Friday, September 26, 2008


i'm a'gonna come right out with it.

"hi. i'm matt, and i spend too much money on records."
and you say,
"hi, matt."

no really. i'm bartending. i'm (pathetically) single. i have several guitars and a stack of "to-read" books this high, and my fridge is well-stocked with beers (thank you) and i have a bottle of whiskey. and i can't think of anything else that needs my liquid assets more than new fucking records. *sighs(dishonestly)* i suppose i could buy stocks... 
or i eard there was this bridge in brooklyn...

but it really is a little disconcerting when i look up at my paypal account and go all "shit!!!!--where the hell my money at?"
(well, right now it's being funnelled northward to the little community of anacortes, washington, and their fine, fine independent diy records industry. i am waiting for this pile of stuff to arrive--you'll be the first)

but in the meantime, as i wait (less than patiently, it must be said) for the GODDAMNPATHETICKNUCKLEDRAGGINGINDOLENTAPATHETIC"RAINSLEETSNOW"MYASSPOSTALSERVICE to bring me my fine, fine white vinyl, i have been goulishly haunting the good people at daytrotter. for the ign'ant, pay heed: the daytrotter is a bastion of pseudo-bootleg material for the pathetically completist indie-nutjob (present). so many sessions of good hard-workin' bands swinging by these humble studios to put down several (usually four) tracks live which are then posted on the site and d-o-w-n-l-o-a-d-a-b-l-e-f-o-r-f-r-e-e. of course. OF COURSE, you should support their sponsors. and then you should buy tickets for the bands as they continue their tours. and you shold totally buy those cds, people. but you should also chec out his site and get a butt-load of good stuff that really isn;t coming out anywhere else.

yes they have deathcabforcutie, kirsten dunst. your indie-cred will be safe. yes, sadly over-indulgent, overly tattooed baby-dyke, ani is there. yes rabid horde of speed freaks and SO SO SO earnest folkies, the mountain goats has graced DT with their gentle presence twice.
for my sins, i own up to digging out auckland band the brunettes (oh, so twee), southern wonders someone still loves you boris yeltsin (no, really), and dischordant geniuseseses dirty projectors, who i discovered completely by accident while sifting throught the googleage for information on julie doucet (OMG), and found in a related D&Q blog, where i saw pix of this band rocking out something cute, with a very stylish man and woman center stage, replete with upside-down geetar (ie left-handed). i downloaded the seven challenging and meandering tracks of slightly aboriginal seasoning (hello paul simon, hello ezra koenig), but in a way that rapes africa a little less and fucks hipsters maybe (hopefully?) a little more.
i'll certainly be looking for a little more.
having segued into montreal, if you are at daytrotter you must also check out the lovely, dark and moody stylings of canada's young galaxy. seeing the name i sustained a hope that they were following in the footsteps of krukowski, yang and wareham. they were not. but they are damned good.

to sum up: free is good. just don't be a douchebag (ie buy things too). ain't no reason you can;t do both, people.
and speaking of phil elvrum, and the digital world, and how sometimes it's great and sometimes not, i urge all of you who cherish the snailier mail to check out this brilliant plea.

brief note.

i have in the past mentioned the ridiculously good label dark beloved cloud. it is headed by pop-polymath douglas wolk. i wholly grant douglas' knowledge of arcane antipodean pop-punk could be considered superior to mine. that would be fair. the man has actually released a clean single. on vinyl. which is a gorgeous anarchic bullshit session committed to posterity by three of my own personal heroes. oh, how i envy douglas his profound connections across the disparate but ultimately fulfilling nerd-overses of independent labels and the might comic book. oh to be in über-trendy pdx rather than in sad-bastard seattle. etcetera. whatever. i have just this little flicker of pride at my disposal: that i blogged about the clean's uncompromisingly sweet live album mashed before douglas did. it ain't a competition. he'd win. i'm just officially ahead of the curve for a change. it's nice.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Blow me!

yeah, yeah.

i was supposed to be writing about woelv, but i 'haven't absorbed that one yet.' i mean, fuck, it's really good, but it's darkly beautiful and subtle, and i just had some coffee and my leg's all twitchity and my mood is less inclined to over-analize quietude. so i'm writing about the blow instead. 

subtle too, the blow (currently, and relevant to this blog, comprised of khaela maricich (constant) and jona bechtolt (current side-man) is anything but quiet and subdued. at least on the only record* i have so far, 2006's 'paper television' (k records). kicking off with a jaunty drum sample, 'pt' is a distinctively pop-informed album, with more samples, staccato synthesizer tones, overdubs and a general sense that if one were in a sweaty club, with sexy kids writhing in drug-induced agonies, the record would feel just as natural as it did to me, sitting in my otherwise quiet studio, where i stymied my attempts to work with the record on by playing it. it grabs the attention unrelentingy with smart and deeply (and ambivalently) sensual lyrics, and in the urgency with which they are expressed. the songs struggle with the balance of sexy-cool assertiveness and a raw, heart-rending vulnerability, all the while keeping a beat that races on unrelentingly. i had to listen to it three times in a row at first. usually i only do that when john darnielle puts something new out.

musically, it's interesting to look at how the blow relates to the 'other' northwest music culture (contrasted with the macho-pathetic-druggie-flannel era of the early nineties), the more diy-informed strain that, with olympia's beat happening, among others, predated, ran concurrent to, survived and thrived past the notorious 'grunge' moment that launched an ill-prepared seattle onto the world stage (an attention that was partially responsible for a socio-econimic influx that decimated our infrastructure and anticipated the increasingly national trend towards a dissolving economic diversity). the oly' bands were loud in  a more dischordant way than the more academically punk-metal combine of bands like nirvana and mudhoney, whose thrasher heritage was evident in their long haired head-banging and rough, heroin-chic. the bands a little to the south tended to be more akin to east coast icons like the velvet underground, with minimalist tendencies and performances, but more importantly, with a focus on politics that flew in the face of their contemporaries, especially with regard to gender and sexuality. olympia was the cradle, if not the birthplace, of the riot grrrl bands, and homegrown label k records, founded by calvin johnson in 1982, tapped into the international underground tendency of bands and micro labels who were trying to truly do it themselves, and opened the door for west coast artists less interested in sales and mastering and stereo, and more focussed on their individualistic outputs. when i was in school in upstate new york in the mid-nineties, i heard more stuff from olympia than i had when i was going to high school in the early part of the decade in seattle itself. funny how that stuff happens.

khaela maricich is from seattle (queen anne, specifically) and moved around from seattle to olympia and portland, and her locality both informs the blow and is defied by it. the play between girlish rasp and the assertiveness female strength are contrasts that are characteristic of bands like sleater-kinney, bikini kill, le tigre and others. there are also echoes of miranda july, specifically the type of fluidly quotidian aesthetic she espouses in her multi-media works (it should be mentioned that maricich is also a multi-media artist), most clearly in her film 'me and you and everyone we know' (2005). maricich's lyrics are confident and desperate, with a certain gender neutrality that is also echoed in her androgynous physical appearance. 

i'm droning on.
khaela maricich makes juicy-sexy-poppy-scary-goddamniwannacry-goddamniwannafuck-jump!-jump!-lie-in-a-ball-on-the-floor love songs. sometimes they are in french.
i'm totally crushing on this record.


*when i say record, i do mean it. i've been getting on a selective vinyl kick lately (yeah, yeah, the hipsters have been espousing vinyl for decades (see: 'high fidelity' (the movie, not the book)), but i'm talking about something simpler, i suppose, that when i can, i prefer some bands on the medium of a scratchy vinyl record. everyone knows that vinyl carries a certain tonal richness that is difficult to reproduce on digital media (especially my least favorite, the mp3 format), but i would like to just say i'm not a snob about it. i just prefer the copy of 'strangeways here we come' that i bought with my newspaper route money (no fucking joke) in 1991 to the copy of it i have on cd. i always listened to side 2 first when i listened to that record (which was a lot), and it always sounds wrong to hear it right! then of course there's bands that i've written here about like the cannanes and boyracer and all that, whose output just sounds better when it's fucked up (i don't actually own a decent turntable--just a shitty record/tape stereo from the mid-eighties--and the tape deck hasn't worked since 1997).  recently got some beat happening on vinyl from k records, and listened to it for the first time on its natural environment, and that was kind of cool, kind of comforting (remember, not so much cd sales for indie acts in the eighties). anyway, to sum up: not a snob, but certainly appreciative of the options available...

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Back in action

hi, i'm back.

it has come to my attention that there are people who read this, so to they, the gentle bodhisattvas of diy-indie rock, i humbly apologise for my extended absence. i have been working too hard. if you want to know what i've been working on you can check it out here, and buy it here.
i know, i know. it's trés gauche for me to promote my own machinations on a blog purported to celebrate the music of others. i clearly am a selfish cad. buy my fucking record though, please.

i have really been dumping a lot of hours into that ep, but i've also been buying stuff in massive shit-piles, so as i work it deeper into my head, i'll regurgitate here. soon. really, i promise. first up will likely be the 'gris' ep from geneviéve castrée's 'woelv'  persona. more soon.