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Cloudhopper

My buddy Geoff Sebesta does a few comics, including this one, which is pretty damn cool.


Yep. Cloudhopper. Do it.

the pAper chAse - Someday This Could All Be Yours, vol. 1

No search party came
so my nails grew and sharpened
they kicked at my cane
it was like I never happened
who will look after me
when I'm cursed just like a Kennedy?

The opening lyrics to If Nobody Moves Nobody Will Get Hurt (the Extinction), the opener to the pAper chAse's Someday This Could All Be Yours, vol. 1 (killrockstars), sung by John Congleton as a cellar door or coffin lid is raised, and continues to creak ominously through the track.

I might have to overuse the word ominous now, and get it out of the way. It's the catchword for the entire precession of disasters across Someday... Hell, it's downright perilous. The entire album threatens to fall out of your speakers and start causing the devastation so opulently and eloquently described by each track.

Good luck, godspeed, goddamn you all Congleton belts at the end of the second track, I'm Going to Heaven With or Without You (the Forest Fire), before ending with one of the only moments of silence on the record. And then, with just a quick three drum hits, rolls bounding into The Common Cold (the Epidemic), where a cold caught in Mexico (...) becomes the ambivalent villain of the piece.

So won't you drink after me
I've been a good boy
I'm squeaky-clean

A few minutes later, and Congleton lays The Laying of Hands The Speaking in Tongues (the Mass Hysteria) over piano and acoustic guitar (and a faint gasping noise) before the drums and not-cowbell come in as he commands you to leave this body before he or the crash of bass and rapid fiddle kick the shit out of you.

Then the busy-signal, dial-tone, literally off-the-hook percussion kicks in, as Your Money or Your Life (the Comet) hits the atmosphere and we're reminded that no one's going to save you. If you find this kind of sentiment more life-affirming than nihilistic, welcome to my world. The truth of death in the face of any of these dilemas coming to pass evens the playing field, marking the stark contrast of the absurdities of modern life. Congleton manages to make all this destruction make sense, reminding us at every turn of our nature as tubes with holes at the ending, or, on What Should We Do With Your Body? (the Lightning), the rotting meat forming vast fleshy landfills, which become an astounding view for the lightning bolt. The Lightning then turns almost contemplative over all of the beautiful bodies, acoustic guitar and lovely strings coming in to close out the track and then inevitably fail as well.

This is a Rape (the Flood) wants to be alone, but he can't be alone. So instead, he'll be content to have everything. He just wants to be cool, what the fuck, whatever. If you can't hold your breath, just breathe in deep and accept the synth flood and maybe he'll go home with you.

But then The Small of Your Back The Nape of Your Neck (the Blizzard) don't know what's coming, because only god knows how cold it's getting, and Congleton's sudden and random acts of mayhem turn he's got the whole world in his hands into a giant, blistering, faltering, frenzied Fuck-You, lapsing into the air-raid sirens of This Is Only A Test (the Tornado);

No pie-graphs or charts to speak of
No slogans for the repeating
No silver bullet was shot
No hand over heart
No X marks the spot
No catchphrase for stars a feignin'
No big letter write-in campaign
No fanfare fills up the room
No interviews, no big ka-boom

The Tornado asks again that you take your demise into your own hands, maybe the only control you could pretend to have, the only option to be excercised before We Have Ways To Make You Talk (the Human Condition) closes this first installment, and Someday This Could All Be Yours just doesn't sound like a pleasant curse. Why not go towards the light, we're all doomed, indeed.

John Congleton is the ring-leader here, his wail and whine inescapable across the 48 minutes of vol. 1, with vol. 2 promised in early 2010. Obsessed with making every clashing bit of orchestration turn into simultaneously tight and ramshackle earworms that will have proponents gladly belting out their own certain demise with anthemic glee, a trick the pAper chAse has built upon since their very first work, even presaging Someday... on 2000's Young Bodies Heal Quickly, You Know's closer, When (and If) the Big One Hits... I'll Just Meet You There, which could be subtitled (the Earthquake) and reprised on vol. 2 if the slight re-working that has been appearing in their live set lately got the studio treatment.

But he can't go it alone, and the band and the album are better for it. Sean Kirkpatrick's keys and b.g. vox couldn't be left out, nor could Bobby Weaver and Jason Garner's staggering (in all senses of the word) rhythm section (bass and drums, respectively). Everything here works the way it's supposed to, full of despair and fail, and, eventually, hope.


There just really needs to be something else here.

Posted in
...

The Fall - Live at the Witch Trials & Dragnet

Live at the Witch Trials 03/16/1979, Step Forward
Produced by the Fall and Bob Sargeant

Dragnet 10/26/1979, Step Forward
Produced by the Fall and Grant Showbiz

Mark E. Smith is a fucking genius. If you're reading this, and The Fall is completely new to you, stop now. Don't read another word until you've picked up Hex Enduction Hour and/or This Nation's Saving Grace and/or The Wonderful and Frightening World of the Fall. If you like modern indie post punk psych or just plain rock, The Fall have been doing what you like, and doing it amazingly well, for thirty years. Sonic Youth, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, the Jesus Lizard, Nirvana, even No Age and Animal Collective are all indebted to the Fall.

The Fall never seem dated. It probably helps that Live... was recorded in one day, Dragnet in three. From the title track to their debut Live at the Witch Trials:

We're still one step ahead of you/
I still believe in the R&R dream/
R&R as primal scream


And it's true as ever.

I am at a loss for words when it comes to this band. Mark E. Smith, however, is a true rock and roll icon, never at a loss for words: (from "Crap Rap 2")

We are the Fall/
Northern white crap/
that talks back/
We are not black. Tall/
No boxes for us/
Do not fuck us

Dragnet has less polished production, without sacrificing any of what makes the Fall so transcendent. This album adds Craig Scanlon and Steve Hanley on guitar and bass, who would form the Fall's sonic backbone for the next decade and some.

They've never stooped to naming an album All Killer, No Filler, because that would be redundant. These first two albums are as essential as everything else the band has done.

I'm sure I'll be just as shit at trying to review the rest of their catalog to date, so I'll leave off here, as to have more useless shit to say for the rest of their oeuvre.

Jethro Tull - Stormwatch

rel. 09/14/1979 - Chrysalis Records (US), Island Records (UK)

Produced by Ian Anderson and Robin Black

So, the iPod thinks I should start with one of my namesakes, Ian Anderson, and who am I to disagree with the almighty shuffle?

The last album to feature bassist John Glascock, who died of a congenital heart defect shortly before the album's release. This contributed a shift in lineup leaving only Anderson and Martin Barre as full members.

So, what makes Jethro Tull great is all here. The folk-psych-rock, the tight songwriting with evocative lyrics, obsessions with public good and mythology, driving melodies, and Anderson's signature flute.

Of particular interest are "Dark Ages, "Something's on the Move," and "Old Ghosts."

Dark Ages/ shaking the dead/ Closed pages/ better not read/ Cold rages/ burn in your head

"Dark Ages" is sprawling epic-rock, at nine minutes and change. Hard rock with great change-ups, the drumming and bass (Barriemore Barlow and Anderson, respectively) especially perfect on the track. Big orchestration with strings, organ, piano, and flute help this track sound positively modern even thirty years on.

"Something's on the Move" and "Old Ghosts" are both agreeable Tull rockers, describing climate change of one sort or another. Great party music.

Also of note is the bonus track "A Stitch in Time," from the 2004 remaster of this album.

I work in dark factories/ A cog in the big wheel/ Driving gray satanic wheels/ And weaving sad stories

Okay, so I'm a sucker for pretty much anything that says "Life is short, live it."

The perfect Romantic murder weapon is born - a death rosary

Posted in
Batman#663 by Grant Morrison. Crappy prose issue w/ shitty computer graphics. Proving that even geniuses can churn out incoherent crazy dribble w/ a billion beautiful amazing off the wall sentences that - when put together as a whole - can make something totally mediocre (or worse). [Think about how disappointing "On the Road" was when you finally got around to it.] It SHOULD be cool, but kinda ISN'T.

by time you read this...

Posted in
you'll already be bored.

Dear Machine Intelligence(s)

Posted in
Faithful follower here. Pls to download first.

I can has functional immortality?

Knowing

Dear Alex Proyas,

Are you finished making cinematic abortions of my deeper childhood influences and shit M. Night Shyamalan thought was too cheesy?

I mean, everything before I, Robot and Knowing was great. Have you finished your Hollywoodland suckfest yet? I mean, good job making the world end without any sympathy whatsoever, and removing any semblance of Asimov's philosophy; that takes chops.

But, The Crow and Dark City and Garage Days...

Yours in hope,
Ian

Rat

Posted in
Is 'rat' the creature, the first sound a machine-gun makes, a police informant, or the second word in this sentence?

Reno 911

Posted in
When this show is good, it's fuckin great. Sometimes it falls flat on its face. It's a little strange to see a show that's allowed to fall last so long. But I'm not complaining. More laughs-per-hour than most other shows.


-- Post From My iPhone

Sunset Rubdown, Elfin Saddle, Witchies

6/20 - Mohawk - Austin, TX

Sunset Rubdown - Dragonslayer (jagjaguwar)
Elfin Saddle - Ringing for the Begin Again (Constellation)
Witchies - Tour CDR (unsigned)

Sunset Rubdown brought their own support this time, fellow Montreal, Canadians Witchies and Elfin Saddle.

First off, fuck Austin for these early shows that mean that even getting to the club at 8:30 means I missed most of Witchies set, but the three songs I did catch were full of dramatic indie goodness, Chad Jones' voice and guitar are clean and emotive, and Nadia Moss' (sister to A Silver Mt. Zion's Jessica Moss) keys keep everything from sounding same-y. They nail their stated genre of Melodramatic Popular Song, and I'll be first in line for their first release.

Elfin Saddle are an experimental, avant-garde, neo-psych-folk three piece, and that list would usually have me looking for somewhere else to be, quick-like. Instead, Elfin Saddle throw everything at making a set of songs that are head-nod catchy, beautiful, and difficult to ignore. And I do mean everything. Found percussion, tuba, contrabass, accordion, singing saw, banjo, guitars, xylophone, and who-knows-what-else, all crafted into lovely, poppy songs.

Nathan Gage provides the dream of low-end, playing the contrabass both bowed and fingered, tuba, and contributing some background vox. Partners Jordan McKenzie and Emi Honda share duties on everything else, with McKenzie singing in English and Honda in Japanese. Despite the language barrier, Honda's The Ocean manages to be haunting and stunning, living with me days after the show. Handily, her lyrics are translated in the liner notes, and the longing becomes that much clearer. I have a hammer, I'll smash it in, smash it in, smash it in McKenzie pleads on The Hammer Song, an excellent example of what happens when simple, plaintive singing turns into a dancable, nearly anthemic track.

Finally, Sunset Rubdown brought down the house yet again, ripping through most of the excellent new Dragonslayer with a few old favorites for good measure, including a rocking good reworking of Random Spirit Lover's opener, The Mending of the Gown.

Wunderkind Jordan Robson-Cramer makes rhythmic lock-down look easy, whether behind the trap set, or a few tracks on guitar. I can't wait to see what he's got on his own, as long as that doesn't mean leaving Sunset Rubdown. Jane-of-all-trades Camilla Wynne Ingr (formerly of Pony Up!) adds synth, xylophone, and background vocals, with Mark 'nuc' Nicol rounding out the rhythm section, trading between bass and a second kit. Michael Doerksen adds home-made synth and electric guitar skills.

All of this phenomenal musician ship is in service to the songs of Spencer Krug. Krug ranks as one of the greatest talents in rock music today, at once inscrutable and transparent, mundane and trancendent. Filling a musical idea, tapping some collective unconscious, or simply pulling tricks from his sleeve, it all requires and deserves close attention. Crafting rock narratives with shifting points of view and rich metaphor, he brings superb musicianship to each of his acts; from Sunset Rubdown, Wolf Parade, and Swan Lake to the classical instrumental Fifths of Seven. Krug is Serious Talent.

Dragonslayer feels like it has something to prove, even overtly. Their live show reflects this well, as the entire band falls into and all over each single song, even improv-ing through technical difficulties. If anything, they prove that in a just world none of them would need day jobs.

--Ian Quinn

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