Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Really... it's the weather, the job, the whole she-bang. Next week I go on my first extended vacation since April 2001.

Popmatters does some Monday morning quarterbacking on Lollapalooza which would have been a doozy (hint: go see the Siren Festival in Coney Island instead).

In the postscript to his statement on the Lollapalooza Website, Farrell issued a cryptic message, "I am still looking for a shining moment or two for us this summer. I hope you will receive me when I call." In the interim, one can't help but think about what could have been. Imagine standing in a field enjoying a lineup that included OutKast, the Roots, Velvet Revolver, Morrissey, Pixies, Franz Ferdinand, the Strokes, Sonic Youth and PJ Harvey, or some other variation to your liking. Organizers did an admirable thing in moving to include the jam band movement (String Cheese Incident) and its fans, but somehow they fell short with metal, up-and-coming, classic rock and hip-hop artists. As we wait to hear about the uncertain fate of a touring institution, the only certainty is that Lollapalooza 2004 is cancelled leaving an enormous void in the touring plans for many bands and their followers.

As the uncool kiddies say..."word" (except for the jam band thing - I was thinking Morrisey and String Cheese was when I was going to be taking my chill out break....).

Since I've been back in DC, I've been reading more and more of Sharon Zimmerman's reviews. She write sin the City Paper and Washington Post. Here (I hope this link works) she skewers the new Sonic Youth and here she bites a big chunk out of Robert Smith's ass (annoying registration required). I like the cut of her jib and is a welcome alternative (if these two papers can really be considered alternative) to Kiviat and Jenkins.

For starters, band leader Robert Smith -- he of the cherubic face and the fright-wig hair -- enlisted the services of an outside producer. Ross Robinson, a lifelong Cure fan and knob-twiddler of choice for such whiny metalheads as Korn and Slipknot, got the nod, and under his tutelage, the band -- surprise, surprise -- gets self-indulgent in a hurry.

The album's first track, "Lost," finds Smith in full primal-scream mode, belting out lyrics that should have stayed locked in his therapist's filing cabinet, while the band bashes away dutifully behind him. On "Before Three," Smith waxes pathetic about a childhood memory over music that's alternately mournful and menacing, and elsewhere, the titles of such percussive bellyachers as "The End of the World," "alt.end," and "Us or Them" give much of Smith's thematic game plan away: These tracks aren't songs, exactly. They're harangues.

Yes, yes, I'll get back to the project. In fact, my vacation includes pleny of down time here in DC. I am making a trip up to New York for awhile and won't be posting for a week or so.

Speaking of the Youth, here are their new tour dates post-Lalapoolooka implosion:

7/13 Vancouver, BC Commodore Ballroom
7/14 Seattle, WA Showbox
7/15 Portland, OR Crystal Ballroom
7/17 San Francisco, CA Fillmore
7/19 Los Angeles, CA Henry Fonda Theatre
7/20 San Diego, CA SOMA
7/21 Phoenix, AZ Marquee Theatre
7/23 Las Vegas, NV House of Blues- Mandalay Bay
7/25 Salt Lake City, UT In The Venue (former Bricks)
7/28 Minneapolis, MN The Quest
7/29 Chicago, IL Vic Theatre
7/30 Milwaukee, WI The Rave
7/31 Columbia, MO The Blue Note
8/2 Detroit, MI
8/4 Montreal, QUE Metropolis
8/5 Toronto, ONT Koolhaus
8/6 Ottawa, ONT Capital Hall
8/11 Washington, DC 9:30 Club
8/14 Boston, MA Avalon
8/15 Portland, ME State Theater
8/19 Raleigh, NC Cat's Cradle
8/20 Asheville, NC The Orange Peel

Sunday, June 27, 2004

AOD - Theme from an Imaginary Midget Western Posted by Hello
Adrenalin O.D. "Theme from an Imaginary Midget Western" b/w two others (1988) Buy Our Records.

AOD were a particular favorite of mine in the mid-80s -- a guilty pleasure, I guess, since I rarely admitted this among friends. Although a lot of people poo-poo'ed them as just more kiddy hardcore, I dug their brand of speedcore: finger-nail shredding guitars, drums that you swore must have been recorded at a slower tape speed and one-note bass because that's about all he could do to keep up -- they also had a keen sense of humor and delighted in covering off-beat songs like the theme from Masterpiece Theater. Their live shows proved this wasn't done with studio tricks.

"Theme from an Imaginary Midget Western" came after their seminal "Let's Barbeque" EP (now a hard to find collector's item but reissued in a double CD with their 1st LP ->), "Wacky HiJinks" LP and under-rated "Humongousfungusamongus" LP and shows more of a progression from adolescent-styled speedcore to more metalish odes to pop culture that I suppose was inevitable given their crack-up approach to music. Not sure that I liked the new direction but whatever..."Midget Western" certainly isn't speedcore, it kinda cruises along there and is almost conventional rawk.

This 45 EP is actually a precursor promo to "Cruising with Elvis in Bigfoot's UFO" LP and includes two rock and rollers that didn't appear on the LP - "Coffin Cruiser" and a cover of Kiss's "Detroit Rock City". It has a big stamp on the front that says its for promotion purposes only and not to be resold! Ooops.

As for AOD, they appear to be defunct. This website seems pretty dormant with their last album out in 1995. Here's their Trouser Press entry which appears incomplete.

Theme From an Imaginary Midget Western

Epilogue: I meant to do more this weekend vinyl-wise but weather here in DC has been outstanding -- sunny, lowish humidity, etc. and I couldn't pass up a visit to the Maya exhibit at the National Gallery of Art. Lots of phat 1500 year old sculptures of monkey scribes, pointy headed baby-masked priests, evil witchy midwife Gods and brutal torture of war captives. Plus cool jade necklaces, awesome incense stands (pictured below - this stands about 5-6 feet) that lined the temple stairs...

Post-Epilogue: Also, to be added to my links eventually (along with that kewl I94 Bar zine), I came across this neat blog while looking for info on Scrawl. Citizen Keith bounces all over the place in his commentary but has quite a bit of his music online from his various projects which I'll have further comment on once I have digested (it makes for a nice CD full of tunes!). He's a cow-town guy so comes from a rich tradition of DIYers (Ron House, Gibson Bros., early Scrawl, Dark Arts, etc.). Anyway, drop by and read his commentary and listen to his tunes at the same time.
Well, my great experiment with my sound card has failed miserably. Someone asked the gory details but it's really easy. Ya plugz the output from one of your receiver "tape monitors" into the sound card input for your computer (that's the microphone 1/8" stereo jack for me). Ya firez up yr fave sound editor (in my case, that's appropriately called "sound editor") and hit record. Unfortunately, my receiver must be much more powerful than my sound card because, despite turning the volume all the way down on the microphone, I was "clipping" too much to get a decent recording. So there are several things I can do. The first was to see if it wasn't my sound editor program - so I fired up another sound editor program and the problem was the same. The second is to go buy a better sound card. Now, I've got a bit of a phobia about installing cards in my computer. I can do and have done it in the past but every so often one false move messes up your computer for good -- this almost happened to me when I tried to upgrade my graphics card but thanks to XP keeping a back-up I was able to recover my system.

So instead I went out and bought a Sony Compact Disc Recorder and am in the process of hooking it up and testing it. *Sigh*....

Here are some cool links while I work on it:

The Soft Explosions
are the winners of the Long Island Battle of the Garage Bands and will go onto the finals. I'm rootin' for 'em. Locally, the Nuclears won but the award was rescinded when it was learned one of their members was 16. So much for "all ages"... they've shown class about it and have links to the bands that will be going onto the finals in their steads.

The Stooges played Scotland - here's a link to a show review from a online zine I94bar. There's a ton of pictures (but I can't find Mike Watt even though he was there).

Iggy slips into the role of chief mischief maker-cum-riot starter when he asks: 'How many of you
want to come up here and fuck up this festival? - 'No Fun' .... "

So, being as the crowd can't come to Iggy, Iggy goes to the crowd as he takes an impromptu stroll along the length of the photo pit. Tossing aside mike stands like a matador toying with his cape, clambering atop the amps, stalking the stage like a wired loon and staring out the crowd with a catalogue of long gone facial expressions, Iggy is his usual irresistbly magnetic self.

Check out all of I94 Bar's latest live reviews here.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

I've been lax here. The reason is because the equipment I was using for my digitization broke down and I'm working a new solution -- what I should have done from the start. Okay, okay, I was real dumb and wanted an "elegant" approach and bought one of these 200 dollar machines. It's an absolute piece of shit (KLH in case you want to avoid it). I then had to move my turntable and receiver (and cassette deck) into my den (where the computer is) and am going to go direct into my PC -- like I should have done from the start.

So, I see Sonic youth is looking for summer gigs now that Lollapalooza cancexed. I really like their new CD - it's about all I have been listening to in the car. Kim's voice always got me off. I'm not as into the whole Thurston songs - he doesn't seem to have moved much in the last 10 years.

In the meantime, here's a review of the New York Dolls reunion *
And a story on all the reunions going on * -- by the way, I object to them calling this "college music" as I was listening to this stuff well out of my kawlich years.
Speaking of reunions, I would be remiss in noting the MC5 reunion. here's a story on it *

Also, Warren Ellis just spent the last week blogging Mp3s -- check out his blog on the right (Die Puny Humans) and Mystery & Misery is back. See also some good stuff from the other MP3 blogs. Anyway, I hope to get to some new records this weekend and hopefully some stuff I feel comfortable posting. I'm listening to a Minutemen LP but since it is easily available and SST is pretty legalish, I'm probably not going to post any MP3s but I do have some other more obscure stuff to play around with.

Sunday, June 13, 2004

Coffee and Cigarettes

[But first: Japan Times writes about MoB today and interviews Roger Miller:

"[Prescott's] contribution to the band was more the raw energy, the punk energy. Mine was about complex structures and avant-garde technique," says Miller. "Clint's stuff is more pop structured and melodic."]

I saw Coffee and Cigarettes tonight. This is Jarmusch's latest flick apparently made over the span of several years. It consists of several small films all of which revolve over the imbibing of hot beverages (often caffeinated) and cigarettes. It explores such themes as iconclastic thought, great music (Mahler, Iggy, Waits, etc), petty celebrity oneupmanship and the importance and lack of importance of conversation and human interaction which I think is the overall point of the movie.

There's allot of absurdity here - most of the well-known actors appear as themselves but Steve Buscemi shows up as a waiter in one scene and isn't acknowledged as Steve Buscemi but just some "hick". Bill Murray shows up as a waiter in another similar scene and we find he is in fact Bill Murray serving coffee to two members of the Wu Tang Clan (including RZA who did the soundtrack for Kill Bill) who don't drink coffee. One scene goes on for ten minutes as two people who are meeting find they really don't have any reason to meet. The final scene which reminds one of Waiting For Godot is between one character who hears Mahler playing and wants to fantasize about being a famous person and another who knows they in fact just aged Armory janitors on a break in the basement. Yes, there's much to be compared with Samuel Beckett and J.P. Sartre's plays here.

If you like action, plot and compelling visuals, well, this isn't for you. If you instead, like interesting conversations, some good (but not all good) acting and ad-libbing and can stand the black and white graininess, then by all means, go see this.

Here's some of the highlights:

- Iggy "Um, call me Jim" Pop and Tom Waits share a tense scene (playing themselves). Apparently the set-up is that they have never met before and are meeting at a bar where Waits says he hangs out. Waits, who is played as a bit of an arsehole, takes an immediate dislike to Iggy when Iggy asks him why there aren't any of his tunes on the jukebox. From there its all downhill as the two spar over their relative fame and the lives they lead.

- Elements of this scene are repeated when Alfred Molina meets Steve Coogan for the first time. In this case, Coogan is the arse and Molina is a bit silly, having called the meeting because he found out through genealogical research that Coogan is his cousin several times removed and he's asking Coogan to "just love me." Coogan treats him like a nut until the end when Molina gets a phone call from a hot director and all of sudden the roles are reversed. Molina, in case you don't' remember, played the whacked out drug dealer in "Boogie Nites" and the evil pimp/barowner in HBO's Deadwood [WHOOPS, that's Ian MacShane -- Molina was in Jarmusch's Dead Man - ed.].

- Cate Blanchett does a great job of playing herself and her not-so-famous cousin, Michelle, meeting at a swank coffee bar in the hotel where Cate is doing a junket for her latest film. The cousin, so obviously jealous but underwhelmed by her cousin, does her best to get under Cate's skin (ironic). Lots of funny bits about the irony and hypocrisy of celebrity -- such as all the stuff you can't afford when you are poor is given to you free as "swag" (Cate regifts some swag for her cousin in a Seinfeld moment). And after they share a cigarette in the bar with nobody complaining and Cate leaves, Michelle is admonished by the waiter for lighting up. She slumps down in her chair.

- What's not to like: The opening scene between Roberto Benigni and Steve Wright. It's poorly acted and seems to be in a different style than the rest of the film. The appearance of Spike Lee's siblings (Joie Lee and her twin) and their lack of any ability to relate to Steve Buscemi or ad lib. The afore-mentioned scene between the two guys who have nothing to say to each other could have been maybe two minutes shorter. I dozed off -- and perhaps that was the intended effect.

- There's an interesting scene between a lone drinker who repeatedly turns down coffee from the waiter and rebuffs his attempts to draw her into conversation. Interestingly, she would rather read gun magazines. Is Jarmusch trying to say something about the other movies he's sharing the cineplex with?

- Jack and Meg's piece allows Jack White to rant about his obsession with Tesla (not the band, the inventor!). White Strike's LP Elephant refers in part to an experiment Thomas Edison did to disprove Tesla by electrocuting an elephant. Jack then demonstrates the Tesla coil "he built" (I think that's fiction) and it fails. I think this is an important scene though as a phrase is introduced by Jack and then later repeated by Meg after Jack leaves: "The Earth is a conductor of acoustical resonance." The phrase is then repeated by the two absurd janitors at the end and they immediately profess they have no idea what it means or why they said it. While Tesla was probably talking about something else, it seems to perfectly describe this little movie.

Where Coffee and Cigarettes promises some great ideas in lieu of the regular popcorn escapism that is the norm, it ultimately and, in full self-awareness, doesn't deliver. This is not a "Conversations with Andre" like movie (and I'm not saying that's a BAD thing). Still, while we can ask for more, some times the best we can get is sharing a drink (and, if you imbibe) a smoke with a friend.

Thursday, June 10, 2004


Image courtesy

Rifle Sport White Made in France Ruthless Records (1987) Let's play Punk Jeopardy! Answer: This is what happens if you cross mid 80's "no rules" Husker Du/ 'Mats/Soul Asylum Minneapolis with bottom heavy Naked Raygun / Effigies / Big Black-style mid-80's Chicago rock. Question: What is Rifle Sport's White Made in France? Alternative answer: It's as if Mission of Burma never heard of Iggy (tip to Byron Coley). Sporting (finally) a stable line-up and working with Iain Burgess, this is among their best recorded output. Known for excellent live shows and one of the most competent rhythm section (Flour and Todd Trainer) of the '80s, Rifle Sport is the band that never really broke up - they just stopped playing one day.

And unlike Burma, there's apparently little hope of them getting back together. Guitarist Gerard Boissey who posts as Zom-Zom at TC Punk says that their singer J. Christopher has no interest in getting back together. That hasn't stopped him from forming his own band (and website wherein he reminisces about his professional wrestling mom and dad). Todd Trainer plays with Albini's band Shellac and his own project,Brick Layer Cake, while Flour plays bass for Cake and has released some of his own records as Flour on Touch and Go.

"Certain Situations" and "Bloodline" best showcase their song-writing (and Boissey's awesome guitar sound) and their thumping tight drums and bass undertow, respectively. Don't try understanding the lyrics -- as someone wrote elsewhere, they might as well be singing in Japanese. About the only song I understand (and I'm admittedly bad in understanding lyrics) is "Liquid" which appears to be about some guy at a redneck bar turning down a barfly slut in favor of drinking and shooting pool with the guys... so I suspect allot of the songs like "Experience the Pain" and "King of Trash" are along the same lines of the Pigfuck (Chuck Eddy's phrase) style in vogue at the time (see Killdozer, et. al.). Still, they don't seem to be doctrinaire pigfuckers as there are just as many songs that go the other way ("Blackbird", "Ocean Wind") just as they aren't doctrinaire hardcore babies. Iain "Bulldozer/All Rise" Burgess produces and adds his dynamic sound.

Check out Gerard's small Rifle Sport page (featuring the picture from the back of White) and a bonus MP3 from 1990. Here's an interview with Gerard from 2002.

This is a lovely snow white vinyl pressing but characterized by some clicks on some tracks and one track that has a skip. I've heard that usually colored vinyl isn't the best vinyl for recordings but it sure looks cool.

Certain Situations
This week's entry will be early as I'm heading up to Phillie for the weekend.  Filthadelphia.  The City of Brotherly Bloooooood, 'Delphia, Illadelphia, Quaker's Hell, Philly!  OK, OK.  That's all the nicknames I know. 

Here's some news stories of interest I came across this week:
  • In the wake of Quine's death, Akron acknowledges its a town of wierdos and iconclasts.  Take that National Lampoon (anyone else remember Dacron, Ohio as the hometown for the NL yearbook??).  Tin Huey, Devo, Jim Jarmusch, Rita Dove, Paul "Fab Furry Bro" Mavrides.  By the way, if you are an iTunes person, Quine's VU collection is available there.

  • From MTV News: "Butthole Surfers frontman Gibby Haynes will release a solo album, Gibby Haynes & His Problem, on August 31. The disc will feature 11 songs including "Kaiser" and "Redneck Sex." Buttholes member Paul Leary guests on keyboards and mixed half the tracks. ..."

  • Also announced Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds are eyeing a September release on Mute for their 13th studio album, a two-disc set titled "Abattoir Blues / The Lyre of Orpheus." It's the first album since the departure of longtime guitarist Blixa Bargeld, but features longtime Cave collaborators such as producer Nick Launay, multi-instrumentalist Mick Harvey, violinist Warren Ellis and bassist Martyn Casey, among others."

  • Favorite DVD this week is:  Bubba-HoTep.  Been watching Bruce Campbell since the '80s ("Evil Dead") so it's great to see him whenever he's headlining. Along with that guy from Re-animator (Jeffrey Combs), he's my favorite B-Movie actor. Yeah, yeah, I know ... Brad Dourif doesn't count since he's a A-Movie actor who plays B-Movie characters. OK? Got it?  Watch Bubba once and then listen to The King's voiceover.  Campbell has done his homework and his commentary is chock full of little known Elvis facts including a recounting of his meeting with Jack Ruby, why he wore those silly glasses and an encyclopediac knowledge of The King's 33 movies.

  • Speaking of Jarmusch, me say this week's must-see movie:  Coffee and Cigarettes starring Iggy Pop (check out his video with Peaches if you can find it), Jack and Meg White, Buscemi and Tom Waits.

  • Back in a few...

    UPDATE: Forgot to add: Sonic Youth have a new CD (Sonic Nurse) out this week -- check out their site (link to the right) for a mix tape with some live cuts and rarities (plus a few cuts from the new output).

    Monday, June 07, 2004

    Robert Quine, original member of the Voidoids and guitarist with Lou Reed, Marianne Faithfull and Lloyd Cole died of an overdose and was discovered this Saturday. He was reported to be despondent over the death of his wife.

    Here's the Billboard story.

    Sunday, June 06, 2004

    The Kenne Highland Clan & The Exploding Pidgins
    Stanton Park Records, 1987

    This must be Boston suburbs day. Ken Highland, of course, was the other guy behind the pre-punk Gizmos (Eddie Flowers tells their story here) and, later, Afrika Korps (among others). He eventually re-located to Boston where he currently gigs with his Vatican Sex Kittens.

    The first side is the above-average girl-guy psyche-punk band Exploding Pidgins wherein Highland plays a mere sideman role. "Crazy People" sort of epitomizes their world view.

    The second side featuring Kenne Highland Clan is a mixture of some confidently done roadhouse blues ("Fiasco"), barband rock ("Bummerama", "Humdinger") and psychedelic garage freakout ("Conspiracy"). And while the production is much better than the Pidgins, it's still, at the end of the day, minor, albeit well-done, jamming that will sound best with a pitcher of PBR.

    The highlights are the opener, a rework of Count Five's "Peace of Mind" and "Reincarnation", capturing some of the wierdest lyrics this side of the Lincoln Street Exit.

    I believe in reincarnation
    like a euki cat
    using up all it's nine lives
    I believe in reincarnation
    wanna chop off the heads of all my wives
    Hey hey


    This album is no longer in print. My copy is in pretty good condition with original inset and very little wear and tear on the cover or vinyl...(VG+)

    The Exploding Pidgins: Crazy People
    The Kenne Highland Clan: Piece of Mind

    Roger Miller
    Oh. guitars, etc
    Forced Exposure (FE-014) 1988

    Some folks might dismiss this as "more irritating than significant" -- but I see it more akin to some great Northeastern literary lion like Cheever or Updike releasing a collection of short stories, poems and articles. While Roger Miller first identifies himself with Mission of Burma -- in the seventeen year "break" he was putting out a prolific amount of music (see the link to him on the RHS of this page).

    One of his pastimes has been experimenting with his instruments -- be they piano or guitar. Like his frottages, he creates new textures and contexts by layering the sounds he creates often to superb effect. Here he takes his jackhammer, screwdriver and detuning fork to his trusty old friend, the guitar. For the Burma freak, there's much here that is referential to those Burma collection. "We Grind" is a reworking of lyrics from Signals, Calls and Marches while "F.W.R." is a reprocessing of Burma's "Fun World" at faster and faster speeds until it is a mere blip. In someone else's hands this might come off as uninteresting and indeed the concept of it made me consider not even digitizing it. But after repeated listens, it stands on its own quite well.

    Other cuts such as "Chinatown Samba" "Firetruck" (based on improvs with Peter Prescott) and "Forest" are mood-changing iPod treasures that will certainly brighten up the random shuffle. I've included "Chinatown S." as an example of these tone-poems -- you'll find it quite humorous, I think.

    "Meltdown Man" is more on the metal machine music vein and consists of a conversation between several "prepared, detuned and octaved guitars" and perhaps may veer into irritating but in a good way. The only cover here is welcome -- a fine reworking of Sun Ra's "Space is the Place". Those who find the more experimental side of Sonic Youth happening should scarf this up.

    It is available at a mere $7 from Forced Exposure in LP form or you can find it even cheaper at (just punch Roger Miller Oh into the search engine -- unless you want to browse that OTHER Roger Miller's output).

    Chinatown Samba
    Meltdown Man
    (MP3s removed, as promised, on June 13th, 2004)

    Saturday, June 05, 2004

    Hey!  I'm back.  Check it out -- Entertainment Weekly must hate Madonna for some reason as I'm sure she hates them for printing this picture.  Hoofah!

    My ass looks better!

    While I'm working on Roger Miller's "Oh" and the Kenne Highland Clan,you can check out this site with scads of well-written (and recent) show reviews.

    Tuesday, June 01, 2004

    I'm on a business trip this week so posting will be sporadic and since I don't have my turntable here, it will be kind of hard to work on the project.

    In case my three readers ((hi, hello and hey) have noticed, I've cleaned up my links on the right, added some, deleted some - sticking as much as I can to the topic. I may start another blog to publish my rantings and ravings.

    I also came upon two cool sites over the weekend. The first is an archive of Meat Puppet live shows. Some of the recordings are very good and the owner has taken the trouble to create separate MP3s. I recommend the shows from Slims, Roxy, Fillmore and the Mardi Gras as some of the others aren't the best recordings. In some cases he has gotten commentary from Derrick Bostrom. The Mardi Gras show sound isn't the greatest either but its the earlier recording (1981) so as a historical document, it's a must have.

    The site is Have a blast putting together your "fantasy show" playlist. I did so and it made the plane ride alot more enjoyable - the kids were looking at me wondering why I was smiling and bopping my head.

    The other site is a fan site dedicated to the Minutemen and while it hasn't been updated for a while, it's a great repository of live Minutmen and other recordings from that monster group -- you might have noticed that I have put a link to Mike Watt's excellent home page over on the right (there it is, under artists). Mike is currently playing with Iggy (!!!) overseas if I read his page correctly. Oh, the name of the Minutemen repository is I haven't gotten a chance to go through it like I did the wohlers site (I did pull down the link he has to a thurston moore - mike watt protest song that sounds reall great) but intend to at some point.

    Drop the webmasters a line when you get a chance and tell them how much you appreciate what they have done.

    Now to go re-explore my old stomping ground (San Diego)....