You should really write reviews for pitchfork or something. You'd do a hell of a lot better job than most of the reviewers on there.
Thanks man. That's nice of you to say. Maybe if I did the type of music that site covers wouldn't be so stylistically inbred. Maybe if I did the Residents would get their records reviewed once in a while, and there wouldn't be quite as many people going 'How come I never heard of these guys before?'.
Post by Friendly Destroyer on Dec 11, 2010 1:53:53 GMT -5
Optiganally Yours! But more importantly, The Powerpuff Girls. Did not know that show existed. Also in "A Record a Day" news, I remembered thumbing through the discount section of a record store almost two years ago and coming across "Mark of the Mole", I had other fish to fry that day and let it be. I returned today (this section is massive and full of crap and odd (rewarding) gems) and found it for $2.
Post by Friendly Destroyer on Dec 11, 2010 2:27:26 GMT -5
I just watched the movie an hour ago, fine stuff. I don't usually like disclosing personal info on boards, but because you're just a questionably relevant dinosaur baby I will tell you that I once dropped out of high school and vagabonded around various countries for a long time. So I actually did have a TV(s), but not one(s) that was(were) in the habit of featuring the english language. I would really have enjoyed seeing stores and billboards full of Powerpuff Girls though. Missed that.
Post by Horned Gramma on Dec 11, 2010 15:00:03 GMT -5
Optiganally Yours is THE SHIT, right? I really, really fucking love OY.
I saw them last summer, fucking FINALLY. I was the guy that was so fucking excited and having so much fun and was so much drunk that I ended up on-stage with Rob Crow. I'm not even a LITTLE bit embarrassed about it, not at all. Nobody in the house was more excited than I was to finally get to see Optiganally Yours.
And SUCH a cool show. There were dancers and costume changes and props and by the end of the show Rob wasn't wearing anything but pink underwear that said 'BITCH' on them and a viking helmet.
...at least I think that was an Optiganally Yours show...
Post by Friendly Destroyer on Dec 11, 2010 16:48:25 GMT -5
Optiganally Yours is one of the few artists I'd never heard of on this thread (PS - Thank You), it's the kind of music (like Ween, who for some nonsensical reason I've had on the back burner for the past 15 years) that make me wish I could hop in a time machine and re-grow up with this in my headphones.
As far as the Residents go, when I was a kid I once told my dad's weirdo friend "Micth" (He would actually spell it in quotations) that I liked listening to Jesus Christ Superstar because it was like "hearing" a story. The next day I was promptly given a crackly beat up cassette of "Mark of the Mole". As a kid I was confused what to think or understand how this was in anyway the logical next step from Superstar, but I had already been exposed(terrified) to(by) NON from an older cousin and therefore was not entirely weirded out by them. I kinda kept up with them and definitely enjoyed their stuff and philosophy, but more than anything I have that album to thank for helping me form a palate toward the strange and weird in music, film and books. As for "Mitch", I recently tried to reminisce with him about giving me "Mark of the Mole" as a kid, but he could not remember ever doing so nor that he was ever THAT into the Residents enough to own any tapes (Stolen I guess).
PS- This guy babysat me/was my final "responsible" defense many many times.
Post by Friendly Destroyer on Dec 11, 2010 17:01:43 GMT -5
Also in "Mitch"'s defense, the tape was a copy. So I guess in a semantical kinda way (a way not to uncommon for "Mitch") he did not own, as in buy, the album. This does not explain not remembering giving it to a child.
Post by Horned Gramma on Dec 13, 2010 12:45:51 GMT -5
EDIT: Oh holy shit guys, massive bombshell just landed in my real life world; for those of you who saw the post this one is replacing, KNOW YOUR CLASSICS week will take place next week. No review today, I've got some shit to take care of this morning. We'll be back tomorrow with more exciting verbal masturbation.
Post by Horned Gramma on Dec 13, 2010 19:09:45 GMT -5
The Books - Lost and Safe
The first time I heard The Books was shortly after the release of their 2003 album 'The Lemon of Pink'. I was a couple years into my endless love affair with The Residents and I thought that no manner of experimental sounds, instrumentation or structure could surprise me. I was wrong: I HATED it. I really hated The Books. I remember I couldn't wait to sell my copy of 'The Lemon of Pink', I thought it was the most pretentious bullshit I'd ever heard.
Tastes change, or mature. I wasn't ready for the delicate precision contained on that disc yet. I love that record now, it is mind-expanding -- a near-flawless collection of ticks, laughter and various sounds. The two things most responsible for changing my mind about it were the five months I spent schooling myself with LSD, and this record, 'Lost and Safe'.
'Lost and Safe' solidifies some of the more ambient leanings of the first two Books albums. While 'The Lemon of Pink' and it's older brother, 'Thought for Food', almost give the effect of listening to wind chimes on a not-particularly-windy day, 'Lost and Safe' trades in melodies and beats - albeit delicate, unassuming beats. What hasn't changed is the approach Nick Zammuto (guitars and vocals) and Paul de Jong take to building songs. Separated by an age difference of roughly twenty years, both members of The Books are obsessive collectors of found sounds and have a unique ability to transform old snippets of radio broadcasts, pieces of tapes on elocution and self-help monologues, and recordings of people talking and laughing into the framework for their singular brand of experimental pop music.
The effect is completely dizzying and kind of disorienting. By taking these words and sounds, ripping them from their original context and reassembling them to suit their porpoises, the original meaning is almost entirely lost and what is left is an incredible view of how melodioius and varied human voices are. Classically trained finger-picked guitar and the incredible cello work of De Jong turn an ocean of seemingly meaningless words into something much more than the parts of the whole.
It's exciting stuff. There is a kind of physical sensation I associate with listening to The Books that I don't associate with anything else; even with songs I've heard a hundred times, there is an anticipation that I will hear something new going on under the layers of sound that is hardly ever disappointed. Like the feeling of epiphany that accompanies a night of star-gazing on drugs, it lends me an expanded sense of the world and of myself.
Take, for example, the incredible album highlight 'An Animated Description of Mr. Maps'. It starts in with an urgent beat, cbelt sandering and swirling like an alley full of trashcans in a fierce wind. Zammuto sings a brief verse while the beat finds its footing before the track changes gears entirely. Amidst a series of non-sequitur clips of old men talking together comes a very peculiar drum solo: what sounds like perhaps a police officer giving a detailed description of perhaps a fugitive, speaking quickly and with short clipped words. A snare drum doubles the sound of the man's voice, all but obliterating the line between where the words end and the drum hits begin. Listen to this:
'Be Good to Them Always' appropriates dialog from an older film version of 'Alice in Wonderland' and what I THINK might be, fittingly, a recording of Dr. Albert Hoffman himself. 'Venice' builds a metronomic march around a verbal account of a European man doing a live painting. There are so many brilliant ideas stuffed into 'Lost and Safe' that I don't know which ones to focus on.
There's nobody like The Books. I've heard comparisons to acts like Dead Can Dance or the Kronos Quartet that hold a little water, but there is a limitless sense of exploration involved with a Books record that they corner the market on. Discussing their live set would require an entirely separate article; suffice to say, there is a meticulously crafted visual element that complements their sound perfectly.
I'm not going to lie to you, I bought 'The Lemon of Pink' on the strength of a Pitchfork review; like I said, at the time I hated it so bad that I still rarely trust Pitchfork. It's interesting to me, though, that my opinion of one of my favorite acts changed so drastically over a period of time. 'Lost and Safe' is unlike anything you've ever heard. I never grow tired of it; I can't, every time I hear it I feel like I've never heard it before.
I get the feeling that The Books is a name that a lot of people hear but that they don't look into. Fix that mistake. I'm including a second sample track in this review to illustrate just how much these guys are able to do, and this second one incorporates some of the visuals from their live set. Apologies for the lateness of my submission today, to make up for it I wanted to give you guys one of the really great ones. Enjoy.
Post by Horned Gramma on Dec 13, 2010 19:42:08 GMT -5
Friendly D: There was a "Mitch" character in my early years, a good friend of my dad's named Bart. Bart would show up out of the blue sometimes -- I remember one day he arrived on our doorstep while my parents were out of the house, tripping balls on acid and insisting we bring him everything in the house that was 100% cotton so he could show us how to tie dye -- and when he would leave, he would 'accidentally' leave copies of things like Tom Waits' 'Swordfishtrombones' and Pixies' 'Surfer Rosa'. Being given stuff like that when I was in my early teens... I do not overestimate how important that was to defining my personality.