“So Young” was the first song on Suede’s classic self-titled debut, and the following is taken from the concert video “Love & Poison”. Suede and the follow-up, Dog Man Star, are two of my favorite albums. Whenever I watch their live performances I’m reminded of the dearth of legitimate rock stars left on this planet. They certainly had charisma out the arse.
This is kinda last minute on my part, but Blitzen Trapper and Alela Diane will be playing tonight in Norman at The Opolis. Tickets are $10 and doors open at 9 p.m.
“Gold for Bread”
Attn: All those who inhale music through nostrils like hellsmoke.
A live event for live people!
This Friday, at Mable Peabodys in Denton, Tx., Faith & Pocket Change, Darktown Strutters, Rival Gang, and Punk Bunny will be melting asses and shaking faces.
Show starts around 9 p.m. and it’s $3 to get in. What better thing do you have to do? Eat cereal while you twiddle your diddle and play your Sega Super Nintendo 360?
Want a taste of what’s in store if you find yourself human enough to attend? This is a partial transcript of what Joe (Faith) told me:
“We’ve got some special material, lots of new songs, and a sweet cover that we’ll be premiering…Imagine if you were a dinosaur and all your life you had just been eating leaves and then all the sudden this other dino comes up and fucking eats you…that’s it, life over, maybe you don’t die tho, maybe he just sort of bites off a shank. Well then, no one wants to date a dinosaur that has no shank, at least, not the right shank, so then you are simply a skanky dinosaur missing a side of yourself and once part of you is missing it is very hard to replace it, so then you find god and what does he say? He says, “All skanks aloud, no bars hold” and so you go to heaven and you’re up there all doin’ your fucking thing looking down at the world and you see this dinosaur that took your fucking side and you say “man” and god says “what’s wrong” and you don’t say anything, you just sort of look down all sad and god says “is that the mutha that took your shank”…still you say nothing, just look, because you’re trying to play like you’re trying to play it cool, but really you know that god has all these thoughts runnin’ round his head now, because god likes you, ya know, he’s always done shit for you, so you just look down all sad, just playin’ your game like fuckin’ a-rod and then god says “well let me teach him a little lesson” and before you can say anything god sends a meteor down to earth and just fuckin’ kills every fuckin’ thing that even THOUGHT about dying and you just feel so fuckin’ good then, i mean, just….SO.FUCKIN.GOOD.”
Faith on MySpace
Rival Gang on MySpace
Darktown Strutters on MySpace
They stole this song from Coldplay.
The first time I saw Xiu Xiu was in a less than ideal setting: early afternoon at a summer music festival. This is not music built for plus-100 degree heat with the sun melting your ass. Though, for me at least and on this one day, the oppressive thickness of the Chicago air somehow met the pitch black hymns halfway. Dancing to dehydration made sense when Out Hud was onstage, but to bake during Xiu Xiu is a bit much. I just didn’t care. This was my band.
I managed to worm my way to the front of the crowd, within an arm’s reach of the steel barricade, where stood one of the sweatiest and dorkiest fans I had seen that day. He shouted at Jamie Stewart, not to express affection, but to voice-crackle a “Hey Jamie! Throw me one of those water bottles!”. This is the point where I learned just how athletically inept most Xiu Xiu fans must be as I turned my head to watch Dungen (I think) wrap up their set on the other stage, idiotically placing faith in this guy’s anti-Jerry Riceness. The water bottle crashed into my shoulder like a scud missile. Or like a water bottle. Or like a mixed metaphor.
Fast forward a few months to another Xiu XIu show, this time in Fayetteville, which I was supposed to attend. I was unable to make it, so Sarah explained my situation to J. Stewart himself, intoning that I was a super fan and devastated by my absence. And that he once hit me with a water bottle. He wrote a note apologizing for the incident, giving me permission to hurl a fire extinguisher at him the next time we met. The next time I saw him was in Oklahoma City. He passed in front of me, our eyes briefly locked, but even if I had my extinguisher with me, I’m pretty sure I would’ve declared a cease fire. I hang on to that note to this day in the knowledge that it means as much to me as a John Lennon autograph would to most people.
I look forward to each Xiu Xiu split, each 7”, each album, with the same anticipation people look forward to a new season of “Lost”, even with the understanding that they may never top “Fabulous Muscles” in overall personal importance. The catharsis of Jamie Stewart’s lyrics got me through some rough patches in college, and while I love all of Xiu Xiu’s albums (plus his pre-Xiu Xiu band Ten in the Swear Jar), this is the band’s most successful melding of Dennis Cooper/Harmony Korine/Todd Solondz-level shock horror to pure pop epiphany. In 2004 I was well aware that I would never comprehend the American mainstream way of life, but I felt okay with that disconnect the first time I pulled through the Wal-Mart parking lot listening to “I Love the Valley OH!” with my windows down.
This one is by request of my dear friend Aaron…
Here is Nina Simone, one of the most transcendent voices to ever cast her hymns into the atmosphere, singing “Ain’t Got No…I’ve Got Life”:
Like much of my early musical education, I discovered Echo and the Bunnymen while watching MTV’s “120 Minutes” and their silly band name and possibly sillier coifs stuck in my mind until I eventually purchased “Ocean Rain” at a Dallas record store during a family shopping trip; the same day I bought Sonic Youth’s “A Thousand Leaves” and Sugar’s “Copper Blue”. I quickly became so obsessed with that album that I greedily snatched up anything else I could find by the band, and their first five albums are essential. But “Heaven Up Here” is tops.
Ian McCullough’s vocals have often been compared to Jim Morrison’s, and considering that Ian Curtis was also a big fan, he seems a particularly strange touchstone for post-punk Ians. But as this was a style of music that was theatrical, and at times skirting histrionic, it sort of makes some sense. The post-punk bands seemed to take the tortured artist template to an extreme, possibly giving way to the misuse of form utilized by emo bands in much the same manner that Kurt Cobain and Eddie Vedder’s angsty howls were boringly homogenized by Scott Stapp and his minions. Misappropriation shouldn’t devalue this music though.
The opening three songs on this album rival in intensity anything released under the post-punk banner, with “Over the Wall” continuing to astound me everytime I listen to it. Things turn exceptionally dark during the gothic center of the album, with the brief but wrenching “The Disease” followed by the epic “All My Colours”, the two songs which seem to encapsulate the feeling of the album artwork. I’m a big fan of bands who maintain a consistent artwork aesthetic (The Smiths and Joy Division are two other prime examples), and few bands had artwork as evocative and successfully simple as Echo and the Bunnymen.
Any cursory listen to an Echo and the Bunnymen live bootleg (or any of the live videos below) is proof that this was one of the most thrilling live acts of the ’80s and were actually more comfortable and adept in that setting than U2, despite all the empty poses Bono has made to the contrary. Arena rock for people who don’t like people.