Monday, April 30, 2007
So, I'm listening to the new El-P album right now, thank you very much Amanda for getting that for me. A nice little present for doing nothing, quite nice indeed. I love getting presents for nothing. Maybe I did do something, and I just don't know what that might be. I do plenty of good deeds throughout my everyday life. That's a little egotistical isn't it? Scratch that. Rewind and forget that I just wrote that. Oh, Amanda's had some great blog activity lately, I highly suggest that you go over there and read something much better than where I'm going with this. Anyway, the point of the post... Oh. Yeah. I'm feeling pretty crappy. I think I might have an ear infection, or something. Something with the ear. It's hurting. But what's worse, is this diziness. Earlier today, I blew my nose, and I got dizzy for a minute and half. Like full blown, spinning around in circles like a five year old, dizzy. But it wouldn't stop. Now I'm just off balance, hours and hours later. So, this El-P album is really disorienting. It'd make me dizzy if I wasn't dizzy already. But damn, it's so good. El just comes around every five years or whatever, and turns hip-hop on it's ear (damn pun, couldn't avoid it) and then completely decimates every rapper/producer/b-boy/white person who enjoys the chorus of a Snoop Dogg song. (That's probably not a pun).
So, yeah. Dizzy. We had a great time in Michigan. We saw Bill Clinton speak at the big comencment for all of the Michigan students. Chris and Angelita were graduating from grad school, so they weren't involved in that one. So that made three graduation ceremonies in two days. It was a good vacation. No real down time, no sitting around watching tv. Which is something that I really don't like on vacations. The exception to that rule is when Amanda and I go down to the beach by ourselves. While not at the beach or a restaurant, we're in the beach house watching DVDs. It's good times. But vacations where we're visiting people, or with other people, watching tv is boring. A distraction. I'm getting off track. Steven couldn't come. Which was dissapointing, Steven makes everything much more fun. Not that we didn't have fun, mind you, but it would have been extra fun with Steven there. So, Chris and Ang are moving back down here. Which is really exciting and great. They've been up in Michigan pretty much since a couple of months since Amanda and I first started going out. Now we'll really get to know eachother, and it'll be great.
Once again, I'm going to apologize for the fractured nature of this post. I'm having a problem with focusing. I'm just doing this until the Nyquil puts me to sleep.
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Tomorrow morning at 6, we're on our way to Ann Arbor, Michigan. We'll be seeing Amanda's brother and his wife graduate from the University of Michigan. A nice little escape from town. So, obviously, no posts until at least Monday.
Sunday, April 22, 2007
Saturday, April 21, 2007
1)What was your greatest accomplishment?Shuffle Says: "Attitude" by Bad Brains. Being punk as fuck? Well, at least I'm cool. This song ended before I wrote this.
2)What would you say to Jesus if you met him?Shuffle Says: "Beeswax" by Nirvana. I got my diddly straaaaang! That's all I could say. He'd probably see into my heart or something like that. I might as well say "I got my diddly string".
3)What is your favorite thing to wear?Shuffle Says: "Ankh" by Sun Ra. from wikipedia- The precise origin of the symbol remains a mystery to Egyptologists, and no single hypothesis has been widely accepted. Scholars such as Howard Carter speculate that it is derived from a primitive representation of human genitalia (with the upper circle representing the vulva and lower 'T' shape representing the penis and testicles), and variations on this theme are common. Similar assertions are that the symbol is a representation of the pharaoh's penis sheath or that it is a stylized pubic triangle. So, birthday suit, I reckon.
4)How does your financial future look?Shuffle Says: "Boyscout'n" by Menomena. Whistling. Baritone Sax. Somewhere between those two things, is where my money's gonna be. In other words, I'm gonna hit that scratch off jackpot, son! Double Doubler!
5)What is your ideal vacation?Shuffle Says: "Part Time Lover" by Stevie Wonder. A sexcation. In the eighties.
6)What does an apology from you involve?Shuffle Says: "Her Majesty" by The Beatles. It takes the Queen herself to get me to admit I'm wrong.
7)What kind of food are you in the mood to eat?Shuffle Says: "Little Red Corvette" by Prince. Damn, shuffle, this is the second time I've played this game, and this song has showed up both times. In a very suggestive question. Damn, Prince, you are beating that horse/condom/sexual partner metaphor to death in this song.
8)What is your worst habit?Shuffle Says: "Margarete vs. Pauline" by Neko Case. I'll admit, I'm pretty bad about pitting girls against eachother. Damn. This song takes my breath away. Neko Case takes my breath away, really.
9)If you were a boxer, what music would they play as you entered the ring?Shuffle Says: "Love To Fight" by Sebadoh. Seriously. Not shitting you. I didn't rig this. I clicked "skip", and the perfect song for this question came up.
10)What is your most prized possession?Shuffle Says: "Vietnamese Baby" by New York Dolls. I bought this baby, cash!
11)Describe your creative side.Shuffle Says: "Search And Destroy" by The Stooges. I am, in fact, a streetwalkin' cheetah with a heart full of napalm.
12)What advice would you give a younger version of yourself?Shuffle Says: "Jackson Cannery" by Ben Folds Five. Enough's enough, I'm leaving this factory. Jeff, leave the factory. cuz all you need, yeah, it's free, cuz you're a factory. wait, that doesn't make any sense.
13)What is one thing you would change about yourself if you could?Shuffle Says: "Bullet The Blue Sky" by U2. 100, 200! Damn. Sometimes, you forget how awesome U2 are/were. So, I guess I'd change... well, this song really doesn't apply to me.
14)What song will play over the credits in the movie about your life?Shuffle Says: "Don't Mess With Cupid" by Otis Redding. Yeah, sure. That works. This song is pretty awesome. I guess the movie could focus on my secret life as a vengeful match maker.
15)What will cause your downfall?Shuffle Says: "That's Not Me" by The Beach Boys. Moving out of my parents house will cause my downfall. Geez. I'm fucked. There's a whole long life after that, right? Right?!?
16)Where did you leave your keys when you lost them?Shuffle Says: "Somebody To Love" by Queen. Oh. That's where I left them? Ugh. I can wait till they come out on their own.
17)How do you feel about the Bush Administration?Shuffle Says: "Full Disclosure" by Fugazi. If it were opposite day? Yes.
18)What's you best pickup line?Shuffle Says: "Don't Believe The Hype" by Public Enemy. Yeah, girl, don't believe the hype! I don't got no diseases! Don't believe the hype! I'm not homeless, and I ain't gonna steal your prescriptions when I ask to use your bafroom!
19)What was your biggest mistake?Shuffle Says: "Pattern Against User" by At The Drive-In. "Hypodermic people pokin' fun at the livin'." Yeah, I was a real asshole for doing that. Sorry. I apologize for myself and all of my hypodermic people.
20)What superpower do you want?Shuffle Says: "The Narrator" by Apples In Stereo. I am the omniscient narrator of the world. Or at the very least, an Apples In Stereo record.
This post started out as a response to Michael in the comments to his post about Phish vs. The Grateful Dead. I ended up getting a little long winded for just a comment. Then I started talking about how Neil Young makes me feel like a loser. So I moved it over here.
By the way, this is my 50th post on this blog. A milestone has turned, or something like that.
So, jam bands. Or jamming to be more specific. There's nothing wrong with that. Michael's right, it gets a bad name, when it can be very adventurous musically. It can really change your perception of the music. (Most) every musician that I respect does it. It's kinda like masturbation. You don't talk about it with your friends that much, unless that's all your friends talk about (hippies). Shit, The Velvet Underground did it. Ever listen to any of the live albums? "Sister Ray" is a kinda-jam.
Just like any genre, or more specifically, just like any musical apparatus, jamming has it's transcendent moments, and it's large pool of pretenders. Unlike Mike, can I call him Mike? I'm sure I can. Unlike Mike, I would put Phish in that pretender pool. Phish, while technically proficient, has that one string that they pull. The jam, and that's it. The jam has to have some root in a song. A jam is a device in a toolbox, not the box itself.
The Grateful Dead on the other hand, and Mike argued this same point, so I'm just reiterating here, always had a song to return to. If they went off for thirty minutes, they always had the choice to return to a great melody and for the most part, some fairly great lyrics.
My personal favorite jamming, though is the jamming of Jimi Hendrix. In the last decade a shit ton of posthumous live albums have come out. Some better than others, but the one theme that runs through all of them is "holy shit, I'm listening to the greatest musician ever". The same kind of feeling when you listen to John Coltrane completely freak out on his saxophone. Jimi's jamming is more like Coltrane than Garcia. It's much more about unconscious musical ability. There's more emotion than there is "this would sound cool if I did this..." The difference between these two musicians and the rest of the world is their need to do this, in an instinctual sense. Like you can't imagine anyone else taking the triteness of "My Favorite Things" and turning it into a towering monster that scrapes the bottom of heaven. Like you can't imagine anyone else making their guitar sound like a machine gun for twelve minutes, and actually, sincerely mean it.
I might throw Neil Young into this group. Less graceful than either two, but there is real emotion behind his ragged playing. Neil Young really makes me feel like the underachiever that I am. By the time he was 24, he had been in a band with Rick James, Buffalo Springfield, made Everybody Knows This is Nowhere, After The Goldrush, AND Harvest. Damn. I can't really compare with that. How great is "Down By The River"? It's one riff, and like eight words.
While I was looking for a picture of Neil Young & Crazy Horse, I happened upon the picture above. I always forget about the Crazy Horse on a mountainside thing, and everytime I stumble upon it again, I'm once again blown away.
Friday, April 20, 2007
Monday, April 16, 2007
10. Jimi Hendrix- Band of Gypsys. Of course, this didn't come out while I was in high school. A good percentage of what I'll write about didn't. I was into older stuff in high school. I listened to this album incessantly. It's amazing. It's heavy jazz/funk. Not rock at all. My brother, Dan spent a year learning every second of this album on his guitar. We bought a bootleg video of the concert, a CD of a guy telling you which nobs to turn to get the guitar tone. It was an obsession.
9. Pixies- Surfer Rosa. Holy shit. I'd never heard anything so unhinged before. I bought it, only to take it home and find the disc was broken inside the case. It took another week for it to come into the store again, and when it did. This was one of the albums that I spent a lot of time listening to pushing carts in the Target parking lot. Ah, Walkmans. How inconvenient was that huge circle that I carried around.
8. The White Album- In middle school, I dabbled with the idea of enjoying heavy metal. I tried, oh, how I tried to enjoy a Marilyn Manson album, or a Sepultura album. I really tried. Of course, I couldn't stand the shit. During this time, I got in a little trouble at school. You draw one pentagram on your algebra notebook... So, my teacher feverishly calls my dad, tells him I'm on the path to hell. He forces me to cut my long hair, takes all my tapes and CDs and goes through the lyrics to each one. Anything objectionable, gone. Metallica, Nine Inch Nails, Pearl Jam, Nirvana (for not having lyrics, so they must be doing something subliminal). I talk him into letting me sell them to the record store. I get enough credit for two CDs, The White Album and something I don't remember. I don't think I've listened to any album as much as I have The White Album. It's perfect. If I had to choose one album to keep out of the thousand plus we own, that'd be the one.
7. The Velvet Underground & Nico. The fondest memory I have of this album is driving down 401 in my dad's truck, the windows down, the volume all the way up. "The Black Angel Death Song" is blowing my mind, and then what I thought for a moment was a second drum part, turned out to be my tire going flat. Also, playing this on the CD player in second period art class. Jessica Davis was loving "Sunday Morning", and then she joined everyone else in hating the Velvet Underground and me.
6.Ben Folds Five- s/t. Another carryover from middle school. I listened to the tape of this so much that it eventually broke the tape player in my mom's Ford Contour (which I would later crash.)
5.Blind Melon- Soup. Probably the least cool album on this list. I have a soft spot for this band, and I'm not ashamed to say it. I bought it in a huge record store in Akron when we were visiting there one year. I remember playing it a lot in my grandma's basement while Dan and I were avoiding my uncle Wayne.
4.Fugazi- Repeater. I've written about this before, so I'll keep it short. I listened to this pushing carts at Target. A lot. It made me a mini communist and I quit my job. Before I could quit my job, I was driving that Ford Contour and crashed it while a Fugazi song was on 88.1. I should clarify that I didn't crash the car through my negligence, someone hit me over on Martin Street by Moore Square.
3.Modest Mouse- This Is A Long Drive For Someone With Nothing To Think About. I listened to a burned copy of this over and over for pretty much all of high school. I can't attribute any specific memories to it, though. Probably a couple of long drives, though.
2.Aesop Rock- Labor Days. We listened to this a lot senior year. My friend Derrick would take us to eat at Bojangles at lunch, and then do something crazy with his truck. Usually, he'd drive it into this field that is now a Target. He had 4 wheel drive, and just didn't give a fuck. The grass was really high in that field, and there were a lot of big holes in it. I'm not sure how we didn't get injured while he was doing that. He did wreck it shortly afterwards, along with at least one more car before we graduated. Might have been more than one, actually. Derrick's since joined the Marines. A completely unbelievable thing.
1.The Cherry Valence- s/t. The first time I went to Kings was to see Nebula and The Cherry Valence. Nebula was neither here nor there. They didn't leave an impression on me because they went on after the best band in town. I saw Cherry Valence every time they played in town. They routinely blew my mind. It was like if James Brown replaced whatshisname in AC/DC.
Ghostface Killah- Supreme Clientele. Listened to this plenty of times playing video games over at Lamont's.
The Doors- Morrison Hotel. I really liked the Doors in high school. A little too much.
Coldplay- Parachutes. Are Coldplay pussies? Yes. Am I? Probably best to leave that unanswered.
Saturday, April 14, 2007
Tyler's a good kid, and I just wanted to write about that. I made a whole lots of bunches of mistakes when I was living with my family before I moved out. I was probably an asshole, and I'm really sorry about that. Thankfully, Tyler didn't follow my bad example and has turned into a really good kid. Add to that, he's into much better music than most 17 year olds around. That would be a good example he picked up from me (and Dan, my other younger brother, who of course, wouldn't of known anything outside of Janet Jackson's "Design Of A Decade" if it weren't for me. But I digress.)
So, I'll see Tyler tomorrow, and see how he's doing.
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
what i'm listening to right now: My My by Menomena
So I really want to see this movie. Just wanted to share the trailer with y'all. I'll post more later today. Sorry for the poor writing in the previous post. I wrote it at 5 in the morning, I haven't been sleeping well.
Sunday, April 8, 2007
Oh yeah, a bunch of bands played that night, too.
They were followed by The Greatest Hits, who introduced themselves as "the Duke football program of Raleigh bands". This is a pretty fair assessment. Their greatest moment, in probably ever, happened when they were joined by Scott from Goner and performed a fantastic cover of "This Heart's On Fire" by Wolf Parade.
Birds of Avalon ended the night. Confetti, streamers, breasts, rockin'... BOA took up where Cherry Valence left off. Minus those drummers, those fantastic, thrilling drummers. That is definitely what's missing here. I held out hope for a mini CV reunion, that didn't happen. BOA has definitely improved over the past year or two since they started up, though. They've become much tighter and sound less like a derivation of their former band.
Friday, April 6, 2007
Johnathon Richman was a teenager obsessed with The Velvet Underground. While they were still together. There's that tired adage, only 100 people heard The Velvet Underground, but they started 100 bands. Richman is the personification of this saying. And what a band he made. The Modern Lovers' lone album is all jangled nerves and teenage worrying set to a VU shuffle. Years later, Johnathon Richman recorded a song dedicated to Velvet Underground. A song that should be the theme for every VU fan that's not actually into sadomasochism, heroin, speed, lonesome cowboys, and "suckin' on a ding-dong". It's all wide-eyed reverence and evangelizing your favorite band. Equating the Velvet Underground with "America at it's best".
Towards the end of the song, the friendly standard Richman shuffle shifts into a cover of "Sister Ray". I really can't think of another song that heaps such praise on it's subject, except maybe "Heroin".
so, the impetus for this post was Simply Saucer who are currently blowing me away. they're a Canadian band that officially released only a single while they were together. A posthumous album was cobbled together from sessions, demos, etc. they're going back into the studio now almost 30 years after they broke up. a Pitchfork news item about this reunion is how I found out about them. I'm going to be working a post about their album Cyborgs Revisited for The Red Skull, a feature on this blog about overlooked or stumbled upon albums (previously covered in Red Skull, The Kinks and Kaleidoscope).