Friday, February 28, 2014

Nada Surf @ the Bell House

Nada Surf; The Suza
@ The Bell House
Brooklyn, NY - February 27, 2014

My personal exposure to Nada Surf is not necessarily that of the well worn path. I've always known of them as an Indie rock band with significant riffs and hooks though it never occurred to me to call them power pop until someone wrote that yesterday and I realize that's them, personified.

It was only a couple years ago that I learned that they had a hit some time back, a song that I then looked into and did not find in keeping with their sound, so I was quite surprised.

The set was very much in keeping with the Nada Surf I know and it turns out I know more than I realized. Songs they've promoted from their recent works had such a well-measured infection to them that songs I forgot I knew became instantly recognizable and sing-a-long-able. That goes for both the powered ones and the soft-toned ballads.

Not sure why this review is coming out like a lady taking tea, but it is.

And for no real reason at all I will point out that Ira the drummer has that Barton Fink/Eraserhead look so I was going to be into this show no matter what musically happened. Learning he did an afterschool special with Scott Baio, as part of the band's trivia giveaway, was a bonus on top of the bonus.

The Suzan are a trio of Tokyo women based out of Gotham. Synthy, Manchestery, a little discombobulated in a good way.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Death: It'll Kill Ya

Alternate titles: Life'll Kill Ya, Death: the Ultimate Killer, Death: I'm Sick of It

I've had it with death. Kubler-Ross is out the window. I've had it so much that I need to spew this out on a site otherwise unrelated to such contemplations of such things or much of anything beyond a good rock n roll song. Lou Reed was the final nail in the coffin for me on handling death, and so by that tiny connection, I'm putting this out there on here.

It hit me a few days after he went. While I was on an elliptical machine at the gym. Sweating and pushing in the name of weight loss which was in the name of long term cardiac heart health. A method by which to stay alive longer confronted by the brain having an anxiety attack over the end of a life because it meant there was no way for that person, and by extension any person in the same state (dead), to be able to do anything anymore. That person, assuming they were alive just like it appears I am alive, was just gone. Nothing to see from the eyes of that person. Nothing to think. Smell. Touch. Just plain over. And it was going to happen to me too one day.

It actually triggered a pretty good workout. But there were consequences after that. A bit of the old 24-7 needling fear of the eventuality.

And now the icing on the cake is Harold Ramis. Now I really can't take it. John Candy left when I was too young to appreciate the loss. Orson Welles and Groucho Marx and Jimi Hendrix and Joey Ramone don't even seem like real humans in my brain's view of artistic icons with an impact. My own mother dying when I was 12 didn't hit me really. But Lou Reed and Harold Ramis = panic attack.

At this point, what with being able to reasonably live to really ripe old ages, just about any death feels too soon, untimely. Harold Ramis was only 69. Lou Reed was not even 80. This stinks.

It really stinks because it's a reminder that holy moses one day that's it. Gone. The heart stops beating, the lights go out. And what was once a thing that walked, talked, made actions which led to other actions that involved other people, setting off chains of events, is gone.

I approximate that about 98% of all "celebrity" deaths are meaningless in that no one who really made an impact on YOU is now gone. It's just media fodder to get you to watch and remember that time you sat on your tush watching a thing or hearing a thing. This includes politicians and most public figures beyond the world of entertainment by the way (Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr are obviously the biggest exceptions to my theory as can possibly be). But I'm mostly thinking of entertainers.

Also, and this is going to be crass, I'm frequently repulsed by the tone deaf insincere outpourings of false-grief over populist entertainers. There's something extremely annoying when common folk cry at the loss of the pop star who sang a meaningless ballad that reminded them (falsely) of their own life in the muck ("That song is about my life" - no it isn't, just shut up).

And I am definitely fed up with the blase "RIP"'s on the Twitter and Facebook and of course comments sections on websites (which ought to be banned because free speech is overrated but I digress) when anyone of some note dies. Congratulations chum, you've made your contribution to the current events of the day by repeating a heartless, meaningless acknowledgement that someone somewhere has taken the last train out of town. You really cared.

But this is all sideshow. Ultimately, what it goes back to is that when someone who did really truly affect you is no longer part of the existing Earth, it's a reminder of the end. There is almost no comfort. Obviously a prescribed religion is of comfort to some, or many. Eastern Asian philosophies make it a little more comforting because of the connection to nature and energy and a long term peace about the whole ambiance of everything. But one has to be suspect of such beliefs as well because of the fear that it might ultimately be meaningless. The one possible view I've half-cooked-up via inspiration from the likes of Carl Sagan, that is as comforting as it gets is this:

Maybe, possibly, could it be, I hope, that once I expire, the elements that made up my consciousness filter back into the elements that make up general matter and that if my consciousness doesn't get reconstituted in the form of another carbon-based life on Earth that I wind up being part of the general constitution of space. Maybe I'll be floating over Saturn like I've always wanted to do.

In a more concrete tangible version of the above mishegas, I recently heard about the possibility of transferring consciousness into a computer, not necessarily a robot but onto a server. An Internet server. And you live forever, or almost forever, that way. WOAH.

But even these scenarios - the "we are all made of stars reincarnation" scenario and the "ghost in the machine" scenario - have a bad end, if the theory of the universe expanding and everything fading out of existence holds up. Then there will truly be the ultimate nothing (See that scene in Annie Hall for further reference). What a pity.

So ultimately no matter what happens, it seems like that there's just going to be an end. I'm typing this, and I assume I will go on for at least a few minutes more doing other things after I click publish. But then after that, who knows? Who knows what except that one day I won't be able to type anymore. Or do anything. Just like how Lou Reed can't be cranky to anyone anymore (let alone actively remind us of "Waiting for the Man"). Or like how Harold Ramis won't be around to remind me of a 1980's comedy that shaped my ability to know what makes me laugh (and to forget less-than-funny things to come, of all kinds, in the 1990's).

There is actually one way out of this whole trip. The very unoriginal escapist notion that reality is a falsehood. And that I am the only person who is real and everyone and everything and all existence around me is a made-up fantasy of my brain and reality is something altogether different from what it appears. The big problem though with this theory is that I am surrounded by too many people who really do truly think they are the only person who might be real and act out as such in their treatment of others, so just to spite these narcissists I'm taking the position that reality is an agreed-upon truth and these brats need a lesson as such.


(I suppose part of the source of this spiel must be attributed to my father who did not have an internal parental censor when I was a child and rented movies like Stripes for me to watch which is how we got to this point where the death of Harold Ramis could spark such a ramble...though it's Ghostbusters that is obviously at the root of much this outpouring, 70's/80's comedy and spectral planes and fantastical science.)

Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Sonic Parthenon Show – Episode 111: “Late to the Party”

The Sonic Parthenon Show – Episode 111: “Late to the Party”

“Man” by Neko Case

Set 1
“The Wire” by Haim
“Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings” by Father John Misty
“Me and Mrs. Jones” by Billy Paul
“Red Tape” by Circle Jerks
“Communist Eyes” by the Germs

Set 2
“Queen of the Hop” by Bobby Darin
“The Big Beat” by the Del-Vikings
“The Walk” by Mayer Hawthorne
“Finest Lovin’ Man” by Bonnie Raitt
“The Sing” by Bill Callahan

Set 3
“Voices” by Russ Ballard
“God Gave Rock n Roll to You” by Argent
“New York Groove” by Hello
“Saturday Night” by Bay City Rollers
“Temple” by Kings of Leon

“Houdini” by Foster the People

Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Sonic Parthenon Show – Episode 110: “Hello, Churchill?”

The Sonic Parthenon Show – Episode 110: “Hello, Churchill?”

“Phone” by the Buzzcocks

Set 1
“Hello Operator” by the White Stripes
“Operator, Operator” by Ryan Adams
“Hanging on the Telephone” by the Nerves
“Call Me” by Blondie
“Don’t Ring Me Up” by Protex

Set 2
“Call Waiting” by Black Tie Revue
“Love It When You Call” by the Feeling
“Call Me Back” by the Strokes
“Ring Me, Elise” by Dag för Dag
“Give Me a Call” by Bloodnstuff
“Call Me When You Get This” by Corinne Bailey Rae

Set 3
“Callin’ In Twisted” by Reverend Horton Heat
“Call the Doctor” by Sleater-Kinney
“New York Telephone Conversation” by Lou Reed
“Telephone Call from Istanbul” by Tom Waits
“Collect Call” by Metric

“Get Off the Phone” by Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers

Sunday, February 09, 2014

The Sonic Parthenon Show – Episode 109: “It’s a Mystery or Sherlock Homes in the Case of the Mysterious Black Scorpion”

The Sonic Parthenon Show – Episode 109: “It’s a Mystery or Sherlock Homes in the Case of the Mysterious Black Scorpion”
"It's all in the evidence, Watson! All in the evidence!" - from Sherlock Homes in the Case of the Mysterious Black Scorpion, written by me when I was eight years old.

“Building a Mystery” by Sarah Mclachlan

Set 1
“Mystery Train” by Elvis Presley
“Love’s a Mystery” by Grant Lee Phillips
“Mystery Girl” by Yeah Yeah Yeahs
“Strange Looking Woman” by Thee Headcoats
“Strange Overtones” by David Byrne and Brian Eno

Set 2
“Sherlock Holmes” by the Dirtbombs
“Watching the Detectives” by Elvis Costello
“Bad Detective” by the New York Dolls
“Pete, King of All Detectives” by Big Black
“Police and the Private” by Metric
“Commit a Crime” by Howlin’ Wolf
“Not a Crime” by Gogol Bordello

“Blood Sweat and Murder” by Scott H. Biram

Saturday, February 01, 2014

The Sonic Parthenon Show – Episode 108: “Sports”

The Sonic Parthenon Show – Episode 108: “Sports”

“Sports” by Screaming Females

Set 1
“Centerfield” by John Fogerty
“Empty Baseball Park” by Whiskeytown
“Baseball Theme” by Vince Guaraldi Trio

Set 2
“Goodbye Mr. Ball!” by Bing Crosby and Groucho Marx with Hank Greenberg
“Joe DiMaggio Done It Again” by Billy Bragg and Wilco
“Joltin’ Joe DiMaggio” by Les Brown and His Orchestra
“Did You See Jackie Robinson Hit That Ball?” by Buddy Johnson
“Say Hey (The Willie Mays Song)” by the Treniers

Set 3
“The Super Bowl Shuffle” by the Chicago Bears Shufflin’ Crew
“Basketball Jones” by Cheech and Chong
“Hit Somebody (the Hockey Song)” by Warren Zevon
“Black Superman” by Johnny Wakelin and the Kinshasa Band
“The Boxer” by Simon and Garfunkel

“The Sporting Life” by the Decemberists