Friday, April 30, 2010

Review of Thurston Moore and Jandek Performance in Portland; Thurston is a God.

"Jandek's not pretentious, but only pretentious people like his music." -- Kurt Cobain

"Thurston Moore is Magic, and simutaneously looks his age and 15." -- Me

Last night, April 29, 2010, George and I went to a Thurson Moore - Jandek concert at the Hollywood Theater, a movie-house that holds about 400 people.  The great bulk of the audience either weren't from Portland or were from a vastly different section than from whence I live.  Shoes To Die For.  Silk charmeuse dresses not repurposed from the Goodwill.  Shades of Black and Grey, predominantly.  Stunning clothing on stunning people.   Oh, and there was music. 

I have never heard anyone play a guitar like Thurston did  (I've heard him twice before with Sonic Youth - this was infinitely better).  He played every inch of the electric guitar;  below the bridge, above the nut (on the headstock), banging the back of the neck...  not to mention the sounds the got out of that plank of wood that i didn't think was possible.  Plus the shaped feedback  he, uh, shaped by standing in front of the Fender amp bending the neck of his stripped-down jazzmaster covered with stickers.  I'm still in shock.  Jimi (yes, that Jimi) would be proud.  (Note, pic not from show, as requested.  Thurston amps were definitely Fender, and his shirt was plaid. Other than that, pretty much the same.)

Jandek, meanwhle had a couple of themes he kept repeating.  Over and over.  Admittedly, he was playing with the whole idea of the twelve-tone scale, but just barely; how many flatted 7ths with the occasional 9th and 11th thrown in can you listen to until you thow in the towel?  Thurtson used the entire palate of the guitar and an object from which to wrench sounds.  Strings were involved, but just as a single choice out of the many presented.

There were three improvised songs. In the first song, Jandek just stopped suddenly, leaving Thurston the job of crafting an ending, which he did so effortlessly it seemed pre-written.  In the second one, Jandek actually started with a different motif--it included the occasional major chord fragment--hallelujah.  However, about half way through, I think Mr. J. figured out he wasn't the center of the universe and went back to his 7flat (occasionally 7sharp) 9th 11th 4th default.  Actual notes or note fragments would surface from Thurston's sound palate at irregular intervals that would cross notes with Jandek at equally irregular intervals--it kept the the ear interested and gave at least the illusion that the two were playing together.
Thurston continued  wrenching such amazing sounds from his guitar, while all the time looking like a Raphael saint.  You know, one of those just-this-shy-of-angelic putti that just might pull his pants down and moon his audience.  For the third song, Jandek sat on the stage; Thurston sat on a bar stool, which, considering the length of his legs looked like a normal chair, but oddly morphed.

After an hour and 20 minutes,  (but it seemed like moments) Jandek turned off his amp, and that was it.  Not to totally hate on the mystery man, his hat was totally rockin'.  (The image is not from the show, where we were not asked to take pics, but other than the mike, this is a dead ringer for the Jandek we saw.)

An amazing show.

From an interview with Thurston in 2000 somewhere on the internet:

"What I'm aiming for all the time when we play live is a balance between the high energy of loud music, and a calm meditational energy you sometimes find at its core. Recording tends to restrict too much experimentation, 'cause when you're making a record it's a part of you, for that time it's your whole fabric. But when we tour the songs, they tend to get more and more expansive, and actually evolve over time until they are something quite different. For this reason I never go back and listen to the recorded document. The thrill, instead of listening to our cds, comes when the balance I was talking about can be attained. Everyone in the room can have a shared, communal rock experience. I'm only too happy to be the conduit of it, after all rock'n'roll saved my soul."

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Mick Jagger is a liar.

Goldman Sachs is going down!  And it's about time.  I'm preparing a post, but in the meantime, the Stones are releasing outtakes from one of my favorite albums of all time, "Exile on Main Street."  Just yesterday, George went to "Record Store Day" and purchased a 45 with a supposed outtake from the original Nellcote Mansion sessions--"Plundered my Soul".  (For those of you who are curious, Nellcote Mansion is one of the most beautiful buildings in the south of France and was used as Nazi headquarters for awhile during WWII; Keith Richards rented it and recorded most of Exile there.)

However, it was painfully clear that Mick's vocals on "Plundered my Soul" (listen at your own risk) were recorded very recently for the sad sad reason that he can no longer sing.  He can hit the notes, but that which makes it music is completely gone.  Talk about plundering someone's soul, here's an object lesson in having no soul left.  To add to the irony, another song with a perfectly lovely (an apparently erased and ruined/redone vocal is called "I ain't lyin."  I (djinn here) ain't lying either.  Some spoilsports call it "I ain't signifyin'."

Mick has now gone on record saying that none of the Exile outtakes had original vocals, so he had to rerecord them.  Liar!  Liar! Liar!  Here's "I ain't lying" with a lovely Jagger vocal and an even more lovely Mick Taylor lead originally recorded back in the day.  Enjoy.

We actually have several boots from the Nellcote Mansion sessions that sound amazing, 
such as the one above--
In some of them, Mick sound off the rails; it's a good sound for him. I'm sure he prefers 
something more staid 
and appropriate for his aging audience. Boo! Hiss! I disapprove.

The Stones are currently the best Sones cover band around (that I'm aware of, but they're not
the Stones. Sorry fellas.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Could Pope Benedict Really be Forced to Step Down?

According to this article by the British newspaper the Daily Mail, a priest sexual abuse hotline in Germany was flooded with 4000 calls on the very first day of operation.  Ooops.  It's become increasingly clear that the Catholic Hierarchy aided and abetted child molesters otherwise referred to as 'Priests." 

Germans aren't happy about this.  We shouldn't be either.  Humans are sexual beings.  Bad things happen when we try to oppress sexuality, rather than allowing healthy and normal (and safe) expression.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Thank you Fox News for keeping us infromed--or teabonics.

GeeBee discovered this delightful collection of teabagger signs. And I learned many valuable rules about English spelling. Especially the many variants for the word "Socialism." Enjoy.

As a side note, I attended every anti-war rally I could find in the run-up to the Iraq war. The signs were witty, and spelled properly. I leave the lesson to the dear reader.

Where were all these doofusses when Bush was spending money like a drunken president? All at home flush with pride, but not with dictionaries, is my guess.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

C-Sections Increase Chances of Childhood Asthma and Allergies, Who Knew?

Science (ooohhhh, science, I picture it as some sort of poorly-dressed action hero wearing an ill-fitting cape) is busy discovering the importance of our internal bacteria in our lives. It turns out that passing through the vaginal canal gives babies a head-start on getting those important bacteria. If they're just pulled out of their mom's womb, they end up under-bateria-ized, which can lead to later autoimmune problems, such as asthma and allergies.

*note, C-sections save many women's lives, but they've risen to epidemic proportions here in the good ol' U.S. of A.