18 May 2006
I SLIP ON IT EVERY TIME
Download: The Walkmen: "Lost in Boston"
I'm sure the Perceptionists or 7L or the Blanks or whoever had at least eight or nine concept records in them about the Big Dig, Boston's euphemism for the blackhole of dirt and money rackets that eventually rerouted Interstate 93 underneath the downtown. It is, says wiki, "the single most expensive highway project in American history." Good for you, Boston. But I wonder about the Indians who helped you dump all that tea in the harbor, what they'd have to say.
While surely some sweet undergraduate or feathers-not-dots type is writing five theses on the Big Dig's psychological effects on Boston pop, I'd just like to note that DC's the Walkmen have written what could be the New York Yankees of fly-by Boston sucks rock tunes--their own "big" "dig." If "a 100,000 blinking lights are making me exhausted" isn't about that miserable stretch of Big Dig shitdirt near the top of Hanover in Little Italy, the one with the accordian player hobo I used to give money to my way in off the T, then on the way back I'd wave to him and he'd say something like "I don't want your wave, I want your money!", I don't know what it is--maybe something about the Scientology building? Don't get me started on the bums over there.
But the psychological effects. What the weather and blue laws and curse of Babe didn't already do to the place... I mean beyond nothing downtown open after 2am (or 11:30pm if you didn't have a car or the cash for the city's notoriously pricey cabbies--sidenote, if you ask me, that's why Brian's "I'll pay for your taxicab... if you suck etc etc" seemed so reasonable at first), there was the navigation difficulty. That line "we're clearing our stuff and we're packing the car and heading on uptown..." is ten retards brilliant because Leithauser delivers it so cheery, so optimistic--maybe uptown's awesome. Then comes the disappointment: "...and nothing's gone on.... you can hear a shout for miles around."
That said, this song could have been better if it was about being lost in Boston.
17 May 2006
Inspired by Tom Morello and others complaining to MTVnews that music isn't as political as it should be given the unrest, here are a few things rockstars can write on their guitars to get the message out. If everybody writes at least one of the following slogans on his guitar, we might be able to show the government how much we distrust them. Here are the slogans:
2. PRESIDENT AIDS
16 May 2006
Download: Digitalism's "Jupiter Room (Martian Assault Edit)"
Sorry to break from my positivity streak but goddamn this new Kitsune comp--what the shit? I read something like this piece and really want to believe "Maison 2 seems poised to take the ruins left in the wake of Daft Punk and pulverize whatever chunks were inadvertently left behind," which the author says is a good thing. But please please please tell me the future of 1997 isn't MSTRKRFT79 remixing Wolfmother or yet another terrible remix of "Banquet" that's so bad I think I might actually like the original now. Haven't we learned our lesson?
Previous riffs have come to the defense of indierock dance parties--not because people were dancing to rock music, and in fact especially not that. We all have been to a Barenaked Ladies show and know exactly what high school girls will do if they had a million dollars. Thing was, you get the right indierockdance DJ and she can move you pretty much effortlessly from rock to actual house to actual disco and maybe you find out you "don't need six strings to get down" (actual quote). I say "actual" merely to mean house qua house, not some sort of housified rock or discofied rock, because the best of these parties were working frontline to dismantle rock-as-normative music, and I thought that project had merit.
Fitting then that the first time I heard a Kitsune Maison 2 track was at one of Erol Alkan's NYC gigs last week. Alkan didn't spin it; I think it might have been before-Alkan DJ Dave P who pulled out Digitalism's "Jupiter Room (Martian Assault Edit)" which plays (gloriously) like a Homework track with the mids alternately clipped or blown out. It's one of the best tracks Kitsune's ever put out, and definitely a top10er 2006 for me so far. The rest of Alkan's night though was predominantly that really forced, rest of KM2 sound--hookless rock put on the rack of a steady fourbeat, a bunch of records wearing stick-on moustaches and thinking that we won't know the difference or worse--that dancified rock is all we really wanted in the first place. It's not philosophical opposition to one-pass "make me something I'm not" rock remixes--but maybe that's exactly what it is. Mostly I feel icky listening to the bad ones, and pretty bored, and confused as to what the motivations are for, say, Wolfmother to want a clubgoing audience when I've seen the tail that guy pulls without.
15 May 2006
CHA CHA CHA
Wherein the snake-, titties-, fart-, and now poop-obsessed Riff Market becomes self-parodic. Granted "I.B.S." doesn't have many snakes or titties in it, but it has lots of small intestines, which are a something of a snake/titty hybrid. Take this from somebody who thought "Popozao" was single of the year: "I.B.S." is single of the year.
This is personal. I've been following the I.B.S. game for a while now. My dad was in permanent asshole mode my first sixteen because he had a particularly badass form of I.B.S. called Crohn's Disease. No offense to Cam'Ron's son but if "I.B.S." is "a true story right here" well then my dad's intestines are way more fucked up than his dad's. The way Crohn's works, something (nobody knows what for sure) tricks the immune system into rehabbing a patch of digestive tissue, in my dad's case the small intestines. The repairs don't stop is the thing, so what is usually the SI's quarter-size diameter fissures into a small, almost impassable hole the size of a bed bug. Food gets stuck there and hurts like a mother, and that's when my dad would yell at my sisters to turn on Martin just so he could scream "what did I tell you?! NO MARTIN AT DINNER" or punch a hole through his fishtank or whatever. You don't know what sadness is until you've seen a discus fish flapping on your kitchen floor and heard your mom say to flush it down the toilet--"before it's too late."
Eventually dad got A+R work--Anastomosis and Resection--which is when a doc cuts out the diseased tissue and sews the good guts back together, and he's since moved on from freshwater to saltwater tanks. But goddamn could Cam's opener "ulcers hurt my salary, alter my personality" been the away message of his lifetime. Exactly how people with a real case of the shits think about the condition--it's so bad it affects your salary. "Ripping off my undershirts" was also something dad did, but I think that was less stomach-related, more a "I'm gonna do the Hulk Hogan thing in front of my entire family" thing.
The hustler/stay on your hustle/can't stay on my hustle when I gotta poop stuff rings true too. When not playing drums in Philly's hottest bar mitzvah bands, my dad drives one of those lunch trucks that go to construction sites and bring food/happiness/bowel trouble to all the workers. It's pretty much exactly like dealing drugs or prostituting women--so much so that my friend Danny has been known to refer to his favorite prostitutes as "sex lunch trucks."
Hey drug users: Do you shit a lot? I'm wondering why Cam so anxiously asserts "true story" as much as he says "please don't relate me to drugs," and why of all the tracks on the new album, this song, about shitting and throwing up, is the true story. The condition totally runs you, dictates what you can and can't do and most times that means needing a bathroom within a few yards of you at all times. But unless Cam's actually eating gourmet quaalude burgers or whatever I don't know why he thinks people think he has I.B.S. over drug use. That or my dad has a lot of explaining to do.