I Saw a Juggalo Car Today...

If someone can explain for me my maniacal fascination with the Juggalos, I may finally arrive at some semblance of peace. All this mind you without listening to perhaps no more than two minutes of their music in my lifetime. The clown make-up, the hatchet man, the Faygo, the missing teeth. Honestly, this subculture might just represent the absolute lowest rung of our society. Not sure if I ever posted the infomercial for this year’s Gathering of the Juggalos, the 10th Annual mind you – if not here it is. It’s truly a masterpiece of cinema. For the last ten years we’ve always thought it would be a lark to head to the Gathering and document all the mayhem as some sort of warped sociology project (Ohio is in the heart of Juggalo country), but never had the nerve to do such a thing. Think of the diseases that you might catch there, the Faygo. This year a guy finally decided to take the perspective of an active participant in the event and record a compact and enlightening mini-movie of the 10th anniversary. I’d say it’s pretty accurate of what you could expect at this thing. Who are these people? Where has taste gone to die? Are their ranks growing because I see Juggalos everyday.


Caught Up in Caustic Resin

This is in no way an advertisement for Resin Road, the boogie band I’m about to start with some like-minded individuals – it’s about another “resin” band, the Idaho trio known as Caustic Resin. I felt they should somehow be immortalized just for making The Medicine is All Gone way back in 1998. Most people don’t know, but Brett Netson’s crew actually pre-date Built to Spill, the band who were likely the gateway into even hearing a Caustic Resin track (remember the split?). Well this whole post came to fruition in my quandary with Built to Spill. When it was announced that Built to Spill were going to play their seminal Perfect From Now On at the Pitchfork Music Festival I actually got kind of excited. That was quite an important record when it was released, epic in its psychedelic undertaking but still laced with Doug Martsch’s somewhat huckster bittersweet pop hooks. It was, as suggested, perfect. But, despite the outrage I might endure from Built to Spill apologists, he hasn’t made a good record since. In seeing there’s a new Built to Spill record on the way, one that’s being described as “heavy” and “dark,” I’m always anxious to see if he can reignite that spark. The last one was close, but seeing as I can remember the title of it without looking it up does not a great album make.

In the meantime, there is at least one Caustic Resin record worth your time, two if you include the excellent stoner trip in Fly Me to the Moon. Netson though, found a worthwhile balance between the dreadful, druggy, raging, nearing-PacNW aggression (think Wipers/TAD/Butterfly Train) found in his earliest records, and the more hokum melodies he would eventually share with Martsch and run into ground on subsequent records, on one compact document – the aforementioned The Medicine is All Gone. Alias released this one to little acclaim and it took some digging to find it again, seeing as it’s been tough to surface anything on that label (I’m looking at you Throneberry albums), this one is a missing artifact, especially if you’re a fan of BTS. The beauty of songs like the lead-off “Cable” and the stand-outs “Man from Michigan” and “Niacin,” comes in the trio’s instability, the constant wavering of Netson’s (eerily similar to Martsch) vocals – where he almost screams alley-cat minstrels, but manages to wrangle it all in – the monolithic riffs that near a Sabbath wallop but kind of fizzle in a billowing mess of grungy smoke-signals, the psychedelic bong-worshipped guitars going in every which direction that recall the earliest of Butthole Surfer madness. There’s a lysergic trail (I’m sure but not sure of substance abuse in Netson’s history, so don’t quote me) that flows through the penultimate one-two punch of “Mysteries Of…” and their cover of Argent’s “Hold Your Head Up” that is really all one needs for convincing. And there's a heap of excellent snaggletooth-jam on the finale “Enough,” that you might find yourself searching for the even looser/darker expanse of the record that came before this. You might even find yourself sending fan mail to Mr. Doug egging him out of his decade funk to give us what we all really want – a proper follow-up to that hour of bliss he gave us way back when.


Maluca Going Live

We are now under six months until yet another SXSW. Hard to believe how time flies. One of my highlights from this past March was the unveiling of Diplo’s latest ingĂ©nue, the Dominican born, Brooklyn bred, Maluca. On stage at the Fader Fort she started the party by ripping through a set of island madness, a dance party complete with her set of dancers. Finally, now, with the release of her first single for Mad Decent, “El Tigeraso,” Diplo takes great strides in distancing the soft-spoken, bilingual diva from “the others.”

The track ups the bpms and consequently the energy – similar to baile funk in the horn-laden attitude and to Latin freestyle in throwback disco. But if anything this is your favorite DJ positing Maluca as ambassador of Soca (calypso with soul). While it won’t start a revolution, as it’s without any trademark hook, it will hijack the night into the upper rung of euphoria. Not sure what goes on “up on 182nd” but given Maluca’s sultry coo I’ll follow her anywhere. Like a sophisticated Lorna, or Lisa Lisa without the Cult Jam (her's is a one man cult jam). The girl’s a chatterbox on Twitter. Can’t wait for a full-length.


Yo La Tengo Loves the Kids

If you haven't noticed already, I'm pretty hyped on the kids. Not sure if it is the kool-aid, or a long, introspective summer (yes, it was somewhat long, still not over) of more chilled do-it-yourselfers -- whom I all consider derived from Times New Viking at this point. Of course, though they'd hate to admit it, TNV's direct inspiration comes from Guided By Voices and the Siltbreeze peripherals that they came to discover from Robert Pollard's Trader Vic tweets in 1994 (NZ, Harry Pussy, Fieldhands, Echoes from Rep and Shep), so all of these youth owe a little St. Ides on the curb for Elephant Jokes. What's that Metallica song? "Sad but True" ???

It all comes down to the songs, right? I've spent a long, and finally "hot," summer with Born Again Revisited, and I must say, these are the best "songs" that Times New Viking have written. Coming home from work this day, it's nice to see a reputable internet "authority" like Peefork call them "lo-fi titans." But I know there's somewhere in the last week (week and a half) of turmoil, melancholy, ecstasy, and stoicism that Me and "some other person*" discussed the actual fidelity of said band. The "kids" have kind of defiled fidelity and pushed it beyond the realm of good taste (or even "play for your "radio station's" programming director's" taste). You're either "on" or you're "off." When "your kids" riddle those "Elliott Smith" compact discs you've stored away (and subsequently ask if you know how much a copy of Dig Yourself goes for on Z-BAY), you'll likely say you were "off."

This video they did, playing "Yo La Tengo," transports me back to late night weekends with 120 Minutes. YLT videos from the '90s are quintessentially indie -- blurry landscapes, underground comedian cameos, and pastels. So it's actually no surprise that a band like TNV is playing into that mythology (in this new century (and dawn of YLT most brilliant album in years (though none of them are "that" bad))), adored by the Clean, touring with the Breeders, and releasing their best record yet in a mere month. Go Forth, I Guess.


Already Gearing for a Major Lazer Sequel

Ever since I first laid ears on Major Lazer way back at SXSW in March, I knew it was destined to be Diplo's break-out on his own type of record. Then he went and established a mascot to keep him in Switch somewhat in the shadows again. The wizards behind the curtain. Either way -- read this interview with Major Lazer himself over at the Agit-Reader to get a bit more insight to the project. Party record of the Summer. Soon as I have a party.

And perhaps the best video of the year, the Eric Wareheim directed clip for "Pon De Floor."


Montreal in Pictures

Lots of words could be written about my magical weekend in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. I've always been fascinated with Canadian culture, now even more once I met their French factions in this world-class city. Instead of a lengthy essay on the slight differences in everything from crosswalks to convenience stores, I'll school you with pics. (and if you notice, I've now added my Flickr photostream to the right column -- access to every single photo taken).

Notre Dame Basilica

Olympic Park and Stadium (AC/DC was appearing that night)

Like a left-over set from Logan's Run

The Jadim Botanical de Montreal was as big as Central Park. Amazing, truly.

Poutine in 30 varieties at the 24 Hour haunt La Banquise.

Dinner at Au Pied de Cochon. Foot of the Pig. I had too much Foie Gras here. Full review coming soon.

Took the Montreal bagel challenge. I'm going with St. Viateur for the win. The myth that these are better than in NYC is truth.

The Schwartz's smoked-meat sandwich -- worth a wait out the door.

Everybody's got a terrace. Curious to know what goes on in the winter.

Vieux Montreal. Nice, but tourist trap.

If only Columbus had half as much public art as this city? If only.

I'm headed back as soon as possible. It was that good.


Off to Montreal: Blog on Hiatus

Don't expect much here. I'm planning on doing without phones and computers and iGods for at least five days. Full report when I return.

Plenty of new posts to keep you busy though.


Elliott Day at the Ohio State Fair

You know the drill. Every year about this time it has become a tradition for the Elliott Family to make their way to the Ohio State Fair. We basically arrive at the same gate and take the same route like clockwork. One comforting thing about the OSF is that it rarely changes. So if you go back through previous posts about my adventures there, you are likely to see some of the same photographs as you will today. I seem to like this continuity, this heritage that I share with my family and with the community at large -- even when most of them are coming from the far reaches of rural Ohio.

I was a bit disappointed in the butter sculpture this year, if only because in addition to the usual cow, they just has another cow, a little girl, and an old man. How I miss the days when they would make something topical to go along with the cow. The year they did the Ohio President's Mt. Rushmore was a highlight. At least they couldv'e attempted a Michael Jackson tribute. There may have been outrage though.

I stumped the Guess Your Age guy -- who is a bit lippy and crude this year. He said 26. I'm 32. Ha. I took home a gold framed MJ Tribute poster. This is the only reason I did this. Jokes about Steve Martin in the jerk started up just like they do every year. "I see. It's a profit deal."

Masters of the Chainsaw. Somewhat boring, unless you have plenty of time on your hands. My uncle apparently did, and threw his annual "Shiloh" fit as we dragged him away. It was going to be raccoons Uncle Jeff.

A new addition this year was the introduction of the nation's soon to be premier sport -- Mutton Bustin'. Just take adventurous boys under 10 years old and under 60 pounds, strap them to a aging sheep, and set them loose rodeo style. This was hilarious, for about five minutes, then it became redundant. Adam said he would've done this at 3, but we all failed to believe that.

Here's the footage I caught. I need a video camera. Any donations?

And of course, our tour ends with Midway art. There's so much of it. I could likely produce a whole coffee table book on the subject by now. The King Diamond/Alanis Morrisette? portraits side by side blew me away. And the Gravitron, best fair ride ever. A piece of art in and of itself.

Till next year.


Is This Fiery Furnaces' Best Yet?

This post, as all attached to the Agit-Reader, is to provide plenty of supplemental material to accompany my interview with Matt Friedberger of the Fiery Furnaces. I've talked with the man before, years back, and he again becomes my favorite interview subject. It was a good thing his band have just put out one of their best records, or else we would've been talking about how to get back on the horse and get fans smiling instead of scratching their heads. Don't get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoy head-scratching when listening to my music, but I've always thought the FF pop side was more intriguing. Below is the reason we all should be loving the Fiery Furnaces in first place. They may never reach the sugary heights of this first single, but they should definitely try.

During our lengthy conversation, which tends to become a infinite ramble after a while, we talked a lot about influence of Taxi on this record. Taxi has long been one of my favorite theme songs, and I think on this record the Friedberger's have done an amazing job in evoking the feeling I get when I hear that song. So I've added the Taxi intro for equal measure.