Since Crooked Timber is now a music blog …

by John Holbo on January 19, 2014

… I’d better get with it.

Belle is on this virtuous kick because we finally got all our vinyl out of storage after years and years. One of the first old tracks I elected to play, because random, was “Barricade Beach”, by the Insect Surfers. Here’s the video. (Also, “The Sound of the Surf”. Ah, the 80’s.) So I wonder: where are they now? Turns out they’re still around, and quite awesome. Good for them. Still playing surf stuff!

What band did you like and then forget about for thirty years and then realize are still around?

Or you could just abuse me for my inexplicable affection for the Insect Surfers.



Plume 01.19.14 at 4:01 pm

I think of the Insect Surfers as a genre more than a band. Kind of like confusing “Kleenex” with tissue, or vice versa.

So, anyway, B52s, which they bring to mind.


JanieM 01.19.14 at 4:17 pm

Since Crooked Timber is now a music blog

Funny, I thought it was now the Hector and Mao show.


Jeffrey Davis 01.19.14 at 4:52 pm

The Cleveland Orchestra


bob mcmanus 01.19.14 at 5:42 pm

Anything and everything

As a kid I never cared about music

When I arrived at college around 1970, in the first week I picked up my first bag of grass and ten hits of acid, bought a KLH stereo and Happy Trails, Bitches Brew, and the Mahler 1st. For five years drugs were for music and music was for drugs and nothing else mattered. Eventually I moved down to different drugs, fell apart, went through rehab.

Relapsed in the early 80s. For weeks on end eating mushrooms and blotter and smoking Hawaiian sense and black hash and never moving and listening to Schoenberg 18 instruments and Sanders playing Ole and Fear of Music and remembering to eat sometimes. Lost a good job ran out of drug money and rent so moved two thousand miles and decided that music was gonna kill me.

So for the next twenty years I listened to sports and NPR and stayed sober. Only speaker was the single in a 12 inch tv, and I rarely watched tv and never MTV. The little beeper in the computer was my background. I literally listened to no music, as music for twenty years. Well, around 2002 we upgraded again as we always did every couple years (have had hands on keyboards since 1975), and a sound card and decent speakers came with the new system.

And I put on Astral Weeks and started bawling like a baby.


godoggo 01.19.14 at 5:52 pm

I’m vaguely aware that people are responding some question that was asked in the post, but I just want to say I’m actually offended by how little Amoeba charged for that 2nd hand copy of Kamau Daaood’s Lemeirt Park album that I bought yesterday and I’m listening to again right now. Fuck you, Amoeba. Great great great great album.


Ronan(rf) 01.19.14 at 6:00 pm

The insect surfers seem ok, awesome may be overegging it though ; )

I guess there’s a bit of a generational thing as well, as I wouldnt really remember or associate with specific bands per se, so much as songs. And this seems to be the case with a lot of people I know.
For some reason your post made me think of Bobby Caldwell

was bobby loved back in the day?

Also Im with bob vis a vis Astral weeks, how some people *hate* that album is beyond me. I guess its a reaction to all that ‘best album ever’ nonsense, but .. slim slow slider in particular is a beautiful song. imo


Peter Glavodevedhzhe 01.19.14 at 6:15 pm

I’m really getting into St. Louis-based Middle Class Fashion. They really take me back to–no, I just like the song. So:


Straightwood 01.19.14 at 8:47 pm

As much as I enjoy Belle’s stylistic fireworks, I find it rather sad to see mature people opening up trunks in their attic to dress up as teenagers. Pretending that the music you grew up with is magically rejuvenating makes no more sense today than it did for earlier elders listening to Frank Sinatra or Paul Whiteman.


Lee A. Arnold 01.19.14 at 8:52 pm

I never heard this gem before a week ago! I just found Tandyn Almer’s song composition, “Shadows and Reflections”. This version was performed by Eddie Hodges in 1976 though there are other versions by the bands The Lownly Crowde (US) and The Action (UK).
Almer wrote “Along Comes Mary” (arranged by The Association, memorably, eternally) and contributed lyrics to another thing I always hum every week, “Sail On Sail On, Sailor” (Beach Boys).


godoggo 01.19.14 at 9:18 pm

Oh good, someone mentioned Sinatra, so I’ll mention that I also belatedly picked up It Might As Well Be Spring with Basie at the sidewalk sale yesterday. Really great album, surprisingly so, and my new favorite along with Sings Only the Lonely, not that I’m enough of a geeky completist for those to be authoritative choices. Definitely the best version of I Believe In You I’ve heard, anyway; it actually is a good song if you do it right. There’s also a really great 1957 live album with the Riddle Orchestra that I once checked out of the library, but they don’t seem to have anymore. Seems to be available most cheaply as a double with a so-so best-of disk. Hopefully I’ll happen upon that someday.


godoggo 01.19.14 at 9:23 pm

Also I really liked that song about “my best-pressed tweed” from the album with Ellington when I heard it on the radio recently, enough so that I’ll snatch that up if I ever happen upon a cheap copy, despite its mixed reputation and song choices that are even iffier than the one I just bought.


godoggo 01.19.14 at 9:38 pm

Swing, not Spring


Philosofatty 01.19.14 at 10:25 pm

That is some rather more funky than surfy surf, yet awesome indeed. Everything about the way they look is highly likable. Napoleon Dynamite + young Jim Jarmusch moogist with Alan Thicke dance moves + denim rocker bassist with hideous blue sunburst Explorer knockoff. Excellent. I hope they get cool enough to date The Pandoras!


Meredith 01.19.14 at 10:51 pm

What band? The Band. Not 30 years out, though, maybe 10, when I didn’t even consider going to hear them (a last-minute jam/concert, news of of which was spread informally), though they were playing a few hundred years from my house, where I was tending two children under three and had a lot of work still to get done for the next day’s classes. Warmed my heart to thing they were playing nearby (and to a mostly new generation), but that’s when I knew my life was no longer going to track with music in the way it had when I was younger.


John Holbo 01.19.14 at 11:28 pm

“Pretending that the music you grew up with is magically rejuvenating”


“makes no more sense today than it did for earlier elders listening to Frank Sinatra ”

‘Why, they’re no better than Frank Sinatra!’ is great, boilerplate music criticism.

Bob McManus wins the thread by nominating music itself as the form of music he loved and lost and later recovered.


godoggo 01.20.14 at 12:43 am

And then he was gone.


Opie Elvis 01.20.14 at 2:12 am

Al Kooper has just released a box set retrospective of Mike Bloomfield, a great and greatly under appreciated guitarist. It brought back memories of a night more than forty years ago when Bloomfield showed up at Theresa’s , took out his guitar, and made a bunch of very good players put theirs down so they could just listen.


William Berry 01.20.14 at 2:58 am

Straightwood @8:

Are you really such a philistine, or just pretending?


William Berry 01.20.14 at 3:01 am

@bob mcmanus:

Dude! You almost wrote my autobiography, there.

We must have gone to different schools together.


Straightwood 01.20.14 at 3:41 am


I confess to Philistinism. Because I cannot place Kid Creole and the Coconuts in the pantheon beside JS bach, I have failed to meet local community standards. I am not worthy.


Belle Waring 01.20.14 at 3:45 am

Staightwood, keeping the trollery ever on the straight and narrow. That planned post about my favorite Big Band songs from the 40s would apparently make no more sense than…wait, it would make exactly the same amount of sense as, say, a post by my grandfather on the same subject, apparently. Which is perfectly well plenty of sense, on acount of the excellence of so much Big Band and crooner music of the 40s and early 50s. So, no I shouldn’t write it because it is as if I had gone into my grandfather’s attic to…put on…motherfuck, when I found 1950s clothes up there they disappeared onto my body. So, then, it’s as silly as me wearing amazing vintage clothes. Ah, excellent.

Astral Weeks: I once had a mix tape with “Madam George” recorded 3x at the start so I wouldn’t have to rewind. And this was true even though it was my step-father’s favorite song. High barrier to cross, Van Morrison. HIGH barrier. Blotter acid and Schönberg I think I couldn’t fucking manage. Fuuuck. Too many notes. Too many the wrong notes. Too many not the right the wrong too many notes. Jesus. Put some fucking Van Morrison on the turntable.


Straightwood 01.20.14 at 4:14 am


Sorry Belle, I had no idea that your enthusiasm extended to all previous recorded music. Surely there are some Edison cylinders around that you can play to summon up that cool 1890s vibe. I am totally OK with seeing elderly people in the front row at concerts of sexagenarian rock stars, because they are just enjoying the art of music, not trying to play some sad escapist game.


Ed Herdman 01.20.14 at 4:31 am

Yeah, I’m definitely onboard with preventing “your mindset is too utopian” critiques in the music posts. I like this new direction for the blog.


godoggo 01.20.14 at 4:48 am

You mean ’30s big band and mid-’50s crooners of course. I’m here to help.


godoggo 01.20.14 at 4:49 am

OK there was good stuff at other times too.


roy belmont 01.20.14 at 4:52 am

Watch this kids:
There’s a song on the back of the 45 of “Sugar Sugar” by the Archies called “Melody Hill”. It is the most tightest perfectly constructedest pop song that there ever was. It is apex and acme. It has no irony. It has no secrets. It has exciting rhythm. It whooshes.
It is a uniter of all ages and life forms.

I said this here already years gone back there, listen to “Street Fighting Man” by the Stones, then listen to “Foggy Day In London Town” by Frank Sinatra. repeat. repeat. repeat.
Dawn comes to its mountain in the brain.

Van Morrison set his folks up in a record shop in NorCal back in the when. I was in there once browsing around. Chatted a bit with them, whatever occurred, they played me some tapes of the man himself singing British music hall tunes of vintage excellence. Amusing as all get out, vocally tight full and complete, with that timing of the impeccable master and solid soul commitment to the performance. And funny.
Could have had a career doing that alone.

I have a mp3 from online from a cassette from a guy in Turkey he made for his father of a 78 rpm of his grandfather’s of a guy singing a song from like Scythia pre-Alexander or something.
A flute holding everything from underneath, small fierce horses shuffling at the edge of the firelight, cowboys of the Steppes yearning for that school ma’rm back in Tashkent or someone like her, forcing the best-voiced one of them to sing it up, and there it is.

Geez Bob. Maybe you should go listen to some Mary Margaret O’Hara?
I think you should.It may help.


godoggo 01.20.14 at 4:55 am

Oh man, I just heard her like 2 weeks ago for the first time. Wonderful.


godoggo 01.20.14 at 4:55 am

Oops, somebody else, never mind.


Belle Waring 01.20.14 at 9:24 am

Straightwood: you know with dead certainty that I was not dancing up ‘in da club’ to Patrice Rushen and Con Funk Shun and Breakwater in 1976 (the music I lauded in a previous “all hail rare groove” post.) You have known this for ages. (It’s true my youngest child is 9 now and that’s freaking me out, but I didn’t use unethical IVF practices to create her.) This is why you are keeping the wood straight, and the trolling straighter, as ever. You have never, for a moment, believed I was old enough to be doing so (dancing in da… etc.), and no one at all will believe you even for a nanosecond if you claim that you did. Let’s see, maybe you’ll claim you weren’t reading all that carefully, and you thought that by ‘1976’ I meant ‘1996’? That you thought I said, and was correct in saying, that the smooth funk sampled in West Coast rap of the early 90s was originally released in the late 90s? That you think I am of an age to have been focused on rare 1976 releases by bands that never ever made it big, from Zion, Illinois? That you took my Ross “I Would Do Anything For Love But I Won’t” Douthat post with po-faced literalness, due to your straight-laced nature, and your entire lack of humor, and you believed me when I said that I had time-travel technology? And so, in your stern view–akin in many ways to a long stick that is extraordinarily stiff, I feel–I was re-living my glory days as a young person, spent using [non-canon] Culture time-travel tech to get crunk in da club in LA, listening to Faze-O, in 1978, in a particularly tight 3am set by a killer DJ, and then shaking my money-maker until daylight came and caught me up again (as in the song), and so, when I explained how awesome Faze-O, is I did so in a way that embarrassed you? Please elaborate.
with warmest regards,
Belle “No, I Am Not Now Committed To Liking Every Form Of Music You Nitwit; Study Implicature And Troll Harder So That You May Merit Your Nym” Waring


Belle Waring 01.20.14 at 9:35 am

22: Oh. I see. It’s acceptable for me to like bands that old people like. May I like bands that people younger than I like? Please to be explicating the Straightwood ‘you are either embarrassing us by putting on your clothes from college or you are doing something I barely tolerate–but don’t by any means like!–because I am fundamentally incapable of pure, joyous consumption of culture of any kind, as can be seen by my previous arguments about Great Works passim, in which it was crystalline that I did not ever experience unmediated pleasure in reading’ aesthetico-moral code. Mmmmm? Oh, wait, but you stiplulated it was we feminists who couldn’t experience unmediated joyous pleasure from contact with art! So why are you suddenly so concerned about the opinions of others, and whether things are outdated, or indicative of excessive love of the pleasures of one’s youth? Should it not simply be about what music is good and what bad? Are you subjecting things to some sort of political acid test now Straightwood? For shame. For shaaame.


oldster 01.20.14 at 12:39 pm

Yum, yum!

No one can lay out a whole heaping, banquet table of troll-food like Ma Belle. Why, in view of all that delicious bounty, trolls will come flocking from nearby counties! That would keep troupes and troops of trolls well-nourished for weeks.

Strange thing to do, but I guess you know what you are about.


bob mcmanus 01.20.14 at 12:57 pm

Geez Bob. Maybe you should go listen to some Mary Margaret O’Hara?
I think you should.It may help.

Thank you. I listened to ten songs last night. New to me.


Sam Dodsworth 01.20.14 at 1:34 pm

No one can lay out a whole heaping, banquet table of troll-food like Ma Belle.

You are without wit, or charm, or grace.


Hugh 01.20.14 at 2:06 pm

My old records are Invisible Cities-type geographies for me. Entering Machaut, the traveler becomes disembodied and is equipped to enjoy the harmonious dissonances of the spheres. Arriving at Prince Far I, I am reminded that when reggae hits you, you feel no pain. A spin through Huggy Bear recalls to me the importance of experimental syntax and off-beat rimshots when promoting adolescent faith in the possibility of girl/boy revolution, yeah. The last of these scientific rejuvenations is indispensable to my work as a high school Latin teacher. JS Bach’s cool, too.


Straightwood 01.20.14 at 2:46 pm


Thank you for bestowing on me the rare honor of F -> M sexual harassment, which I take as the highest compliment because it demonstrates that true equality of the sexes can be attained only when they share fully in rudeness. I believe that I may have made a serious error in misconstruing your meticulous display of musical discernment with a shabby show of hipper-than-thou. But why would CT’s queen of hip need to show off? It is more likely that you are simply dipping into the restorative waters of pop music to gather strength for your next ferocious assault on sexist devils. Evidently your pure, joyous consumption of the pop music culture coexists happily with your righteous denunciation of sexists.


Belle Waring 01.20.14 at 2:59 pm

Teaching HS Latin, JS Bach, and Prince Far I will get you into my good graces with a quickness, Hugh. Well played.

oldster: I killed Hector and Mao and am boiling their skulls clean now so that I can drink fermented mare’s milk out of them this weekend in roy of alicublog’s somber, yet festive, yurt. I am also making a kind of paté. But if I don’t draw in any new trolls who rise to chÅ«nin rank in the next ten months or so, I’ll have no one else to kill in time to drink out of their skulls at the next lunar new year, and Snake is my year to be queen. Bloggers who have killed no trolls in the previous year aren’t allowed to drink kumiss in the queen’s yurt at all! One must think ahead. I can’t be absent at my own lunar new year troll banquet, with so much feasting, and ribaldry, and the traditional burning of a wicker man modeled on Jonah Goldberg and filled with the registrants of one of the NR Cruises…which is no NR Cruise at all! We lure them in by saying Victor Davis Hanson and Mark Steyn will be speaking and so on. We make them pay extra to sit at the same table as Steyn! The hapless fools’ dollars underwrite almost the entire affair! Don’t tell anyone, though.


Belle Waring 01.20.14 at 3:02 pm

Crap, I probably shouldn’t have let you read that, Straightwood.


Belle Waring 01.20.14 at 3:09 pm

I was soclose. I’ll have to turn my sights elsewhere. Damn. You’re an excellent troll, Straightwood, precisely because you’re not always trolling! And you’re not a fool! Dim people who just go through the same tedious motions of trolling all the time…so boring. Then again, Straightwood, I haven’t seen you making a lot of substantive, non-trolling comments recently. Do you like to get into policy arguments about Wikileaks? I feel as though you never do. If you only want to complain about my complaining about sexism then that would be tedious, but I feel that you have more promise. I suppose you complained about people liking the music they liked when they were young but that’s rather thin gruel. Which direction do you plan to take this in? I mean, where do you see yourself in 1 year, banned troll, or contrarian commenter who’s earned the respect of his opponents?


Straightwood 01.20.14 at 3:25 pm


Um, Belle, have you been reading the Liberal Surveillance State thread? I am in the mainstream there, and definitely in sympathy with Henry. I think you are just a troll magnet because the wild excesses of your writing style (which I do enjoy) awaken even the dullest mind to contentiousness. You could do this for money, you know. As Hunter Thompson observed, “When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.”


Ed Herdman 01.20.14 at 7:19 pm

“Troll magnet?” Self-awareness is the first step back to the straight and narrow!


js. 01.20.14 at 8:11 pm

Sorry to go totally off-topic on your post, Holbo, but Henry’s post seems kind of too serious a place to ask:

Umm… was there a post on here by SHIA LEBOUF!, a post that, I might add, I was very much looking forward to read, being a connoisseur of all things Shia LeBeouf? (Ok, well, not really, but this seemed special?) Am I losing my fucking mind here?

(I fully predict that this comment will be forthwith deleted as part of the conspiracy to silence Shia LeBeouf and his prescient warnings!)


bob mcmanus 01.20.14 at 8:36 pm

Was there a comment here by js talking about a post by “Shia Labouef?”

(which probably got removed because spoofing and sock-puppeting is bad practice)


roy belmont 01.20.14 at 11:38 pm

alicublog? Is that funny? Mean and funny? Nice but I don’t get it?
How many levels of inverted hermeneutical myopia did that require to it make?
I’m thinking a half or so.
My last landlady lived in a yurt. Up the hill from me, who lived in the bird house.
I was at the Last Waltz.
I saw and heard Janis Joplin before she’s in Big Brother.
Elizabeth Cotton I gave a flower bouquet fresh picked by me running around the neighborhood of the venue at night with a couple drinks in snatching fleurs hey-nonny outta people’s gardens because she said, before I took off, somewhat regally, her, where’s my flowers, no flowers?
I’ve been run out of town (attempted) by every wack-interest group with a membership greater than three, consistently, nigh on weekly, for pretty much everything except the true facts, since I was 14. Maybe before too I don’t remember.
But I have never, not even, no, except when misread by misreaders, so hey, been accused of collaborative frequencies viz. avec that place you said. That place. No.
You made me go there. Just to find out what. No.


Belle Waring 01.21.14 at 2:26 am

My bad, Straightwood. And it’s true that when you do argue about liberal policy issues you are on the side of right, but you’ve been absent on that front generally for a little while. Our blog has sucked slightly for a time, though, so I don’t know that I entirely blame you. Nonetheless, I think it’s only fair that if I’m willing to admit to massively trolling my own blog all the time, you should be able to admit to being a massive troll.


SoU 01.21.14 at 2:37 am

i mean, when you are named Straightwood on a blog called Crooked Timber…. right? ;)


Straightwood 01.21.14 at 2:45 am


OK, OK, I’m either Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Troll, depending on the thread context and how much smugness is displayed by the OP. You do appeal to my worst nature, but that should not discourage you from your efforts to elevate brilliantly vituperative blog screeds into a new literary form. You could be up there with Hunter Thompson and Matt Taibbi, Belle. You could be a contender.


Belle Waring 01.21.14 at 2:48 am

js., others: my thought processes are random, and ridiculous, and described in an over-wrought fashion, but they are by no means as opaque as you make them out to be. Since you seem to like making moderately humorous things not-funny, shall we?
1) Hector and Mao get hit with the banhammer of justice.
2) I am accused of laying out a suspiciously well-laid banquet for trolls. Suspiciously so, mind. There are tiny fluted shells of puff pastry filled with beef Wellington. There is a cheese table. This is no ordinary troll banquet. But why? WHY?
3) I use my IMAGINATION to IMAGINE a scenario which is ONLY PRETEND in which bloggers, when they ban trolls, do not merely cause them to cease to exist on the blogs in question, but cease to exist altogether, and so, kill them, of necessity, due to logic.
4) I further imagine that, like the ancient Scythians described in Herodotus, liberal bloggers can only gather and drink in the yurt of their king if they have slain an enemy (a troll in this case if you are having difficulty keeping up for some reason) in the previous year. Further, that, like said Scythians, when they do drink, they drink out of a cup made from the skull of said slain enemy (or in this case, troll, viz supra.)
5) As Lunar New Year is fast approaching it is clear I will be able to drink out of Hector and Mao’s skulls soon, so no worries there, but out of whose skull will I drink next year? It cannot be a “pill for men that rhymes with famous falls in New York State/Canada” spammer. No. It must be a real, a true, an excellent, even a splendid troll. For who will equal Hector? Thus we will need to nurture a new troll. That’s why I’m trolling my own blog so hard in these comments, was the implication there.
6) But do liberal bloggers have a single king in whose tent these ceremonies would always, continuously take place? Atrios? No, so it probably travels around, by lot, and I was merely suggesting that it might be alicublog because hey why not, it’s an excellent blog after all?
7) Likewise, why should we host next year? Just cuz it’s funny? Also, what the hell, it’s my comment, nu?
8) “It’s not funny to joke about burning would be NRO-cruisers alive in a wicker model of Jonah Goldberg!” Is too.
9) “The year after next isn’t Snake, it’s water Snake now moron, it’s about to become Horse, and then–” Look, liberal blogger Lunar Years are different. Right now it’s earth Imaginary Iraqi. Last year was special since it was metal Glenn Reynolds (it was fire Glenn Reynolds 12 years prior.)
I hope this has cleared everything up.


Belle Waring 01.21.14 at 2:52 am

That’s very sweet of you to say, Straightwood.


js. 01.21.14 at 3:11 am

Yeah, really needed to read the post I guess. But it was gone so soon! I must say I was hoping for something along the lines of Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Libertarian FARC! On Twin-Earth! Or something.

(It is meanwhile so depressing that my attempts at humor make funny things unfunny, that I am just going to stop.)


godoggo 01.21.14 at 3:13 am

There’s been an explosion of writers employing strategies of copying and appropriation over the past few years.


js. 01.21.14 at 5:00 am

No way—really?


godoggo 01.21.14 at 5:04 am

I never lie.


roy belmont 01.21.14 at 5:54 am

I hope this has cleared everything up.
Yeah, you know, it did. I went back there at that place and they didn’t have a picture of Canada’s Own Ted Cruz first thing up anymore so I actually read some actual stuff instead of also having aesthetic distress on the blueness of it and yeah it is.
So self-criticism and watch that over-reacting on nothing substantial at all to go on, plus it’s okay and good even. Calm down, me.
3) …of necessity, due to logic…
It may soon be possible to cause people to cease to exist without killing them. Conceptual removal. The idea of who that was is now no longer an idea, ffffft.
Including eventually back-dating so they aren’t even ever having been there to begin with. Which means working out stuff falling down from suddenly having no nails that they put in etc. But it is nicer for everyone. Though not as much fun. Spiritually more mature, but not very exciting.
My dad raised me on tales of the Irish et al being Scythians to start who were, in his version not the Greek one, more crafty traders and cool nomads than ferocity raiding champions, driven by others more nastily inclined into already (tribally) populated Europe, and then pushed north and west to where they became themselves.
But we never drank anything stronger than beer together. Out of bottles and cans.


godoggo 01.21.14 at 5:58 am

Have you ever listened to Margaret Barry? That’s who I was thinking of.


Tyrone Slothrop 01.21.14 at 6:02 am

Roy, alicublog features the wordsmithing of the one and only Roy Edroso, also able author of the mnemonic mordancy that goes under the rubric Morgue for Whores; a man good for quote harvesting in most everything he writes, but—in especial— his weekly Right Rage collation for the Village Voice.


RichardM 01.21.14 at 8:45 am

The Minutemen.

They aren’t around anymore, because d.boon was killed in a car accident in 1986.

But George Hurley and Mike Watt, in particular, are very much around – Mike Watt playing with several of his own bands as well as the Stooges.


Belle Waring 01.21.14 at 10:03 am

js. sorry–if I was stepping on an actual Shia LeBeouf joke from you then it is I who need to look in in the mirror of not-funny.


Ed Herdman 01.21.14 at 10:29 am


Would you still say it’s “bad practice” when you discover it was its own post? I miss that post. But yeah, I don’t know why they deleted Shia Labouef’s guest post, it was very good and thoughtful and stuff.


roy belmont 01.22.14 at 6:11 pm

Only because there’s no where else to put this:
Kenneth Patchen wrote a poem about a very little man with wooden hair, who, whenever he needed a haircut, would get on a city bus and start insulting people and saying obnoxious things generally, until someone picked him up and threw him through a window.
Mao was abb1.


Kiwanda 01.22.14 at 11:37 pm

I have no contributions to the OP thread

“What band did you like and then forget about for thirty years and then realize are still around?”,

although I think it was derailed before leaving the station, in order to make way for the virtuous and not-at-all-boring task of giving “trolls” the beat-down.

I do have a related note, on “Music I didn’t know or care about at the time, but I find I like now”. So: Fairport Convention’s “Who knows where the time goes?”, Jeff Buckley, Rain Parade, Iris Dement, Massive Attack (very obscure, I know), KC and the Sunshine Band’s “Please don’t go”, Talk Talk’s “Spirit of Eden”, Big Star.


js. 01.23.14 at 3:48 am

So, getting back to topic a bit late, this is quite good! (Only checked out the older stuff.) Made me go back and listen to the Cramps again, who I didn’t really like when I was first getting into this stuff (they seemed a bit gimmicky? I wanted more “Holiday in Cambodia”). (This in my life is all way after any of this shit was being produced.) Anyway, cheers, maybe time for a rethink of poppy surf-rock inspired Cali-punk.

(And re Kiwanda, Rain Parade is way awesome. Second best band to come out of the Paisley Undergound?)


Belle Waring 01.23.14 at 2:50 pm

Kiwanda, KC and The Sunshine Band is worse than Pol Pot. That thing you said can’t be right at all.


Ronan(rf) 01.23.14 at 5:25 pm

I hope to God straightwoods nonsense hasn’t put an end to this series?
My radio tells me that yesterday was Sam Cookes birthday ..


Kiwanda 01.23.14 at 6:06 pm

Kiwanda, KC and The Sunshine Band is worse than Pol Pot. That thing you said can’t be right at all.

But not worse than Hitler! So mentioning KC&SB eventually is *not* the music-thread Godwin analog. Just evidence of good taste, in style as well as music. I’m sure all right-thinking people agree, and anyone who doesn’t deserves a pile-on, disemvowelment, doxxing, and the banhammer. Then e-hugs.


Martin Bento 01.25.14 at 5:50 pm

Straightwood, My God, I hope I didn’t sound like you in that other thread, though this does give me a chance to clarify myself.

The idea people seem to have now is that you get imprinted with some currently-popular style in adolescence and bond to it for the rest of your life. As you age, you expect to disengage from current music, and, if you remain engaged with music, it will be the music you listened to as a teenager, or at most, other records in the same vein. Music is part of adolescence, and its primary function, aside from accompanying sex or dancing, is to help define identity, a central concern of adolescence: you listen to music to make a statement to yourself and others about who you are. Which I don’t like, actually, because I think it distorts the reaction to the music itself.

This has become so normal that people seem to think it is an intrinsic part of life.
There is nothing wrong with adults listening to youth-oriented music, including for nostalgic reasons, though those are not the only possible reasons. After all, I listen to some recent youth music, and, although I won’t be telling people when I was a teenager, suffice to say it wasn’t last year. But having adolescents dominate popular music was a marketing strategy of the 50s that stuck; it is not an eternal truth of music. That is why what people were bemoaning in the other thread – why can’t anybody write good pop tunes past a certain age – has only been true since rock and roll (and not entirely so now, but there is truth to it).

Prior to rock, popular music was mostly aimed at adults. The economic basis was less records than sheet music – people play music at all ages – and music for musical theatre, which, though the audience was not always so geriatric as lately, was never a form specifically for teenagers. The one partial exception to this is dance music. Although people of all ages dance, most people of high ages don’t do it very long. So putting the kids in charge of the music market has increased the emphasis on driving rhythms, not that such were absent before, but they are more ubiquitous now.

Turning the musical culture over to adolescents has led to a great deal of stylistic innovation. A key question of adolescence is “who am I”, so new styles keep emerging because each generation wants their own answer. Not that styles were static before, but there was a reason Berlin, Rodgers, Porter, Kern, etc. could write hits for decades without changing their styles much.

And since all ages have adopted rock and subsequent styles, they are not purely adolescent anymore, though adolescents still have a disproportionate voice, largely because adults grant it to them.


mattski 01.25.14 at 7:22 pm

Punk rock changed our lives.


roy belmont 01.25.14 at 8:10 pm

that you get imprinted with some currently-popular style in adolescence
“Get imprinted”.
Turning the musical culture over to adolescents
By what? Or by whom? The air around us? The value-neutral vending machines of sound?
Or the industrial marketing, the monetizing of something that’s legally defined as pure luxury, entertainment?
Music’s integral to every rite of passage I can think of – graduations weddings funerals inaugurations church hot dates movies background of shopping – everything except birth itself, and even there, now…

But it’s an extra, legally, mere entertainment, a snack almost, by definition.
The severing of continuity that makes each wave of the “generations” a coherent distinct whole, what is that? Besides marketing ploy. Riding on the carving up of an organic whole, the human community locked into age-specific sub-groups.

Oh it’s a natural thing, always been like that.
But the commodification of music’s less than 150 years old now, max, more like 80 years. Just enough to drop below the generational horizon and seem like it’s always been that way.

Songs that used to pass from singer to singer got sliced and diced and packaged and made next-generationally obsolete.
This turning of the young against the old, through language, fashion, and musical styles, where’s that coming from? It sure works to the advantage of the merchandizers.
Like running shoes for kids. Got to have the new ones, ma. Because popularity.
“We like this” so you can’t, without being weird. Like wearing youth stylee clothes when you’re too old to qualify. Eww.

Music as cultural signifier, okay, but the dividing of the culture into tightly bounded age-groups means people are either kind of ashamed to like music outside their assigned group, or it’s seen as a sophisticated and cool “knowing”, but never as commonly experienced, never as a unifying thread across time and generations.
Until we break through that artificial crap.


Martin Bento 01.25.14 at 8:56 pm

Roy, I think you’re agreeing with me.

As far as the explosion of stylistic innovation since the 60s, though, I think there is actually a greater cause than youth focus and that is making the product recordings rather than sheet music. If you are selling sheet music, you have to have fundamentally strong tunes – chords and melody that stand up as such, realized by nothing more than (usually) piano and vocal. It also means your audience are at least amateur musicians, which is to say people who engage with music actively. This supports a sort of minimum standard for quality of basic songwriting.

But the palate you ‘re working on is very limited compared to the complete world of sound that a recording studio or computer gives you. It becomes much easier to “create a new sound” and to have a sound collage approach to songs, which is now the dominant approach. It is also more possible for individuals or small groups to take over all aspects of music creation and have an auteur approach. Although it is interesting that one of the masters of “sound collage” pop of the last couple of decades – Beck – is now interested in creating piano scores rather than recordings.

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