Friday, September 30, 2022

Deep Polka/music discovery/Polka Jammer Network

During a recent child-free visit to the Tualatin Public Library (thanks Grandma) I was scanning their CD collection. Under "World Music" there was a CD called "Deeper Polka" from Smithsonian Folkways. OK, challenge accepted! Anyway, it was pretty good, and it led me to believe there might be a CD called "Deep Polka," which there is, and now when I listen to my YouChoob Muzik library on shuffle, every so often I get a visit from Norm Dombrowski's Happy Notes or the Clete Bellin Orchestra. 

That aspect of physical music discovery is so important to me. The various algorithms tracking me always underestimate my desire to listen to polka and overestimate my desire to listen to stuff that, I guess, it's OK? Currently they think I want to listen to *lv*s C*st*ll* because I played one of his songs on YouChoob (memo to self: stick to physical media, dude's like an algorithm virus) and the Motels' "Only the Lonely," probably because I listened to Men at Work's "Overkill" from my cheese mix. I guess those two push the same emotional/stylistic/chronological buttons? Yeah, I guess that tracks. 

Anyhow, if you have a desire to listen to nonstop polka 24/7, the Polka Jammer Network continues to jam the polkas 24/7. I hadn't checked them out in a while but was delighted to see that they are still cranking. Long may they jam. 

Thursday, September 22, 2022

Good bad ideas/Bucket Owens

There are good bad ideas and bad good ideas. 

A bad good idea would be something like, let's encourage tapioca pudding consumption as a means to ensuring world peace. Not that I ever wrote a song about that in my youth or anything. When you're sixteen you are chock full of bad good ideas.

A good bad idea would be, hmm, it's like a 100 degree day in Portland and our friend is visiting from Toronto, so let's close all the windows and record an extremely loose EP of Buck Owens covers on the boombox. Let's drag out "Dust on Mother's Bible" into a woozy 7 minute space jam with said friend playing just enough on the bass and my dear wife tapping out the faintest of rhythms on the bucket and mixing bowl, let the delay self-oscillation compete with the cassette noise to see what wins.

It's not a good idea - a good idea would have been to head to the river or play in the sprinkler - but a good bad idea is often more memorable than a vanilla good idea.

Saturday, September 17, 2022

Lida Husik again

In the mid-90s I headed away from my East Coast fancypants college and headed down to Southern California to go to grad school, where of course I immediately distracted myself by throwing myself headlong into a new college radio station. In an attempt to be King College Radio Shit, I got more and more invested in being cooler than thou, into weirder, more abrasive, longer, more annoying stuff. Not my proudest moment perhaps, but maybe it needed to happen? Maybe I needed to pump myself up so I could later get seriously humbled?

Anyway, somewhere in that weird era, it sounds like Lida Husik (referenced previously here) also headed down to the Southland and made her poppiest album ever, Fly Stereophonic. It had dancing cartoon food on the cover and some truly dreadful 90s typography and so I guess I just ignored it. I was too cool for school and I was probably falling asleep on the highway to albums by Pork Queen or Surface of the Earth or the Shadow Ring or something. Turns out that of course it's delightful, as were her other albums from the mid-90s with bad album covers that came out on labels that were kinda mainstream cool, but not like Corpus Hermeticum cool. 

I could have been that guy on late-90s Southern California freeways with his Geo Metro windows down and the tape player eating his dub of Fly Stereophonic while I headed off to eat a masala dosa. It would have been all right.

Friday, September 16, 2022

Doublehappys/great videos/Gwoogoowhacks

Roger Shepherd's Man on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown blog on the Flying Nun site is always a delight and a chance to reevaluate some not-quite-A-list bands from the Flying Nun heyday. Today I went down the Doublehappys rabbit hole. Not necessarily my favorite band in the stable, and there's an underlying current of tragedy that's hard to take, but the video for "Needles and Plastic" can't be denied:

Fun, right? So much youthful energy. I love the idea of cramming ten people into a small room and having Chris Knox direct people below camera level to grab things, throw beach balls, give thumbs-up, have Shayne Carter jump off some undefined object and give the camera the world's best shit-eating yeah-I-did-that grin after sticking the landing. Stage jumps aren't easy, you know, although somehow I, with my incredibly low dexterity score, was able to pull them off on a few peak-experience occasions. 

And after 2.5 years of not being crammed in small rooms with people, this video seems even more fun, totally awesome, forbidden.

I like the fact that the title of the 19th song on my album Theory Internal appears to be the only hit for that particular phrase on the Gwoogwoo, despite it being an intentionally awkward rephrasing of a super famous Bible verse. Seriously, internet?  

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

We Buy Other White Albums

A version of Rutherford Chang's We Buy White Albums

but instead, make a neon sign that says We Buy Copies of Barbra Streisand's Guilty

or better yet, We Buy Copies of Love Will Keep Us Together and Por Amor Viviremos

For extra credit: Describe what each exhibit smells like

Monday, September 12, 2022

Flipper _Gone Fishin'_, early 2000s Celesteville tour snapshot

My boy went off to kindergarten today and the sky has the weird bleakness of sudden Oregon autumn muscling its way past bleak Oregon Fire Sky September. Whiplash-inducing.

For some reason I thought of Flipper's "You Nought Me" this morning and queued up Gone Fishin'. Good stuff, as good now as it was when I spent a princely $6 on a used copy in, hmm, maybe Ardmore, PA, back in 1991 or so?

Things I didn't really register back then:
(1) Fretless bass all over the place
(2) On "One By One," Ted Falconi is "holding it down" with honest-to-goodness guitar chords (albeit way out of tune) and (presumably) Will Shatter is the one going berserk, in a reversal of basically every other Flipper song
(3) Some day I would be called on to perform "Sacrifice" by memory on a half-guitar-half-bass chimera in a vegan eatery in Olympia, WA while playing along with a band with a zombie trombonist and a toy piano that was touring in a converted ambulance. I was in place of the Necro-Sluts, who may or may not have ever existed. I was able to conjure up the bass line correctly (or so I believed) despite not having heard the song in ages at that point, although there was some controversy at the time about the accuracy of my playing. A couple days later I'd be eating food out of dumpsters and dodging Bud Light bottles in Bellingham while chanting "you suck" along with the audience. YOUTH!  

Thursday, September 1, 2022

Wilson Pickett "Don't Knock My Love--Part 2"/"Call My Name, I'll Be There"

I think I've talked about the magic film container full of 45s that I got from my uncle as a kid, right? One of the 45s in that batch was Wilson Pickett's "Call My Name, I'll Be There." Good song - I instantly liked it, and have returned to it over the years. Realizations I made over the years, by decade:
Late childhood: Wait, the background singers are literally singing W-I-L-S-O-N-P-I-C-K-E-T-T. Total vanity but kind of awesome at the same time!
Early adulthood: This "Blue Box" pedal that I bought in a clearance bin and fell in love with is totally the pedal from "Call My Name, I'll Be There" 
Middle age: Watches the documentary Muscle Shoals, realizes that this is 100% the Swampers

Anyway, the album it comes from, Don't Knock My Love, is kind of post-prime for all concerned, and is he wearing a jumpsuit tuxedo and posing in front of a Rolls on the cover? But everyone is having a good time, particularly on "Don't Knock My Love--Part 2", where you suspect the band was riffing out so hard that they had to keep going. Or they had to write a B-side. Either way, it turns a tough rock song into a spy movie theme and it totally works. Love it, particularly when it cross-fades into "Call My Name, I'll Be There." The album is super cheap everywhere and, as stated previously: Jumpsuit tuxedo. Rolls.