Thursday, January 31, 2008

Here's my meager addition to the Vampire Weekend debate: If you think that South African township jive, that with which Paul Simon fucked to make Graceland, and Congolese soukous and kwassa kwassa, which is what VW plays around with (as opposed to playing it, which they assuredly don't), sound alike, you need to remove your head from your ass immediately. Thank you and drive safely.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

This Sunday I DJ'ed at Havana, a bar/club on Capitol Hill where my friend Grant works, from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. I wasn't able to play as well as I'd liked: we had to figure out how to plug everything in, not to mention the club only had one CD player and no needles for the dual turntables. I wanted to use my laptop but didn't have a splitter to plug into the mixer. So I made do playing a CD at a time, and had a decent time. I'll be doing it every week for the foreseeable future, so if you're in Seattle and want to stop by, please do. Here's what I played on Sunday:

January 27, 2008
1. Talking Heads, “Seen and Not Seen”
2. The Drifters, “Such a Night”
3. George Jones & Tammy Wynette, “We’re Gonna Hold On”
4. R.E.M., “Sitting Still”
5. Gang Starr ft. Nice & Smooth, “DWYCK”
6. Pinch, “Qawwali”
7. Robert Wyatt, “Anachronist”
8. Johnny Osbourne with Bunny Brown, “Love Makes the World Go Round”
9. Jimmy “Handyman” Jones, “Handyman’s Back in Town”
10. Father MC, “Treat ’Em Like They Want to Be Treated”
11. Shalamar, “Take That to the Bank”
12. Metro Area, “Soft Hoop”
13. Cristina, “Is That All There Is?”
14. Michel Arnaud with Serge Gainsbourg, “Les Papillons Noirs”
15. Sam Cooke, “Mean Old World”
16. Marianne Faithfull, “Why’d Ya Do It”
17. Franco & O.K. Jazz, “Limbisa Ngal”
18. Raymond Scott Quintette, “Dinner Music for a Pack of Hungry Cannibals”
19. Wynonie Harris with Todd Rhodes Orchestra, “Keep on Churnin’”
20. Big Youth, “Pride & Joy Rock”
21. James Brown, “Let Yourself Go”
22. Kanye West, “Flashing Lights”
23. The-Dream ft. Rihanna, “Livin’ a Lie”
24. Junior Boys, “More Than Real”
25. Dungen, “Panda”
26. The Fall, “My Door Is Never”
27. Steriles, “You’re So Glam It Hurts”
28. Fucked Up, “Year of the Pig”

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Because I receive email via Yahoo, I see the front page of Yahoo Mail often, and I have been struck anew in the past few weeks at how monumentally stupid the five headlines I'm faced with invariably are. This one, though takes the cake. "Oscar-nominated films are often small, dark and unintended for mass audiences; they're about art, after all, not commerce"--the author actually believes this, or at least says it with a straight face. Where would you like to begin with that one? Just to stick to my conscious lifetime: Terms of Endearment, Amadeus, Rain Man, Driving Miss Daisy, Dances with Wolves, The Silence of the Lambs, Forrest Gump, Braveheart, Titanic, Gladiator, A Beautiful Mind, Chicago, Return of the King, Crash, The Departed. Amazing what a tiny enclave of pure aesthetes those Best Picture winners appeal to, no?

Saturday, January 26, 2008

The fragmentary post preceding this one was sparked in part by something I forgot to include in it: Tom Ewing's wonderful column this month, about pop and "the test of time." It's one of the best things he's written, and the type of bold think pieces that I'm seeing (and want to write) more often, the most notable example being Carl Wilson's great 33 1/3 book (though I'm still galled that the 33 folks didn't bother asking if I was interested in participating in the recent Powell's blog roundelay, nor responding when I asked about it).

Friday, January 25, 2008

notes. just erased 7,000 MP3s from iTunes: yay; about fucking time; my hard drive loves me again. (transferred everything to EHD first, of course, like the bet-hedging pussy I am.) The-Dream ft. Rihanna's "Livin' a Lie": first great single of 2008, never mind its being released two weeks before 2007 ended or the fact that it isn't a single. it will be. it better be. eating less than I used to by habit plus design, a development I'm very happy about. (consciously ordering less does wonders; I've overeaten to prove I could really afford to as much as anything.) figured out on telephone today that time management is a lot easier when you're, you know, not doing lots of drugs. the fact that this hit me with any degree of force whatsoever = I have no business being this dim. mean people don't suck; transparently bitter ones do, especially when they don't have a leg to stand on in their choice of insults. this structure revealed itself to me, which I'm adding here so it too can stare me down: it used to take me 35 minutes to walk to junior high no matter how fast or slow I walked. except I wasn't supposed to walk to junior high. fill in rest later.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

fragment: "it’s one thing to move on from showing your ass in public, a different thing to insist that the problem wasn’t your ass but the fact that people had the audacity to look at it."

Monday, January 14, 2008


Sunday, January 06, 2008

Nate Patrin writes: "You forgot one: 'I can't believe you've fallen for the buzz and have joined in the chorus of the rockcrit hivemind by praising something that a lot of other people have also praised despite the fact that I, personally, do not actually like it. I have to ask what you actually see in this crap, despite the fact that you apparently spent 800 words doing so already. And considering I think this song and/or album and/or artist and/or genre is completely overrated, I can only come to the conclusion that you've been duped by an overzealous PR firm. Don't believe the hype!!!'"

Saturday, January 05, 2008

I thought of some more.

• “I just attempted to read your pretentious record review--and if there’s anything that shouldn’t be pretentious, it’s a record review. I mean, trying to communicate ideas other than what the record sounds like? Seriously, wtf? I know you’ve never gotten a letter like this before--or, back when you had an editing job, never received one of these phone calls--but let me be the one to tell you that no one cares about your opinions. We read about music because we want to know what a song or album sounds like, and that’s it. Especially when you don’t even give us a clear-cut yay-or-nay opinion about it! This one review you wrote, I didn’t even know if you liked it or not. You didn’t say ‘yay’ or ‘nay’! Unacceptable.”
• “I just want to know where you get off telling musicians how to do what they do. I bet you don’t even play an instrument yourself! How dare a person who listens to music talks about what they’re hearing. Only a person that actually makes music herself is allowed to pass any kind of judgment on a musician’s work. The rest of you just need to shut up (except me: although I’m not a writer, I can tell you how you can and can’t write).”

Don’t be shy, now: you know you want to!

Friday, January 04, 2008

Here are some emails I hope to get in 2008.

• “Why do you call something ‘the best’ when all you mean is that it’s your favorite? Obviously there’s a total difference, because if you say ‘best’ you mean it for everyone and not just for yourself, unlike for example VH1, which everybody knows is not made up of opinionated individuals like yourself, it’s an institution! I’d never in a hundred years allow myself to imagine that a person using ‘best’ just means themselves, because when I see an individual byline on a list of artworks it means that’s just an opinion, but when it has the name of a corporation, that means it’s real. So cut it out, because it confuses me, OK?”

• “You know, I really like it when you write about artists I know something about already. When you write about people I’ve never heard of before, it frightens and alienates me, and it makes me think you’re playing some kind of game where you’re trying to act all smart and superior. It’s automatically not-as-good writing as when you write about someone everyone is already familiar with, because there’s so many new things to say about those people, and who cares about those losers that only you’ve heard of, anyway?”

• “I see that you liked something that was very popular and doesn’t have any indie cred. Why do you insist on being ironic? Don’t you know that irony is dead? When you say a Nashville artist makes good country records and some depressed indie-rocker doesn’t, you’re really smirking underneath, aren’t you? Well, you’re not fooling anybody. Real art comes from people who mope, and you know it. I’m going to start a smear campaign in your honor.”

• “I think we need to have a heart-to-heart talk. As long as you’ve been writing for us, all you’ve covered is stuff I’m not at all familiar with. I don’t understand that. I realize my main job is to cover hard news, so forgive me for not being [snicker] up on everything that’s happening right now, but where I come from music coverage is like sports coverage: everyone knows the teams and the athletes that populate them, unless they’re in the minor or college leagues. Hey, maybe that’s what you can do--write about musicians no one has heard of as if they’re on AAA farm teams or first-round draft picks, and not like artists saying or doing things that I might not understand from half-listening to the radio. That’s your shtick, isn’t it? You’re trying to pull one over on us, aren’t you?”

Come on, people--don’t disappoint me!