December 31, 2008

prétention démesurée

White/Light tour and record release with Bird Names here in Chi-doo-doo. Matt and Jeremy doing hot drone numbers from their new Smells Like release Black Acts, which you can see my feet on the cover of. Socked. At a distance. I like W/L best live, and I like the parts when it's really loud and then there is a long solo. No offense to Jeremy--I just like guitar, as an instrument, more than a little pumping box that makes a scary wall-of-wheezing noise.

Jan 2 2009 Smiling Buddha Toronto, Ontario
Jan 3 2009 La Sala Rossa Montreal, Quebec
Jan 4 2009 "Bar" Nightclub New Haven, CT, Connecticut
Jan 5 2009 Cake Shop Manhattan, New York
Jan 6 2009 Glasslands Gallery Williamsburg, New York
Jan 8 2009 Johnny Brenda’s Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Jan 9 2009 Art Damage Lodge Cincinnati, Ohio
Jan 10 2009 Empty Bottle Chicago, Illinois

Posted by jessica hopper at 11:24 AM | TrackBack

December 29, 2008



Radical rethink about work and living, as in making one, what one is truly selling when you are writing, when you are writing about certain things, what is lost in the hustle, distill for broad audience, the burp of an edit. Trying to think real about which way capital fundamentally bends the purpose of writing. Desire gets scrambled with a know how it goes from there--and suddenly it's all Behind the Music sentiments (CLIFF IS UNDER THE BUS!) and synthesized comebacks (this time with vigor! art! visceral return to meaning!) Sorry to ware such a cliche--I know purity or truth art is a myth--or at least an apocrypal tale as truth is overrated and worse yet, boring--but! When there is less and less to lose, then that's when things get exciting, que no? Exciting is a rough translation, of course. SUCH IS THE DAWNING YEAR. The same-same is as frightening a prospect as what appears to be coming. My heart is a funicula suspended above the gaping maw of 2009. We can eat boiled shoe leather and churn out some manifestos while we wait!

I got a cursive typewriter for Christmas, and I am going to start there. Typer-writers are fundamentally instruments of virtue. I have hope. DREAMS. In cursive!

I told David about part of the idea and he said "Uh, didn't you used to do something like that? It was called "a fanzine." INSERT LMFAO HERE. Whats new is old again. I'm 32 and still think I'm 14. Sue me.

We listened to Wm. T Vollmann on Bookworm on the car ride home. I have a listened to it a few times, not just for Vollmann's weird-flat drollery, but also because Michael Silverblatt calls him "Bill". It is a good one for coming new year, it is about Bill's chafing desire to live a full and inspired life, and untethering himself because
the worst that could happen is he could die. There is a comfort in how matter of factly he says it. The big duh. Perhaps 2009 will be about chomping at the jugular of our arts, though 2009 stands to do that for us whether we intend to reconsider our context in the capitalist cranks or not.

Posted by jessica hopper at 11:24 AM | TrackBack

December 26, 2008


Via City Paper-- Dissonance a DC punk history radio show with weekly was-there guests/guest DJs discussing cold blooded old times, new times vikings and playing records of songs.

Also, did you catch the article about Bruno S. and his post-Herzog life?

Posted by jessica hopper at 12:08 PM | TrackBack

December 24, 2008


I may expound further later, but do not go see Tales of Despereaux. It is the grimmest kids movie since Babe: Pig In the City, but in place of blunt force existentialist/"you are all going to die", it's a post-Guantanamo didactic beat down about RIGHT and WRONG and rat terrorists that live in a dark cave (led by a way-too-tall rat who tries to goad the other rats misery into hate of the people) they feed upon trash and misery and live for watching gruesome death. Then there are fat little mice who live in proverbial darkness because they are supposed to be afraid, it's how they have always been. The first line in the movie "Once upon a time there was a mouse that loved Justice".

(Zut alors! If only!)

OH AND THERE IS A SUBPLOT ABOUT A SOUP BASED GIFT ECONOMY. And also a magical guy made from fruit suddenly appears, inexplicably, and almost saves the day! CEPT HE GETS EATEN! And dies.
Other subtle-as-a-caltrop morals on offer: fat people are people too. And so are ugly people. And the poor. But also rich people suffer and when the rich suffer we all suffer (Duh '09!). There is also a very dubious allegory about people being racists against rats, but not mice, and so the rats are just doing whats natural, reacting to that racism by letting "their hearts get hard" and so...can we blame them for wanting to eat the princess? Nevertheless, THEY DIE. It's not so much prescient as it is unbearably awful. Kneejerk liberal shaming techniques meets Charlottes Web=YOU WILL WISH THE CUTE MOUSE DIES AT THE END BECAUSE YOU WILL GROW TO HATE EVERY SECOND OF THIS MOVIES BILLION_DOLLAR EXISTENCE.

Posted by jessica hopper at 01:09 PM | TrackBack

December 22, 2008


Ben's DJing tonight. You know how crazy thouse Danny's parties get after everyone has been couped up all week. Co-oped? And you know how shitfaced everyone will be since we alls done got laid off or cut to 4 days or had our proverbial balls stomped by Sam Zell's debt leveraging (cough cough, whatever). I WISH I COULD BE THERE. I am going buh-bye 406 miles due north to Minnesota! I am having Christmas with both my parents for the first time I can remember (1979 is hazy, I was 2) and my half sister who is unrelated to my dad, my former step dad and his family... and my ex-boyf./boyf. is coming along for good measure! We will sleep in a tent in the living room! A CORNOCOPIA OF SEVERED RELATIONSHIPS IN MOTION! Just like the book my parents gave me in third grade says "Just because we're getting divorced doesn't mean we're not still a family!" OOOH AND AND And my mom's purse sized dogs who are twins! They are also there.

Also, raise your hand if you mom got an iPhone this year and is sending you a lot pictures of her Christmas tree. I think maybe we should start a Flickr pool for the accidental art of your mom's iphone snaps of holiday decos.

Posted by jessica hopper at 10:49 AM | TrackBack

December 21, 2008


Dear Jessica,
Mike; again.
I just logged onto your blog and read your blurb about that recent Keyshia Cole/2Pac number. It's funny because I was thinking about necrophilia within pop-music and how its history is a bit more expansive than one would assume. I hadn't even heard the 2pac song until your blog made me aware of it, no, what prompted this was the radio playing the Martina McBride/Dean Martin version of, "Baby, it's Cold Outside" which was created in 2006. There's all kinds of interesting things going on behind the scenes on this one as McBride, who has done extensive charity work for anti-domestic violence organizations, insists to the womanizing, hard-drinking Martin that she really must be going but, obviously, he kicks it to her convincingly enough to eventually get some action. Beyond the grave team-ups have become something of a staple in rap music since the untimely deaths of Pac, Biggie and Big L but sex-with-dead-guy anthems have developed into an amusing sub-genre. If you peep Biggie's "Born Again" remix album, primarily known for its blistering, lyrically-devastating collab with Em, you'll get "Would You Die For Me" with Lil Kim explaining, "Anything you give to him, he give it right to Kim/Anyway, I fuck better than you/Give head better than you, pussy get wetter than you...B.I.G. is in my heart from the start/Whether broke or rich, I'm a stay his bitch..." or there's that song "Unfoolish" on that deplorable Puffy remix album where Biggie to Ashanti: "Deja vu, the blunts sparked, finger fuckin' in the park/Pissy off Bacardi Dark". Ashanti ain't having it though, "I'm lookin' like I got my head on right, so now I see/No more givin' you everything/There's no more takin' my love from me." Is the audio-ressurection of a legendary-rapper being applied as a proxy for a pop-feminist smackdown of Otto Weininger-esque thinking on this one?!? I'm not sure. All I know is TSOL's song about digging up bodies to fuck doesn't seem as ridiculous to me as it used to. Jack Grisham isn't half the freak Cole is, apparently.
Hope all is well/Happy Holidays

Posted by jessica hopper at 12:58 PM | TrackBack

December 19, 2008


Snowed in! Heck yes! Blizzard conditions I can blv in! Living in the midwest, you talk about the weather a lot, which is kind of an elderly persons game, but I'm bumrushing it. I'm making it my own.

Meanwhile, behold the bounty of the internet!

The downlode: Someone Mp3'd the entire Huggybear discography. If that doesn't have you dancing round yr room in your old Tobi Vail costume this will.

Also in girl punk factoids long buried Kendra Smith and Susanna Hoffs had a cover band together? And they were on Rough Trade? Here's Hoffs singing "I'll Be Your Mirror". She was/is my least favorite Bangle, even when Different Light came out. She seemed helpless, and the Peterson sisters were clearly the steamroller talent. I'm on a mile-wide quiet twee pop kick right now though and I like how tentative and fragile her voice is here.

I'm not the only one hunting Lesbian Power Authority Records.
Perhaps someone should burn the copy they have?

Are you tired of year end critical round ups best of 08 lists that either recommend all the shit you already have (Carter 3, TVOTR), the Fennesz record you can't get into or the too-roundly crit personal lists that always have 1 local band, 1 world music and the same rap record on them in hopes of looking ecumenical? How about a list of 2008 release you have never even heard about that you are going to immediately be psyched on--with accompanying downloads--where the list is founded only in enthusiastic evangelizing personal taste? Thought so.

You know if someone organizes an annual event called "Christmas Twee" that their mixtapes are going to be impeccably fey and sweet.

Mixwit (the tape was so cute) is dead as of this week, and Muxtape is reborn as something no one probably wants to use, and anything tape-like gets witchburned by RIAA lawyers, and so I am not sure The Opentape project is going to get many folks interested in toiling/coding for naught, but you know, life is coding for naught, so I hope someone figures it out and makes something that works. Maybe make it be secret so it doesn't get busted. The internet isn't the best place for secrets, but maybe lets try.

Posted by jessica hopper at 12:10 PM | TrackBack


It's true! HuffPost's Chi-Boogie edition is straight jacking everyone's work, including mine and everyone is pissed! At the end of a grim week and a half where there have been more layoffs and bad news for Chicago journalists and editors (Wbez, Chicago Reader, the Tribune) you don't wanna whole cloth swipe peoples shit.

Posted by jessica hopper at 09:55 AM | TrackBack

December 18, 2008


I always wanted to write for the LA Weekly and now I do.

Secondly, there is some confusion, surely due to my phrasing--the mix I am making for yr thanks for reading reward is a holiday treat, but not a holiday mix. It's not Christmas songs, it is not a "christmix". It's going out tomorrow, so if you want on deck, email me with a cheesy mix-related pun as the subject. Worst-best pun will be the name of the mix though I am pretty sure I already have it and it's quite possibly unbeatable. Perhaps some punmaster out there will updo it? Get psyched.

Posted by jessica hopper at 08:01 PM | TrackBack

December 17, 2008


Though it's listed as "text", it's actually "fiction" and I wrote it. It's my sole venture into the form, unless you count rounding up on the enthusiasm of a critique on occasion... but... alas. Inside the liners of the These Are Powers CD, you can find my writing. And art from people like Hisham "The Thinking Hippies Euphone" Bharoocha, Cody "The White Grace Jones of the Gutter" Critcheloe and Cody "Lives Nearby" Hudson and NINE MORE ART TITS.

Posted by jessica hopper at 03:06 PM | TrackBack


The new Keyshia Cole single "Playa Cardz Right" featuring the 2Pac cameo is pure Madlibs ish. The shunted cobbled barkings of a dead man talking about taking yr time in the bed, while Keyshia coos "Daddy daddy" and "For---everrrrr"--it's necrotic R&B at what-the-fuckest. For a while I bought into the idea that Pac might be alive and in Cuba (seemed plausible) but no one raps like this anymore, or would, so I think this is good proof he is all the way dead, 4-real... daaaaddy.

Posted by jessica hopper at 01:10 PM | TrackBack

December 16, 2008


How is it possible that this was what I was doing, like, nine days ago? Driving through the desert with DS and he was explaining how petrified wood got petrified.

Tonight, after Kate and I made our recession holiday cards (using all the pink and red shit left over from Valentines), it took about 14 minutes to de-ice my car, of scraping and then getting in and waiting for the heater to melt it some more, then scraping again.

We listened to GCI, they did not play Sounds of Blackness "Soul Holiday" which I love. It's like contemporary neo new jack and most of the words are just "soul holiday".

New Mexican ghost towns are all that you want them to be.

Dinosaurs probably saw this.

But probably not this.

Tulsa behind us.

Posted by jessica hopper at 12:08 AM | TrackBack

December 15, 2008


The Chap. 11 chop is in, kiddos: my Tribune column is bye-bye as of end of this month, but apparently, there are more charticles in my future.

Posted by jessica hopper at 03:43 PM | TrackBack


Justice's tour DVD A Cross The Universe is not what I expected it to be. Which is 63 minutes of extremely dull hair metal cliche filtered through totally cliche French snobiness. It's like Baudrillard's America meets Motley Crue's "Home Sweet Home" video except Xavier and Gaspard are wearing shirts. Unless I am entirely misreading the filmmakers, Romain Gavras and So-Me, sentiment/intent--and they are, in fact, marveling in complete and utter earnestly--they think Justice fans are dipshits and ogle America as a backwards land filled with hillbillies, fat people, disembodied asses of working women, enthusiastic groupie types, homeless people doing wacky things and the ambitious. Which is true, but you don't have to be a dick about it. Coming here and playing stadiums and then casting a mocking eye on the eager people that filled them is an bad, bad look. Meanwhile, in comparison, the exciting things Justice does in America: share hot tubs with drunk women, run down hotel hallways wasted in the night, sign tits, look greasy, go to the gun range with their psychotic tour manager, Xavier plays piano to an empty venue and then they ride around LA in a convertible shopping for a suitable mansion. Oh, oh oh and then this one time, their trailer catches a flat! C'EST INCREDIBLE!

Posted by jessica hopper at 11:15 AM | TrackBack

December 14, 2008



Posted by jessica hopper at 02:46 PM | TrackBack

December 13, 2008


Gentle Reader,

I'm making a special mix CD for you for the holiday which I would like to share with you downloadably, along with liner notes "and everything". In order to get it, please email msjessicahopper at gmail and then it will be to you in a few days. Title the email with a bad play on words or corny pun using the word "mix", please, so I know what you want.
2140893870_3f36a18fa2_o.jpg Here's a picture of a home disco/squat club in Berlin. WHAT A DREAM! Who has a basement we could make this in? If you have the cellar, I will totally spring for that K-Mart fan.

Most tenderly,
That old Santa Bear with stained, crusted-up arm fur (50¢)

Posted by jessica hopper at 02:39 PM | TrackBack

December 12, 2008


I go in fits and starts with MP3 blogs, I keep up sporadically, and then spark up the DownThemAll and wind up with like 200 fidget house refixes from Call Me Pelski with the intention that this will catch me up somehow. I will find two songs I like and the rest is a notch above "tolerable gym music". One of the great internet myths: you need to attend to bloghouse. The main Mp3 bloggins I am feeling enriched by, one I would like to share with you: Little Hits. New wave! Fey twee singles! Le punk! I hope you enjoy it too.

Posted by jessica hopper at 01:59 PM | TrackBack


Chicago Reader's Blaggregator for keeping up with all the Rod news.

Posted by jessica hopper at 12:47 PM | TrackBack

December 10, 2008


Via Magas: Intergalactic FM: The Sound of the West Coast of Holland; it's a little too early in the day for channels 1 and 2 for me, though the time is always right for Midnight Star's "Operator".

Lou Monte's "Dominick the Donkey" is my new favorite holiday song. I have to listen to it at least once a day. "Clippity clop" is one of my all time top phrases you can have in a song.

Angolan dance music/landmine survivors dancing. &
The bangin remix, same video

(A little info about Angola's landmine legacy: Ms. Landmine crowned and heavy stats.)

Puto Cosa "Ho Je e Dia lefe Discos". As much as I could figure out it's hip hop from Cape Verde. I could be wrong. Perhaps Margasak or someone else that knows some Portuguese can help Nancy Drew this mystery.

Ize "Soku Na Rosto"--Cape Verde hip hop + accordian in lieu of bassline.

Posted by jessica hopper at 10:44 AM | TrackBack

December 09, 2008


Everywhere I went today--Goodyear, the bakery, the library, the shoe store, Ben's bank with Ben, the street outside the German bakery--people were exclaiming out loud about the Gov. If you were talking to one person about it, you were talking to five: everyone in earshot would chime in and opine and gasp and trade details. Sure, duh, he's dirty--it's Chicago--and we've had what--four Dem. Gov's go to jail for corruption since 63?--but this is so brazen and so bonkers--it's truly next level. I have admired the man's glossy hair-pancake, and that is about all, I will not be sad to see him go.

Posted by jessica hopper at 06:40 PM | TrackBack

December 08, 2008


A question:Is the easy metaphor, or anti-capitalist symbolic gesture of burning money in order to make art negated by a recession? As a fan of Drains work it's a bit of a headscratcher, even if it was just ones--though I doubt burning $20s would change anything. Admittedly, I have never been to Art Basel or any mega art fair, so maybe that's the context that I need for it not to seem both lame and bougie.

Posted by jessica hopper at 06:52 PM | TrackBack


Spent the last few days getting a bead on the newest Lucky Dragons album with all it's handsome twinkle and clang, and here is a special video of their live show, which looks like the trippin/fantasy sequences from True Blood when the people are high on vampire blood. About 4:30 when the squealing and hand squeezing happens is my favorite spot of it.

LUCKY DRAGONS "Live at Farmlab" (dublab VisionVersion) from dublab on Vimeo.

Posted by jessica hopper at 02:48 PM | TrackBack


Press release from this a.m.


Music label Asthmatic Kitty Records is experimenting with a new post-In Rainbows method of determining the price of an album. Instead of allowing the consumer to dictate price, Asthmatic Kitty looked to the next obvious choice to determine the value of an album: the music critic.

Today, renowned and respected indie rock critics Pitchfork Media released a review of Ropechain, the second full length album from Indianapolis-based Grampall Jookabox. Employing their 10-point system, Pitchfork scored the album at a 5.4.

Asthmatic Kitty will therefore sell Ropechain for $5.40 for 54 hours from 9am, December 8th.

"Pitchfork's ten point scoring system, along with their infamous one decimal point makes them the ideal choice for a dry run with this experimental pricing structure. It just makes dollars and sense," said Michael Kaufmann, A&R.

Moose, frontman for Grampall Jookabox, commented, "I know that it has been a long and difficult road for music critics everywhere. It's 2008, but until now their point systems had absolutely no effect on the value of music. Today, they rightly take their place as determiners of the value of music. "

Both Moose and Kaufmann are so excited about this new move for the label and band that they quickly collaborated in a music video of "Let's Get Mad Together" from Ropechain to commemorate the new pricing structure. Moose dons a dollar bill costume and dances while Kaufmann stands on his head. The video is

Whether this pricing structure will proliferate through the entire record industry depends both on the experiment's success at Asthmatic Kitty Records, and the willingness of music critics to adjust their reviews to fit currency valuation. Just as Radiohead's album sale did, this move may send shock waves through the industry. It is expected that those publications using grade levels, percentage points, or "stars" may have to quickly adjust. Some have purportedly already started converting their scores straight into U.S. dollars.

Consumers wishing to participate in the experiment can buy the album from this news item:

Posted by jessica hopper at 10:14 AM | TrackBack


The Dogs "Your Mama's On Crack Rock", the feel bad song of 1990?

Posted by jessica hopper at 12:02 AM | TrackBack

December 07, 2008



Posted by jessica hopper at 10:58 PM | TrackBack


Something to help fill your time today.

Posted by jessica hopper at 10:25 AM | TrackBack

December 05, 2008


Tracey Emin on her Austrian rebirth and bedwetting. I like this sad story; kid shame is almost apocrypal--or maybe the motivating fear is what's apocrypal--the reasons you keep secrets and the secrets you keep out of fear of punishment, of just what the adult world would toll your reveal--when held up to light of adult knowledge it's stunning. Kid fear is merciless. Her story is like a transgressive fairy tale with no moral to instill other than remember it is difficult and weird to be young, your fantasy prone brain flipping out on the unfathomable mysteries of this harsh, adult-run world. All the little girls around you could be bandaging a piss sheet under their snowsuit.

Posted by jessica hopper at 12:59 PM | TrackBack

December 04, 2008


We managed to drag an additional day and a half out of the road home hopping off the 66 to hit the icey streets of That Shithole St. Louis™. Matt made us cookies and a welcome sign. We got high on Indian food and bitched about the snow as if we were not OG midwest; it was shameful. We hatched plans to just keep driving but I've used up most of my cat-sitting favors, and well, Bloomington Indiana can wait.
This morning the ice had melted and we felt brave, so it was time to head home. The 300 miles home was my favorite stint of the trip, and not just because we stopped in Joliet and bought a shit ton of spray paint.

Posted by jessica hopper at 09:51 PM | TrackBack

December 03, 2008


Photo 60.jpg

Posted by jessica hopper at 02:59 AM | TrackBack


New Mexico, Texas panhandle, Oklahoma and now MO. After dawdling in the petrified and painted hills, we made up for lost time. The day started in Tucumcari, the birthplace of Kokopelli. At least thats what Rjyan told me when he was once stuck there on tour for five days. Or maybe it was that he saw Kokopelli? We did not see any flute-playing mythological creatures, just a lot of dead empty town, former Rally Burgers repurposed into abandoned videostores and flurfy-haired women in puffy Santabear sweatshirts. We argued over breakfast about why America settles for shitty diner coffee--DS contends it's because people just don't know there is better coffee to be had, but I think it's just not a priority for most people and/or disdain for anything more high falutin, especially since we were eating at a place with a signed, framed picture of Ricky Trevino on the wall and our entire meal cost $10 total. These are the things we bicker about. Whether the barn in the distance is 3 miles away or less than three miles. Whether bands should tour with horn sections or get pick up players in each city. Why he's not allowed to play Magick Markers when I am driving. Whether I am a germaphobe (his position) or just into hygiene (mine). You know, the important issues the arise after three full days in the car.

Posted by jessica hopper at 12:05 AM | TrackBack

December 01, 2008


Scheid is my co-pilot. We're off to a raging start of arguments over direction semantics, that I roll down the the window after he sneezes to get the germs out, no smoking at the gas station and such. It's out asshole Aquarius sides duking it out.

We got out and looked at the stars bi-hourly. It's pitch dark by 6 and as a life long city girl it was just bonkers. Just bonkers. Tomorrow bodes Amarillo.

Posted by jessica hopper at 01:17 AM | TrackBack