josh blog

Ordinary language is all right.

One could divide humanity into two classes:
those who master a metaphor, and those who hold by a formula.
Those with a bent for both are too few, they do not comprise a class.

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24 Jan '02 07:26:50 AM

Andy explained what he meant by comparing Arab Strap to Steely Dan. Of course, I was hoping for surprising sonic points of comparison, but oh well. At least he's forthcoming.

21 Jan '02 11:48:26 PM

Oh, and just because I've seen more than a couple people looking lately, here is where I refer to "Lamb" in entries made before I moved to ellipsis - thus, entries which wouldn't be returned by the search engine.

January 2000, June 2000, July 2000, August 2000, October 2000, November 2000, December 2000, February 2001, June 2001.

One or two "Lamb"s are not referring to the group Lamb. But that just makes it for fun for you. Use your browser's page search command within the above pages.

Apparently I had much less to say about Lamb last year than the year before.

21 Jan '02 11:41:51 PM

Another day, another mix.

Big Boi & Dre Present... Outkast, Fela Kuti - Shakara / London Scene, Goldfrapp - Felt Mountain, Lamb - Fear of Fours, Avalanches - Since I Left You (which I just mis-called Since You Left Me er um)

I really have nothing to say about this one. It works well. I want to hear Outkast come up more than the others, but I've been listening to it all day anyway. The Avalanches is the most interesting to hear mixed in with others, because it breaks up the flow of the record so much (into often non-song tracks). I don't really find this to be a bad thing, though it is new and thus to be feared and distrusted.

The Fela tends to disrupt the flow more because of the long songs, but they still are well-suited to be in this mix.

21 Jan '02 08:48:55 AM

I saw Lipstick Traces today.

It was really, really great, and I say that with little theater experience, ha. As the story linked to says, they successfully distilled Marcus's book into 70 minutes. More than successfully, I think, because the play didn't get mired down in all of the continental philosophy that Marcus had trouble dealing with, or the attempts to make his argument (?) about the connections between his subjects plausible. It avoids that problem by being something like an outline version of Marcus' argument, and an outline that smacks you in the face with everything all at once; the possibly questionable parts of the argument, like the connections, are sort of glossed over with comedy, or the dramatic device of shit-there's-a-lot-of-confusion-here-let's-keep-going, or by just sort of montaging the connections into being and not worrying about the problems.

It also makes it all more believable, even beyond the greater clarity. The appeal of dada, through the Cabaret Voltaire recreation; the sense to situationism; punk mattering. I think the more esoteric parts were made more believable in part because they were presented comically, and somehow, laughing at them is a sign of having understood something of them. Other than that, things were just a million times more potent than in the book. Especially in the "twentieth century in four and a half minutes" section. I just about wanted to cry, or scream, or both, by the end of it.

And after, I finally went out to buy a Sex Pistols record. They didn't have any. Fuck.

The performance I saw was part of a mid-American tour hitting Ohio, Cedar Rapids, IA (!?!), and Houston. I highly recommend you see it if you can. The first, off-Broadway run has already passed, but hopefully this thing will stick around for a while.

20 Jan '02 08:11:13 PM

OK, today I am much more willing than before to put up with Fela's noodling and meandering in the middle of Shakara / London Scene.

20 Jan '02 09:31:13 AM

Oh, and I did end up buying tickets to Lipstick Traces. More to come after I see the show.

20 Jan '02 05:48:47 AM

Megamixes for tonight:

First up: Radiohead, Amnesiac, Dismemberment Plan, Change, Beatles, Rubber Soul, Jay-Z, The Blueprint, and the Betas' s/t. Trompe le Monde was in there first for one of them (uh the Beatles I think) but the moment it came on it was too weak and annoying.

Surprisingly, after the Beatles the Jay-Z was the least bassy record. And the Plan record has an amazing punch to it mixed in with other stuff.

Now: Fela Kuti, Shakara / London Scene, Thelonious Monk, Straight, No Chaser, The Roots, Things Fall Apart, Cannonball Adderly Sextet, Nippon Soul, Goldfrapp, Felt Mountain.

18 Jan '02 06:38:25 PM

I awoke this morning to the sound of someone droning on and on and on and on on the radio. Once he started talking about punk rock I figured it was Greil Marcus, which turned out to be right. He's in town to see a performance of a theatrical adaptation of Lipstick Traces, which maybe I will try to see. The things he had to say were pretty helpful in one respect, which is that he gave a very clear and definite presentation of the argument of Lipstick Traces. Unfortunately most of the host and call-in questions were inane and they elicited stock responses from him. The best one actually came from the host (unusually because she doesn't usually do any favors to the quality of the discussion on this show), when she pointed out that "Anarchy in the UK" can sound pretty tame now. She made an analogy to the impressionist movement in painting, how it was once shocking but now makes people feel warm and fuzzy. Marcus's response was to say that her reaction can't be argued with, but "for me" (insert screed about the greatness of punk). So he never really answered her question, and left unexplained the biggest problem with the whole schtick he was promoting. Earlier he tried to explain his problem with New York punk by saying how as opposed to its silly or arty qualities, British punk felt like it meant something, like the song playing right then could be the whole world. Or something like that. He played up the transformative/critique of reality aspect. The same fundamental problem exists there, though: what if, for someone else, the Talking Heads (to pick one band he didn't like) did do that? What if it was someone who wasn't even associated with punk? What if that music still made them feel like the world was coming apart at the seams? Marcus can't admit to that possibility because the only way he can explain it is by linking it all back to punk (which make me think that the project of Lipstick Traces is more like a giant intellectual sweeping-this-whole-problem-under-a-big-complicated-rug than I used to).

18 Jan '02 11:28:22 AM

Another great thing: hearing "I'm Getting Sentimental Over You" and realizing that the place I've heard it before is on a Monk CD (well plenty of them), and that the fabulous rendition of it from Mingus makes it even clearer what Monk did with it.

(But WHAT DID HE DO WITH IT?)