Friday, January 30, 2004

C700 Go! 1961
1. Curtis Lee: “Pretty Little Angel Eyes”
2. The Coasters: “Little Egypt (Ying-Yang)”
3. Elvis Presley: “Little Sister”
4. James Brown: “Night Train”
5. Lightning Hopkins: “Tell Me Pretty Mama”
6. Ray Charles: “Hit the Road Jack”
7. The Tokens: “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”
8. Theo Beckford with Sir Dee’s Group: “Walking Down King Street”
9. Ry-Co Jazz: “Caramba Da Ma Vida”
10. Howlin’ Wolf: “Goin’ Down Slow”

11. Etta James: “Next Door to the Blues”
12. Ernie K-Doe: “Mother-in-Law”
13. The Marvelettes: “Please Mr. Postman”
14. Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers: “Down Under”
15. The Bill Evans Trio: “Solar (Live at the Village Vanguard)”
16. Jimmy Giuffre 3: “Jesus Maria”
17. Gil Evans Orchestra: “Le Nevada”
18. Gene Pitney: “Every Breath I Take”
19. Gene Chandler: “Duke of Earl”
20. Ike & Tina Turner: “It’s Gonna Work Out Fine”

21. Freddy King: “Hide Away”
22. Johnny Cash: “Tennessee Flat Top Box”
23. Ray Price: “Heart Over Mind”
24. Patsy Cline: “I Fall to Pieces”
25. Billy Walker: “Funny How Time Slips Away”
26. Shep & the Limelites: “Daddy’s Home”
27. Bobby Bland: “Turn on Your Love Light”
28. Joe Houston: “Roy’s Twist”
29. Jimmy Reed: “Bright Lights, Big City”
30. Elmore James: “Shake Your Moneymaker”

31. Charles Mingus: “Peggy’s Blue Skylight”
32. Duke Ellington & Count Basie: “Segue in C”
33. Ella Fitzgerald: “Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea”
34. Nat King Cole: “Let True Love Begin”
35. Frank Sinatra: “The Second Time Around”
36. Louis Armstrong: “Solitude”
37. Charlie Rich: “Who Will the Next Fool Be?”
38. Leroy Van Dyke: “Walk on By”
39. Mighty Sparrow: “Mae Mae (May May)”
40. Red Spots: “Oya Kae Me”

41. Ten Troubadours: “Umbuzi”
42. The Skatalites: “Malcolm”
43. Rico Rodriguez: “Rico Special”
44. Rockin’ Robin Roberts & the Wailers: “Louie Louie”
45. The Showmen: “It Will Stand”
46. Dion & the Belmonts: “Runaround Sue”
47. Joey Dee & the Starliters: “Peppermint Twist”
48. Gene & Wendell with the Sweethearts: “The Roach (Dance)”
49. The Flares: “Foot Stomping Pt. 1”
50. The Vibrations: “The Watusi”

51. The Rollers: “The Continental Walk”
52. Jarmels: “A Little Bit of Soap”
53. Robert Parker: “All Night Long Pt. 1”
54. Chuck Berry: “Come On”
55. Mar-Kets: “Surfer’s Stomp”
56. The Beach Boys: “Surfin’”
57. The Marcels: “Blue Moon”
58. Bobby Lewis: “Tossin’ and Turnin’”
59. Prince La La: “She Put the Hurt on Me”
60. Clarence ‘Frogman’ Henry: “But I Do”

61. The Phil Upchurch Combo: “You Can’t Sit Down Pt. 1 & 2”
62. Freddie Hubbard: “Hub Cap”
63. Sun Ra: “Bassism”
64. Miles Davis: “If I Was a Bell (Live at the Blackhawk)”
65. John Coltrane: “Chasin’ the Trane (Live at the Village Vanguard)”
66. Dizzy Gillespie: “A Night in Tunisia (Live at MOMA, NYC)”
67. Dark City Sisters: “Sekusile”
68. Kalle-Roger & Rochereau with Orchestra Africa Jazz: “Afrika Mokili Mobimbi”
69. E.T. Mensah et His Tempo Band: “Weeya Weya”
70. Salim Abdullah: “Wanawake Wa Tanzania”

71. Flying Jazz Queens: “Langa More (Tap Tap)”
72. Franco & Le T.P.O.K. Jazz: “Mpata Ezangi Mokengeli”
73. John Mwale: “Kenyatta Aliteswa Sana”
74. Joseph Ndato & Daniel Katuga: “Nikuelezeje?”
75. Bob Dylan: “Wade in the Water (Live)”
76. John Lee Hooker: “Teachin’ the Blues”
77. The Ikettes: “I’m Blue (The Gong-Gong Song)”
78. The Mar-Keys: “Last Night”
79. Chuck & Dobby: “Oh Fanny”
80. The Blues Busters: “Lost My Baby”

81. Derrick & Patsy: “Feel So Fine (Feel So Good)”
82. Chuck Jackson: “I Don’t Want to Cry”
83. Sam Cooke: “Cupid”
84. The Shirelles: “Baby It’s You”
85. Ben E. King: “Stand by Me”
86. Del Shannon: “Runaway”
87. The Miracles: “What’s So Good About Goodbye”
88. The Impressions: “Gypsy Woman”
89. The Crystals: “There’s No Other Like My Baby”
90. The Paris Sisters: “I Love How You Love Me”

91. Rosie & Ron: “Bring Me Happiness”
92. The Dreamlovers: “When We Get Married”
93. The Cleftones: “Heart and Soul”
94. The Earls: “Lookin’ for My Baby”
95. The Quotations: “Imagination”
96. The Del Royals: “Always Naggin’ (Grumblin’ Fussin’ Nag Nag)”
97. The Halos: “Nag”
98. The Regents: “Barbara-Ann”
99. The Devotions: “Rip Van Winkle”
100. Raymond Scott: “‘Don’t Beat Your Wife Every Night!’”

101. Stan Freberg: “Columbus Discovers America ‘It’s a Round, Round World’”
102. Spike Jones: “Frantic Freeway”
103. Mongo Santamaria: “Para Ti”
104. Eddie Okanta and His Top Aces: “Eddie’s Accident”
105. Black Beats: “Anokwa Edoni”
106. Duo Ouro Negro: “Kurikutela”
107. Tod Dockstader: “Apocalypse Pt. 2”
108. Dick Dale & His Del-Tones: “Let’s Go Trippin’”
109. Ricky Nelson: “Travelin’ Man”
110. Jimmy Dean: “Big Bad John”

111. Faron Young: “Hello Walls”
112. Hank Snow: “Beggar to a King”
113. George Jones: “Tender Years”
114. Hawkshaw Hawkins: “I Can’t Seem to Say Goodbye”
115. Stonewall Jackson: “A Wound Time Can’t Erase”
116. Carl Butler: “Honky Tonkitis”
117. Johnny Western: “The Ballad of Paladin”
118. Yusef Lateef: “Love Theme from ‘Spartacus’”
119. Walt Dickerson: “Death and Taxes”
120. Thelonious Monk: “Jackie-ing (Live in Italy)”

121. The ‘JFK’ Quintet: “Eugly’s Tune”
122. Stan Getz: “I’m Late, I’m Late”
123. Lee Konitz: “You’d Be So Nice to Come Home To”
124. Ornette Coleman: “Free Jazz (Excerpt)”
125. Del Close & John Brent: “Basic Hip”
126. Don Morrow: “Like Rumpelstiltskin”
127. Lee Dorsey: “Ya Ya”
128. Aaron Neville: “Let’s Live”
129. Irma Thomas: “Cry On”
130. Barbara George: “I Know (You Don’t Love Me No More)”

131. Maxine Brown: “All in My Mind”
132. Marie Knight: “Come Tomorrow”
133. James Ray with the Hutch Davie Orchestra: “If You Gotta Make a Fool of Somebody”
134. Marv Johnson: “Merry-Go-Round”
135. Sugar Boy Crawford: “Have a Little Mercy on Me”
136. Junior Parker: “Drivin’ Wheel”
137. The Jive Five with Joe Rene & Orch.: “My True Story”
138. The Drifters: “Please Stay”
139. The Stereos: “I Really Love You”
140. The Timetones: “In My Heart”

141. The Blue Jays: “Lover’s Island”
142. Lloyd Clarke with Smithie’s Sextet: “You’re a Cheat”
143. The Mellowlarks: “Time to Play”
144. Owen Gray & the Jets: “Nobody Else”
145. Mossman & Zeddse with Sir Dee’s Group: “Pocket Money”
146. Partyboys: “We Got a Party”
147. Russell Byrd: “Hitch Hike Pt. 1”
148. The Velvets ft. Virgil Johnson: “Tonight (Could Be the Night)”
149. William Bell: “You Don’t Miss Your Water”
150. Little Caesar & the Romans: “These Oldies But Goodies (Remind Me of You)”

Gathered the materials for this one at the same time as the 1995 one, but '95 is a little closer to my heart (and, um, experience) so I put this off till afterward. I've been assembling it piecemeal for a week, and I think it plays pretty well. It's also a little easier to do, because even with the African stuff the songs here are a little more sonically uniform. Also, I flat-out cheated with most of the African songs--if it said "early '60s" on the compilation, I claimed it for my own. Unfair, maybe, but that's life.

Thursday, January 29, 2004

Remarkable photo essay, in four parts, from Sasha, documenting a giant icicle and its ultimate demise; documentary work that's surprisingly funny and really charming. I gotta agree with Philip--as much as I love SFJ's writing, I'm starting to suspect that the real reason I look at his blog right now is for the photography. Lots of tonal contrast, but obviously all the work of one guy with one very keen eye; love the colors and textures (sometimes both, sometimes just one), and the way he gets to the center of the subject (literally and figuratively both) without seeming too obviously point-and-clicky about it.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

I haven't contributed to City Pages in a while (well, I did do an Artist of the Year about Lenky Marsden, but that's different), so it's nice to be in there again, writing about the mammoth gospel box set Goodbye, Babylon. This follows Mike McGonigal's piece on the same box, which I edited for the Weekly last week. (Mike's piece also talks about the Sublime Frequencies compilations of Javanese and Burmese music put together by the Sun City Girls.)

Dave Q on the A.M. Hands down, the funniest review I've seen in months if not years.

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Going against the flow
Kellman's retooled his C700 Go! 1981--cut it to 80 songs (from 100), added a few that weren't on the first time, and resequenced it to actually flow instead of stop-start/keep twisting around. This is all well and good, and bravo to him for being such a perfectionist that he's willing to put in even more work on something that takes so long to begin with. (Trust me, I know.) But I have to say, it's not just the completist/musical gigantist in me that's glad I still have the '81 in its original form. It's also the lover of form and/or flow--and, in this one's case, the ways those things can be fucked with to interesting ends. Kellman's original '81 reminded me of nothing so much as Pavement's Wowee Zowee--there was something really off about the sequencing, it zig-zagged all over, never settling into one groove for too long, and while that could be a bit unsettling (here I had been trying to make mine move as one thing and one thing only, as had Nate Patrin with his, especially since Nate got to the concept first, at least within our little portion of the universe or at least blogosphere*), it also started to work after awhile because (a) it drew attention to itself the way something more flow-y wouldn't and (b) the songs were so good. Ditto C700 Go! 1981 mk. 1; I've played portions (segments, chunks, blocks, groupings of songs) of it as much as any "album" since I got it a few months ago in a trade, and it's never been less than stimulating, even when the only thing it stimulated was the question, "What the fuck is he thinking sequencing this stuff like this?"

That was more early on, though, and a lot of those qualms disappeared when I got his 1994 C700 Go! a few weeks later. Suddenly, his '81 method made so much more sense, because I could now hear them as a dry run for the '94 mix, on which the disjunctions between tracks were so extreme but also so right they plunged you from one sensation to another before you had time to catch your breath--any CD that opens "Come Clean"-"It's a Kid's World"-"Bubble Metropolis"-"Aftermath" is doing far bolder things than most of the competition. Including mine; the first C700 Go! I made, 1997, felt so rigid in comparison, with its 30 indie rock songs followed by R&B mini-set followed by 30 hip-hop cuts followed by shitloads of dance stuff, etc. I still love the 1997 disc, and it flows great and has loads of personal resonance ('97 was a very important year for me, and the disc reflects a lot of why), but it's also very much a first effort at this. If anything it's too perfect, too streamlined, and there's very little about it that surprises me. Whereas Kellman's mixes did nothing but surprise me, and still do. I'm eager as hell to hear what the new '81 sounds like; perhaps I'll remake it using the old one, or just ask for another trade, but I do hope there are still some surprises on it. That's what this project is for, or should be.

*Yeah, I don't like the term either. But it looks like we're stuck with it, at least since Jay Smooth immortalized it in song.

Who the hell is Jaded Rock Critic? And why am I Friendsters with him/her? (Haha, answer to both: who isn't? And why not?)

Monday, January 26, 2004

Arrrgh! OK, so I have a few trades for 2003 year-end mixes (or other year-mixes) and I've been so disorganized lately (I'm moving, for one thing, which contributes to it in a very indirect way) that I've lost some names/addresses for them. So if I still owe you some (any) CDs, please email me and I'll get them to you ASAP. Thanks for being patient.


So I had a pretty uneventful weekend, which largely consisted of making this:

C700 Go! 1995
1. Animaniacs: “All the Words in the English Language Pt. 1”
2. Pulp: “Common People”
3. Elastica: “Connection”
4. KRS-One: “MC’s Act Like They Don’t Know”
5. Tricky: “Feed Me”
6. µ-Ziq: “Roy Castle”
7. Pavement: “Grounded”
8. Brandy: “I Wanna Be Down”
9. Daft Punk: “Da Funk”
10. Surgeon: “Magneze”

11. Robert Armani: “Circus Bells (Hardfloor Remix)”
12. Percy X: “Track 2”
13. P.M. Dawn: “The Puppet Show”
14. Luna: “Bonnie & Clyde (The Bonnie Parker Version)”
15. Oasis: “Some Might Say”
16. Storm Syndicut: “Hold Me in Your Arms”
17. T-Power vs. DJ Trace: “Mutant Revisited”
18. PFM: “One and Only”
19. DJ Shadow: “What Does Your Soul Look Like Pt. 3”
20. Crooklyn Dodgers: “Return of the Crooklyn Dodgers”

21. Group Home: “Livin’ Proof”
22. Droppin Science: “Firin’ Line (Origin Unknown Sound FX Mix)”
23. Fatboy Slim: “Santa Cruz”
24. Neil Young: “I’m the Ocean”
25. Yoko Ono: “I’m Dying”
26. Da Brat: “Give It to You (Remix)”
27. Solo: “Heaven”
28. The Notorious B.I.G.: “One More Chance (Stay with Me Remix)”
29. Ol’ Dirty Bastard: “Shimmy Shimmy Ya”
30. Mobb Deep: “Shook Ones Pt. 2”

31. Massive Attack: “Karmacoma (U.N.K.L.E. Situation Mix--Instrumental)”
32. Grantby: “Timber”
33. Kenny “Dope” Presents the Bucketheads: “The Bomb! (These Sounds Fall Into My Mind)”
34. Montell Jordan: “This Is How We Do It”
35. Mack 10: “Foe Life”
36. Mouse on Mars: “Saturday Night Worldcup Fieber”
37. Thurston Moore: “Ono Soul”
38. Sonic Youth: “Washing Machine”
39. Real McCoy: “Come and Get Your Love”
40. The Cardigans: “Carnival”

41. The Prodigy: “Poison”
42. Animaniacs: “All the Words in the English Language Pt. 2”
43. Tek 9: “A London Sum’tin”
44. DJ Zinc: “Super Sharp Shooter”
45. Green Day: “Brain Stew”
46. PJ Harvey: “Meet Ze Monsta”
47. The Chemical Brothers: “Chemical Beats”
48. Phantasy & Smooth: “Dream On”
49. Moby: “Bring Back My Happiness”
50. Radiohead: “High and Dry”

51. Everclear: “Santa Monica”
52. Green Velvet: “Flash”
53. Kenlou: “Moonshine”
54. Purple Penguin: “Tribhuwan”
55. Luniz: “I Got 5 on It”
56. Raekwon: “Ice Cream”
57. The Pharcyde: “Runnin’”
58. Janet Jackson: “Runaway”
59. D’Angelo: “Brown Sugar”
60. L.L. Cool J: “Doin’ It”

61. Felix da Housecat: “Somekinda Special”
62. Wax Doctor: “Never as Good”
63. Yo La Tengo: “Pablo and Andrea”
64. Shizua: “Blood Stained Blossom”
65. Paul Schutze: “Rivers of Mercury”
66. Roland Kayn: “Refractions”
67. James Carter: “You Never Told Me That You Care”
68. Randy Weston: “Tangier Bay”
69. Masada: “Midbar (Live in Taipei)”
70. Jonathan Richman: “Vampire Girl”

71. Cornershop: “6 A.M. Jullandar Shere”
72. The 6ths ft. Dean Wareham: “Falling Out of Love (with You)”
73. The Bats: “For the Ride”
74. Ani DiFranco: “32 Flavors”
75. Prince: “P Control”
76. Bikini Kill: “I Like Fucking”
77. Archers of Loaf: “Harnessed in Slums”
78. Peter Stampfel: “Goldfinger”
79. Blahzay Blahzay: “Danger”
80. Coolio: “1, 2, 3, 4 (Sumpin’ New)”

81. Whale: “I’ll Do Ya”
82. Optical*8: “Halle Halle”
83. Air: “Modulor Mix”
84. Beanfield: “Charles”
85. Das EFX: “Real Hip Hop”
86. Grand Puba ft. Sadat X: “I Like It (Buckwild Remix)”
87. Wagon Christ: “Reedin’”
88. A Guy Called Gerald: “The Nile”
89. DJ Aphrodite: “You Take Me Up (A Zone Remix)”
90. Asylum: “Da Base II Dark”

91. Dillinja: “The Angels Fell”
92. Photek: “The Hidden Camera (Static Mix)”
93. J-Live: “Braggin’ Writes”
94. Lost Boyz: “Jeeps, Lex Coups, Bimaz & Benz”
95. GZA: “Liquid Swords”
96. Cut Chemist: “Lesson 4: The Radio”
97. Blur: “Charmless Man”
98. Rancid: “Time Bomb”
99. Barrington Levy: “Under Me Sensi”
100. Smif-n-Wessun: “Sound Bwoy Bureill”

101. Show & AG: “Next Level”
102. Mondo Grosso: “Souffles H (King St. Club Mix)”
103. Michael Jackson: “Scream”
104. Bjork: “I Miss You”
105. DeLacy: “Hideaway (Deep Dish Remix)”
106. Robert Miles: “Children (Dream Version)”
107. Razor’s Edge: “Exquisite Sin”
108. Interstellar: “Arcadia”
109. Wink: “Higher State of Consciousness (Tweekin’ Acid Funk Mix)”
110. Alex Reece: “Pulp Fiction”

111. Goldie: “This Is a Bad”
112. D’Cruze: “Bass Go Boom (Dope Remix)”
113. DJ Seduction: “On My Own (Slipmatt Remix)”
114. Leviticus: “The Burial”
115. Source Direct: “A Made Up Sound”
116. Spring Heel Jack: “Lee Perry Pt. 1”
117. Altered States: “Martzmer”
118. Barry Black: “Train of Pain”
119. Oruc Guvenc & Tumata: “Alhamdulillah”
120. Freakwater: “South of Cincinnati”

121. The Magnetic Fields: “All the Umbrellas in London”
122. iO: “Claire”
123. Junior M.A.F.I.A. ft. the Notorious B.I.G. and Lil’ Kim: “Player’s Anthem”
124. Jay-Z: “Can’t Get with That”
125. Naughty by Nature: “Feel Me Flow”
126. Bone Thugs-N-Harmony: “1st of tha Month”
127. M People: “Love Rendezvous”
128. Leftfield: “Open Up”
129. Technohead: “I Wanna Be a Hippy”
130. Animaniacs: “All the Words in the English Language Pt. 3”

yadda yadda yadda trades etc.

Friday, January 23, 2004

I should also note that Andy Kellman is doing year-by-year top-tens for albums and 12-inch singles, starting with the current decade (2000, 2001, 2002, and the year just past). He'll apparently be doing every year from 1960 forward (or, more accurately, from '03 backward till he hits '60 or so). I'm tempted to try this myself--something I did a fair amount of on the old, defunct blog. We'll see, though. Right now I'm in the midst of slowly piecing together C700 Go!s for 1961, 1995, and the 1920s, so I'll probably finish those things first.

OutKast's "Hey Ya!" is still too fucking Ween and/or They Might Be Giants for its own good (at least that call-and-response bit is--really, people can listen to that "ice cold!" stuff without being embarrassed by it?), but this semi-video almost converts me completely. (Swiped from Melissa Maerz's blog.)

Thursday, January 22, 2004

I love me some Simon Reynolds, y'all know that, but all I can think is that he really is English if he considers 1984, probably the best year for pop radio ever, a "grand Epoch of Disappointment, Frustation, Clutching At Straws." Line 'em up: '84 airplay was dominated by the singles off Purple Rain (and indeed Prince's biggest year ever for outside work, not including Chaka Khan's cover of "I Feel 4 U"--Sheila E., the Time), Born in the U.S.A. (never gave much of a damn for it as an album per se but the singles are grate and so are the B-sides, e.g. "Pink Cadillac"), She's So Unusual ('83 album, '84 radio impact), Van Halen's 1984, as well as several might as well be one-shots by established artists (John Waite's "Missing You" foremost among them), and tons of excellent indie rock (Let It Be, Double Nickels on the Dime, Zen Arcade, Meat Puppets II), the first Run-D.M.C. album and first L.L. Cool J single . . . just to scratch the surface. Whereas England had, um, Echo & the Bunnymen. Ulp. Update: hey, Andy, please note wording: "might as well be one-shots by established artists." Defending a year with a great record by an otherwise miserable artist /= defending it with the artist. (And don't even try and tell me "Missing You" isn't a great record, because I will laugh and laugh and laugh.)

(Simon's statement was brought to us by Marcello "I flame other bloggers for living in the past even as I do epic roundups of every record ever to chart 20 or so years ago" Carlin. Who's right about 1985 being the worst pop year ever, by the way.)

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

An interesting early history of The Source on Jay Smooth's hip-hop blog--part one of several, apparently, and yay. Since I never read that magazine until maybe two-three years ago, I have no great memories of its early years, but from what I've heard here and elsewhere I apparently missed out big-time. Can't have everything, eh?

Monday, January 19, 2004

Keith Harris on the greatest radio concept ever.

Got an upcoming piece in the Voice on Luomo and Kylie Minogue (yes, together) that, uh, I haven't even written yet (soon! soon! well, OK, maybe not too soon--not due till Feb. 1, gimme time, gimme time), but tonight while loafing around the office catching up on email and doing some advance work (plus getting some freelance shit done and dinking around the Web like I'm prone to do), I threw on The Present Lover for the first time in an age. The difference is that it's not the trade-proofed signal-toned version I got last year at the Akufen gig (thanks, Jon B!), nor even the paper promo I received a month-plus back now that Kinetic's picked the album up for U.S. release next month, but a final copy with different cover art (the pouting b&w shot from the "Tessio" 12-inch, which I find ridiculously hot, thus confusing many of my friends, who didn't--but, but, but she's pouting, gah, melt). And holy shit: the sound quality is SO MUCH BETTER; promo copies usually have lesser fidelity, granted, but I feel like I'm hearing the record for the first time now. And as a result, "Visitor" and "Talk in Danger" (or "Talk in a Danger," as the new cover sez--hmmm) come across with way more power than before. I've never cared all that much for either--I like "Danger" fine, but "Visitor" always seemed too tremulous-puffy, though as a scene-setter it's pretty good. Now, though, I'm pretty well hooked. Needless to say, "So You," which made my singles ballot in P&J (the album did, too), will probably cause my head to explode.

Friday, January 16, 2004

Some of what Richard Goldstein says this week about R. Kelly and Michael Jackson is fairly on-target: man-boy love will always be seen as less "natural" than man-girl (or woman-boy, or woman-girl) love in this country (haha "this country," right, not any others, oh no), and it's worth noting if not shouting if not getting angry about. But the idea that Jackson is about to get dunked while Kelly floats on because of that and that alone blatantly ignores several key points. Number one, Kelly still looks like he did ten years ago--if he's had plastic surgery, it's as yet undetectable by me--whereas Jackson is for all intents a circus freak. Guess which option elicits public sympathy better? Two, even aside from the surgery Jackson's career for the past 15 years* has been one public-relations puzzle-cum-disaster after another; to date, Kelly has not aroused the confusion of middle America by attempting to buy the Elephant Man's bones, sleep in a hyperbaric chamber, or feed these stories to the tabloid media in order to keep himself in headlines during the protracted period between albums. Kelly may be the Pied Piper of R&B, but he's never erected a statue to himself in a foreign country or pretended to be the Messiah, surrounded by worshipping children, on the Brit Awards. Third, has there been a review of Chocolate Factory or The R. in R&B Collection that didn't mention the allegations? I mean, rightly so--if someone were to review a Kelly album for me and didn't mention it I'd write it in myself, simply because even if he is innocent it's central to his public image right now, and inescapable.

But the final and most important point is the simplest: flat-out, R. Kelly is making the best music of his career right now. Michael Jackson isn't. "As for Jacko: If he wants to save his career, he'll have to start fooling around with 14-year-old girls," Goldstein writes. Um, not hardly--if Jackson wants to save his career, he'll have to start making good records again. Period.

*Did someone say 20? '04 is the anniversary of the Victory Tour, after all.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Best blog news of the week: Rod Smith finally succumbs. What this means: pure total humongoid fucked up hallelujah madness for the people. He hasn't even written anything yet but the kicker alone ought to be enough. Till it isn't anymore, and then he really gets started. [[greedily rubs hands together]]

Apparently, I've created a really nice, benign monster. (update: It continues here. This is Steve M's convenient index for it--thanks, Steve! And finally, this is the thread where all the unanswered/uncompiled requests for RGs are listed alphabetically, in case you want to take a crack at it but aren't sure where to begin.)

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

I usually don't like making fun of people who are obviously mentally deficient in some way, nor am all I that much a bad = good kind of guy. But this woman is fast becoming a major exception. To wit: "Marissa Marchant is a young, enthusiastic singer/songwriter with an eclectic array of original songs inspired by years of real-life issues. They are expressed with much passion and depth of emotion . . . Marissa started singing professionally as a child with no formal training and then she went on to study voice (Bel Canto style of singing) for ten years with a faculty member of the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. Simultaneously, she studied composition . . . but she was actually a self taught writer. Her instructor didn't teach Marissa how to write music, just how to write it down. She does not write using theory, but from experimentation and improvization. From an early age, she developed her own writing style that can't be catagorized. She is a cameleon-type writer. Marissa is quite a prolific writer . . . [who] will perform for an appreciative audience, who realizes the value of art, not commericalism."

She isn't kidding. On Marchant's music page, she offers her address with this caveat: "I am accepting donations. You can send a dollar if you feel that the music industry sucks and you don't like YEHAA and unsophisticated rock, folk, jazz and classical yahoo musicians. I am accepting any amount of money to fund recordings if you are not happy with low level music that is unsophisticated, and if you are tired of the United States being on such a primitive level . . . I have slews of sophisticated rock, jazz, fusion, world fusion, folk fusion, celtic fusion, classical, blues, r and b and everything on a high level. Very advanced."

Needless to say, it isn't; when I stopped laughing uncontrollably at the first song I tried out, "For You," the only thing I could think of was Florence Foster Jenkins--except FFJ had enough grace not to refer to her contemporaries the way Marchant does: "[T]he music industy has rosters filled up with people like Lil Bow Wow, Lil Kim, Emimen, J Lo, Alisha Keyes ( who has NO talent), Christina Aguilera, Britney, Screaming Alanis, Tori with no songs, and not great vocals, and Sarah Mc.Lachlan with no vocals and no songs . . . Lucinda Williams is a yahoo, and our country is a Yahoo. And Shawn Colvin, Dave Matthews, Sheryl Crow, and John Mayor are unsophisticated musicians who are very country, and very yokel. They have the taste of a worm . . . "All these people are in million dollar studios, with all kinds of computer generated alterations to make them sound much better. I am a live performer. I blow people away with my vocals in person. I can do it with no backup. Aimee Mann has no voice and can't do that and no songs, and either can the semi talented Ani De Franco and Paula Cole. Norah Jones just won several grammies with NO voice and doesn't write most of her songs. She is a trained seal. She has NO talent. Her father is Ravi Shanker a rich famous man. A famous Zitar player." [sic on everything, needless to say]

Anyway, hear for yourself. Try "Emu," about which Dan Perry said on ILM, "She sings the entire song a half-step flat up until the VERY LAST PHRASE. It's kind of awe-inspiring." Then go to the totally fucking fake radio interview she did with herself, and get something very close to the chills.

Thursday, January 08, 2004

Extra 2003 treats: A running tally

This is where I list songs that I didn’t, but probably should have, included on my year-end MP3 disc. Thing is, since the actual disc itself had only 101 songs totaling around 550MB of space, I can and most likely will add these at a later date, bolstering an already fiendishly strong lineup and boosting it into the motherfucking stratosphere! Or, alternately, adding further bulk to an already unforgivably self-indulgent project, and pissing off the legions (OK, about five people) who have traded for/otherwise acquired a copy of the disc as it previously existed. Anyway, the songs:

Wayne Marshall, “Fat Inhale”
Alicia Keys, “You Don’t Know My Name”
Broken Social Scene, “KC Accidental”
Cee-Lo, “I’ll Be Around”
Clearlake, “Almost the Same”
DMX, “X Gon’ Give It to Ya”
Fallacy ft. Tubby T, “Big ‘n Bashy”
Ultra 396, “Beastie Blitz”
Go Home Productions, “Let the Music Gimme Shelter”
Lil Jon ft. Busta Rhymes, Elephant Man & Ying Yang Twinz, “Get Low (Remix)”
Lil Kim ft. Mr. Cheeks, “The Jump Off”
Zwan, “Lyric”
Dr. Ring Ding, “Bombs Over Baghdad”
Pharrell ft. Jay-Z, Vybz Kartel and Wayne Marshall: "Frontin' Dancehall Remix"

more to come

More of the Best: Seattle Weekly's year-end mix-CDs, part two, including an expanded version of Andrew Bonazelli's picks (we had to lop off the intro and cut several of his comments down to fit it into the print edition) and two web-only mixes from Kate Silver and Rod Smith.

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

Jeff Chang takes aim on the Da Capo Best Music Writing series. (Funny, when I panned the most recent edition, edited by Matt Groening, I didn't mention any of this, though I suppose I could have. White man's privilege, don't'cha know.)

A few quickie thoughts and/or nitpicks, then:
*Jonathan Lethem's edition of the book was as good as it's gotten so far--his (the 2002 ed.) is easily the best of the series so far. (Conflict of interest alert: I'm friendly with Jonathan.) Though I suspect Chang was referring to polyculturalism when he said "as good as could get," rather than overall writing quality.
*I am greatly surprised whenever I read the words "Nick Hornby" and "topical" in the same sentence, but I suspect that's my bias more than anything.
*As a recent re-transplant to Seattle, I understand what Chang means about the series' New York-centricity--though I'll also freely admit to having that bias myself, at least as far as what I like in my music writing and/or coverage. (The fact that I only lived in New York a little over two years has little or nothing to do with this outlook; Minneapolis breeds rock critics like larvae--note metaphor, ahem--many of whom either have their sights set on New York, and sooner or later end up either writing for NY-based outfits or moving there. See myself, Jon Dolan, Laura Sinagra, Keith Harris [now in Philly], Mike Wolf, and Will Hermes, for starters. In fact, just see Peter Scholtes's piece on the "Minnesota rock-critic Mafia.") What Chang never mentions, though, is how New York writing differs from non-New York writing; I'd be interested in an explication of the difference(s), either from him or someone else. (Or everyone else.) And no, I don't mean English writing--Jeff is clearly talking about (American) coastal differences.
*As you'll notice from the pan linked above, I was not a fan of Lawrence Joseph's Detroit soul piece, but since Chang likes it so much I'll go back and give it another try, probably tonight, maybe later.
*A general observation: Hip-hop is indeed the biggest music on the planet, there are dozens of black or nonwhite-identified styles that have been overlooked in re: Da Capo's coverage--and without looking I cannot for the life of me remember one single country piece in any of those books. Country is not a genre I claim any expertise about, but considering that these are books aimed at an American market, that's as much an oversight as any, don't you think? (And naturally, as soon as I typed that, I remembered one: David Cantwell writing about "Help Me Make It Through the Night." Duh. But again, that's just one. Maybe I'm wrong.) This isn't to refute Jeff's point, either--just to point out that class would seem to have at least as much to do with the selection process as race, consciously or (more likely) not. See also the fact that Keith Harris's amazing piece on summer hits from City Pages--probably my favorite music article from 2002--didn't even get an Honorable Mention in the most recent edition of the book. Rockism appears in many more guises than just the marginalization of hip-hop, you know.
*Big points for pointing out Groening's asinine dismissal of the state of pop music today. It sure does seem "dismal," especially if you're not actually listening to any of it.
*Chang is right to call out pre-hip-hop-era biases, but I wish he'd picked better print-mag counterexamples. XLR8R and Urb are not very good magazines--the year-end issue of the former was one of the most embarrassing 2003 wrap-ups I've read anywhere (and believe me competition is NOT thin on the ground in that category), and despite the fact that I've contributed to the latter, in good conscience I had to stop buying it earlier this year. I do love Wax Poetics for the geekaholic vibe, but little in there has struck me as great writing-qua-writing. I also love Punk Planet for its sincerity and engagement level, though ditto. (Again, maybe I'm wrong--I'd hardly claim expertise in the latter, though I've read as much in the former as I have anywhere.)
*On that note, though, with both WP and PP the best stuff tends to be not the pieces themselves but the Q&A's, especially PP's, which tend to move out from the subject into wider terrain while WP's tend to root inward, e.g. "How does identity play into your music?" vs. "Who played bass on that ultra-rare indie 7-inch you released under a pseudonym?," both of which are GREAT ways to conduct interviews btw but HOLY FUCK is this becoming a tangent. Point being, there seems to be a bit of a bias in the Da Capo series against the straight Q&A format (exception: Vince Aletti interviewing Madonna in the first volume--about visual art, from Aperture, oooh how upscale, too bad it's not really one of her better interviews--which I suspect has more to do with Guralnick's biases toward writers of his own generation than anything) (and I love Vince Aletti, don't get me wrong, but still) in favor of big, overview-y pieces--the stock-in-trade of the New York Times and New Yorker. Which is why I suspect Toure's whatever-happened-to-Lauryn Hill story from Rolling Stone, a great piece, will end up in the next book faster than his Q&A with ?uestlove from The Believer, to my eye an even better one. (It's probably the single music piece I've re-read the most this year--a model of the form, two engaged minds digging deep into a subject they both love, and totally accessible on every level.) Not to mention the fact that the Da Capo series, whether us scribes/fanatics like it or not, are not aimed at us--they're aimed at Joe Starbucks and Jane Enpee-Arrrgh. They're middlebrow on purpose, because their intended audience's idea of cutting edge is, like, Aimee Mann.
*There's actually a piece in the most recent volume that leaves American shores--Susan Orlean's piece on an African record store in Paris from The New Yorker. Not that two pieces total is all that much better than only one, but still.
*I had NO IDEA about Raquel Cepeda's forthcoming book, and I am super-geeked over it now. (Actually, I think Jeff mentioned it once in a blog entry, but its full impact had not hit me the way the mention here does.) Between that, Tim Lawrence's (excellent so far) history of '70s disco, the new anthology about black rock and roll edited by Kandia Crazy Horse, and one or two things I'm probably forgetting, '04 looks like a hell of a good year for music books.
*Thanks a fucking lot for reminding me of John Mendehlsson's horrendous piece on N.W.A in that Hoskins antholo . . . anthol . . . OH MY GOD MAKE THE PAIN STOP! (Chang, I know you big-upped the Weekly's year-end issue and all, but after this, man, I dunno . . . we'll see if I do YOU any favors in the future.)
*I would heartily disagree with Chang's assessment of Pazz & Jop of late "seem[ing] to describe only the tastes of those who already do or would like to write for the Village Voice," because the people who tend to write for the Voice, especially under Chuck Eddy, tend to have some idiosyncrasies tastewise, which is not something I would accuse a consensus that picks Yankee Hotel fucking Foxtrot as the best album of the year (or Elephant or Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, whichever ends up on top this year) of. Or maybe I'm just in Voice-contributor denial.

All of that out of the way, this was pretty much on point. And I'm especially glad to see this appearing (a) in a print venue that its author actually got paid for, (b) around now, the period when year-end madness is at its height re: music lists and/or assessments of the year just past, and (c) as a result of something Chang wrote in a blog, simply because I'm all biased toward my fellow bloggers and shit. (Not that I update mine in any kind of fucking way, really, but you guys know how busy I am, right?)

Friday, January 02, 2004

"We've been told for years now that hip-hop has arrived, that it is now the dominant genre in the music business, in much the same way that every day for the last three months an article has appeared somewhere with the news that Howard Dean is on his way to becoming the front-runner in the race for the Democratic nomination. Hopefully the Billboard stat* and the Grammy nominations list** will act as Al Gore's endorsement did, and put to rest some of the novelty."

I'm not going to touch the Dean thing (I don't know near enough, though most of the response I did see, i.e. on ILE, was of the "Al Gore did what?" variety) but "novelty"? "NOVELTY"?! How long do you have to have your head in the sand to have not figured out that hip-hop was the dominant music in America (and elsewhere, though again I'm not quite sure to what degree and/or where exactly) for, oh, almost a decade now? I'll leave it at that, because as Mike Daddino puts it, "Ragging on terrible articles at this late stage of its living death is sorta like kicking puppies." MONDAY UPDATE: Wow--clearly I wrote all that before reading the thing in its entirety. Jeee-zus. This guy writes like a cross between Graydon Carter and Ed Felien. [Li'l reference for all y'all Minneapolis folks.]

*On October 4, each of Billboard's top ten pop singles were by black artists.
**Overwhelmingly dominated by hip-hop this year.