Sunday, December 31, 2006

The Best of 2006

2006 is almost over. I have a lot of good memories from this year. I also have some bad ones. But you can't have the yin without the yang.

I haven't seen as many Top 10 lists this year. And the ones I've seen have all been different. I think our culture is fragmenting into little fifedoms of art. I blame the internet.

Here's what I liked this year:

I liked the Modern Containment series, especially Hush Arbors and Kinski

I liked Terrastock 6

I liked seeing MV + EE and the Bummer Road at Wave Farm

I liked The Life Pursuit by Belle and Sebastian and I liked Dreamt for Light Years in the Belly of a Mountain by Sparklehorse

I liked seeing Comets on Fire live, and I liked their new record

I liked seeing Six Organs of Admittance

I liked the Feathers record

I liked A Scanner Darkly

I liked the Konono No. 1 show

I liked the Ray Davies show and the Bob Dylan show

I liked The Foreign Press shows and The Plums shows

I'm sure there's more that I forgot...

I also liked the earth ships outside of Taos and of course the leanto on the mountain in Vermont. I liked making friends with the pastor and the dentist (a.k.a. The Magician) at the community garden. I'm glad for those friends who found love and I'm sorry for those friends who lost it. I'm glad they caught my mom's cancer in time. I'm glad Brendan met Susannah. Gab's new tattoo rocks. I'm grateful to Hannu for releasing my record. And I'm grateful for all the good things in my life. And the bad. See you next year.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

With The Radio On

Take a look at this long article on Joanna Newsom in Arthur.

And another nice, in-depth article on Powell St. John of the 13th Floor Elevators.

An amusing little interview with Andy Partridge (XTC)

Over the past few weeks I've become addicted to Radio Blog

Rest in Peace, James Brown

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Power to the People


"The people in power don’t want to have places where young people can get together easily in any numbers, to associate and trade ideas and have some community besides the schools where they’re super-segregated and super-repressed. I remember when Chief Davis, the former LAPD police chief, said in an interview, ‘What you need to do is bear down on them when they’re young. You break them like a horse and then you can ride them the rest of their lives.’
"I think it was Davis, maybe it was his predecessor, but I remember reading that in the damn paper! Motherfuck! It was something that I, on the outside of things, had been thinking was going on, and now I realized that that WAS what was going on. We’d go do our [Black Flag] concert, come outside and see the cops beating up all the people who came to hear us. They’d bust them all up, breaking legs and arms. Just beating the crap out of people. It was all about keeping people down and showing them who’s boss before they get a chance to feel like they can do something with their lives.

"About a year and a half ago, I went to a friend’s party where he had these Jarocho musicians playing. The music is from the Veracruz part of Mexico, it’s a kind of music that’s African and indigenous. These groups are made up of extended families. So the whole group, this extended family, is performing in different combinations and different groups, from the oldest people to the youngest: everybody’s getting their little cameos, everybody’s playing support to everybody else or taking a moment where they’re the ‘star,’ so to speak. What was interesting to me was the breakdown of the ageism. Everybody was participating in it. I started thinking that this is probably closer to where people are coming from, naturally.

"The division by age is probably on purpose. There’s always a desire to divide and pit various groups in the culture against one another, and thereby weaken any chance of people getting together and coming up with alternatives to the governmental infrastructure for holding things together, and the giant corporations and things that hire them. It’s like at school, where they line everybody up by age, and then have them line up by height, or make them learn to march in lines: all of this kind of programming and dividing people up, and ultimately pitting them against one another, is so that they’re easier to control. It’s so much easier to take advantage of somebody who is denied the insights of their forebears. It’s so much easier to take advantage of somebody if they are robbed of the energy of their offspring. I think you need to keep everybody engaged with each other, and then the culture is rich, and has the life and vitality of the whole human family that’s there."

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Monday, December 11, 2006

Freaky Sounds from the United Kingdom and Beyond

I recently purchased a compilation entitled "Singing at the Moon" from a U.K. label called Singing Knives. I hadn't heard of any of the artists listed nor the label so it was a bit of a gamble but it came recommended and was the price of a couple of beers (my standard metric for buying music).

My favorite track is "Santa Flauta" by the Michael Flower Band, who appear to be influenced by Angus Maclise judging from the manic hand drumming, droning organ, and that most psychedelic of sounds: the flute played through a delay pedal (other practitioners of this technique include Bardo Pond and Meat Beat Manifesto)

There are a couple of tracks I skip through but overall there's an interesting mix of sounds on this disc.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The Harder They Come

Last week after work one day I listened to the Jimmy Cliff song "Sitting in Limbo", off the soundtrack "The Harder They Come". I hadn't listened to the album in several years but that day the song kept going through my head. Back in the day this album was an essential part of every record collection. I remember sitting on a sand bar in the middle of the Wisconsin River on a hot summer day with a bunch of friends, coolers of beer, and a tape player with one tape playing the soundtrack over and over again (and with our wasted group singing along to "Pressure Drop"). Fast forward to last week; the day after playing the album I saw the obituary for Perry Henzell, who created the film. Chalk it up to cosmic coincidence...