Friday, June 30, 2006

hey! wait! i got a new complaint
I awoke this morning with a stupid radio song in my head, the devolution of my fragile sanity continues. Crazy was not played, it is ironically what keeps me sane. Wow thats just so unique.

Sometimes I read some things that I wirte and I'm so thoroughly disgusted with them that I'm about to end it all but instead I always write about disgust and the depths of depression. I need to get a new Vlad Wormwood.

I do a stupid thing when I drive to work every day. When I was small my brother and I would hold our breath as we passed a cemetary because if you didn't employ this precautionary measure a ghost could slip inside your mouth and possess you. Well I still hold my breath passing the cemetary and so far no possession so...sweet. I think this is the summer of the ghost. You know it is.

The kind of forced vitriol of the last post is over...I like the new Christina Aguilera single. Why can't they play that on the radio? Maybe its even a little too funky for the innocuous pap they call "light rock". Who likes rock music and would be satisfied with a category like "light rock"? Probably me some day. Probably me on the days that I'm not wearing my ideology on my sleeve (literally, peep my inverted flag jacket I stole from Benno) and listening to the likes of Jens Lekman or Mason Jennings or Norah Jones. Haha that last one's a joke I don't actually sometimes play that old Norah Jones single when I'm feeling particularly tender... And I love Matthew Sweet and let's be frank, that's kind of light rock. BUT Richard Lloyd played with Sweet and no one's callin out his kickass cred. Oh baby, no one cares.

I watched Superman. Its entertaining but long. Also I have a problem with how Super the man is. He is able to lift and fly with literally any obstacle and I feel this limits the type of adversity he encounters or limits the inventiveness of his triumphs. The recent spat of super-hero cinema has kind of spoiled me to expect well crafted fluff of the highest merit. I think Batman and Spiderman do this and in this crowd Superman looks a tad careless. That being said its cool. Get high, go see it.

Monday, June 26, 2006

I have recently begun to work again. I feel that not working is preferrable and I hope to get back to that soon. I like to read and be at the beach and talk to people who do not feel the bizarre, professional obligation to not speak as equals. But the real problem with working is I have to listen to the radio. Here is my counter point to the romanticized memory of the radio. Do you remember rock 'n' roll radio? Of course you don't! If you do you probably just have a bad memory and have conveniently forgotten that radio sucks. I did.
I think that daily I hear Sugar Ray. That's right, most probably don't know what I'm talking about because most people have conveniently forgotten Sugar Ray, that flash in the pan, California suckstravaganza. Better than Ezra they are not. For some reason Sugar Ray reminds me of Jake Berube, who I think had the CD and cultivated something of a Mark McGrath (Jesus, that was right there...i didn't think for a second...what a waste) look in high school.
OK, that's cathartic but really kind of easy and petty and stupid.
My distinctions here are so slight and require such precise categorization. Better than Ezra and the Toadies are a little funny but pretty much sweet. Sugar Ray is suck made manifest. Is it dangerous to stray too far from the polished grunge of the mid 90s? (polished grunge is a good sub-category i think...see STP...or what about polish grunge? how did poland fare through the 1990s?) I'm being vague about this but I know that popular music started to suck more in the 1998-2000 range. What if it is directly related to nostalgia? What if my suspicion is more than warranted because my entire relationship to music has been entwined with other aspects of my existence? What if I have never been able to objectively and fairly experience any piece of art in my LIFE? (for those who didnt catch that I just labeled Better than Ezra and Sugar Ray "art"...any comments?)
But what I'm thinking is maybe things in my life started to suck more and I associate that popular music with less cool times. Nothing really earth shattering happened in 7th grade, though I did begin to seriously get into punk rock.
Oh hey, here's something! At the end of 6th grade I get an album called Nevermind the Bollocks Here's the Sex Pistols because I see footage of them spitting on and assaulting a Texas crowd in a PBS special on the history of rock 'n'roll. How nerdy that I dig punk rock via PBS. I guess this things gonna take another turn into silly nostalgia, oh well. I realized radio sucked when I got wise to punk and its still apparent or lingering mistrust of the mainstream. Its funny that this album worked this way for me decades after its creation. I knew really nothing of the circumstances surrounding the album's release (something I know a lot about now after seeing the really cool documentary The Filth and the Fury, which I highly reccomend) or the effect of the punk movement but it still managed to point out how stupid radio rock was. Simply because it was ballsy, angry rock. Probably for the same reasons that Nevermind (Nirvana) made me want to play guitar Bollocks got me back to what was important about this music.
OK, I'm making very general, unoriginal statements here but they hold somewhat true. I had come dangerously close to getting into some very corporate schlock (imagine if I actually followed STP...ah well I'm taking cheap shots again, and knowing my taste I'll probably get really into STP someday) but then I was reminded or redirected by self-righteous nihilism, with GUITAR!
Of course at the same time I was listening to Help! and A Hard Day's Night. Around the same time I got Bollocks I got a collection of old Beatles singles because it had I'm Down, which is most excellent and if you like it you should see the Shea stadium performance of it because it crackles, damn crackles! Its easy to invoke the punk ethos in my relationship to rock because it is a philosophy I'm most comfotable with. Jamming econo is not just a means of production or writing or touring or making a point, its a damn way of life. I didn't say that, D. Boon did. There's a really long and profound essay on the minutemen that I will someday have to write because I think that they encapsulate so much of this aspect of rock music to me and how important it is to me and how it has come to effect all of my life and how it was this way for a long time and it took the minutemen to articulate these things and how its grows on me all the time and is always more relevant and beautiful. Serious as a heart attack. But I can't get into it now. Or I won't, I've got far more trivial shit to parse out.
What I was trying to get at with the Beatles (and they're a bad example because no one who likes music dislikes the Beatles) is that the punk thing only holds so far. The raw power factor is important but I am known to rock me some Todd Rundgren. Also Steely Dan, and here's another essay I think. I am a dead serious Steely Dan fan and I have sometimes taken some serious heat for this position. Also I need to write a piece in staunch defense of the hardest rocking act in contemporary music; the Mars Volta. What I should really do is just write a badass epic song called "Fuck off haters: or why Steely Dan and the Mars Volta are seriously sweet." This would include a bridge section about how much of a disgrace Coldplay is. I imagine myself playing some old-school synthisizers with a motown backing band and Greg Saunier on drums. I have a guit-piece slung around my back for the proper time. I play a sleazy, jazzy light rock about adolescent girls, prescription drugs, and mysterious vagabonds in strangely alternating signatures. This leads to some funky strumming along with a horn section and then the rhythm section drops out as I hold a distorted single note. Saunier begins to bash and skitter all over the kit as I shred through layers of delay. An audience of haters is silent and ashamed. Another audience is going fucking nuts. What the hell was I writing about?
Am I too punk for popular music or am I too...Donald Fagen for it? Either way I'm totally above it. Either way I'm totally bored by the radio. Which is also a lie. The radio makes me appreciate the 3 Gnarls Barkley minutes of my day. These are probably the best 3 minutes of my workday. This is nice because the random generation means I'll not be quite ready for that stutter intro that transports me from the bartley's kitchen into a groovey dance session in that same world where I can shred a la Omar Rodriguez-Lopez. Not to lose sight of the fact that the random generation is not really random because the same songs (about) are played every day (i.e. Sugar Ray and were coming back around).
Also the radio lowers expectations. Not to diminish my love of "Crazy" (I hope the radio hasn't done that, actually I know it can't do that I just got done saying how it does the opposite...i need to have SOME continuity) but after listening to enough non-descript, adult-contemporary slop anything recognizable becomes enjoyable. I was actually psyched when Hotel California came on one day. HOTEL CALIFORNIA!
On the other hand settling for homogenized slop is very American and maybe this could become my ticket to patriotism and eventual sell-out republicanism. Maybe. I was talking to a waitress yesterday about Aerosmith and I neglected to mention that I think they suck balls. See I need human interaction and to come on total snob right out of the gate does not win friends nor influence uncles. But goddamn it I felt really bad for awhile. Because Aerosmith sucks, and it was that song about falling asleep and dreaming and hokey schlocky doopadoo I love my girl...blaaaaaaaaaah. That needs to be called out, its like betraying some part of me and it hurt my psyche. When I die this small event will play out in the assessment of my life and I will be cosmically shamed. Also the time Sanborn and I passed on tickets to see Joe Strummer will be revisited. Now I feel genuinely shitty.

I think I need my taste and my opinions however bizarre or inconsistant. I think that I need them to enjoy anything. I don't think that I can divorce myself completely from outside influence in my appreciation of anything and maybe someday I will and maybe by admitting this I am copping out for the time being and making things easier its what I believe. I think.
The radio station is giving away tickets to see Nickelback. More than I feel the need to go off on another corporate manufacted suckfest (I hear a lot these days so my energy is thinning in this pursuit...Bon Jovi, Coldplay, John Mayer...) I am surprised that there is an audience for a Nickelback show. How clear is the cookie-cutter songwriting when you hear a number of Nickelback jams in a row? Then I start to feel kind of sorry for these guys in Nickelback because they must be one of the most hated bunch of goons there is. Or rather the most disrespected/taken least seriously. But they are clearly making money so fuck 'em.
I finally heard Fallout Boy the other day and my assessment of them based on t-shirts and the people wearing those shirts proved pretty much adequate. I am a shallow and arrogant jerk and I'm right the fuck on 9 times out of 10. Yeah.
Imagine my dismay to find that artist James Blunt with single "high" is not carrying on in the rich tradition of Cypress Hill. Actually he deals in sacchirine inanities. Go figure. Rock is dead. Long live rock.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

I guess in this thing's inception I was a little dishonest; this will be primarily an outlet for my musings on rock music as it is by far my biggest preoccupation.

I recently compiled a series of 3 mixed CDs. Two focused on music I have been currently or recently listening to alot. (the newest Ghostface Killah album is totally boss, no?) They basically focused on the end of my school year. It is funny how much of my life has been broken up arbitrarily into semesters in and breaks from school. My music, my thoughts, the essence of my self... What am I gonna do now?
The third mixed CD is the one I'm worried about though. I put together a radio mixtape. The inspiration was the old cassette tapes I used to tape songs off the radio with. Sitting in my room through countless hours of WCYY programming to apprehend the singles of the moment. I taped Big Bang Baby by the stone temple pilots before the album was out. I consider this a prototype for stealing singles off the interenet. I have no idea what it was b/w, but does that matter? The tape had it accompanied by People of the Sun and I think Bullet with Butterfly Wings. Needless to say all of these jams made it to the mix. So essentially this is a mix of songs I was rocking in the 6-7 grades (sounds exciting, no?). I think this represents a last hurrah of the fertile 1990s. As we moved into the new millenium the glory of alternative music experienced a fizzlefuck of epic proportions and I stopped listening to the radio. I guess it took the ascendence of Limp Bizkit and the Dave Matthews Band for me to see the fickle and manipulative nature of FM. But for awhile there it was nice.
I feel a kind of kinship to people who taped music off the radio at some point. Part of me thinks either everyone did this (the technology was not exclusive) or everyone says they did because it has become "cool." If the latter is true, fuck the pretenders and thank god its cool because I was for a short time a pretty fanatical devotee, and I wanna be cool. (Also I want 6th grade Vlad to be cool. And he was, he was in a band called Stanley and the Steamboats and one time played God Save the Queen which he sang...) If I missed STP on the first play it was sure to reappear during the top 5 at 5pm. And for the record fuck STP, but Big Bang Baby still gets me a little buzz.
Its funny that this music represents the glory of 90s alternative to me because this is cretainly the tail end of something that for awhile showed promise of altering the record industry. None of these are the hard working, always touring post-punk heroes of the 1980s underground. These bands merely reaped the spoils of the extensive groundwork laid by the likes of the minutemen, sonic youth, dinosaur jr. (see I've learned some stuff since 6th grade). Is that so bad? I now understand how a lot of this worked and I still like to listen to Nirvana and Smashing Pumpkins and I consider it a boon to popular music that they were able to cash into major label distribution as a result of the post-punk underground's buying power. Am I wrong, have I missed something, do these ends not justify the lack of recognition some of these geniuses were afforded in their own time? Would the underground really be satisfied with a major label breakthrough for one of their own? Who's more fickle FM or scenesters? I'm rambling...I'm missing whatever vague mark I laid out for this. I think its a funny proclivity of mine to align myself with the hip, or prove my extensive relationship with marginal popular music and then turn around and give the finger to anyone else in my situation. But you gotta, otherwise you become too entwined in one or the other thing and lose sight of what's important and real. At least I don't pull this shit on my friends, or if I do its only cause they were gonna do it to me.

So my timing is once again a problem to me and my honest enjoyment needs to be cut with some heavy, hipster shit to get high anymore. Some people, I am told, simply listen to what sounds good and leave it at that. I try, I really do. Hence I get beyond some of my erstwhile snootiness and put When I come Around on the mixed CD. This caused some controversy. Controversy here meaning my brother came into the room as I played this tune and mockingly made the metal hand sign saying "Green Day, sweet!" His emphasis was not excitement but ridicule. In the past I would totally agree with this assessment. Even in the heyday of radio mixed tapes I kinda thought Green Day sucked. (though aforementioned band of that era would also jam on one of the songs from Insomniac...I think it was Brain Stew) Perhaps it is just another side effect of what should prove to be my eventual total mellowing that I pretty much dig this song now. This thought indicates another worry; my burgeoning nostalgia. I don't really feel comfortable with any type of nostalgia. I suspect any feelings of this kind but for rock 'n' roll. And too bad for my mind too because this is probably the worst type. It is established and silly to those not caught up in its destructive air-guitar solo. For anyone who cares about rock and how important it can be rock nostalgia should be thoroughly examined as it will no doubt cheapen the really good shit and mis-direct the discourse. Simply because a song transports me gleefully into another period of listening does not make it good. Some things should really get forgotten. I'm basically calling out my downloading and continual enjoying of Better than Ezra and the Toadies now. To progress, to move forward should I do something radical? Its time for me to fucking burn What's the Story Morning Glory and just get on with life. Yeah, Don't Look Back in Anger is totally excellent and the drum fill after the guitar solo will always hit with that satisfying surprise that I'm totally expecting but so what? Weird. There will always be new songs that could have this effect right?
NO Because the nostalgia is such a part of this experience of the song. Oh fuck then is the song really all that good or am I just happy to have known it so long? Is there some type of objective gauge for rocking or is it just what you come to understand and appreciate? I thought Kid A sucked when I first heard it but I came to love it and no one calls me out on that. (I always liked National Anthem though) Of course Edie Davis lent me Kid A and I wanted to like it because I liked her so I gave it a lot more effort.
In this sense I am progressing by getting to a better spot with Green Day. I gain nothing by rocking this tune except my nostalgic good vibrations. I'm turning the stereo way up and rewinding the tape to before the d-bag disc jocky started talking at the end of the last track. I'm kind of stupid and kind of whiny but so's the singer. Don't try to slag me down, I know you're right

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Are you scared of your attraction to body types? Am I? Well scared is not quite fair. Disappointed or maybe bordering on ashamed.

Let me try to look back with my new, but still limited perspective on my life through schooling. I am a far more mellow human being. In my youth I feel I defined so much of my personality with vague hatred. This encompassed peers, authority figures, institutions, and my limited knowledge of the world around me. Now these things rarely excite angry passion and I have to say I sometimes miss it. It occurs to me in brief recollections: a song that transports me, a bit of old news, a name I have nearly forgotten. However naive I was I was certainly idealistic, right? I said I hated people pretending they were old and yet there are certain phony nostalgias that, as you can see, I buy. Maybe I should stay unemployed, burn my credit card, and learn to build bombs. I wonder if the FBI will ever start reading my blog... I wonder if anyone will ever read this. I'm not too concerned. Writing to myself if theraputic and this way I convince myself its a somewhat more serious endeavor. Of course I also called it masturbation so its all debateable.
I used to get mad at my school, teachers that taught me weren't cool. What if it is getting better? I have also cultivated some vague mistrust of anything pleasant. Maybe this is the essence of maturity; trading indignation for paranoia. Everyone's out to get me and I couldn't care less. That's right, that's nice
I mean I care, I care a lot. But I also think that there's nothing I can do. Okay so also apathy has matured into a right sedentary beast. Being angry only makes the individual feel bad and so maximizing personal good is worthwhile. I know this isn't true of everyone but on a personal basis I was just very duplicitous and phony and in terms of those awful institutions I walked around Washington D.C. once, once in Georgia. I don't think that activism (and I use the term broadly, calling someone on their bullshit is active and maybe just as effective as marching with a sign) has no place, I just began to view it as insular. The people we want to change don't pay attention because we don't really want to talk to them anyway. I should say I don't, its not right to speak for anyone else. Again this can be applied to governments and douchebags you might work with and shit you hear at parties. I'm starting to think its all the same. I just don't get invited to the same parties as Don Rumsfeld. Let's hope when I do I've the balls to tell him he sucks.

What's wrong with my east coast upbringing?
camera phones got me shuttering
gotta shut down these bad machines

A funny way of viewing Nicaraguan political conflict is in terms of western pop culture. The Clash made an album called Sandinista! and the NES had a game called Contra. The leftists got an inconsistant double rock album. The right-wing paramilitaries got a videogame.

Puns are not the lowest form of humor. They are like the rock opera of jokes. In both cases if done well the result can be outstanding but unfortunately they both seem to encourage misguided attempts.

In the albums of my lifetime subject I'm antagonizing over whether to add Stephen Malkmus' eponymous debut or Face the Truth. I know that putting more Malkmus may be excessive but I feel that something from the solo career must be included. It is brilliant, and also illustrious. I fear I may have put wowee zowee on as a compromise to avoid the real issue of the solo career. (I sort of fear that I agree with the popular concensus and really should have put Crooked Rain Crooked Rain, but my logic is that wowee zowee has the pop-hooks and production values of CRCR with some more of the slanted and enchanted attitude/sprawl, also it has AT&T) I have certainly taken some heat for it but I feel I am more of a solo Malkmus fan than a Pavement fan. This is certainly not to say that I do not enjoy me some Pavement. Its funny, I feel really defensive about this type of statement because I worry that I'm a less authentic fan. Its always a safe bet to like an artist's old stuff. Part of it is I got into Pavement by way of Jenny & the Ess-Dog and so in that respect I'm entirely authentic in my preference. Balls to those who would presume to know the proper chronolgy of importance by way of birthright. When does that switch? When does it go from "oh I saw them after Slanted and Enchanted" to "You shoulda been there for Tull at the Garden?"
Right now I'm leaning towards Face the Truth, but it is more recent and more in my consciousness. Kindling for the Master is my favorite song of the minute. In other up to the minute updates there's Sir Duke by Stevie Wonder and Sleep the Clock Around by Belle & Sebast. And the Coup.
Clearly I'm in a pickle somebody help me i think my vlad's gone crazy

I might be going crazy or maybe I just think its romantic to lose one's mind.
some thoughts Regarding rock 'n' roll:
I thought I had created a helpful definition category for a brand of rock music that I call "sleaze rock." It seems people have been using this term already, and even on the internets. Wikipedia uses Guns N Roses as a prime example. Here's where I may be able to weigh in. I feel, personally, that GNR teeters far too close to the edge of suck-rock and certainly corporate rock to really help illustrate the true sleaze factor.
I was led to believe I was onto something after some serious consumption of T-Rex, specifically Electric Warrior. The album is not across the board sleazy but when they get into a sleaze-groove it is positively exemplary. Lou Reed and Iggy Pop seem to have aided the creation of this category not only musically but in their presentation of their art and themselves.
Arguably there are sleazy aspects to rock from its uncertain inception but I feel that some time in the early 70s rock began to embrace its sleaze. This awareness I think makes the sleaze something valid, authentic and almost beautiful. Of course it never really wishes to be beauty in the standard conception but rather the beauty of torn dresses and faces a mess, or pretty faces going to hell as the face may be.
Maybe the sleaziest rock song is "Stray Cat Blues", or at least it can be pointed to as a prototype for the genre. But here I am relying on lyrical content and Marc Bolan rarely treads in this territory. The sound is the same type of slow-burn, dirty-simple, guitar heavy strut but the imagery is pretty removed from the predatory swagger of Mick. Well the ideas are not entirely worked out.

For discussion sake I will begin a list of top rock albums. I have given this some thought and really wish to represent a variety of sounds I'm into. I will begtin with the albums of my own lifetime, because its really important for us to all be working out what our generation's rock legacy might be.

In Utero - Nirvana
Relationship of Command - At the Drive In
XO - Elliott Smith
Yankee Hotel Foxtrot - Wilco
I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One - Yo La Tengo
Blood Sugar Sex Magik - Red Hot Chili Peppers
Elephant - the White Stripes
Fever to Tell - Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Today's Empires, Tomorrow's Ashes - Propagandhi
Stankonia - Outkast (alright maybe just our time's popular music)
so also
Black on Both Sides - Mos Def
Evil Empire - Rage Against the Machine
Funeral - the Arcade Fire
13 Songs - Fugazi (a little early but I'll count it)
Wowee Zowee - Pavement
Ok Computer - Radiohead
Keep it Like a Secret - Built to Spill

I think the list is incomplete and looking at it now, pretty conservative. It is a start. Its strangely so important to me to begin quantifying all my experience. I realized that I've been paying close attention to popular music for over a decade now. I feel a little old at times like this but I generally hate when people say things like this. Everybody is so anxious to start feeling old. Its just that one loses track of a decade in its passing if not for marking it In Utero to Is This It to the Runners Four. Looking at my life this way it does seem like a long time but thankfully it also seems fleeting and transient and provides a possible glimpse of the vast inconsequence of existence. ROCK n ROLL!
I guess I'm done for now.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Hi there! I know what you're thinking: "Vlad, if you are going take the time to make a blog why don't you just put a video of yourself masturbating on the internet?" Maybe you are right to think so, though vulgar. It may say as much and that way people could see my dick which might be more interesting/entertaining. Even those who call themselves my friends are probably more interetsted in what my dick looks like than anything I may relate in text. Also I could make a video which featured me using the internet to obtain pornographic materials and then pleasuring myself in a po-mo, self-aware, meta-jerk-off.

(HEY! the overuse of hyphens has been called indulgent to the point of masturbatory)

But no, not yet anyway. All I really have anymore is my dignity and hence I will only show my dick to a select few and any schoolbuses passing my house. Besides I know what you're thinking. Or rather I know what I'm thinking, and now I'ma tell y'all. Also I have no job and have been reading other people's blogs. I do a lot of writing to myself anyway, now you can see!
I promise to herein report on in great detail:
books I have recently read
movies I have recently seen
substances I have recently consumed or hope to one day consume
theories and philosophies I don't understand
and all things pop-culture, especially celebrity hook-ups/break-ups
Not that anyone will be paying much attention but I think I should also relate some things that I've never told anyone about to maybe entice one or two bored readers. I plan to start a series very soon about near-religious experiences I've had over the course of my life. Also I got really drunk the other night and I will provide an itemized breakdown of what I had and how I used it. Its an exciting time to be alive.