Tuesday, October 30, 2007

"When Pigs Fly"

This is almost a perfect follow-up to that last post.

I must admit I find it really hard to read long blog entries or articles on the web without printing them out, but my friend Al sent me this post on DemonBaby about the death of the music industry and I think it's a frickin' awesome summation.

When Pigs Fly: The Death of Oink, the Birth of Dissent, and a Brief History of Record Industry Suicide.

A couple notes.

I never used Oink, but his description of it makes it indeed sound like an outstanding music distribution system.

He's pretty offbase when he starts to talk about newspapers, and I have first hand knowledge of that. The big newspaper chains are dinosaurs and just as manipulative as major labels, and they hardly have evolved quickly. They've resisted change to preserve the fat profit margin of their classifieds pages, when something like Craigslist points the way that Oink does for music. So ignore his paragraph on newspapers and he'll seem 15% smarter.

This paragraph? It made me smile widely:

"For the major labels, it's over. It's fucking over. You're going to burn to the fucking ground, and we're all going to dance around the fire. And it's your own fault. Surely, somewhere deep inside, you had to know this day was coming, right? Your very industry is founded on an unfair business model of owning art you didn't create in exchange for the services you provide. It's rigged so that you win every time - even if the artist does well, you do ten times better. It was able to exist because you controlled the distribution, but now that's back in the hands of the people, and you let the ball drop when you could have evolved."
listening to "Supermarket Sweep" by Sol Seppy

"Vinyl May Be Final Nail in CD's Coffin"

Pretty smart article in Wired: "Vinyl May Be Final Nail in CD's Coffin"

If/when I start a band I'm not sure what I'll do about releasing material. I've thought about it a bit, and arrived at the conclusion that there's not much satisfaction in making CDs anymore.

I think I'll use a graphical flowchart based color-coded web page that meets Edward Tufte specs to create a visual tree representing song generation and song cycles, the passage of time, and how songs fit together.

I like the idea of then, almost in near-time retrospect, making an LP that's almost like a best of or a thematic collection, and benefiting from perspective.

Listening to Bonnie Prince Billy 'God's Small Song'

Monday, October 22, 2007

Diamanda Galas

Long, long ago, in high school, I was record shopping and came across a cassette called “The Litanies of Satan and Wild Women With Steak Knives (A Homocidal Love Song for Solo Scream).” With a title like that, how could I NOT buy it? It was, of course, a record by Diamanda Galas.

For those who don’t know her, here’s a Wikipedia entry to get you up to speed.

After buying that one cassette, I was hooked. It was so strange and disturbing and fascinating. I continued collecting her albums, and with few exceptions, they are amazing pieces of work.

Recently a friend of mine reinstituted an old tradition of a Sunday “Listening Party” wherein a group of people gather to do some collective intentional listening. She asked me to bring a piece to share, and because I’d just happened to have pulled my collection of Diamanda Galas off the shelf for encoding, and was subsequently on a Diamanda kick (not to mention, it seemed seasonally relevent--Halloween is nearly upon us), I elected to bring a Diamanda piece called “Cris D’Aveugle.”

“Cris D’Aveugle” followed a Balinese gamelan piece called, "Hudjan Mas (Golden Rain)," and was itself followed by a Dock Boggs song (the title of which I can’t recall). In any case, it was an eclectic night, and really cool to sit down with a group of people, many who were strangers, and listen together.

Here’s three Diamanda Galas pieces from her Masque of the Red Death trilogy.

Cris D'Aveugle

Double-Barrel Prayer


Thursday, October 18, 2007

This Is Why Al Gore Invented The Internet

I can't tell you how much this video of Santana blows my mind. I know what you're thinking: Santana? He can't be serious. But yes. I am. This may rank in the top 5 most fantastic things I've ever seen. Ever.

And this Clapton video is almost just as incredible.

And finally, more amazing than all of the above, is this video of the Reunited Van Halen performing JUMP in Greensboro. Don't cheat yourself...watch the whole thing. trust me...it's worth it.

The thing about the Van Halen video above that is most satisfying is that it is almost indistinguishable from this:

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Minneapolis Rarities III: NNB

NNB's "Slack" edges out "Celebrated Summer" as my favorite 80s Minneapolis song. Here it is on MP3, download or play as you see fit.

Minneapolis II: Husker Du Rarities

Short post number two: Husker Du Rarities at Something I Learned Today

Minneapolis I: Dissecting The Replacements Let It Be

The Replacements Let It Be dissected by Sound Opinions.

The JenThreat would dig this show, methinks.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Delivering The Bass To The People, Part II

What is a great bass sound?

There are many answers to that. Kinda like I wish they all could be California girls.


Greg, the former owner of Rockhaus, turned me onto an early 80's Milwaukee band the Oil Tasters years ago. There's a rip to Richard Lavalliere's bass that's spot on perfect to me. This is one of the many ways a bass should sound. It occupies a wide space with low end and an attack to it. It's got hiss and growl, and thunders along when it needs to. I wish I could've gotten that bass sound sometimes.

I remember once seeing Mike Watt play with Firehose, and he played his bass through a PA speaker, with a horn. It sounded a bit like this.

Rip Me by The Oil Tasters
Emma as performed by The Oil Tasters


Sunday, October 7, 2007

Delivering The Bass To The People, Part I

The Swan's Antelope post got me thinking carefully about bass playing.

In the quiet, careful tone of Young Marble Giants' Collossal Youth there's bass playing that's inventive, percussive, rhythmatic, and more. As a bassplayer, there's so much on this album to learn about occupying the space where drum machines and the ticks and thack thack thacks of measured, passing time normally exist in perscussion.

A band like the Ex can show you how to get the same sorts of effects on stringed instruments in a vital, aggressive setting, but Young Marble Giants are so gentle, understated, controlled. If I learned, years before finding YMG, melodic bass from early New Order like the Factus 8 songs and early Cure like Faith and Seventeen Seconds, and I learned about the spooky diminished 5th from November's Coming Fire, then later on (not in the passage of time in the real world, but in my own evolving discovery) Young Marble Giants taught me all about the subtleties of rhythm and percussion on the bass. For the two or so of you who wuld know the references, Ex-Chittle's "These Are The Beautiful Dogs" and The Forty One Rivers' "Dog Dot Duck" have basslines impossible without the influence of Young Marble Giants. Muted picked ticking for the win.

I have a CD of their only album on Pias America Classics. It's been hard as hell to find, but it's now seeing reissue with bonus tracks on Domino. It's beyond amazing. And sounds good on a playlist with Factus 8 New Order and Antelope both.


N.I.T.A. by Young Marble Giants

Credit In The Straight World by Young Marble Giants

YMG performing in 1980 on YouTube.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Canada on the 50 Ft Queenie

I love a few of the things PJ Harvey has done, like most of it, and am bored by a little of it.

But this piece in Exclaim in Toronto I thought was aces.

listening to Hella, Acoustics

Tuesday, October 2, 2007


Way back in 2003 I was in New York for work and saw that Voltage, the band of one of my friends from the Chicago music scene, was playing Knitting Factory, so off I went to see the show (in the company of SMSorrow, actually)

This was right after the E2 Nightclub disaster, and the Rhode Island club fire, and this show was in the basement of the Knitting Factory. Those of you who know the venue know that the basement is 2 or 3 flights down through crowded stairways. Through much of the show I imagined a series of horrible scenarios in which I died in a mad rush out. What fun!

The first band on the bill was called Breaker! Breaker!, and they had a chick drummer who straddled her snare drum so that you could see her bright red panties up her skirt. The moment she sat down, the crowd (98% male) coalesced around the stage to get a good view. What was funny was that almost as soon as they started playing, everyone backed off. It was not a good set. It was so bad that even 30 minutes of staring at a girl's crotch couldn't hold the crowd's attention.

Voltage then proceeded to rock with their crazy geeked-out self-modifed instruments. But the band that followed was, for me, the highlight of the night. It was DC's Antelope. They're a 3-piece with a tight minimalist sound that I really liked. Everyone's approach to their instrument was so percussive, and it felt like they all had a fresh take on how to play in a 3-piece. It was exciting. I bought their debut s/t EP.

Closing out the night was a kickass assault by Parts and Labor, who were recently featured on Sound Opinions.

Recently, I've been trying to digitze a lot fo my CDs, so I've been going back through a lot of stuff I've not listened to in a while. Today brought Antelope off the shelf and into my headphones. What a great EP. It's 6 songs at less than 15 minutes, and it's great.

I love the role the bass plays, and in listening to it, I thought of how much I like Arum's bass playing, which is often surprising and counter-intuitive, but almost always just right.

Looks like Antelope just released a full-length this year, and I've got it on my eMusic "save for later" list.

Meantime, please, all of you, enjoy the following tracks:

Download Antelope: "Game Over"

Download Antelope: "Goggles"