IT'S A LIVING… BUT IT'S NOT A LIFE #12.92
J Church / Honey Bear
Dog Days - Can't Afford No Gun At All
SOCIETY IS A CARNIVOROUS FLOWER
People are saying nice things about the record, which is cool. I like
the bad reviews too. I think I'd feel really weird if we got mostly good
reviews. I don't like most popular music, so if we ever really started
to sell a lot of records I guess we would be making crappy music by default.
Still, glad a lot of you out there are digging it.
One complaint has been the lack of anything acoustic-like on the record.
Promise: the next record for No Idea will have at least one acoustic thing
and there are a couple on the Japanese CD coming out…
SEISHUN ZANKOKU MONOGATARI
Speaking of the Japanese CD, that's the title. It's from a film by Nagisa
Oshima (in the states it's called Cruel Story of Youth)
and if you haven't seen it, go find it. Oshima is basically the leader
of the Japanese new wave. He's their Godard. There are seven originals
and seven covers, many of which will come out in vinyl format here and
there. The CD is gonna be on Snuffy Smiles, of course. The 7"s, it
looks like a split on Sonic Candy with Minority Blues Band from Japan,
a split on Chunksaah with The Plungers from New York and possibly a single
on Boss Tunage in England. You can hear some of these songs if you go
to the J Church page at MySpace (if you do something that lame…)
Not much in the states. Our only shows are a one off here in Austin at
the end of September. We'll be playing at Beerland with our dear friends,
The Husbands from back in San Francisco.
We're playing Gainesville Fest or whatever it's called. We'll try to
set something up on the way there and on the way back.
Otherwise, it's off to Europe for November and December. I don't know
the dates exactly. When I know, you'll know.
NATALIE HURLEY'S ARMY
This is really just for people I know that are fans of Sports Night.
It was one of my favorite TV shows, and I put together a little six-page
fanzine about it. If you do want to get a copy, send me a buck or some
stamps or something.
Spectacular Times was such a huge, huge influence on
me and was a major factor with Cringer and J Church. These simplified
Situationist tracks are much more approachable than Debord and even Vaneigem.
So, I've started to carry them as part of my mail order. Here are the
titles available now:
Spectacular Times 3: The Media $3 ppd.
Spectacular Times 7: Women and the Spectacle $3 ppd.
Spectacular Times 10: Animals $4 ppd.
Spectacular Times 11: More of the Shame $3 ppd.
Spectacular Times 14: Bigger Cages Longer Chains $4 ppd.
In the future, assuming anyone is interested, I hope to carry more anarcho
and Situationist titles.
I'm putting together a few Top Ten's for the moment. Just a fun little
exercise that is completely subject to change. This first one: Top Ten
LPs from the first wave of punk rock.
1. Damned Damned Damned by the Damned
I fucking love this album so much. I used to read about punk rock from
England in magazines like Hit Parade and Cream.
It was impossible to get these records in Hawaii when they were coming
out (unless you were rich or a military brat and usually both). So I would
read the interviews and look at the amazing pictures. I finally got a
copy of Nevermind the Bollocks on cassette and I remember
thinking; this is kinda slow and tame. It sounded like Ted Nugent or something.
Then I heard that Damned and it was exactly what I thought punk rock was
supposed to sound like. It's raw and fast and it's non-stop. The guitars
are blasting but it's not metal. It's far better than metal. I still listen
to this record once a week minimum.
2. The Clash by The Clash
I had read so much about the band, I was expecting this to sound just
like the Ramones or maybe even the Stones. When I put it on, I was struck
by how varied even this raw garage record was. They were already trying
reggae along with the fast punk tracks. Mixed in were some very pretty
pop tunes not so different from Raspberries or (to my teenage brain) the
Byrds. I remember loving Remote Control not knowing that
was a faux pas thinking it was like Feeling A Whole Lot Better
3. Marquee Moon by Television
Again, punk was really fantasy worlds for me. It was science fiction,
which had been my previous love. Television sounded like what I wanted
a New York City band to sound like. It was together, tight but unexplainably
fucked up sounding. I could never put my finger on what it was that made
this record sound so different from Cheap Trick or Fleetwood Mac or whoever
else I listened to before punk. Part of it was the engaging and sort of
vague lyrics. Part of it was the strange guitar arrangements that I didn't
know where strange at the time. But mostly, there was a weird feeling
of disinterest throughout the record. They were just in the studio doing
their thing. But, whatever, you know? They knew it was cool and didn't
need your approval.
4. Blank Generation by Richard Hell and the Voidoids
A lot of what I said about Marquee Moon applies here
as well. I love that Hell casually refers to certain people and places
as proper nouns without feeling the need to explain or give context. That
makes the songs so much more vivid for me. It's a bit of a Lou Reed trick.
It works. Most importantly to me on this record is the guitar playing.
Robert Quine's solos are amazing. They seem like chaos but fit perfectly
into an overall structure. Some people like to say it was like an Action
Painting. Others said it was like Coltrane. I really thought it had a
lot to do with Eight Miles High. Anyway, that was how
my personal music history was writing itself.
5. Modern Dance by Pere Ubu
Bottom line; the only song Pere Ubu ever NEEDED to record was Non-Alignment
Pack. With its detourning of the standard rock progression, they
even further intellectualized rock while their Bizarro in the Dead Boys
was going the opposite way. I think that song had a deeper affect on me
than all of their later (and excellent) music combined.
6. Singles Going Steady by the Buzzcocks
I was late coming to this band because I never really loved the Spiral
Scratch EP. When I finally found this record, I realized that they were
the power pop originators that I had been longing for. Straight up pop
with some of the greatest drumming ever, this collection of singles is
flawless. Someday, someone should write a book about how the Buzzcocks
and Generation X lead to the Descendents who lead to Crimpshrine who lead
to Green Day.
7. Horses by the Patti Smith Group
Even with all the arty inclinations, I found this record to be totally
unpretentious. Okay, let's strip it down. I love Patti Smith. Everyone
else that Deborah Harry was so hot. But I was in love with Patti Smith.
She was more like the fucked up girls I knew in school. I thought she
was crazy sexy and her voice is unique and beautiful. While I don't like
it as much, I never understood why Radio Ethiopia was
so reviled at the time. I think it's equally haunting and smart in many
ways and Ask The Angels is a really great rock song.
8. Cut by the Slits
You can say a lot of the same things about Ari Up and the Slits. I used
to cut pictures of them and Patti Smith out of all the rock magazines
I could get my hands on. It's odd to me that it was so easy to find magazines
like Cream, Hit Parader, Song
Hits, etc. in Hawaii but you really couldn't find most of the
records they were talking about. I knew the Slits hung out with the Clash
and I knew they were cool looking. When I finally got to hear them it
was Earth shattering. Obviously, there was nothing like it. I've enjoyed
everything Ari Up has done since. She seems nuts. But she's probably the
only person on this list that's done consistently cool and challenging
9. It's Alive by The Ramones
I actually like the first six Ramones records almost equally (Ramones,
Leave Home, Rocket To Russia, Road
To Ruin, It's Alive and End of the Century).
But this one is probably the most representative of what I loved about
them. They were so cool looking in Rock N Roll High School
I ran out and tried every record store in Honolulu before I found Rocket
To Russia. This started my love for this band, which I guess
as most of you I hope own at least one of their records, doesn't need
explaining. I love the power of this record. I love that they don't stop
between songs. As a kid, this was one of my only artifacts as to what
a real punk rock show would be like.
10. (I'm) Stranded by the Saints
Like the Damned, the Saints were the most sold, fast, rockin' of the first
wave. They had a lot more history than most of the other bands having
had incarnations going back several years before when most people like
to think of the age of punk ('76 '78). Eternally Yours
is just as good and precedes the Rocket From The Crypt sound by over a
Runners up: Inflammable Material by Stiff Little Fingers,
The Image Has Cracked by Alternative TV, L.A.M.F.
by the Heartbreakers, Crossing the Red Sea by the Adverts,
The Crack by the Ruts, Germ Free Adolescents
by the X Ray Spex and the debut from The Undertones.
IN THE J CHURCH VIEWING ROOM
MORVERN CALLAR (directed by Lynne Ramsay)
I love Samantha Morton. I love that she says what she says, does what
she does and ultimately has enough self-confidence to not give a shit
about what anyone else thinks. In many ways, she's the new Jennifer Jason
Leigh and that's a great thing.
Morvern is a young Scottish girl who comes home one Winter night to
find that her boyfriend has killed himself. He's lying naked on the floor
where he'll stay for a little while. After going thoroughly through his
suicide note, it doesn't seem so outrageous that she not call the police
(he's not going anywhere) but instead goes to a raucous Christmas party
where she loses herself.
From there she becomes and even more complex and intriguing character.
Her sorrow is masked with a disturbing lust for life. Her dead boyfriend
was a former writer with one last manuscript that she promptly assigns
her name to, gets it published and spends her first royalty check indulging
with her best friend, played wonderfully by Kathleen McDermott, in food,
drugs and eventually sex as they head off to Spain for some hedonistic
fun in the sun. Only when faced with a long empty Spanish road by herself
does she finally allow her grief to at all interfere with her joie de
Morvern Callar is the latest from Lynne Ramsay, director
of `99s excellent Ratcatcher. It's rhythm is time-stopping
and observational no matter how much activity is happening in the scene.
The parties are as contemplative as Morvern alone in the cold apartment
with her boyfriend's corpse. Hopefully Samantha Morton will take this
and the equally incredible Under The Skin and make more
of a meal out of this area of her seemingly endless plate of talent.
(Lion's Gate Films)
MY VOYAGE TO ITALY (directed by Martin Scorsese)
What is it that's so relaxing about Martin Scorsese's voice? I don't
know. I've talked to a few different people and we all find his voice
to be so comforting. Plus he's smart. I loved his contribution to BFI's
100 Years of Cinema (released in the states as A
Personal Journey) and I really love the documentary Martin
Scorsese Directs from the American Masters series. I've watched
them both over and over.
So now I can add another documentary to that list with My Voyage
To Italy. Studying the most important age in film worldwide,
Neo Realism, he examines the main players and their major films in a way
that is engaging without condescension or over-statistical, boredom. The
guy really loves movies and he knows what's important.
His film history is just one of many alternative histories to the one
championed by film critics static in their culture and prejudices. In
writing about Rossellini, De Sica, Fellini and my hero Antonioni he writes
about what he loves and what he sees as important. He even picks films
that were seen as disasters financially and critically pointing out how
their importance was more profound than such predictable criteria. For
example, Rossellini's Voyage To Italy was a critical
and financial failure but what championed by the Cahiers Du Cinema writers
like Godard and Truffaut.
Scorcese's narration is smart and so loving that from anyone else you
would think it pitiful. But in this situation, its inspiring and just
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