41020 [2021)

A silver mt. zion.

Montreal.

Hotel tango.

Sighing synths.

Leonard Cohen.

Getting cold.

Lee Hazlewood.

Arizona into the Rockies.

Wyoming.

Road music.

Music of wide open spaces.

Charles Mingus checks in.

Bob Dylan.

Tumbleweeds.

Was QAnon bullshit?

WFMU seems to think so.

And all their hipster listeners.

Missing the Godspeed You! Black Emperor.

Chris Isaak.

My Bloody Valentine.

R.E.M.

Automatic for the people.

Rightly asking if this guy, Pauly Deathwish, is Borat.

Elvis working at the truck stop.

Nevada.

New Mexico.

Into French philosophy at a Barnes & Noble.

Film criticism.

Cinematic music.

The great philosophers.

Taking on Philip Glass.

Rachmaninoff.

Swedish version.

Poor girl with grey teeth.

Dirty bra.

Addicted to Kardashians.

And meth.

Smoking candy cigarettes.

Brutal, cold world.

No fall back.

Withdrawal back.

Wanna lock me for blood pressure.

It ain’t no cakewalk.

Ripoff.

Tech moves fast.

Write anything.

Better than nothing.

Bad press.

No press.

You have a printing press.

The Innocence Mission.

Miles.

Porgy and Bess.

A thousand planes.

Two ambient instrumentals to start this album.

Setting an amber tone.

Pensive.

Ex-pensive.

Time is a luxury.

And Miles comes in.

Bending notes.

Sighing again.

Like music from Big Pink.

John Simon.

Leonard Cohen.

Very much of the Deserter’s Songs type.

Song cycle.

Van Dyke.

And Coltrane leaps in.

No bends.

Solid sax.

Honky.

Low mids.

Leaping up.

Transposition.

A little noodling.

And WHAT THE FUCK.

Now we are in Blue Hawaii.

On a jukebox in Nashville.

Sawdust on the floor.

Just spit that tabaccy anywheres.

It really is Elvis.

Loaded.

Lou Reed.

Doo-wop.

We’re in east Texas with George Jones.

Straight country.

Classic country.

Bona fide redneck interpolation.

“Daisies on Your Doorstep”.

Troubled relationship.

Robert Altman.

Nashville.

Hitchcock.

Traut.

Birds.

Grandaddy invades!

Modesto!!

And back to EXPANSIVE verb.

Cathedral.

Serious shit.

Country gothic.

Phil Spector would have loved this.

The plandemic that killed Phil Spector.

Biggest celebrity to buy the farm.

Buy the farm?

Or sell the farm?

During this whole plandemic.

Write copy.

Boilerplate.

You have no publicity.

I block all reposts.

I wanna EARN it.

Organic.

Diminished 7th.

Dissolve into what?

More Mercury Rev homage.

Drums from “Desperado”.

Another lonely bloke ended by “Holes”.

Favorite song ever.

Happy end.

Drunk room.

Tom Waits.

The chord.

Spring.

Le Sacre.

Back to regularly scheduled programming.

Knife in the Water.

Austin.

R.E.M. again.

Big Star.

John Cale droning away on the viola.

No tremolo.

Swing it.

Ragged time.

Texarkana.

Arkansas.

And Texas.

Definite Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci nod.

Nick Drake.

Again The Innocence Mission.

Birds.

Pink Floyd.

Fairport Convention.

Psych barn.

The Byrds.

Gram Parsons.

Neil Young big time.

Stooges meet Beach Boys meet Messiaen.

But the Bowie knife is orange.

Made in Germany.

Kanye West and Wayne Coyne drop in.

An anti-hit.

When you can sing, but you get raped by auto-tune.

Loosen that shit up.

Going all Arabic on me.

Raga.

Spinal Tap.

Clouds of sound on almost every track.

A very ambient album.

Mood set.

Mood retained.

Mature.

Duran Duran.

Peaches DJ Berlin.

Where’s Warhol?

Nigel Godrich.

Jonny Greenwood.

Thom Yorke.

Grinderman.

Roger Waters again.

Microtonal blues.

Straight into Bjork.

Does she umlaut?

Sounds of a Mac.

Swan.

Alarm clock.

Gentle waking.

Paganini.

Rachmaninoff.

Elton John.

Stevie Wonder.

Sly Stone.

James Bond in Rio.

Drax.

Os Mutantes.

Jobim.

Korean frogs.

Shinto.

Spy guitar for reprise.

Tom Verlaine.

Richard Lloyd.

Paul Simon.

Rhythm of the saints.

Graceland.

Beethoven emperor concerto.

Slow.

Beloved.

Tokyo.

Press roll.

Sushi.

Kill bounce.

Phil Selway.

Colin Greenwood?

A masterful track.

“Icelandic Pastiche”.

NOW WE’RE TALKING.

Papa Trump back in the house.

For the apocalypse.

Rocky Balboa.

L.L. Cool J.

Jesus fucking Christ.

Second coming.

To save.

Vengeance is his.

Everyone given a chance.

A fair chance.

NASA.

I hear a single.

“Landslide”.

Wisconsin decertified.

Ramthun came through.

About fucking time.

There’s a riot goin’ on.

Paperclip Nazis.

Eric Carmen.

Smokey Robinson.

Tears of a motherfucking clown.

Oboe.

Michael Stipe.

Gil Evans.

Having the French horns get groovy.

Amelie.

Sketches of Spain.

Sunday morning.

Loveless.

Kevin Shields.

Belinda.

The Soft Bulletin.

Christ coming down from the clouds.

Like a ton of bricks.

Anvil.

Don’t call it a comeback.

Not all the way.

Staple Singers.

Rick Danko.

Rocket pans across stereo field.

Jesus talkin’.

Crucified.

Died.

Buried.

AND ROSE AGAIN, MOTHERFUCKERS.

Jesus more space than NASA.

Really a masterpiece of sample placement.

Crystal-clear mix.

Clouseau.

Peter Sellers.

Bass solo.

Absolute Mingus.

Bloody jaw-dropping.

This is like a fucking lost Roland Kirk album.

This track!

Concerto for Booty and Orchestra.

Montreux.

Can never spell.

System hacked.

No more spelling.

Adieu au langage.

Flute loops.

Cocteau Twins.

Ties together album.

Last track coming on like Faust.

Built to Spill.

Silver Apples.

In memory of a bloke who bit it.

End of Night on Earth.

Real recorder.

Charity.

You will live forever, my friend.

I never knew you.

You aren’t forgotten.

Thought of you put in this track.

Catharsis.

Yerself is steam.

Smashing Pumpkins.

Siamese.

Great album by Pauly Deathwish.

Spotify.

iTunes.

Solid.

-PD


disassemble [2021)

Way behind on Pauly Deathwish.

Right off with XTRMNTR.

Shoot speed.

Kill light.

Spirit of rock and roll.

His most popular track at this time.

Straight rock.

Bad boy.

Drugs flowing through the veins.

Overdose of light.

God is the ultimate drug.

Coming back from depression.

Girlfriend goes on a date with another bloke.

Big depression.

Drugs consume.

Always creative.

From London to Paris.

Vintage keys like French band Air.

Every touch from two tracks imbued with Radiohead experimentation.

Pink Floyd bass.

Waters lives.

Here come the warm jets.

Camera clicking photos.

Virgin suicides.

Tomita.

Amazing groove.

Levon and Robbie Robertson.

Rhythm of the saints.

This bloke has nothing to live for.

His girlfriend is a total fucking bitch.

Alone in the world.

Short circuit.

Trying to overcome.

She don’t give a fuck.

Melancholy.

Info op birthed.

Suicide Girls.

Anti-Antifa.

Bloke has sophistication in attack.

Philosophy.

Wars back started BLM.

Kept powder dry.

Amazing hip hop.

Stevie Wonder.

Shaft.

The Sea and Cake.

Jazzy Jeff.

Fresh Prince.

Young MC.

Stereolab as always.

Trump supporter smart.

Assessment of coup against Deep State.

Progress report.

Situationism.

Velvet Underground.

The balls to review his own albums.

Balls?

Toxic relationship.

Electronic music.

Chemical Brothers.

Dark side of the moon.

Fever dream.

Of the wall.

Oasis.

Noel feeding back.

Liam blowing harp.

Ringo’s son on drums.

Don’t believe the truth.

Soundtrack music.

Hanna.

How she lives now.

Soylent green…2022.

Beastie Boys.

Nigel Godrich as always.

Big Star Third.

Kanga Roo.

As important as the Velvets.

Drug withdrawal.

Big Star early albums.

Chiming.

Like The Byrds.

Phil Spector lives in the glockenspiel.

Lester Bangs lives here.

Lavage.

Many disappointed patriots.

Lamenting the shitty U.S. military.

While honoring the 13.

And Colonel Scheller.

A handful of gems in a culture of shit.

Astrology.

Drag balls.

Berlin.

I love faggots as much as anyone.

David, Lou, Iggy.

Heroes.

God is the only hope.

So I prayed tonight.

Twin peaks.

Nobody loves me.

Keeping real.

Mercury Rev.

See you on the other side.

Rolling the dice.

So long, Charlie.

I’m guessing you got the vaccine.

Poor bastard.

BBC.

AstraZeneca.

Elvis.

Gene Vincent.

Eddie Cochran.

Happy Hairy (?) Hardon Q.

QAnon Christian Slater.

The first of a long succession.

The Verve.

Anthemic melodies befitting Handel.

Air.

Matrix done right.

First song to mention Event 201?

“Follow the White Rabbit”.

Shhh/peaceful.

Very Jefferson Airplane.

Psychedelic march.

Woodstock.

Altamont.

Power to the people.

Pro-Trump psych rock.

Fucking awesome!

AMERICA!!!

Be a rebel.

Kanye poser.

No vaccines, asshole!

Good job.

Adapt.

Drozd.

Great snare work.

Verging on adrenochrome.

Hefner and Monroe.

Sexy dead bodies.

Pay to grind for eternity.

Absolute Flaming Lips.

Transmissions from the satellite heart.

Keith Cleverley.

What is God gonna do for America?

What is America gonna do for God?

Nation falling apart.

Amnesiac.

Hail to the creep.

Rollerskate Skinny.

Darth Vader.

Lloyd Austin.

Scorsese Glass Kundun soundtrack.

Well-done!

Carl Stalling project!

Helmut Lachenmann.

Deserter’s Songs.

Underture.

This is a SOPHISTICATED FUCKING RECORD.

Violent Femmes.

Tom Waits.

Bobby McFerrin.

AUSTRALIA, WAKE UP YOU CUNTS!!!

Invading Sydney!

Give me ANZAC!!

Let’s go!!!

ACK-ACK!!

Fucking awesome return to Bobby Gillespie.

Great fucking song!

“Australia, Here I Come!”

Even uses the comma correctly ūüôā

Riot city blues.

“Nitty Gritty”

MC5.

Baby won’t ya?

PERTH!!!

BON SCOTT!!!!

Love and Rockets.

Bitch who dumped me.

How?

By not giving a fuck.

By proxy.

By not participating.

By being a selfish cunt.

Q Team, come in!

How many years?

Second American Revolution.

Miles Davis.

There’s a Riot Goin’ On.

Late-Godard.

Second Pauly Deathwish song to mention Jean-Luc.

Who the fuck is this nigger?!?

Def Leppard.

She’s a fucking black hole.

I take it all back.

A pathetic bleeding vagina.

Money soothes all pains.

Paul Simon.

She’s a loser.

Jack Nitzsche all the way.

Rips your heart out.

Fucking hell.

I will die lonely.

Having given it all away.

Hear the typewriter click.

Are there two people?

Or one?

QAnon stylometric analysis.

Switzerland.

Obvious split in styles.

Who?

Final track.

Primal Scream.

Manchester.

Manchester City.

Gimme the rain, the rain, the rain, the glorious rain!!!!

Luton.

I got close.

Freezing your tits off.

Seeing your breath.

We coming for the sexy bitches.

With stellar boob jobs.

Jazz funk.

Acid.

Trip hop.

Acid house.

World party.

Factory Records above all.

Baggy as fuck.

Gimme them saggy titties.

Real better than fake any day.

Ain’t returning my messages.

Would love that bitch like Cleopatra.

Suck her toes.

Conspiracy theory king and queen.

Blew it several times.

Because heartless bitch usurper.

Same birthday as Lester Bangs and Nostradamus.

Ends with Pocket Symphony.

Everybody hertz.

Ya feel me?

iTunes.

Spotify.

-PD

glitch [2021)

Cobra and phases.

Emptying a sampler.

Pierre Henry.

Schaeffer.

Always Flaming Lips.

A twist on bass.

Fridmann.

The church of Michael Ivins’ hair.

Jazz odyssey.

He wrote this.

Straight up.

Bold start to Pauly Deathwish’s 5th album.

Stretching out.

Space jazz.

Squiggle.

Sonic Youth.

Watch for upcoming single.

Cleared.

Glenn Branca.

Bitches brew.

Live eviL.

Mercury Rev.

Grassy.

Hit to death.

John McLaughlin.

Tribute to Jack Johnson.

Steve Gadd slow nerve action.

Hendrix.

Chuckin’.

Television.

Tom and Richard.

Hippies cool at CBGB.

Makeover.

Bowery toughened.

Are you experienced?

Paul Simon never sounded this tough.

Or desperate.

Always too cool.

But the lyrics give him a run.

Into Radiohead.

Another COVID album.

The best.

Pauly Deathwish.

Headlines.

Zeitgeist.

Epstein.

McAfee didn’t uninstall himself.

Charlotte Gainsbourg.

Lady Godiva.

A dentist chair in Florida.

Soros’s scumbag Rubin.

Forgot a fuck.

Not for kids.

Not safe for work.

F-bomb Ferguson.

Plastic Ono.

Primal.

John Paul Jones keys.

Real.

Frustration key of E.

The pitched song.

Godspeed You! Black Emperor.

Remember this connection.

“Montreal Heartbreak”.

Pure perfection.

Repetition.

Bravery.

Transient random-noise.

Hal Blaine on Harvest.

Trying to make it pay.

Hotel to Tango.

Stopped in Oklahoma.

Back when concerts were played in Austins.

Tonight’s the night.

Neil in Ontario.

A Canadian pastiche.

Bowie low.

Cohen Quebec.

Visconti.

The cure.

Ivermectin.

Hydroxychloroquine.

Disintegration.

The only artist to review his own albums.

Because, you know, fuck it!

9/11 will come out.

Everything building to a head.

First Zeppelin album.

Black mountain side.

Jimmy’s eyes glowing magenta.

They tell me he’s evil.

Maybe.

But you gotta know the story of the blues.

I tried to sell my soul to the Devil.

But I am saved by the blood of Jesus Christ.

Jesus protected me.

Satan wasn’t buying.

Down in the basement of the Gunter Hotel.

I tried to sell my soul for the world.

But God didn’t let it happen.

Thinking it was bad enough.

Only through Jesus am I saved.

The worst among sinners.

Trying to gain the whole world.

Willing to forfeit my soul.

God is good.

And I can out-produce Jimmy Page.

Because God is my guide.

I have a dirty mouth.

Mary Magdalene.

Go and sin no more.

We’re in a fucking war.

We gotta put Jesus first.

On the battlefield.

Out greatest stealth.

Delta blues.

Emerald Mound.

Barbecue.

Poor.

Rural.

I don’t know how to make copies.

And my black neighbors don’t know how to use the internet.

Joe Biden can get fucked.

But me, I like women with big tits.

Alex Jones quote.

I relate.

I don’t wanna be a part of this sick cult.

We need God on the battlefield.

Mercy is waiting even for Jimmy Page.

Turn from the evil ways.

Recognize King Jesus.

The sky is crying.

Hound dog.

Muddy.

Wolf.

Flange.

Phase.

Straight Thelonious.

With Coltrane.

Miles.

Pre-electric.

Second jazz tune.

Straight off blues.

The Monk solo.

Dissonant as a motherfucker.

MTHRFCKR.

Acciaccatura.

Who, me?

Carnival.

Honing in.

D.

Watery solo.

Buttholes.

Kuntz.

Is a joke?

Weird Al.

The Residents.

Don Cherry.

Malachi Thompson.

Soprano trombone.

Roland Kirk.

Reeded brass.

Klang.

Straight jazz.

Philly Jo.

Watch for first cover.

Unpredictable.

Mercury Rev.

John Peel.

Straight into a QAnon song.

Reggae.

Durham.

CodemonkeyZ.

Flynn, in fact, did not go to jail.

Spy dub.

Bob Marley gets all conspiratorial.

Haiti.

Obama gets arrested at his own birthday party.

Strzok blocked on Twitter.

Army Counterintelligence.

A bunch of cunts?

Not Seth Keshel.

The real deal.

Tony Shaffer.

Counterterrorism.

Will the FBI be shut down?

Department of Justice is the very heart of the Deep State.

Rosenstein is linchpin.

Bill Barr was miss.

Cymbals Eat Guitars.

Each given a chance.

Lou Reed.

Rollerskate Skinny.

Music like this hasn’t been made in 30 years.

Bowie would be proud.

The debris from the Nirvana signing.

The truly good bands.

Some Boo Radleys here.

Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci.

Beach Boys.

Good production.

Lee “Scratch”.

Black (Oak) Ark.

A disgusting record collection.

Mildew.

Lovingly preserved in filth.

Vinyl still good.

Cop shoot cop.

Strong statement against Antifa.

Dylan.

This guy is bold.

Deserter’s.

Amy Helm?

Rambo.

J. Spaceman.

Jack Fate.

Dylan tongue cheek.

Summer 2020.

BLM.

Only person to listen to this.

Pet Sounds.

Bellingham.

Fredonia.

SUNY.

Boces.

Wanker jazz.

Deep.

Boys peeling.

Give the anarchist a cigarette.

This is a fucked up record.

Calling David Lynch.

Gonna be hard for the Left to write off this guy.

Paradigm shift.

This dude troublemaker.

Name fits.

Trail of dead.

We know you, but do you know us?

Debord, eh?

Capitalism!

Soundgarden.

Chossudovsky.

Deep Pieczenik research.

9/11.

Space Force.

Satellites.

Leonardo.

NRO.

NGA.

And the beloved NSA.

More accurately: CYBERCOM.

Not yet split?

Nakasone double duty?

Architecture?

Who could bring down?

Two QAnon songs in a row.

Beatles.

White Album.

Magical Mystery.

Macca bass line.

Welcome to the revolution.

Sgt. Pepper.

Euros Childs.

Megan Childs.

Gorwel Owen.

Beautiful breakdown.

Bert Williams.

Good shit!

The jazz and blues build up into rock and roll.

Conspiracy songs.

Fort Meade on repeat.

780thC.

Army G2.

Cheyenne Mountain Alerts.

Air Force Cyber.

MARSOC.

Strobo.

Marquee Moon.

Big Pink.

Rhythm of the saints.

Tuatara.

Crime podcast.

Tettix Wave Accumulator?

The Supremes.

Berry Gordy trippin’ balls.

A Lisbeth Salander ballad.

Noomi Rapace.

FBI + CIA.

Both worthless.

But serves to delineate.

Interior and exterior.

Intel romance.

Smarter than Strzok and Page.

Richard Lloyd.

Too fucked up to catch Velvets.

I hear you.

It’s a bitch.

Rick Danko.

Thom Yorke knob twiddler.

Eno in Roxy.

Bogart.

The big sleep date.

Noir and chill.

Mulholland.

Breathless.

The harder they fall.

Shoot the piano player.

Doug Sahm.

We are here in San Antonio.

We are making the best of it.

Driving around.

Eating ZZ Top nachos.

Beer drinkers and hell raisers.

A real jalapeno.

Australia to steam like teapot.

Last song.

Spiritualized?

Joshua Tree.

Bono.

Epic.

Adam Clayton.

Comes with new iPhone.

An anthem like U2 ain’t written for a bit.

This is Dublin territory.

Sexy God believers.

Cigarette.

Irish whiskey.

A Guinness.

Cloves.

The wraparounds.

Luna.

My heroes.

Sterling Morrison.

And Jack Nitzsche.

But Bono can sing opera.

A good dude.

Needs to drop the carbon bullshit.

Global warming is giant fucking hoax.

Just like COVID.

The Edge knows.

Grow some balls.

Stop kissing the Pope’s ass.

This commie Pope is a fucker.

Jesuit dipshit.

Epic lift.

Pauly can play guitar!

Fucking hell!!!

Album builds up to last song.

Even last song builds up.

Fucking brilliant.

Glitch.

iTunes.

Spotify.

-PD

zenith [2021)

Jesus and Mary Chain.

Black tar.

Caramelized sugar.

A dangerous confection.

Hit to Death in the Future Head.

Summer is here.

I hear.

Vacuum cleaner solo.

Theremin.

Race cars.

Boys peel out.

High-speed boats.

And again with the UPC scan.

Breaking up on reentry.

Serious audio fuckery.

And from this right into kung fu.  Peter Sellers on Bowie’s Low.  Trance.  But really what we have here is excellent counterpoint.  Lunatic Harness.  Polyrhythms.  Album breaks down soon.  Fast.  Abruptly.  Mental block regarding Wuhan origin.  Harmonic outline you would never find in China.  Terry Riley.  A Rainbow in Curved Air.  Eno.  Visconti.  And the others involved.  A beauty that inspired Philip Glass.  This is what we have.  Low and heroes.  Symphonies.  Glass.  Riley.  Minimalism.  Album called zenith.  Track two already hits “Nadir”.  What’s the arc here?  Arc-en-ciel?  Arkansas?  Immediately pensive.  Very unnerving.  Pop rock track.  Into existential oblivion.  Abrupt modulation.  Uncomfortable.  Eccentric.  Was there a thought process behind this?  Commerce ruins everything.  Imperfect masterpieces.  The rules of the game.  Radiohead.  Joseph Arthur?  Sparklehorse.  The Magnetic Fields.  Gay baritone.  Sad sack confessional poetry in the world of Berryman’s Dream Songs.  Brian Jonestown Massacre.  The Verve.  Strung out in heaven.  J. Spaceman shooting up while praying.  Don’t knock it…  Drug addiction is real.  Mental problems are real.  Here we are.  2020 fucked us up.  And now we wait for the next shoe to drop.  Smashing Pumpkins.  “Silver Fuck”?  Into Sonny Rollins?  Epstein.  Gene Ammons.  Hard to tell it’s (not) real.  Which parts?  Yes.  No.  Fooling the ear with Dave Fridmann.  A totally schizophrenic record so far.  Here we go!  “Belgian Lace, Pale Black Mascara…”  This is more like it.  Rollerskate Skinny.  Martin Rev.  Lots of counterpoint here.  Fux me up.  Disney xylophones.  Internal rhyme-sanity.  Dylan puking up brilliance.  Always Roger Waters with the bass.  Always The Wall.  Pompeii.  Hail to the Thief.  Again and again.  Trying to break new ground.  And it does.  Yerself is Steam.  Album starts to make sense after five tracks.  1 & 5.  This is not bullshit.  I don’t know about the jazz.  I don’t know about the monotonous instrumentals.  Absolutely “Car Wash Hair”.  Suzanne Thorpe would be proud.  Seems to be talking about tits.  A good ride.  Drum machine chugging away.  Can still have a good groove.  Wild Acoustic Chamber Orchestra.  W.A.C.O.  Woodwinds and glockenspiel.  Boces.  What the fuck is this shit?  O.K. computer.  Sounds like some QAnon stuff.  I feel Carlos Santana coming on.  This is what Assange jams out to.  Lots of plays at Fort Meade.  Salsa.  James Brown.  Puerto Rican funk.  As AOC goes to jail.  Serious national security issues for lyrics.  Fictional charges?  Tracers everywhere.  This theory involves an actual conspiracy.  Criminal conspiracy outlined.  By players.  Event 201.  Short circuit.  Johnny 5 is alive.  Legalistic funk.  QAnon wet dream.  FISAgate.  “Spy Gate”.  Somebody send this to Sean Hannity.  Obamagate.  Where is John Durham?  Ryan Dark White knows the truth about Rosenstein.  How many coup attempts by the Left?  Back to Billy Corgan.  Ok, so we have an Alex Jones connection.  Early-’90s goodness.  Butch Vig.  Dream pop.  James Iha.  Bet this guy knows the real story about the Standard Hotel(s).  Great lyrics!  Must be some inside jokes here.  But HOLY FUCK!  He nailed the “Holes” trumpet solo.  Deserter’s Songs.  God damn it.  How did they do this?  The liner notes say Pauly Deathwish has also produced all four of these albums.  Kind of a Jimmy Page thing going on.  Great drum sound.  Yo La Tengo.  “Mayonnaise”.  Siamese Dream.  Benjamin Britten reference?  Slick!  So this guy basically had a music education on par with Jack Nitzsche.  And then went for scumbag rockroll like Phil Spector.  Gotta respect this weird marriage.  This fascination with grunge.  Dinge.  And the facility to clean it up like a chandelier.  Very fucking impressive.  No record label.  Kinda sounds like no funding.  No budget.  The Delgados.  Hate.  The Great Eastern.  More Spiritualized telephony.  The Wall.  Which is to say, Bob Erzin.  And as dark as Berlin.  Which is to say, Bob Ezrin.  Neil Young vibe.  Tonight’s the Night.  Some dark-ass shit.  Nick Kent, where y@t?  IV Thieves.  Coulda done this.  What if Chris “Frenchie” Smith had produced this?  This kid like a protege.  I hear the moniker (stage name) was bestowed by Frenchie Smith.  Strings good.  Eastern European orchestra.  Must have cost a small fortune.  Arcade Fire.  French cinema.  Romantic-era harmony.  But pierced.  Sophisticated.  Absolutely Floyd.  “In The Flesh”.  Last track on Harvest.  Words between the lines.  The promise of the ’60s went to shit in the ’70s.  Where’s QAnon?  Where’s Nakasone?  Where’s CYBERCOM?  Keith Alexander on Amazon board.  Velvet Underground feeding back.  Les Rallizes Denudes.  Primal Scream.  “Swastika Eyes”.  ADAT.  DAT machine.  Sampling.  Stereolab.  Back to another standout track.  “Chaconne”.  Will Smith in the summertime.  Some slick shit.  Messiaen.  Jonny Greenwood.  Lyrics world-class.  All those sand paintings.  Write and destroy.  Suicide girls.  Thom Yorke’s brain doesn’t have this facility.  He’s a great stylist.  Definitely an homage.  And to Godard.  Snow white and psycho.  Heavy shit for Laetitia Sadier and Tim Gane to check out.  Not far from Faust IV.  So sweet.  John Paul Jones.  Ramble on.  Charlotte Gainsbourg.  Keren Ann.  Last track noisy as fuck.  Lo-fi.  Tom Waits.  Sticks together.  Some sad shit.  Music from Big Pink.  Mournful trombone(s).  John Simon.  “Bird on a Wire”.  They don’t make records like this anymore.  David Bowie not dead.  Great phrasing.  Sinatra.  Mark Linkous.  It’s a Wonderful Life.  Believable bass.  Upright citizen.  Bayou curious.  Noise floor drops out.  Some perverse humor here.  An “album”.  It is.  Ten songs.  Ten different directions.  Some tracks stick together.  Like a deck of cards shuffled.  Lots of variety.  Circus peanuts.  The orange ones.  Pure sugar.  Chewy.  Strange texture.  Lots of melancholy here.  What’s this bloke so sad about?  Tell Thurston Moore.  You gotta hear this shit.  Pauly Deathwish’s 4th album (this summer!).  Is this guy trying to set a Guinness record or something?  And he already has a 5th one out.  Christ!

-PD

bucolic [2021)

It starts just like Charlotte Gainsbourg.

5:55.

Air.

Nigel Godrich.

But there is something different.

A shruti box?

A little distorto guitar.

Ah, yes.

Chuchotements.

Françoise Hardy.

A little Yo La Tengo.

Built to Spill.

Guitar carries it for a second.

Good lyrics.

All mood.

And then into an Amon D√ľ√ľl II warble.

Like Marc Bolan.

Jim Carrey.

Most annoying sound in the world.

Into Pink Floyd.

David Gilmour.

Circa The Wall.

Strange sadness.

Almost a premonition of impending doom.

Calm before the storm.

J. Spaceman telephony.

Floating with no highs and no lows.

All mids.

Strong opening track.

Very slow-moving.

Luxurious.

Immediate Delgados shift.

Paul Savage.

Pauly Deathwish.

Glasgow effect.

Great counterpoint for a pop musician.

But if you check this bloke’s CV…

You’ll know he went through Fux.

Gonna have to say Elliott Smith.

Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci.

Megan Childs violin.

Around the warm fire.

Welsh.

Expansive.

Strings open up.

Hate.

More Fridmann.

Pointillism.

Schoenberg.

Timbre.

Richard James.

GZM.

Beethoven.

Another Welshman.

John Cale.

Orchestral bass that Lou loved.

This guy’s a bastard.

Jaded.

Hurt.

Is this a breakup album?

I thought the last one was a breakup album?

Ahhh…

Into Gorwel Owen.

1968.

Floyd.

Atom.

Mad cow.

The last GZM album.

Rockfield.

Bohemian.

String band.

Money never runs out.

Cheap air organ.

Tubes?

Fan.

A very apropos album title.

Woody.

Tobacco.

Spring water Scotch.

And then the Great Reset arrives.

Like a fucking spaceship.

Dark shit.

What is this glitch business?

Thom Yorke blasts upon the scene.

Drums James Brown.

Good groove.

Savvy.

Whoa!

Marching band.

Drumline.

Snares.

Caught by Lee “Scratch”.

Guitar all mangled.

Melodies solid.

Mogwai?

Bert Jansch out of fucking nowhere.

Definitely Lips.

Pet Sounds.

Track rejected by Bond franchise.

Convincing.

Acoustic to electric.

Now it’s Serge.

Requiem.

Stereolab.

Break beat.

Absolutely boffo.

BOF.

More Brian Wilson.

Van Dyke Parks.

Phil Spector.

High Llamas.

Still a sadness.

That the old world is passing away.

FUCK!!!

Right into some Leonard Cohen shit!

Scott Walker.

How the FUCK was this recorded?

Sounds like 2″ tape.

Question:

how has this Pauly Deathwish released three albums in two months?

I can’t even keep up with this guy.

Mercury Rev.

Deserter’s Songs.

Levon Helm.

Chamberlin.

Mellotron?

Like a Christmas album.

See You on the Other Side.

David Fricke.

A review in the liner notes.

“Everlasting Arm”.

Definite vibe.

Record pillaging wizard.

Baritone.

Lots of fucking glockenspiel on this record.

But it’s nice.

Like Ennio Morricone.

Cinema Paradiso.

Mandolins.

Jackie Gleason.

Dean Martin.

Herb Alpert.

Tchaikovsky.

Again with sugar plum.

Slick!

Very light.

Chiaroscuro.

Fresher than the sweetness in water.

Hearing Dungen.

IV Thieves.

Makes sense.

“Frenchie” Smith.

Dig CV.

Light, British, airy.

Good hook.

Hooky.

Is this the single?

A little neo-psych Hendrix moment.

It’s definitely GZM.

Repetition until transcend.

Stereolab first album.

Not looped.

Manuel.

Carpenters.

Messiaen.

Definitely some breakup here.

Sonic Youth.

Sister.

Experimental.

Thurston.

Lots of drum machine.

Drum and bass.

Panning.

Definitely holds up with Radiohead.

How the fuck was this made?

PD tells us that it was all made on an iPhone with only a Telecaster.

That is some serious trickery.

Ear fooling.

This is COMPLEX music.

Mixes sound polished.

Clarity.

Some Chinese stuff.

Noise floor fucked for the first time ever.

Bacon?

Rollerskate Skinny.

It’s THAT good.

Shoulder Voices.

How was this made?

This heralds a new talent.

But this bloke is 44.

Tour sponsored by Ensure.

Not hearing a sophomore slump here.

Two albums in two months.

Review third forthcoming.

This dude is emo as fuck.

I dig it.

This guy is a mystery.

What is his deal?

This sounds more like a cohesive album that Introversion.

Introversion sounds like a debut album…in all the best ways.

Songs saved up.

A greatest hits.

Go big or go home.

This album deals much more in subtlety.

Not every song here is a home run.

This album breathes.

Ambiance.

Negative space.

More Beach Boys vibes.

70s.

Sad.

Bathrobe.

But mentally sharp.

A spark of genius.

A little bluegrass.

Bill Monroe.

Dock Boggs.

The old world is passing away.

Jonny Greenwood.

Georges Bizet.

Live forever.

Nonesuch.

Elektra.

Hoyt Ming.

Incredible String Band.

Wales, Scotland.

Back and forth.

And across to Ireland.

Oh, no.

There’s the single.

“Makes Me Wanna Stay in Bed”.

Emma Pollock.

Hate is all you need.

Coming in from the cold.

New Radicals.

Delayed bass from The Wall.

Pavement.

Spoon.

Good fucking song!

Eisteddfod.

All Is Dream.

Hard following up.

Unenviable.

Emma Pollock solo.

With Alun Woodward singing.

The Great Eastern.

New Spiritualized.

Banjo.

Let It Come Down.

Abbey Road.

Coldplay.

A Rush of Blood to the Head.

This bloke is serious as fuck.

Sad eyes.

I’m sensing a Jandek promotional strategy.

Final track Richter.

Ravel.

Emperor.

Philip Glass.

Conlon Nancarrow.

City/country dichotomy.

Urban/rural.

Urban encroaching.

Something felt.

Big symphony night.

Excitement of New York Phil.

The fucking french horns!

Automation.

A story in dynamics.

Lesson.

A folk album.

bucolic.

Pauly Deathwish.

iTunes.

Spotify.

-PD

Introversion [2021)

Teenage Fanclub.

That glow in The World’s End.

But a sadness.

THE sadness.

Emily Dickinson.

Unrequited.

Unattainable.

My Bloody Valentine.

Sloshy grunge hats.

Edge echo.

Chris Bell.

I Am the Cosmos.

Yerself Is Steam.

Slowdive.

Rutti.

Brian Eno.

The disappearance of Madeleine McCann.

Tom Petty.

You don’t know how it feels.

J. Spaceman.

Abbey Road.

Air.

George Martin.

Beck.

Badfinger suicides.

Loser.

Spiritualized.

Royal Albert.

I can only give you everything.

Rick Danko.

Loping.

The Delgados.

Dave Fridmann.

Black magic warded off by honesty.

Good timing.

Divine.

Sigur R√≥s.

Nigel Godrich.

Pocket symphonies.

Charlotte Gainsbourg.

Serge on the way.

Lenny Bruce, even.

Hit to Death in the Future Head.

Wait at least until track three to break it down.

Southern Harmony and Musical Companion.

Gorecki.

Arvo Pärt.

Deserter’s Songs.

Absolutely.

The confusion of ridiculous counterpoint.

Aaron Copland.

Tonal, yet dissonant.

Thick Billy Corgan.

Siamese Dream.

Definitely a sadness here.

Dawn Upshaw.

Tabula rasa.

Death.

Immense Mellotron.

Tchaikovsky.

Abrupt modulation.

Sugar plum.

Lou Reed.

Ennio Morricone.

Cinema Paradiso.

All you need is hate.

Upstate.

Chaliapin.

Basso profundo.

Jussi Björling.

DvoŇô√°k.

Memorial day.

The Inflated Tear.

Columbus, Ohio with duct tape.

Debussy.

Posing with a bass clarinet.

Primal Scream.

Get Duffy.

Rock ferry.

Smokey Robinson.

Sad clown.

Dead clown.

Kinks.

Grasshopper.

Suzanne.

Woodwind quintet.

Did I ever write one?

Yes, I did.

César Franck.

Saint-Sa√ęns.

Organ symphony.

Or is it contrabassoon?

Nadia Boulanger can tell you.

My teacher’s teacher (twice over).

The Left Banke.

LSD.

Herb Alpert?

Hummel.

Handel.

Strawberry fields.

Stereolab.

Unequivocally.

Transient Random-Noise Bursts with Announcements.

A little lo-fi.

Vocal doubled.

Vox continental.

Great hook.

Changes that pull at your heartstrings.

More melancholy.

A fucking marimba solo?!?

Are you kidding me???

Makes sense.

Pauly Deathwish collaboration with Gordon Gano of Violent Femmes.

Lost Bayou Ramblers.

Gordon knew him as Death.

I have become death.

96 Tears.

Farfisa.

Partials.

Tim Gane tone.

Faust IV.

Doogie Howser?

Scary.

Impending.

Suspense.

Rock bass.

Ozzy.

Black Sabbath.

Amazing Grace.

Pete Townshend.

Front.

Back to J. Spaceman.

Dirty ass rock and roll with pristine horns.

Expensive drugs.

Sophisticated changes.

√Čminence grise?

Is this the artist we’ve been waiting for?

Rodriguez?

R. Stevie Moore?

Wesley Willis?

Sounds like Jack Nitzsche.

Major Velvet vibes.

Suck-ceed twice.

Dylan with P-bass.

Mick Taylor.

Too much attitude.

Keith Richards.

Let it Come Down.

Shakespeare.

Fucker kicked the bucket.

First to be vaxxed.

Maricopa.

First Suicide album.

Bossa nova.

The Soft Bulletin.

Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space.

Gimme some lovin’?

Steve Winwood?

How old?

La Monte Young.

Slow changes.

First rehearsal tapes.

Alan Vega.

Martin Rev.

New York City heroin.

Warhol Factory torn down.

Across from YMCA.

Trump dances.

Great throwaway lyrics.

George Harrison.

Sound of universe.

Spacemen 3.

Savage tone.

Revolution.

Direct into mixing console.

Fried signal.

White album.

Sonic Youth.

Derek Bailey.

Lou ecstacy.

Late Lou.

European son.

Blood pressure rising.

Brutal.

Frankie Teardrop.

I think I’m in love.

Dub bass.

Will the circle remain unbroken?

When I had dinner with Roky.

13th Floor.

First Velvets album.

Heroin.

Drug rush.

Invincible.

But you gotta buy it.

Dirty Baltimore.

Cop shoot cop.

Cheree.

On the jukebox.

Eat at the gas station.

On tour.

First time in Texas.

American Supreme.

Iceland.

13 Angels.

It’s definitely Bowie.

New career.

Same town.

New old.

Old is new again.

Mercury Rev.

Savvy programming.

Dynamics.

Break beat.

A fuck ton of flutes.

Flute loops literally.

Bowie sax.

Little fluffy clouds.

Every drop.

Gay glam chorus.

Tony Visconti.

Don’t underestimate.

Pere Ubu.

First album.

Méliès.

Boys peel out.

Boces.

Inspector Clouseau.

Phone.

French ambulance.

Pants.

Gives me pants.

Videogames.

Cutting hole.

Pink Panther.

Herbert Lom.

A Shot in the Dark.

Grandaddy.

Under the Western Freeway.

Weeping willow.

Under that.

With Sean Mackowiak.

Square waves.

WarGames.

Tympani.

Rollerskate Skinny.

Dublin.

Kevin Shields.

Comes back loud.

One song mastered soft.

Definitely Low.

The main influence of Pauly Deathwish’s debut album.

Honegger.

Pacific 231.

Chariots of fire.

Vangelis.

Such a groove.

Nancarrow.

Polyrhythm.

Immense sadness.

By the side of a freeway.

Under an underpass.

Not like RHCP.

Much darker.

Like Godspeed.

Philip Glass.

Eno.

Blackstar.

How did a Trump supporter make this album?!?

I thought all Trump supporters were redneck morons???

This is way fucking better than Ariel Pink’s dabblings.

This sounds like a debut album.

Songs saved up.

Like The Strokes.

Cinematic as fuck.

Glitch Radiohead.

Trail of Dead.

Makes sense.

Because Pauly wrote the string arrangement on IX.

Dark.

Killers.

Disco compression.

Distressed.

These lyrics!

Johnny Rotten.

Trump 2021.

Snot on the crowd.

Arcade Fire.

Makes sense.

Lost Bayou Ramblers lost sessions.

Montreal studio.

This was all made on an iPhone?!?

Guy Debord.

Aladdin Sane.

Time.

Rick Wakeman?

Olivier Messiaen.

Major 7ths in uppermost range of piano.

Almost indistinguishable from octaves.

Eerie.

Slight.

Only for the sensuous ear.

The Wall.

Waters delayed bass.

No nonsense drums.

Humble Pie reference?!?

Ha!

Great lyrics!!

Predating new Bob Dylan album.

Check SoundCloud timestamp.

This is definitely the QAnon anthem.

This hook should be on a million conspiracy videos.

“10 Days of Darkness”.

Tell ’em Large Marge sent ya!

My end is my beginning is my end.

Grinderman.

No pussy.

Early-’90s.

Nirvana’s wake.

Finnegans Wake.

Great debut album (if I do say so myself).

Usual suspects.

Spotify.

iTunes.

Pauly Deathwish.

-PD

Frank [2014)

My dear friends, it is so good to be alive ūüôā

But very difficult to be sick.

I must admit, it took me two days to watch this film.

This one hit a little too close to home.

But that’s ok.

Yes, I am finally feeling better on the allergy front.

Now I am struggling with that old nemesis of mine:  nicotine.

Yep, that’s right.

Trying to kick that habit.

Whoa (woozy feeling)…

Maybe did that a little too fast ūüôā

But most of all, you know, every day I struggle with anxiety.

I don’t usually address it in such naked terms.

But it is fair here to talk about this biggest of all struggles for me.

Because Frank is a film about mental illness.

You know, if you apply for a job, you might get a “questionnaire” enquiring about your health.

America is very “democratic” and “fair” in hiring processes, but still these questionnaires persist.

And I suppose the last round of jobs I applied for (merely two) opened my eyes to the reality of my situation a bit.

Looking down the list of “conditions”, I realized I must (to be honest) check two boxes.

[Though the questionnaire was “voluntary”]

So I have “anxiety disorder” (big time!) and asthma (not so bad, but it can pop up).

So wow…I thought…man, these are listed as “disabilities” (if I remember correctly).

While some people might celebrate a disability condition, for me it’s not really cause for cheering.

But then I thought, “Wait…are these really disabilities?”

Well, I’m not going to give a medical/legal ruling on that (because, frankly [no pun intended] I don’t know).

But I know one thing:  anxiety can be totally debilitating.

I’ve had a really hard time readjusting to “life” after two and a half years of intense graduate studies.

I graduated about a month ago.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the forum…

My body just kinda shut down…gradually…in different ways.

That momentum which had carried me across the finish line evaporated.

And so life hasn’t been a bowl of cherries.

Anxiety is a bitch!

When I have nothing to realistically worry about, I find something.

If there is something from which worry can be derived, I will find it.

And it will drive me nuts.

At a certain point, one has to laugh at the ridiculousness of such an impulse.

[It’s not something I can very well control, you understand.]

And that brings us to our film Frank.

Frank is a fucked up guy.

Imagine the Jack in the Box guy from the commercials with the big fake head.

And then have that guy lead a rock band.

Yeah…

This film really defies all description.

So we have to dig a bit to really delineate what is going on in this masterful film.

First of all, this film has caused me to create a new category in my global survey of cinema for a country which I love (for a multitude of reasons):  Ireland.

Yes, Frank is an Irish film.

Funny enough, no one in the film has an Irish accent.

[Which begs the question, “Is it really an Irish film?”]

But I’m calling it an Irish film because I really admire the balls it took Lenny Abrahamson to make this picture.

Our director, Mr. Abrahamson, was born in Dublin in 1966.

Ok, it’s Irish (at least as far as “auteur theory” goes).

So what?

There’s something about Ireland which I get from the eccentrics.

James Joyce was the master of them all.

I will read¬†Finnegans Wake¬†till my dying day and still glory in the fact that I have no REAL idea what it’s truly about ūüôā

But this film, Frank, takes us to a place I know very well:  rock and roll.

And more specifically:  indie rock.

It is a “genre” which attracts the most far-out individuals in the world.

And I must say, there were several times in this film where I could feel the spirit of one of my favorite bands of all time.

An Irish group.

Rollerskate Skinny.

Our director is 50. ¬†I’m 40.

Maybe our frames of reference are different.

Youngsters might think Animal Collective or even the arduous process which produced Arcade Fire’s tortured¬†Reflektor.

But Frank makes me think of that early-90s noise-pop wave which was spearheaded by bands like (my favorite group ever) Mercury Rev and Rollerskate Skinny.

When I see Frank, I see David Baker.

But I know my history.

I’ve studied weirdos all my life.

So I also see David Thomas of Pere Ubu.

And of course Don van Vliet (a.k.a. Captain Beefheart).

Frank¬†is certainly a film which the “Pitchfork¬†generation” should be able to get behind.

I’ve had dinner with Roky Erickson.

I’ve seen what¬†Frank¬†is groping for.

Yes, it’s that madness which made Syd Barrett great.

But such madness comes with a price.

We can listen to that first Pink Floyd album (The Piper at the Gates of Dawn)…songs like “Lucifer Sam” where Barrett is brilliant.

And we can trace that brilliance to his solo album¬†The Madcap Laughs…songs like “No Good Trying”.

But to be SO fucked up…to be SO far out…it ain’t fun.

I’ve heard about Roky Erickson’s time at the Rusk State Hospital for the criminally insane.

It’s not a pretty picture.

But let’s talk about this damn film ūüôā

It had me hooked once I caught faint traces of those first two Mercury Rev albums (Yerself is Steam and Boces) in the sounds I was hearing emanating from Soronprfbs.

Yes, Soronprfbs.

The perfect name to describe the obtuse band at the center of our story.

Here’s a band so weird, they don’t even know how to pronounce their own name (when they show up at SXSW).

[But I’m getting ahead of myself]

First, I was wrong about Irish accents.

Indeed,¬†Frank¬†is such a bizarre film that one soon forgets that Domhnall Gleeson is speaking in one for the entirety ūüôā

Gleeson is in the right place at the right time.

It’s happened to me.

I once got a MySpace message (remember those days?) and spent the next four years in a Cajun punk rock band.

It can happen.

Those were the best years of my life.

But it’s HARD!

Taking a van back and forth (and back and forth) across the country.

Flying (I hate flying) to awesome, bizarre locales.

For someone with bad anxiety, these aren’t easy tasks.

And we see that in the character of Frank.

As I said, Frank has problems.

Somehow, Gleeson joins Frank’s band¬†Soronprfbs.

And the rest is a whipsaw of insanity.

No, Frank is not a relaxing watch, but it is hilarious!

And very meaningful!!

Soronprfbs, as a band, is a shambles.

[not to be confused with Babyshambles]

There were several times when I caught glimpses of the weirdness that is another of my most favorite bands:  The Homosexuals.

But, this film can hardly be reviewed properly without talking about The Residents.

Soronprfbs are mythic (if only in their own minds).

Their fame, however, grows.

And with fame, stage fright.

It happens to even the most grounded individuals (like Robbie Robertson).

But nothing fits the bill quite like Mercury Rev.

Soronprfbs are apt to have fights on stage.

Perhaps one member tries to gouge another’s eye out on a transatlantic flight.

That kind of stuff.

Sure, Oasis have had mid-air spats about blueberry scones.

And maybe The Sex Pistols only played to twelve people (or whatever) at their first show.

But Soronprfbs, for me, is that band which would hang electric guitars from the ceiling and let them feed back for the entirety of a show.

Which is to say, Mercury Rev.

But let me pull in the younger folks.

Think, for example, The Brian Jonestown Massacre.

Fights onstage.

Obvious mental problems.

Or is it just a put-on?

And let’s go back…

The Doors.

Jim Morrison being totally whacked out of his gourd onstage.

But no,¬†Soronprfbs is weirder…and far more obscure.

Think, for instance, Alan Vega leading Suicide in a performance at CBGB’s.

The writers of our film (Jon Ronson and Peter Straughan) will probably know everything I’m talking about [were they to ever read this].

Because they (or at least one of them…Ronson?) know the mechanism which attracts so many of us to BANDS.

[“those funny little plans/that never work quite right”]

That mechanism is mystery.

But in this case, it is the mystery of reclusive eccentricity.

Put simply, madness.

[not to be confused with the band Madness]

So Ronson and Straughan even include the perfect musical instrument to act as a talisman for their tale:  the theremin.

And they even get the character’s name right: ¬†Clara.

[after theremin virtuoso Clara Rockmore]

The theremin has a long history in eccentric rock and roll.

Indeed, late in¬†Frank¬†when we see our dejected main character sleeping in his bathrobe at the French Quarter Inn (a fleabag motel), his sartorial sense evokes Brian Wilson’s rough years.

Yes, the theremin goes back to at least “Good Vibrations” and the zaniness which was The Beach Boys’ album¬†Smile.

But the theremin has come to embody the obtuse and pretentious in rock and roll.

And so it is no wonder that bands such as Jon Spencer Blues Explosion picked up on this wooziest of all instruments.

Which brings us finally to a salient point.

Frank includes at least one star:

Maggie Gyllenhaal.

Gyllenhaal plays stone-cold bitch Clara: ¬†Frank’s girlfriend.

[remember, Frank is the guy with the¬†papier-m√Ęch√© head…and he never takes it off…ever]

Gyllenhaal’s character is unlikable in just about every way imaginable.

And it makes me appreciate her acting.

Indeed, God bless Ms. Gyllenhaal for taking this film role.

It’s a lot like Charlotte Gainsbourg’s role in¬†Misunderstood¬†(2014) and makes me appreciate the dramatic tension of Gainsbourg’s role more than I initially did.

Which is to say, Gyllenhaal is very much the villain of Frank.

A bit like a dominatrix version of June Chadwick in This Is Spinal Tap.

Which is to further say, Gyllenhaal is playing off her typecast from Secretary of being one bad bitch.

And she pulls it off.

But Gyllenhaal is the least important element of Frank.

It would ruin things to tell you just how Michael Fassbender figures into this film, but let’s just say he’s indispensable.

[Fassbender, by the way, is half-Irish (his mother being born in County Antrim)]

A lot of our action happens in what could pass for Tarbox Road Studios.

Indeed, there is a lot of Wayne Coyne in the character of Frank as well.

But the sounds are closer to those which Mercury Rev conjured at SUNY-Buffalo for their debut album.

Likewise, the seclusion which goes into making the great¬†Soronprfbs album reminds me of the ramshackle (yet bucolic) process which led to my favorite album of all time: ¬†Mercury Rev’s¬†Deserter’s Songs.

As alluded to earlier, Soronprfbs eventually make their way to my old stomping grounds:  the South by Southwest music festival in Austin, Texas.

I was a bit wistful seeing the Ritz Theater (now an Alamo Drafthouse) on 6th Street in one shot.

Indeed, I remember playing an “unplugged”, solo gig there back when it was still a cavernous, multilevel, piece-of-shit music venue (pool hall).

Funny enough, a lot of the tension in¬†Frank¬†revolves around that old chestnut of a band “selling out”.

Perhaps the funniest scene in the movie is when Frank presents his “most likable music ever” in the motel room.

Which is to say, this movie may not appeal to everyone.

But if you’re a rock musician (especially a weirdo like me), you’ve gotta see this.

There are a couple of scenes which make the whole thing worthwhile.

It’s funny that¬†Soronprfbs bassist Fran√ßois Civil bears a striking resemblance to Dave Fridmann circa-1991.

[just another detail which cemented the genius of this film for me]

But there are other seeming references in this film.

A bit of Stereolab (with all the Moogy wonder).

The stilted “artfulness” of Blonde Redhead.

And even the bollocks, pulseless blech of Low.

Yes,¬†Soronprfbs and their “side projects” seem to catch just about every hue in the indie rock kaleidoscope.

Director Abrahamson (and writers Ronson and Straughan) do a nice job of converting Domhnall Gleeson’s internal monologue into a social media thread which runs through this movie.

Gleeson is on Twitter, YouTube, a blog, etc.

But the funniest is the beginning…and it is the hook which reeled me in.

To hear Gleeson’s musical mind attempt to craft quirky pop songs out of mundane details of his Irish town is a real knee-slapper.

Because, as they say, IT’S SO TRUE!

So if you’ve ever written songs, witness in the first five minutes of this film the real torture it is to make lemonade out of a lemon life.

Be forewarned (or enticed):  Frank is WAY OUT THERE!

Some elements of this film are so non sequitur that they were a bit hard for my weakened, nicotine-craving immune system to handle.

In the end, this is a sad story.

But with joy, pain.

There is great joy in Frank.

Sometimes we realize we’re not in Kansas anymore…

and it’s a rough patch.

The Technicolor of life can be too much to handle.

But take courage, dear friends…

Like Gong’s great song “Rational Anthem”…from that hard-to-find¬†Magick Brother…their debut.

[Get on that, Spotify]

Miracles can happen.

And, to quote Albert Ayler, “music is the healing force of the universe”.

-PD

Heavy [1995)

Holidays are hard for many people.

Perhaps we think of who we’ve lost.

But also there’s the pressure of the days themselves.

Christmas. ¬†New Year’s Eve.

Even times like the 4th of July.

I didn’t set out to write a heartrending post, but I don’t always know what it is I’m about to watch.

In general, Heavy is not a sad film.

It’s a masterpiece of minimalism.

Every shot…every movement in this movie is lovingly made.

James Mangold created a world which corresponds to the understated expressions of silent films as much as it does to the desperation of everyday life.

I’m sure some people have very happy lives.

But what Mr. Mangold has given us is a look at extreme awkwardness.

Loneliness.

Do you ever feel awkward buying something?

I do.

Every time.

It’s the interaction with people.

It comes and it goes.

But for our protagonist Victor, it mostly comes and stays.

I can’t recall an actor (Pruitt Taylor Vince) getting so much depth out of so few words.

No film I’ve ever seen handles shyness quite like this one.

Victor is a cook at his mom’s little tavern.

It’s the kind of place you’d find in Woodstock.

Kingston.  Poughkeepsie.  West Saugerties.

Though the setting is never named, these are what came to my imagination.

Those places that inspired Mercury Rev to create their masterpiece¬†Deserter’s Songs and, before them, The Band.

But whatever this fictional town, it is positively not cool.

It is in the middle of nowhere.

And so a feeling of desolation pervades this picture.

Victor cares for his mother (played brilliantly by the late Shelley Winters).

They live together…just the two of them.

There’s a little dog.

It’s a quiet life.

Sure, it’s sad.

But it’s life.

Life goes on.

Every day.

Open the tavern.

Pay the delivery man.

Cook the pizzas.

Clean up the broken beer mugs.

It just so happens that the place has a waitress/bartender.

And the actress playing this role indeed had experience.

Max’s Kansas City.

That’s right, Debbie Harry.

Debbie plays Delores.

She’s just as feisty as you’d expect.

She doesn’t put up with any shit.

And so the world goes on.

Day after day.

Status quo.

But one day, a ray of light enters lonely Victor’s world.

Liv Tyler.

You can imagine.

Liv was 18 when this film was made.

Which brings us back to Woodstock proper.

Liv Tyler was born Liv Rundgren.

As in Todd.

It’s a complicated story, but this future actress/model knew Todd Rundgren (producer of The Band’s¬†Stage Fright which was recorded at the Woodstock Playhouse in 1970) as father until well into her life.

Todd, of course, was also a resident of the area. ¬†This was back in the days of Albert Grossman’s Bearsville Records.

Which brings us to another fascinating little town:  Bearsville, New York.

But Liv was obviously the daughter of Steven Tyler (lead singer of Aerosmith).

Liv didn’t find this out till age eight.

Back to our movie…

Into lonely Victor’s life walks a new waitress whose real life genes were those of lippy Steven Tyler and Playboy¬†Playmate Bebe Buell.

That’s no ordinary gene pool.

But this is no ordinary romantic comedy.

In fact, it’s not a romantic comedy.

It’s not funny.

It’s deep.

[He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother]

Because Victor is a portly fellow.

And this bothers him.

It’s something he tries to ignore, but living at home with mom…and being fat…and being shy…

It’s enough to give a guy a complex.

And this is not a rich family.

No psychiatrists here.

Just get up and go to work every day.

Cook breakfast for mom.

Feed the dog.

Go to the little grocery store.

Get some eggs and orange juice.

So I wasn’t sure what I was getting with this movie.

But I’m so glad I watched it.

I wouldn’t really call it an uplifting story, but that’s not the point.

It is cinéma vérité in the truest sense.

And the world needs these kinds of films.

There are no explosions.

Maybe there’s not even a happy ending.

I will leave that for you to discover.

But there are certainly very few cliches.

And so this picture spoke to me in a very deep way.

To reach out to anyone on the Internet who might be reading this.

This is a film about problems.

Not crippling problems which require literal crutches, but crippling all the same.

Pink Floyd summed it up as well as anyone when they sang about “quiet desperation”.

It may be “the English way”, but it’s not a uniquely British phenomenon.

I hate to talk about the “human condition”…because I fear I will sound like one of the putzes who pens the elevator pitches which adorn every film on Netflix [who writes those things?!?], but James Mangold did something very significant with this film.

Even the music is subtly artful.

We can thank Thurston Moore for that.

And so little harmonics and behind-the-bridge pings give depth to Victor’s struggles.

It’s quietness.

Standing by the staircase.

Staring up.

Is mom coming down?

Will the dog come eat his food?

There are heroes in this world.

And sometimes they are right under our noses.

Victor is one of those.

 

-PD

Ghost World [2001)

“I have to admit…things are really looking up for me since my life turned to shit.”¬† If only.¬† The consolation?¬† This is a perfect film.¬† There’s no use in denying that any longer.

Back in the watershed year of 2001, this film hit me like a bolt out of the blue.¬† Just how I ended up in that movie theater in Austin, Texas I’m not entirely sure.¬† The important thing is that this film stood my world on its head.¬† There was a new tilt to the cosmos after seeing Thora Birch personify everything I was looking for in a girl…everything which I couldn’t articulate.

Brice Parain puts it so simply in Vivre sa vie:¬† thought cannot be separated from language.¬† And if we say “goodbye” to language?¬† That still involves a word.¬† Perhaps we can simply gesture?

“Waving goodbye…I’m not saying hello.”¬† Just¬†three years earlier an album had put my world on edge.¬† I was studying music composition as an undergrad when a rock and roll record called into question everything for which I was striving.¬† That record was Deserter’s Songs by Mercury Rev.¬† As I slipped the virgin vinyl onto the turntable in my vacated music lit classroom, I was astounded to hear a noise rock band coming back through the speakers as an autumnal, symphonic opus.¬† Opus 40…

And so three years later at that little arthouse cinema in north Austin I clamored into an open seat with a couple of friends…¬† Friends…¬† It seems so long ago since I had friends.¬† Some statements are infinitely sad, but others are like old faded pictures.¬† I don’t really recognize myself anymore.¬† I’m too young to be old, but…

Ghost World.¬† It is the world I live in.¬† Terry Zwigoff made a perfect film.¬† He learned the nuances from R. Crumb…and then applied the secrets to Daniel Clowes.¬† The secret is in the power lines…the sprawl…the daydream nation which American Beauty tried to capture but failed in comparison to Ghost World.¬† If the Palme d’Or was fair, Terry Zwigoff would have one sitting on his mantle.¬† So would Jean-Luc Godard.¬† So would Thora Birch.

It’s kinda like the Nobel Prize in Literature.¬† Where’s Joyce?¬† Where’s Pynchon?

Enid Coleslaw.¬† There’s no I in end.¬† End.¬† I…is someone else.¬† So says Nana Kleinfrankenheim.¬† Thora Birch.¬† Anna Karina.¬† The Louise Brooks wig.¬† Brigitte Bardot.¬† Initials B.B.¬† Bertolt Brecht.¬† B.B. King.¬† Devil got my woman…

“…since my life turned to shit.”¬† I’d rather be the devil.¬† Me and the devil.¬† Nick Tosches.¬† Emmett Miller.¬† Henry “Ragtime” Thomas.

Skip James.¬† Gossamer-perfect.¬† Thora stands in a daze…perhaps after a long day of shooting.¬† We get The Buzzcocks, but then we get D-A-D-F-A-D…that deep, hollow sound from 1931.¬† Like the high, lonesome Hank Williams.¬† Somebody’s in a world of hurt.¬† “Nothin’ but thee devil/change my baby’s mind.”

She is the girl we can’t have.¬† And you can’t have me either, world.¬† Not for free.¬† Few artists got this.¬† Alex Chilton got it.¬† Affonso Beato captured its fleeting presence at twilight in his cinematography.¬† A bus.¬† Bus stop.¬† Joshua Logan.¬† No, Thora Birch.¬† Yes.¬† That route was cancelled in 1956.¬† Cancelled in 1962.¬† Mensan I.Q.¬† Cancelled in 1967.¬† And still, Thora boards the bus and does the impossible in a magic realism which takes her back over the Mississippi at Baton Rouge…back to Appleton, WI…back to Los Angeles.¬† The nighttime bores the daylights out of me.¬† We’re in exile with the Radio Shack and the Allstate and the Chevron and the Shell…¬† R.I.P. Brad Renfro.

-PD