February 26, 2007

Hiding in a parking lot and
Watching all the people fall to pieces

Darren Almond, Today, 2000

* Top ten conservative idiots. excerpt:

"4.Do-Nothing Republicans

"So how come this dreadful situation has been unfolding at Walter Reed for such a long time, but has only just come to light? Simple - up until very recently, Republicans were in charge, and they preferred to sweep this sort of thing under the rug. You see, it's one thing to repeat over and over again that you support the troops, but it's another thing altogether to put your money where your mouth is.

"Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) appeared on Meet The Press last week and, according to Think Progress, "argued that the Senate Armed Services Committee did not conduct oversight of the treatment at military facilities in recent years because 'they did not want to embarrass the President.' That's quite an allegation - and given the reputation of the do-nothing 109th Congress, it's entirely believeable.

"The Bush administration has spent billions upon billions of taxpayer dollars conducting an ill-planned and poorly-managed occupation of Iraq, to the tune of 3,150 American lives and more than 23,400 wounded. When those wounded troops come back from Iraq, they find a Veterans Administration that has been systematically weakened and defunded by Bush & Co. over the past six years.

"And where was the Republican-led Congress while this was going on? Picking its toenails, apparently."

* 2000 Interview of IraKaplan. excerpt:

Interviewer: Does it seem to you as if the notion of indie rock has grown out of its own self-willed marginalization, that the wall separating a small community and a larger audience has crumbled a bit?

Ira: I don't know that I fully agree with that. There are still plenty of people who are perfectly happy to maintain that wall, or a sort of distance like that. But [as] for our band, we've always gone on the road, done interviews, done things to try to get our music in front of people. Our last record ["I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One"] sold a lot more than our earlier ones. Bands like Pavement made lots of commercial inroads that changed those perceptions. And just being around for a certain length of time changes the way people approach a band. But I've always found it odd when people have ever referred to us as lo-fi. That's always been mind-boggling because we've been in 24-track recording studios for all these records. I think people have wanted to think of us as being in our bedroom making records and just never emerging.
Interviewer: You are a big Knicks fan. Does that make you a Bill Bradley man?

Ira: [Laughs] I'm sorry to say it does. It's embarrassing but true. When the New Jersey primary rolls around, I may just have to cast my ballot for the '69 Knicks. It's nice to be a part of the electorate making that choice for horrible reasons: "I like the way you used to move without the ball ... I think you'd make a great president."

Interviewer: You're also a big baseball fan -- Mets rather than Yankees, right?

Ira: Yes. Unlike in basketball, where I have only good feelings for the Nets and wish them well -- except when they play the Knicks -- I'm the classic baseball fan. I like one team to dislike the other. I just really don't like the Yankees' owner, and since he wants to be synonymous with his team, I'm going to let him. [George] Steinbrenner reminds me of [Rudolph] Giuliani. He's just a bully.

Interviewer: You go to a lot of downtown jazz shows in New York, and you've sort of tapped into that scene recently. [Percussion phenom Susie Ibarra plays on the new album; Yo La Tengo recently released a double 7-inch recorded with members of jazz act Other Dimensions in Music.] Has that mostly improvisational music influenced your approach to the band?

Ira: I would imagine it has. I always think that is happening with whatever we're listening to. It's hard for me to compare record to record because they're from such different times and the memories are so different. But it doesn't feel like that aspect is so entirely different. The songs are written based in improvisation at the start, and we try to leave songs unfinished so we can make spur-of-the-moment decisions in the studio. My feeling is the difference with this record affects the way people hear it almost as much as our approach to it. Because the new songs are more stylistically similar, I think you notice all the little arrangement touches; it almost calls attention to them because they are the differences in these songs a lot of times. Before, you could say there's a fast one, there's a slow one, there's the one Georgia sings. There were ways to describe the songs using much broader terms, but now a lot of the differences are in the details.

* "Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self." --Cyril Connolly


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