Lil essay I done did for the Nashville Scene about the new Quasi record and about getting growed up.
If you would like to take a stab at a theme song for the Hit it or Quit it podcast show, we need you to make one REALLY soon. Like, now. Or this weekend. 15-30 seconds, should reference shows title, with NO SWEARS. Dog raps, sound effects, rabbit beats, inept funkiness, deep house, a fancy tune-- whatever you can cram into an mp3 etc. it can be emailed to msjessicahopper at the ol' gmail. If you can make a sweet song about it, thats' rad, if it is scary that is also rad. I made one and it makes use of the "chipmunk voice" effect in garage band rather liberally, so keep in mind, thats what yr competition is. We are all in the running!
White jazz shoes w/o socks
Having a pretend band you think is real and no one will tell you it's bad because you are on the west coast and that's just not how it's done
Expensive art world punk art
Bullshit art in NY
Facebooked insults of yore
Proxy to cool fame
Proxy to cool fame they pretend not to covet
Onion so funny
Keyboards so funky
Rap albums you wear as a badge / forgotten Wu sideprojects
Adult posers "not being into the internet"
I take back what I said about MIA's video in relation to it being an extension of MIA. I think to assign her a heavy co-signer position, to see this as her thesis is a mistake. As much as it is a product married to her work, it's totally in line with the directors aesthetic of randomized, inflammatory violence in a faux-doc style. This time he just had a bigger budget. You may remember him from the full length Justice documentary I had to review last year, or this shorter Justice video which could maybe be about immigrant tensions/violence in the public housing of Parisian suburbs, if it enunciated that at all (depends on whether you see hooliganism as justified, I s'pose)--or more importantly, if we thought of Justice as "political" artists. MIA ramps up the rhetoric whenever she's about to drop a new album, I think this fits with that rather than either Gavras or MIA making a statement about whiteness or privilege or genocide, it's gratitous for it's own sake, which makes it no different than the shock n' awe power beatdown/American media culture they seek to criticize.
The politics of MIA are, as Nick Sylvester tweeted this morning, sloppy at best--well, going by recent interviews, but this video? Aside from kids getting blown up, it's nothing we haven't seen on 24--all that is missing is Kiefer Sutherland screaming "TELL ME WHERE THE ______ IS?!" and then shooting someone in the hand to force a confession. Here, we have innocent, naked fat people and clothed brown fat people getting beat by some black-ops military police in order for some pubescent gingers to be round up and shot in Indio? Whats the takeaway? Bad things happen to innocent people? An allegory about persecution worldwide? America is bad? We only care when bad things happen to white people? IT IS TOTALLY FUCKING UNCLEAR. And not in a good way. Everyone takes M.I.A.'s politicitzation at face value so willingly, I doubt we will get an answer. Instead we will get people baiting her into more Gaga-playerhate. Clean up you allegory, girl.
HIT IT OR QUIT IT PODCAST SHOW #2: Brian from Disappears checks in from Target, PsalmOne talking about women's work, poet/critic Michael Robbins talks Lil Wayne and we reposses one-time HIOQI-er Tom Breihan from his current post at Pitchfork to talk about Guru's legacy. And giggles and music news.
New Gossip Wolf. We didn't have a big enough budget for jokes this week, so you'll just have to giggle at the one JR made about the pope.
Hit it or Quit it Podcast up later today. Real Christmas Morning™ feeling around here today. Trying to finish so much work so I can spend the weekend MAKING RAISED BEDS out of woods and nails and brackets. I got the catalog I requested from rareseeds.com and am reading the whole thing despite having a bunch of seeds here started and some into containers outdoors already--it's vegetable porn, straight up. Like, I laid in bed unable to fall asleep thinking about ALL THE DIFFERENT TOMATOES I WILL ONE DAY GROW.
My new fave part of being preggo is a thing the little dude does with his hands that feels like tickling. Not like it is a tickle, but the hand motion is like a tickle motion. I watched him lots in the ultrasound, so the feelings of his motion I got to connect to his actions. Right hand, left hand, right hand, left hand. He wakes up at midnight and does some dancing for about an hour, every night like clockwork. He's up and waiting for the afterparty while I want to sleep sleep sleep.
Michael and JR and I did it. OUR FIRST HIT IT OR QUIT IT PODCAST HAS BEEN MADE. Chris Richards--old time HIOQI contributor, is on, musicologist Marianna Ritchey discovers Public Enemy and Buck65 reveals: JAN MICHAEL VINCENT IS MISSING. Thats our big scoop and I think it's pretty bizonkers. I am proud of everyone.
Meanwhile, Guru is gone and I am at least as sad as I was when Andrea Dworkin died. Gang Starr meant a lot to me. When Moment of Truth came out, I was barely listening to hip hop that wasn't at least a half-decade old, pre-emo and artcore had been clogging my life--and it was a fucking revelation to be lifted from that. I listened to that record for 2 or 3 weeks straight once I got my hands on it. R.I.P. Guru.
I linked Sean's essay below, but re-reading it--so many great lines, but this is perhaps the laughiest chunk:
"Do you really want "Bad Penny" to come on during an intimate moment? Or how about Sebadoh, a band I worshipped, whose unstintingly detailed relationship dissections (the same relationship, dissected from every conceivable angle) and masturbation confessions trade off with spastic-screaming noise songs? It would be like using tears for lubricant. Who then? Slint? Smog? Tortoise? Palace? Silver Jews? Beat Happening? Daniel Johnston? I would be lying if I said I didn't take them on test drives."
This morning I woke up to find out that my David Bazan story made it into DaCapo's Best of Music Writing 2010. Fourth time in six years, and yes, indeed I am keeping score/counting.
Congrats to west coast pal Nikki Darling for her inclusion--her essay about reconciling her Axl Rose obsession is something I had the pleasure of reading early on. It's one of those great tangles that you only start to pull apart in your mid-twenties reckoning, i.e. you dated those bad boys because you couldn't be Axl Rose. Proxy power mooching vs. the fear of actualized restless outlaw girl selves, or some dance with those similar steps. Or realizing you couldn't be Axl Rose simply because you denied yourself, or got scared because being the kind of free girl you dreamt of being would mean that the whole town/school/scene would call you a slut (or worse), even if you never fucked a single person ever ever, you would still catch hell. Everyone's real story is the chasm between the wildest dream and the living.
The other day Matt K and I were talking about regret. I never had any for a long time. Decades. And then I had a ton. There is still wishful thinking and a sense of time wasted. I did a lot with my time, but there was so much I never even attempted because I thought for sure I would be bad at it. Or good at it. This is why I never learned to ollie very well and why I didn't pursue writing as a legit career until I was about 28. At 28, I had been freelancing steadily for 12 years and publishing a zine, and I still was under the mistaken belief that I did not have what it took to be a writer. Matt convinced me I should try, and I did, and I realized about three weeks into "trying" that could have been writing full time for years, and my cowardice--fear of my own ambition got in the way. And that is my regret. That I lived without a sense of permission for so long.
Also, congratulations to friend and writer whose work I admire greatly, Sean Nelson, whose essay about the fucklessness of 90's indie rock deservedly made it into Best Music Writing this year, too.
Some Velvet Sidewalk, in American Sign Language.
"I am really inspired by the simplicity and beauty of love. I am a transsexual — I am a house of mirrors. I am not, by nature, simple," Baby Dee says. "This was a way to allow myself to get into the simplicity of desire that is not accessible to me — to assume the role of the lover and the beloved."
My Baby Dee story in todays Tribune.
"What I find especially interesting is that Phair, for a time, intentionally tried to break out of this territory, writing songs in which the speaker is very clearly Not Liz Phair. If you are interested in these songs, you should listen to her album Whitechocolatespaceegg. But Cuomo? Cuomo still writes primarily about The Thoughts and Feelings of Rivers Cuomo. I mean, at this very second, Rivers Cuomo is probably writing a song about what it is like to be Rivers Cuomo. Unless, that is, he is busy saying something creepy on Twitter. Yet Phair’s music is categorized as “personal.” Cuomo’s is “universal.”"
Preach it, sister.
Lots of gratitude today. Vera delivered a bucket of manure to my doorstep, I have time in my day to visit with my sick friend, I have enough work to pay my bills. I heard a woman on her phone talk about how she brought her 13 year old daughter in for birth control pills to find out she was 2 days shy of four months pregnant and the woman was shelling out every cent she had in order to cover the uninsured abortion. One of those things that resets your gratitude, makes you realize none of your problems are problems at all.
Today we made the first Hit it or Quit it podcast. It is mostly just talking, talking about music, talking to people who have made it and heard it and loved and hated it. We got the craziest scoop ever, mid interview with someone. You will find out on Friday when you listen. It was fun but also hard. We were nearly done, in the big studio, where they tape the official type WBEZ shows and this big crowd of kids came by and we thought they were a field trip, but actually they were wanting to get into the studio--we were over into their time slot. We then moved into one of the very teeny tiny rooms upstairs that are meant for max. two people and banged out the rest in a closet sized room. Almost on each others laps. And we did intros and outros and JR told this story about talking to stoned people outside the Dead Meadow show last night that I hope makes it in, though I butted in midstory to explain that what he was describing are moccasains, not "robin hood boots", though his name is better.
AND THAT IS HOW YOU MAKE A PODCAST.
If you want to find out more about it or make us a theme song, follow us on le tweet: @HitItPodcast
Come August, I will have call for this bear suit/costume for a baby dude and some log pillows. Or is this a beaver suit and logs he has felled for his dam? EITHER WAY. Need! Need!
Have you ever noticed there are weird sections of Smiths songs where they sound like Dire Straits? Is that because everyone had the same shitty pedals in the eighties? Also, another revelation: I checked out Depeche Mode Violator from the library today and ALL THE SONGS ARE ABOUT HEROIN. An easy retrospective call, given Dave Gahan's v. public drug shame tour of the glossy mag media a few years back. No wonder each song tops out at 90 bpm. Back when we DJ'd heavy and often, Josh and I joked that there were two ways to kill a dancefloor: Depeche Mode and Bounty Killer's "Mystery". DM, even if it's a remix pitched +8 is way slower than you remember it being. It's like 103 bpm. In two measures, the only people left moving are secret goth girls. Then you'd have to resort to cheap tricks--Michael Jackson, Deee-Lite, "It Takes Two"--to repopulate.
My fondest memory of DJing was with Josh, doing Steely Dan's "Peg", "Don't Stop" and Nitzer Ebb "Join The Chant" back to back, about midnight, some midsummer night at the loft that was the floor above Buddy c. 00 or maybe 03, it was like we had cracked a code. Packed, so sweaty, people screaming, nothing stopping anyone. I went skateboarding after that, at like 3 or 4 a.m., either by myself or with Burian riding his bike. Do you ever miss feeling the stupid indestructible of 25? The twilight time, before you were alerted to being mortal?
Shit, Uffie just gets better and better. Her verse on this song is the best thing she's done.
Do you think they took off their shirts for the video, or do you think they were already off? What about his metallic cowboy hat?
Billy Joe Shaver, country songwriter, found not guilty. If you have not been following this story, go back and read the whole thing (its like 3-4 stories)--the details are--well, one doesn't wanna say "amazing" or "great"--though the dude he shot in the face lived, so it's not quite tragic-tragic (he says he's lost his sense of taste, the bullet is lodged in his throat). It's quite the story, I'll put it that way. Apparently, he shot the guy for interrupting him in the bar. He took him outside, pulled out his gun and said "Where do you want it?" and just shot him in the face. Shavers wife then came out and complained that this is why they can never go anywhere--"Why does this happen every time we go out?" I imagine her saying it like a Texan Edith Bunker.
Got the debris cleared from a third of the garden, got my compost started, mixed in with what some dude on Craigslist told me is well composted compost but am pretty sure is just dirt. I found full eggshells and soft onions mixed in. And strangely, a lot of long black human hair on the top of the pile--and my first thought was "Oh, shit. This is why he made an add for free compost. He's a murderer, and wants to be caught." I did not catch him, I just took some dirt in good faith it was compost. Vera is bringing me a sealed 5 gallon bucket of composted manure this week to "heat up" my free murderer dirt. BALLER STATUS: ACHIEVED. I am getting aged cow shit delivered to my house--for free!
The girls downstairs said they too would like to garden, suggesting we make a plan and divide up the garden, though one of them told me they might just let what they planted come back this year--and maybe put in some tomatoes and some yard furniture. Their 09 harvest: 4 stalks of corn they planted next to the sidewalk. I felt funny when she started talking about dividing up the back yard; the "never enough" part of me was suddenly scared they would ask for too much space, I felt like I needed the whole yard. I wanted to yell BUT I HAVE MELONS TO GROW AND I STARTED EIGHT TOMATOES ALREADY! I didn't want to dedicate any part of the yard for them to wait for their dead corns to revive itself zombie crop style if they don't actually know what they are doing. Total asshole panic on my behalf. I felt like I was six, and I felt gross about it. They live in a basement, they deserve to garden as experimentally as they desire, to tend dead or living corn as is their wont. Maybe in the process of yarding out with them, we will become bros and I can turn them on to some better techno than what they are currently listening to.
Gossip Wolf radio show. A Hit it or Quit it reunion of sorts, former editor Sean Tillmann aka Har Mar Superstar as a guest and former, longtime contributor Michael Catano. We talk about R Kelly being tall and make jokes about why Soundgarden is back together.
New Gossip Wolf: some peni on display, Kathy McGinty, jokes that you will wonder if they are jokes. The usual.
My review of the Erykah album. It's eem. The album. Not the review.
My review of the Kaki King album, which I enjoyed mightily. There a few songs on there that will be my tops for the year. If you miss the emotion of Mascis' old solos, you can find some fleshed out here. Virtuosity with feeling, y'all.
Older generation female rocker ladies making uninformed judgment calls about women making music today, and how (sorry, Jude) no one is angry anymore how the nineties were so much better, when we had Liz Phair and Hole and Belly and L7 on MTV* (aka the blinded nostalgia trope of the aging rock n' roll feminist) IS REALLY FUCKING UNPRODUCTIVE.
It also shows they are not digging deep enough, or seeing the forest for the trees. Lily Allen, regardless of what anyone thinks, is basically the Sex Pistols of girls making bedroom electronic pop. Feminist empowerment example and a real woman to boot--so, we get Little Boots out it rather the Slits. Big fucking deal. If you think "angry women in punk" is a faction that has somehow receded, or that L7 in it's day was some how better than the generation of women now in all manner or metal bands--you have gotten too far removed from the action. Go browse the 7" new arrivals like you did last in 199X and you'll see a lot more women in the bin now than you ever did then. Spend 11. 4 minutes on Myspace and catch up. It never disappeared, we just missed it because we were so busy clinging tight to copies of Guyville; we refused new ideas as relevant.
Riot Grrrl wasn't the end result, it was the catalyst. That's what it was supposed to be, thats what it was meant as--not a static thing. It didn't have stick around forever to count as successful--movements come in waves--it did it's job perfectly. So much is different post RG, so much permission and power and inspiration was funneled down steadily--whether it's to the league of young girl shredders, or rock camps, or explicitly feminist and queer show collectives being run by women whose tether to RG was simply catching the tail end of Sleater Kinney.
Feminism has to move on, salute new icons, be excited by the varieties of archetypes of women in music, be they Gaga or Nite Jewel, that are self-directed, self-produced, not operating under the shadow of a Svengali hand. To not appreciate the difference in agency, or appreciate the different struggles of women now, like it's contest of who had it worst, a game of radical oneupsmanship--we might as well just start talking about how we had to walk both ways uphill to school in the snow with no shoes on. Our battles are not to be hung on the necks of the new waves of girls like an albatross.
I remember in about 1995 or 96, reading an interview with Exene that was really heavy on "kids today" attitude and the last time I saw her she was on the mini stage at a Girls Rock camp benefit gushing about how great this was because it was time for a new feminism, and it was great that these young women (and little girls) have it totally different than we did. She can appreciate that because she is paying attention, she is part of it, in staying present in music and accepting new generations on their own terms she is showing new girls that they are part of a continuum, not just passing on this epic mantle of struggle. The impact of earlier punk feminism is so totally evident in so much music that is happening, and it needn't and SHOULDN'T replicate what came before or paved the way for it--the sense of permission endowed in the work of women making music today is as radical--if not more so--than if they were parroting Bikini Kill lyrics. That is how current feminist work honors older feminist work is with it's progress and new paths--that is all we should ask of it as feminists. BLAZE THE FUCK PAST US.
The hope was, in this supposed 90's golden era (that is so repeatedly harkened back to), that we would move beyond it. Not park and roll around in it for another 18 years. The hope was that punk rock would get better so that we wouldn't always need a Riot Grrrl to intercede and open our eyes. If we are fondly recalling Alanis Fucking Morrissette as some sort of speaking-truth-to-power icon over supporting women who are making music today then punk feminism is in deeper shit than we ever were.
* Also, if we are accepting this antiquated recognition/version of making it as the pinnacle, we need to upgrade the dream.
Norris Church Mailer in NYT:"She wiped her eyes and reached for more cookies. “Let’s face it, I was attractive,” she said. “That’s a large part of where I got to. ‘Would you be with him if he wasn’t Norman Mailer?’ No. Would he be with me if I weighed 300 pounds? No. I used to have this conscious thought when I was younger and going to all these dinners and parties that one day I’ll just be able to stay at home and write and read and do what I want to do. It was a real conscious thought that when my looks leave, I can do other things. Isn’t that funny?”"
A full marching band Easter processional went past the house at 6 am today, and Matt and I were so asleep, neither of us managed to get us and see it, only discuss. "Is there a marching band outside our house? It's like 4 am." I said. He looked at the clock and said "No, it's 6:30." Then we both returned to sleep, only to wake up regretting it. We also saw Good Friday services at one of the several Russian Orthodox churches in our 'hood. The orthodoxy really knows how to do it up. Big plumes of incense and candle smoke hanging over the priests head, kid choir, the clergymen in conical hats and heavy robes. I can only imagine what their Easter Parade was like. Camels? A re-enactment of the stations while they walked around the block? I don't know because I slept through it.
We saw Joanna Newsom last night and she was great, full of spirit. Went to the other show, missing Talk Normal and getting there for Tune-Yards, and for the first time I thought, rather than post-MIA pastiche pop, JOAN ARMATRADING:
But, if Joan A. had gotten taken with sampling and made a funky, hip hop inspired record in 1989 or 90.
Xiu Xiu we did not stay for much of. I really think Jamie is one of the best artists going though do not have much stamina for his work all at once. I think music and albums and being in bands is really for the type of stuff he is doing, i.e. making harrowing music that clears half a sold out crowd. Music that is personal and visceral and scary even to someone who likes what you do.
In other news, my wee seedlings have been planted! 38 plants started and thats like... half? FARMER TIME!
My follow up story on Lilith Fair/CPCs. CPCs and NARAL off the ballot, other anti-choice orgs remain, no official statement on any of it.
My lil intvw with Joanna Newsom in the Tribune today.