Sunday, July 26, 2009



by D.C. Berman

This time of year the light comes through the pines in flat beams and spark points, glancing off the frost that decorates the grounds of the light-studded medical cities. For a six-sided record I feel like I'm back in the haunted Piedmonts, a decorated major in the Japanese Inner Space Program, renewing my vow to bear down on the truth even if there is none for a hundredth time.

After the exodus of the Calm Reflectors I had started seeing the Scud Mountain Boys around town with their Baltimore haircuts, the guitarist's guitarist carrying his 1873 "trapdoor" Springfield rifle, the progeny of the muzzle-loading French Charleville muskets that had whacked so many Redcoats around these hills. I had heard it was the band's tradition to lay dinner on the table uncooked and then set the table on fire.

I was out for a walk with Mr. Fiddler the other night, when he turned to me and said, "this is the time of year when the region is at peace with itself." I turned to laugh in his face when the impulse subsided. He had been right of course. I'd already seen it happen in the slide projector's cone of lit dust: the November sky hovering over lives of dark employment like a televised clay bank, breech-loaders replacing muzzle-loaders, crows wired to the sky like marred pixels, portraits cubed into accordioned life while every single object of perception waited for us in the air conditioning. Yes, tennis crested in the seventies, killing Eddie Money and the last of the Holmby Hills Rat Pack, but how many times did we have to witness the L.A. fireplaces reflected in L.A. wineglasses before it ended?

You meet these suburban kids with Biblical names, but there are walls behind their eyes, strange mathematical mountains at whose base we sit playing our native keyboards and rinsing our teeth with digital snow. I'm starting to believe that the inscription above the portal describes this side, not the next.

Few people know that George Washington's favorite song was "The Darby Ram," or stop to think that before he was a statue he scratched his weld, got the hiccups, and danced alone in his room. All the "human things." He must have been scared when he fought in the woods, hiding in the dormant Christmas trees, his hand gripping the black walnut musket stock.

In those times and these we turn to the pacifics of a Gamelan orchestra for transport and release. We stand by the hind legs of a K car, listening to the new city cassettes, searching for some sign of human residence here beneath the justifiably uncelebrated Massachusetts sky.

This treasured early work brought calm forecasts and sad peace to our house. I hope you take it with you when you go.

Friday, July 24, 2009


Dang! The future looks brilliant, I'll tell you what. And this is just the half of it. Flyers to come!

7 August 2009
Ann Arbor Soul Club
Brad Hales & Breck Bunce play the very finest Northern Soul, r&b, modern, Motown, etc. you will never hear on the radio or pretty much anywhere else,. Always, always a good time. Robert Wells returns in September!
Blind Pig / 208 S. First, A2 / 9:30PM / $5

9 August 2009
Our Brother the Native / Psychic Reality / Royalchord / Dark Matter DJs
Fatcat artists, Our Brother the Native, play with SF's awesome Psychic Reality (starring Ms. Leyna Noel, a member of Mirah's touring band) and Royalchord. The Dark Matter doods, Aaron Lindell & myself, will play records inbetween.
Yellow Barn / 416 W. Huron, A2 / 8PM / $5

11 August 2009
Calvin Johnson & Hive Dwellers / City Center / Tyvek
The excellent new band from K Records head Calvin Johnson makes its Ann Arbor debut w/ Fred Thomas & Ryan Howard's City Center and the always great/sloppy Tyvek. I think Brett Lyman & myself will be playing records inbetween/after.
Yellow Barn / 416 W. Huron, A2 / 8PM / $5 / ALL AGES

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


This is it: the summer's lull. The slow part. The long part.

But I think it only feels like it's not totally great. Maybe I just have my own thing going on. Whatever the case, I'm happy to report that the response was pretty good to my first solo spoken word thing. The repertoire was basically a 'greatest hits' of this blog peppered with snarky comments & gross facial expressions. Nice! I think the soundman shut the monitors off within minutes of me starting which wasn't so nice.

Some recent picks:

Open Strings: Early Virtuoso Recordings From The Middle East, And New Responses (Honest Jon's). "A dazzling selection of virtuoso string-playing from Egypt, Iran, Iraq and Turkey, all recorded in the 1920s, and pretty much unheard ever since. In addition, Open Strings includes a disc of newly-commissioned responses to the themes in this music by underground luminaries." The first disc was so killer it killed the second disc which I thought I'd like more.

Blues Control - Local Flavor (Siltbreeze). "While past releases have been beauteous extrapolations into the miasmic core of psychedelia and billowing fog of ambient space, Local Flavor is the one where all the chickens have come home to roost." This is such a natural jam. Really blew my mind when I put it on the first time. From the hot, murky mix to the fine-tuned sequencing, it's so dang good.

Also excellent is the new Explode Into Colors 7" ("Devastating debut mastered for immense bass response...") on M'Lady's & the G Spots compilation ("The Spacey Folk Electro-Horror Sounds of the Studio G Library") on Trunk. I'm also slowly devouring the David Berman cartoon book.

I'd like to talk more about some shit coming out but I gotta' scramble!

Sunday, July 12, 2009


I'll let you all know a little secret about tomorrow's show.

if you come at 5pm... you'll get a chance to chill a little bit harder than everyone who comes later... and you will be able to

Friday, July 10, 2009


a shock of hair on the curb
of the 6900 block of Delmar

a grey flame
tanlines of copper

a corduroy knee
pressed into shag
wet with milk.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009


Q: So, tell me a few basics about your new film. Apparently it's a sequel to an as-yet-unreleased film about models & modeling.
A: While it doesn't have a title yet, the film(s) are complete. Shot in 35mm black & white, it follows one of the models from the first film, Anna, as she makes the rounds in Europe.

Q: Tell me about Anna.
A: She is the child of a War Bride. Half-American/French, Half-Vietkong.

Q: This is unlike your other films, which were composed primarily of risqué youtube clips paired with peculiar music & found recordings to dichotomous -- and often humorous -- effect.
A: Yes, it's in a classic documentary style --
Q: Cinema vérité?
A: Yes, and concerns the racist underbelly of the modeling world. Have you seen Truth or Dare?
Q: Yes, of course!
A: Think Truth or Dare but with attractive people and not as much yelling or aging pop-stars attemping to rap.

Friday, July 03, 2009


He found the wolf's head
in the toilet
and began vomiting
a forest of black bile
blacker than oil.

The wizard turns his back
to the baseball diamond,
"There's nothing I can do here."

"All these manic-depressive kids
are great artists.
And they're in good company:

Orson Welles was bipolar.
Or... no, he wasn't.
I'm trying to think of
who I'm trying to think of."