27 December 2011

Tuesday's Fortune: 27 December 2011

MEAL: 2 Roast Pork Egg Rolls + 1 order (8) Steamed Dumplings + 1 small order Sweet & Sour Chicken = $12.34 + $2.66 tip

Hotcha! Hank

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23 December 2011

Something 4 The Weekend # 230

Robyn Hitchcock: A Star For Bram: "Judas Sings (Jesus & Me)" [mp3]

Considering the mentions of a phone and dope, we must assume this song isn't Judas Iscariot singing to Caiaphas, the Jewish high priest who (allegedly) organized a plot to kill Jesus Christ, or Pontius Pilate, Roman governor of Judaea, who judged and sentenced Jesus to crucifixion, or even Emperor Tiberius himself, although the lyrics certainly fit otherwise.

Robyn Hitchcock is a smart and clever fellow, so I assume this song is some sort of allegory, religion as co-dependence and twisted love, breaking down your partner verbally, convincing your partner that nobody else in this whole world loves them except you and Jesus. You say that to someone often enough, and they very well may believe it. Or it could simply be about a dope dealer named Judas, who knows? I'd bet anything there was plenty of hashish and opium in Judaea, circa year zero.

So anyways, Jesus died for your sins. My sins. Everybody's sins. That's a pretty fucking heavy load of guilt and co-dependence right there, isn't it? Of course, some of our fundamentalist family members and friends might say God never gives us more than we can bear, which is a nice way of saying that no matter how much pain and suffering may be heaped upon us, we must always remember that it can always get worse. But we can handle it, right? We can handle the pain and despair, or the loneliness and heartbreak, we can handle Aunt Carol's constant put-downs and Grandpa's tendency to say racist things loudly in public, and we can even handle the cancers and the diabetes and the hypertension. We can handle it all right up to the very end because God loves us enough to never overburden us. Ever.

Man, this song is depressing. Religion is depressing. I guess I'm depressing, although I wouldn't say that I'm depressed. Maybe weary, not even sad.

[Insert sound of weariness here]

I wish all of you a pleasant and satisfying holiday season. May we get the handheld device of our dreams, may our fantasy football team win our matchups this weekend, and may we all enjoy this long weekend among people we like and even love, with no strings attached. Forgiveness and unconditional love. I think that's what this is all supposed to be about.

Don't be a Judas, an assassin of hearts.

Keep resting in peace, mom.

Hotcha! Hank

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20 December 2011

Tuesday's Fortune: 20 December 2011

MEAL: 2 Vegetable Spring Rolls + 1 small order Pineapple Chicken = $6.80 + $1.20 tip

Hotcha! Hank

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13 December 2011

Tuesday's Fortune: 13 December 2011

MEAL: 1 Roast Pork Egg Roll + 1 order Fried Crispy Bean Curds + 1 small order Beef With Oyster Sauce = $10.74 + $1.26 tip

Hotcha! Hank

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10 December 2011

Something 4 The Weekend # 229

Fugazi: Repeater: "Merchandise" [mp3]

I accompanied a coworker to Costco during our lunch hour this week. At some point, I got lost somewhere in the far, far back, beyond the freezer cases full of $100+ racks of beef ribs, and by the time I found my way back to the check-out area and the exit, the sun had gone down, and I was near death, with only a 5 gallon pail of dill pickles to sustain me. It was a harrowing experience, and quite sad, since my coworker had apparently given up on his search and rescue mission.

I'm joking, of course, but have you ever been inside a Costco? They're fucking enormous, like an airplane hangar full of every conceivable item ever made or grown, barely organized into any rational way, and full of countless people pushing laughably oversized shopping carts around with no sense of purpose or direction.

You'll pardon my amazement at Costco because it was my very first time. I didn't really get lost, although I was rather mesmerized by the experience, and I did wander around softly singing "God Bless America" because in that moment, it certainly did seem like the ultimate expression of what our country truly is in the 21st century. Where else in the world might you see a middle-aged woman in a really cheap-looking fur coat pushing around a giant shopping cart filled with about 50 pounds of salted peanuts, five pairs of snow shoes and a portable Karaoke machine? Maybe Canada, but probably not.

I was impressed, no doubt, but also more than a bit dismayed. Dismayed not only because it was all a stark illustration of just how extreme our consumer culture is these days, but because Fugazi apparently taught me nothing. I walked out of there with a coffee cake so enormous that the $18 price was indeed an absolute bargain.

Speaking of Fugazi, they're just now starting to put a ton of live recordings online for all of us fans to download at super-cheap prices. Upon further thought, maybe Fugazi never learned their own anti-corporate, anti-consumerism lessons, because while the prices are whatever we want them to be, the fact remains that they're selling them all the same. In any event, if you're a fan of the band, this Live Series A to Z is kinda like Costco, in its way.

Hotcha! Hank

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06 December 2011

Tuesday's Fortune: 06 December 2011

MEAL: 2 Vegetable Spring Rolls + 1 order (8) Steamed Dumplings + 1 order Fried Crispy Bean Curd = $13.20 + $1.80 tip

Hotcha! Hank

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03 December 2011

Something 4 The Weekend # 228

Youth Lagoon: The Year Of Hibernation: "Afternoon" [mp3]

I am a huge fan of Bedroom Pop - you know, the kind of stuff that some random dilettante records to 4 or 8-track recorders literally in their bedroom (or basement). I was one of those dilettantes from about 1985 to 2000, slaving over my Tascam 4-track, which is certainly and obviously the main reason this kind of stuff resonates with me.

I am not a huge fan of heavy reverb on recordings. Sometimes it's so off-putting to me that it makes me dislike artists even when I recognize the awesome songs underneath all that 'verb. My Morning Jacket's It Still Moves album is a prime example of this - amazing songs that I couldn't fully enjoy because it was all buried under so much reverb.

These two mindsets that I have are problematic, because soooo much of what constitutes lo-fi Bedroom Pop is absolutely drenched in the effect. So along comes this kid from Idaho, Trevor Powers as Youth Lagoon, who's own lo-fi music is as reverb-heavy as any other music that falls into this category, and it might possibly be the first time I've been able to completely listen past the reverb and actually and fully embrace this kind of recording artist. I love this kid. I love his music and this album totally owns.

I don't know what else needs to be said.

I mean, I often wonder why so many of these Bedroom Pop artists feel the need for so much reverb, and all I can guess is that it's a conscious attempt to obscure some of that low-fidelity inherent in the gear and process, or perhaps it arises out of a certain self-consciousness about the quality of the songs themselves. In the case of Youth Lagoon, I don't think either of these ideas come into play, which is perhaps why I like it so much. I get the sense that Trevor Powers knows exactly what he's doing, that he's not trying to hide anything, and that he's not second-guessing his songs. Instead, his style on this album demands reverb. Requires reverb.

In any event, it's a wonderful album full of great melody and momentum, and I hope you give it a chance - available as a $5 download from Amazon through the end of December. Enjoy!

Hotcha! Hank

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