Friday, June 23, 2017

We Are Only Strangers

Another week gone - easy to despair, with our Senate bravely shoving a bill through to get rid of Obamacare, to finance tax cuts for the rich from the blood and treasure of everyone else... Transparent theft, open repudiation of campaign promises even Donald Trump made (though who didn't know he was lying through his teeth?) I despair. The Republicans seem determined to extract every penny from the country before it burns down that they can get - the Democrats - somehow manage to end up seeming to be more concerned with sup[pressing the wrongthink on their side than in stopping the GOP. Maybe that's a symptom of reading Twitter, where people seem to spend all their time mocking their enemies, and shivving whoever is standing just to your right or left.... I suppose conservatives do that as well, but they still seem to somehow keep the votes in line.

There is only so much of that we need. Instead, let's talk music. First, June 22 marked the 40th anniversary of Peter Laughner's death (19771) - my opinions of Pere Ubu are no secret, and though their legacy came mostly after Laughner left, he was certainly instrumental in their sound. And I like Rocket From the Tombs almost as much - and in fact, like Laughner's work, separate from Thomas and company, almost as much. He was different from Thomas - and different from Cheetah Chrome and Stiv Bators, as well, though he overlapped with them all. RFFT mixed up the Velvets, the Stooges, Captain Beefheart and Cleveland - Pere Ubu dialed up the Beefheart (so to speak), Dead Boys the Stooges - Laughner doubled down on Lou Reed, and used that as a departing point to bring in more folk, more mainstream rock - blues, Richard Thompson, The Stones. If he'd lived (if he hadn't killed himself on booze and speed at 25), he might have been really big - maybe not record selling big, but reputation big. He wrote great songs, he was a very good guitar player, he was a passable singer with a distinctive voice... He should have been somebody. Here, in any cae, is a Stones cover recorded, I believe, the day he died...

And a Peter Laughner tribute, from Wilco:

Meanwhile, on a less depressing front - I was doing some cleaning, trying to get some of my junk in order, looking at my boxes of cassettes and trying to get them down to something manageable, and I found this: Translator's second record, No Time Like Now, with the son Un-Alone on it. I had forgotten about Translator - forgot they they existed. Usually that happens rooting around YouTube - stumble on some band that sounded really cool 35 odd years ago... but sometimes, it happen in the atom world too. I wish I hadn't forgotten them - they were pretty damned good. They sound like a nice bridge between new wave and the kind of psychedelic jangle pop that filled certain radio stations in the 80s - that is to say, they sounded like a west coast version of REM, more or less contemporary... Some win, some lose, I guess... but they were good.

Here is the video for Unalone, good sound, and what looks like scenes from Twin Peaks, of all things...

And a very energetic live performance, on old videotape...

And also live, their first single, Everywhere That I'm Not. That's impossible, that's imposs...

Friday, June 16, 2017

Bloomsday and Politics and GWAR

Happy Bloomsday! if you fry up some kidney, be sure to share with the cat....

I get hungry just reading it:

On the boil sure enough: a plume of steam from the spout. He scalded and rinsed out the teapot and put in four ful spoons of tea, tilting the kettle to let the water flow in. Having set it to draw he took offthe kettle, crushed the pan flat on the live coals and watched the lump of butter slide and melt. While he unwrapped the kidney the cat mewed hungrily against him. Give her too much meat she won't mouse. Say they won't eat pork. Kosher. Here. He let the bloodsmeared paper fall to her and dropped the kidney amid the zsizling butter sauce. Pepper. He sprinkled it through his fingers ringwise from the chipped eggcup.

Meanwhile, in the world - my god who wants to live in this world? Gunmen preying on congressmen, gunmen preying on citizens; terrible fires in London. Nonsense in the hals of government - Trump lying and looking for new ways to defy the constitution and law and order; congress itself trying to sneak a new health care law through the senate, a law that will cause massive suffering and undoubtedly cost citizens a lot of money, all in the name of an upper class tax cut. They are sneaking it through because they know that not even habitual Republican voters are going to support it - they don't want to talk about it, they don't want anyone talking about it - so I suppose I must talk about it.

Ugh. I suppose I will have plenty of time to give in to despair in the coming years, so I will leave it off now.

Leave you with GWAR, doing terrible things to a Billy Ocean song:

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Adam West

Bad news - Adam West has died, 88 years old. He is still the best Batman of them all - the show was fun, exciting, and hilarious, holds up as well as ever, better than the mopey Bats. He anchored it, of course, deadpan and unflappable, with impeccable timing - just great.

I send you off with a compilation of all the wall climbing cameos - two ordinary crime fighters, going about their business...

Friday, June 09, 2017

25 Films for the 21st Century

Well, I know today is a Friday, and I try to post musical things onFriday, but it is more important that I post anything on a Friday, and this has been going around, so why not? The New York Times posted their 25 best films of the 21st century - I have seen others getting on on the act - so here you go. we're almost through two whole decades of this century - shocking... all right.

1. Inland Empire
2. Yi Yi
3. Vanda's Room
4. Kingsand Queen
5. Colossal Youth
6. Los Angeles Plays Itself
7. O Brother Where Art Thou
8. Secret Sunshine
9. Moonrise Kingdom
11. The Master
12. There Will Be Blood
13. The Royal Tenenbaums
14. The Death of Mr Lazarescu
15. Toni Erdmann
16. L'Intrus
17. Mulholland Drive
18. Inside Llewyn Davis
19. Sympathy for Mr Vengeance
20. The Headless Woman
21. Memories of Murder
22. Syndromes and a Century
23. Carlos
24. The Act of Killing
25. Mysteries of Lisbon

Friday, June 02, 2017

We Could Stay at Home and Play Games, I Don't Know

Lately I have had Steely Dan on the mind. I don't own enough of their music to do a decent Band of the Month, or they might have made it - if I started doing scaled down versions of that series, I might put them in there. But for now, just getting something on this blog will count as a Win. So - I've gotten them in my head and they aren't coming out, so I am putting them up here for your enjoyment. Go get em, boys!

Here's an early bit, Doin' it Again live on Midnight Special, back when David Palmer did a lot of the live vocals... I've posted their Reelin' in the Years too many times to post it again - this will do. Jef Baxter on congas, Denny Dias on that great solo...

This is the one I can't get out of my head lately - Rikki Don't Lose That Number... I remember hearing this back in the 70s sitting in a pizza joint in Brunswick Maine, this on the jukebox, and some guy at the next table telling two girls he was with that he had done something while he was under the influence of barbiturates... ah, decadence!

And for good measure - here are some Brooklyn hipsters (Hospitality) I had never heard of covering the Dan, and doing a fine job of it...

And from after they got back together and went on tour in the 90s - Deacon Blues, which is the first Steely Dan song I remember hearing on the radio - very cool song, I thought:

And finally, some I can't find the Minutemen doing it - here are the Mountain Goats covering Dr. Wu: