On the 2006 Xiu Xiu album The Air Force, there’s a song, “Wig Master.” Lately I’ve been listening a lot to a cover version done by Why?, on the 2007 album Remixed and Covered. It’s easily my favorite piece on that album.
I was looking for the lyrics of the Why? version and I realized 1.) they’re not already online (that I could find) and 2.) they’re substantially different from the Xiu Xiu version.
So I thought I’d type them up, and put up a post about the differences. This is that post!
Music by Kendrick Lamar. Commentary by David Fishkind, Adam Humphreys. Beer by Coors Brewing Company.
Belle and Sebastian album covers always bothered me because they would remind me of The Smiths. Both bands are morbidly precious — or preciously morbid? — and English; well, the former is Scottish but who cares. England is to Scotland what China is to Korea what Spain is to Portugal. As in no one cares. I have a friend who has this rule where she won’t fuck a guy if she finds Belle and Sebastian on his playlist. I can understand: I have Belle and Sebastian on my playlist and I wouldn’t fuck me. It bothers me that you take a photo, run it through a color filter and slap some typographically “literary” text on it and consider it an album cover because, right, like your fans are all sensitive art students with melted candles and a suicidy razor blade by the bathtub; and emphatic or compulsive design seems uncool and corporatey, and your life is all about casual. Casual sex; casual resume sending; casual cereal for dinner. Every time I see one of these album covers I want to have a vasectomy and not subject my child to this world and vice versa. I love it when there’s an acoustic guitar lying around at a party — the kind of party with salsa and guacamole in coffee mugs because everyone’s too mellow to actually cook — and always the least-laid guy needs to pick it up and start playing the four chords he knows. Then five to seven grimly codependent-ish people all reluctantly stay quiet and feign attention while he plays something out of key. Then he starts sincerely singing, which is basically a metaphor for the world: we make it horrible with our feelings. Some asshole says do you know any Wilco and all the more amicable networky people into electronic music with better clothes and skin are on the roof now drinking beers, holding the bottle against the sun so that it seems that the sun is inside the bottle, setting into the amber sea.
Just wrapped up a two week session on The Orange Eats Creeps in my 21st Century Horror class, and one of my awesome students, DJ Dodd, created this badass mixtape: “For those who are interested in further exploring the dark underbelly of society hinted at by The Orange Eats Creeps, here is a streamable and downloadable mixtape that features the twisted, crusty, and often sublime characteristics found within the novel.”
A link to the mixtape, plus a track list after the break.
I downloaded Animal Collective’s new album Centipede Hz, and decided I would chart what I noticed as I listened to it and surfed the internet doing research on the Harlem Renaissance. (FYI, it looks like a grad student at Columbia recently unearthed a previously unknown-to-exist Claude McKay manuscript. Pretty significant news, via NYTimes.)
A young, Southern California rapper who maybe went by the names Inkyy or Jew’Elz died in a car accident. According to the obituary in the UK’s Daily Mail (Online edition), Ervin McKinness (Inkyy/Jew’elz’s government name) had, moments before the car he was a passenger in ran into a wall after running a red light, tweeted the following:
It is not believed that Inkyy was driving the car 120 miles an hour or drifting corners, but that he and his friends were—as he self-reports—”drunk as fuck” when they hit the wall. Five people died. It was 1:20am. Another report said they were at Creekside Drive and Haven Avenue: here. This article has video from the scene. There is an iron fence south of the LDS church on the southwest corner. I’m fairly certain that’s the one shown in the video.
A question one can ask about Existentialism—whether it is life affirming or life denying—can, I think, also be asked about #YOLO (You Only Live Once). It depends, it seems, on who is hashtagging. There are certainly those who have embraced #YOLO as life affirming. As of Friday, September 14, 1885 people have RTed Inkyy’s unintentionally final words. Those folks seem to have embraced #YOLO as life denying.
Where will you stand? #FuckIt. I stand with life affirming.
Have a good weekend, everyone. If you’re drunk af, stay off the streets. Inkyy’s video “Dreams” after the cut. READ MORE >
A McGuire sister passed away last Friday. As the New York Times obit points out, the McGuire Sisters sang simple, traditional pop songs in contrast to the low, burbling, grinding roil of early rock and roll music. When the McGuire Sisters made a hit out of the song “Sugartime,” history’s greatest rock and roll performer, Jerry Lee Lewis, was marrying his cousin and putting out “High School Confidential.” But they have their charms.
I’m going to just go ahead and admit that I find something particularly distressing about the death of the member of a ’50s close-harmony singing group made up of sisters. Those acts took such pains to eradicate all but the subtlest differences between them in their presentation, worked so hard to let the collective subsume the individuals. (All with nearly the same hairstyle, in nearly the same dress, bantering with Perry Como with nearly the same wit and tone, singing a song with nearly the same notes.) And, sure, they don’t perform anymore. They are in their 80s. But one imagines they sing at home sometimes. And one imagines they hear the other two when they sing at home sometimes. And one imagines they might hear a change in one of their phantom sister voices.
The People Hath Spokeneth:
5. Dismemberment Plan: Emergency & I
4. Neutral Milk Hotel: In the Aeroplane Under the Sea
3. Radiohead: OK Computer
2. Arcade Fire: Funeral
1. Radiohead: Kid A
Turns out I was way off regarding Emergency & I, which ranked only 103rd. But otherwise—not too bad, eh? (Shoulda just gone with more Radiohead!)
Joan of Arc, unsurprisingly, did not crack the Top 200. Also unsurprising, Kanye West is the only black musician in the Top 20! (Outkast adds yet more “diversity” to the list at #35.) And wouldn’t you just love to see a breakdown by color/sex? (Someone get on that!)
In total, 27,981 people voted. Why, that’s almost the number of hipsters who live in Logan Square, Chicago!
Time to set this down in stone, folks! RYAN SCHREIBER’S TASTE IN MUSIC HAS BEEN FOREVER IMMORTALIZED!
Have you seen that Pitchfork Media finally wants input from their readers, asking folks to vote for their favorite albums 1996–2012? (That’s years 1–16 Anno Pitchfork.) Between this and The Dark Knight Rises, 2012 sure has been good for the proletariat: rise up, ye 99%, and go watch a movie, and vote online! When you’re finished, you can share your list with friends via Facebook and Twitter. If you like, you can even write a little something about your #1 pick for possible inclusion in the final feature!
You can also check a box to enter a Sweepstakes to win a Trip to the Pitchfork Paris Music Festival, but make sure you READ CAREFULLY the Official Contest Rules…
Me, I can’t wait to share my commoner’s thoughts, little though they are. Off the top of my head:
1. Sonic Youth: A Thousand Leaves
2. They Might Be Giants: Mink Car
3. R.E.M.: Up
4. The Strokes: First Impressions of Earth
5. Smashing Pumpkins: Zeitgeist
Music by Frank Ocean. Commentary by David Fishkind, Adam Humphreys, Erik Stinson. Food by Trader Joes and Bob and Betty’s.
Jani Lane, the lead singer of Warrant, was found dead from acute alcohol poisoning at the Comfort Inn in Woodland Hills, California on Thursday August 11, 2011. He, to those who would bother Google imaging him, would seem visibly more and more depressed in correlation with his age, perceived failure, and weight gain. Warrant’s sophomore effort Cherry Pie (1990) topped at No. 7 on the The Billboard 200, though their biggest hit was off their debut album “Heaven,” a place which Lane promised his groupies wasn’t too far away. The titular first single “Cherry Pie” featured model Bobbie Brown, who was dating one of the Nelson brothers (of Nelson, the band) at the time, with whom she broke up in order to be with Lane. One suspects Brown cheated on Nelson with Lane, and laconically dealt with relationship logistics later. Starfucking has always been cosmic-like, explosions of gas in a black universe. Subsequent facial surgeries have rendered Brown severe looking, which makes me, this petty memoirist, happy. In an interview with VH1, Lane said, in regards to “Cherry Pie” being his legacy, “I could shoot myself in the fucking head for writing that song.” You can see a tear well up in his eye.
In 1984, a year masquerading as a didactic yet prophetic novel, the real person of my father was kicked out of his home by the real person of my mother; I make such differentiation because real life, containing such real people, has no front and back cover, only addendums and epilogues under constant revision, not to mention a disorganized index of horror. My father, whose emotional abuse was verging on physical, recently kicked out after a bad night involving a six-pack of import beer and a kitchen knife, just past 40, rented a room four blocks away in a house he proudly referred to as of “bachelors,” showing me the cool Mazda RX-7 parked in the driveway, whose owner greeted this narrator with a swift “hey” in the manner of a dude out to party who wanted nothing to do with his new 41-year-old roommate and his 8-year-old son engaged in their ongoing “Sunday visits,” whose unnatural allocation was incurred by the former’s domestic transgression.
1. “The Solo,” James Hetfield
Video still (5:12), Youtube
© 1992 Warner Bros.
James Hetfield is the singer, chief songwriter, and front man of Metallica. He wrote “Nothing Else Matters” and is the predominant figure of not just this video, but all their songs, and their entire ethos. This is fine. It’s consistent with the logic of most bands: a guy drapes chords around a diary entry and finds three other guys to fill in the low and high ends. Traditionally, the guitar solo — appearing at approximately 2/3rds into it, whose melodic evocations serve as a tight stringy emotive refrain — is reserved for the lead guitarist, in our case Kirk Hammett; though, here, James had to not just perform the lead solo, but dedicate its duration to filming the nuances of the various facial expressions which all worked together to corroborate this personal rapture towards his own notes. Kirk Hammett is a very competent guitarist and could have easily done the solo. True, one could argue that James wrote the solo, but that is not the point. The point is James has overstepped the guitar solo boundaries. Every time I watch this part of the video I feel repulsed.
“It’s the morning after I died / it’s the morning after I died” is the refrain from the opening track of a Bones cassette tape my friend Matthew P sent me. It fits the realization I had today—that I must write a simple book that strives for nothing. Tonight the 2am radio plays low as I sit in the backseat of a van I have no right to be riding in. I don’t want to convey anything except a sense of peace with what has happened. I don’t want to amplify it. I would like to state it without judgment, without qualifying it to death despite the fact that it knocked the wind out of me. I would like to let it be small, to protect the quietude from the crowding out effect of inflated emotion. Writer-consciousness is hell but I don’t have to tell you that. It’s like the internet, the way it mediates everything.
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