January 23, 2009
Starbucks, 12th & Walnut.
I’m listening to “25 Avril - Orchestral Marstall” from A Year With Swollen Appendices: The Diary of Brian Eno by Brian Eno.
January 14, 2009
I have no idea what these posters mean but they’re all over the place in University City and West Philly.
I’m listening to “Golden Age” from Dear Science by TV On The Radio.
January 11, 2009
I went to 8static last night. It’s a local series of chiptuning or 8-bit/Game Boy music concerts. It was at a yoga studio, of all places, a few blocks away which turned out to be a really good venue. I really like this stuff! The sounds these musicians start with are familiar and strangely comforting which is not surprising given their origins. After being fed through layers of distortion and amplified to near-deafening levels, though, they become hair-raising and abrasive, just the kind of sound that I love. (They dispensed free earplugs at the door!) Its coarseness and really fast tempos make it almost compulsively danceable. The fast-moving video projections at these shows are kind of disorienting, too. There is also the weird sight of musicians hunched over, intently playing these tiny plastic objects in their hands who are being observed by an audience hunched over their phones, texting and taking pictures.
There were four acts: three solo performers and a trio (two guitars and a bass with preset tracks, I think). They were all very good but the headliner, 8GB, from Argentina, was so good that I nearly forgot the others had even played. (There are pictures above and a 30 second sample below, both thanks to my iPhone.) He seemed mostly to manipulate beats and had less melody that the others but more variety overall.The sound was utterly compelling and he was obviously having a great time making it. The otherwise weirdly passive crowd was a swirl of motion during his set but thinned considerably by the end of his generous 75 minutes. It’s not surprising. As much as I like this music, it’s assaultive, and exhausting to listen to. Unfortunately, a small technical problem, causing him to turn the volume down for a few seconds, removed some of the drama from first noticing that his final song was a cover of Kraftwerk’s classic ”The Robots” (Note to promoters: The sound man should be at the board while the band is playing.)
Anamanaguchi who preceded 8GB were really good and entertaining but their songs had a sameness that was ultimately tiresome. Also, they are the only 8-bit band I’ve heard who seem to need a singer. None of them have singing, at least none of the eight “bands” I’ve seen, but Anamanaguchi’s pop stylings (and appearance) seemed to be screaming for a front man. Call me old-fashioned.
Anyway, Check them all out And come to next month’s show. Their sites are all reachable though the 8static web site. The second performer, Animal Style, urged the audience to download his music for FREE here.
Se you at the next show on February 7th!
January 9, 2009
There was a pro-Palestinian demonstration, if that’s even the proper terminology, on JFK Boulevard this afternoon. The men in the crowd were beautiful! There were flags waving and keffiyat blowing all over the place in the wind and cold. This guy’s not only really cute but the combination of his hat and shirt made me laugh. (You can click on him for a larger picture.)
The location of the demo, across from a high-rise that that used to be inhabited mostly by older Jewish people, seemed strange to me. I think that population is declining lately for a lot of reasons. The building is called a “managed community” now and is marketed to everyone, so who the fuck knows? (I do know one guy who lives in the building and he’s certainly not a Jewish senior.) Anyway, I thought it was kind of interesting that the protest was directed at a group of regular citizens instead of a government agency, person or program. Maybe they just decided to yell at the people who would be most annoyed by the noise.
UPDATE: The demonstration was outside the office of the Consulate General of Israel at 1880 JFK Blvd. That makes more sense, even though the protesters were aiming their speakers and bullhorns away from the building toward the residences across the street.
January 8, 2009
Thanks to Karen for taking such a nice picture!
I’m listening to “Go Square Go” from Glasvegas by Glasvegas.
January 5, 2009
“Whoever runs this place ought to get rid of the prissy queen who works the night shift weekends.”
—bathroom wall at Bush River Books and Video.
I’m listening to “Willie The Pimp, Part One” from Fillmore East, June 1971 by The Mothers of Invention.