Archive for May, 2010

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Heavy Rotation 46

May 30, 2010

Since writing about music is so much “dancing about architecture,” why don’t we all just check out the real thing?

http://bldgblog.blogspot.com/

More white boy shuffling re: building and such here:
The Heavy Rotation Archives

K-X-P – 18 Hours (of Love).mp3
Emerging from Helsinki, Finland armed with a stack of Spacemen 3 and Suicide records, K-X-P mine a more restrained vein of space/drone rock than their influences would indicate. This track rides an amped-up bluesy groove not a million miles removed from Spirit in the Sky, which is accented with blankets of reverb, bursts of distortion and very occasional bits of electro-drumming.

Grave Babies – Eating Babies.mp3
Grave Babies – Graves.mp3

The Grave Babies (whom I’ve featured before) have been heavily rotating around my skull for the past several weeks. The entire album (which can be found here [right-click to download]) is a washed-out masterpiece, built of waves of static and distorted instrumentation suggesting the last broadcast of man’s intangible humanity, slowly disintegrating as it rides a decaying signal.

These tracks (the first and last songs on the album) are both works of severely fucking damaged beauty, exploring the minutia of the post-apocalypse as it stands in contrast to omnipresent death and destruction. In other words, there’s nothing like an epidemic of death and undeath to make every small human interaction all-important while simultaneously completely irrelevant.

Like a heartbreaking conversation that plays out with someone saying “I love you” only to hear in reply, “Does it matter?”

(Note to listeners: Graves, from about 3 minutes on, is nothing but static, distortion and disembodied talking. You can move on at that point. It’s great in the context of the album, but a bit much when sampling a single track.)

Eating Babies

Graves

We Were Promised Jetpacks – It’s Thunder and It’s Lightning.mp3
Like classic Echo & the Bunnymen/James fronted by the cast of Trainspotting. In addition to sounding just kinda fucking awesome, how about that band name? Can I get a “hell yeah” or closest Scottish equivalent? Man, it’s worth hearing just for that.

On the actual “musical information” side, the song deals with domestic violence, which the Scottish have a lot of experience with apparently… (See also: Glasgow Kiss. And also: Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine – Sealed with a Glasgow Kiss.)

Rotovibe – Become.mp3
I won’t lie to you. This is going to sound like a million other lovelorn songs for about a minute or two. I thought the same thing. I was about to hit “Next” on the mp3 player when some nice backing vocals kicked in at the 45-second mark.

I gave it a stay of execution. It started to dive back down and my finger hovered over the kill switch… Then the crafty bastards brought in an organ. And you know how I feel about organ tones. Plus, the chiming, reverbed guitars were wearing down my resistance.

So, I’m still holding. It builds a little. A little more. The vocals reach a peak. Then the other guitar(s) join in (2:30). And holyfuckingshit, we have a Heavy Rotation entry. The perfect storm of distortion, wah pedal and some skilfully wielded feedback.

To sum up: sounds like a head-on collision of Classic Girl and Up the Beach by Jane’s Addiction, which leaves behind shards of resplendent destruction and the most exquisite corpse you’ve ever seen/heard.

Dum Dum Girls – Bhang Bhang I’m a Burnout.mp3
Well, let’s hit the road with a smile on our face. Nominally a band, but more a roadshow for lead singer Dee Dee punk fixations, the Dum Dum Girls (nod to Iggy Pop) hit the ear like an all-female Ramones, a comparison aided greatly by the lead singer’s name.

Somewhere between one-chord punk and free form garage rock, the DDG experience is as much fun as a barrel full of nitrous. Enjoy. (And of course, many thanks to the oddly omnipresent MEK for pointing me in their direction.)

-CLT

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Fancy Plans… Guide to North American Trees

May 28, 2010
[In the interest of buying myself some time, I’m dragging an old post out of the archives and into the harsh glare of nearly a year’s worth of hindsight. This one dates back to 06/25/09 and features the short, punchy stylings of a blogger in his prime. You’ll notice I run a lot longer now…]

In the interest of bettering our fellow bloggers, we provide this handy guide to the trees of North America. While this can generally be a tedious and forgettable subject, we hope that, when all is read and done, you’ll walk away with at least one more fact to add to your collection of useless knowledge. Prepare to be taught at!

The over-dramatic Weeping Willow prepares to hurl itself into the river, quoting "Hamlet" all the while...

The over-dramatic Weeping Willow prepares to hurl itself into the river, quoting "Hamlet" all the while...

Weeping Willow
Easily the most “emo” of all North American trees, the weeping willow spends its lifetime sullenly hunched over, bitterly complaining about anything and everything.* It can often be found sulking morosely in the darker corners of your yard.

  • *Wind – Fine. I’m waving. Crawl out of my ass. Jesus.
  • Calm – A breeze would be nice.
  • Rain – This is how I feel inside. All the time.
  • Not Raining – Nobody understands me. Not even the weather.
  • Snow – Why can’t we live somewhere warmer?
  • Heat – This fucking figures.

Natural Enemies: Sunny, temperate days; the laughter of children

Given local wind patterns, your neighbors may be surprised by a few maples of their own, long after you've skipped town...

Depending on wind patterns, your neighbors may be surprised by a few maples of their own, long after you've skipped town...

Maple
Widely acknowledged as Canada’s only export, the maple is known for its appearance on national flags and its ruthlessly efficient seed distribution system, which is regarded by many top scientists as a “miracle.”

DaVinci’s early model for a flying machine (known today as the “autogyro”) was based on the corkscrewing flight pattern of the maple seed. The U.S. military took this to its logical conclusion in Vietnam, using their autogyros to scatter “leaflets” over the irritated population, who grumbled and told their kids to get outside and rake the yard. (“Watch out for the punji pits and anti-personnel mines. I don’t want to have to clean up two messes today.”)

Natural enemies: Rakes; currency exchange rates

Yeah. I've been working out. I also own a Big & Tall franchise...

Yeah. I've been working out. I also own a Big & Tall franchise...

Oak
A hulking metaphor of a tree, the oak tree is prized for its bold statement that even the smallest of us can grow up to do great things, like win the heavyweight championship of the world, or take out a neighbor’s water lines.

While it tends to do better in wide open areas, it can usually be found in groupings of smaller trees, rubbing its towering new look in the faces of its former classmates, who teased it mercilessly during its formative years.

Natural enemies: Squirrels; small claims court

The rarely seen, but easily activated, aspen G-spot...

The rarely seen, but easily activated, aspen G-spot...

Aspen
The most sensitive of all North American trees, the aspen is known for it “quaking” and “shivering” at the slightest breeze, while gusts in the 30-40 mph range will cause it to break down in full-blown tears. Recent scientific studies have theorized that the tree may actually be the most easily aroused of all plants, its quaking due to an incredibly easily achieved orgasm.

Either way, aspen owners should keep their distance, as it becomes emotionally attached at the slightest provocation, leading to late night surprise visits and drunk-dialing.

Natural enemies: Woodpeckers; frat boys

A promotional still from "Biker Boyz," featuring the semi-rare R-type redwood in the background...

A promotional still from "Biker Boyz," featuring the semi-rare R-type redwood in the background...

California Redwood
Although native to California, the redwood has begun to creep up the coastline into Oregon and Washington, prompting locals to bitch endlessly about these intruders. These diatribes, usually delivered from atop a bicycle or light-rail car, are usually disregarded by tourists and redwoods alike.

The looming threat of California’s bankruptcy should only increase the redwood exodus, providing the Pacific Northwest with novelty tree “tunnels” and yet another goddamn reason for tourists to visit. There is some speculation (as yet unproven) that the trees are only looking for cheaper real estate/heroin.

Natural enemies: Oregonians; tainted needles

Most Pleasant View Obstruction - Bed & Breakfast Monthly, July 2002

Most Pleasant View Obstruction - Bed & Breakfast Monthly, July 2002

Cedar
The Swiss Army knife of trees, the cedar has been used to create everything from moderately priced furniture to bedding for pet rodents. Due to its versatility and distinctive smell, the noble cedar has excelled in many areas during the last several years (listed below).

  • Intramural volleyball team captain
  • District co-champion, debate team
  • Co-signer on Aaron Nussbaum’s auto loan
  • President of the Sierra Club (1984, 1996)
  • Personal assistant to Blythe Danner, Phillip Michael Thomas
  • Toothpick of the year (1997)
  • U.S. Goodwill Ambassador to Luxembourg
  • Recipient – Don Mills Clean Living Award (2009)
  • Best Smile – Paloma County High School (Junior Year)

Natural Enemies: Cheerleader cliques; asthmatics

Close-up view of the many small parts of the common pine, which is very easily disassembled...

Close-up view of the many small parts of the common pine, which is very easily disassembled...

Pine
Perhaps best known for its involvement in the George Brett pine tar scandal (as well as its role as an “enabler” in several lesser incidents), the pine has cleaned up its reputation to become a well-known Christmas icon, on par with Santa Claus and his son, Jesus Christ.

Also well-known to homeowners and other Christmas celebrants as “nature’s litterbug,” the pine cannot help but shed needles and cones every-fucking-where constantly. Years of domestication have failed to housebreak the tree, as its shedding reaches a peak when kept indoors. “Evergreen,” my ass.

Natural enemies: Umpires; Jehovah’s Witnesses

"... at which point your grandmother, on your mother's side, fornicated with an angel..."

"... at which point your grandmother, on your mother's side, fornicated with an angel..."

Family
Ranging in size from a full-blown leviathan (Utah) to barely more than a misshapen stump with a few rare branches (Arkansas, West Virginia), this decidedly North American institution is prized for its collection of interminable slideshows and long, boring stories.

While it continues to grow all year round, it reaches its peak during the summer reunion months.

Natural enemies: Attractive cousins; Planned Parenthood

-CLT

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The Fancy Plans Guide to AFI’s Top 100 Films – Vol. 1

May 26, 2010

Following up on Fundamental Jelly’s dare from a few weeks back, it’s the first volume of our guide to the American Film Institute’s list of the 100 Greatest American films. In this volume we take on the top 5 movies of all time, with an eye on quick readability and some general laziness on my part. Enjoy!

Welles' larger-than-life portrayal of Kane was made simpler by his being four times the size of the rest of the cast.

1. Citizen Kane (1941)
The movie against which all other movies are measured. Features a twist ending in which William Randolph Hearst tortures Charles Foster Kane to give up the location of the Rosebuds, a husband-and-wife team of Communist co-conspirators. They are then burned in front of Kane to prove a point. Followed by a sequel, The Third Man. (See also #57, possibly months from now…)

A Berkeley film class re-edit relegates Bogart's role to a cameo. A cameo of supportiveness.

2. Casablanca (1942)
Loosely translated as “White House,” this bilingual romance classic still remains an all-time favorite thanks to the iconic performances of Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman. To wit:

“Cuando la preocupación en cuenta la forma final al comer también Rick causa estado simple pianoman, especialmente por la noche esquina programa de Nazis difíciles del día la muerte el Thundercats. Ofrecen objetivo elección enlace a veces de llegar públicos básicos murderkill del paso central por el bolsillo, porque la adhesión recta muy thoughtcrime cadena de tratar se sitúan el movimiento pequeño regalo por su vestibule. La introducción circunstancia se makout session con la influencia Rick James necesita saltar los ojos del techo de búsqueda principal deseo enseñar Superfreak de nuevo paquete de clave de bienestar recoger mar diputado kilo of cocaine.”

The Godfather strongly hints that you would be happier with a different long-distance carrier.

3. The Godfather (1972)
The prequel to the best gangster flick of all time (Casino), The Godfather is a true Italian classic, beloved by millions for its stereotypical depictions and large amount of scenery-chewing. Features brilliantly murky cinematography, a surprisingly poignant rape scene and some of Ray Harryhausen’s finest stop-motion animation. (Especially evident during Sonny’s [James Caan] ill-fated tollbooth stop on Monster Island.)

Francis Ford Coppola proved to be an “actor’s director,” coaxing brilliant performances out of otherwise unremarkable thespians as Al Pacino, Marlon Brando and Abe Vigoda. Unfortunately, Brando’s ridiculous demands for “more pastries” resulted in his character being written out of the script via an orange-related mishap. Exceedingly long.

Rhett Butler seals his "cad" reputation by briefly setting Scarlett O'Hara's hairdo on fire.

4. Gone with the Wind (1939)
Praised for its gorgeous hand painted photography and long line of collector’s plates, Gone with the Wind tells the age-old story of an ill-fated romance between a bitch and an asshole.

What sets this masterpiece apart from comparable films such as You’ve Got Mail and The Adventures of Ford Fairlane is its sweeping vistas and Civil War backdrop, the latter of which aids the thin analogies that “love is a battlefield” and “ill-fated romances are the equivalent of Sherman’s March to the Sea, only in our hearts.”

Notable for its reckless use of color, colorful language and an actual colored person in a non-singing, non-dancing role. Exceedingly long.

With the invention of aviator glasses still several years off, some privileged gentlemen battle the sun's intense rays with Lasik eye removal.

5. Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
The purportedly true story of D.W. “Lawrence” Griffith, a swashbuckling director/racist whose love of colonialism was unbridled, much like a majority of the horses in this film. A grand epic in the tradition of Gone with the Wind and Epic Movie, Lawrence of Arabia utilizes its breathtaking locations and romanticized portrayal of the main character to distract viewers from the fact that they’re leaking free time all over the place while watching it. Exceedingly long.

(A note to viewers following along at home: AFI apparently tabulates their ratings via a voting system that rewards exceedingly long films. [Known as QPM, or Quality Per Minute, to insiders.])

-CLT

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Heavy Rotation Vol. 45

May 23, 2010

Hey, readers. Sorry about the lack of insightful yet hilarious intro. Instead, please enjoy this.

http://www.behance.net/Gallery/Make-Something-Cool-Every-Day-2009/171640

It will keep your eyes busy while your ears are otherwise occupied. And remove at least 4-5 hours of your previously free time.

Like intros? Most of these have those:
The Heavy Rotation Archives

The Fall – Serum.mp3
From 2002’s underrated* The Unutterable, a heavily electronic album that seems to be stealing pages from several different electronic artists (var. Big Beat artists, some swing/samba distortion a la Foetus). This track in particular seems to be quoting (of all bands) Infected Mushroom**, I shit you not. It’s all densely layered breakbeats and acid squiggles, with Mark E. Smith’s overenunciated Mancunian drawl coloring in the spaces, ranting-uh and raving-uh about godknowswhat.

* (Let’s be honest, when you release something like 1,300 albums over the course of 3.5 decades, you’re bound to end up with a few labelled “underrated.” It’s just simple math.)
** (If you’re not familiar, and there’s really no reason you should be, Infected Mushroom are an Israeli trance group that travels the harsher, more psychedelic side of trance. Many labels have been carelessly applied to their pounding, acidic trance. Psytrance and goa are the ones that have stuck.)

Echo & the Bunnymen – Proxy.mp3
Apparently, the Bunnymen are back together. Despite all my musical expertise, I thought that they had pretty much said the hell with it after 1997’s Evergreen, which would have been the last album of theirs I purchased.

I have since been informed (by MEK and Wiki) that a.) they’ve been releasing albums every four years or so for the past 12 years and b.) the world does NOT revolve around me and my CD purchases. So… good for them!

This track is all kinds of bouncy fun, full of sixties-ish piano and harmonizing. In fact, it’s so great you’ll swear they never missed a beat all these misinformed years.

James – Dr. Hellier.mp3
Speaking of bands that have reformed (or not), here’s James with a timely body-as-world analogy that speaks in metaphors about disease-as-international-tension, which is then completed through the titular Dr. Hellier’s invasion of the body/country via a Fantastic Voyage-esque capsule in an effort to save it/them/everyone from themselves/himself/itself.

Speaking of things we’ve spoken of before, James released an album in 2008, so it could be argued that they’ve been back for at least two years already. Not only that, but this mysterious MEK also recommended this tune and told me (more or less) to hijack his “Fantastic Voyage” description and claim it as my own.

Blancmange – The Game Above My Head.mp3
This track is everything good about the 80’s: huge, lush synthwork, chilly overtones, the faux-est of faux handclaps and minimal, oblique lyrics. It’s like an audible Nagel print. Not only that, but it was released in 1984 (on their second album, Mange Trout), the eightiest year of the 80’s.

It’s the kind of electro-perfection that’s bright enough to snare the pop tarts, yet dark enough to engage the goths.

 

Moullinex & Xinobi – Discotexas (Digitalfoxglove Mix).mp3
You absolutely know the title came first. And with a title this kickass, you have to follow through. Moullinex, in conjunction with Xinobi (with valuable support from Digitalfoxglove) do exactly that, laying down a vintage 909-ish 4/4, some big-as-Texas strings and anchoring the whole ball-o’-disco to some sexed-up slap bass.

-CLT

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I Survived! – True Stories of Human Survival Vol. 3

May 21, 2010

Last spotted in the wild on May 6th, but now enjoying a full recovery, it’s… I Survived! Vol. 3. Be sure and check out Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 if you haven’t already. They’re worth every minute of your time and contained brutal portraits of severely lost hipsters and extreme sportsmen. 

Case/IH issues a recall after the disastrous addition of a new "Invert" gear.

Ronald Hofer
On an early spring morning, Ronald Hofer plows his acreage in preparation for planting. As he negotiates a wide turn, a sudden tense change upsets the tractor, severed his arm and pinned both legs below the cab. 

The initial pain had subsided, which allowed Hofer to take stock of his situation. As he gazed at his pinned legs, he sensed that the outcome had already been decided and there was nothing to do but wait and see where this led. Hofer dialled back his already limited movement to “imperceptible” and conserved his energy. 

Ronald gazes intently at the cab and his pinned legs, filling with the sense that the outcome has suddenly shifted into “cloudy,” and that he should act quickly before the moment passes. He fishes in his overturned cab for his makeshift saw, which he hopes to use as a makeshift saw. Ronald knows that if he is going to have any shot at surviving this, the legs will have to go. 

“I knew that if I was going to have any shot at surviving this, the legs would have to go,” Hofer said. “Who knew how long the present tense would last? I just couldn’t take those chances.” 

As Hofer struggled against the odds, his surprisingly dense bones and the constantly shifting time, he was spotted by a passing cropduster and its third-person perspective. The pilot began a slow bank, having spotted what he thought was a crippled or mutated calf. 

“I heard the plane and began waving wildly with my one good arm, while bleeding profusely from the other,” said/says Hofer. 

Within minutes, Hofer was being flown to the nearest hospital where a crack team of surgeons was standing by. 

Hofer has retired from farming and now lives in Florida where he spends most of his waking hours staring at the clock suspiciously. 

Officer Lochman cites the motorist for being "unresponsive to police harassment."

Kingston Miles
While watching a Food Network cooking show and simultaneously preparing himself a light Ty Cobb Salad*, Miles becomes momentarily distracted by Giada’s plunging neckline and severs his right index finger. 

Horrified by the sudden spurt of blood across his former “Fruit/Veggies Only” cutting board, Miles’ innate analness deserts him, leading to a series of profoundly bad decisions. Faced with a myriad of options in a city full of modern conveniences, Miles chooses “none of the above” and slips into full panic mode. 

Rushing to his Boxster, leaving behind his keys, wallet and freshly-cut finger, Miles finds himself locked out of his own vehicle. He swiftly makes a bloody return to the kitchen, grabbing his keys. After a quick switchover, he starts the car and attempts to call up directions to the nearest ER on his GPS. 

Finding himself short one (1) “GPS Finger,” Miles unwisely decides (for the first time in his life) to “wing it,” and heads violently off in the wrong direction, ignoring his increasingly plaintive GPS. 

Miles momentarily regains his bearings while bleeding profusely at an overlong stoplight. Attempting to correct his course, Miles makes an illegal u-turn, which attracts the attention of a lightly-dozing patrolman, who is suddenly forced to slam on his brakes to avoid the arcing vehicle. 

After a brief pursuit, Miles is finally pulled over. He tells the police officer that he has severed a finger and needs to get to the hospital. The officer asks if he would like a ride, which Miles responds to by lapsing into unconsciousness. 

Realizing he would need assistance to move Miles’ unconscious body, the patrolman (Officer Lochman) decides to retire to the local coffee shop and contemplate his next move. Upon returning to the vehicle, Lochman is surprised to find it empty. A quick search of the scene reveals that Miles has indeed vacated the vehicle, a fact confirmed by the discovery of his passed-out body in a nearby ditch. 

Officer Lochman revives Kingston Miles and cites him for “leaving the scene of an accident,” “driving without a license” and “wasting law enforcement time.” Lochman also notes that Miles seems to be “irrational, severely disoriented and bleeding profusely.” He deposits Miles at the nearest ER for a quick psych eval. 

Unfortunately, Miles remains untreated, thanks to his lack of photo ID, valid insurance and general coherence. Unable to contact his wife, he languishes for several long (and expensive) hours in the ER, his pain only occasionally interrupted by various ER staffers who berate him for tying up their resources with what is obviously a “pre-existing” wound. 

Miles is finally treated (and reunited with his wife) after a Missing Persons report falls into the hands of Officer Lochman, who states that he did see somebody matching that description “stumbling around in a nearby ditch.” The local ER also claims a match, stating that they turfed the “malcontent” to the closest VD clinic so the “faker” could learn “a whole lot about being honest.” 

*Ty Cobb Salad
1 Head Lettuce, sliced violently
1 Bunch Watercress, hurled into bowl
6 Slices Bacon, beaten to bits
2 Avocados, pitted and scarred
1 Tomato, stabbed and seeded
2 Hard-Boiled Eggs, use whites only. Beat yolk senseless and toss into nearest alley.
2 Tbsp. Chives, chopped and blocked
1/3 cup Red Wine Vinegar (consume wine and allow bitterness to seep in over the years)
1 Tbsp. Dijon Mustard (hold in mouth briefly before spitting into nearest available eye)
2/3 Olive Oil (virginity not essential)
1/2 Cup Roquefort, grated across sharpened cleats
 

Mix all ingredients in glass bowl. Stir harshly. Rest briefly before throwing bowl through nearest window. Serves 1 broken home. 

-CLT

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Platitudes for a New Millenium Vol. 3

May 19, 2010
[Another abandoned concept dragged from the verge of complete annihilation! Will wonders never cease? I’m guessing they will. Cease, that is. Until then, enjoy Vol. 3 of Platitudes for a New Millenium, which coincidentally enough was proceeded by Vol. 1 and Vol. 2.]

Not only is it green as all hell, but look at the size of that yard!

“The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.”

Now, why is that?

It’s not as if you don’t try. Up at 4 a.m. to water. Long discussions on lawn treatment options at your local nursery. Experimental products recommended to you by the groundskeeper at the country club.

Even the home owner’s association has noticed, sending you a threatening letter concerning your inability to meet “adjoining lawn color intensity,” thereby disrupting “cul-de-sac curb appeal in regards to resident eyeflow.” They take care to point out that this is “nothing personal” but that they have no interest in seeing their property values dip because of your inability to color match.

Then he comes out to condescendingly hand out some unsolicited advice, all handshakes and warm clichés, wearing that sickening Enzyte smile.

Now you’re on 24-hour lawn surveillance, looking for his secret. Is he watering illegally? Could be. But you can’t stay awake 24/7. You’re already catching a lot of flak at the office thanks to your spotty attendance. You’re faring no better at home, having become little else than a twitching mass of paranoia.

Is he burying corpses for superior fertilizer?

It’s a distinct possibility. After all, he does own a shovel and is incredibly unlikable. Who buys a t-shirt that says, “Ask me about my golf handicap”? Obviously it’s much lower than yours. No one brings down that kind of ultra-competitive heat without something to back it up.

So very tired.

I'm just... um... birdwatching? Um... the birds in your... uh... garage?

Are you coming to bed? Not likely. That guy’s probably whipping up something containing depleted uranium and Miracle-Gro right now. No. He wants me to sleep. Just to gain another 2-3% in “lawn intensity.” That magnificent bastard!

What? Who am I talking to? I’m not… Fuck! He just went into the garage! Where’s my ski mask?

I have you now, my friend. Who goes into their garage at 2 a.m.? … I’m not talking to anybody! Just… weren’t you going to bed?

Shit. Where did he go?

Honey, grab me my night vision goggles. OK… thanks… Maybe next time you could bring them without the attitude?

Hey! These are 3-D glasses! My goggles! On the nightstand! Why… why do we have 3-D glasses readily available? Night vision goggles just make sense, but just to have these lying around… What is this, the seventies? I’m…

Oh… right… Avatar.

My goggles, honey. He’s making his move. Again, without the attitude would be great. You know, if I had a nickel for every time you’ve told me to go fuck myself over the last six weeks, we could have purchased that washer/dryer set you’ve been looking at.

No. The one with the stainless steel and LED screen.

The hell if I know. Sears?

You were looking at it while I was off at the Sharper Image pricing surveillance equipment… Let me worry about the legalities of those cameras. All I’m saying is that your negative attitude is swiftly nickel-and-diming us out of a new washer/dryer set.

We can discuss my “fundamental misunderstanding of how money works” later. The goggles, please. We’re burning moonlight.

What? Well, where the hell are they? … Your cousin? What the hell?

Without even bringing up the fact that they are not yours to lend, for someone so concerned with legality you sure seem to bypass that issue when it comes to your family members.

All I’m saying is that I’m pretty sure a restraining order is valid whether or not the other person can see you. You know, fuck it. I’m just going to get a dog and train it to pee in his yard.

Of course he’ll know whose it is. That’s kind of the point.

Well, I can always get more dogs. The pound is full of them.

Whatever. I’m out of here. Is my scuba gear still in the basement?

Never mind. I’ll get it. If you need me, I’ll be lurking in his koi pond. Don’t wait up.

-CLT

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Heavy Rotation Vol. 44 – South of the Border Edition

May 16, 2010

Pigface (who does not appear in this selection of tunes) sets the tone...

Between fiery arguments over immigration to Scott’s self-imposed exile amongst the close-but-oh-so-far-away ancestry, who isn’t fascinated with Mexico and parts beyond?

More “cultural” than neighboring Texas and twice as fun as “New” Mexico, Old Mexico is the land where anything can happen and usually does. When not providing a handy euphemism for oral sex, our South of the Border neighbors also provide visitors with quality entertainment like late night “donkey shows” and easy, anonymous abortions for their secretaries.

The advantageous exchange rate is also fun, allowing you to buy a year’s supply of Chicle for $5 and an entire policeman for $20.

So, prepare to hold tightly to your water supply and wallets as we head South of the Border for a fine selection of tunes reflecting the invigorating spirit of Latin America.

Rather just stay home? Lots to do right here:
The Heavy Rotation Archives

Daddy Yankee – Gasolina.mp3
While I am not generally a fan of the reggaeton scene, this Daddy Yankee tracks stands out with its Puerto Rican jeepbeat approximations and its “once upon a time a thug went to a rave” combination of synth melodies and Casio-esque drum builds. It all adds up to something more dangerous than its pedigree would suggest.

If there’s another song out there that conjures up riding shotgun with Vic Mackey as well as this one does, I haven’t heard it yet.

Juno Reactor – Pistolero (Fluke’s Hang Em High Mix).mp3
Speaking up conjuring up images, Juno Reactor’s surprise hit brings to mind dry, dusty shootouts and the kind of bloodletting that gets someone’s aerated corpse tossed into the nearest shallow body of water/vehicle trunk. Of course, this conjuring goes a lot easier when your tune is showcased in a major motion picture trailer. (Starting about 1:17.)

Fluke shows up to add a few drops of Morricone into the mix and some nice synth pulses, which complement the tasty bits of acoustic guitar strumming and vocal samples perfectly.

 

Mighty Dub Katz – Magic Carpet Ride (Ulti-Mix).mp3
A classic track from one of Fatboy Slim’s many alter egos. It has nothing to do with Steppenwolf and everything to do with bass, mariachi horns and pasting smiles across the faces of dancin’ fools. And try not to be one of those once this starts rolling. You’ll just wish you’d had the foresight to pick up a sombrero or two earlier.

(Of course, you can always come back here after acquiring the proper headgear. We’re always open.)

Pixies – Vamos.mp3
Black Francis and his fabulous Pixies head straight at you like a bunch of aggressive mariachis, firing off mangled border “Spanglish” over Bonham-esque drums. As you reel back and eye the emergency exit’s ill-timed “No Passar” sign, one of the guitarists starts slinging jagged shards and steel slivers of distortion in your general direction, possibly taking out that eye you were just using.

Might as well just grab some good old American dolares and brace yourself. They’re not done yet. The pace never lets up and the guitar keeps on being slung (?). Might as well sit back and enjoy some beautiful bastardized lyrics, as Francis sends the song out “con mi sister in New Jersey” and theorizes that:

We’ll be well-bred
We’ll stay well-fed
We’ll have all sons
They will be all well-hung

The children play
Their friends all say
Your daddy’s rich
Your mama’s a pretty thing

Frank Black – Calistan.mp3
After all the bumped bass, faux pistol shots and musical beatdowns from street performers, it’s time to relax. A reprise of sorts, with former Pixies lead singer Frank Black taking us down a few hundred years of Californian history in under 4 minutes.

Laced with some evocative guitarwork and some heartbreaking piano accents, Calistan’s all nostalgia and displacement, which is in no way diminished by Black’s “white boy” historical perspective and pronunciations.

Used to be sixteen lanes
Used to be Nuevo Spain
Used to be Juan Wayne
Used to be Mes-i-co
Used to be Nava-joe
Used to be Yippy-yay-I-don’t-know

... and provides this coda.

-CLT

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The History of Media – Visual Arts Edition Vol. 2

May 14, 2010
[Those of you following along will remember the cliffhanger ending of Volume 1, in which it was revealed that “something” would come along and destroy the movie industry with its tiny screen and tinny sound. In this followup, we reveal the true killer of the film industry, which is also one of the many pretenders to the throne. Enjoy.]

 

Early television prototypes often failed to include the only element that would differentiate them from a "really huge-ass radio."

A Disaster Called Television
Little did Roger Philco and Francois Magnavox know when they assembled the first “magic picture box” that it would change American society as we knew it, mostly for the worst. 

There was no indication during its early broadcasts of test patterns, puppet shows and white men in blackface that the daily life of Americans would soon revolve around it. Instead of gathering around the wireless to watch Dad get drunk and curse the Yankees, the whole family would gather around the tiny screen to watch Elvis from the waist up or catch breaking footage from the moon landing set. 

The movie industry understood how serious this new threat could be and stepped hastily over the still-cooling corpse of live theater to denounce the new “tele-vision,” which would surely destroy their precious industry. They lamented this turn of events, cursing every new box office record and crying into their stacks of $1000 bills. 

Representatives of the “dying” industry called on Congress to do “something” about the “talking picture-mabob.” How can we get people to sit in front of our 42-foot screens, enjoy our Technicolor and Sensurround when they have 3 inches of black and white power at home, all coming to them in deafening mono? 

Congress was too busy watching the National League Championship to be bothered by an outdated industry and their rhetorical questions, no matter how many bribes and high-dollar hookers they waved around. Another blow was struck when forward-thinking Dwight Eisenhower announced his bold plan for America: a television in every house, a car in every garage and an epidemic of childhood obesity. 

Still television's longest-running night time drama.

The movie industry was premature in its panic. Americans soon proved they had the leisure time for both activities, which could easily be squeezed in between backyard barbecues and conceiving the eventual bankrupters of Social Security. 

At this point, the average male enjoyed a 25-hour work week, divided between harassing the typing pool, pounding martinis and hitting the golf course. The remaining time they spent watering the lawn, washing the car, pounding martinis and pounding the wife (mostly in a sexual fashion, but often in a physical fashion). 

TV grew and grew, becoming the focal point of American family life. Television producers turned the mirror on the public, reflecting life as they knew it in the form of sitcoms, playing up spousal abuse (I Love Lucy, The Honeymooners) and sexless marriages (every other sitcom). They also went after more respected institutions with uncanny accuracy. (See The Andy Griffith Show and its devastating take on inept law enforcement and artistic whistling or Bewitched and its brilliant satire of the advertising world, long before Mad Men made it cool to be casually sexist again.) 

As its influence grew, television turned its unblinking eye on other “hot button” topics such as the Korean War (M*A*S*H*), teen hoodlums (Happy Days) and greed (every game show/reality show). TV devoured everything in its path over the next 50 years, before going all ouroboros and devouring itself, shitting out show after show containing no actors, no script and starring everyday people like Balloon Boy’s dad. 

As the airwaves were conquered by Joe Gloryhound and his occasionally-swapped wife, the film industry breathed a sigh of relief, knowing that TV’s “tapped-outness” would allow them to continue to collect billions of dollars a year cranking out sequel after sequel. Directors such as Michael Bay were allowed to continue trafficking in explosions and recycled punchlines. All was well in the word, until… 

-CLT 

Coming up next:
Post-ellipsis!

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Relationship? Friend: Or How to Visit Nigeria on Less than $145 USD/Day

May 12, 2010
[The following is the entertaining story of a three-day dialogue with yet another Nigerian scam artist. As was the case with the email exchange, I may find this more entertaining than anyone else, especially the earnest scammer on the receiving end.
So, without selling this short any further, here it is: the full conversation with “Richard Thompson” of “Fedex Nigeria.” No names have been changed as I highly doubt there’s any innocence in here at all.]

From: MARIAM ASHJAEI

You have a bank draff of some amount in USD,contact the fedexcourier
company for claims with your informations. Contact person, Mr.Richard
Thompson.Contact This Email:(
fexdexcomp@gmail.com)

Mr. Richard Thompson –

Thank you for the informations on my bank draff. I am curious to know how many USD are included in this draff, as the original email only narrowed it down to “some.” Thanks in advance for any informations you can give me. 

CLT

FEDEX COURIER SERVICE, WEST AFRICA
EDO STATE,NIGERIA.

Dear CLT,

In respect to your email, I have been awaiting for you to contact me for the delivery of your check of $780,000,00.You can as well come down to this branch to pick up your package or even send someone to pick it up on your behalf. More so, the phone number works perfectly and I will advise you cross the number again as it is below this mail.

There is this Mr.Wellington who came to our company last week to place your check on out going delivery, he has already paid for the insurance fee and the delivery charges. But he did not pay for the security keeping fee due to the fact that we did not know when you will be contacting us via mail or phone to inform us that we have your check, so we advised him not to pay for the security keeping fee of the courier company so far but we informed him to contact you on time so you will not have to pay more than $145 USD on demurrage and we do not operate COD{Cost On Delivery} on a charge like this.

All you need to do right now to get your check delivered to your door step is to go ahead and pay the security keeping fee of the courier company so far.The fee is $145.00 USD only, you are to come up with this fee as to process the delivery of your package for immediate dispatch.

Payment should be made via western union money transfer only for security purpose, payment details are listed below.

Name:Mr Kingsley Enogun
Address: Benin City, Edo State Nigeria.
Text Question to be used: Relationship?
Text Answer: Friend

You have to send down the MTCN (Money Transfer Control Number) and your complete postal address. Reconfirm your full name, address, country and most important your phone number.

Get back to me with your payment details, I will have to send Mr.Wellington a mail that you have contacted me regarding the check he left for you. Note that your tracking number would be provided to you as soon as the payment has been made and confirmed by us.

Have a wonderful time. Please call me anytime you need any assistance.

Regards
Mr.Richard Thompson
Dispatch Director.
Tel:(+234)8037361050

Richard –

Thank you for the informations. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the “some” amount of USD is a whopping $780,000. This was much more than what I would normally describe as “some,” which I had pegged at around $18.50.

However, it comes as no surprise to me that Mr. Wellington has, shall we say, “welshed” on the security keeping fee. I have been Mr. Wellington’s erstwhile guest at the pub on several occasions and he has always managed to make himself quite scarce when the check arrives. He often uses impeccable timing to be in the restroom, taking a personal car or pretending he doesn’t recognize me when the bartender presents the tab.

I would love to be able to pay this fee for him, but tell him that this is absolutely the last time I will be willing to do this. Only the promise of $780,000 USD is keeping me from sending him a sternly worded reprimand on his loutish behavior.

A few issues will be keeping me from paying this fee immediately.

1. I am currently in Greenland, avoiding extradition for some extraordinarily large library fines. As I am unfamiliar with the “lay of the land,” I would need directions to the nearest Western Union office or Greenlandish equivalent.

2. I am also unfamiliar with the exchange rate. Would you be able to convert $145 USD into the local currency? (I think it’s either elk hides or shiny rocks.)

3. You state in your email that both a “security keeping fee” and a “demurrage” fee will need to be paid. Is the $145 USD for both or are there separate costs? Am I liable for both or can I just pick one to pay? (If so, I would like to choose the one that actually makes sense.)

Once I have these answers, I will proceed posthaste to the nearest check cashing facility to send “some” amount of USD (approx. $145) to:

Name: Sir Ben Kingsley
City: Benin City “Home of the Waffle Cone”
Text Question to be Used: “Who’s the moustachioed private dick who’s a sex machine for all the available women of a certain social status?”
Answer: “Poirot!”

Thanks in advance for your prompt response.

Sincerely,
CLT

P.S. You’d be surprised how little “green” there is in Greenland. Makes me think I’ve been misinformed…

Attention: Mr CLT

We got your mail. You can visit western union site http://www.westernunion.com to see any of there office closed to you.

I do not actually know your local currency. But you can visit xe.com to be able make the conversion.

Yes the amount will cover them, as confirm from my information. All you need do is to proceed with the payment immediately to enable us carryout the delivery.Remember the information you need to make the transfer:

Name:Mr Kingsley Enogun
Address: Benin City, Edo State Nigeria.
Text Question to be used: Relationship?
Text Answer: Friend

And also remember to send us the transfer information like the sender name,amount sent,country and the money transfer control number(MTCN).

Expect your mail as soon as possible to enable us commence delivery.

Mr.Richard Thompson
Dispatch Director.
Tel:(+234)8037361050

Richard Thompson –

Thank you for your somewhat prompt response and I apologize for the delay in mine.

I took a look at the Western Union website (thanks for that), but a quick trip out to a couple of locations showed that they were, unfortunately, closed to me. I’m not sure whether this is due to my continued misunderstanding of the local time zone or if it’s due to me (as is repeatedly pointed out) “not being from around here.”

I also checked out the exchange rate (again, thanks for the link) and it looks very favorable. The dollar must be especially weak right now, as a single elk hide is fetching nearly $850 USD. Thank god for the recession, eh? Not only that, but I am flush with elk hides thanks to a recent forest explosion. (Officials are citing the forest for not being up to code.)

I have the elk hides on the way to the nearest currency exchange as we speak. I chose a native to deliver them (via dogsled) and it’s hoped that his rugged Greenlandish looks will bypass the locals’ xenophobia and allow him to wire you the $145 USD.

He hopes to reach the office by nightfall, which I believe is Sunday. (I’m never going to get used to this “midnight sun.”) He did express some confidence in arriving sooner as a rash of exploding forests has made his trip nearly obstacle-free. There’s a good chance you’ll have the $145 USD in your hands by tomorrow.

I just want to double-check the wiring info:

Name: Kingsley Amis
Location: Edo City – Next 4 Exits
Question: What has two thumbs and loves to lord this fact over a majority of the animal kingdom?
Answer: This guy!! (I’m pointing both thumbs inward, indicating myself.)

Your MTCN and transfer information will be sent by my courier, hopefully enabling commence and carryout as soon as possible.

IF YOU DO NOT RECEIVE PAYMENT WITHIN THE NEXT 12 HOURS, PLEASE EMAIL ME IMMEDIATELY SO THAT I CAN MAKE OTHER ARRANGEMENTS.

Sincerely,
CLT

(P.S. My apologies for my statements made earlier regarding Mr. Wellington. You were most likely referring to ARTHUR Wellington while I was referring to GENE Wellington, a known kleptomaniac and erstwhile degenerate.

Gene Wellington tore through my life a few years ago, leaving behind nothing but empty DVD cases and bulb-less table lamps. The DVDs will eventually be replaced and new lightbulbs purchased, but the damage to my soul may never be repaired.

Last I heard, he was headed to the States [with several of my personal possessions] to try his hand at “blogging” and writing books. The cad.

Arthur, on the other hand, is a saint. I would trust him with your life.)

[Unfortunately, this was the end of the line. I’m not sure what may have been the element that pushed “Richard” to toss this into his personal “junkmail” slot. Was it Mr. Wellington’s backstory? The “midnight sun”? Dogsleds? I guess we’ll never know.
Which brings me to Point B, which I completely failed to reference earlier.
Yet another side project, bearing the unlikely URL of http://thepenismadeoutofspam.wordpress.com/, and inspired by this unsettling spam comment, has been erected… so to speak. It is my intention (which is usually much, much greater than my follow-thru) to turn this new piece of half-assed blogging into a spam aggregator, collecting the worst, most disturbing and otherwise just-a-tad-off pieces of spam floating around the internet.
Take a look around and if you’ve got anything post-worthy, hit the Submission tab to find out where to send it in. Thanks in advance for your humouring of me.]

-CLT

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Heavy Rotation Vol. 43 – OMG! Edition

May 9, 2010

It’s Sunday after all, and with the willful misreading of the Bible still fresh in our minds, what could be more appropriate than a fistful of tracks dealing with the Main Man himself, or as I like to call him: “The Second Set of Footprints.”

This week’s edition deals with numbers 6 and 7, as portrayed by the varied musical stylings of  some choice number 5’s. (If you need clarification on this, please check with Fundamental Jelly, who knows all sorts of stuff, but this specifically is right down his heavily-photographed alley.)

Previous non-denominational volumes found here:
The Heavy Rotation Archives

Current 93 – Anyway, People Die.mp3
Current 93 have cornered the market on apocalyptic death-folk, mostly by running unopposed. As the band has soldiered on (and by band, I really just mean lead singer David Tibet), they have headed much more into the folk territory than the death part. This 1991 track, however, sees them splashing around in the deeper end of the death pool.

Musings on life, humanity and the omniscient figure of Christ get layered over a foundation of murky ambient-industrial. It’s bleak and brutal, in the way that truth can sometimes be.

Wolfgang Press – Christianity.mp3
With teeth and fists clenched, the Wolfgang Press deliver an incisive diatribe on the hypocrisy of God’s self-appointed middlemen over some stark electronics, going from spoken word ranting to backup vocalist crooning as the spirit (anti-spirit?) moves them.

The music’s reserved edge meshes well with the preternatural calm of the delivery, projecting the kind of strangulated anger that makes you feel the lead singer is this close to going home and cleaning his gun.

My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult – Kooler Than Jesus (edit).mp3
Chicago’s Thrill Kill Kult would like to remind you that a frank discussion of religion need not be all austere restraint and po-faced wordsmithery. Sometimes all you need is a bolder-than-the-Beatles statement and an assload of danceable groove.

Doing what they do best (and consequently, what their label Wax Trax! does best), TKK puts a sacrilegious spring in your step and a heretical song in your heart.

Army of Lovers – Crucified.mp3
There’s only one way to describe this track (and it’s probably not the word that first springs to mind…):

FUN.

Sure, the word “fun” gets overused but take a listen and you’ll come to the same conclusion. What’s not to like? A full-on Euro-disco propulsion system pushes more camp than a forest full of Boy Scouts while the uplifting female vocalists gleefully throw themselves on the cross, accompanied by the duelling swordsmen’s casual French/Hebrew wordplay.

If this doesn’t put a ridiculous smile on your face and the lead in your pencil, well, good lord, man… There’s just no hope for you.

Orbital – Satan (Industry Standard Version).mp3
Well, you can’t talk about God without bringing this guy into the picture. Without him, god and man are mostly nothing. Orbital pays their respect with huge, crunching beats, time-stretched Satanic invocations and a brilliant sample from the Butthole Surfers to get the whole thing kicked off.

-CLT