So hot is the typical summer in Provence that the majority of wine producers pick their red grapes early to make tourist-friendly rosé. But in Bandol, a small, noteworthy appellation near Marseilles which has one of the longest growing seasons in Europe, theyve learned over the centuries how best to utilize their unique(ly) challenging micro-climate. Here they make their wine primarily from the challenging but potentially rewarding Mourvèdre grape.
Unless fully ripened, Mourvèdre is colorless and flavorless, so the Bandol growers raise it on south-facing hillsides to facilitate the maximum amount of sunshine. Butas soon as it reaches 13% alcohol, Mourvèdre reveals a feral intensity, so it's generally blended with Grenache, grown on north-facing hillsides to keep its own generous alcohol levels in check. Other southern French grapes Cinsault and Carignan in particular are often included to make for a heady and hearty wine worthy of a decade's cellaring.
Even at a young age, most Bandols are guaranteed crowd-pleasers. In 2003, I was with a rock band in nearby Nimes, where we went out for dinner, and while the band's instinct had tought them to drink the house wine, I talked them into a Bandol instead. Eyebrows were immediately raised, lips licked, compliments paid, the bottle checked for the tell-tale notes of its black magic, and promises made to pick up more of the same the following morning.
You don't need to venture to France to find the stuff. And I didn't need to name-drop: at the Prospect Heights wine bar Half, a (half) bottle of the Domaine La Suffrène 1999 Bandol had exactly the same head-turning effect. In fact, it was so pleasurable I headed up to Astor Wines and picked up a (half) bottle of the 2000 a few days later.
The story with Domaine La Suffrène is typical of modern winemaking: for generations, the family's grapes were sold off to a local cooperative until in 1996, proprietor Cederic Gravier decided to make his own wines, a smart move that has resulted in his rapid promotion to the Appellation's front ranks. His Bandol is a relatively forward example of this typically backward wine. A blend of mourvèdre (55%), grenache (20%), cinsault (15 %) and carignan (10 %), coming it at a hefty 14% alcohol, the wine emits Mourvèdre's famous 'farmyard funk' which, in both (ripe) vintages of La Suffrene that I tried, quickly blew over to unearth a rich, leathery, black-fruited, herbal, full-bodied, medium-tannin'ed, slightly acidic and eminently enjoyable wine.
Domaine La Suffrène: "a rich, leathery, black-fruited, herbal, full-bodied, medium-tannin'ed, slightly acidic and eminently enjoyable wine."
Château Pradeaux: "an inky black brew that offers aromas from the forest floor earthy, tree bark, wild mushrooms - and the taste of wild animal: all leather, body, bones and blood."
At Astor, I also picked up a (half) bottle of the 1999 Bandol by the esteemed Château Pradeaux, a resolutely old-fashioned producer that allows sheep to graze the vineyards in spring, reducing the need for pesticides, does not destem its grapes (almost all of which are Mourvèdre), and allows its wine to mature in large oak foudrés for as long as four years before bottling.
All of which means that Château Pradeaux Bandol is NOT a wine of which we discuss fruit. This is an inky black brew that offers aromas from the forest floor earthy, tree bark, wild mushrooms - and the taste of wild animal: all leather, body, bones and blood. Oddly enough, this complements perfectly the vegetarian foods of the Provencal kitchen, a contradiction perhaps explained by the wine's extra ingredient: its cornucopia of herbal aromas and flavors that are part of the Provencal landscape. And yet this particular Bandol needs additional time to settle down; even importer Neal Rosenthal's web site admits that "Pradeaux in its youthful stages is tannic, backward, and sometimes ornery." For anyone unused to such ferocity, I'd recommend the La Suffrene as an introduction to Bandol's considerably powerful charms.
Bandol's strict AC rules, low yields, difficult growing conditions, and lengthy ageing in barrel do not make for a cheap drink. $20 is about as low as you'll find a Bandol; Château Pradeaux and Domaine Tempier typically cost $30 and more. Still, you can taste every penny as you drink. For those days when you want a big, bold bountiful wine - but want to avoid the silicon-tittied fruit bombs of the New World come down to the tip of Provence and bury your senses in the all-natural breasts of the meaty Bandol beast.
Bandol is a dark, feral, broody and bloody anomaly to the Provencal postcard image of sun-kissed beaches and rosé wines. So, for that matter, is the music of M83, whose Anthony Gonzalez hails from nearby Antibes. A Bandol and M83's Before The Dawn Heals Us make for a perfect late-night full-bodied bout.
There's a point where all language becomes the same. One of the following descriptions is from the back of a wine bottle, one from a chocolate bar and one from a packet of coffee. But which is which?
1) "Grown high in the fertile peaks of ....., .... is notable for its intensely floral aroma, elegant acidity and dense, fruity sweetness."
2) "Full and rich with flavors of dark cherries and chocolate, herbs, violets and anise and shows a long, lingering vanilla finish."
3) "Slightly sweet and soft flavor notes lead you through a full range of sweet, acid, fruit and roasted flavors."
I promised to post some nostalgic info from the boxes of cuttings and scrapbooks I unearthed in my basement last week. Here, then, as a starter, is a list of the shows I attended at The Lyceum in 1980 and '81, back when John Curd's 'Straight Music' promoted those famous five-band Sunday night bills. (And yes, these were all Sundays.)They're listed from headliner on down:
Sep 7 1980
Echo & The Bunnymen, U2, Delta 5, Au Pairs, Books
Feb 1 1981
U2, Delta 5, Thompson Twins, Red Beat
June 7 1981
Gang Of Four, ? (that's not the name of a band, there's a penciled question mark in my notebook!), Scars, Pigbag
Aug 30 1981
Au Pairs, Pigbag, OK Jive, Bloods, Pinkies
Believe it or not, I only paid to get in for the first of those shows which, at £3, just might be the long-term bargain of a lifetime. I'm sure it was that memory of The Bunnymen once (or was it several times?) headlining over U2 that provoked Ian McCulloch to say so many nasty things about Bono over the years.
As you know, I take God with a pinch of salt. Sorry, let me start that again: as you know, I take Bono with a pinch of salt. Good thing, 'cos I think I've got him sussed. Here's what I wrote on November 23 last year, about the song 'Sometimes You Can't Make It In Your Own':
"I mean, you have to love a rock star whose ego is such that he acts like he's the first person on earth to lose his father and feels compelled to write a song about the experience. (And I'm not being facetious, not really: few of us with lesser egos would ever dream to write such a song. I have no doubt there are millions who will thank Bono for doing so as they cry along in shared understanding - especially as it's the kind of classic rock ballad certain to be released as the album's third single.)"
Alright, so 'Sometimes You Can't Make It In Your Own' this week's UK number 1 is the second single from How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb, but they did release a video of 'All Because Of You' in the meantime. And anyway, the point still holds. Reading the otherwise erudite comments of Heather Armstrong at her dooce.com blog the other day, I came across this post, commenting on U2's performance at The Grammys Sunday night:
"Last night before they started the song Bono dedicated it to his father whom he said was a postal clerk, someone he wished he had gotten to know better. I nearly choked on my shock, the meaning of that song taking on proportions I hadnt fathomed. When he sang these lyrics in particular I couldnt stop bawling
Is Bono not proof of that old adage, Nobody ever went broke underestimating the general public?
(Jamming! magazine's archived U2 feature from 1983 is available here.)
I've got no comment of my own on The Grammys. I only caught the last half-hour. I'm temped to ask, Who really gives a shit? Except that I don't think many of us at this site do care to begin with. I could say that Green Day deserve recognition for mixing politics, punk and power pop and selling several million albums, but they do seem to be rather enjoying their acceptance into the belly of the mainstream beast, don't they? Certainly, I was pleased to see Basement Jaxx take home the first ever Grammy for Best Electronic/Dance Album (my review of Kish Kash is here) but talk about locking the gate after the horse has bolted! Electronic/Dance music at least that as made by The Jaxx and fellow nominees Prodigy, Paul Oakenfold, Paul van Dyk and The Crystal Method is deader than dead in America. The Chemical Brothers album, for all that it's been number on in the UK and had rave reviews across the board (including from yours truly), sold a mere 7000 copies in its third week here in the States.
So, back to U2 and The Bunnymen, The Gang Of Four, and those memorable shows at The Lyceum. I should really post the following in the Pub, but it's my web site and putting the following up here may get a few more readers signing up for our online discussion. So...
Which Band Would You Want To See Reformed?
1) Gang Of Four: Done. Currently on tour, wowing crowds though mysteriously peddling 'new' studio recordings of an album that never needed to be messed with.
2) The Wedding Present: Done. Currently peddling a new album Take Fountain, which, based on the second single I've heard, 'I'm From Further North Than You,' is not worth the wait.
3) The Cocteau Twins. Done. Just announced their appearance at Coachella.
4) New Order. Done. But did they ever really break up? (See my theory on why New Order stayed credible and The Bunnymen did not from a couple of years ago.) New songs sound very
New Order. As if we'd want anything else from them.
5) The House Of Love. Bet you didn't expect that one, did you? But Guy Chadwick has got back together with Terry 'Bonkers' Bickers - and their album Love You Too Much comes out next week in the UK. (It's cyrrently streamed in entirity right here.) The title at least, serves to remind of their greatest single 'I Don't Know Why I Love You.'
My point being - you barely have to think of a group these days before they've reformed. Shall we start a betting pool on who's next?
Not The Stone Roses, Im sure. But if you're a fan, do get on over to Torr.org and download those bedroom demos from 1986. Torr confirmed to me yesterday they've never been released, and who knows how long he'll be able to keep them online. (Just as a warning: never write to me and ask for MP3s, even if you know me. Nothing to do with the (il)legality of it all: I simply don't have the time.)
Six weeks into the New Year and I'm finally caught up on everything that was meant to be completed before Christmas. Clash book? About to be published. Apocalypse album? Being mastered as we talk. Moon update? All proofed and ready to go. E-mail correspondence? Quite, possibly, and maybe for the first time in my life, fully up to date. (Except you, Jamie!) I've got a couple of exciting new projects that I'm itching and need - to start work on, but I've learned the hard way that nothing is ever 4real until you've signed the contract and banked the cheque. So, in-between mega spring-cleaning, sorting out all these old boxes full of press cuttings, notebooks, scrapbooks, gig lists and the like, I devoted a couple of hours yesterday to surfing some of the music blogs that I always see linked by many of the music bloggers I already trust.
It was a daunting process, like entering a maze, or a hall of mirrors or, had there been money involved, a pyramid scheme: almost every site linked to a hundred other sites, most of which were also and already linked to by every one of the other sites. The only way out of this maze (apart from typing in a URL of my choice or quitting Netscape, of course, though neither was a viable option: this was a monkey-on-cocaine exercise) was to find a link that led somewhere else
to a discussion of something other than simply music.
Brooklyn Vegan, who took this picture, thought Kaiser Chiefs were "awesome" at Mercury Lounge Monday night. A couple of his readers disagreed.
Not that I minded. For an hour or two there, it was just like being back in the fanzine heyday. The enthusiasm seeping from these web pages was such you could almost touch it: a thrilling sense of genuine DIY/independent/underground freedom/autonomy such as only comes along once a generation. Every one who goes to gigs these days seems to have a blog and those who don't host blogs seem to at least read and post comments at their friends' blogs. It took me just minutes, for example, to find two glowing reviews of The Kaiser Chiefs' New York show on Monday night, each complete with photos. One blogger called it Gig of the Year already. Another blogger said the same thing about The Arcade Fire at Webster Hall. And everyone, it seems, is currently raving about The Futureheads. We certainly can't complain about that. Much has been made in the American media of how The Arcade Fire were "broken" by the blogosphere. I'd be thrilled to see the same thing happen to The Futureheads and Ted Leo. See yesterday's post and conclude again: who needs commercial rock radio anyway?
Obviously, some blogs are better than others. But that's fine: much sooner the average gig-goer comes home and posts their review to the world than that they just watch TV or get drunk afterwards. And clearly, as with the fanzine heyday, we're about to reach a saturation point. But that's cool too: the best sites will continue to flourish, while those who find it hard work to write something new every day, or don't get the traffic, or who are only blogging because it's this year's trend, will pack up and move on. In its purest (and, for once, non-capitalistic sense), this is the free market at work and I've got faith that it will resolve itself.
I was, though, profoundly aware of how the majority of these sites concentrate completely on music. I have no bones with that these are music fanatics, eager to share news, reviews and MP3s with fellow music fanatics, and they do so more voraciously than I can at this stage - but it made me more aware than ever that iJamming!'s strength is its ability to discuss all manner of subjects that pique this writer's interest. These include but are not limited to New York City life, the world of wine, English football and
politics both local and global.
Regular readers may have noticed this latter category conspicuous by its absence of late. (I certainly have.) I'm acutely aware that I've barely commented on political issues since the Presidential Election. There are three reasons for this, only one of which is truly valid:
1) People can debate music in good spirits and without too much animosity. (The recent Jam vs. Smiths debate in the pub is a positive example.) Politics brings out the worst in us. I recently surprised myself by asking readers on my favorite wine board for a moratorium on political discussions: drawn together as they are by a love of wine (not a common political background), they seemed unable to hold a civilized conversation about the Iraqi election and I found the shouting back and forth to be highly frustrating and upsetting.
2) But that's bullshit, really. It's not the reason I've shied away. I'm actually afraid of coming across as a dilettante. It's easy to tow the party line there are thousands of blogs out there which will tell you exactly what you want to hear every day of the week, according to your political preference but for those of us who see our world as many shades of gray, rather than conveniently distinguished black and white, it's important to be up on our facts. Following political developments is a full time job. Some people have managed to make it so, and their sites are, rightly, the ones with the most traffic. For the rest of us
There's simply no time. This is the truth. The last three months of 2004 were the most emotionally draining of my life (at least since breaking my shoulder, flying home for an emergency operation and finding out my father was dieing once I got there): there was the painfully slow death of my brother-in-law, the beautifully perfect birth of my second son, and the tentatively renewed relationship with my former songwriting partner of 20 years ago. These events took literally all the energy I had. Certainly didn't allow for time to parse the news and form a firm opinion on whether our election was rigged via touch-screen machines or whether Republicans really do go to the polls later in the day than Democrats. And as stated already, I've spent most of this year so far catching up with the work delayed by those major end-of-year issues, trying to get my next book deal together, dealing with the lack of sleep brought on by the new baby - and writing relentlessly about music and pop culture here at iJamming! I no longer have time to buy the Sunday NY Times, let alone read it. Let alone comment to you on it.
And now it dawns on me: Isn't this how the politicians want us to be? So busy trying to keep our relationships in check and our mortgages up to date that we place our trust in our leaders to do the right thing by us? It's not that we're inherently disinterested; it's that we simply can't find the time to scratch below the surface.
Which means, to cite the currently relevant example, that millions of Americans will believe President Bush when he says that Social Security will go bust in my lifetime unless we allow him to save it. And why not? He seems to have made a convincing argument. He's surely got our best interests at heart.
Except, watching the Jon Stewart show Monday night (and even that has been a luxury of late), up comes a clip from one Andrew Natsios, US Dept of Aid Administrator, from April 2003, telling Ted Koppel on Nightline that the US taxpayer will only need to pay out $1.7 billion for its share of rebuilding Iraq. And when Koppel comes back and asks, incredulously, "That's all it will cost?" Natsios says, and I quote:
"In terms of the American taxpayer's contribution, this is it for the U.S.: $1.7 billion."
Last week, Bush requested another $80 billion from Congress, bringing the US taxpayers' contribution to the rebuilding of Iraq up to $200 billion. Or, as Stewart put it after fudging with a calculator, "That's only about $198 billion off, allowing for a margin of 'we-don't-know-what-we're-talking-about.'"
Or, more to the point, "Don't believe us when we quote you financial figures."
I Couldn't vote Anybody But Bush in 2004 as I haven't taken American citizenship. But I can vote for Tony Blair if I feel like it. Sorting out passport paperwork online I came across this important URL: Fellow expats, take note of the March 11 deadline.
Back to the music blogs: I was heartened by how much grass roots interest there is across America for new British music and a little disheartened that I have to miss much of it right now. I couldn't get organized enough to catch Kaiser Chiefs on Monday; I didn't notice that Kasabian had been picked to support The Music (Who I don't care so much for) at Irving Plaza tonight until I'd already made plans to see some of my friends instead; I'll be upstate when Bloc Party play the Motherfucker party this Sunday night; and I may have to miss The Futureheads at Bowery Ballroom on Tuesday for the same reason. But I've learned along the way that the best acts always come back round (Kaiser Chiefs have already announced an April tour) and sometimes, when you're lucky enough to catch an act early enough, that's the best it will ever be. The quality of that Futureheads show at the Canal Room last November is going to be hard to beat anyway. I will be at Ian Brown's show at Webster Hall next Saturday, and spinning the after-show party at Tiswas later that night. Hope to see some of you there.
These were the ones.... worth waiting for...Photo lifted from Torr's blog
Which brings me to the best of all yesterday's blogs. Fifteen years to the day after I met my wife dancing to 'She Bangs The Drums,' I found a web site hosting a demo of the same Stone Roses song dating from 1986, recorded in a bedroom and featuring nothing but Ian Brown's (wavering) voice and John Squire's (acoustic) guitar. As with all the best songs in the world, it sounds fully-formed and completely perfect even at its most basic.
Torr.org has more where this came from: a whole album's worth of Stone Roses demos available for download. I may be excruciatingly behind the times and you may already own all of these already; for me, this was a revelation. You can get them from Torr for free, if you're exceedingly patient and revisit the site several times a day. Otherwise, his host only allows a 10MB download from each user an hour. I paid the 5Euros fee for a 5GB account, downloaded every one of the demos while writing out this morning's post, and am listening to a fiery 16-track demo of 'She Bangs The Drums' from 1988 as I type. Best song in the world? Quite possibly. And who needs rock radio anyway?
(What's been obvious to some for years is just dawning on others...)
"The Revolution has begun! The opportunities today are vast and limitless
for those artists, bands, managers, and other individuals and companies
who truly understand and embrace what is actually occurring, who can step
back and see the decaying mechanism that many are still struggling to
maintain for what it is - not only a crumbling business model, but an
entire way of viewing the world in which we used to live, but no longer
Ritch Esra & Stephen Trumbull proclaim the Death of the music industry as we knew it. Their enthusiasm is all the more important given that they publish an insider's guide called The Music Business Registry. (Elsewhere in this same piece, they note that 121 American major label A&R men and women lost their jobs in 2004, and that only 39 new jobs were created. The old paradigm is over.)
"I've never liked revolutions. They just go in circles, after all. The downside of getting to "win" is that someone else loses, and invariably the cycle begins again. That's why I've begun to think about our current shift less as a revolution than a renaissance. It's not a whole new order coming into power, but rather, as the word "renaissance" implies, the rebirth of old ideas in a new context."
Douglas Rushkoff writes about the shift to a digital world in Arthur magazine, March 2005
Then above two, seemingly unrelated comments come together in the world of Internet Radio. I'm writing now with Rob Sacher's Radio Indie Pop running in the background, keeping me up to date with everyone from The Kills to... The Killers. (Yeah, I know, but it's true
Band names do tend to movie in trends.) I've been tuning, too, recently to 3wk Internet Radio (which, rather oddly, offers and Indie station AND a Classic Rock station!). And last week, I heard Karl Hyde and Rick Smith of Underworld host a two hour show on their own DirtyRadio site, spinning a wide range of their favorite music from across the ages, interspersed with unfinished new Underworld cuts and quick-witted reactions to the e-mail/Instant Messages that rapidly came their way from round the world. Used to be an absolute rarity that you could hear one of your favorite artists hosting such a show; now it's within grasp of any musician who cares about direct communication.
The American corporate radio giants will likely never latch onto this revolution. Nor should they. With Broadband becoming the norm in computer-literate houses across the western world, it's easier now to ignore commercial rock radio than complain about it. Technology is in the process of allowing us to listen to our Internet Radio stations while on the road, and while we wait, most people have learned to hook up their iPods to their car stereos. Here in the States, most new cars come pre-equipped with satellite radio, which has the potential to revolutionize radio the same way cable did television by offering an almost infinite number of niche stations each catering to a specific market. Last week at my Brooklyn gym, I was stunned to hear Judge Jules talking to me about English club nights; turns out he has a global dance show on Sirius. And rather than bemoan my ability to tune in to BBC radio online while upstate, I simply take advantage of the archives, and start my every week at my desk with four hours of The Blue Room. Check these artists from a thirty-minute section of Sunday's show, hosted by Rob Da Bank to see why you, too, should "listen again": The Pixies, This Mortal Coil, TV On The Radio, Patrick Wolf, Freddie McKay, Radio 4, Stevie Wonder, The Superimposers and a bootleg remix of Soulwax and Tiga by IDC.
Turns out IDC is an old flat-mate of mine from Streatham. Talk about a small world. (And this one I would not have predicted: I didn't think our paths would ever cross again.) Staying in the spirit of things, IDC offers most of his bootleg mixes for free download. Visit his site here and avail yourself of the superb aforementioned 'ThrEEE Talking.'
Finally, I have to give major props to dooce.com, the online diary of "recovering Mormon" Heather B. Armstrong. Heather was fired from her previous job for discussing the people she worked with on her website. Like she should care: now she's a Stay-At-Home Mom ("or a Shit Ass Ho Motherfucker. I do both equally well," she writes ), documenting the growth of her baby daughter Leta and her own milky breasts with equal wit and wisdom. She's also a superb photographer. Check her entry from yesterday...
BABY. MOVING. AROUND. THE. ROOM.
EVIDENCE: EXHIBIT A.
....Followed by picture of said baby moving round the room by herself. If you're not a parent, this might not seem anything to write
home to the world about, but allow that Heather says she loves "pop tarts, nacho cheese doritos, Britney Spears chest, and Britpop," and you may understand why she's such a cult heroine among bloggers. I could fall in love with her myself. But all the best ones are always taken: Heather is happily married. A
So is Posie. I met my wife (who, marveling at the growth of our baby Noel and her own milky breasts has no time to get online - just as Heather writes that she no longer has time to download MP3s - and so will probably not see any of these comments for long enough that I'll get away with them...) exactly 15 years ago tonight. On the dance floor. In New Jersey. Matt Pinfield was involved. So, I'm sure, were The Stone Roses. Cue your Melody memories here.
Campbell and Noel, some day you will look at this and ask yourselves: Is this really where it all began? And the answer is, Yes, it is.
"Life is pain
Anyone who says differently is selling something."
Cary Elwes as the Dread Pirate Roberts, The Princess Bride
"Adolescence is excruciating enough without having to think about it; better to fill your head with cleansing energy."
Jim Dodge, Not Fade Away
"Artists (both visual and musical) who do maintain a consistency and more or less do variations on the same thing for the rest of their lives are usually the most successful. But often the jealous artist like myself looks at this success askance as proof that these artists are becoming parodies of themselves."
David Byrne, 'Who Wrote These?' from the Once In A Lifetime Talking Heads box set
"I asked him once, 'Johnny, do you practice a lot at home? What do you do?' And John said, "A carpenter has his hammer, the musician has his guitar. The carpenter doesn't bring his hammer home. He's not going to work at home, he's going to relax at home. So I don't have a guitar at my house. This is my job. I bring my tools to work. I leave them at work."
Johnny Ramone, as quoted by George Tabb in Hey Ho, Let's Go: The Story Of The Ramones by Everett True (Omnibus Press)
"I fought for a studio in my home, in my bedroom, in my kitchen, in my bathroom, everything. And I look today and where are they? The kid today is in his bathroom, he's in his bedroom, and he is making his record in his home."
Les Paul, on inventing multi-track recording back on the 1950s, interviewed on Tom Dowd & The Music Of Language, documentary DVD
"The whole creative form of expression has a new horizon made available by the fact that there is now digital capture. The thing that has stayed the same all through it is music as a form of expression."
Tom Dowd, Tom Dowd & The Music Of Language, documentary DVD
"Lazarus was practically asking to be robbed. He never locked his door, and the only weapon in his crib was the chef's knife he used to chop up ganja for his customers. He had some kind of who-Jah-bless-let-no-man-curse theory about the whole thing, like somehow the diffusion of his positive vibrations into the universe would prevent anyone from schiesting him. That and the fact that all the small-timers who copped off him knew that Laz was tight with the old Jamaicans who really ran the neighborhood. Plus, Laz was convinced that he looked crazy ill strutting around his apartment with that big blame gleaming in his hand: a wild-minded, six-two, skin-and-bones whiteboy with a spliff dangling from his mouth and hair ropes trailing down his back. Half Lee 'Scratch' Perry, half Frank White."
Adam Mansbach, 'Crown Heist', from the Brooklyn Noir anthology
"There was a best and the worst of the year in one of the magazines I write for, and Williamsburg was my number one for the worst. I was like, 'Yo, fuck you, Williamsburg. Fuckin' I just moved to New York, scarf and jeans jacket wearin', fuckinn' Nike, $300 a pair buyin', I love hip-hop, you bastards! That is not Brooklyn. You go anywhere else in Brooklyn like that, you will get fucked up. They are the worst."
Jean Grae, rapper, writer and recent Plug award winner, interviewed in IRT Magazine,
"Millennial Redfords in their cowboy hats that cost ninety nine cents or less at a store by the same name/Shame wouldn't let 'em wear the best/Funny how cats dress down in this hip part of town/I found quickly that it's sticky on these stank ass blocks/not shocking but them lofts cost three thousand bones."
Pete Miser, rapper, 'The Fall Of Williamsburg,' from Camouflage Is Relative
"I never wear buttons but I got a cool hat and my homies agree I really look good in black."
Weird Al Yankovic, 'Amish Paradise' from The Ultimate Video Collection
"Arsenal were too good for us."
Iain Dowie, Crystal Palace manager. These are not Words of Wisdom. This is stating the blindingly obvious.
1) I got a little ahead of the publication date on my new mini-book, The Clash: The Complete Guide To Their Music. It's out in the UK on March 1 (not Feb 8), with a proper U.S. publication to follow in the fall. (In these days of online bookstores, nobody need wait six months that doesn't want to...) I'll save posting my Mick Jones interview until March, for the obviously crass reason of cross-promotion.
2) I'm coming out of DJ hibernation to spin at Tiswas on Saturday February 26. It's the launch party for the Brooklyn-based Canarsie label, with all three featured bands that night - Schizo Fun Addict, The Soft Explosions and Death Of Fashion - being from somewhere within the five boroughs. You can read my review of the first two here. The hope is that Tiswas will be hosting the official post-show gathering for the Ian Brown/Radio 4 concert earlier that evening (very early) at Webster Hall. And what the hell, if they don't make it official, let's make it unofficial. You know it makes sense.
3) I posted my Plug Awards review before I could get an official response from the organizers about the perceived coincidence of the performers at Webster Hall last Wednesday being winners, and vic-versa. Here's word via e-mail:
"Half the acts that played did not win: Saul, Aesop, Sufjan and Ted all didnt win a thing. In truth we did ask only nominated acts but at the time we had no idea who would win at all."
Fair enough. And as I hope I enthused sufficiently in the review, it was a wonderful occasion at which to see a whole variety of live, underground music.
So, it's Valentine Time again and you're under pressure to treat your loved one to wine and roses. Or chocolates. Or, so hope the marketing types who never run out of reasons for us to spend our hard-earned money, Champagne.