November 26, 2008
Found this on 4ad and couldn’t help but post it. The woman on the left is the one from Lush. Lush is a great band. I’m all about Gala and Split. Gala is a pretty good comp of eps and whatnot, but Split is probably their most solid LP. I can’t say much on throwing muses and i’m gonna guess the girl on the right is from them, but she almost looks like a girl in lush and maybe i have it backwards or maybe i’m right. I’ve listened to Real Ramona, but it didn’t do a whole lot for me, it was lacking something, probably feedback and dreaminess or is it dreamyness? Whats with mark’s forehead? I bet they didn’t have to ask him not to smile but probably requested he look at the camera and not shy away. He probably doesn’t sport long locks now because of middle age greying.
That’s all I have to say about that.
November 25, 2008
If you were me the first song you heard by Red House Painters was “Have You Forgotten” and if you were a girl that hung out with me the first song you probably heard was “Revelation Big Sur” because its my choice cut from that album, and in my top 5 songs ever and I believe every female can like that song unless you really like skinny puppy or the radio hip hop/radio pop/electropopadop equivalent. Originally, I didn’t know there was a place outside San Fran called Big Sur. I always figured the title had something to do with Big Sur by Jack Kerouac, and then i read the book, which is about delerium tremens and solitude in a cabin in Big Sur and a whole bunch of other things. Big Sur is a hitchhike down a highway away from San Franciso. I don’t know if you know this, but Jack Kerouac is great. I was going to come on here and say that the album should have picked another song as the opener and I was going to nominate Song For a Blue Guitar as the candidate to take its place, but then i started the album and realized there is no other song that could open this album. Its simplicity is what makes it shine, compared to most of the other songs that are far more intricate in more ways then one. It just starts kind of abruptly, I think thats my beef with it.
This album isn’t flawless. The version on my ipod is, however, because I’ve trimmed the fat. In this case the fat is two of the three covers on this album. If you rid the album of the Yes cover and the McCartney cover, you get 9 songs which equals approximately 55 minutes of awesome (for lack of a better word). The two songs drag on way too long, and not in a good way like the way make like paper keeps going. That song never feels like its 12 minutes, which is the case for every good long song by this band. They know to not overdo breaks in the song and to keep it going with lyrics and not repeats of chorus’ (or at least in a song like Medicine Bottle the recurring line “its all in your/her/his head is given a different followup each time). The thing with this album is that every song sounds like it could be in a cameron crowe movie… oh wait, have you forgotten was used in Vanilla Sky! Durp. Not to mention Mark starred in Almost Famous (too bad i don’t like that movie because the wrong people love it). I’ll revise my statement to be less exclusive : Every Song on this album could be used in a movie. Yeah man.
I will say, the version of Long Distance Runaround only on the vinyl version of Ocean Beach is good. It is only acoustic guitar and 3 minutes, so none of that rock stuff on the blue guitar version. I have a live version of Silly Love Songs on my ipod, and thats plenty.
This album totally got thrown on the back burner for a few months after the first listen when i was 17. I’m not even sure why. I was probably too into Gorilla Biscuits or something. The change in riff in Make Like Paper at 6:50 to the end is one of the best parts on the album. I like this jammin song, much like the jammin version of Carry Me Ohio featured on Nights. I have a live version of Paper and it is in a set where Mark was having a good night in regards to his voice, and he sings it incredibly singing in a bit of a higher register (maybe not register just accenting certain words to give it such a fresh feeling. I like things that are fresh).
I’ve gotten a couple people into this album. I’ve made Jason a believer, and I think was the first was one he got into. Colin likes it, so i guess that makes the album uncool. My Dad really likes this album, but he has this problem where he won’t listen to Ocean Beach no matter how many times i say he should. But what should I expect, he is the kind of guy who thinks Movement by New Rrder is “better than joy division, and better than when they started to sound like Pet Shop Boys”. Next to Rev Big Sur, my main jam for this album is probably Priest Alley Song. I like how the first time i heard it the middle part felt unexpected, which is always cool. If your favourite song is I feel the rain fall, then you really don’t like this album. Not that its a bad song, in all ways its great, but yeah, i stand by what i just said.
They made a music video for the cover of All Mixed Up. It features all of the painters even though this album only notes Mark Kozelek and none of the other. I am pretty sure they just released under the name of the band so that it’d sell. The video is pretty ok. The Koz is rockin the long hair, thats the main highlight. In some of the live sets i have from 1996/97, they hardly touch on this album. I mean i know they had a lot of songs under their belt at this point but they were more interested in playing new songs that would total almost 40 minutes of a set, then play medicine bottle and a couple random ones, also hardly touchin on ocean beach.
Heres a quote from a show in London:
“This songs off a record, Songs for a blue guitar. One thing i just thought of is that i always make a point to play something off that record because something happened to me in spain that i think about every once in a while. I played a show in Cadiz and afterwards this couple came up to me and the girl said “I just want you to know the record songs for a blue guitar is shit”. I said you know “no its not”, and she said “well then why did you not play anything from it tonight?” and I never had a comeback”.
and heres the live song to go with it. One thousand times better than the studio version, TRUST ME you’re gonna want to grab this:
PS, pick kozelek out in the above photo
November 18, 2008
If you ask me, which you aren’t but I will tell you that the Shock Me EP holds more signifigance and is so crucial than more people would think. You probably don’t think of it, you probably have some sort of life where you make decisions. Luckily for me, I suck. This record was on ebay in a store for so long at 80ish bucks, and one day i thought “fuck, I’ll buy it” and it was gone. I’ve seen it once since and i was too broke to bid. I think it ended around that price. It was from switzerland.
This EP was like Ice Cube shaving his jheri curls. The Painters were moving in a new direction, and it was the perfect buildup to ocean beach, which is an extremely folk oriented album, minus some of the noise. It also contains one of the best songs by them, which is Sundays and Holidays. I was in a music shop today, playing on a left handed guild that I am thinking of putting on layaway, or buying down the road in my life when i make more money and can control my record buying habits. I fucked with the strings and busted out variations on rev big sur and sundays and holidays. It sounded great, I wish I could have bought that guitar. The two original tracks from the EP could have easily been on Ocean Beach, but i bet Three Legged Cat would have taken away from the overall mood that Ocean Beach creates. The Kiss cover is pretty good too. The production on the ep is so crisp too, especially the way the guitar is panned back and forth on sundays and holidays. How many times have i written that song title so far?
The first handful of lines are some of the best written:
what do you think in the back seat
travelling through the yellow open state
am i too slow to turn my thoughts to words
to turn meaningless to meaning
am i too down to notice smell and sound
to tell dull from bright
Maybe its because i’m a sad bastard that i think everyone should hear that and immediately agree with the idea. When i listen to this song, I think alot about the alternate cover of Ocean Beach with the abandoned church probably because of the line “where angels mend and mothers get to spend their sundays and holidays”(so good), and I like when a song can do that. I like when an image can compliment something so well. I also wish i could write a song that good. I have a couple live versions of this song, one of them is pretty ok. Mark just played chords on the ones i have but the guitar sounds so weak so it doesn’t work. One of them the quality is too thin, the other he is playing on an electric. Alot of their shows in the later part of their time in the 90s suffered from bad effects on their guitar. It sounded great on the albums, but the flange sounds so stupid most of the time. When they were playing the 2000’s they definitely toned down the suck in regards to their equipment.
I’ll upload this : a live take of Three Legged Cat from Shepherds Bush in London on May 9, 2001. The band arrangement is pretty good. The bass part works well. I also like the lack of crowd reaction at a certain part. I guess if i was there i would have yelled head head head and looked like an asshole. The A Capella version on white Christmas kinda sucks. I don’t wanna say suck, but I don’t think when he sings A Capella it sounds good. Sounds weird. Maybe you had to be there or something.
I’ll whip up something better next time. Thanks for reading, all 3 readers
November 11, 2008
I remember in the summer when my copy of Ocean Beach (2×10″) came in the mail, it was the highlight of my summer. When I had side 3 spinning, and my cat was in my room, she jumped at how booming it sounded when the first word “gently” was sung. Everytime i put it on it sounds like the belt on my turntable is giving out especially on cabezon, and san geronimo. Maybe the record is messed, but I highly doubt it. For me, this is THE essential listening of Red House Painters. It is the perfect blend of slowcore, folk, epic songs, and from front to back it provides such a variety of sound, its hard to be bored. It seemed like such a jump from their self titled releases, but the Shock Me EP set the scene pretty well for what was to come with songs like Sundays and Holidays and Three Legged Cat. I had no real idea about this release for a while. I was into the first three LPs, and Blue Guitar. I think i came across it while on wikipedia or allmusic. I found it, and was hooked with Cabezon. Its a great record for a sunny day, or nighttime. It fits anything and everything. It is my favourite album ever.
Its such a mature album on all accounts probably because it was like the first real batch of fresh songs to be recorded. Down Colorful Hill was just demo songs remixed, and the two self titled albums seemed like a means to an end, and tied up all the loose strings which was everything to that point. These were all written most likely after the releases of I and II. Mark Kozelek’s lyrics were such a step up from the previous releases, and that is saying something. Recollection or Retrospect or what have you and geography definitely comes into play (and will on many more songs in the future) on songs like San Geronimo and Over My Head, though that song seems like it has to deal with being in foreign places due to touring but geography nonetheless and songs like brockwell park, a song about distraction (and I know this because he uses that word in the song, durp). The songs that stick out for me though are the ones that keep the theme of sadness or heartache or strained relations such as Shadows, Moments, and Drop. The thing about these songs is that the majority of the lyrics are so clear cut about his concerns and feelings, which i really like. I appreciate things when they’re not cryptic. I’ve been meaning to take Brockwell Park Part 1 and 2 and put them together and see what its like (Part 2 is the second part to Drop, after the song ends and comes back in… a great way to end the album if you ask me)
So here are my top 5 lines from Ocean Beach even though i could just say Drop from start to finish because that song is Perfect…. Leave a comment saying where each one is, and I’ll give you a kiss:
1.) “I can’t deny that I drift sometimes”
2.) “And the way you cry at me, I don’t know why you stay”
3.) “You fake a strained sort of grin that matches the shape you’re in”
4.) “Ashamed of my existence and of my petty often wounded pride”
5.) “Lost summers of my youth, I spent them all with you”
As a bonus for you (you being Jason), I’ve included an alternate take of Shadows, that i can’t decide if i like more or less. Its accompanied by the rest of the guys, and sounds great, and i have a bad live version of it.
November 10, 2008
On the .co.uk of ebay, Red House Painters I ended today. It ended with 5 bids at 36 GBP. Thats somewhere in the 60’s Canadian. Thats pretty low, whats up with this? I’ve definitely watched it go higher than that. Jason, buy a copy so we can look at eachothers copies.
I still need Down Colorful Hill, and Shock Me (and Old Ramon and I guess on that note, Ghosts of the Great Highway) if anyone wants to get me something sweet for my birthday (8th next month) or Christmas.
Colts Won! And Broncos won on Thursday! All we need is a win from Giants, and we’ll have a double fun Manning triumph and Jay Cutler threw over 400 yards!
November 7, 2008
On Sun Kil Moon’s album Ghosts of the Great Highway, there is a recurring theme of boxers who died young, maybe before reaching the pinacle of their deserved success. Using my known facts (I swear I have a good chunk of this on lock) and a little help from wikipedia, I’ll break down the boxers mentioned:
Cassius Clay aka Muhammad Ali is mentioned in Glenn Tipton. He is not on of the boxers that died before his time, due to still being alive and having a great career. In the same line, Sonny Liston is mentioned. During their first title match together, the odds were 7-1 that Liston would knock his ass flat. Clay won in the seventh round due to technical knockout. Liston couldn’t get up for the 7th. In the rematch, at the lowest attended heavyweight championship, the now Ali knocked him down. The knockout has been called the phantom punch
Salvador Sanchez is mentioned in Salvador Sanchez/Pancho Villa. A Mexican featherweight, this guy had fast hands. His fight against Azuma Nelson is a treat indeed. He died in a crash while driving his Porsche. This is well summed as Mark sings:
arrived and vanished
only 23 with so much speed
owning the highway”
Duk Koo Kim/Ray Mancini – I’m not sure how much the song Duk Koo Kim has to do about him, but the one line, “Watching an old fight film last night, Ray Mancini and Duk Koo Kim” has always been a line I liked. They fought outside Caesars Palace, and went 14 rounds but Kim was seriously dehydrated due to having to keep his weight down. “Boom Boom” Mancini gave him a lickin’ and he gave out. Minutes after the match, Kim slipped into a coma and died 5 days later. Imagine being Ray Mancini, going to the funeral, having people coming up to you and saying “Are you the one that killed Duk Koo Kim”, not to mention Kim’s mom comitting suicide along with the ref of the match! I really feel for that guy. Apparently on the lamp in his hotel, Duk Koo Kim wrote “live or die”. Thats the stuff that produces chills.
Francisco Guilledo aka Pancho Villa is mentioned in Pancho Villa/ Salvador Sanchez. The Filipino Flyweight died due to a coma brought on by Ludwig’s Angina from an infection in the throat brought on by infected teeth and he had an ulcerated tooth. “Pancho Villa would never rest til 1925. he closed his eyes til Manilla stars would rise.” I’ve never seen a fight by him and its probably tough due to being an early boxer, but he had a steady record of 91 wins (25 KO) and 8 losses and 4 draws.
According to my copy of Nights of Passed Over, a verse about Battling Siki never made its way into the song. The verse goes, “Battling Siki, few found pretty. Proud or arrogant, the dominant, smirking, brute immigrant. New York City, few found pity. When two shots stopped a string of bouts, snuffed his black candle out.” This is regarding how Siki was found dead from two shots in the back, after being stopped by a police officer on 42nd st. where he was drunk saying he was on his way home. He was found on West 81st st. I think. Fun fact: he was watched by Ernest Hemingway when he fought carpentier.
How have they gone, fell by leather, all alone, all bound together.
Someone should buy me a good book on the complete history of boxing.
November 6, 2008
A few months ago, so sometime in August, I ordered Nights of Passed Over, a book containing all the lyrics to all the red house painters albums, sun kil moon, and other Kozelek related ventures. Its 2002 release was done in Portugal I believe, and it was just redone in 2008 through Caldo Verde and with lyrics copywrighted and published through God Forbid (* Name of a band before Red House Painters, I believe there is a metal band with that name now)
Today after losing hope that it’d ever come, the book came. It also came with Nights : 12 songs by Mark Kozelek (Live and Rare Versions 1996-2007). I had heard this prior to getting the book, but the cd comes with little blurbs about each song and where it was featured or where it was played. For example, it explains that Leo and Luna was featured on a canadian comp (a half decent one at that) and that it concerned an ex girlfriends cats. It also finally put to rest my concern about the Malmo version of Cruiser. I figured this was the version done by Peter Svensson due to the malmo version at the end of the title when i first listened to the album, but in the liner notes it says “Produced by Peter Svensson of the Cardigans in Malmo, Sweden. I sat back on the couch and he put it together, all on his dime.”
Now onto the book. The layout is great, its hardcover which is always a plus. It contains the 2002 preface and a 2008 preface. This was nice because it addressed his feelings over the early RHP records and his obsession over the production of Rollercoaster, some insight on Katy (who has passed away from cancer) and her continual source of inspiration for Mark, some insight of the Michael talked about in “Michael”, and general descriptions on where certain songs were written and why. Oh yeah, He met michael while living in Atlanta on Chamblee Dunwoody Way. It also contains a few pages of old scribbled lyrics on note paper, including Katy Song, which is first page of the book you see when you open it, which is a perfect way to start a book that showcases his lyrics as poetry, mainly because that song really shows him at a time of extreme vulnerability (“Without you what does my life amount to?”).
The 2008 preface brings the reader up to speed as to whats been done since 2002. He breaks down all the songs of Ghosts and April, which I really dig. It suprised me as to how open he was about alot of the songs.
My cursor has disapeared from the screen. After all the albums have covered through the book, there are pages of old setlists including tunings for Mark and Phil. Some feature the location of where the set was taking place and one says Toronto at the top! On this set, songs played (or at least planned on) include Evil, Grace Cathedral Park, Uncle Joe, Mistress, River, All Mixed Up, Albequerque (Neil Young song), I feel the rain fall, Make Like Paper, Kavita and one titled “New” which we can believe would be something from Old Ramon. Judging by the tuning to go with the title (E-B-E-E-B-E) I bet it was “Wop a din din”. I know these things. A few of the tracks are titled “Acoustic”. I won’t guess what they were by the tuning, Mark would take requests and stuff.
Anyways, Jason, this book rules. I’ll say more after i dig into it some more.