Giving You the Best that I've Got...

I guess I'll keep the mood all-like fall-like and gush about my theory on autumnal playlists. Livin' in Ohio and experiencing each change of season I've found the fall a time when listening habits become much like the year before or before that. For some reason there are certain albums that just resonate better this time in the calendar. Albums or songs that evoke memories much stronger than others. Granted I've locked myself in the basement to master Guitar Hero III, but there's a reason I keep trying to conquer "One" by Metallica. Metallica just sounds better when the trees are slowly becoming bare and ominous. Right? Or Urge Overkill. Anything by the Misfits. The Posies - Frosting on the Beater. Megadeth. Geto Boys. Tammy and the Amps.

Sure there's plenty of new things to listen to that fit the mood:

A Mountain of One - perfect for a pre-sun commute, in morning silence, to one of Columubus' many fine public schools.

Tiffany Evans - "Promise Ring" -- my deep attraction to light-hearted quiet storm fare never falters.

Brittany -- Yes. Blackout is as neon-coated and darkly pop as the critics allow.

Psychedelic Horseshit and TNV's (new one) shitpop -- for the anxiety that precedes the anxiety of the holidays.

And that Black Swans record Change keeps me up late on the screened in porch through colder and colder smoke breaks.

But for me two songs have won out. The first from Anita Baker's landmark album
. Listening to "Sweet Love" is being 10 years old again and in Tae Kwon Do. For some reason the sensei was a huge slow jams man, and his clock radio would always have the Dayton classic R&B station on stealth-like in the back office. No matter what we were doing you could hear it's soft whisper from beyond. It was most prevalent when we had our final meditation. Whenever I want I can hear Anita's voice in this rousing song and transport myself to a time when meditation was in a white cotton uniform on a bamboo floor, the only time to actually think and revel in a young boy's life. For a 10 yr. old, that was some peaceful shit. It was in that moment that I would dream off and find myself in the foreign locales I've been lucky enough to see. I owe it all to Anita.

Then there was Sepultura and "Dead Embryonic Cells." I was 14 and sitting shotgun with Big Tim Dafner in the Cutlass Supreme. I suppose like any half-way rebellious teen we were searching for dirt weed, cheap cigarettes and the supreme evil in heavy metal music. Back then it seemed like we had found it with Danzig, Cannibal Corpse, Deicide, and our secret weapon, Pungent Stench. Sepultura was up there with the top three (Slayer, Anthrax, Megadeth), but it wasn't until now that I know how potent and influential they really were. Seeing movies now re: the strife in modern day Brazil, the guys in Sepultura were speaking from the ultimate pit of humanity. Not Africa, but somewhere where opportunity is shoved in your face but yanked away at an instant. Belo Horizonte, where they originated in this late 80's/early 90's turmoil was the real deal for the type of apocalyptic imagery Sepultura conjured both musically and stylistically. It's only now that I've realized how devastating Arise truly is. I'd love to go on a little field trip through the creepiness of the Miami Valley we journeyed; be it tracing the ghost of Polecat Rd., the satanic ritual sites outside of Huber Heights, the head-shop in New Carlisle, or various gravel pits where underage kids could get high. Sepultura as a constant would have made all the difference, at least it does now.


Live at the Circleville Pumpkin Show

The perfect pre-Halloween celebration. What better way that to celebrate pumpkins than with over-salted pumpkin seeds, cult desserts like pumpkins donuts and waffles, pumpkin burgers, pumpkin candles and helmets. You get the idea. I never knew the gourd was so edible and useful in the home.

So there's a pumpkin shortage this year? Not in Circleville. They had the things in all shapes, sizes, and colors. They had the precise scent of dying leaves and cold stone buildings wafting through the air. Wednesday was locals night maybe, the downtown cretins and dark back alleyways lent the town the feel of some place haunted.

But the parade through the city -- with marching bands from Logan Elm, Teays Valley, and Asheville, dentists in Chryslers with their high-school, Pumpkin Queen hopefuls on the hood -- became a microcosm of idyllic smalltown america. Congrats to Andrea Turner btw (really, read through this link).

Perhaps it's a sign of my old age that I actually enjoy such preciousness. Either way it's better than any fair. It's a show. Bring a flask though, for I searched for Pumpkin Beer high and low to no avail.


For Noise Enthusiasts Only...

I'm thinking I skipped over this because it's such a solitary record, not for the masses, the proles. Thurston Moore has put out a great bunch of releases this year, half of them much like the split between 16 Bitch Pile-Up and Mike Shiflet, and half of them like the MV/EE's Gettin' Gone (rootsy, incense-burning, myth collections), and one that puts both sides together (Magik Markers brilliant Boss). The solitary albums have been vinyl only, pressed in tiny amounts and spit around to inquiring heads (i.e. Lambsbread R.I.P.) and for that Moore is philanthropist rather than label mogul. He knows these recordings have a purpose, not a mass audience, and judging by the amount of pure "noise" Moore ingests in a day (see Bull Tongue) the 30 minute romps from Leslie Keefer and this one here are his bliss-out moments (or cave retreats).

Solitary -- if someone says they listen to "noise" records at parties, with friends, they're lying. Even in a live setting, with crowd, and the "mercy applause" that concludes even the more irritating extremes of the "noise" sub-culture, a spectator is likely to get trapped and/or escape in a deeply personal singular experience. There are no knowing glances to the people around you, no high fives and critical mumurs. The only sign that the "band" is acheiving an altered state is within oneself. Quality noise is a conscious trip without medicine, measured by one's own enlightenment. It's telling that "noise" enthusiasts treat the genre like a religion. I would attend the next NO FUN FEST, but I'm not sure if I'm devoted enough.

Make Like a Fetus and Abort is the perfect break-out for the Bitches. A space odyssey on the outer limit's best morphine, portioned like a radio drama for the hearing impaired. I've seen a few Pile-Ups in my time and it's quite an emasculating live show -- not homicidal femme fatales out for male blood, but these girls got demons they need to release. Knives, screwdrivers, cross-stitch, a massively hot DJ de-grooving dollar opera records,fake blood, fake puss, fake bruises (have you seen the pictures?) boiling in a mess of chum and broken strings and howls. These are nightmare quasars, the primal screams that rush out the ears once you've pressed you palms against closed eyes. Childhood fear, adult-hood taboos. Space travel without any scientific data.

And Mr. Shiflet? Well he's been loafing on the pulse of "noise" for many, many, years. His Gameboy Records will one day be documented in some elaborate, gold-plated, box-set. Extract, Behold is a fitting a title as one can find in the "*****" world. The Ohio ex-pat, now in Japan, is an artisan of drone, through static and long, buzzing, chords, he reveals jazz-like melodies. You've got to listen hard, much like those hidden eye photos, to find them, but once you do you'll dispute the claim that one man's construction site is another's form of transcendental meditation.

It must be noted that though both artists now have different locales, the recordings found here were recorded in Columbus, OH, USA. Again, I of the B Holder.


Live with Billy Corgan's Corpse

Yes. Another big box concert, but I had legitimate hopes, expectations, 3/4 of Siamese Dream in ripe October moonlight. I can't say I was let down. Billy Corgan is a consummate showman. Really. He's the alt-rock generation's Jimi Hendrix. He fucking owned the guitar and even though this night he plowed through 3/4 of Zeitgeist instead, that lazer-beam tone was ever-present. "Hummer" alone was worth the price of admission and in the context of a live show coupled with half a fake reunion, those new songs actually worked.

But alas, Billy is a zombie, the "zero" of his song (and numerous t-shirts I've seen since), which might explain the awkward noodling through "White Rabbit," Joan Jett, and the Van Halen-esque hammer-ons. Honestly, the last twenty minutes of the "real" show were nothing but band jam, excursions through "Heavy Metal Machine" and whatever else Billy felt like playing. Just drop it all, contact All Tomorrow's Parties, and take the Dream on the road. Hell, I'll even take an exclusive Adore tour. Love that one.


Obligatory In Rainbows Post

Ga ga ga ga ga ga haven't been interested in Radiohead for years. Ga ga ga ga ga ga ga ga asked me what I would pay for In Rainbows and I said 0.00 £GBP. Ga ga ga ga ga ga ga ga ga ga ga ga ga ga ga late one night they discreetly and impersonally gave the album to me before I could (steal) borrow it from a friend. Ga ga ga ga ga ga ga ga ga ga ga ga ga ga ga ga ga ga ga ga ga sounds exactly what I expected Radiohead would sound once OK Computer signed off. Ga ga ga ga ga ga as a result, I'm loving it, ga ga ga ga ga, it's simply not an album, ga ga ga ga ga, but truly an experience. Ga ga ga ga ga ga ga ga ga ga ga ga ga, alright, alright, already, I'll shell out $80 for the discbox, get off my back. Ga ga ga ga ga ga ga ga ga ga ga ga ga ga ga ga ga, have placed them on a pedestal as the world's most important band, ga ga ga ga ga ga, and such a gesture as In Rainbows has proven to be, ga ga ga ga ga (1.2 million (free) downloads), ga ga ga ga ga ga ga ga ga ga, might just prove them right.


Live with the Arcade Fire

In recent years I haven't paid much attention to big box concerts. There's truly not a worthy venue to drag top-tier acts through town. The LC Pavilion (outdoors only) comes closest, so I was obliged to go see Arcade Fire and LCD Soundsystem. I've seen both before, in much more intimate settings, therefore entering with a feeling that neither have adapted to playing to 2,000. I've made such an obvious lackluster post to report only "goodness," this may rank up there with the best of them -- purely based on both bands ability to connect (and I was at least 100 yrds. away). LCD with a blown-out dance party -- featuring crystal clear, white-hot melodies met with the slightest shifts from James Murphy's soldiering electronic backbones (as a live band it's the man and machine forming one giant undulating wave). The now-nearing orchestra level (I think there were 13?) Arcade Fire (a Canadian E-Street Band?) brought a show that careened through an emotional roller-coaster, splitting evenly between dramatic renderings of the more sombre Neon Bible and the exultant hymns of Funeral. It was almost like a Flaming Lips show with much better taste and class. I haven't seen woodwinds rock a stage since Mercury Rev.

A brief moment containing "Intervention"...just to show you my point of view. Not bad for a lawn.


Dirty Black (Indian) Summer with Mudboy

Ever since I laid ears on Heavy Winged's We Grow I've been intrigued by the going-ons of Not Not Fun. So infatuated in fact that late one night, drunk on CBC IPA, I ordered up a full-stack of their latest vinyl offerings (all limited and packaged with intricate bonuses). Now...I'm elevating on my daily commute to work via Robedoor's latest, Ritual Heirs, a four-part drone perfection, or am simply giggling at how the youngins in Belly Boat have laid waste to CocoRosie's career with something much more tuneful and intimately strange.

Ask any hipster his/her favorite season and 9 times out of 10 they'll answer with Indian Summer. I myself am guilty of siding with that one week after our first "hard freeze" when the harvest sun warms dying foliage and the air is crisp with simultaneously hints at life and death.

Not not sure if Not Not Fun has a premier artist at this juncture, as every other one of their releases gives off a anonymous, tribal, organic vibe. Kinda like "We were Providence natives before Providence natives were cool," rally round the totem pole and chaos pad, type stuff. Mudboy is the real deal. Look, it says "Get Your Mind On," and from what I can gather this is a one-man show. Well this guy's made what might just be the finest noise record of the year in Hungry Ghosts! These Songs are Doors, not to mention the most meticulously crafted piece of wax I've seen in sometime (die-cut, hand-colored, oh my). Volta be damned. Anyways, Mudboy's gone and made the perfect soundtrack for the inevitable Indian Summer, a piece of music that will at once sooth you into frantic meditation and calm you into welcomed terror. Got that? There are prayer bells circulating, howls in the horizon, back-masked whispers of devil-blasted children, throbbing electronic scribbles at every darkened corner. In essence, Hungry Ghosts is the haunted house I'm not able to attend because of my wife's asthma, nestled somewhere in Southeastern Ohio, near a Shawnee burial ground uplifted by extra-terrestrials. On a more manageable level (and not in my over-active psyche) he falls neatly between the Finnish forest-freak-folk that's still under-appreciated and the loop-crazy sedation of Excepter, who have yet to craft their masterpiece.

Needless to say, Not Not Fun is providing essential listening, artifacts that serve as diversions to modern mediocrity.


"Fuck the Bible...It's Got Too Much Spin"

I'm just saying. I would be speaking in toungues here about recent Siltbreeze releases from Factums and XXNOBBQXX, but neither record has been found near my mailbox. So I have to pimp the only way I know how. There are copies of Magic Flower Droned floating around the greater Columbus metropolitan area, and I'm sure they're making face-melting believers out of most listeners. This shit is golden trash. Give me time. I've got a plan. More to come. Psychedelic Horseshit still have four or five or six more local shows before they become slaves to the road. I'm just saying. Besides Sword Heaven and the obvious, PHS be saviours. For reals.