Thursday, January 24, 2008

2007 Year End Survey | The Mile Project

Do you feel like participating in an audacious art project? Well, draw something and send it to Joe Hudak at The Mile Project.

Joe Hudak is Vermont's Christo with his goal of collecting enough drawings to fill a mile-long screen-printed canvas. The project has been going since 2006, has reached the 20% mark and has the goal of bringing participation and community among average folks into the art world. I love that idea.

So, draw something and send it to Joe. The details are here.

When he's not checking his mailbox for your doodles, Joe is a big music fan and took some time to send over his favorites.

1) What was your favorite song of 2007?

I flipped through my iTunes library with the pub dates turned on and found precious few music purchases circa 2007, but here's a few selections that got me through the year.

you know my name
Chris Cornell

Chris Cornell | You Know My Name | Buy

Chris Cornell's voice has been ringing in my ears for years and it often amazes me how a guy with the melodic range of a Husqvarna could produce such entertaining stuff. This track, the theme for last year's incarnation of Bond, is a favorite more for what it evokes than what it sounds like (although I dig what it sounds like). The past couple years have seen more than it's share of 'I told you so'. The cinema, television, magazines and books, even things created years ago seemed steeped in the foul bathwater we're soaking in right now, from war commentary to planet microwavery. Some would say our reality is pretty grim. It all seems pretty much right on, but being thwacked repeatedly on the noggin by the 2x4 of truth doesn't make it smart any less. Some days, when I'm stuck behind that jackass having major difficulty comprehending the seeming simplicity of the Winooski rotary, acutely aware of my idling engine incurring unneeded wear, my carbon footprint growing to cryptozoological proportions and that $3.40 per gallon gasoline I just filled up with being pissed out the window, I just need to pretend my eleven year old Audi is a Tungsten Silver Aston Martin Vanquish with surface-to-surface missiles under the headlights, reticle trained on that stupid gloved hand waving cars past him 'cause he's 'trying to turn right'.This tune gives me that for four minutes and two seconds.

A few runners up (with B sides for nostalgia...)

Icky Thump / You don't know what love is (you just do what you're told)
The White Stripes

The White Stripes | Icky Thump | Buy

If you're gonna get all persnickety on the "made in the 2007" part of this , then I choose either of these tracks. I love the White Stripes. While throughly enjoying the boys' club studio-ness of the Raconteurs' disc, when Jack and Meg do their thing they produce litters of lusciously lo-tech schtuff. Weirdness and skill, when mixed, always create something really, really interesting, and few do it like the White Stripes. Sure hope Meg is feeling better...

Man Ray / Stupid & Shallow
the Futureheads

The Futureheads | Stupid & Shallow | Buy

Great fun, these. The ferocity of the Hives, with an English bent a little closer to American sensibilities. Good live too.

The Swish/Your Little Hoodrat Friend
The Hold Steady

Woof. Smarmy lyrics, firehosed out of Craig Finn's carcinogenic rattle of a voicebox. Just enough Fuck You/We're Awesome to make you wanna get on board.

Bohemian Like You/We Used To Be Friends (and others), The Dandy Warhols. Malibu/Awful, Courtney Love (yeah, really) and big slices of the Flaming Lips, the Hidden Cameras, Of Montreal, Iggy Pop, the Jam, the Killers, the Lemonheads, Orbital, PIXIES, Westerberg, Stellastarr, The The, Ultra Vivid Scene, T-Hip, Velvets, Veruca Salt, Lucinda, Shins, the Reverend Horton Heat, NIN, Michael Leviton (still) Sweet, Ween, the Gourds and on and on and on....

This is beginning to resemble a coredump of my iPod, so I'm gonna stop here.

2) What was your favorite album of 2007?

Moron Love by Nicki Gonzalez. If the single is the musical equivalent of one of those Lindt truffles that, in the past year, seem to be taking up space on every damn retail counter I go near: quick, one-off point-of-purchase transactions that you consume and forget, then the album is somewhere around seven courses.

Moron Love, the latest offering by the indie/pop/rocker is killer. This, her first solo album, has all the gloss of a studio birth, and the gorgeous features off all its many parents. World-beat and jazz, classic and prog-rock, with Gonzalez' vocals landing between pre-cash-in Phair and croony Suzanne Vega. A favorite all over the NY-DC corridor, Nicki Gonzalez' live shows continue to spread (internationally!) and are cultivating larger audiences than ever.

As a single work, the album has cohesion, but each track shows it's own stripes. Insomnia plays with the milky atmosphere of an underground club, After tonight's guitar puts caribbean sand between my toes, with lyrics that evoke pure cold jersey shore. And, as varietal as the tracks are melodically, the words are pure Nicki. Slit-eyed wry, bullshitless, possessing than ever-present grin of her's, with a bit more fang than makes you completely comfortable.

I chose this album for two reasons. The why you know. Here's the how:

Moron Love is a DIY baby. It was cast and ground by the artist on the cover, with help from select pros that she wanted, stalked and shot herself. No studio weasel trying to shoehorn the material into an easily digested nugget, no greasy Mariah Carey padrone wiping his dick on her blood-stained artist's rights waiver. This bad boy is home-grown, hand-made with all the passion and the sweat-equity of Gonzalez herself. Self-produced, self-promoted, owned and operated. Smell that Universal/Sony/BMG/EMI/Warner? That's the sweet perfume of your bloating carcass as it biodegrades on the beach. What you were once good for can now be done with a Macbook and a credit card. (Now, how can we do this to the oil companies?)

A tireless singer/songwriter/promoter who also assembles her own bands, manages her own gigs and still finds the time to do the occasional TV show, photo shoot or stage performance (you can see her onstage this month at DC's Studio Theatre) Nicki Gonzalez is ferocious. Why she's not a Martha-Stewart multinational by now is a mystery to me, but it's only a matter of time.

3) What was your favorite concert of 2007?

Oh, this is a good one. February 23, 2007. Ramona Cordova, Anna Pardenik and Hello Shark at Tick Tick, ground zero. The show itself was great. Cordova's unearthly castrato-pan-pipe vocals were fascinating, Pardenik's singing and playing was an ear-pricking phenomenon (please, Anna, record something and sell it to me) Even Hello Shark's campy, teenage sleepover schtick produced a grin. A great Tick Tick event, micro-streamed and top-notch. What made this show my favorite of the year, however, is that it caused TROUBLE. It was big enough to be attended and written up by the A&E writer at the local daily, which raised their landlord's hackles and ejected their fledgling shows into the street. They had to scramble around town for willing venues and partnerships, and in doing so, spread their incredible events into every dark corner they could get their paws on. Now, you can hardly turn around twice without seeing Tick Tick's name on something in B-Town.

Tick Tick was belched forth by a small clutch of talented folks who stopped bitching and started a real live revolution a little over a year ago, and due in some small part to this event (I'm sure their inexhaustible talent and inspired lunacy has nothing to do with anything) they now occupy a cabinet post on Burlington's indie arts scene. Their visual work is consistently fucking adorable, and their shows (and name and reputation) are getting bigger and better every single day. Check out their work on

4) What was your favorite thing about 2007?

Good god, one thing? I dunno, it was a long year. Getting really close to the 20% mark on drawings for the Mile Project. Talking real globetrotter sushi with marker-ninja FOS. Eating bluefin-loads of sushi with Billie. Priceless treasure from JMLR, a string of great art at the Firehouse gallery (including Jennifer Koch's bottomless show, there until January 26, get off your collective asses and absorb that skewed confection right now.) Chilloiterin' with Shaugn at Tick Tick's one year, bear-themed party (don't get greedy, guys. I already did you once...that was an event and a half, though.) My little dog. An almost-infinite new computer bag, I know I'm forgetting the cherry on top...I'll think of it later.

5) What are your best wishes for 2008?

For 2008, I'm hoping to see the new UP, (by Jan 1...) and my new project, 50, online as well.

I'd like to wish the sitting president the best of luck on whatever endeavor he chooses to pursue after his term is over. After shooting at every country that might have a barrel of oil underneath it, amassing untold warehouses of wealth for himself and his friends plundering everything not nailed down, and boot-screwing just about every single man, woman and child on planet earth, really, what else is there? the lecture circuit? Whatever he chooses to do, I just hope it is located far, far away from Washington, D.C., the sharp knife drawer, or anywhere else that might afford him the opportunity to hurt himself or others. You know, I hear Iraq is reallllly safe these days. If you put your post-presidency office there, you'd definitely one-up Bill's tired old Harlem address...Plus, you have so many friends in the middle east...just a thought.

For everyone else, I wish a hydrogen-powered, renewably-generated, non-commercial, home-made, DIYed, natural-fibered, ozone-replenished new year... and I hear Wal-Mart even gift-wraps them for free!

No comments: