uk pop brigade

i've been going thru another clash obsession lately. the first clash album i'd ever bought was london calling. the reason i bought it was because it was listed as rolling stone magazine's number one album of the 80s, and i wanted to hear why. as a kid, punk rock frightened me. i didn't understand it and i didn't know anyone who did. i simply wasn't exposed to it in a good way. i'd see people on the streets with green hair, torn jeans, and slogans on the backs of their jackets and my dad would just say those were the bad kids and that i should stay away from them. that was my experience with punk rock as i was growing up.

so i bought london calling, and it was good; very different from what i expected. it didn't, however, strike me as the number one album of the 80s. i decided to try a couple other clash albums, later picking up sandinista! and combat rock. i felt there were good moments in each, but they weren't compelling enough. sandinista! alone was a lot to absorb, and it just didn't hold my attention for whatever reason. fast forward to a few years ago; something, i forget what, drew my attention to london calling once again. i figured i should give it another chance and listen to the songs i usually skipped over. this time, i was stunned. how did this album pass me by? wtf was wrong with me?

i went back to sandinista! and combat rock and amazed myself with what i'd been missing. then i went on a binge and bought most everything i could get my hands on. the UK and US versions of the debut album, give em enough rope, rockers galore (an interview disc with 9 or 10 tracks), super black market clash, from here to eternity, westway to the world (dvd) and the essential clash (another dvd). i had been advised by reviews and a few other fans to avoid cut the crap like the plague. last year, i even bought the 25th anniversary reissue of london calling just so i could check out the grainy dvd of them making the album in the studio with that crazy ass producer, along with the second disc of "vanilla tapes" demos for the album. pretty cool to hear the early versions of the songs.

i think i like the US version of the debut better than the UK version. it has more punch to it, i feel, and the UK version seems to run out of gas towards the end. i also think i enjoy the debut album more than london calling. it just has that raw sound, but still has that pop sensibility. christ, that sounds so pretentious. you know what i mean, but i can't think of any other way to say it. y'know, it's like catchy and stuff.

also, when i first put on from here to eternity, it simultaneously rocked my lame ass and bummed me out at the same time. these guys were a powerful live band and it killed me to know i'd never have a chance to see them in person. fuck, if only i had gotten into the music when i was a kid, how different things would be. i just didn't understand it back then. but goddamn, from here to eternity is a rockin album. the performances are taken from all over, but it sounds like it's one complete show. when i bought it, i thought it might be some kinda crappy posthumous record label cash in, but they did a good job on it. definitely recommended.

so here are ten clash tunes i can't live without (no order and subject to change, of course!):
  • police on my back
  • white man in hammersmith palais
  • complete control
  • guns of brixton
  • i'm not down
  • hateful
  • know your rights
  • spanish bombs
  • career opportunities
  • i'm so bored with the usa



my cousins and i after the hockey game on friday. aren't they lovely? see the resemblance? we're all so h0ttt!

slight return

it's still a little sore, but i've pretty much recovered from my shoulder injury. it's taken two long months. this past friday, i made my return to hockey. the team made it to the playoffs. the deal was win the game, then play the championship game immediately afterwards. lose the game, then go for beers, no big deal. we won both games. i even scored a shorthanded goal in the first game, thanks to chuck's excellent play. he did all the legwork, all i had to do was tap the puck over the goal line. sandra and francine played all of both games, as we had no other female subs, and they were amazing. i think they spurred the guys to play that much harder because we knew they were getting tired.

anyways, we beat Ball & Chain (first game) and the Hamstars (championship game)...two teams that have pretty much had their way with us as of late, which made the wins that much sweeter. we got some crappy bladium (that's the name of the rink) hats for our efforts, but you know...i'm gonna wear that hat because we fucking earned it big time.

memo to ivy of the Hamstars: tell your boyfriend to keep his fucking mouth shut. if he's gonna talk shit, he really should start playing and back it up. it's one thing to boo the opposing team (and there's nothing wrong with that), but it's downright disrespectful when you make personal remarks (about people you don't even know) and friends of the team are around. show some fucking class.


dream a little dream...

i just woke up from a dream about my sister. in the dream, these two guys had climbed into the back of our truck while we were stopped at a red light. they took all the boxes of bottled water we had in the back and they were carrying it off to sell it. then, i had found out that someone had a key to my stepmother's apartment, so we drove my stepmother home and went inside with her to make sure she was okay. she had an enormous pool inside her apartment, so my sister and i decided to swim a bit to relax.

i was under the water's surface when i saw a baby shark following my sister. somehow, i managed to get her attention and motioned for her to swim faster. i was able to catch up to the baby shark and grab it. i held it while my sister swam back to the apartment. i saw too, while clutching the shark. i was still holding the shark when i got out of the water and i walked around the apartment to make sure everything was cool. i had been out of the water for a while when i realized my arms were tense and tired from still holding the struggling shark. i walked back to the pool. i placed the shark back in the water and after a minute of reorienting itself, it swam away. that was when i woke up. what could it mean?


ends of the earth

michael emailed me today. he had an extra ticket for the dirty three, who were playing tonight at the great american music hall. i have a few of their albums ("ocean songs", "whatever you love, you are", and "she has no strings apollo") which i like enough so i figured it'd be cool to go. from what i know, they're a three-piece band, the main instruments being guitar, violin, and drums. there was a fourth person for the show, playing violin and bass. these guys were exhilarating. the lead violinist, warren ellis (who also plays with nick cave and the bad seeds), was a fucking madman. for the most part, he played with his back to the crowd. he played with so much fire and passion, you could see it in his body movements and you could hear it in the music. and it wasn't just him, it was all of them. when they homed in on a groove, you could feel it in the air, it was almost something you could grab. it was beautiful.

i think dirty three are one of those type of bands one has to see live in order to really appreciate what they're doing. the albums that i know, they seem so subtle; like they're holding back. on stage, they simply let loose. they have a deft touch, as well. they know how to pull it back in and have the audience hanging on each note. they're playing a second show, so i recommend going to see them if you're in san francisco tomorrow night (wednesday) with a few hours to spare. even if you're not around here, just go whenever they come to your town. you'll thank me for it. A+++++++!!!~~~!

some links for your clicking pleasure:
u.s. tour dates (there are european dates listed at dirtythree.com):
11 San Francisco Great American Music Hall
12 San Francisco Great American Music Hall
13 Los Angeles Knitting Factory
15 Chicago Metro
16 Boston Museum of Fine Art
17 New York Bowery Ballroom


angry asian man

there's an article here about one of my favorite sites, angryasianman.com. most anyone who knows me knows that i'm half chinese. i grew up mainly with the chinese side of my family (my dad), but i don't really speak the language or even look like i'm related to my dad. see the previous post+pic regarding my cousin. i'm getting sidetracked, so anways...angry asian man, yeah. i'll let the site speak for itself; check it out and bookmark it.


godspeed you! black emperor > lift your skinny fists like antennas to heaven

i love this album, plain and simple. it would definitely be on my list of desert island discs. it's kinda like classical music for the 21st century. there are four tracks, each averaging about 18-20 minutes in length. to me, the music on this album conjures up feelings of hope, wonder, sadness, fear and dread. the strings are beautiful in the movement with the preacher's sermon, they really evoke this melancholy, gloomy feeling. (the monologue is transcribed here, if you'd like to check out the original page.)
...prepared in innocence to meet our king of glory
and so we have this
you have it in your secret windows
and you're understanding to understand it and to bring it forth
it takes minute detail
it takes a holy life
it takes emotions
it takes dedication
it takes dedication
it takes a death
and only god can allow it
and you couldn't do it if you're not the seed of god
and so the path through the great corridors
these are corridors unto his perfection
that is which the prophet and the oarman summoned has penetrated
that through this great sea of blackness
that i penetrated through these corridors
and i went through that last segment
where i went through these dark serpentines
i passed through that corridor
where they sat
where they are
and when you penetrate to the most high god
you will believe you are mad
you will believe you've gone insane
but i tell you if you follow the secret window
and you die to the ego nature
you will penetrate this darkness
oh yes there's many a man or woman
that's been put in the insane asylum
when this has happened to them
and they're sitting there today, people think they're insane
but they saw something that's real
and they see it when they're on drugs
the only thing is they see it
not through the light of god, and the way i show you
i show you to see it through the light of god
and the understanding of god
because when you see the face of god you will die
and there will be nothing left of you
except the god-man, the god-woman
the heavenly man, the heavenly woman
the heavenly child
there will be terror under this day of night
there will be a song of jubilee waiting for your king
there will be nothing you will be looking for in this world
except for your god
this is all a dream
a dream in death
my favorite track is the third one, or rather the first track on the second disc. it starts off with a man reminiscing about the old days of coney island. he talks about how people used to sleep on the beach there and also mentions he got lost at coney island as a child. the music fades in and it's like a scene from a movie or something. i can almost visualize this old man thinking about the old days and perhaps wondering how the world got to where it is today. maybe he's sad and he's wondering about the end of things, of his own life. maybe he's thinking about ending his own life. maybe he's thinking of ending it all, but somehow finding hope and strength to continue on. or maybe he's suicidal but too frightened to go thru with it. or maybe i'm a lunatic.

i love how the music hangs ominously, like a dark cloud signaling some sort of impending doom. a guitar (i think it's a guitar) screeches above it all, like the siren of an oncoming ambulance. the song sloooowly builds and, finally, it all comes together around the twenty-one minute mark. the last two-and-a-half minutes are completely fucking worth it. the power of the band really shines in this movement. it almost feels like they're about to lose control and explode, but they ride it out and deftly reel it all back in for a tidy ending.

i feel kinda pretentious, using the word "movement", but i don't know what else to call it. "section" and "part" would apply, but "movement" just feels right. i dunno, i make no claim to being any sort of professional music review writer person, but i can tell you what i like and, most of the time, why i like it.

some gy!be links for you, if i haven't completely put you off them by now:
constellation (the label)
live shows at archive.org (32 shows for you to choose from!)

ps -- check out the letter to gy!be on the constellation site, it's really kinda touching. here's a pic of it...


sigur ros

saturday was another lazy day. i woke up before noon, which is early for me on a weekend, and i started checking craigslist for tix to the show. alternating between napping and sending emails to sellers who never responded to me, it looked hopeless. finally, around 4pm, i got a response. this guy's friend from sacramento bailed cuz she was having car troubles. we arrange to meet at 8pm in front of the venue.

i leave here around 7pm, forgetting about the bay bridge retrofit. there are a few different ways to get onto the bridge from downtown san francisco, and all but one of them were under construction. the traffic was horrendous. i tried every shortcut i knew. it was nearly 7.30 and the approach to the bridge looked to be at least half an hour wait.

finally, i say "fuck this" to myself, spin out of the traffic and head towards market street. i leave my car on the embarcadero and make a dash for the BART train. i get down there and a train is just pulling up. i hop on and i kinda guess at where my stop should be, since i'm not too familiar with oakland. i get lucky, i'm a couple blocks from the paramount and i arrive at 7.50. i meet up with raul and kristin, a very nice couple from san jose, we make the exchange and i head in.

amina, the support group, are excellent. i need to get their album. they double as the string section for sigur ros. sigur ros do not disappoint. all my stress and troubles disappear while they play. it was fucking great.


my fifteen minutes

it's been pointed out to me that i've gotten a little bit of interweb noteriety for being a kate bush geek. it's simultaneously frightening and amusing. i like how they omitted the "fucking hell" part. i was wondering where some of the comments were coming from. thanks, stefan. here are links to the stefan and psychbloke's sites, as they also are mentioned.