15 December 2008


Ex-Sleep riff-wraiths unfurl drum-and-bass songs of worship that roll like a brewing ocean. Upon hearing of this band's premise, I thought: "It will need guitar." Guess what: it don't. Al Cisneros' bass makes fat ribbons of riff that buzz and crawl with the best, THE BEST I SAY. Chris Hakius does the most with the least--check out his bass drumming on the end of "At Giza" from their album Conference of the Birds. That reminds me--these guys know how to name their albums: 

Conference of the Birds 
Gebel Barkal
Inerrant Rays of Infallible Sun (Blackship Shrinebuilder) 
Live in Jerusalem* 
Variations on a Theme

If you think these songs are boring, you don't have ears as far as I'm concerned. When I hear them I can't stop seeing these musicians' barely luminous cat eyes beaming their dull green pools into my skull. Wow. Music to get lost in, to be sure. Sample their unitive knowledge of the godhead. 

*Yes, this album is a live concert recorded in Jerusalem. 

03 December 2008

I Hate Fader (Sometimes)

Folks, I'm about to get a little ranty on yo' asses.

Fader Magazine has recently published a column in which two guys talk about the most boring things they can think of relating to Devendra Banhart. Rather than talking about his music or something he said or did, they have deemed it fit to assail the world with a jaw-droppingly mundane roundtable discussion "CONSIDERING DEVENDRA BANHART IN LATE 2008." 

OK, before I get into heavier stuff, apparently these guys don't really like Megapuss and think it is a joke or, as they put it, a "fuck you". That's insulting. Not just to Devendra, but to the world. When Neil Young made Trans, a purposely horrible science-fiction electronica album, solely because his record label didn't want him to, THAT was a fuck-you. I don't know, I just don't get it. Surfing has some AMAZING jams on it, and I think people are trying to make them more than what they are--jams. And what is wrong with letting them be the jams that they are?? It's an album about surfing!! Surfing = fun. Jams = fun. Why is The Fader anti-fun?? Why are jams a less-acceptable form of ass-kicking music?? THEY TOTALLY JAM! 

Moving on, these guys are totally and completely pretentious. We are all fans of Devendra, and he has some star quality to be sure. But come on, Fader. "Considering Devendra Banhart in Late 2008"?!? So lame. If you want to get all fucking academic about it, go back to school. Please spare the reading public your gross, desiccated journalistic fantasies of...well, I have no idea what. I have been trying to think about why music journalists do shit like this, and I simply cannot think of a single reason. WHY DO MAGAZINES WANT TO KILL MUSIC?

I'm exaggerating, of course. Fader sometimes has some great content and beautiful layouts and pictures, but this is retarded. I'd like to admit that there was a time when all I could do was await Devendra's next release, or the slightest bit of news or an interview. He gave recommendations for life-changing books and music, and I received a bit of an education from him. He inspired me to go for broke and make my own music. Suddenly I was clutching a copy of Working On Wings to Fly to my chest and muttering to myself about Andy Cabic's new haircut. Then...I started listening to other music. And while I stopped paying attention, Devendra continued to release great, great stuff and say things that are funny and really pretty wise. I guess what I'm trying to say is that it's disgusting to endlessly speculate on the exploits of a mildly famous person--even if you love the music they create. 

That space could have been occupied by something we actually want to read. You have the right to publish what you want, Fader...but more Tiny Tim and Marc Bolan comparisons? George Clooney in Batman & Robin?? Bob Dylan?? Even if someone is the next Bob Dylan, you don't say it. It's kind of like how in baseball you don't say "no-hitter" while one is in progress--except in this case you don't say it EVER. Why? Because it doesn't matter. I suppose this is just further evidence of the boring state of most music writing today, with its endlessly stupefying parade of comparisons and comparisons and MORE damn comparisons. (Not that I don't make comparisons....) I suppose it's one of the major dilemmas in writing about music in general, really, and one that I struggle with a lot: what's the point of even doing it when you can just let the music stand on its own? Well, that's a debate for another time. Let's just say for now that some Fader writers are forgoing all nuance in their grappling with this issue and going the way of everyonefuckingelse.