Category Archives: music

Oye CoMo Va

I’m moving to Columbia, MO this summer without the best idea of what I’ll be doing there. In the meantime, I’m keeping a running list of things to know about, to get excited about moving there. Convincing myself that CoMo will be an all right place to spend some days, probably some years.

This morning I clicked on a press release from the Minneapolis label De Stijl for a band that sounded interesting. I yipped a little as I began to read the text below the track:

Having toured tirelessly and stupidly for many years, I played the unlikely hot spot of Columbia, Missouri no less than three times one summer. Don’t ask me how—logistically the cursed itinerary is still a mystery—but I can probably tell you why. The chance to play a gig with that city’s Jerusalem and the Starbaskets always made it a worthwhile and necessary stop. Basically a duo (although sometimes augmented by other members), Jerusalem and the Starbaskets play unfashionable, unpretentious and completely devastating pop music, and they’re one of my all time favorite live bands. Criminally under-recorded up until now (with only a handful of impossibly rare cassettes and a split LP with Skarkraou Radio to their name), their brand new The Howling LP (Radio Fonico) is a great sampling of their unique vibe, sounding like the third Velvets LP played by The Terminals. Note the righteous guitar tone any stoner rock Chud would envy, and catchy, infectious tunes (with a recent emphasis on country melodies) that will stay in your head for weeks. Completely necessary and great. Album of the month!

~ James Jackson Toth
Your Flesh

Further reading on the press-release proper reveals:

Jeremy Freeze is a Memphis born songwriter who has spent the last few years in Columbia, Missouri playing and recording with Kim Sherman as Jerusalem and the Starbaskets. Before yr preconceived notions of Missouri make things cloudy, consider the Black Artist Group, Screamin’ Mee Mees, Drunks with Guns, Gene Clark and a whole lot of other shit that you don’t know about get in the way. [emphasis mine] Lest there be other confusion, my friend Oliver, this 65 year old dude from Kashmir, told me DOST means “brother man”. So basically, DOST is “friend” but a more familiar way of the word. Just so happens that it’s the phonetic same as “dosed”. One crystalline thing herein is the Jams. Freeze has reached that point where he’s saying more by saying less and that’s a level that many songwriters never reach. After a few yrs of playing gigs with Times New Viking, Wooden Wand and a short list of more or less limited releases, DOST is the bands first readily available release and we’re going to do our best to get it everywhere.

I realize it’s a potentially sad thing for a solid, hip-seeming garage band to make me (so) excited to move to a place. But man doth not live by True/False Film Festival alone, know what I mean?

Also, I hadn’t heard of any of that list of other Missouri heavy hitters, allow me to follow those references up a little. I could use a cup of coffee this morning.

  • Drunks with Guns
    “four sauced, weird-looking guys sitting stupefied atop kegs with beers in hand and countless empties of Milwaukee’s Best and Meister Brau at their feet”

  • Gene Clark
    b. November 17, 1944, Tipton, MO. Co-founder of the Byrds.

  • “a whole lot of other shit that you don’t know about”
    indeed
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Drubbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbb’d

My very close friend Andrew Leland has started blogging for the Oakland Museum of California. He only has three posts up; he has been very shy about it. The link is here. I was with him when he saw that the most recent post had gone up, and he was like, “This reads like a college newspaper column. I hate myself.”

“Andrew,” I told him. “Don’t be so hard on yourself. It’s great.”

“Really?” He said. So self-obsessed, so delicate. “Thanks.”

The blog isn’t bad. He’s trying. He also told me he recently tried writing fiction, because a young lion who edits a young lionesian quarterly asked him to submit something. “Writing fiction is excruciating,” he reports. “I spent a week forcing myself to write 750 words a day. Then I went two months without thinking about it. I returned to the document I had created, and my wonderful girlfriend had to pry the screwdriver out of my hands before I plunged it into my eye sockets.” Writing nonfiction isn’t much easier, he added, but then when it’s done, he feels happy.

Last Saturday, Andrew and I were hanging out at his apartment in San Francisco. I had my tape recorder, and we thought it would be fun to record our conversation. Last night I couldn’t sleep, so I transcribed it.

ME: That’s not why dogs are neutered, Andrew. [Laughter]

ANDREW: Just kidding.

ME: I adore your shoes!!

AL: I love you. I wish I could smoke pot

just kidding, that’s not a real transcript. Tonight is the Oakland Standard’s launch party — officially selected by Good Jobbbbbbbbbbbb: The Online Journal of Success as the number-one Friday Night social calendar PICK for Friday, February 4. The Tammy-Rae MacArthur Genius Kutundu-Wajahat Mother Novella Carpenter’s Gothic part starts at 8, then Turf Fienz at I wanna say 9, then Chelsea Clinton’s Wedding DJ (seriously, literally) at whenever everything else is over. It’s free, it’ll go till 1, one is advised to “come through.” One block from Lake Merritt BART. Alcohol, bikes, leggings. At least three generations of Americans, dancing.

“With a beard, St. Joseph; without, the Virgin Mary”

I began writing a comment on this post by Ed Park, where he politely disagreed with Jenny Davidson’s negative response to the style of Anthony Powell’s Dance to the Music of Time — but after two Stella Artois and some Ryvita crackers, I’ve decided to host my thoughts here, in my own air-conditioned corner of the web.

Tonight I’ll finish book nine, The Military Philosophers. I might not have made it this far into A Dance without the support of the Society I’m reading it with — or without Ed’s promise that once you get to about book three, things, as Levi notes on Jenny’s post, “will be layered with memory and meaning,” and become more enjoyable.

I couldn’t help but think of Jenny’s reaction to Powell tonight, when I read the passage in book nine where our narrator, Nick, hears Blake’s “Jerusalem” sung at a Victory Day Service at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London at the end of Word War II:

Blake was as impenetrable as Isiah; in his way, more so. It was not quite such wonderful stuff as the Prophet rendered into Elizabethan English, yet wonderful enough. At the same time, so I always felt, never quite for me. Blake was a genius, but not one for the classical taste. He was too cranky. No doubt that was being ungrateful for undoubted marvels offered and accepted. One often felt ungrateful in literary matters, as in so many others.

Powell reminds Jenny D., she says, of no one so much as Pope, with the trouble he takes “to develop an elaborate and fluent idiom that seems… overequipped given the relative banality and commonplace nature of the thoughts therein expressed!” It’s funny that immediately following the passage quoted above — one of the most self-consciously literary-critical in the series so far — the narrator invokes Pope himself, quoting “Imitations of Horace”:

Who now reads Cowley? If he pleases yet,
His moral pleases, not his pointed wit;
Forgot his epic, nay Pindaric art,
But still I love the language of his heart.

“But,” our narrator adds, “surely the pointed wit was just what did survive?” And who now reads Powell? A weirdly vocal and large group, it seems. The pleasure of Powell is in his humor, and his humor is entirely social. “Wit was just the quality he brought to bear with such remarkable effect.”

Before returning to his narrative of periphrastically noncommittal observations of his daily trials and triumphs, Nick ends this section of literary reverie in St. Paul’s Cathedral with a critical reading of the National Anthem:

Repetitive, jerky, subjective in feeling, not much ornamented by imagination nor subtlety of thought and phraseology, the words possessed at the same time a kind of depth, an unpretentious expression of sentiments suited somehow to the moment.

I’m overly inclined to think I’ve found an author’s ars poetica whenever a literary-critical episode appears within a piece of literature. But I wonder if this itchily intrigued section of the Military Philosophers can connect somehow with Professor Davidson’s response to Powell’s style.

UPDATE: I hate this blog post! I’m going to sleep

Famous &&Tori Amos + Andy Spelling(/Griffith-Bee (movies]

Caught a light depression. Now that depression is a disease, it’s easier to just come down with a little malaise, same as you would a seasonal cold. A sneeze’s worth of sadness. I’m glad Animal Collective is such a popular band. They deserve it. Maybe not personally, who knows, maybe those guys have hurt so many people’s feelings. But I think the music deserves to be liked. What if music doesn’t want to be liked? Some music doesn’t. I’m not talking about the composer’s intentions. The music’s aspect: friendly or not? If you send me proof that our era is “benighted,” along with an SASE and a few pages of popular science writing about plants, I’ll mail you a secret gift. A prize. If it were as cheap to fly to Nepal as it is to buy a Muni Fast Pass? Or a basket of avocados? We’d both have been to Nepal this year. I’d like for the guys from Animal Collective to send me this text message: — Andrew — we all just bought $13.49 tickets to Nepal — the flight is like an hour and a half now that our benighted (beknighted?) era has taken its magic-realist potential seriously. We’re taking the Indian Sky Train to Pokhara. Service charges come out to ~sixty bucks. If you’re not coming, tell Jennifer, we’ll bring her instead of you. You don’t have to smoke pot. Who is Jennifer’s husband.  No one will die on this trip. When we land, we’ll eat, take a nap. Then we buy bikes (bikes cost $5 in Nepal).

Here’s the recipe:

  • lemon
  • pouch
  • vegan carcass
  • salad stuff

peel the lemon like an orange, chop lemon. line bowl with iceberg lettuce. drizzle caperberries and s-cones into bowl with gusto pianissimo. shaken mint; no beef.

see you at the show; Enjoy!