Thursday, February 23, 2006

"One of my men just had an origin."

A couple weeks back, Sanjeevani shot me an email enquiring what “Voguing to Danzig” means, exactly. Neither of us have been able to locate my no doubt eloquent response to her question, so I’ll have to start again from scratch.

I came up with the name a few years ago when I needed a name for a column I’d proposed to write for the Chicagoland-based (bi-annual, then annual, then eventually every-other-year) (maga)zine Tailspins. The first column, about 9-11, ran in the publication’s final issue in 2002 (or was that 2003?); the second one, making unkind light of the pathetic passing of Alice In Chains singer Layne Staley, never ran in part because the zine never came out again and the editor stopped returning my e-mails (Brent Ritzel, if you’re reading this, feel free to fill in the blanks here, man). When I decided to start this blog, I resurrected the moniker.

Think back to Madonna’s black-and-white, 15-year old video clip for “Vogue” – the dance being done there is “voguing.” Glenn Danzig is a lunkhead musician and singer who’s in part responsible for some of the best (early Misfits = life-affirming punk) and worst music commercially available today (Danzig = comically horrible metal). Now you are asked to imagine stocky, shirtless Glenn performing a “dance” probably intended for slim, female fashion models – holding his arms horizontally in front of his face and shifting them to reveal himself occasionally – or better yet, imagine slim fashion models trying to perform the dance to Danzig songs.

“Voguing to Danzig” essentially represents a ridiculous impossibility – I’ll leave it to you to decide whether this blog itself qualifies as the same.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Double-Aught-Five Shadow Ballot Time!


Cam’ron Purple Haze
Double Leopards A Hole Is True: Who'd have thought the simulated sound of being stuck in a blizzard could be so fascinating?
The Kills No Way
Calvin Johnson Before The Dream Faded...
limpbizkit Greatest Hitz
Nautical Almanac Cover the Earth
Sleater-Kinney The Woods: I never thought they'd make a whole album I could stomach. Oh, the wonders of uglified, rough-and-tumble production.
Mary Timony Ex Hex
White Rock Tarpit
Wooden Wand, Harem of the Sundrum & the Witness Figg


50 Cent/The Game “Love It Or Hate It”
Fiona Apple “Extraordinary Machine”/”Get Him Back”
Death Cab for Cutie “Soul Meets Body”: Yes, it's quite possible that I'm secretly a total wimp, but I'm starting to think about buying Plans. A catchy, wistful single is a catchy, wistful single is a catchy, wistful single, y'knowwhatI'msayin'?
Lightning Bolt “Bizarro Bike”
Jennifer Lopez “Get Right”
Juelz Santana “Oh Yes”
System of a Down “Hypnotize”
Rob Thomas “Lonely No More”
Kanye West “Touch the Sky”: It's basically "Encore II" but instead of Jay-Z exhorting the audience to demand moree, more, more, it's Kanye big-upping himself with newcomer Lupe Fiasco tagging along for the festive, horn-driven ride.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Baby Clothes

Alecia bought two baby outfits today, making impending fatherhood seem a little more real to me than it has. Soon, we'll have to start re-arranging the condo to prepare, and I'll need to get insurance paperwork from the HR department at my job...and the quest for name candidates will intensify. Late next month I'll be going along with Alecia to her doctor and I'll get to see "junior," as we call the baby, moving around in there...everyday the reality of this whole experience and change becomes stronger and it gets a little more exciting...and it's a little scary. I hope I can be a great dad, you know?

Now, back to the music...

Welcome, Doug!

He swore he wouldn't start a blog, claiming this particular pot already had too many damn cooks....but now my best (and only) friend from high school has, in fact, gone there.

No Kanye, No Credibility?

Even after voting for College Dropout in my top five records of 2004 -- and still diggin' on it months later -- I couldn't muster any excitement for Kanye West's hotly awaited sequel, which just swept Pazz & Jop and will likely rack up many more awards over the next few months. I didn't even hear Late Registration until late last year, when my mother gave me a copy for Christmas. Dropout's early singles were solid, addictive, great advertisements for copping the product when it dropped -- "All Falls Down," "Slow Jamz," "Through the Wire" -- but Registration's equivalents lacked that fresh, brash charm, or if they had it, it was starting to feel more like arrogance, whining, chipped shoulders no upper echelon of fame could ever fix. The non-stop, 24/7 barrage of press items about the dude didn't help any -- burn-out and overexposure were settling in. Speaking truth to power during a Red Cross telethon? Respect due, man, but would you take a year or two off from making your own records and shoving your conflicted/conscious personna down the world's collective throat? I mean, Registration sounds pretty damned incredible, production-wise, and yet I've had little desire to spend more than a few hours with it; I don't even think I've heard it all the way through yet. And I wonder this is because I can't escape Kanye West, what with him crucified on magazine covers and on the news and in the papers and discussed to death online and the singles cycled ad nauseum on MTV. Maybe it arrived a bit too soon -- if its impact might have been even bigger if it hadn't come out until, say, this month. Think I'm wrong? Really? Then consider that crits shafted Missy Elliott's latest this year in print and in the polls -- in part because they weren't given enough time to really miss her.

Comparing my P&J picks to the top 40 overall results, it's clear that I've drifted further than ever from the critical concensus. This is only depressing when I click on some of my more esoteric favorites and discover that out of nearly 750 voters I'm the only effing person who went ga-ga-ga for a Dead Machines CD or a Liz Phair song...while a majority creamed over Kanye for the second year in a row. If Kanye wins this thing three years in a row I don't know what I'll do.

Meanwhile, Robert Christgau takes on Eminem's career and puts a lot of things into perspective; no other epitaphs are needed.

Thursday, February 09, 2006


My '05 P&J ballot is here. Shadow ballot'll go up next week.

Texts Cheap for Balti Peeps

If you’re in Baltimore, or in the Baltimore area, or you’re planning a trip to Baltimore soon, or whatever, you are encouraged – strongly – to visit Daedalus Books, where overstock titles of the recent past can be had brand-spanking new (new Susan Sontag, old Umberto Eco, coffee table photo and art books, military histories, I could go on but my memory sucks and it’s been a few weeks) for, oftentimes, a fraction of the original price. Located at (or near) the intersection of York Road and Northern Parkway, this is a new Daedalus; one has been situated in the Columbia area for some time now. This should be of particular interest to those of you who are fans of Los Bros Hernandez’s Love & Rockets series but don’t have all of the individual issues or graphic novel collections, because, see, many of said collections are on sale.... for $4.98, down from the usual $17.95 price. You’ve got your orders – go!

Apologies for the update (daily and freelance alike) has been kicking my ass and I’ve neglected this space. I’ve decided to start treating the blog like a diary more than anything else, in part because I have no idea who my readership really is at this point or if I can actually be said to have one. But that lack of certainty hasn’t deterred millions of other bloggers worldwide, so why should I be any different?

In other news, I’ve just been made Assistant Music Editor at Static, a promotion that should lead, eventually, to some sort of salary, however meager. And the title and experience could come in handy someday. And one of my Pazz & Jopp comments was accepted, which is fabulous, a huge ego boost.

More soon, promise. You’ll wish me silent before you know it.