Friday, March 30, 2012

Lost Stream Gem: "I Like Killing Flies" (2004)

"You don't have to tell the neighbors.
A little silence ain't no sin."
--> John Prine <--

There is a moment when Kenny Shopsin proudly recounts the time his wife brashly walked between 2 masked men holding up a fast food place because she needed more ketchup for her french fries.

It is this kind of moxy that makes..."I Like Killing Flies" (2004) an oddly compelling documentary. Opinionated chef Kenny a long-standing owner of a small hole-in-the-wall restaurant in Greenwich Village.   His ball. His rules.  Or get the f*** outta here.

It’s been rumored he was the inspiration for Seinfeld’s famous ”Soup Nazi” episodes (he wasn’t) but comparisons are easily found.
Kenny Shopsin
Documentaries (good ones anyway) present their subject...flaws and all.  Never overstay their welcome. And create a memory burn long after the film has been streamed. This one succeeds on all 3 counts.

The film is tagged with an 'R' rating for language. However, the 'f' words are not meant to inflame, but are simply being used in common everyday vernacular.

 I suppose many will find Kenny's attitude the most offensive, but by film's end...his prickly foul-mouthed ways are almost charming. I’ll take sour honesty over sweet phoniness any day.

"Quit Hollerin At Me" 
 John Prine / Lost Dogs + Mixed Blessings (1995)

I don't want your big French Fry
I don't want your car
I don't want to buy no soap
From no washed-up movie star
You are so much louder
Than the show I wanna hear
With your sugarless gum
Gee, but I'm dumb
Non-alcoholic beer
It's enough to make a grown man
Blow up his own TV
Quit hollerin' at me
Quit hollerin' at me

I heard you the first time
I heard myself say
Seems like the little woman
Is getting bigger every day
You don't have to tell the neighbors
A little silence ain't no sin
They already think my name is
Where in the hell you been?
Louder, louder, louder, louder, louder
Quit hollerin' at me
Quit hollerin' at me
Whoa oh whoa oh
Sweet Serenity.

Ain't it great at the end of the day
When there ain't no sound around
Just me and the fence post
Staring each other down
Nothing but a big bunch of nothing
Driving me insane
Cause there ain't no voice that's louder
Than the one inside my brain
Hey you go on
Go on and let me be
Quit hollerin' at me

Good stuff!

Casey Chambers
Follow me on --> Twitter & Facebook

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Lost Gem: "Things I Miss The Most'" - Steely Dan (2003)

"The talk.The sex.Somebody to trust."
--> Steely Dan <--

Formed in 1972, Steely Dan has produced 9 studio albums. All of them good ones. A few of them great ones. None of them bad ones.

Don Fagen and Walter Becker have always set the bar high in their quality arrangements and outstanding production...and it is only by their own high standards one album can be graded over another.

Steely Dan is sly kool. Like James Bond. Like the way a drink "on the rocks" holds court over a beer. Steely Dan is meant to be sipped. Never guzzled. Steely has that indefinable attitude that welcomes everyone inside...but only if you're wearing the right shoes.
Dan Fagen and Walter Becker
"Everything Must Go" (2003)...might have been Steely Dan's last studio album...but it oozes with amazing confidence as if someone opened the windows and raised the blinds.

Melding funky RnB and Rock around some swankin' late-night, wet street jazz..."Everything..." is a freshly opened box of Rice Krispies. Everything pops! Everything snaps! Grab your headphones; you'll definitely enjoy them.

Lost Gem:--> "Things I Miss The Most" a lyrical bulls-eye about the sour void that settles in after a breakup. It's funny, sweet, and rings honest. Steely Dan tops it off by delivering this lost gem with a radio-familiar vintage mid-70's panache.

Have you heard this gem?

I don't mind the quiet
Or the lonely nights
I don't miss the funky attitudes
And I don't miss the fights
I lie on the couch 'til suppertime
And hunker down and read the Post
And that's when I remember the things I miss the most:

The talk.
The sex.
Somebody to trust.
The Audi TT.
The house on the Vineyard.
The house on the Gulf Coast.
These are the things I miss the most.

I kinda like frying up
My sad cuisine.
Getting in bed and curling up with a girlie magazine.
Sometimes in the corner of my eye
I see that adorable ghost.
And then ba-boom I remember the things I miss the most.

The talk.
The sex.
Somebody to trust.
The comfy Eames chair.
The good copper pans.
The '54 Strat.
These are the things I miss the most.

I had a little birdy friend
By morning she was gone.
Birdie good-bye.
Birdie bye bye.

I'm learning how to meditate
So far so good.
I'm building the Andrea Doria out of balsa wood.
The days really don't last forever
But it's getting pretty damn close.
And that's when I remember the things I miss the most.

Steely Dan Official Site

Good stuff!

Casey Chambers
Follow me on --> Twitter & Facebook

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Gems In My Mailbox!

Time For Mailbox Gems!

Bowery Beasts
"Heavy You"

With a T. Rex glam-tude and striking "Going To California" vocals, Marion Belle and the rest of the Bowery Beasts pitch a uniquely fresh and comfortably familiar rock-n-roll slider.

They might have a higher than usual 'love'em or hate'em' target attached to their back...but they've certainly found frequent rotation on my daily playlist.

"Amulet" - Bowery Beasts

Cast Iron Crow
"First Edition"

Cast Iron Crow are a four-man thunderspank with a GPS onboard. No missed exits. No recalculating. The guys know where they're going and how they're getting there.

Filled with solid alt-metal-grunge poundage...taking the best parts from the neutron 90's and giving it a new set of wings. A spectrum that runs from Soundgarden thru Motorhead, Cast Iron Crow ain't stopping for directions.

- Cast Iron Crow

Jack Jeffery
"The Constant That Remains"

Listening to this entertaining sophomore effort from Jack Jeffery...reminded me a lot of early Pink Floyd. Plenty of electronica folk-rock with Jeffrey adding just the right flavor of psychedelic ear-candy.

Each song seems to smoothly travel to edges of various orbits...but never strays too far away from home base. This allows the listener to relax and let the mind float downstream...knowing they're in good hands.

Good stuff!

Casey Chambers
Follow me on --> Twitter & Facebook

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Horse Head Five...with Nathan Patrick

"I wish there were more songs with no lyrics."
--> Nathan Patrick <--

  • Served in the USMC and began performing original poetry in Honolulu.
  • Helped organize open mics for artists of all variety at College Hill Coffeehouse in Winfield, KS and The Blank Page in Wichita, KS.
  • At 35, Nathan has added stand-up comedy to his resume.

HORSE HEAD: Tell me about an older album/CD you think has been forgotten or underrated. A song.

NATHAN PATRICK: Well I never thought Todd Snider got enough credit for "Songs from the Daily Planet" (1994).
"Songs From The Daily Planet"

And I've always enjoyed Frente!'s..."Marvin the Album" (1992) and Belly's... "Star" (1993). Each were nicely done.

My underrated song would be..."Helicopters" by Barenaked Ladies (2000). Very impressive. And one I don't think ever enjoyed much fanfare.

"Helicopters" - Barenaked Ladies

HORSE HEAD: Recommend me a really good novel.
NATHAN PATRICK: The classic novel that gave me respect for classic novels is "Uncle Tom's Cabin" (1852) by Harriet Beecher Stowe. Another novel I rather enjoyed was "Lord Of The Barnyard" (2000) by Tristan Egolf.

"...Painfully funny debut novel of a town's dirty laundry."
(Amazon Books)

What's an older movie you enjoyed that others might like revisiting?NATHAN PATRICK: The first one to come to mind is... "Masked and Anonymous" (2003)...a great movie with an all-star cast. Bob Dylan, John Goodman, Jessica Lange, Jeff Bridges, Penelope Cruz, Luke Wilson...and it just got no press here in the States.
A surreal film about an aging rock star, Jack Fate (Dylan)returning home for a benefit concert.

Who's an artist (any genre/medium) that deserves more attention?

NATHAN PATRICK: I wish there were more songs with no lyrics. I prefer to hear my own thoughts. Bonobo and Moby do a good job of this. Most of their songs only have a few lyrics and those few tend to be socially responsible.

"D Song" - Bonobo (2003)

If there are lyrics, I want them to be meaningful. I want them to say something. That is why I am so disappointed in most radio-pop. So many of these artists don't have the decency to leave the lyrics out of their songs when they have nothing to say.

HORSE HEAD: If you stream, what's the last thing you watched? A DVD?NATHAN PATRICK: I just got done watching "Brief Interviews with Hideous Men" (2009) on NetFlix.
A graduate student copes with a recent breakup
by conducting interviews with various men.

Much like the way a nice piece at a symphony or a solid modern dance performance might, it drew tears from me. I found it very fascinating. Sad, deep and meaningful.

And now...some poetry and photography courtesy of NATHAN PATRICK.
"Future, Past, Present, And?"

What is the Future?
We stand just before finish line and take a step,
Only to find the line moves with us,
so that our foot lands firmly in front of the finish line.
We take another step with the same results.
Bewildered we jog awkwardly on,
then sprint, gaining grace.
Soon we tire and begin to walk.
We die on the threshold of the future and are flung into the past.
What is the Past?
Why should we recall the remote?
Though we cannot change them,
we remember things that were,
and things that could have been.
It is even less an option to take a step backward,
than to cross the finish line.
We who try find only null results.
We are stuck in the present.
What is the Present?
(this instantaneous explosion of action)
How long does it last?
It will diminish at the sight of the future,
at the same time it fades away into the past.
What has been written is the past.
What will be written is the future.
What I am writing is the present.
Yet, you read it presently as one work, from the past.
Beings can only affect consensus-reality in the present.
To that extent, life only exists in the present.
The past and the future are illusions,
merely constructions of our adaptive mind.
In terms of our experience of reality, Now is Forever.

Nathan Patrick Photography - Wiyos of OZ
Taken at Orpheum Theater in Wichita KS on May 27th, 2010,
during a performance of “The Wiyos of Oz,”

(An original production created by the Wichita State University Dance Program
in collaboration with WSU Media Resource Center
and the New York based band The Wiyos

Good stuff!

Casey Chambers

Follow me on --> Twitter & Facebook

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Lost Stream Gem: "Alphaville" (1965)

"We are programmed just to do anything you want us to."
--> Kraftwerk <--

One of the allures of older sci-fi films is the message and vision the director tries to bring to front.

Director Jean-Luc Godard creates a bleak, black-n-white futuristic world in a wonderfully odd film-noirish style.

"Alphaville" (filmed on the streets of Paris) is a futuristic city controlled by a super-computer with a nasty wet-phlegm voice. It demands a society of hollow people void of emotion and free thought.

To assist in sucking away all human feelings...the creative arts of every medium have been completely eliminated. (Or else death will be your Santa Claus).

Eddie Constantine
Eddie Constantine brings a great added noir flavor to the film as the haggard secret agent...Lemmy Caution. No flash or pose. A perfect choice.

The film is subtitled but don't let this deter you. Dialogue is comfortably paced and easy to follow. And despite (or because) being made almost 50 years ago, it fascinates on many delicious levels.

"The Robots" - Kraftwerk (1978)

We're charging our battery
And now we're full of energy
We are the robots

We're functioning automatik
And we are dancing mechanik
We are the robots

Ja tvoi sluga (=I'm your slave)
Ja tvoi Rabotnik robotnik (=I'm your worker)

We are programmed just to do
anything you want us to
We are the robots.

We're functioning automatic
and we are dancing mechanic
we are the robots

Casey Chambers

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Lost Gem: "Empty Lives" - Graham Parker (1980)

"Sleep baby sleep,
don't let nothing
awaken you."
--> Graham Parker <--

Graham Parker has been featured at The College Crowd Digs Me a time or three...and here is another underrated cream of a gem.

Unfairly labeled..."the poor-man's Costello" ad nauseum, GP's music is equally as clever and arguably more interesting...taking off from a different airport and top-gunning the towers on his terms.

Lost Gem:--> "Empty Lives" an arson fueled indictment on the plethora of sleep-walking media zombies and leeches. Delivered with angry kiss-my-ass urgency and cranked by the blistering backing band...The Rumour. (Sadly the band would break-up a few months later.)

I missed the late-night show "Fridays"...but they did showcase some really good artists.  Below is Graham Parker and The Rumour with all their phasers on stun!

Have you heard this gem?

I'm just a tick in a box on a questionnaire
another moment that flashes into nowhere
a brand name on a pill that get's you there, ah ah ah ah
I'm getting nothing and expecting oblivion
the past ain't even worth livin in
its just a nail that keeps being driven in ah ah ah ah
I'm cold blooded and completely relaxed
I'm breaking legs and avoiding the facts
on the up escalator going down all the cracks, yeah ah ah ah
You are the dummies of another frightened nation
I am a candidate for elevation
but when i woke up this morning I'd lost all sensation
all sensation

So get them, get him, but don't get me
ah uh ah ah can't hear your cries
so don't get me to fill up your empty lives
Your empty lives

Be obedient, there is no escape
Forms to fill, time to kill love death and rape
Sleep baby sleep, don't let nothing awaken you.
Don't look for tomorrow, it's given you the slip
that's all contained on a silicon chip
I'm losing shape for the eighties feeling everybody's grip slip
Just there waiting to be filled
with someone else's stronger will
Just can't reason to survive
with empty empty lives.

Bring me water, bring me cocaine
Bring me something lethal, something that leaves a stain
But please don't make me feel that emptiness again
Feel the emptiness again

So get them, get him, but don't get me
ah uh ah ah get fat it's your size but
don't get me to fill up your empty
don't get me to fill up your empty
don't get me to fill up your empty lives

Good stuff!

Casey Chambers

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Lost Book Gem: "The Five" - Robert McCammon (2011)

"I've been trying for a long, long time.
Just to capture you inside a rhyme
--> Starz <--

The Five is a terrific Robert McCammon novel, though certainly not the palpitating type of thriller we have all come to enjoy and expect. 

Sure, the elements of horror and suspense are in there, but they take a backseat to the wonderful characters deftly created.  Each member of the rock band...The Five...ring true.  Nothing clumsy or forced.  No false notes.  

The Five are a group of veteran musicians, talented and sincere, but have never quite tasted the sweet fruits of success.  And they are on the last leg of a tour that threatens to be their last.  

This 500+ an homage to all "Rockers", past and present, who've tried to do their thing in this world.  And to all the fans who love them for it. 

"Cherry Baby" - Starz

I've been trying for a long, long time
Just to capture you inside a rhyme.
I've to keep you here inside with me
Til they say that I can be set free.
Oh, don't you know.
I'm never going to ever let you go.
Cause you're so sweet.
I've got to have you.

Cherry mmmmm Cherry Baby
Cherry, Cherry oh yeah
Cherry, Cherry Baby
Cherry, Cherry oh oh

When the master key has locked the gate.
I lay down my weary head and wait.
My dreams fly across the endless miles.
Then I'll see your precious eyes awhile.
Oh, can't you see.
You're never going to get away from me.
Cause you're so sweet.
I've got to have you.

Til they say that I am free and clear.
This old heart of mine will keep you near.
I just pray you won't forget me here.
Cause you're my soul, my pretty little.

Good stuff!
Casey Chambers