Caught the new Kid Rock promo clip last night and was greatly amused to see a Radiohead diss in the bathroom scene. He sits down on the loo to do a number 2 and reaches for the toilet roll which has the word Radiohead printed 10 or so times on each sheet. This is an brilliant idea (not neccessarily cleaning the crevice with Radiohead, but other band names too), some company should be making a fortune off this.
I look forward to seeing Thom & Co using Kid Rock CD inlays to shovel up dog mess on the first clip from their forthcoming remix ep.
In my nearing-the-end-of-the-year wrap-up, which involves re-listening to all those 2003 albums I bought way back in Jan-March, I made my way to Mount Eerie. I believe my first impression with the alb. was that it was “creative,” and possibly even an “opus.” Listening to it again, I’d add the words “unpleasant” and “ridiculous” and “unsuccessful.” I agree w/ AMG’s review saying that the entire affair sounds more like a school pageant than a concept album; but what the writer fails to note is that that assessment could also apply to a large portion of the dreck K Records has been churning out lately.
Like I note in my upcoming Blow review, K Records has become one giant, elitist inside-joke. Which would be alright if their music was entertaining, but sitting here listening to Mount Eerie I feel nothing. At the least, the album doesn’t even convey a palpable mountain-death-climb mood. I can think of nothing redeeming about the album, other than the simple fact that Elvrum had the guts to release the entire embarrassing mess; which I think is the sole reason the alb. got so many favorable reviews. Reviewers didn’t know what to say other than to call it a “massive artistic statement.” Audacity alone doesn’t warrant praise. See Cronenberg’s Crash.
No slight to Lisa’s fine Strokes review, but let me say that I don’t find Ms. Barrymore to be all that attractive. I certainly wouldn’t expect her to be an ambassador for sexual experimentation, unless in this specific case she threw on some Air or Spacemen 3.
The main reason that Stylus took a publishing break on Friday of last week was the fact that I was in New York City for the CMJ conference. I have plenty of things to say about the fantastic shill operation that they have going on there- I got into as many shows as I was shut out of- but the musical highlight of the weekend was one of the few shows that I did get to see.
Dirt McGirt. After a long introduction by the Brooklyn Zoo crew and the able hyping duties of Buddah Monk, who apparently is a vegetarian nowadays (and thank God, considering his immense weight), Dirt took the stage and stood front and center for a majority of the time.
Russell stood immobile for most of the evening, each movement suffused with a subtle import. He stared straight ahead, letting the audience know that he was indeed deep in thought about the trials and tribulations that he has endured. At times he would stop- mid-flow- refusing to start or finish lines of popular songs that most of the crowd would shout for him anyway, in reference to the pain inflicted during his jail term. This was in the past, he silently let the crowd know. We can’t go back there, fully, we can only look back and learn from the mistakes and pick out the good times to hold onto them tightly, fervently. It was a graceful performance.
It was a performance by a man so messed up on drugs that he could barely speak or move.
When I first met Nick Sylvester of PFM, he told me that he and his friends liked to play a game in which they all came up with the best Liars titles the band never wrote. Here’s the result of me and two of my friends coming up with an ideal track list for their next album, They Were Wrong So We Drowned, due out February 28th:
1. punks dont lie, they prefer arithmetic
2. when the world stops we’ll all crawl
3. pink was hurt when god made trees green
4. the farthest place from the duckpond…
5. please dont squeeze us
——our skeletal structure is fragile——
6. Man is for Mandate
7. death stalks on the midnight crops with a box
8. Le Coeur N’est Pas Un Mot Until
9. we buried him in a well, deep in the dirt
they’re kinda good, kinda crap, i guess. i like them a lot. play along, see what you come up with!
So we went back the next night, and the Soledad Brothers had put us in for backstage passes as well as guestlist stuff (them knowing Ivy from back in Detroit).
And Spiritualized were BETTER. I’m not sure how they did that. Same set as Sunday, plus ‘Electric Mainline’, but about twice as loud. And tighter. And yet most of the songs went on longer (’Cop Shoot Cop’ in particular just fucking lifted off).
The band turned out to be a very nice bunch of guys, even if the three of us were stuck in fanboy mode, and they mix a very, very strong drink. At the end of the night we smoked up with the roadies and then, since they were leaving the country, the one that got us in gave us his Canuck dollars to get a ($40) cab home to Pete’s place.
Found out Four Tet were playing with Mouse on Mars and Max Tundra this past Friday so I signed up to review it for one of the rags I work for. Sorted it and when I read the confirmation email, found two surprises. One, Manitoba was playing as well (I know!) and second, the show started at midnight and ran until 6am. Geez, that’s late. Oh well, I am a rocking kind of gal. So went home for dinner and a disco nap, met my plus 1 at The End (great space) at the highly civilised hour of 23:00, went in, got drinks and prepared to dance the night away. And that is just what we did. I don’t know if it was the late hour, the music or the booze (probably a combination of all three) but everyone in the place was grooving and smiling like fools. Max Tundra slipped us happy pills with his collision of house and esoteric vocals, Mouse on Mars kicked our asses with an astonishing set of poundingly sublime beats (proclaiming they were going to keep spinning until their train the next morning), Four Tet kept us bouncing and guessing as to where Kieran was taking the flow next and Manitoba were, well, superbly Manitoba.
And if 4 stunning hours weren’t enough, MoM, Four Tet and Manitoba then sparked up the DJ love-fest to give it 2 more frigging hours of tip-top mix master general greatness. We emerged after 6am simultaneously exhausted and exalted to greet the first light. There is something really special about London at that time of the morning – its hushed streets, the way the air smells – not of pollution or puke – but of cold stillness. And of course - the sight of some hugely contented faces that just had one amazing night.
So I went to the Spiritualized concert with my friend Pete, and it was great (’Take Your Time’ = God, and they played ‘Things’ll Never Be The Same’ at the end). Perhaps an order of magnitude better than last time, and thanks to some advice from Lisa Oliver (I believe), we were right in front of Mr. Pierce.
But more importantly, Pete and I met a very nice young lady named Ivy. And Ivy met one of their road crew. And the road crew guy put all three of us on the guest list for the show in Toronto tomorrow night. So we’re going to see them twice in a row.
Pete and I have always had good luck in line buddies.
There are two other great (nay awesome) songs on Life for Rent. Secondly, the unambitious, spacious production on “See you when you’re 40″ shows Dido weary of a man who believes his air of sadness is revealing an air of mystery (you know the type, the weight of their albatross reflects their depth of their character).
Thirdly, the Orton/Orbit styled artificial intelligence compilation/Folk hybrid style of “Don’t leave Home” with a sentimental airborne chorus which transcends the familiar theme of adoration.
I actually like Dido’s ‘White Flag’. Not enough to pick up the album, but I really, really like it.
I’ve been having an extremely shitty week, or at least one of my loved ones is having an extremely shitty week but of course that affects you. Today as I was walking across campus to her I heard ‘White Flag’ on a radio at the hot dog stand, and it just instantly wormed it’s way into my heart. I normally hate songs like this, of the ‘I’m not over you’ variety. I think in a lot of cases it’s a dangerous mindset to be in, but here Dido is fully admitting that they’re not getting back together, which does mitigate it somewhat. And when I hear
Well I will go down with this ship
And I won’t put my hands up and surrender
There will be no white flag above my door
I’m in love and always will be
her brave, doomed resilience touches me. To be honest, I always think of that “I’m in love” not as applying to the ex, but just in general. And always being in love isn’t a bad thing. Success is easy; it’s failing that’s hard. But we all have to do it sometimes.
Ron perfectly articulated my frustration with this album: too much glitch, not enough pop. For a much better Rimheden track (the one that had me looking forward to the album), check out “Don’t Follow” off of Mille Plateaux’s Electric Ladyland: Clickhop Vol. 1 compilation.
By now, you may be familiar with Stylus Magazine’s School of Rock review. Despite the fact that I love nothing more than to read reviews by critics with an axe to grind (let’s just say that our Josh Timmerman won’t be invited to join Jack Black’s School of Candlepin Bowling team anytime soon), I felt there was something missing from his bilious rancor toward what is a genuinely sweet-natured film (next up: that goddamned Bambi). Thankfully, sometime Stylus-scribe Scott Plagenhoef in his Pitchfork review of The Darkness’s new record helps us out:
“Tellingly, America’s No. 1 movie at the moment, School of Rock, is built on the premise that rock is a relic relegated to history books as something kids need to be taught (after all, they’re not learning about it in the streets).”
Imagine! Something as unlearnably holy as Rach Ünd Roll being taught in the schools!!! To children!! Next, they’ll be telling us that rock really is dead!
I refer once again to Scott Pl:
“When it comes down to it, the best youth culture is dangerous and offbeat and audacious, and currently, rock is none of those things.”
Ah, you gotta love the elitist, circular logic here, which goes something like this: you’ll never really “get” rock if you don’t experience it – but rock’s dead, so good luck trying. It’s enough to make me wish I was at a Zep concert in the 70’s. Unfortunately, I wasn’t allowed to go see them on their 1975 Physical Graffiti tour because, as my parents told me, I was “only 2.” Close-minded right-wing bastards.
But I’m getting off-track. The whole point of School of Rock is to piss off the Plagenhoefs of the world. Well, maybe pissing them off isn’t the point exactly, but rather to show that, as difficult as it is to swallow for some of us, you actually can teach the stuff – and to kids, no less!
By way of making my point, I direct you to the scene that garrulous fatso Jack Black takes the song that the shy, young guitarist wrote and plays it for the class, line by line. Now, I’ve never been remotely interested in picking up a Tenacious D record, but I have to say: Black’s rendition of the kid’s “I hate school” song really isn’t half bad. I mean, am I rushing out to buy the soundtrack because of it? No. But it’s a perfectly serviceable tune given a hint of legitimate punk sneer in the hands of Black (it’s actually worlds better than the version augmented by the Mooney Suzuki at the film’s climax). For all of Timmerman’s griping about how phony the movie is and the Meatloaf-esque qualities of Black’s musical performance in particular, I think Black acquitted himself quite well here – and in a scene that with the wrong touch could’ve bombed horribly.
But really, that’s just my opinion. Maybe Josh and Scott felt the right thing to do there might’ve been to not even bother playing the kid’s song at all, because, you know, he’d only be fooling the kid into thinking that exercising his creative muscles at a young age was important. And anyway, rock can’t be taught. And as we’ve established, even if it could be, it’s as dead as Kid Rock’s midget.
There’s also the whole issue of, “alright, if rock can’t be taught in schools, how exactly does someone—especially someone as well-versed in pop music as Scott Pl.—learn about it?” (if I’m correct, deadness and all, rock is still considered an active subset of pop). Well, I don’t really know the guy that well, but I’d imagine that like all of us—myself included—he buys records, reads about music in magazines, books and on the Internet, and goes to see some shows. And then he probably goes home, thinks an awful lot about what he just heard/read/saw and at some point shares his opinions with others. Who share theirs with him.
In my mind, that’s kind of like home schooling mixed in with a little group learning to keep you on track – it’s not really done in a vacuum (in my case, I also had a friend I followed around like a puppy-dog because I had the utmost faith in his taste – so I guess I had a tutor, too). Of course, it all would be so much easier to learn if it weren’t so goddamned dead.
But here’s the funny part – neither Scott nor I just sort of kept those opinions to ourselves. You see, as critics, we thrive on sharing them – just like I’m doing right here on this very long blog entry. We shared them with others, so they might learn to hear familiar music a different way. Or maybe they’d learn about the glories of stuff the average listener just doesn’t hear on radio or TV – even approachable stuff like the Buzzcocks or Patti Smith (two names conspicuous for their inclusion in the Rock Family Tree that Black draws on the blackboard). Essentially, we’re self-appointed guerilla teachers. To sort of imply that such academic study “dishonors” rock essentially does away with every word Scott or I have written, every post to message boards like I Love Music we’ve made.
So I don’t know about Scott or Josh, but I actually saw School of Rock at least partly as a film about a guy learning how to communicate his genuine (and expansive, if you trust that blackboard) love for music – and doing it in every bit the gloriously awkward, rumpled manner of the subject he was teaching. I can’t speak for them. But me? I could identify with that.
Best song of the moment right now for me. I caught it the other afternoon watching Glitter on HBO (ahem), and I recognized it from an excellent DJ Screw remix of UGK’s “Tell Me Something Good.” If you haven’t already, give both these tracks a download.
Ah, there’s nothing quite like an indie-rock show to give jaded misfit hipsters a safe haven from the cruel world of intercollegiate athletics and the unbelievable swarms of drunken, red-faced synchophants that can descend on a pigskin-obsessed college town like Athens, GA.
Judging from the chorus of boos that Broken Social Scene frontman Kevin Drew elicited with this question, it’s safe to assume that the Venn diagram of INDIE ROCK FAN and COLLEGE FOOTBALL FAN continues to have precious little overlap. To further encourage cultural ghettoization, tonight’s triple bill of BSS, Metric, and Jason Collett started at 8:30, barely an hour after the UGA-Alabama clash had concluded, and not nearly enough time for post-game stragglers to do a few requisite Jaeger bombs and then stumble unwittingly into the middle of the post-rock festivities.
Those acolytes of the red and black who ended up pressing the flesh at overcrowded downtown bars missed a sparsely attended evening of dead-sexy dance-punk courtesy of Metric, as well as the all-over-the-map brilliance of 2003’s indie Cinderellas, Broken Social Scene, who sounded equally at ease with the cerebral post-rock of “KC Accidental,” the chill-out ambience of “Looks Just Like the Sun,” and the runaway rollercoaster pop-rock of “Almost Crimes.”
Indisputable highlight: Metric lead singer Emily Haines returns to the stage to reprise her vocal turn on “Anthem for a Seventeen Year-Old Girl,” the most poignantly unshakeable track on Broken Social Scene’s masterful You Forgot it In People. Now, I’ve never been a seventeen-year old girl, but there’s just something about the juxtaposition between Haines’ bubblegum-simple lyrics (”park that car, drop that phone, sleep on the floor, dream about me”) and the slow-swelling maelstrom of post-rock guitars that just devastates me, and it was even better in person, with Haines falling to her knees while delivering that spine-tingling refrain, overcome with the sheer nakedness and endless emotional connotation of those everyday commands and throwaway interjections.
On the way back to the car, we walked past a popular post-game watering hole called Silver Britches, which promptly greeted us with the sweet strains of 80s hair-metal glamourpussies Poison. Which made me realize: maybe things are better off this way after all.
Having moved to the Hyde Park area, I decided to get involved with the University of Chicago’s student radio station, WHPK. I was informed via email that I would have to submit a sample playlist that would be judged to determine if I would fit into WHPK’s “aesthetic.” I bit wary (my roommate’s playlist her freshman year had been deemed “too mainstream”), I constructed a list of 30 songs and was rewarded a few hours later with access to DJ training. Hurrah!
The oh-so-eclectic list is as follows:
1. Melt Banana - “If it is the deep sea, I can see you there” from Cell-Scape [A-Zap]
2. Amon Tobin - “Melody Infringement” from Permutation (vinyl) [Ninja Tune]
3. Isan - “Prooger” from Salamander [Morr Music]
4. Tim Hecker - “Azure, Azure” from Radio Amor [Mille Plateaux]
5. Kid 606 - “Secrets 4 Sale” from Down With the Scene [Ipecac]
6. Can - “Vitamin C” from Ege Bamyasi [Spoon]
7. Capitol K - “Pillow” from Island Row [XL]
8. Clinic - “Return of Evil Bill” from Internal Wrangler [Domino]
9. The Rapture - “House of Jealous Lovers” from House of Jealous Lovers 12″ [DFA]
10. Hrvatski - “Vatstep DSP” from Swarm and Dither [Planet Mu]
11. Boredoms - “Super You” from Super AE [Birdman]
12. Guitar Wolf - “Summertime Blues” from Jet Generation [Matador]
13. Gold Chains - “I Come From San Francisco” from Gold Chains EP [Orthlorng Musork]
14. Mutamassik - “Gulf Rock Mix” from Colapsus Compilation [Sound Ink]
15. DJ /rupture - “Descarriada” from Rude Descending A Staircase 7″ [Br0klyn Beats]
16. Dizzee Rascal - “Vexed” from I Luv U 12″ [XL]
17. :zoviet*france: - “Sprey” from Collusion [Soleil Moon]
18. Nurse With Wound - “she and me fall together like free death” from she and me fall together like free death [Beta-lactam]
19. Aarktica - “Nostalgia = Distortion” from Or You Could Just Go Through Your Whole Life and Be Happy Anyway [Darla]
20. Stereolab - “Super Falling Star” from Peng! [Too Pure]
21. Meat Beat Manifesto - “Now (Remix)” from Now EP [Play It Again Sam]
22. Lali Puna - “Together In Electric Dreams” from Left-Handed single [Morr Music]
23. Autechre - “Arch Carrier” from LP5 [Warp]
24. Iran - “Radio Galaxies” from Iran [Tumult]
25. Mum - “Smell Memory” from Yesterday Was Dramatic, Today Was OK [Thule]
26. Soundmurderer - “Bad Sound” from Rewind #2 12″ [Rewind]
27. Dalek - “Swollen Tongue Bums” from Negro Necro Nekros [Gern Blandsten]
28. DJ Scud - “Short Sharp Shock” from Mortal Clash [Ambush]
29. King Geedorah - “Fazers” from Take Me To Your Leader [Big Dada]
30. El-P - “TOJ” from Fantastic Damage [Definitive Jux]