Sunday, July 31, 2005

You were not wrong to give me all you clothes/ (you were not wrong)/ but all your jeans were too tight...

Will getting free iTunes songs for trying on jeans provide comfort for the realization that you are getting fatter and older, and you no longer are the svelte, sexy beast you once were? And by "you" I mean "me". You... you are actually looking even thinner. How do you do it? Don't change a thing, baby.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

You're obsolete my baby/ my poor old-fasioned baby...

The rumor was the Stones would bash Bush on their new album, and there were some whispers that the album would be called Neo-Con, but it looks like it's going to be called A Bigger Bang. Which is great, because it just reduces their present-day musical contributions back to the null set. They say it's a reference to the beginning of the universe, but I can almost hear Mick Jagger laughing into his hand at the insane cleverness of his dirty, cunning mind. "A bigger bang! Get it? Like fucking! So much better than political statements!" Yes, we get it. Sometimes when I look at the cover of my Between the Buttons LP, a tear will drop from Brian Jones' stoned eye, like some Virgin Mary statue in Mexico.

So after congratulating himself on 60 years of sly double entendres, maybe Mick dials up Jann Wenner to see if his old friend can hijack the Rolling Stone reviews section to write propaganda for him, just like when Wenner gave Goddess in the Doorway five stars. I don't remember when the Rolling Stones mattered or when they truly were considered dangerous, but does that mean I can't be nostalgic for those times?

Listening too long/ to one song/ Sing me Spanish techno...

I'm not going to go the GQ route and dress better and workout. I'm also not going to go the GQ route and call Twin Cinema the best New Pornographers album yet; I have a metaphorical soft spot in my heart for Electric Version. It's close to the literal soft spot in my heart being formed by excessive drinking and smoking. I call him "Leaky the Timebomb." (The difference is the former won't require me to get a black-market baboon heart in a few years.)

When I first heard this album was being released in late August, I wondered why, since Electric Version was a perfect summer album. But now I see the method to their madness: Twin Cinema is almost a melancholy album. It's probably best enjoyed as the summer burns away and the leaves fall. But it's not cold; throughout the album, there's a warmth and joy. "Warm like a tumble of bells," as Toni Morrison would say. A.C. Newman said a while ago that this album wasn't like the previous ones; it was about songs building. And you can see that in "Falling Through Your Clothes" and especially "The Bleeding Heart Show". That song, it just blooms, and when it does, it's absolutely gorgeous. If I had sequenced the album, it would have come later so that it could have rightfully taken its place as the centerpiece. By the end of the song, there's such an uplift, it's like going to church, sans the homophobia. When Springsteen plays, and he breaks out his "rock and roll preacher" bit, testifying, saying rock and roll can save you, this is the proof. At the end of four minutes, your soul is saved, if only for a little bit before the flourescent lights of your office drown you again.

There are few rocking songs. "Twin Cinema", "Sing Me Spanish Techno" and "Star Bodies" are the closest and they're not even close to the choir blast of pop that comprised the previous albums. While "Sing Me Spanish Techno" may be the first song that jumps out as you as "the mix tape song", it becomes increasingly obvious that while catchy, the song is breezy, and nothing more, especially compared to the thoughtful songs that take longer to appreciate. In fact, the song sounds like a castoff, closer in relation to "Graceland" off of the What's Up Matador comp than to, say, "The End of Medicine". (It's kind of ironic that it's probably the song I've listened to the most, and has a chorus that goes "Listening too long/to one song." When I think about it too much, I black out, and wake up on the floor with "A.C." carved into my arm. Spooky.) Neko's big contribution, "These Are the Fables" barely even works up a sweat (but comes closest when the drums kick in towards the end), but it's a thing of beauty. They've learned the beauty of retraint, and while I never would have said it would work for them, I can't say that now.

Other highlights:
I want to metion every song, but I can;t. That's not how you review albums, and Nick Hornby would never do it. Hell, Rob Sheffield wouldnn't do it. Anyway, this is a deeper, denser album than anything previous. It's not as much "fun". But good lord, it's a great ride.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

"I got rhythms, and you girls have got rhythms..."

Overheard in New York, I think this guy got drunk... on knowledge. Seriously, think about this stuff, because it's a deep gaze into the red eyes of race relations:

Drunk old Black guy: ...people, we got these rhythms... rhythms that just don't connect. I got rhythms, and you girls have got rhythms, but can we dance together? No, no...we can't. That's what happened when the Black man came to America, babies. Black and white, we just can't dance, babies. But you girls should dance with me.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Indie rock karaoke

Looks like indie rock karaoke is back.

My top five choices to belt out, badly, as of right now:

1) Pulp: Common People
2) New Pornographers: Letter from an Occupant
3) Robbie Fulks: Let's Kill Saturday Night
4) Guided by Voices: Glad Girls
5) Rocket from the Crypt: Sturdy Wrists

All my friends are dead... has a slideshow of bad album covers. Just to warn you: there are at least two instances of male cameltoe. Hey, see if you can find them! It's like a homoerotic "Where's Waldo?"!

So relaxed she's in slow motion...

Somehow, the world keeps turning, even as the news breaks that Karate has broken up. Yeah, they were pretentious, and I haven't bought an album since The Bed Is In The Ocean, but when they were on, they were on. And Geoff Farina could turn a beautiful phrase when he wasn't dropping lines comparing German and Croatian kids ("The Last Wars"). But listen to "Today or Tomorrow" and not imagine misspent youth and Boston winters, all in nine lines.

Those songs used to have an effect on some of my writing, especially the more pretentious stuff. Who will inspire the pretentious notebook scrawlers of the future? I guess they'll always have Bright Eyes.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Because nobody knows the wreck of the soul the way you do...

Almost exactly a month before the album's release, GQ is calling the new New Pornographer's album their best yet. And for me, that's saying a lot. My fingers are crossed because this year, it's pretty much been Spoon and nothing else. I need more sonic thrills.

Sleepwalker, don't be shy...

Browsing iTunes, I was just reminded of the surprising greatness of the Wallflowers' "Sleepwalker". (And Breach is actually a pretty solid album.) Just a great, somewhat moody piece of pop. But although "Sam Cooke doesn't know what I know" would be a great line for an anonymous romantic, coming from Bob Dylan's son it sounds a little... off. But it doesn't offend me that much.

Baby you don't know/ just how I lie awake/ and dream a while/ about your smile/ and the way you make your ass shake...

Big digital landmark in my life tonight: I surpassed 4,000 songs on my iPod. And the 4,000th song? "Somethin' Hot (12' Remix)' by the Afghan Whigs. So I celebrated by getting myself a Quiznos sub, just like the talking baby recommends. And I got that fucker toasted.

And have you seen the trailer for Walk the Line? I really didn't have any confidence in this when I first heard about it, but goddamn, seeing the trailer, I can't wait. I haven't been this excited for a movie since King's Ransom; I just hope I won't be as sorely let down.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Now that's a good idea/ she said, she said...

...And then there's the Willie Nelson reggae album, which got trashed by the Post today. I had asked a very good friend about this album recently, and he said he wasn't worried. But I was worried, in the same way that sometimes you're just about to fall asleep and you start thinking about babies born with hearts on the outside of their chests, or if that squirrel ever made it out of the crawlspace alive or are you going to have to go in there with a stick and do something about it. It just sounds like such a bad idea, it shouldn't've even happen. Monstrously bad. Of course, bad ideas and reggae albums are sometimes born of the same mother, and her name is Mary Jane. So think about that.

Even more astounding than this bad idea? That the guy who reviewed it has "Freedom" in his name. Do you think he was given the assignment for this reason alone? The Post hasn't had this sort of strangely aptonymical synergy going on since R. Douchebag Moneymaker covered Bush's first year in office.

Cheers to Ben & Jerry's Fossil Fuel. Jeers to turning 45 in your 28th year. And Dell computers.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

I took her to a supermarket/ I don't know why, but I had to start it somewhere...

I haven't posted in a while, but what I have done is make a new playlist (see right). And it is, for the most part, dramatic. I guess I'm just feeling drama right now, waiting for a great storm or a spaceship, as the unpublished poem goes.

But I do think big things are in store. I mean, Deep Throat was revealed, O'Connor resigned, the pandas had a baby. The goddamn pandas! Plus, I saw two of Matthew Lesko's fleet of question mark-dotted cars in my neighborhood on back-to-back days. These are harbingers. So big things are in store, and nothing that any fucking fortune cookie could predict.

Cheers to free drinks at Aslyum. Jeers to people who claim to have a bible on them when you get into a debate about homosexuality.

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