Saturday, May 28, 2011

Rest in Peace, Gil Scott-Heron

Was surprised and saddened to learn that he died today. I always respected him, although I rarely cued up his music. I do recall listening to a few of his records with Quinapalus-- quite possibly with a beer in one hand, a joint in the other, and bull-riding silently airing on the TV. I suppose Gil deserved better-- especially given the political and emotional weight behind so many of his songs-- but I'll always enjoy those memories.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Two Crazy Links

Ta-Nehisi Coates kicks back with Moby Dick, then goes into a weird, Star Trek-and-Marvel-Comics-infused reverie on the greatness of Melville. Very entertaining.

And on an unrelated note, Outdoor Life has an extensive interview with Vladimir Putin about hunting and conservation, among other things. Very weird.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Disappearing Pleasures of Used CD Browsing

Yesterday I spent a good hour or so browsing in what may be, for all I know, the last great used CD store in Manhattan: Academy Music on 18th st. It's been so long since I had a used CD shopping spree that I went a little bit crazy. Academy Music is primarily a classical music store, so to start with I picked up a number of classical CDs. The one which has made the biggest immediate impression on me is Wagner's opera Siegfried. I'm not particularly familiar with Wagner, and didn't bother trying to listen to him for a long time, partly from the casual prejudice that I was dubious about somebody that the Nazis liked so much. But as with so many of the artistic discoveries I've made over the past year, Proust liked him, so I decided to give him a shot. On listening to Siegfried once all the way through, I'm too overwhelmed with it to say anything besides the fact that it's very good.

Academy also has a small but decent popular music section, and I picked up some old Bruce Springsteen albums that I'd never gotten around to owning, as well as Metallica's so called "Black Album"...which is exactly the kind of CD which I'd never seek out on my own, but stumbling upon it used for $2.99, I was more than happy to pick it up.

I'm pretty well a convert to the convenience and available variety of online music shopping, but I do miss the congenial atmosphere of a crowded record store, and the surprises and discoveries you can make flipping through the used music stacks.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

One Rapper's Take on Obama

At first I thought it might be a stretch to put a Cornel West piece on a music blog, but then I realized that the man is a noted MC, so I guess it's okay to post about him on here.

I assume some of you already read about his Obama critiques, most notably that he's a "black mascot of Wall Street oligarchs and a black puppet of corporate plutocrats.”

This Washington Post article touches on the fact that West also said: "As a young brother who grows up in a white context, brilliant African father, he’s always had to fear being a white man with black skin. All he has known culturally is white. He is just as human as I am, but that is his cultural formation."

The article then goes on to brilliantly quote this piece in The Nation, wherein the author notes that West "has spent the bulk of his adulthood living in those deeply rooted, culturally rich, historically important black communities of Cambridge, MA and Princeton, NJ."

I certainly think West has some interesting things to say, but he made a total fool of himself with the Obama comments. He seems to completely disregard any component to Washington politics other than Obama himself. It's almost a teenage perspective on government. West is always a good interview subject, but he'd be about as good a president as he is a rapper.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

O'Reilly/Stewart Video

Eric mentioned this in the comments section and I just watched it for the first time tonight. Stewart definitely waits for just the right moment to unload his arsenal.

Game of Thrones

Is anybody else watching this?

I've found it pretty entertaining from the beginning: a medieval themed political and social drama, with just a touch of fantasy around the edges, is exactly the kind of television likely to appeal to me. It was a little bit slow in laying out all the necessary exposition, but this week's episode really sealed the deal for me. I am totally hooked.

I don't suppose any of you guys have ever read the books this is based on? I haven't, and as much as I like the show I probably don't plan to. While I'm relishing this show as an hour long TV drama, I don't think I'd be able to deal with a whole dense fantasy novel cycle. Still, if anyone has ever read it I'd be curious to hear what you think.

On a related note, I've only watched 2 episodes of the latest season of Treme, but that remains a very good show as well. It's not flashy, and there aren't a lot of nailbiting cliffhangers, but once you wade a few episodes in it will really sneak up on you.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Steve Albini Blogs About Food

I don't know how many of you are Steve Albini fans, but I used to worship the guy. Not so much for his ascetic recording techniques, but just because I admired the array of bands he took on, his non-gouging flat-rate business model, and the meticulous degree of care he seems to put into all his projects. I also like the bands he's been in-- particularly Shellac.

Anyway, it turns out he also writes a comprehensive blog about meals he cooks for his wife. I could never put in the effort he does in his preparations-- for one thing, I'd probably eat everything as I was making it-- but I actually really enjoyed reading these entries.

Albini is a funny guy. I met him once, and I can't say he was particularly friendly, but his intelligence is instantly evident-- in a snide sort of way. I asked him to autograph a Shellac record and he signed a fake name. Which, in retrospect, is probably the best possible verification of its authenticity.

Anyway, read his blog and check out this video of Shellac live.

(via Pitchfork)

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Noted Music Critics Sarah Palin and Karl Rove...

... apparently did not approve of Common's inclusion at the recent White House poetry night.

Mostly for Quinapalus, although he probably already heard.

Stay classy, Turdblossom.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Another Domino Falls!

As predicted here about two weeks ago, we have yet another Kittybrain tied up in the yarn of pending marriage. Congrats to Eric, who is marrying his high school sweetheart (although not before cycling through a few other ladieeez in between). The wedding will be at either Amoeba Records in California or Bull Moose Records in Maine, and Eric will be cued when it's time to leave a compelling selection of Zombies bootlegs in order to recite his vows.

Congratulations Eric! We're now down to just TexPlush and me. I don't know who will fall first, but considering one of us is in a multi-year serious relationship and the other one is waiting on his 5th date from some girl he met on the internet, we can probably establish some odds.