Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Don't you remember that you love this?

So I'm working on a music-quiz for a big dinner party at the Art Education Institution at my school, when I find this song again. It's so good. Now I know that it's hard for people to admit, but at least here, in Stockholm, at a club called 90's, this is the song that makes people delirious with happiness and nostalgia. I remember being so proud when it came on Beverly Hills 90201 more than 10 years ago. At a party at Brandon and Brenda's house. It felt like Sweden was finally getting noticed, for the first time since ABBA. Sadly they started to suck after a while, the fact that it was discovered that one of the guys (the one in the front, Uffe) used to be a Nazi didn't help their popularity much either, so the world forgot about Ace of Base. But we will never forget that life is indeed demanding without understanding.

Ace of Base- the Sign

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

An Interview With Hannah

After reading Grant Miller’s interview on this site, Hannah of Newly Indonesian decided she wanted us to spread some interview love her way. Read on to hear her thoughts on the ugly Midwest, autistic slaughterhouses, and stabing Richard Brautigan in the heart with a steak knife. If anyone would like some interview love from Hannah or one of us here at Transmissions From Wintermute, let us know in the comments.

Next in the interview series, Benjamin Rosenbaum.

as a preface, here’s a live Pixies bootleg and a couple of Brautigan poems from The Pill Versus The Springhill Mine Disaster, all stuff which Hannah helped turn me onto in college.

Hey - The Pixies

From the sixth show of the reunion warm-up tour, recorded 4.28.04 in Eugene Oregon. Behind Frank Black you can hear every hipster in Eugene, and me, singing along.

'Star-Spangled' Nails
You've got
some "Star-Spangled"
in your coffin, kid.
That's what
they've done for you,

Xerox Candy Bar
you're just a copy
of all the candy bars
I've ever eaten.

You are very well versed in music and were briefly a music major in college. Who would win in a fight between Steve Reich and Philip Glass (optional follow-up: what if Philip Glass had a wooden spear)?

I wouldn't call myself well-versed in music so much as hyper-tuned to the few bands/musicians that I really love while ignoring the rest of the music world, but from the little that I know about those two guys, I'd have to say Philip Glass. Not because I like his music better. I don't. But Philip Glass, I think, relies on repetition to drive his listeners slightly crazy. When you listen to Philip Glass, you feel like you're in an alternate, robotic universe where things go on forever and at the same time if they go on one second longer you're going to scream. Making people feel like that is dangerous. Steve Reich captures reality very well (especially in 'City Life I-IV), but what's more potentially lethal, reflecting reality precisely or making people feel insane? Exactly. After Glass added 13 more minutes of identical 'Ahh-eee-ooo's' to the 14 minutes he had already, and Reich lay writhing and insane on the ground, the wooden spear would only be a nail in the coffin.

On your recent visit to Madison, you were debating between moving to Chicago or back to the town of our Alma Mater, Boulder. Now Boulder has officially won out. Why do you hate the midwest, a.k.a., America (optional follow up: Why do you love terrorism)?

Weather and landscapes. What a boring answer. I chose nicer weather and landscapes over actually knowing people in the location, which is never a smart choice, as I've found! Too late though, I got a good job and I'm staying here for probably at least two years. I hate the Midwest because it's flat and brown and humid and freezing in turns, and smelly, and every June Lake Michigan sends thousands of pounds of dead fish to shore right in Chicago, and this year is the 17-year locust cycle, and there's no nature except for cornfields and if you want to rock climb you have to drive 4 hours to Devil's Lake, and if you happen to want to day trip out of Chicago, too bad, because all there is for hours surrounding is depressing suburbs. I love Chicago because it has excellent food and a wonderful variety of people, but that just can't beat out all of the above. And that is coming from someone for whom food is life. I hope that the CIA ends up having to read my entire journal because of that last sentence in your question. No really, I do. I just love the idea of some agent sitting at work being forced to read about Indonesian post office employees and strange tropical ailments and tales of stubborn schoolchildren and people who hit on other people by being racist.

You are a very avid reader, even more so that DJ, making you the most avid reader I know. What was your favorite of everything you've read in the last six months and why?

Animals In Translation by Temple Grandin. It's by an autistic woman who, among other things, designs humane slaughterhouses for a living. Her theory is that since both autistic people and animals think in pictures, she is able to see their environment through their eyes and design everything so they're happy and calm right up until the end. It's difficult to explain the subject matter to people without them looking at you like, 'are you saying autistic people are like animals?' but what she's getting at is more complicated than that. There are all sorts of anecdotes and insights in there that make your brain turn completely around for a split second. Those low metal slats they put across the roads to keep cows in pasture? Cows' hooves can't fit through there. That's not why they don't walk right across. The reason they don't walk across is because a cow's vision is such that the contrast of color makes the slats look like a straight drop-off into the abyss. That's a bad example of an anecdote that makes your brain turn completely around. But as avid of a reader as I am, information goes straight through my brain and out my ears. While I'm reading, I am enthralled and tuned out to the world, but when I put the book down it's gone. So maybe DJ should still hold the title.

It's your birthday and you have a magical dinner party, to which you can invite 3 nonfictional people, living or dead. The catch; at the end of the night you have to stab one of them in the heart with a steak knife. Who are your choices. Please elaborate.

Richard Brautigan (if your previous question had included books I've read ever, one of his would definitely have beaten out Animals in Translation, if it were not immediately usurped by something by Paul Krassner or The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down [see how I'm insiduously slipping more books in under the radar despite your only asking me about one?]), Ze Frank (of, and, and Sylvia Plath. The first two get to come because they have wildly unique worldviews not only in writing, but in speech, and have the capability to transform moods, or entire perspectives, in seconds. Sylvia Plath is there so that when she hears these two speak, it changes her life. If you've ever read The Bell Jar, I'm sure you would use your magical dinner party - or anything within your power - to cheer her up too. And I guess I could use some worldview-shaking as well. Since Brautigan and Plath are already dead, I'd stab one of them. Brautigan, I guess. He committed suicide even WITH his brilliant perspective, so I expect that if I brought him back to life he'd be angry and want to go back to his grave.

You've met most of my cobloggers several times, with the sad exception of Laz (because I think you two would be bestest friends, if it wasn't for the damn Pacific). Who do you think could do more clap-pushups, me or OMGIMike?

Politeness dictates that I say you. Also, though politeness does not dictate that I am allowed to say that I don't remember what OMGIMike looks like, I'm going to say it anyway, because it's the truth. [Mike looks buff, and would actually win...for the record. -ED]


Friday, May 25, 2007

How I learned about Fart-Wars

Let me take you guys on a journey into the wondrous world of student-teaching for just a second here. The classroom ( especially the art-classroom) is a place where anything can happen. Students see all the colorful pictures on the walls and get all giddy with excitement that their awkward adolescent bodies can't possibly contain. Some kids get angry, some feel like they need to yell or start drumming loudly on their desks. Some get an uncontrollable urge to fart, a lot. My theory is that this is brought on by the drumming ...everybody gets all riled up from that.

So, a while ago when I was at the pretty much all male high school in the ghetto where I student-teach , it happened, my first fart-war. I didn't see it coming of course, but now, looking back all the signs where there 1). yelling 2.) more yelling 3.) DRUMMING. Yes, the fart-war was inevitable. It started with one of the leader-guys walking up to the black board and farting, but this guy, being the leader or "fart-master" didn't just settle for a plain, he was not willing to compromise this statement, or start signal if you will, by filtrating his fart with two whole layers of fabric! He's better than that. So, he did the only logical thing, the only thing a good fart-master could do at that point, which was to pull down both pants and boxers and set it free out into the air. I don't need to tell you this was a huge success and all hell broke loose. Nothing could be done. Unfortunately, I think I made it way worse, I tried so hard not to laugh ( or breathe) but I had to, which of course the high school guys noticed and started farting even more. To seduce me. With their farts. Yes. Then the poor 63-year old teacher came up to me and said that " well, now you know how this can leave early today if you want to". And I did, I sauntered out into the fresh beautiful spring air. On my way to the subway I realized that this may have been my first fart-war, but it sure as hell won't be my last. Because I'm going to be a teacher, and high school guys are really gross.

Here's some completely unrelated music that I've been listening to a lot lately:

Johnny Cash- A boy named Sue

Kimya Dawson- The Beer

D' Angelo- The Line

This one is mostly to inform everyone that D'Angelo is NOT dead. He was in a car crash, and he did go to jail for something, and at some point he did indeed get fat. But that doesn't mean he's dead, Aida.

Gogol Bordello- Undestructable

The Comedian Harmonists- Wenn die Sonja russisch tanzt

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Wiscon, Necessary Voodoo

There is another cool point about madison in addition to the smoking ban and cool facial expressions mentioned in the interview below. That point is an event, which is a convention, specifically, America's largest feminist science fiction convention. Yes thats right, I, racist chauvanistic DJ am going to Wiscon, coming up May 25th-28th. No seriously. Except about the whole racist chauvanist thing. I don't really know how I feel about it except that two of my favorite new writers Kelly Link, and Benjamin Rosenbaum are going to be speaking, discussing and reading, and for that I'm really excited. If any of our readers happen to be going I totally want hang out with you (I can imagine the Venn diagram in my mind now, two zero dimensional points of space separated by an infinite distance.) I feel a little weird about it because one (1.) I'm a guy and will totally stick even more than I would at normal sci-fi convention, and two (2.) I've heard sci-fi conventions are notoriously cliquish, and hard approach as a newcomer. In a certain way I'm really nervous and afraid. Kind of in the same way a fat, balding, forty-something guy can make me feel lame for not having read the Sandman comics, but more like, with female authors. One of the things I'm doing to prepare and hopefully help fit in is I started reading A Room Of One's Own, which is really really good, and in fact less about what I expected feminism to be than about a need to express a creative spirit and a love of life gone about in a very Cartesian logical manner as to actually apply to real life. Anyways, at least theres no RPG room or medieval costume contest.

Okay, I also wanted to talk abut the new Björk album. In the beginning, a few weeks ago, I downloaded a few tracks and liked them all. The day before it came out Pitchfork gave it about a 5.7, which is a pretty big slam especially considering the extremely explanatory and charismatic interview she did with them two weeks prior. So I got the CD the next day anyways, and it turns out, they were right. Goddamn pitchforkmediadotcom was right. But its more complicated than that. This album has marked probably the most collaborations and guest artists she has worked with to date. In the interview she even expressed some anxiety about this issue, and now I can totally understand why. Björk it seems, works best when alone. When its just her, her laptop, and her incredible voice like on basically everything Vespertine and earlier she kicks ass. This is demonstrated by the awesomeness of Declare Independence off near the end of Volta. Its the most energetic in my opinion, and may even be a violent reaction to having to satisfy so many eager collaborators. Even the duets with fellow diva Antony, against all logic, don't always come off well. Again, I love Brian Chippendale and his work with Lightning Bolt, but that doesn't mean I have to hear his drums tacked on to the bottom of a Björk song. Etc, Etc... I also like the title track, Earth Intruders, which features a Timbaland beat, but to be honest its tweaked and sampled beyond any recognition of its source, and probably to its betterment.

Björk - Declare Independence

Björk - Earth Intruders

Friday, May 18, 2007

An Interview With The Benevolent Site Master

Recently, the Benevolent Site Master Of Grant Miller Media was kind enough to grant me with an interview. In honor of this great day, and of the interview’s Pavement content, here is the best band of all time (Pavement), covering the other best band of all time (The Velvet Underground).

What Goes On - Pavement

You're part of a team blog. When do you plan to drop those talentless hacks and go solo?

I love my cobloggers more than life itself, and I wouldn’t part ways with them for all the worthless opinions and useless advice on the intra-net. Plus, starting this blog was DJ’s idea, because he’s the computer nerd among us, so ‘going solo’ would be a betrayal of unforgivable depth. Also, no one would read my blog.

You live in Madison, one of the best cities in America according to Forbes and Money Magazine. What are you doing to make Madison better?

By spending my hard-earned cash in the various dives which dot the east side and downtown area. Also by going up to any of madison’s excellent local bands after shows and drunkenly telling them that “they totally rock” so that they are encouraged to continue rocking, totally. I also always try to wear a ‘cool’ expression on my face when I strut down the city’s sidewalks, completely adding to its ‘cool’ cred.

I don't smoke, but firmly believe smoking and bars go hand-in-hand. You cannot have one without the other. Madison abolished smoking in bars in 2005. How much healthier have you become since then?

None whatsoever, nor did I become any healthier when Colorado did the same thing when I was living in Boulder. I quit smoking over 2 years ago, but never stopped loving the smell of tobacco smoke in a dingy bar because that taste is absolutely necessary to mix with cheap beer or hard alcohol. Now I find myself sneaking out front with my smoker friends to steal drags, so as to get the right mix on my palette. What I fail to see is what was so bad about smoking and nonsmoking sections, especially when so many people only smoke while drinking. Why can’t we all win?

You and I love Pavement. What is your first memory of getting into Pavement?

Pavement is my favorite band. I’m listening to them right now in fact. I first got really into Pavement my freshman year in college after downloading (gasp!) a bunch of tracks at the advice of DJ, who had recently purchased Luxe & Redux. That led me to buy all 4 of their albums within a matter of months and listen to them non-stop in my dormroom and on my headphones the rest of the year. But my actual first experience with them was in 8th grade, when the cool homeroom teacher (who was as old as I am now) made me a tape of Brighten The Corners. It was too out there for me at the time but lodged a huge sign post in my unconscious for future rockin-out-ness.

Why should people read your blog?

Because it is written by 4 young hip and art-film-literature-fashion-(pop)culturally savvy 20-somethings, who are also all totally hot. And, we provide free mp3s of new bands and rare oldies from our kick-ass collections. And we swear, fucking right. And we have neck-tattoos. And we wear our hats backwards sometimes, and some of us smoke cigarettes. And we like to stick it to the man. And race our hotrods around dead-man’s curve. The neck-tattoo part wasn’t true.

Thanks Mr. Miller, esq. Rock on!

If any one out there in blog-land would like to be interviewed by any of us here at Transmissions From Wintermute, say so in the comments and we will do so gladly.


Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Do You Know Who You're Fucking With? (Songs for an American cynic)

The Stallion Pt.1 - Ween

The Stallion Pt. 5 - Ween

One of my favorite bloggers has finally updated his frustratingly infrequent site, Zestfully Clean. In fact, he did this two weeks ago, but I just noticed recently because I had given up checking it for new posts. This gentlemen is clearly insane, another intra-net madman screeching from his electronic pulpit and reciting prophecies of a great plague. This man clearly needs help, not encouragement, but I will continue to read his supposed blog for my own philosophical self-satisfaction and to give him the audience he deserves, which is only me. Go check him out and add a little strangeness to your day.

I happen to know this unstable man is a great admirer of Ween, and more importantly he resembles, in force and intellectual stature, the great mythological Ween-being, The Stallion. So in honor of his return to the wild frontier of the intra-net are the two best installments of Ween’s epic poem; The Stallion. All 5 parts can be heard back to back on their All Request Live allbum.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Discovered Uncovered

I Wanna Be Your Dog - Joan Jett

Freezer Burn/I Wanna Be Your Dog - Sonic Youth

This post is the beginning of a series in which I will be posting awesome covers. Most of them will hopefully be some what hard to come across, but the only guiding criteria is that they are awesome (he above picture is a drawing by Daniel Johnston, whose tribute album is the namesake for this post).

Ohmygodimmike challenged his co-bloggers to post covers last month after becoming enamored with Firewater’s Song’s We Should Have Written, and me and DJ have done cover-themed posts in the past (post a comment if you want any songs relinked). Covers are fascinating; on one level a simple form of flattery that gives the listener a grounding recognition when hearing something new. Beyond that though, they can be a sincere modernist reinterpretation, a beloved artifact from the cultural past being reconnected to and built off from through an act of revisiting, almost approaching artistic worship. Or, a cover can be a postmodern denial, a conscious severing of the past from the present and an attempted destruction of the linearity of cultural advancement or of any sort of artistic trajectory. Such a cover gives us a complete reworking of its material in such a way as to destroy any sanctity held by the original or its time and foreground or exploit its anachronisms.

The discerning line between these two ways of covering is of course very thin and blurred (and by no means consistent or exhaustive), and the deciding factors surely lie more in the artistic intent than in the songs covered themselves.

Basically I just love covers, because I think they’re awesome, and I’ll take any chance to post some of my favorites.

So here are two covers of one of the best songs Iggy and The Stooges every did; I Wanna Be Your Dog off their 1969 debut. Both versions are very sincere homages to a proto-punk cockrocker whose rebelliousness paved the way for the expansive rule-breaking of art rockers like Sonic Youth and Riot Grrrls like Joan Jett. Yet both covers interpret the material very differently (off the albums Confusion Is Sex and Up Your Alley, respectively). Anyway......enjoy.


Wednesday, May 02, 2007

A Message to God From Earth

This is a tie to Laz's last post, which I totally agree with, you guys should post.
Anyways, here is a link to multimedia, including a flashplayer streaming the solid gold record sent to Him via space on Voyager I, to show us what our planet sounds like, although it is excessively human-centric. I wish I could embed the player on the sidebar like some of the more high-tech/low-culture blogs out there but oh well. I guess well just have to settle for high culture for now.

Gold Record

A message to Mazur and Ohmygodimmike

A lot of people read our blog, including God himself. This is a picture of him, and if you look closely, you can see a tear running down his face. That's because you two haven't written is so so long. Think about that.