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Friday, August 24, 2012


Good Morning Captain - Slint

Even adamparsons might not be able to resist this one...there's a wiff of laser lights burning through dry ice smoke in it's epic sweep.

Because I live half my life in hotels I've developed routines that can be carried out in any room with a television and a wireless. Some stability of locking myself out of the important.

Mostly I flip the channels looking for good-bad tv (not only do I love good-bad television..I like bad-bad television. Give me an hour of cars being repossessed or grainy footage of people trying to steal ATM machines...bliss). I smoke and read blogs.

My mind falls into the same meandering pattern it does on Friday afternoons in the office. An actor from an antacid commercial will appear as a victim on Law and Order...I'll wait for the credits and then google 'em. I'm on IMBD Netflix where, of course, I can't find anything I'm looking for.

If there's no Ancient Aliens on pop-up-video reruns of Jersey Shore...I'll throw the headphones on and wait for a distraction.

Last night's came when Wire popped up on the itunes...Heartbeat. A song that I hadn't heard for a long time until recently...a brilliant song and one of my favorite covers by Big Black.

Big Black to Steve Albini...Albini to the one of those records from the late eighties/early nineties that seemed to made specifically for me...Tweez by Slint.

Ron...the guitar bit that cuts through it like mechanical snake just floors me.

There's some language there in the beginning. I wonder if Albini is still in the habit of provoking outburst and recording conversations in the studio. For all his well earned credibility, that crap was mostly corny. The "touch my stuff" bit before Vamos on Surfer Rosa works...the "into field hockey players" does not. Here, when he genuinely seems to be begging for a new set of headphones is good. The "oh mans" seem phony to me.

Slint was actually an off shoot of a band that, in the distortion of a rear view mirror, developed legendary status...Squirrel Bait.

They were great...for a Husker Du tribute band.

I am a fan though (especially after what I made selling that first record a few years ago). One could do a lot worse than ripping off Husker Du.

The real reason Squirrel Bait has the cache that it does is because of the bands it spawned...Big Wheel, Slint, For Carnation, Tortoise, etc.

The picture that serves as a video for Good Morning Captain is the cover of the album Spiderland...the photograph was taken by Will Oldham.

The Brute Choir from Viva Last Blues.*

I think his cousin was in a band that pre-dated Squirrel Bait with some the members. At any rate he was from the same crowd in Louisville, Kentucky and members of Slint went on to play on Palace records.

We drove to Baton Rouge one Saturday afternoon and saw him play for about 45 minutes before they turned the lights on him. Closing time was 2:30 am and was strictly enforced that night. They got a cop off the street to make the announcement because everybody in the bar, including Oldham, was furious.

We had sat through 3 hours of local hacks, burnt up all our pocket money on the pool tables...we were all well oiled and now this? It was all worth it when Martha, the one that never colours outside the lines, got busted for snatching the set list. HA!

In a more direct line of sight is Tortoise. Slint split into two major projects...For Carnation and Tortoise.

Spiderland is sometimes referred to as the first Post-Rock record...well, here's Post-Rock at it's self-indulgent heights. At least Jim O'Rourke played the guitar.

I did go see ' the karlstorbahnhof ...where, evidently they are still pushing the Post Rock.

Unfortunately for Tortoise....they had chosen Doo Rag as their opening act.

Tortoise didn't stand a chance and I don't remember anything those eggheads played that night.

The Sea and Cake was side project between members of Tortoise and a fella from Shrimpboat. To me they sounded like an airbrushed, honkier version of Thinking Fellers Union Local 282.

According to one website they only played about 15 shows in the 90's and I was at one of ' an attic, in a building, in some German town I can't remember the name of. In fact, all I remember was buying a t-shirt with Bees on it and blacking out in the car on the way back.

Long before any of that (92 maybe) I saw Big Wheel (the other off shoot from Squirrel Bait) in a student union center at a college. What really stands out from that show is the opening act...a local band that did the greatest version of Sweet Child O Mine...evar! EVar!

It's a testament to the scope of Squirrel Bait that I've seen (what?) four acts that are direct heirs...and, with the exception of Will Oldham who is untouchable, three of those shows were just something to do. I owned their records and didn't go reluctantly but, I wouldn't have driven 300 miles round trip, like we did for Oldham, to see any of the others.

So, that was Wednesday night...because CSI was all reruns and because Kibber posted this Moon Duo clip back in June. I immediately downloaded it and have been beating it against my brain every since.

Having down loaded it...I wanted more fuzzy beats and more...eventually leading back to a couple of songs I had almost forgotten about...Cheree by Suicide and Heartbeat by Wire.



  1. Feel like I've just been taken on a musical guided tour! And with a side-trip through some of your memories. Interesting the way one song/thought leads to another and with it all at our fingertips we take it for granted that we can just call up whatever's on our mind - or dip into somebody else's suggestion of what should be on our mind! I loved Wire - and am sure I've bored you before about seeing them live in the very early days - not so familiar with the other stuff here but Mr SDS was into a lot of US 90s output like this at the time so I heard Slint etc then. Didn't totally get into it myself, but I'll have to give these all a bit more of a listen now; things can sometimes surprise restropectively. (You know my ambivalent thoughts about Moon Duo already...and you're still talking to me, at least.)

    1. Motorcycle, I Love You is my new favorite song ever like...hear it World. Love it too.

      Wire is unstoppable. I know I've heard you mention them but I'm sure I remember that story. I'll have to go dig around over there.

      Slint was great. I'm particularly fond of Tweez. The others are OK. I certainly wouldn't break my neck or even a sweat trying to find a copy of The Sea and Cake. A lot of serious people loved Tortoise though.

      Will Oldham is a different story all together...Palace, Palace Brothers, Palace Mountain, Palace Music (Bonnie Prince Billy). The Brute Choir is from Viva Last Blues. That and the Mountain EP are essential listening. Viva Last Blues has got to be counted as one of the all time great records.

      Go buy it y'all.

  2. In Shanghai I developed a fondness for "The Dog Whisperer". Probably just as well I don't have a television in real life.

    1. I am probably the most easily amused person you'll ever talk to...the t.v. is my friend. If I didn't have a family and a job I'd probably just sit around watching the World's Dumbest Tourists until I cracked.