The Pile Up
I've been reading up on the whole American Apparel sexual harassment suit situation. There are dozens of articles that have come out in the last few months in everything from Business Week to Nerve. Many bloggers seem to have made up their minds on Dov Charney and AA. I'm having flashbacks to the Spin sexual harassment case back in the ’90s. Just to put things in perspective, the EEOC publishes these statistics, showing that on the federal level about 48% of SH cases end with "no reasonable cause."
A Clockwork Tartan
I've definitely been guilty of the visiting the tourist-friendly, upmarket center of a European city and thinking "wow, everything is wonderful here." Reading Irvine Welsh today, I was shocked to hear just how bad the violence is in Scotland these days. Remember this is a country without easy access to guns.

Can't let go...
of the whole cassette thing, especially after seeing this japanese guy's site. I dumped about 100 in my last move and now I'm almost regretting. Although, admittedly, none of them were yellow. I had a preference for the Denon tapes like the one above.


Radio Ga Ga
I was on the radio this morning talking about Chicago DJs. Check it out. With some very clever editing, they made me sound informed and articulate.


Daley dose
No, not Richard Daley, but Sean Daley, one of the funnier and more entertaining music writers in the game today has a blog here. I have nothing in common with Sean tastewise, but some of his writing for the Washington Post and DC City Paper has made me laugh out loud. He ended up in St. Petersburg, Florida which is lucky for them, though I can imagine he has to tone down the sarcasm for his new readership.

Baby On Board?
So I've had an idea for a more substantive blog entry kicking around for a while, but I never find the time to kick it out. And here I do a quick search to see if anyone else has done the same and I find that someone else is on the same wavelength, or was a year ago at least.
So briefly: When I first got into punk, one the first things my skate pals turned me on to was Black Market Baby. I made a cassette of all their material (probably "Youth Crimes" and "White Boy Funeral," but I can't be sure) and listened to it incessantly. This stuff was political, it rocked, was well recorded and was local to boot. The band's sound was a bit more influenced by British oi, the Ruts, 999 and Sham 69 but they had a sharp intelligence in vaguely ominous political tunes like "The Prophet" that put them in a different class than boot boys Iron Cross. BMB wasn't a Dischord band so they didn't benefit from the rise and romance of that local label, but they had a serious local following. They were more like the leather-jacketed toughs of punk yore rather than the new Vans-sporting, sensitive guys that would take over the scene in the later '80s. By the time I got into them (84 roughly), I think they had a rep as being the old men of the scene with a lot of the late '70s punk baggage that the "positive" scene was supposedly leaving behind. A cloud of drugs, booze, ego hung over the name. An Ian Mackaye-produced second album has never been officially released! That could all be totally wrong, but those were my initial teenage impressions of BMB. I'm dying to know where that cassette is, as I don't think they have an official CD compilation out at this time. I believe I do have some of their stuff on a compilation called Bouncing Babies. On the other hand, the related Crippled Pilgrims stuff was collected (from virgin vinyl, not master tapes) and reissued by Parasol/React.
Primary Colors
Evidentally y'all can't resist the temptation of anonymous comments. I can handle whatever you dish out, but I tend to think anonymous comments are just bogus. I've made a few on a couple of crazy right-wing blogs just for kicks, but I felt quite infantile doing so. Maybe you can go back to prank calling your prom queen, since you now need to register to comment here. There's a documentary on the Congo on, so I gotta go. Also, Jotz, I'm gonna spray my pithy soundbites all over your pretty little blog.


Three's company
The Beeb Troisieme is coming on strong again. You know about the Office and probably Little Britian as well (my promo DVD may, unfortunately be scratched). But have you caught wind of this bizarre, surreal show called The Mighty Boosh? After reading a bunch of tiresome blogs by music writers I really wish I had the entire season of the Boosh on DVD and the desire to drink more beer. Last night, I described it to someone as one of the surreal dream sequences from the Young Ones stretched out to a full thirty minutes. A friend pointed out that BBC 3 is an all digital channel which explains the more experimental nature of its programming. Now, I must sleep. But if you have time, check out the clips.


Hicks is at it, again
My high school chum Sander Hicks is on the road in support of his newest book, The Big Wedding which, from what I have read, basically accuses all the relevant jihadists, bankers, mercenaries, drug dealers, and world leaders of being in collusion in a profitable charade called the war on terror. I'm certainly curious. You might have seen Hicks in Horns and Halos or read some of his stuff from Soft Skull Press. This morning I did a short radio interview about Chicago DJs with a talk radio host on AM 890 here in Chicago, kind of on the conservative culturally clueless bent. It went surprisingly well once I got the ums out of my system. I'm going to be on the NPR affiliate WBEZ Monday afternoon, so listen.


Nao Wave
I've been lazily assembling a library of Brazilian post punk compilations the last couple months. Post-punk music in general has that combination of vitality and artfulness that always gets me. I guess in part, because it was really the music era that I lived through and discovered through my kookier friends with older brothers at a very young age. Hearing comps like Nao Wave (Man Recordings, Berlin) or Soul Jazz THE SEXUAL LIFE OF THE SAVAGES - POST PUNK FROM SAU PAULO, BRAZIL gives you a pretty good idea of what happened when Gang of Four and the Contortions hit South America, but I'm glad to report most of the music rises above mere imitation. And on Nao Wave, you get a lot more Brazilian percussion thickening things up. Even As Mercenarias the all-female punk/funk post-punk group from Sao Paulo is suddenly hot shit. They have a disc out on Soul Jazz of their early '80s recordings and are reportedly playing London sometime this year. As for electronic post-punk of the Anglo variety, the audio that I got with the mediocre DVD doc on the Sheffield music scene is totally a gas and I even threw one of the crazier tracks on during a DJ set. And in response to any accusations that being into Brazilian post-punk is obscurantist or pretentious... just tell me that you've actually heard good new indie rock lately, because, honestly I'm unaware of it.


Just barely Kate Moss related
One of the perks of European travel is getting to see what's hot on the pay for play music videos channels in the hotel room. On the upside, the new Goldfrapp single "Ooh La La" is GODHEAD as is the album Supernature. If you like T. Rex and you like electro music, it will mess up your world. I'm actually going to have to order the album on vinyl or something to bask in its lusciousness. She's in the top ten in the old country. On the downside, watching 3 minutes of the Babyshambles was excruciating when its the only thing on in English. You can get away with being the lead singer on crack, but an entire band being on crack is just pathetic and thusly, so is the music (though I think Primal Scream might have something to say about using the same drugs to speak a common musical language). Speaking of which, has anyone hear the tapes of Primal Scream and Nation of Ulysees? Come on Dischord, you can't be holdin' out like that.


Redesign fever
Both Salon and Time Out London recently unveiled redesigns. I gotta say I'm not in love with the new TOL, but might learn to like it. Salon, at first glance, looks good and sexy.

The lady likes to rock, on occasion
I spent the weekend organizing during the day. I took on the office and came out victorious. There's now a wide swath of visible flooring where there was previously boxes of books, CDs and wedding gifts that fall into the category of "whattheheckdowedowiththis?" Next, selling off a big chunk of the CD library before it becomes an issue in the relationship. Three nights in a row, I went to see live music. Chicago is a really with-it town and people often have really good taste, but this weekend made us look like followers rather than leaders. A big group of friends were all hyped up about the Fiery Furnaces show, which was mildly entertaining. They were rhythmically amazing, but I think that Eleanor basically has one vocal idea that she works to death and the brother really shouldn't sing at all. To be fair, it was at Logan, which is a pretty place to look at but sounds like hell on a good night. Dungen at the Bottle was as amazing as I hoped, though the guys never reached the peaks in terms of volume and jamming controlled chaos that they did last time. They sounded so good that I listened to the set without earplugs for the most part with no ringing the next day. But leave it to Jamie Lidell to blow my mind again, this time at the sedate MCA theatre. He switched between straight soul deliveries and abstract beatbox creations with ease, some of his jams last 15 minutes. The crowd jumped on stage at the end in a goofy Rocky Horror moment that I would have joined had I been 10 years younger. Saw lots of people there too.


My home away from home.
Moving really sucks, but moving rehearsal spaces really, really sucks when you are moving up four floors. I forgot how heavy all my junk is and wishing I had thrown a spring sale.