John Wiese + Jarrett Silberman Live

Sunday, April 1: 8p
Wiese has collaborated with Sunn O))), Merzbow, and Wolf Eyes, while Silberman is behind the notorious Skull Skull and Young People. Warning: this will be loud and purging.

posted by kramer at 8:11 PM

3 Records.

Leonard Cohen
Various Positions (1985)
For a long time the only Cohen records I really liked were his first two, Songs of Leonard Cohen, and Songs From a Room. And though I listened to those records all the time for years and years, everything after that seemed way too produced and seemed to get away from what makes him great-that parred down solitary voice with the lightest of accompaniment singing the most incredible heartbreaking lyrics. This one changes everything because it is later, and is heavily produced with all sorts of strange dated sounds and is super upbeat in tempo but it is maybe better than anything he has ever done and makes me want to check out everything of his over again(and reminds me of something a smart friend once said about Cohen: "His records may not all be good, but none are lazy".). I think this record is extremely forward thinking and gives a lot the more you listen in a way that is completely unique. It truly sounds like nothing else I can think of with its huge chorus of female backup singers and bombastic electric piano and Cohen's singing style totally unlike his early records. The problem with so much music criticism is that it is usually written after one listen, maybe two, and that never seems like enough time to really evaluate something. Various Positions is something that needs to be on for awhile to break you a little bit and get you in its space.

Little Wings
Magic Wand (2004)
This record, like all Little Wings records, has a very offhand, improvisational feeling which is also one of its many strengths. The downside of a lot of lo-fi records is a sort of precociousness and goofy quality and Little Wings consistently avoids that somehow. There are not many people who I would say do folk well these days, but Little Wings is pretty much the golden bar in my mind. The lyrics are often dark with mentions of ghosts, blood and graves turning up often but these records would rarely be considered cryptic. It's the way everything is delivered that avoids it ever getting maudlin or overwrought. These songs are super traditional in their structure, they sound like they have always existed in the way that all great songs have a tendency to do, but the recording and execution sounds like it was done in an afternoon on a porch in Malibu. Like a lot of great art it sounds effortless and casual when it is deeply layered and affecting.

Meat Puppets
Meat Puppets II (1984)
I don't know anything else that sounds like this. And the Meat Puppets never did anything as good ever again. A total anomaly that is almost like a country set list played by a bunch of punk kids trying to do it straight. BUT NOT ROCKABILLY. I often assume this is a seminal record that everyone knows about, I guess because of the Nirvana Unplugged album, and then there's times it seems the opposite. Something that seems to have popped out of the ether and is just here now somehow.

posted by sammy at 10:01 PM

Lucas Looking.

One of the best blogs in the world is Video Watchblog by the extremely prolific Tim Lucas, the editor-in-chief of the best film magazine today, Video Watchdog. Lucas' lastest post, besides reminding us it's David Cronenberg's birthday today(64!), announced some great news about an exciting upcoming book series coming from Millipede Press and more importantly, of his contribution to that series with a full length book about the making of Videodrome slated for release in the fall.
Lucas has been for many years working on a huge 1,000+ page biography/critical survey/art book on the great Mario Bava, All the Colors of The Dark, which is slated to finally come out this year. This book is guaranteed to be one of the best of it's kind ever made, forget of the year. And Video Watchdog, after too long on a temporary bimonthly schedule, is coming back as a monthly! So it's turning into a great year for Tim Lucas fans, and and by extension, a great year for fans of Bava and Cronenberg and film criticism in general.

posted by sammy at 10:18 AM

One and Only.

Up now in the Art section, the Sevenonius print. Check back soon for more prints and original art as it gets added there in the coming days.

posted by sammy at 6:06 PM

It's baaaaaaack

After thinking the book was totally gone, I found 2 boxes (20 copies)of Kramers Ergot 4's while cleaning up at my mom's house. They are now in the store, but won't go online.

posted by sammy at 10:25 AM

Svenonius Instore Report.

This past Sunday March 11, we continued our run of rad events when the one and only Ian Svenonius came by to give a presentation on his truly amazing book The Pyschic Soviet, as well as sign some books, and meet the good people of Los Angeles. With a small Soviet flag draped over the projector, the presentation was a short film told in still photos with four willing members of the audience given a script, and Ian passing the mic around. The film showed two men and two women, each representing four types of consumer-the hip hop vinyl-fetishist, the post grad student, the herbalist, and the casual layman discussing the secret meaning of rock and roll. Covering such ground as satanism, the depression, the white album, false prophets, and the use of the blues to give phony credibility to this new youth craze, our four characters argued and butted heads going far and wide in the search for truth, but still, in the process, discovered the secret, barely concealed cold war tactics innately contained within rock and roll, the new insidious religion of the modern world, and the emergence of consumerism was clearly pinpointed. Yet right when a Soviet Anthem record played backward was about to give the antidote to this curse, our hip hop fellow's finger got too tired to reveal it all.
The packed house took it all well with no one collapsing in shock or need of calling a priest. And awesome event and if you are on the west coast you should make sure to catch this fine touring Event as it winds its way north over the next week.
Some stills:

A barely comprehensive document sure, but proof it did take place!

Svenonius with the radical Moomin! A favorite of his and ours.

Kramer and Svenonius Ponder what IT means.

Also, signed copies The Psychic Soviet are available while supplies last.
Also also, we will have copies of the Svenonius/Crane print (see below) available for online purchase soon.

posted by sammy at 9:28 PM

Poster Up

Two-color silkscreen put together by Jordan Crane in honor of Sunday's Special Event. Walking around LA you might come across them ripe for the picking.

posted by sammy at 12:23 AM

Soft Focus

The best show on tv is not on tv, but on Vice TV. Utterly no frills, except for the gold curtain backdrop serving as an echo to the golden age of talk shows of the seventies like The Dick Cavett Show, Soft Focus is incredibly compelling viewing. Filmed at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City, each episode is Ian Svenonius sitting down for a long in depth interview with someone from the wide world of music. Svenonius is a great interviewer and really gets the best out of his guests and is not afraid to let things veer far from the subject at hand, as he always finds a way back to the main conversation. A talent that makes interview subjects that you hear about a million times before and had no interest in whatsoever, such as Henry Rollins, interesting.
So far, there have been four shows, and I recommend starting at the first with Will Oldham (one of the best Oldham interviews ever) and working your way to the latest. Why something this good isn't on prime time is insane but I guess also obvious.

posted by sammy at 10:48 AM

Ian Svenonius at Family

This coming Sunday March 11, Ian Svenonius is starting his west coast tour at Family. He will be giving a slide show and signing copies of his new book, The Pyschic Soviet.
Besides fronting the influential punk band The Make Up and currently Weird War, Svenonius' writing has appeared all over the place the last few years. His new collection, The Psychic Soviet, from Drag City, is both one of the most illuminating, informative and head rattling reads you will come across as well as one of the most beautifully packaged. Resembling a maoist handbook from Earth 2-it's pocket sized, the covers are made of hot pink vinyl, and it's onion skin paper illustrated throughout with Svenonius' artwork. The essays within cover everything from religion, politics, vampirism, Seinfeld, Beatles vs the Stones, world history, and it all comes back to rock and roll (ie Communism) and its effect on everything in your life. Satirical, obsessive, ridiculous, epic, and right, Svenonius is fearless in assuming he knows everything about everything. Hands down one of my favorite books in years.
If you are any where nearby, you won't want to miss this very special occasion.

posted by sammy at 10:03 AM

New Photos of Saturn.

Far Out.

posted by sammy at 11:50 AM