When KIDS was released in 1995, there was a lot of “controversy” behind it’s explicit content involving teens, drugs, and violence. I remember all of the hype clearly; I was 16 at the time. The film’s writer, Harmony Korine was 22, however, he was only about 19 when he wrote it [wikipedia claims "18" Korine has guessed "20"]. I watched KIDS and thought that it was a solid film, but it didn’t change my fucking life like the nightly news had claimed that it would. Then again, I think that any lack of shock value for me may actually be a testament to the reality that had been infused within it. While KIDS jump started the careers of first time actors like Rosario Dawson and Chloe Sevigney, Korine didn’t quite live up to the “promise” that many had expected for him. That’s not to say that he didn’t continue to produce amazing pieces of work or to move forward in his career, it’s just that he never seemed harnessed into the limitations and ideas that had been placed on him by others. One way to put it would be that the “promise” that the golden boy had placed on him wasn’t a promise that he had actually ever “made” himself. In ways, his story is Pecker-esque and, as quickly as upper class socialites might take in a troubled youth for their own self-righteous ego boost, they will toss his ass out and turn their backs on him once he lives up to his inherent nature by intentionally smashing their Fabergé eggs, getting their daughters drunk, and stealing their Escalades. Read the rest of this entry →
Baby Dee is a fascinating individual. For some, there is a novelty in the fact that she’s transgender, which they’ve allowed to overshadow her work as an artist. For others, her musicianship takes center stage over any personal identity that Baby Dee might have. In reality, the work is far too revealing, honest, and personal to ever be completely separated from the person who created it. In our approach to any interview conversation that we try and conduct on this site, there is a belief that the humanity of the artist and the exploration of them, their history, insights, and experiences as an individual on this planet should always remain a focus, beyond just the art that they create. The “why” is more important for us than the “how”. Even more important is the “who”, because from there the why will expose itself. These concepts became especially relevant in our recent encounter with the Cleveland-born pianist/harpist.
It’s true that Dee continues to build a catalog of deeply engaging and beautiful music, and that is something that we, in no way, wish to discount. We hope to open the door for you to explore her work further, but the sounds and feelings presented in her work are things that you can continue to discover slowly, in your own time. I feel that our job in a piece like this is to attempt to truly help introduce you to the soul of the person behind the work. Baby Dee is a fascinating individual, but I think the point here is that, with or without her affiliations with various other artists, being transgender, or even her abilities as a musician, her unique character and quality as a person would still sustain her as such, regardless. We trust that, after viewing our video interview below, you will see her in the same light as we do. Her talents as an artist are undeniable, but music is little more than a simple medium to manifest and display the immense levels of truth and personal ideals which she holds inside. Read the rest of this entry →
“Joanna Newsom got old.” That is the very first thought that came to mind as I listened to Have One On Me, Newsom‘s latest release on Drag City. Perhaps, this is an “unkind” thing to say; her protests to descriptions of her music as “childlike” are almost legendary and I get where she’s coming from. The term “Childlike” can have some negative connotations and might suggest an element of simple-mindedness, naivety, or immaturity, for which Newsom has never been any of those things. Her songs are rich, diverse, and, at times, profoundly moving. Plus, I’m sure that I’m not the only one who has reached for a dictionary more than once, after digging into her lyrics (who would have expected “poetaster” to be an actual word?). Still, one can’t help but listen to earlier works like The Milk-Eyed Mender and the CD-R release Walnut Whales, and think of descriptors like “youthful” and “playful.” Even her last album Ys inspires the imagination to wander to Princess Bride-like fairy tale settings, regardless of the fact that she’s singing about abusive relationships and the very real-world ups and downs of love. Read the rest of this entry →
Sir Richard Bishop and His Freak of Araby Ensemble
July 1st 2009 @ the Crocodile Cafe, Seattle
On a balmy, early summer evening, legendary guitarist Sir Richard Bishop and his Freak of Araby Ensemble landed in Seattle to play one of the few remaining dates of his latest US tour. Though Bishop is a hometown hero, you couldn’t really call him “local”; Bishop is a lifelong wanderer. In the past two years, he’s dragged his battered acoustic all over Europe opening for Earth, completed a solo tour of Italy and performed with a dance troupe in France. Earlier this year, he even produced his first film, “God Damn Religion“. He still finds time to record and, recently released his sixth solo album Freak of Araby [Drag City]. When he drops the ‘Sir’ from his name, Bishop‘s day job involves dealing antique occult books and international travel; spending much of his time in India and Southeast Asia. Somehow, in the midst of all of this, he must take the time to write new songs, practice with his Ensemble or, for fuck’s sake, relax. It’s the productive guys like him who make me feel bad for sitting around watching Netflix on my computer for three hours every Saturday morning.
Here’s a quick rundown about the life of Rick Bishop. Up until 2007, he’d spent his entire adult life terrorizing the world as a member of enigmatic art-punkers Sun City Girls. The Girls, made up of Rick, his brother Alan and their friend Charles Gocher, sprung from the Phoenix punk scene in the early Eighties. They would open for hardcore acts like JFA and Black Flag, often to the disdain of the audience. SCG‘s bad rep preceeded them and their live shows were often confrontational affairs, with the band hassling the crowd with lengthy improvised noise excursions, wingnut ramblings and the odd Grateful Dead cover. They eventually began releasing music on their Cloaven Cassette series, sending cryptic transmissions out to the die-hards who were already emerging from the scene. Read the rest of this entry →
Years ago, I bought an album by Neil Hamburger and was eager to play it for my roommate. After listening to a few comedy classics, including “Why are M&M’s filled with chocolate? Because it would be illegal to fill them with shit”, I was asked, “How much did you pay for this?”
“8 dollars?! Oh man, you got rolled.”
And that is how it goes with Gregg “Neil Hamburger” Turkington; you either appreciate his anti-humor or you feel ripped off. Read the rest of this entry →
Right off the bat, I’m going to openly and officially claim the proceeding interview as a “success“. I’m sure that you will all draw your own conclusions and, most likely, many of them will be different than mine. Many of you will even leave your own comments contradicting my assessment. I probably didn’t ask the “right” questions as you “would have” and I may not have even gotten the answers that you would have wanted to hear but, if this was a Myspace page, I would be posting a goofy ass little emoticon with some bullshit smiley face next to this article that read “Mood: accomplished“. To me it is successful. This interview almost didn’t happen or, more accurately, it ALMOST did happen more times than I could count.
When David Berman formed the group Silver Jews 20 years ago, he did so with cohorts like Stephen Malkmus and Bob Nastanovich. The production of the early EPs and recordings were extremely low-fi, with the use of such unorthadox recording equipment as a walkmen and answering machines. By the time the full-lenghth Starlite Walker (1994 Drag City) was released, Malkmus and Nastanovich had already made a name for them selves in the band Pavement and the Silver Jews were wrongly classified by many as a Pavement side-project. Regardless of the facts that the two bands were very separate entities and that Berman was the primary driving force behind the group, David lived with that tag stapled to his forehead for the better part of the following decade. Although Malkmus was again featured on the 1998 release, American Water, “The Joos” were comprised of a revolving door of musicians over their 20 year stint. Throughout that time, Berman overcame struggles with crack addiction and even a suicide attempt. Eventually, he would even make a conversion to Judaism. In many ways, these became just more incidents that overshadowed the work of the prolific songwriter and poet. Read the rest of this entry →