Friday, November 30, 2007

Tom Petty Playing the Super Bowl

Playing the Super Bowl is always good if you want to be considered Advanced. Is Tom Petty ready to take the plunge into Advancement? We'll see...

If iLike-a You, and You iLIke-a Me

In the somewhat distant past, I put a bunch of music I wrote or contributed to in some way on It's a compilation of things I did in my living room but also some recordings I did in the studio (including Thank You Super and My Three Best Friends). Garageband apparently cut some kind of deal with iLike, so now you can hear my stuff there, too. You’ll find it under Latin Transmitters. Why Latin Transmitters? Read this (you’ll have to scroll down a bit).

The Postman: I Admit It

Not much going on out there, so I'll just take this moment to admit that I enjoyed "The Postman" starring Kevin Costner. But so did Tom Petty, so I'm in pretty good company. I would say this is a guilty pleasure, but I don't believe in them.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Kanye West Makes a Deal With the Evil

Maybe this has nothing to do with Advancement, but I just don't care (USA Today):
Evel Knievel and Kanye West have worked it out. The 69-year-old iconic motorcycle daredevil said he and West met at his Clearwater condo recently. They settled a federal lawsuit over the use of Knievel's trademarked image in a popular West music video.

Knievel sued West and his record company last year. He took issue with a 2006 music video for the song Touch the Sky, in which the rapper takes on the persona of "Evel Kanyevel" and tries to jump a rocket-powered motorcycle over a canyon.

Knievel failed in his attempt to jump the Snake River Canyon in Idaho in 1974.

West's attorneys argued the video amounted to satire, covered under the First Amendment.

"We settled the lawsuit amicably," Knievel said Tuesday. "I was very satisfied and so was he."

So are we all.

In other legal news, the guy who wrote "Grandma Got Runover By a Reindeer" was sued "for breach of contract Monday by a company that claims he interfered in a $1 million-plus deal to sell musical trucks, bobblehead dolls, snow globes and cookie jars featuring characters from an animated show based on the novelty song."

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Lou Reed MP3: Safety Zone

Henry alerted me to the MP3 of Lou Reed's new Nanking song, "Saftey Zone." It's at Stereogum, where they just can't help themselves from an Overt comment:
The guitar part's nice, the lyrics kinda lacking ... but dude's heart's in the right place even if his melody (etc.) isn't.
I prefer Henry's comment:
it's amazing how he can do a song about the rape of nanking with a major key syncopated acoustic chordal riff.
Anyway, there's a nice clip of the "average" and "high on life" Lou Reed from 1974 that is very worthwhile. I think he's trying to outdo Bob Dylan.

Monday, November 26, 2007

My Bloody Valentine to Release New CD Online

According to NME, that is:
My Bloody Valentine are set to mimic Radiohead by self-releasing their forthcoming brand new album on the internet. However, the shoegazing comeback kings are unlikely to also ape the band's 'In Rainbows' release by enabling fans to pay what they want.

My Bloody Valentine's manager, Vinita Joshi, confirmed the release, saying: "At the moment, all I can say is that Kevin [Shields, singer/guitarist] is getting the band back together and they will go into the studio next month to work on the new record.

"The plan is that they will release the album themselves via the internet, but there will also probably be a vinyl release."
I think that it is now no longer to release music on the Internet. A big part of why I say that is that they are planning to release it on vinyl. There's nothing more Overt than releasing your record on vinyl in 2007. Nevertheless, I love My Blood Valentine, and I'm excited to plan to hear this record.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Brian Wilson Not as Sophisticated as Sting

I came across this review of Brian Wilson's solo record from a few years back. It includes this passage about Wilson's autobiograhpy, which gave me a chuckle:
...on page 361, Wilson still manages to bring the reader up short. He worries that his music compares unfavourably with that of Bruce Springsteen and Paul Simon. Worst of all, it does not offer "the sophistication of Sting". That phrase delivers a horrifying jolt. The composer of Good Vibrations and God Only Knows has somehow come to the conclusion that his work is inferior to that of the man who wrote De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da. Forget the stuff about building a sandpit in his living room: this is categorical proof that Brian Wilson is completely mad.
Make that completely Advanced. Also, this writer is completely stupid. It's always bothered me that people somehow miss the point of "De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da." I remember a DJ saying once, " Gee, I wonder how long it took him to write that." Of course DJs also cut off the end of "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic" (big enough umbrella), so it's not so surprising that they would look at a song title and figure the songwriter couldn't think up any real words. But for a music writer to do that is...actually not that surprising either now that I think about it. Is there a race of man that understands music less than music writers? Anyway, here's some more amusing stuff about that solo record, "Gettin' In Over My Head":
Wilson subsequently disowned Wouldn't It Be Nice, claiming that it was written by his horrendous former psychiatrist Gene Landy. However, you are reminded of his troubling views on contemporary music by his third solo album, Gettin' In Over My Head. Few artists can match Wilson's level of influence. Famous musicians flocked to the recent live performances of his legendary 1960s albums Pet Sounds and Smile. He could collaborate with any number of groundbreaking young artists who owe him a debt, with potentially fascinating results.Instead, Gettin' In Over My Head opens with Elton John, huffing his way through a song called How Could We Still Be Dancin'? Later on, you are treated to a guitar solo by Eric Clapton and a song co-written with David Foster. If the latter name seems unrecognisable, then his oeuvre is all too familiar: he should be held responsible for Peter Cetera's Glory of Love, St Elmo's Fire by John Parr and many singles by Celine Dion.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Open Source Tolstoy

I'm reading a (somewhat windy) biography of Tolstoy, which has confirmed my suspicious that he was Advanced. There was his religious conversion (Advanced Artists often turn to religion, Bob Dylan being a good example), his claim that he wrote War and Peace for the money, and his preference for making his own boots. He was also an Advanced Irritant. For instance, he said of an experience reading Shakespeare: "I invariably underwent the same feelings; repulsion,
weariness and bewilderment." He also preferred to make boots to books. One last thing: He gave away his later works and wouldn't accept royalties from his writing (however apparently his wife owned the rights to the most valuable works), preferring to make it "common property." Sort of like Prince's CDs. One other last thing: He preferred the ZZ Top version of Advanced hair. He had long hair down the front, not the back. Don't know about the leather, though.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Lou Reed's Songs for Nanking

Lou Reed has written some new songs (so where's that album I've been waiting for?). Here's something about them (from the Overtly named antiMusic News):
Lou Reed has been known to be intensely moved by historical and international events and conflicts. Just recently, Reed composed and recorded two brand new songs -- "Gravity" and "Safety Zone" -- both inspired by the soon-to-be released film NANKING--a powerful and relevant documentary that tells the story of the Japanese invasion of Nanking, China, in the early days of World War II. It is an emotional reminder of the heartbreaking toll that war takes on the innocent, and a testament to the courage and conviction of a few individuals determined to act in the face of evil.

The events of the film are told through deeply moving interviews with Chinese survivors, archival footage, and chilling testimonies of Japanese soldiers, interwoven with staged readings of the Westerners' letters and diaries as performed by Woody Harrelson, Mariel Hemingway, Jurgen Prochnow, and Stephen Dorff, among others.

For more go here.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Da Mystery of Chessboxin Solved

As I've often said, I don't know enough about hip-hop to make a judgment about whether most rappers qualify for Advanced status, but RZA (and the Wu-Tang Clan in general) has always struck me as a candidate. So with that in mind, let's have a look at this story in Wired, where he tells all about his kung-fu samples:
Kung-fu's influence on hip hop has been around since the '70s, when B-boys busted Bruce Lee moves while break-dancing. But in 1993, gritty rap supergroup the Wu-Tang Clan released Enter the Wu-Tang (36-Chambers), the first chart-topping album to kick up raw rhymes with dialog sampled from underground Hong Kong flicks. The Wu has since sold nearly 6 million albums, all featuring snippets from producer RZA's personal collection of action imports — which boasts more titles in the genre than the Library of Congress. "The people who made these movies didn't know how much one sentence could inspire," says RZA, who also scored Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill saga and other films. In December, the Clan's eight remaining members (RIP, ODB) reunite for their fifth release, The 8 Diagrams. RZA gave WIRED the dope on Wu-Tang's cinematic source material and sounded off on a selection of rare movie clips.
RZA then goes on to tell us about individual samples: what movie they came from, where you can find it in the movie, and why it was used. So if you ever wanted to know what the significance was of the sample from "The Four Assassins" in "Maria," now is your chance. You can also hear the samples and see the actual clips. It's a charticle 2.0, you could say.

As far as Advancement is concerned, the martial arts are very Advanced, as is demystifying your art by explaining where it came from. (Bob Dylan likes to do that, though his explanations then require demystification as well.)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Prince Loves, Threatens Fans

Here’s the latest in the Prince v. Fans (NME):
After a series of legal tussles with online fans over the use of his likeness, Prince has commented on the to-do via a song on a new website,

The website's name, as well as the capitalised letters in the title of the new song, 'PFUnk,' seem to be a reference to 'Prince Fans United,' an organisation of webmasters whose sites have received cease-and-desist notices in recent weeks over alleged copyright infringements.

The song's lyrics send a decidedly mixed message: "I love all y'all," sings Prince at one point, "but don't you ever mess with me no more."
Wouldn’t it be great to live inside the mind of an Advanced Artist for just one day?

Lou Reed's Favorite Guitar Solo

PopMatters has a long interview with Lou Reed. It's all about Metal Machine Music. Here's some:

Metal Machine Music is the greatest album ever made. It’s a stunning, epic, multi-layered work that’s retains its shock value 32 years after its initial release. You know what else is stunning? How Lou Reed described it to me when I asked him about it: “It’s just kind of, ya know, a guitar solo.”

Have you ever thought about re-releasing it in Digital Surround so people could get that experience again?
I have no idea where the original quad version is. It was very, very difficult. Years ago, someone wanted to do an installation of Metal Machine Music, and we tried to get the original tape from RCA ... as though they cared. They wouldn’t even let us. It’s complicated, but they wouldn’t let the original tape out of their warehouse, which is interesting ... the fact they even have it ...

Well that’s RCA for ya.
That was the version of Metal Machine that was re-mastered by Bob Ludwig, who did the original.

And also invented the locked groove at the end of the fourth movement.
That was, ya know, actually a Warhol idea ‘cos he had said, “Why does the music have to end?”

“Why can’t it go on forever?”
Yeah, so we raised the groove.

Does MMM stand more as a musical triumph or a philosophical one ... or both?
Well, I mean, I really like it. I really love it. Not just the idea—the actual thing. I wouldn’t have done it if I didn’t love it.

I’m amazed by the context that it appears out of, sandwiched between the joyous pop albums Sally Can’t Dance and Coney Island Baby. Did you feel like you were “stepping up” or “stepping down” between releases?
It’s like a different color.

Like a different palette almost?
Yeah. It’s just kind of, ya know, a guitar solo.

Any regrets about it?
It’s like one of my songs—I love it.

People tell me all the time that the Advanced Theory can't be possible. But the resurgence of MMM is pretty good evidence that Britt and I were on to something. In fact, in a few years, maybe MMM will be on the Pizza Hut jukebox.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Gawkwer Thinks Lou Reed Is a Jerk

From Gawker:
Last night was the Brooklyn Academy of Music Next Wave gala in... Manhattan. Yeah, no. we know. But I guess there aren't any spaces in Brooklyn that are nice. So instead, it was at 7 World Trade Center on some really high floor. Below, Ground Zero looked like a little deserted Erector Set. Maggie Gyllenhaal and Peter Saarsgard were supposed to be there. But they had some other benefit to attend. John Turturro was supposed to be there too but wasn't. You know who was? Lou Reed. And you want to know something else? Turns out he's not a nice guy! Nikola Tamindzic was our witness.
Lou works out at the Printing House and one time we alternated sets. He does tai chi downstairs and wears tie-dye shirts. So I thought we had a connection. But little monkey man refused to talk to us at the party. He also has had, said a source, a different personal assistant every year so "you know it's got to be a nightmare to work with him." I mean, it wasn't as if we thought Lou Reed would be nice and chatty but he was cold and scary and he hurt our feelings. How could Laurie Anderson put up with that?
I always love when someone's definition of a "nice guy" really means "he realized right away that I'm a fascinating person and spent a long time discussing my insights about him because I'm a great fan but not like other great fans who are annoying and ask him silly questions."

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Unsigned Band to Play Super Bowl?

Not exactly playing the Super Bowl, but close enough. NME has the story:
Unsigned bands are being given the chance to air their performance during the Super Bowl -- one of the most watched television events in America. A competition sponsored by Doritos gives new bands the chance to submit their music videos online.

The winner's video will be aired during a commercial break on the Super Bowl XLII broadcast on February 3, 2008. To enter the competition, artists must submit a video of themselves performing their original song along with an audio file by November 25 to
As most of you know, playing the Super Bowl halftime show (by the way, does Prince always put his hand to his ear and smile?) is one of the more Advanced moves you can do. But if anyone is Advanced in this scenario, I'm thinking it might be Doritos. Anyway, I can just imagine the internal battles being waged in bands where three of the guys think they should enter but the Overt singer thinks it would be selling out.

Maybe I'll enter...

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Prince Serves Notice to Fans: Advancement Isn't Free

From Yahoo/Reuters:
Fan sites dedicated to Prince say they have been served legal notice to remove all images of the singer, his lyrics and "anything linked to Prince's likeness," and have vowed to fight what they said was censorship.

The move was a shock to his army of followers and came two months after Prince threatened to sue YouTube and other major Internet sites for unauthorized use of his music.

But by targeting fan sites directly, Prince risks a backlash, and the sites have vowed to unite under the banner "Prince Fans United" and take the matter to court if necessary.


The fan sites said Prince, 49, had demanded the removal of fans' photographs of Prince-inspired tattoos and vehicles displaying Prince-inspired license plates.
This is classic Advancement: upsetting your fans and potential lawsuits. I particularly love the fact that he gave away that record for free, and now he won't let people use images of tattoos inspired by him. I can't get behind the license-plate ban, though. That's going too far.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Bob Dylan: More Harmonica

One of the great things about having smart readers is that you can use the comments when you have nothing to post about. Like this, from Henry:
saw the four hour tom petty documentary this weekend (i can't believe i ate the whole thing). in one part, the heartbreakers are talking about playing back-up for dylan, and mike campbell says, about the different arrangements and anarchy on stage: "that's one of the things we learned from him, is by breaking all that down, these accidental things would happen that were just magical, that would never happen if you just played your show, stock, from start to finish. and that's what he was reaching for, was those bigger moments, those places where new things happen and spontaneous things happen."

the video under the voice-over is this live clip of them playing "knocking on heavens door" and dylan, in black leather vest and pants, is playing this intro harmonica solo and the band starts to come in and dylan just shoots an arm out behind him and holds it there, flexed, like, "stop, we need a longer harmonica solo here," and they all hold back. felt advanced to me.
Anytime you combine black leather and extended harmonica solos, it's a pretty good bet that there is Advancement involved.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Tom Stoppard Makes a Play

Somebody wants to be considered Advanced (NY Times):
Yet anyone who looked hard enough could always see the fragile, hopeful heart beneath the cerebral glitter in Mr. Stoppard’s work during the past 40 years, from “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead” (1967) to “The Coast of Utopia” (produced on Broadway last year). Now, for theatergoers who find looking hard to be a strain, there is “Rock ’n’ Roll,” which opened last night at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theater under the direction of Trevor Nunn.
At the play’s center is Jan (Rufus Sewell), a Czech university student and a man who the Czech-born, English-educated Mr. Stoppard has said is a might-have-been alter ego: the self he might have been had he returned to live in his homeland. A protégé of Max (Brian Cox), a growling lion of a professor at Cambridge, Jan leaves England for Prague when the city is occupied by Soviet tanks in 1967. His motives, he says, are to save 1) his mother and 2) socialism. Still, his greatest love lies in the grooved vinyl of the only possessions he takes with him: a collection of records by groups like the Rolling Stones, the Velvet Underground, the Fugs and especially Pink Floyd.
I don't know enough about Stoppard to judge his Advancement, but I do know that the title of this play is awesome.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Ween Likes A Jazzman

So I hear Ween has a new album out with David Sanborn guesting on sax. I don't think I need to add anything here.