Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Look I know lists are dreadful but... here's MINE!

Lists! You love to hate 'em and hate to love 'em. Most mainstream music mags (even the two good ones) seem to fall over themselves to create new list-based issues alla time. I'm waiting to see one magazine's list of the best magazine lists ever, assuming that's not happened already. Not that I'd ever watch it but VH1 basically consists of the same twelve wait who the fuck are these people sub-celebs reading off teleprompters and pretending it's their own zany material on these special countdown to the greatest shows. So much of VH1 is like a long extended version of what Hollywoood Squares was in the '70s... only not nearly as good 'cause who can measure up to Charles Nelson Reilly (sp?). Anyway, my point is that I was asked by my pals at Amazon to vote in their best records of the year list, and thought it might be of interest to at least three people, so I am herewith inflicting it on you.

Speaking of lists, this is the first one I've made since really falling off of a lot of promo/ publicity lists (many of them voluntarily), so it's a pretty out of it and kinda MOR list in lots of ways. My list's lameness has even more to do with the fact that I've predominantly listened to My Bloody Valentine and gospel-blues from the '20s and '30s this year, and none of those things can make it to my list. I just really don't care to listen to the Hold Steady and the Arcade Fire or even halfway decent acts like the Bloc Party and Franz Ferdinand. I guess I really am old, now. I love Kanye and Amerie and am psyched that Mike Jones is on the radio like all the time when I switch it on. But I'm so embarassingly out of it with that stuff, it's like I'm happy to DJ it when I DJ a party-party, and songs by those folks will def make it to my VOICE list of the best singles of the year... But I'm not a music editor anymore and I only get paid to write about weirdo, indie, drone and gospel these days so that's that. I sound so apologetic but really, it's nice to not feel like I have to "keep up" anymore, you know? I just care so much more about Luther Magby's two known songs than the entire careers of most bands which might make me cranky as well as old (get off my lawn you damn kids.)

For Amazon you can't vote for reissues unless it's material that's never really been released before. I cheated a tad with the Swan Silvertones, though most of those 78s have not been on CD, and the Sublime Frequencies Golden Trianglething, well, that was only ever released on cassettes in Myanmar (Burma) so I think it's fair to say that it's getting its first release here. I also couldn't vote for a lot of great PDX music from labels like Marriage and States Rights since they don't go the Amazon way...

1 Various Artists Guitars of the Golden Triangle
2 Antony & the Johnsons I Am a Bird Now
3 Six Organs of Admittance School of the Flower
4 Swan Silvertones 1946-1951
5 Mahmoud Ahmed Ethiopiques 19
6 William Parker Sound Unity
7 The Robot Ate Me On Vacation
8 Thelonious Monk With John Coltrane
9 Jamie Lidell Multiply
10 The Clientele Strange Geometry
11 Superpitcher Today
12 CocoRosie Noah’s Ark
13 Sufjan Stevens Illinois
14 Danger Doom The Mouse & The Mask
15 Boards of Canada Campfire Headphase
16 A Frames Black Forest
17 Edan Beauty & the Beat
18 Okkervil River Black Sheep Boy
19 Amadou & Mariam Dimanche à Bamako
20 M.I.A. Arular
21 White Stripes Get Behind Me Satan
22 Animal Collective Feels
23 Bats At the National Grid
24 The Books Lost & Safe
25 Josephine Foster Hazel Eyes

Sorry to not have posted anything this past week -- I'm busy, working thirteen hour days then when my girl visits from Eugene I hang with her pretty much all that time. I did start finally going to see a naturopath specializing in Chinese herbal medicine and it's really amazing, how different I feel already and it's less than a week. I still need two surgical procedures but feel like I'm getting at some of the root causes for my health stuff.

Mostly I'm just psyched to actually be doing stuff instead of just complaining/ not doing. In the same vein, I finally took my truck in to get serviced. The "check engine" light had been on for about 15 thousand miles (no joke) but the repair bill at the
amazing joint down the street was less than $108.00, for a full and total tune-up (plugs, oil filter, oil, checking out a buncha stuff, replacing a few lights, etc.) I better go before you explode form excitement or I start telling you how much I saved on groceries by going to Costco. Sheeeesh!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

You were right

NOVEMBER 16TH "I'd Like to Think"

Here's a taste of the YETI 3 CD, presented lo-fi but still sounding great I think, of Ben and Mat's short-lived band November 16th (you try putting that on a flyer!) that existed 'twixt the breakup of Carissa's Wierd (whose last two albums I released on my own very short-lived label, Sad Robot) and their new group, Horses (whose awesome debut album will be released in the Spring by the not short-lived label Sub Pop).

Friday, October 07, 2005

When I take my vacation in heaven

Too busy to post anything new here today, but I did just post six great gospel tunes up on the Moistworks site. Nope, that's not the image I chose. (I gave up irony a long time ago! Hah.)

Looks like my first bit of published food writing will happen soon; I'll let you know when it goes live.

I'm revamping YETI 3 by taking out redundant/ excessively old/ who gives a fuck content from the CD and the book. It's really fun. I just totally resequenced the CD, it still sounds like something that would abeen interesting a few years ago and today just sounds like the OC, but that's life in ye olde indie rocke, no?

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Looks like nothing's going to happen, that I must confess

THE WHO "Little Billy"
THE SCIENTISTS "Frantic Romantic"
GRIFTERS "Divine/ She Blows Blasts of Static"

About a year ago, I burned today's songs from vinyl and transferred them at low res for posting here, but don't think I ever did. Anyone will tell you I'm slow but eventually get things done. The Who tune is from the great Live at the Fillmore East 1967 bootleg on Trademark of Quality, one of my favorite records. The Scientists tune is from a reissue of their first 7" and I don't know if Kim Salmon's voice changed or they used to have a different singer back then but isn't it nice, regardless? The Shop Assistants tune is from their perfect debut EP, I mean unless you count the Buba and the Shop Assistants single as their first but I don't, while "Divine/ She Blows" is the flip-side to the brilliant "Soda Pop" single. Notice the continued use of the false start, one of many potentially cheesey big rock moves the Memphis band breathed a new life into. BITD, man.

After last night's episode of LOST, where the camera almost-lingers on a copy of Flann O'Brien's brilliant and hilarious and fucked-up novel The Third Policeman (this copy of it, too), I'm almost-convinced that what's happening on "the island" is all some weird kind of purgatory because that's what's going on in Flann's book. That would be too much like what the guy who made Signs would do if he were writing the show, so I doubt it's true. But it's interesting (likely only to me) that they made such a product placement of that particular bit of literature.

Also in the "only interesting to me" category, I'm a little bit freaked that there's some kinda kooky gallery/ performance space that looks like they actually have really rad things going on in the apartment below the one I used to live in when that was a rather desolate part of Brooklyn, back in '88. The space is also the same place my Portland friend Jesse Durost, a great artist, used to live in, before we met out here. I guess the future of the Keep Refrigerated/ Room Temperature type spaces has to be headed towards Bushwick and East New York now, right? Keep Refrigerated was an art installation-besotted party that would regularly happen in Williamsburg in the '80s in an otherwise unoccupied former meat storage warehouse space. It was owned by this crazy Brazillian diplomat's kid and co-curated by the great Fabio Roberti, I think. I didn't care much who owned or ran things back then, because I used to be a hell of a lot more interesting. Oh, and Room Temp. was the successor to Refrigerated, so named because it was just in a warehouse space and not one that used to house meat... Get it?

Sunday, October 02, 2005

And cry behind the door

KENDRA SMITH "Alle Morgens Parties" ("All Tomorrow's Parties" sung in German)

From my collection of flexi-discs, most of which I hung onto even through junkiedom 12 years ago 'cause even the rare ones are pretty worthless. My understanding is that all the parts were played by Kendra Smith, and it was produced by Steve Wynn and recorded at Down There Studios, in June 1981. The flexi was originally included in an issue of the dreadful fanzine The Bob in 1987. Not the very best song I've ever posted but also probably not the worst.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Eighteen things at once -- you spread yourself so thin!

VOLCANO SUNS "Silvertones"

The Volcano Suns were formed by Mission of Burma drummer Peter Prescott in 1983, or so the Internet tells me, and these songs are from their debut LP on Homestead, 1985's Bright Orange Years. The thing is out of print despite being the band's best album by a rather wide margin (no offense to latter-day bassist Dave Kleiler who I was indie-rock hall buddies with back at NYU and whose best high school pal fronted the initial dough to start Matador -- nice dudes). Prescott does that anthemic shout-thing a few times too many on here, but pound for pound, it's the finest post-MoB offering, and yes I do like that Consonant debut and Roger Miller's Oh. Orange is fuzzy and pleasantly fucked midtempo indie-punk, and it's a great record to listen to when you momentarily tire of your Husker Du, Membranes, Squirrel Bait and Big Boys records.

Don't believe me? Check out what your hero Will Oldham told INDEX magazine nine years ago: BRUCE: What are some of the things you've recommended for Drag City's reissue label, Dexter's Cigar? WILL: The first record by Volcano Sons[sic], The Bright Orange Years. They went on to make a few more records that I didn't like as much, but that record - it came out in '85 or '84, between '84 and '86 - I still listen to it now. It's actually a beautiful looking record, beautiful sounding record, just a really good record. It's been out of print for a while.

The first time I ever saw an "unplugged" set by Yo La Tengo was at a record shop somewhere in the West Village in the Spring of '87. They did a terrific version of "Cover." Years later I phoned in a pledge to WFMU when Yo La Tengo was doing one of their annual live request broadcasts, and I couldn't remember the name of the Suns song I'd seen them do a dozen years earlier, so I just requested "that Volcano Suns song they do." And then of course, they did another song entirely (since they know almost as many songs as Peter Stampfel), the great "Balancing Act" song, the one that goes "It matters to meeee." That phrase was borrowed for the masthead logo on one of the final issues of the awesome, Burma-worshipping, New Jersey-based '80s 'zine Matter. Anyone remember Matter?

My usual webpage to store stuff on is acting funky now, so this one's a dreaded "you send it file," sorry.