Friday, July 10, 2009

Odd ends

[James Ensor's "The Skeleton Painter," from 1895 or 1896]

A quick roundup before I head down to D.C. with Laal for the weekend.

*Here is my Volume review of two Loyal Label CD-release parties I caught earlier this week: Jon Irabagon/Mike Pride at Cornelia Street Cafe and Seabrook Power Plant at Zebulon. Largely based on these new offerings, Loyal is becoming one of my very favorite contemporary jazz labels.

*Here is a very cool compilation of videos featuring the ever-awesome Zs. The gentleman responsible for the footage, Torsten Meyer (check out his amazing trove of recent NYC show clips), asked me to provide a brief intro/reminiscence re: checking out Zs over the years. I dipped into the DFSBP archives for this one.

*Here is a whole bunch of fun material related to the Jonas Brothers' recent visit to Time Out NY. (The Bros served as guest editors for this week's TONY Music section.) Yes, I was actually in the same room with them--for about 45 minutes, no less. Without a hint of sarcasm, I can say that I really enjoyed the opportunity to meet them and to rap about music.

And a few brief raves.

*The James Ensor show at MoMA. Macabre, vivid, grotesque, hilarious. As you can see above, never have skeletons seemed funnier, more poignant or more personable than in this Belgian artist's work. And dig this sketch title: "The Devils Dzitts and Hihahox, Led by Crazon, Riding a Wild Cat, Accompany Christ to Hell."

*Hamlet 2. Did not stop laughing during this entire film, which came highly recommended by my awesome sis, Caroline, who was in town for the 4th of July. Wickedly offbeat Steve Coogan vehicle from last year. Incredible turns by Catherine Keener, Elisabeth Shue and other Hollywood eccentrics.

*The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters. Terrible title; incredible doc about Donkey Kong obsession. At bottom, it's a real-life unpacking of "Good guys finish last."

*Mid- to late-era Led Zeppelin. I become more and more of an obsessive LZ devotee with each passing second. The sheer scope of Physical Graffiti floors me, especially the tender songs like "Ten Years Gone" and "Down by the Seaside," as well as the relentless "Wanton Song," which foreshadows the Jesus Lizard in a very significant way. Presence owns on the WEIRD-riff front. Coda is action-packed, breathtaking and probably the most coherent odds-and-ends record ever assembled. Oh, to have seen this band live...

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