Oregon Beer Snob reports that the Empire is the third hit when you Goofle the title phrase. And here I’ve been struggling lately with my impact in the larger world. Well, now I know that I have changed the internooflizzles for the bassoon.
It makes me want to take up the bassoon. It can’t be any more horrifying than the noises I make with guitars. And I bet there are just OODLES of them available cheap on eBay and Craigslist. Besides, you know how to become first chair in bassoon? Own a bassoon. Out of tune Symphonic honking has got to be more lucrative than architecture!
I mentioned over at Brandos House of Fashion that I intended to do a Friday Musical Spew today, because I am jealous of all the sweet bloggy love he gets when he does his (I KNOW he’s funnier! SHUT UP) but phone work and oil change and haircut and phone work intervened; however, I figure I can get a little post-office work (see what I done there? FUNNY, cuz SEQUESTER!) at home and do the Poop Shoot from my iPod (34,000 songs). The wine is low, but that is OK, because the corner store has big-ass bottles of cheap wine.
Looks like it is kinda a parenthetical kind of day. Oddly, I don’t have a parenthetical for this paragraph. (Stop LOOKING at me like that, Lucy!) OK, I guess I had one.
So, here goes the first Friday Musical Spew and IMS Poop Shoot in quite some time. It’ll be fun! YES IT WILL. Fire up the bassoons!
1. The Story of Nothing, the Mekons; New York. From the (originally cassette-only) live release “New York” that gave me inspiration for a custom license plate. Is there a better start for a music list at the Empire of the Bassoon? Really, though, the Mekons are kind of inspirational. They are a post-punk anarcho-collective of artists and curmudgeons, who live spread around the world but still find a way to get together and record music against all odds, indeed against widespread apathy. There was a time when punk music threatened the world; now it makes for Carnival cruise lines music. Well, the mekons never let that stop them. They know what they do won’t change a damn thing; they do it because not to do it hurts worse. And still; all else being equal, several of them became American citizens, because…well, I’m not sure really.
2. Star Me Kitten, William S. Burroughs; X-Files Soundtrack. Drug addict and writer Billy B, doing spoken word over the music tracks from the REM song. From the X-Files soundtrack from so long ago, that my office was in a different building and I though I might be able to change the world for the better.
Seriously, when this album came out, I had two small spaces in an old rehab factory, connected by a spiral stair. My son used to come down all the time, and do some climbing up the stair. He was so tiny! I had employees, one of which was pregnant and later sometimes brought her son in because child care is a bitch. I offered health care! Times were different indeed. Now, I rattle around my office, poking at various computers and staring out the window in between doing billable services, and wondering where my life went.
3. Well Thought Out Twinkles, Silversun Pickups; Carnavas. When I had employees, I tried to be progressive and liberal and a good employer. But when I was forced to lay off the staff due to lack of cash flow, I found one of my employees made a claim against me for unused vacation time. Even though I didn’t offer compensation for unused vacation or personal time. Heck, I was super-flexible on office scheduling, knowing that everybody has shit to do. When I responded to the claim by pointing out that I had never represented that unused time was anything other than unused, and not carried over year-to-year, and beyond that, this employee, had, when the times were analyzed, not met the relatively low threshold of what I considered to be a full time employee over time; the employee responded with a Letter of Butthurt about how I was representing them as a bad person. even though I had the documentation and records to prove everything I said, and was already taking the unemployment tax hit for everyone I had laid off. Dunno where the advice was coming from for their claim, but it was crappy, and somehow that was my fault too. What the fuck, as an architect, I am used to being a sin-eater.
4. 17 on the Wayside, Noise By Numbers; Yeah, Whatever. Where the fuck did this come from? I like it though. Yeah, Whatever indeed.
5. Help Save The Youth Of America, Billy Bragg; Live At The Barbicon. Punk music was going to change the world, right? And just like folk music before, was subsumed by the commercial wave and music-industry weasels. Now, Half of the Clash are dead, and the Youth of America are the unemployed middle aged waiting around to die. Billy, Washington is not going to burn except in the fevered dreams of Teabaggers and Secessionists, and much as I love you, you still are touring with a beat up old Fender playing for the same 500 people in every town.
6. Lately, Soul Asylum; Silver Lining. One of my favorite bands, since I saw them play a 300 person club on the Hang Time tour. Got heroically drunk with Snag at First Avenue when they played with The Figgs opening. Original guitarist Dan Murphy quit last year, because making a living in a punk band is for losers and nihilists. This is from the last album, which is pretty good and kind of polished, but maybe it would be a bit freeing if Dave Pirner just did solo albums from here on out. After a while, of course, they could do a reunion (except for the fact that half of them are dead also) and make some decent money for a change. The Mekons willingly admit that they have never broken up, so they can never get on the Big Punk Band Cynical Reunion Circuit gravy train (in clubs that provide chairs and tables for their aging decrepit fans), playing the ‘hits’ or at least the songs that someone recognizes. Good song though.
7. Good Night Sleep Tight, Kevn Kinney; MacDougal Blues. Local boy from Milwaukee, he went to high school with one of my good friends. While here, he was in the Prosecutors and started the first incarnation of Drivin ‘n’ Cryin, and he wrote one of my favorite songs, “Scarred But Smarter”. I am so, so scarred but am not sure I can claim to be smarter.
On the other stump, Rachel Maddow called out FuckNose Scalia as a troll on TDS last night, and she is right on target. He LIKES saying horrible things, because it’s about him. He gives not one shit about actual jurisprudence, or legislating, or the Constitution, but if he gets to kick some wimmins or hippies or poors or blahs, it makes his thing wiggle. He’s a bigger troll than I am on a thndr thread.
[interlude. running out for wine, toilet paper, and pizza]
8. Entertain Me, The Psychedelic Furs; Should God Forget. There was a time when teh Furs were rocking like fuck. That time was 1981. After that, things got wonky at best. But this is off an obvious effort to catch their former spark, that mostly fell flat. Sometimes, you can catch lightning in a jar. But the second time, you just get electrocuted.
9. After Hours, Velvet Underground; Live MCMXCIII. Obviously, they got good drugs from Warhol. This is a kind of lame song from a good, tough live set. Having said that, Mo Tucker is rock as fuck.
10. Call That Living, The Angels; Skin And Bone. True story. Younger Zombie Brother was always into more metal and such than I was, hard as that may be to believe. But while I was tangenting into punk and new wave, he was moving into his teens and working on rebellion, and he was all Kiss-AC/DC and such. And somehow, he triggered in the Angels album Face to Face (renamed for America as Angel City). It was a point of congruence for us, and wow, the song Take A Long Line was SO good. Later, Dark Room was released, and it was even better.
In recent days, The Angels have gotten back together to some extent, and while the are mining the same vein, and it’s pretty good, they have yet to hit on all cylinders like they were during those days. Fuck it anyway, but they are still pretty damn good.
11. Headline News, Weird Al Yankovic; Permanent Record. More True Story. When YZ was an infant, when I was getting up with him in the night, I had this four-disc set queued up on the multi-disc player so while I was getting him back to sleep, we would be listening to Al’s best. It explains, or at least demonstrates, so much, doesn’t it? In any case, a couple of years ago Wife Sublime and YZ got the 3rd row tix for Al at the Riverside, while I went to Turner Hall to see Trampled By Turtles. I loved TBT, but the opening band was so awful I was glad WS was not there.
12. Harry Worth, Elvis Costello; Momofuku. Last week, Brando posted a couple of videos, one of which was the Police. I did not post a comment, because, hey, SQUIRREL! But if I had, I would have said that at one point I loved the Police with a large, sickening obscene love. But they have not aged well for me, I think mainly because they keep playing the same damn songs.
When Elvis toured on this album, he opened for the Police reunion tour. And he was nothing less than great, with a stripped down set that kicked ass. And while the Police were good, Elvis was the one that rocked the fuck; and since then, who has continued to record and release and tour? None of the Cynical Old Guy Tours for Declan.
12. Bell-rung-man, WATT; hyphenated-man. I need say nothing about the big bass man, but all you need to know can be learned by watching the video We Jam Econo. Go. Do it.
13. I Know Their Name, Men Without Hats; Folk Of The 80s, Part III. Heh. Trolling my own Musical Poop Shoot! Moar True Story, because it is a Night for Truth. When i was in college, mistakenly thinking that working to become an architect was a viable future, the Future Wife Sublime was in college somewhere else. And yeah, long-distance romances don’t work, except when they do. So, although most weekends she would come this direction (because Milwaukee is more Fun) some weekends I would go the other direction, and when I did, i would prepare by taking new vinyl I had obtained, putting it on cassettes for the drive.
Well, what I would do is put on side one to record, then go to class, then rewind and do the second side. Then listen on the drive.
Also, what you need to know is I had a linear tracking turntable at the time, so start/stop and such was all push button, and the buttons were outside the dust cover (all terms relating to an ancient technology). Also, I had two cats. Do you see where this is going? Do you?
So I was recording this album, and was kind of looking forward to listening to it (shut up. I have a problem, it’s been established. Also, these guys were Canadian folk-punks, like a syrup-fueled Violent Femmes. Who knew?). So I was driving through the Wisconsin night, grooving to annoying Canadian folk-punk, when the cat walked over the stop button, and the album just quit, leaving the rest of the tape blank. Fucking cat.
14. Worse To Live, Matthew Sweet; In Reverse. Ouch. Well played, iPod.
15. Rio, Duran Duran; Rio (of course, like you don’t have it in YOUR collection too). This was a fricking great album, so great that nearly every aspect of it: videos, cover, lyrics, music, the band; have become cliches. But my clearest memory of Duran Duran was from the prior album, when my roommate and I were in a video bar (shut UP, we had those too) and the long-soft-core version of “Girls On Film” came on (heh). Our gast was flabbered.
Bonus 16 (I could do this all night, do you have some where to be?). Donner Lake, Wonderlick; Wonderlick. Years after Too Much Joy tragically broke up, a couple of them got back together to make some music, and this wonderful power-pop gem cropped up. You could do much. much worse than to look it up. Heck, while you’re at it just fill out your library with the TMJ back catalog. As Too Much Joy, they got thrown in jail for doing 2 Live Crew in Broward County, toured with the Mekons, and gave a shout out to Milwaukee punk-metal band Die Kreuzen in their liner notes. when they re-released their first recording “Green Eggs and Crack” (they’re funny, but not subtle) with a couple of new songs, Tim Quirk said in the notes :
..it’s hard to trot out all this embryonic stuff out again without showing you what it was supposed to look like when it grew up. The second reason is kind of amorphous, but probably more accurate: these three songs were written shortly after our relationship with a major label had been….well, severed is a good word for it. That is, the last three songs were written and recorded under the same conditions as the rest: by a band with very little money and no real idea what it was recording FOR. “Secret Handshake” is very specifically about missing the money and still getting a boner from playing.
I keep doing what I do because I still get a boner doing it. Watching a building erupt from a the tip of a magic marker into three dimensions is a tremendous high. Just like the boner I get writing these stupid blog posts. Nobody may read them or comment or anything, but they still get thrown out of the nest, even if only to flutter and fall to the ground, splatter and get eaten by the neighbor’s cat.
OK, I need to work on my control of similes.
Hey, did I just put two number twelves in that list? I think I did. What the hell, write to the central office I am sure they will give you a refund.