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Monday, April 09, 2007

Monday trifles.

L.A. Weekly: In defense of '70s radio-pop. No, I wasn't named after Casey Kasem. But I'd be flattered to have been.

Big choices over Zombie Jesus Weekend, namely, which flick to see — The Host or Grindhouse?

We saw the latter. The Robert Rodriguez half was far superior to Quentin Tarantino's. Apparently, Mr. Rez Dawg thinks paying homage to schlock cinema is the perfect opportunity to write boring, self-referential dialog that goes nowhere slowly. The worst part? He didn't even make a grindhouse picture — he made a shitty Tarrantino one.

The fake trailers were by far the best part of the film, surprise, surprise.

False 45th have it out for Lindsay Buckingham and the Burlington Free Press. Who will they attack next — Zombie Jesus? (For more info on ZJ, check your local repository of all things Undead).

Had an illuminating conversation with Mr. Greg Davis on Sunday. Then it was back to Casa Del Casey for another round of "Veronica Mars." Well, there was an hour break to catch the first of the last episodes of "The Sopranos."

I love Christian Fennesz and Ryuichi Sakamoto. You should, too. Have a listen:

Fennesz & Sakamoto — "Oto"


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We saw The Host! It was cute. I enjoyed it. I enjoyed it, I think, a lot more than I would've Grindhouse. I do love 'splosions and guns and cars and blood and death and stuff, but... Grindhouse just seems too self-aware and self-congratulatory.


The Robert Rodriguez half was right up your alley, though. He did all the music himself, and it was awesome in a Romero/Goblin kind of way. The script was wonderfully atrocious. It's hard to write that bad. Takes talent. Freddy Rodriguez from "Six Feet Under" was all faux-serious, like a clueless porn star. And Michael Biehn was just plain funny. Haven't hardly seen him since Aliens. Of course, the mood of naughty good times was completely ruined by Tarantino's half, which could be rightfully called "too self-aware and self-congratulatory." The saddest part is that he's, like, Mr. Grindhouse, yet it seemed like he couldn't let go of his ego enough to make a bad movie awesomely. Instead, he made an awesomely bad movie.


I have less of a problem with Lindsay Buckingham than I do with Paul Kaza. If Buckingham wants to use pre-recorded tracks, that's his call. However, I was just annoyed that Kaza knew Buckingham was using pre-recorded tracks and still considered it one of the best performances in Vermont since 1977. It just seemed like a jerky thing to say. I should know because I'm the king of saying jerky things.

Lisa Crean

Loved the LA Weekly piece! There was a little girl in Honolulu whose cultural mother's milk was 70's pop radio. She used to listen to Casey Kasem on her red globe-shaped Panasonic transistor AM radio, even writing down the Top 100 on New Year's Eve every year. (Major geek, that girl!)

When people snobbishly dismiss 70's pop--especially hipster young 'uns who weren't there--they're thinking narrowly of the piles of disco that some folks bulldozed or burned at decade's end. But the decade also produced a lot of great stuff. As the LA Weekly writer reflected, one random week's Top 40 blows most of today's forgettable pop music out of the water.

Finally, some R-E-S-P-E-C-T for the 70's. Even some of the disco cheese was mighty tasty...or so some little girl told me!


Murf, I get that you didn't like Kaza's article. But there's a big difference between Milli Vanilli and the use of live loops, which tons of today's artists do — Joseph Arthur (gag) and Andrew Bird being but two examples. Hell, half of any Flaming Lips concert is pre-recorded, and everyone still gets all gooey over them. Judging from the tone of the writing, Kaza was blown away by these "mystery sounds," which betrays a certain degree of cluelessness. Of course, he's not strictly a music writer, so I cut him some slack for being square, ha-ha.

On the subject of of last Sunday's concert events: I can't stand the band Cold War Kids, and would much rather sit through acoustic dad-rock by a guy who contributed something lasting to pop music. But that's just me. Of course, I didn't attend either show!

My problem with Kaza's piece (no offense Paul), is that it wasn't terribly insightful. But Gannett dailies aren't exactly known for their penetrating criticism. Isn't that why God invented blogs?

Anyway, I thought yours was a fun post (and letter). Hope you don't mind me razzin' ya a little bit.


Dino Jr. at Higher Ground with Lou Barlow...WHOAAAA!!!!!


I haven't seen Andrew Bird live before but I've seen live videos of his performances and the impression I had was that he was using loops of sounds he recorded while on stage; same as M. Ward and Yo La Tengo. However, like I said, I haven't seen him live so I don't know for sure.

What does Kaza normally write?


I think he's a freelance theater and music reviewer for BFP. He owns his own marketing company in S. Burlington. It's his main gig. It's been around since the early '80s. We can all agree that his live review was "weak salsa," as a friend of mine would say.

But let's get back to the other debate. Tons of acts use live loops. Chances are, anytime you hear one, it's from this device. I've had one for years. You are correct in your statement that the repeated patterns are usually generated from a live phrase.

However, there are lots of other popular bands that employ pre-recorded sounds, and not just in hip-hop and electronic genres. I mentioned Flaming Lips, who make fine use of canned tracks in their sets. There's also Super Furry Animals. Locally, there's Carrigan. Triggering a sampled part to create texture doesn't neccessarily equal coasting. Mr. Buckingham, fingerpicker that he is, can certainly hold his own on a solo instrument in a live context. Perhaps the show had a "Stop Making Sense" kind of build up — start with a single guitar and voice, then add other elements. But I'm guessing.


Did the Burlington Free Press actually print the words "giant dick slap"?? Cause I might need to move back if so. Either way, bravo Murf. Come to think of it, I DO remember waking up one morning recently rubbing my jaw and thinking "WTF... did I just get slapped with a giant dick??

Can I say dick slap again?

Dick slap.


Unfortunately, I don't think they ever printed it. A few people have gotten on me for using "dick slap" when I knew that they wouldn't print something like that. However, when I've sent letters to the editor before, they've written back to me and asked me to edit it so they could use it. So, I was hoping they would just pull "dick" out and leave it as a "giant slap" but they just binned the whole thing. I think they prefer letters that challenge an issue rather than their writers...or they just thought I was a vile son of a bitch.

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