Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Rich has a nice consideration of the new Janet here, about which I have one probably unfair quibble:
When I write about music, I spend a lot of time talking about context, even though I’m sure this gets on the nerves of get-to-the-music-already purists.
This is taken out of context--the line is a starting point, not an end in itself--but I'm saddened that Rich even acknowledges those schmucks, much less gives them any credence whatsoever. The entire point of writing about music is, or should be, to provide context, and that doesn't change just because some bedwetter with a DSL line and too much time on his hands (it's a his, usually) believes thinking and/or looking around for music instead of having it handed to your right-clicking fingertips and/or some combination thereof somehow equals inconvenience and therefore panics. (See the first responder to this question for an all-too-typical example.)

What music writing needs right now isn't necessarily more bite-sized whatever, whoever is writing it (that includes me, obviously), though if you can say a lot in a little space, more power to you. What we need more of is precisely the sort of thing Rich does better than just about anybody around right now. We need less get-to-the-music-already--there's too much music as it is, and getting to it is beside the point. We need more people who know that deep, expansive thinking only enhances music, and--unless you're a complete moron--never diminishes it.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

This L.A. Times piece (via Rex) is so spot-on and well written it makes me want to stand up and cheer. In particular, this:

"Too many white people don't like to be reminded that they're white. They like to think that white people are those evil corporate right-wingers or the uneducated masses who vote the wrong way. But 'enlightened whites' are white people too and have just as much of a group mentality as they think the red staters have."

made me almost yell at the screen, "MOVE TO SEATTLE SOMETIME, DUDER."

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

What did Stanley Kubrick and Michael Jackson have in common, though not mentioned here? (Via

DJ set at Havana, February 17, 2008
1. Drive-By Truckers, “This Man I Shot”
2. Barbara Lewis, “Don’t Forget About Me”
3. The Chi-Lites, “Have You Seen Her?”
4. The Angelic Gospel Singers & the Dixie Hummingbirds, “One Day”
5. Rood Project, “Thunder”
6. Ennio Morricone, “Crossing Through the Weather (Passagi Nei Tempo)”
7. Andrew Hill, “Compulsion” [14:14; friends had arrived]
8. Michael Jackson, “Don’t Stop ’Til You Get Enough” [by request; someone asked for, in order, “The Cha-Cha Slide,” “The Electric Slide,” and Michael Jackson]
9. Crazy Frog, “We Like to Party”
10. “Civil Defense Spot: In Time of Emergency (Brilliant Nuclear Flash)”
11. Elvis Costello & the Attractions, “I Hope You’re Happy Now”
12. Maureen Tucker, “Pale Blue Eyes”
13. Novos Baianos, “Tindino Trincando”
14. Kanye West ft. Lupe Fiasco, “Touch the Sky”
15. Cab Calloway & His Orchestra, “Hi-De-Ho Man (That’s Me)”
16. The Cardinals, “The Door Is Still Open”
17. Soupy Sales, “Mark-Arty-Park”
18. Souad Abdullah, “Unknown (Style: Choubi)” [from Choubi Choubi: Folk and Pop Sounds from Iraq, Sublime Frequencies, 2005]
19. Brad Paisley, “Mr. Policeman”
20. Zongamin, “Tunnel Music”
21. T.P. Orchestre Poly-Rythmo, “Aihe Ni Kpe We”
22. Eddie Hazel, “California Dreamin’”
23. Billy Eckstine, “Ask the Lonely”
24. Jonny Trunk & Wisbey, “You Really Turn Me On”
25. Mozart, K.574 Gigue in G Major; Richard Goode, piano
26. Neil Landstrumm, “Bleep Blopsy”
27. The Bats, “Hubert”
28. Sonic Youth, “Tunic (Song for Karen)”
29. Etoile de Dakar, “Mane Kouma Xol”
30. Etran Finatawa, “Asistan”
31. The Go! Team, “Bottle Rocket”
32. Curtis Gordon, “Caffeine and Nicotine”
33. Ernest Tubb & Red Foley, “Too Old to Cut the Mustard”
34. Boris Midney, “Star Wars (Main Theme)”

Thursday, February 14, 2008

021408 (for Angela)
1. The-Dream ft. Rihanna, "Livin' a Lie" (Def Jam, 2007)
2. Dear Jayne, "Rain" (Music Line/Capitol, 2008)
3. Chic, "When You Love Someone" (Atlantic, 1982)
4. Hot Chip, "We’re Looking For a Lot of Love" (DFA/Astralwerks, 2008)
5. Biz Markie, "Just a Friend" (Cold Chillin', 1988)
6. DJ Donna Summer, "Sweet-Assed Child O' Mine" (MP3, 2008)
7. Bizarre Inc., "I'm Gonna Get Ya" (BMG, 1992)
8. T2 ft. Jodie, "Heartbroken" (All Around the World, 2007)
9. DJ Vibes & Wishdokta, "I Want Your Love" (Rumour, 1995)
10. Benny Spellman, "Fortune Teller" (Minit, 1962)
11. The Crystals, "Then He Kissed Me" (Philles, 1963)
12. Robyn, "With Every Heartbeat" (Konichiwa, 2007)
13. Jill Scott, "My Love" (Hidden Beach, 2007)
14. The Ravens, "Deep Purple" (National, 1949)
15. Kay Starr, "You're Just in Love" (Capitol, 1952)
16. Jimmy Wakely, "I Love You So Much It Hurts" (Capitol, 1949)
17. Bottomless Pit, "Human Out of Me" (Comedy Minus One, 2007)
18. Prince, "Adore" (Paisley Park, 1987)

Monday, February 11, 2008

DJ set, Havana, February 10, 2008
1. Glass Candy, “Rolling Down the Hills (Spring Demo)” [Grant called me out on this: “I thought you didn’t like Italians Do It Better?!” Then he asked if this was the song I’d written about this week]
2. Invisible Conga People, “Cable Dazed” [This is the song I wrote about this week]
3. The Stovall Sisters, “Praise His Name”
4. Cassie, “Is It U?”
5. Billy Eckstine Orchestra, “Air Mail Special”
6. Tabu Ley Rochereau, “Aon Aon”
7. Beck, “Burro” [used to have this on 12-inch, lord]
8. Saint Germain, “Alabama Blues (Todd Edwards Vocal Mix)” [Todd-vox are a foreign language too]
9. R.D. Burman/Asha Bhosle, “Kati Patang (Mera Nam Hi Shabnam)”
10. The Wild Magnolias, “Shoo Fly (Don’t Bother Me)” [just gets better and deeper with every listen]
11. Kay Starr, “You’re Just in Love”
12. The Teenagers, “Homecoming”
13. Sandie Shaw, “Sympathy for the Devil” [the Uncut giveaway CD still had the shrinkwrap on it; she may not be in need of some restraint, but her drummer sure is]
14. Dillinja, “The Angels Fell” [touché]
15. Bing Crosby & the Andrews Sisters, “Pistol Packin’ Mama”
16. Blood on the Wall, “Acid Fight”
17. Pet Shop Boys, “Left to My Own Devices”
18. Dear Jayne, “Rain”
19. The Ravens, “Deep Purple”
20. Justice, “D.A.N.C.E.” [I swear this was an accident. Some dude was bending my ear while I should’ve been paying attention and I literally hit play on the first thing I could put my laptop finger on--this]
21. Hank Thompson, “I’ve Got a Humpty-Dumpty Heart” [cut this in right before the chorus turnaround in 20]
22. The Raincoats, “In Love”
23. Shitmat, “More Fire (’93 Ting Mix)”
24. Black Moth Super Rainbow, “Rollerdisco”
25. Big Quarters, “Everyday”
26. Lil Wayne, “Upgrade U”
27. Wagon Christ, “Ring Piece”
28. Metro Area, “Read My Mind”
29. Jaime Delgado Aparicio, “El Embajador y Yo”
30. Bee Gees, “Night Fever”
31. Sly & the Family Stone, “Family Affair” [people were threatening to dance so I thought I’d try to keep a floor; didn’t quite work]
32. Al Green, “Love Ritual (Alt. Mix)”
33. Chic, “Open Up”
34. Steely Dan, “Any Major Dude Will Tell You”
35. Hank Snow, “I’m Glad I Got to See You Once Again”

Sunday, February 10, 2008

As I mentioned on my Facebook Twitter-rip function, I only recently heard Wagon Christ's Throbbing Pouch for the first time in its entirety. I've heard various tracks over the years, particularly from a friend's mammoth MP3 cache of songs related to the discography of Simon Reynolds' Generation Ecstasy. I'd never encountered how the songs move with each other, or how fine-tuned the layers are. It's a genuinely subtle album, in a way even Maxinquaye wasn't; it's also a funny album in a way Maxinquaye couldn't afford to be. Especially in light of the larrffs of the Moonshine comp aforementioned, Throbbing Pouch appeals for its delight in sound and quietly confident shrugging off of the new-predictable-element-every-four-bars rule.

OH BY THE WAY: I've decided to start a contest. Well, not exactly a contest--more like a request for input. Here's how it goes. For years I've promised myself I'd make a compilation exclusively of that nefarious creature known as "the only good song on this shitty trip-hop compilation." (That's compilation, not album; that's a special category of its own.) Of course, all these years alter I still haven't bothered, which by proxy demonstrates just how unnecessary a project it is. Nevertheless, I now ask of whatever is my readership: please email me the name of your favorite overlooked only-good-song-on-a-shitty-trip-hop-comp, and I will try to track it down and write about it. I won't expect YSIs, but I won't turn them down, either. The email is a.k.a. the "say hello" top right.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Today I met my friend Brian at Easy Street and for $6.99 I purchased The Trip Hop Test Part One (Moonshine, 1994). I am on the last track and am satisfied that I have in fact purchased the most perfect '90s artifact this side of The Crow OST.

It opens with Saint Etienne's "Filthy," which because I wasn't paying attention I didn't know was Saint Etienne and thought I'd heard some of the stupidest lyrics I've ever heard; all that's changed is my sense of embarrassment for the perpetrators. The Dust Brothers' "My Mercury Mouth" (pre-lawsuit Tom & Ed, of course, Chems fans) provides some relief, as do a couple others I didn't quite catch, but soon enough we're into Paul Weller's "Wildwood (Portishead Remix)," the very definition of weedy being made over into the very definition of "mood piece" before my very ears. Jesus, they must have been hard up that month, and you can hear it; it wouldn't make a Deluxe Edition of Dummy. The Aloof's "Society" struck me as something you could throw on at peak hour in the right kind of basement and kill with: heavily accented vocal under heavy water-echo, breakbeat groove that builds and builds, hypnotic. It's also the trippiest number on the record, thanks to an early-trance-ish expanding-contracting synth line, like a slowed-down and thickened version of the ones from "I'm So High" by Eden Transmission.

What was much more striking overall, though, is how hilarious much of this stuff has become. For a lot of non-fans, of course, trip-hop and its many aural cousins and foreparents were too silly to be anything but laughed at. This in turn makes for stern po-faced responses that straighten once-fluid lines. But listening to this stuff again, especially after having given a shot to so many things of this kind at the time, not to mention a decade has gone by, it's almost charming how eager some of these guys were to mope. (Maybe someone should redraw the history of popular music via its least cheery practitioners.) Tranquility Bass's "They Came in Peace" is a piece of music so pro forma it ought to be framed: every element arrives in the exact metered time you expect it to, and when it arrives, none of it surprises you in the least. It's like having a dream about getting on a familiar elevator, walk into a familiar office, sit down at a familiar desk, drink familiar coffee, and then waking up at 8:09 mark.

The one I was most, er, "impressed" by was a track by Lemon Interupt. This is, of course, an early alias for the members of Underworld. I've been going around lately saying that "The Funeral," by Band of Horses, is the song that people who hate the Flaming Lips think the Flaming Lips sound like. "Minneapolis," by Lemon Interupt, is the song that people who hate the Chemical Brothers think the Chemical Brothers sound like. The drums are comically huge, and so deadly serious you could see them following Russell Crowe through a slow-mo chase scene; after a minute and a half, they're joined by synths, especially a lead riff, that sound about as dangerous as an egg cream. Which is probably a good phrase for trip-hop as a whole. And of course, apologies for subjecting you to these biannual outcries of "why the fuck did I like the music I liked during the '90s?"

Friday, February 08, 2008

The Academy Award winners for Cartoon/Short Subjects, year by year, as many as I can find on YouTube, through 2006. I've eliminated titles/years I couldn't find. Have fun.

1931-1932 Flowers and Trees
1932-1933 Three Little Pigs
1934 The Tortoise and the Hare
1935 Three Orphan Kittens
1936 The Country Cousin
1937 The Old Mill
1938 Ferdinand the Bull
1939 The Ugly Duckling
1940 The Milky Way
1941 Lend a Paw
1942 Der Fuehrer's Face
1943 The Yankee Doodle Mouse
1944 Mouse Trouble
1945 Quiet Please!
1946 The Cat Concerto
1949 For Scent-imental Reasons
1950 Gerald McBoing-Boing
1951 The Two Mouseketeers
1952 Johann Mouse
1953 Toot, Whistle, Plunk and Boom
1954 When Magoo Flew
1955 Speedy Gonzales
1956 Mister Magoo's Puddle Jumper
1957 Birds Anonymous
1958 Knighty Knight Bugs
1959 Moonbird
1960 Munro
1963 The Critic
1964 The Pink Phink
1965 The Dot and the Line
1974 Closed Mondays
1978 Special Delivery
1980 The Fly
1983 Sundae in New York
1986 A Greek Tragedy
1989 Balance
1990 Creature Comforts
1991 Manipulation
1992 Mona Lisa Descending a Staircase
1993 The Wrong Trousers [promo]
1996 Quest
1998 Bunny
2000 Father and Daughter
2006 The Danish Poet [part 1 and part 2]

Monday, February 04, 2008

Holy shit is this good. (I got it from Elisabeth.) So is this, and it'll only be around and free a month, so act now. I loved this as well.

Havana DJ setlist: February 2, 2008

Walked in about 7:15 and was surprised—there was a crowd of about 20, an older one. I segued out of a ’40s playlist around 7:45 and played till 10.

1. Booker T. & the M.G.’s, “Green Onions”
2. Sonny Boy Williamson, “Good Morning Little Schoolgirl” [huge volume flub at top, to the crowd’s great amusment]
3. Los Hijos del Sol, “Si Me Quieres”
4. Charlie Aldrich, “Kinsey’s Book”
5. Elvis Presley, “Viva Las Vegas”
6. Laurindo Almeida & the Bossa Nova All Stars, “Route 66 Theme”
7. James Brown, “That’s My Desire” [not the one I wanted but due to lack of preparedness . . . ]
8. Lulu, “The Man Who Sold the World” [fuck it]
9. David Bowie, “Beauty and the Beast”
10. LCD Soundsystem, “Get Innocuous!” [of course]
11. R.E.M., “Sitting Still”
12. The Gossip, “Are You That Somebody?” [one advantage of bringing other people’s mix CDs to DJ is that you can surprise yourself; see also No. 8]
13. Judee Sill, “Soldier of the Heart” [see also No. 12]
14. DJ Shadow, “Building Steam with a Grain of Salt”
15. Jill Scott, “My Love”
16. Lupe Fiasco, “Kick, Push”
17. Paul Wall ft. Big Pokey, “Sittin’ Sidewayz”
18. Jay-Z ft. Foxy Brown, “Ain’t No Nigga”
19. MC Lyte, “I Am the Lyte”
20. DJ Green Lantern etc., “Impeach the President”
21. Arthur Blythe, “Down San Diego Way”
22. Michael Bisio Quartet, “Blues for Melodious T”
23. Duke Ellington & Coleman Hawkins, “Mood Indigo”
24. Walter Davis Jr., “Minor Mind”
25. King Errisson, “Conga Man”
26. James Brown, “Give It Up or Turnit-a Loose”
27. Fire Engines, “Discord”
28. “Weird Al” Yankovic, “Trapped in the Drive-Thru”
29. Dean & Britta, “Singer Sing”
30. Cortney Tidwell, “Don’t Let the Stars Keep Us Tangled Up (Ewan’s Objects in Space Remix)”