Friday, September 30, 2005

Our gift to you.

It's night of rest here at TFM heasdquarters but that doesn't mean we aren't thinking of you kind reader. To celebrate you dedicated indie types I have a twist on our usual give-away contest. Not only do I have promo cds to share for free but if you win you will also be given a very special limited edition gift. An artist friend and I have collaberated to bring you the ultimate member of the indie rock community membership / thank you card. You will be able to pull this DIY card out in bar fights when random rockers questions just how hipster you really are. There will be a place to sign your name, show how long you have been keepin' it real, a space for the first record you ever bought, and a tuning fork chart to color your level of dedication to the cause. It's cool, we totally trust you to fill out the card honestly and follow the direction to cut said card out and seal with invisible tape to protect your indie identity proof for life yo. If you have won cds from us in the past and want a card, email me and I will mail you one! Writers I will also send you a card as well. Damn I forgot to mention that each card is hand numbered. We couldn't be pro- indie and not have some limited edition/ one of a kind angle!

The usual plan of attack is as follows. Be the first to leave a comment on this post and then email me at your name and mailing address. I will in turn mail you the cd of your choice as well as your super duper member of the indie community card.

Go team TFM!

1) Glen Hall / Lee Ranaldo / Wiliam Hooker - "Oasis of Whispers" - Alien8 Recordings ( paper sleeve CD-R AKA no art) WE HAVE A WINNER

2) Rosie Thomas - If Songs - Sub Pop - with art - Ex - Velour100 / folk pop stuff. WE HAVE A WINNER.

3) The Good Life - Album of the year - Saddle Creek- Promo edition with promo pseudo art. WE HAVE A WINNER.

4) Jackson and his Computer - Smash - Warp ( slip case sleeve promo )

5) Dawn Smithson - Safer Here - Kranky - I think its the final version which is a handsome bill fold sleeve. Come on people...Ex - Jessamine member! WE HAVE A WINNER

As always, please do not sell these free cds if you are a winner. All I ask is if you don't like the music that you kindly pass it along to a friend or enemy.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

CocoRosie / Noah's Ark / Rating 3.4

Noah's Ark is one of the most annoying records you're liable to remember

About their image

1) A Native American infused Frida Kahlo isn’t such a terrible visual role model when compared to those female artists who pander to the press with half naked MAXIM inspired “I’m hot first, a musician second” images.

2) Quintron has been drawing on his face with a black marker for at least a decade and if you want to talk about terrifying and intriguing partnerships take a gander and Quintron and Miss Pussycat.

3) You want creepy family relations? Check out the song "Lemon Incest" by Serge Gainsbourg and his daughter Charlotte. Or The Palace Brothers song “Riding”. If CR upsets you than steer clear of the Danielson Family. They really are about God and family.

4) Even indie rock needs an answer to the Olson twins

5) The white stripes wished they were actual siblings rather than a divorced couple. Lying to the press about it is just sad.

6) A quote from CR “But we were very diligent about trying to not let the world influence us or expectations of the world to enter into our creative space. We really worked hard on it and were able to render again this very strange kind of eerie glamour that comes from our aloneness together.”

The cover art: Without getting too art critique 101 on your ass lets look at the basics. The record is called Noah’s Ark so does the crazy art tie in somehow? Yes.

1) Keeping the bible in mind and the sister's love for spiritual / mystical images, the word unicorn is mentioned in the Old Testament 7 times. It appears after doing some further study that the OG translation from Hebrew got screwed up and they were actually trying to describe a different horned beast but nonetheless we have unicorns in the good book.

2) CCR quote:” Christianity still plays a really big part in American culture, and Western culture in general, and that in itself is built in with a load of contradictions that would affect American society.” What could be more contradictory and yucky than a bible story and childlike drawing of unicorns mounting one another in a three way, dashed with bling while spewing rainbows and gems.

3) There is nothing wrong with uncensored doodles straight from the imagination. As humorous as this art looks I believe there is absolutely a deeper level of thought put into it. Coupled with the lyrics / music this art could be considered quite meaningful.

4) Unicorns are suppose to be a symbol of purity, innocence, virginity so its actually pretty funny / ironic to have them behaving in quite the opposite fashion.

5) If you are familiar with the story of Noah’s Ark then you already know how it ends: The Ark door opened and there was the first rainbow. (Gen. 9:12-17) Rainbows? I repeat, we have rainbows on the cover too.

6) Don’t let me fool you, I don’t know crap about the bible but I do know how to use google.

About lyrics and themes: If only more bands put forth 1/10 of the effort CR shows on their records.

1) There is a mythical story told about (wo)man in each song on CR's Noah’s Ark and if that doesn’t sound a little like a Bible chapter (in an opium dream sorta way) I don't know what does.

2) More fun facts from the story of the Noah’s Ark in the Bible: God created a perfect world. 1500 years later God checks in and sees nothing but sin, violence, and wicked things. God regrets making humans so God decides to destroy all living things on the earth. God does so with a flood, a really really big flood. Like 40 days and 40 nights worth of flood. ( Its so hard not to invision the horrific scenes from these past two hurricanes. I know the last thing we all need to talk about is a flood right now so let’s move on) CocoRosie offers 12 songs that capture distinct and wholly unique human experiences in abstract ways that I believe people are more accustomed to experiencing in mediums like painting or photography.

3) We know the Bible says Noah built an Ark so why can’t two sisters make an album representing their special take on humanity while preserving their idea of family. If you really want to get specific the Bible has a kagillion more lude adult situations mentioned between its front and back cover then either of CocoRosie's records put together and on eternal repeat. ( I already know that very idea is many a person's version of a personal hell so save it)

5) A quote about CR “That sense of community—the idea that, as the album's title jocularly suggests, at least two of every type of beast and beauty in the city conspired to make these songs—is what distinguishes the record. "South 2nd" and "Armageddon" are future-thinking, streetwise jeremiads; "Bare Hides and Buffalo" and "Beautiful Boyz" contrast modern times and modern sounds with ancient laments. Drug users and Martin Luther are made into an unlikely pair on "K-Hole." Their first record looked inward, the second looks outward. On La Maison, they wrote about their world; on Noah's Ark, they write about the world.”

6) Their flamboyant story telling and other wordly voices reek of a modern day opera sung by characters one usually saves for those dreams that fall somewhere between fairytale and nightmare. (The delusional state I reach after a week of insomnia finally has an appropriate soundtrack.)

7) There are quite a few Beat writers whose work (from people like Allen Ginsberg, Kerouac, and Burroughs) isn't too distant from Cocorosie’s choice of language. I am dissapointed at how annoyed others are by CR's skwed and occasionally jarring lyrical style. I fear we are progressing backwards (culturally speaking) if their words and topics appear so alien and worthy of vicious criticism.

8) More CCR quotes: "In our music, the stories we tell, they are not autobiographical stories. The religious references a lot of people think of as irony. We don't exactly prefer to use that word, but our songs most of the time are about people that we've seen and had much compassion for. They're the raw tales of love and pain and the world maybe in its twisted forms. Christianity comes up a lot for us just because the world is so dominated by the west. For Bianca, she's a strong writer. She's studied linguistics and sociology. She talks about how much language is affected by the Western culture and how much Christianity is in our culture and affects all of us even if we aren't Christians."

CocoRosie's music / the big picture

1) Hells yeah for two people willing to do whatever the hell they feel like doing. I know this kind of art doesn’t appeal to everyone but I am glad to know it is out there. Art for the sake of art is not a crime. If you don’t like it, don’t buy it or see them play live. Just remember that many artists do not create art for anybody but themselves. Many consider that kind of artist the only true artist. I know it is hard to believe but not everyone who makes art even wants to be famous, they just make art because that is a natural part of them. I would prefer a band to make the record they wanted not what they think people wanted to hear. I could debate this for hours but I don’t believe it is any artist’s responsibility to please the world. That includes you and you and……and me.

2) The non-commercial / no formal training approach to art (outsider art if you will) keeps the idea of art real, progressing, changing and moving forward. You don’t have to like it to appreciate the roll it plays in the bigger picture. Picasso, E.E. Cummings, Sun Ra...we need people like them to blur creative boundaries and take moonwalks in any direction they please. CocoRosie is no different. You may not take their talent seriously or enjoy the way they chose to express themselves but there is nothing prefab about their partnership or the art born from it.

3) So back to the music and the 3.4 PFM rating. The sense I get from CR's Noah's Ark with all it's lo-tech meets high-tech stitching is still a very pure and honest effort. The guest appearances mesh into their music as if they were part of their strange family or to keep with the Native American theme, part of their tribe. Something deeply personal and private is being shared here and personally I like the audio challenge of feeling like an outsider listening in. Feeling uncomfortable about a record is ten times more interesting to me than feeling bored by it. CocoRosie are not a favorite band of mine, they don’t even place in my top 100 but I am still willing to offer them a higher level acceptance and understanding than PFM.

4) I bestow upon this record a rating of 30 days out of a possible 40 days / nights.

XBXRX / Sixth in Sixes / Rating 6.5

I snooze I lose. I started writing this a few days ago and had the idea of taking bets on what the rating of XBXRX’s new record would be and now it’s a wasted bit of lite comedy. Oh well.

Here is what I was working on anyhow:

* * * *

I was listening to XBXRX’s newest cd Sixth in Sixes and I was curious to see if PFM reviewed it yet; nope.

It was then curiosity which led me to look up what they gave Gop Ist Minee, their debut release on 5RC/ Tapes Record / KRS back in 2000.

Wow. A brutal 2.6. The whole review is pretty funny but here are some highlights. Screw it, the whole thing is pretty funny so here it is in all its glory.


Well, will you look at that?! No, I'm not taking a class on primitive languages. In fact, it's doubtful that a language like that even exists. But that's what you get when you turn on Gop Ist Minee, the stateside debut from XBXRX. Apparently, it's supposed to be English. I think I even heard an English word somewhere on this record. Doesn't matter, though, because nearly every word is screeched and screamed in only the most annoying and high-pitched of fashions. For instance: remember that scene in Ace Ventura where he's trying to get through the head-banging club? Yeah. Well, imagine that on a gallon of helium and you've already paid for half of this album.

Of course, there's another half: the music. Gop Ist Minee opens with its best track-- a 25 second-long clip of a sped-up Casio keyboard demo. I know what you're thinking: "That's the best track? Why, it could only get worse from there!" Only too true, my friend. Only too true. Clichéd guitar lines from the math/thrash department breeze by as eleven more "songs" speed by in a mere 20 minutes. Frankly, I'd be hard pressed to distinguish one track from another, and I'm betting you would be, too. To fill things out, XBXRX have also included a limited assortment of electronic bweeEEows and swwsssshhhs here and there. (Only onomatopoeias of the most imbecilic order will do them justice.)

So facts is facts, and after these facts, I just can't see why you'd want to buy XBXRX. Of course, if you're a fan of annoying speed-thrash electronic garage-punk (with emphasis on "annoying"), then I suppose you could give it a shot. For the rest of you, don't. I mean it. "

-Spencer Owen

I can’t predict if PFM will review the new cd but my guess is considering the noise bands they bow down to these days they may not only review it, but they may even love it. I know I do but I don’t work for the Chicago indie rock mafia either.

So here is my question to you. Lets take bets on what Pitchfork will say about Sixth in Sixes in the year 2005.

* * * * *

I can’t say I told you so cause well, I didn’t have a chance to tell you so earlier but its nice to see a little shift in PFM thinking / listening. In the end the band still gets a semi thumbs down but holy crap I love this noise fest for all its OCD-length of play time and delectable chaos.
A quote from the new review :

"It sounded like a wall of hysterics at first, but a few more listens and the complexity started to seep in. This is the band's second record, and they sound more mature and generally more competent at playing than on 2001's Gop Ist Minee, though they're no less confrontational."

But the final word is this : "the album is nothing to write home about."

So it’s a toss up considering XBXRX’s slight and slow hike in PFM rating . Either PFM will catch up with embracing this kind of band by the time their next record is made or the band will improve according to indie community standards and warrant a better review.

Either way you look at it they are practically destined to be a 9. something band next time around.

On Autopilot

Hey Gang,

I usually DJ from 1-3 am on Tuesday night / Wed morning so I often don't have the energy to write a piece for the site by the time I get home, sorry.

I will tell you this tho: expect one heck of a CocoRosie essay in a few days. It will be all the info you ever wanted to know about the story of Noah's Ark, Unicorns, and "special" family relations.

In the meantime here is a link to my favorite band right now. They are called The Projects They are by no means a new band but they are new to me. They are from England and on Track And Field. I stumbled across them on on the Broadcast website where the band Broadcast has over 4 hours of killer music to check out by various artists. (new and old)

Its late and I am having a terrible time finding a site which has an mp3 by The Projects to share with you, but briefly they sound like a younger more post punk version of Broadcast. An evil twin to Ladytron? Just when I think I should be over the angular boy / girl rock thing, one more band sneaks in and wows me.

If anybody finds a link with audio samples please post it in the comments section and then I will gladly link it to this main post.

It 4 am and my brain has officially called it quits.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Neutral Milk Hotel / In the Aeroplane Over the Sea / Rating 10.0

Seriously, what year is this?

This is still available as a domestic release via Merge in the U.S. of A (for 13$) and this PFM review is extraneous because the import doesn’t have bonus tracks or anything. This recent over seas re-release is more expensive but is apparently reason enough to flex a little review muscle 7 years after the fact with a perfect 10.

Are they just looking for an excuse to hype this band now that NMH’s name is being sited as a major influence to many a new popular band?

PFM also sites Neutral Milk Hotel in at least 1 review a week lately (most recently Wolf Parade) so it makes sense that they would jump at the chance to flaunt this classic yet still totally old piece of news.

They should just create a section like allmusicguide does where they pick an old band and place them on the front page of the site somewhere to (re)introduce a worthy older band / great older record to the masses.

Oh Pitchfork you silly predictable kid you.

Lastly I found this little quip on the UK Domino website:

Domino Recording Co are Proud to be releasing 'In The Aeroplane Over The Sea' on Monday 5th September, a stunning record from the great Neutral Milk Hotel. Its relevance to today’s musicians is obvious from it’s fans; Bob Hardy of Franz Ferdinand recalls: “When I first started driving, ‘In The Aeroplane Over The Sea’ was the only cassette I had in my Ford Fiesta for two years. It is amazing. Friendships can be gauged on the mutual love of Neutral Milk Hotel.’ Dan Snaith of Caribou cites ‘Aeroplane…’ as “my favourite album ever recorded without exception”.

What did the world do before Franz Ferdinand started sighting relatively obscure bands in interviews??? ( Orange Juice anyone?) If I were a publicist I would consider hiring bands like Franz and Bloc Party for useless quotes of admiration because undoubtedly the press will eat it up and shit it out... I mean publish it.

Killing three birds with two stones

Iron & Wine / Calexico / In the Reins / Rating 8.5

Calexico and Iron and Wine. You know them; you probably love them.

After all these years of both bands doing what they do best, having exceptional press, playing sold out tours, positioned in the soundtrack to hit movies / M+M commercials, and so on… this particular collaboration spells out a good thing, a sure thing.

That is if you like these bands to begin with.

No point in a long drawn out review, this cd sounds EXACTLY like you would think it would. One part Calexico and one part Iron and Wine. Starbucks couldn’t have arranged a more winning combination. ( Does the Starbucks music division make anybody else’s stomach hurt more than their bitter coffee does?) There is no insult to spill from this exotic folk cocktail yet to put it simply my drink menu doesn’t particularly favor / feature either band. In the Reins bores me silly but instead of inappropriately finding faults where there are none I would rather offer it up as a TFM give-a-way item in the up coming weeks. (Girl Scout honor I will!)

Anybody reading this blog could have predicted a PFM 8.5 rating as well as every other wordy version of a standing ovation. It's too bad that most of these tracks have been floating around for years and fans of both bands more than likely already own most of this material. Surprisingly PFM doesn’t mention this back story but to make up for it, here is a great review that does.

The final chapter to this predictable tale is there will be an October tour featuring both Calexico and Iron and Wine. You must be very excited.

Forgive my lack of enthusiasm but there comes a point where I don’t feel like discussing a band’s new record in great detail because it doesn’t need any extra exposure and people are gonna love it no matter what I or anybody else has to say.

You can look forward to my Wolf Parade review that will feature more of the same why bother attitude. There are so many incredible bands out there so do you need one more blog / magazine / webzine to tell you Wolf Parade are the next Modest Mouse or Arcade Fire? Look at The NY Times, Spin, PFM,, Prefix….insert any music fan with a computer here and I will show you a review setting this band up to be the next big thing. (Google the record and it will prove this point ten fold) I must have looked at 20 Brooklyn based blogs today and you would think that this one NY borough had group hipster sex and produced a child prodigy called Wolf Parade. This is especially disturbing since the band actually comes from the great white north but then again adoption is less painful than actually giving birth.

Wolf Parade / Apologies to the Queen Mary / Rating 9.2

You know what. Fuck it. That is my Wolf Parade review. It appears the entire indie rock community of cool is in rare agreement that Apologies to the Queen Mary is the one record of the year you absolutely need to own. Without it a hideous void will swallow your very being so act now before it’s too late. If you didn’t have a hard on for Canada already, here is one more band to sustain your metaphoric erection.

"In a few years, other folks will still remember where they were when they first heard Apologies to the Queen Mary." Sorry PFM but not even a writer for the soap opera Days of Our Lives would dare script out something so melodramatic and painfully sentimental. Wolf Parade's newest record is Tony the Tiger GRRRRREAT so lets Leave it to Beaver it at that.

Three pop culture references in one paragraph, ouch.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

The Double / Loose in the Air / Rating 7.4

bubble through like transmissions from a bad satellite feed


One of my favorite things to do is sit around with a friend, throw back a few drinks (or many) and have them play me their favorite records; old or new… it doesn’t matter.

You don’t have to tell me….I can’t tell you enough how record nerd I really am.

I will spare you the name dropping but 6 months ago a friend that happens to be in one those bands that sounds a little (ok a lot) like Joy Division and I started and finished a bottle of Jameson while listening to his laptop’s random selection of music. At the end of the night I had taken a few mental notes: buy anything Arthur Russel, look forward to the next CocoRosie release (yeah the one PFM panned), The Double will have something great out on Matador, and oh… the next time I say I can drink a bottle of whiskey, I shouldn’t actually do it.

Perhaps it was the after affects of spending time with an old friend who has impeccable taste in music but I had high hopes for The Double cd. The first time I listened to Loose in the Air all the way through I found myself questioning if this was the same band I had listened to and liked so much before. Maybe I should blame the whiskey?

“Up all Night” kicks off the record with several jarring flat notes from David Greenhill but the music was just as good as I remembered it to be: Occasionally stark, undeniably dark, and its winning attribution is the cycle of slow builds leading grenade pulls of guitars, drums, and keyboards returning fire. This song must hit like bullets live.

After replaying “Idiocy” “Icy” and “On our Way” I felt back on track. I do like this band. I like the clumsy chugging imperfections, the merry-go round organ tone thru a Memory Man and God knows what else (not the typical garage rock keys). I love the expert temper tantrum guitar fits. I love the not exactly sleepy but hazy Nyquil infused crooning. Most of all I love the drummer who doesn’t play all over everything and is one part Animal (Muppet Show) and one part jazz drummer extraordinaire Art Blakey. The band as a unit leaves Swiss cheese holes where few bands dare to use it, no less appropriately. Sometimes and in this case, less is more.

I hadn’t seen the band play before so when I started this review I couldn’t say if Loose In The Air does their live set justice. Thanks to an in-store at Relative Theory (and a two hour drive to get there thank you very much) I could answer my question and part two of this ramble came to be.


The Double are better live. No reason to mince words. They are 10 thousand times more sonic and are the closest I am ever going to come to standing near an erupting volcano with a man trapped inside begging to get out. Their performace practically canceled out the value of the cd to me but I liked them so much live that I wouldn’t dare part with their cd, even if it pales in comparison. “ Up All Night” was so utterly vicious live that I would recommend wearing a bullet proof vest if you go to see them play. (And you should go to see them play.)

Initially I thought I was going to pan this record but all the little flaws, the occasional bad notes, (forgive my reference to the title but) the loose in the air approach to rock, is what I actually like the most. These days it’s easy to fix all the mistakes a band makes in a studio and by technical standards create the perfect record (Song writing aside) so I find it refreshing when a band stays true to their live sound, the one where humans who aren’t always perfect and flawless make a little racket. While it doesn’t match the superior performance I saw in person I believe that in theory The Double approached this new record with the idea of keeping it live AKA with imperfections and all.

Most artists will tell you the overall mood and feeling of a song is more important than any right note or drum fill but does this excuse the often-limp final product found on Loose in the Air? I guess that all depends on how understanding you the listener are willing to be. (Coolfer: I look forward to your volley here.Winks)


The Double make a handsome racket and if it weren’t for the second half of their record dragging its feet (and now knowing they can be better live), I would have given this record a much higher rating than PFM’s 7.4.

Be sure to see them play (I promise you, a full body assault has never sounded so good) and consider yourself warned: their recordings are a circus mirror of their sound live.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Seu Jorge / Cru / Rating 7.4

World Music badge of honor

Fun Fact 1. How to pronounce Seu Jorge : Say-ooo ( like the vowel sound in goo) Zhor-Zhee

Fun Fact 2. "Seu" is a play on words that means both "sir" and "yours".

Fun Fact 3. Seu Jorge knew next to nothing about David Bowie ( just the hit Let's Dance) before he began working on A Life Aquatic. It was all the tastemaking filmmaker Wes Anderson's idea to have him cover Bowie songs in the movie, not Seu's!

For those familiar with the history of Brasilian music the general rule of thumb for vocal technique (stretching from Samba to Bossa Nova to Tropicalia and beyond) is passion before perfection. A national identity becomes just as important as one's own singular identity. Things like pitch run a close second to capturing a moment and lyrics are often politically charged as much as they are personal.

PFM admits to only learning about Sue Jorge from The Life Aquatic so I wonder just how deep the reviewer’s knowledge of Brasilian music goes. (Can you hear the crickets?) PFM says “On CRU, Jorge's voice and pristine guitar work make the tangentials of his success postscript. This is not to say his second solo album is perfect. In fact, it has holes near the end and at times lacks a backbone”

Had they known the very translation / definition of Cru is raw would they still say that? I suppose it is easy to confuse Seu's barebones structure for a lack of backbone.

His untraditional approach to making Cru is ironically exactly as his culture groomed it to be. I wish I could remember where I read this quote but a writer was talking about Caetono Veloso and how his only musical rule was there was no rule and musically speaking this has been an age old Brasilian tradition. (a few other examples would be Chico Buarque, Jorge Ben, Gal Costa , Gilverto Gil, Astrud Gilberto, Joyce) Just as those Brasilian legends before him have sung, Seu Jorge is free of stale formulas yet married to the foundation of feelings and his reaction to the world around him. I know Seu has been quoted in interview saying "I am a Brasilian musician. But I don't play Brasilian-style music. I hope people hear that," but again in spirit the heart of Brasil is very much still there.

A closer look at his track listing uncovers the Elvis Presley song Don’t. "He was able to get black music across to white audiences and he ultimately changed the face of music," explains Jorge. "As I see it, he took from black music and I am taking it back, imagining myself in cowboy boots!"

Another song"Mania de Peitão" = "large-chested mania" is surprisingly about women’s obsession to change their beautiful bodies with ridiculous implants. Cru goes onto to dispense a lightly constructed weighty chain of emotions and personal history, all linked together by political songs, lyrics about suicide (Serge Gainsbourg cover), love songs, and songs about the slums he once called home. By its very nature a chain has holes as equally as it owns strength so take that PFM.

If you really care about world music hopefully Pitchfork is the last place you would turn to for a knowledgeable review. If you dabble in whatever music is hot thanks to the shot put popularity of a semi-hit film, then go PFM!

I can only pray the gravity that takes cheap passing fame back down to earth again will take PFM down with it and I suspect those with genuine talent like Seu Jorge will continue to rise.

Am I being unrealistic when all I ask of a writer is to actually know a little about what he or she is talking about? Maybe even spend a few weeks on the subject learning about it before you share your "knowledge" and opinions with the rest of the world? There must be some-young-hip-body who genuinely knows about world music and is willing to help PFM out. ! ?

If only Pitchforkmedia cared as much.

It's funny because it's true?

Caddy isn't just for golf anymore
Yes I know caddy when its not golf is spelled catty but its a damn fine play on words regardless.

"Make Believe Fight the Power
Kavitha Chekuru reports:
Sucks to be Nate Kinsella right now. This summer, the Joan of Arc / Make Believe (but aren't they really the same thing?) drummer was injured in a bicycle accident, resulting in the cancellation of Make Believe's two-month tour. As if that wasn't bad enough, he's now facing indecent exposure charges in Oklahoma, right when Make Believe are heading out on the road to generate excitement for their first full-length,Shock of Being, set to be released on October 4 (Flameshovel is putting out the CD, Polyvinyl the, uh, vinyl.) And it used to be that all these guys had to worry about was how Pitchfork was going to diss their latest record!"

Way to show your true colors PFM. That kind of comment isn't just unfunny, it shows just how shallow your review pool and writing staff really are.

There are high school papers with more mature journalism.

What year is this? : The Year Punk Broke a Hip

Pixies, Dinosaur Jr., Gang Of Four, Devo, Kraftwork, Mudhoney, Lemonheads, Slint, Hoover, Mudhoney (back in the studio), Sex Pistols, Mission Of Burma, Bauhaus, Bold, Underdog, Gorilla Biscuits, Judas Priest w/ Rob H., New Order, Cure, Pink Floyd, Motley Crue, Straightjacket Fits, Trash Can Sinatras, Misfits ( again), Depeche Mode ( back in the studio), Camper Van Beethoven, Cream, Dead Boys, Sham 69, Old Skull, Circle Jerks, The Exploited, Kid Dynamite, Lifetime, Living Colour, Stryper, Gin Blossoms, Red Krayola, Coalesce, 108, Promise Ring...

The world could use a lot of things but a 108 reunion? Really? Did anyone need that?

Why do bands do it? It doesn’t take a genius to guess there is money, big money to be made from getting back together again. I have heard rumors that smaller bands like Lifetime were offered 60k for a come back and if that is the case, God knows how much a band like Kraftwerk , The Pixies, or Gang Of Four are given. I wish I could believe a reunion show was all about the pure spirit of rock and roll and friends sharing a stage again but for example anybody who knows Dinosaur Jr.’s band history knows the love died between it’s members in a big way. Heck I saw first hand fists fly on stage during one of their sets back in the mid 90's and fans know their ugly band dynamic only worsened over time. I have read new Dino interviews which reveal a healed relationship between J. and Lou but to put it simply, I ain’t buying what they trying to sell.

Yes there will always be exceptions to the rule, bands that play again for charity or truly because it would be a fun one off but there are waaaay too many bands hopping on planes all in the name of some serious green. As a person who never made a dime off the music I made 10 years ago I understand the lure to finally make a few bucks off of the thing I put body and soul into once upon a time but the rocker puritst in me would rather let it go than milk a band that will never be as good as we once were.

Don’t we have enough new bands to keep us happy or have we become our parents looking to relive our happy days of old? I made fun of my mom and dad for going to see some terrible Motown reunion tour that didn’t even feature more than 25% of each act's original line up yet here it is 2005 and I have friends driving 12 hours to see ancient straight edge bands and 80’s alterna-legends take the stage one more time. I wasn’t scared to mock my parents so don’t think the rest of you are going to be left off the hook.

Come on people; Gorilla Biscuits and the Misfits will never be what they once were. Get over it. Even if Danzig joined the Misfits again, we all know that show would be 1/10 as good as it once was. Sure it’s the Misfits but it wouldn’t be THE MISFITS. Have you seen Danzig or any of the other members lately? I liken it to the uncomfortable feeling I used to get when my Uncle Bill wore a Speedo.

I wish I was old enough to see one of the handful of shows Rites of Spring played but I wasn’t and that’s that. That band is too sacred to me and to see them be anything but pristine would be a crime. I also am happy to say I haven't heard any rumblings about any of the first generation Dischord bands getting back to gether. At least some folks know how to age gracefully.

You can save a piece of cake in a freezer, thaw it out ten or twenty years later and eat it but it isn’t going to be the same as it once was. Yes I know a wedding cake piece preserved is a symbol of something very special but if we are talking about the taste of it as serious cake fans, we would know the flavor didn't stand the test of time, even if our love did.

We all know time happens, things age and decay. A band isn’t a fucking bottle of wine, we are talking about people here. Sure a person can still sing or play their instrument but the passion and energy, the very emotion that once fueled their art has shifted and more than likely faded.

This is the very same reason I hate open coffin funerals. Dead is dead no matter how you dress the body.

I’ve been to enough reunion shows and three day garage rock fests to have learned my lesson the hard way. The idea of you can’t go home again should be applied to most of these events and instead of wondering how a band or artist could age so poorly. ( IE: Echo and the Bunnymen, Burt Bacharach, Question Mark and the Mysterians...) I should have just left the past right where it was, in the past.

Maybe as thoughtful members of the rock community we could get together and build a retirement fund for these older bands and future bands who were never lucky enough to move onto new careers or new bands no less acquire a nest egg from a 401 k plan. If we move quickly enough we can spare ourselves the possible reunions of bands like 7 Year Bitch and King Missile.

All joking aside, let this be a lesson to you freeloaders who download music without paying for it and don’t support bands when they tour in their prime. Musicians need to make money to survive just like everyone else and maybe our government and the people who call themselves supporters of the arts should be more willing to put their money where their mouths are. As bummed as I am on 95% of these musicians trying to give it another go I can't blame them.

People don't seem to think that all music is worth paying for and it shows. ( insert the sound of me stepping off my high horse here.)

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Mobius Band / The Loving Sound Of Static / Rating 5.8

it's about time those disgusting discriminations changed.

It’s debatable. Should a label sign any style of band they want or is it in their best interest / the roster’s to stick with a general genre? Perhaps once a label proves itself to have impeccable taste, only then is it safe to venture out into new and exciting styles?

I say it’s debatable because there are varying degrees of success rates. Matador, Astralwerks, and Jagjaguwar are just a few examples of labels that manage to have a rainbow of styles on their roster and sell most of it respectably. Then again, when there has been a questionable sales history on some of the more eclectic / non-traditional titles it becomes fair to ask: would a cd that sold just above par be anchored at the top of sales charts had it been on a more fitting label? For example, would K-OS on Astralwerks have had an even better sales history had it been on a label more known for its hip-hop? (30,000+ is decent tho) Was Sub Pop the proper place for Saint Etienne to call home in the late 90’s? I don’t even like Early Man (metal for non-metal heads ) but is Matador onto something good?

To further stretch this topic I have also heard years of complaints when a label like Equal Vision, Warp, Jade Tree, SST (back in the day) or Ghostly throws an unpredictable curveball into their semi-sturdy roster. Fans of a label suddenly have to question what exactly a record on their favorite label will sound like. Obviously the introduction to mp3 band samples have removed much of the guessing game but I remember the days when a label like Dischord or Sub Pop would put out a new record and I (like so many others) would buy it; no questions asked.

I ask this as a sidebar to the Mobius Band PFM review because in the span of their existence MB made the jump from their own label to Ghostly and PFM goes on to describe that move as “a healthy if unlikely partnership”. That previous tiny comment got my wheels turning and the label debate ensued.(internally speaking)

I understand each writer for PFM has their own separate ideas and opinions but I wanted to share the progression of MB’s reviews on the site regardless. I think their review history is a great example of a love gone stale. In this particular case I don’t think the label has much to do directly with the downward shift of interest in the band but I do know regardless of where to point the finger, a bad PFM review has a ripple affect on everything from other press, radio, and the retail marketplace. I also have to admit I am fascinated by any band that goes from cozy bedmates with PFM to that partner sleeping on the farthest edge of the bed.

(The following examples are just tiny excerpts from each review in chronological order)

Joe Tangari claims to have discovered them as an opening act to Hood back in 2002 and very much liked them:

Mobius BandThree EP[Prescription Rails; 2002] / Rating: 7.8

The speed of the band's progress is stunning. I won't even venture to imagine where they'll be in another year.
As they continue to focus their sound and hone their craft, I have no doubt they'll emerge as a force to be reckoned with. For now, they're certainly one worth listening to.
-Joe Tangari, November 27th, 2002

Fast forward to a few years later:

Mobius BandCity vs Country EP[Ghostly International; 2005]Rating: 8.0

After three self-released, self-recorded, increasingly impressive EPs over the past three years, the band recently signed with those progressive beatheads at Ghostly International and this five-song EP is the first fruit of what seems like a healthy if unlikely partnership Near-flawless in its execution, City vs Country is at once traditional and progressive, easy to listen to, and difficult to ignore.

The newly honed aural slickness only adds to this developing band's potential appeal and instead of getting lost inside a real studio, this rock-electro outfit has found itself-- just in time for their first long-player.

-Ryan Dombal, March 3, 2005

And last but not least, the new full length release

Mobius BandThe Loving Sound of Static[Ghostly International; 2005]Rating: 5.8

Following four increasingly focused EPs that saw the band go from quaint instrumental post-rock to this year's blip-rocking hybrid City vs Country, the Brooklyn-based trio disappoints here by retracing the alienated posture of their previous release while rarely reaching its respectable heights.

Predictably, the first thing to wear is frontman Ben Sterling's monotone musings. Whether his pulse simply sustains at an abnormally low level or he's putting us on with his reedy, Ben Stein-type delivery (sans dead-pan wit, game-show acumen, and conservative agenda), the affectless style is limiting.The vocals become even more troublesome when coupled with some of the record's offensively inane lyrics-- hipster-histrionics can only get you so far, guys.

And instead of glossing over such uninspired wordplay with their dynamic newfound studio polish (Interpol associate Peter Katis helped produce the album), the mistakes are highlighted by an overdose of tepid electro-zzzz ballads.

And the perfectionist production is exquisite and exhausting in its attention to detail and nimble attempts at combining typical guitar jangle with zippy, bionic beats. There's a decent EP buried within the album's 10 songs but, as a whole, Static doesn't have the stamina to uphold its over-extended play.

-Ryan Dombal, August 24, 2005

To my ears MB plays tightly constructed rock-tronix at a relaxed speed. Ben’s sullen vocals remind me of the pacing found on early Karate records which have a subtle hypnotizing effect, not a sleepy one. The more carefully I listen to “The Loving Sounds of Static” the more my ears are rewarded by delicate nuances buried in each song hiding like audio Easter egg treats. (or the Passover afikomen if that’s more your thing). I won’t even bother defending their lyrics; all I will say is there are a million bands with genuinely horrific lyrics and MB doesn’t come close to being that offensive. I was never deeply in love with any of their previous short players so this full length doesn’t disappoint me; it just keeps the band at a reliable better than average status. I would in fact place their entire catalog somewhere in the 7 zone PFM originally started them at.
Part 2:

Recently I happened to play Mobius Band in between two different records on Teenbeat (+/- and Flin Flon) and within that context Mobius sounded right at home and it was as if a new record was born.

My internal debate was triggered again.

Teenbeat doesn’t have an amazingly high profile but at the same time if you tell a music nerd that a band sounds like it’s something Mark from Unrest would release or play in, it takes on a new and very specific reference point. The band may even gain an automatic built in fan base had they in fact been officially associated with Mark Robinson.

A few years back Ghostly kicked off their buzz label status with the release of the Disco Nouveau comp, an electro heavy collection of tracks which was then followed by Matthew Dear, Solvent, Lusine, and Twine…. all who were part of the initial label roster. More recently Ghostly has expanded into a more traditional world of vocal pop music that includes Mobius Band, Midwest Product & Skeletons & The Girl-Faced Boys. None of these indie rock bands are wrong to be on Ghostly nor should Ghostly have to stick to only minimal electronic music but I believe they might find a more responsive/ larger fan base from some place else, like Teenbeat or on grander scale, Matador. (Who am I kidding, what indie rock band wouldn’t want to be on Matador?) It is indeed a natural progression for a business to diversify as it grows but where does a label draw the line?

In a perfect world all music fans have eclectic taste but it’s safe to say an A-typical Interpol fan would embrace Mobius Band long before an A-typical Lusine fan would. I am not saying it is impossible for a label like Ghostly to successfully break a pop band but a label better trusted for their pop infused roster would have the advantage of faster start out of the gate. Its hard enough being a small label and fighting for press attention in an over saturated community of music but its twice as hard to be a small label who is starting from scratch by stumbling into a whole new style of music. With each genre comes a different set of radio folks to win over, a new list of writers to approach, and a new branch of retail to woo.

To use the most popular example: if Arcade Fire had released their hit record on a smaller label like Leaf or Lo Recordings or were the first non industrial band on Metropolis Records for instance, would Pitchfork have reviewed them, given them the nearly perfect rating and in turn created the snowball of hype which has grown into a mountain of popularity? I would be willing to bet that the answer would be no and The Arcade Fire would still be playing to a 100 or so people in some shit bar.

Predicting how a band breaks or who will be the next big thing is nearly impossible as there are so many variable in the equation but without the right label propelling from it from the beginning an artist is lucky to make into the long shot category, no matter how amazing the record is. The Mobius Band are entirely likable and I fear with a bad PFM rating and being on a label indie rock kids don’t know / trust, it might kill this cd before it ever really had a chance.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Pitchfork gets it wrong, again.

These are the correct Khanate tour dates. The main difference is all the October dates. Please ignore what you read on PFM.

KHANATE It's Cold When I'm Near You tour 2005

Sat Sept 17, Brooklyn, NY - The Hook w/Circle, Psychic Paramount, Growing (DO NOT MISS CIRCLE IF YOU LIVE IN THE NYC AREA)
Sun Sept 18, Boston, MA - Great Scott w/Kayo Dot & Emil Beaulieau
Mon Sept 19, Burlington, VT - Higher Ground w/ Wolf Eyes
Tues Sept 20, Montreal, QB - La Sala Rossa w/ Nadja
Wed Sept 21, Ottawa, ON - Mavericks
Thurs Sept 22, Toronto, ON - Sneaky Dees w/ Nadja
Fri Sept 23, Detroit, MI - Magic Stick w/ Earth
Sat Sept 24, Madison, WI - Memorial Union w/Mouth of the Architect
Sun Sept 25, Chicago, IL - Empty Bottle WIRE Adventure in Music Festival w/ Phil Niblock
Tues Sept 27, Columbus, OH - High Five w/ Earth
Wed Sept 28, Lexington, KY - Arts Place w/ Earth
Thurs Sept 29, Nashville, TN - The End w/Loss
Fri Sept 30, Atlanta, GA - Drunken Unicorn w/Wolf Eyes
Sat Oct 1, Mt Pleasant, SC - VIllage Tavern
Sun Oct 2, Charlotte, NC - Milestone
Mon Oct 3, Norfolk, VA - Relative Theory
Tues Oct 4, Baltimore, MD - Ottobar w/ Earthride & Octis
Wed Oct 5, New York, NY - Mercury Lounge w/ Sightings & Octis

Portastatic / Bright Ideas / Rating 6.9

Sometimes I can say nice things.

Brandon Stosuy has written perhaps one of the best PFM indie rock reviews I have read all year long…and as some of you might guess, I’ve read about 98.6999% of them so that’s really saying something.

First off, maybe I am giving Mac McCaughan too much power but considering his connections to Superchunk and Merge Records, in some circles that is considered indie rock royalty and in turn a difficult artist to review without some kind of subconscious bias.

Secondly I think it’s a challenge to talk about a record people are not necessarily dying to hear or waiting to see what the press have to say about it. Not to downplay Portastatic’s popularity but I am willing to take bets that more people read the Death Cab review.

Either way Bright Ideas is intelligently dissected and the opening paragraph alone shows a pleasantly surprising focus on the not so obvious. It might be a little too English class 101 for some people but its nice to read a PFM review that doesn't sound like fresh out of college bar stool gossip or a publisist's puppet on a typewriter.

The opener:

“In one sense, Mac McCaughan's repetitions are a key to his longevity. Structurally, he makes excellent use of run-on sentences for exclamatory emphasis; doubled lines (or more often quadrupled hiccups) propel his best songs. The oldie "My Noise" jumps with a row of fluctuating "It"'s: "It rides beside me/ It has no choice/ It's my life/ It is my voice/ It is stupid/ It is my noise." This sort of stutter pops up time and again in McCaughan's back catalogue, and judging from Bright Ideas, the sixth Portastatic full-length in 13 years, he wisely avoids a Mouldian aim at mid-career eclecticism, and continues the practice.”

Damn that’s good stuff.

This isn’t a record that will chart indie retail shop’s top 10 (except for maybe the Chapel Hill area) but for anyone who knows anything about Mac’s contributions to underground community will know this review was written with knowledge, care and accuracy.

For once the rating also reflects the opinions found in body of work below it so in the context of Brandon’s piece, a 6.9 rating makes sense and reflects both its winning and failing attributes.
I got nothing’ to add… the PFM review says it all and says it well.

( This is also perfect to follow up the John Vanderslice review as Bright Ideas was recorded at Tiny Telephone)

Friday, September 16, 2005

Pitchfork made a funny boo boo

Cocorosie Noah's Ark
[Astralwerks]Rating: 3.4

Cocorosie is actually on Touch and Go
NOT Astralwerks.
My guess is this will be fixed by PFM shortly but none the less,
the mistake is still up there now. ( 11:46 AM )

Documentaries As Career Guides

The Dandy Warhols: Odditorium or Warlords of Mars

You probably knew The Dandy Warhols were one of two featured bands in the documentary Dig! Marc Hogan saw the movie. He referenced it four times in his backhanded review of the new Dandies album.

Did he see the same movie I saw? Hogan saw a lead singer, Courtney Taylor, "stingingly aware he lacks his hero's gifts ... all the while stretching one foot ever further through the door to the commercial success that inevitably eludes Newcombe."

I saw a musician who learned one of the most important lessons in the music business: Talent is key, but focus is just as important. I saw what I knew all along, that Taylor is a talented music who plays a tongue-in-cheek card that keeps him in a voyeuristic position. He writes of rock's glorious underbelly from a safe distance. If listeners think he's all sex, drugs and rock and roll, let them think it.

But my problem with the review isn't withHogan's interpretation of the movie, it's that his historical knowledge of the band seems to have come from a movie.

This might have passed right by me had I not been even more frustrated with Pitchfork's review of the recent Ramones box set. The documentary End of A Century wasn't even mentioned, but the band's timeline was just too damn similar to the main points of the documentary. Even worse, it hit on the same points as did almost every review of the movie. (Four guys from Queens, Johnny stole Joey's girlfriend, Joey wrote a song about it). Any serious Ramones fan or person knowledgeable of the band would have certainly talked about other things.

Likewise, any person well versed in the band's music would never write things like:

"Their desperate hopes for mainstream popularity, which showed through in their professionalism and dogged work ethic, were dashed when the Sex Pistols made the new style a four-letter word."

What?! The band's biggest stab at professionalism was End of the Century, recorded by Phil Spector and released in January of 1980. The Sex Pistols broke up in 1978.

Or this:

"As their contemporaries imploded or exploded, the Ramones maintained a surprisingly consistent pace, continuously putting out albums but refusing to expand their sound too far beyond the template they established on their self-titled debut."

Yes, they kept a consistent pace. But to say they didn't expand their sound is to have missed the glossy production (not to mention the guitar licks and rolling bass lines) of End of the Century, the grab bag of influences found in Pleasant Dreams, the cover of "Times Has Come Today" on Subterranean Jungle and the introduction of synthesizers on Too Tough to Die and Animal Boy. That period covers 1980 to 1986 -- a period that is ALWAYS overlooked by critics who mistakenly think the band was defined by only its first found studio albums. Those four albums had the most impact on the music world, and they're punk rock staples, but the Ramones continued to make incredible music and spread its wings well into the '80s.

So what? So it's starting to look to me as if Pitchfork writers are using documentaries as a kind of Cliff's Notes. I'd rather they do their homework or admit they don't have the proper historical perspective to write a good review.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Black Dice / Broken Ear Record / Rating 8.1

perpetual motion machine

“ This isn’t music, this sounds like a bunch of retards falling down the stairs with pots and pans!”

God I miss my Pop Pop. This was a man who wasn’t afraid to speak him mind, no matter how inappropriate or totally wrong he was. I had proudly just played my very first band’s very first cd for both of my Grandparents and while my Granny smiled, tapped her feet and chewed on pretzel rods happily my Pop Pop sat with arms folded and barked out “ This isn’t music, this sounds like a bunch of retards falling down the stairs with pots and pans!”.

That was just his way of saying I don’t get it, this doesn’t sound like the stuff I call music, only he worded it in his own, umm… special way. I couldn’t get mad as this was also coming from the same man who chose to not eat cheese for all 80+ years of his life because it was a mold and growing up in Paterson in the 1920’s, the Italian kids were the meanest of them all. I don’t know if he blamed the cheese for what he considered volcanic temperament but nonetheless, he wanted no part of their food traditions… but that’s a whole other story.

Historically speaking my body reacts to all Black Dice releases the same way, like my Grandfather to cheese. Their music unnerves me more than the kid who lives above me and I didn’t think that was possible. My upstairs neighbor plays shoot em’ up video games at top volume for 18 hours a day while listening the same song on repeat. (something by Sade I think) I mean who plays violent games and listens R&B sex jams? He may also own boots of iron because each of his foot stomps cause things in my apartment to rattle or fall of the wall… but again that’s a whole other story.

Listening to “Broken Ear Record” I am also reminded of a stoner ex boyfriend who made me hours of his best 4track avant beat heavy skronk which I swear sounded like a reverb and delay pedal being gangbanged by a guitar, keyboard and bass. I was young, in love, and still couldn’t stand the stuff.

I really admire how PFM puts a positive spin the Black Dice cd by calling it “quasi-urbanized clang” and decidedly "tribal" or even better intelligent and never lacking in momentum.” Maybe all of these people share the same dealer and are smoking the same pot as my ex? I mean they all live in Brooklyn so it is possible, right ?!? The really sad part is I actually hate it when I don't get a band. I feel like I usually can find something good in just about anything and I'll be damned if I can grasp what makes this band so "futuristic"and "unparalleled among would-be contemporaries."

This really proves to me that there is a someone and a something for everyone and for my Pop Pop it wasn’t my music and for me it isn’t Black Dice. On the other hand I wouldn’t be shocked if I heard my ex is playing in a side project with one of the Black Dice boys either. I was in denial that there could be more than just one person out exploring and loving the sound of static in an echo chamber but I know how many records BD have sold to date and clearly there is a large tribe of you out there. Amen to kindred spirits.

I am going to tell it like it is. I don’t deserve to give this record a rating because in my world giving it a rating means it registered in my brain as something I understand to be music and well… the Black Dice do something but my gut reaction isn’t to call it music.

It’s okay, you can call me Grandpa (or rather grandma… you know me being a cranky old lady and all)

No it was not written by me!

I know its hard to believe but there are actually more people in the world who question Pitchfork's power than just us Tuningfork types.

In case you are wondering what the hell I am talking about, Coolfer has a guest editorial about PFM up right now and I have been getting emails about it; people assuming it was written by me. Once again, sorry but no dice. It ain't me.

Besides, why the heck would I bother doing that when I put PFM under the microscope daily here, ha!

The Greatest Lyric Ever Written

I have spent the last 7 years 8 month doing exhaustive research into what is the greatest lyric ever written by humans. This search has taken me down paths both glorious and frightening. I have seen the face of the one they call Lodur, and in his full wrath he shook me to my very core. I have listened to 763,865 albums and untold amounts of songs. My ears held bled and my nose has run. But it has all been worth it. For the truth, the way, has been revealed to me. The greatest lyric ever written:
I aint afraid of no ghost.
Oh the beauty, the simplicity, the full use of the English language to its logical end! The lyric of course was written by Ray Parker Jr, henceforth known as the Wordsmith. How could he bring so many disparate emotions into one simple lyric? Its as if he has taken the whole of human suffering and joy and fused it into 6 amazing words.
I ain't afraid of no ghost.
The Wordsmith is saying that no matter what this flimsy existence throws at us, whatever trials we must face in this farce called life, we will not be afraid! Notice he doesn't say I ain't afraid of the ghost. No, he ain't afraid of no ghost. None whatsoever. It is a testament to the human spirit and far greater than anything a so called great lyricist like Bob Dylan or Leonard Cohen could ever write. In fact I am surprised that the Wordsmith hasn't murdered those two for defiling the language he uses to craft such beauty.
Obviously now that I have discovered the greatest lyric ever written there is no need to continue to listen or purchase music. Burn your music and announce to the world, I AIN'T AFRAID OF NO GHOST!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

John Vanderslice / Pixel Revolt / Rating 8.3

A store's worth of cool noise makers

Pixel Revolt was given to me almost a month ago and after about 5 listens I had only marked 4 out of the 14 tracks as potential radio friendly numbers which really means these are the only songs that really struck me at all. (“Plymouth Rock”, “New Zealand Pines”(sooo Bjork!), “Radiant With Terror” and Angela”) John’s signature style of Neutral Milk Hotel and the Mountain Goats paying tribute to Dylan in theory should win my heart over but it fails to. It sounds more like I am listening to a compiled audio book rather than a cohesive artist release.

The melodramatic lyrics take on the feeling of a Broadway musical gone solo. The idea is interesting but without the play, the script to connect the dots, each song becomes a disjointed short story. Imagine flipping through a handful of television channels and just as you get wrapped up in one plot, you click over to the next dramatic series. I won’t call this maddening but it borders on annoying.

In my hunt to research for this review I turned to J.V’s website and quickly became totally engrossed by his careful notations in regards to the making of this new record: his analogue tape crisis, The Vako Orchestron, and "Why vacuum tubes sound 'different' than transistors in audio applications?” There are literally hundreds of these factoids to get lost in.

Now I can’t decide which is a more painstakingly precise project, Pixel Revolt the record or the in depth journal detailing the recording of Pixel Revolt on his website. His logical progression in diary form is the complete package I was hoping to hear in his brand new songs.

What can I say; I LOVE John Vanderslice on computer screen but only LIKE him on record.

I am glad the PFM review exclusively tackles the poetic side of J.V's record because beneath Pixel Revolt’s wordy exterior hides a much bigger story. Reading about the making of this record changed how my ears approached the music all together and while I still don’t care for all of the songs musically, I respect and better understand the place they came from.

This has been a first for me; I can’t think of any other artist who has left behind such a detailed blue print of the record they made on line for the world to see. The engineer enthusiast in me loves this but the website’s ode to his studio experiences leaves the themes behind his famed lyrics in the dust. Not completely, but they seem secondary to the recording process itself. The OCD infused tech talk is curious when his following is probably an equal mix of Tape Op subscribers, college lit majors, and plain old fans of the rock.

It’s four hours later and I have just finished reading an article John wrote for Tape Op about Pro Tools from the stance of an analog addict. It was then followed by an interview where John talks about the technique of “hitting tubes so hard” and with a passion so great, some might confuse it as sexually charged. There are endless links to browse and I finally ended on one piece discussing the history of his co-op like recording studio in S.F. called Tiny Telephone.

This is the best infomercial in disguise ever.

All of John Vanderslice’s incredibly detailed recording notes remove the recording smoke and mirrors only to unveil the complex realities behind the making of a cd. The information overload leans toward an unhealthy fixation yet it reflects a man driven by a divine talent to record the old fashioned way. Pixel Revolt is no longer just a new release to me, it is a promotional tool showcasing all of his studio acrobatics.

His website layout is actually a stroke of genius because it highlights Tiny Telephone in a non-traditional commercial form as equally as it reflects his other talents. I may not love this new record or even the one before it but I am totally sold on his analog studio and his undeniable fervor for the act of recording.

Financially speaking I am also willing to bet hiring Vanderslice for a day in his studio will make him more money than a month’s worth of cd sales.

I am stubborn and unwilling to give the music on Pixel Revolt the same PFM rating of an 8.3 but I am willing to give it to his website instead; that shit is amazing.

I am giving this cd a 16 out of 24 possible tracks.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Franz Ferdinand new album leaked to net

Sep 13, 2005
Aversion Reports

You could have it so much sooner with the Internet.

The Scottish act's sophomore effort, You Could Have It So Much Better with Franz Ferdinand leaked onto Internet file-swapping networks this weekend. Early copies press copies were encoded under the fake name C Drive Back Up to deter pirates and make locating them online more difficult. The leak comes about three weeks before the release of the follow-up to 2004's Franz Ferdinand (Domino) (read Aversion's review); You Could Have It is slated for an Oct. 4 release.

More of the same kind of info can be found on NME

This “news story” is all over the internet and in an age where advertising on line has become quite a lucrative business AKA expensive as hell, this kind of “leak” makes for a swell PR stunt. Any band can have a publicity company or label send a press release stating a new record is forthcoming but why not give the press a little extra incentive to make it a headline story.

It isn’t that impossible to imagine a label might try such a marketing scam just three weeks before the cd streets. Hmm, that’s just about works out; if you like the sneak preview, maybe you will like it enough to pre-order the record from the hundreds of places already offering it online or race to your local record store and be the first on your block to own it.

Pretty sneaky sis.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Sigur Rós / Takk / Rating 7.8

All the stuff in bold are quotes taken from the PFM Sigur Ros review

1) I would like to read a review about Sigur Ros or any other band from Iceland that does not mention Bjork.

2) “the mythology of Iceland-- of staggering literacy and longevity, of Björk, of Reykjavik, of volcanoes and fisheries and giant slabs of ice-- became the mythology of Sigur Rós.” Iceland stopped being mysterious after the Sugarcubes toured the states and spread their pixie dust damaged pop from coast to coast in the late 80's.

Their mythology also runs a little deeper than their capital, a natural resource and an untouched by time landscape. Written in the 12th and 13th century The Iceland Sagas tell a very lengthy supernatural infused portraits of Viking life / Iceland’s history broken down into 40 family sagas and 50 shorter tales. The Viking history and culture influence our modern world more than anyone would probably ever guess.

3.“The mystery melted, the fascination faltered, and the animated, barstool retellings of The Sigur Rós Story died down.” Sigur Rós has a very dedicate fan base who talk about their music like others in the jock world talk about their favorite sports team. I guess fringe music fans that were once wooed by Iceland for all its magic and wonder have moved onto Norway now? Canada?

I think any band working one a third, fourth or fifth release battle the same issue. Music fans seems to have a shorter attention span than ever and if a person buys more than two of any bands recordings these days, it’s a minor miracle. Being close to the world of music retail, trust me, Sigur Rós fans buy EVERYTHING and follow the band on tour in a tradition once reserved for those in VW vans only.

4) FYI - Takk = thanks in Icelandic
While I am at it: Here is a translation of the tracks from a fan message board.

1.Takk ... (Thanks)
2. Glósóli (not really a word, but kind of means "glowing sun", personified)
3. Hoppi Pollar (again, not a real phrase, but it's like a young child saying "hopping into puddles")4. Með Blóðnasir (Nosebleed)
5. Sé Lest (I see a train)
6. Sæglópur (Lost at Sea)
7. Mílanó
8. Gong
9. Andvari (Zephyr/gentle breeze)
10. Svo Hljótt (So Quiet)
11. Heysátan (Stack of Hay)

5)“better than the otherworldly blubbers they're so casually accused of” : I have no idea what this means.

6) “Ultimately, Takk is a warmer, more orchestral take on the band's defining sound, and easily their most instantly accessible record to date” Agreed but this is also the the first studio recording to really capture the power of SR's live performances.

7)“shockingly, over a third of the album's songs clock in at under five minutes each.” Fear not there are still plenty of 8 – 10 minute songs too.

8) “Birgisson's lyrics are especially incidental, all barely-audible squeals and sighs.” Did we listen to the same record? There are vocals are all over this cd. They go beyond the concept of a voice playing the role of a secondary instrument.They skydive monumentally from great heights. His melodies ride playfully on top of enormous orchestrations, out front and for all to hear. I am not kidding there is nothing passive and background about the singing at all. This is actually as close to a traditional vocal set up as this band will probably every get. I would also like to add that there is an abundance of full choral accents to many of the songs... raising the value of the human voice to this release ten fold.

9) “Takk just sounds like Sunday morning Sigur Rós, all yawns and sleepy grins and quick yanks at the curtains.” I can’t listen to something with such enormous swells, something as tempormental as peek-a-boo sunshine on a day when clouds keep turning warm light on and off… and not be moved deeply. Maybe some people associate strings and an orchestra with sleepy boredom but on the contrary it adds a complex and rich dynamic that would be impossible to achieve with a normal band. If you find yourself listless listening to Takk I suspect your friends need to check your body for a pulse.

10) "Glosoli" is the record's shining center, a rapturous, tinkling swirl, with Birgisson's high, squeaky howls (sounding perfectly thin and kitten-y)” Can I ask again…did PFM listen to this record? Birgisson is practically belting on some of these songs (like track 7) mind you it is a falsetto belt but its powerful and comes from a place deep in his chest. Think finger on a wine glass edge, a crisp clean high tones, sonic and lovely.

11) “Takk proves that Sigur Rós can, in fact, transcend their own legend.” I give up, the review on the whole is rather complimentary yet it still got a 7.8.

12) It’s a gorgeous record. It deserves your attention immediately. It deserves a 9 or better.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

A walk down memory lane

I haven't posted one of my radio shows for awhile and after all my MBV talk a few days ago I was inspired to pull out some of my favorite chainsaw guitar shoegazer dreampop blahblahblah. Not everything fits that bill but for the most part....

Ruts - Babylon's Burning- Remixed by Rob Smith
Guitar - House Full Of Love
Lansing-Dreiden - Metal On Gun
Ride - Leave Them All Behind
Death Cab For Cutie - Summer Skin
Flaming Lips - Unconsciously Screaming
Animal Collective - Did You See The Words
Erics Trip - Follow
Swirlies - Son Christobal de las Casas
Drop Nineteens - Aquarium
Jessamine - Ordinary Sleep
M83 - Teen Angst - REmix by Montag 12"
N.Lannon - Demons
My Bloody Valentine - I Don't need you
Sigur Ros - Hoppipolla
Broadcast - Found The F
Helio Squence - Knots
Lilys - Elizabeth Colour Wheel
Cocteau Twins - Wax and Wane
Cave In - I luv I jah
Telescopes - Perfect Needle
Over The Atlantic - France - Demo cdr
Jesus + and M Chain - Upside Down


Stratford 4 - Rebecca
Weddiing Present - Come Play with Me
Sun Kil Moon - Convenient Parking
New Pornographers - Jessica Numbers
Chad Van Gaalen - Clinically Dead
Spaceman 3 - Take Me To the Other Side

Friday, September 09, 2005

New Pornographers / Twin Cinema / Rating 9.0

Yummy yummy yummy

This is a little more complicated than most reviews.

I know someone in the band, the reviews are all glowing, the record is charting in the top ten of practically every hipster retail outlet plus indie radio, and their shows are selling out all over our country as well as Canada.

I get it; this band is popular.

They take the basic ingredient of tasteful melodies and transform them into something wildly unique. They are the Canadian Iron Chefs of pop music. The 14 dishes from “Twin Cinema” are filled with all the things every other band in the world is cooking with yet with theirs taste different. Better than most.

Here’s the catch. You can’t love everything which is code for I don’t love everything.

For instance I am certain there must be a dish with squid that won’t make me gag but I can’t stomach the thought of eating it regardless. I know there are plenty of people in the world who love it, I have sat next to friends eating it, but I can say with certainty that it’s not for me. The New Pornographers are a band I don’t mind being around yet my body doesn’t seem to want to digest it.

Maybe I should move away from the squid comparison.

Listening to all of Twin Cinema at once is like eating an entire box of Fruity Pebbles. A bowl, maybe two is ok, but not a whole box. Their music requires a sweet tooth and even if their brand of pop rock is more exotic and better preformed than most, it still looms out of my personal taste.

If I could pick just one of their delicate layered treats for consumption I would pick “The Jessica Numbers”. There is a feeling of decadence in taking in a song that good. Don’t hate me but after listening to just that one track I feel spoiled, utterly content, and don’t want to hear another bite. If I could, I would give that one song a 9.0 rating but in my particular case, there is too much of everything else.

“Twin Cinema” in all its glory is a super-group sugar fix that brings me to the brink of diabetic shock and clearly PFM’s high rating proves them to have quite the opposite reaction AKA a higher tolerance for the sweet. The New Pornographers seemingly make everyone as happy as a kid in an ear candy store and who doesn’t love a good candy store?


Sharing and Caring

Its about that time again to do a little give-a-way. I get sent lots of cds and sometimes I just don't like them enough to keep. This time there are three different cds up for grabs and if you are the first person to leave a comment saying you want that particular cd, I will mail it to you for free. Yes free. No strings attached, all I ask is that you give a good home and if you hate it, pass it along to a friend. Email me your name and address at if you are the winner, the cd will be mailed in a matter of days. I'm good like that.

Oh yeah, I would like the three cds to go to three different people.

1) Scarling - So long, Scarecrow - Sympathy for the record industry - a darker noisier version of velocity girl or a really sonic new metal but goth version of Team Dresch. WE HAVE A WINNER!!!!

2) Lesbians on Ecstasy - Giggles in the Dark promo only cd from Alien8 Recordings - this is a cdr of the lp only release. Don't make me describe them, I really don't like them but Le Tigre is the 1st remixer so they are in that ballpark. they are also Canadian. Everybody loves Canada. It comes in a paper sleeve AKA no art. WE HAVE A WINNER!!!!

3) Richard Hawley - Coles Corner - Mute - guitar player from Pulp solo and reminds me of Roy Orbinson or music that would be in a David Lynch / John Waters film. WE HAVE A WINNER!!!!

M83 / M83 / Rating 6.5

Time line curves back

"If anything, M83 is a good spot to give pause to later Loveless comparisons. Cynics term Gonzalez's shoegaze one-dimensional, but he's focused on stars and hearts, not his laces. The disembodied guitars of his later period do evoke Kevin Shields; M83's dream pop, though, is more redolent of mid-period MBV, especially Isn't Anything's "Soft As Snow (But Warm Inside)" minus the vocals, and here this sweaty-palm sensibility is clearest." PFM

What actually should be placed on an alter to Kevin Shields? Whammy bar? The Swirlies back catalog? A Fender Jag? A tremolo pedal?

I ask you this: what did the world of music do pre Kevin Shields??? I am pretty sure he doesn’t own sole rights to the sonic sound of guitars run through a fancy rack unit (the infamous Yamaha SPX90) but I swear from reading the last few years of music journalism, you wouldn’t know it.

I will be the first to give My Bloody Valentine credit for making groundbreaking songs and playing a very influential role in music over the past 10 years ( guitar styles, vocal attack, and album production) but come on; not EVERY band needs to put them on the top their thank you list.

My goal is to take the myth / legend of K.S. down a few notches. Let me introduce you to young Kevin.

Let’s start by taking a look at Kevin Shield’s early inspirations: He started playing guitar because of his love for the Ramones and his very first band The Complex covered songs by the Ramones and the Sex Pistols. Early MBV influences, as given by the band in various interviews are: Sonic Youth, Jesus and Mary Chain, Nick Cave, The Cramps, Cocteau Twins, Gang of Four, Joy Division, Siouxie and the Banchees, and The Virgin Prunes.

Mr. Superstar guitar player had his to say about his own guitar playing skills:

Buddyhead: How do you rate yourself as a guitar player to this day?
Kevin: Well, if you watch me, I barely even do that (holds hand in a barre chord shape again). I’ve never considered myself much of a guitarist. I always just wanted to be like Johnny Ramone. Just be really good at one thing. I think because I was never dexterous, and because I never really learned how to play a scale, or lead guitar, or anything, but because I still wanted to be expressive, that made me use the tremolo arm, which gave me something to work with for a long time.

So, to return back to the M83 review in PFM.

M83 in old interviews surrounding their debut release said these artists were their key musical influences: Tangerine Dream, Mogwai, Pink Floyd, Can, Nico, Ash Ra Tempel, Brian Eno, Neil Young , Sonic Youth, and cinematic scores of all kinds. ( Italian, French, German, American...)

M83 denies any influence by MBV when they first began.
“Actually we only started listening to MBV after our first record. We heard all these people saying how the music sounds similar so we checked them out.” Quote from

M83 repeats this sentiment in a PITCHFORK interview!

Don’t get me wrong, the PFM review of the M83 reissue is decent enough but I want to introduce readers to a life before and beyond MBV. The My Bloody Valentine reference comes up at least once a week as of late if not more so next time you come across it perhaps you will be reminded of a broader scope the writer is either ignorant of or too hesitant to mention. (IE: too obscure for the every day reader to get)

I will end this with just more quote which I think in the end is a nice reminder of the false ideas the press can help create and keep alive. There is nothing worse than a writer disguising his or her own opinions as fact.

Straight from the mouth of the hero himself ( 1997):

Question: How do you feel about the press saying that you created shoegaze or dreampop? Kevin: Don't blame us for what the press creates!

Thursday, September 08, 2005

What made my tropical summer a little less suffocating:

The Narrator live and in my living room
Christian Patterson’s “Sound Affects”
Bill Murray
The biography of Sir Isaac Newton
Sigur Ros - Takk
Wolf Parade - Apologies to the Queen Mary
Red Sparowes and Zombi live
1/5 of Cloud Room on whiskey bombs singing Whitney Houston at last call and big ups to their fabulous footwear( sorry, a bit of an inside joke there)
The Brazilian singer in the Thievery Corp. live set
Animal Collective “ Feels”
Pelican “ Australasia”
My portable record player
Frost EP on Southern Lord
Direct from the Hollywood Cemetery / Fascist Fascist live
Chad Vangaalan “ Infiniheart”
Wilderness “Arkless”
The best of the Beta Band
Battletorn “ Evil Chains”
Nada Surf “In the Mirror”
Over the Atlantic demo
Municipal Waste “Hazardous Mutation”Make Believe “ One Zero”
Rahim “Jungles”
Life and Times “ Suburban Homes” (you saw that one coming)
Mugison “Mugimama”

I have tried to keep politics out of my blog but...maybe after the hurricane Katrina disaster our country will finally see President Bush for the useless tool that he is.

This might be an impossible task

It seems that post hurricane katrina many bands are starting to post mp3 files for fans to download and in turn the minimal cost of the song will go towards a charity helping the victims of the New Orleans area.

I can't seem to find a place on line that has a coherent list of bands / artists putting music up for the cause so it is my goal to start collecting as many names as I can and listing them here. I don't care how big or small the band is, leave their name and the link in the comments section to this post. If you know if a site that already has a list like this running, please post that as well.


New Buffalo / The Last Beautiful Day / Rating 6.8

hockey, snow, and fox-trapping

All you folks who like the Morr record label will find New Buffalo the perfect hold over until the next Lali Puna or Ms. John Soda release comes out. The first track “Recovery” rivals even the best PSAPP songs but don’t be too disappointed when the rest of the cd drags its heels and trips into the finish line.

To put it mildly the PFM shout-outs to Cat Power, Air, and Postal Service don’t do “The Last Beautiful Day” justice, but whatever. One person will hear one thing, another person, something else; it all boils down to what the listener’s ears have been exposed to previously and good old fashioned opinion.

Either way the 6.8 rating (which I am learning can still mean a good or a bad review depending on the writer) in this case means it's almost two notches above just so-so. I guess this makes "The Last Beautiful Day" a pretty darn okay listen? I am nodding my head in agreement.

Hardcore twee followers, fragile indie-tronic devotees, and even you new “soul” fans in the tradition of Track and Field Organisation… this ones for you. It doesn't get more micro subgenre specific than that people...ha!

Don't worry, I worry me too.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Death Cab For Cutie / Plans / Rating 6.5

Different Names for the Same Thing Indeed

How vexing must it be to play in Death Cab for Cutie, not be Ben Gibbard, and yet have almost every review of your band mention Postal Service; the band you have nothing to do with? How much more defeating is it to be in a band who has existed for the span of 5 full length records and have new press talk about you as if you never existed pre O.C. crosspollination?

You name it, they dropped it: Billboard, E! on line, The Onion, Rolling Stone….the list runs the length of my arms and by venting on the subject and now... I too have laid down the same hand of cards. Crap.

I am trying to imagine the varying degrees of pressure Death Cab faced when writing “Plans”. I will not pretend I know what the band was thinking when they began working on this record but certainly there could have been several valid black clouds looming over their creative process.

  • The first release on a major label
  • Creating songs to keep their original and oldest fans happy
  • Writing poignant lyrics and melodies that won’t scare away and intimidate the youngest and newest members of their following
  • Make a cd that could match or even better, surpass the success of Postal Service
  • Most importantly make a record they could wake up in the morning and not hate themselves for having produced. (IE: staying true to themselves as artists)

That’s enough pressure to make the most seasoned artist crack and while I can’t call this record a courageous or stunning major label debut, it isn’t the tattered remains of a once captivating band either.

“Plans” is a contemplative seesaw resting between good and barely average.

The album begins on a swelling high note (Marching Bands of Manhattan”, “Soul Meets Body” and “Summer Skin”) but by the 4th track I am wondering if Mr. Gibbard will ever stop singing and spinning his personal fireside tales. Every time the music takes off in an interesting direction, vocals stomp all over it with an overtly wordy verse and chorus. Ben falls upon the same old basic 5 melody patterns and timings he knows how to sing and then it clicked… haven’t I heard them do this all before but better? I’ve read several reviews where they call the vocals the glue that keeps this record together but I find their endless melodramatic mid-tempo presence too much. They grate and by the last track my interest in the cd as a whole has been shredded to bits.

The sly but subtle production/trickery is well crafted and smart, I salute you Chris Walla. Each broad shouldered pop song musically carries the signature lyrical style we have all grown accustomed to and love. But,(and you knew there was going to be a but) sadly the final product is a little of too much the same without being as striking as the old same. It's easy to predict the band’s base following will think this record is really good but for the more conditioned indie rocker, it is not good enough.

PFM ends their review by saying: “For its peaks, the album also has its share of valleys …” and “In another sense, it would be nice if a band reaching for a larger audience had a sound that matched that sense of ambition.” Their 6.5 rating seems to match those sentiments accurately and on the whole, I couldn’t agree more.*

*Had I not self imposed pity while debating the possible writing hurdles Death Cab faced when making “Plans” I believe my rating number would actually match the number of knuckles Ben Gibbard had “bruised by a lady in black.”

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Menomena / "Posh Isolation" b/w "Tung Track" 7" / Rating 2 stars

Chemistry gone bad

Oh man. Menomena put out one of my top three records of last year, so just the idea of new material made me a giddy as schoolgirl. I special ordered the 7”, raced home to play it and pfzzzt.

It dissapoints like a dud firework.

Since I am airing out the Menomena subject let me touch upon Lackthereof which is the drummer from Menomena’s solo project. Danny Seim offers up his friggin’ 7th long player. No shocker, “Christian the Christian” is very drum heavy, contains lots of sounds drenched in reverb, is garnished nicely with kooky keyboard blips, bleeps, and loops but it still sounds like a basement recording.

When I say basement I don’t mean the actual audio technique suffers (though I think his home studio is in fact in his basement), the songs are very much what many a side project of great bands sound like. The talent is there but this material reflects a rough draft of something bigger and better; like notebook sketches verse a finished painting. These outlines have their own charm and worth but I don’t know how many times I will find myself throwing it back in my cd player.

Did I mention Danny raps? Yeah, there is some of that too.

My favorite songs : “Half of Drugz”(closest track to Menomena), Mission with Christian”(super fuzz electro drone with lots of snare) which rolls into “Safely in Jail” nicely (pong video game bleeps with low rider beats) and “Take Him Away”(signature Menomena big beats which take on a Chemical Brother’s demo vibe)

The 1st edition limited packaging of Lackthereof is stellar, the lyrical themes show definite attention to detail, and as truly prolific side projects go this one will please Menomena fans a million times more than the “Posh Isolation” single.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Kate Bush Returns with New Album in November / Orenda Fink / Invisible Ones / Rating 6.8

From PFM :

Kate Bush Returns with New Album in November
Amy Phillips reports:
Heeeathcliff! It’s me, Kate Bush! I’ve come home! At long last, the mysterious, possibly magical, and probably mental singer-songwriter has emerged from hibernation, and will be unveiling a brand new double album, Aerial, on EMI records on November 7 in Europe and November 8 in America. Her first record since 1993’s The Red Shoes, it will be preceded by the single “King of the Mountain” on October 24. No further info is available right now, other than the knowledge that Bush produced the album herself, but we’ll keep you posted like a mailbox.

But why should I care about Kate Bush, asks you, Mr./Ms. Snarky Hipster? Well, other than the facts that she was often photographed in elaborate headdresses and knee-high boots, collaborated with Prince and pretty much invented Tori Amos, she also wrote some of the craziest, fiercest, scariest, loveliest, most delicate and whimsical music of the past three decades. And she’s been experiencing a renaissance of sorts lately: both the Futureheads and the Decemberists have covered her songs (“Hounds of Love” and “Wuthering Heights”, respectively), and that Gang Gang Dance album sure sounded a bit Bushy. So don’t front. You know you love her.

Kate Bush News & Information (Fansite):

Orenda Fink / Invisible Ones / Rating 6.8

You missed one

“If you're striving to restore faith in a world of "prophets, pimps, angels" and "whores," you gotta do better than Sarah McLachlan melodies and a rented Haitian choir. “

“The intrepid Invisible Ones exposes Azure Ray as less than the sum of its parts, though Fink's Björk-sized ambitions constantly grapple with her colorless adult-alt tendencies.”

“The gauche string arrangement on "Blind Asylum" hints at a sense of humor, but can only do so much in two minutes to counteract an album's worth of doom. “

“Sadly, subtle tidbits like this are about the closest Fink comes to liveliness.”

I am getting tired of this question. Why post such harsh remarks and still give the cd a 6.8??? I am willing to defend all the above statements from the PFM review but I fear not hell’s wrath. I would give this a 3 to represent the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Zing.

More importantly refer to the above article on Kate Bush which ran in PFM near or on the same day. I fear Kate Bush returning to the public eye will cause a flurry of second rate hacks only matched by the number of bands who have prayed for the spirit of Gang of Four to enter their bodies.

Oh yeah, while I am on the subject: Could we make this Gang Of Four remix thing the last GO4 related release / news story of this year. I swear I used to like this band but their music has been beaten to death with sound alike bands, reunion tours, reissues and now a remix.

I look forward to feeling the same way about Talking Heads in 2006.

You know who you are!

Dear bloggers and journalists,

Here are some words to try using in replace of the overabused word “snarky” which sounds like the Snorkel’s cartoon name for bitch:


Thank you,

This is really starting to feel more like an obit column

More sad news : I will cut and paste very nice notes from Charles / Gern Blandsten and Graham / of Austin's Emos on the passing of Randy "Biscuit" Turner : singer of the Big Boys.

As many of you probably have heard by now, Randy "Biscuit" Turner, singer of the legendary BIG BOYS, passed away at home in Austin, TX on August 18, 2005. We at Gern Blandsten Records send our condolences to his family, friends, and the legions of fans that have lost a hero.

Randy was one of the kindest people I have ever been privileged to meet, and his voice narrated the soundtrack that guided my life. Half a lifetime ago, I was a teenager clenching my fists and dreaming of being Biscuit, playing my Big Boys records and tapes until they wore out. I can't even imagine what kind of impact they would have made on me had I actually seen them live. As it was, they completely changed my life through my stereo speakers and fanzine interviews! In recent years, each time I spoke with him personally I would feel an urgent need to thank him for being such an enormous influence on the person I am today.

I never did thank him, though. I knew he would not have accepted it. He would have told me that I am who I am because of me. But without a doubt it was Randy's voice resonating through the needle on my turntable that encouraged me to "go start my own band," put out my own records, and meet the world on my own terms.

Randy took music to another level, a level way beyond anything before or since. He kept taking it to that level with every band he was in (BIG BOYS, CARGO CULT, SWINE KING, TEXAS BISCUIT BOMBS and more) and he never stopped creating some of the most intricate and compelling artwork I have seen. He was a man that spoke directly to me and to thousands of others in a way we needed to be spoken to at a crucial time in our lives. This is probably why it meant so much to me to have my logo on a Big Boys record- I simply wanted to return a favor that the band never even knew they had done for me.

Shortly after Randy died, Tim and Beth Kerr sent a message saying, "if you want to celebrate his life, be creative. We all have it in us." I urge you all to take this advice as a call to arms. I know I will. Randy "Biscuit" Turner, without realizing it you spoke to me and made me care. I only wish I could have adequately returned the favor. But then again, maybe I have. If I can touch even one person the same way you touched me, the cycle will continue and you will live on forever.

Love and Respect,
Charles Maggio / Gern Blandsten Records

Randy Turner was born in 1956 in a small Texas town and relocated to Austin in the 70's,
quickly immersing himself in the psychedelic, beatnik, art and music scene. As punk grew, he became involved in playing, not just watching, and started one of Austin's FIRST punk rock bands: the Big Boys. Truly original, the Big Boys fused funk and punk/hardcore. It can safely be said there would probably be no Red Hot Chili Peppers without them (good or bad?). Their unique sound and style helped shape the Austin punk scene and put it on the map as a place to play for touring bands, and a place of originality and art.

After the Big Boys disbanded in the early 80's, Biscuit went on to continue art, music (Swine Kings, Slurpees, Biscuit Bombs and more) and had recently been the busiest he's been in years with touring in his newest band and doing art shows all over the country as well as Japan.

On a personal note, I'd like to say that Randy Turner might be the kindest person I've ever met, and most anyone who knew him would agree. He was sweet, hilarious and just plain interesting. Being born in 1978 here in Austin, I missed the early 80's punk scene where Austin was so much weirder and cooler than the fashion punk scene of spikes and leather. People like Biscuit would wear a purple cape and a hunter's hat with bicycle shorts that would piss off the frat boys and rednecks, doing so far better than the Sid Vicious rip offs any day. But he didn't just dress like that in the 80's. Last time I saw Randy he had on acid-washed jeans, neon green shoes, a Cross Colors jacket and purple hair...all at around 50 years old. Why not? Why look like everyone
else, or "grow up?"

"Fuck that," he must have thought. I love that there are still people this brave. I love that Randy "Biscuit" Turner was one of them. I love that this guy knew so much about the history of Austin music and loved to talk about it. I love that his art was so important to him and his friends were such a big part of his life. I love that Exene still stayed at his house when coming through with X and that he'd stop by Emo's to say hi to Fugazi before going to work. These legends of music weren't a part of his past and a trend he was into, but a part of his life today and what made him the man he was.

As a Big Boys fan, I knew of him when I was young, but didn't met him and befriend him until I started working at Emo's. I'd met him and booked his really fun cover band Slurpees a few times. When we had X play our anniversary show I asked him to do a poster, since I knew he'd done the original X and Big Boys flyer in the early 80's when they first played Austin at Club Foot. Excited, he took to it like a lion and tore out another Biscuit classic, complete with photo copied images and hand drawn psychedelia... art that could only be his. He told me how important his art was and how he had EVERY piece of art he'd ever made in his life, except for a Chronicle Anniversary piece he did which the paper lost many years ago. Knowing this, I was
surprised a couple of years later when he stopped by the club and said, "Hey, I made you something," and handed me this amazing Emo's sign/painting, glitter-filled and star-studded. It even had a letter on the back to me and he'd hot glued string to hang it from. "I wanted to do it. Just saying thanks for booking my bands, letting me do art here and supporting music and stuff in Austin." This coming from a guy whose records I sang along with and pretend to stage dive on my bed to at age 12.

He didn't have to give me anything. Who was I? There are people he knows much better and for far longer; I'm just another kid in the scene, right? But Biscuit didn't look at things that way. He figured if you did something good or right, then it came back. He treated people amazing that were good to him and shit on anyone who pissed him off. The Golden Rule, Turner style, and I think he was loved for it.

Graham Williams
Emo's, Austin, TX

Randy "Biscuit" Turner related links:

Biscuit was found the very same day he was featured on the cover of the Austin
Chronicle with a full-length feature written by Marc Savlov. He didn't even get to see
the newspaper. Here is the article:

The Austin American-Statesman article about Biscuit's death:

Lots of old pictures of the Big Boys, plus photos from the old Austin punk scene: