Friday, June 29, 2007


Tuesday night found me at Skylab, digging the way-out shit and chugging PBR tallboys. A surprisingly edifying combination. Witness to: a dude named Jalso, who ran his saxophone through multiple pedals to not unpleasing effect. Also fellow noise-mongers/droners Twink Bully, who I frankly don't remember a whole lot of, except for the Kenneth Anger film that accompanied the set. And my roommate Ryan Jewell, who I mostly missed due to getting locked out of the building post-cigarette and despite frantic calls to those inside to let me back in (although the 5 minutes of Ryan I did catch was more inspiring than an hour of most other bands ... if you're not familiar, Ryan uses drums, bike tires, vibrators, and everything else in his reach to vibrate/pound/hum you into a state of enlightened bliss. Really.) "Headlining," if you will, was Brooklyn trio La Otracina, who ride the psych-prog wave currently cresting at Holy Mountain, among other places. They brought the heavy, they brought the tribal, they brought the blissed-out jam ... I was into it, due no doubt in large part to the PBR pounders. Everyone else I quizzed on their impressions of the set seemed nonplussed, even though I heard elements of stuff most everyone seems to dig on these days: modern Japanese psych (Ghost, Acid Mothers Temple), old-school krauty stuff (Neu!, Can, blahblahblah), classic prog, etc. Yeah, they're "musicians," (I mean, they had some fucking mean-ass chops), yeah, they jammed, no, it wasn't very concise ... but I dunno, they took me with 'em. Check 'em out for yourself: Your thoughts?

Last night at Little Brother's Thomas Jefferson Slave Apartments offered transcendence of a different sort. I guess. Transcendence is transcendence after all, that's why it, you know, "transcends" things. Some thoughts:
  • Looking around the crowd, I remarked to Dave Artgay that this was one ugly fuckin' crowd. Us included. Good lord, what a bunch of broke-ass, drowned-rat-lookin' motherfuckers.
  • Bob Petric: one of the great unheralded guitarists of our time. Apparently one of the biggest assholes too. Can you have one without the other? Anyone who can wrest that kind of strangled beauty from his guitar has amassed some kind of rock and roll karma, however. All is forgiven Bob.
  • Ron House: lettin' it all hang out, mantitties and all. The most graceless and freakish of frontmen. He's delved deep into the bottle to come back up with the most retarded of profundities, and he generously continues to share his hard-won, and -drunk, wisdom with us. I for one am grateful.
  • Songs played: "My Mysterious Death (Turn It Up)," "Rump Government," "Bottle Island," "Quarrel With the World, something else I can't remember, and "Cheater's Heaven," of course.

I paid 5 bucks to get in, so that's less than a dollar a song. A bargain for that kind sweaty, boozy redemption. Leaving, I felt both much dirtier and much cleaner than I had upon arrival.

Monday, June 25, 2007

I saw approximately 2,000 bands this weekend!

Many of which I am trying to forget. I am tired--deeply, deeply tired, at the cellular level. And deef. Here is a small sampling of what put me in this dreadful state:

Mike Rep & the Quotas (Comfest, Sat. 6/23): Despite Rep's "legend" status among those who care about such things (and I am one), I never got into these guys. But Saturday the majesty of Johnny Furnace's echo-drenched guitar solos hit me full force. Eerily reminiscent of Grateful Dead-style noodling. I was at Comfest and that might have had something to do with its appeal. I will have to check them out again to make sure it wasn't just all the tie-dye seeping into my brain.

Unholy Two (Bourbon St., Sat. 6/23): Saw them at the post-CDR-BQ show last summer and then studiously avoided them after that. Now, whaddaya know: with Bo and Adam of Necropolis lending a hand to the proceedings the Two now produce mechanistic skullfuckery that is quite nearly danceable (I did, as a matter of fact). Bo laid into his pots and pans (I think there were some real drums, too) like an autistic kid who's been fed a buncha shots and set loose onstage, Lutzko's guitar was as blown-out as [insert gay/anus/Pride Weekend joke here], the whole mess floated in a fluffy cloud of Adam's corrosive feedback, which he sculpted with a massive bank of pedals (I usually don't enjoy watching people twiddle knobs but he made it worth my while [lots of thrashing/writhing], thanks Adam). Pussy Galore with less "fuck you" and more "JUST FUCK IT." Lutzko also wore the most ball-crushingly tight pants I've seen yet on a man. Mad props dude.

Jerusalem and the Starbaskets (Bourbon St., Sat. 6/23): Sorry, I tried to like these guys but I just couldn't. I was bored. I will admit I was nearly too drunk to stand by the time they played so that probably didn't help. Just a drummer, a dude with a guitar, and some naive, starry-eyed hippy-folk. Recalls the Velvet Underground in Mo Tucker-on-vox mode at some times and the Go-Betweens at others (and why do bands like this get the "psychedelic" tag all the time these days? I hear not one iota of "psych" in this stuff). Not BAD exactly, I just couldn't pay attention to it. I like some of the songs on Myspace better now so it might just be one of those things where it doesn't translate to a live setting very well. Or I could just be a drunk asshole with no attention span.

Gut Reactions (Carabar, Sun. 6/24): I'd be lying if I said that I haven't seen caveman garage-rock done better than these guys are doing it. But of course the whole thing about caveman garage-rock is that you're not SUPPOSED to be trying to do it better than the next guy. Gut Reactions are not possessed of any sense of melody, dynamics, or polished presentation that can't be found on any given Teenage Shutdown comp, but they: 1) looked like they were having a supergood time, 2) wore sunglasses onstage, 3) have a lead singer that did such a good impression of a retarded kid I was afraid he was going to poop his pants onstage, and 4) appeared to be the biggest nerds ever. I am a nerd, too, so I have a fine-tuned appreciation of nerddom. Anytime I get to see a band look this unselfconscious while playing I feel grateful. I think I might be a fan.

Friday, June 22, 2007


... to whatever fucking sucky band at Carabar last night that was so bad we had to leave before seeing Greg Ashley from Gris Gris. I went and listened to some of Ashley's stuff on Myspace today and it was quite good (weird slow drugginess ... some organ-laden '50s rock balladry ... some other stuff in there too) and now I would have like to have checked it out live and I COULD HAVE had it not been for this bunch of total vaginas lisping out some watered-down Eliot Smith/Iron & Wine excrement for what seemed like hours. I'm not sure that I have the right dudes but it MIGHT have been this band called Romantica from Minneapolis, if the show listing for last night in the Other Paper is correct. If so, they apparently are very excited about having come in second place in the International Songwriting Competition (the what?) in the Americana (!) category and love, love, love Jeff Buckley and the Wallflowers. Too much funny stuff there to even begin.

I guess I could blame myself for being lame and going home to eat pizza but I'd rather blame these dumbfucks, as they deserve it.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Whoa ...

... way to bring the vitriol, Dave! Wait ... are you talking to me??? Cuz I personally need EVERY PRECIOUS FUCKING WORD in the posts below to communicate how I feel about albums/bands people have long since formed their own opinions of. But I agree, for all you other bloggers out there, keep it short and sweet, OK?

In other news ... I am SUPEREXCITED because I have finally found the soundtrack to my nervous breakdown! It hasn't happened yet, but when I move to an abandoned house in rural Ohio and hole up with a bottle of whiskey and a shotgun, I know exactly what will be playing in the background: Neil Young's After the Gold Rush. Perfect! I can tell I'm well on the way to said breakdown because I am completely and totally obsessed with this album at the moment. It's pretty much all I've been listening to. Supposedly it is loosely based on a screenplay for a movie of the same name, written by Dean Stockwell (Al from Quantum Leap!). Well, actually, that piece of trivia really has no bearing on the experience of the album itself. Repeated listenings do reveal a loose theme of some kind (although that could just be the breakdown kicking in)--you know, loss blah blah leaving blah blah the end of modern civilization blah blah ... something like that. In any case, the title track is the most moving song about alien abduction featuring a french horn solo you'll ever hear, "Don't Let it Bring You Down" is much better without the visual accompaniment of Kevin Spacey trying to seduce a hot teen (if you remember its inclusion via Annie Lennox's cover on the American Beauty soundtrack), and "Tell Me Why" is totally about YOU, my rapidly-aging rock n roll friend: "Tell me why ... is it hard to make arrangements with yourself/When you're old enough to repay/but young enough to sell?"

Gotta go, the bottle's callin' ...

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

25 cats named sam and one blue pussy

I really hate people who write music reviews that are too long. If you write say more than 100 words about one band or record than you're a self-indulgent, excessive doucebag who's opinion can't be trusted. I mean, if you want to say something, say it. Spit it out already. A review doesn't need some long winded expression with a host full of contrived analogies and metaphors to get the message across. "Wow, I really love the fuzzed-out, cathartic sound of Davey Demon's guitar playing, he's really one of the most esoteric musicians out there." Being skilled in rhetoric doesn't mean putting me to sleep, asshole. Let's face it, if you really knew something about music then you probably wouldn't be writing about it anyway. There are two types of people in this world, those who like music and those who hate it. If you're a critic or play in a band then you have a passionate distaste for music. If you listen to it soley for the pleasure of it and bypass all of the other pointless delusional crap, than I think you actually might be a fan! Let's hear it for the talentless, tuneless fools who don't care whether they get to make clowns of themselves in front of some vapid audience in a damp, divey bar. I think one day I will dump all of my guitars and musical equipment into a river and watch it all sail away until somebody comes by and asks, "what'd you do that for?" I'd tell them, "maybe if you stopped reading the want ads so much, you'd understand." Then I'd go home and put on some Ricky Nelson, but I haven't decided for sure on that one yet.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

In praise of the local, pt. 2

"People let me tell you
about these kinda blues
All your friends have left
and you've got no one left to lose."
--Cheater Slicks, "Train of Dreams"

Let me come clean: I used to HATE the Cheater Slicks. In fact I hated them right up until about a month or so ago. It's the weirdest thing and I wish I could figure out what in my psychological makeup changed to make me go from borderline contempt for them to complete enchantment, and with such rapidity. It's possible that it has something to do with an increased alcohol intake, but of course that can lead to the enjoyment of any number of bands. Most of which I do not. Something just has to kind of click in your head with these guys, as my friend Kevin said the other day. It's like that with a lot of music but learning to like the Cheater Slicks is REALLY going down a certain rabbit hole, the very entrance to which you can't even see unless you're ready to take the plunge.

"Mother holds me in her arms
and she takes the pain away
Why'd she ever give me life
if she knew it'd end this way?"

Holy shit man. That's pretty bleak stuff. I never believed that any white man could really sing the blues ... I mean people obviously have tried and you either end up with some sort of constipated aping of black dudes (George Thoroughgood), or stuff that, while depressing, is just so ... y'know, white. Like Joy Division. Obviously that plumbs some sort of depths and that shit's pretty heavy, but not in the same way. JD's jittery punk side give the music a certain levity, not the mention the romanticism of songs like "Love Will Tear Us Apart." A quick gander at the track listing for one of my favorite Slicks albums, Yer Last Record, reveals the following list of lyrical topics:
  • complete, utter, unmitigated despair and resentment at the very fact of your birth ("Train of Dreams," see lyrical excerpts above)
  • complete, utter, unmitigated humiliation and loss of personal dignity ("Pants Down")
  • the futility of life and a resultant anti-procreation stance ("Stop Breeding"). When you hate life this much, you certainly don't want to create any more of it.
  • suicide recommended as a way to escape said loathesome existence: "Why try? Why cry? DIE DIE DIE" ("Just Do It")

And there's more where that came from, of course ... that's not even going into the devastating album closer, "Goodbye," where Tom Shannon wails, "everybody's lonely ... all that's between us has died ... let's just say goodbye."

Add to that the band's scrape n drone--somehow they get the guitar to sound exactly the way ALL guitars sound when you're (OK, I'm) hungover, i.e. tuned just slightly sour and brain-searingly jangly--and you've got a completely soul-poisoning, yet life-affirming, musical experience. That's pretty much the blues as I understand them.

Most of you are probably saying "no shit" right about now. Many of my Columbus cohorts were and are longtime fans of the Slicks, and of course the band is practically WORSHIPPED in many locales outside the Cbus city limits (when the Hunches, from Portland, played here with them a few years ago, they were transformed into giddy, snapshot-taking schoolgirls as the Slicks launched into their set). But I'm just stunned at how little I liked these guys mere weeks ago and how much I like them now. I guess what I'm saying is, even if you don't get them now, you might eventually. Don't give up. It's worth another shot. A few days ago I got retardedly high in the middle of the afternoon and laid down on the couch to listen to this album. I was so exhausted and fucked up I actually experienced sleep paralysis, you know when you try to move your body but you can't? At that exact moment the dour 7-minute dirge "Green Light" came on and a cold chill went through my body. For a minute, I actually thought I knew what it was like to be dead.

That's pretty much the highest recommendation I can give an album.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

In praise of the local, pt. 1

Update: I've been really fucking lazy about posting anything. In other news ...

I friend of mine once said that "local bands are 'local' for a reason." Hmmmm ... don't know if I agree with the value judgment behind that (i.e. "they deserve it"). But I mean, it definitely IS true that it takes some special combination of hooks/looks to really get over with the masses of college-indie-type girls in tight jeans and eyeliner, especially in today's crowded music market. I guess I just wonder whether there is even such a thing as a "local" band these days given the mushrooming of music blogs, websites, labels, etc.etc.etc. A band beloved almost solely of their roommates. In some ways, the massive proliferation of music chatter out here in the electronic wild creates even more of a gap between bands that are going to have an audience somewhere, anywhere, and those that will continue to provide the soundtrack to local house parties. I'm not talking about a bunch of skinny dudes in tight tshirts with highly atmospheric (read: pussy-ass) songs and lots of guitar pedals (I'm not, but Pitchfork definitely is, right this very moment). Those guys are pretty hot and they'll be OK, even if they are pussies. I'm talking about your friends' band, the ugly dudes who have been wearing the same jeans for 2 years straight and take a swig of leftover beer in the morning instead of brushing. The ones who get so drunk they can't remember their own songs half the time. The ones that are definitely not going to be getting laid by said college girls after their show.

The subtext of that statement is, of course, that too much "local" is a bad thing. Make something too context-specific and any chance of it being appreciated by people outside your circle is pretty much shot. Like I said, I honestly am not sure if this is entirely possible these days--even if your band has never left your basement, someone, somewhere is playing a cassette you made on a boombox 4 years ago and trying to impress their friends with obscurity and non-existent sound "quality" ("no-fi, man!"). But I think that if you look in the right places the truly local band still exists. And this, my friends, is a good, good thing ... both the fact of such a band's existence, and the fact that no one other than their friends will ever crack the code of their charm.

I started thinking about this last weekend at the last-ever Tree of Snakes show at Bernie's. I've pretty much given up trying to explain the appeal of Tree of Snakes for people that don't already get it. I've often tried to imagine I don't know the (incredibly charismatic) Snakes: would I still like their music? I think so but I can't be sure. In any case, the Snakes would consider this question completely irrelevant and would probably spit beer on you if you raised it in their presence. They exist for the very same reason rock and roll itself exists: to get so wasted you can't think, then use your primitive reptilian brain to yelp tunelessly about girls and money, or lack thereof, until you fall down.

That said I still find myself trying to convince unbelievers that the songs are as solid and timeless as anything in the Ramones catalog and that sadness lurks in the background of "Throw a Rock at Me." I mean: "if you see me walk away/if you see me walk away/throw a rock at me/I deserve it anyway/throw a rock at/throw a rock at me"--nothing if not a paean to self-loathing, no? Albeit one issued from the mouth of a drunken 6-year-old.

Anyway ... Tree of Snakes rendered this entire douchey discussion completely moot last Friday. It was a classic sweaty free-for-all, all smashed bottles, drunken groping (it was like Woodstock '99 in reverse, I had my crotch grabbed by a GIRL), aerosol-can flamethrowers, and of course TOS classics bellowed hoarsely into a mic that was unplugged anyway. They graciously included hits like "I Am a Lion" and "Orange" and more recent favorites like "Alexandria" and "Big Tomato." It didn't matter if anyone else outside of Columbus, or Bernie's, for that matter, got it ... they were playing for us, and no one else.

I still think that someday some nerd is gonna come across "The Ottoman Empire Strikes Back" and will have a fit over these lost pop gems, but if not, that's OK too. I recommend going
here and checking out the tuneage for yourself if you don't want to wait for the great Tree of Snakes renaissance.

For another account of that glorious evening go to Kevin Elliot's
World of Wumme, where he too sings the praises of the band's anarchic final performance. And also references the Ramones. Shit. Well, it pretty much all comes down to the Ramones, anyway, doesn't it?

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Down n Dirty

Betty Davis - They Say I'm Different - Light in the Attic (2007)

A Nasty gal indeed. Raunch, Filth, bad taste, Betty Davis brings it all to the table sounding like she's deep throatin' while she's on the mic. She's "anti-love", but don't call her no tramp, 'cuz she's no goody-goody. You can smell her panties dripping as she rips through "He was a big freak", with a raspy howl like a soul child from outer space. Deep sci-fi funk. Much thanks to Light in the Attic for reissuing the first two out of print releases from this sorely overlooked singer. Yeah, she was married to Miles Davis. So what. Yeah, she probably got it on with Hendrix. Big whoop. Just listen to this fucked-up, funk, freak-weird shit.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Welcome, "Sirs"

I am listening to this CD-R that fellow Artgayist Dave burned for me. It was his big bro Jon's band (although I think he's no longer a member). Seattle's Welcome could on the one hand be mistaken for a gang of long-lost British post-punkers--songs like "All Set" and "Natural Frost" combine that era's distinctive guitar clangor with Nikki Sudden-esque vocals. On tracks like "Bunky," though, dispassionate girl-vocals make me think of '90s indie-pop of the Pastels/Vaselines variety. Most of the best songs don't even clear 3 minutes. Idiosyncratic and passive-aggressive ... no "in-your-face"-ness to it, just a subtle melancholy pervading the entire affair. Not without teeth, though. Reminds of me of something I might have heard while falling asleep to 120 Minutes in high school. With a weird cut-and-paste video featuring grainy hand-held-camera footage of the band interspersed with hand-scratched/colored frames of film.

"Sirs" was released this spring on the UK's Fat Cat records. Welcome will be at Little Brother's on June 10th with The Mary Timony Band. Check out for more info.

Friday, June 01, 2007

OK, I'm back

Shit, I forgot I ever had this thing. My last post was that drunken missive from last November, after which I promptly neglected to communicate via this blog thingy ever again. Is "blogging" stupid? Do I hate the word "blog"? Do we need more people's opinions on music and the surrounding culture? Yes, yes, and no. Beat ya to it. So, yeah ... I need things to review. Good things, preferably, but I'll take bad things too. I'll try to be nice but I can't promise anything.

My address: 2490 N. 4th Street Columbus OH 43202 c/o Laura

If you use this address for anything other than sending me shitty 7"s I'll be sure to greet you at the door naked with hairy legs, a croquet mallet and a bloody tampon hanging out of my girl parts. You'll think twice before you stalk me again.