Friday, December 31, 2010

"NOW NATIVITY SCENES, MAKE ME NAUUUUUUUSEOUS..."

For reasons I''m still figuring out, I can't get enough of this song lately. Christmas-y!

YouTube: Atlas Sound, "Artificial Snow"

Friday, December 24, 2010

A little light-classic Christmas listening, for those of you who're in the mood right now: the Nutcracker Suite.

Happy holidays, everyone!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Thursday, December 09, 2010

SURREAL BEYOND WORDS

David Bowie and Bing Crosby. Singing "The Little Drummer Boy." Together. No, seriously. Click here.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Oh, And

It's official. I have a new job, and I start Monday.

I know I'm behind on correspondence with some of you! Bear with me.

The Dead-Tree Shuffle, 12/08/10 Edition

In the San Antonio Current, a review of the new Jazmine Sullivan album, which I highly recommend.

In the Baltimore City Paper, my contributions to the Top Ten Local Music and Top Ten Books lists appear in today's Top Ten 2010 issue. We contributing writers didn't get to be a part of Top Ten National Music this year; the editors took a more local, less-crit approach.

For whatever it's worth, the lists I submitted are below:

LOCAL (BALTIMORE) ALBUMS:


  1. Avey Tare, “Down There” (Paw Tracks) 18
  2. Matmos/So Percussion, "Treasure State" (Cantaloupe) 14
  3. Jonathan Badger, "Unsung Stories..." (MT6/High Horse) 12
  4. Matmos/Lesser/Wobbly, "Simultaneous Quodlibet" (Important) 11
  5. Dboi, "Paid In Full" (Varsity Entertainment) 10
  6. M.Bassett/J. Graf, "Peradam" (Utech) 9
  7. SPERMWHALES, "Bootlegs, Vol. I" (self-released) 8
  8. Duce Wayne, "Punchlines & Polos" (No Label) 7
  9. Solar Temple Suicides, “Sentinels of the Heliosphere” (Sleepy Records) 6
  10. Twig Harper & Daniel Higgs, "Clairaudience Fellowship" (Thrill Jockey) 5

BOOKS

1. Bret Easton Ellis, Imperial Bedroom (Knopf)
2. Gary Indiana, Andy Warhol and the Can That Sold The World (Basic Books)
3. Jaron Lanier, You Are Not A Gadget (Knopf)
4. Martha Nussbaum, Not For Profit: Why Democracy Needs The Humanities (Princeton University Press)
5. Ian Frazier, Travels In Siberia (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux)
6. Rafal Kochan, The Encyclopedia of Industrial Music, Volume 1 (Impulsy Stetoskopu)
7. Steven Amsterdam, Things We Didn't See Coming (Pantheon)
8. Miguel Syjuco, Ilustrado (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux)
9. Francis Wheen, Strange Days Indeed: The 1970s: The Golden Age of Paranoia (PublicAffairs)
10. Gary Shteyngart, Super Sad True Love Story (Random House)

Monday, December 06, 2010

The Imaginations, "Santa Send Me"

Xmas Calypso Classic! Click here.
Big, bold, Voguing to Danzig props to Nodin, who is no longer using diapers or pull-ups - it's underwear all the way, now! Welcome to the Big Boy leagues, son!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Or, more generally, that I might as well not exist.
Don't ask me to get into specifics, but right now I feel like I don't exist.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Atlas Sound, Bedroom Databanks 1 & 2

My post about these albums is up here.

There will be at least one more, probably next week.

Ke$ha/Minaj reviews are up

Ke$ha in the San Antonio Current, Nicki Minaj in Clevescene.

Working right now on a long, involved thing for the City Pages music blog on these new outta-nowhere Atlas Sound blog releases; will post a link here when that's done.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Jacko vs Lennon vs Brown*

Michael Jackson: Who’s the boogie man you’re thinking of?

John Lennon: The men from the press.

Bobby Brown: They say I’m nasty.

Lennon: It ain’t easy.

Brown: Spreading myself around.

Jackson: Everybody wanting a piece.

Brown: Talking all this stuff.

Lennon: They didn’t even give us a chance.

Jackson: Stalking.

Lennon: Eating chocolate cake in a bag.

Jackson: My obituary?

Lennon: Crucify me.

Brown: Why am I so real?

Jackson: Am I crazy?

Lennon: Two gurus in drag.

Jackson: On the screen.

Brown: Oh, no.

*Usually these mashups wind up on Splice Today, but this one's feeling too slight somehow, so I've posted it here.
It takes some clicking and scrolling to get there but I have an interview with Avey Tare of Animal Collective in the digital edition of the new issue of Cowbell Magazine. Click here to read it.

Monday, November 08, 2010

New 8tracks mixtape! Haven't done one of these in quite a while, was in the mood.

Click here for unwanted workaday-procrastination assistance.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Really, Wal-Mart? Piping X-mas jingles over the PA in the first week of November? C'mon - I haven't even gotten all of my Halloween decorations down yet!

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Lil Wayne to rap wherever possible while returning home from prison
Somehow, I didn't get around to seeing Mariah Carey's video for "Touch My Body" until today, and it was easily a thousand times more doofy than I ever could have imagined.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Friday, October 22, 2010

This Zoe Saldana piece I wrote that appeared on Splice Today earlier in the week is drawing an outsized, if not surprising, amount of notice, probably because dudes will be dudes.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

If you thought you caught this gem while watching primetime TV a couple days ago, no, your eyes weren't deceiving you.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Well Said, Keef

"It's can you hang, can you talk about this without any feeling of distance between you? Friendship is a diminishing of distance between people. That's what friendship is, and to me it's one of the most important things in the world." -Keith Richards, Life

I couldn't have put it better myself.
If any song sums up my mood right now, it's probably this one.

Nine Little-Known Facts About Waka Flocka Flame

Note: This ran in a slightly different form on Splice Today on Wednesday, but because the editors didn't use my second version, which I felt was slightly more amusing, I've decided to post it here.

1. Waka Flocka Flame’s rap cadence is classified as a lethal weapon in twenty-three states.

2. On Waka Flocka Flame’s tour-bus bookshelf: Travels in Siberia by Ian Frazier, Regarding the Pain of Others by Susan Sontag, The Birds of America by John James Audubon.

3. YG Hootie, Gudda Gudda, Popa Smurf, Bo Deal, and Slim Dunkin are among the slew of Waka Flocka Flame pals who guest on Flockaveli, the Georgia rapper’s 1017 Brick Squad/Warner Brothers/Asylum debut. Due to scheduling conflicts, microphone murder-row types like Soupy Fishscales, Joe the Plunger, and Flocka Khan were unable to participate, though Waka hopes to corral them “into the lab” for Flockaveli’s follow-up, tentatively titled Da Life of Flocki Gaines.

4. Among the many curiosities on display in Waka Flocka Flame’s Riverdale, Georgia penthouse is an elaborate, flamboyant headdress of indeterminate tribal origin, constructed entirely of dyed dodo feathers and coagulated human blood. The headdress - which Waka typically dons “when we doin’ shows, at the nail clinic, just wildin’” - was a present from conceptual feather artist Virgil M. Walker; the two became acquainted after Walker, under the misimpression that he was downloading a deconstructed amalgamation of Native American chants, found himself enthralled by the Lebron Flocka James mixtape. “Walker’s cool, he keeps it three-hundred,” Waka told ArtForum. “He bumps my shit, you know? He‘s down, he rides with Brick Squad, he’s devilishly pre-constitution with a certain post-ironic modernist/nativist sensibility.”

5. According to an interview with Gourmet magazine, “Fuck the Club Up” was inspired in part by outsized Food Network personality Guy Fieri. “Guy and I roll up in delis on the regular, just straight hungry, shermed out, on the prowl,” Waka explained. “And Guy likes to order club sandwiches, it’s just his thing, them club sandwiches. So the waiter or waitress be taking his order, a club sandwich, and then Guy smirks and waits a beat and he yells ‘FUCK THE CLUB UP!’ which in Guy-speak is code for ‘deep fry that bitch, pile some onions and chilis and tobasco and peppercorns up on that motherfucker,’ go out in left field, out in the boonies, make this some unforgettable Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives bullshit, feel me? Because Guy Fieri is not to be trifled with; Guy Fieri will cap a sucka sous chef.”

6. Waka Flocka Flame was born Juaquin Malphurs in Queens, New York; “Juaquin Malphurs” is an arguably more awesome rap name than “Waka Flocka Flame.”

7. As a personal rule, Waka Flocka Flame limits his consumption of alcohol to bird-related or -inspired spirits like Wild Turkey, Grey Goose, and Peruvian pisco, which he customarily sips from an amethyst-encrusted adamantium chalice - a condo-warming gift from fellow ornithology enthusiast Lil Jon.

8. While Waka Flocka Flame is contractually obligated to holler, blurt, or rhythmically pistol-whip his own stage name a minimum of fifteen times on each song he records, there’s some wiggle room available to him, some legalistic gray areas. Waka may, if he so desires, hit this ceiling by spitting his sobriquet whole, in pieces, or in a post-modern mad-lib style. A special clause stipulates that Warner Brothers executives will uncage three dozen mourning doves each time Waka refers to himself seventy times or more times in a single five-minute banger. Waka’s present self-referential personal best: a staggering fifty-five near-autistic shout outs.

9. Waka Flocka Flame is a licensed, accredited acupuncturist whose clients include Michael Stipe, Of Montreal’s Kevin Barnes, Dennis Rodman, and Birdie the Early Bird.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Seriously: on a literal level, it's crickets out here.
Bring on your rah-rah/rally cap pep talks: I need all the energy and encouragement you can muster to not totally give up at this point.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Rakkasan CD review from Baltimore City Paper. Normally wouldn't link it here but for some reason the webmaster didn't index this article in the regular way, the result being that if I don't link it here and forget about it, it's kind of lost forever.
Two possibly interesting items of note:


1) A Frostburg State University Center for Creative Writing Q&A with Doug Mowbray.

2) The official Crucial Sprawl press release.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Serious question: is this, like, National Anti-Bullying Week or something? Because I can't seem to escape television/online stories/editorials on the subject of students bullying other students. And if it is National Anti-Bullying Week - if such a thing exists - why isn't it the first or second week of September instead? Why wait until after the bullies have settled upon and into a routine of zeroing in on new marks, roughing them up, shoving them into lockers, shaking them down for lunch money, etc?

Friday, October 01, 2010

Are you a fan of atonal collapsing-star noise? Then grab yourself some gratis To Live & Shave In L.A. here.

GLENN DANZIG SHOPS FOR GROCERIES JUST LIKE YOU OR I


Thanks to Thom Hawkins.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

CRUCIAL SPRAWL HITS THE STREETS

YES.

As we were putting the final touches on Assembling the Lord, I began to wonder about the bounds of my ambitions. Excavating old prose and hammering out new verses felt, well, inspiring: after years away, I was a poet again. And as 2008 wound down, I resolved that 2009 would be devoted to another book of poetry. It’s title would be Stay Local, and therein I’d explore themes related - loosely and directly - to sustainability and entropy in my off-kilter lyrical voice, that boom-lowering sense in recent years of all things social and economic and personal drawing back for the sake of survival. Farmer’s markets over grocery chains, local bands over national pop heroes, etc. This felt like a capital idea, and one of the first poems I wrote for this collection is actually titled “Stay Local.” Then the downturn hit, and life soured, and the focus shifted further afield to fear, to dread, to discontent - and Stay Local became Crucial Sprawl, at first after the closing line of “The New Austerity” and later after a poem titled “Crucial Sprawl.” So consider this book a catalogue of apprehensions - everything falling apart without the benefits (usually) of rhyme - but be prepared for moments of tenderness and humor and wit, paeans to loved ones, cynical chortles, splashes of gruesome color. It’s the diary of an interesting year, one in which it seemed that I was perpetually on the verge of losing everything.


Go here to read some excerpts and/or buy a copy, if you're into that kinda thing.

NUTSHELLED: "Halcyon Digest"

Having graduated, by degrees, from conjuring seismic moods to writing proper songs, Halcyon Digest finds Deerhunter strip-mining new aural territory and tap-dancing along the fault line separating structure from abstraction. Opener “Earthquake” lowers a looping trio of sounds - a snare trill, a struck match, a tape-nose swipe - into a deep sonic chasm where legions of web-like guitars, seltzer-water sound effects, and dissolving vocals dominate. The persnickety synthesizer scaffolding erected early on in “He Would Have Laughed” loosens into a kaleidoscopic infinity, while there‘s just enough of a suggestion of melody in “Sailing” for the wispy, feather-light ode to not-so-lonely loneliness to register in memory. “Coronado” injects jaunty jangle-pop with saxophone honks - a surprisingly satisfying first for this Atlanta foursome. In this context, Digest’s more conventional fare - Beatles-esque mash-note-to-younger-self “Don’t Cry,” spectral, perpetually reverberating “Basement Scene” - feels, curiously, out of place. B



Recent Kanye, ranked.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Ha! I just realized what the splashing piano hooks in Kanye & Co's "Good Friday" are reminding me of: Biz Markie's immortal "Just a Friend."

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Get your hot Crucial Sprawl samples, here.

Dropping the first week of October.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

"I'm doing this job/project/reality show competition for my kids" = "I'm actually a total narcissist"
"We/they really like you as a person, but..." = "...you'd better be prepared to hustle your ass on the street for some time long, because we/they will not employ you"
Everything happens for a reason.



























Right?

Monday, September 20, 2010

God, why do you hate me? Why do you hate my family?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

To clarify: possibly.
Maybe.
So unless I was hallucinating I think I just had my first encounter with a Texas scorpion. Neeko and I were nearing the mid-point of our walk this morning, this sort of circular court that borders a distressed, semi-chic concrete wall, and beyond that there's a rolling hill, then a lake, and I happened to look down and see this crustacaen scuttling along like la-de-dah, and I stopped and looked at him, and he paused as though he was regarding me with some concern, and I tried to figure out what he was, and at first I thought maybe some kid had thrown his pet lobster outside, or maybe it was a crawfish, but very suddenly I realized what I was looking at and we got the fuck outta there.

Monday, September 13, 2010

THE MONDAY INTERVIEW: SEBASTIAN BLANCK

There’s a day-glo, cartoonish ennui to Sebastian Blanck’s photo-realistic art; the native Baltimorean’s images feel pastorally representational, removed from precepts of everyday  actuality, like random stills plucked from Richard Linklaker’s film Waking Life. In sharp contrast to the abrasive, confrontational hardcore Blanck made as an early member of Black Dice, solo debut Alibi Coast (Rare Book Room), packs a punch similar to his gallery-ready canvases: gauzy, soft-focus melodies, strings-section mists, laconic chord progressions, and verses where syllables are routinely stretched like bungee chords. The album - which owes stylistic debts to maudlin, 60s/70s navel-gazing troubadors like Gilbert O’Sullivan, Simon & Garfunkel, and Harry Chapin - starts off with lead single “I Blame Baltimore.” Over incisive acoustic strum and evocative auroral pianos, Blanck’s rich, quavering baritone sets a scene of estrangement that begs the question: what’s Baltimore got to do with it? So in a late July email interview, we asked him.


Voguing to Danzig: “I Blame Baltimore” seems to be one of those songs that references a place in the title but not in the lyrics in a direct way, so the connection has to be personal. What’s the song about? Why blame Baltimore?


Sebastian Blanck: I grew up in Baltimore, and I wanted to pay tribute to my hometown. I  think it’s amazing how much setting can inform a story. I like the baggage that naming a city can give to a song. Baltimore has so much character; it certainly had a huge effect on how I see the world. I guess that’s what I really blame Baltimore for.


VtD: Can you tell me about the “I Blame Baltimore” video? It kind of reminds me, in a way, of Smashing Pumpkins’ clip for “Rocket.“ The idea of climbing into a rocket ship and leaving Earth and everything you know and everyone you love behind is a heavy one, sort of the ultimate in loneliness - it really underlines that message that “Baltimore” seems to project: that separation really hurts. Who came up with the concept, and where was it shot?


SB: I’m a huge science fiction fan; so is Ben Syverson, who directed the video. Ben came up with the original concept, and we sorted out the story together. We liked the idea of making a video for a road song and really exaggerating the distance that was traveled. Ben did all the CG effects himself. I was thrilled about the idea of going to space - even if it is just for a couple of minutes. The final shot of my wife Isca walking as I parachute down was shot at our house in upstate New York. I imagine that floating through space and seeing Earth from above must be the most incredible thing that anyone has ever seen. It  probably is lonely, but I imagine it is a magnificent, peaceful, and magical type of loneliness.


VtD: From what I understand, you’re an accomplished visual artist; Alibi Coast is your debut album. How did this album come together, and what were you inspired by? What’s the significance of the title?


SB: I have been showing and selling paintings since 2001. After a few years I hit a crisis point in my work. I felt completely blocked and  unsure of what to work on. I started writing songs in my studio instead of trying to think of what to paint. I was introduced to Jorge Elbrecht, of the band Violens (link: http://www.myspace.com/violens), and we started recording some of my  songs at his place.

Then, in 2007, my brother Toby died in a drowning accident. Alibi Coast was written in reaction to his death and my son Hudson's birth that same year. It was a very confusing time. I would  be giggling with my wife and new born baby one minute, and we would  all be crying the next. I felt compelled to try and understand what happened to him by writing about it.

The circumstances of Toby's death were kept from my family and me, so it was a way to piece together some narrative of what happened. The album doesn't have a  clear story line, but through writing the songs, I was able to picture him in the last few months of his life. It’s nothing more than a declaration of love for him. Alibi Coast basically means that distance is the best cover.


VtD: The songs on this album are really gentle and tender; in a way, they feel like diary entries or fragile menagerie pieces - things to treasure and keep safe. How has it felt for you to perform these songs before audiences?


SB: Since many of these songs are about the death of my brother it can be very difficult to sing them at times. However, there is something wonderful about performing music and playing with a band that can transform words of sadness into something positive - especially when other people identify with it. It lets you know that you’re not alone.


VtD: You were in an early lineup of Black Dice; do you keep in touch with those guys? Have you heard their last couple of albums?


SB: I do keep in touch with all the members of Black Dice, past and present; I just saw the Dice play a show in Brooklyn about a week ago. It was amazing and very different from their last album (2009‘s Repo). I think the music is taking a surprising direction; there seemed to be a lot more emphasis on singing which I thought was great. Hisham Bharoocha, who is now writes and performs as Soft Circle (link: http://www.myspace.com/softcircle), actually plays drums on my track "Answers"; I was trying to finish off the drum part and thought it would be fun to hang out. It was the first recording we worked on together in 10 or 11 years.


VtD: Are the Rare Book Room Records offices actually full of rare books?


SB: Rare Book Room's offices are filled with records and CDs. The RBR studio does have tons of old books and magazines in it; I think [producer/label head] Nicolas [Vernhes] was a philosophy major in college. I always end up looking at old issues of MOJO magazine when I’m there.


Alibi Coast is out now on Rare Book Room Records.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

THE THURSDAY INTERVIEW: BEN CHASNY OF RANGDA



Voguing to Danzig: How and when did Rangda come to be?

Ben Chasny: We all have played shows with each other so it just seemed natural. We all liked each other's music.


VtD: The back cover of the CD case for False Flag has a very vintage look; it reminds me of classic concert LP covers. Is packaging, the way a recording looks, significant to you in terms of presenting yourselves to the world?

BC: We used that picture because it was the only one we had of us together, really. The whole thing came together pretty fast.


VtD: Tell me about how you decided on the cover art for the album, by Steve Quenell. It’s got a sort of brutal, visceral vibe to it that matches the music’s intensity and volatility - sort of a bouquet of Venus fly traps crossed with the “I’ll never be hungry again” scene from Gone With The Wind.
 
BC: That is actually a picture of a bug that is buried upside down in the ground with the legs sticking out of the ground. Steve has doen many covers for Six Organs so we thought he'd be the man for the job. As to why eh decided to use a bug buried in the ground, who knows. Maybe it was a play on the black flag roach killing spray? I never asked him!


VtD: As a name, “Rangda” carries a lot of mythical weight and power. What led you to chose it as the name of your band?

BC: Every other band name we came up with was used, like Led Zep, Avengers, etc.


VtD: Improvisation played a large part in the creation of False Flag. In a live setting, are you playing the songs you’ve written, or do you make time for off-the-cuff jams?
  
BC: We don't have any songs that are pure free improv. Everything is written to a certain degree, though some songs are much more structured. Some are more open to improv, but mostly they all have they're structure.


VtD: What is a “false flag”?

BC: It's a covert operations deal.


VtD: Each of you have very strong, very distinct musical personalities. To me, Rangda’s material is at its strongest when there’s a bit of a clash, a bit of chaffing; I’m thinking, specifically, of “Fist Family.” What were the rehearsals and conceptual sessions for False Flag like?

BC: Everyone sort of had their own songs and ideas and we all just worked on it all together. Fist Family was conceived of by Chris and we just went right into it. I think that one was a pretty smooth writing process. I don't know; the band has really gotten together pretty well, and we all like each other's ideas.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Happy fourth birthday, Nodin Ray Cummings! Our house looks "like Spongebob Squarepants puked all over it," in Alecia's words, but it's totally worth it.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Finally! Some promising interviews. Some potential. A chance that maybe we won't go broke deep in the heart of Texas.

NUTSHELLED: "Things We Didn't See Coming"

Sort of a Y2K-era Invisible Man, at least in the sense that the protagonist is continually reinvented (and repeatedly baptized by metaphorical napalm) while remaining essentially - at his well-meaning core - the same person. The author's gambit is revisionist future-fic - turns out the Y2K bug was real, after all - and he sends his narrator out into the unforgiving, ravaged United States, checking on his progress every few years. (Readers of James Howard Kunstler's World Made By Hand who wished Kunstler had shed some light on the fate of Robert Earl's absent, gone-to-make-his-way-in-a-fallen-world son may find some satisfaction here.) Every glimpse manages to be more harrowing than the last was. First he's a nine-year old, fleeing the city for the country on New Year's Eve, 1999. Then he's a teenaged thief, then a government employee tasked with clearing civilians from flood-zones, later a serially bamboozled cuckold, later a licensed embezzler.  (To say more would spoil things.) Amsterdam has a deft lightness of touch that prevents Things from straying into The Road/Mad Max morbidity, even though in some ways this book is a more horrific because the narrator allows himself a belief in the greater good and in the potential goodness of others. For all the ecological wreckage, relentless disease, and infrastructural rot on damning offer here, the lack of humanity is what lingers in memory; our hero almost would have been better off as the last man standing. Haunting. A+

Monday, August 30, 2010

NUTSHELLED: "How It Ended"


How It Ended was borrowed from the library on a whim. Just what I needed, turns out: finely crafted vistas into/guided travelogues through the prep life/habitat, circa the early 80s to now, or yesterday, anyway. In the intro Jay discusses the differences between studying under Tobias Wolff and Raymond Carver; their examples rubbed off, as these short-stories are well-rounded, sharp, memorable. A surprise? Sure. Bright Lights, Big City remains a revelation, but Model Behavior missed the mark by several miles and in the blinding light cast by pal Bret Easton Ellis' Glamorama around the same time it registered as dim, as McInerney fast-food as McInerney lite. But the dude is a monster short-story writer, the kind of scribe Robert Bingham aspired to be before he checked out, chucked it all away. But that's another story. A
Oh, how the memory corrodes, how it distorts, how it deceives. When I think back to our arrival at this house - almost two months ago, now - the lane seems narrower, more densely bucolic, almost suffocatingly so. Why? Why did I experience it that way? Perhaps it was the intense, sweltering heat - the sensation of being one of a group of ants being fried on a sidewalk by a hateful, malevolent preteen wielding a magnifying glass.

IF YOU ONLY FOLLOW ONE LINK POSTED ON THIS BLOG THIS YEAR MAKE IT THIS ONE

http://www.splicetoday.com/consume/nutrigrain-you-re-kind-of-freakin-me-out

It may have the effect of making you feel uncommonly good to be alive. NUTRI-GRAIN 4EVA!

Friday, August 27, 2010

If you were a recruiter for a software company, and you left someone a voicemail after that person applied for an open position you'd posted online, and that person had called you back numerous times - let's say a dozen-plus times - wouldn't it occur to you that the courteous, professional thing to do would be to return the favor, to contact the candidate to actually have a conversation about the job? I ask this because at present I'm being given the run-around in this way for a second time by the same technical services company, and I'm wondering, are people actually hired to work there?

OBSERVATIONS, AUSTIN-AREA EDITION

Is distance frisbee a competitive sport in Texas or something? It seems like everywhere I go around here where there's a park or a wide-open space, there's at least one bearded dude in a headband with a shoulder bag full of frisbees, just flinging the things out into the ether or at some far off day-glo colored receptacle.  I mean, it looks like they're having fun, but still, new to me.

You'd assume that everyone in Texas wears Stetsons and 12-gallon hats and speaks with a pronounced regional twang, wouldn't you? But you'd be wrong.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

You know, I already wanted to see Life During Wartime reflexively - I'm a longtime Todd Solondz geek - but this incisive J. Hoberman review of the film nails home that I absolutely have to see it. Dynamite piece.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Sorry for all the woe-is-me bullshit today. It's just that the enormity of how fucked I am is really sinking in. My credentials, it seems, are mostly meaningless. But tomorrow is another day, right? Surely someone's hearing my prayers, somewhere.

Thanks to Al Shipley - who, to my surprise, was in a Delaware emo band and as such as more in common with me than I ever could have imagined - for zeroing in on the Boy Sets Fire song I couldn't put my finger on.

The song is titled "Vehicle."


"Thanks and good luck in your job search" - "Dang, someone drew a big 'L' on your forehead in magik marker, you should probably scrub that off"
If an application arrives and no-one reviews it, was it even sent in the first place?
Worse: when every refresh of the Indeed.com pages for your area/specialty yields a bunch of jobs you've already applied for, but no-one bothered to tell you that you weren't good enough after you initially applied. It's like asking an unattainable beauty to prom only to have her say "Let me think about it," but then you see her at prom with another dude and she never bothered to say she just wasn't that into you.

Oh my god, I need to get away from this computer.
Not to be a solipsist - I know it isn't all about me, by any stretch of the imagination - but the contrasts here are really glaring, in that Round Rock is this very new, very clean, very fresh, very expensive area with lots to see and do, it's very expensive, you can smell the money, and then we're living here and we barely have anything. There are so many jobs. And yet securing one is ridiculously difficult unless you're a programmer or you're cool with making peanuts.
Fuck me. Bret Michaels? Really? See, according to a Google search, Bret Michaels is the number one trending topic online right now. Seriously. Bret Michaels. I mean, I've been pretty out of the loop for most of 2010, but other than winning Celebrity Apprentice and almost dying and putting out a shitty single with Miley Cyrus, what has Bret Michaels done that warrants him being one of the most talked about people - nay, the most talked about person, according to the site I clicked - on Earth? I refuse to believe that 13-year old girls are Twittering incessantly about Bret fucking Michaels when they could be Twittering about Justin Bieber or any number of post-Disney Channel fame-aspirants. Bret Michaels! Bret Michaels? Bret Michaels. 

The mind boggles.
The absolute worst thing about long-term unemployment is the sense of negation, the sense that one has ceased to exist, that every cover letter and resume you send isn't being read by anyone. Paradoxically, the rejection letters and emails only serve to compound this sense of alienation, of inhumanity. What was that lyric from that hardcore punk song we used to play over and over in college? "I am no-one/I am nothing." I think maybe the band was Boy Sets Fire. Whatever happened to those guys?
A "screw unemployment" mini-mixtape I cobbled together is up over on the Houston Press music blog.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Wanna download an mp3 of me reading some poems from my forthcoming book? Cop it here, at the very top of the page.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

A mass apology for not returning emails, falling out of touch, etc. Not ignoring anybody - just simultaneously attempting to find a job and pull together as much freelance as possible to take care of various bills. Tough state, this one is.

I'm gonna have a lot of stuff appearing on Splice Today in the coming weeks, so keep an eye on this link.

Hope everyone's well. Spectacular, even! No, thriving! For, surely, these are the prime years of our not-so-young-anymore lives.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

NUTSHELLED: "CRANK 2 - HIGH VOLTAGE"

Just total trash. Swirl. Junk. A comic-book gone haywire, a live-action cartoon-qua-video-game, Grand Theft Auto on crack. No, worse. I mean, you know Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez probably throw their mansions open for private screenings of shit like this. If you thought the first Crank was over-the-top, this raises - or lowers, I guess - the bar considerably, with gallons of fake blood,  reams of blanks fired, a dozen ethnic and minority groups exploited for fun, dumb title gags and mis-en-scene smirks, a firefight in a strip club where a dancer's implants gush silicone, gross-outs galore, gratuitous T&A shots, a chrome-domed guero who looks like a lot like Jason Stratham shocking himself in ways too painful to think about because if he doesn't, he's toast. Again. Or something. Somehow less soulless than Smokin' Aces, though this won't top the resumes of anyone involved. Dwight Yoakam: "Will Doc Mills have to slap a bitch?" The republic is doomed. D

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Monday, August 16, 2010

Lindsay Lohan is in rehab, murmuring "Lindsay Lohan is is rehab" to herself, because she's looking down at a floating legend, in a rose olde english script, that reads "Lindsay Lohan is is rehab"; no-one else can see it. Lindsay Lohan is in rehab, singing Amy Winehouse's "Rehab" to herself, unconsciously, without irony; she sounds like Daphne Zuniga in Spaceballs, when Daphne Zuniga is imprisoned, intoning "Nobody Knows The Trouble I've Seen" in a deep, rich Paul Robeson-like bass voice. When primping, Lindsay Lohan addresses her mirror reflection as "Lindsay Lohan" in a detached, neutral way, perhaps because she no longer thinks of herself as a person with a distinct subjective sense of reality, but as a media-dependant hologram, a reactionary harpie, a phantasm, a commentary, a concept. Lindsay Lohan has built a smoldering bonfire of cocaine-encrusted hundreds on the cot in her room at the rehabilitation center; over it, she roasts s'mores that she refuses to share with anyone else.
Well-played, Texas, well-played. You've designed your driver's license registration process to be needlessly complicated and confusing and staff your poorly-organized, alternately Gulag- or tomb-like facilities sparsely in a Macheavellian effort to drive consumer traffic online, thus cutting overhead, carbon footprint, and the number of people you need to employ. A tip 'o' the ten-gallon hat to you, Texas.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

NUTSHELLED: "Ilustrado"

Ilustrado starts off like an exploded drawing of The Neal Pollack Anthology of American Literature with a severe Filipino streak - a mentee investigative biography of his acclaimed/distained  Third Worlder-in-NYC-exile mentor, piecemealed together in the wake of the mentor's mysterious demise, dripping with eye-rolling snark, laced with "revealing" bits from the mentor's novels, autobiographies, poems, and interviews, horseplay with narrative devices - but very, very gradually reveals itself to be something drastically different, even if the undercurrents of loss, of hard choices made, of tainted love are very much universal and heartstring plucking no matter how much postmodern trickery the author hurls at us. (The mentor doth protest too much the "magical realism" tag his detractors have applied to him.) One of many takeaways: hilariously, young Filipino men and women familiar with hip-hop culture refer to one another as "fligga." If you're familiar with Che Guevara's biography - or that of any number of internationally hailed freedom fighters - you'll laugh to yourself; if you're also a fledgling novelist, you'll wish you'd written it first. Oh wait, you're not from the Phillipines? Fligga, please. B+
Oh, snap.

I just had the most promising exchange with a job recruiter; I'm in the running for a great local position, and the employers "loved" my resume and experience. I have good feelings about this, and the pall of dread that's been over me for weeks and weeks now almost feels like it's going to life.

Keep your fingers crossed, send your good vibes, pray.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

My first pair of CD reviews for PASTE - of Wavves' King of the Beach and Kathryn Calder's Are You My Mother? - appear in the magazine's August issue. Or you could read 'em here.

Monday, August 09, 2010

NUTSHELLED: "THE INFORMANT!"

"Is this another one of your movies about nothing?" That's what Alecia used to ask me, at the beginning of our relationship, whenever I wanted to see or rent a film, because there was a good stretch there where I craved oddness or misathropy in cinema to exclusion of all things conventional. Todd Solondz, One-Hour Photo, Magnolia, Being John Malkovich - you get the idea. Don't get me wrong: I'm as stoked as any trash fiend for Machete and salivate over Frat Pack fare, but I'll still be lobbying for the Exit Through The Gift Shop DVD as a Christmas present this year. I guess the point is that 10 years ago, I'd have forced myself to finish watching The Informant! even though it's basically unwatchable; I'd have somehow convinced myself that there was something funny and worthwhile about an unlikeable Matt Damon in 1992 upper-management scum drag smirking through a plot that isn't a plot. I don't know if we made it halfway through, and I can't remember what was or wasn't happening at whatever point we checked out. Like a bargain-basement Fargo. And I liked Fargo! So resoundingly terrible - the book it's based on must be a suicide aid - that I'm not even gonna conclude this capsule review with a rhetorical question. You don't mind, do you? F
"Mommy like" = "I'm going to annoy the living fuck out of you just by being myself"

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Looks like I'm not the only person who Googles himself and the things he writes.

(Thanks for the compliment, Geeta!)

I don't know if the world is ready to watch Brian Eno voguing to anything!

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Friday, August 06, 2010

I know better days lie ahead - and all things considered, today was a pretty good day. (Not in the Ice Cube sense of that phrase, either. I mean, I don't even own an AK.)

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Another Green World
Geeta Dayal
(Continuum Books)

Another Green World is an exceedingly difficult album to wrap one’s head around, to get a solid grasp on. By turns archaic, abstruse, experimental, and gregariously accessible in the way that children’s nursery rhymes are, Brian Eno’s celebrated 1975 masterpiece seems simultaneously of-a-piece and jigsaw. As a college undergrad cutting his teeth on a steady diet of second-wave Cali-punk, out, IDM, Krautrock, and indie-rock, World made absolutely no sense to me. It conflicted wildly with the ideas I had at that time about what goals music should seek to achieve, and how it should seek to achieve them. On the advice of a classmate who thought he was Lou Reed, I bought a copy, listened a couple times, and unceremoniously sold the thing off. Nearly a decade would pass before I was really ready to reckon with Eno, from a more enlightened vantage point, to recognize the value of the man’s many and sundry compositional approaches. (Did it help that, in the interim, I’d acquired a Weather Report album? Probably.)

In her 33 1/3 series book about the record, author Geeta Dayal is less interested in World’s actual content, impact, or meaning than in the paths and circumstances that led him to record it in the way he did. Eno -- who has garnered more acclaim over the decades for his abilities as a producer than as a solo artist -- recruited pop and avant garde heavies like Robert Fripp, John Cale, and Phil Collins, challenged them to work in unusual ways, recorded them, and manipulated the results into something refreshingly, familiarly alien. There next to no songs written prior to the sessions; the album was written on the fly. Eno, Dayal writes, “has a knack for identifying and assembling the right mix of people to serve a larger vision, and the ability to coax unexpected performances out of these collaborators. He approaches music the way a director might approach a soundtrack--as a means of establishing a mood, a sense of time and place.” World’s synthesis owes a great debt to the Oblique Strategies cards Eno had a hand in devising, and outgrowth of creative techniques he learned as an Ipswich Art College student: think of them as cryptic, wildly interpretative “affirmation” cards for use in encouraging studio spontaneity, unleashing a bit of chaos into the songwriting process. Percy Jones’ ponderously funky “Sky Saw” bass line, for example, was born when Eno, frantically tapping a single piano key, instructed the bassist to improvise based on the rhythm of the tapping. Dayal’s book ultimately winds up being less a World tell-all than a portrait of an artist at a particular point in his career, stuffed with enough carefully chosen quotes and reportage to show that she spend a long time sorting out how to approach her subject -- something she alludes to in her introduction. World is compared and contrasted with Lou Reed’s Metal Machine Music. Eno’s Discreet Music is dissected. At moments, it feels as though the author is talking around the recording at hand, but the realization that that might be what she’s doing feels huge when one considers how strangely easy and a priori Another Green World is: it resists and repels analysis, seducing us with its lushly dark-yet-illuminated swathes of looped tones and infrequent, mediated vocals. You feel it much more than you could possibly think it through. -Ray Cummings
On the upside, Alecia has a really great job that starts soon! Go, Alecia!
If you're reading this: any advice you can offer on a) how I can find writing/editing work, b) web sites for contract/perm blog jobs that pay a living wage, or c) any non-pyramid scheme money-making ventures that aren't illegal or totally immoral are greatly appreciated.

It's not that no-one's calling me to talk about jobs I've applied for - I've heard from three recruiters in the month I've been in Austin - it's that everytime I get a call it turns out that my work experience is somehow deficient, and that the employer is unwilling to take on an employee lacking a very rigidly-defined skill set. Which is, of course, just great.

NUTSHELLED: "COUPLES RETREAT"

I remember being all ready to hate Wild Hogs when it came out, and then it was a few notches above half-decent and because of this the experience of paying to see fading sit-com/marquee stars astride crotch-rockets was weirdly satisfying. Couples Retreat is basically Wild Hogs on an island that "looks like a screensaver" minus motorcycles, plus spouses; it's funnier than The Breakup but not as funny as Wild Hogs and nowhere as funny as Dodgeball. Neat cameos; everyone learns life lessons, everybody goes home happier than they were upon arrival. (Didn't see Swingers. Looking forward to The Switch, though I know better.) A future where Vince Vaughn makes comedies that consist of little more than him in belligerent-mode having small-ball semantic arguments is a future I can get behind - as long as they're less formulaic than this one. "Asstastic" is  kind of the ultimate home-security system safe word, isn't it? C+

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

NUTSHELLED: "The Tale of the Unknown Island"

"It's not the destination, it's the journey," as so many are wont to opine. What if, actually, it's neither destination or journey? What the idea of the journey itself was enough, let alone the certainty of any destination? Would you still feel shortchanged, stiffed, intellectually fucked over? B+

Monday, August 02, 2010

NUTSHELLED: "TWILIGHT - NEW MOON"

Edward Cullan as Dylan McKay, Bella Swan as Kelly Taylor, Jacob Black as Brandon Walsh, if you fall into my age demographic and just can't be bothered with werewolves or vampires or mopetastic indie-rock soundtrack tie-ins or, you know, Alaska. Your loss. I liked how the first movie in the series seemed to realize how ridiculous and far-fetched it was even as it poker-faced its way though the intensities of eternal love, and something about that incredulity really endeared it to me; now one gets the sense that the stakes are too high for that kind of meta-play. Still: bitten, smitten, and I get why this series is a trending topic. I'm on Edward's team, I voted for Obama, just leave me alone, will ya? B+
Are you there, world? It's me, Ray.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

BEHOLD: THE FINAL FRONTIER OF CONSUMER CREDIT



No, really.

We encountered some soda machines with credit card machines like the one pictured above at an outlet mall here in Round Rock. Is this what we've come to? What, nobody has $2-$3 cash to shell out for pop?
"Sike" = "Sike, kinda"

Thursday, July 29, 2010

NUTSHELLED: "EDGE OF DARKNESS"

Whatever the sound editor on this picture was paid, it was too much; to get a grasp of what's happening with regard to the corporate conspiracy at the heart of the script, you'll need to strain your ears or crank the volume. This murkiness extends to the visual ambience, which takes the title literally; darkness encroaches on every scene without mercy, even the ones shot in lit offices or in parks or on the edges of mountain roads. Anyway, this could have been worse. Mel Gibson chews on his Boston cop accent. He mopes. He fucks bad guys up. He has conversations with his dead daughter. He's haggard more than he's charming, but it fits the milleu and the aura of doom. One gets the sense that many snarky similarities could be drawn between the plot and his present circumstances; let's leave that to TMZ, shall we? B

NUTSHELLED: "Cop Out"

If there's a God - or any justice - Seann William Scott's sociopathic, parkour-proficient burglar will score his own Get Him To The Greek-esque franchise spin-off; he's the only reason to watch this movie, let alone talk about it. (He's got maybe 20-30 minutes of screentime. You kind of don't need to bother with the rest.) Otherwise, Tracy Morgan overhams for his paycheck, while Bruce Willis doesn't even bothering phoning his performance in; Jason Lee is wasted in a supporting role as Ashton Kutcher, I guess. I was totally ready for the other detective team to be on the take, ala Shaft; the actual bad guys were totally dimensionless Mexican drug thugs outta Central Casting. Why did anyone think this homage to 80s buddy-cop flicks was a good idea? D+
"To apply for this position, you are directed to the employer's web site" = "Like it or not, this is the first of several dozen times that this employer will casually, knowingly jerk you around"

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

NUTSHELLED: "WHEN IN ROME"

Josh Duhamel makes that mock-clueless Josh Duhamel face the ladies so love. Kristen Bell tries out every I-wanna-be-Kelly-Ripa humor in her playbook. Jon Heder appears as the title dork of Napoleon Dynamite doing Garth Brooks doing Chris Gaines/Criss Angel, or something, and Pedro4Preseident is there to videotape it in a gag so obvious that maybe it isn't a gag. Or something. In Rome! Cameos galore. I was entertained enough, you know? B

Monday, July 26, 2010

"It's not about the money" = "It's totally about the money"
"Our new online system allows job applicants to log on using a username and password to check the status of their applications at any time" = "Fuck all y'all"
"We're all adults here"/"Act like an adult" = "I hereby give myself license to act like an asshole in mixed company"

Saturday, July 24, 2010

I believe I've officially passed the point of no return: I will apply for any Austin-area job even tangentially related to my skill set.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Go ahead - try to convince me that bidding out projects where someone, with a straight face, offers $1 per article for the editing, writing, or re-writing of 35-60 articles about whatever doesn't, like, redefine slavery or slave-labor. Bring me around to your way of thinking and lead me into the promised land where people are able to realistically survive and thrive on these kind of inhumane freelance wages. Seriously? Really?

POST-SCRIPT: Out of desperation, I signed up with oDesk. You should, too, if you want to get a sense of how low in devalued human mental labor is in mid-2010.

LINDSAY LOHAN

Lindsay Lohan is idling in prison idling is Lindsay Lohan idyllic? Lindsay Lohan models an orange prison jumpsuit? Lindsay Lohan jumps over a spider.

Lindsay Lohan closes her eyes and imagines popping flashbulbs, screaming reporters, an unforgiving judge, but in actuality, she becoming someone else's bitch.

Lindsay Lohan is listening to Javelin's "Lindsay Brohan" on an iPod someone smuggled in.

Lindsay Lohan is carving a Desert Eagle out of a bar of Irish Spring soap.

Lindsay Lohan is snorting a line of laundry detergent off of the toned abs of a leering inmate who will never again be a free woman.

Lindsay Lohan is cleaning up at poker in the mess hall.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

ON "CHILD OF GOD"

 
So I'm about halfway through the ponderously and peculiarly titled Child of God, which - owing to its pervy, necrophilic kink and loosely-plotted structure - probably isn't going to be made into a major motion picture ala The Road or No Country for Old Men anytime in the immediate future. (But, you know, a Blood Meridian flick is in production as I type this, which is all kinds of insane. Whoever green-lit that project couldn't have read through the book, which is so mesmerizingly disturbing. that I'm unable to find a punchy phrase that accurately captures its noisomeness. But back to Child of God's own special brand of perversity: Billy Bob Thorton would make a perfect Lester Ballard, right? I mean, can't you picture him wandering through forests and shooting wolves and generally acting like a belligerent hillbilly?)

One of the things I love about Cormac McCarthy - and this is something that doesn't come up much in reviews of his books, that I've seen, anyway - is how deftly he traces cracks and fissures at the fringes of American life in whatever era he's addressing, how everything's withering away to nothing, to anarchy and rot. There's just a sense of inescapable hopelessness that inhabits ever sentence and manifests itself here in the neverending series of abandoned shacks and rundown houses Ballard claims as his own as he grifts his way through rural Tennessee, making enemies and alienating people.

I wonder if this tendency is McCarthy being prescient - if, on some level, these various books are mean to serve as warnings thatt sooner or later, as we sink deeper into the ongoing Long Emergency/Nobodies apocalypse, we're all going to be living the way his various narrators wind up living: dispossessed, on the run, only legends in their own minds.

Monday, July 19, 2010

YOUR ATTENTION, PLEASE

If you receive an email everytime I post something here and want to keep receiving them - i.e., if you are reading this in an email - and want to keep getting said emails, please let me know. If I don't get a response, I'll assume you're not feelin' it, and I'll take you off the list. Thanks.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Presto: makeover!

Now I just need to find the time to actually blog in an interesting way. And I need to maybe put up a link list. And I need a job.

Recently in pint-sized Clevescene CD Reviews

Drake phoned it in, The-Dream went short on plot and long on atmospherics, Plies was hilarious when he wasn't settling for conventional. I want to believe.

And Yeah

...this blog needs a makeover.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

"I'm in Round Rock, Trick" doesn't have quite the same ring to it as "I'm in Austin, Trick," does it?

Friday, June 11, 2010

Qatar, Vancouver, Round Rock? Is this the summer'o'leaps of faith, or what?

AL SHIPLEY DOESN'T DESERVE TOUGH BREAKS...

...but he does deserve to write about tough breaks. Shipley's a Baltimore City Paper colleague of mine and a pal - though I haven't met him yet, isn't modern life weird? - who's writing an in-depth book about Baltimore Club Music titled (yup) Tough Breaks. But he needs your assistance to make it happen; go here to get the full scoop. Help the brother out: he's a fantastic writer, good people, and he hooked me up with a review blurb for my first poetry book.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Monday, May 03, 2010

1STQ2010 TRACKS

Asher Roth "Muddy Swim Trunks"
Back to the Future the Ride “Sitting Under the Pyramid of Silence”
Burning Star Core "Inside the Shadow (with metals)"
The Bundles “Pirates Declare War”
Charlie Clips "Intermission"
Cock Safari “Fuck Off”
The-Dream "Love King"
Freeway & Jake One "She Makes Me Feel Alright"
Hole "Skinny Little Bitch"
Juelz Santana feat. Yelawolf "Mixing Up The Medicine"
No Age “Live at the Red Cat”
Surfer Blood "Twin Peaks"
Vampire Weekend "Cousins"

Sunday, April 25, 2010

1STQ2010 ALBUMS

Ascites Caput Medusae‏ [Deadline]
Autechre Oversteps [Warp]
Jonathan Badger Unsung Stories from Lilly’s Days as a Solar Astronaut [Hot House/MT6]
Burning Star Core Papercuts Theater [No Quarter]
Clipd Beaks To Realize [Lovepump United]
Eluvium Similes (Temporary Residence, Ltd)
Robert A.A. Lowe & Rose Lazar Eclipses [Thrill Jockey[]
Jae Millz The Flood [No Label]
The Octagon Warm Love and Cool Dreams Forever [Serious Business]
Pink Saliva Hardcore: La Brique [Bug Incision]
Jack Rose Luck In The Valley [Thrill Jockey]
The Secret History The World That Never Was [Le Grand Magistery]
Skullflower Strange Keys To Untune Gods‘ Firmament [Neurot]
Spoon Transference [Merge]
Whistletips Pronounced Ly-nard Sky-nard [MT6]

Honorable Mentions: Newagehillbilly, Beach House, Charlie Clips, Superions, Vampire Weekend, the other Jae Millz mixtape, Slavescene, et al.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

I've said it before, and I'll say it a dozen more times: I loathe packing.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Saturday, March 20, 2010

In other news, I interviewed Fred Schneider from the B-52s this week over the phone. You know what's weird about interviewing musicians who seem to be kind of insane and over-the-top as performers? They're almost never that intense and full-bore in conversation. But still, Fred Schneider. Woah.
Memo to trolls: just because you hate doesn't mean I'm legally obligated to read anything you have to say.
Fucking trolls.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Wow, it's beautiful out today! Anyway, long time. Did pieces on The Bundles and Toro Y Moi for Orlando Weekly. Can't stop listening to this song. And of course I do stuff every week here and at a few of the other links to your right there. Plus, hey, did I mention how fucking Spring-y and sunny it is here? Nice.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

If you haven't bothered to listen to Speak Onion up til this point, maybe I can show you the error of your ways.

Monday, February 08, 2010

For a quick-hit-yet-comprehensive guide to noise-rock online, you oughta be following my pal Marc Masters' reconstituted Noiseweek, reborn now as a Twitter feed.
This HC punk send-up at a wedding thing was easily the highlight of last week's SNL.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

This week: Neil Michael Hagerty in a car commercial. Talking shit about Gary Coleman. A healthcare tie in thing that sucked. Plus the last Friday Night Noise, with Richard Ramirexz, Merzbow, and Kylie Minoise.

Friday, January 22, 2010

In case you were wondering - and you probably weren't - Friday Night Noise has bit the proverbial dust. In other news, I did this thing about Burning Star Core. And this here, about a new M.I.A. song. And this kinda-rambling thing about the slow demise of CDs that inspired some anonymous Internet asshole to yawn. I made intentionally wrong-headed guesses about Simon Cowell's American Idol replacement. (Do you have, like, any idea about how happy I am that I don't have to write about that show this season? Seriously. Now I can watch it if I wanna or just forget about it for a few weeks, if I want. Which is what's gonna happen, because, you know, The Olympics, right? Right. Oh, yeah - I did this thing about the forthcoming Pavement best-of. What else to say? Still alive.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Beginning this week - the one that's ending now - I'm a "national music" blogger for City Pages. Not a full-time thing, no, but something new and interesting. And consistent, which is a meaningful word these days in reference to freelance writing. Anyway, I did this thing about Avatar. And this other thing about Shani Davis. And this sort of miserablist rundown of songs.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

I’m not dead

Not literally, anyway. But I’ve been a bit of a phantom, and will probably continue to be a phantom, because - drum roll - I can’t do online stuff at work anymore. Riot act has been read. So if I don’t reply to something you sent me right away or post on your blog or pop up on message boards (probably won't in the ILM singles/albums polls for 2009) for a while, there’s a reason why. I barely have time to catch my breath at this point. I barely have time to write, and a lot of times when I do, the amount of stress (self-induced and otherwise) is almost creatively crippling.

A lot of you know that I’ve prayed more lately than I ever have before in my life, and those of you who didn’t know that know why I would pray this hard. (For any number of reasons, I'm not going to come out and say what I mean. You can read between the lines, Hey, I just bought a new issue of Paste the other day!) I’m itching for a new, improved paradigm that results in happiness for me and my family, where there’s time and energy and resources for all of us to actually enjoy our lives. Life is too short to spend ridiculous amounts of time doing stuff that I have no passion for; I've already blown too many years that way.

So here’s to fingers crossed, to prayers offered, to a paradigm that’s way, way better than the one I’m trapped in now - which, with every passing day, feels more like a prison camp than real life. Bear with me.

Monday, January 04, 2010


This SNL Digital Short is kind of what 2009 felt like for me, except that that this SNL Digital Short is funny.

This just struck me like thunder today - seems like a motto/slogan for my 2010

"We could nick a boat
And sail off, to this island
We could bring your little ghetto-blaster
THERE'S MORE TO LIFE THAN THIS"
-Bjork, “There’s More To Life Than This”