Currently viewing the category: "Mini Rant"

I’m still uncertain about the new Old Crow Medicine Show album — there’s some good, catchy tracks on there, no doubt, and its not as if the gents suddenly turned into Florida Georgia Line (I just learned who they are, and they’re amazingly God-awful). Still, the production is oddly unsatisfying and feels sort of heavy. Their maligned 2009 Tennessee Pusher I tend to enjoy and defend as a style experiment; and because I listened to it during my travels, so it’s very 4 a.m. in a Baltimore Greyhound station. It’s moody, and has some lovely, lonely, eerie tracks, as well as some good fleeing from the po-pos with weed fiddle jams. Compared to that,  something about Remedy feels unfinished, yet overly glossy at the same time.

I’ll delve into that later, though. The final track on Remedy is the only one with Gill Landy vocals, and it’s a sad prison tune called “The Warden.” It’s pretty on the album. And it sounds better still live, near-a capella with five-part harmonies.

Except, listen to that mother fucking crowd murmur.

And then read this glorious Gothamist rant from last week, “Why Can’t You Ever Shut Up During a Concert”. Author John Del Signore is my spirit animal.

I don’t usually feel any homicidal urges at punk shows, for obvious reasons. But any kind of show with any kind of quiet or pretty song brings them up, because people cannot shut the fuck up, and they really can’t shut the fuck up when the song is quiet enough that their equally interesting friend can hear them prattle on without them needing to put their lips inside that friend’s ear drum.

I neglected to review the Willie Watson show I attended in May, but I had long feared that I would want to slaughter the entire crowd when I saw him, because there are just too many Youtube videos with background buzz blocking out the ridiculous Watson vocals. Thankfully at the show, I was squished up enough the stage that I mostly just heard Watson, who is an amazingly dominant player for someone with just a guitar, banjo, and occasional harmonica. When he got real quiet, though, there was the obligatory “I don’t give a fuck about shutting up, because I paid 15 dollars to come here and drink beer and ruin everyone else’s enjoyment” people.

They are everywhere. But every now and then even they can be silenced. That almost — but not really, but almost — makes the rude people worth it. Sometimes someone is so good, they can silence the drunk idiots. Watson managed it for nearly all of “Rock Salt and Nails.” And, possibly in response to my fervent prayers, Ralph Stanley did it with “O Death” last year. When your playing can win a hush from the drunken, loud, self-absorbed buffoons in lawn chairs for even three or four minutes, you have done good, son. But I still wish they would stay the hell home. You can buy beer from stores, people. You really can.

Dave Eggers says in the Guardian that US writers must take a stand on NSA surveillance.

In my rant on the Guardian web site, in which I let my inner-libertarian rail unfetteredly, I say that Dave Eggers is right about what he says about government spying — but I also say he’s too old and too smart to think like such an infant:

We love Dave Eggers because he’s smart and good, but he needs to grow up and smell the evils of unlimited government: he asks “would President Obama, himself a constitutional scholar, actually endorse – much less expand – a domestic spying programme unless it were morally acceptable and constitutional?” Pathetically, Eggers still thinks Obama was/is any different from his predecessors.
Eggers doesn’t know yet that it doesn’t matter who is in charge of Big Nanny government’s power and purse. The notion that Saint Obama was going to be squeamish about protecting and growing and using the warfare/welfare/security state is touchingly naive. The only way the NSA — or FBI or DEA or CIA or XXX — will stop snooping on us and the rest of the world will be if their funding is taken away. Otherwise, they’ll do whatever they can get away with with their technology and computers, no matter what the courts say. The history of every government — even so-called good governments run by your own favorite politician-saint — is the history of government abusing its power and doing evil things to minorities, the weak or politically unfavored factions. Forget amending the Patriot Act. Forget telling the TSA to stop cavity searches of grandmas. Forget telling the NSA to stop listening to the pope’s phone calls. The only way to ensure that these federal agencies stop their unconstitutional or immoral practices at home or abroad is to starve the government of money, thereby severely limiting what it can do for (and to) people. That means liberals have to grow up and realize that big government is not a morally acceptable or useful social engineering tool, even when it’s employed to “help” poor people in inner Detroit or to shake down rich people or businesses with high taxes. The same powers that liberals/Dems happily and selfishly entrust to Saint Obama’s administration today will be used/misused by conservatives/Republicans tomorrow. This is nothing new. It’s been going on forever. If Eggers wants writers to be able to write without fear, he needs to start having a grownup conversation with himself about the nature of government and try to understand why it’s so important to free individuals that government be given as little power and as little to do to us or for us as possible.