Archive for April, 2009

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Destroy/Dismantle

April 23, 2009
The Reid brothers and their magnificent hair.

The Reid brothers and their magnificent hair.

Today’s lineup – the Jesus & Mary Chain vs. the Beach Boys, George Thorogood and the Rolling Stones.

Scotland’s finest feedback merchants have done a variety of covers (the Cramps’ “New Kind of Kick,” the Temptations’ “My Girl,” the 13th Floor Elevators’ “Reverberation,” Leonard Cohen’s “Tower of Song”) but none of those compare to the cheerful destruction found in this trio of tracks. Nothing like some big-haired Scottish bastards taking the piss out of some venerated rock icons.

Surfing USA
Sure, the bouncy melody and singalongness of this Beach Boys chestnut remain, but good luck trying to find it under all the scalding feedback.

Verdict: What the Beach Boys would have sounded like if 1.) they hated their audience and 2.) lived in a piss poor surfing climate.

JAMC – Surfing USA.mp3

Who Do You Love
The Reid brothers grab this redneck favorite, shake all the swamp boogie out of it and take it for a long menacing stroll through a dark, Scottish bog. Soaked in reverb, echo and menace.

Verdict: What George Thorogood would some like if he was actually any good.

JAMC – Who Do You Love.mp3

Little Red Rooster
A Willie Dixon blues standard, most famously covered by the Rolling Stones. Plucking this track from back in the day when the Rolling Stones were just a fairly useful covers band, the Chain turn the usual blues progression into a lurching, wheezing catastrophe. Waves of distortion and feedback cling to a barely-there tune as the Reids crank their aural slugfest up to 11.

Verdict: What the Stones would sound like if they had a woeful misunderstanding of how any of their audio equipment worked.

JAMC – Little Red Rooster.mp3

All mp3s are only temporarily available. If you like what you hear, please support the artists. If you wish to have a track removed, please contact me at 2timegrime@gmail.com.

-CLT

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Hey, Big Spender!

April 21, 2009

money-bag

As the government at all levels continues to look for those elusive revenue streams, the seem to ignore some very exploitable cash cows. Right now their focus seems to be on gas (higher taxes, per mile taxes) and, of course, the old punching bag, cigarettes.Every time I light up, I try to look past the additional $.70/pack I’m paying and instead focus on the inner city health care I’m apparently providing. It is important that the underprivileged youngsters stay healthy as nothing fucks up a successful crack operation faster than an asthmatic 10-year old who can’t do any heavy lifting or outrun the cops.

But as noted economist/delivery boy Philip J. Fry once said, “You can only take my money for so long, before you take it all!”

Some suggestions for additional taxes (“Now with 50% less representation!”):

pimp-daddy-purle 

Prostitution
I know that this will be a tough sell, what with our representatives being more used to whoring themselves out, but it might be a refreshing change to don the Purple Suede Hat of Pimping (+3) for awhile.

Think of the benefits. No more turf wars over the best corners. Healthier hoes. Excise taxes collected on “the deed.” Awesome higher tax bracket incomes. All above the table (income-wise, anyway) and all on the books. An additional chapter or two in public school health books. Fewer communicable diseases. Fewer beatings from pimps/johns. Law enforcement freed from punishing victimless crimes. Win-win all around.

And if your stable of rockstars would prefer to work for drugs, please see the next entry.

dope-wars

Drugs
Now here’s something the government is used to doing. Pushing. They shove public schools, subsidies, tax increases, hybrid vehicles, ethanol, warrantless wiretaps and thug-like airport security down our throats. Why not start pushing something the people want?

The benefits? No more throwing $50 billion+ down the k-hole. Tax on sales. Tax on purchases. Tax on supplies. Tax on dealer incomes (punish the rich). Fewer inmates means less of a tax drain on the public. (My apologies to those towns in the middle of nowhere who have used the burgeoning inmate population to outfit the local high school with a jumbotron and 30,000-seat stadium. Find another gravy train, leeches.) Cleaner, safer drugs. Cleaner, safer streets. Three or four new chapters in the health book. Child labor laws may need to be relaxed, though.

Disposable Bottles

Bottled Water
Perhaps the most redundant product ever created. The stuff is already overpriced and available thru your motherfucking tap. If people want to pay $1.29-1.69 per 20 oz. of dressed-up New Jersey tap water, then I doubt they’ll much care if they suddenly have to pay $1.69-2.09 a bottle. Especially if you tie the tax hike to some middle class guilt triggers, like Alaskan wilderness reserves, inner city schools or some such bullshit.

And let’s not forget the under-exploited rave crowd. While they’re enjoying your heavily-taxed Ecstasy, feel free to turn off the water fountains and bathroom taps and start raking in $6/bottle. All tax. All night long.

 the-simpsons-ed-begley

Hybrids
Since people are already purchasing these more for status than for any sound fiscal potential, add a couple of grand in taxes to the sticker price. State lotteries have already proven you can tax the ignorant. The downside to this is that lotteries, etc. tend to tax the lower classes, who have a finite supply of cash to throw away and tend to absorb at least as much tax as they provide.

Once again, it is time to soak the rich. And the reasonably well-off. And anyone else falling along the “Upper Middle Class Twit” tax bracket. Any purchase motivated by Ed Begley-esque self-satisfaction or white guilt can’t possibly be taxed enough.

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Booze
Granted, this is taxed already. But is it taxed enough? No one’s allowed to light up within 200 feet of anywhere but you can still booze your way into a vehicular homicide charge without everyone coughing conspicuously or comparing you to Hitler. Secondhand smoke may kill, but it takes those years of the end of “innocent” people’s lives, rather than demanding it up front like a drunk driver coming through the living room window.

Besides, this whole sin tax on cigarettes reeks of hypocrisy.

Is it the health thing? It’s not ok to destroy your lungs, but it is ok to destroy your liver, kidneys and brain. Too much heart disease with the Marlboro men (and women)? What about all those gorging themselves into a lifelong case of diabetes before succumbing to massive heart failure?

Either tax the fuck out of everything harmful or don’t bother. You’re fooling no one. Besides, you may finally get those bitchy bar owners off your back by chasing out what’s left of their crowd with scarily high drink prices. Serves ’em right for trying to get ahead in America, the land of opportunity the level playing field.

-CLT

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Chronic Fatigue

April 20, 2009

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Happy 4/20, America. International Pot Day. (Perhaps not that international, as Britain, Canada, etc. would see today’s date as 20/04 and Mensa members as 04/47.)

To those who partake regularly, this will be most notable for being another day that ends with “y”. For those who don’t (like myself), this means that it’s Monday and we’ll be headed back for work.

But just because I won’t be spending the day staring down the business end of a bong does not mean that I won’t be with you in spirit. And as I stare into your more-bloodshot-than-usual eyes at work today, I’ll know that the man has had it stuck to him again.

“Right on, brothers!,” I’ll think silently to myself and pump my fist skyward as I steer clear of your heavy machinery usage and your multitude of “thinly veiled” weed references.

-CLT

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1991: Nirvana Kills Alternative Rock

April 19, 2009

071116_114332_nirvanaredferns_02

1991.

Nirvana releases Nevermindand singlehandedly destroys the futures of Warrant, Ratt, Poison, Dokken, and perhaps even Stryper. These hair metal bands are the known, mostly unmourned victims of the grunge revolution.

But what about alternative rock?

Before the grunge-fueled major label spending spree, there was a version of rock known as alternative rock (sometimes college rock) that encompassed a wide variety of bands including Love & Rockets, Jesus & Mary Chain, Echo & the Bunnymen, My Bloody Valentine, Happy Mondays, James, the Stone Roses and the Pixies, just to name some of the major players. This loose confederation of bands and radio stations operated outside the mainstream (except in Britain where it was the mainstream).

Then Nevermind happened.

Major labels went on a shopping spree, selling hair and buying flannel. The most unlikely of bands suddenly saw A&R men waving blank checks in their general direction. Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, Stone Temple Pilots, Smashing Pumpkins were some of the more standard signees.

But the labels went further, seeking to wring the last dollar out of anyone they’d never heard of before. Uncomfortable execs found themselves flattened against the wall of the local dive, staring down the business end of the Butthole Surfers or asking the barkeep if they sold earplugs while getting to the bottom of this whole “Melvins thing.”

Case in point: Royal Trux. Fished off the Drag City roster by Virgin, Royal Trux gave thir soon-to-be-jobless A&R person the unenviable task of trying to market Sweet Sixteen, an album whose production values frequently slipped below lo-fi into no-fi and whose cover featured an overflowing, feces laden… fuck it. See the photo below.

Giving your artists creative control... it's a career-killer.

Giving your artists creative control... it's a career-killer.

Rock radio stations (who exist to push major label music and sell advertising) hastily revamped playlists and rechristened themselves “alternative.” Alternative rock stations, who had spearheaded the grunge attack, suddenly found themselves in the company of bigger, more well paid competition.

Major labels shoved everybody and anybody into the studio, grabbing them a Butch Vig or closest non-union equivalent. Turds were polished. Soul-patches were immaculately groomed. Studios turned into methadone clinics only without all that morphine or rehabilitation.

Kurt sticks it to the man. Via the man.

Kurt sticks it to the man. Via the man.

The former indie bands rebelled, often in t-shirt form. They started fires, used massive amounts of drugs, got hospitalized, broke up and refused to shower. Once Kurt took himself out of circulation, the majors were freed of their Jiminy Cricket. More cooperative and manipulated bands were signed. Candlebox, Bush, Seven Mary Three, Better Than Ezra, etc. Weak, watery shit, cloaked in the “alternative” whitewash, rinsed and sanitized for the masses.

The old altrock, with its variety and imagination, was replaced with wall-to-wall guitars, hoarse bellowing and ritualistic abuse of the loud-quiet-loud dynamic. An occasional jangle-pop band was thrown in to sucker in the ladies (Toad the Wet Sprocket, Live, etc.) The underground went deeper as the labels reps roamed the landscape hoping for the last great white hope.

Exhibit A – 1991 (the Victims):
the Pixies release their last album
My Bloody Valentine release their last album
the Jesus and Mary Chain enter the studio for their last good album, Honey’s Dead
the Happy Mondays enter the studio for their ill-fated last album, Yes Please! which bankrupts Creation Records
Ministry release their last good album, Psalm 69
Skinny Puppy enters the studio for their last good album, Last Rights

Alternative rock radio was now a loud, tuneless blare. Flannel was the new black. Grunge was the new metal. Alternative rock is dead. Long live alternative rock. 

Coming up: FNM, RHCP and RATM – Acronyms of doom. Nu-rock gang-rapes alternative rock’s cooling corpse. Meanwhile, major labels execs find Korn in their shit, feed it to the public.

Bonus download:
Solvent – My Radio.mp3
Electro artist sings nostalgically about how the radio used to be cool, man, but now it’s changed.

-CLT

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Starving? Maybe You’re Just Eating the Wrong Food

April 18, 2009
Local green partiers announce that they are "full of shit."

Local green partiers announce that they are "full of shit."

Apologies in advance for the length of this post…

You hear altogether too much these days about how far we have strayed from the purer, more organic ways of our predecessors. Let’s go ahead and set that straight:

Although it is widely held that modern food is “less natural” than it used to be, mealtimes in the nineteenth century were a far riskier activity.

Business morals in the British catering industry were never lower than in Queen Victoria’s day. Deliberate food adulteration, with no laws to prevent it, grew to horrific proportions as food suppliers cheerfully ripped off and poisoned their customers at the same time.

Some of the most common frauds included the use of ground Derbyshire stone instead of flour, fake Gloucester cheese colored with red lead, baked horse offal from the knacker’s yard in coffee, lead chromate in mustard and even iron bars baked in loaves to make weight.

People died after eating green blancmange colored with copper sulphate and yellow Bath buns colored with arsenic. Fifteen people died after buying sweets from a Bradford market which were found to be laced with white arsenic.

Beer drinking was possibly the most dangerous activity of all: in one year there were over 100 breweries were convicted for contaminating beer with poisonous substances, including sulphuric acid, which was added to “harden” new beer, and iron sulphate, added to give it a good frothy head.

Source: The Little Book of Bad Taste by Karl Shaw, Robinson Publishing Ltd., London

It’s an indication that life has been far too good for far too long when certain people begin bitching about the steady supply of food. Large parts of the world suffer from food shortages and near starvation, but rather than support the advances made in agriculture, they would rather turn back the clock.

Nobel Prize winner Norman Borlaug has been fighting an uphill battle against world hunger since the 1940’s. Reason has a great interview with him here. Despite his work in eliminating food shortages in Pakistan and India as well as ongoing efforts in other countries, groups like Greenpeace and the Sierra Club cast him as the villain, due to his support of pesticides, hormones and hybrids.

Norman outlines some of the roadblocks that these self-righteous jackasses have erected to slow agricultural progress in Africa. DDT was outlawed so draft animals die of sleeping sickness meaning that all farm work tends to be human-powered. Pesticides and Roundup-ready crops have been blocked, meaning that native grasses quickly overrun any productive crops. Projects to create roads have been rejected which prevents quick input and output of crops, fertilizers, etc.

As for organic farming being better for human health and the environment?

That’s ridiculous. This shouldn’t even be a debate. Even if you could use all the organic material that you have–the animal manures, the human waste, the plant residues–and get them back on the soil, you couldn’t feed more than 4 billion people. In addition, if all agriculture were organic, you would have to increase cropland area dramatically, spreading out into marginal areas and cutting down millions of acres of forests.

At the present time, approximately 80 million tons of nitrogen nutrients are utilized each year. If you tried to produce this nitrogen organically, you would require an additional 5 or 6 billion head of cattle to supply the manure. How much wild land would you have to sacrifice just to produce the forage for these cows? There’s a lot of nonsense going on here.

The real miracle in our lifetime is that anyone in America, Europe or other parts of the developed world can drive or walk to the nearest grocery store and find all the food they need. Years of development in the agricultural field has taken us to a point that many places in the world can only dream about.

The other miracle? Your grocery store is full of reasonably priced food despite the fact that everyone in the supply chain is out to make a buck. The other great “evil” of our time, the market system, turns a profit and yet you still won’t go hungry.

And yet, these elitists and supposed do-gooders aren’t happy. The produce comes from hybrids, growth hormones “infect” the meat, the chickens are restrained and force fed, the box stores are eating up too much real estate and the supply trucks cause too much pollution.

They have the money to live how they want. And they should. If they want to buy only organic produce and pure, hormone-free meat, then they definitely should.

But what they definitely SHOULD NOT FUCKING DO is impose THEIR standards on everyone else. I would say that they don’t have that right, but since our legislative system seems to more than willing to be abused by every special interest group, no matter how regressive or ridiculous. The extremists are willing to use their wealth, influence and special brand of guilt to tear down the food chain and rebuild it in their own image.

Borlaug again:

As a matter of fact, I think this [lack of perspective] is true of our whole food situation. Our elites live in big cities and are far removed from the fields. Whether it’s Brown or Ehrlich or the head of the Sierra Club or the head of Greenpeace, they’ve never been hungry.

The end result will be an expensive, limited food supply that will cause shortages the world over and price the lower classes right the fuck out of the market.

The arrogance of these groups is astounding. What sort of Marie Antoinette rationale will they pull out their superior asses when the less-fortunate can’t put food on the table? “Let them eat video lottery?”

Perhaps they would be happier with some state-blessed genocide to rid the world of those who are content simply knowing where their next meal is coming from.

-CLT

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Mysteries of the Deep

April 15, 2009

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Mediterranean Hellfish
Although rarely seen in the U.S., the Hellfish can be raised as a housepet. Due to its sensitivity to light, the Hellfish must be raised in the dark or lit only with a UV lamp. Its diet consists of smaller, more translucent fish and the tears of the damned.

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South Atlantic Drifter
Some recent studies have shown the Drifter to be an extremely well-traveled fish, as its speculated migratory pattern is believed to follow this pattern:

gps-hoax

Most of the scientific community, however, believes this to be “horseshit,” citing the large amount of land covered.

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North Atlantic Lutefisk
Revered by the Norwegians for its oily texture and rotting flesh, the Lutefisk has been fished to near-extinction. Rogue trawlers still roam the North Atlantic for the ultra-rare fish as it can go for nearly $700/troy oz. on the black market. The often futile Lutefisk fishing trips coined the popular Norwegian phrase, “Nothing but net.”

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North American Nickelback
A bland, but strangely popular whitefish, offering no distinctive features or flavor. Used as a food source for many cooks, the Nickelback has earned the derision of more discerning chefs around the world. Anthony Bourdain has stated, “I’d rather strangle myself with my own intestines than have anything to do with Nickelback.”

Nickelback is usually one of the featured dishes at KROQ’s annual Dane Cook and Sausagefest, the summer high point of Southern Californian frat boys and mooks.

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North American Quadfish
Known by many different names (phish, ghoti, jesus fish, darwin fish), the Quadfish has become popular with ironic t-shirt wearing students, aging hippies and in the case of the “jesus fish” variety, aging Republicans.

-CLT

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Art of the Remix v3

April 13, 2009

zap_resident

This is posted mainly because I have never seen the Residents remixed (and as an unrepentant lover of repetitive beats, I pay attention to this sort of thing). I’m assuming that the Residents really don’t provide the greatest source material for a dance-floor ready remix, considering their output generally punishes as much as it rewards repeated listening.And I say “I’m assuming” because I am not familiar with the source material or the Residents’ body of work. I’m not big on avant-garde rock and the whole concept album/rock opera genre.

Not to mention the nightmare of securing the rights to the original track (if that indeed happened). To this day, nobody really knows who these massive eyeballs are, leaving you (the remixer) to deal with the rights management company (read: walking lawsuits).

And we all know how much fun it can be to deal with a territorial third party, who wear the badge “management” like a Congressional Medal of Honor. Rather than deal with the person(s) you need to, you’re forced to deal with someone who has, through a combination of ignorance and tenacity, clawed their way to the middle. Protecting the “rights” of their clients has become synonymous with “looking like a big shot in front of the guys.”

To sum up: the Glimmers remixes read like a who’s-who of indie cred: Who Made Who, Roxy Music, Whitey, Shocking Blue, Alan Vega (Suicide), Jah Wobble, Severed Heads, Liquid Liquid. Which is not necessarily a bad thing as many a bedroom DJ has already laid a 4/4 over a lazy selection of top 40 hits and nostalgia faves, further watering down the talent pool.

The Residents – Dikomo (The Glimmers Remix).mp3 (320K)

All mp3s are only temporarily available. If you like what you hear, please support the artists. If you wish to have a track removed, please contact me at 2timegrime@gmail.com.

-CLT