Minute Observations

Sorry for the radio silence. Thickness of events in the life of J Frank’s ghostwriter.

Doesn’t mean that J Frank couldn’t meanwhile surf the web.

Now then: thanks to former New Yorker Bill for putting me onto the debut, North Pole, by The Primary 5, an offshoot of Teenage Fanclub by TF’s former drummer Paul Quinn. So far, I think the one track I’ve heard, “What Am I Supposed to Do” sounds exactly like later-period Fanclub. Which is to say it’s prettier than most other pop songs out there. And yet falling in a forest devoid of ears.

The Rich Girls are Weeping continues to turn me onto a milky way of music: the Crystal Skulls, for one, who don’t always please me, but have one or two pleasure points isolated in my hippocampus with a specific track or two, no more. There’s something emo, bad emo-ish, in other tunes that I can’t explain away. But the following track is buttah:

Crystal Skulls – Baby Boy

Included in that milkway, RGaW today provides tracks from the syrupy brit-pop of the Veils (me likey their cabaret leanings, however subtle) and the Victorian English Gentlemen’s Club, whose sound, more often than not, straddles the right side of that thin line between ‘retro’ and ‘having influences.’ The right influences, thank you.

Last night, like the rest of the music geek universe, I watched We Jam Econo, the probably defining movie on the Minutemen. Nice and short, like the songs, the flick has perfectamundo live footage that blows even this well-Minutemen-acquainted mind. Funnily enough, although they went against the punk vein, musically, I never really thought of them outside their peers in Black Flag, Saccharine Trust, etc; but watching this, I heard them with new ears, understanding their Beefheart and Pop Group hero worship, but also seeing their influence in the early Boredoms, even. DVD offers some swell extras, especially their “Ain’t no Picnic” video, aka The Best Video of All Time, the video that changed my life one 1 am night when I was 12 watching Nite Flight. Can’t find that on you tube right now, but please settle for a live rendition of my favorite Minutemen song, “Viet Nam.”

I was also shorthaired by my sudden like for their Project: Mersh material, mostly through the great video for their “King of the Hill,” which I had no idea existed. The Minutemen wrote great songs, but they were art projects, an acquired taste, and genius. Project: Mersh proved they could do it all, and do it conventionally, if they wanted to, and that makes me all the sadder that they’d have no future after D. Boon’s death.

This past Friday night, at the Long Blondes with Mr. Tapeworm, I ran into an acquaintance who knew them, and once lived with drummer George Hurley. He told us that Mike Watt starts crying, to this day, whenever he speaks of D. Boon, not just in the flick.

The Minutemen – King of the Hill

Tomorrow: a nice treat. It took oodles of control for me not to leak it today. Hopefully no one beats me to it.

5 thoughts on “Minute Observations

  1. It’s those weird emo-meets-pretzel logic breakdowns that sometimes annoy and make me not love the Crystal Skulls as much as I actually might, were it not for the weird emo-meets-pretzel logic breakdowns. You know?They’re really good live, though. Much like I can’t really take Aloha on record, but love them live.We Jam Econo is one of the best music documentaries made, truly. Every time Mike Watt talks about how D. Boone jumped out of the trees on him, I melt. That was true L-U-V love, my friend.

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  2. That’s right about those emo-breakdowns, and you did note that previously; in myshort term memory lapse(s), I forgot to write that I was agreeing with you. Yeah, the tree-falling story is heartbreaking; I made most of my friends like that around that age. I think Mr. Tapeworm and I first became acquainted via little league, when he made some sort of outrageous statement while we should have been paying attention.

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  3. Was that how it happened? I remember music class. The twisted superhero stories that inevitably involved either the good guy or the bad guy spewing snot or poo or some vile mixture of the two. Or semen. Or period blood. We were 11, so any bodily fluid was funny.By the way, the Minutemen link is pointing to “Political Song for Michael Jackson to Sing.” I’m not complaining, mind you. D. Boon is a vastly underrated guitarist, which I only realized recently.In addition to the great Jam Econo live stuff, there’s also an old Target or Flipside video out there with a great half hour of the Minutemen and a great half hour of Minor Threat. Not sure if they issued those on DVD.

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  4. I’m pretty sure we met via little league – I have a team picture, in which, of course, you’re slouching. It’s how I knew already who you were when you escaped catholic school to our public sanitorium in 6th grade. Music class solidified the insanity.With you on D Boon’s guitar playing – I never noticed how smart it was – just loved its in your faceness. You’re right. The link does give you King of the Hill – I just tried it from a diff machine (im home today). Maybe your machine is mixing up files? Doesn’t matter, really, as you said. PS – wanna/can you play ball with the pickup game on Sun? call that morn if so …

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