Travis’ Two Cents (In Five Parts)

Written by

Hi, I’m Travis Holcombe. I DJ at KCRW on Tuesday nights from midnight-3AM (which is technically Wednesday morning).

This is my weekly column where I shoot my mindspray all over unwitting KCRW Music Blog readers. I use this as a forum to muse and ramble about music and whatever else pops into my head. I’m bound to say stupid stuff on here, so please don’t hold it against me…

Let’s Go!

1) Did I wake up in an alternate universe last week? Lil Wayne collaborated with Joe Jonas of the Jonas Brothers on a new track that Joe described as “dope”.

Nu-metal idols Korn announced a December release date for their new dubstep album featuring heavy hitters on production like LA’s Skrillex and 12th Planet. And Susan Boyle covered a Depeche Mode classic. Before you exclaim that I’m spreading “blasphemous rumours” or comment that it’s “very unnecessary”, Rolling Stone has the Boyle track up for your streaming pleasure.  While it’s not something I would listen to in my free time, it’s not altogether terrible, either. Jussayin’.

2) Did you know that jazz great Charles Mingus also developed a system for getting his cats to use a human toilet? It is absolutely, positively 100% true!  I don’t know if it works, but there certainly is a cat sitting on a toilet bowl on the cover of the pamphlet.

3) MGMT curates the latest installment of the Late Night Tales series which is set for public consumption on Tuesday. To promote the release, MGMT appeared on Jimmy Fallon’s show dressed as Gorton’s fishermen alongside Bradford Cox of Deerhunter (seen in this video dressed incognito as Joey Ramone…or is it Ric Ocasek?) and performed an amazing cover of Pink Floyd’s “Lucifer Sam”.

4) BOLD PRONOUNCEMENT: Tom Waits (who has a new album, Bad As Me, set for release on October 24) is the only Western artist in the last 50 years in the mediums of music or film whose work has gotten stronger with age, or at least hasn’t seen a marked decline in quality.

Tom Waits – Bad As Me by antirecords

I’ve had this theory rattling around in my head for years and have talked this over with several people, including KCRW DJ Anne Litt, and no one can come up with another artist who disproves my theory.

Stanley Kubrick is close, but you can’t say Eyes Wide Shut was anywhere near 2001 or Dr. Strangelove. Steven Soderbergh is arguably on the Waits plateau, though one could argue that his latest films, while interesting, aren’t as important as Traffic or Schizopolis (most people won’t agree with my inclusion of Schizopolis, but it happens to be my favorite movie ever).

A quick addendum if you’re playing at home: (1) The Jimi Hendrix clause: You can’t name someone who died prematurely (2) The Captain Beefheart clause: Artists who quit their field of greatness before they were really done don’t count. (3) The LCD Soundsystem clause: The artist you come up with must have at least 18 years or 10 complete works to be considered (4) The Johnny Cash clause: It’s not enough just to finish strong; there must be a sustained level of consistency through the arc of the career. (5) Actors and music producers don’t count — their works are too contingent upon the strength of the raw materials they’re provided with…this clause isn’t set in stone — maybe I could be swayed on this one.

Discuss in the comments section…I’m curious to see what you come up with…

5) I had to post this brilliant pre-MTV music video by the Fleshtones. The director, M. Henry Jones, and his crew painstakingly cut, painted, tinted and rephotographed each frame used in this video. The song was originally released in 1977, but the video didn’t make its first appearance until 1979 because the whole process took over two years to complete! If you’re prone to epileptic seizures, you may want to skip this one:[youtube][/youtube]

Travis Holcombe