Thursday, May 30, 2002

Things are flying all over the place this week. I’m pining for the belter, who’s working towards literary greatness in Surrey all week. I’m bitter, besides, because I have band practice Thursday, and will miss her reading that night. Grr. My great achievement of the week will be plowing through “Roadhouse Blues” with Blueshammer on Friday night for the shirt-tucking crowd at a Kits pick-up joint. I’m so proud.

So while I contemplate vacating the Blueshammer drum stool, I’ll turn to the more pleasant subject of the difficult music I’m dealing with right now. I was cheered up during a trip to Chapters today by the appearance of a new Bill Martin book. Professor Bill authored the fine Listening to the Future a few years ago, and his latest tome, Avant Rock: Experimental Music from the Beatles to Bjork, deals with music in the same general neighbourhood…at least to my way of thinking (I seem to say this a lot). Whereas LttF had Tull on the cover, this one has Sonic Youth and the wee Icelandic one. Bill is pictured on the back, Rickenbacker four-string in his burly embrace. As a purchase, it was a no-brainer. I started reading this afternoon, and it did not disappoint—lots of philosophy, situationist politics and other things I don’t understand mixed in with solid musical appraisal. I’m interested to see what he makes of Merzbow, who I had much difficulty reviewing for U!

I also picked up a freebie at the belter’s office: an “encyclopedia of northwest music,” which equates to Washington State and Oregon for the purposes of this volume. The thing tries to do too much by including sections on jazz and classical (which seem like afterthoughts tacked onto the big rock section), but there’s some good-to-great bits within. Nice to read Dawn “Backlash” Anderson again, and the coverage of NW metal and hardcore is extensive. The Melvins entry had me listening to Stoner Witch tonight—the guide picked it as perhaps their most beautiful album, and I concur. I was even inspired to put a track from it on the belter’s tape. I would have welcomed an Engine Kid entry, but you can’t have everything.

Back to Melvins: after a couple bottles of Bass last night, I put on Houdini to fall asleep to. I’d forgotten how familiar I was with the album; I could anticipate the sequence of tracks pretty well. As sweet memories of Melvinian shows at the Town Pump congealed into a gloopy mass in my head, I passed out—a track or two before “Spread Eagle Beagle” as luck would have it.

Promo CD Hell Part II
I chipped away at the pile some more. Deadsoul Tribe features the ex-Psychotic Waltz singer (never heard them or him) and they’re being released on InsideOut America. It reminds me of Bruno rock, the nebulous metalgrunge we’d rock out to during the glorious, blurry all-nighters we used to pull. I’m thinking Warrior Soul and Nudeswirl. Smash, I will pass this on to you after I give it another spin. soundisciples didn’t look too promising. First, the album’s called Audio Manifesto, which is pretty gay. Second, the ginger-haired trio who are apparently the soundisciples are pictured on the back with black suits, sunglasses, and (in the middle guy’s grip) a handgun. Yawn. On the other hand, this is on Peaceville Records, who generally rule. And the music itself is passable techno-metal. So scrap the band photos and let the music do the talking. I also spun the new Vanden Plas album, Beyond Daylight. When I’m the mood to dislike prog metal, I really dislike it. I despised this release. There’s supposed to be a Kansas cover as a bonus track on the “real” version of the CD, but it was left off the promo. That really blows, because it would have been nice to have at least one listenable song on the album.

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