Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sonic Youth, Son Volt, Slint (,Springsteen?)

...."Sonic Youth, Son Volt, Slint," certainly not in that order necessarily, is how i once explained my own rock inclinations to I-think-it-was-Kevin. and it's safe to say that even when i'm not spinning these groups' records, and even if they're not necessarily making new ones, these groups and their spin-offs and their descendAnts cover a lot of the primo ground in my playlists and in my life-world and in my old guitar-playing. (i used to play guitar, but i hate it these days.)

add Springsteen to the mix and the whole business gets grounded in my ancestral irish-catholic-agnostic-industrial place, New Jersey ("in the morning/like a lunar landscape" - le Boss). plus in recent years, particularly my Compin'/Falcon run of the mid 2000s, i enjoyed a BS renaissance around the Rising/Devils and Dust... but mostly that long, astonishing solo tour.

anywho, both my everyday life and my web-rock navigations seem so often to circle 'round and nestle in near these four luminary proper nouns and them discourses attached to 'em. in the future (on this blog or some other), i'm going to make a reoccuring suite of posts outta this threesome(/foursome?)... goodness knows these bands have rocked me for oh-so-long in oh-so-many thrilling ways: now i'll see if they work as an heuristic device.

the most interesting slint-thing i have to report is that pajo's blog is reaching pretty high heights these days. i am a longtime follower of Pajo's music and writing, and for many years frequented his (once very active) message board. the man cover's a lot of ground, see? first there are his thrown-off, variably opaque aphorisms:
Unsuit yourself from the blindness in your life. I don't hold it against the little ones, too pure to understand an adult's weakness. I hold it against those that don't preserve what they own.
and then there're the rare occasions when his writing runs into the (wholly?) autobiographical, and names are named, et al. what's more, pajo's writing in these pockets reminds me of other people i admire like Tuthtfuth and Minx:

I walked backstage looking for my guitar case. I was in some other time zone. It was a circus back there, all fake mustaches and tutus.

Someone shook my hand and told me they loved the set. I recognized him as Jeff Tweedy only because he'd just recorded with my pal Jim O' Rourke. I didn't know anything about Wilco and I still don't.

If I'm a poser it's because I act like I'm not terrified.

Over the years I have honed the act. There are imperceptible clues but who cares about a twitch of the eye? Or a long bathroom break? There is no part of me that likes all those lights on me, all those eyes on me.

I stand before you to scrutinize, not because I enjoy it but because someone wants to see me. I do it for them.

And for money.

meanwhile Sonic Youth have continued their careering, self-releasing more experimental lps, performing Daydream Nation in its entirety at the occasional festival, and relatedly, sprinkling wholesome amounts of back catalog in their regular touring. i really admire their relentless remastering and reissuing, and really wish i could afford that 2 X LP Goo that comes with those semi-legendary Don Fleming demos. lately i have been enjoying this vast, completely authorized resource for additional face-melting live materials. in particular i have enjoyed the period coinciding with the lovely and underrated 1,000 Leaves. who else knows this one? it's a fave, and the live versions are even higher favored (by the Great Favorer, me).

, there's a new Bruce Springsteen and E Street coming in Jan. who knows? as Brown Beard and Mike Lupica'll tell you, if you care to ask, that last one, Magic, was really quite alright. Just no more of that Pete Seeger crap, huh? And no overly-overt paeans to the President-Elect on this next alb, right?

being on the verge of a cardinology review, i have had occasion to think fondly of jay farrar's very quiet, maybe even morose outward disposition. but it gets a bit ridiculous when fans know that there are two albums in the can (one SV, one Gob Iron) and a soundtrack to a film that's circulating about, but we cannot even get an update on the damned webpage since feb of this Year. it begs a broader question: to what extent do yr fave bands have a "web presence?" do you suppose it effects yr enthusiasm for the outfit? maybe you don't even read about music on the interweb - i mean, do you? if so, where? do you read about music anywhere? do you write about it anywhere? think about it ever?

i think i used to think a lot about music, but now i think about other things and project it onto record albs. in particular i like that 180-gram vinyl. and always tapes.


gabbagabbahey said...

yes, music needs more heuristic devices... (I do know what that means, or at least I think I do; either way, it's pretty egregious...)

nice list of bands I either absolutely love (Slint) have nover heard (Son Volt) or follow in part (Springsteen, Sonic Youth - I'm up to SYR4 I think at the moment, while at the same time I really just like the smooth poppiness of Rather Ripped)

"i think i used to think a lot about music, but now i think about other things and project it onto record albs". true for me to. next up, the difference between the organic and the mechanical in the art of Hoover...

Car Carpet said...

yeah, i think about music all the time:

lex dexter said...


if you manage a hoover/durkheim post i'll have to send you some kind of trophy?

the problem with eugene, OR is that most of its more celebrated produce doesn't mail well.

gabbagabbahey said...

sorry, I don't do well in sociological situations...

but on a combination Hoover-ish/Slint-y topic, have you seen the latest offshoot from my Hoover project:

I put the link in kind of late on my own blog, so you might not have seen it. There should be lots of good writing there. I'm digging the For Carnation-like, but richer, sounds of Rex at the moment said...

first off, lex, i'll take partial credit for the "sonic youth, son volt, slint" comment, for I think i at least noted the SY/farrar-tweedy connection when i first heard the Falcon (at a union benefit). no matter. i like the idea of this triumvirate.

second off, i'm experiencing a rex renaissance up here myself. glad to know i'm not alone. can anybody fill me in on the "where are they now" front?

gabbagabbahey said...

'hoover/durkheim post' oh, I get it now *looks up index in undergraduate politics book*... Durkheim - anomie - Hoover

lex dexter said...

kev, you can have as much credit as you like. i seem to recall the initial "SY/SV/SL" conv. taking place - mebbe avec Scott - at John Henry's. now go to for a link to the emergent June of 44 genealogy project, and all the Rex info you could want.

durkheim famously distinguished btw. "organic" and "mechanical" solidarities w/i social groups - hence the durkheim reference after yr initial comment. anomie's one of those terms i doubt my own understanding of, at this point.