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Archive for the ‘Tom Troccoli’s Dog’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: BLACK FLAG: The Process of Weeding Out (1985).

Fans of Black Flag were (justifiably) freaked out by this EP.  It’s a four songs that clock in at almost 30 minutes (from the band who gave us the one-minute long hit “Wasted”).

This album is all instrumental and it provided Greg Ginn yet another outlet for his experimental guitar workouts (see also: Gone, October Faction, Saccharine Trust, Tom Troccoli’s Dog etc.)

So what you get is Kira’s fantastic and unusual bass riffs (she did amazing work with Black Flag), Bill Stevenson’s intense (and cymbal fueled) drums and Greg Ginn’s what the hell? guitars.  I’ve always found Ginn’s guitar work to be somewhat off.  It always struck me that maybe he didn’t exactly know how to play the guitar.  And yet he was always right on with his riffs and chords, it’s just that his solos never conformed to any standard version of guitar solo I’d ever heard.

So this EP comes across more as fee jazz than punk.  “Your Last Affront” is 9 minutes of chaos all under-girded by an interesting if unconventional riff.  It’s followed by the two-minute “Screw the Law” a much faster song, with an intense riff repeated for much of it.  The last 30 seconds or so has some screaming solos from Ginn, but of all the tracks, this is probably the most user-friendly.

The second side has the title track starts with a lengthy solo from Ginn.  A few minutes in, Stevenson’s drums come clacking around the place and Kira is somewhat relegated to the back as her bass is steady but not that exciting.  Until about 3 and a half minutes in, when the band takes over and Kira plays a super cool riff and when Ginn joins in, the song is really solid.  “Southern Rise” ends the disc with 5 minutes of relative quiet.  Although the main instrument appears to be the drums.

The whole things sounds like they were jamming in Greg’s garage.  And I’ll bet lots of fun was had in that garage.

[READ: March 15, 2011] three items about what didn’t make it into Infinite Jest

In honor of The Pale King’s release this week, I’m doing this post on Infinite Jest-related stuff.  This is all of the stuff that we lay people have access to without going to the Wallace archives to find all of the cool DFW stuff.

After finishing IJ this summer, I found out that it was initially much much longer (I think around 300 pages longer).  I grew mildly obsessed with wondering what had gotten cut.  And I had to wonder, if you have an 1100 page book, what difference would an extra 500 pages make, really?  Initially, I thought that the things that were cut were just minor changes, but then I heard about fairly large things that were removed.  And I dreamed of a “director’s cut” of the book.  That will never happen, and that’s fine (I’m less obsessed now).  But these little glimpses into scenes that didn’t make the book are fascinating.

And all told, they confirm that most of the cuts were minor, although there were some large scenes that were left on the cutting room floor. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: THE BLASTING CONCEPT Volume II (1985).

I listened to this collection of (then) old and new SST artists almost nonstop the summer I bought this.  I remember my friend Al disliking it quite a bit–except for Hüsker Dü, of course.  (I wonder if he would change his mind about any of it now).

This LP was a kind of transition record from the standard bearers of SST (Black Flag, Hüsker Dü, The Minutemen) to the then new young bands (DC3, Angst, Gone).  The Allmusic review dismisses the disc out of hand, but I think that the disc has held up very well.  I didn’t follow SST records too closely in the 90s so I’m not sure what they were doing, but for whatever reason, most of the bands that the average listener hasn’t heard of were dropped (and sadly most of those discs are long out of print, some never released on CD at all–MP3s do appear to be available). The exception of course is any band that Greg Ginn played in (which is most of them, actually), which he of course has kept in print on SST.

SAINT VITUS-“Look Behind You” This song opens the disc and seems to introduce right away that SST is no longer just a punk label.  This is a very metal sound with a wah wahed and fuzzed out guitar all the way through.  It’s mixed in a weird way (which could be SST), which undermines the real heaviness and actually adds some cool effects.

DC3-“Theme From an Imaginary Western” as mentioned, an awesome track.

SWA-“Mystery Girl” a fuzzy distorted track.  It’s heavy, but not very heavy.

BLACK FLAG-“I Can See You” is one of those Black Flag tracks that is all about Greg Ginn’s weird guitar.  He plays a simple melody out of tune with crazy guitar solos over the top.  Rollins is on vocals which are mostly spoken here.  It’s a bizarre throwaway kind of song that I really like.

GONE-‘Watch the Tractor”  This is a wonderful instrumental.  High speed with a great riff that propels about half of the song.  The other half is a heavy kind of mosh that breaks up the proceedings nicely.  This is one of the few bands that no one has heard of from thee days of SST that actually have the album still in print (because Greg Ginn is on it).

WURM-“Death Ride” is not a very good song, but one which I always liked for its simplicity and stupidity. The screamed chorus is really catchy.

OVERKILL-“Over the Edge”  This is not the famous metal band Overkill, but a different metal band named Overkill who got shuffled aside by the (arguably) better, bigger one.  This is the only song I know from this Overkill (now known as Overkill L.A.) and I really like it.  It has a great riff and vocals like Lemmy.

SACCHARINE TRUST-“Emotions and Anatomy” is one of several odd, improvised tracks on this compilation. It seems like perhaps everyone is playing his own thing and the lyrics are some strange little rant.

PAINTED WILLIE-“The Big Time” is more raucous style of song, reminiscent of earlier SST recording.  The most interesting part comes at the end with the falsetto voices threatening to take over the song.  They play a kind of sloppy punk-lite that would likely be very popular today.

ANGST-“Just Me” After DC3 this is my second favorite unknown song on the album.  It has a great bass line with some angular guitars over the top.  It actually sounds a lot like later Hüsker Dü, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

MEAT PUPPETS-” I Just Want to Make Love To You” I’ve like the Meat Puppets for ages.  And this absurd cover of the blues song is one of the oddest songs this odd band has recorded.  The solo sounds like it comes from under a volcano.  It’s not a great song (and should probably be two minutes shorter), but it is kind of fun.

MINUTEMEN-“Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love” The always awesome Minutemen engage us with this awesome cover of Van Halen’s “Aint Talkin’ ‘Bout Love.  In 1 minute they undermine all of the overblownedness of the original.  Check out the live version here.

HÜSKER DÜ-“Erase Today” This is simply fantastic.  This is an early punk song of theirs.  Catchy and fast and wonderful.

OCTOBER FACTION-“I Was Grotesque” Another weird improv piece.   It’s filled mostly with drums and strange rantings–kind of beatniky.  Here’s a live show from the band from 1984.

TOM TROCCOLI’S DOG-“Todo Para Mi”  This song has a cool riff. Although Troccoli’s voice is questionable at best.  It more or less devolves into a nonsense jam and is too long at 6 minutes.  It’s not a great way to end the album, but maybe it’s last for a reason.

[READ: March 21, 2011] “Who Am I?”

I have been hearing about Demetri Martin for a few years now.   How he’s the hot new comic. And yet I’ve never come across anything he’s done (even though I think Comedy Central repeated his shows practically on the hour when they first aired). So this short piece is my first exposure to him.  I’m going to assume it is not a fair representation of his comedy as he is normally a stand up and writing is not the same as stand up.  (That’s not to say it’s not good, just that it’s not his natural medium).

This was a short piece in the New Yorker’s Shouts and Murmurs section. It asks and answers the titular question “Who Am I?” (more…)

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