Archive for June, 2006

MAYBE THERE’S A LITTLE YUSUF ISLAM IN ALL OF US

Thursday, June 22nd, 2006

Jedermann sein eigner Fussball says:
this girl at the festival said “hey you look like cat stevens”
Jedermann says:
i was like “wow thanks!”
Jedermann says:
even though i don’t know what yusuf islam looks like
Jedermann says:
“a young cat stevens” she adds
Miss E says:
neither do i
Jedermann says:
she was a volunteer walking around, she had a red festival shirt and a walky-talky
Jedermann says:
it was like a walk-by compliment, it was nice
Jedermann says:
i assume
Jedermann says:

Jedermann says:
hahaha
Jedermann says:

Miss E says:
that looks nothing like you!!
Jedermann says:
WHAT
Miss E says:
that woman was clearly insane
Miss E says:
well you both have beards
Jedermann says:

Jedermann says:
come on
Miss E says:
no
Jedermann says:
:(
Miss E says:
you have short hair and glasses
Miss E says:
and your hair is lighter
Jedermann says:
but the beard
Miss E says:
and you have hair on your chest, don’t you?
Jedermann says:
yeah more or less
Miss E says:
what does that mean
Jedermann says:
it’s not like thick matting
Jedermann says:
it’s just sort of sparse and weedy
Miss E says:
no but it’s present
Miss E says:
this guy is hairless
Miss E says:
and your hair isn’t curly
Jedermann says:
well i’m sure he waxed for the photo

SPLENDOR SOLSTICE

Wednesday, June 21st, 2006

Today is the longest day of the year.

It is 10:29 PM as I type this, and the sunset’s last fingers are only now fading. I just got home from a tour around EARTH: The World Urban Festival.

(click for larger images)

It was pretty awesome to see, there were all kinds of tents and trailers and shipping crates and so on with weird little art projects inside. It being a big hippy fest, there was the obligatory (and awesome) anti-Bush agitprop, courtesy of the New Forms Media Society.

The Public Dreams folks burned a 14-foot demon effigy, in celebration of the solstice. I missed the start because I was too busy walking around looking at all the awesome happenings. I was on the wrong side of a barbed-wire fence when I finally noticed it.

Tomorrow (Thursday) I’m going to the Global Hiphop event, which starts at seven and promises to be quite dope.

CHRISTIAN ROCK ROUNDUP

Tuesday, June 6th, 2006

Since I’ve developed an mild allergic reaction to irony, it’s been difficult to consume media without breaking out in a painful and unsightly rash. I’ve been immunizing myself by listening exclusively to Christian folk-rock. This is the roundup:

Danielson – Ships
Oink Ratio: 0.901

Plugged by Pitchfork as one of this year’s best new records, I decided to take a chance with it despite getting burned by the new Scott Walker, about whom they were even more glowingly enthusiastic. I know Walker is a hero to all discriminating music snobs, but I just can’t get past his operatic vocals, no matter how open-minded I try to be about it. It wounds me; I find it excruciating and unlistenable. Maybe he’s being ironic? I don’t know.

Danielson’s Ships, on the other hand, is currently my favorite album of the year. I didn’t even read the Pitchfork review before snagging it, so I had no idea that he was so keen on Jesus until I watched the trailer for the much-anticipated-by-me Danielson Family movie, Make a Joyful Noise HERE.

While not as overtly Christian as the earlier Danielson Family discs, the album is inarguably informed by band-leader Daniel Smith’s religious fervor. “My Lion Sleeps Tonight” is a straightforward retelling of the parable of the prodigal son, set to minimal guitar chording; “Bloodbook On The Half-Shell,” the album’s stand-out track, begins as a sing-a-long about book collecting, crescendoing into heavy guitar dunts and Smiths inimitable squealing about the bible.

To me this album sounds a like a harder-rocking Polyphonic Spree, and that’s definitely a good thing. Ships is also my highest Oink ratio at the moment, making it a solid investment all around. Highly recommended.

Danielson Family – Tell Another Joke at the Ol’ Choppin’ Block
Oink ratio: 0.219

I decided to give this a chance after enjoying Ships so much, and I was not disappointed. The songs on this album really show the refinement of the Danielson formula, starting slowly with oddly disjointed guitar lines and xylophone plinking, building into lush choral climaxes.

The catchy riffs and eclectic vocal style, (which I absolutely love), saves this album from the well-deserved kitch ghetto of most religious pop music. Rather than setting religious themes to straightforward rock music, a cynical and transparent gambit to use music as a delivery mechanism for a message, a saccharine-coated pill to fool the kiddies, Daniel Smith has developed and refined a musical sensibility all his own. It’s a sort of Hegelian synthesis of popular religious music, rejecting the futile struggle at balancing “music-in-itself” (thesis) with the religious message (antithesis), instead cranking both the music and the message up to eleven. Daniel Smith isn’t concerned about alienating unbelievers by using unambiguous Christian expression, such as in album opener “A No No”‘s repeated refrain ‘I love my Lord! I love my Lord! I love my Lord! I love my Lord!’ Etc.

It’s tough to transcribe Danielson lyrics without using lots of exclamation points.

Half-Handed Cloud – Halos and Lassos
Oink ratio: 0.279

Half-Handed Cloud is the solo project of John Ringhofer, a contributing musician on Sufjan Steven’s staggeringly excellent Illinois album. Halos and Lassos is an understated work of simple, Sunday-school-like hymns, with Ringhofer’s modest harmonies over acoustic guitar, lo-fi drum machine and charming 8-bit synth lines. Unassuming up-tempo sounds for a sunny Sunday morning.

I wasn’t super into this album at first, but it’s really creeping up on me. I’ve had the chorus to “Foot On The Brake” stuck in my head all evening.

Current 93 – Black Ships Ate The Sky
Oink ratio: 0.065

While Danielson and family bring a joyful message rooted in familial celebration and healing, David Tibet’s oppressively bleak concept album Black Ships Ate The Sky explores the darker elements of Christian symbolism, as inspired by Book of Revelations eschatology. This hallucinatory epic is about the rise of the Antichrist in the form of Caesar, the return of Jesus, planetary Israel, flaming skies, etc.. You know the drill.

It’s not an expression of Christian faith so much as an exploration of a baroque, medieval Christian symbolism of domination, destruction and renewal. Tibet’s intensely cataclysmic imagery is underscored by subtle, repetitive acoustic guitar and droning cello. Very spooky stuff, and, remarkably, it successfully navigates around the Scylla of maudlin melodrama and the Charybdis of bathos, a rare feat for goth poets.

Repeating throughout the album is “Idumaea,” interpreted by various guest folksies, including Will Oldham, Marc Almond, Clodagh Simonds and others. Oldham’s track is particularly striking.

It was totally worth the soaking I’m taking on my share ratio. You really have to get in on the ground floor with this obscure shit. Oink is worse than the stock market.

PATRICIA IS MISSING

Monday, June 5th, 2006

Shakes writes:

so i have some friends that live in seattle. and these posters started
showing up. please note that “the cuff” is a leather bar.
(www.cuffcomplex.com), which im not sure if it makes things weirder, or more understandable.

THE HOLOCAUST WAS A TERRIBLE THING

Saturday, June 3rd, 2006

Here’s an awesome ten-minute movie about writer David Rakoff being driven to a reading in Boston by Dave Hill, his “Author Escort.” Made me lol.