post-punk gems, v. 56 — Pere Ubu

Hi folks! I’m a bit late on the draw today, but I’m happy to share this recent interview with The Plain Dealer. While I was wiling away summer days at the public library in Stockton, CA, I used to peruse the reader’s guide to periodical under “punk,” and I was duly impressed with the coverage of the Cleveland and New York scenes by PD reporters.

On the matter of Cleveland rocks, then, here’s a track from initial encounter with Pere Ubu well into the 80s, from their Cloudland LP. (Kind words here by the chronically cranky Bob Christgau.) It’s a bit poppier than most of their stuff, but I sure dug the odd grooves and synth flourishes on a host of tracks from that LP during a summer of sweltering fun in Cambridge, Mass., with some brilliant mates of mine.

“The good and the bad / now it’s parking lots.” Heady, heady stuff. Enjoy!

“sacred cows make the best hamburgers” // notes on poptimism

So I thought this item was up on Sunday, but apparently not. It’s been a great week for me, with esteemed kudos for Stealing All Transmissions coming from unexpected places (here and here), which has left me nearly speechless. I did want to offer a few words, though, and pick up the theme of poptimism/rockism (see here, pt. 1 and here).

I am happy for the most part with the poptimistic turn of music criticism, and I’m fine with the attack on specious hierarchies–good stuff. Still, with the “everything-is-awesome” ethos of poptimism (okay, I know it’s not quite fair, but bear with me), we don’t have the type of rockist criticism that created the sacred cows of the rock pantheon, including Elvis, The Beatles, and The Rolling Stones. The kind of sacred cows that Abbie Hoffman once noted, make the best hamburgers.

Now, the best practitioners of punk passed their O(edipus) levels, and set their sights on more trenchant issues, but even Sleater-Kinney, on their fifth LP, were taking the piss out of Led Zeppelin IV’s best-known track (“You always play the same old song / play another song”).

(And, if you want a less pitchy version, here ya go.)

There’s also Talking Heads’ “Heaven,” which takes on the Zep tune, for it “plays all night long.” And my hometown favorites, Pavement (Stockton in the house!), who find the “elegant bastards” of The Stone Temple Pilots to be stone-deaf and tedious.

Ah, the good old days … have a delightful holiday from work, lovely readers, especially if it’s the equivalent of a paid holiday!