Definitely Not Separated At Birth #25: Awesome enthusiast of all-tube Pre-CBS sailing gear Thor Heyerdahl and...

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...Creative Juggernaut Deathcab For Cutie

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a one-sentence record review from Bobby Lightfoot of that obscure Nirvana gem "Nevermind"

How good can an album that doesn't have a single string section be? Posted by Hello

Now it's time to tell you about a feist named Sal.

I know a feist that dwells hereabouts. A feist named Sal. This feist is a tough little customer, let me tell you. What a nasty piece of work! This is a nasty, nasty little feist indeed. This is a pushy, selfish, jealous, wilful, mangy little feist that snorts with displeasure and grunts in her sleep. No slight can go unremarked, no movement unmonitored under the steady glare of the feist Sal.
I pity the soul who defies this pushy little feist. This is a feist that lives to push errant souls firmly back in their place. This is a tough, wiry, bossy little feist that lives to find flaws in the order of things and grunt and snort her displeasure. This is a jealous, pushy, nasty little feist indeed. A jealous, bossy, grunting, snorting, selfish little feist named Sal.

From The North There Shall Come A Giant

Wow, Robert Sherwood is coming from the Land Of Some Heavy Shit on this record. With fully half of the record being live, solo vocal/piano performances Robert seems to have intentionally given himself nowhere to hide. When full instrumentation kicks in, whether it’s the live string section of “Song For The Weary” or the Enoesque treated-piano clouds in the bridges of “Station Road”, it is apt to kick out with as little warning. I think the best thing that can happen with digital recording is that people realize that it allows for simplicity and drama of soundstage, for emptiness, as much as it does for a million tracks. What Sherwood does is that pointillist thing where he builds his arrangements out of dozens of tiny details, little instrumental events that build and create a song. Negative space is deployed liberally.

“Clearly a Roxy Music thing,” Sherwood states, “Ferry was a visual artist when they started and was into Pop Art, Pointillist Art; he wanted to express himself that way in sound. I’ve never approached a recording that way because it’s daunting in the analog realm. With digital you can just play in the sandbox. You can do anything you want.
You can build different scenarios for each section of a song and paste them together into an optimal whole. That’s why I do the solo pieces; to stay in touch with the work of getting from the beginning of a song to the end. It’s a lot of work.”

A lot of very good work, indeed. The opener “Matinee” is a muted wave of loving sadness, a pretty lament wrapped in drumbox and Fender Rhodes. Love is metaphor-ized as a child’s trip to the movies where “you make me feel/like the curtain might catch me crying…”. There is bit of Cole Porter in the song’s completeness of cadence, in the waves of ultra-rich vocal harmony that lift the choruses in an exaltation of grief.

“For One Another” is the most accomplished of the solo pieces, a Great American Songbook sort of thing that is approached classically and turned into a series of extrapolations of its main motif. The modality jumps from Chinese to jazz, the chording and voice leading from baroque to modern balladry. The climactic final chorus is cheekily raised a half-step in best Bacharach tradition. The craftsmanship of this performance is really sick. The piano performance alone is so accomplished, so old-school rich and dramatic, that one can’t picture this being anything but a piano/vocal piece.

Another one of these solo songs, the resigned “Paul McCartney”, sews a Chopin-like 2- minute piano interlude into the fabric of the piece. This travels from classical minimalism to “Rhapsody In Blue” exclamations to starkness and despair before fading away on a wave of major runs and slurries.

“Station Road” tells the story of someone, ostensibly a middle-aged or older man crashing into some humbling experience of deep loss and never fully recovering. The chorus takes him back to the joys of childhood, the more to offset the stark, numbed narrative of the verses. A bridge intrudes that is pure Phillip Glass; a series of pianos playing several motifs in different time signatures that interlock into a rising expression of dread that overflows into the simple, lonely last verse, a la “A Day In The Life”. This is reintroduced at the end of the song and leaves us on a note of (what else) uncertainty.

Sherwood’s “Brattleboro April 6 12:05 AM” begins as a rumination on an April snowstorm in Vermont and builds into a sweeping travelogue that pits beautiful New England against the harsh desert fastness of Los Angeles. A deep melancholy resides in the grooves here, the author clearly in thrall with the drifting snow, the climbing headlights.

All in all this is the sort of record a person could get real close to, a record filled with rich, sad stories. With its contrasts, emotional honesty and wildly variant soundstage it rewards each listen like a classic. Repeated listens reveal Sherwood to possess a playful tendency to namedrop in words and music his musical idols. The fabs are mentioned in "Paul McCartney", "Maybe Next Time" and "Station Road" and more esoteric mini-homages are paid Stevie Wonder, XTC, Rufus Wainwright, The Beach Boys and Bach. Quite a deep and amusing affair indeed.
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family time

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Methinks thou dost speak off.

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This is hardly called-for.

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Until the Cease-And-Desist is final, here is more important cartoon work.

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For I Am Of Those Who Have Rocked.

By a fraction of an inch have I escaped fiery carnage in the concrete canyons of the Hollywood Freeway. For I Am Of Those Who Have Rocked.

On a stage of wood and steel have I performed lying upon my stomach in stupor. For I Am Of Those Who Have Rocked.

Traded blows upon the stage with the lead singer have I. For I Am Of Those Who Have Rocked.

In rage and the passion of the moment have I struck a drummer. With calm and great deliberation have I struck a lead guitarist. For I Am Of Those Who Have Rocked.

Unspeakable acts have I committed upon a hotel room. For I Am Of Those Who Have Rocked.

With whiskey and narcotics have I walked through this life. For I Am Of Those Who Have Rocked.

Fatally insulted those who would further me have I. For I Am Of Those Who Have Rocked.

With gifts of hemp and drugs of all manner purchased by my management have I secured bookings. For I Am Of Those Who Have Rocked.

From a place of much construction have I taken a brick and, summoning a mighty strength have I thrown it through the window of a Place Of Rock that would seek to cheat Those Who Had Rocked. For I Am Of Those Who Have Rocked.

Nightly have I selected and organized a complement of valuable sound equipment belonging to a Place Of Rock, the better to avail myself of it in the event of treachery. For I Am Of Those Who Have Rocked.

On tour have I incited worried calls to management from persons in the radio and retail markets with reference to my hostility. For I Am Of Those Who Have Rocked.

My head knows well the rest of many a night upon the sands of Santa Monica. For I Am Of Those Who Have Rocked.

On the Sunset Strip have I made my stand, rocking upon the stages that The Great Ones rocked, as would be their wont. This I have done breathing fire and sweating gin. For I Am Of Those Who Have Rocked.

In the city of New York have I assembled the major names in music publishing, there to regale and beguile them with songs which they could not possibly comprehend. For I Am Of Those Who Have Rocked.

Strings I have changed for Dave Navarro, suggesting a custom gauge. For I Am Of Those Who Have Rocked.

Devices I have designed for Stephen Perkins, that he may pass with his fragrant burdens safely through airport inspections. For I Am Of Those Who Have Rocked.

Stage managed and mixed have I productions in Las Vegas and Los Angeles. For I Am Of Those Who Have Rocked.

Written have I 100, nay, 125 pages of classical string quartet music. For I Am Of Those Who Have Rocked.

Of all this I speak for this and this alone: that henceforth all shall know that I Am Of Those Who Have Rocked.

And when the rolls are called, when the rolls are called to bring forth Those Who Have Rocked unto one place and Those Who Have Not Rocked unto a place other, shall I henceforth repair to the place of Rocking, there to await further instruction.

For I Am Of Those Who Have Rocked.

For you, the gentle, the people of slow sojourn, for whom the world is a garden of peace and easy thoughts, for you I wish the sweet, calm dream of Not Rocking, that ye shall have thy comforts and thy solace. But again I say, when the rolls are called, my place shall not be among thee, but in that other place, that place of vodka, that place of toil and glory, that place of sacrifice and cocaine and soiled, torn garmentry. In that place of sex and cigarettes. In that place of Rocking.

For I Am Of Those Who Have Rocked.

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A Sonth of Mondays

Does anybody have any idea how good The Sundays were? If you don't like Zen instrumentation, crazy, crazy manipulation of harmonic expectations and the insane degree of pathos in that chick's voice (Harriet Wheeler) then you should skip these emotional geniuses of soundscape.
Although their last record got a little formulaic, a little plastic, their first, "Reading, Writing and Arithmetic" from '89 sounds like the pussy version of Wire (in a good way). They play a lot of really great modal games and they also intertwine bass and guitar into a seamless instrument in a pretty unprecedented way. '92's masterful "Blind" does what the Police did in 1980- take a unique, tightly designed sound and mine it for maximum pop transcendence. "Goodbye" is where these guys sort of hit their perfect moment. Wheeler's unbelievable vocal power and ear are really what set this track apart; this is an absolute bravura performance. I saw them at The Belly Up in Solana beach in '93 when they toured that record and they fucking PUMMELED this song. Wheeler made the unusual and great choice of recreating her recorded performance note for note, every falsetto leap, every swoop and glissando. Guitarist Gavurin was precise and very fey British. The rhythm section was in danger of anonymity. But with a singer like this taking the stage, maybe that's exactly what's called for.

So yeah, anyway- what an awesome fucking band. But I think three albums was just perfect for them: the whole gestalt had a fairly short shelf life, as brilliant and affecting as it was. Posted by Hello


Words-That-Should-Be-Anagrams-But-Aren't Number Three:

thenewsocialsecurityplan and... and....let the anagramometer work... thefinaldeathknellforamerica.

Words-That-Should-Be-Anagrams-But-Aren't Number Two:

catholic and sexuallyallfuckedup

hey check it out this is funny and vintage Lightfoot-Words-That-Should-Be-Anagrams-But-Aren't. Number One (of course)

billoreilly and nopenistospeakof

submitted for single-sentence treatment is 1968 monolith "Two Virgins" by pop powerhouse john lennon and superproducer and uber-chick singer Yoko Ono

Better than anything on the radio TODAY, I'll tell you that much right now yeah bra Fuckin' A. Posted by Hello


A Prayer To Baby Jeezis

Dear Baby Jeezis;
I just wanted to say a prayer to you and to pray that you will hep all them liberal eleet folks realize that abortion is a sin and only rich people should be able to do it safely. And ah wanted to pray that you would stop certain people from gettin' married 'cause it's bad for marriage. Ah mean, what yould happen to professional football if'n everybody started playing in their back yards? And baby Jeezis, please don't let them take th' feedin' tube outta Terry Schiavo but instead help our good boys over in Eye-raq drop some ordnance on a marketplace.
Oh, and Baby Jeezis? Could you please help them poor folks that don't believe in Intelligent Design?
I've used a one a them new-fangle corkscrew dealies? That there was some Intelligent Fuckin' Design (sorry baby Jeezis).

You lookit a 5.2 Hemi Magnum and tell me there ain't no Intelligent Design.

Good night, baby Jeezis. Thank you for givin' me a country that where I can be free even if ah can't go to th' doctor.

That's all now, baby Jeezis. G'night now.


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bobby lightfoot name-drops and makes a positive reference to Stone Temple Pilot's 2001 commercial deathknell "Shangri La-Dee-Da" in one long sentence.

I had hung out with these guys on the KROQ Family Values Tour in '01 and was thus not as surprised as I might have been by the quality of this King Crimson-meets-The-Beach-Boys monster of a record; they were uniformly intelligent and lucid and hopefully remain so even though they've passed into the mysts of avaloon. Posted by Hello

A Quick Sentence About Hole's 1998 not-bad Celebrity Skin.

When you peel away all the crap and pretend you're not listening to Courtney Love, this band was great and this record is, it pains me to report, pretty good. Posted by Hello

One Sentence About The Extremely Engaging and Charming 1990 album "Fireworks" by Chris Stamey.

What a beautiful record this is; there's something so honest and open and appealing about the way this ex-dB sings that the fact that he's a great writer and a great guitar stylist just add to the brilliance and innocence of this fine record and make me want to kick his ass. Posted by Hello

In This One Sentence Record Review We Dig Up Jeff Buckley's Fantastic 1996 Masterpiece "Grace".

Steeped in French Romanticism, Berlin decadence and Nihilism with a capital "N" Rimbaud-style, this admittedly overexposed disc from Mr. Die-Young-Stay-Pretty is beautiful, rich, erudite and scary no matter how many clueless LA open mikers try to destroy it.

Hard to believe this record occupies the same universe as Three Doors Down. Sorry, that's two sentences. Oh, wait, fuck- that's three. Ohhhhhh...now it's four........ Posted by Hello

Bobby Lightfoot's One Sentence Record Reviews #5- from 1979, the utterly peerless "Reggatta de Blanc" by The Police.

The absolute zenith of short, sharp '70's power pop- it's unique distinction amongst all other rock and roll is that it is the now-est record ever made. Posted by Hello


Bobby Lightfoot's One Sentence Record Reviews #-whatever it is. Three Doors Down-whatever this is called.

Three Doors Down- boy, is that a great CD. Great for wiping bong resin on and frisbeeing into the woods and telling your kid brother it's their Linkin Park CD and then busting it in front of him.

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Here's something that would kick some ass-

If my blog was a composer and conductor and he got together with a large symphony that was actually called "the Orchestra of Sweet Regret", then the whole project would be called "Bobby Lightfoot and the Orchestra Of Sweet Regret and the Orchestra of Sweet Regret".

The Only Way I Ever Made Any Headway In The Pop Business

The only way I ever made any headway in the pop business was by taking every person that I ever came in contact with by the collar and shaking them and telling them how great I was until they'd perform some obeisance so I'd stop. That's exhausting, because you sort of have to believe it yourself, and your very behavior will soon disabuse you of feelings of greatness. L'dissonaince Cognitevueax, the Freedom call it.

And any time I'd stop grabbing people by the collar and shaking them and telling them how great I was for even a day or two, the whole thing would start to slip back downhill.

It was like trying to push a lead bicycle.

And it dawned on me that this is exactly what famous people do. I mean, professionally. You know how rich people are basically greedy, selfish leeches that sit around and suck their teeth and figure out ways to turn 10 dollars into 11 dollars instead of making anything or creating anything or helping anyone? Well, famous people are sort of like that. They usually have to make something but they kind of get divorced from the creative part of their lives because the "career" demands that they spend 99 percent of their energy jealously guarding how fucking great they are and convincing YOU of that, and it becomes more and more difficult because, well, they're NOT. At least not anymore. And it dawned on me that what separated the famous from the diseased and flea-gnawed, aside from talent in a few cases, was this constant, unflinching, psychic puffing out of the chest. And it dawned on me that spending a month to try to get enough people into The Mint on West Pico was interfering with my music.

And I've been extremely prolific ever since. Done my best work, in fact.

It's taken a little while to own the fact that very few will ever care, but that never really was the point for me. I just loved music. Music is a delicious alchemy that turns math into emotion. I just loved putting it together, like a fun project on a rainy day. With drugs. It's what I'll miss when I'm dead. It's why I want to be alive.

You always have to remember why you started doing something and reconnect with that, because sometimes it's the only remaining nondelusional thing when everything gets fucked up and you get confused. I would always get confused because I was supposedly a musician and I was spending all my time doing other things, sucking ass and kissing feet and grabbing people by the collar and doing stupid interviews and saying the same thing over and over and poring over radio playlists and driving to fucking Victorville and opening for fucking Blink 182.

I never wanted to be a stahhhhh. Anyone who has known me for any period of time will tell you that I never went on about being a stahhhh. I went on about music. And I just wanted to make enough for 3 squares and a packa smokes and some weed and Patrone on the road 'cause it's tough sometimes when you're going 1-2-3-4 months. Unfortunately, to make even that much you have to be a stahhhhh.

And as I leave my commercially viable years I'm horrified because, well, I really suck at everything else. Really bad. Like, buffoon bad.

Did you know there is no Plan? Did you know you can't really be anything you want to be if you work really, really hard? Did you know that what is right now is pretty much what will be? Did you know that The Way That You Make It, That's The Way That It Is? Did you know that you'll never be young again? Did you know that lives are lost and wasted? Did you know that "Visualizing" your "goal" is not going to make it "happen"? Did you know that all the good you do doesn't guarantee you a seat at Baby Jeezis' right hand? Did you know? Did you know?

Did you know how beautiful that is?
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What Sort of Drug Soaked Caper Are These Worthless, Filthy Hippies Plotting?

Insulting a Heart album. That's about as brave as challenging retards to chess. And it's hilarious because all it does is date me in a sad, wilting sort of way. I used to work with this guy Larry who sounded just like the guys I was in 9th grade with, still joking about Kansas and Journey and making fun of the BeeGees, etc., just the crap we used to do, but he's like, doing it now. And he's all into Grand Funk and their bass player Mark Farner which kills me. Mark Farner! The bass player from Grand Funk! I love that. "Mark Farner"! You know THAT guy was a one-man Colombian export boom back in th' day. His septum is so deviated it's doing time for molestation. My stars and garters, Rock and roll business never pretty. Actually, it is now. They figured it out. They got it dialled in. Very pretty. Really, really brilliant, creative stuff going out over the airwaves these days. It's kind of retro, really- it harkens back to when EVERYTHING WAS SHIT.

But anyway, the Heart post is so stupid that it's kind of funny so I'm going to leave it for the time being. It's just such a weird thing to do. I think I like it because it's so below-par compared to my usual bleak, blazing, heraldic prose. I do that in songs sometimes. Sometimes you need a "sucky" section. I couldn't explain it. You'll have to trust me based on my track record and many awards.

Which brings me to my next post.
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bobby lightfoot's one sentence record reviews #3, wherein we mock the easy target of Heart's dreary late '70's FM dribble inducer, "Dog And Butterfly"

i thought this album was a minimalist joke and kind of liked it until i realized it wasn't just an empty sleeve, the record itself was on the table and the nightmare was just beginning.  Posted by Hello

bobby lightfoot's one sentence record reviews #2. We are considering Captain Beefheart's great work, Trout Mask Replica

Trying to make music without being conversant with this classic is like trying to hit a fast pitch with a banana. Posted by Hello