Archive for February, 2010

The Man on the Silver Mountain

Posted in Comedy, Music with tags on February 23, 2010 by roarvis

All I can say in my defense is that back in the 90s, we assumed that Ronnie James Dio was British.

New Music Machine

Posted in Music with tags , , , on February 20, 2010 by roarvis

I’ve finally mixed down a couple of my recent musical compositions. They were experimental drone pieces I did to familiarize myself with home recording via computer. Before I started working on these I had no idea about MIDI, programming synths, using plugins on guitar, etc. I’m still fairly clueless, but have reached the point where I’m able to use the tools to make music that I enjoy listening to.

The first song was obviously inspired by Spacemen 3 and Loop. I had been planning on doing a Cocteau Twins type song, but this is what came out.

The other song, “The Lighthouse,” was one of a series of atmospheric pieces I recorded when I first got my synthesizer and was figuring out how to use it. I was trying to do a John Carpenter style horror movie soundtrack number. I think it would be perfectly acceptable for a B or C grade Italian zombie film. It also has kind of a late 70s/early 80s Tangerine Dream vibe.

Misdirected Energy

Posted in Film, Music, Rants with tags , , , , , , , , on February 18, 2010 by roarvis

Dear Alternative Rock Songwriters:

You can stop writing songs about how you will always love your ex-girlfriend even if you’re apart, and she’ll never be alone, because you will always be there for her. Newsflash: She doesn’t care about you, and she ain’t coming back. Furthermore, you are risking getting a restraining order placed on your emo ass if you don’t STFU.

The same applies to guys pining over their female “best friend.” If she wanted to fuck you, it would have happened by now. If she did fuck you, but continues to fuck other guys, that means she isn’t ready for a relationship. In either case, your throaty histrionics are not going to sway her like the final third of a goddamn John Cusack movie.

The only exceptions to this rule are if:

1. You are Journey. OK, in 1982, “Seperate Ways” was a kick ass song. The only other examples of the creepy pining boyfriend in popular song lyrics back then were intentionally played as stalker anthems (I’m looking at you, The Police), so your heart on the sleeve approach was refreshing. Today we laugh at the silly video with the tight pants and wall-mounted synthesizer, but secretly we still think it kicks ass.

2. You are Lou Barlow of Sebadoh. As much as I hated “Willing to Wait” when it came out, damn if your girlfriend didn’t come back and marry you. OK Lou Barlow: you win this round!

It is important to note that not all neurotic songwriters fall into this category. For example, David Gedge of The Wedding Present and Jarvis Cocker of Pulp have each written their share of songs about wanting the one you can’t have. But these guys are masters of deadpan wit, and rarely come off as overly sentimental or cliched (much like their patron saint, Morrissey).

If a goth whines in the forest, does Robert Smith hear it?

Full disclosure: I may have been guilty of writing one or two of these “I’ll be here in case you change your mind” songs in the past. But no one has been forced to listen to my music via commercial radio stations and satellite feeds pumped into cafeterias and gymnasiums throughout the Western world (see my earlier post Get Off the Radio). My embarrassments have, for the most part, been my own (although this will probably change once I really start to dig into the cassette archives for future uploads).

And lest I sound bitter: I’m happily engaged, and like to think I have a healthy attitude about women these days. But when I hear some tattooed douchebag singing half-assed lyrics about lost love in his finest Eddie Vedder constipation voice over a bed of digitally compressed guitars, it makes the Native American Stereotype in me cry a solitary tear at how my people’s music has been cheapened. Either that, or he wants to throw a large appliance through the window and walk right out of the goddamn asylum like Will Sampson at the end of Cuckoo’s Nest.

Advance Cassette

Posted in Music with tags , , , on February 17, 2010 by roarvis

Back in the 90s, while many of my musician peers were revolutionizing the indie rock world by pressing their own 7″ vinyl records, I was busy dubbing cassette tapes with a few close friends. The result of this labor is that we now have boxes of tapes in storage that no one listens to. I decided to address this problem by remixing some of the old 4 track recordings and putting them online so that anyone who wants to can listen to them via streaming audio.

The first few songs can now be heard via The Black Egypt Archives on Last.fm. I’ve already had some people tell me that they cannot listen to streaming audio. The irony is not lost on me.

In addition to the Last.fm page, label co-founder Chris Young (aka Lawnbuddha) is also planning a Nuggets-style compilation of music from Northeast Ohio during this time period (or perhaps our little scene in particular), so stay tuned for that.

About the music: The Plague Dogs was the first “real” band I played in, although I was involved in a few recording projects before that (notably The Elroys). We were early pioneers of the genre known as “mopecore.”

Captain Jesus was my solo project, an outlet for those song ideas that were too ridiculous for the band. It became a venue for me to express my various “interests,” which included screaming, reciting terrible poetry, and sampling dialogue from Jess Franco movies.

Maimed Drake was a band comprised of some of our friends, who I believe were all skaters before they decided to pick up instruments, go forth, and rock. Their music probably fit in best with the popular style of the time, known as “grunge.”

In the coming weeks I hope to upload more songs from these projects, as well as other associated interests such as Resin, Lawnbuddha, Necron 99, Icarus, Twelve, and Severed Lips. The Internet shall know of our majestic legacy!

Childhood’s End

Posted in Film with tags , , on February 16, 2010 by roarvis

I’m kind of late to the party on this one, but the website KinderTrauma is nothing short of amazing. Every pop culture related childhood trauma of the 25 to 40 year old set (and beyond) nicely cataloged with illustrations. I even made a guest appearance, as they published a recent email concerning a movie I saw on Elvira when I was a kid.

Jackals, False Grails: The Lonesome Era

Posted in Music with tags , on February 5, 2010 by roarvis

So I didn’t win the “most imaginative” contest either, but whatever. If making the other list and posting it here taught me anything, it was that I needed to make another playlist with all the Pavement songs I wanted to include last time but couldn’t.

But first, I wanted to give a shout out to Chris Young, who “hipped” me to Pavement back in ’92. Thanks Chris, that was a good call.

Also, there are a few observations I made during my recent obsessive reevaluation of the Pavement music. One is that Steve Malkmus is a really great lead guitar player. His solos are up there with Neil Young and J Mascis, and if anything I think his playing is fresher and more inventive. He’s continued the guitar exploration on his solo records, which seem to get get better with each release.

The other thing is that I really like the Pavement lyrics. Even the ones that don’t make any sense. They got a lot of flack at the time for supposedly not caring or meaning what they sang about. But I think the emotion and meaning is there, it’s just coded in such a way that it doesn’t become dated. Would “Newark Wilder” be a better song if Malkmus had spelled out that he had a crush on his sister’s friend, or that he was involved in a love triangle? I doubt it. It’s the mystery of the lyrics that helps the song work today, as if he knew he wouldn’t be in his early 20s forever and didn’t want the songs to be frozen to that viewpoint. Also, “ride in on horses and break up divorces” just might be the greatest rhyme ever.

Without further ado, here is the REAL Pavement greatest hits, utilizing all those B-sides, Peel sessions, and album tracks that didn’t quite make the cut for whatever lame reason last time. If someone were to ask me why I think Pavement’s music has staying power, I might direct them to this compilation.

1. Fin
2. Texas Never Whispers
3. Nail Clinic
4. Circa 1762 (John Peel Session – June 23, 1992)
5. You’re Killing Me
6. So Stark (You’re A Skyscraper)
7. Elevate Me Later
8. Haunt You Down
9. Roll With The Wind
10. Angel Carver Blues / Mellow Jazz Docent
11. Newark Wilder
12. Kennel District
13. Kentucky Cocktail (John Peel Session – June 23, 1992)
14. The Hexx (BBC performance circa Terror Twilight)
15. Heckler Spray
16. Raft
17. Secret Knowledge Of Backroads (Peel Session – June 23, 1992)
18. Unfair
19. From Now On
20. Sue Me Jack
21. Unseen Power Of The Picket Fence
22. Loretta’s Scars
23. Westie Can Drum
24. Fight This Generation
25. Starlings of The Slipstream
26. Strings Of Nashville
27. Here (loud version)
28. We Dance

If anyone is aware of a good website or software for making playlists that can be embedded here, let me know.