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Tweetstorm on why I don't say "neoliberalism." Potentially way more interesting post on this subject if I bring in hairstyle (not a pejorative) and hallway-classroom and real life. Someday.





















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A punk votes for a punk (again). Here's the playlist:



1. Lil Debbie "F That"
2. NCT 127 "Limitless"
3. MC G15 "Deu Onda"
4. Jovi "Ou Même"
5. CLC "Hobgoblin"
6. Miso "KKPP"



7. Juan LaFonta ft. Big Freedia "Bounce TV"
8. Pristin "Wee Woo"
9. Omar Souleyman "Ya Bnayya"
10. Steps "Scared Of The Dark"
11. Vince Staples "BagBak"



12. Cherry Coke "Like I Do"
13. K.A.R.D "Rumor"
14. Die Antwoord "Love Drug"
15. Alternative TV "Negative Primitive"



16. Lindsey Buckingham & Christine McVie "In My World"
17. K.A.R.D "Don't Recall"
18. Ashmute "Scenery"
19. Twice "Knock Knock"
20. Molly "Я просто люблю тебя (Dance version)"



21. Serebro "Пройдет"
22. Hyolyn x Kisum "Fruity"
23. G-reyish "Johnny Gogo"
24. Yungtime ft. Mihney "Uh uh, uh hum"
25. Nadia Rose "The Intro"
26. Mani Bella ft. Tenor "Déranger"



27. Reniss "Pilon"
28. Jessi, Microdot, Dumbfoundead, Lyricks "KBB"
29. Sunny Sweeney "Better Bad Idea"
30. IU "Jam Jam"
31. Maahlox le vibeur "Un Bon Plantain"
32. Koppo "Gromologie"

You once again get Debbie's nasty mug staring at you atop my playlist and my prediction is you'll get her all year. So — again — a punk's voting for a punk, me for Debbie. (See me a few months ago ripping in all different directions on punk, and a more malevolent punk voting for a more malevolent punk.)

As you may have expected, I've spent hours debating whether the CLC track ranks higher than the Miso or vice versa. I keep trying to throw Miso higher, for being the more powerful performer. But CLC get more help from their song, the zoom golly golly takeoff being seductive and razzy at the same time.

But Miso seems to have razz and seduction burned into her personality, or at least her persona: low-rent and going for instant ingratiation, which can be more alive and more enduring than art that has more forethought or money or integrity behind it. I really don't know how well I'm reading Miso, though, how much of this is just the low budget rather than the personality. In the video I think she's throwing herself at us, with smiles that aren't friendliness or niceness, so it's availability that's not altogether available, but a lot of wiseass fun. It's not unfriendly, if you wanna play along. Except as I said I'm just guessing here, and peering across cultures. The template is HyunA but without the immediate allure and playfulness (or without convincing me of the allure and playfulness); so where HyunA's strong and warm and emotionally accessible, Miso's aggressive and fast, but actually that's alluring too, a fast come-here-and-ride. A different allure. Or a video that couldn't afford a lot of camera setups.

As David Frazer points out, "KKPP" uses the same sample as "Canvas" by HyunA's old group 4Minute, though that song's not the group's most HyunA-centric.

Speaking of "Canvas," it's number 4 on my list for last year, the final version of which was finished in February but I still haven't posted the list; last year I thought Rihanna's product wasn't as good as the cheap Eastern European knockoff (Era Istrefi's "BonBon"); this year T-ara's going-out-of-business single isn't as good as "Johnny Gogo," G-reyish's poor-boy-sandwich of a "Roly-Poly" imitation; and of course HyunA's single with Triple H isn't as good as the two HyunA imitations on my list.

Francophone West Africa is killing it, even if I don't understand it )
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The T-ara kissoff EP is okay enough, on and off, the only real standout track being "Diamond," a strangely deep and ethereal Qri solo chant that sounds like "I Want Candy" elongated and beautifully vaporized — though interestingly enough, it's the next cut, Hyomin's "Ooh La La," that uses a Bow-wow-wowish Bo Diddley beat and a melody reminiscent of the Temptations' "The Way You Do The Things You Do." Neither track sounds much like T-ara.

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Of course, the title line is something of a compromise: it's an okay line that only 5 people will read.

(I'm on a break from hectic busyness, hope to post more.)

Speaking of great guitar lines, here's Ronnie Hawkins And The Hawks from February 1963 — don't know if that's the recording date or the release date; either way, I doubt that anyone at such an early date other than the guitarist here, Robbie Robertson, was putting down, on vinyl or tape, guitar lines with as much distortion, sustain, and virulence (in London you might hear something like it live from Brian Jones or Eric Clapton, but the tape's not running yet, not for a few more months).



I'm curious if I'm wrong here, if there actually are blues or rockabilly or country boogie guitarists already giving you as much distortion or bite. Possibly there are ones with as much sustain and distortion, but they're not trying to hurt you the way the young rock men are. Maybe James Burton* has something of that in him, but still he's getting you through the night more than he's tearing the night to pieces. Some of the rockabilly singers had that push in them, but the guitars were relatively even tempered.

Unless I'm wrong.

(Taking Robbie Robertson as fundamentally himself, rather than an heir or precursor to anything, he's here playing thick and thin at the same time, that is he's got the sustain that gives the notes a bigger bleeding brush, but he's still whittling his guitar lines down to a sharp point. Also, there's something of a stutter/jitter to his playing, what someone might later call funk.)

*Note that the track I linked is by Ronnie's cousin Dale.
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Generic songlist intro: Had mostly completed this a month ago, felt I ought to say something about some of these, hence the delay in posting. Here's the YouTube playlist:



1. Lil Debbie "F That"
2. NCT 127 "Limitless"
3. MC G15 "Deu Onda"
4. CLC "Hobgoblin"
5. Juan LaFonta ft. Big Freedia "Bounce TV"



6. Pristin "Wee Woo"
7. Steps "Scared Of The Dark"
8. Jovi "Ou Même"
9. Vince Staples "BagBak"
10. Cherry Coke "Like I Do"



11. K.A.R.D "Rumor"
12. Alternative TV "Negative Primitive"
13. K.A.R.D "Don't Recall"

Lil Debbie. By strapping herself tight to rhyme and meter schemes she becomes taut and virulent.* NCT 127. If this had been Super Junior doing the "baby it's you" part, the hair-on-the-neck harmonies would've been shivery and cold. NCT sound warm doing pretty much the same, and good for them. MC G15. The genre is "funk ousadia," Google translating it from the Portuguese as "daring funk" or "bold funk," which in this case is a slow goofy dance on a high wire.** The melodica brings me back to Ennio Morricone and Augustus Pablo, also shivery. CLC. HyunA moves with a nice ungainly beauty into which she's instilled presence and charisma while still being accessibly goofy. She's written and produced a HyunA soundalike track for CLC, who have none of her charisma and little of her talent, and they sound almost as good anyway and almost as compelling, also goofy.*** Juan LaFonta ft. Big Freedia. 60 seconds is an effective length for Big Freedia's insistent repetitiveness, about the length of a long TV commercial, which this literally is. K.A.R.D. Immediately gripping but the grip is too tight, or anyway the beats are a tad sludgy and, surprisingly, it's the female singers rather than the males who lie too heavily atop the rhythm. Lots of promise, though, in the songs and the singing.

*Virulence can be a massive irritant of course when linked to Debbie's childish toughness, and fuck that, but it's up to better people to make better music, and at the moment they don't.

**"Sexual connotations and puns in the form of humor," Wikip helpfully opines, also with the assistance of Google Translate.

***Hence the question I asked 30 days ago: "'What if the Rolling Stones had written and produced hits for the Shadows Of Knight?' (Well, what if HyunA wrote and produced CLC?)"
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David Frazer said this in my lj comments; it deserves its own post.

Chocolat's contracts expired in February, and Melanie has given an interview to Kpopalypse.

To summarise, they never earned any money, the CEO was useless, the staff constantly pressured them to work harder and lose weight, and Melanie became depressed and began self-harming. And after thinking up the biracial gimmick the CEO decided that Melanie was "too American" and needed to look and behave like a proper Korean girl.
The interview does speak for itself. I'll add here that Melanie's whomp of a wail of "I want it all, all or nothing" in "I Like It" — a song she felt nothing for — showed right off that she had major talent. Even before that, in her narration of the first ChoColat publicity clip she was easily alive and playful in front of the camera. So, was management entirely obtuse, given that they picked Melanie to narrate right at the get-go, and had her loud and highlighted on the second single? Also, management chose good songs every time (i.e., songs I like), which is extraordinarily rare, and for all we know the girls themselves would have chosen worse.



So, we don't know management's own view of this, or the other girls': Still, if you're choosing performers because they're different, it seems lunkheaded to then try and squash down the differences. And if your training technique is psychologically backfiring on one of your talented singers, you should try to change the technique, right? (Yes, I realize this isn't so easy or even always possible when there's more than one performer involved, with each potentially responding differently to the coaching but all more or less needing to be given the same rules. Still...)

Also — I don't know this and obviously haven't done the research — but I had the impression back in 2011 that Korea was developing a body of case law that said that if a youngster signs a 7-year contract at age 12 or 15 or something and she subsequently sues to get out of the contract, the courts will back her and invalidate the contract. Of course, having a right to sue doesn't make actually doing so emotionally or financially feasible, or protect her from getting blackballed for it.
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Stubs of ideas, some of which may turn into future posts:

(1a) A punk votes for a punk (Johnny Rotten says nice things about Trump). Okay, he's not necessarily saying that he did vote for Trump, though from what he said it's a good assumption he did; but anyway, my armchair psychosocial analysis of the Trump win already had been "Punks voted for a punk," my using the word punks in a sorta pre-punk-rock sense, meaning people who compensate for subconsciously feeling weak by scapegoating and bullying and hurting the vulnerable; but such "punks" can include normally nice people too, people who let the punk aspect of themselves do their electoral thinking.



(1b) Only "sorta pre-punk-rock" given that original garage-rock punks such as ? And The Mysterians and the Syndicate Of Sound and the Seeds were indeed punks in the old sense, weak bully-type punks (and sexists as well),† but most of the great punk rockers — I'd start "punk rock" w/ Stones and Dylan, actually, with the caveat that the true punks, the garage rockers, weren't Stones and Dylan but the garage kids who'd dumbed Stones, Dylan, and Yardbirds down into punk, which'd be a fine explanation except that no one limits "punk rock" this way; most critics etc. would also include the Velvet Underground and MC5 and Stooges and Patti Smith and Richard Hell and Rocket From The Tombs and even more would include Ramones and Sex Pistols and the Clash and the Heartbreakers and X-Ray Spex and Black Flag and Nirvana and Hole, generally self-aware nonbully types, and if you're going to do this you've got to go back and count Dylan and the Stones — ...anyway, most of the great punk rockers (as generally defined) were about punk way more than they were punk; nonetheless, being self-aware, they drew the connection between actual inner true punk impulses and the punk rock they were playing, understanding their own weakness and that bullying and scapegoating were in there lurking, sitting dangerously inside. But anyway, of all the great punk rockers, the Sex Pistols, who were maybe the greatest ("They make everyone else sound sick by comparison," said my friend Bill Routt), were the ones who were true nasty punks as much as they were about punk. They were the band that made punk safe for fag-bashers (fortunately only somewhat safe).* None of which explains why Johnny Rotten would shit his brains down the toilet and support Trump (apparently, Johnny can't tell a racist from a hole in the ground). If you want to turn to social affinity and group identification as an explanation, Johnny's loyalty is to real punks, not to punk rock. (Yes, there's no way to come up with a unitary reading of the word "punk" in this paragraph. It'd be a stupider paragraph if you could.) I doubt that many self-identified "punks" — those who embrace the music as part of their social identity — voted for Trump. These people veer left instead. If you go by social category, Trump got many of the rocks and hoods and greasers and grits and burnouts — at least, more than he should have — but few of the punks. (Among whites he got a significant amount of the jocks and middle managers, too, and their psyches are probably as much punk as the hoods' are, but that's not relevant to Johnny Rotten's social identification.) I doubt that many Trump voters had ever bothered to listen to punk rock (not counting the garage hits they heard way back); if they had, the aboutness would've stung them, and they'd have been repelled. Nonetheless, I think I can understand that what makes the Sex Pistols sound true and real to me, the screaming squalling blind attempt to stand against anything acceptable and settled that can get you by, is what makes a lying hollow pathological bully like Trump sound transgressive and therefore real and true and honest and substantial to a lot of his fans.

(1c) Of course Trump doesn't win if he gets only the punks. And my armchair analysis isn't based on any actual research of mine into "the Trump voter." As I said two sentences ago, there's more than one type of Trump voter, and individual voters are multi-faceted in their urges and ideas anyway (so a particular Trump voter can be more than one type). I'm actually doing two questionable things: (i) reading the characteristics of the voter off of the characteristics of what they voted for, rather than actually asking the voters who they are and why they like what they like; (ii) using a psychological model that can apply to an individual person to explain the behavior of a group of people (the punk types who voted for that punk Trump), as if the group were an individual writ large. Obviously I think the analysis kinda sorta works, or I wouldn't have made it. It's a strong hypothesis, punks voted for a punk, strong in my mind anyway, though maybe someone more knowledgeable could beat it down with an alternative. ("Strong" analysis? Seriously? How so? It tells you what most of you already know: (1) that I don't like Trump, (2) that I think many of his voters voted for a lot of what I don't like about him, even if they don't understand the policy implications, and (3) that he's a punk. You already knew that. He's a punk. It's maybe a correct analysis, but not strong, since it doesn't tell you anything you don't already know. Maybe it makes you think harder about punk rock, and what I write below maybe'll help you think harder about social class.)

(1di) Trump got more working-class whites than he was expected to )

(1dii) The terms hoods, greasers, grits, and burnouts as stand-ins for current social identities )

(1diii) The class systems in people's immediate experience are not an exact match for the upper-middle-working class grid )

(1div) They voted against Clinton because she's a student-council type )

(1dv) Kids who bombed out of the classroom still hurt by it )

(1e) Middle class divided )

(1f) Want to hurt people and feel good about hurting them )

(2) The failure of education )

(3a) Duncan Watts criticizes idea of 'representative agent' )

(3b) How would we measure 'punks voted for a punk'? )

(4) The principle of the inferred et cetera )

(5) Top 100 singles of 2016 )

(6) A punk votes for a brat )

(7) Etc. )
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The Dovells' "Bristol Stomp" from 1961 is a doo-wop track that has an aggression and crudity and potential for going berserk that reminds me more of rockabilly than of doo-wop. Maybe we can think of its relation to real doo-wop as like the relation of the garage punks to the Stones and Yardbirds. The dance is said (by Wikipedia) to have originated in a "blue-collar suburb," Bristol, Pennsylvania. No other track I've heard by the Dovells or by songwriter Dave Appell has this emotional feeling. Maybe it's just something I'm projecting onto the track anyway, a potential I heard in their roughness that they hadn't put there themselves.

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Sorry I haven't been communicating more. Kind of caught up (as a spectator mostly) in Twitter snark about Trump et al. (The Onion: "Heartbroken Russian Ambassador Thought Special Meetings With Jeff Sessions Were Very Memorable." Matt Yglesias: "It's traditional for the Speaker to hide the health care bill at the start of the seder so the children can search for it later." Yglesias again, in response to "Sen Cornyn, emerging from GOP healthcare mtg, was just asked what the plan is. 'You think I'm going to tell you what the plan is?'" "No Mr Cornyn, I expect you to di-- -- wait, it is totally reasonable to expect you to say what the plan is!")

In the meantime, here's a Chinese cover of Dschinghis Khan's "Moskau."

http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XMjYwMjc3NzM2.html



(Unfortunately, there are no high-quality rips of the MV — in fact, this rip seems to be the only one, though of course there are many rips of this particular rip, this being one of them; i.e., probably not the original rip itself.)

H/t John Wójtowicz for reminding me there's a Dschinghis Khan, and Twitter person @LoofaFace for the empty-chair ref I used as the title of this post. (@LoofaFace's moniker itself is taken from a memorable Daylin Leach tweet.)

Urgent update: David Frazer informs me that there's a North Korean dance to "Moskau" performed by Mullah Resmat protégés Wangjaesan Art Troupe.
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Several potential posts I'm working on, which you may see or may never see.

1. A point-counterpoint of the extremes in my attitude towards politics. 10 items in all, plus further musings and slip-slidings. For a taste, here are numbers 1 and 2.

Odd number. (1) Politics is a social space that allows for people to say things that are more stupid and destructive than what they allow themselves to say in almost all other spaces.

Even number. (2) Politics is a means by which the most vulnerable and targeted people in society can organize to defend themselves and gain some social power. (Obviously, it's also the means by which other people can target and rip off the most vulnerable. Those vulnerable people themselves can't actually organize and defend each other unless they gain allies and advocates among the less vulnerable. In fact, it's these latter who do most of the organizing and defending.)
2. Kind of bouncing off this first post, my psychologically creating the conditions under which I might actually engage in politics per se.

(1) Don't assume we have to dumb ourselves down to (a) sway voters, (b) pressure our enemies, (c) get along with our allies.

So, let's say, as a working premise, that we can and should speak and act honestly and thoughtfully, and if colleagues claim that strategy and tactics demand we don't, the burden of proof should be on them. Don't fall for tones of voice that sound "realistic" and "knowing."

This argument is with myself as much as it's with the world.

(2) Joy. There needs to be joy and satisfaction not just in the outcome and the sense of trying to do the right thing (neither of these joys being very available e.g. when we're losing or when we're flailing and confused); there needs to be joy in the doing, joy every day or at least every week. This reverts back to the previous point. The joy of thinking, the joy of discovery: these are always available if we want them and for me they're necessities, not luxuries. But also, for me, they ultimately — thinking, discovering — need a community. This isn't just because ideas get better when discussed and argued over. For me, ideas need to be shared or the whole process rots. Maybe that's because, in my head, the audience I imagine for my words is even worse than the one that's actually out there. Nonetheless, out there there's obviously a malfunction, a train wreck, a breakdown...
3. For a brief period, mid 1977 to mid 1978, I was writing poetry. I'd barely ever read the stuff, barely read anyone's poetry, not counting Shakespeare and Emily Dickinson, and not counting song lyrics (the latter being a pretty sizable amount of "not counting") — to the extent of knowing traditions of poetry were there but barely knowing what they were. I approached the enterprise with alienation and adventure: this was someone else's dinner table, but I could somehow leap the process, start in the neighborhood of my own rocks and foothills. I was using as my workbook Kenneth Koch's books on teaching the writing of poetry to kids and old agers (Wishes, Lies, And Dreams and Rose Where Did You Get That Red and I Never Told Anybody). I worked hard at not falling into being "writerly" or "poetic." —Harold Bloom and Mark Sinker to thread, but note that poetry and poets definitely weren't my touchstones: this came at a time when I was running away from my music obsession, and trying to evade my calling as a critic. I emphatically did find my poetic voice, one like no other. And then I stopped. More accurately, music called, and songs, and criticism, "poetry" somehow briefly installed on the path.

4. Bob Dylan really did deserve that Nobel prize, but there's a point-counterpoint here, too. The first point is that if the Nobel people really did want to open the floodgates to American song, allow for songs to come rushing in, Dylan is a gutless choice, the songwriter who's the anomaly with the billboard sign "A Poet, Not Just A Songwriter" rising up to the sky above him. Whereas the true obvious worthy recipient, the living master and genius who nonetheless doesn't safely push the Respectability button or the High Art And Literature button, is Chuck Berry. And once you've got Chuck you've opened those gates to everybody from field hollers and nursery rhymes to Brill Building to Jay-Z, hicks and hacks and streetcorners, truly breaching the cellophane that separates low and high and medium.

But the counterpoint here is that if you take songwriting for granted, and the breach as long done, Chuck is a rather staid choice, obvious indeed as an accepted classic — whereas Dylan is the danger guy still,* the one who explodes everything, simply wipes out the limitations of what you can do with words, draws on everyone and invites you to overthrow them all, no limitations on ambition, yet try it yourself and you're more likely to blow off your own hands than to produce much of value.

And then, this not on the subject of whether or not he's prizeworthy, we need to take account of the content of a lot of those exploding words. Dylan as much as Lou and Iggy (not to mention the more decorous Leonard Cohen and Paul Simon) effectively inserts into popular song the idea of self-destruction as a form of social protest. If you put together my critiques in "The Autobiography Of Bob Dylan"** and my "PBS" essays in the first two issues of Why Music Sucks, what you get is that we — indie-alternative, the supposed underground, the rock critics, our set of Musical Marginal Intellectuals — let self-destruction stand in the place of social analysis. Or let it validate the social analysis, let it make the analysis feel real whether or not the analysis was actually any good. And of course this applies in spades to the Academic Left. (This isn't Dylan's fault, it's in our culture without Dylan anyway, and I wouldn't say that you should think of self-destruction as the main legacy or message of Dylan, what the guy's about in full, and of course he pushes against the self-destruction too — he's an overload of messages, that's a feature — just there's this whole extolled "poet" thing that manages to sidestep huge hunks of what the poetry actually says and does.)



*I mean, I don't think of what he's doing now in the 2000s as danger-guy stuff (though maybe if I knew it better I would). 1965 and 1966 are the key danger-guy years, and they're still there, as it were — still here — haven't been assimilated.

**And here (or here if Google books switches up as it sometimes does and makes the other two go blank).
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I got a Dreamwidth account back in 2009 during a previous LiveJournal hullabaloo but never got around to doing anything with it. Now I've finally "migrated" or "archived" or "backed-up"* all my lj posts onto Dreamwidth and set Dreamwidth so that all my Dreamwidth posts will automatically cross-post onto LiveJournal as well. All my old LiveJournal posts are still on LiveJournal too. So I'll be actually writing my posts on Dreamwidth, but I assume commenting and conversational back-and-forth and action will still almost all be on lj. And I'll cross-post your lj comments for you onto my Dreamwidth, unless you object or do doubleposting yourself.

My LiveJournal:
http://koganbot.livejournal.com

My Dreamwidth:
https://koganbot.dreamwidth.org

The only major glitch in the copying is that in my posts my video embeds were lost, which means that, whenever I want to find a compulsive activity that enables me to avoid being in the social world, I'll go back and spend time adding videos back to the old posts on Dreamwidth. Also, as far as I can tell, Dreamwidth doesn't have the capacity to let us embed videos in comments at all, which is a drag; so not only are all your and my video embeds lost from comments, they can't be reinserted either. Oh, and Dreamwidth sidebars will have fewer links and I don't think there's a way to stick Taylor Swift's "Lose Yourself" there either.



Under the cut I describe what impelled the change.

A wild or turbulent disturbance )



*None of those words is really accurate: I didn't "migrate" so much as simply got Dreamwidth to copy all my old posts onto Dreamwidth. But as I say up in the text, the LiveJournal posts stay on LiveJournal too.
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I don't expect to finish my Top Singles List until early January, but in the meantime I need to make clear that the current positioning on my YouTube playlist of Pussy Riot's "Straight Outta Vagina" at 75 and Die Antwoord's "Bum Bum" at 76 is not meant to present the observer with a binary choice.





Carry on.
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In the meantime, Badkiz cover a Badkiz song.



(This is a very subtle post that only [livejournal.com profile] davidfrazer will appreciate fully.) (Also see our conversation regarding Badkiz' impact on Korean Taekwando outfit K-Tigers, and the impact of Melbourne bounce on each.)
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Purchase CD from OSR, and Zach certainly deserves your business; but also you can download and stream at bandcamp, and can stream on YouTube* and Spotify.** Orig. cassette 1984, CD reissue 2016. [UPDATE JUNE 2017: OSR have closed down, so the YouTube and Spotify streams will go dark one of these days. However, Zach says that the bandcamp will stay up indefinitely. Hurrah!]

STARS VOMIT COFFEE SHOP
Frank Kogan • Red Dark Sweet • The Pillowmakers

Two thirteen-year-old boys went out to fight each other in 1967, when I was in eighth grade. I and a friend of mine went along to watch the fight. It turned out that the boys were afraid to really fight, which both relieved and disappointed me. The boys made up rules: no punching, no hitting in the face. So the fight was just a shoving match. After watching the boys push each other for a while, I said to my friend, "This reminds me of that song from last year..." "Yeah," he laughed and finished the sentence for me. "You're pushing too hard."

YouTube playlist.


I started listening to pop radio when I was twelve. I liked songs by the Cyrkle, Kinks, Count Five, Buckinghams, Beatles, Troggs, Human Beinz, Simon and Garfunkel, People, Easybeats, Electric Prunes, Eric Burdon, Bee Gees, Monkees, Neil Diamond, Music Explosion, Outsiders, Grass Roots, Sam the Sham and the Pharoahs, etc. The two songs that hooked me on rock and roll were were "Hanky Panky" by Tommy James and the Shondells and "Mother's Little Helper" by the Rolling Stones. I was attracted by the intense sound of this music rather than by the lyrics, though in retrospect I realize that the lyrics reflected my feelings. I couldn't listen to "96 Tears" because it upset me too much. Most of these songs were variations on the Dylan-Stones-Yardbirds transformation of rhythm and blues into hard rock. They took r & b's call-and-response and turned it on its head, so that it felt like separation and alienation. The epitome of this was the Stones' "Get Off Of My Cloud." The best of the '60s stuff still kept a sense of r & b rhythm. I was impressed by singers like Bob Dylan, Lou Reed, and Iggy Pop, who used the voice as a rhythm instrument.

In the late 1970s in New York I thought about joining or putting together a band. My friend Rich Campo told me to listen to James Brown. I did that, and also listened to a lot of '70s disco and funk I'd been too stupid to pay attention to the first time around. I got the idea, stimulated by watching the Contortions, that a new music could be created if I took the emotional edge of a group like the Velvet Underground and give it a firm base in swinging blues and funk. I was excited by Spoonie Gee's "Spoonin' Rap" and "Love Rap," which felt like punk and sounded like disco. I wanted to make music that went beyond the narrow (and narrowing) emotional range of hard rock (a.k.a. punk) without denying its truth. This tape is evidence that I didn't succeed. Rich and I made several attempts to put together a band, but nothing jelled. Finally I met up with Andrew Klimek and Charlotte Pressler, who had little interest in disco-funk but a lot of ideas of their own. We played out together as a trio in September 1981 under the name Red Dark Sweet. Shortly after that we added Charlotte's friend Donna Ratajczak on drums. Donna stayed with the band until early the next year, when she quit and was replaced by Rick Brown.

Charlotte and Andrew had a knowledge of music that ranged from medieval to early country to avant garde, but its core was the same '60s garage-goes-Velvets stuff I'd grown up on — except Andrew and Charlotte had heard interesting possibilities in the music that I hadn't. I explain it like this: freedom, expansiveness, improvisation, and noise experimentation are a logical extension of music like that of the Byrds and Bob Dylan (Bringing It All Back Home is a good example). These qualities already belong to rock and roll; they needn't be brought into the music from some other tradition (such as jazz, art rock, or the serious avant garde). I truly believe that Red Dark Sweet was (and still is) playing the essence of '60s and beyond rock and roll. Red Dark Sweet differs from the current punk revival groups because Red Dark Sweet plays the music for its possibilities rather than its notes. In any event, club owners immediately classified us as an art band, which says more about their fear than our music. It also limited where we could perform, and who would see us. This frustrated me. These frustrations eventually caused me to quit the band. I wanted to take the show on the road, so to speak. I wanted to go out and find an audience, as the Dolls had, as Black Flag had. The other band members thought that this was unrealistic, given our lack of money and connections.

Ironically, Red Dark Sweet is now in Cleveland where they are performing and actively trying to promote an alternative music space. I've spent the last year and a half working on this tape and failing to put a band together.

When I left Red Dark Sweet I got together with Stefano Arata, a guitarist who liked the Troggs, Television, Pere Ubu, the Thirteenth Floor Elevators, and other groups like that. This was what I wanted. I'd decided to abandon the idea of punk-disco fusion (a fraudulent version of which was beginning to dominate radio) and stick with my garage roots. This was a mistake. Without Andrew my music lost its expansiveness and I fell back on sounding like junior-high meanness. I broke out of that towards the end of the Pillowmakers' existence by writing ballads. As did Stefano. That period of the Pillowmakers is not documented on this tape because I don't like the concert tapes of those songs. Stefano and I spent months auditioning drummers, most of whom thought we sounded weird or that we were doing art rock. I thought we sounded limited. Finally we asked Stefano's friend Carol Meinke to drum with us. We worked hard, and eventually were able to put on some tight, intense shows. But I never could convince myself that our music mattered.

Except for "Hero Of Fear," an old Red Dark Sweet song, the solo material on this tape was written in the last fourteen months. I wrote the music to "Baby Doe" on my thirtieth birthday.

Miscellaneous Notes—In "Mrs. Hanson" I repeat one note for seven minutes. "Di Conti" is narrated by Di Conti's boyfriend, impersonated by Charlotte. "Hero Of Fear" is also known as "Bagel With Schmeer." "Linda Lu" was originally a Red Dark Sweet "song"—really a bass line and words that the band tried to make into something. Stefano's guitar playing on the Pillowmakers' version pulls the song together. The bass line was inspired by "Funky Nassau." Andrew is the only person who has understood the third verse of "Fire Hydrant" without it being explained to him. "Baby Doe" uses the same rhythm as "Sister Ray." FK's lyrics: Early stuff ("Worms," "Hero Of Fear," "Stars Vomit") are about people being addicted to their own oppression. "Transit Cop" is based on a true story. At the Canal Street subway station in Lower Manhattan you can transfer from the BMT line to the IRT line. The BMT goes into middle-class Queens, the IRT goes into the ravaged slums of the South Bronx. The cop didn't want the bum riding into a good area, I presume. After he's kicked off the train, the bum starts babbling. The other songs are all "Hey Joe."
Frank Kogan
December, 1984

tracklist )

Personnel and credits )

Accolades and a few recent thoughts )
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Cross-posting from Tumblr, where cureforbedbugs wrote:

Were you mildly disappointed in the new M.I.A. album even though you kind of liked it, and decided to listen to M.I.A. knock-offs instead and were then disappointed in them, too?

Try THIRD generation M.I.A. knock-off Tkay Maidza, who out-clonestamped Santigold this year, and ALSO gave us a second gen Sant-O-gold and also gives a few hints of, like, is that Kid Sister? – or something. Basically, this album takes all the shit I’ve been kind of rooting for but not feeling for the last five years and just gives me a 100% decent all the way through album of it. Don’t expect anything less than totally derivative, and if that bothers you then, well, I hope you enjoy all of that super original horseshit you’ve got clogging up your year-end lists. 2016 is a nightmare; give me comfort food.
My reply: Haven't made it to the albums, but on this year's singles Tkay Maidza seems to be getting the singsong M.I.A. but not the jumprope or the tunnel-under-the-earth-and-claw-your-face-off M.I.A. Meanwhile, M.I.A. on her own singles (esp. various "Bird Song"s) is sing-songing and face-clawing and excavating like always. And on another meanwhile Tkay Maidza is shining as a sharp-toothed dance diva for Martin Solveig and Motez. And on a couple more meanwhiles, Tymee is still playing it too real and tough but she's truly grabbed me for the first time since she was E.via. And Die Antwoord are an art project disguised as a rodent infestation, but they're outdoing all the aforementioned.



koganbot: (Default)
Want to post something quick with the early east coast polls just closing.

I wrote this last night in about three minutes while waiting to see our therapist:

If Clinton wins I want to go forth with the joy of intellectual argument and dispute. If Trump wins, I may need to forgo this joy in favor of simple support for those engaging in intellectual and practical resistance. —Of course it's hardly either/or. Think of the joy of the intellectual dance step. Soldiers take time to dance. And support and resistance don't lose their pull even if Clinton wins, with danger not quite so pressing.

(Then our therapist ushered us in.)

What was on my mind was what a hero I think Matt Yglesias has been overall at Vox and on his twitter feed, but that he's kind of being a minor jerk whenever he gets snarky about theories of "economic anxiety" and such that are sometimes applied to Trump voters. It's like neither he nor anyone similar knows how to get to an intelligent conversation on the subject, or really knows how to want one. It's not an urgent conversation, but life would be more fun taking the Yglesias types to task than just supporting them shoulder-to-shoulder on the subjects of greater urgency (like urban density, which he's truly smart about, but poses no fun philosophical puzzles). —Really, I believe if done right disputatiousness is an important part of support. But if Clinton wins I'll feel a sigh of relief and think even if the disputatiousness is not done so right, it'll eventually right itself, or something.

But it's important to dance.

Dance to the beat of the living dead.
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I feel emotionally battered by the election, feeling simultaneously vulnerable and malicious, as if I'll be attacked for anything and nothing and I run constant fantasies of going back and settling old scores.

I've been sitting on most of this list for a month now, wondering what to say. I don't know how this music "plays" among the people most affected by it. I'm also not completely sure whom I should consider the "people most affected by it," anyway: thirteen-year-olds uneasily trying to figure out who they are and what other people think of them, and being subjected to this music, to these vids? Kids who when they listen don't see or hear themselves and wonder what's wrong with themselves for not being like it, kids who do see themselves and don't like what they see, kids who like what they hear, like what they see, don't realize they're being set up, kids who are inspired to change themselves, kids who are just having a good time, um [trying to think of positive impacts], kids who grasp these as vehicles for love, for excitement, for conversation, for adventure? I don't know. Kids who like the way they look when they dance to this? Kids who hate the kids who dance to this?

—Why am I privileging "kids" here? ('Cause they're the ones for whom "who am I?" social choices are still fairly open, and influenced.) Why am I still listening to so much kids' stuff, anyway? (Well, other stuff I listen to isn't likely to produce singles.)

But, age 62, wondering why I'm not finding or particularly searching for good music fronted by people my age, two-thirds my age, three-fifths my age, even half my age; or fronted by male people; or explicitly political from the political Left.

I hardly ever visit the lyrics translation sites,* if the lyrics would provide much of a hint.

So I'm not doing much research, am I? Just sitting around wondering.

Locker room talk: I was molested (in a bullying, taunting way) in an actual locker room when I was a teenager. I recently dashed off a piece for my writers group about how if I imagined myself on the bus with Trump I'd think he was, among other things, challenging and bullying me. It didn't dawn on me to include what was done to me back in my track-and-field locker room. In my junior high bullying piece back in WMS #9 I said something like, "It was all over by ninth grade," but the molesting happened when I was in 9th grade, so clearly it wasn't all over. I don't know if I ever even brought up the locker room with a therapist (until last Wednesday, when I did). Maybe I thought (somewhat correctly) that it was relatively small cheese in comparison to the effect of the verbal teasing of a few years earlier. Anyway, songs in my life then were part of the soundtrack, whatever support or fear they provided.

From approximately 1963 through 1980 people more-or-less "socially" like me made great music that had a strong public presence. Afterwards, they didn't. ("People more-or-less socially like me" is vague enough.)

This is why I never post this. I'm just... not wanting to put thoughts together. Making excuses, it feels like.

Tension two paragraphs back between the phrase "people more-or-less socially like me" and the fact that one way of being "like me" is having a similar visceral response or aesthetic sensibility.

So, if I were to study old Mayan art and somewhat understand its world and be moved by it, does that make me more Mayan (if only marginally so) than I'd been before? (But do I have any idea whether my being "moved by it" is similar to how the Mayan's responded to it or what they did with it? Well, presumably if I'd done some research I'd have some idea about that, too.)

I get the sense that K-pop mostly comes from the mainstream and is geared towards cheerleader types and jocks more than to the freaks and the greasers (to use ancient terminology from a different part of the world). Also, duh, I don't know what I'm talking about it. Cheerleaders and jocks aren't necessarily more conservative than greasers, anyway, and are often less explicitly reactionary. Also, I assume (not necessarily correctly) that those who create K-pop are living in a Seoul version of Hollyweird, hence a bit more liberal than their audience. I think of particular performers, e.g. Brown Eyed Girls, and video director Hwang Soo Ah, as being vaguely on the "left." Whereas T-ara, for instance, traffic less in the need for some kind of breakout. But, e.g., T-ara's videos with director Cha Eun-taek hardly seem authoritarian or particularly traditionalist, and many of them are very good. (Cha Eun-taek is in the news right now in relation to an emerging government influence-peddling scandal, but not only do I truly know little about it, I'm wary even on my Blog That No One Reads of linking someone to the word "scandal" when I don't know what I'm talking about. I'm mindful of how the simple constant repetition of phrases like "T-ara bullying scandal" and "Clinton email scandal" creates the sense in the broad public that certain people MUST be in the wrong, even when most of the public has no idea whether or where there really is a scandal and what the alleged wrong is. Cha to his credit was one of the few industry people to tweet in support of T-ara (and Eunjung in particular) during their duress.)

"Songs in my life then were part of the soundtrack, whatever support or fear they provided." (Songs Implicated In Bullying Scandal!)

In the old days, when more people read my lj, at least a few people who knew more than I do would come along and help me out.

Here's a YouTube playlist of my Top Singles, 2016; will continue to be updated. Think I'm probably underrating the Mike Larry and overrating the will.i.am:

YouTube playlist: Ongoing Singles 2016


1. HyunA "How's This?"
2. Britney Spears ft. G-Eazy "Make Me..."
3. Crayon Pop "Vroom Vroom"
4. 4minute "Canvas"
5. FAMM'IN "Circle"



6. Tiffany ft. Simon Dominic "Heartbreak Hotel"
7. Era Istrefi "BonBon"
8. Aommy "Shake"
9. Serebro "Slomana"
10. NCT 127 "Fire Truck"
11. Wonder Girls "Why So Lonely"
12. DLOW "Do It Like Me"
13. Oh My Girl "Windy Day"
14. Serebro "Let Me Go"
15. Blackpink "Whistle"



16. Tiggs Da Author ft. Lady Leshurr "Run"
17. Britney Spears "Do You Wanna Come Over?"
18. NCT U "The 7th Sense"
19. Your Old Droog "42 (Forty Deuce)"
20. Serebro "Chocolate"
21 through 52 )

*Pop!gasa has a good reputation, though I forget who said so (which makes my use of "reputation" in this sentence a good example of what reputation is).

Way To Go

Sep. 25th, 2016 04:10 pm
koganbot: (Default)
New Crayon Pop.

Advance single "Vroom Vroom"


About perfect: Light splashy Italodisco, a boat ride past small islands. Writer and (I think) lead singer Way adds enough ache to give this a promise of passion, a hint of adventure.

Album teaser, Evolution Vol. 1


First 8 tracks, I guess; 17 are due, 10 all new. Track 2 has interesting promise, as if it's early-mid Sixties girl group morphing into soul, or early Eighties Britain burnishing up that sound so that it glistens. Or something different; it's only several seconds. Track 6 is on a different Sixties borderline, like the Animals grabbing at teen tragedy and creating a venomous adult wail — not that I expect Crayon Pop to get close to venom, or to full slaughterhouse wailing. Probably will just be nice woman dancing into the distance, leaving small pangs of dust to glint in the sunlight.

Title Track Single "Doo Doom Chit"


Track gallops and kicks right out of the gate. So much for my impression from the teaser that it'd go down a tad too easy.* In fact it's so pushy and crowded I'm having trouble disentangling it. The beat seems to be battling the atmospherics, while Crayon Pop prance steadfastly forward. Strong, but I don't know if I know how to hear it.

Anyone want to tell me how you're hearing it?

h/t David Frazer for the alert, and the post title.

*"There's a powerful monomaniacal repetition at 9 seconds in that lasts for two-and-a-half seconds ('Shaky shaky shaky HAH!' or something like that) which potentially upends or punks up the song in a good way. The rest at first listen goes down a tad too easy, though I like the flimsy discarded-cardboard drum-like sound that propels the track."
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Have this and at least another post to add to my previous discussion of "tribal." I'll reiterate right now that the term "tribal" when used for modern social identity is very wrong, and you shouldn't use it unless you're referring to actual tribes or clans.* But I do want to take better stock of the positive appeal of the term, why people reach for it and aren't readily coming up with alternatives.

 photo Gathering Of The Tribes.jpg

One quick answer is that, especially for those who apply it to themselves, "tribe" is a much warmer term than "class" is, is much warmer than any other available term except for "family," in fact is in use precisely because it suggests a family-like bond but can be used for groups larger than the family, can be used for strangers with whom one might nonetheless sense a strong attachment, a feeling of being potentially at home with them — but "tribe" also carries the potential of leaving you alone and apart and under threat when you're not with your tribe or family but are instead dumped into what feels like someone else's, or in a shack in that family's back yard, or you're born into the wrong one.

So "tribe" here feels more emotionally apt than the other available terms and doesn't have the negative connotations that adhere to words like "clan" or "caste" or "ethnic group" or "religion" or "nation."

Prior to reading my first post, Mark Sinker, who was busy celebrating his birthday instead, emailed me this comment based on the title and the first few sentences:

On Friday I was interviewing and filming my old friend Liz Naylor... She was describing how the rock press in the 70s — and the free press and the alt press and the zine press — were her substitute for going to university, basically. She came from a suffocatingly cloistered working-class home in Hyde, which is a small satellite town of Manchester (also world capital of serial killers: the Moors Murderers and Harold Shipman). She grew up in a house with no books; no access to "culture" in the sense of films or music or art or anything. School was no help: it just amplified the announcement that if any of this stuff exists — books or films or music or art — it is NOT FOR THE LIKE OF YOU, LIZ. In desperation, she set off for libraries, independent bookshops and record shops, Fall gigs etc. The rock press, she says, is "how I located my tribe" — meaning (at first bite) other feminist lesbians of mischievous punky bent, committed to a lifelong battle with self-destructive urges, and (at second) always somewhat in truculent contention with any group she appears to be declaring herself part of.

If she'd said "The rock press is how I located my class," it would immediately have necessitated a second level of explanation: because surely (or anyway at first listen) her "class" is what she was ESCAPING from.
My immediate response to Mark, unsurprisingly, was that her family is what Liz was escaping from as well, and also "This is how I located my tribe" is akin to "This is how I located my self" (via locating my true kin in opposition to my mere biological kin), this is where I live, this is true vibrancy. Whereas, "This is how I located my class," would've missed this resonance, that she'd found her home, her people, "class" being too obviously contingent, being somewhere she's stuck, maybe, or something she might leave or lose — contingent of course being EXACTLY WHERE SHE IS, imo. (Her "truculent opposition" might be precisely because she feels a familial bond, hence somewhat trapped again, but (also) might be because she's not in a class but in class systems, which give us the background feeling that we're behaving out of continual choice and that locations are precarious.) "Tribe" is false here, but it is in use precisely because it seems to explain the socioemotional pull of the group.

Fwiw, this is one way social mobility happens, through the leaving and finding of cultures.

One thing about actual tribes is that they're fundamentally not a choice. Maybe in some instances you could defect from one tribe to another, or one tribe could split off from another; but my assumption is that mostly you were either born into one or you married into it, with occasional people being kidnapped into it.
 
Liz made a heartfelt choice, almost a romantic one, like modern marriage — but in a sense by calling it a tribe she cast it as not a choice: perhaps the tribe she discovered would have been her one-and-only tribe even had she not discovered it. Without it, she'd have wandered in the wilderness. Those were her people, even if she hadn't found them. Of course, like modern romantic marriage, she could actually go through a break up, and likely will, likely did. But when she found it, it felt like forever.

Actually, in a clip that went up on Mark's Kickstarter site, what she says is, "there was just this real sense of survival, of needing to kind of go out in the world and find my tribe, find my people," which is a bit different from saying "how I located my tribe": the first makes it a search, puts the tribe in her future, with perhaps a sense of creativity, not just looking for her tribe but helping to bring one into existence. (This makes my riff above on the "one-and-only" even more questionable than it already was, since Liz may never have exactly found her "tribe." Mark says, "i'd have to check if elsewhere she says she found her tribe — i think she did mention it more than once." Also, "she's using the word slightly flippantly anyway (to mean, 'it's absurd to imagine such a thing could exist but what else do i call it?')."**

* * *

The next post will return to what got me going last time, the use of the term "tribal" by Krugman, Klein, DeLong et al. to identify problems, "tribe" not being altogether a pejorative, but "tribal" being used to connote an impediment, something that prevents people from seeing clearly and acting for the overall public or general benefit.***

But in the meantime I'm pasting in the rest of my email convo with my buddies Mark Sinker, Luc Sante, Don Allred, and John Wójtowicz:

Email, the Wild Frontier )

*Is "tribe" even the right word for tribes? That'll also be briefly taken up in a future post, the potential lumping together of disparate social forms and social groups in one category — not just "tribe," but "Latino" and so on. —"Cultural appropriation," though, isn't my beef with the word "tribal." The word's mainly being used as a metaphor, anyway; the problem is that it's the wrong metaphor. See the June "tribal" post for part one of my beef.

**Longer quote:

I had this sense somehow that there was this, loads of information out there, there was loads of interesting things in the world, and, you know, I kind of didn't know how to get to it. I think I sort of knew my own world was, felt a bit impoverished... I think there was just this real sense of survival, of needing to kind of go out in the world and find my tribe, find my people. That's easier said than done in Hyde, because it really was, there was one shop that stocked music press.
Later in the clip:

"I knew my tribe was something to do with music."

***I am hoping this post will inform that one, the sense that "familial" or "tribal" bonds feel harder to break than do "class" ones, that families and tribes claim more allegiance — even though these aren't actual familial or tribal bonds, we're not as attached or forced into them, and they're continually broken, though without this breakage necessarily helping us to move onward from the world they give us: the social systems tend to hold us even though the group identifications don't.

****E.g. Bob Dylan "She knows there's no success like failure, and failure's no success at all."

*****She mentions "grammar school," which in England is a type of secondary school, whereas in American usage the term refers to elementary school (roughly ages 6 through 11), the term now fading out.

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