I forgot to turn in my pazz and jop ballot to the village voice because I was watching Finding Nemo with the kids. I am not sure I know what a "best" record means. Is that the record I listened to most at the gym? I wonder what will be the token total-pop release and the token world-beat release added to every crits balance sheet in haste so they don't look like a one-trick rockist honkey. My guess is the Discovery album because it passes for funky, perhaps The Very Best because it's both #1 in the magical, mystical other category. Or Tinariwen, since everyone living got a promo? One wonders. Sort of.
I think I might have four records for a list.
I listened to Kompakt Pop Ambient 2009 probably 65 or 80 times in the last year.
I dunno if it's best, it's really all purpose.
Florence and The Machine I might have liked best. I don't know anything about her, came late to the game, I hated the first video and single, and now, now I hate nothing to it. I think she's so majestic and talented, she makes a lot of also-rans in the dramatic/post-Kate Bush solo-woman album explosion that was 2009 en toto (not a complaint), like Bat For Lashes, seem a bit wan in retrospect. Big year for moods with long bridges, songs not so much, Florence & Machine is all songs. When you talk about songs, it makes you sound like an old, old A&R guy. Once, when I was a young woman in Los Angeles, and had a boss, we had a meeting with a guy who did A&R, who stopped our meeting to yell 'YOU KNOW WHO HAS SONGS? TOWER OR POWER! TOWER OF FUCKING POWER!" and then played us several tracks of TOP's 1974 album Back To Oakland at the sort of volume you rarely encounter indoors. Like riding mower loud.
The Florence and the Machine record is better than Back to Oakland
I also had the "I want a turkey sandwich" song by Mika Miko stuck in my head since June. I guess that counts as a best then. I really loved a Juliana Barwick song I got on a mix. Not sure the EP is best, but that one with the piano is great. My other best, is Trey Songz "I Invented Sex". And every song on David Bazan's Curse Your Branches was best. And also, also, I like the 2nd Alicia Keys single quite a bit. Also, I love that she walks really awkwardly in heels.
And Emily Lacy "Winter Dawn" off Armor -- total also best.
I don't think I listened to a hardcore record this whole year. OLD SOFTIE WARNING SIGN.
from todays heapin letter pile, and the answer is yes, of course, I have that shit on vinyl:
Steven writes: "Is that a reference to the Sharkula? Follow you into the bathroom and say "Do you like independent hip-hop?" and try to sell you rap CDs called Martin Luther King Whopper With Cheese Sharkula? Drunk on the Belmont stop Sharkula? If so, thank ya."
Saw the alligator about 3 or 4 times. Everytime I yelled "ALLIGATOR" so he/she knew I did. I never really thought of alligators being girls til right now. But I guess they have to be.
Saw sunning turtles tons. No sharks. Not one.
Finally home home. The cats will barely speak to me.
My email is messed up, it'll be fixed tomorrow. Purely FYI.
Last night I dreamt I worked at a drive through holistic animal doctor place where people could bring spiders they found with a leg missing, or have a cats sore tail repaired with incenses, appointments also involved watching a video on the many benefits of "prolonged nudity". For humans. My boss was Tim Nordwin, the short, quirky guy in OK GO. Perfect as the wacky doctor. We all had clothes on.
Prolonged nudity. 2010. Make it part of your resolution.
We're in Florida. I saw an alligator. Wyatt is at home reading.
Ok, all 40 containers were opened. I imagine the bear stumbling upon these, opening all of them looking for food and indulging, getting addicted, eventually stumbling through the forest in a paranoid rage, driving the other animals crazy, shaking birds out of trees, roaring at nothing, picking at his fur. I wonder if the forest around there is filled with a bunch of twitchy strung out animals fighting over the tupperwares of coke, and the bear, being the biggest managed to fend them off and horde it and that's how he went. The mysterious prequel makes my imagination reel.
"It will take more than millions of teenage girls (and their moms) squealing in delight at sparkly vampires and hairy beasties with swollen deltoids before real change will come to American movie screens. Women need to develop their own muscles."
Here's a quote from amazing interview with NYT film critic Manohla Dargis, who Richard Brody in his New Yorker film blog put her down for viewing movies through the limited lens of gender, though one might suggest she sees things a lot fucking clearer than he does:
"Do you think that a woman would have been able to get forty million dollars to make a puppet movie the way that Wes Anderson has been able to make, bringing to bear all the publicity and advertising budget of Fox? After two movies that didn't make a lot of money? I think this is true for a lot of black filmmakers too – they're held to a higher standard. And an unfair standard. You can be a male filmmaker and if you're perceived as a genius – a boy genius or a fully-formed adult genius – that you are allowed to fail in a way that a woman is not allowed to fail."
FUCK YES. I LOVE HER! Also, note all the references to women not helping each other out once they have achieved in the boys club--it's just what we were reading in Reinventing Womanhood--successful women protecting their tokenism, disavowing other women or their own gender, feminism to keep them instilled in the boys club. Also, in case you can't read all of Brody's Wes Anderson profile online, just picture Brody with Anderson's dick in his right hand and a copy of Royal Tennebaums in his left--for about the time it would take you to read ten pages of the New Yorker.
Was there no mention of NSBM or neo-nazism at this symposium on Black Metal or was it just not reported? Does the paper just assume that after so many trend pieces we all just know it's a given, we know the elements: cassette four-tracking, the Nordic lore, corpse paint, that we're up on Marduk's "concept" record about that secret-to-Nazi-invasion-success the Panzer Division included
Also, singer for Liturgy, same article, refusal of meaning: “I’m not so interested in defending anything I say,” Mr. Hunt-Hendrix replied. “I only like to be judged on whether it’s interesting or not.” If you don't find what yr making worth defending, why make it? When bands/artists pull this, it has a mystifying effect--such an anti-intellectual cop-out makes you seem more "artistic". If you don't your work to be defined or interpreted or criticized, don't play shows or put out records--just shoot the fucking CD into space. There it can exist, contextless and undefined, save for it's status as nouveau spacejunk.
I need a catsitter 12/19-26. Stay here! Use my car! Stash yr relatives at your house, and escape from them at mine! Or if your house is nast, make yr mom stay here and she can feed my cats. Lets work it out. Email is over there on the right.
Cold Lake are a Seattle area punk-metal band, their EP is a statement about how the King County public transit system sucks, and they have a great song, "Troll III" with the lyrics "It feels good to talk shit on the internet / doesn't it?" that is now in my top ten for the year. If they were playing house shows near me I would be there. Maybe not in the pit, but defs watching from the kitchen.
Addendum: Cali just wrote to let us know: the Cold Lake pic is clearly inspired from the cover of the SXE uber rarity, the Judge 'Chun King Can Suck It' 12""
Feminist book club went off without a hitch finally. Only took two and half years to get it going but dangit, it went. Spurred by C. Heilbrun's huffy talk about lack of female protagonists in contempo-lit, we are now looking for a book of recent-vintage fiction where the girl is the hero and the hero is not the boy saving her with love or meaning or marriage proposals. PLEASE SUGGEST A 'GESSTION. The girl must be doing something valiant with her life.
Simple recipe for quick pickled grapes.
How bonkers weird good does this sound?
"Implicit in Arendt's work, and much of social thought as well, is that male perspective equals the human and therefore also encompasses the assumedly narrower female view. For women novelists, as we have seen, the corollary of this appears to be the assumption that only a male character can stand for the full range of human experience, moving through action and quest to achievement or failure."
-Carolyn Heilbrun, Reinventing Womanhood, 1979
I am finishing up reading this book for the first meeting of feminist book club tomorrow and I have dog eared a third of the pages, to go back and copy stuff down. She is so swift and sharp, it's a bit like reading Didion, except the anger is not smoldering, it's alive. The two Heilbrun books I have read so far this winter are the two best feminist books I have read in years and years. I do not think she is widely read. The copy of the book I have was last checked out in 1979, shortly after publication, which is a shame.
Soul Train Line, Curtis, jumpsuits, unison dancing.
Hot on some pip of inspiration, I made some rough notes for an essay (unqualified rant?) for a year end proclamation, placement-in-print still TBD. Fearful that my want of big ideas in music outs me as old, jaded to want things a way I can understand. Blame Fugazi, man--we got to dream the impossible dream , or at least have an example to role/roll by. The Eighties babies of the Pitchforkian-now, political music for them is when Dan Deacon performed with a mash-up movie of rainbows, Rambo clips and the Governators filmic past to express something about Macho American Firepower™ (not to be confused with a comment or protest of either of the current wars, we're talking purely tail-end of the Cold War nostalgia)--the sort of piece that would have knocked 'em dead as a senior thesis in '87. A Chee-tos bag stapled to a Dominos box does not an artistic statement make, even in our most fantastic and believing of nu-Baltimore of moments! Animal Collective singing about parental obligation was as deep as it got this year and now one of them wants us to PayPal him the dough to play in Africa?! DIAL MAKE-A-WISH, DEACON! That's not even a good cause, helping an already-rockstar achieve his special dream. Is "I can't afford to go on my trip to Africa" any different than "I can't afford this special cocaine I'd like more of"?
Fated and official: Fandom is an exercise in emptying your pockets in 2009.
I am 33 and vexed. Where's my Ted Leo promo?!
At least someone at the Times can call an artist on their bullshit. The main thing I gleaned from this interview with Jordan Wolfson is that he has attended art school, successfully and perhaps somewhat recently. People don't just converse in artist-statement-ese like that without years of paying to learn how to do so.
There is a wide chasm between being an artist with intent or meaning and being an artist "dictating" how the work can be viewed. By virtue of being the creator of the art, you cannot be as guileless as the audience. Why is there an entire generation of young artists and musicians and people making culture who steadfast about resisting anything beyond simple aesthetic appreciation/evaluation, making work that adores/engages/disdains/re-appropriates (sp?) pop/celebrity culture and refusing the idea the idea that it is fundamentally political, instead fixating on "it's whatever you want it to be, man"? You can't engage loaded symbols--be they Lohans or Mickey Mouses or swastikas--and say it's about nothing, deny intent and interpretation. If thats the case, is it art? What, then, separates it from decoration? Whats the fun of being a blank slate?
From Times mag:
Why do you want to avoid saying anything concrete?
I’m just not interested in using the position as an artist to dictate anything. I consider myself as one my viewers, and it would be paradoxical to speak simultaneously to myself and others. I like to think that being an artist is neither an entertainer nor a doctor.
Shroud of mystery: illegal hattings of a renegade balaklava.
Tune Yards are a band my sister turned me on to. I know, they have been up all over the Pitchfork internet body and subsequent zillion blog collosaaall one-mind hive who probably have been posting items like "TUNE YARDS TRACK LIST REVEALED" third quarter 0-8 or thereabouts. "Revealed" is for magicians and Iran-Contra like scandals--I stand by that. Anyhow, I ignored the Tune Yard band because they have up-down capitals to their name like TuNe YaRdS like a sign for some wacky Evanston hippie mom store (purple felted purses and "funky" knits), and I think also because everytime I heard their name I thought "Skin Yard", which is a band that might whet the appetites of 80's babies who missed grunge on the first pass, but seeing them once open for the Fluid, well, it was enough to keep me from listening. So I am just passing this one on--tUnE-yARDS = not bad at all. Certain types of yodeling, I like!
It snowed genuine while we slept. Winter has made itself real again.
I replaced and switched out some hot linx in the links zone, some non-updaters with some neat stuff of art and some music, people putting the internets to good use.
Local trivia from Luc Sante's blog: "Zion City was a utopian experiment built at the northeastern corner of Illinois by John Alexander Dowie (1847-1907), a faith healer who had emigrated from Australia. The city was thoroughly planned, with enlightened use of green spaces and orientation of houses to maximize exposure to the sun. It was also a theocratic state. Alcohol, tobacco, and gambling were banned, as well as theaters, circuses, novels, pork, oysters, politicians, doctors, tan-colored shoes, public displays of affection, and whistling on Sundays. These strictures were enforced by the Zion Guard, an 800-strong corps in blue uniforms with doves embroidered on their shoulders and the word “Patience” on their caps. At its height, around 1905, the city had some 10,000 inhabitants, in houses they leased from the ruling Christian Catholic Apostolic Church under terms set to expire in 3000 AD. Just at that point, however, Dowie suffered the first of a series of massive strokes. He was also accused of financial irregularities--which resulted in fiduciary setbacks that brought the city to the brink of dissolution shortly before his death--as well as rampant sexual misbehavior. Dowie, who had taken to calling himself Elijah the Restorer and affected garments inspired by those of the high priest of the temple of Jerusalem, died largely unmourned, but was immortalized as a minor character in James Joyce’s Ulysses. Under various successors, the city staggered along until the Depression, which finally vacated the earthly power of its church. "
Missed this story from last month about Chicago's own Pedro Bell, the artist behind 20+ Parliament Funkadelic album covers, and that he's really struggling to get by. Folks need to throw the man some work. He's recently done some shirt and skate graphics. Maybe it's time to get him to do yr band 7" cover?! Pavement should have him do the poster for the reunion tour methinks.
I think this blog is pretty great. People who write well when they are drunk is kind of, well, I am not envious, but most people think they are lucid genius revelators when they are loaded, and so when someone is actually a better writer while wasted than most people are sober, well, I at least have some awe.
I am not sure my brain works very well anymore. I think it has to do with what I am feeding it. I also turned into a hobbit. Maybe I will have to come out of my cave, be in the world again. Hobbits have hair all over their feet. I don't, except for on the bottoms. The bottoms are like a horses mane. Swear to god.
I am thinking about the next book to make. The last one was pretty much everything I know/knew, my wad so to speak. I'd like to think I have more than a wad, creatively speaking. I feel pretty wad-TBA right now though.
In a conversion of total what-the-fuck, James Franco sites the work of radical feminist performance artist Marina Abramović in his Wall Street Journal op-ed about why he's appearing on General Hospital. He also half calls out Matthew Barney for being a tool. This kind of makes me love James Franco.
The sheet said to be there at eight even though my segment wasn't on until almost 10. I watched the host of Good Morning America unveil a themed holiday window with the mayor of San Antonio TX who described the holiday season of America's seventh largest city as "romantic". Who had a romantic Thanksgiving? The people of San Antonio. There was fake snow being sprinkled in the tv studio and the host tried to catch it in her mouth and I thought she should know better than to try to eat particle foam on live TV.
One of the books in the green room was a spiral bound self published memoir of a previous guest who had survived a sky diving accident. There was also recent picture of Billy Dee Williams with the Take Five hosts, framed. Today I was on between the panel discussion of celebrity news, which was heavy on Tiger. The local comedian and his manager worked out what his bit was going to be on the otherside of the green rooms fake wall. He wasn't funny.
I shared the green room with the other guests for the day, a guy from the local fondue spot who was going to show how to make fondue at home and a psychic who was going to take calls. Once the psychic sat down, she wouldn't stop talking to me and Fondude. About the transitions of hair-do from (horrid to okayish) of the news anchor, her grandchildren, Tiger, christmas trees, everything. I managed to block most of it out by reading about masturbation deaths in Details.
The host of my segment identified herself as a huge Guns N' Roses fan. We talked, then I "set up" the tent by taping the blanket thrown over the amp to two chairs. Apparently, they thought I was going to get in it and were confused when I didn't.