Monday, March 23, 2009

Been A While, Blah, Blah, Blah...

I had a great Spring Break. Wrote my final essay for my Kinks project. Had a bicycle accident that involved me not seeing a barricade. I flew - as did the bike. I'm pretty sure I'm ok.

On Wednesday, I got a call from Gill. He's grown up a lot and getting his priorities in order. It was great. Thank God.

Visited Nick in Muncie. We had a really fun time. I'm worried he's a bit lonely up there, but if he says he is happy then I believe him.

I spent most of the past day watching a shit-ton of Monty Python's Flying Circus, specifically season three and season four. I have officially decided that seasons one and two are the best.

This week I've had a lot of time to myself. Shelley won't be back until tomorrow, and even then I won't see her until after class. Anyway, between marathon writing sessions at the library and indulging in British surrealist comedy, I've done lots of pondering regarding my future. It didn't hurt that on the 13th (the day Shelley left; my first day of Break) I watched 'The Graduate' and wrote a paper on it.

William & Mary emailed me - they're not letting anyone in this time around, citing "financial restructuring." My registration fee will be refunded to me. I wonder if they'd be so kind as to pay back what I shilled out for postage. Anyway, it's now down to four schools. I've learned acceptance letters are mailed out before rejections - too much time has passed for me to remain hopeful about Case Western.

We'll see about the final three, which are the ones I've been rooting for all along: Bowling Green State University, Brooklyn College, and University of Massachusetts Boston.

Anyway, I've decided whatever comes my way will be for the best. If I don't get in - then I don't get in. It won't be the end of the world, I can always reapply again and again to the above mentioned schools and others.

I can't remember, did I mention our fallback plan? It involves relocating to a sunnier clime down in Austin, Texas and my pursuit of my stupid little pipe dreams of music/movies.

Though I've not been listening to music in the car lately - in fact, that car hasn't been doing much all around - I still decided to assemble a Spring Break 2009 mix.


01. "Mr. Soul" - Buffalo Springfield (Neil Young on vocals, pre-Crazy Horse.)
The band on some silly live variety program. Awful visual quality. Neil admits he cribbed that riff from The Rolling Stones' "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction."

02. "Green Onions" - Booker T. & The MG's (Such a hot groove...and yet so simple.)
The house band from Memphis' Stax Records kicking ass on this number live, doing it faster than the original studio version. On a note of IU pride, Booker T. Jones attended Indiana University. Drummer Al Jackson is a perfect example of a feel-oriented. The guy's pocket reaches down to the floor.

03. "The Girl I Knew From Somewhere" - The Monkees (Been on a real Monkees kick lately; beautiful harpsichord solo)
Mind your ears - the volume on this one is a bit high.

04. "Subterranean Homesick Blues" - Bob Dylan (I'm still trying to memorize all 4,000 lines of lyrics to this one. Fantastic.)
That would be none other than Allen Ginsburg on the left side of the screen, looking like a priest. Shot by D.A. Pennebaker for the Don't Look Back documentary. Pennebaker would go on to direct the Monterey Pop doc on the legendary 1967 festival as well as David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust concert film.

05. "Dead End Street" - The Kinks (The topic of my final entry on The Kinks for the IMP. Beautiful song, hilarious promo film - see below.)
For some reason this was banned by the BBC...

06. "Don't Let It Go To Your Head" - Black Harmony (I thought this was a Blondie song when I first heard it. Great love song, to be played at our wedding.)

07. "Clowns & Jugglers" - Syd Barrett (I've discussed him before. Genius turned madman, and a testament to the dangers of drugs. This song was later reworked and titled "Octopus." It appeared on his debut solo record, The Madcap Laughs - the title being a lyric from both versions of this song.)

08. "Fool's Gold" - The Stone Roses (Another song that's cool and driven by a groove, though it's a rock band. They were touted to be the next big thing, but it didn't pan out. I'm really interested in hearing their first album. British critics still fawn over it - which I always take to be a good sign.)
This video screams early 90's, with all the saturated colors and such.

09. "World On A String" - Neil Young (From his super-depressing Tonight's The Night record. Something beautiful and macabre about this tune.)
Since Warner Music Group decided to clamp down on YouTube, preventing the exposure of potential customers to music they could enjoy online and then purchase at their friendly neighborhood record shop - but could download - I have had no luck finding Neil's version of this tune. Lots of covers, most of them awful.
Forrest - find this song. I think you'd like it.

10. "Circle Sky" - The Monkees (Written, along with track 3, by Michael Nesmith, whose talents as a musician/songwriter and role in the development of MTV is woefully overlooked. As for the song, two words: bad. ass.)
Compare this clip to that for "The Girl I Knew From Somewhere," which was taken from their TV show. This is from their 1968 film Head, written by a young Jack Nicholson. The band was obviously sick of being this sugar-coated hula hoop for twelve year old boys and girls, so they did this. As you'll see in this clip (especially at 1:37), the end result was a little off-putting to their original demographic. I think it's a great movie. On an unrelated note, Frank Zappa called them the most honest band in LA.
On another note, observe: THEY ARE PLAYING THEIR OWN INSTRUMENTS. I can't believe in this day and age of Pro Tools and pop singers this is still kicked around - no one complained about The Beach Boys not playing their instruments on Pet Sounds, they just sang.
I digress. Rock on.

11. "(I Got) So Much Trouble In My Mind" - Sir Joe Quarterman & Free Soul (1970's funk before it morphed into disco. Fuckin' Philly soul...anyway, yet another bumpin' groove. Lots of brass, some great guitar work - the solo at 3:27, GREAT production, more in line with hip hop than disco.)

12. "I Need Love" - Cheap Trick (One of their rarities, featured on their Sex, America boxed set. Rick Nielsen said he'd like to do this song one day with an orchestra. I see exactly what he means.)
The drone of this song predicted the rise of grunge in the 1990's. And check out that guitar solo for an example of how minimalist aesthetics can say so much more than virtuosic playing.

13. "Tired Of Being Alone" - Al Green (Beautiful soul, it sums up how sick I am of being alone in this cold, cold house.)

14. "Her Eyes Are A Blue Million Miles" - Captain Beefheart (Easily his most accessible song off of Clear Spot, which is easily his most accessible album.)

15. "Gangsters" - The Specials (Part of the English ska revival, late 1970's and early 1980's. This sounds like a Clash outtake. If I ever make another movie, I want to set a car chase to this song.)

16. "Knock On Wood" - Eddie Floyd (Another cool Memphis soul tune. Later reworked into a disco song...ugh...but this version is great, with those beefy horns and a great vocal performance.)

17. "Positively 4th Street" - Bob Dylan (The number of people I could dedicate this to is too long of a list. I'm already wasting enough of your time.)

18. "Success Story" - The Who (Nick was asking me about this song, which he knew best for its accompanying clip from The Kids Are Alright. Written by John Entwistle, whose songs are always fantastic. Great cynical lyrics about the music industry on this one. My favorite lines: "I gotta give up my day job / To become a heartthrob / I may go far / If I / Smash my guitar" - a reference to the band's past, sung perfectly by Entwistle - and "Take 276 / You know this used to be fun...")
The full song:

The Kids Are Alright clip:

19. "Jack The Ripper" [Live] - Link Wray (Bow down before your conquering guitar king. One of the nastiest sounding guitar features I've ever heard - that bastard axe hums and feeds back like no other. And how about those pictures - he even looks like a badass.)

20. "Leaving My Old Life Behind" / "I Am A Hermit" - Jonathan Halper (These are the only known recordings made by this folk singer; I can't find anything else about him. He sounds like a young Mick Jagger on a good day, but with an experimental edge - listen to that intro on the guitar. It sounds injured. Backwards guitar noise, double-tracked vocals...beautiful and haunting melody. And yes, I see how the lyrics of both tunes relate to me and my present situation. I really am leaving my old life behind, with or without graduate school.)
These two songs comprised the soundtrack for a six minute short film by American avant-garde filmmaker Kenneth Anger called Puce Moment. The film itself is an extract from an uncompleted feature called Puce Women. Beautiful use of colors in this one.

Let me know what you think.

In other news, another beach trip was planned for August 15th - 22nd. We're supposed to move out of our apartments by 8/15, so even if I wanted to go it would be difficult to sidestep the chaos of moving. I wouldn't go without Shelley, but since Eric's wonderful and charming girlfriend Sarah gave me her honest, heartfelt, and well-informed advice about my better half it's probably in everyone's better interests that I have moving as my [legitimate] excuse.

Refer to the latter half of this previous entry for more as to why. Apparently Eric read it - meaning Sarah probably did, too. So...chalk up one more excuse to duck out of the trip. Eric seems cool, though; any bad blood that created he seems to have let go. I don't really see Sarah as that type of person, though.

This feels like the Spanish Inquisition sketch: my one reason for not going is that I'm moving and that Shelley's not welcome - TWO reasons! Moving, Shelley's not welcome, and the inevitable cesspool of negativity - THREE reasons are moving, Shelley isn't welcome, too much negativity, and that they read my honest opinion on the matter - oh, damn!


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