What Century Am I Living In … ?

Czarface/MF Doom, Czarface Meets Metal Face — Sometimes astute and often very funny comic-book/superhero-movie trip out.

Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks, Sparkle Hard —  Bit low on the chewy combo of tunes and ‘tudes. Like the guitars, though.

Whi te De nim, P er for man ce — Enough pretty brains and unfatigued ideas to make me take the trouble to type out name and title the way they want it.

Oneohtrix Point Never, Age of ECCO — Damn. Almost certainly going to be one of the top two or three I reach for first.


For the Record: Denouncing a Boneheaded Idea About Pop Music

An unfortunate, lingering side-effect of the persistent remnants of high-culture arrogance 30 years ago was the following “reasoning”:

Theater and classical music were Serious Art best explained by serious writers for a serious, intelligent audience.

Films and jazz had earned a seat at the lower end of the Serious table, but they had a essential commercial streak that made denouncing big hits something to avoid.

Popular music was garbage and nothing but commerce. So a serious writer who took on pop was a fool. Writing for a tiny audience of other fools. The correct move was dumb writing for dumb people, which would attract a huge audience.

Of course this never worked in practice. (Pointing out that those who read about pop music were already the intellectual fans didn’t seem to make any difference.) So the nonsense has fallen out of favor.

What has replaced it is the notion that gossip and celebrity-drooling will make a lot more bucks than serious discussion. And that, sadly, is hard to deny.

R.I.P.: Glenn Branca

The Racket Rocker has left the building.

I had to admit I didn’t play him as often as I expected to — not least because almost anybody else in the room would go batshit within 30 seconds when I did. I treasure my vintage Theoretical Girls 45. I heartily endorse Lesson No. 1 for newcomers and for established fans, I must note that I played this record as often as any:

Poetry falling up and downstairs.

The [Extinct] Good System of Doing Popular Music Promotion (and Maybe Arts Promotion in General)

I know as a fairly successful Music Editor that 99.5% of people cannot describe music in print for beans. I know that enough people to populate even this current expanded world of publicists can clearly describe the wheres and whats of a release. One big problem now is that the latter are expected to do the former — I’m supposed to tell from a description (usually quite low quality with a lotta “sounds like” comparisons which are worthless) whether I want to hear a record or not. A wild guess at best.

In the Golden Lost Era I was sent a lot of what came out with the wheres and what information, I listened to it until I made up my mind about it and maybe reviewed it, put it into the subjects for further listening pile or chucked it. If I wanted to do something with the release I would (OF COURSE) contact the publicist.

Now I get literally hundreds of emails with this racket of: “here’s this release” (we’ll leave out the noise of things I never review under any circumstances); “doya want it?”; “didja get it?”; “doya like it?”; “gonna review it?”. Sometimes capped by this sullen silence if I don’t like the music.

What in the fuck was the matter with Send It To Me/I’ll Listen To It/If I Wanna Write About It I’ll Get Back To You/Otherwise End of Story?

It was simpler, clearer and a helluva lot less distracting.

[SNORT!] Ridiculous

I see that my “Vampires: Cuties of Monsters?” post remains quite popular. So here’s a riff from the social-irresponsible era of comix that I will explain after the brilliantly realized cover image by William Stout:

Coke Comics.jpg

(Yow, is that 1975 enough or what?) Anyway, the character I want to celebrate as one of my favorite satiric name-riffs ever is “Nostrilachoo — the Cocaine Vampire.” He doesn’t appear until Issue #3 and comes back for a duller recycle in #4. But still …