Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Sometimes I Go To Church, Just to Watch Her Pray.

The Citizens - Blusher - The Citizens are full of the hallmarks of pretentious prog. Oblique lyrics (Sally got smacked / With a blue knapsack / before she passed out from blood loss and boredom.), constant time changes with no regard for structure, and a lead singer with the sort of rich, operatic tenor, that most of the pretentious 70's bands I'm referring to would kill for. But this isn't prog. It's pop in the purest sense, a 3 minute nugget of singalong nonsense and dance able beats that I'm convinced, that, were it to come from a certain Atlanta based hiphop duo, and not 4 white guys in Fedoras from New York, it would be storming up the charts right now.

The Citizens - Kaleidescope (Do You Recall?) - But really, the Citizens debut album, Are We There Yet?, shines on it's ballads. Kaleidescope is a gorgeous little slipe of classic pop. Delicately strummed guitar, and those vocals. At the 2:50 mark, they kick into high gear, drums and cymbals crashing around, and words just seem to float in an absolutely gorgeous atmosphere before the song goes into a break full of fuzz and everything falls apart. A shattered memory, only to once again be pulled together by those vocals. Multitracked and gorgeous. Reminiscent of Jeff Buckley, or a young Bono on a high note. Epic and excellent.

[Buy Are We There Yet? from Insound.com and get 10% off with the coupon code "Indie Dance"]

The Kleptones - Bite - Things are gettin INTERESTIN now. "Another One Bites the Dust." ODB's "Baby I Got Your Money". And a hint of Justin Timberlake to kick things off. It fuckin works and then some. ODB's insane confrontational cadence works perfectly over the gutterfunk of what will always, for my money, be Queens finest moment. R.I.P. Dirty.

[Buy Justified by Justin Timberlake from Insound.com and get 10% off with the coupon code "Indie Dance"]

[Buy Nigga Please by ODB from Insound.com and get 10% off with the coupon code "Indie Dance"]

[Buy The Game by Queen from Insound.com and get 10% off with the coupon code "Indie Dance"]

Monday, November 29, 2004

It isn't just the lyrics, it's the BEAT!

The Fatales - Ministry of Defense - If there's a dominant mode in current indie rock, I'd have to say it's probably tension. Interpol was the first band to realize that the vein was running through everything that was going on, stick the needle in, and tap that shit, but since then, bands as diverse as the Arcade Fire, !!!, and Panthers seem to have picked up on it and run with it. Add the Fatales to that list. I was sent Pretty In Pixels, the fatales debut EP, by their manager, who also does some occasional blogging as part of the crew over at Verbose Coma. "Ministry of Defense" is a rocking number, reminiscent of Interpols recent direction in it's singalong chorus, Joy Division-esque vocals, and edges filled out with flashes of xylophone and cello, adding a trace melodicism, and hints of a shoegazer aesthetic to the whole affair.

[Buy Pretty In Pixels from Insound!]

Emiliana Torrini - Nothing Brings Me Down - It seems like everyone is in love with Joanna Newsome these dayse. There's clearly a reason for it. The woman has one hell of a voice, and the songs she writes are breathtakingly gorgeous. But personally, I was more struck by a recent discovery of mine, Emiliana Torrini. She operates in similar territory to Newsome, but where Newsome gets choked up, and is hushed, Torrini isn't afraid to let her voice soar over gently picked guitar chords. Truly beautiful folk pop.

[The Fishermans Woman EP is very expensive from Amazon.com but you can Buy Love in The Time of Science from Insound much more affordably.]

The Kleptones - Live - Propulsive, rocking, powerful. Evocative of everything that makes rock and roll exhillirating, and dangerous. A Killer single. Samples from Queen, and Afrika Bambaataa.

[Buy Afrika Bambaataa CD's from Insound.com]
[Buy Queen from Insound.com!]

A reminder: Insound.com is offering a special 10% discount to TTIKTDA readers, through December 6th. Just enter the code "Indie Dance" at checkout, and 10% will be deducted from your order.

Friday, November 26, 2004

Teaching the Indie Kids to Drink Again.

The Burdocks - Battle of the Band - The Burdocks are from Canada. I lost their press release, so I can't really hide behind the music writers classic shield of Biography this time around. Instead, I'm stuck talking about the music. And such music! The Burdocks produce Indie Rock in the oldest sense of the word. Close to the chest, cathartic, melodic, jagged pop riffs and anthemic choruses, produced on old tape decks with passion and energy than skill. Battle of the Band is like all 4 Guided By Voices song templates smashed together into one epic jangled masterpiece. Alternating between slow, sparse despondent verses and a rousing chorus full of spiky riffs and fist pumping power. When the song dissolves into a wall of noise and feedback, it slowly mutes itself, recovers some melody, and rediscovers it's starting point - rebirth rather than death, it's an excellent finish to the Burdocks self-produced debut. They're working on an LP in a studio now, and I have high hopes for it.

The Burdocks - Save The World - Save the World hews a bit more closely to the Alien Lanes/Isolation Drills - era Guided By Voices formula explored in places elsewhere to the album, to excellent effect. Catchy power-pop hasn't sounded this good in ages.

[Buy Airplane Tracks from Sonic Unyon!]

Saturday Looks Good To Me - Alcohol - You may be wondering about the title of todays entry. Well, for those of you that don't know, today is my 21st Birthday. For those of you that aren't from the States, 21 is the legal drinking age here. So I'm offering up this probably overplayed Saturday Looks Good to Me song, as Part One of my Birthday Gift To You. It's a great song, distorted buzzsaws of 60's guitar, rich, melodious girl-pop vocals, sound as if they're coming out of the distance, perhaps truly being sung from that Liquor Store on the Ocean Floor. it was a tough choice between this song and the New Pornographers "Slow Descent Into Alcoholism". I went for the one I figured fewer people have heard.

[Buy All Your Summer Songs from Insound.com!]

That brings me to gift #2 for you guys. In the old tradition of GIVING gifts on ones birthday, I'd like to give you all a coupon for 10% off of ANYTHING you'd like to buy from Insound.com. Just enter the coupon code "indie dance" at checkout, and 10% will be deducted from your order. And if you click through from here, I'll get a cut. Which would be nice. They have a lot of great music for you to buy over there.

A few other Notes and Things.

Blogtheque is one of the best French Mp3 Blogs on the net, and now they've put together a fantastic bilingual mix CD entitled Point D'Ecoute full of great MP3's, including one previously featured TTIKTDA track. You should all go download it, because it is good.

Also, a quick note since a few people have asked about RSS Enclosures and Podcasting and such: TTIKTDA will never be Podcast. I post copyrighted MP3's here, and not always with permission. The nature of what I do is inexorably tied up in attachign the writings to the songs. Please, don't request just the music as enclosures. It isn't going to happen.

Opsound is a killer new label that is releasing all of their music under a Creative Commons liscense, and will be putting out their first release, by Catalpa Catalpa next week. You can listen to the whole thing online, but you should buy it because the packaging is fantastic. If you are in New York, you should come to the release party next week:

More Kleptones and more great music on Monday.

I'm off to get hammered.

Monday, November 22, 2004

I can't tell one from another.

The Arcade Fire - Naive Melody (This Must Be The Place) (Talking Heads Cover) (CBC Studio Session) - That may take the record for the most parenthetical statements in a song title I've posted here. Well, a few weeks ago, I said you wouldn't be getting a rare Arcade Fire bootleg. Well, you can have it now. Last week, the CBC recorded a studio session with the Arcade Fire of 5 songs, including, at last, a high quality recording of the bands cover of the Talking Heads' "Naive Melody". It's a change of pace for the Arcade Fire, with a number of new isntruments added to their (already formidable) arsenal specifically for the song - most notably steel drums and xylophones that give it a very tropical bent. But mostly, this is a chance for Win to show off his vocals and prove that he really does have that same sort of nervous energy that made David Byrne such a great and unique frontman. But where Byrne stuttered endearingly, Win howls and screams. Where Byrne would say as much with the silences of his clipped words as he would with his long notes, Butlers notes trail off into oblivion - not so much nervous as alternately enraptured and horrified. Have I mentioned recently how much I love the Arcade Fire?

[Listen to the whole session of the Arcade Fire on CBC Radio 3 Online, and read the great article. Bruce Springsteen couldn't get a copy of Funeral!]
[Buy Funeral From Amazon.com!]

Carissas Wierd - Die - They coulda been contenders. They coulda been huge. They were on the road to being legends. Such is the now eternal lament of the Carissa's Wierd fan. The band broke up about a year ago, after a legnthy farewell tour, and has just released a second posthumous album. (The first, Scrap Book was a collection of B-Sides and covers). And while I've always been a fan, it really has taken the post-breakup release of I Before E to make me one of the converted on the bands potential legend. More particularly, it took "Die". For the most part, I before E is a collection of live material. But the first 3 tracks are new songs that the band had been touring, and felt it was right to give studio versions of to the fans. One last parting gift. And what a gift Die is. The band is clearly more confident than ever, as vocals are pushed way to the front and multitracked into a layered call and response that I can only dream of having caught live on that farewell tour. Most notable though is the songs instrumental density. In the past Carissa's Wierd songs were mainly notable for being extremely sparse affairs - as desolate as their often spiteful subject matter. But "Die" is hate of a different color. Well fed and all grown up, this is what CW could've been. It's a huge loss.

[Buy I Before E from Amazon.com!]

The Kleptones - See - Continuing what began last week, I will be syndicating the entirety of A Night at the Hip Hopera, continuing with track 2, "See" takes Queens "One Vision" and mashes it with some old school hip-hop - most notably KRS-Ones Rap vs. Hip Hop's (B-Side to Sound of The Police) academic tone, and Grandmaster Flash's classic single "The Message," which is about as close as the genres come to Operas scope with it's true tale of Social Decay is the pessimistic dark mirror of Queens "One Vision" optimism. The song finishes out with some Kelis... it's only going up...

[Buy Krs-One's Return of the Boom-Bap from Amazon.com]
[ Buy Message from Beat Street: The Best of Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five from Amazon.com]
[Buy Kelis's Tasty from Amazon.com]
[Buy Queen's A Kind of Magic From Amazon.com]

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

I'd like to eat rice cakes and listen to classical music

Buck 65 - Wicked & Weird - Yesterday I promised, as Fatcitizen noted in a comment, some Buck 65. The occasion? He's finally getting a US Release! In January, Virgin will drop This Here is Buck 65 a compilation of some of Bucks greatest stuff from the past few years as the US's introduction to Canadas foremost white trash rapper. Wicked & Weird seems to be the radio single at the moment, and it's a fine choice for an introduction to Buck. The backing track is Beck-esque mix of equal parts country-funk and spacey electro blues, with a dash of turntablism, but what carries the song is Bucks utterly inimitable MC-ing. The voice is a ciggarette and whiskey scorched gravel reminiscent of Tom Waits in some ways, or what Kid Rock was always trying to be, and the rhymes are as tight as anything coming out of the conventional, urban hip-hop world - but it's the subject matter that sets Buck apart. Self aggrandizing, with the tossed off Jesus reference, sure, but this is a song about and for the road - thats clear all throughout, and besides, lines like "Back on the road, not a moment too soon / Dish ran away with some other spoon" are just classics.

Buck 65 - Centaur (Acoustic Version) - But This Here Is isn't entirely repackaged Buck tracks. There's a pair of new cuts too, particularly this alternate, acoustic take on the classic track "Centaur". Narrowly skirting the line between mythology and metaphor, "Centaur" is both novelty track and the heartbreaking lament of a man who just wants some privacy and some honesty. The acoustic take plays up the more serious side of the song (in part because the lyrics are cleaned up a bit, probably at the request of Virgin for a single), with a slow, melodic take on the instrumental, and a vocal track that plods through depressed and lonely.

[This Here Is drops in January. Those who can't wait should pick up Talkin' Honky Blues from Amazon.com]

In other news, I'm saddened to note that internet icon Waxy has recieved a C&D from Disney for linking to Mp3's of the Kleptones A Night at the Hip Hopera. For those that haven't heard me say it before, I'll say it now. I think the Kleptones are the absolute masters of the bootleg/mashup genre. They bring a level of technical skill and invetiveness to things that noone else in the game does. Yoshimi Battles the Hip-Hop Robots was good. Hip-Hopera is probably the best bootleg album this year. I can't be one of the many folks out there doing a full album mirror, so I'm gonna do the next best thing. For the next few weeks, I'm going to post this album track by track, along with each days post. And with the track, I'm gonna post links to buy the source of every single sample on the track. And when you buy one of those CD's, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE, post a comment here, so that we can show Disney & the rest of the IP obsessed fools of the world exactly what they are suppressing here.

The Kleptones - Precession - the opening track of the album, is primarily a Queen track, with various snippets of fun dialogue scattered about it. It's nothing special in it's own right, and primarily serves as an introduction to much much much more fun to come. Grab it while it's hot. It's the beginning of something special.

[Buy Queen II from Amazon.com!]

Finally, I'm one of the panelists in Kyle over at Information Leafblowers 2nd annual top 40 American bands poll. Since the Cool Kids are posting their ballots, here's what I sent to Kyle over the weekend. Keep in mind that my list was constructed with the following directions in mind: "...the Top 40 Bands In America today. Not last year when they were hot or when their new record drops in '05, I mean right the fuck now." As a result, the list tends towards acts that have just dropped albums, and/or rising stars. Also, the USA only rules cut off a whole buttload of Canadian bands that would probably dominate my list at the moment. There's something in that northern water I say. I also voted a bit strategically, leaving off a few artists I was convinced would rank well without me. Some did (Interpol), some charted lower than I'd've liked (TV On the Radio), and some amazingly didn't chart (Mission of Burma). That said, here's what I sent Kyle:

1) Gogol Bordello
-- Eugene Hutz has, over the past 3 years, completed his transformation from drunken ukrainean punk to rock and roll god. Gogol Bordellos live performances have become the stuff of legend thanks to his unmatched stage presence and the tightly chained chaos the band can unleash. Gogol Bordello are the most essentially American band out there - a hodgepodge of Immigrants from all over, brought together in NY by gypsy punk rock, and good alcohol, this sounds like nothing else on this earth. Take the mantra to heart: Drink Locally - Fuck Globally.

2) The Fiery Furnaces
-- 'Fork hype aside, the siblings Friedberger have put out an album that managed to challenge every hipster preconception of current music while simultaneously enthralling us with hooks, storytelling, and an album more generally packed full of STUFF than anything else this year.

3) The Mountain Goats
-- John Darnielle is, quite simply, the best working American songwriter. For anyone else, the addition of a band, as Darnielle did on 2002's Tallahassee would have been career suicide, the backlash enormous. But for the Mountain Goats, it was only a logical extension, as Darnielle is still telling the same stories, of broken homes and everlasting hope.

4) Brian Wilson
-- 37 years later, and the mans still got it. Smile is everything we were promised and more.

5) Ted Leo / RX
-- Smart. Literate. Politically charged. Catchy as fuckall. Can anything be said about Ted Leo that hasn't already? Shake the Sheets continues his growing move into his role as the Billy Bragg of a new generation - it suits him.

6) The Hold Steady
-- Like a Heavy Metal Sonic Youth, The Hold Steady burst out of the gate this past winter with "...Almost Killed Me", an album of blazing distorted guitar insanity and a twisted proclamatory lyrical style that is utterly inimitable.

-- Does Metalmouth ever sleep? First he collaborates with Madlib on the fantastic Madvillainy, before assuming his Viktor Vaughn persona for another posse release, and now he's poised to drop MMM FOOD, home to the sickest beats and the best rhymes on the continent at the moment.

8) ...And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead
-- Getting their label to agree to pay for the replacement of all equipment destroyed while on tour was the smartest thing these Texans ever did. As they prepare to release a new album in a few months, they've been touring relentlessly, tearing shit up left and right, and showing hints of a broadened sound that brings in flashes of prog and krautrock to an already explosive mix of no-wave distortion and smart pop song construction.

9) Green Day
-- My teen years have returned from the grave with a political vengance. Who'd've thought Green Day had it in them to return from a decade of mediocrity with the most powerful and anthemic protest album in decades? If President Bush is what it takes to make Punk rock relevant again, than maybe 4 more years is just what the doctor

10) The Decembrists
-- They aren't Neutral Milk Hotel, but noone ever will be. They carry the torch like none other though, and thats more than enough.

And a quick show announcement for New Yorkers: The Blow will be playing at Barnard tomorrow night (tonight?) the 18th, with YACHT, Knife Skills, and Dear Nora. It's 5 bucks. More info at WBAR.org. You should go. Because I can't.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

A lot of stuff happens that the news won't tells yous

MF Doom Featuring Mr. Fantastik - Rapp Snitch Knishes - Ol' Metalface is back, but he hasn't exactly gone away. With his 5th(!!!) release this year by my count, MM...Food?, Doom finally drops the follow up to '99's Doomsday that we've all been waiting for. "Rapp Snitch Knishes", is classic Doom, with squealing, echoed out classic rock guitar doing it's thing in the distance while Doom and Fantastik lay down the rhymes that make the metalman one of the most respected MC's in independent hiphop, lambasting the industry that abandoned him as he was poised to storm the heights. Most of the album is Solo-Doom, so it's nice to hear a collaboration, and in the wake of the disappointing Venemous Villain, a collaborator who can hold his own up against Doom.

MF Doom - Kookiez - If MM... Food? is a three course meal, than "Kookiez" is desert. The track opens with some vintage funk beats, snares and horns, and Doom is in full attack mode, turning from his traditional targets to spam E-mail and moral decline, before giving a litany of shout outs to the great baked goods of the world. The production is absolutely ace here, with some killer drum fills and one of the albums better Cut'n'Paste collage skits in the albums finale - in Dooms world at least, he is poised for the takeover that eluded him a decade ago. "If anyone can do it..."

[Buy MM...Food? from Amazon.com!]

It's rapidly turning in to hip-hop week here at TTIKTDA.

Why not? Tomorrow, some Canadian white-trash Rap-Funk.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Diamonds, Candy, Pills, One Million Dollar Bills.

Handsome Boy Modeling School w/ Cat Power - I've Been Thinking - Dan The Automator has been plenty busy lately. And just when it seems like he's ready to slow down, along comes a project that he's contributed even more to - in this case White People the aptly titled new album from handsome Boy Modeling School. White People brings together the talents of the Automator and Prince Paul - two of the best producers out there, and a litany of rappers both famous (De La Soul, The RZA, Pharell Williams), and Undie (El-P, Cage, Del Tha Funkee Homosapien), with Indie Rockers (The Mars Volta, Alex Kapranos from Franz Ferdinand, Cat Power, Mike Patton), and a few whatthefucks (John Oates, Chester Bennington, Father Guido Sarducci), for an album of smartly produced beatcentric hip-hop and R&B. It's a hit and miss affair. But "I've been thinking" is a firm contender for Flux's idea of hits from an alternate reality. The song is a suffocating, paranoid love ballad, and Chan shows off a side of herself we've never seen, with a soulful vocal performance that would be instantly familiar to anyone - not just her usual audience. Part of it is the reverb, as her vocals multitrack the inherent innocence of her voice away in places("I've been thinking about the things you made me do too"), and and give it a more playful, childish quality in others. While the song at times seems a bit cliche - the paradoxical litany of the "strong unbuyable woman" coexisting in the same song in which said woman begs for the man she insists cannot buy her - it's pretty clear that Chan knows what she's doing here. It's not a case of an artist taking the easiest path to accessibility, but rather, confronted with an opportunity to sing in front of those low key beats and muted strings, to play with a narrowly defined genre normally out of reach - taking it's cliches and it's rules, and using them as boundaries to define herself while she works in other directions, rather than struggling to break through and make something new. Besides, it's completely hypnotic, and nearly the only thing I've listened to this past weekend.

[Buy White People from Amazon.com!]

Snowden - Kill the Power - Snowden are from Atlanta. You wouldn't know it, what with the large NYC photo on the front of their website. You wouldn't know it from their sound either, which is as zeitgeisty as it gets. And you wouldn't know it from their being on the bill at tomorrows NY-centric Movable Hype show at the Knitting Factory in NY tomorrow night, which you NYers should go to. But they're from Atlanta. And Kill the Power, a track from their demo EP, is meant to let New York City know that in the age of the internet, it's not enough to live near the hip people - because they can hear you from anywhere. "Kill the Power" has all the trademarks of a band that looks back to the late 80's. MBVesque distortion scattered about - but rather than pouring it on thick, the shoegaze influence is just a flourish here, as we see equally heavy references to the likes of the Cure, or Joy Division, or drums that recall the Stone Roses on a less frenetic moment.

[NYers should go see Snowden tomorrow. Everyone should download their Demo EP from the website.]

John has the definitive ODB obit, so I don't think I need to bother.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

The soundtrack to the end of the world.

M83 - A Guitar and a Heart - M83 seemed to come out of nowhere last year with Dead Cities, Red Seas and Lost Ghosts, a mammoth album that took the beauty under fuzz aesthetic of a My Bloody Valentine, and fused it with a downright cinematic sense of scope. Dead Cities was a long slow boil of album hype, starting out only availiable as an import from the French label Gooom, before being picked up stateside by Mute. And now, M83, reduced from a duo to, once again, just Anthony Gonzalez, have prepared a follow up, entitled Before the Dawn Heals Us. The sounds are more natural this time, with an increased sense of live instrumentation as the layers strip away, and vocals are introduced, but what comes through the most in the album is an apocalyptic tension. "A Guitar and a Heart" provides the albums climax, picking up in many ways where Dead Cities left off, as elements heard throughout Before the Dawn are reintroduced and brought up to a fever pitch. The mushroom clouds can be seen off in the distance, and it's all we can do to save ourselves. There is fear here, and fury, but most notably, there is a sense of salvation in the distorted wails of guitars, the crunch of what might be boots marching or thousands cheering, and when the noise fades, it goes straight into pastoral bliss.

M83 - Safe - There is however, another sort of climax on Before the Dawn, and it's one that has pretty much divided the folks I've spoken to about this album down the middle. Mainly because it's an enormous departure for M83. The song opens with a quiet, tragic piano line, and vocals by Gonzalez... and, well, aside from some ambient effect, not much gets added - in fact, it strips down to just spoken word in places, though there is some moog organ for drama. For an artist that has built a reputation on sweeping soundscapes and huge dynamics, this is a pretty big gamble, but in my estimation, one that pays off. By placing at the core of the epic scale of the album a song so quiet, so strikingly emotional, everything around it takes on an extra weight. It's a delicate thing to do, but M83 have pulled it off stunningly. The song ends in fireworks, and the sounds of children amazed. Count me among them. Before the Dawn will hit streets on January 25th.

[Buy Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts from Amazon.com!]

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

We could've been - We Should've been Wonderful

Hi again everyone. Things are normal now. It's been rough past week for me, and very little of it having to do with politics. Things should be in order now though. Thanks again for all your kind words on the 11/3 entry. I'm honestly rather surprised at how much it resonated with people, considering that in the weeks leading up to the election, everytime those sentiments would come out of me, I'd end up getting shouted down. Ah well, sometimes peoplle just aren't ready to hear things I guess.

Sukilove - Girl on the Moon - Thick, fuzzy bass. Drums that want to regulate your heartbeat for you. That fat low end is what holds Sukilove together on Girl on the Moon. Against that backdrops, singer Pascal Deweze chants his hypnotic chant, as shrieks and stabs of guitar come in from the ether, unearthly howls from left field, and the random interspersal of handclaps., only to retreat before the assault of rhythym. There's a very tight dynamic at work on Sukiloves third album, You Kill Me, and it shines through on this song, as much like on Spoons Kill the Moonlight, there is a constant conflict between vicious four on the floor rhythyms, gorgeous melodies, and a frontman who just wants to rock. The song goes back and forth, neither side able to claim victory, while Deweeze screams and chants for his unreachable girl.

Sukilove - My Son - the band manages to bring all tose elements into a strange sort of harmony though, on "My Son". The drums lope through the song slowly, setting a slow deliberate pace, in sharp contrast to the manic freneticism of much of the album, but nonetheless pushing always pushing forward. The real difference here is the production though - awash with tiny melodic flourishes, as Deweeze tries his hand at Van Morrisson territory, the song drips with reverb and multitracked backing vocals. He may not reach that plateau, but in the swirl of noise and melody that is Sukilove, Deweze accomplishes something else that is, in it's own way, very admirable, and at it's core, is utterly and firghtneingly honest.

[Buy You Kill Me from Parasol Records!]

In other news, I'm looking to do a redesign, but have absolutely no skills to do so. I'd also strongly consider a move towards Movable Type or WordPress or somesuch and hosting the blog at it's own domain. If anyone out there is interested in lending a hand, get in touch with me. There may be some sort of compensation involved, be it some CD's, or some cash, or whatever we can figure out.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

We've got a whole lot of walking to do.

I had hoped I wouldn't have to write this. I had hoped things might go differently.

But the truth is, I knew all along. I knew the night Kerry shattered expectations in Iowa, that we were setting up to have our hearts broken. I knew the moment Gay Marriage measures got tossed on the ballot in key states like Ohio. I knew the moment Bush took that stage in New York. I knew the day that Terry McAuliffe announced a frontloaded Democratic primary.

So, A lot of shit went down yesterday. We won a few big races around the country. We also lost some big ones too, including a few real major heartbreakers.

But some of the biggest prizes, Senate Seats in Florida, and Alaska are still too close to call, though things don't look very optimistic.

And of course, the biggest prize of all is being held hostage by the people of Ohio, those confused bastards.

But it doesn't look good there either.

But you know what? After all this, in spite of all this, I couldn't be happier about the outcome of this race. To be honest, in many ways, this is what I've secretly wanted this whole time. I hold the somewhat unpopular view that the Democratic party needs this heartbreak. Terry McAuliffe, the old Clinton hack establishment - the party bet the bank on Kerry before the first dollar was raised for the primaries - much less before the first vote was cast. Deans rise and subsequent fall never had any chance of impacting anything. The fix was put in in late 2002 - I remember having conversations about Kerry and knowing he would be the nominee as I worked for Common Cause in Washington that summer. I remember when one of my fellow interns, an awesome fellow named Drew who I sadly completely and totally lost touch with, put me on the trail of this guy Howard Dean, calling him "the future of Democratic politics - if he could ever get through a primary because of the Gun thing." Drew knew what he was talking about in some ways. In others, he and I both were hopelessly naive. The fix was in. We were set up. We've been had.

If you have any energy left. Any outrage to spare, don't spew it at Bush, Rove and company. They are deserving of it, to be sure. Probably moreso than anyone else in this country. But spewing bile at them won't accomplish anything. We had our second chance to turn that rage into change yesterday, and we blew it. At least, for now. But, the third times the charm. After today, McAuliffe and his race to the middle, race to the bottom, frontloaded primary washington insider establishment strategy will have been exposed for the worthless, corporate whore ideology that they are. The worst vestiges of Clintonism can finally be excised, but only if we remain focused, and remember who put us in this situation - of one of the lousiest primary candidates managing to basically clear the table.

In 2000, Democrats, rather than turning from Al Gore and this establishment, and renouncing what had clearly failed them in a terrible campaign, blamed Nader. Nader who drew no more votes than any other third party candidate does normally, was blamed for Gores failings. The man was scapegoated for being completely and totally statistically unremarkable. There's no Nader to blame this time. It shouldn't have been that close last time. And this time, all signs point to Bush widening his margin considerably anyway. This time, we have to understand that we didn't have anything stolen from us. We gave it away.

Ted Leo & The Pharmacists - A Whole Lot of Walking to Do - Let me tell you why I'm so happy about all this though. I've found, in my time as an organizer, that few things are as energizing as a narrow defeat. And this one was close, to be sure. But we have to learn from it. We didn't learn from 2000, we scapegoated. Now, it's time to start doing some homework. It's time, as Kos put it, not to mourn, but to organize. Or, as Ted puts it in Walking to Do - "All those people waving all the big signs - should just quit waiting on the divine." It's not going to come to us people. The man on the white horse does not exist.

If we want to save this country, we've got to save it ourselves.

That means that if the local city council decides to try to impose a curfew - tell them no. And if they don't listen? Vote their asses out. And if no one is willing to run against them? Run yourself.

That means if your State Legislature just banned Gay Marriage, get your friends together, and ORGANIZE. Groups have power. Politicians respond to a lot of things. Money. History. Booze. Sex. Which ones they'll respond to varies. But I'll tell you, there's one thing they all respond to. POWER. And what is power? Power is being able to visibly and loudly demonstrate that you have enough votes to get them out of office. We made a solid start to demonstrating that yesterday. But we won't have true power until we make them realize that we don't just vote when we're pissed off and at war.

In 1964, Barry Goldwater revitalized the Republican party with a new brand of conservatism. He was firey, and radical. He had unprecedented youth support, as 20 year olds flocked to him in droves. He also alienated most of the country and was crushed in a landslide by Democrat Lyndon Johnson. But Goldwaters followers didn't get crushed. They organized. And now, 40 years later, that organization is in full glory.

Which brings me to why I'm happy about yesterday. I've seen more energy this year, than I ever have in my short life. I've seen more power exercised by young voters, whether through MFA, or through NYPIRG, or just walking New York, and not being able to go a block without seeing an anti-bush T Shirt or button or something. If we can keep only half of this energy, then we're headed for a realignment in this country.

But that can only happen if we stop thinking so much in the moment. All of this "most important election of our lives" bullshit. All of this "end of the world if we have 4 more years" bullshit. It needs to stop. Yes, this loss is a tragedy. Yes, thousands more will die now. But if we just go home and cry, we won't stop the draft. If we go home and cry, we won't stop the next war. If we just go home and cry, Jeb or Rudy is going to be elected in 2008, and it's going to keep getting worse. We need to keep this energy alive. The fact is, thousands more would have died if Kerry had won too. The fact is, if Kerry had won, I fear we'd've gotten complacent. We'd've let the Republican congress continue to run roughshod over our environment, our labor laws, and our constitutional rights, all udner the radar while we look at that wonderful D next to President John Kerry's name in the history textbooks.

Instead, this loss gives me hope. It gives me hope because this time we have no one to blame. It gives me hope because now we have nothing to lose. It gives me hope because now we're poised to take over - before, we were just trying to keep the worse guys out.

Ghost Mice - Austin to El Paso - Alright guys, whose with me? Who wants to join the revolution? Keep your browser here. I'm fairly certain that MFA is in this for the long haul (and if it's not, there's gonna be some serious explaining to do). I'm in this for the long haul - hell, I'm already kicking around some plans for some serious work in 2006. But to make it happen, we need you. We need the folks who got engaged in involved this time because it was "the big one". Because the fact is, that in the end, it was just another election and we lost it. It won't be "the big one" until we win. And we won't win until people realize they need to stick around. As Ghost Mice say - "I would be so grateful, just to know that you still care."

I chose the songs in this entry not just because they're great, but because they represent so much of what I'm feeling right now. Yes, we've got a whole lot of work to do, and the chips are down. But the fact is, I'm more hopeful right now than I've been in years. And I'm hopeful because I think, yesterday, it finally clicked with people, what it means to live in a politicized society. I'd like to think that as of yesterday, a lot of people realized just how much this shit means, and just how important they are. I'd like to think that the opportunity we have to say things like this will, for once, matter in a way it hasn't in the past because, for once, people are actually scared, and have no other alternative.

As I said before, I had hoped I wouldn't have to write this. But the times, they do call for it. This is rushed, unedited, and classic bloggy half-assedness in some ways. It's first thoughts in the truest sense. Just so I'm not unclear, I'm gonna give you a brief summary that hopefully clarifies a bit of what I'm trying to get it.

1) Yes, Kerry Lost. It's bad.
2) It's not as bad as many of you will likely make it out to be.
3) America is still the same country it was on November 1st. Thats not a bad thing, but it's not armageddon either.
4) The only thing we can do now is to get organized, and make some real change happen.
5) The key to getting organized is to tap into all the energy thats shown this year, and to redirect it into positive finite tasks. There's a lot of rage and despair right now. We can rack up a lot of small victories in January if we stick together that long. And who knows what we can manage in 2006.
6) If you're pissed off, run for office yourself. There's nothing stopping you, and we need you, now more than ever.
7) If this election serves as the Democrats '64, I can safely call it a success for us, and look forward to many years of long term success.
8) If this isn't our '64, and the party continues to act like a bunch of fucking morons, strike all of the above.

I think that sums it up. Thanks guys. It's been a hell of a ride - please don't step off just yet. Keep your hands and arms inside the vehicle.

Nonpolitical musicblogging will resume soon.

Edit: Some additional Nonsense - I was, in the last weeks, increasingly ambivalent about the prospect of a Bush victory for a few reasons. One of those reasons - the prospect of retaking the Senate, has been shattered before my eyes, and that is possibly the most depressing news of yesterday. But the other, bigger reason, I've alluded to, but didn't really lay out. So let me.

I think that Bush has, over the past 4 years, set this country on an unimaginably bad path. By taking three branches of government, the Republican party has effectively shortcircuited our government and put all sorts of HORRIBLE laws in place. Yes, they will want to do more. But the fact is that Bush got most of what he wanted already. Most of the really horrid Bush changges were subtle and insidious and happened in his first year or two in office. But we're only just feeling the effects of any of it now. The rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. Rumors of a draft. The Patriot Act. The War in Iraq. All of these things are wheels in motion that, regardless of who was elected yesterday, would not have stopped. Kerry as president would have had very little ability to actually reverse course. At best, he might've hemmorhaged the bleeding. But, let's take Iraq as an example - how much could Kerry have done? Either he could've kept us in there until we "win" - a recipe for instability and increased terrorism. Or, he could cut and run - a recipe for instability and increased terrorism. See where I'm going here? No matter what Kerry would do, most of the negative effects of the Bush Administration are going to occur over the next 4 years.

I strongly suspect that there will be a backlash to those negative effects, and I strongly suspect that if they were to occur during a Kerry administration, that John Kerry would be blamed. George Bush made this mess. Let him deal with it. And when the American people finally notice it nationwide - because this news will travel slowly - let him bear the brunt of their wrath. And please, let those of us who knew all along be there to reach out a hand and show the better way.