"Every life is in many days, day after day. We walk through ourselves, meeting robbers, ghosts, giants, old men, young men, wives, widows, brothers-in-love. But always meeting ourselves." — Stephen Daedalus
Jim Phillips was a musician from Albuquerque. He directed the creative activities of a band called Lousy Robot. When he died unexpectedly last spring, Phillips left behind a body of work notable for defining a fragile, yet brightly expressed nexus of what it means to be human.
Invoking the wide and melodically winsome swath carved out by power-pop adherents like the Easybeats, Big Star, the Cars and Elvis Costello, singer/guitarist Phillips and his ensemble (Ben Wood, keyboards; Joey Gonzales, drums and Dandee Fleming on bass) added intensity and a profound sense of dark realism to their rocanrol stew.
The result included unforgettably haunting recordings like 2011's Hail The Conquering Fool.
This week, Lousy Robot bassist Fleming reached out to Weekly Alibi to tell about a new collection of recordings by Lousy Robot, available at Bandcamp.
Fleming wrote, "Before his death Jim and the band had been working on collecting outtakes and rarities from previous recording sessions in hopes of putting out a collection of weirdness titled Oddities, Obscurities & Obscenities. The work started with a cover of “Dead Flowers” and an iPhone remix of “Peacocks." During this time, I continued to work on remixes on several other songs. After Jim’s death, I found two songs that the group had demoed but never completed. I edited and restructured those songs and sent them to friend and long-time producer John Dufliho to complete.
The result is a work of complex beauty; the circumstances—rendered as music, hopeful and dire—that make up human life.
It’s alive! These famous lines of Dr. Frankenstein remind me of zombie movies and sci-fi horrors. But apparently the idea of creating life from death may be jumping from the pages of sci-fi novels into actual science.
According to the New York Times four years ago at the University of Massachusetts Medical School scientists created a molecule that could replicate and evolve by its self. It was nicknamed “The Immortal Molecule.”
This molecule may be only the beginning. Biologist and chemist in a lab in San Diego are trying to create life. They are attempting to bridge the gap between inanimate and animate using modern genetics. Perhaps Mary Shelly was on the right track, but only about two centuries too early. Read more about this here.
Until recently, I was strictly a newspaper guy. Dead trees slathered in ink.
Now I find myself thrust into the world of web-based journalism. It started with the Alibi offering me a slot on its blog. (This post, by the way, will be the very first I put on the website, and you’re reading it.)
I have spent much of the last six years scoffing at bloggers. An editor once told me that a reporter without an editor is a blogger. He was fired for watching internet porn, so I guess everything is on the internet.
At my college paper, the other editors had Facebook and MySpace pages. I laughed at them, and proclaimed that I would never sink so low. (I have a Facebook page now.)
So I’m a hypocrite perhaps. But I’ve always been resistant to technology. I just can’t follow every new thing over the cliff like an E-Lemming. Call me stubborn. Thinking I needed one to be a serious writer, I bought a typewriter when I was 19. Soon I had a collection of IBM Selectrics cluttering my apartment. Slowly, however, they have been left behind during subsequent moves or I have suckered someone into taking one. (“Oh you’ll love it,” I lie. “Much easier than a computer. The IBM Selectric Mark Two, the big mother. Trust me.)
The worst thing about my typewriter phase is the large amount of bad, typed poetry circulating out there. It turns out that I’m not Charles Bukowski.
Web-based everything. It’s not just the wave of the future. It’s here. And I’m catching up. I’m also taking a crack at the coveted “Full Time Freelance Journalist.” It’s not easy to do, but I’m determined. This will also require a significant web presence.
A colleague who has already jumped into the abyss told me last week over cappuccinos that I’ll need a website, blog, Twitter account, etc. It’s all about shameless self-promotion, I guess. I can do that. No problem.
I’m working on the website, though it appears to have been put together by a team of monkeys. The blog account is up. I’m holding off on the Twitter account. I just can’t do it.
Right now, I feel like one of those apes in 2001: A Space Odyssey dancing around the monolith. But I have arrived late, and all the other apes have iPhones.