Wednesday, August 13, 2008

angel

[previous posts in this series of close readings of selections from Fleetwood Mac's TUSK - "Over and Over," "Save Me a Place," "Sara", "What Makes You Think You're The One," "Storms," "Sisters of the Moon"]

ANGEL

fleetwood mac - angel

"Angel" follows "Sisters of the Moon" (though I think maybe it's the start of the 2nd LP on the vinyl version?) and, for the first minute or so, it seems like the jaunty, country-rock, and kind of terrible polar opposite of the dark, witchily awesome post-punk of "Sisters" - as I believe Holly has remarked in the past, the cheesy sound of those first few bars can kind of keep you from taking this song seriously at first

yet! it is really fucking serious, as Stevie herself says in the video at the end of this post. the song inexorably, and indeed with painful, profound beauty, is drawn back to the same themes of nihilism and self-destruction as "Sisters," but instead of occult, Lynchian imagery, Stevie's verses anchor us in the the all-too-recognizable world of everyday heartbreak and loss, looking back to an irretrievable past -

sometimes the most beautiful thing
the most innocent thing
and many of those dreams
pass us by

keep passing me by

the second verse in particular is utterly devastating, familiar, and real -

I still look up
when you walk in the room
I've the same wide eyes
now they tell the story
I try not to reach out
when you turn around to say hello
and we both pretend
I'm no great pretender

yet, instead of this memory of love and innocence fading away, into the past, Stevie, hauntingly beautifully and basically crypto-suicidally wills herself into a ghostly future in the chorus:

so I close my eyes softly,
'till I become that part of the wind
that we all long for sometime

and to those that I love
like a ghost through a fog
like a charmed hour and a haunted song
and the angel, angel of my dreams

the line about becoming "that part of the wind that we all long for sometime" just fucking floors me every time, and God knows that I thought of it often throughout the painful month of June, I don't know if I've ever heard anything so poetic and sad and true in my whole life -

and the titular Angel, looming, wordless in the fog, so much like Stevie's dark "Sister" at the top of the stairs in the previous song - and also sooo much like the Sister, the Ghost-Angel is revealed as Stevie's own doppelganger, "that girl was me... just like a ghost through the fog" etc. but while the Angel is ostensibly good, very good, an incarnation of the innocent and beautiful things in Stevie's life where the Sister was a manifestation of the darkness, it leads her to the same personal abyss, a transcendent nothingness, those fucking winds we've discussed in several contexts in this series.

and as elsewhere, the parallels to the Twin Peaks mythology are unmistakable - if the Sister lives in the Black Lodge, the Angel lives in the White Lodge, and, as shown by the appearance of Laura Palmer's literal angel in the Black Lodge at the end of Fire Walk With Me, the two places may be "one and the same." for more on the Stevie Nicks/Laura Palmer connection and a video of the insanely heartwrenching scene with Laura and her angel, please see my previous post, also titled "Sisters of the Moon"

this is the awesome and ultra-compelling contradiction (or non-contradiction) at the heart of Stevie Nicks' profound appeal - the sunny blonde California surfer girl with the beautiful voice and wild heart (and a hopeless attraction to some of the douchiest guys in rock history) is simultaneously the gothy, scorned hag, a kind of 'white witch' in the words of one Josh Cheon. this song and this footage of its recording from the awesome yet sadly brief Fleetwood Mac "Tusk" documentary really gets to the heart of the matter - the interview with Stevie early on where she describes the song's genesis is utterly priceless, hilarious and self-serious and true, and the unearthly passion, crooked teeth, and crazy outfit she's wearing when she sings "like a ghost through the fog" makes for kind of an ultimate Stevie-y Stevie moment -

"I wanted to write a rock and roll song, so it started out being much sillier than it came out. It didn't end up being silly at all. It ended up being very serious."

Saturday, July 5, 2008

(Caption: "Kent Couch leaves his gas station in Bend, Ore., on Saturday, July 5, 2008, riding a lawn chair rigged with more than 150 giant party balloons in an attempt to fly to Idaho. He is equipped with a BB gun and a blowgun for popping balloons if he gets too high and three 15-gallon barrels of cherry Kool-Aid for ballast to release if he gets too low.")

BEND, Ore. (AP) - A man has taken flight in a lawn chair hoisted by more than 150 large helium-filled party balloons in a bid to ride the wind from the central Oregon town of Bend all the way to Idaho.

Kent Couch was wearing a parachute Saturday morning as he kissed his wife and kids goodbye, patted his dog and took off at sunrise from his gas station.

This is Couch's third lawn chair flight in as many years.

He hopes to do better than last year, when he flew 193 miles before running low on helium and had to land in the sagebrush of northeastern Oregon.

Friday, June 27, 2008

june 20

the nice thing about working from the midtown office is that midtown fucking sucks no matter where you're going home to. my bed left yesterday, with a big assist from mom and dad and the car, but the mattress is still here on the floor, like in the beginning - it's so fucking sad, but weirdly beautiful - I am so blindly in love with this place - to see the house kind of decay into the semi-feral state it was in when I moved in. we smashed a lot of stuff at band practice last night, or at least the other guys did. my fortune was pretty boring or irrelevant at least. there's really nothing left to do but grind it out from here. also, have the most epic party in house history this weekend, you know what it is, we're not going to get rained on 3 parties in a row, we are not that doomed, are we?

june 20th we had maybe the most 'mellow' or actually just weirdly under-attended party in 502 history. sean was in town!, but it rained again, there was a lot going on that night, people were saving themselves for this week? I dunno. once I got over my rain- and party-related anxieties and started drinking things got pretty nice though, with a zany kitchen set by Puttin on the Ritz, gratifyingly incorporating Caitlin's decoy pigeons, and transcendent, dimly-lit performances in Aron's bedroom (in the Casiotone for the Painfully Alone nook!) by Zeke Healy, shredding bluegrass at 502 for the third and final time - and, amazing dude that he is, he even figured out how to play Landslide, allowing me some deep and necessary musico-spiritual closure - and Julianna Barwick, who overcame the repeated ill intentions of the rain gods to play a gorgeous lullabye-set, maybe the coziest, dreamiest performance in 502 evar. I've got some camera-vids but I gotta figure out how to upload them





Thursday, June 26, 2008

june 8

sorry for all those emotions earlier, I'll try and keep it dignified around here but it's fuckin tough. sorry dad and anyone else who had hopes of me handling this like a big strong man or whatever. buck the world! we're having our last band practice, ordering Mr. Wonton for the last time, getting my last fortune - I'll let you know how it goes.

on June 8th we had another magical evening that was unfortunately fucked up by the rain - Puttin on the Ritz played, uproariously, followed by an incredibly special and meaningful set of, YES, Fleetwood Mac covers (sorry dad and anyone else etc) I got to do with Kevin MacFee, one of my oldest and best friends and my old musical tag team partner from high school, as well as Aa's own Nadav on drums. Julianna Barwick was supposed to play too but opted to play last weekend instead.

more from that later, there is so much to say about the 8th and the drama and the fucking emotional blue balls that comes from not finishing fucking "landslide" - maybe today's when the landslide finally did catch up? - but it's better to just watch Lev's "insta-movie," a free-form, lo-fi, short-shot documentary he made about the evening - some great moments and special times for sure, peep that awesome panning shot that latches onto Kevin "Sticks" Shea en route to the kit! every hour is the magic hour at 502, however awesome you guys imagine it must be to live here I assure you it is like 10x as fucking awesome

may 22

I just suddenly started getting my fucking young buck on over here, bawling my motherfucking eyes out in this dismembered, bleeding room, needing to work through the next 48 hours straight or so on doing impossible things for my job, this is really feeling like a fucking online diary right now and sorry etc but for the record I am pretty far past the breaking point already and I have a very long fucking way still to go, so I really do need everyone around rooting really, fucking, hard for me right now

I've been almost kind of keeping it together for more than a month now, the last time I really lost it like this was the last May 22, def maybe the most amazing, beautiful night ever at 502 when greg reynolds and mariko endo danced in the yard, and the dead science played covers of classic souls songs sampled by the wu-tang clan in the cabaret of my dreams, pictures below, seriously lynchian, sorcerous vibes, this has always been and always will be the house of my dreams etc



Tuesday, June 24, 2008

another day in paradise

in sharp contrast to the brutal stress of the actual work going on here, it's fucking beautiful out in the outdoor office today.  one of the infinite number of things I will never stop missing about this place is the awesomeness of being on the ground floor and having this nice ground level outdoor space.  no matter how shitty things are going, it's always kind of reassuring to be able to step outside your door and smell the dirt, hear the birds, see the bugs, etc.  we've got a pretty amazing roof on our new place, which I have not and am never going to talk about on this blog, but no first floor.  

Todd just stepped out looked around, saying "another day in paradise," "yeah we've still got a few left."  it's true.  I'm trying to enjoy listening to Mr. C's classic 2004 Bossa Nova Carnival episode, which I have enjoyed so many times out here throughout summers 05-07, but I'm having a hard time connecting to it

Monday, June 23, 2008

bad fortune

after keeping them at arm's length for most of the past month, all the heavy fucking emotions wrt the final extinguishing of my home here at 502 are predictably rising up again, and also predictably this is coming at an utterly hellish time work-wise, with all the lack of sleep and dark feelings that come with it.  I just ordered Thai food from Thai Sesame - two curries, one for dinner and one for breakfast - and got choked up telling them my address.  you can kind of put it out of your mind for awhile sometimes but basically things just get worse all the time

anyway, one of the posts I meant to do before I and this lodge and this blog disappear is to note, for posterity's sake, the uncanny relevance (time will tell wrt accuracy) of the fortunes I've gotten from Mr. Wonton over the past couple of months

"you will make many changes before settling satisfactorily" (back in March, just weeks before the news)

"don't fear!  every ending is a chance for a new beginning" (I was and am still maybe not ready for this one)

"through greater effort and hard work a precious dream comes true" (hah hah yeah right)

"everyone around you is rooting for you.  don't give up."  (this one really got my waterworks goin when I got it a couple weeks ago during a particularly dark moment and again now)

Friday, June 20, 2008

lol

awesome, lulzy story on the kind of insane yet also really touching relationship between A-Rod and Pete Rose, via Danny:

By spring training in 2006, their text messages began in earnest. And A-Rod is a text-messaging fool. He'll text Yankees players, coaches and staffers ... even when they're sitting 15 feet away in the same clubhouse. He'll text "LOL" when something amuses him, and he'll text :-( when he's bummed. And the first text message from Rose that spring definitely had them LOLing...

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

anything is possible

there's a lot to talk about right now. moving out is becoming kind of like alzheimer's - as people, pieces of furniture, etc continue to disappear, my loved one is becoming more and more unfamiliar to me, and my memories, or my memories of memories, are becoming alienating in a weird and sad way. Jeremy from the Voice is going to be coming by a few times in the coming 12 (!!!!) days to document the last days of the magic, which I am really happy about.

so yeah there are lots of pictures and videos and TUSK, as ever, to talk about, but I don't know when I'll have time. this blog is going to die along with the house. mostly right now I just wanted to post a link to Kevin Garnett's post-victory freakout, I don't know when he would have done it but he really seems to be high on more than winning right now, or possibly tripping or something, I don't know but it's awesome - come for the "ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!!!!", stay for the "you look real good tonight, Cheryl" -

Thursday, May 29, 2008

pause

sorry for the internet silence over here, there are important TUSK tracks to blog as well as pictures and a recap from last Thursday's epic night at 502, also a super necessary review of 502's art collection, but I need to put in a little more time just keeping the real-life wheels from falling off right now

in the meantime, in case you were wondering, Ponytail is still pretty much the best and most exciting band in the world right now afaik - check out this new track "Small Wev" esp ASAP, and reacquaint yrself with the amazing "Celebrate the Body Electric" if you haven't recently/already, have your faith in the power of guitars and voices and indie rock and life etc restored

UPDATE: coincidentally you can download Celebrate the Body Electric over at Paper Thin Walls for a limited time, and you definitely, definitely should

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

giving

speaking of Alexis's forthcoming bday, girl is asking friends, family, internets, etc to step up to the plate to sponsor her in this year's AIDS Walk New York - please to helps!

this is frankly a banner year for having friends participate in epic AIDS research-related charity feats - maybe we are growing older, stronger, more generous? I also highly recommend donations to the AIDS Walk of BEN KOPIT as well as the epic extra plus AIDS bike ride from Los Angeles to fucking San Francisco over 7 days and 545 miles (!!!) by DEAN BEIN, both of whom may also be known and notoriously warm-hearted spirits to many of you -

I am certainly bout to break off a chunk of change for each of these noble efforts, wtf, join me if you will

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

stand back

so yes I DID go to NOTS (Night of a Thousand Stevies) on Friday, easily one of the least heteronormative nights of musical bliss I've had in a minute - plz see this photoset and this blog for insights into the weird spell under which I have been inexplicably put.* also, vids from the pre-party courtesy of Stevies/FM powerhour instigator-in-chief Holly -

alternately, you can just watch the amazing video for "Stand Back" obsessively, as I have been, and learn everything you need to know about the powerfully, glamorously wounded and witchy vibes she commands - featuring an uncredited Prince on keyboards, no doubt



I gotta admit I'm a little hesitant to post this in the middle of my TUSK-bloshery - while this fresh new wrinkle on my deepening FM/Stevie obsesh is a uniquely exhilarating escape from the increasingly depressing, disappointing shithole of my real life, I gotta acknowledge that the glamorous and, yes, I guess kind of 'campy'/cokey black and silver/gold palette of '80s disco-y solo Stevie clashes slightly with the organically schizophrenic and depressively human blues/greys of Fleetwood Mac and TUSK...

but, really, what choice do I have? can YOU get the fuck over the second verse and Stevie bending back like the willow, or the insane, hallucinatory 1:50-2:10, where the camera pans back to reveal our scorned, radiant heroine stalking a neon catwalk and sprouting lacey angel's wings? witness the intense fucking intensity of the last verse starting around 3 mins in, and in the outro around 4 mins, and tell me you don't feel the urge to share this unearthly passion with all of your internet friends

I can't tell you how psyched I am to add this and "Edge of Seventeen" to my karaoke repertoire, so glad to have an undoubtedly epic karaoke bday party approaching fast

* actually, given my teenage Dungeons & Dragons playing, my lifelong interest in diva-tastic "gay" music and love for "Stand Back," and the various "straight" romantic resonances of Fleetwood Mac's intensely hetero discography and biography in my life, I basically fall under all three of the main Stevie fan demographics! maybe it was only a matter of time? overdetermined!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

canadia

gonna take a little break from all this New York nonsense for a minute - Aa is heading north to play some shows in Montreal, Hamilton, and Toronto with An Albatross, and then all-time fave college show vibe-zone Bard with No Age - details here, for any readers in the area or with friends in the area.  real psyched to get out of town but needless to say it will be painful to miss the world premiere of the Kanye power hour at Savalas, courtesy of Thesearepowerfulhours and big Ben Johnson, in town from Cali!

Monday, April 28, 2008

storms

given the long-awaited and hoped-for shift in the weather away from the sun and towards the rain, and given Jeff & Caitlin's & Emilio & most of the living room's departure from 502land
this weekend, leaving a constant reminder of the mangled home lives that await us all, it is obviously time to get back to

STORMS

[previous installments of my blogging of highlights from Fleetwood Mac's TUSK - "Over and Over," "Save Me a Place," "Sara", "What Makes You Think You're The One," and the special feature "Sisters of the Moon - Laura Palmer and Stevie Nicks"]

fleetwood mac - storms

fleetwood mac - storms (demo)

(you should probably download both of these, tbh. everything here applies at least as much to the demo, which also includes this awesome, halfway through-the-second-verse drum entrance, Stevie's own defiant heartbeat materialized in Mick's genius arrangements)

"Storms" was already pretty much my/the TUSK anthem before all this house stuff hit, and my relationship with the song has only deepened and intensified since. if you are going to download one fucking song from this whole series, you are fucking heartless (and/or happily engaged in some kind of long-term relationship and don't want to think about this kind of dark shit), but you might as well make it this one. on an album full of songs about the complex agonies of doomed, addictive relationships and compulsively morbid heartbreak, "Storms" goes further than any in giving us an almost unbearably intimate window into the heaviest, bio-emotional micro-steps that the irreparable 'wild heart' takes to separate itself from and cauterize these wounds -

every night that goes between
I feel a little less
as you slowly go away from me
this is only another test

every night you do not come
your softness fades away
did I ever really care that much?
is there anything left to say?

no, Stevie, you're summing it up real succinct-like. and has there ever been a more straightforwardly eloquent, devastating expression of the sadness that no mere eye-tears can express, of the anguish that runneth over any corporeal cup, and of the dark, suicidal thoughts and deadly calls that naturally follow, than this quasi-chorus?

every hour of fear I spent
my body tries to cry

living through each empty night

a deadly call inside

the second verse is similarly heavy, if more cryptic, other than the too-true, too-real line about "I haven't felt this way I feel / since many a year ago." skipping ahead to the third 'verse', a kind of genius half-verse that structurally reminds me of the immortal Bacharach/David/Warwick "Make It Easy On Yourself," Stevie leads us to the REAL chorus, for the first and last time. I don't know if I'm just totally under her spell or what, but I can't get over how these seemingly generically-hippie-ish lyrics are transformed into devastatingly powerful, elemental, defiant truth when sung in Nicks's quaveringly passionate tones -

so I try to say good-bye, my friend
I'd like to leave you with something warm
but never have I been a blue calm sea
I have always been a storm

always been a storm
always been a storm
I have always been a storm

yes. yes. yes.

- AND THEN the gorgeous coda, which subtly shifts us from minor-key turbulence to wistful major tones and a quietly emerging percussive undertow, courtesy of typically-understated genius Mick Fleetwood - which, intriguingly, suggest to me at least that maybe Stevie's actually managed to sail away on that blue calm sea, looking back on the tumult and heartbreak she suffered on that disappearing shore... as if! we're like a third done with this shit and it's going to get way darker, for reals, before there's any light. but - how can any human heart not be moved by this elegiac tone, the implicit, heartbroken farewell of "I loved you from the start"

we were frail...
she said every night he will break your heart
I should have known from the first,
I would be the broken hearted

I loved you from the start...

Friday, April 25, 2008

don't blame it on me / blame it on my wild heart

"said I'm leavin / and you say I don't even know how to start"

there's a lot of non-FM music I've been meaning to post, but I am once again completely consumed by Stevie Nicks-worship, watching and rewatching this awe-inspiring and miraculous video of her backstage before a Rolling Stone photo shoot in 1981, getting her makeup done and suddenly sliding into a passionate performance of a never-recorded early version of "Wild Heart," later kind of a shitty Stevie solo track but this arrangement is pure, heartbreakingly bittersweet FM gold, one of those videos that fills you with a reverent gratitude for the existence of youtube - and Holly's blog, for uncovering it in the first place - I would actually recommend watching this full-screen, like 10-20 times in a row, I dare you not to get goosebumps when she shakes, "I love you, I love you, I love you, I do, blame it on my wild heart" -



this alternate, longer version has worse video quality but gives you a better idea of the spontaneous vibe and the suddenness of the surrender -



as Alison commented via e-mail, "OH my god, amazing. It's so uncanny how famous people can slip between being normal girl backstage getting make-up put on to crazy stevie nicks singing the best song!" yes, uncanny is exactly what it is, an utterly sublime moment and a testament to the intangible, mysterious quality that makes famous people famous and Stevie Nicks in particular a total fucking goddess

a selection of the best comments from the first youtube clip, with the winner in bold

this might be my fave stevie video.she has such a love for the music,and u know its not acting,she just lets go with.or it coulda been the coke,but i hope not

from wikipedia: "The title song, "Wild Heart," was partially written during 1981, and footage exists from a Rolling Stone magazine cover photo shoot where Nicks, while getting her make-up done, sings the work-in-progress to the instrumental line from Lindsey Buckingham's "Can't Go Back" (from Mirage)."

She looks so youthful an Vibrant --she was screwing Joe walsh at the time

Tonight sucked on so many levels..so I knew I could YouTube this clip which I love and be 19 again. I love this clip, it is sweet, innocent and takes me back to long ago happy days..i'd give anything for those again

That was so beautiful! Stevie has such a sweet and natural way about her in this and I couldn't take my eyes off of her. :o)

love this and listen to it so much its all i hear when when i put my head on the pillow at night ........she looks georgous as ever too and am sooooooooooo jealous

that's why i truly believe that best music versions happen outside studios... just love the eye contact between stevie and the makeup girl, completed surrender to her voice...

I just love this clip... I could watch it over and over again every day... In fact, I have been! LoL :-)

This really shows her charisma and charm.
She's got IT in huge abundance,
as much as any performer ever.
A special gem she was, and is.

teh question

is 502:



i.e. will I lose this magical place and spend the rest of my life plagued by nightmares and obsessed with finding my way back? or does Jacob have a plan? will I flee as an empty-eyed, depraved doppelganger of my former self? or can I escape somehow to the White Lodge? where the fuck is Laura Palmer? etcc

Thursday, April 24, 2008

vemix

sorry about the continued absence of TUSK posts but it is hard to post about "Storms" with this kind of weather - besides, there are other noteworthy aspects of the internet that are also worth your attention -

* NATE aka UNCHAINED née KNIFESTORM et al has taken the plunge into video artistry, and the results, predictably, are great - please introduce your youtube to NUMUW for video and audio remixes of typically well-chosen source material alchemized into typically compelling and uncanny pieces d'art - check out the unsettling kuduro remix and chill, epic prog vibes of his video for Wingdings' "Return to Earth Part IV" -



* LEV and WHITNEY aka BALL DEEP, no strangers to distinctive video sensibilities and unique syntheses of disparate elements, have recently dropped a frankly groundbreaking video of their fan-fiction, "new gaze" remix of globetrotting superstars Vampire Weekend's originary myth, "Walcott" - reimagined as a slow, blissily tragic swim in one of Cape Cod's (?) monster-infested lakes:

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

neverending


1 - big ups and lolz and devil horns always and forever to the genius photo-editorial skills of Matt Drudge of drudgereport.com

2 - fuck the haters I freq enjoy reading Mickey Kaus's blog for his relentless and occasz annoying fixation on poking holes in liberal orthodoxy and needling careerist young bucks like Yglesias and Ezra whatsisface. one of the main reasons is his endearing awareness of the bullshittery of all punditry, including a healthy dose of self-criticism that recently produced this frankly stunningly good analogy that completely detonates the hypocrisy of the whole "bitter" controversy, which he had previously jumped all over in a fit of typically Kausian "elitism"-bashing. put a star next to this one dear readers and keep it close to the front of your brain, I'm sure it will be useful for future pointless arguments about this stuff

...The problem for me is that I'm a Vulgar Marxist too. I've always believed that people need to eat, and want to get ahead and prosper. If you give them an avenue that lets them do that, they aren't going to let their religion, their music, their sexual habits, their families or their educational system stand in their way for long. The two most obvious contemporary applications of this economic determinism are 1) China (when the Chinese have a capitalist economy they won't be able to have a Communist government, Vulgar Marxists would say) and 2) the Muslim world (if Islam needs a Reformation in order to prosper in a global market, then Islam will eventually get a Reformation). I agree with both of those propositions.

Does that mean I'm condescending too? It's hard to avoid the charge. If a Chinese Communist Party Official somehow came to me and declared that, no, China would out-compete the West while maintaining Mao-era control over free inquiry, I'd think 'You poor deluded fool. Just wait.' I support Western policies of bringing China into the global marketplace in large part because I think that means Chinese Communism will collapse even if the Chinese Communists don't realize it. Same with fundamentalist Muslims--e.g. Pakistan, when prosperous, will no longer be such a breeding ground of jihadist fanatics. They'll be too busy making money to blow up the world. My attitude toward Pakistan is roughly parallel to Obama's attitude toward rural Pennsylvanians: if the economy really delivered for them, they'd stop clinging to their God. And their guns.



A+, Mickey, for real

3 - a little late on this maybe but goddamn did you see Michelle Obama on Colbert last week? could she be any more of a total fucking babe? what a dress! fuck the haters can we get her in front of the cameras as much as possible? not only is she an obviously real counter to whatever "elitism" etc but there is no way today's America does not want to elect the hottest first couple evar, with all due respect to JFK and Jackie O etc, seriously, there's video, allow yourself to be completely enamored


4 - speaking of being totally Michelle-smitten, this "Hollywood-style" film treatment of a possible brokered convention, by one of the West Wing writers, is seriously fucking awesome! I got a little choked up at the ending tbh! go Wes! kind of a must-read for political junkies and who isn't these days?

Friday, April 18, 2008

tiger

chien-ming wang is really fucking huge in taiwan

"Baseball has been in the Taiwanese people's blood since it was brought here by the Japanese some 100 years ago," says Ben Shao, press director of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office, "and Wang is the baseball star we've been waiting to pour our hearts into."

...

Now Taiwan's major newspapers charge a higher advertising rate for issues published on a day that Wang pitches, as well as the day after each start. The country's largest circulation daily, Apple Daily, estimates that it sells as many as 300,000 extra papers on days that carry reports of another Wang victory. Endorsements that have come Wang's way include McDonald's, Ford, E Sun Bank (one of the largest in Taiwan) and computer-maker Acer, which claims that Wang's name alone has increased its product sales by 10% and lowered the average age of its consumer by almost four years...

Last year a study in a Taiwanese business journal, Money Weekly, found a correlation between Wang's pitching performances and the fluctuations of the Taiwan Stock Exchange. The report attributed a 25% index rise last summer to Wang's strong June and July. "We absolutely believe it to be true," Shao says of the relationship between Wang's performance and last summer's bull market. "Psychologically, how [Wang] does has a huge effect on the Taiwanese people. If he does well, people are in a good mood, and they go out and spend money. If he doesn't, you walk around and you can see people depressed. It's a very personal matter to the Taiwanese people." (For the record, the country's stock index was up roughly 6%, through Monday, since Wang's first start this season, on April 1.)

Monday, April 14, 2008

sisters of the moon - laura palmer and stevie nicks

[previous installments of my blogging of highlights from Fleetwood Mac's TUSK - "Over and Over," "Save Me a Place," "Sara", "What Makes You Think You're The One"]

not to go out of order too badly or anything on this TUSK bloshing but I've just had an extremely important meta-breakthrough on the retrospectively obvious connections between TUSK/Stevie Nicks and my official #1 obsession of the past winter, Twin Peaks/Julee Cruise. while not an 'official' song blosh, I thought I should share with you notes on this revelation that were spurred by tonight's obsession with the late-TUSK track "Sisters of the Moon," which I will be blogging in a few weeks' time at this rate, so as to preserve the spontaneous and indexical nature of this short-lived blosh

fleetwood mac - sisters of the moon (demo)


notes on the Stevie Nicks / Laura Palmer connection from the night of 4/14:

after finally becoming totally obsessed with "Sisters of the Moon" tonight and reading through the lyrics etc I'm just realizing how fucking David Lynchian, maybe even specifically Laura Palmer-esque Stevie Nicks is. young, blonde, beautiful, but corrupted and twisted by fate and her own personal weaknesses, irresistably drawn to dark, self-destructive, and utterly addictive pharmaceutical and emotional relationships - not to mention the, ahh, incestuousness of her claustrophobic dependence on lovers who are also bandmates who are just as damned as she is

- think about Lynch's inexplicably, awesomely terrifying and never actually-shown image of BOB waiting under the ceiling fan at the top of the stairs by Laura's bedroom in Twin Peaks, while listening to these lyrics from "Sisters of the Moon" -

intense silence
as she walked in the room
her black robes trailing
sister of the moon
and a black widow spider makes
more sound than she
and black moons in those eyes of hers
made more sense to me
heavy persuasion
it was hard to breathe
she was dark at the top of the stairs
and she called to me

yeah right it's fucking intense! also note, not in "Sisters of the Moon" but in "Sara" and the yet-to-be-blogged but crucial "Angel", the frequent invocation of the winds as a kind of metaphor for spiritual isolation/desolation and unplaceable, distantly melancholic vibes - much as David Lynch carefully and scarily uses wind-y sounds in Twin Peaks and elsewhere. in his recent book Lynch talks about telling Badalamenti to "turn up the wind" when he wants literally 'wind'-ish sounds or just Lynch's weird idea of windy vibes which I am pretty sure are exactly the same as Stevie's ideas about winds. think about the nihilistic overtones of "Angel" -

so i close my eyes softly,
'till i become that part of the wind
that we all long for sometime, yeah

and then think about to Laura's monologue in "Fire Walk With Me," lying on the ground next to Donna talking about how if you fell into space you'd just go faster and faster until you burn up, and no angels would save you because they've all gone away -

THEN think about Stevie Nicks in "Sara" - "you said you'd give me light / but you never told me bout the fire," and then later, "the winds became crazy"

and THEN - yes their shared, sentimental belief in redemption and angels, the sweet and uncorrupted little blonde girls they once were and still want to be despite their hopeless entanglement with the dark side - think of the "Angel" of TUSK and the literal angels that appear/disappear in "Fire Walk With Me," the angels that Laura fears are gone from her life until she is, shockingly, and pretty much unbearably movingly, forgiven by an angel in the black lodge with Agent Cooper, as I discussed frankly and extensively here - watch the video, vibe on the wind-y sounds of beginning, the breathtakingly placid and lonely "voice of love," the shared themes and wardrobes of both Stevie and Laura and the lacy angel, etc.

more on this later, I think this will be a rich vein of TUSK-related analysis as well as a potentially disturbing view of previously unexplored, Herschel Walker-esque regions of my psyche

herschel what / harlan

jesus christ guess who just became one of my favorite athletes of all time out of fucking nowhere, could you blow my mind a little bit more please what the fuck hersh I mean I had no idea he was even on the bobsled team this is literally insane!!!:

In the just-released book "Breaking Free," former NFL running back Herschel Walker delves into his excruciating struggles with dissociative identity disorder, saying he tried to manage a dozen alternate personalities and that the condition nearly drove him to suicide...

Following a Heisman Trophy-winning career at the University of Georgia, Walker spent three seasons in the USFL and then played 12 years in the NFL with the Minnesota Vikings, Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants. He also was a member of the 1992 U.S. Olympic bobsled team, with an array of other interests that included ballet and law enforcement.

After his retirement from football in 1997, Walker said the disorder began to overwhelm him. At one point, while sitting in his kitchen, he said he played Russian roulette with a loaded pistol...

"Nightline" interviewed Walker's therapist, Jerry Mungadze, who said he met Walker's alternate personalities, or "alters," during their sessions.

"They will come out and say, I am so-and-so. I'm here to tell you Herschel is not doing too good," Mungadze said. " … When he finishes, it would just disappear back in him, and Herschel comes out."

Walker and his ex-wife, Cindy Grossman, were married for 16 years before she knew about his illness, she said.

"Well, now it makes perfect sense, because each personality has a different interest," Grossman told "Nightline." "This one has an interest in ballet, this one has an interest in the Marines, this one had an interest [in the] FBI, this one had an interest in sports.

!!!!!!!WWW!!!!!TTTTT!!!!!FFFFFF!!!!!!!!

also on a much sadder incredible-sports-story note - Joba Chamberlain's dad, Harlan Chamberlain - who now kind of legendarily raised Joba as a single dad and Winnebago indian despite being severely handicapped since the age of 6 from polio, taught him to play ball and everything while working at the state penitentiary etc - is in critical although apparently stable condition due to an undisclosed illness, Joba's taking a couple days off to be with him. thoughts and prayers folks, few deserve it more, and I hope I'm not being too selfish as a Yankee fan to say that I really really want to see him celebrating with his son after Joba leads the Yankees to a World Series win in the not-too-distant future

yankee concrete

man I am so disappointed in so many ways by the sudden shift in forecast from a week of clouds and rain to a week of sun, not least of which is the fact that I'm losing the perfect and really only appropriate weather-vibe for my "Storms" TUSK-post.

so anyway I will take this opportunity to share this great story from the world of baseball and the endlessly entertaining Yankees/Red Sox rivalry and the magic and meaning that we still believe exists in certain sacred places (yes I'm still talking about 502)

april 11:

A construction worker and Boston fan working on the concrete crew at the $1.3 billion new Yankee Stadium buried a Red Sox shirt in with the concrete foundation under what will become the visitors' clubhouse, in the hopes of jinxing the New York Yankees' new home, the New York Post reported.

Two construction workers told the newspaper about the stunt on conditon of anonymity.

"In August, a Red Sox T-shirt was poured in a slab in the visitor's clubhouse. It's the curse of the Yankees," one worker told the Post. "Nobody knows about it. It's in the floors, it's buried."

The workers say they're now afraid that they've jinxed the Yankees.

"I don't want to be responsible for sinking the franchise,"
said a second worker, who witnessed the burial. "I respect the stadium."

...Those workers might not have anything to worry about: The team said Friday that the story, while intriguing, simply wasn't true.

"We noticed that the [New York] Post wrote a fun and interesting story about a T-shirt today -- but it never happened," the team said in a statement. "Yankee fans know that burying something in concrete in the basement is never a good thing.

...And if it did happen? Chris Wertz, the co-owner of Professor Thom's in New York's East Village -- a haven for Red Sox fans in the Big Apple -- thought the move was a stroke of genius, according to the report.

"I won't be surprised in the least bit to see that visiting locker room torn up and relaid right away," he said, according to the Post. "This is what makes the game special for baseball fans. It's not a mean thing, but something they will take seriously."

april 13:

A construction worker's bid to curse the New York Yankees by planting a Boston Red Sox jersey in their new stadium was foiled Sunday when the home team removed the offending shirt from its burial spot.

After locating the shirt in a service corridor behind what will be a restaurant in the new Yankee Stadium, construction workers jackhammered through the concrete Sunday and pulled it out.

The team said it learned that a Sox-rooting construction worker had buried a shirt in the new Bronx stadium, which will open next year across the street from the current ballpark, from a report in the New York Post on Friday...

On Saturday, construction workers who remembered the employee, Gino Castignoli, phoned in tips about the shirt's location.

"We had anonymous people come tell us where it was, and we were able to find it," said Frank Gramarossa, a project executive with Turner Construction, the general contractor on the site.

It took about five hours of drilling Saturday to locate the shirt under 2 feet of concrete, he said.

...In shreds from the jackhammers, the shirt still bore the letters "Red Sox" on the front. It was a David Ortiz jersey, No. 34. Trost said the Yankees had discussed possible criminal charges against Castignoli with the district attorney's office...

[Yankees Prez Randy] Levine said the shirt would be cleaned up and sent to the Jimmy Fund, a charity affiliated with Boston's Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

"Hopefully the Jimmy Fund will auction it off and we'll take the act that was a very, very bad act and turn it into something beautiful," he said.

[readers interested in cute things may be interested in seeing some Nico Concrete, a loving and burpy montage of hundreds of pictures and audio samples from the first 3 months of notorious Bostonian Wayne & Wax's adorable little daughter-being, a nice reminder of the true scale of human lifey events]

Thursday, April 10, 2008

what makes you think you're the one

OK, let's try and get back to 'normal' here -

[previous installments of my blogging of highlights from Fleetwood Mac's TUSK - "Over and Over," "Save Me a Place," "Sara"]

WHAT MAKES YOU THINK YOU'RE THE ONE

fleetwood mac - what makes you think you're the one


like most of the Lindsey Buckingham-led tracks on TUSK, "What Makes You Think You're the One" starts off kind of abruptly and loudly, making it at first listen (OK, first dozen listens) kind of an unwelcome interruption between the twin Stevie Nicks-led peaks of "Sara" and "Storms." also like most of the Buckingham tracks, once you get past that initial cold water shock, there's a lot here -

first of all, though, it needs to be said - this is an absolute monster drum part and performance by Mick Fleetwood, simple quarter notes that switch between a snare and bass drum played equally relentlessly and hard as fuck. Fleetwood's brutally minimal rhythmic foundation here is the perfect wingman for Buckingham's harshness, hammering home his dream-shattering message (below) with every hit

as Alison points out in her recent comment, it's helpful for us MP3 listeners to understand this as the first song of side B of the first record of the double LP set, and consequently a pointed response to the mellow hopefulness of the Christine McVie side A opener "Over & Over," which asks, albeit cautiously, "could it be me? could it really really be?" - a hopefulness which is disavowed as soon as it's expressed, as Christine reminds herself resignedly that she's asked this question "over and over."

here, Buckingham offers the cynical rejoinder of someone who's been asked the question over and over, mocking the naivete of his partner's belief in the supernatural, mystical powers of love to transcend the inevitable pettiness and sadness of the world

what makes you think you're the one
who can laugh without cryin?
what makes you think you're the one
who can live without dying?


the chorus further demystifies, excluding the possibility of any special, unseen value created by or exclusive to their relationship. it can also be read in a kind of harsh, mocking way - the provisional and ultimately ordinary nature of their relationship is plain to see to everyone, except, implicitly, his partner

every little thing is there to see
every little bit of you and me


however, as with "save me a place," Buckingham admirably elevates all of this above the straightforward denigration of his partner's hopes by turning the camera around to capture his own inadequacies and inconstancy in the second verse:

what makes you think I'm the one
who'll be there when you're callin?
what makes you think I'm the one
who will catch you when you're fallin?


the point is hammered home further in the last verse,

what makes you think I'm the one
who will love you forever?
everything you do has been done
and it won't last forever


so true, yet so harshly, plainly put! if this is the kind of cynical, romance-weary guy Stevie and Christine have been shacking up with - and it is! - it's no wonder their wounded femininity hits back so fucking hard, as we'll see with tonight's tomorrow's post on "Storms."

Sunday, April 6, 2008

the breakup

the coincidence of my Fleetwood Mac/TUSK obsession and the prolonged, bitter, crying-every-damned-day heartbreak I am feeling wrt the imminent loss of my home and my 502 fam and the lovingly textured life I've made for myself here is taking my experience of the album, and my situation here, to new and maybe kind of weird places. suddenly, I too am living with a doomed love, torn between the desire to solidify my memories, savor the remaining happy moments, to cling to a dream destined to be extinguished, and my anger at having all these positive things suddenly recast in shades of such negativity and sadness; the need to channel that anger outwards and, failing that, inwards; the obsessive need to revisit the scene of suffering, to repeatedly pick at the emotional scabs before they can heal.

I wanted to make a note of this up front to enhance the truth content of this ongoing bloshery for the close readers of this blosh, but also to kind of keep it out of the individual song posts, which deserve better.

that said, the synergy of the emotional content for me is intense and maybe a little embarassing - it's been a minute since I've gone through one of these heartbreakathons, I hope it isn't too fucked up of me to be experiencing these feelings over the loss of a relationship with like a "thing" instead of a person, but,

1- a home is not just a "thing," it's a locus and mediator of specific social as well as logistical and Chinese delivery-related relationships etc, all of which will be irrevocably altered and/or lost

2- as I remarked to Steve during one of the more somber minutes of the Timbaland power hour Friday, a big part of the sting of a romantic heartbreak is the sudden catastrophic loss of ego that comes from losing someone that was a major part of your identity, both your own self-conception as well as your social identity (and value!). as Chris noted at the same power hour - and I swear to G I am gonna put in more of an effort to not derail power hours or other festivities with my bummer burden in the weeks to come - he has never really known me other than when I was living at this house, which is definitely true for him - I remember vividly the crazy night we first bro'd down, when I had first moved in, on Lily's birthday in late May 2003 (I am so sorry Lily I can't remember if it's the 24th, 25th, or 26th), back when the walls were pale yellow and I just had a mattress in the corner, and Jeff, who has since become such an integral part of the house after an initial failed attempt (the universe has a way of course-correcting etc), came by with Chris and Jon Posen, 40s and late nite Morrissey riffs! - and is definitely true for so many other of my closest friends. 5 years is a long time, especially in New York. it's like when I busted up my face at that show a couple years ago and looked at the stitches under my lip and chin and realized that I'd never look quite the same, but while minor facial scars are kind of cool, this just totally fucking sucks

I'll probably have to get a new blosh, too. I am pretty sure it is going to be called The Blue Room

update update

apologies for not emphasizing this on Friday, but Alexis's post includes an important and Weezy-featuring remix of the major and mandatory dance/R&B/pop-rap jam "GOT MY", one of the last works of the recently late + great R&B songwriter (Aaliyah, Destiny's Child, Ginuwine, etc) Static Major, jammed this hard in the van for an hour or so last night

Friday, April 4, 2008

weekend update

gonna try and get back on the Mac-track soon, I promise. in the interim, some notable things:

* Alexis has posted secret links to more awesome VIBE MUSIC tracks from South Florida. chill tempos, beautiful, pillowy synths, and raunchy lyrics, it's all here and all ready for your weekend

* sick sick sick new track "Throne of Blood (The Jump-Off)" from Seattlebros The Dead Science, with all the melodramatic intensity, relentless intelligence, and terrifying virtuosity you would expect from dudes getting ready to drop an album called VILLIANAIRES. coming to NYC in May, poss even a stop on the closing tour for 502, which hosted the Science a couple years back, yielding "nuzzly" memories. so true!

* after a brief hiatus, Andrea has resumed blogging tips for weathering and understanding the current economic downturn etc, also tips for Disneyland - also, girl is getting some much-deserved exposure on fellow food-blogs as well as a new column over on the LGBT personal finance blog Queercents ("we're here, we're queer, and we're not going shopping without coupons!") - check out her pet food buying tips, pet owners!

* Judd's Timbaland power hour, open to the public @ Savalas tonight, 9:30-10:30. I have rarely not-needed a power hour on any given Friday night, but I gotta say I really fucking need a power hour tonight

Sunday, March 30, 2008

on returning

back from the wedding in Chas (aka Charleston), it was a really amazing, beautiful week, pictures soon. so fortunate to have been surrounded by so much love and the extended familial vibes of the Wolfgangs/Clearys, to say nothing of the impeccable company of the groomsmen and bridesmaids, in general and especially when having to deal with the deeply disturbing news wrt my home

it's weird being back, and crushing to have the feelings of love and warmth etc of coming home to my green room and with little Emilio prowling around on my bed and Jeff and Caitlin enjoying one of their typically ambitious and delicious homecooked meals by candlelight in the kitchen, now suffused with so much sadness and anger at this turn of events. I'm not going to say too much right now - I've got three months of ongoing and steadily intensifying heartbreak to look forward to and I've got to figure out how to pace the grieving.

not to mention I've heard some intriguing things about potential legal options.

not to mention the legendary parties to come.

anyway I am still too stunned and useless from this to write about "Tusk" right now, but Holly has posted some extensive personal reflections on Tusk and Fleetwood Mac in general that are worth your time, inc this especially on point passage:

Fleetwood Mac made me see that human beings are flawed in sometimes catastrophic ways that they can't control. There are unpredictable, sometimes dark, sometimes ominous things that motivate them, and there is a certain beauty to that darkness that is rarely captured.

yes. Steve is also vibing on personal Tusk-infused darkness and confusion. in the meantime, rest assured that I will still be in my room, listening to it, feeling the darkness, etc.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

future death

this just in, we are being kicked out of our beloved 502, home to the green lodge, when our lease expires at the end of June so that our landlord's fucking son can live there. utterly fucking devastated does not even begin to describe how I'm feeling right now.

Monday, March 24, 2008

sara

(for the rest of the week, the Lodge will be blogged or maybe not blogged from an undisclosed location near the Atlantic Ocean in the US south, where I will be busy working and/or celebrating the imminent marriage of all-star 502 alumni Peter and Heather and/or eating quality bbq.)

SARA


fleetwood mac - sara (single edit)
fleetwood mac - sara (demo)

the more I listen to FM the more I've learned to appreciate the various talents of its non-Stevie Nicks members, but I think it's fair and probably non-controversial to say that Stevie's unique voice - half coquettish California girl, half bitter old witch - is kind of the main attraction, you know?  brief internet searching reveals "Sara" to be the #2 all-time favorite Fleetwood Mac song in some online poll, and there's a lot of questions about who exactly Sara is and whatever happened to the 16-minute long demo etc.  I can't really speak to any of that stuff and while I don't necessarily not care, the importance of the historical 'facts' of the song kind of pale when compared to the indisputable vibe facts - this song is maybe the purest distillation of both the heady magic of Nicks as well as maybe the emotional heart of the Tusk experience - and made all the more thrilling b/c it's the first lead vocal for Nicks on the album and it's kind of deep into it at track #5, kicking in with that instantly compelling chord sequence immediately after the mellow warmth of 'save me a place.'

re: Stevie Nicks.  before I really understood what FM was I thought of Stevie Nicks as kind of this silly old hippie chick that wore a ridiculously lacy, quasi-mystical wardrobe, but you know what I would definitely wear really lacy clothes too if I was Stevie Nicks and got to sing the lines in this one about "undoing...  the laces...  undoing the laces."  so awesome.  back then I did not understand that Stevie Nicks actually CAN cast spells with her voice and words, channelling the elements as well as raw feminine emotional energy in a way that is both incredibly alluring and deeply terrifying 

wait a minute baby
stay with me awhile
you said you'd give me light
but you never told me 'bout the fire


one of the theories re: who is "Sara" that Holly mentioned in her Tusk post is that Sara is Stevie's aborted baby that was fathered by Don Henley (!?).  I can't be bothered to fact check this but I will say that the first couple dozen times I heard this I thought the line was "you said you'd give me life / but you never told me 'bout the fire" and I was like "holy shit, she is giving voice to her aborted daughter singing to her from fucking hell!!!"  this is an awesome way to think of it admittedly, but the more correct-seeming lyric with her getting light but then burned by the fire etc is also pure lyrics-as-total-fucking-poetry, and it reminds me of Janet Jackson on the intro to "That's the Way Love Goes" ('like a moth to a flame,' etc), which is a pretty nice fucking bonus vibe to tap into here if you ask me -

also obv note the next line for its similar vibe of elemental potency, enhanced by the incantory, spell-like circularity and repetition -

drowning in the sea of love 
where everyone would love to drown


you could maybe criticize some of the lyrics here as kind of vague and hippieish to be honest, and the song is 'just' a kind of relatively unchanging, if gorgeous and driving, backdrop to Stevie's nonlinear vocal riffs - but I get goosebumps and kind of bite my lip every fucking time she begins that verse, 

and he was just like a great dark wing
within the wings of a storm
I think I had met my match
he was singing
and undoing
the laces


RAW MAGIC!!!  the extended demo version is pretty mandatory, not just b/c it is 8 minutes long instead of just 4 minutes, not just because it has a couple of awesome lines that I sing to myself all the time lately ("I stay home at night / all the time"), but for the utterly, mind-blowingly perfect and revealing way she starts it - "I wanna be a star... I don't wanna be a cleaning lady!" that's where the trouble begins - that star is the light, that star's the fire

re: the production of "Sara" and Tusk.  basic internet research reveals that Tusk was one of the first albums to use digital mixing!  and Sara maybe more than any track really glistens in a way that sounds exactly what a state-of-the-art rock album in 1979 should sound like - still full of the humanity and darkness of the '70s but with an icy, coked-out lacquer of crisp reverb and lush delays straight out of the imminent '80s that establishes this kind of atmospheric and emotional distance between us and Stevie's cold, burning heart.  listen to the infinite-seeming space in the beginning, and how the typically relentless drums and bass suddenly pull you in closer - but not really close.  listen to that ghostly, luminescent choir rising slowly up behind her in the second verse, those shimmering, echoing little guitar filigrees falling over the chorus like Stevie's undone laces...

this is the emotional core of Tusk - beautiful moments preserved like flies in aspic, perfect and inaccessible, dead and ready to be pulled apart

significant fortune

via mr. wonton - we are getting all Kevin Johnson with the Chinese food here at 502 - this is pretty much exactly the fortune I needed to get:

Through greater effort and hard work a precious dream comes true.

Friday, March 21, 2008

updates from the non-tusk internet

* this simple yet mind-blowing program displays your RSS feed headlines as LOLcats, via WayneReader, I highly recommend dragging the bookmarklet onto your toolbar and trying this out on pretty much any page with a RSS feed. just when I thought the whole LOLcat thing was getting stupid and self-referential and boring, this really reconnects the meme to its fundamental, chaotic, random roots - almost any RSS feed will yield some weirdly hilarious, strangely profound juxtapositions. here is the green lodge as a lolfeed for example.

* umeancompetitor has become unstuck from the internets

* my sister is blogging! it is called 'scarves & chapstick' but could be called 'adventures in substitute teaching and wedding planning'

* e. reeds is also semi-active again on the blog-front, bringing you interesting recipes, professional insights on menswear, charmingly absurd complaints, and raw hypochondria

* this New Yorker piece on Lenny Dysktra's amazing post-baseball career is easily the most hilarious and mind-blowing piece of literature to hit the internet in years, via Jayanthi, mandatory reading for anybody interested in sports or lifestyles but especially for those with even the vaguest understanding of who and how awesome Lenny Dysktra is

meanwhile, in real life -

* tonight rupture and shadetek @ glasslands, see you there

* tomorrow bboyz @ swiss institute, see you there

Thursday, March 20, 2008

save me a place

with all due respect to the Lindsey Buckingham-led interesting and kind of good forays into post-punk on this album, it's not really what we're here for - skipping ahead to -

SAVE ME A PLACE

fleetwood mac - save me a place


"save me a place," the fourth, also Buckingham-led song on the album, starts with a lyric I can really fucking relate to right now

don't know why I have to work
don't know why I can't play

oh man don't even get me started on that shit right now. anyway, the kind of folksy strumminess of this one was a turnoff at first, I admit, but by 0:30 suddenly you're enveloped in this beautifully lush, 3 (4?) part FM choir, irresistibly calling on you to

saaaaave me a place
I'll come running if you loooooove me today


and how could you not? these choruses are some of the most beautiful, warmly tender moments on this album which, I promise you, is about to get increasingly chilly and conflicted and bitter and really fucking Stevie Nicksish in a minute. like the chorus of "over & over," this gives us one more chance to really connect with the intimacy and love that's still part of these difficult relationships even as it reminds us how flawed they are. where has Lindsey gone, so that you have to save him a place? where is he running from? as the next verse makes clear, he is filled with (typical male etc whatever) ambivalence towards commitment, staying in place -

don't know why I have to go
don't know why I can't stay
guess I want to be alone
and guess I need to be amazed

despite the fact that this is an acoustic strummy folk song, the arrangement and performance, in their subtle way, convey the same determination as more muscular FM songs - because despite the quiet, europhic sweetness of that chorus, Lindsey is definitely leaving, his mysterious internal dude-compass propelling him away in search of vague amazements as relentlessly as Mick Fleetwood's typically sensitive-yet-hard-hitting percussion. he'll come running back, he promises. we'll see

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

over & over

they call the first song on Fleetwood Mac's stunning and utterly obsessable 1979 album TUSK "Over & Over" because it reminds you that you have been listening to the album over and over and over for the past week and a half

really almost nothing else, as my possibly-suffering housemates will attest. thanks again to Holly for passing this on, it's clearly the Twin Peaks/Julee Cruise of my late winter/early spring 2008, and possibly the greatest album since the "Singles" soundtrack - as such, it will also receive the one-track-at-a-time, close-read treatment that it richly deserves. I'm not going to do every track, but I am going to do all the ones that really matter to me right now, which should cover the next couple weeks of posting for serious

OVER & OVER

fleetwood mac - over & over


I gotta admit, "Over & Over" didn't really register my first few times through TUSK, I kept getting derailed listening to "Sara" and "Storms" on repeat for hours at a time etc. with Christine McVie's typically mellow vocals, the easy-going melody, lazy tempo, etc it is kind of an 'odd' but in retrospect ODDviously perfect way to open an album full of so much darkness and emotional tumult.

this is an album about flawed yet inescapable relationships - as noted in Holly's useful introductory notes, pretty much everyone in the band was sleeping with each other and doing a lot of drugs and dealing with the catastrophic success of "rumours" and writing songs about each other, etc. the songs are full of multiple, often conflicting voices and desires, unanswered questions, naive hopes mixed with heartbroken cynicism, spun in unbreakable circles. and "Over & Over" lays it all out, in McVie's verses and their pleading questions

"could you ever need me? and would you know how? don't waste our time, tell me now"

"don't turn me away, and don't let me down - what can I do to keep you around?"

etc - that so quickly slide into the hopefully rising chorus:

"could it be me? could it really really be?"

before she suddenly, exasperatedly realizes that she's been here before, and had these same hopes dashed, "over and over" ("and over and over and over and over")

- yet the whole song, in its relative warmth and mellowness, kind of conveys that cautious, yet desperately-wanting-to-believe optimism of the "could it be me?", when you kind of know better but still think that maybe this time will be different, which makes it such an appropriate start to the album, a quick taste of the sweetness with clear forboding of the bitterness and sourness to come

ftr, thanks should probably be given to Alison in Sweden PhDista for encouraging me to give this song a closer look in the first place, it wasn't originally going to be blogged but, as usual, she's got a sharp eye for high-quality emotional details, esp when it comes to the Mac. credit also goes to Alison for popping my FM cherry way back on her summer of '01 mixtape, featuring "Silver Springs," which kind of blew me away (and then bitterly haunted me for months after our appropriately intense breakup, thanks!)

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

8000

yeah that 77-drummer boadrum jawn was OK I guess but what about this (via Nick Lez)

"The Otomi people, descendants of the Mayan Olmec and Toltecs of Mexico, prophesized the healing of Mother Earth will begin when 8,000 sacred drums are played together. This inscription was found in a cave located on an Otomi sacred ceremonial site. The Otomi people consider sound as a form of prayer and a basis for their spiritual practices. In 2004 the first modern ceremony was held and the prophecy of healing began. To continue the energy of this healing ceremony, indigenous peoples and followers of indigenous traditions worldwide will drum together on Friday, March 21 at 2 p.m. EST. You can participate by drumming alone or with others, while holding the intent of Earth healing."



this Friday folks, 2 PM! bang a can, you can do it at work! be part of something larger than yourselves! etc

[Dan-O, thinking of it that way kind of makes me think of it as a worldwide 'balls' chant, you know? Sarno-style. did we invent that game or what? man we were geniuses when we were kids... definitely gotta post about the 'balls' chant at some point, but not now - it's time for the Mac.]

complex crises

somewhat similarly, Geoff Styles notes today that $100/barrel oil is, like everything else, global, historical, complexly-determined, and no one, not even big bad oil companies or warmongering neo-cons etc, knows what's coming next. back to our scheduled "Tusk" week in a minute

asterisk

great and gutsy speech in a lot of ways - calling your grandmom kind of racist, bold! - no seriously it's good, but those two blatantly pandering (I hope) John Edwards-esque passages (note the reference to the 'shuttered mills') where he blames the problems of working class whites solely on their capitalist bosses' 'corporate culture' and 'Washington lobbyists' and blames health care problems solely on 'Washington special interests' etc are terrible, both in their cartoonishness and the way in which it undermines his thesis, which is that we live in a complex world rooted in an inescapable and occasionally really shitty history and that in order to solve social problems we have to stop blaming everything on others (inc other classes, countries, etc), acknowledge and take responsibility for our own role in creating our world, and work with other ostensibly right-minded individuals to make a good faith effort to solve them. uhh, unless you're a white working class Pennsylvanian, in which case you're allowed to wallow in wan 1960s-style paleo-socialism for a bit longer? I liked the parts where he told the truth better.

globalization is continuing to change economies and ways of life all over the world - sorry, America, this includes us, too - at an ever-faster pace in a decentralized process that is an unavoidable cause as well as effect of our technological/social evolution and is impossible to stop, yet also continues to provide us with more and more tools (technological, institutional, social, etc) to help us try and keep up with the pace of change. like race and other challenges of history, it is one that is posed repeatedly and constantly on both personal and macro levels in obscure and literally innumerable ways, and we have no real option but to accept the world-challenge that we don't fully understand, that we are required to answer yet can't solve without others, make our best guess at the solution, never find out if any of our answers were right, and, if we're nice and audaciously hopeful, share good notes with as many equally ignorant people as possible along the way

atlantic studios

Aa checked into the excellent Atlantic Sound (just down the hall from the smart and bloggy graphic designers in 801a) in scenic DUMBO to lay down some drums this wknd. is it lame to think that live/work/playing in DUMBO seems magical and awesome? it was dusk as I rode in and there was this super loud karaoke sesh blasting out of one of the nearby buildings, it was impossible to say where it was coming from but someone was singing esther philipps's "release me" with inspiring passion and little sense of pitch or restraint, it was a special moment for me

Monday, March 17, 2008

first

but first, pictures of emilio, my cutest friend and closest confidant. jeff & caitlin brought this friendly yet serious, insanely loveable little guy into the collective life of 502 about a year ago, iirc, and it is fucked up that I haven't shared him with you before now. *

readers, I present to you: emilio in wicker tunnel. you can click to make them bigger, higher res versions available upon request.



* obligatory link to ethan zuckerman lecture on how the internet is mostly for pictures of cute cats. cute cats: web 2.0 = lulz: web 3.0. tho I gotta admit I am feeling a bit of a weird internetty thrill posting these...

you're a rare collector's item

NEW BLOGWORTHY BLOG: B.J. Rube, of the iconic avant-lounge act Puttin on the Ritz, whose fucking wedding we played in October and I never blogged (need to do a wedding mega-post ASAP), who is probably at least slightly responsible for my 'etc' tic due to his online 'voice' which is as distinctive as his real life baritone, has an awesome new blog "Pukekos" (named for a typically rare and awesome New Zealand bird - appropriately since B.J. himself is married to an awesome New Zealand 'bird'). it is chock full of painstakingly encoded MP3s from dude's extensive collection of compelling-sounding and unfailingly obscure indie rock vinyl. this is one of those super-focused and content-rich blogs, a non-hidden treasure of hidden treasures for those interested in such things

COMING SOON TO THIS BLOG:

- photos from the studio
- one week of nothing but posts about songs from "Tusk"

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

factory fall

uhhh so moving on past the surreal news day yesterday (Spitz + 7 new sins, wtf??) -

via Nadav, check out this awesome-seeming upcoming academic(ish) conference on The Fall! with abstracts! some of which seem genuinely interesting! like these -

Paulo Oliveira: “Keep a Full Subs’ Bench: Mark E. Smith’s Take on Management Technique

During the 2006 Football World Cup, The Guardian published an opinion piece by Mark E. Smith where he stated that Sven-Goran Eriksson should follow his approach to team (band) management if he wanted to be successful. This paper will draw on that article and The Fall’s oeuvre to analyse Mark E. Smith’s take on human resources management while acknowledging football’s presence in it.

Owen Hatherley: “Let me Tell You About Scientific Management”: The Fall and the Disciplined Worker

Many studies of the Fall take their cue from Mark E Smith’s tendency to the fantastical, but equally important is a stern, pared-down disciplinarian element. In ‘Birmingham School of Business School’, Mark E Smith sneers ‘let me tell you about scientific management’. This paper will discuss The Fall in terms of Frederick Wilmslow Taylor’s Principles of Scientific Management, the tract on the disciplined movement of the worker that helped create Fordism. The Fall, both in music and rhetoric, constantly evoke the Taylorised factory, with Smith as it’s grim, ruthless manager. The endless repetition, the rules against any kind of display of individual technique (‘don’t start improvising for god’s sake’), a puritanical excising of anything superfluous. Also there is Smith’s conflicted view on the worker itself – whether trumpeting his own background or equally frequently denouncing the English working class as bovine, unimaginative and warped by the industrial experience. This paper will explore the Fall in terms of discipline, industry and class – all of which are complicated and contradictory in their work.'