Friday, July 18, 2014

I got red blood.... and I got / bloodredwine: The Great Lost Stones Song.


I once had a weird old Stones bootleg LP called 'Taxile in Main Street' and it had this song on it. The rest was just muddy jams from old concerts or alternate takes from Exile. I loved this song so much, it was worth the price. Why they never put it on a real album is one of those great mysteries. Actually - I might have got it off my punk friend's bootleg LP, but I can't remember the name. Oh well here it is:

 

Friday, June 27, 2014

Rare, Weird, Obscured... The Pink Floyd


Here's my favorite Floyd song and its original single wrapper. Damn them for never putting it on one of their records so it would be avail. on Spotify -- not even on one of their recent grand remaster deluxe versions of PIPER AT THE GATES OF DAWN and all that. But hey, youtube comes through again:

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

I sing thee Erika M. Anderson (EMA's The Future's Void)


An accessible punk St. Vincent crossed with Debbie Harry if played by Darryl Hannah in replicant mode, ready to hit the Deckard like a sonic version of She-Hulk or break k-addicted hearts like Lana Del Rey, Erika M. Anderson (EMA) is one of my favorite artists ever since her Past Life Martyred Saints blew me away and helped me accept the inevitable dark death horizon (see "Strangers with Wet Hair")


 I like many sorts of music but the best is what my deprecating friend call 'sad chick music' - meaning it's sung by girls and creates operatic sadness, but not in some soulful Adele kind of way, but rather a mopey walking down the street at dawn feeling the chemical despair of a post-ecstasy rave come-down wrack your soul with reproach way. I learned the way to get through this is by developing a kind of masochistic indulgence of the soul crushing blues feeling (and the actual blues haven't worked for me since the advent of CD and my sobriety - some music needs whiskey and analog to work its magic). So the princesses of the digital age are the ones who can capture the sense of loss as the whole idea of albums vanishes into the 'cloud.' That's why I love the mournful quality of EMA's sadder songs, which are contrasted on her major follow-up THE FUTURE'S VOID, which came out a few week's ago, with some more shrill wailing howls of fuzzy static pain and sludgy beats, as on "Smoulder" - which comes on after the rapt gorgeous "3Jane" - with its sad refrain that we've become just another advertising campaign.


Standing at a colossal six foot and looking like some glamazon mix of my Aunt Anne, Kim Gordon, Courtney Love, and a blend of every character in Kathryn Bigelow's NEAR DARK, she handles lots of make-up and hair bleach like to the punk rock manor-born, and while some of her more shrill noise stuff doesn't grab me, the contrast it creates with her slower more glacial stuff makes it all worthwhile. While critics fawn over St. Vincent's recent release -- which like EMA's focuses on the pros and cons of the digital age - the slow unmooring from this crinkling earth reality -- it's EMA's stuff that is, somehow, for being a little more chaotic, darker and lighter at the same time, more human, sexier, toothier. Ger recent album inspired me to collect my favorite of her works thus far. Why wouldn't she deserve a best of?


 I even made her a mix CD on Spotify to show my devotion! I know she's on there, but she hasn't answered my letter. I listen to it anyway... aren't all mix tapes better when made for someone you adore in one way or another, even if you never even met them?

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Laura Marling, the Victoria of Mitchells


I know that's very 'inside' as in my own mind - not even sure why Victoria but the Mitchell is Joni Mitchell, of which the great Laura Marling, singer-songwriter 20-something Brit of immense talent, is a direct descendant, not an imitator, but because her voice has that deep mellow wood feel where it can drop vast octaves down without seeming to try, and can stir the lion heart without losing a tossed-off conversational tone, all much harder to achieve than one would think; she gets a sweet conversational tone between herself and her guitar, and our lovesick souls. I listen to her a lot on the bus to work in the morning and together we mourn for all my exes, my sad sick soul, the lifetime prison sentence of an 8:30 AM wake-up. What an ungodly hour, but dreams carry through - what else can one do on a bus?

I fell in love long ago with what past dismayed girlfriends and abashed flatmates have called 'sad chick music' - it began with my mess of an emotional catharsis driving around Seattle listening to Joni Mitchell's Blue, which I got on cassette after being charmed by her "Harry" on a UW college station. An extraordinary thing happened - I began to cry - this being 1989, a time right before the dawn of PC thuggery and modern sensitive male nonsense - it felt forbidden, like my little secret.

What a release! I felt emboldened and spiritually awakened by a kind of pure floating love; like in the movie Her - I was in love with a disembodied voice, but it was purer, no sordid sex, only a kind of courtly Jungian grace. My unconscious feminine anima was using Joni Mitchell to speak directly to my conscious male self.

But Joni only has a few really great, sad albums, by the gorgeous but much poppier Court and Spark she's moving into jazz explorations, with Jaco Pastorious' fretless bass setting a show-offy slick mix of key changes and vocal acrobatics that were trippy and impressive, but also a little square.

So much sad female vocal music in the interim has either been to mopey, too electronic, too shoegaze echo-drenched, or ala Sarah McLachlan too overproduced and manipulative, or too jazzy too singer-songwriterly diva-esque--so packed with esoteric abrasions that only die-hard fans don't feel like they're listening to an overly confident girl pacing her bedroom on the phone with her grand piano and a doting father's financial protection. Or if they're more austere, it's still with this jazzy breathing technique and slick production.


But gifted youth Laura Marling is far different. I treasure her, and most of her songs. I've even assembled a perfect hour or so of my favourites to mope in a half-asleep revery to. And I present it here now via Spotify. And LM, thanks.


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Lucretia Martel's Insectoid Supermodel Short:


Argentina's greatest living film director (and that includes the brilliant Adri├ín Caetano (Bolivia - my 2003 popmatters review here) and Diego Lerman (Suddenly - my 2005 popmatters review here), Lucretia Martel has been quiet on the feature front since 2008's The Headless Woman (my 2011 review on Acidemic here). So many reviews! Ay! Ay!


But hey, when moseying around the web for signs of life from this lady who, like Paul Thomas Anderson and Michel Gondry actually had two films that made my ten best of the decade (00-09) list, I found this very weird, wordless short, made as--apparently--part of a fashion show hatchery. I'm not sure what I think of it, but the effects are no worse than those in Corman's '57 Wasp Woman, so.... well, 'enjoy' -- and Lucretia, if you're listening (escuchar, eh?), have your agent call Cate Blanchett or Nicole Kidman, and get them to back your next film in exchange for a meaty role for an aging glamorous acting warrior!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Rockin' Carino



Paula Carino sings in a creamy mid-belt that recalls Natalie Merchant and Chrissie Hynde and as far as cool rocking chops she's about the same midway point between Merchant's upstate decency and Hynde's maternal yet street savvy sexual yearning. In other words, kinda like her friend Renee Lobue from Elk City, whom I also adore, i.e. awesome. 

Check out some stuff here! What? You don't go to myspace anymore? You know it's still a good place for UTR bands and talents, so don't get coy, Gus.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

More Lou Reed Remembrance - March 2nd - Now


See: The Great American Novel: A Lou Reed Discobiography from House Next Door (11/10/13)

(From Acidemic): When I first started hunting down his canon in local used punk rock record shops as a snotty 17 year-old I didn't even know we had the same birthday (March 2nd), we both wear glasses and we both majored in English Lit and Syracuse University. He supposedly stayed in my same dorm (Flint Hall), and like him I moved off campus soon after and formed a band. It was before the internet, or any bio on him, so one couldn't just know all these things. All I knew is, I had been adrift in a myopic solipsistic tweenage alienation for years, and Lou came along and said, "hey kid, don't settle for walking." He didn't lead me out of the abyss, but he helped me contextualize the pain into a grand artistic persona, a blue mask to reflect the glare of a hostile world back into its own eyes. He wasn't singing about love me do / you know I love you, he was singing about the agonizing pain of coming home from a dark and dirty fun party and instantly feeling paralyzingly lonely.


I saw him play, twice, at the Ritz, in '85, at the start of, and end of, his tour supporting Mistrial. Disappointing, since Robert Quine wasn't there, but Fernando Saunders was on fretless bass and I knew then I had to become a bassist. I finally joined a band sophomore year, when I was already on my way to becoming an acid rock hippie freak, but I still sang "Sweet Jane" and "I'm Waiting for My Man" and sometimes "Heroin" during the third set, and I was already making token struggles against my burgeoning alcoholism, again not knowing Lou was a drunk, too, and wrote "The Power of Positive Drinking," the sweetest justification for not getting sober when you know you need to, and then "Underneath the Bottle" an album or so later when he realized hey, sooner or later you're going to have terrible DTs, so why not get out in front of that, too?

In my late 20s living in a midtown loft with my lead guitarist, I would spent hours and hours hyperventilating over the toilet from 2-6 AM, nonstop, trying to keep down enough vodka to stop dry heaving. I was so sick from alcohol poisoning I couldn't hold down the liquor I needed to not suffer the horrors of alcoholic convulsions. I was caught in a vicious circle. My only company were Lou Reed in everything and Nic Cage in LEAVING LAS VEGAS. Sometimes I had a stolen-from-my-girlfriend Librium to help me come down but more often than not I'd drop it and be crawling around for hours in panicked desperation. But Lou had a song for that too: "Waves of fear, squat on the floor looking for some pill, the liquor is gone... " My decision to be so open about all my drug and alcohol use, to be blunt about my divorce, band difficulties, emotional rises and falls, losses and regrets, and ambivalence, the courage to let it all hang the stuff most people hide come out in the open, crafting art (or art criticism) from the medium of my own guts, it all comes from him.

None of that means I knew him personally, but I felt like I did. A lot of us did, it was a personal thing. We didn't even mind he could be a total shit some of the time, to his fans, to his world. He never tried to hide his venom, if he had he wouldn't have been him anymore. "Give me an issue, I'll give you a tissue," Lou snarls on Take No Prisoners. "And you can wipe my ass with it."


Sometimes, like after I read one of his unauthorized bios, I began to hate him, but I always came back, because he never sold out or got repetitive. Suddenly after a slump or two there was New York, a new classic, and one of my favorites, the Warhol eulogy record with John Cale Songs for Drella -so perfect and simple with Lou's guitar and Cale's viola never sounding clearer or better together, as if Warhol's spirit buried the hatchet and brought out a playful reverence that they never seemed to share before or since.

But he could be a shit. Maybe it was because he let us all feel like we knew him, and that level of broad openness in one's art is always going to have drawbacks, like finding out the most fun and awesome guy you ever dated is a thief and junkie, and so what, are you going to walk out on him? Lou never stole from us, and he gave so so much of himself that a lot of us freaks, who have never felt this way about any other artist before or since, could forgive his insecure lash-outs. He was the cool older brother who brought us to all the dangerous places most young suburban kids never see. He didn't leave us at home with mom, afraid we'd cramp his style. He didn't abandon us.


So I'm not going to cry this time. I'm just going to make a spotify mix and take a look back at the 30 odd years I've been a Lou Reed disciple, and realize if I'm anything, or anyone, or have any sense of belonging to the gritty New York streets I haunted for the past 20 years (before moving to goddamned Brooklyn) it's because of Lou. Lou, I swear I'd give the whole thing up for you. And I did.


"When Lou sang of the “whiplash girl-child in the dark” who said things like “taste the whip, / now bleed for me,” suddenly I could take the violent reproach of my aching hormones and twist it like a sword until I disemboweled the old me. The result was like dropping nitroglycerin on an oil fire, an alchemical reaction that set me free. I knew that I was, at heart, a sadomasochist."

"Death has brought you close to art as we know it today," says Lou, to Max Wolf, ailing manager of the film's equivalent of Bill Graham's Fillmore East. The film starts rough but develops a sweaty-palmed rock intensity that might recall the best rock movies and rock shows and flashbacks of any drug-fueled moments of transcendental pagan abandon, the wild fury of the mosh pit, and onwards.

King Blues sings "Mannish Boy!" Malcolm McDowell plays a T. Rex / Mick Jagger hybrid. There's a great Iggy Pop-ish animal man, a scabby punk rock poetess, a flooded bathroom with a shark swimming around it, a giant hypo, and Daniel Stern pausing to inhale some smoke from a $1 hookah hit-sellin' Rastafarian in one of the stalls... Iggy prompting people to jump off the balcony, including Paul Bartel. There's a Satanic pimp alien coke dealer, magical LSD in the water cooler, a crowd-surfing refrigerator, acid rock hippy freaks, a twitchy fire inspector, and that's just the tip of Malcolm's talking penis. It's the beginning / of a new age.

Here's my Lou Reed Spotify Mix, adjusted to reflect a tribute / eulogy / farewell / ode I think Lou would like. He loved assembling new CDs from his old catalog, and he has a flock of cool Spotify mixes himself, that he made, of other musicians he likes. My Lou Mix has no "Sweet Jane" or "Walk on the Wild Side." Too easy. This is the stuff I loved at the time, me alone, in my room, with headphones, blotting out the parents and the world outside the New York Streets. This is the weird stuff no one else would know, lada lie... RIP Lou Reed. xo




And lastly, his Warhol "Screen Test." Goodnight, ladies