Wednesday, May 28, 2003

Odds on me making a mix CD anytime soon without including Hoosier Hotshots’ “I Like Bananas (Because They Have No Bones)”: 42 to 1.

It’s a clarinet/slide-whistle/swing-guitar howler from 1935, on the new Definitive Hoosier Hotshots Collection two-disc set, whose opener “Meet Me By The Ice House Lizzie” freaks me out for sounding so much like Herbert.

My softball team played The Paris Review tonight and on the mound, in a maroon-striped oxford and baggy sweater with wooden buttons, stood none other George Plimpton. He played!! He pitched!!! We play magazine/media teams exclusively, but usually they’re manned/womanned by young-gun interns and ad types. Not this time. Plimpton looks every bit his 76 years, but his slowpitch lobs found the plate with all the stately old-world grace you’d expect.

He told post-game stories, too, all of them dripping with rising-moon drama and so-what-exactly-haven’t-I-done? deadpan. He went from playing for the Baltimore Colts to marching in a ‘Heroes Alley’ Yankee’s parade to sitting atop Fenway Park’s Green Monster to writing books about fireworks in about three minutes. Great stuff.

Now if only Remnick and Angell would show for the New Yorker game…

Monday, May 26, 2003

Missy Elliott was on MTV Cribs the other night and—inspired, she said, by Ricky Stratton on Silver Spoons—she has a king-size bed set in the shell of a Ferrari Testarossa whose front hood folds up to reveal a plasma-screen TV and whose back trunk stores shelves that hold a whole bank of fly display sneakers.

To which we all say: “Of course she does!”

Tuesday, May 20, 2003

I see a lot of melting, mathy shapes when listening to King Sunny Ade’s guitar lines on The Best Of The Classic Years. Can’t think of a way to describe them better than Christgau’s “so light that [they] seem barely touched by rock sonorities,” but I feel more pressed to draw them than write about them anyway.

Friday, May 16, 2003

…though I should now note that Echoes is basically the only album I’ve wanted to listen to since writing that first impression, and that it’s kind of wrong…or at least beside the point.

Thursday, May 15, 2003

So after two listens the most intriguing aspect of The Rapture’s Echoes is how thoroughly unimpressive it is. I like it a good deal, but upon seeing them live for the first time two weeks ago, it’s basically the least interesting treatment of those songs I could’ve imagined at the time. On stage they floored me: ferociously cutting rhythms pushed way to the fore, slithery funk pulled wire-tight, screams and Cure-like cries all right and reedy, a mime-bot sax player. And stage moves that sealed the deal in a big way.

But the record’s so underproduced! Where’s the DFA-ness? I’ve been listening to the Muzik magazine Disco Punk mix a lot, and had already styled the new-to-me Rapture songs along similar lines in my head…dubby horn burbles, pitch-shifted handclaps, the cool “Edit!” breakdown of the Le Tigre remix. Very little of that idea-swirl made it onto Echoes it seems.

Fully expecting to change my mind with more time, but first impression leaves an awful lot to the imagination.

Thursday, May 08, 2003

Saw Yeah Yeah Yeahs tonight at Irving Plaza and they really, really need a bass player. They lacked a lot of oomph in the oomph-intensive parts, and this kid shoulder-dancing in front of me’s motions gave physical shape to the howling void that takes the place of a real rhythm section.

Karen O was less forceful vocally than I remember from last time: her shrieking high-register seemed less like a component of her singing parts than a different thing altogether. She looked great, though, with a velvety-jogging-shorts-over-black-tights getup that played totally different under black lights and not. Whatever her shortcomings, Karen O is a great rock star…but Christian Joy, her stylist, is even greater.

Friday, May 02, 2003

Still way-new to Luomo's The Present Lover album and already fantasizing about the trancey squiggle wash in “Could You Be Like This” becoming a sort of “Mentasm” stab/”Acid Tracks” riff for microhouse: a singular sound-riff-meme that sounds like the culmination of all that precedes it while signaling a next step that recalibrates its precursors into new shapes. It’s a bit like the sine-wave solo Luomo unveiled on the album’s title track (previously released on the Digital Disco comp.), but even more improvisational and free-floating. Totally organic in the way he tends toward as Vladislav Delay and Uusitalo, but washed through with a disco sheen he pours thick and sprightly all over this new Luomo ode.

It'll be interesting to see how people respond to this album. I’ve already listened to it like seven times in two days and feel about halfway toward a qualified first-impression; it’s so mesmerizingly gauzy and immersive that working toward any sort of critical distance strikes me as counterproductive so far. I’ll go ahead and guess that it’ll turn off a number of fans and leave certain curiosity-seekers cold, but those who get into it will get VERY INTO it. The beats and production are so perfect/forthright that it addresses microhouse less as a formal plaything than as an established approach ready for a work worthy of highest reverence—“work” there meaning “album” with all the thematic, song-based connotations it suggests. I’m pretty slow to regard the “album” as a necessarily worthwhile end these days, but there’s something to be said for the way that listening to The Present Lover already makes me anxious to know how I’ll hear it in the weeks-months-years to come.

Thursday, May 01, 2003

Currently listening to Yeah Yeah Yeahs and wanting to figure out a way to overlay Karen O's drizzle-down yowl in "Rich" with the acid line in Michael Mayer's "Love Is Stronger Than Pride." They both melt out of the speakers the same way: decrepid, nasty, steely, resigned...and more than a little bit funny in both cases. Mayer's especially--he seems to be sending a fuck-off note to the formal layout of the acid riff and going deep down into the Kompakt toolkit for smears and slurps that all but laugh down the history they invoke. It's one of too-few saving graces on Mayer's mix-disc Speicher (Kompakt), but the too-few quotient in his case is still a ways away from not-enough. No suprise here, but Superpitcher rises way to the top with "Fieber," a flat-out stunner with cross-hatched lurches that leave his thick stomp frozen in the face of just-behind and just-infront beat tags. Superpitcher's so push/pull that he sounds nervy and laconic at the same time, all crystal clarity and downer drowse fighting for supremacy.

The wait for the Superpitcher album is getting really annoying, isn't it?

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