It's A Living… But It's Not A Life #12.6
J Church / Honey Bear Records News
Already getting hot ­ It's Not Hip Hop ­ It's ELECTRO!


As I write this, the Giants have just won their 10th straight. Nothing goes wrong tonight!



Well, there have been some big fuck-ups with the pressing plant doing our record and since we're not playing again until the fall, the record has a new release date of June 15th. I think you can already pre-order it from No Idea if you wanna get it the day it comes out. For more up to date news, you can reach them at

There's a rumor that some people are really pissed off about the record already. A couple of people have told me that some East Coast writers (presumably New Yorkers) are pissed because we did a song that spoofs Pavement and trashes Wilco. I guess they say they're gonna trash our record in reviews. It's probably nothing. The same thing happened when I said Black Dice were racist in concept and that Yoko Ono was way cooler than Nico. It usually just winds up being a couple of bad reviews and, hey, a bad review is WAY better than no review.

It just seems funny to me that we do songs about the Weather Underground, the "fuck the system / fuck the government" motif (if you will), Not Proud of the USA, radical redistribution of the wealth as originally devised by Marx and put into action by Mao… The song that offends people winds up being about Wilco.

But everyone's got a right to his or her own opinion. Most of my friends can't fucking stand J Church. I'm not gonna tell them to stop buying shit like Coldplay and Sigur Ros. Who am I kidding? Yes, I am…

Incidentally, I like the Pavement 10" and the first album more than almost anything else released in the `90s. Maybe I should write a listing of all the bands that I love that people assume or think I hate. Wilco's Yankee Hotel Foxtrot was their equivalent of Fonzie jumping the shark tank. Check out I Am Trying To Break Your Heart. It's inadvertantly funnier than This Is Spinal Tap.



I've finally got covers and shit done for that documentary of the Ex, Beautiful Frenzy. This is the documentary that was made by Christina Hallstrom and Mandra Waback. It talks about the origins, aims and shows a bit of what it's like to be on the road with them. It's really an amazing film and I'm very, very proud to be a part of it.

It took forever as everything I do is a major financial burden since the fire and my second hospitalization (not looking for sympathy, just wanna explain that I'm working and not slacking). But it's done. It's $15 ppd and will be available to stores through Revolver like everything else I release. I've got a couple of other videos in the works too…



I was gonna sell a bunch of CDs on Ebay and to Cheapo's (half assed local record store. This is in no way an endorsement!) But I thought I'd just make a list and sell `em cheap. Some of them are promos and some of them I just don't love anymore. Since the fire, I'm still a step ahead of poverty and selling this shit is my way of greasing the wheels a little. Send me an e-mail at if you want a copy of the list.



I've got a bunch of stuff up on E-bay again. Just search for HBR and all of my stuff will pop up.



Martin from Giant Robot wrote something about our new album for the SF Gate. Here's the link if you wanna check it out. If Martin wrote it, it's quality.



And this is great if you haven't already seen it.



What happened to Travis Morrison? Has he lost his mind? People keep asking me this shit. We toured with the Dismemberment Plan along with Radio 4 a few years back. We seemed to get along pretty well with those guys. Eric is one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet.

I guess Travis has been on some strange pro-Bush / neo-conservative trip. At least, this is what people have been telling me. So, I really don't know. Anyway, I thought I'd investigate with the least amount of effort and this is what I found. You've probably already seen this. It's from Tiny Mix Tapes...

"D: What do you have to say about George Bush?

Travis: He isn't stupid. He's a smart man. He isn't intellectual, but lefties always have a problem confusing intellectual and smart. I know some intellectuals that are boxes of rocks. The left can only harp about things like his inability to speak in public because it has lost all sense of vision for America. That bums me out.

"As for Bush himself... I think he's a B president, earning a C- before 9/11 and a B+ afterwards. I think he's handling the post-9/11 world well, I like enthusiasm for school vouchers, and I think that he actually handled the whole Enron thing fairly well. I'm a somewhat laissez-faire person in terms of economic rules and I think his position was that Enron hid nothing from the world and people should have known more about the company when they invested in it. His environmental policies is OK, nothing great, his administration's desire for mildly authoritarian powers is bothersome but not a real threat because I think they won't get most of those powers... he seems utterly disinterested in abortion and hopes it won't be an issue during his presidency, which is fine by me, because it reflects my own don't-ask-don't-tell ambivalence about the issue... the $300 tax rebate was a little nutty, but our great presidents all tried nutty things. FDR didn't know what the fuck to do, so he just threw shit up on the wall to see what would happen, and that's why he's on the nickel."

And this is from The Guilfordian…

"C: Are you a fan of George W. Bush at all?

"T: There's been some policies I agree with, some policies I don't. On average, so far, I've been basically okay with his policies. I've been surprised. I'm inclined to agree with the Bush administration's approach to corporate regulation. I think that there's a lot of greed, and I think that there are a lot of people buying into these companies that they don't know anything about. And I think that George Bush is right in that the market has to find ways to pace itself. I think that things like retirement fund insurance are valid, but in terms of things like Enron, if people couldn't see that that wasn't a bad company to own part of then they weren't doing their homework. He got stem cell research, which I was glad for, and he did it in an incredibly graceful way that I respected. I don't think that any politician will ever turn back the clock on Roe vs. Wade because when it comes down to it, I think that America is basically pro-choice, and I don't think anything will ever happen to that . . . I dunno, it's hard for me to think of policies where I'm enormously unhappy with what he's doing.

"C: What about the situation in Iraq - the "War on Terror" B.S.?

"[A long political debate ensues. He supports the war and I don't.] "

Wow. He must really be bitter about how the Dismemberment Plan ended. Maybe this is why they ended. I can't even imagine. Still, what an odd thing to say... Even for nut-job Bush supporters...

I'm not gonna refute what he says. You shouldn't be listening to me OR him for any kind of political information. We're a couple of musicians, which makes us sort of like skilled morons. Read the Nation if you really wanna know what I think about Bush.

In fact, the more I read this stuff, I'm reminded that Travis always seemed, well, I don't want to say he's a phony. But there was always something fake about the guy. He really liked to notion of claiming that he didn't like the Clash or Gang of Four and he's never heard ESG or the Slits, like it was cool to be contrary to the obvious. That's why I say that all this hubbub about "intellectuals" (however he defines that) and the weird need to establish himself no matter what the cost is an image issue and not so much a political one. He likes being an American, just not an "average" American, whatever that means.

I mean, if you buy all you read about Travis, you'll think he's a racist that makes fun of people's accents, a Starbuck's drinking yuppie, patriotic… Nationalistic even… (He does like Michael Jordan and Phil Jackson, so there probably is something profoundly wrong with the guy.) It can't all be true and it can't all be false and a guitar player should never be your role model in the first place.

I think it's possible he's just in a suppressed state of rage still residual from September 11th. The rant he wrote for Pitchfork media around that time was a little crazy in parts. You can go back and read it at the Pitchfork media site and while the content is totally dated, it reveals a lot about how this guy thinks. You can't blame him for not knowing about the celebrations reported all across China or what was going on in San Francisco or that even at Sound Exchange in my little part of the planet people customers were saying "we had it coming". But he's angry about something and he doesn't know how to vent. I can understand that.

But who knows. I haven't seen or heard from the guy in four years. Maybe he really is some sort of flag-waving / Libertarian / indie / funky-white-boy hybrid like the world has yet to see.



SHAUN OF THE DEAD (directed by Edgar Wright)

I absolutely loved Spaced. I can watch any episode of that show over and over. It's just so funny, and clever and aimed at bringing happiness to geeks like me who are part of the international war to legitimize sci-fi and horror films. So, I was so excited to find that the director and one of the writers were working on a feature length zombie film.

Shaun of the Dead is exactly what I wanted. It's a very, very funny zombie film that that responds to all of my Spaced needs including featuring most of the cast. Simon Pegg is essentially Tim, trying to save a relationship that he bungled up by spending too much time at the pub with his pal and roommate as well as playing video games. That friend is once again Nick Frost, though this time as Ed, he's a slovenly bum who's juvenile activities are a big part of why Shaun/Tim is in hot water with his girlfriend. Their third roommate is Peter Serafinowicz who once again is the heavy telling Shaun/Tim to get his shit together while just barely keeping his anger at Ed. There are quite a few stars from The Office as well.

Like Spaced the humor comes from finding the mundane and funny aspects of daily life this time doubling the humor putting them into the context of a horror film. It feels like how we would react to fighting a zombie invasion. They attempt kill a zombie by throwing things at him but are completely inept missing him completely more times than naught. The result is they are left throwing LPs at the slowly advancing zombies while Shaun/Tim goes through his collection trying to decide which records he doesn't want to part with.

It's constantly referring to other films a la Spaced to the point where they are calling Shaun/Tim's mother, Barbara, to tell her they're coming to get her and Ed yells, "We're coming to get you, Barbara" like in Night of the Living Dead. Plus there are references from Evil Dead, 28 Days Later and loads more. It's fast paced and is in some ways like a British Kevin Smith film.

It's also worth mentioning that the film uses the music of Queen to great effect. There is a zombie fight scene in a pub that is brought to a whole different level to the tune of Don't Stop Me Now.

It doesn't look good for Spaced ever getting released in the states. Apparently, they can't secure the rights to all the music, which is crucial to the humor of the show. But this flick is great isn't just to amuse fans of Tim and Daisy. I hope it's a success as there is a rumor that they might do a sequel called From Dusk `Til Shaun!



V/A - Electronic 01 2xCD
V/A - Rock And Roll 01 2xCD
V/A - Country 01 2xCD
V/A - Counter Culture 03: Best of 2003 2xCD

A few months back, I reviewed an amazing double CD put out by the Rough Trade Shop on Talbot Road covering what they considered to be quintessential post-punk from the late `70s to the present. Well, I've since grabbed a few more of their comps (via Sean) and they're all brilliant. Here's a rundown:

The first of the genre specific compilations covers examples what seems like a pretty broad definition of electronic "music". Avoiding the thankless job of defining, they make the right choice in not bothering giving samples of everything. You start with Brian Eno (who in an interview once described Jimi Hendrix as a great electronic musician as he was one of the first to be completely aware of tone and noise as an aesthetic that can be assigned a value) and go from there. There are pioneers like Rod Freeman and the Blue Men as well as the BBC Radiophonic Workshop as well as the avant-garde of Throbbing Gristle and Matmos. There's the futuristic pop of Kraftwerk and Stereolab as well as the mersh pop of Depeche Mode and the Human League. None of the actual selections are obvious and you can analyze this pastiche in as many ways as you can analyze an action painting.

Reducing rock and roll to two discs is a brave and funny task. That it can be distilled into a spirit as well as a sound has always been the argument and this compilation in essence claims that both are essential. Another thought is that a band might only be able to encapsulate rock and roll for one song. The Butthole Surfers appear on this comp doing Human Cannonball and while I don't think of them as quintessential rock and roll, this song is. It's like some of the greatest rock and roll moments from the likes of the Stooges, the Dirtbombs, the Modern Lovers, the Birthday Party, Mudhoney, the Saints, Pere Ubu, Mission of Burma and many, many more.

As far as I can tell, the last of the genre specific releases was Country 01 which follows the same logic as Rock and Roll 01. As a result, you get a wholly unusual country comp that is smarter than most. There are a million country compilations in this world and Rough Trade hands you a platter juxtaposing different elements mostly taken out of context to create something new and exciting. Again, not the tracks you would expect from the Replacements, Meat Puppets, X, the Mekons, Souled American, and more.

I think the most recent compilation they released was the round up of best releases in the shop from 2003. As most of the store employees got to pick their own faves, it's a bit more hit and miss, at least for me. But the great stuff is incredible and is a reminder that even when it seems like music is dead, there are good things happening every year. You just have to remember. Major highlights of the first disc for me were the beautiful Iron and Wine with their Stereolab cover, Cody Chestnutt's With Me In Mind (with Sonja Marie), the timeless and beautiful Care from Kaada (from their excellent Thank You For Giving Me Your Valuable Time CD on Ipecac), the futuristic and beautiful The District Sleeps Alone Tonight from The Postal Service (beats the hell out of Death Cab For Cutie's recent, tired output), and the heartbreaking New Friend from The Concretes.

The second disc is a lot less, I dunno, "accessible"? Maybe it's just that the first disc is so much more chill. More cool shit like Fuck the People, which is the best thing from the Kills, the art-damage drone of Sid Vicious Is Dead (Ed Laliq Mix) from Some Product, the ever-rocking Let's Get Sick from the Dirtbombs, the neo-no wave of Spread Your Legs, Release the Bats from Die Monitr Batss, the space age driving music of Crazy Love from Colder, the post-Fall post-punk of New Materiology from The Barcelona Pavilion, and the trance-like I Still Don't Love You from White Trash.
(Rough Trade)


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