Odds and Ends 009
The Kills: Blood Pressures (Domino)
Love still hurts, but they understand it better ("Heart Is a Beating Drum," "Pots and Pans") ***
Dum Dum Girls: Only in Dreams (Sub Pop)
Pretty darn good Pretenders ("Wasted Away," "In My Head") ***
The Shins: Port of Morrow (Aural Apothecary/Columbia)
Problem's less the precious lyrics he attaches to his premium melodies than the increasingly precious way he sings them ("Simple Song," "September") **
Imperial Teen: Feel the Sound (Merge)
"Too many songs we sang are left unsung"--that about sums it up ("Last to Know," "Out From Inside") **
Cloud Nothings: Cloud Nothings (Carpark)
Sincere ex-brat faces mortality and/or sexual insecurity without whining or fronting about it ("Nothing's Wrong," "Been Through") **
The Coathangers: Larceny & Old Lace (Suicide Squeeze)
The meat remains, the sauce does not ("Go Away," "Jaybird") **
The Wax Museums: Eye Times (Trouble in Mind)
Brat-punk lives in Denton, Texas, and that's a good thing ("Midlife Crisis," "Mosquito Enormo") **
Dengue Fever: Cannibal Courtship (Fantasy)
Not only are their English lyrics easier to understand than their Khmer lyrics, they're easier to understand than your English lyrics ("Cement Slippers," "Mr. Bubbles") *
It's another mess but "La Piñata" (?) deploys a Mister Rogers sample sinuously. And apparently he thinks it's the pick to click too since there's already a video for it: http://goo.gl/n67pW
Irene, before sorting out car jams, you should consider getting a h/motel at the 10-hour mark. Or at the seeing-Lee-Harvery-Oswald mark, whichever comes first. I've done dozens of inhumane road trips often with four (4!) gangsta cats and a decent night's sleep along the way saved our lives.
Stock your vehicle with:
1. Two little bowls for water and cat food placed on the floor. Your cats will probably be too stressed to partake. But just in case.
2. A makeshift litter box. They will partake.
3. Paper towels. They will puke.
4. A washcloth. They will puke on themselves.
5. Bottles of water. Keep yourself hydrated. Also, your cats will be dehydrated and look a bit scary. Don't worry. They'll survive. But you should wet the nose/mouth area so they get some sort of hydration.
6. Food. I don't follow this too well myself. But try to bring some healthy food with you. Trader Joe's hasn't colonized the roadside market (yet). So you're stuck with the major fast food chains. But a Whopper or Cheesy Gordita Crunch is fake fuel - it'll power you for a couple of hours but drain you the next day. Remember - you have to unload/unpack once you arrive and you'll need some energy for that.
7. Towels and/or blankets. Make little areas for them to sleep on.
8. And then, yes, music, if only to cover up the bitching. My cats meowed for five (5!) hours non-stop. You will go mad if you can't drown them out with tuneage.
Oh and if you get a hotel, don't tell the front desk you have cats. I've never had a problem sneaking them in.
Edit: Ah I see you're stopping along the way. Smart smart smart.
What are some good songs that describe a modern bourgeois/bobo lifestyle or household environment?
Wash your fingers for typing "bobo" (David Brooks ptui ptui ptui), but I would propose "Goin' Down Slow" by Howlin' Wolf.
Quite a while back, somebody mentioned the Curious Decline of Oliver Sacks and that struck a chord, because I've had an odd parallel development with two writers who first drew me in with sharp insights about psychoactive drugs.
I thought Sacks's Awakenings (1973) was a clarifying jolt -- the most particular and penetrating discussion of drugs and the mind that I had read ... maybe ever. I thought it reset many discussions for the better from then on. I haven't read Leg To Stand On but felt The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat was also meaty with lots of perception/personhood insights.
And then ... somehow this cornball element began to creep into his writing, more and more all the time, until when I tired to read Musicophillia he'd become this repellant combination of squishy and involuted to the point I decided this guy needed an awakening himself.
Just a year earlier in 1972, Dr. Andrew Weil's The Natural Mind: An Investigation of Drugs and the Higher Consciousness had scrambled my neurons but good. What a wild, on-target book. I knew absolutely nothing about Weil, but amidst all the blabber and smoke about psychedelics going around at the time here was ... seriousness and science. Nice. It raised waves, but as usual in this land, the full-blown discussion of psychoactive drugs never emerged.
Then Weil slipped a little toward New Age with Marriage of Sun and Moon, but okay okay, still trying to provoke the discussion. But soon enough Health and Healing came out and the trip was over. I thought Weil's mini-empire of natural med and health and food was honorable and tedious at the same time. (I met the guy at a Ken Kesey conference in 1975 and thought he was charming and enormously smart, though now in my memory he's become more shifty, constantly calculating the effect of his words.) With Weil, I was like the cartoon characters whose eyelids are exactly in the middle of the orbs ... "whatever" ...
Then I speed-read The Harvard Psychedelic Club (you would be amazed how much Cambridge, or at least Harvard Cambridge, keeps parts of its history under wraps -- I lived there for decades and never heard many specifics about these affairs) and my former golden idol was not only tarnished, but partly turned into a turd. Now I can't see a byline by Weil without thinking -- "Wow, more stuff from the Acid Fink."
if that's your field
Am digging the new Allo Darlin'. Ryan, in addition to the Go-B's cover, she's also said more than once that she sees her sound as "Kirsty MacColl meets the Go-Betweens." And on the new one she's got a song called "Tallulah," about a road trip, which includes the line "You found a tape with Tallulah on it." Of course all this devotion doesn't guarantee any sort of quality, but I think she's absorbed her lessons well indeed.
Japandroids' 2012 album Celebration Rock is much better than Japandroids' 2009 album Post-Nothing insofar as shouting over loud guitar is much better than whining alongside loud guitar. I recommend it!
Has anyone heard POLIÇA: Give You the Ghost? Someone mentioned it to me, and it's not all that bad! ***/B+ not sure (probably, B+, IMO)
Since no one has ever heard of it, maybe a description would be more helpful than a grade?
So Cam, are you saying your health is not effected by what you eat?
side one: The Ghetto (Too Short), Library (untracked skit excerpted from Boogie Down Productions' Edutainment), My Heart and the Real World (Minutemen), Street Fightin' Man (Rolling Stones), Steel Claw (Tina Turner), You Got To Know How (Bonnie Raitt), East of Eden (Lone Justice), Middle of the Road (Pretenders), Down To Earth (Monie Love), Stool Pigeon (Kid Creole & the Coconuts), Mack the Knife (Louis Armstrong), Youth of Eglington (Black Uhuru), Save It For Later (English Beat), Brown-Eyed Handsome Man (Chuck), I'm Having A Good Time (Alberta Hunter).
side two: Hey Tonight (Creedence Clearwater Revival), I Got Loaded (Los Lobos), La Raza (Kid Frost), Da Butt `89 (EU), Our Lips Are Sealed (Go-Go's), Into the Groove (Madonna), Dig For Fire (Pixies), Return the Gift (Gang of Four), 911 Is A Joke (Public Enemy), Lethal Weapon (Ice T), Ring Ring Ring (De La Soul), (Get Up I Feel Like Being A) Sex Machine (James Brown), Sex Bomb (Flipper).
Looking at it now, Ring Ring Ring is the one choice that makes no sense to me. Even pre-Buhloone Mindstate, there were several better DLS choices for that location. It makes most sense if I made the tape shortly after De La Soul Is Dead came out.
I missed how these guys came up, but I have around 14 albums by them. Saw a performance at Terrastock 5* and that was all it took.
Metalocalypse. Have we not talked about this cartoon here yet?
I like it, but think the albums are better than the show. And "Home Movies" better than either. (Protagonist's mother Paula one of the great Dysfunctional Moms. Terrific voice work by Janine Ditullio: "I'm gonna take my shirt off now because it's really f*cking hot in here.")
*A music festival which wisely included the following on its schedule: "Lunch Break (not a band)."
Pretty soon I am driving x-country 20 hours to my new home in Philly, with poorly behaved cats, no less! (See: http://goo.gl/R5jMZ) My neglected but trusty wagon gave up on playing CDs a few years ago, so my entertainment is limited to iPod & cassettes. (For the latter, I recently received this extremely thoughtful gift from JockRothko: http://instagr.am/p/J8UxrWrfYn/)
ANYWAY I'm taking suggestions for driving music! I've already asked some people on Facebook. Fraptron is making me a long road trip mix that he's gonna send me via Dropbox. I think I will also take advantage of the Spotify Premium trial you get when you download the iPhone app, so if anyone has any good playlists there you could bring them to my attn and I'd be able to stream them on the road. Chris D said he has a bunch of Xgau's best of this-or-that category playlists on Mog, so maybe I can get that to work on my phone as well.
Things that constitute good driving music for moi are tunes that have a forward-driving (heh) element (this is the best way I can think to describe it). Like Looping State of Mind. Liam suggested Neu! and I think that will be good too. Obviously those are both rather minimalist choices but more energetic/outgoing/whatevah music would probably help prevent road-hypnosis. I think I will probably play the new Santigold album, too.
Muah muah! Thanks if you feel like helping me!
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.
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