Friday, June 11, 2004


Some folks had the unlikely idea of a bluegrass band playing the songs of Radiohead.

Just what I need for the weekend...some splendidly rendered downhome alienation from Rodeohead.

(via the indispensible largehearted boy)


More BRAAAINS!!!!(via boing boing)

Thursday, June 10, 2004


Sally plays guitar as Tom and Jon look on in stunned awe... Posted by Hello

Tuesday, June 08, 2004


For some reason lately I've had a fondness for over the hill punk bands (couldn't possibly be 'cause I'm over the hill myself, no siree bob). In any case two very different bands are the locus of my interest--The Mekons and Sonic Youth (more about them later). I got turned on to the Mekons a few years ago when a friend of mine left their Rock n Roll CD at our mutual place of work (thanks Mark!). I took it home and remembered I'd seen the shambling video "title" track Memphis, Egypt on some obscuro public access TV show back in '89 when it came out. What I didn't know at the time was that Rock n Roll was their one big major label shot and that it went nowhere. It didn't help matters that most of the tunes were about corruption--political, sexual and most pointedly, in the music biz. It hit me hard and I went seeking out their insanely varied back catalog--punk, country, dub, folk were part of the mix (and even touches of electronica on their record ME). I ended up taking a trip up to Portland just to see them and they didn't disappoint. Funny, rude, and impassioned--when Jon Langford, Sally Timms, Tom Greenhalgh and Rico Bell sang together they seemed like a profane drunken choir. Recently in honor of their 25th anniversary they re-recorded some of their earliest songs on the only slightly ironically named Punk Rock. Also worth seeking out is Jon Langford's most recent solo record All the Fame of Lofty Deeds, a more folky country offering with typically astringent social commentary. Viva the Mekons!

Here's a few free MP3s for a taste...

Last Night on Earth from Journey to the End of Night

Dancing in the Head from OOOH!

Chivalry from Fear and Whisky

Many of the links above are from Nobby's labor of love Club Mekon...and the late great Lester Bangs' tribute to the Mekons is just too good to pass up...


Monday, June 07, 2004


A much more artful (but no less oppositional) rememberance of our movie star president than Palast's comes from Tom Carson. He's written extensively on rock and TV. His comment that the Ramones were "the sort of people who were such hopeless losers that they couldn't even be convincing as outlaws;far from romanticizing that status, the Ramones glorified their own inadequacy" is typical of his wit and insight.

His recent novel Gilligan's Wake reads like he was strapped Clockwork Orange like to a chair with his eyes glued to the cathode ray tube and forced to write a history of America in the 20th century. Using the characters from Gilligan's Island. No, really, it's great, as is the essay below which views Unca Ronnie through the prism of the pop culture from which he came (I love that he starts the piece with a line from The Man Who Sold The World).

Death of a Salesman by Tom Carson

He should have died alone—a long, long time ago. But oh, no, not him: outliving his century by four years, his presidency by 16, and his own mind by a decade, Hollywood legend Ronald Reagan was 93 when he went to rejoin his makers—Thomas Jefferson, Louis B. Mayer, Lew Wasserman, and Barry Goldwater, in that order—on Saturday. A noted fantasist, Reagan is perhaps best remembered for the eight years he spent believing he ruled an entirely fictional United States. To the old trouper's delight, this was a delusion shared by most of his compatriots, which is why his imaginary nation still subsumes ours to this day.

At his funeral, there will no doubt be buckets of false poetry, grievously misrepresenting the man—yes, even if Peggy Noonan shows up, doing her best to be Walt Whitman to his Abe: "When Star Wars Last in Gorbachev's Dooryard Bloom'd." Real poetry is something else again, and you'd be horribly mistaken to think the following suggestion is sarcastic. Please understand I love the place; my proposal is made in a sincere spirit of tribute to an enemy. I think that Reagan, like no other American, deserves the honor of being the first person ever embalmed at Disneyland.

and more...


Investigative journalist Greg Palast provides a needed corrective to the ridiculous hero worship (Stalinist style personality cult?) that's filled the media over the past few days.


You're not going to like this. You shouldn't speak ill of the dead. But in this case, someone's got to.

Ronald Reagan was a conman. Reagan was a coward. Reagan was a killer.

In 1987, I found myself stuck in a crappy little town in Nicaragua named Chaguitillo. The people were kind enough, though hungry, except for one surly young man. His wife had just died of tuberculosis.

People don't die of TB if they get some antibiotics. But Ronald Reagan, big hearted guy that he was, had put a lock-down embargo on medicine to Nicaragua because he didn't like the government that the people there had elected.

Ronnie grinned and cracked jokes while the young woman's lungs filled up and she stopped breathing. Reagan flashed that B-movie grin while they buried the mother of three.

read the rest...

Sunday, June 06, 2004


Yes, you too can play the Velvet Underground 3D game wherein you have to dodge the speed freaks, heroin addicts and vacant pop artists trying to shoot you up. I got high score!