Jesse Jarnow

Archive for July, 2007

links of dubious usefulness, no. 15

o Been perusing the Lost in Tyme crate-digging blog at Sea of Sound‘s recommendo. Compared to Mutant Sounds, it’s positively mainstream, but still yielding some nice scores.

o The Acid Archives of Underground Sounds is a ridiculously large document of the obscurest of the obscure. They certainly don’t get everybody — a quick scan through recent Mutant Sounds posts from the genre/era reveals that — but the sheer amount of “lost” psych records is nearly unfathomable. If only they had recommended playlists.

o A complete video of Cornelius’s recent performance at the Sonar Festival. I haven’t watched it yet, but assuming it’s the same set I caught at Webster Hall in May, it’s dome-splitting: beautiful videos synched with Cornelius’s band, who groove on his bleeped abstractions in an organic way that somehow recalls the Stop Making Sense-era Talking Heads. Highly worth your time. Scroll down to find Cornelius. (Good spotting, Sancho.)

o Neutral Milk Hotel’s Julian Koster (aka the Music Tapes) will be playing one of his very sporadic shows in NYC next week, which can only be attended via his special, bizarre instructions. Last time, I tried to follow them & somehow still managed to miss him (as did other people who arrived at the same time/place as me). Doesn’t mean I won’t try again.

o The preview for Wes Anderson’s forthcoming Darjeeling Limited:


“Sun Organ” – Black Moth Super Rainbow (download) (buy)

Been a few months, but here’s another installment of Dad’s animation, this one from Sesame Street. “Sun Organ” synchs up vaguely/pleasantly.

see also: Face Film, Cosmic Clock, Yak!, Wild Night

some recent articles.

The Multiplex Dreams of Bollywood” (San Diego Fahrenheit, 2003, via

Album reviews:
Twelve – Patti Smith (Paste #31)
The Horseshoe Curve – Trey Anastasio (
Americana: Home Recordings – Jim Croce (San Diego Fahrenheit, via

Track reviews:
Rain” – Bishop Allen (
Tripper” – Le Rug (

Columns and misc.:
BRAIN TUBA: Happenstance Overthrown (fiction,

Only in print:
Paste #34 (White Stripes cover): book review of William Gibson; album reviews of Young Galaxy, Xavier Rudd, Great Northern, the Grateful Dead; film review of Rocket Science
August Relix (String Cheese Incident cover): album reviews of Architecture in Helsinki, Mushroom, Love is the Song We Sing box set, Sonic Youth; book review of 33 1/3: Daydream Nation; DVD review of the Flaming Lips.
June/July Hear/Say (festivals cover): reviews of Hallelujah the Hills and the Thieves of Kailua

frow show, episode 24

Episode 24: That Big Ol’ Pie-in-the-Sky-Land

Listen here.

1. “Ouch!” – The Rutles (from The Rutles)
2. “Frow Show Theme” – MVB
3. “Office Boy” – Bonde Do Role (from Office Boy EP)
4. “Atlas” – Battles (from Mirrored)
5. “I Saw The Bright Shinies” – Octopus Project (from forthcoming album TBD)
6. “Oben Beg mk3” – Baikonour (from For the Lonely Hearts of the Cosmos)
7. “Flux = Rad” – Pavement (from Wowee Zowee)
8. “Sweet Talking” – The Heptones (from Sweet Talking)
9. “A Goddamn Thing” – Mr. Smolin (from The Crumbling Empire of White People)
10. “(I Don’t Want To Go To) Chelsea” – Elvis Costello (from This Year’s Model)
11. “Baby” – Caetano Veloso with Os Mutantes (from Live EP)
12. “Lå de Longe” – Tribalistas (from Tribalistas)
13. “Birth Of A Nation/Rain Of Terror/Tempus Fugit/Opus 71/Twenty-First Century Express” – The Mesmerizing Eye (from Psychedelia: A Musical Light Show)
14. “Angel Band” – Old & in the Way (from That High Lonesome Sound)


…we’re clear.

summertime shuffle.

Dearest Wunderkammernists –

As you may’ve noticed, the site’s been a bit a spotty lately. I’ve been getting everything migrated to a new server, a process far more oi-inducing than I could’ve predicted. Anyway, I’m gonna take a break until everything is all squared. Could be tomorrow, could be next week, I dunno. When we come back: field recordings of distant marching bands, more animation, new micro-fiction, and all kindsa mp3s.

l8r s8rs,

roadscapes, 7/07

from the archives: jim croce’s americana: home recordings

from San Diego Fahrenheit, circa winter 2003:

Americana: Home Recordings – Jim Croce (Shout! Factory)

A roommate of mine once told me of an opulent summer week he spent sailing around a vast lake on a private yacht. Every day, he said, they would drink white wine on the deck, dive off the sides, and float in tubes on the cool water. At night, they would go ashore via a tricked-out speedboat for parties on sprawling waterfront estates, returning to the ship to stare dizzily at the milky stars and enjoy the warmth of their drunkenness. The soundtrack for their unassuming debauchery – and the only thing preventing it from entering F. Scott Fitzgerald’s world of idle rich – was a collection of lite-folkie Jim Croce’s Greatest Hits. “It was,” my friend frequently insisted, “perfect,” as if that circumstance alone is what made his vacation transcend to the sublime.

The belly-filling warmth my roommate felt is present in spades on Americana: Home Recordings, a collection of kitchen table folk and country covers recorded before Croce’s career took off. They are songs of hard-luck hoboes and fallen working class heroes — the same stuff of Willie Nelson’s compatible (and heartbreaking) Crazy Sessions. But, where Nelson’s voice is pure ache, there is a lingering optimism in Croce’s, even in jailhouse laments like “The Wall.” That difference is what makes Nelson’s music appropriate for lonely barroom nights and Croce’s appropriate for giddy boating excursions.

In a way, it is the purest realization of depressing folk music as entertainment. Croce is an easy-going pop singer born in an age of acoustic troubadours, his vocals retaining a deftly mechanical sense of momentum while remaining impossibly laid back. It’s the kind of voice that makes one feel like a man of action despite lazing idly on a yacht, projecting movement upon silent canvases of stillness, vapidness turning to golden magnificence.

links of dubious usefulness, no. 14

o Technobrega is a new Brazilian genre whose creation and distribution is entirely based on bootlegging/free distribution/live gigs. Haven’t listened to the clips yet, but its context is rad. (Thanks, RG.)
o ZoomQuilt II is extraordinarily detailed eye candy, an infinitely looped acceleration into fantastic recursive worlds. (Word, Dad.)
o Haruki Murakami on jazz.
o A nice, meaty interview with William Gibson on his forthcoming Spook Country and other topics.
o A detailed chronology of 120 years of electronic musical instruments.

from the archives: the multiplex dreams of bollywood

from San Diego Fahrenheit, circa summer 2003:
The Multiplex Dreams of Bollywood

by Jesse Jarnow
“These seats are real comfy,” my friend whispered as exotic birds fluttered floridly across the movie screen and landed.

“Yeah,” I giggled. “It’s almost like they want you to stay.”

We were somewhere in the middle of Winged Migration, a low-grade Disney-style nature flick, in the fourth theater on the third floor of the local multiplex which featured – give or take – 20 or so inexorable looking pieces of shit. But, despite the theater’s dubious quality, they also possessed a refreshing lack of security, coupled with labyrinthine system of escalators and a pair of unwatched smoking decks. It was an unbeatable deal: for $10 one could construct his own Indian-style multi-hour epic replete with sweeping drama, garish dance sequences, and – hell – even a mutant slasher or two. So we did.

From the anthropomorphic goodness of Winged Migration, we dropped into some previews. If Winged Migration was an abstract tune-up, then the previews were an overture. They acted as a series of condensed plot arcs, keynotes for the dramatic themes to be explored later. Under The Tuscan Sun (chick flick), Cat In The Hat (future cult-favorite dark horse), and Brother Bear (a Disney cartoon with a puzzling appearance by Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas reprising the McKenzie Brothers in the form of a pair of talking moose), attuned us as viewers to the range of emotions we would likely be expected to feel later.

Then, a dash into the thick of it, to the movie we had actually bought tickets for, the 9:20 show of Spy Kids 3D. As I turned to survey the theater, I realized the other viewers had actual 3D glasses. “Yeah, it’s in 3D,” my friend confirmed, noting my puzzlement.
“Well, why don’t we get some?”

We zipped down the escalator to the Guest Services Counter and demanded what was rightfully ours: two pairs of gloriously old-fashioned cardboard glasses with blue and red cellophane lenses. Back in our seats, the screen instructed us to put our glasses on. We had worn ours up the escalator and into the theater. Suddenly, the landscape morphed into a grid, Tron-like and perfect. For the next 40 minutes, minus a quick nip to the smoking balcony, we were immersed in a genuinely vintage 3D world. It worked as well as could be possibly hoped. Objects shot out of the frame, characters progressed with no other motivation than that it might look cool.

And it did. A senseless feast for the eyes unfurled in a picaresque series of spectacles. The plot was occasionally stirred by a suitably bizarro b-movie villain played with Jerry Lewis aplomb by the impossible-to-take-seriously-ever-again Sylvester Stallone. In 10 years (or even 10 months), this could be a serious midnight classic, assuming theater owners have enough ingenuity to track down (or make) a crate or two 3D glasses. So, the little kid and Grandpa saved the universe or something and it went back to plain ol’ two dimensions, and we split.

Falling plum into the middle of a movie can be disconcerting. At first, one clutches desperately to the dialogue, trying to figure out who is who, what they’re doing, and why they’re doing it. After doing it two or three times in a row, plots became irrelevant. Other details took on new importance. Dialogue and acting could be taken objectively on their own immediate merits as performances. Messages could be found, y’understand? Any film could be turned into a Rocky Horror-style gimmick-fest with cues and whistles.

I looked for triggers for us to leave: a parrot escaping in a cage in Winged Migration, the end of a montage sequence in Freaky Friday, which we checked out after Spy Kids. Montages kick ass, instantly understandable dumb shows that rarely fail to express cinematic momentum, regardless of the quality of the movies they’re nestled in.

Gigli was the final stop for the evening. A guard hovered by the door of the theater, though made no attempt to stop us, despite the fact that we still wore our 3D glasses. Though it was supposedly legendary in its terribleness, Gigli didn’t seem all too bad — or, at least, no more horrible than a random 10 minutes out of Freaky Friday. There was Ben Affleck, and Jennifer Lopez, and a retarded kid, and Ben Affleck sticking a syringe in his character’s mother’s thong-dipped ass. What’s so bad about that, eh?

It still looked way cooler with 3D glasses on, though, red and blue hues swirling the film to Stan Brakhage-like abstraction. The guard stood by the door. “What if he doesn’t let us leave?” my friend hissed as J-Lo launched into a display of histrionics.

“You got a problem with the retarded kid?” I asked her. “Are you insensitive?”

Apparently, the guard was, because he soon left. And so did we.

“ouch!” – the rutles

“Ouch!” – The Rutles (download) (buy)
from The Rutles (1978)
released by Rhino

(file expires July 16th)

Ostensibly parody, Bonzo Dog Band leader Neil Innes’ songs for the Rutles are more like what the Beatles themselves might’ve written under slightly different circumstances. Sure, repurposing “Help!” into “Ouch!” is silly, especially with those extra-long verse phrasings, but the sentiment is just as sincere. Why should “Ouch, don’t desert me, ouch, please don’t hurt me!” be any less emotional or effective than “Help, I need somebody, help, not just anybody”? It’s just that John Lennon chose the latter. Innes’s version, really, is just as naked and direct. That’s not to say that Innes is a better songwriter than Lennon, but the whole original soundtrack is great stuff. Like top grade Nuggets faux-fabs, Innes nails the Lennonesque wistfulness repeatedly. In fact, I might even prefer Innes’ “I know you know what you know/But you should know by now that you’re not me” to Lennon’s “I am he as you are me as you are she and we are all together.”

frow show, episode 23

Episode 23: Songs In the Key of Your Mom

(Link here.)

1. “You Broke My Heart” – Lavender Diamond (from Cavalry of Light EP)
2. “It’s Summertime” – The Flaming Lips (from Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots)
3. “Frow Show Theme” – MVB
4. “Rain” – Bishop Allen (from The Broken String)
5. “When Love Was the Law in Los Angeles” – Tarwater (from Spider Smile)
6. “Selling Oakland By the Pound” – Mushroom with Eddie Gale (from Joint Happening)
7. “Fall Breaks and Back to Winter (Spring Breaks and Back to Winter) – Jim O’Rourke (from Smiling Pets compilation)
8. “Plin” – Hermeto Pascoal (from A musica livre de Hermeto Pascoal)
9. “Witchi Tai To” – Harpers Bizarre (from Harpers Bizarre 4)
10. “Ruby” – Silver Apples (from Contact)
11. “Black Swan” – Thom Yorke (from The Eraser)
12. “Spotted Pinto Bean” – The Residents (from Meet the Residents)
13. “Red River Valley” – The Mountain Goats (from Daytrotter Session)
14. “Brazil” – Frank Sinatra (from Come Fly With Me)
15. “Tropicalia” – Caetano Veloso (from Caetano Veloso)
16. “Summer Turns to High” – R.E.M. (from Reveal)

gone fishin’

Well, there was a new Frow Show to post & some other odds & ends, but Ropeadope is off ’til Monday, and I’m gonna do the same. We’re just gonna get back to detonating marshmallows for freedom now.

pictures of a rotary telephone still technically owned by the phone company taken by a cellular telephone owned by me, 7/07