Saturday, July 31, 2004

Maximum Electric Piano
Roger Miller

Live at DC Space, 1988

This was something I recorded with a handheld mono cassette recorder sometime in 1988 while Roger Miller (sorta ex-Mission of Burma, ex-Birdsongs of the Mesozoic) was touring in support of I think his second solo album under the moniker of Maximum Electric Piano (the album being The Big Industry). As you listen to this, remember that this is one person (he has a soundman of course) with just a electric stringed piano, a digital delay and a sort of metronome to keep the loops in sync. Often the piano was prepared with clips and other devices to create some awesome effects. During this show, he did several covers including Hendrix's "Manic Depression" and Pink Floyd's "Astronomy Domine" that showed the range he was able to extract from the instrument. Unfortunately, some of the more interesting cuts like "Run Water Run", "Calling All Animals" and "Groping Hands" are just too long to include here. Also, sadly, the MEP albums are all out of print. Someone should put together a collection of some of the best MEP tracks for posterity.

"This Is Not A Photograph" is the only nod to Burma in the show, an early song of theirs that shows how one can get the Piano to sound like a guitar. It includes some banter with the audience at the end that's worth sticking around for.

"Freedom of Mind" is the title I gave this though I'm not exactly sure. It shows the ethereal side to MEP and provides some contrast to "Photograph". It is kind of more reminiscent of Birdsongs as well.

One thing about these recordings (besides the sound quality of course) is that there some sort of glitch at the beginning of each track that is an artifact of the sound editor program I use (I'm open for suggestions for better software!). When you use the enhancers in my software to cut out the hiss and brighten the sound, you get these artifacts. If it bugs you, you should be able to edit the attributes of whatever jukebox you use to start the track a 1/2 second after the start.

This Is Not A Photograph
Freedom of Mind

Friday, July 30, 2004


My name is Jim and I'm a subscriber to the Washington Post for the past 10 months. It's strange that you have to feel so guilty with what is probably one of the best papers in the country but I have a real love-hate relationship with the paper and I suppose I'll probably never be satisified. Having lived in other towns and suffered worse papers, I probably should just shut up.

The Post is sort of like the stern husband to the New York Times's "Grand Old Hag". It's Prince Phillip to Queen Victoria. The pre-Viagra Bob Dole to the way I imagine Liddy Dole is in private. The Citizen Kane to the Ruth Warrick. The Phillip Graham to Kate Graham (oh, where did that come from?). I dunno... I just viscerally react to anybody who considers themselves "a paper of record"... I mean shut up already - I learn more about the metro area these days from weblogs afterall so dont tout yourself so much.

Anyway... so I'm never really expecting much and then I come across this where they provide space for anyone and everyone local to upload their MP3s for all to enjoy. What a great service - the only price is agreeing to some legal thingie that says you won't go off and sell the tunes.

The number of bands on here is incredible and it will probably take a few lifetimes not only to get through it but to keep up with new recordings. Some are pretty bad (empirical data suggests 85%) and some are pretty wierd - there's a 8 meg download of some guy reading from "Thus Spake Zarathrusta" (huh, wha?) and Da Vinci's Notebook, an indescribably annoying "comedy" band... but then there's Junkyard Band, Chuck Brown, Rare Essence and Eva Cassidy and the discoveries keep coming... anyway, it's pretty cool for an old fart paper!

Here's one to start you with

Fairweather Fan

MP3.Wahpo Link

Similar Pages

while I work on the Roger Miller tape and look for excuses to move my pictures further down the page, here are some links I came across when I did a google search on "vinyl mine" (I'm the fourth from the top, pout) and hit the link next to it for similar pages. Some of the results were pretty good, others I don't know what the algorithm is thinking (for example or something like that).

large-hearted boy - interesting daily links of interest and a "daily download" of links to MP3s found on other sites (not all "legal").

global pop conspiracy - very busy, punk-spirited site devoted to smashing genre-segratation and to resurrect the selector explained thusly:

In the travelling Jamaican sound systems of the '60s and '70s, musical duties were split between the selector, who chose the records, and the operator, who played the records. A quarter century later, the selector and the operator have become one: the dj. In the dj, we have allowed execution to overshadow ideas. We have perpetuated the notion that the soul of creation is in the technique, and that, lacking technique, we forfeit the right to create.

Yet, from Duchamp to McLaren, from ? and the Mysterians to Simple Machines, from FactSheet 5 to weblog, it has continually been proven: Technique is overrated. Ideas are still important. Use the tools around us: boom box, transistor radio, word processor, scissors, old magazine, photocopier, construction paper, scanner, URL...

That said, I'm still not sure what this site is... is it a radio? an MP3 blog? a linkhaus? Anyway, if you have an hour or so to spend...

campaign songs
- this wasn't in the similar pages link list but linked to by global pop conspiracy as he found it via large hearted boy (do I sense a nexus forming?). These are mash-ups of political speeches with MP3s from past campaigns by an anonymous person who describes themselves as an "influential Congressional staffer" and calls themselves The Integral... gee, I hope he or she uses their influence when Fluxblog gets frog-marched out of his basement by the RIAA.

said the gramophone - right after fluxblog, this guy will probably be next... this is a fairly popular MP3 blog that concentrates on forgotten cuts from known artists like Nina Simone and Fairport Convention and he talks about stuff sent to him for review... - no particular manifesto here but whatever interests our "selector"... take it for a ride if you haven't already.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

And who can resist the obligatory photo of rawk critik as wrestler... at least the Dutch boy haircut isn't as bad here...

Me in jacket, cravat & dutchboy haircut circa 1975. Funny the things you find while searching for cassettes. Posted by Hello
Sorry, it's hard not to be somewhat political this week... and trust me I'll either get back to the music or start an opinion blog...

...but here's a story on all the musicians playing in and around Boston including Burma so it kinda fits with theme, huh?

The ideal was embodied on Sunday by one Rock the Vote volunteer who was dancing wildly to the politically charged art-punk band Mission of Burma while holding a sign above his head that read "I'm Young, I'm a Democrat, I'm Voting."

What's clear at this year's DNC is that music's role in the political process has come a long way since the liberal protest songs of the '60s. MTV's Rock the Vote and rap impresario Russell Simmons's Hip-Hop Summit are rolling out unprecedented campaigns this year to register 18-to-30-year-old voters, and both have been enormously successful. Some 8,000 people registered to vote on Monday at the Hip-Hop Summit in Boston, and Rock the Vote has registered 400,000 new voters nationwide this year.

"They don't trust politicians, they trust us," said Art Alexakis, frontman for the grunge band Everclear and a delegate from Oregon. "We're telling people who don't feel empowered that they are."

Even though Rock the Vote blahblahblahs that they are non-partisan, it's pretty clear that most of the people involved are batting for the Anti-Bush Party (Burma for instance is stridently anti-Bush whose administration they liken to McCartheyism)... and Russell Simmons doesn't even go through the charade, he's clearly parked right in the middle of the Democratic camp... that said, it's interesting that a recent Florida polls suggest that younger people favor Bush although the support is arguably shaky. As for whether people will "trust" Art Alexakis (and his "grunge band Everclear") we'll see... but *I* trust you just like I trust Ticketmaster, RIAA and Warner Bros, uh-huh.

So, with respect to Rock the Vote and their "nonpartisan" backers, be careful what you wish for you just might get it is all I'm saying.
Shawn Does a Freaks and Geeks Report from Boston (and no, I don't mean Teddy and Obama):

Of course, some protesters have started to figure out that we're starved for interesting copy and decided that they might be able to use this. Yesterday morning as I left my hotel, for example, a convertible with two young, pierced ladies pulled up to the curb, and shouted for me to come over. Believe it or not, this is a pretty rare occurrence for me, so I walked over a bit nervously.

As I got to the car, a man in a giant carrot suit sat bolt upright in the seat, and told me he was running for president. I was given a pamphlet. His name is Chris P. Carrot and his running mate is an ear of corn. "Look at me and you'll see," he said. "I hold no bias for or against black, white, or yellow."

Black corn, eww...

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

The Good Doctor Calls the Election

... but this year, it will not be enough to make up for all the wretched, disastrous failures of the Bush administration. Betting on George Bush to win this coming election would be like betting the Denver Broncos to win the Super Bowl.

My own whim at the moment says that John Kerry will win big in November, and that the Colts will finally win the Super Bowl. Why not? This is the year of the monkey, and George Bush will be lucky to get out of Washington without being put on trial for treason.

Mmmm... maybe Kerry but the Colts????

Coming up... Roger Miller handheld tape recorder bootleg AND Junkyard Band PA board tape...

Monday, July 26, 2004

Christgau Crack-up (cont.)

In a "perfect example of technopastoral counterculture transcendence"* not to mention twittering befuddlement that comes with embittered age, Bob reviews an anti-Bush comp: "If you buy this shit and don't vote to oust Bush, you are a sellout in the universal sense—and a punk in the hip-hop sense. Ditto if you just don't vote."

Which is pretty much the same thing if ya think about it...


* Christgau's description of Skynyrd's "Free Bird"
Next Big Thing

Here's a neat collective-type garage punk blog based on a great fanzine featuring Lindsay Hutton and his pals.

Blog to Comm

And another one that I just became aware of. Chris Stigliano's Phfuddd! was one of the swellest fanzines in the '80's and he's kept the faith, changing the name to Black to Comm and publishes a ton of reviews of obscure artists on this page.
Achtung! Achtung! Liedermachteren! Musiker!

Bitte reporten Sie to das Village Voice Information Ministry where Colonel R. Christgau vill administer your BUSHHATE purity test.

All bands found lacking in vigor and BUSHHATE will be pithily dissed as being "inconsequential", run down by Col Christgau on his bicycle, attend re-education camp with Uncircumcized Samson and summarily beat to death with Christgau's colostomy bag.

All bands who pass the BUSHATE Purity Test vill be judged "acceptable". Zey will issused stock phrases to repeaten Sie to der masses, a free date mit MOBY and T-shirts VICH YOU ALL VILL BE REQUIRED TO VEAR!!

Wir mussen defeaten Der Krusading Smirky McBushitler, ya wohl! Und Danke!

Really... W. has driven Christgau off the deep end. I actually thought I was reading a parody at first... we will keep tabs as this crackup occurs.

Sunday, July 25, 2004

The Trip Song in Tonight's Six Feet Under

It's "Transatlanticism" by Death Cab for Cutie - available on iTunes.

Neti Pot: This is not on my wishlist

UPDATE: Even more fun with neti pots!
Random Roundup

Neil Gaiman's report from L.A. and San Diego. Mirrormask will be out in January - they did a test screening on Thursday:

"That was like Jean Cocteau's Beauty and the Beast... on acid... for kids..." said one slightly stunned exec at the end of it. My heart was warmed by the DVD extra-material ladies in the row in front of me, who didn't know what to expect, laughing at all the funny stuff.

Fluxblog recorded Fiery Furnaces's Eleanor's recent NYC radio show and puts a cut up here.

Playdates for the director's cut of Donnie Darko here... Newmarket Films here.

Singles, Weighed, Measured and Found Lacking(Still)

We hate to love it and love to hate it or mostly just forgot this 90's era pre-cellphone movie set in a Southern Californian's conception of a oddly sunny Seattle populated by squeaky clean Gen X 30something actors playing 20something characters until it replays on cable late at night where we can sit half-drunk and groan once again at the mostly awfulness and sometimes greatness of this flick.

Yes, I'm talking about the Cameron Crowe movie Singles in which our most-unfavorite Boomer-cusper once again mines Gen X for a paycheck to mostly cringeworthy results and occasional flashes of comedic something (it's not genius, perhaps its just random hits from Cameron's bong).

And so, with apologies to Nick Hornby, I submit Vinyl Mine's Singles List of Lists:

The 5 Best Moments in the movie Singles

1. The slow pan over Campbell Scott's albums and the fact that he still has albums and only a few CDs in 1992

2. Matt Dillion (Cliff) being interviewed by Cameron Crowe (as a rock writer) about Citizen Dick's song "Touch Me... I'm Dick" & the Seattle scene

3. Campbell Scott getting laid while a) "My Three Sons" plays on TV, b) the subway or something rumbles the apartment, c) a phone message from Kyra's former boyfriend plays, d) Sedgewick in a fisheye POV asking "what are you thinking?" and e) his flash to an interview with Xavier McDaniel (ex-Sonics player)

4. Cameos (in order of coolness) by Tad Doyle, Bruce Pavitt, Jeremy Piven, Paul Giamatti, Gus van Zant, Mark Arm, Tim Burton, Peter "30something" Horton as the Bicycle Guy, and (drum roll) Victor Garber.

5. The Debbie Hunt personals video

The 5 Worst Moments

1. Any of the scenes with Bridget Fonda (Janet) (including the "breast augmentation" "subplot" with Bill Pullman) that don't include Matt Dillion
Mitigating factor: Her atrocious acting and lack of chemistry with anyone else on the set makes casting of Kyra Sedgewick and Campbell Scott tolerable

2. Pearl Jam mugging and "acting" as Matt Dillion's band.

3. Cameron Crowe, that Rolling Stone-writing Heart-coozesniffing, 70's rawk-loving maggot, getting to make a movie with a late 80's-90's soundtrack and getting it mostly wrong by picking the most mawkish, 70's like crap & pap he could find by bands formed after 1983

4. Eric Stolz cameo. As a bad mime. Who speaks loud while he's pretending to smoke and delivers the film's counter-argument. Ha. Haha.

5. The fact that Sheila Kelley (Debbie Hunt) never got a good part again.
Mitigating factor: Neither did Jim True-Frost (David Bailey, the forgettable maitre-di neighbor)

BONUS WORST MOMENT: The whole lost phone machine message with the "You. Belong. With. Me" as precursor to worst Jerry McGuire moment: "You. Complete. Me."

Best Quotes:

1. Cliff: "This negative energy just makes me stronger. We will not retreat. We are unstoppable. Tonight this band will rock Portland"

2. Debbie (on video): "Come to where the flavor is. Come to Debbie country"
Cliff: "Debbie country. It's funny."

3. Girl at video dating place referring to Tim Burton as the auteur singles video director: "He is only like the next Martin Scorseeze"

4. Cliff: "The bicycle guy. He's like your soulmate"

5. Cliff: "That's a very nice hat you're wearing I don't mean that in any hostile way"

Best songs from soundtrack
1. "My Three Sons" theme song
2. Screaming Trees "Nearly Lost You"
3. R.E.M. "Radio Song" (shut up)
4. John Coltrane "Blue Train"
5. The 'mats (credited as Paul Westerberg) "Bastards of Young"

1. Paul Westerberg, "Dyslexic Heart"
2. Pearl Jam "Breath"
3. Mother Love Bone "Chloe Dancer/Crown of Thorns"
4. Smashing Pumpkins "Drown"
5. The Cult "She Sells Sanctuary"

Saturday, July 24, 2004

Oh, couldn't resist another post today...

The author forgot my category, though (advanced cat herding concept development)... but I do have to laugh at MS-certified types listening to Britney. Wonder what Cisco-certified people listen to (probably adult contemporary)?


The Training Camp is an "accelerated learning" training outfit that puts IT pros through intensive, two-week courses -- think of it as French immersion, but without the rich food and fine wines. The academy took advantage of its captive audience to survey the contents of its students' MP3 players. According to the company, different categories of IT professionals have distinctive -- and consistent -- musical preferences.

Since half-hearted attempts to contact Training Camp founder Robert Chapman haven't yielded any results, I'm going to go out on a limb and do some interpreting myself. A quick summary of the results:

* Microsoft-certified professionals lean toward mainstream pop, with Britney Spears, Dido and Beyonce topping their list. Hit me baby one more time with those OS patches!

* Security folks like their '60s alt-rockers. They dig The Doors and Hendrix, but The Grateful Dead is the farthest out, man. (I find this worrisome . . . I hope that new Trojan isn't harshing your buzz, dudes.)

* Linux professionals are into electro -- The Orb, Underworld and Kraftwerk were the Top 3 -- which I suppose is appropriate: they're both disciplines based on sampling someone else's work and trying to turn it into something cooler.

* Developers are metalheads, favouring Megadeth, Iron Maiden and Slipknot.

* Database administrators are into indie bands, the favourite being -- yikes -- The Smiths (representative sample lyric: "Heaven knows I'm miserable now").

* Project managers are classic rock afficionados, with Pink Floyd and Queen topping the charts. Pompous, overblown and overrated. I'm drawing no conclusions . . .

* CIOs and IT directors listen to classical music in an obvious effort to fit some kind of executive stereotype.
It's Thrashurday! Get Your Mosh On Kids...

Various Artists
Pushead Presents Cleanse the Bacteria
Pusmort Records, 1985

Yes, much as this looks 20 years later from the title alone like some sort of underground version of Spinal Tap -- I mean, as a title: "Pushead Presents Cleanse the Bacteria" ranks right up there with "Break Like the Wind" or "Christmas with the Devil"... and there is at least one Spinal Tappish cut called "Beast of the Apocalypse" by the Finnish band Holy Dolls, it still holds together as a decent document of global thrash (I count 13 countries represented here) in the mid-80's.

As you can guess this is a mid-80s hardcore-thrash-punk compilation. It's put together by the Boise, Idaho gore 'n' skulls artist Pushead aka Brian Schroeder who went on to illustrate covers for Metallica and the skateboard magazine Thrasher. His band Septic Death appears on here but the less said, the better. The compilation itself is quite a feat -- I got the special orange vinyl LP (with about 60 minutes of music), the bonus EP and the Pushead poster (I think about 500 were made) and a second pressing of just the LP. The cover is high quality, glossy with a Pushead original four color pen and ink picture of some ugly bald feller coming out of the skull and bone infested swamp-river landscape. It's really quite good (a picture is here) as these things go though I'll not hold my breath on Pushead showing up at the Guggenheim.

The better cuts on here come from the still-together 7 Seconds, the apparently defunct Civil Dissident (Australia), Instigators (UK) and Part 1 (UK?). The disappointing cuts are from Poison Idea, Crude SS and pre-crossover C.O.C. who apparently did not send in their best work. There's also a lot of generic shite here from bands like Inferno, Mob 47, Enola Gay, Zykome A, Extrem, etc. I culled about 30 good minutes of music from the original 80 minutes (I cleansed the bacteria as it were).

Song topics are mostly predictable: apathy, "Nazy go Home" and "Nazi Raus" and of course the anti-Western U.S. sucks Chomsky-influenced stuff... whatever...there were virtually no Eastern bloc bands at the time (and none on this record), so I wonder if the kids there, if they could have spoken up, would have laid all the blame for the Cold War on the West.

My selections here include Civil Dissident's "That Was This Is" - I like the way the drums sounds and the singer's gruff Lemmy-like voice (I like his "awv course, awv course" at the end). It's also nice to have a verse that has more than two chords (the standard HC song on this collection seems to be to play the same two chords over again, slow for the verse and then double time for the chorus). That said, these Aussies knew their stuff, could play their instruments and as one of the other cuts "20th Century Holocaust" attested, they could play fast and still sound coherent as a whole. It's well within the 'rules' of hardcore - but coloring inside the lines can still often pull together some neat results. Their other cuts are just as fine.

Instigator's "The Blood is on Your Hands" uses their second guitar for some neat effects something that you didn't seem to hear too much (most bands, if they had a second guitar would just overload on the rhythm line, perhaps because the whole notion of guitar solos was frowned upon). Listen how it sounds like the barber's electric razor getting too close to your ears during the chorus. My god, it's almost a thrash song with a hook! But it's also used to great effect throughout the song. I also like the quieted-down bridge into the second verse. The lyrics are silly and Instigators have their own Spinal Tap moment in another cut, "53rd State" where an overwrought spoken verse bemoans the presence of American bombers in Merry Old Englande. Ah, Bloody Hell, shut up already.

Part 1's "Black Mass" was (along with the afore-mentioned Holy Dolls song and Poison Idea's anti-straight-edge version of Iggy's "I Got A Right") a bit different from most of the political MRR thrash replete with ska style beat and a trebly buzz guitar. The recording could use some more bottom, though and I've got no idea what the guy is singing about. Something nasty no doubt.

I would have also included the 7 Seconds anthemic cuts ("Regress No Way" and "We're Gonna Fight") as I think they are classic songs but you can still buy their records and listen to samples on their website (here) and I thought it would be more worthwhile to put the spotlight on these obscurities instead.

Have a great weekend.
We interrupt your regularily scheduled broadcast to bring Deeeeeeep Thoughts from our own Fred "Biscuit" Handy:

i love the idea of world peace. this leader will walk amongst us very soon. it will be undeniable. people will follow. people will talk. a following will rapidly build into a voice like we have never heard before. this leader will not have chosen to be the one and will not be trying to convince anyone of his heart and intentions. we will know when that time has come.

Friday, July 23, 2004

Got $20 and a place to stay in NYC in August 14th? Little Steven's International "Underground" Garage Rock Festival will be at Randall's Island Park.

Iggy (with Mike Watt), The Strokes, New York Dolls, Nancy Sinatra and many more. Maybe you'll even spot Tony Soprano's Consigliare, although he'll probably be in disguise with some sort of doo-rag on his head.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

The Colorblind James Experience
(self-titled LP)
Earring Records, 1987

This is the first in a string of records from this Rochester-based band (hi Jason) that caused a minor sensation with their novelty hit (in Europe) of "Considering a Move to Memphis." Their instant notoriety fueled a tour in England and an appearance on the John Peel show.

Most of the songs here are written by Colorblind James (aka James Cuminale) and are little Dylanish stories set to Be Bop Deluxe style country swing or Tin Huey instrumentation. The first time I heard "Memphis", I thought of John Trubee and his "Blind Man's Penis" song but repeated listenings made it more than just a novelty in my mind even if the lyrics can be nonsensical. There's something a bit familiar of the notion of being able to just pull up stakes, move to a new town and try a new lifestyle:

I'm considering a move to Memphis
That's Memphis, Tennessee
It worked for Elvis Presley
Why can't it work for me?

A greatest hit album (2000) is all that remains of their available music. You can hear samples here.

"Great Northwest" is a good representative of his lyrical quirkiness:

When my burden gets too heavy
I'll simply disappear
I'll probably shave my eyebrows
And cut off all my hair
And paint myself to blend in
The Great Northwest somewhere

"Fledgling Circus", though, deserves a second look and is ripe for a Gary Jules or Johnny Cash/Rick Rubin style remake (cf. Donnie Darko's "Mad World" or Cash's version of Sting's "Hung my Head"). It would make a great lead-out for an episode of Carnivale even if its a bit literal. It appears on the greatest hit collection but didn't make it to the sample page.

Not everything here is a gem - it's the music that is a bit hokey at times but you can always just read the lyrics and smile at the cleverness.

Chuck Cuminale did make it to Memphis and it is said he tried to make it there in the early '90s but left because the songwriter community was too insular. He went back to Rochester where, when he wasn't playing with his band, organized Dylan and Elvis Birthday celebrations each year, played at weddings and worked as a counselor for troubled youth.

So, it was a shock to Rochester and the world when James Cuminale died of heart failure in summer of 2001. A tribute page is here where his many, many friends share often touching stories about him.

Fledgling Circus
Great Northwest

I think I'm going to be sick...

Rhino Box Surveys Fertile 80's Underground

The fertile alternative and college scenes of the 1980s that fueled the commercial modern rock explosion of the following decade are the basis for Rhino's latest comprehensive musical survey. Due Oct. 5, "Left of the Dial: Dispatches From the '80s Underground" boasts 82 tracks spread across four discs from a diverse cast of U.K., Australian and American artists.

The collection is impressive and educational in its sheer depth and diversity. Punks (Dead Kennedys, Minor Threat, Bad Brains) share space with the Paisley Underground (Prefab Sprout, Dream Syndicate), electronic popsters of "Madchester" (New Order, Happy Mondays, Stone Roses), miserable romantics (the Smiths, the Cure), beautiful noisemakers (Pixies, Sonic Youth, Ministry, Mission Of Burma), jokers (Camper Van Beethoven, the Dead Milkmen) and a new generation of rock poets (the Replacements, X, Kate Bush).

Strummer's Skeleton Unearthed

He said: "We didn't know him as Joe Strummer then, the type of music he was interested in was nothing like punk.

"We knew him as Woody because he was a big fan of Woody Guthrie.

"We lived in a rundown house just behind the railway station.

"We just had a reel-to-reel tape recorder. There were a number of us living there and we used to be in various bands and wherever we wanted to do any recordings we just used to turn this on.

"Of course nobody really knew what was on the reel-to-reel tapes.

"I just made a cassette one day of what was on the reel-to-reel tape before I left college.

Hey, I played in a Dead cover band in college - give the guy a break.
Honeymoon Killers
Love American Style
Fur Records, 1985

Like their friends (and later collaborators) Pussy Galore, The Honeymoon Killers (HK) mined the vein of rock and roll first explored by Iggy, The Birthday Party and The Cramps. Unlike Pussy (or at least early Pussy), HK stuck to their more traditional garage band song subjects: lousy B-flicks (they're named after one), pain and degradation as a metaphor to normal living ("Pain is Easy"), groovy '60's TV like Batman and Star Treck and vampire/S&M allusions. It's not painfully obvious but if you dig too deep into their songs, you see a sense of detached irony that I've never found in, say, The Cramps (more like the Ramones, in this respect).

They also include a fairly new target for garage bands in the '80s - that being dirtball Americana (see Big Stick and Killdozer for contemporary examples) "Good 'n' Cheap" describes the joy of living in the gutter while "Motor City" is pretty slef-explanatory and a good excuse to rev up the guitars to sound like a NASCAR race.

According to Trouser Press (link on the right), they went on for several years after this and eventually mutated into Boss Hogg with key members from Pussy Galore (Cristina left Pussy to join HK after this album). Jerry Teel, who was an interesting guitarist back then, is still playing around NYC. You can find their last collection available at Amazon. From the samples on the Amazon page, it sounds like they stayed pretty true to their original vision even if the recording is more studio-ish than this.


Good 'n' Cheap

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Sorry, Bill, Ms. W., Washingtonienne, etc. but I have a new favorite local blog to get my DC news from - here's an excerpt from Sal Gabor's project (tons of archives - where's this guy been?):

I have gained a new found respect for "Non-Profit Organizers". In a normal world, a "Non-Profit Organization" is a company that does not sell a product but, more than likely provides a services and is funded by the government, sponsorships from other companies and/or donations. These organizations receive funding and from that amount that run their business. Any excess of that is put back into the company for future use. Most of these organizations do good deeds such as feeding the poor, educating children or maybe promoting the awareness of a particular disease. All in all good deeds are being done and needs are being met due to the presence of "Non-Profit Organizations".

There is a vast difference between a "Non-Profit Organization" and a "Non-Profit Organizer". A "Non-Profit Organizer" is that middle-aged man in your neighborhood that does little "odds -n- ends" jobs to make enough money for the day to eat, drink, trick on a woman and get a back of weed and/or crack. Most people who patronize these "Organizers" don't have any idea where their money is going or if they do, they try to deny it. We all see these "organizers" in the morning on our way to work and in the evening. EVEN late at night, they are just-a-"organizing". "Yeah I gotta hit Mrs. Mayfield's yard, then I gotta trim some hedges over at Jesse's house and..............OK NIGGA Im a wash yo' car, I'll be right back..... Im a bidness man, give me some time DARNELL!". Always planning and strategizing as a true "organizer should".

You ever wonder......with all that work and skilled labor under their belts, why don't these "Non-Profit Organizers" have any money? Well when your heroin habit outweighs your goal of saving $375 for a lawnmower, you are in deep trouble mister. You'll be cutting that grass with a push mower forever. It takes you 2 hours to cut a yard that a lawnmower does in 30 minutes. Money lost for certain but, thats a "Non-Profit Organizer" for ya! No need for a profit. Just make enough money to get two strong meals, some drank and a pack of cigarettes.

Today we must tip our hats and salute all the Kevin's, Leroy's, Trenell's and Lavell's of the world who aimlessly do our yardwork and wash our cars just to get high and drunk only to be knocking on our doors again tomorrow morning to see if Grandma needs him to put the air conditioner in the back room.

Direct Link

Grubbs Returns to DC

Although I am tempted to wonder where 'Bluto' Blutarsky, he of the famous acoustic guitar smashing scene in Animal House, is when you need him, I'm thrilled to see David Grubbs still kicking even if his music makes people sit down on the floor now.

Grubbs was one of the most interesting and approachable musician-songwriters kicking around DC in the mid-80's after all and his work with Gastr del Sol and Bastro as well as the avant-garde/experimental end of things has been incredibly prolific and not entirely unexpected.

Squirrel Bait's thrashy debut EP was, I think, the first release he played on and its is in the current box (freshly scrubbed) waiting to be blogged in the near future.

He has a new album out that's available at Insound (available in LP and CD) - unfortunately my entertainment budget for new stuff is busted for the next few months as I pay off my credit card bills.

The Washington Post's Mark Jenkins reviews David's recent show at the Black Cat:

As a finger-picking guitarist who performs songs with titles like "Family Plot, Mayfield, Kentucky," David Grubbs is heir to the Appalachian folk tradition. Yet the Chicago-based musician is also a punk-rock veteran with connections to contemporary composers as diverse as Tony Conrad and Luc Ferrari. Grubbs's latest album, "A Guess at the Riddle," downplays his experimental interests, and so did his performance Monday night at the Black Cat. Still, it wasn't exactly a hootenanny.
Read the whole thing here (middle of the page; lame but relatively painless registration required).

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

After three full days (I'm not at work this week), I've cleaned an entire moving box full of records. My guestimate is that there's about 100 records in a box so that's 200 sides. Needless to say, I'm glad I'm done -- at least with one box.

While I was working, I was listening to the new Fall and PJ Harvey's CD in between MusicChoice's "Alternative" channel. I was once mistaken for Mark E. Smith at a New Year's Party. For the record I look nothing like him:

Photo courtesy of Official Fall Website.

and I'm damn glad of that... but I got a kiss and a phone number. She was nice but I still wonder who she really thought I looked like. The album is a hit in my book and is getting repeated listenings -- PJ Harvey's is among her best as well. It's been a good summer for new stuff!

Sunday, July 18, 2004

Taking a Break (my back is killing me from cleaning records - I need to find a higher work surface)

Assorted links before I forget about 'em:

Jello cries Uncle!:

In an opinion rendered in June 2003, the three-judge panel agreed that Biafra and his record company, Alternative Tentacles, intentionally shut the other band members out of $76,000 in royalties for Dead Kennedy hits from the late 1970s and early 1980s, including such seminal punk anthems as "Holiday in Cambodia," "California Uber Alles" and "Kill the Poor."

The appeals court also overturned a lower court decision that ruled that the partnership should be dissolved and its assets sold and divvied up, instead finding that a four-way partnership existed between the Kennedys when it came to the band's catalog.

In dropping his suit on June 30, Biafra concurred with the notion that breaking up the punk band's assets was not in the best interests of the four rockers, as it would end up substantially devaluing their catalog.

..... His attorney also previously stated that should all four members control the Kennedys' legacy, it wouldn't exactly be democratic, since the other three could effectively impose their will on Biafra and override his vote on any future decisions.

*Snicker*, interesting definition of "democratic", coming from this guy, eh? Um, eat the rich, anyone?

Ghetto Recorders, a Detroit-based studio, has a bunch of cool MP3s up on their website including White Stripes and Jon Spencer Blues Explosion -- click on "Clients" for the pop-up window....

Joining Steve Jones in answering the mocking question as to what an aging punk (besides getting into lawsuits with his former band members) does with his spare time besides killing oneself, Handsome Dick of the Dictators now has a radio show on Sirius networks. Here's a newspaper column on it. Here's the Dictator's main site in case you haven't already been. Check out this story about how Dick met R. Meltzer and Meltzer's opinion of Cameron Crowe.

In case you aren't wondering, I'm spending the day with Dr. Disc Doctor cleaning the current box of records. The results are pretty stunning making your vinyl look like it just came out of the cellophane and reduces surface noise incredibly. When I get my digital camera working again, I'll take pictures of my workspace. Suffice to say, I'm glad I kept my old turntable since the pad makes for a good surface. I'm also using my dishwasher rack to hold the drying vinyl. One early mistake I made was applying too much cleaning fluid but that's no biggie, just rinse it and dab it with some tissue. When I get finished, I should be able to get back to digitizing my discs (I'm taking all of next week off -- the last leg of my extended vacation -- so hope to get to some of this done).

Saturday, July 17, 2004

(((((I am so not liking the new BLOGGER -- it's buggy (two crashes so far) and the formatting is all messed up....they give you all these new features in "create" but they're gone in the edit window, WARUM??? I come back and they MESS everything up -- I'm all but giving up trying to fix the frigging line feedsSss!~!!!!! -- sorry but it's not my fault if the formatting is frigged up))))flame off ...

I'm back and in that post-vacation funk. As you can guess, I did not
drive across state to the Siren festival. There's a ton of excuses but
mainly I just didn't want to be around a throng of sweaty people in hot
weather in an amusement park-like setting. So, I'm old and lame.

Weather was off and on but I had plenty of time to read (Kaplan's
Meditteranean Winter, Stephenson's Quicksilver, the Essential
Shakespeare and Sunday NYT) and listen to stuff (how come you can have
thousands of MP3s but you grow tired of them so rapidly? answer:
I think part of it is the sound delivery system I have -straight off
the laptop to a pair of Loudman speakers - is lame - I need one of
those MP3-802.11G-etc. boomboxes - do they exist?). Lots of fishin',
swimin' and boatin'...

...not alot of hotties up there in the Finger Lakes. The locals
consisted of these horrid foul-mouthed obese girls with pacifiers
around their necks or dressed-from-ankle-to-ear Mennonites on bikes
(Choice: Mennonite babe). But I was pretty content to just laze around
the lake, fire up the grill (upcoming post on my other
and watch the lone loon that was trolling around. But you know after a
week I was pining for me own bed, where I didn't have to worry about
spiders and centipedes nesting in my nose and I didn't have to listen
to my companion snore or my 13-year-old nephew point out all my
shortcomings (sunburned nose, too fat, read too much, can't catch
fish,e tc.). For the record I caught two fish (threw 'em back, I'm just
too squeamish for the whole cleaning ritual and like the god-like rush
of sparing lives) and the others caught some bass which we sauted for

A word on Neal Stephenson -- as you can guess I like him as an imaginative writer but man, oh man, does he have trouble writing about women. Book 2 of Quicksilver unravels mainly because he has such a hard time describing his heroine (Eliza) and her relationship with Jack Shaftoe (and now we know why he named him SHAFT-toe, ahem). Things only pick up when he sends Shaftoe out on an adventure. His previous books had the same problem -- his only good women character was the pizza delivery girl in Snowcrash and she was mainly depicted as a tomboy.

Kaplan's book (Meditteranean Winter) is an awesome travel book about his adventures
as a freelancer during the '70s in Tunisia, Sicily, Italy, Dalmatia
(Croatia, mostly) and Greece. I recommend it for anyone who likes to
read about exotic travel but doesn't always dig the whole logistics of
actually doing it. There's also a ton of ancient history and politics
embedded within and even a little bit of auto-biographical stuff for
those interested in Kaplan's background (read his latest Atlantic
Monthly article on the Siege of Falluja or my favorite book of his To
the Ends of the Earth)...

The New York Times Sunday Mag had a longish article on some of the current graphic novel artists (although it's about 10 years too late) but its worth checking
out if only for the discussions with Tomine and Chris Ware (there's audio interviews on the NYT website as well - lame registration required).

Thursday, July 08, 2004

And with that Dear Reader (all four of you)... I bid you adieu for a week or so...

When I last took an extended leave back in April of 2001 (Paris, the Loire and Normandy), I had no idea that the events five months later would take up so much of my life. This project was in part therapy to get back my life but I really need some downtime to recharge my batteries and rest my head.

So tomorrow I'll go to an area that has always intrigued me since I wrote a report about the Seneca Indians way back in the 6th grade. See me tomorrow and I'll be floating on one of the Finger Lakes in New York State. At some point family will join me for some fishing and hiking.

From there I hope to drive over to Coney Island next Saturday and catch the Siren Festival where Mission of Burma plays at 6:30PM. If I'm not too beat, I'll try and catch Joseph Arthur's first show in a long while but it's about a 100 mile drive from there, so I don't know if I'll make it.

Walking around my adopted home over the last few days has been a treat. Today I sat and ate lunch (a south-western tuna wrap and kettle chips washed down with diet pepsi, yum) while watching a Persian protest on the west lawn of the Capitol and it was inspiring to see all the people yearning for freedom (and disheartening to see the faces of those people who have disappeared). They also played some intriguing music and had some beatific women there (hell, everyone looked handsome).

I also spent some time at the wonderful Library of Congress looking at the artifacts collected from Winston Churchill's life. What an inspiring guy, warts and all. Afterwards, I went down to the Gershwin room and listened for about an hour to their awesome collection. This is a great town.

So... I leave you with some links I stumbled across recently:

Here's an article on why the '80s were important to music -- and no, we aren't talking about Wham! and MC Hammer but all those indie "cult" bands that barely sold enough records to pay for their macaroni. I'd venture to say the author missed the boat in some cases such as Burma, Buttholes, Big Black and others but there's apparently another book out there that makes that case.

Here's a set of lullabyes for your baby, that is if you want to raise a PUNK BABY. There's a nice collection of M3u streams -- check out Pretty Vacant and tell me you wouldn't want that to put you to sleep.

And finally, here's a link to one of the more popular Iranian english-language bloggers. Where in the world is Ahmad Batebi, Mullah Khatami?


When Cows Ruled the Earth Posted by Hello

Yet Another Fanzine Compilation, 1985
Featured Artist: Scrawl

My first cassette chronicled here on this journal. Huzzah - plenty more where that came from!

Unfortunately, only about three cuts on here worth keeping and only this one worth blogging (well, the Gibson Bros. cover of "16 Tons" was over my 5 Mb file limit). A lot of the problems with the tape have to do with the sound quality of the original recordings. Great Plains for instance only submitted pretty much throw-away soundboard recordings and some of the others just sound too much like demos. Others are just plain okay. Scrawl actually has a second cut on here ("One Word") but the recording quality is awful, I'm afraid.

Ok, so where was I... lesseee...before MP3 Blogs, before whatever was before MP3 blogs, there were fanzine compilations. This one selected artists from the Columbus Ohio area -- that is if "selected" means they pretty much threw whomever sent them something on the tape. Back then it was more about supporting the scene than finding the coolest cuts for your little internet pals.

Yet Another Fanzine were aptly titled since Columbus was a fountain of many, many zines including one of the grand-daddies - The Offense Newsletter. The music and scene echoed the proximity to Cleveland and the first punk wave (Peter Laughner and his gang of merry men) and later no-wave (Pere Ubu, etc.) as well as the Akron weirdness but with a friendly, bent elbows around the bar feel. One of those scenes where everyone knew everyone and pretty much liked each other. There's something about Ohio that drives a man person a bit crazy but in that nice mid-western way. Of course, having a huge University nearby also contributed to the pool of musicians,aspiring songwriters and most importantly bars and people with Daddy's cover charge money.

I visited Columbus during this time, at the invitation of the great local college radio DJ (and psychologist), s. b. tobias who I met over the early Internet (the wild time between ARPA-net and Internet when several networks were duct-taped together). The weekend I visisted was also "Hands Across America" (no, we didn't participate) and we spent it drinking, hanging out with Ron House (then Great Plains now Thomas Jefferson Slave Apartments), drinking, meeting Don Howland (then rock critic now 1/2 half of Gibson Bros.), listening to the Beastie Boys album, drinking and of course hanging with s. b.'s good friends Craig Koon and Keith Baker, who published Yet Another Fanzine and this tape.

This tape chronicles the Columbus scene, ca. mid-80s. From teenage hardcore to basement synth solo artists to some of the Columbus was-beens, hot bands and soon-to-be-greats including RC Mob & Amrep (was-great), Great Plains (hot at the time) and Gibson Bros, Dark Arts & Scrawl (just getting off the ground). This might have been Scrawl's first demo not to be confused with the band Gutterball. It's rough around the edges, sure, but you can see where they were going.

The liner notes (by Craig) regarding the Scrawl cut are as follows:

An anthem for punk feminists everywhere. Or anyone, really. If this can't move you then you can't be moved.

Well this was before anyone came up with riot grrl which is what the song is pretty much an ode to (it also would have been apt song for Enid from Ghost World). Yeah, there's tape hiss - try playing with your equalizer if you don't like it. There's lots of Scrawl still out there (like here or here) though I believe the band has broken up (Behind the Music anyone?)...

This song appeared on their near-impossible to find debut: Plus, Also, Too - which is somewhere in my boxes (my old pal, s. b. was one of the financiers and graciously sent me a copy).

Citizen Keith did a show in 2001 in which she did 'Gutterball" so even if the band is kaput, she's still out there somewheres I guess. Marcy also sang a cut or two with the Afghan Wigs (1993) as well. Enjoy.


Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Glenn Danzig is smacked down by a Northside King band member...

Stereogum links to this altercation between Danzig and a member of a band that was supposed to play after Danzig. The story and video is all there. Gosh, I sure don't miss punk shows.

But here's true story time: I once bought a record from Danzig. He used to sell direct from his home. Anyway, I had a problem with the record (I sent money and never got anything) and wrote to him to ask about it. My message was polite but to the point. In response, I received an angry, profanity-laced scrawled message written on the back of a tour poster basically telling me to "fuck off" and that he had sent me the record. This was about $8 plus shipping that was in dispute. I remember laughing at it but noted that with all the mail order and band correspondence I had done, I had never seen anything like that. Even GG Allin and Psycodrama were sweet in their own way (although I admit that I handled GG's letters by the corners).

I kept Danzig's correspondence but I don't where it is right now. Perhaps I'll scan it in when I find it. The record did arrive many, many days later to his credit but there was no reason to get so angry about it and I never went to his show or listened to his music again.

P. CHILDREN Press Photo Posted by Hello

P. Children
P. Ch 3
(Vacant Lot Records/RRR, 1988)

Ah, Washington DC in July. While the rest of the city suns itself on the beaches of Delaware and Maryland, the Minotaur welcomes the youth of the nation to gaze at its vast maw. Witness Capitol Hill, where America's Youth Congress gingerly parade through the sweltering heat in their brand new suits, careful to step around the anti-terrorism building binge on the east side of the Capitol and the Library of Congress. Or see the less gifted youth of America, accompanied by their flyover parents, attending summer orientation at Foggy Bottom's George Washington University. See the parents seeing me eying them (and their embarassed children, two steps ahead while walking, seeing them eyeing me) and eyeing me back suspiciously as they ponder the prospect of sacrificing their young ones to this vicious and often cruel labyrinth of a city. Ah, summer. Ah, run-on sentences. Now walk down K Street and see their youth, years later, sweltering zombies shuffling to and from work: the disillusioned Gucci-clothed lobbyist-in-training with those little blue square sunglasses, the slicked-back watch-checking Navy-blue blazer salesman nervous that he miss the appointment and his Bethesda condo payment this month, the off-shift streetwalker with triangular plastic yellow earrings and a black spotted, too-tight top limping into La Vie France coffeeshop or even our local homeless Socrates proudly holding court with young impressionable girls in return for bites of their burgers [ This guy's great - I've found he likes to discuss the messages he has found in Neil Gaiman graphic novels when he isn't talking to himself...]

And what better soundtrack to it all than the now long-gone P. Children, a Carnegie-Mellon-based late 80's industrial/noise outfit collaboration between a classically trained composer (Robert Kirzinger, now an annotator for the Boston Symphony Orchestra!) and a Video Artist (Michael Walker). Shaking their jarring metal boxes, gleefully breaking glass in parking lots or tuning oxygen tanks, they mix this with more traditional instruments such as synths, violins, trumpets, drum machines and samplers and they bring to mind a more outre Throbbing Gristle or less rhythmic, more varied Blackhouse. They were known for their video shows which probably would have fit right in with Pittsburgh's fantastic black factory landscapes (driving west across the river in the '80s was like entering an modern version of Mordor - don't know if it's still like that).

Not to say that everything on this clear-vinyl (cum-colored, a vulgar friend once noticed) 500 limited edition is going to make it into my party shuffle. But here's four tracks that will. "E.O." is interesting in that it brings to mind a mash-up between the soundtracks of Se7en and Leaving Las Vegas, two of my favorite soundtracks. It makes for a surreal scene when walking down K Street. "Not Established" is one of those songs that people with a phobia about people sneaking up behind them while their back is turned and they have headphones on shouldn't listen while their back is turned and their headphones are on. It's a soundscape of a bleak world where a distant factory churns out this year's models and last year's decaying models limp about blindly spilling their change, slipping on glassy ice, breaking the bottles they are inexplicably trying to balance on their mottled heads. Eventually, they wind down and collapse onto the cracked earth while factory continues forever. "Social Life" is perhaps the closest thing to conventional industrial dance music -- I think of this as party music for the cars and trucks that take over the planet in that Stephen King movie from 1986. Watch as they careen around the demolition derby mosh pit, the alpha truck sporting the skull of Emilio Estevez as a hood ornament while cult co-stars Yeardly "Lisa Simpson" Smith and Frankie Faison (the guard from Silence of the Lambs) are forced to run the soundboard and light show. Unfortunately, I have a file limit of 5 MB on my server so I am unable to include that here. If you want a copy via, let me know. Finally, "Aura" provides a sample of a single 1/2 second from a tape machine providing percussion to ghostly cries and screechy processed violins in an echo chamber. If Sam Raimi had made Evil Dead in a factory rather than an abandoned cabin, this might have made for a good sountrack.

But alas, allot of industrial can be hit or miss and sometimes the artists are too close to know the difference. P. Children's LP is no exception. Some cuts such as "Aura 7" and "Deadbeat" are just too much to listen to more than once, at least for me. "Bolero" with the Big Black style Roland drum machine is an interesting concept -- updating Ravel's masterpiece by playing variations on a riff on various industrial percussion and conventional instruments but it is unfortunately marred by amateurish played and poorly recorded bass guitar. Bass solos rarely work with lo-fi recording equipment.

For those interested in their entire portfolio, P. Children's music has been collected by the now defunct San Francisco label, Charnel, in a single CD. RRR/Atavistic also included them in their Testament Video Compilations (go here). Here's one online seller with their collection CD in stock (I can't vouch for this online store, so caveat emptor, please). I've found my record for sale online at $300 so someone thinks very highly of them! My version has a bit of surface noise but I have the press kit sent to me by Mark of Vacant Lot.

These cuts will be up for about two weeks and are for evaluation purposes only. Please note that they are recorded off LP and so surface noise (crackle) exists.


Not Established

(EDITED to add in review of "Aura" and correct typos)

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Random notes, links and incomplete thoughts:

Mystery and Misery does more justice to Jad Fair than my feeble attempt and has a full list of links to his and 1/2 Jap legal downloads for ya.

The final line-up for the Siren Festival is here and later that night Joseph Arthur is playing down at the end of Long Island. I am planning on being at both events -- if NYC traffic does not totally bum me out or I don't fall asleep after the Siren Festival (pacing, it's all about pacing). I'm going to be away on vacation next week and this will be the culmination.

Garageandbeat have a ton of, well, garage disk reviews here. Mostly sixties-style garage bands but hey it's free and writes about cooler music than you'll find in most paid-for publications.

And in a more contemporary vein, Stereogum is a snarky take on current culture and whatever the f the author wants to write about. Mostly he rags on Britney and seems to have a friend (or is) in the papparazi -- either that or he's an anti-stalker (he stalks her not because he loves her but because he hates her). Yes, it's not healthy to make this type of stuff a big part of your life but it's good to have a laugh on some multi-millionaire pop princess once in a while.

I saw Spiderman 2 today. Kind of boring after awhile. Do they have to repeatedly hit you over the head with the message? So, here's the message: Sometimes you have to sacrifice your dream to do what is right but often your friends and family will be there to help you realize your dream. Got it? Now add that to "with great power comes great responsibility" and we have the beginning of a Sam Raimi book to live by (wonder what the message of the evil dead is -- um, don't fuck with the evil dead?). Bruce Campbell has a great cameo, by the way.

Speaking of Raimi, here's an interesting story about how he wants to create a 1000 year film. This reminds me of that excellent flick, Smoke where Harvey Keitel takes a picture every day for years and years of his tobacco shop. The result was a stunning piece of film as his friend pages through Keitel's wonderous book.

So, I think its a pretty cool idea and perhaps even more accessible to the modern man/woman than the LongNow Foundation's idea of building a clock that strikes every 1000 years. I mean, where's the feedback mechanism - what are we supposed to do in the interim? I once met Danny Hillis, who leads this effort, and he said that he wanted to inspire people to think long term. That's great -- modern man, especially Americans, really don't think about the long-term consequences of what we do today.

With Raimi's idea we'll have a continual stream of data to look at and marvel (and perhaps get disgusted at times) and people will eventually (after say a hundre years) really start to "get" that long-term perspective. I had a friend years ago (he died) who studied all the great religions and came to the conclusion that the human race was in its adoloscence. Either we grow up and take responsibilty for what we do or we drive off deadman's curve.

My only critique of Raimi's idea is, assuming CNN got the story right, that it ought to be extended to all the great cities of the world not just the ones in the United States. So even though I'm not a huge fan of his latest film (liked the first one but probably because of the newness of it), I hope he makes a ton of money and can get some sort of effort going to get his vision into reality. Maybe Bruce Campbell can host a marathon fund-raiser on fX next Memorial Day weekend.

Monday, July 05, 2004

Ooof...Lexicon Devil doesn't like Sonic Nurse and thought their show was really, really boring and listens the reasons why...:

1) No stage personality whatsoever. No "hello"'s, no "ho ya going?"'s, not even a "Melbourne, you rock!". We were treated to a brief, smug anti-Bush rant from Thurston and that's it. You know, you can't be on fire every night, and I know that sometimes you go on stage in a foul mood for the stupidest of reasons and act like a petulant turd to let everyone else know it, but that's me and all the two-bit nobody bands I've played in over the years. This is Sonic Youth. People pay a lot of money ($60) to be "entertained" and they acted like they couldn't give the vaguest fuck. The snooty NYC attitude doesn't cut it anymore.

2) Nearly every song played was from Sonic Nurse. This is expected but unfortunate, considering how fucking boring that album is.

3) Too many Kim Gordon songs. Kim's a cool chick, but she couldn't sing her way out of a soggy paper bag, and her voice just gets worse every year. Several vocal moments were nothing less than excruciating.

Lots more here. His main page also links to an interview he did with Saccharine Trust... they still together? Think I've got something from them in one of the boxes.

Damn, was looking forward to seeing SY in August. I think it's been close to 20 years when I saw them last in that old queer club that Gordon Gordon used to rent out for all ages show during the day. The Palladium? The Condom? Can't remember what it was called -- its been since torn down for the new Convention Center.

It's a $1700 warped record fixer (damn, there goes the plasma TV... try selling THIS to the wife)! Put it on the shelf right next to the $3000 record cleaner.

And who said that there's no more new technology coming out for analog?

The operation is very easy. First, lift the lever, and open the cover. The cover will be locked in a certain position. Set your warped record in the Disc Flattener; lift up the lever a little bit to unlock the cover. Close the cover carefully, and set the timer at 120 minutes. In four hours, the warped disc will become flat. Adjust the time setting in accordance with the ambient temperature.

More details here...

Tip of the needle to the Bomp! mailing list.

Sunday, July 04, 2004


"buzz or howl under the influence of heat"
45 rpm EP
SST-016, 1983

Back in the day, Minutemen were my heroes. As a staunch anti-Reagan free-speech, anti-drug war liberal, d. boon sang songs that really mattered. Now I find boon's songs puerile and didactic and its Watt's songs that really suprise now. The following songs are way ahead of their time, considering they were recorded in early '93. This was part of their What Makes a Man Start Fires (which this preceded) funk-punk rant and rage period. Ironically, I'm reminded of two other bands I've written about here (Rifle Sport and Dr. Nerve). "Cut" is a complex yet short pre-emo emo piece (what can be more emo than cutting yourself on an ice machine?) and "Self-Referenced" is jazz stop-and-start tight jam wherein Watt beats himself up.

Watt's lyrics would generally come from stray ideas, little pieces of paper (he once sang his grocery list) and stream of consciousness.

R. Meltzer was a hero to them - and they to him - and they reprinted a note here that Meltzer sent them in which he lumps Minutemen in with W. H. Auden and Bob Kaufmann, which is about right. Alas, the last time I was in San Diego, I could no longer find Meltzer's awesome "reviews" in the back of their alternative City weekly. Hope he's okay -- can't find much of a trace of him on the Internet -- like one of those silent film stars that never crossed over (see also R. A. Wilson), I'm sure he's still out there somewhere.

Links: Watt's page is on the right. See also Corndogs, which has a truckload of live shows and some rare cuts for the taking. Build your own fantasy live show (anyone remember those FM Weekends where they did "The Show that Never Happened" by stringing tired old studio cuts together with crowd sounds?)!

Disclaimer: These samples will be up for around one week & are meant for evaluation purposes only. Quality is not perfect since this is recorded off the original LP. This CD is still available on and linked to the .gif above. I heartily recommend this for every cool record collection.

iTunes Ain't the Be-All End-All

Randall Stross cries Bullshit! on iTunes' 128-bit encoding and that its downloads will replace "owning" the music. This is one of the reasons Steve Albini uses when he says analog beats digital. I don't necessarily agree with Steve's views on quality -- mainly because of the wear and tear issue, at least on LPs (maybe he's talking about tape but tape has wear and tear issues as well). Quoting Stross (who wrote a book on Apple years ago):

Apple has yet to put into effect the second part of the ideal solution: distributing music that is compressed only temporarily, a process called lossless data compression. Before saving a digital song to the hard drive, software can shrink it in size by 50 percent or so just by using a shorthand notation that takes up a little less space for any repetitive patterns in the 0's and 1's. When the song is played, the software has all the information that it needs to restore it perfectly. With this, "you'll get the full quality of uncompressed CD audio using about half the storage space." The phrasing is from Apple's own Web site, but, unfortunately, the company does not offer "true CD audio," as it calls this, when you download music from the iTunes Music Store. It is available only when you traipse to the mall, buy the CD, and return home to copy it to your home computer with Apple software.

I'm keeping the original CDs that I digitize my LP / Cassette collection to and when storage becomes smaller, cheaper and the next popular MP3 format comes along, I should be able to convert back. What I haven't been doing (and should) is saving the edited high-bit rate tracks - possibly on DVDs which have higher storage capability. Damn, I am techno-lazy.

Unlike Stross, though, it's only in some tracks that I notice the quality difference. Perhaps I have a tin ear.

Sidenote stream of consciousness rambling: I can sound a perfect G - which I learned how to do when I was playing timpani years ago - if you can do G you can tune most anything else and timpani requires that you should be able to tune on the fly. How did I remember it? G is the first note of "The Great Gates of Kiev" from Pictures at an Exhibition. I haven't played the timps for awhile and I'm sure there's better technology to do tuning on the fly. There was a manual thing on alot of timpanies but as any player back then could tell you, they were very unreliable.

Yes, yes, I'm going to be doing some work on my project over the next few days assuming this new piece of gear works. Meanwhile, here's another blog I'm starting to keep track of wines, beer, smokes, etc. that I like. Feel free to leave your comments and suggestions.

Saturday, July 03, 2004


Totally Fuzzy provides a link to Jad Fair's online FREE album. Jad is one of the major forces behind 1/2 JAPANESE and makes the wierdest stuff you've never heard. His website has plenty of neat stuff on it. So put "your shoe up to yer noggin"... whatever... having just watched "I'm Trying To Break Your Heart" I needed a dose of true wierd and not rawk-kritik approved wierd. Hey, the movie was kind of neat showing all the crap bands have to put up with in labels and prima donna songwriters but man, their live music really didn't do anything for me, now-ow-ow... it looks like their albums are more interesting what with all the instrumentation but I'm not going out of my way to listen to 'em after that. And wasn't that Rolling Stone guy somewhat hard-to-put-your-finger-on-it creepy?

I sleep now... ("Lost Skeleton of Cadavra" reference)