Sunday, January 27, 2013


I'd be remiss if I didn't provide you with this book's secondary title as well: "LIVING ON THE BRINK OF DISASTER IN MOBUTU'S CONGO". Michela Wrong, who wrote this book about Mobutu Sese Seko's Congo in 2002, spent a good chunk of the 1990s living in this country as a correspondent during Mobutu's last days, and put together a fine overview of how this cunning and complex dictator came to power, and the ruin of a country he presided over as he was chased out of the country in the 1990s. Moreover, it doesn't approach its subject from a political angle – it's very much a work of social science and sociology, seeking to make sense of this Central African country and its strange mores, morals and otherworldly essence, while trying to pin down just how much of it Mobutu was responsible for.

Michela Wrong is the classic swashbuckling sort of journalist-caught-in-the-third-world-maelstrom. We see her struggling to keep from getting robbed, from being caught in the middle of warring functions and from eating the wrong thing. By getting so close to her subjects, she's able to see something close to nuance in how she appraises Mobutu and his scared, loyal and sycophantic minions. Certainly, she pulls no punches in describing how Mobutu looted the country. His gaudy, decadent palaces and ostentatious pink champagne parties take place amongst unbelievable squalor. He's an excellent stand-in for the template of "corrupt African dictator", who milks the IMF and guilt-ridden Western nations and funnels most of the money to himself and his asinine schemes. Yet Wrong also at least attempts to see the man at the center of the chaos, and by the book's end, I felt (as she most certainly did) that he was more a product of his crazy environment than one who stood apart from it. He was no Idi Amin – and could even be argued to be a man who brought some (thuggish, corrupt) order to Congo's post-colonial era.

The depressing colonial history of the Congo, which as I understand it is masterfully laid out in Adam Hochschild's "King Leopold's Ghost" - which is on my night table ready to be read very shortly – is well told here. Belgium essentially came here in the 1800s and the first half of the 1900s and raped it for all it was worth, leaving behind a dependent people and a shambles for all intents and purposes. Into the void stepped Mobutu. His  rise coincided with the Cold War, and Wrong describes how the combination of the West and USSR fighting over this mineral-rich country and Western guilt over the colonial legacy combined to pretty much give Mobutu everything he wanted and then some. He had a dictatorial free hand to plunder and make stupid, Soviet-style decisions, even getting his hands on a little bit of nuclear material, in one of the book's more pathetically comic sections. African-style independence and black pride combined in the 1970s to make Congo seem like a beacon to other African nations as well – remember the Muhammed Ali fight in Kinshasa? (Watch Ali documentaries for some amazing footage of killer clothes and music).

It's hard to find too many flaws in the book, but I wasn't as riveted as I probably could have been, given the richness of the material. It's a very good read, however, and certainly a strong text to get into if you're interested in modern Africa and its travails in the latter half of the 20th century.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


It's another week, it's another DYNAMITE HEMORRHAGE RADIO PODCAST. This is the fifth edition of the show, just over an hour of spastic art, jittery pop, wiry punk, doofus garage and bombastic hard-n-heavy rocknroll. I'm your host, I'm afraid. The show is recorded direct-to-laptop in a 10x10 room in San Francisco, California. It's, like, almost a real radio show and stuff. You can download or stream it, and scroll down after the track listing here and please download the other 4 shows while you're at it. "Your ears will thank you".

Download Dynamite Hemorrhage Radio Podcast #5
Stream Dynamite Hemorrhage Radio Podcast #5 (on desktop and mobile)

Track listing:

THE BRENTWOODS - Little Barfy Bobby
PRIESTS - Personal Planes
MEAT PUPPETS - Unpleasant
SALLY SKULL - The Running Kind
THE RONDELLES - Backstabber
KAIT0 - Thwipside
TYVEK - Say Yeah
DEAD ANGLE - Why Don't You
THE GERMS - Forming #2
UNIT 4 - Rules
USELESS EATERS - Proper Conduct
PAMELA - Coffin (Nails)
LUNG LEG - Palmolive
OH-OK - Person
FREE KITTEN - One Forty Five

Download Show #4
Download Show #3
Download Show #2
Download Show #1

Monday, January 21, 2013


It's been a little quiet over here at The Hedonist Jive of late, and that's not intentional. Just busy, is all. Maybe that's what happens when you're maniacally trying to run four blogs at the same time & have very little time for even one of 'em sometimes. Let me throw a few updates and promises your way, and I'll get back to posting soon once I can surmount the turgid miasma of daily existence and find some time to do so:

- Read a couple of books of late that I want to review for you: Max Hastings' "Inferno", and Michela Wrong's "In The Footsteps of Mr. Kurtz: Living on the Brink of Disaster in Mobutu's Congo". One is a masterpiece, the other is not. Can you guess which is which?

- Oscar season! Get out your party dress! To that end, I saw "Zero Dark Thirty", "Lincoln" and "Take This Waltz" - in addition to other films I've already reviewed. I feel like I've seen all the ones I need to, and I'll let you know which ones you might wanna see soon, so you too can be ready for the big, big night.

- I posted a frothing, hard-n-heavy live show by the once-awesome WHITE ZOMBIE, live on my college radio show in May 1988, right here on my music blog/Tumblr Dynamite Hemorrhage. You can download it for free over there. Seriously, it's approaching Black Flag levels of searing-hard punk/metal, everything people say "St. Vitus" should have been and never were.

- Hoping to record another Dynamite Hemorrhage Radio podcast this week as well. You can download the previous four here.

Friday, January 11, 2013


The recording of 2013's first DYNAMITE HEMORRHAGE RADIO podcast is now in the books, and it's all ready to share with the people. This is the fourth edition of the podcast, running at about 1 hour, 15 minutes, and it will take you on a musical walkabout so mind-blowing you'll never, ever come back. It features underground punk, pop, psych, instrumental and garage-scorch dating from about 1964 to stuff that came out a couple of weeks ago. It's strung together just like a real radio show and everything, complete with an annoying "deejay". Only you and I have to know that it's totally phony, and that the guy who did it made the goddamn thing on his laptop.

Download Dynamite Hemorrhage Radio, Edition #4 

THE SCOUTS - Mr. Custer Stomp
A-FRAMES - Electric Eye
FUZZ - This Time I Got A Reason
SUN CITY GIRLS - Let's Just Lounge
PERE UBU - Heart of Darkness
TUNABUNNY - (Song For My) Solar Sister
CLINIC - IPC Subeditors Dictate Our Youth
WORLD OF POOH - Drucilla Penny
EXPANDO BRAIN - Flogging a Dead Relationship
THE SCREAMERS - Mater Dolores
T.H.E. RUTTO - Ma Vihaan
PRIESTS - Radiation
THE LINES - White Night
THE WHINES - Straybird
OLLA - Septic Hagfish
TOMMY JAY - No Place

Sound appealing? There are three more of 'em, each about an hour long:

Download Show #3
Download Show #2
Download Show #1

Thursday, January 10, 2013


One of the more celebrated documentaries of the past year was Lauren Greenfield's "THE QUEEN OF VERSAILLES", the story of mega-wealthy timeshare magnate David Siegel and his wife Jackie, and their dream of building the United States' largest home in Orlando, FL - right as the recession and real estate crisis of 2008-09 hits and their fortune starts to dwindle away. The Siegels granted Greenfield and her crew first-row access to their lives, which they reportedly regretted once the film had wrapped. It's likely that they'd have felt differently if the riches-to-rags story had been a little more riches-to-more-riches, which is where things were headed until people all of a sudden stopped buying shares in their luxe/trash Westgate properties.

The film is really about Jackie Siegel, though - the middle-class beauty queen who married up (to say the least) and is now running a house with multiple kids and pets in the midst of astronomical wealth. Never did I get the sense that Ms. Siegel was unsympathetic, despite her plastic body and shabby-Florida trash sense of style. In fact, she's highly likeable - a snarky, funny woman who knows very well that she hit the jackpot, even as she makes it very obvious that she's accepted her lot as trophy wife for her jackass of a husband. She's ready to "downsize", if that's what it takes, and will move from a 90,000-sq.-foot home to something more along the lines of 10,000 if she has to.

The house, an utter monstrosity modeled after the Palace of Versailles, is never finished. It looms over the entire movie, and at the end, the Siegels are trying to hang onto it for dear life or at least sell it for something close to what they've invested in it. No takers. Through the turmoil and the worry we follow Jackie around, as she goes shopping, visits her family back east, helps her kids navigate their daily travails, and picks up dog crap in the house.

I'll admit that while I remained marginally interested in the film throughout it, ultimately I thought "The Queen of Versailles" suffered from American reality TV-itis. That's what this felt like - a Bravo show. Like virtually all reality shows, the line between true cinema verite and scripted entertainment fluff in this one tipped too far toward the latter. The scene is which Jackie tries to rent a car at Hertz and asks "Where is my driver?" was preposterously and obviously a scripted set piece. Jackie's not that clueless. She's good at hamming for the camera, and in so doing, the film loses some luster and that critical ingredient for a fly-on-the-wall documentary, "authenticity". I'd see it if the subject matter appeals to you or if you've got a high pain threshold for reality TV; otherwise, go watch the far superior "My Perestroika" or "Ballplayer (Pelotero)" instead

Tuesday, January 8, 2013


Don't know about you, but I've fully succumbed to a 100% digital lifestyle when it comes to the consumption of music (recent LP purchases notwithstanding). This really doesn't even involve compact discs any longer. Everything I listen to, it's on my phone. Yeah, my phone. Who would have thunk it, even a couple of years ago? I listen to upwards of an hour or two of music every day, and usually more. Much of this is done in the car, as I'm one of the unfortunate many who commutes a great distance to work. I've outfitted my chariot with an auxiliary hook-up that lets me plop the iPhone into a cradle and then run whatever comes out of it through my car's speakers. Perhaps you've seen, or yourself experience, such a get-up. It's life-changing, and totally has opened me up to entirely new ways of getting clued in about radical new sounds.

So I thought I'd pull together the music apps that I whole- or at least halfheartedly recommend for you. You'll probably heard of most of 'em. Granted, this is an iPhone conversation, so I apologize in advance to the Android or other OS users out there – though I'm pretty sure most of these are available for you, too.(If you're still rocking a StarTac or a Razr, I'm sorry, but you can click through my archives instead).

SPOTIFY – Perhaps no application or service has so upended the way music is consumed and delivered as Spotify has, and in the US at least they're just getting started. I happily pay them ten bucks a month to listen to the app, ad-free, on mobile – in fact, I have never actually experienced Spotify as a "free" customer since I rarely use a PC to listen to music. The catalogs they pull from run incredibly deep, and often include brand-new independent 45s and LPs the week they're released. Not everyone's on there, but seems like 9 out of 10 things I hear about and want to try are easily found. The mobile app lets you store stuff for offline listening, kinda like you "own" it – which makes it easy to listen to in poor coverage or when you're off the wireless network entirely. And despite some grumblings from a few artists about meager paychecks, I'm glad to know that every song I stream deposits at least a couple of cents in the musicians' bank accounts. Totally essential app, and getting better every update.

FLICKTUNES (now called CARTUNES) – This iTunes alternative could better be classified as a "public safety" app, as it's probably kept me from plowing my vehicle into those in front of and on the sides of me on numerous occasions. You know how when you're playing a song or even a downloaded podcast or radio show in iTunes, you're only able to "scroll" though a song – but not advance it 30 seconds forward or backward? I know – lame, right? That doesn't work when you're driving, even when your phone or iPod is mounted right in front of you there on the air vents. FlickTunes lets me use a "two-finger swipe" to easily advance 30 seconds in any song, which works especially well when I'm listening to a radio show and I don't wanna hear a particular song or songs. There are other cool features as well, but that one in particular is a lifeline both for me and the people who drive around me.

8TRACKS – I wrote about 8Tracks a couple of years ago here, and my enthusiasm hasn't diminished in the slightest. This is user-programmed and -curated mix tapes, effectively. It has attracted some incredibly knowledgeable experts across all sorts of sub-genres: 60s french pop; KBD-style punk; pre-WWII Latin music; C86 pop; female-created electronic music of the 60s; and loads of indie bands of every stripe. Even yours truly has a page full of mixes over there – and it works just as well, if not better, on your laptop.

SOUNDCLOUD – At first it seemed like this site was all about people uploading field recordings of bird sounds & such, but music fiends being music fiends, it morphed into a hosting site for mp3 files. The difference between mp3 blogs of 2013 and those of, say, 2008, is that the latter truly gave away mp3s as downloads – I did it myself. Today, almost everyone posts them on Soundcloud, which makes artists happy and makes it more difficult for you to "acquire" a track without paying for it. It also means that, if you still follow music blogs, you need to click the little heart icon on the song that's been put onto Soundcloud, which then saves that song for you to listen to later. I'm always creating these playlists of songs I read about & listening later on SoundCloud. The app still needs to evolve a bit, but it's very useful & seems to be the place that mp3 uploads of all kinds have settled this past year. I'm even streaming my podcast over there.

BANDCAMPER – Bandcamp became the platform of choice for independent artists to store their recorded music over the past 24 months, displacing MySpace entirely. It's 1,000 times better than MySpace ever was, which obviously isn't saying much. Bandcamper, an app that applies a "presentation layer" over the broader Bandcamp universe, has some gaping holes – searching for an artist whom you know is on Bandcamp can be incredibly frustrating if they're not found immediately. That said, once you find and "star" that artist or album or song, it's saved for you to stream anytime, anywhere. You're not able to pay for and download songs on this mobile app, but for try-before-you-buy, it's right up there with Spotify for overall utility.

iCRATES – This really isn't a car app so is a bit of an outlier to the broader article, but it's a terrific app I just discovered a couple of months ago. iCrates is for those of us/you who still buy records and CDs, and who would like an aggregated peek into where you can find a particular piece on vinyl or a given disc. It looks into the Discogs and eBay databases and presents you with who's selling what, where. Far be it for me to do anything to hurt traditional record stores, which I love, but this is their worst nightmare. Now their used vinyl prices can be easily undercut with a quick search on iCrates for that same vinyl at a better price. Besides that, it's totally fun to mess around with, as it has the amazing database, with photos, right there at your proverbial fingertips.

WFMU, WMUA, KFJC, RADIO VALENCIA etc. - Finally, there are the many college/pirate radio station apps. I recognize that there are aggregators like Tune-In out there that work really well, but I personally prefer an easy-to-see icon on my device that I can punch whilst driving. The best station apps start playing immediately upon launch, and provide song identification in big letters on the screen. WFMU's goes those one better, and not only streams all of their podcasts and show archives, but even lets you "favorite" individual songs so you can check up on 'em later (or buy them on iTunes if they're available there right now). I personally also enjoy the quasi-legit pirate station RADIO VALENCIA, along with college stations KFJC, WMUA (Erika Elizabeth's "Expressway To Your Skull"!), KUSF IN EXILE, KEXP and KDVS. If there are others that you recommend, please let us know in the comments section and I'll check them out.

Saturday, January 5, 2013


A couple of years ago I posted some whoppers from my Grandma's postcard collection, which she was kind enough to designate for me when she passed. Roadside art, sanitariums, WWII propaganda, San Franciscaena and so on - you can look at what she left me here, here, and here. I am keeping the faith for grandma, and am picking up vintage postcards here and there where I find them. My "specialty" is motels of the 50s, 60s and 70s; I also enjoy fading luxury hotels; beer postcards; and anything roadside-America-esque. Here are a few I picked up up at today's "Vintage Paper Fair" in San Francisco, full of postcards and old ephemera from years gone by.

Love anything space-age; and the Los Angeles area was the absolute best for that stuff. My most wanted postcard is one for the "Cosmic Age Motel" in Anaheim, where I stayed in the 70s on a trip to Disneyland.
So hideous I'd stay here in a second if it were still around.
Postcard was printed in beautiful "Lusterchrome" in Boston, MA
What a lovely bedspread. Virtually brand new!
This inviting Buffalo, NY accomodation completely blew the chance at quadruple alliteration here by calling it a "hotel"
From 1965 - letter on the back says, "Dear Aunt Agnes, We are at Disneyland this is the motel we stayed in (see cover). We went to Disneyland Weds. We are going home now, so we have to go. P.S. - Hi from the family. Love, Patti

Thursday, January 3, 2013


Just received one of those newfangled cassette-transfer contraptions in the mail recently, one of those things that lets you take ancient cassette tape recordings and transfer them into new, improved digital versions. Even figured out how to use it. Just in the nick of time, too - I mean, I have a garage full of 1980s mix tapes, live show recordings, and radio shows I once did in college, sitting there moldering and decaying. Another year or two and they'd be sawdust. This post is the first of several rescue/reclamation projects.

On June 14th, 1989, a 21-year-old version of me did his final "White Trash" radio show on KCSB-FM in Santa Barbara, CA, as he graduated from college that very week. It was taped, and after festering in aforementioned garage for 24 years, was transferred this evening and uploaded for what interested parties there might be to then download and listen to. Having listened to the tape for the first time in at least 20 years before digitizing it tonight, it naturally brings forth much embarrassment - so please humor me and let me add a few careful disclaimers in case you wanna listen to it (and you should - the music is smokin'). 

After doing a radio show at KCSB for four years, and having had access to all the records in their library (and being a rabid music hound/record collector of the most obsessive order), I got to be fairly knowledgeable in the limited punk rock/heavy underground rock genres I'd permitted myself to like. My dismissive, albeit very studied, insecure cockiness is on display in this show. I'm not sure I'd actually like this DJ right now as a human being if I was hearing him on the radio for the first time. Though I love every song I played in this, "My Top 40 favorite songs of all time" show, I can't believe how dudely it all is. For the 1989 version of me, it was all dudes, all punk, all raw and all aggressive. The only chicks allowed were those rare cool ones from The Bags, The Avengers and Sonic Youth. That's it. The Fall sucked already, and The Lazy Cowgirls were the best live band in the world.

It's also preposterous that someone with such a limited musical life experience and frame of reference could even deign to determine a 40-greatest-songs-of-all-time list. As you might expect, approximately 37 of mine came from the 1980s. One of the highlights/lowlights of this show is the recording that starts the show, a nervous, mealy-mouthed 16-year-old me doing a "guest DJ" slot on KFJC (on the "Ransome Youth Show") in 1983. Then the 21-year-old me mocks him mercilessly, with all the wisdom and experience that 5 years of perspective and deep life experience brings. 

Now that I'm doing a fake radio show podcast here in 2012/2013 - Dynamite Hemorrhage Radio  - I was startled to see some identical on-air back-announce mannerisms crop up from '89 that mirror the blather I'm doing today. Hopefully you'll enjoy forty dudely 70s/80s songs from the likes of The Pagans, Mudhoney, Black Flag, Scratch Acid, Die Kruezen, Electric Eels and more. I have even worse shows sitting in the garage ready to be rescued and maybe even posted at a later date. 

Download "WHITE TRASH" Radio, June 14th 1989, KCSB-FM

(Thanks to Rubin Fiberglass for the scan of the original playlist...!)

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


Happy New Year, and hello there ladies and gentlemen. Hung over? Nothing to do today? Howsabout streaming or downloading my music podcast DYNAMITE HEMORRHAGE RADIO right about now? This is the 3rd edition in almost as many weeks. Not sure I can keep up that sort of breakneck pace, but here's hoping.

This edition, recorded on the last day of 2012, forgoes any sort of best-of-the-year malarkey, and instead plays a mix of the new and the old. Mostly the old. The back-announce parts were recorded while I had a gnarly cold, which I still have, and on a brand-new microphone that I suspect doesn't add a whole lot to the proceedings, but which made me feel like an important radio disc jockey in any case.

If you missed the first show or the second show, please click on the links to grab' em! And then download Dynamite Hemorrhage Radio #3 and lemme know which songs most made you want to stage dive and get into fistfights.

Download Dynamite Hemorrhage Radio #3.

Track listing:

SPRAY PAINT - Psychic Doug
PAMELA - Desert
SALLY SKULL - Bone Monster
FLY ASHTRAY - Ice Cream Cone
HELLO SKINNY - Norriskip
THE FLESH EATERS - No Questions Asked
HIGH RISE - Cycle Goddess
THE TWILIGHTERS - Nothing Can Bring Me Down
WHITE FENCE - Baxter Corner
SHEILA - Papa t'es Dans L'Coup
ROYAL TRUX - Strawberry Soda
THE REVILLOS - Motorbike Beat
STROKE BAND - Fiction/Non-Fiction
SPIDER - Witch Cookie