Category Archives: STREET TEAM

Where’s The Street Team?: An Answer Essay Part 1

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Several months ago I sent my ever-so-patient editor Eric an email asking that the upcoming column be featured on the MAGNET site, something that hasn’t been done since 2009, because, you know, this is the sort of exclusive-to-print writing that gets hard copies of the magazine in people’s mitts. Whoever thinks that is a real sweetheart. So anyway, I wanted that particular installment to be linkable and online reference-ready because I had some important shit to say, but big surprise … I switched gears to a disparate topic. Then I forgot the entire footnote in life and went about spewing my print-only shenanigans until a few months later I’m kicking up some yucks on my favorite (and essentially … only) social-media platform, Twitter, and I see a notification linking to the latest Street Team on the site. This scared the shit out of me (like I deserved a heads-up!), because up until then I operated, at least unconsciously, in the print-can’t-go-viral-therefore-can’t-bite-me-in-the-posterior sort of not-so-fast-and-loose mindset.

All this means is that I goofed off and riffed and tried out shit in the eternal practice of testing the waters of funny. It doesn’t mean that procuring back issues of the reconstituted post-2011 MAGNET in hopes of catching me in some hashtag problematic mode will only lead to disappointment for the type of person who might run such a fool’s errand. I used to joke around in this very space about how I could write the kraziest krap you’ve ever allowed near your eyeholes, and no matter how ninnified the ninnies, they’re way too lazy to deal with the technological hurdles in actually transforming the print-only version into something the vultures would deem worthy of circling. Could it be a preventative measure? Wow, can I borrow a GPS? Seems I rocketed up my own ass and got lost. Oh, and to the MAGNET readership, you’re totally worth me dialing up the quality and entertainment factor. I didn’t mean to suggest you’re some beta test site for my inconsistent fucking around. Well, I’ve never wanted that to be the case, for what it’s worth.

So now we’re two or three or four columns deep in new Street Team sentiments on the MAGNET site, and now that I’ve caught up to this reality, I got no beef with trying to whore out my “skills” as a page-view generator and writing something that my tight bros down the hall in Clickbait Application can tackle over half a working lunch … whenever I get out of the venerable intro tarpit to announce that it’s about cats, and by cats I mean The Thinking Man’s Pet. Despite my inability to think of a witty “I’ve Always Wanted To ______________” response subtitle for maximum connectivity (translated: blowing smoke up ass of funnier writer) with the most recent print-only version of Neill Jameson’s always-excellent Low Culture column in the always-excellent and literally down-the-fucking-hall Decibel (applies only to staff, not to a freelancer like me who craps this onto the floor halfway down the country from Philly in Memphis) that really inspired the in-theory theme I’ve at least gotten around to mentioning, Jameson’s column was indeed the original inspiration for it, and I just tacked that whole internet thing onto the affair about five minutes ago. Plus, I can write about cats all day long. Maybe this really will be part one of several. I did it once (about something entirely different).

When Jameson wrote of how two brand-new kittens have managed to improve his all-around mental, professional and personal well-being (as I tread a little close to exporting out of the wrong orifice or reading too much into what was expressed more gracefully), it was not a device for upping dramatic heft (well, implying a habit of otherwise doing so will do the trick, if not these meta-parentheticals, which need to stop). About a month ago, a tiny little guy stumbled into our backyard at midnight, and he has now become the third feline in the house. Though he puts in some long hours as a thorough pain in the ass on several levels—it’s been almost 22 years since I’ve lived any amount of time with a genuine kitten—he can also reverse the most fatalistic fuck-the-world modes (please know that “modes” is not a misspelling of “moods”) with any number of stunts, such as insisting on lap destination while I’m … uh … reading Watership Brown or elevating my Terror Alert Level to a Code Brown or “taking a shit” if you get my drift. Seeing as how my veterinary know-nothing-at-all places him at around three-four months, therefore the appointment to have his carpet-marbles removed is upcoming but soon. This is good because we’ve decided to double that date as a naming ceremony because none of mine are being seriously considered by the rest of the house: “Cosloy,” “Top-cliff,” “Margasak,” “One-Sheet,” “Coley,” “Glen Galaxy,” “HKIC,” “Major Label Feeding Frenzy,” “Bill Drummond,” “The Punisher,” “Spokescritter One: The Prototype,” “Defecatomaton,” “Wet-Work” … tank’s empty.

Lastly, the “cats + the internet” phenomenon is 100 percent deserved, making my support pretty anomalous considering surface assessments might place it a few degrees away from, if not fully within the realm of, the human-lemming-engine culture responsible for things like your town’s locavore tendencies (a.k.a. the “cool and accepted gentrification” that makes quirkily named eateries the latest landscape plague), the craft-brew tedium-fest, entire streets of farmers market/buy-local hoodwinkery, save-dis-n-dat, navel-gazing kraft-korner-and-kickball-league bullshit, vapists and everything about the antiquated or never-was fetish hobbies yanked from history’s asshole that pave one-way streets to entrepreneurial failure. (“It’s analog alarm-clock restoration with a punk-rock twist!” or “Good thing about the slow horse-shoeing market is I can really get to know my massive collection of Tiger Army rarities.”) But cats + the internet? I’ve been on board since day one. Because they’re cats … the last word in pets.

—Andrew Earles

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Where’s The Street Team?: Music Writing Hall Of Fame (Rick Johnson)

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Let’s take a little break from the Vinyl Vigilante whatnot (the longest-running consecutive theme this column has ever tackled) for a quick dip into celebrating one of the greats as it applies to my own endeavor.

Bangs, Meltzer or Tosches were names thrown about as assumed influences when people first took notice, be it positive or negative, of my own music writing over the first five or so years. This makes complete sense, considering that the first “real” issue of my zine, The Cimarron Weekend, featured a spoof of Creem magazine’s Boy Howdy mascot, and a subsequent issue contained not only a piece about 1973’s (first and last) Annual Rock Writers Convention (written by Jim DeRogatis), but also then-unpublished writings by Lester Bangs (provided by the aforementioned Mr. DeRogatis, who had just seen his Bangs book published).

But these three heaviest of heavyweights (in this tiny world of ours) were not the names who sparked my desire to do this crap, nor did they go on to exact a profound influence on me as a music writer or my writing itself. Most of the writers in question (to be honored in future installments of Street Team) would hail from the specific zine subculture that gained steam in the early ’80s, continued to flourish throughout the ’90s, and with the exception of a few titles like Chunklet, Jessica Hopper’s Hit It Or Quit It and the anti-MRR biggie I cannot remember the name of (no, not Punk Planet!!!), fizzled out shortly after Y2K. There was, however, one writer who jumped out of old back issues of Creem to smack the shit out of me and my close colleague or two.

Rick Johnson was Lester Bangs’ planned successor at Creem and wrote for the storied mag from 1975 to 1988, with his profile peaking and slice-and-dice sharpest in the late ’70s and early ’80s. His handle at Creem was “Ranger Rick” or “Reek,” and he lapped Bangs 100 times over when it came to the mastery of humor, irreverence and critical punch. Prior and concurrent to his byline appearing in what was at one time the only music pub worth a shit, Johnson wrote for some regional (mostly Illinois-based) periodicals, plus Fusion magazine. Following his death at 56 in 2006, Johnson’s non-Creem work was compiled in the 2007 book, The Rick Johnson Reader: ‘Tin Cans, Squeems & Thudpies’, which remains available on Amazon for around $15. Then there is a hardback, coffee-table Creem illustrated history that appeared a few years back that gives Reek some real estate. Both are recommended; the former more so. Here are some amazing quotes that completely transcend the boundaries of time and the short shelf life of music/culture, therefore I felt it necessary to withhold the identity of the entity in Johnson’s crosshairs.

“They’re so damn pedestrian I’m surprised they don’t wear WALK/DON’T WALK signs around their necks. Catch ’em live sometime and you too can experience the emotions of a white line on pavement.”

“A rhythm section as heavy as a narcoleptic five-year-old tapping on a tenement banister with a chicken bone.”

“Have lately speeded up their un-partitioned mung heaps in a senseless effort to ‘get with it.’ Forget it, chumps, you were always at least 40 m.p.h. BEHIND IT and that’s why you were great. Since their material is the very epitome of a Grave Disservice, I’d go along with the guy on Flash Gordon who complained to the king of the Clay People, ‘I’m sick and tired of gettin’ pushed around by a bunch of mudpies.’”

“I think Paul Rodgers’ old band Free played the leading role in dead-ending the HM approach, with their slowed-down hay rotters that dribbled along like blood exiting the nose of an O.D.ing downer freak. BadCo seems intent on carrying on that tradition with all the imagination of a slipcover. Their latest LP, Desolation Angels, does show signs of life, but then so does my dead underwear pile.”

That one was obviously about Bad Company, and the following is clearly about Uriah Heep.

“Once a thundering pie plate full of swan-dive bass throbs and back-projected keyboards so cheesy that the Heep were named The Dairy Farmers’ Friend, this group has since been reduced to Ken Hensley’s plaything. I wish somebody’d get him some Colorforms or something before he breaks Rod Stewart’s record for most consecutive indistinguishable LPs.”

And this one isn’t a toughie:
“Is this now, or was it ever, an actual group? Ronnie M. has his hot dog in so many campfires you never know what to expect … I wish Mr. Montrose would either pick the crud out of his teeth or stop blocking the mirror.”

“They make Slade look like Jeopardy champs.”

“Plagued by personnel shake-ups, untimely illnesses and a disturbing trend toward allowing saxophone players near their studio.”

“Makes Black Sabbath sound like nerf heavy metal. Great stuff, comparable to cleaning out a septic tank with a toothbrush.”

“Used up all their material on two fine early LPs and have been dragging Riff River ever since for new bodies.”

On Rush:
“Though originally labeled as the Canadian Led Zep (heaven forbid), Rush cranked out a couple goodies before they turned to mini-series about futuristic Alex Trebek types.”

On Van Halen:
“One of the very few promising new practitioners of slash and burn agriculture … The Netherlands-bred Van Halen brothers somehow managed to avoid the Dutch national character (twerpy-ness) and singer David Roth howls like he left something stuck in a dike as well.”

“Sometimes referred to as the poor man’s Blue Oyster Cult, these limeheads gun their acid tractors faster and louder, but with all the imagination of Naval Jelly. Casper the Friendly Ghost in leatherette.”

“Both their albums sound like they were recorded in a fire hydrant.”

“Their vocals recapitulate the history of minor mouth pain.”

“Some of their earlier stuff briefly filled the Led Zep gap, but their last couple of albums packed all the wallop of a wet tea bag. Excellent background music for looking over wallpaper samples.”

In the next installment of Street Team: Some great rock criticism that actually happened in the last 30 years!

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Where’s The Street Team?: Second Annual Vinyl Reissue Report 2016

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This installment of Street Team wouldn’t have been possible without the non-monetary, unofficial and unsolicited (I don’t care what you think of it) research assistance provided by the almighty Discogs.

Third Man Records To Reissue The Melvins’ Warner Bros. Heyday
One of many evidentiary nuggets supporting the fact that a lot of real underground bands enjoyed artistic upticks if not heydays on the backs of major labels, the two undeniable classics and one who-gives-a-fuck curiosity released by the Melvins during their three-year stint—1993 to 1996—on Atlantic Records (or subsids thereof) will be reissued on vinyl by one of the most important big indie labels in the world right now, Third Man. If you subscribe to ill-conceived Third Man hate based on whatever feelings you should not rightfully nurture about its principle personality, Mr. White, then you are bless-his/her-heart ignorant and should go back to enjoying Gawker-ish invasions of privacy like the publicizing of his backstage rider or information on nobody’s-business misunderstandings he might’ve had with contemporaneous musicians. And get a fucking life. This label does more good for the ongoing cultural conversation and history around vinyl releases and reissues than you ever will. Vinyl reissues of mandatory collection inclusions Houdini and Stoner Witch, as well as the good-but-not-a-good-starting-place inauguration of the band’s ongoing drive to Ween-it-out (I love Ween, and this is more of a figure of cultural speech), known as Stag, should be ready to buy by the time you read this.

Fat Possum Reissues Two Of The Three Essential Full-Lengths By The Grifters
Also available by the time you read this. And also unpacked in the Reviews section of this issue by yours truly.

One Of Now Innumerable Reissue Labels Of Its Ilk, The Sadly Named Drastic Plastic Records Reverses Some Of This Negativity By Reissuing The Modern English Album That Every High School/College Date Rapist In The ’80s Did Not Rock In Their Eddie Bauer Broncos
Hint: Mesh & Lace, the band’s 1981 debut of overlooked post-punk brilliance that music journalism at large has always stupidly written off as a document of the genre that deserved to be overshadowed by the above-described breakout. Wait, they’re also doing After The Show

2,761st Reissue Campaign Of The Smiths’ Discography On Vinyl Is Now Available Via Rhino Records
Look forward to someone making the Bowie and Prince catalogs, plus Pet Sounds, once again available on vinyl for the first time in three seconds.

ATO Reissues My Morning Jacket’s It Still Moves As Nooks-And-Crannies-And-Bonuses-And-Original-Mixes Four-LP Set
This is a crucial historical document for those interested in the minutiae and nuance of how indie rock got Bonnaroovicized and the common ground (“One Big Holiday”) that allowed aging hipsters with great taste in music the momentary ability to wake up next to beautiful people with very bad taste in music.

Light In The Attic Imprint Modern Classics Records Does Another Reissue Of Mercury Rev’s Deserter’s Songs
Check out the very slow discography of this imprint and if you can find one release that was once again made available on vinyl based solely on a leap-of-faith necessity to get a great record back in print rather than a safe investment in a title, great or boring, that was guaranteed to move tons of units, then I’ll come over and poop a gold brick onto your standard poodle. Besides those This Heat reissues, which exemplify the Light In The Attic version of a “hard sell.” Optimism would have this second go-round of Deserter’s Songs as a fundraiser for reissues of Boces and Yerself Is Steam, but optimism really fucks me up sometimes.

Sockeye’s Unruly King And I “Reissued” By The Wonderfully Ballsy My Mind’s Eye Records
Although I certainly recognize many highly recognizable Sockeye songs on this thing, I don’t know what exactly it is a proper reissue of re: the band’s back catalog, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is that this is the “Notes” section for this release on its Discogs page: “Includes insert with liner notes from Food Fortunata and lyrics. A few songs are out of order on the back of the sleeve; also, a few songs listed do not appear on the release, while a few songs that are on the release don’t appear on the sleeve. Similarly, there are lyrics appearing in the insert for songs that don’t appear on the album.” And what also matters is that I can purchase 10 copies of this from the label, then sneak them into the racks at Urban Outfitters. Perhaps I’ll push it as a plant and hang out to verbally recommend classics like “Your Muff Has Tusks,” “Pizza With Ulysses S. Grant On It,” “Steve Albini Fucked Pac Man,” “Freaky Friday Tits,” “Beat Up Poop” and “Boy With Breast Implants” to anyone within shouting distance. Maybe I’ll even wear my homemade “Ask Me About What It Was Like Before The Internet” T-shirt.

Sandra Bell’s Dreams Of Falling Reissued By Straight To Video Records
I originally had this on CD back during the second OG Kiwi-explosion of the early-to-mid-’90s, but by the time I got it, general sub-genre/scene burnout was setting in mentally thanks to that boring Dadamah record and me really wanting to understand that Flies Inside The Sun album but ultimately having no fucking idea what was going on. So I revisited it by way of my brand-new vinyl reissue, and it turns out to be exactly what I think I remember the hype sticker claiming (“lost classic … ” or such). Courtesy of now-tiny-but-hopefully-not-for-long Columbus, Ohio, label Straight To Video that brought you the second Thomas Jefferson Slave Apartments full-length on vinyl for the first time last year. Get this.

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Where’s The Street Team?: 2016’s False-Flag Bursting Of The RSD Bubble

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In January of this year, when I wrote a Street Team column of yore, there existed absolutely no available information of an official nature about what was both a positive and negative attention magnet as well as an internal PR anxiety for the Record Store Day organization. I am referring, of course, to the triple-tiered entity known as “The List,” and any residual activity on behalf of the preceding over-the-jeans handjob that was RSD Black Friday was all but snuff ed out of the collective conversation by the year-end list/ recap circle-jerk of a month-long extended fuck-off vacation gleefully taken by 99 percent of my colleagues in bylines. So with no list, there were yet to be any of the building blocks that make up the collective written and reported blob of misguided journalistic embarrassment that is Record Store Day Dissent. I honestly believed myself to be some prescient culture consultant via passages like …

“It’s obviously far too early for content farms to start spitting out this year’s array of ‘Are major labels ruining Record Store Day because one took a fresh shit on the kitchen floor this morning and they are definitely responsible for that horrible accident on I-40 last week?’ Clickbait page-view generators dressed up as ‘think pieces’ or ‘investigative music journalism.’ So I have a little prediction to make about how RSD 2016 is going to play out in this regard. On whatever date has been allotted for the mass switchover from creating David Bowie-related content to anti-RSD fare (April 14?), there will then arrive a much smaller volume of Record Store Day negativity and criticism, the hilarious RSD responses it generates, all the other crap that constitutes the morass of negative RSD-related baggage, and the attendant words and punctuation arranged to seem like this stuff instead of the line item on the Converse or Ray-Ban or Ford Focus sponsorship deal that it really is.”

While there’s no way to prove it, I harbored more profound and overarching predictions about RSD 2016, like, “There will be far fewer official titles released,” and the directly and indirectly related, “There will be fewer once-perennial labels participating.” Instead of following the aforementioned claim with either of these now-true predictions, I just derailed the rest of the column with more of my self-righteous ranty-rant based on a very real concern for the current and future health of music writing but more immediately rooted in very poor choice of battles therein.

“Anyway, why won’t 2016 simply see another incremental ramp-up of the tepid and misguided journalistic firing of blanks in question? Well, let’s just put it this way: I won’t let it. Not in my house. My same prediction for 2015 (made exactly a year ago) proved wrong, and that’s fine. But I will simply refuse to acknowledge the existence of a music journalism/criticism/ commentary landscape that allows another incremental increase in the sort of thing that really makes me ashamed of being associated with the thing that defines me. Seriously.”

No, seriously, what the fuck gets into my head sometimes? Other than various types of grammatical catastrophes, like the doubling-up of “thing” and how that doubling-up happened in the final sentence of the above-quoted section. Anyway, that’s what I turned in. I’m too terrified to confirm whether the structural pants-pooping made it into the public sphere. Of course, there was a down-tick in “major labels this … ” and “major labels that … ” excuses for “investigative” music journalism and “pointed” op-ed pieces, because everything was dialed down this year … in a very calculated fashion. The handful of above examples might as well have been the new evil buzz-term of “sponsored content.” It would look weird if no dissent at all showed its face, so if it’s going to be there, it might as well exist in this reliable safe-space.

The highest price someone paid for an RSD 2016 title (BTW, I’m referencing only examples and sources based on U.S. RSD rather than worldwide info) via eBay was $236.76 for the James The Greenpeace Palace Concert 1992 LP. I’d say that’s a tad “whelming” compared to the astronomical monetary mountains people have climbed in recent years, impulsively and driven by poor judgment (wait a few days or months, my friend) for an RSD title. But let’s take a look at Discogs, eBay’s first true threat. Well, that title has never sold through Discogs, and there’s currently one available for $62.99. As of this writing, the highest priced leftover RSD 2016 stock on Discogs is a sealed (duh) copy of Light In The Attic’s Heartworn Highways 40th anniversary edition boxed set for $215, and the highest-priced single release is a hefty $213.95 someone thinks they’re going to nab for David Bowie’s The Man Who Sold The World limited-edition picture disc. Having watched Bowie’s corpse get harvested for every cent and word it could possibly be worth since his passing several months ago, it wouldn’t surprise me if this short-con non-artist was able to separate that amount from someone’s wallet.

There were only around 340 (again, ostensibly) official RSD 2016 titles this year compared to the upward of 500 that appeared on 2015’s version of The List. The fat-trimming wasn’t really that at all, naturally, but a combination of absentee labels and boardroom “how can we avoid all of that pressing plant nastiness this time around?” meetings. The bubble has not popped, as I’m sure some have surmised. Next year, RSD will probably return to its confusing, blown-out former self. But please don’t mark my words.

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Where’s The Street Team?: A Crime Against The History Of The Band Moniker

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Before I get into something vinyl-related, I must start off with a few comments about this very magazine. During this column’s first run (1979-2009), or at least during most of it, my year-end theme was often based on taking a shit all over whatever MAGNET had either elected to be its best-of for the year or assorted cover stories and other positive-power pushes that appeared in its pages during the previous 12 months. You know, the whole “What the fuck were they thinking?!?” sort of thing. Usually it was fleshed out into declarations of violence, office vandalism (faux … duh) or threats of resignation (all faux … duh) from the writing staff in some unforgettable manner or another. In Street Team’s long history, this general angle was one of the more predictable. But like all journalistic/promotional/promojournalistic year-end/best-of follies, it was easy and allowed me to experience the laziness that defines the processes of most other music writers regardless of season. A little participatory tip-o-the-hat to my (late) man, George Plimpton, if you will.

Well, just the other day, my comp copy of MAGNET #129 arrived in the mail and necessitated a temporary derailing of Street Team’s running “Best Writing About Vinyl And Its History” phase (it’s a “phase” or “era” now, considering how many of them I’ve written to date) for a quasi-reunion with what was described in the opening paragraph. Accidents are the exclusive causal factor behind the only times I’ve ever heard the music made by Dr. Dog, and the occurrences date to at least seven to eight years back. I don’t remember what album or chapter in the band’s 15-year narrative provided what went into my ears, and I can only recall making an assessment that was some combination of “Flaming Lips lite,” “Irrelevant 6 is still happening?!?” and “This isn’t that bad … pretty catchy,” “You could do worse with the ‘Bonnaroovian-jam-band-gets-indie-rock-makeover’ or ‘Bonnaroovian indie-rock band gets jam-band makeover’ that’s happening everywhere right now” and “Oh no fucking way!!! The sound of any band that chooses to name itself Dr. Fucking Dog is not allowed within 100 yards of my property or person!!!!!”

Let’s say Dr. Dog’s music is equal or superior to a seamless, perfectly executed combination of Boris, Trumans Water, Jesu, the Thinking Fellers Union Local 282, Fly Ashtray, Silkworm, Torche, Bailter Space, the Wedding Present, 40 Watt Sun, the Swirlies, selections throughout the Converge discography, the Dead C, Shellac, Neu!, Palace/Bonnie Prince Billy/Will Oldham, Bill Drummond’s entire career, Coral, Three Mile Pilot, This Heat, Steel Pole Bath Tub, Deaf Wish, John Fahey, Cloud Rat, Guided By Voices, Melvins, the Grifters, Bob Lind, Gods & Queens, Moving Targets, Team Dresch, Kreator’s Terrible Certainty LP, A Minor Forest, Neurosis, Lindsey Buckingham’s and Bob Lind’s respective compositions for Fleetwood Mac, My Bloody Valentine, G.I.S.M., Pallbearer, the Frogs, Slayer, Further, Wildildlife, pg. 99, Electric Wizard, Minutemen, Bolt Thrower, Fugazi, Bongwater, Innumerable Forms, Weekend Nachos, Can, Dinosaur Jr, the Byrds, New Order, Cheater Slicks, Disfear, Charles Brown Superstar, Stereolab’s Transient Random-Noise Bursts With Announcements LP, Scott Walker’s first four albums, Battles, Leatherface, Thin Lizzy, Cherubs, Honor Role, the Cure’s pre-1992 output, World Of Pooh, Graf Orlock, Black Sabbath, Hüsker Dü, Pig Destroyer’s Phantom Limb LP and Natasha EP, Eggs, Lorelei, the Wipers, His Hero Is Gone, Pyramids, Medicine, Jucifer, Ween, Vertical Slit/V-3, Unwound, Uncle Wiggly, Gun Outfit, Treepeople, Sun City Girls, Superconductor, The(e) Speaking Canaries, Sorry, Jessamine, Disma, Versoma, Scrawl, Rites Of Spring, Carcass, Polvo, Miles Davis’ 1971-1975 output, Band Of Susans’ 1991-1995 output, Destruction’s Infernal Overkill and Eternal Devastation LPs, the Groundhogs, the Fucking Champs’ III double-LP, My Dad Is Dead’s 1989-1997 run, Windhand, Major Stars, Joel R.L. Phelps (+Downer Trio) and Jay Reatard.

Now let’s say they have a sense of humor and way with words that bests Spalding Gray, Bobcat Goldthwait, Dick Cavett, Norman Mailer, Neil Hamburger, Richard Pryor, Eddie Murphy, Broad City, Gore Vidal and Brian Koppleman combined.

Lastly, what if Dr. Dog was all of that plus its music somehow exuded the collective heart, wit and genius of Fargo: Season 2, Better Call Saul, The Newsroom, Thomas Berger’s Sneaky People, plus everything ever written by Pete Dexter and Charles Willeford?

A more succinct way to present this hypothetical is to simply ask, “What if Dr. Dog was heavily influenced by the multi-format genre known as ‘great taste’ and managed to parlay it into the creation of its music in a discernible yet highly successful manner?”

If this was indeed the case, and I actually believed it to be true, then I’m afraid that the Best Artistic Statement Of All Time would have to be boycotted in this house because someone chose to name it Dr. Fucking Dog.

Band names/artistic monikers are so, so, so important, people. Anyone who subscribes to bullshittery such as “It’s only a name” or “It’s unfair to judge a band/artist on name alone” needs to call 911 so the EMTs can rush him or her to the ER for an emergency head-from-ass extraction. The quality level of a band name/moniker is a paramount reaction upon many other facets of whatever it is that you’re putting in front of the world. Of course, there are many express routes to utter failure re: band name/moniker choice, and “Dr. Dog” checks four boxes: 1) Traditionally Bad; 2) Aesthetically Repellent; 3) Accurately Implementative Of Bad Musical/Sonic Elements At Work; and 4) Poor Choice In Band Name = Poor Choices In Musical Presentation. Though it might not seem like it, this is one of the more harmless results of assessing a bad band name. At least there’s a perverse originality to it. Don’t get me started on the blink-and-miss-it idiocy, crash-and-burn “cleverness” and dire dearth of originality behind such monikers as “Joanna Gruesome,” “Sauna Youth” and “Zora Jones.” In closing, I should clarify that Dr. Dog’s music is available on the vinyl format.

—Andrew Earles

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Where’s The Street Team?: 2008 Film Edition

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For no reasons other than tardiness and disorganization, I continue to amass problematic entertainment entities from 2008. So, even as we near the beginning of February 2009, my retroactive master list of nuisances continues to grow. This is the first official installment of “Where’s The Street Team?: The Online Version,” my own little inauguration into the practice of ongoing online creativity that isn’t a blog that no one reads (failedpilot.com).

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Where’s The Street Team?: Year-End Edition

street-team-yim-flat2Well, color me surprised! In 2008, I listened to more new music than would normally be expected from a rock writer in his mid-30s (none of us actually seeks out new music on our own accord, as the dynamic changes drastically when new music is forced upon us for the purpose of adding another byline to the portfolio), especially from one who’s been missing that perfect combination of “asshole,” “smartass” and “heart” in the same column for almost six years now. Wow, what the hell was that last sentence? The framed mantra in the think-tank room at Apatow Productions? Yes, I genuinely obsessed over a lot of 2008 releases: Fucked Up, Geisha, Neil Hamburger, the beginning of the Oneida trilogy/triptych, Disfear, Destroyer and Crystal Stilts, to name a few. But the year was predictably marred by albums and movements that genuinely irked me. I suppose it would be a mild head-fuck to populate this column with albums I love, but it wouldn’t pack the soft, short-sighted punch of what’s written below.

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Where’s The Street Team?: 15 Years Of Failure

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MAGNET’s editors came up with the idea of a Where’s The Street Team? directed at one band for each of the 15 years the magazine has been in existence. Fifteen years? Yeah, right. I know full well that MAGNET was founded in 2003 for the express purpose of providing a vehicle for this column. I’m pretty sure the boardroom meeting went something like this: “Well, we need to surround Street Team with music coverage, features, reviews and such, just to give the reader a breather.” I’m a good sport, of course, so I went along with this whole “15th Anniversary Issue” applesauce.

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Where’s The Street Team?: The Blank Generation

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I’m so tired of hearing musicians whine about how long they’ve struggled, how long they’ve spent “in the van,” how long they’ve been on an independent label. Get yourself some famous parents and shut up. Nepotism is the key to getting to the top—or, at least, to somewhere between the middle and the bottom with the possibility of four seconds at a higher level. Being the progeny of a successful musician is a coupon for a one-album, one-option contract with a marginal record label. Not only does nepotism allow the artist to skip the “struggle” part of the process, another unnecessary requirement is “talent.”

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Where’s The Street Team?: The Worst Of The Best Of 2007

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I tried to talk my editors into allowing this year-end issue to be one big installment of Where’s The Street Team?: no advertisements, just 128 pages of my razor-sharp wit, slicing and dicing 2007’s crimes against good taste. Lord knows I would have no dearth of material. Did the entire world wake up on New Year’s Day 2007 with its collective head up its ass? Forget global warming; I’d like to battle a little problem called creative bankruptcy.

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