Friday, March 26, 2004

For the week of 3/26/04:
Top 10 People

1 - Ian MacKaye. I felt really, really cool on Wednesday when I went to see the second show of Ian's new band the Evens. Apparently Fugazi isn't broken up, but he's doing this thing, a duo with a female drummer who I heard somewhere is his wife but who seems awful young for that. In any case, the drummer is great (can't remember her name), and the songs are quiet compared to Fugazi. They've got this thick but easy bounce to them; it reminded me of Helium more than anything else. And Ian is great onstage; he just comes across as being so personal and fervent, which of course he is. The space was the Mission Space, this tiny art gallery place in downtown B-More. There were maybe 100 people there. Dan Higgs was there with his really young son, so I couldn't help looking around all the time like "Holy shit! It's the guy from Fugazi! And holy shit! It's the guy from Lungfish! In this tiny room with me!"

2 - Dr. Michael A. Newdow. Whether or not "under God" is in the Pledge of Allegiance isn't really a big issue with me, though I think it is sort of messed up. Truth is that I think the Pledge is on some fucked up inundate-the-young shit anyway; I'd prefer it if they just stopped doing that in schools altogether. But this guy gets major props for facing down the probably 80% of the country who would love to kill him and going straight toe-to-toe arguing with Supreme Court justices. And plus, this guy is an emergency room doctor? Who is also a licensed lawyer? Doesn't that qualify you to be a superhero or something?

3 - MF DOOM. The Madvillain album is way better than I would've expected it to be. It's on this really restrained free-associative shit, like something Madlib and Doom pounded out in one evening. That's until you start to notice all the amazing bon mots Doom drops. My favorite: "Lookie here / That's just the way the cookie tear / Prepare to get hurt and mangled like Kurt Angle, rookie year." I mean, it's not like Angle has fallen off or anything, but that rookie year was pretty amazing. The whole storyline with him trying to steal Stephanie away from Triple H? Classic.

4 - Chris Benoit. Speaking of wrestling. I forgot to mention this last week, but the Crippler won the world championship at Wrestlemania and how awesome is that? Dude deserved it like no other. The sheer intensity Benoit brings to everything he does is ridiculous.

5 - Chips. This is not a knock at Dawn of the Dead, but Chips the dog is easily my favorite character in the movie. This is more to say that I love dogs than I didn't like the characters.

6 - Kazu Mokino. The new Blonde Redhead album Misery is a Butterfly is going to require a lot of listens to really sink in, but so far I really like it. The band has moved on from Certain Damaged Lemons, completely dropping any attachment to their old noise band roots and gone full-on for a tense, florid, ornate goth thing, kind of like Pornography-era Cure. I heartily approve.

7 - Murs. I went and saw the Def Jux tour last night, and it went something like this: C-Rayz Walz = boring, Perceptionists = generally entertaining (Mr. Lif was really good and Akrobatik was nothing special, but their freestyle session was bananas), RJD2 = you tell me because no way in hell am I actually going to sit and watch a DJ, Murs = total entertainer. He has charm to spare, but he still works hard. I'm not really sold on Murs 3:16; it seems kind of lackluster to me. But Murs onstage is very, very different from Murs on record. The absolute weirdest part of the night happened when the DJ/keyboard player stepped out from behind his stuff to do "Risky Buisness" and put on glasses to do the Humpty Hump part. And it was like "why is that DJ impersonating Shock G? Oh wait! That is Shock G!" I have no idea how the guy who led the Digital Underground and discovered Tupac ended up as Murs' DJ; it was like watching a live episode of VH-1's Where Are They Now. I had to leave when Shock started playing terrible jazz-fusion keyboard solos in front of a room full of apathetic white fratboys. It was just too weird.

8 - Atom Goren. I got my first promo record in a million years last week (thanks, Jessica!), and it's the live album of the absolute last Atom and his Package show. I saw Atom a whole lot in Syracuse because he played there constantly and no one ever plays there, but also because he's got this great self-effacing charm and also great, enormously catchy synth melodies. His Redefining Music is one of the most slept-on albums of the decade thus far, though last year's Attention Blah Blah Blah was an absolute piece of shit and a great indication that it was time for him to hang it up. His real reason for quitting, though, was that his wife became pregnant and he was diagnosed with diabetes and so he figured he'd better get a job with some health insurance, which made me feel even more warm feelings toward Atom than I had before. I don't like live albums (a greatest-hits type of thing would've been better), and I probably won't listen to this more than a couple of times, but I feel nothing but affection for Atom.

9 - Uncle Junior. I never much liked Junior, but this past Sunday's Sopranos made the character really strong and touching. The scenes between Tony and Junior were the best things about this season so far.

10 - Dave Chapelle. I'm truly very sorry, Farnsworth Bentley, but I will never ever be able to look at you again without thinking of Chapelle's impression of you and busting out laughing.