Thursday, July 30, 2009

My home and native land...

Homesickness can do strange and sometimes productive things - hence the video above, a speedball paean to my birthplace (delivered in a neanderthal manner suitable for a native Albertan). My friends who've seen the video picked up quickly that what I evidently miss the most about Canada is, naturally, Tim Horton's. Yes, it is, and to my dying breath will I insist that they make the finest donuts on god's green earth.

But personally, my favourite part of the video is the Three Stooges-style hockey punch-up. Physical comedy at its finest!

The song is from my latest EP, Breeds With Anything, which is available - no strings - for free right here. As I explained before, the record is a deliberately troglodytic affair, all red-blooded machismo and screaming invective because, y'know what, that's fun. The Melvins have proven it's possible to play that music with more than a modicum of intelligence, and who doesn't want to be David Yow for a day?

In this spirit - Foghat, motherfucker! - I offer you the mix below... with one caveat. I enjoy all of the songs, if occasionally for nothing more than the bassline (I'm looking at you, Lil' Jon), but some of them are so patently offensive I can't even bring myself to quote the lyrics (ibid). There is more than a little misogyny among the songs, and I don't want anyone thinking that I endorse that nonsense. But such is a byproduct of relentless Manliness; after all, how can a man consider himself the pinnacle of all creation without necessarily disparaging the other gender? Jay-Z almost gets away with it by putting a war-of-the-sexes spin on Chris Rock's Black People bit - almost. I'm pretty sure that N.E.R.D.'s whole catalogue is an elaborate cross-genre satire, though I wonder if that's putting too much stock in Pharrell's self-awareness. The only band that acquits itself of all charges (and at face value, no less) is NoMeansNo.

So, honest question: is this treading perilously close to the equivalent cop-out excuse for listening to a NSBM band, "Yes it's deplorable, but they rock"?

Click on the title to download.

Hard-Headed, Fuck You All

1. Action Beat - "Meat Head"
2. Mayyors - "Metro"
3. Pissed Jeans - "Human Upskirt"
4. The Jesus Lizard - "The Art of Self-Defense"
5. The Chico Magnetic Band - "My Sorrow"
6. Jay-Z - "Bitches & Sisters"
7. The Stabs - "Never Going Home"
8. Los Saicos - "(Fugitivo de) Alcatraz"
9. Snoop Dogg w/ Lil Jon & Trina - "Step Yo Game Up"
10. Reek & the Wrecks - "Stoners On Fire"
11. N.E.R.D. - "Lapdance"
12. Sir Lord Baltimore - "Helium Head (I Got a Love)"
13. Karp - "D+D Fantasy"
14. Rye Coalition - "Stairway To The Free Bird On The Way To The Smokey Water"
15. Johnny Fortune - "Dragster"
16. Ministry - "Breathe"
17. The Dildos - "Fuck Off"
18. Soundgarden - "Ty Cobb"
19. NoMeansNo - "Big Dick"

And by the way, the new Pissed Jeans album - sweet merciful crap, does it rawk. It's out August 18th. Mark it on your calender and prepare to get messy.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Calling For the Head of John Anthony Gillis

Who is John Anthony Gillis exactly? Well, I'd say he's the one above with the studied pout and vacant stare, but that wouldn't really help, would it?

Anyone who's paid even vague attention to this webpage knows that I am not a fan of Jack White - not of the White Stripes, nor of the Raconteurs, nor of that hammy underwritten track where he & Alicia Keys stand around and shout a lot. Now, bitching about mainstream music is tilting at windmills: no matter how shitty, it ain't gonna change for some crank with an obscure vinyl collection, so sit back and let the harmattan of history sand the chrome off the latest novelty until it's as rusted & useless as all that went before. But Jack White is cannier than your average pop mouthpiece and displays both a stylistic percipience and business acuity to rival that of career(ist) icons Bowie and Reznor. The White Stripes may have reached both the platinum & gold sales thresholds but once in America, yet consider that since "Fell In Love With a Girl" first gatecrashed MTV in 2002, we've been subjected to saturation airplay of Avril Lavigne, Linkin Park, 50 Cent, Norah Jones, Usher, Maroon 5, Kelly Clarkson, the Killers, the Black Eyed Peas, the High School Musical soundtracks, Amy "My Last Name Is an Easy Punchline" Winehouse, and Katy Perry... and through it all, Jack White has remained more consistently credible and popular than any of those acts.

To give credit where it's due, Jack White is a hell of a businessman.

White knows pop begins with (and doesn't go much further than) its facade, and so painstakingly sculpts his acts to look how they sound: the peppermint insouciance of the bratty White Stripes (“the most powerful color combination of all time, from a Coca-Cola can to a Nazi banner”); the tweeds-'n'-jeans bar-band antiglam of the Raconteurs; and most recently, the sallow black leather rebel peacocking of the Dead Weather (as seen above and a million times before).

White has also learned a lesson from the Catholic Church and the Grateful Dead: what good is an image without accompanying merchandise? As far back as the Stripes' major-label debut, White's been keen to go beyond trad T-shirt-and-sticker stock by releasing limited-run collectibles bearing his trichromatic cordon. He may not have gotten his own Lego set, but he did get everything from USB sticks to sewing kits and a signature-edition Lomo camera set.

Perhaps heeding Lego's lost opportunity, the Coca-Cola company came a-knockin' in 2006 to commission an update of their epochal grouphug. The Nagi Noda video accompanying White's sub-Sesame Street singalong was an immaculately executed rip-off of Michel Gondry's fast-fatiguing repeat-o-rama trick (including, of course, the "Hardest Button To Button" video).

But while the fool multitude may be content with wacky-looking guitars and a head-nodding beat, tastemakers, critics, and hipsters are quick to call "foul" on a musician palling around with corporate sponsors. White set about defending his cred even before any worse-than-typical-knee-jerk blacklash kicked up, cranking his Analog-Man-In-A-Digital-World affectation to 11 by slagging off "kids today" and the internet in every interview. Also, when his Bond theme was debuted via another Coca-Cola commercial, he rushed out a press release disavowing any involvement in the marketing scheme, claiming to be "disappointed that you first heard the song in a co-promotion for Coke Zero, rather than in its entirety."

But who other than the densest, most irony-deficient dolt would accept this blatant cant? (Though such blatant about-faces often seem to work for scandalised evangelicals...) Clearly White's not shy about shilling for a megacorp of questionable scruples - he just wants total control over his product. After all, he 86'd that collaboration with Lego because, in his words, "You had your chance." True, White could avoid tangling with tie-ins and licensing altogether by forsaking merchandise a la Fugazi, but then Ian MacKaye ain't got a net worth $37 million, does he?

White's technophobia & analog asceticism also rings false. The band does in fact use digital trickery to enhance their sound, and White's label's much-vaunted subscription service is - surprise! - built upon the online platform. It's this false piousness and deliberate luddism regarding the internet that is most maddening. "Do I really need a MySpace page for this fucking music?" White recently asked, and obviously no, he doesn't - but only because the Stripes (and thus all his subsequent endeavors) were one of the last acts truly to benefit from the full support of the now-shuddering machinery of the music industry. Shit, if I had V2 funding music videos and paying for airplay, I wouldn't need a MySpace page either!

If there is any other contemporary icon I consider a kindred spirit of Jack White, it's Beyoncé Knowles - which isn't to say I'll sit through a Raconteurs video just for the hip-shaking. There are other musicians who parlayed their "pop outsider" status into a self-sustained cottage industry, with numerous side-projects and forays into other mediums: Frank Zappa, Ani DiFranco, Mike Patton, and fellow Americana afficionado Nick Cave have all done this. But whereas they all regard(ed) the industry at large with enormous contempt & suspicion, White seems unnaturally at ease navigating the corporate landscape - as graceful a glad-hander as Beyoncé. Additionally, both White and Beyoncé's extra-curricular excursions seem less like creative exploration than a rapacious quest for ubiquity, that we should all die with their frizzy hair and unblinking stares seared onto our retinas, the last incandescent image we should ever see as we slump lifeless in our Laz-E-Boys in front of MTV's analgesic strobe.

But, in the end, it's all about the music, right? So yes, let's make it about the fucking music: Jack White enjoys the obscene fortune of being the most widely-admired musical half-wit in history, with a three-chord vocabulary and as great a gift for nuance as Michael Bay. As refreshingly raw as White Blood Cells may have been after a half-decade of ProTool-lacquered pop & nu-metal, White's musical aesthetic is stuck solidly forty years in the past. He's contributed as much to music's progress as these shuck-'n'-jiving charlatans.

What baffles me is that I'm far from alone in acknowledging how starkly unoriginal White's work has been, yet I am desperately alone in not forgiving his shopworn adequation. Clippings from recent Dead Weather reviews include:
See that? These days, "dead-horse devices" reminiscent of records from almost 50 years ago can still somehow be "exciting", while "done to death" merits a solid B; that's some No Child Left Behind grade-curving shit. How, how, how can such under-achieving retro-conservatism still be so gleefully consumed? Where is the otherwise-inescapable post-post-post-ironic backlash? Is everyone too scared to admit that this pallid caveman, once a compelling herald from leftfield, is actually not the fuzzbox messiah we wished? Or is everyone just THAT FUCKING BORING?

Non-Sequitorial Postscript: Separated at birth?

Son of Non-Sequitorial Postscript: Ah, Buddyhead... it's good to have you back, lads!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Ghouls In Tweed Jackets

"Highly respected" cultural theorists tossing around pentasyllabic abstract nouns or not - cashing in on celebrity death is still cashing in on celebrity death, you smug opportunists.


FYI, I've started contributing to the Waterblog, the media arm of my friends' anti-sharking non-profit PangeaSeed. I'll be contributing columns twice a month, interspersed with themed playlists of decent tunes.

Speaking of which... Tokyo squad! PangeaSeed is holding a fundraising benefit, No Fin No Future, at Super Deluxe in Roppongi on July 30th. It's 3000円 at the door, and proceeds go towards not letting our toothy aquatic friends get dismembered in the name of some culinary "delicacy." A full evening of fun, food, tunes, and toons. Come on down.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Après le deluge, moi...

Recently, a good friend and I were arguing about producers. We'd long since settled our differences over notorious opinion-splitter Steve Albini; the current contention hinged on why I have overwhelming respect for Mark Ellis - nom de production Flood - and kinda none for William Orbit. After all, both are brand-name British knob-twiddlers who've put their fingerprints on albums by some of the biggest names in mainstream music over the past twenty years, particularly dance-friendly pop acts with an electronic edge. What's the rub?

Well, in a nutshell, Flood specializes in manipulating sound from a physical source, whereas Orbit typically generates them synthetically. Even if the end results sound markedly similar, the difference is fundamental. Remember what Kevin Shields said when asked why he manually cranked a parametric EQ on the guitar during the mixdown of "I Only Said" as opposed to just using a wah-wah pedal: "It's as much about the approach as the sound."

Orbit started by playing in a dance act, Bassomatic. As you can see, he worked a full raft of electronics, samplers, drum machines, and the like, but nowhere in frame is there a "real" instrument, save the human voice. In fact, the only band (in the conventional sense) that Orbit ever produced was Blur; I'll grant that 13 is probably my favourite record of theirs, but I'd chalk that more up to the wannabe-Pavement songwriting & shambolic performances than the handful of twists in the production.

Flood, on the other hand, cut his teeth capturing the sound of wood & steel reverberating in a room. For me, the ne plus ultra of Flood's discography is his work on the first six Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds records, in particular the skeletal, claustrophobic cacophony of From Her To Eternity. On this debut album (both the band's and Flood's as titled producer), there is so little post-production cluttering the mix that the whole record highlights Flood's skill at capturing ambiance & sculpting a space purely through microphone placement.

Over the course of his work with the Bad Seeds, Flood honed what would become his signature techniques. "Deanna" (from the Bad Seeds' fifth, Tender Prey) is a perfect example of that super-compressed drum sound smacked with gated reverb that's now one of his signets. Also, several guitars worth of feedback are woven with various vocal hoots & hollers to create a layered, vaguely disorienting backdrop for Cave's murder barnburner. True, Orbit does very much the same thing, in terms of lush mixes carefully constituted of zipper-locked tonal strata. But doing that with sinewave-generators & softsynths - slavishly obedient digital Lego blocks of sound - is fuckin' nothing compared to doing that with a roomful of drunks & junkies armed with instruments.

When he began working with Depeche Mode, Flood started supplementing these painstakingly frequency-stacked textures with synthetic & artificial sources, including samplers, keyboards, and especially reverb & delay effects. Despite the icy, inhuman edge this gave the music, Flood still trafficked heavily in the manipulation of sounds from a physical source. To raise the obvious example, "Personal Jesus" featured processed percussion, human breath gated & run through a vocoder, and different reverbs applied to different tracks of a doubled vocal line.

Then came the crash course in high-gloss megastar pop when Flood began engineering U2 records, beginning with The Joshua Tree. Working with sound sculptors supreme Lanois & Eno was a brilliant pairing (as far as production was concerned; let it be said I can't fuckin' stand U2) that delivered the band their biggest albums to date. Despite the bumper crop of new sounds & sonic gags that peppered Achtung Baby in particular, virtually no digital instruments were used, apparently in keeping with the band's desire to be able to faithfully reproduce the album live. The lazery sting at the beginning of "Even Better Than The Real Thing", for example, is just a guitar running through a Digitech Whammy pedal.

Flood finally took on production duties for what many consider, quite rightfully, to be a trainwreck of an album, Zooropa. Part of the mess has to do with the deliberately curtailed period that U2 gave themselves to both write & record the album (three months between legs of the Zoo TV Tour). Part of it has to do with someone with as coarse a sense of irony as Bono going through an identity crisis while desperately trying to straddle the end-of-history zeitgeist of the early '90s. "Lemon" even sounds like something that molted off of an Orbit remix of Madonna's "Justify My Love" or some such bullshit. And yet again, the difference is that Larry Mullen's really playing those drums (as opposed to using those same fuckin' "Hot Pants" and "Think" loops everyone fuckin' used) and the tremolo wash is, once more, heavily processed & effected guitar, not some canned Kurzweil organ patch.

As his oeuvre expanded to include albums with Nine Inch Nails and the Smashing Pumpkins, Flood was armed with a much broader pallette. He could apply his decade behind the boards and uncanny ear for constructing aural environments to projects that would otherwise be bare-bones and straightforward, like PJ Harvey. To many, especially in the infancy of her career, Harvey recalled Patti Smith impersonating Nick Cave (or perhaps vice versa) so it made sense for Flood to recycle a few tricks from his days with the Bad Seeds: brooding organs, stripped-down arrangements, and capturing a powerful (as opposed to technically perfect) performance. Whether it was thanks to the rising stock of the producer's imprint or because of a synergy between performer and production, lead single "Down By The Water" became PJ Harvey's biggest hit ever.

But on a handful of tracks, like "Long Snake Moan", Flood was a little too eager to keep pursuing the experiments he'd begun with NIN and the Pumpkins - unsubtle treatments such as overdubbing an identical guitar riff five times, each with a different tone of distortion; staticky drum triggers; SansAmp on everything. These songs have dated the hardest in perhaps the whole Harvey catalogue, given that Flood's signature sounds had reached saturation levels of radioplay by the mid-'90s thanks to, well, NIN and the Pumpkins. The more spartan songs (e.g. "Down By the Water", "Working For the Man", "Come On Billy") hold up well because they're well-written songs, delivered honestly, captured faithfully.

...Though perhaps not as honestly, faithfully, nor ferally as the album history has decided is PJ Harvey's unimpeachable classic, the Steve Albini-produced Rid of Me.

From there, Flood seems to have suffered from the same wanton self-referentiality that afflicted everyone who wasn't a fratboy date-rapist in the late '90s. To wit, "The Perfect Drug" (while it may actually be my favourite NIN song ever) sounds less like a single than an abstract encapsulation of everything Trent Reznor has ever done in four minutes. That Flood didn't even work on the track is a testament to how pervasive his influence had become upon big-money-backed music. Hell, check out the tone of those live drums - that's the same sound from "Deanna" back in '88!

Now a 25-year veteran of the recording industry, Flood's engineering has gained a certain transparency, his imprimatur on the records he makes less obvious (something that cannot, for better or worse, be said of either Albini or Orbit). Take the latest Sigur Ros release - I'd never have guessed this was a Flood record. All I'd have recognized is that these twee Icelanders are clearly on some kinda saccharine Animal Collective new-primitivist bullshit, and I've got no fucking time for that.

But shit, Flood didn't write that garbage, and he's made almost 10 goddamn records that I listen to and wish I'd made. Respect is due.

(Not to mention Orbit's responsible for Madonna's somehow-worse-than-the-original rendition of "American Pie". That's burning your union card, pal. No forgiveness.)

Monday, July 13, 2009

A New Coat of Paint On An Old Perversion

Nestled within the flesh of Christopher Weingarten's virtuosic rant on the decline of music criticism, a particularly chewy bit of gristle was the truth - accept it, however grudgingly! - that several-thousand-word homilies aren't necessary to show appropriate enthusiasm for music/film/literature/[insert cultural commodity]. A skillful wordsmith can indeed convince someone to seek out (or avoid) a work of art in a mere 140 characters.

If career writers & critics are legitimately fearing for their survival amongst the twit-plague, then what the fuck are the rest of us hobbyists and amateurs doing wasting our time clacking away all this self-indulgent twaddle? In a world where people can pass judgment on Shaquille O'Neal's choice of breakfast as he reports on the masticatory process in real-time, is there any attention left for lengthy diatribes that pass their expiration date while being written?

Life is what happens while you're blogging about it, so I accept that a number of posts I've been working on are already irredeemably irrelevant. For example, I'm going to follow up Ads Without Products' withering "K-Punk's New Clothes" piece, but since that fracas is already (gasp!) several weeks old, I doubt anyone will even bother reading it. So it goes.

Similarly, I'd begun crafting a article inspired by another of AWP's posts - about the libidinal link between sex and violence, specifically when the two are wrapped in a sweaty embrace with global Big Finance - back in fucking October of last year. Then a record, the holidays, moving across the planet and re-rooting intervened, so here we are a full nine months after the fact. Mooted! In the interest of keeping your interest, I'm including two topical playlists I made for a mix-tape swap this past spring; click on the titles below to download. And not wanting to let any labour (however late) go to waste, here's what I was writing at the time...

Talking about the globalisploitation flick Boarding Gate, AWP wrote:
The first-thought thing to say about films like this, that wrap financial activity in sex and violence, is that they are allegories of the violence that works off-stage in the real world to keep the business running. A simple furniture import-export business is really a front for murder-for-hire and heroin dealing etc etc etc. ...And every sexual act is tinged with the aftertaste of violence and ill-gotten gains.
Which, to be sure, is a romantic exaggeration. Despite whatever mirages may manifest in the mirror, I doubt very many hedge fund managers actually sustain the violent portents of of Mr. Blonde while nailing guileful femme fatales like Asia Argento. "Somehow," AWP wrote, "the world wants investment banking to be a task populated by the feral, the oversexed, the trigger-pullers. But it is not."

But not for lack of trying! If the world of cut-throat young Turks swashbuckling across the seas of int'l finance is a mere tenth as amoral, decadent, and libidinally propelled as films like Wall Street, Boiler Room, 25th Hour, Glengarry Glen Ross, or American Psycho would have us believe... then the keys to the kingdom have been handed to some of the most debased sociopaths ever to roam the earth. This is in keeping with the stories I've heard from folks who've worked within any proximity to a stock exchange. One friend, who used to work at a record store in the basement of the TSX, lost track of the number of times he'd walked into a stairwell or bathroom to find brokers bumping blow or speed, engaged in an act of self-love, or indeed getting each other off. (The gender of either party was of secondary importance to frictional expertise. How socially progressive of them!)

And science supports this view of hormonally-imbalanced psychos snorting lines off the back of our portfolio: Harvard researchers found a literal link between men with elevated levels of testosterone and men who'd willfully gamble away money on a coin toss, enthralled by the sheer fuckoffness of chance. The deeply disturbing next step is to consider, in tandem, that testosterone insufficiently counterbalanced by serotonin is a biochemical hallmark of serial killers. Granted, most notorious murderers are too emotionally unstable to play the clean-cut professional as well as Ted Bundy, but the neurology suggests that a monster like Patrick Bateman is less unimaginable than inevitable.

A lot of talk about the (now obviously & woefully ineffective) bailout has argued that it amounts to a bloodless coup by a fraternity of financial oligarchs. The fatted calf being sacrificed on the economic altar isn't merely taxpayers' money, but democracy itself. The difference between state-corporatism (fascism) & state-capitalism (despotic "communism") and contemporary America is that the locus of the masses' libido is not Dear Leader, but the "free-market" economy. As David Sitora wrote:
We have become a country that has one national religion: presidentialism. That's the religion that says the president is an all-powerful deity - and the Oval Office is a position that is the only one that matters. That this outlook is fundamentally undemocratic and offensive to the principles of our Founding Fathers seems completely forgotten. We have embraced czarism with the zeal of cult worshipers - and now this zeal has global economic forces at its back.

We are trying to economically compete with anti-democratic forces that can make financial decisions without any public input at all. As we saw with the debate over the bailout bill, the transnational corporate elite tell us our democracy and its careful deliberations are hurting our ability to make quick decisions in this global market - and therefore that democracy must be subverted to the will of capitalism.
A noted war criminal once intoned that "power is the greatest aphrodisiac." Hideous though it may be to contemplate, this appears to be vomit-inducingly true - especially when expressed via one degree of displacement through cash-grabs, imperial incursions, sexual debasement, or some obscene confluence of any of the above. No wonder Republican & Tory sex scandals are always the most titillating.


1. Black Flag - "Slip It In"
2. The Birthday Party - "Fears of Gun"
3. Jane's Addiction - "Ted... Just Admit It"
4. The Billy Nayer Show - "Billy's"
5. Melvins - "Boris"
6. Messer Chups - "I'm Psycho Bitch"
7. Dudley Nightshade - "All the Colours of the Dark" (Instrumental)
8. Sex - "I Had to Rape Her"
9. Lil Wayne - "Mrs. Officer"
10. Brainbombs - "Lipstick On My Dick"
11. Flying Lotus - "SexSlaveShip"
12. Oxbow - "Stallkicker"
13. David Lynch & John Neff - "Go Get Some"
14. Sonic Youth - "Lights Out"

Songs the Recession Taught Us

1. The Flying Lizards - "Money (That's What I Want)"
2. Madlib - "Pyramids (Change)"
3. The Steve Miller Band - "Take the Money and Run"
4. Mos Def - "Fake Bonanza"
5. Guns 'N' Roses - "Double-Talkin' Jive"
6. Ennio Morricone - "Money Orgy"
7. Tricky - "Money Greedy"
8. The Fall - "Middle Class Revolt!"
9. Hilton Sutton - "I Will Destroy Them Economically"
10. Soul Coughing - "Collapse"
11. The Birthday Party - "Guilt Parade"
12. The Jesus Lizard - "Countless Backs of Sad Losers"
13. Frank Zappa & the Mothers of Invention - "Can't Afford No Shoes"
14. Enzo Scoppa - "Recesso"
15. Harvey Milk - "A Maelstrom of Bad Decisions"
16. Johnny Greenwood - "Future Markets"
17. Wu-Tang Clan - "C.R.E.A.M."
18. Pissed Jeans - "I've Still Got You (Ice Cream)"

Monday, July 06, 2009

Arise, Inner Redneck!

During my tenure in Hamburg, I had two friends with whom I'd often debate dance culture - and when I say "debate", I'm not talking about gauging whether minimal's hit a wall. I'm talking about deciding if the whole enterprise is kinda jive... which, to be fair, was only my position and is an overstatement thereof. Honestly, we were just interested in picking each other's brains. They're two footloose British lads to whom raving is a birthright; I come from the zen-like oblivion of western Canada, where they filmed Unforgiven and mulleted alcoholics still cruise around with Iron Maiden in the cassette deck of their Chevy Novas. Marathon dance sessions set to a futurist throb and epilepsy-inducing light shows weren't part of the static when I was growing up; complementarily, neither of them had ever watched a band cover ZZ Top on a stage wreathed in chicken wire.

It's not that we don't get along - quite the contrary. We shared many of our favourite directors, writers, and comedians, and are all within an easy arm's-length of one another along the political spectrum. The degree to which we are generally alike makes our musical differences all the more baffling. For example, I think DJs rank just below Reno lounge singers in artistic bona fides, while they think dick-swinging riff-rock like Sir Lord Baltimore is music by & for higher simians only. And on an abstract level, we understand each other. We can read each other's coordinates on the cultural map, but we're still standing on opposite sides of an unbridgeable chasm. I was dumbstruck whenever they'd start bobbing reflexively to any repetitive rhythm, while they refused to believe that I (as someone who doesn't drink beer, uses polysyllabic words casually, and enjoys the films of Fellini & Wenders) am sincerely a sucker for the most meat-headed riffery and have a vaguely anti-intellectual hair-trigger bully reflex.

Well, refuse to believe if you like, friends, but I now offer unto you living proof of all my basest instincts: Breeds With Anything, a brand-new EP available for immediate download totally free, courtesy of the fine folks over at SVC Records.

Y'see, in the midst of writing & recording my next record, I began to amass hooks & lyrical snippets that fell outside the intended aesthetic aegis of the album. What these scraps had in common with each other, though, was a certain midwestern-male-aggro pigfuck musk - and as stray riffs, they weren't half-bad. So rather than consign them to moulder in my closet, I culled the best bits & reconstructed them into this six-song self-exorcism of my inner redneck.

(Perhaps it bears repeating: this does not constitute a new artistic trajectory. This is a detour into the territory occupied by Jon Spencer & Alex Chilton that I've always wanted, but never had an opportunity, to visit.)

So cancel your manicure, throw on an old flannel shirt, grow a moustache, and rock the fuck out. And yes, I'm serious, it's free.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Four for 4th

Sorry I've been silent this week - it's been spent maddeningly clawing my way up the learning curve on some new gadgetry. Proliferating grey hairs aside, the good news is the recent caffeine-fueled screaming matches with compressors & MOTU have yielded something reasonably exciting that's just about to be let off the leash... Not to mention a fresh batch of hatorade is being cooked up.

AYMFY: awkwardly rockin' decade-old slang since '05!

In the meantime, all y'all Yankee types enjoy the pretty explosions. I can't begrudge your nation completely, far from it really, as the Constitution is (yawningly, yes) an incredible document, and the gubbamint was kind enough to allow me residence for nine years. (Seven of those legally!)

And in the interest of wishing my own people a belated joyous Canada Day...