Monday, December 30, 2013


Hey, it's our 28th phony DYNAMITE HEMORRHAGE radio show, and the final edition of the podcast for 2013. In just over an hour, you'll experience a revelatory unearthed version of a classic Velvet Underground song; stellar new stuff from Household, Ausmuteants, Roachclip, Juniper Rising, The Nots, Burnt Palms and Slum of Legs; plus additional righteous gnarl from the last four decades.
PETTY CRIME - Mathematics
THE VELVET UNDERGROUND - Beginning To See The Light (early version)
ROACHCLIP - Don't Do The Jump
THE CHEFS - Commander Lonely
WORLD OF POOH - Strip Club
BURNT PALMS - Open My Eyes
THE FLESH EATERS - The Word Goes Flesh
THE USERS - I'm In Love With Today
THE SPITS - Autobahn
THE NOTS - Salesman
THE GORIES - To Find Out (live)
FLOP - Act 1 Scene 1
AUSMUTEANTS - No Motivation
HOUSEHOLD - Panorama
SLUM OF LEGS - Slum of Legs
GRAEME JEFFERIES - Prisoner of a Single Passion
Past Shows:
Dynamite Hemorrhage #27    (playlist)
Dynamite Hemorrhage #26    (playlist)
Dynamite Hemorrhage #25    (playlist)
Dynamite Hemorrhage #24    (playlist)
Dynamite Hemorrhage #23    (playlist)
Dynamite Hemorrhage #22    (playlist)
Dynamite Hemorrhage #21    (playlist)

Thursday, December 26, 2013


Some of you folks may be aware that I've blogged in other forums over the years. From 2006 to just this year, I wrote passionately about craft beer on the beer-dedicated blogs Hedonist Beer Jive and Beer Samizdat, with a short detour in which I posted about beer right here on The Hedonist Jive. I've also acquired a bit of a taste for postcard accumulation - some might call it collecting - thanks to a habit borne of my late Grandmother's having passed along her postcard collection to me. I liked having them around, sure, but it wasn't until I visited San Francisco's Vintage Paper Faire last year that I decided to go full bore into actually collecting my favorite genre of postcards, which is cheeseball motels from the 1950s, 60s and 70s. I even started a blog early this year in which I scan my various motel postcard finds and share them with the people called The Postcard Motel.

The aforementioned Vintage Paper Faire comes around twice a year in SF - in fact, it's happening again in a couple of weekends. This summer I found a dealer who'd take my grandma's surplus postcards, the ones I didn't want, and who gave me $200 in trade for a couple boxes of her dregs. After grabbing all of his best motel cards, and a few vintage roadside Americana cards to boot, I decided to spend the rest of my credit on a few 1920s & 1930s cards that sprang from one of the other passions of mine: beer. Because postcards were such a strong advertising lingua fraca back in the day, both brewers and those peddling novelty used them as a means for distributing their messages, whatever those happened to be. Here are a few that I picked up this past summer that I thought you might enjoy.

Monday, December 23, 2013


I have at least two Coen Brothers films on my "all time" list, and another two that aren't too far from it. I've always enjoyed how these guys shift from making epic, intense films like "No Country For Old Men" or "Fargo" to more subtle, quieter, occasionally squirm-inducing films such as "A Serious Man" and the underrated "Burn After Reading". I had thought from the reviews I'd read that the new "INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS" would be more akin to the former, but instead it's far more like the latter, and perhaps a significant notch down from the aforementioned to boot. The film I just watched wasn't quite the masterpiece that, say, the New York Times and others said it was, and I'm a little perplexed by some of their choices in this one, which tend toward the abstract, the unsaid and the lengthened-out. The result is, truth be told, a little boring.

I guess boring's better than lame, which is what I thought both "Barton Fink" and especially "The Big Lebowski" were, but I feel like "Inside Llewyn Davis", while good, is full of missed opportunities to tell a gripping, intense story. My wife called it the feel-bad film of the year, and while it's not quite as much of a bummer as, say, last year's "Amour", it's pretty intensely dark. It concerns our titular hero, who's no hero at all. He's an angry, broke, depressed folk singer on the early (1961) Greenwich Village folk scene, just as that style of music was beginning to crystallize and subsequently become something beloved on college campuses and in coffeehouses across America for a few years. His self-sabatoge when it comes to his musical career is right in line with the Beat aesthetic that no doubt helped to berth his cultural worldview, but he's not much more successful at personal relationships, either, as evidenced by the raw hatred spewed at him by the winsome folk singer played by Carey Mulligan, who may or may not be pregnant with Davis' child. Davis bounces from couch to couch, living hand to mouth and the proverbial one day at a time, with very little in the way of goodness stumbling across his path, outside of a cat that he takes unsuccessful responsibility for.

The Coens really could have made something of a road trip that Davis takes to Chicago to try and meet with a record executive who might hold the keys to success, but so much of that 30-minute interlude fell flat for me. While everyone "loves" John Goodman, isn't it also time to admit that his schtick is more than a little played out? Here he played a portly, heroin-addict jazz musician who berates, upbraids and bullyrags Davis no end, on an interminable car trip from New York full of long and desolate freeway shots and much meaningless conversation. The verbal reticence of the car's driver, Goodman's assistant, is never explained and adds little to the story. Of course Davis' trip to Chicago doesn't go well, and of course he has to hoof it back to New York with a little less money and a lot less dignity. I just felt that the entire passage could have been so much more.

You know, when you walk out of a film with someone else, you're forced to render a snap decision on whether or not you "liked" it so as to help along the walk to the car. I instantly decided that I did, in fact, "like" this one, but also that if I had never seen it, that'd have been just dandy, too.

Friday, December 20, 2013


By all rights I should probably not be recommending this 2011 film to you, but I'm about to enthusiastically do so anyway. The acting in Alex Ross Perry's second film is, for the most part, pretty slipshod – except for, ironically, Ross Perry himself, who plays the male half of a dysfunctional brother/sister combo caught in their own deranged personal and family psychodramas during a brief east coast road trip. "THE COLOR WHEEL", filmed in black and white 16mm, is often disjointed and rough, and reminds me more of the sort of entries into second-tier film festivals that get rejected outright, rather than as something one might pay $10 to see at your local indie screen.

And yet – it's quite a gas; a film with two horrifically unlikable people who say off-the-cuff things in their improvised dialog that stay with you. I saw four films in the space of three days recently, and this is the one I'm still thinking about. The snarky, messed-up sister, played by comedienne and Jewish-themed "jew-elry" maker Carlen Altman, pops off with some of the most ridiculous and non-genuine phrasings ("Ooh la la" is repeated many times, usually out of discomfort) that nonetheless make her a character that – no matter how horrible a person she is (and she is), you still root for at some level because she's just so quirky and damaged. She's recently broken up with her much older professor boyfriend, and needs to retrieve her things from his place. She imposes upon her semi-estranged brother (Ross Perry) to drive her there. He's just as damaged; in a going-nowhere relationship, without job prospects and wholly devoid of self-confidence to boot. Awkwardness ensues.

The two of them can barely tolerate each other for three-quarters of the film, and have all sorts of meaningless and hurtful arguments with each other (which are nonetheless quite comedic). A weird party in which both of them are mocked and put upon by some blue bloods helps to establish a sort of loser bond between them, which sets us up for what I think both of us would certainly agree (once you've seen it) could be called a surprise ending. I almost stopped watching after about 20 minutes, but am thrilled I hung in there. "The Color Wheel" exists on the outer edges of indie film marketability, yet at its core is a disturbingly sweet look at two stunted losers who truly deserve each other.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

BOOK REVIEW: "THE TUNNEL" by Ernesto Sabato

A terrific novella from a much-celebrated Argentinian writer who, as I understand it, garnered a great deal of his international regard from this 1948 book. It’s quite a Dostoyevskian tale, told in first-person “Notes From Underground” style by an embittered (and now imprisoned) egotist who gains a dawning awareness of the limits of his own character in the course of his storytelling. It concerns Juan Pablo Castel, who recounts in confused, stop-start and often contradictory detail how he came to murder Maria, whom he fell instantly in love with when she lingered on a small (but to Castel, extremely important) detail in one of his paintings at an art opening.

Castel is a lonely misanthrope, who, like the narrator in “Notes From Underground”, seems to undermine any chance he might have at love by insecurely haranguing the object of his affections, then flying off the handle and into a panic when her actions don’t conform to his desires. It’s a darkly comic story, made all the better by the reader’s realization of just what a horrible boob Castel is, even while he’s still himself coming to grips with his own limitations. Oh, and you can read it in about three hours – and even less if you’ve been to the Evelyn Wood School of Reading Dynamics.

Monday, December 16, 2013


New show, recorded on a laptop on our day off from work, instead of enjoying the sunshine and outdoor large-motor skill activities. I've got new stuff for you: HOUSEHOLD's new EP, for instance - or one song from it. Just came out. We're on it! Other new things include stuff from Dreamsalon, Bikes, Veronica Falls, The Nots, Ausmuteants, Roachclip, The Clits and other bands with classy and tasteful names. Older items include sun-defying tracks from the likes of Shoes This High, Crime and XYX. The more I type about it the more I realize what a monster hour-long thing this is. You'd better get started!!

Download Dynamite Hemorrhage Radio #27.
Stream Dynamite Hemorrhage Radio #27 on Soundcloud.
Subscribe to the show via iTunes.

Track listing:

AUSMUTEANTS - Daylight Robbery
HOUSEHOLD - Out of Reach
THE CLITS - Zoo Song
XYX - Pan de Muerto
ROACHCLIP - Appearing Ill
THE SHITTY LIMITS - Medication Time
SPIDER - Boozetown
THE NOTS - Dust Red
THE SLEAZE - Weird Truck
CRIME - Hot Wire My Heart (alternate version)
DREAMSALON - Now You Tell Me
SEX TIDE - Never Get To You
STEEL WOOL - Devil's Night
BIKES - Ocean Penis
TALULAH GOSH - Spearmint Head
VERONICA FALLS - Need You Around
VENOM P. STINGER - Walking About

Past Shows:
Dynamite Hemorrhage #26    (playlist)
Dynamite Hemorrhage #25    (playlist)
Dynamite Hemorrhage #24    (playlist)
Dynamite Hemorrhage #23    (playlist)
Dynamite Hemorrhage #22    (playlist)
Dynamite Hemorrhage #21    (playlist)

Friday, December 13, 2013


I’m a parent of a 10-year-old, and therefore still in the limited-duration sweet spot of actively caring about educational policy, child development and the intersection of both. I can also get pretty wonky when it comes to education, having conflicting passions about socialized, universal public education and a longtime secret hope for voucher-driven, scorched-earth reinvention of the entire American education establishment. Because I’m so on the fence, and traveling with my wife through some urgency in how we parent and school our kid, I’m like a moth to a flame for big-picture education reform books like Paul Tough’s recent bestseller “How Children Succeed”, which reads like a synthesis of all the latest and greatest theories about how a child learns, and therefore, how American public education might need to be reimagined. 

In an admirable desire to be readable, the book comes out in the wash like an amalgamation of a half-dozen Atlantic, New Republic and New Yorker articles you swear you’ve read before, written in the same sad story/problem statement/recent research suggests/initial positive results/happy ending formula that can be engaging and somewhat breezy to read, but ultimately a bit flat in the final summary. “How Children Succeed”, which posits quite engagingly that “non-cognitive” personality traits like character, determination, grit and focus are the key to college advancement and post-graduation success, feels like a first draft of some intuitively spot-on research that Tough would now like to see enacted within the system. 

I wish him well, and I’m totally on board with the cause, but I found the stories and research presented here to be a haphazard pasting together of a lot of newer ideas (“let your kids fail; it’s good for them”; “children who have the single-minded focus to practice their passions incessantly, whatever they are, already have the tools to succeed”; “teachers matter” etc.) with some illustrative stories that might or might not prove his points. It’s clear that the American educational system, designed in the 1800s for a world totally unlike the one in which we inhabit now and without the benefit of 125 years of psychological and sociological insight, needs to be blown up in significant ways in order to encourage our brightest bulbs and help to keep the flame flickering in our dimmest lights. “How Children Succeed” scatters a few well-written ideas onto the table, adding to the clutter of all the illuminative paths that we might actually decide to follow in the next 10, 20 or 50 years.

Monday, December 2, 2013


One would think after listening to DYNAMITE HEMORRHAGE RADIO #26 that there were a multitude of severely happening bands on the planet in late 2013, and you know, one might even be right. I've done my best to scout the hottest talent from across the globe the past two weeks, and have come up with 23 examples of loud, fast, hard, melodic, arty, dirty, gnarly rock and roll music from a bunch of youngsters and a few oldsters as well. New/active bands this time include ROACHCLIP; TRUE SONS OF THUNDER; a new 45 from VERONICA FALLS; LIFE STINKS; THE NOTS; ALLIGATOR; LA LUZ; SEX TIDE; SPRAY PAINT; PAMPERS; THE CLITS; SYNTHETIC ID; THE FIREWORKS and the STRAPPING FIELDHANDS. Jesus, you see what I mean?

There's a sixteen-minute song and a couple of songs that clock in just over 1 minute. There are song of joy and songs of depression and pain. There are straight songs and angular songs. Let it be said for the record that there are only good songs.

Download Dynamite Hemorrhage Radio #26.
Stream Dynamite Hemorrhage Radio #26 at Soundcloud.
Subscribe to the podcast via iTunes.

Track listing:

ROACHCLIP - Bungalow
VOX POP - You're My Favorite
THE NOTS - Talk Show
SHARP BALLOONS - Genetic Disorder
SALLY SKULL - Bedellus
LA LUZ - All The Time
TALULAH GOSH - Testcard Girl
THE CLITS - Period Pains
SPRAY PAINT - Ultimate Umpire
TRUE SONS OF THUNDER - Black Astrologers
PAMELA - Too Late (Blind)
SYNTHETIC ID - Killing Time
HOSE - Girls/Zoo

Past Shows:
Dynamite Hemorrhage #25    (playlist)
Dynamite Hemorrhage #24    (playlist)
Dynamite Hemorrhage #23    (playlist)
Dynamite Hemorrhage #22    (playlist)
Dynamite Hemorrhage #21    (playlist)