Monday, June 30, 2008

In the Digital Dust Bin

So I was thinking about this while writing my monthly Playlist Post.... in this age, of the MP3 and the Digital Dustbin... what' going to happen to all those great songs that people have written that never caught on, or that had a moment of minor

I was thinking about The Earps, and made some comment about their song being a perfect tune that someone should discover in the next couple of years and cover... but it's not like it's going to be on a 7" that will get rescued from a thrift shop or garage sale. There are no any thrift shop scroungers who are going to be moving their punk band into the alt country world that are going to find it and think.... The Earps... for a quarter this might be worth adding to our collection...

So what's going to happen to all these orphans, abandoned files and forgotten tunes, as the digital rot sets in, as the their authors fade into the world of "real jobs", kids, family, house payments (ok, ok... I know only rich people can afford houses these days, so let's call it rent)... who is going to find them and cover them, strip them down, repurpose them, sample them, see something ... just a spark... in them and resurrect them? and how are they going to find them?

Who is digging in the digital dust

6/2008 Playlist

Each month, since Feb of 2006, I start a playlist in my iTunes of the tunes that catch my ear that month. I started off writing a post to my Mog page with a short review or comments of each track, not only to keep a running diary for myself, but also to hopefully point others toward these tunes. In the last several months I have started to cross post this information on other sites where I keep blogs. (If you are reading this somewhere besides Mog, you can find all the old ones at www.mog.com/iren) I want to apologies for any weird formatting stuff right here and now, I type this in MS word and then post it on these various message places, some of which have…w ell formatting issues….
Anyway for this month here is what caught my ear…

The Poison by Alkaline Trio
www.alkalinetrio.com
www.myspace.com/alkalinetrio

Solid, and I mean Solid pop punk with just enough darkness and edge to not suck. This tune has the melody, the drive and the hook it needs to just inset it self under the layer of your brain that keeps telling you why bother with this when you have all those Ramones, Damned, and Descendents albums?


Backstabber by The Dresden Dolls
www.dresdendolls.com
www.myspace.com/dresdendolls

There is something about the Dark Cabaret sound that just works for me… maybe it’s the story telling element of the songs, maybe it’s that it’s a naturally noir setting, maybe it’s that it’s just… well.. about something. Speaking of which, if I am reading the lyrics correctly, and I am probably not, it’s about betrayal. It really reminds me of the title song from the second album by the band PAW… Death to Traitors… good stuff.


Flickan Och J├Ątten by Sagor & Swing
www.sagorochswing.com
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sagor_&_Swing

Comp CDs get a bad rap… you know there is something to be said about a sampler or collection of stuff, and so often it take a while for something to really hit you. A couple of months back I was writing about Igloo by The Screaming Tribesmen, that track came from a Aussie comp… this track came from the Who Will buy these wonderful Evils comp of Swedish garage rock from the 60s to present. I was just letting the iTunes play that randumb mix thing and it popped up and I started to dig it’s instro-flutey-groove, and despite the fact is seems like a tune that you would hear and a Ren Fest I really enjoy it…



The Unheard Music by X
www.xtheband.com

No Hardcore on the Car Radio… I really don’t know what took so long for this tune to enter my brain, with it’s tribal pulsing psudochant and it’s imagery of the end of the world… and then it starts to get slightly angelic and in your face and then… and then… it’s over… oh yeah and there is that little passage that recall the Sagor & Swing tune from above
All Tomorrow's Parties by The Velvet Underground
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Velvet_Underground
Classic Nico era Velvets tune, with that drone and impending doom. It’s hypnotic and dejected and wonderful..




Nothing Means Nothing Anymore by The Alleycats
www.irscorner.com/a/alleycats.html

I think the title says it all, 70’s Punk nihilism, reaction to the betrayal by society and of course it’s filled with energy and blistering sound, as if they are trying to finish the tune before those missiles land and wipe out the city.


Who Do You Love? By Bo Diddley
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bo_Diddley

R.I.P Bo!
Surreal…. Beat ….. Weird…. Daliesque… the question of life… who do you love?


Real Animal by Alejandro Escovedo
www.alejandroescovedo.com

My LP copy of this album is still on back order, and what I have managed to get my hands on include this live version of the title track… which is a straight up tribute to Iggy Pop, filled with that Stooges drive and along with a distinct late 70’s Iggy pop edge… good stuff, and I look forward to hearing more of this album.




Gunpowder & Lead by Miranda Lambert
www.mirandalambert.com

I like this song, even though it leans way to far towards the Nashville Pop Country sound, but lyrically it’s dark and has that back woods noir feel… and it rips along in a rocking blast that keeps things moving along nicely…. I wish that more country would sound like this…



Devils Bed by The Earps
www.theearpsrock.com
www.myspace.com/theearpsaz

Speaking of how I wish more country would sound, The Earps Devils Bed is a ripping Cowpunk yarn that wouldn’t be out of place in a Reverend Horton Heat set list, and hell this is a tune that I would love to hear Willie Nelson, Shooter Jennings, or The Supersuckers rip though. It almost makes me miss the era of the 7”, as this could easily be one of those discoveries that who ever follows in the steps of The Cramps would stumble over and feel that they have to add to their set list.


Thoughts, comments, spare change.

Friday, June 27, 2008

I’ll take ‘em on consignment..

Review of...

Thieves' highway DVD

This is an excellent nourish film about the scam filled world of trucking circa 1947 or so. The story is pretty much what you expect from the era, a solider comes home after the war to find out that his old man has been injured and ripped off by a crooked produce distributor… Of course the son sets out to do right by the old man and get his money. This means getting a load of apples with a less than scrupulous partner and selling them for more than they paid (free enterprise indeed)… drama, crime, and a fallen woman ensue and the story comes full circle. There’s no gun play, but there is enough tough guy talk, enough action and enough tension to keep the viewer interested. I would think that anyone who’s a fan of Elmore Leonard’s Mr. Majestyk would enjoy this film.

Blankets by Craig Thompson

Shelfari (http://www.shelfari.com/o1518111491) review for

Blankets by Craig Thompson

There are some things that I really liked about this book, and some stuff that I really didn't. Over all it's a worthwhile read, it deals with issues that I don't often see in print let alone comics... young adults who have grown up in a world that's sheltered in a way that reality won't acknowledge. I also feel like this addresses the issue of young people how grow up in religious families, and fall away from those values, in large part because they are not the values of the generation, or the society that they are trying to navigate. This falling away isn’t in that pyrotechnic blow out with lots of screaming and yelling, as much as it’s a slow passage of missing church here, stop praying there, seeing rated R movies, drinking a few beers… and once your at college, all bets are off. .. that said I think that Thompson's previous work, Good bye Chunky Rice has a much more emotional core, and while as a reader I don’t really look for a rehash of the previous work, I am still looking for something that touches me in the same way, that give me that same connection, and I really didn’t feel that Blankets did that…

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Artist: Alejandro Escovedo Album: Real Animal

from my mog (www.mog.com/iren)
While waiting for my LP of Real Animal to arrive at my local record shop, I have had to make due with what ever tracks I have been able to scavenge from the net at the moment. I am kind of a late comer to the Alejandro Escovedo party... but not really, as I have been a fan of his past fans bands, The Nuns and Rank'n'File for some time... but after reading a lot about him and his records I picked up The Boxing Mirror while on vacation in Hawaii several years back. The track Sacramento and Polk stood out to me, as it's about the Nuns, and when I heard that Real Animal was going to be more tunes in the vein of Sacramento and Polk I couldn't

What I have heard of this record so far I have really liked, and I am thinking this might be my record of the year.. but I have to wait and see... until then, the video gives a solid over view of the new record and Alejandro's history.. all of this ties into a little project that I am working on (very slowly) about the 80's Cowpunk bands that I am a fan of... one thing that struck me watching the first video in this post is that Alejandro's musical journey starts with what I consider the most important underground scene of the last centry... punk rock.... trips through the Cowpunk years... and comes out on the other side as the poster boy for Alt Country (which might be the most important underground scene currently)... and I hope that with this album he launches into the mainstream.... or at least gets the years and dollars of those who have been following, but also those who haven't.

... more to come on this one I am sure.

video's can be watched at the above listed mog page.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

2 DVD reviews for you all…

411 on the independent music movement

Information purposes only.

This isn’t a narrative DVD as much as a set of information about the music biz, record stores, promotion, accounting and all of that kind of stuff. Some of it’s pretty basic and if you are a complete beginner in the music biz this should be helpful. I only ended up watching a little it of it, as I was more interested in the subject than looking for information about the biz. I did once upon a time run a record label and this information is solid and useable… I just wish that this DVD had been more of a documentary narrative following the connection between all of the information and not so chopped up and dispersed. More than anything this DVD (which is really 3 DVDs) is aimed at an audience that is looking for resources and information, rather than looking for a peek at the “independent music movement”

Juno
It’s about growing up…and doing what you have to do!

Life isn’t the same for everyone, and in many ways Juno isn’t for the mainstream… so it’s a bit of a surprise that it was so popular, that it got the attention that it did, and that people so readily embraced it. I tend to think of the phenomenon as what I like to call the Duckie Effect (named for Pretty in Pinks Duckie Dale)… which is to say that Juno is everything that people want to believe that they like, that they are attracted to… but you give them the real life version of Juno and they run as far away as possible, or act like a bunch of judgmental Nazis.

The film is whimsical, it’s fun, it’s filled with the odd ball kind of underground/outsider cynicism that a small pocket of people in every community exhibit. It’s the story of a pregnant teen and how SHE steps up to deal with her situation. She is smart enough to know that she is still a kid, has enough heart to know that she wants the baby to end up with a good family, and has enough of a sense of humor (some time’s dark humor) to know that she has do some pretty grow up things while navigating a world that, let’s face it… doesn’t know what to do with a girl who isn’t falling into the places that she is supposed to.

Also I have to add, that having lived in Minnesota for a couple of years, that this film struck a cord with me in the way that local culture, expectations, and regional madness are all talked about and covered in this film….. plus who doesn’t love a spunky girl who thinks Sonic Youth Sucks (which they do) and listens to Mott The Hoople?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A personal journey with Martin Scorsese through American movies DVD

In this documentary Martin Scorsese takes us on a winding personal history of film. Showing what inspired, entertained, entranced and formed his mind as a film maker and a film watcher. One of the great pleasures of a documentary of this nature is that it exposes the viewer to films that have been not forgotten, but are not part of the cannon of classics…. And it reminds the viewer that not all film that captures your imagination is necessarily great, or even good. Over all I recommend this to anyone who is interested in film, film history, or exploring something other than what ever had been at the Cineplex in the last six months.

The complete DVD history of U.S. wars. Volume 1, 1700-1790

This video, while it did provide the facts, was everything that a cut rate hack job education film strip was 30 years ago. It never seemed to flesh out any of the facts, it relayed way too much on murky reenactment film, clips of movies (none of which were ever credited), and was completely lack in any kind of depth. I am sure there area dozen or more history channel specials that cover all of this information in greater depth and with more style and consistency.

Buckcherry... yes that's right

Back buring Buckcherry’s 15 fleeting fame in the late 1990’s (is that when it was??) we, being the Hi Energy Rock and Roll freaks, used to say… No Chuck Berry, not buckcherry!.. there was a brief flurry of accolades about how they were bringing back rock and roll, and how they were the new GnR, and all of that stuff. Mean while there was a small underground of us who were into; Gluecifer, Turbonegro, The Hellacopters, The Flaming Sideburns, Electric Frankenstien, Zeke, The Supersuckers, and a whole bunch of other bands that were playing the same type of Hi Energy rock as Buckcherry (see the whole of the A Fistful of Rock comps for that story).

Buckcherry seemed like the record industry stab at that underground, putting out their version of the that type of music, and for a moment it was on the MTV, it was on the Clear Channel, and it was in the Magazines… and I have to admit I thought it was shite. Really, why these guys? Why not any of the bands I just mentioned? Why not The Wildhearts? Why not Mother Love Bone… that’s right Andrew Wood is dead…. Anyway, it was a joke to my little world of rockfiends.

Cut to 2008, a band that had been pretty much written off and forgotten ends up on the cover of Billbored Magazine and I read this article about how they lost their record deal, how they signed to a little indie and made good on their promise of keeping on keeping on. After selling several thousand copies of their album 15 (I’ll let you figure out what the title means) they were picked up by a major and have steadily been selling.

Now, I am a little older and wiser, and I know that before I pass judgment on something I should at least give it a listen. I learned this from the white stripes, whose first two records I listened to twice, and was mind numbingly bored out of my skull by… twice…. But at least I listened to them… So I figured that I would give this new Buckcherry a shot.

Not being a rich man, I simply checked it out of the local library… after almost two months of having it on hold, I finally got it last night. I haven’t listened to it all the way through yet, only the single Crazy Bitch and some other tune that I don’t even recall the name of have been injected into my ears… but I promise that I am going to give it a couple of spins and see where it lands. Sure I wish that it was one of those other bands that were getting the shot (the Trashbrats or a end of the line shot for Adam West or The Hellacopters would be so nice) but I am hoping that maybe their current resurrection will help people find some of the others that I have mentioned, and the hundreds of others I haven’t…. nutrajet, The Bellrays, ect.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Still Restless...

Guilt and a bit of restlessness has sent me back to this blog... I have found myself writing all kinds of stuff for a bunch of different places on the net. Of course there is my mog (www.mog.com/iren) page, but also I have been writing reviews for the Ann Arbor District Library website, and have started an Sheldari thing as well (http://www.shelfari.com/) so I figure that I should start trying to keep everything posted on this blog in addition to all the other places, or at least that's my intention.... so I am going to try and up date this with what ever I am writing for other sites.....

and then there is the fact that I am going to try and seriously take a stab at writing and getting published. This is something that I have always toyed with, dreamed about, and been interested in. It's finally time to stop planning, to stop thinking and start doing. I feel that I have been pretty lackluster with most of the things that I have attempted to do with my life. My career has stalled several times, my personal life never seems to get off the ground and I have resigned myself to not having to worry about any of that stuff any more and to put my extra energy into writing...

Writing what you ask... my goals right now are pretty modest... I want to write a volume for the 33 1/3 series of books (check out there blog at http://33third.blogspot.com/ .... and I would like to have a book published as part of the Hard Case Crime Series (http://www.hardcasecrime.com/)... I hope to use this blog to keep track of the progress of several of these projects, and to help keep me working on them.

more to come...