Monday, June 07, 2004

I'm taking a one-day break from the bubblegum before plunging back in tomorrow. Also, I need to conserve my mp3 space this week for my No Wave Friday (which is going to feature some longer pieces) so I just have a link today. Also, I seem to have exceeded AOL's transfer limit yesterday. Weird. It wasn't a particularly busy day. Ok, who streamed the Tra La La song over and over and over?

Wait, I also have a last minute concert review, courtesy of my wife who I think I mentioned is in France. [You should probably be aware before reading further that two of our cats are named Mogwai and Pixie, and neither one was named after a band.]

Take it away...

I just came back from the Pixies concert. Just to let you know how lame I am, I didn't recognize anyone. Four people came on and I was like, "Wow, they look totally different, did they change band members?" Then they made tons of super painful but strangely appealing noise that caused me to jam a cigarette filter in my ear for protection (worked really well for future reference) and I was like "Wow, I don't recognize any of those songs, like they've really developed their sound!"

So I turned to my friend [Lady X] and said, "I guess they're getting sick of the old routine. Wow, their new stuff sounds kind of like Mogwai. Or maybe I'm just missing my cat."

And then we watched for an hour feeling really ripped off 'cause the Pixies sounded like Mogwai and got rid of their excellent female vocalist.

Bet you can guess the punchline which goes something like "Mogwai was the opening band for the Pixies and we are idiots." What are the odds? It was a 2 cat venue. When the lead singer started talking about soccer I probably should have guessed, except that one was bald and they all looked really darn old. Otherwise their music hasn't changed a bit except for the ripping off the Pixies part. I thought about getting a Mogwai t-shirt in celebration of my cat but they looked kinda lame--a little like some of the old Gwar t-shirts -- drawn when drunk by some guy they met in a bar.

I did with much effort get you a Pixies t-shirt. The logo looks a little bit like the Strand logo and its a nice shade of brown that matches the dress that I bought because it was all [Lady X's] fault, I am an idiot, and I will be on bread and water only for the rest of the week I promise.

I was sadly unprepared for Paris, notwithstanding having been to other parts of Europe. It really is that pretty, that expensive, and that full of diversions. I was expecting another dirty stuffy hyped urban environment.

The Pixies put on a pretty impressive show. The sound was excellent and I was front and center, so only a few feet away from Mr. Black. This is because the French are very polite at concerts and pushy Americans are allowed to go wherever. They also appear to greatly enjoy singing all the words to songs while having absolutely no idea what the meaning of the lyrics are. This leads to some interesting expressionistic interpretations. And [Lady X] and I were the tallest people there. They use very big doors for such a tiny people.

Interestingly, in one number in which he used an amplified acoustic guitar there was a HOLE in the guitar that appeared to have been worn there by his pick (NOT a pickup--I actually do know the difference). You could see the "pick trail" wearing away into actual nothingness. Sure enough, when he started to pick that's where the pick went. Doesn't he make enough money to buy a new guitar? Do holes ruin guitars? I actually thought it sounded really good but I am an idiot with these things.

The other interesting moment was when the bass? guitar? player played the instrument with the drummer's stick. That was not the interesting part so much as that they threw and caught the drumsticks from a surprising and impressive distance, and after catching his returned drumstick the drummer didn't even miss a beat.

They all look like someone's frumpy parent, by the way.

Me again.

Icewater Scandal have the good fortune to have their new album produced by Lee Ranaldo, which always helps get attention. Allmusic compares them to Sonic Youth and The Dead C. I hear the latter, but not so much of the former. Personally, I'd add Jessamine to the "sounds like" list, at least in terms of the drone tendencies, wan female vocals and the focus on the drumming (and the keyboard on the track of theirs that I like the best). There are mp3s here. The one I really love is Free Advice which is long, a cover, and kind of atypical. It's live and there's a lot of crowd noise and it has its ups and downs, but overall it pays off if you stick with it.

I kind of want to add that I've actually listened to Free Advice six times now, so it's not a case where I listened to the first few minutes of a long piece and said "Sounds cool...I'll recommend it!" It seems to sound better on speakers than on headphones, maybe because there isn't much stereo image to the recording. Anyway, I hope you like it and I hope you're patient: it doesn't really get going until about 5-6 minutes in.

The original song Free Advice is much, much shorter and (trivia) was the b-side to the Great Society's Somebody To Love, a song later made more famous by Jefferson Airplane.

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