Monday, October 2, 2017

It is PKD's World, We Just Live In It

“None of this has a reasonable explanation,” said Fulton Armstrong, a former CIA official who served in Havana long before America re-opened an embassy there. “It’s just mystery after mystery after mystery.”
Suspicion initially focused on a sonic weapon, and on the Cubans. Yet the diagnosis of mild brain injury, considered unlikely to result from sound, has confounded the FBI, the state department and US intelligence agencies involved in the investigation.
Some victims now have problems concentrating or recalling specific words, several officials said, the latest signs of more serious damage than the US government initially realized. The United States first acknowledged the attacks in August – nine months after symptoms were first reported.'

Saturday, September 9, 2017



In a wig, after a ridiculous makeover, and still managing to deliver right to the gut

Friday, September 1, 2017

Purging archives

Free shit pitches to listicle servers if you want 'em


musicians named after real people:
Hype Williams
Sissy Spacek
Emil Beauliel
milton bradley
harriet tubman
franz ferdinand
the beau brummels
jethro tull
the mr t experience
kathleen turner overdrive
duran duran duran
run dmt
dandy warhols
com truise
joy orbson
wevie stonder
ill. Gates
Gnarls barkley
Donna Summer
karlmarx


musicians who've done porn
traci lords
aTelecine
carter fanny tutti
lydia lunch
paris hilton
plasmatics


Musicians who were music critics
stephen merritt (SPIN)
ekoplekz (gutterbreakz blog)
alexis georgopolous of ARP/Alps/Tussle (XLR8R, others)
kim gordon (artforum)
cex (baltimore sun)
dominique leone (pitchfork)
neal tennant- pet shop boys (smash hits)
paul d.miller
david toop
chris weingarten of Parts and Labor (Rolling Stone, others)
drew daniel (matmos)
john darnielle
sasha frere jones of ui  (New Yorker)
daniel martin-mccormack of Ital and Mi Ami (Dusted)
kevin martin (aka k. martin) (the wire)
kode9/steve goodman  (hyperdub zine, the wire)
jeffrey pierce of gun club (slash magazine)
lydia lunch (forced exposure)
graeme revelle of spk  (re/search)
stephen morrissey (NME)

Thursday, July 27, 2017

RIP Peter Principle



Feel like I didn't even time to mourn the death of George A. Romero

Goodbye, friend.  His films will stick around though










In the Present Moment



A mix built on a sensibility of unease, with an arch based around song titles that tap into the emotional currents of the present moment
1. Chris Isaak- Unhappiness
2. Glaxo Babies- This is Your Life
3. Gnod- Breaking the Hex
4. Croatian Armor- Reality Summit
5. Nazar- Tyrrany
6. Nicolette- No Government
7. Arca- Anger
8. Thomas Brinkmann- Uselessness
9. Trans A.M.- Speechless
10. Liturgy- Mysterium
11. The Caretaker- Emptiness
12. Low- Violence
13. The Heptones- Our Day Will Come
14. Suicide- Dream Baby Dream

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Postmortum on Twin Peaks Eps1-4

This article by John Tatlock does a good job at articulating the differences in the new Twin Peaks iteration without going into spoilers. I won't go into too many details, but here are some semi-spoilerish thoughts on what exactly is happening with Twin Peaks and why this is what we are getting in 2017 (and don't expect that to change any time soon).



The first thing to note about Twin Peaks The Return is that the show is pretty tedious. It tests and plays with the limits of patience, particularly a fan's patience, waiting for the old series to emerge.  This series has zero melodrama and deep feeling, articulated with the abundant and some might say ironic use of Angelo Badalementi’s score work on the original show.  Here, in 2017, David Lynch does not do fan service. That said, hardcore fans of the show will notice the recurrence of minor details, or the completion of motions set in place during the initial run or in the film Fire Walk With Me. There are the odd cues and callbacks to things like the Arm, the blue rose, or a flickering light, but there is no legend to guide you through it.  Whereas 90s Dale Cooper served as the series guide by bringing his crew up to speed as mysterious events unfold, here there is no narrator, no guide, no clues connecting the dots, which are in complete disarray like splatter art.  At one point, Deputy Hawk appears to be going through an existential crisis about whether a seemingly trivial bit of evidence might be relevant or not.  If Twin Peaks gave birth to the postmodern show, as many said at the time, Twin peaks the return is full postmodernism, signs and signifiers completely detached from all meaning, no center in sight.




It becomes pretty clear by the time Brett Gelman and Michael Cera arrive on screen in episode 4 that Lynch is making this show in full awareness of the Adult Swim roster, much of which thrived on a surreal horror-comedy that was clearly in debt to Lynch himself. In fact, there's an acknowledgment of many items that have trickled through the TV/film matrix both over the last 25 years and prior.  It’s unclear if distracting allusions to the Addams Family and The Wild One are inserted to be canny, clever, or intentionally awkward, but they play as the latter.  Just as the tonal shift of the Twin Peaks film was announced with its opening shot of a TV screen being smashed (and then with an FBI agent making vague threats to "Deputy Cable"), the new series, available as a TV Show, streaming show, or, at a later date, as an 18 hour movie, seems to just be trapped somewhere in a virtual consciousness, figuring itself out.  One of the major plot points in episode one concerns a giant unexplained glass cage based out of TV capital NYC which has no known origin or originator- it's a literal manifestation of a mystery box, the genre Twin Peaks helped to create (though the mystery in the box was never intended to be solved- for further physical manifestations of this, see Westworld's McGuffin map).





The series takes place in a world in which language and communication have become so corrupted that the mere concept of rational thought and dialogue seems like an impossibility. The show's initial concern is returning Cooper from the Black Lodge, but something from that world seems to be infecting everything outside of it. Gone is the witty banter and maudlin lovelorn confessions of the initial series.  Instead, there are impossibly long pauses, stunted phrases, and often stupid, just plainly and hopefull-intentionally idiotic back and forths.  One can pull from this tenuous narrative gauze a potential thought project about aging. The geriatric experience is made manifest in the slow processing of language, the way characters have to repeat themselves, and the deep frustration that comes from realizing that even utilizing filters like repetition and drawn-out-speech does not clear the deep confusion of existence.   The whole thing seems like a product of dementia or senility (in fact, Cooper is probably suffering from it), a borderline sensibility that Lynch no doubt realizes will be leveled against him by his harshest critics.  Indeed, reuniting much of the old cast, many of whom were already in late adulthood when the show first aired over 25 years ago, finds a number of them missing- Miguel Ferrer, Jack Nance, Frank Silva, David Bowie, Warren Frost, Don Davis, and Catherine Coulson have all passed away in recent years.  If the initial run was about youth and the uncomfortable proximity between rebellion against adulthood and total corruption into its darker tenets (as personified in Laura Palmer, but elsewhere as well), the renewed series has thus far focused on the cold, empty, and lonely terror of old age.



Fittingly for a Lynch piece, the old cast of characters reappear but like dream caricatures of themselves. Albert doesn't talk much and yet seems crankier than usual. Andy is now almost too dumb.  Dr. Jacoby is now clearly insane, collecting and decorating golden shovels either in anticipation of digging something up or burying something deep. Lynch himself appears (in episode 4), revising his role as Gordon, to talk to a version of Cooper.  They both tell each other that's it's been great to see each other after such a long time, but it's obvious in their strained chat that neither of them is being honest. Lynch, as Gordon and - mind you- the director and author of the whole new series run- later becomes the only voice of levity when he confesses that perhaps for the first time, he has no idea what the hell is happening. Should we take this as a confession?  So much of this show reads as auto-critique, attempts to negotiate itself in the most Lynchian way, as a piece of intellectual property.  What people want, it assumes, is something old and dying, malfunctioning and regressive.  What it has to offer as an alternative, however, remains to be seen.




Saturday, May 20, 2017

Pinned Tweaks






















Thursday, May 18, 2017

R.I.P. Chris Cornell


Soundgarden, more than any other mainstream act from their time and place, were the full embodiment of the “Grunge” aesthetic.  Whereas their mainstream contemporaries veered closer to the melodic end of punk (Nirvana’s bastardizing of the Pixies/Husker Du aesthetics) or classic rock (Pearl Jam).  Much of this was due to Kim Thayil’s insane Sabbath-style riffage, mounted approximately at the apex of sludge metal, Jane’s-style hard rock with a tinge of psychedelia, and SST post-hardcore, but one can’t discredit Cornell whose soaring vocals could gravitate from low rumble demon to high squealed possession with the rapidity of a jet engine and the grace of a bird of prey.  Cornell’s voice was gravelly and lived-in, sure, but it also had the animalistic timbre of something lurking deep in those Washington evergreens.



Cornell, particularly pre-chopped with the long curly locks, was also the prime image of grunge.  He looked better when dirtied, unlike Kurt with his fluffy blonde hair, disheveled Eddie, gas-station ponytail creep Layne, or better-when-glammed-up Scott. Cornell oozed sex as if the worksmanlike personification of that patented Seattle flannel, which he never really wore.  He looked like a dark drifter.   Whereas the smug irony of Cobain and the impassioned liberalism of Vedder would become archetypes, Cornell remained a mystery. 

Soundgarden recorded for both Sub Pop and SST early in their career and they were one of the first groups to jump ship to a major label.  But while contemporaries from those scenes made this transition by broadening their sound (like Husker Du) or by competing directly against the market forces trying to lure them (like Sonic Youth), Soundgarden seemed at home in both worlds.  They put out two incredible big rock albums in Badmotofinger and Superunknown (both with unbelievably bad album art mind you) that never seemed to weather the same accusations of “sell out” that other bands at the time faced.  Maybe it was because they’d been the first to sell out, or maybe it was because those albums still hold up today even when many of their peers’ records don’t.   When you consider the glut of contemporary music from the early 90s – post-rock, jungle, IDM, rave, dreampop, house- that didn’t crossover but had a far greater impact on the current sonic landscape, it’s an even bigger feat. 

Soundgarden were massive enough to have Guns n’ Roses cover their dumbest song, but remained fairly indistinct as personalities, supporting and commenting on causes quietly or aesthetically rather than appearing on magazine covers with “Corporate Magazines Still Suck” t-shirts or scribbling “Pro-choice” on their arms during unplugged performances.  Soundgarden’s “angst”, if they had any, was less an anxiety of choice between collusion and independence than it was an anxiety over the impossibility of negotiating the two.  Indeed much of their best work (“Black Hole Sun”, “4th of July”, “Jesus Christ Pose”, “Mailman”, “Nothing to Say”,  “Blow Up the Outside World”) was emboldened by a scorched earth nihilism, far closer to metal’s Lovecraftian take on power as a quasi-mystical evil force than punk’s mindset that it was something which could be urgently seized and redistributed.   Cornell’s hopelessness is everywhere across these early records, so news of his suicide should not be such a shock, though it’s no less tragic.



In a sense, it was good timing that the band dissolved in 1996 following the release of their decent but lacking final album (until their 2012 reunion).  It’s unlikely they would have rode out OK Computer and the electronica explosion of the following year well.  Cornell was really only primed for the grunge era and that era alone.  The slip into party music- raves, ska and pop punk, boy and girl bands- must have mystified the surviving grunge stars, who didn’t feel the ground shift in any tectonic positive way.  If anything, the society that they wanted to drop out of strengthened and tightened.  It was mainstream music fans that left them behind, which seemed to only prove Cobain and his cynicism right. 


Cornell’s attempt at a compromise for compromised times, Audioslave, wound up being a total bore, a middling shadow of both Soundgarden and Rage Against the Machine, his backing band’s old act. The only time Cornell did branch out in new sonic directions he spectacularly failed, on 2008’s Timbaland-assisted Scream solo record, which received brutal jeers from critics, fans, and fellow musicians alike.  His iffy solo work followed, but largely as a retread, a tourism in past glories. The spectacular decade-long run from 1986 to 1996 though remains a pivotal time capsule showing how seamless energy could flow from a provincial urban scene into the mainstream. I bought Superunknown from a record store in Seattle in ’94 on a trip with my family when I was 12.  It was maybe the 6th or 7th CD I ever bought and it’s perhaps the only one from that time I still spin.  It doesn’t sound like now.  It still sounds like then.  But you can tell why then wanted it now.