Thursday, December 29, 2005

a tree falling in the woods, with no one around to hear it

That's what writing on this blog can feel like.

If you're reading this, and you'd like to receive a mix CD from me celebrating my having survived the year 2005, just drop your name and contact info in the comments section. So far, it's got Jose Gonzales (seriously, this fellow is the best singer-songwriter I have heard in a long time), Giant Drag, the Rolling Stones, Cat Power, Hadda Brooks, Tubeway Army, just a bunch of stuff that makes me want to keep drawing breath despite the searing, white hot pains constantly running through my jaw.

Oral surgery next Tuesday, the fourth oral surgery I've had since I was 15. Anywho, free CD's?

Sunday, December 25, 2005

eric rohmer makes some sexy-ass movies

Over the last three nights, it has been my distinct pleasure to finally get around to watching Eric Rohmer's "Pauline at the Beach", "Chloe in the Afternoon", and "My Evening at Maude's". All three were erotically-charged, private little pictures about infidelity, trust, and human nature. It should go without saying that I loved them, and I look forward to seeing any and all of his work that I can get my hands on. One scene in particular, in "Chloe in the Afternoon", had me near tears with the excitement I feel as an aspiring writer when someone is saying something in exactly the words that I have tried to put together before, but failed. The protagonist has become involved in a friendship that is beginning to look as though it could become an affair. He loves his wife, but he is incredibly attracted to a female friend, who is openly trying to seduce him. He gives this wonderfully real speech about how he will always have a wandering eye and the need to flirt, but how those very things serve as constant reminders of why he can never and will never be unfaithful to his wife: because every woman he sees is a reminder of what he has found in her. Every long leg is her leg, every collar bone is her collar bone, all lips are her lips. I fucking loved it.

RIYL: John Updike's "Rabbit" books, the music of The Afghan Whigs

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

It's the chronic! What?! -les of Narnia!

Oh man, oh man. Two great, fake rap videos in two days. Thank you, Jeebus.
An awesome Saturday Night Live digital short about Nanrnia and cupcakes.

Monday, December 19, 2005


This is why I love rap music. Irreverence. Abuse of technology. An innate need to ridicule everything your eyes fall on.

Year-End Liszt

Franz Liszt, one of the greatest piano virtusuos who ever lived, did not survive long enough to hear Spoon's "Gimme Fiction", or The Decemberists' "Picaresque"

Last night, I spent about three hours on-line reading various MP3 blogs' Top 10 year-end wrap-ups. I have to say that it was an incredibly frustrating experience that confirmed what I have been thinking to myself lately: 2005 was a bad year for rock and roll. For electronic, rap, and R&B artists, it seems to have been a high-watermark year, although I'm questioning that, as well. Albums like M.I.A.'s "Arular", Lady Sovereign's "Vertically Challenged", and R. Kelly's "TP3: Reloaded" generated that weird, pants-wetting blogger frenzy thing when they first started circulating on-line, and I bought it. I genuinely love all three of those albums. But they're already gathering dust on the CD shelves. I have only played the Lady Sov album once, which is admittedly due to the fact that most of the tracks on her EP, though awesome, had been out for the better part of a year before Chocolate Industries released the album.

Anyway, I was just thinking how it seems to have been the worst kind of year for people like me, who like their rock and roll with some teeth, some punch, some urine stains. The consensus seems to be that the following bands, who are very in touch with their emotions, are the best that 2005 had to offer:

The Arcade Fire*
Sufjan Stevens*
The Decemberists*
Death Cab For Cutie
Antony & The Johnsons*
*denotes that I have never sat through this band's new album in completion, not because they are bad albums, but because I have a short attention span that requires the presence of 808 bass drums in order to maintain my interest

So, here's a brief lunch-break list of some albums that actually rocked me in the rocking way in 2005.

Cantankerous - "Self-Titled EP"
Their song "Flesh Roast" is a high-speed, guitar, drums machine, and distortion-fueled rampage through the old South. The lead singer lures Klan members into the woods with promises of sex, whereupon she and her friends murder them and burn their bodies. And it's very danceable, with easily the catchiest hook in a long, long time.

Senor Coconut - Coconut FM: Legendary Latin Club Jams
The BPM never drops below 185 or so, all while Spanish versions of L'Trimm shout chants in a language that I don't understand. Horns are cut up in weird ways, crazy voices come out of nowhere and shout "Baile!", the drums have the tempo of a stampede, it's awesome. This is the music that makes me wish I was not too neurotic to dance.

Milemarker - Ominosity
I do miss the old Milemarker, but I can still enjoy this one. Two drummers, synthesizers, Al and Dave shouting lyrics that sound like notes made by a grad student in the margins of Kafka's "The Trial". You know the drill by now. It really is not the same without Roby, but I still find myself rocking out to it. Oh, and you can get it for free on their website, or you can buy it - whichever you choose. God bless 'em and their idealism.

Lucero - Nobody's Darlings
Highly recommended for fans of The Replacements. Also guaranteed to please fans of Magnolia Electric Company's more up-tempo, guitar-driven moments, and anyone who likes rootsy American rock and roll without any pretension, but with plenty of Southern twang. I love this album.

Say Hi To Your Mom - Discosadness
When you get tired of waiting on Pedro The Lion to make another album like "Control", buy some SHTYM. Awful name aside, this band rolls everything I like about Self and Pedro The Lion up into one big, distorted, moogy ball. And I know it's emotional as hell, but it still has some smarm. Eric's website has lots of free MP3s.

Self - The B-Sides That Were Never Released
Self was supposed to put out an album called "Ornament & Crime" earlier this year, but the label shelved it, and the MP3's ended up on labeled as "Porno, Mint & Grime", along with literally every other b-side they have ever recorded, or any song that has never been released. Believe that this ate up a chunk of my hard drive.

Thursday, December 15, 2005


Today I've been checking out Pandora, which is a music exploration which searches its databases for music with similar qualities of a band that you suggest. It then plays tracks one by one and lets you skip songs you don't like and rate those songs.

I highly recommend it if you're into an unfamiliar music group that you'd like to hear more of the same music stylings from. I typed in "TV on the Radio" and I got bands like Snow Patrol, Fischerspooner, Stereolab and Joseph Arthur so far. "Diplo" brought up the Outernationalists, Treva Whateva, and Prefuse 73. What a fun tool!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Top Ten Time!

What are your favorite albums of the year? Leave a comment and let us know!

3 cheers for social networking tools!

Here's mine:
nat baldwin - lights out
herspacehoilday - the past presents the future
portastatic - bright ideas
giant drag - hearts and unicorns
lady sovereign - vertically challenged
say hi to your mom - ferocious mopes
m.i.a. - arular
troubled hubble - making beds in a burning house
electrelane - axes
jason anderson - the wreath

plus two extras!:
the raveonettes - pretty in black
beck - guero

Nat Baldwin - Lights Out

So, we didn't have this blog when this album came out, but its on my top ten of the year! And it deserves lots of credit, since Nat is not only a friend but an amazing musician.

Nat plays stand up bass, and sings rollicking melodies about broken hearts, and the future of love life. His album has beautifully layered and textured vocals that are often slow and somber. With a sense of yearning, Nat calls out to his lost lover (who lots of girls wish would get in a hole and die so we can have him). His compassion comes out with his nonchalant in his delivery. You can almost see him shrug as he delivers "And now I found my true love/and I'm doing it right now/and oh no one can stop me." His voice says that he's moving on to bigger and better things, but his delivery really says "Shit, woman, do you think I don't miss you?" Adding to this, there are highlights of a chorus of singers in parts of songs, which visually, I could almost imagine them popping out from behind Nat playing his bass to chime in at all the right parts.

The bass is pretty much the only instrument that accompanies Nat's voice, which makes his songs simple and memorable. You can probably hum about every song melody after listening to the album once. The tones are either long and swelling or short staccato and pulsing. The times when the two are juxtaposed creates lots of movement in the song, and makes the songs come alive.

What is fantastic about Nat's record is that it takes genres and bends together. Obviously, Nat has had some classical training but he's more interested in the accessibility of the indie rock song. Rather than reinventing the wheel, Nat is able to pull together his musical resources to create a work that is his own.

And just a quick note, Nat could be such a player, but he's not. He's a fun guy to see perform, but even if the ladies are drooling over how attractive he is cool as a cucumber. But as the song "Only in Dreams" displays, Nat can be the hot musician stud muffin if he desires: "So we're all alone, what we gonna do, c'mon girl"

Buy the album.
Nat's myspace, with new materal

Monday, December 12, 2005

Just Kinda Evil

Just to follow-up on the IMDB discussion board, as it lights up with weird debates about "Narnia", I wanted to share a few choice moments. I have highlighted my favorite moments. I love people.

NOLEY: Mr. Tumnus made my skin crawl! Roofie in tea, pipe playing, door-locking...and for Heaven's sake, put a tunic on.
MARG14: Good Lord he was a FAUN, not a man, he didn't need clothes. And this is officially the 189th thread about Mr. Tumnus being creepy. He is SUPPOSED to be a little off, since he is planning to kidnap Lucy and give her to the witch. Notice that there is nothing pervy about that, just kinda evil.

(Ed. Note - I just wanted to point out that Noley lists, among Mr. Tumnus' other creepy acts, PIPE PLAYING. )

CHRONICLESOFNARNIA: The little girl carried the film, British teeth and all.
RIMSY: BRITISH TEETH?! Those were little girl teeth, that's all. I guess in America, kids can go to the dentist and get perfect Hollywood teeth from as soon as they have teeth.
GUADALUPETHEGNOME1984: Agree or not, that's funny.
SHEELEYB: British people have teeth?

This just ocurred to me: why does Mr. Tumnus, a faun, have the torso of a man but the legs and horns of a faun whilst all the other animals (beavers, wolves, fox, etc...) actually look like animals?
JOHNATTRIDGE: Because a faun is a mythical creature.
POEBOY7: Fauns are pretend.

I think that Mr. Tumnus and Lucy had a very good relationship. They're friendship was strong, that's the reason why he didn't turn her in to the Witch. No, he didn't lure her back to his home to molest her. He was doing the bidding of the White Witch and kidnapping her, but their friendship was strong and he helped her escape. I just... I dunno. I don't find Mr. Tumnus + Little Lucy cute... well, I kind of do, but I would never want them to get together when she's THAT young. I remember thinking to myself, "In 10 years they should get married." I really don't care that he's a faun and she's a human. what difference does that make? does it matter if a white woman loves a black man? does it matter if an asian person loves an iraqi man? no it doesn't, so why should it matter about this?

(Ed. Note - It is worth noting that Asian people and Iraqis are not pretend.)

So yeah, i'm not one of those stupid people who were like "see the way Mr. Tumnus is looking at Lucy? He's such a pervert!" HELL NO! I think, by the end of the movie, they've gained something deeper than friendship, but not that close to that kind of relationship... yet.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

santa clause tells me to kill people

We have got to get this motherfucking air conditioner fixed.

Tonight I saw the film "The Chronicles of Narnia". Having never read the books, I was completely taken aback by this hallucinatory mish-mash of secular myth and Christian symbolism. I admit having done some acid in high school. So there is always the chance that I actually didn't see the movie with friends this evening, and I was having a flashback. But, assuming that I did attend the movie, here is my review.

"The Chronicles of Narnia" is the story of a little girl named Chubby McGiggles, who giggles even when she is crying. She and her three siblings, who all have DSL, find a magical place inside a closet where it is snowing one day and hot the next. At first, I thought it was Louisiana, but then I realized that it was a magical place completely free of ethnicity, a place called Narnia. In this land of wonders, Santa Claus comes by every hundred years and gives weapons to all of the good children who are traveling with talking beavers. Oh, and no one ever wears a t-shirt. No matter how badly you, the viewer, wish that they would. This is a land of healthy, peanut-sized nipples that never appear swollen and pepperoni-sized, but are always perky. It makes you think that there was probably someone hired specifically for the purpose of holding ice on the Centaur nipples before the director yelled "Action!".

"Sound?" "Speed!" "Camera?" "Rolling!" "Centaur Nipples?" "Perked!" "Action!"

This land is populated by talking horses, flying cat-style beaver horses, ogre-style, tree-swinging buffalo man-things, and various other horribly-conceived CGI creatures that serve at the right hand of a wicked rastafarian whose name we only hear one time in the movie. She is angry about something. I can only assume it is worth all of the trouble that it must have been to spend centuries breeding mutants and training apes to swing hatchets. Did I not mention the hatchet-swinging apes? There are hatchet-swinging apes. At the merest flick of her ice-laser saber-stick-weapon, all of these CGI cliches will ride out and wage bloodless, hygienic war on the Christians. I mean, the protagonists.

On top of all of this, you get to see an 8 year-old British kid named Skandar dress up like Bishop Don Magic Juan. What kind of asshole names a child Skandar? Seriously, this kid's name is a bad Scrabble hand.

But back to the bloodless war. If you get hurt by a monkey or a cheetah or whatever, you can just call Chubby McGiggles over to pour Crown Royal on it and it is all better. People and animals alike have a really hard time staying dead in this movie. There is this great big cat named Ansel Adams that dies too, and that's a really important moment for some reason because the cat is some kind of spiritual leader to the caucasian-style horse-men and the bearded, spray-painted midgets. If you guys are starting to see tracers at this point, I understand. I thought I was, too.

I thought this movie was, at the core, a b-movie. But I didn't dislike it in that sense, I quite enjoyed it. It was like this strange orgy of anglophile, heterosexist imagery, but with a bunch of muppets. Two last things:

1.) The oldest sister never does a single goddamned thing in this movie. Fact.

2.) The names of these actors do not smack fame. In fact, they are so ridiculous that they sound like the names of Harry Potter's classmates. Some of them arouse in me the urge to say "No homo." Let's look at the roll-call of losers associated with this magnificent turd:

SKANDAR KEYNES as Edmund Pevensie

ANNA POPPLEWELL as Susan Pevensie ("No homo!")

GEORGIE HENLEY as Chubby McGiggles

Oh, and if you're a registered IMDB user, peep what is going on about this movie on the IMDB discussion boards! The administrators have had to delete over 60 posts about "the child molester vibe"! Bwah ha ha!

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Last Songs

Let me let you in on a little secret: I have always loved old honky tonk country. I love the driving guitars, and the gruffness of the singers voices. So it should be no surprise that I'm a fan of the Gunshy (or perhaps you might know him as Matt Arbogast), since his raspy gruff voice is perhaps the most noticable element of his music. His past releases have been so melancholy and downtrodden that Last Songs is a welcome change. But I'm also glad that What Will They Speak of You When You're Gone? is another intimate journey into what seems to be autobiographical song writing. It explores what I've always thought has gone through Matt's head while he's on stage. He sings such intimate songs that he must feel very vulnerable and alone on a stage in a crappy bar. I know from experience when you get him to play in much more initimate settings it can be a heartwrenching experience that will even drive grown men to cry.

Last Songs is a psuedo-break from that and appears to be sort of a statement of musical purpose. "All i'd like is to write a few simple songs, for young men who look like his life right where he belongs, for making a few strangers laugh, dance and make jokes, for it was not the sad raspy tone of his unaffected voice that turned them all away, put a look on his face that made them all celebrate." It's a little more upbeat, and it has some great trumpet solo and an Edge-esque electric guitar beaming repeated riffs. This is the good stuff. Thanks, Matt.

Last Songs
What Will They Speak of You When You're Gone?

ride the lightning

Lightning Bolt - "Hypermagic Mountain"
Load, 2005

I love the photos you see of Lightning Bolt shows where indie rockers have encircled the duo like they're keeping the cops from getting to a couple of street fighters, and they've all got their arms crossed with blank stares on their faces. How can you not be emoting, you bitches? You're at a fucking Lightning Bolt show! Throw down! There's a Lightning Bolt DVD out, and several songs from it were filmed in David Nelson's basement, and Chris Alexander was in the crowd that night. A song ends, and you can here Chris Alexander go "Dude, will you sign my dick?!"

That's why I love Shreveport, in a nutshell. We're not "with it" enough to know that we're not supposed to show passion about great music. We still yell stupid stuff at the bands we love, we still gush.

The new Lightning Bolt album is INTENSE. And I know that calling and LB album (which on average consists of about 70 minutes of thrashing, convulsive bass guitar and lightning-speed death metal drumming on crack) intense is like calling something that Jesus sais Christian, but who nelly, this album is out of control. It gets transcendentally violent on some songs. It loses all structure and becomes this flailing, prehistoric, strangely meditative thing. No homo.

Ladies and gentlemen, our first "no homo". It is now required by law to say "no homo" a lot of music blogs. At least, according to a bunch of upper-class white dilletantes from Williamsburg it is.

I'm not the biggest Lightning Bolt fan in the world. I wouldn't play it on just any occassion, since it tends to make we want to throw a chair out a plate glass door. But they have done something really incredible on "Hypermagic Mountain" - they seem to have found a way to get so unpredictable, so cathartic, and so balls-to-the-wall batshit insane that the whole thing has taken on a weird kind of symphonic calm. It's not the feeling of getting punched in the face anymore. It's that weird, numb feeling that follows, and the blood pounding in your skull while you stand there trembling, trying to figure out if you can take this guy. I know it sounds crazy. But that's because it is.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

I want to take a breath that's true

Pig In The Snow has Pedro the Lion covering Mazzy Star's "Fade Into You".
Le sigh. Old times.

slam dancing about architecture

Rogue Wave - "Descended Like Vultures"
Sub Pop, 2005

The last thing I want my music to be is benign. To me, there's nothing worse than a harmless band. Maybe that's why I have trouble dancing at the Jason Anderson shows, or repressing my chuckles at U2 concerts when Bono dances funny. I don't want my leading men to dance funny, I always want there to be at least an unspoken threat that someone in the front row may get slapped in the face, peed on, or otherwise humiliated for being a fan. All music can do this, not just rock and roll. Stravinsky's "Rites of Spring" did it, Johnny Cash did it constantly, and all of the rock acts I enjoy come with an implied "Eat shit and die."

That's why I have a hard time loving bands like The Shins, even though they're good, admittedly. At no point whatsoever, when listening to The Shins, do I think "This shit will put hair on your chest."

Hold on a sec and let me just say that I am quite done trying to sound more intelligent than I am when I write in blogs, and I have no intention to do wordsmithed over-analyses of records. I believe in the Beavis and Butt-Head school of music reviewing. It either rules or it sucks. That being said.

So, Rogue Wave is a Shins-like band who are equal parts benign, acoustic-guitar strumming, to tapping hum-alongs and distortion pedal-stomping, barn-burning face slappers. They will harmonize and make you think "Oh, Brit-pop infused low-fi indiepop! I am in my comfort zone!" and the next thing you know, BAM, there's a hole in the wall and your parents are going to be home soon, everybody get the fuck out the house.

I recommend it for fans of Andrew Bryant, The Shins, and the Pixies (I hear a little late-career, "Trompe Le Monde"-era Pixies in there). Gimme my indie cred!

Friday, December 02, 2005

Famous For Fifteen

Famous For Fifteen is a coalition of pals located in Louisiana who love to pump up the jam. Whether its hip hop, indie rock, metal or the lastest Ciara single (because we do care...), we certainly have something to say about it. Our favorite radio station is the one most of us work at, KSCL 91.3 FM. We rule.