Yesterday Jessica and I went to see the musician Liz Phair play an intimate concert in commemoration of the 15th anniversary of the highly underappreciated cult album Exile In Guyville. The crowd was somewhat disappointingly subdued, chiefly because they couldn't really sing along word-for-word as one usually does in such situations because Liz Phair has a very, very, very low voice. (Occasionally you'd hear little yelps from fangirls, desperately singing along in the next octave up like Liz Phair as told to Juliana Hatfield karaoke.) (And yes some of those yelps came from us!) Anyway, we attempted to Liveblog the excitement via Twitter, but the subterranean venue had no cell phone reception. How nineties! So we've attempted to recreate the experience in all its shimmeringly, sensually poignant totality the only way we know how anymore: IM exchange! In short: don't believe the haters! It was fun. Well, in that "despite the fact we are really fucking old" way!
MOE: So let us consider the concert we just attended. For starters, that guy Paul. When I broke up with my last boyfriend I met him through our mutual friend Don, who introduced me to breakup songs other than Divorce Song, such as I Want You by Elvis Costello and Go On Ahead, also by Liz Phair, which is probably underappreciated.
JESS: oh that's one of my favorites from whitechocolatespace egg
and randomly i knew paul through my old job as a music critic, which feels like another lifetime
MOE: But yeah, so…what made you feel oldest last night? The $13 drinks? The fact that half the males in attendance were not graying but actually GRAY? Or lyrics like "You're probably shy and introspective that's not part of my objective I just want your fresh young jimmy cramming slamming ramming in me"
JESS: that was also the time when "fuck and run" really meant something to me
also they were all wearing button downs over their paunches
the graying men that is
MOE: Also we went to a nice restaurant afterwards with Kara Jesella and Marisa Meltzer, who wrote the Sassy book, and they were playing Portishead's second album, to which I knew all the words, and in the car they played both SWV and Tevin Campbell and I knew all the words and in the club after the show they played Bjork's Homogenic and seriously EVERYTHING ABOUT THE NIGHT WAS SO FUCKING NINETIES except, of course, for the prices, which ranged from $16 for my sandwich to upwards of three hundred for whatever cute shoes Kara was probably wearing and, um, oh my god it is so not the nineties anymore, because in the nineties it was our parents who were re-purchasing their record collections on CD and investing in new Dolby sound systems and Don't Stop Thinking About Tomorrow was the Clintons' campaign anthem only ironically all ANYONE was thinking about was yesterday, except us! Because Liz Phair was so amazing and cool and revolutionary and ALTERNATIVE.
JESS: um, see, i always though of it as more or less adolescent instead of 90s per se
but maybe the 90s was about indulging your extended adolescence!
though i feel it will ring true for generations of disaffected teens tk
MOE: Basically what I am saying is that our corner of New York is a pricey nineties theme park, one someone is surely working hard to duplicate in Dubai, and so, when she said she always thought of Exile — she just called it Exile, right? — as a "New York album" I found that distinctly problematic.
Because in New York none of us would have fallen in love with those losers and Liz Phair anyway would be in therapy.
JESS: well that was just pandering, but perhaps in our corner of new york everyone is pandering
to us and our neurosis!
so at this point liz phair is a simulacrum of liz phair
is that what you're getting at?
MOE: Sort of, and like, if I were listening to this album today or here, "Never Said" might be my favorite song. But like, "Shatter" and "Strange Loop" would have seemed off.
Stratford-On-Guy and Johnny Sunshine as opposed, you know, to "Canary"
JESS: But! That's because we're olds now
not because it's the aughts
MOE: But last night, thooooose were the songs I sang loudest
JESS: I mean I think it's an intensely personal album
MOE: And didn't have to think about the words to.
JESS: I still relate to Canary
Because I am a pollyanna!
Who wishes she were more transgressive
MOE: Yeah I don't think I've related to Canary for a little while, but that's because Catholic education makes everyone feel like a disobedient fuckup I guess.
JESS: When I hear Fuck and Run now, it's like watching a sepia-toned film reel
MOE: I'm not going to be ashamed that "I have a lot of work to do" is something that gets said in the morning post sex in my case fairly often. I guess because I'm usually the one to say it. But yeah, I remember listening to that song over and over again in the late stages of my first relationship and thinking, "Wait, that used to be me. I wonder if it still is me!" Hahahaha and almost ten years later why yes it is! Just not every day.
JESS: I sometimes miss it
it was exciting
the fuck and run period
I still relate Stratford-on-Guy
MOE: So Marisa had seen the documentary, which is apparently crap. (A lot of these movies are I guess, though my sister liked the Wilco movie, which I still haven't seen, but there was this hardcore movie out recently and I saw it in LA and it was soooooo goddamn bad, it was like they hadn't even read Our Band Could Be Your Life. Anyway, the important part is here is the trailer and apparently Steve Albini of Urge Overkill was there and he was NOT looking hot.
JESS: OMG I was so sad i missed seeing him
It needs to be said that Liz was looking hot
It also needs to be said that perhaps it's the HWC
sorry. I needed to get that out of my system.
MOE: Ew ew ew. Personally, I think she should lay off the highlights and tight
dresses. And the lipgloss that be poppin. Just me. But whatever, yes, she looked hot. MILFy. Made me want to lay off the Parliaments I guess.
Oh my god, watch the trailer, that guy we met last night is in it! Who became friends with Liz somehow. Which is so cool! I would have talked to him, but I think I was too drunk and also, distracted by the Portishead.
JESS: I think her hair might have been a weave though! I peeped it closely when we came in
MOE: See, I like how she looks about 1:35 into this trailer.
JESS: but we did discover that his girlfriend also has her period super frequently, JUST LIKE US
why is she only talking to dudes about it though
MOE: Wait, Dave Matthews is in it? I thought it was just some guys who looked like Dave Matthews. Oh wait, because the reissue is on his label, like Ben Kweller. I read once that she owned her masters which is why she could do that. Smart! I think she is talking to dudes because it's about Guyville. Obviously their antipathy is a lot more interesting than our adulation. Or maybe it's not. I so wish they'd interviewed Hitchens. Memo to Graydon Carter: command Hitchens to review this movie immediately!
WELL her band was also all dudes
Except for that one bitch who got up to sing FLower
It's not necessarily a judgment, merely an observation.
That was definitely Dave Matthews. His voice is really distinctive
MOE: Actually I don't think Brits really get Liz Phair, which is one of the reasons I listened to it so much in Hong Kong, and also ironic, considering that the Stones are British…I think the Brits understand Liz Phair perhaps less than they understand Cantonese. But anyway, this is a thing: is there a British counterpart? Justine Frischmann was also a heroine (heh) of mine but she was so much genuinely cooler than Liz Phair. Which is why I don't think she's doing very much right now. Though she gave the world M.I.A. (Rad.)
Dave Matthews fucked like half the girls in the Virginia high schools' classes 1992-98. I was not in that half though.
JESS: oh i LOOOOOOOVe justine
what about P.J. Harvey
she's a limey
MOE: But like, Justine was more of a Kim Gordon type right? well no Kim Gordon held it together.
JESS: Also Justine was never as personal. I always felt Elastica's music was more fun than thoughtful necessarily
Kim Gordon is another can of worms
maybe Justine is like Kim Deal
MOE: But Liz was not like that, she did not desire to be a scene elder, she just wanted to tell those guys off and then go live happily ever after I guess. Good for her! But no, I don't really think that, the same way I don't really think it's true that "You can be shallow and deep and read celebrity tabloids and the Zimbabwe election and there's no conflict" the way Kim France would have you believe. There's only so much time, and just because those guys are pricks doesn't mean you necessarily should have wasted yours getting made over by Avril Lavigne, Liz! Although Linda Hirshman would probably approve since you were just trying to get paid.
JESS: Yeah, I thought that was her entire rationale
she has a kid now
she needs to make some cash
actually, i wrote this open letter to liz after her disastrous chicks with attitude tour
wow, even reading things i wrote four years ago is really embarrassing
MOE: Everything about the past is embarrassing. Like, reading this exchange in 10 minutes when I post it: probably gonna be embarrassing.
UPDATE: Yeah guys, I know who Steve Albini is because, as I pointed out, I read that book Our Band Could Be Your Life, I just had a brainfart, thanks for your concerns. The guy Marisa saw was actually named Nash Kato, which is totally the name of someone you'd think was really cool in the nineties.