Monday, July 1, 2024

Velly Joonas ‎- Stopp, Seisku Aeg! (FULL 7", soul, Estonia, USSR, 1980-1...

Just stashing this here because now YouTube does not feature anything like "Favorites" or "Watch Later." Are they trying to tell us something? 

Answer: yes. 

They're trying to tell us: "PAY UP, peasants, or fuck off." 

Wednesday, June 12, 2024

PJ Harvey & Björk cover the Rolling Stones' "(I Can't Get No) Satisfacti...

Maybe the 1990s weren't so bad after all. There was the Shibuya-Kei pouring out of Japan, and Nirvana were very good, and there was this.  

I was pretty scattered then, and for a few years in the middle I did drink a bit too much, and I was in the process of finally figuring out Jazz, so perhaps I could be graciously forgiven to have missed occasional gems like this. But hey, nobody's perfect. 

Thursday, June 6, 2024

Magic Sam ~ All Your Love and Lookin' Good

Well? What do you think? Sam was pretty good, 'eh? Yeah, I think so too. I think he was great. 

The way that I heard it, Sam was less than reliable when it came to money. He drank a bit. His guitar was usually in the pawn shop, so he had to borrow one. From the photographic evidence, he often borrowed the guitar of his buddy, Earl Hooker. He could be hard to find when it was time for the gig too. He generally had no place or phone of his own, preferring to share the lodgings of his girlfriends. I don't think he ever had his own amp. The clubs always had a few around. 

I think that there are two albums, or were. I couldn't say what was available at this point. One studio; one live. Don't quote me. 

I think that Magic Sam made a guitar work harder than anyone else. He kept them ringing like bells. No dead spots for Sam, no dramatic pauses. Racing the devil, I guess, and he lost in the end. He was thirty-two. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

The Internet Is Sinking, And It's Taking Us Down With It

It gives me no joy, and only a bit of relief, to know that the individual who left two disagreeable comments in March of last year has crossed the river. 

Not to worry, though. You open the door to such rough handling when you leave the comfort of a simple, anonymous life and write a blog. I cannot say that they did not phase me at all, but the reality of it is that I am much harder on myself than any of my critics could manage. 

Those comments were reassuring in their way. They were a human touch to our constantly evolving Internet. At the very least it is quite unlikely that they were generated by an AI bot. And likely that they were not planted for the purpose of positioning any other blog above mine in the order of importance that AI is in the process of creating and refining. 

I'm sure that you have all noticed by now that the Internet is becoming less useful, less enjoyable, and more of a tool of oppression than we had been accustomed too during its Golden Years. Google search? Clogged with money grabs. YouTube? I never thought that I would see twenty minute advertisements. Facebook? Fishing scams, hacks, and contact with maybe six of your friends. This will only get worse as time goes on. Always the reduction in human input, and always the ever more voracious cash grabs. 

Strange things happen because websites of all types are entirely machine operated now. All you want to do is some simple thing, like sign up for a streaming service, or renew a magazine subscription, but the machine misinterprets something and says, "no way, Jose." This kind of thing has happened to me several times in the last year. In each case, there is no opportunity to contact the vendor. No chat button. Remember those? There were always pleasant, knowledgeable Indian twenty-somethings ready to help you. In my experience, they did a very good job. I don't have problems of first impression, no problems that are particularly challenging. Very run of the mill. The young person takes care of it almost immediately. 

No, now we just hit the stone wall of the machine. Frankly, I have a low impression of any company that would release such defective software to accomplish its business with consumers who simply want to sign up for something and pay with a long established credit card that works. And the wall is made of genuine stone. "We're sorry, but your IPO doesn't match the address on your credit card." End of story. No Deezer for you! The list goes on. One of the world's largest corporations, with whom I have been doing business for decades, refused to recognize that I was me, even though I signed in at the IPO that I used to buy software from them fairly recently and signed in with the user name and password that they gave me on that occasion. Their machine gave me a series of tests designed to prove that I was me. The questions included, "what were the subject lines on your last ten e-mails?" Again, no possible way to contact a human being, where the problem would be solved in two minutes. "Please send me a photo of you holding your passport next to your head." Even I could do that fairly quickly, and I'm not good with this stuff. 

Has everyone noticed that the new scam is that you can't buy software anymore? Now you only buy a "subscription." What you used to pay for the software now only covers you for a year, and you must pay with a credit card and allow automatic renewals. This is neoliberalism at its apex of piracy. Increase the number of contracts, and reduce the duration of contracts. Textbook stuff. And annoying. 

So far, every year since 1999, I have hated the Twenty-First Century more each new year than the last. Although, as I have said before, it does take the sting out of imminent death.  

Sunday, April 7, 2024

Sadistic Mika Band in UK TV show “Old gley whistle test “1975 サディスティック ...

This band brought me into the world of Japanese bands/ singers/ music. I've got several records by this group. Pizzicato 5, FPM, and Shibuya-Kei in general have been my jam since the late 1990s. I've lived in Asia for about twenty years now (almost exactly). Most of the local music is either syrupy sweet love/ pop or morbid traditional songs about longing. Canto-Pop, etc. Japan really is a world apart. Tricot, Elephant Gym, the new stuff is really amazing. They are the funky Asians. 

I have a guess about how this happened, but I fear it ain't woke enough to mention in todays boring cancel climate. 

Friday, March 1, 2024

Tired of Trying, Bored with Lying, Scared of Dying

Almost all of the English Invasion bands started out as cover bands. That includes the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. A lot of those bands, however, were very talented, and quickly moved on to writing material for themselves. The Manfred's singer, Paul Jones, wrote this one. 

I'm starting to think that bands that got the best advice were the ones who moved up into the "making money zone." The Beatles had Brian Epstein and George Martin playing big roles. The Stones had Andrew Oldham, whom I am beginning to think was smarter than he's gotten credit for. 

Maybe it's just a tough business. Certainly the Kinks, the Who, and the Hollies had talent to spare. All three of them had as much entertainment value as the two big winners. They also had good writers. So, weak management? Poor planning? I don't know enough of the details to sort that out. 

Bad advice was definitely involved in some dramatic crash-and-burns. Paul Jones decided to go solo, and so did Wayne Fontana ("Game of Love," with the Mindbenders). Both of them were leaving bands consisting of very talented musicians and some reason to expect further success. Who advised them on that move? Both singers went off the radar immediately, and the only subsequent material that I've heard was very weak. Both bands went on to greater success than they'd had with their original singers. 

Want to have some fun? Get ahold of the WF and the Mindbender's Game of Love LP. It's hugely entertaining, and musically excellent. Those fellows could really play.  

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

New Challenges For Travelers

There is a remote chance that I will return this year for a visit to the country of my birth. That would be America, specifically California. Six years have passed since my last visit, and it appears to me that the situation on the ground has changed dramatically. The changes have not run in favor of an easy and comfortable trip.

The new COVID variant, Omicron, is statistically significant and obviously dangerous. Every day, people are contracting the disease. People are being admitted into the hospital. Most impressively, people are dying. In spite of that obvious threat level, I don’t see a lot of masking going on. Instead, I hear a lot of yelling about not wanting to wear masks, and freedom, and you can’t tell me what to do, and take off that mask you fucking commie. Has any work been done about the possibility that COVID has a potential psychological impact? Subtle, perhaps, but acting to make sufferers irritable and unreasonable?

If, indeed, I do travel to the indispensable country this year, I will be masking. Probably double masking. I have seen examples of masked people being accosted in retail establishments or travel situations for having the freedom-hating temerity to wear a mask. As though, perhaps, the only possible explanation could be that the masked individual was a libtard, or under the spell of ex-President Obama and his puppet, Joe Biden. I have formulated a strategy to use if I am faced with this behavior in a convenience store or something.

My play will be to feign weakness, cough into the mask, and say in an unsteady tone, “I’m sorry. I was in Africa for six months (cough) and my doctor thinks that I was exposed to Ebola. He says I must wear (long, wet, wheezing cough) this mask to protect (cough) other people.” (Reaches out to lean on something, holding chest and coughing.) “Oh, shit! I forgot my rubber gloves!”

It was a lot of fun to run this strategy past a couple of friends of mine, but I know that in reality it would only make someone want to shoot me. A lot of the unreasonable Americans are now strapped.