issue 7 april 2001
page 4

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?"

The B.S. "hook-of-the-month" club

1. 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 (right 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...
2. 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."
3. 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 #9)
4. 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.

Okay, 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's just in these modrin times, raising chickens has gotten so cruelly efficient. Y'know?

I'm 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....

Shlarn 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.

INSPIRING 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."

                                      Brad 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


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