Saturday, November 18, 2023


Writing about the STEVEN RICHARD NEWSLETTER inspired me to get on the Mastrodontic. I'm at and so far I have posted exactly one HELLO WORLD post (in BASIC of course).

The point of having a secret blog (which isn't really secret, there's a link on my actual website, albeit one that hasn't been updated in years) is to not advertise things in the slightest and see what happens. Let's see what happens.

Friday, November 17, 2023


Friend of Tape Mountain Steven Arntson, as previously mentioned on this site, has a new NEWSLETTER and it is as great as you would expect. Subscribing is free and an excellent idea.

Metrical feet/anapests/that indie rock band that blew up

Every year or so I find myself going through the Wikipedia pages on metrical feet after I forget what an amphibrach is. I studied both phonology and poetry in college, so this is where they come together, right? And this is why I make the big bucks [citation needed]. Anyway, in any case today I forgot what a spondee was, and that led me to the page on anapests (or, if you prefer, anapæsts, or if you prefer, antidactylus).

I like the fact that one of the examples they include is "A Visit from St. Nicholas", in anapestic tetrameter:

Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house

But then a few paragraphs later someone launches into the fact that the title track of a certain album by N**tr*l M*lk H*t*l is in anapestic heptameter (say that seven times fast):

What a beautiful face
I have found in this place
That is circling all 'round the sun

So you can basically sing one to the tune of the other (with some creative license). I like it.

So baffling to me that, for some reason, that second/final album was the one that blew up. I remember strongly disliking the obviousness of their first single when I was a poisonous undergraduate music snob, but their debut album was pretty good and I had some good moments rolling around Southern California in my deathtrap Datsun with their fuzzed-out rambles and wild lyrics and left-field fake-gamelan moments warbling on a C-74 in the tape deck. I even saw the last few minutes of their opening set at Spaceland (I think Brian M. wanted to see the headliners and convinced me to drive up to LA). I then promptly fell asleep when the headliners (Trans Am? Was that even a band?) played. "Sir, you can't fall asleep here," they said, but in my defense that venue was awfully dark and the band was not very interesting.

Then that second album came out and I think I may have acquired it via Nappstyrrr. It was OK, kind of a return to the obvious I-IV-Visms of the debut single. The lyrics seemed to be trying too hard (that bit about semen and the mountaintops) or not hard enough (that bit about Jesus Christ). But then I kept hearing it in the cool kid places and then the less cool kid places and now it's everywhere. What a world.

Thursday, November 9, 2023

Catching up Nov. 2023

Here's what I've been up to:

Bemoaning the fact that my CD player stopped working, so I bought this over-the-top pseudo-audiophile CD player on OphrUp. I drive up to Vancouver, Washington where the freeways never end and the light always feels different. A kind older gentleman hands me a pair of headphones and tersely says "Ukrainian music." Indeed it is, hooray! The blue power switch and VFD display come off as trying too hard entirely, but it works and the Ukrainian CD sounds good. I head home and, like every time I head south on I-205 over the Columbia, am gobsmacked by how beautiful the view is. Do I actually live someplace this beautiful? I head home and start connecting wires.

Listening to (The) Method Actors, especially the late-era stuff where they added saxophone and went over the top. I'm always interested in guitar players who later end up playing bass instead.

It's November and Martin wants to do National Solo Album Month. It's been a while - why not? So far I have three songs, sort of. So far the theme has been 12-string electric running into the M-Audio Black Box (underrated) and a collection of crummy DOD fuzzboxes, including the hot pink monstrosity the Thrash Master.

Speaking of the Thrash Master: I've had that thing for twenty years, but back in the aughts I did a number on it by spilling coffee on the foot switch. What kind of maniac drinks coffee while playing a Thrash Master? In any case I was able to trade upright bass services to Jason in exchange for Thrash Master repair. Life goal achieved, and, more importantly, Thrash Master restored. You'll hear it.

Saturday, September 23, 2023

Summer 2023 playlist

Now that we're in Fall 2023, it's time to share the tracks I saved in Summer 2023. Playlist here.

Note the appearance of "Blue Light Yokohama," as perfectly featured in Hirokazu Koreeda's quietly gobsmacking Still Walking, a great Dippers video, and the best track off Friend of Tape Mountain Brian M/Friends Below Zero's album, three decades in the making.

Silver Convention/covoover part two/link death

One of the nice things about finally giving in and letting my records go unalphabetized is that now I listen to whatever percolates to the top. This covoover work week, the accidental (?) hit was Silver Convention's Golden Girls. Not as good as their first couple albums, sure (c.f. the Ramones also burning out on their ultraminimal formula around album 4), but the ultra-sleazy downtuned Mutron III (?) bass on "Hotshot" is just awesome, and "Wolfchild" has this great chorus (repeat 2x):
Living in the astral jungle!
The transfer on the YouTube music version of this song has a snippet of "Summernights" at about 00:30, like the audio transfer engineer fell asleep at the console.

The somewhat stilted choreography on their live TV appearances is compelling - it's like they're aiming to be SUPER SEXXY but end up looking a little dorky? Maybe if I were a disco fiend in Munich in the mid-70s I'd feel differently about their weird little hulas. Sadly Youchoob appears to be missing the version of "Save Me" where they perform in handcuffs, which really pushes the super sexxy/super dorky hula dichotomy to the limit. Here's one from TVE[spaña], whose disco video engineers in the mid-70s knew no restraint, as we saw previously in Las Grecas' "Anabalina."

Thursday, September 21, 2023

Covoover times/War and Peace/Slack Times

News flash I got the covoover again but it's not so bad. I'm multiply jabbdeded and natuurlijk immoon after round #1 and so basically it was some mild snifflies and now I'm holed up in the office hoping the kid doesn't get sick. I took the pack-slow-vid since I don't want to mess around this time. Unfortunately I got the side effect where my mouth tastes like I've been chewing pewter. It's not ideal, but at least we live in an era when xylitol mints and Indian food can be delivered to my door very quickly.

So I'm holed up in my office doing work stuff and then reading War and Peace (one of the English profs at my alma mater is teaching an online lecture class for alums etc.) and it's pretty great. Both the book and the holed-upness. I cleaned up the place enough to get my great-grandparents' armchair in here in between the exercise bike and the Apple //c. Not exactly grammable but cozy.

I've mentioned Slack Times here before. Somehow I missed their video for "I'm Trying." A man power lifts a terrier, someone else karate kicks a toilet paper tower in slo-mo, wind-up ducks show up at the best possible moment. It is effortlessly silly, somewhere in that weird intersection between dad jokes and found-object surrealism, so of course I am drawn to it.