Friday, June 20, 2008

My wife and I get dressed behind a single boudoir screen. We pee in each other's company. We don't share mirror-time and floss together, mainly because we're typically out of floss, but if floss was in cinnamony abundance in our household, we would likely make this yet another ADL gone communal.

John Dragonetti and Blake Hazard once shared mirror-time. But as the story goes, they split up -- only to reconnect to share stage-time as the Submarines. Their latest, Honeysuckle Weeks, is inconsistent, but I'm digging on the album's keen sense of self-awareness -- as in, the pair are frequently evoking moments and words connected with childhood, but are ever-aware of their status as individuals with nearly graying tones, weakening eyesight, and more cynical viewpoints.

In "Thorny Thicket," Hazard sings about "prickers and briars" -- the former being a word I haven't heard since traipsing through overgrown, empty lots as a kid -- and how she used them to encircle and protect a once-broken heart. "Swimming Pool" is summertime, childhood leisure mixed with a bit of danger-tinged adult thrill: "When you kiss me in ways I've forgotten / Love is a swimming pool with no bottom."

When you're all grown-up, you notice the subterranean darkness below your kicking feet as much as the smooch. But that's cool. When you're also all grown-up, no one asks you what part of your body the pool water comes up to.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Digging the fact that Kevin Shields is being recorded without stacks of Vox amplifiers, or that he can't pluck from a line of Jaguars and Jazzmasters leaned against the walls, or that he can't instruct a trusty engineer to fetch him new mic poppers or Rotovibe pedals. Shields is here, taped and ever twisted ("I'm crazy, but not mentally ill"), without his usual array of studio playthings and that alone makes this record worth checking out. The MBV completist sect will be all over this like white indie kids on Ricemilk -- and will certainly grouse after hearing it. "The strings of music tightening around him," Patti Smith says over Shields' "chordal architecture," quoting from the poem she wrote for dear friend Robert Mapplethorpe, "forming a cocoon within." That's what those folks ever-yearn for. I think it's a nice palette cleanser before the long-awaited My Bloody Valentine release sees the light of day.

Friday, June 13, 2008

I can't conjure up the exact Bill Bryson quote or even the book (must have been Notes from a Small Island), but I seem to recall him saying something along the lines of, "If you ever see an Englishman on holiday, chances are he's one of the following: hot, thirsty, or sun-burned." I thought of this when I learned David Gedge has picked up and moved south from Seattle to Los Angeles. Wasn't one of the go-to whines during England's lethargic crawl in the 2006 World Cup the oppressive heat? Imagine what the SoCal sun would render our favorite love-obsessed Leedsman? A puddle? Blisters? A puddle of blisters?

El Rey bounds with energy, so the heat hasn't sapped him of that. Now he just makes observations like, "I thought I saw a shooting star, but it was just another satellite." If you told me years ago that of the 22 bands on the C86 tape only the Wedding Present and Primal Scream would still be alive and kicking in 2008, and that one of their lead singers would have settled in California, I would have bet Stephen Pastel's lisp that it was Bobby Gillespie.

But I would have been wrong. I would have been wrong about Gedge withering out there and I'm probably going to be wrong about England having a solid chance in the 2010 World Cup thanks to South Africa's "cooler," winter temps.