September 29, 2010


Hit it or Quit it podcast turns sweet 16. Bad Brains trivia call in! Zola Jesus explains her move to LA, debunks her gothness. We review the new No Age and Abe Vigoda and Residual Echoes albums and then JR decides he wants to discuss his decades long hatred for Jared Leto.

Riff City on the Dipset reunion: "I moved to New York in 2004, right around when Cam’Ron’s Purple Haze came out. You either thought this album was a joke or a game-changer, and for better or worse, my first friends in the city were people who thought the latter. An entire social life was built out of visiting downtown “mix huts,” collecting Diplomat mixtapes like they were Pokemon, hoping for a new Cam couplet as you fought your way through eighty minutes of poorly mixed audio, radio interview snippets, and the hack emcees Cam kept in the wings: J.R. Writer, Hell Rell, Juelz Santana, Max B, 40 Cal, Un Kasa, et al. (Patience like this reached its zenith as we all sat through the “movie” Killa Season in its entirety.)"

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September 28, 2010


I wrote about Earth 2 for the new Mixtured mix about songs that would have cleared the floor at your prom. Scroll down. Scroll way down.

So, when this thing happened a few days ago, Matt, who is one of the thousand law students who gets the whole school emails, read this too me late the other night when we were awake amidst a diaper change. And now it's being reported--the headline says it all: "Northwestern Law Student Emails Hand Job Offer To Entire Law School". Gotta watch the reply-all function, people.

And finally, the Tiny Lucky Mailbag got this priceless letter from an old Minnesotan pal, regarding Art Garfunkel's post acting days:

"when i worked at the rochester MN barnes and noble, art garfunkel came in every day because he was getting some treatment at the mayo clinic.he spent months there and stayed in the kahler hotel, which was connected by skywalk to our store.he would walk over in his bathrobe, move the big chairs and do yoga in the the store. he also would take books outside in the plaza without paying for them, mostly herzog by saul bellow.
on occasion he would sneak up behind me when i was shelving and whisper things in my ear, such as "this reading nook isn't so reading friendly today". he always looked like hell, in sweatpants and knit caps. the treatment he was getting made his body emit a horrible smell so customers avoided him.i did feel sorry for him sometimes, but then he would pull an attitude in the cafe and hit on the young women who made his coffee. one of his lines was always "wanna come party with me and smoke some weed?".
i was playing an acoustic show at this particular store and i invited him to come. i said "You should come" and handed him a flyer. he then said "what is it you do?" i replied "i'm a singer/songwriter" then he said "that used to be my old gig." this was in the late 90's, when the paul simon hurricane cd came out and we had a display of it, i felt like we should hide it from art.
after i stopped working there, i heard stories about how he started to bring his son along, who was a miniature art with the hair and everything. he was still a jerk. bobby mcferrin was nicer."

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September 26, 2010


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Local poet pal Michael Robbins brilliantly poses a new idea for jump the sharp in a recent review in Poetry magazine, some context excerpted below, drawing on some especially rancid work of Hass' own, which kind of embodies two of my least favorite things in poetry: basking in the woodlands and post-Portnoy penis biography of the mid-century man. Too much moon and too much dull weinering (or wistful rememberances of the weinering of his youth, save for a few Tony Hoagland poems and maybe like 2 other queer exceptions) can kill my interest in any poems. MEANWHILE:

"When discussing a poem in which the poet is so enamored of himself and his sincerity that he is rendered quite tone-deaf to the comic pseudo-profundity of his lines, one might say something like, “The third stanza really hates the cunt.” In the next section of the same poem, Hass is lying in bed listening to the mating cries of owls:

Slowly at first, I
made a solemn face
and tried the almost human wail
of owls, ecstatic
in the winter trees, twoo, twoo.
I drew long breaths.
My wife stirred in our bed.
Joy seized me.

So let’s see: you’re already trying to hate your wife’s, er, companionable hole, now she has to put up with you making owl noises in the middle of the night? Let the woman sleep!"

Also, un related to this, but a jumping-related item. Why do people say "after the jump" when you could just say below or continued or not explain or spoiler out what will happen in the next paragraph or photo that we cannot see. It seems sad, if you need a bait to lure people further into the internet item you've made for them.

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September 25, 2010


I think few things embody "living the dream" quite like this video. Elizabeth Mitchell and Dan Littleton from Ida make kids records with their daughter, Storey who is I think now 10. They live in the country and go on tour as a family. Amongst their new album's many hits--Storey singing Augustus Pablo's "Reggae In The Fields", her kid-lisp drenched in reverb. The Storey-Liz duet on Bill Withers' "Lovely Day" kills me as well. Here is a video from the new record, and it includes a horse licking Dan's face. I wish I lived near a horse and could get it could to be in my family-bands video.

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September 22, 2010


Girls To The Front, Sara Marcus' major Riot Girl history book is out next week and I am so excited for her and proud of her. I have not finished the book, but it is, as Kathleen wrote the good, bad and the ugly--and is the most real-feeling biographical representation of RG and I hope this is an opening of the door to further RG scholarship. Sara spent five years working on it and researching it and interviewing women all over the world--so it is much more complete than the typical Olympia/BK/DC/Sassy/Liz Phair/L7 90's golden girls version we've all read 120 times. There are some parts that are really made me cringe with embarrassment--such is the nature of having my sixteenth year committed to the page--it is a study in memories colliding. There is a part where a girl who I don't remember at all describes me as quiet, insecure and intimidated. I think she has me confused with someone else--she must, I have never been quiet in my life and didn't know intimidation until I knew humility, which wasn't until, like, maybe 2004. Anyhow. But that's how I seemed to her, or maybe she assumed I had that typical teenage topography. That is the beauty of the book--everyone's piece of RG's history gets some airtime and you see it as this teeming mass of uncoordinated girl love and feminist anger and scene politics. It is easy to see why it didn't last* and also easy to see why it's influence is still going strong nearly 20 year later. I am excited that there is a real and decent document of RG, because I think the collective/collected documents--zines and letters and mixes--are likely moldering in peoples parents basements and annexed in storage spaces. And it's good to confront nostalgia with something that feels true.

(* For longevity, RG would have needed some collective organizing principles to keep things together, like AA or the Masons.)

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September 21, 2010


David Bazan covers Radiohead for Hit It Or Quit It from WBEZ on Vimeo.

Here's David performing Radiohead's "Creep" on the Hit it or Quit it Podcast. In honor of him smokin' the 90's music trivia quiz.

And here is Hit it or Quit it Podcast #15 which is a pretty fun one. It's got the music quiz, a surprise David Bazan visit, Amy from Titus Andronicus talking about her favorite songs, me and Jr talking about our various Urge Overkill sightings over the years and a cameo from Peter Sagal, the host of Wait Wait Don't Tell Me, utilized to ridic effect.
On this week's show, the quiz is a Bad Brains True of False, so if you want to play that and are around a phone Thursday at like, 12 CST or 1 and would like to play on air, drop a line to hititpodcast at gmail and perhaps you will be selected.

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September 20, 2010


How come no one warned me that Nicolas Roeg's Bad Timing not only stars Art Garfunkel, during those like, two years when he was considered to be fair leading man material, before people figured out he has all the onscreen charisma of a carrot--but also that THERE ARE UNSEXY SEX SCENES WITH ART GARFUNKEL A-TANGLE AND MIMING EROTIC THRILLS WITH HIS FACE AND BODY. I am not a prude, by any means, but lord love a duck, there are just some things that should be kept private. And not filmed. And not released to the public on DVD, not even as an "art film".

I am taking it back to the video store tomorrow and suggesting they create a new section, just for this movie, and file it under "BRAIN STAIN" or "MOVIES TO BE THROWN ON ONCE YOU REALIZE THE PERSON YOU INVITED OVER TO WATCH A MOVIE IS A DUD AND YOU NEED THEM TO LEAVE IN A HURRY".

SERIOUSLY. 1975 era Art-Garf panting in a sheet on the TV will make you wish it was Paul Simon of now doing a "sexy" dance, in the nude, in person, in your room, instead.

The "How did we make it to minute 42 of this?" is a bigger headscratcher than last weeks "How did we make it to minute 11 of G.I. Joe?"

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September 19, 2010


I appreciate what Colin Greenwood of the Radiohead band is saying here--basically, what is the new model of the new model--or the perfected model of the new model for downloadable, progressive idea, consumer-friendly and band-beneficial album releases. The question in some ways is "Is it possible for everyone to win?" Though other parts of the essay, like about iTunes not being sexy enough for his taste might as well read "and this porridge is too hot, and this porridge is too cold." It's a real Goldilocks style problem Radiohead has on their hands. I mean, it's a problem effecting bands all the way down the chain--Ted Leo in particular has touched on some of these things recently, though in a more sort of punk rock parallel universe where it's more about how do you have a career that sustains more than your spirit etc. Coming from the--what, 2nd biggest band in the world?--it's kind of like, pool your money and find a magic solution--because thats what fame and coolness and million dollar guarantees afford you. Magic solutions.

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September 18, 2010


West Texas blog put together a sweet soul comp you might like. Right here.

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David Wilcox, my former editor and still-friend--though across the country he may be--has a funny essay/recollection "Never Forget: Nine Years Ago This Week, Al Qaeda Ruined CMJ" about being on tour with Unwound on 9/11. You may also be familiar with David's work via Derek Erdman's Gathering of the Juggalos mini-doc, Dark Carnival of Souls, which many fans of the internet have probably seen already. But just in case...

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September 17, 2010


Teenage demos of the man we know now as Dam-Funk--'I love your big ass (girl)'.

It reminded me of Lovesexy, which reminded me of this:


and also this is greatness--

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September 16, 2010


Have I ever mentioned how funny my dear pal/bff/co-host J.R. is? Today when we taped the show, we got talking about Urge Overkill and he went off--we all laughed until we were crying and could not talk. I could only look at the floor and silent-laugh. And then he told us about the time he saw Nash Kato reading InStyle at a Borders.

My son and I are wearing almost-matching outfits.

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Cali did a totally bitchin' mix on Dublab, it's got a lot of of his own releases on there, which is sweet if you have not kept up on your mailordering. You can sample the hot tracks, the punk wares on offer in this shimmering download or stream.

There is a lot and almost nothing to tell you. I could regale you with tales of the perfection of my 13 pound son, but his life is his own private thing. I dunno if this blog or record of it will exist when he is 8 or 15 or 33 but maybe future William would be bummed on me offering up his biography by way of mine. I can speak the magic of momdom--which, really is magic in the unexplainable, miraculous and fascinating sense. It is also the great feminist awakening of my adult life--you feel tethered to all growing and living things, everyone I see I think "that was someone's baby" and suddenly feel gentle towards them, I think a lot, especially at night when we are up late nursing, about all the other moms, of every condition and how they are doing the same thing. And the moms who do not have a partner like Matt who is a natural and enthusiastic dad, who will cheerfully change his diaper in the middle of the night and sing him really great songs like this one:

Motherhood makes for a real bell hooksian lovesplosion. It also makes it so I cannot watch violent movies, am nervous about cars and any dog that comes in a size bigger than a small, am concerned by rough content in songs--in a different way than I have always been concerned about rough content. It really brings out your inner C. Delores Tucker*.

(also, just going by this breeze-though-her-life that is C.D.T.'s wiki, she's a Real Feminist Badass. Also also, imagine being like 70-odd years old, having worked for civil rights and womens rights your whole adult life and for your crusading against misogynistic rap Eminem calls you a slut in a song. Kind of mortifying to have your point proven so heinously in your retirement years.)

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September 14, 2010


Hit it or Quit it podcasty-so-nasty is back from maternity-cation! DOWNLOAD THIS BUSINESS! It'll be up on the Chicago Public Radio iTunes right quick if thats how you do your podcasts. It has me battling Freddie Gibbs (yes, thee Freddie Gibbas, as in the face of rap's tomorrow) in an Indiana based trivia quiz, and Marnie Stern talking about her favorite animal YouTubes and Neil Hamburger insulting Chicagoans and also talking about why he called Kenny Chesney an asshole--his answer certainly surprised me.

And here is my Superchunk review in the Village Voice, where I insult their peers and exalt the 'Chunk for aging with dignity, not sullying our fandom. The only reunited bands I really take exception to is Cap'n Jazz and Polvo. They got better the second time past. CJ is a stinting band and Polvo made their best record 10 years after they stopped making records.

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September 10, 2010


Mac from Superchunk and I have a conversation about the burden of nostalgia, being old punx etc. in this week's Chicago Reader. I was trying to remember how many times I have interviewed Mac before. It's either four times or never.

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September 09, 2010


"Nothing says ’80s like a lush, glossy, gauchely homoerotic ZZ Top power ballad"...Rob Sheffield's nice writing and playlist in the New York Times. RS has a new book out, about Duran Duran fandom and his sisters. I have not read it but I liked that last one.

Celebrate Daley's departure with renewed civic pride--handmade Chicago ceramics.

Old friend Josh Hooten, who you may remember as the guy who made early Punk Planet look awesome and read funny, is doing a good deed that vegans, animal lovers, bike nerds and PP fans should take note of: an epic bike ride to raise money for sanctuary farms. Toss him a few bucks and help out these places that are a safe home to all manner of abused and rescued animals.

In case you have been missing the venerable Jane Dark bloggings of ol' Joshua Clover (I have!), he's penning for The Nation, including this about the way in which the financial crisis and capitalism is being written about. Brainburners, per usj.

Also, The Needle Shop inventory makes me wish I had like 18 more windows that needed curtains made for them. And a believable excuse to spend 10 bucks a yard on cool Japanese fabrics. The Needle Shop is not too far from our house and I will not go there for fear of spending money and buying like 18 yards of that fabric with the cameras or the elephants one and attempting to staple it to my couch in a fit of misguided estimation of my skills (such is my lifestyle).

Those are the little things I have to point you to for inspiration today.

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September 08, 2010


My time to write is when the baby naps. It's an uneasy feeling when your ability to work depends on someone elses ability to sleep peacefully, to not need you so much for a bit. I guess that is the negotiation of motherhood.

Despite turning into a overgrown jungle, and being ignored for weeks at a go, like i.e. not even watered for sometimes five days, the garden grew itself. The tomato harvest has been this
every couple of days. We saw Kyle at the farmy markt the other morning and begged him to just come into our back yard and harvest at will this week. In retrospect, my enthusiasm got the best of me. I am not sure what I thought could be done with with like 15 lbs of heirloom tomatoes a week. I am sure if I got a subscription to Grit, The magazine of Rural Know-How I would know better. Grit is like hipster homesteader porn, right up there with the Rare Seeds catalog--lamenting city life, perusing articles like "How To Dig Your Own Culvert" or "Building a Doghouse" or the recent coverstory on how to manage your dirt roads when they become mudroads. I will lament city life a little less now that prayers have been answered and Mayor Daley is on the way out. Fingers crossed for Rahm. He's the right kind of prick to run this town, though, as Nelson Algren wrote, it's been "a rigged ballgame" since it's fur-trading days, at least maybe do something about the 50-shootings in a weekend/trains catching on fire all the time/corrupt everything/encroaching shithole state of the city.

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