Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Geek Archaeology, vol. 2
My final bit of professional music writing was written just about ten years ago -- a profile of Jets to Brazil for my friend Brian's then-magazine, Soundboard. It's both the best music writing I did and some of the most embarassing; best in that it shows a skill and passion lacking from a lot of the previous work (when I was usually writing about albums called "Songs of Gaia" or whatever, which may explain my lack of interest), embarassing in that it was pretty fawning over Blake Schwarzenbach. I mean, you woulda thought the guy was Tomáš Klouček or something.
But it's kind of understandable. For my generation and group of Tucson kids, Jawbreaker was the ultimate, the band we wished came from our town, the band we wanted to hang around. All of us followed their career pretty closely; I heard the "Busy" single at my friend Matt's house for the first time not long after becoming aware of the whole Tucson scene, followed shortly thereafter by "Unfun," and from there I remember listening to "Bivouac" in my brother's room and thinking this band went beyond anything we'd heard before, and then "24 Hour Revenge Therapy" which was something like "Exile on Main Street" plus "London Calling" to us. Things couldn't get any better.
Now? Now I remember Jawbreaker fondly, and they still sound good when I give them a listen, though the worship is gone. Nothing's quite as spectacular as it was back then, I'm not coming into things new. It's not as exciting, but it's probably good -- makes my writing a lot less embarassing, at least.
I got this poster at one of Jawbreaker's shows at Tucson's Downtown Performance Center. I could probably fund all sorts of fun stuff by selling it on eBay, except that it's got all sort of sticky crap residue on the back and years of creases on the front.
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#3 -- "The Russia House" by John Le Carre
It took me a bit to get comfortable with this one, because it followed the path of "The Honourable Schoolboy" a bit too much -- idealistic dreamer caught up in espionage trying to save woman. It seemed a bit repetitive. But it catches steam toward the end, the writing's fantastic, the plot's gripping, there's plenty of deep thoughts. And there's even an element of hope in the overwhelming cynicism, which I found unexpectedly pleasing.