Archive for October, 2003

October 26th, 2003 Comments off

And after I went out of my way to be nice to him.

Joe from This Is Really Happening takes an extremely misinformed little swipe at me today, apparently in an attempt to prop up Kristen’s blog (see my posts about the word indie and Kristen’s take on Death Cab For Cutie’s name) without anything resembling disclosure of what’s behind his loyalty there. Odd, since not only did I say nice things about Joe’s blog when I did my Blog Beat interview way back, but because one would think there were room enough for all variety of voices out here in blogdom. But, you know, whatever.

I do feel compelled to repeat here what I said elsewhere about this subject (which is, in essence, that Joe feels, my failure to trumpet Twinemen’s recent show in Hamp makes me uncool). My response is this:

Isn’t it odd how sometimes someone can seem to be behind you when what’s really going on is that you’re about to be lapped?

Here’s a Valley Advocate column on Twinemen/Morphine

And another, earlier, Bombpop column with a review of Twinemen’s debut record.

Here’s my 2002 Village Voice Pazz & Jop ballot, which includes my pick of that record as one of the 10 best of last year.

Here’s a page from Twinemen’s Web site with that same Advocate review from last year, just for kicks.

Joe, please note that this string goes back to July of 2002. Maybe by next October or November, you’ll start to get Califone and BSS. When you do, remember to take a look over you shoulder to see what’s coming up for you in 2005.

By the way, I’m not saying I’ve moved on from Twinemen. Hardly. They’re a great band, and I look forward to writing about their next record. But I can’t write a Twinemen-only column, especially not when there are other bands out there with great new records out that shouldn’t be ignored.

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October 21st, 2003 Comments off

So I won’t pretend to get all this metrosexual nonsense (which seems like it should be pretty played the fuck out by now anyhow), but people around me keep talking about it, which makes me think about it in spite of myself. My pal, George, has a quiz up on his blog today that seems to give some indication of how metro one may or may not be.

I scored somewhere between a four and a six. Depends on whether shaving cream in a jar counts the same as shaving cream in a tube and whether shaving my unibrow counts the same as tweezing. I think maybe yes on the former (you know, fucking Body Shop and all), no on the latter (since running a shaver between my eyes can’t possibly take so much as a tenth the time or dedication of tweezing). My four definite points come from two skin care products (no counting soap) — Lubriderm and a tube of store-brand cortisone cream (both of them ordered by my doctor as ways of keeping the eczema at bay) — at a point apiece; and two points for a nose-hair trimmer (because, Jesus, you’ve got to be able to go out in fucking public, don’t you?).

The rest of this shit I simply don’t get. I’ll never understand why anyone, man or woman, gay, straight or in between, wears cologne. Smelling clean is enough, isn’t it? People wearing perfume just smell like they’re trying too hard to me. Ditto owning more than a few basic pairs of shoes. Here’s what you need: An everyday pair, a dress pair, (maybe two, black and brown, but why wear suits that call for brown shoes?), a pair of boots (not fancy boots, just something to get you through mud season), a pair of sneakers, and if you like to spend time at the beach or on a boat of something, maybe a pair of sport sandals. Anything more than that is a complete waste of money.

Me, I wouldn’t know if I’d ever been hit on by a gay man. I’ve been in gay bars maybe half a dozen times in my life and I don’t remember being hit on. Of course, I was never quite sure when I was being hit on by women back in my younger, single, bar-going days and that was something I was hoping for. (I mean, I’d have been flattered to be hit on by a gay man. It’s always nice to know someone finds you attractive, even if it takes them two six packs to get there. But it’s not like I was on the lookout for it.) I can’t fucking dance worth a damn, either.

So I guess I’m no metrosexual, which is just fine by me. Means there are fewer products targeted at me, fewer magazines I’m supposed to read (which is nice, ’cause I’m having enough trouble keeping up with Harper’s, the Atlantic and Pro Football Weekly — which, OK, is a newspaper — these days), and increasingly fewer TV shows I give half a shit about. I’m doing OK with that, really. Mostly OK.

Look, I don’t think of myself as particularly manly or anything. Indeed, I’m a bit of a sensitive type. Cry at sad movies and yadda, yadda, yadda. But that doesn’t mean I’m inclined to fall for this metrosexual thing, which clearly isn’t about anything but fashion marketing. I mean, that’s all any trend is ever about, isn’t it? And promoting dandyism is a really good one, because foppishness requires tons of expensive maintenance. Get men to think (as a lot of women already do) that they need a whole new wardrobe every season, manicures, $40 haircuts and all that other nonsense, and you can keep picking their pockets until the end of time.

I doubt that there’s even such a thing as a metrosexual. My guess is that it was just plain old made up and sold to media that simply can’t be bothered to step back and ask whose agenda they’re serving. All that matters is that there’s a good, easy trend story out there to tell. I know for certain that two years from now at the outside, we’ll all be making fun of the whole ridiculous thing, even those who fell for it (maybe especially those who fell for it). And me, I’ll still be buying my Lubriderm and my cortisone cream and my fancy-pants shaving cream (because it seems to keep the razor from chewing the living bejesus out of my face) and trimming my nose hairs (you should thank me for this if we ever meet). I’ll probably be wearing the same clothes I’m wearing right now. I’ll have a new pair of everyday shoes, because I tend to wear one out every 18 months or so. And I’ll be as happy as I can be, because I’ll once again have managed not to waste my time, my energy and my money chasing foolish fashion.

But I promise not to grin too widely when I say I told you so.

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October 16th, 2003 Comments off

Three new pieces in print today. There’s Bombpop, of course. This week I write about Richard Buckner, Iron & Wine and Jay Farrar, all of whom are playing in Northampton over the next three days. And there are two Journal-News pieces, one about Josh Rouse (I’m not done writing about this fucker yet, by the way — 1972 is a terrific album and if you don’t have it yet, you should be ashamed of yourself), and one about Death Cab For Cutie, another band with a terrific new record out, Transatlanticism.

Oh, hey, while I’m spending your music dollars for you, here’s a little heads up: You need to make a point of getting to the record store next Tuesday to grab a copy of the new Shins record, Chutes Too Narrow. Other than the stuff I’ve been writing about and a big heap o’ classical, I’ve been listening to nothing else for the past two months. That is, I can’t get the damned thing to come out of my CD player (or at least not to stay out of it). I certainly can’t get the songs out of my head. This is easily a leading contender for record of the year and without question or exception the best guitar-pop album of 2003 — by such a wide margin it isn’t even funny. Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant stuff. I’ll have a lot more to say about this in print this time next week. But, really, if you’re ever going to just take my word for it, make it this time. Seriously, if you’re into guitar pop and you’ve got the — whatever it is, $12? $15? — and you don’t go out and buy this record, you are a damned fool and should have your license to listen to music revoked.

(One note: If you loved Oh, Inverted World as much as I did, you’re gonna need to let this thing spin maybe a half dozen times before you stop comparing and just let this record be what it is. Do it. Because once you start hearing Chutes Too Narrow rather than the follow-up to Oh, Inverted World you’re going to be a-fucking-mazed. Dig?)

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October 9th, 2003 Comments off

This week’s Bombpop is about the new Teenage Fanclub best of record and the new East River Pipe regular old record. Both worth owning.

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