Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Best of 2005

This week, Prefix publishes its list of the 50 best albums of 2005. Different writers wrote each blurb, and in an awesome turn of events, my blurbs were selected for both number 50 and number 1. My music writing is both yin and yang, sunrise and sunset, alpha and omega, Laverne and Shirley. I bookended this year. I rule. Click here for a list of my top 15 records of the year.You have to scroll down past the first list to get to it.

You can now email me by clicking the link on the sidebar. I welcome all comments, encouraging, critical, threatening or otherwise.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

At long last?

Nothing's happened in the last 26 days. It was a lost month. Right after finishing my November 22nd blog post I ate 45 cans of Spaghettios in one sitting (the kind with the meatballs) and took heavy sedatives and hid under a gigantic pile of stuffed animals and hibernated. When I woke up it was mid-December, I had thirty-seven increasingly irate voicemail messages from my mother asking why I didn't show up to Thanksgiving, and I had grown a rockin' beard (see below).
Apparently I forgot to turn off the space heater, because my parents just slipped a $486.11 electricity bill under my door and my room is on fire.

I had some crazy-ass dreams while I was hibernating:

I dreamt that two more of my Prefix reviews were published, and that their descriptions were as follows:
1) Barbez: Insignificance
2) Sage Francis: concert review

I dreamt that Chris Whitley, an egregiously underappreciated singer-songwriter and guitarist, died of lung cancer. I urge you to read these moving accounts of his passing, and seek out his album Dirt Floor, which is as close as anyone will ever come to pleasing the ghost of Robert Johnson. It's quite simply a perfect record, very short and quiet and still and shockingly powerful in its quietness and stillness.

I dreamt that someone I barely even know kept me smiling for an entire month.

I dreamt of data entry and jobs and the future and commitments and music and friends and family and a lot of other things. I was out for a long time--there was a lot to dream about.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

A Cerebral Metalhead Exclusive: RONJON!!!!

I've got an old college a cappella buddy named Ronjon. The dude is one crazy motherfucker, this taut-bodied brown man who used to run full speed throughout campus for no apparent reason, joined the Navy so that he could improve his aim by firing torpedos at passing whales, and laughs in that way that Sagat from Street Fighter II would laugh whenever he beat you: a total body laugh, shoulders rising up and down, with a heavy braying sound to accompany it.

In addition to being one crazy motherfucker, Ronjon is also a talented musician and songwriter, so when he asked me to post some of his new music on Cerebral Metalhead I did a backflip and clapped my hands and said "Yeah!" Without further ado, I present to you the debut solo recordings of: RONJON!!!!

1) Ronjon Bhattacharya - If This Works
2) Ronjon Bhattacharya - Come Fly With Me

Please contact me if you're interested in booking, producing or spanking the guy.

Monday, November 21, 2005

The hard stuff and the soft stuff.

This past week brought with it new friends, new music, and a new opportunity to not make money. It also brought with it two new reviews of mine on Prefixmag.com:

Sleeping People - Sleeping People"
Capillary Action - Fragments"

That second one I wasn't even supposed to write. The dude contacted my publisher about getting my e-mail address (I suppose he wanted someone that had written metal reviews), started pleading with me to write a review, even if it was short and bad, and finally I relented. We became e-buddies in the process after we realized that we were döppelgangers (wouldn't you want to be friends with yourself?). Thing is, I didn't care that much for the album, and the dude predicted that I would give it a higher rating than I did, which made my heart sink. So I had to choose between journalistic integrity and possibly upsetting my other in the matrix. I took the high road, and thankfully, unless he's lying, myself liked the review. The new stuff he's recording as Capillary Action is a lot better, more of a stitched together collage of samples that could never be released legally in the US without spending like a month and a fortune on sample clearance. I'd review it, but I think there's a little conflict of interest there. It'd be unfair of me to review an album written by me.

I had a long talk with my my publisher yesterday about taking over the editorship at a new LA events site that Prefix is creating. Pros: lots of free concert tickets, a much larger audience than my current site, something nice for my resume, a spiffy new @prefixmag.com e-mail address, and absolute power over what appears. Cons: I wouldn't be paid anything until we got a whole shitload of advertisers interested, I'd have a whole lot of data entry to do, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Any words of advice?

For the first time in a long while, I took out an old diary of mine (really the only one I kept regularly) from late 1999, right after I returned from Israel. It didn't surprise me to find how much I wrote about Reva--my relationship with her dominated my inner life at that point. I WAS a little surprised by how little else I wrote about. No music, only a little about other friends, nothing about the wider world. These days I still think about relationships too much, but I'd like to think I've broadened the scope of things that I'd be willing to divulge in a document that nobody else will see. Perhaps this just highlights the difference between the good ol' diary and the blog. As I get more and more used to preparing my prose for public consumption, it seems increasingly strange not to include a multiplicity of tidbits that might interest someone other than me.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Most Precious Wal-Mart

Another of my short metal reviews was posted on Prefix today:

Most Precious Blood: Merciless

Has everyone signed up to see one of the free screenings of Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Prices? It's playing at 7000+ locations this week, all over the nation. You can enter in your zip code and it'll give you a list of local screenings. I've heard mixed things about the movie itself, but it's important for anyone that cares about workers' rights, corporate malfeasance and the ills of globalization.

On an unrelated note, I'd like to give a shout out to telling people how you feel. I did it the other night, and it felt great!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Mandarin Movie review sez: "Read Me!"

I need to shy away from writing reviews on music that nobody cares about. How am I ever gonna work my way up the Google rankings if I keep covering metalcore and avant-garde droneprov records on a predominantly indie rock/hip-hop site?

Somewhat glumly, I present to you my newest published work on prefixmag.com. I wrote this one in between morning and afternoon Yom Kippur services, sitting at an outside table at the Hollywood and Highland complex. Keep in mind that I hadn't had anything to eat since 7pm the previous night, I was wearing a suit and tie, and I had spent the entire day stewing in my oppressive guilt with hundreds of other Jews doing the same. You'll probably be able to sense that in my prose:

Mandarin Movie: Mandarin Movie review at Prefixmag.com

I've got a whole shitload of new concert suggestions up for the rest of the week. 95% certain that I'll be going to hear Art Brut on Thursday, Nevenka/Jeff Gauthier on Friday, and Dillinger Escape Plan on Sunday. Let me know if you're interested in coming along!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

A Murder of Parrots

So it turns out that the early morning squawkers are parrots, not crows. Much like the protagonists of that delightful arthouse documentary The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill from last year, it would seem that a couple imported parrots escaped from their owners' cages, mated, and soon had an entire brood following them around from one suburban tree to the next. Why they chose this particular tree in this particular neighborhood is beyond me, but now that I've found out their secret, the parrots seem to have lost their will to annoy me, and now I can sleep. Knowledge is power.

I'm having a really difficult time writing my Sage Francis review. If anyone that was there (::hint hint::cough::CLAIRE::cough cough::) can suggest a few points to make I'd be much obliged.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

A Murder of Crows

I've got a whole bunch of new shows up on my Calendar (link to your left). If you register, you can receive updates or a newsletter when I've posted new dates and even add dates yourself.

Went to the Feist in-store at Amoeba tonight with my friend Elisa. Both women I mention in the last sentence are delightful, although I guess I would enjoy spending time with anyone if it were followed by a burrito from Tere's.

For the last two days, I've woken up far too early on account of a swarm of crows that seem to be mating right outside of my window. Now I'll take sex whenever I can get it, but in general I find that 7 in the morning is not the best time for baby-making. It's too bad the birds don't see it that way. Couldn't they at least be a bit quieter? Don't get me wrong, I love the sound of coitus, and in fact I get a little perturbed when my partner is silent during a mambo session. But these birds squawk like they're being dipped in hot oil rather than consummating their hardcore avian lust. I shall pass a petition around the neighborhood, requesting the crows to remain silent until 8:30, at least. And if that doesn't work, I will move for a special referendum to address the issue.

A good friend of mine from New Zealand recently wrote:
"i voted in my first election and i felt sick. i have been looking forward to this moment since i first became politically aware as a youngster and ranted off at slack bastards who didn't vote that they should try living in zimbabwe for a while. then i read a quote: 'don't vote, you'll only encourage them' and found it a little true for my liking. still i tried to find a party who i truly believe shared my ideologies about helping the starving little babies without overarching, arbitrary government interference and they got 1.4% of the total votes. Oh well, at least a couple of other kiwis care. "

I feel for her but I can't sympathize. It felt great to vote today. As needless and wasteful as these elections are, at least our votes actually matter, and these are real issues that affect real people. At this point it looks like none of the propositions are going to pass. Somebody's been thinking. See? Californians aren't totally vapid. But still, that 51.8 vs. 48.2 % dismissal of Prop 73 freaks me out a little.

Speaking of abortions, it's time I went to bed. I have crows to prepare for.

Friday, November 04, 2005

It's about time.

I've begun adding dates to my show calendar in earnest--thanks for your patience. It's only complete until Sunday, but as soon as I return from my weekend at Jewcamp, I'll start updating more frequently than a leaky cow lactates.

If you've got an RSS or Atom feed reader, make sure to subscribe to Cerebral Metalhead. You won't regret it.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Damnable damnity.

I'm having problems with the calendar page...I subscribed for $24 so that you could view all of the events by week, month or lifetime, and as soon as the payment went through, it erased all of the content I'd already added. I've sent two rather large Italian gentlemen over to the webmaster's house to get some answers and see if we can't fix this little problem without too many shards of patella flying around.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Introductions

Welcome to my new blog. This thing mostly exists as a shiny gateway to BE THERE, my new ugly-as-sin events calendar, but occasionally I'll post personal diatribes and pornographic materials that you might not be aware of otherwise. I invite all comments, criticisms and advice , but play nice: I'm new here.

Oh, and about the name Cerebral Metalhead: a lot of people are surprised when they find out that I listen to so much heavy metal, assumedly because I don't fit anyone's image of a typical "metalhead." Although I can appreciate most any form of music as a way of communicating the social/aesthetic/cultural concerns of a particular group of people, I hate it that we feel the need to make connections between what we listen to and who we are. To my mind, music is music, and the fewer barriers that exist between my ears and your music, the better. So the title "Cerebral Metalhead" means that in my head, I'm a smelly leather-clad tattooed death metal enthusiast with hair down to my ass and a beergut the size of a Galapagos tortoise, while to the external world I'm a totally non-descript, intelligent but not so street-smart white kid from suburban Los Angeles. I see no contradictions at all.