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Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Halloween Linkdump.


VIDEO: Halloween with Mr. Belvedere! I dare you to watch the whole thing.

Christian Rock Exposed! (Take that, Amy Grant and P.O.D.!)

This is what Christian Rock can lead to. So what if the article is from last year? It's still creepy.

Here's the other Top 10 Most Ridiculous Black Metal Pics of All Time.

Free (and bad) Halloween sound effects.

VIDEO: Rockwell — "Somebody's Watching Me"

MP3: Crispin Hellion Glover — "Clowny Clown Clown"

The Dead Musicians Directory

Also, Ben from the band Farm used a piece of music I recorded a few years ago in a new Halloween installation. Originally, it was called "For Perdurabo." He added some stuff, like creepy whispers, to the second half. Check it out.

UPDATE: Compare the latter to Jimmy Page's 20-min. long, aborted soundtrack to Lucifer Rising, the occult film by Kenneth Anger. Trust me when I tell you it's extremely rare.

Monday, October 30, 2006


This is why I missed Swale, the puppet show and was exceptionally crabby on Sunday. Totally worth it.


Sunday, October 29, 2006

More dumb Halloween stuff.

It's almost All Hallows Eve. Here's another goofy thing to check out.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Where do I get a black trenchcoat? And a moustache?

It's for a Halloween costume. I can't tell you any more, except that this last-minute shit kills me. Totally my fault, though.

I'm buying a major piece of music gear tonight. There are plenty of shows this evening, including Jazz Guys Halloween. But it's pretty doubtful I'll be able to tear myself away from my new toy.

Lots of other stuff happening this weekend, too. We're going to a puppet opera tomorrow, then to a neighborhood party. Provided I can get my damn costume together, that is. Did I ever mention that I don't much care for parties?

Also on Saturday: Swale as "Transformer" (special Lou Reed set) at Parima. Sounds wild. Unfortunately, I'll be at the aforementioned soiree.

Fun will likely be had, but part of me would rather stay at home and listen to John the Wolf-King of L.A.


Could someone just put Aaron Sorkin out of his *breathing* misery already?

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Music and Spirituality: A Real Sticky Wicket.

Brooke and I have been whiling away these colder evenings by reading aloud from the newish book, Catch a Wave: The Rise, Fall and Redemption of the Beach Boys' Brian Wilson. It's been pretty fun, even though I already know the story inside and out. When Brooke is reading, I sometimes stop her to tell an anecdote related to the subject she's on. Nine times out of ten, the info is revealed in a subsequent paragraph, with a similar amount of hyperbole. If this is annoying to her, she keeps it to herself. One of the many reasons I love that woman.

The book itself is so-so. There are enough word redundancies to drive a writer (especially two of 'em, as is the case in our household) completely batshit. Brooke actually threatened to "throw the damn thing across the room" the next time she encounters the phrase "interlocking harmonies." Personally, I'm more put off by the author's use of the word "band" three times in a single sentence. But I digress.

Despite its faults, the book has reminded me of the intensely spiritual nature of Wilson's songcraft. As an often vehement opposer of *organized* religion, ie The Judeo Three, I'm aware that my love of his devotional-sounding productions contradicts my otherwise polemic views on religion. Many BW works display strong Christian convictions; why am I forgiving of this but annoyed by other displays of faith?

With a ruling percentage of humanity skewed towards believing in some kind of Santa In The Sky, I find myself increasingly at odds with not just my own culture, but the majority of the species. It's cool, I'm kinda used to it. Still, I figured it was time to examine where my own attitudes toward art and spirituality intersect.

Music history is chock full of expressions of faith, from sacred chant to U2. And don't get me started on visual arts. Anyone who has wandered the Renaissance rooms at the Metropolitan Museum of Art knows what I'm talking about.

I'm also in the middle of a book about Toltec, Mayan and Aztec civilization, and the specific reasons behind their rampant use of human sacrifice. The author's thesis is that these cultures moved progressively from direct mystical experience as directed by their local shaman, towards a kind of mechanized system of offering in order to appease of the hungry demons of their cosmology. In even more ancient times, these metaphysical foes had been forces of positive transformation. Well, according to this dude, anyway.

So what does Quetzalcoatl have to do with sunny Californian pop? I could surely find a link, but you wouldn't want to read a post that long.

Here's a footbridge:

There's a spiritual longing in the artist that's comparable to the desire for religious transcendence. Practitioners of both spiritual trance and applied creativity experience similar states when in the throes of their respective ecstasies.

Unfortunately, there are obstacles.

The priest seeks to canonize, dogmatize and chasten the unpredictable otherness of spiritual revelation; market forces seek to streamline, repackage and uniformly distribute artistic dynamism.

But what's good for the artist is good for the mystic.

Solitary investigation and development is definitely key, as is failure and humiliation. Success, in as much as it can be quantified, is bitchin', too.

Desire is important, but not to the degree that it becomes superficial ego enhancement. Ever wonder why modern radio sucks? Everybody wants to play rock star. Donning the trappings of a sonic superhero or putting on priestly vestments is empty unless the true charge of spirit is underneath.

If you can't become entranced by your undertaking, stop. You aren't fooling anyone, not even yourself. But do try again.

OK. Enough with the lecture. Let's get back to the Beach Boys and Christianity. I was raised semi-Catholic (one of my grandmothers was Poped to the Extreme) and have a fairly good grasp of the origins of the religion — dare I say better than some of its adherents? Anyway, it's not like I have any problem with the teachings of Christ, whether or not he was a real historical figure or an amalgamation of several wild-eyed Judaic visionaries. I could write a lot about what I believe JC was up to during his self-imposed desert exile; let's just say it's consistent with the transformative experiences cataloged in nearly every spirit tradition.

I'm an intermittently lapsed Buddhist, meaning I believe that meditation is just the best damn thing ever. This in and of itself is not incompatible with Christianity.

But there's a major difference between following the advice of a pacifist Kabbalist and believing that you should abuse women and hate homosexuals. How 'bout we burn an ox tonight? I hear it delights Jehovah's nostrils. Yeah, that's in there, too.

I'd like to think that Brian Wilson was more interested in the compassionate teachings of brotherhood than a close-minded doctrine of prejudice and control.

Ergo, I'm cool with the Christian connotations in his music. But keep that Jesus Camp pseudo-goth shit away from me!

PS: Check out Undead Molly's epic pumpkin-carving adventure. What skillz!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Comedy for you.

Halloween Podcast: Still here. Still spooky.

I have a million other things I could post, but they'll have to wait until later, 'cause I'm on deadline.

Here's a bit of fun I received from the publicist for Wooden Wand. Apparently, it was created by someone in the group.


Your garden variety, moderately successful indie band lasts an average of five years. Chances are, if you're not already on Matador or Sub Pop, yours won't even last that long.

What will break your band up, you ask? Well, if it isn't the oft-cited "creative differences," or the excruciating tedium of touring the United States, it'll most likely have something to do with sex or drugs. It's anyone's guess, but don't wait for anyone to, because no one cares.

But let's give you and your band the benefit of the doubt. We'll start with a generous TEN YEARS and go from there, adding and subtracting as needed.

No cheating.

Start Now:

SUBTRACT ONE YEAR for any two people in the band who identify themselves as a couple, and TWO YEARS for each additional couple.

SUBTRACT THREE YEARS for any two people in the band who used to date, but now just glare at one another through bitter, stoned, accusing eyes from the rearview mirrors of rented minivans.

ADD ONE YEAR for anyone the band with access to their own studio who may actually know how to engineer. But…

SUBTRACT ONE YEAR if said member regularly writes sardonic, Comic Book Guy-caliber letters to Tape-Op and wishes Steve Albini produced Abbey Road.

SUBTRACT SIX MONTHS for anyone in the band who likes to listen to jazz when they drive.

SUBTRACT THREE MONTHS for every soundcheck that ends with someone using the 'F' word.

ADD ONE YEAR for each member who's been in a moderately successful indie band that's toured before, and knows to keep his expectations very, very low. But…

SUBTRACT SIX MONTHS if he is the shadenfreude type - a bitter, jealous, shit-talking troll who's convinced he is a misunderstood genius because his previous band got dropped from Kindercore.

SUBTRACT ONE YEAR if someone in the band's uncle has in any way *subsidized* the band by lending any money for a van, recording time, etc.

ADD ONE YEAR for every attractive girl in the band. Add six more months if she doesn't play bass.

ADD FIVE YEARS if someone in the band's dad is in ZZ Top, Santana, or any of the half-remembered bands on the Nuggets box.

SUBTRACT TWO YEARS for anyone in the band addicted to heroin. But…

ADD FIVE YEARS if he dies tragically between your first and second albums.

SUBTRACT THREE MONTHS for each vegetarian in the band who worries that the Waffle House hash browns are "cooked with the meat spatulas."

SUBTRACT TWO YEARS for anyone in the band has a job back home that he or she is unwilling to leave.

SUBTRACT TWO YEARS for anyone in the band has a spouse back home that he or she is unwilling to divorce.

SUBTRACT FIVE YEARS for each band member with any kids that he or she even gives the slightest shit about.

SUBTRACT TWO YEARS for every band member who cannot, will not, or should not drive.

ADD SIX MONTHS if you're traveling with your own soundman. But…

SUBTRACT THREE MONTHS if he frequently drinks himself mute and is currently facing statutory rape charges.


-20 years – 0 years: Consider yourself lucky. Walk – don't run - to the nearest technical institute and learn how to weld or something. Remember to thank me later when your deathbed is NOT a cot at the YMCA.

0 years – 5 years: Congratulations! You've managed to really make something of yourself: a blip on a radar that itself is less than a blip on the radar to most of the civilized western world. At least you can look forward to Casual Fridays.

5 years – 15 years: The odds seem to be in your favor, buckaroo. When your life eventually flashes before your eyes, you will be treated to a montage of drink tickets, Super 8 motel rooms, studio vending machines and an anonymous gaggle of surly soundmen all named Eric. Wowee zowee!

15 years or more – You are R.E.M. You probably took this test with a pen and paper. Kill yourself.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

A real horrorshow.


As promised, here's the latest podcast.

The Contrarian's Corner — Episode II: Scary Monsters

I was gonna wait until tomorrow, but I just couldn't. This will give you extra time to download over the weekend. Tracklisting is provided in the comments field of the official Contrarian's Corner Blog, which formerly hosted the podcast.

Yes, it's a Halloween theme. I drank wine again, so it gets pretty silly. But there are some good tunes in there. Enjoy, and do let me know what you think.

PS: Local musician Rob Voland has a great new album called Springinsfeld. He and Ryan Power (who's not long for B-town) recorded it on 4-track cassette. Awesome!

You can hear some of it live — and probably snag a CD — when Voland plays 339 Pine St. on Oct. 28. The show starts at 8 p.m. and appears to be free.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Resistance = Futile.

This should increase my hits by at least 75%.

It's pretty lame to link to a PitchforkMedia news blurb when anyone who reads my blog has likely already seen it.

But I can't help it when the headline screams, "Scarlett Johansson Recording Tom Waits Covers Album."

Scar-Jo is officially over-exposed. But I did enjoy her, umm, spread in this month's Esquire. Hey, it's a free subscription, OK?

Say, did you somehow miss this earlier post? Trust, me it's worth it.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


Just received a promo of a band called Zox. Yeah, you've probably heard of 'em — they're up here a lot.

The sticker on the shrinkwrap says:

For fans of Sublime, Jack Johnson, Guster, Pixies, and the Cure.

WTF? That's no way to market a record!

Might as well be:

For fans of Coldplay, Anal Cunt, Clay Aiken, Merzbow, and Raffi.

Bowie Vs. Gervais.

Please watch this wonderful clip of David Bowie serenading Ricky Gervais on Season II of "Extras." Looking forward to when HBO finally decides to air it in the U. S. and A.

In local music news, Flatlander over at False 45th was quoted in the new issue of Rolling Stone. The piece concerns the influence of bloggers on band popularity. I enjoy offering my pithy opinions on the subject, as I work in both print and web mediums. But I still prefer print, because the writing is generally better.

Check out his post, and enjoy my asshole comments.

Friday, October 13, 2006

For the record.

Activists/Dictators still rock. Hard. Harder than before, even. Of course, I was in the basement of 1/2 Lounge for most of their set, but they kicked my ass nonetheless.

End transmission.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Missed opportunity.

I just realized that, due to our dying kitty situation, we missed the Melvins show. Damn! That was the night we put her down, so we completely forgot to rock. Please let me know how it was (lookin' at you, Mr. J. Cooley) 'cause I so wanted to go. I've seen them a few times, but not with the new four-piece lineup.

For today's fun, have a look at Iggy Pop's tour rider, courtesy The Smoking Gun.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Thanks sooooo much for all of your nice comments. I never wanted this blog to become kitty doom central, but I needed an outlet. Regularly scheduled programming will resume shortly.

Also, you'll be pleased to hear that the other boy, Brando, got a clean bill o' health.


Just a quick post today; I'm woefully behind in work.

Natascha the cat was put down yesterday. She had feline leukemia. We're OK with her passing; it is a relief that she is no longer suffering. But now we have to worry about our other cat, as the virus is contagious. We take him in for testing today.

Thanks to everyone for the gracious notes of support; we couldn't have imagined going through this again, and every little bit helped.

Soon we'll get back to blabbing about music, I promise. And I'm shooting for another podcast next week.

Monday, October 09, 2006

In other news...

Our pals Carrigan just got a good review for Young Men Never Die at Metal Storm.

The weird thing is, Carrigan are about as far from metal as a band can get. But any press, as it's said, is good press.

PS: The cat goes to a super high-level-specialty-internal-medicine vet tomorrow at 11 a.m. We're not expecting good news, but it'll be nice to know when and why we have to let her go.

Not too good, actually.

Spent the weekend "leaf-peeping" with Brooke's folks as our 1 year, 3 month-old cat Natascha was dying in the closet. Today at 3 p.m. we'll likely make the choice to put her down.

My back is totally is busted, so walking Shelburne Farms on Saturday was a treat. The leaves did look pretty sexy, though.

Fun: Before work, I caught the video for Eddie Murphy's sole '80s hit, "Party all the Time" on VH1 Classic. Everyone's favorite crack smokin' funk monster Rick James produced the tune, and also appeared in the video. It's awesome in many ways. Check it out.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Keane Contra Nietzsche.

To forget one’s purpose is the commonest form of stupidity.

It's about damn time.

Thx, Candleblog!

I remember Holden.


I remember Holden from Pretty & Nice when he was just a lad. He'd shuffle into Pure Pop and try to get me to listen to lame bands like Braniac. Actually, that group was pretty decent — as far as nerdy indie-punk/electro goes, anyway.

Now Holden is all growed up and kicking ass. P&N are about to release their debut full-length, Pink & Blue. I think it's really quite good.

It puts a smile on my sourpuss face.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Goth-rock-jam-punk-pop-Anglo-Americana: Last night at HG.

Made it out to Higher Ground last night. Saw most of the stuff happening in the big room; Zac Clark and headliners Gomez.

Thoughts: Zac is really poppy. I wonder what will happen when he gets older and that boyishly adenoidal singing style is no longer appropriate? It was a solidly played set, but a little on the schmaltzy side. That's one man's opinion, anyway.

Gomez sound very good live, but bore me to death. They're dipping further into the American jam bag than ever before; maybe they should just renounce the UK and move here. I hear they've got one of Phish's managers behind 'em now, so it could all come together nicely.

After that, I checked out a little bit of the Static Age show next door. By the time I made it over, the opening bands were done, so no report there.

There weren't many attendees, and this surprised me. Especially considering it was an all-ages, CD release party for a nationally known band. Maybe the kids are into skiffle these days.

SA were OK at best. Those dudes (and gal) need to lay off the flanger pedals for a while. Their tunes lose a lot of punch and clarity with all the effects gunking 'em up. That sound worked for The Cure on Disintegration, 'cause the music is slower and more subdued. But when you're strumming big chords behind disco-punk beats, things can get rather muddy.

Let's all just move on from the '80s now, shall we? I mean, until you can cover XTC or Tears for Fears note-for-note, you haven't fully absorbed the lessons of that fucked-up little decade. And why do people resurrect the pseudo-goth stuff all the time? Why is no one clamoring for Billy Ocean? Or Taylor Dayne?

Ah, forget it. I've asked these silly questions before.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The grind.

I'm currenly sequencing the tunes for my next podcast. I don't wanna give anything away, but it should be a treat. Or maybe a trick....

Our cat doesn't have cancer; it's a bone infection. This is good news. Still, the vets say it'll be tough to knock out, because antibiotics are more readily absorbed into blood and tissue than bone. Treatment may take a several months. Meanwhile, she's groggy and none too pleased at the situation.

On to my ailments. Currently, my lower back is completely screwed up. A friend of mine zapped me with his Reiki mojo, but results were limited. Maybe I'll sacrifice some tofu to the Great Old Ones.

I'm gonna try to hit the Gomez show at Higher Ground tonight (opener Zac Clark is reportedly playing with Daryl Rabidoux and Mike Portman of Strangeways Studios) but it all depends on whether I can stand up for more than 10 minutes at a time.

I'd say I was cursed, if I weren't so happy. Generally speaking, that is.

Lastly, those wily fellas in Farm have posted some new rough mixes from their ongoing drunkfest recording session. Check it out.

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