April 30, 2008

WHATCHOOKNOWABOUTTHAT?!

I've been telling people "I've been busy, working at the library a lot" and they assume that I've gotten a job there. I had to change locales, as the two month long re-roofing that's going on above me doesn't give a fuck about my manuscript due date. So. I ride the same route, stay for the same time, pack my 'puter, books and snacks, settle in and give myself permission to move to another room if someone starts barking. Or if the guy that lives in the library saddles up nearby. He mutters "shitmotherfuckshiiiiyatcocksuckerfuckinshiiiyat" non-stop in a low bass voice that rumbles through earplugs. Part of the appeal of the library is being in silence with a bunch of people, all furiously ploughing books, but not everyone abides by that, which is another part of the appeal. The library belongs to everyone.

It is finals week and the reading room is packed with collegiate refugees. Yesterday a ponytailed girl sat down across from me and pushed up the sleeves of her ASU hoodie and suddenly filled the room with the unmistakable smell (stench, really) of her Bath & Bodyworks bodyspray, which brought on flashbacks of every strip club I've ever been to. I wanted to clue her in, slip her a note informing her that B&B Cherry Blossom Splash is eau de lapdance. Instead, I moved to the hall so as not to barf, where the security guard promptlybusted me for eating a banana. (I have a neutral fascination with him. He's a mouth breather with a flat face and weak chin, his cupids bow is so arched that he looks like he's sneering and smelling hot trash at the same time. It is a perculiar face, but lends an air of menace as he makes the rounds, chastising the homeless dudes for sleeping and teens snarfing Chee-Tos. I think he takes a lot of pride in his job, he looks really satisfied pushing in stray chairs. He is very thin and all of his clothes are much too big; he reminds me of when I used to make Kleenex outfits for my paper dolls.) From nowhere he appeared and squatted down so as to make eye contact with me, "Go ahead and finish your banana, but you can't eat in the library. It's cool if you wanna drink water, that's the policy, but when there's food in the library, the librarians get shit and I catch heat too." Classic good cop with a cuss thrown in so I don't think he's "the man". He's just a guy doing his job, and his job is sneaking up on people and their bananas.

Posted by Jessica at 03:17 PM | TrackBack

April 29, 2008

BACK MIDDLE TO THE FRONT DON'T FRONT

For the 11 Minneapolis people who read this blog and probably already know it's going down, but just to be on the safe side, so you can call in sick to your swing shift at Forever Tan: God bless the Walker::::>Thursday night is the free artist talk from Chris Johansen and Jo Jackson and then Friday is two showings of Beautiful Losers on Saturday and I blv a Q&A with Aaron Rose. There are a lot of art products related to Aaron Rose now, have you noticed? That Alleged Book with Shayla's boob on the cover, ANP Quarterly, the Beautiful Losers book, the weird wooden box with the special graf markers that I saw a baby chewing on at Art Next over the weekend--the man is an industrial complex.

Posted by Jessica at 10:45 AM | TrackBack

April 27, 2008

AND HOW WAS YOUR WEEKEND SAID THE BAGGER.

Thus far, I've been ambivalent about all the 33 1/3 books I've half-skimmed, but motherfuck, Sean Nelson's drop on Joni's Court & Spark is a blazer. Whether you like Joni or not (what's wrong with you?!) there is some fine rock critical in those 113 pages, a fine feminist awareness throughout. Absolutely worth the 9.95$. The only thing I think he gets "wrong", and he even kind of calls himself on it, is his take on the inflection of bitterness on Hissing of Summer Lawns, the album that follows. To me, I don't spot it as bitterness so much as a keen, keen awareness of being a woman aging out the demographic of too young too know better. It's about the blessing and the cruelty that your commodity within the patriarchy begins fade just as your sense of power and self is rising. I dunno if most dudes can pick that up, but that record hit me like a ton of oh-shit bricks at 22 while I was sparkling amidst that demographic. My mom and I were talking Joni yesterday before I finished the book up and she said those two records were about "who we were and who we would become". Hissing is the "become", it's what happened to the girl of "Car on the Hill" when she stopped waiting. It's a no, fuck you record down to it's jazzbo bones--but, bitterly--no. "Shadows and Light" et. al are not the songs of someone who wants their youth back, it's someone getting free from it.

Last saturday was Cex's return to the third coast. His new stee is deep-fi and in a very strange turn/manner, his most accessible work since the new century turned, since maybe ever. COMPLEX AND SURE. While the rest of Baltimore is attempting to turn their Nickolodeon fetish into a career, Rjy laid a live mix on us that was like Rod Lee meets Andrea Dworkin. The limited palette techno clap of Baltimore club at a fixed clip with recontextualized samples from vintage porn films. The set started with all the lights in the church turned off, a way-beardo Cexman talking about growing up Catholic with a little flashlight beam pointed at the cross above the old alter, about martyrdom and the measures undertaken at Guantanamo to prevent hunger strikers from dying. Then the flashlight went off and samples began, the girls voice unaltered, giggly, the male voices layered and slowed for max creepiness and boom, "Have you ever been with five guys before?" they ask. "I only have so many holes" she giggles. Then the bass drops mega and kids started dancing on the arms of the seats and grinding. I think they thought Rjyan was just giving them regular old shake it n' jiggle it jams but there is a collosal diff. between say, DJ Funk style nasty bounce and 40 minutes of centerpiecing gang bang samples as techno-treatise on contemporary American Imperialism. Less LET'S FUCK, more WE'RE ALL FUCKED.

Also, if you've got the day off: Monday 3 pm--Joshua Clover lecture at Columbia College on poetics and film. If it's even 1/9th as solid as his M.I.A. throw down at EMP (which Jonathan Richman hauling ass on the ring road round Boston and ended with the Birdflu-pocolypse c/o Tyson factory chicken farms, with slide show!) it should be a ripper. See ya there.

Posted by Jessica at 10:08 PM | TrackBack

April 26, 2008

NO ROTATION UNLESS YOU TAKE OVER THE STATION

That's Mrs.Updated Muxtape to you.

Posted by Jessica at 04:45 PM | TrackBack

YOU CAN'T STAND STILL ON A MOVING TRAIN

From May 2006 issue of Decibel:"To this end, Winter is also the label manager of Unholy Records, an NSBM subsidiary of Resistance that released a double-disc Burzum tribute album in 2002 (Visions: A Tribute to Burzum), Nocturnal Fear’s Sterilize and Exterminate and Nachtmystium’s Reign of the Malicious. Though the presence of the latter on an NSBM label may surprise many of the band’s more recent fans, it is important to note that Nachtmystium has always been an apolitical band, and guitarist/vocalist Blake J. (AKA Azentrius)’s more recent musical endeavors—specifically with black metal supergroup Twilight and his own label, Battle Kommand—are not even remotely affiliated with National Socialism or White Power. “In the past, we’ve had some indirect ties to labels and bands that are part of the NS scene,” Azentrius concedes. “At one point not too many years ago, it wasn’t uncommon for NS labels or bands to trade and work with non-politically motivated bands and labels because at the end of the day, we’re all trying to promote, release, and be involved with music—all politics aside. Today it seems like there’s less of a connection, at least for me and my label. We don’t oppose people’s right to be ‘NS’ or whatever—that’s a personal choice, and if you live in the USA, you have the right to that opinion. Even though I personally, my band(s) and my label have absolutely no interest in being a part of that scene, I will ALWAYS take their side when it comes to their freedom of speech being imposed upon.”

Posted by Jessica at 02:29 PM | TrackBack

April 25, 2008

ESCRIBAY-BAY

Ding-ding, 'nother letter! Race, rap-crit, Fat Mike softballs, punks saying fag vs. rappers saying it--lets talk about it all!

**************


Wait, wait. Time out. I have to disagree with the last posted letter from your mailbag. On the contrary, it seems to me that white-hipster outlets such as Pitchfork feel a need to justify and quantify their positive reviews of mainstream rap music by pointing out that the last Snoop Dogg album is good despite sexism. Eminem is a talented artist despite his homophobia. It works in the opposite way as well-do you remember their review of Sage Francis' "A Healthy Distrust"? Rather than examine the album musically, the majority of the review was fuled by the thesis that Sage Francis is a great rapper because he's not homophobic.
What is this shit? When's the last time you read a review that felt a need to point out that Mos Def, Common, Cage, Rhymefest, El-P, SA Smash, whothefuckever use the word "fag"? It's all about the music when a rapper is beloved by indie-kids but if the act gets more play in Harlem than Williamsburg, expect some sort of back-handed apology for the positive review.
Don't get me wrong, I am not blaming Pitchfork for the advent of this double-standard; I think they do a great job most of the time. I am also certainly not trying to suggest that mainstream rap is not frequently sexist or homophobic.
Here's what I am saying: Why do certain acts, in rock and rap, get a pass based on the idea that what they're saying is "rhetoric"? When 50 Cent says "bitch", that's a reflection of his ignorance but when the Descendents sing, "go away you fucking gay!" that's just a funny legendary pop-punk band clowning around? Unlike Slim Shady who only wrote a song about killing his girlfriend with a knife, Sid Vicious actually did it. How often do we talk about that? The Sex Pistols are the stuff of Greil Marcus books and Urban Outfitters tees. I hear about how Cam'ron disrespects women in a review, which he does, but why doesn't any punk magazine ask Fat Mike why he has lyrics like, "you can't change the world by hating men" instead of asking him to explain how much he hates George Bush?
There's no litmus test generally applied to people who are into emo/punk/metal-core/screamo/insert variation of rock cloaked in phony anti-mainstream ideals here. Why? Why the assumption that a rad record collection can earn you pass on bad ideas? Or vice versa?

*******

Posted by Jessica at 04:15 PM | TrackBack

CXMAN

New Cex blog. He's on turrrr now, again as a one man confrontation act, all over all over (dates on blog) the US, playing his new work which is about music being used as torture/"interrogation technique" Guantanamo.

Posted by Jessica at 12:00 PM | TrackBack

L'ETRE

More mailbag:

*****
i think you missed an important point on why white
hipsters (i say white hipsters cuz hipster is one of
many terms that was african american in origin that
was corrupted/co-opted by euro-american culture) don't
call out current hip-hop for all of it's fucked
up-ness. from the beats on the majority of hip white
culture has been based on black syles (musical and
otherwise). part of the reason for this is that it
briefly allows white males to adopt the mythical
sexual power/prowess of the black male, from kerouac
to the MC5 to the beastie boys this as always been the
case. this is how you get a room full of dudes who
own, and endorse the ideas behind, bikini kills entire
back catalog gleefully singing along to NWA's "a bitch
is a bitch." it allows the listener to indulge, guilt
free, in their not-so secret misogynist fantasies. it
is a classic case of other-ing, the ideas come outside
from another 'primitive" culture so they can't
possibly reflect the higher class opinions of yr
average upper middle class hipster.


******

Long-time reader, first-time (I think?) correspondent.

I'm following the ongoing Nachtmystium conversation with considerable
interest, because this is a circle I keep trying (with little success) to
square for myself. I listen to a lot of music made by problematic artists,
and can reel off other styles of music besides black metal where supposed
left-wingers are willing to give a pass to loathsome ideology: neo-folk
(Death in June, Der Blutharsch), power noise (Sleep Chamber, Whitehouse),
the morbid fascination with Ted Bundy / the Process / Charles Manson held by
Genesis P-Orridge, the self-consciously retro pose of new-school hard techno
acts like British Murder Boys and Female (who are really just coöpting the
transgressive moves of earlier noise artists like Whitehouse and Sutcliff
Jugend). Not to mention the full-spectrum misanthropy and misogyny of metal
acts like Deicide and Eyehategod -- and if we're being strictly honest, even
ironic hipster heroes Slayer can't be given a pass, because "Angel of Death"
really blurs the lines between decrying, describing, and celebrating Josef
Mengele.

Is it OK to be a Satan-worshipper but not OK to be a Nazi? Where do you draw
the line between transgression (which is certainly childish, and
reactionary, but not evil per se) and actively supporting or promulgating
distasteful ideologies? And how much does does it have to matter that
artists are often stupid, hateful people?

I'll take the position that Emperor's _In the Nightside Eclipse_ and
Dissection's _Storm of the Light's Bane_ are, in their own modest way,
artistic achievements on par with Leni Riefenstahl's _Triumph of the Will_
-- a movie that is still taught in film classes everywhere -- yet both bands
had as members men who did time for murderous hate crimes. Does the hate
invalidate the quality of their art? If so, I'd have to stop listening to
two of my favorite albums.

Or, to bring it back to something that has caused, and continues to cause,
me genuine discomfort, how *does* one deal with Death in June and their
fans? Death in June made some fantastic albums early on, but everything
about them, from their totenkopf insignia to their supposedly "ironic" use
of "Horst Wessel" and other bits of Nazi ephemera in their songs and
packaging (the totenkopf banner, the use of German camouflage, German
marching songs as backing tracks, etc) makes me uncomfortable (I go into DiJ
and their purposeful attempts to blur their beliefs here:
http://driftglass.org/music/articles/2008/03/13/death-in-june-are-or-are-not
-nazis).

The fact that many of their fans like to wear fully buttoned black shirts
and jackboots isn't helping. I'm acquainted with the guy who promotes Death
in June's shows in San Francisco, and I've never made it to one of those
shows despite his repeated invitations, mostly because the idea of dealing
with Death in June's fans fills me with angst (above and beyond not wanting
to give my money and time to asshats).

I don't think you have to admire the people who create the art to admire the
art, and I think it's entirely possible to love the first few Burzum records
while thinking that Christian Vikernes is a loathsome twat. I think, to be
consistent, people who like music made by assholes have to be call said
assholes on their stupidity, and we all owe it to the world to think hard
before giving money to people who might use it to advocate hatred or
violence. I personally have no idea how or where to draw the line, though. I
continue to listen to and like a lot of black metal, but I won't buy albums
by certain artists (Forest, Graveland, Nokturnal Mortum) because they've
explicitly expressed neo-Nazi sentiments in the past (or, in Forest's case,
put storm troopers all over their cover art).

I'm fully willing to admit that I'm trying to have my cake and eat it too;
_In the Nightside Eclipse_ is right up there with _Loveless_ and Swans'
_Great Annihilator_ on my list of all-time favorite albums. However, I don't
think my fervor for that album -- or my enjoyment of Thorns or Zyklon --
contaminates how much I deplore Bård Eithun for being a homophobic murderer.
He's a hateful asshole who's produced some art I love.

I guess I could just listen to my old Immortal records instead. Blashyrk is
made up and Immortal are way more worried about getting their face paint
right than getting involved in politics.

****

Posted by Jessica at 11:42 AM | TrackBack

April 24, 2008

CANADIAN MAILBAG

Addition to the mailbag from up Canada way:

Hello there -

The last letter from today's mailbag (April 24) raised one bad & one
good point. The bad was that it lapsed, rather defensively, into what
another reader called "the Skrewdriver statement". Listening to
racist/homophobic/sexist/prejudiced music on strictly musical terms is
willfully ignorant of the fact that we're giving a platform to hatred.
I also notice that the I-Don't-Agree-Besides-They-Rock defense is only
used with regard to white supremacist bands. In no other genre, hell,
in no other medium is such a separation between art & artist made. No
one watches an Elia Kazan film without remembering how he ratted his
friends out to HUAC, no one reads Hunter S. Thompson without imaging
what he was high on as he wrote this paragraph, and good luck finding
a single article about TV On the Radio that doesn't mention the band's
racial make-up.

The good point that the reader/writer made, though, was the blind eye
that P-forkers turn towards the abundant sexism, homophobia, and
exploitive violence in hip-hop. My friends and I have a theory which
might explain this away: hipsters are scared of black people. Not in a
"You're Gonna Get Raped" kinda way, but in a fear-of-disapproval,
defensive way. Ergo, white borderline fascists & racists like
Nachtmystium are met with at least passive disapproval, but no one
thinks "Ayo Technology" is an homage to date rape, or Spank Rock's
coke-'n'-bitches bangers are creepily nihilistic - because god forbid
they be accused of being a hectoring, holier-than-thou white person
critiquing a minority that's gotten the shaft throughout all of
American history.

But then, when I worked in a record store in Baltimore, there was a
black transsexual who came in to chat with me ad nauseum about her
favourite Burzum records; she related to their sense of being cast out
& alienated from broader society. So if that's the flipside to the
argument, I'm totally lost.

Posted by Jessica at 06:09 PM | TrackBack

SAME MAILBAG, DIFFERENT DAY

And the discussion ensues! Here are my thoughts for today™ in relation to this and some of the larger ideas that the letters have me thinking 'bout: What I'm getting at is not the old "does liking racist stuff make you racist?" convo of 05, but our 21st century American charge--that we must consider how we are complicit and what we are complicit in by what we consume. What is the end result of not looking at what ignorant shit comes out of someone's mouth, because when they sing you can't actually understand it? Even if the singer is espousing racism, and you know he's probably espousing racism, and they are putting out records on an NSBM label? Why does it make a difference if someone is racist in Norweigian, if you know they are racist? Does a language barrier give you indemnity if you can't tell the difference between them saying "kill jews" and "barn"? If Dan Bejar used the word "faggot" to insult someone in an interview, would you/me/Brooklyn Vegan/Blender still feel okay writing about the New Pornographers and not mentioning it? Why is some of black metal's racism overlookable, and others not? How serious of a nazi do you have to be? How come the same standards don't apply to punk RAHOWA bands? America is a racist place, so we could say they come from tradition of racist expression, right? But would you justify buying one of those records by saying "Ok, it's cool because I'm not actually into the KKK." Why does an aesthetic tradition of nationalism get one genre a free pass, but another genre not?

LETTERZ:::::::::>

Writing it off as rhetoric just means we're writing it off as views that they wish to pass on to others, so I wouldn't write it off at all. And I'm willing! The discussion of authenticity is a slippery slope...there's no clear-cut definition of authenticity in art. And from what I know the popular arguments are that there's either no authenticity or everything is authentic. Either way, it doesn't matter necessarily. Sticking by tradition or forging your own neo-socialist path doesn't change the fact that that vitriol is pretty dang grosso.

>>>Who does it serve by not taking these views seriously? Who is benefiting from this pass?

It serves the (mostly American) fans by letting them flirt with ideas they have floating around their lizard brains but don't actually believe in. They get to play with fire. The only benefactors from this shit are the people who say it and believe it, and the people that hear it and believe it. The rest of us who aren't taking it seriously (or taking it very seriously), get to sit and watch and suffer through.


*******

Thanks for bringing up the black metal issue-

Anyways, like you I recall the glory days of the PC vs. non-PC leanings of the early 90s (see Dwarves etc.). I really hate to describe it that way, but its easiest. As my years advance, I cringe when I listen to some of this stuff ie Christian Death's first album, to quote a friend, "Rozz, why do you have to say that word?" or "Back from Samoa." Although I count a Dwarves show as one of my favorite concerts, the schtick always leaves me uncomfortable and ultimately I feel that with them that is all it is.

Yesterday as I was walking my dogs through Cleveland's suburbs (incidentally near Neon Beach's unlimited tans) listening to black metal I thought about your entry. I don't have an answer and its certainly not as simple as the "Dude, Skrewdriver rocks" statement. Note to self-- I have to finish my spec-script on Skrewdriver. I guess I can write off a bunch of crazy Croatian teenagers writing that kinda stuff as the Shaggs, but a bunch of adults from Chicago no way.

Is there an answer, I think it depends on the audience, just like we filter what our son sees, reads and hears because he cannot understand it. It depends on the audience. I always worry about how the above Skrewdriver statement eventually justifies knowing, thinking human beings forgetting the irony.

No answers, but thanks for raising the point.

*****

Hi Jessica, I thought I'd jump in on this topic. My main question is why the "hipster embrace" of a band who espouse despicable values is what causes you concern. That seems to imply that all "hipsters" (whatever that word still means) should hold to the same set of values (which here means progressive liberal values, that hipsters cannot or should not be racist, sexist, antisemitic, or intolerant in any way. Obviously in a perfect word no one would be intolerant. But I'm just puzzled by the idea that everyone who reads pitchfork is assumed to have the same views. Also, honestly, I have no idea what the political views are of most artists who Pitchfork review. I mean I assume that Dan Bejar are the dudes from the Shins or whatever aren't homophobic racists. But I think one of the dudes from the Shins beat up his girlfriend, which seems worse than calling someone a "faggot" or talking about a zionist conspiracy. So should I not listen to the Shins. Or since I'd rather listen to Nachtmystium than the Shins, should I deny myself whatever pleasure I get from listening to Nachtmystium--or let's even say Burzum for much less ambiguously heinous views--because of what the members of the group might believe? I mean I can understand being troubled when you find out that any artist holds views that we find reprehensible, but where do you draw the line?

The other thing that I find interesting is that this is not a problem when Pitchfork reviews Jay-Z or Clipse or any number of hip-hop artists who actually espouse intolerance (especially homophobia) in the actual content of their lyrics--honestly I can't understand what the hell most Black Metal artists are saying. Although whenever the lyrics are printed it's usually just highschool emo lyrics about how life sucks and we should all die...

Posted by Jessica at 11:58 AM | TrackBack

April 23, 2008

TELL ME WHAT YOU WANT WHAT YOU REALLY REALLY WANT

This mornings mailbag brings me to some questions, and they are:

1. Can you really separate a creators ideology from their creative output? Can you parcel out the parts you like?
2. What happens when we write-off anti-semitism/racism/homophobia in (black) metal as rhetoric? Is it actually rhetoric? Why aren't we willing to take these opinions at face value?
3. When we suggest that these views are not authentic, or simply spurred on by teenage will to shock, as John Darnielle suggested may be the case in the May issue of Decibel-- are we supposed to assume that espousing racism et. al. is just aesthetic tradition? If it's hewing to aesthetic tradition, does that make it not authentic by default ?
5. Who does it serve by not taking these views seriously? Who is benefiting from this pass?

FROM THE MAILBAG:

I thought this was a really interesting post, and touched on a discussion I sort of had with Brandon Stosuy who writes the metal column for Pitchfork...just that the history of black metal is so connected to either the violence or the racist immaturity that the scene festered in for so long, fueled by a bunch of 19 year-olds reading Tolkien and thinking that the Edda could totally apply to 1992. It sort of colors all black metal that came after it to a certain extent, even if the band stands in total opposition to it (like Wolves In The Throne Room, who just recently had to a some MySpace bulletin clearing up any confusion/reaction to some interview the guy gave where he supposedly came off as anti-semitic).
I'm not the hugest black metal dude, but the history is interesting enough, at least as a lens to take a peek at super white dudes + boredom + guitar. Either way, Natchmystium's music is good, and that should be taken on it's own merit in my opinion, critically separate (for a time) from their anti-semitic throwoffs in interviews (which seemed pretty disingenuous and tossed in to me...like he didn't really know what 'Zionist' meant). The flip side is that every interview I've ever read with the guys suggest that they're a bunch of holier-than-thou emo douchebags with bullet belts.

****

What's your beef with Nachtmystium? I don't recall Blake Judd ever aligning himself with NSBM or making prejudicial remarks against homosexuals or Jews. Granted, he digs Burzum for the music and ignores Varg's rhetoric, so maybe there's a Hannah Arendt "banality of evil" thing going on. But I think you are WAY overstating the influence of NSBM. Your average "nigel hipster" is not listening to Graveland.

****


Hi, I'm a frequent reader of your blog. Re: Nachtmystium...I get your point that the supposed "hipster embrace" of bands like Nachtmystium is overlooking the sketchy politics that dog much of the black metal scene. But in practically every Nachtmystium interview I've read that happens to touch on the subject, they've made clear that they have no desire to associate themselves with "NSBM" or politics of any kind. I'm not defending the ignorant comments made by Blake Judd/"Azentrius" in that 3-year old article you alluded to. However, I certainly haven't seen any evidence of or read any recent interviews with him where the sentiments behind those comments were expressed again.

I dunno, maybe I'm being too defensive. I'm admittedly a fan of their music and enjoyed seeing them live last year. But I understand your concerns, and I'm pretty sympathetic to them. I guess I'm just conflicted. Sorry for rambling. I enjoy reading your blog. Take care.

****

Posted by Jessica at 11:50 AM | TrackBack

April 22, 2008

April 21, 2008

MORNING CALL-OUTS

Seeing that black metal locals Nachtmystium are nuzzled in hipster embrace these days, I'm left wondering if homophobia and anti-semitism is just accepted now? Was there a memo on this I missed? Or is the heinousness of throwing "faggot" and talk of Zionist conspiracy around in interviews blunted by the wider context-- i.e. the scores of NSBM-aligning bands who are essentially Nazis in crypt-face? Like Nachtmystium can't be that bad because they are down with Isis and not putting swastikas on their clothes? Or is that no one has bothered to do their homework (you don't have to dig farther than the second google hit for "Nachtmystium+interview" ) before putting these assholes on blast?

Posted by Jessica at 12:25 PM | TrackBack

April 18, 2008

HANDLE THAT BUSINESS

Something that I didn't know existed: Christgau's NAJP blog, which covers a little of what EMP was like this year and also, poke around links and news on the NAJP site for a thumbnail sketch on print journo's slow hanging death. I will fully cop that somewhere around the start of this blog (400 A.D. or so) there was some gentle (gentile?) haterade for Xgau, I think mostly because he's venerable, powerful and part of an old garde I get snotty about, but, really I have to say, in large part because his EMP presentations made me giggle inbetween brain-pan searing, I have respect and awe for the man and his writing. At present, I am snorting my way through the Record Guide of The 80's that I checked out from Sulzer Regional. Sadly, I am the first person to check it out since it's issue in 1990. Feh!

Posted by Jessica at 12:39 PM | TrackBack

STUPID CAT! WHY CAN'T YOU BE A SHIFTING FAULTLINE?!

I feel gipped that I did not awake for the earthquake c. 4:45 am. It woke Matt up all the way in St. Louis. I only know Evansville, IN as the place I stop and thrift and get a bag of square donuts on my way back from grandma's house, not as a seismic epicenter. This morning I was hoping that what I was feeling was aftershocks but it was Monkee hopping on the bed, in combo with the trash truck idling outside, which makes the whole house purr, even up here on the third floor. I wonder if the possibilities of a big one hitting Chi-Boogie will change the building of that ruffled spiral tower, the world tallest building that is going be erected here on the edge of the lake, the the flajillion dollar condo spindle. I am sure earthshaking will not stop it, as nothing stops heedless capitalism or gentrification in Chicago, even in times of war and downturn. Tevs. I don't care so much, as the building is the symptom, not the problem itself. My municipal wishes are homes for the homeless, food for the hungry, parks with less broken glass in them, and that they'd fucking wash the streets already so I can skate.

Secondly, I have something to tell you, and that thing is a few things. A.) I have no idea if the benefit tonight is BYOB or booze sales a-happening, so I suggest you just crotch a flask and sneak nips in the roofless unisex bathroom. Or better yet, party sober. B.) I know what yr about to ask, and no, the only requests I will play is for Showbiz & A.G.'s "Soulclap" and C.) Feel free to bring yr kid or baby to the reading on Sunday, actually, please do. The lot is grassy and not trash strewn, it'll be ok.

Posted by Jessica at 11:01 AM | TrackBack

April 17, 2008

YOU'RE MAKIN' ME SORRY SOMEHOW

So, rather regretfully I've started lumping Bob Mould into the category of punxthatwillnotdie(that's a euphemism--I wish immortality for us all!), though unlike, say Keith Morris, dude has moved forward and upward and on. I guess what I hold against him is more the quality of what he's doing these days, which when I saw him play with Kaki a year or two ago, was bolt-from-your-seat, incredulous-SMH-yikes, and me and Matt on our way out were really wondering "When did he turn into that guy from Crash test Dummies?!" Now he never STOPS singing, filling all the empty space with aaaah-haaaa-yaaaaa, that kind Vedder-esque bellyache melisma? (Lets not even mention the hardstrumming electro-accoustic part. Fuck an Ovation.) It seems like it kind of crept out of nowhere, though I am not by-heart familiar with anything newer the second Sugar record, but, still! Nevertheless, I realized my memory is selective, because you can actually pinpoint where the oversinging began: "All This I've Done For You" off Candy Apple Grey. I always thought it was just effect of the multi-tracking, and yes, there's ambitious oversinging by the kilo on that rec., but you know, god bless Grant Hart for not pulling any legacy-negating moves at this juncture.
Jus' sayin.

Posted by Jessica at 01:48 PM | TrackBack

HEY HEY, MY MY

Ladyhawk's Shots, as do most records released by Jagjag/Secretly Canaddian, hews to a sound easily described "Neil Young album +________". With that other thing being along the lines of "many doobs" or "Black Flag when they started to slow down" or "sexual glee". (It's a formula I am especially partial too, as someone who is oft driven to tears by all that is alive and dying within Rust Never Sleeps). Holding true, Shots is like NY's Stars & Bars + The Places That Scare You tacked with a woozy lonesome that's proprietary to Uncle Tupelo and the spaces between the words when Westerburg mutters "swingin party down the line". (The real story is in that ebb, that shadowing pall). The third song is heavy on that trouble the buddhists call desire, immobilized and thrashed by fear, the singer quivers a little. There is a familiar thread tween this dude and the tremble and thrall of mid-period Pedro the Lion albums, which I blv stems from the fact that most every indie-rock making dude tween the age of 28 and 36 learned how to play from Nirvana records; thus the thrashing of the innards, the rasp, the warm sadness, cool disgust and overdriven Marshall sound. Ladyhawk do it especially well this time around, and by well, I mean it unsettles you enough to hold your attention with a little guitar-wowing to boot.

Posted by Jessica at 11:20 AM | TrackBack

April 15, 2008

TROMPE l'ELLE

Oh hey howdy, welcome back to another blog post about an event involving me! Good news: the suggested donation for the benefit is $10, but it's $8 if you bring a paperback dictionary. Or maybe like a brimming grocery sack of paperbacks. Do not give any guff about the price because it costs like $6.30 to send two books. Imagine you are a woman in jail with nothing to read but like, bibles and copies of Womans Day from 2002. So stop by the thrift on yr way home from work this week, and see if they have a $1 dictionary and pick that up! Secondly, I am tagteaming with GutterButter all evening long. Which sounds a shade porno, but what that means something like four-plus hours of round robin dance power-r-r-r-r and one upmanship. When the djs compete, the consumer wins.
FRIDAY! NINE PM! AV-AERIE! FULTON & DAMEN!

Posted by Jessica at 11:48 AM | TrackBack

April 14, 2008

MONEY, CATS, HOSE

P1060762.jpg
Since he's in town, Al and I have decided to do a sudden reading and so we made these posters. He will read a piece that he wrote from when we lived at 1813 Ohio that takes place there, and I will read a piece I wrote when I moved next door, which has since become a bulldozed lot. Ohio & Wood, 3 pm this Sunday.
Be prompt cos it won't last real long.

Posted by Jessica at 07:09 PM | TrackBack

GENDERING FLUTE

via Jordan, via BBC: Why Don't Girls Play Guitar?

Posted by Jessica at 02:34 PM | TrackBack

April 13, 2008

SLANTED AND ENFANTED

He seems to pick up and re-url with purpose yearly, so in case you too have fallen off the Franklin Bruno truck, here is where he's 13-14 albums in to trying to review 365 recordings this year.

Posted by Jessica at 11:09 PM | TrackBack

NOT THE MYTHICAL LAND OF MADAME GEORGE AND ROSES

This was the first return to Chicago in many years where I noticed how pocked and dirty the city was. This ebb of season is a full tilt scum flare, all the trash no longer hidden by the snow, everything brown and still, dead. Granted, most any city looks like it's patina'd in shit after a couple days homebasing in Seattle up the street from the Ferrari dealership on Capital Hill. It's been nigh 12-13 years since I half lived here and my map is skewed since the only that is still the same is the street names and a check cashing place I occasioned. I don't feel much about it one way or the other, since it's not mine to complain about (amongst this this burden of clean lines and polished gleem, I had some lovely dinners). A native said at a post-panel parle: People complain about gentrification, and new buildings going up, and it's like "Really? Do you want the gas station back? Were you that attached?". I don't want the gas station back. I don't want what was there before that, which was a warehouse I went with I-forget-whom so they could get hash from a triballed-out Burning Man old-girl, sometime early in 1995. I did for a moment want one of the big-child sized pit crew suits that Joan pointed out as we passed the aforementioned dealership. That shit woulda been knickers, even on my teeny frame, but how dazzling would a ill-fitting Ferrari kiddy suit be, just on round the town casual?

Posted by Jessica at 07:03 PM | TrackBack

April 10, 2008

LE DERNIER CRI

I'm in Seattle from now until Sunday in case anyone knows whats crackin, or if TacoCat is playing in yr basement or something. Give me a yodel or a yelp.

Posted by Jessica at 09:44 AM | TrackBack

April 08, 2008

LETS MAKE IT RAIN BOOKS

Are you into books? Dance floor liberation? Being the change you want to see in the world? Dancing with cool kids, queers and feminists? How about me and Ben? Are you into us? You wanna see us DJ? HOW ABOUT ALL THOSE THINGS AT ONCE!? Ok, LETS!
AND ALSO: Bring some books to donate and some $ to get in.

Friday April 18th
9 pm / all ages / @ AV/aerie --Damen & Fulton
Benefit for Chicago Books for Women in Prison

with:
DJ Coco Le Roc (c'est moi)
GutterButter (Ben & Logan)
& SPECIAL GUEST SECRET HEADLINERS


About Chicago BWP:
Prison libraries are woefully underfunded and understocked, and it can be difficult for inmates to find the information and entertainment that they're searching for. Whether it's literature about living with HIV/AIDS or lesbian vampire erotica or Bibles in Spanish, ChicagoBWP tries to supply the books that these women need, to connect with them, to assure them that they have not been forsaken by the world beyond prison.

ChicagoBWP is an all-volunteer group serving women incarcerated in seven states. We collect books- some purchased, most donated- and receive request letters from inmates, then do our best to fill their orders. Our postage and operating costs are covered by donations, fundraisers, and the cash we can make selling books on Amazon. com.

We meet every Sunday from 2-5pm at BeyondMedia, 7013 N Glenwood, to pack books, and volunteers are always welcome. We always accept book donations- paperback books can be sent to inmates, and hardback books can be sold on Amazon-- but we are particularly grateful for dictionaries, blank journals, books on health (esp. Hep-C, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, and addiction/recovery), and education books (like unused GED workbooks or math books). Our website is chicagobwp. org

Posted by Jessica at 10:40 AM | TrackBack

April 07, 2008

SINNERSAINT

In case you didn't catch it a few days ago, here's the super-super-good radio doc about MLK's last year. It's way better audio of a lot of the Memphis speeches that aired over the wknd plus the "Sinner" sermon (be ready to cry). It also has info that everyone seemed to leave out about how the Memphis strikes got started--it was disspiriting to hear acadeems on the radio talking about the trashworkers struggle and spin it towards labor and the right to unionize exclusively, and not mention about how what really sparked things off was the two men who got compacted to death in the back of a trash truck by their white co-workers. Also, today and tomorrow BEZ is replaying an older special about King in Chicago, Lawndale and the riots which you can hear here.

Posted by Jessica at 05:33 PM | TrackBack

April 06, 2008

NUZZ IF YOU BUZZ

National piff-noize awareness month has kicked of with the Int'l Noise Conference shows across the country. Chicago's line up is a roundly curated sampling of new (piss piss piss moan moan moan) and old (Magic is Kuntmaster), though I'm wondering why Plastic Boner Band isn't on there, but maybe it's against the fests drone rule? I am in to their high freq harsh tokes, kind of old school ouch with a little new school haha/oh really? I like that some of the songs are spare, but "A voice of noise from the city" sounds like contact mic attached to a cheap Walgreens blender on it's last, whirring legs, dialed to the picture of the margarita setting.

Posted by Jessica at 12:01 PM | TrackBack

April 04, 2008

BECAUSE THE NIGHT BELONGS TO DRUMMERS


Anaheim based Latina punk/din band, Mystery Hangup. Look: Jem and The Holograms. Sound: DUSTdevils en espanol? I like that the song gets Sonic Youthier as it goes on. The drummer, Lux, is the 2007 title holder for worlds fastest female drummer, she is also the youngest woman to hold the title. According to their myspace, they are going on a total nook n' cranny west coast tour later this month, so Olympia/PDX folks, look out.

Posted by Jessica at 05:20 PM | TrackBack

MUX UP THE JAM

I wish I had thought of this.

Posted by Jessica at 02:41 PM | TrackBack

INCISORS INSIDE HER

I don't know what your've heard and the trailer is kind of "tevs", but really, really? YOU NEEDA GO SEE TEETH, the vagina dentata tragicomedy/teen gross out film thats got a dim/grim view of the patriarchy, with shades of Watersesque camp and Donnie Darko suburban magic realism. Me and JR and Kells were screaming with horrified delight, as severed wieners abounded!

Posted by Jessica at 02:35 PM | TrackBack

April 02, 2008

UN DUH TWA

Because Ben keeps making fun of me that I got psyched on downloading someone's homemade Best of Al Tariq off a New Zealand hip hop blog, that Pretenders song is a fucking weeper and nobody knows it, the Bachelorette blow-up starts and ends here, a little hip house never hurt anyone and it's best to remember Chaka in her prime rather than the time she played Bush's inauguration strung out, I muxed you a tape, baby.

Posted by Jessica at 09:26 PM | TrackBack

SHE MIGHT HAVE A POINT

Given how dispiriting the electoral college process with superdelegates votes counting and your votes not really actually counting at all, perhaps the pleasure in voting is in the little things, as Miranda July highlights. When else do you get to go the Fire Station?

Posted by Jessica at 03:08 PM | TrackBack

April 01, 2008

LABELLE GIRL YR THE QUEEN OF MY WORLD


You probably can't watch videos at work, but here's some LaBelle footage to enrich your whole April long. Gospel glam come ons.
They usually gave Nona the space-alien outfit, but in this one, Patti's Solaris-couture coat and ass-high boots is the real business here.


The giant plastic collar on Nona's outfit that looks like a veterinary sombrero at least ties with Patti's electric blue firefly costume/dress cape.

Meanwhile:

Paul Weller does Curtis, doubles as Ted Leo.

Posted by Jessica at 06:07 PM | TrackBack

THE MYSTERY UNSOLVES, GETS MYSTERIOUSER?

Though I'm not sure how reliable a post on Myspace is for sourcing, but supposedly Gene Lee, aka "asian dancing guy" is dead. According to some Myspace comments he had been in Oakland recently, so I guess that photo is more than three months old. Perhaps the the picture is his ghost.

Posted by Jessica at 02:09 PM | TrackBack