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I’m prepping for autumn, probably, feeling all in between things. Nothing’s wiggled too much between the ears besides Feels and Gaucho, but neither come as a surprise. I think I’m burning myself out on listening to music. What do you do when this happens? I suppose I’ll turn the tide back to movies or literature or something else to consume in its place; such is my tendency. I sort of listen to music all the time at work, so doing it as a free time thing has become weirdly taxing. I’ve become most happy just listening to whatever they play at the coffeeshop up the street, and even have come to like dealing with the nerd-dick record collector dude that works there. The other day, a conversation went like this:

Me: Hey, what is this?

Him: (Pause) The Minutemen.

Me: Oh yeah, I mean, I didn’t think it could be anything else, but I’ve never heard this track.

Him: Actually, it’s not the Minutemen.

Me: Really?

Him: No, it is.


The other night, Burns and I went over to Tonic and saw Stars Like Fleas, the best band to effortlessly combine ramshackle 90’s-era indie-Americana, Albert Ayler, pastoral Talk Talk, and freq.-bleating that I’ve heard, maybe ever. It was kind of nice to go see a show with a bunch of bands for whom I had no real expectations. Panicsville was good, like a computer gargling with loose gravel in a hailstorm for about 30 minutes. Flying was like Ben Folds Five & The Microphones One Night Only Performing: A Medley Version of the Best of Ben Folds Five and The Microphones. Very oddly straddling a Kpunk/pianoman vibe. Open call to all ramshackle indie-pop bands: make more noise, clang more, fall apart more often, be more like Flying. Mark Morgan, the guitar player from Sightings, played a breathless 15 minute set, during which he showed us about 1000 ghosts screaming to be let out of his guitar amplifier (obv. He refused to let them out, but he did let them come right up to the glass). Really captivating, though not as captivating as his dumbshit friend in the striped shirt and Bobby Briggs 'do sucking on a bottle of Stella and bleating about the bad batch of heroin circling around the city. Totally one of those guys ruined by his first experience with Big Black, a neo-grotesque fetish dude with black jeans and lots of hair gel who makes his dates watch grainy hardass shit like Tetsuo: Iron Man and likes heroin because it’s fuckin’ dirty dude, not because it’s fun.

(Update on the coffesshop: record-jerk came over and showed me a new homemade lamp they got for the shop and said “do you want me to turn it on for you? We’re gonna hang a bunch from the ceiling tomorrow morning.” Ahh, Sunday. I can be so paranoid.)


Knight Errant, In Sweatshorts

Gosh, it's been like, a foreverlong time since I've been baited by the breath. Too busy, too little sunlight, air conditioning. Spent Saturday night choking down Kitten Gurgles chased with a double shot of Gaucho, which needs some grand exhumation, perhaps partially on my part.

I should've mentioned this a month ago when I read it, but Franklin Bruno's 33 1/3 book on Armed Forces was very good. It's one of those instances in which the criticism and interpretive work on a record actually enrich it, rather than either degrade it or stand alone in self-satisfaction. I was only reminded because I got my Amazon UK package today, containing a legit copy of the Kano album (which was great to hear again), a UK-only edition of Yeats (for Dad), and Simon Reynolds's Rip It Up and Start Again, a massive tome on post-punk. I would've waited for the US version, but when I met him for the Stycast a few weeks ago, he helpfully informed me that it would be trimmed considerably before making it over here. The publisher's got to be out his motherfuckin' mind to think that there aren't millions of seething Americans dying to read a 500+ page book on a lot of ne'er popular and now defunct leftist British bands. In other news, Laguna Beach is on television.

I can't want to get all saucy with this place (make the bed, trim the turkey) once the shitstorm lets up a bit. Stay tuned for pounds of lace and lots of opium smoke, I promise.


Lowercase Creatures So Hot Right Now

Friday again. This isn't my place for personal updates, but I will say that I'm exceptionally happy to be hosting Donald and Smittles this evening. Two of my best friends from down Virginia way, their lives are best summed up by a love encompassing Classics (the Greek & Latin kind), the sport of golf, and AC/DC. In short, they know how to relax in real time.

Here's the new off-the-cuff Friday flow-change. Young Jeezy's "Go Crazy" remix kinda makes me a little bit; there's something exceptionally druggy about the horn sample all folding over on itself, a slo-mo instant replay for a few cycles before capitulating in its own origin, holy hip-hop Moebius strip syndrome I love it. In other glories, I returned to the Robyn album to be reminded of the Petri dish funk of "Konichiwa Bitches," and the gauzy square-wave sock-hop underpinning the call-and-response between Robyn and the Intergalactic Spacecraft Flight Attendant. Thanks for that, too.

And the new Animal Collective album. More thoughts will come in time, because now I'm still too, you know, to say anything coherent about it.


For Fear That Music Be the Only Thing To Cross Our Fragile Hearts

We also get married and have babies. Robust and sincere congratulations to the newly-wedded J.T. Ramsay and the newly-paternal Justin Cober-Lake. Between the colic and the bliss, don't forget to write.

Faith Regained and Moisture Lost in Monday Midnight Shakedown

After a day of plunging toilets and chasing wasps in a rainjacket, I had a short nap and got to see Amadou & Mariam at Joe's Pub. Maybe I was tired, maybe I was enchanted, but I felt like there were hundreds of Chinese dragons coarsing beneath the city streets; we were strange hold-outs from some undiscovered apocalyplse. Magic. My parents were still young, living in the village, and throwing eggs at late night disco revelers when Television was peaking, but I felt like Amadou's guitar work made up for anything I might have missed. Fender Stratocaster, your touch is familiar, your seduction unkind and irresistable. When played well, I soak in your tone torrent. One couple shouted pretty much all of the lyrics, which was especially impressive since a) they're written in French and b) the album was released in the states last week. xdedicatedx. The hand drum guy was pretty wily, but no big intrusion. White people had fun. Black people, too. I spotted one of those awesomely cozy thuggish guys dressed in a red t-shirt and a Phillies hat sucking on a cherry Charms pop sitting next to some guy that probably was an anthropology professor that lights up a joint at the table after a dinner party with his students. Also, the drummer reminded me that muscular French men with ponytails have the fucking groove on lockdown. She was kind of egg-shaped and he twirled like a fire dancer. Last night, a blind couple from Mali saved my life, etc. In other news, a big Welcome Home! to the snakehead fish.



Normally, I don't use this space to talk about stuff I do on Stylus. It'd be a bit like a high school fanzine hosting an ad for a small local paper, i.e. don't bother, but still, in this instance I feel compelled. I'm involved in 2 Stycasts today, one with pretty nice guy/pretty funny guy Sasha Frere-Jones, and one with Todd Burns and Allstonian/Stylus fellow Michael F. Gill, both of which can be found on the Stycast page. With Sasha, I stumble through my hazy love for Keren Ann and my concerns about U.K. hip-hop. On the other, I totally slay Burns and Gill with Julee Cruise, which, goddamn, I can't even talk about without getting all frazzled, deep-like. They both turned out pretty well, I think.

Yesterday, I futzed around tweaking a 90's pop mix for two of my closest friends (who I've known for over 10 years, pre-testicle drop), and I got totally choked up on Boyz II Men's "It's So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday." So human!


Things I Learned Today on Television

*Disclaimer: I don't own a television, but I am visiting family and feel compelled to watch theirs.


A company called Eastwood Insurance is now running the hick-hop game with their new advertisement, which features weird night shots of a bikini-clad woman dancing in a wheat field.

In addition to being a bad rapper, Tony Yayo is silly looking. The only thing memorable about this guy is his insistence on wearing a bucket hat, something I haven't seen since... I guess the DJ in Cypress Hill for the "Insane in the Brain" video. Just the first thought, I guess. As far as bad rappers go, at least Mike Jones is funny and has some style.


Where From You Come, Go?

Cooler than Digable Planets, even

I am doing work today from a coffeeshop up the street rather than the office (which I do somewhat often lately). Sun Ra was playing on the stereo and this older woman came in and just started talking to the guy behind the counter:

"It's so soulful, so beautiful, you know? I mean, we've all been there, to that place."

At which point she just repeated, over and over

"He just shows us the way."

Greenpoint Psychedelic Love Massive represent! I really wanted to hi-five her, but I realized that hi-fiving is probably not a part of Sun Ra's plan.