Wednesday, February 28, 2007


"People now seem to be living vicariously through TV magazines, Hello magazine, and the world of soap star actors and the latest imbecile in Big Brother. It's what I call 'The Diana Syndrome' where people feel a closer affinity to a princess that they never met, who had a totally alien life to them and yet they don't address their own lives and own problems or care for the immediate well being of themselves or people around them. It's insane how people emulate and worship the likes of David Beckham and J-Lo, essentially intellectually challenged super rich gods of consumerism. It marvels me how the majority of people don't feel any impetus to discover more about themselves or the fascinating world both natural and scientific around them." -- Andrew Liles

For more of this interview, visit Brainwashed. Vociferous thanks to Robert Mitchum's Skull for smacking my very own skull with the 411.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

21 to 24

More used-CD scavenging over the weekend unearthed the following gems:

21. Rush -- Exit Stage Left (remastered)
22. Brian Eno -- The Drop
23. Curve -- Pubic Fruit
24. ELO -- Out of the Blue (remastered)

Ok, so the ELO wasn't used, but I've been waiting for years for this album to be remastered. In the new liner notes, Jeff Lynne writes that it took three months to write and record this brilliant double album in 1977, and now it takes modern bands years to do so. Are you listening, Axl Rose? Either you've got it or you don't. Lynne definitely had it: as a record executive on their label said, every song on Out of the Blue was a potential single. Classic.

Side note: the song-suite on side three starts out with an ominous Vocoder-distorted voice that intones "Concerto for a Rainy Day." Growing up, I had a neighborhood friend who originally thought that it said "Oh shit, oh fuck, the rain came today." Glenn, this one is for you.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Sunday, February 18, 2007

19 & 20: down(but not out)beat

Won a couple more discs off the addictive, money-hoovering Ebay:

19. Tim Bowness/Samuel Smiles -- World of Bright Futures
20. Vangelis -- L'Apocalypse Des Animaux

Tim Bowness is known largely as the vocalist for no-man, but he is involved with almost as many other projects as Steven Wilson, his fellow no-man. World of Bright Futures is a sparse, low-key collaboration with the group Samuel Smiles. Eight original songs share space with stripped-down covers of King Crimson's Two Hands and Peter Hammill's Ophelia.

Bowness is an emotional singer without ever approaching histrionic. His vocals are hushed and restrained, an inner monologue of heartbreak and yearning. With sympathy and generosity, Bowness sings of wounded souls caught in labyrinthes often of their own design. His vocals capture the pain that feels endless in those moments when love seems utterly unattainable and forever lost. And Bowness does all this without snide irony or sappy sentimentality. A reporter of the downbeat, he uncovers what may be at the core of every heartache: the fear of always being alone.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

embrace the random xviii

This one is dedicated to my friends Mark and Terry, and the days when we would communicate solely through sound effects.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

16, 17, & 18: filling in the gaps

I went used-CD scavenging with my friend Harry on Saturday. I wasn't looking for anything in particular, but it ended up becoming a plug-the-holes-in-my-classic-rock-collection day:

16. Pink Floyd -- Atom Heart Mother
17. Jethro Tull -- Minstrel in the Gallery
18. Rush -- Rush

All three titles were remastered and in brand-spanking-new condition. I often wonder why such discs become orphans. My latest theory is that many people are cloning their collections and cryogenically storing them in their iPods, then callously disposing of the original DNA-donors. Oh well--their loss, my gain. Musical orphans always have a place to stay at my house.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Sunday, February 04, 2007

embrace the random xvii

I love text generators:

Death peers over God. The terrorist hardens in another transmitter. How does Death police the rectangular stem? God learns Death across the continent signal. Can whatever unifying trigger bark without God? A planet awaits God opposite each fountain.
The exciting conservative blackmails Death. Death hacks the distant liver. The consenting bell searches the disguise. A bastard exit overloads Death. How does Death second the arriving exhibit? How will a striking liquor disrupt Death?
With another fellow power ascends the sophisticated opponent. When will Death need the struggle? The incident bites the alphabetical coincidence. A verifying vegetable rants behind the activating attribute. Death jumps beside God.
Will a folding dilemma puzzle? The fringe vote sugars the arch before the fallen dictator. A dreadful meat obstructs the viewer. God rests a pill before each exercise.
The alleged pace marches with the starring suspicion. Death sneaks within the leadership. Death perceives God outside the fundamentalist stack. God gins the cabbage.
God optimizes a detective across a remedy. Death pinches the artificial mayor around the tailor. The listener farms? Death starts God next to an intimate. An adult defines the lifted scratch.
The worst lusts beside a scroll. The transformation estimates an accident behind the mediaeval screen. Death shoves a rope into a wiser secretary. Death scandalizes God after a specific paragraph. Does the valley permit Death? The cap bothers the heat next to the passive stereotype.
The flagging blackboard stumbles under the bullet. Why can't Death swim around the doubtful thickness? Death abides. His verbose conference stamps.
God pounds down upon an insistence within this horde. Death trades God. How does God zoom? Without a current beer beams the pedal chocolate. God invalidates the emulator beneath its managing carriage.
Death trails! The tailor accepts against her noise. Death projects God opposite a rival static. Death shifts God.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

turning up the heat and the volume

Damn, it is frigid here in Cleveland this weekend, with the temperature in single digits and negative wind chill factors. So what's a guy to do but stay indoors, crank the furnace, and play cool tunes?

I started the day with Arcadia Son by IEM, yet another project by Steven Wilson of Porcupine Tree. IEM is possibly SW at his most self-indulgent, and I mean that as a compliment. The second release under the IEM name, Arcadia Son mixes psychedelia, Krautrock, electronica, and Miles-70's-era-jazz, creating a sonic atmosphere both trippy and menacing. Flutes, saxophones, and guitars whirl from speaker to speaker, battling for solo supremacy. This disc achieves what all of my favorite music does: it takes me someplace different with every listen.

Next I played Les elephants carillonneurs by Philharmonie (the title translates as the elephant bell-ringers--no, I don't know what that means either). Philharmonie are a French guitar trio very much in the vein of Robert Fripp's work with the Leauge of Crafty Guitarists and the RF String Quintet. Their music is intricate yet accessible, not showy or coldly academic. Chamber music that rocks? Maybe.

I just finished watching the first hour of the 1970 Albert Hall concert from the live Led Zeppelin DVD released in 2003. Damn, does this rock! Zeppelin had only been together for about a year at this point, but you wouldn't know it from this intense performance. Every crappy mall-punk band should be forced to watch this DVD until they cry with shame and admit that their fake rebellious posing is no substitute for musicianship.

Tomorrow is supposed to be even colder, and the Super Bowl is a non-event for me. So once again I will be kicking out the jams. Look out!