Friday, March 30, 2007

Lighting Up With the Fags

If I could revise my list of favorite records from 2006 -- and who's to say I can't? My list of favorites from last year is hereby amended to include the first (and final) album by the Fags, Light 'Em Up. You may have read about how this Detroit power pop trio was strung along by a major label, their album held in limbo until the promise of fame and fortune fell through. The Fags were ultimately released from their contract, but by the time the record came out (on an independent label), the band broke up. Yep, them Fags got dicked.

The singer is a ringer for Bryan Adams, and the arrangements are a bit more radio-ready than I usually like, but the Fags create irresistable sonic confections by stacking layers of crunchy guitars and blissful harmonies upon their clever tunes. The lyrics address the usual topics of girls, parties, and heartbreak with above-average wit and wordplay; and the title track is the story of a prizefighter who is indomitable despite his small stature ("only five foot nothing"). I love an underdog.

Fags: Snap
Figgs: Three Times a Riff
Fugs: Crystal Liaison

Buy Light 'Em Up

Friday, March 23, 2007

Damn Right It's Spring Again

It was already time to get out the lawnmower last week, but I couldn't get it to start. After checking the gas and the oil, the only other thing I knew how to do was to replace the spark plug. I took the old plug to the local lawn equipment repair shop.

"What kind of engine did that come from?" the shop owner queried.
"Tecumseh," I responded confidently, pretending I knew it well, though I had only noticed the manufacturer's name for the first time that morning.

"You sure it's a Tecumseh?" the owner asked, looking doubtfully at my spark plug. "Does it have the plastic air filter that you have to squeeze to take it off?"
"Yep," I replied evenly, silently realizing at that moment that the plastic appendage on the side of my mower's engine was the air filter.

Satisfied by my response, the repair shop owner rang up a new plug and advised me that if I still couldn't start my mower, I could remove that plastic filter and block the air intake with my thumb, thus temporarily flooding the engine with gas. This latter intervention brought my mower roaring back to life, and soon my Tecumseh and I were marching across the grass in geometric patterns, making deadheads of all the flowering weeds in our path.

The first notable Tecumseh in American history was a great Shawnee chief; but the most notorious was General William Tecumseh Sherman, whose march to the sea left Atlanta in flames and doused the spark of secession. The "war of Northern aggression" has never been forgotten in this part of the country. Georgia senators are presently considering a bill to designate the month of April as Confederate Heritage and History Month.

Atlanta's symbol is the phoenix, rising from the ashes (like Spring itself). And my daily travels in our fair suburbs often take me past Civil War battlegrounds and the sites of Fort Daniel and Fort Yargo. I thought about these things as my little Tecumseh and I mowed down weeds and grass like they were Rebel soldier boys.

Biz Markie: Spring Again

Monday, March 19, 2007

Stix Stomped by Triumphant Tuyas

Sad to say my favorite roller derby team, the Apocalypstix, lost last night to their arch-rivals the Sake Tuyas, and this time it wasn't even close. I don't remember the final score, but the Tuyas kept a 30 point lead throughout the second and third periods. The Stix have some great new skaters (especially Josephine Breakher, JuJu and Pretty Violent). But so do the Sake Tuyas, whose team now boasts promising newcomers TeacHer Pain and Switchblade Siouxie (no pics available yet).

Stix captains Knockin Robin and Billie Clobberday gave it their all, as did stalwarts Shank Ya Ma'am (who almost landed in my lap) and Viva Hate (happy birthday!) But the Tuyas were unstoppable, especially team captain Belle of the Brawl, who scored almost thirty points all by her damn self.

Am I the only fan who misses the Penalty Wheel?

Next month (April 15) the Apocalypstix face the Toxic Shocks. The ARG All-Stars (Atlanta's travel team) will host two Colorado teams: the Pikes Peak Derby Dames (on April 29) and the Rocky Mountain Rollergirls (June 24). Plus the Sockit Wenches (from Seattle) will battle the ARG in the ATL on July 15! The Atlanta Rollergirls website has links to over three dozen women's roller derby teams in other cities.

Today's song is dedicated to Number 714, Knockin Robin (who punched me last month when I mispronounced her name); and to the memory of Social Distortion bassist Brent Liles.

Social Distortion: Lude Boy (live)


Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Desireless Hunger Is the Bier I Weave

Already it's midway through the month of March, and spring is upon us, bejabbers! I've posted nothing for almost a month, though I think about blogging every day. Just like I think about exercising, but I don't actually do it.

I have been also been mentally gathering songs that express spiritual doubt or disbelief. It's easy enough to think of songs that are sacrilegious, especially punk or metal, and there's that XTC song, of course. But what I'm after are songs that provoke thought rather than outrage. Songs that express an unshakeable faith in faithlessness. No Jesus, know peace! Here are two:

Anne McCue: Stupid

Boom Bip featuring Nina Nastasia: The Matter (of Our Discussion)

I am trying to achieve a mental state of desirelessness. Like everyone, I have my wants and needs. But in the grand scheme of things, I picture myself as a boat on the river, but without the rocking horse people and marshmallow pies. Rather, in my mind's eye I see this boat rising and falling, occasionally listing, lingering in tidepools and billabongs, being led by the current, but neither being swamped nor sunk.