Sorry this is late guys, going through a divorce right now which takes up alot of my spare time. I believe your beloved Ranger of Stone will be on later to write something brilliant or just delete the little I did write. Needless to say, powerhouse weekend after a couple clunkers. (FP)
Shut the fuck up you know you like Pyschic Chasms. Along with Palomo and co you get a stellar group of local acts, crash course in some of the best stuff going on right now. Just hope there isn't a photo booth because those things really kill the mood for me (FP)
Yo La Tengo is one of the longest running and most consistent American indie rock groups ever. Not a bad album in their catalog, personal favorites being Fakebook and I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One. Yes some of them might sound similar but that sound is so sweet. I never really got into Times New Viking but godspeed to them for hitting the "big time".
Alright, there really isn't much to recommend going on this evening, and in fact, I couldn't really find anything funny to make fun of either. I mean, there's this fucking adult contempo Tom Waits bro playing in Ft. Worth tonight, but whatever. I don't have the energy right now and you can probably make up your own jokes about him if you want to. Also, this and this happened recently, in case you didn't know. And its 80'sNight@Haileys, like usual. See you tomorrow, friends!
I got so caught up in watching this video, that I posted this list even later than I usually do.
You know what's hilarious? It's 2010 and people are still writing about how Oak Cliff can maybe be like the new Austin, and Denton can perhaps be like the new Athens. Why the fuck can't Oak Cliff just be Oak Cliff and Denton just be Denton? That should be good enough for everyone, geez. People have been saying that sort of thing for quite some time, and I wouldn't hold my breath.
Also, the new iPad looks awesome and you little nerdy, anti-Apple, "hacktivists" are only making me like it more.
The Fiery Furnaces | Drug Rug (The Lounge) The Fiery Furnaces are one of those acts that seem to be in a constant struggle between concept and song; I've heard firsthand from the recording engineers that have worked with the group that they will take an idea and flesh it out through various strategies and experimenting and rerecording until the original piece is completely unrecognizable. I think that this has always made Fiery Furnaces generally more interesting than your average indie-pop group, even if some of their concepts aren't particularly successful, and sometimes even over the course of an entire record. But I respect that. I would rather be confused and somewhat disappointed as opposed to simply bored any day. The advantage of such a labored-over creative process is that in yielding such wildly different results from track-to-track, the duo is also just as likely to write songs that end up being absolutely memorable and even beautiful, which has obviously held the attention of the run-of-the-mill pop fan as well as assholes like me for quite some time now. "Benton Harbor Blues" is one of the few songs I've ever heard about a place that perfectly captured the feeling of being there. Okay, except for maybe "Werewolves Of London," but that's one of the worst songs of all time. The creepy reverb-pop of Drug Rug sounds like an excellent opener, but I've wasted too much time and can't really get into that this evening. See you there.
Screening: The AAV Club presents: "Hell's Bell's - The Dangers of Rock 'N' Roll," "Devil Worship - Exposing Satan s Underground" (Geraldo Rivera Special), Trick or Treat (1986) w/ Gene Simmons & Ozzy Osbourne (Tradewinds located at 2843 W Davis St, in Dallas): From what I gather not only does this seem like it will be an ongoing event, but it looks like Tradewinds in Oak Cliff is the place to be in the OC, especially until the various projects that are supposed to open there are finally up and running, and probably even after that. This looks like a related little trio of 80's gems, when rock music was experiencing a renaissance of fear; every suicide and case of Juvenile delinquency was blamed on Satan-obsessed metal or Wendy O. Williams' breasts. I almost get kind of misty-eyed for the faded memories of panicked adults all around me when I think back to those wonderful times. Looks like Kara Howell and Tommyboy have a big hand in this, so I would put money on it being worth your time since they might be the single most tasteful representatives of their respective genders. They "get it," and you don't. Know what I mean? Event is free.
Mayo Thompson - Corky's Debt to his Father (Texas Revolution 1970/Drag City 2008)
This is my first NNMT so it is important I come out with guns blazing. After much deliberation, I offer for your critical review Mayo's Thompson's 1970 sexually charged weirdo folk masterpiece Corky's Debt to his Father. In my opinion this album is the epitome of avant garde folk rock. If you are only familiar with Mayo's work with the legendary and still prolific Red Krayola, then this album may come as a shock to you. For his only solo album Mayo traded in the free form art rock of Parable of Arable Land for a much more direct singer songwriter style. This is probably his most accessible work, but those familiar with the Krayola know that isn't saying much.
It is the authenticity in the weirdness that makes this album so special to me. The album was recorded around the time of his marriage and is like a demented love letter to his new wife. "I held your little breast in my hand and I kept my eyes on your knee" may not be the most romantic lyric ever, but the focus of Mayo's affection, no matter how creepy, comes from a honest place. Where a boring person would write a song comparing his love to a flower, Mayo compares her to a shoe with it's tongue hanging out. Popular music has the tendency to over simplify the communication of lovers and Mayo does his best not to fall into that trap. Every song on here is a love song, even though they may not seem like it on the surface or even after repeated listens. Mayo is able to achieve here what the Beatles could never do. That is merge the conceptualization of Glass Onion with the emotional directness of I Want to Hold Your Hand. It has been done since then, but for 1970 it is pretty shocking.
The music is sparse and serves as a gentle yet creepy back drop for Mayo's sexual laments. This is not to say it easy listening of course. There are bizarre time signatures and chord progressions that come out of no where. All of these bits come together to make one of the most singular albums in American music. This is Mayo's album, there is no way it could be mistaken as any one else.
I recently saw a BBC documentary over the history of Rough Trade and it of course featured Mayo, who worked as a sort of in house producer for the outfit. There amidst all the limey accents is Mayo with the thickest Texas drawl I have ever heard. It gave me a little bit of that Texas pride I sometimes forget exists.
Wow, there aren't a lot of worthwhile shows going on tonight, but there sure seems to be quite a bit of talk in the comments section of the most recent Weekender post concerning the merits of this year's NX35 festival. I was considering writing about it all today, but before I did, I realized that I really hadn't examined the line up in as much detail as I'd like to, and I haven't even listened to the festival's flagship act, the Flaming Lips, in several years, so I think I'm going to do a little more research before I join the debate, even though a quick glance at the Dallas/Denton acts I'm familiar with doesn't look incredibly promising aside from a few highlights. I never expect to like most of the bands at a festival anyway, and I'm not even going to be in Texas when it takes place, so don't expect much of a forceful response from me. Oh, and "making Johnny Iskander look like fucking Tony Wilson" is funny no matter what your opinion is of any of the people involved in this debate.
The Cribs | Adam Green | The Dead Trees (Granada) Judge me if you like, but I was a big fan of The Moldy Peaches during there brief stint as forerunners of the early 2000's anti-folk movement. Moldy Peaches are of course no longer around. The female half, Kimya Dawson, has stuck with the lazy folk thing, fairly successfully, and had a baby etc, and admittedly her career I haven't cared much about following. Adam Green on the other hand turned out to be a unique and talented songwriter/performer. In the recent years Green has transformed himself from ragtag gutter troubadour to ragtag 60's showman à laLee Hazelwood or Scott Walker. He spins personal yarns of casual drug use, weirdo girlfriends and youthful regret all with a great sense of humor and short running time. Sounds like familiar territory I know, but Green's humor, bravado and respect for all things sleazy chic has molded him into a timeless act.
Johhny Marr is one of my favorite guitarists of all time, which is one of the reasons why I have avoided listening to The Cribs. Anyone heard the newest album and the first with Marr as an offical member? Trip report please. (FP)
Yeah Def Presents Aight Yo! #9 (Rubber Gloves) I have a feeling this event contains rapping and or beats. Might I suggest that Yeah Def or one of his minions record one of these shows and post the highlights of this "freestyle fellowship" on his site or something. I am interested to hear what some of these producers/performers have to bring, but I don't want to sit there for four hours waiting for something good to happen. (FP)
Shapes Stars Make! | Caterpillars | Monastery (Double Wide) I am guessing the unnecessary exclamation point at the end of Shapes Stars Make! symbolizes the unnecessary sound of their music. Post-rock at it's finest folks, plus regurgitated bits of Galaxie 500, Appleseed Cast, Sigur Ros... you get the picture. I'm sure the music gets them laid pretty good but doesn't serve much purpose beyond that. It looks as though they signed to a label somewhere else so congrats to them. Apologies go out to Monastery whose show posting I used a few days ago to pontificate on neo-folk music. If you dudes will email me some music to firstname.lastname@example.org I'll look over your stuff and maybe ask you some questions. Of course anyone is welcome at anytime to do that. (FP)
Jonathan Richman (Rubber Gloves) Much is made of Jonathan Richman and his influence on the punk rock founders, his time spent crashing on The Factory's couch or his role in There's Something About Mary. Of course there are tons of things to admire about him, but he has always held a special place in my heart for the role he played in my teenage years. I was pretty straight-edge in high school. Not because I listened to Minor Threat or anything, but because I was an uptight dork. Anytime those cool kids I surrounded myself with were trying to pass me the dutchie or inject that smack into my vein, I would think back to that first Modern Lover's album and reassure myself that it was OK to be straight. Of course I eventually got into drugs and never looked back, but thank you Richman for keeping me clear-headed and out of jail during my teens. If you haven't seen Richman play in the past ten or so years, he looks and acts like someone half his age. What an awesome guy. I tried to talk to him one time after a show about working with John Cale and he was way more interested in finding a vegan omelet than reliving the old days. We all still have a lot we can learn from him. (FP)
It's midway throughJeff Kleinsmith's glorious month of residency at the Nakatomi Invitational. He was nice enough to sit down with us for some hard-hitting questions while providing some bone-crushing answers. Mr. Kleinsmith is one of Seattle's most innovative designers - besides being the long-time art director for Sub Pop Records, Kleinsmith is a celebrated freelance designer and has produced a plethora of concert posters and art packages for a multitude of bands.
RICHARDSON HEIGHTS: What is your work environment like? Location, lighting, material, extent of mess, presence of kids and/or dogs?
JEFF KLEINSMITH: I actually have two work environments; one at Sub Pop and one at home. I'm not always able to get creative work done at Sub Pop so I bring files home and work at a table I've set up in my rather large living room. I like to be in the family mix rather than sequestered in the basement, as I just feel like I'm not really "home from work yet". I can watch TV and talk to my wife and kids and still get stuff done. The Sub Pop office is great. It's set up with everything I need and more. The space is way away from the clutch of cubicles and business offices and overlooks a bustling bus stop. The heat/air tubes didn't make it this far so it is either HOT or COLD and I never turn on the lights. I prefer cold and dark and I'd say it is that way 80% of the year.
RH: Do you have any rituals you go through before starting work?
JK: I think I just panic. Especially if it's something I really want to do. There's a lot of anger, pain, resentment, tears while I try to figure what the fuck I'm doing. Then it goes one of two ways: 1. I make it through the pain with an actual good idea, executed well or, 2. I pray that the job is either canceled or there is some big tragedy that allows me a decent enough excuse to get out of doing it.
I look through a lot of books. Even though I know there is so much more on the web, I just like turning my chair around to the table behind me a looking through books and magazines. Even if I don't see anything that's particularly influential, I feel like it gets me thinking.
RH: What are your favorite tools? Software, hardware, weird input devices, pencils, paper?
JK: It used to be my analog photocopier but they stopped making parts and toner for it. So, it's really a legal pad, mechanical pencil, scanner, Mac, Illustrator, and Photoshop. That's pretty much it. I use a light table, waxer, tape, and a ruler from time to time but not like the old days.
RH: Have you developed any particularly unique technique in your design work that you'd be willing to talk about?
JK: Not really. I mean, I collage a lot more than I draw so I just collect and scan thousands of things and clean them up in Photoshop or with a pen and Xacto knife. Then I just start playing around until something happens. (Very technical, huh?) I mean. I have a concept and a sketch but I don't like to get too detailed/specific in the sketching stage because I love what happens when you just start messing around. In fact I intentionally pull back at that stage. You discover these relationships between images and, if all is going well creatively, it all just sorta comes together. I don't mean to sound like a hippie but, you know, it's way more fun for me to stumble upon a great thing than sketch it all out initially. I guess it's the same thing but at different stages in the process.
RH: Can you talk a little bit about your process in designing this month's Invitational set for Nakatomi?
JK: See number 2 and 4. Heh. I loved doing this one and it came together pretty easily. One of those successes in my book. It felt good from start to finish.
RH: What is the process like in designing artwork for a band? Do you work directly with them, or are you truly given the role of "art director"?
JK: The bands are a different deal altogether. They aren't signing to Sub Pop because of who is in the art department they are signing for a whole host of other reasons. The fact that we in the art department have a long track record of generally making nice stuff and are easy to work with is a plus when considering what label to sign with but not a major concern. After they sign we are hooked up with the band as a resource in a way. Most often we are in an art director/layout/advice-giver role. They bring in loose pieces and ideas and we kind just put it together for them. We might caution them against putting type in that part of the photo and sometimes we suggest using the other painting they sent as the cover. That kind of thing. Making sure that their big box of stuff translates into a nice looking piece. The other scenarios are them telling us exactly what to do, or doing the art themselves, or letting us have free reign to design whatever we want. When I have free reign I love to try to work with illustrators/painters. I've worked with some pretty awesome illustrators over my 16 years here and the end result ranks as some of my favorite packages.
RH: How do you know when a unit of work is finished?
JK: Ahh, well I'm either sick of it, the deadline has arrived, or I instinctively know that I peaked in the process and won't be making anything better.
RH: Can you talk about any particularly interesting/exciting work you have lined up for 2010?
JK: 2010 is looking good so far. There are exciting things brewing at Sub Pop generally, and in the art department specifically. I have a bunch of posters on my slate. Better than dumb ol' 2009.
Corporate Park | Dos Jackulites | Betdat | Lars Larsen | DJ G (Rubber Gloves) This show is being billed as a "very rare all hardware Live-Pa electronic music event". OK. Chicago's Dos Jackulites synth approach is rooted more in the chiller side of the analogues as opposed to the local players more dissonant work. I'm not sure if Lars will be performing or just doing the visual presentation along with Lychgate's Jonah Lange. I hope we get to see a performance because Lars always brings interesting theatrics to the stage. Even if you are not a gear head, this should be an interesting night of aural and visual delights. And of course it is always great to see DJG on a Thursday night. Speaking of Lychgate, was anyone else a little bored during their performance last Saturday night? Interested in others thoughts on that project.
Iskra | Doom Siren | Vorvadoss | Rotnudus (Phoenix Project) I'm not even going to pretend like I can offer a reasonable opinion on this line up because obviously it is not my forte. I have seen Vorvadoss a couple of times and enjoyed myself. They incorporate enough prog-art elements to keep me entertained.
Eddie Izzard (American Airlines Center) Unlike most comedians who tend to focus on the absurdity of organized religion (Lenny Bruce, David Cross, Bill Hicks), Eddie Izzard has always been able to poke fun while not being too big of an asshole toward the believers. I wish more people would dress as the opposite sex, gender lines are soooo 20th century. I haven't heard much of his new material, but let's hope his spotty film career and failed television series hasn't killed his sense of humor. Unfortunately I can't think of a worst place for this event to take a place at, other than a church of course.
First of all, we've added two MP3s Ga'an shared with us to our interview post, and you can download them directly below this post. Shows tonight:
The Skuds | Akkolyte | Man the Conveyors | Life Erased (Phoenix Project) I love it when decent hardcore/grindcore/gutter shows come through town and Akkolyte is still the best band of the bunch. Not feeling much of what the Skuds do, which seems to be more or less by the book yet effective, but Man the Conveyors sound fairly brutal.
The Ish with Classixx (Ghostbar) Ok, so Classixx are probably pictured in the dictionary next to "hipster remix broz," and their work on tracks from Major Lazer and Yacht would be the attached MP3s for the entry if said dictionary happened to be online. Most of the stuff I've heard from them over the past year or so has been more or less workman-like and solid, and I'm sure you could probably have a pretty good time at this if you're the kind of person who would even consider going in the first place, not that there's anything wrong with it. Seriously. It's just that I've wondered lately where this entire scene and aesthetic is going to go from here-- it just seems that the actual output from this crowd, whether it be music or fashion or whatever, kind of stopped being interesting a while back, and I feel like its been a couple years now since any of these Hollywood hipster scene bros have done anything very compelling, artistically or otherwise. I'm not really attacking anyone in Dallas who's involved with these shows, either, because I'm no longer there and don't have personal knowledge concerning how these parties go down, but at the risk of sounding trite, I feel like Fergie really captures what I want to say about this stuff: so 2000 and late.
Apparently, according to the other members of the band, this interview was conducted, unknown to us at the time, with Jason Sublette, who is now the former bass player of Ga'an. The other members of the band plan to continue making music as Ga'an without Jason Sublette, and just wanted to clarify in case there was any confusion. The link below has been switched to their new Myspace, and we're going to be talking to the rest of the band soon concerning their new music and plans for the future as a group. Sorry for the confusion.--SR
I'm going to be writing more about Chicago from now on. This is an interview with a band from Chicago (Ga'an shared two MP3s with us and we've added them below)
Since we're new to covering the city, we'd like to get a little bit of background information on the band: your names, how long you've been together, and previous and other current projects you guys are and/or have been involved with aside from Ga'an.
Jeremiah Fisher, Seth Sher, Jason Sublette, Lindasy Powell. Jeremy and Seth helped out in Panicsville, and Oakeater. Seth did that load thing. We've all been in bands, here and there.
Could you briefly discuss how Ga'an came to be a band, and what it was about the project that made you want to pursue it in the first place?
The core of the band came together about 4 years ago as vigilante. Vigilante was louder, and more chaotic, a real mess. It was heavy on the noise side of some sort of "noise rock/prog" thing, a real beast. One third of the band, Jason/Bass/Keys, moved to St. Louis, the remaining two thirds of Vigilante helped form Oakeater. Roughly 2 years ago all of the thirds converged on the windy city, reforming Vigilante as Ga'an. Our inspiration was to try our hand at making the sort of music we were digging from old prog records, and 70's horror soundtracks. As best as we could filter it, and reform it in our own way, that is.
The music I've heard on your self titled cassette sounds like it has very little to do with Western music at all, much less pop or rock n roll, other than small traces of things here and there. Can you tell us about some of the music that inspires your group collectively, and what it was about the sound you eventually ended up developing that made you want to play this kind of music in the first place? Essentially, what attracts you to the sounds you make?
Rock and pop have little to add to our deep pool of influences. Collectively things that have influenced us have always been sounds and music that are somewhat on the fringe. Prog and Krautrock, for sure, but what are the difficult albums, what are the dark, strange bands from these genres? That's one thing for sure. There is a sort of drone, minimal side of things as well that comes out, naturally, perhaps. The attraction is certainly giving sound and shape to these dark things lurking behind the veil.
On the flip side of the coin, can you talk about some of the more traditional rock/prog/electronic music that might have inspired you when crafting Ga'an's music? I've read your mentions of groups like US Maple and Chicago no wave stuff in previous interviews.
Kultivator. Goblin. Grand Funk? Classic rock and Prog, Metal, all sorts of stuff. Yeah, Chicago music has also shaped some of our sound, for better or for worse.
In what ways better AND worse, would you say?
Well on the plus side of things, a lot of great music has come out of chicago, and we sort of grew up listening to it in one form or another. One the minus side, well we don't want to be labeled as a sounding like we are from Chicago, or anything close to ugh, postrock, or "chicago sound."
I really enjoy the way your self titled cassette sounds-- sort of hazy and dense, but much clearer and less gimmicky than what many people think of as "lo fi" these days. Can you tell us about how you went about recording it and some of the equipment/techniques you employed to get the sound you got?
We recorded digitally, then mixed down to VHS tape, no shit. After that it was mastered digitally, and then put back on to cassette tape. So the recordings bounced back and forth between the analog and digital realms a few times. As far as equipment used, nothing incredibly out of the ordinary. We weren't honestly trying to go for any certain sound, maybe just some forgotten tape...
Do you find it difficult to replicate this sound live, or are you even interested in sounding like your records in a live setting?
Our concern at the time was making the recording sound like our songs live! There are so many factors when playing live you have to take into account... It takes a hell of a long time to set up 5 synthesizers, that's for sure.
Ok, so are you happy with your records' ability to capture some of the energy and/or experience of your live shows?
Yes, and no, as it can just get to a point of being some sort of weird loop. Trying to have the recordings have the energy of playing live, but alternatively trying to play the songs live the way they were recorded. It's not necessarily (impossible), it's just not always going to happen. There needs to be some sort of balance between the two. Whether we pulled that off is debatable.
Some of the press I've read on Ga'an has been very heavy with metaphors involving shamans, ritualistic sounds and vague notions of spiritualism in general, I suppose because your name, according to one article, comes from the name of an Apache ritual dance. Does any of this stuff interested you as a group and does it have any impact on or importance in relation to how you go about developing your music?
We admire peoples and cultures who are, and were, more in touch with nature, and spirituality in general, but it's not like we're sitting around a room pouring over some ancient texts to get ideas. It's bullshit. It's more about certain sounds, choir sounds, chanting, or repetitions...
Is this in part because you feel too detached from such cultures to truly parallel these kind of mystic or spiritual experiences, or are you simply not interested in them, at least when it comes to Ga'an's music?
To say that we are some how attached to these cultures would be arrogant, or perhaps misguided. We simply wanted to convey some elements of it in our music. We certainly are interested in various forms of human spirituality, but it may be more of an afterthought than the music implies.
Can you tell us about some of your favorite new bands and venues in Chicago right now?
The Mopery is a great venue, the Viaduct Theatre, also there is a great new spacerock/CCR mutation of a band called "ET Habit" that we are excited about.
How do you think the contemporary underground music scene in Chicago compares to what its been like in the recent past?
It's all the same people, just in new bands! No, really, new ideas get circulated through, it's exciting to see it first hand.
Could you please list all of Ga'an's releases so far, and tell us about any new releases you have coming up any time soon, and any shows you might be playing in the Chicago area in the near future?
So far there are 2 cassette tapes, one is the proper studio recording, the other is our "jam" tape, just edited down improv. Nothing new as of now, the band is in flux.
One of the reasons we've always been anonymous is because we felt that content, above all else, was more important than the individual personalities of the people writing it. Has it annoyed us when people try to figure out our identities? Sure it has. That's mostly old news anyways, and I'm trying to ask a larger, and rather hypocritical question here: Isn't the "Why Denton Sucks" Twitter intriguing, and wouldn't you like to know who writes it? I go back-and-forth between thinking that it's a pretty lighthearted local celebrity roast, to wondering if maybe it's just the sounding board for the petty and personal grievances of someone who goes out every night in the 940. I can relate since I've been accused of both, but I've mostly tried to avoid the personal digs, as have most of the contributors here. But still, it sure would be interesting to find out who's behind it all. I now leave it to you: the mature, educated, and refined comment-posters of We Shot JR to share your thoughts and ideas with me...
Pretty busy Sunday with the extra day off and all, but we wanted to give you guys a quick reminder of what Martin Iles is up to tonight, because it looks good (Dan's Sliverleaf, 1030PM)
JUMPING Osamu Tezuka, 1984 (6 min.)
Anime pioneer Osamu Tezuka’s short film shows the world from the point of view of a bouncing ball (or jumping child). Each jump of the camera goes higher, each landing is a visual surprise (i.e, a city setting, a jungle, the ocean floor, a battle field in wartime, the depths of Hell, etc.). Jumping won the Grand Prize at the 1984 Zagreb World Festival of Animated Films.
GOD DAMN RELIGION Richard Bishop, 2008 (30 min.)
“This film is a diabolical experiment in hypnotic mind control—a phantasmagoric presentation of demonic and divine imagery, meticulously assembled and designed to put the viewer into an altered state of darkened awareness. Includes original music from ‘Elektronika Demonika’, as well as unreleased material... Contains some strong sexual content. Not for the weak-minded, faint of heart, or those suffering from occasional seizures.”
IGGY POP LIVE IN SAN FRANCISCO TARGET VIDEO, 1981 (60 min.)
“This concert film captures the former Stooges front man performing in San Francisco during a 1981 tour. Although the tour was in support of the album Party, Pop serves up songs a dozen songs that draw from every era of his career. The set list includes "T.V. Eye," "Lust for Life," "Some Weird Sin," and "Bang Bang." His backing band includes such famous faces as Clem Burke and Carlos Alomar.” - Perry Seibert, All Movie Guide