Sunday, January 28, 2007
Below, framegrabs from a dodgy VHS transfer of the film of their extraordinary late '77 single "Know Your Product." (Better quality versions exist on YouTube, but I prefer the olive drab scanlines...)
(Algy Ward, bass. He would bolt for The Damned after the failure of The Saints' PERFECT third album, Prehistoric Sounds.)
(Chris Bailey. 'Nuff spat.)
(Ivor Hay, the kit. Only Jon from Sightings comes close to matching this mad cat's pitiless élan.)
(Saints: Rotten's homicidal sarcasm welded to a rarefied observational order of lyrical acerbity, assayed by Aussie storage shed motherfucks who'd been practicing together every goddamned day for four years before their "big break." Completely exhilarating music, and never more so than today, 6,000 centuries after the fact...)
(The mighty Edmund Keupper, guitar... Also see Laughing Clowns, The Aints, etc.)
The Saints' greatness all but assured their demise. Post-Keupper, I'm hesitant to commit. But 74-78, holy God... Track down and buy the All Times Through Paradise 4xCD box immediately. We rocked those discs loud and often during the December LRS jaunt. Rat was dancing in his seat up 85 to Nashville, and that's a gloriously noiseome vision of Hell you'd never, ever want to miss.
Saturday, January 27, 2007
DAFFY DOES DOOM
by Maureen Dowd
Dick Durbin went to the floor of the Senate on Thursday night to denounce the vice president as “delusional.”
It was shocking, and Senator Durbin should be ashamed of himself.
Delusional is far too mild a word to describe Dick Cheney. Delusional doesn’t begin to capture the profound, transcendental one-flew-over daftness of the man.
Has anyone in the history of the United States ever been so singularly wrong and misguided about such phenomenally important events and continued to insist he’s right in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary?
It requires an exquisite kind of lunacy to spend hundreds of billions destroying America’s reputation in the world, exhausting the U.S. military, failing to catch Osama, enhancing Iran’s power in the Middle East and sending American kids to train and arm Iraqi forces so they can work against American interests.
Only someone with an inspired alienation from reality could, under the guise of exorcising the trauma of Vietnam, replicate the trauma of Vietnam.
You must have a real talent for derangement to stay wrong every step of the way, to remain in complete denial about Iraq’s civil war, to have a total misunderstanding of Arab culture, to be completely oblivious to the American mood and to be absolutely blind to how democracy works.
In a democracy, when you run a campaign that panders to homophobia by attacking gay marriage and then your lesbian daughter writes a book about politics and decides to have a baby with her partner, you cannot tell Wolf Blitzer he’s “out of line” when he gingerly raises the hypocrisy of your position.
Mr. Cheney acts more like a member of the James gang than the Jefferson gang. Asked by Wolf what would happen if the Senate passed a resolution critical of The Surge, Scary Cheney rumbled, “It won’t stop us.”
Such an exercise in democracy, he noted, would be “detrimental from the standpoint of the troops.”
Americans learned an important lesson from Vietnam about supporting the troops even when they did not support the war. From media organizations to Hollywood celebrities and lawmakers on both sides, everyone backs our troops.
It is W. and Vice who learned no lessons from Vietnam, probably because they worked so hard to avoid going. They rush into a war halfway around the world for no reason and with no foresight about the culture or the inevitable insurgency, and then assert that any criticism of their fumbling management of Iraq and Afghanistan is tantamount to criticizing the troops. Quel demagoguery.
“Bottom line,” Vice told Wolf, “is that we’ve had enormous successes, and we will continue to have enormous successes.” The biggest threat, he said, is that Americans may not “have the stomach for the fight.”
He should stop casting aspersions on the American stomach. We’ve had the stomach for more than 3,000 American deaths in a war sold as a cakewalk.
If W. were not so obsessed with being seen as tough, Mr. Cheney could not influence him with such tripe.
They are perpetually guided by the wrong part of the body. They are consumed by the fear of looking as if they don’t have guts, when they should be compelled by the desire to look as if they have brains.
After offering Congress an olive branch in the State of the Union, the president resumed mindless swaggering. Asked yesterday why he was ratcheting up despite the resolutions, W. replied, “In that I’m the decision maker, I had to come up with a way forward that precluded disaster.” (Or preordained it.)
The reality of Iraq, as The Times’s brilliant John Burns described it to Charlie Rose this week, is that a messy endgame could be far worse than Vietnam, leading to “a civil war on a scale with bloodshed that will absolutely dwarf what we’re seeing now,” and a “wider conflagration, with all kinds of implications for the world’s flow of oil, for the state of Israel. What happens to King Abdullah in Jordan if there’s complete chaos in the region?”
Mr. Cheney has turned his perversity into foreign policy.
He assumes that the more people think he’s crazy, the saner he must be. In Dr. No’s nutty world-view, anti-Americanism is a compliment. The proof that America is right is that everyone thinks it isn’t.
He sees himself as a prophet in the wilderness because he thinks anyone in the wilderness must be a prophet.
To borrow one of his many dismissive words, it’s hogwash.
Friday, January 26, 2007
Thursday, January 25, 2007
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
Monday, January 22, 2007
Saturday, January 20, 2007
1) I began preliminary sketches for a remix I'm doing for Fanny; 2) I'm still wrapping up the post-production of the Miss High Heel album for Blossoming Noise; 3) continued work on the forthcoming TLASILA release on Teenage Whore; 4) submitted a short piece commissioned by the editor of We Are Bandwagon zine (I was only three days late!); 5) assembled a new quartet of Les Tricoteuses loop studies for our MySpace profile; 6) mapped out the TLASILA half of a forthcoming split 12" with Italian malcontents Harshcore; 7) hit the gym every day (save for Thursday); 8) saw my father become progressively more ill; 9) didn't hear from my son (fuck Bush, by the way); 10) received a letter and five recent photographs from Elvira Solodkaja - she's bought a new car, and seems quite proud of it; 11) listened to Zofka's latest album, Bikini, again and again (I've been to St. Tropez - on the cheap, mind - so it all makes sense, plus I really like Myriam, the group's resident chanteuse - she tolerates my appalling French); 12) twice watched the Criterion version of Seijun Suzuki's devastating, gloriously unsentimental Story of a Prostitute; 13) missed several cell messages from Andrew W.K.; 14) almost finished reading Friedrich Dürrenmatt's The Judge and His Hangman; 15); was invited to perform at the 404 Noise fest in Atlanta (I've agreed to, in a trio comprised of Graham Moore (TLASILA, Black Meat, Blossoming Noise, etc.) and Andrew Barranca from Gay Bomb); 16) received an outstanding parcel of new discs from Reto Mader (!); 17) slept whenever I could (not much luck, however); 18) mailed CDs, responded to emails, consumed a great deal of feminizing soy, etc.
Love to All,
Saturday, January 13, 2007
Here are the first few paragraphs of Realist editor (and fellow cultural curmudgeon) Paul Krassner's Wilson obit, published at the Huffington Post:
"Mainstream media have yet to acknowledge the death of Robert Anton Wilson, prolific futurist author and countercultural icon who passed away early yesterday (January 11). He had been suffering from post-polio syndrome. Caregivers read all of his late wife Arlen's poetry to him at his bedside and e-mailed me that "he was quite cheered up by the time we left. He definitely needed to die. His body was turning on him in ways that would not allow him to rest."
On June 19, 2006, Wilson sent this haiku (with one syllable missing) to his electronic cabal:
Well what do you know?
Another day has passed
and I'm still not not.
We originally became friends in 1959, when his first published article graced the cover of my magazine, The Realist. It was titled "The Semantics of God," and he presented this suggestion: "The Believer had better face himself and ask squarely: Do I literally believe 'God' has a penis? If the answer is no, then it seems only logical to drop the ridiculous practice of referring to 'God' as 'he.'" Wilson then began writing a regular column, "Negative Thinking."
Robert Anton Wilson
Paul Krassner's remembrance
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
Disco Cunt - Funky + Disco
(Special Forces SPF013 2X12", 2006)
A.I.D.S. vs. Lawrencium - On the Way to Annihilation EP
(Destruction DEST.-05 12", 2006)
Tuesday, January 09, 2007
There are some records that, in hindsight through the high-conceptual lens, are like Mount Everest. Why were they made? Because they could be. End of discussion. The holy grail of the Shaggs' first LP; Nandor Nevai's karaoke excretion from a few years back; Having Fun with Elvis on Stage; any five Reynols records; and To Live and Shave in L.A.'s debut long player, 30-minute mannercreme (1994), stand out as testaments. Floridian Tom Smith's first outing under that moniker tipped the what-the-fuck scale with 40 tracks of stuttering cutups purloined from goodwill-bin LPs. Here, too, were skeins of feedback and clipping and all that pre-No Fun goodness, with Smith all snot and slobber over the whole mess as if being forcibly mummified with his own tape-loop collection.
Many of TLASILA's records in between prove either criminally difficult to track down, unrealized, or unavailable altogether, owing perhaps to Smith's spotty label luck (a quick browse at his discography seems to confirm this). It can be reported, however, that Noon and Eternity is a far different beast than Smith's slash-and-burn dub frenzy of old. There's a free-improv session feel that's been maintained throughout, despite whatever degree of digital doctoring, editing and processing it may have taken to ultimately create this weird sort of pop-aware suite. And if no such post-production took place, then hats off to the ensemble, which includes Don Fleming, Thurston Moore, Rat Bastard and TV's Andrew W.K. amongst the noisemakers.
Anchored by a seasick synth patch from the darker end of the new wave, "This Home and Fear" sets up the unsettling mood for the next 66:25. Indeed, these four lengthy tracks seethe and simmer with vicious tension and nearly zero release. Where new themes develop, they seem merely to morph into stepping stones of a slightly different texture, as when straight-up AMM-styled ambience gives way suddenly to a melodic instrumental hook. Or when said lead-off track bobs up from its Scatology-era Coil abyss into a scrabbling, crunching free-guitar duet, before an arena rock + oscillator near-climax and subsequent guitar-approximated plane crash, complete with the tick and crackle of cooling wreckage. Smith's lascivious stage whisper/atonal warble complements rather than undermines the creepiness of "Percent Obstruct Street." As does use of L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E poetry-esque lines like "I find myself in structured proximity / good rock show delivers a jolt of three-button herringbone," jawed over a low-bitrate sequence and a chorus of indistinct whines, while a junkpile motorik clangs away beneath. Smith's toothy 19-minute aria "Early 1880s" allows its guitars to shimmer and buzz lazily over broadcast snippets and a steady New Zealand (i.e.: "nonexistent") groove. And Smith as a death-rock high priest? Sure sounds plausible, actually, after a listen to "Mothers over Silverpoint,” with its commanding vocal and somber synth melody that carries on throughout over prickly background din.
Noon and Eternity suggests intriguing territory for TLASILA in its fusion of avant-noise and dark melody. Use this album as responsibly as possible: Namely, to terrify and finger as total poser the bored and boring goth kid in the family at your upcoming holiday get together.
Saturday, January 06, 2007
Working non-stop. Today I wrapped a thirty-minute TLASILA piece for Israeli label Ron_Zed; last week, I completed what turned out to be an exhaustive overhaul of the six hours of mixes created in 1995-6 for the Miss High Heel studio album. Blossoming Noise will be issuing that very tardy compilation (The Family's Hot Daughter) in the upcoming months. Crazy lineup: Weasel Walter, Jim Magas, Azita Youseffi, Jim O'Rourke, Jodie McCann, Nondor Nevai, Chuck Falzone, Bill Pisarri (the latter two gents members of the formidable mid-90s incarnation of Flying Luttenbachers), and myself.
OHNE will definitely be reuniting in 2007, with a second album of original music and a debut American tour (probably to occur in the autumn) on tap. As always with Dave, Daniel and Reto, the possibilities are limitless. Really looking forward to this one.
Sudden Infant / Schimpfluch Collective maestro Joke Lanz and I have decided to embark on a project together, one either geared toward TLASILA or some sort of duo configuration. I've admired Joke for years (I first witnessed Sudden Infant live in Paris in 2002, and was completely blown away), and I'm very excited to be working with him. Look initially for some sort of short-form album, perhaps one geared toward the vinyl 12" format. We've still a few details to sort out... Joke and I are like-minded sods - it turns out we once dated the same (wonderful) girl -- a few years apart from each other, mind! Brother malcontents, we're well-suited for sonic fornication.
What else? At least a dozen other TLASILA projects in queue, including a Noon remix album, a pair of split twelves (with Vancouver's Totally Ripped and blithe Italian finger cymbal merchants Harshcore), a still-in-progress cassette for the Teenage Whore imprint, long-due collaborations with Kevin Drumm, Alexei Borisov, Helsinki's Aprox., and a newer one with Miami's brilliant Dino Felipe. And still more... I'm wrecked just thinking about it all.
TLASILA Tour Update: the West Coast finally gets fucked in May. Two weeks in the bush are planned. Apologies for the delays! We arrive in Europe in July, but we may see Paris earlier (also in May). A short slog through the Northeast will likely accompany our next studio recording sessions in NYC. We're tentatively scheduled to record again at Sonic Youth's Echo Canyon (or whatever they're calling it now) facility, recently relocated to balmy Hoboken. Thurston will likely be on the eventual album, one that should include many of the compositions debuted during the Horoscopo lurch through Canada last September.
Andrew W.K. and I are currently writing songs for one of his two (?) upcoming albums, and plans are afoot to give a handful of recent TLASILA tunes the widescreen AWK treatment. Psyched? Bet your sweet ass.
If you've not yet purchased it, make a beeline for the TCM Archives DVD collection Forbidden Hollywood Volume One. The 1932 potboiler Red-Headed Woman (featuring Jean Harlow at her vampish apogee), and the James Whale-directed 1931 curio Waterloo Bridge (with the beautiful Mae Clarke) are fairly spicy for their time, but the newly discovered, uncut version of 1933's Baby Face, starring a completely out-of-control Barbara Stanwyck, is as close to mind-blowing as Prohibition-era cinema gets. Her character brazenly, unsentimentally sleeps her way to the top (twice!), guided by the writings of Frederick Nietzsche! Amazing film...
Wednesday, January 03, 2007
"A Surprising Secret to a Long Life: Stay in School."
I took my last Russian class at VSU in May... At 50.
I'm so screwed. Eternal life is not what it's cracked up to be!