Archive for January, 2009

People Get Ready

Posted in Uncategorized on January 17, 2009 by johnbuckley100

The Capitol with Inaugural construction, Friday, January 16, 2009.  Leica M8, 50mm Summilux, ISO 640, f5.6 @1/30th.


The Morning After Girls Post New Songs On Their Website

Posted in Music with tags , on January 14, 2009 by johnbuckley100

Unfortunately, there’s no release date set for the album, no reference to a label.

To the music industry: here’s a chance to redeem yourselves.  Sign this band, buy their album, promote them.  They have a following.  And they’re great.

Unfortunately their widget doesn’t load to WordPress, but maybe it will load to your page.

Camper Van Beethoven’s Silver Anniversary, And “New Roman Times” Revisited

Posted in Music with tags , , on January 9, 2009 by johnbuckley100

Last night, Camper Van Beethoven played the State Theater in suburban Washington as part of their 25th Anniversary Tour.  They were great.  David Lowery, the world’s most unassuming rock band frontman (at least with CVB; in Cracker’s glory days he could, on occasion, strut maybe five feet to the right and left) now looks like a suburban Republican dad, or at least like PJ O’Rourke.  Jonathan Segal was in especially fine form on fiddle.  Greg Lisher did his best deadpan Jimmy Page impression.  Victor Krummenacher was, as always, amazing on bass.  And Frank Funaro — was that Frank on the skins when they played the 930 Club in, oh, 2005? — earnestly walloped the drums in rhythmic patterns ranging from gypsy ska to punk from the Steppes: no easy fete.

People tend either to adore CVB or not take them seriously.  And yes, going from a four-chord rock song to some weird take-out on klezmer music makes one, on occasion, wonder if they missed their calling as the world’s greatest hippy bar mitzvah band.  I actually think their over-the-top eclecticism, their virtuosity, the way an ordinary verse-chorus-bridge-verse song can suddenly effloresce into a moment of aching beauty means these guys are serious artists who ought to be reckoned with.  

And I was thinking — thinking as they played “Take The Skinheads Bowling” and “Eye of Fatima” and other alternative hits, high on irony, musical jokes — that it says something that Camper Van Beethoven was the only band in existence (okay, maybe Steve Earle) that genuinely took on the Bush Administration and the Iraq War with anything that approached artistry and depth, without posing or self-congratulations (Dixie Chicks), without just reverting to use of the old ’60s bludgeon- form (Neil Young, and a slew of others.)

New Roman Times came out in 2004, just a year into the War in Iraq.  On examination, it’s not merely the best thing they’ve ever done in their quarter-century existence.  It is one of the few works of art focusing on America in this wretched period we’re about to leave behind, that I believe will stand the test of time.  It’s not a screed.  It’s a deeply moving album with great music and a funny concept/story that, even though it kind of falls apart, is an unheralded work of comic brilliance.    (In 2004, the world was not quite ready for a rock concept album that declared the Bush Administration’s Iraq policy a tragicomedy.)

A young man joins the military (“51-7”), goes off to Iraq (“Might Makes Right”), becomes disillusioned upon his return to Austin (“New Roman Times”), and becomes a stoner participant in a Blackwater-like “security firm” (“The Long Plastic Hallway,” “I Am Talking To This Flower.”)  Along the way, there are detours into telling the Unibomber story (“Militia Song”), and of course it winds up with a classic CVB anthem (“Hippie Chix”), with its by-now famous chorus — available on bumper stickers — of “I would die for hippie chix.”  But years from now, when we think about what a long, awful trip the last eight years have been, while some people will put on a Michael Moore film fest, and no doubt other, more serious folks will read brilliant works of journalism like Dexter Filkins’ “The Forever War” and Jane Mayer’s “The Dark Side,” I know I’ll be tapping my feet to CVB, just like I did last night, appreciating these guys for what they are: not just rock music’s brilliant jesters, but a band that is fine, and frickin’ wonderful, and while they’re at it, deep.

Jump From Here, Tulip Frenzy’s Editor Said, For Missing Darker My Love’s “2”

Posted in Uncategorized on January 7, 2009 by johnbuckley100

Seems fair to us… Leica M8 with Summicron 75, ISO 640, wide open, somewhere in Dallas on December 23rd.  The fog was amazing.  (Must have been why we missed Darker My Love… )(Okay, enough groveling, it happens. Editor)


We Missed Darker My Love’s Great 2008 Album “2”

Posted in Music, Uncategorized on January 7, 2009 by johnbuckley100

Oh yeah, this woulda, shoulda made the vaunted Tulip Frenzy Top 10 list…

Comprised of remnant pieces of The Nerve Agents (singer/guitarist Tim Presley) and the Distillers (Andy Granelli), and with a sound that is one part Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, one part Dandy Warhols, add some BJM Paisley-era wah-wah, a dash of Beulah and perhaps a dollop of the High Dials. These guys are grrrr-eat. You can imagine a set with them opening for the Warlocks, followed by the Dark Angels, or maybe the other way around.

Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia once famously said, “When I make a mistake, it’s a beaut.”  And so it goes for Tulip Frenzy, willing to state without equivocation that Darker My Love’s 2 was one of 2008’s Ten Best albums.  Who would have fallen out of the Tulip Frenzy pantheon to make room for them is not known.  Let’s just say we won’t make this mistake again, salute these guys, and leave it at that.

Is Oedipussy’s “Divan” The Great Lost Album Of The 1990s??

Posted in Music with tags , , , on January 3, 2009 by johnbuckley100

Sure sounds like it.

At last I have it in my hands, well, deep in my computer, its sounds emerging from speakers.  Phil Parfitt’s post-Perfect Disaster solo album, and maybe the last thing to be heard from the guy.  (Wherever he is now, he does not seem to be making music…)

Some background: The Perfect Disaster  were an interesting, sometimes thrilling late ’80s British band headed by Parfitt, with the glorious Dan Cross on lead guitar, what had to be Mo Tucker’s illegitimate son Jon Mattock on drums and, before she left for The Breeders, Josephine Wiggs on bass and vocals.  Their album Up is what got me started, especially “Time To Kill.”  They had a chugging, Velvets sound, had spent plenty of time listening to the Buzzcocks and Modern Dance-era Pere Ubu, and Parfitt was a wonderfully sneering front man, limited in vocal range, but of course that made sense, since the model was Lou Reed.  Heaven Scent came out in 1990, and to my ears was stronger than Up (though britcrits seem to prefer the former.)  It had a little less urgency than its predecessor, but by now Parfitt’s songwriting craft had more facets and dimensions, yet was more contained.  Great things seemed in store, and … poof.  They disappeared.

It was only recently that, through the miracles of the Internet, PayPal, and free trade, I got a lead on Parfitt’s 1994 solo album, Divan, put out under the band name Oedipussy.  It picks up right where Heaven Scent left off, minus Dan Cross’s canny lead guitar, but by now utilizing loops and longer song formats. British music sites refer to Divan as “the great lost album of the 1990s,” much the way Henry Badowski’s Life Is Grand is the great lost album of the 1980s. But lost, evidently, Divan isn’t.  Great, I can say on the basis of a morning’s listen, it genuinely is.  “Free” takes the same principal of found-art that Eno applied to “Help Me Somebody” and puts it on a long, loping dance riff that reminds us of “Time To Kill.” “Too Late” sounds like Luna being chased down and then run over by My Bloody Valentine. “Do It Right” has such a contemporary  swamp groove (don’t play it ’round the kids) it could be the Golden Animals.

If you think back to ’94, it was such a dull time in music, when Oasis came on the scene they were greeted like the second coming.  Too bad Oedipussy couldn’t have gotten a proper hearing.  Worse still that we don’t have Phil Parfitt around today.  Maybe he’s off with Howard Devoto recording the Great Lost of The Naughts. 

All’s I know is I’ve waited years to hear Divan, and thanks to a happy hand off from the Royal Mail to the USPS, 2009’s getting off to a great start musically, even if the source of fascination is an album that’s 15 years old.

Are The Morning After Girls Resolved To Release Their New Album In 2009?

Posted in Music on January 2, 2009 by johnbuckley100

On The Morning After Girls’ MySpace page, there now are four unreleased songs loaded.  Individually superb, collectively breathtaking, as a tease, it does the trick.  Their actual website declares the album complete, then fades to white, a further tease.We know Sacha was in New York this fall working on the album, and they played an acoustic teaser set one night.  Enough, guys, er, girls.  Time to get the album out.  We wait with bated breath.


UPDATE: Shows at The Mercury Lounge and the Viper Room late January.  Okay, album must be getting ready for delivery.  Yippee.

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