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Archives for 07/09/2006 - 07/15/2006

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Geopolitics and Digital Music

posted by on July 15 at 11:38 AM

The BBC reports that the UK record industry is pressuring their government to pressure the Russians to take down the quasi-legal music download site This issue is on the table at this week’s G8 summit and is also apparently a factor in Russia’s stalled bid to join the WTO.

AllofMP3, which has 14% of the UK download market, offers full-length album downloads for as little as $1 and insists that its operations are perfectly legal, since under Russian copyright law royalties are transferred to publishing organizations that responsibly spend them on vodka and prostitutes, and statutes are in place guaranteeing artists 12-15% of jack shit for the use of their masters.

I really don’t know where I stand on this issue — as a recording artist I’m not happy to see some shady-ass company making money off work they don’t own by slithering through some cross-border legal loophole. But on the other hand, international intellectual property disputes are hairy and shutting down this site could set a bad precedent that could affect other, more important issues, such as patent licensing for drugs badly needed in developing countries.

Do you use this site? Have you even heard of it? What’s your take? Personally, I think it’s sort of retarded to pay them for quasi-legal downloads when you might as well just grab them off the file-sharing networks, and that if you’re going to buy digital music you might as well buy it from companies that actually pay the artists (eventually, and nominally). That said, I’m not sure this quite justifies an international takedown.

Friday, July 14, 2006

A Final Musical Selection For Your Consideration

posted by on July 14 at 5:01 PM


It’s about time for me to go home and rest up before Paulus and I hit the Slayer show, but if I wasn’t heading south of heaven, I’d be at El Corazon, catching the Rakes. If you’re unfamiliar with them, take a listen or watch a video over here.

Sleater-Kinney, Last Show, Take II

posted by on July 14 at 3:25 PM

I see that readers of the Slog/Lineout have not yet been notified that there is a new last Sleater-Kinney show ever. How to get ‘em: 500 tickets available (2 per) at the Crystal Ballroom box office, PDX, tomorrow at noon. The rest go on sale to the world via Ticketmaster at 1 pm. Also at the box office only: 250 tickets to the Aug 11 show, available at noon.

I happen to be going down to Portland tomorrow morning (hi Dad! you know that family reunion? is it okay if you drop me off at the Crystal Ballroom instead?), but sadly I will probably not get in line early enough for anything. I shall still try.

(And this is to counteract the S-K hatin’ that’s been going on over here: I adore Sleater-Kinney. And live, they’re totally amazing. I would say you have to try to get tickets to this show, but honestly, I’d rather you buy them and give them to me.)

MTV’s Top 10 Metal Bands of All Time

posted by on July 14 at 2:56 PM


Metal fans are as about prone to consensus as hiphop stars are to modesty, so this list will no doubt have the MTV boards aflame in mere moments. I think it’s actually a decent list and includes analytical commentary far more thoughtful than I would expect from MTV. The one fatal flaw, however, is that Motorhead should never be trumped by Pantera, like, ever.

Dispelling Showbox Closure Rumors

posted by on July 14 at 1:09 PM

According to their website, the Showbox is not closing.

Last ConWorks Show Ever

posted by on July 14 at 12:47 PM


Tonight Seattle film director James Yi is organizing the last show ever at Consolidated Works (at least at its current location). Billed as a night of jazz and hiphop, Blue Greens features Das Vibenbass (moody jazz-funk, emphasis on vibes and bass [duh]), Specs One (underground-rapper extraordinaire) with turntablist WD4D, and breakdancers Fraggle Rock and BYC. The show features Specs doing a set with DJ WD4D, das vibenbass doing a jazz set, then concludes with all the performers doing a live fusion set together.

Specs One

In the cinema, Yi will be showing a documentary about Vibenbass, a new music video by Specs (created through his own Maniacal Production), and a film trailer for the funk/soul documentary Wheedle’s Groove (Evil Bunny Films).

Consolidated Works, 500 Boren Ave N, 381-3218, 9 pm, $10, 21+.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

The Ubiquitous Imagery Of She Wants Revenge

posted by on July 13 at 8:17 PM

I don’t much care for She Wants Revenge, but it’s no big deal. I just think they’re genre-hopping oppurtunists, and if they weren’t humping Ian Curtis’ corpse they’d just be biting the next big profitable thing.

…But I digress.

What’s recently been baffling me about this ho-hum act is how their album artwork is apparently well recognized enough to inspire the ad campaign for some lame movie about (you guessed it) girls getting revenge.

exhibit A:

exhibit B:

How the fuck did this happen? Are these guys really that popular?

Block Party Ticket Alert

posted by on July 13 at 5:50 PM

silversun pickups 2.jpg

Undoubtedly due to the exceptionally well-programmed mainstage on Saturday, July 29, tickets for that day of the Capitol Hill Block Party are going FAST. If you want to catch Silversun Pickups (pictured above), Minus the Bear, the Black Angels, Common Market, and the Murder City Devils (yes, all in a row—bring sunscreen, kids), you’d be wise to snap up your tickets now.

More Cowbell? Yes, Please

posted by on July 13 at 5:39 PM

Royal Trux

Everybody loves cowbells in music, right? It’s one of those irrefutable phenomena, like the eternal wackness of Fred Durst and the unimpeachable righteousness of Straight Outta Compton. One of the things that make cowbells so paradoxically amazing is that they’re humble implements from old agrarian times that are used to help inspire modern-day urbanites to dance. That, plus their hollowed-out, metallic timbre resonates on an almost cellular level in most humans. Cowbells = funk, and funk = teh sex.

Okay, now that we’ve established the cowbell’s all-encompassing awesomeness, what song do you think possesses the sweetest thwocking of that wonderful percussion toy? I’m inclined to say Royal Trux’s “¡Yo Se!” from 1999’s Veterans of Disorder (unless those chunky-ass clonks are coming from timbales, but they sure sound like cowbells). Or maybe it’s the mega-reverbed and delayed hits in the Chamber Brothers’ “Time Has Come Today.”


I think we can all agree that the Rolling Stones’ “Honky Tonk Women,” Jimi Hendrix’s “Stone Free,” and War’s “Low Rider” rank high, but let’s dig a little deeper, shall we? (Oops, it seems somebody already has played this game. No matter. We can do better.)

What tunes do you think have the most magical tonkity tonks? The world urgently needs to know”

The Last Word

posted by on July 13 at 4:47 PM

[Burial] is what Blade Runner would sound like if it was filmed in London to a background of rain and pirate radio stations.

I promise after this post, no more on Burial, the man of my hour. If you click on this you will find Burial’s sensational “Wounder.” By sensational, I mean it stimulates the senses, the imagination—which philosophers of the 18th century called sensibility. Sensibility was the process of synthesizing impressions. This synthesis resulted in a work of art. And a work of art is great only when, as Nabokov said again and again, it is rich in detail. The greater the detail, the closer the artist is to God, to creation. Listen very closely to “Wounder” and you will hear a bullet’s spent case hitting a marble floor after a fall. That tinkling detail is then programmed into a percussive loop that, after being picked up the driving bass for three or four beats, is dropped to re-tinkle randomly. Absolutely marvelous; absolutely god.

Trapped In The Ideal Meme

posted by on July 13 at 2:54 PM

Last night I made it down to Rebar for Brown Derby’s sold out performance of R. Kelly’s opus, “Trapped in the Closet.” Tonight’s the last scheduled night, and I’d highly recommend it to anyone that considers themselves to be a fan of this brilliant piece of work (as mentioned in Brendan Kiley’s SLOG post, familiarity with the subject matter is key for full enjoyment). Being prone to overthink things like this, I thought back of the trajectory of “Trapped in the Closet,” and realized that it not only operates on its own as a piece of engaging work, it represents an almost ideal meme as well, pulling new and old media together to further its own spread among the zeitgeist. Whether intentional or not, R. Kelly’s managed to grab and hold our attention in a way that one-time top meme “Snakes on a Plane” hasn’t. (Warning: “Trapped in the Closet” overload ahead)

Continue reading "Trapped In The Ideal Meme" »

Beats in the Park

posted by on July 13 at 2:34 PM

A few weeks back Dave mentioned the lack of a Decibel stage at this year’s Capitol Hill Block Party. I made a comment there mentioning Sundazed, and how one of the things I’ve missed most about summers the last few years has been opportunities to hear DJs spin in a relaxed park setting, people just milling about and what have you. Sundazed filled that niche right after I moved to the area, but that hasn’t happened for years, leaving only unadvertised renegade setups and one-offs to fill that role. Well, turns out that this weekend one of these one-offs will take place at Golden Gardens, courtesy of sub-merge and Innerflight (who threw a one-off party last summer).

Sunday at Golden Gardens they’ll have DJs playing starting at 1pm, going until the park closes. The music will be provided by NW veteran Michael Manahan, Uniting Souls head Ramiro, Innerflight’s J-Sun, and sub-merge’s Manos. All four of them are quality beatsmiths, so the music should be decent. More importantly, the weather should be sunny, the audience smiling and dancing, the beach right there. What more could you want out of your Sunday afternoon?

Audible Up & Comings - New episode is up!

posted by on July 13 at 12:28 PM

Click here to listen to some great local bands (and find out where they’re playing) with the Stranger’s new Band’s Page show.

This week features A Gun That Shoots Knives singing about soap, White Gold doing their best to make you dance, Aphiskkyu-Bot ripping out your eardrums, and so much more. Check it out!

Step 1 to Winning Ween Tickets

posted by on July 13 at 11:36 AM


All right, Ween fans; here’s the deal. We’re going to make you jump through a few hoops in order to win a pair of tickets to see Ween at the Les Schwab Ampitheater in Bend, Oregon. This is their only Northwest appearance.

To start, here’s a brain-teaser: In the liner notes to Paintin’ the Town Brown, Dean Ween has a fantasy of “misting” the audience with something. What is the substance he has in mind?

Find a restaurant in our online restaurant listings with this word in the name for further instructions. Good luck.

Only in Dreams

posted by on July 13 at 9:15 AM

I have the most fucked-up dreams ever. Seriously. And it isn’t rare for musicians to make their way into my head in the middle of the night to appear in these chaotic little stories. I think I work too much.

Anyways, last night’s epidosde, while tame in comparison, was still sorta odd as it starred an artist I haven’t listened to (or thought about, really), for a long time. I was at my parents house, we were fighting, and so I was up in my old room avoiding them. My cell phone kept ringing over and over again, but I would never answer it. I finally looked at it and the caller ID flashed “Neil Young calling.” Mr. Young left me over 900 messages because apparently he wanted me to fly to LA so I could review his show. He said (no joke) “We need someone to come down to write about this show. And it could be you, if you ever got it together and picked up your phone, little girrrrrrlie!” He sounded a lot like Ted Nugent, now that I think about it. So weird.

There was also that time Rivers Cuomo chased me through the streets because I wouldn’t give him his CD back…

Please tell me I’m not the only one being haunted by rockstars.

End-of-the-World Fever Dreams; or Something You Should Really Do Tonight

posted by on July 13 at 8:22 AM

Peter and the Wolf.jpg

What kind of music would you want to hear if you and your baby were the last two people on a post-apocalyptic, godforsaken planet? If you were sitting by the sea, for example, watching that vast expanse of empty water crash upon the sands and then recede, knowing that this was all there would ever be. Who would you want singing from that beat-up tape player you just managed to save from whatever catastrophe it was that doomed the rest of us? Let me make a suggestion: Austin-based troubadour Red Hunter.

The first, self-titled album by Hunter’s Peter and the Wolf is absolutely mesmerizing, seducing listeners with dreams of freedom, adventure, collapse and rebirth. Through it all, Hunter’s voice “ plaintive, dry as dust, desperate, yet strangely hopeful “ casts his fragmented stories in a sepia tone. Songs like album opener “Under the Apple Tree,” with its magnificently understated pseudo-chorus, “How lucky to be so unusually free,” glint like shards of Depression glass, seeing their first light in decades.

The first part of the album evokes scenes from the new lives of survivors of some unnamed apocalypse “ post-Armageddon folk songs. “The Fall” describes learning again the most basic survival skills: how to build a fire, how to look for water in the desert. In “Red Sun,” Hunter sings, “In my dreams I saw a thousand empty cities, papers blowing through the air,” and you get the feeling that there’s a frisson of energy linked to that destruction. The thrill is in what isn’t mentioned, the lacunae: the apocalyptic event, the future. Now anything is possible.

The last third of the album diverges slightly from the thematic path with “Dear Old Robyn,” a fun pirate number that details the picaresque life of a traveling band and ends with the promise that “tomorrow we return to the sea.” “Silent Movies” proves an almost-bubblegum ballad with Hunter crooning, “I truly believe we’ll fall in love again someday.”

The real stunner of the disc, however, is its last track, called “What Happened Up There.” At just over four minutes, it’s the longest song on the album and it begins with a voiceover about the Spanish Civil War before proceeding into heartbreaking obsessive terrain made beautiful by the interplay of voices “ Hunter’s desolate and Dana Falconberry’s angelic. The first part of the song ends with an apt description of the whole record: “a waterfall suspended in the light.” Then there’s a break before the song slowly builds up again into a quasi-Guided by Voices fantasia of fizzy pop strangeness. The cumulative effect is bracing and leads you right back to the first track to start the whole magical journey again.

When it comes right down to it, Peter and the Wolf is Red Hunter, but he estimates that he’s had over 100 collaborators over the short lifespan of the band. On his newest offering, Experiments in Junk, he says, “It was all about playing with different groups of people, musicians and non-musicians, trying to get different bodies of sound. Because a certain sound has a specific momentum that even non-musicians can play along to, so you’ll hear a song and there’ll be 5 or 6 musicians on it and then 5 or 6 non-musicians.”

Hunter says that he just collects people in each city he plays and then they all get up and start playing music. I ask how he controls the songs and whether they ever get away from him in a live setting. “It’s important not to have it become a free-for-all,” he says. “There have been a few times when, well, let’s just say crazy drunks get up there and start doing their own thing. I try to keep it to the people whose music I’ve heard of people who are friends or friends of friends “ some kind of frame of reference makes it work. And it does work. It’s amazing.”

Mainstream news providers have gushed over the latter part of this summer’s Peter and the Wolf tour, largely because it will be done via sailboat, amounting to what some call a statement about the rising costs of energy. You get the feeling, though, talking to Red that the sailboat tour (traveling along the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, which runs from Key West to Boston) is just another adventure. Here he is in an online interview with Paper: “The gas-price thing that ABC and MTV picked up on was really their idea, but that’s cool, too. I honestly don’t know the mileage a boat gets per gallon. And what if we’re going against the wind? I don’t care. I just want to have big adventures, to be out battling the elements, and to travel endlessly like a good old-fashioned troubadour.”

I talk to Red from Portland where he played the Towne Lounge on Wednesday and he admits that traveling itself invigorates him. “I pretty much live on the road,” he says and laughs. “I’ve tried to settle down and live in an apartment a few times, but I just can’t do it.”

It’s good news for us, because it means we’ll be seeing a lot of Red Hunter. And we won’t even have to wait for the end of the world.

Peter and the Wolf play two shows on Thursday, July 13.

Early show at Dearborn House “ Potluck at 7, music at 8. $5 donation.
Late show at SS Marie Antoinette (1235 Westlake Avenue N) “ Doors at 9, $5.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

No Web, No Beep Beep

posted by on July 12 at 5:33 PM

So I’ve been without an internet connection for the past week or so, and will continue to be for the next week as well. In addition to hampering my blogging for Lineout, it turns out that this massively impairs my ability to listen to and learn about (new) music at all. I can’t check my favorite blogs, download mp3s (legally, of course), watch music videos on You Tube, or do any music related research. To make matters worse, I haven’t had cable TV for years, so I am effectively Amish right now.

My last score before the internet dealer got busted was the yet to be released MSTRKRFT full-length, The Looks, and it’s been good company during these dark days. The album ranges from fun, vocoder-driven electro to some surprisingly searing techno numbers. Anyone who saw their recent DJ set at Chop Suey will recall that they leaned much more heavily on electronic music than on the rock remixes that they’re known for (reportedly, booker/promoter phenom Death Of The Party was bummed out that they played so much techno). That show was a good preview for this record, which only barely flirts with indie-dance-rock on the cowbell-riding single “Easy Love” and for the most part sticks to classic, heavy electro/techno. If that doesn’t bum you out, keep an eye out for their stuff while you “surf” the information-cyberway without me.

Foo Fighters @ The Paramount 7/11

posted by on July 12 at 4:05 PM

The curtain opened and the song was Zeppelin’s ‘Moby Dick.’

Dave Grohl and Taylor Hawkins rolled out on separate risers both playing drums. YEEESSS! It’s what you’ve always wanted and waited to see. I couldn’t believe it. I chugged my smuggled Wild Turkey, and screamed.


Bass player, Nate Mendel, was on Grohl’s riser and guitarist, Chris Shiflett, was on Hawkin’s, doing his best Jimmy Page. There was smoke. They were locked, the foursome, hammering the thunder of John Bonham’s drum solo ode with blacksmith power and precision. A laser show fired up vectors of a floating kaleidoscopic drum set with Bonham’s apparition pounding away. The couple next to me french kissed with eyes rolled back in their heads.


And there was Grohl, amid the steam, conducting, carrying the torch as rock’s current drum-Zeus, playing tandem with his protégé Hawkins and the ghost of the great Bonzo himself, hovering in the form of lime green laser beams.


The Zeppelin cover faded into an instrumental version of Nirvana’s ‘Serve the Servants.’


Then, the colossal Chuck D came on stage with his DJ, Terminator X, and the rest of Public Enemy, and they performed James Brown’s “Black Caesar’ in its entirety.


Flav was off the hook. And Terminator X scratch ripped massive chunks of vinyl off a breakdown with Grohl and Hawkins and Mendel. It was the fattest thing I have ever seen in my entire life.

Then I woke up.

It was actually an acoustic show, and I didn’t even go. I was going to go and do a review, but there was a snag with the tickets.

Oh well.

Trent - out.

Purple Hazel: “Maggot Brain” ca. 1983

posted by on July 12 at 3:32 PM


Experience the heart-rending, expansively psychedelic blues of Parliament-Funkadelic guitarist Eddie Hazel. Back in the early ’70s, band leader George Clinton famously instructed Hazel to “play like your momma just died.” Ergo, “Maggot Brain.” The guitarist’s performance here is almost as impressive as Clinton’s attire and wig.

Where Were You?

posted by on July 12 at 12:12 PM

Reading today’s Slog on funny tombstones, I was reminded of an old Internet classic:


(View full size)

As the story goes, teenage Harv died unexpectedly in a car crash, and his parents had this made to honor his hard rockin’ ways for the ages.

This raises so many questions.

Were his parents close enough to Harv that they could name his favorite bands from memory? Or did they dig through the recently deceased’s bandanas and roach clips to find his ticket stubs? What if they were wrong? What edits would Harv want to make from beyond the grave? (Was he really way into Elton John and Judas Priest? Was his gay-dar that well-tuned?)

How would you feel about a permanent, posthumous list of your favorite bands, assembled when you were a musically vulnerable teen and associated with your name forever?

When I was 15 I was well on my way to the sophisticated tastes I enjoy today, but I also listened to some pretty crap music. Had I driven a stolen car off a cliff in 1990, my rockin’ tombstone, as compiled from the unsorted pile of tapes in my bedroom, could have read something like:




Not to say that some of those bands haven’t stood the test of the time (I won’t say which), but at 31 I would want to apply some revisionist history to my tastes. (I won’t say which.)

Edit: Watchful commenter Snark points out that it would be rather difficult for me to have an Orbital tape back in ‘90, at least in suburban New Haven, since Chime was available only as a limited UK cassette single at the time. Correct. To defend my presicent taste and my slightly hazy memory, I will clarify that I did have some Orbital on tape, at least in the form of Chime’s appearances on the techno mixtapes I bought on day trips to New York, as well as on some John Peel I’d taped off the BBC World Service. This selection might not have jumped out at my parents, especially in their moment of grief, but it was there and hopefully someone will put it on my tombstone, dammit.

Deeper Into Jan Jelinek

posted by on July 12 at 12:07 PM


Over at Stylus, there’s an excellent interview with Germany’s Jan Jelinek, one of my favorite producers of the ’00s. Besides providing the most striking performance of Mutek 2006, Jelinek released my favorite album of 2005, Kosmischer Pitch. He also has a gorgeously hypnotic reconfiguration of Kammerflimmer Kollektief’s “Unstet-Schleifen” on the recently issued Remixed (Staubgold).

In the Stylus interview, Jelinek explains the appeal of an aspect of his music that mirrors my own feelings:

Repetitive, loop-oriented music doesn’t need virtuosity, it’s actually anti-virtuosity. Loop-oriented music is against all parameters which describe music in a traditional way. When you are producing it, it is like meditating. While you are listening to the same loop for hours, you are starting to hallucinate, and you’re listening to the overtones, and starting to imagine elements that are not actually in the track. That’s what I like about loop music.

This Week in Music News

posted by on July 12 at 11:23 AM


Willie Mae Rock Camp For Girls (and Women): Kicking off its second season this weekend. The above photo is of Coco Chanel and the Zeppelinettes. That name may be a tad cutsie, but they look pretty badass, I’d say. For more band photos, go here.

Creem magazine: Back from the dead, again.

iPods: Soon to be talking to you.

Beatles’ “Lost Tapes”: Apparently included 200 cover songs.

Suge Night: Officially no longer in control of Death Row Records.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

“Appleseed Motherfuckin’ Cast, Bitches!”

posted by on July 11 at 6:34 PM

Their music is gorgeousemotive, dense, dynamic. Unfortunately, Appleseed Cast’s show at the Crocodile last night, while technically tight, lacked all of the passion the Lawrence, Kansas band has been known to pour out on stage. Maybe it was because they’ve been on tour for most of the year? Either way, this was the first time I had seem ‘em live and I wanted their songs to punch me in the face, I wanted to be knocked out. Ultimately I was impressed, but I wasn’t slayed.

Which isn’t to say it was bad. Singer Christopher Crisci sure can sing. He looks like a long lost member of Hot Water Music with his dark and full beard, black t-shirt and baseball cap, but his voice was clean and strong, unlike his worn Gainesville brothers. And while a lot of the songs carried the same vibe (melodic and fluid, but still sorta slow and sad) their newer material felt a little brighter. I regret not getting a copy of their latest, Peregrine, while I was there. There was one song, from the new record I’m told, that was pretty awesome.

So while I didn’t love love LOVE the show, I sure did like it. The crowd seemed okay with it too. As the band came back out to do a one-song encore, one dude hollered “Appleseed motherfuckin’ Cast, bitches!” He was stoked, totally stoked. The band barely broke a smile, though, and started into the last song. They must be shy.

A surprising highlight of the night (which also featured sets by Criteria and the local band the Lonely Forest) was the last 30 seconds I heard of the opening band called Russian Circles. If I had known they were gonna be so fucking rad, I would’ve gotten there on time! That 30 seconds was good enough to make me throw down ten bucks for a CD (which is awesome epic and dark instrumental stuffsix songs clock in at over 44 minutes). And their drummer? Totally killer!

But don’t get me started on that Criteria business. Everyone in the room loved them. Truly, I took a poll. But I just yawned a lot and neglected to see what the fuss was about. Were you there? Maybe you can explain what I failed to see.

Barrett memorial at the Sunset Tavern tonight

posted by on July 11 at 12:41 PM

The following note from our friends at the Sunset Tavern just landed in my in box:

Tonight Tuesday July 11th 7pm @ The Sunset: In memorial of the life and music of Syd Barrett, we will be showing documentary footage of Syd Barrett on the Sunset big screen followed by Pink Floyd: Live at Pompeii (which although it does not include Barrett, is directly inspired by the artist and shows his band, Pink Floyd, at the height of their powers). In addition, we will be spinning Barrett and early Floyd records all night. The evening will be hosted by Cops guitarist and sound-man extraordinaire, John Randolph.

Dane A Dane

posted by on July 11 at 11:55 AM

I’ ain’t talking about the Cinderfella, y’all- I refer to Dansk Stil, the documentary by local filmaker William Lemke about Denmark’s hiphop scene. The Danish interpretation of hiphop- alienated from the particular societal conditions that spawned it in the Bronx- instead takes a different tack, resulting in ‘Dansk Stil’, or ‘Danish Style’.

Image Hosted by

Stil is making it’s official Seattle premiere tonight @ Central Cinema at 8pm. Battle-tested DK B-boy squad RUMBLEPACK will be performing, as well as local rapsters Cancer Rising.

(OK-Lemke is my friend, I am in Cancer Rising- anybody who correctly indentifies all the conflicts of interest in this post gets a free drink at the premiere. Holler.)

Syd Barrett, 1946-2006

posted by on July 11 at 11:46 AM


The Crazy Diamond shines no more. Syd Barrett died July 7 from complications relating to diabetes, but for all practical purposes, he hasn’t really been alive since he vanished from the music scene over 30 years ago. The founder of the enormously influential British psych-rock band Pink Floyd, Barrett burnt out in classic acid-head style. But before he fried his brain, Barrett left a small but potently inventive body of work that continues to fire imaginations worldwide.

Barrett was a pivotal figure in unmooring rock and roll from its R&B roots and catalyzing the music into fresh, dynamic permutations of exploratory instrumentation (haters will call this “wankery” or worse, but they deserve the earthbound mediocrity that is their typical listening diet). While Pink Floyd certainly excelled at the extended freakout, they also could pen concise, eccentrically infectious pop tunes (“Arnold Layne,” “Lucifer Sam,” “See Emily Play,” and “Bike,” to name but a few). Either the drugs were better then or Barrett was a mad genius. Actually, both assertions are true.

The mastermind behind Pink Floyd’s 1967 debut, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, Barrett is largely responsible for launching psychedelic rock into deep space with tracks like “Astronomy Domine” and “Interstellar Overdrive.” The rest of that all-time classic album perfectly captured the by turns absurd, blissful, whimsical, and disturbing aspects of the LSD-enhanced sensorium.

Barrett contributed only minimally to Pink Floyd’s second album, A Saucerful of Secrets (1968), and then shakily embarked on a solo career in 1970 with help from his Floyd replacement, guitarist David Gilmour. Both The Madcap Laughs and Barrett possess an awkward winsomeness and can be construed as forerunners to the sort of bedroom/lo-fi aesthetic that has flourished in the rock underground from the late ’80s to the present. On these LPs, Barrett mostly retreats into more introverted singer-songwriter territory, albeit one tinted with the eerie glow of a manchild tumbling down the rabbit hole of insanity while eking out memorable melodies on an acoustic guitar. Both albums are the aural equivalent of Taj Mahals constructed out of glued-together toothpicks.

In 1972, Barrett formed a band called Stars with ex-Pink Fairies drummer Twink and bassist Jack Monck, but that unit didn’t last long and, aside from an aborted 1974 recording session with Peter Jenner at Abbey Road Studios, Barrett gave up on music and retreated to his mother’s basement.

Barrett’s ramshackle, surreal, crazy-psychonaut persona and music have inspired everyone from Radiohead to Robyn Hitchcock to the TV Personalities to Julian Cope to bands that have named themselves after Syd songs (Gigolo Aunts, Baby Lemonade, and Effervescing Elephant, for all I know).

While his life was a tragedy and perhaps a cautionary tale, Barrett blazed incredibly brightly while he was an active musician, and his legacy will last as long as people desire to expand their consciousness through sound.


Pink Floyd (Syd, center)

R.I.P. Syd Barrett

posted by on July 11 at 9:57 AM

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Syd Barrett, co-founder of Pink Floyd, the inspiration for “Shine On You Crazy Diamond,” and an erratic but inspired solo artist, died at 60 on Friday, July 7 of complications from diabetes, Billboard reports this morning.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Contains No Redeeming Value Whatsoever

posted by on July 10 at 9:19 PM


So you’ll want to watch this video at least three times” NSFW, unless you toil in an auto repair shop.

Just As I Suspected…

posted by on July 10 at 5:08 PM

…Sleater-Kinney tickets are already going for as much as $100 on craigslist.

Depressing Entertainment News Item of the Day

posted by on July 10 at 2:58 PM


Gil Scott-Heron is going to jail—and he’s apparently HIV positive as well.

Revamped Scissor Sisters web site

posted by on July 10 at 11:14 AM

NYC quintet Scissor Sisters (featuring former Seattle denizen Jason “Jake Shears” Sellards) have just relaunched their official web site, in anticipation of the release of their sophomore album this fall. My favorite feature is the SSU (Scissor Sisters University) page, where the band members promise to post regularly about movies, music, literature, etc. that they’re excited about or inspired by. This month, Ana Matronic waxes lovingly about John Waters, as well as giving shout outs to Joan As Police Woman, Just A Couple of Days by Tony Vigorito, and The Cruise. They aren’t quite done updating the Scissorhood page, which promises “to move far beyond a conventional message board and add new connectivity between fellow members and lots of fun surprises” soon, although you can sign up for their Video Diary podast and admire a very humpy photo of BabyDaddy in the meantime.

Win Ween Tix

posted by on July 10 at 11:02 AM


Ween’s only Northwest show this year happens Tuesday, July 25 in Bend, Oregon. This week The Stranger will be giving away tickets to catch the diverse Dada rockers in the flesh. Keep checking Line Out for details.

Motown Artifacts

posted by on July 10 at 5:45 AM

A nice page of artifacts rescued from Motown Records: session logs, expense reports (Diana Ross and the Supremes), and other items.

Sunday, July 9, 2006

Digital Sales Up, Music Still Crappy

posted by on July 9 at 9:17 PM

Soundscan data is out for the first half of 2006. Good news for consumers feeling crushed under the weight of all that terrible music — more of it is coming in digital form, which weighs nothing and hurts less.

Album sales are down 4.2% from last year, while digital downloads shot up 77%. R&B continues to take the biggest slice of all sales, but declined 22% from last year. Country music, on the other hand, is up 17%. (Struggling bands take note!)

Independent labels have a collective 12.79% market share, although that number is probably artificially small since a lot of small indie retailers don’t report to Soundscan.

The music industry pooped out an astonishing 23,000 albums between January and July — more than 100 new albums every day. No single human being could listen to all of it, although I can’t imagine who would really want to.

Complete Bumbershoot Line-up Announced

posted by on July 9 at 4:32 PM

Ah, at last, a few good reasons to go to Bumbershoot this year. One Reel has announced that they’ve added this delightful collection of freakishly talented musicians:


As well as these lovely lads from Austin:


And last, but hardly least, the queen herself:


The full schedule can be viewed here.