Long lost twinsicle Teeter was in town on tour. Nigh nine years back we lived and worked and played together day and night. Life partners. She taught me how to skateboard and we'd go downtown and roll up on crews of idle teenboy skate thugs bombing parking ramps and challenge them to race her and she would win every time. Every time. It was like living in the movie of my dreams. Loose Trucks Idol. Remember the HIOQI Locust roundtable? About macho violence and power violence and Locust fans pulling the chandelier out of the ceiling at Michigan-fest in 98? I am mistakenly credited for Teeter's discussion of the Locust making it hard for fat kids in hardcore. Sizeism is an issue punk will never really address. We tried! Back then, I think we blvd something good would happen if we could save punk with our puritanical love rage. Now, with the benefit of time you think "The Locust? Who gives a fug?" The other person who was in on the round table, Mikael Wood, turns out he and I are both still contributing to the same fanzines a decade on! His Gutter Twins interview follows my Chicago hip hop fashion spread in this months SPIN. Hey, at least we're all selling out together.
For a real study in contrasts, we took TT to the Tim's-back show of Make Believe, as she is spending the next three months on a stadium-n-bus tour with New Jerseys finest. Singer opened. Way less face touching this time, more mime trapped in a birth sac. When they don't all do the clowny bits so much, it makes the US Maple guy look like a painfully hip thumb. He is really dialing the invisible hamburger phone. Otherwise, they were pretty great. Make Believe is more fuck you heroes than ever. America-misery, shanking gtr leads, electric piano filigree and pure punch. Tim had on a pajama top, khakis and wingtips and he kept folding in half over his middle aged middle and screaming at the kids, up in their eager faces about apocalypse through the ages. I think they are the Born Against of the middle west in many ways. Their return is feted by the gods, surely: Welcome back, man.
Last night, JR came over so we could write this long, long review of Times New Viking for good old Plan B. It's about 60% jokes about the first five books of the bible, Railroad Jerk and handjobs. In between turns at the writing, we browsed through some of Dworkin's most brutal work for inspiring quotes (we can only cite Foucault so much, ya know). (PS. This is not a posed picture. JR is real admirer of her work.)) If you haven't read her testimony (or read it lately) to the Minneapolis City Council on the porn/human rights ordinance, her erudition will make you break a sweat. Also, this same book features speech she gave at Yale Law School in 1980 where she takes the entire audience to task and tells them everything they have done is still not enough, and until they are out in the streets getting their asses busted along with the rest of the activists, on top of whatever feminist work they do, they're complicit. PWNED! I think she considered anyone who disagreed with her part of the problem, but then again, nobody fought the patriarchy with such whole life and soul ferocity. I hope she is resting in peace now.
Also, speaking of feminist reality terror masterworks, 4 months, 3 weeks and 2 days is still playing at the Music Box. Possibly the scariest movie I've ever seen, every day life situations that are just...unyielding horror. Kind of Dworkin meets Von Trier meets the oh-no-oh-no feeling of Jaws. Except here the shark is the communist patriarchy.
Not to be all little Sally Showalert here, but I jus' noticed that Shining is coming to le Bottle on the 11th. Bananas shred of Norway. Black metal crescendos played on all the wrong instruments and lots of mondo-Mahavishnu slash what the fuck is that flute doing in this song. They are also playing other cities and SXSW, so take note.
Via Diskant, NOU sans suits and sans Kroner. What ever became of Steve Kroner is one of punks greatest mysteries.
also, Via Perfumey-blog: the too true, cruel truth has been spoken, perhaps exactly the last thing you want to hear from a stranger at a bar “You’re a genius in your twenties,” he said. “You spend your thirties trying to get it back, so you invent neuroses.”
Follow up on the New Yorker thinger about the seed vault here, up in Svalbard with the talking ice bears.
Petite report du scene:
Shopping rips. Truly rips it punk. Lucas has a brat voice the likes of which we haven't heard since Chris from the Pee-Chees nasal baby screech. You can't peel yr eyes off him. Whether Shopping is his first or last band, you get that we will be knowing and hearing much more of him, cos he's really got it down with all the stuff someone can't be taught, with his eyes clinched tight going waaaaahuh into the mic, a natural he is. Their show last night was lacking in the usual rheumy eyed rabal roused kiddoes. I blame that big wet snow.
A friend met Donald Rumsfeld's grandson at a skate shop over the weekend, turns out he's a full tilt America-hating anarchist counting the days 'til he's old enough to expatriate. I found this encouraging somehow.
The new Vic Chesnutt record with Guy P, Silver Mt Zion and Godspeeders is winter-approps bummedrone, captivatingly so. Worth picking up just for "You are never alone" an ultra-cynical feel-good tune about band-aiding your problems to get by that namedrops popular herpes medication Valtrex.
My downstairs neighbors have yet to complain about my riding my skateboard indoors. I find this encouraging somehow.
Anyone care to join me in speculating that the reason the Ellen Allien/Sascha Funke tour is not hitting Chicago is because they're doing Pitchfork, one or both of them? Funke's MANGO is not what I was anxiously dreaming it was. That black magic was came true in the form of ol' kinky justice. Safe and Sound is tremendously satisfying, in headphones and in the house, just right-on and righteous. Dude, "PARAGE"--as the strings rise and glimmer and drop and them brump.brump.brump. It's pretty much everything I want out of a song. The chippy ching-pong on "26 Dollars", which goes acid and then heavenward, softly, equally. It makes me want to put together a teutonic-tech-disco-minimax-Kompaktian-thumpz monthly (the nights I know would not play a Justus Kohncke song unless there was a mash-up with Cool Kids doing drops on it.), but I am contractually barred from those sorts of arrangements being a Writer™, maybe it might just have to be a clandestine parking lot bike-in disco in June sort of thing. Boomboxes are nigh.
All purpose dinner party celebrating many things: 29 Days until spring. The new nine foot long dining table. Friendship. New romance. Visas. That I've made 11 quiches in 14 days. Blown deadlines. Break-ups. That Ben still DJs with LPs. Getting old. Valor. Kelly's new woman. The usual.
While prepping for his comeback into the casserole game, Miles nearly ginsu'd his typing finger off. The amount of blood loss made him think he'd slice it all the way to the bone, but turns out he only needed a band aid, not stiches. I confided that somewhere in the toasted cumin seed/entemaller quiche was a small slice of my thumb that I couldn't find.
BON APPETIT! Skin!
Some folks had to peel out for their profesh obligations but Molly and everyone else stayed for desert, plus the real treat--
JR told us the long, spooky and credible ghost story from the summer camp where he was a counselour for a couple year. Temperature drops, ghost girl in a white night gown, a drowning, running through the woods, spectral lights, corroboration, photos of the ghost girl when she was alive.
I turned out the lights, because that's the rule.
Rapt, spooked, flush with romance, full of quiche.
Ol' Monks been burrowing in case you've been wondering where she's at.
Missed Nora's set, but we had a smoke in the fucking deepfreeze and I told her about my adventure of the day--I bought some craigslisted shelves from the failed actor brother of a from-Chicago movie star. "Did he say he was failed?" she asked. "No, but thats what he inferred as we were waiting for the freight elevator." Nora is a conneseiur of celebrity gossip. People think she's joking when she she starts talking to the audience about stuff like the tragic death of Brad Renfro between songs, but she's not. On the way inside some dudes stopped to tell her they liked her set, and I laughed because one of the dudes friends was checking out her ass, despite that she's wearing a snowsuit. "Oh yeah, dudes love the snowsuit." Ladies, in case you are wondering how to draw men your way--there you go.
These Are Powers ruled it and slowly blew out the PA piece by piece.
The return to meaty noise, beat aware but clearly post-funk-Brooklyn, kinda Swans meets avenging second line.
If you look closely, you can see the green line train going past in the distance. Pat said that they love playing Chicago because it's like Brooklyn, except the people are nice. They should give us a little more credit. The big difference, if one must note, is that in Chicago people wear sweat pants unironically.
Call of the wild.
Today's sundry notes:
1. No Age's Nouns allows punk to draw innocent breath. Staying true to LA's p-rock history, but the California sun has bleached the old resigned deathwish vibes from it. They acknowledge the history they carry, but you get the idea that there was a ya basta moment along the way, making for a true genesis, a path to new punk. The world is shitty reminder enough, so the real right now punk spirit must be pure and positive.
2. The pic in the NYTimes today of Hillary behind a campaign sign that read "Solutions For America" which sounds like she's stumping for Home Depot. I can't wait 'til she loses officially, she's a real bum-out.
3. This little music blog is something I am really enjoying. Diggin in the Salvation Army bins of Ontario, so we don't have to.
4. Bird Names and We Are Powers at AV/aerie tonight. Bird Names is going on tour tomorrow, so if you live elsewhere, watch for them--they are a fine and fun time, one of our best exports.
5. Don't try to be funny and sneakily fill your running shorts with potatoes when I am just trying to take a picture of you. I am sneaky too. I will catch you!
The entry below won't delete right, but I hired a r.a. so the position has been feeled.
My dad, the budding videographer. If you google him, the main thing that comes up is pictures he took of Manuel Noriega. My dad says the the most scared he's ever been in his whole life was when the Panamanian secret police beat him with his own camera. Since we were just going to go visit Grandma at The Manor, he didn't need to worry.
My grandma is 90 now, and no longer walks. When my dad was cutting up her radioactive looking pears, she was laughing and telling him he was a good boy. When ever he helps her, this is what she says. Once the baby of the family, always the baby.
Dinner takes a really long time when you are older. It's like an hour long process. My dad spends all his vacation time with his mom. He goes on 50 mile bike rides and then goes and see his mom because that's all there is to do in rural Indiana. He's a dutiful son, her only.
She made him show me--she's been busy--getting 1000 people a day out of purgatory with her prayers. Until she was unable to get around, the only times my grandma missed mass since she was 4 years old was when she was giving birth or having heart surgery.
After dinner, we went to go see a band down in the cafeteria.
Mother and child reunion.
Literally the worst band I've ever seen. These people are old, but they're not deaf. I spent the whole time thinking about that this summer will really be the year I get the nursing home band together. If you live in Chicago and want to do this with me, holler. Seeing a room full of nanas and armless, white haired vets brighten up as soon as they recognize "Let Me Call You Sweetheart" and "5 foot 2 Eyes of Blue" and sing along, it'll make you cry. Just think about it. I think you only need an acoustic guitar, 3-4 people singing, a tambourine and someone who can play piano and you have a nursing home suitable band. You've always dreamed of being in a band that changes people's lives, right? Glee Club people, you guys need to learn Moon River and get on this elder-tainment tip.
Decorations in my grandma's room.
After the show, we had some drinks.
And I had the great privilege of brushing my grandma's teeth. I used to brush my Nana's teeth too before she died. I consider it a one of the great honors of my life, that I have brushed the teeths of both my grandmas. Nothing like brushing someone's dentures with your same last name on them to put your life in perspective.
Home again, Home again, jiggity jog.
Morgan is working on an article for the next Hit it or Quit it (out june?) about benefit comps through the punk ages. If you have any tips, any faves, put together a comp for a strange or dubious benefit, contributed to one, want to make sure we don't forget about one or have yousendit links to share: catrabbitpig AT gmail DOT com
The Catpower show happened and the Catpower sweatshirt didn't. No smalls. I'm going to make my own now, with a picture of her eating a sandwich, smiling big, coming out Karl Lagerfeld's vagina maybe? MAYBE at the beach, singing into a conch shell, or appearing to tunnel through the front pocket of the hoodie? I will post the results of my handiwork.
The last time I saw le chat was at a benefit I booked at Tramps in 1999 & Her set was 22 minutes long and 18 of them were lassitude on blast, and four ivory twinklings. I heard tell she is "better" (what is better, really?) but I was surprised by her who and how now: chipper Chan and her shiny ponytail tippin' and tappin' all over the stage. ABLY VIVACIOUS AND ENJOYING HERSELF. Master of her music with a beautiful sliver of righteous-fuck-you-you-didn't-think-I-could-do-this-did-you. It was a real pleasure to see. I wrote it here, or maybe just told someone, lassyear about when I saw Fiest on accident, that she was every thing I wanted Cat Power to be--engaging, relating to the audience, useful with her talent. But I see Cat Power now and she is more than that, she is the Cat Power you want--and she is not even giving what you wanted (or expect)-- she is beyond that. There is something extra-willful, powerful, in her being her own design of rock star, she is dreaming bigger than we are. She's not parked behind a mic, torchy and beholden to our gaze; she's flitty and pretending to show us her butt, owning it all, all, all, keen and aware, reflecting back to us our limited imaginations for "singer girl on stage". Total powervibes; maybe it's all that Mary J Blige she listens to.
Robin said that Chans dance is the sort of thing you do in your bedroom alone, and it is. The casualness and ease of her on stage moves blunt the pall of her blues band; she was taking it serious, but you know, it wasn't serious serious. We also admired her white pointy shoes, which from the 100 feet away nosebleeds, looked to us like the kind of Capezios you had to wear for jazz dance class. Robin said she drifted into a little fantasy that the shoes were magic shoes, leading Chan into her little hoofy trot of a dance. I bet they are a much fancier brand than Capezios, magic or not. Also, funnily, she was wearing the exact same outfit as JR always is, so to me she looked like she was in costume as my best friend, save for those lacey fingerless glovelets. I am mostly writing about how she looked because I could hardly hear her singing, so I can't say much about it, not because appearance is what most rock critics mention when they go see women play. No one ever writes about men's outfits and p.s. Imagine if someone wrote about what colors and styles and types of shoes No Age wore?) When she came on stage, she started singing and then went and turned up JB's guitar amp, and from then on, unless they were hush, you couldn't hear the words, only the faint shape of them under all the Keith-chords. When they got loud at the end, it was too revue, too oldies night at Kingston Mines and so we left.
Highlights were "New York", her confidence, her footwork, her revision of "Song for Bobby" to "Song For David Yow"--"first time I saw you was CBGB's... who were you screamin' to?". Also, Gregg Foreman's hair is his most interesting artistic work since Junction--it's like a wrestlers mullet by way of Tegan and Sarah meets the purposeless puff n' curl of those later Lady Clairol years of The Replacements.
Hi. Anyone in Minneapolis going to the Cat Power show tonight 2/11? Can I paypal you some $ to pick me up a small white C-P hoodie? I stupidly assumed last night that I could get them somewhere online.
Pleeze holler if you can help me out.
via Craigslist: Someone's selling old bowling lanes in slabs by the foot in case you are needing something like that for a neat project or a new floor.
RE: Singer show: More on performers outdoing their performance.
Miles Raymer, intrepid critic, gadabout and DJ, doing some out of doors smoking. We went to Ben and Logan's dance night, but did not dance. We watched young Ukranian secretaries do a clumsy frontal grind, their lifted arms lifting their dresses and the brown leather coats guys on the dancefloors sidelines pointed at the crazy girl time with whatever fingers weren't being used to hold their plastic beer cups. Someone barfed in or around a trash can, so we sat in the back, and I wound up in the same booth on the same side that somehow I always get stuck in--the one with the perfect side view of the men's room urinal. And Miles wonders why I don't go out.
It's the middle-to-ass end of the worst part of the winter. The part where you kind of just give up. Everyone is smoking again, coasting in and out of a grim yet unremarkable malaise, sleeping too much or hardly at all, eating easy heat n' serve meals and food from boxes, trying to get it together enough to make it to the mailbox and return those netflixes. We drag ourselves out of the house to whatever hi-fiving party place is on offer and comraderize, talk about how we miss our bikes, discuss if Jim Carroll Band has more than one good song.
Then there is the beacon of PMA, newly employed Kate Rose, director of social services and pumped about it. We came up with some possible songs last night for our new band, Juan of Arc, "inspired" by the turr-i-ble Peaches songs playing at the bar.
Right before the Peaches song came on, I was telling Kate and Ben about seeing the band SINGER the night before. Singer are the Velvet Revolver of the Drag City avant weird gamut, all star but not. I liked them best when I did not look at them--they had some good songs with harsh notes. It is as if Rob and the old US Maple guy (Todd? Al? I dunno) are trying to out do each other with the theatrical, concerned concentration and ironic "performer" moves, and Ben Vida is just trying to keep up. The appearance is a sort of personality transfer between, and when they are all in that frontline, mewling together, it's like their imitating each other. There was a lot of touching of the face going on. Like, tons.
Is holding the mic and posing like you are full throttle in the middle of an aria, but yet not singing a comment on spectacle? Is recoiling from the guitar neck like it has hurt you about the power of music? How about fluttering your hand in front of your face like you are doing a Spanish fan dance? Are they performing about performance with sincerity or are they just hams? It is hard to tell.
Before they were playing I was telling my friend about the chapter of the book I am working on, and he leaned over, as the Us Maple man was in the middle of meowing "STAAAAAGECOACH!" and the friend suggested including a sidebar about how you shouldn't ever write lyrics that you would be embarrassed to say out loud to your friend. I don't agree entirely, but he's right. As I was telling Ben and Kate this, Peaches started rapping that I want to see your vagina song, as if to prove the point. Though, I guess it just depends on what type of friendship you have with someone if you'd be more ok with yelling "STAGECOACH" or with, as Christgau once put it, requesting a "glimpse of labia".
Then we went to see No Age, where I thought the king of the douchebags was going to fight us. In between songs, Randy was talking about how they were excited for the snow, and the guy was yelling "FUCK YOU! SHUT THE FUCK UP!". I asked him, somewhat rhetorically, why he was doing that and he started yelling about how it was 9 pm and he was with five friends but I couldn't hear him over the punk, but I saw he had five empty beer cups stacked in his cup hand, which explained fully. He mean mugged and stared and stared at us and threw some obscene hand gestures.
But no pretend gang signs.
Via Miles. I like how this is tagged "multitasking"--that's putting it mildly.
TO DO THIS WEEK
-Anders Nilsen is going a slide show about what life is good for (his descrip) on Weds at the Black Rock bar at Damen and Addison at 8 pm.
-No Age on Tuesday at le Metro, so don't forget to get your shift covered.
Our monthly is a craft night. Valentines edition, war of girled-craft. The foot of snow kept a few people at home, but those that showed glued it up past midnight. JR was on foot and close by, so he arrived early and immediately pressed me with a question that was baffling him "I heard about this popular band Vampire Weekend. Someone told me that they sound like Paul Simon--like Graceland-era--is this true?!" I told him it was--Nassau gone Hamptons--I have Mp3'd proof, dog. He was incredulous: "WHAT THE FUCK?!" J.R. works a swing shift and doesn't have a computer or an ipod so he's a good gage of how East Coast rages and internet phenomena translates (or doesn't) in a more treacley paced real/regular word.
Despite that Max started crawling two days ago, Robin made it over for our first craft time since before he was born. Robin and I have embarked on many ambitious and rarely finished projects, including a dog shaped purse, which was fondly eulogized last night: she sewed the straps on wrong, in such a way where then you could not open the purse. Hermeticallly sealed too-small canvas dog. Then she bested our best work (living room curtains) by making Max. She told me I had made a monster by showing Ian how to use HypeMachine last time I was at their house. She said all the songs he downloads are people singing "Where's my cocaine?" or "How come you didn't tell me you have cocaine?" and asked me to explain. I couldn't. We all came up listening to punk and hxc that were either too obtuse or high on moral absolutes to ever sing openly about doing drugs. We all came up in the heroin age that followed 80's punk coke-rager, and saw enough death and stolen record collections that cadging notice on a habit--in song--is kind of beyond the pale.
Kells was the only one who showed up with a specific Valentine vision, making a card for her second date with a girl that's happening on 2/14,
referencing the old joke about what do lesbians bring to a second date: a U-Haul.
AnnieLaurie, after a long day teaching bright young things at the Art Inst., came home and pounded out a grip of 'tines. She was also nice enough to share her color transparencies of diseased tissues and colons and stuff.
Kells made us a valentine for the house, "Sup Romance". Her "Welcome Homo" sign is still up on the front door, it's pipe cleaners stand in stark contrast to my neighbours country-style seasonal wreaths.
J.R., who is currently reading his 23rd book on Honest Abe, made a Lincoln-tine for his room. The quote on the bottom is about conquering your enemies by turning them into friends. PMAbe.
I mostly shellaced feathers and glue to stuff, though my crude embellishment of a picture of a woman eating a chocolate eau clair repulsed my co-creationists.
Whatever, man. It's a feminist critique; I just fully illustrated what the picture implied, filled in that male gaze with some glitter and glue.
I'm not yet to the bottom of my coffee, so forgive if this doesn't parse proper:
Jukebox is the most fully realized Cat Power work in some time I think--even her best early work (MoonPix) was the bloodletting of a heavy mood (righteously and convincingly, mind you). I know everyone lost their shit over The Greatest, as if it was her fullfulling her rightful place as a daughter of the south, but for all it's shorthanded "warmth", the shit was frosty, sterile, rote and remote--it felt like some sort of formal exercise--the ultimate show that she could pull it together, that she could go big and not crawl from the stage weeping. Jukebox sounds like an album born of the grand endeavor that came before it--she's working with an assurance that she'd only ever been fitted for. It's rude and not quite the point to say that she's finely grown into her talent, more like she's fucking repo'd it. The distance between the originals and her revision is filled with real swagger--she keeps pace with all that is implied when Judah Bauer juts those Keith-chords. There is no repentance or apology behind her power. The review in The Independent nailed it with something like "her take of "New York" removes the vision of a sweaty, porcine Sinatra from your head"--the original was all brassy smiles and it was too easy to imagine someone swingin' round a lamppost announcing their giddiness and dumb wonder to the sky. Chans is gee-whiz free-- all sinew and FTW--sounding like someone who knows exactly what New York can do to a girl, confident she can handle whatever is coming her way.