September 22nd, 2006

Plug In

Remember how I was going to call Germany? Well, the interview was postponed until today and it turned out that I was actually calling Sweden instead. But I spent 45 minutes on the phone talking to Jan St. Werner of Mouse on Mars. I interviewed the other half of the duo, Andi Toma, back in April, 2001. That was a good conversation, even though I conducted it right before going to Urgent Care and finding out that I had pneumonia for the second time in five months. Today, though, I was healthy and had a longer interview slot, so the results were much better.

Let me state, for the record, that Jan and Andi seem like the best combination of brilliant, sincere, and sweet that I've encountered in the world of art. If I could distill their words into an essence, it would be enough to get my artist friends through months of despair. If you need an example of how reading cultural theory can intersect with craft in a way that benefits both, Mouse on Mars should top the list. I'll be writing about that quality in the feature I'll now be writing on the band, which I will alert you to when it materializes in cyberspace.

Oh, and their new record, Varcharz, which came out last week on Mike Patton's Ipecac Records -- home to the Melvins -- and which I review in the next issue of Tikkun, is great. If you like Mouse on Mars' late 1990s records, before they started expanding their sonic landscape to accommodate vocals and elements of jazz, funk, and hip-hop, and don't mind a little fuzz around the edges of your electronica, I guarantee that Varcharz will float your Dreadnought.
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In the Absence of Hope

Since my last entry daring to express slight hope in the Giants' chances of making the playoffs, their pitching has collapsed like a detonated high rise. I no longer dare to dream. But at least Barry had one of his classic Barry games tonight, getting six RBIs. And he tied Hank Aaron's record for home runs in the National League and got his OPS solidly over 1000.

I am loyal, people. More than that, though, I recognize that his greatness exceeds that of all but a few players in Major League history, whether he did it or not. Moreover, I also understand that the many, many folks who apparently can't see that are suffering from severely clouded judgment.

As I've said before, all you have to do is look at his numbers before the McGwire-Sosa show of 1998 to perceive that A) with the exception of the aberrant 2001 campaign, none of his supposedly "enhanced" seasons are much different, especially when compared to league averages, than his early 1990s MVP years or his 40-40 season in 1996; and B) he would have been a certain Hall of Famer if his career had ended in 1998. I mean, it bears repeating. But, yes, I'm also loyal as fuck and proud of it.