Tuesday, November 25, 2003

(For connections' sake, I should say that “Dirt Off Your Shoulder” sounds like The Fall by way of The Fiery Furnaces’ terrific cover of “Winter” on the Rough Trade 25th-anniversary tribute comp Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before.)

Monday, November 24, 2003

Is it just me or does “Dirt Off Your Shoulder,” the Timbaland track on Jay-Z’s new album, sound like The Fall circa Palace Of Swords Reversed? The murk of it, the distance. Surely there’s a mash-up to be mashed up. Or maybe it wouldn’t be altogether meaningless to imagine a post-punk surge into hip-hop. One of their best features is that I can actually imagine The Neptunes knowing and digging The Fall. And with Pharrell hanging out with James Murphy, and DJ Quik’s beat for “Justify My Thug” (to mine ears the most potentially sticky, um, “next level” of those on the aforementioned Jay-Z album) sliding the Retro Meter a few clicks era-ward…stay tuned.

Can’t say I hear more than a highly competent verification of well-documented skills on The Black Album. Kind of a shame that his ostensible last album is entirely about being his ostensible last album. Gonna take a studiously maintained cellar to keep that from turning to vinegar aging-wise. One of his best features, though, is that I can actually imagine Jay-Z staying out the game, as it were. Maybe he’s come to realize he commands presence more through track-stealing guest shows. I’m hard-pressed to think of a Moment In Music (2003) I love more than when he rolls into “Yes, sir/I’m cut from a different cloth/my texture’s/the best fur…chinchilla!” on Beyonce’s “Crazy In Love.” It’s ur-great!

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Playing around with the new Michel Gondry “Director Label” DVD tonight I became convinced he hears music exactly the way I do: formalism first, lyrics/narrative if and only if they relate to the formalist decree. Is that bad? Certainly exhausting in spells (which may explain my recent fascination w/ emo, an intriguing movement I think I’m starting to hear as more than a data set), but fighting it’s no more than recognizing it I figure.

Anyway, Gondry: He’s brilliant! His video for Kylie Minogue’s “Come Into My World” just about knocked me out of my chair. I won’t get into it since there’s no reclaiming the slow-burn bemusement of the first time, but do watch it some time. It’s so choice.

(And scroll down to M. Matos’ Kylie piece in this to see what Gondry’s take is a reverse-negative of.)

Thursday, November 13, 2003

I lost my driver’s license last week and before I even got a chance to deal found it returned in my mailbox, via First-Class Mail, by some random person who left no name or note…which is the most overwhelmingly life-affirming gesture I’ve been party to in quite some time. THANKS!! THANKS!! THANKS!!

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

I saw Belle & Sebastian tonight and they were so nice and amiable that I left thinking “nice” and “amiable” shouldn’t read as much like faint praise as they do. (This brought to you by someone who thumbed through the premiere issue of Tracks over dinner and found it, all things considered, pretty good.)

Also digging: the wham-bam blowout Science Times section in Tuesday’s New York Times. Though: why is it so inconceivable that something even half as thoughtful would be devoted to the arts in any context? Like, a multi-directional section that fulfills the promise of a lead piece wondering (in interesting ways) “Does Music Matter?”

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

When's the last time you tested your fire alarm? I just did mine, and 15 minutes later still feel like I'm either going to throw up or turn into a piece of grossly fibrous plastic. Amazing!

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

You know when your eye twitches that little spell of time after initial shudder and before you realize that though all such past twitches have ended it’s at least not totally unreasonable to wonder if this one won’t, when it’s just another twitch you’re tickled to be weathering as an anomalous quick-time rejigger of everything that surrounds and suffuses you? That’s what it’s like listening to Deadbeat Vs. Stephen Beaupré’s new It’s A Crackhaus Thing, a glitch-funk album that swings like a mace and rubs like terrycloth that's hardened just enough make things really interesting.

Monday, November 03, 2003

I saw 2 Many DJ’s last night for the first time in a year, and any suspicions I’d had about their time and place having come and gone were squashed. They were dancier and less bootleg-intensive than in the past, no less surprising and a touch less obvious. All attempts at mental cataloguing got derailed by the sheer density of it all, and I was thrilled to just be happy that it was the first time I came home drenched in sweat in way too long.

Also saw a program of Beckett shorts at a cool converted can factory near the Gowanus Canal that was devastatingly good, and sank my eyes into the new DVD of Hulk, a noxiously underrated movie that couldn't be much more fun to look at.

Give it up for culture y'all.

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