Morphizm Main

Present Tense
David Gedge and The Wedding Present are coming straight outta L.A. on El Rey: MORE

Spaced Out
Jason Pierce has a thing for fire. So together we poured gasoline on Spiritualized: MORE

Meowwww!!
From slicing up cat dicks to signing up Fonzi, Big Tobacco has pulled some weird science: MORE On the Beach
Dream pop standouts Beach House are catching heat. But can they catch fire live? MORE

Stipe On Speed
R.E.M.'s thrash attack has gone into hyperdrive on the brilliant Accelerate. Stipe tells us the targets: MORE

Slugs 4 Obama!
Atmosphere's When Life Gives You Lemons... is all about the hope. And so is Obama: MORE

I Say God Damn!
What's left unspoken in the Obama flap is this: Has God blessed America recently? MORE Ass Out!
Assy McGee is one hell of a cop from hell. So where are his arms? Our interview explains: MORE

Miss Fortune
China's Olympic intrigue has reached critical mass. Who says politics and sports don't mix? MORE

Nirvana's Son
Kurt Cobain: About a Son is out on DVD. Its peek into bipolar stardom is still hard to watch: MORE

Betrayed?
Boxing legend Joe Louis gave body and soul to God and country. Did they repay the favor? MORE

Taxi!
Those in need of war films are scoping the wrong Oscar bait. Try the Dark Side: MORE

Pro Choice
Clinton or Obama? Good question. Now, all you have to do is answer it, and wisely: MORE

In Cold Blood
Rick Geary creates comics that paraphrase history without passion. Our interview explains: MORE

RIP, Prof
Kashmere pioneer Conrad Johnson has passed. But his upstart funk still lives on: MORE

Past Proust
Adapting one of canon lit's most knotted yarns into a comic just might work. Wait, it did: MORE

Disowned!
The housing collapse is a failure of white-collar proportions. Klein saw it coming: MORE

Trash It!
Is your home worth less than your mortgage? Then walk away, baby. Just walk away: MORE

Dystopia Drift
Unembedded journo Dahr Jamail has seen Beyond the Green Zone. And it's looking ugly: MORE

Best of 2007
El-P's I'll Sleep When You're Dead was the most brutally honest music of the year: MORE

Fed Up
Bernanke's rate cuts won't stop the bleeding. It will just cover up the tracks. Thanks, Greenspan! MORE

Beat This!
Ike Turner has passed on. But Morphizm's last interface with the funk maestro never will: MORE

Hyperrealist
Karl Rove now says Congress rushed Bush into war with Saddam. Revise your textbooks! MORE

Shop or Die
The Kubler-Ross Model works for death, but it also works for the mall. Even around the Bratz: MORE

The Fixer
Gordon Brown is a go-to guy if you're a lobbyist. Or a fan of Rupert Murdoch: MORE

Guns, Green?
The market has spoken, says Naomi Klein. And it wants bullets rather than renweables: MORE

Pak Attack!
Musharraf may be Bush's nightmare, but he started out as Clinton's daydream: MORE

TomorrowSci!
From pain rays and flying cars to innovations to save our sorry hides from climate change, tomorrow science is here today: MORE

Not a Moralist
The Serbian photographer Boogie has seen his fair share of the global underworld. Good thing he took pictures: MORE

Party's Over
Serj Tankian's debut solo effort Elect the Dead says civilization is over. So why is he smiling? Our interview explains: MORE

The Perv
Pakistan dictator Pervez Musharraf has declared martial law and suspended the constitution. Who's surprised? MORE

God is Bond
Barry Bonds isn't the only sports superstar who points to the Man Upstairs when he scores. Piety has gone viral: MORE

Hypermarket
From plunging dollars to skyrocketing oil, the hyperreal American economy is due for a real-time ass-kicking: MORE

Pin is Back
It's been a long time since the stunning Summer in Abaddon. Good thing Autumn of the Seraphs is on the way: MORE

Ignore Nothing
Indie-hop titan El-P's newest epic I'll Sleep When You're Dead is filled with biohazardous truth. So is he: MORE

Sicko 'Em!
Whatever. Michael Moore's new movie on the corrupt American healthcare system is good for you: MORE

Water For War
If you think the clusterfuck for oil is scary, just wait until we're more worried about H2O than CO2: MORE

Altered States
Don't know much about global warming? Keep it that way. Trust us, you don't wanna know more than that: MORE

Pelican Echoes
If you think wordless metal can bring noise but not brains, we talked to a band that wants to talk to you: MORE

Steampunker
Rasputina has finally embraced the War on Terror in Oh Perilous World. What took so long? We asked: MORE

Osama's Diary
It's a stone cold Morphizm classic. And it will still make you cry. Almost as if it was real. Really: MORE

Slice and Dice
Cake blew up with a cover song, but they're even better at blasting "War Pigs." Our interview explains: MORE

Gaza Lab
Israel. Hamas. Fatah. What the? Gaza is looking less like a prison and more like a petri dish every day: MORE

BagCalgary
Fronts in the War on Terror are shifting. Which means Canada's oil sands are up next for a global warming: MORE

Crow's Nuts
The indie Tony Millionaire strip Maakies is at last making the legit jump to Adult Swim. Bottoms up, sailor: MORE

Vulture Funds
You've got to get in on this one. You buy $5 million in Third World debt relief, then sue for $50 million. Suckers buy it every time: MORE

DIY or Die
Art-punk corn dogs The Minutemen were brazen heroes. It's about fucking time someone gave them a biopic: MORE

Not a Slave
300 director Zack Snyder may be a friend to CGI, but he knows when to leave it alone. Our interview explains: MORE

Physics of Iraq
What goes up must come down and what gets jacked must come back. Ask the British. While you're at it, go ask Icarus: MORE

A Bit Awkward
The Pixies' doc loudQUIETloud captured the band selling out stadiums and ignoring each other. Our interview explains: MORE

Total Chaos
According to our interview with journo and author Jeff Chang, the hip-hop arts movement is far from dead: MORE

Get Truthy!
Stephen Colbert's vivisection of the stoopid Republican machine is an example of linguistics at its ballsiest. Suck on it: MORE

Cry Wolfie
Let's not drink the Kool-Aid. The World Bank was fucked up long before fuckup Paul Wolfowitz took over: MORE

Object: War
Our hyperreal narrative in Iraq is in search of an ending. Will the American people write one before it's too late? MORE

Good Machines
In these liner notes excerpts from his compilation Fuzzy Warbles, XTC architect Andy Partridge's love of tech goes haywire: MORE

Torture Works
Is it just us? Or is the tight-lipped Bush administration's call to torture for information more than ironic? Hey, wait: MORE

Go Fuck Yourselves
President Bush's speech on the war's escalation revealed much. Including how little he cares about...well, everyone: MORE

"How My Brain Works"
From sci-fi to hip-hop, Michel Gondry has a gift for visual invention. And we have a lot of questions for him: MORE

When PNAC Attacks!
Get to know your well-heeled presidential family and other comb-lickers in this excerpt from Fanta's comic Bush Junta: MORE

I'm the Distorter
Sure, the Democrats may have taken over Congress, but the Bush administration hasn't blinked on Iraq. And it never will: MORE

Trial of Trials
Jose Padilla was once a terrorist. Now he's putting U.S. torture policy on trial. Only in America: MORE

Garrison State
Muslims rioting. Americans killing. Too bad no one's made a film called Why We Fight. Wait, Eugene Jarecki has! MORE

Guilin
"The smell of damp earth that hangs over Guilin will surrender, and join the cosmopolis cropping up along the Li:" MORE

Game/Theory
"In the cinematic fashion of the dying antihero, I expired while reading the stars. Coordinates on a grid of contested terrain": MORE

Fanta Goes Beastly
A comics powerhouse compiles a massive tome on our collective nightmares. Vampire and Harpy haters beware: MORE

Shit Happens. Real Fast.
In our continuing exegesis on exponology, China explodes and Antarctica's demise accelerates: MORE

Exponology
The planet is heating at an exponential rate. But what is the exponent, and who are the people spinning it? Enter Morphizm's formative science, awaiting your learned modification: MORE

Panther Power
Fuck Hoover's race paranoia. The Black Panthers have survived, from Marvel comics to hip-hop to a loud ass protest near you: MORE

Surfing With Rosa
In honor of the Pixies doc, Morphizm pays homage to their Surfer Rosa/Come On Pilgrim split, an enduring classic: MORE

Thursday, July 17, 2008

 

Post Up: Pinback, Dark Star, Breakfast Club


Greetings, Morphizm fans. It's been a long day at Wired, but I've got goodies. Some of them are named Pinback.

Digg's Kevin Rose Digs Pinback, Knife, More
Los Angeles radio staple KCRW has lately handed over its studio to a variety of all-stars from entertainment and culture for the Guest DJ Project. On Wednesday, it was Digg's turn to mix it up: Kevin Rose teamed up with DJ Raul Campos to spin five tunes that make life easier while programming a social networking phenomenon... MORE @ WIRED

Video: Speaking of Pinback, Dark Star and The Breakfast Club...
The San Diego duo has been around for years making addictive, hypnotic laptop pop, hopscotching from sci-fi classic to teen-angst soap without missing a backbeat.

Pinback originally formed around the turn of the 21st century, when bassist Zach Smith's other criminally underrated band Three Mile Pilot fragmented under the pressure of major-label headaches and interpersonal drama. The drama also caused 3MP's singer Pall Jenkins and pianist Tobias Nathaniel to create Black Heart Procession.

Rob Crow, on leave from one of his hundred other bands, including Heavy Vegetable, Thingy, Optigonally Yours and many more (including the riotous Goblin Cock), signed on with Smith shortly thereafter. Since then, the two turned out a series of compelling full-length efforts and EPs created in the comfort of their own homes and garages... MORE @ WIRED

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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

 

Post Up: What Is(n't) Shoegaze?


[I ponder loud thoughts, and hopefully kill crappy terminology, for my homeys at Wired. Long live the unclassifiable.]

Post Up: What Is(n't) Shoegaze?
"Shoegaze is a dumb term made up by clueless NME idiots," argues Mogwai's Stuart Brathwaite, a My Bloody Valentine fan as well as a friend of its architect Kevin Shields. "It's pretty demeaning as well. If someone called us shoegazers, I'd be pretty unhappy."

For good reason. During the late '80s and early '90s, the term reductively compressed the dense feedback, droning riffage and ethereal soundtracking into slang and slag, especially in the British press. No doubt, its employ was a byproduct of the British press having fallen in love with the derivative Britpop of Oasis, as much as America had fallen in love with the derivative metal of grunge.

But in the end, it was used to describe bands like My Bloody Valentine, Cocteau Twins, Swervedriver and pretty much anyone else, like drone minimalists Spacemen 3, who didn't fall into the comfortable confines of easily classifiable music... MORE @ WIRED

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Monday, July 14, 2008

 

Post Up: HarcoDarko, RadioLasers, Who?


[Checking in from the static haze, Morphizm diehards. I've been hard at work for Wired and more, so let's share, shall we?]

Ed Harcourt Merges Glass and Drone For Donnie Darko Sequel
Ed Harcourt's recently released The Beautiful Lie is a far cry from his early work. Its emotional piano balladry sounds little like the experimental exercises found on Here Be Monsters or Maplewood. But his sonic diversity will come in handy when he tackles the film score for S. Darko, the sequel to the surprisingly successful indie sci-fi classic Donnie Darko.

Video: Radiohead Ditches Cameras, Activates Lasers
"So here we are in our lovely Florida cul-de-sac," Zoo Films director of photography Von Thomas explains. "We are scanning the geometry of [the] houses that we are going to vaporize."

The Who: Less Influential Than Def Leppard?
In a taping for VH1 on Saturday in Los Angeles, everyone from Pearl Jam, Tenacious D and Flaming Lips to X-Files spook David Duchovny, Office nerd Rainn Wilson and more showed up to fete The Who. The occasion was the taping of VH1 Rock Honors, a show that supposedly bows down to the rock icons that shaped music as we know it.

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Friday, July 11, 2008

 

Post Up: Give Peace a Price Tag



I spiel onward for Wired for money. For love, I learn CSS. It goes slowly.

Give Peace a Price Tag
Almost four decades ago, John Lennon and Yoko Ono piled Timothy Leary, Petula Clark, Dick Gregory, Allen Ginsberg, Tommy Smothers and many more into a Bed-In in a Montreal hotel room and recorded what may be the most famous protest song of all time using nothing but four mikes and an Ampex four-track. On Thursday, the hand-written lyrics to that immortal song, "Give Peace a Chance," were auctioned off by Christie's for the tidy sum of $833,654.

Money may not be ably to buy you love, but evidently it can buy you peace. Scratch that: It can buy you love too... MORE @ WIRED

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Wednesday, July 02, 2008

 

Golden Animals Free Yr Mind

More musical spiel for Metromix! This one is as groovy as Jim Morrison's skull:

Golden Animals
Free Yr Mind and Win a Pony

As an experimental mash of yesteryear's sonic signatures and today's technological upgrades, Golden Animals' smoky effort is a timeless pleasure. Deep-fried stomps like "Queen Mary (The Flop)" could have easily come off of Elvis' "Jailhouse Rock," except when the near-metal riffage pops in for a nice surprise. The country lean of "Ride Easy" feels like Johnny Cash jumped out a window and landed on Pavement. The blue bounce of "Steady Roller" could have crept out of Nick Cave or Alejandro Escovedo's underwear drawer, if it wasn't hiding out with the Soledad Brothers. There's a lot going on here, is what we’re saying, but a degree in pop music history isn't necessary if you just want to lie back and let Golden Animals retrofitted Americana roll over you like a runaway train. Hop the boxcar, bums! MORE @ METROMIX

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Sunday, June 22, 2008

 

Post Up: Dr. Sleepgood!


Greetings,Morphizm pals. Well, I'm days away from the Morphizm relaunch and living large in the hellhole Los Angeles on my own. Should be able to concentrate nicely, now that the fam is in an even bigger hellhole called Vegas. So why do I feel like going to sleep? Oh yeah, because I wrote this for Wired today:

Brain Drainer Puts Audience to Sleep With Music
Japanese neurologist Dr. Takuro Endo has made a nice career out of knocking people out. Recently, he tried it on a mass scale in Tokyo, in a show called "Dreams Kaimin." The result? A partial snooze... MORE @ WIRED

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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

 

Tilly And The Wall Have An O



Wiped out, my friends, as you can tell by the hour of this post. But better late than never. Here's my review of Tilly and the Wall's O, which went up today on Metromix:

Tilly and the Wall
O

O is a skewed blast, something Phil Spector might have dreamt up after eating too much spicy food. The clumsy stomp of "Chandelier" sounds like it might have dropped off of Tom Waits’ plate, and "Dust Me Off" could have been the Go-Go's B-side Belinda Carlisle was too scared to show off. The shouts sparking the off-kilter rhythms and horns of "I Found You" turn the song's saccharine center into a steamrolling anthem. Even the winsome acoustic number "Tall Tall Grass" feels like a square peg in a round hole. From the first tune to the tap dance solos of the finale "Too Excited," O is an uncomfortable good time... MORE @ METROMIX

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Monday, June 16, 2008

 

Post Up: Interview With The Dandy Warhols


Happy Monday, Morphizm pals! Yesterday, I posted a fun chat with Courtney Taylor-Taylor on his band's latest, weirdest effort for Wired:

Battlefield Earth: An Interview with The Dandy Warhols
From its early dates pounding out psychedelia and dream sonics to its later leanings into electro-pop with the help of Duran Duran, it's been hard to catch up with The Dandy Warhols. It might be that rare band that could use a retrospective, just to refresh the frame.

The group has achieved an escape velocity of sorts on its newest effort Earth to The Dandy Warhols, that is if one can get a lock on its trajectory. Like the band, the release is all over the map: Whether Dandy guru Courtney Taylor-Taylor is aping Mick Jagger and The Rolling Stone's "Miss You" on the recombined funk of "Welcome to the 3rd World" or disappearing into the digital haze of the head-tripping "Wasp in the Lotus," the mission objective seems invested in keeping listeners off-balance. And asking them to dance, if only in a circle sometimes.

More bravely, the band has embraced the digital age. In May, the quartet released Earth to The Dandy Warhols online as a subscription package laced with extras. The hard copy arrives in August, and Taylor-Taylor is still cool with that. "I'm not gonna give [CDs] up until I have to," he promises.

Listening Post caught up with the Taylor-Taylor, and his sense of humor, to rap about Earth, download-only releases and why the major labels slept on the digital music revolution and missed their chance at becoming overlords of the future... MORE @ WIRED

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Sunday, June 15, 2008

 

Post Up: R. Kelly Free, Negativland Naked


I've been scribing for Wired online in a blur, touching as many bases as I can while finishing up the book proposals. Here's two cool entries for Listening Post from over the weekend:

Negativland Starts Singing, Mourns Tricky Dick
Culture-jamming icon Negativland has reappropriated the known universe within an inch of its copyfighting life. But on its latest slice-and-dice Thigmotactic, the mashup collective's Mark Hosler has slightly backed away from the sampler and picked up a microphone instead... MORE @ WIRED

Videotape Confusion Acquits R. Kelly
Kelly was acquitted on all charges on Saturday in Chicago. What happened? Confusion... MORE @ WIRED

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Saturday, June 14, 2008

 

Kick Supergrass In The Hoo Ha

Supergrass is back and shredding loudly. What happened to the psychedelic chill? It's a long story.

Supergrass
Diamond Hoo Ha

Supergrass' popularity peaked in 1999, which is when they last went platinum, and everything they have done since then has been characterized as an attempt to regain that momentum. But it's a critical fallacy: from the frenetic rawk of "345" and the blistering opener "Diamond Hoo Ha Man," this effort is a far cry from their more understated last effort "Road to Rouen" and can easily stand on its own as a worthy shredder. The angular funk of "The Return Of…" and "Rough Knuckles" are as danceable as the extended finale "Butterfly" is epic. Supergrass likes to round out its rough edges with electronics, and there are more rough edges on "Diamond Hoo Ha" than ever, especially on the distorted horn freakouts of "Whiskey & Green Tea"... MORE @ METROMIX

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Thursday, June 12, 2008

 

My Morning Jacket Hearts Prince

[I would have posted earlier. But I just loved that Weeds poster too much. Hit the blog button for more on that one. For now, let's get started on my Metromix reviews. This one is weird, but I think that's the point.]

My Morning Jacket
Evil Urges

It's hard to tell that My Morning Jacket is a rock band on "Evil Urges." They come off sounding more like pop funketeers on the Prince clone "Highly Suspicious" or Lenny Kravitz on the angular title track. Sure, the stadium rock returns on the more sprawling hybrid anthems like "I'm Amazed," "Remnants" and "Aluminum Park," and the poignant high lonesome of "Sec Walkin'" and "Librarian" sounds like it hopped right out of a time-traveling tractor from the folkie '70s. But the digital atmospheres of "Touch Me I'm Going to Scream" and "Smokin From Shootin" send a clear signal that My Morning Jacket is one Americana roots lifer looking to go, like Wilco before it, back to the future... MORE @ METROMIX

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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

 

Post Up: Weeds, Jam, Jett, Apples


Good evening, Morphizm sports! Here's a grab bag of my spiels from Wired today:

Apple Bands Invade Fake News TV!
Comedy Central's twin titans of fake news are landing musical guests soon, and they're heavy with Apple. The good news is that the band Steve Jobs loves to death won't be showing up on The Colbert Report.

Pearl Jam Gets It, Expands Bootlegs for Mobile
From its early days hazing Ticketmaster to its recent efforts to out AT&T's wrongheaded censorship, Pearl Jam has just understood the business of music better than almost any band on Earth. While other artists have wasted their time (and free advertising) trying to shut down bootlegging and downloading, Pearl Jam has openly embraced and encouraged both, and still reaped mad paydays in the process.

Weeds Kills Theme Song, Repackages Covers for Digital Download
"With Nancy moving out of Agrestic and out of her 'little box,'" explains the show's music supervisor Christopher Noxon, "it just didn't make sense to stick with 'Little Boxes.' We tried to make it work, but in in the end I think it's a credit to the producers that they recognized that the show, like Nancy, has moved up and on."

An Inconvenient Distinction? Joan Jett Lands Signature Gibson
From PJ Harvey to Kim Deal and Carrie Brownstein to this shredding metalhead, there have been more than a few feminine ax grinders to fete with a custom hook-up. And while they might not all play Gibsons, one wonder whether a kind offer of the Jett variety might change their minds.

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Wednesday, June 04, 2008

 

Post Up: Lost Joins Pixies Lovefest

Another day, another set of spiels for Wired. Here's one about the best band ever, and what is becoming the worst show ever:

Lost Joins Shyamalan's Pixies Lovefest
Last month, Listening Post questioned whether M. Night Shyamalan's films have been cashing in on the cultural capital of the Pixies, whose noisy Bossanova anthem "The Happening" is also the title of the autueur's next glacially paced sci-fi dystopia. But Shyamalan isn't alone in his Pixies worship: Lost hopped aboard the indie rock legend's bandwagon during its season four finale, perhaps in hopes of righting its own sinking ship.

The two-hour finale supposedly killed off a bunch of characters, but any sci-fi (or soap opera) fan worth his or her water knows that no one really dies in these things. And since Lost has determined that flash-forward in the new flashback -- for the sake of its slipstreaming subplot or just because of its distinct lack of direction, well, that is up to you -- it is more than happy to throw out as many easter eggs and red herrings as it can, in lieu of trying anything new. That process can sometimes lead to serious ennui.

And nothing kills ennui dead better than the Pixies... MORE @ WIRED

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Tuesday, June 03, 2008

 

Post Up: Barack Obama's Victory Soundtrack

Good news, this late night. June is here.




Post Up: Barack Obama's Victory Soundtrack
In a refreshing sign that math and hope can actually work together, Barack Obama predictably sewed up the delegate count on Tuesday night and defeated Hillary Clinton in what has turned out to be a very long, deeply contested Democratic primary. And now, for the first time ever, a black man is on track to inhabit the White House, fulfilling Parliament-Funkadelic's dream of turning Washington, D.C. into Chocolate City... MORE @ WIRED

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Monday, June 02, 2008

 

Post Up: R.I.P. Bo Diddley

I've been hard at work for Wired and Metromix today. And the fam, which is a job of its own. But after the death of music legend Bo Diddley today, I feel like spending more time with the family than ever. I memorialized Bo for Wired today. Long live rock:

R.I.P. Bo Diddley, Guitar Legend and Hacker
He burst into pop music in 1955 with a song named after himself and topped the R&B charts shortly afterward. A few years later, he built his own rectangular Gretsch, nicknamed "The Twang Machine," which he would use to play thousands of concerts across decades of rousing performance. Along the way, he influenced everyone from Buddy Holly and Jimi Hendrix to The Stooges and The Sex Pistols, before passing away in Florida on Monday.

He was 79.

When it came to rock and guitars, Bo Diddley was a resolute pioneer, hacking his own instruments and jamming them into submission for the sake of sublime performance. His live-wire standards "Bo Diddley," "Mona," "Road Runner," "I'm a Man" and "Who Do You Love?" have been copied, simulated and recombined from one end of the entertainment spectrum to the other, setting the table for artists like Bowie, U2 and even George Michael, all of whom made more money than Diddley could ever have hoped to make.

Even homages and tipped hats from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, politicians and other well-wishers did nothing to take away the sting of not being paid royalties from any of his early hits until the too-late date of 1989.

"I am owed. I've never got paid," Diddley once argued. "A dude with a pencil is worse than a cat with a machine gun"... MORE @ WIRED

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Sunday, June 01, 2008

 

Post Up: Film School Is Not Cinematic



A busy weekend away from the desk. Morphizm is hurting, but I'm almost set to pop. Meanwhile, here are some righteous sonics I blogged for Wired today. Tune in, turn out, space out:

We Are Not Cinematic: An Interview With Film School
Although they mine rock's past for hypnotic atmospheres, San Francisco's Film School still manages to compose dazzling sonic epics that sound like the future. Their psyched-out vibe hopscotches across My Bloody Valentine and early Dandy Warhols, but it also feels as muscular as anything guitar champs Swervedriver have composed. Which is probably why Swervedriver signed Film School on as an opening act for the west coast leg of its hotly anticipated reunion tour, which kicked off in late May.

I caught Film School's flawless appetizer during the Swervedriver stop-off in Los Angeles on Saturday. (Click here for a full review of the Swervedriver/Film School team-up.) But I also spoke with headmaster Greg Bertens earlier this year about the tour, the return of My Bloody Valentine and why Film School's band name makes no sense at all... MORE @ WIRED

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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

 

Post Up: Fest-Full? Try These.


Wiped from a long day back on the attack. But getting there. Let's start catching up Morphizm to what I've been up to, starting with this post for Wired:

Fest-Full? Try These Under-the-Radar Finds
Coachella. Lollapalooza. Bonna-who? There are enough summer music festivals alive to pack Earth's schedules and empty its wallets. And most of them boast the same acts. Listening Post has a couple to check out that may offer more for less...MORE @ WIRED

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Friday, May 23, 2008

 

An Interview With Swervedriver

Getting ready for the holiday weekend? I suggest you plug in some Swervedriver. There isn't a better band to listen to if you driving anywhere, and best of all, they're reunited and back on tour. There must be a God after all. I spiel for Wired!


Reunited, And It Feels So Loud: An Interview With Swervedriver
As one of the finest bands from the so-called shoegaze scene, Swervedriver released four stellar, underrated efforts from 1991-1998 during a chaotic career marred by label drama and changing pop culture tastes. And their driving rock riffage was literal: Creation label guru Alan McGee signed them after hearing their demo while driving through Hollywood, the band took inspiration from cyberpunk classics like Crash and road trips like Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and their biggest hit, "Duel," was named after Steven Spielberg's 1971 chase thriller. In fact, most of Swervedriver's songs were about the meat meeting mean machines. That, and drugs.

But that driving rock didn't fit well with fans of the more atmospheric My Bloody Valentine. Similarly, the quartet's adherence to the Stooges and Dinosaur Jr.'s sonic template rubbed fans of Beatles revisionists like Oasis, whose ascension influenced Swervedriver's demise, the wrong way. Lost in translation, Swervedriver fractured: They were dropped from both the legendary Creation and not-so-legendary Geffen labels, and they toiled in relative obscurity while lesser bands (like Oasis) hogged the spotlight. Eventually, they flamed out in frustration in 1999.

But the recent reunion of My Bloody Valentine, who almost bankrupted Creation while making its seminal 1991 effort Loveless, proved too good an opportunity for Swervedriver to pass up. And though lead Swervie Adam Franklin was busy with his 2007 solo effort Bolts of Melody and collaboration with Interpol drummer Sam Fogarino on the side project Magnetic Morning, he nevertheless found the time to reform the band for an impromptu performance at Coachella followed by a months-long reunion tour.

That tour started last night, and it was loud.

I caught up by phone with Franklin about the reunion, tour, why the words "shoegaze" and "in perpetuity" suck, and whether or not Swervedriver plans on parking for an extended visit... MORE @ WIRED

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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

 

Post Up: Sifting Through Bonnaroo, Monolith

Still on the attack for Wired, Morphizm pals. Here's a short guide I wrote to the upcoming Monolith and Bonnaroo music festivals. Skip the bad stuff, stick with the goods:

Sifting Through Summer At Bonnaroo, Monolith
Bonnaroo announced today that it is teaming up with the Cablevision-owned Fuse TV for a three-year partnership to bring the Tennessee-based festival on air. Cablevision also owns the New York Knicks, but judging by its lineup, there's no way that Bonnaroo is going to suck that bad... MORE @ WIRED

P.S. Like the David Cross photo? It comes from Morphizm's interview with the smartass, which is here. Enjoy!

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Monday, May 19, 2008

 

Post Up: Happy Birthday, Erik Satie



Good evening, Morphizm pals! May 17 was special for a variety of musical reasons. But I wrote about the coolest one for Wired on Saturday:

Happy Birthday, Erik Satie
He was fun. Pieces like "Genuine Flabby Preludes (For a Dog)" and "Dried Up Embryos" brought artistic self-importance down a notch. He even spent a week in prison for sending an insulting postcard to one of his critics.

Like others in the dada movement, Satie also created early flirtations with multimedia, including Sports et divertissements, in which he provided piano accompaniment to the drawings of Charles Martin, or found sound, which he employed for his self-described "furniture music." He was one cool, experimental dude.

So happy 142nd birthday, Erik Satie! I would say I hope you're happy in heaven, but as you once said, "Why attack God? He may be as miserable as we are"... MORE @ WIRED

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Friday, May 16, 2008

 

Post Up: Is Sesame Street The Greatest Music Show Ever?

Apologies for the missed communications, Morphizm fans. I've hightailed it up to NorCal in order to finish off some nagging projects, and have been somewhat derailed from the mag and the blog. But I'm back to wrap up what will in the end be a transformative May, so look for more fun and a critical mass starting in June. Speaking of fun, check out what I wrote for Wired today:



Sesame Street: Great Music Show, or Greatest Music Show Ever?
Omaha's indie pop outfit Tilly and the Wall, pictured above, likes the alphabet: The quintet filmed a music video about ABCs to be aired this fall on Sesame Street and, on June 17, is also releasing a new full-length simply called O. But Tilly and the Wall is just the latest group to bring cool to the kids in Sesame Street's nearly 40-year history. That's a lot of great music, which engendered my Stephen Colbert-ish rhetorical question above... MORE @ WIRED

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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

 

The Black Angels Bless Gothic Sonics

Hazy walls of sound, brooding vocals delivering twisted tales of geopolitical woe. Where have we heard that before? Siouxsie's "Cities in Dust?" Bauhaus' "Bela Lugosi's Dead?" The Black Angels' newest effort Directions to See a Ghost? Check. I spiel for Metromix.

The Black Angels
Directions to See a Ghost

It is hypnotic soundtracking, although it may be an acquired taste for those not used to goth or dark, unfurling anthems. "Doves" is a kinetic masterpiece shot through with reverb and echo, as well as a down-strum straight out of the Dandy Warhols' back catalogue. "Science Killer" seems formless at first, until you realize that it's undulating bass and shimmering solos have sent you into some kind of lucid dream. "The Return" is an antiwar freakout that sounds like it crawled out of a '60s garage, while the 16-minute epic "Snake in the Grass" pulses like a tracking satellite in space. It's creepy stuff, but in its desolation you will eventually find fulfillment... MORE @ METROMIX

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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

 

I've Got Love For Local H



Today, Local H's 12 Angry Months dropped. And since I'm a fan of headbanging hooks, I spread my love for them to Wired and Metromix.

Hey, a good sonic catharsis doesn't come out every day. When it does, you gotta be ready. Listen in to Local H's blistering track "Michelle (Again)" for more. Call me when the your eardrums start working again.

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Friday, May 09, 2008

 

The World In Our Heads: An Interview With Beach House


The music beat goes on at Wired, where I have been hard at work. This morning, I posted an interview with one of the best bands of the last three years. Click on, read up, post a comment. Wired loves the love. Speaking of...

The Worlds In Our Heads: An Interview With Beach House
Beach House's stunning sophomore effort Devotion has been out for a couple of months now, but it remains hard to shake. Its Lynchian dream sonics thrive on waking life, the way all great albums do, offering up sublime soundtracking for every possible environment. Mission accomplished.

Of course, everyone expected big things from Beach House after Pitchfork and other tastemakers latched onto the band's self-titled 2006 debut and didn't let go. But pianist/vocalist Victoria Legrand and multi-instrumentalist Alex Scally turned in even more addictive songs of love, loss and everything in between on Devotion. Legrand's ethereal voice takes center stage, much as Elizabeth Fraser's did for the similarly evocative Cocteau Twins, while her electric organs mind-meld with Scally's hypnotic guitar to form a lush background of spacetronica -- and not much else. Devotion is as understated as it is brilliant.

Listening Post queried Legrand on the movies in her mind and why tech is good for her backbeat but bad for her voice... MORE @ WIRED

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Wednesday, May 07, 2008

 

Post Up: My Bloody Valentine Stabs America



Sorry for the delay today, Morphizm pals. I've been sweating hard for Wired, who have helped me blog my brains out on a daily basis. Speaking of brains, mine can't wait for reunited geniuses My Bloody Valentine to hit the States. Good thing they just announced dates. That rhymed:

My Bloody Valentine To Bruise North America At Last
According to thesaurus-loving music blog Pitchfork, the lately reunited aural-gasmic quartet My Bloody Valentine has finally disclosed its plans for a North American tour. That mammoth whoosh you hear in the distance is thousands of credit cards being pulled out of their wallets and purses... MORE @ WIRED

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Tuesday, May 06, 2008

 

Has No Age Made The Disc Of The Year?

It's hard to believe that two people can make such beautiful noise. But I'm a believer, as I explained for Metromix. And probably will for Wired too:

No Age
Nouns

It’s hard to find a disappointing track on "Nouns." "Teen Creeps" is a flawless mess of distortion and pop riffage. "Miner" is a maelstrom of My Bloody Valentine-meets-Fugazi beauty and the loud-quiet-loud stomp of "Cappo" is unrelentingly addictive. Stark instrumentals like "Keechie" and "Impossible Bouquet" are evocative and hypnotic. "Sleeper Hold" is the sweetest, lovelorn song you'll ever hear sneak out from behind a wall of squealing feedback. Even the indulgent electronica of "Things I Did When I Was Dead" unfurls into a cinematic climax. You can tell No Age is made up of two true-school skateboarders: they rarely miss a step... MORE @ METROMIX

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Monday, May 05, 2008

 

Post Up: Iron Man's Heavy Metal Rise



So I started my new reporting gig for Wired this weekend, and had a blast. Especially on this long piece about the long arm of Iron Man, which opened last week and is killing at the box office. Just like Black Sabbath killed my eardrums. Speaking of:

Iron Man's Heavy Metal Rise
Iron Man took flight on May 2, but its soundtrack is out May 6. And although it features mostly film score from Ramin Djawadi and other composers, there is one headbanging tune worthy of Black Sabbath's seminal "Iron Man," which the blockbuster licensed for its trailers and features in its closing credits. That song is Suicidal Tendencies' "Institutionalized," the sardonic punk anthem which also appeared in the immortal sci-fi flick Repo Man. That's some righteous circularity. But Iron Man's sonic branches reach further, starting with Sabbath... MORE @ WIRED

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Saturday, May 03, 2008

 

Post Up: Jimi Porn, Indian Jewelry

Good news, Morphizm pals. Wired has signed me on as a reporter stalking the music, tech and culture beat, which is no place like home for me. I couldn't be happier. But the family of Jimi Hendrix could, according to my entry today for Wired's music blog Listening Post:

Jimi Hendrix Lives On, In Porn
"Have you ever been experienced?" the greatest guitar player who ever lived once asked, before answering "I have." And now everyone can see just how experienced Jimi Hendrix was, if porn kingpin Vivid Video is to be believed... MORE @ WIRED

An Interview With Indian Jewelry
It's hard to categorize the throbbing dance psychedelia that Indian Jewelry concocts out of their Houston-based launch pad, but I suppose I just did. The tongue-in-cheek ensemble falls somewhere in the sonic spectrum between My Bloody Valentine, Gram Rabbit and Brian Jonestown Massacre, but one could argue they lie outside of those comfortable coordinates as well.

You can decide for yourself by catching them on their current tour, or by listening in on their latest effort Free Gold, which drops May 20 from the very indie label We Are Free. Then again, you could also read the short but humorous exchange I conducted below with head jeweler Erika Thrasher on robots with filthy mouths and why the band shouldn't give away gold for free during a recession. That should do the trick... MORE @ WIRED

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Thursday, May 01, 2008

 

Soak Up The Wedding Present's El Rey

[Greetings, Morphizm pals. Earlier, I posted an interview with The Wedding Present's David Gedge, and now Morphizm writer and Trans Am soundfucker Nathan Means clocks in with the review of Gedge's latest effort El Rey. Soak up the sun. -- ST]

The Wedding Present: El Rey
[Nathan Means, Morphizm]
The Wedding Present's David Gedge wrote his most recent album while living in Los Angeles, but references to the Santa Ana Winds and Winona Rider don't suggest any real change in his thematic obsessions; El Rey could be subtitled “Getting Dumped in Los Feliz.”

This is not a slight. Gedge's handles heartache, temptation and love-as-catastrophe as deftly as anyone - themes that are also about the closest I can imagine to transcendent. Likewise, Gedge should be attracted to a place where celebrity heartache and brief, disastrous relationships are feverishly chronicled. But aside from El Rey 's one funny and thematically LA-centric moment – a man sings to photographs of an actress, “When I stare at you/ OK, it's just a .jpg… I've got a few” - LA doesn't really matter. Gedge could have spent a few months in Baghdad and – in the midst of bombings and power outages – successfully dredged the same waters he has since The Wedding Present's first album over 20 years ago... MORE @ MORPHIZM

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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

 

Portishead Returns, Armed And Dangerous

It's about time. Portishead has been idling in neutral for more than a decade, and finally got its trippy jalopy out of the shop. And it sounds great:

Portishead
Third

Whatever the reasons for their extended disappearance, make no mistake: Portishead is back on "Third," and just as invested in turning convention on its head. The chopper blades slicing the otherwise head-bobbing snares of "Plastic" into snippets are more destabilizing than dance-oriented. The opener "Silence" is the fastest thing they've ever done, a mashed guitar gallop that unwinds for two minutes before Gibbons' ethereally sad vocals finally tear it to pieces. If this is the kind of compelling sonics their indefinite hiatuses produce, Portishead can stay away all they want... MORE @ METROMIX

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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

 

The Roots Dig Into Danger

Bottom of the morning, Morphizm fans. Today is going to be the grind. But it's a good thing I have a badass soundtrack on hand. The Roots have a new, visceral disc out, and it could be the best thing they have ever made. My review for Metromix explains the rest:

The Roots
Rising Down

Whereas their most recent efforts have widened the Roots' portal into the mainstream, Rising Down is a defiant, agitated classic that might thankfully shake off the weaker bandwagon-jumpers. The title track throws down the gauntlet on geopolitical strife, from blood diamonds to climate crisis, with the help of conscientious virtuoso Mos Def. Dice Raw, Peedi Crakk and DJ Jazzy Jeff stop by to bring staccato danger to the visceral "Get Busy," while the Roots' rapper-in-residence, Tariq "Black Thought" Trotter, uses his militant, machine-gun delivery on "75 Bars" to remind us why rap used to actually scare some people. (Ah, the good old days!)... MORE @ METROMIX

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Sunday, April 27, 2008

 

From Spacemen 3 to Spiritualized: Jason Pierce


Greetings, Morphizm pals! Checking in from a hectic Sunday with my LBC boys, with a nice interview for you Coachella-goers and other music fans. I interviewed Spacemen 3 and Spiritualized honcho Jason Pierce for Wired, and the fruits of that sonic labor have ripened:

From Spacemen 3 to Spiritualized: Jason Pierce Transcends Time
From the legendary Spacemen 3 to the orchestral Spiritualized, Jason Pierce's pioneering musical output has transcended genre and time. For more than 25 years, the influential artist's experiments have ranged from drone, psychedelia and trance rock to jazz, gospel and ragged blues, sometimes all at once.

His latest Spiritualized effort, Songs in A&E, out May 19, offers more of the latter, with a metafictional twist: Pierce was almost literally rendered into spirit when a nearly lethal bout of pneumonia found him knocking on heaven's door as he worked on his new recording.

Thanks to an opportune request by cult cinema director Harmony Korine, Pierce survived to innovate another day, finish his album and score Mister Lonely, Korine's 2007 indie film about a Michael Jackson impersonator looking for an outsider utopia in Paris... MORE @ WIRED

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Friday, April 25, 2008

 

Post Up: Ghostly Swim, Moby Crowdsourcing


It's Friday night, the heat has arrived, and the stragglers have come in. Here's a few I recently wrote for Wired's music blog Listening Post:

Free Tunes Flow When Adult Swim, Ghostly International Collaborate
Animation powerhouse Adult Swim has teamed up with indie labels before, like funk and soul standout Stone's Throw or indie hip-hop collective Definitive Jux. But this time, it is forming Voltron-style with Michigan's Ghostly International to offer Ghostly Swim, a hybrid brand hawking a 19-track compilation for free on Adult Swim's official site... MORE @ WIRED

Moby Crowdsources T-Shirt Design
Have you got an eye for design? Do you like rocktronica, vegans and progressive politics? Then drop Moby a line at Threadless. He's looking for someone, anyone, to create a T-shirt based on the theme "Last Night," which also happens to be the name of his latest release... MORE @ WIRED

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Thursday, April 24, 2008

 

Will Slug Eat Bugs?

I conducted a hilarious interview with Atmosphere's Slug for Metromix in honor of their new effort When Life Gives You Lemons You Paint That Shit Gold. Let's get entomophagic!

Lemony Fresh: An Interview With Atmosphere's Slug
"C'mon man, you have enough CDs sitting in your office. You don't need another. Let's be real: talking about your record is so 2003. For this one, we put together crazy listening sessions. In Los Angeles, we threw a party where we played the record and a contest where we drove journalists around in a rented minivan. It was more fun for everybody because they got to see what an idiot I am. Plus, listening to a CD in your car is so much better than listening at home where your cat is vomiting"... MORE @ METROMIX

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Post Up: My Morning Jacket



Greetings, Morphizm fans! Looking for some new, free music? I just gave away some on Wired's music blog Listening Post from a band that you indie rock fans may have heard of:

My Morning Jacket Unleashes Evil Urges
"The world today is such a confused place. Things that people think are good values are obviously twisted, but there are other things considered evil that obviously aren't. There is real evil out there, but Evil Urges is about how all of these things that you've been told are evil really aren't, unless they're actually hurting something or somebody"... MORE @ WIRED

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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

 

Atmosphere Is Thick With Lemons

It's not often you hear the words hip-hop and Minnesota in the same sentence, but Atmosphere and their Rhymesayers label have been doing their best to turn that around. I reviewed their new effort for Metromix. It has a great title:

Atmosphere
When Life Gives You Lemons You Paint That Shit Gold

Straight outta the Twin Cities, Atmosphere has been dropping credible indie-hop since 1993. Smartass poets to the core, rapper Slug (Sean Daley) and producer Ant (Anthony Davis) are artists as well as moguls, the brains behind the acclaimed Rhymesayers label. Between a slew of full-lengths, EPs, compilations and collaborations, Atmosphere has made its name on stark, cerebral productions with a sense of humor... MORE @ METROMIX

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Sunday, April 20, 2008

 

Post Up! Breeders, Weeds, Classical Noise


It's Sunday night, suckers. So why not catch up on my weekend spiels for Wired's music blog Listening Post? Good idea. Let's to it!

Breeders, Albini Stand By 'All Wave' Analog Recording
Don't get Albini and Deal wrong. They don't want to start a Luddite revolution. They just want to freak the noise with their own style. "This should not be construed as a call to arms," Albini concludes, "but could become at least as significant as the Ska revival or perhaps the WNBA... MORE @ WIRED

Weeds Jester Nealon Fetes 4/20 With Banjo
For those of you who don't go for impromptu holidays or cannabis, April 20 is known to stoners worldwide as 4/20. It's a special day when everyone gets high just as always, albeit with more pride and jokes about the date. Kevin Nealon, the Saturday Night Live vet whose drug-addled hilarity gives Weeds its longevity, posted this celebratory video for the occasion. It's a romp featuring the many names of pot put to the soothing sounds of Nealon's banjo, as well as footage of cannabis plants, a toking Arnold Schwarzenegger and more strangeness... MORE @ WIRED

Classical Music Brings the Noise -- Too Much, In Fact
Symphonies in Europe are dropping pieces or turning to machines for help in order to conform to new regulations designed to lessen noise in the workplace. Musicians and conductors are sparring over whether to soften or forgo Mahler (pictured right), wear earplugs, sit behind noise screens, redefine fortissimo and more in order to adapt their performances to a kindler, gentler, quieter generation. And so far it's resulted in anything but harmony... MORE @ WIRED

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Friday, April 18, 2008

 

Post Up! Interview with The Wedding Present



Today on Wired's music blog Listening Post, I got a chance to rap with post-punk survivors The Wedding Present. Much hilarity ensued:

The Wedding Present Gets Sociable
Since 1985, David Gedge's post-punk lifer The Wedding Present has built upon the legacy of The Fall, The Buzzcocks and more to craft urgent songs of love, loss and superheroes. From the 1987 debut George Best all the way to the forthcoming 2008 effort El Rey, written while Gedge was living in L.A. but recorded with engineering legend Steve Albini in Chicago, The Wedding Present has given over two decades of its heart, soul and humor while still managing to fly below the radar. I caught up with Gedge for a quickie on El Rey, Albini, and Paris Hilton ducking helicopters... MORE @ WIRED

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Spurlock + Swift = Bin Laden Trackdown

I turn over today's morning Morphizm post to pal Rob Swift, who has some good news about Morgan Spurlock and bad news about Osama bin Laden:



Remember that documentary Super Size Me? The one where film maker Morgan Spurlock addresses Americans eating habits by using himself as a human guinea pig by strictly dieting on McDonald's for 30 days, just to see what the affects of eating McDonald's for breakfast, lunch and dinner would have on his health.

Well it was nominated for an Academy Award in 2004 and Spurlock's new movie Where In The World Is Osama Bin Laden? might land him another nomination. Spurlock's second film revolves around his search for the world's most wanted man and that's where I come in. There's a scene in the film that contains an excerpt from a song I composed entitled "Terrorism."

Yes, Morgan Spurlock licensed one of the tracks off my last solo album War Games.

It's been roughly three years since I dropped War Games, an album (coupled with a DVD) that tackles my thoughts on social/political issues like 911, Terrorism, the Iraq War, police brutality and poverty with the turntable as my microphone and scratches as my voice. So it definitely feels good to know the hard work I've invested into WAR GAMES is being recognized by someone like Morgan Spurlock. Big thanks go out to Barry Cole for submitting "Terrorism" for placement in the film. Thank you Barry!!!

Many of you have already heard "Terrorism" but if you haven't, just visit my MySpace page and check it out. It's the first song on my player. And please go see Spurlock's new film. It's been seven years since 9/11 and unfortunately, it feels like a lot of Americans have pushed the entire event into the back of their minds. Almost as if the fear of surviving another terrorist attack has gave way to the fear of surviving our current economy. They caught us sleeping on September 11, 2001 and I swear it feels like we've been gradually dozing off the last few years. So for those that need a wake up call, set your alarms to this Friday (April 18th) and GO SEE IT!!

Rob Swift, April 16

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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

 

Mt. Wilson Repeater Worth Repeating

Morning, Morphizm fans. I recently reviewed Jim Putnam's solo effort Mt. Wilson Repeater for Metromix. And it was spacey:

Mt. Wilson Repeater
Mt. Wilson Repeater

Putnam's voice is an ethereal component, but a minor actor in what ends up being some rather intricately designed sonics. The aerial guitars of "Everyone Say Hello" approximate the drone of similar bands like the Sleepy Jackson or Mice Parade, while the acoustic atmospheres of "Islands in the Sun" recall "Meddle"-era Pink Floyd, which is to say both tunes captivate. Those looking for head-banging riffage need not apply; even the bouncing strums of "Out Country Way" or the lo-fi rock of "Pencils/Pens" take patience. Putnam likes to keep it spacey—after all, his band is named after the mountain which houses L.A.'s most popular observatory... MORE @ METROMIX

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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

 

Post Up: An Interview with Rob Swift

Morphizm has talked to Rob before, so this time I chatted him up about Ill Insanity, Serato Scratch Live, Barack Obama and more for Wired's music blog Listening Post:

Rob Swift Helps Make Turntablism Ill All Over Again
I feel Ill Insanity has willingly taken on the responsibility of re-exposing our art form, turntablism, to a new generation. During the mid 90's or "Golden Years," the X-ecutioners were a part of a DJ movement that was alive and vibrant. But now, the consensus is that the movement is dead. Ill Insanity's main purpose is to breathe life back into the art.

Being self sufficient, not relying on a major label to introduce what we do to the masses, and taking back control of our artistry has led to a more healthy, fun situation for us. The chemistry between Precision, Total Eclipse and myself is the strongest I've felt within a group since my days as an X-man. We practice almost everyday, we're hungry and we're on the same page. Within a year of forming Ill Insanity we completed and released our first album, toured Europe and the United States, we even made appearances on ESPN and BET. I think it's safe to say our approach to things is working"... MORE @ MORPHIZM

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Monday, April 14, 2008

 

Ring the Alarm: Interview With Michael Stipe

I originally conducted this interview for the HuffPo, but Morphizm is its permanent home. The story story is this: R.E.M.'s Accelerate may be the rock album of the year. And according to Stipe, Obama may be the next president. In honor of the interview, I spooled some solid R.E.M. videos on the homer. Speed it up!

Ring the Alarm: An Interview With Michael Stipe
"Where's my jetpack?" Stipe laughs by phone, quoting artist Ryan McGuinness. "It's 2008, and the best we can do is the odd policeman on a Segway?

We've had administration after administration pulling us back to the 1950s. I want progress, and I want progressive agendas. I fully expected that when I was 13 and taking an environmental science class that we'd have alternative energy by now.

If you would have told me in 1973 that in 2008 a black man and a woman running for president would still be a big deal, I would have laughed at you"... MORE @ MORPHIZM

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Saturday, April 12, 2008

 

Atmosphere's Slug Surges For Obama

I interviewed Atmosphere's hilarious architect Slug for Metromix awhile ago, and I'll send you Morphizm fans a heads-up when it goes live, which will be around the time the band's newest effort When Life Gives You Lemons You Paint That Shit Gold drops. But a few choice quotes on Election 2008 didn't make the cut, so I proudly reproduce them here:

Obama: "Obviously, I'm a supporter. Beyond everything else, I will vote for the black guy. I've been waiting years for that. I would've voted for Jesse or Shirley Chisolm. That's the first thing."

Ron and Ralph: "And then you know, some of the indies like Ron Paul or Ralph Nader, these dudes are saying great things. But they are not going to be the next president. I do subscribe to the theory that they are taking votes away. People who vote that are selfish, putting their own assertion of identity before the greater good."

Hillary: "Get out of here!"

McCain: "He is a Republican, and old. And white."

WATCH: "GUARANTEES"

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Wednesday, April 09, 2008

 

Dead Child Attacks At Last

I wrote a heads-up on this strange side project months ago, but the disc has finally dropped. And it's as loud and bombastic as I wouldn't have expected it to be. My Metromix review explains:

Dead Child
Attack

As the most influential band you've never heard of, Louisville's slugger Slint served up the Big Bang of post-rock on 1991's epochal "Spiderland," a stack of mostly experimental instrumentals using the base ingredients of math rock, punk, funk, jazz, spoken word and more. After imploding shortly thereafter, they offered side projects aplenty, from David Pajo's Papa M to Brian McMahan's the For Carnation. After a clumsy Slint reunion brought them together a couple years back, they teamed up again for this unabashed homage to the metal of Judas Priest and Iron Maiden... MORE @ METROMIX

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Monday, April 07, 2008

 

Meat Beat Manifesto Immunizes Ears, Brains

Rejoice, left-leaning multimedia jam fans. Meat Beat Manifesto is back with a bracing new effort called Autoimmune. I covered the release with a double-shot of love on Wired. To wit:



Meat Beat Doses the World With New Manifesto, Autoimmune
Two decades ago, Jack Dangers co-founded Meat Beat Manifesto, a band that delivered an explosive mashup of performance, multimedia and head-trip soundtracking that teased brains as ably as it packed dance floors.

Today, the synth collector and sonic experimentalist is hobbled by psoriatic arthritis and, he jokes by phone, he's "walking around like Howard Hughes." The autoimmune disease hits you hard in the joints and digits -- the worst possible places for a guy who makes a living pounding on synths and sequencers.

"You get used to it," Dangers says of the disorder. And perhaps you morph the experience into a banging effort called Autoimmune, Meat Beat Manifesto's 20th anniversary release due Tuesday. Autoimmune, Meat Beat Manifesto's 20th anniversary release due Tuesday... MORE @ WIRED

Sonic Immunity: Q&A With Meat Beat Manifesto's Jack Dangers
Wired: You've always mashed sound and video in interesting ways. I get a kick out of the samples, especially that classic Pinback line from Dark Star.

Dangers: One of the tracks were playing is "Nuclear Bomb" from Subliminal Sandwich, and we're cross-referencing a lot of imagery for it. We're superimposing Bush speeches over the banjo scene from Deliverance.

Wired: Oh man, that's hilarious.

Dangers: Exactly. If you just play the audio, you wouldn't get the same song. The visual adds much more impact: A creepy close-up of him licking his lips. Ben Stokes plays the Bush sample and I play the Deliverance sample... MORE @ WIRED

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Thursday, April 03, 2008

 

The Wood Brothers Get Loaded

It's been a long day, but a good one, as I've been hanging with my daughter Sofie while mom scouts Portland for a possible move. And I'm beat now that my ex-baby is in bed. Which means it's a perfect time to fire up some new-school folk and blues. Good thing I've got The Wood Brothers' newest effort on the iPod. And look, I wrote a Metromix review to go with it! Such serendipity!

The Wood Brothers
Loaded

The Wood Brothers' second effort is a flawless exercise in roots, rock and even reggae—on the bobbing gospel of "Sweet Angel," to be exact. Chris Wood's hushed turn at vocals on the poignant waltz "Don't Look Back" is a heartbreaker, and his brother's energized delivery on rockers like "Pray Enough" and "Walk Away" boasts a spirited, knowing comfort. The Wood Brothers know exactly what they are doing, and they are very good at it... MORE @ METROMIX

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Wednesday, April 02, 2008

 

The Black Keys Attack Boring Rock

Good morning, Morphizm pals. Thanks for catching up with me as I catch up with myself. I've been hard at work on the journo front lately, so I haven't been able to attend to the blog and the site as much. But things are leveling out somewhat. Here's my latest Metromix review of one of the best rock efforts so far this year, almost as amazing as R.E.M.'s recent missile. Shred it:

The Black Keys
Attack & Release

Although it might lose in volume what it makes up for in experimentation, the payoff of "Attack & Release" rewards repeat investment. The measured walking blues of "All You Ever Wanted" feels like the soundtrack for a trip to Jupiter. The torchlight gospel of "Lies" sleepwalks its way to revelatory climaxes, and "I Got Mine" reminds you how much Auerbach can channel Jimmy Page when the urge takes hold. Even the ambitious two-part epic "Remember When" is a winner, veering from ambient electro-country to Kinks-like sludge without missing a single beat... MORE @ METROMIX

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Tuesday, April 01, 2008

 

R.E.M.'s Accelerate Brings the Noise

Sorry for the extended radio silence, Morphizm pals. Many new developments to discuss. Later. It's been a blur.

But at least it's been a noisy one, since I've been hard at work on R.E.M.'s newest effort, the bruising classic called Accelerate, out today in America. I'll kick off the proceedings with the Metromix review, and follow up with a Michael Stipe interview on Morphizm tomorrow. For now, let's bring the noise.

R.E.M.
Accelerate

Put simply, Accelerate is easily one of the band's finest releases, and certainly the loudest. Stipe's growling, urgent vocals are a jarring departure from some of his more recent downtempo deliveries, and socio-politically charged barn-burners like "Living Well Is the Best Revenge" and "Man-Sized Wreath" are rants on war, media and the vacuum otherwise known as American pop culture. Even when he stumbles, on the power balladry of "Hollow Man" for example, his heart is so firmly screwed to the right place that the song flies by. R.E.M. diehards will appreciate the fire, and late adopters will bang for the rawk, especially Peter Buck's axe shredding on the stunning "Sing for the Submarine"... MORE @ METROMIX

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Thursday, March 27, 2008

 

Post Up! Steinski, Pekar, Portishead

Now for the morning dose. I posted up yesterday playing hoops, which got me thinking about my ongoing blogging for Wired.com's Underwire and Listening Post. Post up, Post. Hmmm. Methinks we have a recurring feature!

What Does It All Mean, Steinski?
Steve Stein may be the most popular hip-hop legend you've never heard of. But that doesn't mean no one else has. From DJ Shadow to Girl Talk to Cut Chemist and beyond, artists large and small have tipped their sonic hats in his direction.

Harvey Pekar's American Splendor Returns
DC Comics' mature imprint Vertigo releases American Splendor: Season Two, the latest installment from the acclaimed Everyman otherwise known as Harvey Pekar, on April 2. As usual, Pekar's stories will be illustrated by a stable of well-regarded artists who have signed on to bring his mundane but still humorous life into being.

Portishead's 'Machine Gun' Brings the Noise
In case you haven't heard, trip-hop pioneers Portishead, who probably hate the term "trip-hop" as much as DJ Shadow does, are back at last after a decade-plus hiatus marked by little other than silence.

WATCH: PORTISHEAD, "MACHINE GUN"

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

 

The B-52s Bomb The Funplex

Top of the morning, Morphizm pals. The B-52s have been out of the new release game for 16 years, believe it or not. But the doomed pop culture they left behind is in serious need of cheering up, and mobilizing for the future. Hence, their new effort, which I recently reviewed for Metromix:

The B-52s
Funplex

When guitarist Ricky Wilson, brother of Cindy, died of AIDS in 1985, the B-52’s went introspective. But they transformed into the party-starters of “Love Shack” soon after, and "Funplex" is one of their horniest, bounciest efforts to date. Whether it's the addictive title track or the G-spot theatrics of "Ultraviolet," the B-52’s want to energize your sex drive as much as your desire to vote. Even the thoughtful but overwrought "Too Much to Think About" steps aside for a sick surf solo from guitarist Keith Strickland, who built the crowded sound of "Funplex" with an eye on the beer keg... MORE @ METROMIX

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

 

The Raconteurs Console Everyone At Once

Do you like rock music? Do you like Jack White? Do you like downloading? Do you like making up your own mind about music before you read reviews? Consider, if you will, The Raconteurs, whose sophomore effort Consolers of the Lonely drops today, everywhere, all at once.

That's right. If you're a music journo, avid downloader or old-school store fan, you are equal in the eyes of Jack White and Brendan Benson. I explain the rest on Wired's Listening Post blog. Click over there and smell the change in the air. It's pungent.

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Monday, March 24, 2008

 

Ween Calls Downloaders Ass Tumors

Man, what a grabber of a title! I'd like to take credit for it, but the credit belongs to Ween, who I blogged for Wired today. Yes, that's right: I'm back at last on the Wired blogs. It's been awhile. But at least I came back strong. I mean, just look at the picture! That's Dean Ween, who does most of his online writing, surfing and blogging in the nude. Talk about shameless honesty.

That pic sums up Ween nicely: They could care less about propriety, but are willing to put their balls on the line, and screen, to show you what they got. Check my entry on Wired's Listening Post for more on the whole enchilada, and post a comment if you will. I'd love Wired to know that Camp Morphizm has its back. And if you can't get the image out of your head, don't worry: I've got a mindwipe scheduled for midnight. You should be all better by then.

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Friday, March 21, 2008

 

Wikipedia Surfs With Rosa

This is minor, but I remember when it didn't used to be that way. In any case, the Pixies immortal Surfer Rosa is top entry of the day on Wikipedia today, a gracious nod to one of the finest rock efforts in history.

I wrote a long goodbye to the Pixies' peerless , Albini-produced album on Morphizm awhile back, and we've got lots of Pixies material to read. A good list can be found on the link above but, more importantly, a potent dose of their rock can be found in the Morphizm TV show below.

Credit for the video code goes to Google, as always, who is making Stanfurd out to be a great uni rather than a think-tank for tools. Wait, where is my mind?

WATCH: PIXIES IN PANOPLY

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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

 

Arthur C. Clarke 1917-2008

UPDATE: This post has found a home on the pages of our pals at the Huffington Post and Yahoo Buzz, which is nice. For more on Clarke, visit the eulogy I created for Wired, which features testimonials from DC Comics, George Lucas, DJ Spooky, that cranky bastard Harlan Ellison and more.

On March 18, the science and sci-fi legend Arthur C. Clarke died, which is a sad passing for us all. Clarke codified the future through a series of scientific and literary experiments that will never pass as he has. They will endure, mostly because they realize the utter singularity of the human race over time, from its earliest manifestations to its later, terrorized forms.

"I hope that we have learned something from the most barbaric century in history -- the twentieth," he said in his last recorded message to his home planet Earth. "I would like to see us overcome our tribal factions, and begin to think and act as if we were one family. That would be real globalization."

Instead, we have panic in the streets from globalization of another kind, and our eyes are more glued to our inner spaces than our outer ones. But even Clarke had hope we would pull out of it, as Clarke's friend Harlan Ellison told me by phone, in his own patently cranky way. (I wrote more on that conversation at Wired.) Clarke knew the human race would realize how absolutely lucky it is to be living at all in the void of space, much less living together in harmony on Earth.

From his prescience on satellites to the immortality that is 2001: A Space Odyssey and beyond, he always had his mind and art on something bigger than all of us -- and himself, the ever-gracious but still droll wit, who never wanted to stop growing. We could learn lessons from his work that would last us centuries. And we could start learning them tomorrow, days after he died.

We better. Or else.

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These Colors Run Awesome

Good morning, sunshine. It is a new day, demanding new soundtracks. If you're on the hunt for delicious noise, I have just the band for you. I reviewed them for XLR8R:

Awesome Color
Electric Aborigines

Long live rawk. This upstart trio brings the noise and riffage with aplomb, smashing your face to the glass of your time machine with a smile. Take-no-prisoners chargers like "Already Down" make you want to find a slam pit and hit it, while freak-out episodes like "Eyes of Light" might make Caustic Resin and Comets on Fire patent their guitar solos, to say nothing of Jimmy Page or Jimi Hendrix... MORE @ XLR8R

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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

 

Go Team (Robespierre)!

There is a place for smartass dance rock. Ask Devo, or Gang of Four, or The Cramps. All of whom remind of this band Team Robespierre, who I reviewed recently for XLR8R. To wit:

Team Robespierre
Everything's Perfect

From the whirlwind guitars of "Ha Ha Ha" to the synths-and-drums maelstrom of "Laika," Team Robespierre's breakneck sonics sound like what would happen if Milemarker experienced a head-on collision with The Minutemen. The sing-along stomp of "Black Rainbow" and "88th Precinct" could have been scooped up from Freedom of Choice's killing floor, while "Death Smells" should have been left there. And sure, Team Robespierre has a formula: Jam synths, call-and-response shouts, and kinetic rhythms into the blender, shred, and repeat... MORE @ XLR8R

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

 

The R.E.M. Retro!

Greetings, Morphizm mutants! I had a great talk with R.E.M.'s Michael Stipe on Monday. And I'm putting together an interview to be fired off to my pals at the HuffPo somewhere near the legendary band's release date for their aptly named new effort, Accelerate, which drops on April Fool's Day. Only in America, that is. Everyone else gets it the day before that. Americans get it on a day devoted to fools. Hilarious.

In honor of the upcoming piece, I assembled this video retrospective of R.E.M.'s greatest work, including their poptastic new tune, "Supernatural Superserious." Look for mini-TVs like these to pop up everywhere on Morphizm going forward. And the entire net soon after. To the tunes!

MORPHIZM MULTIMEDIA: THE R.E.M. RETRO

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Del Is Still One Funkee Homosapien

Back on the attack, Morphizm pals, with a gripload of music reviews on the way for your ears and eyes. The first is from a Cali rapper with a resume as long as George Bush's rap sheet:

Del Tha Funkee Homosapien
Eleventh Hour

[Scott Thill, Metromix]
Del is a living nexus of hip-hop's new and old school, and still a nimble, tongue-twisting maestro. Even when he's revising Ice-T's "You Played Yourself" while scolding hos on this release's sexually charged "Back in the Chamber," he still manages to straddle the fence between critique and chauvinism without falling. But he shines brightest in sharp, shotgun tracks like "Bubble Pop" that take aim at culture without shying away from the splatter... MORE @ METROMIX

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Monday, March 10, 2008

 

School of Language Passes Nicely

Greetings, Morphizm pals. Sorry for the late post, but I've been a busy boy. How about I unleash a potent dose of XLR8R reviews to make it up to you? Awesome.

School of Language
Sea From Shore

[Scott Thill, XLR8R]
Field Music's David Brewis hasn't decided to go it alone: School of Language is just his laptop side project, which in a way is a testament to tech. This solo effort built of bytes rocks nicely, buttressed by smoking guitar anthems like "Poor Boy" and "Disappointment '99." Angular funk makes "This is No Fun" a spirited jam, while the four-part concept pop of "Rockist" is a sonic Tower of Babel built with the help of Garageband, semiotics, and soul music.... MORE @ XLR8R

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Tuesday, March 04, 2008

 

Malkmus!

Sorry for the title, Pavement diehards. But every time I see Stephen Malkmus' last name I think of that hyperreal scene in Being John Malkovich where Malkovich goes batshit and repeatedly screams out his last name as he flees a restaurant. Not that this has anything to do with Malkmus' new effort, which has added the powerhouse drums of the mighty Janet Weiss. Read on:

Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks
Real Emotional Trash

Like his past work, "Real Emotional Trash" is a stack of angular nuggets that range from breezy pop to crunchy dirges. The opener "Dragonfly Pie" is a jerky bouncer buttressed by jagged riffage and Malkmus' affected cool, while the closer "Wicked Wanda" is a fuzzy anthem that oscillates from hushed balladry to simmering rock with skill. The latter is a lock to get the crowd waving their cell phones. Meanwhile, the epic, 10-minute title track comes on like a sly whisper before twisting into an alt-rock sock-hop that gathers heat like a runaway train, with Malkmus' dexterous fretwork keeping pace the entire way... MORE @ METROMIX

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Thursday, February 28, 2008

 

All Hail Amerykah

Back on the attack, with a review of Erykah Badu's latest dose of funk psychedelia. It's safe to say I liked it. A lot.

Erykah Badu
New Amerykah, Part One (4th World War)

[Scott Thill, Metromix]
Badu is the Beatles of soul music. One second she's bringing flawless pop craftsmanship that turns heads, the next she's concocting left-field psychedelic masterpieces like this effort's "Amerykahn Promise," a disorienting collage of spoken word comedy and unrepentant funk. She is the preeminent artist worth money for those who think R&B has turned into a digital wasteland of vocal showoffs and auto-tuned nightmares... MORE @ METROMIX

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Monday, February 25, 2008

 

DJ Shadow + OxFam = OxJam

It's not a secret Morphizm is a fan of DJ Shadow. But it's good to see Shadow is a fan of international service. He hooked up with OxFam for an eye-opening trip to Nairobi, which has been documented below. An OxJam Festival kicks off in April. It takes a digital village, people.

VIDEO, DJ Shadow + OxFam in Kenya

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Blitzen Trapper Bangs It Out

The short hiatus has jacked Morphizm but good. But I'm back on the attack with a slew of good shit coming up, including this shorty with Sub Pop's newest freakouts Blitzen Trapper, recently conducted for Metromix. Turn it up:

"Just Bangin' Stuff Out:" An Interview with Blitzen Trapper
[Scott Thill, Metromix]
Vocalist-guitarist Eric Earley and his fellow travelers in Blitzen Trapper bonded in the Pacific Northwest over the love of, well, pretty much everything. Their 2007 self-released album “Wild Mountain Nation” (and first for Sub Pop, who released it internationally) found the Portland, Ore., group hop-scotching across Pavement, Grateful Dead and onward, veering from cluttered and manic to ethereal and winsome in the blink of an eye. It’s a postmodern collision of sonic styles that has inspired all kinds of clever descriptors (more on that below) and much anticipation for Blitzen’s next effort, which the prolific Earley says is already in the can—as are a couple of EPs and more Blitzen apocrypha.

Despite the abundance of his musical output, Earley is a man of few words. But he did shed some light on the band’s influences and the origins of that offbeat name.

Did you happen to read the All Music Guide review for "Wild Mountain Nation"?
No, I didn't actually.

Dig this: "It's a dizzying lo-fi psychedelic prog rock power pop alt-country indie rock jam fest."
[Laughs] I don't know what that means, actually. But it's funny.

Is that how you would describe your music?
Uh, sure. But it would take awhile to say all of that... MORE @ METROMIX

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Thursday, February 21, 2008

 

Kurt Cobain, Son of Sane?

[Back on the track, people. Morphizm is coming along slowly, but will catch up nicely. Here's a slice of Nirvana's bipolar backstory delivered through the lens of our writer Zan Laorenza. In short, it rocks. -- ST]

Kurt Cobain: About a Son (DVD)
[Alexander Laorenza, Morphizm]
The film begins with a brooding instrumental of delay-laden guitars, backdropping aerial footage of rural and urban Washington. The original score was written by Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie fame, and evokes a scene in the Cobain-esque film Last Days , where the main character concocts a haunting, delay-driven melody in the desperate isolation of his suburban home. Emerging from the soundtrack is Cobain's voice, explaining how, as a child, he felt that his parents adopted him. Not without a hint of sarcasm, Cobain claims he felt he was born to aliens, dropped to earth on a spaceship, and awaiting the day when he would uncover other aliens living amongst the homogeneous earthlings. As the story unfolds, organic landscapes meld into clever, lo-fi animation of flying saucers. Cobain's words provide such literal accompaniments throughout the film, giving it a lucid sense of fluidity... MORE @ MORPHIZM

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

 

Ray Davies Works Out The Kinks

It's a slow day today at Morphizm, as I've been gathering force after days of inertia. The rest of February is going to be rough. Good thing I have ex-Kinks architect Ray Davies and his new solo effort to keep me motivated. He's got big brains, as I wrote for Metromix:

Ray Davies
Working Man's Cafe

Davies' talents have always married addictive musical hooks and lyrical complexity, from his work with the Kinks to his solo exercises, which now includes the conscientious "Working Man's Cafe." Davies is probably the only sonic legend who could set political lyrics—"Let's make a movie in Baghdad/Take the culture right to the Third World/Blow up a brand new civilization/In the name of globalization"—to lazy blues and get away with it, as he does on this effort's clever "Vietnam Cowboys"... MORE @ METROMIX

BAD VIDEO, IMMORTAL SONG: THE KINKS, "BIG SKY"

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Friday, February 15, 2008

 

DJ Shadow, Cut Chemist, Kid Koala Sell Hard

Unfortunately, I have to hit the road for another NorCal trip, so I am going to miss this insanely rewarding team-up of the finest turntablists in hip-hop tonight in Los Angeles. But at least I got a chance to write about them to get others going in my place. You gotta do what you gotta do.

For those interested in Morphizm's past coverage of these titans, check here, here and here. And look out below for the video introduction to the Hard Sell, courtesy of Meat Beat Manifesto's Ben Stokes. It's a vinyl riot:

Grounded in Sound
[Scott Thill, LA Weekly]
"Touching vinyl is a guilty pleasure," L.A. DJ heavyweight Cut Chemist tells me by phone from the Chicago hotel room where he's chilling before sound check for the Hard Sell Tour, his hat-trick collaboration with NorCal's equally storied DJ Shadow. "What can I say? Shadow and I like to buy records."

They're not alone. In 1998, when turntablism was at its zenith, DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist — or Josh Davis and Lucas McFadden, as they are known to their mothers — merged their love of lost funk and soul 45s into an improvised two-mix set called Brainfreeze, which went on not just to become a collector's item but to set the bar so high for scratch fiends that it has yet to be matched. By anyone besides the two, that is, who reunited in 2001 for a similar affair called Product Placement. Like its predecessor, it was mashed live on the spot with no edits or do-overs and immortalized in a limited pressing, and soon became a collector's staple as well. Product Placement upped the ante on Brainfreeze with a national tour that took Cut and Shadow's turntablist skills straight to the people.

And now they're doing it again on the Hard Sell Tour, which launched in Toronto on January 30 and winds up its American throw-down on February 15 at the Wiltern, before jetting across the pond to the U.K., France, Germany and parts outward. Kicking off with a hilarious explanatory video created by Meat Beat Manifesto's Ben Stokes (a.k.a. Tino), which apes the educational films of the 1950s, Shadow and Cut's third iteration has been given a serious upgrade... MORE @ LA WEEEKLY

VIDEO: THE HARD SELL TOUR

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Friday, February 08, 2008

 

Rob Swift: Still Ill

I've chatted with the mighty DJ Rob Swift on and off for a few years now, and it's been a blast. From his time with The X-ecutioners to his stint with Ill Insanity, whose latest bomb Ground Xero drops February 12, he's been a scratch wizard worth watching.

And he's a workhorse: His latest solo effort Dust to Dust is a mixtape of old-school '70s funk and hip-hop that should take you straight back to Crooklyn. Historiographers and beat junkies should enjoy it, and so should you.

Make sure to catch Ill Insanity on tour now, as they're offering everything from tutorials to competitions, even for the budding DJs on the come-up. It's about the knowledge, after all, rather than just showmanship. Hip-hop was built on both.

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Thursday, February 07, 2008

 

Lenny Likes Love

Lenny Kravitz has been singing about love since jump street. And he still is. Just with more globalization awareness. Which is a great thing. My Metromix review explains:

Lenny Kravitz
It is Time for a Love Revolution

With a voice like funky honey and guitar riffage lifted right out of the libraries of the Stones and Led Zeppelin, Lenny Kravitz is the de facto heir of classic rock's multi-platinum estate. He's equally down with today's supermodels, yesterday's flower children and the distracted tastes of Generation Xbox. He's probably the only artist in the crossover game today who can sing "Love Revolution" protests tunes like "Back in Vietnam"—"We're going to fly over the world in our giant eagle/We do just what we want and don't care if it's illegal”—and make it sound like the soundtrack for a Visa commercial...MORE @ METROMIX

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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

 

Mars Volta Brings The Bedlam

There's nothing like good, loud, energetic rock. It cannot be replicated, and it cannot be replaced. And bands like The Mars Volta know exactly what I am talking about. Which is why they make smoking exercises like The Bedlam in Goliath. My latest review for Metromix explains:

The Mars Volta
The Bedlam in Goliath

They are, by far, the roughest, toughest and most dangerous group in the game today, which is alarming considering how skinny they are. But Bixler-Zavala has pipes that every frontman would kill for and Rodriguez-Lopez is the most talented axe master in rock. Guitarists have nightmares about the guy. And that's before you get to their expansive literary, cinematic, musical and historical indulgences. They're like libraries that make you want to bang your head...MORE @ METROMIX

Morphizm has been on Mars Volta's vibe from day one. Check out this classic content for an update.

All Hail the Comatorium Sensorium! Mars Volta, De-Loused in the Comatorium

"Don't Get Comfortable:" An Interview With The Mars Volta

I now suggest that you bang your head. Mind the frontal lobes!

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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

 

Israel: Too Late By Two Beatles

This is quite possibly the most hilarious thing I have read all day. Oh Israel, may you never run out of comedic situations for us bloggers to spiel about. From the AP:
More than 40 years after it barred the iconic British band from playing there, Israel said it wants the surviving members of the Beatles to participate in a concert celebrating the country's 60th birthday. But the Israeli embassy in London denied a report that the Jewish state had apologized for its original refusal to let the Beatles perform in the country. The band had been booked to appear in 1965, but the government refused to grant the necessary permits on the ground that its music might corrupt the country's morals.
The best part is that Israel thinks it is doing its people a favor by getting the two living Beatles to reunite for a show. Yes, exactly what all diehard Beatles fans would want: Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr singing "An Octopus's Garden" and "Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Dah." Life may go on, brah, but it would move much better if John Lennon were still alive to sing "I'm So Tired."

The worst part? Thinking that The Beatles would corrupt Israel's morals. Where do I start? Maybe I shouldn't?

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Thursday, January 24, 2008

 

Ain't No Black Mountain High Enough

I've been writing all day about the drug ecstasy and its potential for treating post-traumatic stress disorder. So why do I feel like total crap? I have no idea. But I do know that there is some solid rawk metal worth listening to, straight outta Vancouver, the coolest city on Earth. I reviewed it the other day for Metromix. Bang your head shop:

Black Mountain
In the Future

In the Future is a potent dose of showmanship for Stephen McBean, the man behind Black Mountain as well as avant-folk counterparts Pink Mountaintops. Headbangers like "Stony Mountain" and "Evil Ways" feed on acrobatic riffage, while laid-back lava lamps like "Angels" and "Stay Free" will leave you slack-jawed beneath the black lights. Meanwhile, the 16-minute epic "Bright Lights" is a blitzkrieg in binary code, one that would make Ozzy, Cornell and Page/Plant proud. The fact that McBean needs another popular Vancouver band to sublimate his stoner core is testament to his virtuosity...
MORE @ METROMIX

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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

 

Ill Insanity Scratches Out Your Ears


Morphizm pal and turntablist legend Rob Swift recently hit me with an email about his band Ill Insanity, who have teamed up with Guitar Center for an interactive tour sure to hook heads from both tech and hip-hop. Here's Rob, writing from the tour site:
the GC Sessions tour dates in Brooklyn, Hallandale and LA will offer scratch and burn booths provided by Scratch DJ Academy. These booths will bring us, Ill Insanity, together with the fans for a special scratch jam session. So whether you want us to teach you how to perform your first scratch, or if you're already experienced and want to match your skills with ours, you'll have the opportunity to cut it up with the crew and have your little practice session recorded and burned on to a CD for you to take home and listen to.
For those whose feet aren't rooted to the floor on the regular, this promises to be a moving affair. Especially for the brains, which will have a hard time processing Ill Insanity's head-knocking dexterity. Don't miss it.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

 

Super Furry Venus Opens Wide

What a vacation. I know, I know. I'm supposed to be posting to Morphizm and the MorphBlog during these holidays, but when you've got a sick baby and a cratering career, things change, dude. Things change. Speaking of changes, how about a virtuoso blast from the back end of the Super Furry Animals? They've created another brilliant effort, and I've reviewed it for the Tribune's online Metromix. Leg up!

Super Furry Animals
Hey Venus!

From the head-bobbing rock of the stellar "Neo Consumer" and the gut-busting "Baby Ate My Eightball" to the Curtis Mayfield soul of "The Gift That Keeps on Giving" and all the way to the Ziggy Stardust theatrics of "Into the Night," Super Furry Animals have sequenced so many style genes on "Venus" that they've created a Frankenstein of a sound palette. Only the cleverly repetitive "Suckers" could use some more meat to feed its critical perspective... MORE @ METROMIX

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Thursday, January 17, 2008

 

Mike Ladd is Madd

Greeting, pals of Morphizm and its loudmouthed blog. I'm lagging a bit today, but have much to share as things normalize later in the afternoon. First up is my review of the excellent Mike Ladd's new disc for Metromix, the Tribune's new online city guide. Like Ladd himself, his new effort is as schizo as it is impressive. More below, and more to come.

Mike Ladd
Nostalgialator

Although Nostalgialator started out as a 2004 release for the German label !K7, brain-hop mogul Jaime Meline, better known to rap fans as El-P, snatched up the effort for his indie label of love Definitive Jux. The move gives his pal and partner-in-rhyme Ladd the type of credible backing he needs to break through, for once and for all, that annoying glass ceiling built for smart rappers with a serious grasp of geopolitics and dictionaries... MORE @ METROMIX

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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

 

DJ Spooky in Antarctica? Cool.

I've been talking back and forth with DJ Spooky and his crew about the brain-hop pioneer's latest project Terra Nova: The Antarctic Suite, which sounds highly promising. He recently checked in after traveling to the frozen but nevertheless warming tundra in hopes of logging hours of film footage and sound samples:
It was an incredible and awe inspiring exploration of nature. I'm still feeling the wind and waves... Anyway, I edited the material there, and created a soundtrack based on the environmental material at hand: wind, the tides rhythm (it made good hip hop material!), oceanic currents, and yes, penguins.
Next up, he's heading to Sundance to premiere the work-in-progress, before honing it into playing shape for a worldwide tour. Definitely stop by and check it out if you're in the region. I bet it would make sick snowboarding soundtracking. Details:

New Frontiers - Sundance Film Festival Presents
Terra Nova: The Antarctic Suite
A Film by Paul D. Miller aka DJ Spooky That Subliminal Kid
Official Selection Premier:
Tuesday Jan 22nd at 9pm
New Frontiers (Sundance Digital Cinema)
333 Main Street (lower level)

You have to be on Spooky's list to get in, but as cool as guy as he is, I bet showing up and caring about the collision of sound and climate ought to be enough to score a pass. If not, tell them Scott at Morphizm sent you.

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Monday, December 17, 2007

 

Kim Deal Battles Breeders, Pixies, Pro Tools

Good news for Kim Deal fans: The Breeders have a new album on the way, and Pitchfork has a sweet interview with the diehard rock icon. Bad news, however, for Pixies fans: According to Deal, there's little chance the Pixies will ever release a new disc. Most of us Pixies lifers who were around for their first incarnation thought as much. But there's little doubt Deal just drove a stake into the hearts of all the influential legend's late adopters. Cry out loud:
I thought it was going to be a couple of shows, and it turned out really good. I had a really good time doing it. People were just so happy we were doing it. It was just so nice, like [an] "it's over, thank you, bye," kind of thing. And so there was never any-- I don't know, I think it gets talked about whenever Charles [Thompson, aka Frank Black] has any release, which is often. I have a feeling that's when he talks about it more than anything. Because him and Joe haven't gotten together to write any songs, so I think it's kind of something to bring up whenever he needs press. That's the only time I hear about it. I have no idea, dude.
In other words, cherish those memories, as they are all you'll likely have. Good thing I have a bunch of them, scattered on Morphizm, Salon and AlterNet. Here they are:

A Bit Awkward: loudQUIETloud A Film About the Pixies

Morphizm: The Sublime Surfer Rosa/Come On Pilgrim

Morphizm: Pixies Review

Salon: Interview with the Pixies

AlterNet: Wave of Adoration

VIDEO: THE BREEDERS, "SAFARI"

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Sunday, December 16, 2007

 

Sun Spot: Pink Floyd Echoes in Pompeii

Another Sunday, another Sun Spot. This time around, our weekend feature goes back in time to catch Pink Floyd, live at Pompeii, performing the first half of their epic "Echoes" from Meddle. What more needs to be said?

VIDEO: PINK FLOYD, LIVE AT POMPEII, "ECHOES PART 1A"

VIDEO: PINK FLOYD, LIVE AT POMPEII, "ECHOES PART 1B"

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Sunday, December 02, 2007

 

Sun Spot: DJ Shadow vs. Wong Kar-Wai

It's been a couple weeks since I posted a Sun Spot, Morphizm's Sunday tradition of posting a sweet video. But considering that I'm having one of the worst fucking weekends of my life, I didn't have far to go for this one. It's a video for DJ Shadow's hypnotic "Six Days," directed by indie auteur Wong Kar-Wai. It sounds like I feel on the inside. Don't come in here. Stay out there and enjoy the audio and visuals.

VIDEO: DJ SHADOW, "SIX DAYS"

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Sunday, October 21, 2007

 

Sun Spot: Swervedriver vs. Gonzo

In honor of the timely reunification of one of rock's most criminally underrated bands, Morphizm is keeping its mind and time on Swervedriver. And I'm not saying I predicted their reunion in my recent interview with the band's primary driver Adam Franklin, who said this: "People should listen to Swervedriver. There are plans to get the music out there again, in all formats." Nor am I saying that my knowledge of said reunion explains why I've had his mug plastered next to Naomi Klein and Pinback's Zach Smith on the Morphizm home page for over a month.

Let's just say that critical mass is critical mass. Like I wrote in my interview with Adam, "Everyone from Freud to Newton understands that you can only oppress unimpeachable energy for so long: Eventually, it'll make its way back to you, sometimes violently, sometimes not. But it will come back. And you will be the better for it. In the long run."

But I've said enough. Here's the song that started it all for the band, a brain-melting rocker built up of equal parts Dinosaur Jr., Hunter S. Thompson and J.G. Ballard's Crash. Shoegaze what? Whatever. This song is safe for lovers of riffage everywhere, but it may be too dangerous for the fey soundscapers.

VIDEO: SWERVEDRIVER'S "SON OF MUSTANG FORD"

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Sunday, October 07, 2007

 

Sun Spot: Tom Waits, "Blow Wind Blow"

Welcome back to our Sunday spot for interesting videos and other visual exercises worth wasting your time on. This time around, Morphizm doesn't have a mashup to offer you, but rather a Tom Waits classic with a surreal video from his brilliant effort Frank's Wild Years. Roll it!

VIDEO: Tom Waits, "Blow Wind Blow"

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