Saturday, November 22, 2014

"Guided By Roses" Skateboard Deck - Guided By Voices x Vision Mark Gonzales

The original board, c. 1997

One of my absolute skateboard decks of all time is the Vision Mark "The Gonz" Gonzales "Gonz and Roses" plank. And one of my absolute favorite bands of all time is Dayton, Ohio's Guided By Voices.

The Krooked repro, c. 2014

One day, while listening to Guided By Voices' album Mag Earwhig, I was hounding eBay for a vintage "Gonz and Roses" board (which easily fetches over $1,000 now). Looking at this board's graphics, insipid inspiration took hold, and the idea to take two things that I love and merge them into one became an impulse I could not ignore.
And that idea begat this: the "Guided By Roses" deck.

"Guided By Roses," c. 2014

It features Bob Pollard à la heavily-inspired Mark Gonzales artwork, beer bottle in one hand, cigarette in the other, with Mr. Pollard's take-no-shit mug. The flowers feature the GBV rune in the middle of them, as does the dot on one of his sneakers.

This board, of course, was designed for fun, not profit. I simply wanted to make a tribute to two artists I admire greatly. So, yeah...

Friday, November 21, 2014

Fiver XII - Troll 2: Leprechaun In The Hood

Whew! It's been a while since I've done one of these most popular and highly clamored-for Fiver music recommendation entries. My apologies to all three of my regular readers.

So, a lot has been happening in my life that has afforded me no free time to dilly-dally on this here middling blog. Four months ago I moved to a new town (Portland, Oregon), got not one but two new jobs (one in the shoe biz, and the other in cleaning up people's hotel rooms - natch!) and have been learning my way around my new adoptive city.

So, you can forgive me for not devoting as much time to writing about and pontificating on the merits of modern music as I have in the past. Upheaval and reorientation really takes a toll on your trivial, self-imposed blogging duties.

Given that, I give you this: a brand new installment of Fiver. And because one of my favorite past times is kvetching while the getting's good, here are some observations I've made about the town I live in and love:

Stephen Steinbrink "Now You See Everything" (mp3)
From the album Arranged Waves
2014, Melodic Records

The one thing I've come to be tickled about Portland is that no one can, for the life of themselves, point you in the direction of a decent rain jacket. For a town synonymous with rain, you can't help but appreciate the irony of people being flummoxed when asked where a great place to purchase a shield from the drizzle is. I see people walking around in some spiffy-looking rain kits, and out of desperation, I've even asked several of these folks where they've purchased their gear. Every time, the bedecked person will squint their eyes, look far off while combing their memories and tell me that they can't recall where they purchased their aesthetically-pleasing rain jacket. It's become a bit of a game for me, this rain jacket query thing. Mark my words, one day I'll find that Portlander who will recall where they bought their rain jacket. Mark 'em!

Alvvays "Archie Marry Me" (mp3)
From the album Alvvays 
2014, Polyvinyl Records

Speaking of games, one of my other favorites is wearing my Joy Division Unknown Pleasures T-shirt out and about and receiving comments like, "Hey: Joy Division!" as if I didn't know what was screen printed on the shirt I was currently wearing. Exactly when did t-shirts become something you had to read out loud to the wearer? While I admit it was kind of nice being lavished with attention for making a clothing purchase that reflects my music predilections, this point-and-comment jazz has become slightly irksome. Now I carry a note pad filled only with hash-outs in it. For every comment, I pull out the note pad, strike a hash, show it to the commenter, and say something like, "And that's number five!" I'm fun.

Eyelids "Forget About Tomorrow" (mp3)
From the album 854 
2014, Jealous Butcher Records

You know what's not fun to do in Portland? Driving a car. Driving in this town isn't horrible, per se. It's simply annoying. This town is, by design, condensed. Come five pm on any given work week, the streets and freeways are packed, bumper-to-bumper, with cars. But even on those days when traffic isn't an issue, some of this city's denizen's driving is. We're talking drifting into other lanes, braking through turns, driving excessively slow, etc. You want to know why so many people in Portland ride bikes? Exercise? Enjoyment? Mobility? Perhaps. Perhaps... But I like to think another main factor is that riding a bike in Portland (even when getting nearly clipped by automobiles and city buses) isn't as much of a pain in the ass to maneuver around people mis-driving their cars is.

Tacocat "Stereogram" (mp3)
From the album NVM
2014, Hardly Art Records

Okay, not to objectify and reduce other human beings down to the sum of their literal parts, but I like big butts and I cannot lie. Nay! Will not lie. But even as an appreciator of perfectly round glutenous maximi, I can't help but reel at the veritable embarrassment of riches Portland offers in the viewing of said buns. Yes, I'm talking about women wearing tights as pants, and it's out of control up here. Leggings, sprayed-on jeans, oil-slick pants: you name it, and Portland's youthfully booty-ful are squeezing into them. Tight leggings are essentially the be-thonged whale tail of The Tweens, and nearly everyone here (and I'm sure in your town, too) is lip-biting and cursing their way into them. But with so many butts on display, overload has eventually set in, and like viewing a rare eclipse of the sun, it's now become best to simply look away.

Grouper "Clearing" (YouTube)
From the album Ruins
2014, Kranky Records

Speaking of butts... Come summertime, the phenomenon of ass cleavage rears it's smooth, taught head! Yes, lower butt cheek-revealing casual wear is the norm among Portland's non-cellulite-having young women when the sun beams down. Barely cloaked in what is essentially denim bikini bottoms, this ass cheek peek-a-boo will at once excite and leave the viewer feeling lecherous. Ghostly white, artificially baked and even tattooed (imagine requesting that service), there are nearly as many women's butt cheek peeks than the entire of Daytona Beach on spring break (hyperbolically speaking). Of course there are worse things than living in a town full to the bottom of barely-revealing Daisy Dukes, and I wouldn't have this shameless little burg any other way. All-in-all, I unequivocally love this town!