Thursday, October 30, 2008

Twin Beaks

Some weeks back, a rash of odd pointy objects appeared on the right side of my snout. Initially, I feared the worst: nose cancer, or some previously undiscovered disease which will make dermatology experts awash in excitement to be on the forefront of a new biological frontier. Eventually, after applying pressure to the area, the end result was a crusty crop of glorious blackheads jutting forth. Sweet!

This is somewhat the same reaction I feel when approaching a new album by The Fall: is it going to be a deadly cancer on the nose of music history? Or will the gamble instead yield delight and unmitigated ecstasy, much the same as those deliciously tasty blackheads? Unlike my arch nemesis Underneathica, I actually prefer Mark E. Smith when he sips one aging foot in the atonal clatter of his past and the other in the Brix-era sideways pop of what music historians now call "his middle years." I tend to swoon more over the kind of tunes where they almost sound like smash hits, except that this particular Billboard chart is buried in the bottom of a dustbin languishing at the end of a grimy Manchester alleyway.

The rickety construction of Strange Town, the taut tension of Senior Twilight Stock Replacer and the buoyant shout-along I've Been Duped are as brittle as any oxidized acne you care to name. Don't believe me? Just give my schnoz a hug (there's a lot of nose there for you to squeeze).

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Music Hath Charms to Soothe a Savage Beast (Except When It's Crap Songs, After Which This Savage Beast Turns Into a Snarling Asshole)

Just because, like me, you're wholeheartedly throwing all your support behind Barack Obama, our future president (that is, if the Republicans don't once again steal the entire election out from under us because we're all too busy blogging to actually bother hanging Karl Rove by his hairless pasty white balls), it doesn't mean you have to set his candidacy to such fucking god-awful music. I'm very happy to know there are video reinforcements but must they be shot with the same emotional impact of a Gap ad? You'd never find me wearing a monochromatic outfit enabling me to be part of a living tribute to a logo, but even if you did, can't we all agree the performer of this half-assed faux-inspirational suck song should be nailed to the side of a barn and left to die? Please, people: let's just vote Obama into office and stop setting this election to music. Leave the ineffectual pop tone picks to the Gilmore Girls.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Live Blogging While Viewing the Restored Edition of The Last Waltz Which I Avoided Watching In the Past Because the Soundtrack Makes Me Gag

00:09 This film should be played loud, the intro titles read. I would concur, except I would also add, "Be sure to turn the volume down during the actual music segments.".

09:28 Our first glimpse of how The Band looks. Now I know where Wilco get their fashion sense.

15:14 Oh, look--it's Ronnie Hawkins performing one of my favorite rock and roll mannerisms: redneck band leader screaming encouraging rev-it-up phrases over the guitar solo. Darby Crash died for your sins, Ronnie--please don't let his loss be in vain.

26:51 If there is anything more painful than hearing a fuzzy-brained hippie reading the introduction to The Canterbury Tales, I have yet to experience it.

30:28 "You know this guy, I bet..." Robbie Robertson exclaims as Neil Young ambles his ramshackle self onto the stage. I certainly do: I saw him begging for change in the parking lot of my local Walgreens this morning. He said he needed money to buy diapers, but I wasn't born yesterday.

53:29 The puzzling sight of Neil Diamond playing on this bill is akin to witnessing Sha Na Na when they performed at Woodstock. I'm half expecting The Manhattan Transfer to make an appearance next.

57:43 "What about women on the road?", Scorsese asks The Band during a backstage interview. "I love 'em!", exclaims the nearly-toothless, homeless-looking Richard Manuel. The follow-up question should have been, "How much did you end up having to pay for each one?"

59:25 Is the necklace draped around the skinny neck of delicate songstress Joni Mitchell fashioned from Nazi insignia? No wonder she was so furious that Neil Diamond was invited to play!

105:18 If I never again have to hear another White man crooning "Train Kept a Rollin'" (in this case, the insufferable Paul Butterfield), I will die a happy man.

109:10 For reasons unclear to me, the blues great Muddy Waters is performing without a guitar, with that role being supplanted by some anonymous long-haired hack behind him. Were the concert organizers afraid to give him an instrument for fear he would steal it?

113:33 Two words: Eric Clapton. Good sweet Jesus, our Lord and Savior, I've passed gas more interesting than this drivel.

126:48 Levon Helm gives a nutty quote: "The greatest priests on 52nd Street were the musicians. They were doing the greatest healing work. And they knew how to push through music which would cure and make people feel good." So our national health plan should be...get some NYC street buskers to run our hospitals??

130:26 I think Levon Helm should charge Grandaddy royalties for using his look without permission.

132:24 The proto-Las Vegas stylings of Van Morrison remind me exactly of my high school Economics teacher. Especially when he does the karate kicks mid-song.

136:56 Hearing poet/boho artist/vagabond Lawrence Ferlinghetti give his refashioned reading of "The Lord's Prayer" is almost enough to make me vote Republican.

141:06 I can't decide if the hat atop Bob Dylan makes him look like a pimp or like Jeff Lynne circa Xanadu.

146:06 So it's come to this: the All-Star jam version of "I Shall Be Released" which sees more musicians on stage at one time than there are members remaining in the audience. If only this farewell concert could have been held at Altamont.

Allez à l'enfer, Décou:verte.

As a public service to all my readers, I'm going to translate select song titles off the new album Synthetique by the French 80's glam outfit Prototypes:

L'amour L'amour L'amour means "Love, love, love."

Machine Arriere means "Machine of the butt."

Un Coup de Langue means "My language blows."

Est Ce Que Tu M'aimes? means "Do you like the letter M?"

I've Got No Shame means "Disco:Very has officially run out of jokes. What can I say? It's been a busy news cycle."

Saturday, October 18, 2008


Solid Gold by Eagles of Death Metal (buy)

Sinking Ship by The Clean (Currently Unavailable)

Kawliga by The Residents (buy)

Nervoused Out by Joe King Carrasco & the Crowns (Currently Unavailable)

Juicy, Juicy, Juice by Royal Trux (buy)

(Dancing On a) Saturday Night by The Bay City Rollers (buy)

Surfin' School by King Uszniewicz And His Uszniewicztones (buy)

Pink Flamingos on Coffee Pot Boulevard by Steve Nieve (buy)

Mysteries of Love by Antony & the Johnsons (buy)

All Wrong by Kaada (buy)

School for Robots by Bruce Haack (buy)

Lunar Module by Big Dipper (buy)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Twee Which Dare Not Speak Its Name

Oh, dear. It seems that Let's Whisper is in a bit of a pickle. They have a list of new song titles in front of them (written in crayon) but can't seem to remember which ones are real and which ones were submitted by lovers of their innocent yet child-like gentle pop sounds. Can you help them figure out which song title is the real one amongst all the fakes? [Answer is below]

Popsicles Are Fun

We Like Gumby Marathons on Nickelodeon

Let's Skip Down the Street Until Our Legs Fall Off

Oatmeal on a Cold Day Makes My Tummy Go Yummy

I Love My Rainbow Toe Socks

When You Were Eating Ice Cream

Hello, Little Ladybug on My Arm

Look! I Sprouted My First Pubic Hair!

Let's Chew Our Gum Forever and Ever and Ever

Chocolate Milk is Part of a Nutritious Breakfast

Calvin Johnson and Me are BFF

My Mom Bought Me New Underwear and the Snug Fit Makes Me Feel More Secure

Sucking My Thumb While Going Potty

Candy Cigarettes Taste Like Pepto Bismol (Yum!)

[Answer: Thanks for visiting my blog! I'm glad you're my special friend!]

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

The Audience Members in the 2nd 2008 Presidential Debate and the Questions They Wish They Could Have Asked

Gogol Bordello Guy: "What are your policies on the hardships faced by traveling gypsy musicians? And what will you do to reduce the price of black and white striped leggings which they frequently wear?"

Woman Who Irons Her Hair: "Senators, I am a big fan of Phoebe Snow and yet she hasn't had a hit record in over 30 years. What are your thoughts on any potential future hits by Phoebe Snow? [Pause] For god's sake, will someone tell me if Phoebe Snow is ever going to have another hit album???"

Redneck Boy Barely Old Enough to Vote: "Senator Obama, everyone says I look like Larry Collins of the Collins Kids, yet I still have not had a date in the last two years. If you are elected President, what will you do to help me get a date?"

Classic Rocker Having Mid-Life Crisis: "Is it a bad thing that I play air guitar when listening to Los Lonely my underwear?"

Emo Boy and His Goth Girlfriend Sitting on His Left: "This is a two part question: Where do you stand on Further Seems Forever vs. Dashboard Confessional? And my girlfriend would like to know what you plan on doing to stem the tide of zombies taking over the earth?"

Pained Moderator: Will someone please kill me?