Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Feather of Down

Instead of resorting to the usual twee-indie visual of putting a fucking bird on their CD cover, the Bristol-based art-dub trio Beak went one better and simply named themselves after the most important part of the avian anatomy. Any band that mixes the hazy drone of Neu! and early Public Image, Ltd. is bound to make my goosebumps have their own goosebumps. Some of the songs on their self-titled debut are drastically sparse in their Metal Box-like focus (Ears Have Ears), while others pace themselves into a high-strung motorik gallop (Iron Acton). (Pill even begins with the kind of screechy Mideast violin howl familiar to anyone who got all the way through The Flowers of Romance.) In a perfect world, this would be the soundtrack for waiting rooms and elevators.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Crank Calling Record Stores on the Busiest Shopping Day of the Year [Part 2]

Same Store Clerk From Previous Crank Call: [Name of Store.]
Disco:Very: Hi, I'm calling to see if you have the CD Santana Performs Yiddish Favorites.
Same Store Clerk From Previous Crank Call: [Pause.] [Hangs up.]

Crank Calling Record Stores on the Busiest Shopping Day of the Year [Part 1]

[Store Clerk for lame-ass local chain CD/DVD store]: [Name of store] on [name of street location].
Disco:Very: Hi. I was just in your store and I bought myself a copy of Where the Wild Things Are by Steve Vai but I think there's something wrong with the CD.
Store Clerk: OK. What seems to be the problem?
Disco:Very: Well, on the song "Taurus Bulba", Steve Vai is supposed to be playing a solo which is comprised of 2100 notes per minute but when I listen to it, I can only count about 2086 notes, tops.
Store Clerk: [Pauses.] Uh...
Disco:Very: I thought that maybe you had an in-store copy you could listen to and maybe you and I could count the notes together over the phone so we can determine if my copy is defective or if it was an error at the pressing plant.
Store Clerk: [Laughs] Well, uh...I don't think we have an in-store copy here.
Disco:Very: I know the mistake isn't on my end because I'm very good at counting. And I'm sure the problem isn't with Steve Vai because his nimble fingers dance merrily across the strings as if summoned forth by Zeus, with the power and majesty of 1000 winged horses.
Store Clerk: [Hangs up.]

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Two Indie Rawk Darlings Scheduled to Face Off In Court This Week

A federal court Wednesday will consider the fate of a bitter fight between Portland hippy-dips Yacht (top left) and rough-and-tumble Brooklyn duo Sleigh Bells (bottom left), who claim they are “five times more rawk than Yacht”. Yacht, frequently seen posting naked against dreamy nature-like settings, isn't contesting the accuracy of Sleigh Bells’ claim, but says the argument is misleading. Yacht, in its legal response, says Sleigh Bells is suing because "we frequently refer to lightness and darkness as opposing forces of good and evil in our songs, and that paints us as New Age wimps." Sleigh Bells wants the court, which will hear arguments today, to force the music-consuming public to reevaluate Yacht’s standing in the indie rawk sweepstakes of 2009.
Sleigh Bells are asking the court to consider such endeavors as Yacht's current “Catalogue of Influences” poster as well as the title of their 2007 EP, “I Believe In You. Your Magic is Real”. “Give me a fucking break,” says Tony Melone, legal representative for Sleigh Bells. "Even Doug Henning wouldn’t have come up with a CD title that stupid, and he believed in vedic flying!”

Yacht spokesman Mark Siegel responds: “We think our music is simple, straightforward and honest," he says. “We think we're doing a great job. So what if some of that is performed while advocating awareness of extraterrestrial intelligence?"

The U.S. District Court in Atlanta will decide the question of when a band segues from merely being "simple" to becoming outright dopey. Sleigh Bells’ main beef is with the vague areas of Yacht’s lyrics and image, which denote a communion with nature and spirits.

Sleigh Bells’ image is awash in 80’s smarm and enough distortion to make your ears bleed; Yacht, in contrast, has almost no grit of which to speak. Sleigh Bells, in its lawsuit, says consumers may think Yacht’s association with LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy means Sleigh Bells offer no downtown boho cred of their own.

"If our songs are judged to be truthful but not misleading, even though they're damaging to Sleigh Bells’ business, well, that's just competition," says Tom Zellerbach, a friend of the band. But Yacht has a hurdle, too. Their website lists a mission statement and urges listeners to find importance in triangles. The court "could question whether that manifesto is beyond ass-backwards," he says.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Riffs and Variations on a Single Joke (A Not-Really-All-That-Funny Joke.) [silence.] [sound of crickets.]

How fitting that Susan Atkins, former follower of cult leader Charles Manson would pass away so close to the release dates of the two latest Sufjan Stevens albums: The BQE and Run Rabbit Run. As I sit here, listening to the spritely Movement III: Linear Tableau with Intersecting Surprise and the mournful Year of Our Lord, it occurs to me that the parallels between these two icons of American artistry have been staring us all in the face for quite some time:

  • Both have connections to swords. Susan Atkins witnessed Charles Manson injuring a guy with a sword. The name "Sufjan" means "comes with a sword".

    • Both became so-called Born Again Christians. For Susan Atkins, this occurred in 1974 while serving life in prison. For Sufjan Stevens, this occurred in 1975 (the date of his first and, so far, only birth).
    • Both are connected to nonsense ramblings which have no rational meaning but are misjudged by followers to be riddled with insight. For Susan Atkins, this can be found in the Manson's crazed racial-uprising scenario he termed "Helter Skelter". In the case of Sufjan Stevens, this can be found in such song titles as "A Conjunction of Drones Simulating the Way in Which Sufjan Stevens Has an Existential Crisis in the Great Godfrey Maze".
    • Both are/were imprisoned for life due to the crimes of their youth. For Susan Atkins, it was due to her role in the Tate/LaBianca murders. For Sufjan Stevens, it's due to being forced to come up with 48 more CD's to fulfill the terms of his "Fifty States Project".
    • Both initially avoided confessing to playing a part in several violent murders. Susan Atkins eventually confessed. Stevens has yet to.

    In addition, the name Sufjan Stevens has 13 letters in it, the same number of letters in the phrase: You bite my butt.

    In conclusion: are we still boycotting Whole Foods? It's the only place I can find green lentils.

    Thursday, September 10, 2009

    My Precious Feelings on the 36th Telluride Film Festival

    Although I am not the winner of this year's edition of the Be the First to Spot Ken Burns game, I do, however, witness many 4-year-olds around town with the same bowl-cut hair style, which scores me a few points in the end.

    The next morning, I happily spot Mr. Burns being nagged by his wife in broad daylight and provide him momentary respite from her by insisting I get my picture snapped with him (that's me on the left).

    The minute the festival schedule is announced, rumors being to swirl like Lysol® Power Toilet Bowl Cleaner as it washes away pesky lime and rust. Due to a surprise announcement that Up in the Air will be screening, everyone is on the lookout for George Clooney to make an appearance. It certainly explains why I keep getting stopped in the street by strangers assuming I am him. Curse my masculine square jaw and rugged good looks!

    The festival begins on a high note for me thanks to Henri-George Clouzot's Inferno, an engrossing recounting of the unfinished masterwork-which-could-have-been by the director of The Wages of Fear and Diabolique. Some of the visuals are so strong, you want to take them home in your pants pocket to take out and look at later when you're alone.

    I walk out midway during the first screening of the three-part Red Riding: 1974, which is too formulaic for my tastes. A few hours later, I endure a screening of The Miscreants of Taliwood--a potentially fascinating documentary on the local film production of Pakistan as it wrestles with local Islamic fundamentalism, but the story is overwhelmed by the self-absorbed director who inserts his hammer-over-the-head moral judgements into nearly every frame.

    Despite critics who find his vision far too bleak, I personally delight in the films of Michael Heneke (Cache, Funny Games) and his deeply morbid take on the world, especially in his new flick The White Ribbon (a perfect date movie if you're trying to woo a Goth). He sometimes tries a little too hard to be The Bad Boy of Cinema ("I hope you have a disturbing viewing experience", he proclaimed before the screening I caught), but he'd be the type of person to which I'd gravitate at a party, especially as he gloomily points out the violent malicious nature of humanity to the shocked and horrified guests.

    One of the delights of a great festival is when the selected films share similar thematic concerns. Such was the case of two very different films, A Prophet and Coco Before Chanel:

    A Prophet: The protagonist is trapped in an oppressive prison system with no means of escape.
    Coco Before Chanel: Lowly employees are trapped working for the oppressive Coco Chanel without any means of escape.

    A Prophet: The lead character must resort to violence and murder to climb his way to the top of the prison hierarchy.
    Coco Before Chanel: Coco must resort to violence and murder to climb her way to the top of the fashion hierarchy.

    A Prophet: The protagonist conceals a razor blade in his mouth in order to slit the throat of an opponent.
    Coco Before Chanel: Ditto.

    It is announced that a special appearance will be made by Helen Mirren, who is in attendance with her new costume drama The Last Station. It certainly explains why I keep getting stopped in the street by strangers assuming I am her. Curse my matronly demeanor and bosomy man-boobs!

    I hereby apologize to everyone sitting near me during It Came From Kuchar, the side-splitting new documentary about the Kuchar twins, George and Mike. The campy clips from their lewd filmography had me convulsing with booming laughter during the entire 90 minutes.

    Early on, I decide to skip the special screening of the new Todd Solondz film Life During Wartime. If I wanted to experience tiresome smart-ass writing whose only intent is to make the viewing public uncomfortable, I'd just read my own fucking blog [*rimshot*].

    I have a newfound respect for filmmaker Alexander Payne, whose films (About Schmidt, Sideways) have always slightly annoyed me. All of his picks as Guest Director of the festival were worth catching, from the weepy 1937 drama Make Way For Tomorrow to the Spanish black comedy El Verdugo to the darkly ironic Samurai epic Daisan no Kagemusha. His presentation of the splendid Italian romantic comedy Le Ragazze di Piazza di Spagna, which featured a very young Marcello Mastroianni in one of his earliest roles, was made even more special for me because I was sitting a mere two rows away from his frequent co-star Anouk Aimée. Being able to look over at her as Mastroianni appeared on the screen had me in cinematic heaven.

    Tuesday, September 01, 2009

    On the Cutting Room Floor

    Once again, I must apologize for the lack of posts. Everyone in Hollywood has been scrambling to repeat the runaway-freight-train success of the family-friendly Disney flick Beverly Hills Chihuahua, so as a result, I've been hired to script one of the many dozen sequels in the works. America, I give to you an all-Chihuahua version of Caligula! I don't want to give away too much, but in my version, castration has a more beneficial purpose.

    In between my daunting writing schedule, I will be at the 36th Telluride Film Festival for the next few days. I promise to gossip about everything I see upon my return.

    Saturday, August 29, 2009

    My Thoughts on Hearing John Lennon Being Played as the Soundtrack to the Health Care Reform Rally I Attended This Morning

    Power to the People
    The lyrics are painfully naive regarding revolutionary change but I'm just happy to be here protesting alongside my liberal brothers and sisters. Whoo hooo! Health care reform now!!

    Well, I'd rather chew off my own ear than ever have to hear this fucking song ever again, and although its themes can only tangentially be linked to the health care issue, what the hell: c'mon everybody, hold your signs high and let everyone feel your passion on this issue!!

    Um, doesn't this song chronicle Lennon's anguish over the loss of his mother after she died in a car crash during his youth? I'm not really sure what that has to do with health care...

    Cold Turkey
    Look, I guess you could link a song about heroin addiction to the need for a more inclusive health care system but maybe we could find a more appropriate CD to be playing and...

    Woman Is the Nigger of the World
    OK, now you're playing a song containing the "N word" at a rally somewhat connected to our current president, who happens to be Black. HOLY SHIT, CAN THE ORGANIZERS OF THIS RALLY GET A CLUE AND TURN THIS GODDAMNED CD OFF???

    Monday, August 17, 2009

    They Are Insane, These Gallic!

    There hasn't been much time for me to post anything lately, what with all my waking hours spent getting Courtney Love ready for her stage debut in the musical version of Howard the Duck (she plays the title role). For now, you'll just have to be satisfied with me posting three albums of authentic '60's Ye-Ye French pop: the now out-of-print Ils Sont Fous Ces Gaulois! series, volumes 1, 2 & 3 (I haven't yet bought volume 4, though Dionysus Records apparently has it). Forgive me for lacking the album cover for Volume 1 (if anyone has it, please send it my way). I have to go now--I can hear Courtney screaming for her daily Oxycontin smoothie. There's hell to pay if I don't have it whipped up the minute she gets back from her court-ordered parenting class.

    Thursday, July 02, 2009

    Birds of a Feather

    It's inspiring to see Soul Jazz Records, via Fly Girls, tutor the music-buying public on the important role women played in the development of rap. Young and old alike will be schooled on the ground-breaking work of Tanya Winley (Vicious Rap), Nicki Giovanni (Ego Tripping) and Lady B (To the Beat Y'all), all of whom paved the path for today's chart-topping female artists like Queen Latifah and Missy Elliot. As comprehensive as this collection is, however, can someone tell me how they could have overlooked that fine feminist fowl Cheap Cheap the Cooking Chicken? Her feathered flow is mad wicked, yo.*

    *Note to readers: Please pretend it is still fucking hilarious when an old white guy speaks in urban hip-hop lingo. Because, let's face it--it is.

    Monday, June 15, 2009

    Artiste At Work

    Cat Power to Direct Vodka Commercial - Pitchfork [Friday, June 12th, 2009]

    6:33am - Vodka bottle fails to show up for costuming. Reached by cell, announces it wants to permanently retire from public performance. Blames erratic behavior on mental exhaustion.

    7:49am - Vodka bottle arrives on set, loaded up on Seroquel to battle stage fright. Suffers nervous breakdown in front of crew.

    8:05am - During lighting tests, vodka bottle is seen obsessively chasing bad spirits away with matches and sage.

    9:26am - Filming is set to begin but is held off because vodka bottle is nowhere to be found. Vodka bottle later found outside talking to squirrels.

    10:18am - Vodka bottle announces it is uncomfortable being in its own skin. Chases entire film crew from set, encourages them to sue.

    11:50am - Feeling suicidal, vodka bottle abruptly disappears again. Later found working as babysitter in Portland.

    12:11pm - Vodka bottle tosses back a handful of Effexar, admits to alcohol abuse. Decides it has grown tired of its own material and would rather be whiskey. Checks itself into Mount Sinai Medical Center but leaves after six days because "it's not for me".

    1:28pm - Commercial project is shut down for good. Cat Power reduced to directing episodes of Two and a Half Men.

    E-Mail Message Caught in My Spam Filter Which Could Easily Double as Lyrics to a Song by Joanna Newsom

    Scamp sap nibble baboo? Bled arise public elan. Emir luting. Sniffy valuer tare thyme? Bingo bled. Potboy ape palmy palmy! Elan arise. Arise ladder. Elan wen cooker. Chump chalk. Swathe feel bingo nibble? Bled estop gird. Potion feed bled tops! Find acuity. How chump wen swathe? Cooker chalk tops renew? Tare voter. Fetid nopal scamp. Mix luting flake bounty? Valuer novel ingle gasper. Morgue flood potboy chump? Module luting feed. Tandem gas large lumper! Nimbus public arise. Scamp sap nibble baboo? Bled arise public elan. Emir luting. Sniffy valuer tare thyme? Bingo bled. Potboy ape palmy palmy! Elan arise. Arise ladder. Elan wen cooker. Chump chalk. Swathe feel bingo nibble? Bled estop gird. Potion feed bled tops! Find acuity. How chump wen swathe? Cooker chalk tops renew? Tare voter. Fetid nopal scamp. Mix luting flake bounty? Valuer novel ingle gasper. Morgue flood potboy chump? Module luting feed. Tandem gas large lumper! Nimbus public arise.

    Wednesday, June 10, 2009

    You Cef! I Cef! We All Cef for Unicef!

    I have decided to hold a concert for Bangladesh in my living room. The goal is to raise at least $3 million dollars for the cause but because there’s probably only enough space for about 11 people (provided everyone helps me move the credenza outside to the front porch), tickets will be going for $28,000.00 each. To make my job a little easier, I’m only asking one band to play for the full 6-hour event: Varghkoghargasmal. Rather than have them repeat the same set for the duration of the concert, I’m requesting that they play Autumn Rain for the entire half-day show, making it progressively slower and sloppier as the song progresses. Varghkoghargasmal’s gloomy blood-splattered death metal dirge, paired with the type of ear-pleasing Casio keyboard arrangements you’d hear on a late night infomercial for Teflon pans, is sure to be a hit with the crowd. Refreshments can be purchased in my kitchen. I hope everyone likes buttermilk!

    Wednesday, June 03, 2009

    My First Five Reactions to Seeing the Statue of Ronald Reagan Dedicated Earlier Today at the U.S. Capitol

    1. Amazing! They were able to perfectly capture an action-figure likeness of his complete indifference to the AIDS crisis.

    2. In order to more closely resemble how he looked during his tenure as President, shouldn’t the statue show him lying down taking a nap?

    3. I’m so delighted to see that somebody finally found a use for all that money he made from the Iran-Contra arms deal.

    4. I’m a little confused: is this a bronze statue or is he still in that prolonged coma?

    5. If only they’d made this statue during his Presidency, it could have provided John Hinckley some good shooting practice.

    Monday, June 01, 2009

    Watch What Happens (When I Lower My Blogging Standards)

    Think of me as your Millionaire Matchmaker for music. There are many similarities: Like the host of that show, I am of indeterminate gender, no matter how hard you squint. The procedure my clients follow is also very much the same: you contact my offices (read: visit my website) and ask that I hook you up with a long-term winning relationship (read: song). After extensively studying your profile, I have determined that you'll be a perfect fit with Nerve City's The Armory, a mad echoey thumper which one hopes will be on his/their/its upcoming why-is-it-taking-so-fucking-long-to-come-out-I'm-about-to-pee-my-undies release.
    If that suitor (read: track) doesn't twinkle your toes, how about I fix you up with This Land Is No Good, the electroshock-therapy-driven screamer by Love Tan from their Miscellaneous Night Feelings LP? My hope is to see you two walking down the aisle (of your nearest record store) in the near future. True love is never having to say "You Are Sorry."

    Thursday, May 28, 2009

    It's All In Your Mind, Jenna Elfman

    It stands to reason that the not-at-all-psychotic religion Scientology needs more money now that they'll be spending millions fighting fraud in a French courtroom. It's a shame potential celeb contributors who might be able to assist financially are either dead (Sonny Bono, Isaac Hayes) or their careers are (Karen Black, Edgar Winter). What's a murderous secretive cult to do? Thank goodness Beck stepped up to the plate (or the altar or the severed goat's head or whatever the fuck they use in their weird-ass Scientology services) to reissue his mostly-acoustic 1994 opus One Foot in the Grave. While it might not net the big bucks Tom Cruise brought them on...uh, Lions for Lambs (cough), there should be enough owners of the original release who'd want to shell out $16 clams for the 16 additional outtakes (including Feather In Your Cap, Mattress, Whiskey Can Can and It's All In Your Mind) which round out this collection. But it's not like Mr. Hansen isn't trying to do his part in keeping the Good Ship Scientology from sinking--heck, if his acting job as the ice cream scooper nerd in that new Verizon commercial is any indication, he's going to be padding the Scientology coffers for a long time to come! [Update: The Verizon commercial has been removed so this last joke is now lost to history, but trust me--the dude looked exactly like Beck.]

    Tuesday, May 26, 2009

    "Aleister, Come Out to Play-ee-ay..."

    Who is Aleister X and when is his debut CD ever going to come out? His hybrid mash-up of Stiff Records-era Wreckless Eric, Ian Dury and the sloppy/slappy disco of Captain Sensible is a 4/4 rock 'n' roll rave-up and a New Wave pogo party at the same time, all the while never removing some of the most ghostly pancake make-up ever affixed to a face. (Bonus points for the couplet, "That friend of Pete's is a fucking twit/That creepy cunt tosser is a real tom tit.") You'd think being linked with Andrew WK would have given him a dozen hits three times over but, so far as I can tell, nothing is yet available for purchase. Join me, then, as I offer these ultra-lo-fi rough-mix downloads of a few of the better tracks at his MySpace page: Tom Tit, Bangers 'n' Beans and On Yr Todd. Something tells my gut I will be forced to remove all of them within a few days time, so grab them before Aleister kicks my butt for posting them. I don't mind telling you I'm afraid of what a guy who dresses like The Baseball Furies might do to me.

    [Update: Aleister X now has all of his should-be-hits on iTunes, all of them waiting for you to take them home and make them your own.]

    Wednesday, May 20, 2009

    Christianity Declares Major Victory Over Hedonistic Homosexual Lifestyle Choice in Decisive Fight Over the Soul of America’s Youth

    May 20, 11:44 PM EDT

    AP Television Writer

    LOS ANGELES (AP) – Religious activists across America were celebrating in the streets as clean-cut Christian vocalist Kris Allen took the most votes to become the 2009 American Idol, signaling what is seen by many leading experts as the final nail in the coffin for homosexuality.

    Openly gay runner-up Adam Lambert fell far short of the votes needed to win this year’s competition, thus prohibiting him from overthrowing the Holy Kingdom of God, and his defeat has sent reverberations throughout the Christian community.

    “It is such a relief that our faith has scored this huge victory,” said 15-year-old Ron Byrd of the Coalition Of Christian Kids (COCK). “Some might see American Idol as a fluffy, pointless singing competition but, in actuality, it’s a final battle of good vs. evil created by Jesus Christ Our Lord and Savior to decide, once and for all, the final outcome over the souls of America’s youth. Tonight’s final tally makes Christian faith the true victor for all eternity.”

    Almost immediately, homosexual social centers such as urban gay bars, lesbian knitting clubs and Banana Republic clothing boutiques began their shameful dismantling, conceding defeat to the onslaught of Christian votes which decided their fate forevermore.

    “Although we do not agree with tonight’s decision, we accept it with humility and grace,” said the President and CEO of Gay America, Sandra Weibel in a written statement. “The Christian Right certainly showed us who is in charge. They have won in what is certainly the single most important face-off our two opposing lifestyles have ever faced, and now that they have outnumbered us for good, we will quietly close shop and never be heard from again.”

    Many notable Christian activists such as Ted Haggard had spent the last 48 hours encouraging their followers to vote for Kris Allen over Adam Lambert in an effort to finally show the unrelenting Homosexual Cabal across America that Christianity would not shy away from this momentous crusade of Biblical proportions, as epitomized in a ratings-laden pop culture singing game show.

    “Now that the death of Homosexuality has been fulfilled, the Coalition Of Christian Kids can move on to other important issues,” Byrd said. “COCK is very important in my life and has shown me the way to true happiness. COCK has been good to me and I want to devote more time to it, because I love COCK.”

    Tuesday, May 12, 2009

    Disco:Very Translates a Bad Press Release for Brightblack Morning Light

    "Haunting, beautiful, and weird in equal doses..."
    [Translation: They were too stoned to actually tune their guitars.]

    "...Brightblack Morning Light's second album for Matador was recorded entirely under solar power in a remote adobe cabin in the New Mexican mesa..."
    [Translation: They didn't have the money to pay their electric bill.]

    "...Deeper and heftier than their much loved 2006 self-titled LP..."
    [Translation: They discovered their rhyming dictionary has more pages than they initially thought.]

    "...this record recalls musicians as diverse as Lee Perry, Bob Dylan, My Bloody Valentine, Neil Young, and Otis Redding..."
    [Translation: They plagiarize from a wide variety of dead or near-dead artists for legal reasons.]

    "...with sounds ranging from folk to gospel to experimental electronics..."
    [Translation: Everything sounds the same to them after they ingest enough peyote.]

    "...This impassioned ode to the natural world and traditional lifestyles is as political as it is personal..."
    [Translation: They don't believe in taking showers.]

    "...Nathan Shineywater and Rachael Hughes make their music for everyone..."
    [Translation: Especially if they're White.]

    "...but they have a special love for wild and sun drenched places..."
    [Translation: They didn't have the money to pay their electric bill.]

    "...far from the commercial distractions of the city and the crowds."
    [Translation: Their parents cut off their Trust Funds.]

    Monday, April 20, 2009

    Money Doesn't Grow On Trees--It Does, However, Tend to Blow Amongst Heavy Traffic on Sunset Boulevard at Opportune Moments

    If you're the person in Los Angeles who lost that $100 bill I found lying in the street this past weekend, please write me immediately so I can thank you from the bottom of my heart. That green sure came in handy when Amoeba Records had that rare used version of Recombo DNA, the internet-only limited-edition 2-CD comp of outtakes and demos by robotic New Wave pioneers Devo. Can you imagine how your inability to keep track of your moolah has instantly enriched my life? Now I can listen to Sloppy (I Saw My Baby Gettin') (demo) and Girl U Want (demo alternate version) whenever I damn well please without ever having to resort to the shameful practice of illegal downloading. Thanks to your nimble wallet, my disposition is so sunny I even find myself listening to the tracks made during their later barely-interesting period following their surprising chart success. I hope to be in your area again in three weeks--do you think you can see to losing another $100 dollar bill during my upcoming visit? And a little closer to my hotel wouldn't hurt, either.

    Thursday, April 09, 2009

    Prank Calling About the Fictitious Forthcoming Boxed Set from Sufjan Stevens

    Music Store Geek Girl: This is [name of local alternative rock record chain store] on [street name].
    Disco:Very: Hello. I’m calling about the new Sufjan Stevens boxed set.
    Music Store Geek Girl: [Professional and helpful because she appears to be a Sufjan Stevens fan, a part of the ruse for which I hadn't planned] Mmmm…I haven’t heard of this. Huh! Wow! Do you know the title?
    Disco:Very: See, that’s why I’m calling. I don’t know the name of it. He’s realizing it’s going to take him forever to record an album for each of the 50 American states--
    Music Store Geek Girl: [On the edge of her seat] Uh huh…yeah…
    Disco:Very: --and so he’s decided it would be quicker to simply record his own version of albums recorded by bands who are named after the 50 states. So he’s, you know, recording his own version of Point of Know Return by Kansas, and he’s recording his own version of American Pride by Alabama...
    Music Store Geek Girl: So he’s going to record those albums all over again?
    Disco:Very: Right, he’s going to record those albums note-for-note with the original band--
    Music Store Geek Girl: Really??
    Disco:Very: --and record each album with that band as his backing band.
    Music Store Geek Girl: [Getting more excited] Oh my god! Really? That is so cool!
    Disco:Very: He’s also going to insist that they wear Boy Scout shirts with butterfly wings on the back.
    Music Store Geek Girl: It’s weird that I haven’t heard of this boxed set, ‘cuz I’m a big fan of his stuff.
    Disco:Very: And angel wings. They’ll have to wear angel wings and butterfly wings at the same time in the studio while they’re backing him.
    Music Store Geek Girl: Well, so…[thinking]…when is this supposed to come out because I’m not finding it on our release dates.
    Disco:Very: I don’t know. I just read about it in Paste Magazine and it’s just a little sidebar column which says it’s going to be a boxed set—a really big boxed set!--released in April.
    Music Store Geek Girl: [Getting more excited] Oh my god! Well, let me…let me…hang on a sec.
    [Goes to chat with someone in the stock room, taking a little too long to get back to me.]
    Music Store Geek Girl: I’m not finding anything in our upcoming releases list so do you know the label?
    Disco:Very: I don’t know the label either. I just know that he’s doing as many albums as there are bands named after states and when he runs out of those, he’ll move on and record albums by bands named after cities like Berlin and Nazareth and Boston, and then when he runs out of those, he’s going to record albums by heavy metal bands named after Biblical cities destroyed by God because of their wickedness.
    Music Store Geek Girl: Um...[slowly realizing this might be a prank.]
    Disco:Very: So he’s going to record Masquerade In Blood by the band you know the band Sodom?
    Music Store Geek Girl: [Silence].
    Disco:Very: The city of Sodom is where the word "sodomy" comes from. And it's where the totally hot practice of sodomy comes from as well.
    Music Store Geek Girl: [Silence.]
    Disco:Very: It was invented there. [I attempt a theatrical Italian accent.] And it became-a the big-ah hit-ah around the world-ah! Everybody-ah love-ah da sodomy!
    Music Store Geek Girl: [Hangs up.]
    Disco:Very: Hello?

    Thursday, March 26, 2009

    An Open Letter To Matt Price of Paste Magazine, Who Wrote an Open Letter Almost Exactly Like My Own Previous Open Letter From Two Years Ago

    How I envy you. In a remarkable show of journalistic chutzpah, you have discovered a quick and painless way to slam-dunk your latest article into your editor's deadline basket by simply mirroring the concept you stumbled upon in one of my earlier postings from almost two years ago. Matt Price, you are nothing if not resourceful (and sneaky). I also applaud Paste Magazine--read by rock culture fans across the globe for meticulous articles on all things Iron & Wine--for being lucky enough to land the rare music writer who happens to enjoy both Wilco and The Arcade Fire. I urge you to check my blog often, Matt Price. I'm sure you'll find more than a few of my psychotic rants which can easily be tempered into advertiser-friendly articles upon which your own name may safely reside.

    Thursday, March 19, 2009

    Live Blogging SXSW 2009 In Exasperating Detail, Part 4. [Let's Suffer Through It Together.] [Hugs!]

    Now that I'm back home, away from the glitter and gloom of the 2009 SXSW, being back on solid soil has given me plenty of time to reflect on what I learned from my trip:

    1. If you witness T.J. Jagodowski (the balding guy from those Sonic commercials) ambling down 6th Street, nobody is going to recognize him but you, so go ahead and gawk. Make it extra special by keeping a count of how many homeless people over which he is able to step with a confident strut.

    2. If you have intentions of meeting hot-director-of-the-moment Catherine Hardwicke during her DVD signing, you'd better enjoy standing in line with 800,000 vampire-lovin' goth geeks, cuz brother, they've all seen Twilight and they want a piece of her flesh. Also, actually bringing one of her movies on DVD to sign would be a good idea, too.

    3. Make sure that when you introduce yourself to Todd Haynes in the Austin Airport that you depart his private space immediately. If you accidentally walk past him again less than an hour later, he'll give you that help!-I'm-being-stalked! look similar to the one shown to you by David Gordon Green during the 2007 Sundance Film Festival. It's always your cinematic heroes who tend to be most unnerved by doe-eyed idol worship, isn't it?

    Monday, March 16, 2009

    Live Blogging SXSW 2009 In Exasperating Detail, Part 3. [Let's Suffer Through It Together.] [Hugs!]

    A Few of the Notable Panel Discussions I've Enjoyed at SXSW 2009

    Pegging Your Hipster Jeans to Their Maximum 80's Tightness Without Damaging Your Sphincter

    Film Critics and the Two Remaining Fans Who Love Them

    Making Your Own Mumblecore Feature Film On Half the Budget and Twice the Talent

    From Script to Screen to Trash Heap: Why Your Feature Film About Young Singles Looking for True Love in the Big City is Not Worth Being Filmed

    A Cinematographer's Symposium: 101 Things You Should Know Before Working with Christian Bale

    Rethinking the Brand: What To Do When Some Delusional Guy Who, Because His Booth is Next to Yours, Believes He Should Push His Wares on You Even Though There is Not Even a Tenuous Connection Between the Two Companies, and He Stands Around Your Area for Ten Minutes Babbling On About Who Fucking Knows What Because You Stopped Listening Two Minutes After He Began Talking, and He Then Suggests You Take His Business Card and Then Realizes He Doesn't Have One on Him and Makes You Wait for the Eight Painful Minutes It Takes Him to Find One, While You Stand There Thinking "When You Decided to Come Over and Waste My Time with Your Fucking Spiel, Why Didn't You Figure Out That It Would Make Sense to First Dig Out Your Fucking Business Card Before Hovering Around My Personal Space, Asshole?": A Case Study

    A Conversation With Elvis Mitchell's Dreadlocks

    Exploiting the Film Festival Circuit (By Pretending You Actually Have a Film You're Going to Make)

    Harry Knowles and the Tiny Voices Which Push Him Ever Onward (Hurrah!)

    A SXSW 2009 Symposium: Attendee Observation 101: The Future of Overused Colons in Panel Discussion Titles: How to Know When Too Many is Too Many: A Discussion

    Saturday, March 14, 2009

    Live Blogging SXSW 2009 In Exasperating Detail, Part 2. [Let's Suffer Through It Together.] [Hugs!]

    The trade show begins today. I have a lengthy visit at the booth for Lost Zombies, billed as "a social network whose goal is to document the zombie apocalypse..." I am not making this up. I'm told by one of the creators that the most contentious argument on their forum is whether zombies--when chasing potential victims--move slowly or quickly. Please excuse me while my eyes glaze over from brain damage.

    There is a large booth representing the Australian film industry which seems to attract a sizable crowd throughout the day. I thought of suggesting to them that they should offer a free trip to their homeland to the first person who admits to having sat through Australia, but relented when I realized the international incident which would ensue would surely conflict with my lunch break.

    During my visit to the booth of, I make the mistake of telling this up-and-coming website that I am the President and CEO of, after which they suggest I use their sister site,

    A popular trade show giveaway this year seems to be items which ease the workload of drinking beer: I spotted a business card and a lighter, both of which double as bottle openers. Stress balls were, as always, the most sought-after gifts but I'm convinced vendors only give this away so when customers clamor for them, they can overuse the easy joke, "Our balls are huge!"

    Each year, every SXSW trade show sees an influx of intelligence-deficient attendees who seem to have been dropped off in front of the Austin Convention Center by the local mental ward. One gentleman spent nearly 10 minutes at our booth speaking softly about the weather and how long he's lived in his home state, never once attempting to link his chosen profression as a musician with the goals of our organization. Another man, standing all of 5ft 5inches, bound over to our booth to exclaim, "I've been coming to SXSW since I was little!" [Pause. Wait for it.] "Now I'm visiting again and I'm still little!" Buh dum dum. This well-rehearsed joke was actually worth a chuckle when uttered at our table; less so when we heard him repeat it again word for word at the next booth over. And again at the booth next to that one.

    Throughout the day, SXSW conducts live interviews with bloggers which are then broadcast via streaming audio & video on its website. Call me biased, but interviewing someone who obsessively documents the minutiae of their day is a bit like singing a song about people who write songs. The subject is so meta, it's eventually going to implode on itself.

    Thursday, March 12, 2009

    Live Blogging SXSW 2009 In Exasperating Detail, Part 1. [Let's Suffer Through It Together.] [Hugs!]

    I'm waiting to board the plane which will whisk me away to sunny Austin, TX (except that it's currently pissing non-stop rain there at the moment). The adorable father/daughter duo dressed in look-alike pink shirts/blue jeans also awaiting their departure warm my heart. It's an affirmation of all that is good and precious to see a late-40's-ish father treat his early-20's daughter with so much affection and...holy shit, now they're kissing. OH MY GOD, THEY'RE TOTALLY MAKING OUT!! HOLY MOTHER OF GOD THEY'RE A COUPLE!! IS ROMAN POLANSKI OUT TO RUIN ALL OF OUR SOCIAL INSTITUTIONS???

    It's time for breakfast. The spunky young African-American cashier at the bagel shop is eager to sing along loudly with every artist playing on the restaurant radio, and truth be told, her voice is easy on the ears so it's a pleasure to witness. She matches each song note for note: a tune by Paula Abdul, another one by Cher, a track by Brandy, etc. When Help Me, the overplayed annoyance by Joni Mitchell is aired, she clams up and has no interest in singing along. There's a joke here just waiting to be written but I'm not sure I'm up to the task--something about white not being a recognized color in the spectrum of music.

    A visit to Austin means non-stop exposure to KVRX, the top-notch college radio station. I thrill along to everything they play until, that is, they roll out the oh-so-precious child-like twee folk of Agent Ribbons and their Barney-esque sing-along "Chelsea, Let's Go to the Circus". HOLY MOTHER OF GOD THEY'RE SERIOUSLY SINGING ABOUT GOING TO A CIRCUS!! IS JONATHAN RICHMAN EVER GOING TO PAY FOR HIS EVIL INFLUENCE OVER AMERICA'S YOUTH???

    Sunday, March 08, 2009

    Asleep at the Switch

    As I once again hastily prepare to swim towards my yearly visit to Austin, Texas for SXSW 2009 next week, the perfect soundtrack for all my last-minute packing and skin-of-my-teeth scheduling has revealed itself: Death Control, the new CD by boy wonder Night Control is a headphone symphony of controlled chaos. Swirling melodies bracketed by echo-chamber vocals dip and weave amongst alone-in-the-bedroom guitars cranked in the red. Tobin Sprout would give his third ball to write something as epic as East Side, while Star 131 is like one of those impossible-to-imagine-it-being-played-live Ariel Pink concoctions that seems to exist only in the composer’s cerebellum. No Making and Two Hard are the somnambulant anthems last year’s Atlas Sound release kept promising but upon which it never delivered. The entire CD burrows itself into your soul and sets up camp while never overstaying its welcome. I hope Kill Shamen sells a million copies of this mother so we’ll get 10 more follow-up collections like this in the future. I, for one, can't wait for the next one.

    Thursday, February 05, 2009

    My One Sentence Review of Slumdog Millionaire (Note to Fox Searchlight: Please Make Checks Payable to Disco:Very)

    If you only see one movie this year involving a man kissing a woman’s disfiguring scar as a means of magically erasing a lifetime of being sexually enslaved by cartoonish thugs who seem to have stepped out of a story from a Disney film, then see Slumdog Millionaire!

    Most of My Heroes Don't Appear on No Stamps

    Now that more of my pop culture icons are dying off, I've come to the slow realization that the artists who most changed my life are the least likely to have their passing mentioned on any mainstream TV shows.

    Case in point: this morning, still in a daze over the untimely death of Lux Interior, I switched on The Today Show expecting them to do a little retrospective video piece on his life. What the fuck was I thinking??? Somehow I equated my enormous affection for Lux with the amount of popularity his death would receive in the dominant culture.

    This has led me to conceive of a formula to articulate just how important a dead celebrity was in my life: if the newly-deceased artist garners no mention on the network news, they are truly one of my all-time favorite musical heroes. If the deceased artist garners video tributes on every channel--with sad tinkly music underneath--this means they are one of my sworn enemies.

    When Iggy Pop dies, there will be no mention on mainstream news. Ergo, he is one of my all-time favorite musical heroes.

    When Billy Joel dies, there will be retrospective videos all over the fucking place. Ergo, I hate his guts.

    When Exene Cervenka dies, there will be no mention on mainstream news.

    When Joni Mitchell dies, there will be retrospective videos all over the fucking place, doubtless with one of her sappy ballads played underneath.

    Daniel Johnston? No mention.

    Paul Simon? Non-stop video tributes.

    Bob Mould? No mention.

    Stevie Nicks? Non-stop video tributes.

    Mick Collins? All-time favorite hero.

    Joan Baez? Non-stop video tributes.

    Mark E. Smith? All-time favorite hero.

    Kim Gordon? All-time favorite hero.

    Captain Beefheart? All-time favorite hero.

    You can play this game at home yourself. All you have to do is wait for a celebrity to die. Usually, the wait isn't very long.

    PS: Rest in peace, Lux. You will be missed.

    Sunday, February 01, 2009

    Going to See Revolutionary Road During the Superbowl: A Play in Three Acts

    Prologue: An empty movie theatre. Four 50-something women enter the theatre as the lights dim for the feature presentation. Three of the women take their seats; the fourth women is overheard announcing to her friends that "she prefers to stand during the beginning of a movie."

    Several previews are played, along with commercials, announcements urging the audience to shut off all electronic devices, etc. Eventually, the movie begins. The fourth women continues standing through the first 10 minutes of it.

    Act One

    [The scene is a mid-1950's upper-middle class suburb in Connecticut.]

    Leonardo DiCaprio: My name is Frank Wheeler. I am named thusly because I speak in a frank fashion and, like the wheel on a car, I roll along day after day without a thought as to where I am going.

    Kate Winslet: My name is April Wheeler. Like the month after which I am named, I represent growth and renewal. It would be a shame if my blossoming were to be cut short before my petals had a chance to bloom.

    Leonardo DiCaprio: Although I am newly-married with a family, living in a pristine upper-middle class home and working my way up the corporate ladder, I feel my life is stifled and my dreams unrealized.

    Kate Winslet: Let's give in to your long-time aspirations and move our family to Paris. We will buck the patriarchal socio-economic system of the mid-50's by making you the house husband while I, the woman, trot off to work each morning.

    Leonardo DiCaprio: This drastic new lifestyle will truly put us on...a revolutionary road.

    Act Two

    Kathy Bates: I am Helen Givings. I am thus named because I am very giving. Although I am merely the realtor who sold Frank and April their idyllic mid-50's dream house many years ago, I will be forcing my way into the story quite often, usually at a point when our newlyweds are in emotional disarray, which occurs about every 4 minutes.

    [To Frank and April] I would like to make a bizarre demand and insist upon bringing along my emotionally disabled son John Givings to your next dinner party. Although he was just released from a mental hospital and is given to frequent outbursts of screaming and derisive comments, I can't possibly see what could go wrong with having him attend a fancy-dress dinner in your home.

    [We now see a dinner party at Frank and April's pristine pastel-colored dining room.]

    John Givings: [To Frank and April] Because I am a social retard and therefore not hindered by the same social constraints as you, I am uniquely qualified to give voice to the churning discord of your counterfeit relationship. By definition, I am insane, but by the standards of your violent and unsettling marriage, I might actually be the most sensible character in the entire movie because I dare to speak the truth which you conveniently sweep under the carpet of your idyllic mid-50's upper-middle class home.

    [Skip ahead 90 minutes.]

    Leonardo DiCarpio: April's blossoming has been cut short before her petals had a chance to bloom!

    Act Three

    [Disco:Very is seen on the theatre floor, vomiting.]



    Tuesday, January 20, 2009

    Tuesday, January 13, 2009

    The Songs I Heard While Waiting to See the Dentist and the Painful Dental Procedure They Most Resemble

    Song: Sunglasses at Night (Corey Hart)
    Painful Dental Procedure: Extraction of wisdom teeth

    Song: It's Still Rock & Roll to Me (Billy Joel)
    Painful Dental Procedure: Root canal

    Song: Our House (Madness)
    Painful Dental Procedure: Dental crowns

    Song: I Guess That's Why They Call It the Blues (Elton John)
    Painful Dental Procedure: Gum surgery

    Song: Evil Ways (Santana)
    Painful Dental Procedure: Getting braces tightened

    Song: Love Will Find a Way (Pablo Cruise)
    Painful Dental Procedure: Death from anesthesia

    Thursday, January 08, 2009

    Noise Annoys (But I Like It, I Like It, Yes I Do).

    The best thing about the post-punk buzz-thump of Eddy Current Suppression Ring is that it never seems to end. Each riff is stretched and pulled into a sonic taffy which sticks to your teeth and lungs, very much the same way real taffy does. I Admit My Faults has that visceral tension of early Fugazi without the show-off time signatures and, unlike that boney band, this one keeps their shirts on. Colour Television begins with a careful tiptoe around your ears before pouncing on your head like a rabid pigeon with something to prove. Which Way to Go surrounds itself in a 1977 punk/drone Saints-squall and...pretty much stays there for 3 minutes. In the private universe over which I rule, that's a compliment of the highest order. Don't let their US distribution on Goner Records fool you: this isn't the garage rock of your youth. This music is too urgent for that tepid label: the band has already climbed into the car and squealed out onto the open road without lifting the garage door first.

    Thursday, January 01, 2009

    Freedom Isn't Free (Neither Is Our Blogger/Reader Relationship)

    This is the time of year when I offer all fans of Disco:Very a free copy of my annual 2-CD compilation containing the songs I listened to the most throughout the last 12 months.

    However, because this blog doesn't actually have any fans, I'll extend the offer to you instead.

    The rules are simple: send your name (real or fake) and address to the e-mail listed in the column at right, and within a week or two, you'll find a package in the mail containing 2 CD's of music. There is no fee for this annual document--you have paid the price already by enduring me and my snide remarks as I taunted your taste in music throughout the past year.

    As an added bonus, there is now a game you can play at home when your discs arrive. Simply print up your copy of Disco:Very 2008 Bingo, cut it out and play along as the discs unspool on your stereo. You'll get hours of amusement ticking off all the characteristics of this year's music, long after you have come to the realization that the 2008 compilation is nearly identical in structure to the last one and the one before that and the one before that.

    Happy New Year's, suckers!