Since people are writing plenty of blog posts about it, and both my editor and I have noted in the comments section of my Vampire Weekend pc., I am putting it here, so people can at least have accurate information by which to judge me/the piece/my editor etc.:
In the original version of the essay I turned in, I never called the band white, nor would I, because that isn't correct. In my 10 days of listening to nothing but that album and reading dozens of interviews and reviews of the band, I was well aware of Rostam's heritage. I might be brazen, but I am not an idiot.
In the editing process, a particular sentence was changed to being a general statement about how most people don't have a problem with white people playing African music--it was a statement about appropriation, not about Vampire Weekend specifically--though it was open enough that it could be read that way. It's now been fixed, by my editor, along with an editor's note explaining why it was changed. No one was was trying to assign whiteness, no one was qualifying Rostam as white, or Persian as white and the sentence (it in the third graf) has been updated to reflect that--so there is no mistaking it.
Ebony Bones in Chicago with full band, Feb 6, Green Dolphin.
Been going through Peter Margasak's Top 40 List for 2009--I was busy with book stuff last year and am playing catch up still--and PM's list is heavy with solid albums from more obscure folks, like Congolese ensemble Staff Benda Bilili, who live on the grounds of the Kinshasa zoo.
Trailer for the documentary about them.
Live TV performance from last year.
If I wasn't already pregnant, this would make me want to be. It also makes me want a goat. Maybe we will register for one. A little goat babysitter for the little baby.
My Vampire Weekend essay/class war round-up is out in this weeks Chicago Reader.
I am so glad that is over.
Last weeks Reader, fondly remembering radical feminist theologian Mary Daly: :""People are afraid to say that kind of stuff anymore," said Daly in 1999 to an interviewer uneasy about her proposed planetary "Mister-ectomy." But Daly exhibited no such qualms, which is why I think she would agree that Fox's obit was kind of a whitewash. Daly, however, would have surely found a way to blame its shortcomings on "the patriarchy," whereas I construe them as the consequence of Fox trying to register Daly's stature as (in the words of former Ms. editor Robin Morgan) "a central figure in 20th-century feminism" without giving the average lay reader the impression that she was a flaming moonbat.
BLDG BLOG tells the amazing tale and shows the pictures: "One of the inmates who particularly stood out was Dwight York. York is "an author, black supremacist leader, musician, and convicted child molester," Wikipedia tells us, who built a colorful, Ancient Egyptian-themed instant city on several hundred acres of forest land in the U.S. state of Georgia."
He built a crazy compound and preached white people were mutants and inferior to blacks, the good ol boy sheriff came and tore it down. The entry goes on to make some really interesting points, including:
"These are sites built such that their every spatial detail is not justified by some historically rigorous academic architectural code, but because they function, psychologically, as a piece-by-piece tuning of the built environment. Add enough ornamental references together, these spaces say, and some weird new Messiah might yet someday return. It is functional ornament."
Fever Ray accepts award. Just watch. Please let her be nominated for a Grammy or something in America that is on broadcast televisions very soon. Please please. This makes Lady Gaga's Carrie-esque bit seem like a hamster in a wheel in comparison.
Hey! So Matt and I are moving, and maybe you, reader/person of Chicago area, would like to take our magical and cheap apartment here in the Ukrainian Village starting in March? It's different than any other apartment in Chicago: it has one enormous bedroom and one medium bedroom and both have big closets. For a mere $925/mo, you also get:
1100 sq. feet
Newish kitchen w/ a dishwasher and tons of cabinet space.
Bathroom that is newish and nice.
15 new windows--southern eastern and northern exposure.
Central heat that tops out around $100 in the winter.
A HUGE pantry storage closet, to fill with your craft supplies.
I repainted it last summer so it's bright and shiny on the trim.
Basement storage unit and laundry.
Cats and dogs are a-ok.
Both bedrooms fit queen beds, though the big one you could have 2 beds in even.
Neighbors are cool and quiet.
Bedrooms are on opp. ends of the apartment.
The view of the entire downtown skyline is really rad.
You get tons of light in the winter and can see the sunset.
Hardwood except in kitchen and bathroom.
Landlord is a nice lady and will gladly extend your lease past the sublease, which is up in the fall.
iPhone reception is ok/2 bars here.
One block to Grand, 5 blocks to Chicago Ave., 4 to Damen and 3 to western.
Quick walk to Atomix and Tumans and the Bottle and the library.
Perfectly situated for pre-dawn runs to Bacci Pizza.
Pre-loaded with positive, creative vibes.
We hate to leave it--it's my favorite place I have ever lived. You should live here instead. Only one month deposit. The end.
msjessicahopper (aaattttttt) gmail dt com if you want some info or to come visit.
I have been making my way through Algren's Chicago: City On The Make in between naps. Our couch is not good for upright comfort and so you must slink down and slouch and wedge yr feet midst it's crack, and naturally fall asleep prone, book slipping. Between one of the 6 naps the book has ushered, or rather the couch, though maybe not entirely--the prose does get a bit prosaic when he goes long on the Sox pitching line up of his youth et. al. and many strangely nicknamed local hooligans and gansters known to Chicago prior the mid-century--I digress--I came across the quote about loving Chicago is like loving a woman with a broken nose, and was a tiny bit stunned. The quote gets misquoted often, and what follows, the pithy full phrase is so much richer of a quote--and it goes "You might well find lovelier lovelies. But never a lovely so real."
"Never a lovely so real" should be on the goddamn flag. Makes the truism of "woman with a broken nose" seem cliche and off the mark, doesn't it.
The whole book is great, explaining the reason why it's still a crooked, savage republic in 2010: that's all it's ever been. Long con as founding principal. Algren's tribute is a pessimistic one, though he's always gory when it comes to rundown lives and suffering, and Chicago in the early part of the century certainly fit the bill it'd seem. Those pages still feel contemporary, not sure if thats to Chicago's shame or it's credit.
Last bit of the Cap'n Jazz footage I got. Whole audience sings along off key.
I'll post the rest tomorrow, but here's Cap'n Jazz doing "Oh Messy Life" earlier this evening with full line up including Davey von Bohlen, who is now an accountant, btw.
It was so totally rad. I uploaded it to vimeo, too, which looks better.
And "Que Suerte"
Here's all the info I got on the Joan of Arc super show featuring the bands of everyone who has ever been in the band and my speculation about the Cap'n Jazz headline/reunion.
Look Blue Go Purple vid for Cactus Cat. "SHE IS MY BEST FRIEND", no, no, not the rebel girl--the cat.
I din't win the American Library Association's Excellence in Young Adult Nonfiction Award for which I was nominated. It is okay because I was up against like 79 other books, and my book still gets a sticker for being a nominee, and most people who see that sticker have no idea the competition was anymore than a dozen books. I hope the sticker is metallic, because them people might mistake it for the Newberry or the Caldecott or one of the big shit ones for kiddo books. I am still up for another ALA award for the best feminist book for young readers. That field is only 20 books deep, so I have slightly better odds. A lot of old riot girls are now feminist librarians, so I am banking on that. Supposedly I will find out this week, but I have already been waiting since like, Halloween to know. I don't think I have ever been nominated for anything serious before. At least not to my face.
So I am anxious, but just a little.
(ADDENDUM: My google alert, like a psychic dog, just brought me the link to what the stickers look like. I would like to win the one for Audiobook production, with the shell. THEY ARE ALL SHINY.
Mostly I am tired.
Also, I am tired of listening to Vampire Weekend. I am writing about them and really, the hardest part is having to hear the music they have made. To come famous in your young age of Facebook and Obama, I bet the world seems like nothing but infinite possibilities--which is maybe why he sings about vacations so often.
A. McQueen Fall 2010 menswear is heavy on nouveau balaclava/turtleneck onesies, #1 in dapper Aquaman/masculating cretin looks.
Diane Lane did another girl rock star movie after Fabulous Stains--Streets of Fire which is stylized as the fifties, the eighties and the future, co-stars Willem Defoe and Rick Moranis. (What if they had been paired together again in Antichrist, with Moranis in Charlotte Gainsbourg's role? Now that's a movie I would like to see.) Since it was a rock movie in 1984: E.G. Daily, and a Lee Ving cameo.
And here is a song for your morning, a sweet song by the Cinderellas.
Town Called Panic was swell. When Horse gets a bale of chocolate covered hay for his birthday, I laughed really hard. It's an hour long and in french and a claymated cartoon where everyone is yelling, and so it'll probs be at the Music Box for approximately 3 more days, so really, go see it soon.
It's him lip-synching on Soul Train, but this is one of my favorite songs ever. 2003-05, I listened to a lot of Teddy, all the time. Gamechanging intro to Philly soul and disco.
This is the real essence of TP's solo magic, "Close the Door" live in 79, dudes in the seated hotel audience really nervous looking, women SCREAMING. Total sex threat soul, like he means. Starting @ 4:34, that look and then when he starts singing: "God knows I know what to do with it, if you give it up!" and they cut to women hopping in their seats.
I was head to the bank and as I was crossing the street to go in, a cop car drove right up the door and then there were suddenly five more and a teller came and unlocked the door and let the officer in and everyone got shoo-ed away and cars all left the drive through fast. If I had not decided to both comb and brush my hair before I left, I coulda been in the middle of a BANK STICK UP.
I had to get cash at the other branch, so as to purchase the cinnamon bun that I have been hungry for for the last two days, ever since I had that dream where Anthony Bourdain came to Chicago and asked me to take him where I love to eat but never get to go and I took him to the Cinnabon in the airport. WHICH, I must say, we both enjoyed, and he got an extra order of frosting in the little cup to take home. The other option in the dream, which might only be mildly funny to Chicago people, was a new restaurant that was Soul Veg combined with the shitty/delicious $8 Indian buffet that is kitty corner from the Vic, which admittedly would, if it existed, would be incredibly successful. MILLION DOLLAR DREAM.
My bi-annual "They are talking about you on the Electrical Audio boards" bait email has arrived. This time there is a poll on whether Albini is right, that I am the worst music writer ever, worse than Jim DeRogatis, along with the standard debate whether I look fuckable. If I win, I am going to be psyched! Please, guys, keep me posted with more anonymous emails. Preish!
And also, in other-other news, I will be doing two book events in Austin during SXSW, 3/19 at the Girls Rock Austin event and 3/20 at Domy's, with a lady band I cannot announce yet. I am not going to be doing Houston or basement-of-the-Alamo dates as I previously said. Also, also, Laurie Lindeen and I put together a panel, (in case yr an industry type heading to this thing badged up), of female authors who have done books about woman's experiences in rock--it's me, Laurie, Laina Dawes(who has a forthcoming tome on black women in metal/heavy music), and Amanda Petrusich and moderated by Holly George Warren, paver of the way.
J. Edward Keyes doing some fine writing on the era of REM most people don't care about:" At a time when commercial rock was all crotch and machismo — even post-punk messiah Bono was stridently, undeniably Male — R.E.M. had a frontman who was proudly effeminate, a frontman who would give himself indefensible haircuts, lard his eyes with mascara and twitch around on stage like an electrocuted marionette. They proved that a band could be commercially successful despite their best efforts to be anything but: their biggest mainstream hits contain no elements connecting them to the songs that surrounded them on the airwaves — they're oddities held together by snaking guitars or twinkling mandolin. Years before Nirvana, they provided a beacon for isolated, left-out teenagers and offered hope that, in a landscape laid to waste by Motley Crues and Def Leppards, the misfits and the art students and the queers and the bookworms and the drama nerds still had a shot. And while they are guilty of the same sins as many of their alt-rock peers — namely, relentless political hectoring and an exhausting tendency toward self-righteousness — they counterbalance those peripheral issues by providing some of the finest pop music of the last 30 years and, for a brief moment in the late 80s and the early 90s, making it cool to read, and to care that the world was going to hell in a Republican handbasket. Like the Smiths, they are a band you start out loving because of the singer and continue loving because of the guitarist. For poor, sad, unsaveable lifelong fans like this writer, they are a source of joy, inspiration, frustration, bewilderment, belief, annoyance, jubliation and defensiveness. (Oh, the defensiveness). They are not the type of dogs that will keep you waiting. They are R.E.M., and this is what they do."
OPENS AT MUSIC BOX THIS WEEKEND! I cannot wait.
Molly Lambert's killer essay on contemporary masculinity, Michael Chabon, girl characters, John Mayer needing a strong top, and a bit of Holmes-ian wisdom--and probably not the one yr thinking. Girl makes me feel like I need to take sharpness lessons.
I got confused, I thought tonight was a week night, for a few hours. I guess that means I wasn't doing "weekend" right.
If I was in Los Angeles in the next month, I would like to see this exhibition of Alex Pragers photography. Those girls' wigs fakeness really amps up the stagey-ness, makes the artifice dramatic.
We are considering changing Wyatt's name to "Ron". It would be short for Viveron Hussien Shittzenbachs. Wyatt Kinsella Christmas has lost it's luster. We are also editing the pictures for the cat calendar of classic Ron/Wyatt & Monkee shots. It's probably going to be June to June, cos fuck it.
This happened very suddenly. They were sitting there watching and Monkee went crazy.
Glacial tones, via Mary Mannings bloggins: the Swede, Erik Enocksson doing minor piano and snow crunching.
Last night, Channel 5 showed up to report on the unplowed side streets, broadcasting kitty corner from our house. I opened the window and started making chicken noises as loud I could, but it turned out the reporter was just rehearsing. "Why do you think he's chicken?," Matt came in and asked. "I don't think he's a chicken, I want them to think I am one." Matt tried to "bust" me by flicking the lights on an off, as I had shut them off for hiding purposes. He didn't want to run down the blizzardy street, streak or stand behind the newsman either. He doesn't understand the compulsion to heckle and act a fool when people are hosting live news. I waited until they were on for real and opened the window and screamed the stupidest thing I could think of, which was "Whooo-hoooo! TAKE IT ALL OFF! YEAH!", but the host was not fazed and kept right on hosting.
I know it's been all 5-superlatives-for-a-dollar kind of golly-gee postings, but I dunno whether it's me or maybe I have just managed to dig a tunnel around the crapzone of hippie nodoffs that coats the top few layers of the internets/promo pile?
The Units! "High Pressure Days"--when the kick comes in at :35, it is the best song I have never danced to. 1979 pre-Reagan anxiety and the synth player has the hooks and solos, total guitar denial, which was really the right choice come the twilight 70's. The vinyl reissue is in stores this week maybe?
I just got a record in the email and it turns out it is a new thing from Howard Hamilton III, who some of you may remember from issue #3-5 of Hit it or Quit it, the original "Karate Shirtveste", and the man who taught me to play "We Got The Beat".
Minneapolis people already know all about it, but hello rest of the world, RED PENS. This record is so good. And scuzzy. But the songs! RIYL Times New Viking, Eddy Current S.R., that drifty My Bloody Valentine veering guitar sound. But pop!
I. Am. Into. It.
Today is filled with great music and prospects for 2010. Dontcha think?
New Knife track is pretty much non stop and I want more of its everything, its slinky crash and its vocalizing like a something that should swoop over Amazon basins, just shy of sinister, it's wild girl what for and I love it.
Exoticism wins over cultural tourist faux ska for hot singles of Jan. 2010, though to be fair (not sure why to start bother now) Vamp Weeknd's "Horchata" is a walking talking strawman, and sounds like it should of been the b-side to a mid-career Camper Van Beethoven single.
Here: New Knife song, in all 11 minutes of it's glory.
Matt Kessler, as ever, hipping me to essential tracks I wonder how I missed.
Malvina Reynolds, BLOWING THE MIND AWAY, she.
Girls Guide to Rocking Texas tour is a-happening March 15th-19th or something like that.
I think this my favorite part of this interview with Detroit's best bestest, Omar S, who is seemingly jaded and angry about every facet of making and putting out records, and then in the middle there is this weird nugget:
Yeah, I been there for what, 13 or 14 years now. I certify parts with a marker. That same exact marker that I certify with, I usually take some home, that's what I usually write on my records with, the same exact marker I use at work. I take the markers home, they got like ten different colors. If you see a gold, a grey or a blue—blue is my favorite color marker—those markers come from my job.
I woke up thinking about Vic Chesnutt being dead, about how I wish there were more interviews with him about this record, his last, which is so graced and valuable. More evidence, a thicker tether, understanding worthy of what he left.
The first time I saw Vic Chesnutt, I was probably 17 or close to that. I was curious, and I knew who he was and he was opening for someone else I wanted to see--Bob Mould or Lemonheads or someone southern. But once I saw him, I didn't want to see him. I knew how he wound up in that wheelchair. I did stupid, fate tempting shit like ride around in cars with wasted kids. I didn't want to see him because I didn't like my music that vulnerable and at 17. I wasn't interested in reminders of my mortality; I was too busy feeling infinite.
Sometimes you don't wanna be a witness.
I came back at some point, but the last two records made me scared again. As much as I rally for honest music, and want so much of what makes up the last two, they were flush with reminders of truths I often take pains to ignore: people you love will die and you will go on living, sometimes suffering is boundless, we don't control all this stuff we think we do, our time is tentative, don't forget.
All the big stuff coming through over swells and strums, all the real news delivered in that croaky kind of croon, forcing us to witness. He roped you in, whether you wanted in or not. It is, was, important work and I am sad there will not be more.
Silver Shampoo LP in 2010. I always guess bands are teenagers when they aren't, but they sound like teenagers. Like, the rest of America, I fantasize everyone is a teenager.
as in this Matt, my Matt--though, the world's Matt, to be fair--
has a very exciting show/exhibition (fixed link) at the MCA coming up this March. The music-show part of the show is going to be bonkers, just you wait and see!
A survey of resonance in some of my favorite woman-made music of 2009. All this delay and echo and space (infinite voice), beatlessness, solo-actness,