10 April, 2015

Recent Love (Nobody's Getting Laid Tonight Edition)

Beauty School, Residual Ugly
We all know I'm going to say it eventually so let's just get it out of the way now: I can't fuck to this.
And if I could manage to find a woman who would fuck to this, she'd probably be a white girl wearing feathers in her hair (which she washes about as often as she washes her clothes), she'd be from Manitoba but talk like she was from California, go to art school (majoring in video collage), claim to be vegan but secretly eat Wendy's Crispy Chicken Sandwiches with frightening regularity at a location nowhere near her home, bite her nails with a chipped front tooth, have one pair of combat boots she wears year-round, all of her t-shirts would be spray-painted, and she'd have a bunch of scary homemade tattoos, like "PUNISH ME" in that little dimple between the inner-thigh and the vulva and a crude rendering of the Zodiac's helmet between her shoulder blades above the caption "SUPRESTAR" (yes, intentionally misspelled). She'd speak fluent German and beginner's French and have an extensive knowledge of the Dadaist movement, have an extensive knowledge of Nin and Paglia, pick her nose at the Farmer's Market, and call me a dirty imperialist because I like baseball. She'd have old photos of herself with a mohawk, pictures of her with her ex-boyfriend who has purple hair and never smiles, her favorite movies would include Fando y Lis, Daisies, and Sleepaway Camp. She'd consider NPR News to be too conservative a media conduit, relying only on foreign news outlets from third world countries. Occupy wasn't proactive enough for her. She smokes her cigarettes in one of those long cigarette holders from back in the day and the girliest girl thing about her is that she'd wear a choker. That's the kind of woman that would fuck to Residual Ugly.
One day, I will find this woman. One day.
So, now what does it sound like?
Well, honestly, at first I was apprehensive about listening to it. My cassette copy showed up in the mail on Tuesday (thanks, Jacob) with a one-sheet that used the words "nasty homemade electronics and circuit-bent keyboards" and I was all, Oh, man, nerd alert! Motherfuckers going to sound like DEVO.
But it doesn't sound like DEVO. If anything, Residual Ugly, a largely improvised recording, reminds me of the more intense moments of Naked City's Absinthe (my favorite of the Naked City records, if you haven't picked up on it the thousand times I said it), the more somber moments of Bitches Brew, and everything that's better than that hack-cunt what's playing folk-rock on acoustic guitar across the street from me as I write this. Motherfucker's probably writing songs about his girlfriend or some dumb shit like that; DUDE, THE MOODY BLUES ALREADY WROTE THAT SONG! GO BACK TO ENGLISH LIT., DOUCHEPONY! I'm trying to listen to this cassette! Fuck!
Residual Ugly reminds me - and forgive me for referencing a band only two of you who read this have ever heard of and, no, that number is not an exaggeration - of a short-lived collective from Bowling Green about eleven, maybe twelve years ago now called Naughty Arabia. It had Joel from Bullet Teeth and I think Chris from CE was in it, too, and there were some other people, and they played in some hall on the BGSU campus, and Joel started the set with "We're Naughty Arabia... And we want to be your friend..." and then chaos ensued, much along the lines of what I'm hearing with Beauty School: Horns, detuned and retuned instruments, circuit bending, and unconventional percussion, no written songs, and at the time, I didn't hate it but I also didn't get it. Thank fuck I didn't have a blog back in 2003; I would've revealed how far up my ass my head was, being spoon-fed by AOR and MTV as I was. All I remember clearly about Naughty Arabia's set is Joel's greeting and the baby-taking-a-shit expression on Chris's face while he pounded on a car bumper.
Years later, I'd be exposed to another improvisational recording, this one being Colossus of Destiny by the Melvins, the only record to ever make me feel duped as a fan (I believe I've said that a thousand times too) (because it's true) (and I'll never forgive the Melvins for that). What made that shitshow different from other improvisational recordings is that it's the Melvins playing with samplers for forty five minutes, there's no ebb and flow, there's no reading of the other members' actions. That's what you need to pull off records like Absinthe, Bitches Brew, and, now to add to that list, Residual Ugly.
Sure, I can't fuck to it.
Sure, there were a few times while listening to it that I thought somebody was texting me.
Sure, that asshole across the street is butchering Neil Young or maybe it's Led Zeppelin or maybe it's some obscure hipster Bon Iver-esque bullshit that I don't know anything about, GODDAMN, DUDE, PUT A BUCKET OUT FOR CHANGE IF YOU'RE GOING TO HUMILIATE YOURSELF LIKE THIS! If you were working, right now, I wouldn't mind, but, no, you're doing this for enjoyment! Are you going to do this all summer, you cunt!? Because I'd like to have my windows open and I sure as hell don't need your limp-lettuce wimpy bullshit fucking up my whole universe. I'm trying to write a goddamn record review here and I don't need to know about how special your girlfriend is, asshole! You want to show her how special she is? Put the goddamn guitar down and do the dishes, you fuck; she's been on your unemployed ass all week to get the fucking apartment cleaned. What? What? Yeah, unemployed, you asshole! That's why you're home on a Friday! Why am I home on a Friday? Because my 2014 PTO was use-it-or-lose-it by the end of this week, I'm getting shit done! I've been to the courthouse twice in two days, I worked on this collab I got going with some guys from the PRF, I made tacos last night and I'm making spaghetti and meatballs tonight, I bought an egg slicer, I guided a cute hipster girl from Missouri to the Greenway, I'm writing a goddamned record review, I'm going to St. Paul tomorrow just because; I'm sure as shit not playing an acoustic guitar outside, in public, with a fucking capo, singing "About A Girl" or some dumb shit like that!
Oh.
He must have gone inside.
Back to Residual Ugly... This is not the kind of performance that builds up over time into the part where everybody starts rocking a big up-tempo anthemic number in 4/4 time, this is perhaps closer to Karlheinz Stockhausen's...
Jesus wept! Now somebody's using a goddamned circular saw out back!? For crying out loud!
Where were we? OK, so this is perhaps closer to Karlheinz Stockhausen's Trans, which works a lot on tension and dissonance and drone. Residual Ugly is basically doing the same thing; it's musique concrete, essentially. And if that's your thing, then you click this link and give it a listen. It's worth your time if you're into thinking fellas' music; I gave it a first listen while making meatballs, (you can hear side A in the background). In the meantime, seeing as how I have a sweet new phone* that does those apps things, I'm going to get on that Tinder thing and try to find the woman described in the preamble/ramble.

* For real, my phone is so awesome, I sang the Chia Pet jingle into it and it spelled out "chi chi chi Chia" on the screen and then took me to the Chia Pet commercial on YouTube. It was pretty fucking sweet.
That one time.
 
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