Chris Stroffolino lives in Oakland, CA. He is an actively performing musician, and has been a member of a number of groups, including Silver Jews, Rising Shotgun, Volumen, and Hudson Bell. In 2001, he won a NYFA grant for his poetry which he used to stage a re-creation of the late poet Anne Sexton’s rock band for an event sponsored by the Poetry Society of America. Since 2002, he has been singer/songwriter/pianist for Continuous Peasant, whose second album, Intentional Grounding, was recently released on Good Forks. He also has a Ph.D. in English Lit from SUNY-Albany and has published three volumes of poetry, some of which has since been translated and published in Bengali and Dutch, and a book of essays on contemporary poets.
Beme’s rap goes beyond the mere food/shit dichotomy. Beme’s “shit talk” is also music; the body is not a bank, but the music is rooted in the breath, the free improvisatory flow of words that are also tethered to the formalism of rhyme. Talk is ex-lax; rap betters the talking cure. It, too, is a work out that can make you less hungry. As a mural from the Oakland-based Community Rejuvenation Project suggests: there’d be less eating disorders and drug addictions if people were allowed to talk more, if word-jazz and singing were more acceptable. In this sense, Richard Berman is wrong: it’s harder to solve the obesity crisis by keeping your mouth closed. The extra energy you get from dieting has to go somewhere.
Recently, the filmmaker Jeff Feuerzeig (Half Japanese/The Duded) decided to document some originals & cover songs I have been performing on an acoustic piano in a 1983, ford Econoline. It’s given me an opportunity to turn people on to a version of a Velvet Underground song that tends to get lost in the shuffle.
The breakup of the USSR may also just be a way to talk about your parents divorce in drag. Just don’t underestimate the as yet anonymous female vocalists. Live, who knows? They might even induce that whirling dervish frenzy…
If Chain & The Gang’s main message was really at its deepest the Gregorian monkish spartan existence suggested in the title track, why is it so radically different from anything else on the album, an album that, on a musical level, may very well be the most seductive, populist album Ian Svenonius has yet created in over 20 years of recording and performing?
The sale of KUSF is neither popular nor moral, but rather another cave-in to the trickle-down supply-side economics that crassly support an anti-humanist and anti-religious notion of “science and innovation” at the expense of the liberal arts. Ultimately, it’s not even a sound economic decision for you or the University.
Notably, they didn’t do any covers (unless I was too wasted to remember).
The Graves Brothers Deluxe were one of the first three rock bands I got into when I moved to the Bay Area, and the only one for which I jumped around in an ape suit.
In Nara Denning’s Neurotique, words get in the way of the games couples play.
So Slanted & Enchanted is not exactly “A tragedy of epic proportions!” More of a problem comedy—too realistic to offer the patriarchal cathartic moneyshot. Or, as Kathleen Hanna puts the wait for the Next Big Indie Thing—“It’s almost like this pregnancy where the baby never gets born. I feel like it’s been as if ‘The baby’s coming! The baby’s coming! And it’s five years later. And the woman weights three hundred pounds…and is not having the kid.”
There’s a growing movement to re-establish connections between the fractalized digital technology and the already established local music scenes. There’s many more money making opportunities if these connections are seen more clearly as a two-way street, especially as the recording and distribution industries have made severe cuts in their ‘regional offices’ (or more autonomous locally-run subsidiaries) in recent years.
I think once having the internet in your car is a normal thing, FM stations will suffer heavily, escpeially if commercial free stations such as Soma FM still exist. I’m pretty sure that college stations will continue to broadcast on line and perhaps having these online station options available in cars will finally pull some of the stranglehold away from Clearchannel….Who knows, it might be just what the music industry needs to recover from this current dire situation it has fallen into.” (Elise Nordling)
While Sir Lord Von Raven is lonely, lonely, really lonely. He’s still very lonely. He’s Oakland lonely. Ocean lonely. Happy Parts Go-To-Bakeries Lonely. Fats Time Domino FLies Lonely. Chip Shoulder Glamour Grit Lonely. Dorian Grey Mike-The-Cat Lonely…Look him in the eyes, and ask him if he’s satisfied? Death-of-a-ladies-man Buster Poindexter lonely. Same-drummer-as-Brian-Glaze-lonely (Take him quiz question; does Jay Bronzini’s drumming style have anything particularly Italian about it?) Oh solo mio (lonely!).
So the baby boomers are trying to put it into the 1960s paradigm map again. BEWARE THESE BABY BOOMERS!! This is my shtick. Yeah, we need the baby boomers, and Hillary Clinton supporters. They still have a huge demographic—but it’s been about them them them for so long—-I think that might explain some of the pent up resentment, or sheer catharsis of “Generation X-ish” (a generation that never really had the demographic numbers by itself), and the under 30 *MARK RISTAINO” (MUSIC FOR AMERICA) crowd—-who, now, finally had a way to speak, and be heard, not just by the older people, but BY EACH OTHER.
Ultimately, this groundbreaking song (which is nonetheless deeply rooted in traditions) helps rewrite the mystery of love (and the more than love that is really part of love).
In Harvey’s “Sheela-Na-Gig,” the sound of the polysyllabic proper (even clinical) word “exhibitionist” becomes more obscene (and stings more) than any rapper’s use of the word “hoe” or “skeezer.”
If “Smells Like Teen Spirit” is analogous to “I Want To Hold Your Hand,” “Sheela Na Gig” is more like THE KINKS’s “You Really Got Me” while PEARL JAM and the others would be more like THE DAVE CLARK FIVE or HERMAN’s HERMITS.
It’s odd that a younger generation of consumers is being punished for (and threatened) for exactly—or a very similar—thing that thrived in the repressive JOE MCCARTHY era …
And the old guys took more risks back then
Than most people your age they let win
So you’re tempted to side with the old
If there wasn’t this thing that you hold
Don’t walk, take bus, leave drive, to us
Sit in Back Seat and Google ROSA PARKS
“I’ll Go Crazy” is as good of a place to start talking about the greatness of JAMES BROWN as any.
I’m also often amazed that it’s so rare that I ever see someone singing outdoors, or at their jobs, yea’ e’en in the marketplace! But it’s great when it happens, even if it’s only a cover version, or even if the person sings out of tune. Hell, I used to do when I was 12 years old while I delivered newspapers! Not as much lately, even before the accident, but why? Because I had become the professional, honing those raw simple a cappella melodies into well-crafted songs
It’s more common and generally easier for a lower-class musician to develop a local reputation through live shows than it is to develop a mass-cultural reputation through recordings. Conventional wisdom claims that the former is a pre-condition for the latter. The success of my old band, THE SILVER JEWS, is
a rare exception to this, yet, lacking such fortune that allows me
access to the cultural middleman of mass culture, I now feel that in order to continue to make music, I must forget about the solitary listener, alas, and with it, the ideal of the well-crafted song—-at least for the time being
In her New York Times Magazine piece on the Toronto ‘youth’ music scene that revolves around the ‘flagship’ band BROKEN SOCIAL SCENE, ALISSA QUART shows that piercing wit and, at times, brutal insight, are alive and well in today’s muckraking rock journalism.
While punk and rap bands for the most part didn’t want to blow their ‘street cred’ or coolness by crying, country music and to a lesser extent, ‘adult contemporary,’ largely took up the slack, even if too often it felt like muzak version of tears.
I’ve been performing my version of your song “Ride The Fence” to very enthusiastic mostly white ‘indie rock’ and/or primarily apolitical folky audiences on both sides of the bay, and I’d like to record it for an upcoming album. I need to get your permission and/or blessing to do this.
You could ask, why would they do it? But it’s probably better to ask, would you do it? And if not, why not? But what if love itself has to be a work of art in order for the art you make to be a loving art?
In this sense the fantasy is embodied, the private is public, and there is peace in the universe, or at least an image of peace, and, ay, there’s the rub! For an image of peace, like any idol or icon, threatens the very peace it may be said to represent.
Yes, you could marshal the full force of your persuasive muscle to convince these industry types that pushing more acoustic acts could still ROCK or radiate whatever kind of intensity, warmth, and emotive power deemed marketable.
... I can now say with conviction (that I wouldn’t have had only a month ago) that with the success of KYOU, music podcasting has finally arrived and AM music radio is back.
... the “iPod revolution” may light a long overdue fire under the butt of increasingly complacent ‘independent’ radio program directors.
I know that MICHAEL NESMITH had a lot to do with easing the transition from what DAVID BERMAN calls the roped off amusement park called ‘Rock World,’ toward a wider appreciation of ‘roots music’ and country in particular, just as GRAHAM PARSONS, GENE CLARK, RAY CHARLES, THE GRATEFUL DEAD, BOB DYLAN, or maybe (just maybe) the ‘alt country’ movement have for others.
While some could claim that we probably never would have heard of, much less care, about MICHAEL NESMITH, had it not been for the Monkees, it’s equally plausible that his success with THE MONKEES has actually prevented a greater appreciation for his solo work.
But even if the words don’t matter as much as the tune, the tune may not matter as much as a good singer. “The singer not the song” dichotomy definitely complicates the words/tune dichotomy…
I found that trying to fit words to this particular melody was threatening to make me abandon the song for another one without as pretty of a melody and I didn’t want to have to do that.
“In many a dark hour I’ve felt so ashamed
That the world Jesus fought loves to shout out his name
But I can not speak for you
You’ll have to decide
Whether Jake Dylan’s father had Bob on his side”
While strength of songs and/or intensity of passion can help make up for many folk or acoustic guitarists lack of virtuosity, such allowances are less likely to be made for solo pianists.
One can be called a ‘freak folk’ artist, for instance, if one plays the harp, but there’s not enough novelty for a pianist to warrant this currently fashionable designation.
The idea of cheap production and cheap entertainment, as in THE MINUTMEN’s ‘econo’ philosophy, which was so central to 1980s alternative culture, has largely gone the way of the small car, and with it, we’ve lost a certain aesthetic beauty of jagged edges…
If I were a DJ or podcaster and someone called up and requested Bragg’s version of “She’s Leaving Home,” I’d suggest his rendition of “Walk Away Renee” or one of Bragg’s many great originals…
You’re trying to catch the ears of labels, reviewers, and DJs who may give it one half-listen while multitasking, and never make it past the first song, or who may play each song for 30 seconds without giving the album time grow on them (a practice which may explain why so many popular albums don’t hold up to repeated listening).
Sometimes, you just need to be reminded of what made you want to be a musician in the first place…
Though at times I wished they had mixed it up a little, ultimately, something made me stay, and it was the absolutely infectious sound—in short, the show rocked, giving new meaning to the maligned term “jam band.”
I thought that taking my music to ‘market’ would somehow destroy the freedom of expression I found by playing it in more informal settings. I was out there in the park busking more to meet girls than to make money.