Monday, March 30, 2009

My Weekend Beat Up Your Weekend.

The scene of the crime.

The murder weapons.

Preparing to do battle with Palm Springs Costco.

Meet meat.

Photographers' showdown.

Hog Leg.

Nicole vs. Salmon.

Soaking into the abyss.

J. and Julia vs. Birthday cake.

J. and Mike, following Melanie's lead, attempt to slip into other dimension.

The landmark case of Busch vs. Burger Bun, 2009.

Sweet respite.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Reaped From the Headlines!

It's time for another round of "Ripped From the Headlines" -- actual news headlines, you know, about newsy things.

God 'will not give happy ending'

Fun doesn't have to stop for bad economy
Uh-uh, the bad economy is having all the fun it can get! (Apparently, others thought this headline read poorly and CNN since changed the headline on the story archive page.)

Charles Manson spends most of his time alone
He also spend 100% of his time in prison.

Eye of God pictured in space
I guess that pretty much answers some eternal questions.

American taste for soft toilet roll 'worse than driving Hummers'
This one's gone... damn.

Octopus pulls plug, floods aquarium

Saturday, March 14, 2009


Apparently, I was a pretty curmudgeonly writer back in the glory days of Your Flesh magazine. I'm not exactly sure where one might get that impression, but here are a few favorites from the archives:

A rather transparent and unfortunate stab at a JSBX/NEW YORK DOLLS meld, with a singer whose David Johansen-esque paralysed-lip slurred vocals are as convincing as Keanu Reeves’ Shakespeare. Backed by a post-NATION OF ULYSSES basket of hacks plunking out “gritty” and “bluesy” irony (Ha! Rock’n’roll?....Clever!), the singer’s indolent pose and impotent muse serves considerable insult to his influences. In addition to fire, I suggest they eat shit. (PCP Entertainment) Dave Clifford

...And enter the cut-out bin. (DGC) Dave Clifford

DAHLIA SEED Survived By... CD
My problem with 'The Believers' is simple, yet duly heretic: anyone under pretense to be 'creating' a work of 'art' therefore endeavors to express an emotion and meaning directly relative to their own life, and therefore either succeeds or fails at articulating these details. From G.G. Allin to Ian MacKaye, from Frida Kahlo to Norman Rockwell, each have made works which serve to express some element of emotion relevant and crucial to their lives. Although some succeed in imbuing their art with more inspired/impassioned/pained/etc details than most, it is merely by their own ability to express powerful interpretations of human experience that such works represent more 'soul' or 'emotion' than commonplace art. By this token, the concept of 'emo' rock/core becomes entirely redundant. That is, if great effort is required of the artiste to 'come to terms' or 'summon the beasts within' to express something in their music, then perhaps it is because such trite schmaltz is borne of one's lack of emotional commitment to the artistic process in the first place. I give you DAHLIA SEED, a band whose relatively catchy DRIVE LIKE BJORK music stands well enough on its own, but is rendered absurd by the overbearing, forced and vapid "emotional" lyrical content. Granted, the lyrics are the result of vocalist Tracy Wilson's grappling with death-in-the-family and other commonplace tragedies and perhaps strive to reach to the, ahem, heart of such experience but seem so forced that I begin to wonder if they exist only because pain is just anything else to sing about. When she sings with strained vocal cords, "no one lasts long here" at what is supposed to be an impassioned crescendo, it just sounds so tastlessly forced that I shudder at the lack of passion in their music. Yes, there is pain in all of our lives, which is why art is social, but in turning emotion into an aesthetic as the entire 'emocore' scene (as well as PEARL JAM, Tori Amos, LIVE, et al) has, strives to authenticate human experience as kitch, and therefore nullifies the worth in such communication. The 'emotional' power of music is its ability to randomly touch other people's lives in an unusual communion of artifice and lived experience. Music ( and art in general) doesn't need to be about emotion, because it ought to involve it, and those who strive to saturate their music with posed emotion ought to be called out for the connivers they are. (Troubleman Unlimited) Dave Clifford

MISFITS Famous Monsters CD
Some may chuckle and chortle at the incredibly lame cover art and limp pop punk of the Caiafa brothers' revamped Misfits, but really the most laughable thing about these "famous monsters" is the Christian undercurrent spurred by chumpy vocalist, Michale Graves (who even stoops to thank God in his thank you list). Presumably, Mr. Graves is just earning a paycheck, hoping to open the minds of gloom-sodden youth with his message of hope underlying the dizzyingly flaccid sounds of former teenagers from Mars, Jerry Only and Doyle. Drummer "Dr." Chud (he's not a real doctor, nor is he a real Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dweller) fills in the muck with lackluster studio musicianship. What made the Misfits great was the band's penchant for overdriving and mutating traditional '50s rock'n'roll. They were low-budget, atavistic-fantastic mutant pop, just like the B-movies and schlocky horror movies they admired. Now, they're just another bland contemporary pop punk band on par with MXPX or Face to Face, but with "gloomy" ambiguous lyrics about fallen angels and reluctant saviors. Graves' tepid lyrics seem purposefully composed to sound "dark," but with enough ambiguous positivity for him to defend them on TV talk shows and in youth groups. It's like "The Exorcist" — intended to shock and titillate in order to deliver a pro-Christian message. Yuck. What's worse, for the multitude of kids hearing the Misfits for the first time (or thinking that they are pro wrestlers who just started a band), they get this, er, pallid imitation of the fiendish four. As much as I respect and admire Jerry and Doyle, without Glenn, these Misfits just fit in all too comfortably. [Roadrunner] Dave Clifford

LOOMER "Snowblind"/ "Superstar" 7"
So you printed your insert on resume paper? Sorry, the position of coy girl-pop has been filled by VERUCA SALT and the BREEDERS, but we'll keep it on file in case anything opens up. (Low Blow) Dave Clifford

TABLA BEAT SCIENCE Live in San Francisco at Stern Grove CD
Uggh. Just the name Bill Laswell makes me cringe. Knowing his penchant for the world-beatoff, limp production and his self-congratulatory high-profile, I knew this would be an ugly affair rife with excessive noodling and grotesque cross-cultural forced bonding. And, indeed, it is…Laswell, along with a familiar cast of jazzholes and some misled Indian tabla drummers, hosts this foray into everything that’s bad about free jazz, world fusion, rave culture and shithead yuppie-burnout public radio. I mean, “Beat Science”? Come on! Do these assholes really think that they’re bound to “discover” something heretofore unknown about drum beats? (Axiom Recordings) Dave Clifford

SPACEBOY Searching the Stone Library for the Green Page of Illusion CD
I’m hoping that their press kit’s attempt to portray the band as some kind of Black Metal vikings from fucking Santa Cruz, CA is just a joke. But, knowing the legacy of former B’last (Flag) vocalist – er, “Mystical Poetry” renderer — Clifford Dinsmore, I wouldn’t be surprised if Spaceboy thought themselves to be as legit as B’last (Flag)’s Ginn imitations. I mean, come on: “the natural surroundings of their home territories — including mighty mountains and deep fjords as well as dark forests and ruins [that’s Santa fucking Cruz, people] — have always meant a lot to the band. It was here that Spaceboy found their own sacred places, which they named Blashyrkh.” Uh-huh. Was that before or after a day of surfing and destroying? Anyway, musically, Spaceboy are just about as innovative and interesting as their press-kit hyperbole. Murky, heavy riff rock like a poor man’s Death Metal fills the CD, interspersed with attempts at the Mahavisnu Orchestra’s trippy jams. Guitarist Adam Cantwell played in an early incarnation of the Fucking Champs — a fact Spaceboy make abundantly clear in their packaging — but, there’s little of any guitar precision herein…it’s mostly just adequate heavy jam rock. Keep on searching that Stone Library dudes, but beware the Green Page of Illusion…I’m told it’s a plus-twelve Cleric, and your Dungeon Master just might fuck you up by reloading the Bong of Not Going to Practice. (Southern Lord, HYPERLINK Dave Clifford

FLEX TIME Arriving At The Punk Scene CD
Arriving At The Punk Scene...really? Well, I was just leaving--take my seat. (some Japanese symbols record label) Dave Clifford

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Soul Cleansing Sounds Of...

You know, I thought that I'd come up with a pretty comprehensive list of bad band names over the years -- see list here -- but this Dutch band really takes the, um, cake:

In fact, The Schytts, fittingly bedecked in matching brown outfits, seems like such an absurdity that I'd originally thought it was fake. Yes, smarmy smartasses, I do realize that they speak a different language and hence The Schytts could very well mean "The Strokes" in Dutch. I dunno. Irregardlessness, I did some investigating and discovered that The Schytts was indeed a real band from the Netherlands in the mid-70s. Check 'em out here: