Village Voice Senior Associate Editor Nick Sylvester riffs and raffs on Ariel Pink’s recent live show at the Knitting Factory, saying that “On record he’s possibly brilliant, but live it’s like seeing a porn star in street clothes, no makeup, boobs deflated, struggling to carry bags of groceries she bought for her family. Do you help her?”, while Stylus writer Mike Powell was at the same show and generally agrees:
Of course it’s a schtick; that’s never been in doubt to me. Still, any schtick can produce a real reaction via concept or not. Ten minutes before I left, I was blathering on about how Ariel Pink is like Vito Acconci’s Seedbed, where he lay under a ramp in the middle of the gallery and masturbated while talking about the people that were actually in the gallery, who could hear him but couldn’t see him…Seriously, who wants a long-haired Italian guy standing in front of you fantasizing aloud and masturbating?
I think in the end, it just depends on what kind of listener that you are: for me, I wish I’d never seen him live. I enjoy his recorded work a lot (like Mike and Nick), but after seeing the long-haired Italian guy it’s going to be a long road back towards the sort of appreciation that I had before.
Not going to SXSW? Good choice. Paying that much money to see bands play to record execs who are more busy networking than listening to bands that they’ve ostensibly paid to hear (through their record label’s corporate card), is a sham. I’ve never been there, obviously, except for the Wednesday Golf Tournament.
That and what looks like an interesting movie from the Beastie Boys called Awesome; I Fuckin’ Shot That. Apparently, the film was awesome because it was shot by 50 fans at their 2004 MSG concert and then culled to make a full length concert film. But if you can’t go to SXSW, don’t fret. This one should be coming to wider release late in March with a one-night preview on 175 screens opening scheduled for March 23.
Either way, you can hear nearly all the bands and see trailers to the movies for all of SXSW at their website. They even have both in a handy torrent format, if you scroll down the page a bit.
Dusted’s own Otis Hart wrote up an interesting piece for the Associated Press recently about the stories of indie rockers turning down the chance to sell out. Choice cut:
Lyle Hysen runs Bank Robber Music, a licensing group that pitches songs to film, television and advertisement companies. He’s gotten his clients featured in shows like “Six Feet Under” and “The L Word” and in car ads by Volkswagen and Jaguar.
Hummer, however, has been a nonstarter.
“My standard line is you guys will play a hundred million gigs before you see this amount of money,” Hysen said. “Usually they come back with, ‘We’ll do anything BUT Hummer.’”
Here comes today’s “surprise was felt by none” new story. Not to be outdone by George Michael, Babyshambles frontman Pete Doherty outdid the former WHAM! singer’s Class C drug arrest by getting arrested for Class A drug charges last night. Oh yeah, and on suspicion of stealing a car. After the “Pete Doherty’s a fake” hoax of last week, I think that the poor kid’s just trying to get noticed. Or he’s just looking for another fix. Either way, like I told George Michael yesterday, please get help.
I had the (dis)pleasure to catch Lars von Trier’s The Idiots on film the other night on IFC. I really enjoyed the film, actually, but rarely have I felt quite as uncomfortable thinking about how good a movie was afterwards.
For those who haven’t seen it, the basics are thus: The Idiots is the second film that was made specifically to go under the restrictions made by the Dogme 95 document that von Trier presented at the Cannes film festival. The basic plot follows around a commune of people that, when they come to interact with the public, act as though they’re mentally retarded. Hilarity ensues.
The newest issue of Offscreen Magazineis up on the web, and it’s an issue dealing mainly with Canada, oddly enough. The main draw is a scholarly article about Canada’s favorite comedy import The Trailer Park Boys. [From Greencine.]
I’m firmly of the opinion that there is no such thing as a “guilty pleasure”, that the very phrase is a misleading use of language. Everything I like, from Incapacitants to Bodies Without Organs, I like because in some way I enjoy listening to it. You might think that’s a pretty obvious/tautological statement, but these days it seems like every time I turn around you’ve got someone accusing someone else of just pretending to like something, or somehow liking it “ironically” (and I’m just as guilty of that as anyone else).
Despite that, though, I can’t seem to bring myself to listen to Come And Get It at work, notwithstanding my love of all thirteen songs therein. At first I thought it was just me failing to live up to my own principles, that no matter how much I loved playing the album at home, on headphones, while doing the dishes or playing video games, I was somehow embarrassed of it. I don’t mind my brother giving me shit for liking the work of an ex-member of the loathed S Club 7 because he gives me shit for everything anyways; given the relish with which I expose my coworkers to other music they think is “weird”, why have a problem with this?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m pretty unrestrained with what I play during the day; I work in a room that has one or maybe two other people in it, they don’t listen to anything, and as long as the volume is appropriate I’ve had yet to get any complaints. It wasn’t until talking about live music with a friend that what was actually going on became clear to me. We were discussing the way others’ reactions to a live show can effect how you feel about it; part of the appeal of being near the front of a Constantines show in Guelph, for example, is that everyone else will be at least as into it as you are (as opposed to some of the shows I’ve been to in Toronto, where it seems like half of the patrons thought they were just going to the bar). But if you’re surrounded by people who are palpably not enjoying it, it can be hard to muster up any enthusiasm yourself.
And that, not embarrassment, is what was going on at work. Rachel Stevens falls into the relatively narrow band of music that I can’t or won’t listen to in public, not because I mind people knowing I like her (when asked what kind of music I listen to by coworkers, I’ve never hesitated to mention her work), but because when actually played, everyone who passes through the room I work in stops and asks what it is and why I of all people like it &etc.
My enjoyment of Stevens’ music is unselfconscious enough that it’s pretty thoroughly ruined when people are stopping me to quiz me about it every two minutes. I need to be able to nod my head in time without people asking me what I’m doing, to sing along every so often without people reminding me I should keep that shit in the shower. It’s kind of unfair that Stevens invites that kind of scrutiny and, say, Prolapse doesn’t, but that’s a whole different kettle of fish. My coworkers think of me as the weird music guy, and so it’s a lot easier to unselfconsciously enjoy Mountains or the Knife than something they would think I wouldn’t like such as Rachel Stevens or Robyn. And few things kill the joy of pop music quicker than constant reflection on why you enjoy it.
Via a healthy dose of non-remembered nostalgia, the death of these two famous supporting players hit me a bit harder than it might’ve otherwise this past weekend.
McGavin wasn’t always the dad from A Christmas Story, but that’s how most of my generation will remember him thanks to TNT’s 24 hour marathons. I’ve always been much more fond of the re-runs of Kolchak and that suit that seemed out-of-place even for a show from the 70s. Any short look into his filmography, though, reveals that McGavin played a plethora of roles in both film and classic television. He will be missed.
Don Knotts, the rubber-faced sidekick to Andy Griffith, the long-suffering landlord on Three’s Company, that kind of frightening/simpering TV repairman from Pleasantville had perhaps a more storied career as a straight physical comedian. While his talents led him to some no-name vehicles (”The Shakiest Gun in the West”?), he was the reason that I never found reason to turn them off.
Seeing as how the only George Michael I’ve referenced in the past few years was a television character who ran a banana stand (there’s always money in the banana stand), I was surprised to remember his namesake as I learned today that he was arrested for drug possession, passed out at the wheel of a car. I find it sad that the only news items about gay 80s music icons these days are about their poor grasp on drugs. Just last year Boy George failed to remember to hide his cocaine after calling the police to report that the prostitute he hired had tried to rob him, and now George Michael has forgotten to wait to get home before taking his klonopin. I think these are just cries for help, while hoping that the general public will eventually forget about George Michael’s bathroom indiscretions and Boy George’s turn on Broadway in Taboo. Get well soon, boys, and don’t let your faces turn in to Pete Burns’.
One of my formative influences, WOXY (Rainman’s “Future of Rock and Roll”), is now an internet-only radio station that has just started running on a subscriber-based model. For $9.95/month, the station offers up a 24-hour, true broadband, CD-quality stream hosted by live DJs. They’re attempting to do this membership drive until March 6th, apparently, and then they’re taking stock of the situation and will make some decisions as to their possible future(s) from there. You can learn more here.
The Green Wing is actually making it over to the States on BBC America late late late at night. Joy Press’ Village Voice review first turned me onto its charms. It’s a hospital comedy, but less fantastical in its humor than NBC’s Scrubs. One of the more interesting aspects of the series, though, is its use of slow-motion / sped-up hallicunatory camera work.
Garth Marenghi is a renowned horror novelist, who had a show filmed in the 80s, but that show was shelved due to short-sighted TV execs. Now, finally, seeing the error of their ways, the execs have called up Marenghi and asked him for the tapes, so that they can finally be shown to audiences that have caught up to Marenghi’s Dark Place. This one’s also a hospital comedy, I suppose, but on a totally different tip. Much of this humor derives from the fact that this stuff was “produced in the 80s.” This one should eventually come to DVD.
The newest show to come my way is the IT crowd. It features one of the members of the Garth Marenghi team, Richard Ayoade. While this show adheres much more closely to the tried-and-true sitcom format, there have been some flashes of brilliance in the show’s first five episodes. As you might expect from the title, it concerns an IT department that frequently is interrupted from their storylines to answer phone calls from employees and promptly dispatch their inquiries by asking them if the machine is actually turned on…
In an announcement on his website, featuring more [sic]’s than a transcription of a seventeen-year-old’s myspace profile, Johnny Rotten has come out swinging against the Sex Pistols’ impending induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Lydon himself seems to think the band has already unleashed its maximum influence on the world through its one album Never Mind the Bollocks, Here Comes the Sex Pistols. Oh, and those lucrative reunion tours in the 90s and 2000s didn’t hurt.
In honor (?) of their impending induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Chris Ott details an e-Bay auction going on that will most likely blow your mind. One of the Sex Pistols’ original “God Save the Queen” 7″’s is on sale and already fetching a tidy sum.
We, the undersigned, totally think Ne-Yo’s “So Sick” is a decent song. Cool, laid-back, catchy, all those kinds of things. The thing is, it’s on the radio all the goddamned time. Seriously, on more than one occasion we have turned from one station playing it to another station that’s also playing it. While we admire this sort of crossover success, it’s getting a little ridiculous.
Spurred on by Brooklyn Vegan’s posting about Lou Reed’s Olympic performance and the closing ceremonies last evening, it seems time to take stock of the Olympic performances. Or at the very least to realize the amazing variety of music put on display there.
There was, of course, Reed, whose performance was curiously described as “symphonic-electronic” (?). Ricky Martin and Avril Lavigne, the former apparently there so that “the female audience can feast their eyes on the Puerto Rican artist who has been annually voted by numerous international fashionable magazines as one of the most ravishing men in the world.” (!). And then there was Anastacia, on the 18th, covering Aerosmith’s “Dream On.” Stylus favorite Kelly Clarkson also performed, as well as Andrea Bocelli. Even Duran Duran and Jamiroquai (to allow the fans to “re-live the rebel atmosphere of the ‘80s” and to see “a captivating mix inspired by street culture, hip-hop, graffiti art and break-dance”, respectively) were tapped to perform.
Perhaps the strangest of all, though, was no less than techno legend Richie Hawtin who scored the opening ceremonies choreography with an “evolving soundscape of sounds and effects to accompany the different movements of [choreographer Enzo] Cosimi’s piece.”
Oh and there were apparently Italians, too. But, sadly for Dom, no Caparezza.
I recently stumbled across the Myspace page of The Sarah Paynes, a punky British band who are a) named after a murdered child, b) claim to hail from the site of a high profile child murder and c) have a concept album divided into separate movements that narrate an unfolding, you guessed it, child murder perpetrated by the hapless infant’s uncle. The second track is called “Guess Who’s Cummin’ To Dinner”.
Hopefully a storm of spittle-flecked tabloid outrage and subsequent appearance on Top Of The Pops or some shit are forthcoming - perhaps someone, somewhere will even use the phrase “we must deprive these men of the oxygen of publicity” - but in the unlikely event that nobody sees the massive commercial upside to this, the tunes are pretty good anyway and you can stream them all on the Myspace page, should your personal code of ethics allow it.
Coolfer points us toward the Strokes’ new video for their song “Heart in a Cage”. Note how the New Yorkers in the video resemble the people who bought the Strokes’ first album and have since moved on. It’s uncanny. Stream it in your favorite lesser-of-three-evils music watching device. [QT, RA, or WM.]
Although it might seem odd and silly at first, when you take into account that she’s a RISD grad and was brought down by the stultifyingly boring design of a fellow cast-member in a team challenge, the fact that Dusted features some of Diana Eng’s favorite records makes a bit more sense.
Anyway, did anyone see the reunion show this past week? I’ll have some of what Guadalupe was having, thanks.
Stylus editor Mike Powell has a nice post about the contemporary classical composer Robert Ashley and his Private Parts album on his blog. Choice Cut:
I was a neurotic child….I thought about death constantly and just assumed that everyone else did, too; someone did me an unfortunate injustice by actually pointing out that No Mike, you are just morbidly obsessive. (Thanks, Mom!) Anyway, the holy men didn’t help, but Samuel Beckett eventually did; I don’t have any of those books I got at that weird shop with the Egyptian figures outside anymore, and eventually, I heard Private Parts.
Frequent Village Voice contributor Kyle Gann had this to say about the album: “When Private Parts first hit the scene, everyone I knew had “The Park” memorized within a month and quoted from it constantly. Ashley’s series of non-sequitur images, fusing into a picture so lifelike that it never quite added up, brought a mystery into music theater that smashed our previous conceptions of the genre.”
I like to listen to this album and remember the Jenny Lewis I know and love from my childhood, from such classics as Troop Beverly Hills with Shelley Long and The Wizard with Fred Savage. I wonder if she still maintains her exquisite balance she demonstrated in Troop Beverly Hills and if she is still friends with the sassy girl best known for her Tina Turner impression and finger wagging acting style. If I could meet Ms. Lewis, I’d really like to know how they expected us to all believe that they knew where the first warp whistle was in Super Mario Bros 3 in the climactic seen of The Wizard. I don’t care how autistic you are, you’re not going to find that without a subscription to Nintendo Power.
I guess I didn’t say much about the album Rabbit Fur Coat itself. I think the following lyric delivery from “Rise Up With Fists” tells much of this album:
are you really that pure, sir?
thought i saw you in vegas
it wasn’t pretty
but she was
Hot on the heels of E-40 from the post below, the Golden Girls have released their newest album. “Mr. Sandman,” “Over There,” and “Miami Beach” are all featured, but the rumors of that collabo with Pitbull seem to be completely unfounded…
It’s fulfilling to see in concert bands that one has reviewed. Faces in liner notes come to life; lyrics become singalongs; music that came from headphones erupts from earsplitting amps. Recently I had the good fortune to see two bands that I’ve reviewed.
Bleeding Through/Every Time I Die/Between the Buried and Me/Haste the Day
Pound SF, San Francisco, 02/17/06
The kids were out in full force for the “bands with long names” tour. I missed Haste the Day, and arrived to the closing arpeggios of Between the Buried and Me. I saw them twice last year, so I wasn’t too miffed. They put on a show worth seeing, though, mind-bogglingly technical yet crunchy enough for the hardcore punkers to dance to. Every Time I Die blew me away. I don’t even like their music, but their live show was the best I’ve seen by any band in a while. They play rather tuneless rock ‘n’ roll-influenced hardcore/metal, but their songs have catchy buildups and breakdowns tailor-made for live performance. Every band member drips with charisma and knows exactly when and where to strike rock god poses. Kids were going nuts. Half the crowd knew every word, and I have never, ever, in years of seeing punk and metal shows, seen so much crowd-surfing. The stage was practically a fountain of kids diving off it every 30 seconds. The show climaxed with the last song, and in front near the stage was literally a wall of kids crowd-surfing. You know it’s a good show when you get water spit on you by multiple band members.
I had come to hear Bleeding Through, whose new album The Truth I reviewed recently. It’s a good, not great, album, and I was curious how it would translate live. The band entered to the jaunty strains of Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues”: “But I shot a man in Reno / Just to watch him die.” Bleeding Through’s image is quite serious, all blacks and tattoos and stylish old-school band t-shirts. Keyboardist Marta walked on, though, in a luminous white dress, and the audience audibly gasped. As her blood-red lips mouthed, “When I hear that whistle blowin’, I hang my head and cry,” the mostly male crowd must have, too. Bleeding Through’s new album is much catchier and more dynamic than its old ones, and as I expected, the new songs made much better live material. But the band got across its old songs, too, by sheer force. Bleeding Through has great stage presence and a furious live show; I got my money’s worth.
Pound SF, San Francisco, 02/20/06
God bless the Pound. All-ages venues are rare, and in punk and metal, where sounds are increasingly cross-pollinating, it’s vital that youngsters and old-school heads mix it up. Crowds are fresher that way, and diverse bills like this are great for introducing people to new music. This night featured tight, concise grindcore from Maryland’s Strong Intention, melodic technical death metal from Montreal’s Neuraxis, Carcass-esque gore-grind from San Francisco’s Impaled, and down ‘n’ dirty crust punk from Sweden’s Disfear. The crowd was accordingly varied, as bullet-belted metalheads rubbed shoulders with geeky Willowtip types, mohawked punkers, and crusty dreadies.
All the bands kicked it, but Neuraxis particularly impressed me. Their set actually wasn’t the best that night (Disfear tore the house down with raging, downtuned d-beat), but it had the most character. Guitarist Steven Henry had left the band at the worst possible time, right before a tour, but the band was soldiering on as a four-piece. What’s more, bassist Yan Thiel was sick, so they were playing with a last-minute replacement. On top of that, singer Ian Campbell’s English wasn’t very good (he’s Quebecois, after all). Despite the odds stacked against it, the band clawed and scraped its way through its set. Lone guitarist Robin Milley practically put on a clinic. It’s tough for one guitarist to move a room, but he did exactly that with urgent, visceral playing. I bought a shirt from him afterwards. He was the nicest guy, exclaiming “Oh, that was you!” when I said I reviewed Neuraxis for Stylus. He gave me a sticker and a flyer for the band’s fine new album, Trilateral Progression. I was chuffed to discover the flyer quoted my review!
Even though the hook (”tell me when to go!”) isn’t near the infection level of say … “Drop It Like It’s Hot,” “Tell Me When To Go” looks like E-40’s biggest, most calculated step into mainstream water. But with Snoop lurking in the mind, it’s easy for us to get a wave of deja vu.
Maybe hyphy is just going to be another niche checked off the rap world’s list, but does anyone think this could be E Feezy’s real, lasting moment in the spotlight?
The video has been making all the rounds, but for those who want to give it another go, judge for yourself here.
Stylus contributor Alfred Soto is not quite sure why he watched North Country. Choice cut:
North Country takes Norma Rae, Karen Silkwood, Erin Brokovich, and Anita Hill, locks them in a Port-A-Potty, then topples it so that they’re covered in piss and shit (fun fact: this happens to one of the film’s hapless woman coal miners!). This is the kind of film in which the men all flash missing teeth, glower around a facefful of coal dust, and shout vituperations like “This bitch wants to take every single swingin’ dick!” so that the audience understands that Sexism Still Exists.
I remember the innocent early 2000s when there were a series of hyped bands that managed to produce unmemorable, but fun music. And then along came The Vines and everybody realized that maybe NME wasn’t the best source for new music. Well, after trying to ride an Asperger’s wave a couple years back to promote a miserable second album, The Vines are giving it one more shot by releasing an album in April. They intend to repeat the success of…wait…”Get Free” was the song. Sorry, I’ve already forgotten about them, except for that face-off battle of the bands with The Hives at the MTV Video Music Awards a few years ago. Guess what? They both lost.
Just reminded of a lovely album today that I haven’t listened to in ages: Terry Melcher’s self-titled 1974 debut. Of course Melcher wasn’t a newcomer to the music scene. Melcher worked with the Beach Boys on Pet Sounds (back-up vocals), produced the Byrds’ “Mr. Tambourine Man” and “Turn, Turn, Turn,” and then turned down Charles Manson after auditioning him. (Manson got his by killing Sharon Tate and Roman Polanski in the house that they were subletting from Melcher.) Oh, did I mention his mom was Doris Day?
Doris appears on Terry Melcher, but most of the collaborating on the record was between Melcher and on-again, off-again Beach Boy Bruce Johnston. The duo wrote only one song for the record together, but their particular genius comes in the smooth re-workings of a number of Dylan tunes (”4th Time Around” and the medley (!) of Melcher’s own “Halls of Justice” and Dylan’s “Positively 4th Street” and “Like a Rolling Stone.”) But to these ears, the standout is the Jackson Browne-cover “These Days,” whose added strings makes the whole thing go down nice and slow.