>Coachella 2011: aftermath sixteen, The Morning Benders, Warpaint and Cee-Lo Green

>Cee-Lo Green played the first day in the late afternoon. This was my big conundrum because Odd Future, The Morning Benders, Warpaint and Cee-Lo were all more or less playing at the same time. By some miracle I managed to hear all three acts as I had wanted to.

I went to Odd Future first, they went on a little late. I stayed for four songs or so and hopped over to see The Morning Benders to just hear them play their last song, “Excuses.” Absolutely delightful, I’ve never seen them play this song to an audience that were active enough to sing along. Lead singer Chris Chu divided the audience up to sing different bits, people seemed slightly confused, but it all sounded lovely.

After my quick fix of the Morning Benders I ran over to catch Warpaint who I found absolutely intoxicating. I think Warpaint were my choice band of the weekend for new acts to dive into. Warpaint is comprised of five absolutely stunning women who are fantastic at everything they do. It was a toss up between the drummer and the bassist for standout musicians.

I once met a semi-famous bassist who told me that the bass is a very manly instrument. He continued by saying it takes a strong man to play it. If I knew of Jenny Lee Lindberg, I’d stick her to him. Lindberg was absolutely alluring with her guitar playing. I have never been so attracted to a woman in my life!

Lindberg is actually the sister of actress and former Warpaint member Shannyn Sossaman.

I stayed for the rest of the Warpaint set, finding myself pleasantly surprised. I had bought their CD based on good feelings earlier that day.

I sprinted to see Cee-Lo Green to catch the final two songs of his set. He played his Gnarls Barkly hit “Crazy” which sounded a little lazy and poorly concluded. He then followed it by “Fuck You” which bled into what I could only assume was the closer “Don’t Stop Believing.”

After his performance of “Crazy” he complained that he felt rushed and the sound was crap. He asked the audience to raise their middle fingers up in the air for his next tune.

I was really happy to see that he had an all-girl back-up band supporting him. After playing “Fuck You,” his sound was cut out because he had gone over his time limit. He walked off the stage with a towel on his head while cursing. His back-up band continued to play without full sound or vocals.

“This shit sounds terrible. They’re fucking rushing me”

There was a stylish black guy behind me who made a comment about how he was one of the only black guy he’d seen all day and that’s how he decided to act. I kind of got a kick out of that comment as Cee-Lo kind of was being an asshole.

Waste Management – Frederick Kaufman

This is a brilliant article I stumbled upon while looking into waste management in New York.

Steve Askew, the man being interviewed, is clearly one who is absolutely very knowledgeable and well-versed in the ethics and purpose of waste management. I adore the final bit where he states his job and the functions of human waste treatment plants as returning the environment to the way God intended. Bold.

2008 / New York City

Waste Management













For thousands of years, Homo sapiens flocked across continents in pursuit of bird, beast, and fresh water, leaving behind him a trail of gnawed bones and steaming waste. The moment we stopped removing ourselves from that waste, it had to be removed from us. Thus the origins of civilization, thus the glories of Rome, Paris, and Philadelphia. A civilization that cannot escape its own fecal matter is a civilization in trouble—unless, of course, the uneasy relationship between man and his effluents can evolve.
“The first regulations with respect to waste go back to the code of Hammurabi,” said Steve Askew, superintendent of New York’s North River Wastewater Treatment Plant, one of the world’s largest. “You have to bury your waste far from where you sleep.” And he gave me the look. Steve Askew never finished college, but that look had seen to the bottom of things. It was both spooky and intimidating, that particular look of pity and loathing the wise bestow upon the ignorant. He knew something I wanted to know: the ultimate fate of our waste.
“People wake up in the morning, they brush their teeth, flush the toilet,” said Askew. “They think it goes to the center of the earth.”
If you happen to live within one particular 5,100-acre patch of the West Side of Manhattan, instead of going to the center of the earth, your waste flows to Askew’s extraordinary concrete cesspit: twenty-eight concrete acres suspended above more than two thousand concrete caissons sunk into the shallows between the West Side Highway and the Hudson River. Constructed in the 1970s, topped by three swimming pools, a skating rink, and a carousel, North River cost the city a billion dollars, 100 million of which went straight into odor control.
North River is just one of New York City’s fourteen wastewater treatment plants, the first of which opened in 1886, along with the Statue of Liberty. These plants handle every conceivable kind of sewerable waste from the city’s eight million permanent residents, not to mention anything a commuter or a tourist might care to add. They separate the material that comes their way into solid, liquid, and gaseous parts, which they further subdivide into that which must be discarded, that which may be consumed, and that which someone, somewhere, might eventually be able to sell.
The substance that enters North River is mostly water, and the vast majority of that water leaves the plant after not much more than six hours, disinfected to the extent that it can merge inoffensively with the Hudson River. One flush on the Upper West Side at seven in the morning, and by three in the afternoon the water is back on the street, so to speak. What’s left over is a half-million gallons of concentrated daily waste, now known as sludge.
I followed Askew into an enormous room of computers, controls, workstations, and switches. Behind us flashed a wall-size diagrammatic panel, the great computerized brain of waste. Next to us stood the oiler, who had been at North River twenty years.
“Right now we’re at 135 million gallons per day,” said the oiler.
The greatest increase occurs between eight and nine in the morning, when the city’s output swells from 70 million to 150 million gallons per day. This is known as the big flush. Now it was eleven A.M., and in a few hours the circadian flow of biology en masse would begin to diminish, eventually bottoming out around four in the morning, at 68 million gallons per day. The rhythm is as steady as the tides. “The Super Bowl halftime surge is a myth,” said Askew.
He led me across the concrete floor, through a concrete warehouse, and to the concrete screening room, where he began to extol the virtue and beauty of his eleven-mile-long sewage interceptor. By the time the morning flush finally rolls into North River, it has joined the downstream flow of all the other morning flushes from all the other sewage lines from Bank Street to the Upper West Side, and sunk fifty-four feet below sea level. It is here, at the extreme low point of this immense underground current, that North River gets to work. In the Stygian depths, its mighty diameter swollen to sixteen feet, the dark torrent branches into six channels, each of which must be pumped to the top floor of the plant, where gravity can once again take hold and set the outcast on a new journey.
Askew gazed into the inky pool of untreated wastewater and began to describe some of the marvels the interceptor had disclosed. Aside from the daily take of leaves, sticks, cans, and paper, the great rake had brought up quite a few vials of cocaine. When cops bang on the door, the toilet is a drug dealer’s best friend. Ditto for the professional forger: a good deal of counterfeit money has floated into Steve Askew’s hands. Twenty years ago a dog showed up, a living dog that became the mascot of a Brooklyn plant.
As we walked away from the pool, I asked about the wind. No matter what the weather is outside, no matter where we traveled inside, the thick concrete walls of North River generated bracing gusts. Askew explained that every minute, titanic blowing machines inhaled 600,000 cubic feet of fresh air and exhaled 750,000 cubic feet of carbon-filtered, bleach-scrubbed exhaust—six to twelve complete air changes per hour.
But the scouring of North River’s halitosis, while essential to community relations, has nothing to do with the plant’s core mission. The alchemy of purgative transformation starts in the warmth and humidity of the next chamber we visited, where submerged chemical mixers combine the waste with custom-made bacteria. “It’s volatizing off!” Askew yelled above the din of engines and bubbling brown water. Undeterred by the general uproar, Askew detailed the technical intricacies of fecal breakdown and development, but I’m afraid the cacophony blunted the nuances. So Askew dumbed down the lecture. “This looks really good!” he hollered. “Tan water! Light brown froth! Small bubbles! Musty smell! If the foam looks like chocolate mousse, that’s an indication of a bacteriological process!”
We headed to a low-ceilinged room so huge it did not appear to have walls. Here were the settling tanks, the final stop before the water returned to the world. Peace held sway among these last lagoons, and indistinct reservoirs misted into a concrete vanishing point hundreds of yards away. “On a cold morning, you will see the water vaporing off,” Askew said. “And it will rain inside the plant.”
He gave me the look. “When it is really cold, it snows inside the plant.”
At that moment, two square football fields of submerged jets spumed into the shadows and the bronze liquid arced, more sublime and terrifying than the fountains of Trevi or Versailles. Soon these waters would sluice down concrete courses to mix with the mighty Hudson. As for the remaining sludge, it also would depart, but by an altogether different route.
When the froth finally settled back into silence, Steve Askew backtracked through the concrete dungeons until we arrived at a perfectly normal conference room and a nice surprise—someone had ordered pizza!
Despite the skating rink and swimming pool, despite the bleach, the carbon filters, the white hard hats and the spotless lab coats of the technicians, despite the banks of UNIX computers and the sober talk of asymptotes and oxygen demand, despite the boardroom-size wood-veneer table and the well-upholstered ergonomic chairs and the rush of twenty thousand cubic feet of air per second, and despite, to put it bluntly, one of the most extraordinary concealments in all of human history, North River still managed to evoke unappetizing associations. But as I gazed at the cheese and red sauce and blackened crust, I recalled the words of one of the many wastewater professionals I had met that morning. “One of the things about the job—you still have to eat.”
So I sat down to lunch and learned about the glorious future of waste. Now that biochemists could scour the particles on the atomic level, the plant could recover ibuprofen, acetaminophen, endocrine disrupters, DEET, Prozac, and Chanel No. 5. Even caffeine could be extracted from the mix, and I had a hunch the citizens of New York excreted boatloads of stimulant. Perhaps Starbucks would be interested. The technology was there.
“Twenty years from now we will be removing things we have no idea about,” said Askew. “Penicillin, mercury, heroin. Will this be a pharm business? An energy business? An agribusiness?”
He took another bite and delivered the look.
“A bear goes in the woods and it takes two years to decompose. We do it in six hours. In six hours, we imitate all of nature—from the big bang to the big chill. We’re trying to put it back the way that God intended.”

>Coachella 2011: aftermath fifteen, Tame Impala

>Before the festival I put together a list of all the artists and I had the great ambitions of looking into. Of that list, many were missed completely due to the sheer volume of artists playing the festival. Tame Impala for certain would’ve been skipped out completely if my good Australian mate didn’t point them out very casually.

I had a brief minute to see them at the festival between seeing Cee Lo Green and Ms. Lauryn Hill. Their set embodied everything that I got from a brief listen – cohesive, nothing like I’ve ever heard, psychedelic rock.

The parallels of sound between lead singer Kevin Parker and John Lennon are absolutely remarkable. Just ridiculous.

I’m seeing these guys tomorrow. It’s going to be really great to hear a full set of dream-like bliss.

Strong album opener:

>Kate Hudson the new Pamela Des Barres

>I just watched a very charming bit of Kate Hudson’s recent appearance on David Letterman. I realised that she might possibly be the new Pamela Des Barres of our time.

She portrayed her, or a vixen like her in the Cameron Crowe film Almost Famous and now she’s living it up, but with slightly more commitment.

So far she’s got a seven year-old to the Black Crowes frontman Chris Robinson and a baby on the way to Matthew Bellamy of Muse.

I’d love to be at those Sunday night family dinners!

Apparently, HBO is releasing a series based on Des Barres’ memoirs I’m With the Band, starring Zooey Deschanel as Des Barres!!

>Thursday in Exclaim! May 2011

>I very rarely enjoy reading Exclaim! For a nationwide monthly, the content is very brief and thin.

This month however they seemed to featuring all the right people, I felt absolutely satisfied when I reached the final page of the May 2011 Exclaim!

I found the questionnaire with Geoff Rickly to be most entertaining. There’s something really exciting about reading an article or an interview of your favourite artists. It’s especially exciting when you learn something new about them, it’s as if you know them personally. Your being drawn closer. Maybe that’s why I enjoyed looking at the celebrities at Coachella shots, how voyeuristic.

This article shows just how diverse Geoff Rickly is – loving bands from Iron and Wine to Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Rickly’s not your average punk.

Make sure you read the online version, it’s much more extended than the one in print. They’ve definitely even cut out some bits of his words in the print edition so scour out the online version!!

Some exerts that really got me:

What has been your most memorable or inspirational gig and why?

“The Flaming Lips at Coachella…They were so alive, and so fun. They didn’t stress me out at all. They just gave me this really warm lovely feeling. It was kind of life-changing, for me. I’m used to bands that are a little lighter than us being occasionally very boring live. And just to see something that I didn’t expect at all, something so exciting and fun and making the crowd part of it, that was great. That was really inspirational for me.” 

What have been your career highs and lows?

“A low for me would probably be when Efrim [Menuck] from Godspeed You! Black Emperor started a fight with us for no reason. I’ve never met him. I guess he thought we were somehow ripping his band off, which was disappointing for me because I’ve always loved them, so that was pretty low for me. I still love the band! I don’t care that he hates us. It definitely stung at the time. Like, man! You don’t want one of your heroes you’ve never met telling everyone how much of an idiot you are. It was a few years ago on a Thee Silver Mount Zion tour. From stage every night he would say “This shitty emo band called Thursday stole from us and we’re stealing it back,” or something along those lines. I had to look up the song and see what he was talking about. They were the same lyrics, but I totally stole that from like a South American poet! Maybe you stole it from the same person that I did! [Laughs] I sent him an email being like 
”Hey, I think you might be wrong!” But he never wrote back. I still haven’t met him but I saw Godspeed on this last tour, and they were fantastic. As always.”

Who would be your ideal dinner guest, living or dead, and what would you serve them?

“…And dead, I think it would have to be David Foster Wallace, because I always loved his books. I met him very briefly at a signing once and got him to sign my copy ofInfinite Jest. He just seemed really kind, and he didn’t seem like a bore. He didn’t seem like he was just interested in literature at all. He thought TV writing was just as good as Faulkner. I guess I’d probably have to serve him lobster, because he wrote that insane essay about lobster season.”

What song would you like to have played at your funeral?

“That’s dark. I like it. There’s a song by Iron and Wine called the “Trapeze Swinger,” and it doesn’t have a chorus or anything, it just tells this long beautiful story. I just really love that song, and every time I hear it makes me cry a little bit. And I’m a sap like that, so I’d probably want it played up.”

>Godspeed You! Black Emperor at Lee’s Palace; Sunday April 24, 2011

>This concert was the first time I felt myself completely immersed in Godspeed You! Black Emperor. I know they’re legends in the Canadian music scene, but I just hadn’t got around to doing so. There was no motivation.

I’m surrounded by friends that adore this band and I just finally got my first gulp of their music. I’m totally behind.

I can see how Godspeed has served as a key influence of many bands that are making it big today. They have a clear, concise sound that I can tell few in the nineties really had.

The thing I can’t really understand is how Godspeed got as big as they did. People flocked for this show and the band knew it. Thankfully, they had the decency to play four shows all at Lee’s Palace. There’s nothing worse then when you have tickets for a tight, intimate show and the band pulls it to a bigger venue.

Although there were some tickets for sale at the door, this show was ram packed. This was a man’s show, post-rock is a male adored genre. I always get such a kick of shows where women are the minority. You could tell people were delighted to finally hear this band live.

I really loved the film reel bits they had going on while they played. The first few tunes had the word “hope” showing in the screen behind, the rest of the show had various other images, no words to follow. From where I was sitting I could hear the film moving in the projector, a sound I greatly enjoy hearing.

I think it’ll take a bit more than a loyal fan base of enthusiastic concert goers for me to get in this band. Given they had a tremendous live sound, I still don’t think this show alone is enough to hook me into their music. Music-wise, I think I better enjoyed the Mogwai show tonight.

I hope I haven’t lost my cool completely as a music lover/journalist.

>Mogwai at the Phoenix; Tuesday April 26, 2011

>This was my post-rock week. I have to say, in just three days I feel like I’ve had a serious education on the post-rock genre.

I first heard Mogwai about two years ago on the Matador at Fifteen compilation album. I bought this album on a limb at Sonic Boom because it was less than ten bucks for three solid discs. This album holds some tunes that have made their way deep in my mind and heart.

Most notably is the Matmos tune “For The Trees” which is pretty obvious how I took that one and ran with that.

But it also had the first Mogwai tune I got my ears on – “Hunted By A Freak.” Mogwai played this song second last and it was also the second song of their encore. It was one of a small handful of songs I was familiar with, but definitely without a doubt my favourite tune of theirs. There’s something incredibly eerie about it with the build ups and swells throughout. Furthermore the additional non-instrument sounds really add a lot to the tune.

Two other tunes that I really love but didn’t get the chance to hear live are “Rage: Man” and “Take Me Somewhere Nice.”

Surface listening to this band most of their music sounds the same. I absolutely adore how you can really feel the complexity of an instrumental tune when you are very familiar with it. Mogwai makes tunes that sound anthem-like without sounding overly glamourised, almost effortless.

My friend lost his mind when he heard the tune “Mogwai Fear Satan.” A tune with a flute bit in the calm before the heavy build up. This was the final song they played sans flute.

I’d see this band again in a heartbeat. I can’t wait to listen to their catalogue.