Friday, January 30, 2004

Though (and, in part, because) it makes you both elated and vaguely embarrassed for the room it’s playing in (which is to say the actual space, the very air you’d otherwise not regard in an altruistic- or bashful-type way), Pootie Tang is a much better and much worse movie than you might expect. Curse that pointed second-person arrow, I know, but really we’re all the same sitting in front of that film.

Thursday, January 29, 2004

Israeli grapefruits are weird. Their skin is green. The insides are yellow. They taste like grapefruit with more bananas and butter. And a touch of dimestore perfume. I have an occasional habit of buying strange fruits from the produce shop in Chelsea Market, which stocks enough strange fruits to keep a once-a-month habit going surprisingly strong. Rambutans, Ugly Fruits, would-be Star Fruits with spikes…some of them it’s hard to figure out how to even eat.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

So the falling snow led me first to phones to secure weekend ski plans and then here now to sit, in snowy silence, with a mind toward the proud civic rush of the rub-rub-rattle of NYC snow plows skirting the empty night like hard thoughts diffused through too-long trails of qualifiers and prepositions. One of the best things about my job is that it’s near this garage that houses trucks, plows, tractors…all these big machines used to make the city work. It’s on the Way West Side of Manhattan, a block long, bleak and industrial if only those words held out room for function. Every day it’s different: empty, packed with 30 tractors, mapped by ordered piles of rocks, home to dozens of dumptrucks parked within inches. Constantly changing, in look and suggestion. I have no idea where all the things go, what they do, when they’ll return. The guys who work there aren’t always there. They aren’t always the same guys. At least one of them must be responsible for the green alien doll strapped to one of the tractors’ grill. A guy today stood in the middle of snow-swept 10th Ave., directing a big rig backup, in a full-body white suit. The atmosphere there was purposeful and quiet. They were working then, as they are now, as they will tomorrow.

Sunday, January 25, 2004

If you had a cousin you don't really know but heard has a band in 8th grade and "is into Dylan," what would you put on a mix for him? Here's what I came up with...

A Blind-Eyed Mix

1. GUIDED BY VOICES – Everywhere With Helicopter
2. JON BRION – I Believe She’s Lying
3. TALKING HEADS – Found A Job
4. TED LEO & THE PHARMACISTS – Ballad Of The Sin Eater
5. THE RAPTURE – House Of Jealous Lovers
6. BRIGHT EYES – Something Vague
8. BELLE & SEBASTIAN – Sleep The Clock Around
9. THE NOTWIST – Pilot
10. STEREOLAB – “…Sudden Stars”
11. TV ON THE RADIO – Staring At The Sun
13. THE NEW PORNOGRAPHERS – Ballad Of A Comeback Kid
14. NEUTRAL MILK HOTEL – Holland, 1945
15. THE SOFT BOYS – I Wanna Destroy You
16. WIRE – In The Art Of Stopping
17. BOARDS OF CANADA – Julie And Candy

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

I'm not much of a lists person, but this is an absolute marvel that the whole world should see. My oh my.

(Also, if you see them looking up all weird from a deli shelf, don't hesitate to try the new "white chocolate" Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. They're, um, totally delicious.)

Friday, January 16, 2004

Just saw an demented video for DJ Kay Slay f/ Three 6 Mafia’s “Who Gives A Fuck Where U From,” for which they made a video game with some of the Three 6 dudes in it (unless I’m wrong or misled, which I’d rather not know). Way late to the party, but recent pile-pulls of Lil Jon and Youngbloodz and Bone Crusher and Crunk & Disorderly have me thinking I missed the story of 2003 big-time. Crunk’s way more shiver-tweak insane than most of the grime I’ve heard, and the MCs dwarf just about everything—like rap piped down from some Land of the Giants. Stomp stomp...BLAAAGGH!!!

Saturday, January 10, 2004

Saw Yeah Yeah Yeahs last night and for the first time got really excited about the band they stand become before long. Nick Zinner was on fire, using more of the guitar neck in four-chord patterns than most manage in a whole night. The band was a bit dwarfed by the size of Hammerstein Ballroom, but his guitar benefited greatly from a grade-A soundsystem and adequate room to let his tonal range take shape. And Karen O was giddy and giggly in a way I hadn’t seen her be, all at-play and at-ease and at-arrival.

Thursday, January 08, 2004

My top 10 singles, with dashed-off comments sure to underserve!

1. Beyonce “Crazy In Love” (Columbia)
Jay-Z rules and Beyonce’s hot (and her album’s better than I think I realize yet.)

2. Michael Mayer “Speaker” (Kompakt)
A smeary, bangy suite smearier and banginger than anything I heard on Kompakt when I went back and listened to it all. Fans of sibilance rejoice over the …ssss… obviously, but it wouldn’t be anything more than novel if it didn’t pull the string on a beat too tight to need it even.

3. OutKast “Hey Ya” (Arista)
Because the guitar chords are not pop guitar chords the way they really are in the end.

4. !!! “Me and Guiliani down by the Schoolyard (A True Story)” (Touch And Go)
Had initially (and more or less correctly) heard this as snide posturing at the start, but DFA got out-DFAed by this one, no?

5. Elephant Man “Fuck U Sign” (Greensleeves)
Clang clang skip clang…and the noisy riff sounds like tea’s ready on a planet I’d really like to have tea on. Elephant Man’s vocal schematics are wowing, of course, but in a way I so don’t want to subject to parsing.

6. Matthew Dear “Dog Days” (Spectral Sounds/Ghostly International)
I keep reading “pop” used in reference here, but at their core Matthew Dear tracks are more flat-out fucked up than just about anything.

7. Alozade & Hollow Point feat. Mr. Vegas “Under Mi Sensi” (Greensleeves)
This one tilts so much further every which way than most 2003 dancehall, and the MCs lay back in thrall in a way that seems more incorporated than most, too.

8. Superpitcher “Fieber” (Kompakt)
No beat drew me in as close and kept me out as far as this one…cross-hatched but unified, vacuumed but heaving, straight-forward but misleading.

9. Stereolab “’…suddenly stars’” (Elektra)
Heartening as a hymn, but even moreso as a resurrection (if or not that’s what it proves to be).

10. Rework “You’re So Just Just” (Playhouse)
Crisp and tight, withholds and unloads the double-hit snare with perfect patience.

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

There must be a way to engage more fully in service of reflection…
...noitcelfer fo ecivres ni ylluf erom egagne ot yaw a eb tsum erehT

Monday, January 05, 2004

I got a Sonicare toothbrush for Christmas and would just as soon not stop to consider what it says about the cruel betrayal of language that I once spoke of "clean teeth" with something like good faith. Brushing with fewer than 31,000 strokes per minute is no way to live a life, people.

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