Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Wha'Happened indeed!

See this is always the way with blogs and myself. Start one up, lose interest. It's a vicious cycle, to be sure.

So, dear reader(s), where have I been for the past five months you ask? Well there was the move to Somerville, the market tanking, Obama,the job search, the lady's birthday, trivia, the market tanking some more, Sarah Palin, a few bikes, Obama, temping, leaving the messenger industry, some more job search, birthdays, karaoke nights, sleeping, eating, OBAMA, sickness, health, RockBand, real band practice, my birthday, dinner parties, and an assortment of other things that you won't find to interesting (mostly involving a busted washing machine and a disinterested landlord).

But I'm back (sort of). I promise I'm going to do a better job keeping up this blog.

One interesting thing that I've done recently is I've submmitted a proposal for 33 1/3. They do open calls every year and a half or so, where at least 50 to 100 people submit proposals for records that were either released either a) less than ten years ago (Animal Collective, the Hold Steady, Girl Talk, etc, etc), b) by the Talking Heads sometime between 1977 and 1983, or c) in such a small quantity that there is legitimate debate as to whether this artist really exsisted. Thrown in there are some actually deserving artists that deserve to be written about. Here's an excerpt from mine of The Nation of Ulysses' Plays Pretty for Baby:

What ultimately makes Plays Pretty for Baby an interesting and worthwhile record though is the profusion of ideas that run through it. It works on so many different levels that one can never grow tired of listening. On one level, the record is a tongue-in-cheek send-up of the early 1990s indie scene. The often hysterically funny youth revolt jive talk in both their lyrics and liner notes can be seen as a poke in the eye of hardcore and punk’s (especially the D.C. punk scene) often overly sanctimonious peachiness. On another level the record is a fiery protest record, with both barrels aimed at a politically bankrupt society. The song “The Kingdom of Heaven Must Be Taken By Storm” isn’t so much a metaphor for rebellion so much as a blue print. Yet on another level the record is a Situationist critique on political radicalism itself, turning their efforts at subversion into a cryptic spectacle of abandon. As their liner notes point out:

Political Objectives/Target Audiences: Wreck society through direct action by destroying its institutions and the men who serve it, and by relying on the people's forces to spread the doctrines of "P-Power" and "Ragnarok." To consolidate the New Nation, while never forgetting the need for constant purging, as the nation shall resemble a self-cleaning oven.

On the one hand, the band was dead serious. On the other they’re laughing all the way to their graves.

Additionally, The Nation of Ulysses articulated the idea of a rock band as something more than just a band while simultaneously lampooning the idea. The Clash presented their band as a romantic group of outsider ruffians and early Scritti Politti dabbled with the concept of band as collective, but the NoU took these ideas to their logical conclusion by declaring themselves a sovereign political entity and even going so far as to announce their succession from the United States of America. As Svenonius noted in an early interview, “The Nation of Ulysses is basically about a shout of secession. We don't want to be involved with the United States and the structure that exists. We've introduced a whole new form of currency that takes its form in garbage.” This sense of band as a nation, diametrically opposed to the United States, in many ways provided a tangible spiritual connection to the black culture they celebrated, from Parliament/Funkadelic to the Black Panthers as well as a tongue in cheek critique of rock bands as rebellious figures. What could be more rebellious (or more ridiculous) than a sovereign nation that supports Latin American guerrilla movements such as the Shining Path and declared American youth to be an oppressed class?

Do I think it has a chance in hell of making it? Maybe, I don't know. Two people in the comments section have noted that they'd buy it (Bill Fox notwithstanding), with another noting that there needs to be more punk rock repped. I'm debating making some sort of comment, but I think I'll withhold. I think it could sell alot of books, especially if marketed through Dischord, where there is a built in audience for stuff they've released over the years. In anycase, I think it would be an interesting and fun experience.

Oh and if you have any comments about my proposal, I'd love to hear them.

Other than that, I'm back to my day job: fearlessly dicking around on the internet and occasionally doing some research for a certain academic.

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