Got a bit of a late start this morning... no, scratch that. I was actually awake fairly early, but seeing as though I had spent the night at my lovely girlfriend Melanie’s house, and we do generally enjoy rolling around and cuddling for an hour or two (or three if she’s so inclined) in the morning on the weekends, I didn’t actually get out of bed until sometime after 11. So it is 12:30 by the time we finally sit down to a cozy breakfast (and yes, I know that is lunchtime, thanks) to the tones of Impulsive! Unmixed, a comp of some choice Impulse! jazz cuts—I recently gave my promo copies to Mel, so we had them at her place to enjoy. The actual Impulsive! comp is remixes of this same material by the likes of the RZA and Sa-Ra, but for Sunday morning breakfast listening, the originals definitely go down far better: Mingus, Pharoah Sanders, Chico Hamilton, Oliver Nelson’s immortal “Blues and the Abstract Truth.” Mmmm. The perfect soundtrack to a mellow late breakfast and my lovely lady’s deep blue eyes.
After breakfast, I go trim some branches that are scraping Mel’s house and making creepy noises at night, and then I’m off. Make fun all you want, but I sure do love being domestic with her. Moving on...
Out running some errands and shit and the car changer flips over to Annie’s DJ Kicks set. It isn’t technically a great mix, but it sure does have some style and the selections are top notch. I’m not in the car that long, but there is a clutch Le Tigre remix that I’m really digging on there. Generally speaking, I love their singles and remixes and hate their albums, so this really hits the spot. So thumbs up to Annie, and thumbs on the nose to haters who complain that she can’t mix.
I got a decent parking spot by my apartment (I have to park on the street, so this is a bigger deal than I’d like it to be) and so I decide to walk to the grocery store rather than drive and lose my space. So as I like to do in these cases in order to avoid having to talk to people and because it would be a boring walk otherwise, I strap on the old iPod on random (and honestly, I can’t even speak/type/think that phrase without Nick Southall coming to mind, damn him) and head out. The store is only a few blocks, but I keep it on while I shop and the line is a million miles long to check out and so I squeeze in a few more tunes than normal. Breaking them down in order, with a few words on each:
The Jesus and Mary Chain, “In A Hole”: I swear, somedays I think Psychocandy is the best album ever made. Today is one of those days. What an utterly perfect mix of noise and pop. People forget today how groundbreaking this shit was and it is a crying shame how under the radar this album is nowadays. If you’re reading this and haven’t heard it, go buy/steal/download it now. Thank me in the comments section. I promise I’ll be gracious.
The The, “Jealous Of Youth”: And speaking of underrated... Matt Johnson is continually ignored by the press and audiences, but damn, that guy is ripe for rediscovery. This tune is probably my favorite moment of his, and not just because my hero Johnny Marr plays on it either. A fairly obscure stand-alone single released between Mind Bomb and Dusk, “Jealous” neatly sums up my childish, irrational hatred for the younger generation. Stinging lyrics, stinging guitar barbs from Marr sandwiched with some lush acoustic textures, and a great horn chart. Another Top 10 hit on Planet Hutlock that totally failed in reality. Oh well...
The Cramps, “Human Fly”: This tune always makes me feel creepy, and as if on cue, I skulk down the soup and pasta aisle as if I’m hunting a kill. I’m sure I look like a moron, but this song always has this effect on me. I think I genuinely scared an old guy looking at the Spaghetti-Os, however. A moral victory at least.
Echo & The Bunnymen, “Crocodiles (Live)”: From the absolutely blistering (yes, I said “blistering”) Shine So Hard EP from 1981. God, it’s a shame that all these people know them for wussy tunes like “Lips Like Sugar” and McCulloch’s big hair, because they were one stomping live band back in the day, and Heaven Up Here is as spiky and angluar as anything that Gang Of Four ever put out. I think much of their post-reunion stuff is worthy material, but I also am convinced that if they had hung it up early, their older stuff would be far more revered than it is now. I’m still bitter that they blew it so big in 1985-86 and lesser lights like Simple Minds hit the big time in their stead. Oh what could have been…
Lovin’ Spoonful, “Did You Ever Have To Make Up Your Mind?”: I make no apologies for my love of the Spoonful. This tune always reminds me of that episode of Beverly Hills 90210 where Dylan is trying to choose between Kelly and Brenda and it kept popping up on the jukebox.
Meat Whiplash, “Don’t Slip Up”: A great lost Creation single released in the wake of the Jesus and Mary Chain’s success and sounding quite a bit like them. Produced by “Slaughter Joe” Foster, who read my Creation singles article and sent me a nice email explaining some things I had asked aloud therein, including some stuff about this cut. I am such a Creation geek, I was walking on a cloud for weeks after that email. It was a dream come true for me. I used to be a one-man Creation cult back in the day. Anyhow, shame Meat Whiplash (named after the Fire Engines cut—nice!!!) didn’t record more, because this is a really great tune.
Teenage Fanclub, “I Lied”: This is either a b-side or a cut downloaded from the TFC site, I can’t recall. Not a bad Gerry Love song, but not the best one either. I love me some Fannies though. Love love love me some Fannies.
Primal Scream, “I’m Losing More Than I Ever Had”: Otherwise known as the cut that Andrew Weatherall remixed into the seminal “Loaded.” Probably the Scream’s best tune to that point in their careers as well.
The Shamen, “Hyperreal Selector”: Okay, okay, so the Shamen haven’t dated well for the most part. I mean, just try to get all the way through “Ebeneezer Goode”—go on, I dare you. This, however, is from their best album (En-Tact) and is remixed by the criminally underacknowledged Jack Dangers of Meat Beat Manifesto fame. This hasn’t aged a day. WHERE IS THE MBM REVIVAL?!? Maybe I should start one.
(At this point, I have to take off my headphones and pause the ol’ iPod because I’m paying for my food and I don’t want to miss anything that Jillian, my teenage checkout girl at the Giant Eagle, says to me. You know, like, “Is that Credit or Debit?” and, “Do you want paper or plastic” or whatever. While I have the headphones off, I catch a brief whiff of Paul Davis’ soft-rock classic, “I Go Crazy.” My mother used to have Paul Davis’ album when I was a kid, Singer of Songs, Teller of Tales and I always thought that he was the worst looking rock star ever. I mean, even the dudes in Boston looked cool compared to him. What awful hair. And a gross beard. Funny as hell that he looked like that and sung this Muzak-y stuff. One of life’s great ironies. I am thinking all of this while Jillian bags my 10 yogurts—I buy Yoplait because they are on sale and because Melanie’s daughter, Maia, has some thing at school where they collect the pink lids, and I want to be a nice guy and contribute when I can. Plus I really like Maia and I want her to think I’m at least semi-cool. She told me once that I was wearing “old man shoes” and I think I have been trying to look cool to her ever since. For the record, the shoes in question were two-toned chocolate/caramel Doc Marten wing tips. Anyway, I digress... back to the iPod for the walk home.)
Wilco, “The Late Greats (Live)”: I know it is quickly becoming uncool to like Wilco, but man, fuck the haters, they are awesome. Get off your high horses, naysayers. Nuff said.
Metro Area, “Orange Alert (DFA Remix)”: I actually went to college with Morgan Geist and used to hang with him a bit and he was one of my DJs at the radio station. We weren’t super tight friends or anything, but we were friends at least. Then we had a falling out over a girl (my ex, Bevin, aka Blevin Blechdom, who started dating him after she and I broke up) and when Morgan graduated, relations were a little testy between us, though I think we were still technically friends. Either way, this cut is a killer.
Anyway, I got home, unpacked my groceries, made some dinner and watched the end of some football game while I downed it, no music of note other than the Fox football theme music, until...
A commercial for the new Honda Civic featuring M.I.A.’s still rocking “Galang.” Odd to hear it on an ad like that, but I suppose it was to be expected. The rest of my night goes by silently, as I listen to the World Series on the radio in my car on the way over to Melanie’s house later rather than music. Sunday is a wrap.
Holy moley, I feel like shit today. I am sick as a dog seemingly overnight, and I call off work and literally sleep the entire day away. Except for brief trips to my kitchen for breakfast and lunch, I don’t get out of bed at all until well after 5. And as I’ve explained elsewhere, I don’t really listen to any music when I’m sick anyway, so today is pretty silent. Actually, it is entirely silent. The only music I heard all day in any context was at...
Melanie comes and picks me up to take me to her place to spend the night (she wants to take care of me there—have I mentioned that she is the best girlfriend ever and the absolute love of my life? Let me say that now then...) She is playing Elliott Smith in her minivan (feel free to mock her, though I kinda dig riding in it), though I am far too weary to even ask what album it is. Ugh. I need more sleep, believe it or not...
Still feeling like total ass today, but I really had to come to work lest I fall even further behind. I recently got a fairly big promotion and I don’t want to look like a slacker. So considering my throbbing head and generally sore everything, I wanted something mellow at least to keep me focused at work. I went with Brian Eno’s Thursday Afternoon. I love the album and it is a great mood piece, but honest to God, I almost fell asleep at least five different times. Plus, I had to keep getting up and running around the office, so I would pause the CD when I got up. This extended the 61-minute running time to somewhere just shy of eternity.
Next up was something a bit more lively—Bjorn Olsson. The title and song names are all in some Scandinavian language (maybe Swedish? I don’t know...) full of umlauts. It is gentle acoustic psychedelica and goes down like a treat. There is also a really cool coat of arms on the cover with a blue lobster on it. The songs are for the most part pretty brief, on average two minutes or less. But then the last track is like 59 minutes long and I swear to God is either him replaying the entire previous tracklist over and over, or the same song/melody over and over, or perhaps some alternating combination thereof. In any case it is a bit disorienting at best, raggedly annoying at worst. I cut it off after about 23 minutes of meandering.
While I am commuting home for lunch, I listen to Jim Rome. His theme song is Iggy Pop’s immortal “Lust For Life” or at least a looped piece of it. I keep meaning to call the show and bitch though, because the cart they have the theme recorded on must be a million years old and they need to replace it—it starts off too slow, then gets all fast, then slow again. It is pretty obvious to me that it needs to be replaced. I cringe every single time I hear it. Then again, I am a touch anal retentive (okay, more than a touch) and I’m sure your average clone could care less, if they even notice.
Feeling a bit perkier now, as I took a couple of “non-drowsy” cold pills. On the way back to work, I listen on a complete whim to Gene’s debut album, Olympian. Does anyone even remember these guys? For a while they were one of those “next Smiths” acts, and while I never thought they were fit for the comparison, the album is pretty good in spots, and there are some really memorable singles as well. The first cut, “Haunted By You,” is awesome, the second track less so, but still solid. I make a mental note to play more on the trip home later.
I’m wearing a long-sleeved Underground Resistance “Dark Energy” T-shirt underneath my sweater today, and so I get the urge to play some UR material in the afternoon, as I’m now all hyped up on the Tylenol Cold and all. The only thing I can readily find on CD (99.9% of my UR stuff is on wax) is the Depth Charge 4 compilataion, which isn’t really a UR comp at all but rather a set of stuff distributed by the mighty Submerge distribution in Detroit. They handle UR and a bunch of other like-minded imprints and share that underground/militant attitude that makes UR so intriguing. Plus, Submerge has the coolest business cards ever. I used to buy direct from them when I was running the Co-op Bookstore’s record department back in the day, and I still have one—it has an image of a submarine on it along with the slogan, “We never surface.” Nice. The comp is wicked, featuring UR/Mad Mike, the Martian (also Mad Mike), Octave One, Gigi Galaxy, DJ T-1000, and a whole host of other Detroit techno artists. It seems to me that this stuff is more underground now than it ever was, and it is a crying shame because that community still puts out some of the most challenging and utterly unique feeling dancefloor sides ever. But judging from the slogan, they like it that way. In any case, they will continue to get my money on a regular basis.
I was stuck in a meeting most of the afternoon at work, so I was really looking forward to getting in my car and hearing some more of that Gene album. Unfortunately, my car CD player had other ideas and it locks up and reads “error.” Suxxxxxxxx. More moronic sports radio for me. It gets old really fast, so I call my brother on my cell phone instead. He isn’t picking up. I later find out that it is because he has recently run his phone through both the washer and dryer, which is no mean feat of stupidity if you think about it. You’d think you would hear it as it clunked around in the washer at least, wouldn’t you?
After a nap, dinner, and a hot shower, I head over to Mel’s to spend the night. She is playing the latest Parasol sampler that I recently passed on to her. As with most samplers, it is a bit hit and miss, but the first few tracks are cool at least. The best of the few cuts I hear is from the Orange Peels, whose latest album I tried to review all summer long in the middle of a long bout of writer’s block. Eventually, I decided I had nothing to say about it and gave up trying. Obviously, I’ve since recovered. We go to bed early, as my cold medicine is wearing off, I need some extra sleep, and bed is a very, very good place to be with Melanie under any circumstance anyway.
For some random reason, I’ve got Paul McCartney’s “Coming Up” in my head, and so I bring both Wings’ Back To The Egg and McCartney II with to me play for my morning at work. I decided to go chronological, and in the process find out that Back could have been a really great album, but is instead only half of one. Still, “Getting Closer” is a brilliant Costello-channeling pop tune, and is in fact better than anything the two of them actually wrote together for real. However, when it flips to side two (although actually the two sides are named with egg “puns” that are honestly too painful for me to repeat here), it all goes downhill for me. That set of two song medley/hybrid/half-baked tunes is just garbage, and the Rockestra Theme is just ridiculous. From hearing that, one can easily see where Macca was going with Standing Stone and that crap, and also can easily see why those classical albums are so bad.
McCartney II on the other hand, I find totally fun. “Coming Up” is a fabulous piece of new wave bubblegum, and as track two, the near-legendary “Temporary Secretary,” rolls out, I am inspired to email my main man Matt Weiner and let him know that not only am I playing the album, but that “Temporary” may in fact be the worst thing McCartney ever put his name to, and that is precisely why we both love it so. I mean seriously, Sir Paul must have been ingesting a whole lotta reefer to let 90% of this record see the light of day. Weiner points out that one cut sounds like Paul was listening to side two of Eno’s Before And After Science, which is exactly the sort of keen insight I look to Matthew for. In places, this is a truly awful record, but it is also might interesting, and therefore my favorite McCartney work. I am fairly sure this was the last time Macca actually tried some new ideas in the studio, and that was over 20 years ago. He needs to get back to that. Hands up—who else hoped his classical albums would sound like Stockhausen or Berio? Or that his new one would be a fucked-up Radiohead sounding thing?
On my way back from lunch, I am looking to scrub the McCartney out of my head a bit, and so I drop some new discs into the car changer. First up is KaitO’s Montigola Underground EP. I found my copy of this in a long-buried box of promos in my record vault (and if you’ve seen the record vault, you know how stuff can very easily be buried in there for years and years.) Goddamn, I love this band and I haven’t played them in at least two years. I saw them open up for Clinic a few years back and they totally smoked. All the toy instruments (not like toy piano, but like actual toys, just in case you aren’t familiar) really sound cool all rough and amplified on stage. Their publicist knew I was a fan and had reviewed them and told me to go say hi to the band and tell them I wrote them up in AP and they’d know who I was. Sure enough they did, and they greeted me like a long lost friend. In fact, they were so friendly that inside of five minutes they were already hitting me up to come sleep on my floor. I managed to find them somewhere else to stay. I gotta play more of their stuff soon. Funny note: the KaitO badge that the band gave me has been sitting on my bathroom sink literally since the day I moved into my apartment and has not moved once. It’s right next to the electric toothbrush, which I did on purpose because it seemed like the sort of thing they might actually record and use. It is starting to rust a little around the edges from the humidity, so I think I should bail it out soon and stick it on one of my jackets. I also have a piece of KaitO peppermint stick candy (apparently the band made it themselves?) somewhere, but I’m sure it is green and moldy by now. Actually, it was green in the first place, so never mind.
Back at the office now and as it is ELO week on Stylus, I bust out the Very Best of ELO (another promo). Goddamn is this stuff good. All of you who hated on our ELO week—get a sense of joie de vivre, you humorless fucks. As “Sweet talking Woman” is pumping through my speakers, Mary McCarthy, a big boned Irish Catholic redhead coworker with two kids in her 40s sticks her head in my office and says, “Oh, turn it up! I love this song! I used to roller skate to this every weekend!” Um, suddenly, I see what the objection with ELO week is. Nonetheless, this is great.
Almost time to check out of work, but I toss in disc two of the Phil Spector Back To Mono box set and listen to a few tunes before I go. Damn, this stuff is still amazing to me. I have now decided that mono rules the world, Ronnie Spector was one sexy woman back in the day, and few people have fallen off to the degree that Phil has. I mean, holy shit, have you seen this man’s hair?!? Still, the list of totally awesome hits from his mind is staggering. Personal faves: “Walking In The Rain,” and “Baby I Love You,” which I recently used to close Melanie’s Sweetest Day mix CD. Yes, I know, Sweetest Day is lame, but when you are in love like I am...
More KaitO on the way home from work. Damn.
Heading out (and later back) to the grocery store and Marianne Faithfull’s Vagabond Ways—another refugee from the recently found box of CDs—is next on the car changer. Marianne was a huge crush for me back in my teen years. I mean, in the 60s? That woman was IT. Have you seen the footage of her in the Rolling Stones Rock And Roll Circus? Yeah, look at that and tell me she wasn’t the epitome of 60s beauty and sex appeal. Damn right. Her voice has that sexy rasp to it that I love so much now, and I honestly think if I had a chance to meet her today, I would flirt my ass off, even though she is 60-whatever. I’m sure I’d hold no appeal, but I’d like to at least sleep secure in the knowledge that I flirted with Mick’s girl from back in the day. Anyway, the title track of this album is devastatingly brilliant, the rest is merely very good, and the cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Tower Of Song” sounds like a drunken bar song—no mean feat at all. You go, Marianne.
On my way over to Melanie’s for the night and, as it is a fairly warm evening, I decide to hoof it with the iPod. She lives close, so only a few tracks this time out: Mink Deville’s “Spanish Stroll” (Did they ever make another single as good as this one?), a live acoustic bootleg recording of Jeff Tweedy doing “I’m Always In Love,” Primal Scream’s “Higher Than The Sun (A Dub Symphony In Two Parts)” (seriously, Weatherall’s greatest moment, and probably Wobble’s as well), and Wilco’s “Company In My Back.” Nice variety, except for the doubled up Wilco/Tweedy stuff. But such is the nature of random selection, I suppose. I’ll take it.
I’m feeling in the mood for some semi-abstract electronica today, and so I randomly select a compilation from the shelf on my way to work that fills the bill. I end up with Fresh Fruit, a Lo Recordings set that I bought at a contemporary art museum in Chicago a few years back. I remember it being cheap and good and then getting home and discovering that I had like half of the tracks on other Lo comps anyway. Oh well. Regardless, this morning it scratches that itch. I also decide that I really like the name Hairy Butter for a band far more than I actually like the band named Hairy Butter.
I got the latest I Am Kloot album, Gods And Monsters, in the mail yesterday, and so I brought it to work for a spin. I bought it on eBay for like $2.98 or something. I got a promo copy of the previous self-titled album and really ended up liking it, so I took a flyer on this one. As it turns out, I should have quit while I was ahead. It isn’t a bad record by any means, but it doesn’t have near as many memorable songs as I hoped for. In fact, it has none. It just sort of sits there, pleasant enough, maybe some clever lyrics now and then, maybe an intriguing instrumental passage, but nothing to really grab you. I own far, far too many albums like this, I think. And now I own one more. Damn me and my spendthrifty ways!
I don’t know why they popped into my head exactly (though I suspect it must have been something I heard on this morning’s Lo comp), but I am dying to hear some Can, and so while I am home for lunch, I grab Future Days. Now that is a great fucking record. The slightly off taste in my mouth after the I Am Kloot disappointment is now gone. And can I just say that the members of Can had the best names ever? Holger Czukay? That’s brilliant. Damo Suzuki is awesome, too. I always loved that there was a Fall tune called, “I Am Damo Suzuki.” Anyway, all of this gets me thinking of my favorite name ever, which is Leo Monster. He is an architect, and so I am 99.9% sure he didn’t change it to be that. But on distracted afternoons at work, I’ll sometime wonder what it is like to have a name like that, and wonder if he has kids, or what sort of smirks he gets when he picks up a pizza or tries to reserve a table in a restaurant. “Monster, party of two? Right this way, please.” I think I would probably change my name to Todd Monster, but I’m pretty sure Mel wouldn’t want to be known as either Melanie Monster or Mrs. Monster. As an aside, I know of another architect named Brent Batman, which is pretty awesome, as well.
I’ve got a meeting in a few minutes, so I need to play something short and the only brief item I have on my desk is Black Mountain’s Druganaut EP. Derek loves these guys, and I really like this EP, but not enough to actually go out and buy a full length. But I got this EP as a promo, so maybe I’ll get their next one free and it will be fine. I find it somewhat disturbing that my tastes seem to have turned a bit to the point where I expect an album to be better if it is something that I had to pay my own hard-earned cash for as opposed to something I got promoed on (I ain’t no downloader, so I feel a little better knowing that if I am getting something free, it is because someone connected to the artist somehow wanted me to have it.) Like, I can get a free CD from a band I love and if it sucks, I won’t care or really even be too disappointed. But if I buy something—even something I am not really that attached to, like I Am Kloot—and even if I only paid $2.98 for it, I expect it be good. I am not sure if this says more about my ever-increasing frugality, or my unreasonable expectations from music or what. But I don’t particularly like this about myself, and I vow to really really love the next promo CD I get, whatever it is. Totally unreasonable, I know. Such are the little mental games that I play with myself and the record collection. If you’re keeping score, the record collection has me down 17-4 in the top of the 7th inning.
Weirdness, but it turns out I actually do really love the next promo CD I got in the mail! It is Carl Craig’s Fabric Mix (Fabric 25 if you’re counting), and it is sweeeeeeet. I love C-squared and haven’t heard anything new from him in the longest damn time. I remember on a trip to Detroit once, Dan Bell (aka DBX) drove me over by Carl’s building and when he pointed to it, I swear, it was like I was looking at the Taj Mahal. I so love the Detroit techno. Anyway, Carl wasn’t home, and Dan and I went and had a really good Greek lunch instead. I still have the matchbook from the place we ate at. This makes me want to DJ again something fierce. But that ain’t gonna happen and I know it, so I’ll just leave it to the professionals. I drive around for an extra 10 minutes listening to this (Detroit techno is perfect driving music, natch). Then I sit in my parked car for another seven minutes because Carl is in the middle of a really great transition and I don’t want to interrupt it. This is a great note on which to end the day, and so I do. Mel comes and picks me up later and I go crash at her place in silence. Bring on the weekend!
End of my illness-shortened working week at last and I’m feeling good. Well, not that good, but very glad to be done with work for a little while at least. Because of my upbeat-yet-relaxed mood, I choose an upbeat-yet-relaxed album for the morning: Curtis Mayfield’s Curtis, the one with “Move On Up” on it, where he’s wearing that bright yellow suit on the cover. That cover alone actually never fails to put a smile on my face. I always thought he looked like the Jolly Yellow Giant or something, and that perhaps he could sell squash and yellow peppers as opposed to broccoli and green beans. Anyway, this album really hits that sweet soul spot. Note to self: Dig up my vinyl copy of Back To The World. Soon.
Did I say I was in a good mood? And feeling upbeat? Boy, did I ever speak too soon. This morning’s workload was brutal, and I didn’t get to lunch until 2:00 and now the afternoon is looking just as bad. I manage to get one record on, Kudu’s Death Of The Party. I think the release of this has been delayed until early next year, and as I’m listening, I’m wondering why. It is a fun album, almost a bit like a danced-up Siouxsie. However, I have a hard time figuring out who they are going to sell this to. I mean, it isn’t good enough that I would ever buy it, I can’t see dance kids or rock kids really feeling it, so I dunno. I get through five tracks before I decide that it isn’t helping my mood one bit and shut it off. Just as well, because I have yet another meeting.
Out of work at last, and I play more Carl Craig on the way home. Ahhhhhhhhh. Like soaking in a warm tub. Of motor oil.
I ran out and grabbed some Chinese takeout for Mel and I for dinner, and as we’re scooping and slurping, she plays two full-length albums that were featured on that Parasol sampler from the other night. I told her that I had full CDs of almost everything on there, so if she liked something, I’d pass it on to her. She chose the Moonbabies and Orange Peels, and so these make up our soundtrack for the night. After dinner we make it through about 40 minutes of a movie before we decide to just go to bed. With the week I had—and Mel’s was no easier, I’m sure—the early bedtime was clutch.
Mel and I both needed to sleep in a bit, and so I didn’t get home until well after 1 in the afternoon. I opened my mail and lo and behold, the new Black Dice single, “Smiling Off” had arrived. I played it while I had the Ohio State game on the tube on mute and then watched the video on the laptop after that. The DFA mix of “Smiling Off” was the winner for me. The video? Interesting, but nothing I want to see again, I think. It looked a bit too much like an art installation to me, lots of oddball repeated images. Still, a welcome rebound for the DFA camp, after that awful Delia & Gavin LP. All of those people claiming that as brilliant must never have heard all of the stuff they are ripping off on it. Several folks have told me that I just don’t “get” what they’re trying to do, and that is not true. I do. I just think they did a bad job at doing it. A really bad, boring-ass job. Look for further rantings on this album on Stylus later this year, once I work the venom out into some cohesive thoughts.
Melanie and I jump in the car and head to Cleveland’s first annual Day Of The Dead Festival and Parade, and Papa M’s Whatever, Mortal is in the car player. Mel asks what it is, which I have learned means that she likes it at least a little bit. I like it a lot, and Pajo’s latest self-titled album will most surely be on my best of 2005 list.
The music starts at the Day Of The Dead event, and it is a lot of fun, especially with the cool skeleton costumes and art and the like. The first band to start is sort of a New Orleans-style funeral band, all sloppy and loose in that Tom Waits-style. It is definitely the right vibe for the day.
More music, this time a Mariachi band, and they too are pretty awesome. I love those Mariachi outfits. I’d join one just for the clothes.
Okay, now both bands are playing at the same time. It’s chaotic, and I imagine that unless you are standing directly in front of one or the other, it is cacophony, and not in a cool way either. This whole event is pretty poorly planned, and this is just par for the course. Both bands play again, separately, once the parade starts, and they both rock again. However, the parade basically starts on one side of the block and walks to the other side. Maybe next year, these people will get their shit together a bit better. It could have been really awesome, and it’s a shame that apparently no one involved with the organization of the event owned a watch or had any clue how to put this thing together. Despite all that, it was still pretty cool.
Mel and I are invited to dinner at her friend Ken’s house to eat with him and his girlfriend, Karrie. After dinner, Ken calls me into the living room where he has his stereo set up and holds up Jason Molina’s Pyramid Electric Co. LP and asks if I’ve ever heard of him. I laugh, as I actually grew up in the same town with Jason, played on a youth soccer team with him and everything, and later, went to college with him (though I was a few years ahead of him). He was always a nice kid, and he’ll always be Sparky to me. That said, I can’t get into his music all that much. Maybe I’m just too close, maybe that vibe he is trying to work just won’t fly when you have the memory of him in a kid’s soccer uniform in your head, ya know? Anyway, after that, he puts on Will Oldham’s Joya, which I do really like, and we all have a laugh about his beard. This is followed by some Lazy Cowgirls, and then Mel and I bail out.
I’m feeling like total ass all over again, and I’ve been quiet the whole night for the most part. It is taking a superhuman effort on my part not to collapse on the floor, and I tried the whole time at Ken’s to bluff through it, but I can tell Mel knows that something is up and she is pretty upset. Without getting too far into it, we have a rather emotional “discussion” on the way home. Mel understands that I was a trouper for even showing up, but I still feel like I let her down by not being more animated, talkative, and generally interesting. This all happens over Pete Rock’s Petestrumentals. We basically make up and run back to my place to grab some of my clothes, and then we head back to her place to spend the night. My week is now at a close, the same way it began.