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Thursday, November 10, 2005


And My Ears Are Still Ringing

Mattie and I caught Spoon at Pearl Street in Northampton last Friday. Decent show, but I'm still kicking myself for leaving my earplugs in the car. First time since college, 12 years, that I've gone to a show without ear protection. Spoon was loud--not as loud as that Dinosaur Jr. and My Bloody Valentine show I went to in 1992, but loud enough so that I still notice the aftereffects a week later. It's only really bad at night; I'm hoping it will fade over time as it used to back when I was a stupid kid. I rarely see other people with earplugs at shows. Are all these 25 year-old rock kids walking around all day with gongs constantly ringing in their heads?

Spoon has a strong catalog of muscular, guitar-crunchy, beat-heavy tunes (iTunes just added most of their records if you're curious), and an obvious love for playing live. Frontman Britt Daniel also has a great rock voice, from husky and fuzzed out to a Some Girls falsetto, constantly punctuating lyrics with "oh yeah"s, "come on"s and "well awright"s. He responded to repeated requests for "The Way We Get By" by laughing at "all you O.C. motherfuckers"--but within three songs, he played it. There wasn't much that the band didn't play--most of this year's Gimmie Fiction was covered, along with large chunks of 2002's Kill the Moonlight and selected songs from Girls Can Tell and Series of Sneaks. The four song encore led off with one of my favorite older tracks, "I Could See the Dude" off of the Soft Effects e.p. They also did the great new iTunes exclusive "My First Time Vol. 3", which seems to exist as a demonstration that they could be a full-time white-funk disco band if they felt like it.

Daniel has perfected the heavily distorted anti-guitar solo; you can hear it on the records, but live it's something else altogether--the first set ended with the rest of the band leaving the stage as Daniel, back turned to the audience, played a lengthy, taut series of white noise bursts. The noise never meanders; Spoon is too precise for that. Occasionally this tendency veers into the methodical; some songs went on a few repetitive measures past restlessness, as if the band were working through a math problem via rock riffage and felt obligated to show all their work. Too much of a good thing isn't the worst sin, though. Daniel recently commented that he'd love to emulate Prince in releasing a record a year, but he's too busy doing things like his own laundry. I recommend that he hire somebody to take care of his pants.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005


Jack Kirby Haiku Wednesday

up on Wundagore
High E plays at God, teaching
Dog of chivalry

hey, hey, Xeen Arrow
you're extradimensional
with 30-foot shaft

here in my close-up
I stare out at the world with
wild, uneven eyes

Bonus Beats: For all you REM/Jimmy Olsen fans, here's a slightly revised version of one that first appeared over at Kevin's:

"They airbrushed my face"
a lament shared by Mike Stipe
and the King's Kal-El

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


Torturing The Language

"We are finding terrorists and bringing them to justice," Bush said at a news conference with Panamanian President Martin Torrijos. "We are gathering information about where the terrorists might be hiding. We are trying to disrupt their plots and plans," he said.

Just so you understand that anything we might have to do to protect you is worth it. Not that we do "anything". Just look at those adorable kids of yours. Be a shame if terrorists blew their little legs off, wouldn't it?

"Anything we do to that end in this effort, any activity we conduct, is within the law," Bush said.

Anything we do is within the law. We are the President. Even if we pee on you. And videotape it. Then run you over with a snowcat. Legal. Yes, we downloaded Mr. & Mrs. Smith off the internet. Yes, we took that Kit Kat from the gas station without paying for it. Anything we do is within the law. Talk to our lawyers. They say we have infinite authority during time of war.

"We do not torture."

While you're talking to our lawyers, ask them about how we decided anything short of organ failure or death is not, by definition, "torture".

"And therefore we're working with Congress to make sure that as we go forward, we make it possible, more possible to do our job."

Vice President Cheney, [at our firm instruction/with our weak acquiesence] is working hard to exempt the CIA, and what the hell, the military as well, from any torture restrictions. Not that we do that.

"I'm confident that when people see the facts, that they'll recognize that we've got more work to do and that we must protect ourselves in a way that is lawful," Bush said.

See above: anything we do is within the law. Just to keep the paperwork in order, we must quietly make sure that the "law" is redefined to permit what we're going to do, regardless. Reality, as always, can play catch up with us, the bold actors of history.

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