The All-Expense Paid J Church Newsletter
Fall 2003



We've got a couple of shows coming up before the year's end. First off, thanks to everyone that came to our show with I Farm and the Winks. Good times at Rounders. Hopefully we'll be doing more local stuff with the Winks. We're also playing that December show at Emo's with From Ashes Rise, Bread and Water and more. Send me an e-mail if you need more info. We may be doing another December show. But it's hard to say.



There are a few new things worth mentioning. First of all, there is the soundtrack to Jon Moritsugu's latest flick, Scum Rock. Those of you who have had the chance to see it know that it is a great film; Jon at his most witty. For better or for worse, I've got a small part in the film and J Church contributed an alternative "noise" version of Stars Are Exploding to the soundtrack. You can buy the soundtrack at http://home.mindspring.com/~mgolonka/.

Also, we're on the latest Chicken Katsu compilation titled World Famous Kintama Boxers. Our song is a really weird demo version of a song called Clean And Obscene. For some reason, this version uses an acoustic guitar making it sound less like the Cure and more like… I don't know what. Maybe like an Aztec Camera demo or something. You can get that crazy comp at www.chickenkatsu.com.

Also, we're now being booked by the affable Brian Peterson. So all roads will now go through Chicago. Got an all-ages venue for us to play? E-mail Brian over at the Fireside in Chicago.



Lots of death since the last newsletter. I'm sure you've all read as much as you can stand about poor Elliott Smith. I'll just add that I was surprised how many friends who never knew the guy (myself included) felt really sad by this. We all must have thought that his music was our private little thing. But he affected a lot of people.

Edward Said (1935-2003)

For those of you who have read any of my rants about the Palestinian cause, you'll know what a huge impact the writings of Edward Said has had on me. A post-structuralist leftist, his secular analysis of the conflict in Palestine was consistently lucid and well-researched. Along with Chomsky, I've always thought of him as one of the few great American thinkers of our time.

Probably his most famous book, "Orientalism", best sums this up calling the "orient" a Western concept and way of dealing with a region. "Orientalism" therefore is a means of both stereotyping and defining with Western political intent. Therefore, "orientalism" is a critical part of colonialism. In contemporary terms, it's modern colonial depictions of Arab culture as backwards and menacing. While the book is used in academic resources, it's well-worth reading to anyone. While this may seem like a cliché, it seems more relevant today than in the past decade.

Beyond his public speaking and his work as an essayist (most often dealing with the never-ending nightmare of Israeli human rights violations) he was both a music critic and performer, know both for his opera review and piano concerts.

He had been struggling with leukemia when he published his autobiography, Out of Place in 1999.

George Plimpton (1927-2003)

It's funny that I've read more than one obituary for the great George Plimpton comparing him to Zelig. Intellectual, literary critic and best-selling sports writer, he was founder and for 50 years co-editor of the Paris Review. Dedicated the creative writing, the literary magazine featured essential interviews with Hemmingway, Nabokov, Iris Murdoch and more.

In the `50s he was largely responsible with helping make sports writing a legitimate journalistic field by becoming a regular contributor to Sports Illustrated. His famous sports writing included sparring with then light-heavyweight champion Archie Moore for three rounds, pitching during major league exhibition games and posing as a rookie quarterback at summer training camp with the Detroit Lions.

A lifetime progressive and Democrat, he was apparently at the White House in 1961 for the famous fight between Robert Kennedy and Gore Vidal. Swiping Vidal's hand from Jackie Kennedy's back, the Senator said, "Fuck off, buddy boy". Vidal responded, "You fuck off, too."

In 1973, he relocated the Paris Review to New York where his offices became renowned for debauched, albeit intellectual, alcoholic parties.

Sporadically, Plimpton had done some acting since the late `60s. But in 1981, he starred in one of my favorite movies of all time, Reds, as the sleazy Horace Wigham.




New York makes you wanna be Richard Hell. Maybe New York makes you wanna be what you assume Richard Hell is. Shit, what boy doesn't wanna look like Richard Hell on the cover of Blank Generation… or even Destiny Street

Cause For Applause have married the Quine-like riffs and Hell-like phrasings with a chaotic mix of early Bad Seeds ramshackle. They make you feel like they're about the joyfully (and artfully) fall off the stage in a Dionysian expression.

Five songs here and you may even get a little bit of a Psycho Mafia here and there. It may not be enough for your teenage lust. But it'll help to ease your pain. Ease your bray-yay-yain.


Julie Doiron is a lot of why I loved Eric's Trip despite the terrible nature of their band name (I still can't bring myself to like any Sister Ray or Deacon Blue… thankfully).

This is Jagjaguwar's reissue of her first post ET solo album and a hushed beauty. I keep hearing people describe her music as Autumnal like she's Thoreau or something. Even with the understated nature of home recordings, I find these to be fine pop songs. You could surely blast Soon, Coming Closer or Happy Lucky Girl with the top down cruising down the PCH on a Summer afternoon.

But, of course, you can also meditate on the pain and suffering presented as a time capsule of a woman in flux. With the band and other break-ups and complications, this record is as much a concept record as it is a series of diary entries.

The disc also includes some earlier material with `93's Dog Love Part II and `94's Nora. Both are full of songs worth having easily accessible on the digital format (not to mention the OG version of Dance Music).

HAPPENING, THE - Shit Happens… CD

Kaori is the girl behind so many great, underrated Japanese power pop / punk bands like Tami, My Winter Jane and Grace. Her latest three piece is far and away the most powerful with a giant guitar sound and one of her most accommodating rhythm sections.

The songs are rockin' relying far less on standard pop punk hooks than in the past. The range of musical ideas encompasses everything from `70s rock to `80s power pop to `90s Jawbreaker / Discount type structure. Brick Boy even has bits of the Jam or more likely the Who.

The Happening are one of the few bands in Japan trying to do their own thing without living in the shadow of Snuff or American music for that matter. Great production doesn't hurt either. They even sing in English for you philistines that can't have it any other way. This is the kind of Japanese band that could be poised to break in America. But I don't see why that would be their (or anyone's) ambition.

MOVIES, THE - In One Era Out The Other CD

So Manchester is the new capitol of America. While I take issue with the nostalgia, I love this music and don't have the heart to attack its sentimentality. Nope. I'm not the mean punk rocker I was a decade ago. Now I can just let these waves rush over me. I'm not even stoned.

Instead I'll say that I resent Ben Kweller, I have some serious problems with Bright Eyes and I can't allow Ben Folds Five in my apartment. These are the rules and the fine line between these groups and, say, Sentridoh is a full Los Angeles city block.

The Movies: they're pretty. I'm gonna guess it's pretty music made by a bunch of waif-y, good-looking 25 year olds. Hopefully, they'll grow up to be the Bevis Frond or some other fat, old, hairy dudes making pretty music (what the hell are YOU lookin' at?). In the meantime, this sublime pop is irresistible. Every note and snare pop seems deliberate and organic at the same time creating the kind of friction that makes records like this challenging. The songs are pretty enough that with the wrong approach, you could be stuck with another group of Coldplays faking to the throne.

The Movies: They're not really the Wake. But they're not Hefner either. But there are distinct (though sure inadvertent) elements of both in this lush record.

WATCHERS - To The Rooftops CD

Not that funk is the new punk or that punk was ever the new funk, but Gern Blandsten is a label with some vision. Either that or if the Radio 4 axel ain't broken, don't fix it. But that's not fair to Watchers. This ain't no party. This ain't no disco. This ain't no Squat or Rot show.

Seems like anything related to punk rock with a funky vibe gets the Gang of Four toe tag and there are definitely moments where I'm thinking that over these nine songs. But we're not talking about "Entertainment" skronk. This is more along the lines of the criminally underrated Songs of the Free. In fact, rather than taking the easy way out and diving for the Pop Group / Au Pairs brass ring as sublimated by the likes of so many so-called No Wave revivalists, this in fact reminds me of some of the Style Councils funkier grooves with affectations of, and this is a compliment, A Certain Ratio.

Now they're also apparently James Chance's backing band. It looks like the promise of Trenchmouth and other pathfinders has reached fruition.


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