Adam Schwarz

Yeah I know, I'm getting pretty sick of these Bribery Reviews too
*special introductory paragraph!
*Rap EP
*Under The Covers

Here's another Bribery Review. It's amazing how many Bribery Reviews a fellow can backlog when he goes out of town for a week and his computer gets stolen. There's one or two more coming after this one too! But eventually I'll get back to reviewing bands you've heard of. Never fret! I just bought 19 Lou Reed albums!!!! So keep your foreskin peeled for those - coming this way soon! If I ever get a new computer! But what's a bribery review? You send me your homemade music and $4 and I send you a Mark Prindle CD and review your music on my dipshit web site that nobody ever reads anyway. This latest entry is one of those "experimental" artists named Adam Schwarz. He sent me FOUR CDS!!!!! And I listened to each of them TWICE!!!!! That means I essentially listened to THIRTY-TWO CDS BY HIM!!!!!

Restless - Homemade 2000.
Rating = 6

Adam is a really talented sound looper and structuralist. The impressive tunes on here (and there are several) are made up of what appear to be looped samples of homemade guitar recordings -- like he's taken the best bits of his own playing and looped them over and over on top of each other. I suppose they MAY have been pulled from records, but it doesn't sound that way. And he's got the funkyass beats going so you can shake your groove pipe. Between, before and after these excellent, mesmerizing ditties, you will find lots (too much, SOME might say!) of piercing high-pitched electronic tones, static and distortion (it's neat at first, but there's really too much of it on here, considering it's only a 25-minute CD) and like three or four actual "songs" that don't hold a candle to the "soundscapes" I described, oh, not very long at all! Adam sounds like a really young guy (16 years old maybe?) whose bitter little voice isn't mean enough for punk or melodic enough for folk/pop/rock. But hooee! Stuff like the first four tracks, "Noise Revisited Part I" and "Water 2" - that's some good stuff! Reminds me a little of Meat Beat Manifesto, but only because I'm so illiterate in the ways of "electronica" that they of course would be the only artist I would think of to mention.

My fiancee is out of town and I'm taking care of a friend's dog. Interesting thing about dogs: they're territorial. These dogs have been best buddies for months, but man you bring Sophie into Henry's home and he gets weird. They got in a dragout FIGHT over a piece of rawhide last night in my living room (first fight Henry's ever been in - and he's eleven months old!), then Henry went and peed in the corner, which worried and upset me terribly since he's been housebroken for six months now. Luckily, a friend with a clear head reminded me that peeing is, in fact, how dogs MARK THEIR TERRITORY. That explanation should have been obvious, but I was still so upset about the fight, it didn't occur to me. Not that dog fights are anything rare or special -- there are several dog fights every day in the dog run. It's just that my little Henry (well -- okay, BIG Henry at 60+ pounds and really long legs) had never been in one before. So I got upset. But I finally wrote my wedding vows! They're kind of corny. There's a reason I write so much and never get published.

There's also a reason that I'm constantly checking out all the search engines and music boards, occasionally even under fake names like the blatantly obvious "Miss Take," to try to get a sense of what people are saying about me (if anything). And it's not because I have a high self-opinion. It's just that I'm a baby who needs constant reassurance that I'm not completely worthless. I'm an idiot at work and probably should have been laid off with everybody else (2/3rds gone, but not me), I don't know anything about anything except rock music and I have an incredibly overwhelming fear of failure that makes it really hard to start a new "artistic" project. I do it though. And luckily a few people like it. I like a lot of it. The music, the reviews. I think a lot of the reviews are fun to read and a lot of the music does things that nobody has ever done (new melodies and crap, I mean - I'm no genius). So why the hell is it so important to me to feel like others like it too? You can't please everybody. And you shouldn't try to. Honestly, this was never an issue before I found out that a lot of people actually like my site. In the olden days, I mostly used the web for porn and used cds, so I guess I was living in a vacuum. But when I did a web search one day for my name and discovered that a whole lot of people knew about my site, suddenly I developed an incredible feeling of performance anxiety. Which is part of the reason that I stopped doing reviews for two years. I meant to only take a short break, but then I was afraid to start again. I was scared that I wouldn't live up to some crazy expectation that I felt had been built up for me. And please understand -- I'm not under some crazy misconception that I am a huge celebrity and anybody outside of a circle of about ten people really gives a shit about me or even knows that I exist. But that's what makes it even more aggravating -- I don't want to let those ten people down. If Rich Bunnell or Mike DeFabio suddenly didn't like my site anymore, how the hell would I deal with that? People like that are my support system. I certainly don't have many friends, so my web "fans" and buddies I've made through my site are kind of the only promoters of my "worthiness." I mean, there's this great girl I'm marrying but even there I feel inadequate. I really don't think I'm that interesting or attractive a human being. I'm going to go to the dog run now and read Let It Blurt. It was a Christmas gift from my brother. Professional music critics are mostly arrogant, intolerable pieces of human shit, but I'll give Lester the benefit of the doubt until I read more about him.

Did I ever tell you that my earliest memory is of my mother dropping me off at a daycare center when I was like 3 years old, and me crying and crying and crying all day long? Even during "naptime," I just lay in my crib crying and watching out the window in the door, hoping that I would see my mother coming to rescue me from all these unfamiliar people. I remember it like it was yesterday - the way the teacher lady made a kid get off the swing so I could swing, because I was crying so much. So I sat on the swing and cried some more. Very vivid memory. And very accurate indication of what a needy, underdeveloped psyche I possess.

What is your psyche like? Are you needy? Self-loving and/or loathing? Happy? Aggressive? Insane? I told you - now YOU TELL ME!!!!

Reader Comments (Mike DeFabio)
Would you like to know why my new album is taking so long to make? Because I want everybody to like it. I don't want to make some sellout pop album or anything, but I want to make something really good that people will want to listen to. That's why I've been trying to make actual songs, and when I try to make actual songs, they sound like the Chemical Brothers. Nobody needs another Chemical Brother. So then I try to make music that doesn't sound like anything else, and then I wind up with repetitive abrasive noises for 5 minutes. I'm afraid to try to write melodies and chord progressions because I might be unknowingly ripping something off. The songs I've made so far might be brilliant, or they might be unbelievably stupid. One's just a Full Metal Jacket sample repeated over and over with a beat under it. One's just an ugly drum machine beat in 5/4 with droney noises and somebody talking about Spuds McKenzie. One's just a bunch of tracks of me making stupid mouth noises through a big plastic tube. One's just a flanged violin with a Funkadelic sample under it. One's a bunch of old funk samples. I don't know. Blah. I'm a one-trick poodle.
This album is the musical interpretation a log floating down a river.

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Rap EP - Homemade 2001.
Rating = ?

For some reason Adam scrawled "Rap EP" onto the disc with a ballpoint pen. It bled through and ruined the entire second half of the CD. The first half didn't necessarily appeal to me anyway so perchance it's just as can be. The Adman has a perfectly enjoyable rappingly slang urban white homeboy effex to the max voice and delivery, but the beats and noises are disappointingly ineffectual (aside from "Election," which is a neato tune!) and the lyrics, to be understand, would require some sort of effort on my part so fuck that. But it's not nonstop rap. Some of the parts are sung too, as if he were a young Fatboy Slim. Or a slim Youngboy Fat. Or a fat Slimboy Young.

No wait. I'm not done yet. These are getting funnier each time I make up a new one. Wait til you hear the next one - you'll laugh your dick off.

What do you mean, "What about the women in the audience?" Obviously they've already heard the next one.

Some day you'll appreciate these moments of levity that I offer.

Reader Comments
Fatboy Slim sucks. I don't think anything I do resembles him at all.

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M5056SR3260 - Homemade 2001.
Rating = 3

This 74-minute CD is so brutally unpleasant on the ears, it's as if Adam is DARING you to sit through the entire thing. High-pitched tone signals, stuck synth beats, endless nothings of electronic noise and an inexcusable amount of Chipmunk-style speed-manipulated voices certainly pass for "experimental," but I'm not sure whether anybody besides Adam himself would ever want to listen to this particular experiment. A few of the "songs" feature some neat punkish fuzz guitar loops and/or interesting shouts, squeals, groans and Japanese-style nonsense voice noises, but by far the majority of the CD seems specifically designed to alienate every single person in the world. Take for example, the fact that tracks 21 through 42 (more than half of the CD) are so unsongesque, he didn't even bother to give them real names, just numbers (track 32 is called 403, for reasons obvious to any fan of 32-403). Even the tracks WITH names seem pretty randomly entitled ("Kenny G. Is Bad," "No One Likes Kenny G." and "If You Like Kenny G. You Are Bad," for example, seem to have very little to do with Kenny G, nor anything else that this world has ever known.

I don't like John Cage, I don't like To Live And Shave In L.A. and I don't like this CD. If you like either of the first two, you will probably LOVE this CD. Ear torture for the elite.

I can't remember Adam Schwarz's email address though, so I hope you weren't planning to buy these discs or anything.

Reader Comments
This album is my interpretation of grindcore. It's not as fast as grindcore, but has the same spirit. Specifically I was listening to Napalm Death's From Enslavement to Obliteration when I was recording. And all the drums are sampled from "Evolved as One." I was not trying to alienate people. It's headbanger music from another planet. And I'm insecure about my voicthat's why I sped it up. It also helped me get some high-speed grindcore shouts.

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Under The Covers - Homemade 2001.
Rating = 4

The problem that I have with experimental noise music is THUS: When I listen to music, I'm either in it for the CATCHINESS or the INTERESTINGNESS of it. New ideas are very appealing to me, especially when combined with singalongability and high energy. Experimental music doesn't really thrive on any of these. Or rather -- the new ideas are "conceptual" instead of "musical." So unless you know what it is that the artist is trying to accomplish, you really can't get much out of it unless you're a fan of abrasive, unattractive noises. I'm not. If it hits my ears in an unpleasant way, I don't want to hear it again. This is why I avoid The Dave Matthews Band and Bob Seger. So what would make an obviously talented person like Adam Schwarz decide to go out of his way to make music so unappealing that you can't even imagine ADAM SCHWARZ wanting to listen to it?

This is a CD of cover versions. But they're not straight cover versions. They're not even weird deconstructed cover versions like you might find on The Residents' Third Reich And Roll or Alternative Tentacles' Virus 100 Dead Kennedys tribute. Instead, they are ugly, distorted, off-key, often rhythm-free and even more often completely non-musical-in-any-sense covers of songs by artists as disparate and desparate as Bob Dylan, Madonna, Radiohead, Dead Kennedys and Men Without Hats (although my pal CB Smith was quick to point out that their logo when taken literally actually means "No Men With Hats"). Why is "Sunshine Of Your Love" three seconds long? Why does he do two covers of "Smoke On The Water," one of which is just him singing the guitar riff like Beavis & Butthead and the second of which is just him saying in a silly voice "Smoke! On the water!"? Why is "Kill The Poor" performed a cappela through an irritating ring modulation effect? Why are so many of the covers so incredibly, unhumorously ANNOYING TO LISTEN TO?????

Either Adam Schwarz is a fool or a genius dwelling in some alter aural landscape that the rest of us will probably never understand (or want to). And if he's a fool, he's the weirdest frick-frackin fool I've run across in quite some time.

Reader Comments
Some of these are remarkably close to the orginal.(Like "Kid A," which has Sam Bake singing, "Loser", "Justify my Love", and the second version of "Everything in its Right Place".) It was just a joke when I did mechanical noise for a minute and called it "The Wedding Song" or did a three second version of "Sunshine of Your Love" that has nothing to do with the original. I don't know what a ring-modulator is but on "Kill the Poor" I was playing acoustic guitar and singing, and it was really distorted. My goal was not to make annoying music. I want to make "Sunshine Happy Days Music."

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