Peter Margasak, of knowing about everything ever fame, has just told me the most delightful news--Gas aka Wolfgang Voigt makes his Chicago debut at the Cultural Center 5/26. SO GERMY! SO AMBIENT!
And then there is "Washing Powder Money" by OJ Da Juiceman c/o David, which is very assertive and American, conversely.
Miles and I agree, the Son of Vader remix of Lily Allen "The Fear" might be the only good remix in existence, currently, Lily Allen or otherwise. It's spring, and dancing music is a teaser for the eminent possibilities of summer.
Our City Dreams is a doc about five women artists in NYC, including Kiki Smith and Nancy Spero playing 4/25-30 at the Siskel.
Link from Jeff Johnson via Matt Olson, whose design etc blog Rolu I belatedly linked on the side thinger. Interview with Arthur Russell's partner Tom Lee. After seeing Wild Combination, I wished that it had been longer, I wanted more of his disco years and more Tom, and also maybe a little more of his dad, but Tom's soft intensity, his love for Arthur is the heart of that movie.
If this is the show of a similar title I saw in LA last year, it's pretty great. In case you are a train ride away from the MOMA. In which case, I am bit jealous of you. Though, perhaps, you wish you were a tram ride from the Arch in St. Louis or desperately wanting to finish your back taxes and ride bikes with your special dude, in which case, you are crazy jealous of me, now, so perhaps we are even.
Also, I did not make it to the Barr show AGAIN, this time due to locking myself out of my house like an asshole. Which would have still left me time to see the Calvin Harris show if I had the day right or if the tour hadn't been canceled. Sorry if I steered you wrong. So, if you too missed the show at Enemy, Barr is at Kavi Gupta tonight, which I'm too lazy to google up the address for, but it's on Washington I think, by Oprah's studios, but maybe the next block over. Seeing Brendan in a gallery is best, because he performs like he is at war with art.
>>>update: to enter the contest it's just dirtytourney.com
Miles writes: Just in time for March Madness--and just a little too late for Valentine's Day--a bunch of terrible bands are conducting a terrible contest wherein some assholes from Saliva, Burn Halo, Framing Hanley, and Theory of a Deadman will judge a group of women based on their photographs and short essays they've written about why each one thinks she's the "dirtiest, craziest, sexiest girl around."
Once the judges have determined who's in the initial pool of 64, fans will narrow the field down, bracket-style, via online voting until they've settled on the top two. Then the bands will step back in to pick the "winner," which the awful press release for this piece of ugliness refers to as "the Queen of Unclean." I think the "Unclean" part refers to how women are all whores, but I may not have picked up on some other nuance here.
Miles, unfortunately, doesn't provide a link to where we can all enter, because we all should. I wonder if anyone will enter at all, let alone 64 people to fill out the brackets. I wonder what the guidelines for the essay are, beyond substantiating why you are a breed of crazy slut above the rest. I wonder if you could perhaps write an essay that would so upset and disturb them that it would make them wish they had never signed on to do this?
Hey hey BARR SHOWS ALL WEEKS-END! Tonight at Enemy (155o N Milwaukee 3rd Flo) and then Friday at the Chris Johanson curated show opening at Kavi Gupta, both sets with Chris Johansons band, but w/o Chris because apparently he is sick and so he didn't come, but his band is the Jackie-O Motherfucker dude and a drummer Brendan described as "a drummer named Ron, he's from the midwest, played in a bunch of bands here before he moved to Portland, people totally know him," so lets pretend it's Roy, the first drummer of Braid. Just for fun. I didn't know anyone in the midwest was ever named Ron. Ron is a west coast name. Doors at 8, music 8:30, Lichens headline, Barr is middle. You'll be out early enough to make the Calvin Harris DJ set up the street at Debonair, which I wonder if it will be like this or more like this. I do not have a preference, I will dance to anything except Belgian rave, goa trance and "80's music".
Also, despite being a dirty, donation-only party loft, Enemy is on Yelp. If the internet has taught us anything, it's that Customer Service is important for the scene... right?
Just missed the BARR set at Golden Age last night, for we were eating birthday sundaes at Margies. JR Nelson, my brother from another mother, BFF-zilla, is 35 this week. Before the sundaes, we all actually ordered dinner food at Margies, which I was wholly unawares they served as I a) never get that far into the menu since the sundaes come first and b.) have never seen anyone not eating ice-cream from the giant shell-bowl. They have a health-plate that is a holdover from another era: cottage cheese, orange sherbert, lettuce, toast. In a pile atop each other. I did not order it, but I wondered who does.
Barr show tonight at Golden Age w/ Lichens and some guy from jackie O Motherfucker at 7 pm 1744 W 18th Street.
I'm a-bloggin over at Crickets some. FYI.
Boy Crisis' "L'homme" is really primo shit, if for no other reason than "I'm on some drugs/ You're on some drugs/ Do you want to talk to me?" is as genius as it is awful, with the dresscode-of-the-mind line coming close behind.
New Rokysopp album is out today (streaming here), wherein they go delightfully nu-ABBA (if we can have nu-Hammer, we can have nu-ABBA) with Karin Dreijer, Robyn and Lykke Li cameos. Their Anneli Drecker songs, per usual, sound like ethereal wood sprite backrub-club; which if you fondly recall Sarah McLachlan/Rabbit In The Moon Mixes c. y2k, you will be delighted by.
Ritchey the sage summarizes the 11th grade year of every-half punk straight girl you know. I read Bukowski because I thought I was supposed to, and spent epic hours at the band practices of boys I liked, feigning enthusiasm over their Janes Addiction covers, and then riot girl saved me and I never did either again. FEMINISM CAN SAVE YOU FROM BAD POETRY AND COVER BANDS. The End!
"Then there's Charles Bukowski. A recent unfortunate viewing of "Barfly", along with this revisiting of the ol' high school years, had reminded me of all those dreary times of sitting on some boy's floor while he rapturously quoted Bukowski at me, as though somebody with a bleeding liver getting drunk and vomiting on a junkie hooker is somehow meaningful to a 16 year old boarding school kid. Such a strange revelation in wishful thinking. Such a hallmark of the juvenile male, the kind of guy who invites you over and then just plays guitar for hours while you sit there, and then as you're leaving tries awkwardly to grab your boob. And yet I wanted to french all of them, regardless. The boys, not Bukowski, OBVIOUSLY."
On the fifth-tenth listens, which occurred while on scooting round the house on my skateboard yesterday painting the trim, baseboards and windows that started as a little touch up in the kitchen six hours prior, I am officially taking Nite Jewel out of the strata of the Kate Bush- big girls. She's surely got some bong history shared with ultimate stoner mom KB, but she's way more Arthur Russell. She's way more sounds of isolation, bedroom tinker dream than The Dreaming. She is tock-tock of the woodblock, not triggered gong.
I handicapped who all might be playing Lollapalooza for the Reader blog. The addition of Lou Reed, if it's more than a rumor, is a total headscratcher. The headliners that have leaked so far (Beastie Boys, Depeche Mode, Jane's OG lineup) are straight from "My fave cassingles circa 1991". Maybe they should throw The Cure in there, just to make it especially geriatric and nostalgic, though, really, Primus might be nice, make you feel like you stepped out of the Tardis and back into the comfort of the Clintonian alt-90s, when everyone had money and The Breeders had a gold record. (insert dream sequence wavey screen here)
Take note of the redesigned Reader home page/online world while you are there--a nice way to keep abreast of Chicago--the feel good alternative to HuffPo, if you will. And functional! Oh, functional.
I like Nite Jewel; her more aimless moments are remind me of Arther Russell, esp. "Let's Go" and "Weak". Imagine if this is what all girls did alone in their dorm rooms!? America would be like Sweden. We would have all this and like 12,000 Ida Marias on top of that. I wonder if all these magick girls (Bat for Lashes, Lizzy from Gang Gang Dance, Karin D-A's Fever Ray record, Katie Stelmanis maybe, too? plus a half dozen other that are slipping my mind) are freshly stumbling in to the hallucinatory dream of Kate Bush's making, or it's a natural convergence of spooky, synthetic and aggressive confidence. Out of vapid-sexy-80's-signifiers and into the reflective-post-coke-80's-signifiers, those Reagan fantasy years, that super-gated drum sound?
There is not much else for me to tell you, so let us discuss the weather. Despite that it is about 46 degrees out people are like "fuck it, close enough"--I saw a girl in a t-shirt and Am. App. booty shorts and heels having a casual stroll on Milwaukee. If I wasn't sick, she could be my spirit animal. The other night, despite that the streets are more beirutted than ever, I dragged ye olde skateboard out of the closet and took back the night. I de-rusticized for a bit in the parking lot behind my house before I took to the boulevards. My neighbor dude tried to yell something to me about the noise, which given that it was on 10:30pm and he is the guy that all summer long sets off boxes of Black Cats and other sundry fireworks as late as 4 a.m., but that was all the impetus I needed to bail over to the desolate and newly paved streets on the other side of Grand, which are inexplicably flawless. It was so so perfect; living anywhere other than an eternally frosted and run down city, I would never appreciate the Jesus-magic of almost spring or a 7-block patch of even blacktop like I do.
He stood for the position of Dictator of the United States, charged admission fees to his campaign rallies and drew record crowds. He became a vegetarian and adopted various fads in succession. Instead of shaking hands with other people, he shook hands with himself, the manner of greeting he had seen in China. He spent his final days on park benches in New York City's Madison Square Park, handing out dimes and refusing to speak to anyone but children and animals.
I like that someone crunched the numbers for kicks. How many women are playing SXSW, broken down in male-to-female inter-band ratio--and informal study.
No ruling today on Creative Loafing's bankruptcy-- the fate of the Reader and other CL papers still TBA.
Girls Rock Camp DC volunteer applications for 2009 are up if'n yr in the area and want to get involved.
Kristen Stewart talks about playing Joan Jett in The Runaways movie that's being made based on Cherie Curie's out-of-print cautionary drug tale tell all. Dakota Fanning plays Cherie. WHO IS PLAYING LITA?! I wanna know.
New Calvin Harris single (deadmau5 remix), it's no "Merrymaking at My Place, a song I enjoyed often on gym machines in 2008. Harris is at Debonair 3/28, Deadmau5 is headlining some rave thing at Congress 4/11. JR and I were leaving Chances last night and saw a flier and I was trying to explain Deadmau5--not really what I care about re:--what, progressive house?--but there are certain things, that once pumped to top volume, suddenly make sense. Also, a note: Chances was bangin last evening. Someone played "September" and it didn't feel like a wedding reception, in part cos some the girls on the dance floor were wearing cravats (not neckscarves, but some real hosting-masterpeice-theatre silky-puff tucked), not dancing in their pantyhosed feet. The baby-dj that followed trainwrecked tons and blew a speaker and played eight minute long Jellybean Benitez remixes all the way to fade out and "Love Hangover" from the middle and let it skip BUT BECAUSE IT WAS THE FIRST CHANCES OF SPRING IT WAS PERFECT AND INFINITE AND WE WERE SCREAMING "DISCO!" AND I WILL GO ANYWHERE WHERE ALL THE BOYS ARE DRESSED LIKE WENDY AND LISA WHEN THEY WERE STILL IN THE REVOLUTION.
Yeah Yeah Yeah's video for "Zero"
the video for Jane Child's 1990 hit "Don't Want To Fall In Love".
I think these are the same video, save for the part where J.C. plays a keyboard solo on the railing of the ferry. Karen O is a real fash-forward gal and all, but Jane's ankle-grazing microbraids avec flattop are 81 levels beyond "next level". Jus' sayin.
Matt is selling his van. ECONOLINE! CHEAP! I have ridden in this van and it's very nice; I can vouch for it.
Hey, how is it going? How is your PACT going?
Link/heads up c/o Jeff Parker: Mary Halvorson: jazz guitarist/shreddy freakoutter. I thought jazz guitar was something else, like as in something I am not really interested in listening to. I did not know jazz guitar could sound like a tense, jaggedier, Spiderland-y kind of thing.
Last night before the Angel* showing, the Doc Films dude said that they are following the early Ozu series with a post-war Ozu next qrtr (starts first week of April, I think). The later Ozu films are so still, they require a little patience, but they are soothing and frustrating and accidentally feminist. Patriarchal dads, arranged marriage, moms who are servile and the boss, duty and honor in the home and workplace, the complexities of owing your parents, rebellion, pencil skirts, the charms of technicolor are all there. Equinox Flower:
(* Angel didn't quite take the taste of Watchmen out of our minds, though the tale of a 15 yr. old hooker putting herself through private school, whose only friends are a 50-something drag queen based on Tony Curtis in Some Like It Hot, a geriatric cowboy, her wacky/butch landlady and detective with a lazy-eye who is always yelling at her, who yearns for a normal life as a cheerleader, who bides her time with her trig homework in between finding her other hooker friends killed and running long distances in heels or standing around in a locker room full of showering cheerleaders is a sure bet on Thursday night. It's no White Dog, though.)
Angel is playing at 7:45 and 9:15 tonight at U of C Doc Films. You will so get yr $5 worth on this one, as if honor student by day, hooker by night wasn;t enough to reel you in.
The Watchmen is the longest episode of Scooby Doo I have ever seen--so much bad guys explaining their motives. The best part was when Dr. Manhattan appeared full frontal for the first time and the lady behind us goes "his penis is blue!" I also laughed hardest when the mom yells "I should of had an abortion!" in slow-mo. The puns and jokes about The Comedian having the last laugh/"jokes over" got repeated so many times, as Matt said, it was like The Aristrocrats, but except in The Aristocrats there is no soft porn scene in a spaceship with unceasing minutes of visual metaphors. The hackneyed and convoluted meta-text about the world united patriotically (but stupidly) around a fake terrorist evil was a little too 9/11 was an inside job for me and an insultingly slow ball to pitch. I would not watch that movie again for less than $85 dollars.
I'm on tour with White/Light--are you? Come see them in Brooklyn Saturday if you are there. Tony Conrad headlines and it is his birthday. I tried to get Vacuum on the bill, but the boys said no, so I will be reading behind the merch table if you wanna come and chill and see some wikkid-drone--they were so incredible. So so incredible.
Saturday, March 7, 2009 at 9:30pm
285 Kent Avenue (b/n South 1st & South 2nd)
Laura Barton on the wife's lament:"It made me think how, in our island tradition of maritime songs and sea shanties, we have become accustomed to this sound of wives lamenting, to women pining for men over the waves, and this essential idea of being separated by water. And, though there are some notable exceptions, in these songs of the sea the women are nearly always left standing on the shore.
Canadian female musicians roundtable in Eye Weekly. They broach the typical topics why they do/don't consider themselves feminists, how critics are stupid, how gender impacts their relationship with the audience, alternately depressing and inspiring.
I just finished Tony Hoagland's What Narcissism Means To Me which just made me hungry for more/other, so much so I might consider driving to the library once I can bother getting out of these house jammies. He's kind of a prick and doesn't write about trees more than is necessary. His irony dates him a little--this collection in 2003 and pre-; (we have traded the ironic age for something reluctantly sober and somber and just-woken-up delirious. Maybe not traded, that's a little too willful.) His fear-of-rap also dates him. But I like that he's a little flagrant and angry about what he doesn't understand--putting one's old-assholeishness on display isn't a cheap effect when it isn't done for cheap effect.
I didn't even see this!!! Retribution Gospel Choir midwest mini-tour has them in Chicago at Sub-t on Thursday night. I know I have written about them here and elsewhere a few times, but honest to gosh, they are a colossus--when JR and I saw them, we kept trading looks of stun. Real emotionally potent, Sparhawk blasting these languid, overdriven Pancho-licks, sometimes giving Low songs a redux, but it's really like... Mormon valley bloodbath, The Road as parable and a couple Black Uhuru covers we were not expecting but were immaculate stoner-voyages. You will like it, I PROMISE.
Oh, gosh! JR is in Playboy! From the pages of Hit it or Quit it to the ol' rabbit zine! Huzzah!
I finally am getting around to Susan Barnes Earthquake which I picked up because of Jordan's review last year, and it's as wonderful as he said it is. It is a poem but also a memoir. Not linear but not lacking because of that, just loose memory snaking around the idea of an innocent narrative. It's very "real", Barnes language makes it real, except for that she keeps telling stories where she falls asleep while she is playing, or like, hanging out in a canoe and next thing you know, she's waking up. Which doesn't happen when you are a kid, unless you are maybe 11 months old. When you are a kid, you must be coaxed into and assigned sleep. Sleep is the enemy of all children.
A Chicago friend writes with a salient point:
"you know what always occurs to me about statements like 'we're not a political band' is that they reveal a failure to negotiate ethical distinctions. if the question were about, say, gay marriage, to take one hot-button issue upon whose resolution the fate of humankind does not exactly depend, that response might be fair enough. but the espousal of fascism is not merely one political issue among others; the grounds upon which you deny your association with fascism must precisely be those upon which you articulate your opposition to fascism. the question is almost more ontological than political, though I know some fellow travelers who would disagree: at any rate, it is a political question that cannot be ducked by anti-political identifications, since it is one of the few political categories to insist that the political just is the anti-political insofar as the ideology is predicated upon a desire to subsume all such distinctions under a totalizing fealty to the order per se."
Update on some things we were discussing about Black Metal here last spring. A press release that just arrived:
NACHTMYSTIUM Booted From The Scion Rock Fest Bill
In a statement made on Friday, February 27, 2009: "NACHTMYSTIUM has sad news today with a once-again recurring issue surfacing from the wake of our past. We've been forced, at the request of the promoters and the folks at Scion / Toyota, to pull out of the Scion Rock Fest, scheduled for Saturday, February 28. This news came to us just this past Tuesday and was very disheartening to say the least. A troubling, and unjustly-applied notion that we are, or ever have been, in any way, a 'Nazi' band or a political band on any level, is completely absurd and we are disgusted that there is someone out there who really believes we are of this ilk. It made it as far as the sponsors of this event's desks, and now we are forced to pull out of it after some political threatening on the part of these ridiculously uneducated person/people who have caused this ruckus.
"We'd like to make light of at least one aspect of this situation and use the opportunity to once again clear the air — we are, IN NO WAY, a 'Nazi' band. We do NOT support such groups, political beliefs or bands that are affiliated with that world. We have canceled tours in the past and dodged working with bands and people BECAUSE they had these ideologies and we never wanted to be affiliated with it. Yet, here we are, a metal band whose members are more like hippies than your typical leather-clad metal maniacs, and we're being falsely accused of this association once again. We will be taking legal action against the people who slandered us in this situation, and in the future will file defamation / slander charges against any person or organization who attempts to prevent us from performing anywhere, especially in the United States. We are as offended by this as someone might be at the notion of a Nazi band playing a big corporate-sponsored festival. So — let it be known loud and clear for the LAST TIME, we ARE NOT a Nazi band, ARE NOT political, are certainly NOT racists and DO NOT support that world or any band, person or business affiliated with it.
"My deepest apologies to all of our friends, fans and people who have worked on and supported us being a part of this festival, we are sorry for these awful circumstances and you can be certain this will not defeat us." - Blake Judd
Maybe the people at Scion googled this interview with Blake from March 2005 where he calls MTV a Zionist plot repressing America teens and calls people fags? The band's wiki page recently went from
Nachtmystium’s first album, Reign of the Malicious, was released on Unholy Records, a National Socialist black metal label. In 2006, Judd said that, “In the past, we’ve had some indirect ties to labels and bands that are part of the NS scene. 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.”
to a hastily redacted mess.
Zach Baron at the Voice unpacks it here: "Still, there are many people who will take a certain satisfaction in throwing Judd's blasé attitude about having had very real dealings with some very bad people back in his face, and that's what the Scion thing was about, most likely. The inverse point--that black metal has a complicated relationship to 'NS' stuff that doesn't reduce neatly down to the PC dictates of, say, indie-rock; and that this fact is what keeps it dangerous and real to whole large group of people who do not otherwise consider themselves to be racist in any way shape or form--is a common one in the USBM scene. "
Yeah, racism is certainly one way to keep music dangerous. I think what Zach is getting at here--that transgression is the fundamental appeal of black metal in general--the ookey/anti-PCness of liking something by corpsepainted elf-eared white power wizards-- but it doesn't just function to sort out the posers from the die-hards. Most everyone just says, well, it's just part and parcel of the genre, or they are toying with Nazi shit in a language we can't understand, am I'm not seig-heiling, so it's cool. But, really, in 2009, is RACISM really something we want to be copping as transgressive-cool? It's excuses all around, Nachtmystium included ("we're not a political band" is skirting the issue), and so fucking what if homophobia and racism are traditional in a genre of music, that shouldn't be a free pass.
I know a lot of people are not interested in moralizing this shit at all, I just think the band is skirting around it. If I contributed an article about say, Lily Allen to White Power Monthly, I don't think I could get away with claiming, well, you know those Nazi's just want credit in the straight world, I'm not down with that racism shit, I just wanted to do my Lily Allen story. It's not like tripping and falling in a hole.
The last issuance of the Pact Invitational was what--a year ago? Eighteen months? The pact was light as a feather it seemed--early '08 was a time of innocence evidenced in that mine was to make all my clothes for six months, which lasted about a month or so, but you know, you do the best you can and sometimes your best is positively marginal and you wind up with some very whimsical capes. Anyhow, I figure it's time to task up for PACT 2, as we are in next level times and need a pact of renewed acuity--something to bind us as we flail. It goes something like this:
1. Pick a goal, one that is meaningful but not egregiously hefty or high stakes.
2. It must be personal, but it doesn't have to be private.
3. It must be fore the greater good of your emotional or spiritual life or for the health of your creative spirit.
4. It has to last between 2-6 months. It can be longer if you need.
5. You have to appoint a role model--so you can ask "What would Anita Hill/John the Baptist/Dan Higgs of Lungfish do?" when you are in dire straights with your applied risk-taking pact. Print a picture of yr role model off the internet and put it in a copious place to remind you that you are on a path, you and your pact. Frame it for added seriousness.
6. In your application, you must be as gentle as you are rigorous. Yelling at a baby pony doesn't make it learn to walk any better.
There is no reason not to start today. Even if it's something that seems hard, you can probably do it. This pact is to help us move beyond where we are today. And we are all gonna do it together, ok?
My pact-goal has to do with my writing, with approaching art with intent. My 2009-pact role model is Werner Herzog, seen here on a canoe makingFitzcarraldo 500 miles from civilization, pursuing his art with total commitment even though everything around him is going to shit. Below him, Julia Childs swinging her meat tenderizer on her cooking show and an ancient azz Georgia O'Keefe hard at work. A little triumvirate above my desk.
When she was making her first cookbook, Julia Childs tested some of her recipes literally hundreds of times until she mastered them--the book about how she fostered her career is really inspiring. It's weirdly akin to Steve Martin's Born Standing Up (the best book on tape I heard all year) as far as showcasing art as a craft, that you study and nurture and apply yourself to your whole life, of a decades-long arc of understanding what it is you are trying to do. I would recommend it if you practice a craft of any sort.
I digress. Lets pact it up. You and me and whomever you else that wants in. It's an open invitation and it will give us some purpose and take the edge off capitalism's meltdown.