July 27, 2004

Thank you. I’m not the only classic Elton John fan left. I put Tumbleweed Connection on my Stylus Top 100 albums of all time for a reason; I love campy 50s-rock retreads. And now, as of today, I have a new campy 50s-rock retread-retread. I picked up the Scissor Sisters on my way into work this morning, and I’ve been grinning ever since. I can’t get enough of their cheeky disco vamps. Sure, you have to take a little Bee-Gees with your Rocket Man, and at times I swear to God it’s the stank cauldron pot for stewing up all the foul rock the 80s (i.e. Go-Gos) had to offer, but in the end it’s simply too much damn fun to ignore. I admit; I was on the other side of the fence with the Darkness. Perhaps it’s just a matter of which genre is under reconstruction. For my money, in a year that has seen several polarizing albums that receive their oppositional scores in the low digits and nigh on tens (I’m thinking Patrick Wolf’s Lycanthropy, which, for similar reasons, I’m absolutely in love with and might select as my album of the year), I’m coming to adore both the pretentious and the sick. What a year. What a year.

Derek Miller | 12:48 pm | Comments (3)

July 23, 2004

Some shuffling of the cards in the world of blogs lately, here’s some notables (the good, the new and the dead):

-K-Punk is running tings, boasting vibrant discussions (and comments box) on theory and popism/poptimism
-Koons Really Does Think He’s Michelangelo is Marcello Carlin’s new home, its defining feature being the move towards shorter essays than his past two homes.
-SilverDollarCircle is one of the major grime nexuses (nexii?).
-Hua Hsu, the Wire hip-hop guru, is also great reading (esp. for his dialogues w/ family and club goers)

The New
-Drip Drop Drap seems to be on the ILM-taste tip (maybe he/she posts there?).
-Jess Harvell is back at it again in new digs.
-And, of course, don’t forgot about Stylus writers (Josh (interesting thoughts on Neil Young right now over there), Anthony/Charlie (both not new, but new to our staff) and yrs truly!)

The Dead
-The always amazing dancehall crit Dave Stelfox (although he seems to be popping his head into the K-Punk comments section)
-Jess’ Technicolor Blog
-Matt Woebot’s, in favor of the minimal Woebotnik.

Check ‘em all, lament the lapsed, but, most importantly, keep up the discourse. Lots of good reading and thinking going on out there if you’re looking for it.

Todd Burns | 3:33 pm | Comments Off

July 19, 2004

Some time ago Stylus presented an article named “Summer Dubbin” and while I planned to fashion a mix of my own, the due date came and went before I felt as though I had something which might be considered finished. In an attempt to perhaps salvage that effort, a trimmed version may be found below.

Romps through feral hills hedged by branches no longer bare and balm nights spent basking in the moonlight are moments often associated with Summertime. An environment of birdcalls, watery skies and bushy puffs of green grass beckon a certain sort of response from many. Teens frolic from schoolhouses to grocery stores, restaurants and the like, while workers stare out beady office windows in a glum haze, swearing they can smell an aroma from the barbeque being held at their house ten miles away. Such is not often the hour for a music which seeks to engage ones attention, for the summer is an hour wherein we hold our engagements loosely in between our fingertips and hope the gusting summer breeze will blow them away. But, of course, this is not to say that we might not instead choose to hold on a little more tightly and watch our avant-garde tastes commingle and flap fervently in this summer air. For too long has the summer been owned by the pop beast, so come forth now chaps, lets at them!

Fennesz - Ciscassion
A strangely triumphant piece culled from the eloquent Venice.

Black Dice - Creature
Blissful bleeping, flying metal sparks and hypnotic, off-kilter loops swell around a base of electro-jamming. Creature is nearly the aural equivalent of a summer heat-haze.

Yituey - Golondrina
In a way, someone’s feet have their own solo on this one, as a person splish-splashes through water as it settles down after its flight from a clifftop. Chirping birds, digital snaps and voices from lost travellers drift in and out of this piece which reminds of the best moments from Chris Watson .

Dorine Muraille - Madrague, Retour

Sogar - st.03
Despite being built by sine wave modulations and multi-layered glitches this nevertheless remains a rather melodious affair. Like a jaunt through the wilderness, this has a plethora of noises to search out.

Asa Jang & Junray - Xylophone
Strange distraught vocals float through a dense atmosphere with spaghetti western hues dissected by shuddering electronics.

The Wind Up Bird - This
“I love you, sorry I’ve become this monster”

Hecker - VI Retrospect
A symphony of cheap synthesizer squalls create a havoc of relentless noise to punish your ears and those around you. Extended sine waves and coarse drones means this creature ought to be let loose whenever you want everyone to disappear.

Coin Gutter - Southern Yukon/Northern BC (And Perhaps Parts of Alaska)
All Your Dreams Are Meaningless was a fine debut record from this Canadian Avant-Gardist. What begins as a scrap of glitchy sound art, quite unsuspectingly, drifts into a tsunami of frightening digital interference and screaming voices.

Kaffe Matthews - She Could

Oskar Aichinger - The Cave Of Insanity
Nemeth’s contorted computer explorations and Aichinger’s swirling synths fashion melodies which drown beneath waves of noise and unbound piano.

Christopher Willits - Lichen

Basil Kirchin - Once Upon A Time
Wheezing vintage synths spin a beautiful web upon which a child gets entangled, repeating “someday you’ll see, something special will come from me.” An endearing mix of free jazz and musique concrete forms something that is quite undefinable.

Food - Pie

Richard Youngs - Soon It Will Be Fire
Youngs has an enchanting voice, and though attempts to decipher his words will be fruitless, the listener may implant his or her own memories into this timeless audio journal.

Todd Burns | 8:33 am | Comments Off

July 14, 2004

So, after months of correspondence and becoming pretty good friends via e-mail, Ofer’s article finally got published at Stylus on Monday. I worked right up to the mark: in fact, between finishing the piece, bouncing around to Morrissey in amongst a throng of baying Mancunians and punching numbers into a machine for The Man, it’s been a hectic few days.

All that came to a head on Monday night, when I travelled to Manchester to sit upstairs in a Palestinian-run kebab shop with members of Jews For Justice For Palestinians and the Olive Co-op, as well as interested British activists and of course, Ofer himself.

Ofer thanked me for writing the piece (of which, a printed copy was handed round to the group), and I would like to thank Ofer in return for his complimentary copy of his new album with the Newlife Community, Wind, Spirit, for being such a patient and helpful subject, and above all, for being a such a great character.

Ofer played solo acoustic versions of songs from Alternative (surely you’ve ordered a copy now?), Cohen classic “Story Of Isaac” and some further, heated discussion of the points raised by people like him.

He travelled light: a change of clothes in his guitar case, a brief case of CDs (along with toothpaste, toothbrush and electric razor) and a trolley with a tiny amp and microphone attached. All of this enabled maximum flexibility; including an impromptu “gig” in the kebab shop itself (perhaps not the best place to bring culture), and some mid-afternoon busking in central Manchester.

Israeli-jazz-flamenco-folk-protest-singing-showmanship-humour-activism is the new rock n’ roll. Mos def.

Colin Cooper | 4:17 pm | Comments (1)

July 13, 2004

Forgive this correspondent for his oodles of free time, but we have more news that might tickle your fancy. NYC rapper NAS, he of the wise, cogent urban narratives, is already busy hyping his forthcoming Double-LP, set to drop September 26th (take THAT, Jay-Z!).

The first single, “Thief’s Theme”, which rides a sample of Iron Butterfly’s “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida”, is already receiving substantial radio airplay. The video features an out-of-shape, flamboyantly gold-toothed NAS wandering around NYC sporting all varieties of masks. If you’re beginning to think this sounds awfully familiar, rest assured that “Thief’s Theme” distinguishes itself from Jay-Z’s “99 Problems” by shirking the B&W cinematography and kicking Rick Rubin to the curb. See? It’s completely different.

If this track is any indication (and since this is NAS we’re talking about, it probably isn’t), the Double-LP should be a must have. Dental bling aside, NAS has been the understated of the two NYC rap moguls, earning his stripes not through press releases but through his music. And there’s no denying his talent. For some time now, NAS has been NYC’s deftest tongue-flicker (sorry Sandra Bernhard). To quote the new single: “The fiend of hip hop has got me stuck like a crack pipe”.

R. S. Ross | 2:27 pm | Comments (6)

July 12, 2004

As most of you know, Fiona Apple’s anticipated third LP has been shelved by execs at Epic Records, though the title track, “Extraordinary Machine”, has spilled onto the net and can be readily downloaded. Listening, I’m struck by two things:

1.) This is SO cool. Jon Brion obviously cut this track in the same mold as his quirky Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind soundtrack. Pings and chimes abound. Fiona sounds great, as always, finding rhymes where none have a right to dwell, all the while reminding one of a diva in some 1950s Hollywood musical. The way she clips short the syllables in the word “Extraordinary” makes me fall in love with her all over again (Damn you, P. T. Anderson! I’ve got initials too, you know.)

2.) I can TOTALLY understand why Epic is taking so long to sponge the shite out of their shorts. How do you convince radio-stations to play a song like this? Can’t you just hear the marketing department scratching their collective melon over this riddle?

Pimply sub-associate: “I think there’s a retro station in Austin that would play it.”
Grizzled Senior VP: “What? Is Mary Fuckin’ Poppins the DJ?”

The leaking of the title track (was it Brion’s camp that let it slip?) might put some pressure on the Epic cronies to give the people what they want (see point #1) or merely serve as evidence in support of their “our hands are tied – she’s a nutter” position (see #2). In this duel, we’re predicting Apple to end up the victor. Seeing that her LA art camp is so tight and pretentious, this sort of callous corporate treatment will only serve to galvanize her position.

Whatever happens (or doesn’t happen) count on Stylus to keep you updated!

Todd Burns | 3:43 pm | Comments (4)

July 9, 2004

My review of Dodgeball was a very cautious recommendation of a movie that never fully embraced its nature. The not-so-subtle apologies by the writer/director for lack of coherence and the general unoriginality of the jokes made Dodgeball less likeable. That film is like midget porn: maybe it’s funny, and maybe you liked it . . . but you’re certainly not proudly confessing either of those truths. But Anchor Man? That’s just some sweet lovin’ whose praises you can sing from the mountaintops.

Basically Anchor Man does exactly what any film should when Will Ferrell is involved, it gives him an endless string of excuses to be as weird as he can. No plot needed, no backstory aside from a two-sentence intro of each character, no apologies. You take the preeminent comic genius of the last 5-10 years and turn him loose, it’s that simple. Throw in a very strong supporting cast (Steve Carell is amazing), and you have a recipe for pure gold.

Despite sitting directly in front of a young lady who was perhaps the single most annoying audience member in my 20-some-odd theater-going years, Anchor Man rates as the most fun experience I’ve had at the movies EVER. Usually a reserved chap, I couldn’t contain out-loud laughs for the majority of the runtime. This is what you’ve been waiting for if you’re a Will Ferrell fan. Elf showed promise, his small characters in other stuff showed how funny he could be in films, and now Anchor Man delivers the goods. I strongly believe this should and will be mentioned in the same breath as Airplane when the lists of great comedies are compiled, A-Mazing. I’m Kevin Worrall, and you people stay classy.

Kevin Worrall | 2:56 am | Comments (5)

July 6, 2004

Rhetorical Question of the Day: Just how addictive is the new The Hives single “Walk Idiot Walk”? Shrouded in secrecy, the new album Tyrannosaurus Hives drops on July 20th. Word has it that new record label Universal ordered the monochromatic Swedes back into the studio after hearing the fruits of their first efforts. How does “We need more singles, boys” translate to Swedish? Anyway, if “Walk Idiot Walk” is, indeed, the end result of some uptight, tone-deaf record label suit, it’s fine by me.

R. S. Ross | 5:17 pm | Comments (8)

Current Listening / Watching / Reading

Stewart Voegtlin
WOLFMANGLER, Protected by the Ejaculations of Wolves [Split CD w/ M0SS]
NEGATIVE PLANE, Et in Saecula Saeculorum
MORTEM, De Natura Deamonum

Theon Weber
The Hold Steady - Seperation Sunday
Annuals - Be He Me
Talking Heads - More Songs About Buildings and Food

Ethan White
Bruce Nauman - Raw Materials
Ennio Morricone - The Red Tent OST
Stereolab - Serene Velocity

Bryan Berge
DJ Olive - Sleep
The Chap - Ham
V/A - Trap Door is an International Psychedelic Mystery Mix

Jonathan Bradley
Green Day - American Idiot
Fall Out Boy - From Under The Cork Tree
Brand New - Deja Entendu

Justin Cober-Lake
Stevie Wonder - Music of My Mind
Keith Moon - Two Sides of the Moon
Allen Toussaint - Life, Love and Faith

Ian Cohen
Maritime- We, The Vehicles
Mannie Fresh- The Mind Of Mannie Fresh
Lupe Fiasco- Food And Liquor

Elizabeth Colville
Magnetic Fields - Get Lost
Joan as Police Woman - Real Life
John Vanderslice - Pixel Revolt

Iain Forrester
The Dresden Dolls - Yes, Virginia...
Hot Chip - Coming On Strong
The Knife - Deep Cuts

Andrew Gaerig
Trick Daddy - Thugs Are Us
Broadcast - The Future Crayon
V/A - Rio Baile Funk: More Favela Booty Beats

Todd Hutlock
Uncle Tupelo - March 16-20, 1992
Rockpile - Seconds of Pleasure
Andrew Weatherall - Hypercity

Andrew Iliff
Thom Yorke - The Eraser
Mr Lif - Mo' Mega
Tricky - Live at Leeds Town and Country

Thomas Inskeep
Cameo - The 12" Collection and More
Sonic Youth - Really Ripped
Panic! at the Disco - A Fever You Can't Sweat Out

Josh Love
Cassie - Me & U
Paris Hilton - Paris
Alan Jackson - Greatest Hits Collection

Evan McGarvey
Juvenile - Tha G-Code
Ghostface - Fishscale
Wilderness - Vessel States

Ian Mathers
Muslimgauze - Lo Fi India Abuse
The Cure - The Head On The Door
The Wedding Present - Seamonsters

Sandro Matosevic
Ladytron - Witching Hour
The Moaners - Dark Snack
San Serac - Tyrant

Derek Miller
120 Days - 120 Days
VA - Superlongevity 2
Hot Chip - Various b-sides

Mallory O'Donnell
Justin Timberlake - FutureSex/LoveSounds
Beyonce - B'Day
Kashmere Stage Band - Texas Thunder Soul

Fergal O'Reilly
The Auteurs - How I Learned To Love The Bootboys
Kitsune Maison Vol. 2
Sparks - Indiscreet

Cameron Octigan
Nathan Fake - Drowning in a Sea of Love
Alex Smoke - Paradolia
Ricardo Villalobos - Achso EP

Mike Orme
Guillemots - Through the Windowpane
Colleen - Colleen et Les Boîtes à Musique
Hot Chip - The Warning

Peter Parrish
Psychedelic Furs - Forever Now
The House of Love - Complete Peel Sessions
Catherine Wheel - Adam & Eve

Mike Powell
Scritti Politti - White Bread, Black Beer
Miles Davis - Get Up With It
Boredoms - Soul Discharge

Tal Rosenberg
M83 - Before The Dawn Heals Us
The Roots - Game Theory
Brian Jonestown Massacre - Give It Back!

Barry Schwartz
Tahiti 80 - Fosbury
Portastatic - I Hope Your Heart is Not Brittle
Tokyo Police Club - A Lesson in Crime

Brad Shoup
Michael Nesmith - From a Radio Engine to the Photon Wing
The Tear Garden - Sheila Liked the Rodeo EP
Sam Moore - Plenty Good Lovin': The Lost Solo Album

Alfred Soto
Kirsty MacColl - Electric Landlady
Junior Boys - So This is Goodbye
50 Cent - Get Rich...

Nick Southall
Final Fantsay - He Poos Clouds
TV On The Radio - Return To Cookie Mountain
Embrace - "Thank God You Were Mean To Me"

Josh Timmermann
Prince - 3121
Prince - Graffiti Bridge
Prince - Lovesexy


Tal Rosenberg
Arrested Development Season 2
Wedding Crashers

Arthur Ryel-Lindsey
Little Miss Sunshine
Von Ryan's Express
A Knight's Tale

Brad Shoup
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest

Alfred Soto
Arrested Development: Season One
The Flowers of Shanghai

Nick Southall

Josh Timmermann
Inside Man
The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada
My Sex Life...or How I Got Into an Argument

Stewart Voegtlin
Dog Soldiers

Theon Weber
House, M.D. - season two
Buffy the Vampire Slayer - season two

Ethan White
The Tenant
Mr. Arkadin
Punishment Park

Justin Cober-Lake
One Day in September
Passage to India

Elizabeth Colville
My Summer of Love
Pride & Prejudice
Trust the Man

L. Michael Foote
Wild At Heart
Bad Timing
The Witches

Todd Hutlock
Arrested Development Season 3
Tod Browning's Freaks

Ian Mathers
Seeing Other People
Sapphire & Steel, series 1
Death Race 2000

Dave Micevic
Inside Man

Derek Miller
My Life Unravel

Jay Millikan
Superman Returns

Mallory O'Donnell
Snakes On A Plane

Fergal O'Reilly
Peep Show Series 1
The Wind That Shakes The Barley

Mike Orme
Bringing Up Baby
The Third Man
Frasier reruns, Lifetime

Mike Powell
Sherman's March


Elizabeth Colville
Swann's Way - Marcel Proust
The New Yorker, Sept 18, 2006
The Bounty - Derek Walcott

L. Michael Foote
Fanny, Edmund White
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, Michael Chabon

Todd Hutlock
John Cale & Victor Bockris - What's Welsh For Zen?

Thomas Inskeep
Andrew Beaujon - Body Piercing Saved My Life
Tim Lawrence - Love Saves the Day
Dave White - Exile in Guyville

Josh Love
Henry Adams - The Education of Henry Adams

Ian Mathers
Spinoza - Ethics
Plato - Phaedo
Greg Rucka/Jesus Saiz - Checkmate

Sandro Matosevic
JT Leroy - The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things

Ron Mashate
Samuel Beckett - Murphy
William Gaddis - A Frolic Of His Own

Dave Micevic
Thomas Pynchon - V.

Derek Miller
Thomas Wolfe - You Can't Go Home Again

Jay Millikan
Richard Price - Clockers
Randy Shilts - And the Band Played On

Mallory O'Donnell
Simon Reynolds - Generation Ecstasy
Simon Frith - Music For Pleasure
Simon Reynolds - Rip It Up & Start Again

Fergal O'Reilly
David Peace - Nineteen Seventy-Four

Mike Orme
Salman Rushdie - The Ground Beneath her Feet

Peter Parrish
Raymond Chandler - The Big Sleep

Mike Powell
WG Sebald - The Rings of Saturn

Tal Rosenberg
Sarah Vowell - Take the Cannoli

Barry Schwartz
Philip Roth - American Pastoral

Brad Shoup
Earl Conrad - Typoo

Alfred Soto
Anthony Summers - The Arrogance of Power

Nick Southall
Stephen King - The Calling of the Three
Kurt Vonnegut - Breakfast of Champions

Josh Timmermann
Jonathan Franzen - The Twenty-Seventh City

Stewart Voegtlin
Cormac McCarthy, Suttree

Theon Weber
Norman Mailer - The Naked and the Dead

Ethan White
Linda Williams - Hard Core: Power, Pleasure, and the Frenzy of the Visible

Justin Cober-Lake
Umberto Eco - Baudolino
C.S. Lewis - The Screwtape Letters

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