28 February 2005

Weekend: State of the Black Union

Louis Farrakhan
2.26.5 - Lithonia, GA

A few quotes from Farrakhan's remarkable rant this past weekend:
  • "Power concedes nothing without a demand," (quoting Frederick Douglass) "but power won't even concede to a demand if it comes from a weak constituency.''
  • "...regardless of where we have been, we want to advance our people."
  • "...black children can't eat at the table of illusion and hypocrisy."
  • "...we can't focus on the house that denied us access for 400 years."
  • "...the hell with Democrats and Republicans."

25 February 2005

Remember this one in June

Bush: Attack on Iran 'ridiculous'

BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) -- U.S. President George W. Bush said Tuesday that it is "simply ridiculous" to assume that the United States has plans to attack Iran over its alleged nuclear weapons program after discussing the issue with European allies.

"This notion that the United States is getting ready to attack Iran is simply ridiculous. Having said that, all options are on the table," Bush said.

Ok...now I have this in case I need to pull it up later. Because we've seen these 'don't be ridiculous' tactics before. Fool me once, shame on you; Fool me twice...

24 February 2005

Tomorrow night:

Mates of State and Smoosh

Mates of State is the organ and drums, vocal-laden duo of Kori Gardner and Jason Hammel. Based now in S.F. via Univ of Kansas, their infectious songs and long-standing motto of play anywhere, anytime has earned them a legion of fans from coast to coast and everywhere else in between.
With the two instruments, they implement call and response vocal melodies and harmonies to create a sound unique in its immenseness.
A recent piece from Univ of AZ

Smoosh's story can be seen below and yes, I do realize that this is basically going to be a pop music show. Calm down everyone.

20 February 2005

Rx: Two hours with Cornel West

His lecture @ Reed College on Friday night was like a vitamin B-12 shot of cure for my malaise, cynicism, and complaciency from the American Bush culture.
Really outstanding and uplifting.

We come now to our present moment, and what do we see? A bleak moment. Let's be honest. One of the bleakest moments in the history of the civilization. America is now -- it's not only an empire, but in scope, in depth, in power, it exceeds the British and the Roman empires. Nothing like it in the history of mankind. No countervailing force at all. The repressive and regimented Soviet Empire went under 12 years ago. It was a countervailing force. It supported Mandela when he was a terrorist for 27 years. We like to remind Americans of that. But there's no countervailing force at all, and like most empires, it’s arrogant, hubris, feels as if it can shape the world in its own image, dictate its terms in terms of what it wants to do. As my dear brother, Noam Chomsky reminds us, not only puts forth a new doctrine of preemptive strike, that’s a doctrine that says if it looks as if someone's about to attack you, you attack them before they're able to. That's not what the new doctrine says. This doctrine says, if a nation has a set of elites who are contemplating possibly challenging U.S. Power, they're subject to attack. That's preventive war. That's a new norm in international relations. That's the law of the jungle. It's in signs and signals. Troops in 100 nations, bases in 70 nations, a major carrier in every ocean.

Internally, 1% of the population owning 48% of the net wealth, financial wealth. 5% own 70% of the wealth – and that's before the tax cuts. And the result is what? As you can imagine, the most vulnerable, beginning with who? The children. Already 22% of all America's children live in poverty. The richest nation in the history of the world – it’s a disgrace. Disgrace. The children – It’s 7% in Canada, it’s 6% in Japan. It’s 22% in America. 42% of red children, 39% of brown children, 37% of black children. They are 100% of the future. Poverty educates. It shapes the way they look at the world. It gives them a sense of who they are. The untrustworthiness of existence. Here the greatest empire in the history of the world has this plutocratic, oligarchic, to some degree still mentocratic hierarchy in its economy, and then the most vulnerable, the children. Who are connected to those children? Poor women. Workers of both genders, handicapped, disproportionately black, brown and red, yes, but numerically mainly white brothers and sisters.

Where is the discourse? Where is the outrage? Where is the indignation? Or is it that the sleepwalking taking place has become so normative that we feel as if we can't make a difference. What is going on? Thank God, again for our artists. When they get beyond family dysfunctionality and vanilla suburbs, they could have broader canvases, many do. There’s some dynamics going on the global scale, and we know what, no empire lasts forever. All empires come and go. They ebb and flow. Chickens do come home to roost. You are going to reap what you sow. Sooner or later, reality is going to come back on you. You can only live in a state of denial for so long. You can only hide and conceal the structures and institutions in place that don't at the present highlight the dilapidated school systems in chocolate cities, unavailable health care for 44 million fellow citizens.

18 February 2005

Marketing v.2 (Music)

Pitchfork interview with The Arcade Fire

There is some valuable discussion here between the "hype-ers" and the "hypees"
on marketing music ouside of the mainstream and the endemic risk of the overexposed independent release.

Pitchfork: On some level, it does suck for us to love a record, praise it, and then have it be instantly perceived as overexposed by some people. But to me, it's an incredible record that would have been going places regardless of what we said or did.

Win Butler: There's a segment of people who are very sensitive to overexposure and really like the thrill of knowing things that other people don't know about. But we're not ramming it down people's throats. I mean, most people in Montréal haven't heard of our band. Régine has friends calling her like, "I didn't know you were in a band! That's great! I heard you on TBC!" The overwhelming majority of people have no idea who The Arcade Fire are or have heard of Pitchfork.

Pitchfork: But within this sort of subculture, the Arcade Fire is like incredibly popular. I just find the reactions to perceived "hype" in the underground to be kind of extreme. Like, I can see where some of these people are coming from on one hand, because I don't like shit being marketed at me and shoved down my throat either. But doesn't it seem now that the culture has just reached this point where people assume that if something is popular on any level at all, it must be crap? I always wonder if those people take into account at all that, within independent music, the vast, vast majority of bands that get popular only do so because lots of people thought their music was genuinely good.

17 February 2005

Bill Hicks on Marketing

By the way if anyone here is in advertising or marketing... kill yourself.
No, no, no it's just a little thought. I'm just trying to plant seeds. Maybe one day, they'll take root - I don't know. You try, you do what you can.

Kill yourself. Seriously though, if you are, do. Aaah...no really, there's no rationalization for what you do and you are Satan's little helpers, Okay - kill yourself - seriously. You are the ruiner of all things good, seriously.
No this is not a joke, you're going, "there's going to be a joke coming," there's no fucking joke coming. You are Satan's spawn filling the world with bile and garbage. You are fucked and you are fucking us. Kill yourself. It's the only way to save your fucking soul, kill yourself. Planting seeds.
I know all the marketing people are going, "he's doing a joke"... there's no joke here whatsoever. Suck a tail-pipe, fucking hang yourself, borrow a gun from a friend - I don't care how you do it. Rid the world of your evil fucking machinations.
I know what all the marketing people are thinking right now too, "Oh, you know what Bill's doing, he's going for that anti-marketing dollar. That's a good market, he's very smart." Oh man, I am not doing that. You fucking evil scumbags!
"Ooh, you know what Bill's doing now, he's going for the righteous indignation dollar. That's a big dollar. A lot of people are feeling that indignation. We've done research - huge market. He's doing a good thing." Godammit, I'm not doing that, you scum-bags! Quit putting a godamm dollar sign on every fucking thing on this planet!
"Ooh, the anger dollar. Huge. Huge in times of recession. Giant market, Bill's very bright to do that." God, I'm just caught in a fucking web!
"Ooh the trapped dollar, big dollar, huge dollar. Good market - look at our research. We see that many people feel trapped. If we play to that and then separate them into the trapped dollar..." How do you live like that? And I bet you sleep like fucking babies at night, don't you?

15 February 2005

Grammy Report:

Since I didn't watch one second of it...
I'm grateful for this review

Kayne West's over-the-top performance of "Jesus Walks"

Here's another from PopMatters


12 February 2005

Jimmy Smith: 1925-2005

If you want to hear a Hammond B-3 sing, buy this record.


10 February 2005

Music Alert!

Smoosh (!!!)

Music is nothing if it’s not conceived for the joy of it.

The fearless confidence that often accompanies youth (Asya is twelve, Chloe is ten) runs through Smoosh’s pop-based quirk rock with strength and beauty, and people are listening in awe.

“My favorite thing is how when I play out places, it makes me feel all happy,” confesses Chloe, one half of Seattle’s Smoosh. Chloe’s older sister Asya, Smoosh’s vocalist and pianist/keyboardist, wails and croons like an old soul with her tiny, tremulous voice.

Here is their Feb tour schedule with Mates of State

Listen to them live

Watch Smoosh video

This is yet another reminder to pay attention to Noise Pop you Bay Areaers, where you can see Smoosh live on Wed. night (Feb 23rd) at Slim's.

thanks to waxy and witz for this

08 February 2005

Bush Cuts: Pissing on America

The deep cuts to community development have been titled the "Strengthening America's Communities Initiative".

“Administration officials have begun an effort to consolidate 18 different economic and community development programs from five different departments into a single grant program at the Commerce Department. Programs with combined budgets totaling nearly $5.7 billion would be shoehorned into a $3.7 billion package. The largest component, the $4.1 billion Community Development Block Grant, could be cut as much as 40 percent.
The deep cuts to community development have been titled the Strengthening America's Communities Initiative."

“But administration officials acknowledge that for every program on the chopping block, there will be constituencies that will fight hard to protect them. Mayors, governors, community activists and senators from both political parties have already mobilized to thwart the community development cuts.”

You can't make this stuff up.

06 February 2005

Music review

YoYo Ma and Condoleeza Rice's Dazzling Rendition of the Brahms Cello Sonata

I was very impressed by Condoleeza Rice's brilliant execution of the Brahms Cello Sonata, and especially with her lyrical playing that inately seemed to capture the obvious Brahms musical metaphor of deception and lying. Rice's playing clearly evoked Brahms' musical imagery of justifying systematic use of torture on innocent Muslim civilians in Iraq. In the final striking movement, Rice successfully captured and emphasized Brahms' haunting melodic interpretation of ignoring important intelligence briefings that caused the deaths of thousands of American lives. Whatta player!!!
I suppose Yo Yo Ma was pretty good too.