Friday, January 21, 2005 at 13:53:28 (EST)

Convince yourself that chill is only ice
This weather blows. I need to do laundry. All that wax potting of my guitar pickups doesn't seem to be solving my feedback problems. Bush is still President. Smoking is still bad for you. I am no better at the saxophone today than I was yesterday.

But tonight I will venture out of my house, again to Williamsburg, to see Parts + Labor and Big Bear at Todd Patrick's new performance space. He doesn't have a name for it yet; indeed, the renovations are not even completed. But they're going ahead with the show anyhow. I just hope the heat is working.

Speaking of works-in-progress, what should the artwork look like for our new 7" record? We should have all the printing supplies in soon, and we want to get it finished ASAFP, of course. But what sort of image/graphic best represents us as a band? We have our marketing department on it, here's the brilliant ideas they have so far:

The wonder of it all!

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Thursday, January 20, 2005 at 14:36:42 (EST)

You look like you just got back from somewhere

At Laila Lounge last night there was a very odd show. Our friend Doug Keith performed as The First Person to See an Elephant, which in of itself is not so strange. But his act was followed by two guys who each in their own way shaped the evolution of what, for lack of a better term, has become known as "indie rock."

First up was Grant Hart, former drummer/singer of Hüsker Dü. It was just him and his guitar, playing a lot of old Hüsker tunes and, I guess, his solo stuff. But it seemed to be mostly the Hüsker Dü stuff. He couldn't remember the words to a lot of the songs, which is forgivable considering how old they are now. But what has this guy been doing all this time? He had an hilarious stage presence, the audience never being quite sure if he was joking or not. He kept harping on people who left the room during his performance, whether or not they were really leaving of just getting another drink. To give you an idea of the tone of his performance, here's an excerpt:

GH: Sometimes I really miss Joey. You guys miss Joey?
AUDIENCE: Yeah. And Dee Dee.
GH: Dee Dee? I don't miss Dee Dee. And I miss Mark Bell, too.
AUDIENCE: But he's still alive ...
GH: (mocking audience voice) "But he's still aliiiive!" I know he's still alive. I just meant I missed the whole 'Mark Bell' thing. Jeez, you guys let yourselves get sucked up into the vortex ... the showbiz vortex.

Finally it was time for David Grubbs to play. His indie-rock honeycomb is heavy with Royal Rock Jelly (sorry, still thinking about beeswax): Squirrel Bait (who themselves owe much to Hüsker Dü) and Gastr Del Sol. His set was good, just him an acoustic guitar, playing really complex stuff and (I think) several GDS songs.

I'd never been to Laila before, it's not a bad little space. I just wish it was down the street from my house instead of a long, cold G train ride away. Ande now, here's a picture of what they do to innocent vegetables in our borough's grocery stores:

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Wednesday, January 19, 2005 at 18:37:53 (EST)

Wasting my money, slapping my face

Has anybody else been getting these letters from the NY State Department of Taxation? They're ostensibly just to tell me they're not sending me the usual tax forms, "To help us reduce printing and mailing costs." Okay, fine, but today they sent me this notice three times today! And I received it before, last week. Buzz has also received 2 so far. All told, it's fewer pages than come in the tax packet, but it still begs the question as to how serious they are about conserving paper.

Same thing when charities send me direct-mail circulars that ask me to use a stamp "to help reduce postage costs" for the charity. Hey, why not just leave me off the list in the first place? Not that I am anti-charity, or even anti-direct mail marketing, but at least have the guts to be straight with your marks. And somebody tell the tax guy to send only checks to this address from now on. And chocolate truffles.

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Wednesday, January 19, 2005 at 14:21:49 (EST)

Stokin' up the fire take it right up to the wire
"Jimmy," you ask, "What do you do if your electric guitar pickups make an unholy, high-pitched squealing sound when the gain is too high on your amp?"

Good question, folks, one I'm sure many of you have experienced. The squealing is known as microphonic feedback, to be differentiated from the slow, swelling, "good" feedback cultivated by Jimmi Hendrix. Well, if you find yourself in this unlucky predicament, here's what I suggest:

The odyssey begins here ...

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Tuesday, January 18, 2005 at 14:26:11 (EST)

Not something I left behind

We got our records back from the pressing plant yesterday! Motico officially exists on vinyl now. So ... who's got a record player? Anyone? Don't fear if you don't have one, we still need to print the jackets, so you have plenty of time to rush out an buy a turntable.

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Monday, January 17, 2005 at 14:05:41 (EST)

How I escaped my certain fate

As promised, The Bowery Ballroom is a really good space to see bands. The Mission of Burma show wasn't overly crowded and the sound was pretty much perfect. But there was one glaring problem. Two words: NO REENTRY. So we felt a little trapped in there. But at least the band kept us transfixed for the entirety of their extremely long set. They played two sets and then played an encore which could have qualified as a set in its own right. All this and the band was apparently fighting off a cold as well. I hope I can do that 25 years from now. I was especially pleased to see that Bob Weston (of Shellac) was present to handle the tape loops for which Mission of Burma is famous. He even joined the band during the encore. Man, that guy has a pretty cool life.

The audience was hilarious. The most energetic members were also probably the oldest people there. The best ones were this pair of Scandinavian dudes with long blond hair, one of the sporting a jacket with a crudely homemade Jam logo. Another guy was sporting the "I'm still cool" ponytail to distract the eye from his totally bald head. Why do guys think this look works? At any rate he was pogoing around like a high schooler (which he probably was the last time he saw Mission of Burma).

Damon and Naomi first came to fame as the other members of Galaxie 500. I have never heard their solo work, but assumed it would be the same sort of slow, smeary pop for which their previous band was famous. Turns out that was all Dean Wareham's doing; their set was, at best, reminiscent of Belle and Sebastian. This didn't sit well with some members of the audience, with some guy in the balcony shouting at them throughout the set. "You suck!" he shouted after every song, and later simply "STOP!" I bet Bob Weston was just itching to get up on the mic to put the heckler in his place, but Damon just whispered "We get this at every show."

It was good to see The Seconds, a band featuring one of the members of the Ex-Models. Buzz didn't care for them, but I found their erratic style kind of interesting overall. During their set a stinkbomb went off, leading some to speculate that the band had arranged it themselves. Short of having some kind of jazz fusion band play, they probably couldn't have come up with a more divergent set of bands for this bill.

Here are some random pictures, some of the show and some of us at the Alibi the night before. I seem to be experiencing a sort of Renaissance with that joint these days.

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Week of January 16-22, 2005

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