Diario

  • Boogie Johnson- I Cannot Cry Enough Tears to Convince Myself That I'm Not Empty

    Apr 5 2008, 6:32

    Single Leaf Productions and Magicians International is proud to present the debut album from Boogie Johnson, I Cannot Cry Enough Tears To Convince Myself That I'm Not Empty. Boogie Johnson is the collaboration between experimental filmmaker and yelping mongrel Peter Barlow and the half man/half robot killing machine known as Sean Ronan. You may remember him as the sole proprietor of The Invincible Robot Brigade.

    The album consists of only one track, Empty Sessions, which is 31 minutes in length. It was created in a whirlwind dirge one night in a garage with a dizzying array of bizarre instruments, many of them children's toys. You are welcome to download it for free and perhaps, if you like it, share it with anyone you may think would appreciate it also.

    The Invincible Robot Brigade has also made a remix album, entitled The Invincible Robot Brigade Remixes Boogie Johnson. Feel free to check that out as well.

    This was made out of a love for music and came from a very pure place emotionally. I don't want to color anyone’s interpretations so I'll leave it at that. I hope you enjoy. Feel free to leave any comments or feedback.

    Download the album here.

    Download the remix album here.

    (For fans of Xiu Xiu, Neutral Milk Hotel, The Drift, Black Sheep Boy, Natural Snow Buildings, Jandek, Daniel Johnston and other pure music.)
  • The New Top 40, etc.

    Dic 21 2007, 12:58

    This is the new list of my all time faves. It is only 40 because these are the only albums I categorize as being the most important to me, or that I find really really good. Personal, subjective, not for everyone, etc. Funny to watch the evolution of tastes. My tag hey album I fucking love you was supposed to do this for me but going through it I didn't think that highly of many of them anymore, but I'll leave it to look back on later. Who knows, if you like some of my list, try the others, you might dig it.

    1.IN THE AEROPLANE OVER THE SEA- NEUTRAL MILK HOTEL
    2.MOON PIX- CAT POWER
    3.THE DRIFT- SCOTT WALKER
    4.LOVELESS- MY BLOODY VALENTINE
    5.DANCE OF THE MOON AND THE SUN- NATURAL SNOW BUILDINGS
    6.GLOW, PT.2- THE MICROPHONES
    7.READY TO DIE- THE NOTORIOUS B.I.G.
    8.MADVILLAINY- MADVILLAIN
    9.KID A- RADIOHEAD
    10.HOMOGENIC- BJORK
    11.FIRST UTTERANCE- COMUS
    12.SUNG TONGS- ANIMAL COLLECTIVE
    13.ROCK BOTTOM- ROBERT WYATT
    14.FURROWED BROW- ALEXANDER TUCKER
    15.THE INFAMOUS- MOBB DEEP
    16.SPIDERLAND- SLINT
    17.BLACK SHEEP BOY- OKKERVIL RIVER
    18.RIDIN’ DIRTY- UGK
    19.RICHARD D. JAMES ALBUM- APHEX TWIN
    20.WHITE ALBUM- THE BEATLES
    21.MUSIC HAS THE RIGHT TO CHILDREN- BOARDS OF CANADA
    22.EITHER/OR- ELLIOTT SMITH
    23.WHITE LIGHT/WHITE HEAT- THE VELVET UNDERGROUND
    24.EMPEROR TOMATO KETCHUP- STEREOLAB
    25.HERE COME THE WARM JETS- BRIAN ENO
    26.DAYDREAM NATION- SONIC YOUTH
    27.YANKEE HOTEL FOXTROT- WILCO
    28.DOOLITTLE- PIXIES
    29.DE LA SOUL IS DEAD- DE LA SOUL
    30.I CAN HEAR THE HEART BEATING AS ONE- YO LA TENGO
    31.MAGGOT BRAIN- FUNKADELIC
    32.HARMONY IN ULTRAVIOLET- TIM HECKER
    33.STARSAILOR- TIM BUCKLEY
    34.PINK MOON- NICK DRAKE
    35.ENDTRODUCING…- DJ SHADOW
    36.HIGHWAY 61 REVISITED- BOB DYLAN
    37.MELLOW OUT- MAINLINER
    38.TURN ON THE BRIGHT LIGHTS- INTERPOL
    39.N’ECOUTEZ PAS- FLY PAN AM
    40.LIQUID SWORDS- GZA/GENIUS

    SLOPPY TAG-O-RAMA!
    Neutral Milk HotelCat PowerScott WalkerMy Bloody ValentineNatural Snow BuildingsThe MicrophonesNotorious BIGMadvillainRadioheadBjorkComusAnimal CollectiveRobery WyattAlexander TuckerMobb DeepSlintOkkervil RiverUGKAphex TwinThe BeatlesBoards of CanadaElliott SmithThe Velvet UndergroundStereolabBrian EnoSonic YouthWilcoThe PixiesDe La SoulYo La TengoFunkadelicTim HeckerTim BuckleyNick DrakeDJ ShadowBob DylanMainlinerInterpolFly Pan AmGZA/Genius

    SO NOW THEN...

    These are artists I value highly, but for some reason just can't find one album that represents them to me or that I feel is clearly the best:

    Nauseous White- This is the music of my good friend Sam. I love most of his stuff but a lot of his back catalog isn't whole albums, just lots of songs collected into periods, so I can't say I like any album the best since they don't really exist. I do consider a good chunk of his output to be on my top tier of favorites, though.

    Xiu Xiu- I go back and forth. Fabulous Muscles has too many weak tracks. Knife Play dulls down in the middle. A Promise is too scattershot. Some isn't too memorable, sometimes individual tracks make albums. I don't think they've released their defining statement yet, which is exciting.

    David Bowie- I just haven't given his vast discography the time it deserves.

    Jay-Z- I love him, but he just can't make a cohesive album for his life.

    Fiery Furnaces- I'm still getting into the groove with their sound and Bitter Tea seems to be winning, but who knows. Even EP is in the running.

    ALSO...

    These are the bands and artists I know I'm going to wind up binging on but haven't yet, so suggest where to start and travel to if you dig 'em.

    Daniel Johnston
    Nick Cave
    Jandek
    Neu!
    Swans
    Ilyas Ahmed
    Boris
  • Life Affirming Connections Via Live Music

    Dic 14 2007, 11:20

    I’ve been going to quite a few shows lately, which has been not only a good time but has also shaped my view of musicians and, I guess, music as a whole. It’s kind of a cumulative thing, but it mainly had to do with my meeting Phil Elverum. I guess I’ll just briefly break down the shows and its highlights for me.


    Mount Eerie Live

    I saw Mount Eerie, basically the new moniker of The Microphones, twice in one day. The first time was at a very small record shop. We walked in (my friends and I) and began to browse the store waiting for Mount Eerie to show up. There was a guy stringing his guitar sitting on the ground in the corner of the store that I didn’t really pay much attention to until he started to play and I realized he was Mr. Microphone himself, the wonderful Phil Elverum. He only played a few tracks, but it was a beautifully intimate set. Phil had a really quietly funny sense of humor. The show was more of an ad to come see him play at the Contemporary Art Institute of Detroit (CAID), which was the real show of the day. He said he had merch outside if we wanted anything, so we walked out back looking around for him, and then realized he walked right by us and opened up the trunk of his car. He threw his clothes around and pulled out a few cases of CD’s and stuff and just sat cross legged on the back of his car. He had literally zero ego and was so approachable that it was almost offsetting. I bought the Mount Eerie album under The Microphones name, which I got seriously into for a few weeks after the show, and shook his hand and told him that I appreciated his music. I think autographs and pictures are kind of weird and superficial, so it was nice to just shake his hand and disappear.

    But then we went to the CAID show later that night and we were the first ones there. There were only a few people working and Phil and the girl he was touring with, whose band is named Privacy, just hanging out. Presented with the opportunity to make small talk with Phil, I tried to, but it seemed even more awkward and forced, so I eventually just stopped trying, as did all of my friends. The Privacy girl was insanely nervous just standing around, let alone playing, so I never really tried to approach her.

    This particular show was badass on several levels, most not having do with Mount Eerie, actually. There were five bands playing that night, all pretty good. The first guy did drone/noise stuff that seemed pretty simple but nonetheless good while film loops played. The second band included one of the coolest guys I’ve ever met who worked at one of the local bookstores where I live but quit and we’d since lost touch, until I found him playing at this show. Then a band named Frontier Ruckus played, who were good but seemed a little forced. Then Privacy played, who was so unbelievably quiet that the people talking in the next room became an issue.

    Now you have to understand that in between all of these bands there was down time where we’d walk around, look at art on the walls, meander, etc. All the while Phil bounces around, gets his ipod, has more awkward conversations with random people, and is totally unassuming in the corner at his little merch table. It was the surreal understanding that not only was Phil Elverum in the same room as you, but that no one seemed to care, and he was quietly sitting in a corner, totally approachable. I’d never put artists on pedestals, I just greatly admire them, and I love Phil’s music and respect him, so it was just a very strange feeling. He even seemed a little goofy, darting around through the audience with his bouncy steps and funny hat.

    The other amazing impact the show had on me was that there was a real concrete audience for this type of art. Living in such a culturally vacant city you forget that there are other people, quite a few other people, who enjoy this type of art just as much as you do. It was a really inspiring, accepting crowd that was there that made you feel good to be an artist. And my beard never felt more at home. I just wish everyone didn’t smoke.

    When Phil finally played he was great except for the fact that a few annoying girls kind of killed the once in a lifetime totally intimate set vibe that was going on for a few songs. Phil played some of his experimental films as he played, which were quite good. They were all static shots of simple things, like grass blowing, a sunset, a leaf, and one of an industrial site, but they were all excellently composed and many were quite moving.

    So it was a really cool and semi surreal night. I spotted a guy that was at the show when I saw Southland Tales in theatres, and then saw him again when I went to see Darjeeling, and mentioned it and it turns out he helped set the show up. Really cool guy. I’m going to try to have some of my films shown at the CAID, since that’s the idea behind its creation, of spreading local artists work. That would be awesome.


    Prefuse 73 Live

    I then saw Prefuse 73 when he came to the Magic Stick. I’ve never been that into his music when I listened to it, I kind of bobbed along but it never stuck. There was something in those recordings, though, that I could just sense that they would be great live. Like, fucking, really really good live. So I had to go to this show. I went with my really super cool friend Dianna, and we wound up running into one of the people I went to the Mount Eerie show with and another one of my friends, which was also cool.

    There were two opening bands, who were both really good. While the second band played Guillermo danced right next to me in the crowd with the first band. I didn’t even know it was him until my friend pointed him out. This just keeps happening to me.

    The first one, I believe named Blank Blue, were a three piece. It was very basic construction, but the music sounded strangely dense and otherworldly. The singer had a very delicate, ethereal voice, and the drumming was verging on slight psychedelia.

    Two singers, one of which is married to Guillermo Scott Herron, Mr. Prefuse himself, and the other of whom is the sister of the wife fronted the second band, School of the Seven Bells. They were really good freak folkish type stuff, lots of energy.

    The true coup of the night was Prefuse, though. As good as the other two were, they were mere precursors. His set was one continuous song. I can’t recall the music ever really stopping. It was one big blend of his music, which I don’t know that well, but that didn’t matter at all. It was instrumental, so there were no interpretations or messages or insights to be had, just great grooves and thumping beats to dance along to. And dance I did, front row using the stage as a coat rack for my hoodie. It was the kind of experience that makes you feel as if all things are connected, and there is a single pulse running through humanity that we all primitively respond to regardless of age, sex, or race. It really made me feel that as long as humanity survives so will music, as it is a very basic understanding we have with each other and with nature, in a way, since all instruments are made of various elements stemming from the earth that we manipulate to connect with each other. It was a really beautiful experience.


    The Fiery Furnaces Live

    So that takes us up to speed. I just saw The Fiery Furnaces tonight. It wasn’t as magical as the other two, but it was still really cool. I’d always liked the Furnaces, but never felt that I truly got their spastic, almost schizophrenic style of music. I connected with it, it just didn’t seem like I did as much as I thought I should.

    There was one opening band, MGMT, who fuckin’ blew. I left the audience around the stage to go sit down. They were like shitty prissy electro pop type stuff with really bad lyrics and whiny totally innocuous band members. They were just really not good the more I think about it.

    But then the Furnaces took the stage. The lead singer was really very pretty in a fascinating sort of way. I really like her vocal delivery. She’s one of two primary band members, along with her brother, who seemed really cool. When the music would really get kicking and go into an instrumental segment she would duck down so that you couldn’t see her, which was kind of cool, almost a way of diverting the attention to the other band members in a respectful way. They played the two songs I wished they would, Navy Nurse and Benton Harbor Blues. I still don’t think I’m there with them, but I feel like seeing them live added another dimension of understanding to where they’re coming from. What’s funny is that the three friends I went with didn’t dig it nearly as much as me, but all three thought MGMT was okay.

    So yeah, those are my shows of late and how they’ve affected me.

    Also: Schwump is working on my new film project. Yes, that Schwump. Awwww, yeah.
  • The Notorious B.I.G.- Ready to Die

    Nov 18 2007, 6:29

    Notorious B.I.G.- Ready to Die


    Ready to Die is one of hip-hops masterworks that also happens to be its artists debut album. It is in company with Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), Illmatic, and Reasonable Doubt. Its creator, The Notorious B.I.G., had to be literally dragged away from the drug-dealing scene to work on it. Although it rings of hyperbole on occasion, it is mainly autobiographical and firmly rooted in the gritty realities of urban poverty. The album takes a certain headspace—the up and coming hustler trying to transcend the ghetto— and crystallizes it into 17 emotionally raw and lyrically superb tracks.

    The album follows the loose conceptual form of Biggie’s birth, then his life in crime, his ensuing depression and nihilism, and his eventual suicide. It is no coincidence that his second album, released after his murder no less, was titled Life After Death. Tracks range from the desperate and deranged Gimme the Loot to the lavish party anthem Big Poppa all the way to the positive, life-is-so-good jam Juicy.

    The music is simple, more providing a rough canvas for Biggie to verbally paint upon than anything else. Sometimes the choruses are just a line or two repeated several times. All of the emphasis is placed on the actual rapping. There are intricate tales of conspiracy and collusion, romantic exploits, and of course of life on the streets. It’s nothing extraordinarily intellectually stimulating, but it is engrossing and entertaining to follow Biggie’s wordplay and verbal stylistic fireworks. It is also worth noting that the few guest appearances don’t detract from the album, they rise to the occasion and add diversity. The beats are generally culled from old funk songs, but many tracks employ upwards of five different samples. You know a record is classic when it samples itself.

    Biggie is the one rapper where the persona he inhabits and his true self are often entwined and more often than not are one and the same. He revels in smoking, drinking, and fucking. He especially enjoys fucking, devoting numerous verses, even entire songs and interludes to it. And not in nice innuendos and sly winks to the audience. Biggie will, “Hit you with the dick, make your kidneys shift.”

    For all of the misogyny and anger, there are true emotions packed into this album. Me & My Bitch chronicles a relationship borne of survival and kinship. Quite profound when compared to usual superficial lust epics that are pandered to women. Suicidal Thoughts is a fitting end to the madness and rampant violence that is threaded throughout the album. When the pressures of everyday life: the paranoia, the hopelessness, and the inexhaustible quest for the necessities of living begin to outweigh the positives, what few there are, many gladly embrace the darkness of the unknown. It’s sad that this is where Christopher Wallace and The Notorious B.I.G. differ. Just as he was gaining recognition and influence his life was taken from him. Hip-hop sorely feels this loss.

    Don’t get me wrong, Ready to Die isn’t perfect. Some of the tracks aren’t at the same caliber, some of the interludes get annoying, and the thematic content is fairly limited. Biggie wrote about what he knew, and he wrote about it with passion, wit, humor, and insight that still rings true. For this you should give it a listen.
  • In Rainbows: First Impressions

    Ott 10 2007, 20:09


    Radiohead- In Rainbows

    The amount of anticipation I’d managed to drum up in the span of the mere 10 days from the day it was announced Radiohead would be releasing a new album borders on psychotic. And all of it has not only been fulfilled but exceeded. I just finished listening to the album for the second time in a row since I got it and am starting on the third. I’m not alone in my fanaticism: no less than 10 of my neighbors were listening to Radiohead when I stopped to look at my dashboard.

    I wanted to gather my close friends and listen to it for the first time with all of them, all of which are huge fans also. You know, as a type of communal experience. I’m glad that didn’t happen simply for the fact that this album feels like an individual experience. There are moments of such intense beauty that I was brought to the verge of tears. I mean, All I Need. Jesus Christ.

    My friend described it as being more chilled out for the most part. Maybe that expectation made it that much more exciting and toe tapping. But a strange thing happened the first time I put it on. I completely froze as if I was in a coma with the only exception being my wildly bobbing head. My left hand was glued inside my pocket, my right on the mouse, and my legs entwined together up on the couch next to my computer. My eyes were sealed so tight that it was difficult to open them to look at the title of whatever track was playing.

    The album doesn’t feel like it has any type of conceptual base, other than simply being a Radiohead album, which implies everything and nothing. Whereas OK Computer and Kid A felt like sweeping epics that lead you along a type of narrative, In Rainbows just feels more like a bunch of really well crafted, meticulously toiled over good songs. And there’s nothing wrong with that, it’s just fascinating from a chronological point of view. Maybe I still associate the band with material too far in their past to have any real coherence. Hail to the Thief was pretty much just good songs, and many consider Amnesiac to just be a really good collection of b-sides.

    I like all of Radiohead’s albums except for Pablo Honey, but I’ve never really given it a fair chance, and don’t know if I ever will because, well, why would you when you could be listening to OK Computer or Kid A?

    I’m going to have to spend more time with it, and see if it holds up over time as well as their other stuff. But in the wake of the terrible new releases (in my opinion) from Bjork and Liars, two of my other all time faves, I’m just fuckin’ pumped that I liked this so much straight away.

    What are your thoughts/feelings about it?
  • Madvillain- Madvillainy

    Set 13 2007, 2:03

    Madvillain- Madvillainy



    Madvillainy is a beast of an album. It is one of the most cohesive and consistently engrossing hip hop releases I’ve heard. For those who aren’t already in the know, it’s the brainchild of the emcee MF DOOM and producer Madlib. These two forces combined to create, what is in my opinion, a rap album that stands on the highest of hip hop tiers only in the company of a small collection of other releases: among them, De La Soul Is Dead, Ready to Die, and Liquid Swords.

    It has the sense of being not an album, but an experience, which is so important to define the difference between a great album and a masterpiece. It begins with the atypically interesting (and somewhat humorous) obscure samples that occupy so many of Doom’s other releases, of which there are many.

    Daniel Dumile is most recognized today as MF Doom, but he began as Zev Love X in the group KMD. He has gone on to record under King Geedorah, a Godzilla monster, Viktor Vaughn, named after a Fantastic Four villain, and releases his instrumental work, the Special Herbs series, under Metal Fingers. Each alias has a distinct style and feel, all of which are employed on Madvillainy, and to great effect. Madlib also appears in his rapping incarnation, Quasimoto. Apparently his natural voice is very deep, prompting his friends to call him Barry White. To remedy this he altered the pitch of his voice to create the distinctive tone of Quas.

    The album is already firing on all cylinders by the time it stops in the fourth track to introduce itself. The songs are all relatively short, especially for modern rap which tends to take the, “Just throw it all in!” approach. These songs are refined to their essence and many tracks make many complex shifts becoming different songs altogether within the small amount of time they play. I don’t think there’s a single chorus to be found. It delivers the goods and moves on.

    Many a good rap album is only just that because superfluous skits and inane banter bog it down. While there are the seeds of skits they are only used as transition and add to the experience. There are also three outright instrumentals, all of which are superb.

    The other thing that makes lots of hip hop blend together for me is content. How many songs, even entire albums, have you heard devoted to getting high and macking on women? Too many to count. There is one song devoted to weed, but that’s it, and it’s fun. There is no rampant misogyny on this album. Doom even stops himself from using the word bitches at one point. His references range from Freud to Ishmael to what appears to be Alfred Jarry’s pioneering surrealist play Ubu Roi. He employs many complex rhythms and does some serious vowel rhyming in the midst of even his simplest verses. He also seems to be able to rap at pretty much every speed, which is something you don’t see that often. Many emcees find a niche and hold onto it for dear life. Gang Starr, anyone?

    The track Fancy Clown, which has one of the coolest beats on the whole album, sets off a four song chain of ridiculous goodness, leading into the intriguing Eye (feat. Stacy Epps) and the instrumental Supervillain Theme, which inspired me to create the tag just for that song and Walk on By by Isaac Hayes, and it all culminates in All Caps. Really though, there are so many stand out tracks that just letting it play all the way through is extremely fulfilling and rewarding.

    I don’t have extreme insight into it, it’s just damn good, and I can’t stress that fact enough. If anything, maybe this journal will get a person or two to check it out, which is worth it. It didn’t click for me straight away, so give it time and let it reveal itself to you upon further listening if you’ve dismissed it as just okay in the past.

    This album didn’t make me believe in hip hop as an art form, I already did, it simply is the best example I can think of.
  • R. Kelly- Trapped in the Closet

    Ago 13 2007, 5:15

    R. Kelly- Trapped In The Closet



    Trapped in the Closet is an epic of our time. It exposes the layers of deceit and treachery that lie engrained within our culture. It looks squarely into the face of many cosmic predicaments including the search for true love, and more importantly trying to attain it, indeed if that is at all possible, and lays bare the paradox of individual versus collective morality.

    It is also a deeply personal odyssey of the subconscious of one artist in that R. Kelly not only attempts to entertain, amuse, and challenge us using standard forms as varied as hip hop, opera, melodrama, and the serials of old: he is also exposing the inner workings of his own psyche and the collective modern unconscious in what he chooses as his symbols, plots, and overall characters. Mr. Kelly is telling as much about ourselves as he is just plainly illustrating his own yearnings and delights.

    To begin with, we have a man named Sylvester, R. Kelly’s middle name, who is caught in the aftermath of a one-night stand. It is interesting to note that Kelly voices every single character, many times rationalizing and arguing with himself. A video has been made for every one of the 12 current chapters with actors portraying each different character. It is a vastly different experience to listen to the claustrophobic, almost narcissistic audio version as opposed to the plain looking, more openly comedic videos.

    It is interesting to note that the music is exactly the same from one chapter to the next. The same quiet beginnings inevitably rising to crashing crescendos to end in, what is sometimes, not even that grabbing of cliffhangers. Each chapter is essentially a repeat of the last in structure, which is clearly a comment on the nature of existence. We are perpetually trapped in a vicious cycle of life. No matter how hard we try we will continually be pitted against greater and more confusing obstacles. Yes, there is room for love, hate, betrayal, gun play, and all the other marvels of the modern age, but what we are experiencing is, as Hitchcock put it, “Life will all the dull parts cut out.”

    In Trapped in the Closet, everyone is privately guilty of something, but it is Sylvester’s one-night stand that sets off a chain of reactions resulting in an orgiastic explosion of confessionals and violence. The whole series is also an exploration of modern masculinity and how it is both a catalyst and hindrance to individuals and society. Pulling out a berretta, on one hand, certainly gets people talking, and on the other heightens situations to unnecessary levels of hardship.

    Just like how Kafka tells us that no one is innocent in modern times, Kelly exposes the conspiracies and traps that lie dormant within our everyday lives. Each character is harboring a secret, is cheating on their lover, has been for years. They are able to survive and live with these deceptions. The charade becomes the new reality, the truth like a dream. And when the truth is revealed it quickly becomes apparent that the people they are closest to are concealing things of the same magnitude, if not greater.

    The morality involved in keeping up these facades are labyrinthine and complex beyond comprehension. It is once these things are revealed that the collective morality truly kicks in and they feel shame, horror, and delusion. There is no turning back because then you must truly face the fact that you have been hiding a stripper midget in your cabinet from your husband whilst baking him a pie that you are no doubt allergic to.

    This is the world of Trapped in the Closet. We will surely learn more from it as time passes and more scholars approach this daunting work. There will be much more to analyze when chapters 13 through 22 will be released on the 21st of this month.
  • Neutral Milk Hotel- In the Aeroplane Over the Sea

    Ago 3 2007, 21:33

    Neutral Milk Hotel- In the Aeroplane Over the Sea



    In the Aeroplane Over the Sea is a one of a kind. It draws polar opposite reactions from both well rounded music buffs and the average listener. It is the one album in my short history of appreciation of music that has most shaped my views regarding music as a transformative force in the lives of its listeners.

    When I first heard the album I didn't quite know what to make of it. I downloaded each individual track from limewire back before I had better connections (I've since bought the physical album, one of the few instances I have felt that I owed the musician the purchase), and in doing so wound up with an album full of terrible pauses. I was even missing the untitled instrumental. It was quite a shock to hear it the whole way through, fluid and untitled intact, to say the least.

    I really started to get into it when I became disillusioned with music as a whole. I would go through my already mammoth amount of media only to find that, well, just none of it sounded good anymore. It didn't move me, challenge me, or make me think about the world I was living in. Seemingly by a godsend it was right in the midst of this crisis that I picked up Aeroplane again. The voice, the horns, the lyrics, everything. It all worked to from a perfect crystallized coherent whole. I found it so moving that it reaffirmed my faith in music, which in turn reaffirmed my faith in beauty, which in turn reaffirmed my faith in life.

    Grandiose, no? Yes. But this album did it. And it still does. This album is the next logical progression of folk, it is psychedelic without being drenched in substances and it is surrealism at its best without even meaning to be. The lyrics, which surely mean a lot to their writer, Jeff Mangum, are often skewed, abstract, and grotesque, but always poetic.

    The voice of Jeff seems to be the initial put off for most who aren't primarily drawn to the music. It is only later that you realize that without that voice, the passion, that drive that pushes him to sing this way, the album would just not be nearly as good. I gave this album to my uncle, a musician whose taste I respect, and when I asked him what he thought all he replied was, "Man, he really goes for it." And that's about right. Jeff has conviction in this music. He never expected it to become what it has. It is such pure expression that people respond to it, and its reputation continues to grow mainly by impassioned word of mouth. I made a point of burning and distributing copies of this to pretty much all of my friends, and even to some random people.

    This album became the anthem of the darkroom at Stevenson high school for an entire semester, played and sung along to, word for word, by four people daily. It was exhilarating and a needed release in the school day to be able to go to class and have Jeff play for us under those red lights. Playing Untitled as loud as we could, turning off even those red lights, and dancing with abandon will always be some of my fondest memories. As will coming home and singing so loud you can't speak after the album is finished and dancing so much you shake the house and sweat and spit on yourself writhing in violent ecstasy along to this otherworldly music. You don't even feel embarrassed, you feel liberated, alive, like you need an outlet to share the beauty of the world with when it's over. So you play it again.

    That's the kind of impact it's had on me. It has permeated the deepest recesses of my psyche and planted its flag. It shall stay lodged until I can hear no more. And when I am 90 and deaf I will play it and put my ear to the speaker to feel its vibrations.
  • Don't worry little album. I want to love you, I just can't.

    Lug 21 2007, 8:38

    Boredoms- Super Ae

    Everything I read about this is always the most exalted praise. Life affirming, beautiful, primal, tribal. Yeah, but, well, just don't see it. I shake my booty a little, and then forget about it. This seems like it should be one of my favorite albums.

    Limp Bizkit- Results May Vary

    Just kidding!

    Tony Conrad- Joan Of Arc
    Steve Reich- Music for 18 Musicians
    Terry Riley- A Rainbow in Curved Air

    Okay, these three kind of go together for the experimental minimalist classics that I just can't dig. I love ambient, Brian Eno is my man. Aphex Twin has some great ambient. I love Boards of Canada. I'm thinking, or at least I'm hoping, that these will connect someday. Music for 18 Musicians especially seems like it should be one of my favorite albums since I love Different Trains so much.

    Set Fire to Flames- Telegraphs in Negative/Mouths Trapped in Static

    Just seemed really uninteresting. Probably didn't give it a close enough listen, but it was hard to because so little was happening. That leads me to the one I'm gonna get the most shit for...

    Everything by Godspeed! You Black Emperor

    They should be my favorite band. They are epic, profound, and influence almost everyone I listen to. But I just can't get into 'em. I have all of their albums, and I think I've heard all of 'em, but it just hasn't clicked. A Silver Mt. Zion clicked almost immediately, so I don't know. Recommend which album to go back to, somebody.

    Practically everything by Anthony Braxton, but mainly just 3 Compositions of New Jazz and Eric Dolphy's Out to Lunch.

    Everything by Jandek

    I try and I try. Album after album. Still not clicking. Someone, recommend his best. I know it's there, buried under mountains of his other work.

    Come to think of it, I've never really clicked with any Frank Zappa album, either. I have many, and kind of enjoy them when they're on, but it feels like I should love a few of his albums, if not just one, with all of my heart.

    Bjork- Volta

    This should be my favorite album of the year. I worship Bjork. I love almost everything she's done. Homogenic makes me swoon. But listening to Volta pained me. It actually hurt.


    None of this has been very descriptive. But I spoke my peace. If anyone wants to point me in a direction of reevaluation concerning any artist/album feel free to do so. As the title of this journal reads, I want to love them. I just can't.


    On a completely unrelated note, everyone should be listening to Gravediggaz. I love them.
  • Yo La Tengo Live Review!!!

    Lug 8 2007, 7:47

    I just saw Yo La Tengo live in Detroit at City Fest a few hours ago and it was fucking amazing.

    I'm going to start this review by admitting that I don't know much of their material that well. I love I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One, it's one of my favorite albums. The whole thing has this washed out, dreamy feel to it that I love.

    So they come out (no opening band) and just jump into it, and do a few songs off of Heart Beating, but every song develops its own groove and totally works. This band has been around 20+ years and runs the gamut of styles, from straight up noise to lovely little pop ditties, so for them to have a set that blends so well and has a consistent amount of emotional impact is pretty astonishing.

    My friends and I were front row, hanging onto the barrier. They closed out the first section with what was apparently The Story Of Yo La Tango which was fucking epic as all hell and blew everyone there away. The lead singer set up his own loop and continued to build on it while everything rose to high tension with drums and bass rising and rising until the lead just wails on his guitar and starts waving the fucker around and flinging it at the amps creating all sorts of beautiful feedback. It reminded me of the primal force of Sister Ray, how the track just seems to feed on itself only to grow larger and more intense.

    That monstrosity ended and then they came back for the encore and played a cover, one more song, and then I yelled out 'Center of Gravity' and the lead said to the drummer, "Did you hear that?" and she kind of smiled and you could tell the band was deliberating if they should play it or not. They started playing it and you could tell that that song really meant something to the band because they all looked really happy to be playing it and the drummer even chuckled to herself at one point. They did a beautiful rendition of it and left, leaving me without words.

    You see, Center of Gravity has always held a special place in my heart because when I first started getting into Tengo my friend Alex had said that you couldn't be upset while listening to that song, it was just that good, and I'd always thought that that notion was really romantic and nice, that music could have such a positive effect on people that it would be a physical impposibility to be sad while it was playing.

    And they played it, the last song of the night. Perfect.

    The other great thing about it was the band themselves. I mean, this was a free show we went to. They just seemed like great people. Someone would yell out a request and he'd sarcastically respond, "Thanks for the suggestion!" and in between songs he'd say things like, "So, how about that local sports team!"

    When they walked onstage I heard my friend say, "Wow, what an ugly band." but I disagree. They don't fit standard ideals of attractiveness, but that's all crap, anyways. They're a band that is strictly about their craft, there is no image bullshit with them. They're just three people who love making music, and amen to that.