Putting the dust in (Ziggy) Stardust

As I pulled on black cowboy boots over shiny silver tights one recent morning, I mused (in somewhat of a detached way, hilariously, as though this ensemble had actually chosen itself) that this particular getup seemed like it was trying to inadvertently channel a Western version of Ziggy Stardust. Then I thought, oh wait, that concept is actually nothing new. It's not! It's true, fans! It's TRUE.

The glammed-out Legendary Stardust Cowboy, a.k.a. Norman Carl Odam, already treaded those dusty tracks for us as far back as the '60s. His shriek-filled single "Paralyzed" confused the hell out of people, but it also became mainstream enough to end up on Laugh-In. Manic, slightly bizarre craziness? Yes. Awesome? Also yes:

More importantly, LSC (and perhaps LSD as well, but that's an entirely different post) influenced heavily David Bowie aesthetically--Bowie has credited him as partially inspiring the Ziggy Stardust character--as well as musically. Bowie finally paid him a concrete musical homage when he covered "I Took a Trip on a Gemini Spacecraft" on his Heathen album (music only):

Of course, LSC is hardly a subtle guy, but his approach to the music is an entirely different one than Mister Bowie. The guy revels in the deep-fried kitsch of the South with no qualms ('bout a minute in):

True proof -- maybe somewhat along the lines of my "yeah, NYC dwellers, I really am from Texas" self -- that it's possible to embrace the Stetsons and the stardust in tandem.


Stephanie M.


There's only so much you can hide before I corner you

Dear friends,

There are precious few people who can resist the lure of sex with an ex. Particularly during the cooling off period, while you're still correcting yourself to add that e and that x to the mention of their name. It just happens. Why oh why did you do that last night? You were bored, they were bored, and the churning morass of feelings, once all lovey-dovey, now gnarled and complex, can still get something going in the loins.

Last Day of Magic/The Kills (mp3)

The Kills will make you take up smoking

This song has the gnarliest, ugliest guitar squall opening and I LOVE IT. It gets my heart going and all I want to do is move my arms to a brand new dance called the hurricane-o*. That grimy sound doesn't last long enough but it comes back at regular intervals, with great push and pull, working as ballast between the teasing unison of Alison Mosshart and Jamie Hince.

Buy Midnight Boom by The Kills on Amazon MP3.

Love, D

* Online, the lyrics are listed as being "My little tornado/My little hurricane roar." Really? That's too bad, I love singing hurrican-o, it's wild and bizarrely Shakespearean.

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You and me watching the jets go by

Saw this movie late one night when I was a teenager. It was made up of black and white stills, streaming along to the murmur of a placid narrator. The film was about a post-nuclear world, time travel, love but most importantly, memory and how powerful it can be. In this unique and beautiful sci-fi short, a single well-remembered moment has the capacity to alter lives. What is that memory? A man racing towards a jetty at the Orly airport where his beloved is watching the planes and possibly waiting for him.

/Beck (mp3)

While I'm sure Beck Hansen has seen Chris Marker's La Jetée, I don't think he intended this song as a soundtrack to that moment. Nevertheless, it works that way for me. His voice sounds so far away, so detached, it sounds like someone gone beyond caring for themselves but still not immune to horror. Their destruction is assured, it is happening, it may have already occurred, there's no point in crying about it. Music swirls around, an avalanche of drums and too-loud bass, mimicking a maelstrom of devastation. The vocal at the center stays calm, the only thing that matters is that they are not alone, they have someone to witness the disaster with. To hold their hand as they perish.

Purchase Modern Guilt

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That ain't nothing but drugstore lovin'

Dear friends,

What I love about Otis Redding is his certainty. He's not ambivalent in any way. He announces his intentions easily and plainly. It's like he's standing in your doorway in his best new clothes, easy smile on his face, ready to take you out for a night on the town. Baby. Here I am, I am the man on the scene. The vocal runs in those opening lines sound like ripples of warm laughter. He knows that there is no question that you will choose him.

Hard To Handle/Otis Redding (mp3)

The horns in this are no joke. I love the slightly dissonant baaah babap bwaaaahs that underscore the second verse. Deliciousness.

Buy Dreams To Remember: The Otis Redding Anthology by Otis Redding on Amazon.

Love, D

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Haven't slept since summer oh how I try

Dear friends,

The room is dry and dark and his eyes are shining like tiny, wet pebbles. They are about the same color. He's not feeling well. He's having a hard time breathing. When I try to help him, he bats my hands away. He doesn't want them anywhere near his face. He scowls.

I can't think.

I help him sit up. Some light is peeking through the shutters but it would be hard to tell the exact time of day. It doesn't matter. It really has been one long day. For months. The computer hums in the corner. That's when the voices start. Low and lower. We both turn towards the sound. We breathe and listen. The tiny speakers vibrate. After a while, his small fingers stretch out, resting on my sweater like a starfish. He grabs some of the black wool and pulls it to his mouth. I'm too tired to do anything but stare. He stares back. The music ends.

Concrete Walls/Fever Ray (mp3)

Karin Dreijer Andersson is trying to freak you the fuck out.

Buy Fever Ray by Fever Ray from Amazon MP3.

A friend recommended this cd to me as a great "new mommy record" and bless his heart, it is. This song in particular, slow as molasses, a lullaby sung to a child that won't ever sleep.

Love, D

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