I am trying to break your heart :: Wilco

I am an American aquarium drinker
I assassin down the avenue
I’m hiding out in the big city blinking
What was I thinking when I let go of you

Let’s forget about the tongue-tied lightning
Let’s undress just like cross-eyed strangers
This is not a joke so please stop smiling
What was I thinking when I said it didn’t hurt

I want to glide through those brown eyes dreaming
Take you from the inside, baby hold on tight
You were so right when you said I’ve been drinking
What was I thinking when we said good night

I want to hold you in the Bible-black predawn
You’re quite a quiet, domino, bury me now
Take off your band-aid ’cause I don’t believe in touchdowns
What was I thinking when we said hello

I always thought that if I held you tightly
You’d always love me like you did back then
Then I fell asleep in the city kept blinking
What was I thinking when I let you back in

I am trying to break your heart
I am trying to break your heart
But still I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t easy
I am trying to break your heart

Disposable Dixie cup drinker
I assassin down the avenue
I’ve been hiding out in the big city blinking
What was I thinking when I let go of you

Loves you

I’m the man who loves you

Beatles: Rock Band; Impressive Review

THERE may be no better way to bait a baby boomer than to be anything less than totally reverential about the Beatles. So the news that the lads from Liverpool were taking fresh form in a video game (a video game!) called The Beatles: Rock Band struck some of the band’s acolytes as nothing less than heresy.

Luckily, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, along with the widows of George Harrison and John Lennon, seem to understand that the Beatles are not a museum piece, that the band and its message ought never be encased in amber. The Beatles: Rock Band is nothing less than a cultural watershed, one that may prove only slightly less influential than the band’s famous appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show” in 1964. By reinterpreting an essential symbol of one generation in the medium and technology of another, The Beatles: Rock Band provides a transformative entertainment experience.

In that sense it may be the most important video game yet made.

Never before has a video game had such intergenerational cultural resonance. The weakness of most games is that they are usually devoid of any connection to our actual life and times. There is usually no broader meaning, no greater message, in defeating aliens or zombies, or even in the cognitive gameplay of determining strategy or solving puzzles.

Previous titles in the Rock Band and Guitar Hero series have already done more in recent years to introduce young people to classic rock than all the radio stations in the country. But this new game is special because it so lovingly, meticulously, gloriously showcases the relatively brief career of the most important rock band of all time. The music and lyrics of the Beatles are no less relevant today than they were all those decades ago, and by reimagining the Beatles’ message in the unabashedly modern, interactive, digital form of now, the new game ties together almost 50 years of modern entertainment.

With all due respect to Wii Sports, no video game has ever brought more parents together with their teenage and adult children than The Beatles: Rock Band likely will in the months and years to come.

One Friday evening last month I invited a gaggle of 20-something hipsters (I’m 36) to my apartment in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, to try the game. After 15 minutes one 25-year-old said, “I’m going to have to buy this for my parents this Christmas, aren’t I?” After nine hours we had completed all of the game’s 45 songs in one marathon session. On Saturday afternoon, I woke up to watch a 20-year-old spend three hours mastering the rolling, syncopated drum sequences in “Tomorrow Never Knows.” Thirty-six hours later, near dawn Monday morning, there were still a few happy stragglers in my living room belting out “Back in the U.S.S.R.” Good thing my neighbors were away for the weekend.

I grew up in Woodstock, N.Y., steeped in classic rock, so I had a head start on my younger band mates. (I suspect many parents will enjoy having a similar leg up on their progeny.) Yet I watched the same transformation all weekend long. We would start a song like “Something” or “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” and as it began, they would say, “Oh yeah, that one.” Then at the end there would literally be a stunned silence before someone would say something unprintable, or simply “Wow” as they fully absorbed the emotional intensity and almost divine melodies of the Beatles.

Not only was the game serving to reintroduce this music, but by leading the players through a schematic version of actually creating the songs, it was also doing so in a much more engaging way than merely listening to a recording. It is an imperfect analogy, but listening to a finished song is perhaps like being served a finished recipe: you know it tastes great even if you have no sense of how it was created.

By contrast, playing a music game like Rock Band is a bit closer to following a recipe yourself or watching a cooking show on television. Sure, the result won’t be of professional caliber (after all, you didn’t go to cooking school, the equivalent of music lessons), but you may have a greater appreciation for the genius who created the dish than the restaurantgoer, because you have attempted it yourself.

Previous music games have been about collections of songs. The Beatles: Rock Band is about representing and reoffering an entire worldview encapsulated in music. The developers at Harmonix Music Systems have translated the Beatles’ scores and tablature into a form that is accessible while also conveying the visceral rhythm of the music. In its melding of source material and presentation, The Beatles: Rock Band is sheer pleasure. The game is scheduled to be released by MTV Games for the PlayStation 3, Wii and Xbox 360 consoles on Wednesday, the same day the remastered Beatles catalog is slated to be released on CD.

Mechanically it is almost identical to previous Rock Band games. One player sings into a microphone, replacing the original lead vocals, while another plays an electronic drum kit and two more play ersatz guitar and bass. (The new game supports up to two additional singers for a potential maximum of six players.)

In the game’s story line mode, players inhabit the various Beatles as they progress from the Cavern Club to Ed Sullivan’s stage; Shea Stadium; the Budokan in Japan; Abbey Road; and their final appearance on the Apple Corps roof in 1969. Unlike in previous Rock Band games, players are not booed off the virtual stage for a poor performance; rather the screen cuts to a declarative “Song failed” message. Previously unreleased studio chatter provides a soundtrack for some of the menu and credits screens, but there is no direct interaction with avatars of John, Paul, George or Ringo.

The colorful psychedelic dreamscapes used to represent the band’s in-studio explorations are particularly evocative, though they serve mostly to entertain onlookers rather than the players themselves (who will be concentrating on getting the music right rather than looking at the pretty pictures).

Of course almost nothing could be more prosaic than pointing out that playing a music game is not the same as playing a real instrument. Yet there is something about video games that seems to inspire true anger in some older people.

Why is that? Is there still really a fear that a stylized representation of reality detracts from reality itself? In recent centuries every new technology for creating and enjoying music — the phonograph, the electric guitar, the Walkman, MTV, karaoke, the iPod — has been condemned as the potential death of “real” music.

But music is eternal. Each new tool for creating it, and each new technology for experiencing it, only brings the joy of more music to more people. This new game is a fabulous entertainment that will not only introduce the Beatles’ music to a new audience but also will simultaneously bring millions of their less-hidebound parents into gaming. For that its makers are entitled to a deep simultaneous bow, Beatles style.

[From New York Times article “All Together Now: Play the Game, Mom“]

Playlist Mix

Beck – Movie Theme (the Information)
Fleet Foxes – Tiger Mountain Peasant Song (Fleet Foxes)
M83 – Kim & Jessie (Saturdays = Youth)
Bjork – Who Is It? (Medulla)
Amadou & Miriam – Sabali (Welcome to Mali)
Radiohead – Sit Down, Stand Up (Hail To the Thief)
Bon Iver – Re: Stacks (For Emma, Forever Ago)
Led Zeppelin – In the Light (Physical Graffiti)
Autechre – Laughing Quarter (Envane)
Andrew Bird – Plasiticites (Armchair Apocrypha)
Beck – Movie Theme (the Information)

Beck’s Summer Tapes

Colleen- Summer Water
Jens Lekman- Another Sweet Summer’s Night On Hammer Hill
Lee Hazlewood- Summer Nights
Al Green- Feels Like Summer
Love- Bummer In The Summer
Brave Belt- Summer Soldier
Marc Bolan & T Rex- Celebrate Summer
Eddie Cochran- Summertime Blues
The Who- Summertime Blues
Guitar Wolf- Summertime Blues
Outsiders- Summertime Blues
Blue Cheer- Summertime Blues
Alex Chilton- Summertime Blues
Eddie Cochran- Summertime Blues
Jens Lekman- A Sweet Summers Night On Hammer Hill
Michael Kelly Brewer- I Survived The South Bass Island Summer Of 82
Belle & Sebastian- A Summer Wasting
Ross Johnson- Theme From A Summer Place
Rob Crow- Over the Summer
Girl Talk- Summer Smoke
Lee Hazlewood- Summer Wine
Little Free Rock- Roman Summer Nights
Grandaddy- Summer Here Kids
Beat Happening- Indian Summer
Girl Talk- Summer Smoke
Caural- Summer On Cassette
Prince- Sex In The Summer
Jimi Hendrix- Long Hot Summer Night
Of Montreal- Oslo In The Summertime
Pavement- Summer Babe
R. Kelly- Summer Bunnies
Curtis Mayfield- Summer Hot
YACHT- Summer Song
ABBA- Summer Night City
Animal Collective- Summertime Clothes

The Beatles Butcher Cover

On June 15, 1966, Capitol Records released a Beatles album without the Beatles’ consent entitled Yesterday and Today. This featured an image that has become known as the Butcher Cover . . .

Butcher cover

(Photograph conceived and executed by Bob Whitaker)

“The original cover, created in England, was intended as a ‘pop art’ satire. However a sampling of public opinion in the United States indicates that the cover design is subject to misinterpretation. For this reason, and to avoid any possible controversy or undeserved harm to the Beatles’ image or reputation, Capitol has chosen to withdraw the LP and substitute a more generally acceptable design.” – Alan W. Livingston, President of Capitol Records (USA), Tuesday, June 14, 1966.

“It was inspired by our boredom and resentment at having to do another photo session and another Beatles thing. We were sick to death of it. Bob was into Dali and making surreal pictures.” – John Lennon, in the interview conducted just before his death in 1980.

This now-legendary image, probably the single most famous image of the group, was originally conceived as one of a triptych of photographs, and intended as a surreal, satirical pop art observation on The Beatles’ fame. Whitaker’s inspirations for the images included the work of German surrealist Hans Bellmer, notably his 1937 book Die Puppe (La Poupée). Bellmer’s images of dismembered doll and mannequin parts were first published in the French Surrealist journal Minotaure in 1934.

“It’s an apparent switch-around of how you think. Can you imagine actually drinking out of a fur tea cup? . . . Putting meat, dolls and false teeth with The Beatles is essentially part of the same thing, the breakdown of what is regarded as normal. The actual conception for what I still call “Somnambulant Adventure” was Moses coming down from Mt. Sinai with the Ten Commandments. He comes across people worshipping a golden calf. All over the world I’d watched people worshiping like idols, like gods, four Beatles. To me they were just stock standard normal people.” – Whitaker, session photographer

The albums with the butcher cover were withdrawn and returned, and a new cover was hastily prepared. . . . The offending photo was replaced by an unremarkable Whitaker shot of the Beatles gathered around a large steamer trunk, taken in Brian Epstein’s office. It was rushed to America, where Capitol staff spent the following weekend taking the discs from the returned “butcher” sleeves and putting them in the new sleeve.

Several thousand copies of the original cover were destroyed and replaced by the “cabin trunk” sleeve, but Capitol eventually decided that it would be more economical to simply paste the new cover photo over the old one. After the album was released, news of the paste-over operation leaked out, and Beatles fans across America began steaming the cabin trunk photos off of their copies of Yesterday And Today in the hope of finding the “butcher” cover underneath.

The butcher cover is now one of the most valuable and sought-after pieces of Beatles memorabilia. George Harrison himself called it “the definitive Beatles collectible” . . . .

[All text in this entry is from nine nine one]

My skull changes shape . . . the bones bend

I try to make my music joyful — it makes me joyful — to feel that music soar through the body. It changes your posture, you raise your chin, throw back your shoulders, walk with a swagger. When I sing, my face changes shape. It feels like my skull changes shape . . . the bones bend. “Grace” and “Eternal Life” are about the joy that music gives — the, probably illusory, feeling of being able to do anything. Sex is like that . You become utterly consumed by the moment. Apparently orgasm is the only point where your mind becomes completely empty — you think of nothing for that second. That’s why it’s so compelling — it’s a tiny taste of death. Your mind is void — you have nothing in your head save white light. Nothing save white light and “Yes!” — which is fantastic. Just knowing “Yes.”

— Jeff Buckley

[Quote pulled from Shana Goldin-Perschbacher’s essay “Not with You But of You”]

No More Runnin’ :: Animal Collective

No more runnin’, says my mind
All this movement has just proved your kisses hard to find
Older harmony that I see
Friends I once had turn their thoughts away from me
No more runnin’, I’ve got to breathe
On back porches with the torch of a firefly lit tree
It’s what I hope for
It’s what I hope for
No more runnin’
No more runnin’
I locked my bones and trapped my feet
I told them I found ’em a place to be
And stick like candy in your teeth
When you lose your faith in me
No more runnin’, says my mind
All this movement has just proved your kisses hard to find
It’s what I hope for
It’s what I hope for
No more runnin’
No more runnin’
No more runnin’
No more runnin’

Zeppelin Guitar Tunings [Note to Self]

Open G: D G D G B D [e.g., “That’s the Way” — Led Zeppelin]

Open C: C G C G C E [e.g., “Friends”; “Hats Off to (Roy) Harper” — Led Zeppelin]

Open D: D A D F# A D [e.g., “Bron-Y-Aur Stomp” — Led Zeppelin]

D A D G A D [e.g., “Black Mountain Side” — Led Zeppelin]

Love Love Love :: The Mountain Goats

King Saul fell on his sword
when it all went wrong
and Joseph’s brothers sold him down the river
for a song
and Sonny Liston rubbed some Tigerbalm
in his glove
some things you do for money
and some you do for love love love

Raskolnikov felt sick
but he couldn’t say why
when he saw his face reflected
in his victim’s twinkling eye
some things you do for money
and some you’ll do for fun
but the things you do for love
are gonna come back to you one by one

love love is gonna lead you by the hand
into a white and soundless place
now we see this
as in a mirror dimley
then we shall see each other
face to face

and way out in Seattle
young Kurt Cobain
snuck out to the garden
put a bullet in his brain
snakes in the grass beneath our feet
rain in the clouds above
some moments last forever
and some flare out with love love love