Sunday, March 06, 2005

Across the Droniverse

First, regarding the droning radio transimission writ about below, check this out. Probably many of you have heard of this release, either through our homesqueezins in Wilco or mayhaps you, like me, are hopelessly addicted to the Aquarius Records monthly updates and know that this bizarre compendium of found noise ranks up there with, oh, Village of Savoonga (?) as one of their faves of awl tymez.. Either way, it's not so hard for me to believe that I'd tapped into some kind of weird transmission...

The below entry, the one about driving while listening to the tone and not the one about Spud, was in part pulled from my memory by an angry email from an old pal'o'mine, Spoxman. Last year I mentioned to Sr. Duertos that I'd really enjoyed a few of the Sun City Girls' Carnival Folklore series, particularly the ones entitled High Asia Low Pacific, Sumatran Electric Chair and Resurrection Radio. This series--I think they were going to try to release a cd a month for a year; a couple years later they've tallied 13 or 14--has been notable for what some might phrase its missive-like nature(see above review)--jotted postcards from the strange practice space of a working band--or their "unlistenableness".

Even as a fan of what I've characterized (to him) as unlistenable jazz music in the past, Spox agreed with the latter description. Angrily, as it were. As Spox is semi-undergrounded, and he who shall remain nom de plumed, I print in full from the recent missive, to wit: "Did you ever find that SSG record-- Electric Chair for the Fernando Lamas or whatever? I think my days of being an Abduction (or whatever) consumer are numbered-- hopefully there are fewer days left than there are bad Sun City Girls records. I think the last three I've bought were basically all unlistenable. No wait, I bought one last week, but have been too scared to put it near an apparatus that will play it-- the jury's still out! Of there (sic) minds!!!!"

Spox and I go way back to middle school. We played in bands together, along with Stevie. Spox's Dad, like my parents, had a good record collection but, unlike my parents, he continued to buy records through the 80s (this reminds me of when Dad promised to stop by Woolworth's on his way home from work in order to by what I thought would be a KISS 8-track; instead he bought the Big Brother and the Holding Company with the RCrumb cover, Cheap Thrills it was. Already Dad was lamenting my straying from the road of Beatles, Elvis, Platters into this realm of glam cartoon rock; Janis Joplin of all people was who he enlisted to bring me back). I can remember that Spox's dad really liked Heaven 17 and some other sort of pansyish british gelled hair bands, but I can also assume he bought stuff that we liked, like Squeeze and Game Theory. Spox might argue about his dad's degree of coolness, but it seemed he let ol' Spoxer do what he wanted to do, which was pretty much play music and listen to music and play music. And pin gigantic semi-scatalogical pictures on his bedroom wall, which was all dark corkboard. Anyhow, Spox had a Replacements boot with a cover of Radio Free Europe; naturally I loathed what those drunken louts did to my fave song of 10th grade! Spox also tried to get me to like Big Black. He thought the title Songs About Fucking was intense and hilarious! meanwhile I was listening to Squeeze's ARGYBARGY and CHRONIC TOWN. Pretty wimpy, I guess.

(By the way, the kids've been having me play ARGYBARGY without cease recently and it is absolutely a great record. I thought this in 1983 or 84 but of course I was in high school and also liked the Alarm, ABC, REM, and Transistor. But ARGYBARGY stands the test of time which those others, except ABC, who still seem pretty damn cool, certainly do not (really, the Alarm? Lord. And aside from Bill Berry leaving, what on earth happened to REM? Send theories.). The playing on Argy is great; drummer Gilson Lavis's "just the beat and tasty fills ma'am" style was an influence on me, and I think Difford's guitar playing is good, too, all those nice Kirkwoody leadlines in the verses. Jools Hollands keyboards remind me in places of Garth Hudson, particularly the multi-octave synth swells on Another Nail. Tillbrook sings good. And the lyrics! Frankly I started losing interest in them when some p.r. flacky started promoting all this Difford/Tillbrook as the next Lennon/McCartney guff. That was the first dong of the death knell. Who could stand up to that? SQUEEZE disappeared. Diff/Till tried to put out a Spandau Ballet-like record but it was...too SPandau Balletish. But those ARGYBARGY lyrics...hilarious and perfect.)

Enough: Why is it that all I listen to these days is this?. Or this?. Or Argybargy? Or this? .

I blame it on the drone-spirit that took over a large portion of my conscious mind that afternoon out west. Or the fact that I drank over a pint of Robitussin only one hour ago.

And now, SQUEEZE's "Misadventure":

Hitched a hiker
Up above the border
She'd spent some time
In morocco and gibraltar
And stole my wallet
With a picture of my misses
With fond remembrance
Of everything with kisses

From the isle of dogs
To the egyptian sands
Where the arabs chew on dates
And i haven't forgot what it's like to be
With misadventure and her mates

I miss the east end
High up on the khyber
And i'm the target
For a dozen rebel snipers
It's not so bad though
With some beers in the freezer
And something fancy
In the airconditioned sleeper

From the isle of dogs
To the egyptian sands
Where the arabs chew on dates
And i haven't forgot what it's like to be
With misadventure and her mates

In moving carpets
Through the customs at dover
Thinking my journey
Was going to be over
Then they discovered
A shipment of moroccan
And said excuse me sir
There's something you've forgotten

From the isle of dogs
To the egyptian sands
Where the arabs chew on dates
And i haven't forgot what it's like to be
With misadventure and her mates

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