//oakland, calif.
//age 33
//permanent mp3s

//tour photos
//the daily photos

(!)ad sandwich chronicles
(!)road noms
(!)listen missy
(!)daily irkutsk

Blogger: The One-Man-Company

© 2000-2010

:: 12.13.2001 ::

#08 //best of 200!

Mercury Rev
All Is Dream
MP3: Little Rhymes

“When I’m alone and scared, I think of little rhymes…they would make no sense to you,
but I make them all the time.”

On tour earlier this year, I went to New York City for the first time. Holed up in my friend’s third-floor railroad apartment deep in Brooklyn, I spent an entire night going through her stack of CDs that were piled up the wall. She had just moved in a few weeks earlier, and although her CDs had arrived safely, there still was nowhere to put them. On top of the biggest stack sat Mercury Rev’s All Is Dream. Not in a great while had I been so impressed by something I was hearing for the first time. I knew then that I had been out of the loop.

Later in the tour I picked up the CD at a record store in Austin, and put it on in the van as we drove northwest through the Texas desert on our way home. We sat silently and listened to the music as the unchanging road unfolded ahead.

Producer Dave Fridmann (Mogwai, Flaming Lips, Sparklehorse) has again worked his magic, adding swelling strings to the already organic vibe of the songs, giving the visual impression of cartoon flowers popping up through cracks in the pavement. Similar to but eons better than 1998’s Deserter’s Songs, All Is Dream lives and breathes within the listeners minds.

Monsters, bugs, even sexual fantasies (“…it cannot touch the female form in my head”) pop up throughout the record, pulling the listener into their world of stunning illusions. The catchy lyrics constantly get stuck inside your brain. While stranded on the side of a snowy mountain in Idaho, the lines above from “Little Rhymes” kept swirling through my head, and I started singing them softly to myself. Somehow, I felt a little better about the scary situation. Thanks Mercury Rev.

(3:51 PM) :: (link)

:: 12.12.2001 ::

#09 //best of 200!

We Love Life
Island/Universal (UK)
MP3: Bob Lind (The Only Way Is Down)

I remember being a delivery driver and cruising around the Bay Area, listening mostly to tapes, but sometimes turning on the local "alternative" station to see what they had to offer. There used to be a program where they'd play two new songs, and then let the callers decided which would go on to the next day to face another song. I only remember two songs that won five consecutive days in a row. One was "Peaches" by The Presidents Of The United States Of America, the other was Pulp's "Common People." Since then, I've come to see that song as the sound of Britpop, the soundtrack to all my memories of dancing wildly with friends, and singing along loudly in the car when I wanted to speed the trip up a bit.

While the danceably pop Different Class was Pulp's breakthrough in England (the States never really did catch on, We Love Life still has no US release date), and its follow-up, 1998's This Is Hardcore was a response to "The Fear" that set in with fame, We Love Life is their love record. Now, whether love is good or bad is not the issue, it's that Pulp have decided that love exists, and yes, they're all for it.

Just when you thought all British bands were busting out the synthesizers and drum machines, Pulp subdue theirs and in doing so make their first real rock record. Heavy on the guitars, they leave the grandeur of Hardcore behind for a purely organic sound. While frontman Jarvis Cocker still sings about seedy underground scenes and the people that populate them (Weeds, The Night Minnie Temperly Died), he's moved on to share his hope. Even in "Bob Lind (The Only Way Is Down)," which starts off depressed and sullen, he comes out of his funk to declare "maybe I could fall in love again." The smitten "Birds In Your Garden" has various feathered creatures pleading with Cocker to "hold her and kiss her and tell her you care." Cause, you know, it's all about the love, man.

We Love Life is probably my favorite Pulp record, and I can still happily sing along to it in the car even though they've lost their discopop beats.

(8:47 PM) :: (link)

:: 12.11.2001 ::

#10 //best of 200!

Four Tet
Domino Recordings
MP3: No More Mosquitos / Glue Of The World

Finally what I've been looking for: rocktronica. A perfect synthesis of natural samples, guitar, piano, and oh so many loops. As a member of Fridge and a face in Badly Drawn Boy's touring band, London musician Kieran Hebden puts out his solo albums under the name Four Tet. Releasing his first album when he was just 21, Hebden straddles the line between making indie songs and cutting edge interesting electronica. The samples and loops sound slightly like DJ Shadow, the ghostly piano tinkling like recent Radiohead b-sides, and some of the guitar sounds like David Pajo trying to keep up with a fast moving train. This isn't dance music, it's an extremely talented personal record of sound without being hampered by other band members or producers. My favorite track, "Everything Is Alright," loops picked guitar parts in math-like fashion through each other like sped-up film of cars on a busy highway. The single, "No More Mosquitos" rolls around like a big old car with one flat tire, kind of like the beat in Sparklehorse's Dog Door. Exponentially more interesting than anything I've heard from Fridge, Pause is definitely my favorite instrumental album of the year.

(10:30 AM) :: (link)

Here we go again. It's the blackyellowblack best of 200! list. There were so many good records that came out this past year, and I was lucky enough to discover all sorts of fresh music in a variety of genres. A co-worker of mine supplied me with fresh electronica releases for most of the year, and I scoured all over the net for MP3s of bands I had heard of, but had never heard. The result was my biggest list of quality new releases I had ever compiled.

Over the next couple weeks I'll be counting my ten favorites down. Picture in your mind the apple dropping in New York City on New Years with good music coming out of it. And here we go...

(10:20 AM) :: (link)

:: 12.09.2001 ::

(listening to: Pinback: This Is A Pinback CD)

Our busy day today included not one, but two runs to the dump to get rid of all the ex-roomate garbage that they left in the garage. There were boxes of past Mini-Truckin' magazines, a half a box of condoms, various photographs of ugly people, and an Army book on how to behave while stationed in Korea. The dump in Richmond overlooks most of the bay, you can see both the San Francisco and Oakland skylines from up there, and birds of all shapes and sizes fly around searching the muck for food. The seagulls are the size of small turkeys.

Miss Rodeo America and Guyball threw plates around in a discus-like fashion, watching them break far away, only to be run over by the huge bulldozers that constantly flatten the growing piles of trash. I kind of liked it, being up at the dump. So many sad objects that would never see daylight again.

MP3 of the week: At some point in time, I put "Loro" on a minidisc amongst various random songs I had downloaded, and brought it to work. After hearing the song for the first time, I walked out into the warehouse where it was quieter, and listened to it again a couple more times. To me, it's what minimalism in songs is all about, more stripped down and real that any song by The Strokes could hope to be.

Twin Peaks night tonight, I found a couple space heaters in the garage that we're going to fire up, then it's all pajamas and big sweatshirts and David Lynch action.

(6:26 PM) :: (link)