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Pretty brilliant…

That Kanye West guy. He is a fairly good rapper, a shitty singer, and a genius for creating publicity about himself. That said, the need to create publicity for oneself is, I’m pretty sure, a sickness. At what point does self-expression become narcissism? Sure, attracting attention to oneself is an art, but just because it is an art doesn’t make it moral. So, Kanye is an artist working in a particulary pathetic milieu, if you compare him to other 21st century media whores. Historically speaking, he’s a child. 196) Aimee Mann: The Forgotten Arm In a better world, Kanye West would be grabbing Aimee Mann’s award from her hand, because Taylor Swift is a terrible husk full of pap. But then Aimee would kick Kanye off the stage, and maybe in the best possible world, we can learn to love Aimee Mann’s songcraft exactly because she is unlikely to appear on a pap-fest like the MTV video music awards. 197) Michelle Shocked: Because good things come in threes Wow, everything just written about Aimee Mann, and then some. Michelle cranks out great songs, makes them affordable, always puts on a spiritually uplifing show, and one of these CDs is all DIsney covers….
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Almost to Sandy Denny

That is, to the next box set I get to listen to. For anyone stumbling across this mess of a blog, it exists to chronicle my listening to every store-bought CD I own, one at a time, because my wife challenged me to do it. Every 100 CDs, I get to pick a box set to listen to. I am very behind… 190) Al Green: I Can’t Stop I was very worried this would be crap, and it’s not, it’s very good, though it’s not I’m Still In Love With You… but expecting a recording that sublime again is not really fair, so thanks, Al, for the new songs. 191) Groove Armada: goodbye country (hello nightclub) I forgot what a great dance record this is, and that Nile Rodgers and Richie Havens were both on it. Superstylin‘, yessir. 192) Sarah Vaughn: The Collection I have a boxset by Ms S to get to in a bit as well, but this collection is not too bad, if a bit obvious. Such a warm, welcoming, and yet somehow dangerous voice… “I’m Scared” is fantastic, but where is “Whatever Lola Wants”? 193) BR 5-49: Big Backyard Beat Show I get tired of the…
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On a 4 day break

I am in the midst of building a shed for the garbage cans that sit on the side of the house, because I am tired of listening to them cry when it rains. A hint for anyone endeavoring to undertake such a project: ignore eHow.com, their “plan” for building a shed is to “follow manufacturer instructions.” Why bother? 185) Lucinda Williams: Sweet Old World Not as uniformly great as Car Wheel On A Gravel Road, but still has some fine songs on it: “Six Blocks Away,” “Something About What Happens When We Talk,” “Lines Around Your Eyes.” Sorry about Frank. 186) Toots and the Maytals: Time Tough I saw Toots at this grotesque festival in Atlanta called Music Midtown , they played for about 20 minutes and were hustled off the stage so Maroon 5 could play for 20 minutes, etc etc. Last time I ever went to that particular beer puke extravaganza. Too bad, I’d seen some great stuff there in years prior: the McGarrigles (including young Martha Wainwright), Bloque, David Byrne, Willie Nelson, Blind Boys of Alabama, Violent Femmes, Mobb Deep, Beausoleil… and not for 20 minutes, the overcrowding of acts came in the last few years. Perhaps it’s…
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Synchronizing… or not

I downloaded an app to synchronize these blogs with my facebook page, but then realized I just didn’t care. I go on facebook once a week, maybe, and this blog is primarily a notebook, not a forum, so I’ll just leave it off. Facebook is too jammed with shite anyway, no need to add to the feed. Almost done with the Benjamin Barber book (Consumed), and while I agree with most of the points he would like to make–citizens of the West are becoming increasingly childish, modern advertising techniques are clearly trying to keep adults infantile (addicted to instant gratification; unable to see, let alone desire, nuance in argument or entertainment; valorizing individual desires rather than public needs, etc.) , this is not a well-written  or particularly well-researched book. In fact, it’s not hard to see Consumed as an example of the kind of cultural artifact Barber critiques: a shoddily thrown-together product meant to satisfy a target market whose expectations for such artifacts has been lowered as they are provided increasingly artificial “choices,” like Mac or PC, Burger King/McDs/Wendy’s (and I agree with his premises!). Some of his suggestions for combating the infantilizing effects of modern marketing are worth considering, if also crappily written, and there are…
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Infantilization?

I’m just starting Benjamin Barber’s Consumed, the thesis seems to be that marketers, that modern capitalism itself, is increasingly turning adults childish so they can sell them a bunch of crap they don’t need. Well, maybe not that conspiratorially; the marketers are, of course, also getting more childish, more addicted to immediate gratification and dull, uncomplicated cultural objects: movies that are all about CGI, with some cardboard characters floating about, music that involves taking a puerile idea and masticating it into so much overproduced pap, video games that combine the worst aspects of the previous two genres… I tend to agree even before I’ve read the book, which usually means that I will disagree with a whole bunch of what Barber says along the way. I do think there are important distinctions to make between uncomplicated and simplistic, between childlike and childish, but I will save that until I’m done reading his book. In the meantime, Mark Slouka’s essay in the latest issue of Harper’s, Dehumanized, actually made me weep a bit as I read it on the front porch, soaking up the sun and a bit of brandy. “Rain does not follow the plow.” Nice. 178) Dick Dale: Better Shred Than Dead: The Dick Dale Anthology Bought this at a…
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Feeling not groovy

Summer cold of some kind, just want to go lay down and read, but who cares. So I will go lay down, though I have 2,000 things to do. My second book of poems is available from BlazeVox, also through Amazon, and I think from Barnes and Noble on line, though I haven’t checked. One of the 2,000 things I need to do is get some review copies sent out, but that will have to wait for a bit. 173) Van Morrison: Keep It Simple I have a record of Van’s from the 80’s, he looks like Sheena Easton, there is a swatch of pastel purple and some Kandinsky lines migrating around the background… and it sounds like hell. This CD does not, good to see he rediscovered good taste. “Don’t Go To Nightclubs Anymore” and “Song of Home” really stick out. 174) Fabulosos Cadillacs: La Marcha Del Golazo Solitario Cool soundtrack music, Thelonius Monk, ska, bossa nova, all put in a blender. Less rocking and more jazzy than Calaveros, but still excellent. 175) David Byrne: Feelings Byrne hasn’t lost his way with a pop song, but this CD isn’t as focused as his best work. Maybe he tries to…
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Drowning in information…

…thirsting for knowledge. What does that mean, exactly? It’s a nice aphorism, but like most aphorisms, it gets squirrelly under scrutiny. From dictionary.com: “Synonyms: […] 2. Information, knowledge, wisdom are terms for human acquirements through reading, study, and practical experience. Information applies to facts told, read, or communicated that may be unorganized and even unrelated: to pick up useful information. Knowledge is an organized body of information, or the comprehension and understanding consequent on having acquired and organized a body of facts: a knowledge of chemistry. Wisdom is a knowledge of people, life, and conduct, with the facts so thoroughly assimilated as to have produced sagacity, judgment, and insight: to use wisdom in handling people.” So, knowledge is organized information? And wisdom is lived knowledge? But the first definitions of “information” in most dictionaries describe info as a form of knowledge… how about etymology: “Information 1387, “act of informing,” from O.Fr. informacion, from L. informationem (nom. informatio) “outline, concept, idea,” noun of action from informare (see inform). Meaning “knowledge communicated” is from c.1450. Short form info is attested from 1906. Info-mercial and info-tainment are from 1983. Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2001 Douglas Harper” “Knowledge” is formed from the root “know”…
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Asphyxiation?

Vis a vis David Carradine, why did he have a rope around his genitals? That’s not a part of auto-erotic asphyxiation I’m familiar with. And since he hung himself and his stuff, does he get two tombstones, one regular size and one little one to plant halfway down the grave? When you can snatch these pebbles from my hand… 166) Los Fabulosos Cadillacs: Fabulosos Calavera Wow, this CD is all over the place and yet perfectly together at the same time. Soundtrack jazz + ska + speed metal + tango ALL ON THE SAME SONG! And it works. it took me 2 or 3 listens to learn how to listen to this, same as happened when I heard MIA’s second disc. 167) Los Lobos: Good Morning Aztlan Not their greatest collection of songs, but still pretty good–borrowing from Russ Meyer, “I ain’t never heard me no bad Los Lobos…” Come with some sort of documentary I’ve never watched. 168) Gorillaz: Demon Days Good songs, love the idea of having a comic book band, but the fact that I cannot go see Damon Albarn’s opera Monkey fills me with sadness, and I am reminded every time I hear Gorillaz, or Blur……
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More CDs

What a messed up species we are. 163) Oneida: Anthem of the Moon Every Oneida release has a different genre feel to it, this one is rollicking and synthy. And weird, though not self-consciously so. I wonder if they have ever played IN Oneida. Saw them open for Jucifer in Atlanta, and they started off with a 20-minute long song where everyone chanted “Die! Die! Die!” the whole time over a very rigid military beat…. it was great. 164) Willie Nelson: Teatro Daniel Lanois revitalizes yet another late-career songwriter’s work, this time producing what I think are the best versions of some Willie chestnuts: “My Own Peculiar Way,” “Darkness on the Face of the Earth,” “I’ve Just Destroyed the World,” “Three Days”… basically, Lanois adds some reverb and echo, compresses everything so it has that big middle, then adds space to the final mix. But “basic” doesn’t cover it, just listen to what he’s done for Willie, or Emmylou Harris, or Dylan, or Ron Sexsmith, or the Nevilles…. 165) Paper Lions: The Symptom and the Sick Some occasionally interesting, occasionally boring fugazi-ish hardcore-plus released through the first incarnation of Kindercore records. 2 great songs, 3 or 4 good ones, and…
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Spam joy

I just got this comment posted to the last blog entry: “Good afternoon! Mistress Unbound information there. beautiful girl Kyivska men. I am pleased to welcome you to its website, prostitutes Kiev – Fish. You can visit my blog.” Mistress unbound information–should be a professional wrestler’s name. Not to mention “prostitutes Kiev – Fish.” Thanks for the garble! 160) The Human League: Dare Probably my imagination, but the CD itself seems to smell like Aqua Net. Some excellent songs, their big hits plus a few others, and some fluff as well. I prefer Yaz, but still fun to listen to once in a while. 161) Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds: And No More Shall We Part This was the CD that landed Nick a review in the New Yorker, of all places; Sasha Frere-Jones is a shitty music writer, but he does have a good ear. Interesting to see how far Nick has come since his days in the Human League. (not). 162) Osvaldo Golijon: Ainadamar A flamenco-flecked opera about the murder of poet and playwright Garcia-Lorca, mainly from the point of view of Margarita Xirgu, another poet who he often collaborated with on plays. Dawn Upshaw is Xirgu,…
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