Posts Tagged ‘music’

A Slice Of Heaven

February 26th, 2015

I look outside to find the last remnants of snow in my yard. Last week we got about a foot of the white stuff. Still a few inches left to be washed away by the rising temperatures and rains of the coming March.


It’s Thursday morning. I have spent the last hour or so listening to Huun Huur Tu, a quartet of Tuvan throat singers. I am obsessed with a song called “Camel Caravan Drivers Song”. I heard a snippet of it over twenty years ago.



I heard it near the end of a BBC documentary about Frank Zappa. Zappa hosted a party at his house a few months before he died in 1993. Invites went out to Irish folk group The Chieftains, bluesman Johnny “Guitar” Watson, and among others Huun Huur Tu. You can find the raw footage of this event if you google “Zappa Salad Party”.


I saw the documentary in ’94, and it shows Zappa enjoying this unlikely collaboration between Irish folksters, Mongolian folksters, an American blues legend, and who knows who else. I only heard a snippet of a song sung by Huun Huur Tu, and never thought I’d hear it again. It never occurred to me do any further research. Perhaps they had conceived the song on the spot, I figured. A one-time event never to be repeated.


The jam session/salad party was a one-time event but it was not a one-time composition, as Huun Huur Tu were singing a song, “Camel Caravan Drivers Song”. I have not heard any part of this song in any other than what was in the Zappa documentary.


It gave me some joy to hear it again. Two decades have gone by. My life has changed so much. I went from teenager to legal adult to college graduate to crazy rapper to bitter, depressed crank. The folk tradition is not something I understood at sixteen. I may get it a little more now. The authentic soul of a distant land, a different people. The folk tradition lives but it will not be found at an award show. Music is life. This is life I’m hearing. A cry that is joyful and pained by the same token. It took a long time to get to this place. The music took a long time to get to my and your ears. Our lives have taken us here after such a long journey. The journey never ends, either. Not for life and not for music that embodies the folk tradition.


Did you know Huun Huur Tu tours frequently? I just learned this. They will do U.S. dates in April and again in the fall. If you can see them, you should.

Struggling With Bob Dylan

January 9th, 2015

When I was about about twenty-one years old, I wrote a one-act play called “BOB DYLAN SUCKS”. Bob Dylan is the lead character, with support by Missy Elliot, LL Cool J and Art from Everclear who try to convince him to sell his soul and appear in a TV commercial for GAP clothes. I haven’t gone back to see what I wrote but I remember the end, a group song-and-dance number where Dylan overcomes any sense of self and throws in with the GAP people, culminating in a climax of the jingle “Fall into the GAP” followed by the cruel line “The times, they are a-changin’!” And scene.


I feel the same way about Bob Dylan the way old white guys feel about rap music. I did not listen to a complete Bob Dylan album until last year. That album? Self-Portrait, which is largely regarded as his worst album. Blonde On Blonde, Bringing It All Back Home, Desire, Blood On The Tracks? Nope times four. And it’s not like I hate the guy or his music. I just. . . don’t understand the appeal?


We got done playing and suddenly it was like a lockdown. They rushed you offstage. “You gotta get your equipment off, you gotta clear the area.” We looked out and saw this line of big, black Hummer limousines. Probably six or seven of them in a row. And we thought, dude, fucking Michael Jackson is here. They pull right up to the stage and it’s just Bob Dylan. Bob Dylan is in one. Two guys are in another one. They walk up to the stage. They play. They walk right back down to the limousines as soon as they’re done. The truth of it is, you believe Michael Jackson would have a ridiculous entourage because it seems believable. You would think Bob Dylan would just back amongst all the trailers jamming his acoustic guitar trying to keep warm with us. That’s the story, but that’s not the way it is. It’s weird and that’s the truth. What can you do?


That’s Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips on playing a festival with Bob Dylan. And again, I’m not a Dylan fan, but what does this guy think is gonna happen? “Hey, Bob, I write songs too.” What do you think is gonna happen? Some sort of hootenanny? Bob Dylan was being worshiped as a musical God before Wayne Coyne dropped LSD in his eyeballs for the first time at age eight. I tell you what would have happened: Bob shows up to the party and everybody starts acting weird around him. Then people walk up to him and thank him for all he’s done and he starts feeling weird. Every party feels like a lifetime achievement award ceremony when you’re Bob Dylan. I’d rather hang out in the limo if I had the choice.


In my ripe middle age, I’m going to give Bob a chance. I’ve avoided him all this time. The Colonel recommended Time Out Of Mind to me, so that’s the first Bob record I’m listening to that’s supposed to be good. I’m working on it. Watch this space.


One last thought. Terry Richardson (photographer) once had an exhibition called SON OF BOB, because his father was Bob Richardson, the famous photographer. Jakob Dylan never used SON OF BOB as an album title, which I consider a lost opportunity.

All Tomorrow’s Prophet

September 4th, 2014

One of my favorite concert festivals is All Tomorrow’s Parties. I have never been to any of them, but I enjoy the concept of the festival. The idea being that the festival organizers allow an artist of some renown (in past years, the Flaming Lips, Matt Groening, the guy from the Afghan Whigs, the guy from Neutral Milk Hotel, to name a few) decide on who should play the festival. So it becomes their dream festival (or as much of one as can be mustered under financial and logistical concerns). Think of it like getting a look through someone’s record collection come to life, that’s All Tomorrow’s Parties.


I have never been to the festival because they usually occur far from me. Sometimes they are in Los Angeles or New York or London or Iceland. And it’s not like I’m spoiled for festivals, what with Forecastle to the north of me and Bonnaroo to the south. But ATP is a unique one because it represents a singular vision as opposed to other festivals which offer a broad variety.


I’ve given a little bit of thought to what would happen if ATP just rang me up one day and asked me to curate a festival. A guy can dream, especially knowing that the list of acts I would put together would probably draw a total of 150 paying customers. And that’s over all three days. But I made a list anyway.


In no particular order:



The Tubes


Peter Hammill


R. Stevie Moore




Blue Oyster Cult (probable headliner)


Daniel Johnston


St. Vincent (this will be my only concession to the Pitchfork/Stereogum crowd)


Ultramantis Black


Damo Suzuki Network


Yellow Magic Orchestra




Sloan (performing the entirety of Between The Bridges, which is probably not their best or most popular album)


Unknown Hinson


Unknown Mortal Orchestra


Lee “Scratch” Perry


In addition to music, there will be a wrestling tent. Also we’d have a white-rapper tent but I’ll be damned if I’m going over there. I guess my ultimate goal is to make All Tomorrow’s Juggalo Gathering when you factor that stuff in.


PS – The white rappers have to pay to perform. I would have to make money back on the festival somehow. Maybe a few hundred people would come to the festival I put together here. But they would fly in from all over the world. I would make a few hundred music geeks jizz in their pants with this lineup.


As a gesture of public service, I’d hire Ceelo Green to sit in a dunk tank and charge people to throw baseballs at him, with all the proceeds going to rape crisis and prevention charities. I should also mention that there won’t be a target switch for people to hit with the baseballs, just Ceelo sitting without a fence in front of him.

Remember Marilyn Manson?

May 7th, 2014

Wow. It’s really been a long time. I was just thinking about Marilyn Manson and decided to throw on Anti-Christ Superstar. For once, listening to Marilyn Manson seems like a good idea.


2014 sucks. I need a blast of 1996 to clear all the gunk out of this so-far shitty year. Eighteen years have passed since 1996. I have distinct memories of 1996. I graduated from high school in 1996. Someone born in 1996 graduated from high school in 2014. And that is far from the shittiest thing about 2014, I can assure you.


I need Marilyn Manson right now. It’s five in the morning. Life is a box of dildos when all you need is a fleshlight. How far ahead of the game was he? Then 1998 comes and he drops the fucking ‘Dope Show’ on us? We didn’t know how good we had it. Joe Lieberman blamed the Columbine massacre on Manson even though the two kids who masterminded the thing weren’t Manson fans and music doesn’t cause violence anymore than this blog or your shirt does.


Oh, you don’t remember “The Dope Show”? Fuck you, get your dick out of your ears.



That swings, kids. That’s a club anthem. Strip club, night club, football club, club sandwich, I don’t give a shit.


I was never the biggest MM fan. I had two friends who gave him up when they converted to Christianity (I’m serious). It was just music but I guess they thought Anti-Christ Superstar was a channel to Hell. And the guy thanked Anton LaVey in the liner notes which probably gave them the willies.


Poor Marilyn. Just goes to show that you can’t even come out and plain old say it to their faces in black-and-white English. People are going to get it wrong. We really are a bunch of Mechanical Animals. How long do you yell at people who don’t listen before you start to feel like a tired fool?

Enjoy Feeling Bad

December 17th, 2013

Music can do so many things to us, no matter what stage of life we are at. Music can really soothe us when we are feeling cold, unloved and rabid. Alternately, sometimes people listen to music that drives them crazy. Music that makes them feel cold, unloved, rabid and vicious. You can’t get lost in a movie like you can good music (or even bad music if you are susceptible to it. . . as proof of this, Kiss have just been nominated to the R’N’R Hall of Fame today). Even the music that you listen to for the purpose of feeling bad must have a good purpose the way you use it. Something inside you trying to get out. You find just the right thing to pull it out of you and FEEL it and maybe even enjoy it a bit.


This is where Technology Vs. Horse comes in right now. We are in the gradual process of putting together music for our sixth(!) studio album. Since 2008, we have released three albums with our current lineup. We have tried to make each one better than the one before it. Whether we have succeeded or not is for each listener to decide (and I encourage to you listen for yourselves at and maybe even kick in a few shekels for the mp3s or a CD or something).


Would these men lie to you?

Would these men lie to you?


I don’t know how many songs will end up on album six. I don’t know what the name of it will be or what the cover will look like. The five of us have an idea or two but we’re not committed to anything except really making the most WTF experimental heavy music you’ve ever heard from us. There will not be a “White Girls” moment on album six. . . I assume. We haven’t written one yet. Probably won’t either. If you liked our song “Electric Eels”, there might be some more stuff in that vein only way more depressing and horrifying. Are you ready for a whole album of dark, angry experimental rock? That’s what you’re gonna get.


Enjoy feeling bad.





I Almost Believe In God

December 12th, 2013

I almost believe in God. I actually want to believe but it has been difficult for me, what with all the logic and deductive reasoning and whatnot that contradicts the possibility of a belief.


There is something that logic doesn’t account for, and that is the miracle. I want to believe that there is a God because there are miracles that occur in our life that we can’t account for. I’m not talking about the impossible to believe like Jesus turning water into wine. I’m talking about the unlikely but somehow possible that is the musical career of Stevie Wonder.



Stevie Wonder, blind from birth, learned how to play more musical instruments as a child than most people can name. By twelve, he was a recording star. By age twenty-two, he had negotiated the right to creative autonomy when making his studio albums. By age twenty-six, he had recorded an double-album called Songs In The Key Of Life, which is now in the Library Of Congress.


The song above, “Add Day Sucker”, is not on Songs Of The Key Of Life. It was included as part of a bonus EP that came with that album. I don’t know why “All Day Sucker” is not on the proper Songs album. Presumably, the four songs on the bonus EP were not good enough for the proper double-album. Hard to argue. That album has “Isn’t She Lovely” which wasn’t a single.


“All Day Sucker” slays me. It is, as you might say, a stone groove. Stevie Wonder plays nearly everything on the track. There is a backup singer and three different guitarists on the track. The rest is all Stevie: drums, synth bass, keyboards, Clavinet, and those vocals.


This is a miracle to me. This song wasn’t good enough to be on one of the best albums of all time and it was entirely composed and almost entirely performed in studio by a blind man. I know Prince can play all these instruments and guitar as well, but fuck him because he at least has the gift of sight.


Miracles really do happen. They aren’t completely implausible. They seem implausible sometimes.


Why are you looking at me like that?

Why are you looking at me like that?


My Top 5 Albums Of The Year!!!

December 11th, 2013

1. Kanye West “Yeezus”



I’ve been really not feeling like myself lately. It is almost as if life takes place all around me and I’m in a dead zone. Where has the passion in my life gone? How can you live without passion, without zeal for something? Anything? Someone on my Twitter feed wrote that if you lead a passionless existence, you’re dying a slow death.


2. Daft Punk “Random Access Memories”



I really don’t like the sun. That is a strange thing to admit out loud. But I need the sun. Everyone needs it. Even on a cold day, when the sun is out you feel that POW! of sunshine. It’s good for me. It’s a natural sort of pick-me-up. I’m too depressed to really appreciate the sun for what it does for people.


3. Miley Cyrus “Bangerz”



Losing interest in personal interaction. Disappearing into my own brain. No one cares. I don’t even care that much, to be honest.


4. Lady Gaga “ARTPOP”


Every now and then I want to cry out. I WANT TO BE LOVED! I’M JUST LIKE YOU! I feel out of place in the world. Perhaps I’m hiding. Just another consumer slowly dying like all the others. I see the through the illusion of our societal norms and yet that does not comfort me.


5. David Bowie “The Next Day”



I don’t know how to love. I don’t even love myself. How is that even possible? What is there to look forward to? Excitement has been replaced by dread. Sometimes I think I oughta let someone bash me in the skull with a hammer until blood and brain sprays everywhere. Just lay down like it’s guillotine time and take the hammer and sing all the songs from my favorite albums of the year.

Video Genre: Awkward Europe TV Lip-Sync

December 4th, 2013


Queen “Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy” (1977, UK)

The BBC had a rule that bands couldn’t lip-sync their single on TV. However, they were allowed to re-record the song and lip-sync to that. That’s why this version sounds slightly different from the one you can buy commercially. Freddie doesn’t even care enough to continue playing piano from the third verse onward even though piano is clearly audible, and Brian shakes his head in disgust at a flubbed note in a solo even though it’s a lipsync. That takes talent, folks.



Boney M “Ma Baker” (Germany. 1977)

Why is this awkward? Well, two members of the band aren’t actually singers to start with. This is a proto-Milli Vanilli, with the male dancer miming to lyrics performed by producer Frank Farian (who would later attempt to foist MV on the world). More awkward in retrospect.



Abba “Voulez Vous” (1979, Spain)

Frida and Agnetha look like they are ready for aerobics. The guitarist looks like Roman Polanski with a blonde wig. I have never been sure which two were married to who. For all I know the men were married to each other.



Buggles “Video Killed The Radio Star” (Germany, 1979)

If this had been the video for that song, Todd Rundgren would have had the first video played on MTV instead.




Sparks “When I’m With You” (1980, France)

In a video where a bunch of people walk in and out of a sex shop, the two men in suits with the synthesizer somehow end up being the creepiest people. None of the perverts even think to toss them a mark for their trouble.



Kiss “I Love It Loud” (1982, Germany)

The audience looks baffled and mildly amused. Note that Kiss are not using the famous lightning “S” in their logo. These were banned in Germany after WWII. At least two members of Kiss are Jewish. The fog machine is really cheap looking. My favorite part is when they reveal a second set of microphones on stands further up the stage for the final chorus.



Jethro Tull “Broadsword” (1982, Germany)

The great punchline comes about 3:43 after the song fades out. It’s great to watch Ian Anderson go through his usual jester shenanigans (the rest of the band is dressed similarly but he’s the only one really committed to it) and hearing how shitty the Jethro Tull sound came across in the synthy early 80’s. These are the dreams Spinal Tap are made of.


Billy Idol “Eyes Without A Face” (1984, UK)

A Top Of The Pops performance where they didn’t even bother to bring in a backing band. Just Steve Stevens on axe and a backup singer. Billy flubs the lyrics. He looks blasted out of his skull on drugs. Imagine how shitty it would be to be booked on this and be told your song was ranked 33rd.

Country Music Where It Doesn’t Belong

May 25th, 2013

On several occasions this spring, I’ve taken in a sporting event. You may not care for hockey or baseball or pro wrestling but these are my ideas of a good time and I like to check them out when they are in my radius. And yet I’m as likely as not to be at an event that has some bonus entertainment preceding the game, in the form of some up-and-coming country singer performing a short set.


I went to a hockey game. Before the game, some country singer went on the ice and played a song about children fighting cancer. He yelled for everyone to stand up from their seats in support of the fight against cancer while he played the song.


I stayed in my chair.


Fuck him and his pandering, shitty song. I sat in the FRONT ROW not standing up against cancer. The Tim Ash Band. That’s who it was and they were hawking CDs and going on tour promoting their CD. Using a cause to promote your band? How disgusting.


I went to a pro wrestling show last night and (wonder of wonders) there was another country singer stinking up the joint. I won’t trash this guy because he was merely peddling his music on its’ own merits and not propping himself up on a charity like children with cancer, or the troops with cancer, or snails with spina bifida.


Country music tries to sneak in where it isn’t needed or really wanted. A guy with his guitar and that old redneck pop chord progression and overdone twang is just cockblocking the audience from the entertainment they spent their hard-earned money for. “Hey, do you like country music? Wanna hear it done poorly by a complete stranger?”


How would you feel if you went to a Brad Paisley concert and they opened the show with ten minutes of five-on-five full court basketball between two A.A.U. teams? I went to see Dierks Bentley at the Coliseum and before the opener came out two teenage ping-pong prodigies who are trying to raise money to go to South Korea for a big tournament played a friendly game to eleven. YES, IT WAS TOTALLY DISTRACTING.


Country music, fuck you. Go where you’re supposed to be. How you feel about gay marriage is how I feel about you.

Some Daft Punk Thoughts

May 15th, 2013

I don’t know if I can call this a proper review. Just some scattered thoughts.

  • Some context: I found out about Daft Punk through the video to “Around The World” whereupon I went to a music store and bought the Homework album in 1997. I had no idea what the rest of the album would sound like. I had no guarantee that I would like it. I liked a lot of Homework but at times I found it to be too much. I would go on to feel this way about their next two albums.
  • I am not considering Daft Punk’s score for the Tron: Legacy movie when putting these thoughts, nor do I think of it in the context of Daft Punk’s greater output. I consider it a one-off like Queen had with Flash Gordon, even if Daft Punk and/or their fans don’t.
  • So far I’ve gone three bullet points without talking about what their new album Random Access Memories sounds like. I should really be writing for Pitchfork at this pace.
  • “Touch” is by far the best track on the new album. Consider that the best track on the album was co-written and sung by a 71-year-old man who co-wrote the theme to The Love Boat.
  • Since Paul Williams is seventy-one, we should take some time to tell him how much we appreciate him while he’s still around.
  • I love how “Touch” is sequenced in between two songs sung by Pharrell Williams (no relation to Paul), a man who should not be allowed near a microphone for the purposes of singing. I also love how Pharrell’s vocals are the least electronically-treated vocals on the entire album. The worst singer on the album (including Daft Punk) is barely vocoded or whatever it is they do. I also love how the songs that Pharrell sings (“Get Lucky” and “Lose Yourself To Dance”) are nowhere near the worst thing on the album.
  • Speaking of “worst thing on the album,” Julian Casablancas of the Strokes should be fed to a woodchipper.
  • I can’t scientifically prove it but I’m certain there are more lyrics on this Daft Punk album then there were on the previous three combined.
  • There are three great songs on this album: “Touch”, “Giorgio By Moroder” and “Contact”. There might be a few good ones, depending on your individual tastes. If you like “Get Lucky”, you’ll probably like “Lose Yourself To Dance” as well. You might like the opening track “Give Life Back To Music”. Do you like Panda Bear? You might think “Doin’ It Right” is good because he sings on it. Same goes with “Instant Crush” and Julian Casablancas in which case YOU ARE WRONG GIVE UP.
  • Daft Punk modeled their new album after classic rock like Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours, Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon and Hotel California by The Eagles. Why? I’m being serious. Go to the Wikipedia for Random Access Memories (which has almost as many references as the OJ Simpson trial, another shitty thing that happened in California) and read for yourself. They really wanted to make an album like Fleetwood Mac and the Eagles. I don’t know why they threw Pink Floyd in there unless their goal is to make one of the best-selling albums of all time, which those three are certainly on the list.
  • Prediction: Random Access Memories will probably not become one of the best-selling records of all time. Or the decade. This year, maybe.
  • Fuck it. I’ve decided to sing on a dubstep remake of “Go Your Own Way”. Maybe I’ll do a chillwave version of “Tequila Sunrise”. What’s to stop me anymore? Has the whole world gone crazy?
  • I admit I’m being harsh on Julian but egad that song is terrible.