Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Busan Blues

This past weekend I went to Busan, the second largest city in Korea in search of fun and adventure. I was fortunate enough to be accompanied by Rachel and my swell new friends, Jason & Oakley.

We took the bullet train from downtown Seoul to Busan. We caught the equivalent of the red eye as we departed from Seoul on one of the last trains. Departure 9:40, arrival 12:30. Spirits and expectations were high. We had heard that the train was equipped with a snack cart that sells beer, but an hour and a half into the trip, there was no such thing in site. The anxiety of catching a glimpse of the snack lady started to give way to disappointment as it appeared the mythical cart would never appear. Finally, the cart appeared sparkling with beer. The weekend was off to a good start. Fearing that the cart would continue to be as elusive as it had for the first stretch of the trip, I quickly ordered three beers. After a quick glimpse of what appeared to be a mixture of surprise and disapproval, the pro handed me my beers. I drank those and then had two more.

Looking real self satisfied after my 5th beer

Posin' in the photo zone

This is Oakley. He rules. He also has an inexplicably strong dislike for having his photo taken. He probably hates that this is on the internet for all to admire, but fuck it. He'll get over it.

Jason and I engaged in my signature move: Back 2 Back shredding. I can't recollect exactly what song this shredding was accompanied by, but I do remember that Night Train and Dancing in the Streets were in the mix. The rokes joint was a pretty shady little affair. The jams were only 10 bones for the hour, but you had to order a big ol' plate of food and some of their shitty expensive drinks. Not to one to be had, I managed to sneak a bottle of Johnny Walker Black in the old trousers.

After the rokes we took in Busan's natural beauty at the beach. There is absolutely no fucking smoking there. You can however, drink as much as you like, which is exactly what we did.

I buy American.

This was the juncture in the evening where I became hell bent on taking a picture of myself totally horizontal in the air. I'm not really too sure what all went down here, but it looks like I blew it.

I think this was about as close as we got to capturing my ambitions. While I don't think I managed to accomplish my goal during this shot, I do fairly accurately recall damn near getting the wind knocked out of me. Bummer.

It was a pretty excellent evening.

The next day I think we all felt a little of kilter. These feelings of intense mediocrity were combated with an assault of abalone porridge and coin operated bumper cars.

Going dumb on an intergalactic spacecraft. No big deal.

The Three Amigos.

Rachel calls this our band shot, although I remember it more as the self timer shot that I farted during. Jason thought it was pretty funny.

We met up with some folks that Oakley had met via Last Fm. They all turned out to be very hospitable folks with excellent taste in music and culture. The young lady on the far right of the photo is an assistant director who was scouting locations for a film to be shot in Busan this December. She was a real nice gal.

This is Dan. There was some major name redundancy happening at this party. Two Daniels, Two Jason's, Two Rachels, & and a man that went by the name of Oak to compliment our Oakley.

This is Rachel with the other Rachel. They were both wasted at this point, no question. The other Rachel gave us a nice little chap book she had made along with some of her friends in Busan. It's called The Hotdog Catalog. If you'd like to contribute email her at: wilma.henn@gmail.com

Jason- A fine Knoxvillian and friend.

This is the other Jason. Apparently he lived in Portland for a pretty long stretch just before he left for Korea. He was a man of polite manners and discerning taste. We talked a great deal about westerns, portland, and rock & roll. Trifecta.

This is Oak and David. Oak is a big fan of online networking and music. David is a big fan of getting wasted and dancing like Mary Poppins all over the god damn place.

This is Kong. I thought he was handsome.

The man front and center is Matt Jones. He used to work at Ecstatic Peace and was in a band called Baby Jesus Burnout. One of the former drummers for Sebadoh was in it. You can listen to them at MySpace if you are so inclined. I liked Mr. Jones. He was a very affable man with good conversational skills. We're still in touch.

Oh here's a good Matt Jones story. About 5 minutes into meeting Oak and Matt a discussion arose regarding Matt's likeness to various celebrities. It was debated as to whether he resembled Phillip Seymour Hoffman or Brad Pitt. I don't really see either one too intensely, but go figure.

I bought 6 shitty roman candles for 5 bucks. It was too much damn trouble to light the things with all the wind and such, so I more or less lost interest after two of them. After I had grown tired of the candles, I took a little dip the Pacific and strangely found myself taking loads of pictures with similarly minded Koreans. Those pics are currently MIA, but hopefully, i'll wrangle some of those up in the near future.

Busan was fun.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A Case of the Nostalgies

For some reason this commercial really reminds me of my childhood. A latch key childhood filled with too much tv and even more Nintendo. I don't think that catch phrase, "How many licks does it take to get to the middle..." will ever escape my consciousness

I don't know that this song really makes me feel all that nostalgic, but it does make me feel better. Always. I'm pretty sure it's my favorite Tommy James song.

In other news: I recently received my plane tickets back to the good 'ol US of A. I'll be touching down in San Francisco at 6:30 pm on November 27th. I'll probably be spending the better part of December in the Bay Area before I make my way up to Portland, but that could change pending any major employment or shelter options.

Friday, October 9, 2009

San Francisco Press Hounds

Hopefully, this will be the first in a series of post calling attention to some of the excellent bands that are currently hailing from San Francisco and gobbling up beaucoup press. Why San Francisco? Allow me to explain. First, in my humble opinion, it's home to some of the most rippin' Garage, lo-fi, psych outfits of the moment. Second, to honor one of my favorite cities in the world and the future landing site of my US return, unofficially slated for the 27th of November (More on that as the story develops).

Enough already, The Mantles. These guys have been hovering below the radar for the last couple of years releasing just a couple of 7''s, the first on Dulc-I-Tone Records, most notable for containing the hit track "Burden." The second single with the A Side) Trust and the B Side) Secret Heart was released through the art collective/record label Mt. St. Mtn., the very same people responsible for earlier releases from The Oh Sees & Sic Alps. Their first full length was put out a couple of weeks ago by the good folks at Siltbreeze, who seem to do no wrong these days. Check out the opening track from the album here:

The stand-outs for me are Disappearing Act, Don't Lie, & Burden. Their tunes definitely reside in the realm of moody garage pop. On their best tracks they seamlessly merge elements of Pink Frost era The Chills style pop with lo fi surf licks. Add a dash of garage rock revival into the mix and you've got some idea of what The Mantles sound like... to me at least. This is one of the best long plays I've heard in a while and I highly suggest anyone with the means to go out and pick it up at their local record shop. Portland area shoppers would be advised to check out Exiled or Mississippi Records.

Stay Tuned.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


I like this song and I hope you do, too.

Never you mind those silly Europeans in the crowd. I know the live version leaves you wanting, but if you're so inclined, get their record and listen to this jam (It has some really great, simple production, but more importantly, some super echo effects), i think you'll find it...awesome.

Detroit may not make cars worth a shit anymore, but they sure do make good Rock & Roll.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Small World

Man, I just got back from hongdae and i've got some good stories... Especially if you're JW or MMcG... Uggh Wasted.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Here are a couple of soul tunes that are really doing it for me lately. Hope you dig.

It's a soul group from New Orleans called the Skull Snaps. First up. What the fuck? What is a skull snap and what is the name supposed to imply or mean? I don't know, mang. The song bangs. The album cover rules, the name rules, and the songs rule. The PR however, makes not one bit of sense.

Next up we have an Oakland legend by the name of Darondo. The man was born in Berkeley and resided in the the great Bay for the majority of his life. He was never a big hit, never managing more than some modest noteriety and playing residencies at several hip bay area clubs. His music career more or less bottomed out in the early 70's and he turned to the pimping as a way of life. Not much of him was heard until recently when a compilation was issued with one of his songs... not my favorite tune, but one that caught the attention of many collectors and afficionados. Anyway, I love this song for it's hard funk back beat and it's poignant, politically conscious lyrics, particularly for a man who would later make a profit on selling women. I first heard his songs in the basements Carib & Alex at the urging of my good friend Sean A. Smith. How I miss the days of listening to old records in musty basements.


The dude, had something to him, a real smooth cat . Dig the rings. How could I not love him?

I love Darondo's commentary on the space race.

Sunday, September 27, 2009


This past weekend R-dog and I went to the Korean National Museum of Contemporary Art. It was pretty bitchin'. The place is way out in the cut. It's located at a subway stop called Seoul Grand Park, which from what I could gather is sort of bastard child between Washington Park (The place has hiking trails, a rose garden AND a zoo) and A second rate amusement park, plus... well the MOCA.

This is the artist statement for the permanent exhibit in the foyer. It's pretty colossal. If you can't read the statement it mentions that the exhibit is comprised of two different exhibitions (I think that is the right term, I'm not to hip to art terminology). One of them is basically a retrospective of this guys work dating back to the early 80's and consists of around 60,000 3x3'' tiles and other assorted objects that line the spiral walkway that goes up a good 4 floors, easy.

There was no flash photography permitted at the light situation was pretty low. The pictures suffer a little.

I believe this piece was entitled, "The More The Better." Duh.

The piece was composed of just over 1,000 televisions of various sizes. Most the televisions were blaring their own independent images, but several of them were synchronized to display massive images with like a 10x10 tv spread.

There is a Werner Herzog quote that goes somewhere along the lines of, "Our children will hate us for not throwing grenades into TV stations..." And another that explains that the greatest problem facing mankind is a lack of new, compelling images. I can't decide if i think he would love this or hate it. I'm veering towards the latter.

Elton John's wet dream.

This is what Transformers look like in Korea.

This is a photo of Seoul Land. Walt Disney must be turning in his fucking grave.


Later in the evening we retired to Kagnam for some Korean BBQ, frozen yogurt, and a session of those sticky pictures all the FOBS from high school used to plaster all over their lockers and key chains... I don't know, maybe that was just my high school.

I've got less than two months left. Stay tuned.