TABLE OF CONTENTS
SEVENTEEN THINGS I LOVE ABOUT SHOWS………… MORE THAN HAIR……………. .
MIXING MEMORY AND DESIRE?…..pg7 UNFORSEEN SCENE IN A NORMAL PLACE…….pg8 HARLEM……..pg10 LUKASZ WIERZBOWSKI…..pg12 RYAN SAMBOL…….pg16 OLIVIA LOCHER…… . .pg20 MIXTAPE………pg30 REVIEWS……………..pg31 FRIENDLY MESSAGES
Hey Jocelyn and Keba, We just wanted to tell you that the Hook and Line magazine that you sent arrived today! Thank you so very much for sending it to us! We really appreciate your kindness! We really enjoyed reading the articles, especially the interview with Nick Jago! He's such a fascinating guy! We are very impressed by the quality of the interviews, articles, reviews and especially the illustrations - it’s not every day that we see a magazine with real art in it! Anyways - thank you so much again, - Hazel and Jennifer (New Zealand)
Dear Hook and Line, Your magazine gives me hope. -Kash (Orphan Factory)
Thank you for making something really thoughtful. -Sharon Van Etten (musician, New York) Hey this is one of the coolest and most genuine music magazines I've ever seen, though yes it may not be strictly physical! I'm always so relieved to find things that encourage music for music‟s sake so thank you and please continue! xx much love xxx -Anonymous
COVER PHOTO BY OLIVIA LOCHER – THANKS OLIVIA!
SEVENTEEN THINGS I LOVE ABOUT SHOWS. photo and list by keba
1. 2. 3. 4 4. 5.
Getting there early, waiting in line, and listening to peopleâ€&#x;s conversations Jumping Forgetting about life Singing with everyone Closing your eyes and feeling it Being right up front near the speakers and having tinnitus for the next two days
6. Meeting stinky drunk folks is funny 7. Feeling the ground vibrate 8. Knowing all the words 9. Not caring about personal space 10. The few days before the show when you‟re completely daydreaming, 24/7, about what it will be like 11. Not listening to the band on purpose because you want the songs to feel new 12. When they‟re under $lO.OO, or free, or unexpected…unexpected is the best 13. Everyone is on the same page 14. When the band/artist plays the one song that everybody knows - including the new fans - and then there‟s sort of an instant surge of energy - like someone turned on a switch 15. When they play your favorite song 16. When you spend 15 minutes yelling for an encore, think they‟re not coming back out, but they do 17. Feeling like everyone else in the city is obviously having a night that is 15% amazing while yours is 170% amazing
M O R E T H A N H A I R Spandex, make-up and hair that rebelled against gravity with the assistance of crimping irons and hair spray is how many people define hair metal. The idea that it constitutes of much more is merely a notion to them. Upon closer examination, it has qualities to admire. After reading this, you‟ll see the neon stage light. During the 80‟s, hair metal was about enjoying life beyond the extent of fullness, it was a celebration of over-indulgence. The larger than life stage shows and tight bright clothing was meant to exhilarate the audience. Hair was about having a good time. The stage show was a way for the musicians and the audience to forget about the troubles or boredom of life. For many listeners, hair was an escape. Hair metal wasn‟t just junk food. There is technique to be admired. With fast and heavy guitars and drums like rolling thunder, men who wore spandex and eye shadow made music with more testosterone than the a-symmetrical hair cut kids of today. Though the lyrical content can be similar (desperation to get laid) there‟s a major gap as far as how they handle an instrument. Quite a few hair metal bands retained sonic aggression while creating something catchy. Many of today‟s young “rock” bands have given themselves over to pop far too much. Motley Crue are a wildly successful example of a cross dressing, heavy rocking group. Guitarist Mick Mars didn‟t play the guitar sweetly or politely. The band as a whole rocked just as hard as any true rock guys, except they had make up on. Some scoff at hair metal because of their black mood, claiming that they‟re lifestyle is far too serious for that type of music. Contrary to their belief, hair wasn‟t the product of shallow minds across the board. Reading any hair metal veteran‟s auto-biography is no walk in the park. Nikki Sixx, Steven Adler and Tommy Lee‟s books offer readers tales of hardship. Nikki Sixx died and came back to life, and Steven Adler was repressing secrets about sexual abuse since childhood. For many listeners with darkness in their lives, spandex clad men were the keepers of their musical happiness. Hair metal hit some serious notes too. Under the foundation and crimped hair, hair metal bands penned lyrics on serious subject matter, as well as light hearted party anthems. While Lion wrote about the emotional effects on divorce in “Broken Home,” and, like U2, covered political issue of Apartheid (“Cry for Freedom.”) Skid Row created an anthem for illustrating a youth‟s spiral down the wrong path (“18 and Life.”) Motley Crue shows a serious side in tunes such as “Too Young to Fall in Love” that are in contrast to their living for the night anthems. The bright lights, tight clothes and cosmetics can prove distracting, but hair metal was just as multi-dimensional as any other form of music. Almost. –J.M.
M I X I N G A N D
M E M O R Y
D E S I R E ?
What is it about a song? Upon the opening notes we can recall a season, an hour, a place in time past. Is it because what is exceptional lives on, or is it that the tie to a memory remains special because of its musical backdrop? I remember learning to play the guitar to Nirvana, skateboarding to Sum 41, and lonely afternoons spent listening to the masterful Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. In burgeoning youth, I‟d spent my last hours of the evening with Chester Bennington (Linkin Park) singing me to sleep. I feel it tug on my heart, like an invisible thread, when I hear a song from my memories. But does the music make the moment, or does the moment make the music? At times, I‟ve wondered if my obsession with a cd comes at a time when my emotional state is fit. For instance, I loved Thursday‟s War All the Time album in 2004. I was in an awkward, isolated place in time. I neglected the rest of my record collection for nearly five months. It was in my walkman on the morning drive to school. When I came home I‟d take it to my room to listen again while I painted. Then, on winter nights, I‟d sit on my front porch bundled up in a coat, and stare at the peaceful, frozen scenery. I memorized all of the lyrics and spent time journaling about my analysis of their meanings (my English teacher would have been proud.) Despite this love, their next album couldn„t keep the flame kindled. A City by the Light Divided (2006) was pretty good to me, but it didn‟t catch the attention of my mysterious obsession. I probably listened to War All the Time a thousand fold more. The same goes for the Raveonettes (I listened to Pretty in Black much, much more than Lust, Lust, Lust ,) The Used (I never got past they„re debut self-titled release) and the Von Bondies (Pawn Shoppe Heart .) Perhaps my insistence that Isn’t Anything is a better My Blood Valentine album than Loveless can be attributed to one of the perfect-album-at-the-perfect-time phases in my life. As someone who is practically devoted to music, I recently found that the sentimental attachment to a song can evolve. Just last week, I was listening to WMMR, a radio station that has played practically the same music since I was a kid. In middle school, I kept a stereo under my bed. Every night, I‟d listen to Linkin Park before falling asleep. I spent many hours listening to the inscription on that shiny piece of plastic while I painted seemingly in a trance. Years later, when my music obsession shifted, that beloved cd was unfortunately lost in a car accident (my brother‟s friend, not me) as it was playing. Though the car wall full of passengers, the cd, along with said friend‟s very first car, were the only things damaged (destroyed, actually.) Recently, I heard one of the singles from that album on WMMR. It was as painful and passionate as I‟d remembered it, but I began to see encouragement in the pain. Lyrics about deep loneliness and displacement were beginning to sound like a rallying call to move forward, rather than stay lost. Despite these two arguments, I haven‟t come to a conclusion. I believe the power of the intangible will always be a mystery. Maybe my relationship with albums is all about the right place in my life, but I believe that any profound connection to music is of high value, nonetheless. –J.M.
UNFORSEEN SCENE IN A NORMAL PLACE
WORDS BY KEBA, ALL PICTURES COURTESY OF TEAADORA
Teaadora playing guitar at one of their gatherings
What comes to mind when you hear the phrase music scene? You probably jump to imagining the dry golden air of L.A, the compact black box called New York, the rainy terraces of Portland, Oregon, or maybe Austin, Texas or Seattle, Washington. All of these cities are known as being home to overflowing, busting at the seams, torrential amounts of artistic talent, culture, skinny jeans and vans, bearded men and gypsies (haha). They are hearths of modern day independent music, art and the mounds of culture that surrounds it - with no shortages of venues, galleries and the like. Everyone stops at them on tours, and, often, when one finds themselves of the artistic persuasion and does not happen to live in any of the aforementioned “hot spots”, they head there like a flock of sheep.
But, there is always something creeping up from the other side of the spectrum. Interesting things are happening. On such thing, is the work of 24 year old experimental musician and artist, Teaadora Nikolova. In an effort to bash the idea that an artist must leave their hometown in order to “make-it” in an already developed cultural area, Nikolova is helping to push foreword an experiment; The Hypothesis: If I don’t go to the city then I’ll make my own. Only two short hours out of Chicago, Nikolova is creating a scene in and unlikely place –Bloomington Normal, Illinois. Also known as the twin cities, Bloomington-Normal wasn‟t completely dry of music in the first place. There did exist a faint mark of artistic vibrancy. But according to Teaadora, it faded over time. So now, the goal is to refurbish what was lost in the fire. Teaadora was inspired by the multitude of other cities that he has traveled to through touring as a musicianall the places where he has loosely said “I want to move here”. But he has taken the most incentive from his eight months spent in the wicked awesome streets of Boston. “I have to admit a lot of influence has to do with my time spent in the Boston music scene where I lived for eight months, since they had a similar idea as the New Day Here events. The collective ideal in Jamaica Plain (a part of Boston), was to allow everyone to bring their instruments and play one or two songs. They called them "hoots". They had a central core of people who were a part of the collective called "The Whitehaus Family" (WHF). WHF established the initial creative energy to get things moving, and the thriving city of art and music embraced it by hosting other varying events.”
Pics from New Day Here/\New Music To Hear
The foundation of the blossoming music scene in Bloomington-Normal are the “New Day Here/\New Music To Hear” events. The name pretty much says it all. During these events, musicians get together and everyone plays one or two songs. But it‟s not quite your average open mic. “We differ from an open mic by organization and an emphasis on experimental works. We have themes such as "everyone must play new songs" or "you must play with musicians you have never played with before." We do not have the same performers playing every week and we do not have the sterility of a coffeehouse, bar, or any sort of dedicated spot since we always have the shows at a different place to mix everyone up. We are all about making things new - bringing energy and mixing up that energy a little bit.” Los Angelean rock duo, No Age (Randy Randall & Dean Spurt, Sub Pop), gave this endeavor a thumbs up when they came to town to play for WESN 88.1 (college radio station). Dean said that he was really into what Bloomington-Normal‟s artistic community is trying to do and that he “had to do the same thing in [his] community." It is, however, important to note that the origins of this unforeseen scene was not one of detest or hatred of conforming. Instead, Teaadora has a fascinating perspective on why artists should cultivate their own community “We all need to recognize the local movement in food culture as no different from the need to embrace a local movement in music culture. Everyone has heard “act locally, think globally”” While many have turned their backs in favor of the more obvious location of Chicago, Bloomington-Normal has cultivated a creative circle of almost 50 dedicated musicians and artists. As Nikolova would put it “I am part of an expansive and open culture. We are working very hard with what we have in Bloomington- Normal, I assure you, this will not be the last you hear of us.”
When asked about BloomingtonNormal‟s future, Teaadora says: “I want this place to be a place where people go to play and for excited show goers. Eventually maybe like an Omaha or utopia city of that kind, where people move from a place like Bloomington-Normal to the future ideal version of Bloomington-Normal. Although, what I really want to say is that the point now is to be where I am; to see that moving somewhere isn't always the answer, to do what I can where I am and for others to learn from example. What I am saying is abstract. I want it to be like if everyone wherever they are did what they could in their environment to make it best, in a way turning into an Omaha, it would be because them doing their best in their present environment was their way of moving to Omaha (their improved environment).”
FOR MORE INFO ON THIS WONDERFUL PROJECT, GOOGLE „NEW DAY HERE;NEW MUSIC TO HEAR FACEBOOCK”. IT‟S THE FIRST ON THE LIST.
S O M E D A Y Y O U ‟ L L
S O O N B E
F I R E .
PHOTO BY COOMERS, duh.
MICHAEL COOMERS + CURTIS O‟MARA = HARLEM -keba
11 How old were you when you started playing guitar? What was the first song you learned how to play & what was the first song you ever wrote? Coomers: 13ish but I never really learned anything on it. I just started writing songs. The first one was called Zombies. Jose- 12, Louie Louie/Wild Thing , first song he wrote was Cowboys Biscuits and Gravy. Curtis- 5th grade, Come As You Are. His piano teacher said itâ€&#x;s the worst thing ever, his first song was Unhappy Feeling Sappy. Is Harlem the only band you have ever been in? Coomers: No, not at all, we have been in a bunch of other bands too. Do you remember what the first Harlem show was like? than people in the audience
Coomers: More dogs
Is there a show that you guys have played that stands out in your memory as being really amazing? Coomers: Arcada, California in an huge old movie theatre to 6 people. It sounded amazing - we played 3 encores. We also just played another movie theatre in San Francisco for a girlâ€&#x;s super sweet sixteen. That was really cool too. What's your favorite song to play live? Coomers: The Monster Mash. Do you guys have any pre show rituals? Coomers: Our preshow ritual is to be late. What song does the audience get most excited about? Coomers: Happy birthday cause there is usually cake at the end. When you were a kid, what did you want to be? Curtis: college student Jose:robin Coomers:a girl What music were you obsessed with when you were a teenager? Coomers:Popular What music are you obsessed with now? Coomers: More popular How is your tour with The Dead Weather going? Coomers: We're like the washington generals. Which one feels more cathartic: drums or guitar? Coomers: Neither I don't really find music cathartic. Is it hard to sing and play drums at the same time? Curtis: difficult don't try it. Coomers: Nope.
Are there certain places that you find conducive to song writing? Curtis: in the arms of a beautiful woman. Coomers: not being touched (cause I'm goth.)
L U K A S K W I E R Z B O W S K I IS A 27 YEAR OLD PHOTOGRAPHER FROM WROCLAW, POLAND. - keba
How did you start taking pictures?
My father introduced me to photography when I was 12. Later on I became more interested in making short movies with vhs cameras. It was only a few years ago that I came back to my roots and picked up photography again. What makes a good photo?
Good light and the right timing.
A common motif in your photos are women in strange, distant, almost corpse like positions...why do you find that you are attracted to those sorts of images?
Putting women in strange situations gives me the opportunity to create a wide range of emotions. I like to observe how everything goes. It's kind of a game when I give small directions just to see how it develops.
What do you strive to explore with your photography?
A few years ago I did a project based around urbanism and architecture called Picture Shop (http://picture-shop.blogspot.com/) but I got bored with all the cold concrete, steel and glass so I started taking photos of people. I'm not trying to put any kind of formal limitations on my work, but the relation between people and their surroundings is what I'm trying to explore nowadays.
15 What are you inspired by?
I'm mostly inspired by the people I love. What are some of your other passions?
Everything that involves the creative process has always been appealing to me (few years back I wanted to study architecture) but somehow I ended up studying psychology instead (two months ago I got Master of Arts in Psychology). What music are you into this fall?
Currently on a heavy rotation: Sam Prekop "Old Punch Card", Dungen "Skit i Allt" and Ray Lamontagne and The Pariah Dogs "God Willinâ€? & â€œThe Creek Don't Rise"
PHOTOS AND WORDS BY KEBA
SAMBOL OF THE STRANGE BOYS
Ryan in front of their tour van
SUNDAY SEPTEMBER NINETEENTH, POSTED OUT ON THE CORNER OF FRONT AND THOMPSON IN PHILLY, LEANING UP AGAINST EXTERIOR WALLS, ENCASED WITHIN WAS KUNG FU NECKTIE-JOCELYN AND I WAITED WITH THREE OTHER PEOPLE FOR THE DOORS TO OPEN. All the while, I‟m thinking –“No, this can’t be, am I really gonna see The Strange Boys play in a place with only 5 people?” Well, no, not quite, the crowd showed up later, but still, no more than 50 folks. This was my chance to redeem myself. The Strange Boys had come to town more than a couple times without me being there. I started listening to this band about four years ago. It was one of those amazing Youtube moments when you find the gold, feel its magic and rush into a sonic sea of excitement. In fact, the first moments of me listening to The Strange Boys are so vivid in my head that I even remember what video it was and the name of the song. It was the one with them performing Probation Blues at The Smell in LA. I even remember that Ema from Ema and The Ghosts is the one who posted the video and that I would have never-EVER listened to The Strange Boys had I not been introduced to Ema‟s cover of After Hours by The Velvet Underground and seen Probation Blues in the related videos column on the right. I was hooked like hook is to phonics. It‟s odd to meet someone who you have only heard in songs, seen in pictures or watched in videos. In your head, you go: “You‟re real???, OF COURSE YOU‟RE REAL! Why wouldn‟t you be real?”…you have to kind of mentally slap yourself, or pinch yourself, depending on the degree of the impact. In this case, I think it was a definite slap. I wasn‟t expecting to meet Ryan Sambol (singer, guitarist, sometimes plays harmonica) but Kung Fu Necktie was unexpectedly and wonderfully small. It‟s easy to bump into the band folks. During Those Darlins‟(the other band, along with Gentleman Jesse and His Men, on the roster) set, Jocelyn asked Ryan if we could talk to him for the Hook and Line.
19 Naturally, I was unprepared, I didn‟t have a pen or paper or a tape recorder, all I had was my camera (*note to self, always carry around a pad of paper and a pen just in case you meet someone from one of your favorite bands and you just so happen to want to interview them). Jocelyn had been writing on the back of a Ticketmaster confirmation sheet and on the inside of an empty Orbit gum case to because she was super inspired by the atmosphere of the venue - and I will say, it was a really rad place. There were lanterns hanging from the ceiling, coffins hanging on the walls, bear lights around the bar and a genuine air of oldness and wornness. Almost like the walls had seen a lot and acquired much wisdom - an untold story. Anyway, Ryan noticed our lack of paper/recording devices and he stopped us for a second as we were about to start asking questions. He said, “Wait, so she‟s [Jocelyn] writing and you‟re [Me] talking?” We were like, “ummm - yeah.” Then he said that he had a tape player in the van and that he also had a tape that we could have if we had the means of playing it. Sweet! So we went around the corner (meanwhile – you can hear the music blasting inside the venue –Those Darlins were playing a cover of The Velvet Underground‟s Lonesome Cowboy Bill)and he fetched the tape player out of the van, laid it on top of a concrete post thing-a-mabobber , pressed play, and we talked for maybe 6 minutes. After that, we went back inside and I bought their latest LP, Be Brave. It was pretty cool.
ON SHOWS Jocelyn: Do you like big venues or smaller ones?
K:Do you paint on the road?
Keba: What was the first show you ever went to?
R:Not really - sometimes Jenna [saxophone player] draws pictures-sometimes I draw pictures - but it‟s very rare. I don‟t know we should probably…..we need some water colors, I wouldn‟t want to break out the oils.
R: Red Hot Chili Peppers-Californication tour.
Jocelyn: Do you prefer water colors or oil or…
K:Really? They’re awesome!
R:I like everything really, I like pastels though…
Ryan: I prefer – I guess I prefer smaller ones. I want everyone to be able to get in- but smaller ones can have a better atmosphere.
R:Yeah, that was my first. It was a huge place. J:You can blend…. BESIDES MUSIC K:What inspires you?
R: Yeah, I like that, It looks like paint but you don‟t need a brush.
R:Everything, you know? Like, mostly peopleconversations and things like that.
ON STARTING TO PLAY GUITAR
K:What’s the last book you read?
R:The Unknown Masterpiece by Balzac - Honoré de Balzac. It‟s pretty cool…It‟s two short stories about two different artists. One is a painter, the other is a musician. And they‟re both kind of insane with genius I guess. But their works that they consider to be their greatest achievements can‟t really be received correctly or understood by the people around them. So it kind of makes them go crazy. I just got it actually in New York. It‟s shorter than I expected it. I mean, I knew how big it was – but it could have been a lot longer - which is, I guess a testament to how good it is.
K:Did you always want to be a musician?
R:I used to want to be a baseball playeryou know, the normal stuff. K:How did you start playing guitar?
R:My little brother got the first guitar in the house. Philip and I, the base player, we‟re brothers. And then Philip‟s friend brought over a guitar- a really cool- nice fender- and it was really cool – then everyone started playing from there. K:What was the first song you learned?
K:Do you write besides music?
R:Probably Come As You Are.
R:Yeah, occasionally - mostly just poetry stuff. But there‟s so much of it that doesn‟t get used for the band.
K: Oh, that was the first song I learned on base!
K:Do you do anything else aside from music? Like any other creative things?
R: I like to paint. That‟s about it. I would say I almost enjoy that more than playing music, but I‟m not nearly as practiced at it.
R: Nice. Yeah, my mom came to a show on our last tour. She saw a show in London. And we gave her a ride back to her hotel and she was telling everybody about how she used to go insane because Philip used to play that song over and over again and she would only know the first thirty seconds.
OLI LOC Words Photos
For this issue, I really really really wanted to feature a photographer. Lo and Behold, one lucky visit to the good olâ€™ yahoo account confirmed this desire of mine.
19 year old Olivia Locher had sent me images from her new series: Shrines. Shrines is a collection of broodingly mysterious images, turned backs and sĂŠance-like atmosphere.
When is your birthday? December 20, 1990 How did you get into photography? I made snapshots throughout high school of my
friends and things I found interesting. I got serious with my craft late in 2007 when I received a Fed Ex delivery containing a Nikkormat ft2 and several lenses, sent from a stranger who was a follower of my blog-life. I have been taking photographs since. Have you always been into creativity? My older brother Brandon is a very eccentric
individual, performer, and artist. I have always been surrounded by creativity but I just started exploring it on my own a few years ago.
I watched one of your videos on Vimeo....the one with the eggs and the people licking the red stuff off of the chicks face....pretty crazy haha, what inspired the imagery? and do you think you'll ever do music videos? or make movies? That particular video was something
my roommate, Vanessa, and I did for one of our class assignments. It was a photography class and neither of us made a film prior to it so it was interesting. I actually sort of forgot about it; it's funny you brought it up! The imagery was ideas of things I wanted to photograph but instead Vanessa and I filmed them. It was also based off of a performance piece the My Idea of Fun Artist Collective from Johnstown [PA] put on celebrating Emmett and Mary's S/T album. I would like to experiment with film a lot more in the future and work on larger projects. Do you have a favorite photographer...or artist? Ryan McGinley
â€œi feel like a crazy woman waking up, jotting down notes and drawing
sketches as fast as i can trying to remember what was in my head.â€?
What was the idea behind your series 'Shrines'? Shrines is a collection of work inspired by
dreams I've had and images bouncing around in my head during the day. For the past year my sleep schedule has been really out of whack and my dreams are outstanding, they consist of mostly just imagery and have a lot of repeated symbols. I feel like a crazy women waking up, jotting down notes and drawing sketches as fast as I can trying to remember what was inside my head. That's exactly how Shrines came about. The work is some of the most personal work I have ever made. How did you get those streaks of rainbow in your series 'Dream Journal'? My secret self
Do you go into photo shoots with specific shots in mind, or do you just let the situations unravel spontaneously? or both? I heavily style, direct, and have a general idea of what I
want to accomplish on my photo shoots because most of the time my subjects are only acquaintances of mine and they often come into the situation a bit nervous. A lot of the people I work with have never been photographed in this way so giving them direction helps to break their self consciousness and allows for them to naturally fall into the poses I'm searching for. â€¨ I was looking through your pictures on your web site...and I noticed that there's a pretty definite contrast between the work you have done this year compared to your work from 08-09...2010 seems to have a lot more dreamy, mysterious imagery...is there a reason for that? I think both I and my work have matured. If you could photograph anyone, who would it be? There is no certain person, although Iâ€™d
like to try working with a few professional models.
I like your flower tattoo, and the ink tattoo too....any other tattoos that you were thinking of getting? I started getting tattoos very young. I got my first one when I turned
14, a friend of mine owned a shop and I begged my mother to let me get one. Currently I have three large tattoos and my dad still does not know about some of them hahaha. For right now I think I'm done getting them but in the future who knows!
What's your favorite thing to do in NYC? I like leaving my apartment and exploringâ€Ś.
going on adventures. What's your favorite thing about your hometown, Johnstown, PA? The woods! I practically
grew up in the woods constantly discovering, it's where I shot all of Shrines and part of Dream Journal. I get extremely homesick when I'm in New York. What's the last show you went to, and how was it? The last show I attended was an
opening reception for my series Clotheslines at the Visual Arts Gallery in Manhattan. The show is running until August 14th. What are you listening to these days? Belle and Sebastian, Tom Waits, Paul Simon, The
Pixies, David Byrne, Arthur Russell, Scott Walker, and Joni Mitchell. Are you working on any interesting projects at the moment? I have been concentrated on
finishing, Shrines, and Dream Journal. I am also putting together a book of snapshots and will be starting a new project in NYC within the next week or two.
ROMAN CANDLE REVIEW / WHY ELLIOTT SMITH IS MY FAVORITE
This one completes my collection. The final puzzle piece to my Elliott Smith discography. Fate saved the best for last –REALLY. Weeks ago, on the Hook and Line blog, I said that Elliott Smith’s first record, Roman Candle, was slowly becoming my favorite record of all time –and perhaps it didn’t happen slowly (seeing as this came into my possession in late July)- but I surely have not become tired of it. I can listen to the whole thing, from start to finish – no skipping tracks no fast forwarding (which is rare)and love every single song, every single note, every single word. I was thinking about why. Why am I so entranced by this album? I think the answer lies in my preexisting love for the primal sound of a whispery voice and an acoustic guitar. It’s interesting because all of my favorite songs off of Elliott Smith’s other albums are the ones that were in the same minimalistic vain. On his self titled album it’s “Alphabet Town”, On XO it’s “Tomorrow Tomorrow” & “Pitseleh”, on Figure 8 it’s “Somebody That I Used To Know”, on From A Basement On A Hill it’s “Twilight” & “The Last Hour” and on Either/ Or it’s “Angeles”. I feel like everything he writes is golden. Also, something that always makes me love a musician is when song melodies speak to each other instead of follow each other. Lots of bands make songs with base lines that follow guitar chord roots and they sing things that aren’t super “no one would ever think of that except for you”(which is perfectly fine). But every single Elliott Smith song has a great guitar riff with amazing lyrics and amazing delivery – completely unique. I’ll end this by saying: more people need to listen to Elliott Smith! He really should be up there with the greats…no one plays like Elliott. -keba
T E C H N O I R
M A 2/B E P
There are two things that any music listener can agree on: good albums are cohesive, bad albums are not. Most sound tracks seem to fall into the latter category unnoticed. In the context of a film, each song has a place, a moment, a scene. Film lovers remember each line that was exchanged over the backdrop of music, or climatic scene, but people who haven’t seen the film are lost. Next to each other on an album, the songs can seem unrelated. Recently, I’ve found a soundtrack that I can enjoy until I finally see the film. The collection of songs chosen for “The Crow” fit together as if the musicians composed them in conversation with each other. A listener could imagined Trent Reznor, Henry Rollins, The Cure, The Violent Femmes and Helmet all together in one studio (one HUGE studio) consulting each other about the feel of the story. You could even day dream about them reading the script and writing songs inspired by a particular scene. The first song “Burn” by The Cure, illustrates what drives the protagonist struggle. The revenge, deep loss, love and longing that consumes Eric for the death of his fiancee, a ghastly murder that he witnessed with his own eyes. Each song transitions to the next purposefully without losing it’s individuality. Stone Temple Pilots have Scott Weiland‘s signature crooning on “Big Empty“, Rage Against the Machine stay true to their rhythmic, hard core laced sound with some jazz instrumentation that adds an interesting touch. What perhaps made the Crow soundtrack so special is that James O’Barre (the author and illustrator of “The Crow“) loves music. James O’Barre altered and illustrated an event in his own life to create the story. Eric, the protagonist, was modeled to resemble Peter Murphy (Bauhuas), and his carefully chosen words were meant to sound like streams of poetry that might be found in Ian Curtis’ diary.-J.M
The Crow soundtrack is one of my favorite albums. The film, no doubt, will complete the experience.
When writing these reviews, I usually try at all costs to refrain from really blatant and unimaginative ways of describing the music I’m listening to (i.e. referencing all too common labels and decades). But for Technoir Ma’s 2/B EP, the 80s vibe is undeniable. I’m pretty sure anyone who listens to this will feel like they have scrambled back Manchester circa 1983. -keba