Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Record Crate: Keeping Things Interesting

I went into seeing Hi-Five with high hopes. I always want a local band to come out of the woodwork and do something really exciting, and on their recent self-titled disc, the trio does exactly that. The singing sounds impassioned, the groves are infectious, it rocks just hard enough while sounding like they wrote these songs on purpose -- I start to feel like a lot of bands like to get their band-as-concept down and the songs are created as an afterthought. Read more...

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Baton Rouge Geodesic Dome Demolished

I'm glad I heeded that wild hair back in August and went out there to see it. I'm bummed about it, a little anyway. It was cool, and I liked that something that large and incongruous was sitting out there in the woods, and it seems like a bitch move on Kansas City Southern's part to demolish it one year before it was eligible for placement on the National Registry of Historical Places. I'm sure it was a financial liability on KCS' part and then having to preserve this cool but largely useless place (the industrial location and lousy roads going to it would not have supported it being any kind of public facility) and it was for sale for years for about what people are paying for overpriced condos around here (so I've been told) and no one bought it.

Still though, it's a letdown to see something this cool just evaporate.

Here is the flickr set of photos I took while out there.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Outsideleft: Sir Richard Bishop: Six Strings and Everything

The band (Sun City Girls) called it quits when drummer Charles Grocher left this mortal coil in February of 2007, and Girl guitarist Alan Bishop has carved out a new identity as an unlikely acoustic guitar guru. When listening to SCG, you got the feeling it was about the spirit, not the execution, but on Bishop’s solo guitar albums, he is heads down, coaxing the intricacies of the cosmos out his little wooden sound hole. On his 2006 album Fingering the Devil, he displays an affinity with the quizzical masterwork of Robbie Basho, putting Orientalism (an activity that sums up large swaths of the SCG catalog) against Gringo counter-culture defiance. On Polytheistic Fragments, he ups his game to a Whitman-esque panorama of the world’s music. Read More....

Happy Anniversary To Us!

My wonderful wife, best friend, copilot on life's journey, what-have you, Jerri and I have been married for 9 years today!

Outsideleft: Saul Williams: Getting Niggy With It

Poet Saul Williams steps out of Trent Reznor's time machine to deliver one of the oddest hip-hop albums of the year, The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of Niggy Tardust .

Williams is not what I would exactly call a natural MC; his rap candence adheres rather strongly to the ta-da ta-DA ta-daaah ta-Da old school jumprope variety, but his work as a poet (he was a key figure in the movie Slam) helps him rise above it. “Black History Month” rumbles up to you like the bass rattling from the car in the next lane, and he is backed with thug choir which can send chills up the spine of any white guy who dares to exclaim they are not a racist. Then “Convict Colony” erupts like a lost Living Color outtake. My first couple listens led me to think that this is the most outdated hip-hop revisionism I’d heard in ages; it is like when a DJ starts playing Sir Mix-a-Lot for a white dance floor until it hit me…oh, that is exactly what vein he's mining. (more...)

Friday, November 23, 2007

Outsideleft: Death Fugues, The Black Forest, and the Wellspring of Suffering: Dan Kaufman and Paul Celan

It is really impossible for me to imagine the collective tragedy of the post-war eastern European psyche. Grand cities bombed to rubble, people herded into train cars for the unlikely goal of cleansing the gene pool, death everywhere, on every corner, in ever word and breath. How do you ever recover from something like that? Paul Celan was a Romanian poet who endured the camps and wrote about them with tremendous, powerful sadness in his key poem Todesfuge (“death fugue”) where he expressed his guilt of survival and, according to many scholars, took aim at the philosopher Martin Heidegger, who as rector of the University of Freiburg under Hitler in 1933 and Nazi party member until after the war, lent considerable intellectual credulity to the worst of mankind. It has been said that Heidegger greatly informed Celan’s work, which is understandable, considering Heidegger has arguably informed everything, but the sting of having one’s inspiration being part of the machine which sought to destroy him only increased his guilt. Later in life, Celan accepted an invitation to the great man’s famed hut in Todtnauberg at the rim of the Black Forest, where the dasein of us all was meted out, and that meeting resulted in a poem bearing the village’s name. Read More...

I am Thankful for the Gifts of Meat in My Life

Yesterday, for Thanksgiving dinner:
  • Honeybaked(tm) Ham
  • Smokey turkey breast
This morning, at tailgating:
  • Bacon and eggs fried in a propane skillet in the cold air
  • Fresh deer steaks - one of the guys that John tailgates with met some guys from north Louisiana at the Wal-Mart this morning and invited them over to their spot, and these guys had fresh deer, killed the night before, that they breaded and fried on a propane skillet. Best thing I have ever eaten ever possibly without the vaguest hint of hyperbole. The above picture is a fried egg and deer steak sandwich, yo. This is what slain Vikings snack upon while seated in Valhalla.
  • Chili cooked in a giant wood-fire chili pot
  • Bloody mary. Technically not meat, but its drinks like a meat.
And the party this evening promises:
  • Pecan-crusted rack of lamb
  • Smoked pheasant
  • Pork sausage marinated in oil of truffle, smoked to perfection

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The "Party Shuffle Mode" Knows Best

random songs from your playlist as soundtrack for a movie:

Opening credits:
Bardo Pond - "Lost Word" - it's a cool moody psyche opener, but it's making the movie seem like an IFC murder mystery - all mood and no stabbin'
Waking up: Nirvana - "Dumb" - this is my everyday waking up, singsong melody, stubbing my toe and all.
First day at school: Sonic Youth - "Androgynous Mind"- confused racket at first then quickly builds up into nonsensical angst
Falling in love: Nick Drake - "Know" - This is a wry Alan Ball choice - sentimental but puzzled by the whole thing.
Fight song: Patsy Cline - "Why Can't He Be You" - This syrupy torcher would be a hilarious tune for a big bar fight with tables being thrown and a mechanical bull running amok in the background
Breaking up: Sunn O))) - "Her Lips Were Wet With Venom" - This track sounds like steam blowing through a rust-hole in the pipe, exactly like that. I mean, I think they recorded it using a rusty steam pipe. Unwavering and pissed, just like love in dissipation.
Life: Daniel Johnston - "Never Die" - kinda sounds like shit, but the sentiment is dead on. I mean, what defines life more succinctly than not dying.
Mental breakdown: Shellac - "Boche's Dick" - I'd hope my eventual mental breakdown would occur with the rapid velocity and gun-maker's precision that occurs in a Shellac song.
Driving: Charley Patton - "All Night Long Blues" - It's a touch happy-go-lucky for driving music, but it'll do. Like if my VW bus was being shown putt-putting through Town Square, USA
Flashback: Black Dice - "Drool" - It's the kind of song a stupid person would describe as "like being on a bad acid trip" so sure
Wedding: Flaming Lips - "Ego Tripping at the Gates of Hell" Sweet enough of a song, but that is terrible omen of a title for a song celebrating two peoples' embarking on a life journey together.
Birth of child: Kraftwerk - "Techno Pop" - I bet it's cold and rhythmic when you first poke your soft head out of there.
Final battle: John Lennon - "Well Well Well" - I almost hit next, but hesitated. This is a great battle song, starting off slow and veering off into screams and tangles
Death scene: Lucinda Williams - "Everything has Changed" - like the Daniel Johnston song earlier, Lucinda Williams should be applauded for her understatement in illumnating a topic, pitting death as everything has changed. Damn skippy, it has
Funeral song: Uncle Tupelo - "Cold Shoulder" - kind of a gothy number for UT. Jeff Tweedy hadn't quite figured out what to do with his voice back then, and I'm not sure Jay Farrar ever did
End Credits: ISIS - "Over Root and Thorn" - ISIS is pretty much only good for closing credits and extended surfing scenes, which would be cool for your closing credits, no matter what the movie is about.

The Record Crate: The Grand Delusion

With a quarter-century of almost consistent record playing under my belt ever since, I can safely say that Cornerstone doesn't exactly hold up all that well, but the fondness of that moment when the needle met the vinyl crept in as I watched Dennis DeYoung, the stylistic dominator of that album, strut around the River Center stage like Willy Wonka, surveying the curious empire he helped create in "The Music of Styx," which was the somewhat misleading subtitle for the appearance. Read More...

Chef Alex: See My Display in the Meat Deartment!

A while back I shocked a few readers by revealing that, besides being a writer and critic, I was also a teenaged tramolining (sic) enthusiast, so I figured I should disclose some of my other lower-profile activities.

I am the the sushi chef at Matherne's on Perkins at Bluebonnet. Not long ago, I read that Anthony Bourdain would choose sashimi tuna for his last meal, and I decided that was a sign that I should one day be the one to make it. See, Bourdain and I have a lot in common: we are both writers about quotidian subjects (he food, I music) but we both inject our writing with a rapier wit, a devil-may-care charm, a life-force other 'experts' eschew. Tony (I like to call him Tony) references music a lot in his food writing, so I thought my learning the art of sushi so that I could inject that into my discourse will provide a balancing agent in our twin-titan oeuvres.

Some say that you should apprentice under a renowned sushi chef to learn the Way of the Fish and Knife, but I say fuck that. I learned about religion and sex on the street, among the people, and it worked out fine for me. In a mid-priced grocery deli setting, one learns to live by their wits. No salmon-infused ricotta for the California rolls? Get some Philly and some Season-all. Out of nori? Get some spinach from the salad bar; no one ever touches that stuff anyway.

It's a good gig. I arrive in the quiet morning hours, weaving among the stock boys with my green tea in a travel infuser, perusing the shelves for inspiration. One morning, Davy knocked over a display tower of canned pineapple, and I saw some ham on the salad bar that needed using up and - kenichiwa! - Gourmet Hawaiian Rolls. You never know where good ideas come from, or, as Lao-Tsu states:

The sage wanders without knowing,
Looks without seeing,
Accomplishes without acting.

They wanted to give me a snooty air, kinda dress up the place, especially since a Fresh Market is about to go in across the intersection, but again, I always think about the people. One of my greatest joys of this gig, besides when someone bites down into my product for the first time and remarks "My God! Why I have been such a fucking idiot and never tried sushi before! This is like manna!" is when they chuckle at the double meaning of see his displays in the meat department on the sign and they give me an "Oh, you...."

If you can't make it fun, no matter how good you are at it, why do it? I figure that when Tony is approaching the flickering candle we all must one day face, he won't call on me simply because I am a prodigy with the raw fish, but because he knows that I will make him laugh, with his final chuckle blowing that candle out.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Library Haul

I sure do like talking about records.

John Fahey - The Transfiguration of Blind Joe Death: This is one of the essentials, if for no other reason than his raga-meets-ragtime "Bicycle Built For Two" which I swear is awesome despite the obvious reasons weighing against it. It's not Fahey at his most panoramic (that would be America) or weirdest (that would be The Voice of the Turtle) or even his most anthropological (Of Rivers and Religion or Death Chants, Breakdowns and Military Waltzes) but it is a heavy amalgamation of those facets. If you even need the friendliest reminder that you don't know shit about playing an acoustic guitar, John Fahey is your man.

Flamin' Groovies - Teenage Head: This is one of those that garage rock types cite as godhead material, but I usually am left wanting more from the classics of this knucklehead world, so I didn't know what to expect. I was hoping for some searing fuzz chords to rip through the air like a hose had sprung a leak, but instead it's a poor man's Beggars Banquet with 66.6% the prowess. The country rock numbers like "City Lights" are pretty good, and the title track lays down the adequate amount of rubber, but I'm not sure they are all that groovy or flaming. I think I need the first Seeds album so I can be done with it all.

Amon Düül II - Tanz der Lemminge - or "dance of the lemmings." I haven't listened to it yet, but I understand it to be one of the great works to emerge after the original Amon Düül commune collapsed in the late 60s in Germany and gave way to its more rockist child. I listened to Sabbath, Bloody Sabbath in its entirety this morning for the first time since maybe 7th grade, or maybe ever, actually, and was struck by it's balance of power chord riff magic and unadulterated baroque loveliness, and I am hoping this CD will offer more of the same but much darker and much weirder.

Van Morrison - Astral Weeks: This is a no-brainer; I just lost my copy of it in the last hard drive crash. I knew Lester Bangs was the mustachioed douchebag rock genius of my life when his review of it collected in Psychotic Reactions was so powerful that it made me drop everything and go out and get a goddamn Van Morrison record. Upon my first listen, I thought it was the perfect meeting of channeled verse and fleeting instrumentation - the music hovers around Brown Eyed man like a haze of gnats, but later I read that V dismissed the band entirely and just belted out the songs, idly plucking at an inaudible guitar and the record company brought the band back in a day later to fill in the gaps and lo, alchemical genius ensued.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Cypress Goddesses of Cat Island

My friend Terry took me and his friend Josh out to Cat Island to view the 300+ yo cypress trees that thrive there. The forest is the primeval kind that you half expect a giant long necked dinosaur to rise out of the treeline. The trail is easy but the woods are tick and ominous, inducing the kind of anxiety that's good for you, that reminds me I spend too much time hermetically sealed. There are hundreds of amazing trees like these cropping around at each turn. The light was perfect out there, enough so that camera phone pictures came out cool. The wet surface of the trees looked like skin and each one was a riot of breasts and mouths and vulvas and headless torsos. Some had grottos that I wanted to hole up in and not emerge until I knew something.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

6 things

  1. My classes this week have been really hard: it's the same material, same group of people but I had little control over my classroom today. I approach teaching adults with an air of WTF, but today I had to shush the room twice and I don't like it.
  2. In contrast to that experience while keeping to the same setting (and adding temporal context): Monday morning on my way to the plant, I spaced and missed my exit, negating the 30 minute-earliness I had going on, but as I rounded the off ramp, death metal rattling from my crappy car stereo, on Veteran's day, I witnessed a huge bald eagle in the middle of the road, ripping a raccoon carcass off the asphalt. The bird had to lean into it, rocking back and forth until it pried the thing loose. Then, he lumbered into the sky with the mess hanging from his beak, right over my car. Much like the America the bird represents, the metaphor is hazy, but the tableau it created was pretty awesome in its brutish way.
  3. Connected in transference from my day job to my work: Tomorrow night I head from the plant directly to New Orleans to see The Evens at some punk rock house, mostly to meet Ian MacKaye and discuss the phone interview I'm to do with him later this month. I'd like to do the interview right there and then, but he said in an email he wouldn't have time. We'll see bout that.
  4. Retracing back to my original subject, and projecting some holistic thinking into it: My mouth feels like it coated with metal by the end of the day teaching at the aluminum plant and, well, likely, it is.
  5. Tangentially connected by the subject of aluminum: I just emptied and then loaded the dishwasher and we, as a family, have almost no forks. We have a king' ransom in spoons, knives enough to butter a path to the moon but elves steal our forks. This is not a plea for forks, mind you. We can get more forks. But then the motherfucking elves will just get them, so why bother?
  6. Not connected to any of this (or is it?): I passed by the TV while the gloriously HD "America's Test Kitchen" was on and they were showing us how to use a chimney to light the barbecue, and I remarked that shows like this, with their nervous instruction and awkward demonstration of basic skills are a mark our generation's disconnect with our parents; no one showed us how to light a barbecue pit with a chimney. One can read the knitting fad as a backfill for those crafts that are supposed to be passed on, and that we have such an innate need for tribal knowledge and the passing thereof that we will generate it from sources elsewhere when there is no tribe. It's not like its anyone's fault, I guess, but it does feel like a broken system trying to mend itself. Look at AskMetaFilter: people ask asinine questions there all the time, what-the-fuck-is-wrong-with-you grade questions about basic skills and human interactions, which we like to mock ad nauseum around the hearth, but truthfully, who do you ask, then? My friend John showed me how to light a barbecue with a chimney. Just this summer.

The Record Crate: You Are The Scene

My reaction to this article that appeared in the other local rag:

As long as I've been here, Baton Rouge music fans have always lamented the music scene, regardless of its actual health. Right now, I find it to be as fit as it's ever been, supporting multiple music clubs, national touring acts and a handful of bands garnering national exposure. What we have is a lack of identity, a problem a lot of college towns our size experience, only underscored by being sandwiched between unique nightlife–oriented cities Lafayette and New Orleans. But that is the card we are dealt, and wishing we were Austin or Portland is about as useful as wishing we were Manhattan. Read More....

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Used CD Store Score - Sentimental Journey Edition

I turned a bag half-ful of CD's I didn't want into a quarter bag of ones I did, and got to go deep music nerd with the proprietor so it was a successful outing. I love used Cd store economics - I had $70 in trade racked up and was selecting my way up to that when I spied "The Complete Bitches Brew Sessions" in its shiny metallic box up on the wall for the same amount, and I told the guy I was tempted to put all of this shit back and just get that, and he gave me the singular look of er, that is worth 70 in cash, not 70 in trade so I let it be. We moved on to talk about Bill Laswell and he threw in a Material CD and some dub side project by him on the house, so all is good in the world.

My choices are brimming with sentimentality for old and new friends. Here's the breakdown -

The Flaming Lips - UFO's at the Zoo live DVD - I am tentatively working on a big thing on The Flaming Lips, so this will be relatively essential. Plus I love the Flaming Lips like they are glorious drunken cousins.

Sleepy John Estes - Working Man Blues - I started reading this guy's refreshingly spartan music blog, and ever since he mentioned Sleepy John Estes a week or so ago, I've had a need to hear it ever since.

Lightnin Hopkins - Coffee House Blues - It has 15 songs and was $4.

Lee Morgan - The Rumproller - Lee is kinda corny but I love his records in that lounge lizard kinda way. I used to do a radio show of lounge music on the high school station here in town, and it made me think of that.

Fred McDowell - Mississippi Blues - Fred is some lethal stuff. When I first did a white-boy blues safari at the library in Kansas City a couple years back, a Fred McDowell collection was fortunately one of my first selections. When you are sitting in a cubicle not writing computer programs but instead are listening to scratchy recordings of old men singing about death and drinking, it is simultaneously the the loneliest and warmest feeling one can garner in corporate life.

Robert Wyatt - Compilation - the CD of the cassette that Philip sent me that I mentioned the other day, and the omnipresence of Robert Wyatt in my life right now cannot be understated. I expect him to skydive onto my lawn at any moment now.

Robyn Hitchcock - Storefront Hitchcock - I've seen him twice, and both times I walked away with an overwhelming desire to be Robyn Hitchcock, and this live recording is one of my favorites. His rants, his stage presence are exquisitely captured here. Also I remember this as being the only CD my friend Hope had in her studio.

Julian Cope - Jehovahkill - his finest hour, I think, with "Upwards at 45 Degrees" and "Soul Desert." English "Iron Man" meets "The Wicker Man" Druid stud folk at its mightiest. I discovered Julian Cope back in Kansas City on my friend and co-worker Scott's mp3 share and have been hooked ever since.

Marc Ribot y Los Cubanos Postizos - s/t - the kind of impulse buy one does with credit. I always love Marc Ribot's guitar work even when I don't care for the band or artist he's working with, and I suspect I will get wafts of when Buena Vista Social Club ruled the Earth and we would pile into Bob's car all high and shit and go drivin'

Material - Secret Life and Automaton - Dub Terror Exhaust - These are the two freebies he threw in because he had extra copies (somehow... it's not like Bill Laswell and his peculiar downtown NYC jazz-reggae fusion was ever an over-marketed oeuvre) and he figured I would like them. It's good to be a regular.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Outsideleft: Something Hrsta this Way Comes

The fine folks at Constellation (Godspeed You Black Emperor, A Silver Mt Zion, etc. etc.) can always be counted upon to send gloriously icy snapshots from their fortress of solitude, and the latest by Hrsta is no exception. Some of the songs like “Tomorrow Winter Comes” and “Haunted Pluckley” barely exist as more than shafts of blue light knifing through the air from a high window, resting gently on the keys of an organ or strings of a guitar. In fact, a lot of the Hrsta album is like that, diaphanous dream curtains billowing before an open window to the black starless night. Read more...

Thursday, November 8, 2007

40,000 Men and Women Every Day.....

Blue Öyster Cult remains permanently salient to me for three reasons:
  • "Extraterrestrial Live" was the first album I bought with my own money
  • The stoner dreamgirl that sat in front of me in 8th grade English wore earrings shaped like the BÖC symbol every day
  • When I had a corporate cubicle job, every time I looked over the top of my half wall, I saw the cover for their first album
I've been talking about BÖC for about a week now in person and on message boards, because my friend Fred picked up a greatest hits at a truckstop. Critic Richard Meltzer wrote "Burnin' For You" arguably their biggest hit, and Fred challenged me to write the "Burnin' For You" for one of the bands here in Baton Rouge. It's almost there, the verse came to me at the gas pump this morning.

"Don't Fear The Reaper" is one of those perfect storm songs: the right mix of momentum, corniness, and bombast - esp this part

40,000 men and women everyday... Like Romeo and Juliet
40,000 men and women everyday... Redefine happiness*
Another 40,000 coming everyday...We can be like they are
Come on baby... Don't fear the Reaper

how it almost goes into the chorus but doesn't, trailing off into a guitar solo instead as dead souls queue up for the afterlife - I get that same 5th grade feeling of "dude...they are talking about death" every time I hear it.

"Veteran of the Psychic Wars" was the ultimate jam of my clumsy D&D years, but I suspect it holds up much better in memory. Now, whenever I see some spiral-for-eyes burnout lurking around at a bar, that's the phrase that comes to mind.

The real question is which is worse: "Godzilla" or "Joan Crawford" - Imagine the guy at every BÖC show bellowing out "JOAN CRAWFOOOOORRRRDDDD" at each break.

* I copied this from some lyrics website, and don't remember that second response being "Redefine Happiness" but I can't recall what I thought it was

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

The Record Crate: Fanfare for the Common Hooli-Billy-Gan

So what to do when you are Hank Williams' grandson? Hank III has taken the fiddle and twang of his grandfather, the populist lovable redneck shtick of his father and run that through a blender with blades forged of heavy metal. Also, Rev. Horton Heat.....Read more...

More Robert Wyatt

The onset of autumn is the perfect time to go on a Robert Wyatt kick, since his vocals are as fragile as withered leaves and yet as resolute as an oak about to stand naked in the cold. I reviewed his excellent epitaph-but-he-ain't-dead-yet Comicopera recently and then read the brilliant cover story interview of Wyatt and his wife Alfie by David Toop in the October issue of The Wire, so it appears the cosmos is with me in this regard.

Toop's interview is one of the better piece of music journalism I've read this year - he injects himself directly in the dialogue, basically retelling his day in the country with the recover alcoholic Wyatt and his supportive but far from long-suffering wife and songwriting partner Alfie. It is as revealing as one can get without being either gossipy or idolatrous, and Toop definitely loves his subject, plugging in poetry like
You like a thick sound, I say, a kind of wheezing wall to wall, portative organ meets harmonium meets earth to sky privet hedge seething with bees.
I have been a long time fan of Wyatt's solo work ever since my friend Philip discovered this startling gap in my musical knowledge and sent me a mix tape as a corrective, but I have never delved into his more notorious first group Soft Machine before. Soft Machine is synonymous with The Canterbury Scene that begat the collosi of overwrought music: Yes and Pink Floyd.

I am long over my undergrad Pink Floyd phase and have cautiously avoided a Yes phase, only because I've witnessed numerous innocent people never fully recovering from theirs, and while I often look up at trees with a vertiginous fear that they shall topple over on me, I never fail to be fascinated by its roots.

Allmusic guide gives Third a checkmark and a train of stars, so why not start there. The opening live track is a dense and unfocused collision of cat-on-the-keyboard organ and din, but the rest is a beguiling English-cool take on the rock-jazz that was in the air in 1970, noodling along on a postcard Albion walking trail, kicking the melody like a can down a lane. Delightful stuff to walk back from the post office through the crisp, suddenly-chilly haze too.

If Sun Ra was from Sheffield instead of Philadelphia, if The Allman Brothers were in line to create New Wave instead of Southern Rock, if Milton Babbitt had spilled bongwater all over his meticulous charts- Third, like Wyatt's own albums, is singular, accessible, weird and beguiling. All this may unveil the difficult truth that I am afraid to face my apparent love of prog rock, and will wind up delirious on a message board somewhere, nattering on about jean-Luc Ponty and Frank Zappa to a mirror populated with fellow lost souls, but I can't avoid the road before me because of the fear that it might lead to Hell.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Excellent Mockery, Onion Style

The image on the left is from this recent piece from The Onion on the preciousness of tea-drinkers, and the one on the right is me with my tea* while reading that article. Jerri remarked that I managed to look surprised, even though I was taking my own picture with my phone for this express purpose, which I think drives the point home perfectly. Notice how the Fiesta-ware saucer matches the Euro-70's mug Jerri's mom gave me from when they were stationed in Germany. No, really, notice it.

*Sencha green tea from this little international store. I actually like to start out with something a little gamier lately, like Lapsang Souchon or Irish breakfast tea, and then move through green and white tea as the day progresses.

Outsideleft: The Unbearable Lightness of Film School

Nostalgia can be a corrosive tide when it laps your shoreline, dumping dead fish and gas cans all over the pristine edge of physical temporal consciousness that the beach fundamentally is. I harbor great nostalgia for the shoegaze early nineties, when so many things were crushed together in a swirling mass, spinning like a tornado from Johnny Marr’s tremolo pedal, but I know well that if I wade too far into it, I will have failed to heed the warning my favorite shoegaze group The Chameleons issued in the song “Nostalgia” – it is drains my will and will, tomorrow, lead me away. And, the loop of Nietzche’s Doctrine of Eternal Recurrence gets tighter like the same tie worn to too many christenings and funerals, but curiously, the coat fits better with passing time. I keep thinking about the bullshit /glorious ennui of my favorite shoegaze-ear movie and Philip Kaufman's finest hour, the adaptation of Milan Kundera's The Unbearable Lightness of Being, how the collapse of everything is eminent and we still cannot connect with each other and we still do it and life is juicy and sad and melodramatic. We are human and we need to be loved! is the slogan we would cut into out pale little arms. It was a great time to be miserably alive. Read More....

Sunday, November 4, 2007

100 words on Silver Jews' David Berman's Lyrical Prowess

I do not romanticize suicide attempts, but the abyss is close enough in chalk line around my body, like the border of a lake and a robot walks into a bar, sits down and orders a beer. The bartender says ‘hey, we don’t serve robots’ and the robot says, ‘oh but someday you will and even bellowing I LOVE YOU TO THE MAX after asking ever smoke the gel off a fentanyl patch, to make me concur that life might be too much to bear for someone who sees the rotting marrow in every bone, and yet the fucker lived.

Musical Meanderings: Westwego's Swamp Pop Palace

In the November 2007 Country Roads

In planning these trips, I sometimes have to throw the dart to find something alive and fresh. Not that there is a dearth of great venues or great music yet to be discussed in this column, it’s just that meandering requires jumping off any path—even the ones you plan yourself. So I took a gamble throwing “Swamp Pop” into the search engine, and quickly I was pointed to the Old Fireman’s Hall in Westwego for their weekly swamp pop jam. Read More...