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10/5/2004

DEGENERATES ABROAD
This will probably be our last broadcast before we head out. Weíll be bringing back a full report from the deserts of the southwest, including Phoenix, Tucson, the Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam, and, of course, fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada. Weíll be back in time for your editorís birthday and the subsequent Halloween festivities so stay tuned!


FILM FLAM
Last week we caught a preview screening of Ray, the Ray Charles biopic starring Jamie Foxx. Foxx does a fantastic job in the lead role. Aside from the amazing likeness and ability to mimic Ray's quirks, he brings a harshness to the role lacking in the former singer's public persona. The film jumps back and forth from Ray's childhood to his rising success in the late 50's and early 60's. My only complaint is the rushed ending. It just seems to wrap up too quickly, as if there were more to tell but the studio thought the picture was already too long at 152 minutes. It didn't feel too long to me - it held my attention to the end. But you can't help but feel a little frustrated when some of the lifelong issues Ray was dealing with are resolved in a short dream sequence and the last 40 years of Ray's life are summarized in a minute long montage.
Odd ending aside, it's an excellent film, definitely worth seeing and will likely end up nominated for a trophy from one award show or another.
Sunday we hit the drive in for the final Mondo Movie of the year. Unfortunately, the projectionist for Starlight passed away recently and they didnít have anyone who knew how to splice together the old trailers they usually show so they had to dive straight into the first feature, Kingdom of the Spiders with William Shatner. The first half hour or more is rather dull, but with the wooden dialogue and setups for each scene youíd swear itís a porn movie. ďYou two should really come check out my motor home!Ē says one guy, giving Shatner a wink and leering at the female lead. Itís far creepier BEFORE the spiders show up.
Unfortunately, this isnít a 50ís b-movie with giant radioactive spiders. You get the mundane sort, though of the fairly large and hairy sort and in large numbers. Skip to the next paragraph if you plan on ever seeing this film, I donít wanna spoil the ending for you. Perhaps the best part is the final scene where the survivors look out the window the next morning. You expect some kind of miracle a la War of the Worlds, only to see the every building in town cocooned for the spidersí future food stores. Itís man against nature, and nature wins!
Next up, The Fog, an old John Carpenter flick with Adrienne Barbeau, Jamie Lee Curtis, Janet Leigh, Hal Holbrook and other then-B-list actors. I had low expectations for a horror movie about fog. How scary could it be? But fortunately the fog is just the cover for leprous zombie pirates. On the down side, they only come to down once every hundred years to kill 6 people, three of whom are killed right off the bat. And you donít even get a wet t-shirt scene with Adrienneís Barboobs. Not to mention the screening of this film apparently killed Janet Leigh, who died the same night:
http://www.cnn.com/2004/SHOWBIZ/Movies/10/04/obit.leigh/index.html
Kingdom of the Spiders offered far more opportunities for heckling, but The Fog is probably the better of the two films. Still, neither should be seen anywhere other than the drive in, or late night TVÖ


EAR PLUGS
We've received a passle of CD's lately. Let's jump right in.
Hot Young Priest sent us their CD EP, Burning Hot and Free. It's only 5 songs, but there's a lot of similarity in all the tunes so 5 is probably enough to get the idea. It's sort of hard, guitar-driven stuff, but with very catchy hooks and clear vocals. Pretty darn good, but I hope they do a full length record with some variations in sound. Definitely catch 'em live if you get the chance, or check 'em out online at www.hotyoungpriest.com
Another group with female lead vocals over guitar-driven rock is Bambix. Their label, Daemon Records, sent us their latest, What's In A Name? It's a lot more metallic than Hot Young Priest, but I was immediately impressed with the clarity of the vocals. Stuff with distorted, wailing guitars is usually matched with incomprehensible, wailing vocals. There's some decent melody in the fuzzy guitar but it didn't hold my attention. I should probably give it another listen and catch them live and review 'em again.
The Dualtone label has been sending me all sorts of nuggets lately. This week we got Close Harmony, A History of Southern Gospel Music, Vol. One 1920-1955. It's the non-secular answer to the Oh! Brother soundtrack. Most of the sound quality here is amazing. The songs are probably familiar to anyone who grew up in the church, but it's almost all new to me. You can hear the influences, both of and for, genres like bluegrass, western swing, and even do-wop. The album gives you a profound feeling of driving down an old country road, gravel rumbling under your freshly-washed Model T, on your way to a Sunday meetin'. I'd like to see if volume 2, when/if it comes out, delves into the soul and R&B era of gospel. That's more the style of music that almost makes me want to convert - sweatin' and stompin' along with Jesus. Volume 1 is more like a spring picnic in your Sunday finest.
Duotone also sent us A Western Jubilee, Songs and Stories of the American West. It just ain't our cup o' tea. It's a compilation of old songs and new, even incorporating some spoken word cowboy poetry in there. It's fine stuff, probably a great gift for anyone that's into the traditional Western sound and old school country. But it don't swing enough for me on the Western front, and there's not enough heartbreak on the old school country front. No, I'm less of a cowbow, more of a honky tonker. Besides, this doesn't really fall into the local music we try to stick to in our coverage. Who needs to roam far and wide for a good song when there's too much to hear by the local campfire?
In other news, we received a notice about a TV program on local music. Musicians and those who love Ďem should check it out:

Hello!
I produce an underground video show in Atlanta, GA called Channel Zero. We
first started up in Montgomery, AL about 15 years ago. After relocating to
Atlanta, the show moved with me. We now broadcast in metro Atlanta every
Saturday night at 11:00 PM on Comcast Channel 24. I was wondering if it
would be possible to get a mention of some sort regarding the program on
the Degenerate Press/Ear Plugs site.
To better explain what we're all about, each week we feature a different
guest artist who acts as VJ for the night. The guest host helps pick the
week's videos. Combine that with rarely seen clips and
educational/propaganda films from the 50's & 60's and you might have an
idea of what you're like.
Previous hosts have been Pretty Girls Make Graves (Matador), The Oranges
Band (Lookout!), Tortoise (Thrill Jockey), Cursive (Saddle Creek),
Decahedron (Lovitt), Evening (Lookout!), Feable Weiner (Doghouse), The
Catheters (Sub Pop), The Supersuckers (Sub Pop/MidFi), Piebald (Side One
Dummy), Azure Ray (Saddle Creek), The Jealous Sound (Better Looking), Lola
Ray (Red Ink), The Soviettes (Adeline), and the list goes on...
Some of our upcoming hosts will be: The Thermals (Sub Pop), Blonde Redhead
(Matador), Hellogoodbye (Drive-Thru), Enginedown (Lookout!/Lovitt), Scatter
the Ashes (Epitaph), and Enon (Touch & Go), among others.
We also give local bands a chance to take over the airwaves from time to
time. Some of our local acts have been Gentle Avenger (airing this
weekend), Catfight (next weekend), The Swear, Sharks & Minnows, The
Woggles, Population, The Close, The Moto-Litas, Nillah, Monte Cassino, E.X.
Vortex and more.
We believe that we have a great program. As you can imagine, we spend a lot
of time trying to get the word out. Oh yeah, we're completely commercial
free. We have no sponsors. Channel Zero is 100% independent, underground
television entertainment.
Thank you for your time and check us out if you get a chance,
"The Other" Jeff Clark
Channel Zero producer
404-315-9045


BLASPHEMY
Last episode generated several responses, but again Iíll only print an opposing opinion rather than the many encouraging emails we received:

Dear Dictator,
"falsehoods, untruths, exaggerations..." departs from your usual humorous and refreshingly perverse perspective. It nearly crosses into the realm of the fanatical and unbalanced.
If you are offended by falsehoods, untruths, exaggerations..., the recent dissemination of lies by the Kerry campaign to Dan Rather should be far more consequential than the wholly inconsequential and intellectually insincere ramblings of a local Degenerate. How can you be aghast by one and apparently unfazed by the other? Do you recognize how fanatically biased this appears? Publishing KH's stuff also smacks of base fear mongering. All of which raises concerns that you are becoming KH's Democrat doubleganger.

Editorís Response:
I donít consider CBSís failure to check their sources and documents to be of much consequence. The facts remain Ė Bush dodged the draft through powerful friends and family (who wouldnít?), Kerry served heroically.
And whoís to say the Kerry camp issued these lies? Any more evidence than the Swift Boat Veterans came from the Bush camp?
So I didnít mention the tit for tat efforts by both parties (or their supporters) to smear each other in favor of pointing out the obvious failures of the current administration and this smacks of fanaticism?
I canít help but point out I didnít get a single email disputing a single one of my accusations against the administration.
Iíll be the first to admit Iím in the Anyone but Bush camp. I said as much months ago. Iíll go one step further. At best, this administration is incompetent. But I donít think theyíre really that innocent. No, I think this administration is corrupt to the core, deceitful on all fronts, a menace to world peace, and I donít mind frothing at the mouth a bit when Iím up against pure fuckiní evil and the cattle that stampede to follow them.
Fortunately, I donít live in a swing state. If I lived in a state that had a chance in hell of giving itís electoral votes to Kerry Iíd have to get off my ass and go door to door, stand on a street corner holding a placard, drive voters to the polls on election day, donate money to the local Democratic party, etc. I say itís fortunate because A) Iím a lazy, lazy man, and B) my occasional rant in the recent ezines would pale by comparison and Iíd probably lose all my Bush supporting subscribers. Yes, all three of them (assuming DAC hasnít changed his mind after the debate last week.)
No, I live in the state that sent Zell to the Republican convention to froth at the mouth.
Fortunately, the administration seems to be falling apart at the seams. Every day thereís new evidence of their mistakes, new evidence of their cover-ups, new evidence of the abuse of their POWís, new evidence of the failure of torture to provide useful information, another insider stepping forward to say the administration is, at best, on the wrong track. Hell, even the hand-picked flunkies who are supposed to be on Bushís side are letting a few Freudian slips out:

The former U.S. civilian administrator in Iraq, L. Paul Bremer, says the United States "paid a big price" for not having enough troops in Iraq after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. Meanwhile, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said he had not seen "strong, hard evidence" linking Saddam and al Qaeda, but he later said he had been misunderstood.
http://www.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/meast/10/05/bremer.rumsfeld/index.html 

So relax, HPL and KH. Maybe, if weíre lucky, we wonít have G.W. to kick around any longer come November.
On the other hand, weíd lose the source for some of the blackest humor in my lifetime.:
http://home.earthlink.net/~houval/gopconstrm.mov 
(Thanks to degenerate AH for the link.)

Degenerate FGR sent us this one:

Being campaign season, I thought you might like some of these.. pretty
funny stuff, some of it anyway.
http://indieish.com/category/features/postcards-from-the-campaign-trail/
Keep it coming.

Speaking of funny, my favorite response to all the anti-Bush rants lately came from the normally verbose degenerate PK:

hippie.

Damn, did that one make me giggle! For you newbies and others who donít know me offline, Iím about as far from a hippie as I can get without getting a flattop and joining the NRA. For starters, I bathe, regularly. More importantly, I donít believe in passive, non-violent protest. Sometimes you have to fight in self defense, and sometimes you gotta storm the Bastille.
Oh, and jam bands SUCK.
 


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