Why I'm not here

I have a 3 month old son I take care of during the day, which is when I used to write. When I am able to return to a schedule that includes writing, I will post some more.

For now, I think you should know that Band of Horses' new album is pretty damn good.

Thanks for coming by!


The Liar

The Lookers
In Clover

Goodness. This is, by far, the hardest band look-up I've had to do. If you click the links, you'll see a large sample of the dearth of information out there on this band. Typically, for me, I'll say that's just a shame. The good news is that, if you find a copy of the album, it's bound to be super cheap.

Fronted by Sarah Dougher, The Lookers put out their one and only album in 1997 on Candy Ass Records. It immediately tanked. Somehow, a promo copy found me across the country, and I played the hell out of that album. Being the almighty third in charge at the record store has its privileges. Ms. Dougher, along with drummer sts (not a typo), also recorded under the name Cadallaca with Corin Tucker. She also released a handful of solo discs. This album, though, is the cream of the crop.

It was saddled with the throwaway line on the back cover of the album "Add this to your dyke-pop collection". Such posturing may have made it difficult to pick up a niche in the flooded music market of the late '90s, and the band may have overestimated the call for more lesbian musicians. You can ask any number of other Candy Ass acts about that (The Vegas Beat comes to mind, as well). That doesn't keep this album from being a great album, though.

I would put this as a female counterpoint the The Van Pelt's Sultans of Sentiment, an album whose clean lines and laid-back vibe belies the amount of hurt under the surface. As for "The Liar" itself, this track is a perfect microcosm of the album. If I ever decide to add mp3s to this blog, come on back and see what I'm talking about. It's a simple formula: Active drums put low in the mix, 2 clean guitars and a clear voice. But The Lookers were more than the easy dissection of their parts. While the formula may have been simple, the band itself was more than complex (whatever that may mean).



Dirty Three
Horse Stories

I'll go ahead and say it. If you have one Dirty Three album, that's enough. I should know, I have four. Second bold statement of the day-if you are only going to own one D3 record (you cheap so-and-so), make it Horse Stories. You get everything you could possibly want out of a guitar, drums and violin trio right here.

What to say about Dirty Three? Well, the trio boasts some of the most non-descript Aussie white-boy names ever. Warren Ellis. Jim White. Mick Turner. Not exactly names that little boys think they want to change their names to when they grow up. There is no "Joe Kickass" in the bunch. At least the term non-descript does not apply to their music.

"Hope" is a track of, well, hope. At least I think it is. It's kinda hard to tell when there are no vocals. The violin takes the place of any lead singer, and it's super sad on this piece. I think. Then, we switch into the chorus or bridge of the piece, and there it is. The whiny part of the song fades away and the hope emerges. Let's set it straight, this is the track that you want to play when you are downing shots of Rye Whisky to drown whatever pain you have. The song is crying along with you as you ponder how you fucked up whatever it is you did wrong. Then, there's the break in the clouds. Everything will be OK.

Then the song ends and you realize it was just a song and your life is still fucked up. Boo for you.

Truthfully, I like the visualizing-plates-breaking-against-the-wall, everything-is-wrong aspect of "Red" as a standout track on this album. But, as alluded to earlier, there is almost nothing wrong on Horse Stories. Pull it out and listen to it again, you'll see.


Yamato (Where People Really Die)

The Van Pelt
Sultans of Sentiment

Or, as I call it, The Golf Album.

In stark contrast to other bands I blog about (*cough* the Brendan Benson one from last month *cough*), here's a band I knew nothing about until they were long gone. Maybe "long gone" is an overstatement, but I was at least four years late to the party. This was a recommended buy from a girl who deinitely was never my girlfriend, though I had wished that to be different at the time. Now she lives in Spain, and I'm back in my hometown. What does that tell you? People who knew of this album in the '90s were destined for greatness, that's what.

Every track on this album is a pleasure to me, though not all for the same reason. Some have great couplets or turns of phrase, there's the one track that has all of the party-talkin' going on in the background which I do not hate, and this track has useless, soaring background vocals. There's nothing quite like a high pitched "aaaaahhhh AAAAAHHHH" to set me off. Then it gets repeated, and again. YAY!

The Van Pelt eventually morphed into The Lapse, the Double Fantasy antidote to the clean pop found on here. The Lapse did have some great tunes, but it suffered from the fact that it was only two self-absorbed people (and lovers) trying to write songs, instead of four self-absorbed people.

I don't really know where Yamato is, or why people really do die there, but I do recommend trying to find it and reporting back to me your results.


23 Beats Off

In On the Kill Taker

I tried so hard to count the beats in this one to figure out where, exactly, it was 23 beats off. I figured that maybe it was at the end of the song where the feedback comes and the only "normal" music sound you hear is the snare. That's not it. So, for years, I figured the title came from "lazy band syndrome" where they just rearranged a previous title. Here, it would have been Two Beats Off from Repeater.

Then the interwebs came along. And I ignored it. Then the tubes got bigger, and I got an email address. Soon, the "net" was all encompassing, and even noted technophobic bands who all live in a house without electricity and eat only raw rice had their own websites. So did Fugazi. Every band that had ever sold more than 200 records also had a tribute site. It was here that I found a page where fans could give their interpretations of Fugazi's obtuse lyrics. Here I saw, for the first time, the Holy Grail of interpretations.

Y'see, Ian was talking about Magic Johnson (heh, it's a johnson that's magic) contracting AIDS, ostensibly from putting his peener in an infected roadwhore. Michael Jordan, number 23 himself, kept away from the hoo-ers by beating off in his hotel room while on the road. Get it? Further, it was consensus opinion on the site that this was correct.

The lyrics in question:
a name
i recognize that name
it was at the center of some ticker tape parade the lead story,
a fine example
a name,
a name
a name i recognize that name
it was at the center of some magnifying glass the lead story,
a fine example
a name,
a name
he used to pretend he was fighting some war somewhere
now everything depends on fighting some war
he never thought he'd be an exclamation point
a demonstration of his disease
a punctuation mark
a household name with hiv
still, it's just still sound

Yeah, I see that.

Okay, given the timing, I can buy the whole Magic Johnson (heh) angle, but I don't get the Jordan angle. Sure, 23 is his number, but so what? It also belonged to John Williamson, who's dead now. Why can't it be about him? Hell, JW had even had his number retired by this point. This could go on, but I'll end here with a little bit of posturing. Learn the lyrics, sure, but leave the interpretation alone. 'Cuz when you're wrong, you ruin it for everybody and lend the Colbert air of truthiness to the proceedings.

Bonus fun factoid from Wikipedia: IOTKT was the first Fugazi album to chart on Billboard, at 153.