Monday, February 28, 2011

staring right at me

MF Doom on the bathroom wall. La Monte Young in my ears. The near end of the manuscript on the library table, staring right at me.

La Monte Young on the Internet Archive

Friday, February 25, 2011


The kind of helpful advice I give myself.

Elodie Lauten, Piano Works Revisited
Nico Muhly, Mothertongue
Grand Valley State University New Music Ensemble, In C Remixed 

It's the start of a rock party, editing-heavy, extended weekend. I took out two simulacrums but added a Gesamtkunstwerk. I can only believe that to be progress.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

when I shot this Bobcat at rest

My old trusty iPhone 3G finally gave up the ghost so I updated to a 3Gs for $50 and it's such a leap forward. I know the 4 is the business and there's gonna be a 5 and yadda and yadda, only $200 and more yadda, but the camera quality alone is all I lay my burden down, which is what I thought of when I shot this Bobcat at rest this morning with it. Checking my calendar and Leoš Janáček-ing on Rhapsody at the same time while taking in a moment of lunchtime spring, I'm certain I peeped with glee.

Ok, it's not a bobcat, but instead a backhoe,  but I like the idea of "a bobcat at rest." And shooting one.

Trans Am, Thing, Sex Change, and Liberation
Vlach Quartet, Janáček: String Quartets 1 & 2, Youth Suite for Flute (Piccolo), Oboe, Clarinet, Horn, Bassoon, and Bass Clarinet
Rachel's, Systems/Layers

Speaking of Glee, sort of, not really, I watched a whole episode American Idol for the first time last night because the wee Beatlemaniac needed to critique the oversinging of hits by her favorite band. I'm no TV elitist - lemme tellya which hoarder and prison shows are the best - but for real, people like American Idol that much? It's not one of those things the the Miss America pageant: still on because it no one has the heart to take it off? Weird.

There sitll isn't a decent Blogger app. Just sayin'.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

go unions!

Lavender Mist happening right outside my office window. Or maybe Hero and Leander.

Pascal Comelade, L'argot du bruit and La Catedral d'Escuradents

I am way into this Pascal Comelade guy, one of the dudes behind Assemblage de pièces comeladiennes du plus bel effet from yesterday. Sorta ding-dong kitch tango, skating rink jazzzzz, make-a you want-a spicy a-meatball restaurant ska, sentimental ragtime from some lost hipster universe. Something. He throws in songs like Faust's "The Sad Skinhead" which take a second to register and then when they do, there is an actual typerwiter-sounding bell that brings you to the next line. I bet he smokes extra-smelly cheap French cigarettes and can explain dada in such a way that will make you call up and quit your job.

Speaking of jobs, and heroes and right outside your window - go unions! It's almost like unfettered predatory capitalism doesn't seem so appealing down at the watering hole when you realize you are the prey.

Here is Pascal giving Jonathan Richman's "Egyptian Reggae" the business.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Firebreather from the Krewe of Jupiter & Juno parade here in Baton Rouge last week.

Throbing Gristle, "20 Jazz Funk Greats" from 20 Jazz Funk Greats
Various Artists, Assemblage de pièces comeladiennes du plus bel effet
Various Artists, Terry Edwards Presents: Ontogeny (No Fish Is Too Weird For Her Aquarium Vol. II)
Pascal Comelade, Traffic D'abstraction
Ogurusu Norihide, Modern

"Assemblage de pieces comeladiennes" might be a band, or some form of collective. Or maybe just an event. Maybe we all are just an event. Whatever it is, it has a MySpace and is patiently tapping my button this morning, like the President might The Button. Just idly tapping, feel the embossing of the word "launch" on the ridges of his fingerprint. Not enough to really push it... And they have videos!

4 juillet 2009: Schizophonic cabaret (Autour de Pascal Comelade), organisé par Vert Pituite la belle aux voûtes (Paris)The skatalan logicofobism" (Pascal comelade) par My favorite sideburns Orchestra, Olivier brisson (batterie), Quentin Dubost (guitare), Benjamin Commault (guitare), Christophe Marais (basse) Soirée organisée pour la sortie du disque "Assemblage de pièces comeladiennes du plus bel effet" chez Musea/Gazül

This guy's solo stuff is the stuff. Pascal Comelade "Promenade des schizophrènes"

I also liked this shot of the marchers from the 501st aka "Vader's Fist".

Monday, February 21, 2011

"Beatles pancakes"


Elodie Lauten, Piano Works Revisited
T-Model Ford & GravelRoad, Taledragger
Todd Reynolds, Outerborough
Kurt Elling, The Gate
Lucinda Williams, Blessed (streaming at NPR)

Five quick things and I'm out:
  1. Maya asked for "Beatles pancakes" at Louie's this weekend and Fred gave the order a conceptual twist. One day a smart contemporary gallery is going to pick him up and do a retrospective of his work. Remember the Enterprise?
  2. On the way to Louie's we heard a snippet of Kurt Elling doing an idiosyncratic take on "Norwegian Wood" during an NPR interview about his new album "The Gate." It got quiet in the back seat with Maya and her friend until they shrieked in unison, "Oh. My. God. This is 'Norwegian Wood'! And it isn't the Beatles!" I said, "Yeah, it's a cover version. This guy's doing his own version of it." to which Maya replied, "Ewwwww. He shouldn't do that." Critics.
  3. I popped into the ailing Compact Disc Store and completely blew my record store cool by purchasing the CD the clerk was playing on the sound system. It's up there with wearng the concert shirt to school the next day, which I would always do. Elodie Lauter not only crafted these breathtaking minimalist, jazz-touched piano works that hypnotized me so in the shop and completes my being, sliding thousand-sided pegs into thousand-sided holes, calming the bees with Charlemagne Palestine-meets-McCoy Tyner-meets-"Radiohead" cosmic density, but according to the liner notes, also wrote "Do the Dog" with her father, a song that later got swiped up by the Specials and brought them enough money to get her first synthesizer *. This is why record stores and liner notes are important.
  4. T-Model Ford goes well with gardening. As does this spring weather.
  5. Book finish line stuff. I started to say something and then cut myself off with "Just do it." So I am.

Elodie Lauten performs Sonate Modale live at Music Gallery in Toronto, Canada in 1985.

* OK, this story seemed a little off. I remember now that "Do the Dog" is an old Rufus Thomas tune ska'd up by the Specials, and this account has Allen Ginsberg buying her a farfisa organ as the seminal moment, so who knows. Elodie Lauten, if you are out there and want to set the story straight, holla. I love your piano music whether you ever did the dog or not or where that organ came from.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Paul Desmond, everybody!

Y'all, this plate from Zeeland Street Market... I haven't been there in a while because of monetary and dietary budgeting concerns and it welcomed me back with open catfish arms. It should be noted that they have a jazz pianist playing there at lunch.

Keith Jarrett, The Survivor's Suite
Paul Desmond, Skylark

That Rick Moody quote hit so close to home that I put it on the sidebar under my bio.

Paul Desmond, everybody! With the incomparable Bob James and Gabor Csabo

The boring kind.

Probably the last pics of the part of Westmoreland they are tearing down, since it is almost all torn down.

Rick Moody, The Four Fingers of Death
Ron Carter, Uptown Conversation
Gary Bartz, Juju Street Songs
Chick Corea, The Complete "Is" Sessions

"I'll tell you what your kind of life is; do you want to know what your kind of life is? The boring kind. Your idea is that you'll maybe sit around for a while and listen to some jazz on the web, on some website that's about to go out of business because not one person has ever listened to any of the shit that they play on there ---"
Rick Moody, The Four Fingers of Death
Music like jazz and photos like this make a body want to discuss structure, but I suppose that is another indicator of the boring life.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

the wall where the window was

Another view of the husk of Westmoreland. I'm trying to decide whether I need some cement blocks. There was an old shoe repair shop in this strip that had a giant vise-like cobbling tool in its window and just yesterday I was toying with getting it to put in the garden or just to have, and now not only is the thing gone but so is the window and the wall where the window was.

Townes Van Zandt, Flyin' Shoes
Joe Ely, Down on the Drag
Beaver Nelson, Little Brother
Jon Dee Graham, First Bear on the Moon

Did you read that crazy Billy Ray Cyrus thing in GQ? You will walk away with probably the same measure of love for Billy Ray Cyrus with which you came to it, but the details are luminous. Like how he and Kurt Cobain were friends and how Satan hounds him and his family.

I think I saw Jon Dee Graham at the Red Star once. Like it was a surprise he was there, performing in the band of somebody else I went to see. Whatever the circumstances, it was also luminous.

Speaking of, here is the moon winking at us last night.

The Real Truth of Lou Reed

I'll be your mirror (in this case, in the remains of Westmoreland shopping center)

Lou Reed, Rock 'n' Roll Heart and Sally Can't Dance

Back in 2007, Thom Robinson wrote a great article in Perfect Sound Forever about Lou Reed's neglected albums, and back a day or two ago Alex Rawls, the editor at OffBeat, tweeted: "Annoyed. Listening to "Coney Island Baby" on Rhapsody & had bonus songs after the album ended. I hate that! When were bonus tracks bonuses?" and though I don't categorically agree - that anomaly tacked onto No Depression had me firmly in its spell the other day, more than the beloved album proper - but, for real, what album ends better than Coney Island Baby? That repeated remuneration "I wanna play football for the coach"  culminating in repeating "the glory of love might see you through." like a wave forming out at the horizon crashing on the soft rock shore of the Coney Island of Lou Reed's mind, sending it out for himself and his keeper Rachel "and all the kids at P.S  192 and capping it off with "Man, I swear I'd give it all up for you." Boom.

Andy, Rachel, and Lou, from here.

I was thinking about this while watching my brain race itself to sleep last night and thought I need to listen to Rock 'n' Roll Heart, one of the few Lou Reed albums I've never listened to, one so neglected that even Thom Robinson passed it over. So here I am. Allmusic has it as Mr. Reed's second worst, right after Metal machine Music which dominates its own discussion threads decades later, and anyway I don't know about all that. Set the Twilight Reeling is pretty bad. There are traces (tracks) of Berlin in it, particularly "You Wear It So Well", the hyperkinetic jazz-infused boogie that gives the problematic classic Street Hassle some its musicle. I'm particularly digging the Afrobeat-up on the bluesy Velvets cast-off "Follow the Leader." The Lou Reed in my mind would say he invented Afrobeat and that Fela lifted it off him, and then the Robert Christgau of my mind would show up out of nowhere, like Marshall McLuhan does in Annie Hall, to tell us how we all got it all wrong, and we skulk away duly lectured, and now I'm thinking how sad it is that my mind is populated with Lou Reeds and Robert Christagus.

Here is the version of "Follow the Leader" Robert Quine heard in 1969.

But so, Rock 'n' Roll Heart is about 2 parts awesome Lou Reed patina, 3 parts saggy Lou Reed hubris, and I suppose we all are when we substitute ourselves for our Lou Reeds, and should be happy that anything comes through at all, ever, which I think is The Real Truth of Lou Reed, no matter which one we are talking about.

Lou Reed, "Temporary Thing"

Ed to add: I just want to throw out that as albums-as-a-whole go, I like Sally Can't Dance more than Loaded; "Rock 'n' Roll" and Sweet Jane" being the only real resons to have the latter.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Mississippi River System portrayed in the style of London Underground maps. From here, hat tip to @aharonium. Click on the map for a larger view. I'm linky today.

Media announcement: Butch Hancock review, new CD's by Trail of Dead, Miles Davis, Akron/Family & "why all the women in this bar are crying" in this week's Record Crate blog for 225 Magazine.

Todd Reynolds, Outerborough
Mia Doi Todd/Andres Renteria, Morning Music and Gea

This double CD (available for wider consumption on my birthday, March 29) of solo violin pieces by Todd Reynolds is the precise right stuff, balanced right between conservatory rigidity and lone wolf playfullness. I imagne the sheet music is written on the same head of a pin upon which God places all his angles angels, or whatever that passage is. I never really understood that analogy, except maybe that the universe spins by balancing on this one point (and therefore, I was right in typing angles) - God's love or His divine order or Our belief or something, but I'm not sure. Anyway, Todd Reynolds is up on the head that pin with his violin.

The long forgotten Mia Doi Todd CD came up because of the "todd" in the iTunes search thing. Makes me wonder what else is up in here.

Steel Harmony play a caribbean steelband version of 'Transmission' by Joy Division as part of jeremy deller's Procession in Manchester.
They also do "Love Will Tear Us Apart".Via my editor, and yes, I am working very hard on that manuscript.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011



Drive-By Truckers, Go-Go Boots

Hey! Japanese magnolias are abloom! There's a new Drive-By Truckers album today! That should cure what ails you.

Drive-By Truckers, "Used To Be a Cop"


Monday, February 14, 2011

a rave on the moon


Rick Moody, The Four Fingers of Death
Meat Puppets, Meat Puppets II


Miles Davis, Bitches Brew Live
Charanjit Singh, Ten Ragas to a Disco Beat

What a difference a meeting makes! I started out as the taciturn indie rock listener you see above you, content just to show off his new glasses like they are a sudden blossoming of his personality, and then after I was ready for a rave on the moon!Boing Boing kinda gets on my nerves with their steampunk obsession and their toy-store aproach to technology, but they come through with stuff like this:

 This proto-Acid House record was recorded in 1982, five (!) years before Phuture's genre-defining "Acid Tracks." Curious to learn more about Singh, I turned up a short Guardian article about the reissue on Edo Bouman's Bombay Connection record label. In the early 1980s, Singh had a wedding band and was a session musician on Bollywood soundtracks when he was inspired by the imported sound of disco.

a tennis ball off a wall

Butch Hancock laying down a formidable palindrome.

Uncle Tupelo, "Blues Dies Hard" (bonus track on No Depression)
Butch Hancock live at the Red Dragon, Baton Rouge, 2/10/2011
Neil Young, Le Noise
Dinosaur, Jr., Bug

I've never heard this song at the tail end of the bonus tracks of No Drepression, after all the herky jerky bouncing post punk angst off the grain silos, like a bored kid does a tennis ball off a wall. With focus. "Blues Dies Hard" though is a different sort of thing. I suspect it's a cover I don't recognize (sounds like Dinosaur, Jr.), or a Neil Youngism growing hot in young Jay Farrar's pocket but it is lovely lovely. It sounds like the speakers went out in your car. I thought it made me want to hear the new Neil Young, despite the way I think Daniel Lanois generally over butters the toast he is privaleged to get. The butter-to-toast ratio is just right on this one.

Here are all five of the Butch Hancock performances I caught the other night: "Spilt and Slide pt.1", the palindrome thing from above, a cover of Townes Van Zandt's "If I Had No Place to Fall", a new song "Danglin' Diamonds" and a song he wrote for his fellow Flatlander Joe Ely, "If You Were a Bluebird" performed with Gina Forsyth on fiddle.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

I love

Stereolab, Transient Random Noise Bursts With Announcements

I love Rhapsody + iPhone + 3G + car stereo aux input + my car + its sunroof + the crack of spring. I love Stereolab for still being around for nearly two decades, ever evolving and yet still kinda being the same band the ground out "Jenny Ondioline." I love their unabashed Frenchness, their icy Socialist flair. I love that they love Velvet Underground so much that they created themselves in their image. I love how indebted they are to that sound. I love how the hip hop booming from the cars around me at the car wash all owed Dr. Dre a wet 'n' sloppy. I love this letter someone supposedly found where Dr. Dre made a mental note to "make some loot off these fools" at Burning Man. I love the idea that he did it, even if he didn't.

I love this song. 

I love my wife, all the way. More than I love all these things. I don't talk about her all that much here because the things I talk about here are trivial, fleeting, butterflies-in-nets, and she is bigger and more than all of that.

I love the reproduction of "Sunflowers" sitting in a neighbor's driveway and the box of paperbacks upon which it was leaning. I love that Stereolab album again, and I love the Lou Reed they love. I love that  @JackPendarvis was driving away twitter followers with Rigoletto jokes.  I love this little passage from one of Lester Bangs' zillion interviews with Lou Reed that I happened to read this morning:
I got eight hundred albums in the can just in case. There's all sorts of stuff, like one is I rewrote my own version of Rigoletto, you know the opera by Scriabin, except it's set in this Puetro Rican leather bar where all the customers are amputated at the thigh and rolling around on these little carts on wheels. They keep trying to have punchouts, except the carts keep bumping and they can't reach each other. So they got very frustrated. I sang all the parts myself, and I stole all the lyrics off old "Lucas Tanner" dialogue, but nobody will notice the difference because I made the music salsa and it's so fucking loud you can't hear any of the words. I'm not gonna put that out just yet. They'll have to wait for that.

I love how things tie together.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

a few things

Black petunias.

Boston Symphony Chamber Players, Aaron Copland: Sextet [1937]/Piano Variations [1930]/Piano Quartet [1950] and Hindemith: Quartet for Clarinet, Violin, Cello and Piano & Shostakovich: Piano Quintet in G Minor, Op. 57
AlJazeera live Egypt coverage via YouTube

Jackson Pollock, Lavender Mist, 1950. (from here)

the clockwork of the world

The soon-to-be remains of the long derelict portion of the Westmoreland shopping center as seen on the walk home. It used to be cavernous flea market and there was the loosest of talk about it becoming a mixed-use development with a Borders in it and condos above, and I've heard it is becoming part of the Catholic high school that lies on another block behind it. I guess there's little chance the Catholics will put in a decent coffee shop with wifi right there by the house. Frank took a much cooler picture, as he always does.

Maxim Rysanov, Bach: Suites Nos. 1, 4, and 5
San Francisco Symphony Orchestra (Edo de Waart, cond.), Reich: Variations for Winds, Strings and Keyboards 
I Solisti Italiani, Vivaldi: 6 Violin Concerti, Op. 6
Jan de Winne, Handel. Sonatas for flute and basso continuo

11,842 words drafted together as of last night, sorta like unwilling soldiers. Bear in mind the lion's share has already been written as little boxcars of wisdom, they just need to be linked up into a train of thought. I will avoid any depot and derailment analogies for the time being.

Ooh, I don't think I've ever heard this one Reich piece before. It is a park full of birds chirping all at once as a hawk circles overhead, momentarily quelling the communicative din which rises with the passing of its shadow. The birds in the camellia trees outside our door do this with the hawk aht lives in the neighbor's tree. It is very "shhh.... the cops" when the hawk makes its rounds. And the Bach viola suites were the clockwork of the world.  I used to eschew Bach and Mozart because I thought their music was too perfect, lacking the surprise I liked in the music I liked. Each note was the only thing that could follow the previous, and it also fully informed the next, like you could reverse engineer the whole piece with one note in the middle and their minds. This notion is, of course, stupid, but I still almost never listen to Mozart. I can't even make myself click on it. Vivaldi always seems to be hanging on by a thread, though, like he might fall off that trapeze any second and that's why the audience loves the circus.

I like how in both these Handel and Bach recordings I can hear the performer's breathe.


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

To grease her wooden leg

A leaflet posted around the scene. Do it. I dare you. I don't really care much about the Scientologists (the subjects behind each of those searches) one way or the other but I will note that Jack Parsons, books about whom I have just quit reading, was good friends with L. Ron Hubbard who married one Sara Northrup, half-sister of Jack's first wife Helen. Evidently Jack was carrying on with Sara (as high-minded rocket science occultists are wont to do) while she lived with the young couple and L. Ron swooped in for the kill.

Fieldswork, Door
McCoy Tyner, Echoes of a Friend
Nico Muhly, I Drink the Air Before Me
George Harrison, Electronic Sound

Boards of Canada, Music Has the Right to Children

Media Announcements: The Dirtbombs, Alejandro Escovedo review, Marc Olson, and up, up, up with GIVERS in this week's Record Crate blog for 225 Magazine. I had to untweet this to make it semi-legible here.

Fieldwork - the trio of pianist Vijay Iler, drummer Tyshawn Sorey, and saxophonist alto saxophonist Steve Lehman - continues to kick my ass. This McCoy Tyner tribute album to John Coltrane is one of my favorite jazz albums ever, but there is anoth Coltrane tribute, maybe Pharoah Sanders, that I heard once. It was a deafening full-band manifestation of suffering and loss, bellowing tears, but I've never found exactly it. This Nico Muhly album is amazing but is wearing me out; it's a workout. I checked out this George Harrison curiosity while procurring more Beatle product for the wee one. resistance is futile. when at the counter, the most passive-aggressive impromptu library checkout training session unfolded in a cascade of sighs before me. It was kinda beautiful how put upon all parties were and how it spread to us patrons in line; it was like we shouldered the non-existant burden together. But anyway....Fieldwork...

I can't think of the last time a jazz trio hit me right where I live as they do. Also W. C. Handy's autibiography is a wellspring of poetic prose, though I'm not sure I'm down for the whole thing. I love the way he has things boomerang around a sentence:
Brute strength and plenty of it was required in the pipe works, but I was not very strong.
and then song lyrics included, like this for "Little Lady Goin' to the Country" played on the fiddle by his Uncle Whit while the young W.C. tapped on the strings with knitting needles to provide a rhythm
Sally got a meat skin laid away
Sally got a meat skin laid away
Sally got a meat skin laid away
To grease her wooden leg every day.
I can think of no better reason to lay away a meat skin.

George Harrison, "Electronic Sound (Part One)"

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


Compartmentalizing: in this case, at the plant store.

Last night:
George Pendle, Strange angel : the otherworldly life of rocket scientist John Whiteside Parsons
Wes Montgomery, Wes Montgomery's Finest Hour
Shorty Rogers, The Fouth Dimension in Sound
Bill Evans Trio, Quiet Now

Up to 8334 words on the first compilation and edit, though this last chapter needs some work.

Matthew Shipp, 4D
Bill Evans, Sunday at the Village Vanguard
The Necks, Mosquito
W. C. Handy, Father of the Blues
Fieldwork feat. Vijay Iler, Simulated Progress
Radiohead, In Rainbows
The Dirtbombs, remixes from Party Store (here, here, and here)

I'm dropping out of Strange angel for the same reason I don't like my last chapter - just get to it, already. I'm not sure I've ever really given Bill Evans my full ears. He's buried just up the street from me. I was looking for something soft but complete to write to last night and Quiet Now was what I was telling myself as the album of that name played out over my conscious listening. Listenig right now, Sunday is a masterwork of sizzling cymbals. My minimalist listening tendency is requesting that the melodies be relegated to a pulse bolstering up the sting, hence where the Necks come in, since that's pretty much what they do, but wow, Bill Evans is good. 

The songs on Sunday are landscapes painting themselves, each elementment applying one translucent layer of its own golden sap at a time, the way the real masters did it. It's not the pigment but the glaze and the see-through. It made me think how we don't really see a thing; we see its molecules, all bunched up, all of them and what we see is the blur of that bunching. We see those spaces between the molecules. I wonder if what we hear works the same way? OK, I know what's wrong with my chapter now.

I'm ditching Sex and rockets too for W. C Handy's autobiography. Sentences! From the first few pages:
Where the Tennessee River, like a silver snake, winds her way through the red clay hills of Alabama, sits high on these hills my home town, Florence.

I was too small to know what a viper was my mother caught me in the act of picking one up. I found it upon awakening in my bed.

I was an expert with a rock, of which there was no scarcity.

...I knew the music of every songbird and all the symphonies of their unpremeditated heart.
The run-on is gloriously his. The Dirtbombs being remixed back into techno posesses a similar serpentine beauty, ouroboros, even.

W. C. Handy, "Memphis Blues"

The Necks, "The Royal Family"

Bill Evans Trio, "Alice in Wonderland"

Ed. to add: Fieldwork is the kind of jazz outfit we who work in this field refer to as a "motherfucker."

Monday, February 7, 2011

post-rock-listening pose

My post-rock-listening pose.

Goddamn Electric Bill, Topics for Gossip and Jazz (streaming at Spinner)
Cotton Jones, Paranoid Coccoon
Japancakes, Loveless
Mogwai, EP+6
Yo La Tengo, And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out

Not for nothing, Goddamn Electric Bill is the best band name I've heard in some time. The band is almost as good as the name, even, which is a plus in their favor, Vince Clark-era DMode synth mobiles with a possible steel guitar or suitable steel guitar substitute. It would adequately soundtrack a breakup-montage in a mid-budget movie set in Portland.

Japancakes do the whole My Bloody Valentine album Loveless. Supposedly the band came together when the steel guitar player assembled as many peopel as he could to play an open D chord simultaneously for as long as they could, which is something I'd like to have heard.

That post-trim glow. I can't wait to get my new glasses. I got short-timer syndrome with these now.

rockets and/or the occult

Gram Parsons, GP
George Pendle, Strange angel : the otherworldly life of rocket scientist John Whiteside Parsons
John Carter, Sex and Rockets: the occult world of Jack Parsons
...And They Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead, Tao of the Dead (streaming on Spinner)

I was overcome with an urge to hear Gram and Emmylou's version of "We'll Sweep Out the Ashes in the Morning" and immediately associated it with my friend Terry who passed away back in May. I don't really know why I'd associate it with him; I don't recall us ever talking about Gram Parsons and he wasn't much of a country music guy or much less a country rock guy and probably, if he'd been in the mood to do so, would've congenially pointed out the obvious bullshit radiating from GP's Nudie suit and maybe that's what I miss the most about him.

I do know why. I was similarly overcome with a want to read a biography of Jack Parsons, the founder of Jet Propulsion Labs who also notoriously dabbled in the occult, so I got two from the library. The both have their problems at first glace: Pendle goes a little far in setting the scene; Carter seems to have a conspiratorial, transgressive glee gets in the way of the story, but then I haven't read either enough to say for sure. I do know that I would like to talk about this guy with Terry because it was right up his alley, a rocket scientist who founded a Crowleyite cult. Work in some Nazi angle (there always is one when rockets and/or the occult are involved) to the story and it would've been Terry gold.

And in putting this book finally together, I'm looking for anything else to focus on and Terry was aces for that, taking you out in the intellectual waters way past the breakers to little islands where things were different and then, late in evening, eventually back to shore with more to think about.

BTW, I like the way the East Baton Rouge Parish Library plays fast and loose with title capitalization. The campus library does the same. If all that extra capitalization a dinosaur like the two spaces after the pyramid period. Why did I just type pyramid? Am I dabbling in a darkness I'm ill-prepared to handle? And why won't this guy let me embed this YouTube video? Terry loved YouTube, like more than anyone I know. He would sit at the coffee shop right across the street from where I am now and look at a YouTube video on his phone through his cupped fingers like they were a camera lens, like a tube, so he could focus on it. I could go on. I can't go on. I'll go on. I'm not sure I ever talked with Terry about Beckett, which seems weird. I'd've thought he'd be all over it, especially with Beckett and Joyce being friends. This from the Wikipedia article on Finnegans Wake:

Samuel Beckett collated words from foreign languages on cards for Joyce to use, and, as Joyce's eyesight worsened, wrote down the text from his dictation.[182] Beckett described and defended the writing style of Finnegans Wake thus:

This writing that you find so obscure is a quintessential extraction of language and painting and gesture, with all the inevitable clarity of the old inarticulation. Here is the savage economy of hieroglyphics.[183]
Hieroglyphics. Pyramids. Friends. Distraction. YouTube. I'll go on. I don't know why. I do know why. I'm getting back to Work.

Ed. to add: I also had a snippet of a song in my head all weekend that I just realized was from the ...And I Know You From the Trail of Dead album that apparently only I liked, and here is their new one Tao of the Dead popping up in my feed... trip on that!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

tomorrow knows

Maya took this rather stunning pic of herself accidentally (maybe) in a Beatles poster in the window we were hoping we could sweet-talk out of the owner of the almost-closed-forever Compact Disc Store down the street but someone already had their name written on the back. I was just thinking how this Henry Flynt album Purified by the Fire sounds like the kernel of "Tomorrow Never Knows" extended out forever, curling up at the edges like the fourth dimension does when we're not looking. Like paper does in a fire. It's ironic (and sad) in the context of a closing record store and the nature of time itself, because tomorrow knows; it really is the only one that knows for sure. And that I'm editing the portion of my book about another record store that might shutter its doors before the passage can even get written, and this very dalliance might only help it along into darkness so I should just hit "post" and get back to work.

Peter Walker, Nylon & Steel
Henry Flynt, Purified By the Fire and "Violin Strobe"
Terry Riley, Atlantis Nath
Tony Conrad, Fantatstic Glissando
Pelt, untitled

Henry Flynt, "Violin Strobe"

The light and the light that helps you see the light and the faraway lights you look at that help you think about what the first list shows you. The bananas lie somewhere in between, and the berries are spread all around you. It also helps the late-nite writing process to dress a little like a lunatic: pajama pants, fleece lined slippers, concert shirt, zip up sweater, hair disheveled. The chapter before you is a taut 3433 words. If I still smoked, it would be time for one.

Friday, February 4, 2011

glowing embers of our I-told-you-so's

Scenes from the good life: 1) The neon snowpocalypse of "The Hunting Dawg" - deer sausage with spicy mustard, augmented by cole slaw, peppers and tomatoes from Frankie's Dawg House. The remains of Maya's "The Situation" - regular dawg topped with bacon mac-n-cheese, Man v. Food style - lay in the background. In this case, girl won. I'm into it. A guy from the news was there taking pictures so keep an eye out. 2) Either my killer Iron & Wine impression or trying to take a picture of myself in what will be my new glasses in 7-10 business days. 3) Alejandro Escovedo tearing it up at the Manship Theatre last night. I've been playing around with photo editing, converting my bad iPhone pics into poorly edited iPhone pics, but Alejandro is self-over-saturated. Not Pictured) the ice storm that caused the schools and the state offices and my and my wife's place of employ to shut down and cower in fear, because it didn't happen. We Baton Rougeans are spending our day off warming ourselves by glowing embers of our I-told-you-so's.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

"lovin' tape"

Meg White, originally uploaded by Martin Le Roy.

The White Stripes, White Blood Cells
Smith Westerns, Dye it Blonde
Queen, Sheer Heart Attack
Sweet, Desolation Boulevard

See ya, White Stripes. It was good while it lasted. While everyone is calling Smith Westerns "glam" I think they mean "lush". Glam, I think cocky, stripped-down with a sense of panache deep in the background. They immediately made me think of putting on Queen instead, for some reason, who are glam, lush and everything else you wanna throw at them.  Even "awful". Queen takes your accusation of "awful" and bakes a sex pie out of it and feeds a slice to your fine-ass babysitter.

I can't think of the last time I consciously chose to listen to Queen. Maybe a dash through "under pressure" when that Michael Gira/Xiu Xiu version came out just to compare, but before that was probably around 1980-1 when my friend picked Queen The Game, Billy Joel's Glass Houses and AC/DC Back in Black when his dad could only find 9 he wanted out of the 12 albums you got for a penny from Columbia House and for us, then, there were no other songs we needed that weren't contained on those three.  I know we played "Another One Bites The Dust" backwards until we heard "It's fun to smoke marijuana." like you are supposed to hear.

Wait for it...

His dad had a big reel-to-reel set up in the living room of their house on which he mostly listened to Kenny Rogers but one night to mentioned with a wink that he had another set up in their bedroom with a "lovin' tape" already strung through it.

Sweet's Desolation Boulevard embodies all of the above.

the New Age of the Reptiles

A view of Paul Dean's The Shirt Off My Back show at Baton Rouge Gallery. Pretty much what you think they are. Paul has a knack for pulling this kind of work off.

The Dirtbombs, Party Store

A Detroit garage band covers Detroit techno hits. Perfect in the way The Normal was perfect. In fact, if the Dirtbombs had included "Warm Leatherette" and maybe New Order's "Blue Monday" in this tidy little volume, the New Age of the Reptiles could Commense. Play all three of these at once and put on your sunglasses to observe the sun going dark.

The Normal, The Dirtbombs, New Order

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

We're Gucci (in 5 parts)


Bright Eyes, Fevers and Mirrors
Dusty Rhodes and the River Band, First You Live
Marah, Let's Cut the Crap and Hook Up Later Tonight
BBC coverage of the protests in Tahrir square in Cairo
The Drams, Jubilee Dive
Great Lake Swimmers, Lost Channels - The Collector's Edition
Alejandro Escavedo, Street Songs of Love

Media announcement: "RIP" to Charlie Louvin and Milton Babbitt, "praise" for Talib Kweli, a "hello" to Smith Westerns, and a "welcome back" to Alejandro Escavedo (the latter two play Baton Rouge this week) await you in this week's Record Crate blog for 225.

Wipe your glosses with what you know.

- both from Finnegans Wake. Happy 129th birthday to James Joyce.

The guy could rock an eyepatch.

  1. A friend of mine is an indigent juvenile defender and informed me that the kids he works with all say "we're Gucci" for "we're cool" or "solid" or whatever squares like myself might say. When people ask me in the hall "How's it goin'?" my autonomic response is "It's getting there", which is terrible. Almost as terrible as me saying "it's Gucci" would be. I used to say "word" a lot in the workplace, undoubtedly eons past its cultural shelf life.
  2. I've never watched The Big Lebowski.
  3. I'm not so sure I'm against the Islamic banking model with regards to its stance against interest. The part where one is not allowed to invest in businesses that violate Sharia law is not my kind of thing.
  4. I found the following in The Music of Baton Rouge (1822-1930) by Karl Koenig, PhD.

I don't know that I can really use this information in my book, but I'd be into hearing Toots Johnson's Band and partaking in some soda, candy and cigars at the porch dance at The Vogue "Parlor".

Ed. to add: I remember a long narrative dream I had last night (rare - narrative and remembering it) about a big societal/financial system collapse ala Super Sad True Love Story except it was tied into the Egypt protests, which I understand about as well as I do Islamic banking, and the world was tooling along, tsk tsking about the Middle East and its nasty volatility until some faction blew up the pyramids and everything got quiet, like in a collective "Whoa." Things got real then, enough of this nonsense, the world conspired to correct the crisis because the pyramids were gone. And then I woke up.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Paul at all, Jake on the Make

Paul Dean, An Angry Butterfly, featured in his exhibition The Shirt off My Back at Baton Rouge Gallery in February (opening reception Wednesday night). If you know Paul at all, you know he's got the shirts to make a show like this happen.

The Fall, Bend Sinister
Gallon Drunk, From the Heart of Town

Media announcement: In the Feb 2011 issue of  225, I review Grande Isle, the stellar new CD by Steve Riley & the Mamou Playboys and offer a taste of the Flatscape video art presentation at the Baton Rouge Gallery on Feb. 18.

The cradle of civilization is crumbling before our eyes! Masses of birds fall from the skies and cattle drop in their fields! (Or is that happening any more? Is the mass demise of beasts so January?) And now Harper's looks like it's about to kick. Were I "eschatological" like my Facebook profile claims, I'd be excited but in reality, I lie to FaceBook part of the time, like Duchamp did to his networks. I feel so ill at ease with the political, especially when trying to find some humor in it. I guess because there are lives at stake and shit.

More in my wheelhouse, I want to hear Something Dirty, this new Faust album featuring the drunk guy from Gallon Drunk but will have to wait until the locusts finish off all the wine and bring it wriggling like a work to my ears. Or just buy it. Meanwhile, here's "Jake on the Make" though if you are Rhapsody-enabled, rock the f out to "Bedlam" instead.