Friday, February 19, 2010

Noise Pop Cometh

So Noise Pop is next week, and because people have started asking me what they should go see, I decided to draft my Suggestion List (TM).

**Oh, I booked pretty much all of the fest, so if I don't mention something it doesn't mean it isn't good. Just not my ultimate favorites.

Here's what the markings mean:

* I will be here! Come step on my foot or kick me in the shins or pour coffee down my throat!

++ One of a kind performance. May never be seen again. Ever.

SO: Advance tix sold out. There'll be some available at the door on the day of.

Tuesday, February 23

* Opening Night Party: Har Mar Superstar at Bender's, starting at 5 pm. Not only is this show free, but you get to drink for free. All night! Okay, maybe this doesn't have as much of a draw as it used to, but still, how about you can get a free shirt that says "Be Stupid!" on it? See, to get in you have to go to Diesel, get a shirt, sign up, and then wear the shirt to the show. Two hundred people in Be Stupid t-shirts! That's more than three kinds of stupid

*++ Yoko Ono Plastic Ono Band at the Fox, later that night. Not sure how much moaning the 77-year-old will do, but she'll be backed by son Sean, Cornelius, and Yuka Honda, so it should be interesting, at least.

Wednesday, February 24

* Free Energy at Rickshaw Stop, 2nd band. Woo hoo! Free Energy used to be several guys in Hockey Night, who we put on a TKS disc years ago. They still sound a bit like Pavement, only now they've gorged on Thin Lizzy and T.Rex and Weezer, with production by DFA. Anthem rock! Probably the band I'm most excited to see this week. Also: the Splinters do the post-punk thing quite well too.

** Best Coast, The Sandwitches, Young Prisms at Du Nord. The headliner's decent but wow, what great support! Best Coast is girl-group shitgaze, the Sandwitches are like the Shaggs but good, and Young Prisms are My Bloody Manchester.

++ The Ghost of a Saber-Toothed Tiger at the Indy. Sean Lennon, his hot girlfriend, and Cornelius playing hushed sexy pop. Also: Lennon doing improv thing with Greg from Deerhoof.

Thursday, February 25

++ The Dodos w/ Magik*Magik Orchestra at the Palace of Fine Arts. Saw a preview of this at MOMA, and it was freaking beautiful. Full on orchestra filling out the experimental-folk of the Dodos. Like Sufjan Stevens without all the twee lyrics.

* Zee Avi at Rickshaw Stop. Adorable pixie singer from Borneo, with a voice like Jolie Holland. Also: Sleeper might be 2nd band Leslie & the Badgers, an LA country combo that could be TNBT.

Friday, February 26

*Bay Bridged Happy Hour with Hunx & His Punx, Weekend. Hunx plays adorable 50s-ish garage, and Weekend is sexy Joy Divisiony goodness. And you can be in bed by 9!

*SO Magic Wands w/ Atlas Sound, Geographer at Great American. Atlas and Geographer are cool and spacy and all, but local duo Magic Wands brings the heat. The next Kills perhaps?

SO Rainbow Arabia with Four Tet at Indy. Like an LA version of MIA, with more Arabic samples.

Wallpaper and the Limousines at Slim's. This is a big smile on the face. Good times for the dancing.

Saturday, February 27

* PEE at Du Nord. Want to relive the days when indie-rock wasn't on a major label (as much)? Welcome to the '90s, when herky-jerky combined cute and muscle for all sorts of confusion and noise. When are Tiger Trap reuniting?

++ Thao & Mirah at Swedish. Two awesome local singer/songwriters collaborating for the first time! Such pretty singing. Also: opener Carletta Sue Kay is a guy in drag with a piano. It's better than it sounds.

*Black Prairie, Trainwreck Riders, Birds Fled From Me at Rickshaw. BP is three members of the Decemberists playing bluegrass, spaghetti westernish country, and proggy pop - 1st time in CA! TWR rock in a country way, Birds is Rachel from Sleepy Sun doing spooky folk-psych.

Sunday, February 28

* Visqueen with Dizzy Balloon at Bottom, matinee show. I loves the nerdy pop of DB, but Visqueen is the truest to the original Noise Pop sound. Big guitars, muscular girly vocals, thumping drums. Yum.

*SO Edward Sharpe & Magnetic Zeros at Bimbos. Looking forward to the big-time hippie rock. Thinking of taking off my shoes. Plus: Northern Key is pretty gorgeous.

Oh, and here's a tiny hamburger, just because.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Couples Are Crazy

At the end of last year, I read this article in the NY Times Sunday Book Review about how the new literary lions (cubs?) can't write about sex like the old literary lions. Dave Eggers writes about cuddling, whereas Philip Roth wrote about having sex with a plate of chicken livers. (Okay, ew. But hilarious, right?)

Well, one of the older books they mentioned was John Updike's Couples. I'd tried once, many years ago, to read Rabbit Run, because my dad had recommended it. Never got very far, but I figured I'd give Couples a try. After all, that Updike guy was a national treasure. And a Red Sox fan.

Turns out the book is pretty awesome. Not only does it take place in Eastern Massachusetts, but it's dirty as hell and fascinating much the same way that Mad Men is. It was published in 1968 but takes places in 1963, which should tell you all you need to know about what will happen.

There's a bunch of upper- and lower-middle class couples roaming around Tarbox, having sex or trying to have sex with each other's husbands and wives. It's pretty graphic -- check this out: "She would give herself to him in slavish postures, as if witnessing in her mouth or between her breasts the tripped unclotting thump of his ejaculation made it her own." Wow! Unclotting thump!

But there's also plenty else going on. I just love a writer who can come up with stuff like this: "I remember lovemaking as an exploration of a sadness so deep people must go in pairs, one cannot go alone."

One thing that I think is dated is how much people think about death in the book. Maybe it was the whole Cold War/Atomic bomb hanging over your head thing. But to have sex to stave off death? Come on! The French have it right -- sex IS death. Le petit morte.

Anyway, I highly recommend the book -- especially because I want to talk about the end with someone.

In other news, have you seen the new Charlotte Gainsbourg and Beck video? Holy crapolo, it's nuts!

Beck wrote all of the music and some of the lyrics for the disc, which has several tracks about her near-death experience. (Don't go skiing, ever, is the lesson here.)

I've been researching an article about French pop, so I've come across all sorts of cool '60s video, like this version of "Do the Locomotion" by Sylvie Vartan (did you know she was actually Hungarian?).

And also, wow, did things ever go wrong in France in the '70s. Check out Sylvie auditioning for ABBA … or Sha Na Na.

Um, and here's the ever-fascinating Francoiz Breut, with more people in strange animal masks. Must be a French thing.