Categories
Music Reviews

Peter Murphy

Peter Murphy

Unshattered

Viastar

No, no this isn’t right at all. Peter Murphy has too beautiful of a voice for this. It’s a rich, honeyed baritone that can climb to a brittle yelp when necessary (with Bauhaus, say) but on this record he seemingly rejoices in the velvety gravitas of it. And why shouldn’t he? I need to be careful when I say this, but his vocal abilities are well beyond the gothic aesthetic that he’s instantly associated with; in fact, in FACT, give him a little more time, and he might get into Scott Walker territory. There. I said it. One bright spotlight. A casually flicked wrist. An orchestra suspended seemingly in midair. A sigh. And then hysteria, crying, flowers and fainting spells. Age suits his voice. It only gets better with years, deeper and more resonant, more sensitive. Scott Walker. Tell me you don’t hear it.

However, inversely proportional to the maturing timbre of his voice is the quality of material that Peter Murphy, solo artist, is given to work with. The musical arrangements that make up the backbone of Unshattered are unforgivably lackluster. There’s no spark, no sense of the drama or tension or ache that suits all great voices (Sinatra’s “In the Wee Small Hours” etc.), just a gradual, drowsy drift. The music is adult, comfy, relaxed, somnambulistic and overproduced. It sounds like recent U2 ballads, Sting’s Soul Cages, and “Quiet Storm” smooth jazz. And it’s a shame, because Unshattered is a wasted opportunity, especially in light of the Bauhaus/NIN summer outing, that Murphy can’t have superior product hitting the shelves just as younger audiences pick their jaws up off the floor after witnessing Bauhaus’s still-spry assault. He needs to do a cabaret album, or maybe an Elvis-style comeback special, all stripped-down leather menace, or maybe his Rick Rubin-reinvention album with Murphy and a piano recorded as raw as possible, one take each, perhaps a Damon Albarn-style world immersion in the music of his Turkish home, shit, make an album with Burt Bacharach, he knows a good singer needs musical heartbreak. But in the end it’s Scott Walker’s peerless Scott’s 1-4 that hold the one true path for Peter Murphy. Orchestras and existential heartbreak/despair. Please.

If it weren’t Peter Murphy, I wouldn’t hold him up to such impossible standards. Compromise is the devil talking, after all.

Peter Murphy: www.petermurphy.info

Categories
Music Reviews

Laibach

Laibach

WAT

Mute Records

Laibach have spent years perfecting their thundering craft, favoring indoctrination and subversion over enjoyment. WAT shows them upping their game once again. Complex themes rendered through an almost instinctive musical aesthetic. Think about it, themes of capitalist downfall and Western rejection and a return to a sort of Totali-utopian art government delivered in the body music of a tribal offshoot of industrial music, all presided over by an authoritarian Eastern-European voice that seems totally disconnected with the music, more interested in manifestos than MIDI. It’s a fascinating aural counterpoint. Maybe the equivalent of a Soviet workers’ poster from the 1950s advertising a Madchester rave, that’s the closest visual equivalent to the sounds of WAT.

“B Maschina” begins with plans for a new society in the midst of worldwide collapse in between foreboding pseudo-classical swirls and industrial noise, it even delivers Sisters Of Mercy/Eldritch bombastics at the very end. “Tanz Mit Laibach” builds up the simplest of EBM four-on-the-floor beats, complete with a “1-2-3-4” countdown by a distorted voice speaking in German as the perfect podium for portentous synths and sequencers, choral voices and strident commands. Body music for prison camps, and the perfect fodder for a rathergood.com kitten performance (www.rathergood.com/laibach). Yes! “Du Binst Unser” uses the weapons of the facile popular media against itself, sampling that crappy electronica hit (in the car commercials, with the waving arms and all that) for a menacing tranced march.

“Ende” is just terrifying, with stuttering beats, sampled gasps and the voice of doom speaking calmly and threateningly, being totally clear in a language I don’t even understand, right in your fucking ear all mock sensually, the sexuality of control. “Now You Will Pay” brings a newer and more disquieting undercurrent to Laibach’s already bleakly prophetic worldview with lockstep drumming accompanying warnings of barbarians with “bombs in their hands” coming from the east and undermining “a nation of losers,” “burning down your Disneylands.” Good god, are they talking about an imminent NSK takeover (probably not) or the “terrorist threat”? In any case, it’s an amazing piece of agit-pop, foreseeing the end of Western society in a horrific bloodbath of blowback (yep), especially with the Wagner-style chorus of “barbarians are coming.”

But, as a friend of mine asked me, is Laibach coldly dissecting the terminal flaws of our society, or are they finally admitting a grudging admiration for the new American Big Brother shadow government? If you want sheer disturbance, disquiet and a real gnawing sense of existential dread, then you’d better skip over to “Satanic Verses.” Over icy musical martial law, Laibach turns their cold laser-like eyes on the rot within the American body politic. They peel off layer after layer of hypocrisy and fallacy in the “land of plenty/and of ammunition,” leaving only the core of American failure exposed for all to see — every bit as jarring as a torture snapshot from Abu Gharib. WAT clears us any remaining ambiguity about Laibach’s mission in the minds of the uninitiated, over slow-burning beats and synths, setting up Laibach’s place in the context of time and history and popular culture simultaneously. Clearly this entity is more than a mere band and more than even its personnel, it’s more of an aesthetic or mission that endures. “We are time,” they intone over and over again.

It’s the absence of an easily-defined or traced ideology, along with the apparent rootlessness both of their aesthetic and the NSK state that makes them a more formidable and menacing proposition than a Death in June could ever be. Technology is kept purposely rudimentary, as befits these militant sons of Kraftwerk, for too much sonic wallpaper would distract from the purity and directness of their purpose. Instrumentation is kept simple and pounding — travel light, choose your tools carefully when you live in a theoretical state surrounded by an uncertain world.

Mute: www.mute.com

Categories
Music Reviews

Dixie Witch

Dixie Witch

One Bird Two Stones

Small Stone

Stylistically, Dixie Witch is a Southern-fried Pentagram… or Nashville Pussy without the estrogen. The similarity is especially apparent in the guitar sound — dry and buzzing, with melodic bursts of soloing, though der Witch definitely favors the wah-wah pedal and makes use of a more blues-based musical vocabulary, complete with lyrics that are wayyyy over the top, all sorts of meat-and-potatoes Southern-isms, boatloads of exhortations to have a good time (live fast, go to the show, etc. etc. etc.) and often skirting uncomfortably close to unintentional Turbonegro parody. Less boogie, more doom, please?

Singer/drummer Trinidad Leal’s voice is at the halfway point between Sammy Hagar and Sabbath-era Ozzy. Pretty bombastic stuff and perfect to accompany the primitive fuzz rock pounded out by the rest of the band.

“Get Busy” is like David Lee Roth gone doom metal. “Goin South” settles into a more lumbering heaviness. Much better. “The Wheel” is a pretty decent Temple of the Dog pastiche, and totally unexpected. Redneck grunge? “On My Way” has some Melvins-y bits, but it is oddly coupled with crazily optimistic lyrics. “Making Me Crazy” has the deep, dark, down blues. Fair to middling. “Here Today Gone Tomorrow” is their “Black Hole Sun” and “Astronomy Domine” rolled all up into one. It’s convenient and it shows some sign of sweeping ambition and emotional grandeur that should be encouraged at all costs. “Traveler” begins with some totally awful guitar noodling, before expanding and flowing outward into a loping road mantra that is oh so close to goodness. Frustrating.

I saw them with Suplecs a couple of years ago; neither was at their best live, y’know. But whereas Suplecs has since managed to deliver some truly wrenching vinyl, Dixie Witch is still stuck at being a decent to good, gritty club band; transient like a Friday night, not lasting.

Too bad, because Dixie Witch is a truly fabulous name for a band.

Smallstone: www.smallstone.com

Categories
Music Reviews

Dixie Witch

Dixie Witch

One Bird Two Stones

Small Stone

Stylistically, Dixie Witch is a Southern-fried Pentagram… or Nashville Pussy without the estrogen. The similarity is especially apparent in the guitar sound — dry and buzzing, with melodic bursts of soloing, though der Witch definitely favors the wah-wah pedal and makes use of a more blues-based musical vocabulary, complete with lyrics that are wayyyy over the top, all sorts of meat-and-potatoes Southern-isms, boatloads of exhortations to have a good time (live fast, go to the show, etc. etc. etc.) and often skirting uncomfortably close to unintentional Turbonegro parody. Less boogie, more doom, please?

Singer/drummer Trinidad Leal’s voice is at the halfway point between Sammy Hagar and Sabbath-era Ozzy. Pretty bombastic stuff and perfect to accompany the primitive fuzz rock pounded out by the rest of the band.

“Get Busy” is like David Lee Roth gone doom metal. “Goin South” settles into a more lumbering heaviness. Much better. “The Wheel” is a pretty decent Temple of the Dog pastiche, and totally unexpected. Redneck grunge? “On My Way” has some Melvins-y bits, but it is oddly coupled with crazily optimistic lyrics. “Making Me Crazy” has the deep, dark, down blues. Fair to middling. “Here Today Gone Tomorrow” is their “Black Hole Sun” and “Astronomy Domine” rolled all up into one. It’s convenient and it shows some sign of sweeping ambition and emotional grandeur that should be encouraged at all costs. “Traveler” begins with some totally awful guitar noodling, before expanding and flowing outward into a loping road mantra that is oh so close to goodness. Frustrating.

I saw them with Suplecs a couple of years ago; neither was at their best live, y’know. But whereas Suplecs has since managed to deliver some truly wrenching vinyl, Dixie Witch is still stuck at being a decent to good, gritty club band; transient like a Friday night, not lasting.

Too bad, because Dixie Witch is a truly fabulous name for a band.

Smallstone: www.smallstone.com

Categories
Bladejob

Will The Last One To Leave Turn Out The Lights?

Will The Last One To Leave Turn Out The Lights?

Update of an update: Well, two days later and the sudden appearance of Raven in NWA-TNA, where he DDT’ed the champion and stole the title belt, renders all of the below charmingly quaint and mostly obsolete. Ah well, perhaps that’s my lot in life. But on the other hand, THIS update proves the previous update right – someone snatched him up immediately and the benefits were just as immediate! AND his appearance on NWA-TNA proves a stark contrast to the sluggish Raven described in the main body of the columns. So it’s okay! Everyone’s happy!

Update: So now Raven was fired. So I’m torn. On one hand, it makes this column even more perfect and full-circular. Kismet! On the other hand, I just might feel like a jerk for kicking a man when he’s down… Ah well, fuck it. The path is set. But now that I’ve gotta give something of a fucking career eulogy for the man, let me just say this, Raven (Scott Levy) is one of the most creative minds in the wrestling business today, and he had a whole hell of a lot more to offer than the WW*F* ever even considered using. Fuck’em all. Bye.

Back to the dog and pony show…..

And just who the fuck was that poodle-haired, underwear-clad, thick jobber on WW*F* Monday Night Raw who was sleepwalking his way through a match with Jeff Hardy and even inspired a pretty “uninspired” audience to break out the timeworn “Boring” chants? Was it Kendall Windham with a hair weave?

Oh yeah, it was that fella who used to be my favorite wrestler, Raven.

Raven? Are you okay, man? You look really bored and pissed off.

Jesus Fucking Christ WW*F*! What the fuck is this gimmick change all about? I don’t care if long hair is out, I don’t care if word came from the top that wrestling trunks are now de rigeur in a Bill Wattsian twist, shit man, I don’t even care what little obscure item of “locker room etiquette” was breached, leading to Raven being “stripped down” – you’ve made a guy with a unique and enduring look and a hardcore fanbase into a WCW Saturday Night jobber retread. I hope that whoever was supposed to get the joke is laughing goddamn hard, and then I hope that they accidentally swallow their tongue and choke to death on their own vomit.

As Bill Hicks would say, it just looks stupid, ya know?

Dammit, Raven was perfectly marketable as a glamdirtpunk deviant transgendered sleazoid. He really came into his aesthetic own during the height of his “exile” on Sunday Night Heat where he would be sporting a quaint little ensemble that included thick blond dreadlocks/braids, piercings, jewelry, makeup, a black vinyl kilt and, at times, a velvet coat that looks like something a gay Robespierre would proudly sport. Delightful! Neil Young as a rentboy! It stood out, it was marketable – look at Jeff Hardy’s current Great Muta-kissing-Rimbaud dress sense!

Let’s run down what’s wrong with this new look:

1. The fruity blonde bowl-perm — Do I even need to justify this? It’s like Prince Valiant after a trip to Super Cuts. Christ, this haircut (a.) sucks (b.) looks horrible on his face (c.) looks bush-league and (d.) makes his skin look worse. Leathery almost. The braids rocked, what the fuck was wrong with those?

2. Jobber trunks — Come fucking on, every bush league indy dickhead’s first wrestling outfit is a pair of plain, skimpy black trunks. Raven is a seasoned veteran, why the hell is he looking like Lash Leroux as Black Bart? This is ridiculous. Plus it makes his legs look too thick. Fuck you WW*F*, this outfit sucks. Plain black boots no less? Kill me.

3. Too much skin — Raven, I guess, has always been hyper-aware of the fact that, since he doesn’t have a freakishly bloated and roided physique, it’s better to cover up with a cool outfit and stand out that way. There’s billions of muscle-heads anyway, right? Right. Well, there was also another thing he was covering up that I never noticed before – an incipient spare fucking tire! The true indicator of a demoralized and uninspired wrestler. Who gives a shit when they shit on you? I hate to say this, I really do. Cast around the Ink 19 towers, look back at my review of the last WW*F* soundtrack album and you’ll say that I’m a Raven mark from waaaay fucking way back, but this time, the gloves come off, fuckers. So you’d think, to inaugurate the new-look, dare to bare Raven, would celebrate a new lease on life with a new trimmed-down physique? You wish. Those goddamn tights made him look all fucking thick in the middle. Shitheads.

4. All accessories gone — jewelry is gone, kilt is way gone, most of the piercings are gone, even the ultra-pimping “Sandman” slogans scrawled across the chest are gone. Oh sure, he’s got tattoos, a lot of tattoos, but even fucking Batista’s got tattoos these days. Hope is gone. Oh Charlie Brown…

I hope the folks at scottlevy.com are all over this conspiracy. His work seemed lackluster too, he was blowing spots left and right (oh wait, Jeff Hardy has the lion’s share of the blame to shoulder), and seemed sluggish, like a kid who’s been dressed “respectably” by his mom and now has to parade around in front of his relatives. This fucking sucks.

(Oh yeah, the rest of Monday Night Raw sucked too. More erudite folks than I can point out why. Go to The Otherarena and read all about it.)

Even the smallest needle can break this camel’s back. I’m done fretting. I’m done. Seriously, I started out Bladejob writing about Raven, and I think I’ll end it now that Raven has been replaced by Barry O. I’m killing it! I can do it!

So don’t bother with the WW*F* for awhile, or ever, whatever. I don’t care, and they certainly don’t care, the way that they piss all over, patronize, and rip off the fans night after night. Vince McMahon is stuck in an old school of wrestling thought where wrestling fans are idiotic marks who don’t even know what they really want, so it would be just as good to “horse off” (Mr. Show!) for two hours and indulge in in-jokes, political games and even a dab of hazing instead of, say, wrestling. Ah, but to quote Neil Young at his bleakest, I’m “just pissing in the wind,” there’s no good outcome to this, and all I do is bruise my own knuckles when I rage against a mere (that’s all it is now) television show. Lighten up, it’s entertainment!

Aye, there’s the rub.

It’s better to be entertained than to be angry. Even for me.

Then why don’t we all just make a note to watch “The Smashing Machine” next time it comes on HBO – it’s a fabulous fly-on-the-wall documentary of the career of UFC prodigy Mark Kerr. It’s got more drama, spectacle, raw emotion, than WW*F* television, with an endless parade of fart jokes and double entendres so bad that even Benny Hill, from beyond the grave, bemoaned the lack of subtlety, has managed in years, and it had me either on my feet cheering or biting my fucking fingernails several times during the two-hour show. AND it even includes scads of beautiful, violent, intense UFC and PRIDE footage from the last three years. A real coup for HBO. Between this and “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” they must be thinking they can walk on water.

I’m rambling about Larry David when I should be talking about how I’m, even as we speak, knocking Bladejob on the head, and getting out when the getting’s bad. I mean, let’s not even talk about that hideous “Raw X” special last night… If that was truly “the best” in the WW*F*’s eyes, from the past decade, well, then my decision has already been made for me, and I’m not really quitting, I’m being forced out – it ain’t for me, man. Time’s precious these days and there’s about 100 things I can think about that I’d rather be doing than watching wrestling right now. Crap. Annoying.

So goodbye, goodbye to all of this. Matt screwed Matt, now who would have thought that?

Good luck, Spanky.

Categories
Bladejob

I Guess Nothing Really Changes

I Guess Nothing Really Changes

Old News: So a couple of weeks ago I “broke” the story about the Smackdown gay wedding proposal, and then didn’t sweep the pieces under the carpet, or even into the closet, like a considerate person would. So how was it? Well, it’s the WWF — what do you expect other than ashockingswerve! Bait and switch baby! And what made it even worse was that mainstream media outlets were exposed baldly for their shoddy research tactics — in that they gave this total sham (and it was a sham from the beginning) positive press and pushed it to the fore as a major pop culture breakthrough! What? Breakthrough! What? I said… Nevermind.

The former “Bad Ass” Billy Gunn and “Wildman” Chuck Palumbo were as wooden as ever, I have no idea how this storyline was supposed to help them. But hey! They aren’t gay! Thumbs up! Do you hear that GLAAD? GLAAD, of course, destroyed all their credibility this week by fawning to the press about how happy they were over this angle! A breakthrough in the portrayal of gays they said! Positive, they said! What a load of (Mr.) Ass! If their brilliant PR department had spent even fucking fifteen seconds checking the Internet for television tapings results (posted everywhere) or reviewing a Chuck and Billy match, then they would have realized that they shouldn’t have fucking sent a wedding gift (for real!) to yet another stereotypical, out-of-touch, unfunny representation of homosexuals. They were even accompanied to the ring by a hairdresser! For fuck’s sake, the Godfather (an old tired “pimp” character) came out and basically said that he couldn’t understand why they were gay, when they could have (motions at women) this! Thanks Godfather, you opened my eyes, gay people must be stupid!

But hey man! They’re getting married! No, they’re not. They’re tough! No they’re not. They suck. They’re shitty wrestlers, and this gimmick WAS BASED ON THE FUCKING AMBIGUOUSLY GAY DUO! Grrrrraaarrrr. Did you send the AMBIGUOUSLY GAY DUO A FUCKING WEDDING PRESENT? So anyway, the wedding. Turns out it was a publicity stunt even in the context of the storyline. They aren’t gay! Only “evil” Rico (who actually rules it as a wrestler) is gay (maybe) and he was just forcing them into it. The only good part was when the super-gigantic Island Boyz ran in and destroyed the wedding set, reducing it to splinters, and hopefully, with it, the dreams of WWF’s mainstream appeal. Now I have to go back to watching Raw in a darkened room. Oh well.

Care for documentation? I thought so:

Outsports.com has a great piece on the whole sham.

Wow, if this Yahoo news piece was any indication of the positive press the WWF was slavering after, then I’d hate to see the negative stuff.

A Tangent… A Positive Tangent…

The wonderfully informative Raven forum at scottlevy.com recently yielded a fan’s anecdote where he was pumped to see Raven at his local airport. Of course he rushed up to say hi to the hulking, dreadlocked, tattoed performer — but imagine his surprise when “Raven” turned out to be reclusive Guns N’ Roses genius W. Axl Rose!

Imagine MY surprise when I was checking email on the night of the Video Music Awards and I caught a little whiff of gossip that Guns N’ Roses, of all the fucking bands in the world, were going to serve as an aesthetic palette cleanser and close the otherwise shit-tastic MTV Video Music Awards. So I watched. And waited. And fumed. Bad outfits. Worse music. Inflated sense of self-importance. All of these shitty pop icons just making absolute twats of themselves, without even lifting a finger. Finally, dipshit Jimmy Fallon did something right and introduced them. GUNS N’ FUCKING ROSES! A blast of light and sound, and there they were. There’re about 35 members now, and every single one of them are cooler than all of those exes combined. Yeah! Buckethead with the nunchucks. “On the keyboards, Mr. Dizzy Reed!” Tommy Stinson from the Replacements, a punk rock coup. Robin Finck, the only glamorous one left from Nine Inch Nails! Brain from Primus! My god, palpitations. And of course, the aforementioned hulking dreadlocked W. Axl Rose!

I carry a torch, is it that obvious? I should hope so. Critical faculties have naught whatsoever do with Guns N’ Roses.

He looked fabulous, obviously. Black leather cargo(!) pants, gigantic boots, a black football jersey, classic-style bandana, shaven eyebrows (David Bowie did it, and Axl is cooler than Bowie now anyway) and a mass of orange-red dreadlocks sprouting out like the cornfields in the Indiana that he simultaneously runs from and is curiously drawn back to. He’s Ziggy Stardust recast as a professional wrestler. Those years in exile away from prying eyes and palpitating trends have seemingly de-aged him — his face looks young and unworried, and he’s fucking cut as well, must work out or something. He rules it. His visual presentation is iconic, and as I mentioned above, he has the perfect band to back him up both musically and visually.

Guns N’ Roses got to close the whole piece of shit with whatever they chose to fill the time, and make the audience’s lives worth living. “Welcome To the Jungle,” “Madagascar” (buy the Rio bootleg! Soak in the godhead!), and “Paradise City” sealed the immortality deal. Most bands, after Christina Aguilera’s bizarre outfit, wouldn’t have been up to it. Oh, but times are different now.

Fuck man, I remember when everyone thought that Nirvana finally finished off Guns N’ Roses in 1994 when Guns N’ Roses played a aching symphonic version of “November Rain” and Nirvana ripped out a caustic “Lithium.” Remember that, Axl was cast as the rock icon villain and Kurtney were the brave revolutionaries striking out for punk purity? What a strange fucking change a few years make, eh? Dead Kurt’s diaries are about to be published in a multimillion dollar book deal, Courtney Love is starring in a movie with Kevin Bacon and writing songs with Linda (FUCKING VOMIT) Perry of the mega shit 4 Non Blondes, and AXL is now the only one leading a hungry, experimental kick fucking ass rock band? YEAH? HOW THE FUCK ABOUT THAT HUH? FUCK YOU DISBELIEVERS? There’s your alternative! There’s your “punk!” Where’re the stones, now? GNR is rock and roll. Kiss Axl’s ass, now! He has survived, he hasn’t gone to shit, everyone else sucks. Game over. Fuck you.

Next Time: You Mean It’s Not Cool Anymore?

Categories
Bladejob

Back So Soon?

Back So Soon?

Newsier News Flash: HLA?? HLA? Hot Lesbian Action?? Two hapless indie valets playing at the most stereotypical girl-on-girl roles ever (“We’re the lesbians!”), and then being beaten up just for the leering masses? What the fuck was that out there? Where’s the wrestling? Where’s the athleticism? Does fucking Vince McMahon think I am a hormone-crazed monkey? Will I jerk off over his fucking stupid vision of misogynist WW”Entertainment” until I die? Will I cheer? Will I buy tickets? You’d better fucking watch out, you stupid bag of shit, I’m about done with your personal playground of degradation, and so are a WHOLE lot of other people. You’ll hit the bottom and I’ll be there to laugh. FUCK YOU.

News Flash: A gay wedding? On Smackdown? Thursday? Billy and Chuck? What about the ultra cool Rico? Will WWF’s Cro-Magnon handling of this cause me to stop watching Smackdown? Hope not! Will it suck? Certainly will if the ham-handed proposal is anything to go by! More later!

So, um, the guy who wrote a wrestling column for the local paper, some really crap affair called “Laying The Smack Down,” or some shit like that, he just got canned. Oh man I sure am gonna miss his insightful pieces on how successful the WCW Invasion is/was, or how a month ago he put his foot down and heartily protested all of the anti-woman violence in the WWF (this was, mind you, over a year after 70-something Mae Young was put through a table by the Dudley Boyz) — he had an eagle eye for the business, that kid. Maybe he’s a booker now. Plus his “insider” news was always like five weeks out of date. Sayonara, sucker. Now that he’s gone, I feel like I can go back to writing a wrestling column in peace without being menaced by my own daily goddamn paper.

Yes, I was waiting for him to go away all this time. Oh, and I was in England for awhile, where the only wrestling show at the time was WWF Jakked. Ha! Hack! There weren’t even any WWA shows running. I missed seeing Triple H swell up like a musclebound toad! Which brings me to my next point…

Nothing can make an ordinary Sunday errands excursion extraordinary like going to a thrift shop, no, no, wait that’s for a different identity… Here now, nothing can make an ordinary Sunday errands excursion extraordinary like, at the end of it all, gathering all your leftover sheckels and assorted change from buying shampoo, dryer sheets, and nectarines, pocket change in other words, and heading over to the clearance section of the local Toys R’ Us and splurging $2.00 on a bargain basement Triple H figure. How sweet it is! Most of them are from about a year or two ago, back when he still looked pretty cool. Wasn’t he sporting that rocking (no sarcasm) combination leather jacket with sleeveless denim jacket and HHH sigil just a few weeks ago? That was pretty fucking ace. I always wanted to write about that jacket, but I never got around to it. Or maybe it was just the figure that looked cool. I surely know that the salmon polo shirt that he was wearing last week wasn’t cool AT ALL. What an odd change. Which brings me to back to the point I was trying to make a paragraph ago…

Justin Credible sure has fucking sucked since they took his denim shorts (which he layered over his tights back then) away, hasn’t he? It took away any bit of a visual edge he had, all the white trash glory was unceremoniously stripped, leaving us, the fans, with only a skinny bald guy in long black tights. I swear to God, he lost like half of his musculature the day he came out in only tights. The wind just went out of his sails. Sad. I read somewhere that he hasn’t won a single match since returning. Harsh. Strange too, a simple pair of shorts can be the key to a man’s character. I never wear shorts.

Oh my god, I got sidetracked again.

As I was trying to say several paragraphs ago, Triple H sure has changed since the last time I wrote about him hereabouts in Bladejob. Remember that one about his weird Nine Inch Nailsy entrance video for that one pay per view? It was around the second iteration of his “big heel run,” right after he was revealed as the driver who ran over Steve Austin. Holy shit, that was the ppv where he was in the car that got smashed by a forklift! Oh my god, so silly. So, so silly. I have it on tape somewhere… No, I won’t watch it again.

Anyhowz, I turn on Raw this Monday and HHH is all over my television, whatever, nothing new. Shall I cry? You either get used to it or turn off the television. Like I was telling hischeapmoves the other day, I think I watch wrestling more out of reflex instinct than anything else these days — I couldn’t turn it off if I wanted to. I’m a junkie… but not a STEROID junkie. Oh, these sidetrack(mark)s are just insidious. But back to HGH, see — I like him a lot of the time — that entrance pose is pretty metal and epic, very rock. I have a huge soft spot for him. Against all odds. So what I’m trying to get at is that… damn it’s rough watching Triple H just kinda fall apart right in front of my screen. The freak injuries — bone chips in his elbows, all manner of sprains and who can fucking forget the quadriceps muscle that rolled up like fucking window blinds in the middle of a damn match? Or the every present tape, elbow pads and knee braces, part of the outfit? Maybe. I doubt it. The acne on the back is always jarring. The worst of all, I think, is that in about two years he went from this mane of thick blond hair (that I was sooooo jealous of), awesome rokker hair, to, on Monday, this scraggly mop of washed-out hair that was the same color as his too-tanned skin, and the scalp was just totally shining through. So I thought, well, it’s probably just because it was wet. Here’s the thing though, throughout the whole night, IT NEVER DRIED! Not even during the matches. Scraglly and limp. Then there’s the weirdness of watching his musculature wildly fluctuate between the too-pumped-to-move-the-shoulders look when he returned from the quad injury at the beginning of the year, to a relatively leaner physique now — it makes his skin look otherworldly and plastic. Almost… like… an… action… figure. I’m scared. Hold me.

Next time: Sometimes Change Can Be A Good Thing. But The WWF’s Version Of A Gay Wedding Can Never Be Anything But Soul-Crushing.

Categories
Event Reviews

Bertrand Burgalat

Bertrand Burgalat

with AS Dragon

The Metro Club, London, UK • March 23, 2002

After tonight, I’m convinced that the French have some kind of heartlink to everything that is good and right about rock and roll. This conclusion has nothing to do with the illustrious reputation of the secretive Bertrand Burgalat — producer to the stars (Nick Cave, Depeche Mode, April March do it for ya). It has nothing to do with the hype around this show, Burgalat’s first London engagement. It has everything to do with the fact that, at a little after 10 PM, everyone in the Metro Club who looked like they should be in a band stepped onstage and started picking up instruments. At that selfsame moment a crush of pseudo go-go girls plant themselves in front of the stage, almost squealing in delight as the band tears into an aristocratic rock groove. Is this cinema or what?

So perfect, but wait till you hear what happens next. This fella in a black leather jacket, looking like either a more beautiful and delicate Serge Gainsbourg or a more roughed-up version of those pretty boys from AIR (but wrong side of the tracks), louchely strolls onstage, and launches Beethoven-like into a psychedelic freak-out on this keyboard poised at the edge of the stage. Bertrand Burgalat, for your pleasure. It’s one of THOSE moments and there’s so many more to come tonight.

The backing band (but oh so much more), AS Dragon, who all look like different phases in the heroin years of Keith Richards, effortlessly pose away they as slide through dirt-caked gemstones of dark-pop, garage, psychedelic, and Spector-invoking symphonies. Burgalat will peek up from the keyboard between washes of sound and swagger over to the mic to frailly croon his way through total new-wave-chamber-pop-gems. While the ladies dance away. While the band smokes cigarettes.

Burgalat leaves the stage halfway through and the AS Dragon kick into a darker, weirder gear with the appearance of a tiny vocalist who looks like Brian Jones and all of the Jackson 5 rolled into one. Yow! Turns out it’s a girl in a three-piece suit with a righteous, soulful yelp and some of James Brown’s best dance move. They rock like “Paint It Black”; she screams and falls to her knees, incredible. Burgalat comes back, grinning, and the band launches into a positively transcendent cover of “Tears of a Clown.” God. I say goddamn. Perverse.

http://www.emperornorton.com

Categories
Music Reviews

Fundamentally Useless

Fundamentally Useless

Canfield Black (Four Track Demos)

Since I moved far away, strange things are finding their way into my mailbox. Like this little slice of hell from a band called Fundamentally Useless; address unknown, lineup unknown, method of recording revealed as my personal favorite — the immortal four track recorder. I like them already. My initial hopes are further buoyed by a buzzing, wall-of-locusts sound immediately upon pressing play. All instruments and vocals seem to meld together into an unforgiving Link Ray rumble. Eventually I was able to discern shifts and pauses in this lovely shambling noise that indicated bursts of glorious, dirty garage rock and a messy cover of a Tori Amos song (watch out boys, those royalties can be a killer for up-and-comers).

Canfield Black is pretty ace, but I hope they don’t upgrade to a higher level of recording technology or the magic will disappear for me. I know bands always like to strive for perfection, but there’s something to be said for spontaneity and cheap noise. Existing in the now. The now is Samhain meets “Louie Louie” meets Mudhoney stomp with sneered monotone vocals that occasionally burst into damaged emotion that would do any emo band proud. I picture them wearing leather with black, slicked-back hair, toting Switchblades and wearing Joy Division shirts. Black hearts securely pinned to jacket sleeves. Don’t disappoint me. And get rid of those nagging “nu music” influences, they’ll drag you down!

“Artherosclerosis” is subsonic Nirvana with Michael Monroe sneers and Glen Danzig authority. “Forgiveness A Gun” burns a little slower, but reeks of drive-in movie madness and trawls the familiar areas of Pixies dynamics. “Suffer” is a sore-throat rant against God, that wears just a little bit lyrically, but redeems itself with the fuzzed-out Sabbath bass. “Precious Things” makes a Tori Amos song listenable. No mean feat. This band could go two ways right now, but I don’t want to spoil the surprise. Fancy some danger?

E-mail: precipitate8@cs.com

Categories
Print Reviews

Bad Pills

Bad Pills #1

by Sverre H. Kristensen (SHK)

Michael Hunt Publishing

Bad Pills is audio/visual/print malcontent Sverre H. Kristensen’s last work, his comic legacy, written in 1997 as he was dying of leukemia, obsessed with finishing it at the expense of everything else. In fact, Kristensen admitted to an interviewer that he was working very hard to think up situations for the characters in his comics that would make them feel worse than he felt. And in that respect he pretty much succeeded. Bad Pills places characters drawn in the deceptively innocent and Wertham-approved “funny animal” style into a dark cesspool of violence, drugs, misanthropy, and rape. Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed little rascals get fucked up the ass, shot in the face, dismembered, and dosed. And when rendered in stark black and white, with a florid inking style (no coloring at all) and a paradoxical noir feel, the effect is truly jarring. Like Meet The Feebles crossed with the best of E.C. Comics and a snuff film or three.

The shit that fucking fascinated me the most was when SHK takes all of his hate and inner rot and turns it on himself and those he is ignorantly thought to be in sympathy with. To that end, there’s “Crazy White Peckerwood,” where a neo-Nazi woodpecker discovers he has a copy of Might Is Right wedged firmly up his ass. Or there’s “KKK Nigger,” where a confused black character ends up accidentally killing all of the Klan’s Grand Wizards. Or finally, “One Down,” where some disgruntled robbers see SHK walking down the street, whistling to himself. The muggers decry the sins and excesses of his comics and decide to kill him; as they draw their guns, though, SHK just collapses and dies of leukemia right there. The robbers are left to provide his eulogy, “The fuck keeled over and died from leukemia before we could kill him… Let’s burn those fuckin’ comics!” Totally fucking awesome. SHK was unflinching in his honesty and his portrayal of his head sickness and a sick society hidden under cuddly disguises. Holy shit, that’s no allegory… that’s the truth.

Michael Hunt Publishing: http://www.mikehuntsonfire.com