The cloud giveth and the cloud taketh away (part 17)
There's still an island of boxes in the middle of my living room, so this post is another little placeholder until I create time for a "good" one.

ImageShack took my picture links hostage and threatened to kill 'em all unless I paid money. I said, "Go ahead, commit murder," so presumably most photos on my lj and elsewhere are kaput. (E.g., this one here, Emil Jannings in The Last Command.) Maybe I'll go through and repost a few via Photobucket or some other nonhomicidal enterprise.

 photo The Last Command Emil Jannings small.jpg

Jazz in the last 25 years...
Just checking in so you won't think I've died or cut off my hands. I'm in the midst of another move, from Denver's west side to Denver's east.* Have ideas for posts but I want them to, you know, be good. In the meantime...

Jazz made in the last 25 years barely exists, if you go by the Wikipedia jazz overview — also if you go by my listening, which almost never includes it, or at least only includes music by people who had already made a substantial contribution prior to 1990 (though I did put Matana Roberts in my top 10 a couple years ago).

So, how wrong am I? I barely know what's there, if there's a there.

*Actually, we are inadvertently moving a couple hundred yards into unincorporated Arapahoe County, owing to our not realizing when we rented the place that there's a bit part of Arapahoe that juts east all the way to South Quebec Street. I'd just assumed that the border was Yosemite all the way down.

Adventures Embed
I discovered by blocking Shockwave Flash — which I highly recommend you also block* — that, when I embedded videos using the LiveJournal video template, the video playback employed Shockwave Flash (it wasn't part of the visible code, so I didn't know). If you've got an old CPU, this may have caused your computer to labor. In any event, blocking is easy (see footnote). So is unblocking: all you have to do is click on the red icon the blocker provides, and the video that's blocked comes into view. But from now on, I'll use something other than the lj template when I can.

This is the lj template, which works for YouTube but I'm not sure about anything else:

<lj-template name="video">URL</lj-template>

For example, here's DJ Leandro's "Montagem das Antigas, Volt Mix":

<lj-template name="video"></lj-template>

Note that, when using the lj template, if the url begins with "https://" as YouTube's do, you have to get rid of the "s" for the embed to work. But I'm recommending you not use the template, given the Shockwave Flash. And when you're not using the lj template, you don't have to eliminate the s. And if you still like the lj template's ratio, I've worked out that it's approximately 428 width, 345 height. So you can just take a video site's embed code and insert those numbers. Here they are with the YouTube code (DJ Battery Brain's "808 Volt"):

More vids and stuffCollapse )

So, you can use that as a model and plug in the appropriate video. But since it too uses the slow-loading, high bandwidth Shockwave Flash, you might want to use a newer Dailymotion code instead (though for all I know it also uses Shockwave Flash [EDIT: indeed, it does]). This is the one for Wonder Girls' live "Rewind" (x307uyf):

<iframe frameborder="0" width="428" height="345" src="//" allowfullscreen></iframe>

Yet more vidsCollapse )

Wonder GirlsCollapse )

The disappearing k-pop tagCollapse )

FootnotesCollapse )

Keep Nagging At Your Mom When You're Little (Orange Caramel/After School: Artists Of The Year, 2014)
Lizzy's advice on how to acquire the voice she uses for Orange Caramel and for trot (but not for After School):

Keep nagging at your mom when you're little.
Demonstrated here, with variants here (happy) and here (annoyed)* (h/t David Frazer).

I'm even more behind than usual (mid-year list to come, once again w/ Lizzy). I keep promising research on After School, never get there. So just several adjectives for you:

After School, who were kinda all over in their early years, have settled into smooth vocals, effortlessly poignant, when required, but holding rough rhythms under their hood. One of the few K-pop groups to sound as good in Japanese as Korean. Meanwhile, Orange Caramel's** rampaging cuteness conquers all, style atop style. No social insights from me. Cuteness doesn't play in North America, probably for good reason, but that doesn't mean we're living our lives better than South Koreans are living theirs.

After School "Triangle"

Orange Caramel "Catallena"

*The hashtag is #twang_Lizzy.

**Orange Caramel is a subunit, consisting of three members of After School: Nana, Raina, and Lizzy.

Our friend Nichol was visiting and in the background I was playing the first Seo Taiji and Boys album and Nichol stopped midsentence and asked, "Who are you playing?" Hearing the ricochet electro beats, she said, "This is freestyle!" The mournful vocals entered as if to confirm this, and she added, "This sounds like the barrio."

Seo Taiji and Boys "이밤이 깊어 가지만" translated variously as "Deep Into The Night" and "Through Tonight Growing Late," 1992

Seo Taiji and Boys "난 알아요" "Nan Arayo" ("I Know"), 1992

So, someone who isn't me, without prodding, hears the freestyle connection too! You know, I keep pointing this out, how much K-pop draws on freestyle, and I wonder why more isn't made of it. "Nan Arayo," the second of the tracks I embedded, is often credited (on Wikip, anyway) as the song that created K-pop. Obviously, freestyle isn't the song's only source: there's hip-hop, new jack swing, metal. Then again, in the music press of the '80s, the northeast version of freestyle (New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia) was called "Latin hip-hop" at least as much as it was called "freestyle," as being to Hispanic culture what hip-hop was to black.* The freestyle beats themselves were frequently an elaboration on the electro hip-hop that Arthur Baker and John Robie created for DJ Afrika Bambaataa's "Planet Rock." What's interesting is that, while in early '90s America freestyle was basically knocked off the radio and out of popular music by new jack swing and hip-hop and r&b, in Korea freestyle mixed together with new jack swing and hip-hop and r&b to form K-pop, and, while never separating out as a substyle, it's in K-pop songs to this day.**

Anyway, to be precise, Seo Taiji's melody starting at 1:13 of "Nan Arayo," and especially at 1:29 is total freestyle, and the backup there has the sort of flourishes that Elvin Molina and Mickey Garcia could have put on a Judy Torres record in 1987, and dreamy plinks that Tony Butler might have put on a Debbie Deb track in 1983. (You can hear them best at 1:56 of the album version.)

Loosely preciseCollapse )

Tiny, tiny people
This long post by Steve Randy Waldman has been getting attention in the econ blogosphere and is a slamming bit of writing that's also clear and coherent and seems to explain a lot.

The two money quotes, so to speak:

With respect to Greece, the precise thing that European elites did to set the current chain of events in motion was to replace private debt with public during the 2010 first "bailout of Greece." Prior to that event, it was obvious that blame was multipolar. Here are the banks, in France, in Germany, that foolishly lent. Not just to Greece, but to Goldman's synthetic CDOs and every other piece of idiot paper they could carry with low risk-weights. In 2010, the EU, ECB, and IMF laundered a bailout of mostly French and German banks through the Greek fisc. Cash flowed into Greece only so it could flow out to rickety banks. Now, suddenly, the banks were absolved. There were very few bad loans left on the books of European lenders, everyone was clean, no bad actors at all. Except one. There were the institutions, the "troika," clearly the good guys, so "helpful" with their generous offer of funds. And then there was Greece. What had been a mudwrestling match, everybody dirty, was transformed into mass of powdered wigs accusing a single filthy penitent (or, when the people with their savings in just-rescued banks decide to be generous, a petulant misbehaving child).

For the record, my sophisticated hard-working elite European interlocutors, the term moral hazard traditionally applies to creditors. It describes the hazard to the real economy that might result if investors fail to discriminate between valuable and not-so-valuable projects when they allocate society's scarce resources as proxied by money claims. Lending to a corrupt, clientelist Greek state that squanders resources on activities unlikely to yield growth from which the debt could be serviced? That is precisely, exactly, what the term "moral hazard" exists to discourage. You did that. Yes, the Greek state was an unworthy and sometimes unscrupulous debtor. Newsflash: The world is full of unworthy and unscrupulous entities willing to take your money and call the transaction a "loan." It always will be. That is why responsibility for, and the consequences of, extending credit badly must fall upon creditors, not debtors. There is one morality tale that says the debtor must repay, or she has sinned and must be punished. There is another morality tale that says the creditor must invest wisely, or she has stewarded resources poorly and must be punished. We get to choose which morality tale we most use to make sense of the world. We do, and surely should, use both to some degree. But if we emphasize the first story, we end up in a world full of bad loans, wasted resources, and people trapped in debtors' prison, metaphorical or literal. If we emphasize the second story, we end up in a world where dumb expenditures are never financed in the first place.
There were several comments challenging his contention that "In 2010, the EU, ECB, and IMF laundered a bailout of mostly French and German banks through the Greek fisc. Cash flowed into Greece only so it could flow out to rickety banks." Here is his response:

Of course, as I've said often, I'm not an economist and don't have the knowledge or ability to truly evaluate such arguments. That Waldman’s explanations resonate with me is actually not a good reason to think they're right, in fact is a warning light. Not that it’s a reason to think his explanations are wrong, either. But one of the things that resonates is that the villains in Waldman’s story, the European policy and business elites, created and chose a story that resonated with them and that gave them a villain and scapegoat and simultaneously absolved themselves of the responsibility for examining what they themselves had done and for changing what they’re now doing. The psychology behind their story choice isn’t unlike mine, though I’m not an actor in this story and my self-interest is purely psychological. I’ll also quickly point out that Waldman is emphatically not saying there were no other bad actors, or, for that matter, that there was never any idealism or genuine concern mixed into the elite behavior. The sin he identifies in the elites is their refusing to acknowledge that there was a Europe-wide failure that involved many parties, and that there was a system that encouraged it.

More linksCollapse )

Tsipras capitulates?Collapse )

Bent torsos and wavy hair
The mp3 blogs took a pass on Badkiz's "Babomba" last November which is why I didn't hear it. Could've made my top ten: it's like T-ara in relentless dance mode — "Sexy Love" and "Number 9" — but instead of those songs' strenuously beautiful love pain it's got high-pitched playground chants similar to those on Badkiz's previous single. Though he didn't produce this, Shinsadong Tiger, who wrote and produced "Sexy Love" and "Number 9," is listed as a co-writer (says Wikip). Maybe that's where most of the budget went, to the song and the sound. The rather cheap video has the band pushing foam in the face of annoying guys, maybe a follow-up to the funny anti-bully moves of Badkiz's first vid, but too crude and slack in its attempt at comic timing. The dancing is greatly improved but still rudimentary, the concept being to bend the torso and wave the hair. Manages to be appealing, in its little way, especially live.

(But on Inkigayo, they were, strangely, wearing hoodies, for a kind of delinquent-cute look, maybe. A YouTube wiseass suggested that this was to hide the fact they couldn't afford a hair stylist.)

Allkpop called the video concept "sexy and funny." I think when you come down to it Badkiz don't really have a concept. Maybe "invention a little outside the box," which draws comparison to Crayon Pop, but Crayon Pop really are inventive. How about: reasonably good voices and they're willing to try hard, with joy (guerilla performance here)? People on YouTube have been creating dance covers of Badkiz's simple moves, which gives me hope the band will continue. Two songs so far, both of high quality.

*"Babomba" also has a sequence where successive lines are started by a shouted number (3 and then 4), a gimmick Tiger lifted from "Hot Issue," the first track he did for 4minute.

The Girl Wearing The Raincoat Is Running To Catch Her Mom
The girl wearing the raincoat is running to catch up with her mom who is already in the house. The girl is going to the store to get candy, then she is going home. The girl is screaming in the park for her mom because she wants her mom to take her home. She is yelling for Daddy and Grandpa. She is screaming and looking for her whole family. Mom said she could play outside all day. Even in the dark?

She is screaming because she is happy. It's her birthday. She was surprised she got an X-box. She is screaming because there was a fire. The box has something she likes. There is a fire on the bed. They gave her a prize.

The coyote misses his mom. He is looking for food. He is looking out for his family. He is really hungry, hasn't eaten for days. He ate food off the floor. There is chicken. He's taking a bath.

My pokey slipped off the rock and fell on his tail and broke his leg.

This is a street. This is where the cars went and there is a hole. It is not a good thing. You can fall in it. You can get stuck and stay down there and be scared. Cars fall in it. People are running and have to take the bus. They went in another car that is not stuck.

The square in the center is where the street broke. When the green lights up, the cars can go. The car gets broken when it hits the hole.

The boy and girl are whispering. They are saying, "I'm not your friend. I'm going somewhere else. She's ugly. She's bullying somebody." They're being rude. They're being happy. They're blaming people.

They are telling a secret. She is telling him not to be this other person's friend. The boy is telling the girl, "I'm still your friend." They are telling secrets about their other friends. He is telling a secret about his grandma. She is telling a secret about your cousin.

The cheetahs are touching each other. Cheetahs have to eat people. They are looking for people. They are trying to hide so they can eat people. The cheetah's hand is on the other cheetah. She says to chase someone and eat him. Maybe this cheetah is the girl and this cheetah is the boy.

The zebra is hugging the other zebra. The cheetah is hugging her baby. The zebras are looking for their friends. The cheetah cub is hugging the other cheetah to help him look for food. Oh! They're cousins. They play together. They're saying, "Roar, you're my friend." "Roar, you're my cousin." "I'm going to the animal shop." "Where are the zebras so I can eat them?" The animals are looking for their friends. They are waiting for play time.

The girl is walking to the tree to climb it. Big tree. The girl is trying to feel if it's soft or not soft. Does the tree have limbs that will help you climb it? In a forest, she is grown up. The tree is like a giant's leg.

That tree is too big to climb. But she can climb by the ridges. She is going to bang her head and get sent to jail. The girl is trying to climb the tree because she got something stuck up there. She was playing soccer with her friend. It's time for her to learn how to climb. She is almost a teenager and then she can be happy.

--by Frank Kogan (sorta). 2015.

But I'm not 14...
Thought my Kim Nana post was one of my most thoughtful and impassioned of 2013. Ended with the great line, "If I'm fourteen years old I know who I'm in love with."

But I'm not fourteen.

Anyway, lots of busyness over the last year and a half, some wonderful, some desperate, but not giving me time to more than glance at ilX K-pop, much less bother with the gossip sites, so I had no idea there'd been a Dahee story until I stumbled on it today.

"Although the defendants have admitted that they did blackmail Lee Byung Hun with a video file of a lewd conversation, they insisted that they did not do this with financial gain as their goal, but rather due to feeling betrayed and scorned that Lee Byung Hun had used Lee Ji Yeon simply as a sexual object, after Lee Byung Hun had notified Lee Ji Yeon of wanting to break up. However, after looking at the KakaoTalk history as well as various documents, it does not appear that the victim [Lee Byung Hun] and Lee Ji Yeon were lovers, and it seems that the defendants had committed the crime for the purpose of financial gain."
Dahee's side was that:

"As Dahee is very close to Lee Ji Yeon, she felt that Lee Ji Yeon had been manipulated. She thought that if Lee Ji Yeon offered the video to a media outlet, she could receive money. She thought that the money the media outlet offered would be the same as what the actor would give, so they requested 5 billion KRW. Dahee was under the wrong impression that this was a normal transaction."
I'm not going to recount everything. Here's the Allkpop tag, if you want to explore. No telling of the story makes Dahee look good.

And this one makes her seem especially bad:

The two girls also apparently planned on capturing a scene in which Lee Byung Hun and Dahee would be hugging. So last month on the 29th, they called Lee Byung Hun to Dahee's home and Lee Ji Yeon's phone was set up near the sink to capture such a moment. However, a chance for them to hug did not come along, so Lee Ji Yeon, who had been waiting outside, came inside and showed the actor the video they had taken of their lewd conversation and threatened him. Dahee and Lee Ji Yeon brought out two travel bags and asked for 5 billion KRW. However, the actor left and reported them to the police, and on September 1 the two ladies were arrested.
The tale ends, for the time being, with Dahee and Lee Ji Yeon released early from jail in March, after six months, now on probation for two years, presumably with their careers ruined. And with daring, audacious group GLAM disbanded.

Anyone been keeping tabs on what Zinni is up to?

Two thoughtsCollapse )

I Look Pretty Young But I'm Just Backdated: Links to Under/Over conference (UK rockwrite 1968-1985)
Links to the Mark Sinker–curated conference, Underground/Overground: The Changing Politics of UK Music-Writing 1968-85. By "music writing" he means the sort of thing Simon Frith does, not the sort of thing Jagger & Richard do (not that you should think there's a gap between the two sorts). I believe but I'm not certain that this is edited down (from about 12 hours to 8).

Participants included Richard Williams, Simon Frith, a host of others, including several of my lj friends (Mark,* Hazel, Tom, not that they're around lj anymore). (this is actually part 4 mislabeled)

I haven't (as of 11 June 2015 AM) had a chance to listen myself. Mark wrote some thoughts afterwards, and there was something of a discussion at Freaky Trigger and a good bit less of one on ilX. I managed to be shocked by how inarticulate ilX was, even though I should know better than to expect anything different.** I got frustrated by the inarticulateness of the much-more-articulate Freaky Trigger convo, too; I'll probably manage to get frustrated by the inarticulateness of the conference as well, when I finally listen. But anyway, old Brit rockwrite/musicwrite does not get attended to or thought about much, at least within my earshot, and for me is mostly terra incognito (of the panelists, and not counting the latter-day moderators Hazel & Tom, I've read a lot of Frith, read a little Ingham in the late '70s, read Toop on hip-hop, and as far as I know that's it except for a Richard Williams interview at But anyway, as to the question, why care now what they said then, that's like asking why learn another language, why visit another country? For the surprise, for the familiarity, for the new view, because it's there, 'cause the past is different and the past is present. Maybe I can give more specific answers once I listen. If Mark cares, if Simon cares, you're likely to care.

I"m the comment-thread era, not the article-review eraCollapse )

Elsa and Anna and the Icicle Dagger (PBS Revisited, semi, sorta)
In 1987 I tossed an insult at a loose aggregation of people that included me, calling us "PBS for the youth." Basically, I was fingering the punk/postpunk indie-alternative "underground," but also worlds and hairstyles and rampages that surrounded it: rock critics, letters-to-the-editor, on-edge heroin poetry zines, the appreciation and appreciators of American eccentrics and outsiders and outsider art, pop detritus, etc. A music marginal intelligentsia. My insult turned out complicated, since having some PBS impulses was better than having none, I decided, and the process of PBSification had grown out of what had initially seemed like untrammeled strength and was embedded in seed form in the most disruptive music of the 1960s; I cited the Rolling Stones in particular:

Richard Meltzer was right: Rock 'n' roll collapsed the distinction between awesome and trivial. Overall, rock 'n' roll could not have been great had it been merely awesome. I say "overall" because, when it comes down to the sound of specific bands, I prefer the awesome-awesome to the awesome-trivial. I prefer the Rolling Stones to Elvis. Meltzer tried to portray the Stones and Dylan at their 1965 peaks as trivial and silly (not to mention awesome and serious), just like the rest of rock 'n' roll. Meltzer was wrong, the Stones and Dylan were simply awesome — but I understand why he portrayed them in the way he did. He was trying to save them. Triviality protects awesomeness. The Rolling Stones, even more than the Beatles, saved white rock from being Bobby Rydell/Las Vegas shit but put it irrevocably, despite all their intentions, on the PBS path. By being merely awesome, the Stones laid the seeds for the destruction of rock 'n' roll. PBS can co-opt mere awesomeness. They can turn it into "seriousness" and oppose it to "fun." The Sex Pistols (who were the Rolling Stones reincarnated thirteen years later, and that's all they were) were a lot closer to PBS than to Elvis. The were better than Elvis, too — the awesome, sociofuckological aspects that made them closer to PBS helped make them better. But, though they saved punk for a couple years, they made punk socially significant hence digestible by PBS. (So do I, by the way — though I’m not great like the Sex Pistols or important.*)

I'm being a bit loose with the term "PBS." I mean a certain PBS head (attitude), which can include a cult taste for shitty horror movies, pro wrestling, African pop, comic books, Hasil Adkins... all this pseudofun is a covering for a mind set that's ruled by PBS. We're making horror movies safe for PBS. We have met PBS, and it is us. I mean an imaginary PBS of the future, with pro wrestling, splatter films, and leftist analyses of the Capitalist Entertainment Industry (scored by a reformed Gang of 4). All rendered lame in the context of our appreciation.
--Frank Kogan, Why Music Sucks #1, February 1987.

I don't consider this the most intelligible passage I've ever written. It was part of a long, unruly essay, in a long, unruly fanzine. For a clue as to what I thought I originally meant, here's a Cliff Notes version I wrote 20 years later for the Las Vegas Weekly (including, for non-Americans, a description of the actual PBS):

The Rules Of The Game No. 24: The PBSification Of Rock

I wouldn't say the LVW version really delivers: missing are the tumult and anguish of the original Why Music Sucks essays, the social life and the social detail, as well as the multiple twists and back-and-forth of my own thinking;** but it does clarify several points, as well as throwing a couple of pointed questions at me at the end.

Anyway, last month, in response to my quarterly list of top singles, Dave in passing referred to my PBS metaphor, which prompted a longer conversation in which I let loose with a bunch of reassessments and qualifications that I've thought of over the years. And lots of twists and back-and-forth. I'm reposting our convo here. This isn't the "PBS Revisited" essay I ought to write someday (I make reference to a 32-page email I sent Dave and Mark where I wrestle an issue I barely touch here), esp. given that what I value most in this interchange are the Elsa and Anna analyses; but it does give some indication as to where such a reconsideration might go. As I say, the PBS metaphor is never not going to be half-assed, and I'm never not going to feel it's essential. Dave = David Cooper Moore.

Kendrick and PBS on the cultural corner, with gentrificationCollapse )

Elsa and Anna go for brokeCollapse )

PBS wrap-upCollapse )

FootnotesCollapse )

Is music up to the task of creating social critiques?
To continue my X-post extravaganza, I put this on both the BLEUGH thread and the Adjunct thread. Mark had brought up Leroi Jones/Amiri Baraka, and I'd said — based on my unreliable memory — that, to Jones, "Black American culture contains — among other things — a critique of America, and he doesn’t want to see that critique blunted" (e.g., Black American musical practice contains a critique of America):

(1) Any opinion on Sidney Finkelstein? I read Jazz: A People's Music but can't recall specifically what I took from it; and I once owned but out of a combination of busyness and fear never read How Music Expresses Ideas (the fear because, when I opened it at random, I read something along the lines of "While the Soviet criticism of Shostakovich may have been heavy-handed, there was a fundamental truth...,"* and decided I just wasn't up for it emotionally; I'm sometimes very weak). Do remember considering the jazz book interesting and smart; also that Jones/Baraka cited him favorably — notice that for the title of my John Wójtowicz–Leroi Jones chapter I paraphrase the title "How Music..."

(2) A question we should go into — that we're implicitly raising — is whether Jones (as I've perceived or misperceived him) is right, that music (in comparison to, say, books and essays) is up to the task of creating a cultural critique, at least creating a critique that's more than merely incipient.

(3) Actually it's Otis Ferguson and Manny Farber and Andrew Sarris and ilk who really propelled me to the question. The way I thought of it in college was that the two great proto-auteurists, Ferguson and André Bazin, both treated filmmakers' aesthetic decisions (not just dialogue, but what to show, how to show it, whether to cut or pan, what angle to use) as ways of thinking. To put it crudely, Bazin reads movies for, among other things, the filmmakers' attitudes towards the world, whereas Ferguson reads movies for, among other things, what filmmakers are doing in the world. But obv. it's not either/or for those two critics or in general. Anyway, extend to anyone's behavior, e.g., musician choosing to play this note rather than that, singer phrasing this way or that, fan deciding to dance and deciding which dance, person wearing or not wearing band T-shirt, and on and on and on. Question is, does this hairstyle and acting out really take us far in the way of usable and repeatable critique, of effective understanding, rather than just placing us in Spot A or Spot B etc. in various social situations? (Ludwig Wittgenstein belongs here: we can include in our idea of language that it's more than just the utterances/words, it's also the social practices in which they're embedded, including events, actions.) Btw, what I drew from auteurism wasn't "the director is the author of the film" but rather that filmmaking is a series of choices, and these choices, no matter how original or how rote, constitute thought, no matter whom or what you assign the thought to — the actor, the screenwriter, the director, the studio, social habits, the social structure, the zeitgeist — and no matter how good or bad the thought is. Question is, how far does such thought go? E.g., how a cashier goes about scanning bar codes represents thought, but that doesn't necessarily mean one's scanning of bar codes is a form of social commentary, or can be extrapolated into social commentary.

*Can't locate the exact quote through Google books, which doesn't show any general excerpts and is sparing as to what from my searches of this book it's willing to show. The phrase "heavy-handed" gets me no hits. I did find this noxious sentence: "In the Soviet Union, criticism is a sign of the high regard the people have for music and its creators."

Ice Cream and the Ice Creams ft. Ice Cream "Ice Cream" (Singles First Quarter 2015)
Missed most of February (and most of everything else). Ash-B is the great discovery here, a strong and throaty rapper like Choi Sam but with a tone that's more supple and subtle. Will say more when I post my 2014 albums list. "The Song Of Love" is a low-rent slow dance from Core Contents Media (yeah, it's not Core Contents Media anymore, but in my dark heart it always will be). "Yumeno Ukiyoni Saitemina" scrunches together two acts I never really got and it's catchy. Azin's the sort of respectable-type well-controlled quality singer I always intend to be indifferent towards except every year there's another one who gets to me. I can't tell if Rihanna's goofing. I'd have called it "Bitch Betta Have My Ice Cream." Red Velvet take the cake. Christine and the Queens sing "Christine." ZZBEst kinda go soul horny in the early evening. Lizzy trots. GFriend are trying to sound like early SNSD and kinda do. They don't dance remotely as well, unfortunately. Jason Aldean does rote party roteness with good guitars. J'sais pas, I dunno.

Looking forward to Crayon Pop, Miss A, Blady, Exo. What'd I miss?

1. Ash-B "매일"
2. The Seeya "The Song Of Love"
3. Momoiro Clover Z vs KISS "Yumeno Ukiyoni Saitemina"
4. Azin "Delete"
5. Rihanna "Bitch Better Have My Money"
6. Red Velvet "Ice Cream Cake"
7. Christine and the Queens "Christine"
8. ZZBEst "랄랄라"
9. Lizzy "Not An Easy Girl"
10. GFriend "Glass Bead"
11. Jason Aldean "Just Gettin' Started"
12. Brigitte "J'sais pas"

The Jazz Singer (One Elephant, Two Elephant, Three Elephant, Four)

Question 1: Is it correct to say that during the '40s and '50s the usage of the word "jazz" both narrowed and changed so that what it denoted became more consistent and less varied and contradictory (but conversely, when there was a controversy over jazz taxonomy it was more fraught than it had been in decades past, and of course the relative taxonomic stability didn't last) and so that what was retrospectively considered historically part of "jazz" (from Buddy Bolden through to bop) was narrower than what had actually been called "jazz" in the '10s through '40s? (No idea what was being called what in the 1890s-'00s.)

Question 2: So is my impression correct that, prior to this narrowing and shifting, terms like "jazz" and "blues," and later "swing" (and what about "western swing"? and "country"? and "pop"?*) had significant overlap, that a broad range of dance music could be considered all three (or six)? How was someone like, say, Big Joe Turner classified when he was performing in the 1930s? If a time warp had let people in 1934 hear "Shake, Rattle And Roll" (either version) would it have been obviously "something other than jazz" to them? (Hat-tip to Swanstep @36 under My Own Private Record Club.)

Data note: Otis Ferguson (died 1943) considered Fred Astaire a jazz figure (probably more for dancing than singing, but also taken as a whole).

Question 3: The role of improvisation and length of solos had a lot to do with the reconfiguring, right? And making a fetish of them? (Assuming I'm right about the nomenclature being reconfigured.) Also, the role of dance.

Question 4: What about singers? In the era covered by Mark, the early LP era, Miles may be the elephant in the room as regards the future, but singers — significantly absent from Mark's list of "jazz expansive" — were the elephants of the present. E.g., in the late '50s Dinah Washington could be considered simultaneously the most popular jazz singer in the world and the most popular blues singer in the world, but she seems now to have been written out of both of those categories. (Or am I wrong about that?)

What about Nat King Cole?

*UPDATE: "Folk" should be in there too. (I remember reading somewhere that through the '40s "folk" was a viable term for a lot of what was eventually called "country," that it was the association with the left and with communism that doomed the word "folk" in this usage (and encouraged it in others). Of course, "I remember reading somewhere" is not a very useful citation.) Um, and while I'm in the update section, let's note that there was a famous movie in 1929 featuring Al Jolson that was called The Jazz Singer.

The elephant and the giraffe
Posted this on Mark's KIND OF BLEUGH thread:

Feeding off the other discussion, I want to say here, right now, that when it comes to token jazz albums, you guys don't know shit! I, Frank Kogan — or I, Frank Kogan, back as a teenager — penetrate to the essence of the token jazz album. Listen, Kind Of Blue is for the serious jazz dabbler. I mean, you guys (I mean, the guys who bought Kind Of Blue without followup), bought it because it topped some poll, right? Or because it was recommended to you, or something? Whereas I, as the pure token of tokenism, got jazz not even because it was jazz, but because it was the cutting edge of whatever it was the cutting edge of (the Revolution? Well, it was on Columbia Records) (followed on by the cutting edge of what used to matter, also on Columbia, iirc):

First jazz album bought by me: Miles Davis Bitches Brew
Second jazz album bought by me (if I even knew it could be classified as "jazz," which I may not have known): some Billie Holiday 2-LP compilation covering the early years, possibly called The Early Years (the label was confusing things by releasing multiple 2-LP and 3-LP sets with overlapping material: this one perhaps begins with "Miss Brown To You" and has the banana-bananah song and perhaps "They Can't Take That Away From Me" (so the alb becomes my intro to the Gershwins, too, but maybe "Can't Take That" was on one of the 3-LP sets) and "Swing, Brother Swing," which was my favorite for rocking hardest*).

Got a token blues album too, the second Robert Johnson compilation (the one with "Love In Vain").

Oddity confounds tokenismCollapse )

Btw, Tommy Mack's brother is right. "If you just put on Bitches Brew it’ll make no sense." I remember reading a jazz interview at the time, some musician who hated Bitches Brew describing it as program music gibberish, "Here's the giraffe. Here's the elephant," which is how it sounded to me, too. Didn't play it much. Not until eight years later, at least, after I'd heard Pangaea, in which the trumpet (and keybs?) sounded like Miles was staging interventions on his own albums, spraying forth bold lines of paint to restructure all the jamming and vamping going on underneath (possibly also a mishearing, but a more interesting one), was I, with my ears readjusted, able to hear Bitches Brew as a weird hostile Louis let loose in the abstract expressionist exhibit, splashing broad brushstrokes and rearranging sky and ground, while the sidemen tore up the joint. And here's the giraffe! And the elephant!

*An intriguing moment in "Swing, Brother Swing" is when Billie sings "Red indigo, and there ain't nobody gonna hold me down." How in the world can you have red indigo? (Turns out it's "Rarin' to go.")

Glimmer Spotlight 1
I've been wanting to comment on an ever-increasing number of Mark Sinker posts, especially this on Freaky Trigger where he continues a convo (prior installment here) that, among other things, draws on my hallway-classroom metaphor. Here's a preliminary map (or something) of how I might start responding, when I get the chance.*

1. I'll start with the question, "What would Mark say that he's saying here?" although, in order for this to be an exercise in understanding rather than typing, I'll try wherever possible to avoid using the words he uses.

Or you should try, if you want to anticipate me in taking a shot at it. Also, "saying" is a generic here that includes "doing."

2. You can walk and chew gum at the same time.

In other words, if I say or do A, that doesn't necessarily mean I'm not also saying or doing B, C, D, E, and F, including some K's and L's and M's I'm unaware of.

3. A special instance of the principle "You can walk and chew gum at the same time" is my attack on the hallway-classroom split.

The split goes, in the hallway you talk to and about each other; in the classroom you talk about some third thing: the subject matter. My claim is that good rock critics don't buy into this divide, so they refuse to honor the boundary between hallway and classroom.

4. I'm an alienation addict.

NotesCollapse )

*Posting here on my lj since I don't know if Freaky Trigger has fixed its spam filter problems, which had been delaying the posting of comments on old threads.

I'm pretty sure Hank never sounded this way
I'm pretty sure Hank Williams never sounded like the Velvet Underground. But Waylon Jennings' "Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way?" sure does, with the two chords of "Heroin" and the unison pounding of "I'm Waiting For The Man."

I wouldn't assume conscious derivation here. I wouldn't preclude it either, but the sound likely is Waylon going for a slow, serious stomp, and grinding down on two chords for weight and emphasis, the outcome happening to resemble what Lou and co.'d done eight years earlier. John Morthland calls it "a choppy, bass-heavy beat conceived as a result of Waylon's late-fifties stint with Buddy Holly but hardened by infusions of Johnny Cash's sound." Not that Waylon didn't listen to a whole lot of rock. Not that this track isn't, fundamentally, hard rock. As rock as it is country.

Any opinions are welcome as to actual derivation, possible genuine sourcing from Velvets, etc. A toe dip into Google isn't yet finding anyone else hearing the Velvets connection, despite its being massively obvious — it jumped me when I first heard the track a decade later, mid '80s, Dreaming My Dreams taped for me by my buddy Mark Hatton with the annotation, "Perhaps the greatest country album ever."

Don't know if I've ever embedded T-ara's "Roly-Poly" vid. YouTube killed the Eng Sub version,* so I'm testing to see if Dailymotion will still embed onto lj:

Well, Dailymotion killed that, but it's back up on YouTube:

What I keep pointing out, about this vid and about the first several live performances, is that Jiyeon** manages to be effervescent in the dance without once cracking a smile.

*For some reason it was Tokyo Broadcasting System that put in the copyright claim, though this is the Korean video, not the Japanese.

**Jiyeon's the lead dancer here, the one in violet, with hair up, in the first of the live videos, in cut-off striped shirt in the MV.

Tiny Montgomery
I like how the rhythm in "Tiny Montgomery" makes itself strong by just digging in and digging further, no moving forward. —The rhythm I'm referring to is mostly Dylan's voice, and the strum strum strum. Bass and the rest are a shuffling swing, I guess. So you can sway back and forth while the song steadily drives you down. A-Plus.

Other than that, I've never "gotten" the Basement Tapes, in either sense of the word. Couldn't stand the Great White Wonder boot when it broke onto FM rock in 1969, and never owned the official album, though I once had it in a stash of a friend's records for a summer, listening to it once, and taping "Tiny Montgomery." In any event, a way into it, if I ever do dig in, might be via Don Allred's Pazz & Jop comments, e.g.,

much enjoy that "Folsom Prison Blues" here sounds like the Band is playing "dum dum dum dum doo wah diddy, talk about the boy from New York City," which totally fits the loose flair of D.'s singing (the convict, still regretful, is also getting cranked up on cellblock cocktails). This performance of "The Bells of Rhymney" starts reminding me of "All Tomorrow's Parties," to the further credit of both songs and their performers, incl. writers.
My description of "Tiny Montgomery" is my attempt to explain to myself why it reminds me of the Velvet Underground without reminding me of frequent Velvets source the Yardbirds.

Was inspired to post by Sabina citing the Velvets and then trying to do different, regarding EMA.

I wouldn't assume Dylan had heard the Velvets yet. Was his own drawl he was using for a hammer.

Fairytale In The Supermarket
Yesterday my girlfriend and I heard, piped into the King Soopers supermarket on Speer and 14th, near where I work (serves a Hispanic neighborhood to the west, downtown to the east, Auraria Campus to the north), Television's "See No Evil." I'd certainly never heard anything like it — classic Velvets-Byrds-Wagner derived avant garage from the first CBGB era — in a major supermarket chain before. (King Soopers is Kroger's outlet on the Wyoming/Colorado Front Range.) Was followed up by a surf instrumental, then '60s pop hit "Georgy Girl."

Today, at the King Soopers on Evans and Carr, a few blocks south of where I live in heavily Hispanic west Denver, the guy in front of me complimented a woman working checkout by telling her she had a lovely necklace and asking whose picture it featured. "It's a Korean group, GOT7. Sorta hip-hop and dance," she explained. I spoke up: "I know GOT7. They're the latest on JYP," I added, in order to appear knowledgeable. The woman was about 22, seemingly Anglo.* As she rang up my order, I asked her what other K-pop she listened to, and she said her other best band was Infinite. "Oh yeah," I said, "'Be Mine.'" "That's one of their best songs," she said. She said that SHINee was also one of her favorites, but that GOT7 and Infinite were the ones she liked most. "Have good listening," I said, as I carted off my groceries.

Of course, GOT7 have zilch to do with Television, or CBGB. But notice that the love interest in the supermarket in GOT7's "A" is wearing a T-shirt of another classic CBGB act.

*By "Anglo" I mean non-Hispanic Caucasian; I'd be considered "Anglo" by this def'n, even though my ancestry is Eastern and Central European Jew.


Log in