Albany Music Quiz

Hey Albany Music Geeks: While home this afternoon (sick, see below), I continued working on tidying up, archiving and deleting old concert reviews, record reviews and interviews. Which meant that I read some of them for the first time in ages. I started copying fragments and shards that I either particularly liked, or thought were particularly pompous from a music critic-ese standpoint.

It occured to me that it might be fun to share some of them with you . . . but with a twist. So here’s the deal: there are ten quotes following this paragraph. Below the ten quotes are the names of ten bands who are/were either directly from the Albany area or had some strong connection to here. All of these quotes appeared in print, so were presented (for better or worse) as a credible media position on these groups’ work. Sorry.

Can you match the quote to the band? If you think you can, shoot me an e-mail (see link to the left). First person to get all ten right will be praised here as a very clever geek indeed, and will receive a CD mix sampler of some of my fave Albany music from 1994 to 2003 or so, when I stopped reviewing.

Alright, here’s the quotes:

1. “Are they punktronica? Or tech & roll? Or beatcore, mixmetal, hip-hopabilly, ambient rawk? Maybe . . . with the caveat that descriptions of uncharted territories like those identified by these songs will always be hamstrung by the limitations of a lexicon built around a familiar (musical) topography.”

2. “Equal parts Athens ’82 and Seattle ’92, a the band force-fit an angularly mammoth Soundgarden grunch into a melodically fun Pylon groove, but did it without carrying over Soundgarden’s heartless self-importance or Pylon’s rinky-tink silliness.”

3. “I wish this record was longer, although the band may be taking the approach that the Birthday Party took in their latter days, recognizing that full length recordings were too much for even their fans to bear. This one’s got some chillingly poignant moments on it, and some scary accurate depictions of real worlds that most of us dare not even imagine.”

4. “Imagine a funkier version of Frank Zappa’s early Mothers of Invention crossed with a bluesier version of mid-period Steely Dan then mounted atop a jazzier version of latter-day Bonzo Dog Band and you might just begin to get a general grip on the experience.”

5. “It was like hearing some unclean mating of King Crimson and Black Flag. Scary good stuff, that.”

6. “It’s a pity that compact disc packaging materials are generally limited to plastic and cardboard, since this unbelievably organic record would most properly be wrapped in something like fur, or mulch, or a potato sack, or slime. Or maybe all four. In fact, in a perfect packaging world, you’d wipe a thick smear of blood and pus off the back cover and squint to read the song titles, instead of just casually admiring them through a film of shrink wrap.”

7. “The best parts of a house party always take place betwixt refrigerator, sink and stove, late at night after the rabble have headed home. There’s a certain intimacy, a comfort (food) zone, a shoeless familiarity, and a huggable honesty that can easily take place in a kitchen–but which rarely takes place in a studio or a concert hall.”

8. “The latest pulverizing incarnation of this local outfit spewed goblin-in-the-machine technomania, anxiety-attack-inducing grindcore, and late-Swans-like sludge-metal, with everything boosted as if from a dirty adrenaline needle to the band’s collective heart.”

9. “The proceedings had a truly exploratory, stylistically frapped feel, something like what you’d get if you ran the Butthole Surfers and Camper Van Beethoven through a musical meat grinder together.”

10. “They do the anthemic slow build as well as anybody I’ve ever heard, linking two slow guitar figures, adding bass color slowly, cymbals, then kick-drum, louder, building, louder, fluctuating, louder, rumbling, roaring, climax, out. (Was it good for you too?)”

And here’s the bands:

A. Beef

B. The Clay People

C. Collider

D. Giant Ray Soda

E. The Kamikaze Hearts

F. Lughead

G. One King Down

H. Small Axe

I. Subduing Mara

J. The Weasels

Send your answers to the e-mail link shown at left, under “Contacting.” Good luck!

The Drear

We have been experiencing a very bizarre weather pattern up here in Upstateland for about the past week: it feels and looks more like early November than late May, with constant clouds, low grade sprinkles and temps in the 50s, if that. Very, very dreary. Looking out the window this morning, I see some hints of sun peaking through the clouds, but I know it’s just so things can warm up enough today to deliver us thunderstorms this afternoon, which will followed by another three or four days of drear, if the weather people are accurate and on their game. So much for a big outdoorsy Memorial Day weekend.

Adding to the drear: Katelin was sick early this week, and I’m sick now. The usual sore throatiness turning to head stuffiness turning to snot runniness turning to body achiness. I’m somewhere between head stuffiness and snot runniness at the moment. Feh.

Further adding to the drear: two of our cats have been sick, one with a urinary tract infection, one with an impacted anal gland (don’t ask, you don’t want to know). This means that most days when I get up or get home there are . . . . surprises awaiting me. Things to clean. Medicine to administer. Cats don’t like medicine. I don’t like cleaning things.

Drear out . . .

I’ve Got A Bike

Well, I’ve got two bikes now, actually . . .

I’ve been riding a 1984 Bianchi Giro (in their brand’s classic trademark Celeste color) since, well, 1984. It’s a lovely bike and has served me well over the years, for all of my recreational biking, for long distance road trips (like the Boston to New York AIDS Ride, for instance) and for just general kicking around purposes. This was once of those bikes that just felt darn good on the road . . . and when you got into the zone of one of those great riding moments where perfect road and perfect pace corresponded, where you really felt like you a part of the bike or the bike was a part of you, then riding it was probably as close as you can get to flying. Or floating, at least.

The one problem with the Bianchi was that it did great on the road, but was pretty much lousy anywhere else. Or even on rough roads, for that matter. And as I’ve aged, I’ve started to want to spend less time on the shoulders of busy byways than I’d like to spend on roads (or paths) that don’t even support car traffic. As long-term readers of my website know, I have a love/hate relationship with the woods, but I feel drawn to them, powerfully. For the 12 years I’ve lived here, I’ve seen trails and dirt roads going into the woods a few miles from my home and have wondered where they went . . . but I never wondered hard enough to walk all the way to them to explore on foot.

But that changed today, as I got myself an early birthday present: I bought a Marin Bobcat Trail bike today. Mind you, I have no desire to spend my time climbing or rolling down high peaks in the Adirondacks or anything like that, but I do enjoy the thought of being able to ride through the woods around my house, or to ride on the rough shoulder of the road with a little bit more comfort and security than the Bianchi affords.

I took the bike out for its trial spin this afternoon, heading into the woods on a trailhead that I’d seen from the road, but never walked. It was squishy and wet and dirty and overgrown, but the bike did just fine on it. I have to adjust my riding style to it, though . . . less bending forward from the back, more gears than I’ve ever imagined I’d find a use for, a whole different approach to riding through muck than to riding on pavement. But I enjoyed the experience a lot, and know of plenty of other trails I want to explore.

As is generally the case when I go into the woods, the journey wasn’t without thrills . . . I broke in my new bike properly by going over the handlebars for the first time during my inaugural ride. I have to say, it’s a far less horrible experience on a muddy trail than it is on a paved highway. I was slowly climbing up a mild slope covered with mucky, wet leaves, standing on the pedals, and hit a concealed fallen tree limb, which stopped my front tire cold, while I kept going. The more upright posture and slower speed gave me time to tuck and roll, and I got up after the spill with nary a scratch, bruise nor strain. Glad that’s out of the way. And looking forward to more woodsy adventures.

Wizards Meet Reality

Well, the Wizards got quite the reality check as they were stomped by Miami in Game One of their series, the first game Shaquille O’Neal played after finding out he didn’t get the MVP Award this year. Oops. If the Wizards do have to lose to someone in the East, I can’t say I mind it being Miami, since I’ll probably pull for the Heat at that point, just because I will enjoy seeing Shaq win a Championship a year after being shucked by the idiot Laker management trust. I think the “Who would you rather have on your team, Shaq or Kobe” question has been pretty much settled definitely.

Also in sport, both Navy (my alma mater) and the University at Albany (the biggest local Division I University in the area in which I’ve made my home for more than a dozen years) made the 16-team NCAA D-1 Lacrosse tournament as automatic berths from winning their conference championships. Nice! Only thing is . . . if they both win, they play each other in the second round. I guess that would be cool, although I wish I could pull for them both longer than that.

Better Living Through Technology

Marcia bought a Roomba yesterday. It’s one of those little self-guided vacuum cleaner robots. It does a surprisingly good job given its small size, although it is sort of disconcerting . . . I keep catching glimpses of something moving out of the corner of my eye, and hearing bumps when I’m not expecting to. The cats are edgy too. I hope it takes itself back to its home station and puts itself to bed soon. But only after it brings me a bottle of water and a bag of chips. If it wants me to respect it as a robot, I mean.

On Painting

Not the satisfying arts kind of painting, the soul-crushing and frustrating house kind of painting. We replaced our front door, and I spent today taping and priming and painting, and still have a good amount to go tomorrow. I don’t like painting, not one bit. But our house has had a bizarre purple door since we bought it six years ago. It didn’t match anything, but it got even weirder looking when we replaced the roof last month with green shingles. So I’m painting the door a deep, forest green. It looks great from a distance, although up close it becomes pretty clear that I don’t have the temperment or talent to be a great house painter. Oh well.

Woo Hoo

Well, I haven’t wanted to post anything here since I didn’t want to jinx them . . . but the Washington Wizards won their first playoff series in 23 years tonight, knocking out the Celtics in six games. They’re now in the final eight. Sweet. Go team! Rah!

Also, that new Residents album I mentioned in the last post is a really good one. More detail later. I have to watch the new episode of Spongebob Squarepants tonight. Life really is good.