Nov 30, 2008

Confused Lighting

Maureen Keaveny - Image from "The Setting Sun" (2007)

These are squeals of a light bulb swinging two feet above the slick glass of a copy machine's open jaws. The bulb is raised by your claps and lowered by your silence. The shadows grow and shrink with your lack of commitment to enthusiasm. While the line of best fit sags, it's the jagged indecision in your voice that makes the music suspenseful. Are you a machine? Surely you are. So is the sunset.

Slaraffenland - I'm A Machine (mp3) [myspace]

Nov 24, 2008

Only One Way Out

Andrea Diefenbach - Untitled (2006)

I'm sure you've noticed recently, but I'd give most anything for a piano. Maybe it's idle hands or empty rooms or too much electronic music this summer. But I feel there's something running through my veins that I can't explain until it drips out my fingers. Tapping helps me hear that I am the sound of something greater. That I am not the pianist. Also, I'm sure you've noticed that I repeat myself when I'm trying to say something important. I'll wander away briefly to offer evidence, but find myself winding back to vocalize my point yet again like a radio-friendly chorus. Because I think you haven't heard. A piano, buy me a piano.

Civil Twlight - Human (mp3)

Nov 23, 2008

Doing Just Fine

Thaweesak Srithongdee - DrPadou (2003)

John sings from somewhere else. And as a compelling songwriter, you kind of have to. He visits our corner bars from somewhere far, to recall a story without performing. Of dark and shadowy nights with flickers of strange headlights and scruffy beards dipped into coats, he sings. That there are places beyond where we regularly gather weathered, places he has been. He sings like he's recalling, slow and building, hesitant and compassionate. There are warm blankets everywhere, you should come, he sings.

John Statz - Letter from Southeast Asia (mp3)

Nov 21, 2008

Surpassing Human Limitation

William Lamson - No. 23 (2006)

According to William Lamson, "the pursuit of flight, no matter how flawed or hopeless the attempt, places the amateur in the heroic position of trying to transcend his place on earth". And with Deastro's release "Keeper's", Randy Chabot has made a powerful Midwestern launch towards lower orbit in a vessel crafted with Detroit cardboard, plastic synth remnants, and glittery optimism.

Deastro - Leah's Daughter the Giraffe (mp3) [highly recommended]

Nov 20, 2008

Couch Fibers

James Esber - Luger (2008)

She had that kick of winter in her voice. A black vest pulled together with a fist and a sneer. She would greet confusion with "Shut up", but expect a response. She was unimpressed and bored. And here, inside, she had plans for morality that could only be compromised by her competitive ambition to achieve them. Her unborn children would wash the streets clean at night in dreams with soap and spinning bristles. Usually in slow motion. Here, inside, she sat idle while her mind wandered to goals. She said you didn't have anything she needed. But here, inside, she sat.

Animal Collective - Street Flash (mp3)

Nov 17, 2008

The Malady of Elegance

Nadja Bournonville - To Arrive Somewhere Different (2007)

You can hear the felt. Socks scurrying across a drafty wooden cooridor. A pause at the base of the stairs. The intention is the percussion between seconds. You can hear the space for miles.

Goldmund - Gifts (mp3)

Nov 15, 2008

Madison Music Weekend (11/15-17): Audio Preview

John J. O'Connor - Itchy Face [July 28] (2008)

Another incredible music weekend sweeps through Madison with the early November cold front...  My pick is to start tonight at the beautiful Majestic for a warm set by Over the Rhine (this time with Minneapolis' Haley Bonar), sprint over the Club 770 to meet up with homemade Best Friends and Best Fwends, and set your jeans on fire in a Matt & Kim riot.  If the night truly ends by midnight, you'll have plenty of time to rest before Deerhunter & Times New Viking grind strangely against the concrete of the High Noon on Sunday.  And just because a weekend isn't long enough... the UW kids have assembled an incredible lineup topped by No Age to smash your Monday into fuzzy irregular pieces.  What are you up to?


7pmish (Majestic): Haley Bonar - Ransom (mp3)
8:30pmish (Majestic): Over the Rhine - Born (mp3)
9:30pmish (Club 770): Best Friends Forever - Twins In Love (mp3)
10pmish (Club 770): Best Fwends - Bump in the Day (mp3)


8pmish (High Noon): Disappears - Hearing Things (mp3)
9pmish (High Noon): Times New Viking - No Sympathy (mp3)
10pmish (High Noon): Deerhunter - Nothing Ever Happened (mp3)


9:30pmish (Club 770): Soft Circle - Shimmer (mp3)
10pmish (Club 770): Titus Andronicus - Titus Andronicus (mp3)
11pmish (Club 770): No Age - Sleeper Hold (mp3)

Nov 12, 2008

A Clean Slate

I apologize for the delay.  My hard drive crashed and I've lost my music and art collection.  Actually the story goes that my hard drive was in failing health and I pulled the plug.  The nice young man with an English accent and a new haircut at the Apple Store asked if I wanted to backup my files and transfer them to my new hard drive.  And without hesitation, I said no.  Not even a passive no.  There is nothing important on there, I said. Why?  Because I wanted to start over.  I think.  To tell you the truth, I don't really understand.  And I guess that is a new feeling too.  Which is good.  I think.  Holy balls.

Robot High School - Robot High School (mp3)

Nov 7, 2008

Save $1, A Forest, Your Breath

Peter Fuss [from Everyday I Am] (2004-2005)

We live among photocopied ghosts, with unemployed ghosts, in ghost houses. Sometimes it feels like parts of ourselves, ghosts. Have you watched a banner ad scrolling silently, endlessly, for hours? These days are like this. Looped and left playing to no one in particular. Our hopes of shopping and immortality are sent through the air to bounce off the empty walls and linger as memories in a room without anyone to remember. They are all dead. We will play forever in this way. Click here to win an iPod. Our legacy an endless, silent banner ad for a trick, for something that doesn't exist. This page cannot be found. Many people click on those banner ads. They will soon be dead too.

The Cure - A Forest (mp3)

Towards A Post-11/4 World

Wil-Mar Center polling station. 7:15am. A line around the block. The sun rising gently over the trees along the lake behind us. Pajamas and wet hair, some in ties on the way to the office. A homeless dog sniffs around the playground for breakfast or maybe a tax cut. The door to the building is propped open with a sign that offers voting assistance upon request. The line snakes past the mural depiction of the Willy Street Fair, a flier for an upcoming Ludefisk dinner, the free bread bins, a gentlemen with a tired face checking email in the computer lab. 8:00am. There are very few people with last names starting A-L in line, the man behnd me cites healthy German consonants as the reason. A white-haired poll worker yells for "A-L last name registered voters or any unregistered voters", sending the line into a little confused fury. A woman gently asks him to yell about one item at a time. The referrenda are taped to the wall with masking tape and the hurried enthusiasm of posters hung in a teenage bedroom. The explanations are both simple for space constraints and confusing for those reading them for the first time. Registered voter M-Z? Last name, address. 8:15. A small piece of paper with the number 307. A blue folder with the coveted white questions peaking out. A few steps to a flimsy plastic booth. A pen, a line. A change.

Over the Rhine - If A Song Could Be President (mp3)

Nov 3, 2008

After Yesterday

Adrien Missika - After Yesterday

We arrived near the Schroll Brewerie in Nankendorf just after passing noon on a windy road not much wider than our car. Leading up to town, the road was flanked by an autumn forest and an inner row of reflective white pegs - about one foot tall - perhaps to keep our wandering from bounding off course to follow the river more literally. We parked as usual like a brute on a cobblestone sidewalk, this time below an authoritative but ailing building high on the hill like an elder who speaks no English but watches intently. Nankendorf is like the others, a cluster of houses separated only with tight streets to not waste any farmland surrounding. This same philosophy naturally grows a town this size every 1km or so, similar to thoughtfully spaced crops. And the crops in Franconia are watered with bier. Breweries are strangely sophisticated basement experiments perfected over hundreds of years to produce a unique local brew that is more flavorful and balanced than we deserve in American big gulps. No bottling, no drink specials. Here your grandma would have a familie brewerie and open one of the rooms in her house (complete with fake pink flowers and doiles) as the gasthaus. It's an intimate, family experience that nourishes a town. From inside the gasthaus we grasp tight to our mug and stare out the window. We watch the rain fall steady like the carbonic bubbles rise in the local Vollbier - the Urhell too, though it'll force you to make an inappropriately sour face for the warm countryside and warm host washing glasses and watching TV behind the bar. It's hard to believe that this is the same country whose pride recently ballooned to superiority, who invaded Poland and exterminated it's own citizens. Its hard to understand that the bier brewed and shared here remains like it was 500 years ago, without the taste the auto industry or burger kings or cigarette machines or genocide. Though the hops is grown on vines and poles in the same soil that was torn by bombs only sixty years ago, it seems to have forgotten entirely.

Aimee Mann - Little Tornado (mp3)