Live Bloggin' : The 2011 Academy Awards

Due to overwhelming demand -- Terrence Russell Adams and myself will be live bloggin' the 2001 Academy Awards. I've turned in my ballot -- and I believe Terrence has as well -- so were just about ready to get started. Keep checking back here to see a real-time accumulation of our skewering on Facebook. If you want to join in the fun -- go ahead and comment. We're sure to post some outsider slogging.

TRA: Terrence Russell Adams
KJE: Kevin J. Elliott

(photos courtesy of Kristin Patton)

The fun begins at 8:30 PM EST.:


Obligatory Psychedelic Horseshit Announcement

Never understood why I sold my 2XLP of Agaetis Byrjun. I knew I would need it in reference one day. That day has come. Psychedelic Horseshit have signed to the venerable Fatcat Records UK. I've heard Laced -- and I can attest the superlatives I've given it (Kid A done by the Bomb Squad) are warranted. Matt Horseshit toiled away, cutting reel after reel after reel. Remixing and re-ducking back in the his perpetual drug den for inspiration -- paranoia taking hold only to increase the beats, the supersonic sound-collage, and the tender-loving, two-shy-of-"pretty," moments towards the spacey climax of this record. I'm thinking they've been blackballed by P4K, and ignored by Hipster Runoff (Matt Horseshit was Carles before Carles), because if any of these outlets had preview of Laced, it wouldn't matter if Psychedelic Horseshit dissed Ryan Schreiber's mother. As much as I enjoy Odd Future and the immense hype-load they've produced, Laced is something that could truly change perspectives.

Here's the official press release (via FatCat):

"Formed in Columbus, Ohio, in 2005, Psychedelic Horseshit were astoundingly prolific for their first five years, releasing cassettes, CDRs, and 7” singles on their own and on a variety of labels, with their debut full-length Magic Flowers Droned appearing in 2007. Their aesthetic at the time – which Vice described as “the most heart-poundingly great racket since that My Bloody Valentine covers record Comets On Fire never made”, and the London Times called “the sound of an angry Mark E Smith stripping wallpaper with a distortion pedal” – comprised a chaotic cocktail of protest folk, barbed garage punk, scrawny white dub, free noise, tin-can electronica, and shoegaze.

Forming a dense collage of trashed tones and in-the-red mixes, veering between challenging and genuinely catchy, and generally resembling the addled states of a full-blown drink and drug binge, Psychedelic Horseshit have been variously compared to The Fall, The Dead C, early Pavement, Royal Trux, Guided By Voices, Swell Maps, Sebadoh, Harry Pussy and Magik Markers, and located alongside the messy amp-blown brilliance of contemporaries The Hospitals, Tyvek, Eat Skull, and Sic Alps. Keeping a step ahead of the lo-fi scene they christened “shitgaze”, they've drawn on a broad range of influences instead of the xeroxed anorexia of many of their peers, have ruffled feathers by critically speaking out, and carved out caustic, humorous social commentary through snarky wordplay and witty titles.

Currently existing as the duo of Matt Horseshit (vocals/ guitars/ drum programming/ harmonica/ keyboards) and Ryan Jewell (drums/ percussion/ keyboards), Laced also features a guest appearance by Times New Viking's Beth Murphy, who sings on “Dead On Arrival”. Laced was recorded in Columbus throughout 2010 (with two tracks dating back to the previous year), in a variety of basements, practice spaces, living rooms, and bathrooms using almost no amplifiers and a beat-up 70's Teac reel-to-reel. No longer solely mining corrosive, lo-fi dysfunctionality in two-minute adrenaline hits, Laced is the first record that finds Psychedelic Horseshit consistently stretching things out and breaking new ground: losing the caked-in distortion and aggression, while retaining a drugged density and adventurousness, it is cleaner and far more electronic than previous efforts.

Sections of Jewell’s drumming are chopped, sampled, and re-sequenced, piling up rhythms and loops; the emphasis on rhythm and a spiraling mass of processed tones and melodies makes Laced, at timesx feel like a very fried, psychedelic dance record. Squelchy, fluid, and immersive, its huge blown-out swathes of blissfully reverberant FX, buried voices, smeared electronics, and melted-out guitar processing complement moments of blissed-out frequency mess to recall the most sublime moments of Growing or, alternately, Astral Social Club; there are shimmering loop-sections, places where the whole buckles in on itself.

At the center of the slurred, swirling chaos is Matt Horseshit’s gnarly, nasal vocal. In his words, Laced “has a vague concept about dreams and the hollowness of words…vibes of disdain for the music scene that's unfolded over the course of the last few years, and trying not to get crushed under waves of imposed identity in a sea of garbage. It's about experimenting, and win or fail getting back up to do it all again cause safe was never fun in the first place… The references that seem like drug references usually aren't, just like “I Hate The Beach” isn't really about the beach... I think the record is really about smokescreens and the interzone of a reality where everything is connected and simultaneously completely disconnected at once...and dealing with finding your face after its been pounded to a bloody pulp by digital pixel fragments. Or something like that.”

I Saw Mark McGuire

A quick one. As I'm having a increasingly hard time trying to keep describing the shift in noise for those who have never set foot in the Skylab. I've been participating in the space more frequently in the last year. John Also has revived the once-lagging infrastructure of this fine establishment. I'm not there nearly enough though. I suppose the last show was the Unholy 2 release fiasco. One of those shows that doesn't end until sunrise. One of those shows you leave early because you just can't hang anymore. I suppose that not the usual at Skylab, as the Mark McGuire show was over and done with before midnight. Though you had the feeling no one would mind if it went till sunrise.

Here some mental notes that I took down:

Moth Cock of Kent, Ohio. Perhaps my favorite besides Mr. McGuire. Can't see what's going on frmom the back, but I'm imagining a clarinet or oboe through twisted electronics which produces a slow, guttural, almost ethereal bellow. Something else is going on. From the clip provided it's string damage on the floor, but I can't hear a guitar -- it is wailing though.

Comet Bodies of Cleveland, Ohio. There truly was nothing offensive from this Clevo duo -- basically leaning over machines, twisting knobs, making one long increasing cosmos trip. The lights in this place really accent the retro-futurist synth-ascensions of this "band." Seems like people go crazy for Fuck Buttons for no particular reason, and then kids go and make their own similar soundscapes. Beats not required apparently -- so I'm hoping Comet Bodies listen to Popol Vuh.

Nexus 2.11.11 - Skylab ringleader John Also. Sounded great from the choking/smoking room. Given the name, this was a one-night occasion.

Mark McGuire of Emeralds, of Cleveland. It's rare to see an Emerald outside of Cleveburg and European festivals. So it was a treat for Columbus to host him. Though I'm sure these guys have been down the Skylab pipeline in different configurations for years now. Since McGuire's last solo endeavor was a bit lite - and heavy on almost pastoral psych lines -- and since Emerald's last record was a loud, brash, melodic, and mammoth landmark in psychedelic music -- I wasn't sure which McGuire I'd get to see? Luckily he played it a bit of both. The house-noise-scene's Keller Williams (or Manuel Gottsching) would start the same with each of his four? five? compositions, laying out a rhythmic line and loop it. Repeat -- only shifting in a different direction -- sometimes giving the structure deeper grooves -- sometimes laying on a regal face-melting solo. It never became rote. It only got stronger. He tends to be a master of this domain. As if he spends hours a day doing this in the mirror, with headphones, getting higher and higher. Alas, it ended after about 20 minutes. Kind of scant for the epic night I expected from the Emerald. This is but one man though. Was it worth the 2 1/2 hour drive down here?

Pretty sure he played this one:

Slug Guts - Spewing on America?

Sad I didn't get to hear Slug Guts' Howlin' Gang before I interviewed them back in January. It's everything Jimi Krizler promised and more. Howlin' Gang features an expanded roster, a new, equally dank/cruel singer, and an much wider scope and sound compared to Down on the Meat. As that album was grimy and anemic, but visceral nonethless, Howlin' Gang seems cinematic and prophetic. "Down in the Morning Sun," featuring Angie Bermuda of Circle Pit sharing vocal duties might even make you cry in it's damaging beauty.

They've also talked about an upcoming tour through the states, which should be very welcomed given the status of bands like the Pit, Fabulous Diamonds and Naked on the Vague on American tongue. Here's footage of them as one of Oz's premiere scuzz-pub bands -- though heavy drink is prolly only an appetizer for this crew.


The Death of Lo-Fi and How to Survive It...

Like a three-headed Tom Cruise, it appears the kids are making all the right moves when it comes to the approach to their first Merge release (coming in April, watch out). It's rare to hear or read, for that matter, even a ephemeral quip from Mr. Jared Phillips -- guess i's because he "never gets asked to." All budding journalists, if you can provoke from him something as funny as this essay Phillips wrote for Vice UK, regarding the boom and death of lo-fi you'll be sitting on comic gold. Being Vice, they prompted him to "slog" on other bands (which from their perspective should be like shooting "dead rats" in a toothpaste tube) -- but Phillips is classy. That doesn't stop the comments from backlashing, proclaiming inferior bands like Wavves, No Age, and Best Coast the absolute in current indie rock. If only those comments were as funny and biting as Phillip's take on all of this. A must read.

Jewell of the Columbus Nile

If you've been reading the Agit-Reader lately, you'd know it's been hard for me to leave the 1-270 corridor in search of new invigorating music. Though the scene here is as dead as it's been in years, the usual suspects have made use going even further underground away from all the Daniels and "Great News"-influenced vanilla poisoning our city streets and the few clubs we have here (just wait, in a few months the revival shall begin, like it's 2008 all over again). One of those constant journeyman, and forward thinking-folk is Ryan Jewell - a guy I've always known as incredible but never as crazed as on his very first record, Eschew Obfuscation. Above is a video of what you're likely to see from the mostly percussive musician in the live setting -- as he's usually collaborating and/or playing a one-hour acoustic drone at an undisclosed location. Though the clip in no way resembles what you're about to endure on the record. Which you can buy here.

Sean Sandusky Does Prince's Greatest Hits

Prince is one of those icons that I blindly deem infallible. From my view, the man hasn't released an acceptable record in 17 years -- keep in mind that's giving a lot of credit to 1994's Come, his last album as Prince before the transformation to a symbol and exodus from Warner Bros. Though history has called it a "contract fulfilling" flop, it's certainly worth your time. Look at that title, this was one of Prince's dirtiest moments and tracks like "Pheremone" and "Race" even evoke Dirty Mind levels of sweaty funk. Still, it's dated -- Prince's post-New Jack by a guy who invented New Jack attempt at finally shedding the last skin of nastiness.

All said and done, with nearly two decades of sub-par material, Prince is an untouchable force. Someone I can always visit - through his epic stretch of epic albums -- and continue to be amazed at the talent and innovation. My Prince love is strong and I often consider him a big influence on everything in my life. What's even more upsetting than his dearth of great pop hits, is his lack to cooperate with the digital world. His reluctance to share his history through YouTube, or even releasing his extensive vault of platinum nostalgia, has robbed a generation of his power. If you really want the essence, find the live film from the Purple Rain tour. If I could only see Prince every night for the rest of my life I'd be fine.

So those of us who worship the guy are forced to either listen to Sign O' the Times for the nth time or emulate exactly what we love about him (cause honestly, is there anyone around that can do what he did these days?). James McNew of Yo La Tengo always comes to the fore in the Prince conversation. His solo project, Dump did a whole record of Prince covers called That Skinny Motherfucker With the High Voice, and it's something I still play since I first heard it. Even in these four-track renditions, it's hard to mistake the purity of Prince's songwriting. "Raspberry Beret" is a particularly potent nugget.

....Which leads me to Sean Sandusky and the magical tape found by an old acquaintance, Jon Lorenz, at a thrift store in Southwest Ohio. Even more raw and primitive than Dump, the mysterious Sandusky plays Prince like nothing I've ever heard. It's twisted and minimal, frightening and endearing all at once. Savant Outsider or Wicked Prank, I urge you to download this and melt in it.

I'll let Jon tell you about finding the tape in his own words. The full tape is listed below.

"Well.. I found it at Valley Thrift on reading rd in Cincinnati. It's the kind of spot you never ever find good tapes at. You can find good records (original ESP Burton Greene - No cover :( for a quarter but tapes, never. It's usually the same tapes every time I go there. The usual selection of sermons and 80's pop music. So, yeah I wasn't even really looking at tapes because honestly they never ever have anything but I noticed a Sean Sandusky tape sitting out basically because it was an obvious home-made cover with xeroxed art glued over a David lee Roth cover. That sort of thing always catches my eye. So, yeah I ended up finding three copies of it though one didn't have a cover. Since all the covers were different and the tape looked like it could be some weird find I decided to buy all three. So unfortunately I don't have a car tape deck so I eagerly waited til I got home to pop it in. I really didn't think it would be as weird as it is. I figured maybe it was some kid making his own cover for a Prince mixtape he made or something... but I put it on and was kind of weirded out by what I heard with it starting with the slowed down spoken intro to the first side and then it jumps in to the most bizarre Prince covers you might ever hear. Super weird arrangements with just clarinet, harmonica, flute, and drums.

But yeah so I was hoping to find contact information on the cassette somewhere but nothing. I kind of figured it was probably someone I knew just throwing some tape together under a different name and throwing them around thiftstores. i had a couple guesses on who it could possibly be and those have proven wrong. It's most likely some kid from the suburbs making weird music and throwing them around thrift stores. I've kind of been waiting to find more copies at other stores but haven't seen a single one since. I'm not even sure when the tape was made. It looks like it has to be somewhat recent by the quality of the covers. Not really faded at all.. but who knows maybe it sat in someone's basement for years and never saw any sunlight.. but i would assume it's at least from the last two years. I have a feeling that whoever made the tape doesn't go by Sean Sandusky so trying to find this kid might be pretty hard. It might even be better if he is never found.

But yeah... I'd like to try and reissue this on cassette but trying to figure out who this kid is first. Would really be interested in hearing originals that he has done."


Tyler, the Creator

Out of memory. Season of Wither. 


Live Bloggin' : The 2011 Grammy Awards

Watch this space. Tonight, starting at 8 PM EST, Terrence Russell Adams, he of Victrola Cola and the hilarious Option this Movie, and myself, will be live-blogging the Grammys via Facebook -- which will feed into a constant stream below. I'm somewhat new to this game, so we'll have to make it up as we go along. Maybe even some red carpet fodder before-hand. We do have an invested interest in a winner tonight -- our good friend Michael Carney is nominated for Best Art Design/Packaging for the Black Key's Brothers LP/CD. See you then.

Though I'd add this, since someone I know won a Grammy this year. Congrats to Mr. Carney. Still wondering why they don't telecast the Best Alternative Album award. What?

Click Here to Watch Michael Carney accept his award.

TRA = Terrence Russell Adams
KJE = Wumme Wenders

All photos courtesy of the lovely Kristin Patton.

Here We Go:


Purple Power

Every Day should be Prince Day.

The WOW Absence Excuse....OFFICIAL

You might find this funny, if you are up with my humour -- or FB posts. World Of Wumme has signed to...these days...if we signed, to Olde English Spelling Bee, though I couldn't fault Merge -- even if they sent "us" (our tapes) a polite rejection letter over 17 years ago. All of the duties that come with that imagined signing -- in addition to (over) teaching, house-werks, Agit-Priorities, bar-shifts, blood-educations, and the general lack of great music crossing my lap -- have made for a void at World of Wumme. So where did all the time go? Well....

Got the chance to play tour manager for the kids on two mini-tours.

One in Detroit -- inspired post forthcoming:

And a second in Nashville and Louisville. The epic GBV/TNV 'Villes Tour of 2011.

Nashville is a city I wished I had much more time to discover. As it was, the five hours spent in these local dives/landmarks before the show, was revelatory. I could live here. Easy. Three GBV shows in the past year, countless TNV shows, I"m a lucky man. This one in Nashville was a sing-a-long feast through all the Pollard hits. Wow.

Sadly, no pics of Louisville worth posting. 'Cept for the frog at Lynn's Paradise Cafe. Not a place worth bloggin' -- go watch the Food Network. Disappointing. But it did have this funky charm.

Promise, I'm back. There really are no excuses, though I listed a few back there. Big things are on the way.

Times New Viking - "No Room to Live"

(photo courtesy of Brooklyn Vegan)

Yes. This is the face of Jared "getting down." By now it's old news that the kids are taking their talents to Merge Records (a vertical leap?), with their latest and greatest album, Dancer Equired, expected in April. I've been listening for a while now and still can't get enough. Call it Landmark. There are many tours, singles, remixes, videos and films on the way (in the making), but this video is the first glimpse of Dancer Equired, and what a beautiful glimpse it is. Do they still play videos? This should win some award right? Could it coax 120 Minutes out of retirement, the same way Dig Yourself did to Siltbreeze? A boy can dream. Though you've probably seen it a million times already -- I chose to put it here for prosperity's sake. Watch it again.

A Quick Visit to Dizzy Whizz

I've exhausted the Cincy Chili Quest (just need to hit up Blue Ash at one point) and moved onto to finding the perfect burger (in ode to Wimpy). In anticipation of my upcoming Ohio Burger Tour, my first addition of Burger Time landed me in Louisville. It was fate really. I owe it to my parents for pulling over at many a tourist trap over the years. You can tell the quality by the road sign - and while driving through beautiful downtown Louisville, I spied the exit for Dizzy Whizz. "Since 1947" is usually an omen. It will be at least acceptable if it's they've been there that long. Later in the night, pre-TNV, my phone informed me the Dizzy Whizz was only a mile or so away. Louisville gets bonus for being easy to navigate -- and a casual cruise through Old Louisville always enlightening. Why does Columbus not have this?

Dizzy Whiz was a beacon in an otherwise sleepy hood. You could pull in for curb service, or sit at the counter in the modest dining area. I chose to hit the inside window and order their fries and a family's worth of the "famous" Dizzy Whizz. It was cheap and quick, more a neighborhood staple than world classic. The "special sauce" and construction of the double-decker Dizzy Whizz was a pure replicate of a Big Boy. No harm, no foul. I'd like to know the history of this type of burger. Need to research. Or you could comment. Were I back in Louisville, I would certainly stop for another. More to come. Didn't have enough for a t-shirt, but the logo is tops.

Sic Alps Ride Again

I didn't get the chance to pontificate about the Sic Alps latest 2XLP over at the Agit-Reader. But Napa Asylum is something I've been chewing on for a while now. It's fitting that the duo have hired a third, progressed over to Drag City (cuz it sure sounds like Royal Trux drug through a San Franciscan meadow-meal), and sprawl onto two full slabs of vinyl for their epic re-imagining. Yes. The splintered slow-flo pop of U.S. EZ has gotten sharper and stickier, pretty and gentle, but it may just be too much -- and not enough shapeshifting. Sic Alps, though, seem cohesive and optimistic in this lengthy solitaire, as if this is only a beginning. Bonus points for invigorating the scuzz machine of ol' The mass is in the mix and the whole rough-beauty gems pour out. They'll soon come out to see the sun.

The Drank Experiment

The tag is to “slow your roll.” Sound like something quoted from Dre’s The Chronic. Honestly, the idea of drop-tops and blunts and fridges full of ‘40s haven’t really percolated since those halcyon days. Yes. Southern Hip-Hop forged an industry on reversing reality, chopping and screwing everything in sight – but seeing a 24 ounce can of Drank is the first time in a while that I’ve said “laaaaaid back” like I just got done sparking that seminal record. Drank is officially the first anti-energy drink, and I wouldn’t have known about it were it not for the “slow your roll” couple of the year, Matt and Beth (R.I.P.). That said, I have only seen Drank in a handful of stores (and that includes travelling to Nashville recently) so I’m imaging the world is not ready for an anti-energy drink or they don’t care. Drank is completely legal – so here forth don’t think of me as a bath salt inhaler – and contains a lethal amount of Velrian Root (say, valium), Melatonin, and Rose Hips (which I remember my dip-addicted uncle replacing for dip at one point) that will certainly pack a buzz unbeknownst. Please don’t see this as an instruction manual. I would never suggest driving under the influence or that important meeting/job interview with Drank in the system. This was merely an experiment, since it was readily available at the corner store (shall not be named). I recently noticed this entrepreneurism by local “quickie” marts to cash-in on non-regulated products (see: the origins of Four Loko) because of a fad.

I would completely cash-in on Drank. Full-marketing, that of a quasi-hip-hop St. Ides-esque campaign by moguls who know their market. It would be easy to sell, and it’s completely harmless. There’s nothing here that will make you rob your mother to buy more – and/or drive a vehicle in appropriately. If anything, you’ll fall asleep. I have no knowledge of the “real” drank scene which involves diluted cough sizzurup and over-the-counter accentuates for “slowing your roll.” Experiments with NyQuil only came on sick days, when zoning out to TMNT was a youth-derived pleasure. I can’t say though that my Drank experience wasn’t wasted. The taste is completely acceptable, like an over-carbonated, perfectly-watered-down, version of Grape Nehi. And if you haven’t had Nehi, you haven’t lived yet. The nutritional impact is somewhere between a sugary soda and diet. And it actually produced a mild “slow” of my CNS. There were actual tingles in the fingers, toes, arms and legs – enough to warrant more sips. Apologies if this sounds like a drug buzz, but you’re all doing drugs. Again, Drank is harmless, and should be promoted as a hangover/mid-party ailment.

Update: Drank appears to be very hard to find (a few quickie marts up here in Lil' Vegas have it) but priced right. Keep it on the shelves people. Much better than Bath Salts.

Circuit des Yeux's Ode to Fidelity

In contemplating the arc of Haley Fohr’s muse, it’s hard not to look upon the first femme-destroyer, untrained, but skulking around a number of skins on the floor. No I’m not thinking of Zola Jesus right now, though both Nika and Haley seem poised at the same starting line. Supposedly it’s about terms and those parameters have different meanings for both involved. Fohr tends to march to her own drummer more often than not, even if that means the discomfort of those who dare to listen. I’m thinking of Scout Niblett – who, while foraging around the same sub-Indiana terrain, found a voice completely empowering, tragic, and castrating. Even if the Die Stasi compilation provided a zero ground for female deconstruction – nary a guitar lesson in sight – Fohr has gone beyond that already and her body of work shows that progression. The latest addition to that repertoire is the De Stijl 7”, titled with a smirk, Ode to Fidelity. As Circuit des Yeux, Fohr still deals in frightening molasses dementia and death opera, but it’s so deliberate, she almost evolves (in Pokemon terms) before your eyes on “Barrel Down.” For a moment forgive all of the atonal/out-of-tune/dirt-black lamentations – think of it as an empty factory sighing. “Self-Satisfaction” lives in heaving synths, background moans and groan, with a flatline installed to heighten the mood. You could compare it to anything by Kim Gordon (sic) or Jandek, though it’s singularly Fohr’s bellow. “March With the Rich” is the guarantee – signaling that this is just the beginning of a tribal, Midwestern-dark-cult, awakening taking place inside the future musiques of Circuit des Yeux.

Still digging Sirenum hardcore.

Top 5 Psych Wonders of 2010

Each year as my tastes continually fluctuate, psychedelia becomes more its own – something to fuck your brain momentarily (or when you need a moment). Those who know their way around the Amon Duul II catalogue, you know what I mean – there’s music and then there’s psychedelic music. It becomes an epic struggle and search and rescue to find and soak in what you can. The batch of psych-wonders on this year’s list are borne of ether-enriched planets or completely conceived in a nowhere. They are albums that function as broad, colorful strokes. They are something you can’t recommend to polite public company. Those who know their way around the (scant) Agitation Free catalogue, you know what I mean. These are delicacies for acquired tastes. Like film, it take some serious inner-discussion and deliberating to whittle these down.

Please click on the names before for some face-melting experiences provided by the following outfits. Though I can't seem to find any live booty from Completely Dusted?

Honestly, there are several more out there that I'm only now discovering here in January. If you want a complete list, please say so in the comments.

The Saddening State of MTV's Programming

Teaching seniors in high school, the current line-up of MTV programming is downright frightening (and in one instance, downright hopeful). Is this age setting in? Or common sense? OK. I can equate the Jersey Shore as something relative to the Real World of my youth. But as brilliant as Jersey Shore really is – and it is a thing of art even if the 3rd season has become an obvious (to its participants even) caricature of the 1st – I’m hoping the generation making this their daily lives doesn’t ape the fashion sense or lexicon, or behavior of the Jersey herd. I’m hoping it’s seen as downright tacky. Skins has become a double-edged sword for me. As a huge fan of the British original, I was glad to see the same producers try this in America (we’ve all come to agree on the American Office, right?). And by replicating each of the old episodes, nearly frame by frame, in an American setting, it could make for real, good, teen-drama television. I was in high hopes that it could equal the unequaled Canadian teen-drama, Degrassi (which is now still in its Boiling Point phase, beyond unequaled). Too bad, four episodes in, Skins is a tragedy. I’m not even appalled at the overdrive of sex and drug talk in the dialogue and set-pieces – it’s not pornography, go watch a Larry Clark film if you want a little shock – it’s just how bad these kids sound in talking to each other. They mock the “rich private school” types, but attend a high school that allows them the privilege of smoking a joint in the bathroom (co-ed, in the same stall). This is not reality. I know first-hand – teens don’t talk like this. The closest I came was smoking a cigarette on the outlying roof of the THS drama room. If these teens live in this utopia of teenage rebellion, whilst among the common class, get me a time machine and sign me up. Given the lack of advertisers willing to latch on and support MTV in their teenage exploitation (which it isn’t, mind you, but I predicted a Midwestern/Xtian/Red-Parent backlash) and the lack of actual depth in these characters (where unlike the original, these are highly un-likeable) I can’t see Skins lasting too long. Debate/Debate.

The Vice Guide to Everything likely won’t be back. I don’t know that. I have no insider information. But I also haven’t seen a cultural uprising proclaiming the Vice half-hour variety show as something relevant. Thought it is. This show is the most intelligent thing on MTV since that Jesse VJ or at least Buzzkill (where are those DVDs?), maybe Chris Connelly – but he’s a scab. Basically, if you’ve been a long-time fan of the magazine and the VBS.tv arm of their filmic representation (the Vice Guide to Travel is highly recommended) then you won’t find what the Guide to Everything does as that shocking. The first season was simply the best of VBS cut down to bite-size portraits of fringe life in our world. Visits to Liberia, gun markets in Afghanistan, underground strip-clubs in Detroit, are de rigor for Vice and here those integral pieces of legitimate journalism (seriously) are illuminated as grotesque music videos. I can’t fault Vice for cashing in at all – hopefully the youth will start EBay-ing back issues of the ‘zine (I have an extensive collection, mind you) – but I feel like no one is listening. Them kids aren’t worldly. The closest they might get is an M.I.A. album. Honestly, that’s a start. But I feel the news is secondary to finding out about ICP tour dates or the new "legal" gas station drugs to hide from the parents. And that’s Real Life.

Top 5 Soul Diva Revelations of 2010

I’ll likely be reprimanded by soul and indie folk alike for proclaiming 2010 as the year of the new soul diva. Now they come in so many shapes and sizes, it’s hard to keep up with whom if fronting, and who is truly tapping into the soul of rhythm and blues. The “classic” stuff that still gets its own station. Here it’s Magic 98.9 (yes, the station our dearly departed Ted Williams cast on the street). In Dayton, it was the slightly more engaging, U-92 (which is now, apparently, where “hip-hop lives”). And while Rhianna is strong (slightly less engaging) and Alicia Keys remains an icon – there were more subversive divas on the lot, buried in urban radio only. Out of the charts we know and love. It was possibly indie-rock-critic/hack suicide to include Jazmine Sullivan’s Love Me Back (released by the empire known as J Records) on a year-end Top 20 list, but I don’t care. In a year when I came to passionately appreciate once-novelty, guilty pleasures, like Sade and Anita Baker, it made perfect sense. Usually those types of albums go on alternate lists – separated from the typical rock-trend zeitgeist. In saying this, I’m just as guilty, only picking one record to be emblematic of a bounty of soul diva revelations. Here’s a YouTube primer of my Top Five Soul Divas of 2010.

Jazmine Sullivan - Holding You Down

Monica - Love All Over Me

K. Michelle - I Just Can't Do This

Cassie - Skydiver

Ciara - Speechless

Reading Rainbow - But Don't Take My Word For It

A fuckton of Hozac comes down the line these days (years), nearly too much to keep up with. In casual conversation I’d heard about Reading Rainbow, a duo consisting of Rob Garcia and Sarah Everton, who appear to be on the kid’s permanent guest list. That makes them good people. Now they’re card carrying Hozac chum – a nice sweetcore diversion to the label’s usual glue-sniff-punk. The couple from Philadelphia seems fully aware of the wooly psych that has defined the city in the last two decades (Lenola, Siltbreeze, Purling Hiss) and riff on that notion. This 7” is how you should observe their dampened sunshine, in bright glimpses, dew-covered woodland hymnals, peeks at British folk. None the wiser though, “Over It” is a crystal vision of late ‘60s garage psych full of Nico/Velvets monogamy. The unique interplay of the girl/boy, man/woman, gender-dynamic is taken for granted in the post-Stripes universe and Reading Rainbow provide actual refreshment where a number of girl-group imitators scramble for that post-Stripes audience. This is noisy indeed, with tinny guitar reverberations and dime-store drums playing crow for dirt-weed clientele. Maybe even a more refined Jerusalem and the Starbaskets (Wumme-certified alum). Yeah, this a glorious racket, especially “Tough Love” – the b-side – even if you’ve heard it all before. The garage-rock nugget motif is only that, a template. It’s what you do with it. And even though I can’t vouch for a complete 30 minutes of this harmony – I can say, in doses like, this tiny record Reading Rainbow sound more studied than their peers.

Agit-Reader Visual Guide (Mid-Winter)

In lieu of getting a tumblr -- to provide visual accompaniment to the content of Agit-Reader, I'll be intermittently posting companion material here. The Agit is taking a lot of my energy, so I like to spread our voodoo as far as I can.

Here are some videos of some recent Agit-Faves.

Unholy 2

Subject of a November feature and unanimous top ten record as voted by our staff.

Click here to download one of their more recent, incendiary, live shows.

Twin Sister

Another November feature. Though I was nonplussed by their Columbus appearance (blame it on the venue), I feel this band is poised for super-stardom. Big anticipation for their 2011 debut.


Still waiting for a tell-all interview with Mr. Cox. Halcyon Digest landed in our top ten and in my top three. Please come play Columbus -- and not as Atlas Sound.