March 31, 2005

"It's just that I said to myself that I'd get myself home on my own." - The Halo Bit.

Because we just picked up their sole full-length on the cheap, we've been thinking about The Halo Bit, the mid-'90s indie rock band fronted by Small Factory's Alex Kemp. Mostly what we've been thinking about is how we've given the record, Gravity... (Is The Force That Always Drags You Down), short shrift since it came out 11 years ago. The record closes with the band's best song, "W/ Sarah," which is a simply superlative, understated break-up song. The only Halo Bit songs that come close to being as good as that one are the three the band released on their earlier "Stay Away For A While" 7" [Spin-Art 12], which we've discussed here previously. There is an Indie List review of The Halo Bit playing a Studio Red benefit here, and an Indie List review of the "Stay Away for Awhile" single here. So the question is why, after releasing a remarkable three song 7", could Kemp only coax one more really great song under the Halo Bit shingle?

The answer is simple: we were wrong. Sure, there aren't any other truly amazing songs on Gravity. But there are a few good ones, including "Kiss for the One," "Birds Not Flying" and "In Case She Spaces." So that's that. No great insight, just deeper consideration for a record we didn't wholly appreciate on the first go 'round. To make this worth the effort of reading, here is "Kiss for the One." Enjoy.


Follow-up: There is good news and bad news coming out of the search for Low Numbers/Numbers/Hi-Soft recordings. The bad news is that Insound can no longer sell you the "Legion of Boom" compilation on I Spy Records because it is out of print. The good news is that you can download the Numbers song from the comp, "Junior Mornings," for free from Insound. Just go to the web site, click the MP3 button on the nav bar, and search for Numbers. The song is a bit of a departure from the jerky new wave sound of "Entertain Good Taste," and is more of a simple electronic bleeper with Notwist-ish vocals.

You all know that guy who's always at the show, no matter what show, what night, what club? Here in Cambridge, at least a couple years ago, it was that really tall skinny dood with the straight, long hair and tinted eyeglasses. No matter who your guy is, nobody is more hardcore than Indie Rock Kyle, who I had forgotten all about until I saw him on Philebrity the other day. Kyle looks pretty upstanding now, but if he ever runs for office I have a couple snapshots of him wearing a dress at a fab coctail party in Princeton about 10 years ago. Anyway, it would seem Indie Rock Kyle, now apparently "Wild Kyle," is still on the scene in Philly. Good on ye, I.R.K.

Clicky Clicky has been beset with extreme allergies, exacerbated by taking the exact opposite 24-hour allergy remedy as the one we should have taken at 8AM today. Which means we can't take anything else until 8 AM tomorrow. After an excruciating day cite checking a memo, the current plan is three-day weekend. Yee-haw.

That is all.

March 29, 2005

"Well if this song makes your day..." - Teenage Fanclub.

The inimitable Blogger vaporized a lengthy post we contrived last night, a post that sought to illuminate the mystery that is Philadelphia's erstwhile indie rock wunderkinds The Low Numbers. As luck would have it, the hardship inspired us to do something we hadn't done for almost two years -- actual reporting. And that reporting yielded indie rock fruit, people. As usual, it seems all musical roads in Philadelphia lead to the Lilys. But that comes later.

We saw The Low Numbers about eight years ago on a bill wedged between Sonny Sixkiller and Storm and Stress at the Balcony. Or at least that is how we remember it. Anyway, The Low Numbers killed, delivering a captivating set of guitar/bass/organ/drums indie rock that was both dynamic and eery. The music sounded like a sinister twin of Rocketship, and the band even had a look that was great. We don't usually go in for a look, but we were totally buying it that night. Anyway, not too long after we vacated Philadelphia, but the Low Numbers performance stuck with us. We periodically scoured the Internets for information. We turned up the amazing song "Entertain Good Taste," which was released on the mix accompanying Chunklet #14 and is still available for download here, but that just made us all the more hungry for Low Numbers info.

Recently our operative BlastsOfStatic took our quest to ILM, where he turned up the following information: The Low Numbers eventually mutated into a new band called the Hi-Soft, who have a song on a Philly compilation called Hoags. Last night, armed with that information we returned to our old friend Google and struck gold -- a Philly blog that has podcasts that claim to include songs by Hi-Soft. We took a chance and emailed someone apparently affiliated with the band, and turned up being computer screen to computer screen with the bassist for Hi-Soft, a nice person named Jesse. So here comes the payoff.

The Low Numbers were the brainchild of songwriter Gerhardt Koerner, who put the act together whilst in college. Two original members left the band for grad school, and after several more line-up changes Hi-Soft formed. Somewhere between The Low Numbers and Hi-Soft the band was known simply as Numbers (oh sure, now that we know all this, it is easy to turn up good info, like this feature in Philadelphia Weekly), not the same Numbers as the San Francisco-based neo-No Wave act that had that song "Disease" a couple years back. Anyhow, our protagonist Jesse joined in the fray as the bassist for Numbers, and as noted above continues to play in Hi-Soft. Jesse reports that, like seemingly every musician in Philly that hasn't played with the Lefty's Deceiver guys at some point, Gerhardt and drummer Steve Keller did a stint with the Lilys (the list of people who have been a Lily is quite long -- an attempt at cataloguing all of the members is made here at this excellent Lilys fan site) around the time of 2003's Precollections record. The exciting news is that Hi-Soft intends to release an EP this spring on the Chocolate Hearts label and support the release with some shows and a web site.

Finally, just to really nerd out on you, here is the discography of Low Numbers, Numbers and Hi-Soft stuff. Alas, I spent a few minutes earlier trying to find the 7 inches listed below for purchase, but came up empty:

1. Low Numbers - Telekom/ Josef Albers 7" on Numeric (some still available).
2. V/A - Legion of Boom, Philadelphia Pop Comp, vol. 1 on iSPY Records.
Numbers track is "Junior Mornings" Available at
3. Numbers - What Good Girls are Good For/Sunlight Over Detroit 7" on Roof Rack Records.
4. V/A - Hoags: A Philadelphia Compilation on Hot Dog City Records.
Hi-Soft track is "Faith" also available at
5. Forthcoming CD ep on Chocolate Hearts.


Speaking of old music, maybe we are getting on in years here, but it is nice to have something that can evoke the feelings of being a dumb lovelorn teenaged kid. We here at Clicky Clicky find that nothing really brings on adolescent nostalgia like New Order's "Leave Me Alone," from their 1983 full-length masterwork Power, Corruption & Lies. Make a point to dig out your cassette sometime soon.

Scenestars has a nice little blurb about Teenage Fanclub and a link to a new tune. We don't care what anyone says, "The Concept" and "Star Sign" are superlative songs and the rest of Bandwagonesque could be filled with the sounds of cows standing and it would still be an awesome record based on the strength of those two songs alone. So there.

Oh yeah, if you haven't already turned up the Radiohead songs everyone is going nuts about, perhaps there is something of interest to you here.

That is all.

March 27, 2005

"Don't feel sorry for the protagonist, he's just down on his luck." - Uzi & Ari.

Admin: We've updated the links and blog roll and whizzutnot, so look right. Take special note of the Tuning blog. The Google indicates that he's been linking to us for a while, and we had no idea. So thanks Mr. Tuning. Also, we tried to change the overall width of Clicky Clicky, but were stymied by the grey line that encircles the box surrounding this text you are reading. And laziness. Perhaps we will persevere another time.

Reader #6 kindly extended permission to post some of the Wendyfix he sent along recently, so here is the song "Forward + Upward (Ridge)." This is the song that really sticks to your ribs longest when you first hear the set of later King Size demos the trio did. Which is notable if only because when we originally got the stuff on cassette we think it was sequenced last, meaning every other song had its way with you before this one. But anyway, there is something in the main riff and dense chords in the chorus of this song that, as H-Dawg from Accounts Receivable once noted about the title track to ...AYWKUBTTOD's Source Tags & Codes, just sounds like an old friend the first time you hear it. We once saw a large-scale painting of a sort of post-industrial, Bosch-ian landscape with a lot of reds in it in Reader #6's studio, and we've always equated that with this song due to the lyrics. There is likely no actual association, but what the hell, that is what we think of, besides some mythical Evanston where the song was probably written.

So we did the right thing and "supported the scene" by purchasing the Uzi & Ari record at the behest of Music.For-Robots. It is a really solid record of big-guitar indie rock. We'd like to believe that it is the beginning of a new trend toward the sounds of the early '90s, but we can't really back that up. What we do know is that M.F-R's likening Uzi & Ari to Haywood may not be the most apt comparison. U&A have more sprawling and dense compositions and somewhat more twee vocal delivery that suggests more a mix of Saturnine 60 (We don't care that you dropped the 60 from your name, that is how we will always remember you) and Spent (drinking and rebellion, indeed, good sirs) and Seam. So there. On the whole, however, the eight-song set is rock solid. There is one sort of trite lyrical couplet that jumps out at me every time we hear it, but we learned a long ago as a songwriter that you have to be true to the song, even if it leaves you a little more wide open in the end than you'd like to be.

COming Up: Thinking about The Halo Bit; the mysterious Low Numbers.

That is all.

March 24, 2005

"Touch each other in black and white - go!" - The Futureheads

Fluxblog rightfully sings the praises of Yo La Tengo's "Tom Courtenay," and offers the song as a download. For a long time, this was my favorite YLT jam. That was, until I got thoroughly hooked on "Blue Line Swinger," which is, of course, the best YLT jam. I have glanced at the track list for the new YLT comp that is coming out shortly and I don’t see a compelling reason to buy it. Perhaps I can be convinced (Doctor?). But I have most of the material it covers, and if anything, it makes me want to get a CD copy of "Genius+Love=Yo La Tengo" to replace my cassette dub, and which covers the less electric period of YLT that I don't know too much about. [YLT factoid: The Barnabys, later just Barnabys, long since disbanded, were originally called "Barnaby, Hardly Working," named for the YLT song of the same name.]

SVC has a neat post devoted to King Tubby, and the blog hints more dub posts are in the offing. Nothing sounds better in the early summer than dub music turned up really loud, preferably on the porch, late afternoon, drinks and smokes at the ready. Unfortunately it is only early spring. And, of course, no one smokes anymore. But it is the thought that counts, right? [Clicky Clicky factoid: one of the multitude of nicknames my older brothers had for me when I was a kid was Tubby. Not that I was Tubby. I guess that was the joke?]

Spending the night playing with my new external soundcard.

That is all.

March 23, 2005

"And I'm still dreaming of, the day." - Mazarin.

Spent the evening in the drink. Let's see how this goes:

The Farmhands could be quite large. I am not sure they know this yet. Particularly since no one knows who the Farmhands are, except, of course, The Farmhands. There is no web site (yet). To date there have been no shows. So here is the dirt, interesting part first: The Farmhands is an indie rock band which is about to self-release Sunday, April 3rd [record release party at Cambridge's The Abbey Lounge] a concept record about baseball that has 30 songs, apparently each one about or loosely based upon a major league baseball franchise. A pretty good concept, right? Well, the songs are even better. I got a six-song advance from the band in the mail over the past weekend and every song is ace.

The band is comprised of Mike Robb (a.k.a. Mr. Obb, one time Haywood/Small Hours tour support under the moniker And Joseph), Jeff Stern (a.k.a. Mr. Self-Help) and another guy, a.k.a. High Cheese, perhaps Mike's brother. I played ever so briefly with Jeff and Mike in the short-lived Bucknell entity The Suck Project. This should not tarnish your opinion of these guys. What you need to know is that they make loose indie rock with discernible Pixies, Beck, and They Might Be Giants influences.

The EP traverses multiple genres, even a successful send-up on '90s hip-hop. Definitely come out for the show if you can. Here is an instrumental from the EP, "The Friendly Confines (Chicago, NL)," since I couldn't really decide which song to hit you with first.

Catbirdseat has a funny SXSW wrap. Spoilt Victorian Child has a little Shellac post with a download.

That is all.

March 22, 2005

"Who's gonna cut my taxes and defeat the evil axis?"- The Farmhands.

So it is worth noting that H-Dawg from Accounts Receivable and I went and saw Slint Sunday evening at the Roxy. We are all familiar with Slint, the cool kids in college made sure of that. For me, it was this guy Andrew Dickinson (dyed black hair, dark blue t-shirt, brown Dickies pants) in my Music Recording and Sound Design Class, who brought Spiderland into the studio one day and cued up "Bread Crumb Trail." And that was that.

The Slint show was revealing in that the live experience is heavily focused on the drummer, who is imbued with bandleader-type power by dint of being situated squarely in the center of the stage, the rest of the players inhabiting the periphery. H-Dawg had some solid thoughts on the show, particularly the extended breaks between each song, which I will paste here rather than go through the trouble of paraphrasing his email (tough break, H-Dawg):

The drummer was some hot shit. And, although I would have enjoyed it a lot more if "that guy" hadn't chatted through each of the silent pauses between songs (description of asinine guy sitting next to H-Dawg inserted here) I kind of really enjoyed what would have been the silence. Not only did the silence break up each song in the set so that you judged it more as an individual composition than a total summation... though it all summed out in the end... it also felt defiantly punk... like, this was a challenging band back in the day, and f*ck you all, we're still challenging you and your expectations of what a show should be... so just wait, be patient, and you will be rewarded.

My big discovery of the day, thanks to the very trustworthy Music.For-Robots, is the band Ari & Uzi (think hard, you'll figure out where the name came from in a minute). Anyway, check out this post, which features an awesome track called "Lungs Out." Great '90s style indie rock with guitary goodness. Yeehaw.

Mobius Band also gets a little ink in Music.For-Robots, who review a show where the band played with former Haywooder Danny Barria's Big Sleep and the hotly tipped The Go Team. The kids seem to like The Go Team. But I haven't heard them yet. So there. The Good Doctor saw Mobius Band at South By Southwest and said they killed. Good for them.

Chromewaves reports
that Belle & Sebastian will release a singles compilation in late May. That is good news, since I was always wary of starting down the road of buying the various singles for just this reason.

Next up: an introduction to The Farmhands.

That is all.

March 20, 2005

"I could wait 15 more minutes, alright, I'll wait forever" - Karl Hendricks Trio.

And the product keeps coming. Through the door last night with the weekend mail came the complete Wendyfix King Size Demos sent to me by Reader #6. Well, not quite complete: the excellent "Pillowhead" has gone missing from Reader #6's stash -- fortunately for you, you can watch the vido for the song with a reasonable amount of audio fidelity here. Fortunately for me I have a serviceable copy of the song on tape, and once I get my ripping situation straight I can rip that to my laptop -- today I got a good deal on a Creative Labs external soundcard from Amazon and once I get that straight you can expect more relics from the '80s and '90s to surface here. There are one or two other songs that aren't included on the Wendyfix disc, but I've already spoken about them in earlier posts. Snoop in the archives if you need more of that action. The audio quality of the King Size Demos as they are on this CD is noticably superior to what I had on my cassettes, particularly in the drums. Some other shortcomings of my cassette, such as the washy and incomplete beginning to "Microphones + Megaphones," are also eradicated. So hooray.

Karl Hendricks Trio's debut full-length "Buick Electra" was dropped on my desk with this morning's mail at the office. The version I received was not that which was originally released on Hendricks' own Peas Kor imprint, but rather the CD issued on Grass in 1994 [which has appended to it the "I Hate This Party" EP of 1991], some two years after it was recorded and released. I hadn't listened to this record for at least eight years at this point, but it still has its charms, and more than its share of great little rock numbers.

Truth be told, the late-model KHT of "The Jerks Win Again" [particularly songs like "The Summer of Warm Beer" and "The Overweight Lovers"] is markedly superior to this early stuff for a number of reasons. But I'll always have a soft spot for "Buick Electra," if only because it handily captured some angsty zeitgeist at an appropriate time. It is also, I think, the first record I ever bought from a touring indie act at a show. I bought this CD nice and cheap used online purely to hear the song "Stupidhead" again. Listening to it again I don't feel the song holds up as well as some of the other cuts on the record (including an energetic romp through the Rolling Stones' "She Was Hot.")

But in the summer of 1993 I made my first of several trips up to Princeton's Terrace Club to see Hendricks, and I will always remember a particularly snotty (Hendricks had pretty bad allergies that day, I think) but impassioned rendition of "Stupidhead" the trio performed that night on the club's back patio. [Hendricks also had a really neat guitar with a split metal headstock. Carrying on the split theme, he also had an A/B/Y patch cord that sent signals to two separate amps at either side of the stage, which I thought was pretty darn nifty. And loud. Gads.]

I saw KHT two more times before leaving the Philadelphia area for good in 1999, but I don't think I ever enjoyed them as much as that first night, despite the addition of a second guitarist at one point for more auditory girth, and some other sundry lineup changes. Anyway, here is "Stupidhead." Enjoy.

IndieWorkshop reports The Dresden Dolls record will get re-released at the end of April on Roadrunner, in time for them to promote it during their tour with Nine Inch Nails. Good on ye, Ms. Palmer.

Someone please tell Mr. Corgan or whomever controls the Smashing Pumpkins catalog that I am tired of fishing for a very cheap CD copy of "Gish" on Ebay and that I would be more than happy to pay retail (OK, maybe just slightly happy) for some sort of fancified album reissue. I imagine, barring any legal sparring that would preclude it, that SP reissues can't be too far back in some label pipeline. I wonder who owns/controls the Caroline catalog, anyway.

There is some discussion of my editing a blog component of Junkmedia. Nothing is finalized, but I would certainly enjoy writing for a wider audience on a daily basis. It could mean Clicky Clicky would suffer some, but it certainly wouldn't be replaced, as this site represents my voice and opinions, and the Junkmedia blog would be written to be representative of the publication. But just a heads up something exciting is being mulled over. If anything it could mean more review CDs coming through the door, something that always pleases me.

That is all.

March 15, 2005

"Baby why don't we, baby why don't we?" - Dinosaur Jr.

This evening the mail brought the three Dinosaur Jr. reissues (mail-wise it has been quite a week). So far, I've listened to the debut, which I'd never owned previously. I am about to dive into You're Living All Over Me, where I am interested to hear what exactly the remastering has accomplished. I am skeptical that I can get more out of this record than I already have (which is a lot), but perhaps there will be some revelations under all that muck after all these years. I had "You're Living All Over Me" written on my school bag in high school. Not the big lady attractor you might expect.

UPDATE: I've listened to about half of "Living" and I don't hear much different. The drums are cleaner, that is the most notable difference. Occasionally when an extra guitar comes in the mix it sounds a bit cleaner too. "Raisans" seems to have the most obvious cleaning up so far. And "In A Jar," the bass has been really beefed up, the guitars cleaned up: this song has really benefitted from the remastering.

SplendidEZine's George Zahora gives Stars' Set Yourself On Fire his complete attention. His review is atypically melodramatic, but Stars aren't really above putting it all out there either. The first single for the record, I think, is "Ageless Beauty," which is really quite a great song.

This headline from today sounds like a Morrissey song: Mussolini's Granddaughter on Hunger Strike. In related news, Morrissey is debuting a concert film around the country on March 28. It plays only one night to promote the film's DVD release, and I am glad to say Boston has one of the screenings, according to the spotty but likeable I may not go, but it was nice of him to think of us anyway. Thanks Moz.

Finally, Reader #6 has offered up more information about Haywood's latest effort and other general information. Most surprising, bassist Jeff Paretchan has left the country for Armenia. So that pretty much kills any hope that there will be any full-on Haywood shows for a long, long time. Jeff's move sounds permanent. Reader #6 reports there is no label attached to the recent recordings, so getting your hands on that hot little record may be harder than you had anticipated. Unless you'd like to blow a portion of your trust fund putting the record out. Let me know, I can put you in touch with the right people. Finally, once we hear the record, apparently we will hear the band really stretching out in the studio, with expanded instrumentation including piano and organ. So anyway, hold your breath until I say stop.

That is all.

March 13, 2005

"Dit dit, do do... Dit dit, do do..." - Ulrich Schnauss.

As promised last week, here is an MP3 of a composition written by my great grandfather, T. Leslie Carpenter. The performance is by a pianist named Marcantonio Barone, who was commissioned to perform this, other works by my great grandfather, and some other material at a concert given at the facility where my grandmother, who died last week, lived out most of the last 1/3 of her life. The song, composed about 100 years ago, give or take, is called "The Lucille Waltzes" (I know, I know, what a great name for an indie rock band), and was performed February 6, 2001. Enjoy.

The best deal going right now might be buying paintings on the Stephen Keene web site (which of course I can't find right now). You know Keene from such popular album covers as Pavement's Wowee Zowee and, uh, other ones. Anyway, Lopez and I started getting Keene paintings back when he did a residency at Moore College of Art (one-time or perhaps even current workplace of one Art DiFuria,one-time Lily and the man behind The Photon Band) in 1997. A few weeks ago Lopez hit Keene's site and ordered a painting for the relatively knavely sum of $12 or so plus shipping. The package arrived today. And lo and behold the package contained not one, but SIX paintings. Including the one Lopez really wanted, "Camping Trip Way Out West, 3.9.05." Hot dog.

When I got to the office this morning I had two packages waiting for me: the expanded version of Unrest's Imperial F.F.R.R. (with handwritten apology from Mark for tardiness, so classy) and The Futureheads' self-titled joint. Both are excellent. I find the Futureheads record particularly enjoyable, because it is really strong song for song, throbbing with XTC-licious jams. It is the first record I've gotten in a long while where I've enjoyed every song. For real.

The chap behind Bradley's Almanac [Bradley, we'll presume?], former drummer with erstwhile-The Red and The Black showmates the Also-Rans, reports he is now drumming with the exceptional local electronic-rock act Charlene.Charlene's tune "Ripoff" is available for download here -- it is really a very nice song. In other rock-related news, the Mobius Band have a new web site. Certainly world domination can't be far behind.

More good news: Reader #6, who you may know better as the fine singer and guitar player in Haywood and Wendyfix, emailed to say that the Wendyfix stuff I requested from him earlier this century should be headed my way some time soon. I peppered him like steak with questions about the latest Haywood recordings. I will let you know what I find out.

I've been meaning to mention Commodore Two-Can's Captain's Log. I've known Mr. Two-Can for some 25 years at this point, since right around the time the Marines mistakenly tried to draft him at age 7. Anyway, the Log describes what to me is an almost Thoreau-ian life of moving vessels with a tugboat. It makes for very peaceful reading. E.B. White-ish even. And it is in stark contrast to the goings-on here. After reading the log, it seems strange to while away one's time obsessing over underground music, an abstraction in a relative sense, versus having such an interest in your work, as Two-Can has, that you actually can write about it.

Finally, my cousin Mark Lord has written a thoughtful diatribe [second item] to the Philadelphia Inquirer regarding arts funding. Perhaps not quite as excoriating as the fine work of my late aunt, but it is nice to see he is carrying on the fine family tradition of rabble-rousing.

That is all.

March 10, 2005

"Think about all the time you wasted, thinking about and working on your bomb shelter." - The Halo Benders.

I was minding my own business this evening blowing through my monthly allotment of EMusic downloads when I came across something exciting. For years I have been bemoaning the lack of digital availability of 7 inches released on small indies in the '90s. Well, it appears that some labels are finally moving their releases over to digital. After bugging My Pal God Records' Jon Solomon off and on for about five years to make his label's 7 inches digitally available, it appears some of them are now available on EMusic.

There you can find titles including the absolutely stunning Hurl "Madison Earful/Dual Showman" release (sounds like it might have been ripped from the actual vinyl and cleaned up, instead of ripped from the master tapes, but what the hell, right?). DeSoto Records, run by the fine folks who were in Jawbox, have also put a Hurl 7 inch online, the also very good "Radishes/Positronic Ray" release, which I beleive was the first indie record I ever mail-ordered.

If I could get Simple Machines, Spin-Art and Slumberland to get all their 7 inches online for download, I would be ecstatic. And it looks like things are heading that way. It appears a large portion of the Self-Starter Foundation catalogue has made it to EMusic now, so you can now go download two excellent Haywood records there. And don't forget that EMusic has the Lilys' Spin-Art titles, which are all basically out of print and fetch high prices on the Ebay and whatnot.

I used the bulk of my monthly downloads to get digital copies of a lot of the K Records stuff I recorded to cassette in college, including The Halo Benders' superlative "Don't Tell Me Now," The Softies' "It's Love," and various compilation cuts from Seaweed, Courtney Love and others. I am so pleased to have the Halo Benders joint, and The Softies is also just gorgeous. So yay for K, and yay for me.

Bradley's Almanac has part one of Versus' live set from Teenbeat's 20th Anniversary, night three. The band played the entirety of their incredible The Stars Are Insane from front to back. I've been disappointed with the quality of BA's recordings, but they have been the only way I've been able to experience the Teenbeat anniversary stuff, so that makes them invaluable.

You will be pleased if you spend the time to watch the trailer for the forthcoming Wrens documentary. It's in Quicktime. Here's the link.

That is all.

March 8, 2005

"You could be back before you know, back before you go." - J Mascis and The Fog.

Muriel Carpenter Evans :: 3/3/1906-3/9/2005

My grandmother died this morning at the age of 99. She was a music teacher and mom and great grandmother and choral singer and library volunteer. She was just a whole lot of fun. The best kind of storybook grandmother you could have. We're sorry to have her go, but it was definitely time. Her father, my great grandfather, was a church organist and composer at the turn of the last century in Wilmington, DE. Perhaps I will post one of his compositions later this week, as performed by this fellow Marcantonio Barone.

Pitchfork reviews the new Coctails box set
. One of my favorite records is The Coctails' self-titled final effort, which has amazing songs like "Cadali" and "When I Come Around." In fact, I think the first four songs of that record are an amazing way to spend about 16 minutes. I would often listen to them all in a row like that on a Walkman on wintry walks between 51 Fountain and WESU. I can remember a particular moment of clarity walking across the lawn of the Wesleyan library, snow melting on the ground, icy breath making a cloud below my chin, thinking that this was the perfect way to hear the record. Good times. Anyway, it sounds like the box set is more all over the place (no surprise, given the breadth of styles the band was comfortable with), but if I saw it at a good price I would pick it up, pretty much just because it sounds like a really neat package.

Tiny Mix Tapes has a funny bit about the Dinosaur Jr. reunion. Mostly false, but funny all the same. I plunked down $30 bucks earlier today with to get the remastered first three Dino Jr. records in a package deal. As MLE, admitted to practice in the great Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, quipped earlier to day, Mascis has been rockin' so long we might have to start calling him Dinosaur Sr. OK, it was a lot funnier when he wrote it.

All of which reminds me, I've been re-reading Rollins' Get In The Van. At one point The Flag is in San Francisco and they go see Dinosaur (not Dinosaur Jr.). Rollins, of course, hates them, and all the hippies who were on the scene. Then again, the book makes pretty clear that Rollins hates most everyone. Rollin likes to tell people they can get bent, which I like and might have to start saying myself. He also likes to tell people they can go get f***ed, but I can't see being able to work that into casual conversation too often.

A lot of great records are just being released, including the new Stars full-length, a Sam Prekop record, The Evens debut full-length, the list goes on and on. It is also a week of ridiculously large box sets. Now Pat Dinizio of the Smithereens wants to sell you a 21-disc box set featuring 500 Smithereens songs for $100. Check it out.

That is all.

March 7, 2005

"So... sick of music..." - The Mobius Band.

I got my pre-ordered Mobius Band City Vs. Country EP today and it sounds great. The revamped version of the title track, which the band offered on its web site last spring, sounds really full, particularly the drums. And Ben's vocal definitely benefitted from recording with the same guy who did the Interpol record, as his voice, which tends to be a bit thin, has the same weight to it as Paul Banks' does on Antics. Anyhow, these guys are going to the next level with their new relationship with Ghostly International, and I couldn't be more pleased for them.

Being something of an insatiable fanboy about certain bands myself, I greatly enjoyed Will Oldham's (Bonnie Prince Billy, Palace Brothers, Palace Music, Palace Songs, etc.) recollections of time spent with and obsessing over The Misfits and Samhain. It is worth reading for the very last lines, which pack the same sort of emotional punch as much of Oldham's music. Sort of brings new meaning to the chorus of "New Partner" : "You were always on my mind."

Music For Robots has a post about Audible and are threatening to do a Haywood retrospective post. Keep your eyes open for that.

I heard a song on the Dumont this AM by Palomar, it was a nice bit of indie pop in the vein of Tiger Trap or Heavenly. I didn't think that style had survived in to this decade, and I was happy to hear the song. I don't know the band's record, but I know that Chris Newmyer has released some of them on his Self Starter label. I will have to explore further. If anyone has a favorite Palomar song, feel free to Gmail it to my new account set up for receiving such things: jay dot breitling at gmail dot com.

The New York Times has an amusing article on just what the hell Axl Rose has been up to, and how much it has cost.

That is all.

March 5, 2005

"You waited yesterday, I didn't come your way." - RIDE

Dear techies: Help! I have isolated a problem that has plagued my ripping of audio from cassettes to my hard drive. Somewhat beknownst to me, but I didn't realize it was a consistent problem until I was working with music I was very familiar with (stuff I wrote, duh). Anyhow, when I run an RCA-to-1/8th out of my tape deck into the microphone input of my laptop/soundcard, the sound in the left channel is decreased or just not delivered. The same happens when I run an 1/8th-to-1/8th out of my cassette deck or tuner's headphone jack (via 1/4 to 1/8th adapter on the sending side of the equation). I don't think this has to do with my recording software's settings (I use CDWave, a freeware app, on advice of digital entertainment enthusiast Cable Elk). I believe this to be true because I've tried them all, different sound qualities, stereo/mono, bit rates, etc. What is odd is I can see the problem visually manifested in the LED display on my tape deck. No matter which cable set up I am using, both the left and right channel LEDs are pumping normally with the music right up until the point at which I plug the 1/8th inch plug into the microphone input on my laptop. When I do this, the LEDs for the left channel pin at 0 db, and don't vacillate. My question is, how can I fix this, or what other recording scheme can I use to get precious and rare audio off my cassettes and onto my hard drive? Leave solutions in the comments section, or email me at the link at right. The sucky thing is that I know this has effected the rips I did in compiling the Kam Fong comp, as well as all the ripping I've worked on in the last 15 months. When you listen to a stereo recording a find half the picture missing, it is a real drag. I am fairly certain this has also plagued the rips I've done from vinyl, but I'd have to set that up again to see, which I don't feel like doing until I take care of the cassette issue. So that is that.

Loyal readers may recall one very hung-over post I wrote last fall, in which the only thing that was saving me from the throbbing in my head that was trying to kill me was listening to Ambulance LTD's "Stay Where You Are" on repeat. If I had to pick a favorite track from 2003 (when I think the Ambulance EP came out) this might be it. Anyway, now there is a video for the song. I have to say, I don't really like any of Ambulance's other songs. I try and try but I don't. But I like this one. The version of the song used for the video is different from the one I have from the EP and record, either re-recorded or edited and remixed. It cuts out the ambient beginning stuff and boosts and clarifies the vocal and trims the end. Which I think is unfortunate, but its still an awesome song. Check it out.

Here is a Philly Inquirer article about the death of alternative rock radio in the city. I have yet to read it, but will get around to it before you do. But even without reading it I can say I don't really care. There is great indie rock radio servicing Philly from Drexel University's WKDA and Princeton University's WPRB (if you've a half-decent antenna). And then there is the Interweb. So I don't think the Earth will stop rotating if 25-year-old retail clerks can no longer hear 17 minutes of ads and 43 minutes of commercial alternative rock every hour on their Dumonts. They probably weren't listening anyway. Screw you, commercial radio.

Devoted yesterday to driving around listening to the Yeah Yeah Yeah's record the Monkey sent me, and today driving around listening to the ... Trail of Dead joint he sent me. I like both a great deal, but I have to say the TOD is not as ridiculously prog and over the top as I thought it would be. It is actually kind of bland relative to ST&C. But there are good songs and good hooks and big giant rock drums. So I dig that. Even so, I still am put off by the tunes with hokey vocals. That really can kill a song for me.

An astonishing curatorial feat
. I am sure this is totally unlicensed, but goddamn!

Hey, how about a song? This is one of my favorite electronic tunes, I discovered it soley because I think it was released on Thrill Jockey, the CD had that sort of Thrill Jockey digipak with the minimal design that really stood out on the rack of CDs in WESU. Oh the glory days of having nothing better to do than stand in a dimly lit room and stare at a wall of CDs and just look around until something jumped out at you. Anyway, this jumped out at me. It is Oval's "Do While (Symbol)" from the record 94 Diskont. The song is very mellow and hypnotic, and I used to put it on while I was going to sleep in the '90s. How quaint. Enjoy.

That is all.

March 3, 2005

"I've got moves I never use." - Kathleen Edwards.

Tonight I watched Letterman from earlier this week on the TiVo and Kathleen Edwards was the musical guest. She played the title cut from her new record, and it totally smoked. Just a big, energetic slab of rock. With basically three chords in it. It was really quite a performance, you should look around online for it. The stupid Late Show web site doesn't have it, of course. Dumbasses. Anyway, my homey Zippy's band Carbon Leaf opened for Edwards a couple years ago here in Boston at an outdoor, after-work thing. I caught Edwards' soundcheck and I remember getting the impression that they were taking this awesome Canadian rocker and turning her into Sheryl Crow. Well, the good news is, based on what I saw on Letterman, that just ain't the case.

Chromewaves has a nice bit on The Chameleons UK, who were Interpol almost two decades before Interpol were. I don’t own any of their records but I have their song "Second Skin" on the stellar Manchester - So Much to Answer For compilation. I got the song on a mixtape in 1991 and it is a fave of mine. I've always been fearful of picking up a Chameleons full-length, but perhaps this Chromewaves bit will inspire me.

The Mobius Band's new EP gets a good review from one of Pitchfork's lesser-known reviewers. Should give them a boost. The online rag also covers the Teenbeat 20th Anniversary thing that I would have really liked to have been to. I read on ILM that Versus played their incredible The Stars Are Insane record from front to back one night. Dang.

SplendidEZine head honcho George Zahora tackles The Cure's Three Imaginary Boys reissue. I don't recall seeing this reviewed elsewhere, which is kind of remarkable, but maybe I just haven't been paying attention. George even ends his review with an admonishment to some of the hacks who send him CD-Rs to be reviewed, which is great. I would have liked to read George chewing over individual tracks, but I enjoy his general observations nonetheless.

Mental Note: Go back in time and find the cassette with Garden Party's "Katydid" on it. Hide tape in Hagstrom guitar case. Write self note to look in Hagstrom guitar case in March 2005 so I can hear the song again.

Just spent a crapload of time tonight and last night ripping old demos I recorded, one small piece of a huge pile of stuff I intend to save for the purgatory of being on one of my cassettes. Anyway, turns out I was only getting the left channel because of a bad patch cord, so I'll have to hit the Radio Shack tomorrow or something.

That is all.

March 2, 2005

"She's driving me out of her mind." - Lemonheads.

I learned from our favorite young associate at The Firm recently, and confirmed with our favorite senior attorney and litigation manager, that Evan Dando's father used to be The Firm's managing partner. You know, Evan Dando of The Lemonheads. One of my favorite rock and roll combos. So anyway, I thought that was interesting. I guess when Dando was giving all those interviews in the '90s about his drug problems, that sort of rankled his dad's feathers a bit. Or something.

More importantly... this is a CAPITAL LETTERS ANNOUNCEMENT:

Hell freezes over. Or something. Confirmation arrives that, much like Kam Fong in 1997, the original lineup of Dinosaur Jr. is reforming and touring. What few details there are are at Chromewaves, Pitchfork, J Mascis dot com, etc. Dinosaur Jr. is one of my favorite bands, too. Right up there with the big ones: Haywood, Lemonheads, Lilys, Kam Fong, etc.

It isn't my cup of tea, but a.d. amorosi has a nice feature about death metal and grindcore in the Philadelphia Inquirer right now. Check it out.

Many Clicky Clicky readers and I attended university with the woman behind the Dresden Dolls. Lopez just read in the paper that Dresden Dolls with be opening for Nine Inch Nails on NIN's coming tour. That is pretty great. Speaking of college: The Bster redesigns. Still no Logie redesign.

I'll likely update this post with an MP3 sometime when "LOST" is not commanding my attention.

That is all.