3/31/2005

(please don't confuse this with the sound)

(And that "Pitchfork, how I love to hate to love thee" bit is totally mine. Quotable quote. I don't care if you were thinking it and were just too embarrassed to say it. You're too late. Tough luck.)

not an exact science (ft. Daedelus)

I love the new Daedelus record (not pictured at right). Exquisite Corpse. Mush Records. (Or hear Daedelus now on the Busdriver album) (*). I like the calculated ambivalence to hip-hop. "Musically Made Mishaps" never sounded better.

And while I'm at it, at least three tracks on that new Four Tet album are fucking awesome! That's all I'm saying.

(*) Ok, I'm saying a little bit more, but about something different, which, like much that's been posted here this week, may or may not make sense depending on how far inside my head you are. Fucking Pitchfork that I love to hate to love amazes and impresses me by running a piece on Busdriver yesterday (while I was down and out). I was complaining just yesterday about the general lack of respect for this guy, and then the internet came back on. Something about how dude's getting too little press , although I still know fuck all about Swishahouse. Backpackers out, hipsters in. I'm not sure how I feel about that one, but whatever.

hack (not an exact science)

I bitch about these publicists, but here's the bind I'm in: Dude tells me over the phone from Miami this morning that his "concierge service" produces one-of-a-kind entertainment/event/vacation experiences and that one such memorable mold breaker involves some low level exec renting a yacht with a cadre of marginal adult film actors and then inviting his coincidentally-just-happens-to-be-in-the-same-port-vacationing (with his family--ugh) boss to join him for a ride, in response to which the boss soon thereafter promotes said exec to VP. Sound like the stuff of legend? (I don't think it matters.) My commission: to write 700 words on the dude who makes this kind of thing happen for a living, incorporating "colorful details and anecdotes," of which the story above is, I'm afraid, on the mark.

I know that none of this is really about promotional copy, but I think I'm dealing with similar themes.

not an exact science (not an exact science)

I had to pick up a physical dictionary to see if my use of "feat" in the last post was correctly spelled.

(Shit goes nutty when the internet is not working. It's like the 19th century out here.)

not an exact science (reprise)

(written in anticipation of reinstated internet access, 4/30, 1:20 pm) Internet was working for a moment there, but I'm now again so totally alone. Something about the phone jacks in this place. Funny how I had this guy who sounded so not amused on the phone (literally, I'm guessing, on the other side of the world) when I realized that the phone chord for some reason wasn't plugged into the wall. "Thanks! I think it's working now." But it's plugged in now and shit is still and/or again not working. And I'm wondering now if people who wrote (write?) in journals--by which I mean, wrote without any anticipation of even the minor publishing feat of blogging--got the sensation, when writing, of just muttering to themselves.

3/30/2005

not an exact science (dub plate)

In a recent two-week period I received records/promotional materials addressed to my name at two different magazines for which I've never written--but each was sent to one of two different publications for which I do regularly write. Right writer's name, wrong publication name, right address (in relation to writer). Twice. Get it?

Although, curiously, I applied for a job at one of the mags that I had never written for about a week after receiving these records. I didn't realize it until now.

not an exact science

(written in anticipation of reinstated internet access, 3/28, 10:52 am) In the irregular event that I end up without an internet connection, I get this very isolated, claustrophobic feeling. It's not that I hate talking on the phone, but I have to admit that I find a kind of artistry in written communication that manifests itself well through email and is totally lost in conversation. And I always get stuck chatting on the phone, which I actually kind of like to do, but it feels totally unproductive. Whereas email provides the ever-present capacity to just cut off the dialogue at any moment. I like that. And instant messenger: I hate that shit. But I'd take it right now, out here on my island.

3/25/2005

satan getcha

And then there was the time that I commented on some guy suggesting (on MLK day) that if Dr. King were alive he would be tuning into a live radio broadcast that night of a band this guy was promoting. Seemed kind of dodgy to me, kind of flippant--not even taking into account the lack of regard for Dr. King's musical tastes, which all sort of made a joke out of the whole thing, which gets back to my flippancy claim. But I was probably being a bit sensitive and an ass when I posted this guy's telephone number and email address on the blog. I'm an ass. What do you want me to tell you, people?

So dude writes me two months later to tell me that no one ever emailed him, which means that no one reads my blog. damn. foiled again.

The best part about it is that I really like the record that this band he was promoting has made. I sometimes feel kind of resigned to loving the music and hating the way it's promoted. But just sometimes.

ain't noise pollution (hey Lucy Beer!)

(Before reading this post, please take some random piece of information contained in email format--preferably with large file attached to it--and send it to the email address you'll find when clicking upon this text.)

I guess I play dirty and take cheap shots whenever possible, so I'm no ethical authority. But some publicist has added Promocopy Robot to her email promo list, which I find to be well beyond the pale. Please, publicists: take pity on me. This inbox is literally the only part of my life not corrupted by your agenda.

A little part of me has died today and I'm currently writing a short opera about it.

I commend Lucy Beer in the off chance that she thinks it's funny to put me on her list, as a means of aggravating me. If that's the plan, let me be the first to note that the technique is successful; it's working. But I rather imagine she just thought that I was celebrating music promotion over here and wanted a piece of my audience. That vast, responsive audience.

Why can't these people just stay away and let me bitch about them in peace? I mean, really. And anyway: it's all promotion, right? Which Lucy Beer is taking advantage of right now by me writing about her. damn. foiled again.

(But I take all this back if you want to write me a note and not push any product on me. That's fine. Josh Bloom wrote me another nice message the other day. Nothing wrong with that.)

3/24/2005

the [award] goes to kris chen

Several weeks ago Kris Chen, who works at Domino Records US, wrote me to tell me that he didn't belong on the Promocopy Players list. "I think real publicists are jealous because I'm not one," he told me. "I run the mailroom and pay the bills and pretend to be a publicist when I don't have enough budget to hire one." I guess I had caught him on a few of those occasions when he was pretending.

I only mention it now because I've made him Promocopy's honorary mascot. "Sadly," he said at the time. "I don't think anyone is jealous. Yet." How could I not be charmed?

Also, Kris: If you find this demeaning, feel free to tell me to knock it off.

3/23/2005

not yet a woman

Kelly Osbourne is putting out another album in June, and you know I'm dying to weigh in on the promotional copy, which packs an awesome four pages of bio information. I haven't even read beyond a few blurbs for fear that this is going to be too amazing to pass up.

"...the young scion of rock royalty..."

"...co-written by Kelly herself."

"...Kelly delves into the deterioration of our society..."

Tantalizing. The problem is that her publicity machine is benched. Sprained something. I can't even remember. But I don't want to be that overly aggressive coach that risks the season for a couple minutes of play from the star.

Kelly Osbourne will be in New York for press 4/22 - 4/26, so I guess there are other options (unlike the rest of you, I'm two people). Sleeping in the Nothing the album's called. So, so rad. I'm trying to make an adult decision on this.

remember how they messed up this old fool

This is kind of old, and I don't have anything funny (or not) to say about it, but anyway: "Devendra Banhart is currently hard at work in upstate NY recording his first release for XL Recordings...with an eye towards release later this year," says Howard Wuelfing. "He is joined in the studio by Thom Monohan (Pernice Bros.) engineering and Andy Cabic (Vetiver) and Noah Georgeson abetting him as accompanying musicians/singers."

Getting excited? (I really don't think there are any satirical possibilities here. This is just news. I don't even know what Devendra Banhart sounds like, come to think of it. I couldn't care less.)

"He'll then join Andy and Vetiver as guitarist and second vocalist touring Europe in May and June," continues Wuelfing. "Plans are for Devendra to tour Europe on his own with backing band in June July and August, and the the U.S. in October."

That's it.

3/22/2005

The List (promocopy robot [unconvincingly] poses like an academic to impress Oliver Wang and then makes fun of it to impress Jessica Hopper)

Most of what's below refers to Clyde Smith's idea of "the list" of hip hop artists constructed for and by an indie rock audience's appreciation, as earlier noted on his ProHipHop.com. He uses an example at SXSW: "I directly experienced who's on the list and who's off at a SXSW Murder Dog showcase," says Smith. "SXSW is indie rock oriented and hip hop acts that don't appeal to an indie rock crowd don't do well there."

Let me first say that I would be carrying on this dialogue with Clyde Smith via direct email if not for the nagging feeling that every time I put serious work into Promocopy-related topics--and Smith's posts concerning my blog have offered me a lot to chew on--Promocopy had ought to benefit through production. I'd also respond directly to his posts at ProHipHop if the blog allowed for comments. But here I am.

Secondly, and no news to anyone who pays a lot of attention to Promocopy: I'm pretty far out of my range on topics of hip-hop, and I don't want to give the impression that I should be understood as anything other than an outsider in a conversation about hip-hop, particularly with someone so informed on the matter as Smith (not to mention my construction of an argument isn't exactly an equal match for his). But fortunately for me, the guy has politely engaged me in dialogue and is (I'll be the first to admit) setting me straight on a few topics. And most importantly, this dialogue (for me, at least) is not about hip-hop per se, but rather about how indie rock views hip-hop and whether or not there is a type of hip-hop that indie rockers are exposed to and gravitate toward (and whether that exposure and gravitation are two sides of a single coin).

Diplomacy and caveats aside, I'll concede to Smith that my mention of Nas, The Roots and J5 last time indicates three examples of what is essentially the type of rap artists that an indie rock fan would listen to, if for no other reason than the fact that I brought them up. Although, (naive as I may be) I seriously have to question lumping Nas alongside Jurassic 5, even in terms of both having (as Smith describes the two) "either an old school or a conscious hip hop identity." Nonetheless, the fact that I chose to cite Nas instead of (to use one of Smith's references) something on Swishahouse clearly underlines Smith's point that an indie rocker wouldn't even know to look toward Swishahouse.

I think both Smith and I have a sense of which hip hop artists, as he puts it, are "on the list"--Smith recognizing the duality because he sees both who is on and who is off; me just recognizing the list. I'll slightly modify last time's gee whiz question to ask, "can I, informed primarily by indie rock, appreciate Swishahouse," and I'll set that one up as a premise. I'm really interested in whether this on/off-the-list binary is a matter of the list writers (ie, the indie rock community) being ignorant of hip-hop that doesn't make the list, or is it more about the list excluding such hip-hop as a matter of cultural taste (ie, is Aesop Rock just more palatable to the indie rock sensibility than--to again use Smith's example--something on Swishahouse)? I personally feel (seeing only one side of it as I am) like it's a little of both, although I can't help but think that my own distaste for certain types of music almost always comes down to a kind of ignorance on my part. But can that cultural divide that creates my ignorance be crossed, and does hip-hop want indie rock coming across?

And here's where I get to use my favorite phrase: hell if I know.

Again, big thanks to Smith for spending time on the topic. I find his insight informative and illuminating, especially as I suspect that he has better things to do than school indie rockers on the politics of hip-hop consumption.

3/21/2005

newsflash

Pitchfork went all real-time today, further squelching any chance I might have at relevance. And then Schreiber wrote a news piece about it (which I find totally metastic--but then, I would).

Much as I love Pitchfork, this is all getting so Major-Indie. Prepare to pay with either your wallets or your souls, post-punkers.

hey little sister

Billy Idol apparently has a new album coming out tomorrow on Sanctuary. Ellen Zoe Golden of JLM PR skippers this sinking ship, informing me that Idol is doing a Tower in-store appearance on Friday ( 6 pm-7:30 pm) in Hollywood, CA, followed by a show at the Roxy, down the street, at 9 pm.

What's particularly pathetic about all this is that Hollywood is the smallest Tower I've ever been in, and the Roxy, which holds well under 500 people, is hardly a triumphant return to form. Undaunted, Sanctuary managed to get Rolling Stone to run a review of the record, at least on the web site (I don't know if it's in the print edition, but I'm not going to pick that shit up to find out). Here are the good bits:

"Did somebody say, 'new billy Idol album'? Thanks, God!" That's a hot lead! Read it as sarcasm and it works so much better.

Buncha other crap about what Idol has been doing for the past decade, and then the clincher:

"...fortunately he's still Billy Idol, which means his primary concern is debauched sex with underage headbangers."

"Fortunately"? Isn't pedophilia being suggested here?

I was hanging on an impossible thread of hope that this publicist had misquoted the magazine, but no dice. That's what it says.

Rob Sheffield, folks. Fucking stellar.

Do you think what was intended was more like, "Fortunately, he's still Billy Idol, which means his primary concern is [educating today's youth about how to avoid the dangers of] debauched sex with [overaged] headbangers?" I suspect that's going to be the real lesson of this album.

Here's the offending track, which, for all its inane lyrical content and female-focused aggression, I don't really hear any clear references to statutory rape. So the Sheffield comment was unnecessary, a mere critical lagniappe. Wonderful. Really very responsible.

3/20/2005

more on my favorite topic

Big thanks to ProHipHop for mentioning Promocopy a couple weeks ago, a nod that I totally missed until this morning.

Clyde Smith, who runs this site, notes with sensitive language and diplomacy that I "mostly" don't have anything to say about hip-hop. A very accurate assessment, which I haven't spent enough time trying to undermine, but there you are.

He also sticks me pretty squarely in a field of exposure to "some of the standard rappers that indie rock consumers tend to dig cause that's the promotion P[romocopy] will encounter." Sounds a little dismissive, but fair enough. Promocopy essentially follows what gets sent to me--Anticon, Mush, Stones Throw, in terms of hip-hop. But then, what gets sent to me is often just what I ask for (Chocolate Industries, as noted to the right, sadly being an exception), as my relationship with many of these publicists and labels can pretty easily be defined as free records in exchange for editorial copy.

I thought about taking issue with the idea that there's a type of "standard rapper" that people who mostly listen to indie rock "tend to dig," but I can't say that this blog has ever ventured too far outside the range that Smith is describing. I'm in no position to claim that Promocopy has a whole lot to offer strict hip-hop fans, nor can I really discuss hip-hop with any authority.

My (in)ability to respond to what I see as Smith's lumping Promocopy content about "standard rappers" with this blog's other annoyances (such as its monitor viewability) notwithstanding, I'm not sure I like (what I'm reading as) the subtext that indie rockers listen to one kind of rap and hip-hop fans listen to another. Sounds a bit limiting to me, although my argument is hardly new. But: do I, as a post-punker, have a chance to appreciate Nas? And where does The Roots fit in? And is Jurassic 5 only for my kind? (Three personal favorites, by the way.)

And honestly, my intent isn't to sound bitter because I'm locked out of hip-hop or whatever. I had originally, above, asked if I had a chance to "understand" Nas, which I changed to "appreciate," because I'm not quite sure I'm able navigate the cultural space that a lot of hip-hop speaks to. Is that what's making me dig the standard rappers that indie rockers tend to consume?

Anyway, just glad to be addressed by ProHipHop.

3/19/2005

Everybody having good fun? Everybody partying?

So, going to see a couple of bands tonight that I've been mildly interested in seeing, although it's also work. +1'd, I called up a friend, who I've been lately (scattered-ly) showering with such extra door prizes, to go along. Although I'm now concerned that sustained bites to the hand the feeds free ticket are going to be in order.

(Recent complaint-riddled evenings with this person have accompanied live sets by Futureheads, The Album Leaf, and, of course, Frankie Chan/Kid Millionaire/Club Cobrasnake, the last of which, I'll allow, is a bit of an acquired taste.)

Now listening to one of these bands I'll be seeing tonight, I'm a little concerned about how this dude, who has a very decent knowledge of post-punk, will be bitching. We share an increasingly small overlapping space in our respective musical tastes. While he at various points in our relationship has turned me on to The Wedding Present, A Certain Ratio, Moonshake, Bailter Space--all bands now seemingly forever on my sub-regular playlist--he has for years completely ignored my song of praise attached to the likes of The Kinks, Parliament, Minutemen, Mirah. And hip-hop is totally out of the question for this guy, as he categorically dismisses everything from Tribe Called Quest to Nas to Busdriver, so much so that I'm not even going to mention, say, Lady Sovereign. I mean, really! I think I slipped one under his guard when we saw Bloc Party last year, but he refuses to see any merit in the music of TV On the Radio. Hit or miss, at best.

Suffice it to say that I think the cards are stacked against me tonight. My question(s) being: How do people with very common experiences with music come to eventually have such different musical tastes? And how do you keep the act of going out to see bands fun, particularly if you're going with folks who know a lot about music, are very opinionated and are not shy about critically voicing that opinion to the disparagment of bands you like?

*(And btw, that photo up there was taken by Jessica Miller, a very fine photographer who-- although I haven't worked with her as such--I've dealt with, and I can't imagine she's used to being silent about people using her images without giving proper credit.)

3/17/2005

and speaking of me lounging in my office:

I, for one, am thrilled by the suggestion that somebody employed by The New Yorker doesn't know how to type.

btw, did ex go to LDN? I loved that solicitation-as-blogged internal dialogue the other day. It somehow made the guy that much more heroic, and I say that in all earnestness.

Soo, "getting" kind of voyeuristic out here.

(I'm thinking about getting back to work.)

3/16/2005

and speaking of tax fraud:

(Did I mention that I'm repositioning this blog as a tedious journal re: my tedious life?)

Anyone ever been audited for taking the home office deduction? (Was that a free-floating, totally insignificant Wire reference?!)

I'm in this kind of dumb bind wherein my apartment is the only place I work from, but it's so incredibly small that there's no single area that is used exclusively for work. I pretty much eat dinner, take afternoon naps, play fetch with the dog, read The New Yorker, research, edit, and write from exactly the same place. Fuck ergonomics. I'm typing from the very same spot on my couch right now.

I get kind of itchy around tax time every year. Like I'm alone. Like I'm totally alone.

This guy once told me that he had been audited three times. "It's no big deal," he says. But he's doing a book on baby yoga. You think it's unrelated?

3/15/2005

Elation. Chills. Dancing.

Ok, fine. What really drew me back more than anything else was my suspicion--gleaned from eyeing a single, truncated adverb--that my favorite blogger in the world had anonymously posted a comment on this very blog, this very day, calling me back into action.

If you are my favorite blogger and you posted a comment on this blog today: ta, and at your service.

If you're not my favorite blogger, and you still posted a comment on this blog today, I'm totes not impressed that you made me look like a starstruck fool.

post-postscript postscript

I mean, really.

(But you know something, people: I can't even convey how real it is--after several weeks of talking to editors, other writers, this lady that owns the liquor store down the street from my apartment, about the the art of connecting to people through the written word--to be sitting here, back from the brink of extinction, writing post after post that seventeen other people are reading.)

(I always wonder how some of these publicists feel when they put all this work into promoting a record that sells like 350 copies.)

(I mean, I've considered the realities of putting time, effort, emotion, etc, into a record review that has likely not caused a single person to go out and buy the record--either because the record was too obscure to resonate, the publication reached too few readers or the writing was just bad. I'm sure it's happened.)

post-postscript

Not just to suggest that I'm not all anti-, I was also really impressed that Josh Bloom wrote me the other day, asking me to update this thing. I had never thought about how funny it might be to be another publicist watching peers get ripped. Like scales from my eyes...

Josh Bloom is good people: Anyone who can avoid the siren call of publicizing poetic about Mia Doi Todd must be possessed of strong character.

But just be warned, dude: I'm watching the ongoing Sufjan Stevens Illinois PR like a vulture.

postscript

And it wasn't only the freelance blues and merely the lack of inspiration that was keeping me away:
Father: "Do you read the blog?"

Spouse, graduate instructor at prestigious research institution: [laughter] "We have our own interests."
I find that there's nothing like chortling aversion to get me back on the horse.

reentry

I'm a big fan of the "joke" that I've been unemployed ever since I decided to start trading exclusively in 1099s and tax fraud. I still get mileage out of this bit when walking the streets unshowered at 10:30 am, particularly when I see some 9-5 chump I know taking an early lunch break. But sometimes, admittedly, I feel way more unemployed than others.

Having been comatosely negligent in posting over here, I thought about the explanation that I'd been off vacationing in the Bahamas or finishing my epic poem (once you start writing under anonymity, the lies flow like cheap copy). But the lame truth of it all is that I've just been looking for work. I made an uneasy pact with myself that I was going to get focused and make something happen professionally before I spent any more time mocking underpaid publicists about overzealous thesaurus use.

Of course, that didn't really work either, as I'm still pretty unemployed, sinking deeper into laziness, even as I file here/file there for as little as $.10 per word. (OK, I do it for free, too. Big deal.) And then this blog. I have to say that once I let this thing go for a week, a month, the promotional copy coming through the mailbox started seeming less and less stupid.

Even as Peter Bottomley calls The Holy Ghost's Welcome to Ignore Us "a staggering LP flaunting nearly a dozen potential hit songs."

Even as somebody at Noreaster Media refers to some band that apparently recalls the "burning modern rock sound of Jimmy Eat World."

Evan as the mysterious Marie V. says that, "Alan Astor has taken everything that we have come to love from classic records of the past 50 years and added a voice and sound that are all his own."

Even as somebody or other suggests that, "It's no secret that certain blueprints registered in 1982 in the UK have been used by a flotilla of bands recently...[Out Hud and its new album Let Us Never Speak of it Again] will outlast the trends, just as they proceeded them."

Even as Trevor Seamon asks, "What is it that makes a man these days?" And answers: "Lately it seems that the answer to that question consists of silly Hip-Hop feuds, tricked-out Hummers and clearing the brush off of West Texas ranches...In Fog's world, maturity is the result of sonic adventure and reinventing the popular song."

There you have it. It wasn't like there was a shitload of, like, so terrible promotional copy to go along with the shitload of albums that came in over the last several weeks. (Actually, there was some pretty ripe material, but it's still on the DL.)

Anyway, I'm back from vacation, but still short on work. So, if anyone can figure out how to get me paid without revealing my identity, I'm all ears.