credits: a scorpion gets eaten by a swarm of ants, a tuba player gets shot in the crossfire between two former best friends, a Mexican woman gets topless under a waterfall of grain alcohol, a corrupt Mexican general gets shot through the heart, a cowboy cries a single tear as a little girl laughs by the fire, and a bridge blows up with a bunch of horses on it. Yep.
Although both films are really different on the surface (one’s a stark melodrama/road movie and the other an ultra-violent revisionist western), they’re actually extremely similar overall which made me realize how much more succinct the whole U.S. New Wave umbrella title is than I had originally thought. Both flicks came out in 1969 and use the European New Wave(s) tropes of quick zooms and documentary style handheld camera work, cathartic yet pointless violence (as a specifically American response to Vietnam), experimental montage, and both end (spoiler alert) with a main character getting shot in the back by a little kid. The biggest similarity though is how energetically and self-consciously both films try to buck tradition and bludgeon their way into the cinematic canon (and the European art cinema movement) with controversial content and heavy-handed style. All the global youth cinemas were inherently rebellious and reactionary to the status-quo, but it seems to me that since the US’ came about so much later and had the rest of the movie-making globe to draw on, it made its statements in a much more overt manner. They're still really interesting, just rather obvious. Regardless, James Caan’s performance as an All-American football hero turned mentally handicapped hitchhiker in The Rain People has got to be one of the best of his career.

Anyway, DJ told me that I have to post music, I can’t just babble about movies. I read recently that after they play a few farewell shows in their hometown of Portland, post-punk riot grrrls Sleater-Kinney are ending it. I’ve never been a rabid fan but I defiantly like them a lot and am real sad to see them go. Here's a great song off of 2000’s All Hands on the Bad One, one of my favorite SK records. It’s a bit corny but I thought that was fitting for a farewell track. Thanks for all the noise…..

Sleater-Kinney - Leave You Behind

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Moving Days

Moving day is coming up, Mike and I have been ditched by our other three roommates for random bullshit excuses. So were left to clean and throw out all the crap we don't need. With most of the furniture gone the mice have been coming out more than usual and Lucy has been letting her killer instict run wild. She is a killing machine, heres a few shots of her in action.


Yes Yes, moving day is great fun. Every year the second week of August is like musical houses in Madison. The problem is for it to work they make everyone move out on the 14th of August but no one can move in until the 15th. So a lot of people join the bums for a day. We for example we'll be sleeping on the couch we threw to the curb, hopefully it doesn't rain. I feel so guiltless throwing away so much stuff that could accomodate so many people. I always try to be resourceful but it's kind of hard with a house full of crap and only a small car to transport it. At least all the junk on the side of the road means hippie Chaunnakah for those who actually are resourceful.

The slumlords of Madison, WI don't make it any easier. They like to prey on students who are already spending thousands of dollars on tuition, by alloting them crumpling apartments. Meanwhile the city council keeps accepting bids for giant construction corporations like Findorf to build million dollar condominiums for rich people. The increasing gentrification of this city is making me sick. It used to be a haven for poor hippies and middle-class liberals, now the mayor and city-council are being increasingly corrupted by builders and it's an invitation for rich east coast students (in-state tuition has been raised while out-of-state has been lowered) to move into the condo's on campus and for wealthy large business owners to move into the million dollar lakeside condo's downtown. Meanwhile here we are in a falling apart house that they will inevitably blame us for fucking up and take our security deposit. If they do I'm burning something down. Figuratively of course (wink.)

I'm posting a Sonu Kakkar song. She's an indian pop star with a great voice, but still permorms music from all indian genres not just pop. She sings the more traditional sufis as well, which is what I'm posting. It's from an album she was grateful to be a part of because it's a compilation with some of her favorite artists such as Abida Parveen. Nusrat Feteh Ali Khan is another one of her idols, she has good taste. It's interenting to note that she has had no formal training in music.

Sonu Kakkar - Yada Teri Yaad


Friday, August 11, 2006

Futurepost 0010480XZZ016R2

With the advent of modern technology and the non-metal revolution there has been a slow return to the traditional instruments and hand crafted ones. Still there hasn't been a true beacon of artistry to represent the fledgling genre, especially with so many lazy young artist simply using music diodes to write their music for them. Why can't they see that just injecting a syring full of nanites into your head will never be as authentic as getting down to the grindstone and actually writing something by hand. Maybe I'm just getting old after all, my original body is long gone, and really what can a personality upload say to a fleshy with any resonance? Maybe I'm just trying to live vicariously through first generation lives when they want to do something different and create their own style of art. Maybe its for the best, but I cant see it.
As far as I can see, the only truly authentic thriving style today is dolphin folk music. Its all I've been really been lisenting to these days anyways. Theres just so much to catch up on. I know, I know, youre saying "how do you relate to the music of a species youre not even part of" well fugg that. Music is universal and I'll stick to what I like whatever the popular majority says. Lets just hope human and cyborg trends don't catch on like they seem to be and taint this one remaining pure traditional art form. Lets hope they can learn from our mistakes and stay away from the brainwave imaging that we have sunk so far to.


Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Tracks to Make Us More Blog-Like

Most Pitchfork fans have a sort of love-hate relationship with the organization. People resent the across the board filtering of all music, and resent it even more when they find out about most of their favorite music from them. Everyone wants to find the good stuff on their own so they can claim it as such. Then theres the jargon filled and totally pretentious writing style. Its the whole "who do they think they are acting like they know everything?"
Well the thing is, its one of the best services I've ever used in my entire life, and on top of that its totally free unlike their physical magazine based siblings. No single person can sort through that much music, much less have the access to so much that they get, or comb through the websites and myspace pages of a million bands and record labels and other news sources to find all the latest happenings. So I am hereby annoucing that the new cool thing is, instead of talking trash about Pitchfork, is to love it unequivically. Accept the awesomeness that is Pitchfork. Its far from perfect, and not all of their opinions are rational or correct at all, but as a whole nothing beats them.
This brings me to what I was going to get at, the infinte mixtape. Ever since the rise of blogs, Pitchfork has become more blog-like while retaining the same format of a music news source. Mainly this means including mp3s and Youtube videos. Encanced media is all it really is. They began a project collecting the best music of the year highlighting certain tracks, and some of them (those linked here) have totally blown my mind and I would not have found out about them otherwise, or at least it wouldve taken much longer. So if you haven't had the motivation to sort through them, or don't read pitchfork at all, here are my selected tracks.

Asobi Seksu - Thursday

Meho Plaza - The Beach

My Robot Friend - One More Try (Vocals by Antony)

Annuals - Brother

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

The Flying Luttenbachers - Friday, Aug 4 Nottingham Co-op

The Flying Luttenbachers - The Flotation Method (highly recommended)
The Flying Luttenbachers - Black Perversion

"We are Star People sent here to train you for The Annihilation" said Weasel Walters, the 15 year Chicago No-Wave veteran, to a room of thirty people. People, we are sooooooooo not ready for The Annihilation. Lets hope he was speaking figuratively.

It was NOT metal, NOT noise, NOT progresssive rock, NOT free jazz, and definetly NOT easy listening. Typically No Wave has an element of not giving a crap, but the Luttenbachers care a lot. A lot a lot. I had never before seen a techical display of musicianship like this outside of the death metal and classical music realms. It was really quite moving, to me at least, I'm not sure that sentiment would be shared by many others. This band is the beginning of your ascent into hyperspace, brace yourself.
Lift off in 5, 4, 3, 2...........

Smith and Jones

Monday, August 07, 2006

Sweat, and how the Silver Jews were worth every drop of it

Wow, I can´t believe anyone thought the Silver Jews performance at the Pitchfork festival was anything less than completely mesmerizing. When David Bergman began singing, his stern yet cool voice cut through the hot night air in that park and made it all worth it. All the sweat. There was so much sweat. All the I-thought-we-were-supposed-to-meet-at-that-pole-over-there. All the waiting in line. All the listening to that annoying screaming man who introduced the bands telling us to take care of our friends and so on. ( What a bastard! From now on I will never take care of any of my friends, out of pure spite. ) And I am sure, for those who wore them, it was worth wearing the tightest darkest jeans possible in the 100 degree heat. You gotta look good. I wore a t-shirt on my head. I stopped caring, I was just set on survival. There´s not many bands I would do all that for, but the Silver Jews are definitely one of them. Finally seeing them play the songs I´d listened to so much back and forth between my apartment and the city, was a completely unreal and beautiful experience. "Smith and Jones " was like cold steel against your skin. I´ll post the video of it as soon as DJ tells me how to... Thanks Mazur, for defending the Silver Jews, I never thought you would have to. What a truely crazy world we´re living in.

On an entirely different note, I´m back in Stockholm now. The Real Stockholm or Stockholm ONE, whatever you prefer. Gay Pride week just finished and the city was pumping with life this past weekend. Sweaty drag queens are the adrenaline shot old Stockholm takes every summer to keep going until darkness inevitably swallows us all in November.

Sunday, August 06, 2006


The Golden Boys - Berimbau
Haydamaky - Listopad

I wasn't going to write about the pitchfork festival but maybe I'll add something small. The guy from the onion says he's sorry to Os Mutantes that he had to leave early. I stayed and got a relatively good spot to their show. I thought there could have been better international selection(s) to the festival, but there was an excellent vibe as they took the stage for their first performance in decades. There were Brazilian flags flying and a lot of pride and respect for their country. Not to mention they probably had the biggest crowd of the entire festival. The lead female vocalist had a great voice and a lot of energy. Their second or third song "Baby" I thought was their best song. The rest of the show seemed to be extended songs with long jams at the end. Their well known 60's psychedelic sounds didn't form as well live as on their recorded tracks, although I will say the sound crew wasn't ready for figuring out the nine or so people on stage for that set. The lead guitarist/vocalist was a Brazilian incarnation of Paul McCartney in every way. I couldn't tell if that was a good thing or a bad thing. Overall I was more impressed with the crowds response to the legendary band than the band itself.

I posted a brazilian song from a Giles Peterson compilation from around the same time period as Os Mutantes. I like the more classic sounding Brazilian music a little better, this song is a good example. I also added a ukrainian band for good measure.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Fuck the AV Club or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Liars

I’ve been a loyal Onion AV Club reader for almost a decade and a half but those assholes have finally gotten too old for their own, and our, good. Never have I read anything as obnoxious or completely off the mark as their Festival Dairy of the Pitchfork Fest in Chicago last weekend, full of ignorant dismissals and platitudes exalting the same old indie rock fare. Since all 4 of us at this blog went together, we were all gonna post about a different element of the weekend. Because I didn’t know, or particularly care about most of the bands and wasn’t too impressed by a lot there, I wasn’t going to say much more than how much Liars and Silver Jews kicked ass, and how I wished there had been more experimental noise in the B tent a la the very impressive Matmos or the unfortunitly lame Tyondai Braxton. However, after I was exposed to the aggressively pedestrian tastes of the old guard at the AV Club, I feel an obligation to stand up for the truly interesting and actually “new” sounds on hand at Pitchfork left by the wayside in most recent reviews of the fest for the same old standard indie bullshit.
First off, one of the main reasons I went was for the return of The Silver Jews, a band who, never truly identified with or indicative of any particular 90’s scene, has just grown more singular with age (reaching a more polished yet still idiosyncratic and sincerely expressive achievement of heartache and triumph with the beautiful new Tanglewood Numbers). Word on the street is that once frontman and pop genius David Berman quit junk he finally took (or was coaxed by) his band out of the state and onto the road for what I think was their first tour ever. Those pretentious assholes at the AV Club called it anti-climatic, and Keith Phillips (who's movie reviews I more often than not really respect) stated that he left half way through the set to use the bathroom at the gas station down the road to avoid the gross sun baked portopottys. Wow, fucking hardcore, what a badass embedded music journalist. If you can’t handle the scene, then don’t try to talk like a fucking pop cultural barometer, and don’t blame the music for your being a huge wuss. And anticlimactic? What, did you want the hermetic Berman to jump around for you like a monkey or self-consciously grind out feedback on his guitar like one of those indie peacocks? Maybe you should just sit in your car and listen to The Futureheads (who I like way less now after seeing them live) you grumpy old man. With the exception of the unfortunate absences of Pavement's Stephen Malkmus (who does return to the new album with some minor input and therefore should have made an appearance) and Bob Nastanovich (who has been awol from the Jews for awhile), it would have been hard to ask for a much more deeply expressive or powerful return from this eternally undersung band. And they played "Random Rules", god bless ‘em. Although they began and finished the set with the first and last cuts from Tanglewood, which is a typical obnoxious move for a veteran band with a new LP, those tracks are so damn good and there was enough old material in the set that it didn’t matter, in fact it totally kicked ass. They finished by stretching “There is a place” into the show stopping anthem it was written to be, banging out the last chorus and eventually replacing it with a haunting and thought provoking chant of “Good Bye Israel!” which made me want to melt off my bones and sink deep into the Chicago dirt. Laz is a huge Jews fan and I look forward to hearing her opinion about the set.
Then there are Liars who in my opinion are the most truly interesting, inventive and all around best band around right now. I was blown away from the first time I heard the single off They Threw Us All in a Trench and Stuck a Monument on Top years ago, and am increasingly impressed as they continue to rapidly expand their sound (like the savant in grade school who gets skipped up 4 grades in a row, too bored with the material that mystifies his peers) and the possibilities of rock and punk in general. Their Beatle-like growth recently culminating in the fantastic Drum’s Not Dead, which is hands down the best album of 2006, (but I will leave that statement open to the objections of my cobloggers). When I get back to my home computer in Colorado I’m gonna post some B-sides from their ’04 single W.F.O.G.W.T.B.O.O.O. which paves the way between the meditative bone crunching chanting of their second album (They Were Wrong, So We Drowned) and the transcendental sonic currents from the new one. There are a lot of bands who fuck around with noise rock, purposely and often far to self-consciously presenting overt and childish challenges to the listener and the genre's definitions, but you can tell that Liars love and believe in their own sound, its not just some phony art rock put-on. Rather than a farce as it’s often written off as, it’s a serious investigation into the limits of the genre, opening up the popular walls to new possibilities of expressiveness and meaning which, once altered will never be as restrictive. It’s fuckheads like the over aged Onion reviewers (who I loved and grew up with) or Spin Magazine (who called “They Were Wrong So…” the worst album of ’04) who, content to continue sucking off the whiny redundant cocks of same-old same-olds like Walkmen, Mountain Goats and The National that keeps music in stasis and allows anything promising to be co-opted. I bet if Liars had stayed with the same N.Y. post-punk dance sound they were instrumental in inaugurating at the turn of the Century (along side the Strokes), which they knew they had drained of it’s expressive usefulness after releasing the 29 minute “This Dust That Makes Mud”, reactionary cronies like Kyle Ryan (the biggest douchbag of the bunch) would still love them and the world would be that much more boring, and music that much more useless for relating or exploring feeling impossible to verbalize within preexisting rock conventions.
On the same note, the AV Club didn’t even touch on the already vastly underrepresented electronic noise only occasionally present on Pitchfork’s back (Biz) stage. For me, one of the best surprises was Matmos, a wonderfully coherent and exciting combination of challenging experimental electronic noise and accessible rock and dance. It’s groups like that which I really love, ones who walk the line between the unknown and the familiar, not afraid to venture into new sonic territory but enjoyable and non-alienating enough that they can return and report their findings to us, which always enriches popular culture. I’d say Black Dice, Lightning Bolt, and the near-mythic 1/2 Japanese are three such examples. Day two on the back stage had far too much traditional house and general techno for a firm like Pitchfork which wears its supposed cutting edge-ness like a badge (or an ironic T-shirt) of honor. Get your shit together dammit.
Yeah, The National, Walkmen and Spoon are defiantly good but who wants to sit with 10,000 people in a hot-ass field watching them shoegaze? I thought DJ made a good point in his Pitchfork post about how strange it is to see bands like these who are so suited to smaller clubs playing in a Monster’s of Rock format. Seeing bands who could actually get the crowd moving, flex their live muscle, and shake me from my sun baked lethargy like Liars and Art Brut made their respective sound all the more refreshing and made the almost inherent vacuousness of mainstream indie rock even more apparent. I’m so bored with all that shit, and by the spastic and loving reaction to Liars and Art Brut’s sets last weekend I’d say others are as well. Bands like Art Brut, Liars, Silver Jews and the newly formed and surprisingly awesome chilled out throw back Bathhouse of the Winds (Devendra Banhart’s group) and Aesop Rock are great because they kick ass in intimate club settings but can totally hold down (and rock out) a field full of sweaty kids. I really really dug the completely different set put on by Bathhouse which, for all its 70's stoner rock derivitiveness was ironically one of the freshist things there. I don't have room here to say much more about it other than fuck you Kyle Ryan, your reviews are garbage.
Next year, Pitchfork would do well to book more inventive and interesting bands worthy of the thousands of eyeballs watching them, bands capable of reciprocating the audience energy required in a summer festival setting (ie-more quirky fun like Danielson or political rhythms like Aesop Rock and Mr. Lif). And fuck that article by the AV Club. I still dig 'em but their old man “turn that noise down!” bullshit has been growing for awhile. R.I.P.

Pictures - Complete Miscommunication And An Outdated Way of Thinking

I'm at a loss for words but I feel like showing something about the war.

We are not all that different in my opinion.

Thursday, August 03, 2006


Tinariwen - Imidiwaren

Tinariwen - Nar Djenetbouba

Tamashek, the language of the Kel Tamashek of the Sahara desert, contains dozens of words for camel. This tribe of wandering nomads and traders are the spirit of the Sahara desert, and you can hear it. I can only describe it like I would the desert had I ever been there. Its breezy but hot, with life springing up out of the most unexpected places. With the emergence of western technology the electric guitar was incorporated into their folk music and the result is something you just have to hear.
Living as such in the desert and carrying goods from one side of north africa to the other, the Tamashek have faced oppression over the years in a conflict that still rages today in and around Libya. From Mali to France the haves have been trying to stake a claim on the land and it was these people who suffered. So this music is also the sound of an underground resistance and unification of the Tamashek. Their tapes were even banned for some time in Mali and Algeria. There is life here in these songs, its something real but still you cannot wrap your hands around it.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Here is the video we took of the Futureheads kicking off "Hounds Of Love" at the Pitchfork Music Festival this weekend. The quality is less than professional but at least that means we wont get sued. Enjoy.