July 31, 2002

"Initially, the song began with the words 'Yeah, you really got me now', but that was changed in the studio on the advice of Hal Carter, an impresario who had previously been hired to hone the group's image. Although Carter had been recently dismissed from his position with the Kinks, he did them one last favor by suggesting that Ray Davies add a new first word to the song to make it more personal and direct. Davies settled on replacing 'Yeah' with 'Girl', and recording commenced." (Link courtesy of Flaskaland.)

Update: I've been looking at some other work by Charlotte Robinson, the author of the Kinks article. She's interviewed some very cool people, like Roberta Bayley and Tish and Snooky Bellomo. I never get tired of reading about these people, as cliche as that whole "New York punk" thing is now.

I mostly agree with Douglas Wolk's Village Voice article about New York's new wave of dance-centric rock. But I think that like a lot of people, he's being lazy by just allowing himself to "spot the influence" -- ok, Liars sound like the Fall, Radio 4 sound like Remain in Light-era Talking Heads, and all of a sudden everyone's namecheckin' ESG and Liquid Liquid because those are the names to namecheck if you don't wanna (to para-quote that great LCD Soundsystem song) "lose your edge." But just because !!! have retro appeal doesn't mean there's nothing new under the sun -- you have to work a little harder to find the originality, but there's always something there that makes a band unique, and that's what's worth paying attention to.

If I have nothing else of value to report this morning, lemme say this. I sent a note to the official Pere Ubu e-mail address giving the band (or its management, or whoever generally receives such things) a heads-up about my review of St. Arkansas, and I got a short and almost-cryptic response from none other than David Thomas himself: "Thank you." No, David, thank you.

July 30, 2002

Pac-Man: simple, classic, cute, the standard by which I judge all other video games. And I've found a pretty good clone of it at Download-free-games.com. It actually seems a bit harder than the arcade version, but then again, I could just be out of practice.

As promised, a new Southside Callbox. I got sick last night and threw up about six times, so I didn't have everything finished as early as I'd wanted -- nevertheless, it's Tuesday, and that means all kindsa music and movie fun. And we've got it: an interview with Nick Zedd, a look at the new Mr. Show DVDs, a review of Lucio Fulci's Demonia, a vision of the "postcompositional" future, and reviews of El-P, Pere Ubu, RJD2, and Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso U.F.O. Check it totally out.

July 28, 2002

So all nine miners have been rescued and I'm amazed and relieved, but why does MSNBC have to go for the "hero" angle at the first given opportunity? Why can't the miners just be "really lucky sons of bitches who hung in there like champs"? Don't mean to be excessively cynical here, but I do hope they don't have their own "We can't follow what YOU did" benefit concert, turning another clannish, misunderstood, fashionably blue-collar workforce into a patriotic Amurrican icon. While I was following some of the news coverage tonight (particularly that sleazoid jackass Geraldo Rivera on FOX News), I kept thinking of The Simpsons' riotously disingenuous Live Aid-stylee celebfest "We're Sending Our Love Down the Well."

This is not to say that I don't stand in awe of the hard work cops, firemen, and coalminers do, and the way their jobs require them to enter into hazardous situations. They're professionals; mostly they ain't fucking around. But it unsettles me that the starched-shirt sensationalist media has to leech every blood cell of credibility from The Humble Working-Class Ethic to enhance its own image as a hardline, true-grit News Source. When I hear the word "hero" from such a source, I immediately see it spelled out not with letters, but with dollar signs.

July 27, 2002

Accompanied my parents on a road trip out to the North Fork of Long Island (small fishing towns and seafood shacks, farmlands and farmstands); my dad just got a new Camry and he was fixing to take it for a spin. We listened to Dylan's Love and Theft, which I hadn't heard in months. Out in the country, it really sounds beautiful, even though there's very little about the record that's pastoral -- it's all New Orleans jazz and Chicago blues. But it feels like a dewy summer breeze bouncing off a vacationer's cheeks a few days after the other guy's thunderstorm blew through town. I never reviewed Love and Theft because it's just a simple, pleasant sensation that doesn't need weighty deconstruction or strained associations with 9/11. I'd only review it to defend it, because its near-unanimous critical adoration in 2001 has caused a backlash of sorts from people who apparently think Nelly Furtado and Shakira are waaaaaay more "relevant" than old Zimmy.

July 26, 2002

I'm hard at work putting together the July 30 issue of Southside Callbox, and I'm not being insincere when I say that I'm really excited about the stuff we're running. I won't spoil the surprise; I just wanted to let readers know that a new one is on its way.

July 25, 2002

Some more excellent PopMatters writing, this time in the form of Scott Thill's Murray Street review. An excerpt:

"In the midst of their tonal shifts and sonic experimentation is a recurring penchant for quiet, even one filled with noise, as if they were worried about disturbing their neighbors.

Which is understandable, considering that Murray Street -- both the album and physical space -- were in a constant state of repair and disrepair due to the fact that they were so near Ground Zero. Although some of the album was recorded prior to the September 11th attacks, that tragedy's immediate impact, its bracing reality check, its demand for endless moments of coping silence are subtexts found within each tune of Murray Street; no matter what some may call them, Sonic Youth are dyed-in-the-wool New Yorkers, after all. And the creative process of complex construction (something they've never shied away from, even on the more straight-ahead rock of Goo) must have felt odd in such negative space, in a geography that was destroyed, abandoned, uninhabited and in continual flux.

Indeed, you can tell by the title alone that Sonic Youth felt like concretizing the historical Moment: once the northern edge of Queen's Farm and the original site of Columbia College in 1787, Murray Street is also where an engine from one of the planes that hit the Twin Towers landed, the birthplace of Lionel Trains, a terminus for Beach's Pneumatic Subway, as well as the name of Sonic Youth's studio. In short, it is as much a cultural geography as it is an album title."

By the time Thill gets to the phrase "Beach's Pneumatic Subway," I'm in tears. The image is one that aligns perfectly with the exhaustive humidity and sooty capital-of-the-working-world urban squalor of Murray Street's sound -- the slow clang of the Industrial Era as it wheezes forth into Progress, from one darkened end of the tunnel to another dark end. Murray Street isn't really about progress, though... it's about that disassociative feeling a lot of New Yorkers get when they stop and take stock of it all and try to figure out what it is they're disconnected from. 16 years ago, Sonic Youth wrote that "schizophrenia is takin' me home," and now Murray Street finds that schizophrenia signed, sealed, and delivered to their very mailbox.

I'm feeling pretty disconnected too -- I heard "London Calling" in a Jaguar commercial tonight. Working-class hero Joe Strummer has become the spokesman for the nose-thumbing, valet-parking elite. Gimme a few days to get REALLY upset about this; right now, I refuse to accept it as fact.

July 24, 2002

As mentioned earlier, here's my PopMatters article on More Than Music. I'm pleased with the way it came out -- I was pressed for time, so I couldn't write a big, ponderous travel essay about my journey into the heartland, but I suppose that's for the best.

July 23, 2002

Grossoutart offers an excellent response to that "100 Albums That a Bunch of Here-We-Are-Now-Entertain-Us Frat-Meatheads Have Just Out of the Blue Decreed Are CRAP" article. I've refrained from writing my own commentary, because high blood pressure runs in the family and I don't want some silly piece of web writing to send mine over the edge.

July 22, 2002

I'm putting out an all-points bulletin: I NEED an mp3 of Interboro Rhythm Team's subway-themed 1983 rap single, "Watch the Closing Doors" (lyrics here -- "50th Street - Radio City / Got tickets to Prince and you're looking pretty"). I've searched SoulSeek, WinMX, Kazaa, and the internet, all to no avail. (Update: Found it! Hooray for novelty rap!)

July 21, 2002

It's shallow, it's often sentimental and fully of girly stereotypes and antiquated romantic ideals, and Carrie's homilies and puns are just inexcusable -- but yeah, I guess I have to count myself as a Sex and the City fan. For a show about people I'm supposed to hate, I'm finding myself madly in love with all four principals, particularly Samantha, who leaves no question in my mind about what the word "ravishing" actually means. But I'm a little less interested in the "sex" part (it's not quite the original topic for a prime-time TV show) than I am in the title's final three words, "and the City." Because the show just loves its city SO FUCKING MUCH, and I grin like a cheshire when someone else gets as goopy about New York as I tend to get. I got pretty dreamy looking at the subway poster for the season premiere -- an impeccably-dressed Sarah Jessica Parker, in her fabulous whirlwind universe, stooping over a sidewalk hot-dog cart, her white-gloved hand dipping into her purse while the vendor checks her out. That's New York!

And speaking of the amazingly dichotomous nature of New York, I walked through Brooklyn's Vinegar Hill today -- it's a tiny residential enclave buried deep between the warehouses of DUMBO and the housing projects around York Street. It used to be a Navy village (due to its proximity to the Brooklyn Navy Yard), and was said to be home to several brothels in the 19th century. It's kind of a non-neighborhood at present -- the only commerce I could see was a barber shop. Mainly row houses and old brownstones, clustered together on a small patch of land, an interesting anomaly that only residents and New York historians know about (seriously, ask people in Brooklyn Heights about Vinegar Hill, and 80 percent will probably say "Vinegar Huh?").

And those people would be very surprised to walk through the area and stumble upon the greatest anomaly of all: a glorious white mansion that looks as if it belongs in Bel Air -- on a hill, separated by a tall iron gate and a winding pathway inside, where several luxury cars are parked. The mansion, I found out, used to belong to Admiral Perry. I don't know who owns it now. In true New York style, it's situated directly across (not more than 15 feet from the gate) from the ConEd plant (I think). And you walk down a block or two and you've got your typical warehouses, stockyards, and maintenance facilities! God bless this town.

July 20, 2002

This site, Phreaky Phriday Phun Linx, gives a heads-up to Nate Patrin's now-famous "Your Guide to Spotting the North American Rock Critic" article at Southside Callbox. I don't know how "phreaky" the rest of these links are, but if you're (like me) into plucking chaotic strands of cultural effluvia out of the at-mo-sphere, then the "phun" Bonnie Burton advertises is the phun ye shall have.

July 18, 2002

Two issues to contend with:

1) "Lust for Life." Say what you will about the ethical issues of using cherished rock songs in commercials -- it's not the relationship between art and commerce that bothers me, it's the relationship between music and evil. Especially when a deadpan-ironic lyric like "Lust for Life," just oozing with smarmy pride as if to say "I'm fucked up beyond thunderdome but I'm feeling like a million bucks so eat shit and die," is misinterpreted (or reappropriated) as some sort of weekend-warrior anthem, the rallying cry of a nation of skiing WASPs in ugly yellow jumpsuits. That's just WRONG.

2) "Walk on the Wild Side" and "Satellite of Love" should also be copied or purchased through a hits compilation. As for the other songs on Reed's second solo effort, would you spend $15 just to hear lyrics like "Hey you gotta live your life as though you're number one/Yeah, you gotta live yeah your life and make a point of having some fun"?:


Look... thing about Lou Reed is, the fact that his lyrics are so dorky is what makes Lou Reed the man he is! If you think that Lou's contribution to rock music begins and ends with a few Warhol references and one or two songs about being on drugz, you need to go to school! I mean, I love lines like "She smoked mentholated cigarettes" ("mentholated" -- your grandma from Staten Island might have said that in 1961) and "You must think I'm some kind of gay blade" (INSTANT mental association with George Hamilton) because they come from a different mindset, a different time, from a nerdy, pretentious suburban kid who obviously was NOT a hippie and who had to create his own, subculture-defining agenda of cool so he could get a little action and get people to hear his poetry. Really, when I say that his infatuation with Laurie Anderson and his affiliation with Vaclav Havel are really just part of the fascinating plot development in the Great Lou Reed Novel, I'm not being a smug hipster jackass. Transformer IS essential to understanding Lou Reed, and so is The Blue Mask, and so is Set the Twilight Reeling, and I hate it when this new breed of anticanonical thugs declares something BAD or OVERRATED just because they're too ignorant to think about the many levels on which certain works can be appreciated and enjoyed.

Happy-happy for DJ Shadow fans -- the "Six Days" video is available at Shadow's official site (follow the "Current News" link). I'd say that the video, directed by Hong Kong filmmaker Wong Kar-Wai, was "haunting and evocative" (like the song), but to be honest, it kinda reminds me of a cell-phone commercial. It has all of the hazy languor and saturated color of Wong's Happy Together (but not even half of that movie's soul or idiosyncratic charm), and the sort of stratospherically huge budget that brings out my worst liberal tendencies.

July 17, 2002

Worst news I've heard all day: James Brown's former arranger was named Dave Matthews. GAHHHHHH!!

I'm flabbergasted, really, at how much Pere Ubu's new "Fevered Dream of Hernando DeSoto" sounds like Sonic Youth's "Waist" (from 1994 -- it's the one on Experimental Jet Set that goes "You better not waste away..."). I'm probably missing the larger picture, though -- could they both be ripping off an older song that I don't know? (Never!)

Jason Damas has an excellent review of I Am the World Trade Center over at PopMatters, in which he addresses that name situation and hits it right on the bulls-eye.

Yes, I'm well aware there's a lack of meaty content on this blog right now -- I don't mean to overwhelm you with updates about my writing, but that's just the basket I've been putting my eggs into over the past month or so.

I had a dream last night that left me feeling very disoriented and out-of-sorts when I woke up. I have this type of dream on occasion -- I blame it on the foods I eat, and the late hours at which I eat them. But it involved me being on a boat (a short cruise on the Columbia river, between North Portland and Southern Washington, only it seemed to take much longer than the few minutes that commute actually takes). There were three levels to this boat: an upstairs, where one could bask in the warmth of the sunlight and picnic with other passengers; a main level, with a bar made out of old oak (there weren't many people on this floor); and a downstairs, that had a gigantic, labyrinthine swimming pool with weird partitions and angles. If you didn't want to fall into the twisty-turny swimming pool, you had to hug the walls and hold on to a brass railing. It was very dark down there, humid and dank (with a greenish, algaeish tint to the room), and if you looked out the window (even though the top level opened up to a sunny day), you'd see a terrible storm.

I lost the people I was with, and spent a lot of the ride winding exhaustedly through all three floors. On the top level, I sat on a bench to rest my feet, and -- and -- Joni Mitchell came and sat down beside me. She turned out to be a spastic basket case, not quite all there, looking off into space, babbling about nothing, breaking into song whenever the mood hit her. Then she seemed to vanish, and I can't remember much beyond that.

July 16, 2002

Some new writing to link you to:

The Chargers Street Gang, 28 June 2002: Warsaw — Brooklyn, NY.

Sonic Youth's Murray Street.

Are You Threatening Me? (my biweekly column at Southside Callbox).

July 15, 2002

Here's just one of the articles I'm doing on More Than Music. You'll see a fleshier one, with interviews and pictures (hopefully), at Southside Callbox in a couple weeks -- this one's gonna be at PopMatters this week, if all goes well. Link forthcoming.

5 July – 7 July 2002: Rhodes Center — Columbus, OH
by Jody Beth Rosen

“More Than Music 10 casts the net wider to reach out across different genres and scenes in order to forge links between them. In doing so we recognize that many of the same ethics and do it yourself attitudes are shared between the hip-hop, techno, indie, noise, industrial, metal, jazz, and hardcore scenes. By emphasizing these underlying links, even as we continue to revel in and learn from our differences, we begin to transcend typecasts, stereotypes, and preconceived notions.”

--from More Than Music’s mission statement, posted at http://morethanmusic.org

I didn’t take away much of a “do-gooder” attitude from the tenth installment of Columbus, Ohio's More Than Music weekend – there were pamphleteers for the pro-choice movement and other lefty causes, and a film festival celebrating (among other things) vegan lifestyles and feminist pornography, but rock music seemed to be the order of business for most attendees. Of all the folding tables laid out across the Rhodes Center (a “youth center” and home of the Ohio Agricultural Hall of Fame, located on the state fairgrounds), the kids mostly gravitated towards the merch displays of the bands, labels, and distributors associated with the fest. It did feel grassrootsy and D.I.Y., but for all the networking going on (I came away with a sack full of promotional booty), it may as well have been a much larger festival, like CMJ or even Sundance.

The festival was laid out over three days, and music played from the early afternoon well until the evening (usually ending around midnight). I showed up at around 4:30 on Friday, shortly before my friend’s band Guyana Punch Line were due to head on stage.


I was still getting my bearings when Blow Up were on – I scribbled something in my pad about an organ-based noise sound, but they were done playing before I could really let the music sink in.

It was a well-organized event, down to making sure bands got their setups assembled and dismantled in time for each successive band to appear on schedule. I was in the ladies’ room when Guyana Punch Line started, and I ran out to catch them – I’d come to Ohio to see many of the bands advertised, but the biggest draw was getting to see GPL and meet up with their singer, Chris Bickel. Like their fellow billmates the Locust and Lightning Bolt, GPL play headspinningly fast, abrasively loud hardcore, and do it with an impressive level of diligence and skill. Plus, Bickel’s a nice guy: As soon as a song ends and he’s done with his king-hell vocal fury, he’ll earnestly apologize for how hard it is to make out the words, and point to the lyric sheets available over at the band table. It’s almost as cute as Melt-Banana’s meek thank yous between songs.

The Flying Luttenbachers followed – another band I’d come to MTM to see. The Luttenbachers fit in quite well with the afternoon’s unofficial “noise” theme: a jazzy-Beefheart cocktail with high camp value (the singer looks like the Count from Sesame Street) and an avant-hardcore foundation.

I’ll try to focus on the bands I actually saw and gave a shit about – and this leads me to the delightfully pretentious Rah Bras, heavy on ‘80s synths and mock-operatic female vocals (Ultravox meets Kate Bush?). Epitonic.com calls it “manic gothic cabaret punk,” and although that makes them sound more like the World/Inferno Friendship Society than Siouxsie and the Banshees or Nina Hagen (both appropriate comparisons), it’s an apt description.

I was aware of the all-girl Erase Errata based on word-of-mouth and an mp3 here and there. I had it cemented in my head that they were some sorta angular-no-wave-with-avant-didactic vocals, but they weren’t as weird and fun as I’d hoped. Their playing was fine if not astonishing, and they clearly wanted to ape No New Yorkers like James Chance; unfortunately, the end result was an artschoolish politico-Shaggs mashup that didn’t offer anything but its own bratty bolshevist exhortations and atonality-for-its-own-sake.

Lightning Bolt weren’t quite as on as when I’d seen them at the Cooler in NYC a few years back, but they still managed to create a frenzied rapture – audience members threw water balloons, and set off smoke bombs and firecrackers. At one point, an object thrown by a fan caused one of the ceiling tiles to dislodge and fall on the densely packed mosh pit.

The Bolt have amazing rock ‘n’ roll instincts. They eschew the fourth wall of the concert stage and play on the floor, with the kids. This time around, they had a few technical problems (par for the course when you’re at a festival and hardly have time to get set up), but I think nearly everyone there either knew firsthand or had been prepped on what to expect from a Lightning Bolt show, and as the band messed around with various plugs and amplifiers, the anticipation spread like fever across the room. People pushed to grab a spot on stage, in front of the closed curtain – others stood on chairs, craning their necks to see the Rhode Island duo (a drummer and a bassist/vocalist who screams through a megaphone effect) play their inimitable aggressive-progressive hardcore/stoner-rock/free jazz. Five seconds after a Lightning Bolt gig is like five seconds after a monster-truck rally. And you will know it by the trail of dust.

The Locust are similar to Lightning Bolt – less asskick-macho and more musically tight, but equally gimmicky (proving that if you really do have the chops, your gimmick will only serve to enhance the strengths of your sound, not distract from its weaknesses) (their gimmick is they dress like bugs – no, it’s cute!). But they know as well as anyone that a mangled yelp and a construction-site rhythm need some form of melodic anchor – and I thank them for throwing out the occasional note along with the steady clatter of jihad artillery.

Friday’s headliners, Tokyo’s Melt-Banana, add to the Locust sound with a Japanese female singer. She’s demure and lovely (not to play on any Asian stereotypes here – but with all the gimmickry on display at More Than Music, it was refreshing to see a performer so unconcerned with costumes or affectations). Her personality plays nicely against the monotonous screech of her singing voice – hip-hop agitprop meets Yoko on 45. They were the last band on and their set went about twenty minutes too long; I went out into the hallway to sit down, and I got to hear the crowd reactions (“Ugh, that was horrible!” “Wow! That was awesome!”) as people filed out.


I missed the early portion of Saturday’s lineup, although I did get to see hyperpercussive screamos Pg. 99 perform later on at an after-hours house party (with the fantastic An Albatross, who do a Locust/Melt-Banana redux with a Farfisa organ).

The Dropscience didn’t appeal to me in the least – the name is retarded, and that alone should be a warning bell. In theory, I suppose I like Tool and Rage Against the Machine, even though I don’t listen to them much. But I know that I hate their legions of impostors, and I didn’t have the tolerance for this sludgy, boring nu-metal/hip-hop/emo hybrid. Nor did I feel like being especially kind to Glass Candy & the Shattered Theater (one-line summation: bottom-of-barrel Debbie Harry doesn’t have the personality or the voice to front the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion’s K-Tel equivalent). And Blood Brothers, another hardcore act, were good, but I was feeling a little burned out on the genre – once the scenery changed to the backyard after-party in town, I was ready for more.

That brings us up to 9 p.m., and of all the people I talked to, I believe I was alone in liking the Scene Creamers (another silly name, and I don’t blame anyone for being skeptical). The Scene Creamers are Ian Svenonius and Michelle Mae of the Make-Up, and they take barebones ‘60s surf-rock and stick a rubbery-postured Pop/Johansen/Reed would-be out front. It’s funny, cuz I think Svenonious actually has a grasp of what made those singers so vital in their prime – Johansen’s undying dedication to old soul music, Pop’s wiseass native intelligence, and Reed’s verby attempts at pseudo-political relevance. If it goes no deeper than being a kinda-cool three-way impression, then whatever – it still makes me smile in recognition.

People really violently disliked Tracy & the Plastics, a one-woman “band” (i.e., a woman singing and screwing around with a sampler while staring at her imaginary bandmates on a video screen, her imaginary bandmates played by Tracy with little effort to disguise her face or voice). Her music is fairly average electroclash – manna from heaven for byte-geeks who are just now bringing their Madonna crushes out of the closet. I didn’t hate it; I wasn’t even annoyed by it. Her video work was cute, interspersing shots of the Plastics with surreal cut-ups. And I liked her ditzy vocal tics, reminiscent of Petra Haden’s spoken cameo at the beginning of Weezer’s “Undone” (“Can I get a riiiiiide?”). After Bratmobile’s set, I was ready to retroactively declare Ms. Plastic brilliant. (She wasn’t, but bear with me.)

There isn’t a lot to say about Bratmobile as a band. The guitar is sloppy and tuneless (despite singer Allison Wolfe’s claim that they “can play now”); the drums are competent but thin-skinned, and Wolfe, if she’s a somewhat able vocalist, has an irreproachably obnoxious stage presence (dancing around in short-shorts, doing gymnastics, and acting like a preteen prat), and an obsession with talking about her gender.

Wolfe’s feminist screeds about the admittedly outdated “women in rock” discussion seemed out of place at the progressive More Than Music festival, which gave plenty of face time to women who were not (like Wolfe) only singers, but accomplished instrumentalists in bands that actually have some credibility among males. In addition to this, a gang of Bratmobiliacs descended like a plague upon a male friend of mine, who wasn’t impressed with Tracy & the Plastics and made a harmless, tossed-off remark that “Maybe if I were a girl I’d understand.” It’s amazing how damaging one semester of Women’s Studies can be to a person’s sense of humor.

During Shellac’s set, frontman Steve Albini (esteemed producer, former Big Black leader, and notorious pain-in-everybody’s-indie-rock-ass) mocked Allison Wolfe’s incoherent gender-rant (“We’re here cuz we wanna be here; we’re not here to prove anything!”), and showed how dumb the same statement sounds coming from the mouth of a typical rockperson, even if said rockperson is in reality as paranoid and self-ghettoizing as the sort of angry feminist he can’t stand.


I didn’t stick around for the full Sunday show; I wanted to see the Walkmen, but I was ready to head back to New York, and I decided to catch a ride with some friends just as Jets to Brazil were starting (at 5:30).

I liked openers Xiu Xiu, an interesting experimental/ambient band that employed Korg synthesizers, a rack of gongs and chimes, and an old-fashioned squeezebox. They would have really appealed to me were it not for the (ugh) bleating emo vocals, which don’t suit the sound at all.

With the exception of Pilot to Gunner (straightahead melodic punk) and Dälek (underground hip-hop with some spectacular turntable effects), both of whom I recently saw at the Gern Blandsten Records 10th anniversary show, I wasn’t too keen on Sunday’s bill. The absolute worst of the lot was Ghost Orchids, an electronic death-rock parade of goth clichés (it’s like hearing New Order’s “Blue Monday” over and over and over an… and then there’s a cover of Public Image Limited’s “Careering” that sounds like New Order’s “Blue Monday”). Repulsive; humorless; dull.

I didn’t mind taking off during the middling Jets to Brazil – I didn’t consider it leaving the festival on a sour note, since Dälek, who’d just finished, was one of the very best acts on any of the weekend’s bills. Armed with a small duffel bag, a half-used disposable camera, and a ripped paper sack full of all the cheap vinyl I’d picked up in town, I left Columbus feeling pretty good.

July 14, 2002

If you were looking for an mp3 of Rod McKuen's "Beat Generation" (the inspiration for Richard Hell's "Blank Generation"), it's right here, along with rarities by Television, PiL, the dB's, and the Talking Heads. As Mick Jagger once intoned, "Thaink ya Jeezis -- thaink ya Lawd."

July 13, 2002

Richard Hell on Dee Dee Ramone.

July 11, 2002

Listening to Disc Two of Don't Call Me Ska Face: The History of Ska, I noticed a bit of possible Beatlejamming -- on the track "Norwegian Wood Disco," a Ska Boys cover of the Beatles song (not quite "disco," and owing as much to dub as to ska due to all the echo and delay and tape-manipulation), the skankin' guitar riff that plays throughout is EXACTLY THE SAME as Julian Lennon's "Too Late For Goodbyes." Since I can't find any information on the song online (and the CD didn't come with a booklet), I have no way of knowing which came first. Anyone know? I'd like to think the "disco" in the title places it in the late '70s, but I could be wrong.

July 10, 2002

It's several days after More Than Music and now I'm getting around to listening to all the new CDs and records I picked up in Columbus. The most fruitful score came from the CD/Game Exchange, where I got a 3-CD "history of ska" compilation called Don't Call Me Ska Face for $14, and another comp, Skinhead Jamboree, for a dollar. Skinhead Jamboree revisits England's proto-skinhead culture of the 1970s and its symbiosis with Jamaican reggae. The more famous names on here are Desmond Dekker, Jimmy Cliff, and Toots and the Maytals, but each of the 26 tracks is worthwhile, many of 'em are terrific, and several of 'em are politically charged responses to the violence and racism developing within the youth movement at the time.

"...next semester I'm taking a whole course on Amy Heckerling!!!"

"When I got around to downloading and listening to the 11 new songs, I didn't feel sad or disappointed - I just felt sorry [for] Noel, Liam, and company. They sound like a police composite artist's rendering of what the band might sound like based on descriptions and testimonials of their music taken from negative reviews."

I've often thought PopMatters' weak point was its record reviews -- I guess that section's so hard up for daily content (as opposed to the weekly content on the rest of the site) that the editor's just not that selective or demanding. Here's one I like, though: a review of the new remaster of Cheap Trick: At Budokan. The image they use is wrong, by the way. This release is not the bells-and-whistles Complete Concert version of Budokan Trick put out a few years ago; it's the remaster of the original LP.

July 08, 2002

Stalkers rejoice: I'm back! Frankly, I don't know why any of you would tune in every day, sometimes several times a day, waiting for me to report on my trip halfway across the country to see a bunch of screamo bands who dress funny. Am I gonna talk about the people I met? No. Music I heard? No. Records I bought? No. Movies I saw? I don't feel like it. Wait for the article, or something.

Update: the Wheelbarrow dude went too, apparently. So do check in with him later when he posts about how rad the Locust are and how not-rad Bratmobile are.

July 03, 2002

One more thing: Read Bangsheet. It invokes the spirit of classic Stone/Crawdaddy/Creem gonzo rockwrite as convincingly as anything of this sort I've read in the past couple years.

Freezing to Death will be taking a short holiday -- I'm going to Ohio for a few days and shan't return until Monday afternoon. When I get back, I'll have loads of tales to tell, and several reviews to write!

"On 'Cleanin Out My Closet', a viciously personal song that attacks Em's much-maligned mother (again), the memory of Marvin Gaye's Here, My Dear suddenly flashed to mind ... but the key difference is that Gaye's album was always tempered by the bittersweet realization of love's greatness and failure whereas Eminem lacks any sense of either personal repentance or generous forgiveness, settling instead for self-righteous pissiness ... you realize that Eminem's disposition is no Here, My Dear but a Here Bitch, Go Fuck Yourself."

July 01, 2002

There's a new issue of Southside Callbox up for your perusal. Nate Patrin skates away on the scratches and crackles of DJ Shadow's The Private Press, Chris Bickel goes on a retroapocalyptic freakout with Aphrodite's Child, I get in my general motor and rock out to Detroit's Paybacks, Mike Bracken raises his mighty pen to Zatoichi's antiheroic samurai sword, Dainon Moody gets laid, and I listen.