Tuesday, September 20, 2005

a fully sleeved woman

Texas Funk and I'm trying to fix my laptop's AC adaptor. I got about an hour at a time before I have to shut it down. Which means more time with the pad, and my attempts at LFTR PLLR homage can only improve.

Geto Boys' "Six Feet Deep" - when experienced as the last track on Greatest Hits: Screwed and Chopped! What a mix! Marvin Gaye's been appropriated almost as much as Gee Whiz in the courts of urban music, and all it took was some codeine to mollify me. Between this and "Wanna Get to Know You" (best hip-pop track since Slimm Cutta Calhoun? Resounding yes) is a turbulent and sticky Marvin Gaye biograph. If Hip-Hop Proper Noun can convince me that What's Going On isn't overrated, then we've got something.

In the meantime, the brother's got some spirits brewed by the first rockabilly/Orient fetishist. It's spicy, but so are my fellow Stylus writers. Imagine: if I stay trappin', I'll have Darnielle words in grammatic Hebrew across my shoulders. In Paisley Park purple.

More rum less words more sleep.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Miami don't know how lucky they are

Witnesses describe the officer on the scene as "very charming".

No way in hell would Kobe ever do this sort of thing. Karl Malone might accept the standard-issue revolver, but that'd be all. Nope, only Shaquille O'Neal, America's tallest police officer, would protect a gay couple & clear these streets of punx. And then beg to be identified as a cop, not a citizen. You get your wish, Kazaam.

keeper of the seven keys part II

Seriously, what's my damage? I get the chance to spin wonderment around any musick I choose, and I go with Brutal Juice? It's been up all day, and no comments. Either my writing's not what I think it is (at least half the time it isn't), I picked a style of music which is anathema to our regulars, or my descriptions were so accurate everyone realized they didn't want to hear the brutish little record. I'm not really down here, I'm just puzzled at my selection. No negative comments = "oh... how nice for you, enjoy your sadonihilism."

Tsk. Cat Stevens piece up soon, then the The, then I watch a whole bunch of films with musicians in beefy roles.

I work in a warehouse with this man. He's mellowed somewhat, from what I can gather. For one thing, he dresses exclusively in black, although he's still got dreads down the waist. This is him when he was in Rawhead. I don't know anything about Rawhead, but if I keep listening to this dude, I'm sure I'll have plenty to report. Today was all about the mid-80s NY underground scene. Verlaine, James White & the Blacks, pre-"Cult" Vernon Reid, supporting gigs with the Bad Brains at the Ritz... very lucky to be working with this guy. Tomorrow we're swapping mixes. Any and all.

'night, my babies.

Looks like Johnny Cash's Gospel Glory is worth it just for "In the Sweet By and By," and The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter is much more fey (and has aged much less well) than 5000 Spirits or the Layers of the Onion. Scorecards!

Monday, September 12, 2005

murder death kill homicide

First things first, watch what you say out your mouth
when you talkin' on the phone to hus-tlers
Never play the house, think drought, keep heat in the couch
when you sittin' in the presence of cus-tomers
Never hold out, pull out, throw heat and be out
if a nigga ever think that he touchin-ya
Lay low, get cake, whip all over the state
Stash dough, whip yay with, right amount of bake (hoe!)
Nigga too close went right around his place (yo!)
You stoppin dough when we clutchin the gats?
I know you heard "Friend or Foe," this ain't different from that
Make sure you got your four-four and he can slip if he like
Young, Jon-Benet daughter missin' tonight and yo
until you up stay away from them dykes and whores
Three smuts, two straights and a dyke
can pause one-three rumbles two streaks and a pipe for sure
And if it's tight, then he might come back for more
Nine and four, everyday back and forth
Winter to summer, 1-900-Hustler
Pass the number til you're stackin' balls
Tell you how to weigh shit wet and package more
I take cash or write the check out to F-R
two E's, that'll be two G's
And forget my money I'm comin for all your ki's, nigga
{*click*, *dial tone*}

making plays, swearing cards

Well, Swygart was nice enough to let me contribute to the UK/US Singles Jukebox exchange, and then I remember the wrong deadline, and someone moved the Word file, so my lil' scores/write-ups aren't there.

So, in the best spirit of ruefulness and self-service, here's what you would have seen from Brad, had he had it together this weekend:

James Blunt – You’re Beautiful

Right, didn’t I sing this in service last week? Save for easily the most bald-faced desperate & unconvincing use of a profanity ever ever ever, I could be staring at a projection screen in a First Evangelical Free pew.

Daniel Powter – Bad Day

The initial background vocalists and the echo on the singer write a check that this boy, sadly, can’t cash. I mean, I’ll defend Train for fun’s sake, but this… man. If your favorite album is Elton John’s Greatest Hits, and you’re eleven, well… you’re looking for a different website, aren’t you?

Babyshambles – Fuck Forever

“But Courtney, I’m a Little Drunker Than You”.

M.V.P. - Roc Da Body (Mic Check 1,2)

The first ten seconds are an utter lie. This is no old-school dancehall jam, no dub-pop track. It’s the kind of second-rate production Black Eyed Peas would commission to get that “authentic” island sound. M.V.P. would like to take you, girl, and turn you into a cigar. Confused? So am I.

Hard-Fi – Hard to Beat

High marks for that fuzz-bass. I respect that they’re throwing everything in the pot: the Interpol riff, electro flourishes, Big Beat organ, handclaps (handclaps is ALWAYS a good idea). Myself, finishing a beer, picking out the “something I… liiiike” melody, smiling wanly, paying my tab. I see it. I really do.

Magic Numbers – Love Me Like You

The Shins Will Ruin Your Band. All the elements, none of them sticking. Is that an American accent being attempted? Thank you?

Tony Christie – Amarillo

This is incredible. Specifically? Try picking one: rhyming the title with “hugging my pillow” is my favorite right now, but I hear ska in the rhythm guitar, so this is tough. Typical: just as the oldies format is fading, I hear something this good.

Charlotte Church – Crazy Chick

Oh, there’re fewer things worse than a carefully-tended pop star declaring her insanity on an airtight studio construction. One of those things is a shamefully ruinous high note. Still a great chorus, though. Are the Miami Sound Machine still getting work? That’s really neat.

Goldfrapp – Ooh La La

Oh look: some profane mash-up of “Knock on Wood” and “La Grange”. Something probably missing in the translation from floor to phones, but I’m not too interested in bridging that gap.

Mattafix – Big City Life

The ragga vocalists on the chorus’re fantastic. Why turn things over to the simp? Still, it’s got that chorus that’s better than Akon, and the rap interlude is the best Brit hip-hop since the Beasties’ “Triple Trouble”.

Oh... and the bass article is out the gate. Turning out well, yes?

Saturday, September 10, 2005

this year (redux).

I was hit by a truck last night. This after hearing the Allstate commercial at work, where Dennis Haysbert promises me a hundred bucks back off my deduct if I stay out of accidents.

"That's nice," I was thinking, "but driving school clearly teaches there are no accidents, only collisions."

I was collided by Jason Williamson of Dripping Springs, Texas, and I was his definite victim but am allegedly his third of the night. It was half past midnight, I was on I-35, heading home from Dell. Traffic was a crawl when I reached downtown, cop cars every quarter-mile sorting out the collisions from the drunken collisions. I was in the middle lane, not moving, two car lengths behind a semi, just in case I wanted to get around.

Then Jason shot from the left lane, across the left front of my car, and off he went for the 6th St. exit. Without thinking, I made pursuit. "Oh no," I said, and there were expletives following. He pulled two wheels onto the frontage curb, jumped out of his truck, swiped at his bumper (almost clean off at this point!), and took off into the city. Right on cue, a car slowed down next to me, and a thirtysomething Latino man ran out in the direction of Mr. Williamson. Accomplice? Thrill seeker?

I called 911 (I wasn't hurt at all, so I apologized for not knowing the proper procedure for hit-and-runs). The Latino man's wife approached the car and asked if I was all right. A family friend had died two weeks ago, she said. Killed by a drunk driver. So her husband had told her to follow the truck & I as soon as he saw the collision.

A few minutes later, enter Officer Noriega, a pretty young woman, about five three. She apologized for being out of breath; she had just arrested Jay-Jay under a bridge near 6th and Neches. "I have a fucking Taser! Do you know what that means?" He nodded assent, and quickly got on the ground. The day before, she'd pulled somebody over on suspicion of DUI, and that guy had run from the car too. Officer Noriega had to climb fences and everything. I did not know Austin cops did that on a regular basis, and I told her so. I worry for her safety now.

I waved to Wavey Jay, now in the back of a patrol car. I answered a bunch of questions, dug out my insurance, and leaned on my car to watch three policemen make J.J. Fantastic point to things and walk in lines and stuff. I learned from Officer Noriega that in Texas, the Breathalyzer is voluntary. And yet people still agree to try it.

So I'm fine. I had pulled my door handle too roughly last week, breaking it, so I've been entering my car from the passenger side in broad daylight because I am cheap. But now I can only open the door two inches, so it's all gonna get fixed. My left turn signal's gone (the only one I actually FRIGGING CHANGED MYSELF LAST MONTH), and the hood's pushed in a bit, besides the side dents and paint scrapes. Believe me when I say boy's gonna pay.

Like I said, this is the third collision of the night with which Runaway Jay was allegedly involved. Deep hurting. Another officer pulled the F150's bumper from the street and placed it in the truck bed. I wanted it for a souvenir, but I didn't press.

Oh, and the answer is Miles Davis' "Maiysha".

Then I went to the Waffle House and had another fantastic All-Star breakfast. Just an outpost in the night, those Waffle Houses are. Bought a paper, ate some scattered, smothered & capped hash browns, and just relaxed. Tarantino's film festival is back in town for the first time in four years, but I doubt I'll see any of it cos of work. A man in drag (I'd call him a transvestite but he was in all ways manly except for his kneelength Hawaiian print dress. You gotta earn these things) entered the diner at the end of the meal, and if I'd stared any longer, we would have had to negiotiate rates, so I tipped big and left.

At home, coming out my passenger door. Broke a pair of safety glasses at the stem. Got out, walked to the dumpster (contents perpetually offered to the night), and threw the main part. It caromed off the lid's hinge, flew straight up, and dropped in. The stem followed a more traditional path. I had a newspaper under my arm, and a helicopter was circling the Oltorf Street area. I remembered The Meadowlands from this afternoon, and how it left me ice cold.

Oh, and happy 23rd birthday, Brad.

Friday, September 09, 2005

this year.

Hmm. If I convened that Greatest Living Lyricists panel ten years early, John Darnielle would chair a discussion alternately attended and spurned by William James IV, Dennis Coles, Craig Finn, Shaun Ryder, Joni Mitchell, and whoever writes Clit 45's shit. And not only is he the only decent record reviewer working today, the lead Mountain Goat cleans up really good for the camera. Best part: his look when offered a revitalizing beverage by a guy wearing a LiveStrong bracelet.

I'll have to go with the shirtless peyote overdoser and writhe in the sunlight over this one. It's sort of the Goats' first video. At his best, John's songs are Super 8 montages of thee average man's skull contents, so adding a successfully-executed video is like seeing in 4D.

Clit 45! Swears.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

R.I.P. Gilligan

from the New Musical Express:


New York-based but English born frontman Antony Hegarty was declared winner this evening (September 6) at the ceremony at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London.

Reacting to the win, Hegarty said: "I think they must have made a mistake. I am completely overwhelmed. I think that's insane. It's kind of like a crazy contest between an orange and a spaceship and a potted plant and a spoon - which one do you like better?"


I admit that Antony's Albionic heritage was unknown to me; I guess since I first heard about him via Lou Reed's The Raven set, I just transferred the NY birthplace over. Long Island represent Gatsby stylee etc.

Still waiting for that Kelley Stoltz EP on Sub Pop. Still shifting skids and tagging boxes.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Dennis did it

Congratulations from the Revenant to the RZA, whose son was born healthy on Friday. Looks like most of Cuban Linx II will be his work. Not as much Ghostface as I'd like, probably, but more Wu-Tang than I deserve. Besides more standard names like Pete Rock, Ghost's got Scram Jones and UK's Lewis Parker, he of the Massive Attack tours, whose highest-profile Stateside gig was an underwhelming Mariah Carey production. I dunno if Minnesota was too busy; hopefully Jon Brion is.

This is not a dis to anyone involved, but when I read Stylus' Kanye review, I assumed it was the work of Josh Love. Wrong. But the over/under for Evan is 17 comments. I have no idea what to rate the album; I'm saving my ducats for the next Ghostface & Raekwon sets.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Clemson 25, Texas A&M 24

Embarrassing. I'll say this again: it is always bad when yr QB's yr leading rusher. Always. It's why Vick's never going to be a title contender.

Stupid alma mater.

bend this: I clench fists like Rehnquist

Buzzed driving is drunk driving.

From a Trebek insurance commercial:

Old woman in existential desperation: "If only life were like this parking meter. I could put quarters in it and stay with my family forever."
Little girl, walking away in mother's hand: "Come on, Grandma!"

TCU 17, OU 10

I want to be a fireman when I grow up.

There were two damn fires today, one in the neighboring complex and one in the next damn building. At first, a sweet hickory scent, then charcoal, next sirens, and further on I'm shirtless on a landing watching firemen ply their trade with axes. I have no idea if the fires were related; there's a fence and a side lot of asphalt between our complexes, but a half hour after our neighbors' laundry room went up in smoke, a Point South parapet followed.

"This puts 9/11 in perspective," a building 4 neighbor said.
"I wonder if there was as much standing around," I mused. She didn't answer, but I bet the answer was yes. I have no idea what her comment meant. Firefighters are less hot in practice than one would extrapolate from their stripper counterparts.

importantly accurate

I let the Kanye thing pass. Saw the video, as has anyone watching CNN in the last 12 hours. Still hurling these notes into the void, but in that golden off-chance, I wanted to point out a post and image from John Darnielle, who is a staple around here, both in word & deed. He's firmly on Mr. West's side, and I'm starting to thaw on the whole thing.

I guess if I knew that my dissent would in all likelihood get me pulled from my wavelength soapbox, I'd be as hurried and vari-focused as he was in his tirade. Once he got away with murder (kudos to Mike Myers, professional as always. You, sir, are a true hero), why not go for a soundbite? Kudos, then, to the censor as well, who was screening for cuss words, not noticing that Kanye had gone a bit off-script. Right.

So send a prayer for Alex Chilton, really mean it, and I will see this void later.

Friday, September 02, 2005

rundown: Jandek, August 28

I've been dreading my notebook for a few days now; otherwise I'd have gladly typed out my eyewitness account for the benefit of no one more than myself. Call this the Jandek of blog entries.

But in the dark of the Scottish Rite I could do just two things: scrawl sentences and grin. Jandek stepped outside his house to play a few tunes and size up his listenership sizing him up. Expectations met all around, I'd wager.

First off, Mr. Esson picked a fabulous location for his charge's American unveiling: a bare stage flanked by curtains, with a golden double-headed eagle keeping watch over the proceedings. I got into the venue a few minutes before I should have, which allowed me time with the biographies of 33-degree Masons. Nothing special. I stole into the theater for a second, just to see the man himself as far removed from his music as possible. He was onstage. Still thrilling.

I expected a trio format, based on the UK reports and the sight of a bass and two drumkits onstage. But then three new gentlemen took their place, and after a few moments, Jandek ambled onstage, broke out his black six-string, pulled a pick from his shirt pocket, and away we went.

Based solely on a face-value reading of his words (and face-value is certainly no fun when it comes to Jandek, but still), he was playing the crowd a bit, nodding toward his hushed legacy. "I don't know why but I'm afraid of you," he sang on the first track. "I'm six feet under the radar screen." By the second song, he was heaping on the pain as he maintained a near-constant modulating strum: wave up, wave down. "Forgive my decrepit body/my anguished soul". Emo?, I wrote in the margins. Chris Cogburn (I only know this because of Seth Tisue's live write-up), the more foregrounded of the drummers, contributed frantic taps with the brushes.

I suppose Jandek expected to get over the novelty of his performance by the third song, as it featured his least affected vocal yet and more opaque lyrics. "But not discarding aberrations" could have been a promise that public appearance won't muddy his artistry. Just a thought. The fourth track was a honest-to-goodness rave-up, with a tempo increase and Juan Garcia's one-note throbs, which Jandek repeated soon after.

He began the fifth song by asking (musically not conversationally - despite maintaining the sunniest of fantasies through the entire show, I heard not a word out of Jandek save the ones he sung. What would have happened if an audience member had run onto the stage, I wondered for an amazing instant) if he could like us, even though we didn't like him. Perhaps it was his words that did it, but he flashed a wry, toothless grin. "I guess it gives me pleasure to be in pain," he moaned, as if lost in some drunken soliloquy, "I like it/I like it/Again, again... It keeps me hungry/A satisfaction you don't give". Not bad - like most musical text, the words ain't poetry by themselves. And as much as music's-the-thing-I hate to admit it, a lot of what the man sings needs his backstory to really strike the resonance.

Later in the song: "I kill everybody who likes to be with me." "Make it impossible or you die." Sudden visions of Masonic gas pumping from vents, Jandek achieving culmination, Barry Esson on an African beach with our money converted to travelers' checks etc. It's a rare thing to pick up on musical projected malevolence, and it's a trick I hope Jandek keeps for years to come. Or perhaps I'm a baby.

Next song he promises that it's all about our story, not his. Picks out a two-note figure that he plays with for varying lengths. Jandek as bluesman, creating his own damn myth, only one that resists subsequent retooling.

The seventh song is another rocker, with Nick Hennies setting the initial tone with much tom-pounding. I see and hear Jandek holding a note, which was a rarity for this show. He changed his stance slightly: instead of just his intent rocking, he placed one foot ahead of the other and began tapping both alternately. Some near-palm-muting here, to great rhythmic effect. "Ghastly infernal" are the best words here.

The next song seems to be one of devotion. But to whom? Devils? Christ? That neighbor dog who's always advocating the murder of fornicators? Two more workouts follow, in which Jandek picks out a warped melodic line and his bassist alternates big plucks with big pauses. A third raucous build-up; a very good look for Mr. Smith. Mr. Cogburn devotes most of his attention to hurting a couple cymbals as Jandek croons about seeing us in a little while. Maybe he's done? Some great pitch dynamics here, as he focuses on the thick part of the neck.

He wasn't done, and I have to rejig my literal-Jandek interps. Another poor-me song. "You should get away from me/I'll just bring you down" - as if anyone in this theater had any intentions of abandoning this little adventure. I didn't notice a soul get up, even for the restroom.

Finally, the twelfth song wraps up the cycle while sticking to themes ("Forgive this frail body") - nothing to telegraph it as the final tune, except for the sight - delightfully apropos - of Jandek tucking his pick back in his pocket, sliding his guitar off and casing it, and striding unpossessedly stage right. We cheered mightily, but no one expected an encore.

freeman and freeland

R.L. Burnside dies

Go up easy, old man.

got what it takes to make a mountain man leave his home

Michael Lewis told the newscaster that Fats had not been found, and I needed to know he had been proven wrong.

Fats Domino Found in New Orleans. Looks like Juvenile lost his home. And Wynton Marsalis sounds like a moron in the format of televised interview. Perhaps if five other people had been recruited to answer questions, he could've played off them. Or he could just quote Peter Jennings and pocket a Lincoln Center grant.

The NIT's bothering me on the TV. I need sleep, but I forgot to mention re: the group that claims Katrina is God's punishment about babies or analingus or something... most of the people affected are Black, who as a whole are against abortion & gay marriage. So God's in error and must be remanded, is all I'm saying.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

the stultifying works of Edvard Grieg

"Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. Jesus answered, "Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them — do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish."

-Luke 13:1-5

No one I know takes this seriously, but someone does, and they think God hates New Orleans while admitting that he "sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust" - which refers to blessing, anyway.

I am not aware of any modern-day prophets. If you were a prophet in ancient Israel, everything you predicted came true, or you were stoned for misrepresenting God. God is not an extension of my psyche, someone who destroys what I find most repellent.

Bob Mould's self-titled is much better once you get past the plodding opening track.