Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Kevin had a jambox

New Order, Power, Corruption & Lies
The Mountain Goats, Transcendental Youth (via Rolling Stone)

David Bowie, 'Heroes'
Penguin Cafe Orchestra, Concert Program
Nick Drake, Five Leaves Left
John Hiatt, Mystic Pinball
Bobby Bland, Dreamer
Joe Simon, Drowning in a Sea of Love
Syl Johnson, Diamond in the Rough
Howard Tate, Howard Tate

I am so close to 200,000 blog-life pages views I can taste it, and I want to put up some really monster content to push me over the edge (for some abstract, inconsequential reason) but I can't think of any and don't have time to focus on making some and really, what could I come up with that is better than that Joe Simon album cover?

The album is good. I find soul music to be generally good; good in a way that has a thick baseline, plush as a '70s rug. I even like soul music when it isn't so good. I think most people feel that way about it, which explains the copious phoned-in soul albums put out by good performers. I find it hard to write about it comparatively, quantitatively - and maybe that is the point. Most of the art that resonates with me is giving something else a sharp elbow or a clammy embrace. Soul music is just up in your business, deep where you don't know where you business ends and it starts. It is intrinsically given to intercourse metaphor.

That cover, though.

I'm in the death throes of writing a big piece about a particular show and album and band (not Joe Simon or even remotely soul music) and wondering how much of what I feel and think about them is anchored to something  elsewhere, or even to a horizon point that actually doesn't exist. Are they a shell around and empty core? Then I hear the riff for one of their songs and I'm awww yeah. and I'm in the parking lot of my high school feeling momentarily in-the-music as shit. No matter that I really liked the Oingo Boingo album on side A of that particular C-90. It was the fact that The Album by This Band was on side B and that Kevin had a jambox and the gravel kicked up the right amount of dust from our thrashing around. Monster. Created by monsters. Against monsters. Listened to by, and so on. None of which may have existed, since monsters don't really exist. I'm drowning in a sea of love for that riff. Somebody hold my face while I look at my blog stats.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

slip inside this house

Banh mi from Saigon Hong Kong Market, Baton Rouge

Will Oldham and Alan Licht, Will Oldham on Bonnie 'Prince' Billy
The 13th Floor Elevators, Easter Everywhere
Tav Falco & the Unapproachable Panther Burns, Behind the Magnolia Curtain

Today came on like a long shadow of the week, like a Sunday morning should. Coffee. Crossword puzzle. Little epiphanies steaming up and either sticking to your clothes or popping like balloons. I listened to "Slip Inside this House" and the cosmos winked back. Then it got real and we went to Saigon Noodles.


Bun Bo Hue. Spicy but its true aggression is on the lemongrass front, the kind of aromatic assault that opens your brain. I think that is what the people who go get yelled at church do it for. It's something you "enjoy" but can't handle completely and it pries you open.

The bánh mì is from the supermarket just down the strip mall from the noodle place. Bánh mì is perfect -  bland and not, spicy and not, dry and not, all on the most appropriate little baguette. I had a weak impulse to drive to New Orleans just to go to Dong Phuong just to get bánh mì. What feels like the correct thing to do is get it somewhere local and handy. It's a $3 sandwich; you don't spend $25 in gas to get a $3 sandwich. It turns out all the Vietnamese places in town get their bread from DP anyway. It all adds up.

I bought the Will Oldham eBook last night even though I have memoirs for Kenny Rogers and Heart sitting on my dresser right now. I like thinking that there is a passage in the Kenny Rogers book where he goes, I became an intense ball of throbbing light or Lionel came over and said, "You gotta help me get rid of this body" and so I did. I do expect such tales out of Will Oldham, but his book is more about how he created a different persona so he doesn't have to be the persona singing the songs. Hm. It's still pretty good.

When I first moved back to Baton Rouge, I met Will Oldham after a BPB show and asked if he'd pose with me for picture on my phone. I couldn't find anyone to take the picture - it was pre-smartphone, before we could all unlock our wrists to teledepict ourselves. We huddled in close but the picture was just of my face and he laughed. "Perfect!" and then trotted off on his little goat feet.

Will Oldham & Rian Murphy, "Fall Again" from All Most Heaven

I watched Face/Off, Starship Troopers and the Tom Cruise War of the Worlds in the last 24 hours. I am one Raiders of the Lost Ark or Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan short of the Cable Movie Miraculous.

We bought three bánh mì for all of us, but it's too spicy and squidgy for the normal eaters slipped inside this house, so more bánh mì for me! Perfect!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

an elaborate scheme to take a bunch of people to a chicken place

There are so many wondrous things in the Ogden Museum of Southern Art but among my favorite pieces are these windows looking on New Orleans' warehouse district plus the view of old lonely General Lee from the roof terrace.

Gavriel Lipkind, Ligeti: Sonata for Cello Solo
Irina Feokistova, Poems & Fairy Tales: Piano Music by Medtner & Scriabin
Jesmyn Ward, Salvage the Bones

Friday afternoon, I went down to New Orleans with colleagues and students for a meeting and some world famous fried chicken at Willie Mae's. The chicken is even better than you think it might be. To our credit, we managed to have a meaningful after-the-meeting meeting over such a bounty. I like these people.

Grizzly Bear, Shields
Sufjan Stevens, Illinoise
Julia Rovinsky, Dark (This album is so good)

This group is working on a year-long project about the Times-Picayune and this little trip was about gaining perspective on a place with which we all believe we are familiar. Also, it was an elaborate scheme  to take a bunch of people to a chicken place I've always wanted to go to, to see if my perspective lines up with other people's. My whole career is such a scheme. It is like sighting a rifle; you keep shooting until your crosshairs lines up with where the bullet falls.

Dinosaur Jr., I Bet on Sky
Crimewave, "Useless"/"Disillusion"
edo., Raw

The Ogden was after the after-the-meeting meeting. By the way, Tav Falco is showing some of his films at the Ogden on Oct. 4, 2012 and then performing with the Unstoppable Panther Burns there on Oct. 5. You should go.

Rammbock: Berlin Undead

The street outside Willie Mae's

And now I am in the writing-about-it phase of the trip, the project, the chicken and everything, and the perspective is skewed. The lines cross and the vanishing points are never where you think they should be. The bullets could hit anywhere. Those windows at the Ogden work like that, completing a museum's mission of framing a world in the context of a single thing so that something universal can emerge.

Fugazi, End Hits
Erik Satie, Musique D'Ameublement
Eric Satie, "L'Inconnu d'Arcueil"

Satie's Musique D'Ameublement (Furniture Music)

It's like Satie's world of familiar wonder in his Furniture Music; how the melody is subdued and repeated and processed so that life can go on above, whether in dissonance, in counterpoint or just by singing along.  Excessive platitude generation is the warning light for procrastination, so I'm going to get to work now. 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Five recently eaten things made out of pigs

(not in sequential order) In the spiral netherworld of Clarke's cast iron pot, a ponce from Teet's Food Store in Ville Platte was cooked. I think it looks a little like the silhouette of Louisiana, but I might be projecting.

jello cake
If you want to know about the 1970s, they tasted like Jell-O cake with Cool Whip. Is Jell-O made out of pigs? Probably. That is probably the least shocking thing that goes into Jell-O.

I did not eat all these maple bacon donuts from Tiger Deaux-Nuts.

I might have eaten all the pig tails from a different food store in Ville Platte, were it not for a Frenchman that showed up who was all, pig tails!

Here is the slicing of the ponce. Even the children in attendance agreed that pork stomach stuffed with more pork, cooked down in onions and bell peppers is delicous.

What else, besides eating pigs, is going on? There was a bomb threat at work today. I sang the Cramps' "Goo Goo Muck" at guitar class.  I listened to a bunch of pensive music, but what's new? Here that is.

David Borden, Mother Mallard's Portable Masterpiece Co.

The Scratch Orchestra & Cornelius Cardew, etc., Cardew: The Great Learning
Parker Quartet, G. Ligeti: String Quartets Nos. 1 and 2

What else? Writing. Boring. All of this but the Jell-O cake was for stories. The Jell-O cake was just for love. Just like the 1970s.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

clumsy with my stars

From this weekend on Lake Chicot. This weekend was so relaxing we forgot to go look at the stars they got out there in the world. Story forthcoming in Country Roads.

Mariel Roberts, Nonextraneous Sounds
Avashai Cohen, Progetto original
Jack Butler, Jujitsu for Christ

Darkthrone,  A Blaze in the Northern Sky
Swans, The Seer
Au Ras Au Ras, The Great Nothing
Dylan LeBlanc, Cast the Same Old Shadow

The Fall, Perverted By Language
Rick Wakeman, The Six Wives of Henry VIII
Edgar Froese, Stuntman

Bob Dylan, Tempest
Townes Van Zandt, For the Sake of a Song
Calexico, Algiers

So much going on. Louisiana Saturday Night got itself reviewed by the American Press in Lake Charles which dubbed it "bright, sassy" and by new electronic rag o' the South called Real South, which you should go get anyway. It will look swell on your personal reading device.

As will the new site for Reveille. We are doing a soft launch before the major push, but I can tell you. This was a summer of tough negotiation and you-don't-wanna-even-know-how-many conference calls and webinars in the making.

I reviewed Mariel Robert's new CD over at outsidelft. I was so moved by it I came out of semi-e-retirement. Is that even a thing.

Also I had grand things to say about Jujitsu for Christ over at Goodreads.

And below. It was noted by a friend who pushes this book on everyone that my twitter posts from Goodreads consistently reflect one less star than the review itself does. There must be something poetic one can make out of such a thing. Either that or I'm clumsy with my stars.

Jujitsu for ChristJujitsu for Christ by Jack ButlerMy rating: 5 of 5 stars
I was still formulating my thoughts about this unique, undersung loner among Novels 'Bout the South, just as the structure itself appeared to be consciously unravelling at the close of Jujitsu for Christ. It speaks nakedly about racist horror and the choking bear hug of faith as well as any great southern novel. The specter of civilization on the collapse hangs in the air, but plenty of writers can do this.

The different thing that Jack Butler executes here is a move like jujitsu instructor Roger Wing does in his ghetto studio - not a sucker punch or a constant wailing, but a deftly placed kick when you, the reader, go on the attack of the story. Jujitsu for Christ does not attack your senses the way hooligans in Harry Crews' books do, no does it methodically hunt you like a Cormac McCarthy anti-protagonist. Butler places just the right hit to the chest cavity required to leave you on the floor, momentarily hollowed by the blow, waiting for the air to come back.

The Freedom Fighters are descending on Mississippi as low boil teen romances and personality crises erupt, all things bent on redefining what seems to be the inevitable, the persistent. Mirroring that, a metafictional aspect creeps up through the novel, coming to a throbbing head in the "Mississippi Vortex Fever" chapter, a magnificent Revelation in the Biblical, contextual and narrative sense. It's one of Joyce's 100-letter thunderclaps from Finnegans Wake manifested as a cloud of gnats hanging in the humidity. I can see where this hallucinatory poetics would lose readers; I got lost in it, but then I like being lost.

The metafiction is to the novel as the participatory horror/joyousness of the South is to the people that live here. The unraveling of our story is curiously the thing that holds our story together, like a ratty cotton belt of an old karate uniform. Without the belt, it's just a lousy bathrobe, but with, it becomes an instrument of masterful defense and potential annihilation.

Also, I am a lousy three grand pageviews away from 200,000.  I feel I should do something special but what honors such a milestone? If you want to throw a party, I'll come! How's that?

Thursday, September 6, 2012

media dreams

OK, wow, Joe McPhee is working my inner monologue like a snake charmer.

Jessie Moynahin, Forming
Joe McPhee, Po Music: Topology (various tracks on YouTube)
Kawabata Makoto & Mani Neumeier, Samauri Blues
Tom Carter & Bardo Pond, 4/23/03
Sun Ra and his Arkestra, Media Dreams
John Cage, One6/One10 and Four4

And, whoa, Forming by the guy that does Adventure Time.  May Mithras be praised/feared.

And all respects to Sun Ra, I've been having media dreams of my own. I have to do an demo to a colleague's class (colleages) tomorrow where I'll build something like this thing.

and I had a upon-awakening-moment when I was all, How do I make the map tell the graph what to do?   and then I looked up a webinar that told me how. Webinar. This is what it's come to. What would John Cage have done, had he lived to his 100th birthday, if he had to do webinars about making maps talk to graphs?

John Cage's Atlas Eclipticalis performed by James Levine and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

John Cage performing Water Walk on the 1960 game show I've Got a Secret

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

what a band is

This is what a band is. The Golden Band from Tigerland shot from the sidelines by an exploiter of privilege.

LSU vs. North Texas at Tiger Stadium.

Here is the whole wretched display of access/excess: three tailgates + the most and least intimate spots in Tiger Stadium from which to watch a football game. Maya and I scored sideline pre-game passes and then seats in the absolute top row of the upper west deck. There were Andean condors swooping up to eat spilled popcorn up there.

Hatfield & the North, Hatfield & the North
Slapp Happy, Casablanca Moon
Bongwater, Too Much Sleep
Nurse With Wound, To the Quiet Men From a Tiny Girl

In my passionate twenties, I would've tried to convince you too that Nurse With Wound was the greatest music-generating entity, and would've made that distinction rather than referring to them as a "band" or "project".  Somewhere around then I discovered Funkadelic, partly through a magazine recommendation from one of the guys in Nurse With Wound, and I quit worrying what a band is or isn't until Bonnie "Prince" Billy came around and the process renewed itself. I'd actually like to hear a Bonnie "Prince" Billy/Nurse With Wound collaboration. I think it would neatly tie up some cognitive quandaries and leave me to enjoy life to its fullest.


This is Tiger Stadium to its fullest. Maybe not fullest, but I was shocked this many people came to a throwaway game right after a hurricane. Normally we just tailgate. Up there in the high numbers my vertigo kicked in (I can't even handle Ferris wheels with any appreciable dignity) and even she was freaked out a little so we only stayed through the first quarter. It feels like you are about to be flung forward into the vastness of spectatorship any second up there.


Ours were the two yellow seats under the top 619 sign. Bottom left on the diagram.

David Lipsky, Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip with David Foster Wallace
Animal Collective, Centipede Hz
Matthew Dear, Beams
Deerhoof, Breakup Song

(x-posted from Goodreads)

Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip with David Foster WallaceAlthough Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip with David Foster Wallace by David Lipsky
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I'm comfortable with the fact that I enjoy things written about David Foster Wallace than I do David Foster Wallace's writing. I look at his work the way I look at barbed wire fences - there might be really exciting or really insightful things behind those fences, and once upon a time I was spry enough to clamber over intellectual obstacles like that but now I just don't have the patience.

Mr. Lipsky does a fantastic job nursing Mr. Wallace's tenderness and scaling his towers in this book length interview, and if all that sounds sexual, it isn't, but it is a very intimate and complex picture of two men talking and thinking a lot about mostly one of the two. Even when Mr. Lipsky and the reader alike were growing weary of Mr. Wallace's precious fretting about titrating his burgeoning fame - the interview took place during the book tour for Infinite Jest - we felt spurred by then mutual determination to make the wordiest guy on the planet just say what he wanted to say already. Both interviewer and interviewee come out of this thing as richer and more vibrant.


The band as they entered the stadium as viewed from the terrace of the third tailgate. I think I just described a Masonic ritual.

Sunday, September 2, 2012


Photo by Noel Marcantel

The Avett Brothers, The Carpenter (via NPR)
Divine Fits, A Thing Called the Divine Fits
Harlan, Nite Loop
Metric, Synthetica Reflections

Sunn 0))), Che, Black One, Monoliths & Dimensions and White 1

I AM IN YOUR MEDIA: Dig Baton Rouge did a story about the Adult Music Club I go to every Wednesday night. The above pic shamed me into learning "Surrender".

The September 2012 OffBeat has my reviews of Showarama Hot Trio,  the Normals, and Harlan. Nite Loop is right on; in fact, I'm putting it on right now even after I reviewed it. Like put a compact disc in an actual compact disc-playing device. Again. I don't do that for just anybody. Like Divine Fits: I will be all about them today but will likely never listen to them again. It's that kind of record. Listen to it now until the feeling passes!

The September Country Roads has my profile of 23-year-old blues player Jonathon "Boogie" Long. "Face melting" is discussed.

I might have more stuff coming out this week but I don't want to seem boastful. You are welcome! Everything is great, though! So what if my street is still red on the Entergy map. Everything is coming up fried green tomatoes! Everything! I'm not acting excited to mask my disappointment!

From Chelsea's. Best thing on their menu.