Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Boston Spaceships is real

The last couple of GBV records didn't really make me swoon or anything, and of the vast effluvia of post-GBV releases there haven' t been any I love with no reservations, and I have to say that this is mostly because of the same boring plaints that make rabid GBV fans hiss at the heresy: a lot of turgid tempos, too much senseless prog-wank to stretch what would be nice Bob songs into something "epic," and the production and instrumentations of crony Todd Tobias, which I just can't ever get so far as to enjoy (I think I can peg the lifelessness of his stuff to the drums, specifically; he must play to a metronome...just when some of these songs seem ready to take off, they, er, don't)...

I've been an examiner of all things Pollard for fifteen years and a friend of the man for nearly as long, although I don't ever hang out because of, er, diverging lifestyles. I continue to be amazed and stoked at the sheer sonic tonnage of the output: so maybe, I've thought, I've had my era and the modern diehards who want to say things like "Coast to Coast Carpet of Love or [name of post-2005 release here] slays Under the Bushes, Under the Stars," are well within their rights to do just that: this is simply their time to gawk at a living piece of rock miracle and someday Bob's infant grandson's peers will have their time and so on and so forth.

Imagine how stoked I am, then, at the arrival of Boston Spaceships' first LP Brown Submarine, which I enjoy all the way through unreservedly in a way I have not since, I dunno, Speak Kindly of Your Volunteer Fire Department, or maybe Airport 5's first one or the Soft Rock Renegades LP [and, yes, it is getting dark up here; non-Pollard completists are advised to skip all the jargon-y prattle herein]. It has that Pollardian ease of "Look what I can do without scarcely having to exert effort" but here Bob himself seems present, not like a guest on his own records as I have felt about the Tobias pastiches. It's one of those Bob records where the songs could come from any period in the last forty years, but still shine with a sense of invention and possibility.

So, um, yay!

All powerful

The electricity returneth!

SO much changed during the time the power was gone; strange and wonderul flora started to grow in my fridge, etc. I missed out on hundreds of posts on any variety of topics that flitted through the mead hall of my mind (and I will make it up to you, he threatened).

I will say all the ceaseless bitching from the citizenry with the power only out for eight days makes we wonder how things are going to be when things really start going haywire.

Maybe I will end up running Bartertown.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Hello, Saferide

Everyone knows Sweden and suchlike Nordic countries now turn out ace pop bands the way the US used to turn out manufactured stuff. Hello, Saferide is yet another groups making nice songs. Here is their vid for "Anna":

This song rules for the "Luka"-ish vocal delivery, the dude's beleaguered expression at crazyface's fantasy babybook and the fact that the titular Anna is shown checking out the near universally reviled Under the Red Sky, one of the 40 worst Dylan LPs (so hard to choose!).

Marcel Duchamp

Marcel Duchamp invented everything, basically.

Forerunner to Warhol, great grand-pere of Jeff Koons and Damian Hirst and any other conceptualist you can think of, he stopped painting early in his career and worked/tinkered forever on his Large Glass (a picture of a chocolate grinder in sort-of gold leaf on glass, also called The Bride Stripped Bare By her Bachelors, Even), displayed ready-made, storebought objects like snowshovels and urinals as "sculpture" [hello, Jeff!], and generally was about 11,000 times smarter/funnier than anyone we'll ever meet.

What I wanted to comment on, however, is the funny-money he made for a Monte Carlo night type thing he did in the 20's. I forget what happened, everyone got to win, or came out exactly even, or something...I don't have the necessary texts here. I just want to say: check the actual money. This is the 20's, yes, surrealists coming on, etc, but what the hell???

"I know! I will make myself a beard and horns with shaving-soap foam, take a photo and put that on the five-franc certificates! Of COURSE!"

And THIS was pre-psychedelics by many, many moons. Shit hot!


Still no power at home. Not griping, just saying.

Could be until September 26th, says the local news mouth-organ.

It's crazy, though - in just the nearly four days without power, kudzu has overgrown my entire building and I actually heard a neighbor asking another neighbor something and they started their sentence with "Prithee, -"

Also, how long before it's like High-Rise by JG Ballard and a war starts between the those electrified and the still-dark? I don't want to come home and find someone roasting an airedale on a spit in my front yard, thanks.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


On listening to When the Going Gets Dark (2006) for the first time, I was again sorta puzzled as to why Quasi isn't like, I dunno, bigger than Radiohead.

Then I remembered: they're old! Older than me, even!

Seriously, I'm glad I never heard this record before today, because I doubt I could have been ready for it. So many dark moments abutting McCartney-esque pop ones...plus they can really play. Normally I abominate anything that could be seen as vaguely proggy [see nearly every other post herein for proof!], but these kids do weird-instrumental passages about one hundred times better than the first-beard contingent like, I dunno, Blitzen Trapper or whomever is on the Pitchfork tines any given day. Plus shiny choruses abound. Wow.


Power company now saying it could be hundreds of millions of years before my power at home is switched on.

Also: my cat has grown a long, tiny Rip Van Winkle beard!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Since no one is going to mention David Foster Wallace's first novel, The Broom of the System, I will. I mistakenly took a class in college in my standard way: force-add whatever class would take me, regardless of whether it was required or relevant to my major (which, to this day, I'm not sure I ever declared one, maybe English, but likely not, given the alarming syntax in this post which I'm too lazy to fix. At.). I was in this Modern Writers 451 or something, with this prof who looked like Cedric Hardwicke in Rope, but who would wear a Navajo print vest around. There was some other putz in the class who only wanted to talk about Wittgenstein, and this guy and Professor Pince-Nez would drolly go back and forth, their lofty repartee floating far, far over my Goebel-saturated head.

One of the required texts was The Broom of the System and it was quite enjoyable, particularly the heroine's one-legged brother LaVache ("the cow"?") who was incomprehensibly brilliant but lazy, so would write all his frat brothers' papers for them, providing they would slide drugs into a drawer he had installed in his wooden leg. "Feed the leg," he'd say, expecting a baggie of mushrooms.

The book in toto was sort of a college-age version of Duluth by Gore Vidal, with a great desert near Cleveland and all sorts of other just-slightly-off-reality ephemera all set up to obfuscate the basic plot of our heroine Lenore's Search For Love.

I quite loved this book, and still bring it up when the conversation turns to Wallace.

Plus, his excoriation of Updike in a Consider the Lobster essay almost turned me against the Bard of Shillington for about 11 seconds after reading it. Then I took a deep breath, said "what a asshole" [sic] under my breath and went out to face the day.

The new normal

How 'bout that wind, huh? You like that? Well, get used to it, because it's the new normal. I'm trying to get ahead of the curve on this, afore Al Gore et al tell me that this is going to happen all the time, because YOU had the temerity to try olive oil Pam in the aerosol, you monster.

ALSO, reports are coming in that someone successfully bred a dog with a cat just four versts east of here, so, yeah, things are Mayan calendar-y all over.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Walking manners

Here's something:

Even when you are walking with the WALK signal at a traffic crossing, that does not mean you should walk as slowly as possible, all zombified. Step it up a little so that drivers can make a right turn on red.

Oho!, but no, drivers are not free of the lashing of my severe tongue!

1. If you are turning right into somewhere, such as a doctor's bldg or shopping center, do not come to a near-complete halt. It doesn't matter if you are old and frightened. Stay home if that's the case.

2. If you are on a highway or large street and construction has the thoroughfare going down a lane or two, if you are one of those monsters who will drive all the way up to the bottleneck (often on the shoulder, and at an excessive speed) to try to nose your way in, let it be known that I WILL NEVER LET YOU IN UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. Test me. Let's say I was somehow* jabbed with a curare dart, and your rude ass somehow had the antidote that would keep me alive, which would be administered on the other side of the blockage. Too bad for me, I guess, because I would still not let you in.

That's right, I'm willing to die for this.

(On a not-too-similar note, it bears mentioning that yesterday someone called attention to the fact that I will sometimes wear argyle socks and how the "preppy look" was "in this fall!" What? I have spent my entire life trying to get to a state where matters sumptuary are not an issue, and one just dresses a certain way regardless of the shifting winds of cool. Maybe in a world where people don't use turn signals there are such vague notions as fashion? Tragic!)

* that is to say, someone tried to make it seem an accident

Happy for Elbow



No, seriously, sorta-known in the UK band Elbow won the "prestigious" Mercury Music Prize yesterday, which gets them about 20,000 pounds, a curry and packet of McVitie's Hobnobs.

This prize is kind of a curse, as previous winners (Gomez, e.g., or Suede (mk1), and, er, Roni Size) all tend to quickly fly apart at about 1000 mph. Still, nice to see some recognition for a band that does its own thing to a fault, and is fronted by a guy who tends toward a sort of Mario Batali-ish body type.

AND, the preview for Burn After Reading was chock full o' their lead single "Grounds for Divorce" from their "prize-winning" LP:


Tree story

When I was a kid, I loved to sit in a certain notch in the tree in front of my house and read. No one could see me, unless they were looking.

I remember reading the Ray Bradbury story "Dark They Were, And Golden Eyed" up there for the first time, and having it fairly knock me out. Another Martian story, but not one collected in The Martian Chronicles, this tale of Earth settlers' gradual assimilation into Martian life is at once eerie and calming. How often do you read a story where a whole family changes species and it's a happy ending?

Bradbury wrote something like 126,000 short stories and I have failed to read most of them, but this one with its Martian landscape of "cinnamon sands and wine airs" sticks in my brain, its elegiac air not forced but rather comfortable.

Plus! RB did win the Peter Sellers lookalike contest he was on his way to when the above pic was snapped!


Hey! You're right! I do find it shit-hot that there is going to be a William Eggleston retrospective at the Whitney Museum! And how right you are that I am stoked for a book of the same!

Someone needs to go south of Dayton to the intersection of Alex-Bell and Chilton and take a picture of the street signs and the way they cross each other, so it basically says "Alex Chilton/Bell" like some old songwriting credit of yore. Take pic in Egglestonian superbright color and get it out there on the net for all to see.

As I say, someone needs to. But not me, buddy.


Driving yesterday (yes, it is a shame that I have been doing this blog for over a month now and still must drive myself!), I saw a bumpersticker that said:


I wanted to get up next to the driver (a woman!) and say "When? An hour ago?"

THEN, I noticed the v-plate:


which, on first glance, I assumed was a reference to Dance Dance Revolution!, but was in fact telling me that said driver was intending to be a Dungeon and Dragons-er forever!

I found it kind of heartening that someone still cleaves to a hobby so strongly...it makes obsessive book-hoarding seem almost normal.

Still, Dallas Egbert wept!:


Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Pet Sematary (yep)

Stephen King is sort of beyond even passe now, other than his backpage column he had (has?) in Entertainment Weekly where he'll do stupid shit like endorse the Hold Steady. Well, probably, I didn't see that he did this, but their brand of lousy John Cafferty barroom dreck seems like something he'd drool over. Or a sweeping endorsement of some probably good (but not as good as he would like to make it seem) tv show like, I dunno, Rescue Me or something. But even now acres of virgin trees are falling in advance of the publication of his next listless opus, as they keep coming: Lisey's Story, Cell [cell phone terror/horror! gasp! the timeliness!] Duma Key (what?), The Gingerbread Girl and now another story collection (Just After Sunset), which I will end up buying 4 cheep sometime, because I have the others and there is usually at least one keeper in those, even at this late date...

Anyway. What I mean to say is, even though he may still be plodding along writing books no one much notices, Pet Sematary is still just about the creepiest thing I have ever read, or intend to. It always reminds me of this time of year as it starts at back-to-school season, and it is unrelenting in its tracking of one family's downward spiral into (yes) horror. Just mercilessly godawful! AKA: recommended!

Sorta shocking

That David Byrne/Brian Eno record, the new one! NOT awful!

I was amazed. DB even keeps his verbal quirkiness to a minimum.

May not ever need to listen to it more than twice, but still. They should put that on the little shrink-wrap tag:

"May not ever need to listen to it more than twice, but still." - some dork in Ohio

Monday, September 8, 2008

Coming for '09: That "True Faith" Look

Last spring the Times' Men's style magazine section thingy, under the T brand, had a profile on the old Buffalo look of the early eighties ('82-ish). Then, yesterday, a rumination on the Italian 80's paninaro phenomenon, as immortalized in:

So, what's the 20+ year old British pop trend that will be trotted out for next spring? Greebo, with thoughts on Zodiac Mindwarp's "outrageous style"? Maybe some paisley shirts with paragraphs re: bands like the March Violets and a picture of the cover of The Cult's Electric, (when it should be Love to capture the period they are speaking of)? C86 long coats and anoraks? No, my vote is on another profile of Peter Saville, complete with how he designed the cover below after a drive through Ladbroke Grove and the alighting of this leaf on his windscreen,:
but with, i dunno, the Badgley Mischka dudes or Thom Browne saying how inspiring it all was. Oh and a picture of Johnny Marr in Sterling Morrison-style VU shades and beads from '83.
Clip and save this and see if I'm right!

Barry Adamson

On Friday the loathesome Michael Buble was on the Today show, which drove me nuts, because I guess every generation needs its own Harry Connick Jr, who, thin voice aside, now seems like a grand old man compared to the fresh hell of this Duhamel-alike. The sheer turnout also was vexing, because all the girls were just so ready to be charmed by this cheeseball.

Anyway, I found myself wondering if, in some string-theory-y way, there was another Today show on somewhere wherein the actually for-real talented Barry Adamson was getting his due. Barry is a protege of Nick Cave, but sort of outshines Cave by about fifty miles, says me. Sorta big-bandy/soundtracky, but all in all truly gifted in a way that the average song and dance dorks of today who show up at you local family-friendly community venues are not. And the song topics addressed tend to be a bit, I dunno, seedier:


The whole of Mr Adamson's new record is great.

This also makes we wonder why Terence Trent D'arby could have blown it so badly, but he's probably right now flying to Dubai to sing "Sign Your Name" to some princes or some such, so I will shut up.

Rising Sun

Holy shit, has it ever been a minute since I've seen my near-fave crappy movie Rising Sun (Under Siege 2: Dark Territory retains pole position on this)!

Everything about this movie is embarrassing. I mean, it's embarrassing to watch. All the acting is uniformly overdone, the dialogue is stoopid...the already-boring-in-'93 conceit that the Japanese were going to take over the world is just stultifying in its PSA-ness. Such lines as "I had a good job out in Van Nuys..." and "Stop you sunnuvabitch!" (as spat by a running Harvey Keitel) haunt my dreams.

I really need to go buy a used DVD of this for three dollars somewhere. Just to know I have it, like a cyanide tooth...

Please stop

Q: You know what sucks?

A: "Can I help who's next?"

Attention! It's either: "May I help you?"

or "Who's next?"

or even, in a pinch, "Can I help whoever's next?" (to which a customer can mentally sneer "I dunno, can you?", but, still, it's better than nothing)

No wonder America is in so much trouble all the time.


The movie of Revolutionary Road is coming out very soon, so you'd best read the book before all the Oscar talk etc...but more importantly, if you want a copy with a nice cover (as at left) you'd best get one now, before the movie tie-in cover shows up, is bought by the rubes and then disposed of, thus inundating all the used bookstores and generally cheapening a classic to all holy hell.
Easter Parade is also great Yates.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Picture day!, I guess

Not sure why, but, anyway, here are two paintings that have freaked me since I was wee:


Mid-level celebrity deathwatch

In the last few days, CBS News guy Ike Pappas, movie-trailer voicemaster guy whose name I'm too lazy to look up (and, really, he should be famous for his appearance on "Sodom and Gomorrah Show" from the most recent PSB record, but maybe in the next, less-awful world) and now countryish songster Jerry Reed have all shuffled off the coil o' mortality.

Given my just made-up rule that mid-level celebs die in fives, who's next?

Jose Cardenal?

Holly from the old Price Is Right?

John "Artie Bucco" Ventimiglia?

David Hockney?

I would guess maybe Richard "Oscar Madison" Anderson.

Anyway, be careful everyone!

Michael Zapruder

Hey! This video features Tigermilk-style flutes and a cat! Rock!



I assume/hope that the teenagers who know how to read today still go through their Kurt Vonnegut phase. Their must be nine or ten kids who read? Maybe?

Anyway, I loved Slapstick the best, though it was universally panned at the time (1976). Old Kurt himself talks, in a self-interview in Palm Sunday*, that he was devastated by the crappy reviews this one received.

To me, it is a consummate sci-fi story, in that it has about nine thousand ideas in it that each would make for a good story, yet KV shoehorns them all in into about two hundred pages: gravity used to be changeable like the weather, thus explaining how ancient peoples made such wild monuments? Check. The Chinese shrinking themselves to conserve resources and then, when they get down to microscopic level, being inhaled like dust all over the earth, causing the plague known as Green Death? Sure. Why not? Artificial families, so no one is ever alone? Just like FaceSpace! IT'S ALL COME TRUE! Sort of.

The whole thing, as fantastic as it is, is presented with a straight face, and, further, it is all an elegy to his sister. Sad and lovely.

* Palm Sunday is where he says his family back in Indianapolis was the "Von" in Vonduprin fire-door bars. Go to an old theatre and look.


See, to me, this new Slipknot LP:

looks like this new (lousy) Brett Anderson LP,:

itself a cannibalization, of sorts, of:

which is like:

The last, of course, featured on the cover of the Life magazine Best Pictures of the 80's! Which you need.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


Chances are you don't really remember Gene, plucky underachievers of the Britpop 90's...singer Martin Rossiter was smeared (er, fairly) as a Morrissey copyist, but their first album Olympian [1995] stands almost shoulder-to-shoulder with the first Smiths LP; in fact, it's better. Flashes of Queen and Small Faces commingle with chain-swinging counterfeits of their Manchester heroes' tunes, and "Be My Light, Be My Guide" (an early single added to the US version of the LP, wahey!, Smiths-style) is as good as any early Smiths song.

Go figure that these guys hung on until 2002! Likely sat around the Fleece and Ferkin hoping someone would buy them pints. Their final, self-released Libertine is as good as the debut and the band stretches out and basically does whatever the hell they want. They sound less constrained than on the intervening Olympian follow-ups and actually seem like they are having (gasp!) fun. Check for "Walking in the Shallows" if thou dost think me a liar. This is a surprisingly great record, all the better for the fact it doesn't need to exist.

"Be My Light, Be My Guide"

[PS - A youtube commenter says: It might interest you to know that Martin Rossiter is now a music teacher in Brighton. He teaches me at college. I'd never heard of him so it's really wierd* to see him in professional videos since I know him really well. He's really good at piano and music theory, but he often makes jokes that aren't funny and laughs at himself :/


* nice spelling, prat

Football season

It's hot today, but:

Do you remember a fragrance girls acquire in autumn? As you walk beside them
after school, they tighten their arms about their books and bend their heads
forward to give a more flattering attention to your words, and in the little
intimate area thus formed, carved into the clear air by an implicit crescent,
there is a complex fragrance woven of tobacco, powder, lipstick, rinsed hair,
and that perhaps imaginary and certainly elusive scent that wool, whether in the
lapels of a jacket or the nap of a sweater, seems to yield when the cloudless
fall sky like the blue bell of a vacuum lifts toward itself the glad exhalations
of all things. This fragrance, so faint and flirtatious on those afternoon walks
through the dry leaves, would be banked a thousandfold on the dark slop of the
stadium when, Friday nights, we played football in the city.
- John Updike "In Football Season"


(image: Po)

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Pallid, rested and ready

Quote of the day, part the second (conclusion)

Last will and testament of Francois Rabelais:

"I have nothing, I owe a great deal, and the rest I leave to the poor."

"10 cc's of day lilies, STAT!"

Called about some flowers yesterday for a, um, project that is upcoming, sort of guessing the Flower Man warehouse-place here would be closed. They were, but a guy answered the phone, sounded like he'd been awoken from a Labor Day siesta...

"Um, are you open today?"

"No, we're closed. Is this an emergency?"

What exactly could constitute an emergency to a flower wholesaler?

"Yes, I forgot my 70th wedding anniversary. And to put my pants on."
"Yes, the funeral is starting and everyone brought flour (with a u) instead of flowers..."
"Seattle Slew's grandson-horse is coming for dinner and we need a wreath of roses! HURRY!"


Enough reverence, thanks

Here is a pic from Pitchfork today (c and p them, yes) of some of Wilco and Fleet Foxes covering a Dylan song.

1.) note the sincere ear-plugging, to find proper pitch

2.) Nice circle-be-unbroken folksy stances all around...

3.) Dylan is the most over-rated (yes, over-, not under-) songwriter of all time, overtaking no 2 (Lou Reed) by a mile

4.) The band members' English-lit prof aunts at Columbia or wherever are smiling wryly, glad to see the kids paying respect to the masters...

See, I can't even get my thoughts collected enough to get across to you how much this sucks, actually, as I am like a cobra spewing venom on a flatscreen, and the screen is scarcely visible for the vitriol. Regardless, the mawkish reverence in this photo is more than one man can take. This reminds me also of when I see a teenager in an AC/DC or Pink Floyd shirt or the like (even Pistols or the ubiqituous Misfits skull) I want to shake them and bring my standard scold to the fore, to wit: if it was 1971 and Who's Next was just out but you insisted on listening to music that was 30 years old, you'd be listening to Glenn Miller.

Like the man said, retro is killing culture:

Quote of the day, part the first

"I spent a lot of money on booze, birds and fast cars. The rest I just squandered." - George Best