Thursday, March 30, 2006

can you say 'triangle offense'

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Fishscale = Vik Vaughn with a purpose

GOTH ORGY: beg me to post part 2!!!!

New deal at the Empire, now that the boom's been lowered on my finances (budgets = grown & sexy) and I've been casting about for thrills. One new album a week, groups or artists I don't know (the septi-annual Jandek won't count, say), all stuff from the back wall of Waterloo, by the help desk. Or, on any wall at End of an Ear. F'r instance. It's an experiment in experimental. And no reading fucking Wire. McKeating and Berge still count.

I'm hoping for more Hala Strana and less LSD-march.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006


Oh, and April 6 sees Subhumans UK (this revenant's favorite of the second-wave British punkers) and Clit 45 (astoundingly legitimate California hardcore) in concert at Emo's. Anyone else in Austin who wants to make a prole feel less lonely, drop me a line. Otherwise, I'll be ducking shoes and raising fingers all night.

we will be back here

There was something wonderful in Mr. J. Greene's review of the Dave Chappelle's Block Party soundtrack. Even though it pulls the infamous bait-and-switch (the review of the album is essentially the letter grade), he's laid out a reasoned defense of the backpacker movement, calling out Breihan in the process. Wise move? I don't know, but between that and the Art Brut OST, I wonder where the tides are.

the song might have been by LCD Soundsystem

1. Harper's is beginning to serialize an essay on hipsterism/mobthink by senior editor Bill Wasik. Interview is here.

1. (a) Texas A&M's flash mob was, predictably, a year past the proper time. At a specific and meaning-defying time the mob gathered in front of - ah fuck, the story's right here. Suffice to say, we had fun, and likely naught but Kyle Hale connected the event to the idea of scene-as-art.

2. What else. Yes. We had a horse-drawn carriage for sale at the TSHA auction, and Clayton Williams bought it. Apparently he told our development director that he plans to have it installed in his office.

With monkeys sitting in it.

Monkeys - one male and one female - that he shot in Africa.

Not gorillas, because it's a challenge to pick monkeys out of a tree. Like birds, I assume.

And one of the monkeys poses a problem because his genitals are showing.

Someone in the office asked if I would blog this; I took that to mean I could, and there you have it.

3. Oh, and I caught Herbie Hancock's Miles Davis induction speech. Poignant, insightful, pithy. And before he could give it, he had to enter to fucking "Rockit". Idiots.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

which sore your eyes

Being Southbound, I decided I ought to buy some Faulkner. Reading it will be another matter, but for now there's a copy of Light in August, whose protagonist - Joe Christmas - shares a name with a stray compilation band of my youth.

What I've been doing is listening to The The's Dusk on cassette. The car I'm borrowing has no CD player; you wouldn't believe how much Libertarian doctrine I've been absorbing from Radio Free Austin. I'm typing with one hand, scraping the fluoride from my armskin with the other.

See Blondie's Frank Infante whoring himself out on the dais? That briefest of kisses from Debbie, a concession designed to shut his lungs. It was a downer, no doubt, but take comfort! They will both be dead in ten years.

Dusk. Sorry... like, Dusk is an Old Pantheon choice for me, even after I read me some Baudelaire and bought a Serge Gainsbourg record. Serge can coo low, but Matt Johnson can feel you up and convince you he hates himself for it. I bought this thing at a Half Price Books years ago based on the cover art and dollar tag; blah blah blah sparse rock record with a basement view. I'm a fool for those "sum-up" songs, the ones that try to sketch a bound for everyone in 20 similarly-structured lines. Pink Floyd's "Eclipse," Hope For Agoldensummer*'s "Laying Down the Gun," the Adverts' "Cast of Thousands". "Lonely Planet" (you have to ignore some of thee titles) is exactly what dips me: self-doubt. Fuck, I love self-doubt. "All the people I have loved/All the people I have lost/All the people I have known/All the feelings I've never shown" - I better stop, because it gets more banal, and it is precisely not so once heard. Johnny Marr welds steel braces on the track. A synth like a collar to an alley wind. Muscular, prowling, faultless. I know we're at the point of the cycle where cheerful jabberwocky and determined raunch carry the day, but when the wave crests, it will bring the dogs of lust. Also, listeners on iTunes are most likely to have also bought In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, high praise if there ever was.

Oh, and I bought four - four! - Popol Vuh records and four more - four more! - Rahsaan Roland Kirk albums. And Glenn Branca's Lesson No. 1 (less fascist than Ascension, as the fossor might say). I'm really working on that period from 1968-1982, guys.

*possibly the only band that will ship lye soap?

Tuesday, March 21, 2006


Best for: the best new music writing on the web

Present company excepted, much of the finest music writing these days is to be found on the internet, and American webzine Stylus is particularly good. As well as reviews, interviews and think-pieces, it boasts quirky articles like a collection of rockcrit haikus (hilarious and freakily accurate). Then there's regular column On Second Thought, which savages or salvages the reputation of albums depending on whether they're canonical or undervalued.
See also:

Thursday, March 16, 2006

This is the greatest record cover I've ever seen.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

rusting on the vine

Hey so it looks like Jeph Jacques finally updated his Recommended Listening page.


What the hell have I been doing? Where is my musical 2006? I heard this fantastic song on La Ley, but the only words I can remember are "fueron sin perder," and I might've messed even those up.

Now that I've a way to buy records at cost, I may check the new Sparks out. We are not quite irrelevent yet, but we approach. I totally e-mailed Swygart for this week's Singles Jukebox. Giggles!

Oh, and I slipped twenty dollars into the recess of Mary's truckdoor. She'll find it in a few days. The Lord works the second shift.

Monday, March 13, 2006

kiki cuyler

I was tucked safely in Ralf and Florian's backseat; we were driving through the Midwest and for an hour, I thought maybe the sunrise wasn't coming.

I was on my way to College Station when the gas pedal started giving out. I coasted into an empty truck stop (it was 11 PM). Figured it was the oil, cos there was some smoke. Then Mary E---- showed up with a new Ford Ranger and a Chihuahua lashed to the gearshift. She was something else. Incessant in every way - talked a torrent, drove me to the Wal-Mart and insisted on waiting, expressed slight amazement that her mother would live 1) near a cemetery and 2) near "the black people". I tried to beg off once I got a flashlight and four quarts in the engine, but first, she had clippings to show me. She keeps a laminate pouch of her two sons' graduation notices and armed forces portraits. She showed me, also, a photo of her parents. Her father, she said, died of cancer eight years ago. After much refusal on my part, she wrote down her number in case I had any more car trouble. This in addition to her muffler shop's business card (she cleans floors there two hours a day, seven bucks an hour).

And the car died on I-35 two days later. Looks like I threw a rod. I know, I know: how can something that sounds so sexy be so bad? Either they rebuild the engine or I buy a new one, and since we're talking about a 1992 Camry, neither is an option. Baby's in the market for a used car.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

why theory

lexicon devil

Some news down the wire, as it were: American Hardcore is coming to a Shriner hall near you. Or wherever it is that documentaries about hardcore punk are shown. I just got to the book, published in '01, last year, and it was a riveting little history, full of sniping, reverence, and illuminated corners. Steven Blush injected the tome with a bit too much forced perspective, but hey, he wrote about the Dicks. Hopefully the movie's interviews will add (Laura Albert, formerly JT LeRoy, provides the street urchin's take); but archival footage will be enough. Finally, a punk history that ignores Sonic Youth.

I unearthed my Germs discography; it still holds power at office volume. Oh, and I've been reunited with my girlfriend.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

5155 Honoraria

Elsewhere at the Vanity Fair party, worlds collided when novelist Salman Rushdie hung out with Three 6 Mafia, who won gold for "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp." "That's the song I was really rooting for," said Rushdie. "I really liked 'Hustle and Flow.'"

Rapper Juicy Jay was not as familiar with Rushdie's "Satanic Verses," but he did like the poetry of Rushdie's wife, Padma Lakshmi, as the model and actress shook to the music on top of an ottoman. "Oooh," said Juicy.

although you couldn't kiss me at all

Our interim director just gave me the news: I'm becoming permanent with a modest pay increase.

Which means I'm reaching for the Gary Glitter disc. I got his Rhino greatest-hits package this past weekend, and I am marveling. His best digs deep, rousing cortex shots with Spartan gang-glee and those disembodied riffs. "Hello! Hello! I'm Back Again," "Rock and Roll Part One," "Doing Alright With the Boys," "Always Yours," "Baby Please Don't Go," "Do You Wanna Touch Me? (Oh Yeah!)"; even the heavenly disco of "You Belong to Me" hits hard.

I mean, yes, it is a set of big-bite jokes, but then again, there are guitar parts that have a certain emotionally ambiguous force - you know, the kind I have no ability to fucking describe. But - this is all I got - there's a cinematic grandiosity at the tail end of a lot of his singles, not just a glam-wink. It's like after two minutes or so, Glitter invariably begins worshipping his own altar, and it's pretty heady stuff.

At this instant, Mr. Gadd might be taking a Vietnamese mineral bath before finding out he's no longer the leader of the gang, he am. Hope he gets out all right, hope he gets help.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

just got a little easier


fuel for the EP

Police battle punk fans in California

Friday, March 03, 2006

I had pubes when I was eleven

I hate you Stylus. Brad Shoup in this article admits to being fourteen years old in 1996, and to listening almost exclusively to Christian rock until 2000. His article about Nevermind should really be titled, "Thoughts on an album I was too young to understand at the time." This asshole was 12 when Cobain killed himself so excuse me if I don't really take him seriously when tries to explain what Nevermind meant when it was released. Holding Nirvana responsible for the sins of Creed is fair, I suppose, but if you want to travel down that road than the only good rock music was made by a bunch black guys down south that never recorded a record and who history has passed by. You want to write about the music Brad Shoup, that's fine by me, but next time Stylus wants to talk about the historical significance of an album try to find a guy to write about it who at least had pubes when the thing came out.

-Jonathan Smith, a 28-year-old lawyerish guy

It's one for the list, anyway:

23. Called an asshole on the interweb

Thursday, March 02, 2006

the best 27 seconds of her life

1. My mental stability is a point of pride for me. Most folks I know take pains in declaiming their craziness; as long as the check comes every two weeks, it doesn't wash. Yet I have been away from my normal means of communication - e-mail, Blogger,, Stylus messageboard (ok, the new new people on Stylus weary me) - largely because I still haven't mailed a nice Duke grad student a mix CD. Afraid of an e-mail informing me of her failure to receive it, I stayed away from my main e-mail account. For some reason, my fear of that deadline also caused me to lob Stylus articles like spitballs from another room. Todd had to call me to add an intro paragraph to my power ballads piece. Unprofessional of Brad.

2. Why don't I just send the CD to her now?

3. Uh.

4. The job's great. I racked up eighty bucks in travel reimbursements my first month, and so far USPS's kept down every bit of postage I've fed 'em.

5. Our director of development - who reads Stylus, mostly for the year-end articles - has copied my Separation Sunday, Mecca and the Soul Brother, and Ramones to his office computer.

6. Rahsaan Roland Kirk sounds like NPR transition music at proper office volume. It fucking sucks, but now I wonder: does every dentist I've ever been to actually have great taste in music?

7. My only taste of Stiv Bators for years was the single version "The Last Year," as heard on a Hallowe'en years ago on some college radio tribute to the dead. But, uh, it really should've been "Make Up Your Mind". Swoon.

8. Someone from Minty Fresh e-mailed me to say she cried after reading my NMH piece. A lovely thing to read, even if I wasn't going for the tear ducts at all. As of today, I'm not real happy with that piece. Mike got me to clean it up, and that helped a lot, but there's too much being-cute in there.

9. My Nirvana piece really turned out well. Shout-out to Cam MacDonald.

10. My pieces go well if the guy named for Crime and Punishment doesn't make some vague pronouncement about the end of everything.

11. The Four Tops! "I Got a Feeling!" Listen for three Tops to sing "take me, take me". Swoon.

12. TheKate knows the true pronunciation of "Moog".

13. Tangerine Dream's Phaedra may be the only album I need of theirs question mark.

14. I've got this On First Listen to write about Kraftwerk. The thing is, they sound exactly as I've imagined. I downed a two-disc comp while sitting on a washing machine last month (skipping the English-language dupes). Can't say I shook my robot ass, but it was very enjoyable. Much fewer synth washes than expected.

15. People finally doin' stuff on Questionable Content (and the indie rock shtick seems to be firmly lodged in the back of the jawline, hurrah), Bill and Erik finally updating, the lovable jampot of A Lesson Is Learned, I finally ran across those existential Garfields. Truly a great week not to be watching men in videos do awful things to women and occasionally milkcows.

16. Red McCombs is supposed to show at our annual meeting. Hopefully I can ask him how glad he is to've dusted the Vikes off his sandals.

17. This meeting's running me ragged. It'll be overtime and tuxedos this weekend; I had to miss the regional finals of the Air Guitar Championship. Honestly, I feel like I've been granted a reprieve. Going from the graveyard shift to sun-lovers' hours, getting my own computer, shirts that stay tucked in. All this little white collar shit is improving my morale majorly. And for some reason, all I can think of is ramping up my Stylus schedule.

18. The Stycast. Dammit.

19. I beat my neighbors in Scrabble last night, then drank the last Pabst. Every time I visit, I bring a 12-pack.

20. Darryl "DMC" McDaniels and Sarah McLachlan. Want worse? And Harry Chapin. "Cat's in the Cradle" is mephitically bad, a perfect storm of pity and wonder. Who called whom? Where's Rhymefest?

21. I missed the best New Singles Jukebox yet. So in summary, Clarkson's = 10, and the new BEP has a chorus straight outta Canada. I'm thinking PGMG or New Pornographers. It's uncanny, that "turn it up" part.

22. Someone on my floor has a solid-gold iTunes playlist. 94 classic ska, reggae, and rhythm 'n' blues cuts. And some Faces/solo Rod work. It's labeled "mako's music," and I can only access it for an hour or so at a time before it disappears. This happens at least once a day. I'm thinking of leaving sign on the lavatories, but if it's a lady it'd be one of those meet-cute nightmares, so maybe we'll consider it a hauntological playlist.

23. Started reading Augustine while I'm waiting for registrants to appear. So far, so good. In Confessions he argues convincingly against appealingly bathetic entertainment. Why gain catharsis through staging et cetera, and I start thinking about all my precious albums.

24. Anatomy of Hell sucked. So does the LSD-march album on Last Visible Dog. What a piece of half-assed Krautkrap. Big ups to Prince's "Starfish and Coffee". Best line: "Cynthia had a happy face, just like the one she’d draw/On every wall, in every school/But it’s all right, it’s 4 a worthy cause." I guess you have to hear it. Which is great news!

25. In case it isn't clear, I've spent the last couple days in the basement of a hotel, directing elderly Texans to Ballroom B and the book exhibitors' displays in the Rio Grande room.

26. One friend of the Association is donating 400 prints from four famed Texan illustrators. He had the auction catalog printed and bound, adding comments on and anecdotes for the items where appropriate. He promised a limited print run of 100, made 25 over, and he told me in the elevator that once any damaged copies are replaced, every extra book will be destroyed. His wife had a prairie-woman handshake, hearty and unassuming. I left their hotel room, having temporarily retired the over-100 copies there, and walked back to the registration tables. The hotel is basically a 15-story atrium with spectacular, four-wall indoor views. As I walked along the fourth floor hallway, a mariachi band was holding forth down by the lobby bar. The reverb was majestic.

27. Be back soon; I've got trust to regain.