Friday, April 28, 2006

Wheel Throwing

So I know this generally supposed to be a music blog, but every single person who finds this thing should shut down their computer, walk to a magazine stand and buy this week's New Yorker (May 1). Daniel Reaburn's memoir "Vessels" is the best piece of writing I've ever seen in the magazine, maybe the best non-fiction I've ever read. It is absolutely devastating. I sat in tears on the steps of the Civic Center metro stop for fifteen minutes unable to move yesterday after finishing it. I don't even know what to say about it. Just go. Go now.


Friday, March 24, 2006

This Garment Was Designed To Come Off

  • Ghostface- Crack Spot

  • Haley Bonar- Am I Allowed?

  • So apparently Santino is having a yard sale tomorrow morning. Prepare to see a pestilence of chunky-sunglassed hipster atrocities (myself included, of course) descend on Beachwood Dr. tomorrow morning at the crack of dawn.

    I don't mean to hop this late on the party wagon for Band of Horses, but I must admit- they pretty much killed it the other night at King King. Giant shimmering walls of guitars that were definitely the result of a band playing dyed-in-the-wool nineties indie rock for ten years and finally deciding that they can do better. Their singer looks like the cover of Either/Or- trucker hat, eight-o-clock shadow, howling wounded love and songs about my beloved St. Augustine (okay, can't really prove that last part, but it still stands). Oh, and CB saw an almost-fight where some Hollywood cheesedick was pissed about having to stand in the guestlist line and asks the bouncer "So where does the producer of the record get to stand?" To which someone behind him yelled "Where does the inventor of the phonograph stand? Where does the Sun God stand?" Said cheesedick then proceeds to find the guy and declare "I'm going to punch the face!" but to no avail. Funny, if there's any one place one could be a smartass and shoot their mouth off and not expect to get fought, it's at a Band of Horses show. Hollywood draws all types, I guess. Partying with your editor is a blast.

    Oh, also...there's been grumbling of a live Coachella blog that I may or may not (leaning towards may) be a part of. You know what that means- sunburns, $5 bottled water and getting drunk in a tent with wi-fi hookups.

    ...So me and GB have been having this ongoing tag team throwdown with MG and MB about if whether or not an artist's impact on society and the public perception thereof has any bearing on the quality of the work itself. The M's in the negative, GB and I in the affirmative. Personally, I don't see the argument against it. If the quality of one's art stops at the threshold of its completion, then you've pretty much got to take their word for it that it's the best art ever, and that there isn't really a standard to be set- if it's the fullest realization of their particular vision, then it's good. But, as we so deftly pointed out in the back table of El Compadre- that means anyone from Jack Johnson to Leni Reifenstahl could lay claim on having the purest and most complete (therefore best) artistic document. The former sucks, the latter is evil, and that leaves you an untenable argument. Even the language we use to talk about this stuff is a cultural determinant. The idea to pick up a guitar is one. The instinct to judge against judgement is one. I'd argue that art only really exists at all in the impact it has on society at large (and small). Yes, I understand that it's difficult, and great stuff is ignored, bad stuff accepted and disseminated, often at the expense of what's good, yeah, but that doesn't mean that because it's hard and often unfair that it isn't right. I have no patience for art that doesn't "do" soemthing, be it to shake your ass or make you cry or treat someone gently or solve a hunger crisis. Art is a communication, it isn't a finite object meant to be relicized and locked away as some idol, only dragged out to bolster one's identity as an artist or art-goer. Finishing the thing is just the start of it's life, and whatever you gotta do in your bedroom to get it there is beside the point- once you seal the envelope, we're all going to open it and decide how we want to take it. You're going to be accountable for what you say, even if we get it all wrong. It's up to both sides to be responsible in how they write. Yay criticism. I'm going to play mandolin all day tomorrow.

    The above are two random things I'm enjoying as of 6:24 PST. The new Ghost kills. Sasha likes it too. Off to The Smell to see a bunch of hardcore bands. New piece on Fall Out Boy in Thursday (with quotes from a certain VP of Def Jam who you may find familiar). Take care kids-


    Thursday, March 09, 2006

    Alright, Dudes, This Next One's Way Dancey

  • The Mae Shi- Vampire Beats

  • Como Osos- Years Behind

  • A couple shoutouts to tangental projects by some of the lovely, lovely people we played with last night. As expected, Prufrock was a total fucking champ on everything he touched, some unexpected faces showed up to Cat Club (Hi Julian!), and I learned that the whiskey-before-beer adage still holds quite true outside of the Amelia-end hedges of PSK. Moreso maybe.

    I'm concocting a new Tilly and The Wall piece for AJC (sorry no mp3s, Team Love's got that shit's on lockdown and I'm too new at this to upload them myself), but do whatever them internets will let you to find "Bad Education," I think it's about that Almodovar movie but I know it's about Spanish roses held between teeth and boys in makeup of real color colors and cutting off a measure in your chorus because you want to get to the next line that much quicker. I want to be them. At the end of the day, they always win out over those bands who I completely admire and respect and really enjoy now and again in context and yawn yawn yawn but I still just want to hear three girls and two boys yell big old fashioned love songs to each other and, I'm sorry, maybe have some verses and choruses and something to look forward too here and there. They did it right on Tongs, but this last one...It's like soccer only being fun because you can't use your hands. I need something to hold onto, or at least something to drag me off by the scruff of my neck.

    Though it's funny- MW and I had Vietnamese last night (fyi, for all you LA kids, I can't stress enough the spectacularity of Pho Cafe at Sunset and Silverlake. Yeah, it's like eating in an airport terminal dentists' office, but holy god that mung bean crepe thing!) and I kind of admitted that I have a lot of anxiety about the singer-songwriter formula. I'm just not 100% sold that it still really works (okay, see last post, maybe it does), or at least works as well as people banging on shit really hard.

    I, like many people, want art to be sexy, a bit violent, wounded and wounding, bloody round the knuckles, and I think I get close at points but I haven't felt like plunging off the cliff onstage yet since, well, goddamn, since the days when it was still cool to jump when you hit your choruses (Hi KC, someday!). I've got to find a way to get that back. We're in the business of interesting. Someone once said something about some band where the guy "Sings these songs like he's about to die." Yeah, that's about right. Let's do that instead.

    Tuesday, March 07, 2006

    They Stumble Out of Bars With a Kazoo and Ukelele and Block the Whole Street

    Elliott Smith- High Times

    On the way into work today I couldn't shake this one chord change in Elliott Smith's "High Times" demo. The hanging minor chord where he first says "Well I don't go where I'm supposed to go." It was apt I guess, after driving MR to Riots practice yesterday down Alameda (is that "Alameda?") through flurries of trash and this graphite-colored sky, I still can't fucking believe that downtown east of Main is in America.

    Anyways, aside from how completely devastating that song is, I got to thinking about those 'new' demos. When I was driving PD home the other night after 107 we passed the Solutions wall and we talked about suicide and what it took to do that. I still can't for the life of me understand how anyone that driven to write songs could be self-destructive in that total, complete sense of ending experiences. Making art is an act of survival, by its very nature it can't be a portrait of giving up. People who really want to die don't make documents because they elicit feeling, which is the better part of living. I agree with WL that it's something a bit different, something else happened, internally- but this isn't the place to guess about that. All know is that this song is cold pavement and wispy breath under knit hats that smell like wood cabinets and one morning I listened to it seventeen times in a row walking through Hollywood and it felt like a secret nobody knew but me and Elliott and we could laugh at all the commuters but not contemptuously, just laughing because they didn't know, ha, this is what it sounds like to do this, here. After 3-6 Mafia won their Oscar I dug up his clip from 199(7? 8?) and it all made sense again, why him- because those songs, the songs themselves, the ideas of them, they are him but they're outside of him now. Hack analogy coming- but it must be like seeing half of yourself in your child and loving them more than yourself. That chord feels more sincere than what it's echoing. I want to call my parents in the morning.

    Goddamn, didn't mean to be heavy on the first post. First Chebeague show at Cat Club tomorrow (today, I guess). Us, Riots, MR's roomie on a keytar and more. New piece in LAT on emo. New UTR w/ YYYs piece out soon. AJC stuff to come, I think, I need to not be lazy.

  • Elliott Smith B-Sides