Tin-eared, graph paper-brained accountants instead of music fans
call all the shots at giant record companies now,
the lowest common denominator rules.
Forget honesty, forget creativity,
the dumbest buy the mostest, that's the name of the game.
But sales are slumping, and no one will say why.
Could it be they put out one too many lousy records?
"MTV - Get Off the Air"
What are you sayin', what are are you playin',
who you obeyin' day after day?
"Baby, baby, baby, baby..."that stuff is drivin' me crazy.
DJs communicate to the masses, sex and violence classes,
Now our children grow up prisoners,
All their life radio-listenin'
KRS-ONE with REM
Can't find nothin' on the radio? Tired of heavy rotation fluff marketed
down your throat? Don't despair, there's still plenty of genuine music
being put out by real artists who despite this age of sell-outs and cookie-cutter
bands manufactured surely as widgets remain true to their vision and manage
to share it. Follow cover art links for complete discographies and audio
samples at amazon.com, cos any purchase you make there helps keep
me and my ode
to obsessive/compulsive behavior website alive.
This is one of those rare albums which changes the way you think about music.
This is music that is so simple and assured it convinces you you could do
it. So maybe you try it in the shower, or some other time when
you think no one can hear, like maybe when you're driving and you think everybody
else will think you're singing along with the radio. But the
words and tune are all yours, wrung from the inside out and you're
smiling because you realize there's no making but only revealing what
is already there and has been in you since before you started remembering.
Calvin Johnson has such a natural voice he convinces you of yours. He is
also friends with Beck, Doug Martsch of Built to Spill, and many others too
numerous to name.
ONE FOOT IN THE GRAVE
This is the Beck most have not heard. Beck as his friends know him.
Acoustic guitar in otherwise silent landscapes: the bed of a cinderblocked
truck, a california viaduct, a fallen log. Here he proves he is the campfire
guy who always gets the girls, the buddha child who has seen more of
life since breakfast than most will see before they die. Please don't die
without first hearing this record; it could prepare you for the
afterlife. Recorded by Calvin.
|BUILT TO SPILL
there's nothing wrong with love
Has there ever come a time in your life when a record has been
your last tenuous handle on sanity? The first time for me
was puberty when the Dead Kennedys'
Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables got me through
high school. Another episode
Nothing Wrong with Love as my savior.
Songs about sonograms, popping off, waking up, breaking
up and faking it.
Better than Cats.
"Word begets image
and image is virus."
|WILLIAM BURROUGHS W/ GUS VAN SANT
The Elvis of Letters
"I got all the images any hick poet ever shit out," Burroughs drawls
on track 3 of 4 on this slick black-packaged ep.
And it's true, like Henry Miller, Burroughs never sat down to write
"a poem," but his brand of psychic journalism is often poetic, as a variety
of esteemed musicians (Kurt Cobain and the NBC Symphony Orchestra
among them) who have set Burroughs' voice to music have heard.
Here, Van Sant runs samples of Burroughs' powerful yet delicately inflected
voice through the wringer, wedding aural cut-ups to elevator-smooth
rhythms. I reviewed this b/c I wanted to hear something with
techno overtones, but the best Burroughs album remains
Spare-Ass Annie and Other Tales, his
collaboration with the Disposable Heroes of HipHoprisy who realize (i.e.,
make real) the rap rhythms embedded in Burroughs' words. THAT is the
Burroughs album to have, though The Elvis of Letters is a good way
to burn 16:38.
learn more at
See the girl
on the TV
dressed in a Bikini
She doesn't think so
but she's dressed
for the H-bomb
|GANG OF FOUR
Many of you out there no doubt recall dancing to "I Love A Man In Uniform"
in some suburban nightclub after having downed a few in the parking lot,
but that and subsequent Gang of Fours is not the Gang of Four I'm talking
about here. This is the Gang of Four that said more in ten songs...Actually,
they said it ALL in ten songs. It's the first rock album of a
generation that was raised by television. Like any adults, Dave
Allen, Hugo Burnham, Andy Gill, and Jon King turn and curse their parent:
"You made me what I am--how could you!" The lp sleeve looks like a page from
War and Peace in the Global
Village, wrapping ironic captions around pictures of TV (collective
plural) with completely legible lyrics on the other side, including
the underlayed anti-lovesong manifesto that ends the album on the dual-channeled
"Anthrax." This is the music that begat slam-dancing. It seeks to touch a
raw nerve but admits that all real feeling has been completely insulated
by Post-Industrial civilization. It's the album that would make me want
to go out and do something if I weren't too busy with my screen. It's
the best album ever. Better than the fab four: Matthew, Mark, Luke,
and John. (WARNING! The CD rerelease contains four "bonus"
tracks. So as not to besmirch the original, program your
CD player to stop after Track 10.)
God Don't Make No Junk
The rubberstamp lettering of this album's sleeve is reminiscent
of Beck's One Foot In The Grave, which isn't too surprising because
Beat Happening's Calvin Johnson is behind this project as well, this
time in tandem with hip songster Doug Martsch of Built to Spill. Buy this
CD if only for "Don't Touch My Bikini," a rollicking rockin' rap
with a cartoonish broing! sample that has to be one of the
great tunes of all time. The cover
alone, with its twisted-halo infinity symbol insignia and
hypnotic design, makes GDMNJ a worthy
addition to any music collection.
Return of the Boom Bap
One of the major poets of "The American Century" gets back
to basics in his first post-BDP solo project. The acronym's
his old graffiti tag: Knowledge Reigns Supreme Over Nearly Everyone. Among
knowledge-givers he is very nearly supreme. His poetry is everything Ginsberg
and Kerouac wanted theirs to be--hip, relevant, and boomin'.
|THE LADYBUG TRANSISTOR
The Ladybug Transistor doesn't list any instruments on this 1997 release,
because all the sounds are made of magic. You might hesitate to believe that
real people are behind this record whose mesmerizing first track sounds like
toys, but once Gary's almost subsonic vocals kick in, you'll know you're
in the company of adults. Whether rocking you with grinding guitars or teasing
you with barely audible found sounds, Beverley always wraps you in her loving
arms. --Molly Rouzie
read more @
see pictures from Knitting Factory, feb98
You Can Be Anyone This Time Around
The Book of the Month Club billed this as "The musical equivalent of a full-blown
LSD trip." That might be stretching it a bit, but then again, what exactly
is an acid trip? This is Timothy Leary's elucidation of what was to be his
1968 CA gubernatorial campaign platform until then-guv Ronald Reagan had
him imprisoned for marijuana possession, thereby nullifying Leary's
eligibility for the candidacy. This record is what happens when
one of the best minds of a generation gets together with Stephen Stills,
Buddy Miles, and Jimi Hendrix (on bass!) for a little 21st century philosophy
utilizing the cut and splice technology pioneered by the Beatles. The title
track might just be the first example of wholesale sampling, incorporating
bites of Allen Ginsberg, John Lennon, Indian cowmaid music and more.
(Incidentally, I saw Leary speak in 1988. Armani suit and running shoes,
he covered the whole stage, all wound up about the coming wave--that was
my introduction to the Internet.)
read an interesting review
of Timothy Leary's Dead
Slanted and Enchanted
Pavement albums are like Kurt Vonnegut books--they're all good but my
favorite is invariably the one I've got open at
the moment. Some people claim that Pavement has "a sound." I don't hear
it. Each song is so dadblamed unique that I put one ("Black Out"
Wowee Zowee) back-to-back with itself on a mix
tape and they still didn't sound alike. And like a Vonnegut book,
each song reveals more each time you hear it; the song
might remain the same but your ears are forever changed.
You can't go wrong with Pavement, and they know it.
Songs of Drinking and Rebellion
Sensitive Jersey City quartet was a paragon of cooperation
with bandmates sharing song-writing duties and switching
instruments in concert to provide a shifting soundscape
in which the common roots of their friendship could be
discerned. All the rockin' rhythms of the cradle and sunshine in your eyes.
Santa Claus to the Rescue makes you feel. Brewster Station reminds me. I'm
transported outside every time I hear this album, the front door of my mind
flung open, the screen door of my heart torn.
about Spent at
Merge Record's website
lyrics from A Seat Beneath the Chairs
|UZ JSME DOMA
unloved world - nemilovany svet
Uz Jsme Doma (oosh smeh doe ma) means "we're there!," a reference to
how the decision to form a band in then-Czechoslovakia in 1985 made the band
itself a foregone conclusion. The line-up has changed over the years
but the poet Miroslav Wanek has managed to keep consistently
devoted musicians in his orbit through UJD's 700+ performances. One
of the most inventive ensembles on this planet, they create incredible
aural concoctions using guitars, keys, sax, bass and drums. Hearing
is believing and even then you might not feel yourself deserving of such
a gift. Influenced by jazz, beat, ska, punk, and Czech drinking
water, this album contains variations of each song,
with the parts sung in Czech and English switched-out in
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Have you seen the
Picture of the Day?
H O M E