Thursday, July 20, 2006

were gonna play some funk so loud, were gonna rock n roll the crowd
the coup rocked space gallery of portland, maine pretty damn hard july19. for those of you not fortunate enough to be up in the spot, let me tell you about the awesome time i had!
lets begin with openers. three white folks rapping and a dj that looked like nick lewia, hows that for openers? i feel i should not indulge too much in ridiculing this part of the show and actually there are some cool things about a hip-hop scene in portland. i suppose. there were at least 2 songs herein that were kind of catchy and entertaining but the lyrical payoff of the most prominant mc, kenmore, was pretty solid cornball. i wonder if i'm just too close-minded but i feel a twinge of transitive embarassment when a white man raps about struggles in africa. or directs audience attention to problems in "iraq, afganhistan, africa...everywhere!"
there were two female rappers who guested in the opening set and they both demonstarted a stricter adherence to rhythm than ken. and i'm pro girl-rap if only to see where it goes. i dont mean this in a condescending way, its only that i am wont to generalize in matters of popular culture. what i mean to say, and ladies listen up, is that female rap seems to be a sort of fallow ground. i know i may be ignorant and should be called on my shit. also i know that this attitude relativizes the talent of females by placing them in the novel category. what a cute rapper your girlfriend is mr. kenmore!
gender issues are cool to me. i try to be aware of my attitudes. whats funny is that i think i'm sort of overcompensating sometimes. or rather that my appreciation of female artists is a little disingenuous as it stems from a latent desire to prove that i'm a thoroughly modern and thoughtful guy. this is not to slag chicks in rock/rap but only to slag vw who unconsciously thinks he's pretty rad for listening to joni mitchell. but, on the other hand, joni mitchell is pretty rad. just trying to keep producer and receptor totally seperate. and i'm cool with recieving. is this getting weird? this gets weird, can i turn pro? probably not. there's really no hope for true understanding between genders. there is no hope for humanity. AHHHHHHHHHH
actually its mostly cool, if anything there's no hope for me
sleep easy
back to the pg, thats program...
back to peg, and it will come back to you
so the opener was killing time and kind of not rocking my face. this is to be expected and, in my experience, a lame opener is good for a show. when i saw deerhoof we (audience, including 7 good friends of know who you is babies) watched some kind of lame animations (made by a LADY) and then a whack troupe of modern dancer-poets ( poetesses i guesses) and it was so decidedly un-rocknroll that when the 'hoof set up and launched i was out my damn mind with antici...pation-fueled bliss. oh wait i done lied. some of my friends had the foresight to skip the opening acts in favor of beer and food at apartment housing. that may be foresight but i like to think i had a better overall experience being made to wait around and slog through such drivel to become so burning yearning ready to have my face melted that when it happened (and it HAP-P-ENED) i damn near creamed my jeans. also i like to think i enjoy things more than even my friends as a rule, cause i'm kind of a douchebag. that was not true of the time i saw stephen malkmus, when i think we all had pretty much the best-boss time.
so then after giving props to space and portland and a lot of mcs (in the final song) kenmore and dj dr. no (not dr. know and thus the cause of some disappointment) peaced. then we waited. we bought some beers and chatted amicably. i was accompanied by my brother and dave, we met phil and ran into a friend adam who graduated khs. we discussed openers and made fun of the recent nickelback/hoobastank show that no one attended (none of us that is, that show did sell out...though wasn't it really sold out from its inception...) dave suggested that fans of suck-rock should be called "hoobabacks" fans of suck rock are a perpetual amusment to me. seriously, who actively seeks out this type of schlock? dont they feel like they're limiting themselves? i can't think that someone who listens to this derivative, industry-polished bullshit wouldn't rather just crank some zeppelin. of course they probably do. so knowing that a heavy rock group is capable of blister-bashing through communication breakdown and funking up with the crunge why would you listen to the same acoustic verse, electric chorus, gritty whine/strident whine formula of nickelback? maybe there are some real genre exercises on the deep cuts of this band's albums. (funny that copping genre exercises elevates a band to greatness in my rock-geek, not funny, sad, pathetic...psh whatevs whos gonna argue with my wild belief that nickelback sucks and led zeppelin rocked) this being the case i often settle. knowing that the beatles made records why would i listen to the raspberries (this question was actually posed by a good friend and so i use it) but suck is, i think, on a sliding scale and raspberries are not to beatles like nickelback is to zeppelin. in fact i dont hear much zepp in nickelback i just use the example beacuse what hard rock is not zepp influenced? similarly appreciation and imitation is sliding and situational. when the raspberries cop some beatles-y vibes its more homage than biting because the tunes are sweet. beatles is not the best example but the most notable. i say this because the beatles style that the raspberries imitate is early beatles which is itself pretty derivative. oh wait, is all popular music indebted to the past? wow still the beatles had, i think, a pretty big effect on the pop landscape so lets assume that the raspberries had some beatles records and listened to them.
also lets talk about the damn coup.
then the band took the stage to tune up. yes a band comprised of guit, bass, and drums which put to rest some discussion of how the coup would rock in the live setting. i assumed pam the funkstress would handle the beats by way of turntablism, dave envisioned a straight up boots lecture. i think the band made the right decision in coming along. i'm almost certain of it.
now it gets hard to do this justice. this points out that i'm a poor writer. condescending, snarky prattle? good to go! conveying a genuine feeling of music-high elation? i'm stuck. of course you really just had to damn be there. as if the long waiting, packedtomax, sweatyrestless crowd really needed any further amping a stout man ran onstage to scream "from OAKLAND CALIFORNIA...THE COUP!" guess how we reacted... the surprisingly slight boots riley ran onstage as the band began pounding a heavy reading of "everythang" now you try to get even a crowd of portland hippies and hipsters to sit still as boots shouts "everybody get the shit started, this is your muthafuckin party!"
naturally this begs the question of whos party it actually was/is. its hard to imagine that boots wrote these lyrics for this type of crowd. we were into it and he was into it though so whats my problem? i wonder if i wonder/worry too much about authenticity in ones reception/appreciation of music. let it be well known that during the show i was not for a hot second worried but rather jumping up and down, grinning like an idiot and shouting with boots "stop flyin old glory man cut it down, if ya job aint payin right shut it down!" and i dont fly old glory and i quit my job so at least in these respects boots and i are kind of right on. i'm not going to stop listening to hip-hop and i'll go to see the coup again if i get the chance but its important to me to be consciouss of the fact that the band were the only black people in the space. in a lot of ways that totally cool, mostly i feel this way. howevs, i wonder about the amount of culture-envy that draws me to hip-hop and especially militant leftist shit. just something to think about.
next they played "we are the ones" and here's where i was totally sold on the band. the record employs a heavy, synth bass riff but from a band it was rolling over the audience, trouncing our brains into a punch-drunk funkiness. or something to that effect. maybe its less subtle also but the band really beat it up on the chorus and this type of ham-fisted dynamic will indeed get a crowd worked up. i was worked up. so why do so few hip-hop albums employ a live drummer? maybe there's a fear of treading into the very sketchy terriroty of rap-rock. this show boldly strode into this land and with middle fingers extended to haters and limp bizkit fans alike.
on "i just wanna lay around all day in bed with you" the band also gets props for extending this rap-ballad into a guit-shredding jam. perhaps it was the earlier misunderstanding or the substantial dread-locks but the guitarist seemed a head of the class pupil of the dr. know school of rocking a guit-piece. he could adeptly augment bass and vocals with funky strumming, punky riffing, or get the shit started with balls-out screaming metal solos, fret-tapping and string-biting included.
there was one slight disappointment to the set. after the superb encore "ghetto manifesto" (set to the hook from so fresh, so clean) boots did a song for his daughter. this in and of itself is cool and i'm sure if i had a child i would give them props but why is it that songs about children are always so sappy? (one dispicably hopes that eric clapton's son is crying when eric gets to heaven at having been so fucking lamely eulogized) i would also call out beautiful boy but lennon's sentimental hokiness actually gets me a little choked up, so i'm a heartless bastard but there are routes to some sort of heart within me. boots took verse time to remind his daughter to brush her teeth after every meal, which is not only a dumb thing to rap about but a pretty unreasonable expectation. who brushes after lunch? and dont get me started of the merits of shouting out to dentistry. and please dont get started on me for using the phrase dont get me was only a matter of time, i'm writing a blog damn it.
also let me just say how much i really appreciated being at a show where people would really get into the music. maybe i've hung around with too many crowds of bostonian scenesters who feel the idiotic need to stand around all hipper than thou like they can't think of one thing more pedestrian than moving (more on assholes later in this post). basically everbody dancing in the moonlight is what i consider a fine and natural sight.

i got a radio installed in the van recently! so i listen to a lot more radio music in maine. i heard gorillaz on the alternative station and it struck me as funny that the alternative kids kind of need their hip-hop cut with damon albarn. isn't there enough new hip hop that could be considered "alternative" and thus flossed on said station? is it neccessary that a sweet/high/white voice be included to make this style palattable? but, on the other hand, would it be just too homogenizing if there weren't some genre rules for radio to play by? (when will a station be created out of my music collection exclusively, and then through a super-computer calculate fresh new jams for me to get into?) what does this say about a band like gorillaz? what are they doing to our culturally defined categories? is it responsible? are they aware of the fuzzy ground they are maddeningly all over? and yet they are far from the first. beastie boys will always be "alternative" friendly. is white rap (or white-endorsed rap) alternative by nature of its questionable authenticity? why should it get multiple station props? is this deserved? am i making too much of this? asking too many questions?

oh, guess who needs to shut the fuck up? (president?jon bon jovi?sanborn?vw?) its pitchforkmedia, again. these snotty brats cant wait for another mars volta album to rock right out so they can sigh, comb their collective hair and reassure the public how pedestrian it is to play guitar on rock records. of course the new song on myspace is no l'via or roulette dares but, as is the custom of omar rodriguez-lopez with respect to a guit-piece, it rocks with a studied abandon. it brings some funky layers of guitar, spanish spitting, obtuse english short all you really need to get right down. and for those who cant get around, let alone into some ambience on a rock record (i admit some sections of de-loused are excessive) this one limits it to a brief interlude of choppy noise bookended by almost (almost) cheesy shredding. c'mon pitchfork, you bunch of pussies, this is the most focused attack the volta has employed since tremulant! great viscera eyes! long live the mars volta!

so i'll be peacing out to colorado for a piece, probably not too much bloggery for a piece...who cares?!

Saturday, July 08, 2006

here comes my face, its plain bizarre
i was driving home from work and almost rear-ended a car because i was barely paying attention to the world around me which is a sort of distressing common occurance whilst driving. this potential inconvenience was averted entirely due to my damage control. i was worried that i'd get a finger thrown my way and i'm of a pretty fragile disposition so this type of thing really ruins me. however, the other driver was totally unaware, JUST LIKE I HAD BEEN.
isn't this weird? isn't it kind of cool? how many things do you think we completely miss on the road? i barely missed a moose earlier this summer, in fact i hit one moose with the rear-view mirror of the car i was in! thats an extreme case of what might have been (i might not have been) cars are funny and so are cars.

i got the record nilsson schmilsson; it is most excellent. if you haven't peeped this, PEEP IT i mean it, now! its so choice. really just wall to wall sweetness. it does have that song coconut, and also jump into the fire. harry covers that song "without you" which i think is badfinger's originally. its one of my favorite tunes...evs.
in this respect it is like "i heard it through the grapevine" (sadly not on the nilsson record) which i think cannot be poorly covered. or rather (as i'm sure someone is up to the task of butchering even grapevine...bon jovi's together again...nickelback and hoobastank are touring which has got to be the funniest tour title of this summer...maybe ever...nickelstank? hoobaback? ha) i've really enjoyed all the versions i've heard. of course marvin gaye is probably the best, CCR and the slits are really close for second though. as this short list indicates its one of the best songs because its versions can accomodate various genres/styles/moods/desires but all channeling the initial theme of a profound disappointment. this being said it rises above hand-wringing patheticism (doth i coin a term? probably not but...check it out, i'm pretty clever) in its weary, aloof futility. or is it that much more broken up over the method of discovery? does it differ from version to version? wouldn't that be cool?!
the slits come off pretty accusatory. the chugging, angular (yeah, i'm writing about rocknroll) attack could pretty much give a fuck about the relationship. the slits know its over and just want "you" to know that you're making a bad decision. this being said its understood that you're stupid enough to think you're right and in fact clever or discreet and so you're really done because ari's not stooping to your level anymore. one day you will rue this idiotic decision. you'll probably be all hand-wringing pathetic and weepy when you finally realize what a good thing you blew. thats when this cut will really sting. yow
marvin's kind of hand-wringy actually. but, like so much good motown (and good pop for that matter, see harry nilsson/badfinger doing that song that started this; without you) the song manages to elevate this state to something noble. the text is actually right there for you, a man ain't supposed to cry... the present state is pathetic but what can a poor boy do? what has befallen our protagonist is some bullshit. his woman is getting ready to peace and she won't even tell him so and everybody else already knows and finally this veritable twisted, fruit-bearing branch of folks comes back around. it is the worst possible salt in the wounds situation and marvin is managing to snatch a sublime beauty from it all. he is going to be alone but first he gets to be the sucka. all of his love, which he knows to be genuine and superior (quatifiably so) to that of the other involved is going tragically unrecognized.
i'm getting didactic here, a little, but the song hits me pretty hard. creedence seems to split these two approaches. this version is not nearly as icy as the slits but rocks along delivering a similar mesaage; this will be your loss. fogerty is pained but the band is jiving and it is ultimately the jive that wins. and how. if you're so callous as to leave the man who loves you more i guess i'll just rock this guit-piece with my kickass band. peace.

it is high time that i acknowledge neal daniel for being the only person to comment on this blog. this is understandable, i'm essentially writing for him and a few other firends who also enjoy needlessly obsessing over rock ephemera. neal argues that bleach belongs on the greatest albums and his argument is strong especially with regard to school. howevs, the album has atrocious production and, while i know this is a mainstream bias, too many songs that seem like good, though underdevolped, ideas. i understand its appeal in a lot of ways. it is not to be polished or cohesive in the general consensus but there are so many albums that employ this textual approach and manage a seemingly effortless, or even unintentional, subtextual coming together that i will not give bleach the ultimate propers as one of the best albums of my lifetime. if not for in utero it may well be the best nirvana album. (not to hate on nevermind but nevermind is, to me, not what nirvana is really about. it is too slick, too radio-friendly. it is punk structure pumped through arena-rock stacks of amplifiers. feel free to disagree, and maybe this is more authentic nirvana. i realize that i am giving benefit of doubt and shamelessly romanticizing the tragic cobain myth. i realize that heroes, even rock heroes...especially rock heroes? occupy a strange and often unhealthy region of the brain and to counteract this one must try to acknowledge their faults and maybe even tear them down a little. but i cant or wont with respect to kurt cobain. i mean, he never even wanted to be a hero man. again this is just my timing. i was young and impressionable when i was getting into rock music and this was at the tail end of the reign of nirvana but the mark was made and try as i might, and i have actually, i cannot really get beyond these intial impressions)
this being said neal is right on about blackstar and also probably the hives. ah the hives, i and probably too many of my peers wrote them off too quickly after the flash in the pan of hate to say i told you so. this is media and record industy's fault though aint it? i mean the hives just got mixed up in that jumble of immaculately constructed garage band revival throwback return of the guitar savior of rocknroll bullshit that started cluttering about with the strokes album. were such cradle to grave consumers that we suspect hype pretty quick. its funny because its a really fine line (i was in my mind to find maybe it doesn't apply universally) we live by the hype (probably gonna die by the hype..alot of us do...kurt cobain...?) and so we never want to be caught in a hype gone bad. the really smart know to just kind of hate everything thats not david bowie.
and so i thought the hives were just cashing in but actually this is never fair because (as steve albini'll tell you) its never bands that cash in (except maybe the dandy warhols...i saw dig! and i think its the first music documentary that i thoroughly enjoyed and also made me want to NOT further explore the artists' catalogue. it will take some hard fighting objectivity for me to stomach let alone stand courtney taylor) its record company's that cash in. kind of like boys dont cry, too bad this is my favorite shit by the cure. god i'm such a poser. that being said i love station to station. the facts is that the hives, under my admittedly faulty radar, made two albums worth of furious pop equal to hate to say i told you so. so check em out ok, they really cool. its a funny brand of punky pop that comes out of that region. the international noise conspiracy as well, and i haven't listened to them in a piece but they had some dope jams.

Monday, July 03, 2006

never let they punk-ass ever defeat you!
i purchased the newest album by the coup (pick a bigger weapon) and here are the preliminary ideas:
totally sweet! the whole album is what i'd come to expect after stealing a bunch of songs from the internet but only one from the new LP. that song was "my favorite mutiny" which is far and away the best track on the album. this was a small disappointment but only small. its kind of to be expected that frontloading with black thought and talib kweli will only diminish as the album plays out. maybe more guests would have been good. i was foolishly psyched for tom morello's appearance but its pretty disappointing. he only plays on one track and pretty much mails in his guit-scratching solo. of course morello's day job with audioslave would lead one to believe that he pretty much works via the post office anymore.
now i've probably only listened to everything once through and i know this is a poor way to review records (though some suckas seem to feel it is adequate) but i'm just spouting off, which is all i really do here and though it has never put a scrap of gold or schnide in my pocket i say god bless it. i have to say i completely buy (DID BUY) the revolutionary party vibe the coup seem to have perfected. funky drum loops are augmented by soulful backup vox and an array of arp and minimoog synthesizers which, when coupled with boots riley's biting lyrical jabs, create the danceable ghost of an anarcho p-funk party.
sometimes the leftist jokey-ness is a bit much for me (example: a skit followed by a song about ass-breath killers, pills for those who spend too much time kissing ass) but the songs remain invigorated and frankly those who kiss too much ass probably do require some antedote and lord knows i ain't providin' it.
i really like the idea of placing revolutionary politics into a party atmosphere and maybe this is tied to the weakening of my convictions and maybe this type of spouting off will not alter systems or smash states but i think a lot of folks would agree that during the revolution we should be able to "laugh, love, fuck and drink liquor". and the revolution's gonna need folks. i'm really pumped to see the coup on july 19!

july 3 will go down in history. the history of my summer anyway because i commandeered the radio and played classic rock all day. i worked with renewed vigor and i'm the man. maybe it was just the lingering vibes from last night's reunion of the punk jazz which always lifts my spirits.

i got a ticket to see steely dan in august. i'm fuckin pumped for that. i hope they play reelin in the years and also black cow. i understand that this is a little whack as they are way past their prime but its one of those acts i need to see. for the same reason i loved seeing elvis costello i will probably love the aged dan. these are strange high-school obsessions that linger and only intensify.
maybe all my obsessions/preoccupations can be traced back to these formative years. for instance i'm pretty preoccupied with these years and re-examining what occured and how it has played out. is it regressive to be so involved in the past? indulgent when concerned with one's OWN past? i think this is one of those things that's kind of unavoidable but maybe thats just cause i have so much trouble avoiding it. i mean the extent to which one dwells in the past is the issue and is exactly why this is so difficult to objectively analyze.
i often worry that preoccupations just become comfortable repetitions and instead of actually thinking i just spiral around the same buzzwords (buzz around the same spirals...spiwords...twisting spiwards...) and gain nothing. sometimes i think that i dont really gain anything at all but only learn better ways of articulating what i've always "known/believed". a good instance of the regressive or, at best static nature of my thinking is the parentheses around knowledge and belief which i have come to understand as largely subjective and so i give this knowledge grammatical props. but what more do i do with this? what do i ever do with my thoughts? not much
then again what the hell should you do with a thinking mind? write things down sometimes...maybe come up with some good ideas that you do something about... but i also dont like the idea of having such a market based brain. there's a part of me thats always looking for potential products in all that crosses my mind. oh no! capitalism has affected my very way of thinking...deep inside i'm a capitalist...a real bad one, a war-profiteering ENRON blood-sucker... its scary to think about but maybe very true. sometimes i'm very scared by not much more than this. it is my priviledge to strangle up my mind with theoretical political hypotheticals. some people are really scared for good reasons. this is just a good way to feel shitty though and doesn't accomplish much right? good to keep in mind that others are much worse off...
i have the past few days awoken in bad states from bad dreams i dont really recall. its pretty lame to wake up scared or sad, inexplicably and then go to work at a shitty job. a shitty job that doesn't give me enough time off and where i have to listen to shitty music. i'm in a rut and need something to shift. i need to meditate more. or play more punk jazz. what, you may ask, is the difference? i dont know that there is one