I wrote my last post, about my rediscovery of Henry Threadgill, on Friday. Later that afternoon I sat down to look up some music listings for the weekend and, lo and behold, who was playing just two days later? Henry Threadgill and his current group, Zooid. That sort of thing never gets old to me.

So Sunday, after a day of apartment hunting and a tasty dinner at No.7 in Fort Greene, the lady and I headed to Roulette in Soho. Roulette is a pretty awesome, if surprisingly tiny (and, at least the other night, hot!), art and performance space that has been around for about thirty years putting on shows of, as they put it, “Experimental and Adventurous Music.” For the first set, the group played what I assume were largely songs from their new CD, This Brings Us To, Vol. 1. The second set was a longer-form piece commissioned specifically by Roulette, where Zooid, normally a drums-bass-guitar-tuba-reeds combo, was supplemented by a cellist.

The music is “free” in the sense that it’s hard to discern many static harmonic patterns in any give tune, and there’s a good amount of collective improvisation going on. But for the most part the feel is more hypnotic and angular than it is intense or chaotic. There’s a common rhythmic theme that runs throughout the tunes. Basically, the songs often have a strong groove, almost even a funk feel, to them, but the beats are disjointed and jerky–it’s as if one musician is playing a 4/4 groove, the next is playing the same beat but his 1 is on the other guy’s 2, another is playing a similar groove but in 5/4, etc. Everything matches up to create a loopy, head-bobbing feel, but trying to count out the rhythm is essentially a futile exercise. You could probably dance to it, but anyone watching might question your neurological well-being.

The show was recorded for Roulette TV, which already has probably a few dozen performances from Roulette’s archives available for viewing online. Check ’em out.

If there’s any single factor most likely to contribute to my eventual bankruptcy, it has to be the continuing existence of Mosaic Records. It’s SO worth it though! Mosaic is a jazz label–part of the Blue Note Label Group–that specializes in reissuing tastefully packaged, obsessively annotated, impressively comprehensive limited edition box sets of hard to find, often out of print, records. Every so often, I splurge and buy one or two (or ask others to splurge and buy one or two for me as a gift!), sometimes of their 3-CD “Select” Sets (the Charles Tolliver and Bobby Hutcherson sets are a couple of faves) and, when I’m feeling particularly flush, their full box sets (the Oliver Nelson and now out of print Elvin Jones sets are pretty amazing).

Last October, Mosaic strayed from its usual, more traditional jazz-oriented approach, and released the phenomenal 8-CD Anthony Braxton box set. I listened to it several times over in the few days after my pre-order arrived, and many, many times since. It basically ushered in a full year (so far!) of me revisiting my more “out” musical tendencies (I did once have a radio show here that focused on avant-garde music, after all), much to the chagrin of my wonderfully patient ladyfriend. One of my recent re-discoveries has been Henry Threadgill, former member of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, the group Air, and several of his own awesome combos.

And lo and behold, a recent email from Mosaic lands in my inbox announcing…wait for it…the Henry Threadgill Complete Novus and Columbia Recordings box set to be released in early 2010, featuring Air, X-75 (a nonet with 4 reeds, 4 basses, and a vocalist), and the “Sextett” (actually a septet with Threadgill, trumpet, trombone, cello, bass, and two drummers). Definitely pre-order material (when the time comes). Until then, though, there’s always youtube, which has this pretty awesome big band recording from 1988:

I’m referring, of course, not to health care, but to the volume of TV commercials. This is an issue near and dear to my heart as both an overly sensitive tinnitus sufferer and a prematurely crotchety old man.

I was thinking about this most recently while watching an episode of Ace of Cakes (Food Network being by far the most frequently watched channel in our household). One second I’m cranking up the volume to try to understand why in the world anyone would order a cake based on the movie Independence Day for their wedding, and the next, with the remote having sunk irretrievably into the couch cushions, I’m shielding my ears from Guy Fieri promoting the next episode of his godawful show at about 140 decibels. By the time I get up and lower the volume, of course, the show is back on and Duff is whispering something about buying fireworks for some purpose I can’t quite make out over the dull hum of the dishwasher’s rinse cycle in the next room. Super, super irritating, right?!

Fortunately, Representative Ann Eshoo (D-CA) feels my pain and has introduced the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation Act. Yes, the CALM Act would forbid commercials from being broadcast more loudly than the program they accompany. And it appears that the House Communications Subcommittee has passed the bill and referred it to the full Energy and Commerce Committee. Take that, all you cynics complaining about Congressional inaction.

And Congress, if you’re reading–if you can pass only one landmark piece of legislation this term, PLEASE make it the CALM Act.

Inspired by the recent Zombii 2 CD, the lady and I watched Suspiria last night. The soundtrack, by the Italian band Goblin, is rightfully recognized as a creepy, proggy tour de force. And we thorougly enjoyed the movie, of course. Then came the extras and this classic video:

Was it parody? Misguided tribute? Alas, no, it apparently is the band Daemonia, fronted by Goblin’s keyboard player Claudio Simonetti. Daemonia is a metal band that covers old Goblin songs and, apparently, has a budget of not more than 100 euros per video shoot. Oh well. But the good news is that searching for that video led me to this one–some awesome footage of the classic Goblin:

Weekday Worrier now has a Listen page, which I’ll periodically update with mp3s (and maybe the occasional video) of stuff I’ve worked on. The first batch of songs I’ve put up is historical in nature, namely, from my old bands The Great Clearing Off, The Third Wheel, and Family Fun. Go check ’em out! Up next, current projects.

Carrie Brownstein, formerly of the sorely, sorely missed band Sleater-Kinney and currently of many cool projects, including her comedy team with Fred Armisen, Thunder Ant, and, more relevant to this post, her video blog on NPR’s website, Monitor Mix, recently held a contest that I truly regret not hearing about earlier. As she explains here, she invited her viewers to submit potential theme songs, from which she selected 10 finalists. Now viewers can vote for their favorite. The winner will be the new Monitor Mix theme song. I like Meg Ruddick and The Hilarious Posters’ entries, but it looks like they’re both behind in the polls. In any event–if you’ll allow me to be a bit mysterious here–the contest is kind of inspiring me to get going with a project I have in mind for this blog. So stay tuned.

You can find a couple of blurbs about Zombii 2 here and here. It’s being “released” tomorrow, by which I mean that Zane and Brea will be giving it to those who find them at or around the IDW table at Comic Con in San Diego–they’re doing a signing for their forthcoming comic at 4:30pm tomorrow–and who follow the ask-and-trade rules described on their sites linked below.

But here’s a sneak preview:
Night of the Living Dead (Original Version) – Zombii 2

They had already finished this one up before I got involved, so I’m not on it, but it’ll give you a flavor of what’s on the CD. I’ll post another mp3 or two when the disc is officially out there.

I’ve updated my About page to add some additional links to stuff I’m working on now. I also added links to some of my old bands’ sites that I had always assumed were long dead but, I’ve now discovered, continue to restlessly wander the internet in search of sweet, sweet brains. Okay, really they just sit there gathering e-dust, but that’s all the more reason for you to check ’em out.

I recently managed to insert myself into a totally kickass project by dynamic sibling duo Zane and Brea Grant (thanks guys!). It’s called Zombii 2: Brea and Zane Sing Their Hits, wherein the Hits are a bunch of lo-fi gems based on some of Z & B’s favorite zombie/horror films. Yours truly pitched in writing some of the music and adding some beats and squelchy synths. You can read more about it here and here.

Cover art by <a href=

Cover art by Benjamin Marra

Weekday Worrier is my effort to consolidate my slight, but scattered web presence. Here’s what to expect:

  • Definitely:  links to my other projects, mostly of the musical variety.
  • Probably:  original (!), exclusive (!!) content, mostly of the written variety.
  • Possibly:  the sort of frequent flashes of brilliance and devastating charm that have made me–I can confidently say–the second-most popular blogger in my household.