June 30, 2002


June 29, 2002

Doesn't anyone love the highway?
Other than the college founders?
All the carpoolers and Ground Rounders?
All the suburbers and smalltownders?
In the city they must not love it!
They must not love suburban exile!
The agriculture and the textile!
They must be jealous of the feeling!
Doesn't anyone love the feeling?
I'm in my car, I love the feeling!
All those modern drivers care about their feelings!

--a Jonathan Richman song by Jody Beth Rosen

So lately I've been getting my rock on (and my rocks off) to this super-rad mix CD, but tonight I jes' can't get past track 3, an early '70s live version of the Modern Lovers' "Roadrunner" performed at Harvard. Played it four times in the last, oh, 20 minutes. ("Doesn't anyone love the highway / Other than the Modern Lovers?" I do, Jonathan. I do.)

Everybody's got their one or two songs that turn 'em into sentimental Cameron Croweish music-as-signifier-for-prefab-yuppie-emotions dorkasses. Today I have listened to the Ronettes' "I Wish I Never Saw the Sunshine" five times. Oh god, it's SO GOOD. This is the beginning and end of true heartbreak. It's like when Lisa humiliates Ralph Wiggum on the Krusty the Klown Show by telling him in front of the entire viewing audience that she's not interested and just finds him pitiful and annoying, and when Bart plays the tape back at home, he says "Watch this, Lis. You can actually pinpoint the second when his heart rips in half."

"For me, when I hear certain things on the 'Use Your Illusion' tour, I... on that record, it's... since I'm in it, I can hear a band dying. I can hear when Izzy was unconsciously over it. I can hear where the band was leaning away from what Guns N' Roses [had] originally been about. People may have their favorite songs, and it may be on 'Use Your Illusion', but most people do tend to lean towards 'Appetite' as being the defining Guns N' Roses record, and I can hear how, in the sound, it was moving away from that there. There's just so much I was able to do in keeping that aspect together."

Update on that last post: Looks like VH1C has temporarily scrapped the request-weekend and is instead showing nothing but Who videos (in honor of the late John Entwistle). Classy move. Now playing? "Pictures of Lily."

Uh, another update: No, it was only for an hour. But hey, they showed "Happy Jack"!

VH1 Classic is doing an all-request weekend -- I just e-mailed them asking for "Never Say Never" by Romeo Void and "Do You Remember Rock and Roll Radio" by the Ramones. And their ratings are so low they'll prolly play both of 'em!

My Friday night was an okay night of rockrollmusik, but I didn't eat lunch or dinner and walked around feeling dizzy and lightheaded all through the show (there was a no re-entry policy, so I couldn't duck out for pizza during the bad bands). At one point I slumped over in the corner because I thought I might pass out, and someone who had seen me writing in my notepad earlier on sat down next to me and said "You can always tell who the writers are." He gave me his card. He was a staff writer from Entertainment Weekly. I tried really hard to be polite, and I know I'm supposed to be all impressed and shit that he writes for someone even my grandma has heard of, but I totally wasn't into the conversation and I just wanted to be left alone. If he thought I was blowing him off, that wasn't my intention at all, but with me, timing is everything. Plus, I wasn't sure whether he was "networking" or just hitting on me. Whatever. I gave him one of my cards -- which don't have a phone number on 'em.

Once the Rezillos came on I felt a little better -- however, it was 2 am and I felt like heading home already.

Interesting fact: The show was at the Polish National Home in Brooklyn. It's an actual Polish community-center type thing with a bar/ballroom setup that an entrepreneur bought out and renamed Warsaw. Nice space, terrible acoustics.

June 28, 2002

"It's like all rocking and then gets weird. What kind of song is this? It's fucking the future of rock & roll, man! I say that with no ego whatsoever. I say that honestly."

While you're letting that twatty ignoramus pigfucker Vice article ("the Talking Heads are fags and the Damned never did anything worthwhile except 'New Rose'") digest, I'll throw out my Tenuous Musical Connection of the day: Blue Oyster Cult's "Hot Rails to Hell" (the riff in the verses) and Joy Division's "Warsaw."

June 27, 2002

"Nobody's heard Brian Eno"? I'm not even gonna go into how dumb this Vice Magazine article is. I feel like I should comment on why the piece is so dumb -- if you've never heard Siouxsie and the Banshees before, you might actually take this guy's assessment that "[e]arly British punk was cool to look at but nobody listened to half of those bands" at face value. But trying to make sense of his reasoning assumes that he actually has a line of reasoning, and isn't simply out to rile up a few rock critics with some blanket statements. He's so pleased with himself that if he took the time to see whether any of his theories added up, he might have to get off his pissy little cloud for a second -- or forever.

Update: It's even worse than I thought. The article was "compiled by the Vice staff" -- not just one misguided little collegiate ninny.

Ooo-wee-oooh, I look just like Statler and Waldorf...

This looks familiar.

now playing: Blue Oyster Cult, Tyranny and Mutation, the cover of which makes a cameo in the ILM thread.

Here's a review of a show I went to last night. I'll post a link when this is published at PopMatters next week.

26 June 2002: Knitting Factory – New York City

by Jody Beth Rosen

I wasn't thoroughly bowled over by Jucifer’s new CD, I Name You Destroyer, and when I went to cover the Georgia band’s recent New York City performance, I'm sure I could be heard muttering from miles away about how bad it was gonna suck, how I hate the Knitting Factory, how I just wanted to go home and snuggle up to my air conditioner. I can be cantankerous in weather like this.

Actually, the show was a lot of fun, despite a bit of the expected Knitting Factory assholism (the door person waving me away with a glib "The house isn't open yet... we'll make an announcement" when I tried to go in early). The first opening band, Cracktorch, were fine, but I can’t help but question whether they honestly believe that ripping off the Stooges and MC5 is an original move.

I started developing a crackpot theory about how the Stooges never had their own easy-to-steal punk template the way, say, the Ramones did, and when people use the Stooges in their sound, they do so on very specific terms, not quite as loosely as the Ramones' formula allows. Is this why Ramones ripoffs never feel trite or old, but every time I hear a Stooges-influenced band, I have to groan and say "Oh no, not again"?

Cracktorch’s MC5 theft was even worse: If you've ever heard the Kick Out the Jams album ("Bruthas and sistas... the time has come to decide whetha yuh gonna be part of the problem, or whetha yuh gonna be part of the SOLUTION... I want you to TESTIFAHH!"), you'll recognize this singer's testimonial chorgling ("Are you gonna waste yuh lahf away?") as all too familiar.

Aytobach Kreisor, the next band up, reminded me of Agents of Fortune-era Blue Oyster Cult – nerdy, aging suburban Jews playing gamer-metal with a sense of irony and cheeky humor. (Blue Oyster Cult were the Beastie Boys of the genre.) Aytobach’s bassist-slash-singer looked like Beat the Geeks Horror Geek Mike Bracken, sang like David Lee Roth, and wore a faded, misshapen Lunachicks t-shirt that had probably been through the wash cycle several dozen times. I loved their songs and their shtick, and their courage for taking the road less Stooged – what other Knitting Factory band has ever claimed BOC as an influence?

I had overheard a lanky, Matthew McConaugheyish dude outside describe headliners Jucifer to his friend as “heavy Southern gothic death rock.” I Name You Destroyer came to me by way of a publicist’s “Black Sabbath meets Portishead” recommendation, and I thought the disc was all right, maybe a little generic with the riffs, gimmicky with the Julee Cruise-style vocals.

But holy Jesus fuck. Holy fucking thudding heavy metal whup-ass.

Jucifer are a two-piece: a girl (Amber Valentine) on vocals and guitar, a guy drummer (Ed Livengood) who plays like Animal from the Muppets cuz his kit is seven feet wide and he has to wildly flail his arms and contort his body in all kinds of crazy directions so he can reach certain pieces. The guitar (which boasted the word “Asslord” on the head) is channeled through a RIDICULOUSLY DENSE FORTRESS OF STACKS (that’s what I wrote on my pad: RIDICULOUSLY DENSE FORTRESS OF STACKS, underlining “STACKS” five times). The amp setup took up most of the height and width of the stage, and much of the breadth, too.

Valentine’s delivery is a kitten-purr (not a Kittie growl), and her look is part punk-rock Zsa Zsa Gabor, part Russ Meyer bombshell queen – false eyelashes, push-up bra, little red minidress, long blonde hair with thick streaks of black. When she plays, her head tilts back and her mouth drops open, and she wields her guitar in ways that suggest deforestation and mass murder.

The set was just a bit too long, but it was staged well – Valentine waits until our ears are accustomed to her tiny, sweet voice, and then she pulls a fast one on us, turning into a ghastly, gravelly Linda Blair hellhound. It’s effective; she whips it out for 20 seconds, puts it away, and brings it back later on for a minute or so. It’s the ultimate death-metal cocktease. The tempo speeds up, slows down, grinds to a halt, pauses, pauses, pauses… and continues on in a centrifugal fury.

Strobelights were used (sparingly), and whenever I looked up during one of these displays, the fan on the ceiling seemed to be oscillating in some sort of experimental-cinema stop-motion, encased in a blue glow.

Towards the end, things started to plod. An encore wasn’t really necessary, but the duo came back with their instruments to do 15 minutes of improvised bedroom-wank. I left when I decided I’d had enough – their set must have run an hour, and for a nobody band like Jucifer (whose shortcomings on record beg that they prove themselves as a live act), you wanna leave your people wanting more, cutting them off when the getting’s good.

But holy Jesus fuck.

June 26, 2002

I wrote this one -- it's about the big Gern Blandsten anniversary gig that went down on June 15th. I coulda spent a little more time talking about Radio 4, but I was afraid of overhyping them, and what I put down about the "dancepartyish" vocals and the Talking Heads polyrhythms sums them up adequately.

June 25, 2002

"Simply put, Ozzy Osbourne and his manager/wife Sharon have perpetrated one of the most heinous frauds on the record-buying public I have ever witnessed. The new reissues of his first two solo albums, Blizzard of Ozz and Diary of a Madman have not only been remixed, but re-recorded, replacing the bass and drums from the original recordings with new, shockingly inferior performances from Ozzy's current touring bassist and drummer. These are two albums widely regarded as classics in the metal genre, albums fans have held near to their hearts for the past 20 years, and they have been tampered with."

Today's AIM popup is astoundingly hip (for something AOL-related): links to five videos by Sonic Youth. Quality's not so hot, but it's nice to know somebody is showing this stuff.

A friend and I were talking about the GE "industrial musicals" of the '70s -- apparently these corporate presentations, only available in a tiny pressing of waaay-out-of-print LPs, have been raised up from the dead and issued on a best-of CD. He didn't know the specifics, and I can only find this article, which alludes to something released overseas a few years ago called Product Music. A search for that title led me nowhere. Hrmm.

But I did alert my friend to the fact that WFMU's "Incorrect Music Hour" has been on the GE tip for quite some time, even performing "The Answer" (from the Got to Investigate Silicones album) with an ensemble cast at one of their "Incorrect Music Videos" events. You can hear the original in Real Audio here (scroll down to the "Songs" section).

Over at Unsung, Julian Cope shares his Album of the Month -- the Flower Travellin' Band's 1971 Japanese psychenugget Satori. When you're done reading the review, you can listen to the record in streaming audio -- just follow the link on the page. I'm on track one and I'm hearing Paranoid-era Sabbath, early Alice Cooper, Deep Purple, the Stooges, and oh yes, the almighty Iron Butterfly.

I've got a Japanese-psych review of my own -- a write-up of the Love, Peace & Poetry compilation that came out late last year.

June 24, 2002

"The most important thing is that on this track Prince Far I proves himself to be the Jamaican Mark E. Smith."

Current pop single I'm surprised to find myself liking: Avril Lavigne's "Complicated." It's catchy '70s MOR -- total mall music (perfect -- the video takes place at the mall!), the kind of thing you could easily ignore or fall in love with for life, marred only really by the sort of edgeless, boring, Mutt Lange-ish production that has ruined nearly every pop and rock song released in the latter half of the '90s ("Complicated" is the "Torn" of the year). Avril's cute, though... she looks like a French-Canadian Christina Aguilera with an eyeliner fetish, AND she says "check it ooooot" in the video's spoken introduction. I also love that "Lavigne" sounds like "Levine" -- hope the girl doesn't get mistaken for (GASP) a Jew!

The jury's still out on Kelly Osbourne's "Papa Don't Preach" and Pink's "Just Like a Pill."

The only discernable problems with "Papa" are Kelly's voice (which isn't punk enough for the band behind her) and the fact that her band can't seem to keep the tempo nailed down. Also, why the hell is she covering this? Is it because she has a famous "papa" who's always "preaching" to her? That's not, uh, funny... and what of the song's abortion theme? Is that whizzing by little Kelly's head entirely? It's nice that she's keeping her baby and all, but does she really want to project the image that she might be PREGNANT?

The Pink song: Well, the critics are gonna go chimpshit for "Just Like a Pill," but I'm gonna do the stupid thing here and say "Just Like Jagged Little Pill." A couple of smart one-liners and a new-wave hairdo does not equal "genius," okay? And all the funny parts repeat too many times. Note to aspiring songwriters: Verbal economy is GOOD.

...AAAAAAANNND the award for "wackiest links" once again goes to Pop Culture Junk Mail -- a blog Nate might wanna read cuz its author's originally from St. Paul.

Here's a favorite link from that site: The Bottom Five Most Tasteless Porcelain Figurines.

June 23, 2002

The very thing I initially hated about the Strokes is what I've come to like about them. I identify with 'em. No, I'm not from a family of international playboys, and I never attended prep school -- but these guys are from the same New York City as I am. I graduated from a Manhattan high school in 1994. The Strokes, roughly my age (a bit younger), are also products of NYC education; three of the five met at the Upper West Side's Dwight School.

I remember being an NYC teenager pretty well. My LaGuardia classmates represented a huge cross-section of cultures -- the projects, the penthouses, the Brooklyn brownstones. This city is small, and no matter how hard one might try, it's impossible to alienate yourself from all the people and hustle and craziness, all the necessary parts of the metropolitan whole. So I'm betting the Strokes' adolescence wasn't much different from mine -- smoking pot in Central Park (the Dwight School's on Central Park West), eating pizza, riding the subways, hanging out in the Village, hanging out wherever. Kids aren't into all that "rich people" stuff -- most teenagers don't give a shit about yachting or society functions. Maybe their folks will have enough to get them decent guitar lessons, so they won't have to sit around struggling with the instrument quite as much as "poorer" kids. I don't fucking know. Maybe that's why Albert Hammond, Jr. has such a good sound.

All I can say is that if the Strokes seem particularly familiar to me, it's because they're every beflanneled wigger/grunger I ever saw smoking their parents' cigarettes outside the St. Ann's School on Pierrepont St. There it is: New York's prep-school underbelly. As stuck-up as they are, they're the SAME as we were.

June 22, 2002

This is where I went to high school. But like Lemmy Kilmister before me, I don't wanna live forever, and even though (unlike R. Kelly) I don't believe I can fly, I'm not sure I wanna learn how to. That said, I do wanna make it to heaven, and when I get there, I sure hope I get a hug.

(Fun fact: Sarah Michelle Gellar was at LaGuardia at the same time as me. She eventually transferred to the ultra-highfalutin Professional Children's School -- a nose-in-the-air trust-fund stage-kid private skool -- this is the REAL underbelly of NYC adolescence, the same type of environment that bred Julian Casablancas.)

Morphizm.com has an interview with a rightfully bitter Jello Biafra, in which he goes into gory detail about the ass-fucking he's getting from the other DKs.

Weekend listening:

DJ Shadow -- The Private Press
Pavement -- Slanted and Enchanted
a dub of a punk mixtape I made for a friend last year
Kristin Hersh -- Strange Angels
Lou Reed -- New York
Wilco -- Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
Repo Man soundtrack

June 21, 2002

What?? Vanessa Carlton covers "Paint It, Black"? Oh dear.

Update: Vanessa pretends to be Tori Amos gothing it up in front of a Tex-Mex/dub hybrid. It's 100% contrived; something tells me this squeaky little overachiever's never looked up from her piano (or pried her lips off the proverbial Record Company Cock) long enough to feel malaise about ANYTHING. The Stones' "Paint It, Black" had an air of menace that suggested Jagger's depression was way down in the stinkyrottingcorpse sooty tarpits of deepest hottest hell. I hear Carlton attempting this and all I can think of is stuck-up blondyhead ack-tress Leelee Sobieski playing a nosepierced hoody mopemeister alongside Albert Brooks in My First Mister -- I didn't buy that, either.

Beautiful article about Richard Meltzer, the guy who -- well, not only have I (sometimes unwittingly) stolen everything from him, but I consider him a spiritual ally helping me battle a warring faction of shallow coozeheads. He didn't start me writing, but he keeps me writing.

What? You want actual insight into my life? Music content not interesting enough for you? This is what I need to do today. WOW! What a gal that Jody is -- the excitement never stops.

Tune in later, when I throw a piece of gum in the toilet and WRITE ABOUT IT.

Update on my new zine, Southside Callbox: We're hard at work putting together a first issue that will knock your teeth out -- make a dental appointment for July 2, our next date of publication. If you haven't seen Issue Zero yet, head on over via the above link. The next one's gonna be bigger and even more badass.

June 20, 2002

I downloaded the full Yankee Hotel Foxtrot from WinMX, and listening to it, I'm coming to the same conclusion I've come to for most Wilco records: I don't like 'em as much as I know I'm supposed to. I can't put my finger on it -- I just think Tweedy's songs with Uncle Tupelo were stronger and catchier, maybe. All the experimentation on YHF is kinda fruity, and that's fine if you're, like, Pere Ubu, but these cats are a midwestern roots-rock thing, and they're gettin' too big for their overalls. It's the unpopular opinion, but I've always preferred Son Volt, particularly Wide Swing Tremolo (which I played this morning).

June 19, 2002

From the new New York Press: "Furious" George Tabb pays a visit to my old hometown and realizes it's got the highest number of strip clubs per capita of any U.S. city.



I couldn't access WinMX before, but I just found out that there's now a version 3.2 to replace the last update -- and I've got it up and running again. Not that Blubster (gahhhhh.... that NAME) didn't bring back some decent results: I found a 14-minute (and it's heavy as hell) Eddie Van Halen guitar solo from a 1984 VH show at the Pensacola Motor Speedway! Now I'm grabbing an unreleased Guns 'n' Roses demo called "Sentimental Movie" (Slash on vocals), which I've got on that bootleg tape I mentioned a few weeks back. Also in the queue: the long version of Television's "Little Johnny Jewel." I've only heard it once. It knocked me to the floor.

June 18, 2002

Couplet of the day:

What's in that thermos, man?
Your female's a garbage can.

--Kristin Hersh, "Gazebo Tree"

So I'm anticipating the big comeback of the Indie '90s. Indie schmindie, you say? I say I can't fucking breathe with all the musical innovation happening right now, all the turntabling and laptopping and synthesizing. No, we don't need a raveup rock revival -- we've already got something pretending to be that -- but hey, could Pavement be ANY more out of style these days? They're so out they're ready to come back in, and all the kids who don't like them but aren't really sure why can have another listen, decide that they've been horribly mistaken all these years, learn to love 'em, and insist on carrying the news all over this vast internet of ours -- PAVEMENT IST RAD HA HA HA HA HA. Stephen Malkmus is really like intelligent! The Mark E. Smith of his generation! Here, look at this New Yorker article I found! No, not the New York review that called them "irrelevant"! The article that quotes "Shady Lane" and calls 'em part of the new ____ of literary ____!"

Heartfelt apologies for being incommunicado. I've been working my butt off creating a new site, and it looks like I've finished one day ahead of schedule. I'm cutting the ribbon on this fucking thing. Southside Callbox.

While you're there, read my column, "Are You Threatening Me?" It'll be a fun adjunct to this blog.

June 16, 2002

More than anything, do you know what I hate? I hate feeling like a chump. I hate waiting around for someone like a total shmuck, wondering if they're ever gonna show up, after they've said yes to your invitation and you've made some effort to coordinate plans. And then they don't show, and don't call you, e-mail you, or anything.

I'm royally pissed that my friend flaked out on me last night -- this isn't the first time, and not the second or third or even the fourth time. You only get so many chances, ya know?

Well, I thought the night was just gonna be a sucky miasma of mope, but it turned out I had a fine time. It was just bizarrely unlucky for me -- I recently transferred most of the contents of my old purse into a new one, and I apparently forgot to put my ID into my new bag. The bouncer gave me the benefit of the doubt and let me in, though. Then, it turned out that the person who was supposed to put me on the list I was supposed to be on didn't actually put me on the list. The list-checker gave me the benefit of the doubt and let me in. I still felt like a chump. Then, I realized I forgot to bring a pen for taking notes, so I had to make do with my eyeliner crayon, which kept crumbling and smearing all over my notepad.

I guess I'll elaborate more when I write my review of the show -- it was the Gern Blandsten Records 10th anniversary party. Remarkable mainly for the following observations: I saw a bimboish blonde girl in a tight, form-fitting CHE GUEVARA t-shirt, and no fewer than FIVE guys with this year's hot coif, the Albert Hammond. I like the Albert Hammond better than the "I shaved my head two months ago but my girlfriend didn't like it" 'do the dudes were sporting last year.

June 15, 2002

"James Brown will stand stock-still and sing 'You Light Up My Life' in whiteface on BET before sane people start buying into this nonsense."

June 14, 2002

Here's one of those satisfying, desperately cathartic smoke breaks...



June 13, 2002

Two things that piss me off: when really dumb, annoying people get unjustifiably egotistical; and when really smart, cool people get down on themselves.

Moving right along, then...

I went to Williamsburg to see Jonathan Richman @ Northsix. I didn't plan ahead very well -- I knew there was a chance the show might be sold out, but I dillydallied about buying tix in advance. So I did my usual thing of taking the subway into Manhattan and doubling back into Brooklyn on the L train -- like everything else in Williamsburg, their subway routes are a royal pain in the u-kno-whut. (The only reason I bother to visit that shitholesville is because it's where all the good bands are booked now.) Jono was indeed sold out, but that didn't upset me too much; he'll be back.

Stopped into a coffeehouse/zine store to plan my next move. Got the Onion (they have the print version available here, with local listings), and reminded myself that a new club called Southpaw was opening tonight.

Do you have ANY idea how hard it is to get from Williamsburg to Park Slope by subway? You wouldn't think so... I mean, I could have taken a cab and been there in ten minutes, but it's the principle of the thing, and I'm broke. By the time I got to the butt-end of the Slope, it was 11 pm. I think I left my house around 7:30. No fucking way in hell should it have taken that long to navigate Brooklyn.

Subways I took this evening:

The 5 to Union Square
The L to Bedford St.
The L to Lorimer St./Metropolitan Avenue
The G to Smith/9th
The F to 7th Ave (and a long, long walk from there to Southpaw, which is actually within walking distance of where I live)
The 2 to Clark st.

The show itself is hardly worthy of coverage -- I got there in time to see the headliners, an Aussie Stones knockoff called (I think) the Twelves. The crowd was far more into 'em than I was. One drunk guy fell on his ass from dancing too fervently. Another guy, some sexist shmuck, had his hand on his girlfriend's ass the whole time I was there. Yuck. The girl didn't seem to mind, which means that either she's one of them anti-feminists or she's just incredibly oblivious. (I mean, I guess it's not patently sexist, but it icks me out; he may as well have had his other hand jammed into her twat.)

The club looks like yr average dimly lit NYC yuppie bar -- not punkrock enough -- but the setup's good b/c there's both lotsa places to sit and lotsa places to dance, the beer's cold and cheap (if you're poor, Beast for two bucks), and there are video games in the downstairs lounge (I didn't get to see which ones). I'll go back, if only to spite tha Scumsuckin' Nation of Williamsburg. May it choke on the exhaust fumes from the BQE and the stench of rotting sewage.

As tribute to all the zeros I'm seeing on my comment links, here's the track list to my new mix, Null Set:

Boomtown Rats - "Wind Chill Factor (Minus Zero)"
Gong - "Zeroid"
Tubeway Army - "Zero Bars (Mr. Smith)"
Human League - "Zero as a Limit"
Console - "14 Zero Zero"
Plaid - "Assault on Precinct Zero"
Legendary Pink Dots - "Zero Zero"
Sigue Sigue Sputnik - "Zero Zero"
White Octave - "The Constant is Zero"
Insults - "Population Zero"
Gandalf - "Human Value Zero"
Clikatat Ikatowi - "Ground Zero"
Public Enemy - "She Watch Channel Zero!"
Anti-Pop Consortium - "Moon Zero X-M"
Christian Death - "Zero Sex"
Godspeed You Black Emperor - "Slow Riot for New Zero Kanada"
Nick Cave and the Dirty Three - "Zero is Also a Number"
Beck - "Runners Dial Zero"

June 12, 2002

Parent-Directed Angst: The Showdown








ALL DAY LONG (all day long) I FELT LIKE (I felt like)
BUT INSTEAD, (but instead) I WENT OUT (I went out)


--Yoko Ono, "I Felt Like Smashing My Face in a Clear Glass Window"

I was sayin let me out of here before I was
even born--it's such a gamble when you get a face
It's fascinatin to observe what the mirror does
but when I dine it's for the wall that I set a place

I belong to the blank generation and
I can take it or leave it each time
I belong to the ______ generation but
I can take it or leave it each time

Triangles were fallin at the window as the doctor cursed
He was a cartoon long forsaken by the public eye
The nurse adjusted her garters as I breathed my first
The doctor grabbed my throat and yelled, "God's consolation prize!"

I belong to the blank generation and
I can take it or leave it each time
I belong to the ______ generation but
I can take it or leave it each time

To hold the t.v. to my lips, the air so packed with cash
then carry it up flights of stairs and drop it in the vacant lot
To lose my train of thought and fall into your arms' tracks
and watch beneath the eyelids every passing dot

I belong to the blank generation and
I can take it or leave it each time
I belong to the ______ generation but
I can take it or leave it each time

I belong to the blank generation and
I can take it or leave it each time
I belong to the ______ generation but
I can take it or leave it each time

--Richard Hell and the Voidoids, "Blank Generation"

The Blogger "description" for FtD is "Jody gets drunk and listens to rock 'n' roll." Tonight, bowies and germs, I'm DRUNK. AND I'M TALKING IN CAPITAL LETTERS. And I'm not listening to anything at the mo, but I'm planning my Week in Rock. Jonathan Richman tomorrow? The Gern Blandsten Records 10th Anniversary Party on the 15th? Okay, but lemme finish my lemon-lime martini first (it's gin, lime juice, and ultra-sugary powdered lemonade on the rocks, with a twist of lime). WILL I listen to anything tonight? I've got the first Van Halen album within reaching distance, so chances are good.

Just watched Penelope Spheeris' Suburbia on DVD, with director's commentary. I hadn't seen this since I was a 13-year-old little punk shithead, and it holds up really well for a 20-year-old, quasi-exploitative low-budget movie. There's lots of violence and retarded punk-rock humor (Roger Corman co-produced it), but it seems like smart, careful filmmaking -- and Spheeris made every effort to do something honest and uncompromised.

The commentary track's great -- Spheeris has some funny war stories, and her personality reflects her years of directing experience and her upbringing as a scrappy iconoclast from the blue-collar L.A. suburbs. She says "I was a pretty good filmmaker before I sold out!"

June 10, 2002

Three new Top Five Lists up at Rockcritics.com.

P.S.-- As of now, one of the forms is a little screwy, and it looks like I posted a list on the wrong page.

There's this Feelies song called "Only Life" that I play whenever I feel like I'm losing my sense of humor and taking the world too seriously.

Yeah, well... I've been "edgy" lately. I'm kinda bipolar (oh, relax, I've never killed anyone) and stupid little pain-in-the-ass things (and people) make me emotional and angry sometimes.

I was trying to post something just now, and my browser gave me that message telling me the software performed an illegal operation, it would be shut down, I'd lose any unsaved work... well, now, FUCK.

I went nuts there for a second. I cursed and yelled and grabbed the first thing I saw so I could throw it across the room. It was... a mix tape someone made for me years ago. I was like "Yeah! I'll throw this old piece of shit...

...wait, what's on here, anyway?"

I was all set to smash it against the wall, and I stopped to check out the track list.

Track 4: "Feelies -- Only Life."


I have another reason to be suspicious of DJ Spooky. I Audiogalaxied a track of his for a new mix I'm working on, and found out the file was corrupt, rendering my RealOne Player completely unusable. Tried uninstalling the program and re-installing it, and got an "illegal operation" message (and I fucking HATE those... like it's YOUR fault their software is shit). Uninstalled it again, finally, but I'm downloading the Roxio Easy CD Creator. This CD-R .will get made.

Actually, I hit a brick wall with the mix tonight -- I'm going for vibe over humor/shock value/kitsch, and that means a lot of good songs just won't make the final cut. But now my "vibe" album is starting to sound like a "chillout" album. Hmmm.

Details to be posted when I finish the goddamn thing.

June 09, 2002

I'm gonna update the sidebar and the "miscellany" section as soon as I get into the right mindset. And when that happens, I'll add grossoutart to my list of blog links.

Sincere Brutality will be added as well, but in the meantime, check out that site's mp3 page.

The weekend was a partial washout. I decided not to go to the Mercury Lounge last night when I realized I was more broke than I'd thought, and the thing I thought was happening today actually happened yesterday -- which I kinda knew but somehow forgot. (Bored yet? Me too.) But I got some very nice e-mail... three missives from various members of Pretty Girls Make Graves thanking me for the "awesome" review, and one from a U. of Oregon student who discovered me through I Love Music. And in an IM today, one of my favorite people in the world, Guyana Punch Line singer Chris Bickel, asked me for a favor:

When the ball starts rolling a little more with all of these projects I've got, I'm gonna need to start thinking about press/hype. Since in all my life no one has ever done a decent interview with me, I was wondering if maybe you'd interview me.

My answer: an emphatic hell yes.

June 08, 2002

Shit Happens: The Showdown.

If your woman steps out with another man
And she runs off with him to Japan
And the IRS says they want to chat
And you can't explain why you claimed your cat
And Ma Bell sends you a whopping bill
With eighteen phone calls to Brazil
And you borrowed money from the mob
And yesterday you lost your job...

-Kurtis Blow, "The Breaks"

Bill collector called today
IRS is on my case
My boss says i should comb my hair
My father thinks that i'm nowhere...
Landlord doesn't like my dog
My eyes are burning from the smog
The neighbors say i jam too loud
America thinks it should be proud...
Some guy just pinched my ass
Drunken bums ain't go no class
The club says i won't get paid
It's been months since i've been laid

-L7, "Shove"

Most underrated album of the '70s.

Bad mood. Show tonight, 10:30. Be outta commission for a few hours now, eyes closed on my bed in my room w/ the lights out, falling asleep to the Modern Lovers.

June 07, 2002

Did you know this blog was read by Actual Important Figures In The World Of Rock Journalism?

I wrote this post a while back, mentioning a Bravo show called Musicians hosted by David Wild. I remarked "Does this guy look like a rock critic or WHAT?!" (Judge for yourself.)

Uh oh. Got this e-mail tonight:

This is David Wild -- I had no idea I looked like a rock critic. Believe me it took industrial light and magic to make me that scruffy. Please keep watching the show and feel free to tell your friends. Elvis Costello airs on Monday.


And if I can find my remote, I just might tune in.

Big news for rock fans in Brooklyn: Park Slope is finally getting its own alternative-music venue, called Southpaw. Ironminds has the facts; iJamming has the opinions. Me? This weekend I'll be in Manhattan, catching Preston School of Industry (Saturday) and Flux Information Sciences (Sunday). 2002 is gonna be the like bestest summer ever.

Not like I'm the president of the Mission of Burma fan club or anything, but I mention 'em enough and they're piled pretty high up in my toxic waste dump of musical references, and with that in mind here's a Mojo interview with the band, conducted by that prick Steve Albini (link via The Monkey Puzzle).

June 06, 2002

So Nate and I did this IM roundtable discussion on pop trends of 1980. Very loosely edited and probably of little use to anyone who has no idea who Ralf Hutter or Midge Ure are, but there's a good proctologist joke so check it out anyway.

Dee Dee Ramone Found Dead in L.A.
Thu Jun 6, 2:41 PM ET

By JEFF WILSON, Associated Press Writer

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Dee Dee Ramone, a founding member of the pioneer punk band the Ramones, was found dead of a possible drug overdose in his Hollywood home, the coroner's office said Thursday. He was 50.

Ramone, whose real name was Douglas Glenn Colvin, was found dead on the couch by his wife when she returned home at 8:25 p.m. Wednesday, said Craig Harvey, operations chief for the coroner's office. Paramedics were called and he was declared dead at 8:40 p.m.

"The investigator noted drug paraphernalia, including a single syringe on the kitchen counter, and we are handing it as a possible accidental overdose," Harvey said. An autopsy was planned later Thursday.

The death comes 11 weeks after the band was celebrated with induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

"I'd like to congratulate myself, and thank myself, and give myself a big pat on the back," Ramone joked at the time. "Thank you, Dee Dee, you're very wonderful."

He had often feuded with his fellow band members, eventually quiting the group in the late '80s to launch a career as a rapper under the name Dee Dee King.

Lead singer Joey Ramone, born Jeffrey Hyman, died in April of last year of lymphoma, a form of cancer. He was 49. The other two members are Johnny and Tommy Ramone; the four adopted the common last name after forming the band in 1974 in New York City.

The Ramones' best-known songs reflected their twisted teen years in Queens: "Beat on the Brat," "I Wanna Be Sedated," "Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue," "Teenage Lobotomy," "Sheena Is a Punk Rocker."

Dee Dee Ramone was one of the band's major songwriters, and among his better known songs was "Chinese Rock" — a tale of going on the street to score heroin, co-written with punk runk icon and overdose victim Johnny Thunders.

Despite their influence and critical acclaim, though, the Ramones never cracked the Top 40.

While British bands such as the Sex Pistols and Clash received the media attention once punk rock exploded, both were schooled by the Ramones' tour of England that began on the U.S. Bicentennial — July 4, 1976.

"They're the daddy punk group of all time," Joe Strummer, lead singer of the Clash, once told Spin magazine.

Dee Dee Ramone was the band's bassist. The Ramones recorded their first album in February 1976.

The band then earned a loyal cult following with a seemingly endless string of tours where they would crank out 30 songs in 90 minutes.

The Ramones disbanded in 1996 after a tour that followed their final studio album, "Adios Amigos." A live farewell tour album, "We're Outta Here!", was released in 1997.

The coroner's office did not say what drug was suspected of causing Ramone's death. In his autobiography, "Lobotomy: Surviving the Ramones," he had written of his struggle with drug and alcohol abuse.


Associated Press Writer Larry McShane in New York contributed to this report.

Can't sleep what with this heat so I'm link-hopping.

James Squeaky (aka Mister Ridiculous) outta Portland does a rock site called Sincere Brutality.

Pretty good, although he's dumm for calling Television's guitar sound "wanky" (not at all -- Verlaine/Lloyd were cocky and cool, like Max Fischer in his classroom fantasy at the beginning of Rushmore, calmly striding up to the blackboard, cup of tea in hand, needing nary a pause or second thought to answer The World's Hardest Math Problem)...

...and for frothing at the mouth over Mary Timony (you KNOW she would lose at least half her audience -- straight men and les/bi women -- if she weren't so fucking fuckworthy).

In his FAQ/mission statement, he says "I think it's really confusing and difficult to trust publications that have reviews by a lot of different people," and as a veteran of such publications, I tend to agree.

June 05, 2002

I went to a Pretty Girls Make Graves concert and wrote about it. My punk-ass MRR-writer friend thinks I'm insane for liking this band.

(Here's a very smart Anti-Pop Consortium review from the same site. I'm just waiting for some cute teen-girl group to call itself the Anti-Mom Consortium.)

Another update on the "nothing to link you to" front (and I was frontin'):

TALK turns to Alex Chilton, boy genius, guiding light of Big Star, the figure behind a thousand strange and lurid tales ... Chilton's reputation in Memphis is apparently one of uniquely awesome propoprtions. Half-beloved, half-hated, Lux claims that when news of the band flying in with Chilton to the latter's hometown hit the city, "There were guys with guns, man...all sorts of crazy things." The reasons for Chilton's epic hometown notoriety have something to do with "the fact that he's probably fucked every chick in the state. Literally. And those chicks' boyfriends are out to get him." Chilton, however, like a proverbial Jesus' sunbeam, floats along usually so totally drunk and poly-drugged out that all threats - "literally hundreds" maintains Lux - wash over him like winter off a duck's arse.

...and from the Reciprocal Back-Scratch Desk: Everybody's favorite Rockcritwunderkind, Daniel Reifferscheid, is now Mr. "Jody Has a Blog So I Think I'll Start One TOO." We'll see about that!

Simon cries fowl.

I have nothing to say and nothing to link you to. So I'm turning the floor over to my readers. Get thee to the comment box.

June 04, 2002

Considering I've hardly posted anything in the last few days, I sure have gotten an ass of hits! Checking out the referrals, I notice that a lot of people come to this site looking for information on the New York rock scene(s). Which can only mean one thing -- if a search for "Brooklyn punk" or "electroclash" leads you to this jerkwater burg of a blog, there must not be too much out there about tha underground sound of the 718, yo. (Did I miss something? Isn't Brooklyn the new Prague or whatever? Why are you all coming HERE?) Incidentally, this month I'll have "many news and feelings to share" (cf. The Shaggs) about local bands and artists passing through this town. So now you know!

1) My CD Walkman died.
2) I went back to using my old cassette Walkman, which I've owned since 1998.
3) Went out for a walk this evening, and before I did, I rummaged through a box of tapes dating back to my preteenhood and general teenhood in general.
4) I used to have a major hard-on for Guns 'n' Roses. Played their records all the time, went to their shows, had the posters and the (god, this is embarrassing) comic book (I still have it) and bought some bootlegs off a guy on St. Mark's.
5) Found one of those boots tonight -- a tape of demos from the Use Your Illusion sessions and presumably some '80s ones as well.
6) I was kinda cheesed out by the Use Your Illusion discs. There were some excellent songs on there, but the production was crap and all in all, there was just TOO MUCH of it. These demos, however, sound like cheapo 4-track, bare-bones versions of same, including a very edgy, passionate "Don't Cry" (Axl Rose edgy and passionate? Nooooooo.) and several tracks that didn't make the final cut.
7) To this day, Axl remains one of my favorite rock vocalists. I wish he hadn't pulled a Syd Barrett -- flipping out and becoming a delusional hermit -- but it only proves Neil Young's burn out/fade away thesis true. I used to mention the "favorite singer" thing to people and they'd be all up in my face like "Axl can't sing!" But the guy actually did have phenomenal control over his pipes.
8) Izzy and Duff were good singers as well, and they've got songs on this tape.
9) Take yer pick: Iggy, Thunders, early Van Halen, early Crue.
10) When (not if, WHEN) Axl gets his head together enough to realize what great shit these demos are, when he puts 'em on a CD and adds some hilariously psychotic liner notes, THE CRITICS WILL GIVE THEMSELVES HERNIAS MAKING HASTE TO REVEAL TO THE LUMPENPROLES (you the listener) WHAT CLASSIC/KICKASS/REALCOOL MUSIC THESE HOLLYWOOD FUCKUPS PUT OUT DURING THEIR SHORT AND VOLATILE CAREER.

June 03, 2002

And now, the Cadillac Supergrandpappy of cute internet animation, Jim Allenspach's video for the Tokyo Folk Crusaders' "I Only Live Twice." Because you only live once.

Courtesy of NYLPM:

"In an ideal world, Walker would have rocked his cradle and indoctrinated his offspring with the songs of the Sex Pistols and the Clash, but they are far too noisy and contain rude words. The solution was to come up with Punk Rock Baby, a whole album of instrumental lullaby versions of punk-rock classics - Pretty Vacant, White Riot and the rest - done in a soothing style 'so as not to damage little ears'."

What we have here is another old fart trying to pawn off his nostalgia on his children, in the least offensive way possible. Johnny Rotten sang "I wanna destroy passersby" and I hope by that he meant the eardrums of little tykes tugging the sleeves of their bald and lardy kinfolk. What's next, Anal Cunt Brand Oatmeal?

I've been alerted to a new band outta Cleveland (and Cleveland RAWKS -- right, Drew Carey?) called the Chargers Street Gang. They're playing here on the 28th, at Warsaw in Brooklyn. I've only heard one mp3, "Black and Tan," but my impression so far is that the music is very male, real aggro party stuff, and that turns me off. Comparisons tossed around: Stooges, MC5. MC5 were way more melodic and bluesy (and FUNNY). Stooges? No, Iggy was too effeminate and nihilistic. I like the Chargers' energy, but three minutes with these guys and I can tell exactly what kind of people they are -- recovering fratboys date-raping their way through the rock 'n' roll hall of punk. You bring the roofies, I'll bring the pepper spray.

Good news: They're on the same bill as (of all people) legendary Scottish 'wavers the Rezillos. An odd pairing, but then again, I'm not familiar with any of the other bands appearing that night. More as this story develops.

Hmm. Did you know Freezing to Death in the Nuclear Bunker comes up at number 20 in a Google search for "catering halls in the Bronx"?

June 02, 2002

Well, this looks promising, although I'm sure these people will have something to say about this.

To further pique your interest about Flux Information Sciences (whom I've been recommending since I caught them live in early 2001, dashing off superlative expletives like "Holy fucking shit" and throwing darts at reference points like Army of Lovers, the Beastie Boys, Swans, PiL, Negativland/Throbbing Gristle/Crass, the funny-looking bass player from the Stranglers, Devo, and if you insist, Fischerspooner), I'll link you to this page dedicated to their 1997 "Volt Project."

We (sebastien Brault and Tristan Bechet) had been playing in a noisy, decadent, drunken lounge band called TWA for a couple years. On our own, we started to experiment, looking for something else. We wanted to achieve something radically new. One day, we found the annual report of Volt Information Sciences, a multinational that sells information technology services. The corporate language of this document was impersonal, threateningly efficient and powerful. We took the name and logo of the company, made music under its aegis, and then decided to go to New York to meet them and make a deal. We proposed a joint project to Volt for a performance in which we would promote the image of the company through a presentation of its functions and technologies, in the form of a concert/infomercial/art performance. We wanted to marry media, genre, the "arts," the spheres, their lawyers, etc...Obviously, they rejected our proposal, fearing that we would misrepresent the company and devalue their stock shares....

Summer in New York: nothing quite like it. Today was one of the great lazy days. Brunch at Odessa on Ave. A, cotton-candy-flavored Italian ices on 1st Ave., and oh, the oppressive heat, speshly in my apartment where there's very little ventilation and my air-conditioner is weaker than a paraplegic dwarf after a good toss across the bar (offer me a better analogy and I'll edit it in). I wish my Walkman weren't broken, but after two years of active duty, maybe it's time to decorate it and call it a civilian.

Saw a poster for a music festival happening on the Lower East Side on June 8, but I can't find any online information on the whens and wheres and whos, except that the super-nifty Flux Information Sciences (who describe their new, leaner/meaner sound as "an electronic James Brown on battery acid") will be performing at 6 p.m, at some undisclosed location alongside the East River. MP3s here.

iJamming's Tony Fletcher addresses yet another book among the recent onslaught of punk documentation: a Sniffin' Glue coffee-table job. I've looked through this a few times at Barnes & Noble, and it's cool/historical enough, but fuck me if I'll actually lay down money for something officially labeled an "essential punk accessory."

June 01, 2002

Rawther funny (albeit subtly homophobic) article at Audiogalaxy about saxophone-solo suckage.

Don't go to NYC Bloggers unless you just can't get enough of the words "rambling" and "random." Best new discoveries: Sexplastic and The Wheelbarrow. One of my favorite NYC weblogs, Ftrain.com, is there too.

Everybody's got an Eminem comparison to make 'cept for me and my monkey.

Video Killed "Video"

The Buggles' association with the dawn of MTV and symbolism of all things '80s (in fact, the song came out in '79) have ruined "Video Killed the Radio Star" as an actual song for so many people -- it's such a signifier, a memory trigger, and such a cultural staple that it's rare for listeners to reach through the retro detritus and identify "Video" as the evocative, contemplative masterpiece of conceptual art-pop that it is.

The song bursts open with some of rock music's best individual lyrics: "Lying awake intent at tuning in on you," "in my mind and in my car," "pictures came and broke your heart." By turns, poetic and resonantly familiar. And the music -- light and frolicsome like a Fred Astaire dance escapade, all the grandeur and beatitude of Jeff Lynne's most fantastic outings, classical movements that weave in and out delicately and without bombast. (Fuck Dennis DeYoung, this is what Paradise Theater should have sounded like.) Female singers. This is golden.

The infamous "Video" video is what's responsible for making the song seem so aloof and throwaway. Bug-eye glasses and synthesizers. A jesting nod towards the image-obsessive new-wavers, an ironic parody of the would-be ironists -- but the parody was too good, and "Video" just became another Flock of Fun Boy 100 video. Personally, the video doesn't do much for me. It's not that striking or innovative. The song's where the money's at -- never mind putting the blame on VCR, "Video"'s themes are universally applicable, recognizable to anyone who's longed to hold on to a little piece of the idealisms and chimeras of the past, even for those who think talkies killed the silent stars (and the song wisps along with those haunting golden-age vocals, only new wave inasmuch as they KIIIIIINNNNDA sounded like a subdued Mark Mothersbaugh).

I can't stand to see this song shoved underneath that large, elliptical umbrella known as "'80s" (I have no problem attributing musical trends to time periods, but if I hear one more shit-for-brains secretarial-pool coffee-slurper respond to the "What type of music do you like" question with "'80s," I swear I'm gonna pour hot lava through her eardrums -- IT'S NOT A FUCKING GENRE, OK???). But it's doomed to spend eternity on playlists at sorority parties and suburban twentysomething weddings where people drunk on white-wine spritzers actually say things like "Remember the '80s??" As if I'd forget.