Saturday, September 25, 2010

By Request

By request, here is an amazing live version of a haunting song, originally released on the I Might Be Wrong: Live Recordings CD from 2001. Although announced as an e.p., it's technically about the length of an actual album (about 40 minutes).

Radiohead -- Everything In Its Right Place (live) [mp3]

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


My favorite guitarists:

Daniel Ash - e.g., "Stigmata Martyr" or the live "Bela Lugosi's Dead"
Ron Asheton - e.g., anything off the first two albums
Lindsey Buckingham - e.g., the entire Tusk album
Peter Green - e.g., "Albatross"
George Harrison - e.g., anything he ever did
Kristen Hersh - e.g., "Fish"
Adam Jones - e.g., anything off the first two Tool abums
John Lennon - e.g., solo stuff but also Yoko Ono's "Why"
Johnny Marr - e.g., anything he ever did
Nick McCabe - e.g., first two Verve albums
Joni Mitchell - e.g., her "jazz" phase in the late 1970s
Thurston Moore/Lee Ranaldo - e.g., pretty much anything
Jimmy Page - e.g., guitar God
Prince - e.g., are you kidding me?
Kevin Shields - e.g., anything he ever did
Mick Taylor - e.g., Sticky Fingers
Pete Townshend - e.g. Live at Leeds
Tom Verlaine - e.g., all three Television albums
Neil Young - e.g., "Cortez the Killer" or the Rust Never Sleeps album

I know, I know, it's a very conventional list and omits people I know should be on the list like Bert Jansch or Robert Fripp or Howlin' Wolf or Ry Cooder or Robert Johnson or Richard Thompson or Chuck Berry or Jeff Beck or Dick Dale or John Fahey or Link Ray or Eddie Fucking Van Halen or even Jimi Hendrix or Eric Clapton or Slash or Tony Iommi or yes, even Kim Fucking Thayil.

Which brings me to the most understated guitar solo of all time, from Daniel Ash, on the song "Lions" by Tones On Tail. This was the opening track of the only album Tones On Tail ever released, cleverly titled Pop (from 1984). The solo begins at 1.56 and ends at 2.17. It takes a genius to play something so utterly brilliant. You gotta know when to hold back.

Next up, my favorite drummers.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

le ballon rouge

For sai:

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Part 4:


One of the things about writing a blog which no one (well, almost no one) reads is that it gives you some leeway to spout all sorts of crazy shit. Which brings me to being awake at 4 am (or close to 4 am). The point is: what's the soundtrack at 4 am, when you're alone in an apartment, and the only sounds are the ghost echoes of half-remembered conversations in your brain refracted through acute feelings of missing someone? Elliott Smith sang a perfectly good song called "2:45 am" which captured that odd ennui of being at someone's house at almost 3 am and kinda wanting to go home but not having the energy to. But that's 3 am. What about 4?

I give you Slowdive's "Rutti." I was a late arrival to Slowdive, having completely missed them when they were an actual functioning entity. Something made me get the greatest hits double CD (Catch the Breeze) that came out a coupla years ago. I took it to Bangladesh with me, and in the monsoon-drenched humidity of a July in Dhaka, I would lay awake at night in my parents' house, listening to this song on the headphones. The jet lag and "Rutti" would take me up to 5, sometimes 6 am.

Tonight, there's no jet lag, just insomnia and insanity, the former enabled by the latter, and the latter enabled by some recent missteps of mine which have fucked up a lot of things. So here it is, Slowdive's "Rutti." It's about 10 minutes long. Don't let the first few minutes fool you, it does indeed take off, and at about the 4 minute mark, it achieves a kind of hypnotic mood that will float you right along until it's 5 am and you can't stay awake any longer. Sleep well, my millions of readers.

Friday, September 17, 2010

the social network

What kind of a person would make a movie about Facebook? Yes, the same guy who did Fight Club and Se7en and Alien3 and Panic Room. Yeah, not bad, not bad. But that's not the point. What kind of a person would score the music about a movie about Facebook? Yeah, at that level, you're gonna have to depend on the hack team who score for Law & Order or something. But apparently TReznor is on board. And he's apparently giving the shit away for free for a short time. Check it out.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

New York

In the year 2001, for some reason, I kept a journal. I began on April 27 and finished on December 30. At the time it seemed like a pointless exercise but in revisiting it nine years later, it's actually quite interesting. I say that not because I'm self-centered (which, of course, I am) but because in reading it now, it seems as if someone else wrote it. I don't recognize myself. A lot of it is banalities, much of it repetitive and boring, but I wrote so much (nearly 82,000 words) that some of it just happened to hit the spot. I was suffering some sort of catastrophic depressive episode at the time, the likes of which (Thank God) I've never experienced again. Serendipitously, in my writings, I happened to cover my move to New York. It's odd reading about how new the city seemed to me, every neighborhood revealing itself to be something slightly different than I'd expected.

The move to New York, in September, was a difficult one. I had packed up pretty much everything I owned in my Nissan hatchback and drove from Philadelphia to New York. I'd lined up an apartment on 112th st. between Broadway and Amsterdam, where I would share a place with a new faculty member at Columbia. I didn't really know her, had met her only once when I checked out the place. I didn't have any friends in New York although I had a few acquaintances. But the whole move was basically a solitary affair. Here's what I wrote:

Today was supposed to be the best day of my life. And it is, in some ways it is. After 16 years in this country, I’ve finally come home.

But it’s also the most bittersweet of days. The most bittersweet day of my life. This was today. As I drove on the NJ Turnpike, my emotions ran the gamut of sheer euphoria and excitement – to sadness and despondence. From hope for a new life to wishing my car would just veer off the freeway and I would die in some conflagration. Each feeling lasted seconds. Nothing too serious. But dusk on the NJ Turnpike (generally an extremely ugly stretch of America) was awesome. I arrived in this city alone. And that will prove to be the best part of all of this. I did it all by myself.

There's something odd about moving to a new place alone, without a goodbye (from the old place) or a welcome (to the new place). You really feel completely cut off from everything, completely free.

Anyway, what I listened to on my headphones that fall of 2001 was this song, over and over and over, as I walked in a dirty winter jacket, my Converse, crazy hair, chain-smoking cigarettes in the dirty New York winter winds, which later soundtracked one of my favorite movies of all time. Both the song and the movie on my mind today:

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

everything was forever, until it was no more

i wear this crown of shit
upon this liar's chair
full of broken thoughts
i cannot repair

beneath the stains of time
the feelings disappear
you are someone else
i am still right here