Thursday, June 26, 2008

there's a stillness in the air, i pray for sound

Let's talk about music. I haven't done this in a while, and it's overdue.



New York bands I won't stop crowing about anytime soon:

O'Death, my favorite Brooklyn garage punk/bluegrass band, has a new record on its way out called "Broken Hymns, Limbs and Skin." I haven't been able to listen to much of it, but what I've heard knocks my socks off, just like their first full-length, "Head Home." Someone told me he thought O'Death sounded like John Fogerty on acid. Not even close, but it's a nice image. Oh, and they do a fantastic cover of Pixies' "Nimrod's Son" live.


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Les Savy Fav ("Lay Sah-vee Fahv"). They've been playing for over ten years, and they're one of the best live acts I've ever seen (next to The Roots and the aforementioned O'Death). They released a new record last year called "Let's Stay Friends" which spurred write-ups in Rolling Stone, Spin, Magnet, Pitchfork and your Grandma's diary, yet still nobody seems to know who they are. I saw them play three times when I lived in New York, and I'll do it again every chance I get, because it's a perfect mix of angular guitar noise and dunce-hat comedy. When I really fell in love with them, though, was at the CitySol fest in NYC last summer, when LSF ended their set (and drained the solar-powered P.A.) with a two-fer of covers of Superchunk's "Precision Auto" and Archers of Loaf's "Wrong." My video is here -- enjoy the metal-y transition between songs, and my drunken pogo cinematography. In related news, Syd Butler, Les Savy Fav's bass player, runs French Kiss Records, the label that houses LSF along with (among many others) The Big Sleep, The Hold Steady, Fatal Flying Guilloteens, Sean Na Na, Detachment Kit and the Ex-Models. Also, LSF's singer, Tim Harrington, and his wife, Anna, run a small textile company called Deadly Squire, where they make things like tote bags and neckties and oven mitts out of sturdy fabrics with cool patterns of their own designs. Buy their stuff and support independent artists.


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Aesop Rock. I know everybody already knows who he is, but he is really, really good at what he does. I challenge anyone to find fault with his lyrics. Here's one of my favorites:



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Joy Zipper is a guy and a girl -- actually they're a married couple -- and it looks like they're in New York now. I can't put my finger on why, but for some reason I really like these guys. They're like a cross between My Bloody Valentine and Fountains of Wayne, but throw in a Baker Act/suicide watch. Catchy, sugary pop songs with super creepy, dark lyrics. They always seem to have strange song choices on their MySpace page, so here's "1" from their album, The Heartlight Set:






Baltimore, hooray!

Dan Deacon and OCDJ put out, respectively, the top two party records of 2007. Apparently OCDJ is done making electronic music for a while, but Dan Deacon ain't quitting anytime soon. Thank god. This is what happens when he plays for the Brooklyn hipster crowd in an empty swimming pool in the middle of Summer. The audio is horrible, but the song is "Lion with a Shark's Head," and the dancing is. . . well, just watch:





It's too late to turn back, here we go, Portland!

The Shaky Hands are a group of nice kids in Portland, Oregon who sound like they're into nature, The Beatles, grizzly bears and psychedelic drugs. Their self-titled album came out last year, and every time I listen to it, I start believing: a) all really is right with the world, or c)I really oughta try mushrooms again.



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Old Time Relijun is the best thing to happen to my ears since June of 44 broke up, and that's not a sideways comparison -- it's just the truth. I love this band so much I want to dry-hump the speakers whenever they come on. It's raw, ugly, dirty, driving, primordial music. It howls at the gate separating religion and sexuality. I can't get enough. I've already plugged them here at the Dinghy, so I'll stop now and let the band speak for itself. The song is called "Cold Water" (Arrington's mom says it's her favorite). Just a hint -- if you decide to watch this video, you should be ready to commit to the whole eight minutes -- it becomes increasingly better as it progresses.


Old time relijun
by mainsdoeuvres





Friends and Neighbors:

Billy Harvey is a one-man-band in Austin, TX, who puts a lot of thought into everything he does, including his live shows, which feature him singing backup for himself thanks to a nifty pedal-controlled contraption that records and plays back loops of the show right then and there. He's imaginative and has a great voice and a really nifty website, too.

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My friends Ford & Fitzroy are mastering their first full-length album right this minute. The singer goes a bit heavy on the angst at times, but their songwriting is intelligent and they do neat things with guitars.

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Some other friends of mine, The Five Deadly Venoms are a Brooklyn-based bluegrass/Americana band who kill me every time I hear them play. Elio's voice -- and the music -- is just so, so beautiful.

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The Ones to Blame are a group of four women in Gainesville, Florida, who write balls-out bluegrass/country songs about boozin', fuckin', and fightin'. And the songs are good. I mean it.




. . .and let's not forget:

The Modern Lovers was Jonathan Richman's band in the early '70s. Rock.


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John Prine has been around forever, and is still a master. Here are one old video and a new-ish one.






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And finally: What's up with Ladytron, and their new album "Velocifero?" Someone, please give me a reason to like this. I used to harbor a half-hearted sort of love for Ladytron, which would often expand into full-blown, unrestrained lust (just add booze and/or drugs). But their latest record is such a lame, watery letdown that I can't help but wonder if I'm missing something. I mean, is it really THAT bad? When the music is more boring than that NYC traffic channel, and the lyrics are so awful they actually make me laugh out loud, the answer is "yes." It's that bad. A friend of mine said he bets the members of Ladytron are made up of binary code. I think they're made of HVAC parts, inositol and empty promises.

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I think that's all for now.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Saturday, June 21, 2008

there's no place for a street fighting man

How did I not hear about this? I thought I knew people.

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Union Square Fight Club : The Toothless Marine

Sunday, June 15, 2008

dear dad





Sometimes I miss you so much I want to double in on myself, disappear, join you in the ether.

Friday, June 13, 2008

makes no sense at all, and furthermore, i don't know what you're talking about

this is an actual letter i sent this morning:

dear m,

hope you got some rest
last night, after archie's beer.
i damn sure didn't.

i may be counting
on your energy to get
me through this evening.

that's right, another
early morning wake-up call
from my crazy sis.

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it never ends. and neither, apparently, does my use of this blog as a soapbox from which to regale all you poor suckers with my various pedestrian bitches & gripes. i promise, i am working on reclaiming my usually electrifying personality. i just need to get some sleep. i ordinarily do not communicate in haiku. special circumstances (like diminished intellectual capacity) force extreme measures.

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i've got a slap/tickle for the first person who can tell me the name of the band this post's title references, without googling it.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

booze me up and get me high

Yesterday began as a great day, but a few hours in, it suddenly became one of the worst I've had in a long time. It's a long story, and I won't get into the details now.... but don't worry, everybody's going to be okay.

A few pieces of news:

1. I have four tickets for the sold-out Polvo show next Saturday, June 21st, at the Bowery Ballroom in NYC. If anyone is interested, I'll sell them to you at my cost, which is around $19 each. They're e-tickets, so I'd have to forward them to you, and you'd print them out yourself. I will need to hear back on this within the next day or two, otherwise I'm going to try and put them on StubHub or something. Sorry for sounding like a craigslist scalper douche (hey, at least I'm not trying to make a profit).


2. Yep, that means I'm not going to make it to New York for the show (or anything else) next weekend. I know a few people have been expecting me to be there, and I'm really, really sorry. I just can't swing it. In addition to my regular financial woes, I now have a dead cat and a $350 vet bill to deal with. Again, I'm sorry to all my New York friends. I'll be up sometime this summer, for sure. I miss you guys, too.

x

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

a hard day's night

one of my friends just sent me an e-mail with the subject line, "get your butt outside."

"get your butt outside." hilarious. right now i am outside, and will be here for the next six or seven hours, whether i like it or not. it's 12:46 a.m.. i type this from my mom's back porch, where, it appears, i will be sleeping tonight. i discovered 45 minutes ago that i was locked out, and have been banging on doors and windows ever since. my knuckles are swollen and bruised. mom has still not risen from her slumber to let me in. looks like it's not happening. i'd have called her, but my phone's inside (i can see it, mocking me from the coffee table). so i'm stuck. i'll be bunking on the rattan "sofa." there are at least two giant raccoons scampering around on the patio, a few feet away. there are seven thousand mosquitos, gnats, cicadas, crickets, dragonflies, palmetto bugs, lizards, spiders and ants sharing this porch. the only provisions i have are my rapidly dying laptop, an empty watering can, two melting ice cubes (leftover drink) a bag of alabama ditch weed, a bowl and a lighter. guess what i'll be doing till i fall asleep?

fuck me.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

holiday in hanoi

I'd been craving pho bo (vietnamese noodle soup with beef) for over a week, and I finally got around to collecting all the ingredients the other night, so I, um, "whipped some up" and after an hour and a half of futzing around in the kitchen, was rewarded with this delightfully aromatic bowl of faux-deliciousness:




Why "faux" pho, you say? Because it looked and smelled like the warm, comforting, savory goodness I'd been pining for, but it tasted like corrugated cardboard. I should have just eaten the chopsticks.

Next time, more basil. Or takeout.

take this pie and shove it

I ate some bad apple pie yesterday evening, broke out in hives an hour later, and spent the remainder of the night shvitzing my tits off and flipping around in bed like a landed mackerel. Got less than two hours' sleep, was rousted before 8 a.m., spent six hours (count 'em) in my Mom's dusty, 600-degree, arachnid-corpse-filled attic with the cable guy sweating all over me, climbed up and down a 20' ladder a dozen times. . . and I still don't have a usable wireless connection. Apologies to everybody who has been waiting for photos, replies to letters, feedback on sound/video projects, etc.. It looks like it's gonna be another day or two. I'm so tired, I'm delirious.

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Some lunatic has been calling my cell phone and hanging up when I answer, like three times a day, for the last three or four days. I don't know who it is, but the next time it happens, I got a loud-ass lifeguard whistle with their name on it. Bring it, Mystery Caller.

Monday, June 2, 2008

white & nerdy


Ever heard pirate-themed gangsta rap? Me, either -- until last night. Now I want to run away from home and join this band. They're called Captain Dan & the Scurvy Crew, they dress like pirates and rap about wenches and ho's*, and completely knocked my socks off by rhyming "safari" with "calamari" in a groovy tune about sea monsters. Yes, it's gimmicky; yes, it's silly. It's also pretty funny (as a novelty), and made me want to shake my, um, booty. Oh, and speaking of shaking booties, the Scurvy Crew's show prompted an extended ecstasy-inspired dance, performed by the balding shorts-and-white-socks-wearing fellow next to me. Cheers, White Socks Guy, you made my awkward "white girl bobbing stiffly to rap" routine look almost cool.

Among the other Nerdapalooza (I didn't make that up; it was the actual name of the event) performers were a mildly annoying indie-pop group from Orlando called Mumpsy; a lame zombie-themed indie rock group, and a ninja-themed hip-hop group wielding swords who rhymed about things like motherboards and USB cables.

This weekend just keeps getting better and better.

*I don't know that the apostrophe belongs in "ho's" but "hos" looks pretty stupid.