Thursday, September 09, 2004

The Holtzclaw is dead, long live the Holtzclaw.

What, you didn't know that Wednesday was "Blog Labor Day"? Pshaw!

We're back on the scene, crispy and clean.


glisten: Drunkard #5

9. Devin the Dude - "Reefer and Beer"

Jowey - Love the mixing of hip hop with a redneck. The track is very laid back and would probably supplement a mix of reefer and beer. Can't say it's all that interesting, though the ending is humorous. Growing up in a place like White House TN and living in Memphis now, I'm quite accustomed to hearing the wrong people trying to use the word "nigga."

Mark - Two great tastes that taste great together. Like chocolate and peanut butter. The vocals might be a little subdued to go with the rest of the album. It's a solid track though. Devin the Dude is blowin' shit up these days. I like how the chorus is sung sweetly, as if there was something sexy about reefer and beer. Who the fuck calls it reefer anyway? My friends and I once went on a campaign to start calling it "grass" again, but it didn't really catch on.

Illovich - Really weird southern hip-hop, I'd almost describe it as hick-hop, except that Devin ends up getting frustrated with his hick friend cause he can't learn to drop the "r" in nigga. I've already talked about this subject in my Tupac review, but Devin offers a nice answer to the problem: "Just fuck it, man, don't say it at awl, fuck it." A good subtitle for this track would be "Unity through indulgence in stereotyping." I might sound like I'm no fun, but it's true. This track is a keeper though. It's really funny. The harmonies between Devin and his cracka are sweet.

Brooks - The cough that figures into the beat at the beginning is awesome. The redkneck buddy is pretty funny - especially during the first chorus and the very end. It also seems to be more about smoking than drinking.

With Devin, one without the other is like twinkie without filling.

Devin's new album has another, perhaps even BETTER, tribute to cannabis: "Motha". Get out and find that one; it's a keeper.

Buy "Just Tryin' ta Live" from Amazon.
This was my nomination for the best album released since 2000 on the recent ILM poll and even if it WAS only one of ten that didn't receive a vote (what can I say? I forgot to cast my ballot at all), I stand by that assertion.
"I-Hi", "Lacville '79", "Doobie Ashtray", "Zeldar", "Just Tryin' Ta Live"... I'm telling you, this is going to be the album everybody will claim they were into in ten years when it's recognized as the slept on classic that it is.
Where Devin feels the need for weed, I feel the need to push this motherfucker up the charts.
He's incomparable and he's releasing astonishing albums with killer singles. What more do you people WANT?
Devin, I will spraypaint your name on the side of the Empire State building. Let's get this shit started. Call me.
Read this interview with Devin. Or read this one.
Visit Devin's homepage to hear "Everything" off the new album "2 Tha Xtreme".


10. Holtzclaw - "The Faggots Want Wine"

Jowey - Totally bizarro song..for some reason it makes me think back to Kids in the Hall and their sketch, "running faggot". Not really sure WHY though...

Mark - This totally killed my buzz. I spent the first few listens asking "Is he really saying that the faggots want wine? With harmony vocals?" Confused the hell outta me. I couldn't tell if it was supposed to be funny or not. If I were all fucked up, this song would definitely give me a headache.

Illovich - I have a feeling this track found it's origin in an overheard conversation in a bar or similar establishment, like all great comedy songs. The last statement was largely untrue, like all great over generalizations.

Brooks - I love the backing vocals on this one. Despite the somewhat offensive title, the song itself is only mildly offensive. I can't find anything about these guys or this song anywhere.

Holtzclaw is a Murfreesboro, Tennessee band that I loved back in college. They specialized in Zappa-y/Ween-ish novelty rock of the variety that actually rocks. Their live shows were Gwar-esque Grand Guignol wonders to behold. A New Year's Eve show I caught featured a breakdance battle between a huge hiphop thug and a guy in a bear suit and a C-section performed on a drag queen with a hacksaw (her massive distended papermache belly was filled with ping pong balls). "Faggots" is a rare quiet moment.

I miss these fellas.

As far as I can tell, you CAN'T buy Holtzclaw anywhere. They're totally awol since MP3.com went bellyup and didn't reemerge when they were reborn.
If you're curious about what songs like "Slash's Snake Pit", "The Poodle, the Dachshund, the Rabbit and Cat", "Pinata" and "Pictures of Brad Pitt Naked" sound like; drop me a line and I'll see if I can't hook you up.

Meanwhile, if any of you out there have some Holtzclaw, contact me; I'd love a copy of anything I don't have.
Travis Harmon, former lead of Holtzclaw, is half of the Travis and Jonathan Show, which I find funnier than I probably should.
Whip up some faggots with wine gravy.
Buy Rainbow Ridge wine, made by "a gay-owned winery that is quite literally out of the closet".

Meeting the Neighbors

Said the Gramophone consistently pulls a helluva neat trick: with no agenda, no fetters and nothing but excellent taste and an excitable spirit; Sean leaps genre boundaries to bring his lucky readers overlooked classics, brilliant new tunage and all manner of offbeat rarities and wonders. This week, the curious music buff can find new Nancy Sinatra, Miles Davis with Milt Jackson and Monk, several new tracks from Canuck rock band Arcade Fire and a cut from "Canada's foremost "conscious" hip-hop head" K-Os.

Sean's work (along with Flux, Otis Fodder and Basic Hip) was pretty much the greatest influence that pushed me to make my OWN musicblog. So you can blame him. Here he is now:


I'm a man named Sean Michaels, Scottish-born but Canada-living for the past sixteen years. I like Bach, "Astral Weeks" and Jay-Z. I studied English at McGill University. That's in Montreal, which is a big green hill surrounded by the finest city on the continent. This winter I'm returning to Europe, where I plan to wander, settle, and write a novel. I'm a little frantic preparing for my departure on Sept 23. That's right, I'm going travelling for three months. While I'm gone, a pal's gonna take over the blog - it'll be this great window of fresh, different taste. We're both excited. Things here are pretty good.

What was the greatest motivation for you to create "Gramophone"?

Said the Gramophone launched in the Spring of 2003, and was chock-full of, well, me. It was originally a spin-off of my music writing at tangmonkey.com, where I had been reviewing albums for two years. But by the Fall, I had grown extremely frustrated with the blog - it felt so stupid and narcissistic. "This is what I listened to at lunch! It was good! And then I went to see a concert! Oh how my life must fascinate!" The focus was neither on the writing, nor really on the music - readers wouldn't necessarily have even heard it. So when the resources appeared for me to host an mp3blog, it was like a lightningbolt, a thunderclap. All of a sudden the readers could listen along - the song was central. And my writing would resonate more, expressing my feelings, orbiting the song.
What's your Dream Job?

My dream job is to be able to write things I want to and see them published. I've not yet had any horrible jobs, but I'm looking forward to that delight in the new year.
Recommend three other musicblogs.

1. Presumably everyone knows your home, John, but Tofu Hut is an extraordinary pleasure, full of exuberant prose and enormous variety: classic bluegrass, vintage soul, modern hip-hop, and little songs about spiders.

2. Clap Clap is an essential daily read - it's an old-fashioned musicblog, without mp3s. Eppy talks about good tunes, pop criticism, and the ways that we appreciate art. He writes with wit, clarity, and effortless insight.

3. Teaching the Indie Kids to Dance Again is a fine source for close-to-the-chest indie rock. I love Keith's unabashed enthusiasms, a presentation without ego of big-and-little bands he loves.
Do you really think that posting music effectively promotes sales of the album?

Of course it does. If I'm able to hear some samples of an album, and I love 'em, I go out and buy the record. Sampling doesn't -replace- a sale, it -precedes- it. Read the comments on any music-blog and "success stories" abound.
Can you list a few bands that you enjoy listening to that might surprise your readers?

Let's hope that regular readers won't be surprised, but my indie fuxxor friends can't handle my appreciation for 50 Cent, Avril Lavigne, and classic Barenaked Ladies.
Are you a proud member of the iPod Nation?

Won an iPod Mini this Summer. I like it when Little Wings leads into "Hey Ya."
Do you hope to someday make a living with something music or internet related?

While that's not the Great Hope (see above), I certainly wouldn't mind. In May I created a site called Gmail Swap, which turned into a summer job when I realized the potential ad revenues. It won't last, however, and I can only dream of paying the rent by writing about song or exploring the wide worldly web.
How difficult is it to maintain the site?

It's somewhere between having a kid and making a strawberry smoothie.
Give me a good story about how one of the tracks that made it up on your blog got there.

This isn't a very good story, but when I think about it I get an endorphin hit: When I heard "Float On" for the first time, I actually got up from my desk and stared at my stereo, mouth open. I hadn't thought that a new Modest Mouse track would be of interest to anyone except crazy Modest Mouse fans, a group of which I was not a member. But the song was remarkable; it was spiky, jubilant, and absolutely arresting. I danced, I sang, I flailed. And it went on the blog that night.
Pick one musician and one question. Who is it and what do you ask?

Dear Beck: Would you teach me to dance?
Could you see yourself still running your site in five years? Would you ever consider selling the blog?

We'll see. The site takes so much energy that I wonder if I'll be able to maintain it when I have other serious creative projects in play. I'd never sell it, but I might give it away.
What's the best live show you've ever seen?

It's a tie between the smash-up end-in-disaster Arcade Fire EP release show, in the summer of 2002, and the Flaming Lips in Montreal, 13/08/03. I don't even like Flaming Lips albums. But their confetti apocalypse took my breath away.
Do you have a message for youngsters who'd like to start their own musicblog?

Write about fantastic songs that people won't have heard. Write passionately and write well. Oh, and write every day! Take vitamins! Wear ear-plugs at deafening shows!
Drop on by Better Propaganda and pick out a track you'd like people to hear.

Zero 7 ft. MF Doom - "Somersault" [Danger Mouse remix]

I posted this on Gramophone, as well, on Canada Day. I said, among other things, that "Zero 7 is content for summer to be vanilla and pink with sighs," buy "MF Doom tells a more detailed, ink-sketch tale." This tune slips on pavement, dances in the July twilight just before the street-lights flicker on. It's hot.

Tomorrow? "Soul Sides" Oliver Wang makes the scene. Here or square, kittens.

File under outrageously cool: Basic Hip Gold offers eight esoteric, funky outta print albums of goodness ripped to 320kbps mp3s and burned on a single CD for twelve bucks.
Just as soon as I get a bit of cash, I'm getting this.
2,450 bucks PER WHEEL? The rims aren't the only thing spinning. Twisted!
Coke Blunts LIVES!
Go play Zork.
Save Betamax

not so spiffy

The much ballyhooed Rolling Stone article makes the scene but with nary a word of mention of th' Hut and definitely without a picture of my smiling face.

Y'boy got ganked; not even a sidebar mention. Bummer.

Ah well. Here I was getting ready to send my star up to the top of a flagpole for the angels to kiss. This would be what I get for gettin' excited over publicity. Whatever will I tell mother?

Nevertheless, it's good to see all the heavy hitters getting due props and I'm always excited to see any reference to our little revolution in the mainstream news.

Can't help but wonder tho': what the heck did they do that photo shoot for?