SAT 16 NOV | 12:09 CST
I usually don't like musical revivals. I never had more than a passing admiration for many of the Elephant 6 bands. Kyuss and Fu Manchu's recycled Black Sabbath-isms were mildly entertaining at best.
That's was has made 2002 such an odd year. There have been no less than THREE revival movements that I've been fully able to embrace and support. The most commercial appears to be the garage revival. Some people have been turning their noses up at otherwise very capable bands just because they're coming out of some kind of "movement." The Hives, yeah. They can be overbearing, but they've kicked in the doors of the mainstream for bands like The Datsuns (who, not surprisingly, Pitchfork hates), Division of Laura Lee, the Mooney Suzuki, and many others.
Electroclash is another revival I've followed. Spending my high school years listening to Yaz and Skinny Puppy and all things inbetween, this revival hits the closest to home. I can halfway understand how people my age aren't as willing to jump on board with this one because they heard it all the first time around. But this one's for the kids, anyway. If some 16 year old puts down the new Moby disc and picks up Ladytron, chances are good that he/she will start checking out not only newer non-mainstream artists, but start digging into the past a little, too -- and that's a process I can get behind.
The revival of 2002 that keeps me the most amped and looking forward to hearing new things, though, is the post-punk revival. Liars, Radio 4, Ikara Colt, !!! -- the list could go on and on. These bands are re-casting what has quickly become one of my favorite periods of rock music as a whole. Like I mentioned in the previous paragraph about turning the kids on to things from the past, the post-punk revival has done just that for me. Of course I was already familiar with Gang of Four and P.I.L., but some of the other bands from the period are new to me (Subway Sect, Penetration, The Pop Group, etc). I'm sure I would have eventually dug around enough and come across all this music, but the revival sped up the process.
So, for all the gripers and complainers out there, I want to pose a question. Was the indie scene of 1997-2001 really better than it is right now? If so, why? Because all I heard during those years was a bunch of twee, poetic fluf bands and the "make you wanna stick an icepick in yr ear" strains of emo-influenced rock.
FRI 15 NOV | 22:28 CST
I thought this ILM thread was a pretty neat idea. Although I contributed three separate lists to it already, I thought I'd post the most recent one here:
1. Andrew WK - I Get Wet
2. Madonna - What it Feels Like for a Girl (Oakenfold Remix)
3. Morrissey - Tomorrow
4. Justin Timberlake - Rock Your Body
5. The Delgados - California Über Alles (Peel Session)
6. Hot Snakes - If Credit's What Matters I'll Take Credit
7. Fennesz - Instrument 3
8. LCD Soundsystem - Losing My Edge
9. Jimmy Eat World - The Middle
10. Jeff Buckley - Witches' Rave
Putting songs in a different context is not something I do that often anymore. I don't make many mixed cd's, and I don't listen to a lot of radio. Maybe it's "rockist" of me, but I'm more accustomed to hearing songs in an album format. Having a machine randomly pick tracks and play them for you breathes new life into some, and shines a new light on others. The Fennesz track mentioned above gets sort of lost in the context of one of his albums, but sandwiched between two more traditionally crafted, straight-ahead songs, it really comes to life. I'm going to be using Winamp's shuffle feature much more often now. And maybe...just maybe...it will give me a bit of guidance when making a couple of mixed cd's that I've yet to deliver.
THU 14 NOV | 18:40 CST
When Yankee Hotel Foxtrot was released earlier this year, I found myself caught up in all the hoopla like many other people (especially some of my fellow webloggers). Upon listening to it a couple of times over the past week, though, I find it's a rather lackluster affair. Apart from a [small] handful of nearly classic songs, it's a turd of an album. "I am trying to break your heart," "Radio cure," "Kamera," and "Poor Places" are the only pieces holding this puzzle together and, frankly, would have been better served by being grouped and released as an EP.
WED 13 NOV | 22:02 CST
Some people find The Rub in the strangest of ways. For instance, "jody beth rosen could kick my ass" is of particular interest. While I'm certain that phrase contains more fact than it does fiction, why would someone look it up?
I've never been mistaken for a born leader, so here are a few songs you should look for if you haven't yet heard them (inspired by the stalling techniques of both Fred and Matthew):
The Chills - Pink Frost
Ron Sexsmith - Cheap Hotel
Paul Westerberg - Mamadaddydid
The Cat's Miaow - It Might Never Happen
Arthur Alexander - In the Middle of it All
Peter Murphy - A Strange Kind of Love (remix version)
The first three songs are on my hard drive at this very moment. The other three were lost long ago. For those three, I mourn.
TUE 12 OCT | 22:38 CST
One other thing. This Yume Bitsu album I'm listening to right now (Golden Vessyl of Sound) is amazing. Perhaps it's just a case of being the right album at the right time, but I'm mesmerized.
That is all.
TUE 12 OCT | 22:25 CST
I should be seeing Smog tonight, but I talked myself out of going. I'm just not overly thrilled with "the live music experience" anymore. Crowded, dark rooms. Noisy people. Sore feet and knees. Obstructed views of the stage. Why even bother?
I stayed home, instead, and watched a special on television about Al Roker's weight loss. Kill me now.
SUN 10 NOV | 19:34 CST
The Oranges Band just released a new EP on Lookout! called On TV. I'm still waiting for it to come in the mail, but I've been listening to their previous EP, Nine Hundred Miles of Fucking Hell, much more lately than I did when I first bought it last winter. "OK Apartment" is the sound of a band still finding their niche in the grand scheme of underground music. Drawing influences from early Wedding Present to the Pixies and all points inbetween, the possibility that they mature into a band worth following is a good one.
My Dad is Dead began in 1984 as a new project for former drummer, Mark Edwards. Over the years, musicians have come and gone from the band's line-up (including Tortoise's John McEntire and Guided by Voices' Doug Gillard), and the albums have been released on various labels (Homestead, Scat, Emperor Jones, and Vital Cog to name a few). But the one constant in My Dad is Dead has been Edwards' singular driving vision to consistently create some of best and most baldly emotional rock of the last twenty years. Many of the albums which are no longer in print can be downloaded at the web site, including The Taller You Are, the Shorter You Get from which "Seven Years" is taken.
SUN 10 NOV | 00:20 CST
I'm continually amazed by how much people will pay for things. The hand-puppets which Robert Smigel adopted for the creation of Triumph are going for ridiculously inflated prices on eBay. According to the item description, these puppets were only manufactured between 1990-92. I bet enough of them were bought during that short time that there are a few lying around in various Goodwill stores and at the odd garage sale across the country. Good luck finding one, though (note: gold bow tie and Cuban cigar not included).
I have a confession to make. Sometimes, when no one else is around, I listen to bad music. I can most often be found doing this in the relative privacy of my own car. Case in point: last night I picked up the second Bulletboys album, Freakshow, for a mere 99 cents. As far as DLR-era Van Halen rip offs go, this is the ultimate document of thievery in action. The thing that makes it so much more than just tolerable, though, is that there's no single point in any song that directly steals from Van Halen (except for using the line "rotten to the core" once). It's the little nuances here and there. Lyrical content, guitar tones, background vocals, etc. Dare I put up a Bulletboys mp3? Probably not. I think I'll keep Freakshow all to myself in lieu of any new Van Halen material since 1998.
SAT 09 NOV | 22:13 CST
Congratulations to my brother Nathan and his wife Kerri on the birth of my niece, er...their daughter...today at 1:36 in Titusville, FL. Her name is Kendal Leigh and she weighed almost 8 pounds and was 20 inches long. Here's a picture if you're curious (according to my dad, that's just some lotion on her cheek). Now I have two nieces and no nephews. I think I'm rooting as hard for a boy next time as my brother is (not that girls aren't the sweetest creatures on Earth).
This, however, ruined the new mp3 downloads I'd been planning for. The focus was on death, but now it seems kind of inappropriate. So I'll dig around for some different songs and put them up later.
THU 07 NOV | 22:11 CST
I've tried developing an appreciation for Beat Happening on more than one occasion, and even though I'm still on the fence, I recognize an excellent deal when I see one. Thanks to the keen observational skills of somebody over at the Matador Records Bulletin Board, I was just able to pick up the Crashing Through cd boxset for nine dollars. I don't know if it's a big mistake, or if they're just trying to move stock. But spending that little money for that much music is incentive enough for me to try out Beat Happening one more time.
MON 04 NOV | 18:53 CST
America Online users, by and large, are learning impaired when it comes to using the internet (this is just a generalization -- don't send hate mail unless it's really funny and/or mean). One must wonder if these people would even be online if it weren't for the free sign-up cd-roms AOL sends out in bulk. I get at least one each week, and sometimes more -- and I'd bet that some of you do too. Do us all a favor and fight back.
I'll be watching Lenny tonight. Dustin Hoffman as Lenny Bruce has excellence written all over it. I'd hate to be disappointed.
SAT 02 NOV | 21:54 CST
My planned weekend getaway to Alabama to visit friends was pushed back to later in the month, so I'm sitting here on Saturday night with nothing to do. I'm a notorious time-waster. So, in an attempt to be productive, I'm uploading this coming week's mp3's a bit early.
New York City has been hogging the limelight this year. And with good reason, for the most part. But with the post-punk and new wave revivals moving full steam ahead, some other worthy bands have been pushed to the side. The Boggs, who I talked about incessantly earlier this year, released We Are the Boggs We Are in March. Unlike some of the other albums I praised early on, this one still gets listened to. For a bunch of hip looking fellows, they certainly tapped into the rustic past of genres generally ignored by the masses -- blues, bluegrass, folk, and, for lack of a better term, "hillbilly." Have a listen to "How Long?" on your front porch while you sip moonshine and whittle a block of wood.
Smokey & Miho also look to the past for their inspriation, but from a little further south. Brazil, to be precise. You may know Smokey Hormel from his contributions to several Tom Waits and Beck recordings. Miho Hatori punched the timeclock as one half of the ridiculously over-hyped Cibo Matto, and has also been heard on records by Gorillaz and the Beastie Boys. But her voice has never sounded better than it does here. Duos, in general, sound looser and freer than acts with more members -- maybe because there's so much room to expand ideas. Smokey and Miho compliment each other wonderfully, though, and I'm sure future recordings will only get better. "Blue Glasses" is from their self-titled EP released in February 2002.
SAT 02 NOV | 14:22 CST
Inspired by Jody Beth Rosen to find out more about myself through Googlism, I am surprised by some of the results:
paul cox is not interested
paul cox is elated and exhausted
paul cox is a genius of visual malleability
paul cox is an acquired taste
paul cox is just trying to prove that point
paul cox is stepping down as president of the company
paul cox is an awesome waiter
paul cox is a hero of modern cinema
paul cox is worth it
See? I never even knew some of those things (and some of them I knew all too well). Try it yourself.
THU 31 OCT | 20:46 CST
In Search Of... won the Short List prize the other night. As much as I love the work the Neptunes have done with other artists, their own album seems a little bit flat to me. That aside, the competitors included some worthier choices (including my pick for a would-be winner, The Flaming Lips' Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots).
So, boo to the Short List, and boo to the idea of picking winners in general. I'm implementing a new policy here at The Rub. At the end of this year, there will be a group of albums that I enjoyed and might want to write about. Ranking them seems pointless and argumentative. Instead, I'll just announce the group and you can decide what you do and don't agree with, or what you might have not heard and want to hear based on the recommendations.
Of course, by the end of December, I may have once again changed my mind.
I just heard Supergrass playing over an Intel commercial. Comforting to know that they're not completely forgotten in the US.
WED 30 OCT | 22:03 CST
It's like that, and that's the way it is: RUN DMC's Jam Master Jay killed by gunshot wound at Queens recording studio.
I have fond memories of RUN DMC as a kid. My brother and I used to carry a boombox around the neighborhood strapped to the handlebars of a bicycle. One of the first tapes we ever owned was their self-titled 1984 album. Each time I hear it, I'm reminded of the careless summer days of youth. No responsibility at all; no need to worry about the future. Just fun and mischief until sunset. Two years later, they were embraced by the world at large thanks to the collaboration with Aerosmith and the made-for-radio singles that followed. I even still listen to "Christmas in Hollis" every year around the holidays. This year, I'll tip the eggnog in remembrance of Jay.
WED 30 OCT | 18:28 CST
An interactive reader has brought to my attention a band from California also named The Rub. I downloaded one of the mp3's they had available. Not bad stuff, actually. Sort of like 80's Flying Nun/NZ-ish or I.R.S./Athens-ish jangly-pop.
I caught up of some dvd watching the past couple of nights. Both films were great, and I'm almost ashamed to let on that I hadn't seen them prior to this week. A Hard Day's Night was every bit the joyous romp I'd always suspected it was. It's a shame that Lennon is mostly remembered as a serious fellow now, because he had quite a sharp wit as a young man. Lines in the movie like the one where Ringo was asked "are you a mod or a rocker?" are particulary telling of the times. His reply, "I'm a mocker," is genuinely brilliant. I imagine that many of the best parts were scripted, but I can't help thinking that they could have improvised the whole thing and it have been just as wonderful. Amélie featured some of most provocative cinematography I've seen since Fight Club, and the story and its characters had enough layers to keep me watching until the end. Audrey Tautou is impossible not to like, and I was wishing I could comprehend French the whole time it was on so I wouldn't be distracted by the subtitles.
One last note: I worked out today for the first time in years, and my arms and legs are paying for it now. I can barely even lift my fingers to the keyboard. Must...remain...diligent...
SUN 27 OCT | 20:25 CST
Cute auction alert: I'm re-selling a shirt I bought on eBay about a month ago. I'm not sure exactly what era this New Order shirt is from, but it appears European in origin and may have been produced in very small quantities as there are only three dates listed on the back. Take a look here.
SUN 27 OCT | 17:41 CST
After resolving a pesky ftp issue, this week's downloads are finally making their appearance.
Ikara Colt were brought to my attention in May with this Fluxblog entry. What I do know is that they're influenced by the same post-punk groups that many other of the better new groups are (The Fall, Gang of Four, Wire), and they dress the part, according to the pictures I've seen of them. But since they've garnered hardly any press at all in the States, I know almost nothing else about them. Hopefully that will change in short order, as I've just found out that Epitaph has licensed their first album, Chat and Business, for release next month. "Video Clip Show" closes out that album.
There weren't more than a just couple of songs I really liked from the debut ep by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. But the new material they've been performing has me really excited about an upcoming full length album. "Y-Control" is from their latest John Peel Session and, at least superficially, resembles the Ikara Colt track (although Karen O. is a much more emotive vocalist).
As promised before, this week's special bonus download comes from Entrance (see the 10/25 entry below re: the Cat Power show). It was just this afternoon that I received an e-mail reply from Entrance aka Guy supplying the titles to the songs I've been enjoying on this cd-r. "Love In Vain" is the selection made available here.
SUN 27 OCT | 14:20 CST
Sterling Clover's Village Voice review of the new Madonna single, "Die Another Day," convinced me to listen to it a few more times looking for a fresh perspective. It worked. Not that I didn't like the song originally; it just seems too gimmicky and modern to be a James Bond film theme. But, I imagine "For Your Eyes Only" sounded gimmicky and modern back in 1981, too. Simply as a Madonna single, though, it's miles ahead of anything from the Music album and a welcome progression from the former material girl.
SAT 26 OCT | 16:56 CDT
Infrequent Atlanta blogger, David Hornbuckle, has made the new Billy Bragg single available. It's titled "The Price of Oil" and is yours to download at the insistance of Mr. Bragg himself. It's a great track, full of scathing commentary aimed at the impending military action being planned for Iraq. He poses the same questions many of the rest of us are asking, and draws many of the same conclusions. Hardly revolutionary, but it's comforting to hear your own thoughts set to music.
SAT 26 OCT | 16:01 CDT
SEE JACKASS: THE MOVIE! That is all.
FRI 25 OCT | 20:08 CDT
Just a note or two about the new look here at The Rub: The beaming face to your right belongs to Zooey Deschanel, the new queen of the deadpan delivery (a title Parker Posey relinquished a few years ago). Most recently, she was seen portraying the lazily subversive Cheryl in The Good Girl.
A living legend (until today): Richard Harris, r.i.p.
Wednesday's Cat Power show in Nashville was somewhat like I'd imagined it might be. A swarm of hip kids, claiming precious real estate on the floor with their asses. Lesbians! Yes, they were there too. And then there were a small number of people, like me, who were less concerned with posturing and more concerned with absorbing the music. Surprisingly, the highlight of the evening was Chan's opener, Entrance. Now, Entrance is not a band. Entrance is a man with a guitar. Entrance also goes by the name Guy. When he sings and plays his guitar, he owns you. That's pretty sneaky of Entrance...owning you like that and all. As I've described elsewhere on the interweb, Entrance is the unholy union of Robert Plant and Tim Buckley singing and playing acoustic guitar like it just might save the world from certain destruction. He's furious! When he finished his set, I tracked him down outside to buy one of the cd's he was selling and ended up speaking with him for four or five minutes. Entrance/Guy is a refreshingly geniune and jovial fellow, who is a bit reserved in coversation -- a stark contrast to the performer I'd seen onstage only minutes before. Unfortunately, the cd isn't as blisteringly emotional as the live performance might have indicated, but terrific nonetheless. I'll be posting a track from it this Sunday (as a special bonus).
I suppose Chan's portion of the evening was entertaining as well. She was operating on a stream of consciousness that certainly appealed to some, but left me looking at my watch. I stayed as late as I could in honor of Jon (who, for those that might not know, was an online friend of the FMBB, and fanatical about Chan Marshall -- he died earlier this year), but left about 45 minutes into her set.
Of the new material I heard, I liked about half of it. Her forthcoming album should be worth picking up, assuming that those songs will be included.
WED 23 OCT | 18:50 CDT
With the arrival of today's mail, I've completed my pre-Starfish cd collection. Sure, I used to have all the old Church albums either on cassette or vinyl, but I couldn't tell you the last time I'd listened to any of them. Some songs, like "One Day" from the Seance album, define the term "dated." But there are plenty of other wonderful things about these early releases. Most all of Heyday is marked with glaring indicators of the direction they'd be heading in the future, while Of Skins and Heart is bubbling over with the youthful intensity of a band recording their first album. The Church sort of fell apart in the early 90's, with Ploog leaving and Koppes following him two years later. Even now that Koppes is back in the fold, they're not really the same. None of the albums after 1992's Priest=Aura are really substantial enough to merit repeated listening sessions. The amount of worthy material released earlier in their career more than makes up for modern transgressions, though.
To know Joseph Larkin is to love him. Sadly, I don't know him well at all. However, by reading The Slippery Slope, I'm learning more. Please consider skipping lunch tomorrow and send your six dollars his way. At last count, there were 11 books sold...and 12 is such a nice, round number, right?
The Cat Power show is tonight. This one's for you, Jon, wherever you are...
TUE 22 OCT | 21:23 CDT
Fans of Built to Spill and the Shins, heed my words. Plastic Mastery, a (relatively) new band from the Florida panhandle, wants to make your acquaintance. They've released a new record on the Magic Marker label entitled In the Fall of Unearthly Angels which I, despite semi-drastic measures, can't stop listening to. Screw indie guilt.
Does Chris Ott have no shame? Even in 1988, I already knew that Phil Collins' solo career essentially began and ended with Face Value in 1981. Everything after that was fluf. And, for the record, I was first introduced to Genesis with the song "Misunderstanding," heard for the first time (on 8-Track no less) in my friend's older brother's Trans Am. I don't mean to give his tape a hard time, though. There's enough INXS on there to satisfy me. And, yes, you were hopelessly out of step if you weren't listening to "Pour Some Sugar on Me" that summer.
I wish I still had a tape player. I've got plenty of old mixes in shopping bag that are unlabeled and, unfortunately, remain complete curiosities.
SUN 20 OCT | 16:59 CDT
Last minute entry for single of the year: No, it's not "The Ketchup Song." It's the leadoff single from the soundtrack album for Eminem's new movie, 8 Mile. "Lose Yourself" is not just better than any of the singles from The Eminem Show, but it very well could be the best single of his still young career. For the first time, he tells the story of a kid with no real options for a future and really makes it believable. Adopting the urgency of the character he plays in the movie, Rabbit, he tells us, "success is my only motherfucking option, failure's not." The simple, sparse musical foundation for the song is every bit as powerful as the verses he spits out (for an extraordinary 5+ minutes). I haven't been able yet to find out whether or not Dre produced the track, but I suspect he didn't. If it turns out he did, then it's a brave new era for them both.
For your consideration, viking kittens. One time only thanks go out to Jess for finding this gem (a hundred times better than the White Stripes gag).
SUN 20 OCT | 00:48 CDT
Westway To the World, a DVD which I didn't even know existed until yesterday, is one of the most fully developed and brilliantly edited band documentaries I've ever watched. The history behind The Clash has always been somewhat of a mystery to me. Perhaps I never found the time to do the research myself, or, more likely, took for granted that they just appeared out of the London punk explosion like many other bands (making their story pretty self-evident). Well, for starters, I never had any idea that Keith Levine was in one of the first incarnations of the band. I also had no idea that Topper Headon was handed his walking papers due to a heroin addiction. In fact, his apology to the rest of the band for his behavior is quite moving. He goes on to speculate about what might have happened if he'd cleaned up his act (would they still be around?). Seeing all the footage from the early days just reinforced my opinion that their first album, The Clash, is one of the few albums from that original slew of bands that holds up remarkably well after 25 years. "Complete Control" is from that album.
After releasing a fantastic EP earlier this year, Hot Hot Heat followed it up with an equally impressive full-length just two weeks ago. Make Up the Break Down handsomely bridges the gap between the post-punk and garage revivals while seasoning the platter with touches of 70's art/prog (check out the organ on "Get In or Get Out") and 80's Brit-pop ("Talk To Me, Dance With Me" could have been a big hit for The Cure). As strange as this recipe sounds, it comes together wonderfully to create an album that is wanting to expand in all different directions. The proficiency Hot Hot Heat displays in each of these styles spells out what's likely to be (or, at least hopefully) a long and successful career. "No, Not Now," one of the most straightforward and immediately memorable tracks on the album, is available to download.