Miss Misery
Another weekend which I managed to ruin by getting ill and this time I could not shift the blame to Maker's Mark but really only a lack of sleep on Thursday and Friday nights. Perfect Panther's Darkroom gig was reasonably well attented with about 50-60 people in the house at showtime. Our performance was fair, but probably much better than the last couple Chicago shows. This weekend was wall to wall rock gigs if you go in for that sort of thing. If I had the energy I would have had to choose between seeing the Clinic, Ratatat, Mannequin Men with the New Constitution and Plush. But standing for an hour anywhere just wasn't on my agenda.

With my ample couch time, I caught up on The Wire and watched not less than three Woody Allen films that were running constantly. "Love and Death" was the best of the bunch. It's a satire of Russian 19th century novels and the last of his "screwball" comedies. There are a million great lines. Woody Allen's humor and philosophy come together with such a light touch in "Love and Death" that it's hard to discern or notice any heavy message but I think it's a heavier movie than it seems. Allen called it his most personal film. And there are some great jokes about masturbation.

Oh yeah, vote for Kerry or you're not allowed to read me ever again.


Independent Chicago
The Independent Chicago compilation featuring "Gun Court" by Perfect Panther is in, or out, depending on your point of view. You can contact Fork Series about getting a copy. They did a nice job mastering from what I heard.


The Virtues of Effervescence
I've taken three Airborne Formula fizzy tabs in the past 24 hours and they seem to be valiantly railing against a gigantic mofo of a cold that wants nothing better than to bring me down. I've also got an all natural herbal buzz going. It would be premature to declare victory, however. I'm still weak and slightly dizzy. It's been torture trying to work like this.

The Modernist site had to come down because they were deluged with traffic for their new furniture and naked people pictorial by this hotshot South African photographer. Unfortunately, I didn't have the pleasure of seeing it myself.


Listening Station
Wolf Eyes "Stabbed In The Face" from Burned Mind (Sub Pop)
Yulduz Usmanova "Tak Boom"
Lilys "My Lord Will Be Gardening" from Precollection
Masta Killa "Old Man" from Chip's blog

I've got a short temper today, even got riled up enough to try to post comments to some dimwitted conservative blogs I came across. Feel my wrath.

This just in. John Peel died, Beaujon has a nice tribute to him you should check out. He also has a piece on Peel in the Washington Post.

More Peel obits here and here.



Saturday Night Jive
While Ashlee S. was missing her cues, I was out on the town, the downtown specifically. I had a swimmingly fine time, but neglected to eat anything along the way. I won't go into details but I paid for that mistake. Oh my, did I pay. I think I was coming down with something anyway but I managed to make it eight-thousand times worse. I hated existence on Sunday. But over the weekend, I managed to see two bands I had been meaning to see (or see again) for sometime... VHS or Beta were better than I remembered while Mahjongg good overall, great rhythms for sure but kind of careless vocally in an off-putting way. I'm digging my ears into the "Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain" double-CD version and loving it so far. I must admit I listened to a cassette dub of this album constantly for three months before it originally came out. I have it hardwired into my brain, and could even fake some of the tunes on the guitar for a while there. Pizzas here, gotta go.


100 Reasons to Boot Bush
I used to love reading the Nation, then it got really tired, but lately it's been getting good again.


Reality Check
This PIPA report explains how half the country could possibly support Bush.

Scheduling Conflict of the Month
So I'm building my night around The Office two-hour special tonight on BBC America. Then this morning ladyfriend asks me if I can go shopping with her at precisely the golden hour of my digital cable bliss. She's going to visit her best friend and new baby and I need to be there to pick out a baby book. Think about it... a baby book. The last thing in the world a baby wants is a flippin' book.


My parents are in town and my Mom had some good anecdotes last night connected with her recent high school reunion. It turns out this guy who was the teenage grease monkey who never studied much, but worked on engines all the time didn't end up working in a muffler shop as everyone guessed he might. Instead, this guy has something like a dozen patents in his name. He's an inventor and a successful one and not of just some obscure stuff like industrial plastic molding injectors or whatever. No, among other things, this guy invented THE AEROSOL CAN. Jesus Christ, you know. Of course, he now owns a chunk of land roughly the size of Bolivia and a small navy of boats. So everyone is on the dance floor and the reunion and they're playing Sinatra's "My Way" and the inventor guy is singing along "I did it my way" but adding at the end "and it worked" and laughing to himself. Okay, so my dad doesn't think it was THE aerosol can but just a version.


Weighing in on Crossfire
You could give a dog a crewcut with all the internet buzz on the Jon Stewart versus Crossfire exchange. I concur with Stewart in that Tucker Carlson is a maddening twerp who indulges in intellectual dishonesty to protect the idealogical goonsquad in the White House. But I don't quite agree that the "partisan hackery" that takes place on Crossfire is evil or poison for the political system. In fact, I tend to think having Begala and Carlson battle it out for a half-hour on the subjects of the day sometimes illustrates that there are real differences between the parties these days. Stewart seems to think that there's some opportunity for deeper discussion of the issues that's being missed. Perhaps, but what that would be, I'm not entirely sure.
The new Elliott Smith album should be heard here. It's his best I would say. One night a few years ago, Elliott bought me a drink and listened attentively to my sob story. What a guy.


Schoolboys No More
Thanks to Jotz for pulling this out. Let me put this New Jersey Star Ledger article in context. Two young men, one of a comfortable background and one of extreme privilege were buddies in college. But naturally, these friends of mine drifted apart by graduation. Both were partying and skipping class and having a good time I should note, but one (not the millionaire's son) had a harder time getting a diploma than the other. Skip ahead a decade and one has become a Republican congressman and the other an indie-rock hero. The rocker has a song on his new album about how disappointed he is in his friend for becoming a nasty, pro-life, pro-Bush Republican stormtrooper. It's quite incredible really, because for me what makes the lyric odd is that the liberal songwriter didn't notice that his close friend was a spoiled, selfish, smug rich kid way back in the day. I was there and I did. Come on, what did you expect?
Hammer Down
Thousands of miles of blacktop and many hours of rock later after an insano whirlwhind outing to DC and New York for Perfect Panther gigs, both of which came off shockingly well according to unbiased observers and undecided voters. I’ll spare you reader the superlatives and laudatory remarks, but suffice to say it was more than worth the 30 hours spent in the "van" over four days. We played with interesting bands (Bobby Birdman, 1999, Barr, Creeping Nobodies, The Disease, Brandon Butler and a few more) in front of great people and we drank for free in DC which was madness I don’t need to assure you. Thanks to my brother and Charles for getting us on some gigs and our friends in Carroll Gardens for putting me up and keeping the vino flowing until the morning. Bacchus smiles on thee. Thanks for the borrowed keyboards and drum thrones, you know who you are. Mad love to all the friends that came out to support. I managed to see about a dozen old chums in a 24 hour period. Familiar feeling of running on caffeine, adrenaline and then beer most of the time as diet deteriorated almost as rapidly as my sense of the humor, both settled in a gutter of ironic anti-political incorrectness that’s somehow a self-preservation mode brought on by being trapped in a vehicle with the same witty but really raunchy people for days on end. Mind needs a good scrubbing. It might have been the David Cross blasting forth from the SUV’s deck, the poor nutritional options available on the highway, or the sight of the regular but not doing too well people who hang out or work in rest stop diners all melding into a bizarre but strangely accurate vision of America as a wasteland of ghastly mass-produced food, giant tinted-windowed trucks, talk radio mind-controlled right-wing zealots and zombies and just plain sad folk dying slowly while over-consuming a bunch of lousy crap. On the other hand, the colors and the foliage (there was a lot of controversy on the trip surrounding the pronunciation of foliage) were just gorgeous, northwestern New Jersey is secretly underrated and Brooklyn was still Brooklyn, as enticing and rewarding as always, everything you could want and much too much more.

Mobile Listening Station
Afghan Whigs “Gentleman” (Elektra)
I think we listened to this three times, still one of the most gorgeously bleak assessments of the state of the sexes ever put to tape, despite the weird mix which favors the intricate drums over the slide guitar magic.
The Ex (Touch 'n Go)
Schoolgirl Report (Crippled Dick Hot Wax)
David Cross “SUYFB” and the other one (Sub Pop)
One disc blows the others away but I don’t remember which. So damn good, but so damn dark.
Biggie Smalls, various
"Sock it to 'Em Soul: 60's Club Soul Classics" (warner strategic marketing)
The Coup
Noonday Underground "Self Assembly"
This Crazy Bollywood compilation that simply destroyed our brains and rebuilt them about every 45 seconds for a full hour. I gotta get more music like this. Wacked-out wah-wah guitar fighting with sweeping strings, fuzzed bass and nutty song structures blending with Indian trad instrumentation to incredible effect. Some Indian teens in College park, MD suggested this to me about five years ago and I had forgotten how amazing it is. Title TK.
DFA compilation
Led Zeppelin “How the West Was Won”
The Libertines “The Libertines” (Rough Trade)


Deja Vu Weekend
Listening Station
Richard & Kool "Wingman" (Crosshair Music)
Eastern Lane
Van Hunt (Capitol Records)

I'm off to NYC and DC tonight.


Hell Freezes
I heard about this but now it is official. Slint are reforming for some gigs and curating the ATP festival. I actually was privileged to hear some super secret Slint outtakes last week and they reminded me how crazy I was for this band and their masterful "spiderland."


We're Internationalists!
I think most videos are crap but the new one from Sarah McLachlan really hit me in my idealistic, DIY heart.
DeeCee Cinematheque
Watch the Weird War video, directed by Eric Cheevers. Eric is fluent in French and horror.
Small version.
Large version.


Everything Must Go
I'm in minimizing mode, either because I've gotten bored with my toys and I'm ready to trade 'em in for new ones or perhaps because having too much stuff that doesn't work as well as you'd like is really a total drag. Initiating the CD/LP weeding-out project was cathartic. The next big cuts in the crap inventory will come from the department of vintage music gear. I've got an extra reel-to-reel four-track (a Teac A-3340S) that I'll probably unload if I can get it to work again. Working models are going for $400 online. There's a big heavy Yamaha keyboard that I love but just don't use too often unfortunately and a weird Italian analog/midi hybrid synth by Siel that someone will gladly take off my hands I would hope. If I can make the inventory reductions that I would like to, I'd like to get a decent new synth, maybe some microphones, oh and my turntable has been bugging me lately... ah man, here I go again...

In other news, saw the Libertines last night, loved the show and turned in a piece on them for the Chicago Reader.


Adventures of an Obnoxious Amateur Soundman
I stopped by Acme Art Works and saw Spires That In The Sunset Rise, The William Young and some art last night. The William Young are kind of a pirate meets Tom Waits trio with oboe, harmonium. They were fun but kinda jokey. Spires were exceptional, using harmonium, guitar, percussion, cello and doing a kind of psychedelic faux world music that sometimes reminded me of the Velvet Underground's "Lady Godiva's Operation" with howling vocals. I helped set up the PA for Spires when I noticed the speakers had been set up BEHIND the first band, which seemed a recipe for disaster. The show sounded great so I guess it pays to get involved. I believe they are touring with the Incredible String Band later this month. Last week, I saw PJ Harvey and she was incredible, much better than her new almost too sparse album Uh Huh Her. As for the debate, I thought Bush's anger was evidence that he's running scared. Kerry's use of the world "Orwellian" to describe Bush's Clear Skies Initiative made my night. It's really nice outside so I'm going to get out an enjoy it. Off to see the Libertines tonight.


Close to the Edge
Spent the evening absorbing radiation and scarfing Thai. I caught the Def Jam focused episode of VH1's "And You Don't Stop: 30 Years of Hip-Hop," worth it even for the hip-hop skeptic. I suggest looking out for "The Farm: Life Inside Angola Prison" documentary on cable especially if you have seen any of the Supermax docs out there. Try this mind-boggling, in that it's meaning goes beyond symbolic, factoid. Angola, Louisiana is named for the home of the African slaves that worked the plantations that are now the fields worked by the inmates doing hard labor.

No Respect
I know Caddyshack backwards and forwards and love it to death. Most of that film was improvised evidently and you get the feeling they were partying hard even while cameras were rolling. Like "Animal House" and early SNL, a lot of the comedy gets it's depth and bite from a critique of the class strictures and stuffy strata of American society. If you watch SNL these days, just notice how many gags are mocking poor, uneducated or disadvantaged people. Things have changed.

And so today I subjected myself (while "working") to a bit of Caddyshack II, a film in which the loathsome comedian Jackie Mason subs for recently departed funnyman Dangerfield, Dan Aykroyd takes over for Bill Murray and the groundhog drinks a Hires root beer left on the putting green during an opening scene. Chevy Chase IS in it, but barely. It goes without saying that it's an awful movie but it's kind of awe-inspiring in how awful it truly is. Aykroyd talks in a strange high-pitched voice as though he didn't want to be mistaken for Murray's mumbling groundskeeper. What's bizarre is that they reprise a lot of the signature scenes from the first film AS THOUGH WE"VE NEVER SEEN THEM BEFORE.
Just Buy Them
So this is what happens in an election year. Tobacco farmers, General Electric, Exxon Mobil, electric utilities, movie producers, Hewlett-Packard, Eli Lilly and agricultural producers get big fat tax breaks! To make up for EU's protective tariffs, we're giving corporate America a $76 billion tax cut over the next 10 years.


Trading Up
Today, I dumped a lot of the CDs that are not, shall we say, in my area of interest. And no I'm not naming names. This week's cuts have been from the get-out-of-my-sight-immediately category. Though I'm sure I will have a few "where did that go? ah, I sold it" moments, something had to be done to put a dent in the pile-up. Through the magic of the trade and barter system I've come away with the Soul Jazz Studio One Funk comp on vinyl which sounds good on first pass, the revelatory Clash documentary "Westway to the World" DVD which I'm actually watching right this second, "The Harder They Come" DVD, an Atlantic soul comp that looks more interesting than it sounds, a dub record on the Attack label and a few soul 45s that need cleaning. Two of the record shops I visited were selling lots of bootleg live DVDs that were quite tempting, though ultimately too challenging to my conscience. I am left wondering who is getting what cut of the $20 they want for a DVD of a '78 Wire gig in Dusseldorf. I doubt Robert Gotobed is seeing a dime. I won't take too strong of a stand, there's always next week.


Two Weeks of the Panther
This Wednesday will be the band's first headlining club gig, which is great but still somewhat premature in that we don't have any records out. We should have CDRs for sale and t-shirts for NYC and DC gigs.

Wed. Oct. 06 - 8PM - 21+ - BOTTOM LOUNGE
QUIETING SYRUP (ex Denali / mbr of Pinebender)

PP is also playing Washington DC Fri. Oct. 15 at the Warehouse Next Door and Brooklyn, NY Sat. Oct. 16 downstairs at North Six for CMJ festival.

You can hear Perfect Panther MP3s here. Both tracks recorded by Iceman at Soma.


Swift Fact Check
I stumbled, internet style, into this parody/response to the Swift Boat slander that has been aimed at Kerry.
Debate Aftermath
In a blatant attempt to steal the headlines from the news that he's been trounced in the debate and new polls, Bush and his cronies launch a major new offensive in Iraq. It's doubtful that we have enough troops to secure any cities we take, but that's irrelevant. Back home, the media is reporting that Kerry easily took the debate, um, or are they?

"Anyone who declares a winner in this debate is a predictable partisan. They both did beautiful."
-Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia

This story and others purport that the debate was "a draw" while running unscientific polls that indicate that 70% of us though otherwise. This Sabato (who's on thin ice grammatically with a missing adverb) is either in the pockets of the Republicans, just completely not paying attention or hedging his bets on a conservative campus where he has to resort to outright lies to get tenure. Seriously, Bush took some direct hits and his feeble, repetitive mumblings about "hard work" can't have looked good to undecided voters. You could feel Kerry's confidence and momentum. Bush held his own? No way. He was embarassing.

I also have heard that only 8,000 Iraqis have been trained for anything, far short of the 100,000 figure that Bush was bandying.

Having poked around the web a bit more, it seems that the very same media outlets are indicating the Kerry scored with swing voters. Fair and balanced?