You cannot deconstruct unless you know how to construct. - Alexander McQueen

archive for the 'Music' department


Thursday, January 31st, 2013

I arrived at the Comet to a girl barking, screaming and pacing the floor. The stage is so shallow and the venue so intimate (like livingroom intimate), that a band would be forgiven for spilling into the audience. After each of her thirty second barkscreams came a sharply contrasting, diminutive “Thank you”. During each song she walled in the microphone with her hair and hands, which might have accounted for the acoustic trickery. Or she was possessed.

Nearing the end of the set a guy weaves quickly through the audience, on this night a group of painstakingly subdued question marks. He was remarkably clean cut and becardiganed and I’m thinking what is he doing here? Shouldn’t he be teaching Sunday School or something?

No he should not, as it turns out about twenty minutes later, because he is Gaytheist. Well, technically, he is Jason Rivera, 1/3 of Gaytheist and the frontman for my new favorite local band.


Towa Tei

Friday, May 4th, 2012

Thanks to Tokyo Fashion I was reintroduced to Towa Tei about a week ago. It was there that I saw/heard the new video for his song, “Wordy”. At first I was more impressed by the video than the song (by that I mean unsettled in a good way), in which it appears that a rave monster had a violent allergic reaction to all things phosphorescent and puked in a kigurumi party den:

But then the song got stuck in and started to soften my brain (does that make a song good?). I think that the leavening agent was Bakubaku Dokin singing the alphabet and getting stuck on “elamen, elamen”. So I looked up Towa Tei and found this 1998 collaborative gem with Kylie Minogue called, “GBI” (”My name is German Bold Italic. I am a typeface which you have never heard before….Let me adorn you. The bold design of you.”):

I say reintroduced because Towa Tei was a member of Deee-Lite, and I love Deee-Lite.

Also love this music video put together by Timotayo for Towa Tei’s “Ch. Galaxy”:

Expertly done.

The War On Drugs’ “Comin’ Through”

Monday, April 25th, 2011

Caught the War on Drugs show (touring with Destroyer) before leaving Seattle for SoCal and was really impressed. Keeping me company on a drive up the Pacific Coast Highway yesterday was their song “Comin’ Though”, which rounded the afternoon into perfection.

“Comin’ Though” is from the Future Weather EP, available here. (For some reason, buying directly from Secretly Canadian didn’t work for me.)

A Lead Sky in Steel City

Thursday, September 9th, 2010

Raw, yes, but done. Finally.

A Lead Sky in Steel City

The city wears a slouch hat

Monday, August 16th, 2010

“Just feel that good clean power surging in from the dark…Ah, but listen to her! She’s driving in, she knows what she wants, there’s no hero or devil on earth that can talk back to her…Come on in, girl!” The man talks over his beloved sea to “The Voice”; both having isolated themselves out there, away from the City and its people. This is one of my favorite lines from “The city wears a slouch hat”, a radio play written by Kenneth Patchen with a score by John Cage. It was broadcast on May 31, 1942 by WBBM radio station (Columbia Broadcasting System in Chicago) and is the Voice’s surreal journey through the City, culminating in a message for humanity in a time of World War.

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“The city wears a slouch hat”, a radio play written by Kenneth Patchen with a score by John Cage. Cover art by Patchen.


Prick’s “Communiqué”

Saturday, July 31st, 2010

Prick’s “Communiqué” to start the weekend. One of my best stimulants, sonic adrenaline in its purest form:

From Prick’s self-titled album on Reznor’s Nothing Records (who, I think it’s safe to say, is past his creative zenith).

I Blame Coco’s “Selfmachine” (Acoustic)

Sunday, July 4th, 2010

Have been stalking Coco Sumner for a couple of years now, and love this acoustic performance of I Blame Coco’s “Selfmachine”. I feel that what I’ve heard of her band’s new material is pop-heavy and less endearing than her earlier work. Coco is magic with just her voice and guitar, extracted from the pop template:

Please come to Seattle, Coco.

Richard Fariña: A Case of Criminal Neglect

Thursday, May 6th, 2010

Halfway through Céline’s Death on the Installment Plan the ellipses started floating under my eyelids like retinal flotsam. I needed a break, a breezy intermission. Browsing the stacks I came across Richard Fariña’s Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me:

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My copy of Richard Fariña’s Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me. New York: Dell Publishing, 1969

Oh yeah. I keep meaning to read that. It’s got a Pynchon quote on the back. As it turns out, Been Down So Long has some of the most haunting prose I’ve ever read. Why did I neglect this book for so long?


Karen Elson’s “The Ghost Who Walks”

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

After seeing that Spin Magazine included supermodel Karen Elson’s performance at SxSW as a “Best Moment“, I got curious. I first came across Elson in a musical capacity several years ago with Melissa Auf der Maur covering Danzig’s “Devil’s Plaything”. Elson has improved since then. “The Ghost Who Walks” is a very pretty song, and her album releases May 25th on husband Jack White’s Third Man Records.

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photo of Karen Elson by David Swanson

Private Hell 36

Friday, March 5th, 2010

I love crime jazz, and there’s a wonderful crime jazz special on the Retro Cocktail Hour radio show, hosted by Darrell Brogdon. It includes the “Checkmate” theme by John Williams, a selection from “Twin Peaks” composed by Angelo Badalamenti and “Marlowe’s Theme” from Farewell, My Lovely by the incredible David Shire. Don’t miss the cover gallery.

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Album cover for Private Hell 36 (1954)