Thursday, October 27, 2005

Supah Fast Attack Blogs

Damn, we once wanted to work for this lot. There will be much ridicule coming the way of Forbes for this nonsense. The best discussion is likely to come from the real evangelists and the aggrieved.

But the article is spectacularly badly sourced, consisting largely of quotes from lobbying groups, politicians and angry businessmen. And very little reading of blogs. The author seems to have worked out that google owns blogger, but not that blog search engines exist. Otherwise, they wouldn't have quoted this:

"'Wait until the next election rolls around and these bloggers start smearing people who are up for reelection,'Halpern says. 'Maybe then things will start to happen.'"

Five minutes on the mighty google, and we found this from the real media. From 2004.

Blogs gain influence from being consistently entertaining, interesting, and yes, accurate. Most do engage, in well, abject speculation. And snark. Lots of snark.

Take, and this is a half-decent segue into a subject we wanted to bring up, Mr. Gilliard's News Blog. Mr. Gilliard has a nice line in, occasionally intemperate, invective, as well as a habit of flinging around racial epithets in a way that makes white liberals wince. Which p*ssed off one of his advertisers. He claims to be mostly upset that the advertiser didn't have a chat with him first, and owned up to being rather salty.

Does the a-list act nasty? Not quite, although Gilliard and the Rude Pundit certainly have their followers. The hardcore invective atttracts the hardcore, which is a finite, and well-covered, demographic. But the casual blog-readers won't go there. The reporters might, WHICH IS WHY THEY HAVE TO START USING SOME GODDAMN JUDGEMENT WHEN USING THESE SOURCES. Sorry for the caps.

Sleep well.

[Update: Welcome, MIT Advertising Lab readers. In at least one sense, this post harkens back to the golden age of journalism - we were writing this between sucks on a Ballantine's on the rocks. Which is why we just needed to go back and correct the spelling of "aggrieved". But we'd like to add that there's not too much that's courageous about taking pops at a medium one doesn't understand for an audience of avaricious small businessmen. Forbes is utterly brilliant at chasing after the follies of corporations that don't do right by their shareholders. Its take on the wider questions of today is rather poor, though, especially next to that of BusinessWeek.]

No Swett

Not the best day to be trying to come up with scintillating posts. We're helplessly late with our latest little slice of archness, on account of our heart not really being in yet another article on yuppies psychically sandblasting another Brooklyn neighborhood. The dayjob yelps from underneath the desk, and this Miers business exposes what a shallow blogger we are.

Still, if there's one reason to log into the old blogger, it is to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MIG-HOLE. Not the birthday celebration, which we, ahem, were somewhat tardy in attending, but the REAL birthday. And anyone who's ever heard the cry of the wild Shed Seven will attest that REAL IS BETTER. Except for ultraviolence, and possibly Pamela Anderson.

So, so, so, we shall post what Mig-hole probably didn't get for his birthday:

Digital Underground - "Bran New Swetta"
Score "The Body-Hat Syndrome At J&R. Maybe even for Mig-Hole. Hmmmmm?

P.S. Why These Are Geeengahs, Bond-San!

Wednesday, October 26, 2005


Yes! Get On With It!

In related: Cheer up Cutesome, and don't be sad. You are, indeed, utterly fantastic.

Peel Closely And Mangle

So, whoever it was at the Murdoch Times that went over John Peel's double super secret list of his favourite singles ever, they evidently aren't garage rock fans. Which is a shame because Mr. Peel was. We had no idea he was such a Detroit Hag. In fact, remembering how fond he could be of both meandering hippie noodle-mongering, and extreme Teutonic noise, that we suspect that this actually just his double super secret box of favourite garage rock singles ever. Mark our words, there's a wooden box of nosebleed techno platters under the floorboards waiting for the right relative.

Yay, obviously, to the Quo, and enough props to Italy Records. Monstrous misspelling of the Greenhornes, and the Hentchmen. If the Times Of London needs a very reasonably priced, and suitably expensively educated, garage rock consultant, we're not up to anything much right now.

(Via Stereogum, whose preloaded iPod nano idea we think is hell neat.)

Are We There Yet?

Why, This Is Neenja, Bruni-San!
My Merchandising Skills Are Unstoppable!

Yes, in all instances was an exclamation mark required.

We're exiling in dayjobland, so this'll have to do ya for today. We were barely out of the shower when Gawker's RSS spat this out. The deathmatch between Ninja "I Flattened Tokyo And Now All Your Themes Belong To Us" New York and Frank "I Use The Power Of The New York Times And My Own Acerbic Wit To Damn With Faint Praise, Like An Evil Cloud Made Of Acid" Bruni. The scorecard is here, and we can't recommend the required registration enough.

Frank's thesis is that the tomfoolery of a ninja-themed restaurant is unseemly, and that the food is overpriced. However, we must note that he is not pricing in, as they say on Wall Street, the entertainment value of having out of work actors screech "Go-mayn!" at you the whole time. Frank doesn't like the food belching smoke at him either; proof, if anything else was required, that the dour old f***er never ever went to a Kiss koncert, either. If he was prepared to see it as Kiku, only with the furniture bought from a WIZARD, rather than West Elm, and bearing in mind that the wizard needs to get paid, he might have been less churlish.

The most interesting bit, and proof that Frank is such an adorable writer that he can animate even as he eviscerates, is here:

"You are greeted there by servers in black costumes who ceaselessly bow, regularly yelp and ever so occasionally tumble, and you are asked to choose between two routes to your table. The first is described by a ninja escort as simple and direct. The second is 'dark, dangerous and narrow,' involving a long tunnel and a drawbridge that descends only when your escort intones a special command, which he later implores you to keep secret."

You can probablly book us on a a table right now. But wait, incoming!

For a toddler with a trust fund and a yen for udon and maki, Ninja might be a valid alternative to the Jekyll and Hyde restaurant.

Frank, that hurt. Do we still want to go? HELL YEAH.

We trust that others will do a better job on Frank than someone obviously obsessed with black-clad kill machines.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Smoothie Operator

If there's one area of Gumby Fresh's coverage we'd like to improve, it's the section that covers restaurants. We go out a fair bit, we're reasonably adventurous, and out taste buds weren't too ruined by 14 years of smoking. But whenever we actuallly sit down to write something, it usually ends up as a dig at the decor, a brief comment on the signature dish, same as you'd get on New York Metro, a brief discussion of how much we drank afterwards, followed by "WE WERE THERE FIRST".

This is, to be frank, not up to snuff. While we are unlikely to scale the heights of the esteemed Bruni Digest, it would be fair to at least bring a little bit of knowledge and context to the subject at hand. We do the same with music, and it is by no means clear that our taste in that area is in any way suitable for public broadcast either.

So here goes. We went to Burrito Bar And Kitchen (the link will take you to whiny b*tches on Daily Heights complaining about the sign). We weren't the first to go there, and sorry, DHeightscrew, we don't think we'll be the last. Just because Burrito Bar and Kitchen lacks a coherent theme at present, does not mean that it will not acquire one in time.

Burrito Bar replaced City Lighting, this not really lamented food venture from the kingpins behind Boat/Buttermilk/Great Lakes. City Lighting was an inspired experiment in using a converted retail space, and an unispired one in food preparation. The food was only marginally better than that at Soda, and Soda's was much cheaper, and thus better for DRUNKS. And Flatbush Avenue is a very good place to be a drunk, despite its notoriously stupid drivers.

So the trendy bar kingpins go back to making thirsty hipsters impatient, and this joint moves in from Tribeca with a ginormous yellow sign. (Sorry to go back to the Daily Heights people, but what the hell kind of coherent Flatbush Avenue aesthetic that has managed to include Wing Wagon and a Subway, not to mention a Mobil and a Duane Reade, is Burrito Bar meant to be deflowering?). If this was a Times article, it would have the headline "In Park Slope, Burrito Bar Offers A Glimpse Of Changing Neighbourhood". And you'd be asleep.

What's at work here is either a complete Kamikaze restaurant venture, or the recognition that something IS happening to the Slope's demographics. We have a tiny bit of anecdotal evidence to back this up, noting that a couple of recently graduated people of our acquaintance have recently moved there. Which isn't to say that it's not a tad jarring, this little slice of the West Village (not the Joan Baez, tree-lined streets, raddled Sarah Jessica Parker out shopping Village, the Bleecker Street, naked-a*s fratboy one) dropped onto the edge of the Slope.

Inside, there's a ginormous TV showing Monday Night Football, and the music, when not coming out of a DJ booth is definitely Latin Cheese. Santana, Shakira, with no delicate Andean folkies in evidence whatsoever. The service, on the other hand, is excellent, the smoothies were most quaffable (can you quaff smoothies? No idea, and before you ask, it was one of our mandated nights off the sauce), and the maragritas were probably potent.

What's interesting, is that the food is a tad pricey, and that the ingredients were pretty fresh, but that the flavours weren't that challenging. We suspect that despite the rather impressive drinks menu, this lot might have the kids (you know those funny little things in football outfits that clog up Two Boots at peculiar times) squarely in their sights. Since the nearby Tex-Mex stalwarts Santa Fe and Lobo use worse ingredients but spice it up a bit more, this might be BB's Unique selling Proposition. For the record, we had the "For the Byrds Burrito" (red chicken), and Cutesome had some seafood enchilladas. We could barely move last night, and it was rather easy to sack the constitutional by citing the rotten weather.

We'll err on the side of this DHeightslet.

On another matter this post from a few months back has been pinging around the NY stoner rock community for a few days now, exciting more than a few monstrous libels against our vernacular. None of them as unpleasant as what we wrote about the Brought Low, of course, but hurtful, nonetheless. Me old china.

But it did bring forth an email from the disgustingly nice bassist from Federale, a band that we did like on a sonic, and personal, level. Timmy, not knowing that our reach is not only small but composed largely of Interpol fans, suggests we go to their myspace page for a listen to their new music. We had mentioned casually that their recorded work was not as filthy as their live show, and the new songs are indeed, as Timmy promised, much closer to what they do than the old stuff.

They're playing early on the bill at the Mercury Lounge on 11 November. We may have to go by, if only because we lost the damn t-shirt they gave us.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Garage Rocking

Top Deep Throat reference of the last couple of days, courtesy of Daily Kos. Obviously, we love this kind of thing.

Stamp Your Feet Hoard Yé

Poring through the RSS this morning we managed to separate at least one bit of wheat from the Judith-Miller-Is-Such-A-Cow chaff. "Nom de Guerre: How my faux French band wound up in federal court." cropped up, courtesy of Slate. Full disclosure, we've had several drinks with the monstrous lead singer mentioned in the article, and he's always struck us as fairly charming. And we think that referring to the lead singer by his stage name - Clermont Ferrand - alone was a pretty classy move, especially if the author went through as much as he claims.

The account, by embittered bandmember Jean-Luc Retard, documents the fallling out between the two men, with the other bandmembers largely coming down on the side of the disgruntled Retard. It must be said that Ferrand does come across like the Phil Spector of P. Heights, all threats of violence and dubious personal hygiene. The reaality is, we must attest, a tad more nuanced, although Mr. C does like an ale now and then. Still, if the friction between the two was down to an article in Slate, then the lead singer must have guessed he would be pretty outgunned in the court of public opinion.

The two ended up, in true Pink Floyd style, suing each other over the right to the band's name. And because Ferrand is a lawyer, he ended up winning, despite the fact that lead singers tend not to win if the rest of the band is still united. On current drinking form, we'll have to wait a while for his side of the story, but we are impressed by the idea that pastiche French yé yé is so lucrative that a day in court is a small price to pay for brand ownership.

Certainly, the Make Up never sold much of their brand, despite being slightly more disciplined than Nation Of Ulysses, and slightly less silly than Weird War.

The Make Up - "The Joy Of Sound" (Vinyl, AAC, but great drum fills)
Buy "In Mass Mind" at Dischord. Prove that yé yé gets real paid

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Pixel Wars

Sometimes Boing Boing links must be shared, and originality be damned. This is one of them.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Walt Wilted

Hot on the heels of our top-gumshoe scoop that paper turns to pulp when wet, our courageous stand against limey-hating stoner rock muppets, we bring you yet another triumph. Walt Mossberg, the dean of tech-writing, just published the same column on DRM that we wrote, far more whimsically, in Sugarzine a few weeks back.

Oh, and we got a letter from a 419 scammer starting "Dear Petal...". Brightened up our day immediately.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Nekkid Rekkids

There's a game we play, and used to play regularly, before we started paddling in the shallows of the big boys' pool, called Record Shop Chicken. How it differs from common-or-garden record collecting is unclear, and all we remember is that when we lived on more scant monetary resources it scared the bejeesus out of us. These days there is less of a thrill, although it can occasionally be tricky, and tends to involve a lot of shoe-leather scraping off on the pavements of the east vilage. The trick is quite simply to have a list of relatively accessible, but somewhat old or rare records, and buy as many of them as an establishment has in stock.

We ambled into the Virgin the other day, with a single-store mission - a decent-ish list, but only time for one location. We were after:

Only Blood On The Wall were chosen. But since we're a grown-up, and reasonably well off and all, we bought a bunch of other stuff:

So, it's probably safe to say that Record Shop Chicken is a sport with no losers. Unless as a student you walk in to the HMV in Leeds with 25 quid in one's pocket, and walk out with an import copy of New Kingdom's Paradise Don't Come Cheap and NO MONEY AT ALL. Spacey stoner rock-rap should never be that pricey


New Kingdom - "Mexico Or Bust"
Buy Paradise Don't Come Cheap after comparing these reputable merchants. Don't get burned like Gringcorp was.

Filthy Weasels

So, so, we weren't at the hearing on the neon the new stadium and theft project. We were at the day job. But this nice lady was there, and it sounded rather fun. Moreover, we could have got there after work, had we known that the thing went on quite late. Bad, faux stadiumblogger! Bad!

But we would like to pipe up briefly on the subject of the Brooklyn Standard fake newspaper. We haven't seen the latest edition, only briefly glimpsed the BUILD guys handing them out at the Grand Army Plaza subway while we were on the way to our morning constitutional.

But we were taking the 2 train with Cutesome to work, and noticed this weird dried gray paste all over the northern entrance to the Bergen Street Station. "What was it?", we asked. "Oh," said Cutesome, "it was all of those free papers they were handing out the other day. They just dumped them down there and the rain turned them to pulp."

Delightful metaphors a go-go...

[UPDATE: 'sup, 'landgrablets. Is Cutesome a girl? Does Markowitz sh*t in his own garden?]

Bankrupt Rhetoric

In the day job we shill for big energy, so you can take the following with a pinch of salt. But we got this from Riverkeeper the other day. Riverkeeper has hired not-hugely-cheap PR firm Rubenstein to send out releases linking the recent bankruptcy bill to the safety of the Indian Point Nuclear Plant.

The logic is rather tenuous, and certainly gives ammunition to those of us that think that liberal habits of getting holisticallly angry are very ineffective. There's an article in Rolling Stone, which rather upsettingly appeared on our doorstep the other day without us ordering it, saying much the same thing. To paraphrase, it quotes a lot of people saying "could you not have the Free Mumia crowd at an anti-war march?

The release has the headline: "Riverkeeper Raises Concerns Over New Bankruptcy Law & Lack of Corporate Responsibility in the Wake of Disaster". Buried in the release is the small fact that the new new Law has very little to say about corporate bankruptcy, and that Rubenstein might as well bring up the horrible liabilities that would result to households in Westchester if a chemical tanker blew up on the Thruway.

Bankruptcy law allows subsidiaries to file for Chapter 11 without their owners doing so, and vice versa. Claims upon them are indeed limited, as asbestos victims have discovered. But, unless we are much mistaken, the Federal Government has assumed a large chunk of the liabilities from nuclear accidents in any case.

We have our issues with nuclear power, the cost-shifting, the never quite explained radiation levels, the China Syndrome, but even less sympathy for the residents of Westchester, who have previously turned down gas pipelines that might obviate the need for a nuclear power plant. And even less sympathy for cynical PR monkeys trying to foist exploitative non-sequiturs on a credulous public.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

John Hannah: Not So Craggy

Well, we've probably left it a wee bit late to elaborate on all the mecha-trendy eateries we've frequented, so-so pulp filums we've gawped at, and devastatingly trendy bands we've scoped.

As for the whole wanker trying to destroy our neighbourhood business, if you happen to be near downtown Brooklyn today, go remonstrate with the hacks.

Nyup, we'll be cutting edge a moment here, with the news that a John Hannah might have flipped in the Plame investigation. No, not that John Hanna, nor John Hannah.

Which makes finding a picture of the tinker a tad difficult. Rest assured, if he did squeal, and looks anywhere near as pimpy as Mr. Felt, you shall have a new mugshot up there on the top right sharpish.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Bringing Out The Clown Vote

We only caught a tiny snippet of this, because we were late for dayjob, but it was definitely the visage of useless, yet Democratic, stooge Marty Markowitz that cropped up on NY1 this morning endorsing Republican Mike Bloomberg for mayor. It was horrible.

The reasoning behind his decision was that Bloomberg warmly supports the only reason for Marty to exist right now, as stupid useless cheerleader for the stupid useless stadium project. Moreover, we actually think that Marty needs to be friends with Mike more than Mike needs Marty. Marty is so obviously the skinny pasty white kid in the showers of the State Penitentiary right now.

At the moment there are two reasons for the more affluent Brooklyn residents to deviate from voting a straight Democratic ticket in the elections this fall. The first is to vote for Mike, a move we don't endorse, but can undertstand. They'll feel mighty guilty about it, but the man kept crime and property taxes down, and still seems to be personally liberal. And they distrust Ferrer, probably groundlessly.

The other reason to deviate from the Democratic line is to vote against Marty. If the public advocate primary results in several Brooklyn districts are to be believed, anti-Stadium candidates took quite a beating. Bloomberg can ride this out, but Marty will have a tougher time, since the Slope presents one of the most reliable and active voting communities in the Borough. Which is why we're so glad, that Gloria Mattera is have a good old beating at the clown gong right now. Read it, and love her, here.

"If I Kneel, Will It Save Lives?"

Many important and substantive reviews to come, but first, news that the universe's most evol alien actually wants to be elected President. We're as suspecious of his motives as the next person - as if you need the power of the ballot box when you have death rays for eyes.

But, like Lex Luthor, we know where our priorities should lie. So, pre-emptively, and fearfully, we offer it on up:

Kneel Before President Zod!

Friday, October 14, 2005

Burn Baby Burn

We've been so lamentably out of touch with what the kids are up to music-wise that we no longer need to provide you with a handy series of links to places in the past where we've been talking out of our ineffable derriere. So it will strike you as unsurpising that we have not been to Rothko before last night. But an associate had been through an unhappy love affair and needed some fresh air, plus cutesome had unchained us for the evening.

But the Warlocks seemed somehow unappetising. So we turned to the Rock list, and then scored some filtering from the Frooty Scensterdent. "Wot about this 33Hz business Mig-Hole?" The answer came back: "This was dealt with several months ago, you silly little toy. If I was to be seen there I would be pelted with soiled Stolen Transmission demos next time I tried to show my face at Misshapes. You on the other hand might find keytar and Prince pastiches diverting over a short time span."

So, and not before downing several Rauchbiers (tastes like beer, smells like smoked cheese! Hoooray!) at dba, down we waddled. Right into this strange universe of freaky-looking swarthy people in sports coats. Jeez, we thought, the universe of friends-turning-up-to-friends'-bands sure has turned ugly since Brownies closed down.

[Slightly off-topic here - when did The Magician manage to rethink the whole shark-jumping thing, leap back for the safety of the ramp, claw itself back up, and then start the whole Fishy-Knievel process all over again? We always thought the reason for holding a party there was that it was downtown and always and plenty of space, and also in part because it was so very jejune in the first place.

But we digress. We had a mere ten minutes of shuddering more before the undercard materialised. At this point we should note that there was more to our choice of entertainment than Mig-Hole's tauntings. The first band up were called The Baskervilles, and we had hoped that in some warped way they would offer homage to Thee Headcoats, whose Sherlock fixation is as well know as their aversion to fidelity in sound. But garage the Baskervilles were not. They sounded like Belle And Sebastian. And the singer grinned like the maitre d' in a low-rent brothel. Ugh.

But the Burnside Project we likey (yesyesyes, before you ask, we did think that there might be a link to top alt.blues f***toy RL). Would not all of us like to live in a future where the Rapture used fewer cowbells and less yelping? Could we not take out insurance against this not happening?

And lo, this crew appeared in sports coats and rather Scottish demeanours to play au courant post punk stuff to synthesisers. They really were good, though, we promise. The only problem we could find was that since this was a mates' show we had to dredge through the stuff they wrote before they were good. This can be solved.

We didn't in the end stay for the headliners (look at the website again, will ya? Electric pink writing? Fauxboxes?). It was weeing it down, and we had anticipated the struggle for a cab on Delancey being much more daunting that would in fact turn out to be the case. We'll leave them to the faux-casts.

Link to Burnside Project's "And So It Goes", which makes them sound a little cheesier than they were live, but we stand by our earlier positive assessment.

Rall Sold Out

We're faintly fond of Ted Rall and his comics, mostly becausse he made the earlier parts of the Voice more readable, but also gives pointy alien ears to the Bush cabinet. A bit shrill, yes, but there's a lot to get agitated about in the way that the Bush adminstration behaves.

But, and we do need to point this out, he's a rather marginal figure on the left wing, and nowhere near as clever as This Modern World. Why, then, do the wingers get so exercised about him? Reminds us of this time they thought this obscure mumbling Colorado professor was going to bring down America...

For news of actually really good sick comics being oppressed, please note that the NY Press, continuing its descent into marginal literary 'zine, has dropped Rehabilitating Mr. Wiggles, Neil Swaab's strip about a murderous paedophile teddy bear. Boo.

Community Chestnuts

While waiting for the 'puter to download some, er, digital imagery, we read the latest spin on the Brooklyn stadium scam in the Times (reg, etc req'd). We were vaguely curious about what it had to say, although it mostly said that Bruce Ratner is VERY CLEVER at winning over ccommunity groups and local worthies. He has achieved this through the revolutionary public relations technique of WRITING MASSIVE CHECKS and INVENTING SUPPORTERS.

The 'Landgrab's take on this is all muted. possibly because it delighted in the juicy details of the Selling of BUILD this community group that decided to support the building of a stadium because of the checksjobs involved. But the article really did bury the lede, suggesting that the kindhearted developer made serious efforts at community outreach, rather than inventing a community to reach out to. Nice picture of Tish, though.

Thursday, October 13, 2005


Grace Church
Originally uploaded by Gringcorp.
Aside from wasting ninety minutes of our precious life on the Brown Bunny, and being the first to sample the delights of Union Street's Black Pearl (hint, it's not the same thing as the Alphabet City lobster shack, Eater-childs, but not a pirate tie-in, either. Boo), we've been very quiet of late.

But we've finally got round to taking a picture of the Grace Church School, so we'll post that for your pleasure. Whenever we visit the Cooper Station post office, we're stopped in our tracks by the Grace Church School, this chunky gothic building dropped on fourth avenue, and endearingly out of place. The reason we like it so much is that, given the olde worlde gothic front, and the fact that fourth avenue is so broad at this point, it reminds us of nothing so much as the High Street in Oxford (webcam here. If you squint quite hard you can see where Gringcorp went to college.

Grace Church does not have quite that claim to fame, since it was tacked on to the back of the Grace Church on Broadway towards the end of the nineteenth century. Nothing wrong with that, and you have the Gothic revival mania to thank for much of Fifth Avenue and the Cathedral Church of St John The Divine, which shares a name with the church where Gringcorp was baptised. So, for that reason, as well as the fact that Gringcorp's gothic revival alma mater, was built in the seventeenth century, when Gothic was deeply unfashionable, we will not be chucking any rocks at poor Grace Church.

Or PITY THE CHILDREN, as we say far too much.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Oh No You Di'unt!

OI!. No Mig-Hole, and no Gumby Fresh? SORT IT OUT.

We'd understand why the 'Fresh is not on there. It's got terrible hosting, knows nothing, and persists in using current affairs as valid reasons for posting certain mp3s. But the 'ent? Aristocrats among bloglets. True fact.

Hook Branson

No, not the practice of disemboweling Richard Branson with a rusty meat-hook, not that there's anything wrong with that, but a strange and ungainly melange of a couple of memes I've been following. Let's get rid of the shortest one first. New York Magazine manages to visit Red Hook without propping the mighty Lillie's. According to at least one scumclown the place is still open, and sells good barbequeue, so it must be that they hate lesbian limey cowgirl singing bartendresses. Shame!

The other thing we wanted to talk about is Rocket From The Crypt. We were, until about five minutes ago, completely unaware that they were to split up. This news has been a tad difficult to digest, even if we did include a somewhat barbed aside in our post from a week ago. Holy balls b*ggery! Turns out the Hot Snakes have disbanded too!

Which news probably ends our credibility for ever as a purveyor of reliable and timely information regarding garage rock. But does leave us free to speculate as to what John Reis, Jr, aka Speedo, might like to do next. The smart money would be on him making it in soundtracks, even though most movies these days seem to want music that sounds like the Crystal Method, which is a pity. Speedo is an undoubtedly gifted arranger, occasionally visited by a strong melody as well, although not as often.

Also, it should be noted, an infuriating bastard, but if you've been the scene king of San Diego as long as he has, this is probably to be expected. a laddy of our acquaintance once met him at a show at the Bowery, and started babbling about how much she had enjoyed the show, capping the torrent with a "you must think me very square." To which Speedo replied "no, it's more circle", a retort that is most definitely not genius, but gives you some idea as to how his liner notes read. For more, read his latest missive at Swami, where we last sent you to buy Hot Snakes merch.

But there was magic somewhere between the squally, scrappy, punky early stuff like Paint As A Frangrance and the later, more baroque stuff (Cellos? You idiots, you have commited the exact same act of self mutilation as almost finished Therapy?)!). And it was called Hot Charity.

Hot Charity was originally limited to 1000 copies or something, and we were very pleased with ourselves to pick up a copy at a long-forgotten record store in Cambridge. It was quite possibly the first vinyl we ever purchased, and had the stickers on the wrong sides. This has unfortunately not translated into one meelion dollars potentially on eBay. But we still love the album very much.

It has more tunes than most of the other RFTC records. It is shorter. It has more backing chanting. And Speedo disclaimed the use of advanced recording devices. It was, in short, the perfect first candidate for the LP recording software. We will post our favourite song ever, a song we love even more since, because of the aforementioned sticker mix-up, we thought it was first on the album. They never play it live, and have only about two more chances to do so. Needless to say, the farewell shows are good and sold out. If there really are fairies, now's the time to make us believe.

Rocket From the Crypt - "Cloud Over Branson" (scratchy vinyl recording)
Buy "Hot Charity" here. Not the vinyl, but that deosn't make you a bad person.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Ding Dong Suckers

Towards the end of a sh*tey day, with the Mexican fiscal environment turning our brain to goo, and the prospect of a good clean jog postponed till tomorrow, we needed a pick-up. The Dirtbombs singles collection, a pair of disks it has taken us a while to procure, did not really do the trick. Especially the cover of I Started A Joke, which huddles along with versions by Robbie Williams and the fcecking Wallflowers rather than stomping them into clown-dust.

No, what rained on our desert was the Torti/Dimitri from Paris remix of Stetsasonic's "Talkin' All That Jazz". Fortunately our readers are not too Old Skool, so they will not mind us saying that the house remixes wee all over the original, like some horrible, demented mixture of R Kelly and the Chinese republlican guards. If this plays at our weddin', we'll be happy tarts.

Note, we have posted the version with ADDED COWBELLS for your pleasure.

Stetsasonic - "Talkin' All That Jazz (Torti's Bonus Beats and Breaks Edit)"
Buy it here, and keep the French making house. Or something

List Dispepsia

The day job shall take the priority today, and so, beyond a massive shout out to top limey colonial hangout aping lounge Pegu (Gin! More! Gin!), what we thought we would share with you is a playlist. Bundled in with Roxio's The Boom Box, which we had purchased to record LPs, is Predixis' Music Magic Mixer.

MMM's thing is to scan your music collection, which in our case took the best part of three days, and create "unique sonic fingerprints". These can be then used to create playlists with a similar mood and feel. We have only tried about two of them so far, and thought, for your amusement, and possiblly the calumny of passing trolls, to post one here. At the moment it seems to rely on bringing up a few songs from the same album, and also seems a tad wedded to whatever genre descriptions one has given it, but there's a definite germ of an application here.

Anyway, have at it...

You Don't Need Money - Treat Her Right - The Anthology 1985-1990
The Orange County Lumber Truck - Frank Zappa - Weasels Ripped My Flesh
Bacon - The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion - Magical Colors EP
Hit A Man - Treat Her Right - The Anthology 1985-1990
Range Life - Pavement - Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain
Zero To Nowhere - Gretschen Hofner - Maria Callous
Under My Thumb - The Rolling Stones - Forty Licks
On Fire - Sebadoh - Harmacy
September Gurls - Big Star - #1 Record/Radio City
My Fair Lady - David Byrne - The Wired CD: Rip. Sample. Mash. Share.
Let's Spend The Night Together - The Rolling Stones - Forty Licks
Burn, Don't Freeze - Sleater-Kinney - The Hot Rock

Saturday, October 08, 2005

The Tao Of Squash

We spurned the hearty oompah stylings of Zum Schneider, not so much because we're afraid of drunken German bankers, or that we do not know the words top the Quaffing Songs. We were just plain tired, and Avenue C is a rather unamusing death march east.

More importantly, we had been threatening to take cutesome to Sorrel for quite some time. Not because we had heard great things about Alexandre Tchistov and his Red Hook stylings, but because the place is in P Heights, and since Mama Duke's is no more, the North of Flatbush crew needs all the love we can give them right now.

Sorrel's back story is that it was the site of a rather scruffy Bodega plonked in the middle of an otherwise very sleepy few blocks. The nearest fleshpot is the mighty Freddy's. The Bodega apparently lost its lease after a humungous jacking up of its rent, a move that made little sense because the spot was going to be about a block from the stadium (yes, that stadium) were it to go through.

With that in mind we can't be sure whether Sorrel is meant to give off a temporary vibe, a quiet spot for the celebchef to hone his dark arts. No sign, brutal lighting, no bar, haphazard art on the walls. The sound system and glass front obviously represent a move on from the bodega, but you're not sure whether the guy's heart is in the spot.

So we get a table round eight, and then promptly turn back towards Flatbush to load up on cash money, because they don't take cards. No problem. We order some wine and some stuff off the market menu. The appetizers were a pretty zesty smoked mackerel, melon and potato salad, and a fairly undistinguished cold butternut squash soup. The service was a tad scatty, but the waitress was fairly upfront that they were short-handed, so we sat back and sipped and watched the world go by.

The main courses showed up - Wild Hake and Spaghetti Squash (the Cutesome, it loves the Squash) and Chickhan and mushrooms and rice - and were cooked to a T. But when it came to the dessert and bill and stuff, the staff sort of started hanging out in the kitchen and casting furious looks at eachother behind the skimpy curtain. One of the cooks had a ninja headband on (maybe they all do), and seemed grumpy. The boss man, clad in a French footbal t-shirt and a tad miffed at being dragooned into service as a runner, managed to be patchily assiduous and blazingly angry at the same time.

The couple next to us got so bored waiting for a check they invented their own. they must have got it fairly right since there was no hot pursuit by outraged food service personnel. We thought the chocolate mousse and citrus panacotta was good enough to get the real deal, although it should be noted that we guessed EXACTLY RIGHT.

But do go, even if the menu is likely to be completely different next time. Even with THERMONUCLEAR WAR going on below stairs it was still monster fun.

Friday, October 07, 2005

More Than Herds

Thank Jehosifer that we're not the only ones suspicious about the timing of last night's subway alert. To stress, as well, we were super brave and took abbout three subways yesterday in our attempt to score the soundz stealing sophtware. The trip also took in a dubious place near the World Center site, which, considering what a blinkered moron your average islamofascist (the term's warming on us) is, strikes us as rather brave.

Still, have to also thank the other beardy gas-like one for us getting in OK, and for the opportunity to stare at Cutesome's neck for like fifteen minutes on the subway this morning. In a strictly platonic fashion, we might add. As long as insane vampiric bloodlust counts as platonic.

The LP deflowering gear? It is like us, it does not take a physical form. The problem is, one must establish a physical connection between the Wheel of Plastic and AluminIum and the compuder, and it was only after shelling out for a download of the despoiling software that we realised that we have the iBook of a child, one that comes without a mic input. Which will necessitate a trip to Tekserve to get an iMic. Grrr. Better get hardcore into field recordings to make this pay.

[UPDATE: So, we scored the stuff. Well, that and an Airclick. Suffice it to say, dinner parties at Casa Gringcorp will be excruciating affairs for the next few weeks. But you may experience some scatchy gems from our small 1990s vinyl collection right here soon]

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Fusion Transfunctioner

Gambolling back home from the N train stop this evening we were accosted by a polite young man asking for a couple of minutes of our time. Didn't have a basketball team to outfit, but was in fact pimping for the Working Families Party. His grin barely wavered when we said "sorry, we're a foreigner, and legally can't give you money, but you're in Tish's party, aintcha?" To which the chap replies that Tish is in fact a member of their party, and that they had sooooper unregulated status, which means that they can solicit cash from the unresident. Wrong! But we admired the man's moxie.

The WFP basically rents out its line on the ballot to deserving candidates, frequently the democratic ones, providing they follow the approved left-liberal programme. It works quite well, and has led to quite a few small victories in NYC politics. You can read about their game, called fusion politics in the Nation, if you have the time and the patience. They're a rather devious bunch, if largely on the side of the angels.

And then we remembered who the party had endorsed for Brooklyn Borough president. The very same Marty "Ratner's suitcase pimp" Markowitz, leading proponent of a stadium scheme that the WFP's only councilmember, Tish, opposes. Strange bedfellows indeed. Needless to say, the polite young man disclaimed any knowledge of said bargain. It would be in character for the WFP, however, as you can read in the above-mentioned Wikipedia article.

Can we have this for Christmas?

No Jacket Required

And this, dears, is even more peculiar. Apparently someone dislikes Mick Jagger's new girlfriend enough to plant preposterous stories in the press about her Yoko-esque assault on the health and dress habits of Ron Wood and Keith Richards. Aside from the fact that the showbiz correspondents of the Mail et al need to cut down on the sauce sharpish, the whole scenario strikes us very humourous, on a par with the later parts of Spinal Tap. One needs hardly to vocalise the response of Keef "Cannot-Be-Destroyed-By-Conventional-Weapons" Richards to a smoking lecture.

Reid Ducks

Go on, say it really quickly. Pur-itty cle-vuh!

Anyway, on to politics. We're mystified. Why the hell would the leader of the Senate Democrats support, nay put forward, this tetchy Bush loyalist who quite possibly would be dead weight on the Supreme Court? We're not the only ones wondering about this, as this gaggle of right-wing verbeage makes clear.

Now, of course all of this leaking of tidbits about how she really loves Jesus is designed to show that while she may be a bit of a lightweight and best frendz with the President she's got the right wing's back. A sort of vast electronic version of Rick Moranis going "FOOOOOLED YOU!" in Spaceballs.

The converse is that this is all a marvellous bit of fakery on the part of the senator, who knows that this will drive the conservatives crazy. The difficult thing about this theory is that it's impossible to prove, since Reid will never admit it, and it's unlikely that the nomination will keep the right wing frothing at the mouth forever. More likely is that he just likes her. Which in turn means she could still be utterly bonkers.

Welcome, too, to the London Review of Breakfasts, an idea of which Julie Burchill is incoherently jealous. Imagine the genius of the Bruni Digest transfered to London and infused with extra bad puns and snark, and with some of the monkeys removed, and you're close. Provided that Cigala gets a write-up before Whitsuntide, we'll be happy goblins.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Filthy Lucrezia

Well, in the absence of anything exciting happening yesterday, aside from a marked increase in the speed and length of our constitutionals, follows the log-awaited review of what happened at the Pixies show at Keyspan Park. Of course, it lacks rather a lot of utility, now that even the sodding Times is in on the act.

We didn't spend anywhere near as long there as this Gothamisticle, but would testify to the fact that this was much more empty than the White Stripes show at the same venue a week earlier. We would have got there earlier, but had guacamole to scoff in MeaPa.

It was a strange sensation when they finally came on stage, a mere three minutes after we'd got in and loaded up on beverages. And we wept, not so much at the music, but because we're a disgusting little drama queen, and we'd been denied on three separate previous occasions in our quest to see them. They don't move much, with the exception of Joey Santiago, who, we suspect, is the only reason the Pixies still sound bonkers. They don't say much, either because they don't do that, or because it might dignify the reunion cash call.

And this is by far the oldest band we've ever paid to see, nostalgia turns at Glastonbury aside, and the first time we've been to seee a band, no, scratch that, become fans of a band, after they'd split up. The Pixies are that special, because noone has made a cataclysmic wall of noise so tuneful. Ever. You'd have seen this had to been there, and had they played "Something Against You" from Surfer Rosa.

The set was fairly heavy on Rosa as well as Doolittle, the breakout Indie album, rather than Bossanova and Trompe Le Monde, the albums from when they'd stopped talking to each other. It's a shame, since we side with top Jock author Ian Banks in seeing Trompe... as massively underrated. We'd have posted the song Subbacultchah from the album, but the only version we have is on vinyl, and we haven't got the nicking software yet.

But the main revelation was Kim Deal's voice, this angelic, clear, awesomely beautiful instrument, that got dragged out for just two songs. Both times it sounded astounding. We'd have been more aware of this had we got any more into the Breeders than the riff from Cannonball. Right then, the fact that the Pixies stayed together for four albums became a minor miracle. No way we could have kept those two together in that kind of tension. We would also at this point like to point out that we are not comparing Kim to Lucrezia Borgia in any way - we just liked the pun.

What's going down today? How about the fact that there's a 10th planet! Or maybe we need to redefine what a planet is, say the pointyheads at the Times. For the definitive answer, we shall turn to our friends at San Diego garage supergroup the Hot Snakes:

The Hot Snakes - "10th Planet"
Buy Automatic Midnight Here, Or Speedo Makes Another Rotten RFTC Album

Monday, October 03, 2005

Then Out Came The Jackals

We're intellectuals, everyone knows it, everyone says it. We don't follow gossip, unless Cutesome straps us down and makes us. But this is arresting. Via Gawker, the actual video of Kate Moss blowing rails (warning, stupid embedded wmv file and listening to a lot of slow-witted drug talk involved). So far, so not very exciting. If you don't speak Italian though, the only words that come over are "Moss....Cock-hyena....Moss...Babyshambles...Cock-hyena...Moss". Which still isn't all that exciting.

But it did remind us of the scene from Justin Cartwright's Promise of Happiness, where one of the protagonists was forced to babysit some Italian ad agency representatives and amuse them using the power of drugs. In the dialogue, the author keeps referring to them as "cock-hyena", which we had thought was laying it on a bit thick. Allo Allo-style thick. Not a bit of it.

Yesyesyes...still not exciting. It's just the Pixies...they defy words....

We Wish We Could Be Political Too

You love the bootleg stuff, do you not? It is so seamy and forbidden. And don't you get all excited by New! Leaked! Strokes! Except for when it doesn't work. But wait! It gets more meta. Because we like to think of ourselves as the Strokes of limeyblogging, so here's a leak just for you. That's right, our new Sugarzine column is not formally up, but can reached via this link. And it gets better, the whole article is about digital rights management, and uses ideas filched from Boing Boing. Head spinning, yet? What is theft? What is reality? Don't you have a job or something?

Speaking of robbing the more talented, El Clownholio cropped up to plunder the legacy of the Brooklyn Dodgers, who won the world series fifty years ago this month, in support of his stupid stadium idea. No point quoting the gibberish. We shall simply point you at the nolandgrab filleting. But it is worth noting that Robert Moses, the man who built the Prospect Expressway, perhaps the silliest and most ill-conceived stretch of Tarmac in New York City, and the man who wanted to build an expressway though Greenwich Village, decided that building a stadium for the Dodgers on the site now designed for the "Brooklyn Nets", was just crazy talk.

Coming up, hopefully, a Pixies review.