by carl wilson

Remember When?

1. Remember when I was complaining about the term "outsider music"? Further evidence in this week's SF Weekly: "For the uninitiated, outsider music is created by unknown, isolated individuals - often emotionally volatile and/or stridently weird - who exist totally outside of all culture, mainstream and underground."

Take a memo: There is no such thing as "individuals... who exist totally outside of all culture." (With the possible exception of feral children. Even extreme schizophrenics exist within a culture, which is often the source material for their delusions - a family culture at least, if they are sufficiently odd to be cut off from a popular culture.) (For instance: Where did they find out about music?) This is exactly the breed of nonsense that makes me think the term should be trashed and replaced with absolutely nothing except precise case-by-case descriptions such as "music by eccentric amateurs," or "music by the mentally ill." In that first category, by the way, the Shaggs musical is opening next month. I don't know whether to cheer or cringe. No clear news on the long-rumoured Shaggs movie, written and directed by Katherine Dieckmann, based on the Susan Orlean New Yorker article linked above.

2. Remember when we mourned the death of Kevin Coyne? Last night in Chicago, I find out a little late, Jon Langford (of the Mekons, Waco Bros. and sometimes [Toronto content] the Sadies) hosted a show honouring Coyne that was also the launch of their collaborative album One Day in Chicago. Jon-boy also has plans for more Coyne tributes to come. (Songwriter duo discs seem to be Langford's new hobby, given his recent collaboration with Richard Buckner. Who will be next? I nominate Dizzee Rascal!)

3. Remember when Jon Caramanica wrote a great piece in the Sunday Times about the sparkly-promising undiscovered-Jewish-archival-music label Reboot Stereophonic? Well, no, you wouldn't, because it doesn't happen till tomorrow morning. But look for it. The label is the project of a bunch of savvy Ashkenazi tuneheadz including critic-academic-blogger Josh Kun and writer Jody Rosen, and what they have coming will make you plotz (I want to the be the first of a thousand writers to make that joke), including the current Bagels and Bongos collection of 1950s Jewish mambo, the upcoming God is a Moog (the Shabbat service as a moog rock opera, circa 1968), a brand new version of Fiddler on the Roof done as Latino music, and other projects on African-American/Jewish crossover music (in more specific form than just "all American pop music post-1929") and the ultimate "Jewface" collection. (I'll let you just wonder what that is.)

4. Remember when we loved the Mountain Goats? Here's one more reason, the first ever (!?) tMGs music video, for This Year. Simple but killer.

5. Remember when I missed the Murdered City Music Festival all this week at the fantabulous Ford Plant in my hometown of Brantford? Fill the gap in my life and tell me all about it! If you are in the area and can still make it there, the festival continues till Sunday night. Sunday programming includes a "secret location" (but find out by going to the club) 1 pm show with Jon Rae Fletcher and Neil Haverty, and then in the evening, Silent Film Soundtrack, Magneta Lange, From Fiction, Controller Controller and Wolf Parade, all starting at 7:30 pm.

6. And remember this afternoon, when we went to the Three Gut Records Anniversary and Farewell show this afternoon at the Tranzac? It was a tearjerkin' but festive occasion with short acoustic sets by various Three Gut alumni (I think Bry Webb of the Constantines' set was my favourite, but I was impressed with the two members of Oneida offshoot Oakley Hall as well, including their acoustic two-part harmony'd Constantines cover!, and of course all the usual suspects), plus full sets by Jim Guthrie and Gentleman Reg, and probably an all-star-jam rouser at the end but I couldn't stay quite that long. And cake! I am also missing the climactic Cons/Oneida blowout tonight, but I'm sure it is at this very moment overstimulating many people's pineal glands.

News | Posted by zoilus on Saturday, August 20 at 08:33 PM | Linking Posts | Comments (4)



Your site is realy very interesting.

Posted by Sany on September 17, 2005 05:02 AM



RE: "Outsider" terminology. I always thought of it as "outside" the musical-industrial- complex, but you're right, no matter what, it's tainted and cringingly questionable. But let’s not shockingly dismiss it without learning from it.

To be fair, the entire critical-industrial- complex is based on notions of codifying communities hidden within (as opposed to "outside") cultural and economic superstructures. Our word for it is folk. The aficionado of the “outside” gets hung up on qualifications and, tainted by the colonialist psychology of the collector, would rather “own curiosities” than think of them in a larger context (the folk art of the vanity album) and conditions. They’re Victorians basically.

But the rise of the outsider aficionado is its own telling sociological event . In my scant 500 published words on the subject, I somewhat called for a reassessment of the word “outsider.” My justification being that, for example, video and radio rotation, in some cases being as little as TEN songs per day, positions everyone as outside. Specifically, outside distribution networks. You, Carl, know the standardized, committee process of creation that goes into making those 10 songs in rotation and you know that distribution is not “a” thing, but the only thing.

Terrible, stigmatizing word yes, but who's the author of it? Irwin Chusid or UMG? Erase the reactionary word though, do you have a radical critique underneath it?

Posted by Brian on August 23, 2005 11:24 AM



>> In that first category, by the way, the Shaggs musical is opening next month. I don't know whether to cheer or cringe.

I saw it in Chicago last year, thought it was quite good.

They handled the recording session quite cleverly. They'd start on stage left and show the band running through My Pal Foot Foot or whatever, but a totally slick and radio-friendly version, clearly representing how the sisters hear it in their heads.

After which they'd pan to stage right and show the engineer listening in bafflement to the playback of the real version that we know and love.

That makes it sound like the play is simply mocking the Shaggs, but that's not the case. It's sympathetic and touching even. At least I thought so...

Posted by DW on August 21, 2005 07:31 PM



There's a huge scaffold around that water tower these days. I saw last week.

Posted by Sean on August 19, 2005 11:40 AM




Zoilus by Carl Wilson