National Public Viking

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Leroy Jenkins (1932-2007)

Painting by Bruni

I was sad to hear that avant-garde jazz violinist and composer Leroy Jenkins had passed away on February 22nd. I only had the opportunity to see him perform once at the Vision Festival in 2005. He meditated microtonally on his violin and someone danced interpretively. (I was definitely more interested in Jenkins.) That was probably my first exposure to such music and would subsequently introduce me to Indian ragas and Western composers like Harry Partch and La Monte Young.

WKCR, the phenomenal Columbia University station which I've been meaning to highlight here, will do a full day's tribute to Leroy Jenkins on February 28th. These musician festivals are always a real treat (I still remember Lennie Tristano day) as the station DJs play through the entire discography in chronological order especially including sessions when the artist was merely a sideman. I will be listening to WKCR all day tomorrow for sure.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

My McRib Plays the Bass

(Inspired by this Tiny Mix Tapes news story. Also, too much time on my hands at work.)

Top 5 Things Annoying Me Right Now

|current sounds| Atomic- Happy New Ears!

  • Sleet. It's hurting my face.

  • The internet abbreviation "kthx" for "okay, thanks." Both convenient and condescending!

  • Surfing penguins. It's gone too far.

  • Online magazines too lazy to write about music they'll never really get behind.

  • Japanese nerds that post videos of themselves playing old-school Nintendo games.

  • Tuesday, February 13, 2007

    Secret Secret Horrible Music Club

    |current sounds| Alice Coltrane- Journey In Satchidananda (now making beautiful music with John again)

    This Saturday I will be in Athens, Georgia to promote the first, big release for my label, Thor's Rubber Hammer Productions, a compilation of Athens "noise" artists called Deeded to Itself: Athens Southernoise. The idea began just before I left Athens when I asked a friend if he wanted to do a split noise EP to put out some material that didn't really fit into what I was doing at the time. It soon turned into an idea of collecting music from the under-documented experimental Athens scene that didn't have a connection to the Elephant 6 tribe (who have been compiled a number of times). In fact, it had only been a day after I had put out some feelers on the project when Jeff Tobias (We Versus the Shark) called me in the morning expressing a great interest in being involved in any way possible (he contributes as "Orthopedics"). Finally, eight months later, Deeded to Itself will have its CD release party at the Secret Squirrel (the most organized and coolest DIY venue I've ever been to) on Saturday, February 17th.

    TRHP will also release albums by Long Legged Woman and Chartreuse, both on the Deeded CD, as well as a very limited Elephant 666 Orchestra 2xCD (crazy stuff some compadres and I did two summers ago at WUOG) on Saturday. I didn't mean to be so prolific right off the hitch, but the label feeds my creativity, especially since I'm working with musicians that I respect and want to promote.

    Artwork for Chartreuse, Long Legged Woman, and Deeded to Itself, respectively. (I designed the latter two.)

    Wednesday, February 07, 2007

    Prince will take your eye out, fo' realz

    |current sounds| Led Zeppelin- Led Zeppelin [Box Set] (Disc 2) & this song by The Go-Betweens on repeat

    Here's what I was looking for!

    Maybe I'll be seeing folkie Vashti Bunyan on Friday night?

    Monday, February 05, 2007

    Chicken Bowl 2007

    |current sounds| Long Legged Woman- The End of False Religion

    I work with Stephen Thompson, founder of the Onion AV Club, at NPR. He's also the creator of "Chicken Bowl," a 10 years+ tradition to consume as much fried chicken within the space of the Super Bowl every year. No longer in Wisconsin, the contest's now based in D.C. Being of small stomach and without strategy, I only ate two breasts, two thighs, and two wings. I never want to see a piece of Popeyes Chicken again. I think Stephen, the night's clear winner, ate 11 pieces total. He's a man's man.

    Speaking of men, why can't I find a picture of Prince's awesome, Halftime Show guitar silhouette online, yet?

    I just turned down a free ticket to tonight's Sufjan Stevens Kennedy Center show, for which literally thousands of precious indie-kids camped out in 20-degree temperatures. Sorry, the prospect of seeing Sufi and his clan in butterfly-bird wings with the National Symphony Orchestra sounds like the most annoying spectacle imaginable. My love/hate relationship escalates.

    Video find of the day: Cecil Taylor and his hummingbird hands (circa 1981). And, yes, that is a brief clip of Bill Dixon in the beginning. I wish I knew what program this was from.

    Friday, February 02, 2007

    You plump for the roast pork loin, dogg? Oh, proclaim that roast pork loin!

    |current sounds| Grant DJ-ing on WUOG

    Saw these while buying a tuna salad sandwich from the upstairs cafeteria and given my obsession with thai food as of late (Jamie and I can make a mean green curry chicken), I had to try them. Don't believe the lie that is Spicy Thai because it's actually quite weak in that regard. More like a polite slap on the tongue than that climatic scene in Oldboy where, well, maybe I'm taking the simile into a place it shouldn't go (if you've seen Oldboy, you know what I'm talkin' about). BUT the ginger is righteously flavorful, something that I'm tasting (and still enjoying) even two hours after consumption. Plus, Kettle Chips always has that great, hearty, thick crunch that always makes me look at a bag of Doritos with derision.

    In addition to the curiously (and disturbingly) morbid Cyanide & Happiness, I now also read the Achewood comic on a daily basis (thanks to the convenience of RSS feeds). I stumbled across "Ray's Stupid Cell Phone Conversation" and was immediately hooked. Like most of the humor that forms my own, it's outrageously, sometimes violently absurd and surreal. Also, quite, how shall I say, decidedly manly? (As Ashley would often comment, that is such "boy [insert music, movie, etc. here].")

    Simultaneously, Chris Onstad (the author and inker) began two music-based series that each lasted two weeks: the Mister Band plot and the Story of Rustmouth and Silent Bird Wallace, possibly the best fictional blues singers names ever (both link to the initial stories, check the Nov./Dec. 2006 archives for more). Both are somewhat intertwined, but I would love to see Rustmouth's story fleshed out as it's one I think could earn a Peabody Award (are graphic novels eligible for such an honor?).

    Notes On A Scandal:
  • Cate Blanchett is HOT in bangs.

  • I have never been more terrified Judi Dench in my life. Nobody should smoke a cigarette like that. Goodness.

  • I do not hate the new Of Montreal album. (Yes, that was hard to admit.) Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer? is all about Kevin, Kevin, Kevin and ooohhh is he mad! It's the angry post-punk kick in the pants that boy needed if he thought he was going to get away with ABA-format synth-pop songs on Sunlandic Twins. Dig especially on "The Past Is A Grotesque Animal," the twelve minute kraut-disco rant that gets downright NOISY: overbloated synths and a pissed-off former twee-popper spewing hate. I'm sorry I ever doubted you, Kevin. (Does he kinda look like Adam Ant in that photo?)