Posts Tagged ‘music’

Bart Schaneman’s Give Me Work or Give Me Death Love List

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010


1. Routine–I have developed an ironclad routine that allows me to tell people no because I know exactly where I’ll be at what time everyday and what I’ll be doing. This makes getting work done so much easier.

2. Work–We are our work. Nothing feels better than getting in a full day of accomplishment.

3. Korea–I love this place. It is good to me in important ways. I wish my life in America could be as easy.

4. Chamchi jjigae–Kimchi and tuna stew improves upon tomato soup tenfold on a cold day.

5. Joan Didion’s essays–Anytime I need to sharpen my eye I pick up Slouching Towards Bethlehem or The White Album. Didion is my whetstone.

6. Protein powder–Going pescetarian means you can’t always get the protein you need.

7. Horseradish–Far and away my favorite condiment. When the Yellow Dust blows in from the Gobi I fight sinus congestion one creamy dollop at a time.

8. The Antlers–All the hype was right. A great breakup record.

Bart Schaneman is an American writer. He writes about his travels and about Nebraska. Read more of his writing at http://bartschaneman.wordpress.com and http://rainfollowstheplow.wordpress.com.

Book Recommendation

Friday, March 12th, 2010

My friend Justin from back home in San Diego wrote a music scene memoir that’s being published by Soft Skull Press, and it’s now up for pre-sale. It’s basically the story of his life growing up in the punk scene. He’s a good dude and plays in some damn fine bands. (The Locust, Swing Kids, Crimson Curse, All Leather, etc.)

Here’s what the bio says about the book, “As an adolescent, Justin Pearson moved with his mother from Shit Creek Phoenix, AZ to sunny San Diego after his father was murdered on Halloween. There, he fell in with a subculture of young musicians playing some of the most original and brutal music in the world. Turns out the chaos of Pearson’s bands–The Locust, Swing Kids, and Some Girls–is nothing compared to the madness of his life. An icon of the West Coast noise and punk scene, Pearson managed to arrive at adulthood by outsmarting skinheads and dodging equally threatening violence at home. Once there, the struggle continued, with Pearson getting beat up on Jerry Springer and, on more than one occasion, chased out of town by ferociously angry audiences. From the Graveyard of the Arousal Industry is the outrageously candid story of Pearson’s life. In loving, meticulous detail, Pearson gives readers the dirt behind each rivalry, riff, and lineup change.”

You should do the man a solid and go buy it here from Powell’s Books.

BIO: Adam Gnade's (guh nah dee) work is released as a series of books and records that share characters and themes; the fiction writing continuing plot-lines left open by the self-described "talking songs" in an attempt to compile a vast, detailed, interconnected, personal history of contemporary American life. Check out recent writing here and songs here. Contact: adam@asthmatickitty.com

Older, Weirder. (My Favorite Exhibit of 2009)

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

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^ from Greta Pratt’s  Nineteen Lincolns, 2005 ^

Before the New Weird America was the Old Weird America.

An art show that circulated the U.S. in 2009 (and landed in Seattle at the Frye Art Museum) called The Old, Weird America: Folk Themes in Contemporary Art, takes its primary title from music/culture writer Greil Marcus.  In 1997, Marcus released a book, Invisible Republic, exploring the influence that recordings like Harry Smith’s Anthology of American Music had on Bob Dylan’s Basement Tapes; the book was re-released a few years later as The Old, Weird AmericaHarry Smith, John Cohen, and Alan Lomax, among others, can be credited with crucial roles in preserving recordings of folk, blues and gospel music before the generation that carried it in their bones passed away.  These compiled tracks, in which atmospheric on-site recordings were sometimes captured in kitchens or on front porches, give us a misted peek into an America that is and was truly weird.

To listen to these tapes is to be transported into an earthy and secret place—to go under the spell of the country’s collective ghosts.  Chairs creak, winds blow, babies whine, as voices wail, bellow and croon songs from older times, mother countries and bloody histories.  The picture of America painted by these voices is much more colorful and eerie than the tidy rendition that one might read in a textbook.

In this age, we are nothing if not skeptics of tidy histories, yet to re-frame the past is difficult.  Any retelling must borrow from standards of storytelling, or riff on the accepted versions of the past that we have in common, especially when the accepted versions have promoted questionable conclusions or notable exclusions.

The artists compiled in The Old, Weird America exhibit do just that.  Pieces like Dario Robleto’s science-classroom classification drawers (Shaker Apothecary [2007] shown below) and Sam Durant’s remixed museum dioramas  (Pilgrims and Indians, Planting and Reaping, Learning and Teaching [2006]) glory in educational reductionism: the desire to distill complex narratives into clean pictures with captions (on plaques for more authoritative effect).

Greta Pratt’s sincere Abraham Lincoln impersonators (one contemplative Lincoln shown above) are moving in their desire to capture a fabled personality on which we hang endless ideals of civic bravery.  Eric Beltz’s both irreverent and astoundingly beautiful graphite drawings of the Founders of America spin off of the same type of clichés with a dour backward glance.  Greil Marcus has also warned that “…it is a sure sign that a culture has reached a dead end when it is no longer intrigued by its myths.”  Looking at the work of these mostly thirty-and forty-somethings, it seems that we are still happy to paddle around in the wily wilderness of our shared and unfathomably complex past.

Listen to bits of old songs:

Harry Smith’s Anthology of American Folk Music

There is no Eye (Smithsonian Folkways)

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^Dario Robleto, “Shaker Apothecary” (with “A Rosary for Rhythm” and “Salvation Cocktails”), 2007. Pine, hand-ground vinyl 45 rpm dance-craze records, various medicinal botanicals, carved bone calcium, typeset ^

Gala Bent is a mother-artist-teacher living in Seattle who enjoys, among other things, this thought: between thesis and antithesis arcs the ever-loving synthesis. www.galabent.com

Top 10 List for 2009

Saturday, January 23rd, 2010

SemanTopTen

I am in a band with my wife, Jenny. She is a Ph.D. fellow studying the history of borderlands, bakes a mean apple pie, and was born on the same day as Willie Nelson. As Shiny Around the Edges, we enjoy making music together and occasionally have a chance to collaborate on things non-musical because of the band. The kind folks at Popshifter asked what our “Top 10″ list was for 2009. We hadn’t even thought about this throughout the year, but had a good time putting a list together late one evening over a glass of wine. It should be noted that we would have had our bassist Kerm contribute, but he was on a vision quest exploring his roots in beautifully sparse west Texas. The resulting list is what my wife and I have listened to, watched, and read throughout the year that made an indelible impression. It is either hopelessly out-of-date or incredibly prescient depending on your personal politics. In no particular order:

1. Emma Goldman: Living My Life

A two-volume autobiography penned by one of the leaders of the anarchist movement of the 1900s. Exploring Emma Goldman’s life story is a first-hand look at anarchism, feminism, Marxism, and more in the early-to-mid-twentieth century. This is a great read and helps one understand from where much of modern counter-culture has originated. It is well written and full of wit and insight into the United States and Russia at the dawning of modernism.

2. Frank Sinatra with Antonio Carlos Jobim: Sinatra & Company

A forgotten masterpiece (and out of print in the United States) that is filled with standards like “Bein’ Green” along with bilingual gems such as “Drinking Water (Agua De Beber).” Like all of Sinatra’s albums, the arrangements are superb. Hearing Sinatra and Jobim collaborate is worth the effort to find the vinyl used or order the import CD. I believe it might also now be available digitally.

3. Dust Congress: Regurgitate Sunshine State

Broken down folk with marimba and trumpet from Denton, Texas. They live up the street from us and we never tire of hearing Nick Foreman’s contemplative wail while the notes supporting him waver and stumble in a beautiful procession. The 12″ vinyl is also worthy of coffee table display.

4. Mad Men, Seasons I & II

What started as a deft, retro look at the time when media and commerce began to intersect is now one of the darkest commentaries on the beginning of the end of modernism.

5. Castanets: Texas Rose, The Thaw, & the Beasts

We always enjoy hearing Ray’s new songs and this album is the perfect marriage between Rafter’s production skills and Ray’s songwriting: a sonic voyage greater than the sum of its substantial parts.

6. Leonie Sandercock: Cosmopolis II

This book looks at the questions urban planners will have to answer in a time of hypermobile global population shifts. The speed and diversity of immigration is creating neighborhoods, cities, and countries that are hybrids demanding new approaches to planning.

7. Sonic Youth: Confusion Is Sex

This is on our list every year, with good reason.

8. Russian Ark

Unbelievably (and spectacularly), this film is one entire shot from beginning to end. It takes the viewer through 33 rooms of what is now Saint Petersburg’s Hermitage Museum, involved literally a cast of thousands, and details events in Russian history in a non-linear way. The narrators are ghostly presences slipping between observation and interaction with a disquieting ease. The resulting effect is dreamlike.

9. Michel Foucault: History of Sexuality Volume 1: An Introduction

A philosophical staple that crosses academic disciplines, this book offers a new way of thinking about sexuality, knowledge, and power and the ways they are created and transmitted.

10. Black Sabbath: Paranoid

Our elderly VW Golf’s CD player stopped working at the beginning of the year. Inexplicably, this cassette made its way into our car and we have been revisiting it throughout the year. Our recently recorded collection of songs reflects this to some degree.

Michael is a doctoral student in urban planning and public policy at the University of Texas at Arlington. You can follow him on Twitter here, visit his website here, and listen to his band here.

Photos: Dan Deacon is Mental

Thursday, December 10th, 2009

Couple nights ago me and my pal Bart went to see Dan Deacon play here in Portland and it was mental. I mean, I’ve heard all about his live shows, about the transformative power of crowd participation, about the human tunnels, and the dance-offs but I never really believed. Now I believe.

This is what an hour and a half of Dan Deacon looks like…

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BIO: Adam Gnade's (guh nah dee) work is released as a series of books and records that share characters and themes; the fiction writing continuing plot-lines left open by the self-described "talking songs" in an attempt to compile a vast, detailed, interconnected, personal history of contemporary American life. Check out recent writing here and songs here. Contact: adam@asthmatickitty.com

G is for Ghostly International

Monday, November 9th, 2009
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Everything about Ghostly International (music, website and packaging) is so artfully and intentionally curated. Even its iPhone application speaks to a high level of aesthetic quality that makes the label stand out. What is also amazing to me about Ghostly International is that it is a label that has effectively survived the IDM backlash. Was there ever a real IDM backlash? I don’t know, but it did seem that the poorly named genre would barely survive. Intelligent Dance Music had seemed to considerably wither a few years back. Fortunately there are few labels who evolved the genre beyond itself. These labels dedication to explore and support artists working with experimental music and electronics while not sacrificing quality and a pop sensibility has allowed for the music to reach a wider audience. Ghostly International is one such label, and they have taken the ideas and lessons of IDM and experimental electronics and have exploded its boundaries through its curatorial choices. By blurring definitions and genres the focus is once again not on a particular style, but on the music and the artists. Birthed out of the love for Detroit techno, and based in Ann Arbor Michigan (what’s not to love about a label started in Michigan), the ten year old Ghostly will undoubtedly thrive in the new era of the music industry.
Asthmatic Kitty has had the joy of working with many artists on Ghostly. Michna, digital pop maestro and saboteur, recently remixed DM Stith. The textural and cerebral Lusine remixed My Brightest Diamond. The boogie down destruction and delightful tomfoolery of The Chap made for perfect remix candidate criteria for JOOKABOX.
http://ghostly.com/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghostly_International

Tracklist
1. Choir Of Young Believers “Hollow Talk” from This Is For The White In Your Eyes
2. Lusine “Two Dots” from A Certain Distance
3. Michna “The Joy Of Your Dome” from Eggstra EP
4. The Chap “They Have A Name” from Mega Breakfast
5. The Sight Below “Murmur” from Murmur EP
6. Syntaks “Twentytwohundred” from Ylajali
7. School of Seven Bells “Connjur” from Alpinisms
8. Mux Mool “Ballad of Gloria Featherbottom” from The Nocturnal Suite
9. Cepia “Hoarse” from Natura Morta
10. Kiln “Fyrepond” from Dusker
11. Dabrye “Get It Together (feat. Invincible and Finale)” from Two/Three
12. Tycho “The Daydream” from Ghostly/GHO Summer Solstice Sampler Mix
13. Shigeto “Is This All for Real” from The Nocturnal Suite
14. Matthew Dear “Don and Sherri (Original Mix)” from Don and Sherri

F is for Family Vineyard

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

fvlogo.300

This week I have turned to an expert, the record store owner Heath Byers of Landlocked Records in Bloomington, IN. Landlocked is an incredible independent record store that not only has what you want, but has what you really need! Here is what he had to say about another Indiana institution, Family Vineyard Records:
Family Vineyard label-boss Eric Weddle started his career as one of the founders of indie heavyweight Secretly Canadian, but soon realised that his musical vision would be best realised on his own. So, for the past decade, he has been curating some of the most ear-bending, genre-defying sounds to come from the American and international underground.
The label is perhaps best known as the modern home for the slow-motion “blues” of guitarist Loren Connors, an artist who conjures up a Rothko-glow but still manages to break hearts with the simple spaces between his notes. But the palette of FV is much broader than this. Paul Flaherty and Chris Corsano steal the wheel of the free-jazz ship, push the accelerator to the floor – arguing over which cliff to jump. The members of Cold Bleak Heat and Tigersmilk in the backseat egging them on. Legendary Japanese saxophonist Akira Sakata surfs on top, fearless.
Don’t be fooled, this isn’t a jazz label. The long awaited release of the Human Skab tapes will make everyone believe their child is the new hero of the avant-garde, and maybe s/he is? There is room for the Vineyard’s skewed take on “pop” music, too. WNYC’s David Garland, the Dancing Cigarettes’ John Terrill and original New England weirdo Dredd Foole have all stretched the boundary lines to a new breaking point.
Every release manages to expand and pummel another genre- Grand Ulena out-battle Battles. Poland’s Rope begin their journey in Swans’ nightmares. Blithe Sons soundtrack our natural world without electricity. Every which way that you can possibly turn, you are led down a path that you didn’t even know you were headed towards. The only rule in this journey seems to be “left turns only”. — Heath Byers
http://www.landlockedmusic.com/
1. Hisato Higuchi “Grow” from Butterfly Horse Street
2. Akira Sakata & Chikamorachi “Yo! Yo! Dime” from Friendly Pants
3. The Blithe Sons “Try to Find a Memory in a Dark Room” from The
Great Orthochromatic Wheel
4. Loren Connors “Chant 8″ from The Curse of Midnight Mary
5. David Garland “Every Bird” from Noise In You
6. John Terrill “The Faces of My Past” from Frowny Frown
7. Alan Licht & Aki Onda “Tick Tock” from Everydays
8. Paul Flaherty & Chris Corsano “The Great Pine Tar Scandal” excerpt
from The Beloved Music
9. Rope “Blood Stained Lust” from Heresy, and Then Nothing But Tears
10. Dredd Foole “Above Ground Friend” from Kissing The Contemporary Bliss

This week I have turned to an expert, the record store owner Heath Byers of Landlocked Records in Bloomington, IN. Landlocked is an incredible independent record store that not only has what you want, but has what you really need! Here is what he had to say about another Indiana institution, Family Vineyard Records:

Family Vineyard label-boss Eric Weddle started his career as one of the founders of indie heavyweight Secretly Canadian, but soon realised that his musical vision would be best realised on his own. So, for the past decade, he has been curating some of the most ear-bending, genre-defying sounds to come from the American and international underground.

The label is perhaps best known as the modern home for the slow-motion “blues” of guitarist Loren Connors, an artist who conjures up a Rothko-glow but still manages to break hearts with the simple spaces between his notes. But the palette of FV is much broader than this. Paul Flaherty and Chris Corsano steal the wheel of the free-jazz ship, push the accelerator to the floor – arguing over which cliff to jump. The members of Cold Bleak Heat and Tigersmilk in the backseat egging them on. Legendary Japanese saxophonist Akira Sakata surfs on top, fearless.

Don’t be fooled, this isn’t a jazz label. The long awaited release of the Human Skab tapes will make everyone believe their child is the new hero of the avant-garde, and maybe s/he is? There is room for the Vineyard’s skewed take on “pop” music, too. WNYC’s David Garland, the Dancing Cigarettes’ John Terrill and original New England weirdo Dredd Foole have all stretched the boundary lines to a new breaking point.

Every release manages to expand and pummel another genre- Grand Ulena out-battle Battles. Poland’s Rope begin their journey in Swans’ nightmares. Blithe Sons soundtrack our natural world without electricity. Every which way that you can possibly turn, you are led down a path that you didn’t even know you were headed towards. The only rule in this journey seems to be “left turns only”. — Heath Byers

http://www.landlockedmusic.com/

http://www.family-vineyard.com/

1. Hisato Higuchi “Grow” from Butterfly Horse Street
2. Akira Sakata & Chikamorachi “Yo! Yo! Dime” from Friendly Pants
3. The Blithe Sons “Try to Find a Memory in a Dark Room” from The
Great Orthochromatic Wheel
4. Loren Connors “Chant 8″ from The Curse of Midnight Mary
5. David Garland “Every Bird” from Noise In You
6. John Terrill “The Faces of My Past” from Frowny Frown
7. Alan Licht & Aki Onda “Tick Tock” from Everydays
8. Paul Flaherty & Chris Corsano “The Great Pine Tar Scandal” excerpt from The Beloved Music
9. Rope “Blood Stained Lust” from Heresy, and Then Nothing But Tears
10. Dredd Foole “Above Ground Friend” from Kissing The Contemporary Bliss