Wasted Nothing

I.

Every time I go to Target (TM) to buy stuff I feel dirty. It’s always house hold items I desperately need and even at their shockingly low, third world/Chinese communist labor prices I spend more money then I want to. Today I got carpets, a microwave, some forks and knives and shit. Nothing cool, nothing worth mentioning. And I still spent more money then I am financially comfortable with in my unemployed state. Thing is, I always felt that way every time I went to Target.

I had a friend once who really detested Target. A one stop shop for all your buying needs. A glorified Wal-Mart that you feel only slightly less bad at shopping at. You walk by the toy aisle and find nothing but carcinogenic plastic and children only partially supervised. It’s always depressing, seeing recently aged women with a couple of kids nipping at her ankles. This is life and it is found at Target. No other commerce for product exchange saddens me as much as my rare, but semi-necessary trips to Target. The grocery store sorta sucks, but we all gots to eat.

Target is filled with the first world kind of crap that only people who live in poorly built apartments need to attend to the self-centered world view of their neighbors. Those rugs I spoke about, it’s all in a (vein) effort to muddle the sounds of my distemper surviving cat jumping off his perch, the chair or thudding across the apartment in the few times he decides to run around, usually at inopportune parts of the night. These kinds of thuds the poor little man makes would be music to the ears in about 99.8% of the world. I’m doing my part, spending money at Target, appeasing the complainers and generally unstoked, because I don’t like floor rugs and I sleep through the poor bastards minimalist exercise routine. Worst part is, I still didn’t get enough area ruggage to cover the offending areas.

Oh and why Target, why not look on Craigslist or Freecycle? Because I just don’t have the time. You can’t appease people slowly. The second notice on my door on Friday night was proof of that. I’m doing what I can. I like my apartment and I am paid up until June. I can’t afford to lose that money. Cuz, you know I am unemployed. Vicious cycle. Plus, I just don’t feel like moving.

II.

I like the movie Scott Pilgrim, except it’s really difficult to like Micheal Cera and root for him. It’s not that I think he was a bad choice for the role, but I’m tired of the pathetic slacker routine, glorified so much in my late teens and early twenties by such delightful godfathers of hipsters as Beck and Reality Bites. It’s gone on far too long. Especially since I think a lot of people my age have gone on to lead rather full, self-fulfilling lives.

Also, I realize this comic and then movie was produced by people my age, but I am tired of young people, or those portraying young people decked out in the garb of generations prior or before them. Smashing Pumpkins was good in the 90’s and served some sort of purpose then (What I don’t know. Looking back on all the time spent listening to Siamese Dream, I can’t really see the point. It didn’t really hold up. Maybe it was just the slick production. Was it Vig or Albini? It’s hard to remember and I don’t want to look it up). But they are a shell of a band, marred by the self loathing, self-importance of a generation of young people who realized the world was fucked up, but not having the guts to do anything about it other than mope. Moping is bullshit. Sure, every town in America needs a band like Smashing Pumpkins now and then, but we could have done with out them kids. That t-shirt just looks dumb and ironic.

III.

It’s Sunday the day I wrote this. This act of writing to provide content to an unknown, inconsistent readership that I am grateful for. My stomach hurts, my sinuses are fucked, I am tired and I have band practice in a few hours. This is real life, right now, for me. New carpets, a microwave, and cutlery.

Katy Perry’s Exploding Tits Are the Last Straw for America

I’m getting old. I mean, I’ve always pretty much detested sugar pop music (save for Madonna and the Spice Girls) in almost all forms, but now it’s getting ridiculous. Big shocker, right? I don’t know shit about what’s popular to the kids these days. My awesome, arrested development leads me more down the roads of music made usually by four degenerate boys playing utterly repressed, mauled distortion. Honestly, I don’t know anything about “music” as it would be defined by the greater, pop culture consuming culture.

Last night I was hanging out with with some dudes from my band. They asked me if I saw the firework video. I said no. They drummed up youtube. Katy Perry once again ruined my life. See, I already didn’t like her that much, stemming back to that really horrible, wanna be gender-fuck song “I Kissed A Girl”. That made me ill on many, many levels. While I am happy that the concept of fluid sexuality is more acceptable with younger generations, there is nothing remotely radical about two women kissing. Further, utilizing and playing to the redundant, straight male fantasy about pervasive lipstick lesbianism is neither creative or respectful to the millions of gay women throughout history. I hate Katy Perry. I want someone to hit her in the throat so she can never do it again.

There is no god. I know there is no god because this didn’t happen and Katy Perry is back and her tits are exploding. So, this is what I learned from this video: Katy Perry’s tits are SOOOOO amazing that they actually explode. No, I know, I watched the video, in horror, and a bunch of people’s tits were exploding because they were getting all self aware and standing up and facing there fears. BUT KATY PERRY’S TITS WERE FUCKING EXPLODING.

I’m serious when I say that shit like this makes me hate American culture. It makes me hate American’s for supporting this with money. It makes me hate myself for getting so angry about it that I expose it to all of you, my dear, sweet wonderful readers who willingly subject yrself to my ranting. Pretty much, so far as I can tell, American culture is telling us that we’re totally screwed.

Feast your eyes on the hell and then join me tomorrow and noon central time for a collective, self inflicting eye gouge.

Unemployment Sucks

I’ve been watching a lot of television lately. See, if you haven’t read already, I am unemployed and I have a lot of free time. The other end of it is I live in a new city, so I don’t know a ton of people yet and the people I have met, I’m still getting to know them and become a part of their lives. So, a lot of the time, I sit around, plugged into Netflix or Hulu watching hour upon hour of TV series whilst painting or writing dumb shit for this blog.

I’m also a sucker for efficiency. See, the thing about American Television, especially it’s drama shows is that it’s all about the standard formula. Like, I watched the entire, available canon of Bones, the show with Emily Deschnel who plays a social moron but because she’s a genius she thinks her shit doesn’t stink. I want punch that character in the face, many, many times. That Ms. Deschnel makes her living this way actually makes me sad. But anyway, after watching like a hundred and fifty episodes of this, I realized, the first person Bones and the FBI agent doofus question, not speak to but actually question is always the killer. ALWAYS. Except in the few, more exciting, serial killer episodes, that, if you are going on a massive marathon, barely breaks up the monotony of the repetition filled in with the barely interesting, mostly pathetic actions of spoiled brainiacs.

I am also obsessed with House M.D. Fortunately, that show is not available en masse on Netflix, hulu or any other provider that is easily accessible. Yea, I could probably torrent them fuckers, but I am actually trying to work on some shit.  But anyway, House almost never “solves” the issue before the 48 minute mark (if yr watching with commercials, I don’t know what the time span is on Hulu, cuz I don’t pay attention to the clock when watching on my puter like I did on the TV back when I was employed and had cable. It happens almost every time, except for maybe once that I can recall. Sure, there were a few character development episodes in the later seasons about how House was a drug addict.

So sometimes, I wish this: I wish I could magically walk into my computer or TV screen (I got netflix on my Xbox 360 bitch, yea I am an arrested development adult male, suck my man cunt Kay S Hymovitz) and just shake the charachters. Like on Bones, when they interview the guilty person in the first 15 minutes, I just want shake that pretty FBI guy (FYI, FBI guys mostly do look like this guy, with LOTS of hair gel) and be like “this motherfucker is the dude that killed the motherfucker”. Or like on House M.D., the first like five diagnosis they do I want to be like, “You’re WRONG you over educated, emotionally crippled ass hats!” It would save me a lot of time and I would probably watch less TV, because lets face it, the drama of TV is equal to, but just as banal and irrelevant as the drama in any middle class Americans life. All these shows reinforce is that scarily smart people are social morons that alienate people and should be punched in the face. Except House, cuz he’s an asshole to everyone and Hugh Laurie is pretty awesome. He was on a show with Steven Fry. I should watch that show, I bet my life would be more fulfilled.

So, essays, blog posts, intelligent writing is supposed to (or are supposed to) have a point. This one doesn’t really. I just wish I wasn’t a TV addict right now. I wish I had a little more structure. I wish I was capable of drawing a Whale Robot as inspired by my That ’70’s Show marathon I have been watching/listening to. Unfortunately, unlike this guy, I’m not that good at drawing and I am not that disciplined. Also, I’ve been enjoying the Virgin Island’s best import. Future and/or potential employers savvy enough to find this page (i.e. google search) or translate that simplistic phrase, please ignore. Also, I wish TV Land and Hollywood didn’t suck so much. And finally, I’ve been really discomforted by how many B and C level actors/actresses are members of The Church of Scientology. That shit is weird. Robots are awesome. Buy my stuff and other stuff.

PJ Harvey – Let England Shake

PJ Harvey
Let England Shake
Vagrant Records

Right off the bat, song three, “The Glorious Land”, Ms. Harvey, just because you learned about horns does not mean you should just errantly drop a horn riff all willy nilly in the middle of a song. It’s totally distracting and takes a listener right out of the song. The nice, subtle hits you use on “The Words That Maketh Murder” are pretty awesome, they work well, propel the song forward and give it a nice bit of depth. But that all-to-familiar-but-still-can’t-put-my-finger-on-it horn riff in “The Glorious Land” bothers me to no end. I am, in fact having a very hard time concentrating on writing this review because of it.

Secondly, yr caterwauling at the beginning of “England” needs to stop. Perfectly good, mild song, placed perfectly in the middle of this album, but that beginning just fucks up my brain. I don’t know what nationality of folk music you brought that from but that shit needs to stop. It’s as bad as that damn off tempo horn riff we already talked about.

Third, and this might be do to the fact that I have been playing bass in a band for the last six weeks or so, WHERE THE FUCK IS THE LOW END? Look, I checked the settings on my computer and in my car while listening to this album and there is no low-end. I am getting tired of these so-called musicians dismissing the bass. I curse thee with a lifetime of haunting by The Minutemen. Take note here you indie rockers, bass is an instrument and a pretty fucking crucial one in rock and roll music. Most guitarists aren’t talented enough to provide a full, rich sound. Further, no one is getting laid while listening to your album if there is no bass. That’s where the sex comes from. You can’t have Sexy without the sex. And while I find PJ Harvey’s music very sensual, though not so much here on Let England Shake, no bass = no booth.

What I am trying to say here is that Let England Shake, the twentymillonth PJ Harvey album she has put out post Rid Of Me is more, weird, experimentation on her part. Much like her fellow countrymen in Radiohead, PJ has utilized most of her career to abandon the parts of her music that made her awesome. Namely, her great, loud, ballsy as fuck guitar playing. In fact, two of my favorite guitarists, Diane Foglizzio of Trophy Wife and Aimee Argote of des_ark play guitar like you used to, with a ferocity most dudes take for granted. Coincidentally, both of these ladies don’t use bass in their music, because they are that good (though I still wish there was low-end, but that’s because I like bass). Even worse, the vocals, there not that good. There really weird, and not just PJ Harvey weird, just weird. I think this has a lot to do with her recent love for global folk music. But this just sounds like an imitation to me, instead of a natural presentation.

I get it, I’m being really harsh on the giants of Indie Rock this week. It’s not an easy task, the positions I am taking are not going to make me popular. Especially since I don’t use commas properly. But whatever, I guess I’m just really getting tired of all these once great performers making really mediocre music in the name of exploration and experimentation. I don’t want to sound like I am faulting anyone here for trying to reach out of the boundaries of their culture and personal history, but I guess the application of discovery is falling short on my ears. There are really interesting, unique moments on this new album here from PJ, but mostly it just lacks any type of dynamic or punch. If I have learned anything from my friends who make music, you can be subtle and crushing at the same time. You can have soft tones and take breaths away. You can kick out crazy vocal parts, with unique, non-traditional voices and totally fuck shit up. You can grow and expand your sound and reach beyond your own limitations and take from the air amazing music. But it has to work. Indie rock is just not working for me these days, mostly because it lacks the integral ingredient: ROCK.

Punk Rock Fails Sometimes

So check this out, I have a dumb crush on Lauren Denitzio, formerly of The Measure (SA). I mean, that’s weird and I admit that’s weird. I’ve never met her, I only “know” her through her art work and music, both of which I respond to very positively. It’s not some kind of lusty, sexual, active type of crush. But I’m a dude that likes ladies. I don’t actually often respond with silly crushes to women in rock. I actually actively keep those feelings in check, because music and love do not mix for me. I am the kind of guy that if you go to a show with me, I am probably going to ignore you the whole time. I am very purpose driven at the rock and roll concert. I judge people on the type of music they listen to, unfairly, and as such, could never date a lady that was too geeky and OCD about music. That’s kind of dumb, but the last thing I want to do is be such an asshole that I break up with someone because they say something negative about Lifetime. That’s just not cool, but that’s the kind of dumbass guy I am.

Laura wrote this a while ago about sexism in punk rock. Punknews reposted it on their site here. A lot of dumbass boys got offended. Okay, I should come clean and say, I didn’t read many of the comments. I just see a comment thread of 419 posts and I know that there are some dumbass boys so volatile and hostile to any challenge to their violent, sexist status quo, that they all anonymously go apeshit on a message board on the internet.

So what do I think? This is my blog anyway, right? I think Laura is right on in every point she makes. Her essay is pretty positive and congratulatory to the punk rock scene. Of all the essays I’ve read scribed by ladies, this one had less of a negative bight. And yet, even with the sugarcoating (I beleive out of diplomacy more than anything) these little boys can’t take any criticism to heart. The true problem is, like religion, sexism is bashed into people’s heads before they are cognizant and able to comprehend and challenge the ideas. Then, when these boys reach an age where they have actually face their actions, they don’t have the tools to self evaluate and reject what is now inherit in them. This isn’t an excuse, so much as an attempt at an explanation. Each individual is responsible for their actions and the evaluation of those actions. It’s a shame this isn’t really taught, just left for everyone to figure out on their own. Most people never do.

Punk rock is nothing more than a microcosm of regular society. As much as it helps me personally to have a bunch of other weirdos to commiserate about depression and loneliness and alienation, it does no good as a culture to continually alienate others. Further, I am tired of the burden of criticism always falling on the responsibility of the few women and non-whites to call the white boys out on their bullshit. Sure, I’ve met plenty of men/boys who are the exact opposite of the punk rock status quo, trying to create and help facilitate spaces that are inviting and safe to all types of people. But the exception is far outweighed by the rule. There is little in the music or the message that is intended to be off putting to curious people, but the culture, like almost all cultures in western society, has a serious degree of bullshit to deal with. It’s time us boys start dealing with it.

Radiohead – The King of Limbs (1st Impression)

Radiohead
The King of Limbs
Digital Download

When Radiohead last released an album, called In Rainbows my immediate response was, “yup, it’s Radiohead”. That’s a response I have to a lot of bands new albums actually. There is just something so Radiohead about Radiohead that they will never be able to escape it ever again. Even if they were to make a guitar album again, it would still sound like Radiohead. I think if they tried to do a folk, roots, classical or even hip-hop album it would still sound like Radiohead. No other band sounds like Radiohead, though many try to failing degrees, and in a way, that is the key to Radiohead.

So, when I copped The King of Limbs about ten minutes ago, I put it on my iPod and started listening to opening track “Bloom” and said to myself, “Gee, this sounds just like I thought a new Radiohead album would.” So what does that mean to me? That’s the question I ask of myself and present to you, here, today, on Monday with every other blogger and asshat who are writing burning missives about, arguably, the greatest band of our time. Personally, I wouldn’t argue that. We’ll get to that in a second.

Radiohead clearly are making music on a different plane of existence then any other musical group out there today. That has been well established. All but abandoning their post-rock, loud guitar blasting, pop sensibilities that launched them into the stratosphere they once or currently occupied, Radiohead has mostly settled for subltle, ticky-tocky, plinky-plonky, digital music captured effortlessly with “Little By Little” this time around. What do you mean “once” occupied there, stupid blogger? Well, what I mean is, it’s hard to say if this band remains the household name it did, during it’s initial fun run of Pablo Honey, The Bends, and Ok, Computer which were and remain awesome guitar records. After all, nothing they’ve made since then could really be considered pop music, though Thom York did make a pretty catchy solo record a few years ago. We can’t really look at sales figures either. Considering that Kid A was the first album any of us copped of the internet for free, before it was released (I still have the CD-R a buddy at work made me over ten years ago) who knows how popular Radiohead remains.

In fact, it was Kid A that turned the tables for Radiohead, where they abandoned everything and made their first ambient, full on art rock record. Following it up with Amnesiac which was almost unlistenable, Radiohead seemed destined to alienate everyone except a bunch of geeks who really loved a band that turned on rock and roll. You can’t totally fault them for that, most Rock and Roll bands have all but failed on any kind of global scale. The problem is was that Radiohead was perhaps the last great Rock and Roll band we had. Since burying the sounds of guitars in a sea of MIDI, Keyboards, and manufactured drum sounds (See “Lotus Flower” for an example) Radiohead basically made the guitar uncool.

So, maybe I took this a little more personally than I should have. I still like Rock and Roll. I’m uncool that way. I still think, in the DIY scene anyway, there are still people doing really amazing things with guitars. The Woods, Sleater Kinney’s swan song, is an example of a big, great, guitar record, that makes Radiohead’s refusal to turn up the awesome look pansy-ish. Quite frankly, I’m at “Codex” at the moment, and this album just makes me want to go to sleep. It’s kind of pissing me off at how subdued everything is. It just seems buried in a sea of luke-warm melancholy. They can’t even quite commit to sadness and sorrow. Thom Yorke sounds more sleepy then mournful or deep or meaningful, or whatever the hell he’s supposedly going for. I don’t know, that shit is boring and this album, The King of Limbs, is boring as shit.

I could be wrong in all of this. I’m not sure, but it seems to me these so called indie rockers are a little too sensitive and subtle for their own good. 2011 has already brought us albums by Bright Eyes, Mogwai, PJ Harvey and now Radiohead, and from what I’ve heard, it seems most of these monsters of mid-level rock stardom have hit a wall. There was a time when Indie Rock was loud, powerful and beautiful. Immediately coming to mind are Superchunk and Versus. Those two bands had moderate success, toured their asses off and played SG guitars and had awesome, powerful bass players (both ladies, which even though people thing Bass is a ghetto instrument and that women bassists are bastardized musician’s it’s total bullshit. Laura Balance and Fountaine Toups knew low end and played the fuck out of those instruments, playing that was essential to the band). Radiohead doesn’t even seem to know what a bass is, all the low end, manufactured pulses.

The King of Limbs falls even further into the all too sensitive depths of Thom Yorke’s angry soul. Me, I’m bored as shit. And I don’t want to be either. I want to like this band. I want to be on the bandwagon. I like unconventional approaches to making music. I like combining analog and digital. But I like to feel something, other than sleepy after I listen to an album. I’m too tired to even get that worked up. That’s just tragic.

Episode 20 – The Dawn of the Mixtape

Welcome back to another episode of the KYS podcast mixtape. This week, instead of just giving you a list of shit, I am gonna write about why I selected the song you will hear. Enjoy. Remember, there is no talking from me to create a more pleasant experience.

1. Sea Dragon – Scared of Chaka – from Masonic Youth on eMpTy Records (now deceased). So Scared of Chaka is like the second biggest band to emerge from New Mexico. The biggest is the Shins. But Scared of Chaka was better. Since I live in this city now, it’s only appropriate I played this for you. eMpTy Records stopped putting out releases in 2008 and has this listed as out of print. I got it from the web  cuz I suck at the moment.

2. Number Two – Twig Harper and Daniel Higgs from Clairaudience Fellowship on Thrill Jokey. Daniel Higgs makes weird fucking music these days. This track is just a very cool, meditative jam from one of Dan’s most recent collaborations with Baltimore fellow Twig Harper. Thrill Jokey is pulling no punches releasing shit loads of Higgs projects.

3. Symbiosis – Lungfish – unreleased track. I was having a crisis of faith this week in the snow. It’s cold as fuck. I started on a Dan Higgs kick that you get to endure. I found this song on a blog. I forget where or I would link to it. I also found a bunch of live shows and the 10 East 7″ which has been out of print forever. Dischord needs to re-cut that fucker like now. And release the god damn vaults of Lungfish music yr sitting on. Don’t let the bloggers win.

4. In Majestic Drag – The Skull Defekts – from Peer Amid on Thrill Jockey. So Higgs sang for this Swedish art core group. It’s pretty rocking shit and Higgs as a rock type singer again is a blessing in the world. Though I would rather him and the Fish return, this album is fucking sick. I don’t  think it’s technically out yet, but a friend of mine obtained it in advance and sent me a copy of it. When I get a job I will spend the $17 bucks for it on vinyl. I’m sure Dischord will get it soon too. This album is so damn good though.

5. Live Blogging the Loss of My Virginity – Shat Shorts – from the album Seersucker and Sundresses. You can get this album for free at their bandcamp page. It’s worth checking out. This band is from DC and they sound like they kinda are upset about shit. I never heard them when I lived there and don’t know anything about  them. But this EP is good. I just got it last night. DC is growing up.

6. When Nice People Think Dumb Things, Attack and Vote – Armalite – from their S/T  album on No Idea records. This band has a lot of cool dudes in it. I like this song a lot because it encompasses all the best elements of all the cool dudes previous bands and makes it sound good together. This whole album is pretty good. No Idea are wonderful people.

7. Holy Liquor, Healing Blood – Meditative Sect from their album Lacerations Points available here for free download courtesy of Magic Bullet Records. This is a bit of ambient guitar sounds from Brett Eyestone and some of his friends. Brett does a lot of stuff like this. I like his label a lot, but for some reason I am lazy about getting releases from him. He’s  on par with Plan-It-X in terms of how he operates and what he puts out. Though I can’t get into All American Rejects. But that’s his deal and he does what he wants and I respect the fuck out of him for it.

8. This Potion Knows No Other Man – Mass Movement of the Moth from their split with Sing! Sing! Prison. I grabbed this gem from the new Maximum Documentation site that Mass Movement of the Moth just put up. This song is pretty different for the Moth. I like it a lot. I never heard it before, I don’t think they were playing it much by the time I found out about them and I never did get a copy of this 7″ at the time because I am lame. Now I can feel less lame. Thanks Mmmm Brains!

9. Nephicide – Jogger from This Great Pleasure. I saw a video for this song of Pitchfork and I really liked the video and the song. It’s all Black Metal like and stuff. I was hoping the rest of this album would be like this song. But it’s not and that kinda bums me out. It’s good I guess, but I liked this song a lot. The video is awesome too. Kids dressed in corpse paint terrorizing suburbia. I guess this is making fun of Black Metal? I don’t know. I am kinda of with it, but kinda not. Either way though, this song is really good.

10. Power Spirit – Children from Hard Times Hanging At the End of the World. This is another band I actually caught wind of through Pitchfork (god I am a shameful prick) but I liked their funny video too. Listening to Jogger reminded me of Children. This album is pretty good. It needs bass though, but it’s still some rocking jams.

11. Children’s Story – Tom Waits from Orphans:Brawlers, Bawlers and Bastards (disc 3). This is just a funny little story from Tom, dude. It’s just there to make this mixtape even more fucked up then it already is. Tom is the man. Fuck Off.

12. Skinned – Raw Nerve from their Self Titled LP. Here I am, supporting and promoting blog darlings Youth Attack whose albums you can never buy anywhere unless you pay some asshole on eBay a shit ton of money. I don’t condone this shit at all so steal the fuck out of this on a blog. Raw Nerve are severe man. They cripple the mind and hate the synapses. I wanted to piss you off so I put this epic jam on this sucker to end of the rock and roll nightmare you just endured. I really do hate you.

(42:30)