Odds and Ends 012
Been Through Less Than They Think, These Guys
Diamond Rugs: Diamond Rugs (Partisan)
Whose songs do you think stick out when the Deer Tick guy convenes yet another roots-rock supergroup with the Black Lips guy and the Dead Confederate guy? ("Christmas in a Chinese Restaurant," "Gimme a Beer") ***
The Obits: "Moody, Standard and Poor" (Sub Pop)
Perpetually PO-ed alt lifers get a grip on it ("I Want Results," "No Fly List") ***
Wavves: Life Sux (Ghost Ramp)
"A joke a stroke of genius/Probably somewhere in between" is tuneful enough, finally, but make that second line "Or only a waste of time?" and we might believe he's got some brain left ("Bug," "Poor Lenore") ***
The Rapture: In the Grace of Your Love (DFA)
Posers have real lives too‑-really‑-only it's really hard to care ("In the Grace of Your Love," "How Deep Is Your Love") ***
Herzog: Cartoon Violence (Exit Stencil)
Pop boys are always facing manhood, but that doesn't always spruce up their songs ("Your Son Is Not a Soldier," "Fuck This Year") **
Surfer Blood: Tarot Classics (Kanine)
EP embraces a maturity they define in part as saving your winners for Warners ("Drinking Problem," "I'm Not Ready") **
Art Brut: Brilliant! Tragic! (The End/Cooking Vinyl)
Guitarist often shines, lyrics often don't ("Clever Clever Jazz," "Bad Comedian") **
The Front Bottoms: The Front Bottoms (Bar/None)
Two-"man" Bergen County Nerd Liberation Front cell finish each other's bellyaches, hire or simulate trumpet commentary ("The Beers," "Maps") *
RE: The Wussy Mercury Lounge show in August. For those who don't know, you can purchase tickets at the venue when they are open for a show that day.
Che Vauche: Where did you find those Yoko book recommendations?
Not uninteresting list of five "must-read" books from Yoko Ono with comments from the same:
A First Rate Madness: Uncovering the Links Between Leadership and Mental Illness
At first this book first gives you a "reader's digest" version of how the world leaders really were. That's interesting enough. But it goes on to show you how the brain works when a person is depressed, and how to overcome it. It is fascinating and full of important information.
Plundering Appalachia: The Tragedy of Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining
Douglas R. Tompkins
Once our valleys were green - now they look like the bomb-destroyed cities we created in Iraq. Buy this book and see what is quietly being done to middle America because of a few people's greed.
The True Story of the Bilderberg Group
Read this if you want to know about a very powerful group that includes many of the presidents of very powerful countries, and is working to turn the planet into one country. They are systematically trying to make people dumb and poor – letting one group control them all.
Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business
We are indeed amusing ourselves to death. This started when Marshall McLuhan stated that the medium was the message. I said right away that the message was the medium. But, alas, my voice was maybe not loud enough, and/or the medium without a serious message is much more amusing to people. So the entertainers became the gods of the people, who screamed: "Keep entertaining us! We want to die being entertained!" The kings of the world wished the same, and they let their countries fall while they were entertained. This is the only book in this list that was published way back in the 1960s. I hope you can get it.
A tell-all book by a former FBI translator. A must-read. It's frightening that this is the reality.
I hope his mention of Lhamon's Raising Cain will encourage some more folks--go Walter!--to pick up this elegantly written book on 19th century minstrelsy. The first chapter, on African American and white working class youth meeting over a dance in NYC is some of the best historical writing I have ever read.
I'm a huge fan of David Lowery--I just think he made a much better response to Emily White, before the fact, in Cracker's song "Ain't Gonna Suck Itself." Kenny gets at much of this in a much more forceful way than I can, but focusing on consumer behavior in this whole discussion is a mistake, I think. I mean, that is an interesting um....ethical question. But it is not help us train our eyes where they should be--on those who control the means of production and distribution.
Also unremarked upon so far, unless I just missed it, is the key fact that Emily White is an intern. I'm midway through reading Ross Perlin's chilling book Intern Nation: How to Earn Nothing and Learn Little in the Brave New Economy. It is a good reminder of who is benefitting most from not paying young (and not so young) people for what used to be called "work."
Patrick, this is a, um, classic both/and non-disagreement. Are you gonna get over my comment about you and polls or not? Egregiously gunning for somebody forever is beyond tedious.
Well, you could make a case that it's a constant in pop -- there were fans who didn't know or care where the Beatles come from (a well-known secret punch of the Brit Invasion is that white teenies had never heard the black source material of a bunch of bands). What MTV did, I think, is throw a permanent whammy on performers who either had a poor visual record of their best (many '50s and '60s performers) or never found a proper video identity (the Ramones and David Johansen. say, vs. Blondie). Telling the whole rock 'n' soul story, forever after, depended more on zesty visuals. (Odd exception: kept Devo afloat for ages, but seems to have waned badly for them in the 21st century.) I don't have super-strong feelings about this one way or the other -- MTV was neither the dawn of creation nor the gates of Armageddon predicted when it was on the rise.
Wasn't that well under way before MTV entered the picture, though? I don't get the impression that late 70s stoner kids much knew or cared what tradition Van Halen or Ted Nugent came out of.
about the blogger
Starting in 1967, Robert Christgau has covered popular music for The Village Voice, Esquire, Blender, Playboy, Rolling Stone, and many other publications. He teaches in New York University's Clive Davis Department of Recorded Music, maintains a comprehensive website at robertchristgau.com, and has published five books based on his journalism. He has written for MSN Music since 2006.