Wednesday, January 26, 2011

elton john - covers record

this record (so far) pretty much sucks even for an elton john record but the fact that elton john was paid to cover "young gifted and black" somehow makes the world okay

heart - dave

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

More random LJ pics

What the fuck?! This is obviously a serious bummer for this poor kid and the folks that take care of her, but, what the fuck! This series of photos is straight up freaky. As I scrolled down this image I was like... "That's weird. A syringe of nasty brown liquid with some dolls. Whoah! There's more to this!? A fucking chihuahua! Is this some weirdo, TMI, 'watch me feed my sick chihuahua' shit? People are funny with their fucked up sublimational jibba jabba. Yeah! There's more! A long shot of these cute crimes against nature in their snuggly pink... WHOAH!!! Holy Shit!!!! It's a kid! Oh my fuck! She does not look comfortable! That shits going in her neck! That's not her throat! It's on the side, like in an artery or some shit! FUCK!!! But the... and the... FUCK!!! What the hell is going on?! ARRRGH!!!!" Seriously, this is like an amazingly delicious chocolate cupcake with a single cube of licorice on top, and fugu poison inside.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

one more review from me today

apparently bastard noise is playing the scion rock fest this year and my instinct is to call BULLSHIT

heart - dave

charlie alex march - in the end EP

hi this review is of charlie alex march's "in the end" ep, a record i haven't listened to. jeez, sorry it's so long!

There's an inherent contradiction in being an avant-garde artist who makes actual consumable product, isn't there? Or maybe it's not even a contradiction but it's definitely a slippery slope, a troubling combination – like a runner who smokes, or I guess for that matter an avant-garde artist who doesn't smoke. I'm not even really referring to the seeming pattern of the avant-garde to present their art as an instillation, a unique and livable experience to have once or twice and to never have again, as opposed to a purchasable print or replicable item. As a professional layman, I guess I don't really have an educated enough perspective to even comment on what is and isn't appropriate behavior for the avant-garde, and isn't much of the avant-garde impulse intended to thumb its nose at establishment – to flick the ash from their Nat Sherman into the suburban public's eye?

But as a music fan, I can't help but feel frustrated when I see an LP, or in the case of this review, the 7” sleeve for Charlie Alex March's EP In the End that is so outrageously, so outlandishly, so KWAAZZZZZILYYYY packaged that there's no goddamn way I can take it home and file it with the rest of the vinyl masses dressed in their respectively modest Sunday's best. The arrogance of it is infuriating – the nerve of this artist, to implicitly declare with such obnoxious confidence that their creation, their dumb-fuck vision is so mind-melting not even the packaging can bother to conform to you, the no-nothing observer, and your knee-jerk, unhip concept that a record comes in a certain sized packaging for a reason.

But before I come off too strongly as one of the aforementioned squares, I have to say, occasionally, it totally works. Public Image Ltd is the easiest example that comes to mind, with their Metal Box costing too much and containing too few songs and rolling off your record shelf to bounce open and scatter on the floor – but “Albatross” is a killer jam. “Bad Baby” is a winner. And the metal box itself, with all of its design flaws, is a fitting visual for the steel-eyed rhythms that lie within its often hard to open (unless hitting the floor of course) container. There are other examples as well, just off hand I'm thinking of that Feederz record in sandpaper (a Durutti Column record too I think?)...I remember reading something about some old prog record in a three-dimensional pyramid style packaging, and wasn't there some minimal synth record packaged in between two slabs of granite or something? Death in June, anyone? Merzbow?

Charlie Alex March adds his name to the list of bratty packaging provocateurs with the design for his In the End EP consisting of a giant flimsy cardboard sleeve with a green screen print of the artist's name and “Yokoland” in retro-futurist font. The 7” itself is inside transparent plastic glued to the cardboard, and is accompanied by a paper insert that I imagine he'd prefer if you referred to it as “a unique piece of art.” While I haven't actually measured the cardboard, it's easily too large to package in a standard LP box, which means it's destined, whether by design or circumstance, to become a collector's item for superfans and collectora obscuros. How confrontational, perhaps? How daring? What is this supposed to make us - the audience – think? What can we possibly expect as we drop the needle on this unique and uncompromising piece of capital A art?

Well, the answer comes quickly, and it's a complete absence of imagination. Even the tepid re-arrangement aside, “True Love Will Find You in The End” is the most covered and most easily coverable Daniel Johnston song – and as a leading foot to an EP that seems to want to challenge, it's a terribly weak and soulless first step. And I would claim that it's all downhill from here, but that implies that any one of the EPs four songs have any sort of gravity or weight with which to begin. “When the Clouds Clear” aimlessly drifts along completely unswayed by its inappropriate string section (clearly an afterthought – I can imagine the producer carelessly tossing it in when Mr. March suggested “this track needs to be more...resplendent”). “Piano Song” hardly qualifies as a song, much in the way Hallmark cards hardly qualify as poetry, and “Thinking of You” (whose title, I believe, is an unintentional reference to an entire SECTION of Hallmark cards) closes the EP with the sole distinction of helping us swim through the final puddle of piss in the cliché gutter.

But maybe I'm being too harsh. With all said and done (and heard), the EP is actually completely listenable – maybe even enjoyable for fans of Damien Rice with a slightly more open mind to the record's more quote-unquote “eccentric outbursts” (which are actually pretty common sounding to any other privileged noodlers). But to present run-of-the-mill British bedroom pop in such overblown packaging only invites more critical ears to dissect the songs with above-average attention (and how many forgiving critics do YOU know?). It's a shame too, because one thing oddities like this record (and those mentioned earlier) can help remind us (in an admittedly over-the-top fashion) is that the entire package is important; the entire presentation, artwork and audio, combines into that unique and livable experience. When a record like this tries too hard in all the wrong ways, it's just discouraging to other artists who want to branch out but fear the potential for failure, or at least missing the mark. Sure, everything about a record is important, but as Charlie Alex March reminds us, not every record is an important one.

heart - dave

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

more LJ pics

Look at that shit. That's some creepy ass unconditional submissive love. I mean look at that face. This bro is understandably less than stoked about planting his bare ball sac in the snow, let alone staying there long enough for you to get a cute picture, but he's doing it. You give him food, shelter, attention, social purpose, even cool toys and belly rubs. He gives you total, unquestioning, loyalty. WHOAH! Sorry, that was about to get all socio-political and shit. The point is, that is one cute fuckin' puppy. I would be overjoyed to play some tug-o-war, catch, or even wrestle with this dude. Good Job!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

another pic from a strangers live journal

What the fuck is going on here? I mean, I've been a 12 year old boy before, and I've made creepy rape faces while rubbing two plush aquatic mammals together, but there were groins involved! Is this kid pretending that the walrus is eating the seals brains through some sort of tusk inflicted cranial puncture? That's just creepy. Kids today are fucked up.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Your Review Sucks #1 : I Gotta Wear Shades

Okay, so my title might be a little misleading. As you might expect, these will be reviews of, um, reviews. They won't necessarily be reviews of reviews that suck, though. They could be glowing review reviews. But "Your Review Sucks" is catchy. So that's what it is. Suck it. :P
First up: a review of a live show by the band Brite Futures that appeared in the September Aught-Ten issue of Performer Magazine. The show being reviewed was the band's appearance at Neumos in Seattle, WA. in July of the same year.
So, to get a couple of things out of the way: I've never heard Brite Futures. I've never seen them play live and I've never heard any of their recordings. Before reading this review, I'd never even heard of them (although their previous name, as quoted in the article, sounds vaguely familiar: Natalie Portman's Saved Head). I have no opinion about their music, which I still have not heard.
I usually enjoy reading Performer Magazine, too. It's a pretty good resource for musicians and music fans. So, what did I think of this particular review? Pretty good. It actually gave me a halfway decent idea of what this band I'd never heard might sound like, something a lot of reviews never do. I could do without lines like, "each new synth lead dripped over the beat like syrup" (ewww), but, hey, that's just me. Overall, though, it painted the group in a pretty positive light without excessive use of cliches or too much vagueness. Thank gawd, no references to how the group sounded like Grizzly Bear's gym teacher on a field trip with Sonic Youth in the Appalachians with some Gregorian monks.
I DO have a beef with this review, though, or one specific part of it, anyway, which is why I chose to re-review it. In describing the band's song, "Me + Yr Daughter", the reviewer relates that they "reached such epic levels of arena rock sing-along that I couldn't help but think of Journey's "Don't Stop Believing". It was OK, though, because unlike Journey, these guys were half-joking, which made it all right to enjoy".
Really? Did you check the hipster handbook to make sure? Wouldn't want to get caught *gasp* enjoying something without official permission! Especially if it involves something as crassly uncool as melody or earnestness or *shudder* both. It's a good thing they didn't mean it when they wrote that awesome hook in the chorus, otherwise it would just suck.
I liked the review in general, and might actually check the band out at some point because I read it. So, I'm really not trying to come down too hard on the reviewer, one Kevin Minnick.
I'm sure he's a good guy, and he seems to be a good writer who knows a thing or two about music, so fair play to him. I know how cringe-inducing it can be to read back something you've written, or how easily one can change one's mind after writing something, so I don't want to be overly harsh. It's just this one bit that really bugs me.
I do think this one line is representative of a fairly wide-spread attitude in some circles, however, and one that I find pretty repugnant. I don't think there's anything wrong with writing a big sing-along chorus, or with enjoying one. If you happen to be kidding around when you're rocking out, all well and good, but if you're deadly serious, that's okay, too. You might not get any free PBR's from your homeboys at the bar with their ironic Joaquin Phoenix beards because they caught you banging your head to REO Speedwagon at the County Fair, but so what?