Monday, August 31, 2009
Celeryman - (MySpace) Ha! This stuff is weird! Like it starts out weird in that way that songs you think are going to start out weird and then straighten themselves out do, except these never straighten out! Thanks @jgrossnas for the heads up. It features NYC noise/jazz/etc dude Samm Bennett for whom I once blew off a jam packed Fugazi show in New Orleans so I could be one of 17 in the "crowd" at Tipitina's to watch his solo set and performance with the Fertile Crescent, and from whom I bummed cigarettes during the break. Try bumming cigarettes off Fugazi and see where that gets you.
Sax Ruins - Yawiquo (listen) If you didn't think Ruins were soul-abrading enough, their brass upgrade to Sax Ruins will sandblast all possible ailments from your system. It bears the justify-my-love traits of a lot of Ipecac's attention-deficit catalog, but the horn-section back end grounds this a lot more than the Ruins original drum 'n' guitar setup ever did.
Hawkwind - This is Hawkwind; Do Not Panic (listen) As a kid, I wanted to occasionally be the Incredible Hulk. At the right moment I would become the destructive id-monster of rage and wrath. Now, I'd be happy to occasionally become Nik Turner of Hawkwind, space god warrior shaman, unabashedly vanquishing all comers with guitar solos, flying saucer battalions, and shameless sense of purpose.
Philip Glass/Robert Wilson - Einstein on the Beach (listen) Last night I interviewed Dickie Landry, a founding member of the Philip Glass Ensemble who, among many other things, was the guy that told Philip Glass, "you know, you should be writing operas and stuff like that." It was one of those rare interviews that you go into thinking this will work for the article and turns dazzlingly revelatory quickly. The story will be out in October's Country Roads. Man, I wish all interviews were this fun to do.
Nellie McKay - Obilgatory Villagers (listen) I am finishing up Our Noise: The Story of Merge Records for a review, and the illuminating chapter on Magnetic Fields reminded me of the power of smart music. Why I needed reminding of this says more about me perhaps, but also, I was left not wanting to listen to Magnetic Fields, even though I agree with Mindy Kaling's tweet of this weekend "every Magnetic Fields song is my favorite song, especially the funny mournful ones." Fortunately, McSweeney's laid this recommendation in my RSS feeder this morning in those pleasing typefaces they use:
She's smarter than us. And more creative. And her songs are crazy
Celebrity tweets, McSweeney's, meta-indie rock, culture-vulture shop talk. I wallow in my horribleness like a chuckling pig in fresh mud. And McSweeneys is dead on; this stuff is goofy genius. She utilizes some sort of temple bell throughout this that is identical to the "incoming text message" bell on the iPhone, which if on purpose, is a brilliant move, sending wretched souls like myself diving for our precious phones en masse when it tings. I bet it would be hilarious to witness this in a chi-chi coffeeshop.
Superchunk - Art Class (Song for Yayoi Kusama) (listen) The Merge book made me feel a little guilty that I never really got into Superchunk in that earnest but passive-aggressive indie rock kinda way, so OK, I'm trying.
Plus, Kusama is groovy as hell, and I'm sure if I asked the guy I interviewed last night, he probably worked with her too somewhere along the line and suggested to her over tequila one night, "How about you try polka dots."
Edited to add: Here is a whole lot of info on Kusama from Artsy.
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Mixed Grill Tandoori at the Himalayas, Baton Rouge, originally uploaded by real_voodooboy.
Wrap the meat and peppers with aromatic rice in naan like I did and call it "Indian Tacos" if that helps sell it. Do what you must to make this happen.
Also, while I'm making suggestions, I'd like Maharajah beer, co-sponsor of this love letter to my just-eaten dinner, available at this new Tandoori Hut y'all should put in. F a bunch of Little Caesers.
Friday, August 28, 2009
Daniel Johnston - Is As Always Is (out Oct. 6) I think this is much better than are most of his collaborative records; ace session guy/producer Jason Falkner's production on it is sympathetic to the songs rather than trying to be transformative, opening up the sweet power-pop ditty or the psychedelic atom blast that lurks within. As it played, I kept thinking I wish this is what the Eels would sound like: unabashedly wistful, ready to immediately "go there" but reigned in sonically. Maybe they should work together; E definitely has an affinity for DJ's skewed viewpoint and a mutual understanding of the effects of limitation.
The best synopsis of Daniel Johnston I've ever heard came from my daughter who once asked "Can we listen to that old man that sings like a teenager?"
More info about this and Daniel Johnston at http://hihowareyou.com/
Daniel Johnston - "Freedom"
The Reigning Sound - Love and Curses (listen) The gruff and wobbly rasp of the guy from the Reigning Sounds resembles that of Daniel Johnston a bit, probably more than he likes, but it works. If you are walking the unpaved trail of love that I think the Reigning Sound generally does, sounding confident and cool is a farce; the chicks can see right through it and the one you really want doesn't mind if your voice shakes a little in her presence. Even if you strut like Thin Lizzy while you talk to her.
The Mountain Goats - The Life of the World to Come (out Oct. 6) This is turning out to be an excellent day for teenage love being viewed through the lenses of ecstatic idiosyncratic singers. And all the songs are named for Bible verses, which for whatever reason, strikes me as a stroke of genius.
The Mountain Goats - "Genesis 3:23"
Russell Batiste, Jr. and the Orkestra From Da Hood - The Clinic (listen) That Sun Ra clip from the previous post and this barely contained mass exaltation of brass, drums and whistles makes me wish the planets had aligned such that Sun Ra would have been directed to settle in New Orleans rather than Philadelphia. No dis on Phildelphia, some of my favorite people live there, but imagine the energy radiation of a direct Sun Ra - New Orleans overlap. He could have commandeered the Krewe of Saturn parade and re-routed it to the outer spaceways.
Eddie Harris - Come on Down! (listen) See, that is exactly what we should have said to Sun Ra, come on down! Invite Eddie Harris to the compound as well, what the hell.
Read more here, or in the September 2009 issue of 225 Magazine
Thursday, August 27, 2009
The Flaming Lips - Embryonic EP (listen) Three from their upcoming double CD Embryonic. I happen to think The Soft Bulletin to be one of the finest records of the last however many years it's been, and these tracks remind me a bit of that material so maybe we will have to start the clock anew in October when Embryonic comes out.
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - s/t (listen) This is a band for which nearly everyone I know is all about and I have, until now, heard nary a lick. I tend to think the good music will be brought to me in the same manner that secrets of the forest are delivered to crazy people who can talk to animals, so when I haven't heard something, I generally figure its for the best. This album is immediately lovable because it sounds like things I love like Yo La Tengo and Belle & Sebastian and that month in high school when Jesus & Mary Chain was the best album I'd ever heard. Lovable but not exactly loved. They have a song called "The Tenure Itch" and the people I've encountered into this are all academic types, so there is the possible source of the persistent appreciation. Whatevs. TPOBPAH would likely be more fun than a pillow fight live, and I salute this title song unheard.
And now, heard as well.
The Jesus & Mary Chain - Psychocandy - Wow, I loved this record; still love this record. I remember when we all heard "Just Like Honey" on Coyote Calhoun's Sneak Music Previews on Q93 in New Orleans, the only tap we had into underground anything in Houma and we all flipped. Word got out that this guy Barry at my high school had a copy of the tape and I brazenly went up to him and asked to borrow it, even though I had run into his truck at the Methodist youth group thing we all went to and kissed his girlfriend at a Mardi Gras parade in the previous year. But the shock of my asking crossed with his happening to have it in his denim jacket pocket at that very moment prompted him to lend it to me, and I wore out my taped copy of it, as well as the copy of the copy I made of it right before the first copy died completely. I don't think I've ever owned another version of it, like on album or CD or even downloaded. It is permanently fixed like the dent in Barry's door.
The Jesus And Mary chain - Just Like Honey
Now that I am an evening bus-rider in this pedestrian-agnotic community, I purchased the above to replace my beloved Sanduks, which look like fishing shoes and reached comfort half-life at ninety days. Dayfive Gibsons are good for the crumbling concrete and clay beneath my feet, forcing me to walk on the pad and heel like an upright mammal, as opposed to having one’s arches perched upon a wad of gooey foam. They are seemingly pitched to propel me forward. Also, they suffered their first scuff yesterday, which looks like an hourglass to me. The march of time. I like it.
Times New Viking - Born Again Revisited (out 9/22) Born Again Revisited sounds like it was recorded in a stolen car: an act that calls for planning, preparedness, skill, but also a willingness to DO IT NOW QUIT MESSING AROUND GO GO DO IT DO IT! Stacked up against earlier releases, this one might seem contrived and polished but put it next to other things, those other things think it is going to steal their wallet.
Times New Viking - "No Time, No Hope"
Tortoise - Beacons of Ancestorship - This is another record (like the new Yo La Tengo, Drive-By Truckers and the Times New Viking above) that has been baseline listening lately, and I finally figured out what I have to say about it, review-wise and forthcoming.
Osso/Sufjan Stevens - Run Rabbit Run (out Oct. 6) An orchestral re-casting of Enjoy Your Rabbit, Mr. Stevens' 2001 album of electronic musings about the Chinese zodiac. As much as a Sufj-fan that I am, I'll confess that I have never been able to get into Enjoy Your Rabbit; electronic insularity does not seem to be a place where Our Eagle Scout is comfortable being. This, upon cursory listen, seems wondrous and weird. Here is the group performing "Year of the Ox" the opening piece of this album.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
The Who - A Quick One (listen) I love the Who for being train-jumpers, running with whatever was going at the time and imbuing it with their sense of ragged humanity. The band's second album is no The Who Sings My Generation nor is it a Who's Next in terms of lasting galactic relevance, but the epic title cut is one of my favorite things they ever did, and it is full of great little genre ditties like this one penned by Mr. Moon that know one remembers.
Melvins - Ozma (listen) Melvins occupy the spot on the exact opposite side of the orbit rock 'n' roll makes around the dying star of humanity than does the Who's jaunty covers of "Barbara Ann" that fill out the tail end of the previous release; and in the interest of maintaining equilibrium and through that, my edge, I spiral down my afternoon in their murk. And they are playing here in town on Saturday at Spanish Moon.
No Age - Losing Feeling (Streaming at SubPop, registration required) and in the middle lies music like this: neither fast nor slow, not noisy nor quiet, sweet yet disengaged. I've heard it said, and have even myself said that on the middle path lies the Truth, but it can also be said the Truth is often less interesting than the Story that can be found out in the weeds.
We have a sound, or at least a style distinctive from that of other cities in the area. Upon seeing Big Sky Big Band in their opening slot for Generationals this weekend, I can now count at least five local bands off the top of my head engaging in what is a clumsy but convenient term, "post-rock." Post-rock is generally considered to be instrumental rock, with nods toward jazz and progressive music but having a marked degree of restraint characteristic of indie rock bands. Big Sky is a fine example of this: Their oversize ensemble (featuring at times saxophone, banjo, and a number of guitarists) coaxes their melodies up over hills and down through valleys, the band acting as a finely-tuned engine powering the journey.
Much as I like this music, what I hear missing in a lot of post-rock, not just in the work of local practitioners but across the loosely-affiliated style, is a sense of daring, an indictment I might place upon Baton Rouge's creative community as a whole. We have the practitioners, venues to perform in, and audiences willing to pile into those venues. The next step is to take, well, the next step. Push the audience, let them push the music back if need be. If the sound of Baton Rouge is being unleashed from supporting a vocalist, then run with it. Get orchestral! Utilize music stands if you must! Like I said, Big Sky and other post-rock revisionists, I like what you are doing here. Now, I want to see you do more with it.
Saturday night is jam-packed with opportunity to do more. The mighty Melvins, the band that demonstrated to Grunge-era Seattle how to do the heavy lifting, will be gracing the Spanish Moon stage this Saturday, just as Ivan Neville's Dumpstaphunk picks through the wreckage that aptly-dubbed Mississippi blues "two-man wrecking crew" Cedric Burnside and Lightnin' Malcolm will have likely made of Bogie's on Wednesday. If, that's not enough, Tuscaloosa's finest the Dexateens will be tearing it up at Chelsea's with American Aquarium and Baton Rouge's The Last Chalaron in tow.
Buddy Guy - A Man and the Blues (listen) I like how Buddy Guy is all "Whoa, I didn't see you there, hiding in the jello salad like that" on the cover. I also like how the "A" looks like a backwards "R." I like a lot about this record. I did notice, skipping through the reviews of all these old Buddy Guy albums on AMG that peopel have a lot of reasons to like and dislike a blues record that have little to do with the music unto itself. One garnered 4.5 out of 5 stars and yet was something of a disappointment; another was praised for breaking from his classic style to which other records were disparaged for not adhering. Maybe Buddy Guy's style isn't what you thought. Anyway, the jello salad and backwards R does it for me, as does this:
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Ge Gan-Ru - Lost Style (listen) Composer Ge Gan-Ru's low career arcs and tale of escape from China are detailed in this recent piece in the New York Times. I like the way he practically turns a piano to rubber in the opening movement of his Four Studies of Peking Opera, and how in general the piece is an examination of the dynamics of the form rather than a tourist-enticing allusion to it.
The real power displays, though are found in Yi Feng (Lost Style), where strings are scraped clean like bones gnawed by a starving animal. It was a piece that got Mr. Ge deemed insane by Chinese authorities according to the aforementioned article. You've got to love a piece of music that makes the police state think you are crazy.
Mika Vainio - Black Telephone of Matter (listen) Mika Vainio is half of the out rock duo Pan Sonic, but this is music far more out than that. "Rome A.D. 2727" opens with a stunning electrostatic display that made me thing I was "hearing things," when in fact, I am hearing things!
Flower Travellin' Band - Sartori (YouTube playlist) Thank you, secret time-travel wizards of YouTube, for making this available and allowing me to find solace in the ritual drug thud from the deepest caverns of 1971 japan.
Kid Koala presents The Slew - 100 % (out September 23) This has proven to be excellent get-settled-into-my-new-office music, though I doubt that was the ultimate goal of Mr. Koala and his cohorts. This album was created as a psyche-rock flecked score to a movie that never made it and bears that mark. The first thing I thought was Prince's Batman soundtrack, so its up to you to decide if that is a good or bad thing. I am setting up my own Batcave of sorts today, so it works.
Sweetwater - Sweetwater (listen) Drifting somewhere between Sergio Mendes and Jefferson Airplane, Sweetwater's 1968 debut is an overreaching charmer. No idea is discarded, be it ba-ba-ba's one would expect to find up in one's beautiful balloon, or bizarre studio electronics jarring a song that can't really handle the shake.
I've promise I will never make other foolish lover's mistakes the singer offers in "Come Tale a Walk With Me," but really, aren't the mistakes ultimately the the greatest benefit of being a foolish lover of things, provided you survive them? In "What's Wrong?" they lay out who is causing the real problems.
I lose my windows that open, the ocassional breathtaking view of a
Japanese magnolia in explosive bloom, and my inherited dorm fridge but
gain better natural light, real furniture and a ceiling fan. Here's
hoping they never get around to hooking my phone up!
Monday, August 24, 2009
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I was just going to review this with a stream of exclamation points, same number as that of the steps in the Empire State Building stairwell, but that is the sort of thing the author does so much better than I do. I found this book to be devastating, manipulative, mysterious and immediately and consistently charming. You want Oskar to see through his quest more than he does; you want to be in there pushing people out of his way. The quirky writing style and flauting of narrative conventions might turn off a few readers, but whatever; those kinds of readers like to get turned off. If you, on the other hand, like to get turned on by the magic of existence and putting purpose to one's every emotion and finding out that there is a secret network of love holding the world together that will catch you when you fall, you should read this.
View all my reviews >>
Dwight Twilley Band - Live from Angora (listen) When I approach a new workweek in the rare good-time-rock 'n' roll mood, it bodes well to find succor in an album with a unpolished cover like that. Look at those dudes! That is rock 'n' roll. The guy on the right is likely on his third try of "No... look tough..." from the photographer while Dwight Twilley maintains his ice cold high-school dropout allure. The record behind the cover kicks all kinds of ass, all the way from Mr. Twilley's hometown of Tulsa to the Agora Theatre in Cleavland where the ass-kicking took place.
Trio - Da Da Da (listen) The Road from Tulsa to Großenkneten is a rocky one, so much so that there isn't one. But Trio is my all-time favorite party music, hence its a good thing I don't have parties. "Boom Boom" is rock 'n' roll all the way
and "Da Da Da" is simply the greatest song and video ever
Saturday, August 22, 2009
ingredients were largely sourced by a trip to the farmer's market, indicates a level of having-act-togetherness that I rarely enjoy on the weekends: all the anticipated checks arrived, I have no assignments on my docket, the car repairs were easily managed and resolved before this luncheon commenced.
I also discovered my copy of Our Noise: the Story of Merge Records arrived yesterday awaiting my perusal and I have a Werner Herzog movie to watch. I am kicking ass on the crptoquote iphone app I downloaded last night while taking Maya and a friend to the new Harry Potter movie.
There was leftover cobbler from desert last night. A slight breeze is lending today's August humidity a whisper of Spring. I hear the mail arriving as I type this. Here's hoping there are no terminal punctation marks to this leisurely run-on sentence of a day hiding therein.
Edited to add: it was a Krautrock reissue disc. Happy day continues!
Friday, August 21, 2009
The Big Pink - A Brief History of Love (out September 22) There was a time my whole personal soundtrack sounded like this: a slow grind of synthesizers with earnest boys trying to sound as simultaneously soulful and detatched as possible through it.
New Order - Movement (listen) I watched a documentary once about either New Order or Joy Division where the members said that even before Joy Division imploded, they had designs on becoming the world's greatest disco band, because in their eyes, disco was world's more dangerous and underground than punk ever had been.
Clan of Xymox - Clan of Xymox (listen) Clan of Xymox was a band that weirdly clicked in Houma when I was in high school. My friends and I heard it through Coyote J. Calhoun's Sneak Music Previews on Q 93 out of New Orleans, but this was the rare "underground" tape that made the rounds. There are a couple of hometown women on my Facebook page that still bear the traces of such contact.
Jackson Browne - Late for the Sky (listen) I woke up this morning with "Running on Empty" in my head, but instead of listening to that, I'll just wait until it is playing somewhere like it always is. Jackson Browne is one of those guys on whom I've never really been able to form a marked opinion. "Lawyers in Love" was a ubiquitous hit when I was a kid, so there is a lingering "eww... grown up music" patina on him for me. This album is good, probably even great if one were to really submit to it, but now that I am an actual grown up, I just don't know if I have the bandwidth free to receive old Jackson Browne's convoluted messages.
Drive-By Truckers - The Fine Print (Out on Sept 1) An old warhorse I was listening to this morning, three times actually, was the cover of Tom Petty's "Rebels" that sits in the jumpseat right behind the weird and brilliant "George Jones Talkin' Cell Phone Blues" that opens the forthcoming Drive-By Truckers rarities collection.
Drive by Truckers - "George Jones Talkin' Cell Phone Blues" from the DBT website
Tom Petty - Southern Accents (listen) That three-note lick at the beginning of "Rebels" is a thing of economical architectural genius. It is like the St. Louis Gateway Arch; sleek, obvious and profound and while it is front-and-center in the DBT remake, it is buried along with the rest of Tom's life in the original sprawling epic album. Even though its far from being my favorite Tom petty record, I love it for its excesses, its desperate reconciliation. I love how "Don't Come Around Here No More" spends four whole minutes being the epitome of a 80's bad idea - hey, I know, let's get the guy from Eurythmics! - before it approaches being a hormonal, grunting, panting raveup of genius proportions. We waited four minutes for this, Tom, don't fade out on us now! Damn the Torpedoes! Ride that wave out! But he doesn't. That's how I feel about the 80's in general.
Also that goofy Alice in Wonderland video... But this story repeated in one of the comments, is it true?
Stevie Nicks used to date Joe Walsh. One night, she ended up going back to Dave Stewart's hotel room. Joe Walsh showed up and got angry, Stevie told him, "Don't come around here no more." Tom Petty was told the story by Dave Stewart and Stevie Nicks verified it. Tom and Stevie have been friends for years, as Tom and Dave have.I do unabashedly love "Dogs on the Run" on all its Springsteen-gone-Gainesville glory.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Henry Flynt - Dharma Warriors (listen) Ground zero rock undone from 1980. Henry Flynt is the coolest. I stick by my contention that he invented everything, despite accepting the foolishness of that contention.
PG Six - Live at Tonic (listen) PG Six's half-hearted defense of his moniker was not exactly inspiring confidence, but his quivering voice and fingerpicking helped me finish the task at hand, and now I can close this goddamn computer finally today. Good night!
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Yo La Tengo - Popular Songs, out September 8 - I just finished my first listen to the whole thing so I don't have a definitive response, but the general feeling is YLT FTW. They play to their strengths, skip the things that bugged me about I An Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass, which, well, didn't. It might even please my friend George, who is less enthusiastic for YTL's noisier side than some more open-minded listeners.
This is the song that won me over
And this is the one that will likely win everyone over
and one more, starring Times New Viking as the band
Watch more AOL Music videos on AOL Video
I found out at the last minute from Larry Garner's Facebook page that Delta blues powerhouse Super Chikan was playing at Bogie's this week, and unfortunately I couldn't go. I'm apologizing as much to myself as to you, dear reader, for Super Chikan is the kind of feral weirdness that keeps me going, and hopefully keeps you going, too. Bogie's has Cedric Burnside, Rebirth Brass Band, and Ivan Neville's Dumpstaphunk with the Lee Boys all coming in the next couple of weeks, so I will be putting the needlessly ignored E. Boyd St. watering hole in my rotation, and hopefully so will you.
If there is some other place I need to know about here in town, let me know in the comments. I'm always looking. Information is like fruit: It withers on the vine if it's not plucked and passed around.
The Marshall Tucker Band - A New Life (listen) This album had a bigger influence on the more recent incarnation of Wilco than I suspect most Wilco-ites are willing to admit. Get to the 4 1/2 minute mark and you'll hear it. Maybe if Wilco would just add a hotshot flautist to the lineup, the proverbial Southern rock circle would truly be once again unbroken.
I had a dream last night that we took in a turtle we had found. In real life, a turtle did appear under our house and we tried to keep it interested by leaving fruit out for it but I think all that did was marginally pique the interest of possums that I would rather continue believing did not wander under our house at night. Also I am reading Jonathon Safran Foer's Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, a magical book that among other mysteries contains the idea that the universe is a stack of turtles and we are just the turtle on top. Both of these may have factored in, but I doubt they are what the dream is about.
The dream turtle started out cute and slow and drove the dog crazy in an adorable way but over a few days got exponentially bigger and more wild. The living room, which as in real life is largely earth tones started taking on a blue color, more and more as the turtle got bigger. The turtle started getting rambunctious, shitting everywhere, tearing the couch up, darting around destroying things. The couch was ruined, it ate the cords to everything, and eventually drove us to the front yard, where it smashed itself against the door and gnawed on the edges so it doesn't shut any more. After doing do, it made an exasperated scream-like noise and bolted out of the door, left swinging like that of a kitchen entrance to a restaurant. We re-entered our wrecked living room quite relieved the turtle was gone.
The picture of Gamera was taken from here. I will not be listening to Sting's The Dream of the Blue Turtles again in tribute, nor will I accept that it was an influence on this dream.
Boogie Boarder - Pizza Hero (listen) Not-surf-rock that is about surf rock. It is definitely rock, largely instrumental, and would probably be good music to enjoy while surfing but is still not surf rock, nope. Maybe if the rest of the guys from Pavement were to form a not surf rock side project that still managed to not be surf rock, it would sound like this, but probably not as tight.
The Fruit Bats - The Ruminant Band (listen) This is all the rage for all the old reasons: reverb as an unspoken member, Moe Tucker drums, lilting butterfly lyrics flitting over the sundrenched field of song while a small Zeppelin hovers at low altitude. I'm guessing the "ruminant" in the title means contemplative as opposed to cud-chewing though, until now, I never considered the similarities between those two states. I do like how this band is unafraid of a good guitar solo now and then, just like a surf rock band, which this also is not. It would most likely sound good at the beach, where I wouldn't mind being today testing that hypothesis, but am not.
I have beach on the brain because I went to my daughter's third grade open house thing last night and on the white board were her details about our weekend at the beach this summer, listed as a part of an exercise on "details." Click for a better view of said details.