Thursday, December 29, 2005

One two three four

CLOGS ""Ostinato"/ "Five:Four" (Medley)

Our pal Alec at Brassland sent us this (*EXCLUSIVE!*) medley of two tunes off the Clogs' Feb. '06 release Lantern, and I'm supposed to mention that the group is sort of a side project of the National and that they're touring the United Kingdom in January and February.

Four years after his passing, and I'm missing W.G. Sebald's presence in this world. (Talked about him all night while dining at my single favorite joint in Portland, the sandwich shop and oh so much more Valentines.) I love when things seem to be totally random or just some rambling journey but then you realize later that they're totally crafted. And Sebald, who's of course best known for inserting images into his texts, has this in spades. And the way he deals with the Holocaust is so honest and intense and never maudlin, kind of like Primo Levi in that regard. I think I need to re-read him, after I finish re-reading Death to the Pigs (who else misses the days Atlas Press was putting out new books every year?)

I'm writing comments for the first time in like a dozen year for the VOICE's year-end poll today while I take a short break from more pressing work, though I might not even send the comments in. I kind of wish the Pazz & Jop poll would have a haterz section, where you could vote the one act you despised the most. Were the options a buffet line, would I vote for the Miracle Whip of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, the decaf no-foam no-fat double cappucino of U2 or the stale bologna sandwich with pickles of the Hold Steady? I'd probably go with Clap Your Hands, just 'cause I feel so strongly about the necrophagy vs. necromancy debate. Also, they suck. Bland dispassionate unoriginal suckity suck. Much worse, they make me feel old! Since I cannot discuss them w/o sounding like a hateful old man. Which I will now stop being. I swear. And be grateful there is no "worst" category, 'cause that's mean and stuff anyway.

Twenty years after he died, we all miss dennes dale boon, of course. Just in case you have not seen David Rees' passionate tribute to this unfortunate anniversary, it's here.

Want to know what Alan McGee said when I finally tracked him down for the LOVELESS book? And I quote: "Sorry that record fucking bores me.Long live The Libertines,Dirty Pretty Things and Babyshambles." Hah. Dude. I almost love that that's all he said.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Thousand years may come and go

RADIO FOUR "How Much I Owe"
ISOLEE "Schrapnell"
HAZEL & ALICE "A Distant Land to Roam"

Happy happiness and stuff to you and your’n! First off, thanks to the handful of folks who emailed me asking what the hell I was up to and why haven’t I updated this blog in ages and am I OK or what? Well, the last few months I’ve been super busy (YETI 3 is out – our website will soon be up but if you want to order one right now, it’s currently available from Forced Exposure, Aquarius Records, Midheaven/Revolver, Reading Frenzy, Last Gasp, Insound, and Powells!) and on top of that, honestly, I've been feeling even more low-energy and screwed-up than ever.

But finally, after three trips just this last week to the Providence ER (on top of emergency root canal done superbly at the OHSU dental school), I’m stable and on the road to getting healthy.

At least partially what’s going on is Metabolic Syndrome – a fat guy trifecta that's diabetes (which I thought maybe I had but had never been diagnosed with before) plus a host of other factors (some congenital) which lifestyle changes (like actually exercising and eating properly) will help out lots. I’ve had vision changes and there might be damage to some of my organs, but I don’t think it’s anything too bad. Plus, I get medical insurance in about a week so I’m psyched about that, jack, and will be able to know these things for sure which will be nice.

I’ll totally be fine; I just am one of those people who needs shit to go seriously wrong before making the right changes, you dig? Speaking of which, I have eleven years clean and sober in a week, assuming I don’t go out and smoke a shit-ton of crack cocaine tomorrow night. Ohhhhh man, am I not funny at all? I didn’t think so. But I am totally psyched about double digit recovery, and can't wait to celebrate with my home group, yay.

The next YETI, number four, which is already 100% assigned and slated for an April release, is super exciting: among the things we hope to include there’s a cover drawn by the great Carson Ellis with an interview with her in there too; a re-evaluation of Sister Ray and the Original Sins; an account of Japanese internment camps in WW2 written by the grandson of detainees which unfortunately seems hella current events; some fascinating shit from Werner Herzog; Tara Jane O’Neill talking to Michael Hurley; Keith Fullerton Whitman aka Hrvatski hanging out with Tod Dockstader; YACHT Jana emailing with Genevieve Castree; Ian Nagoski on Blaster Al Ackerman; Adam Forkner chatting with Dave Longstreth AKA Mr. Dirty Projectors; me talking to the coolest man alive who is not Bruce Conner – the former garage band drummer, Surrealist poet, doo wop DJ and current gospel expert Opal Louis Nations; plus interviews with Fred Tomaselli; Hakim Bey/ Peter Lamborn Wilson; Judee Sill; a whole lot of artwork, and more. If we can squeeze it all together... we'll see.

I'm throwing up a slew of songs this time, well that's more like a mini-slew. Or a slewette? Yes, a slewette. The Radio Four just continue to kick my ass. Of course I do not refer to the impossibly lame British band of the same name, but the family quartet who began life as a jug band and in the ‘50s recorded some burning sides for the great Nashboro label.

Turner Junior Johnson is singing “When I Lay My Burden Down,” a capella with harp, and it’s taken from the Document collection Negro Religious Field Recordings (1934-1942) Vol. 1. A good deal of Document titles are available at eMusic these days, FYI – I even wrote about it, hooray.

“New Year’s Eve” is from the way-classic album Heroin by Stephan Mathieu & Ekkehard Ehlers. Four and a half years on and this thing has yet to be remotely stale, to me anyway.

“Schrapnell” is from one of my favorite records of the year, the percolating and lovely Wearemonster by Isolee, which made my Pazz & Jop poll this year, in the top five. I ranked my albums in order of how often I listened to them since that seemed to me the most honest method, you dig? This MP3 was actually downloaded off Fluxblog in April, who I have to thank for turning me on to this thing, though I think I’d read about it on ILX earlier. MP3 blogs can be good for something!

And the Hazel & Alice tune is from that Smithsonian comp. Pioneering Women of Bluegrass, which is kind of great and makes me want to listen to Freakwater again. I haven't heard them in ages, dude.