the original soundtrack

Article by me in the Times today on the world's first Ramones museum: Hey Ho Let's Go (to Berlin)

09.25.05 @ 08:52 AM EST [link]

09.21.05 @ 06:27 PM EST [link]

Lipps Inc. -- "How Long."

09.21.05 @ 06:23 PM EST [link]

09.19.05 @ 09:08 AM EST [link]

Me with a review of a new Guided by Voices biography in Bookforum

09.19.05 @ 08:42 AM EST [link]

Mathew Jonson at Watergate was unbelievable. Imagine this, for those of you who were not in Berlin last night. You have a huge and beautiful venue right on the river, with floor-to-ceiling windows. You look out from the packed floor and you see the night sky and stars, and the water gently drifting beneath you. The vibe is frenzied and tranquil all at once.


(In case you're curious, "The Return of the Zombie Bikers" made at least three appearances. You cannot mask that riff, even if you try. The crowd went insane every time.)

09.15.05 @ 04:14 PM EST [link]

Feature by me on Bollywood tunes in the Seattle Weekly

09.14.05 @ 02:19 PM EST [link]

read 'em and weep.
Here is what Berlin has on offer for the week:

Wed: Mathew Jonson, Richie Hawtin, Magda at Watergate. Miss Kittin, Dinky at WMF. Tiefschwarz, Ada, Metope, Egoexpress at Maria. Greg Wilson, Losoul at Weekend.
Thurs: Jay Haze, Booka Shade, et al. at Weekend.
Fri: Ivan Smagghe, Ata at Panoramabar.
Sat: Chloe and Cabanne at WMF. Something else that I don't remember.

09.14.05 @ 06:20 AM EST [link]

trans. europe. express.
Went on a quick jaunt to Dresden for the weekend--it's only about a two-hour drive from Berlin--and thought ah, what the hell, I'm so close to the Czech border I might as well catch a train over there. I narrowly grabbed the last train of the day from Dresden to Prague. A mere two-hour journey, according to the exacting German train timetables. We got to the border--a small town called Schoena--and the train suddenly stopped. The conductor said nothing. For two hours, we sat at the border. What the hell? German trains are supposed to be immer punktlich, damn it! Anyway, all of us in the train were wondering what was up. Tick tock tick tock....then we heard that the engine was out of order. I suddenly began to despise the beautifully futuristic German train system. Its swooping curves and gleaming promises of Kraftwerkesque efficiency? Lies, I tell you! Lies! But then--a bunch of train workers in blue overalls raced into the train and brought a new engine with them! "They are replacing the locomotive. The train will move shortly," said the conductor solemnly, in a hilarious 'We are the robots' monotone. And he was right! Soon, we were gliding away, smoothly and effortlessly, into the Czech Republic. I somehow can't imagine that ever happening with Amtrak.

I'm thinking about starting a blog about trains. Ha. Back in Berlin soon.

09.11.05 @ 07:20 PM EST [link]

beam myself into the future.

More posts to come.

09.08.05 @ 09:13 PM EST [link]

soundtrack for the apocalypse.
This ain't no party
This ain't no disco
This ain't no foolin' around

An explanation: here.

See here for information on how to help with the aftermath of the hurricane.

09.05.05 @ 06:46 AM EST [link]

cologne rundown, part 1.
It's weird to actually live in Germany. I moved to Berlin a month ago, so Cologne was only a train ride away. I jumped into a high-speed ICE train after work and zoomed to Cologne in exactly four hours and nine minutes.

When I got to Cologne, I immediately remembered how much I loved it. Berlin is cool, but it's a bit hard in comparison; people seem pretty tough and hardcore. In Cologne, people are disarmingly friendly. Even the guy who sells you your newspaper will say hello to you and ask you how you're doing. I asked a girl on the street for directions and she insisted on walking with me to where I needed to go to make sure I didn't get lost. That's Cologne for you.

We arrive in Köln

(I might also add that Cologne beer is miles better than Berlin beer. The average Berlin beer tastes like piss, but your average Kölsch tastes like nectar from the heavens. So give it up for Köln, y'all.)

When I got to Stadtgarten--the venue where the whole Kompakt shindig was happening--I was met with massive crowds and the urgent news that Justus Köhncke was about to start his live set! I rush into the venue because I don't want to miss a minute of it. It's absolutely jammed with people inside the Stadtgarten. There's barely space to move. Justus and his band are setting up. Justus is wearing a T-shirt that says "AT&T: The More You Hear, The Better We Sound." I like the guy already. I've never seen Justus and his band live, so I have no idea how it's going to go down.

I'm standing there, hoping that he'll dig out some sweet tunes from his first record, Was ist Musik?, that he'll do some Chic covers, that he'll play "Timecode," that he'll do "Homogen", "2 After 909"...done, done, done, and a million times done. He played 'em all, and they sounded even better than they did on record. That's because Justus and his band make every song more over-the-top, MORE disco, and MORE camp in their live gig. Each song got some jazzy piano fills and some extra boogie-woogie chords. The keyboardist showed off some serious skillz. "Elan" got fattened up and filled out, and became the massive anthem it was always meant to be. The end was a one-two punch of "Timecode" and his awesome "So Weit Wie Noch Nie" remix. Everyone in the audience had goofy grins on their faces. How could you not be happy after that set? A megamix of only Justus Köhncke tunes is pretty much the greatest set imaginable.

Later on in the night I had a very funny conversation with Mr Köhncke. Ends up he was a punk when he was a teenager! He said his favorite bands back then were the Buzzcocks, Wire, and DAF. This made total sense to me--those are pretty much the three punk bands you should love if you want to learn how to write pop music. Buzzcocks' "Singles Going Steady" is pretty much the bible of how to write a good, tight pop song. DAF: DAF had a goofy and highly underrated sense of humor. Wire: I asked him what his favorite Wire tune was and he immediately said "Outdoor Miner," Wire's most perfect pop song, their sweetest tune.

Old-school synth from the 'Synthesizerpark'--more on this later

Speaking of perfect pop music, the dude immediately following Justus Köhncke was the shadowy, mysterious Rex the Dog! I'd never seen him live before, and this was definitely a highlight of the night for me. Rex must've been sweating serious bullets, because he was facing some serious competition; Michael Mayer was spinning in another room during his set. But Rex commanded a packed floor. He played a bunch of his own tunes--his remix of the Prodigy's "Girls," "Frequency," "Prototype," and on and on. But then he mixed it up with stuff like "Theme from S'Express"! I have especially fond memories of "I Look into Mid-Air," when the whole room seemed to melt into a colorful whirl. He ended with this bonkers cut-up of Mel and Kim's "Respectable" with little tiny bits of Koze's "Brutalga Square" mixed in. What a guy.

Parts 2 and 3 coming soon!

09.01.05 @ 12:51 PM EST [link]

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