Monday, November 19, 2007

En road

getting ready to head out on the road with my band, Stay Fucked--whom you see above-- for a month (!). very excited, stressed, happy, tired, etc. should be a fun tour. check out the itinerary here and come on out to see us if we're playing your town. if anyone has done this before and has tips re: what to bring or what not to bring, i'm all ears.


suffice it to say, i won't be on here much at all through New Year's. i leave you with a few updates and recommendations:

1) re: my upcoming writing stuff... had a fun time researching and interviewing Gene Ween re: his band's new album and career and all that stuff. check the Time Out site next Thursday, 11/29, and you'll be able to read that.

2) also, in a few weeks' time (not sure exactly when), my 2007 Top 10 (i.e., CDs i liked best this year) will be published via same mag, so keep an eye out for that if you're interested.

3) re: that list, one CD that isn't on it is "Nothing But Change" by the Octagon. believe me, it wasn't left out due to it not being an absolutely awesome rock album. it would, though, seem kinda dubious to plug it via my day job, simply b/c i am old friends with those boys and once played in a band w/ frontman Zack Mexico. however one slices it, it's an outstanding disc--raucous yet efficient, wrenchingly sad yet goofy at times; very, very raw yet poetic; daring; honest, even scarily so. i wonder what it must be like to play such emotionally up-front music. it's real and new and smart and, yes, extremely catchy. special nod to one of my drum heroes, Will Glass, who manages to make REAL jazz know-how and kit-tone sound at home inside punk-spirited indie rock--no small achievement (if you are really listening, you will hear Ed Blackwell and Levon Helm for sure). buy here, at the website of Serious Business, a label owned and operated by my also-bud Travis Harrison.

here's one of my fave tracks from that record:

The Octagon - Lee Harvey

4) "Before the Devil Knows You're Dead" is a viciously exhilarating picture. was not really prepared for the rawness and the relentless downward spiral, emotional wringer, etc. of this one. kind of feels more like a play than a movie in parts, but it is admirably single-minded. it just wants to show you what life looks like as it is just completely tanking--methodically, excruciatingly tanking. beware but don't miss, if you get my meaning.

5) am still working on my freelance piece on the remarkable percussionist Cleve Pozar. more news in early '08. meanwhile...

6) and i leave you with a gem. this is the theme song to Robert Altman's insanely weird winged-serial-killer drama/farce "Brewster McCloud" by one John Phillips, late of the Mamas and the Papas. surreal, scary, lush and like the movie, utterly fucked up. [this track was recorded around the time of "Jack of Diamonds," Phillips's second solo LP from the early '70s, which was not released at the time, but has just come out in CD form--this song appears as a bonus track on said CD. my thoughts on that disc will also be in the next issue of Time Out NY.]

John Phillips - Last of the Unnatural Acts


have an awesome holiday time. i will see you in '08...

[though i reserve the right to jump back on here around Christmastime if i feel it necessary.]

Monday, November 12, 2007

Beheld... the future

feeling utterly screwed thanks to the flu. no doubt it would be even worse if it weren't for Skullgrid, the new opus by NYC prog-metal titans Behold... the Arctopus. while tossing and turning last night, i had this one on--yeah, for some reason, i like to fall asleep to death metal--and it was just the thing. took me away from my illness and thrust me onboard a superfuturistic space cruiser. this is serious, serious science fiction as filtered through metal. i have no words to express how strange, advanced and completely crucial this CD is. you will envision 4-D alien architecture, posthuman technology, the flowering of cyborg civilization, etc. etc. listening to this, you'll be truly astonished at how far the team-up of humans and instruments has come.

my band had the great pleasure of opening for these dudes on Saturday night and dear God, did they slay. people were freaking.

speaking of my band, we have a new CD out, and we're embarking on a monthlong U.S. tour starting 11/23. please check here for all tour dates and come see us if we're coming through your area, which we most likely are!


quicklike: No Country for Old Men is splendid entertainment. Coen Bros. choose not to fuck w/ McCarthy's cometlike--read: righteously brisk/curt--novel and emerge with a, well, righteously brisk/curt film. the film pretty much cruises. maybe invincible archvillain Chigurh was a tad goofier than i'd've liked, but Tommy Lee Jones and Josh Brolin (Brand from Goonies!!!) were completely at home in their roles. as many have pointed out more eloquently than i, Coens really got out of the way of this one and just let it roll. read the book too, for sure.


quickerlike: overheard at Thursday's brutally efficient Enslaved/Arsis show at B.B. King's (read Kelefa Sanneh's likewise brutally efficient, and expertly calibrated NYTimes preview thereof here):

curly-maned teenage Arsis fan [addressing equally curly-maned--and severely denimed-out--Arsis bassist, Noah Martin]: Great set, man!

Noah Martin: Thanks, man!

C-MTAF: Can I ask you a weird question?

NM: Sure, man.

C-MTAF: Uh, [points to NM's curly mane] so, do you condition?

NM: [smiling proudly] Yeah, actually I do!


not much you can really say about that, huh?

also, some guy took the break between the Enslaved set proper and their encore as an opportunity to get up onstage and actually PROPOSE to his girlfriend, who was absolutely NOWHERE TO BE FOUND. she eventually came running up toward the stage, but it was too late; the dude was already slinking away from the mike, deeply ashamed. incredibly awkward times down at B.B. King's, lemme tell you!


Enslaved definitely ripped it. meat-and-potatoes Norwegian black metal, seasoned w/ plenty of RAWK and some goblet-raising prog grandeur. nothing too flashy, just killer riffs and good times. apparently the dude next to me thought so too, as he kept whipping me in the face with his own curly mane. thems the hazards of headbanging, right there...

Thursday, November 08, 2007

What's "My Name..."?

as promised, here's my take on "My Name Is Albert Ayler," opening tonight at Anthology Film Archives. any Ayler fan really needs to see this.

also, have been very much digging the new ESP reissue of Ayler's Hilversum Session--tape is a little wobbly (there are some weird panning effects happening), but the playing is insane. for my money, this was Ayler's best group: the "Spiritual Unity" trio plus Don Cherry.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Don Ayler, R.I.P.

just heard the sad news of Don Ayler's passing at this excellent Albert Ayler site. funny, since i just reviewed the very strong new Ayler doc--which features extensive interview footage of Don and a lot of info on the brothers' tumultuous relationship--for Time Out. that issue will be out Thursday and i'll link to the piece here. (Don's on the left above, btw.)

here's an mp3 that might be of interest. it's from Don Ayler's only Albert-less recording, a triple-LP set called "In Florence 1981." all info on this session is here. some of this stuff is surprisingly straight-ahead, but this track is pretty out there (i snagged Volume 1 from Church Number 9 before it went belly-up; anyone have parts 2 and 3?). some nice Ayler soloing after the reedist has had his say:

Don Ayler - The African Song
rec. 7/18/81 in Florence

same Ayler site led me to this fascinating clip of evangelical saxist Rosie Haynes. the Ayler resemblance is pretty intense:

also in more Ayler-universe news, check out this flyer advertising a new Sunny Murray large group--performing only in Luxembourg, unfortunately--containing an insane array of talent: Odean Pope, Khan Jamal, Bobby Few and Sonny Simmons, for starters--hot damn!


p.s. - if anyone happens to read my Nate Wooley live review in this month's Wire and can't figure out why parts of it don't make sense, it's due to some editing snafus. drop a comment here if you want to see the corrected text--don't think the mag would be cool w/ me posting it here.