Archives for music category

Monday May 22, 2006

Act Of The Apostle Part 1

Act Of The Apostle Part 1 by Belle and Sebastian is easily the song of the year. With the year only half over, one might pause, but with my limited exposure to new and challenging music, it is basically a shoe-in. One of those dance-around-the-apartment kinda tunes.

Friday August 15, 2003

Sometimes the random song generator that is Primco Radio goes on an amazingly inspired tear through my music. I got up to take a shit as the song Truth Serum by Smog began to play. It’s on Supper, the most recent album. I don’t really know it yet, I just put the whole thing into rotation. Truth Serum is a meditative song – perfect for sitting on the pot. And Bill let me go up on the roof with him and listen to his thoughts.

“Me and some friends of mine
We stayed up all night taking truth serum
We soon realized the mistake we’d made
And went our separate separate ways.

I went up on the roof
Where I thought I’d find some truth
There beneath the stars
But questions followed me”

Ok, standard Smog storytelling. It’s usually something good, with twists and turns so I’m intrigued. And just then a woman’s voice sings.

“Do you miss me when I go?”

Never heard that in a Smog song before. It’s nice. I find out later it’s Sarabeth Tucek singing. How many times have I been asked that question? I hate that question. Here’s Bill’s answer:

“Aw, Honey, I love you and that's all you need to know.”

Nice enough answer. But it's not enough. She asks:

“Well, then what is love?”

“Love is an object kept in an empty box.”

This one got me good. Riddles are good answers. I thought that would do it but she asks:

“How can something be in an empty box?”

“Well, well, well, well. Give me another shot...”

Characteristic Smog humor. Can a simpleminded question tear down a beautiful poetic statement? He seems to give in. Instead of saying something like “No, don’t you get it? C’mon!” He acts as if he just got caught. Does he really think his answer has been exposed as nonsense or is he humoring her? Is he annoyed by the question like I would be? Does he actually not miss her and must fight against the truth serum to not hurt her feelings? I think the answer is somewhere between. This is what is interesting about the song to me because he’s managed, with just a few lines of dialogue, to create a fairly complex dramatic moment. But hold on, it turns out that he was dangling another line. After another of his masterful pauses that split lines, divides and multiplies meaning, he finishes with a line that completely reverses the meaning of the previous one but leaves its impact lingering. Fantastically beautiful.

“..of that truth, truth, truth, truth, truth serum.”

He goes around with another verse but you’ll just have to listen to the song for that one. I want to end up quoting from preacher Bill because I think it illuminates the male narrator’s motivations were when he said the “Give me another shot” thing:

“People people there’s a lesson here plain to see
There’s no truth in you
There’s no truth in me
The truth is between.”

I've gone off on M Ward before so I want to go off on other stuff. Kimberly asked me recently what my top 5 are. Here they are:

  1. M Ward (all 3 of his albums)
  2. Cat Power -- You are Free
  3. The Shins -- Oh Inverted World!
  4. Ethiopiques -- Vol 10 is my favorite but I also like 8, 4, 1 and 3
    See Aquarius records. They've been going on about this for a couple of years and I finally got around to tasting it. I passed thinking it would be like other African music I've heard but from the first 10 seconds you know it's special. My ears love it. Forceful Synopsis: It's like nothing you've heard and it's damn good and there's a lot of it.
  5. The Thermals -- More Parts Per Million

Now let's talk about The Thermals. My voice is thrashed right now, as I type this on Thursday night because I have them in my car. You cannot listen to this band in the car and not scream at the windshield.

"They are the Thermals, they guarantee life eternal. / You only need skin and bones, and a sweet pair of headphones."

Listen to "No Culture Icons", "Everything Thermals" and "I know the Pattern". The best hard rock anthems I've heard in the last 5 years. "Back to Gray" certainly is THE GbV cover and I wish they'd play more of these. Everybody who writes about them compares them to GBV but The Thermals are closer to the Buzzcocks and the Ramones. I saw them play at Noise Pop while I was waiting for another band (probably my favorite at the time, but completely overshadowed now) and my friends were outside on the patio and I went in and skinny indie-boy Hutch (I envy his name) was pumping the heel of his Converse into the carpet and wailing so hard he needed two hands to hold the mike and the bald guitar player was BLASTING chords at the crowd. I ran back in and said, "Hey guys, this band is GOOD." But they barely looked at me so I ran back inside. They only have one album to consume which has had to last me the 7 months I have to wait to see them again. I'm running to the Bottom of the Hill on Oct 9th to see them with Mates of State.

Read how The Thermals save lives

Sunday June 29, 2003

"Fuck softer toilet paper, where’s the Darwin dividend? We eat food pellets and wear water bottles like better rats, what happened to our early promise? When we were ugly and died all the time, all anyone talked about was salvation, family, overcoming desire, throwing off these chains and more dessert for the guests. Now that everyone’s a king—aren’t we even interested? "
-- a quote from The T hree Manifesto.

My favorite song of late has been "Fool" by Cat Power. Number six on the new album. In a lilting, sarcastic and sad way she sings about an "Apartment in New York, London and Paris" and then later says, "Why can’t we see as fortunates see? Living as legends have lived." And that last line explodes into so much for me. It's beautiful and comforting to know that I have been living as legends have lived. That my life is legendary when I take just a tiny little step outside my solipsism. And this is no stupid exaggeration. I'm talking about a historical context (pluck a random person from the first half of the 20th century to observe our lives and watch their jaw hit the floor) but also a geo-social one.

I don't need an apartment in New York, London and Paris to be a legend. And I don't want to see myself as an ordinary. I am humane but not ordinary. (Oh, get a hold on your democratic disgust. This is hubris for the sake of making a point.) I was talking with some friends the other day who had traveled to the 3rd world and some who hadn't, and they both said that they must have it exactly the way they have it now. Meaning that even though they know how superior their current lifestyle is to those poor fuckers, they would not tolerate being treated in a superior way. That they are more or less equal to the persons they deal with on a daily basis (as one would want it to be, I agree) and that they would not play a part to any unequalizing forces if they were to travel in, say, oh I don't know, in India.

They would not feel comfortable with maids, cooks, porters, drivers or any of the other symbols of a ruling class. How about a guy to shave you every day? The idea of someone taking care of them is also offensive to their sense of independence. What struck me is that this is selective anti-colonialism when it really doesn't matter. If you go to the trouble of spending more money than a person makes in 10 years to fly all the way around world, leaving your life of leisure to visit them, don't you think they'd be amazed and puzzled? Why try to act like you're equal? You might even see how it would be offensive to someone; even appear to be condescending to that poor fucker, when that person who is fabulously wealthy and exotic tries to play out some fantasy of equality.

And it's parochialism clothed in good old fashioned decency. And it's white guilt. Is it so hard to remember that every day of our life is a wondrous fairy tale to 90 percent of the other people on the planet? If someone puts you on a pedestal, you can try to climb down, but then they'll wonder why their statue would be so unmagnanimous as to self-destruct. Why don't they throw down their Chinese takeout right into that designer wastebasket and toss those American Spirits off their weather-treated wood deck? How can they put up with subjugating the entire earth for all that shit? Because the plain fact is that nobody is going to give up what they got without a fight. No matter how much they got.

"We’ve become gods, so now we must create or we will destroy." - 3

Nobody I know is more hedonistic than me (except for my friend Miguel I guess) so I don't want to put on that I'm some "sustainable living" nut. I'm kinda saying the opposite: That you need awareness first of your wealth and position and privilege. (By the way, I recommend getting it first hand, not reading about it on some website.) You need to give thanks for it, not in the weak-ass protestant way of "Yes Holy Father, I'm a sinner and I don't deserve it", but in the "bless these genes" absurdly lucky way that it is, and get on with taking advantage of your advantage. I brought those poor fuckers back with me and they ride around in the hip pocket of my $140 jeans.

The obvious response to this is that I am rationalizing plain, old, boring, over consumption. That I'm on Oprah explaining why I have to drive my Escalade down the freeway to Target and no one is listening. That even the awareness and thanks that I spoke of makes no difference. I say awareness and thankfulness is the only difference.

Read The T hree Manifesto again, even if you read it 5 years ago when I posted it first on It's mostly for college-age kids but older people enjoy it as well.

"Cool people advertise a playground to sell their ghetto." -- 3

Saturday June 7, 2003

M Ward, the object of my idolotry is shown shredding like nobody shreds for free on your demand at this site in the Netherlands. Check out the video "Matt Ward 3VOOR12-sessie Crossing Border 2001" (you need dsl) and stay until the end because he does this thing he calls "Rag in Marjor D" that is jaw dropping. I'm here right now, trying to figure out which John Fahey songs to download so I can get going on that fingerpicking thing.

Sunday May 18, 2003

I Need Some Money by John Lee Hooker.

Many people download lots of songs from me every day. (yes. primco radio is a success.) but I think you should make special effort to download this song and make it real quiet and stop for a second. Just stop that shit. Now sit down and listen to John intently. It's a song you might have heard by the Beatles but they sound like blathering fools compared to this rendition. At first he's just introducing the idea that he needs some money. But then he elaborates on it. He needs it "right away" for example. He puts in a little pluckin-a-single-string-over-and-over solo and then he gets back to the subject of him and his need of money. But then he starts to whisper. Just the last two lines. In his classic vamp, but it creeps me out. It's super intimate. "What I want." Blam.

Friday April 25, 2003

From the entrance to the exit
Is longer than it looks from where we stand
I want to say I'm sorry for stuff I haven't done yet
Things will shortly get completely out of hand
I can feel it in the rotten air tonight
In the tips of my fingers
In the skin on my face
In the weak last gasp of the evening's dying light
In the way those eyes I've always loved illuminate this place
Like a trashcan fire in a prison cell
Like the searchlights in the parking lots of hell
I will walk down to the end with you
If you will come all the way down with me

Wednesday April 9, 2003

This little form searches AMG and I use it a lot for figuring out what album is which and stuff when I'm downloading music from the net. All Music Guide is the IMDB of music but many people don't know about it so I'm advertising.

One handy thing you can do if you know some html is strip the search forms out of your favorite websites and then paste them all into one web page. For example, Google makes it easy to steal their form and put it in your page. I remember when web pages were young. The main function of the "home page" was a place to store your bookmarks. It was the page that started in your browser and since there weren't search engines, that's where you figured out where to go to.

    artists albums songs

Friday April 4, 2003

A conversation between Robert Schneider and Jeff Mangum, who grew up in Ruston, Louisiana. And later made The Apples in Stereo and Neutral Milk Hotel.

JM: What you don't understand is that I thought it was a flower. But it wasn't. Ok? It was part of the rat on the treadmill and it was this dude's legs watchin' The Price is Right. Ok? An, an, it was part of the blender. And I, I convinced myself for so long that it was a flower, I mean I spent years and years and years convincing myself that these puzzle pieces added up to a flower. And it wasn't at all. And once I woke up I realized, "How do I trust other pieces? How do I take new pieces and put them together with as much, y'know, vigor as I once did?" Because what if, what if they're not a flower either? What if they're just like...

RS: They've gotta be animal pieces. They might be animal pieces. Pieces of goats?

JM: Well, that's what I was tryin' for, that was like a rat and a goat and the whole thing and the goats didn't have any hands.

RS: And you bought this at WalMart?

JM: And that's what I wanted. That's what all I wanted, I mean that, ever since I was a kid. Since I was a kid it it it just seems...

RS: Have you never got the puzzle together?

JM: No.

RS: Ever?

JM: Never. There're all these disjointed pieces I convinced myself to be flowers.

RS: You have a serious problem, young man.

JM: I know I do. But I don't think I'm much different from anybody else. I bet everybody else has got a bunch of, like, pseudo flowers in their pockets that really are just pieces of that weird puzzle that aren't....

Thursday March 27, 2003

Friends, M. Ward, the source of the new CD "The Transfiguration of Vincent" has complete sway over my life -- what little sway there is left. Blue blue windows behind the stars. Yellow moon on the rise. Big birds flying across the sky. Throwing shadows on our eyes. I'm completely helpless. Helpless. Helpless in its presence. I downloaded the shit with the help of Soulseek. I've written here before about Ferdinand de Saussure and I'm convinced that I know nothing about love but the new M. Ward CD is Cimply Delightful. I am nothing without love and apparently M. Ward is love. Under the moonlight. The serious moonlight.

I don't know who will read this. It's been soooooo long since I wrote. I still have to put it down for posterity. Posterity. In voluntary. Search the google for soulseek. It's my new favorite secret. Jake Keklikian told me about it at the Mountain Goats show. I said, "Shit, yeah, the internet is ok but you can only get fucking Led Zep or Beatles on that shit. You can't find the good stuff. And he said "I have one word for you: Soulseek." And damnit if he wasn't right. In the last 3 weeks I've downloaded over a thousand songs. I pretty much have all I want and the fact that I could find some rare Aphex Twin or some Fall or even the new Smog or M. Ward discs before they were even released says everything. To me that is. What did I get, The Shins, Fucking Coachwhips for crissake! The old Drive Like Jehu! Woven Hand and Quasi and The Thermals. Fuckin-A Minor Forest and Kelly Stoltz.

It is the holy land and you've got to come up with something that's better than this or I will never leave my computer.

Wednesday February 12, 2003

Shit, Ferris Wheel on Fire. At first I thought this was a cover of something. It's so lyrical it seems like it comes from some pre-historic location -- or at least from the 80's. ('specially when he says "fading from vahue" just like the Flock of Segulls used to do.) It's Neutral Milk Hotel live doing a song that was never released. I have 4 versions of it. I was standing about 3 feet from Jeff when he sang this back in 1998 at the Bottom of the Hil. Bla. Like you care. Well... listen. Even recorded on a walkman and then encoded as a 96k mp3 it's MONUMENTAL.

Ferris Wheel on Fire

Well now first of all
We became what we always had feared
Every engine holds
All their oils on fire appeared
They finally broke through
And on your shoulder
This weight has been placed upon you
And everything we ever learned

Now I'm keeping stow
In someone's bright carnival ride
All the crowd just cheers
As the bolts break and metal collides
Spiraling through
And flying up all over the hills
And now everything's broken in two
And everything's way over

But now most of all
I am holding you under my skin
Watch these buildings fall
Watch as each weak resistance caves in
All over you all over
And now finally fading from view
Is everything we ever knew

Saturday October 26, 2002

This song rips.

Friday October 18, 2002

Vetiverse is up and running and it's one of the most nicest website designs I've ever seen. My friends Andy and Alissa contiune to impress me with everything they touch and I'm glad that, even as I get OLD, I still have some young people in my life who will put up with me.

Vetiver plays at the Adobe bookstore tonight at 6. Papercuts and Travis Graves are also playing and I like the Papercuts a lot. Should be a scene.

I just got a monitor Spyder so I'm gonna start scanning more. This here's some house in the Glen Park area -- or whatever that's called on West Portal where you're above the sunset district.

Went to see Enon tonight and the band before them called The Helio Sequence was "fuckin hella tight" as one drunk-ass dude said as we was sharing a cig and I didn't know it at the time but they were better than Enon. Guess they're just kids. The kids stomp on shitloads of pedals and chew the air and dance while they shred and wear little faded t-shirts. The kids rock.

I, however, am an OLD MAN and as I came home from the show at the Bottom of the Hill (probably the 300th show I've seen there) I wondered if that's what it's going to be like being old or if it's going to get worse. Actually I know it's going to get worse but I wonder how. Are all the youthful things (flirting with cute, trendy girls, smoking on the sidewalk, standing with a pint glass resting on my belly in a bar by myself) that are close and familiar, going to turn into distant, alienating situations to be avoided? My friend John Freeman knows about that stuff. I tried to channel him tonight and just enjoy myself. I suppose it worked alright. I guess standing in the Bottom of the Hill just feels stupid because it is. I'll be back there next week for the Mountain Goats.

Wednesday October 2, 2002

KPOO is the unity in the community.

LVD is with you mikeside at the Inside Lover's Lounge. Right now, at 2:30am, love is what it's all about.

After bustin' some Gill Scott Heron "Message to the Messengers" and some Stevie Wonder "Redemption Song" he came out with a shockingly beautiful sermon about how we get ourselves out of this mess. So much love in his deep deep scratchy voice. "We're beautiful. We are beautiful. And those that know owe...those that don't know."

"Here's what you do: The first thing you do in the morning is tell the first person you see that you love them. And mean it. It doesn't have to be about sex. Just human being to human being."

LVD is a treasure from midnight to 3am on Wednesdays. 89.5 FM. Those that know owe.

Don't be afraid.

Monday September 30, 2002

I found this on a Neutral Milk Hotel site and I stopped typing and rubbed my eyes. And of course it had to be and it is perfect. And perfect combined with perfect is not always perfect but this is perfect. And the harmonica is unwelcome, and John can't remember the lyrics right when spirals of white smoke are supposed to be softly flowing over eyelids, but suddenly he rescues it: his fists pummel the strings down into the chorus about placing fingers round the notches in your spine. And he sounds nervous and desperate and totally in love with that chord progession.

My two favorite artists. That's my kind of two-headded boy! Your peanut butter in my chocolate. It's John Darnielle doing "Two-Headed Boy pt.1" by NMH.

Friday June 14, 2002

I'm working on a larger one, but here's the first stuff from the Coachwhips show at 16th and Mission BART plaza. They're probably on stage right now at the Hemlock. I decided to stay home and work on videos.

Ratta Tat Tat

:5 seconds
or download 415 kb

Tuesday March 12, 2002

Wow, it fuckin worked. I just solved another character encoding problem. Now I can type in my blog. .decode(‘utf-8’) is to thank for me bringing you another installment of “rave about the Mountain Goats”. You’ve heard it all before but it hit me again tonight and in solemn deference to the laws of energy, I must pass it on to you. This one includes a sound bite. Choosing among the first (rock, peacock) or the second, (rock, crow) was my only dilemma.

I thought “Fall of the Star High School Running Back” was all there was to the new album. But it has been growing into a young, healthy monster here in my living room. As I demonstrated by making a fool of my self in mp3, I think “Pink and Blue” kills.

“Balance” drags, and I mean by the hair, with shorts on over the hot asphalt, an unfortunate couple’s demise before us. The balance in this case stands for what’s left to withdrawal from the lovebank. “Two tall glasses of sweet ice tea, underneath that sweet young tree and the love we once nurtured you and me, disintegrating violently.” But I’m not here to write about that.

Gaining ground and closing with force is “Fault Lines”. I’m not sure if it’s the same couple, different day but the results are not much better: ”I got sugar in the fuel lines, both of us do. Yeah the fights and the lines that we both love to tell, failed to send our love to its reward down in hell. I’ve got pudding for backbone, but so do YOU!”

“The Mess Inside” is slaying me at this moment, and at many moments I’ve felt the same as the couple that is on a habitual “relationship saving vacation”: weekend in Provo, week in the Bahamas, New Orleans in spring, New York City in September. “Took the train out of Manhattan, to the Grand Army stop. Found that bench we’d sat together on a thousand years ago, when I’d felt such love for you I thought my heart was gonna POP. I wanted to you, to love me like you used to do.”

Are you crying yet? My right eye is a little wet.

But the whole reason I’m not finishing off that big block of If...Else statements in is that “Distant Stations” are playing. This song is like the Bill Murray of songs. The one and only. You know, when you’re watching some Bill Murray and suddenly you think, “God, I’m so happy I’m here to witness this. He’s not a comedian. He is my mother and my father and all my brothers and sisters and he is every wink from a cute girl I’ve ever gotten. All here, goofin for my benefit.”

You taught me how to listen to these distant stations.

I thought “Distant Stations” had a cool guitar hook. I thought it was a fine MG’s ditty, heavy on the wheel grind, but it wasn’t until I started to listen to it critically, to try to hear the chords, thinking that I’d try to play it, that I heard the lyrics and saw the scene laid out before me and witnessed the brilliance of the phrasing and structure. Immediately you notice the Raymond Carver-like pointillistic detail. Sure. Sounds like a bitter lover (again?) stalking his teacher and nemesis.

But then, on the 15th listen or so, I hear what he is saying. Sometimes I don’t hear what John is trying to do when he paints an atmospheric detail that is supposed to signify what is going on in his characters. I never got “symbols” when I was in English class. John uses a lot of symbols. He uses them so much -- the sun: rising, falling, hanging raining, drinking: together, alone, again, trips: ending, starting, remembered, -- they’re hammered-on icons at this point. Many times I don’t understand what working in a bakery has to do with how a man feels when he gets home and sees his wife’s keys on the kitchen table. I don’t know what I’m supposed to think of “Distant Stations”.

You see, “I found and old rock in the dry dirt outside the door of my motel room. It was triangle with soft rounded edges and a slit down the middle of one corner. It was darker than English moss. Green like the soft frills of a peacock’s plume I waited for you. But I never told you where I was. It was you who taught me how to write this kind of equation. I waited on the steps for you and I hid in the bushes whenever a car pulled into the parking lot. You taught me how to listen to these Distant Stations.” This guy waits for someone who doesn’t know how to find him. Ok, he doesn’t want to be found. But maybe he wants to be found more than anything. Or maybe he is unsure if he’s lost or even knows where he is. These could all be correct guesses because he seems to be at home in this koan-like nonsense. After all, the person who he’s waiting for has taught him “how to write these kind of equations”. He throws a rock at a crow that was playing in the roses by the motel office and misses him by a good yard or two. You all know what that means. Don’t you? Listen. He’s teaching me to write his wicked-ass equations.

Wednesday March 6, 2002

I’ve had this new Mountain Goats song blowing wind into my wings for the last few days and I haven’t learned or played a song on guitar for a while so today I sat down and did it. But first I played no. 8 “Drain You” and no. 9 “Lounge Act” off _Nevermind_ to get warmed up. (them songs are 2 of my top 5 Nirvana songs but they don’t get much credit so I want to say now that if you haven’t listened to that Butch Viggered wall of screeching bliss in a while, you will find that these two in particular (I got this friend you see..) impart a nice affect to your demeanor)

So after fully rockin I sat down with a sweet new number off _All Hail West Texas_ (recently discussed in the local paper) called “Pink and Blue”. I think it’s the standout on the record. I want everyone to hear it. I put the phone up to my laptop speaker so my friend Rose could be summarily melted by its story of a man and his newborn twins. John does the song in standard MG’s style, on his ten year-old Panasonic RX–FT500 boombox with its patented massive wheel grind in the cassette transport mechanism. He makes a lengthy point of its importance to his method and details its resurrection in the liner notes.

The microphone on my laptop is right above the cooling fan which spins up while the hard drive clicks away when I try to record but in the spirit of that old Panasonic, I figured I’d bellow into the slit on top of my Dell and post a rendition of “Pink and Blue”. I wanted everybody to hear John’s version of course, and even though you can probably find it on the internet in about 30 seconds, I didn’t want to just rip and post it here, on my legitimate, honest, website. a mulitmedia powerhouse.

So here’s it is “with fan noise included”. I guess you'll have to stop the Aphex Twin sample from playing in order to hear it. Writing that, and suddenly becoming aware of the context into which I'm posting this is more than a little scary.

I have no idea what kind of tree he’s referring to in the first stanza, that’s a guess. And I don’t know what “reception sticks” are either but that’s what I heard.

E  D         A   B            E   D
Wind out of Oklahoma this morning
              A       B        E  D
Smelled like blood an smoke
                   A        B
And the crows discuss their future in the
F#                  A         B        E
branches of their Louisiana ?Lybrook?
     D        A          B
The limbs are strong and heavy and it’s
E      D           A    B    E
Leaves are all aglow
D                  A            B
And the branches brush the upper air
        F#                           A        B
But the roots reach down to were the bad people go

    A                   B                  E
And what will I do with you, pink and blue
F#    A
True gold.
B          E    D  A  B....
Nine days old.

E D               A   B
Nice new clothes on you
        E      D             A          B
And an old cardboard produce box for a cradle
   E       D               A    B
I mash some bananas in a coffee cup
         F#                 A        B
And I fed you there at the kitchen table
E    D               A      B
Crows outside complaining about the
E     D               A  B       E
Finer points of local politics
       D          A          B
Strange wind all full of new smells
F#                 A       B
Rust and fur and reception sticks

And what will I do with you, pink and blue
True gold.
Nine days old.

Sunday March 3, 2002

Background sounds are usually hideous and annoying. If you've got the right shit, you're listening to "4" by Aphex Twin. Right now I'm drunk and I feel strongly enough about this piece of music to break the golden rule and shove http audio down your throat.

Thursday February 28, 2002

Fuck. The Extra Glenns were last night at Café du Nord. Have I lost the abilty to recognize and respond an revel in true perfection when it abounds?

Thought I’d post a link to a funny web page since I haven’t finished my story. I thought posting 3/4 of it would motivate me to end it but it didn’t. This sentence didn’t get auto-capitalized by word and it annoyed the hell out of me. Mainly be....whew, that one popped up a capital M....mainly because I have been spending a hell of a lot of time trying to build a content management system that uses Word as its editor, yes, I’m still working on it. Day and night. Obsessing. So, in the spirit of obsessing over trivial matters and producing a laughable result, I give you a hyperlink to Toilet Paper. A supercharged bathroom-automation project done with Python, the language that I’m learning. Toilet paper is pretty funny. They even made a poster of it.

Last night I steeled my reserve and applied the last drops of gumption and made a little application that opens Word up and allows me to type into it and then closes word and reads the HTML from Word back into my app. One of the reasons I’m doing this is that Word knew better than I how to spell the word gumption. (of course the grammar checker its utterly baffled at my parenthetical quasi-verbal remarks.)

I’ve made a whole lot of progress on understanding what happens to the ‘ and “ characters in my writing and why terms like Unicode and ASCII are actually quite important to a writer. I’m going to try to switch over to Unicode, (now that the industry is providing some support -- XML and programming tools are helping) and hopefully I can arrange it so that my composition and storage use the full character set and then it's dumbed-down when translated to other formats (like the Netscape browser.)

John Darnielle and Franklin Bruno play Café du Nord tonight. Their new album is really sweet. Better than the new Mountain Goats I think.

Friday February 8, 2002

Oh you, you know you must be blind
To do something like this
To take the sleep that you don't know
You're giving Death a kiss,
Oh, little fool now

Your mind is full of pleasure
Your body's looking ill
To you it's shallow leisure
So drop the acid pill, don't stop to think now

Wednesday February 6, 2002

Residents who may not need a California driver license are:

Persons driving farming vehicles which are not normally used on public highways, except when operating a combination of (more than one) vehicles over 25 miles per hour or when towing a spray rig, an anhydrous ammonia trailer, or a trap wagon.

Saturday January 26, 2002

I've chosen to republish (for a considerably smaller audience) a recent new release recommendation by Aquarius Records : "Daddy's Curses". As they say, "The disc is exactly as the title implies, a recording of someone's father cussing his brains out." As someone who had a prolifically swearing repairman for a dad, this one is as sweet and sentimental as they get.

"Double fucking bullshit. Mother fucking dog licking god damn bullshit. Nuts. Phooey and nuts...AND phooey, AND nuts."

RealAudio clip: "Excerpt 1"
RealAudio clip: "Excerpt 2"

Buy from them. Buy the Extra Glenns CD. The new assault on your boredom by Mountain Goats' John Darnielle and Nothing Painted Blue's Franklin Bruno.

Also, in the time-honored blog tradition of "linking to crap I like", are some new photos by Charles Peterson at neumu.

I found this set of links because John Darnielle writes reviews for neumu and, along with a few other things, he is the greatest music-related writer on the planet. I dare someone to top him. Witness a recent rant about Radiohead on Last Plane To Jakarta:

I am at sixes and sevens trying to figure out how critic after critic could have listened to this record and not come away disturbed and filled with dark wonder. I am fairly confused as to how it came to pass that at least one critic, hearing "Packt Like Sardines in a Crushd Tin Box," didn't put on a '40s style reporter’s hat with a little "press" card sticking out of its band and immediately wire the editor: NEW RADIOHEAD ALBUM STOP THREAT TO GLOBAL EMOTIONAL WELLBEING STOP SONGS LIKE RUBIKS CUBES WITH COLORS SANDED OFF STOP PLEASE SEND RYE WHISKEY NOW STOP.

Wednesday January 16, 2002

My god people, we've got the Hammers of Misfortune. Is there any reason to fear? Let's fly back for a moment to August twelfth of last year. Ecstasy and Deathmetal and three vids of our beloved Hammers. I'm recycling this post because I just unleashed the three MP3's that they have up on while I was making an omeltte and when Janis Tanaka howled"chosen one" during "On Wings of Vengance" I brought the pan down crashing on the stove and claimed my destiny.

In case you're wondering what's going on, here's a synopsys of "The Bastard" by Silke Tudor from the SF Weekly:

Performed in three acts, the piece tells the tale of a sapling boy raised in the wilderness. As the boy comes of age, he is visited by a dragon, who tells him how his cruel, plundering father (the land's king) left his illegitimate son for dead. Village prophecy suggests that such a boy will journey to the heart of hell to retrieve an ax that will free the common people from tyranny, on one condition: In exchange for the throne the young king must grant the dragon a single request.

The bastard child hazards the fires of hell and claims the weapon of legend; the moon runs red and the stones drip with blood as he plucks the moist crown from his father's fallen head. For his one demand the dragon requires that a road be hewn from the deepest part of the forest to the gates of the city. The Bastard King submits, and the prophecy is fulfilled: Trolls and wood demons march on the town, slaughtering every man, woman, and child, and the Bastard King learns, at last, of his true lineage. He is a child of the winged demon.

Sunday November 11, 2001

I didn't go see them this weekend but I want to salute Built to Spill right now. I'm eating toast with melty butter and listening to "Carry the Zero" now. It's my favorite BTS song and a damn fine justification for the existence of music, no matter how bad it can get. It's soooo beautiful, 'specially when he says, "count your blem-i-shes", it makes me shake my hair.

Saturday September 15, 2001

This isn't something that's exactly in the forefront of my life right now, (having had my rather fanatical stage burn down slightly), but just last night I had my friend Dave listen to "In the Aeroplane Over the Sea" by Neutral Milk Hotel and he went ape-shit over it. "Genius, fucking incredible, hey, lemme see the CD case, why hasn't this sold billions?"

This thing came out 3 or 4 years ago, it's obscure and that can be a problem, but so is this web page. I don't know, I guessing that at this point if you haven't loved it you probably don't care, but I couldn't care less if you don't care, I'm going to write about it. Because it's important. This is music criticism....yawn...but I'm going to try to make it worth your while -- even if you decide not to devote your life to Neutral Milk Hotel.

This disc brings music critics (who, remember, are professional music appreciators) to their knees, not just in admiration of it but in humility. I can hear in their voice the naked insignificance and impotence before the task of describing this work of art. Is it possible to say that it's the most important popular music recording of the last 10 years? Probably. 20? 30 years? Important because of the responsibility one feels upon hearing it. For what it means to each person -- what it can do to you; not what it stands for, or how many teenage hair-dye jobs it inspired.

Sometimes critics rave about the rare vocal talent or how he blends distant musical styles or they quote a chunk of his lyrics in an attempt to give you flavor. They cannot give you're the shock to the system that hearing this music will. They, (well maybe they can) will not be able to make you cry like this music can. You cannot resist it. The music will nuzzle up against your fear and enchant your confused postmodern brain.

You have to be a seeker. If you're not looking for it you won't find it. Seekers know that they may not know they've found it when they do. Most people think they're seekers but they're waiters, waiting to be shown things. I think I can tell the difference between people (it has nothing to do with how many CD's you buy). Can you recognize when art is affecting you (even in the tiniest way) and harness that interest and let it drag you into a deeper appreciation? It's a rookie mistake to judge people by whether they like a piece of art. Gotta watch that, but it's hard not to judge a person by their reaction to Neutral Milk Hotel -- really hard.

Do you have to be a college educated upper-class artistic white person to like this music? I don't know many people that aren't like that. But I would like to know the demographics. One thing's for sure, it's not a big seller. And I'm not prepared to dismiss it if it turns out that it has no reach beyond that class of people.

Know this: if you think it's all hopeless and everything that our culture is trying to shove down your throat is vomitous; this thing remains. It's there. I can tell you that there is a sustained piece of genius, a marker that you can point to, that came out in the late 90's proving that it can still happen. This one thing is all I need to keep hope alive. No, it's not even hope, it's assuredness. (Pretentiousness needle entering the red zone)

The Zen Guerrilla show at the Bottom of the Hill last night taught me that we need to rejoice. If you have no hope the first step is to rejoice and be thankful for what you do have. You have Neutral Milk Hotel. Take a little bit and rejoice that you have that.

Friday August 24, 2001

Ok, just one more obsessive thing about the Magnetic fields and then I'll walk away. I promise. Listen to "Let's Pretend We're Bunny Rabbits" and you'll hear, at 25 seconds into the song, at then end of some delicious casio-like drumming and some expectant seventh note plunking, a little "eow" from a kitty. Or is it the sounds of rabbit sex? I'd never heard it before 2 minutes ago and then it came squeaking out of my left speaker as I was fixing some HTML and it shocked the hell out of me.

Is is stupid or what to post pieces of Magnetic Fields lyrics every day. God. It's not like I have nothing to write. But there he goes again singing about Ferdinand de Saussure and I'm nuts about it. It seems like the only thing that matters. And then another song comes on and it's the same absolutely brilliant decapitating crap all over again. "You can't open your mouth without telling a lie, but baby, you know how to say good-bye." The way his larynx dips down into Johnny Cash territory on "baby" kills me deader than if you dropped a safe on me. I think I'm in love with him and, yes, love is a beautiful thing, but it also sucks because I'm not gay. He's all I really want.

I laid awake all night last night and went round and round on a lyrical carousel. "...razy for you but not that cr..." The pressure was on because I *had* to get some sleep because I *had* to get up a specified time. Having to get up a a specified time, even if it is noon, constitutes a lot of pressure these days. Working bastards may scoff at this pansy-ass obsessiveness but it's all relative. The significant thing is that it's now the third time in recent memory I've had insomnia, and all three times, the time was spent twisting my brain up tighter and tighter around one tiny piece of Magnetic Fields lyrical rapture.

Grand pianos crash together
when my boy walks down the street.
There are whole new kinds of weather
when he walks with his new beat.

He's a whole new form of life
blue eyes blazing
and he's going to be my wife.

Thursday August 23, 2001

I wish someone could tell me the notes that Stephin sings when he sings

          for             that
    crazy         but not
I'm                               zy

I know the chords are Eb and Ab and Bb but the notes drive me crazy. Yes, that cra zy.

It's something like Bb C D E C D Ab Bb. My pitch sucks. Ahh, hello 5 am.

"Caution Caution Caution: to prevent electric shock
do not, do not, do not, remove cover
No user-serviceable parts inside
Refer servicing to qualified
service personnel"

Let this be the epitaph for my heart.
Cupid put too much poison in the dart.

Saturday July 21, 2001

How bout if we lived apart?
We could make a brand new start.
Do you want to break my heart?

Yeah! Oh yeah!

Friday July 20, 2001

They ride the roads as they bend.
As they bend to their dead ends.

Saturday July 14, 2001

this history lesson
doesn't make any sense
in any less than
ten thousand year increments
common sense
common sense
common sense
common sense

Thursday July 12, 2001

I like your twisted point of view, Mike.
I like your questioning eyebrows.
You've made it pretty clear what you'd like.
It's only fair to tell you now
that I leave early in the morning
and I won't be back till next year.
I see that kiss-me pucker forming
but maybe you should plug it with a beer.

Sunday July 1, 2001

The Death of Ferdinand de Saussure

Signify THIS. No hyperlink. What to do with it?

I was thinking about the song that I repeated in my head Saturday morning from about 3 to 9 am as I laid awake in bed. I didn't use much of that period of time to travel the intricate paths of meaning that the lyrics can take one down but I have today. What does this song signify? Maybe the song "Don't You (Forget About Me)" by Simple Minds from "The Breakfast Club"?

Ferdinand de Saussure was a Sanskrit teacher who pretty much started the study of modern linguistics by never publishing or leaving behind a single written note of his ideas. How fucking romantic! Sephen Merritt reveals in the liner notes of 69 Love Songs that he read "Critical Theory Since 1965" (which I proudly mention was co-authored by my favorite and most influential college professor Leroy Searle) which was the sequel to "Critical Theory Since Plato" (the book that Leroy used to almost destroy my life, and which, along with a lot of acid, led me to drop out of college only 1 paper short of graduating) and which allowed Stephen to take the germ of motown melody "we are nothing. whoa whoa" as his only ammunition and shoot a Swiss linguist.



I met Ferdinand de Saussure
on a night like this
On love he said "I'm not so sure
I even know what it is
No understanding, no closure
It is a nemesis
You can't use a bulldozer
to study orchids," he said, "so
we don't know anything
you don't know anything
I don't know anything about love
But we are nothing
you are nothing
I am nothing without love"

I'm just a great composer
and not a violent man
but I lost my composure
and I shot Ferdinand
crying, "It's well and kosher
to say you don't understand
but this is for Holland-Dozier-Holland!"
His last words were:

"we don't know anything
you don't know anything
I don't know anything about love
But we are nothing
you are nothing
I am nothing without love"

His fading words were:

"we don't know anything
you don't know anything
I don't know anything about love
But we are nothing
you are nothing
I am nothing without love"

Saturday June 23, 2001

The Mountain Goats are coming! THE MOUNTAIN GOATS ARE COMING!!! Thank God Almighty.

I just found out last night because someone happened to mention it offhand on the sf_indie list and within seconds I had purchased willcall tickets from ticketweb. They're gonna find intelligent life on the moon and the Canterbury Tales *are* going to shoot up to the top of the best seller's list. And STAY THERE for 27 weeks. It's all going to come true.

Don't go and find out about them because they will ruin your life.

My god, I can't control the the excitement and if I'd known it was going to turn out like this I would've brought a blanket.

Tuesday May 29, 2001

This is tire beach. Oh, there's a lot of names for it, but believe me, I think we should go with "tire beach".

It is a subtle clue about how I'm feeling today.

Black Dice is playing down at a salsa bar next to Doc's Clock. Wonder how they managed that? I went by the door and the promoter guy was sweating from his neck even before they'd let anybody in. I guess this is why I live in America.

I was standing on the corner and some skaters came up to a scruffy looking youth and started talking to him and looking around. I had just removed 300 dollars from the Wells Fargo and I said, "You lookin for the punk show?" and they said, "Yeah" and I said, "Uh huh. Me too." (That was when I only knew it was at 22nd and Mission.) The pasty faced singer/terrorist from Black Dice came out the door of the club and that's how I knew where it was. When you see this guy you want to look at every inch of his body. Every article of clothing, every exposed area of flesh. He's immensely interesting only because he destroys bars and intimidates people for a living. He's a waif-like 5'3" and greasy hair hangs out of his baseball cap. You know, in that greasy hipster boy way where the ears stick out and the hair parts to the front and back. He's a sweaterboy, as my friend Aviva would say. He even has that shy demeanor, that, "I suck so bad" slump. All of these appearances are called into question when he wraps the mike cord around his fist and jumps on a table and kicks an indierock girl in the shoulder. I honestly don't know who that guy is. Don't ask me. I'm just a gawker.