Monday, April 15, 2024

Cosmonox / LP bins in 2024

Cosmonox played a show at SE Foster's finest dark void of a music venue, the legendary Starday Tavern. No cover and in a prime pub crawl location. It was fun to see how various stumbling-in drunk randos reacted to this alien tape squawk music. I will spare you the photo, but it involves some very short basketball shorts. My brother was there and journalistically observed the parade of drunks, from "Where do they find these people" to people just totally feeling it and taking phone videos.

My mom watched the boy last night so JL and I went, naturally, to a certain estate sale warehouse in Tigard. We got some glassware. Their LPs were priced at $5 apiece (!!!) but were half off by the time I got there. The left bin was random would-not-sell-at-25-cents records (you can probably picture a lot of them) and classical records, the right bin was mostly Christian music, and the center bin was various picked-over pop-folk stuff. But I was pleased to find, in the middle of all of this, a copy of Richard and Linda Thompson's Pour Down Like Silver. RT's blue eyes staring out at me in the middle of all of this rote flipping. As someone who had only ever played the album on the streamz, I was surprised to see that Linda's portrait appears on the back.

We put our treasures in the hatchback and had an actual date night, with happy hour cocktails even, in the incredible April sun on the mysterious west side of the Willamette.

Friday, April 12, 2024

99 Cents Only / Parsnip "Turn to Love"

I spent a pretty good amount of time in the 99 Cents Only chain of discount stores when I was extremely poor in grad school in the Southland. At least at that point, it hit the right balance between looniness and desperation, unlike many similar discount stores. I was a fan. Apparently they are going out of business, so I'd like to say thanks for the memories and the cheap and questionable food. And because I have a song for everything, here is "Tamagotchi 99 Cent Only." True story, I think. RIP.

This Parsnip video is just delightful, at that rare meeting point between extremely psychedelic and extremely hammy. Great song, too.



Monday, April 1, 2024

Miss Macintosh My Darling / the Inland Northwest

Miss Macintosh My Darling is available! After having Marguerite Young's massive magnum opus on my internet auction watch list forever, Dalkey Archive has the e-books available. Actual 1,200 page novels are still in preorder, but after going through War and Peace in the dead tree edition recently, I'm OK with the ebook. We'll see how far I get, but I'm excited.

We took our spring break trip out to the Tri-Cities and Spokane in Eastern Washington. Richland has a really nice park by the Columbia River and the dramatic weather made it even more exciting. 

Once the boy went down I took a night walk to their quaint little Uptown shopping center, where a block off the highway there were actual dreadlocked individuals spinning flaming batons. I walked a half block south and was surrounded by people who were a few sheets to the wind and super jazzed about riding a mechanical bull. Totally jarring and wonderful. I stared through the windows of the public library at night even though it was closed and I didn't have a card. 

This sign made me very happy:


Spokane felt a bit like when Portland was deciding if it was a lumber town or a hipster destination. There are cool people doing cool things - we stayed in the Garland District, which felt like a pint-sized Hawthorne - but there are also huge lifted pickups everywhere, just a nonstop wall of diesel whine at all times. Riverfront Park, where you can walk over a waterfall mere blocks from downtown, is indeed awesome. We had a delightful vegan meal at Rüt and I got to wave hello to the world's friendliest baby multiple times. I bought a copy of Myron Floren's Disco Polka for a buck (along with a Silver Convention record) at a punk rock record store and felt sheepish, but it is a record that cannot be denied:

Spokane is also a good town for walking at night. The air felt great and we were a few blocks away from an amazing view of the skyline. That said, the constant aggro menace sounds of the lifted truck scene reminded me of the night walking privilege I have as a cisgender heterosexual white dude. And indeed, while we were there, dudes in lifted pickup trucks a half hour away in Coeur D'Alene were revving their engines and hurling epithets at black female basketball players staying for the NCAA tournament. SIGH.

Friday, March 15, 2024

Appliances / Password Plus / CDs

A couple weeks ago we paid a plumber to fix the pipe that burst in our garage - now our dishwasher isn't working. While I kind of secretly love washing dishes - and I may have written my poppiest song in years about washing dishes while watching Password Plus on the tablet - I'm ready to let machines do the work. Let's see if the fancypants new dishwasher I bought lasts longer than the H*me D*p*t cheapest possible option I went with last time.

Inspired by the good folks at ElectrifyPDX, we are slowly getting rid of our fossil fuel household appliances. Today was the day we broke out the checkbook for a heat pump. Kind of thrilling to think that we will actually have air conditioning for the first time in my life. (And it will be good to get rid of our nearly 30-year-old gas furnace). 

As part of the energy audit, the tech got down in our crawlspace (apparently not as horrifying as I had feared). In order to make that happen, I had to clean out my wine cellar/CD storage closet. There were a lot of OMG moments as I realized where a lot of my CDs had been hiding. Currently rocking Cyclops' Goat Volume, which holds up pretty well. I'm a sucker for Flying Nun b-team/Xpressway-adjacent stuff from the era, and "Simpleton" takes one and a half chords about as far as they need to go.

Friday, February 16, 2024

Things to love Feb. 2024

The Montreal Assembly PurPLL effects pedal

Pedro Mairal The Missing Year of Juan Salvatierra (must try to track down the original Spanish) and the way it depicts the father-son relationship after the father has died

Riding the exercise bike during lunch break

Playing Ys VIII and Ys IX during said bike breaks - bright, earnest, and a little goofy beat-em-up RPGs whose "Normal" difficulty level and pacing are just right to be played while also working out for an hour

Being able to check out Ys VIII and Ys IX from the Tualatin Public Library

Fitting a second-hand exercise bike in the back of a Mazda2

While we're talking about father-son relationships: Chris Elliott Daddy's Boy

Finding out that there are Wire EPs that I haven't listened to

Playing guitar at low volumethrough older Peavey bass practice amps (currently a Basic 112 from a garage sale down the street - I carried it four blocks home)

Seeing "Unicode" and "Gamelan" crossing "Mimeograph" in last Sunday's NYT crossword

The first few weeks of Flaming Hydra

My 7-year-old creating a word game called "Groups" where "Phone" and "Tablet" are grouped together by being "rectangular objects"

My 7-year-old finding the Spanish word mapache ("raccoon") very funny - I love it too

Friday, January 19, 2024

Primrose Trio/Dance Series by Various Ukrainian Artists

 

Archive.org, the site that keeps on giving, has this one. I previously mentioned this series, with its great music, eye-popping design, and slightly unsettling illustrations, but this one is even better. Primrose Trio (here rendered in Microgramma as "Prim Rose") have a series of three wild and wonderful LPs with their pictures on them, but this one just gets the lady, this time staring at you. I always appreciate how the guitarist kind of plays the bass notes and kind of plays the chords and almost always plays notes that I would not consider playing given what the cymbaly and fiddle are playing. I can learn a lot.

If you like the illustration, K 6001 (featuring the Thunder River Boys) features the exact same artwork, just, as they say, palette-swapped. It's a good time too, if more traditionally polka-flavored.

Thursday, January 11, 2024

Slacker prog/Frances Chang/Manta(r)/dollar bins/ecosystem analogies

The Ramp Local newsletter pointed me to Frances Chang's upcoming album Psychedelic Anxiety (good title, also a good cover, more album covers should feature pictures of ducks and samplers). The song "Eye Land" in particular is a quality example of what she aptly calls "slacker prog":

i.e. it goes all over the place, there are fuzzy 90s indie-rock guitars in spots, but not for long, nothing stays in one place for long. A jigsaw with a lot of pieces and a lot of the pieces are a dizzying blue sky.

In sort of related news, I went through my M box of CDs and found Manta's album Classic Battles, which hits some similar notes. Some really memorable songs in there that also go all over the place, particularly "On the Banks of the Sad River" and "Light Is the Only." 18 years later I still find myself singing "We all die alone" over and over again, or "A seal makes me feel strong." Her stuff with The Badger King is also great if largely unobtainable at this point - not expensive, just obscure. Naturally their best moment is on some EP that I never saw in real life and that never made it to Disqwogz, probably just handed out on CDRs and that rattled around Soulseek long enough for me to suck it down.

I do like how people are using Archive.org as a sort of virtual dollar bin. One of my beefs with Bandqlamp is that there's no place for the bottom feeders - that weird thing you put out fifteen years ago will kick around forever at the $7 price point rather than showing up scuffed in some bin on the floor for a dollar. That's not how nature works!

The person who posted this one posted a lot of other mid-aughts Portland stuff from that scene that I was tangentially involved in, stuff that would never actually be rereleased and that I barely remember, but that still forms a pretty good rabbit hole to get lost in.