Wednesday, February 26, 2003

After much hemming and hawing...

So I've been flip-flopping over the past week on what to do this weekend and have decided to head to New York to a) celebrate my best friend's birthday and b) do a little recon into the possible job market since I'm getting fuck-all offer-wise here in Chicago. What does this mean for you? Daily weekend updates on my misadventures and crazy destinations. Yippee!

Will I run into a drunken Mark Ibold in a crappy little bar again? Will Shappy take me into the dark, seedy world of the hepster poet? Will I encounter the odd angular yet '70s rock of Diamond? Will I finally get to see ASSSSCAT?

Keep tuning in and I'll keep you up to by day!

And something to munch on.

What the hell is this?

Tuesday, February 25, 2003


Lately the number of lists popping up in music and culture mags has gotten pretty ridiculous. I mean how many times can Q Magazine inform up of the Best Albums...Ever! or have (god save us that this even exists) yet another 100 Most Beautiful Women In Thongs list in Maxim/Stuff/(fill-in-name-of-Neanderthal-mag-here)?

Well, this month Spin dedicates the majority of its page count to lists and further prove that -- as far as main stream mediocre music mags goo -- they have a pretty decent sense of New York based humor. The "advice lists (like Most Influential Albums or Most Important Artists Making Music Right Now) are at a minimum and the goof-factor (Nine Examples Of Practical Advice From Prince Songs and Top Five Things White Rock Stars Should Never Say In An Interview) is pretty damn high. A few are even worthy of a Buddyhead level of humor. Below I have re-printed one of my personal favorites from this month's issue.

Ten Things Believed Only By Stoners

The Black Crowe's Amorica is an all-around stellar album.

Kyuss was the most important band of the '90s.

Velerie Bertinelli is so hot -- and also so lucky.

The Clash should have made even more reggae songs.

Hendrix's "If 6 Was 9" is not only awesome, but also so true.

Quadrophenia is completely biblical.

The guitars on My Bloody Valentine's Loveless sound like whales having sex -- and those whales are totally high.

The kid from The Streets is like Dylan or Lennon or something.

"The Man" is out to stomp on not only our buzz but also our right to download loosely executed songs featuring hand drums.

The Chronic is the best hip-hop album of 2002.

Now that is some fun-fun-funny stuff. Too bad they didn't include more hippie-bashing though.

Monday, February 24, 2003

This is what passes for dissent now?

Courtesy of Reuter's comments on the Grammy broadcast:

A few musicians made low-key statements or gestures opposing the U.S. buildup to the possible war on Iraq. The most pointed remarks were made by award presenters, rocker Fred Durst and Raitt.

"I don't know about you but I just really hope we are in agreeance (sic) that this war should go away as soon as possible," Durst said before presenting the Best Hard Rock Performance Grammy to Foo Fighters.

Raitt, who joined (Aretha) Franklin to present the Record of the Year Grammy, said, "Enough about building a mystery, let's build some peace."

Best Female Rock Vocal Performance Grammy winner Sheryl Crow sported a guitar strap with the words "No War" written on it and wore a large, silver peace sign on a necklace as she performed on stage during the show broadcast live by CBS.

So these are the voices in the wilderness? The only ones with enogh balls to give CBS and Dubya the middle finger and risk being called un-patriotic? Man, that's fucking sad. Fred Durst -- while obviously verbally challenged -- is able to overcome his post-Britney trauma long enough to at least attempt to do the right thing? Bonnie Raitt and Sheryl Crow? No one else? That was it?

Republicans and Hawks the world over are laughing their asses off over their decaf Sanka as they get ready to dance on the skulls of anyone who dares question their actions.
So another musically sucky year "officially" draws to a close with The Grammys.

Instead of going on a mad rant about how much I really loathe this particular awards show, I've decided to pick a handful of winners and comment on their particular category and congratulate them on doing such a "Good Job (TM)" this year.

Best Reggae Album -- "Jamaican E.T.," Lee "Scratch" Perry, Sanctuary Records/Trojan Records

Okay, this is actually kind of cute and I'm not going to say ol' Lee doesn't have a hell of a history behind him...but that's just where his history lies. This genius of a dub producer really hasn't done anything of note for at least a decade or more. I guess the Grammy voters just sort of recognized the name and went, "Oh yeah, he's good!"

Best Remixed Recording, Non-Classical -- "Hella Good," Roger Sanchez, remixer (No Doubt), Interscope Records

The proper way to read the above category is best re-mix of the year and it's supposed to be dance based. Of all the re-mixed dance records that came out last year we're supposed to believe No Doubt's tune was the one burning up floors the world over with its incredibly manipulated beats? Right. Gag.

Producer Of The Year, Non-Classical -- Arif Mardin, "Come Away with Me," Blue Note Records

I could go on and on about Norah Jones and how completely middle-of-the-road I consider her to be. I can admit she has a pleasant voice and "Come Away With Me" is definitely a sleepy Sunday album that finds its way into my stereo on a fairly regular basis but she is -- admit it -- the aural equivalent of baby formula. It's strangely pleasant but you're reasonably sure it's not all it could be. That said, I can think of far better produced albums this year, but hey, every year's gotta have their golden girl, right? Let's hope this doesn't completely kill her career, eh?

Best Rock Instrumental Performance -- "Approaching Pavonis Mons By Balloon, The Flaming Lips, Warner Bros. Records

Okay, not exactly the award I'd like to see the Lips win but it's always nice to see a band with real talent honored in some way...even if a Grammy is a back-handed compliment at best.

Best Hard Rock Performance -- "All My Life," Foo Fighters, RCA/Roswell Records
Best Alternative Music Album -- "A Rush Of Blood To The Head," Coldplay, Capitol Records
Best Metal Performance -- "Here To Stay," Korn, Epic/Immortal Records

Since when is there a difference between any of these genres anymore?

I’ve run out of steam…just looking at the lists of winners – the supposed cream of the musical crop – is enough to make even the most casual music fan cry…

In regards to over-packed night-clubs and the like...

...all I can say, especially after working in places like these for the last umpteen years or so, is that when a crowd panics on a large level there is no way someone viewing the situation from a fairly rational view-point after the fact can really be allowed to judge the actions of people caught within a particular moment in time.

Friday, February 21, 2003

I could go into detail...

...about the drunken shenanigans of last night but I'm pretty sure it wouldn't be nearly as amusing to you. At the risk of making this look like some sort of self-promotional stumping device, I'm putting on a show at The Double Door tonight with some good friends of mine. NESS, Sour Deluxe, Woolworthy and South of Houston (pronounce it like you're in New Yawk kid) will all be there and I'll be providing the spun tunes before, in-between and after the sets. Show up at 9pm and buy me or any of the band folk a shot. It'll be fun.


(I always wanted to write that..."dawg" you know...)

Wednesday, February 19, 2003

I got my brand spankin' new issue of Chunklet in the mail yesterday and while I was saddened that it did not include the David Cross/Les Savvy Fav split 7" I was promised (difficulties at the plant and it is forthcoming and all that sort of thing) I was highly entertained. I haven't gone super deep into the longer articles but the Mission of Burma stuff and the Mr Show tour diary read well. Early on the issue opens with some Rocktoids -- a hilarious music themed doppelganger of Harper's index -- with such fun facts as:

Band who are still bigger fans of themselves than their fans : Red Kross

Most annoying guy in a band : Guy who ges shit impossibly cheaper than anyone else in the world. "Yeah, I got a mellotron at a thrift store for 30 bucks, but I sold it because everyone's using them now."

Artists most mistaken for Ron Jeremy : Har Mar Superstar

You get the idea. Anyway, there's one that goes:

Worst band championed by Lester Bangs : (three way tie) Black Oak Arkansas, J. Geils Band & White Witch

...and that got me to thinking about good ol' Lester and why he's still hailed as such a great rock critic when he was so often so far off the mark. Granted, the boy picked out some greats but he was just as likely to spew out a speed fueled frenzy about the greatness of some band that really and truly sucked. So why is he such a great critic?

Here's why.

In our current age most criticism is driven and controlled by the vast marketing arm of record labels (and I'm including the indies in this one too since their publicists can be even more cut-throat when it comes down to cutting one out of guest lists or indefinitely removing one from their promo and advance album mailers when they get wind of a bad review) so most criticism is couched in a certain veneer. I mean Rolling Stone fired Jim DeRogatis a few years ago because he refused to write a light and fluffy shiny happy piece on Hootie and The Blowfish. Hootie and The Fucking Blowfish! I mean since when does "Rock and Roll's Premiere Magazine" condone such crap?! Oh yeah, since about 1969. Never mind, I'm getting off subject.

So our current critical climate is one of -- at it's most scathing -- cautious pessimism so we've attuned ourselves to detecting crap phrases and generally just ignoring reviews and buying shit that our friends recommend or that we scan on peer to peer file-sharing networks before actually plunking down our cold hard cash. In this climate the true rock critic with a broad audience is virtually non-existent (Robert Christgau is completely irrelevant -- though he was hilarious at the Blender and Spin Battle of the Bands at Arlene Grocery -- and just because Rob Sheffield writes in the "cheeky hipster vernacular" for a wide audience his opinions are still complete bullshit fueled by publicists) and that's where Lester's legacy is allowed to flourish.

You see Lester actually believed in what he was writing with all of his body and soul. He believed to the extent that he kept getting bounced from magazine to magazine because he refused to dim his passion or work with (gasp) publicists and in this he was unique. Yeah yeah, sure sure, Richard Meltzer got bounced around too but he was hell-bent on being a smart-ass and taking the piss out of anyone and everyone. Have you ever read his Aesthetics Of Rock? Funny stuff but I would hardly consider it as a passionate beast beating close to his true heart.

So Lester believed and he was a gifted writer to boot. He could make a review of Black Oak Arkansas fun to read so that even if you hated the band you loved the piece. Lester never minced words and is the only critic ever to get into a high profile war of the words with actual honest-to-god rock stars -- in this case Lou Reed -- that evolved into an exchange that actually meant something.

When someone writes something truly passionate that reads incredibly well the end result is an object of true and pure beauty no matter how off the mark an aesthetic judgement might be in the long run.

And that's why Lester Bangs was a great rock critic.

Tuesday, February 18, 2003

Oh yeah!

...and a very happy birthday to my mom...the woman responsible for blessing the world with my presence.

Please don't hold it against her though...she had no idea I would turn out this way!

Monday, February 17, 2003

Fiction or Reality?

So the following appeared in last week's The Onion and I can't tell if it's so disturbing because it's so darkly funny or because it reads way to closely to almost every other report spit out regarding Dubya's latest attempts at speechmaking on this subject.

Saddam Enrages Bush With Full Compliance
WASHINGTON, DC—President Bush expressed frustration and anger Monday over a U.N. report stating that Iraqi president Saddam Hussein is now fully complying with weapons inspections. "Enough is enough," a determined Bush told reporters. "We are not fooled by Saddam's devious attempts to sway world opinion by doing everything the U.N. asked him to do. We will not be intimidated into backing down and, if we have any say in the matter, neither will Saddam." Bush added that any further Iraqi attempt to meet the demands of the U.N. or U.S. will be regarded as "an act of war."

See? Funny! Ha ha! But also incredibly spooky in the way in which it mirrors real life Dubya's bull-headedness on this subject. Yes, Saddam tried to kill his daddy and that's totally uncool. I'll even go so far as to say Saddam really should be taken out in some way because the guy is a monster. I mean if you've read even a minute number of the accounts of folks that have escaped his country it's not too hard to come to the conclusion that a) this freak makes the Mad Hatter look like Tinkerbell and b) if he had his chance he would take us all out since he sees his divine destiny to be leader of the free world.

So if that's the case why waste my breath saying Dubya's doing the wrong thing? Because Dubya's doing the wrong thing. It's one thing to remove a madman from power with a whole bunch of other nations on our side but it's a whole 'nother ballgame to go in -- basically by ourselves -- and start a "preemptive war" against Saddam when the majority of the free world opposes such a measure. We would basically be saying, "We here in the U.S. of A. really like all of you and will respect your time to play in the sandbox but when it comes time for grown-up decisions you can either fall in line for nap-time or shut the fuck up."

I mean this moment of U.S. of A. world dominance is fleeting and we're not always going to be at the top of the heap so it makes better sense to use this time to nudge world events along a course that would benefit us when we are closer to sharing power with other emerging super-powers (like China, India and the European Union) instead of taking the track that will alienate everyone in the world besides Great Britain and Spain.

In addition what about other nut-cases like Robert Mugabe and Kim Jong Il? One allows groups to rampage across the plains slaughtering all kinds of innocent people while he forcibly steals land and the other, well, could nuke anywhere in the U.S. of A. if he decides to! Now if these are just two examples amidst a veritable legion of psychotic baddies now can Dubya tell me with a straight face that Saddam is the biggest threat facing the free world today?

I think David Cross said it best by predicting that, "George W. Bush will go down in history as the worst President...ever."

On a lighter note...

You can't resist. You've spent your whole life without a Gangsta Name to call your own. You can whip out the flyest most dope rhymes known to Eastern, Westen and Interstellar civilization but when it comes time to turn the creative juice onto yourself and come up with a sick handle for yourself you fail miserably. Every time. This should help you out.

Me? I was dubbed Chewy Tha Hung Daddy...yeah!

Thursday, February 13, 2003


After an extended hiatus, Soulseek is back up and running like a charm!

Wednesday, February 12, 2003

Ha ha ha ha ha

Well Boo-fucking-hoo Fred Durst...our hearts bleed for you.


Does anyone else think that this whole rigmarole might just be another way to try and take the American public's attention off the problems that are really plaguing us?

Tuesday, February 11, 2003

So here's where my Indie Cred takes a nosedive for the next 48 hours or so...

300 Strong

So Sunday is The Simpson's 300th episode and Fox is celebrating. Fittingly they're having a Married With Children reunion the same night which actually makes sense if you remember the fact that the first Simpson's episode -- Simpsons Roasting On An Open Fire -- aired the same night as The Married With Children Christmas episode with Sam Kinison as a guardian angel. I still remember being so excited that a) the quirky little animations from the Traci Ullman Show were getting their own show and b) there was actually going to be another animation show in Prime Time and c) Life In Hell's Matt Groening seemed to have finally hit the big time (which, since I was a cartoonist at the time, was very big news indeed.)

Unfortunately it seems as if Fox is going to trot out celebrities that have nothing to do with The Simpsons (judging by the commercials such big names as Ashton Kutcher, Frankie Muniz, Bernie Mac and other folks from the Fox stable of evening programming) to give tribute to America's (lovable) Animated First Family. Why not do something classy like, I don't know, just show the frickin' episode and allow the show's excellence to speak for itself rather than use the event as a chance to plug other shows on the network. Oh well. At least we've got at least another two years of The Simpsons and for that I suppose I should just be greatful.

Idols R Us

I admit I have a sick fascination with American Idol and this season has already sucked me in. Already America has voted in two sub-par singers one of who seems to be a mere support system for a rather formidable pair of breasts and a great head of hair. Last night we got our second taste of the next batch of singers and while I have no idea how the voting is going to turn out I'm already pleased that a plus size type like Ruben Studdard has made it this far. Of the contestants we've seen over the past two weeks this kid actually seems to have a voice and double plus points for actually singing a Carpenter's song while being aware of the pain that lies just underneath the melody. The contrast was all the more apparent since he followed Hadas' rather flat reading of yet another Carpenter's song. (The girl is hotter than hot but that's no substitute from talent. Oh wait a minute, she's from California so one could forgive her for thinking it was.)

Then we have Candace Coleman, who looks like about three of my ex-girlfriends and is due to be this season's Nikki McKibbin...only Candace can actually sing with that smoky lower register of hers.

Okay, I'm freaking myself out. I promise to return to my stoically indie/hipster self now.
Another 2002 Music February?

So the Village Voice Pazz and Jop 2002 results are in and there isn't really anything that surprising. Though I don't completely agree with Matthew over at Fluxblog as far as the actual albums included and such I do have to admit I think he's got some good opinions and he's spot on as far as his comments vis a vis the critics they use for this damn thing.

However I'm not completely pleased with the Voice selections and one in particular seems to stand out as a glaring slap in the face. The one thing that has been bugging the fuck out of me is all the attention The Streets album has been getting. I own it and admit I dig it to a certain extent but I'd really like to meet the person doing their publicity since they've launched a mediocre hip-hop act into the sixth circle of music critic paradise. Yeah yeah yeah, I'm sure it's all groundbreaking and such to have a hip-hop infused worldview courtesy of a lower middle-class English bloke with a touch of garage but is it really one of the best albums of the last year? I mean as far as white-boy rhyme spinners go does anyone really believe that Mike Skinner is more talented than Eminem who places lower on this year's list? I mean I'm not a big fan of the Detroit tongue twister but I can respect the fact that his flawless and fast delivery far outstrips anything The Streets did last year.

I mean they even have The Streets ranked above The Roots fer chrissakes! I can attest to the fact that The Roots' album stands up after so many repeated listens in a way that is just indicative of a completely inhuman talent. I mean, Phrenology is pretty much one the most solid hip-hop albums I've heard in ages, yet they rank the fucking Streets above it?

While I'm at it I'm pretty sick of seeing Brooooce popping up on almost every year end list merely becasue he picked a sensitive subject matter in order to help "heal America." I mean what further proof do we need that he is the working class Saint of Asbury Park than the self-less determination he showed hitting every single media outlet that would give him face-time in order to foist his healing pill of a disc onto a nation deeply in need of his help. Fucker.

Okay, maybe I'm a little grumpy -- especially since you can see here that generally I agree with the Village Voice's rankings this year -- but that Streets ranking really set me off. I mean, you may as well say that the garage retreads coming out of Sweden are deserving of inclusion on a 2002 "Best Of" list even though certain albums actually came out over two years ago.

Oh wait a minute...
I think we've all met this guy at some point.

Little Billy is a rock star. He loves his mom even though his lyrics are filled with references to his tortured upbringing. He’s played shows at all the important clubs but he’s never been on a stage more than fifty miles outside of the city he lives in but he does dream of playing huge arenas where he can show his appreciation by ignoring his fans as they scream his name. He’s pierced his lip and his eyebrow but can’t conceive the reasoning behind piercing one’s nipples or dick. He loves tattoos but secretly fears what his mom would say if she ever saw that anarchy symbol tat on his hip.

Little Billy's hair looks like he just woke up...and it took him 45 minutes to get it that way.

Billy wears clothes from LipService and has a large collection of pleather pants, shiny sequined shirts and brand new vintage T-shirts with pre-faded images of The new Kids on the Block and Toto. Billy is the living embodiment of the hipster and routinely touts his love of J.D. Salinger and Jack Kerouac even though he’s never read Catcher in the rye and On The Road was just so totally boring after like thirty pages. And what was up with all that jazz shit…weren’t the beats the original punk rockers?

Speaking of punk rock, Billy owns and swears by Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, Never Mind The Bollocks Here’s The Sex Pistols and that Iggy Pop album with the song The red Hot Chili Peppers covered. Ask him whether he thinks "Five Years" influenced Darby Crash’s suicide and he’ll nod blankly and say totally. Then he’ll run home to see which Ramones album "Five Years" is on, since the Ramones influenced all of punk rock. Well, at least Billy knows Darby Crash was punk rock, or did he just see that on a T-shirt somewhere? Oh yeah, that dude that used to be in the Foo Fighters, the gay one, he was punk rock when he was little and he had mentioned that Darby dude when Kurt died. Little Billy loved Nirvana when he was twelve. They were so fucking rad. Did I mention Billy’s band sounds like a tone deaf version of Limp Biscuit with harder beats but no DJ? Yes, Little Billy truly is a rock star.

Just the other night Billy was hanging out at his favorite club, you know, the one where everyone hangs out, checking out some band that totally sucked because the lead singer once snubbed him when everyone was doing shots at some other bar everyone hung out at. Billy is always where it’s at and grows terribly despondent if he finds out he missed a late night coke party or if some out-of-town marginally famous group ended up jamming at some other late night party where a totally rad time was had by all. Billy hates to think he ever misses anything.

Anyway, Billy’s at his favorite club when he sees this girl he totally digs – but in his experience has only dated guys who were at least signed to a distribution deal if not a major label – talking to the bassist from his own band. He runs over and joins the conversation hoping to finally make his mark.

"Hey, " says Billy.

"Hey" says the cutie.

"Cool band, huh?" Billy asks.

"Uh huh" says the cutie.

"I think we’re goin’ out after the show" offers Billy.

"Cool" says the cutie.

"Maybe I’ll see you" shrugs Billy.

"Cool" says the cutie.

Billy has just like totally scored. He is certain that in a few hours he can most definitely, yes certainly, get her back to his place for a late night DVD of The Big Lebowski, a little Amstel Light, a joint and mucho romance…providing neither passes out before the other.

Billy never went to an all ages club. Billy never heard of Minor threat though he’s heard Fugazi is pretty cool because they once did a song with that dude from Ministry. Billy can’t figure out why everyone says Jane’s Addiction sounds like Led Zeppelin since they sound so, like, totally different dude! Billy loves reciting Simpsons one-liners since they always seem to spur a conversation along. Billy loves rock and roll because Little Billy is a rock star.

MTV told him so.

Monday, February 10, 2003

Can't Get You Out Of My Head

So I've been wandering around my apartment humming this little ditty since I woke up -- a whole hour ago -- and it's been driving me insane. You know how you're humming something but just can't quite place it? You know the source but your big fat brain just won't get out of the way and actually let you discover it? Well, as I was just washing some dishes it came to me...I was humming an especially catchy tune by my friend's band The Bon Mots. They have no web-site, they have no attitude and they have no pretensions so I've decided to infect all of you with this oddly catchy tune by putting up an MP3 to crawl around your hard drives...

So here it is, The Bon Mots performing Glistening...enjoy!

Now I need to go and get me some Gatorade and a gallon of milk...

Friday, February 07, 2003

Make me a mix-tape...

You know I've been meaning to mention this cool mix-CD I got from the guy that runs Deviated Septum. If you go to his site you can view his Top Songs for 2002...and as an added bonus he'll send you a CD of 'em as well! All you have to do is send him a CD back of your own picks, or music you don't think he's heard or just nifty stuff like that.

So I'm going to do the same thing and make a CD with tracks from the albums I'm currently digging for trade with other like-minded folks looking to expand their musical knowledge. All you've gotta do is e-mail me and we'll exchange addresses and discs. How cool is that?

Once again, thanks to Kevin for the idea...

You know, if I could quite figure out how to exploit this template a little better I'd start adding permanent links on the sidebar to other stuff I dig so you wouldn't always have to slog through all my words.

That Ol' Black Magic done bit me in the ass again...

Also, I’m thinking of doing a spin-off blog from this one since Tankboy has been shamed into exercising his creative writing muscle a whole lot more after reading some stuff from a voice from his past. You see, waaaay back in the day I was a more logical sort of fellow. You know, the annoying prat who drops quotes by Sartre and tries to codify his surroundings while passing judgment on everyone else doing the exact same thing. In addition I was a frustrated art major dropout finding that drifting around various sub-cultures in the early ‘90’s was a very easy thing to do if one wanted to lose oneself.

Then this girl named Claudia popped into my life and taught me that I was a much better writer than painter (and strangely enough I taught her she was a much better painter than writer) and unleashed the, erm, rather more emotional side of me by forcing me to face up to the fact that a writer can’t be cut-off from their interior self. This might seem weird since writers are almost always displayed as voyeurs watching the world around them and writing their observations down but in reality this is hogwash. Yes the writer is an observer, but what good is observing if you have no context in which to fit your observations? Have you ever read a science journal? That’s how fiction would read without juxtaposing the connection of a writer’s inner world with the swirling teems that society forces us to wade through in day to day life.

I still like reading over some of my earliest stuff because it still has the rush of discovery and the absolute abandon that goes so far beyond the studied experimentation of most early voices. Well, as time passed I got better and better and then…I sort of stopped trying. With the exception of a brief burst when my heart was broken – which always seems to stir up the creative juices and kick out some dark comedies – my output trickled and whittled itself down to almost nothing. I sent out a weekly e-mail to friends, acquaintances and those interested in order to maintain brain muscle tone but I guess you could say I sort of lost the bug.

Well, let’s cue up to the present day when someone I hadn’t seen in years suddenly e-mails me to catch up on things and directs me towards some of her writing. Now this writing is sloppy at times and occasionally self-conscious but it beats and breathes and makes you forget its weaknesses…and it reminds me of why I started writing in the first place. So to that end I’ve decided to dig back in and take advantage of these newly re-tapped juices because I had forgotten just how much I enjoyed the thrill of words spilling out of me so quickly they just seem to place themselves wherever they belong.

I still don’t know how I’m going to channel this. I suppose I could set up another blog at some point to chronicle the fiction and keep this one unsullied making room for rants, reviews and foaming at the mouth. Or maybe I’ll just keep this new output to myself. It seems as if everyone has gotten in the habit of spilling everything out on the web and the prospect of keeping something a little private does appeal to me. Of course I’m also a junkie for criticism so I guess I'll probably end up leaning towards working out this new stuff out in public.

Damn, this entry turned out much different than I had intended (I just wanted to talk about mix-CDs for a second) so I’ll decide the format for future fictional output later. Right now I’ll just enjoy the feeling of actually being excited about exploring the inside of my head again.

Oh yeah, one more thing...

There's a movie about the whole '90's Brit-Pop thing coming out next month in the UK and the trailer for it is here. Naturally since I live in the U.S. of A. I'm going to have to wait eons to see it and in fact will probably have to wait until it comes out on DVD. Until then Liam's complete incoherence and Jarvis Cocker's archness will keep my interest up.

Thanks to my little bro for cluing me into this one.

Thursday, February 06, 2003

Polyphonic Who? What? Huh?

If you dig The Flaming Lips and/or that sort of thing than The Polyphonic Spree are right up your alley. They perform with 20+ members, horns, choir, gee-tars, drums, general chaos, the whole shebang. I've been chomping at the bit to see 'em and at one point was even trying to figure out how I could book and promote a show with them in the Chicago area but decided the cost would probably be too prohibitive so I gave up.

Well good news for me and a handful of other cities since it looks like the band is hitting the road in early April! As a matter of fact Chicago has two shows and I intend on going to both.

On the web-site you can buy advance tickets by signing up to the mailing list -- I signed up months ago and the first e-mail I got was this week informing me of the tour so it's not exactly a spam factory -- and they'll send you passwords to access the advance sales. Now for the bigger shows I don't really see this sort of thing to be necessary but you might want to get in on the ground floor early for the smaller venues. For instance, in Chicago (the first stop of the tour and the shows I'll be attending) I got advance tickets to The Empty Bottle since they only have a 500 person capacity and I really want the visceral experience of a bunch of folks in white robes singing over the top joyous songs in a packed sweaty room. The Metro, where the other Chicago gig is, holds over three times that many people and I'll be there mainly to see the band through a kick-ass sound system. So you make your own call based on that criteria as it might pertain to your own town.

Funny how I plan on seeing the same band two nights in a row but expect to take totally different things away from each show...
An unexpected pleasure...

So yesterday I had a job interview for a technical writing job in the suburbs and it was by far the most unusual/entertaining job interview I've had yet and it caught me totally off-guard. See, the company is a rather large one so I went in with my best professional demeanor expecting to wow the socks off the interviewer -- or as I was to discover "interviewers" – with my stunning skills and to do my best to land the job. I was rather excited about this job as well since it seemed like it would probably be pretty demanding and force me to think quickly on my feet and be flexible. Those are all qualities that I look for since I'm actually the kind of sick-o that likes to be challenged by their job. There's nothing I can think of more petrifying than sitting in a cubicle repeating the same task over and over and over again.

So anyway I walk into this interview and am immediately bombarded with questions like "What animal are you?" and "Name the Scooby Doo characters?" and "How exactly does one bowl buttered babies?" (Um, I should explain the buttered baby part...when I first entered the Internet via AOL seven or eight years ago I created a profile, that I completely forgot about until yesterday, wherein I entered "bowling buttered babies" under hobbies. I think I just liked the sound of it. There's also a Jon Spencer Blues Explosion quote under there as well that one of the interviewers informed me had so enraged one of the copywriters at the company with the lyric's poor grammar it was all they could do to keep the copywriter from coming in and forcing me to correct Jon Spencer's english. How could I not love this place?)

Needless to say, as far as interviews go, this one was on the more unusual side and it got me to thinking that this method of reviewing applicants may actually be more useful than following some tired old HR formula of asking questions and gauging responses against charts and character types. I mean, the interview I had yesterday certainly touched upon all the important points of the job they were interviewing me for and I feel they did a rather thorough job of that...but at the same time they probably got a better gauge of how I am personally, how adaptable I am and -- most importantly -- what my personality was like so they could judge whether I would actually fit into their company. I get the impression too many companies look at nothing but stats and then get confused when they get stuck with a staff of in-fighters and a generally dismal working atmosphere.

I do hope I get the job but even if I don't I can honestly say I had one of the most illuminating interviews of my professional career and it'll probably keep me motivated through every other interview that has questions read in monotone like "What's your best quality" and "What's you worst quality" when they could be finding out what I'm actually like by engaging me in a more spontaneous dialogue.

Just my two cents I guess.

Of course no sooner do I plug Soulseek than the server goes down. Never fear though since the situation only seems to be temporary.

Tuesday, February 04, 2003

Yeah, it's been a few days but I've been busy. It's not easy raising hell on an almost constant basis.

I've also been terribly addicted to Soulseek, my new super-favorite file-share system.

On top of that I've rarely left the house during daylight hours because I keep re-watching Paris When It Sizzles (more on that in a moment) and the advance Academy screening DVD of Catch Me If You Can that my roommate somehow managed to snag. I never realized the whole plot plays out during the opening title animation...kind of cool.

As if my attention-deficit-disorder wasn't bad enough I finally scored a decent copy of the 2 Many DJs Radio Soulwax disc and can't get enough of their mixing style. When I first started spinning in 1990 this was always what I had in mind as far as being an interesting DJ...I just never figured out how to do song interplay so seamlessly. Beat-matching is easy but creating a whole new song out of lots of little bits to create something new and exciting ...that's pretty incredible. I guess DJ Shadow and Spooky do the same thing on the fly and live but in a more abstract way. I guess you could think of 2 Many DJs as a kick-ass mix-tape who's songs just won't stay in their proper place and keep slipping and sliding over each other.

Anyway, back to Audrey Hepburn, William Holden and Paris When It Sizzles. Here is a movie from the 1960's that drips with self-awareness and constantly pokes fun at the medium through which this entertainment is actually being delivered. In some ways it really reminds me of Adaptation in a more linear way as movie reflects life reflects movie reflects life get the idea. I mean, at one point Tony Curtis shows up in the film to spoof both method actors and himself and apparently he was added at the last minute in much the same way he appears in the an after thought to the screenplay. You have to see it to really understand but let's just say it's possible that as far advanced as we believe we have come in terms of storytelling and innovation it's quite possible that we haven't really moved all that far ahead. Rather we've just gotten better at flashing it up and distracting the audience. The entertaining thing is that I had always avoided this film because I thought it was going to let me down but I finally relented in a period where I definitely needed an Audrey Hepburn fix. Boy am I glad I did. From the Noel Coward opening through William Holden's viciously funny writerly comments on actors and Audrey Hepburn's deliciously knowing portrayal of a typist who is nowhere as innocent as one would think the whole package actually traverses the years between its inception and now rather well.