Sunday, November 26, 2006

Exophilia and my new philosophy on life

I think there may be some type of thought stimulating chemical in turkey as I've been eating the leftovers from thanksgiving all weekend, or maybe its my jetlag waking me up really early every morning letting me think things out.
I've said, and have heard other people say the phrase "I hate people," many times. Its a sort of cool anti-social slogan that allows one to explain their alienated position in the social world and to a lesser extent, their love of this alienation. I basically loved the implications of this statement until I heard it said by Lolita, who has a blog somewhere on the internet posting erotic stories she wrote before she was in grade school, and has a boyfriend named Erik L who reminds me of so many things that both I love and hate. For some reason hearing a member of the female sex say this catechism, combined with my inherent american chauvanism, made me realize a certain stubborn sadness that can go with this saying, and pessimism in general. I'm thinking about stepping away from my own pessimism that led me to an earlier post about the death of indie rock. This death is not true, and this song is dedicated to both Lolita and that former sentiment.

Hang On, Girl - Favorite Sons

I thought my friends and I were alone in feeling the need to listen to less western music in general ("Fuck indie I'm listening to Brazillian post-punk from now on"), but it turns out like with my shoegazer phase, that the entire indie world is moving and has been moving in that same direction as well. Examples are the popularity of European and Japanese bands, Borat, Beirut, and to a little smaller degree Bishop Allen, who I love.

Bishop Allen - Like Castanets

So I think this new love of things non-western also goes against another older belief I had about the stupidity of so many popular music bloggers being apolitical, as the vast majority of the indie world seems to lean leftwards. Well, you can't hold it against someone if they shy from overt political commentary. I'd like to imagine that this reaching out to the rest of the world for music reflects a desire to understand more than just a westernized-american ideology, and that that in some way is a reflection of a desire to understand the current fucked-up political state of todays world.
Thats it, no extended ranting for me.

PS I still fucking hate those mouth breathing Aussie pricks.

Also, if you were curious here are some tracks from Nao Wave: Brazil Post-Punk 1982-1988

Akira S & As Garotas Que Erraram feat. Holger Czukay - Sobre As Pernas

Ira! - Lá Fora Pode Até Morrer

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Songs For A Dead Turkey

Funeral Home - Daniel Johnston

NYC’s Like a Graveyard - The Moldy Peaches

MTV Is My Source For New Music - Anal Cunt

Yesterday was Thanksgiving in America. The time when we get together and tip toe around the issue of genocide. And the war in Iraq. We also discuss which new television commercials we like. My aunt and uncle, being the great and sexy people that they are, were kind enough to let me masticate with them once again. My uncle used to be a cop, and he showed me the right way to hold a gun and a flashlight when checking out the situation. He also pulled the old Daisy Red Flyer BB guns out of the basement and his daughters and me shot cans in the back yard, which was sweet because my mom (his sister) would never let me play with guns whatsoever when I was a kid. She also wouldn’t let me have a Nintendo and was very anti-pornography. And now I’m a sociopath. All joking aside, it was another lovely Thanksgiving.

At the top are some songs for the dead turkey I consumed yesterday.

The first track is by Daniel Johnston, who seems to be blowin’ up (well, relatively) since the great critical success of Jeff Feuerzeig’s documentary, The Devil and Daniel Johnston. I say this because Eternal Yip Eye Music, the company that’s pretty much single-handedly maintained by Johnston’s old manager, and which used to deal only in cassettes, finally released, and remastered, some of the early Daniel Johnston albums on to CD. These include Continued Story/Hi How Are You (from 1985 and 83 respectively), Yip/Jump Music, and the newly complied White Magic (from unreleased cassette recordings). You can buy them, and pretty much all his other available stuff HERE. I went to The Hill (Boulder’s hipity little student area) today with money in my pocket for a haircut, but the stupid barber shop was closed. However, it’s located down the street from the record store, so I wandered in to say Hi to my friend Kyle. Kyle asked if I wanted to get “stoned” in the "alley" and the next thing I knew I was standing confused on the street holding a recently purchased copy of Hi How Are You. I was fine.

The Anal Cunt song posted is off of their 1994 album Everyone Should Be Killed. I thought that was worth mentioning.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Goodbye Mr. Altman

The classic American filmmaker Robert Altman died today at 81 in Los Angeles. Altman was one of the most prolific and most important American directors, responsible for such canonical U.S. films as M.A.S.H., Nashville, The Player, The Long Goodbye and my personal favorite, Fool For Love. After seeing the lovely A Prairie Home Companion over the summer, I stated on this site that the film, through its style and content, certainly positioned itself as his swan song. It’s thick atmosphere of nostalgia, as a beautiful angel of death weaves unseen through the backstage of Garrison Keillor's radio show on its last night, observing the players as they relive memories from their glory days and say goodbye to an older way of life, embodied the vision of a man sweetly and unblinkingly looking mortality in the face. However, after the film’s release (amidst all the rumors of his poor health and this being his last project), it was reported that he was in better health and, I believe, working on a new project. Despite how truly sad his passing is, and that fact that his next project was never completed, it is beautifully fitting that his last film was such a self-conscious and beautiful goodbye. Many artists follow such an opus with a much more minor work, losing what should be their right to go out on a high note. Luckily, this can not be said for Mr. Altman.

Altman was one of the last living members of the Hollywood old school, although his rebellious productions, classical narrative-bending scripts, and auterism (before the concept had even been introduced academically, let alone legitimized by the box office) paved the way for the rambunctious Movie Brats and “New Hollywood” of the 1960s and 70s (of which he was an older, but still integral figure). He was an artist who straddled the gap between a radically evolving Hollywood. He road the loosely structured American New Wave effortlessly and brought to this New Hollywood an older knowledge and professionalism that his younger contemporaries lacked. His death truly marks a great passing in the world of film, and the loss of a stable cinematic nucleus and guiding light with which to understand the trajectory of narrative filmmaking. He will truly be missed. Luckily, he was extremely prolific and left us a huge body of work which can be meaningfully enjoyed again and again. Go out and rent one of his many great films if you can.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Tonight We Leave For Oriland

Miracles do happen, birds soar, paper flowers open, we have found out about Oriland. Most of you have never heard of this wonderous kingdom, and now we want to share this information with you. We have it all figured out, we'll catch the origami steam train and then take the origmi hot air balloon over the magic lake. It will take us to the main island. We have already talked to a very helpful orilander named Igor the Goblin Librarian, who is willing to sublet his beach front castle at La Magic, which is just perfect for us. We originally wanted to find something in Foldingburg, but this is obviously way better. He emailed us this nice photo of the view from the master bedroom window. The one below is an outside view of the castle, if you look closely you can see Igor on the right hand side of the photo, wearing glasses.
We've both been accepted to the Oriversity. After we settle in we're hoping to find jobs working in the Museum Of Flora and the Paleontology Museum. They are both near the Ice Cream Cafe, where we think we might spend a lot of time. Igor told us that we will discover that their magic ice cream can only be made in La Magic Kingdom, as it requires special magical ingredients, which only grow in the Garden of Meditation. He also said that we'll have to get a pair of magic carpets to get to and from classes at the Oriversity. So yeah, were looking forwards to that a lot.

We are folded and packed, and we're ready to go. Nothing you say or do will stop us, but if you'll listen to this song maybe you will understand why we had to leave immediatly, and maybe, just maybe you'll join us one day soon.

-Laz and DJ

Yuri Shumakov - Merry Origami


Saturday, November 18, 2006

My non-ficticious life. Vol. II (Halloween)

It was halloween a few years back and I was dressed as a gangster. I got seperated from my friends and was wandering down State Street alone looking for them. State Street is the pedestrian mall in Madison where people go to shop and hang out at coffee shops and at night go to one of the many atrocities we call drinking establishments. Every year on Halloween thousands of people gather to celebrate. The more infamouse the celebration became the more people from other college towns began coming to madison with alcohol and violence on their minds. It's nearly impossible to find friendly faces among the mobs of costumed college students so I eventually gave up looking for my friends and began shooting my fake tommy gun at the rows of police officers lining up to protect the storefronts trying unsuccesfully to provoke a reaction.

At this time I caught the eye of some random girl and she showed her affection without hesitation, putting her arm around me and telling me how she thinks guys with piercings are hot. We waded through grips of people and cops on horses and found a party somewhat off the beaten path. The next thing I remember is making out on the stairs of the party with people having to step over us to get up or down the stairs. At some point in the night, a little sobered up, which is why it's the next thing I remember, we began talking about car accidents we had been in. She hesitated a little bit with embarasment before telling me a few weeks back she had hit a pedestrian.

This reminded me of a recent incident where my sister was running in the pouring rain through a crosswalk always bustling with students to her class and was hit by a truck creeping slowly through. The girl driving got out, apologizing profusely, and offered to drive her to a hospital. She didn't know where one was and my sister through her concussion had to direct her. In her haste she forgot to get any insurance information or her name to be later reimbursed for the hospital bill.

So this girl, who by the way is named "cricket." That's right her name is "Cricket" and she grew up on a farm and milked cows throughout her childhood. Which I guess isn't that uncommon where I'm from, but anyways she is talking to me about her incident and it begins to sound a lot like my sisters incident. So I say

"was the girl you hit about 5 feet with dark brown hair and named Sara?" and she says,
"Uhh, how did you know that?" So I said
"Cuz it was my sister."

So as her mind drifts back to that day she begins to cry uncontrollably. I keep telling her that it's allright and it's gonna be ok and can I have your full name and what's your insurance company.

Meanwhile, Madison on Halloween has been known to host riots for the last few years. THis was the first year there was rioting and tear gas was used. THey were provoked by a girl in a window stripping, but I guess she didn't go all the way and the crowd got pissed. It didn't take much and my friends I am proud to admit were some of the main catalysts. THey would organize the mosh pits by yelling 123 charge, and everyone would charge and a huge group of people from every direction would converge into one huge mash circle and start brawling. They had no cause other than alcohol. Eventually someone broke the windows to loot the liquer store(pictured top left), and my friend was on the recieving end of a man passing out bottles of booze through the broken glass. 8 or 9 bottles were then passed along to my other friend who put them into the back of his jeep for safe keeping. Unfortunately at about 6 in the morning when he was cohersed by some needy girl to give her a ride home he ran a red light and was t-boned by another motorist. He was under the legal limit but also under 21, but the cops took the liquor and tried to charge him with felony burglery.

In conclusion, he was dismissed of all charges and my sister never got her money and Cricket didn't end up being very cool.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Terry Gilliam is still fucked up.

Thanks to CU’s fantastic International Film Series, and the Starz Denver Film Fest, I saw two wonderfully made and very unique films by two veteran directors this week. Terry Gilliam’s Tideland and Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth. Although both films came across as the personal and idiosyncratic visions of these two self-styled auteurs, they actually share a lot in their dark yet hopeful nature (and shockingly beautiful) visions, extremely confident voice and execution (which reigns in all the general absurdity), and their use of young girl protagonists (in Jodelle Ferland and Ivana Baquero). As the experimental filmmaker and scholar Phil Solomon has written about, there is a somewhat small but strong tradition in the cinema of young girl protagonists functioning as symbolic stand-ins or embodiments of a ‘pure’ personal expression on the part of the male filmmaker. In response to some negative (or generally disturbed) publicity surrounding Tideland, Gilliam prefaces the film with a short filmed introduction in which he explains, among other things, that he looked for his inner child and it turned out to be a little girl. This symbolic use of a young girl’s perspective is due largely to the idealized conception of children’s vision as one of pure and unmediated interaction with the world, an imaginative power which the filmmaker strives for. She represents a freedom in sight and experience, and the potential for transcendence of the rigid restrictions put on sight by studio filmmaking and (masculine) socialization in general. The example Solomon uses is Stan Brakhage's Murder Psalm, which may be one of his best films (although it’s hard to say because he made over 300). This use of young female vision is an extension of a much larger cinematic tradition (strongest in western Europe) in which male directors use the perspectives of children and women protagonists as subversive lenses to challenge the overly rational conception of reality prescribed by the patriarchy (like Bergman with Persona and Alexander Kluge with Yesterday Girl). Basically, it's a mixture of a valid understanding of the gendered construction of sight with the sexist male notions of female purity and angelic insight, or in other words, interesting bullshit.

Anyway, on to the first movie (I’ll write about Pan’s Labyrinth in a later post). Tideland is very hard to write about it, or think about, or watch. Basically its just really hard to wrap your brain around. However I certainly enjoyed the experience or running this risky gamut with the ever-uncompromising Gillian and letting his strange world fuck my mind. Tideland is perhaps the most beautifully shot movie I’ve seen all year, and I think it’s Gillian’s most visually stunning (though ironically because of its subtlety compared to his usual carnival ride like aesthetic, and it’s realist yet expressionistic use of natural light). It’s the kind of film you have to take home and chew on for a few days to get an accurate picture of what is even really was (which wont be hard because the images and events become seared in your unconscious). Its strange meandering plot and seemingly scattershot chain of events was structured and secured within the confines of a supremely confident and knowing vision. Although I was never sure where it was going or what it even meant (or if I actually liked it), I never doubted that Gilliam knew what he was doing, and that every seemingly random event was absolutely crucial to his full vision. Gilliam’s films always have an almost pretentious self-confidence, almost to the point of hubris, but I think here he’s really reached a watershed moment in his career where’s he’s made something still prevertedly delightful and generally twisted like all his flicks, but much more sincere and stripped down, a film which uses the tropes of absurdism and a scummy romanticism to attain a deep and authentic expression and perspective. It’s awkward structure would be absolutely impossible to maintain without Gilliam’s extreme self-confidence. However, that’s not to say the film doesn’t fall flat at times, or dissolve into caricature (especially the junky father played by Jeff Bridges). Gilliam’s purposeful overdirection and use of overacting is well-established in his filmic style by now and often yields multilayered insights, but in a film as bare and sincere as Tideland, it stylized acting, almost antagonistically odd plot, and cynical black humor often crumble into hoaky missteps and failed attempts at parable which don’t quite resonate. Despite its faults, the sheer yet confident awkwardness of the film and its moments of transcendental beauty make it defiantly worth watching. It’s the kind of movie I like more with each day it continues bouncing around my head. Here’s The Onion AV Club’s enlightening interview with Gilliam’s about Tideland, in which you can tell he has a masturbatory and completely uncritical (and defensive) love of his new film.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

A Public Apology To Dr. Phil And Maya

I still cannot believe I imagined this.

About two months ago I thought I saw a segment on TV about Dr. Phil momentarily losing control and calling a prostitute and saying something along the lines of "Lets just go crazy...lets get some coke and bring some girls over....lets just go crazy." I vividly remember hearing his voice on tape, and I remember them saying he issued his own public apology after getting caught.

Since then I've been telling this story all over the place whenever he comes up in conversation. So basically, I've been spreading completely slanderous and false rumors about an upstanding american citizen. I would like to apologize to you, Dr. Phil, and anyone else I may have hurt in my irresponsible spree. In particular I'd like to also apologize to Maya, who's dad thinks extremely highly of the doctors paradigm shifting book: Life Strategies: Doing What Works, Doing What Matters. I would also like to reccomend: Self Matters: Creating Your Life from the Inside Out, and Love Smart: Find the One You Want--Fix the One You Got. I am so completely relieved that you never had the heart to ever tell him, partly because he wouldn't have needed to be hurt so unnessecarily, and partially because I don't want him coming after me.

I've come to this apology after a long online search for any information relating to this fiasco and having come up completely, utterly, empty handed. I'll admit I am wrong when I am, but I still don't think this is absolute proof of me being wrong. Dr. Phil, I know you are a powerful man, and if this is in fact some kind of cover up I WILL find the truth. Still, until I find supporting evidence I hope you can accept my humble apology.


Curtis Mayfield - Nothing On Me(Cocaine Song)

Upsetters - Night Doctor

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Iraq is Fucked (songs for Iraq)

I know what you're thinking..."duh, of course Iraq is fucked." and you're right, but I just wanted to reaffirm that, and explore a typically unexplored issue.

Of course the war is looking more and more never ending. We are trying to put more responsibility on the Iraqi security forces so we can gradually step back. I think the Iraqi security forces are the only ones who don't want us to do that. They may be even more hated than the U.S. military. So the war will never end, at least untill it's useless and unlivable. That is not a good prospect.

How else are they fucked, they're poor. So economic stability in the country is a fairy tale.

Other than the constant danger of any Iraqi civilian being shot in the back or seeing a relative shot in the head, there are also more abstract health risks that they and veterans of the war have to deal with.

The U.S. military has admitted to using depleted Uranium. They originally began using them as DU "penetrators," which are shells that are used because they're extremely high density and can penetrate heavy armor, not because they're radioactive. The U.S. Government does not believe that these radioactive particles are dangerous, because there is no proof that it is what's causing the spike in cancer incidents in adults and children after the first Iraq war, as well as an increase in birth defects. Soldiers have also suffered from what is called "gulf war syndrom." Veterans of the first Iraq war are 60% more likely to get cancer than the rest of the population. Is this a result of DU? It's hard to tell when there are so many other contaminants in the air in Iraq. For example we know that Saddam used chemical weapons against the kurds. What happened to these? They probably got blown up by American missiles and are floating around somewhere in Iraq. The country is basically a stew of toxins both chemical and radioactive. This makes it very difficult to blame it solely on DU particles. but one thing is for sure, it can be blamed entirely on the Bush family. Actually that's not fair, I'll give Saddam 2% blame.

DU emits alpha particles. Although these particles cannot penetrate through clothing or skin, if they are inhaled and trapped inside the body can do major damage to cells before leaving the body. THe thing is when a DU shell was taken to Germany for testing, the scientists wore radioactive suits to protect themselves and there was extreme caution exercised in not letting civilians anywhere near it. These are scattered all across Iraq. Sixteen US military vehicles were hit with friendly fire, (DU shells) they were sent to a decontamination facililty in South Carolina where they had to be buried in a low level radiation waste dump because they were too dangerous. We wouldn't want any westerners getting contaminated. THe people in Iraq are just in the wrong place at the wrong time. especially since the areas where the shells were found will remail contaminated for 4.5 billion years.

THis shows the utter brutality of war. The complete disregard for human life, the indifference for anything other than their plan that's like a game. It's the simply the x's and o's of the corporate controlled government. How could anyone not see that this war is for oil.

The Coup - 5 Million Ways to Kill a CEO

I am sick of hearing soldiers use the "I was just following orders" excuse. That's not an excuse, It's the same excuse that was spoken in Nazi Germany. It's time for people to take responsibility for their actions. If I ever hear another soldier proudly say those words I swear to god I will spit in their face. and face the consequences. So many people look at our soldiers as noble heroes, and some of them are. but so many people think soldier is synonomous with hero and are afraid to question their morals. I've met many people who serve(d) in the war, and most of them are my age and like video games just like I do. They played too much halo and now they have the want to take the next step from their previous life of harmless virtual manifestations. Then there are the ones who needed money for college, most of the people my age while not all of them fall in one of these two catagories. What both of them have in common is that they're apolitical and detached. Many of these people are former friends and former classmates and I don't hate them, I just feel sorry for them. In my experiences soldiers get irrationally enraged when you question their morals, and I don't want to get beaten.

So when the random guy in the army who's republican, but knows nothing about politics that comes to my porch at 3 in the morning tanked, I'm civil. And since I am also drunk at 3 in the morning we usually end up hugging eachother with him saying

"man I respect you and I respect your opinion man" and I say
"Man I repect you too but man you have to realize the war is bullshit."

Here's to signing up for the army

Adult. - Bad Idea

How can they think that it's ok to kill because someone they don't know is starting a war for a reason that has nothing to do with them. They are pawns and are totally ok with that.
Here's to going somewhere other than Iraq.

Chill-Out Session - Ibiza 2002 - 09 - Jazzanova - Bohemian Sunset

Monday, November 13, 2006

Halloween Covers

Halloween is long over. But it dies hard for me. When you’re a kid, the whole Halloween experience stretches out for like a week and a half if you nurse your candy right. But now it’s just a hangover that lasts until 4 in the afternoon the next day and a pillow smeared with makeup and fake blood. But Halloween is the awesomest. It’s appealed to humanity pretty much forever, probably because we’ve always needed some festive outlet to deal with death. But it seems especially fitting now that this truly postmodern generation is in full swing. Now people can go out dressed up like Quail Man or that slutty Russian Planeteer and have sloppy bar-time sex with a Ninja Turtle or a Care Bear Cousin. Mixin’ and matchin’ to make their own Saturday morning pastiche.

Here are some covers and other stuff to stretch out Halloween, like old candy at the bottom of your plastic pumpkin pale. Our generation and current culture, all the way from MTV reality shows to Ivy League Doctoral dissertations (which really aren't that far apart these days), seems obsessed with remembering and reevaluating the styles, trends and plastic artifacts from past pop cultural eras, lovingly deconstructing them for any and all emotional and historical value. It’s why people collect happy meal toys and limited addition Batman Returns chocolate cereal boxes. It’s why you see frat boys wearing brand new hot topic Mario Brothers t-shirts, and why it’s okay to write your masters thesis on The Real Ghostbusters cartoon, and its relation to Reagan-era ideology. It’s why in the last week and a half I’ve been in 3 conversations with separate groups of people my age in which Fruit Stripes bubble gum came up. And I only brought it up once. It’s why shows like Family Guy have 15 stupid-ass references to Three’s Company and Family Ties a minute. It’s how Adult Swim got big, putting vulgar and absurdist dialogue into stiffly animated Hannah Barbara characters. It seems like most entertainment, art and cultural criticism now is only interested in romantically and nostalgically reassessing old pop cultural objects and styles, trying to find meaning in the remnants of a consumer society that sold its soul long before we came on the scene to scour the pieces for a sense of identity.

I think it's reflected not only in the many covers out there, and the constant Hollywood remakes and prequels, but in the fact that whole genres and stylistic quirks of previous pop music and cult movies are being so heavy-handedly and irresponsibly appropriated these days. There’s defiantly a lot of fresh new shit being made in this country and others (like in the Bearded Child Film fest), but it seems like the purpose and aesthetic of most new stuff is rooted in returning to and reinterpreting old sounds and images. Sometimes this is done in new and exciting ways, but it also makes for a bunch of boring rock and indie bands whose entire sound is based on badly mimicking music from the 70s and 80s which often wasn't that great to begin with. Although there are lots of little pockets of truly unique music, as well as film and video work, (check out Fort Thunder) to find out there, there don’t seem to be any big solidified trends now like maybe grunge or new wave were in the past. But maybe that’s the unique stance of our generation, we’re only able to make sincere statements through the insincere artifice and cultural propaganda of the consumer society we were raised in. People like Almodovar and Fassbinder, even Warhol were certainly able to do so with deeply meaningful results. Anyway, here are some songs that I think do a great job of sincerely reinterpreting old material.

Posso - The God Damn Doo Wop Band

The GDDWB is probably the most complete and utterly uncyncial appeal to an earlier sound I have ever heard. The three singers dress kinda like punks or bikers or something, but very little of that style comes through on their first record, Broken Hearts. I guess their power comes from the fact that they reject any vulgar updates to their musical style, and just give their complete and sincere dedication to revive a supposedly archaic music form. Anyway, it works. Check out their myspace page for more downloads and tour dates. We saw them open up for The Awesome Snakes in Madison, who I thought were also totally great, but I don’t think all my co-bloggers agreed with me on that one.

Melt-Banana - SURFIN’ USA

I love these guys. Although there hyperspeed and spazzed out post-punk certainly seems to understand its debt to punk’s pure energy and discontent and post-punk’s ultra tight form, as well as to early Japanese Hard Core’s abrasiveness as DJ pointed out, I nonetheless think Melt-Banana has a force and viewpoint all there own.

European Son - Half Japanese

Anything pop-genius Jad Fair, the nucleus of Half-Japanese, touches instantly becomes his own unique expression, including the genre of rock n’ roll itself. He’s got to be one of the most uncompromisingly singular, yet still head-bangingly accessible pop artists out there. Thanks to Laz for turning me on to him. It’s cool that he’s covering a Velvet Underground song here, because later on he did a side project with Moe Tucker (the drummer for VU) called Between Meals. It’s hard to find (although probably not in hip Meccas like Stockholm where underground LPs litter the streets, as opposed to the U.S. which dumps truck loads of discarded Kelis cds and Spider Man 2 soundtracks into the Amazon jungle once the hype passes), but you can buy one of their albums on ebay right now for 12 U.S. You have 21 hours and 31 mins!

I Won’t Back Down - Johnny Cash

I’ve never considered Tom Petty the deepest musician, although I do dig his music (and his Wildflowers is a really good album), so I love this cover because I think there’s more depth and sincerity in Cash’s version than in Petty’s original. A lot of this is due, like with Jad Fair, to the unique and iconic power of Cash's voice which is impossible to distrust, and instantly consumes any intruding influence making all content its sole property. I think that's why his cover heavy American series works so well (this track is off vol. 3). Petty sings along on this track, but Cash sounds so good that you can't really tell and don't particularly care that's Petty's there.

Tortoise Brand Pot Scrubbing Cleaner’s Theme (Sea Turtle) - Shonen Knife

This is the ultimate example of postmodern sincerity. It’s by Japan’s fantastic pop-punk trio who found success in the 80's and 90’s by overtly rejecting saccharine emotion or political commentary in pop music in favor of songs about food and other capitalist commodities. But rather than being a cynical joke, they expressed to their world their deep love for creme puffs and hamburgers. You can read them explain their approach and aesthetic here in this Perfect Sound Forever interview. In this song, a band know for their sincere superficiality covers the theme to a television commercial in the style of American Surf-rock. Nice. And it all fuses together into one sincerely beautiful flowing sea of pop.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

My non-ficticious life. Vol. I

When I was growing up I was on a private basketball team called the Wildcats. My coach was also a friend and mentor. He mostly coached middle school aged players. Middle school was a time in which sex was a mysterious and unatainable goal for young boys. My parents were too passive to give me a sex talk, so instead of my parents giving me the "talk," they gave me a book entitled, "What's happening to my Body Book for Boys." For me sex was a fantasy, It's all I ever thought about but had no confidence that it would happen anytime soon. So I had this cool coach that would often ask if anyone had a joke during our huddle in time outs, and if no one had a good enough joke he would tell some crude joke about Mother Teresa's tits that everyone found hillarious.

I didn't have any friends who had actually ever had sex regardless of how many lied and said they did, so I became friends with my coach, who I called by his first name "Steve," so I could ask him as many questions as I could think of about sex and anything else that an adult wouldn't normally tell me about life. He did take basketball extemely serious, and was constantly yelling at the kids and making us run an unholy amount of suicides at practice if we didn't permorm well the game before. You never knew if he was going to yell at you for not playing hard enough or tell you that your mom was hot.

He didn't smoke or drink or or consume caffeine. No drugs. If he ever heard about a kid drinking or smoking pot he was off the team. He was a hard ass but always put humor as a second priority to keep us on his side. He was in his mid thirties and was never married but had countless stories of his many conquests, even though no one ever saw him with a woman. He would always talk about his porn collection and about how much he jacked off and his personal record of cuming 17 times in one day (with a woman.) He was an avid homophobe always mentioning how disgusting fags were for having butt sex with one another. I wouldn't stop bothering him about buying me a porn since I had no other way of getting one. At first he said he would do it but never actually did.

Kids would sleep over at his house which was covered completely in trash and empty pizza boxes, I looked at him as a big kid, who new a lot more about life, and I had a fountain of questions for him all the time. I treasured the time I could spend with him, and he liked me because I was constantly challenging him and getting into arguements about whether or not military service should be mandatory for citizens (he was a republican, and I was a radical at a very young age.) Most weekends we would participate in tounaments throughout the state, he would always drive the kids who's parents didn't drive and we would rent a hotel room, where the players would spend the evenings in the hot tub after the game, and he would always take the bed making countless young bodies sleep on the floor. I would always want to go with him and would look forward to these trips, and socializing with the other players/friends. These trips I looked at as the biggest freedoms of my young life away from parents and authority. He was our authority and although he did have rules he would let me drive his car and he'd take us to the movies or bowling and it was fun.

Some how he earned the trust of parents to let there kids spend so much time with him. It was very important that he earn the trust of the parents, and mine trusted him.

I remained friends with him into high school after I didn't play for him anymore. he would pay me to scorekeep at his tournaments, and since I still never got laid in high school I was still infatuated with getting his advice on how I could score. I didn't realize he was the last person I should be getting this information from.

He'd say things like "girls want to fuck too. Just go up to them and flat out ask 'em 'do you want to fuck?' And they'll say yes."

So I'd say, "That really works? I just ask them if they want to fuck me?"

"It worked for me in high school, I got laid so many times asking girls that, they're just as horny as you are."

I only got myself to try that once my senior year in gym class. For some reason every black girl in my gym class was in love with me, one in particular proclaimed me as her husband and would constantly embarase me. I was really mean to her, but there was this other really hot younger black girl that would always flirt with me.

So one day I said "We should fuck" She giggled and didn't answer me. She was younger and not seriously wanting sex. So his advice didn't work in practice. This partially explains the deficiancy in my sex life to this day.

My junior year in high school I always wanted to go on a road trip but my parents wouldn't let me go with my friends. They would however let me go with Steve and one other of my friends. It was a dream come true. So we planned a trip out west. I was excited and in order to make money for the trip that summer I worked at Steve's tournaments, helping him organize and running from the gym to his house to to get things he needed.

One time I had some down time and I was alone at his house, the first time I'd ever been there alone. So I decided I'd snoop around a little bit and find one of those elusive porns in his giant collection. He had a huge 50 inch t.v. in his living room that we would always watch sports on but I figured the good stuff would be around the t.v. in his room. I was very discriminant about what I touched since I new very well that was the room where he told us so many times that he jacked off. So I decided I would just play the tape that was allready in his v.c.r. I pressed play and immediately saw skin. Jackpot. Wait a minute...I don't see any breasts in this porn, just two shapeless bodies one black and one white. Then I realized with a sudden shock that this wasn't a regular porn, it was a gay porn. These revelations that spaned about 2.5 seconds in my mind concluding with me realizing that this wasn't any ordinary gay porn either, it was a low quality homemade porn, and the black guy was Steve, and the white guy was Seth Cooper, the star player who was a year older than me and one of the most popular kids at my high school.

He was highly regarded as a succesful heterosexual and was one of the biggest pimps at my school. I was 16 at the time and Seth was in the grade above me so it was unclear if he was 18 at the time the video was made. It took a while for this new information to register and when it finally did I was swallowed with confusion and shock. Steve was gay, the biggest homophobe I ever met was gay. I would later learn that homophobia was the first warning sign of a closet gay along with talking about masturbation. Straight guys don't talk to eachother about their jacking off habits. So for all those closet cases out there, don't talk vividly about your penis. It's not normal and certainly not a comforting conversation for a straight guy.

I didn't tell anyone about what I saw for about six months and decide to still go on the road trip despite my recent revelations. I thought I could still have fun and make the best of a wierd situation. The trip ended up being two weeks of constant bickering. As much as I thought I liked him we always butted heads on many issues. He was afraid of sleeping outdoors and refused to go camping. This was very dissapointing for me and Started a wave of constant arguements throughout the trip and I began to hate him.

but we had plenty of time to talk, so at one point I asked him about Seth, who spontanioulsy moved to Florida after a big fight he had with Steve a couple of years ago.

He said "me and Seth were like this," as he crossed his pointer and middle finger to show their closeness.

I asked him what it was that caused their falling out and he made up some lie about him not getting along with his mom.

The highlight of our trip was me buying a bong in Venice Beach and then later in Vegas finding a bum to sell us weed. Steve new we experimented with pot and said if we got arrested he would drive home and leave us in jail. I didn't realize at that time that in Nevada possesion of any amount of marijuana is a felony. But I bought a bong and was damn well gonna find some weed to put in it. So I found a bum on the streets in vegas walking around with no shirt and dirt caked to all parts of his body to go on a wild goose chase for this weed that he kept in a bottle under some overpase on the other side of town. It was a long walk and even back in my naive and way too trusting days began to doubt this weed really existed. Believe it or not after 20 minutes of walking we found this overpass just like he described it and he uncovered a bottle buried under some rocks and in it was $20 of dirt weed. So me and my friend drove around and found a spot where we could see all the lights on the strip and packed up a bong load. One of the only fond memories from that trip.

Our fighting got so bad that when we were around the Grand Canyon we decided just to make the mostly silent 30 hour drive straight home and end our misery. I was so angry at him that I never talked to him again after that trip.

Six months later I told one of my friends about the porn and one of them told my friend who I went on the trip with who I purposely didn't tell because I new he wouldn't believe me, and he didn't. Even my other friends began to doubt my story as though I would make something like that up. A year later steve's name appears in the newspaper, because of accusations that he was driving a boy home and pulled over and asked him to give him oral sex. There was no more doubting my story. Now he's a registered sex offender.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Songs for Rumsfeld

Well, this was a momentous week in America. First female speaker of the House ever, and first democratic congress since ‘94. Despite some ranting commentsI had about the Democrats being spineless ineffective fair-weather moderates offering too little too late, I am nonetheless very happy that the maniacal idiot man-child in the White House no longer has a groupthinking Congress ready to blow full steam ahead behind his billion dollar mistakes and violent whims. It’s definitely still a conservative country though, and the new Democrat congress is gonna be hopelessly stuck in the middle of the road, so they probably won’t even overturn the Patriot Act or make any drastic changes in Iraq. But at least they most likely wont be as destructive and insane as the Republicans were. And yes, Rumsfeld is gone. And as happy as I am, I’m gonna miss the dirty asshole.

Thanks for all the bowel shredding memories, you dirty old sonofabitch. I’m gonna miss your stupid wrinkled face and your evil old man voice. Your ill-fitting suits and your drooping face-skin crap sacks. You spiced up American political life with your dangerous misrepresentations, and your contributions to one of the most corrupt Presidential administrations in American history will not be forgotten. I love you sir, and I feel as bad as any son of democracy who has had to take his rabid senile grandpa into the field and shoot him with the very winchester rifel he gave me for my 12th birthday. Hoo-Ah. Thank you for everything you’ve taught me, you evil evil old bastard. Don’t even think twice Donald, it’s cool.

Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright - Bob Dylan

Breaking The Choke hold - Mike Watt

Monday, November 06, 2006

As a follow up to my last post predicting certain death for the homogenized post-punk being made these days, I'd like to highlight a modern 'indie' bands that is doing something fresh and intresting.
Theyre called Klaxons. At first I was a little skeptical of them as I am about every artist who is overly hyped in the music blogging world. Still, song titles like 'Atlantis to Interzone,' 'The Four Horsemen of 2012,' and 'Gravity's Rainbow' totally sold me. They've got the crazy new-band energy of The Unicorns or Liars's They Threw Us In a Trench... combined with a certain science fictional literary bent that makes it uncompromisingly anti-mainstream. Hopefully. Heres to hoping the actual album is just as good. "Not Over Yet" is some type of demo I found that I really enjoy, but every song on the EP is good as well.

Klaxons - Not Over Yet

Klaxons - Gravity's Rainbow

Oh yeah and wow.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Stockholm Syndrome Live in Stockholm

Isn't that catchy? Yes it is. I'm sorry I missed the beginning though, I was standing at the bar getting my friend who just got there a beer. ( I needed to celebrate that I finished my 9000-suits-print). When I heard them start Stockholm Syndrome I just grabbed everything and ran. This is definitely one of my absolute favorite Yo La Tengo songs,which is weird because I don't even like Neil Young that much.

It was a really great show, except people here, in Stockholm, who listen to Yo La Tengo are very very calm. They are the kind of people who enjoy listening to the songs in complete silience, really savouring every note. ( Except for one guy, with one of those short, spontanious mohawks, who just danced his ass off. Which looked really funny, since that was pretty much the only movement in our general area.

Sometimes he would clap really loud and off beat too haha).When I'm at shows like this one, I sometimes miss the crazy shows of the late 90's. Getting bruises on your ribs and hips at the Smashing Pumpkins show. Because the Pumpkins rock. That's why.
Dancing around like crazy at the Dinosaur Jr. show even though it took years before I found out who they were. Man, I feel old.

People very rarely mosh here anymore, and it's going to be hard bring back though, because moshing by yourself is being a total asshole. I heard that moshing is alive and well in Madison Wisconsin though, the city where the 90's just won't die.
This theory, has always gotten alot of resistance especially from DJ who claims that Madison WI is in fact, so hip, that what I'm seeing is actually a RETRO 90's style. I don't believe that even for a second, but whatever it is I think it's awesome.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


After a certain point in my musical life I came to a point where I realized that an absolute line dividing good and bad music did not exist. King Crimson was not the greatest band ever, and all pop music was not irrelevant. I think I had know about it all along, like my inexplicable love for Styx and Def Leppard near the end of high school. I knew it wasn't "great" music but I still enjoyed it to certain extent. There was some basic human component that was still effected by this shallower kind of music that didn't care if my friends wanted to have a You're-Not-Allowed-To-Listen-To-Rod-Stewart-Anymore intervention on me.

This lack of a dividing line has allowed me to be a total slimy flip-flopping liberal when it comes to my musical allegiances, but in the long run I think its served me better. To paraphrase Robert Frost, I was too broadminded to take my own side in any argument.

(I'll get around to talk about this band Can Joann, in a moment, but I'm still setting up.)

In college I was way into jambands, and Phish especially, I would get stoned as hell and freak out to how incredible Trey was(is) at guitar. The reason I bring this up is because I genuinely loved the genre's music, but also that I witnessed it die a horrible death from the inside. I remember one night talking with a friend, ever the optimistic stoners we decided the great thing about the jam scene was that there was no scene. It was just a bunch of people who loved music coming together in a gathering totally free of any pretense. Later that night at a show, a girl I had driven up to the Twin Cities with turned to me after we got in front of the stage said, 'Wow I really like the Minneapolis jam scene.' Then I realized how fake her college girl dreads were and that she was a totally up-tight bitch. Suffice it to say, this was the beginning of the end.

Along the years many similar things happened. They are too numerous to list completely, but they ranged from my realization that a local jam-band was fronted by a egotistic prick to the culmination in a wasted frat boy and his girlfriend at the last Phish show in Alpine Valley waving a bottle of Wild Turkey and yelling "YEAHHHHHH! Phish ROCKS!" non stop.

So what is the point of all this? Towards the end of the decline of the Jam scene, which I have now come to realize was a 'scene,' more and more people started up jam-bands which sounded more and more homogenous. A phenomenon which is still going strong especially here in Madison. Slowly, over time, the genre's conventions were boiled down into one or two basic sounds which could be imitated by nearly everyone. Essentially killing the idea of any creativity or experimentation, two things which are at the core of any thriving genre. Now it might be hard for you to imagine that I don't hate these generic jam-bands, and I don't really. It's just that I can't help but notice their genericness. I still hear bands and can't help notice the talent of the musicians and the groove, but its never a huge draw for me.

So the moral here is that every 'scene' is destined to die. Thats the only thing it can do. One of the characterizations of a scene to me at least, is that it is fresh and new, a little in-crowdy too maybe. So theres nothing that can happen over time but for general knowledge to spread, and for its green skin to slowly fade to brown and for its original tang and texture to fade away as well. Every thing lives and everything dies, its the circle of life written in the asteroids my friends.

Which finally, brings me to Can Joann. Theres nothing about this band that I don't like, but listening to it I hear absolutely nothing fresh, except maybe the fact that I'm sure all these guys, or at least the lead singer is really good looking. They flipped the top out of and hype-machine recently, making the most downloaded band list for a while. Still, this my friends, is the band that will bring the wasted frat-boys waving their bottles of whiskey and offering you as much as you want of it.

I may be wrong, and I can't really even say whether I hope I am or not. This world of Indie and Post-Punk may turn out to be more resilient than I thought and kick out an equivalent of what Green Day and Nirvana were to Punk, 20 years down the road. Still, I can't help but be a little skeptical. I take it as neither a pro or con, I'll only keep my eyes out for the next big thing.

Can Joann - Lady Luck

Can Joann - Indecision's Way