The Bedlam in Goliath, The Mars Volta

as with 2006's Amputechture, the album that first got me into TMV (the samples i heard from the first two full-length albums always suggested too much of At the Drive-In to me and i freely admit that i could never push myself to give either De-Loused or Frances a proper effort), Cedric Bixler Zavala's lyrics here are awfully forgettable and more likely than anything to elicit a thoroughly sincere 'eh?' still, by the second run of 'maybe i'll breakdown/maybe i'll try/circumvent inoculation' &c, i'm trying (i said the lyrics were forgettable didn't i?) to sing along as well as nodding my head to every funky downbeat i can catch (which isn't easy, by the way, but a bit easier than on Amputechture). CBZ throws words together with a kind of Durrellian abandon: regardless of what they mean, it's hard to argue with the fact that the lyrics, unintentionally funny or not, do, in fact, fit, nestling comfortably in the liberal noodlings of the rest of the band.

on first listen, trying to convince myself i wasn't always going to buy the CD the moment i saw the Jeff Jordan artwork by sampling it first at the HMV listening station, Bedlam struck me as Amputechture amped. a closer listen suggests maybe these guys are trying to rein things in a bit after all. don't get me wrong, the songs are as chaotic as ever and i've yet to hear a prog rock band as visceral and compelling (viscerally compelling?) as TMV, but there's a tighter proginess to this album that suggests, say, Metropolis rather than Erotomania (Dream Theater anyone? no? ah well).

but enough of my wanking about with things beyond my ken. have a gander at what's being said here, over at punknews.org:


with bands like TMV, you get the full entertainment package: music, lyrics, album art, rabid internet snarkery.



written by Drew Goddard
directed by Matt Reeves

Cloverfield does exactly what it says on the tin (ie, 'a monster movie for the YouTube generation'), which is more than can be said for a lot of recent movies (insert relevant 'I am Legend' digs here). the monster itself isn't anything anyone who's seen a fair share of post-Toho's Big Five monster movies will find surprising, i think, and i doubt it has enough of its own personality to knock any of these off the list, but it serves its purpose.

just try not to walk into the theater looking for the sort of thing Manohla Dargis ostensibly was prior to writing this NYT review.

admittedly, there are quite a few moments when the idiocy of hanging on to the camera will most likely get to you; still, overall, it worked for me.

i particularly liked the way the filmmakers chose to give us glimpses of the pre-Rob's Going Away Party And Monster-Fest past. interesting spin on the flashback. true, most people probably won't take much away from the sparse character development despite these glimpses offer, probably not enough to form a truly effective empathic relationship with the characters, but the film does what it can within the constraints it sets for itself.

right. winding down with 'Something's Gotta Give' on TV. yes, i can be *that* kind of movie guy.


Chuck Palahniuk's Rant

how weird is that? every now and then while i'm reading Chuck's latest thing, this godawful mess of a book he calls an oral history, this audible groan starts to well up from deep inside of me like all the different voices Mr Palahniuk had flashfrozen onto the pages of Rant were joining up into some biblically-disproportionate monastic chorus of disillusionment in my head. rising OHMS and OHMS and OHMS, and i'm sure it isn't just four beats, four cycles a second but it could be and anyway what do i know i got no rhythm? and then i'd turn the page and it would cut out. the noise, that weird noise, it would just cut out like someone'd pulled the plug. and i'd just keep going like that until i hit the end and there weren't no where else to go, no thing to do but crossfade from the words on the page to the four walls surrounding me that are just a little hard to focus on right now.

huge noisy messed up lug nuts book like that just shouldn't work should it? something as big-minded and pretentious as that, it's gotta fall apart some time, right? only a matter of time and it's gotta fall apart. what's keeping it together, right? it can't be anything can keep something like that together. right? well, i'm done. and i'm still waiting.

it took me two or three false starts before i could finish Rant; this last attempt, it took me two, three days, maybe even a week to get past the first 90 or so pages, reading them in little bits, a chapter here and there. then the last two hundred words or so, i swallow them all up in two nights, two big gulps just like that.

i can imagine why someone would put this book down and never pick it up again. but i can't imagine that being anything but a sad thing, either. sure, i put this book down after i started it myself; twice, maybe thrice since i got it. but i always knew someday i'd see it to the end.

this is a book of ideas, whatever that means, chockful of them like Chuck was a newbie and didn't know better but to put all his easter eggs, the good with the rotted, if you will, all together in one tight little basket. it starts off weird enough, crazy, and it just gets crazier and crazier as you go along. first you think it's one thing, then it's something else. it flipflops once or twice and every now and then it gets a bit hard to swallow, and by the time you get back to that one thing, it's formed such a crazy messed up loop and those OHMS are just so crazy loud in your ears that when it cuts out in the end you're kinda just left there with your mouth hanging open, not sure if you want to laugh or if you want to cry or if you're blinking fast enough because you can't just seem to get the walls around you to focus. or maybe it's my astigmatism.

heard of a relativist novel? i haven't. i just thought it up, and it just seems like a really good way to some this book up that i had to ask if you'd heard of such a thing. with Rant, Mr Palahniuk, it's clear he's playing games with you, and by the end he'll have you either laughing with him or shaking your head in frustration, a big ol' pile of poisonous varmint snapping at your heels as you walk away. it's like, you know he's gotta have ONE THING in mind, right? there's gotta be something definite, but everybody, everyone you talk to, every witness he calls to the stand for you to cross-ex, they just refuse to budge and they won't tell you nothing's for sure. i mean, sure, they're telling you what they know to tell, maybe some of them really are and maybe some of them really aren't, but you can't never really know for sure, can you? like he's saying, Mr Palahniuk he's saying, in the really real world (which Middleton and the America of Rant can't be, can it?) one story can't just be one story anymore but all manner of different others depending on who's telling, and you can't never tell what's true and what isn't. and the ones that seem truest maybe the ones that make everything one big fat lie, and not all folk, not everybody's going to like that, will they? how weird is that?

but i guarantee he'll have one or two things stuck in your head, clawing around in there for days like it's trying to get out. like a big fat jab in the arm, like an inoculation. how weird is that? for some folk it might be just the thing for an inoculation from boredom; a few just might find themselves inoculated against things like complacency, stupidity, or whatever you call it, sheepiness; but for others, i won't deny it, it may just inoculate them from wanting to pick up this book ever again.

but you gotta pick it up to find out for yourself, you know?