Friday, January 30, 2009

Blagojevich and Madoff hate my dj'ing, but Obama likes it

That subject line just quadrupled this blog's numbers. Awesome.

But it is true, which is good news for you (and the President I guess), because of the below superdope notifications you may read now:

Friday Jan 30

Mats Gustafsson with Thurston and Gene Moore 9pm
Whiteout and Samara Lubelski 8pm

DJ Mike Wolf

Club Rehab 25 Ave B (btwn 2nd and 3rd st) NYC
Early show set will start on time.....

Saturday Jan 31

Magik Markers
Eskimo King

DJ's Chris Freeman and Mike Wolf

Glasslands 289 Kent Ave (btwn S 1 and S 2 st) BKLYN
Doors 10pm

Monday, January 26, 2009

Ten from the bottom

Forgot to tell you -- my Pazz + Jop list is up, for those who dare to care about the air up dere. Uh, down here. Just like every year, the overall list is pretty predictable, as these things inevitably are. And just like every year, exactly one of my top ten made the big list. For the first time in a while it wasn't Kanye West though. Like my pal the Dilettante there are a handful of records that only got votes from me -- which, while I generally maintain a "What is wrong with everyone?" mindset (more fun that way), probably only means it's an awfully big world. Or I'm a complete mental defective. (We didn't vote for anything in common, but a couple of hers could've appeared on mine.)

Two records that were going to place highly with me were essentially disqualified when I was later hired by the label that had the great good taste to put them out: Palms and Lia Ices. If you want to know what I think of them both, this was written before I even met the shadowy figure (read: doesn't get enough sunlight) behind the label.

Thinking now about the ten or so other albums that could have made my list, and another ten that got regular play, I have to say it was a pretty good year for music.

Can't believe I haven't even told you about last Friday night yet -- saw one band I already liked bring it to the subsequent plane and picked up a totally new band to dig. Maybe tell you about it all tomorrow…let's just say I'm actively working against this lunatic notion that everything has to go really fast these days. Slow and steady finishes the race, or something.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Cut the shit

I grew up about a half a mile outside Philadelphia, where the United States of America was born a short 232-plus years ago. This fact doesn't make me taller or my opinions any more important than those of someone born in Tempe or Wichita or Dallas. (Well, maybe Dallas.) What my childhood there did do, among other things, was provide me with endless elementary-school field trips to a wide range of historically significant sites: The Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, Betsy Ross's house, et cetera and on and on. I went to these places under school supervision so many times that the occasional jaunt west into Amish country seemed like a breath of fresh air (though what we really smelled was manure). My ad-nauseum indoctrination into colonial American history seemed to have left little mark on me and my proudly inherited liberal politics until this decade, when everything that anyone believed this country was about got shat upon and spat upon by Bush and his craven allies. Even at its birth this country was not as clean as I was taught—many of our founding fathers owned slaves, the end—but the set of Western freedoms we loosely sum up as "democracy," in tandem with the superpower status held here throughout my lifetime to this point, felt more and more vital to me as they were squelched and distended ever further by the worst administration we've ever had. (And even at that, how many countries can say their worst-ever leader voluntarily surrendered power after eight years? Even when we suck, we kind of rule.)

Where'm I going with this? I apologize for rambling, I haven't written in this space for a while and today was jarringly emotional. Like many caucasians, when the TV cameras at the inauguration paused on the face of a middle-aged or older African-American crying, or saluting, I let myself believe I could possibly grasp 1% of 1% of that struggle.

I think I'm a fucking patriot, is what I'm saying. Check with me on this in four years (or less), but I also think Barack Obama is the best person we've elected president in my lifetime (I was almost two when Dick Nixon won in ’68.) But Obama isn't the problem; we are. As Mark Slouka's "Notebook" essay in the February issue of Harper's (worth the cover price) all-too-convincingly asserts, we have become a people so in love with our own ignorance that we perhaps shouldn't be trusted with this freedom anymore—at least not the freedom to vote. "Anti-intellectualism in America is a very old hat," Slouka writes, citing terrifying (if stray) anecdotes before reminding us that nearly half of those who voted in the last presidential election did so willingly for Sarah Palin (hide the kids) and that other guy. Also, 71% of Americans believe in angels. Linger on that one a bit.

And what about the rabid Obama supporters? "The fact that so many have convinced themselves that one man, thus far almost entirely untested, will slay the culture of corruption with one hand while pulling us out of the greatest mess we've known in a century with the other suggests that a certain kind of 'clap your hands if you believe' naiveté crosses the aisle at will." Then Slouka reminds us that in this pitched, so-important-that-everyone-in-the-world-was-watching election, 83 million Americans "didn't move, didn't vote." Some of them have just plain given up on politics, he admits, and who could blame them? (Well, ultimately, I could, and so could he.) The rest—and it's no small number—are dumber than a box of dirt, and they'd probably beat me to death to stay that way.

Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were executed for espionage a little more than 50 years ago; what do you think the chances are that we'll see Bush & Co.—whose crimes stretch over the entirety of this decade and cost thousands of American lives (tens or hundreds of thousands of brown-skinned ones)—even brought to trial? The smartest among us wince and know that just to suggest it would be seen as anti-American. It's enough to make a guy wanna pull the wings off an angel (then dry them, crush them and maybe snort them).

I didn't even get around to how the most important things, like um, the election of a president, are seen in terms of sports now. Just listen to the anchors, look at the us vs. them mentality that defines us. And did you hear the "na na na na, hey hey hey, good-bye" cheers when Bush emerged this morning? If I can't see him imprisoned then i guess seeing him ridiculed is…no, no way is it good enough. Clearly I need to start going to rock shows in earnest again, and do little else. Stand by. Or sit, or whatever.