by Dave Segal
on Wed, Jun 19, 2013 at 4:56 PM
Much of the interview I conducted with Sean Nelson for this week's feature ended up unused. Here are some highlights from the outtakes. It's goddamn long. Thanks for reading.
The Stranger: Is “Kicking Me out of the Band” [the final song of Nelson's solo debut, Make Good Choices] an invented story or is that based in experience? Sean Nelson: That’s totally invented. I was in London in the 2000s and I read a huge feature in the NME. The British music press is obviously a hyperbole factory. That’s something I really enjoy. But it seemed ridiculous. It was at a time when I still had my ear to the ground and gave a shit about contemporary pop music—which I’m feeling less and less now. In the article, they would refer to the band’s audience as ‘This Band Generation. We’ve all grown up with these songs.’ I had heard the name of the band twice, but in England they were the 10,000th iteration of the Beatles. I thought it was hilarious. It struck me that there are only a couple of band narratives, and they can be applied to a whole lot of bands. I find it humorous when bands that have two albums get described as legacy acts. The drama in the band when one of the two guys develops a drug problem and the one friend is not at all cool with it. But rather than going off and licking his wounds, the drug addict guy becomes defiant—which is a thing I have seen. And in the last bit of the song where the guy’s reeling off names of all these musicians who were notorious drug addicts and amazing songwriters and recording artists as a way of saying, ‘Don’t tell me not to do drugs. Keith Richards did drugs. Are you saying I’m not as good as Keith Richards?’ And almost certainly, you’re not as good as Keith Richards. I really like that thing that people with a serious problem do before they’re ready to deal with the problem, which is treat it like it’s an amazing gift that they have.
Where did the dialog from the beginning of “The World Owes Me a Living” originate? That is an argument between two voices in one head. It’s like that Leonard Cohen song, ‘Bird on a Wire’: ‘You must not ask for so much/Why don’t you ask for more?’ That lives so powerfully in me. I guess less so now, as I get older. I hope I’ve resolved a lot of those feelings. It’s like, ‘No one cares about me. Why does no one care about me?’ The answer comes, ‘You don’t deserve to be cared about. You’re not worth it.’ It’s a dramatization of bipolar disorder in a major way. Because I didn’t set out to do that I didn’t feel weird about it. I like that song, and again, it’s as accurate a representation of the things in my inner life as I have ever done. I’m not at all proud to have those things, but they do occur. And then they resolve into who you actually are. It’s like id and superego.
(This is starting now, in New York. View – HERE?) Last night, Andrew W.K. responded to Line Out doubts as per this world record attempt to drum for 24-hours straight. He also clarified the rules for peeing, and that it’s actually him. Via Twitter he said:
Thank you for helping spread the word about my #drumathon with @OMusicAwards! Your words were motivating! PARTY HARD! Oh, also, based on the traditional world record guidelines, you get a 5 minute bathroom break / food break every hour. PARTY!!!
It was 2 AM PST. I wished him luck, and asked him if he should be getting some sleep. I would think you gotta be well rested if you’re going to drum for 24 straight hours. His response:
THANK YOU, TRENT!!! As part of my training, I'm staying up for 48 hours in anticipation!!! I haven't slept since Sunday night!
Also announced: Besides ?uestlove, Chad Smith (Red Hot Chili Peppers), Marky Ramone, Nick Jonas, Zac Hanson, and Liberty DeVitto (former drummer for Billy Joel) will join Andrew W.K. as he attempts to set a 24-hour drumming world record at Oakley’s flagship store in New York.
GOOD LUCK ANDREW W.K. I HOPE YOU DRUM FOR 24 HOURS STRAIGHT!
What can you do with the Macklemore Martial Arts Paper Doll Fantasy Kit™? A lot of things, I suppose. Roundhouse kicks to jealous local rappers? Perhaps. Sweep the leg of opportunist managers looking for a percentage? Maybe. Twin Dragons in Search of Pearls to the groin of bootleg t-shirt merchants? Absolutely!
by Dave Segal
on Wed, Jun 19, 2013 at 2:43 PM
Important Records; art by Simon Fowler
Shapeshifting Seattle ethnodelic troupe Master Musicians of Bukkake released their Far West album yesterday on Important Records. The Quietus has a full stream of the group's fifth studio album here.
After going deeply into the Far East with their Totem trilogy, 2012 Stranger music Genius contenders MMOB majestically return to their natural domain, with powerful results. I wrote about the LP's first two songs—"White Mountain Return" and "Gnomi"—in previous Line Out posts; the rest of Far West conjures a kind of otherworldly yet pastoral vibe, an ultravivid, ritualistic folkadelia that makes your life seem utterly momentous while it's gently roaring through your headspace. This stuff sounds at once forbiddingly Medieval and contemporary—a real deity-tickling triumph.
In which you check three flavors of Seattle rap in one post—lyrical, loving, gangsta—call it Neapolitan. Dive in.
It's nice to know that despite all the stuff Onry Ozzborn and JFK have going on (solo careers, plus the groups Dark Time Sunshine and Th3rdz), that they haven't forgotten about Grayskul. Michael and Jeffrey are due to release Zenith, their first work in five years, this fall on Fake Four.
The words "this is hiphop" typically evoke "this is Sparta"—a war-cry, a line in the sand: this is hiphop, and that is not. That kind of tired true-school stance is, in this man's opinon, myopic, fearful of change, and still going strong after all these years. However! Let it be known that Fleeta Partee's "This Is Hiphop" (produced by Jake One) is not that: no, this song is a celebration, an affirmation.
First, the identity of the dubstep accelerator named Burial was unknown. Then it was revealed that Burial was some chap called William Bevan. Now people are saying Burial is in fact the electronic producer Four Tet.
Following widespread speculation that Kieran Hebden (Four Tet) might also be the individual making music under the pseudonym of Burial, a series of new developments in the theory have confirmed that Hebden is indeed the man behind both aliases.
Hailing from Manchester, the mostly overlooked Miaow started in 1984, was lead by the square-jawed Cath Carroll, covered by Unrest and then vanished four years later. Lately, I've been just been repeatedly listening to "When It All Comes Down (Catechism)," a longer version of the below track, which was also done by Unrest on their A Factory Record 7".
The original video for "When It All Comes Down" is rather excellent, lo-fi and clumsy:
After Miaow, Cath Carroll joined the Hit Parade and released some solo records, one on Unrest's Teen Beat label. She also married ex-Big Black guitar player Santiago Durango, but it appears that they've since divorced. Info on the other members is scant.
Another nice thing is that original pressings of Miaow's records are fairly affordable, if you're the type of person interested in such a thing.
(Heartland) Street Eaters have been hastening the end of civilization for a few years now. The duo's nervy, chunky, and politically charged punk rock tells tales about the brutality and traumas of modern life, often sounding like a less artsy Death from Above 1979. On their latest self-titled EP, the Bay Area band looks up from the carnage and takes a turn toward self-reflection. One standout song, "Window," pauses and asks, "Where did my freedom go, my naiveté?/What good has wisdom brought me?" These are questions that all maturing troublemakers have to ask themselves at some point. But amid all the chaos and declamations, cascading harmonies and a vigorous energy seem to shout out that, yes, there is beauty and truth in the detritus, and it's certainly worth fighting for. Elsewhere on the bill, count on Acapulco Lips to fully usher in our budding summer. The local band has expertly crafted roaring and hook-heavy garage-pop songs about leaving you in the dust—but trust me, it's in your best interest to keep up. With Tender Hips.
It's been years since I've heard the name Colleen, the musical pseudonym of French composer and multi-instrumentalist Cécile Schott (her signature instrument is the Baroque, cello-like viola da gamba or viol). Consequently, I thought she'd disappeared.
In 2011, my friend Pat Thomas gave me an issue of Ptolemaic Terrascope that he had edited, and her name entered my consciousness again when I read John Cavanaugh's 2007 interview, in which he writes, "Although her recordings have used modern looping technology, they possess a warmth which harks back to a much earlier age of sonic experimentation, yet without becoming retro in feel."
On the basis of her fourth full-length, The Weighing of the Heart, Cavanaugh's description still applies, and Schott hasn't missed a step during the six years since her last release, Les Ondes Silencieuses. If anything, she's added new moves, namely layers of English-language lyrics. Rarely has an instrumental artist made a more graceful transition to vocal work, aligning her with Juana Molina, Julia Holter, and Steve Reich in the way she uses her voice as part of a larger whole.
(Marymoor Park) I do not much care for Stephen Marley's new dubstep remix of his father's classic "Buffalo Soldier" on Legend Remixed because he employs the American version of dubstep and not the earlier and more dubby (meaning much closer to the original Kingston dub) British version. But I will always have the deepest respect for his brother Damian's massive 2005 tune "Welcome to Jamrock." Indeed, I have often wondered if it can be considered the last great song by Bob Marley, because it is here that the genes he deposited in Damian are almost fully expressed. The mightier-than-god toasting, the deep dub-space between the beats, the elongated but hiphop-heavy bass line, the powerful political message—it all sounds as if the genetic spirit of Bob Marley had taken command of Damian's body and successfully communicated through the 21st century cultural medium that had conditioned it. The rastaman possessed the rastaman. Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley & Stephen "Ragga" Marley with Ghetto Youths Crew, and the Green.
Oh...FUCK YEAH! The Werps "Love's A Fire" is one of my fave garage jams, ever. That middle organ break...YES YES YES...so much HEAVEN for me!!!
Right, so the above clip is an outtake version only ever issued via Crypt Records' mandatory Back From The Grave series. The single version of "Love's A Fire" is different; it has some odd added horn parts. It's good, too, faster and the horns do fit, but the outtake/BFTG version wins, if you ask me. Also, "Love's A Fire"'s downer flipside, "Shades of Blue" is pretty great, too. The Werps were from Somerville, New Jersey.
I was just minding my own business on Pine, when suddenly this wiggly little friend comes rolling across the sidewalk! Puppies don't even know what they're doing! It's like putting Jell-O on a leash. Jell-O that would rather sit in the middle of the sidewalk looking precious than actually go for a walk.
by Dave Segal
on Tue, Jun 18, 2013 at 1:53 PM
We need more writing on the Beatles like we need more vehicles on the road, but not all writing about the Beatles is created equal. The blog Let Me Tell You About the Beatles stands out with exceptional, ingratiating insights by writers Robert Bunter and Richard Furnstein. These names are new to me, but I quickly became enamored of their passion for and knowledge of the Beatles' catalog, which is chockablock with the most varied and melodically sumptuous pop/rock songs ever laid down (haters are free to explain their wrongheaded views in the comments).
Bunter and Furnstein go deep with the songs they analyze, but they keep it fun, too, and dudes can verbally spar and turn phrases with the most exalted Beatles critics (would love to see them fog up Greil Marcus' little round spectacles with their dazzling profundities). These master debaters often leave me agreeing equally with both sides of the argument.
Here's a choice snippet from Mr. Furnstein:
"Sun King" is a lovely ode to five in the morning. The crickets are slowing down, ready to surrender their rhythmic grip on the night. There is nothing but promise and hope at this time of day. The taxpayers are starting their early morning routine. The babies are gazing into their mother's eyes during the morning feeding. The Beatles always represented total renewal: each new Beatles album was a rejection of their previous take on pop music. These four supermen were there to gently guide mere mortals through life.
He is we as we are he. The shifting identities that underlay the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band concept and the acid-induced ego confusion of "Strawberry Fields Forever" reached a peak with "Walrus." I don't think John ever got this far out again; even the ominous "Revolution 9" sound collage had a certain experimental air of art-music detachment and opiated languor. "I Am The Walrus" is the unfiltered audio soundtrack to the nightmare that was John Lennon's fundamental brainspace.
More Furnstein wisdom:
"The Inner Light" is truly one of the most delightful and unexpected treasures in The Beatles catalog. Like finding a cardamom pod nestled in the pillowy saffron rice of your grandmother's kheer, George's solemn treatise provides some necessary mindthought to the light (Paul) and dark (John) forces of the world.
Yes! I am ready for a heavy-duty, fungus-enhanced listening session of Magical Mystery Tour with these guys.
Okay, my heart wasn't "broken" because I wasn't really in love because I was only 13. His name was Jason, we held hands once, talked on the phone a few times, and we never kissed. It lasted one week in 7th grade (Monday through Friday, not even the weekend) and I don't remember why we stopped "dating" (read: stopped awkwardly standing next to each other in the hallway between classes). Still, when it was "over," I was crushed and I listened to Janet Jackson sing "Again" every day and night for days, thinking "Yes, Janet, YES. Thank you. You know exactly how it feels."
Overall everything about this memory (and middle school, for that matter) feels so, so insignificant, but that was also the first time in my life I purposefully turned to music with therapeutic intent, which is actually not at all insignificant. It's kind of sweet and awesome.
What was your first therapeutic song? It's okay it if wasn't a good song and it's extra okay if it wasn't actually that heartbreaking of a situation, in hindsight.
This Como, Italy three-piece (singer-guitarist Francesco Mariani, bassist Claudia Manili, and drummer Andrea Napoli) has been around for a few years, but I hadn't heard of them until April when the label released the Sub Pop 1000 compilation, which opens with their blistering, bass-heavy "Kidult," an amalgam of Cabaret Voltaire, Killing Joke, and Al Jourgensen-on-Wax Trax. (Though my cat is accustomed to loud music—I rarely use headphones—she tensed up a little when I played this thing. The last time that happened? When I streamed the Ensemble Pearl album.)
To date, His Electro Blue Voice has released several singles, EPs, and compilation tracks, but their first full-length will bear the Sub Pop imprint. With titles like "Death Climb" and "Tumor," I can only assume they like it—their music, their movies, their lives*—on the dark and gritty side. I can dig it, and if the rest of the record sounds anything like "Kidult," we should be in for a noisy treat.
Yes. Sometime in the last couple years I DJed a Bar Mitzvah. It was the young man's specific request that I play '60s soul, which was actually quite amazing and endearing. His party, however, did not devolve into an uncomfortable, atonal karaoke party Bar Mitzvah...
Uncle Mort's Chuck Berry duck walk walk-on @ 1:53 is fucking amazing. Erm, if you can stand to make it that far. Oh, too bad there wasn't any voguing.