fjb, local currency: solo 1992-1998 (fayettenam)

the human hearts, civics (tight ship)

the human hearts on myspace

nothing painted blue, taste the flavor (shrimper)

info on older band and solo work; I have no idea who compiled the scarily complete discographies

free music, discography, etc. here

Powered by Blogger


scooters, vacation, fall

Though my persona here revolves around a scrupulous ambivlaence, there are a few verities even I can assent to without hedging. One of these is: never, ever ship your car. Here's what the dude who picked mine up in L.A. (to take it to the multicar carrier that would bring it cross country) did about 45 seconds after I handed him the keys.

It then took this driver (who was, in every way, bad as his job), a much more able co-worker whose day off it was but who lived in the area, this second guy's brother, and three buddies they happened to bring along over three hours to get the thing back in position:

You will have gather that I retained these pictures less for your amusement than for my own protection. The NY end of the story involves meeting another (entirely blameless) driver in the parking lot of a Staples in Kingston (which I'm already beginning to think of as the Rancho Cucamonga of the Hudson Valley) with a wad of cash like my car was contraband, driving it around the lot once before signing off, I'm not sure how bindingly, on its condition, because that was the only way it was going to be handed over, and having the transmission fail suddenly, noisily and completely while rounding a turn three days later.

This is all very ordinary (is that a solecism, like "most unique"?), but it feels good to get it down, and it may serve as a partial explanation -- if you take as described various auxiliary inconveniences -- of why I haven't been bantering with you all about the arts so much lately, much less responding thoughtfully. This crap (and the insurance stage hasn't even begun) has taken nearly as much time as prepping my first week of classes.


the smallest thing I've ever noticed

"Psychiatry" and "psychiatrist" are pronounced with an long "i" and a sound somewhere between "uh" and an unsounded schwa; but "psychiatric" is pronounced with a long "e" and an "a" as in "hat." I haven't come up with any cases sufficiently similar, morphemically speaking, to suggest anything about whether this difference is an instance to a rule or an exception to one. (Closest I can come is geriatry/geriatrist/geriatric, but only the third term is in common enough use to be helpful. "Geriatrician," the vowel-values of which are as per "geriatric," is used instead of "geriatrist," and "geriatrics" is the usual term for what "geriatry" would mean. I'm not sure how we should expect these possible but apparently unused forms to be pronounced.)


life appointments

Connection and server issues in my new surroundings; regular posting -- and relatively prompt correspondence -- should resume by next week. In the meantime: I'm not in the business of recycling material from press releases, but for those wondering what might have been "abridged" from the version of Randy Newman's about-to-be released new song that just appeared as a New York Times op-ed piece, the missing verse -- sung, it says here, to the tune of "Columbia, Gem of the Ocean," though, not having heard the song, I can't quite make out how -- runs:

You know it pisses me off a little
That this Supreme Court is gonna outlive me
A couple of young Italian fellas and a brother on the Court now too
But I defy you, anywhere in the world
To find me two Italians as tightass as the two Italians we got
And as for the brother
Well, Pluto’s not a planet anymore either


In other juridicial news, longtime Nothing Painted Blue drummer Kyle Brodie has of late ascended to the bench in San Bernardino County, following in the footsteps of his paternal grandmother. His first posting: civil court in Wrightwood. See p. 101 of this immense pdf, if you don't happen to believe me. I hardly believe it myself; at any rate, it's a strange thing to report that someone you've (a) known since 6th grade and (b) covered "Slip It In" with at Maxwell's a dozen years after that is now to be addressed as "The Honorable...." Oddity: he was sworn in at Upland City Hall the same day that we played as The Human Hearts (much later, and with many thanks to Bob Massey) out in 29 Palms at the invitation of The Chairs of Perception, the current incarnation of The Urinals/100 Flowers; John Talley-Jones reminded me that the last time I opened for them was the evening of the day I officially filed my dissertation. "Ack Ack Ack Ack" (which we also used to cover) must have some spooky institutional mojo.

All this sorta reminds me that my friend Ben Schwartz was recently in a jury pool with Henry Rollins, but that story's not mine to tell.


In an only mildly lyrical essay-critical by poet X, I read a sentence full of poorly controlled abstractions marshalled toward a contentious yet unsurprising conclusion, and immediately think of picking it apart in a brief post. But I enjoy some of X's work (without fully understanding it), and have some reason to think I will encounter X in the flesh over the next year; so I refrain. Thus is one compromised.

There are only a couple of mildly interesting things about this situation:

(1) From a personal p.o.v., it reveals a change in emphasis: a few years ago, similar feelings might have made me balk at going into print "against" some bands I might share bills with, but would hardly have occurred to me with respect to poetry (more properly, poetics). This might be explained by my being less concerned w/ musical doings; though, more happily, it might also reflect feeling a little more secure in my small position in that world.

(2) I don't have this sort of impulse to an appreciable degree when it comes to rock criticism. I can and have called even eminences on their b.s. or blindspots w/o being made to suffer much. Philosophy per se is similar in this regard. One must be restrained in style and some extent tone, but disagreement can be near-total, and the precision of the tools involved can produce wounding results; if one does not have reasoned differences from philosophers more eminent than oneself, there's probably no point in publishing at all.

I don't have a handy analysis of what features of the various fields produce these differences -- which, again, may just be felt ones, peculiar to my situation.

(Oh: the uninteresting conclusions were in re: self, non-existence of any stable. The very fact that this is no hint at all is evidence of the problem.)


the crusty element [everybody's got one]

would normally be strips of corn tortilla, if anyone was wondering. So. Cal. is chilaquiles country. But what do I know? I'm writing from a Holiday Inn Express in Albany.

Also: Coincidence?


the done thing

Let's cut the self-pity and head straight for the self-promotion, shall we? Civics, the first release by The Human Hearts -- which consists of me and, where and when available, people who play and sing better than me -- is out as of Monday on Chicago's Tight Ship Records. (The website gives the impression that it's an LP, as in vinyl. This is not the case.) Two tracks (one a piece of yacht-rock about Amway; the other my imitation of Ben Folds trying to add a track to Baader-Meinhof) are available as mp3s on the release and order page; another, plus a live version of a tune I haven't officially recorded yet and may switch out for something new when I feel like it, can be heard, in an inevitable yet already passe move, here.

Please note that the disc is essentially a mail-order item. Promotion? You're staring at it; please pardon me if some of you also happen to receive an email pesterning you about the release.

An entirely different version of the band plays way out in the desert on Saturday and a live session airs on Indie 103 Sunday (see "mere appearances"); and then we're moving. I'll let this note hang out here for the Monday morning crowd; the next time you hear from me, sometime next week, I'll be in the Hudson Valley.


NYCers should consider seeing Ace In The Hole (Billy Wilder, 1951), a characteristically corrosive look at "human interest" journalism with a needle-pegging performance by a strutting, sure-of-it-all Kirk Douglas. Not on DVD, though I assume the restoration means it will be soon. Seriously: hot movie -- I'm annoyed that I won't get down to the city by the 18th.

Angelenos should consider seeing Los Abandoned at Amoeba Hollywood. Their full-length Mixtape (Vapor) gets over both on their own power pop en espanol writing/playing, and on ex-Pulsar David Trumfio's canny, confectionary production; this made my singles ballot (more on which later, maybe?). Blink and you'll miss the line about class. Haven't seen 'em live -- I'm annoyed that I'm already out of the city by the 18th.



kspc, 2-4 p.m.

create(!) -- six dreams divided -- a prospect of freedom (sounds are active) [new so. cal. out/jazz sextet inc. pomona college alum lynn johnston, which made me dig out the next three recs, all of which he's on)
motor totemist guild -- felis felicific -- contact with veils (rotary totem) [v. claremont -- I think the leader was either a prof. or the spouse of one]
slovenly -- diminished ideal -- thinking of empire (SST, 1986)
cruel frederick -- dee dee -- we are the music we play (SST, 1991) [also feat. poet/translator/editor guy bennett on bass!; this was kinda the left coast ans. to the lounge lizards, here doing an ornette head)

[better get back to new bins]
amy millan -- headsfull -- honey from the tomb (arts & crafts) [bss/stars gal; less feist-y, more folksy]
jordan o'jordan -- blame fashion -- not style nor season nor hard-handed lesson (columbus discount) [y'know, "freak folk" now makes "anti-folk" slightly more palatable]
jeffrey & jack lewis -- anxiety attack -- city & eastern songs (anxiety attack)
james william hindle -- birthday candles -- town feeling

susan christie -- for the love of a soldier -- paint a lady (b-music)
junior panthers -- no turning back -- derelicts (get lost)
relay -- driver -- type/void (bubblecore)
the receiver -- in tunnels -- decades (stunning models on display) [also from columbus; someone call the gray's anatomy music supervisor]

john weise -- catwoman-A -- teenage hallucinations 1992-1999 (tronik) [total fucking needle-pegging power electronic noise
caribou -- thistles and felt -- up in flames (domino/leaf)
ho-ag -- invitation to a beheading -- pray for the worms (hive 35)
esg -- i'd do it for you -- keep on moving (soul jazz)

gina lamour & the castanets -- i yi yi yi yi (i like you very much) -- 7" (island) [1984; cover of a harry warren song sung by xavier cougat lina romay in an andy hardy movie; kinda the '30s version of "hips don't lie," here given the toto coelo (sp?) all-cheese treatment]
buzy -- dyslexique -- 7" (arabella) [the poor man's lio?]
the kidnapped -- say no to the macho -- 7" (maquis) [1979; not quite as good as the title promises, and about as punk as the boomtown rats]
martha & the muffins -- twenty-two in cincinnati -- 7" (1981 b-side; very hannetty -- turns out to credit daniel lanois as producer)
ultravox -- rockwrock -- 7" (island) [1977; pre-first lp, before the numanisms took over; in essence, an early roxy cop, complete w/ sax]
telex -- spike jones -- 7" (flarenasch) [1986; could be an art of noise parody. we're they french or b
silver leaf -- can we rebuild our city -- 7" ("a major record company") [no year; resembles marianne faithful whinging about urban blight over smoove jazz; excellent]

mixel pixel -- i cannot die -- music for plants (kanine) [fits all too well w/ previous set]
liars -- a visit from drum -- drum's not dead (mute) [they've gone off their nut]
bright light fever -- how much is that gun -- the evening owl (stolen transmission)
sharp ease -- hands -- remain instant ep (olfactory) [damn -- if i'd known this l.a. band's singer sounded so much like deborah iyall, i'd have been all over 'em earlier]
the pope -- free tibet -- 7" (yosada) [from boise, ID -- fucked up, in a pleasingly outmoded way]
misha mengelberg -- rollo II -- who's bridge (jaspac)

nick lowe & dave edmunds -- poor jenny -- 7" of everly bros. covers, given away w/ rockpile's seconds of pleasure
everly bros. -- radio & tv -- gone gone gone (warners) [yet another single that didn't go anywhere]


more blogs about chocolate and girls

While I realize that fewer posts are par for the course over the holidays, at least when one spends same within driving distance of several branches of extended family, noticing last week that I hadn't posted anything between one radio show and the next did give me pause. That's also conventional for the season; I see that Jordan and JIm have taken stock of their own blogtivity in the last few days. As for me: this may just be a bad patch, but I'm not sure that this return to the 'sphere is working out all that well. As opposed to the scattershot, involuted and paratactic approach I stumbled into at konvolut m, my explicit (to myself) project, this time around, has been to write reasonably manageable and self-contained notes on discrete topics, generally one per post. I suppose the aim was to be more readable, and to have somewhere to say my piece without documenting every passing impression.

Unfortunately, it turns out that I was much better at the drunkard's walk! Trying to turn every item I want to register into a mini- or even a micro-essay feels awfully artificial, and I'm having the same sorts of trouble meeting my own standards, as to both style and insight, that have gradually worn me down from a prolific songwriter to a barely active one, and from being a near-pro freelancer to resiting pitching even alt-weekly half-pagers because I know how much self-torture I'll endure on the way to a serviceable lead graf. The thought that such an arc accompanies something as paltry as my attempts to maintain an "online presence" is, to repeat a word I'm aware I overuse, dispiriting. (Other factors: the addition of photos and music also contributes something to my blockage; the old blog had a strict text-and-links-only policy/constraint, and while I like the greater range of possibility I've allowed myself here, the uploading involves means budgeting more time per post.)

I'm about to move cross-country again in ten days, so it's true that I'm even more disconnected than usual, and probably shouldn't expect myself to sparkle for a while. But once I'm settled, some happy medium has to be found between what I spilled/filed at the previous location and what I've been trying without notable success to build at this one. Really, if I can't find a form in which to tell you that I saw Inland Empire and Cluny Brown (above), and that Lynch is no Lubitsch, why do I even keep this url?

I appeal more than usually to what readers I have for counsel.


upper limit showtunes!

kspc, 2-4 p.m.

christine ebersole -- my revolutionary costume -- grey gardens ocr (ps classics)
comet gain -- mainlining mystery -- beautiful despair 12" (what's your rupture)
born ruffians -- this sentence will ruin/save your life -- s/t (warp)
stylex -- ICE -- tight scrapes (pretend)

archie bronson outfit -- dead funny -- 7" (domino)
guther -- many frames per second -- sundet (terrorbird)
maher shalal hash baz -- faux depart -- faux depart (yik yak) ["a song that starts with a mistake"]
deerhoof -- dead beast queen -- holdypaws (krs)
the channel -- sneaks or skates? -- sybilline machine (c-side) [sic]

night doctor -- hit and miss affair -- 7" (race) [1981 coxsone dodd-prod. dub plate)
lord melody/cook calypso ensemble -- si senor -- compatible calypso (cook)
psycho on da bus -- afropusher man -- comet afro beats (comet)
paul robeson -- the four insurgent generals -- songs of free men (columbia)

tony allen f/eska -- what's your fashion -- comet afrom beats (comet) [mistake, but it's a comp, so not much harm...]
forro in the dark f/david byrne -- asa branca -- bonfires of sao joao (nublu) [a logical enough lead in to--]


leif garrett -- bits and pieces -- can't explain (scotti bros.) [1980; total ringer, yes, and not a patch on shaun cassidy's under wraps, but at 1:53, this dave clark 5 cover is pretty cool]
the pop -- shakeaway -- 7" (arista) [1979; v. jags-ish; earle mankey prod.]
nude ants -- in business/car that goes -- search for tornado victims (new deal) [1982; rec'd in briarcliff and mamaroneck, n.y.!]
the passage -- the animal in me -- 7" (cherry red) [1982; synth-not-v.-pop group i've ever known from seeing their records used]

drop the line -- butterscotch -- we never sleep (tigerbeat 6) [grimy]
strange fruit project f/thesis -- special -- the healing (om) [nu-soul-y, grew on me...]
jel -- wmd -- soft money (anticon)
uno the prophet -- officer down -- paris present hard truth soldiers (guerrila funk comp.)

the leather uppers -- halfway houseboat -- bright lights (goner)
necropolis -- stalking mark e. smith around nyc -- 7" (columbus discount records) [!!!]
the lucky bishops -- st. ives -- unexpect the expected (camera obscura)
golden boots -- rats from the hounds/rotten fruit -- untitled 3-band split (nightpass)

dead c -- bitcher -- vain, erudite, and stupid (badabing)
the black neon -- ralph & barbara -- arts & crafts (memphis industries) [posery in a d. warhols way, but still a decent song]
everly bros. -- leave my girl alone -- in our image (warner's/collector's choice) [great 1965 flop single]