Monday, June 29, 2009

OK, I will say one other thing about Michael Jackson. (I suspect I'll say many other things about him. Bear with me.) It's this: will Sony please take this sad opportunity to correct the packaging of Off the Wall? I have the special edition from 2001, and it sounds great, but the subbing in of photos from a later photo session, circa Thriller, for whatever reason--because he thought he was "ugly" in the pix, because they're kind of fuzzy and off-center (but it's called Off the Wall!), because he was such a freakish perfectionist he could never stop rewriting his own history--has always been a particularly bad call. There must be a lot of people who've come to think those photos are the actual ones that sold 7 mil the first time around. But they aren't, and the public has the right to know.

Not that Sony isn't scrambling this second to reconfigure that catalog, I'm sure. Just saying.

Back in February I listened to Thomas Brinkmann's RA.143 Podcast (gone, alas), but it didn't really grab me till near the end. Around 54:31, following a noisy, abrupt track, very fruity pizzicato strings come in playing a very familiar tune. I wound up tracking down the 12-inch by Marc Ushmi and Tom Assman and Nik Adirol and began playing it out. The song of course is "Rock with You," and playing it at Havana every chance I got, I always played the Adirol mix. They're easy to tell apart: Ushmi is full on, drums and bass and strings. Assman is bass and strings. Adirol is just strings. It's a record that brightens the room. I think that's all I'll say for now about Michael Jackson. In the meantime, read Jason King.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Ernest Hardy brings the ruckus.

Still one of the 10 best music pieces ever written.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

R.I.P. Monoculture.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

I'm cynical about the Oscar news. It isn't just that they can't even find five good movies to nominate in a year; it's that what gets in seems so preordained, one of Type A, one of Type B, etc., that it seems to me they wouldn't be bringing in the Wall-Es so much as piling on the Crashes. Plus it's a totally naked attempt to boost box office and/or DVD sales for double the movies per year--understandable in this climate, but not a good sign. (Would Movie Theater Day work as well as Record Store Day seems to be? I was cynical about RSD when I first heard of it too, but everyone I know in retail regards it as a savior--I'm glad something is.) Anyway, it'll be certainly be interesting to see how 10 Best Picture noms shakes out. It happened for a few years in the late '30s and early '40s--I'm not a golden ager regarding movies, but that was a good time for them. Maybe it'll spur more studios and filmmakers to aim higher since the tent is wider--and maybe it'll result in a whole bunch of Crashes.

Monday, June 22, 2009

(thx, J)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Is this the most Minneapolis thing of all time? Only until you can send a Jucy Lucy through then Internet.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A minor note on something Weingarten, Minichino, and Mackro (whose video, response, and comment are all worth checking) seem to be forgetting: the late '90s generated a big uptick of people writing about music for money as well as not for it. Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other retailers were making their web presences felt and using lots of freelancers to review catalog product. (This was always one of the main components of my freelance writing for eMusic, as well as new titles.) A lot of people who weren't writers but friends-of-editors-who-knew-lots-of-music got in on the music writing train. It's not a coincidence that Pazz & Jop leaped from 236 voters in 1996 to 441 in 1997 and then up to nearly 800 by 2005. If the professional numbers hadn't widened so much I don't think there'd be nearly as much panic when the non-pros basically took over.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

"I've been fortunate enough that the music that I've done seems to have its own life without me having to show up everywhere and wave." Great Q&A with Bill Withers (thanks, Ned).

I have to stop walking down dark streets at night, because the sidewalks in this town are notoriously uneven, and just now I took a really nasty fall. I am never been more frightened, in a right-in-front-of-you sense, than when I trip or lose my balance. It introduces you to your mortality in no uncertain terms, especially if, like me, you weigh a lot; it shakes me something fierce. In some ways it's worse when someone's around: an older man was not too far behind me when it happened, and offered help, but I'm useless when I'm panicking; it takes a minute or so to regain my senses. In this case, it was triggered by a simple question: "Did you break anything?" I didn't, thankfully. But already I am getting twinges in joints that normally don't consciously register. I hope it doesn't stick around.

Friday, June 12, 2009

For some reason the DV-R only recorded a half-hour of Top Chef Masters, but that was OK with me because Top Chef Masters sucks! Nothing is on the line here except charities getting more money, which is certainly nice but not entertaining when rammed into our skulls 50 times in a segment, and the chefs are just sort of hamming it up instead of trying to do something. Obviously it's nicer for humanity when someone fucks up and doesn't take it at all personally, as in the dessert quickfire, but there's just no compelling reason to give a shit--the food itself isn't given any real focus by the editors/producers. The model is all wrong: why focus on a human story? These aren't humans, they're the absolute top of their field and have nothing to prove. Enough with the fucking kid-judged contests, too.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

(via Jeff Salamon, via Chicagoist)

Monday, June 08, 2009

Kerri Harrop and friends' night of adventure with Don Rickles.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

"It made us almost, almost a household word." Genuinely saddening. (Via, yep, SoulBounce.)

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Monday, June 01, 2009

This Random Rules with David Johansen for the A.V. Club was fun to do, not least because I kept thinking of Rickey Wright, who often called Johansen one of his all-time favorite interviews. I'll bet he'd have loved it.