Thursday, April 19, 2007

A propos of nothing...

This is still the funniest thing I've ever seen on TV. God bless KITH.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

No. 1 With a Bullet

Last night, whilst discussing the VA Tech shooting on the phone with a friend, I ad-libbed a joke. I must confess a certain malaise about the media attention and histrionics over the incident, because this is far from news in other parts of the world, though I know that it's well too early to be making jokes about some sick bastard massacreing 32 innocent people. But I also know that eventually others will be making the following joke, and so I want to go on record here as the first:

So this is officially The largest mass-shooting in modern American history. More than the ex-Marine in the clocktower back in '66; more than the guy who drove his pickup into the Killeen cafeteria back in '91. And it was by one guy with two handguns. A search of his dormroom found no additional weapons, artillery, ammo, bombs, or other such devices - nothing. One guy, two handguns. Eric Harris & Dylan Klebold, the two shitsticks responsible for the Columbine massacre, had between them two shotguns, a rifle, a semi-automatic, duffel bags full of explosives, and months of painstaking fantasizing and preparation. And they didn't kill half as many people as Cho Seung-Hui.

Just another example of Asians outdoing the white kids in American educational institutions.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

And a Felicitous Easter to You As Well!

Mel's best drinking buddy

Happy Easter everyone! I'll spare you the polemics for now, 'cuz I'm too busy eating chocolate. If you wanna talk, drop a comment and I'll get back to you. Otherwise, enjoy the tunes!

Jesus: Unnailed

1. C. Keating - "And Their Leader Was Named Phillip" (00:00)
2. UFOMammut - "God" (00:52)
3. Laddio Bolocko - "Call Me Jesus" (06:55)
4. Johnny Cash - "The Man Comes Around" (08:48)
5. The Birthday Party - "Big Jesus Trash Can" (13:09)
6. The Billy Nayer Show - "Rabbits & Bears" (16:09)
7. The Melvins - "HOGLEG" (17:52)
8. The Velvet Underground - "Waiting For The Man" (21:12)
9. The Dandy Warhols - "Hard-On For Jesus" (25:39)
10. Rufus Wainwright - "Gay Messiah" (30:15)
11. Spacemen 3 - "Walking With Jesus (Live)" (33:25)
12. Stone Roses - "I Am the Ressurection" (37:26)
13. Husker Du - "Newest Industry" (42:13)
14. Nino Rota - "The Baptism" from The Godfather (45:33)
15. Glenn Branca - "The Ascension" (47:16)
16. The Brian Jonestown Massacre - "Their Satanic Majesties' Second Request" (01:00:22)

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Yes, But

Okay, I'm not going to lie: this song digs its nails into your brain like Bill O'Reilly beating down a Mexican. I recall seeing one of Battles' earliest gigs, at the Ipecac Records Geekshow four years ago. Opening that night at Irving Plaza, Battles were clearly a more beat-oriented descendent of Don Caballero's post-Frippian rock fractalism. They had all the right pieces of a sumbitch of a puzzle - they just hadn't quite figured out how to put them together yet. They splayed themselves on the altar of Potential Energy that night.

...And four years later, here they ride a Mongol horde of a geometric bounce straight into the pleasure centers of the brain.

Yet, whilst everyone loses it over their impending debut full-length, I can't help but think that this music had a clear antecedent: the lamentedly late, unbelievably great Laddio Bolocko. They're not identical, granted: Battles deliver their music with machinist immaculacy, while there's an feral musk to Laddio Bolocko that lends them a certain kind of menace. But the carpet-bombing rhythms, lacerating fretwork, and transcendental devotion to repetition do bear a striking resemblence, wouldn't you agree?

Well, take a listen for yourself...

Laddio Bolocko - "Goat Lips" (from The Strange Warmings of)

Whaddaya think?

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Saying "Fuck It" Without Giving Up

You tell 'em, Hank!

Well, about six weeks ago, I finally, finally, finally put the finishing touches on a project that has consumed much of my time over the past year. The relief I felt was so great that the weight removed from my shoulders felt almost physical. Huzzah! At long last, I could drink things other than coffee, watch & talk to people who weren't on my laptop screen, and if I chose to sit at a computer, I could do something other than edit fucking sound effects all day.

Seriously, folks. You have no idea how many times it takes to listen to a fart sound effect until all the funny has melted right out of it.

As February turned out to be kind of unpleasant outdoors, I found myself... still in front of the computer, but at least now of my own volition. Following my vocational curiosities, I began trolling various blogs, mostly about the intersection of politics & art. (A number of these sites are linked to the right - well worth perusing.) Now, what better way to regain my sense of self than engage in some spirited conversation with my fellow human beings, eh?

It wasn't anywhere near as encouraging as I'd hoped. By now, anyone reading this will know how generally unsociable & contemptful one can feel towards his fellow man following many hours of keyboard-bound gruntwork. I'd foolishly thought that by turning to the Internet, of all places, I'd be able to rekindle some sense of kinship & investment in our species. Fat fucking chance.

Instead, I was met with a feedback loop of self-congratulatory myopia that generally left me convinced, in all my time shackled to my laptop, I'd missed sweet fuck all. Allow me to illustrate the kind of conversations I had during my sojourn into e-debate. For example, the average political exchange was limited to something akin to...

Netizen: I think White!
Me: I think a dark shade of grey!
Netizen: Stop thinking so Black!
Me: Uh... No, I said grey. I'm not Black.
Netizen: Neither is Barack Obama!
Me: What?!

And so forth. People are perennially bloody-minded in real life, so to think you can meaningfully challenge their opinions online is worse than tilting at windmills: it's skeet-shooting with marshmallows.

What really drove me back offline was a certain exchange regarding the "Ecclesiastical Nihilism" of SunnO))) on the normally-excellent K-Punk blog. (Seriously, Mark's musings on the Fall are bloody brilliant.) Instead of trying to recount that ugly epistemological pile-up directly, let's indulge in a little metaphorical dramatization...

(Seb walks into a record store and finds a bunch of guys in the metal section having a circle-jerk)

Seb: Woah! Uh...
Guy #1: No, don't worry! Just us guys, nothin' weird. We're just getting a little carried away with these nude photos of Hillary Duff. I mean, come on, dude, isn't that just so smokin' hot?
Seb: But that's... isn't that just Duff's face glued on top of Sherilyn Fenn's body?
Everyone: Who?
Seb: Sherilyn Fenn, y'know, she was the hot, rich chick off Twin Peaks. Aren't those the shots she did that one time for Hustler magazine or something?

(The glued face of Hillary Duff peels off and falls to the floor, revealing Fenn's Pepsodent smile & brunette bob hairdo)

Seb: Yeah, see? That's her.
Guy #1: Well... I still think Hillary Duff's hotter.
Guy #2; Ah HA! Foolish n00b! Fenn never posed for Hustler - those are from her Playboy spread!
Seb: Well, okay, fine, Playboy, whatever, but the point is that I was rig-
Guy #3: OOOOOOOH god, I'm gonna bust! Hillary, why are you soooo HOT?!
Seb: What the hell is wrong with you people?

Actually, that last line would more accurately be attributed to my comrade, Jonny, who wrote the "enraged e-mail" which Mark mentions to chastise the pretension of all those involved in the conversation. And "pretenstion" is precisely the right word: as Jonny would say to me later, "these guys talk as though they precisely know everything they're talking about when you just proved that they don't."

(Jonny, an avid Black Metalhead, called out Dominic's ersatz obsession with Xasthur as a further mark of toe-dipper tourism, "because anyone into Californian black metal knows to go straight to Leviathan!" I'll have to take Jonny's word on that.)

And please don't think that I chose the masturbation metaphor arbitrarily. It's quite impossible to talk about music online without everything collapsing into a cockfight, usually replete with ad hominem insults. As someone put it so succinctly: Arguing on the internet is like running in the Special Olympics... Even if you win, you're still retarded.

So yeah, how terribly depressing. The truth of the matter is (as you've noticed) I'm not exactly a committed online presence anyway. But I'd be lying if I said I'd resolved to walk away from any kind of online exchange; after all, open communication is by far superior to the alternative. What I intend to do with this space, then, is remove any pretense of "Blog-ness" - no more apologies of a lack of posts, no commitment to communicative constancy, no more afternoons flushed into writing self-indulgent diatribes that will slip into online oblivion quicker than you can say "Sanjaya Malakar." No, instead, this shall be an intermittent webcast, subject to personal whim & technological circumstance. But I can promise you this: I have excellent taste.

The first of such webcasts would therefore have been last month's Fight Songs MP3 mix, in honour of the fourth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. For the second, I offer you the following...

Yr. a Space Cowboy

1. Scratch Acid - "Skin Drips" (00:00)
2. The Billy Nayer Show - "Ceres Walk (03:02)
3. Link Wray - "The Swag" (05:05)
4. Slim Whitman - "I'm Casting My Lasso Towards the Sky" (07:22)
5. Henry Mancini - "Midnight Cowboy" (10:05)
6. Pavement - "Stare" (12:06)
7. The Dandy Warhols - "Orange" (14:54)
8. The Cramps - "I Can't Stand It" (20:31)
9. Big Lazy - "Skinless Boneless" (23:09)
10. Gordon Downie - "Mystery" (25:42)
11. Captain Beefheart - "I'm Gonna Booglarize You Baby" (29:15)
12. Big Black - "The Power of Independent Trucking" (33:45)
13. Tom Waits - "Gun Street Girl" (35:12)
14. The Tragically Hip - "Titanic Terrarium" (39:49)
15. Earth - "An Inquest Concerning Teeth" (44:16)
16. Lungfish - "Infinite Daybreak" (49:23)

Over the course of my many frosty February evening strolls around Tokyo, I for some reason found myself listening to very, well, Western music. This isn't to be confused with Country & Western, but something more gruff, lean, macho, all clashing metal and thundering wood - Cowboy rock. Perhaps it was the beginning of my psychic disentanglement from Japan; perhaps the cold sting in the air made me pine for the austere vacuity of my native prairie landscape in wintertime. (I've always likened Alberta in the winter to staring at a sheet of grey paper with a line drawn across the middle.) Either way, I'm still unable to kick my aversion to folk music, so there's almost no acoustic music in earshot; rather, everything is wrapped in spring reverb and spun through tremolo, those antiquated sounds that were overused in the first generation of monster & alien B-movies.

Ergo... Space Cowboy music. In short, get ready of a set of tunes that'd be at home on the jukebox in either the Double-R Diner or the Ceres Crossroads.

By the way, should you want any of the MP3 mixes after the link has expired, just drop me a line in the current comments box. Happy listening.

Monday, April 02, 2007


I seriously doubt I could conjure up a worse, less-flattering publicity still if I fucking tried.