Thursday, November 24, 2005
Ohio's The Minni-Thins like pop, and they also like noise, two great tastes that taste great together. These two flavors intermingle magnificently on the many tracks available for download at their website, and if you back me into a wall, with the proverbial gun to my head, I'd have to say I hear a little bit of The Fall (in the way they grab hold of a riff and trottle its pretty little neck until it dies), a little bit of Pavement and/or any number of Drag City bands we all love/loathe, and, hell, maybe they even resemble a less annoying Weezer. A post-Thanksgiving feast is clouding my brain so these are the best comparisons I can come up with at the moment. Feel free to comment with your own. I'm going to lie down for a while.
To describe it, the image sounds perverse: a horse gently scooping a tiny fetus with its long-armed backhoe tentacle. If anything, that sentence reads like the Captain Beefheart album title that never was. But this is what can make music videos such a powerful medium--the poetry of the visuals coupled with the tone laid down by the music. You can understand why, after seeing the video for Heartbeats, the world-domination-obsessed evil Sony Corporation would want to use a Jose Gonzales track to sell its new glitzy television sets. Good for him--I hope Gonzales makes a million bucks off this thing. Update: the animated video for Heartbeats seems to have been scrubbed from the internet for good.
It's a glorious time to be Jeff Lynne: American TV commercials are still mining the bowels of the Electric Light Orchestra catalogue ("Livin' Thing" for JC Penny's, "Do Ya" for Monster.com, etc), numerous critic's-darling indie bands are covering his songs without a scrap of irony, and EMI has finally given a proper reissue to the last album recorded by The Move (psych-popsters will love the
title track of A Message From the Country, while It Wasn't My Idea To Dance should bode well with the current prog-rock movement). But most importantly, 2006 will mark the 40th anniversary of Mr. Lynne having had the same exact hairdo. What else is there to say, but "grroosss!"
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
The aural candy of
Saturday, November 19, 2005
When you're confronted with the hands-down punk genius of a band such as The Electric Eels, it's easy to scratch your head in bafflement as to why they weren't more popular. Could it have been because the group (all of them straight) used to passionately kiss onstage to piss off the rednecks in the audience? Was it because their lead singer was more of a lead snarler and purposely started violent fistfights with his fellow bandmates during every show? Perhaps the record-buying public was put off by the title of the 1988 compilation God Says Fuck You (top left). Personally, when I hear song titles such as
Agitated, Anxiety and You're Full Of Shit, the band instantly becomes bigger than Jesus in my book. Perhaps if they had been anthromorphized to make them more approachable, they would have enjoyed the adulation given to the Lamisil mascot Digger the Dermatophyte (top right). If marketers can make toe infections appear cartoonish, why not a pissed-off mid-70's punk group? Tap your (infected) toes to this top-notch piece of punk history at Amazon.
Saturday, November 12, 2005
George W. Bush is a complete and utter fuck-pig, a doddering nitwit who hasn't the sense to utter two words in proper succession let alone lead a nation into a trumped-up pointless war. The question on everyone's mind is: "How can we get rid of him?" My fellow Americans, as a sacrifice to this country, I volunteer to perform a wet slurpy blow job on President Bush while he's in the Oval Office in order that we can alert the press to his transgressions and begin proceedings to remove his tired ass from office. During the impeachment trial and the subsequent victory parties celebrating his departure from the White House, I will play
Oh Mother, The Handsome Man Tortures Me, taken from Choubi Choubi! Folk & Pop Sounds From Iraq, newly released by the fine folks at Sublime Frequencies. In these trying times, we all have to swallow our pride (or what have you) and step up to the plate to oust the axis of evil where it resides. I draw the line, however, at blowing Rove. Ick! I mean, c'mon, even my patriotism has limits.
Friday, November 11, 2005
About 15 years ago, while on a train in Hamburg, after an exhausting day spent record shopping at World Of Music (sort of the Tower Records of Germany, but so much better), an elderly woman sitting nearby began yelling things in German--a language I don't speak--and gesticulating violently towards me. This went on for the entire 20 minute ride but it wasn't until departing the train that my friend (a Hamburg native) explained what had happened: in my fatigued state, I had put my feet on the empty seat across from me, to which this woman took great offense. Not knowing the local language, I never responded to her harangue and continued brazenly stretching my legs out in front of her. Apparently, she was screaming to everyone within earshot about my rudeness and lack of manners, and all the while I just sat there, unknowingly taunting her sense of public decency. Of course, I was well aware of her hissy fit as it occurred, but assumed she was a nutjob, ignorant to the fact that she was merely acting as some sort of law-enforcing knight, keeping the social fabric of Deutschland sewn smoothly. Yes, those were good times, and I think of that warm and cuddly event whenever I hear
Die Qualität des Staates by Felix Kubin. It's the perfect soundtrack to accompany images of a large-boned matriarch chasing after a lazy Yankee with loose behavioral morals. What I love about Kubin is that, like the self-appointed correctional officer on my train, he seems to scream everything coming out of his mouth, Donald Trump-style: all overpowering volume, lacking subtlety and dynamics, which I find so charming when placed on top of Teutonic angular electroclash. Someday, I'm going to turn my little stretched-leg train encounter into a Broadway musical, and Kubin is just the man who will be able to translate that Hallmark moment into a theatre event for the ages. You can buy The Tetchy Teenage Tapes of Felix Kubin 1981-85 at Forced Exposure.
Thursday, November 10, 2005
As the weird outsider folk fad creeps along, it leads to more early oddball outsider music from around the world being discovered on a monthly basis. 1970's psych-Swede freak show Pugh Rogefeldt probably has a leg up on this trend, mostly because he sings in Swedish, but also because he was doing it over 30 years ago. I only mention the timeframe because everyone is seemingly drooling over the latest Devendra Banhard as if he were the first elfin acid casualty to crawl out of the rustic forest peat with a guitar strapped to his back. Compare Rogefeldt's
Stinsen I Bro (Del I & II) to Banhard's Chinese Children and tell me the tiny (Tim) acorn didn't fall very far from the tree. You can purchase Pughish (top left) from Aquarius Records, and you can easily purchase Cripple Crow (bottom left) just about anywhere else.
Tuesday, November 01, 2005
One night, I dreamed I was walking along the beach with Pop Music. Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky. In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand. Sometimes there were two sets of footprints, other times there were one set of footprints. This bothered me because I noticed that during the low periods of my life, when I was suffering from anguish, sorrow or defeat, I could see only one set of footprints, and I was forced to hear somewhat boring, critically-praised, safe pop music that wasn't all that interesting such as Death Cab For Cutie instead of pop music that made me want to shreik and dance and sing and punch my fist in the air and play air drums and fuck and fight and kick people in the head. So I said to Pop Music, “You promised me, Pop Music, that if I followed you, you would walk with me always and provide me with fun youthful pop such as The Chalets and Cansei De Ser Sexy. But I have noticed that during the most trying periods of my life, when I was forced to put up with the pretentious swill of Modest Mouse, there have only been one set of footprints in the sand. Why, when I needed you most, have you not been there for me, and instead foisted dull cutie-wootie artists such as Bright Eyes on me?” Pop Music replied, “The times when I provided downloads of catchy ditties such as
Red High Heels and Hollywood (Electro Grunge Shit Version), the times when you have seen only one set of footprints in the sand, is when I carried you.” (Buy the new cd by The Chalets from Amazon.co.uk, and buy Cansei De Ser Sexy from iTunes Music Store.)