Jesse Jarnow

linkage

big day coming: a reader’s guide

BIG DAY COMING

Yo La Tengo & the Rise of Indie Rock

reader’s guide plus

end notes, errata, & ephemera

 

see also: official Yo La Tengo Annotated Discography.

 

CHARACTER LIST

Yo La Tengo: Georgia Hubley, Ira Kaplan, James McNew

with

Todd Abramson, current Maxwell’s co-owner, former YLT roommate
John Beers, Happy Flowers
Bruce Bennett, The A-Bones, auxiliary YLT guitarist during WFMU marathons
Nils Bernstein, Matador Records
Alan Betrock, New York Rocker founder
Fred Brockman, The Kinetics, Snacktime Studios proprietor
Rick Brown, Information, Fish and Roses
Irwin Chusid, WFMU
Byron Coley, writer
Clint Conley, Mission of Burma, Ride the Tiger producer, bassist #3
Gerard Cosloy, Conflict, Homestead Records, Matador Records
Liz Cox, Christmas
Michael Cudahy, Christmas
Jim DeRogatis, Jersey Beat writer, Chicago Sun-Times columnist, radio host
Jad Fair, Half Japanese
Steve Fallon, Maxwell’s co-owner, Coyote Records founder, occasional YLT manager
Gaylord Fields, WFMU DJ, former YLT roommate
Ken Freedman, WFMU DJ and station director
Bobbie Gale, Atlantic Records
Sue Garner, Fish and Roses, Run On, The Last Round-Up
Karen Glauber, A&M Records
Danny Goldberg, Atlantic Records
Richard Grabel, New York Rocker, later music biz lawyer
Mark Greenberg, The Coctails
Tim Harris, Antietam, bassist #14
Michael Hill, New York Rocker, co-booker of Music For Dozens for series
Nicholas Hill, WFMU DJ
Gene Holder, the dB’s, YLT producer, bassist #11
Peter Holsapple, the dB’s
Lyle Hysen, Das Damen, Snacktime Studios proprietor
Emily Hubley, filmmaker, Georgia’s sister
Stephen Hunking, Hypnolovewheel
Adam Kaplan, Ira’s brother, occasional YLT manager
Neil Kaplan, Ira’s brother
Terry Karydes, A Worrying Thing
Tara Key, Antietam
David Kilgour, The Clean
Hamish Kilgour, The Clean
Wolf Knapp, Antietam, bassist #7
Jamie Kitman, YLT manager, 1990-1992
Bob Lawton, booking agent
Michael Lewis, Lyres, DMZ, bassist #2
Laura Levine, New York Rocker photo editor
Chris Lombardi, Matador Records co-founder
Craig Marks, Homestead Records, YLT roadie-pal
Mac McCaughan, Superchunk, Merge Records co-founder
Mike McGonnigal, Chemical Imbalance
Glenn Mercer, The Feelies
Bill Million, The Feelies
Phil Morrison, filmmaker, YLT roadie-pal
Glenn Morrow, New York Rocker, The Individuals, Bar/None Records owner
Chris Nelson, New York Rocker, Information
Peter Occhiogrosso, SoHo Weekly News
Dave Rick, bassist #1, occasional YLT fill-in guitarist, Phantom Tollbooth, Bongwater
Will Rigby, the dB’s
Rick Rizzo, Eleventh Dream Day
Kevin Salem, Yo La Tengo lead guitarist on Fakebook tours
Tom Scharpling, WFMU DJ
Dave Schramm, Yo La Tengo lead guitarist, 1985-1986
Andy Schwartz, New York Rocker editor
Robert Sietsema, Mofungo, photographer, food critic
Chris Stamey, the dB’s, occasional YLT fill-in guitarist, bassist #6
Maynard Sipe, The Maynards
Jim Testa, Jersey Beat founder
Roy Trakin, SoHo Weekly News
Brian Turner, WFMU DJ & music director
Michael Vickers, Go-Betweens, bassist #9
Janet Waegal, New York Rocker
Kurt Wagner, Lambchop
Ken Weinstein, Atlantic Records
Stephan Wichnewski, bassist #5
Janet Wygal, The Individuals, The Wygals, bassist #13

 

INTRODUCTION: THE STORY OF YO LA TANGO

p. 2: An Australian promoter achieves the Yo La Tengo typo trifecta, spelling all three words incorrectly.

(see also: Yo La Tengo’s own gallery, Top Billing.)

 

PROLOGUE: THE ELYSIAN FIELDS

p. 13: Maxwell Tavern in 1974, three years before its purchase by the Fallon family.

(via the Hoboken Historical Museum)

 

CHAPTER 1: THE HUDSON LINE

p. 21: Tommie Agee made the two legendary catches in Game 3 of the 1969 World Series, not Cleon Jones. I should know better.

 

CHAPTER 2: NEW YORK ROCKERS

p. 39: Andy Schwartz and New York Rocker back issues in the Rocker office. (photo by Laura Levine)

(see also: a gallery of New York Rocker covers.)

 

 

CHAPTER 3: AT HOME WITH THE MAYPOS

p. 53: The voices of Georgia and her older sister Emily star in Windy Day, a 1968 Oscar-nominated short by their parents, Faith and John Hubley.

Georgia and Emily’s voices star again Faith and John Hubley’s Cockaboody, animated circa 1973, but recorded prior to Windy Day.

p. 59: The 1956 Maypo ad by Faith and John Hubley starring Georgia’s brother Mark that became a national sensation, eventually spawning the phrase “I want my MTV.”

p. 61: Faith and John Hubley’s 1962 collaboration with Dizzy Gillespie, The Hole.

p. 67: Emily Hubley’s hand-drawn video for “Big Brown Eyes” by the dB’s, 1982.

 

CHAPTER 4: MUSIC FOR DOZENS

p. 69: “Gauge-loving” should read “garage-rock loving.”

p. 69: The 1982 video for “Anything Could Happen,” from the epochal Boodle, Boodle, Boodle EP by The Clean, leading lights of Dunedin, New Zealand’s punk scene and longtime Yo La Tengo favorites.

p. 73: An early version of “Crazy Rhythms” performed by The Feelies at CBGB in 1978.

p. 74: Following the 1979 release of Crazy Rhythms, The Feelies morphed into the abstract and Brian Eno-influenced Willies and played around their hometown of Haledon.

p. 80: Bad Brains are (duh!) from Washington, DC, not New York — though they were NYC residents at the time of their first album, for which Ira wrote liner notes.

p. 84: New York Rocker photo editor and birthday girl Laura Levine fronts the newly formed Georgia & Those Guys at the New York Rocker office. (An interview with Laura.)

 

 

CHAPTER 5: GEORGIA & THOSE GUYS

p. 93: Some of Georgia’s flyers for the Music For Dozens series at Gerde’s Folk City, booked by Ira and Michael Hill from November 1982 through January 1984.

 

 

p. 98: In spring 1983, Ira and Georgia traveled to Boston to see one of the final shows by Mission of Burma, one of their favorite bands.

p. 109: The flyer for the first proper Yo La Tengo show, Maxwell’s–December 2, 1984–a co-bill with close friends Antietam. (Mucho excellent Antietam history at their official site.)

p. 109: The Urinals perform “Surfin’ With the Shah” live in 1983, the first song Yo La Tengo played at their first gig in December 1984.

 

 

CHAPTER 6: YO LA TENGO

p. 117: Georgia, visible in barely a single frame in the video for Bruce Springsteen’s “Glory Days,” shot by filmmaker John Sayles at Maxwell’s, September 1985.

p. 118: “The Hoboken Sound” aired on WNEW, which didn’t become WNYW until a few months later, in January 1986.


p. 119: Yo La Tengo with Mike Lewis (bassist #2) at the River City Fair in Hoboken, August 1985. (Photo by Jim Testa of Jersey Beat.)

p. 127:Mose Allison, not Moses.

p. 128: William Berger, not William Burger, whose “My Castle of Quiet” can still be heard on WFMU.

p. 130: Outtakes from the Ride the Tiger photo shoot. (photos by Carol Addessi)

The Ride The Tiger band with Mike Lewis and Dave Schramm (far left).

The short-lived lineup featuring both Dave Schramm (with baseball bat) and Stephan Wichnewski (bassist #5, far left) at the Stevens Institute near the Elysian Fields in Hoboken.

 

 

CHAPTER 7: ROAD FOOD, GOOD FOOD

p. 136: Georgia, Ira, and Stephan Wichnewski (bassist #5) perform “House Fall Down” at Cicero’s in St. Louis, November 1987, the earliest circulating footage of Yo La Tengo, recorded for the local cable access show Psychotic Reaction. (The opening act was Uncle Tupelo, making their first trip the big city from nearby Belleville, IL.)

p. 152: Ira and Georgia perform “Teenager in Love” and Buddy Holly’s “Everyday” in their Hoboken living room, spring 1988.

 

 

CHAPTER 8: FAKEBOOK

p. 165: A compilation of live and radio performances from the Fakebook years.

p. 166: A firsthand account of Yo La Tengo and Daniel Johnson’s February 1990 collaboration live on WFMU by DJ Nicholas Hill and link to the complete special.

p. 171: Yo La Tengo’s first video, for “The Summer.” Directed by Phil Morrison, summer 1990.

p. 171: Yo La Tengo with Gene Holder (bassist #11) perform The Kinks’ “Big Sky” in Berlin, August 1990.

 

 

CHAPTER 9: AND SUDDENLY…

p. 182: Maynard Sipe was the drummer for the Maynards, not the singer.

p. 187: James, in his solo Dump guise, performs several tracks (including a cover of the Fugs’ “Morning, Morning”) in the Dutch countryside, circa 1995.

 

 

CHAPTER 10: BIG DAY COMING

p. 189: A mix containing 7 radically different live versions of “Big Day Coming,” including its March 1991 debut at Maxwell’s.

p. 190: Bassist #15, James McNew, on the road with Yo La Tengo in St. Louis early in his tenure, ready to undergo the rite of snoots.

p. 197: Headphones firmly affixed, Ira prepares for another take of “Mushroom Cloud of Hiss.” May I Sing With Me sessions, Boston, fall 1991.

p. 214: Hal Hartley’s rejected video for “From A Motel 6.”

The remade video for “From A Motel 6.”

Phil Morrison’s video for “Big Day Coming.”

 

 

CHAPTER 11: HOT CHICKEN

p. 223: Lambchop’s 2009 concert film, Live at Merge XX, directed by Phil Morrison.

p. 229: Phil Morrison’s video for “Tom Courtenay.”

 

 

CHAPTER 12: ELECTR-O-PURA

p. 242: see also Yo La Tengo Sell Out.

 

 

CHAPTER 13: ROCKET #9

p. 250: The “Sugarcube” video.

p. 256: In fact, Oar Folkjokeopus didn’t close, merely changed its name to Treehouse Records. Stop by on your next trip through Minneapolis.

 

CHAPTER 14: OUR WAY TO FALL

p. 266: Jon Spencer and Yo La Tengo perform Superchunk’s “Slack Motherfucker” at Matador’s 10th anniversary shows.

p. 268: A complete performance filmed at the Cat’s Cradle in North Carolina with Superchunk’s Mac McCaughan and The Clean’s David Kilgour rotating on auxiliary guitar/vibraphone/keyboards, March 2000.

Yo La Tengo + two drummers + strings perform “You Can Have It All” on Conan O’Brien, June 2000.

p. 272: “Harold” should be “Armando.”

 

CHAPTER 15: A PLASTIC MENORAH

p. 285: Portraits of Yo La Tengo taken just before the release of 2003′s Summer Sun by photographer Jack Chester.

 


CHAPTER 17: POPULAR SONGS

p. 309: “1999″ from Dump’s redacted album of Prince covers, That Skinny Motherfucker With the High Voice?

p. 312: Yo La Tengo back Lambchop’s Kurt Wagner on “Theone” during an early Freewheelin’ Yo La Tengo tour, Nashville, January 2008.

p. 313: Alex Chilton joins Yo La Tengo at Maxwell’s, December 2007, for “Let Me Get Close To You.”

p. 316: Yo La Tengo and Roger Moutenot record Popular Songs at the band’s rehearsal space, 2009. Photo by Liz Clayton (and other photos from the sessions).

p. 321: There were two American installments of All Tomorrow’s Parties before the festival moved to New York, though none in the style of the festival’s British holiday camp roots.

p. 324: Yo La Tengo back Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy on “Jesus, etc.” at Maxwell’s, 3 December 2010

The Elysian Charter School of Hoboken sings “Sugarcube” at Maxwell’s, 3 December 2010

 

NOTES

p. 327: The list of former Yo La Tengo bassists was accidentally printed alphabetically instead of chronologically.

Terry Karydes (A Worrying Thing, 1982-1983)
Dave Schramm (A Worrying Thing, 1983)
Dave Rick (1984-1985)
Mike Lewis (1985-1986)
Clint Conley (1986)
Steve Michener (1986)
Stephan Wichnewski (1986-1989)
Chris Stamey (1986)
Wolf Knapp (1988)
Tony Maimone (1988)
Robert Vickers (1989)
Al Greller (1990-1991)
Gene Holder (1990)
Wilbo Wright (1990)
Janet Wygal (1990)
Tim Harris (1991)
James McNew (1991-present)

have read/will read dept.

o Google and the Authors’ Guild settle their lawsuit.
o Uncut presents a massive series of interviews with the session players who worked with Dylan throughout the ’80s and ’90s. A huge new body of Bob-lore for the Neverending era. Have only read David Kemper so far, but am absurdly psyched for the rest.
o Big Wired piece on open source hardware.
o Christoph Neimann’s elegant cheat sheets for Manhattan.
o Some of Robert Wyatt’s favorite things.

have read/will read dept.

o Michael Lewis buys a mansion.
o Wired profiles Weird Al.
o Big, thinky piece on The Whole Earth Catalogue.
o Stanley Milgrim’s Six Degrees of Seperation theory gets halved.
o Roger Ebert on how to read a movie.

early pennant drive links

o The Enduring Popularity (and Ubiquity) of the 1989 Upper Deck Ken Griffey Jr. Card . I never had one.

o Baseball, meth, and home games. Misleading title. Dude just means pills. Not, like, middle relievers getting cranked and scrubbing the bullpen bench clean with toothbrushes. Still, interesting (and probably correct) theory that I’ve seen floated more informally elsewhere, notably by radio color dudes.

o Horace Wilson and the beginnings of Japanese baseball. (And, somewhat related: baseball in Japanese internment camps during World War II.)

o A (relatively) recent interview with contrarian Oakland As’ general manager, Billy Beane: part 1, part 2.

o Hell freezes over and time stops. Not surprisingly, A-Rod is there.

links of dubious usefulness, no. 19

o A solid guide to Sun Ra. Szwed highlights two of my fave Arkestral excursions (1978′s Lanquidity and 1967′s Strange Strings). Looking forward to checking out his other recommendations.
o A gallery of Al Jaffee’s Mad fold-ins. Lovely interface.
o Generic names for soft drinks by county: a map.
o Jim O’Rourke: old-time ballplayer. (Thx, Artis.)
o The Beeb reports that “nearly 500,000 people in developing nations earn a wage making virtual goods in online games.”
o Akron/Family’s Daytrotter session, taped during South by Southwest in March. I’m one of the auxilary chanters/finger-snappers/pot-bangers. Great sound quality.

have read/will read dept.

o Lost scenes discovered from Fritz Lang’s Metropolis.
o Michel Gondry picks his 25 favorite videos.
o “Personal Emails Are Creepy, Not Effective
o Newish interview with Jim O’Rourke.
o Awful title, handy charticle: James Brown’s children.
o And, relatedly (“Gary Glitter might be James Brown for 2008″ – Sancho): Glitter fakes heart trouble, disappears into Hong Kong (who also want him gone).

have read/will read dept.

o Flavor tripping parties! Miracle fruit, huh?
o An NYC taco blog.
o Michael Agger on How We Read Online.
o Michael Donahue on the ghostly South China Mall, the biggest mall on the planet.
o Nicholas Carr on whether Google is making us stupid.
o The James Brown Collection from Christie’s. Clicks on anything (like, say, the handwritten letters) for close-ups.

uncle bill robinson memorial links

o Accepted baseball wisdom begins to mutate.

o A pro-Willets Point gentrification blog (including a link to an AM NY piece on “the Mayor of Willets Point.”

o Charting salary v. performance on big league teams in real time.

o Slate publishes some travel writing on baseball in the DR.

o A Baseball in Science Fiction bibliography.

o Mmmm, Tokyo Giants food.

o Giuseppe Franco for Mets manager! (Who? Him.)

o Dude traded for 10 bats in Texas.

have read/will read dept.

Despite the time off, these mostly lie on the latter side of the equation.

o Nicholson Baker on “The Charms of Wikipedia” in the New York Review of Books.
o http://www.bombsite.com/issues/91/articles/2717">Jim O’Rourke interviews Kiyoshi Kurosawa, circa 2005.
o Cloud advertising. Amazing technology, like something out of Dubai or Wonders, Inc. Less-than-inspiring use.
o Ezra Klein on “The Future of Reading” in the Columbia Journalism Review.
o A Wired profile of Japanese internet superstar http://www.wired.com/techbiz/people/magazine/16-06/mf_hiroyuki">Hiroyuki Nishimura.

have read/will read dept.

I will still probably post here more days than I don’t (so keep checking back!), but I’m gonna take a small step back from the blog for the next few weeks, at least. I need to do some writing for myself and only myself. Been a while.

o Robert Rich’s response to Kevin Kelly’s 1000 True Fans theory.
o A BusinessWeek profile of Other Music, the awesome Manhattan record store whose new release bin (and equivalent section in their newsletter) is probably the most discerning review section in the country.
o While at school in Ohio, a friend and I joked about running a pipeline from New York to bring a supply of tap water for proper pizza and bagels. Kottke looks into it.
o The NYRB gets loose on Wikipedia. Looking forward to sinking into this one.
o With all the insidious cross-marketing, yadda yadda, sometimes it’s a relief to know that the Man often still just doesn’t get it.
o Dmitri Nabokov is going to publish The Original of Laura. Yay!

the last verse & “honey in the rock” – blind mamie forehand

“Honey in the Rock” – Blind Mamie Forehand (download) (buy)
from Goodbye Babylon (1927/2003)

(file expires May 8th)

Burkhard Bilger’s recent New Yorker piece, “The Last Verse,” is excellent — the type of typically sprawling think-piece/profile that could end up in a future Da Capo Best Music Writing edition. But it also bummed me out. “Is there still any folk music out there?” the subhead asked. It’s an endlessly fascinating question, but — if you limit “folk” to its literal definition — the answer becomes equally limited.

For his own recordings, Rosenbaum laid down only a few ground rules. The musicians could come from anywhere and play almost anything: fiddles, guitars, washboards, or spoons; harmonicas, Jew’s harps, or accordions. (In one recording, a broomstick kept time; in another, a pick-axe.) But the songs had to be traditional, the music learned from relatives or local musicians. He wanted folksingers, as he puts it, not just singers of folk songs.

And, thus, another story about dudes driving the South around looking for old performers and older records. But folk music is more alive than that, pulsing from car stereos and ringtones in the centuries-old rhythms at the core of reggaeton, or in the magpie strategies of the bootleg/mash-up world. Even if hip-hop is the very definition of mass culture — see, for example, the ridiculous Jay-Z/Soulja Boy feud being played through the NBA — it still requires an intricate constellation of references to understand it, many of which can only be passed person to person. While there’s plenty that comes through media, there’s still plenty of slang that can trace back decades, if not more.

The answer to Bilger’s question is unquestionably, “yes.” A truly oral culture is no longer possible, but we have something else — a world where text is so plentiful it becomes both meaningless and ephemeral. How does one collect it?

links of dubious usefulness, no. 18

o A massive archive of Sonic Youth bootlegs and side projects.
o Garfield minus Garfield.
o Brian Dettmar’s gorgeous book autopsies.
o Product vs. Reality comparisons.
o Philosopher John Rawls on baseball.

have read/will read dept.

These mostly fall on the latter side of the above equation. Definitely need to make some time soon to catch up on my links.

o Two pieces about what Murakami is up to.
o Cory Doctorow on multitasking and disruption.
o Recent semi-interview (circa, uh, last week) with Eye and Yoshimi from the Boredoms all about the new Super Roots disc. (Big ups, Whiney!)
o GQ begins to untangle JB’s wreckage.
o Alan Bishop on his Sun City Girls brother, the late Charles Gocher.

moving entertainments

Trippy ’60s filmmaking #1, Arthur Lipsett, via Digaman:


A Goofy Music reedited into David Lynchisms, via SoS:

Near-psychedelic bluegrass, via Deadwood:

Ween jam (a little bit of) “Dark Star”:

’cause it’s still funny:

grapefruit league links, cont.

o Fantastic New Yorker profile of former Met/Philly Len Dykstra, who recently founded the Players Club, an investment group for professional athletes.

o Joe Smith is God, sez this MySpace page.

o Shawn Green retired three homers short of Hammerin’ Hank Greenberg’s all-time Jewish home run record of 331. Jewish guilt for juicing?

o On how Latin players pick up English.

o The Apollo 11 moonwalks, as mapped onto a baseball diamond. (Thx, Kottke.)

links of dubious usefulness, no. 17

o Haven’t had a chance to listen yet, but: a tropicalia parody, c. 1974. The New Caetanos, anyone? (Thx, Boomy.)
o There will be papusa!
o Chuck Klosterman on “the difference between a road movie and a movie that just happens to have roads in it.” (Word, SoS.)
o Rem Koolhaas gets loose in Dubai.
o At least Bobby’s enjoying the ride. (Yes he is, Sancho.)

grapefruit league links

The Mets lost 4-2 to the Tigers in a split squad game today. Welcome back.

o Dunno how I missed this when the Voice ran the story in September, but ex-Mets pitcher/current Mets announcer Ron Darling is apparently a huge jazzhead.

o Digaman hipped me tonight to the existence of the fantasy baseball league that existed only in Jack Kerouac’s head. Really.

o Despite the utter failure of the Mitchell Report to create any kind of closure with the steroids era, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens are speaking in gestures as weirdly elegant as their records are grotesque. That is, one can imagine John Chancellor’s narrator in Ken Burns’ Baseball reading off their narratives. The latest installment, far less reported than Clemens’ escapades on Capitol Hill, involves Bonds personally driving from spring training camp to spring training camp looking for work, while threatening to go play in Japan. (Thx, Russ.)

o SNY’s feature on the best Mets brawls would be a whole lot cooler with video clips. But it’s still pretty cool.

o The Times Bats blog reports on Mets’ pitching coach’s Rick Peterson’s observational skills. According to http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/baseball/mlb/02/19/santana0225/">Sports Illustrated, Peterson spent the off-season “read[ing] Eastern philosophy and [drawing] sketches of his players.”

o A classic meditation by the late paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould.

have read/will read dept.

o I’m so completely bummed I missed the virtual recreation of the Columbian Exposition’s White City last week in Chicago. Perhaps next time. (Thx, Fangs McVegan.)
o The New Yorker on the ambiguous moral complexity of carbon footprints. Only a page or two in so far, but brilliant.
o Daniel Chamberlain’s Arthur essay, Uncle Skullfucker’s Band. (Good recommendo, El Shmo.)
o A meaty Oxford American piece on late Weavers singer Lee Hays. (Courtesy http://www.levity.com/digaland/">digaman.)
o I’m sad that the Coen brothers’ longtime imaginary editor, http://nymag.com/daily/entertainment/2008/01/roderick_jaynes_imaginary_osca.html">Roderick Jaynes, didn’t win a Best Editing Oscar last night.
o One of Dont Look Back‘s Mr. Joneses speaks out.
o http://sendmedeadflowers.com/2008/02/velvet-underground-live-at-gymnasium.html">A new Velvet Underground song!

have read/will read dept.

o There are probably many points in the last quarter/half-decade of pop history where one could argue that cuteness was becoming a little too prevalent, but http://thephoenix.com/Article.aspx?id=55486&page=1">Sharon Steel has fun trying anyway.
o Kevin Kelly on “Better Than Free.”
o The London Times on McSweeney’s, etc..
o Anecdotal evidence suggests that pitchers, including Pedro Martinez, repeatedly threw at Jeff Kent to help Hall of Famer Tom Candiotti’s fantasy baseball team. Does this count as gambling?
o Google engages in some techno-corporate warfare in China over mp3s.

have read/will read dept.

o New Murakami on the way! In July! About jogging! (Bill Hicks: “What do you jot down about jogging? ‘Left foot, right foot, blood spurts out nose.’”) Either way: What I Talk About When I Talk About Running.
o Like grapes becoming raisins, bureaucracy often transforms into absurdity, which — in turn — is a fine basis for proverb-soaked folklore. John Beamer on 14 “Rules and quirks” of professional baseball.
o New Yorker classical critic http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/musical/2008/02/04/080204crmu_music_ross">Alex Ross on Radio’eads’s Jonny Greenwood.
o This year’s Oscar-nominated animated shorts. Looking forward to watching these.
o Wired explores “The Life Cycle of a Blog Post.” Great concept, nice execution, but not nearly as complicated as the chart seems to represent on first glance.

have read/will read dept.

o Jennifer Egan’s “The General” — first published in Five Chapters, collected in Best American Non-Required Reading — is the raddest piece of short fiction I’ve read in a long while. Effortlessly modern and viciously hilarious, but also sweet and heartbreaking.
o A luxurious, Joseph Mitchell-style 2002 NYT piece on Sunny’s, where I recently caught Smokey Hormel’s Roundup. (see also: bassist Tim Luntzel’s page, for upcoming Roundup dates.)
o Via the Huffington Post: “According to Us Weekly, the Terry Gillian production of ‘The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus’, which Ledger was partially though filming, has been scrapped and everyone let go.” Dude can’t catch a break; peeps can’t even spell his name right. (Of course, Brothers Grimm and Tideland kinda sucked.)
o Tom Stoppard’s book valise. Hawt.
o Not reading, but not embeddable either, Eugene Mirman’s report from the New Hampshire primary is a useful distillation of his absurdism.
o Ron Darling has been training. (And of course you’ve seen Ira Kaplan’s Kiner’s Korner-parodying interview with Eddie Kranepool.)
o Why can’t American politics be this much like Joseph Campbell lectures about folklore? (Via NYT.)

Omens of his downfall are said to have included the breaking of a gavel in Parliament and Mr. Suharto’s loss of the chignon, or hairpiece, of his wife, Siti Hartinah, who died in 1996.

Many Indonesians maintain that her death was the beginning of the end for Mr. Suharto. She was a minor member of the royal family here, the Sultanate of Solo, and is said to have been the source of Mr. Suharto’s legitimacy as a ruler. In Javanese tradition, power has an essence of its own, known as wahyu, and is conferred like a mantle on certain chosen people in a way similar to the “mandate of heaven” that empowered Chinese emperors.

After the death of Mr. Suharto’s wife, spiritualists as well as political scientists saw Mr. Suharto becoming less deft as a ruler. In his desperation near the end, according to accounts at the time, he called in a West African spiritualist to help him.

“There is a tradition of Javanese kings becoming kings because of their wives,” Onghokham, a prominent social historian, said in an interview. He died last year. “When Suharto rose to power, people believed that the wife had the wahyu, the flaming womb, and whoever united with her would get the wahyu. After her death, people began to sense the wahyu was gone.”

Or maybe it is and we’re just too close to it.

have read/will read dept.

o Jason Gross returns with his annual Best Music Scribing round-up.
o Nabokov’s son, Dmitri, has to decide whether or not to destroy his father’s last work, a work-in-progress titled Laura in accordance with Nabokov’s last wishes.
o Adderall/Ritalin prescriptions are up in the Major Leagues — 35 players during the 2006 season to 111 in 2007.
o My mind was totally blown by this Times article on Sunday about the genre of http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/20/world/asia/20japan.html"> Japanese cell-phone novels. Hope they make it to translation!
o A Wired editorial by Clive Thompson titled “http://www.wired.com/techbiz/people/magazine/16-02/st_thompson">Why Sci-Fi is the Last Bastion of Philosophical Writing,” which (I think) is also what it’s about.

have read/will read dept.: catch-up edition

Finally finished playing catch-up with many of my to-read bookmarks:
o Fantastic LA Weekly piece about Mark Mothersbaugh and Devo’s continued devolution. (“As an antidote, he and fellow Devo member Bob Casale in the beginning used to sneak subliminal messages into their scores. The first few times they were nervous, says Mothersbaugh. ‘I think it was a Keds commercial where we put in “Question authority.” I remember the people from Keds were tapping their pens on the table and the music’s playing, and it gets to the subliminal message, and I remember I flushed bright red. I looked over at this guy and he’s going, “Yeah! Yeah! Go go go!”‘”
o The McLovin12four screenname turned up on my buddy list, too.
o The Times writes a brief history of Webster Hall, which would be a wonderful place to see music if it wasn’t killing rock and roll in New York City.
o David Byrne’s Survival Strategies for Emerging Artists–and Megastars.
o The Avant Garde Project provides an archive of out-of-print experimental LPs in FLAC and mp3.
o The Times profiles WFMU’s $mall ¢hange.
o Sad/sweet dispatch about George Harrison occasionally dressing up in the old Beatles costumes.
o A long thread (c. 2005) about the manufacture and distribution of LSD on Grateful Dead tour.
o “I Got What America Needs Right Here“: a wonderful Onion editorial by and about our man for ’08, Jimmy Carter.
o A map of online communities.
o An open-source freeware version of SimCity will be included with every computer distributed by the One Laptop Per Child project. The idea of impoverished kids learning about mega-conceptual society-building through SimCity blows my mind, but I do worry about the hegemonic implications, that SimCity merely represents the Westernized/American notion of urban development, beginning with power plants and industrial zoning, as opposed to in a poorer economic sphere.

useful things, no. 10: write room

“Paperback Writer” – The Beatles (download, regular) (http://ax.phobos.apple.com.edgesuite.net/WebObjects/MZStoreServices.woa/wa/itmsSearchDisplayUrl?desc=Karaoke+Tribute+-+A+Tribute+to+the+Beatles+%28Vol.+6%29+%5Bkaraoke+Version%5D+-+Paperback+Writer&WOURLEncoding=ISO8859_1&lang=1&url=http%3A%2F%2Fphobos.apple.com%2FWebObjects%2FMZStore.woa%2Fwa%2FviewAlbum%3Fi%3D255555174%26id%3D255554946%26s%3D143441">buy, karaoke)

Over the weekend, I asked Spupes how to create a user account on my computer with all temptation-abetting internet capabilities blocked. Instead, he told me about WriteRoom, a text editor that takes over the computer’s full screen, literally blacking out all other apps in an emulation of a no-fuss ’80s-style word processor. By necessity, a screenshot could never convey exactly what is so wonderful about this program, so I’m not gonna try. Conceptually, it raises some interesting points about the usefulness of the complex, multitask-enabling GUIs that’ve become the norm versus the efficiency of one-track productivity. Practically, it’s just awesome. Or maybe it’s just a nice change of virtually scenery after 10+ years of Microsoft word processing products. Either way, I’m looking forward to getting up tomorrow and using this.

moving entertainments

Cornelius on some kids’ show:

Cornelius’s music for a video game, Coloris:

David Lynch on the iPhone:

The legendary/lost/kinda-actually-sucky Biggs sequence from Star Wars:

A little old lady with an ax scares off a robber:

have read/will read dept.

o Nicholas Meriwether on the Grateful Dead moniker: “steeped in scholarship, near universal in human culture and history, and still capable — as one Deadhead put it — of alienating parents.” (via his introduction to All Graceful Instruments, an anthology of Deadhead academia) (PDF)
o Chuck Klosterman on why not reading Harry Potter will make him culturally irrelevant at some point in the future.
o Why dudes like sappy movies, as long as they’re made up (and vice-versa).
o J. Hoberman on Bob Dylan’s films.
o David Cross on selling out. This is something of a genre: the confessional post about why doing X isn’t selling out, or — if it is — why it doesn’t matter a damn. (See also: Kevin Barnes.) Somebody could edit an anthology of this stuff.
o Steve Jobs at home, circa 1982.

have read/will read dept.

Today marked the first Sunday where the Times had no baseball stories. Caught up on some old bookmarks I’d never read and found a few more.
o A great Violet Blue story about the ownership of sex.com.
o Seth Stevenson’s travel journal from Dubai. I imagine it’s fairly impossible to file a boring story from there.
o A back door in the iTunes store to listen to Japanese pop and other delights.
o Mark Dery’s “Rememberance of tacos post” begins with the immortal lede “I’m having a señor moment,” and presents a brief history of Mexican food in the United States, which seems (to me) just another manifestation of the aesthetic/technological idea/ideal of realism.
o “Viewing American class divisions through Facebook and MySpace,” a paper by Danah Boyd.

moving entertainments

Old news in many cases, but all great:

Priceless straight-facin’ via The Onion (NSFW):

Use Of ‘N-Word’ May End Porn Star’s Career

A preview for a shot-by-shot recreation of Raiders of the Lost Ark made by 12-year olds. Anybody have a working torrent for the full deal?


Storytime, Terry Gilliam’s first movie, circa 1968:

Leave Kang alone:

As Sancho sez: “Nature is awesome.”

Footage of a legendary “Dark Star” from the Fillmore East, 2/14/70:

is it time for spring training yet?

Sadly, probably not. What a lame Series. At least it’s time to end the self-imposed moratorium on reading baseball books.

o The New Yorker‘s Ben McGrath gets loose on http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2007/10/29/071029fa_fact_mcgrath">Scott Boras, agent to A-Rod, Carlos Beltran, and many others.
o A pair of scholarly studies about the effects of the Designated Hitter, including a PDF of “the Etiology of Public Support for the Designated Hitter Rule” (apparently, um, Democrats favor the DH more than Republicans) (Thx, MVB)
o FireJoeMorgan.com will keep me entertained during the long, cold months. Of this, I am sure. (Word, OAK.)
o Richard Ford has a nice piece in today’s Times about the game-as-played versus the game-as-discussed. Anything that “refines the idea of spectatorship” is good. Anything “trying to sharpen the focus on a bunch of focusless stuff that not only doesn’t matter a toot, and could never be proven true or false and therefore isn’t really journalism, but that also doesn’t have anything to do with the game as it’s played”… well, that’s bad.
o It is time for the annual reading of A. Bartlett Giamatti’s “The Green Fields of the Mind.”

No, seriously, is it time for spring training yet?

have read/will read dept.

o Why didn’t anybody tell me there was a Mad Decent blog? All kindsa groovy/poppy/dancy jams from the world’s trenches.
o Bizarro crate-dug cuts from all over the globe at the End-of-World Music blog. I recommend the Yuri Morozov.
o Bill Wasik nails the zeitgeist.
o Tom Stoppard on Syd Barrett.
o Dean Ween is blogging.

have read/will read dept.

o Jonathan Lethem in typical nerd/pomo freefall.

o Gödel, Escher, Bach mastermind Douglas Hofstadter reviews the latest by Language Instinct brainiac Steven Pinker.

o A five-year old interview with the founders of my favorite permanent semi-floating party in Brooklyn.

o A long essay by Marcus Boon about Sublime Frequencies and ethnopsychedelic field recording.

o An even longer history of vernacular web design.

links of dubious usefulness, no. 16

o Thurston Moore on free jazz. (Thx, SoS.)

o The original manuscript proposal for William Gibson’s Spook Country. (via BB)

o A wiki-list of ballplayers’ entrance music. (So Julio Franco’s entrance music really was called “Everybody Get Ready, Jesus Is Coming”…)

o Douglas Wolk on leaked albums. (see also: his great James Brown reviews at Pitchfork.)

o The preview for Michel Gondry’s forthcoming Be Kind Rewind:

links of dubious usefulness, no. 15

o Been perusing the Lost in Tyme crate-digging blog at Sea of Sound‘s recommendo. Compared to Mutant Sounds, it’s positively mainstream, but still yielding some nice scores.

o The Acid Archives of Underground Sounds is a ridiculously large document of the obscurest of the obscure. They certainly don’t get everybody — a quick scan through recent Mutant Sounds posts from the genre/era reveals that — but the sheer amount of “lost” psych records is nearly unfathomable. If only they had recommended playlists.

o A complete video of Cornelius’s recent performance at the Sonar Festival. I haven’t watched it yet, but assuming it’s the same set I caught at Webster Hall in May, it’s dome-splitting: beautiful videos synched with Cornelius’s band, who groove on his bleeped abstractions in an organic way that somehow recalls the Stop Making Sense-era Talking Heads. Highly worth your time. Scroll down to find Cornelius. (Good spotting, Sancho.)

o Neutral Milk Hotel’s Julian Koster (aka the Music Tapes) will be playing one of his very sporadic shows in NYC next week, which can only be attended via his special, bizarre instructions. Last time, I tried to follow them & somehow still managed to miss him (as did other people who arrived at the same time/place as me). Doesn’t mean I won’t try again.

o The preview for Wes Anderson’s forthcoming Darjeeling Limited:

links of dubious usefulness, no. 14

o Technobrega is a new Brazilian genre whose creation and distribution is entirely based on bootlegging/free distribution/live gigs. Haven’t listened to the clips yet, but its context is rad. (Thanks, RG.)
o ZoomQuilt II is extraordinarily detailed eye candy, an infinitely looped acceleration into fantastic recursive worlds. (Word, Dad.)
o Haruki Murakami on jazz.
o A nice, meaty interview with William Gibson on his forthcoming Spook Country and other topics.
o A detailed chronology of 120 years of electronic musical instruments.

links of dubious usefulness, no. 13

o Peter Tork kvetches about how the Monkees have been kept from the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. I must respectfully disgaree with the otherwise heady folks at Hidden Track. In fact, not only would I argue that the Monkees deserve to be in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame for their roles as pioneering cultural archetypes, but that a canned institution like the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame was veritably invented for canned bands like the Monkees. I also think it’s a bit of a double-standard for them to honor those doing the canning (like, say, Phil Spector) but denying the messengers’ existence.

o Some great Mets-related profiles over the past few months: Jose Valentin (and how he is a player/owner in Puerto Rico), El Duque (and an older story about his arrival in the United States on a raft), Jose Reyes (and how he’s da bomb), Rick Peterson (and how he’s batshit, into crystals, and could conceivably turn an Oblique Strategies deck loose on the bullpen), and — on the cover of Sports Illustrated this week — Omar Minaya (and the Mets’ new new pan-racial funk; step over Sly Stone).

o An academic paper titled “Human Computer Interaction in Science Fiction Movies.” Haven’t gotten around to reading it yet, but it looks promising.

o Wunderkammern pal and Sea of Sound host Michael Slaboch contributes (along with Tony Mendoza) to the Third Coast International Audio Festival. Their “New Pleasant Revolution” is the fourth audio documentary down.

o A preview of the forthcoming (and officially sanctioned) Robot Chicken Star Wars special, out this weekend.

the coen brothers’ tuileries

“Tuileries,” the Coen brothers’ contribution to Paris, Je T’aime, might as well be a silent short titled “Donnie Goes to Paris.” To my ugly American ears, the French dialogue is just part of the soundtrack — and, either way, is totally unnecessary to understand the story, which is conveyed via pantomime. Not a significant work by any stretch, it’s still an entertaining exercise in how to retain one’s own voice while working inside a genre. For the Coens, that means abusing the shit out of Steve Buscemi in some new way. (Thanks, MVB.)

links of dubious usefulness, no. 12

Yo, happy spring everybody. I’m getting hell out of Dodge until early April. Posting will sporadic ’til I get back… xoxo, jj.

o Update on The Darjeeling Limited, Wes Anderson’s latest, which recently wrapped two months of shooting in India. Sounds potentially epic. (via Kottke.)

o Interesting Associated Press report about the Iraqi music industry. (see also: Sublime Frequencies’ ear-opening Choubi Choubi compilation of folk & pop from Saddam-era Iraq)

o A circa 2000 email roundtable between Haruki Murakami’s editor and translators.

o The blogobattalions have been all over this, but still worth passing along: a short Chris Ware animation from the forthcoming This American Life television show. I love the way his style translates to this medium. Hope he does more. (Thx, Sea of Sound.)

o Mutant Sounds blog, dedicated to uploading insanely obscure weirdo albums. (Werd, Boomy.)

o This whole episode is nutty, but fast-forward to 4:10 for the ridiculous Star Wars dorkiness:

links of dubious usefulness, no. 11

o Wired’s cover feature on so-called Snack Culture (“movies, TV, songs, games… packaged like cookies or chips, in bite-size bits for high-speed munching”) is a clever trend piece, even if it seems sorta token. Stephen Johnson’s contrarian rebuttal, on the other hand, is more incisive, arguing that, based on our collective love of insanely long television serials like 24 and The Sopranos, our attention spans are actually getting longer.

o In regards to the latter, I quite enjoyed David Denby’s overview of the recent spate of avant-narrative play in movies. “In the past, mainstream audiences notoriously resisted being jolted,” he writes. “Are moviegoers bringing some new sensibility to these riddling movies?” Definitely, I think, though I’m sad that Denby didn’t chase his idea even deeper into the mainstream, where movies like Stranger Than Fiction are channeling Charlie Kaufman’s meta-narratives into ultimately cutesy and traditional romantic comedies.

o In regards to the former, I also recently landed back on the perennial Ronald & Nancy Reagan pro-drug mash-up, which circulated extensively via bootleg video back in the day. I vaguely remember my Dad having a copy. It’s sometimes easy to forget that videos like this not only existed before YouTube but that there was a fairly established underground network that existed to distribute them. This is how the original South Park episode, “The Spirit of Christmas,” circulated, too.

o In regards to all of it, if only the molecular sense, I’m fascinated by Lowe’s recent campaign to “try to inject a new ‘emoticon’ into teens’ text messaging vernacular in an effort to keep teens drinking milk.” Or, if you will: :-{). I’m sure the international moustache lobby & various facial hair advocacy groups are pleased that the milk people are saving their first-quarter propaganda budgets.
o In regards to none of the above, Richard Gehr is blogging. It’s one thing to expose the kidz to good music. It’s another to do the same for the adultz.

grapefruit league links

Grapefruit League games begin on Wednesday. (Do you like http://www.negrophonic.com/2007/bjorkdiddygif/">grapefruit?)

o For the first time in a decade, Major League Baseball has tweaked the rules. Some stuff, such as a new way of resolving tied games, might come into play. In most cases throughout the 14-page PDF — the umpire placing the rosin bag on the pitcher’s mound instead of carrying it with him, for example — the changes are almost literally insignificant. Often, they exist simply to make a rule “consistent with current practice at the professional level.” One uses the word “expectorate.” In places, the changes excise outmoded historical statutes. They also acknowledge that any place the official rules refer to “he,” it could also mean “she.” If it is accepted that nobody, especially not Abner Doubleday, was singularly responsible for codifying the rules of a folk game, then — owners and commerce aside — it remains, like most professional sports, morphed and unconsciously micromanaged by the collective will of the participants. Official changes are, most of the time, secondary.

o The New York Times runs a nice profile Mets’ bench coach Jerry Manuel. “I feel very strongly that the game has a certain flow to it,” Ben Shpigel quotes Manuel as saying. “You make adjustments as it goes on.” It also notes that Manuel reads Gandhi and Tolstoy, which makes him a nice match with anti-war socialist/Gabriel Garcia Marquez-reading first baseman Carlos Delgado. I like the description of Manuel finding a “secluded spot on the field” to listen to the players around him.

o From the opposite school as Manuel is J.C. Bradbury, whose Baseball Economist: The Real Game Exposed was recently published (and reviewed by the Wall Street Journal). While the book sounds mindblowingly analytical, no doubt, I guess I’m a little skeptical of the claim that statistics comprise an objective, “real” game of ball. Baseball seems much larger to me, statistics being one part of a collision that also involves the drama, tedium, life, and lives that unfold from an eight-month season that begins in late February and ends in late October. Yes, you can read a baseball game as entries into a grand database (as my friend Russ recently pointed out) and maybe there’s something pure about that, but I’m not sure if it’s any more real or important than, say, a random summer rain delay.

o Spring training might be slow on actual news, but it’s high on human interest stories, usually in the form of profiles of perpetual minor league journeymen like Colter Bean.

have read/will read dept.

o Jonathan Lethem’s awesome Harper’s essay, “The Ecstasy of Influence.” Oddly — or not, given the theme of the piece — the section that I quoted the other day was actually lifted/appropriated/borrowed from David Foster Wallace.

o Joel Kotkin on “The Myth of ‘Superstar Cities.’” Will read tomorrow. I have a feeling he’s onto something.

o My ex-roomie’s aweosme clap clap blog has relaunched as clapclap.org, including an incisive deconstruction of freak-folk’s relationship to pop.

o Samantha M. Shapiro’s fascinating overview in the Sunday NYT magazine about the gray market that has sprung up to accomodate bootleg mixes. It centers on the Aphilliates’ recent bust, though never really gets into the meat of why there was a sudden crackdown.
Not reading, but:

o Lullabyes.net posted a lovely solo acoustic soundboard of Of Montreal’s Kevin Barnes playing, uh, the other day at Good Records in Dallas. A few nice covers are included, notably Neil Young’s “Harvest Moon,” the Beatles’ “I Will,” and a bit of the Olivia Tremor Control’s “Green Typewriters.” Thanks!

links of dubious usefulness, no. 10

o Kottke ran a particularly geeky overview of iPhone facts and conjecture.

o This dude melted my mind, man, with his theory of “A New Sith,” in which he reconsiders the backstory of the original Star Wars movies in light of the prequels. If George Lucas intended even a quarter of the stuff detailed here, he’s way cooler than I ever gave him credit for.

o Charlie Kaufman’s next picture, Synecdoche, starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, sounds ridiculously amazing.

o New Yawkers will soon be able to send cell cam images to 311 and 911. Hope I never need to, but cool innovation.

o James McNew from Yo La Tengo recently DJed a hip-hop set on WFMU.

james brown? james brown!

It occurred to me over the weekend that, before it is all over, James Brown could still be arrested for something. As my friend Bill is fond of saying: even in death, he’s James Brown. So far, he’s died on Christmas, been http://www.usatoday.com/life/people/2006-12-28-james-brown-funeral_x.htm ">pulled through Harlem in a horse-drawn carriage, caused lines down the block when he lay in state at the Apollo (check Amy’s photo-essay), had the locks changed on his wife, been at the center of a paternity test, and isn’t buried, but literally chilling in a temperature-controlled room in his own house until the lawyers figure it all out. I can’t say how it’ll happen, but there really is a chance that James Brown will once again end up in police custody. It also sincerely and deeply warms my heart to note that, during the last week of the year, Brown topped Saddam Hussein and Gerald Ford on the Google Zeitgeist.

Dude’s still the hardest working man in show business.

Oddly enough, just before the holiday break, I read the best book about music I’ve read in ages, and it happened to be about James Brown: Douglas Wolk’s 33 1/3 entry on Live at the Apollo. Check his mesmerizing science drop on hypeman Fats Gonder’s introduction:

Fats Gonder ramps up his delivery from a salesmanlike incantation to rabid enthusiasm. He’s got a singer to sell. What’s the man he’s introducing done with all that hard work? “Man that sang, ‘I Go CRAZY’!” The snare smacks as the horn section blares a G-chord. It’s really “I’ll Go Crazy,” but Gonder’s determined to out-country JB’s enunciation. “Try ME!” G-sharp. “YOU’ve Got the Power!” A. “THINK!” A-sharp….

Gonder’s speech has been setting up a couple of subliminal effects. Starting with “You’ve Got the Power” and running through “Bewildered,” there’s a steady 6/8 rhythm to the words he accents and the band’s stabs — a tick-tock swing that’s at pretty much the same tempo as Brown’s ballads. There’s also a hidden message in those emphases — Crazy-me-you-Think-Want-Mind-Be-WILL-Lost-Night-Shimmy! This is a night for total abandon, the suggestion goes; for thoughts to become desires and then to simply be, through sheer will; a night to be lost to shimmying.

All that, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the Chitlin Circuit. Well worth the read — but, then, what about James Brown isn’t? One couldn’t ask for a better subject. Philip Gourevitch’s “Mr. Brown” profile from the New Yorker is a must-read, too, and contains perhaps my favorite section lede ever:

There are no computers in the offices of James Brown Enterprises. “He’s got this strange notion that they can see back at you,” Maria Moon, one of his staffers, explained. “I guess he watched too many Russian-spy movies when he was young or something, but he thinks that they can see you and that they can track everything that you do.” Mr. Brown put it slightly differently: “I don’t want computers coming feeding direct off of me, ’cause I know what I got to tell a computer that it ain’t got in there, and I don’t want to. If the government would want me to be heading up the computer people, I would give ‘em a basic idea what we should put in a computer—not just basic things, you know, but things that will be helpful in the future. We don’t have that, but I could tell ‘em a lot of things.”

Jonathan Lethem’s Rolling Stone piece from last year ain’t nothing to sneeze at either. As Wolk points out repeatedly, the idea behind Live at the Apollo was for James Brown to sell himself as an attraction. Or, as the Tom Tom Club put it, in their “Genius of Love”: “James Brown? James Brown!” Even still, James Brown remains the answer to his own question.

have read/will read dept.

o On New Year’s, the New York Times ran one of the periodic pieces about Jack Kerouac’s embittered, alcoholic post-Beat years in my hometown.

o Wayne Marshall is a pop ethnomusicologist who runs the great Wayne and Wax Blog. His “we use so many snares” piece about reggaeton, featured in Da Capo’s newest Best Music Writing anthology, delves into the genre’s genetics with highly readable academic aplomb.

o Cory Doctorow described neo-cyberpunk Charles Stross’s Accelerando as making “hallucinogens obsolete,” which is a bit of an overstatement. But, if you wanna trip nuts in 15 minute increments on the subway, bus, or wherever, Accelerando (once it gets going) will probably do the trick. It’s kinda like DMT without the exploding mothball smell. Stross, being one of them futurey robot-talkin’ types put the whole dang novel online. Buy it here, if’n y’want. (Thanks to RG for the recommendo.)

o Ypulse is a blog dedicated to teen culture; teens being way cooler than anything covered on Idolator.

o On Sunday, the Times ran a story about an amazing internet-age love triangle that is by turns both hilarious and horrible. Reads like a novel, or a Coen brothers’ script, or something way beyond reality.

have read/will read dept.

o Dad recently posted the most recent batches of his Andy Goldsworthy/Joseph Cornell-like beach constructions, as well as filling out an archive of some his paintings.

o I quite enjoyed Cory Doctorow’s post about how the internet is far better at enabling deviance than promoting normalcy. It’s nice to see the freak flag fly.

o Astroland, the last big amusement park on Coney Island, was sold a few weeks ago. After this coming summer, it will be torn down. While the Cyclone and the Wonder Wheel and Nathan’s (and the Parachute Drop) will allegedly remain, Coney Island as a place of cheap thrills is pretty much over. But, hey, maybe they’ll pull off their plan. Wouldn’t a glimmering new theme park by the sea be more respectful to the idea of Coney Island than the semi-occupied ruins currently there? (http://www.wunderkammern27.com/2005/11/coney_island_1005.html">My Coney Island photos.)

o Ooh, the Wall Street Journal profiled Haruki Murakami

o …and Reason published a long interview with South Park‘s Trey Parker and Matt Stone.

links of dubious usefulness, no. 9

o Should you have a mouse problem, I highly recommend Havahart’s mouse trap. My roommate set it up today. By the time I got home, Sparky (at least, I think it was Sparky) was waiting for me. I tried to release him into the vacant lot, but he skittered off in the direction of the cake factory. Hopefully, he’s in heaven right now, consuming mountain-sized puffs of cinnamon-flavored goo. Safe travels, Sparky!

o Two years old, but news to me: Gabriel Garcia Marquez is writing the script for the film adaptation of Love in the Time of Cholera. Actually, I guess, he wrote the script, since the film is allegedly in production.

o Striking a bit too close to home is The Burg, a YouTube-era sitcom. (Thx, RG.)

o Gotta head up to the Bronx for the Tropicalia exhibition sometime soon.

o Lists of essential movies and whatnot are somewhat silly, though I appreciate the authoritative, core curriculum-like functionality of Jim Emerson’s 102 Films You Must See Before…. At any rate, it’s been kind of a fun project to check stuff off lately.

links of dubious usefulness, no. 8

o A mondo-heady Judith Supine punk-rawk collage/animation video by the dude who may or may not be my roommate. (Thanks, Judith Supine!)

o Former Mets’ manager Bobby Valentine sells meat in Japan: for a relaxing time, make it Bobby-Burger time. (Alright, MetsBlog, and thanks for the great year.)

o A DJ set Simpsons‘ creator Matt Groening spun on the BBC last year (or, http://meems.imeem.com/PilSwi1K/forums/syiKJIV3/KdIxCiLO/matt_groenings_dj_set_on_bbc_radio_the_breezeblock/">the badass setlist, anyway).

o A really creepy bootleg mix I acquired over the weekend, called Endless Bummer: The Very Worst of the Beach Boys, features in-studio arguments, terrible ads, drunken live cuts, Brian rapping, and the Spanish version of “Kokomo.” Perhaps I will post a track sometime. (Big ups, Pete.)

o A recent article about what’s become of the Shibuya-kei scene that produced http://www.wunderkammern27.com/2006/03/brazil_the_deady_nightshade_fa.html">Cornelius and Kahimi Karie.

links of dubious usefulness, no. 7

o The PhantasyTour message boards, where the Phish parking lot lives on, are many things. Rarely, however, are they as brilliant as the thread that began several weeks ago with the subject “moe. = missionary position sex…” and went from there. (Random sampling: “Brothers Past = boning an emo chick just to see what it’s like. Turns out, not that bad.”)

o An unusually well-written baseball profile by John Koblin in the New York Observer, about Mets’ starter John Maine. (Thanks, MetsBlog.)

o These lists make the rounds every few years, but here is an updated page of how much it costs to book bands at colleges via the Man. (James Brown: $100,000; Huey Lewis, $150,000. Hmm. (Go Josh!)

o Yo La Tengo’s Ira Kaplan listed his faves for both Pitchfork and eMusic recently.

o A great piece from the New York Review of Books reviewing a bunch of books about Google, the Long Tail, and such. (Word, Joey.)

links of dubious usefuless, no. 6

o Trap Door’s International Psychedelic Mystery Mix is dope. (Turntable Labs has it.)

o Diplo’s podcasts are archived.

o David Yaffe’s “Tangled Up in Keys” is a few weeks old, but is interesting attempt at unpacking the whole Dylan/Alicia Keys thing. (Thanks, BoomSalon.)

o ‘zine-era information punks RE/Search are putting out a second volume to their awesome 1987 Pranks sourcebook, certainly one of the cooler college textbooks I ever had to purchase. (Thanx, BB.)

o The 5 Most Obviously Drug-Fueled TV Appearances Ever. Jah bless YouTube.

have read/will read dept.

o Jonathan Lethem on Bob Dylan in the new Rolling Stone.
o Malcolm Gladwell on dependecy ratios in the new New Yorker
o Kevin Kelly’s newish Street Use blog, chronicling spontaneous technology.
o My dear friend DJ Power Possum/O’Diggity McPoindexter has begun marking Possum’s (totally bizarre) Travels.
o Sometimes, it’s really nice to read about the Beatles for no reason at all.

koalas on a police car

(The Island will continue tomorrow.)

I have a totally absurd friend named Orf who once played an evil hippie named “Wyoming” on As the World Turns. He makes totally absurd movies. His latest — as I found out this morning, in a (predictably) totally absurd email — is titled “Koalas on a Police Car,” and features soundtrack excerpts from the most recent Funny Cry Happy album, On A Clear Night, You Can Smell For Miles. The film can be watched here as part of a “[blanks] on a [blank]” contest. Search for “koala” and listen for bits of “Xanadu Roadtrip” and “The Speed of Sunset.” Don’t forget to vote for it! Not safe for work, yo.

have read/will read dept.

o BB recently gave props to Tom Stites’ critique of American media. It’s a spot-on, if depressing, assessment. Tom also happens to be my pal Bill‘s dad, and a rad dude. He also drove Bill & me to our first Phish show (and, to his credit, got it completely).
o Okay, okay, there’s nothing new here, but this Elizabeth Drew’s piece in the New York Review of Books, “Power Grab,” is one of the more fundamental indictments of the Bush administration I’ve read, tracing how they methodically redefined the Executive Branch. (Thanks, Rich.)
o Admittedly, I haven’t gone through the full list yet, but — in “The Big Here” — Kevin Kelly offers 30 questions to help you center your ass.
o Paper Thin Walls, another new music site, launched this week with their reader-driven music blog, Bullhorn.
o The alluring, stock footage-assembled coming attraction for the work-in-progress Os Mutantes documentary, Bread and Circuses. (Thanks, Ari.)

have read/will read dept.

o An update on http://www.worldchanging.com/archives/004543.html">Nicholas Negroponte’s One Laptop Per Child project
o A Los Angeles Times profile of musician/teacher/DJ http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-smolin9jun09,0,3734475.story?coll=la-home-local">Barry Smolin. Shmo is a way righteous dude.
o A history of the Viele Map, which surveys the waterways of old Manhattan.
o An essay by virtual reality inventor Jaron Lanier about the http://edge.org/3rd_culture/lanier06/lanier06_index.html">dangers of online collectivism (and subsequent weigh-ins from other digerati).
o A conversation between http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/newsnight/5064170.stm">MPAA president Dan Glickman and EFF rabble-rouser John Perry Barlow.
o The http://www.williamgibsonbooks.com/blog/http://www.williamgibsonbooks.com/blog/2006_06_01_archive.asp#114922706834176317">mysterious fiction excerpts William Gibson has been posting to his blog of late.

modern times, huh?

So, the name of the new Bob Dylan album, due out August 29th on Columbia, is Modern Times. In name, anyway, it is good and resonant and oh-so-Boblike, both perfectly vague and utterly precise. It’s also a bit ambitious, a tad pretentious, and surely not a little tongue-in-cheek, but — hey — that’s why he’s Dylan. The first point of reference that pops to my mind is the classic Charlie Chaplin picture. I’m also reminded, to a lesser extent, of the two “Hard Times” — Charles Dickens’ novel and Stephen Foster’s song (which Dylan covered on 1992′s Good As I Been To You — both of which use the title phrase as synonymous for “modern times.”

It’s wonderfully multi-purpose, too. The first page of Google results (without quotes) returns listings for the Chaplin flick, a San Francisco book store, and an outfit that operates Scandinavian television stations. Searching with quotes, one also discovers a Chicago furniture outlet. And the Google Book results? Rural France, contemporary Japan, mathematical thought, Jews of the Middle East and North Africa, Don Quixote, 20th century storytelling, and those are just in the first ten hits. It is a phrase that is as well-circulated as it is slippery. Go ahead, try to define it.

In the liner notes to 1993′s World Gone Wrong, Dylan described the music of the Mississippi Sheiks as “raw to the bone and… faultlessly made for these modern times (the New Dark Ages).”

Meanwhile, while yer pondering and waiting for August, catch up on the latest Theme Time Bobcasts.

UPDATE: RollingStone.com’s new blog has some more details, including a few song titles: “Ain’t Talkin’,” “Thunder on the Mountain,” “Spirit on the Water,” “Workingman’s Blues,” “When the Deal Goes Down,” and “Neddy More.”

links of dubious usefulness, no. 5

Here are five pages I have bookmarked recently but not yet fully absorbed. I am glad I know where this information is located.

o Jeff Duntemann’s gallery of homemade radios. The guts of these projects are gorgeous. (Thanx, BB.)

o A collection of historical celestial atlases and star maps. (Word, Kircherians.)

o YouTube has the original, 1994 short film of Wes Anderson’s Bottle Rocket. I’m looking forward to watching this one. (Yepyep, Kottke.)

o A list of various “open content” projects currently occurring in Brazil, including details about Gilberto Gil and John Perry Barlow’s Canto Livre program, which aims to digitize Brazilian culture, assign Creative Commons licenses, and distribute via peer-to-peer networks. See also the Estudio Livre program, a series of public, government-funded recording studios run on open source software.

o The second episode of Bob Dylan’s Theme Time Radio Hour is available for free via the same route as the first. (username: press1, password: xmr0ck5!) It is a great pleasure to come back from a night out and be able to fire up the freshy Bobmix. (Big ups, Expecting Rain.)

iTube

I love the democracy of YouTube. Search for “Wilco,” and the first results (for now, anyway), include unofficial music videos, what appears to be a Dutch school play (whose keywords include “robot,” “funny,” “hardcore,” and “zelfgemaakt”), and some kids partying in the basement of a dude named Wilco. Then comes footage of the band, but first shaky audience-shot bootlegs, before finally getting to the TV appearances and music videos, and Wilco covers by random people who thought it’d be a swell idea to cover Wilco and put it on YouTube.

Anyway, some of my favorite (non-Wilco) YouTube discoveries:
o Yo La Tengo attend Mr. Show’s rock academy in the “Sugarcube” video.
o Brian Wilson performs “Surf’s Up” solo on a Leonard Bernstein television special in 1966. (Bonus: 1992′s “Hot Fun in the Summertime,” in which the Boys cram bikini babes, old ladies, children, and John Stamos into three-and-a-half minutes of glorious, uh, hot fun.)
o Wes Anderson shills pleasantly for American Express.
o Jerry Garcia rubs elbows with Hugh Hefner during the Grateful Dead’s 1969 appearance on Playboy After Dark. (Hef was later dosed by the band.)
o Jeff Mangum sings “Engine.”

the theme time radio hour with bob dylan

Not sure if it’s still available, but XM Radio posted the first episode of the Theme Time Radio Hour With Your Host Bob Dylan (username: press1, password: xmr0ck5!). About a million miles from contemporary radio, it is exactly the type of show I would’ve loved to discover late at night in high school when I was supposed to be asleep. Where Dylan to come on, and were he just a random announcer and not actually Bob Dylan, I would’ve likely thought “who talks like this?” His phrases are occasionally awkward, his spoken recitations of songs’ lyrics kind of hilarious, and his attempt at introducing Stevie Wonder in Italian is endearing.

But I’m equally sure that I would’ve kept listening, because the DJ sounds like he’s from another planet. In a good way, too. “If you think the sun is too hot, at least you don’t have to shovel it,” he says near the end of the weather-themed episode. (“Spoken like a true Minnesotan,” a friend commented.)

The music is great, mostly drawn from that ancient period before, well, Dylan was Dylan. There’s Muddy Waters and the Carter Family, of course. But there’s also Frank Sinatra and Martin, Joe Jones’ proto-surf-rock (“California Sun”) and cinematic Judy Garland (Come Rain or Shine”). There’s calypso (Lord Beginner’s “Jamaica Hurricane”) and tremolo-kissed gospel (The Staples Singers’ “Uncloudy Day”). I can’t say I’m going to subscribe to XM just to get Dylan’s show, but I’ll certainly make an effort to track it down (and would probably even purchase it on a per-episode basis, were that option to be reasonably offered).

protozone

I’m taking the night off. Go play with some of Dad’s trippy software.

links of dubious usefulness, no. 4

o Optical Atlas is the blogosphere’s first full-service Elephant 6 Recording Company resource. The last week has been full of news (an E6 documentary!) and goodies (a stunningly crisp, segue-loaded uncirculated Neutral Milk Hotel soundboard from ’97).

o Robert Hillburn interviews Jack White on the occasion of the debut of The Raconteurs, his extracurricular modern pop quartet with Brendan Benson.

o Alexandre Matias’s “http://www.furious.com/PERFECT/tropicaliasdarkside.html">The Dark Side of Tropicália, part 1,” published by Perfect Sound Forever in 2003, argues (essentially) that the tropicalistas have assumed an omnipresent cultural dominance in Brazil not unlike their baby boomer equivalents in the United States. Matias’s argument is as uncommon as it is well reasoned. Definitely an interesting read. (But where’s part 2?)

o Back in December, Nature published an article that claimed Wikipedia was only marginally more error-ridden than the mighty Encyclopedia Britannica. Britannica has fired back. Like many, I’m rather enamored with Wikipedia, and this is heartily disheartening on all counts. Nature refuses to retract the piece. (Thanks, Russ.)

my favorite lists

It’s hard to get more democratic than an interesting ranking of real data.

o Google Zeitgeist – A wholly important list summarizing the most recent week of searches. They are the top ideas currently circulating, which is sort of a heady concept. John Battelle calls it “the Database of Intentions.”

o Billboard’s Hot Ringtones – This week, Koji Kondo’s “Super Mario Brothers Theme” remains in the top five after 74 weeks on the charts. Harry Mancini’s “Pink Panther Theme” isn’t too far behind. Go meme-pop, go!

o Most emailed stories from the New York Times and USA Today – The most emailed stories aren’t the most important. That is, they’re not usually proper news, about politics or the weather or anything. Rather, they’re stories that grow legs because (like the Google Zeitgeist) they speak to some idea circulating subliminally. It seems as if there is no crossover between the Times and USA Today.

o OCLC’s Top 1000 library books – The Online Computer Library Center compiled this list from the catalogues of over 53,000 libraries around the world. For all the talk I heard about the “demise of the canon” during four years of college English classes, it’s funny to see the canon itself spelled out in relatively hard numbers. It’s also funny to note that #15 — nestled between The Night Before Christmas and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer — is Garfield at Large. Bill Watterson’s eponymous Calvin and Hobbes collection hits at #77 (with a bullet!) (BOMP!). Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan sits at #381. The writings of John Calvin do not chart. (Thanks, Kottke)

UPDATE:
Looks like democratic lists are on John Battelle’s mind, too. Here he fantasticates about TVRank.

“fille ou garcon (sloop john b)” – stone & the sea of sound

“Fille ou Garcon (Sloop John B)” – Stone (download)
from Femmes de Paris, v. 1 (2002) (buy)
released by Wagram

(file expires March 24th.)

I don’t know much about this French version of “Sloop John B” except a.) it’s awesome and b.) it was introduced to me by wunderkammern27 correspondent Michael Slabach. Michael has just launched a blog as a homebase for his photography and his weekly podcast, The Sea of Sound. “Fille ou Garcon” is exactly the kind of eclectic and otherwise ginchy shit he’s great at turning up. A new edition — brimming with a bunch of tantilizing looking tracks, plus some old faves of mine — just went up today. I can’t wait to check it.

As for the song’s awesomeness, I guess I’m just a straight sucker for ’60s sounds. I love the sugar-coated bounce. It reminds me a little bit of Os Mutantes. But the real treat is the horn part, which is another sample waiting to happen. In the grand scheme of French pop, this is probably cookie-cutter stuff, cranked out in a quick session by some bored arrangers and on-staff musicians. Sophisticated it’s not, but man is it sunshiny.

links of dubious usefulness, no. 3

o Aquarium Drunkard posts what I’m guessing is the August 1967 rehearsal preceding the Beach Boys’ gigs in Hawaii — their last shows (I’m pretty sure) as the original quartet of Brian, Carl, and Dennis Wilson, Mike Love, and Al Jardine. Smile had already combusted, but Brian was still pretty far from a vegetable (though Mike Love’s brutal dickheadedness comes to fore atop what sounds like a great sounding rehearsal of “Heroes and Villains”). Still, the harmonies are brotherly and beautiful. (Thanks, Justin.)

o Yo La Tengo’s Ira Kaplan posts the following:

We want to let you know that once again Yo La Tengo will take to the airwaves of the mighty WFMU and do our best to help them make some well-deserved money. Listen live over wfmu.org (details available on the Schedule page at yolatengo.com) on Tuesday March 7 from 8 pm – 11 pm, eastern time. Anyone who pledges to the station during that time gets to make a request, and Georgia, James and I — helped out as always by Mr. Bruce Bennett– will do our best to play it. Don’t miss it.

o The New York Times Magazine’s real estate issue proclaims Bourgwick to be the http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/05/magazine/305bushwick.1.html">Next Neighborhood (bypass registration) in an article subtitled “How An Undesirable Neighborhood Becomes the Next Hot Spot.” The Times has covered Bourgwick before, but not at this level, with at least a half-dozen color newsprint photos (with circles and arrows!) of places within a two-block spitting range. Unlike the last story, which was about the social development of the place, Robert Sullivan’s piece gets into the mechanics of the neighborhood’s economics. Our neighborhood is very much a satellite of Manhattan, and sometimes seemed pleasantly untouched by the bustle of the big island to the west. (Today, for example, dozens of bike messengers gathered on the basketball court out back and veritably jousted.) Of course it’s ignorant to play naive about the real estate development happening underfoot, but it’s also not something that’s easy to find out about. I need to give the article a better read.

o Two blogs I’ve been quite enjoying of late are the Proceedings of the Athansius Kircher Society and Tinselman — both esoteric cabinets o’ digital wonder, featuring bizarre architecture, optical illusions, and other delights.

links of dubious usefulness, no. 2

o What’s-a-pederast-Walter? dept: the real life Jesus “The Jesus” Quintana. Creepy. (Thanks, Rach.)

o When I was young, the closest thing we had to a town drunk lived down the block from us, and he’d occasionally wander by, talking to himself, having just staggered up the steep hill from Gunther’s Tap Room in the village. Dad would sometimes give him lifts home, and the guy would speak of a fellow drunk he’d known some years ago, named Jack. Jack’s last name happened to be “Kerouac,” then living out some of his final, indescribably depressive years (during which he became an embittered, conservative alcoholic) in Northport. The Daily News has a story about his time there, taking care of his mother. (Shortly, they moved to Florida, where Kerouac died in 1969.)

o In Los Angeles, my friend scored us passes to go see a test screening of Richard Linklater’s Waking Life-style adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s A Scanner Darkly. I was more than psyched. After Daniel ran our cell phones back to the car (no pictures!), and after we lied on the little questionnaires and said we were 26 (only 18-26 year olds, please), junior-level studio dudes from Central Casting marched up and down the line cherry-picking 20 year olds to meet their demographic needs. We ended up past the cut-off point, got a pre-recorded spiel from Central Casting Junior-Level Studio Exec. #2 (who offered us freebies to see a forthcoming John Cusack/Morgan Freeman picture whose major recommendation is that Freeman plays the bad guy), and were sent off into the night. Anyway, here’s a preview for the movie, which — despite my threats to Exec #2 that I’d post bad things about the movie on my blog — looks pretty f’in nifty. (Thanks, Michael.)

o A righteously hilarious short film for music dorks and Other Music patrons (picking up where Jack White’s http://www.mtv.tv/mtv.tv/dynamo/shells/news.jhtml?article=50133428">recent rant ended).

o Speaking of which, Jack White is blogging? I’ll have to check that out in the morning.

here lies love

Today, David Byrne formally announced Here Lies Love, his musical about Imelda Marcos. It will debut in Australia next month. As the page says, this production is a “first sketch” of a “performance [that] will be set in clubs, with non-stop music by David Byrne and Fatboy Slim.”

Oh word? Word.

weekend reading

I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, a sports guy. But I love me some Chuck Klosterman. He’s blogging from the Super Bowl all week for ESPN.com, and it’s glorious stuff. He began on Sunday night. Here is his most recent posting.

from the penthouse, you’ll be able to see the high water mark

Jann Wenner is (possibly) opening a Rolling Stone-themed casino in Las Vegas. “Will there be a ‘New Dylan Album’ slot machine,” Gabriel Sherman wonders, “where every pull comes up five stars?”

Hunter Thompson would be rolling over in his grave if he hadn’t been shot out of a fucking cannon.

respeck check

Three of my favorite bloggers went traveling lately.

David Byrne journied to the Philippines to research Here Lies Love, his forthcoming musical about Imelda Marcos. His travelogue is precise and analytical. (Likewise, he recently added permalinks to his blog. Wahoo!)

Mike Doughty went to Africa (start there and proceed), and is dispatching oodles of beautiful photographs in categories such as “kids,” “dudes!” “cars,” and “signs!” as well as some more descriptive postings.

John Perry Barlow, meanwhile, headed deep into his belly button, and came back with a fairly staggering bit of self-reckoning in this foul year of our Lord, 2006. Whether or not you’re interested in Barlow, he’s definitely in it for the long haul — whatever “it” is — and is one of the more elegantly articulate travelers I’ve come across.

headiest radio show ever?

While it’s not quite as delicious as last year’s rumor that El Zimmy was gonna guest judge on American Idol, the prospect of the following has me hugely intrigued (to say the least):

Bob Dylan shocked his fans 40 years ago by embracing the electric guitar. Now he’s stunning a few more by embracing another technological innovation: satellite radio. The singer has signed on to serve as host of a weekly one-hour program on XM Satellite Radio, spinning records and offering commentary on new music and other topics, starting in March. The famously reclusive 64-year-old performer said in a statement yesterday that “a lot of my own songs have been played on the radio, but this is the first time I’ve ever been on the other side of the mike.”

“Other topics,” hmm? After doing a Victoria’s Secret ad, I don’t think anybody can possibly spin a Dylan radio show as “shocking.” It kinda makes too much sense. Unless, that is, he starts hawking underwear on the air (and even that would be in the fine tradition of King Biscuit Flour and the like…)

If heads can’t figure out how to get this on BitTorrent, I might have to actually subscribe to XM!

body massage, go!

I sometimes use the phrase “body massage!” to express happiness. This is why.

Mike has adapted the “go!” to various situations, ala Inspector Gadget — e.g. “iPod, gooooo!” “cell phone, gooooo!”

links of dubious usefulness

o Reportedly, Bob Dylan recently gave Neil Young a copy of this box set as a gift. Gotta git my hands on that one.

o Get yourself a Team Zissou identification card.

o Earlier this year, the Coen brothers and writer Charlie Kaufman (“Being John Malkovich,” “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”) created “sound plays” for the Theater For the New Ear. Scored by longtime Coens’ collaborator Carter Burwell, the one-acts starred (among others) John Goodman, Philip Seymour-Hoffman, Steve Buscemi, and Meryl Streep. Burwell has posted some excerpts on his website. They’re ridiculously tantalizing, if a bit cryptic without context. Hopefully, they’ll see full release in the future. (Particularly bitchin’ and self-contained is Kaufman’s Computer Love.)

o JEFF GOLDBLUM IS WATCHING YOU POOP! (Told you.)

more on the dead/archive.org brouhaha

I guest-blogged again over at LiveMusicBlog.com. Could the story be over? Is it an end or the beginning?

neutral milk hotel

I sometimes have a hard time expressing how important Neutral Milk Hotel’s In the Aeroplane Over the Sea remains to me. (Sometimes.) Without getting all obsessive, some links of interest:

o Some “new” old Jeff Mangum tapes have been posted online. They’re very much in the vein of the other pre-Avery Island projects that have been circulating. “How did Aeroplane happen?” people ask. The answer — as these tapes prove — is very slowly.

o Over at John Darnielle’s Last Plane to Jakarta, there’s a very thoughtful discussion about the ethics of circulating old tapes and demos, with a few chimings from the head Mountain Goat himself. Given the totally inspiring Elephant 6 enthusiasm for exchanging music, I don’t think it’s wrong to be circulating these. For that matter, I think to call them “demos” is to sell them short. Just because they were never issued on CD makes them no less important. In fact, it makes them more quintessentially E6.

o This week also sees the publication of Kim Cooper’s In the Aeroplane Over the Sea volume in Continuum’s 33 1/3 series. I read it over the weekend (thanks, Wendy!), and enjoyed it quite a bit, though it’s more of a play-by-play than an attempt to channel or explain the album’s beauty. More of an emphasis on the latter, I think, would have served the former. But, hey, it’s added invaluably to the way I understand Aeroplane without robbing it of any of its mystery. In fact, I think I’ll listen to it right now.

o In the fall of 2002, Jeff Mangum hosted nine radio shows for New Jersey’s WFMU. The only way to grok their mind-bending diversity is to peep the playlists. Or, better yet, check ‘em out yourself. A spoiler of sorts: episode 1 begins with one of Jeff’s rare post-Aeroplane creations, a spectacularly weird Korena Pang sound collage, “To Animate The Body With The Cocoon of the Her Unconscious Christ The Mother Removes Her Death Body of 1910 Only To Be Reborn In The Same Spirit as a School of Blow Fish Believing in the Coming of the Milk Christ.”

o In early 2001, Jeff and Elf Power’s Laura Carter played a show at a random-ass bar in New Zealand, where they were camping and visiting (and recording) with the Tall Dwarfs. It remains Jeff’s only public performance of his own songs since 1998. It took, I think, two years for the news of the show to reach the States, and another two years for the tape to circulate. It’s an ultra-crispy soundboard, and — for reasons Jeff explains — an ultra-powerful performance. Perhaps a bit unforgiving, it’s well worth hearing any Aeroplane fan. Check it.

ginchy shit

1.) Bob Dylan playing five nights at the Beacon Theater in late April with Merle Haggard.

2.) Bollywood For the Skeptical, a well-organized introduction to Indian film music for newbies (like me), complete with an album’s worth of mp3s.

3.) A 3-D flash recreation of PT Barnum’s American Museum, an occasional pet obsession of mine. Filled with mermaid bones, little people (the real Tom Thumb!), and artifacts from around the globe, the Museum — which burned down in 1865, was moved up Broadway, and burned again in 1868 — was a discomforting mix of real specimens and fabrications. The website — which also has a feature where one can try to figure out who set the place ablaze — is a creepy fusion of Myst and history.
(3a.) The previous two links both came via BoingBoing, undoubtedly my favorite blog not written by a roommate.)

4.) Medeski, Martin, and Wood playing what will surely be four weirded-out sets at Tonic on March 7th and 8th. It’s too bad it took Tonic’s threatened closing to get ‘em back. (And that’s not to mention Jim O’Rourke’s own benefit there on February 23rd.)

5.) My 10 favorite albums of 2004 as they stood on the day I filled out my Pazz & Jop ballot.

bitchin’ idea for an article

Fifth graders draw interpretations of Radiohead songs.
Awesome.

a righteously amusing article by chuck klosterman

Twenty-four hours of VH1 Classic. Check it.

some fab articles

I think John Darnielle is an amazing writer. Everybody should worship at the altar of Last Plane to Jakarta. Word.
I mentioned this the other day, but Sasha Frere-Jones recently wrote a wonderful article called “When Critics Meet Pop.”