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September 2, 2004

Prime Time returns to football; McClellan returns to pinching shut ass cheeks.

One of the 21st century's most important reissues comes from Irdial Discs. Conet Project: Recordings of Shortwave Numbers Stations is an exhaustive collection of these mysterious shortwave transmissions, the ones no government will cop to, the ones traded in MP3 for years, the same ones sampled by indie types in the know (Stereolab, etc.), and the ones that will scare the shite out of you if you blast it through the pines of a midnight blue forest. Famously, it was Wilco's sampling of the intonation "Yankee...Hotel...Foxtrot" for their album of the same name that caused this reissue. Short version: Wilco's settlement payment gave Irdial the repress nest egg. Thanks, Tweeds!

Read more about the Conet Project here and here. You can get your own Conet box from Aquarius Records; their site also has a funny story about their running tally of how many Conets have been sold. (It was over 300 when the thing went out of print, with Mike Patton being one of the purchasers.)


Things have busy over at the Pitchfork hovel, where I was angry with Whirlwind Heat for farting out an "album" of ten one-minute songs. Come on, boys. We all saw you tear the cover off the ball at D*Pollen this year; where's that energy and craft on vinyl? International Noise Conspiracy's latest effort is much stronger. Produced by my man Rick Rubin, they've trimmed some of the fat and lost a lot of the awkward political rhetoric. Not awkward 'cause it's politics or socialism, mind you - awkward because Rage ruined the rock agenda for an entire generation. We no longer have patience for rhymes about the proletariat; let's sing about girls instead. "The solution to our collective social ills is in the pants of your neighbor, and finding that is way more fun than a first date fashioning political effigies."

Remember the freak-out indie band Oneida? Well, no word on whether they're still together, but Papa Crazee has a country-styled project out called Oakley Hall. Their s/t album recalls stuff like the Handsome Family and Shangri La Records. "But don't say 'alt-country' - it makes me picture J. Mascis sporting Kiefer Sutherland's moustache from The Cowboy Way."

There's also Aeroc, a Ghostly International project from minimal techno auteur Geoff White. My boy Rob Theakston turned me on to Aeroc's Viscous Solid - it "approaches glitch through the point of a guitar pick, and takes its time at the crests of its deep breaths."


In AMG news, there've been a few decent late-summer releases to help chisel my skull out of the Shitty Record Doldrums. I'm still really into the new Joan of Arc record. Last Friday I was driving to Chicago, and I took the Ohio/Indiana toll road to avoid the traffic on 94. Anyway, the weather that day was screwy - humid as F, but cloudy like it was going to rain. I was drinking coffee, and switching between Joan of Arc, Dick Cheney and the Conet Project discs. Every now and again I'd switch on the radio, drawing me further into life in Northern Indiana than I've ever really wanted to go. Hog reports, Christian yammering, and - inexplicably - three different Journey songs: I wished I had Blues Brothers loudspeakers on the top of my Corolla, so the rolling hills would ring with the chaos of Conet and its Joan of Arc brethren. You can protest like Dan Bern does, and write a song called "Bush Must be Defeated". Or you can be a bit more subtle, while still skewering your target. I like to think this is Joan of Arc's approach. Besides, their music's just a brain messer, and that's the tip I've been on lately.

Other recent things that I've liked: High Contrast, High Society; Melvins (w/ guest Lustamord), Pigs of the Roman Empire; and the arty full-length debut of Inouk entitled No Danger.

How hot is Kim Bauer in The Girl Next Door? And how heavy-handed are that movie's references to Risky Business, Breakfast Club, and Can't Buy Me Love?


Posted by Johnny Loftus at September 2, 2004 10:34 AM