Saturday, November 26, 2016


Saturday, November 12, 2016


Top Ten Hot List:

1.   The beef burnt ends at Smokehouse on North Oak Trafficway really scrambled my medulla a couple weeks back.  I assemble on occasion with my hometown barbecue gang and we hit the different spots.  I've been thinking about those burnt ends since.  In some ways I am never more grateful for returning to my home territory than when I am tucking into generous platters with Fritz, Frosty, and Hoffy.

2. Late to The Fall, late to Nick Cave, late to Leonard Cohen; sometimes I arrive late.  I have been enjoying Cohen's late-run of albums and was up in the attic recording "Darlin' Clementine" for fun, when Tracy came up and gave me the news.

Clementine did trip on a splinter and fall in the river, but she had a sister, and this seems Cohen-esque.

3. Facebook is starting to feel like a mental illness.  Of course I love my friends who post earnestly and often.  But I am going to re-read The Art of War and sit tight for a minute, rather than dissipate.  Long-form articles; the long view of history; good poetry; and the teachings of Jesus, Buddha, Muhammad, and Buck O'Neil.  I need a break from the OCD of smart phones and posts and likes.  80% of evangelicals voted for Trump and apparently the teachings of the New Testament are now utterly optional--this is something to think about in a gun-crazy country shot up with Breitbart and hog adrenaline.  Top down psychological permission to be crappy to each other is, as the kids say,  HUGE.

4. Eugenio Montale, Selected Poems.  I struggled with this book, struggled mightily.  I was relieved to read that his poems have been called hermetic and obscurely personal.  I, with a fairly robust IQ, a college English degree, and decent reading ability, am not a total lazy dipshit to struggle with these poems.  I found it at Crescent City Books in New Orleans and virtually every poem repelled tracking and sense--but I read them and will try again.  High intellect and country-wise--in intimations, leaps, and resonances.  Not easy at all.  

I am now revisiting The Essential Etheridge Knight, which I read in my twenties.  It seems really relevant right now. 

5.  The Golden Motors posthumous album: I have been sitting on this like a hen for three years now, it is mostly mixed and I have ideas for the art.  I'm just in that weird place that all DIY musicians are in nowadays--how to release an album of songs.  CD and vinyl options are best, but very expensive to finance, and I do have hundreds of cds under the steps that go down to the basement.  I haven't worked up a plan to crowd source.  It's sounding great, we worked up a kick ass batch of songs.  This is more on my mind because SquidsKC are now working up a kick-ass batch of songs and there's no way I'll sit on TWO kick-ass batches of songs.

6.  After voting Tuesday we had a beer at Mike's Tavern and I was reminded that Nikki Sudden once played a solo show there, just blocks from our house.  I bought the Numero Group's repackaged box set of seven of his records a month or so back, at the pop-up sale.  Also the second Unwound box set; the Ork box on cd; the Forte label anthology CD, and an ambient release by Express Rising.  That kind of blew my record budget pretty good, but I did pick up Alex Chilton's 1970 at Records With Merritt recently.  The Ork box is actually full of tracks that sound Chilton-inspired, and less early punk rock than I figured.

7.  I went to my first Chiefs game in about 25 years last weekend, and tailgated for the first time as well.  It was really something out there, really fun.  They are doing well this year and it was a blast.  That said, I would appreciate it if the franchise changed its name and logo to something respectful or merely goofy and fun, like the Jackson County Crushers. But a nice block, a good cut, a seven-yard pickup, a touchdown, a good hit--these are hard not to enjoy, and enjoy together. 

8.  There is now a vibe of mistrust in society at large, I have been feeling it, I think we all have.  Not trusting each other is a serious sign of problems.  I have been wondering what daily life was like in countries that took the plunge into total dysfunction.  I'm thinking the vibe of mistrust must have been part of it.

9.  Daily drawing is now part of my routine, as little as five minutes a day, chiseling away at little designs and patterns.  I keep threatening to have one of them tattooed on my arm.  Doodling and a quick no-thought poem are my one-two punch to get the day started with a cup of coffee.

10.  Swinney Gym.  As quality of life goes, nothing really beats riding my bike or walking up to Swinney Gym for a swim, or time on the elliptical or exercise bike.  I tweaked my back badly, digging a fencepost hole in May, just before the AHA Heartwalk (bummer).  I have only recently worked my way back into running, with a four-miler here and there.  I don't anticipate every dedicating myself to one form of exercise again.  An eclectic but committed course of different exercise methods seems to be best.

Friday, November 4, 2016



I got the chance to see The Meat Puppets again last week.  They have long been a favorite band.  I may have written here before that seeing them at the Foolkiller in 1985 opened up my world to music by people who drove around in station wagons touring original music for low pay--more like poets or shoe brush salesmen.

I may have even reminisced here about cleaning ashes out of the trash incinerator at the United Super grocery store in Liberty with my piddly boombox connected to a  50’ extension cord, listening to Meat Puppets 1 and feeling the tingle of awful and sublime in equal parts.  It was hot, dirty, solitary work for a horny teenaged intellectual, keeping company for the afternoon with broken grocery carts and discontinued Little Debbie end displays and ten cubic feet of burnt cardboard boxes.  The squealing, unintelligible, acid-addled singing on the record made a lot of sense.  I may have turned into an armadillo for part of the afternoon, and had not yet kissed a girl.

Saturday, October 29, 2016


This guy looks back from the page with a strong vibe.  I spilled coffee on one of the floating space eyeballs and blurred it in retouching.


I'll continue to review the best albums of 2016, aka ANY RECORD I BOUGHT.

Guided By Voices: Please Be Honest

This Guided By Voices record goes all the way back to Vampires on Titus approach, just Robert Pollard recording everything under the GBV name.  It sounds fresh to me, it has some killer artwork and killer tunes on it, what's not to like?  Along with the poet William Stafford, Pollard shows that steady process works, relaxed standards keep the flow going, and gems emerge.   These two are unlikely allies but they're kind of on my personal creative board of directors.  I found this on a spree at Josey Records with Dave Snider.

Sun Ra: Angels and Demons At Play

Also a crazy prolific artist with a bent point of view, Sun Ra has a lot of music to explore.  His Twitter feed, from beyond the grave, on the other side of Saturn, is always a refreshing aside of mysticism and affirmation.  This record seems transitional to me, between the more traditional sounds of the late 50's and 60's, and the noiser electric jams of the late 60's and 70's.  This was a Half Price Books find, on one of their bad-ass coupon days.  

"My music comes from outer regions, from other beings I communicate with. I've been to Jupiter, and I've seen a lot of things." (Sun Ra) 

 The Bevis Frond: Miasma

I guess this continues the theme of out-there, independent artists like Pollard--this is a home-recordist classic, reissued on groovy blue vinyl for 2016 Record Store Day, also a Josey Records find.  In the early days of college rock I would hear about Bevis Frond but I never went down the rabbithole.  The sturdier sounds of Screaming Trees was more my thing.  You seldom hear outright Hendrix-ism in indie rock--this has the psychedelic guitar god thing going on, miniaturized and privatized in the arena of backyard imagination, which is kind of where I like it best.  And with great pop songs (oft-covered) that is a sweet deal.

Charles Bradley: Changes

Of all the records I've checked out this year, this one has the feel of an instant, note-perfect classic.  The retro soul movement is one of the best things we have going in this icecap-melting age, but it can at times begin to sound by-the-numbers.  This is, top-to-bottom, a perfect batch of songs, recorded vintage, and very moving.  Also a Josie Records find.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

A Tattoodle + 2016 Vinyl Non-Reviews

In just a few short months people will begin sharing their Best Of 2016 music lists.  I am preemptively sharing all my 2016 vinyl, declaring each one the BEST of 2016.  It would be stupid for me to pretend I have a sampling of 2016 records worth ranking.  When I was six I'd go to a movie and say that was the best movie I'd ever seen and then I'd go to another movie and say that was the best movie I'd ever seen, and on and on.

Melvins: Basses Loaded

Here is a band that does what it does consistently and without regard for trends, methodically and casually releasing album after album of interesting, concise, heavy-assed art rock.  There are always some weirdo numbers that stand tall for creative freedom no matter what.  This one has a bunch of guest bass players on it, and a Beatles cover.  I bought this at the new Mills Record Company on Broadway.

Fat Boys: Big & Beautiful

This might be the best dollar bin find of 2016.  It's vintage tacky and sounds a little like pre-fab Run DMC, and my better half does not like this at all.  Yet, there is something raw and silly about it, and the beatboxing is totally rad.  The cover is colorful and fun and when this comes on during a workout, I jiggle harder.  Also a Mills find.

Be/Non: Mystic Sunrise

I bought this at the memorable album release show at the Masonic temple on Linwood and Troost.  It was epic, and this is one of those albums I want to buy 25 copies of for 25 friends in the Northwest.  It's space rock but concise; art rock but catchy; indie but virtuosically played; weird but not alienating.  Lots of space and room to breath and perfectly detailed.

Little Richard:  The Essential Tracks 

I've noticed there are alot of heritage releases like this on heavy vinyl and that's pretty neat.  I found this at Half Price Books.  I read the other day that David Bowie knew all these saxophone parts.  If you wanted to dj at a bar, you could put this on and watch Bonanza for an hour while enjoying a reuben, it would be just fine.

My nephew Jay turned me on to the Country Gold of Johnny Rodriguez and I love it.  His version of "That's The Way Love Goes" is my favorite on this record.  Dollar bin at Mills.

Saturday, September 10, 2016


SquidsKC are on a great bill with Pedaljets and Cher UK at Record Bar on Friday 10/21. This show is going to bring the rock! 

The morning routine consists of feeding the dogs, remembering to GRIND the coffee beans and not just throw them in the filter; then reading some poems while the shower heats up, then doing a few minutes of drawing to drift away from whatever poems I've just read (this week it is David Ray's translation, After Tagore). Then write a poem in a few minutes with as little thought as possible, type it up, stick it in paper and electronic folders and forget about it; go manage subcontract for 9 hours.  It's about a half-hour morning ritual.

This drawing took about three weeks, a little at a time. I'd like to see it blowed up to 48" height and printed on 13 oz scrim banner material, or backlit in a light box. That would be spendy.

It's hard to get musical between 5:30 and 6:30 AM because that gets me wired, I lose track of time very easily, and it's hard to come down from it, so I do that at night.  The main development lately is to take good care of whatever output I manage because the absent-minded professor routine doesn't work.  Printing, filing, organizing, being my own secretary.