Sunday, July 31, 2005

from the Sunday Herald

"Was Hiroshima worth it?"

O Yes
O No

I stared at my screen for four hours, then clicked "yes". After all... I'm here, am I not?

"I love my friends, and I also love Dallas, a growing gamma city."

It seems that guys and girls my age need a Steely Dan retrospecticus. I see Powell listening to a best-of, asking who really owns the catalog, and I just have Katy Lied and access to an amazing site. But we're going to have to do this at some point. Or conduct the seventh Ryan Adams interview.

Wait. That's not us.

"Rose Darling" - The heartbreaker chorus. Rose makes squishies in the sheets and suddenly she's "my friend," the most powerfully non-M. McDonald-sung part of the record and then her friendship and the drugs are all, so is it back on for love again?

"Everyone's Gone to the Movies" - Leering, caustically ironic. Got the same sort of pop creep as "Sugar Sugar," funky tom work at the end but it's simple. Is anything simple on a Steely Dan record?

"Your Gold Teeth II" - A perfect intro. Aeolian harp in the right earpiece? This whole record is just exhausted and sweaty. I'm thinking of being back in college, hustling home before sunset. The onset of night was murder on my well-being. I still dread nightfall. But to get to my apartment meant crossing from the university, past the half-speed ancient post office, through a row of tiny bars and bookstores called Northgate. Behind Northgate was a metered lot, deserted until 9 PM. I could see the sunset by staring over Northgate, toward the outlying farmland surrounding the town. Down the road, out of here. I'd cross the lot and walk past the giant luxury dorm, from the parking garage roof of which my Stacey was pelted with water balloons one night. I was pissed at the perps but I was glad it wasn't me. Upon investigation I ran into on-duty Paul, who used to be security at Stacey's complex. It seems really significant. Next was the brick house on the left, with the chain fence holding back two old mutts. Cada noche del fin de semana there'd be at least seven trucks parked for the party. The place held a inmost fascination for me. But I never lingered. Every couple weeks they'd put a couch on the curb for the trashmen. Then: between the decades-old apartment buildings occupied by genius Korean mechanical engineering students and their families. Small lit windows; I'd try to catch a glimpse of the life inside but glimpses were never enough. I kept walking, just 200 paces under old trees and here I am.

I can't talk about the album any more tonight. I'll be listening to it for days now.


Eh. I think someone took my Chimay ales and that JVC Mongolia LP & multiplied them into Ozymandias. Trans-cultural relevance does that to him. If it wasn't recorded for the benefit of the fatherland, or before 1952, he has little use for it. Really, I feel embarrassed for the guy, yelling at EW or spilling Grape Nuts on my shoulder as he reads the latest rockist roundup.

We all need hobbies - no, crafts.

A trackback, hauled up and snapped on the shore like the old days:

I am so relevant and delineating.

Durtmal Saihan.

The oversprouted boy running this donkey show seems to show no interest in reading my typed missives. An introduction is in order. I testify to the dead sounds. I cradle the husks before the hands of history inter them.

Your huzzahs are eulogies as soon as they're typed. Heroes stacked upon heroes. The conquests, the banners fringed with the runes of your id, its expressed desires, the jewels torn so dearly from the opposite side, only to remain ensconsed in secret velvet.

Holy and bare! Sacred, solemn, flat before the fiery winds! Great King Solomon wrote songs, thousands upon thousands, yet it is his proverbs, Christ-odes, and ecclesiastics that were spared the dunes. Do not think you are immune to the Juggernaut-wheels of time. All the élite escaped the Titanic, and they are dead now.

affection drink & food

When are we going to stop talking about the revolution of liking lots of songs? Have we sufficiently convinced ourselves that mainstream music holds many of the same surprises as that off-the-radar stuff? When are we going to cease introducing a band with a defense against the backlash, or even an acknowledgement of the backlash at all? Some of us didn't witness the same bands receive the same treatment in the same ways, cos we talk about these things. In bars and cars, not just threads.

I did this once, in my Supremes piece on Stylus. But talking about my personal history with the song - for which Seconds is designed - would've been laughable without capturing some of the shock at suddenly loving a group I'd been bugged by when I was younger. If I wrote reviews - and man, they are not letting me for good reasons - I assure you, I'd cut that stuff out forthwith.

In the meantime, the Hala Strana reissue is fantastic, esp. when they forsake drone alone for the E. European folkssongs. And Last Visible Dog got it to me in like three days, instead of the written week. Sa-lute!

If we could replace the gone-gone Michael Powell & slot Mike Powell in there... Yeah. It'd be a big start.

Saturday, July 30, 2005


Here're my entries for the upcoming 50s article on Stylus...

Chuck Berry – Too Much Monkey Business

For a guy in sight of his thirties, Mr. Berry knew how to stir the current of the nascent youth movement. But he saved his bluest fire to gift the G.I.s. Rock's greatest songwriter is at peak form here, committing hit-and-runs with the gamut of working-class masculine hassles. He’s fired from the mill at the track’s start, and ends things at beck ‘n’ call in the filling station. His fiercest delivery goes toward education (“Same thing every day, gettin’ up, go to school/No need for me complaining, my objection’s overruled”), but it’s all bluff. What Bandstander cared about Yokohama? When the salesman “says you can buy it, go on try it, you can pay me next week,” and Mr. Berry lets out a dismissive “Ahhh!” – I get shivers. For a guy who specialized in writing the same (albeit nifty) song six or seven times, this is a unique creation, with the possible exception of the equally-massive “Brown-Eyed Handsome Man”. The stutter, zest, and rhyming – not to mention Chuck’s skin tone – would make you guess ur-rap, but really, any lyricist/showman in the rock sphere owes him a shout-out.

Lloyd Price – Stagger Lee

Before your Godards, Mellvilles and Tarantinos, there was Lloyd Price. Leading his swing band on a tour of Asian U.S. military posts, he’d re-enact the gangster lyrics of the blues classic “Stagger Lee,” casting grunts in the various parts. When he got stateside, he decided to cut the song with a brass section. And the result? Simply effing perverse, y’all. Crooning the intro (“The night was clear and the moon was yellow/And the leaves came tumbling down…”), which doubles as the fake-out, he tears into the sordid tale of guns, gambling, and dead husbands. Never had outlaw culture been so explicitly and boldly celebrated on the pop charts: horns punctuating the galloping rhythm section, a mixed-sex choir who just wail “Go, Stagger Lee!” at the top of their reverent lungs. Price himself was on the right side of unhinged, directing the madness with yelping aplomb. Others have tried to capture this kind of magic. James Brown’s funk lockstep was, surprisingly, too reserved to evoke, and Nick Cave’s funless turn on Murder tests the bounds of human patience. Lloyd’s is still the best, and Billy had it coming.

Johnny Burnette Trio – Honey Hush

Before he was a crooner of top-selling mush in the early 60s, Johnny led one of the nastiest rockabilly groups of the Fifties. All the dangers that fellow Memphian Elvis Presley implied were brought out in this one song, originally cut by Big Joe Turner a few years earlier. “Honey Hush” is a triumph of the low-end theory; Paul Burlison’s stinging Telecaster is practically buried by a bass-toned boogie axe, which only adds to the song’s swaggering narration. The man who would later make a mint singing “You’re Sixteen” spends the whole track yelling at his woman to calm down and get back in the house, punctuating things with a gleeful red-zone howl. The me-against-the-city antics of the Dead Boys as well as the relationship-rock of X have three spiritual forefathers in the JB3. “Come in this house, stop all that yakety yak/Come in here woman, stop all that yakety yak/Don't make me nervous, ‘cos I'm holdin' a baseball bat.” Whoa. Does “The Whisper Song” sound any better now?

San Antone.

I'm watching the Austin Music Network's broadcast of 1940s country music shorts, produced by Warner. Bob Wills' "San Antonio Rose" prints the lyrics on the screen, so the folks in the cinema can sing along. And damn if I wouldn't love to hear a downhome audience singing

Moon in all your splendor, know only my heart
Call back my Rose, Rose of San Antone.
Lips so sweet and tender, like petals falling apart.
Speak once again of my love, my own...

You pull the word "own" up, you see, so you don't get a resolved quality, but a yearning one. Stunning.

license to kill

Just picked up a Jandek ticket for me and my girlfriend. It's on, baby.

The hermit-worship inherent in the last few entries ought to cease soon.

Friday, July 29, 2005


Falun Dafa interrogation re-enactment photos, anyone? Complete with blurring?

tower over, tower over

Oh, my... this is terrifying:

List of songs whose title does not appear in the lyrics

But here is the cream of pathology. Be sure to check out his section devoted to interviews with hair metal video extras, his Gibbonsian synopsis of COPS episodes, and his self-described Jackson Family "guilty pleasure". Impressive in scope and terrifying in focus. Kind of like admiring Ed Gein's shademaking abilities.

"Whorehouse of Screams" = "Marquee Moon" of the '90s

Yes, comrades, I went out for the Nevermore album and came back with other discs entirely.

PAZZJOP CHOIR: "Anything terribly obscure?"
REVENANT: "Today, no, not this week."
CHOIR: "That's OK. Did you get the notice? M.I.A."
R.: "I'll put her in the 13th slot, I swear."
CHOIR, receding into niche of R.'s self-persecuting mind: "Yooooo can dooooo betterrrr...."

The tally ends up as:

Au Pairs, Sense and Sensuality. Remastered, and I think the tracklist is jiggered with (the liners refer to "the album's opening lines" being contained in "Don't Lie Back").

Lou Reed, Metal Machine Music. Well. Whatever you've heard about the record, it's likely true. It's hard to misrepresent four sides' worth of feedback. And I swear to you that in Reed's live manipulations of howlbuzz, I can pick out snips of melody. Whether it's enough to make a meal of is another matter. But I'm betting that this is more than an infamous middle finger.

the Books, Lost and Safe. Original lyrics by Books = prog Red Krayola. Interesting sideways step, but when they sing ghostily along with the found voices of "Be Good to Them Always," all intrusion is welcome.

Neu!, Neu! 2. Now is the time where Beta or some such fellow says, "Weird. I just wiped my ass with the liners to Neu! 75." Here's where the men of Neu! invented the remix to pad an underfunded LP, exhausted each other, and refused to include basic track info for the record. Twats.

Dylan? No, I think I brought that with me.

Höömii and Urtin Duu: The Folk Music Traditions 1. A Japanese offering of trad Mongolian singing styles (more regularly known astuva) from JVC. It's all quite lovely; not only is the reedy throat-singing sufficiently evocative in its texture, the natural singing is rich and weighty. Not a normal purchase for me, but I want to get back into mixes. This should work well for mood.

As will Elvis Presley's Million Dollar Quartet, since there are 41 tracks (!), running from five seconds of "Too Much Monkey Business" to 4:37 of "That's Where Your Heartaches Begin". El and Jerry Lee and Carl (Cash was there for the poster-perfect picture, maybe for a couple tracks, since lost) sing just as the tracks are suggested amongst themselves, meaning that we hear all the sweet spots from a range of country, r&b, and gospel. Great for interludes or leadoffs.

Brutal Juice, Mutilation Makes Identification Difficult. I have this somewhere, but a back-up is nice. It's slightly different from the other copy: "The Vaginals" bears the less-confrontational title "Ugly on the Inside". And the back cover is a bloodied Craig instead of a bloodied toilet.

It was threatening storms this afternoon when I completed my purchase at Waterloo. The rain began as soon as I hustled into my steamy car; first in hard pellets, then in a muggy downpour. All the while I'm sitting at a stoplight with the volume way up. As soon as Craig fires up the transitional "Hide behind your word," I look out my window and see a cluster of trees bent sideways. Sheets of rain are nailing cars, almost horizontally. It was a perfect natural picture of aggression, so suited for the song that I started laughing. Hoping to extend the synchronicity - and also because the highway was P-A-P-A-Y-A-S with slow traffic, I hooked a right and wended through upper-middle class neighborhoods, all kookily decorated, the streets pepper'd with branches. My tires were kicking up waves; it was magic. Haven't had anything like it.

I made my way to lunch, cutting through the city. On 15th a gaggle of suspendered firefighters were clearing out a ton of tree debris from the road. Two girls were watching them from the porch, shielded from the rain. The Books were on. "It will rain. It will rain."

Close enough.

Ty Ruth and Babe Dempsey

Finally got around to watching Buster Keaton's College. "Wahoo Sam" Crawford, who hit more triples than any man in major league baseball, plays Keaton's baseball coach. After Buster's inept bookworm gets laughed off the field (he passes two baserunners, all before the sac fly is even caught), Sam kicks him in the butt.

And there's the scene where he poses as a "colored waiter," which is relatively innocuous. All in all, a winning film though. Keaton's magic on the mic 'n' all that. And it's pretty obvious that the man is cut; look at those arms and thighs! This was a man well-trained for the fall. Were my girlfriend alive in the 20s, I'm sure he'd be her silent celluloid crush.

And judging by this film, dudes were stealing road signs for their dorms back in the 1920s. So I'm part of a hallowed chain.

Then a tear fell up out my eye/Then I called her my sunshine

Oh... watched the Compleat "Trapped in the Closet" on VH1 last night with some co-workers. We extended break ourselves to catch the last couple chapters. Totally worth it. I was the only... er, lightly-pigmented man in the room, but everyone had the same reaction: that was crazy. The gonzo story absolutely benefits from the performances and allows the track (borderline-monotonous in audio alone) to bed the vocals properly. One of those things I'd probably watch every few months or so, & now I have to go back to the tracks to appreciate how he switches between characters.

Caught Changing: She doesn't seem to mind!

The fossor poked me with his walking stick and handed me the following phillipic:

Your reviews are too long. You and your kind. You're not writing a college essay, so get out of that reference-frame*. It's an informed reaction to a piece of music, and a thesis ought to be one of the last arrows you pull from your critical quiver. Sometimes a piece of music really is so easily pegged that a few score of words will do the trick. Like that Heptones debacle, boy. Or anything about which you have a muddled reaction. And if the record is particularly odious, you are not indentured toward a polemic totale. Dismiss it and get on; bullet-fast derision is the surest form of self-security, anyway. Andrew W.K. comes off well when he causes strokes in
[there is a splotch here from the turkey stroganoff; I assume it was the closest thing he had to Wite-Out on his futon] wants to be "nerdy" anyway, you're getting too old for fetishes. De-imprint yourselves to your everlasting salvation!

I walked back to the guest room to protest, but he was fast asleep. You just can't put 100-word essays online. Readers assume you're engaging the record in a trivial manner, or you lack the descriptors or (heaven forfend) the musical reference points to really shake the album down to the beams. I could dismiss Annie in about 200 words, but that doesn't cut it in a medium awash in the standard 400-800. But if I were to write that much (and I could if pressed), I'd come off as quite against the album, whereas it's only left me tepid.

I don't want to dump on her. She seems like a sincere person and there's the Boyfriend Thing. That's why I have Empire Primitive, where my only reader gives me food-stained feedback.

The old coot.

By the way, the newest Killers single is just sick. The only one thus far which deserves to survive.

*I think he meant "frame of reference," likely he thought it a better turn of phrase.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

yu squeeze my panhandle

"It was only four tracks on the machine, but I was picking up twenty from the extra terrestrial squad." - Lee Perry

I bought my first album based on producer the other day. I'm not sure I'll do it again.

The album is Party Time, the Heptones' 1977 LP that brought them a great deal of European and American acclaim. I know... we're so gracious. But Perry puts on a real show for the guests, taking standard reggae tropes and just plain melting them: adding wobble and fizz to nearly every instrument, flanging guitar until the rhythm separates from the melody, with the latter peaking and falling soothingly each bar. There's hardly any sense of the decay that infuses his pioneering dub work - except for some vocal echoes, maybe - instead, it's a rolling carnival of spirited trad reggae filtered through some choice effects.

The problem comes with the lyrics. I gotta say, in the spirit of Marvin, that if these songs raised anyone's consciousness to the plight of the poor, than hurray. Obviously it did, else everyone's been using it as a party disc. But the words are pretty rote declarations on the whole: let's have a party, let's be good to each other, etc. A particularly grievous offender is "Mr. President," which makes the POTUS out to be a heartless totem of suffering. Regardless of any particular president's failings, it's a bit myopic to rail against the kind of straw man the Heptones have set up here. And lucky for them Perry wrapped 'em a big one in "Storm Cloud," cos they play it way too smooth to really effect a pull.

This is a minority thing, although I'm not doing anything brave. It's all I can do not to switch the station when I hear Mr. Gaye rhyme "dying" with "crying," let alone prescribe 'love' as the panacea to all our social and political ills (& dropping the puzzling line "who are they to judge us, simply cos our hair is long" - even Steinbrenner wouldn't complain about that, Marvin). What stays me, of course, is the sultry production, his own creation: the party-time interludes, the languid sax, the high harmonies. Makes me swallow all the rest, like good pop does*. And so it is for the Heptones.

This is pretty early in my ownership, mind, but Marcus Garvey didn't take long at all. Big ups to Lee's house band for making this record worthwhile.

*the rest of the record is a sight better, word-wise, and dead-on musically. Just so you know I'm not a total jerk-off.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Geology 307: Dinosaur World

There is a goldfish in the living room.

Richard X not Annie

Occasionally, when I'm in a nether-disposition, I call up HomeschoolBlogger and read some of the latest posts. Sometimes there's a particularly funny entry, in a Stepford-mom-in-the-lead-bomb-shelter sort of way; other times, there are heartening tales of children whose mothers - through trial, doubt, patience, and love - effect little increases in their brood's zest for learning. I'll read about a mom whose son (failing English in his public school) helps his sister look up and learn antonyms. And I will tear up. I shit you not.

Also... it would behoove you to read Matt Weiner's Feb. piece on Jimmy Webb. One of the best music articles I've read all year.

rest in peace, Boss Skinhead

Laurel Aitken, the Godfather of Ska.

I knew the Ruts before I knew Mr. Aitken. How sad is that? God rest you, sir.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Hala Strana

I ate at Mr. Gatti's Pizzeria today, reading my baseball stat history book & watching highlights and lo-lights (SLAMS and STOMPS for guys unlike me) from the 2004 X-Games. The dining area is pretty cozy, with everything turned toward the TV. Coupled with the deep green paint, I felt like I was eating the loneliest family meal ever. Cozy!

Just bought Hala Strana On Line at Last Visible Dog, solely off two mp3 samples and a John Darnielle review of another album from Hala Strana's Stephen R. Smith. It's a reissue, and I'm trying to inject the collection here. The vast majority of my music is pretty après-guard - not that it ought to be crazily different, but I feel some difference is called for.

In related news, Stephen A. Smith is still the worst on-air personality since Colin Quinn.

THIS is a webpage via A&M

I Am a Cinematographer: A Power Pop Cover Project never took off. Pity. Check organizer Merlin Mann's wishlist to think about what might've been. Or buy the record and find you just can't top/parallel half the LP.

Actually, some of the most mutually degrading experiences of my life occured while playing that album, all in the span of two weeks. Add Bowie's greatest and Daft Punk's Homework to that list, too. Indefensible.

was hoping for a National Front shavehead

British rocker dies after headfirst stage jump

Sherry's brother, Brendan, is also in the band and witnessed the accident.

"My brother was quiet and unassuming in his everyday life," he said. "On stage he was like a caged animal set free and he died doing what he did best."


im'a beat your landlord up

Overheard on the radio: commercial for local apartment property. Parody of Ying Yang Twins' "Wait (The Whisper Song)". Key repeated line: "Wait 'til you see our rates. Wait 'til you see our rates".

Monday, July 25, 2005

advanced search "the bravery"

Some of the things I love:

MUSIC!MUSIC!MUSIC! My bed, My shoes, having a laugh/messing about, minis, bright colours, guys with style, confidence, THE BRAVERY, winding people up, a hot bath, kit kat berry, MY IPOD - TRIXIE, GU Choc desserts, stilletoes, fishnets, seeing the stereophonics live, johhny depp in his pirate outfit, gareth barry the sexy mo fo, NEW YORK NEW YORK , the thrill of the chase, working hard and getting summat you desire, Florida - specially melbourne beach, a nice tan, my chinchillas-vodka and martini, learining new things about people and life, sex and the city, naked beaches, The baggies staying up in the prem!!!my cd collection, villa, my fluffy coat, listening to loud music and driving in my car while the sun is shining, sel and i out on the town, chris parkins' hair, glitter, bed head hair products, floaty skirts, chemistry, Individuality, compliments, SAM sexy ENDICOTT, doing a favour for someone and making their day, going fishing with my dad, discovering new places, seeing my nephew ollie, the crazy cat and me on a rampage THE DANCE MAT, a good bra, the sea, bagging bargains, being a yam yam (of course), the butterflys u get when you see someone you fancy, dancing like a mong, ameretto & coke, a nice smile, and obviously being in love!

...if you watch the video for "Fearless" you can see a band performing an admittedly cool watersports stunt while performing a terrible song. You cannot do both, you see: viscosity and displacement do not allow for it. The Go-Go's were performing with a backdrop, so that doesn't count.

at Java Cafe on Metric: a great sunny-side-up egg sandwich

"Fifteen years ago, the Christian music world looked like Christian games today," Bagley said. "It wasn't until the Christian music companies came together as a group and focused on quality that they were able to achieve success."

I'm just going to let that hang there while you define the usually untricky nouns "quality" and "success".

Anyone remember Bible Adventures for NES and GameBoy? I do. I DO AND I CAN'T UNDO IT. Or Sunday Funday? That's more of a CCM parallel: copying two-year-old trends and selling them to an unaware populace.

See this? I do one CCM article and I'm swimming in the stuff. I gotta get out.

Billboard Bits: Jandek

It's all worth it just to read Billboard Bits: West Memphis 3, Bon Jovi, Jandek. DELICIOUS.

Once the tickets arrive at this magical electronic store, I will be praying to score one. If not, there's always New Orleans.

it's bill and erik

Carson tutors Gore

big ol' bear once

secret shame: I wasn't impressed with I See a Darkness.

You are so uplifting. I love to see you smiling.

It's funny how Sho-Nuff of Da Back Wudz gets most animated rapping about how his upholstery attracts women. He switches the style up good on those lines, maybe his best ones.

And there you go:

Staff page. In six months I'll ask to put a top ten on there.

don't look a day over fast cars and freedom

The piece is up. Turned out well. All praises due to Todd Most High, who suggested the piece and put up the pics. I had suggested this, but his cut to the heart of the article better. Title nicked from the Soul-Junk song.

So I heard this incredible song on the radio this morning, coming home from work. It is by Rascal Flatts. I was afraid of this even during the song, as the high nasal tenor strides, desperate to be heard over riotously ordered and insistent sessionmen. I testify that upon first listen, it works. The near-rhymes crafted are just stunning:

I see a dust trail following an old red Nova
Baby blue eyes and your head on my shoulder
Wait, baby don't move, right there it is
A t-shirt hanging off a dogwood branch
That river was cold but we gave love a chance
Yeah, to me
You don't look a day over fast cars and freedom
That sunset, riverbank, first time feeling

"You don't look a day over fast cars and freedom"! What an effing amazing line! This is true songcraft, and this is when the indentured-songwriter system yields real ducats.

I believe there was also a part where he deviated from the melody to yell "there it is" or something like that. For all the world, I promise you, it was a soul music aside. This is exciting stuff - much better than the dreck of "Bless the Broken Road" and Lonestaresque "I Melt", and I'll be waiting for the next spin. All this from the country group with the most ridiculously-image-marketed frontman. Watch for the "Bless the Broken Road" live performance on CMT. I think he has a soul patch.

I had a CRASS t-shirt up until a few months ago; I don't know what became of it. I bought it at Buffalo Exchange, a downtown vintage clothing store - a fact which will always dog me bitterly.

Sunday, July 24, 2005


Edited my CCM piece; sent it to Burns. Next up: a Seconds for Text.

Now: work at the warehouse, including some of our last foosball games ever. Truly the end of an era.

slot 3: John Cale, "Big White Cloud"

John Cale, Welshman of sorts
Person of course
Not to be confused with
Velvet or lace or the keeper's face
A past as a sartyr
Disguised as the mad hatter
Who would believe him now?
-Garland Jeffreys

Lost in the excitement of buying records again. I can finally afford it; now that August is half-rent, I'm going P-A-P-A-Y-A-S. As I mentioned, now I own the reissue of Cale's post-Velvets debut Vintage Violence. And I bought it purely for its first single, "Big White Cloud".

A little pull from Cale's viola, heavy in analog atmosphere, lead us in. A stroke of the piano keys, soon answered by a echo-soaked snare, which anchors the whole windswept piece. The pictures one can create from a soundscape like this... it steals your words. As an arranger and producer (along with Lewis Merenstein, behind the boards for Phil Keaggy, Mama Cass, Gladys Knight... and, oh yeah, ASTRAL WEEKS), Cale's in top form here, letting the rolling piano ground the song, giving the vocals space to breathe, and keeping the kitwork to the bare minimum. What might've been just an overcooked prom theme becomes a tribute to the Welsh countryside. When on a Velvets records would you've heard Lou and John singing "Oh, I love it/Yes I love it/Oh, I love it so"? Love was for the rodeo, for the rain, for an hourly rate, but never for the pastoral.

VU had to be united in spirit to create their body of work. But a listen to Vintage Violence tips us to Mr. Cale's classic romanticism (romantic classicism), and a cheekiness that in his former band would've been ratcheted into sneers.

fun fact: the song "Please" references the island of Trinidad. In 1972, producer Lewis Merenstein would find himself helming an Association project titled Waterbeds in Trinidad!


As a KANM alumnus, I want to big up the folks for their annual "hey-it's-KANM" article. I was music director for a year and a terrible station manager my last semester. On the whole, it was a fantastic experience, even if almost every DJ was consumed by tuneless pale-rock preening by the end.

So much emorock and pop/rock that would be laughed off a major label, but got accepted because the song titles were quirky. Kids walking around with Anniversary and Rilo Kiley t-shirts and styled hair like "I'm the man". Big fish in an ignorant pond. New York worship. Nice daddy's girls taking snaps at the wine parties. A girlfriend who guested a show soph year with the token "world-music-is-more-legit" chick. So much Stereolab. The token black guy, too smart 'n' paralyzed for anyone's good. A confortable couch in the studio for my dad to sink in and nap through my parents' visits. Playing Text to death. Thinking Ben Folds Five was the end-all freshman year. Lying about sending mixes to label promoters. Not on purpose. Watching Soundman on Cinco de Mayo. Meeting my girlfriend of 1.5 years after the previous station manager dicked her around, finding her a superior specimen to any star-struck smalltalk rich-girl aspirants. Always a cookie to eat somewhere. And the Brutal Juice album I stole.

Ah, times.


It will happen, probably: Once he closes the chapter on his current storylines, Daniel Dumile will authorize a box set of everything? Madvillian, Geedorah, MF. What'll it be like? Will it add up to an aural comic book? Or will it show us who DD really is? Not a big MF listener myself, so who knows. I'm more drawn into the career-as-concept plot which takes a lot of balls to declare and even more skill to pull off. I can wait.

i know you're used to sixteen or more

What does this mean, this depth of Kelly Clarkson love? "Behind These Hazel Eyes" is much better, without the trappings of fourth-generation Nick Zimmer. She purrs, she wails, she lies squalling in the mud - wait, that's the video. But it comes across anyway. The online community's borne much "SUBG" love for months now; if I see her at number 1 in some stray "indie" chart at the end of the year, I'm making her a mix CD or something.

I'm hungry! And we need a fourth roommate. And I'm still poking around Game Theory.

hot licks and rhetoric

Joe S. Harrington was right, after all: six months after buying, I'm ready to acknowledge that Steely Dan's Katy Lied is a phenomenal album. We'll get into particular songs, later, I'm sure.

Also: Lee Perry's nuclear warpings in backing of the Heptones' Party Time. Who listens to a party record on headphones? Benevolently wicked, Scratch is.

to Ruthie, age fourteen

There's something about Blastitude that doesn't depress me about the sheer volume of music out there.

I have more.

There's a used-record shop on Lamar called Cheapo Discs, and it is phenomenal. Rather than sorting every disc alphabetically - which is prohibitive cos of the sheer volume - they take each day's acquisitions and place them in big wooden bins entitled "Monday's" "Tuesday's" etc. The CDs that make it to the end get properly sorted. It's almost a Cheapo trademark, that clip-clip-clip sound of people tapping CDs forwards in search of plastic gold. I myself am no slouch at the clip-clip-clip, and every weekend finds me running about the store frantically.

It's a rush to find a CD you'd for which you'd been warpathing. And often times I'll be stopped by a disc whose to-me-unknown promise yields tremendous treasures. Like a couple of the first Guided By Voices records. Most recently, the Heptones' Party Time.

But crawling through the wreckage of failed records takes its psychic toll - do not doubt this. It's trying to extricate surviving soldiers from a blood-matted battleground, tho' I feel compelled to say: without the dire consequences. But man, to see how many GBV-alikes there really were - in spirit but not execution - it gets a bit daunting to think you could ever have a good grip on American musical history. And it's rough to acknowledge that, yeah, it's tough to block out yr ideas and visions and make a good record - which is sort of an odd conviction to dwell upon, because right now, I'm just listening to music without making more. Other people making bad music shouldn't bother me except as a daunted consumer, yes?

Well, I love Blastitude, mailed out of Chicago but accessed on the Interzone. This, in particular, makes me sit up and say "YES, THIS IS WHERE I AM HEADING." Coupled with Jack Rabid's The Big Takeover, and you have a couple of affable guides into the depths of worldrock. And the sinking feeling of eternal lag-behind is tempered by the idea that what you have will always be enough, really, even if you decide to acquire more. Sort of like holiness, really, tho' I feel compelled to say: with decidedly less glorious consequences.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

us fish must

Resurrection pick this weekend: Subhumans UK, From the Cradle to the Grave. We've had punk rock opeeas before, but a punk rock suite? A sixteen-minute track ridiculing yr typical Brit's progression from birth to dole to death? It dragged the first time I heard it. But while it's lyrically callow in places, the band just lets it all fly at the end for some great rock interplay.

Rest of the album's a gas, too.

this shirt is pajamas

Number of obscene words in 50 Cent's "Candy Shop"*: 4
Number of obscene words in Gwen Stefani's "Hollaback Girl": 37

*if you count "nympho," which my local pop station does.

Friday, July 22, 2005

world classic big national high attracts dear graphics

Bought four albums today:

as promised:
Hot Buttered Soul

John Cale, Vintage Violence
Can, Delay 1968
Annie, Anniemal

The last one was used, actually; found it at the last minute since the store was teeming with new Annies to spark the senses. I checked out Engineers (pretty/pretty average) and Mathematics (dilemma: nasty/passable Ghostface sex rhyme on the hott track, killer break-out-the-almanac Ghost rhyme on the And1 filler track). I mean, check the lyrics for "Real Nillaz," and witness Ghost all alone on a frigging mountain.

Not there: Mirror, Robbie Basho, Stockholm Monsters. Which is good, cos the apartment charges rent.

Went to Baby Acapulco's for a last dinner with the third shift. Drank to float, and for once, the plan went through. MFer showed up late & disbursed bootlegged DVDs like a jolly ADD Santa. He gave me Million Dollar Baby, even though I've never ever ordered a boot. It might've been a trial deal; I was too busy finishing off the last Dos Equis lager.

this godless endeavor

I am so stoked about the new Nevermore album. Comes out in four days. May even submit a review to Stylus if it moves me.

Who wants to play pool?

slow retreat to Detroit

Just a reminder for me to read this later.

all-maintenance volleyball


Rationality over credibility, and endurance over immediacy. It's the boringest movement ever, but let's give it a go.

Stacey's coming into town tomorrow, and I promise you that by the end of today, provided I wake up before 8 PM, I will own Isaac Hayes' Hot Buttered Soul.

the combination D-E-F

How the hell Joe Simpson can sit there and yammer about his daughter's Christian upbringing is beyond me. Ditch 6 is for hypocrites, Dad. Note that he's a lot quieter when it comes to Ashlee, as she's marketed as the edgier one. Seriously, expounding wondrously on your firstborn's engorged bust is a Concorde ticket to afterlife comeuppance. Sure, market yr daughter's sexuality, but do Brad a favor and keep the board notes face-down on the fucking table.

chipmunks not dead

Here's the video for the best hip-hop single I've heard this year. I hated the Twista song cos Kanye let the sample get away from him, but this!

There's a remix with Nas and Slim Thug, who gives me the distinct feeling that the Houston hype is at its acme. Haven't heard it, but on paper it's giddiness.

I cannot imagine any greater waste of time than the I Love Music forums. It's bad enough, I'm sure, that I'm giving myself free rein to my opinions here. But shit, now I gotta establish my reputation or die amongst the thousands? In text? It's utterly numbing to offer or receive minute adjustments to the arguments of ASCII spectres. Who's heard of this new record? Now everyone has. What's the new canon for 1973? Endless debate.

But I guess a million blogs with comments is pretty much the same thing. But I'm gunning for something else. I want you to understand me, I want you to know how I view music, as sophomoric as that reads.

I want to impress stray readers. I want my friends to root for my literary development. I want to impart a touch of the joy inherent in internalizing a brave, imposing, icy, vulnerable, sexy work of music. I want bad music - dishonest, insulting, retrodden - to suffer, wither and die.

I don't want to make a personality out of this blog; the transmission from self to page ought to be enough, and anyone who reads this should know I'm fighting embellishment, even if I've already failed a couple times. I get jealous of music writers with posses, whether I respect their work or not. And until I start creating, I'll always be a bit wary of my motives and perspective. Criticism - and you'll forgive me for not getting into it here - is art, but it is often the least of the arts. Except, perhaps, for scrimshaw.

I didn't intend to get this far, but it's what happened. Not a John Darnielle post by any stretch; but then again, mine never are.

"You Gonna Love Me"! Man!

Depp slaps Clay

The Zach Braff-directed video for Gavin Degraw's "Chariot" is remarkably self-aware. Am I supposed to believe that this is not how the seemingly WB-destined got his start? At least basically? Minus the rims, I imagine this is how a solo artist gets strapped to the screaming skycoffins that are the Big Five.

The Mariah track is much better for you. Even if the remix is kind of blah. "Fantasy": top 100 song, all time. When you see the stuff that surrounds it, you will understand better, I hope.

M.I.A.'s Yahoo! Launch exclusive video for "Galang" has jumped from 810 to 12, largely because Pitchfork staffers just made a run to the Safeway for some new Kleenex. It's amazingly forgettable, her rap and flow (a reference to "purple haze" on the chorus? really?), and the only truly amazing part is when she and her hypewoman ditch the flow for some wordless pentatonic singing. Part of the amazement, of course, stems from the contrast with the utterly pedestrian hip-hop first half, but a second listen proved the singing just as enchanting.

Rockist? I dunno. They did the leanback toward the end, which was greatly appreciated.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

slot 2: Jimmy James and the Vagabonds, "Ain't No Big Thing"

Just because the backing singers sound like they're sighing the title. 'Tis a rare pop track that shrugs at break-ups.

I bought the Jamie Lidell album, but I'm a bit put off by the slickness of the production. Does that make me a soulist? I like my soul grimy, or at least with studio warmth baking every element.

That's all I really have for this track. It's perfect, it's a nap in the backseat, it's a sunset crawling through the city. Ain't no big thing.

du-rag divas

Ah, I forgot... if you head over to Fox News (unfortunately one of three sites not blocked at work, and the only news website available), you can view a video entitled "Punks For Christ". It's so good. You don't even know. While you learn absolutely nothing other than Austin Williams plays good defense, it's worth it for the five seconds' worth of worship footage.

Look, I have no idea if Graffiti is a valid church or not. Based on two minutes of video, it seems that it caters to nice kids who want to stand out in a crowd, with a crowd. No mention of any ministry or outreach, just the same hip/freak/self-absorbed kids trying to shoehorn a respectable life into a lifestyle that is almost by definition individual-centered. I'll take Revolution Summer over stale hippies any day. Sometimes you have to give up a part of your comfort if you really want to be involved in something. For the Apostle Paul, that meant adopting the customs and proprieties of the people to whom he was preaching (as far as he was not led to sin). Why? Not to make people feel better first, but to preach the gospel. And if Graffiti is reaching people with the gospel, awesome. Otherwise, it's laughably self-negating.

I know no one cares about this subject. But the video is great.

slot 1: the Choir, "Sled Dog"

Like Bo Diddley slogging to Stalingrad.

There's an earthiness to the Choir's approach, especially in the latter half of their career, that distinguishes them from the overcast theatrics of the Cocteau Twins, Slowdive, and My Bloody Valentine. Which is a bit ironic, considering how the band is firmly ensconsed in the Christian music firmament. But that has nothing to do with their keen eye.

"Sled Dog" was recorded in the winter, which has to account for both the subject matter and the sound of the track: slow scrapes of distortion and jags of screaming electricity howl above a trotting rock 'n' roll animal groove. And then, that still small voice: Derri Daugherty's high tenor, warm & forgiving & reliant. Where else are you going to get this?

"You don't have to whip my hide/I'd love to take you for a ride." Yes, the whole song is told from the animal's perspective, and one could read a dominant/submissive text into here. On some level - namely, the Christian's call to serve others above himself - this would be true. And honestly - for honesty is what I peddle here; why else would I inaugurate this best-tracks-ever conceit with a CCM band - the song is quite sexy in its quiet confidence, its set of boundaries to selfless love. I'll give you everything, but you must make me feel worthy of it, the Choir seems to say. "I'm a sled dog/Never tether me to the pole/Put something in my bowl/I'm a sled dog/I'm your sled dog."

If you believe that great music can be found anywhere, and yet you'd sooner pick up a Philippine kumbia compilation than frequent your local Christian bookstore... well... what is that? Disdain or conscience or reputation or whatever; I suggest you try 1996's Free Flying Soul on for size. A band of men, writing songs about all the things that right manhood entails: (non-sexual) impotence, raising moppets, leaving the family, wanting to feel accomplished. It all sounds very banal, until you crack the case to see the shimmer in the details.

Run, Allie

There's a great interview with the men of Dinosaur
in the AV Club. Each man talks in proportion to the amount of angst still sewn up in his bones. Here's my favorite question:

AV: Did you feel strongly enough about getting together and playing these old songs that you would have done it regardless of the money or any other factors?

Lou Barlow: I would have done this reunion, if those guys were up for it, no matter how much money was involved. The deciding thing is not the money. To go out and play with those guys? That's just crazy—I would do that no matter what. I'd do that for a benefit.

J Mascis: Probably not.

Also, look for the darts aimed at some of their alt.peers. Refreshing to see Nirvana/Pixies drop a couple pegs. But don't lose heart, Kurt! Your voice is "fucking caramel".

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

review of a panhandler strumming guitar

I guess I was hoping for mournful transcendence, sorry slummer that am I. He kept strumming the same two chords on a nylon-strung slack-tuned acoustic and singing "grow the world, grow the world". Right before the light changed he switched to "Benson's* great/UT needs Benson to win". It was light and calculated and devoid of extratextual signifiers. No of course I didn't give him any money, but it wasn't for that.

Apparently there's this New Edition track where Johnny Gill goes completely berserk because he was stuck with the childish lyrics. And it's a vocal powerhouse performance. Must hear.

*Sound on this link, luv.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

for fans of: Charlie Bone

Please please don't say you have 'eclectic' taste in music arrrrghghgle no no AYAGHAAAAAGGGGGGHHHH

For the first time ever, a waitress called me sweetie and she meant it.

All hail Roger Miller and his powers of electroacoustic composition!

Chris Bridges

You can tell that the Pussycat Dolls' lead singer has way more experience on the stage, cos she enunciates overmuch, like she's trying to get her words across to the back-wall crowd. Favorite: "I know you like me/I know ya DOUUOUWAHHH".

Who says "big fun" who wasn't in Ziegfeld's 1927 Follies, featuring the interpretive talents of Eddie Cantor, as well as Clair Luce on an ostrich? Hot time tonight, Charlie!

MIDI banjo

Shit. I mentioned Big Tigger, and I forgot to whine about Rap City. The current format is just a shell of the Bassment. Honestly, it's not that different, except the Infamous Mad Linx (if you have to tab yrself Infamous, you're not) doesn't call the DJs his cousins. I guess it's just that Tig got there first, giving us a hip-hop show light on bluster 'n' hype and long on love. I mean, the concept of grown men kickin' it in Mom's basement, just talking music and spitting rhymes, was a golden choice. And he spun the concept so naturally, like his mom really was baking pies upstairs. Mad Linx, while a capable pitchman, treats this more like a gig, a line on the résumé.

We were talking about pimping, why the hell did you drop a verse about your car wreck? Thanks for that, by the way.

It's like a national obsession, getting Darko some minutes. I just caught a segment on Larry Brown that ended with the line "no matter what, there's a shiny gold ball in the trophy case, and Darko's on the bench."

Donnie Darko: moody. charming. full of itself. or is that its fans? overrated in the same way Fight Club is overrated; and, for that matter, M.I.A.


That Natasha Bedingfield track has clunky verses, but that artlessly sung chorus is wonderful. Wish it were on a better song. And the stereos from the video are too damn cute. Hee hee those little stumps!

If I could get Embrace plugged into an analog board, I'd be Producer of the Year. This is my theory after two singles.

Look out for a bunch of reasons why the Anna Nalick single is only slightly less good than LCD Soundsystem's "Losing My Edge" (but neither are as good as Sinead O'Connor's "No Man's Woman").

Hey, there's a neon Che behind the white angel from Hustle & Flow! That reminds me that Cousin Jeff on BET is a wank. I heard him on Big Tigger's show talking about the need for The Black Community to educate itself. He rattled off a few of the standard names that always get bandied about in these sorts of tirades. Then he turned his sights on the Latino population. "And Hispanic people should educate themselves about figures like Che Rivera. And Asians (YOU COULD HEAR THE PAUSE THUD IN HIS BRAIN)... learn about your history, too."

Just sad. And now BET's offering a series on bettering one's station in life, using the agency of hustling. Good to see where they're pegging their audience.

Oh, the white faithful girl just talked about how wonderful it was to work in Memphis, what with all the Motown.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Send to Ohio order

Oh to be a Northern Soul kid.

Due Jul 17, 2005: Xtian Rock (Shoup)

Yeah. This may break me on Stylus. And I just started! How to do justice to the bands of my musically formative youth, to say nothing of acquitting YHWH and Son well?

Thankfully I've found an evangelical church that puts on a traditional service. Two guested songs by our resident lil' acoustic-blandateer (every large Southern US church has got one these days, it's better than publishing ink) ended up being a capella because her guitar was mic'ed poorly. On the second song which was the benediction hymn my pastor joined in. I was humbled. It was as indie as you can fucking get, and thus beautiful.

It's half past noon, and time to sleep. Work at 2100.

to run that red

Yeah, there's probably a "recent posts" section on Blogspot or Blogger. So I now have a comment from Mr. Max.

And while I hadn't mentioned Sean the Paul, Max's dead-on. He's much more pop than ragga, much more a hypeman than pure hype himself. And he has a way with bending a melody - tossing in a flat note, cupping a syllable up a couple steps - that is almost unparalleled in pop music. I guess Antony can do it somewhat, but he hasn't really conveyed a sense of humor or braggadocio, and thus can't undercut himself like Sean Paul.

"I don't really care what dem gwan do..."

Hear how he hits "do" like a boy whose balls've dropped for the first? Totally changes the effect of the song, from haughtiness to happy indifference. Maybe it's incidental to an untrained dancehall style, but it happens so much for him, especially on "I'm Still in Love With You".

And R. Kelly sounds better singing about the honeyz at most incidentally. Remember "The World's Greatest"? That's the ticket.

On my hand was a purple stamp reading "TRUST FUND $BABY$".


I can't tell if it's funny (cos of the visuals) or poignant (cos of the delivery), but the best part of R. Kelly's "Trapped in the Closet" video/track (pick which) is the perfect beat between "shh/think/shh/think" and "put me in the closet." A perfect dramatic moment, and even though each and every following chapter of his opera&blues is deletable... well, this is very very not.


Hah. There'd be a link if I hadn't sent a Roger Miller track twice. But they put up the Gomez piece, in which I jigger Liquid Skin to burnish the rep of the Nineties' best modern rock LP. I omitted a 't' in the word 'it'. Can you find it?

Getting annoyed at my inability to edit my pieces well.

In the warehouse last night. Finally screwed up courage to ask who did that song on the DirecTV urban channel. Chris told me it was Musiq's "Half Crazy (remix)". Man, how I have hated me some Musiq Soulchild, he of the stitched-together titles a la "Juslisen" and "Womanopoly".

But the remix is so good, wonderful ones. It's a triumph of loping groove backed up by a near-mariachi (!) horn/guitar chart. This is soul, children. And so is Jamie Lidell's newest, I suppose, but the songs don't have much to say, do they? Still working on it.

Here's the video still, on this page:

Sunday, July 17, 2005


Robinson Cano throws it away! C'mon Sawx!

Been hearing the Books' "Tokyo" in a gawdawful HIV public service ad. How loony!

Base hit! Varitek!

Just sent Todd the mp3s for the Stypod. Link tomorrow.

wish life was like Contra


Overrated. The rockist's hip-hop postercrush. Still like to see her crush it stateside, but she's not carrying anyone's revolution in her belly, unless there are those who don't know that hip-hop is a lingua franca across half the globe. Hey, did you know there're Italian basbeall leagues? Exactly.

In a month or two I'll probably buy it just for the cred necessary to tear it apart. Or love it! It could fall that way. I'd love for it to, but still: having listened to the album in its entirety I am not moved.

Live From Iraq is where my heart is right now. No one's zipping to Missy for the crossover potential. It's the analog to Vietnam G.I. soldier folk. Only the dialect has changed. If your revolution sells ringtones, get done gun, baby. "Like PLO, I never surrendo"? Ye gods.

jewel of the evening/Energy 2060 kJ

French M&M's are awful. The coating is much slicker, and the candies contain a definite fruity undertone. It's like a batch of banana Runts were added to the cocoa vat. Awful.

Will there be a new Kelley Stoltz record this year?

Most assuredly. September for maybe.

I don't like doing this, because there are those whose hobby is scooping, and once I pass myself off as such I am doomed to lag. But multitudes aching for Antique Glow never knew it was released, and come fall 2005, they will all request him for their corner. And he will oblige, because he is a nice fellow.

For your continued edification: updates occur whenever the notion crosses the nodes. I refuse to pollute Stylus with every one of these stray philippics, but if I write enough thousands, they will form a pretty complete portrait of me and the music that stirs me to anger bile glad-tiding what have you ok? ok.

When you buy a friend's acoustic guitar 2-CDR demo for nine dollars, and then he posts every track online as 192kbps mp3s - well, the crust yields a little more magma.

take a whiff/inhale

Driving home from the girlfriend's city today. Trick Daddy's "In Da Wind" playing outside Thorndale (congrats 2005 state baseball champs), and I got real nostalgic for that period when OutKast was awesome. That ended right around... hell, I'll just say Stankonia. It is baffling that "Hey Ya!" is the go-to OutKast song these days... Stylus got it right and placed "B.O.B." before it in their 2000-2005 singles recount, but really, if we're drafting a team here, I'll take "Ms. Jackson" to plug up my relationship-politics slot.

A plastic single with an amateur acoustic backing ProTooled to a squelching 8-bit beat. I smell tokenism: OutKast gets to mean something, and all other commercial hip-hop gets to be street-authentic.

I miss wordplay. I miss Big Boi shimmying all over a dense languid Organized Noize production. I don't even care that 3000 says he wrote most of the group's lines in the early days. Never stopped NWA. I miss Andre spitting sly game, not trying to reinvent Prince's wheel. If you look for it online, you'll find my top albums of 2003 list. On it, in the number four spot, is "The Love Below," credited to Andre 3000. And I renounce that pick. Different is different is not always good and not always lasting, and let's call "Hey Ya!" a diverting song with some good lines and a minor-key chord thrown in for mood. But nothing more.

"Sugar (Gimme Some)". "Deliverance". "Cadillacs on 22's". "I Tried". "Superfriends". All better than "Hey Ya!".

If you get nothing else out of this reactionary stance, know these things;

1. Between Stankonia and Speakerboxxx, OutKast recorded "Land of a Million Drums," in which Killer Mike offers up a shout-out to Velma. TO. VELMA.

2. One of the greatest tracks of the last five years was Slimm Calhoun's "It's OK," featuring a 'shroomed Andre channeling Carroll. Plastic made goofily grandiose, with a slayer of a chorus. Made it to number one on the hip-hop singles chart, then vanished. Andre's pothead profundity was never put to better use.

3. White people love OutKast because they make Will Smith look like Bonecrusher. These days, anyway. They've got hip-hop's next great album in there somewhere, but Big Boi's gonna have to dig some trenches. Pop/rock won't save anyone.

4. Oh yeah, the Trick Daddy track! Top-three Big Boi verse. "You gotta prepare it and mack it, when you jack it over tragic/Not intended for any illegal purposes/It's like anthrax and smallpox in surplus to murder us..."


Saturday, July 16, 2005

little pot of glue

Snark and awe will continue to fight from either side of the coin, but Sufjan Stevens seems to be uniquely hedging his bets. Jokey Minus the Bear-like titles for self-desribed "maudlin" instrumentals. Cheerleader outfits for the tour. The cover art designed to disarm the audience.

I'm getting all this from an interview with the AV Club, which is soon for annihilation, but Brad e-mailed the text to himself.

If all the disarmament makes it easier to hear the album, that's fine, and maybe Mr. Stevens figures that a emotional/geographic document doesn't carry the same heft as a spiritual one, thus the silly touches. But I'd rather he trusted us some more. That and I'm more likely to talk about "Casimir Pulaski Day" than worry about the number of aitches in "They Are Night Zombies!! They Are Neighbors!! They Have Come Back From the Dead!! Ahhhhh!" All this on an emotionally-dedicated album of glen-pop.

A fine album anyway, with too many transitions but more ziggurat epics than I felt I could ever ask for. Same complaint as the Polyphonic Spree: the background vocals do not contrast or build upon each other as well as possible. Not enough London Bach Choir, too much USA For Africa. But Mr. Stevens' melodies are too good to be sabotaged in that way, which is more than the Spree is able to say these days.

Who's rhyming like Sufjan Stevens these days? Ghostface. Craig Finn. Who else? Not Nick Cave. "Orpheus/orifice": awful. "Gibraltar/falter/alter/Malta": wonderful.

She said sex had lost her the weight, but I wonder if it was the Virus. Just another repentant CCM fan who threw baby Jesus out with the bathwater.

Is the new Nevermore out yet?


Clint Conley turned his BlueBlower toward us between sets; after the first song of the second set, I turned it back on him. For four seconds he stared at me. He was just waiting for his jump-off, but for a while there I was frightened that I had made an awful error, and the penalty would be no bass for the rest of the show.

What we wanted: "Weatherbox". What we got: more than we deserved. Sally Crewe and I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness opened, and they were the reason I got and stayed upfront so easily. Aggro kid in a Red Sox cap (with which he gifted a pacifying Clint) started freaking out mid-set and set off a sad bout of moshing. Why did I smoke again? A homeless guy named Rob tried to sell me bootlegs under the overpass; I pointed to the Parliaments I'd given up as my ticket home.

Piece on Stylus. Omitted an "as". Can you find it?

Congratulations Rafael Palmiero. If you make it to the Hall, Ichiro has 2,000 hits already.