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


(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.)


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 -


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


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


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


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


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


- 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.'

Monday, March 10, 2008

top 3 things posing urgent questions about the true meaning of my existence, late sunday night march 9

1 - "you will make many changes before settling satisfactorily," from an earlier-delivered fortune cookie. kind of intense, no? is this the most/the least accurate fortune I've ever received?

2 - "storms" from fleetwood mac's "tusk" album (a stunning work of art which I have just, finally, plunged deeply into today and will obv be listening to for the rest of my life, thx Designer, more on this later). am I a blue calm sea, or a storm?

fleetwood mac - storms

3 - "The Constant" episode of LOST, still, obviously

Friday, March 7, 2008

extended Aadolescence

also of note - we're playing this UNIQUE show this Saturday, March 8 with awes singer/looper Julianna Barwick, who I raved about in this space a few weeks ago. we will be playing music in a basement, which will be recorded and broadcast live on the web via Viva Radio while the audience - you, potentially! - watches in a separate room with video projections from four separate cameras in the room with us. yeah right 'voyeurism' etc whatever I don't really get it either, but maybe it will be cool? see for more on the vibe

=== Viva-Radio Presents Adolescent Sessions, with

=== Aa (Big A little a)
=== Julianna Barwick

== doors at 8, show starts at 9 sharppp
== (yes you will have time to run home to watch Vampire Weekend on SNL)

= US$5
= UnionDocs Bodega - 322 Union Ave (corner of S. 1st)
= L/M/J to Lorimer


1 - such a bummer to see Samantha Power fuck up wrt 'monster' etc for all sorts of reasons. like everybody else, I liked her book, def one of the highlights of my undergrad syllabus. this recent interview with her on the appropriately-named UK political talk show 'Hard Talk' is really fucking intense and pretty interesting on lots of levels, not just the tacit admission that election-season talk of getting all the troops out of Iraq in 16 months is, while not 'just' talk, is obviously an aspirational goal to be modified as merited by circumstances more than an ironclad policy promise. I found her presence on his team reassuring and hope that she'll still have a role in any Obama admin when this is all said and done. draw your own parallels to the Austan Goolsbee/NAFTA affair, this increasingly depraved primary is already claiming some unfortunate casualities

2 - on a more positive POWER-related note - Neptunes Power Hour @ Savalas tonite! psyched that this is happening, really intrigued wrt what the vibe will be like, wish I could be there but I gotta celebrate P-Wolf's impending non-bachelorhood, hopin for pix! Alexis has the details

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

gary gygax

sad news, and I'm not just talking about the fact that we're gonna have to endure another month and a half of this increasingly stupid Democratic primary -

Gary Gygax, co-creator of Dungeons and Dragons and basically the whole genre/culture of tabletop role-playing, died yesterday at age 69.

hopefully I'll have some time later to really post adequate tribute to how fucking important D&D was and still is to my mental landscape, cos tribute must be paid - the 'live', tabletop role-playing game is clearly an endangered species that is probably destined for extinction as a weird quirk of pre-internet, pre-good video games late-20th century culture, but I'll be damned if it didn't play a critical role in the intellectual development of an entire generation of male nerds, and if I have any kids nerdy enough to play I'll be damned sure to teach them. GG and D&D taught me so much as a kid, and, if me and fellow 'former' D&D nerds like Tim B and Matricardi and Wolfgang etc can ever get our acts together for our oft-declared ambition to run a really good campaign as the quasi-adults that we are, I'm sure it would be as revelatory as ever.

Wil Wheaton, a good a spokesperson as any for nerds that came of age in a certain era, has some nice words and personal reminiscences, which struck a chord with me and many other nerds I'm sure -

Tuesday, March 4, 2008


played with these guys and girl Friday in Bmore and Saturday in NYC, made me more excited about an indie rock band than I've been since the days of listening to Meneguar's "House of Cats" on repeat for hours. propulsive beats with a mess of shredtastic, dueling, pop spaghetti western/surf guitar runs on top courtesy of Ken and ex-Ecstatic Sunshiner Dustin Wong, fronted by the awesome pixietastic sparkplug Molly Sigel, easily the most charismatic frontperson I've seen in a minute, who spends most of the set hopping around, eyes half-closed or lifted up to the ceiling and this huge sublime ecstatic smile on her face, so much joy in this band, so inspiring - check out this epic and awesomely illustrative new track "Celebrate the Body Electric" from their forthcoming album on their myspace! definitely go see these guys whenever poss

lots of great pics from the Brooklyn show Sat nite here from Tod Seelie and here from Rebecca Smeyne, also featuring us and the insanely futuristic and impressively lit metal of Genghis Tron, also a video courtesy of Torsten M and a fun pic of us courtesy of Jeremy K up on Brooklyn Veg (really pulling of that trashy NY douchebag look!), I gotta say in all honesty we were really fucking awesome too, crowd surfers, near-vomiting, power, I think things will be OK

i'm a hulkamaniac cuz, period

pretty interesting and occasz awesome interview of Clipse/Re-Up by DC's Peter Rosenberg, punctuated by some of awk white guy interviewer moments but otherwise a good forum for real talk on VA/MD, rap influences (yung Clipse walking around school with headphones listening to 'Fear of a Black Planet'), politics (Malice really wishes Obama and Clinton could run together and have 16 years, Sand is more an Obama partisan, "it is so gentleman-like when he gives it back to her!"), and, for max lolz and intensity, 1980s pro wrestling, dudes are BIG fans, their reaction to him even bringing it up is priceless ("WHAT.")

(the freestyle is on point too, liva and pusha esp awes, really feelin the foursome)

Monday, March 3, 2008


what if the Matrix was a TV serial set on a lush Pacific island, written by Philip K Dick, directed by David Lynch, and produced by God Himself? this show makes me feel lucky to be alive at this point in human history

[note to Sean I feel like this is too abstract to be a spoiler but if you don't want to risk it please avert your eyes and catch up with season 4 asap]

thoughts: ok so what we call memory is kind of like your sense of time, in the same way that your eyes sense space - it's a weird, non-intuitive way to think about it, but so is the idea that time is a dimension like space is. and like your other senses, your memory/timesense changes with age, usually for the worse, and it can even get injured - or totally fucked up by advanced physics-centric 'side effects' in an unbelievably compelling, ultra-impressive, philosophically breathtaking tour de force of sci-fi storytelling kind of way! I buy this 100%!! these guys are fucking geniuses

anybody that is skeptical about this direction or this show in general can eat a dick! LOST is easily the early front-runner for the #1 most awesome work of deity-level creativity of the 21st century, it has been true since the beginning and it is still true and it is becoming more and more evident in its truth.

if you're going to read one long and extremely thought-provoking thing about last week's amazing episode of lost which is already changing the way I see the world it should probably be this

update: more scientific validation from Popular Mechanics, who apparently has a regular feature science-checking LOST and other shows/movies/etc? via back4000