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Subject: Chalkhills Digest #10-62


         Chalkhills Digest, Volume 10, Number 62

                 Friday, 31 December 2004

Topics:

                        Top 3....
                    My top 10 of 2004
                    Top 10 CDs of 2004
                     Re: Best of 2004
       O&L gold vs. reissue / Yazbek's new musical
                        Mommyheads
                       Happy 2005!

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Hello.  This is Andy Partridge from XTC.  Have a psychedelic christmas, and a
great new year.  And remember: DON'T drink and drive; DON'T sacrifice goats if
you intend to use heavy machinery; and DON'T boil your best friends in vats of
their own phlegm if you intend to go hanggliding much...more...often...

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Date: Wed, 29 Dec 2004 02:04:55 -0500
From: "James Campbell" <jquatz@hotmail.com>
Subject: Top 3....
Message-ID: <BAY102-F30F58230E9ECFE6FF361D1CE9B0@phx.gbl>

Hi Chalkheads....coming up for air and a quick post from Lurkland.  Time
for the inundation of Top lists for 2004, here is my contribution.....

I managed to buy *three* whole albums this year, as I continue my
now multi-year XTC withdrawl.  I guess I find record buying just boring
compared to the glee in unwrapping a new Partridge/Moulding recording
(or Goodness, what I'd give for a Jellyfish album).  Its just not as fun.
Note....frankly, the Warbles don't do it for me.  Its been argued here
before, you either are or you aren't....I guess I'm not...

Anyway, three albums...

1.) Keep Your Wig On - Fastball - These guys had the smash XTC never
could manage.  Don't blame 'em for it....it was as smart, and well
recorded a track as anything our boys could've managed.  Their latest is
really a fine album, with nary a dull track.  Southern U.S. roots in
every song, its worth every penny, start to end.....this trio deserves
better....sound familiar?

2.) Mosquitos - Mosquitos - I thought Natalie Merchant had spoiled
me for all waif-like frontwomen to come, then JuJu Stulbach came
along.....dig the portuguese and shake that booty.....

3.) Mosquitos - Sunshine Barato - The follow up CD....two releases
in one year, imagine that?  A neat band who really scores on the
average of every other track.....not a bad hit rate nowadays I
suppose.  Check 'em out.....www.mosquitosnyc.com.....

Happy new year folks....jc

------------------------------

Date: Tue, 28 Dec 2004 23:39:40 -0800 (PST)
From: Tyler Hewitt <tahewitt@yahoo.com>
Subject: My top 10 of 2004
Message-ID: <20041229073940.80657.qmail@web51709.mail.yahoo.com>

Here's my top ten of 2004.
Instead of limiting myself to music, I took the
Artforum approach and made a list of the best of
everything that captured my attention this year.
Everything influences everything, it seemed to make
sense to make my list this way. I tried to put them in
order, but ultimately, numerical order is secondary to
their having made the list at all.
Tyler

1.	Bjork: Medulla
	The best album I heard this year (I love a good
challenge!). A difficult listen at times, but so worth
the effort. By turns joyous, creepy, and breathtaking.
I've listened to this more than Fuzzy's 5&6, the new
Tom Waits, and all the other cds on this list
combined.

2. 	Erik LaGattuta: "Shuhkawgo" at Gescheidle Gallery
	Full disclosure: Erik is one of my best friends, and
I've modeled for him (I'm in three of the paintings in
this series). That said, I am constantly amazed at the
scope and quality of his work. This series is his most
ambitious work yet, a series of thematically linked
paintings, done in an old master style, depicting a
dystopic, future Chicago inhabited by warring colonies
of genetically engineered post-humans. Creepy, yet
beautiful, and featuring a virtuosic painting
technique. Why he isn't famous is beyond me. You can
see this work at http://www.gescheidle.com/. Click on
past exhibitions, and go to Jan, 2004. A gold star if
you can guess where I am in the paintings!

3.	Barack Obama
	By now, almost everyone has heard of the formerly
unknown Illinois state representative who rose to
international fame after giving the keynote address at
the Democratic convention. In November, he became the
third African American elected to the US Senate since
Reconstruction. What puts Obama on my list is that I
spent most of 2004 as a volunteer in his election
campaign. This was the first campaign I've ever worked
on, so I have nothing to compare it to. It seemed,
however, to be very grassroots in nature, and always
strapped for cash. Sometimes finding a stapler or a
computer that actually worked in the campaign office
was a challenge. I called prospective voters, stapled
yard signs, went door-to-door registering voters in
the heart of South side Chicago, and met a lot of
friendly people. I also had occasion to chat casually
with Senator Obama a few times, something that I will
likely never have the opportunity to do again.

4.	The Daily Show
	The most honest political reporting to be found
anywhere this year. It's disturbing, but not
surprising, that given the current state of tv news
reporting (equivocation while invoking fairness, or,
in the case of Fox news, outright and deliberate
bias), a satiric comedy show won a Peabody award for
their coverage of political issues.

5.	The Venture Brothers
	Nifty new animated series on the Cartoon Network's
Adult Swim lineup. It's a parody of Jonny Quest, but
takes off from there and goes wherever the hell it
wants to. Pop culture references abound (the writers
are obviously Bowie aficionados), as does the crude
humor present in much of the original Adult Swim
programming. The adolescent crotch-level humor is kept
in check by clever writing, arching storylines, and
good animation. Great original music by Jim `Foetus'
Thirwell ( a sort of jazz/lounge pastiche), tv's
sexiest character (the malevolent yet soft hearted Dr.
Girlfriend) the and the best opening credits of any tv
series, ever. I sure hope it gets renewed for a second
season.

6.	Slapp Happy/Henry Cow: Desperate Straights
	Best reissue cd of the year. The first record made by
the pairing of naive popsters Slapp Happy with art
rockers Henry Cow, originally released in 1975 or
thereabouts. To my ears, it's more Slappy than Cowy,
and it's a delightful listen. Peter Blegvad's
intellectual yet goofy lyrics are as good as any he's
ever written, and the music has that 70's progressive
coating without losing its chewy pop core.

7.	Ralph Eugene Meatyard at International Center of
Photography
	OK, I haven't traveled to New York to see this show,
but I did buy the catalog. If the show is even half as
good as the book, it would be worth the trip. The
catalog is the best art book of the year, with great
reproductions of Meatyard's photographs and writing by
Guy Davenport. Underappreciated during his lifetime,
Meatyard's photographs have received increased
critical attention in the years since his death in the
early `70's. On one level these are interesting
compositions made by placing his friends and family
members in decaying buildings. They work on many
different levels symbolically, however, and often
become stronger on repeated viewings. Wonderful,
challenging images made by a true master.

8.	BUMP OF CHICKEN:  Yggdrasil
	Titled after the `world tree' in Norse mythology, the
fourth album by oddly-named Japanese rockers BUMP OF
CHICKEN finds the band extending their reach and
delivering their most varied and ambitious album yet.
Acoustic numbers and short instrumental tracks balance
the harder songs, which are more fleshed out and have
fuller production than on previous albums. So what if
you might not be able to understand the Japanese
lyrics. The music is really great.

9.	Harry and the Potters
	Two brothers who both dress up like Harry Potter and
perform original songs that retell episodes from the
Harry Potter books. Definitely of the low-fi,
amateurish aesthetic (by choice or ability I'm not
sure). Think of The Modern Lovers as a couple of
untrained high school kids and you're pretty close.
They released their second cd, `Voldemort Can't Stop
the Rock', this year, and celebrated by touring the
US, playing libraries and bookstores. I was one of
about 20 people in attendance when they played in a
feminist bookstore in Chicago last July. It was way
more fun than it had any right to be. Check them out
here: http://www.eskimolabs.com/hp/news.htm. There's a
couple of songs you can download, and you can buy
their cds if you're a geek like me.

10.	Teen Titans season 3
	I don't watch much tv at all (even though there are
three tv shows on this list), and probably 80-90% of
what I watch is animated shows. For all the animation
I watch, however, I could never really `get' anime.
That is, until I found Cartoon Network's Teen Titans
last summer. It's done in a sort of fake anime style.
This seems to annoy hardcore anime fans, but for me,
it served as a sort of primer for anime. I understand
it much better now that I've taken the Teen Titans
tutorial. The current season has dropped some of the
anime conventions, and what remains is a consistently
well-animated show. It's bright, and fast moving.
Visual references, tributes, and in-jokes abound.  The
writing, which was always pretty good, has improved
greatly from previous seasons. While aimed squarely at
the10 and under crowd, the writers have figured out
how to add complexity and emotional depth without
losing the kiddy appeal.

------------------------------

Date: Wed, 29 Dec 2004 16:11:31 +0000
From: "M Tiegler" <tiegler@hotmail.com>
Subject: Top 10 CDs of 2004
Message-ID: <BAY24-F34250DCA7A1C79D89CA81CAB9B0@phx.gbl>

I've enjoyed receiving the Chalkhills postings all year.  Thanks for your
thoughts, recommendations, and ideas.

Here are some of my favorite 2004 releases in no particular order:

     "Everyone is Here"  The Finn Brothers
As solid as anything Neil or Crowded House ever released

     "Dotted Line"  Scott Bennett
  [of Brian Wilson Band.  Brian called him "the best musician I've ever
met"]
best way to describe his music is:  melodic sensibilities of XTC + vocal
abilities of Jeff Buckley + musical aptitude of Brian Wilson.  LISTEN HERE:
http://www.notlame.com/index.htm?action=product&itemid=171914&parentid=

"Kitchen Radio"  Peter Mulvey
    His songwriting is fantastic and his guitar playing is something you
must see live.  Trust me.
LISTEN HERE:  http://www.petermulvey.com/music.html

"Good News for People Who Like Bad News"  Modest Mouse
   Don't let their new found fame fool you.  This record is fantastic.

BEST RECORDS EVER THAT YOU'VE (likely) NEVER HEARD:

"The Subversive Sounds of Love"  Frisbie
  (one of the best power pop bands ever.  From Chicago)
LISTEN HERE:   http://www.digfrisbie.com/sounds.html         "Pollyanna"
"Shine"  "Vertigogo"

"Chutes Too Narrow"  The Shins
   These guys give me hope that great pop can be intelligent, inventive and
complex.

"Matinee"  Torben Floor
    Singer Carey Ott has the voice of Thom York (Radiohead) but the songs
are alternate reality Beatles.  Perfect pop record.
   LISTEN:  http://www.beautyrockrecords.com/torben_floor_beautypage.htm

"Precious"  Ours
   Singer Jimmy Gnecco is peer to Freddy Murcury and Jeff Buckley but has
his own distict sound.  Great pop that rocks hard.  I could listen to this
record every day.
   LISTEN HERE:
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00006WKY0/chalkhills

------------------------------

Date: Wed, 29 Dec 2004 11:49:15 -0800 (PST)
From: The Colonel <captainextraneous@yahoo.com>
Subject: Re: Best of 2004
Message-ID: <20041229194915.26572.qmail@web41215.mail.yahoo.com>

Here's my two cents!

1.	BRIAN WILSON - Smile
2.	GREEN DAY - American Idiot
3.	OF MONTREAL - Satanic Panic In The Attic
4.	HEAD OF FEMUR - Ringodom Or Proctor
5.	DOGS DIE IN HOT CARS - Please Describe Yourself
6.	ARCADE FIRE - Funeral
7.	ROGUE WAVE - Out of the Shadow
8.	WILLIAM SHATNER - Has Been
9.	AIR - Talkie Walkie
10.	THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS - The Spine
11.	A.C. NEWMAN - The Slow Wonder
12.	THE DELGADOS - Universal Audio
13.	THE FIERY FURNACES - Blueberry Boat / Single Again
14.	SAHARA HOTNIGHTS - Kiss & Tell
15.	FRANK BLACK - Frank Black Francis
16.	FRANZ FERDINAND - Franz Ferdinand
17.	THE POLYPHONIC SPREE - Together We're Heavy
18.	THE HIVES - Tyrannosaurus Hives
19.	THE LIKE YOUNG - So Serious
20.	THE FUTUREHEADS - The Futureheads

*Added the Single Again tracks to the Fiery Furnaces,
which I know is kind of cheating, but they're the best
things FF have done in a long time!

**I wanted to love the Futureheads disc, but for some
reason, I had a heck of a time getting into it (and
White Music, Drums & Wires, etc. are some of my fave
XTC albums). I found the Dogs Die In Hot Cars disc
much more appealing, mainly because I thought they had
much better songs. Oh well, to each his own.

***Of Montreal and Head Of Femur are two of the most
overlooked bands of the year. Check out their latest
if you have a chance! And believe it or not, the Ben
Folds-produced William Shatner release, 'Has Been,' is
much better than it has any right to be.

Okay, back to work now.

Happy New Year, all.

-Patrick

------------------------------

Date: Thu, 30 Dec 2004 14:57:46 -0700
From: Jeremy Mathews <jeremy@red-mag.com>
Subject: O&L gold vs. reissue / Yazbek's new musical
Message-ID: <D6DF7296-5AAD-11D9-A030-000A95D0CF3A@red-mag.com>

Hello,

It's been a long time since I've posted, but I was wondering if anyone
could advise me on the sound quality of the Oranges and Lemons reissue
vs. the old Masterdisc gold release, which I already own. As I've tried
to buy all the reissues, I've grown increasingly unimpressed by the
packaging, despite Caroline Records' bragging about "standardizing" the
artwork to an eight-page booklet that dedicates much of its space to an
ad for the reissues. For Nonsuch and Black Sea, I tried buying the
Japanese releases, which are supposed to preserve the original vinyl
packaging with cardboard sleeves, but go one worse than the Caroline
reissues by stretching and ruining the cover art.

So, to sum up: Since the packaging will only make me mad that I spent
money on the O&L reissue, is it worth it just for the sound improvement
over the gold disc? (Skylarking was because it restored the UK
sequence.)

Also, has anyone in the San Diego area caught XTC friend, collaborator
and sharer of admirers David Yazbek's new musical, Dirty Rotten
Scoundrels? I remember some Chalkhillians offered a sneak peak at The
Full Monty when it came out.

Thanks!

Jeremy Mathews
NSPS - Avant Pop for the Next Generation
www.nsps.net

------------------------------

Date: Thu, 30 Dec 2004 19:38:16 -0500
From: Frank McDonnell <fmcdonne@optonline.net>
Subject: Mommyheads
Message-ID: <002f01c4eed1$04733090$6f6e2f18@DFQGJC21>

I will give a STRONG second to Michael Versaci's recommendation of the
Mommyheads album, Bingham's Hole.  There are some fantastic grooves on
this album, particularly the title track, Pig In a Blanket and Needmore,
Pennsylvania.  It is their best work, but there are good things to be
said for their Don Was-produced major label eponymous album, which
doubled as their swan song.   I had the pleasure of seeing them live in
Portland, Oregon while I was in college; they kicked the horse's ass.

Frank

------------------------------

Date: Fri, 31 Dec 2004 09:16:31 -0500
From: Benjamin Gott <bgott@rectoryschool.org>
Subject: Happy 2005!
Message-ID: <9195C08E-5B36-11D9-8606-000D9328AB7A@rectoryschool.org>

One and all,

Just a note to wish everyone a happy, healthy 2005.  Here's hoping it
will be filled with a little less stress, a little more fun, and a lot
more great music!

I've enjoyed most of the new music I've bought this year, which is very
unusual.  Robyn Hitchcock's "Spooked," Brian Wilson's "Smile," Jason
Falkner's "Bliss Descending," Chris Stamey's "Travels in the South,"
and, weirdly enough, Gwen Stefani's "Love.Angel.Music.Baby" have been
some favourites.  I've also had the chance to discover and re-discover
some great early-1990s bands after reading John Harris's "Britpop: Cool
Britannia and the Spectacular Demise of English Rock" (published in the
U.K. as "The Last Party").

Finally, and on a more serious note, Bob Herbert wrote a chilling op-ed
piece in today's New York Times about the devistation in Asia that
began as follows: "One moment the kids were laughing and skylarking on
the beach, yelling and chasing one another, sweating in the warm bright
sun. The next moment they were gone."  A perfect use of an obscure
term, don't you think?

-Ben

--
Benjamin Gott
Departments of English & Reading
Assistant Director of Admission
http://www.rectoryschool.org

------------------------------

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