Monday, September 27, 2010

Nine 11 Thesaurus

Nearly a year in the works, the big feature I wrote about Nine 11 Thesaurus, a rap group that springs from an after-school program for disadvantaged youth in Bushwick, ran this week in the Village Voice.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

two lines left...

How to spell New York.

Two lines left out of my recent Esscort Q & A about their new single "Cocaine Blues" at the Voice:

Eugene: The DJ perspective is very important, its where a lot of our tastes have been formed. They may not be the deepest cuts, but you won't find us without a stack of August Darnell, Gino Soccio and Nile Rodgers productions. I guess if you had to round out the Mt. Rushmore of disco producers you might have to put Quincy on there, too.

This song makes me think back to the halcyon days of Cokie's, the notorious Williamsburg cocaine bar. 

Dan: As for Cokie's, my superintendent just broke into my apartment roaring drunk with a half-finished bottle of Jagermeister. (I'm not making this up.) He's muttering something about bags of baby laxative and cheap whiskey. It's a shame Cokie's closed: they could have included it in the amenity brochures for prospective condo buyers.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Je T'aime...

Out now is Light in the Attic's handsome and heavy remaster/ reissue of Jane Birkin & Serge Gainsbourg's first collaborative album, often entitled Je T'aime... Moi Non Plus after its controversial softcore single. I was honored to interview Ms. B about it and write the liner notes for it. Buy it here.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

jams by andy beta

It's a total thrill and honor to be spinning a few hours' worth of jams for my girl Jess Rotter's art opening on Wednesday evening at the purt-sweet Nightwood pop-up shop in downtown Brooklyn. That there will be heaps of limited vinyl for sale from the folks at Mexican Summer and Sacred Bones, as well as 'zines by the likes of I Heart only adds to the fun. My record bag will include everything from Matthew Young's Traveler's Advisory and Waylon Jennings to Thin Lizzy to Flying Saucer Attack, a spacious mix of dust, denim, and fuzz. And check out these sweet Gene Clark shirts Jess recently made:

Friday, September 17, 2010

heep see

Islaja: Keraaminen Pää
The two times I've happened upon Finnish musician Islaja (in Greenpoint and Beijing, of all places) she's enacted her singular music with a sampler, so it was a bit curious to read Pitchfork's wrongheaded review which presumes that Merja Kokkonen hails from "a stretch of old growth forest...or maybe Middle Earth," lamenting that with her electronics Keraaminen Pää sounds "modern, mechanical, and familiar." Some recent reviews of Finnish music all  dabble in speculation on the country, but considering that Islaja's success comes from outside of her homeland, I can't help but think of her as a wandering musician without territories (see also above locales). Lord knows her music makes few man-made distinctions: dirges, wobbling electronics, that icy vocalization, the throbs and meandering progressions. A song about a werewolf that undergoes such changes itself. That the album was made in Finland, Benin, Berlin, and Hong Kong suggests wide peregrinations as well. Most telling is her sampling of a fellow musical gypsy, Ghédalia Tazartès, which suggests she won't be settling into something familiar (least of all in an enchanted forest) anytime soon.

Noveller: Desert Fires
Brooklyn guitarist Sarah Lisptate sent her new album to me out of the blue. Turns out she also spent time in Austin, Texas before coming up north. And in a way her approach to the guitar I feel a kindred pull (from a decade previous), emphasizing texture and weather-pattern drifts, abstraction above traction. It's telling that Lipstate also does experimental film and since it arrived around the same time as my copy of Michaelangelo Antonioni's stunning modern-life meditation, Red Desert, I conflate the two works. (Also, Red Desert came during the time of the Deephorizon oil spill, giving it even muckier resonance.) Picturing that black sea, the bogs the hue of pus, the slate-ash skies, that deathly green of walls, I hear Noveller's music in Antonioni's color palettes, the suspension of feedback lingers with me as long as those images, too.

Hildur Gudnadóttir: Mount A
Originally a Mum member (also a member of Storsveit Nix Noltes), and originally a limited release under the name "lost in the hildurness," Gudnadottir has her first solo outing cleared again so that it might get a bit more attention. Credited with cello, viola da gamba, gamelan, zither, and more, it's rare to have a female composer represented on the esteemed Touch imprint (but not as rare as it not having the photography of Jon Wozencraft adorn it) and rather than make grand gestures, the album is infused instead with small moments that have taken a few spins to grow. Sawed-string miniatures, neo-classical meditations, shimmering suspended drones, it's been a morning soundtrack for a few weeks now, with expansive closer "You" a highlight.

Thursday, September 09, 2010


JUNIP - Always (Official Video) from City Slang on Vimeo.

As a judge for this year's World Air Guitar Championships, I sat at the judges' table with none other than José Gonzalez, who got up at some point at the halfway point to do his own air guitar theatrics with his band, Junip. I'm barely done unpacking my Moomin mugs yet the Junip video is already done and up.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

TV Guide

In anticipation of the new football season, I was asked to do a little something on facial hair in the NFL for the new issue of TV Guide. Random, I know...