Friday, September 26, 2008


When you listen closely and really think about it, Casino Versus Japan is to Electronic(a) music what Flying Saucer Attack is to stoned-out, delay-pedal-stuck-on-On-position Rock music. Discuss...

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

My Promise, My Word, My Empathy

Last Saturday I made a promise to my buddy Steve Genson, that if the Cubs win the World Series this year, then I would buy all his drinks for the weekend of the clinching game. Steve is a farmer and a 54-year fan of the Chicago Cubs (he's 54 years old, btw), thus long suffering and skeptical of any glimmer of hope that his team could win, despite the fact that they have taken the lion's share of best record in the Majors this season. I'll keep this short so as not to possibly hex the Cubbies, because, despite my love for the Red Sox, I really would like to see the North siders win this year. Cheers to ya Steve!
FUCK!!! I just saw Steve last night at work and, while he was holding together alright, I haven't seen a baseball fan's face like that since Aaron Fuckin' Boone. Sorry Steve, that series sucked balls for Cubs fans.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Real DJ Vadim: When Found, Please Return to Earth.

Anybody remember when DJ Vadim could get your granny dancin' her bloomers off while simultaneously maintaining artistic credibility? Yeah? Well, that mother fucker is dead and every time I listen to Life From The Other Side or The Isolationist, I get all bummed out, because dude has lost his fuckin musical way. So, anybody out there who runs into him on the street, I want you to beat his ass, kidnap him and bring him to me, where I will convince him to quit pursuing this whack-ass shit that panders to pussy dance floors and R&B airwaves and return to his bad-ass dance floor rockin', real-ass Hip-Hop that he once knew. It's like some kinda kung fu movie where the main character has fucked up his style by taking on too many new popular styles and needs an old master (me, in this case) to right his ship and refine and simplify his style. Nuff said, bitches!!!

Quitting Smoking is Simultaneously a Huge Bitch and a Fantastic Trip

It is now 9 days (and counting) of no smokin' and I have to say that I've discovered new layers of anger and hate within my personality that, I guess, I knew existed, but had buried away for a while. Mostly, this comes out when I come out of the house. If I can isolate myself indoors with minimal people, lots of music with headphones and baseball games or CSI reruns, then I can feel centered, balanced, happy. However, out in the world, I turn into a fucking demon with a mouth full of insults, epithets and venom. And, to top it off, I seem to be lapsing back into some of my assumed-to-be-gone post-accident ptsd symptoms. I've begun to have the sleep interrupting spasms and dreams that I thought I had rid myself of. Apparently, I'd mostly rid myself of them through smoking and drinking. What a healthy, therapeutic approach to life! Well, I'm working on drastically changing all that shit. Hopefully, the ptsd shit will fade quickly by being smothered by the growth and health that results from my changes here.

Tangential Non-Sequiturs

My buddy White Chocolate and I just went from Toothless Crack Whore to Blue Danube in 45 seconds...fill in the gaps please (oh, what an unintentional pun!!!).

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Chompin' at the Bit: Some Preliminary Thoughts on the Best Albums of 2008

It may be a little early to do this, but I have an itchy trigger finger this year (possibly due to Silent Ballet staff discussion threads on the upcoming end of the year lists). I'll try to keep with the spirit of my list for 2007, which departed from the protocol of strict ranking. For a refresher, check that post from January. Also, this is purely a preliminary list, as it is only the second half of September and there are many opportunities for good albums to be released in the next 3 months. However, most labels refrain from releasing their strongest material during the holiday season, because it is supposedly a dreadfully slow time for album sales. Pictured above are The Black Angels, authors of one of this year's finest LPs.
First off, my beloved Grails are special enough to have not one, but two albums in the running. First came their EP Take Refuge In Clean Living, which was classic Grails and the only drawback was a potential oversight in track order. Then, well, actually, their newest LP Doomsdayer's Holiday hasn't even been released yet, but let me tell you, it kicks ass! When I wrote praises of Grails being one the best bands out there in a post earlier this year, I meant it. This was not just fan-boy drooling acclaim.
As for our pictured friends above, The Black Angels, their newest album, Directions To See A Ghost, is true to their peyote trip-induced sound that Jim Morrison would fawn over and only Lou Reed and friends have achieved in the past. This album is so damn hypnotic that I try not to listen to it while driving, as I feel it could be detrimental to my driving ability, specially at night.
How 'bout a shout from the past? This band hasn't produced any new material in ten years, but they haven't missed a beat. Portishead, ladies and germs, put out an incredibly strong LP in the form of 3rd. There was a lot of griping at the time of release, because folks felt it was too much of a departure from their original sound. I agree, it's a departure, slightly, but a good one; this album is powerful and concise, while retaining the oozing emotional schema they began with on the likes of Dummy.
Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra & Tra-La-La Band continued to supply our eardrums with anarcho-socialist revolutionary soundtracks to our collective unconscious melancholy on 13 Blues For Thirteen Moons. Though, I can't say I've listened to this ASMZ album with the same zeal as previous recordings, they haven't lost their zest. My recommendation would be to pass on this while perusing the racks in your local record store if, that is, you already have all the other ASMZ LPs. The first 12 tracks are just a bunch of screaching noise, though they total about 42 seconds it seems like a lifetime, and feel like absolute garbage intro fodder. They could've just put up the four songs and left it at that.
2008 also served to turn me onto a band that I heard a million times, but never paid any attention to back in my record store employee days. I understand it's not a new album, apparently a digest of oddities and b-sides, but Bardo Pond's Batholith turned me on to another fabulous vein of stoner rock. I'd just like to apologize to my homey Barrett for always dissin' this shit back in our Cellophane days, my bad. I had a terrific time spacing out to this album on the couch, headphones cranked up full, the first thorough listen.
So, at my work at the bar, we staff often play tunes from our iPods for the whole bar and every once in a while a coworker will play an album I know, but for some reason hearing it at the pub makes it new and I invariably ask, "Whatchya playin?" Well, Station by Russian Circles has done that to me every time.
Unfortunately, 2008 is a year without a Murcof release. Luckily, his Static Discos labelmate Fax put out Yo Recuerdo to keep me infused with Tijuana techno. I think my review of this album should suffice, so click on the link mother fucker!!!
Some albums are like time warps. The Black Angels album is one good example and starts the theme. Black Mountain, a Vancouver band steeped in druggy, 70's rock tradition really came into their own this year with In The Future. Their previous releases are solid and definitely display the beginnings of a unique style (particularly the use of numerous synthesizers and keyboards to augment that 70's sound), but this album was a full on launch into orbit. It felt like the dawning of a band that should loom large over the landscape for years to come. Oh right, almost forgot, saw these folks live and that shit was awesome, dreamlike.
Max Richter has been releasing some wonderfully heartfelt neo-classical compositions and 24 Postcards In Full Color is no exception. Great for quieter times or moments spent gazing off into sunsets or fog-filled mornings. My only complaint about this album is the extreme brevity of the songs/sketches.
As I mentioned above, 2008 lacks a release from Murcof, the master in minimal, micro-house electronica. Mercifully, the gods saw it fit to have Kangding Ray, aka David Letellier, provide our ears and imaginations with such a masterpiece as Automne Fold. My second start-to-finish listening of this album was a legendary experience on the couch...but my review, accessible through the hypertext, will explain it all. Bass that rushes through your hair like a sudden Alpine gust through the meadows below.
More electronica! Four Tet put out Ringer to much delight. This was a fabulous EP, but that was my biggest disappointment as well. I wanted a full length album. However, Ringer was wonderfully executed, what else can I say that I already haven't?
Cult of Luna, Eternal Kingdom. A solid record by one of my favorite metal bands, but I don't know if anything can surpass the excellence of Somewhere Along The Highway.
More metal please! Zozobra, who rocked my wordl opening for ISIS in 2007 with a show so packed with energy that it could've been just another day at the Hadron Particle Collider, released Bird of Prey. Their debut LP, Harmonic Tremors, carried the same energetic heft as the live show. The combination may have made it my favorite album of '07, at least the most listened to. Bird of Prey falls slightly short of expanding on the previous work, but at least the blueprint from which it is copied is so masterful. This album, formulaic at moments, still rocks some serious ass.
So, here's one I'm not sure I can even begin to categorize (not that I want to pigeon-hold everything, but it can be helpful for description). Rise Of A Mystery Tide by Hulk is something else. Maybe minimal electro-ambient? Maybe avant garde? Do I really care? No, because this album is so packed with beauty it makes me twitch at the edge of exploding when I listen to it. The song "Sending Armadas" is only representative of its name in the way it rolls in in endless waves, an ocean of clarinets and oboes washed below the surface of metallic strings and creaking beams of wood.
Alright, time for a quick list of "still in the running" titles, that really I'm just too tired to write much about.
Alias Resurgam
Bitcrush Epilogue In Waves
Erik Levander Kondens
Goldmund The Malady Of Elegance
Grouper Dragging A Dead Deer Up A Hill
Melvins Nude With Boots
The Hawk Is Howling. Their live show kind of ruined it for me, but still a good record.
Yann Tiersen Tabarly

Let's hope the next couple of months bring some more tasty treats!
Oh, and by the way, I already know the biggest disappointment of 2008, maybe even the worst album of any artist who I expect something from: Turning Dragon by Clark. Album sucked a fat one, period.

Drinking Games

So, I haven't had a cigarette in 6 days (almost 7 at the time of this post) and consequently not been drinking alcohol more than a drink here and there (booze is my biggest smoking trigger). So, why is it that I think of a drinking game at this time???
My friend Jesse and I have been undergoing tests of endurance, kind of like Bikram Yoga ten-hour sessions, but with CSI marathons. I recently came into some cheap box sets of seasons 1 & 2, the reason for the endurance tests. In the course of watching, say, 24 episodes of CSI in a 4-day span, you begin to notice formulaic reiterances throughout all episodes; think of it as a screenwriting fractal, patterns repeating within patterns. This has lead me to an inspired moment that went something like this, "Hey Jess, we should make a drinking game for this show."
"That could get out of hand," was her reply.
So, for shits and giggles, I googled "csi drinking game" and found this. A CSI: Miami Drinking Game, which is freakin awesome! I mean, Miami is the most hilarious trainwreck of all the CSI franchises, but I'd like to make one for the original Vegas version (I personally find nothing redeeming about the New York version, at least you can laugh at the ridiculousness of David Caruso in Miami).
Also, once I'm in the clear of quitting smoking and can booze-hound it up again, then we (me and anybody else?!?!?!?!?) should play a round of the CSI: Miami game. Anyone up for it?
It's on!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Sox Skewer Rays 13-5

Oh, and by the way, the Red Sox wiped the floor with Scott Kazmir for a percentage-point difference tie atop the AL East. Way to go boys!

09.17.08 Starting to think I should stop writing about Red Sox games on here, because I either jinx them during a game or for the next day's game.

Grails - Doomsdayers Holiday

I have alerted you, my fair, intelligent readers, in the past of the rock supremacy of Portland band, Grails. I hope that you have heeded my advice to listen, and listen good, because if you are up to speed on some or all of their discography (rapidly growing), then you'll be prepared for their coming album, Doomsdayers Holiday. I won't delve into details or reviewing the album just yet, but this record kicks ass! Also, don't miss your very next opportunity to see this band live; I botched it for my buddy and myself just this last time around. Needless to say, I won't be missing them the next trip through Seattle. For any friends or readers who are on the East Coast, they are swinging your way first before the West. John, I'm looking at you. They'll be doing three shows in the NY, most notably at the Knitting Factory Nov. 22nd. Check it.

Monday, September 15, 2008

reincarnation blues (poem inspired by Grails' song of same name)

reincarnation blues

and I am suddenly pushed,
like a surprised child
finding herself
on a carnival ride
she wasn’t interested in
but willing
to enjoy

south asian flautist
leading the dance
of vibration, capitulating
the entire path
to reincarnation:
the searing heat
that rattles your marrow
bone from nerve
you’re not sure you can
take it anymore
or if you love it
so much, you’d
dive right back in

wobbling, cosmically
between voices and memories
taking blind strikes
at slicing the confining wall
trying to sever its dominance
like a slit sheet
in the dark, caliginous
Georgia sun:

void of winds
of freedom
yet, abundant
of weight, oppression

pushing the soul
back against
that confining wall,
ignorant of the soul’s
power infinite

like waves
demanding a retention
of individuality
within the current…
to the dance
of vibration, capitulation
the entire path
to reincarnation

NOTE: Thanks to Jason (White Chocolate) for being honest enough to convince me that the original opening stanza of this poem sucked and to remove it. Honesty, FTW!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Old Skewl Hip Hop Sunday...Again. Thanks to Peter!

Mad Props to Peter G for hookin me up wit' a digital copy of Diamon D & the Psychotic Neurotics' LP Stunts, Blunts & Hip Hop!! This certainly brings back memories, but of what I don't know, cuz I was so fuckin high at the time!!! Seriously though, this is one of those hidden jewels from the earl-mid '90s that many a hip hop listener doesn't even know very well. In fact, you'd have to be Diggin' In The Crates (the name of the production crew consistin of Diamond D, AG, Dres of the Black Sheep and some others) to find this record; I put out a call here in an earlier post that I needed a copy of this album and my man Peter came through. I thought I had it on vinyl, but no, I'm not that special. Man I miss those days from '89 to '95. I love finding the ol' style crew photos, so many of which were tastefully done in black and white, and reminiscing about my days spent ballin' in family housing and rollin' all pseudo-thug stylee with Starter jackets on and drinkin' 40's we jacked from the Albertson's in the neighborhood. That Albertson's was closed, demolished and replaced by a yuppie boutiqe Metropolitan Market, which doesn't even sell 40's and probably would eject anyone in a Starter jacket on sight. Sounds like the demise of hip hop. Sniff sniff.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Xenophobia and Racism in Sports Journalism

It should first be known that I am a huge proponent of unilateral, across-the-board equal opportunity destroyer kinds of disdain for fellow human beings, but especially white people. Okay, all joking (?) aside, I get really tired of reading articles about sports, baseball in particular, where it has become acceptable fashion to refer to the country-of-origin whereabouts of certain players/participants, but not others. Does this sound familiar to anyone with 5 seconds worth of education? This is the antithetical representation of the ideology behind equal rights. Say it with me..."equal rights!" You see, the thing about subscribing to a true doctrine of equality would mean to treat everybody the same, in as much as that is possible, seeing that we are all so fucking different that it may be a philosophical and mental impossibility to truly do so. However, if you read the caption under "photo wire" in this recap of the Mariners and Angels professional baseball contest tonight, you'll notice that only Ichiro [Suzuki] is identified by his country of origin, which points directly to race in the modern mind. So, why the fuck is that? Simple, we are so entrenched in our racism and xenophobia that it has become commonplace to identify all that is not white as something other. Now, the question I'm not sure I can answer is, "What purpose does that serve?" Other than to fortify and validate the white, mainstream paradigm of power, I don't know. And let me tell you, I'm fucking sick of the white, mainstream paradigm of power.
Now, the reason I have posted this with a picture of Joe Morgan is to illustrate what now becomes even more complex of an issue. Joe Morgan grew up in the tail end of Jim Crow Amerikkka and broke into the big leagues on the coattails of Jackie Robinson in an era when black ballplayers (just as all black people) had to walk down the street with eyes in the back of their heads (not that this has changed all that much, it's just sublimated so you think things are better). What bums me out the most is that Joe himself has repeatedly pointed out negative aspects (in his mind) of Japanese players' influx into the Major Leagues. For example, Morgan continously attacked Ichiro's very elligibility to win the Rookie of the Year Award, because Ichiro had already played pro ball in Japan. I don't even wanna get started in on how fractured Morgan's logic is; I'll just let you stew on that one. What is unfortunate is that Morgan has seemingly learned nothing about the politics of his youth and the teachings of that era, most notably King, X and Jackie as well. Is this just another manifestation of how once somebody gets theirs they don't need to worry about anybody else???

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Getting my fat ass back in shape, hopefully

On Monday, I took a ride that ended up totaling about 32 miles, but would look like a ball of tangled yarn with a kitten stuck in the middle if I mapped it out for you. Yesterday, Tuesday, I took another wonderful ride in the perfect, mild Seattle Summer sun. I rode from Maple Leaf down into the U-District and then plopped myself onto the Lake Washington Blvd Loop starting near MOHAI and weaving through the neighborhoods on the back side of Cap Hill. I ended up at Seward Park and did a loop around the Park's peninsula. I ended up cranking up the hill from the Park and dumping down into Rainier Valley. Picked up some coffee, some food and generally just had a grand afternoon in the sun. I didn't take the pic above, but it's a perfect representation of the view from Seward to Mt. Rainier. If I can keep this pace up, by the time Winter rolls in, I might be able to fit back into my shrunken American Apparel ISIS t-shirt!

Red Sox vs Rays on a Wednesday

Some douchebag goes for fan interference to make the 2nd Sox out of the 2nd inning. However, through three innings, Josh Beckett has thrown 73% of his pitches for strikes, including 100% of his curveballs. That nasty curve is looking extra sweet tonight and has been his out pitch on all 4 strikeouts so far. Jed Lowrie just reached on the first base hit of the night for the Sox, backing up my argument that he is awesome, even if some feel that it is just the same old disease of Sox fans going overboard on praising the new prospects comin up to the bigs. Ellsbury grounds into a double play, which is rare, but bummin me out. I have to say that after listening to Rick Sutcliffe call this game on ESPN for only a few innings, I'd love to kick him in the balls. Mostly, I feel this way, because he is hellbent on continuing to make disparaging comments about Manny Ramirez in comparison to something Jason Bay does. Manny has his shortcomings and I am all down with Jason Bay, but can ya shut the fuck up already? This is totally counterproductive and Sutcliffe's shitty attitude and white boy arrogance were probably a factor in his getting cancer. I can make this joke, because he is in remission, has health insurance and is a rich and famous cocksmoker.
5.17 pm: Ummmmmm, Beckett's curve is just plain filthy. Strikes out the side in the 3rd AND 4th for a K/9 ratio of 15.75. Doh! sez the opposing batter. Now, if only the offense coulod get it rolling to break the 1-1 tie.
5.29 pm: still keeping a steady 73% strike ratio of pitches, shiiiiitt.
5.39 pm: recovering from a near heart attack as Beckett gets Cliff Floyd to pop out to wiggle out of a two-out bases-loaded jam. whew! think I need to puke. Jed Lowrie leads off the bottom of the 5th and gets the ground-rule double!!! Ugh, so tired of watching replays of Tom Brady's knee getting shredded...have I ever said I look down my nose at football? specially when it's the fucking pennant races right now in baseball!!
6.09 pm: Beckett can only get the ND. fell apart a bit, right after I talked his performance up, coincidentally. Okajima has a nice 7th, though, which is encouraging, because the pen between the starters and Papelbon has been nail-bitingly unnerving at times this season.
6.12 pm: I wish I could be at Fenway this September and October.
6.38 pm: Justin Masterson lookin mighty fine comin outta the 'pen in the 8th; sweet strikeout of Navarro on 5 filthy pitches and then induces the inning-ending ground out. Still 1-1, though.
9.31 pm: Ugh, what a drawn-out torture scene. Sox lose in the 14th, 4-2. Carlos Pena strikes again, like some kinda vampire.