Agony Shorthand

Tuesday, March 23, 2004
STRANGE NOTES, 3/23/04…..A few things to report and/or comment on : first, thanks to all who participated in the “Are You SWA or Not SWA?” discussion a bit down the page. Never before has one of my posts generated a response like Darren Cifarelli’s essay (“In Defense of SWA : A Scholarly Inquiry into the NATURE of all Things SWA”). If you had told me in 1988 that somewhat would willingly use more than one brain cell to write anything about SWA, I would have guffawed myself blue. Yet he not only corrects one of my egregious errors (again, it was reconstructed from a repressed memory), he actually eloquently and exuberantly makes a case that I thought no one could ever make. I do think that any band who have a built-in defense of being “postmodern” – a heinous catch-all term used by many to justify crimes against art, literature and music – by definition must totally blow. But I have to applaud Mr. Cifarelli for being a lone wolf, willing to walk off on a big, steep cliff for SWA!….speaking of the 80s, there’s a 1980 interview with poet and brawler MARK E. SMITH of THE FALL now posted in its entirety on J. Neo Marvin’s site…..the March issue of Mojo, referenced in the Cambodia Rocks post a couple days ago, also came with a great 60s soul CD – packed with a bunch of high-energy powerhouses that languished on obscure comps before this, along with some Big Chill-esque lite soul hits for your parents’ generation from Otis Redding and Wilson Pickett…the slammingest track on here is LITTLE ESTHER PHILLIPS’ “Mojo Hannah” – wow! The best uptempo female-sung soul killer I’ve discovered since CAROL JONES’ “Problem Child”….a song I hadn’t heard for probably 20 years until this week is TUXEDOMOON’s 1978 “No Tears” – a huge staple of KFJC airplay in the early 1980s – and I can’t for the life of me figure why I haven’t been tracking it down since then. Throbbing surf/spy fuzzed-out guitar riff, loopy keyboards, weird-ass “man disintegrating onstage” vocals – a terrific period piece and a song right at home on a HOMEWORK compilation….finally for you American hardcore fans, it has come to my attention via the comments of this very blog that’s there’s a TAR BABIES page up with downloads of some of their hotter 1983 berzerk-core tunes + the entire MECHT MENSCH 7”EP. Free! They are encouraging you to steal! How refreshing. Thanks for the tip, and until next time, keep your feet on the ground etc.