Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Birthday Jones

as birthdays go, i had a pretty good one. Thursday featured a nice karaoke excursion, with highlights including backing John on a stirring "Deacon Blues" and having a second go at my new fave feature, "Never Gonna Give You Up" by Rick Astley.

Saturday through (extremely early) Monday was spent in the excellent company of Laal in the excellent environs of Chicago with an eccentric assortment of coconspirators, including T-Bonz Kelly (ex-Stay Fucked, current Northwestern law, Super Lucky Cat 4 Life), Jeff Wall (whose rather dazzling photography exhibit we saw at the Art Institute of Chicago) and the good Thymme Jones.

if you've spent any considerable time with me (or reading this blog) over the past year or so, you know who he is, namely a Great American Artist who drums, sings, pianizes, trumpets and conceptualizes for the long-running Windy City factory of creative musical and conceptual brilliance that is Cheer-Accident.

Thymme (the longhaired fellow in the pic up top) gamely agreed to dine with me--Indian buffet, no less--as we together embarked on an open-ended phase of Cheer-Accident research conducted by yours truly with cooperation and assistance from him. i'm unsure what form this is all going to take, but let's just say i'm interested in helping to canonize this group as one of the most important and unique forces in experimental music over the past few decades.

so we chatted a bunch and laughed frequently and talked about prog drummers--Chris Cutler is a biggie for Thymme--and prog albums--he recommends the first U.K. disc and Henry Cow's "Western Culture." and also about Cheer-Accident. he said some particularly awesome things regarding the band's long-running fascination w/ absurdist conceptual humor and cited Martin Mull as an influence. again, this material will see the light of day in some form, someday. will keep y'all abreast. in the meantime, thanks to Thymme for taking the time to chill with me and answer some questions.

also while i was there, i filled in most all the gaps in my Cheer-Accident CD collection. the pick of the litter is definitely "Sever Roots, Tree Dies," which is actually their first full-length, not to mention one of the most sophisticated, elaborate and compelling debuts i've ever heard; it's just been reissued by a German label called Freakshow which seems to have no web presence whatsoever. i'd contact the band and i'm sure they can get you a copy.

the trip culminated in a trip to the Double Door to see C-A play! had a total blast at this one. the show was like a grab-bag, all sorts of personnel shifts and mood shifts and juxtapository actions and elaborateness. the set started off w/ Thymme solo onstage doing one of his patented comedy happenings. an offstage announcer intro'd him as the world's greatest improviser and proceeded to feed him random word pairings--like "a football and a garbage can lid" (that wasn't really one of them, but just to give you a flavor)--to which Thymme was supposed to respond by improvising a sound with his mouth. each time, he'd mull over the words and then produce the exact same sound: a sort of loogie-hocking thing. anyway, this was sort of like the conceptual performance equivalent to the band's marathon "Filet of Nod" sessions.

many excellent tunes were played, including "Dismantling the Berlin Waltz," sung by Carla Kihlstedt of Sleepytime Gorilla Museum (who headlined the show), and that awesome breakdown from the middle of "Salad Days." there were also excerpts from the "Dumb Ask" record and a really great rendition of the dirgey "All Over" from the new "What Sequel?" disc (featuring Kihlstedt's violin). various horn players came out for various tunes and a guest female vocalist i didn't recognize sang on the last tune, announced as a new one. Todd Rittman, of U.S. Maple and now Singer, wore a bandit mask and did some pretty impressive drumming, not to mention provided a willfully incongruous tambourine click track at various points. otherwise, the lineup was what you see above, minus the woman second from the right, who i *think* is Sheila Bertoletti: (from left to right) Andrea Rothschild on trumpet, keys, flute, etc.; Jones on drums, vocals, keys, trumpet; Alex Perkolup on bass; Jeff Libersher on guitar; and Todd Rittman on all that stuff i mentioned.

all in all an excellent set, but the highlight for me was definitely Jones's solo version--well, there was that tambourine...-of "Production," the first track from his gorgeous piano-and-voice album, "Career Move." can't wait till they come here in October (10/8 at either Cake Shop or the Knitting Factory w/ Upsilon Acrux and Time of Orchids)!

here's the "studio" version of "Production"; watch out--this one is melancholy as hell...

Thymme Jones - Production
from Career Move

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Mario speedwagon

i'm no conspiracy theorist, but "The Irate Gamer" is really on to something. this is a real vindication for anyone who ever wondered--as i did--why the NES game Super Mario Bros. 2 was such a letdown in light of the original. i laughed out loud about seven times watching this, but it's actually a really cogent argument. and check out the amazing solution he comes up with at the end...

sorry for such a frivolous post, but i was actually really impressed with what an entertaining short this dude has put together.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Prolegomenon // Only entertainment: "Superbad" and "No End in Sight" // Drum and brass, continued

god, i've mentioned this before, but it bears repeating: the longer i wait between posts, the more daunting this damn blog is. i've concluded that it's more stressful to not have an editor than to have one. if i'm writing for a magazine, i know i'm going to have to focus. if i'm on here, i've got this dangerous freedom. i feel this crazy obligation to cover every little thing i'm checking out.

which is impossible. it only leads to the problem of perceived unfinished business. i guess i'd sum it up by saying: don't expect any continuity from me. if i promise a series, i might not deliver. serial posts are hard b/c i'm already on to the next interest by the time i'm ready to continue. that's sort of my nature--ADD. it annoys me sometimes, but i can't really fight it.

anyway sorry to Fred Erskine for leaving him in the lurch, but that is how it's going to be right now...


i'd highly recommend that you see both "Superbad" and "No End in Sight." both are great summer fun.

ok, that's a joke, but is it that far from the truth? is a topical, even grave documentary any less entertaining or diverting on a fundamental level than a teen sex comedy? it's still "going to the movies," after all. i can't be sure, but i think i remember scarfing popcorn during "No End."

anyway, "Superbad" first. i laughed my ass off, as did my companions Laal and Joe. we had some really good nachos too. but anyway, yeah, there are too many funny scenes to count. i found it way funnier than "Knocked Up," which i thought was pretty overrated. "Superbad" just flowed right along, and the sentimental stuff felt totally natural; i felt that "Knocked Up" got too much credit for being "sweet"--really it was just sort of confused.

ANYWAY, wanted to point out something interesting about "Superbad." after the movie, Joe gave voice to something i'd been thinking while watching it--it's true! i'm not just trying to steal my friend's thunder--which is how pivotal the inscrutable, irreducible funniness of the name "McLovin" is to the movie's success. it's fucking unbelievable how many jokes in that movie boil down to the simple utterance of that word. my favorite is this part when Seth Rogen, playing a cop, just shakes his head and goes, "McLovin, McLovin, McLovin...." see? it's not even a fucking joke! there's just something about that name that's so goddamn funny. you're probably not laughing at it now, but just you wait... i just wish i could have been at the brainstorming sesh that yielded that name. i said to Joe that maybe that's why the damn movie was in the works for so long, because they just needed to find the perfect name.

ok, as for "No End in Sight", i LOVED this too. if you haven't heard of it, it's basically a step by step indictment of the Iraq War efforts, all based on interviews w/ government and military whistleblowers. i'm not sure if reviewers were copying each other, but tons of write-ups contained lines like "this is not a leftist screed" or "no left-wing harangue...." whoever's mimicking who, there's an important point there, which is that all the testimony is from the mouths of people who are not against the war per se but against the incompetence with which it has been handled.

anyway, the testimony is devastating. i've gotta just put this out there: i am very ignorant when it comes to current events. i hold a fundamental belief that this war is bullshit, but i didn't know half of the stuff presented in this movie. if you follow the news, you probably do. but to see it presented in such a clearheaded fashion and with such a mountain of evidence--not to mention with the supercool Campbell Scott narrating--is pretty overwhelming. this film is really the ultimate expression of patriotic disillusionment. time and time again you hear from men and women who wanted desperately to serve their country, but were stymied by bureaucratic incompetence. (for more on that, check out this insane article that Laal dug up on General Antonio Taguba's ill-fated investigations into the Abu Ghraib scandal.)

i feel stupid admitting this, but i said to Laal afterwards that if all news were that riveting, i'd be a lot better informed. of course you're not going to get a cogent, striking-looking documentary summing up every day's worth of news, but i wish i knew where i could go to find current events presented in an accessible, engaging way. maybe it's too much to ask? maybe facts can only be presented as a pointed argument when they become part of the bigger picture. but it's that bigger picture that i miss when i read the daily paper. anyway, thank god for this film.

note: did not report it on here, but Laal and i recently finished Malcolm Gladwell's "The Tipping Point." i really enjoyed a lot of the research, though at times i got freaked that i was reading nothing more than a business manual. the thing about a social-theory type book of that nature is that you start seeing its applications everywhere. Joe brought up its direct relevance to "No End in Sight" and he's dead-on. Gladwell speaks of the "broken window" theory, or essentially the idea that general cleanliness and orderliness of surroundings is a deterrent to crime. you see in "No End in Sight" how the first step in Iraq's descent into lawlessness was that the Americans did nothing to stop the looting in Baghdad--they just let the citizens wreak havoc on the city and thus the society itself started crumbling.


ok, i want to just quickly tip my hat to trumpet (or cornet) and drums duets, which have been striking my fancy of late. Taylor got the ball rolling here in style a little while back, discussing the Olu Dara and Phillip Wilson duo record "Esoteric" in a Destination Out guest post. missed those damn mp3s though--can someone repost?

a bit later, i commented on the scarcity of the format relative to the sax-drums phenomenon in a Time Out piece on Taylor himself and Tomas Fujiwara.

so my interest in this configuration was rekindled yesterday when i came across "Bugle Boy Bop," a really nice 1977 duo LP on Muse by Lester Bowie and Charles "Bobo" Shaw, an on-record cementing of the Chicago/St. Louis axis that was such a big part of '70s jazz. here's a really strong track from that session, which features some gorgeous tranced-out vamping from Shaw, in a kind of frenzied, constantly recombinant odd-time, cyclical mode. i think his basic pulse is a five-beat figure, but he's constantly shifting the center, adding and subtracting beats. Bowie leaves gaping spaces and just rides the spiral...

Lester Bowie and Charles "Bobo" Shaw - Cootie's Caravan Fan
(from "Bugle Boy Bop" on Muse, rec. 2/5/77)

fortunately there's a Max Roach parallel, i.e. the duo records he made with Clark Terry and Dizzy Gillespie (not sure if both are ALL duo, but i know there are at least some pieces on each with just the two dudes in question). i unfortunately do not own these, but just hearing the samples on Amazon, i'm blown away. Taylor was not kidding when he said in the aforementioned D:O post that Max and Diz were playing free on the later. this is some masterful, wide-open shit.

the next one i need to dig into is this Lester Bowie/Phillip Wilson duet from '78. actually here is a track from that one, the brief opener, entitled simply "Duet"

Lester Bowie and Phillip Wilson - Duet
(from "Duet," on Improvising Artists, rec. 1/19/78; actually it looks as though you can still order this on CD from the label here.)

Wilson is on to some seriously hip and sublimated funk here. this is basically a warm-up, but it's simmering. Bowie's just wading in and testing out the water. and it seems that it feels really, really good. can't wait to dig into the rest of this beast...

R. Kelefa

bravo on this piece, a reclamation of "Trapped in the Closet" by Kelefa Sanneh. i've long grown tired of hearing people say that R. Kelly isn't in on the joke of his own material-- even the host on those IFC streams seems to suggest that his laughs are in spite of Kels's efforts rather than because of them. anyway, this is a really smart and overdue editorial on the phenomenon and its potentially racist implications.


Max Roach broadcast rolls on--thanks WKCR! also Destination Out really outdid themselves with this compendium of Max wax.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Mad Max

RIP Max Roach. some of my off-top-of-head thoughts are here. as usual WKCR has you completely covered.

Good Shepp-herd

Archie Shepp is at the Iridium tonight through Saturday. hell yeah. here's a Q&A w/ the man that i did for Time Out. as you can imagine, a great deal was left on the cutting-room floor, but this gives a nice taste.

as does this... in the interview, Shepp cites his poem "Mama Rose"--written in '67 and still a staple of his repertoire--as an antecedent of rap. whether or not you buy that, it's a truly awesome work, one of the most successful spoken word pieces i've ever heard. this guy has really, really serious delivery. check out this incredible clip of Shepp performing the piece on YouTube (preceded by a great interview statement on Malcolm X):

[note: this is from Ron Mann's "Imagine the Sound," a brilliant 1981 doc on Shepp, Cecil Taylor, Paul Bley and Bill Dixon. anyone into avant-garde jazz NEEDS to see this. check it out here.]

i love how into the role Shepp gets, sort of looking around like, "Right? Right?" the language and the theatricality are just amazing. he is not kidding when he says this was rapping. also, note the similarity between his gravelly outcries (e.g., 3:03) and his trademark tone on tenor.

preparing for the conversation, i did a lot of listening and realized that i had never really reckoned with Shepp's discography. i've got to say that i think his Impulse recordings represent one of the most compelling bodies of work in '60s jazz. i had no real grasp of the way he'd weave free with blues and standards in these sort of suites. "Mama Too Tight" is where i'd steer anyone--there is no one else, esp in the so-called avant-garde, who was combining styles in the way that Shepp does on that record's "A Portrait of Robert Thompson (As a Young Man)."

you get a sort of free blowout at first that, on many--say--ESP or BYG discs, would've have simply been *it.* which is fine. but Shepp gives you more. the piece has an arc, a destination, a progression. his arrangements on this record and others like "Fire Music" are so lush, his deployment of the ensembles so skillful. if you don't know his Impulses, check them out; almost every one will surprise you. Shepp is emphatically NOT your average avant-tenor.

check it:

A Portrait of Robert Thompson (As a Young Man) - from Mama Too Tight, rec. 8/19/66

Shepp (ts)

with Tommy Turrentine (tp) Grachan Moncur III, Roswell Rudd (tb) Howard Johnson (tu) Perry Robinson (cl) Archie Shepp (ts) Charlie Haden (b) Beaver Harris (d)


come on out to Iridium. show might be a bit low-key, but do not underestimate power of Shepp's blues and vox; Amina Claudine Myers, who's in his band, will certainly help with that. maybe they'll even break out some "Mama Rose"...

Sunday, August 12, 2007

I really suck...

...for forgetting someone:

(for those who haven't read the last post, we were talking about the finest rock drummers. i offered a few that didn't appear on Stylus's very respectable list thereof, and here i offer another: Vinnie (Fucking) Paul of Pantera. my apologies for the omission.)

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Why we list

so, what--as it were--is the deal with lists?

i've been thinking a bit about of 'em b/c i've come across two interesting ones lately. first, check out this interesting "New Sounds" episode on the topic of the infamous "Desert Island Disc," i.e. that one album that you would hold on to forever if you hypothetically had to ditch all others. host John Schaefer talks to Phil Freeman, who recently edited an anthology of essays on this topic--a sort of sequel to Greil Marcus's 1979 collection "Stranded"--as well as fun critics like Greg Tate and Ian Christe.

now i don't agree with any of the picks (Freeman: Motorhead, Christe: Iron Maiden, Tate: Bitches Brew), but reading this list and the one i'm about to discuss, i realized something. this is going to seem really stupid... so stupid that i'm afraid to type it. ok, here goes: what i realized is that the point of lists is that you're not SUPPOSED to agree with them. what the best ones do is start a ball rolling and everyone it passes--however much they want to tsk-tsk or whatnot--is burning to join in the conversation. it forces you to ante up, in other words.

now, now, i ain't about to come out with my desert island pick--though i gotta say that Tate's choice intrigues me given the many blissful hours i've spent obsessing over the four-disc "Complete Bitches Brew Sessions" set--but i will respond to this other list that's been published recently, which pertains to something near and dear. that is... Stylus's list of the 50 Greatest Rock Drummers of All [Freakin'] Time.

first off, i want to commend the architects of this list for an elegant gesture of omission/specificity/narrowing-of-the-field. to be more specific, thank fucking god that they specify that this is a list of "Rock" drummers only! if there is one. thing. i cannot. stand. above all else. is the general tendency among people who write about rock music to pretend that they know anything about any other type of music. Pitchfork knows their indie rock (i guess). but i cannot stand when i see kneejerk coverage of jazz on that site, just sort of sheepishly slinking around in the margins as a gesture of well-roundedness. Rolling Stone has often been guilty of the same crime vis a vis jazz, blues, reggae, etc. stick to your bread and butter, folks, as Stylus has done. take away the word "rock" and their endeavor is laughable (i.e., you'd inevitably see like three token jazz drummers--maybe Elvin, Tony and Max-- thrown in and that would open up a huge can of worms and screw up the whole thing); insert it, and you've set your limits and you're ready for some fuckin' fruitful discourse.

my comments on the list itself ain't actually that extensive to be honest. overall, i'm just glad it exists as a jumping-off point. BUT i will say that i'm thrilled to see a few of favorites represented, namely Levon (some days, he's my #1 drummer crush), Neil Peart (uh, duh), Damon Che (fucking Don Cab!), Brendan Canty and of course the obvious Bonzo at number 1 (you really can't argue much with that).

though i did want to bring up three omissions:

1) Dale Crover (Melvins) - very surprised not to see him on there, to be honest. i figured heavy music would be underrepresented, but he's someone who everyone seems to be wise to. i never understood how thunder was created via two toms until i heard him. fucking Tubs of Doom for all timez.

2) Thymme Jones (Cheer-Accident, Brise-Glace, You Fantastic) - yeah, he's not well-known enough (yet), but for sheer mechanized and sickly off-kilter pocket-ness, he is my favorite. an unbelievable master of counterintuitive groove that grooves harder than intuitive groove.

3) Charles Hayward (This Heat) - the future was now with this guy. wiry presagement of electronica or something. scary chops funneled into wiry, wiry beats of sinew. thin and ugly.

4) Bill "Drum Ogre" Stevenson (ALL, Descendents, Black Flag) - incredibly sophisticated and unreproducible funneling of prog-rock flash into speed-punk momentums. i'm not sure i can think of another drummer who has given me so many "what in the fucking hell was that thing he just played?!?" moments. Joe, Tony and Ben can attest: how many times have we rewound the intro to that one song from "Allroy Saves"?

5) Pete Sandoval - i wish i could find this clip online, but i once saw a video where he told the host of Headbanger's Ball that he invented and perfected the blast beat "for love." don't sleep on his slow beats either--sick, sick shit.

anyway, kudos to Stylus for fucking initiating this discourse. now i just gotta think about my desert-island disc...


here's a p.s. list "for love"...
five (of many!) mindblowing drummers currently active in NYC:

Phil Kennedy (From Cocaine to Rogaine)
Oran Canfield (Child Abuse)
Kevin Shea (People, Talibam and many others)
Aron Wahl (Aa)
Ben Greenberg (Archaeopteryx, the Fugue)

Monday, August 06, 2007

Grateful, Fred

[pic above: Fred Erskine by Kris Mestdag. please don't sue me. thanks.]

something i've found: the more you care about something, the harder it is to write about. the reason is simple enough--you just want to do it justice i guess.

i've been thinking lately that Frederick T. Erskine needs some sort of online shrine and i might as well get the ball rolling. not to be a snob, but i'd be extremely surprised if more than like five people who are reading this have any idea who he is. and so it goes for a lot of rock musicians who aren't frontmen or members of Led Zeppelin: in jazz, they know your name, in rock they know the band name.

anyway, you might recognize some of the bands Erskine has played bass and/or trumpet and vocalized in over the years. i think the following is the complete and roughly chronological list: Hoover, the Crownhate Ruin, June of 44, the Boom, Him, Just a Fire. the period we're talking about is the early '90s through like last year. as far as i know, he's not up to anything currently.

ok, i guess that was the easy part, the "who the hell are we talking about here?" part. i love a lot of musicians, but only a few are like in the hall of fame or the pantheon or the uppermost upper part of my interest and enthusiasm. i've written about most of these heroes on Dark Forces at one point or another, folks like John Fahey, Andrew Hill, Booker Little and bands like Craw and Cheer-Accident.

Fred's definitely on this list and he's one of the rare rock dudes i'd single out from any particular band he's been in. the thing is that i haven't always adored all these projects; sometimes i've even gritted my teeth through music i thought was kind of crappy (ahem, late June of 44) just to get an aural glimpse of this dude's work.

UNBELIEVABLY GORGEOUS BASS PLAYING. i don't even know how to frame this. there's the visual image. i saw Fred several times, both with June of 44 and the Crownhate Ruin. he's a short, sort of stout, top-heavy guy with kind of a baby face and these sunken eyes. very, very unassuming and with this sort of mellow vibe when he's not up at the mike. he'd often raise his eyebrows while he played as if to say, "piece of cake." he'd also close his eyes and puff his cheeks out in this really funny way.

it's a cheesy concept/notion, but when i think of the idea of groove, i think of Fred. his basslines are these like dubby, ever-so-slightly fuzzed out bubbly things. he always played without a pick and you can hear it in the playing, it's just got this sproingy, springy aspect, but without any sort of slap or pluck nonsense. it's very very very difficult to be really really good at bass without sounding absolutely absurd and cheesy and Fred is one of the few to pull this off (as is Tony of Archaeopteryx and Stay Fucked, but i digress).

i'm not sure how best to intro Fred, but i think it's just by posting some tracks, no? here are two INSANE jams from Hoover, a band i absolutely cherish. they were part of the Dischord/DC scene in the early '90s, and their reputation pretty much rests on "The Lurid Traversal of Route 7," a full-length from '93, which is now available in a nifty remastered version (go here for ordering info).

Hoover - Electrolux

Hoover - Weeds

the second track here is from a self-titled EP the band put out in '97. as the text on the back of the disc indicated, this release was "intended as documentation only" (as opposed to all those other records that are intended as a substitute for the live performance or some other nefarious purpose--kidding, kidding). basically they reunited in that year to record a few post-"Route 7" tracks.

anyway, so "Electrolux" boasts perhaps the finest odd-time groove ever recorded, a fucking sick, hypnotic jam in 9. you are not going to believe the fucking fat, sick sproinginess of the solo bass intro. it's just pure tone, pure signal, buzzing and throbbing. dig the two little accents Fred starts throwing in at the ends of the measures at 1:52; dig how the bassline turns into one loooooong note when he starts singing; and dig also the total manhandling of the bass at 6:05 when the guitar drops out. at that last juncture, Fred is taking this 9 groove and fucking owning it: it sounds like he's wrestling a fat boa constrictor. and check the awesome hoarseness of the vocal...

Fred is the singer on this one too. i'm a huge fan of his voice. he can scream, but also whisper and let forth this sort of wounded croon. you don't get that in "Electrolux" so much as "Weeds."

"Weeds" is a brutal track, showing off one of Hoover's most awesome strengths, i.e., just fucking grinding a riff into the ground until you want to burst. people have referred to them as sort of pre-emo or whatever and i totally see that. it's very fraught music, sort of despairing and gloomy but intensely cathartic. most of all it's churning, grinding, minimal.

obviously "Electrolux" is that, but "Weeds" is in some ways even more powerful. the final verse is absolutely devastating. Fred is HOWLING. i'm talking about around 5:20. there is a downright scary amount of sweat and white-knuckle feeling built up at that point. people talk about Slint tunes like "Good Morning Captain" as the epitome of tension-release indie rock, but this stuff is just as powerful methinks.

anyway, got off the Fred topic a bit, but i plan to continue in this vein. have tons more tracks i'd like to post but i will restrain myself b/c i don't want to overwhelm. here are a few Hoover videos i've found. both, weirdly enough, are of the same song, the "Route 7"-ending tour de force, "Cuts Like Drugs" [for the sticklers: yes, it does end the album proper. last three tracks on CD are from a separate 7"]. the second vid is from the Hoover reunion show from 2005 at the Black Cat in D.C., which Joe and i and some other buds proudly trekked from NYC to see. it ruled.

"Dries --> Cuts Like Drugs" (John Hiltz House, NJ, 199?)

"Cuts Like Drugs" (Black Cat '05)

(both of these are from a very cool music/video blog called The Sound of Indie, which is a real trove for anyone obsessed w/ arty and intense '90s indie stuff the way i am. trolling the clips, i spied Blonde Redhead, the Make-Up and tons tons more. check it out!)

and here is a rather drab interview with Fred (apparently the only one online) from 2000.

if anyone out there is a fellow Fredhead, please speak up. we need to stick together!

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Minus men // "Breach" party

saw Negativland at the Highline Ballroom on Thursday. some of my thoughts are here and here. i highly recommend picking up their records "Free" and "Escape from Noise" if you ain't familiar. info on ordering is here. and an amazing conversation between the band and U2's the Edge is here. (fyi, U2's record company, Island, sued the shit out of Negativland a while back after the group sampled U2 w/out permission. crazy story...)


"Breach" -- it's pretty good! you know the one w/ Chris Cooper where he plays megaspy Robert Hanssen and Ryan Phillipe's the young FBI recruit trying to get the dirt? i love Chris Cooper, esp. in "Adaptation," and this is a great showcase for him. the movie would crumble without him, but he's an awesome center of gravity, really great at portraying this deeply conflicted dude. you feel sorry for him, afraid of him, disgusted and fascinated by him. the movie is no masterpiece, but Cooper gives a magnetic performance. also, i loved the coldness of the movie. it all takes place in the winter and you just feel that chill throughout, what with the overcoats and the breath mist and whatnot. an icy movie for sure.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Dick-ed over

here's a new thingie i did for the Huffington Post comparing the film of "A Scanner Darkly" to the novel. gotta admit, i feel a little silly applying my customarily arbitrary blogging strategies (i.e., writing about whatever, whenever, no matter how untimely) on a site where timeliness is so obviously privileged. to a lot of folks, blogging on last year's films or last decade's music would seem to defeat the purpose of the medium, but i disagree. hence, uh, this entire site.

in a related matter, do people feel like it's cheating to create a post here that's just essentially a link to something on the Huffington site? i guess had i not posted it there, i would've posted it here, so it's kind of equivalent.

anyway, i'm thinking hard about Fred Erskine, so stay tuned...

(ps: anyone remember a band i used to play in called Super Lucky Cat? we're reuniting for one show on Saturday, 8/11. it's at, uh, the Lucky Cat in Brooklyn. i promise that was not a calculated move. anyway, more info is on the Stay Fucked Myspace page. while you're there, please enjoy an excerpt of a new Stay Fucked tune.)


ALSO, you must check out the new Mick Barr track posted here. the one in question is the first piece, "Annothrith Hymn 1." it just *floats*: the slowest, most atmospheric, most gorgeous, and probably most actually-comparable-to-other-music-produced-by-humans thing i've heard from him yet. man, this is so spacey and pretty, adjectives i never thought i'd apply to Mick's music. can't wait to hear more in this vein.