It's been almost nine years since The New York Times misguidedly printed Megan Jasper's "Lexicon of Grunge," a hoax the Seattleite cooked up to mess with clueless media types (the Gnome's favorite entry? "Swingin' on the flippity flop," which in Jasper-speak meant "hangin' out"). The Times has learned its way around the Northwest since then, as evidenced by last week's "Worthwhile Albums Most People Missed" list, which included two of the best low-on-the-radar records to come from these parts in 2000. Writer Jon Pareles cited Death Cab for Cutie's We Have the Facts and We're Voting Yes, while Neil Strauss selected Mass Romantic, by Vancouver band the New Pornographers (featuring Neko Case). Of course, you already knew about these records because they were in the Weekly's year-end lists two weeks ago. Good job, soldiers!
Man, Neko's everywhere in the news this week. The Chicago-via-Seattle crooner's on yet another cross-continent dash with her Boyfriends, slated to reappear in town January 15 to open for the Jayhawks at the Showbox. Bassist Bill Herzog tells a Gnome Gnotifier that Case and Company will stop in Tucson for a spell to record with the fine, fine folks from Calexico.
Two Neko songs appear on the soundtrack to The Gift, out soon on Seattle's Will Records (which means that Neko probably won't get paid, at least not for several months). The Sam Raimi film stars Cate Blanchett, Hilary Swank, Greg Kinnear, Katie Holmes, the great Keanu, and that Scientologist freak Giovanni Ribisi. Joining Case on the soundtrack are the Souvenirs, whose songs reportedly play at key moments in the film.
Since the Gnome's doing some Hollywood-style name-dropping, it's apropos to mention that Tiffany Anders, daughter of filmmaker Allison Anders, has recorded a full-length follow-up to her 1998 EP. Another former Seattle resident, Tiffany took off for New York, and it's looking like a smart move. Her Funny Cry Happy Gift, out March 20 on Up, is the first record to be produced by PJ Harvey. Anders' backing band on the disc consists of Harvey and J Mascis (on drums). Sounds like Ms. Anders will be having a happy new year.
One last note: Lately, the Gnome's been hearing a lot of German-bashing. Now, the Krauts have been on their best behavior since 1945, and they're not all fastidious and glum. Your cultured correspondent received an e-mail from a German couple who just moved to Seattle, concurring with a recent column's assertion that Silkworm is an underappreciated local treasure. They wrote, "In Germany we were happy about one good concert a month; we would have kissed the ground such a band would have walked on." See, they can show emotion! The Germans also asked, "Are Seattleites too spoiled?" You betcha!
You can reach the Metro Gnome at firstname.lastname@example.org.