Category: music

My skewed reality.

This is a story in three parts.

Part 1: The Kinks vs. The Beatles

I may have told this one before. I was 10, almost 11, and hanging out on the playground in 5th grade. A bunch of us were talking about this “sock hop” we were going to have at the end of the week to celebrate the end of the school year. All of us started talking about the oldies bands we liked, and somebody mentioned the Beatles being “the biggest band ever”. I spoke up insisting the Kinks were the biggest band ever. It stood to reason because my parents had 20 Kinks records and 4 Beatles records, so of course the Kinks were bigger. The argument escalated, there was some harsh words, the teacher came in, and I got a citation. My mom later explained to me that the Kinks may be better than the Beatles, but in the court of popular opinion the Beatles were bigger.

This was the first time it was clear to me how much personal taste and skewed perspective can influence you. I am also sort of proud of fighting for the Kinks on the schoolyard. It’s a weird sign of devotion from such a young age.

Part 2: Cometbus vs. Green Day Fans

Abbey commented on my post about Green Day fans:

I totally agree with you that most Green Day superfans dont really give a shit what Aaron Cometbus thinks. They generally just dont like to be shit on, who does? Especially by someone that, face it, has piggybacked on Green Day’s fame for a long fucking time.

Umm… with you until that last bit. Cometbus is an institution in his own right without Green Day’s coattails. Of course though, I’m decent fan of his zine and a bigger fan of his music. I mean, he was in Sweet Baby! Nevermind Crimpshrine, Pinhead Gunpowder, Shotwell, and a whole host of other bands. Yes, this isn’t on the same level as Green Day (who are now rivals with the likes of U2 and Coldplay) but it’s like apples and oranges. I don’t expect all the Green Day fans to be Cometbus fans, but to act like he hasn’t done anything of renown is ludicrous.

But of course… I am not them. We’re into different things. There’s room for mutual respect and understanding. It’s a hard life as a super fan.

Part 3: Operation Ivy vs. Rancid

I know there’s a whole cult surrounding these bands, perhaps even more rabid and devoted than Green Day fans. Of course for the Lookout fans, these two bands were anchors of the past (whilst Screeching Weasel, the Queers and MTX were sort of anchors of the mid-late 90s, before the fall…)
Anyhow, recently I was giving my buddy Jim a hard time for liking Rancid. I was being a total jerk. He laid it all out. He wasn’t exposed to all the other East Bay stuff. Rancid found him at the right time and they’ve stuck. See, on those terms I get it. (Of course I may still be a little shit and opt for the more obscure Downfall.)

Growing up in Sacramento, the East Bay seemed almost local. It was close, it was accessible. Maybe it all goes back to my fighting for the Kinks, but I’ve always been interested in finding the small gems. This has nothing to do with the Hi-Fives. There’s nothing small about them. NOTHING. But I mean, how many people will brag about owning a Bumblescrump 7″? Not that many.

So the moral of this story is that I need to remember my story isn’t necessary typical. We all have our journeys of discovery. I can’t expect everybody to act like my anorak friends when it comes to records and bands. Hell, maybe I need to stop being the collector nerd and just enjoy some stuff.

How did I end up in the Potatomen?

potatomen outside of gilman 2000
In high school, my friend Jill once asked me if I ever listened to music with feelings. I was confused. Apparently neither the Hi-Fives nor the Smugglers had the emotional range she was looking for. When I moved off to Berkeley to go to university, I sort of got what she meant. I was depressed and lonely, and my record collection had nothing that really connected me with those emotions. What did you expect from a garage/pop-punk kid? I didn’t turn to the Smiths or Elliot Smith, I rediscovered the Potatomen like never before.

I’d had their records because I liked Larry and I was a dutiful Lookout fan. I’d listened to them, but never really connected to them, other than All My Yesterdays, mostly for the Brent’s TV cover. One night in early September 2000, I came home from my crappy job at Papyrus on College Ave, feeling utterly alone and cut off from everybody and everything, and I put on Now and it just clicked. The song just made me feel all right and I just laid in my bed, sort of zoned out listening to it on my headphones feeling lost. So for the next semester, I would mope about town listening to Now and Iceland. To this day, when I hear some of those guitar riffs to songs like “Gabe” or “Sam’s Song”, I’m transported back to that fall, wandering up and down Telegraph in a melancholic daze.

This picture was taken at a Potatomen show outside of Gilman. I think it was November 18, 2000? It was the first really cold weekend of the season and I walked all the way from campus and back. I hung out at Picante before the show with them before the set, stood on the corner and sang along, hung out a bit more, and then walked back home. I was shivering by the time I reached Shattuck, but I didn’t really mind. It was the best night I’d had since I’d moved to Berkeley. (The cheesy stix from West Coast Pizza didn’t hurt.) It’s weird how little nights like that can really stick with you.

Ten and a half years later, I’m the fifth Potatomen bass player. I was surprised and flattered when Larry and Patrick asked me to join them for a show in August (and beyond). It was weird playing songs with them at first because even though I didn’t really know how to play them, I sort of did because I had listened to them so much. That’s actually still frustrating at parts because I feel like I can’t really escape the recordings in my head, but then I can’t fully articulate them either. It’s a problem I’ve never really dealt with before. The other reason it’s a little weird for me is that they keep taking me back to those feelings I had as a lost 18 year old. Glimpses to the past that it seems I can’t fully escape. No doubt these feelings will probably fade or change as I play more, but this past weekend when we were practicing as a full band, they were definitely there. I know a lot has happened since that fall, which makes this all quite logical and perhaps expected, but if you had told me then where’d I’d be today, I wouldn’t have really believed it.

Not that my 18 year old self was all that wise or knew what she wanted, but these sorts of little reality checks are interesting. Is making a younger version of yourself happy a good thing or is it a sign that you weren’t aiming high enough? I can’t really tell, but it’s worth considering from time to time.

how do i get my groove back?

holy cow! a blog post about something other than owls? could this be the start of something new? don’t get your hopes up.

so, i’m sort of in a band. i won’t say it’s a full on band yet because we’re taking it slow and don’t have a drummer, but it’s nice to be playing music with somebody again. it’s a little disappointing how, in my quest to conquer the world through owls, football, and librarianship, i’ve lost my groove. literally. i can’t play bass like i used to. now, that’s not surprising since i took a break, but my brain can’t think of lines like it used to. why? i blame peter hook.

something happened within the last couple of years, where i’ve totally become enamoured with his playing in new order and joy division. i think it’s the minimalism? it’s very interesting and a departure from what i normally do. here’s a good example.

total departure from my mainstay of john entwistle-like wanking.

i’ve been listening to stuff, and i can hear what i want in my mind, but the physical manifestation is just not coming out. it’s aggravating, but it will happen.

In search of Lickitung.

Back in 2000, there was the Lookout Freakout Tour, which was sort of the 2nd annual Lookout Freakout (the first being Labor Day 1999… it was amazing). In conjunction with the tour was an E-Music exlcusive download for “Lickitung” by Punkémon. There was also a design your own punkémon contest. I don’t think I entered, but I did download the mp3. I had to.

Sometime this week the song got stuck in my head. “Lickitung… licky Lickitung… Lickitung! Feeling allright.” You know, a half formed memory of a part of a silly song that just wouldn’t quit. I was actually caught singing it at work.

“What are you singing?”
“Uh… some weird song from 2000.”

Anyhow, I wanted to hear it again but it was sort of hard to find. E-Music didn’t have it anymore and I wasn’t really surprised. The more I looked for it, the more I wanted to hear it. Call it nostalgia or a 1/3 life crisis, I just had to go back to the halcyon days before I moved away to college.

I found the mp3 here, but then I also found it on some weird old hard drive. Yeah! Dr J is pretty sick of it by now, but I’m just happy this gem isn’t lost to the ages.

music klub

The Poky Little Puppy, originally uploaded by kendrak.

i just started a new set on flickr about albums or singles i like. i called it music klub. last night i just listened to a bunch of 7″, including the poky little puppy which was my theme song as a child.

come dancing

when i was a little kid, i was obsessed with the kinks’ video for “come dancing”. it’s not one of their best songs, but when i was 4 it would make me dance like a freak. it still sort of does.

another song that i can’t help but dance to is style council’s “a solid bond in your heart”.

the video reminds me of absolute beginners, a bit. i need more dresses.

this brings me to my youtube discovery of the night. i don’t know how i ended up looking for it, but i finally found a good live video of my favourite song from the jam- “running on spot.”

i feel guilty that that’s my favourite jam song, since it’s off their last album, but there it is.

who really considers coldplay and travis to be britpop?

and by britpop i mean the chiefly 1990s genre comprised of bands like sleeper, elastica, the boo radleys, and manic street preachers. oh yeah, and of course blur and oasis.

the reason i ask this question is because i got hooked on a couple of britpop documentaries on youtube this weekend. (the britpop story and 7 ages of rock: british indie music.) both mentioned that while oasis’ be here now pretty much signaled the end of the britpop movement, popularity of bands like travis and coldplay really signified the end. a- those two bands were entirely mainstream (not really “indie”), and b- they didn’t have much of the defiance and anger underlying most of britpop. i suppose there could be a c- they’re both as insipid as all hell. keane would also fit that bill.

i remember when i was in high school, and travis and coldplay were first hitting the states- i and my friends who liked britpop didn’t think much of those bands. other people, who weren’t really into music, took to them like a horse to water. it was good in some ways, to see people become excited about music, but on the other hand it’s a little sad when they go for something pretty dull. i never told my friend who went from only liking cheesy top 40 to becoming obsessed with travis and coldplay that she just jumped from one bore to another- i actually went to a travis show with her because nobody else wanted to go- but i kept hoping she’d jump into something deeper. that never happened. she’s happy though and i’m happy for her.

at kalx it would occasionally be annoying when somebody tried to call coldplay britpop, but there were enough people who actively cared about the genre that it wasn’t an issue. now the genre is dead and coldplay are the new u2 or radiohead.

this is all timely since coldplay’s new album came out last month. when i was in seattle i was upset that the experience music project weren’t selling any pacific northwest garage albums, though there was an exhibit about that scene, but they did have a whole wall devoted to viva la vida. last night i googled “who actually likes coldplay?” and found this piece, why i hate coldplay by andy gill which looks at why most everybody who doesn’t purchase coldplay’s albums loathe the band. the telegraph also looks at why critics largely hate coldplay despite public support. even msnbc asks that question.

i don’t really have the answer. i won’t even say i hate coldplay, rather i find them boring and don’t understand why people think they’re the second coming of anything. of course this is coming from somebody who works at a college radio station, grew up listening to punk garage, and never really got into mainstream music. (my love of rem at the age of 7 not withstanding.) i know i’m not the target audience and i know i’m not your average music fan, so i guess my not liking coldplay is expected. the reasons can be distilled to this:

  • the music is tediously derivative.
  • the songs all sound the same, and not in a billy childish/hasil adkins kind of way.
  • they’re totally the establishment.
  • chris martin’s an insufferable tit and so is his wife.
  • the rest of the band puts up with that tit and doesn’t tell him to shut up.

oh well.

feeling all grown up

i’m not quite a full fledged adult yet, but i’m feeling like it. as larry has written about extensively, this weekend is the insubordination fest. i bought tickets but can’t really afford going to baltimore for it. why? well, for one thing spending almost a grand just to see a sweet baby reunion seems a bit irresponsible. i also have been consumed with school (i need to graduated in december) and work. see… i’m going to have a new position soon which means more responsibility and more chaos- which also means more work right now. after going to seattle for the conference last week, i really can’t take any more time off. it sucks.

so as much as 16 year old kendra would sell a kidney to go see sweet baby, 26 year old kendra just wants to have a job and not be a jerk.

sad. i feel old.

later… with me!

i should be doing lots of different things right now- sleeping, working on software management homework, working on a digital collection project, or even playing smash brothers, but instead i’m looking for clips from later… with jools holland, featuring jools holland from squeeze as host and sometimes band leader. as far as music variety shows go, this is the best. not only does he have an interesting mix of artists on every week, he seems to have a really good attitude about it all. so… here are some of the video i’ve found:
kate nash – “foundations”.

she’s totally a guilty pleasure of mine, which a couple of my student workers have really taken to.

mika – “grace kelly”.

i first heard this song driving back from the manchester airport with neil and it was on radio 1 every other hour after that. another guilty favourite.

enough of the embeds, they take up space.

the view – “wasted little djs”. i first got hooked on this band during the same trip to the uk because “same jeans” seemed to be after “grace kelly” every hour. they’re really good, even if they’re from scotland.

of course, my obligatory plug for bands from sheffield:

and because he’s been on a billion times…
jarvis cocker – “don’t let him waste your time”
pulp – “dishes”
pulp – “sunrise”
and what mix of pulp would be complete without disco 2000?

which goes into the britpop…
blur – “the universal”
oasis – “cum on feel the noize”, er, i mean “wonderwall”.
james – “getting away with it all”.
radiohead – “the bends”..
supergrass – “moving”.
verve – “bittersweet symphony”.
boo radleys – “reaching out from here”.
super furry animals – “if you don’t want me to destroy you”.
manic street preachers – “everything must go”.
cataonia – “road rage”.
ash – “burn baby burn”.
divine comedy – “mother dear”.
cornershop – “brimful of asha”.

and lots of moz-
“last of the famous…”, “suedehead”, “boy racer”, and “first of the gang to die”.

and some other bitchy people:

alright. i’m going to sleep.

[tags]jools holland, youtube, britpop[/tags]

fucked up on life

not really. i just feel sort of good today and that song is in my head.

the show friday night was good and all my fears and anxieties disappeared when we got to the venue. i joked to mimi that it would the be closest thing i’d have to a high school reunion- and i ran into a number of people i hadn’t seen since they left mira loma. it was weird how many people said, “i knew you’d be coming.” people i haven’t talked to in five or more years. yeah, me showing up to a hi-fives show isn’t that surprising, but it was weird how many (10+) people knew i’d be there.

other points of the night:

  • driving in rain boots ala the smugglers is hard.
  • kids still love mtx.
  • it’s weird seeing how “the punks” get old- we all started in similar places and then diverged from there.
  • i felt dumb for standing front and centre for the hi-fives, but i also knew i’d be kicking myself in the ass if i didn’t.
  • the girl standing next to me kept asking for “andorra” during their set. i didn’t recognize her, but clearly she got her denery brothers confused. i was tempted to correct her, but that would be pedantic.
  • it was weird how many people knew i had cancer and how many people didn’t. i didn’t expect more than a handful of people to know, but random people kept asking me how i was feeling.
  • people who work in libraries are cool.
  • there were some notable absences of people i would have like to have seen. there were also surprising absence from people i was planning to avoid.
  • at 25- i’m not really old, but it is weird to reminisce about life 10 years ago. i may not have gotten much taller in the past 13 years, but i’m a better person.
  • herr doktor doktor doktor professor doktor doktor kommisar doktor frank gives really good pep talks and should consider a career in motivational speaking for “the punks”.
  • john’s still got the jokes. he should send ’em to laffy taffy (or is that his secret?).

that’s all i can think of now. mimi was making fun of me for being so excited/nervous before the hi-fives played but she totally understood after the set. i’m going to start re-doing the hi-fives site because it’s fugly and css is in.

that’s all. i gotta get ready for rock band with elbert and mimi.

going live!

i finally made library attack live. now i won’t bother y’all with my rantings about my future profession. yeah, i’ll be one of those librarians with a blog. it’s exciting.

robojoe’s now playing one of those football manager games. you know, it’s like madden only for the english f.a. i think he’s trying to ruin everton just to spite me. i told him to save his beloved spurs because they need it.

here’s a video of r.e.m. playing “superman” from 1986. this is the sort of thing youtube is awesome for.

the first cut is the deepest

so i’m still watching the stupid uk rock and roll hall of fame thing, only now it’s 2006. rod steward was inducted by some mediocre kid named james morrison and morrison played a medley of rod the mod’s hits. they kicked it off with “the first cut is the deepest”, which i don’t remember rod doing. but if he did, he couldn’t have been good as pp arnold. pp arnold’s version is the best version ever and she is amazing. just watch this video!