Okay, so I got this week's Forced Exposure update, and
it's got two releases from Matador Records, and it quotes
the press release on each one. For Bardo Pond's Dilate
it says "Their 4th Matador album, Dilate is
their most fully realized record to date..." and
for Mogwai's Rock Action, it says "...alternately
the most daring work of Mogwai's brief career, yet also
the most fully realized." Okay, the phrase "their
most fully realized record to date" has already been
a serious press release/corporate puff piece cliche for
years, and Matador should know better than to use it even
once, but to use it twice in one week? Kinda makes you
wanna say..."What's up, Matador?"
B.S. "hook-of-the-month" club
Patti Smith "Dancing Barefoot"
When Patti sings "Here I go and I don't why-ee"...and
then a bit later "some strange music draws me in
/ makes me come on / like some heroin/e." The heroin/e
pun may seem a little corny on paper, a little ill-advised,
much like the heroin/e pun mentioned in our last issue
here), but when you hear Patti hit it, and
the mood of the song that surrounds it, she turns the
pun into high drama the way only she can. It's a clever
line, it moves the story along, and the drug reference
sounds good with the languidly dangerous tone of the song,
as do other incantatory lines like "she intoxicated
by thee / he is levitating with she." And, have you
seen the movie Whatever?
It came out in 1998, and was a minor success with the
Sundance/IFC crowd. (One of the executive producers was
top-notch crime fiction writer George P. Pelecanos, but
that's the subject of, you guessed it, another column.)
The reason I've been listening to "Dancing Barefoot"
is because a couple weeks ago Marge and I rented the video
of Whatever, and it was quite a movie, and somewhere
in its sad, nervy, affectionate teenage wasteland mosaic,
the song came on indeed like some heroin/e and floored
me (that's when you know a song's got (a) hook(s), when
it floors you). After the movie ended Marge and
I waited, there on the couch (you know how it is), and
watched the credits roll all the way down to the songs
used in the films, until they read "Dancing Barefoot,
written and performed by Patti Smith," and I used
that information to Napster it the night after. The main
character in Whatever is this post-punk post-hippie
girl who's a senior in high school, experimenting with
drugs and sex and crime and poetry and painting, and the
movie is about the times she ends up going, even
when she doesn't know why, and even though she's mostly
shy and a little awkward, she's also sexy and sweet and
she might be a little high, and she's perfectly capable
of coming on like some heroine, or some heroin, or sometimes
both at the same time, and she never knows quite when
(or why, natch) it's gonna happen...
Mystikal "Shake Ya Ass"
One of those gangsta rap sex songs that are fucking crude
and mean as hell but you listen anyway 'cause it's so
damn funky. We all know that no gangsta rappers
can rap about sex without being mean and violent about
it (show me one), but somehow (I'm still not exactly sure),
Mystikal keeps "Shake Ya Ass" sexy. Most
tracks that are both funky and sexy are keepers. The great
hook is the chorus, sung in a perfect slighty sassy Marvin
Gaye falsetto: "Attention all y'all players and pimps
/ Right now in the place to be / I thought I told y'all
niggas before / Y'all niggas can't fuck with me / Now
this ain't for no small booties / no sir cause that won't
pass / But if you feel you got the biggest one / then
momma come shake ya ass."
Ceramic Hobs "Amateur Cops"
The introductory "Woah! Woah! Woah! Woah! Woah! Woah!"
chant (here pronounced "WAY-oh WAY-oh WAY-oh etc.")
explodes out of the speakers with the same exuberant ragamuffin
lilt as the opening/main guitar hook of "Police On
My Back" by The Clash. But the Hobs are singing it,
not playing it, and they're already exaggerating it from
the get-go, and then it repeats for longer than you thought
it was gonna, and it starts stumbling over itself and
intensifying at the same time, and the whole thing sounds
great sung under your breath during down-time at work,
even if there's no way you can do it as many times as
the Hobs do. (Released with Muckraker
Peaches "Fuck The Pain Away"
Peaches is a saucy gal from Toronto who makes really funky
hip-hop/new wave kinda tracks with low-down roof-rattling
do-the-worm bass and then performs sex rhymes over 'em
in this real offhand style. This is the forthright first
track from her album The Teaches of Peaches, and
the opening line is the unforgettable hook: "Sucking
on my titties like you wanted me / callin' me / all the
time / etc...." The cadence is borrowed from LL Cool
J's "Going Back to Cali", when he says "analyzin',
realizin', that you're sizin' me up," a great example
of a hook being passed from generation to generation.
Peaches' chorus is kind of an anti-hook....the title being
repeated over a hip-hop drone something like 8 or 12 times.
Kind of scary actually.
how does the following scenario make you feel about eating
chicken: you are driving down the interstate and you pass
a semi and see that its cargo is something like 500 little
cages, each one containing three or four live chickens
that are packed in so tight they can't even raise their
heads, let alone move. Me, I love to eat chicken. Not
a lot, maybe once a week on average. I mean, it's all
part of the food chain, and man has been eating fowl for
eons...it's just in these modrin times, raising chickens
has gotten so cruelly efficient. Y'know?
going to keep all my other records off of the turntable
and listen to nothing but "Sister Ray" over and over again
for a solid month, or until I feel like I've heard the
same version twice, whichever comes first. Starting....NOW....
Shklrnki, where ya at? (Last name rhymes with "turn-key."
The "u" is invisible.) Last I heard my man was homeless
in Los Angeles, with a deal worked out with some church
where he could sleep there two nights a week and practice
his saxophone in exchange for janitorial services. Ironic,
considering that Shlarn has been one of the more inspiring
cats I've known when it comes to being spiritual and religious
without ever having to go anywhere NEAR a church, exemplifying
a sort of (if anything) Buddho-Christian meditative benevolence
that requires no organization whatsoever. The reason I'm
thinking of old Shlarn is that I'm listening to The
Fugs First Album on CD here, and the gorgeous second
track "Ah, Sunflower Weary Of Time" just played, and I
remember Shlarn and I listening to this same copy of it
three or four years ago. As "Sunflower" spun,
he told me about the first time he heard it, back in the
Sixties when it came out and he was a budding young yippie
hippie buddho-christian freak flag flyer, and he was hanging
out at some crash pad in San Fran or on his commune farm
in Bloomfield, Iowa, and this song came on whatever stereo,
because he was listening to whatever underground radio
station or whatever hip person had brought a copy, and
his reaction was "Holy shit, that's William Blake!" because
he was familiar with the poet, and here was a band with
a record deal singing a lovely musical version of one
of the poet's loveliest works, and he could tell by their
goofy/sweet voices and by the inspired looseness of the
playing that they weren't snooty college literature majors,
they were young yippie hippie buddho-christian dropout
freaks just like himself.
MOMENTS FROM THE VASTNESS THAT IS THE WHATSIT: In 1984,
playing against the Knicks, Isiah Thomas scored 16 points
in 93 seconds. "I was crying. I'd go to the bench, and
I just couldn't control my emotions. I didn't even know
I was playing at that level until I went back and watched
and heard what I had done."
Sonder lives in Lincoln, and recently celebrated his
1,000th consecutive day spent sitting at his home
computer listening to records. (He did participate
in the interview about Raymond Petiibon with Matt
Silcock, but during it he was still sitting at his
computer and he played records throughout. Don't miss
his dense 'new records' column, So
Much Music, So Much Time, as collected in Nougat.
Brad also writes a column about the Lincoln music
scene for lincolzine.com.
the ever-lovin' reviews page