The blog of author Dennis Cooper

Gig #105: Drag City Showcase: Derek Bailey, William Basinski, Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, Dirty Three, Kevin Drumm, Flying Saucer Attack, Ghost, David Grubbs, The High Llamas, Bert Jansch, Magik Markers, Joanna Newsom, Nurse with Wound, Jim O’Rourke, Pavement, Pita, Stephen Prina, The Red Krayola, Royal Trux, Laetitia Sadier, Silver Jews, Stereolab, Sun Araw, Scott Walker, Wand




Derek Bailey
William Basinski
Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy
Dirty Three
Kevin Drumm
Flying Saucer Attack
David Grubbs
The High Llamas
Bert Jansch
Magik Markers
Joanna Newsom
Nurse with Wound
Jim O’Rourke
Stephen PrinaThe Red Krayola
Royal Trux
Laetitia Sadier
Silver Jews
Sun Araw
Scott Walker


Derek Bailey Paris [Pt. 2]
‘Aida, consisting of two live recordings from 1980, captures Derek Bailey on the cusp between his early-career thorny and more drastic explorations of the outer limits of guitar playing and the subtler, softer (though no less idiosyncratic) approaches he would often employ later on. Throughout his career, Bailey has championed what he calls “non-idiomatic improvisation,” an attempt to improvise without reference to any pre-existing musical styles. While perhaps impossible to achieve 100 percent, he has certainly made it difficult to describe his work with the normal allusions and comparisons to that of others. The first track on Aida, “Paris,” is a gorgeous and relatively smooth excursion in Bailey’s sound-world. One imagines that if England had a tradition of koto accompaniment for Noh plays, it might sound something like this. Not that there is an overt Asian influence, but the sparseness and careful choice of notes gives one a slight sense of both Eastern asceticism and luxury within that asceticism.’ — Brian Olewnick


William Basinski A Red Score in Tile [Part 1]
‘While certain passages foster an immersive, surface beauty, this is not ambience. The composerly patience of Basinski’s work is often trumpeted but his is an approach infused with subversive tension. Shorn of the metaphysical baggage attached to later releases, A Red Score In Tile must instead be addressed on its own, elementally harsh terms. It poses much more difficult and uncomfortable questions about the transient nature of the present than Basinski’s later work. These tapes sound tired, old rather than decaying. The entropic nature of the sound is less pronounced, yielding to an aura of fretful infirmity, worry for the future. The cruelty of time is an ever present theme and here it informs his approach to sound in the most unsettling of ways. In another notable work, 2003’s Melancholia, a genuflection towards Arcadian serenity is stalled by repetition. There is little inclination toward pastoralism for the younger composer, rather an eerily dissociative drift towards unconsciousness.’ — Daniel Baker


Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy New Tibet
‘Oldham’s music is deeply attuned to the past and to the people we imagine inhabited it, yet his actorly approach separates him from the mainstream Americana crowd, who tend to favor a more autobiographical approach, or at least some sense of direct confessionalism. Oldham’s songs are only obliquely about himself, and they rarely reveal much about the man singing them. “As boys, we fucked each other,” he sings at the beginning of “New Tibet”. “As men, we lie and smile.” In other hands, such a line might deliver a shock to interrupt the lull of the music, but Oldham never breaks character. That f-bomb becomes part of the lull, and is not so much sung as ruefully breathed. The song possesses all the ruminative gravity of “I See a Darkness” and in tone and character could be interpreted as a sequel.’ — Stephen M. Deusner


Bill Callahan Thank Dub
‘Whatever the word dub means to you, chances are Bill Callahan’s version won’t match it. Have Fun With God is dub in the root sense of a double: essentially, it’s a cubist remix of his 2013 album Dream River, fracturing the surface of each song the more strikingly to communicate the emotion at its core. Thank Dub inhabits an eerie parallel universe to Dream River’s opening track The Sing, itself a song about a man trapped within a lonely parallel universe of hotel bars and sleeping strangers. Lyrics are elided, the guitar slides around icily, while the ghost of a mandolin blows in on a breeze. Where Javelin Unlanding is playful, sweet even, its remix, Expanding Dub, is more choppy and enervated, with hints of Ry Cooder in its spaciousness. In the shift from Summer Painter to Summer Dub, Callahan whips up a guitar-and-cymbal storm so crashingly fraught, you believe the song’s narrator actually is a sorcerer with weather at his command. As a standalone album, Have Fun With God doesn’t totally compel – but as a companion to its source material, it’s fascinating.’ — Maddy Costa


Dirty Three You Greet Her Ghost
‘A genre rife with hollow oversaturation, instrumental rock runs the risk of sounding either stunningly frank or wantonly pretentious. On Toward The Low Sun, Aussie post-rockers Dirty Three have yet again achieved a beautiful post-rock sound both ingenuously carefree and wisely tempered, an impressive feat this far into their careers. Painting with their usual diverse palette of folk harmonies and jazz grooves, the Melbourne trio continue to show that they’re not afraid to add a little noise to their canvas. Jim White, Mick Turner, and Warren Ellis play with a focused spontaneity akin to Do Make Say Think, as on tumultuous opener “Furnace Skies”, an aptly-titled prog-rock storm similar to what defined the group in their earlier days. However, as Toward The Low Sun evolves, these clouds constantly part, making room for welcome warmth.’ — David Dilillo


Kevin Drumm Organ
‘Minimalism has come to mean so many different things that it’s nearly meaningless; what do Charlemagne Palestine’s keyboard-battering sound clouds and Philip Glass’s densely layered, remorselessly rhythmic operas really have in common besides a name? On Comedy, Kevin Drumm resurrects the genre’s seminal impulse by extracting rich musical ore from limited veins of sound. The CD splits into three parts. “Organ” and “Organ Returns (Slight Difference)” open and close the disc with 15-minute blasts of foundation-crumbling noise obtained by shifting between two unequally distorted organ chords. Their effect is paradoxically meditative, like being lulled into a trance by the roar of an unmuffled internal combustion engine. In between lie four investigations of electronically generated sine waves that would warm the heart of any Pan Sonic fan. Whether they’re composed of piercing tones, like “Second,” or serene pulses, like “Just Like a Parvenu,” each mesmerizing piece teems with microscopically variant details.’– Bill Meyer


Flying Saucer Attack Respect
‘Flying Saucer Attack was at the forefront of Bristol, England’s fertile mid-‘90s scene that included Massive Attack, Portishead and Amp. FSA mainman Dave Pearce indulged his love of krautrock, traditional British folk music and a post-shoegaze ambient aesthetic to forge records of uncommon beauty and passion. Nowhere near as fuzzed-out and lo-fi as its four predecessors (Pearce, who’d been wrestling with depression, claimed it marked his “second phase”), New Lands was still unmistakably FSA, from pulsing waves of treated and feedback guitar to massive, cresting dynamics to Pearce’s hushed vocals. New Lands is also fantastically vertiginous in the best, most My Bloody Valentine-esque sense.’ — Magnet


Ghost Caledonia
‘Masaki Batoh, vocalist and spiritual leader of Japan’s enigmatic collective Ghost, has a stated aversion to such mundane activities as recording and touring, with his interest in music almost entirely limited to the moment of creation itself. As a consequence, the increasingly infrequent arrival of a new Ghost album has begun to feel like a monumental event. Such is certainly the case for In Stormy Nights, the group’s first collection of new material since its majestic 2004 prog-epic Hypnotic Underworld. Throughout their mystery-steeped, two decade-plus career, the members of Ghost have steadfastly refused to acknowledge divisions between their seemingly incompatible styles of psych-folk, Krautrock, free jazz, and a limitless variety of indigenous Japanese and world musics. On their latest tablet from the mount, Batoh and a core sextet that includes veteran psych guitarist Michio Kurihara, multi-instrumentalist Kazuo Ogino, and percussionist Junzo Tateiwa have again decided to move their sound outward in all directions at once. In Stormy Night progresses with a solemn yet utterly savage authority, with its turbulent mixture of organic stoner-folk, cumbrous experimentation and near-martial rhythms sounding like an invocation to counteract the government-led turmoil of its times.’ — Matthew Murphy


David Grubbs Ornamental Hermit
‘There is something endearingly cheeky about the way Drag City describes David Grubbs’ releases for the label as his pop albums. Little on Grubbs’ latest release will likely register as pop music, at least for any listeners who might reasonably expect that description to mean hooks, choruses, or hummable melodies. At the same time, Grubbs’ overall body of work is so expansive and unwieldy — bridging as it does various streams of avant-rock, multi-media art, and academia– that it would be a challenge to find any particular box to squeeze him into. On his first solo album since 2008’s An Optimist Notes the Dusk, there are guitars, some song-based material, vocals, and recognizable lyrics, so perhaps pop music is as good a description as any, eccentric and deconstructed though it may be.’ — Matthew Murphy


The High Llamas Jackie
‘Now that Sean O’Hagan and his baroque indie pop cohort are thirteen albums deep, it’s a couple spins shy of disorienting to revisit the Crowded House-isms of their 1992 breakthrough, Santa Barbara. The High Llamas we’ve known since then essentially re-booted with their 1995 follow-up, Gideon Gaye, and, autumnal and reflective as their music can be, they haven’t done much looking back since. On the surface, Here Come the Rattling Trees is easier than a Sunday morning, but O’Hagan arranged a unique set of guidelines for himself en route to its creation. Specifically, he decided that before he could release anything new, the material would first have to come to life in theatre. Here Come the Rattling Trees is not a stand-alone album, but ‘music from the original stage production’, which was performed in 2014 at both the Tristan Bates Theatre in Covent Garden and the Montpelier Theatre pub in O’Hagan’s stomping ground, Peckham. Briskly brushed drums, cobblestone-stepping guitar strokes, and pastel keyboard and vibraphone accents fill in the story of Peckham-based publicist Amy, who learns about the history and character of the district through interactions with five of its citizens.’ — Ian King


Bert Jansch Katie Cruel
‘In an inebriated interview with Rick McGrath in 1970, Bert Jansch, a 26-year-old guitarist busy with British folk compatriots Pentangle, reclaimed folk dogma: “We never talk about music, never. You talk about everything else, but never music. The only time we ever talk about music is to say, ‘Let’s have a rehearsal’ and that’s it. We get together and play.” Recorded some 40 years after his first two brilliant albums on England’s Transatlantic Records, The Black Swan isn’t exactly a comeback. Jansch has been working all along, releasing nearly a dozen albums since 1990. For this generation, however, it is Jansch’s popular come-out: From Devendra Banhart to Ben Chasny, many principles of the indie roots resurgence have credited his complex playing and artless vocals as touchstones. That it’s his Drag City debut and his first new material to see proper U.S. release since 2002’s Edge of a Dream only increases its marquee billing and possible importance.’ — Grayson Currin


Magik Markers Crebs
‘After four years away from action (save for Pete Nolan’s fabulously underrated Spectre Folk side project), Magik Markers return with Surrender To The Fantasy, a sprawling distillation of folk noise and unhinged verse over the course of nine disparate songs. Neu! fuzz-groove? Sunkissed anti-folk? Truxian curled lip, bummer vibes? Settle in, fellow traveller. The first blush of many past encounters (over the course of 40-some singles, cassettes, and burns) with Magik Markers has been one of sheer onslaught, a cathartic dive into the depths of Elisa Ambrogio’s quest towards the real — which always seemed to aim for confrontation vs. establishing any sort of connection. At worst, their basement rumblings seemed unfocused, or worse, uncaring, a hastily assembled, end-of-semester MFA project. With Surrender, the obfuscation and intimidation gives way to beauty, and confrontation transforms into liberation, bringing forth the most focused, coherent work of their existence.’ — Jerry Dannemiller


Joanna Newsom Sapokanikan
‘Joanna Newsom’s Divers is an album about a profound love, but it hardly features any love songs. The singer/songwriter recently explained to Uncut that her marriage in 2013 had invited death into her life, “because there is someone you can’t bear to lose,” she said. “When it registers as true, it’s like a little shade of grief comes in when love is its most real version. Then it contains death inside of it, and then that death contains love inside of it.” There is only one domestic vignette on the record, towards the end of “Leaving the City”, where Newsom and her love go running on a beautiful day. Immediately, though, her high dims: “The spirit bends beneath knowing it must end.” 2010’s Have One on Me traced the death of a relationship as Newsom tried and failed to defeat a proud man’s human nature. On Divers, she attempts to defeat time to stave off death.’ — Laura Snapes


Nurse With Wound Cold
‘This album really isn’t for all tastes, and those coming to the world of Nurse With Wound from the more popular world of industrial music (á la Ministry or Nine Inch Nails) will find it puzzling at best. Fans of soundscape will find this far more entertaining, with drones punctuated by random staccato busts of percussion, origins uncertain, bleeps, and bloops thrown in for good effect, and the occasional hooting and hollering.’ — Sean Carruthers


Jim O Rourke Insignificance
‘While generally less envelope-pushing then his more difficult-to-find work, O’Rourke’s string of Drag City releases have always served as an opportunity to try on an assortment of masks. Bad Timing was the John Fahey tribute; Eureka the ode to the lost days of grand Bacharachian orchestration; Halfway to a Threeway a short but pleasant acoustic interlude; and now– judging from the opening moments of Insignificance– we’d reached Jim O’Rourke’s rock n’ roll phase. The lyrics on Insignifigance initially seemed to be those of a man overestimating his own importance, even as the album title suggests otherwise. Pleas to the public to “get off my case” may work for Thom Yorke, but Jim O’Rourke, talented as he might be, hardly carries the kind of cache for distressed-woe-is-me-rockstar-anthems. Maybe labeling the package Insignificance is intended as a signifier that O’Rourke is in on this joke. Maybe the title is intended to suggest that we’ve been taking the music, the lyrics, and the bold statements a bit too seriously. But, self-aware or not, lyrics like these come across as more than a bit self-indulgent, which makes the music, at times, that much more difficult to embrace.’ — David M. Pecoraro


Pavement Baptiss Blacktick
‘Prior to Pavement signing with Matador and releasing Slanted and Enchanted the band recorded three EPs: Slay Tracks (1933-1969), released on the band’s own Treble Kicker label in 1989, Demolition Plot J-7, and Perfect Sound Forever, both released in 1990 through Drag City. With the success of S&E on Matador Records, Drag City compiled the band’s first three EPs along with the “Summer Babe” single, “My Radio” from the Chemical Imbalance compilation, and “My First Time”, originally a flexidisc in the fanzine Ablaze!, releasing it under the title Westing (By Musket and Sextant). Preserving the integrity of the original EPs, Westing features all the songs in the same order with the first two EPs on Side A and the remaining recordings on the flip side.’ — Len Comaratta


Pita 3 (Get Out)
‘The second album from laptop noise pioneer and Mego co-curator Peter Rehberg saw the producer in a very weird place indeed. After the worldwide success of his debut record ‘Seven Tons for Free’, which won the ARS Electronica Prize for innovation in new music he spent the years after its 1996 release touring the world, laptop in hand and splitting the ears of innocent bystanders everywhere. It became harder than ever then for Rehberg to find the time to sit down in a studio and make music, so ‘Get Out’ was mostly pieced together on the road, in friends’ houses, on the train, on the plane, in airports or in hotel rooms. The focus then is rather different than the debut album and sees our protagonist take us on an occasionally torturous, occasionally beautiful and always intriguing journey through deftly manipulated electronic sound. For many noise artists ‘Get Out’ would become the blueprint for their musical development – Rehberg’s collision of harmony, structure and improvised crushing power electronics left the experimental world heaving and gasping in its wake, and since its release in 1999 hasn’t dated even a little. I guess it’s true to say that genuinely experimental music rarely dates, but the seismic impact that ‘Get Out’ had on electronic music can still be felt now.’ — Boomkat


Stephen Prina The Achiever
‘Produced by David Grubbs and Jim O’Rourke, Stephen Prina’s solo debut falls somewhere between the experimental sound of latter-day Gastr del Sol efforts and classic West Coast pop. Featuring collaborations with diverse figures ranging from writers Dennis Cooper and Lynne Tillman to the Sea & Cake’s John McEntire and Sam Prekop, Push Comes to Love is both smart and breezy, although it’s occasionally a little too self-conscious for its own good.’ — Jason Ankeny


The Red Krayola Stil de Grain Brun
‘The Red Krayola were one of the greatest psychedelic bands of the 1960s and probably of all times. They played extremely wild and cacophonous music that was decades ahead of its time. They predated Germany’s expressionistic rock (Faust) and the American new wave (Pere Ubu). Their “freak outs” were closer to John Coltrane’s free-jazz and to Jackson Pollock’s abstract paintings than to rock and roll. Their leader, Mayo Thompson, is a composer who ranks among the greatest living musicians (classical, jazz, rock). His revolutionary compositional style had few stable coordinates. His pieces float not because they are ethereal but because melody and rhythm are left “loose”. They are organisms that rely on supporting skeletons that are falling apart as they move. Thompson placed his art firmly in the iconoclastic tradition that Frank Zappa had just founded, and simply increased the amount and the speed of noise. Parable Of Arable Land (1967) is one of the milestones of rock music, a carousel of savage harmonic inventions/sabotages. God Bless (1968) was even closer (in spirit if not in sound) to the likes of Edgar Varese and John Cage. It is not a coincidence that Thompson was rediscovered by the new wave ten years later: his Soldier Talk (1979) could have well been the album of the Pere Ubu (the band he eventually joined). As of 1997, none of the major encyclopedias and histories of rock music published in Anglosaxon countries mentioned them.’ — Scaruffi


Royal Trux Sickazz Dog
‘In many ways Veterans of Disorder is the Trux more streamlined version of seminal albums like the Clash’s London Calling or the Beatles’ White Album because with each song the band hits on a different aspect of its sound. “The Exception” and “Lunch Money” raga as well as the Clash at their best. Meanwhile, “Sickazz Dog” is the Trux getting their “Revolution 9” on, replacing collage experimentation with strange instrumental passages that run right in to each other. “Sickazz Dog” can be interesting and some parts sound similar to Piper At the Gates of Dawn-era Pink Floyd but it mostly feels like experimentation merely for the sake of experimentation instead of in service of making a good song as interesting and weird as possible. This type of thing would work better on a longer album but since Veterans of Disorder is a lean ten songs; the Trux would’ve been better served to work out a genuine song here instead.’ — Eric Goldberg


Laetitia Sadier One Million Year Trip
‘For almost 20 years, Laetitia Sadier has been fronting the dazzlingly retro-futuristic Stereolab, and she’s also made room to indulge in a playful dream-pop side project, Monade. But The Trip, her first album under her own name, still feels like a coming-out party. Following Stereolab’s recently announced hiatus (the band’s upcoming Not Music was culled from the sessions for 2008’s Chemical Chords) and the disbanding of Monade, Sadier is finally on her own. She didn’t waste the opportunity: The Trip is breathtaking, a rich collection of torch songs and subtle, meandering melodies that clear away the distracting frenzy and Byzantine flourishes of her past groups to expose the humane beauty of her voice.’ — Rebecca Raber


Silver Jews I Remember Me
‘The Silver Jews have just released Bright Flight, the follow-up to 1998’s great American Water. Berman moved to Nashville to record Bright Flight, and the influence is apparent throughout the entire album. He’s absorbed the local country and alt-country scene, and integrated it with his own wry, lo-fi aesthetic to kick out ten new tracks of intelligent backwoods swagger. Stephen Malkmus doesn’t appear on the album so the sense of comradery that gave American Water so much life isn’t here, and consequently, Bright Flight sounds like more of a personal statement, mixing the cathartic grandeur of “Tonight’s the Night” with the striking imagery of early modernist poetry. Berman is a writer, first and foremost, who happens to write music, but doesn’t enjoy touring to promote it. As a result, the Jews don’t go out of their way to impress anyone. It’s this easy-going amiability combined with their frontman’s erudition that makes them so affecting.’ — Nathan Rooney


Stereolab The Long Hair Of Death
‘Rarely is a band as aptly named as Stereolab. Like a bunch of mad scientists mixing together their favorite musical ingredients, Stereolab has been producing avant-pop with such remarkable consistency and frequency that it raises the question of whether its members have lives outside the studio. Inevitably, any band as acclaimed and prolific as Stereolab is bound to attract its share of occasionally justified criticism: Some deride the band’s wholesale and unabashed appropriation of Neu!’s chugging riffs and the liberally borrowed exotica of lounge icons Juan Garcia Esquivel and Burt Bacharach. But Stereolab puts all these elements together in songs novel enough to serve as their own defense. More frustrating is the group’s tendency to release dozens of singles and collectibles in as many different hard-to-find forms as possible. After all, Stereolab has only been around since 1991, yet Aluminum Tunes is its third “Switched On” rarities collection, and a 25-track double-album at that. Surely the fact that Stereolab even deigns to compile its audio arcana shows that the band cares about fans who can’t otherwise find much of its music. The downside is that these albums inspire a frenzied rush to buy up the original issue of everything the band even breathes on, but the obvious upside is that, hey, there’s more Stereolab to go around. Aluminum Tunes brings together the whole of the 1995 Amorphous Body Study Centre installation piece, a handful of tour seven-inches, and a couple of remixes, as well as songs from the Emperor Tomato Ketchup, Mars Audiac Quintet, and Dots And Loops sessions.’ — Joshua Klein


Sun Araw Belomancie
‘The back cover of Belomancie reads “COMPOSED, PERFORMED, & PRODUCED BY CAMERON STALLONES.” A few years ago, that information would’ve been redundant, as Sun Araw began in the late 00’s clearly as Stallones solo project. But lately it’s been an expanding universe, incorporating various musicians into both studio and concert settings; he’s even referred to it as the Sun Araw Band. This ensemble has morphed so much that some iterations took on new names—Turban Chopsticks, Duppy Gun, The Celebrate Music Synthesizer Group—suggesting Stallones is increasingly interested in subsuming his personality into a larger collective. So, suddenly, it’s surprising that he would make a Sun Araw record by himself.‘ –– Marc Masters


Scott Walker Tilt
‘Combining elements of industrial music (most prominently on “The Cockfighter”) with minimalist and avant-garde forms, Walker’s reverb drenched, other worldly voice takes centre stage-much as it did on his early records-but instead of being backed by lush orchestral arrangements, it hovers precariously over carefully constructed blocks of sound that somehow manage to turn their repetitive nature into a highly positive aspect of the album’s nine compositions. Songs that, though generally dark and brooding in nature, assume a dream-like quality that captivates listeners and binds them into a transient state. Moods rise and fall with the most subtle changes in instrumentation, as out of discord and despair, hope arises like a phoenix before plummeting back down into the depths once more. The compositions feel fragile, human, as though the slightest touch could knock them off balance at any moment, but listeners await a disaster that never comes with bated breath. Walker has created something as vicarious as it is beautiful, and it simply must be experienced by any serious music lover.’ — James Paton


Wand Stolen Footsteps
‘1000 Days is a heartening record, a record that sees a young band picking up steam, playing with their influences more deftly than on their prior LPs, and bringing a thoughtful approach to old and well-traveled sounds. There’s enough interesting moments on 1000 Days to hold onto these songs, go back to them, and explore within them. That’s more than many of their cohorts within the cluttered and long-trendy field of psychedelic garage—there are hundreds of disposable tape-label bands with little to say out there, and it’s wearying to search through all that crud for the occasional gem, which does exist—have to offer.’ — Jes Skolnik



p.s. Hey. I guess it’s Thanksgiving in the land where I was born, so, if you’re there, do enjoy fulfilling its duties or avoiding them as the case may be, and, if you’re elsewhere like me, hey as usual. ** Dóra Grőber, Hi, Dóra! Yes, patience. I’m pretty good at that, relatively speaking, once I get over the initial ugh, which I’m starting to be. Precisely re: the acceptance and acknowledgement and representing of trans as an identity finally, so, yeah, fingers very crossed that interesting occasions will arise for your entry into acting, and do let me know what happens and what happens before anything happens even. If you’e a cake slut (like me), you will enjoy the buche beauty pageant post for sure. No, there’s no exhibition of them, just announcements and photos online and then trips around the city to shops and hotel restaurants and so on to see what they look like in person. It’s a treasure hunt. They’re usually made in limited editions of, like, 100 or less, and they’re often quite expensive, so it’s not like you can stock up an on a bunch of them. For instance, I saw a photo of one, and I thought, Ooh, that’s the one I want, but then I looked at the price: 280 Euros! So, definitely not. I hope you had fun with your friend yesterday. I mostly worked, and I went to SACD, which is this organization that handles the royalties for writers in France who work in theater and film and stuff, because there was some kind of glitch in my case, and now everything’s cool, and I’ll be getting a bunch of royalties for my work with Gisele Vienne that have been clogged up for a long time, so that’s obviously good! Have a lovely, lovely day! What happened? ** David Ehrenstein, Hi. Hm, I wonder what the Bresson article is. It’s locked, at least for me. Does Skolimowski not live in LA anymore? Right, I forgot that he’s in ‘Mars Attacks!’ I love that film. ‘Barrier’ is great, yeah, and ‘Le Depart’ too. Thank you for your wisdom! I didn’t know there’s a new Mike Mills film. And I didn’t realize that Annette Bening is still acting. Huh. ** Jamie, Happy day, sir! My day was productive. I guess that’s the best word for it. Lacking exciting headlines, but not bad. Your meeting is today, isn’t it? Am I remembering right? If so, incredible great luck with that, and let me know how it went or how it felt if you don’t know how it went for sure yet. Fingers crossed onto a brutalist sculpture over here. I think ‘Deep End’ is a really good place to start with Skolimowski. I think you’ll like it. It’s very of its time and partly really good because of that. I’ll be rehearsing ‘Jerk’ pretty much all day, so that should be … well, maybe not fun but memorable or something. I hope the sun sets today on a happy you! Big love, Dennis. ** Tomk, Hey! Your story is up on Entropy! That’s so exciting, man! I can’t wait to read it, and I’ll do that either today or as soon as I’m finished with the ‘Jerk’ rehearsals that will eat mot of my today. Huge congrats, and I hope that’s the first of many, many contexts falling like dominoes before your awesome work. Everyone, D.l. Tomk aka the extraordinary and super original writer Thomas Kendall has a new story called ‘The Last Assignment’ just up on the great Entropy site, and getting to see Thomas’s work is a rare pleasure, so whatever else you do today, make the time to click this and read or at least bookmark his piece because it’s utterly guaranteed to be killer and a thing that you will be weaker without. ** Steevee, Hi. Those Skolimowskis plus ‘The Shout’ are probably my faves of his too. Okay, the language rewriting the brain thing is clearly enough to get me to watch ‘Arrival’ at the soonest opportunity. Thank you, sir, and I hope you enjoy your turkey or whatever the big table today holds. ** _Black_Acrylic, Hi, Ben. Amazing news indeed. That is one cheap flight, wow. Cool. Man, you should definitely go if it’s even remotely possible. It’ll be fun, and I think I can say from traveling with Zac’s and my film that there’s something really … I don’t know … legitimizing about being there to see your work shown in that kind of context and in being treated as its representative, its artist. Anyway, great, all except for being forced back into a collaboration with Andrew’s procrastinations or whatever his problem is. I hope he ponies up quickly and smoothly. ** H, Hi. I don’t think I’m good at taking care of plants. I never have them, and, if memory serves, I think when I had plants, they seemed to meet untimely deaths despite my best efforts to preserve them. No Thanksgiving here, no. Just another day. Which is perfectly fine with me. Have a good one. ** Right. Maybe you would like to escape or accompany your Thanksgiving, if that applies, or your normal day, if not, by attending this gig I made featuring select artists from the roster of the great American record label Drag City. Sound good? See you tomorrow.


  1. jonathan

    Hi D

    Happy Thanksgiving 🙂 and I spied the most magical of all magical words in your ps BUCHE! its that time soon and i cant wait, le drool, ps i’m totally a cake slut too. although sadly i dont get much sluting action, its more fucking with pastries, as cakes it seems are to come by in norway, i might try and find some goodness today in dublin as it my last day here.

    This is an awesome post! as i love drag city & their line up, its probably one of the labels thats shaped my tastes over the years, for me if it was on drag city then its gotta be good. oh i preordered the new xiu xiu, that 1st track sound synthpoptastic. other than that my ears have been revisiting spiritualised, some footwork stuff like RP Boo and lots of late 60’s early 70’s electronic classical music an odd mix.

    oh a thing i made something for opened last night you can here it here and all of the others.

    okay sadly I gotta scoot last day plus meetings plus trying to do other stuff then pack. but hopefully i’ll be back out of the lurking shadows soon.
    oh before i forget did any of the new museum night get recorded? would love to see or hear it 🙂
    ok get thee to a pumpkin pie! (or something better tasting)

    love jx

  2. Tomk

    Hey man, thanks and this gig is beautifully structured for me as I think the ratio of known to unknown is 70/30 . Enjoy your non-thanksgiving and good to hear that you’re getting paid!

  3. MyNeighbourJohnTurturro

    Hey! Wow, some these bands actually have GUITARS, Dennis. Whats going on? Drag City tho… It’s been such a long time since I’ve listened to some of these bands. Stereolab are just so great, “Transient Random Noise Bursts with Announcements” might be my fave. That or “Emperor Tomato Ketchup” Do you have one?

    So, how is life? I never got a chance to tell you how much I loved Like Cattle Towards Glow, such a beautiful and hypnotic film. I know you’ve screened it in a few places in the UK, wonder if a Scottish screening is feasible. You have plenty of fans here. Oh, I was in Paris for a few days last week. My friend recently moved there. I fell in love with it, we spent most of our time in Le Marais, drinking coffee and my boyfriend picked up a copy of Horror Hospital from Shakespeare Company. That marked his offical induction into DC world. Haha. We intend to come back maybe in June. Do you have any theater pieces lined up around then?

    Anyway, happy Thursday.


  4. Dóra Grőber


    Respect for that! I’m usually very impatient when I want something, I go totally crazy from waiting!
    Thank you!! I’ll definitely tell you everything that happens!
    I’m pretty sure I’ll love it, yes! I can’t wait! I actually think I like the whole idea even better this way. I mean that there’s no big exhibition but you have to go around the city and hunt for them. It gives it a whole different atmosphere. But like wow, 280 Euros is a LOT even if the cake is gorgeous and delicious!
    Really great news about the royalties! I’m glad everything turned out this well on that front!
    Today, I’ll also meet a friend of mine. It’s been a while since we last had the time to sit down and talk, just the two of us so I’m looking forward to it. (Yesterday’s meeting was also nice!) Other than this I’m just writing. It’s that weird day when I feel like I’ve got something to say but I just can’t find the words or the exact thought, really.
    How was your day?

  5. David Ehrenstein

    Sorry the link to the Bresson piece doesn’t work. I’ll try and find it elsewhere.

    Quite a lot of stuff to look at and listen to today.

    Yes Annette Benning is still a working actress — and an utterly fabulous person.

    And here’s Dolores Gray with a “Thanks a Lot But No Thanks (giving)” for y’all

  6. B.R.Y.

    Hi Dennis,
    I am well (aside from the sociopolitical dis-ease rumbling through our collective systems, but alas), thank you! Finally getting some time to catch up with the blog . Loved _Black_Acrylic’s Cosey Fanni Tutti retrospective (Hi, _Black_Acrylic: phenomenal work!).

    This post really brings me back–that Jim O’Rourke record and Dirty Three were huge staples in younger, angstier, sillier days. Might have to dig back in :-). And William Basinski is eternally unfuckwithable. Not sure if you’ve ever come across this record: . One of my favorites to write to.

    Looking forward to catching any footage of Violations, glad to hear it went well. Hope things are good on your end, take care!

  7. Tosh Berman

    Kevin Drumm “Comedy” – the Organ piece is incredible. What’s the rest of the album like? Going through the list, I realized that this was slightly older music – and I didn’t know the Drag City connection, till you mentioned it. Are these you’re faves from that label?

  8. Jeff Jackson

    Hey Dennis – Love this Drag City day. Great picks here – a lot of deep cuts and tunes that I hadn’t listened to in ages. I need to dig out that Bailey album and had forgotten Basinski recorded for DC. Also enjoyed the Skolimowski day. I love ‘The Shout’ especially and ‘Deep End’ and didn’t realize how many of his other films I haven’t seen. Need to rectify that.

    I saw ‘Arrival’ last night and enjoyed it. Agree with Steve E that the language bits are interesting and that it overdoes the sentimentality at a few spots more than indulging in blockbuster tropes. It drops a few Tarkovsky references early on – checks that the movie simply can’t cash. That felt cheap. Wonder if that was part of what aggravated Zac?

    Have you seen the new film ‘Evolution’ yet — by the director who made ‘Innocence,’ Noe’s collaborator? Or ‘Childhood of a Leader’? If so, any thoughts?

    I’m working on a guest post for you. Will email you about that in the next day or so. Off now to stuff myself with food with some family members. Hope the ‘Jerk’ rehearsals go well.

  9. Jamie

    Hi Dennis! Thanks very much for your good wishes. The meeting with the agent was indeed this morning and was…….okay, I think. Definitely not a total success, but definitely not a total failure. They gave me some advice about what they thought my novel needed, which I didn’t feel was right, but which I think came from me not explaining things as clearly as I could have. One of the women asked if she could take the pages that I’d printed as she wanted to read them and send me comments. They also said that I should have come in with the names of at least two books that it was like, which I’m not into. I said that I thought it was pretty original and wasn’t like anything else that I knew of, but I think they thought I was at it a bit. I feel kind of good about it, tbh. I’m glad that I can now do something like that without becoming a blubbering wreck or feeling suicidal afterward. Blah blah blah!
    How are the rehearsals going? Are you changing the piece from the way it’s been done previously? Do you enjoy the rehearsal process? Did you get up to anything else?
    I was all confused with today’s blog as I managed to miss the fact that it was a Drag City showcase. I thought it was a funny old-fashioned selection. My friends and I were crazy for Baptiss Blacktick when it came out. That breakdown! I’m interested in hearing that Pita album that’s mentioned too. Thank you for the music.
    So, I’m sure that you’ll have said by now, but how was your Thursday? I do believe that it’s Friday that you’re doing the interview? Hope that goes very well and same with whatever you get up to. I’m heading to Newcastle to meet animators. Exciting!
    Lots of love to you,

  10. steevee

    I’m a vegetarian, albeit not a vegan, so Thanksgiving lunch consisted of a large quiche, with salad on the side.

    I believe Drag City’s reissue of Derek Bailey’s AIDA went out of print very quickly. It’s a shame. It’s one of the most abrasive albums I’ve heard, and it’s solo acoustic guitar!

    I wrote a review of Fellini’s ROMA, which is soon to arrive in the Criterion Collection, for, last night.

  11. Damien Ark

    This gig is my kind of shit! Bailey, Drumm, NWW, O Rouke, Pita, Basinski?!?!? <3

  12. New Juche

    I’d never heard of Dirty Three until their name appeared on a ticket to a Nick Cave performance at the Queens Hall in Edinburgh about 20 years ago. I arrived after they’d started out of mind on chemicals, and was instantly spellbound. They were like Swans with this intense developing undulating wall of never-ending crescendo. The violinist kept spitting thick wads of phlegm through the air in a big arc like shuttlecocks, and the drummer kept losing stick after stick into the audience, which would fly up and out in similar arcs, and then he’d pull a new one out to keep going seamlessly. At the time I thought I’d never seen anything so good. Then when Cave came on it was like being in morning assembly at primary school – him singing boring religious songs on the piano and giving morose readings. He even stood up and ordered some guy out for whispering during his delivery, like a cranky headmaster. I went to see Dirty Three again, headlining at a small club in Edinburgh months later, and they were fucking amazing, again. So it wasn’t the drugs. But their studio stuff never lived up to their live performances for me.

    Tilt is a great album, and Farmer in the City is one of my favourite Scott songs ever. Thanks Dennis.

    Jeff Jackson/Anybody – Is Childhood of a Leader good? I saw that Scott did the score.

    Going to read The Last Assignment right now. Interested to note that Tomk lives in Lima, a city I want to visit.



  13. _Black_Acrylic

    I was unaware of much about Drag City despite being a fan of Stereolab, NWW and Scott Walker, so I’ll take this opportunity to dig further into what they have on offer. Thank you!

    Earlier this week I put up a kind-of seasonal mix on Soundcloud titled Wintertide that features former Gig fave Carla dal Forno amongst various other acid/krautrock/techno picks.

    Re the Winterfilm gig, I really am excited but still need to get episodes 2 and 3 back from Andrew, and I’ve advised my brother to hold off booking flights until we get everything handed in. It’s not that Andrew’s procrastinating, more like he’s always just massively overworked. Perseverance is the watchword, I guess.

  14. Armando

    drag city. the paradise of every hipster…

  15. Misanthrope

    Dennis, Well, we must be vigilant and hold to account any elected official, whether we voted for him or her or not.

    Yeah, my niece told me that joke too. I haven’t used it in a while. Now that Gaga has a new album out, it might be time to start using it again.

    I saw where xXBiebzXx punched a fan in Barcelona. Kind of don’t blame him. Dude reached into the car, touching all over his chest and face. Fuck that. Probably should’ve knocked the dude out. But hey, you can’t win when you’re in the spotlight. You’re either the biggest wimp or the most horrible monster.

    Then again, maybe he should just keep that window rolled up.

    You do anything for Thanksgiving? We did the usual stuff. Football, food, food, food. Oh, and some food.

    I love ice cream, but i don’t think I’m ever gonna eat any again. Makes me feel like total shit. Ugh. It’s been hours and I’m still suffering. Maybe I’m getting lactose intolerant or something.

    I’m off tomorrow. Took the day off. My co-worker said she’d rather use her leave for her animal stuff, so I said…see ya. Now I just need to sleep like crazy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

© 2023 DC's

Theme by Anders NorénUp ↑