Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Gushing that Band X sounds like Band Y is what we do best. It's why we adore Pandora so intensely. (Side note: I just went on Pandora and typed in "The Loch Ness Mouse" and only got song titles in the results. Okay, so Pandora can suck my bubblegum.) I've long been fond of Deerhoof because their mutty, mixtured pop makes playing such games of connect-the-dots so easy. I listened to their album, Offend Maggie, with a notepad and pen in hand, and the following acts sprung to mind: Wire, Desperate Bicycles, Swell Maps, Fire Engines, The Fall, Delta 5, Half Japanese -- pretty much every post-punk act Simon Reynolds took a scalpel to in that book. The best part is their approximating never sounds calculated. In keeping with this particular time period: It's not DIY, it's DID -- Do It Deerhoof. Clever? Never. I could have told you it's all about their extensive vamping and vocal-centric aesthetic, but Pandora has that shit copyrighted.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

John Lennon's primal therapy sessions with Arthur Janov in 1970 were the alleged catalyst in him baring a little soul (both kinds) for the album John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band. Basically, the English being in Northern Ireland and the conflict in Vietnam and the imprisonment of John Sinclair got Lennon's dander up because his father was an asshole.

"In the therapy you really feel every painful moment of your life," Lennon said in an interview. "It's excruciating. You are forced to realize that your pain, the kind that makes you wake up afraid with your heart pounding, is really yours and not the result of somebody up in the sky. It's the result of your parents and your environment."

The sessions went something like this:

Monday, September 15, 2008

"Blew me away," Tricky said of Martina Topley-Bird's voice. "Drove me crazy. A naturally wicked voice. I actually lost a girlfriend over it, because I listened to the track so much."

Gowns' "White Like Heaven" may cause similar damage. I listen to it over and over again, till I'm out of breath and my chest feels constricted. Like Tricky, I'm feeling melancholic. Not melodic. Only I have no one to plop me in the middle of a room, and force me to listen to Billie Holiday and Nina Simone. Thus, I compensate with Gowns; their heaven is as white as the light boxes I surround myself with during the autumn months.

Remember when Tricky said "switch on / switch off" in the song "Black Steel?" This is crucial. The light boxes switch on / switch off, but as much as you wish you could, it's impossible.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

In the late 1960s, English journalists were told to stay away from the Biafran War and turn their keen eyes to Vietnam. "Cover America's howler, not ours." At Earth Summit 2002 in Johannesburg, Namibia's President Sam Nujoma said, "We here in southern Africa have one big problem, created by the British." They drew lines on a map when they had no business ever clutching the quill.

I can't imagine the public bore witness to the famine that resulted from the Biafran War as intimately as folks bore witness to the Ethiopian famine in the 80s; nevertheless, the images were there in late '60s Britain, so it's laugh-inducing when I read the following excerpt from an article on Paul McCartney and his Wings, who zipped away to Lagos in 1973 to record Band on the Run.

How were the McCartneys received in Nigeria?
"We enjoyed it eventually. We're all a bit British y'know."

Of course, as all the narratives go, Paul and company were cornered by a nondescript local and accused of filching African music, and then mugged by Fela Kuti at knifepoint. Or vice-versa. Hey Macca, I guess you weren't all a bit Brit. Whatever the case, tonight I fell into the laid-back groove of King Sunny Ade's "Easy Motion Tourist" and thought of Paul. Somewhere he's still drawing lines on a map.