Thursday, December 29, 2005

Hit & Run

Some quick observations: The holidays are o'erladen with dairy products.

For some reason, I can't get to my blog through any path but the beige one's link. What's up with that? Computers are confounding. I thought maybe I'd gotten myself banned or something, just for being a cantankerous motherfucker; but I'm still able to post, so that seems unlikely. Maybe I'm being reserved for the most dedicated seekers.

I just bought 'Stine and I a book on Celtic design that shows how to compose and construct Celtic knots, specifically those that morph into animal designs. There's a whole chapter on Celtic hound symbology. Someday, when time and money work out, there's a veritable treasure trove of tattoos in there.

I need to cut down on coffee consumption. Maybe I'll make that one of my New Year's resolutions (I'll even bump it into the top 100-or-so).

I'm so behind on movie reviews that I might just have to do a holiday roundup this weekend. Music, too, although little of what little music I purchased this last year was actually recorded or released during that time. I'll actually have two full days off, Sunday and Monday, so I'll have to make a project of that. Maybe an "Arts Year in Review", something like that. A quick summation, though, would yield that the best blockbuster I saw all year was King Kong, the most well-directed feature was The Constant Gardener, and the most satisfying overall feature was Murderball. While there were many albums released in 2005 I would love to have owned, I bought few if any of them; my purchases tended to involve catching up with bands I saw live late in 2004, early in 2005 and/or outfits I'd read about over the previous year. The most deeply satisfying purchase of the year has to be Sleepytime Gorilla Museum's Of Natural History, even if I almost always listen to it alone.

The best reason I can think of to become a professional music critic is that the newest releases would just show up at my desk whether I wanted them or not. Of course, if I didn't hand pick the publication in question, I'd get stuck listening to a lot of crap. Oh, who am I kidding? Even independent post-punk, industrial and art-metal rags probably receive their share of CDs by no-talent posers, perhaps even more than other magazines might (better These Arms Are Snakes than Beyonce, but post-punk-industrial and art-metal are as vulnerable to fashion victims and studio creations as any other genre).

I got a charcoal grey peacoat for Christmas, and that's more than fine by me. If there's anything that doesn't go with, I don't wanna know about it.

Okay, gotta fly. If time and chemical imbalance allow, I will post something more interesting than a rushed overview or a self-depracating rant sometime soon.


Blogger amandak said...

I got a black peacoat! How cool are we?

Personally, I like having music that I only listen to by myself. It's like it's my own little secret with me. Besides, as nice as it is to share those interests with others, I don't need others to have the same taste I do. Although, it's nice when it happens.

11:54 AM  
Blogger thelyamhound said...

We're very cool, darling.

I do like music that I only listen to by myself, in a way, except that pretty nearly everything that I truly love--not like, not tolerate, but am visibly moved by--is too obscure, difficult, loud, incoherent, jarringly inconsistent or just plain weird to share with mixed company. It just means that my social life and the things I enjoy take place in entirely separate spheres, spheres which I'm already cramming into a very busy schedule.

I'm also still thinking in the paradigm of being an artist, which may be foolish because I'm not currently practicing and can't really be certain that I ever will again. Since I've never though of myself as anything BUT an artist though, let's start from that assumption. Given that most of my friends are also artists--generally theatre artists--the question becomes: How do I make art with friends and colleagues who, if we use our understandings and preferences with regards to music as an example, do not have the same expectations of or place the same values on art as do I? Can I make art of such character in a collective context wherein I'm the lone voice in favor of the dissonant, aggressive and/or surreal?

Also, I have to listen to their damn classic rock and pop (I draw the line at showtunes, unless it's Sweeney Todd or Little Shop of Horrors, and the latter ONLY if I get to sing along with "Dentist" at full volume). The day the favor is returned--when they abstain from playing the mediocre, vaguely misogynist vanilla country-rock of the Eagles in my presence; or, rather, to indulge my own preferences with the same indulgent restraint I show theirs--I may find myself more appreciative of my time alone with the music. As it stands, it seems like there's an art of communion that everyone is supposed to like, and is therefore fit for the public sphere--classic rock, Spielberg, and so on. Conversely, that which falls outside the circle of this communion--the abrasive or threatening, the delirious or hallucinatory, the erotically charged, the nihilistic--is expected to hide itself, and its adherents and practitioners expected either to assimilate with the popular taste or accept solitude (in the case of adherents) and poverty (in the case of practitioners).

OK, that was a rant on my more extreme feelings on the matter. Truly, I'm happy to indulge the '70s dinosaurs that the baby boomers have convinced us are "classic", listen to my stuff alone, play my gentler pleasures (Magnetic Fields, The Shins, Kate Bush, Edith Piaf) for the masses. And I DO take a perverse pleasure in having a little secret aesthetic indulgence that I can't share with most people (except, as has been previously mentioned, for the beige, who'll go along with anything once). I think that part of the problem is that art is like religion--when you've seen the light, you want to show other people, many of whom will simply not understand.

12:28 PM  
Blogger thelyamhound said...

On review, my grammar in this last comment just plain sucked--too many wannabe-a-yankee-Faulkner run-ons rent certain passages just plain sloppy and incoherent. Unfortunately, I just don't have the ambition to try to correct it (unless someone knows of an easier way than c&p-ing the article, correcting it, deleting the old one and re-posting the new one in its place--they need an "edit comment" field that works like the "edit post" field).

12:39 PM  
Blogger Missuz J said...

Don't really dare comment. I think, as I haven't really invested nearly the time or soul power into music that y'all have, that, again, I don't have a leg to stand on.

BUT--call me tragically uncool (which I am. No peacoat for me.)I like music I can SING to. Really, when it comes down to it, that's one of my main criteria. (Criterium? Pesky Latin singular and plural nouns) Sing and sing and sing some more. Alone--sometimes that's best. With friends--cool too. And if the song happens to be Witchy Woman--then by god, I'll sing that shit from here to breakfast.

I'm a simpleton.

Glad to see a new post Ly.

9:52 AM  
Blogger thelyamhound said...

Oh, I like music I can sing to as well--Magnetic Fields, Peter Murphy and Nick Cave are good for that for me. Actually, so's Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, even if I have to sing it alone. It's just not my primary criterium (BTW - "criteria" was correct in your sentence, because you were referring to "one of my criteria", which meant that the word had to connote the whole body of your criteria; criterium is correct, I think, in my context because I'm narrowing it down to one without your qualifying "one of"). Melody is but one aspect of music.

Enjoy your witchy woman if you must; but if you wanna hear some real '70s country-rock, I'd seek some work by The Flying Burrito Brothers, The Byrds and anything by Gram Parsons (who was, at one point or another, a member of both of the above). You could also follow those developments to their logical modern conclusion by looking for some Uncle Tupelo, Wilco (Yankee Hotel Foxtrot is a must-have) or, my favorite, Neko Case.

At the end of the day, both I and those who frustrate me suffer from the same problem: All the study and "appreciation" in the world can't make you respond to something viscerally that doesn't hit you in the heard, the head or the loins; nor can any sense of restraint or consideration stifle the visceral responses one has. I don't like dissonance because it's "cool", or even because it's more difficult to facilitate or appreciate; I like it because it raises my pulse, makes me laugh or tremble or weep, fills me with awe or humility, because it gets my dick hard. Except when it doesn't, at which point I look for something else to keep me from getting bored with mere living.

One could argue as forcefully and convincingly that I'm the one who's tragically uncool--remember, "classic rock" radio, whatever my misgivings about the name and the format, has already canonized the Eagles, and will likely never recognize Einsturzende Neubauten or My Bloody Valentine (though we can hope).

I imagine they'll recognize Bjork as an important songwriter and vocal stylist one day, which is a great solace (I actually share love of Bjork with at least a handful of people), and there's little reason to think that Stephen Merritt of Magnetic Fields, truly the Irving Berlin of our age, wouldn't find some seat in historical memory despite current obscurity. Neko Case is a goddess to far less strange people than I. As always, I overstated my case (except in describing how much I love Sleepytime Gorilla Museum or dislike Don Henley) for the sake of emphasis (drama?).

10:16 AM  
Blogger thelyamhound said...

In this phrase . . .

All the study and "appreciation" in the world can't make you respond to something viscerally that doesn't hit you in the heard, the head or the loins.

"Heard" should be "heart". I was already thinking about the head while I was writing about the heart. Abstaining from excessive (i.e. any) analysis of that would be appreciated. I'm just here to correct my own grammar and spelling.

10:50 AM  
Blogger Stine said...

Well Ly, your wife is somewhat a "70's dinosaur"...and you can kiss my big fat white lilly ass, but in my secret heart of hearts, I still smile when I hear Neil Diamond sing I am, I said.

And B, in case you haven't heard her, Neko Case rocks. I really think you would totally love her, and the bitch can SING! I'm with you on having something I can sing to. Don't get me wrong, living with the hound for going on 12 years now, I've grown to appreciate a much wider array of fodder.

And Ly not "nearly everything" you listen to is too this that, and or the other thing. We are such drama queens you and I.

1:38 PM  
Blogger thelyamhound said...

Lest we forget, Patti Smith, Einsturzende Neubauten, Joy Division, Bauhaus, U2, REM, The Clash and The Cure all emerged from the '70s; The Velvet Underground, Can and Neu go all the way back to the '60s. So I'm a dinosaur too, without even getting into my love of bebop jazz or '30s artists like Django Reinhart or Edith Piaf; my classic fetishes just happen to coincide with stuff that's happening in music now (The A-Frames, Wolf Eyes, Sleepytime Gorilla Museum). Faun Fables emerges from traditions like The Incredible String Band and other '60s/'70s folk outfits, and Voyager One hearkens not only to the shoegazer bands of the early '90s (The Jesus & Mary Chain, My Bloody Valentine), but to psychedelic outfits like Hawkwind. SGM sounds like nothing so much as the nightmare progeny of King Crimson, Oingo Boingo, Dead Can Dance and Motorhead, dinosaurs all (and truth be told, Nils Frykdahl does a better Neil Diamond than Neil Diamond does on "Hymn to the Morning Star", "Cockroach" and pretty much the entire Faun Fables record Family Album).

And like I said above, I do have some stuff that's publicly consumable; but I have run into people now and again at our gatherings for whom Magnetic Fields is still too weird, Django too old, etc. My rant is also colored by the fact that what I've been moved by has been what's taboo; many of my socially appropriate options are things I appreciate, but not things I'm dying to share, not things that manage to hammer the boredom out of existence. Who knows? Given time, I may again find myself excited by things that are actually sharable. It happens with movies: I loved King Kong (even if it was no Oldboy).

We're talking about this like it matters, when all I really intended to do was make an observation. It concerns me more as a would be artist, knowing that there might be no one to consume the art I'd like to be responsible for making, and that the art they would consume is too dull to me to see as being worth my time.

I played Neko Case for B the last time she was here, and also the time before that. I can't recommend her enough . . . and she rides that line between having popular appeal and not sucking (to me, TO ME) better than anyone I can think of.

4:05 PM  
Blogger Missuz J said...

Neko is a regular in all of my playlists now, and I'm excited to check out some of your other suggestions. :)

7:26 PM  
Blogger thelyamhound said...

A favorite picture of mine, as regards Neko Case:

Hello there!

8:47 AM  
Blogger amandak said...

"Hello there" yourself! Nice pic. Thanks for sharing.

I've had Neko on my list of things I should buy for awhile, that just might have inspired me to run out and grab a new album RIGHT NOW.

11:18 AM  
Blogger thelyamhound said...

I really want her most recent, which came out about a year ago--The Tigers Have Spoken, a live album compiled from multiple tour dates with The Sadies, a great, reverb-heavy alt-country outfit. But both Furnace Room Lullaby and Blacklisted are superb.

11:33 AM  
Blogger Stine said...

You added a pic A. Cool.

11:37 AM  
Blogger thelyamhound said...

Yeah, cute pic A.

I'd love to have a new one up, but I can't seem to find one that shows the me I want others seeing.

11:43 AM  
Blogger Missuz J said...

Is there such a thing?

5:00 PM  
Blogger Stine said...

Missuz J, your last comment has rendered my husband speechless. He just said so himself.

I myself, am tickled pink.

Yeah Ly, there's no such picture.

11:31 AM  
Blogger thelyamhound said...

Well, there's that one of me done up in ragged, death-doll makeup from backstage at Fatal Peril, which probably captures the spirit of . . . well, a certain aspect of me; but I was kind of hoping for either a solitary picture or a picture with 'Stine in it (the picture in question is of good friend/colleague Amy and myself).

There are some good ones of us dressed up for her massage school graduation in 2001, and (I hear) some fairly sizzling ones taken at my brother's wedding this last summer, but we don't currently have digital access to those. Too many other personal photos show me too fat to be looked upon by human eyes, while too many stage photos have me in unsightly facial hair. Why did no one get any shots of me in Action Movie: The Play, when I was in peak physical condition, clean shaven and playing Kung-Fu Guy? Now THAT'S the guy I want people to see. The alternative would be in something kind of tweedy, with glasses on and a scarf tossed theatrically around my neck, an Irish flatcap cocked ever-so-slightly to the left, and copy of the Nag Hammadi Library under my arm. Oh, and piss drunk (wouldn't want to look TOO respectable).

10:40 AM  
Blogger Missuz J said...

I would like to see ALL of those.

Hope you know I was just talking out my ass there.

8:24 AM  
Blogger Missuz J said...

I put a clip of Delta Dawn up on my blog for ya!

1:30 PM  
Blogger Stine said...

Ly, you are such a fag.

That's why I love ya!

4:03 PM  

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