IT'S A LIVING… BUT IT'S NOT A LIFE #12.2
J Church / Honey Bear Records Newsletter
Kung Hei Fat Choi - Veggie Jiaozi!

 

LOCAL SHOWS

Looks like we've got a couple of Emo's shows on the horizon. On February 28th, we're playing with Strike Anywhere that should be a crazy event. We're also playing on March 17th during the insanity that is SXSW. We're playing a free showcase for our booking agent, Brian Peterson. Actually, the SXSW thing is up in the air as usual.

 

LIVE LPS

You can still order those live records. I'm sending the parts off for the next one this week. When they're gone I'm sure they'll be gone forever. I guarantee I'll never repress them. Still got one or two of Live in Cleveland for $15 ppd.

 

NEW AUSTIN BAND TO CHECK OUT

Some friends of mine just started a band called Midori Umi who I've seen a couple of times now. I know the kids dig a variety of stuff from Yo La Tengo and Luna to early psych to, God, I think Paula likes early Elton John as much as I do. To me they're more in the Seam vein mixed with elements of Mercury Rev. They're still in the formative stages which is great `cos you see them grow drastically with every show. Anyway, if you wanna know more, check `em out at: www.midoriumi.com.

 

ANITA MUI (1963-2003)

As many of you may already know, Anita Mui passed away recently after her struggle with cervical cancer. It really came as a shock as she announced that she had cancer just a few months before. Having just turned 40, it really seems sad to me especially with her film career starting to pick up again in 2002.

For those less familiar, she was known as the Madonna of Hong Kong, which wasn't really accurate. Equally known as a great actress and singer, she won awards in both categories. Having partially retired from her singing career in the early `90s, she made a series of incredibly successful films in one of the biggest markets.

Her earliest breakthrough film role was in Rouge released in 1987. The romantic drama set in a Chinese brothel in the `30s paired her up Leslie Cheung, another great of Asian cinema recently coming to a tragic fate (he committed suicide in April of 2003). The film won her Best Actress awards in the Hong Kong Film Awards, the Golden Horse Film Festival and the Asia-Pacific Film Festival.

But the roles I loved her for were a little less "sophisticated". I loved her as Wonder Woman in The Heroic Trio and Executioners along side Michelle Yeoh and Maggie Cheung. I loved her with Stephen Chow in the hilarious Fight Back To School III parodying Basic Instinct. She's incredible as the ass-kicking detective from Hong Kong with Jet Li in My Father Is A Hero.

I haven't had the chance to see any of her films since her comeback in 2001. But her last film, 2002's July Rhapsody is supposed to be available soon and I'm definitely looking forward to one last look at one of the most beautiful actresses of all time.

FILMOGRAPHY
Sensational Pair, The (1983)
Mad, Mad 83
(1983)
Let's Make Laugh
(1983)
Mad Mad 1997
(1983)
Behind the Yellow Line
(1984)
Musical Singer
(1985)
Lucky Diamond
(1985)
Young Cops
(1985)
Dancing Warrior
(1985)
Why Why Tell Me Why
(1986)
Last Song in Paris
(1986)
100 Ways to Murder Your Wife
(1986)
Inspector Chocolate
(1986)
Scared Stiff
(1987)
Happy Bigamist
(1987)
Trouble Couples
(1987)
Rouge
(1988)
One Husband Too Many
(1988)
Greatest Lover
(1988)
Three Wishes
(1988)
Mr. Canton and Lady Rose
(1989)
Better Tomorrow III, A
(1989)
Kawashima Yoshiko
(1990)
Fortune Code, The
(1990)
Shanghai Shanghai
(1990)
Saviour of the Soul
(1991)
Au Revoir, Mon Amour
(1991)
Banquet, The
(1991)
Top Bet, The
(1991)
Justice, My Foot
(1992)
Moon Warriors, The
(1992)
Heroic Trio, The
(1993)
Fight Back To School III
(1993)
Executioners
(1993)
Magic Crane, The
(1993)
Mad Monk, The
(1993)
Drunken Master II
(1994)
Rumble in the Bronx
(1995)
My Father is a Hero
(1995)
Twinkle Twinkle Lucky Star
(1996)
Who's the Woman, Who's the Man
(1996)
Eighteen Springs
(1997)
Wu Yen
(2001)
Midnight Fly
(2001)
Dance Of A Dream
(2001)
Let's Sing Along
(2001)
July Rhapsody
(2002)

 

IN THE J CHURCH LISTENING ROOM

HAIRE, DOUG - Nineteen American Waysides CD

Doug Haire is what's known as a "phonographer". That is, he is an artist "who uses phonographies (field recordings) as a primary instrument in their compositions." Sounds pretty simple. By committing found sounds in nature to tape, he creates sound collages the same way a film maker like Chris Marker did in Sans Soleil when he shot documentary footage from around the world and assembled them to form a work of fiction.

Now Doug Haire is one of many people struggling to further define both the field and their own identity in it. The lines between fiction and non-fiction are not so much blurred as intellectually displaced. With composition "titles" like Salinas, KS 2pm and I-15s at ID/UT border 4pm you wonder if it's a further displacement of meaning or is it just trainspotting.

The recordings are aesthetically violent despite the seeming emptiness of the recording locations. The technique is very blunt and therefore can often catch you off guard. This isn't the sound of nature to go to sleep by. So, it does make sense as much as it doesn't. Like the recordings themselves, the project is intriguing in large part due to its self-imposed ambiguity and unevenness.
(The Bang Kung Assn.)

HORRIBLE ODDS, THE - Underground 12"

I got a couple of records from Paul Curran last time he was in town and just didn't get around to listening to them right away. Let me just say that I really should know by now that I pretty much like anything Paul is connected to and I should have slapped this platter on the turntable as soon as he was out the door.

So, what ever did happen to 12" EPs? I used to love `em. Sorta. There's something different about them. You could put more songs. But you're just doing what you think is necessary. That's maybe even noble.

The Horrible Odds are really fantastic for a lot of reasons. First of all, they've got a real sense of melody and a real sense of how to muck it up without losing it. I mean, that's an art. You can't just write pop songs or you'll wind up like any myriad of pop punk bands. You can't just be gravelly or you'll just be a rock band. These cats blend the two elements in a perfect recipe known to Crimpshrine, Leatherface and, at times, Husker Du.

But the band also has the chaotic element of speed vs. friction. They power through the songs with a controlled velocity that makes you think it's all gonna fall apart on impact. It's not fast music. It's a fast band playing against the music creating a dynamic that leaves you on the edge of your seat. This record is really quite a find.
(Onion Flavored Records ­ Box 190054 ­ San Francisco, CA 94119)

SEXY - Por Vida LP

Drunk and fucked up pop punk punched into vinyl can sometimes become something entirely different. Listening to this record you can get two really different perspectives.

On the one hand, yup, they've got that thing that you would expect Paul Curran to be attracted to. I remember years ago he was giving me a hard time for writing a review in Maximum Rock N Roll where I was comparing a band to Nar. We both loved Nar. But he thought it was funny that I was describing an obscure band by using an even more obscure band as a reference. But now I can't think of a better way of describing certain bands. It's upbeat catchy punk with as many references musically to folk and `60s rock as it does to Gilman St. It's, y'know, post-Crimpshrine or maybe deconstructed Crimpshrine. It's great.

One the other hand, they're teetering out of control with every song. In fact, with every generation of the record it seems like they're beautifully flying into deterioration. It's like Guided Missile seeds have been sown. There's a Yummy Fur-ness to the whole picture. I wonder if Yummy Fur were actually attempting to sound like Nar or Sexy without ever knowing it.

Incidentally, if I had the money, first thing I would do would be a Nar CD retrospective.
(Onion Flavored Records ­ Box 190054 ­ San Francisco, CA 94119)

V/A - Post Punk Vol 01 2xCD

It cracks me up that this fantastic collection starts off with the folks from Rough Trade announcing their displeasure with the title of the CD set and an explanation that sounds more like an apology.

So this is the shit. This is a really fantastic compilation. 44 songs with almost everyone perfect. Of course, even with that you can't have a complete compilation of post punk. Hopefully the Vol 01 is an indication that there is more to come.

There's a lot of great stuff and it's excellent music for riding the bus to work. It sort of helps you assess every urban situation that otherwise adds to my anxiety and frustration. It's like a 100 Harvey Pekar's starting bands just for you.

I should list some of the most enticing highlights like Gang of Four, the Pop Group, Liliput, Delta 5, the Slits, Pigbag, ESG, Swell Maps, Au Pairs, PiL, UK Decay, Scritti Politti, Wire, Bush Tetras, DNA, James White and the Blacks, World Domination Enterprises, Magazine, the Raincoats, the Fall, Young Marble Giants, Crispy Ambulance, the Fall, the Modettes, and Essential Logic. All great stuff.

Even the newer material mostly sounds great. There is something odd about bands like the Rapture, the Roger Sisters and Erase Errata. I do quite like them all. But in a weird way it seems like American bands taking British music and selling it back to England. I guess I like the Dead Boys though they really seemed to be selling London a second-rate version of the Damned.

Still, two solid discs that I just can't stop listening too. Looking forward to a second volume hopefully with the Cravats, something from the first Lounge Lizards record, Big Black and maybe Radio 4.
(www.roughtrade.com)

 

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