Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Wrote the below yesterday, but the Akerman notes got too long. Will just add -- Open City/Animal Charm at Beyond Baroque Sunday. OC like a homegrown, very loud and guitar-based AMM (not that I've ever seen the latter) -- 'no sound is innocent,' especially when it's icepicking your eardrum. I've seen AC do their found-video live-manipulation thing more effectively on two other occassions, something just wasn't happening tonight, esp. during the last-third, where they and OC 'played' simultaneously. But they've assembled some amazing footage, from industrial videos, informercials, Japanese children's shows, and the 'work' of a dismaying sub-Vanilla Ice rapper called "Blazin' Hazin." The tone of all this reminds me of Joel Huschle's largely unseen videos, which, in a fairer world, would occupy considerable space in the Whitney. "If we do our jobs correctly, we'll sell you Rogaine." If any of the four readers who know what I'm talking about want to figure out a way to organize a showing of this material (sometime after April, please), I'm game.

Also -- word-stem that often appears in poetry-crit, rarely in rock-crit, and which I would be unlikely to use in either: "Astonish." (Also -es, -ing.) As in: Much in X astonishes, but. I just get this picture of the critic gaping, stricken, imbecilic, at the book.


Strangely, I was at an IKEA Sunday as well. I won't go into it, but my tip: Bring that receipt. And if you ever find yourself in that part of Burbank, try to make your way over to the other side of the mall -- there are a couple of blocks of older downtown, inc. 3 or 4 used bookstores, and an unpromising looking record-store that has an interesting vinyl annex downstairs. Just to give an impression, yesterday's trip netted, between Bree and myself, for chump change: Karl Capek's War With The Newts, the old Scribner's edition of Creeley's Pieces, Max Weber's Basic Concepts in Sociology, a passel of pamphlet-sized 20's-30s' children's books (for 50 cents a pop -- possibly later printings, but still), ZE 12-inch of Suicide's "Dream Baby Dream," and a couple of older non-soundtrack Disney storybook records narrated by the great Sterling Holloway*

*Not just the voice of Winnie the Pooh; he introduced R&H's "Manhattan" on Broadway, and has a small but wonderful part in one of Lubitsch's Chevalier/MacDonald operettas -- I think The Merry Widow, but it might be another.

Burbank's City Hall is also very attractive, though who knows what goes on inside.

Song of the week, by some distance: "Fat Fanny Stomp," 1929, apparently the only side recorded by one Jim Clarke, included on the rent-party boogie piano disc I mentioned a couple weeks back, slightly beating out similar material by the far-better known Meade Lux Lewis, Pine Top Smith, and Jimmy Yancey. It's not news that this subgenre is the forerunner of all sorts of black dance-call music -- this one has especially striking similarities to Ray Bryant's "Madison Time," (which I, and probably you, know through Hairspray. Yancey describes what you're to do when he says, "Hold It" over a static, rather delicate vamp, then goes into some equally distinctive blues for the dance itself -- I'm not able to capture the odd, almost sarcastic urgency of his voice throughout. "This time, I want you to Sally Long -- Sally that fanny!" Francis Wilford-Smith's notes say that Clarke "is otherwise completely unknown, unless he is the Alabama pianist 'Boss Clarke' remembered by Joe Williams.:

Runners-up: Dizzee's "Sittin' Here" -- I still think the structure has as much in common with a Fall track as any hip-hop I know much about. The whole album's having more staying power for me than I'd expected -- I've made a good faith effort to be led to other grime, but I've gotten blank looks in two record stores (not specialists, but you'd think the hip-hop buyer at Amoeba would know something). I guess it's time to locate myself in the vicinity of some wi-fi and search "Wiley" and "esky."

(Although, we now know Sasha doesn't want us to like grime too much. I see what may be one of his points -- it may be easier for some, I mean white, Americans to
groove on this, as it's more possible to view it abstractly, I mean not in its sociopolitical context, than U.S. hiphop, thanks to ignorance. Exotica.)

Franz Ferdinand: "Dark of the Matinee" -- I'm enjoying the superhyped album well enough, but this is the one that makes the end-of-year mix. "Leave this academic factory...you will find me at the matinee"; what, are they reading my mind? Song also has a more elaborate structure, w/ neat transitions, than the Strokes comparisons indicate.

Aerosmith, "Jamie's Got A Gun," encountered in the car Sunday -- have always loved it, but I was particularly noticing the weird, not-so-rockist drum part, esp. in the outtro, and Joe Perry's contentful solo, played with a clean, uncreamy (single-coil?) tone that works against expectations.

Kayne West's College Dropout seems likely to repay further listening, though I've only gone through once. Production style remarkably varied, and I have no idea what to make of "Jesus Walks," which rhymes "rental car from Avis" with "only Jesus can save us." (And there's a lot of context not to ignore.)

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