Monthly Archives: November 2006

Portland, Oregon



Syd Barrett Memorial

Syd Barrett Memorial, 9th Ave. SE and Tacoma Parkway.


Some Random Cellphone Pictures on a Saturday Afternoon


Kohoutek at West Nile, Brooklyn – 11/10/2006

Shrimp Ducks

Shrimp Ducks

Bishops at Large

Bishops at Large at Tonic, New York – 10/27/2006

Blues Control

Blues Control at Goodbye Blue Monday, 9/19/2006


Close Shave

On the Day After Victory, More Depressing Obituaries

Neither of these are breaking news, but that’s not what matters anyway. I thought I’d write a post to acknowledge two terrible, self-inflicted deaths by two interesting artists – both of which, while gigantic bummers, may be somehow something to learn from.

Jason DiEmilio of the Azusa Plane recently took his life, apparently spurred by recent health problems. Though I wasn’t really familiar with the Azusa Plane while Jason was more active, they were definitely a name both easily recognizable and widely respected. It really sucks that his death is spurring me to finally stop being lazy and check out his music, and I certainly mean no disrespect in that sense. I wish I could’ve gotten it together sooner, but more importantly I wish that Jason — who I think I met once, not really sure — had been able to live free of pain.

A different sort of pain, but nonetheless a very, very real pain, caused Malachi Ritscher to take his own life in Chicago this past weekend. I can’t say I knew Malachi, really, but I used to see him at pretty much every good show I went to in Chicago from 1998 to 2002, and while I was puzzled at first by “that guy with the DAT machine and the mics,” his presence came to be one I enjoyed, and I admired him from a distance. I also admired a number of his recordings from those shows. Reading his self-penned obituary (linked above), it’s clear that he was a brilliant person, and I’m not sure — though I respect his choice — that the world is a better place without him. In fact, I think — despite the Democrats’ win yesterday and today’s resignation of Donald Rumsfeld — that we are definitely worse off without him.

One of the musicians he recorded, Dave Rempis of the Vandermark Five, posted information about a memorial gathering this weekend in Chicago on the chi-improv mailing list:

Elastic will be hosting a memorial gathering for Malachi Ritscher this
Sunday, November 12th, from 5-8 pm. For those of you knew Malachi, and
perhaps those of you who didn’t, please feel free to come and share some
memories, and trade some thoughts on his life and death.

Elastic is at:

2830 N. Milwaukee Ave.
2nd floor

If you have anything that you’d like to bring (photos, etc.) that has some
relevance to Malachi’s life, please do. We’d like to display some of these
items for everyone to share in.

I do hope that Jason and Malachi are at peace, wherever they may be now. Or even if they’re nowhere, that’s fine too. Their final actions in no way obscure what they gave us while they were alive.

Malachi Ritscher

UPDATE: Some really good follow-up pieces on Malachi Ritscher have run in the Milwaukee Sentinal-Journal and in Pitchfork.

BURNED OUT? Not Yet Anyways – Acid Mothers Temple and the Melting Paraiso U.F.O., Have You Seen the Other Side of the Sky? (Ace Fu) CD

So sorry that I haven’t updated in ages, been super-busy and super-procrastinatin’. Lots of stuff in the pipeline, though, that I should have finished soon – most of it intended for publication in the latest issue of Swingset.. Will let you know when they’re ready. In the meantime, there’s this AMT takedown in this week’s Baltimore City Paper:

Messiness, overindulgence, repetition, and amateurishness are often fine ingredients for great music; some of the most memorable albums of the past 50-odd years have been great combinations of all four. Think of Tony Conrad and Faust’s 1972 magnum opus Outside the Dream Syndicate – a fantastic and fascinating tour de force of mind-numbing drone set to a stomping beat so simple that it resembles nothing so much as the human heart. A more contemporary version of such stupid greatness might be Dread by Michigan’s Wolf Eyes, a mix of terror and bad chemicals so traumatically creepy that it sits on a plane higher than most attempts at “dark” music. (That it was made by three fairly normal goofballs doesn’t hurt.)

Yet these four qualities can just as easily collapse on themselves in combination and make for an awesomely bad time…

For some reason, WordPress is acting weird and won’t let me post the rest of the review, which is too bad as the second paragraph is where the takedown occurs. So check out the link, and watch ’em run off the rails.

R.I.P. Larissa Strickland

Laughing Hyenas

Read this morning on the internets that Larissa Strickland (far left), guitarist of the Laughing Hyenas and L-Seven (not the L.A. all-chick band) has died. Such a huge bummer, she was an amazingly awesome and staggeringly good guitarist. Enjoyed seeing the Hyenas multiple times as a teenager, and was lucky to party (not too hardy) with them once, and John Brannon gave me a free t-shirt (that I still have) as a keepsake.

UPDATE: Corey Rusk of Touch and Go has released a statement. Sad reading.