Friday, August 13, 2010

Ty Segall- in dreams

photo by Denee PetracekLast night, I went to see Ty Segall at Cake Shop and got more than I bargained for there. I showed up there late, with a humid drizzle going on as people poured out of the Lower East Side club strip for cig breaks and to socialize in a less cramped area, with taxis streaming by to pick up the floatsam and jetsam that would soon tire out. I made it downstairs in time to see the end of the set from the third band of the evening- it was almost perfect timing and even more amazing considering it was a four-band bill where I came for the last act.

People streamed out after the band finished and I made my way up to the front, near a fan mounted on the wall, which almost made it bearable to stand there near the end of the bar. I was squashed there with people trying to thread in near the stage or to order a drink but it seemed to be a decent perch. Ty and the band set up to go on soon but it seems like long time in there with the crowd and the heat. Though I was only ten feet from the stage, I couldn't see anything except a tiny sliver of Ty's face and occasionally a glimpse of his long hair manically bobbing up and down. Near the front of stage, some pretty weak moshing was going on but it didn't matter since Ty was delivering- his set was good grungry garage rock which he's now upped the ante with by adding a tuneful side to it on his new record Melted, which impressed me enough to come to out see him. Jay Ruttenberg, my friend from Time Out New York collared me and hung out there in front for a while but he couldn't see squat either and retreated to back for some air. I did likewise and was ready to stay for a while until Ty tried out some tired jokes ("what didn't the lifeguard rescue the hippie? He was too far out man!" and "What do you do if you see a space man? You park, man!") and followed up his threat to play some Skynyrd by actually doing it (not "Freebird," mind you) and a Sabbath cover. Not really into his bar band shtick and noticing that it was getting late (I have a day job, mind you), I took off and got home by midnight.

For the last few weeks, I'd been able to actually remember most of the dreams I had and when I'd share 'em with my girlfriend or some bewildered friends who guest starred in them, they had no idea what it meant either or maybe just didn't want to tell me that I'm just sick in the head.

But after Ty's show, I had one that seemed to make things clear. Here's the scenario. I'm at an outdoor amphitheater where the circus is performing. The seating looks crowded so I walk near a ground level opening where a few people are crowded around to see what's happening. Even there, it's hard to see anything. They bring a goat out and maybe other animals and everyone oooh's and ah's at it. I turn to look at the stands and I notice that there's some clowns seated near the back with their props, including spray bottles. One of them nails me with water and at first I think it's funny and then I realize that he's trying to clear me from that area- the other people there have already left. I think of trying to walk in to find a seat but I look at my watch and notice that it's getting late and that I should probably start heading home.

Oh, so it's obvious, right? I was just processing in my mind what had actually happened to me a few hours ago (dunno who the clown was, maybe me). But it was such a relief and kind of a revelation to think that I could find some bearings about what was going on in my dreams and that I was kind of reliving scenes in my life. No, I probably can't psychoanalyze your dreams and I'm obviously missing on a lot more going on but it really gave me some peace of mind.

And I to that I have Ty, a guy I could bare see, to thank for that...

PHOTO ABOVE by Denee Petracek


Thursday, August 12, 2010

SXSW panel- "Hip-Hop at the Crossroads: Growing Up or Getting Old?"

SXSW will be here before you know it (March 2011) to be exact.

I'm helping to put together a rap panel featuring such luminaries as Dream Hampton, Harry Allen, Kris Ex and Christopher R. Weingarten. Here's the premise:

Even as it has become a strong cultural presence, like any other music style now, hip hop finds itself at a crossroads of significance. It's has a long hard road to find acceptance but now that it's found it and attained respectability and top selling artists for a lengthy time, where does it go from here? Just as rock has been questioned as being alive still, now rap faces the same charge. How will rap remain vital?

Some of the things that would be discussed include:

What are the challenges that hip hop faces now and in the future?
Who will lead the charge for hip hop?
How does hip hop survive in a download age?
Does hip hop need to evolve to survive? If so, how?
What will be the cultural significance of hip hop in the future?

If you think that sounds interesting, please support this by voting for it at the SXSW site.

Thanks in advance!

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Perfect Sound Forever- Aug/Sept 2010 issue now online

In the latest issue of Perfect Sound Forever, you'll find (among other things):

The devil & end of history
"Every generation demands something stronger. Bigger and badder. If you want to understand Chuck Berry, listen to the Rolling Stones. If you want to understand the Rolling Stones, listen to AC/DC. If you want to understand AC/DC... listen to AC/DC."

Sun Ra, Outkast, Kool Keith get down
"Sun Ra perceived the black people as a nation on the edge of history; still living within a segregated cultural mythology existing parallel to the modern world. He also saw the potential that this cultural mythology could afford: "Myth speaks of the impossible, of immortality. [Black people] need to try the impossible.""

Life with/out Janis & Big Brother
"Big Brother was... a great band with a strong and growing fan base in the Bay Area. The partnership lasted only until the end of 1968, when Janis left the group to go it alone. One of those who were there to watch it all happen from start to finish was the Big Brother drummer, Dave Getz. I recently interviewed Dave..."

Ultra rare punk/post-punk
"The age of the collectors: those born between 1955 and 1965 have emotional memories attached to glam rock, as an equally strong musical connect to that of punk, possibly stronger as these memories pre-date their first punk experiences...."

Secrets of rhyme & groove
"If you're expecting a printed Jay-Z biography after In My Lifetime, Hard Knock Life, and The Life and Times of S. Carter, Volumes I, II and III, respectively, then I hope you're medicated for ADD. What's more fascinating is the musical construction of Jay-Z's verse--his actual rhyme, rhythm, and pitch scheme. It's the essence of the artist himself."

A video/musical match-up
"Taiwan born Jay Chou's "Hair Like Snow" and Hong Kong born Jacky Cheung's "Song of Trouble" are two modern Mandarin pop songs that critique 21st century existence."

UK folkie protest
"Meet Olly the Octopus, a protest singer who famously sung a song entitled “London’s New Mare” in the middle of Boris Johnson’s first mayoral assembly in Bromley back in November 2008 and also sung other songs expressing his political views. He is currently living proof that music can be used by a musical individual to express opinions and thoughts about the world today."

Aussie psych-garage madness
"Whilst taking their name from a legendary Red Krayola song, and pledging their allegiance to the psychedelic garage sounds of the '60's, the band sound more like an amalgam of the Fall, early Wire, Swell Maps, Tall Dwarfs, the early Happy Mondays and of course liberal smidgens of Birthday Party hysteria, minus the narcotic swagger."

Solo years Part II & interview
"We will look at the releases that, while solo efforts in spirit to varying degrees, have the outward characteristic, so crucial in the rock world, of a band effort rather than a solo effort. Pollard was kind enough to send me his thoughts on some of these real and imagined configurations."

South African underground
"Curious as it may seem, the fact that the first release by Shifty Records, a South African record company whose significance far outweighs its fame, was by not by a South African artist at all, or even recorded in South Africa, somehow typifying the Shifty method."

Indie rocker/entrepreneur
"Sinkovich is one of the best, most respected musicians from one of America's best music cities. So how has his new band, the Poison Arrows, gone ignored, and what does that say about how the music industry and the Chicago scene operate in the present day?"

Guitarist retrospective & interview
"The music that the Wisconsin guitarist (b. 1954) has recorded over the past 33 years traces a remarkable path beginning with fertile hybrids, travelling across the Atlantic to the Munich studios of ECM and ranging wider and deeper into the Far East, merging studio technology, impressive technical facility, imagination and feeling."

Its musical legacy
"Twenty years ago, our imaginations were ignited and seduced by that infamous phrase- 'she's dead, wrapped in plastic.' Twenty years ago, David Lynch's Twin Peaks gave birth to a mythology that still resonates: Twin Peaks folklore is being reinterpreted and redistributed throughout our culture to this day. "

DJ Ruler Why speaks
"Originally from San Antonio, Ruler Why (aka Ryan Staton) has been freestyling since he was in high school, but he didn't seriously consider hip hop as a career until he saw Wu-Tang Clan in 2005. Since then, he's been recording beats and mining archives and cultivating a unique sound for the Vultures that suggests a dramatic, Old-Hollywood sense of grandeur."