The Freelance Mentalists.
Sunday, February 27, 2005
 
Richard Barrett and the 'modernists':

Can't believe I missed this concert but viewing that review over morning coffee, I do not understand this new work as a reconfiguration of the orchestra along a 'marxist' line - instead I see those string shapes coming from his background as an improvisor (something that the reviewer does not seen to care for - it isn't mentioned in his first para, unlike his work in electronics), and that music's insistence on non-hierarchical movement; but to even quote Stalin with respect to this work, one of the few from that corner of the musical landscape that even tries to say anything with respect to the war (doesn't sound like it goes beyond the title but still it seems to wash over the work in a way in which its politics cannot be merely brushed aside) as well as his characterization of Barrett as hard modernist living a fantasy in a postmodernist time just leaves a vile taste.

But its all here: 'amplified harps', 'microtonal', theatre in those 'bones...if its anything as good as his classic 'opening of the mouth' disc then this record will be REWARDED with a pazz and jop top 10, whatever the year a record of this happens to be released in.
 
Saturday, February 26, 2005
 
classical music and the nerdy people ( jason gross handing out the awards):

i The debate as to what to do with classical er, rages on, with articles just like this, written with JUST this kind of tone and EVERY single year. Always grudging in its acceptance of pop cult seen here in an inevitable, back door dissing of it but with no talk as to why it seems to work (its complexities), and absolutely no mention of hip-hop or dance. Additionally, this guy is gonna pretend that Varese (never mind Stockhausen) ever existed or that classical indies that provide an outlet for this unacknowledged music already do the work, while at the same time criticising pop crossover without examining his proposed 'sophisticated fusion' alternative, or what that means when being critical of any attempts at same.

ii the rise of atonality in the early 1900s must've felt as if the world had turned upside down - the negative reaction leading to a period of time where readjustment had to be taken by its listeners, but it wasn't only that: the revival of improvisation (through jazz), coupled with newer instruments that could harness microtones, as well as the rise of newer technologies that could play timbral dance plus the rise of cage-ian orthodoxy - the bogeyman - from now on we could listen to anything (even 'silence') and it was music; no wonder many didn't bother, some went backwards to a time when it was all about pitch relationships and not forward, where the orchestra was being effectively dismantled - less grandiose symphonies - toward the smaller sized ensemble, with the string quartet's survival. The privileging of the acoustic over the electric and the electronic - newer ways to play - isn't good enough. The beatles as classical composers sounds ok as another angle , interesting but ultimately inaccurate, as both were hand-in-hand with each other, 'tis also why 'school of rock' can't be taken entirely seriously as a characterization of classical but it serves the need of its mainstream wing.

iii oh wait, I should talk about records here - Michael von Biel's disc on edition RZ is a case in point: compositions from the early 60s, recorded for radio and not released till last year, and no wonder: there's an electronic-only track, cpl of quartets (but with the emphasis on effect), one quintet but its the last track that I return to. Its an odd comp for small-sized tuba ensemble with electric guitar, tapes and an amplified barbecue grill: there's an odd air to the recording (made in ’68) - its forward looking: smashing the ensemble, no obv hierarchy, and the use of amplification as the bogeyman; but also backward: the tuba plays tonal through-and-through, with some quotation (?!). Its not about good or bad, and I'll change my mind from listen-to-listen, from second-to-second. Broadcast round psychedelia’s dawn it fits the time, and then doesn't. Its a last hurrah before classical’s indiefication. But yeah, buy it for that one - prob rocks harder than rock, might rock harder than school (depends whether you had a teacher or friends you'll remember) but it def rocks harder than 'school of rock' (anything with Jack Black in it can't be v gd d00d!).
 
Friday, February 25, 2005
 
Nominees For Best Single On Billboard's Hot 50 Singles Five Years Ago That I Can't Remember Ever Hearing:

Lonestar, "Amazed"
(a country band hit no. 1?!)
Joe, "I Wanna Know"
(Mario Winans doesn't)
Aaliyah, "I Don't Wanna"
(neither does Aaliyah)
Toby Keith, "How Do You Like Me Now?!"
(not much!!)
Donell Jones, "U Know What's Up"
(I don't even know who U R)

winner: Lonestar. Unless there's some fuck-up with the web-page and this didn't really hit number one, I have to assume this is one bananas ballad.


Nominees For Best Single On Billboard's Hot 50 Singles Ten Years Ago That I Can't Remember Ever Hearing:

K-Ci Hailey, "If You Think You're Lonely Now"
(ooh, sounds bitter!)
Subway feat. 702, "This Lil' Game We Play"
(yeah, no more games!)
20 Fingers feat. Gillette, "Short Dick Man"
(swear to god, never heard it)
Jon Secada, "Mental Picture"
(I bet this is some dirty hokum)
Bone Thugs-N-Harmony feat. Eazy-E "Foe the Love Of $"
(Eazy! $! Foe real!)

Winner: In a startling upset, Gillette's infamous anthem loses to Bone Thugs-N-Harmony cuz I keep meaning to buy Eazy-Duz-It but I never see it anywhere.


Nominees For Best Single On Billboard's Hot 50 Singles Fifteen Years Ago That I Can't Remember Ever Hearing:

Chicago, "What Kind Of Man I Would Be?"
(if I know my a.c. history, somebody not named Peter Cetera)
Whitesnake, "The Deeper The Love"
(the mind boggles)
Expose, "Tell Me Why"
(all the goofy older music lovers I know go ape for Expose. I only know "Point Of No Return" and I don't really get it)
Joan Jett, "Dirty Deeds"
(AC/DC cover?!?!?!)
The Brat Pack, "You're The Only Woman"
(I know this can't be Emilio et al, but I remain curious)

Winner: Joan Jett. Even if it's not AC/DC it's about dirty deeds and it's by Joan Jett. How come I know more pop hits from 1990 than 2000? I really had to stretch for five interesting unheards. Was I listening to the radio that much as a kid, or is that I've had more time to catch things after the fact? Probably both.
 
Wednesday, February 23, 2005
 
From my Nashville Scene Country Music Ballot:*(clarification/alibi added, even if you have read this on here before)*
The Year In Country started off great, racing chariots in Heaven with Gretchen Wilson. But somehow, my perspective only crystallized through a (nervously well-scrubbed)shotglass darkly, the everyday's-a-morning-after, Advil blues of Darryl Worley's November release, DARRYL WORLEY.
When the eponymous is their fourth release, you know it's serious. I expected the worst. No small expectation of the man who had already given us the tearjerking "I Miss My Friend" (driving videobabe/audience-ID-figure to well-mimed breakdown!). And then low-topped himself with the brainjerking "Have You Forgotten," which equated qualms about invading Iraq with forgetting about 9/11, and with "don't worry 'bout Bin Laden," AKA Saddam Hussein, o course.
But on DW, "Wake Up America" was the only really preachy number, and it busted men in uniform, cops who are "part of the infection" of drugs.(Could he even be thinking that The War On Drugs is itself part of the problem, as waged, anyway? He doesn't say he doesn't mean that. Allowing implications, associations in, and not at the push of a button, necessarily? Rather thah hitting us over the head with his latest "point"?)
Struggling with an "Awful Beautiful Life" was about as close as he came to the usual "Gosh! But on the other hand!" balancing act of most contemporary country. It's just about all unadorned as "I Love Her, She Hates Me"(ergo,"I drink": a guy's trying to talk some sense into his buddy, who shuts him up by spelling it out). "If Something Should Happen," "Work And Worry," yadda-yadda, yet the titles don't tell it all. The details of words and music keep looking around, stubborn and energetic as they are morose and lucid. Fatalistic, but antsy. You know, like maybe there's a war on or something. And the election's gonna turn out kinda weird too, no matter who wins.
So maybe I'm just projecting, or wistful-thinking ("*Now* you get it, my Red State homey!") Or maybe alienation is the craze. But I look around too, and dang if even the usually hovering mist-mother Alison Krauss isn't "Restless,"and just can't be satisfied, even with standing by Brad Paisley and watching the young widow drink herself to death, over the grave of her husband, in "Whiskey Lullaby." So: hotter than ever, that's the expected video-Allison, but also: wobbling down the sidewalk and into traffic? That's what she calls "Restless"? What George W. and Music Row mean by "off-message," I thought, but CMT's not exactly Aljazzheera All The Time, is it??
LeeAnn Womack's "I May Hate Myself In The Morning (But I'm Gonna Love You Tonight)" may seem, from a distance, like a *traditionally* fatalistic (obligatory self-torturing) cheatin' song. But really it's more of a fornicatin' twist on her inspirational "I Hope You Dance," more about what she hopes will happen, in the very near future, than about tomorrow's so-done deal.
And young Julie Roberts, despite those federally-mandated Chastity courses, well, kids still say the darndest things. She's already "picked up a stranger, found comfort in danger, and I thought about you, the whole time we were GITTINITONN." What a mouth! Speaking of which, "It tastes like yesterday." But mebbe just because she "fell asleep without brushing my teeth."
Yet however moody the brew, there's still a sense of accountability, and not just for your enemies (that's how you know we're not really in Bush Country, not quite yet). Mindy Smith's "Jesus Is Waiting" with a no-anesthetic slide guitar, and Josh Turner's way of (wayward others, especially females, not him) dealing with that "Long Black Train" is to stay on-track, and get beamed up into your own pre-Rapture. (Well, that's what happens in the video! Music videos are becoming like the Schofield Bible, in which the commentary is in the same font as the Word. Also, DVDs have been outselling CDs, dowh here in Country Country, anyway) Blaine Larsen's debut, "How Do You Get That Lonely," has us travelling in various, maybe *all* the cars, as if one wasn't bad enough, when you're going to the graveside of a teen suicide. Asked by an interviewer if he weren't scared to start out this way, he replied, "You got to step out on that ledge." So Alan Jackson does, singing "Monday Morning Church," from the scorched "I" of a guy whose wife has died. It's the deepest, riskiest (so vulnerable to tricks of the trade) track I've ever heard from him. Finally, he earns his humility.
But accountability can be fun, as Prince of Nostalgia Kenny Chesney proves, even while carpe per diem a la LeeAnn! Yeah, he's still lookin' fwd to lookin' back, but tonight "The Good Stuff" is you, darlin', as he positively scoffs at the notion that you're "Anything But Mine." Time to call due, cos he's been sensitive a long long time, and no time for this "I surrender to the future" moanin' like his beach friend, Jimmy Buffet Table.(Yeah, havin' your tax cuts made permanent's gone be hard, Jim. But suck it up and go.)JB will fight no more forever, but KC will beat off fiercely to this next re-collection forever ever. Memories are made of this too, turns out. Down there on St. John's, could he have been reading some Hemingway besides THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA? Na.
And St.Toby's Christmas offering is a flat-out, no-moods(well, the woman involved has a bad moment, yknow how that goes, but), no-dues, post-cheatin',yet clearer-than-LeeAnn's--*adultery* song. Or is even that not whut whut? "There's things down here the Devil Himself wouldn't do,"TK cautions/advertises, but it all "Stays In Mexico." Stay! Good Devil! Another happy tale of furrin parts, like "The Angry American" and "The Taliban Song."(This 'un might've been inspired by psychologist Philip Zimbardo's TV interview, in which he referred to the "Carnival Effect" of perfect isolation at Abu Ghraib.) Shockin' Y'all indeed! Yet clearly still in country, or Country; that's what's really shockin'. Or anyway shocked. It's not just him, it's ever' thing.
Like Montgomery Gentry's album of hooraw rehab campfires, 'til back in the saddle with the title track, "You Do Your Thing," as in "You do your thing, I do my thing, and though they're not the same, it's beautiful," or whatever it said on that early 70s child's bedroom and/or halfway house poster. Now it's a very dark joke which seems to enclose an even darker jest in the gist: Here I go, no matter what you say, in fact, partly because of what you say, on another great screw-your-courage-to-the-sticking-point and quite possibly doom-your/my-thing (as even Toby's "American Soldier" video incl. Civil War, WWI, and more modern uniforms, with peace symbols on helmets like chalk on rust).
Doom's tapped and cut open, musical machines roll in and out of the Drive-By Truckers' DIRTY SOUTH. Cut out the mediocre median, and eerie ballads are very suddenly replaced by overdrive, but that's very Southern, and only DBT could get away with such an instigated-by-restless-pause-buttoned-meee, in extended parody of the 90s Altoonative slow-low-to-fast-loud shtick. They still need to write their story-songs about race (without editorializing, this time). And they need to get their sense of humor back. Especially if it helps in editing out some of the whiney crap before I have to.
Yet the Truckers, and all the above, are moment farmers, claiming and maiming all the non-nerf turf they can surf, rat now, or close enough. Like Eddie Hinton, Mississippi Sheiks, and Charlie Burnham and Blood Ulmer's 52nd St. Blues project. Not so much standin' on the verge of gettin' it on, but gettin' it on while standin' on the verge, just like Julie Roberts.(And old [but still alive, unlike Eddie and the Sheiks] George Strait, Darryl W.'s ideel, Ah bet.) Like Cyndi Boste, once captioned "cowgirl of the outback" for my "Alias In Wonderland" Voice roundup. On SCRAMBLED EGGS, she's still got those deep dark loamy tones, bare-bulb words, and now she's 'coompanied by clarion, fingerpicking mantras. Not too far from the extended, gentle gentile drrraaawwwwlllll of Big and Rich, who are themselves children of Richard and Linda Thompson's Anglo, 'ang on Sufi invocation, meditation, invitation, to "lose my mind and dance forever, lose my mind and dance forever, turn my world around." A steady circle dance, which, at its mirrored heart, is not too far from what wishful sinfuls before me called a "whirling dervish." Not too far. If the Lord's willin', and the creek don't rise too fast. (Despite dispensing blessings on self-pity and suicide*, vicariously cathartic [or anyway splashy!] self-gratification is Big times Rich's gift to the world, as the well-intentioned "Holy Water" sacrifices itself to prove. You can imagine what I think of Sawyer Brown and the supernaturally sacred steel guitar of Robert Randolph, at the "Mission Temple Fireworks Stand," handling rockets like they was snakes: "These things are made in China, so it's easy to see, how a man who worships Buddha ain't got no guarantee.")*Since I brought it up: In the climatic track, "Live This Life"("I'll live this life until this life won't let me live here anymore," goes the chorus), they venture downtown, and meet a man on the street who says his name is Jesus;"Thought he was crazy til I watched him heal a blind man." Later, they meet a boy on a bridge, who is "ready to go meet Jesus." They assure him, "He's a friend of mine, met him just last night, and it's alright, yeah." So empathy and the quest (incl. for drama) may take one or more too far, but they kinda mentioned that, on the previous "Real World," in which a desperately fantasizing kid keeps sinking back into the grubby daylight.(Like a considerably less exuberant version of Daniel Johnston's "Rock Star," with dubbed-in arena zombies cheering both ladverses on.) With or without a sense of humor, you may well need "uh prohh-zac, uh prohh-zac," or at least a pro. B&R are *two* pros, just in case! Posted by Don Allred
 
Monday, February 21, 2005
 
Gatekeepers, Online attention, and too much music--- various thoughts


I guess everybody doesn't download from slsk, or read blogs. I'm trying to figure out why
Rio Baile Funk: Favela Booty Beats ( Essay Recordings import) which seemingly got a fair amount of online attention, only received 13 votes in the Pazz & Jop poll of 793 voters. Alright maybe, folks just didn't like its Portuguese language hybrid of Southern U.S. booty bass rap, Afrika Bambaata and Run D.M.C., or just maybe they don't download from slsk (I don't), or maybe they didn't get a press copy of this German import in the mail and had trouble finding it. While the M.I.A. mix was available for sale online, it seems Rio was and then it wasn't.

I didn't vote for Theodis Easley's single "Stand Up In It," but I should have(I forgot). Easley's double-entendre-filled bluesy-soul song always sounded great when I heard it on the Gator's show on Saturday afternoon on WPFW 89.3 in D.C. I'm not sure that Easley got any Pazz & Jop votes as I don't think his label pushes their stuff to Pazz & Jop critics. But I see that a guy/gal who calls themselves "ain't saying" posted a best of soul/blues 2004 list at Amazon that includes Easley. Is Easley's sound retro, sure, but it ain't like some of that their dancepunk and kompakt dance stuff and hiphop is exactly new-sounding... Now Easley should appeal to smart writers like Douglas Wolk and Michelangelo Matos who have waxed grandiously about Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, a retro-soul outfit that I believe involves a member of Brooklyn's Antibalas(a critic fave afrobeat band that gets more ink and attention from indie-rock fans than actual African bands, but that's a whole 'nuther story), but I guess they don't have a Gator show or other source to be their Southern soul gatekeeper (let alone a press copy of the cd).

In December 2004 the Kora awards were held in South Africa. These awards were given out to African artists from throughout the continent. Most of the winners are utterly unknown to Americans and Brits. From what I can gather from a posting I did on Dissensus, there are several South African kwaito and Ghanian hiphop groups I/you/we should check out.

I know I know, you're trying to keep up on grime and country, and then there are those reggaeton and rock en espanol groups, not to mention some good ol' MTV hits pop and BET rap.
We really need a gatekeeper or 3 for all of the above.
 
Friday, February 18, 2005
 
New in town, after staying with friends, I moved into a one-room apartment that a guy sublet to me. Nice guy. We knew some of the same people. He even helped me carry my stuff up the steps, and we had a last chat. As he got his coat on to leave, I noticed something on the floor by the refrigerator. I said, "Hey, what about your radio?" "Ah, keep it, that's okay," he waved as he left. I never saw him again. It had been playing when I visited him the first time, to talk about the sublet; sounded *really* good. What a nice guy!
I would pretty much just come in from work and crash, unless I stopped off at my friends' house or somewhere else and hobnobbed. Or sometimes I would bring somebody to see my new home. Then I would crash. Wasn't much sitting alone and looking around the room. I made sure of that.
But eventually, I realized that somebody else had lived there before the guy I met, and this person had left clothes (way too big for my sublet dude). A flannel shirt, which I wore for years, as a jacket. An actual jacket, of some smooth, shell-like material. It would wrinkle at the inner elbows a little, but never the back, and if I hung it up properly, when I went back to get it (never less than a couple of hours later), it was smooth.
There were also letters. One from his lawyer:"I won't let you ruin my credit." One from a girl:"I love you baby but then this kind of shit pops up. I am so scared."
Some tapes had fallen behind something. Cassettes, not 8-tracks, which was unusual then. One was the Yardbirds. The cover was obviously reproduced from an LP, one I'd never seen before. The Yardbirds, wow. With Beck and Page, their best lineup, I had thought at the time.I'd missed this one, and here we were, way into the 70s. I did have a cassette recorder, of the face-up type, with the little grey mesh screen, like something you could fry an egg on, in between leaving memos for your secretary. I put it on the dresser and played the tape. Beck flashed, then everything wobbled, and I thought it was all about to speed up and break. It didn't, even though I let it quaver through several songs.I never played it again, but still have it. I don't know what happened to the rest of that stuff.
 
Monday, February 14, 2005
 
Pazz & Jop Comments(somewhat tweaked, like the Country Ballot comments in prev. post):
Much of HAUNTED WEATHER, the Albert Ayler sampler*, and SMILE are built around/of distressed (and being distressed/messed with by) commonly recognized sonic signifiers. Like everything else (we're all made of sound), but here the signs read me like a screen filling up with tap-tap (just you and me and rain on the roof). HAUNTED WEATHER'S "Sferics" sounds like baby birds, small fry being fried, while singing for supper; also fighting songs, as birdsongs so often are ("the singing fry and fray," as I said more compactly in the review). Fighting songs also in the sense of fighting the songs, resisting and changing/ distressing the aestheticizing of violence, and aestheticizing as violence, as imposition. Both artist and material square off, and do what they gotta do, if each can get the other to do wrong just right. "No wrong notes, if you can justify," is the old jazz alibi, and sometimes it works. "Sferics"(from "atmospherics") is an edited field recording, the air on the air, finely tuned in and selected by its composer-cos-he-justifies-by-providing-the-goods (before everybody went DJ), Alvin Lucier. "Sferics" is re-recontextualized by compiler David Toop, not far away from subway sounds that frame a computer, obligingly doing its impression of gunfire, in a passing arcade. Doors slide open, but sounds from the next track have already leaked in, fooling the Discman's counter or whatever you call it.
Street violence in the midst of a misty walking tour may be re-enacted as part of/the point of the tour, judging by comments gradually accruing (and recollected, recontextualized by what was about to be heard, just after the comments, spoken like brief notes to self). In any case, gunshots are responded to by apocalyptic commentary, almost as rapidfire as the street sounds, yet the reporter's images are florid, suitable for framing. (As are the street sounds, struggling in the setting's echoes).
Not too surprising to read that Arthur Russell took his music everywhere, walking through the city with headphones on, seeing how his latest mixes sounded in different (passing) scenes. He's audibly the man from the plains, the wide open spaces, keening and rolling his oatey notes like the Midwest-rooted Wilson brothers.("Rooted"? well everybody's from somewhere and somewhere else, 'specially in suburbia.) Don't wanta be fenced in, but walk long enough and you're sweeping through the city, through the veil of illusion and allusion, with your nice-boy cello, and your get down/ambitious/romantic, yet somehow stoical dance music, that's also being messed with as it comes into existence. Fine, but you know the movie where Woody Allen's marching with his high school band, having to sit down and play his cello, then get up and run to keep up, so he can sit down and play again? Arthur's seen that too. He keeps walking.
Albert Ayler, especially with the hypersensitized (but never overdone) reactions of violinist Michael Samson, keeps finding his way to and through and back to all sorts of recognizable tunes and tunelets and rivets and rivulets. Songs of church and state and work and play. The effect can prefigure Jimi's revisions of "The Star-Spangled Banner," with the exhilaration, but not the violence, of the Woodstock performance, and the sweet yearning, but not the peacefulness, of the RAINBOW BRIDGE version. Albert's distressed gospel songs, etc., are already distressed by the times; he's just making us A Coat Of Many Colors, like in the Bible, and like Dolly Parton's poverty-fighting momma did, way back in Butcher Holler.
But one false move and you might as well be in, I dunno, Grant Wood's "American Gothic," or some other cliche, like "End Of The Trail," the yardsale kitsch painting of the poor ol' Injun, who found a "new" homelessness on the range, on the cover of the Beach Boys' SURF'S UP (wow, heavy recontext). Brian Wilson, leader of that "psychedelic barber shop quartet" Jimi derided, finally finishes what he started to do in the 60s: turning over his personal-and/is-political heritage of fantasy, reality and all (or a lot; his lot, of) dualities, stuck together inextricably with cliches (and karma, self-appointed "Buddhist Bubblegum"shoe Arthur might point out). The significance of Brian's worldview is that he has one! He's the old boy in the bubble, who just keeps rolling along, peering out from the crowd of voices, and telling them and us what he sees. "Columnated ruins domino!" Ruins can do that, if you find the pattern, and the way to play! He wants those playgrounds, even those barnyards, and next time he might even take off his shoes or his hat (sure). And by George he wants those wide open spaces too; he is them. But "timely hello welcomes the time for a change. Lost and found you will remain there. You'll find a meadow filled with rain there. I'll give you a home on the range." Who will? "Who ran the iron horse?" You did! You will! You are! You and the voices, rolling like tumbleweeds of sh-a-a-key nerves, on a mission and a ghost town and a jones town too. Plymouth "rock, rock, rock and roll oh-oh-oh-ver."
So. Iron Horse say surf's up when it's not down, and it's not just the Daddyocracy that's to blame, but to credit, for picking up the pieces of his Daddy's and child-Daddy B.'s own messes. "I wanna be around, to pick up the pieces," workshop's on that, tight as a cartoon. He also loves his vej-tables. And by now must have heard the old one about Brian himself being a favorite vej. That's more of the crap he has to work through and with, getting informed listeners working their own fields and mounds of Brian-associations. Did I mention heritage, his lot, and k-k-karma? "Sleep a lot, eat a lot, brush 'em like crazy." No cello looms, not yet; still, better "run a lot, do a lot, never be lazy." But also,"I threw away my candy bar and I ate the wrapper." Can't even do junk food right! Worse, "And when they told me what I did," at least they pointed it out,"I burst into laughter." A long way from the poor kid who "tried to kick the ball but my tenny flew right off. I'm red as a beet 'cause I'm so embarr, assed," and already thinking up that vej joke? On and on, rolling up in more and more "rock and roll over" grub revelations, recycled junk, at least. "Fire" is now titled "Mrs. O'Leary's Cow"? Perfect (enough to win itself a Grammy, reports Time Traveler), ya dumb Mick who has now relocated to the Midwest (still an Illinois resident, I think). Let's not forget the Timothy Leary way of nearness to that title, either.("Is it hot as hell in here, or is it just me?" And "Grand Coulee/Coolie workin' on the railroad," yow, there's a lingering drive-by.)
But I'm also convinced that he's met a real live girl (not just a "Wonderful" bubble-nymphet projection of his own "good" side), in "Good Vibrations." "I-I bet I know what she's like." Perception, ree-cognition, ignition, somewhat based on (artful, or otherwise earned-seeming, yet dicey) projection as means, not ends. And so he needed his "Wonderful," just as he needed to accept, in some aesthecized fashion, the reality of his "Heroes And Villains." containing/maintaining the hostage/songbird-in-a-gilded-cage/muse figure Margarita, whose memory is "still dancing" in the remix of the memory-myth of "the bullets that brought her down." And he needs to keep going back to another (despoiled, yet equally persistent) memory-myth, wrapped right 'round the verdant blues map of "Blue Hawaii," mainlanders, pirates, hula dancers and all. So finally he could be ready to Smile (not specifically a happy or smiley smile, not now). Going out with (real enough, familiar and new enough) Miss GV. Who may be AKA Miss Alice D, age 25: "I don't know where but she sends me there." Or maybe she's an agent of the muse, although that's not necessarily any more reliable, judging by his track record. But in any case, they do go out, and go out rockin', finally (ain't you glad), including the cello (reincarnation of Arthur's original-"GV" wakeup call?) And the rest of the orchestra follows along, "back through the op'ra glass you see the pit and the pendulum drawn. Columnated ruins domino!" Oh, waiter, checkmate! (And Happy Valentine's Day--T.Traveler)
* I listed Albert's entry as"HOLY GHOST sampler," after being told it was okay to cite the single-disc promo. But P&J dropped "sampler." I'm sure the box is very nice too.
 
Saturday, February 12, 2005
 
big cibula-family grammy smackdown

This is the big smackdown between me, my nine-year-old daughter, and my six-year-old Son. Predictions below:

Record of the Year:
Emma: "Yeah!"
Matt: "Here We Go Again" (eh, but they sound good together and Grammy loves Norah Jones and dead people)
Sam: "Let's Get it Started"

Album of the Year:
Emma: "The College Dropout"
Matt: "American Idiot" (I think this will be a huge shock and it's my most out-there prediction. Emma's probably right but I have a hunch. They gave it to OutKast last year and Grammy loves to switch it up and no "punk" album has ever won before, methinks; plus, WHITE PEOPLE!)
Sam: "The Diary of Alicia Keys"

Song of the Year:
Emma: "If I Ain't Got You"
Matt: "Jesus Walks" (calm down, Kanye, you won some hardware)
Sam: "The Reason"

Best New Artist:
Emma: Joss Stone
Matt: Kanye West (and again. E: "Kanye West is a NEW artist?")
Sam: Gretchen Wilson

Pop Vocal Album:
Emma: "Mind, Body, and Soul" (E: "I think she'll win two awards.")
Matt: "Smile" (didn't hear it. bad critic.)
Sam: "Smile"

Rock Album:
Emma: "American Idiot"
Matt: "American Idiot" (easiest prediction)
Sam: "Hot Fuss"

Rap Album:
Emma: "Suit"
Matt: "The College Dropout" (2nd easiest prediction. E's going out on a limb here.)
Sam: "The College Dropout"

Rap Song:
Emma: "Drop It Like It's Hot"
Matt: "Jesus Walks" (b'doy. expect the most annoying speech EVER here.)
Sam: "Drop It Like It's Hot"

Country Album:
Emma: "Van Lear Rose" (E actuallly jumped up and down about this. Her favorite song of 2004 was "Family Tree".)
Matt: "Van Lear Rose"
Sam: "Tambourine"

Country Song:
Emma: "Redneck Woman" (She sings "Let me hear a big heck yeah" instead, because she's in charge of the swear jar.)
Matt: "Redneck Woman"
Sam: "Redneck Woman"

Female Pop Vocal:
Emma: "What You Waiting For?" (E LOVES Gwen.)
Matt: "The First Cut Is the Deepest" (I HATE Sheryl Crow.)
Sam: "You Had Me"

Vocal Group:
Emma: "The Reason" (E and her mommy think the Hoobastank singer is CUUUUUUTE)
Matt: "She Will Be Loved" (I think Adam Levine is CUUUUUTE) (Kinda)
Sam: "She Will Be Loved"

Then Emma got bored and left the room to work on her own project. Sam came back later because he wants to win all competitions. Correction: "Well, I'm not really THAT interested in winning. But I think that I should win for once."

But I also predict wins for Basement Jaxx (electronic/dance album), Velvet Revolver (hard rock album), Cradle of Filth (metal performance), Franz Ferdinand (alternative), Jill Scott (urban/alternative), and Usher (R&B vocal performance, although it really should go to Ant Hamilton for "Charlene", and best R&B song for "Burn"). Kind of predictable, those choices, but this is the Grammys, after all. Prince's "Musicology" might win for best r&b album; Kanye's "Through the Wire" might take it for best rap performance; "Slow Jamz" will win for rap/sung collab; Queen Latifah will probably score on jazz vocal album for "The Dana Owens Album," just because someone wants her to have a Grammy.

I am going to be brave and predict that Paulina Rubio beats Marc Anthony for Best Latin Album, based on her breaking 2000 hits off that record; Juanes will win for Latin Rock/Alternative album; Cachao will win for Tropical Album; Victor Manuelle for best Salsa/Merengue; Los Temerarios for Mexican album; Steel Pulse for Reggae; Ladysmith Black Mambazo for Trad World; Youssou N'Dour for Contemp World; "Highways & Dancehalls" by Eddie Blazonczyk's Versatones for Best Polka; and Dan Zanes for Children's Album.

That's 33 predictions. I promise not to change any afterwards. Check back in a couple of days to see how we all did.
 
Monday, February 07, 2005
 
childhood favorites

I just found a Sonny & Cher CD for $5 at Walgreens, you KNOW I had to cop that, S & C were running the show on 8-track in my family's wood-paneled station wagon back in the early 1970s when we'd take long car trips, sure we had others (The 5th Dimension, Hair and Godspell soundtracks, Barbra Streisand's awesome Butterfly) but I knew Sonny and Cher were closest to my parents' hearts

I think my dad wanted to identify with Sonny (the clever one who gets the beautiful babe through hard work and can-do attitude) although my dad has always been a good-looking guy. I think my mom wanted to identify with Cher because she was sassy and foxy (no comments here, I don't know if my mom was foxy, but she had two kids by the time she was 21 and the other moms couldn't compete). Together, of course, this is supposed to be a great couple

Sadly, it was horrible, both for Sonny and Cher and for Al and Sue, but the songs are actually pretty awesome even today. Sonny had a serious tack piano fetish, I think he thought it was rock and roll, Cher knew how to warble and that was about it, but somehow a lot of these tracks still work today: "You Better Sit Down Kids," the divorce one, is pretty freaking sad, and I'm digging the long live versions on the disc's second half because one of the records we had was Live in Las Vegas Vol. 2 and there are some 6-minute vamps for a three minute song, Tin Pan Alley / California Soul / prog-rock all up in here

"Mama Used to Be a Rock and Roll Singer (Papa Used to Write All Her Songs)" fails pretty spectacularly, mostly because it's about 5.5 minutes of repeating the same couplet over and over in different ways and different orchestral timbres, and the couplet, about only being able to sing in two-part harmony, doesn't really work because who the hell sings in higher-part harmony than that, barbershop quartets and the Mamas and the Papas, wtf

Anyway, grooving on a nostalgia trip, back to you at the studio
 

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