Monday, August 28, 2006

2 New Music Journal Entries...

Can be found here.

pitch perfect

Thursday, August 24, 2006

It's my blog and I will post if I want to.

Let's talk Junior Boys So This Is Goodbye.

Rumors have been piling up that this record rules. Have you heard it yet? It must be a slow year for dance music if this kind of record qualifies as one of the best of the year. Help me out people. I am hearing OMD, Pet Shop Boys, and electo-pop artists that labels Morr, Astralwerks, and Plug Research (to name just a few) having been releasing for years.

Don't mistake me, I am not hating on this record. In fact I really like "In the Morning" but in my top twenty or 30 of 2006? I don't think so. If I am going to wave the flag of best electronic record of the year in any direction, I am waving it for Clark's Body Riddle on Warp. Now that **** will blow your mind.

Anybody heard the new Squarepusher cd yet? Not that excited about that one ever but I have only really played it once so I won't give my thumbs down to it quite yet.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Mommy, Is There a Heaven for Blogs?

Why Pitchperfect, why? I am so distraught.

Ok so not really. I work with Pitchperfect so our communication will not really be effected by the untimely demise of this site. But I will miss getting to read what she thought day to day. Damn could the lady write. I am constantly astounded by how much she put into this site, and while I will miss it I think it is best for her to slow down. I guess i could just call her and ask for an audio version of the site.

I think I got involved in the site when I got an e-mail from PP saying "hey, look what I did. Wanna write something?".

Of course I did.

No one had any idea what it would become. I think we are all very proud of what we contributed. Sometimes we acted as Pitchfork Errors and Omissions, sometimes we had to pointed out lazy or inept writing and sometimes we had to praise them for recognizing great music and sharing their passion in words.

I have never been the strongest reviewer on the site, because I find it very hard to put my feelings about music into words. Hopefully I haven't messed up too much. I always enjoyed doing the concert reviews and fiction stories more than anything. But trying to do reviews gives me a respect for my fellow writers and the good ones on Pitchfork who spend a lot of time thinking about these things and expressing their thoughts in such an organized manor.

So a couple things before I go: If you have not liked my writing, then congrats! You no longer have to deal with me. If you have enjoyed it please check out Viewingfork or Crapiown for plenty more of my thoughts on film and life in general.

If you have liked the indie rock adventure tales then I have good news for you. They are being collected in zine form (with illustrations by my lovely wife) and will be ready shortly. If you would like one free of charge please e-mail me at

Thanks to all the people who commented on what we wrote. Positive or negative it was all appreciated. Except that guy Anonymous. That guy was a dick.


Monday, August 21, 2006

Ta Ta For Now

Late this past Saturday, I spent time with some friends in a very 21st century activity – sharing music on each other’s iPods. Each of us had an iPod and our host had one of those iPod boom box things. We stood around in his kitchen, drinking beer and swapping out iPods, each of us dialing up a favorite track for the others. Listening to Boris, The Cult, Clutch, Parts and Labor, Sybris and more, we stayed up way too late talking about music, which wound its way into other talk about drinking, pot and houses.

Now, I’m not pushing Apple. However, it struck me how remarkable it was that each of us had a large portion of his collection with him and we could pull songs instantly from them. In the past, I’ve been known to invite friends over for dinner, and then swap CDs or records in and out of my stereo, playing them songs while we drank. Now, we were standing around with shelves worth of music in our hands, picking out favorite songs with the ease of dialing a telephone while drinking a beer with a free hand. We were using new technology, a device less than five years old uses a file format just a little over a decade old, but still doing something that folks have done for decades – listen to and talk about music they love.

For over two decades, I’ve talked about music with friends, band mates, bartenders, fellow college radio DJs and co-workers. The best times that I’ve had talking about music have occasionally involved a drink or two, but always have been face to face – whether in a practice space, a record store, a club or in a car on the drive back from a show.

That’s not to say that I don’t enjoy reading about music and writing to other people about it. Shortly after I started using the Internet 12 years ago, I quickly found out about Usenet and the various music newsgroups. However, until Pitchperfect and I crossed paths last year, I never thought much about publishing those thoughts. I was content to be some guy talking about music to a few friends and fellow fanatics. The last few months have been nerve wracking and occasionally sleep depriving, but they’ve been something new that I’ve come to enjoy.

For all that we heckle Pitchfork Media, they’re far from devils. I’ve read them for at least four years and have many favorite records in my collection because of them. I believe that the writers who started it and most of their current writers love music. However, Pitchfork would do well to remember that more people are bypassing professional writers and going directly to other fans. That’s not to say that a journalist cannot speak to what’s great in music. However, it does mean that readers will quickly sniff out feigned ardor and faulty knowledge when it comes to music. Music fans don’t want style and attitude – they want knowledge and passion.

Like Pitch perfect, I’ll probably take a breather for a while until my paying job settles down. I’m very thankful to her for letting my words share some space alongside hers and I’m equally thankful to those of you who’ve dropped by and taken the time to read.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Over and Out

My problem with Tuning Fork is it gives the impression that Pitchfork means something to me personally when in fact if I didn’t have to pay attention to it for my work I wouldn’t read it at all. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate them now nor have I ever. The truth is I am not (ironically enough) much of a computer person and I don’t really enjoy pursuing my passion for music via the internet. What I am trying to say here is I have had my fill of full time blogging no less about Pitchfork. This isn’t exactly a good-bye, think of it more like I have much much much better things to be doing with my time and this is my official declaration of independence.

I am uncertain as to what this blog will turn into but for now it will remain up and open for any of the writers to post on. This however is a promise: I personally will not be posting reviews of Pitchfork reviews anymore

Wha happened?

I miss me. I miss my free time; the days when I was a creative person that had nothing to do with a laptop or Pitchfork. I miss listening to a record and not wondering what PFM was going to say about it, especially since their opinions never mattered to me personally in the first place. I hate the fact that I can’t listen to a record without instantly beginning to translate the experience into the words. I started making my own record two years ago and not only have I not had the time to finish it but I realized rather recently that I haven’t written any new music since the inception of this silly website. Pathetic, right?

How did I get myself into this mess anyhow?

This whole blog began as a joke among friends about a year and a half ago and I can promise you it never crossed any of our minds the site would be discovered by others. Rather accidentally Tuning Fork took on a life of its own and before I knew it I was posting every day - no less spending 2-6 hours a day to keep it going. With thousands of readers each week I felt pressured to keep the ball rolling and for a time there, I was happy to do it. I have truly enjoyed aspects of blogging but I have better things to be doing with my spare time than policing Pitchfork. It’s really an incredible compliment that anybody cared about our site no less kept reading and I don’t know what is a bigger shock to me…the fact that our idea took off or that I didn’t come to my senses and stop it sooner, ha!

I want to thank my fellow Tuning Fork writers for their brilliant contributions and again I welcome them all to continue posting here to their hearts desire.

I want to thank you kind readers for making this experience completely gratifying and my friends in bands for gracefully handling the awkward experience of me talking about the music they make to strangers in blog form.

Thank you Mr. Perfect for all your patience and support. (And for sitting through hours of music you didn’t like only to have me add insult to injury by rambling on about them as I worked on and completed my reviews)

Lastly thanks to Pitchfork for tolerating (for the most part) our scrutiny and near daily ribbing. We may play for apposing teams using different techniques but clearly we share a love for the same sport.

In closing:

The amount of power Pitchfork wields in the music industry is disturbing; bordering on obnoxious. What has helped to create this forked media monster is a massive dedicated following and I am happy to announce today that I am no longer a part of it.

Over and Out,
Pitch Perfect

PS: You can keep track of me via here or feel free to drop me a line at

Agoraphobic Nosebleed / PCP Torpedo / AnbRX / Rating: 6.0

There are too many dumb lines in this PFM review to pick just one to quote as a hyperlink.

PFM says: “Like most revolutionary forces, Agoraphobic Nosebleed didn't last long.”

Okay so Agoraphobic Nosebleed’s impact on the reviewer’s life is what I can only assume was short lived here as A) this band has been together ever since 1994 and B) fans of extreme music still love the crap out of this band.

PFM says: “Once crowned kings of the ultra-fast sweepstakes, their grindcore made their competition extinct by breaking the genre's essential rule: They canned their drummer and turned over the bpm to a drum machine. The Locust, Charles Bronson, even Discordance Axis-- helmed by the fastest living drummer, Dave Witte-- couldn't keep up.”

Dave Witte is to blast-beat as Kevin Shields is to new-gaze; at least in this day and age of predictable music journalism. Anyhow, I didn’t really get this quote so I called up the drum master himself (Mr. Witte) to help walk me through this paragraph. We used to play in a band together years ago so really- it isn't a big deal to call the dude and ask.

Dave was never actually in A.N. It was talked about, the press ran with the rumor but it NEVER happened. Our best guess is this PFM line is a failed joke. Dave did however confirm a drum machine does indeed play faster than him but it’s okay because blast was so 1993…at least Pitchfork got that right...hehehehe. (and a new Municipal Waste record is being worked on as I type this. Fuck yeah and thanks Dave!)

PFM says: “Brainchild of Pig Destroyer's Scott Hull and the former Isis programmer J. Randall, Agoraphobic Nosebleed aren't hacks or comedians but dudes who know basic secrets like "if it's fast, it might rip," and "if we can write 17 three-second parts anytime we want, then why not put them all in the same song?"”

I love it when a writer assumes they know what a band is thinking when they write music.

PFM says: “If there is a joke here, it's how laughable the idea is of reissuing a suite of songs that are about half the total length any given song on Southern Lord.”

What the hell? Since when did Southern Lord become the metal ideal or the control in the 666 experiment? There are so many fucking metal labels out there that it is a genuine pity that Pitchfork only seems to recognize one of them. I know PFM has a hard on for all that is Southern Lord but come on. If Pitchfork is going to pretend to be a tastemaker on all levels, why be so behind the curve with metal? It’s shameful really.

PFM says: “Cue then the dubious decision by Hydra Head to include a second disc-- the drug-punning ANBRX-- of remixes of Agoraphobic originals by industrial noise types. Why bother? Agoraphobic's formal innovation, as far as they had one, was just that: mating industrial noise and pseudo-breaks played off a drum-machine with a not-so-dissimilar grind that was already getting both noisier and more techno. In effect, they were already remixing their metal tracks, just in first draft form. Why put amphetamine rock on amphetamines?”

Are you kidding me? Who does this writer think he is? A remix is just what the word implies and it applies to this genre as rightfully as any other. I don’t know what metal rule book PFM writer Zach Baron owns but it apparently is a closed book.

I would say the average of most of the reviews I read on line, including my own, works out to about a B grade. In number terms I guess that would equal a 7 but this isn’t my favorite brand of metal so while I can talk the talk and walk the walk, I am not wholly qualified to judge this kind of record.

At least I am willing to admit defeat rather than fake a review. Do yourself a favor and read these Agoraphobic Nosebleed reviews instead.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Final Fantasy / He Poos Clouds / Rating: 8.0

“Pallett's combination of pop idiom and classical practice is fluid and natural; he sounds perfectly at home here, miles from the self-conscious "conceptual" way indie acts usually take up string quartets.”

My hero.

I have to respect a man who unabashedly is who he is; a gay video game enthusiast who was so interested in the 8 schools of magic found in D&D that he decided to base his enter new record (loosely) around that theme. Plus he is Canadian lad who sounds a little something like Charlie Brown if he played the violin, sang, and scored films for Alfred Hitchcock.

This sounds unbearably pretentious on the page but I swear to you Owen Pallett has mastered the dramatic flare of Rufus Wainwright along with the dizzying darting strings of composer and arranger Bernard Herrman. This isn’t a goofy kid record spoofing on epic soundtracks and far out themes; Owen’s songwriting skill has a foundation built on genius.

It feels shameful to call this just another great indie record. Owen knows how to do things like orchestrate an entire record strictly dedicated to a string quartet and voice. I mean what band(s) do you know who can not only complete something so gorgeous and accurately rooted in classical composition but no less support it with a larger than life concept of every day living through the eyes of a Dungeons and Dragons roll player.


I know these artists come from two totally different worlds but I am imagine a band like The Donna’s listening to this record and melting like a scene out of the Wizard of Oz due to the shock of music minus power chord formulas and entry level lyrics.

Not to drag this Oh my god I can’t believe this guy can play classical music no less write classical music (with spastic pop elements) really well but writing for a string quartet is something that relies on nearly expert skill to execute successfully. You don’t have to like twitchy chamber pop to appreciate the endangered species level of talent displayed on He Poos Clouds - which as far as titles goes straddles the fine line between best and worst name ever.

I’ve been trying to figure out why Pitchfork ignored the fanciful details behind this record but in the end I am glad to see we nearly meet eye to eye on rating this record. PFM says 8 and I will stand that 8 on its tippy-toes to give it an 8.5. What we have here is another record to enter my top ten of 2006; I am just sorry it took me so long to get to this review.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Jason Lytle - Hotel Cafe - 8/11

The Onion recently reviewed the most recent (and last ever) Grandaddy album "Just Like the Fambly Cat and had this to say:

If ever a band begged for a greatest-hits collection, it's this one—strange, since Grandaddy albums are often marked with weird interludes and spaces that define their moods. But pack their best moments together—Fambly offers the weepy "Summer… It's Gone" and the bloopy, self-reflective "Elevate Myself" as candidates—and you'd have a stunner.

Well if you happen to catch the blink and you miss it solo Jason Lytle tour this is what you will get. I didn't even know this was happening, but thankfully I was clued in by a helpful friend. Lytle and a non Grandaddy friend pretty much did the best of Grandaddy in a stripped down, almost acoustic form. I say almost acoustic because there were some keyboards, a little drum machine action and some familiar Grandaddy effects. But it was all the "hits" in a concentrated form, and as a fan I have to say it was a delicious nerdy treat.

Everything was covered in the hour long set, from new songs (Summer it's gone) all the way back to the first EP (Levitz) to random tracks off Ep's (What Can't be Erased) and everything in between. I think Lytle knew he wouldn't be playing these songs again anytime soon, although I can't wait till the clamoring public calls for a reunion in 2023, so he cherry picked his and the audience's favorites. Listening to the songs this way made it seem for a second that the band could have been so much bigger than they ever were.

Of course Lytle has no stage presence to speak of and spent the whole set sitting in a chair, half way turned from the audience. He didn't look up and he didn't engage, but his voice sounded great and that's all I cared about. He did wear a trucker cap, but he wore one before it was cool and still has it now that it is out of style, so it was ok.

Side rant. I hate the Hotel Cafe. It is more of a bar than anything else, which isn't always a bad way to see a show, but this one is right between Sunset and Hollywood and the crowd it attracts kind of stinks. I was a hipster adrift in a sea of yuppies. Plus I haven't shaved my beard in a month so the guestlist guy looked at me like I was a crazy street person. And another thing! (I am starting to sound like my dad now): If there is a credit card minimum at the bar they need to post that info so I don't end up ordering without cash. I didn't want another beer dammit!

Ok that's enough of the grumpy old man portion. Like I said in my Grandaddy album review, I cannot be all that bummed that the band is no more, since it was more or less Lytle anyway. He will make more music for sure, but I doubt he will ever do a Grandaddy set again, so I was happy enough to have seen what was left of one of my favorites again. RIP sweet prince.

Nouvelle Vague / Bande a Part / Rating: 5.9

“For a project built on contradictions, it's only fitting that Nouvelle Vague's most lasting work stems from its most forgotten inspirations.”

My French vocabulary has been shrinking since high school but on a recent Jean-Luc Godard movie binge via Netflix I learned several things. 1) Bande à part (also the title of the record in question) is a Godard film and is also considered one of his most accessible films. 2) Bande à part translated into English means a band of outsiders 3.) Le Nouvelle Vague (also the artist in question) is the name of French film movement Godard was a founding member of and when translated means The New Wave. 4) I don’t care much for Godard films; no matter how much he has influenced modern cinema. ( Tarantino, Scorsese, Hartley, and Jarmusch to name a few)

I have spent my adult years obsessing on music not film so I had to do a bit of research to follow up on just how the band Nouvelle Vague related to the film movement. It also seemed like naming themselves after a particular film seemed like an obvious place to explore as well. Finally because I typically have zero interest in cover bands, part of me is fascinated by those artists who are drawn into the challenge of trying on another artist’s song size. The answers to these questions quite accidentally created the review of this record at the same and also covers territory that Pitchfork neglected to cover.

Your fun fact number one: Bossa Nova (a form of music NV relied heavily on for their first release) roughly also translates into new wave. New wave is a word play repeat offender here and seemingly is both the band’s main focus and purpose.

“Godard’s genius was to manipulate the tried-and-true tools of moviemaking into a fresh syntax.” and “It’s unlikely a Godard film will ever lead you to heartbreak or tears, but it will invigorate your love of movies.”

Nouvelle Vague take familiar songs and reshape them into something new and never heard before but like much like Godard’s films, the idea often outweighs the final product. Like any experiment there are also bound to be successes and failures. I could have happily lived without hearing any Billy Idol or U2 covers in my lifetime and while I don’t regret these versions exist, I (gulp) would still rather hear the originals. I thought I would be saying this about the entire cd but their renditions of "The Killing Moon", "Ever Fallen in Love", and "Human Fly" are all clever and surprisingly sophisticated.

A review of the movie on revealed even more parallels between the movie and band.

“Band of Outsiders is one such reinvention, a playful reworking of narrative form.”… At the same time, the movie offers a highbrow gloss on its lowbrow origins”… “With such loving images, Band of Outsiders shows that Godard's ostensible "destructiveness" is, more emphatically, a gift of creation. Its fragmentation and experimentation maintain a kind of wholeness, not by conventional linearity and causality, but by an emotional thread. In other words, Godard has made a new cinema out of pieces of the old.”

The above quotes in relation to the film sum up the idea of this record eloquently and exactly. The problem is and I repeat: this kind of deconstructive behavior does not guarantee a film or song to be greater than the concept itself.

The below quote about the theme of the record comes from founding member Marc Collin and is taken from their band bio.

“I then had the idea to set these songs in a very different dimension, namely the Caribbean between 1940 and 1970. Just as on the first album I'd imagined a young Brazilian girl singing "Love Will Tear Us Apart" on a Rio beach in the '60s, this time I envisaged a young Jamaican with his acoustic guitar singing "Heart of Glass" in his Kingston township suburb.”

This kind of cute idea worked well enough in The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou (Brazilian Seu Jorge taking on Bowie with just an acoustic guitar) but 14 new wave tracks whipped into fluffy reggae-lite audio meringue leaves the listener hoping for something less cotton candy and a little more rock candy AKA solid. This island vibe often gets washed away and left behind are plain old lounge versions of songs that I am certain any half way decent composer/arranger could toss together in a few days for a television commercial using any girl with the capability of singing breathy baby talk.

Okay …so how did particular grouping of material come together no less with the Jamaican flavor?

“In certain cases I dug the production idea of the original title (like the voodoo sounds and horror movie organ on Bauhaus' "Bela Lugosi's Dead"). Sometimes I started a biographical anecdote (I read that an early version of Blondie's "Heart Of Glass" was essayed in a Reggae style). Others, like the Buzzcocks' cover, were introduced to the set by (singers) Melanie and Camille during our 2004 tour.

I was also thinking about the loop which was being created during the period when most of this music first appeared - the influence of Jamaican music on English post punk (manifesting in the Clash and PiL most obviously, but also in the work of the Slits, Mark Stewart and so on...). It's interesting to note how successfully these titles adapt to reggae-based rearrangements."

All of this in print form is fine until you hear the chorus on their version of "Bela Lugosi’s Dead" which distractingly features a female vocalist repeating Bela La-Goosey’s Dead. The word goose-y for me in such a dark song turns it instantly into accidental comedy and something I am sure Nouvelle Vague was not aiming for.

Admittedly, no matter how interesting all these factoids are as footnotes to the music, it is still the music that should earn a high or low rating. Concepts aside, the music is very hit or miss and for Nouvelle Vague’s sophmore release, more miss than hit. The concrete foundation of a theme never hardens into something solid and sadly by the last track the floppy structures topples into a mess of island instrumentation and voices as delicate as a lazy tropical breeze. My rating isn’t too different from PFM’s but for what it is worth, I would have opted for a slightly higher 6.5.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Envelopes to tour U.S. with Ratatat

I think I am one of about 10 people in the States who worship Envelopes but I am going to post their tour dates anyhow.

Upcoming Shows:

Sep 5 2006
Bowery Ballroom
New York City, NY

Sep 6 2006
The Middle East/ Downstairs
Boston, MA

Sep 7 2006
Les Saints

Sep 8 2006
Lee's Palace

Sep 9 2006
Blind Pig
ann arbor, MI

Sep 10 2006
five star bar (RATATAT DJ SET)
chicago, IL

Sep 11 2006
empty bottle
chicago, IL

Sep 12 2006
7th st. entry
minneapolis, MN

Sep 15 2006
el corazon
seattle, WA

Sep 16 2006
berbatis pan
portland, OR

Sep 18 2006
Great American Music Hall
San Fransisco, CA

Sep 20 2006
Los Angeles, CA

Sep 23 2006
Glass House
Pomona, CA

Sep 24 2006
San Diego, CA

Sep 25 2006
Rhythm Room
Phoenix, AZ

Sep 27 2006
gypsy tea room
dallas, TX

Sep 28 2006
austin, TX

Sep 29 2006
Houston, TX

Sep 30 2006
The Republic
New Orleans, LA

Oct 2 2006
The Earl
Atlanta, GA

Oct 3 2006
Local 506
Chapel Hill, NC

Oct 4 2006
Black Cat
Washington D.C., DC

Oct 5 2006
The Khyber
Philadelphia , PA

Oct 6 2006
The Guggenheim Museum
New York, NY

Oct 7 2006
Alfred University
Alfred, NY

Junior Boys / So This Is Goodbye / Rating: 9.0

“Just their second full-length overall, So This Is Goodbye isn't just an improbable notch above 2004's Last Exit-- it's also among the best records you'll hear all year.”

Sorry but unless you get your hands on a promo or do that naughty file sharing thing, you will have to wait until September 12, 2006 (US and UK 9/11) to decide if this is one of the best records you heard all year.

You can wait a month, can’t you?

While a 9.0 Pitchfork rating for any band or record label is the stuff indie dreams are made of, I can tell you it is considered a bum deal in the music industry to have such a rave review happen so far away for the album’s street date... no less a nearly perfect score from the world’s most popular and powerful music publication.

Positive press is great and all but it sucks (from an industry point of view) when people can’t buy the record anytime soon.

This PFM review (as far as I can tell) isn’t matching any import cd street date which has been Pitchfork’s reasoning and excuse in the past for running a review of a cd that isn’t out in the States. They have the right to jump the gun and hype a record before the rest of my music publication / blog world does but it will most certainly raise frustration levels when readers discover they have to wait a month to check it out.

Sure 4 weeks isn’t that long but think of what can happen in a month? Considering the political climate of the world right now; anything goes.

In the meantime:

DOWNLOAD: In The Morning MP3



Thursday, August 10, 2006

Adventures in Indie Rock: Issue 5

Stockholm Vice

Another bullet flew past Jose’s head, but he didn’t even flinch.

He had had been shot at too many times to lose his cool now.

Crouched against the filthy tenement hallway he calmly re-loaded his pistol, gave it a kiss for good luck and returned fire. He was one of the best shots in the department and sure enough one of the bullets found its target and Jose heard a body slump onto the ground. Getting up he rounded the corner and saw Paco Jones laying dead, a bullet hole in his temple. Jose laughed in a gentle sort of way.

“Serves you right Paco,” he said to the dead man. He reached into Jones’s pocket, removed his wallet and slipped it into the side of his trench coat. He kicked the corpse once for good measure.

“You don’t fuck with Jose Gonzalez,” he said walking out, middle finger extended in the air.


Jose was known throughout the city for three things: An unwavering allegiance to law and order, a fiery hot tempter with an itchy trigger finger to match and of course his dreamlike melodies and masterful guitar strumming.

This evening Jose was finally one step from catching up with the elusive criminal mastermind known as ‘The King’. Paco Jones had been one of his top henchmen and now he was dead. It was the break Jose had been waiting for.

He swung the door of his coup open and hopped in.

“Dispatch,” he said into the police radio, “This is Detective Gonzalez, badge number 5445423. Put me through to Captain DeBusse.” A moment later the captain came one the line. He was angry.

“Dammit Gonzalez! Where have you been?” the voice blared through the speaker.

“I got Jones,” Jose said.”

The voice on the radio paused. “Did he give it up?”

“He said a few things before he went for his gun,” Jose said taking Paco’s wallet out of his pocket and flipping through it.

“Jesus Christ Gonzalez, you need to stop shooting people!”

Jose just smiled. “Jones was nothing,” he said, “but I think we are closer than ever.”

“What did he tell you?” the Captain was getting impatient.

“Behind the scenes they grow their schemes. Hiding intentions, revealing only fractions.”

The voice exploded out the radio. “Godammit Gonzalez! How many times have I told you to not speak to me lyrically!”

Jose didn’t even hear him. In the wallet was a business card. ‘Glambek-Boe Imports. Dock 42, Suite 19’. This was it. The final piece of the puzzle. It all made sense now: The drugs flooding the streets, the crime wave, the influx of electronic elements into traditionally staid folk music.

“Captain I gotta go,” Jose said starting the car.

"What the hell are you talking about? Go where?”

"I know who the King is and where he is.”

“Where? Tell me. You’ll need backup! Don’t go in alone. I repeat do not go in alone!”

Jose sneered. “No backup Captain. This is between me and him.”

He turned off the radio over the vocal objections of Debusse. Next stop: The docks


The docks were deserted, except for a cluster of Volkswagens parked near dock 42. Gonzalez parked out of sight and then made his way in silence and shadows to the window of suite 19. Peering in he obsevered a number of men milling about.

In one part of the office was a stack of synthesizers and tons of discarded old vinyl. In the other half were giant piles of cocaine being cut by small children in lederhosen. But it was the center of the room that drew Jose’s attention. A group of broad shouldered henchmen were standing around a man Jose knew all to well: ‘The King’. He seemed to be talking fast, relating some asinine story perhaps. He was pole thin and tall, his hair the color of strawberries. To the untrained eye you would think him a quiet reserved type.

You would be dead wrong.

Jose made up his mind immediately.Bursting through the door he opened fire, and with his usual accuracy felled all the henchmen with disabling shots to the knees. The King stood alone.

“We meet at last King,” Jose said aiming his pistol at the man. “Or should I just call you Erland.”

Erland Oye looked very annoyed. “Jesus,”he said, “what is your problem?”

“I hate drugs and I hate crime,” Jose almost spat at Oye. “And I really hate people taking the music I love and added unnecessary effects. You are the problem, and I am the solution.”

“Ugh,” Erland said putting his hands to his hips. “Spare me. Your threats are as clichéd as the whispery vocals on your last album.”

“Either way this ends here, once and for all.” Jose said cocking his gun.

But all in a flash he felt the gun fly from his hands and a hand grab him from behind. Just before he lost consciousness he saw the flash of a man with a beak and heard faintly dancy music from afar. That is when it all went black.

When he awoke he was in a hospital bed, Debusse standing by the side.

“What happened?” Jose asked. “Where is Oye?”

“He got away,” Debusse said. “You may have gotten through his first line of defense, but you didn’t take into account his most dangerous assassins.” Debusse handed him a note. “We found this at the scene.

” Jose’s eyes scanned the paper. Everything was written in duplicate, as if one hand had written over the other.

JG – do not think that you can defeat us. We are powerful. We are smart. We are very popular for no discernable reason. You are warned.


Jose crumbled the paper in his hand. “Now its personal.”

Matthew Friedberger / Winter Women/Holy Ghost Language School / Rating: 5.0

“Winter Women and Holy Ghost Language, with their more narrow aims, each represent only a fraction of that whole, and as such may provide Furnaces haters with more ammunition than their defenders.”

Dear Mr. Friedberger,

I am begging you to take your one dimensional diarrhea of the mouth and creative Tourette Syndrome and defile some other industry for a year or two. Theater? Publishing? Television? Film? Talk radio? Spammer? Anything but music please. In fact until you get over your experimental ramble rock opera phase, the kind of spewed nonsense that never reaches a climax or goes anywhere, please spare us another record period.

If your music was a phone conversation I would hang up. If your music was sitting next to me on a bus I would move my seat. If your music was a car I would crash it so it could never be driven again.

We didn’t need one new record from you no less a double disc and since there are two discs I give them a total of a 2.0 rating.

Please God please make it stop.

Your friend,
Pitch Perfect

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Radio Free Chicago verse Pitchfork

A kind reader (thank you sir!) passed this Radio Free Chicago link along to me today and in turn I am sharing with you all.

I give you clash of the Chi-town media titans round one.

At Last!

Two weeks later my laptop and I are reunited again...reunited and it feels so good. Not only do I have a working computer again but the true miracle is nearly all my files (music et all) have been restored.

Let the steady posting begin again! (tomorrow),
Pitchy McP

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Psapp / The Only Thing I Ever Wanted / Rating: 7.0

“The drab sound is a shame considering the well-constructed songs and Galia Durant's emerging strength as a vocalist.”

PFM writer Mark Richardson spent a good half of his review energy talking about Psapp’s production value. I appreciate this angle as I am a firm believer that even the best songs in the world can be killed by a bad engineer or mixing job but what is wrong with this record in my humble opinion has nothing to do with the laptop aspect of making a record at all. In this case it is the old fashioned story of there can be too much of a good thing. The good thing being all the endless hammering of samples and children’s toys squeaking, creaking, talking, honking and plonking.

There might be “well constructed songs” buried in there somewhere but it’s impossible to tell when every single tune is buried under something that sounds like Willy Wonka running over a clown car. After sitting though al 11 tracks I wish this cd came with a bottle of ibuprofen.

The Only Thing I Ever Wanted starts innocently enough with the familiar backdrop of rhythmic plinking, this time by something that sounds like water bouncing off something made of glass. Per Psapp's norm it is all set to exotic time signatures and then decorated by feminine, often sad velvet melodies. Galia Durant's spectacular Lolita like voice is the lighthouse that leads this band towards something memorable and it is an absolute crime to have a heavy blanket of distracting sounds extinguishing her potency and charm. This noisy elf workshop attacking a songstress would be forgivable had it been a one time only situation but the elves never put down there tools for the duration of most of the record. (A brief respite from tracks 9 -11)

PFM points the finger of blame towards the “laptop pop” for their lack of dynamic range but I blame whoever thought every song needed to be bedazzled with a billion cute little sounds. Leave the computer out of it Pitchfork. This is a composer’s faux pas and a song arranger’s worst case scenario.

I get it. I really do. Especially after seeing them live a few months ago with all their adorable props and admiration for the feline species. The juxtaposition of childlike innocence performed with children’s toys tip toeing into adult themed songs played by grown ups using more tradition instruments like guitar and strings makes for an unusual and clever tit for tat.

Part woman - part child, both personalities are well represented but instead of these two sides working in harmony, the glitchy clickety clacks of God knows what turns the delicate dance that is Psapp’s songwriting into something that sounds more like a cuckoo clock wrestling a cashiers register to death. Their first record was a much more successful balance of sounds so I know it is possible for Psapp to find their balance, they just didn’t land on their feet for this one. The vocals are there but darn it the rest of it isn’t and that can’t be worth a 7.0 rating, I am going down to a 5.5.

PS: Do see Psapp live. All the dynamics and depth missing on this record are made up for when they take the stage as a full group. Fear not, all kindergarten props are present and they look pretty darn adorable when held up to the mic to perform, even if maybe it is a little creepy coming from a stage littered with adults.

Monday, August 07, 2006


I've been waiting for Runhild Gammelsæter (the legendary female doom singer of Thorrs Hammer) to work on music again and it looks like her new project Khlyst (and her only recording since her guest appearance on Sunno)))'s record) will be released in September or October.

Here is a taste of the upcoming record she is making with James of Khanate for Hydra Head Records. I don't think there has ever been a more sinister and challenging male/female duo than Khlyst.

And yes, that really is a woman singing/screaming/growling.

Sigur Rós Sæglópur's gain extra numbers, tilde, and letters

PFM Says:

Sigur RósS
Sæglópur EP
[The Worker's Institute; 2006]
Rating: 5.7

I have no idea how a major publication such as Pitchfork would allow this kind of text glitch to remain on their les the front page... for more than a few minutes. I am not sure when they update they site, 8AM or 9AM(?) but nearly three hours later it still reads as I posted above.


The Futureheads / News & Tributes / Rating: 7.7

“News & Tributes is a satisfying record, nooked and crannied with asymmetry and surprise detours, and marred by only one truly shitty song.”

Yes/No. (And what do you know, this also happens to be the name of the first track of the record in question.)

Ultimately I am satisfied with The Futureheads’ display of post puberty songwriting that showcases undeniable maturity and Jack and the Bean Sprout growth but while I wouldn’t call any one song strictly shit, I would have liked to see the fat of 16 tracks (50+ minutes) trimmed down quite a bit.

Playing music God in my iTunes format, my perfect News and Tributes would be 10 songs / 28+ minutes. It’s not that I have a crap attention span but songs 9-12 aren’t nearly as memorable as the other half of the record and this lull creates the façade of a second rate follow up which I will firmly say N and T is not.

I know… who the hell am I to reshape a full length by a band I am not in no less after they have clearly spent time building the track listing to something they, their producer or label consider just right but regardless of their vision, I have my own as a fan too.

My version:

1) Yes/No. This smart little intro further proves these boys really care about how their full lengths flow and their songs are strung together.
2) Cope. The sonic 4 part harmony resembles a jumbo jet’s horn, I mean if they had one)
3) Fallout. Not a favorite but this track is the Golden Gate bridge of tracks lying handsomely between and ever so importantly linking song 2 to song 4. Even bands like The Beatles have this kind of set up number.
4) Skip To The End. A fine follow up single to Area which includes a youthful energy that reminds me of a game of patty cake interpreted through snare drum rim hit clicks and grade school playground teasing reflected in their chorus of Naaa NaNaNaNaNA NaNa.
5) Burnt. I wonder if Andy Partridge appreciates a good XTC tribute as much as I do?
6) News and Tributes. This is where it is so easy to compare The Futureheads to an artist like Elvis Costello who came out of the shoot raising a punk rock ruckus in the 70’s and evolved into a complex songwriter- careening all over the musical map in the decades to follow. This is also not my favorite song but it is the title track and for trivia sake is named after a 1958 headline from a British paper when a plane carrying the Manchester United F.C. football team + journalists, fans, and staff crashed in Munich during a blizzard. "News and Tributes" pays homage to the lives lost in the plane crash.
7 ) Back to the Sea. This brings me back to the C-86 / Grebo world of bands.
8) Area. This is as good as any of the best songs off of their debut.
9) Help Us Out. This begs to be on a mix either before or after English Beat. I would suggest "Mirror in the Bathroom" though my better half says anything by Devo.
10) The Return Of The Berserker. PFM might call this names but I call it a perfect way to end with a holler and bang.


Give me a week on and off from Tuning Fork and I go soft. I will be honest and confess that thanks to a friend’s art opening and running into friends / the fellas from the band Doomriders, I am drunk and probably shouldn’t be posting but I need to wrap this piece up. This means my writing skills from here on out are a mess and I am not really proofreading anything. Hooray for the casual world of blogs.

Back to The Futureheads…

The Pitchfork 7.7 review is fair so there won’t be an argument from me there in the slightest and I am not just saying that because I am seeing 4 of my computer screens right now and want to go to bed.

My focus may be garbled at this late hour but the basic point is there aren’t very many new bands whose career I look forward to following. Ideally I want another two decades of music from The Futureheads because keeping track of talented people is so much more rewarding than investing your musical faith in the average. (AKA 90% of the new music out there)

All l I ask is that the band work on their lyrics and once that happens I think we have a classic/ timeless act on our hands.

Wait... is your computer spinning too?

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Monday Monday

Word on the street is I will get my computer back on Monday so hopefully this means I will be able to post reviews on a more regular basis again.

Thanks for your patience and thank you TFM staff for covering so nicely for me during my time of need!

Your Pal,
P to the P

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Stirring the Pot

Today PMF posted a news story about Linda Kay , an ancient ex-member of the band Lifetime (who also happens to be a topless waitress) getting charged with improper disposition of human remains....or as they put it "hoarding human remains"

Okay it is a crazy story, I will admit that but PFM reported the details in a way that doesn't really speak the truth of the story. Its more like they twisted the information to sound more severe than it actually is. Come on Pitchfork, you aren't the National Enquirer so why go for that kind of trumped up reporting.

The real story as reported ABC news is this:

"According to the police report, officers responding Friday, July 21, 2006, to a report of a suicidal person at the home of Kay discovered a large, crudely severed human hand in a glass mason jar of formaldehyde on the dresser of Kay's basement bedroom. While the subject of the initial phone call was not located in the home, authorities found six skulls in an upstairs room. "

It goes on to say:

"Friends say the hand, whom Kay nicknamed "Freddy," was a gift from a medical student who frequented the all-nude juice bar where Kay dances. Kay's mother told The Star-Ledger of Newark she believed the skulls were bought from a mail-order catalog. "

Now that doesn't sound nearly as tabloid serial killer does it? Anybody who has friends into macabre shit (goth and metal people I am looking in your direction) know that their are plenty of people in this world who collect skulls, animal bones, circus sideshow things in jars...and the likes. Sorry but that isn't really news to me.

What is more surprising to me is this "it's a felony in New Jersey to disturb, move or conceal human remains. " I know this law sounds very common sense and who would want that in their home anyhow but there are actually places on line to buy human skulls and bones on line and it's legal. It isn't my scene but I actually didn't know owning that kind of material in certain states was illegal. Items that began as science tools don't always end up in classrooms but then again, a hand in a jar is certainly a different story and it makes perfect sense that this woman in under investigation. But you have to admit, as grim as this is, the hand being dubbed "Freddy" brings black comedy to a whole new level.

I'm not trying to defend this girl. I don't know her at all and maybe she is into some horrible and possibly illegal stuff that should legitimately lead to a conviction but all I can think of is how many collectors of morbid material in N.J. are redecorating their homes right now to avoid similar charges.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

An Albatross/ Blessphemy (of the Peace-Beast Feastgiver and the Bear-Warp Kumite)/5.6

when it comes to this hyperbolic spaz-metal stuff, nothing's too new or shocking

It didn’t take me half way through Moerder’s review before it began to ring false. For one thing, there are way too many pseudo-genres in the review. Spaz-metal? Spazcore? Nintendocore? I can’t find any of these on Hell, I can barely find them on Google outside of a few message boards. And the band references – Gwar, Fantomas and System of a Down – are nowhere near. There are enough recent touch points for An Albatross - Parts & Labor, Neon Blonde – as well as classic ones – The Boredoms, Naked City – that there’s no need to stretch. (System of a Down?) If there had been some better RIYL’s or even comparisons or some actual genres that didn’t include the word “spaz,” I’d be a little more sold on the review. I guess Moerder listened to the CD, but it would have been nice if the reviewer appeared at least sympathetic to Blessphemy’s musical objectives, if not a little more familiar with similar artists.

Blessphemy is twenty-seven minutes of lockstep playing that veers from progressive rock to metal to noise to hardcore channeling a combination of elation and torment through instrumental and vocal noise. However, where the ferocity of the playing gives the illusion of chaos, there is a tremendous amount of deliberation went into the CD. The individual tracks are sequenced in a steady ebb and flow of noise that keep the CD from descending into noisy monotony. The band’s playing is wickedly airtight – the “noise” they creates an endless stream of notes and snare explosions flying at the listener like a swarm of hornets.

An Albatross’s music isn’t for most listeners. Edward Geida’s vocals are particularly difficult to assimilate. However, if you listen to the songs carefully, Geida’s shrieks are another instrument on top of the rolling keyboards and Ziploc tight drums and guitars. Nonetheless, a half hour is a hefty dose of An Albatross’s onslaught. Folks who crave the aural battery of bands like Lightning Bolt will drink up Blessphemy. For fans of frantic, controlled cacophony, I’d give it a 7.0. However, Blessphemy is not for the faint of heart nor is it an ideal starting point for starting into noisier, experimental rock.

¡Forward, Russia! / Give Me a Wall / Rating: 6.2

“Give Me a Wall gives many clues but few definitive answers about where Forward Russia! are heading-- but the important thing for now is that they keep on moving.”

Oops. The actual name of this band is ¡Forward, Russia!. Pitchfork forgot the first upside down exclamation point.

Secondly this record doesn’t come out in U.S. until Sept 19th on Mute. Please take note that this is a review of the import.

Thirdly we have been through this so many times over the past year and a half. No review needs over 5 references to other bands no less 10.

New Kids On the Block (in fairness this is used as a wordplay tool not a RIYL)
Bloc Party
Orange Juice
At The Drive-In
“Heart of Glass”, - code for Blondie
Robert Smith
“Kele Okerke” – Bloc Party singer had it been spelled right.
Julian Cope
Wilderness’ James Johnson

Next - You need to correctly spell the name of the band member you are referencing. The correct spelling is Okereke. Hopefully by the time I post this, this will have been fixed on PFM. I know I fuck up all the time on TFM but I also don’t have an editor and we are just a little hobby blog.

Lastly, I was just thinking about timelines the other day. When I discovered Pavement in 1990 I don’t think I knew much about The Velvet Underground, The Fall, or Sonic Youth’s early material. To my green ears I had never heard anything like this band before and I didn’t care if they weren’t the ones who invented that sound. They were my starting point and while eventually I discovered how and where their sound fell in the bigger picture, I still don’t regret my initial worship of Pavement. We all have to start somewhere and I think as a record nerd and writer (and I use writer in the loosest sense of the word) it is easy to forget the innocence of being young and new to music. To somebody out there ¡Forward, Russia! will be their starting point and who they sound like is totally irrelevant. Especially with bands in this general genre that appeals to mostly the under 30 set, the fact that a band might sound like 20 others doesn’t mean much. Especially for hardcore / emo kids it is more about scenes and finding unknown bands before everyone else and claiming them for yourself. Sorry to stereotype but there is something about the 14-25 age group that likes to feel part of a movement. The bitter jaded thing can set in early but it usually takes a good 5 to 10 years in that kind of scene before all the “new” bands actually sound like something you have heard a 100 times before.

If I wasn’t approaching my mid 30’s and wasn’t having Shudder to Think / ATDI flashbacks I am pretty certain I would be sleeping with this record under my pillow and rating it an even 8.0. But alas I am old, admittedly jaded, and giving the record a 7.5 because while I am not impressed, I am willing to bet my 16 year old intern and all her friends will be. There is a community of kids who aren’t interested in knowing who a band may or may not be influence by and truthfully all they should care about is that they like it. I miss those innocent years so the least I can say is enjoy them while you can.