Low Cut Connie/Les Savy Fav
Digging in the Dirt
Low Cut Connie: Get Out the Lotion (lowcutconnie.com)
The anthem here is "Shit Shower & Shave," in which scuzzballing Adam Weiner explains how "cleanliness is godliness" for a guy embarking on his quest for nocturnal emission, especially if he aspires to better than the handjob-for-hire of the album title. Less mannered here than on his pseudo-doowop project Ladyfingers (lady fingers? do we detect a fetish?), Philadelphian Weiner and some Brits with nothing better to do churn out a resolute rock and roll whose joyless momentum and stubborn little tunes will tell you more than you want to know about the pursuit of pleasure in America's deader downtowns and strip malls. My guess is that he romanticizes this pursuit some, perhaps because he believes the alternatives are measurably worse. You don't have to share his cynical sentiments. But there's a bitter pleasure in hearing his point. A MINUS
Les Savy Fav: Root for Ruin (Frenchkiss)
Root as in cheer and root as in stick your snout in the mud, and though I wish their vision of apocalypse had more finance and less earthquake in it, maybe the protagonists of the lead "Appetites" cover that option. The reason you'll care is that these guys came to understand how much Fugazi would be improved by songcraft and also how to provide same. The reason you may not care all that much is that the songs do cheer ruin on. "Excess Energies," which depicts a scenemaker's progress from fake ID to broke 35 and beyond, feels more autobiographical than it probably is. "Lips 'n Stuff" celebrates and dissects the friends-with-benefits trap. A MINUS
I have begun 2666 and am still scared.
In Lessing's sci fi series, I think The Marriages Between Zones Three, Four, and Five is a great novel about sexual love.
Love, Again, is also memorable. I mean if you like Lessing.
In one of my last conversations with Paul Nelson he talked about Dreiser's Trilogy of Desire, the Cowperwood trilogy, which he had read in its entirely. I think I've read two.
Fiction that has mattered to me most recently is The Savage Detectives, by Roberto Bolano.
Saw George Jones last night. His (girl) singer/duet partner was recovering from a cold - but was in good voice. I couldn't quite make out the stage patter and I'm not sure if George is also recovering from the flu, etc. - but he is recovering from a January illness - where he had to be hospitalized. The show was very much old-timey country - hokey, sentimental - but with great songs. The band played for about 90 minutes and George wrapped things up with (of course) "He Stopped Loving Her Today". Illness related or not, his voice was pretty compromised - like something is keeping him from belting at full (or even 50%) power. So, while it was great to see one of the very best singers of our lifetime, it was a disappointment. I had high expectations. Still, glad I went.
Okay, I'll just add that Holofcener also directed Friends With Money, which is hands-down the best thing Jennifer Aniston has ever been in.
So...I hear there's a new Expert Witness post coming tomorrow...<smiley>
'...Winter's Bone left me cold.'Well, it is winter? *arm farts/cane dance
Xgau - I read The Millstone a while ago based on your recommendation and don't believe I ever thanked you for that tip. I really enjoyed that one. Regarding movies, I loved Frozen River but Winter's Bone left me cold. Both lead actors were outstanding so I think it just had to do with Frozen River being a more exciting story/plot. I finally saw Mother & Child last weekend and enjoyed that as much as The Kids Are Alright which was one of my favorite movies of last year, making Annette Bening my favorite actress of 2010.
Any thoughts on current Walter Mosley?
Sangfreud -- not only was your Low Cut Connie entry funnier than mine, it accentuated the positive. I bow to your wordplay!
I read The Fifth Child by Lessing years ago and can't remember much about it at this point. And now I read that The Four Gated City is the 5th of 5 novels. This is going to take awhile. Just put The Millstone and The Man Who... on the Amazon list too. That title sounds ominous if it's about a woman and child.
Seems like The Wall would also be another album in the English Empire category, though I think the movie makes the link more obvious.
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.