Sunday, April 30, 2006
The Grateful Dead, November 11, 1973 Winterland Arena San Francisco, CA Set 1
Okay, okay, just a quick little Sunday post. I've spent the day with MC, recovering from the epic Spank Rock show last night at the Mercury Lounge, spending the day in Bushwick looking for apartments, running into TA the Younger and discussing the L vs. the JMZ more than I ever imagined possible. To cap it all off, True Life: I Have A Summer Share is on MTV right now. Greatest episode of True Life ever (and therefore TV in general)? Yeah, I'm gonna say that.
It's been a beautiful day all around, summer is slowly creeping up, and I can think of no music that better suits a nice, lazy Sunday afternoon as the weather heats up than the good ol' Grateful Dead. Listen to those great Bob Weir cowboy songs, Jerry's solos, the long drama of a Dead show in 1973. If people give some good feedback, I think that I will post up Set 2, and make this a weekly event. I'll have more to say on the music down the road; for now, just enjoy.
Friday, April 28, 2006
Gogol Bordello, "When The Trickster Starts A-Poking (Bordello Kind of Guy)"
Gogol Bordello, "Huliganjetta"
I told you that we would get back to where it all began, Gogol Bordello. These tunes come off one of the earlier Gogol Bordello release, Multi Kontra Culti Vs. Irony, which is better than that awful title. Not by much, sadly. I think it is best to let lead singer Eugene Hutz better explain where the title comes from: "The title of the new album sums of the spirit of the band and the people around it. Gogol Bordello is about creating new musical possibilities. We all come from a very distinct tradition of music that is largely driven by Eastern European sounds, visions and colors as well as punk rock and street culture. We’re a multicultural unit with an underdog energy and a sense of humor, although a pretty twisted one". Good stuff, right? Not hard to see why this band means a lot to me, oh great defender of cities and diversity and anarchy, right?
Well, unfortunately, that quote might be the best thing about the album. This album just never gets it done, not recommended for beginners or those familiar with Gogol, especially if you have seen them live. First off, the sound is completely blah, neither gypsy nor punk and definitely not a combo of both. It just sort of hints at those sounds, never quite committing to anything. The lyrics are just as bad, as the stories are uninteresting, which only makes the awkward English annoying. I wish that this album was better, but would have to recommend starting with their most recent release, Gypsy Punks: Underground World Strike, and hoping that they can finally bottle that live show energy in the studio.
I have been embarrassingly silent on Thrilladelphia, the weeklong indie music festival here in Philadelphia, which is concluding this weekend. I don't have a great excuse, really just burnt out on shows and didn't have it in me to get out during the week. My lameness should not effect you, so please make it out for the remainding concerts over the next two days.
I really cannot recommend more highly the afternoon Block Party on Hancock Street in Northern Liberties that will be opening the final day of the festival Saturday. Philebrity is putting it on, Rock Mess Orchestra, Blood Feathers and Hi Soft are playing, WXPN is broadcasting live and there will be vitamin water. Sounds like a plan. Later that night, I see Phil Moore Brown is playing at Tritone, Bardo Pond at the Khyber and The Yah Mos Def at the M Room. Phew.
But, for the Friday night kids, don't be worried. There are tons of amazing shows all over, The Lilys and Bitter Bitter Weeks at the Church, The Capitol Years at the North Star and the Golden Ball at the M Room. Head to Philebrity, as they have it covered. Check the home site for Thrilladelphia for even more info. Let's do it Philly! This is a real big deal, and I will have more to say about next week.
Thursday, April 27, 2006
Lil Wayne, "Don't Give A Fuck"
Lil Wayne feat. Curren$y and Remy Martin, "Whrr Tha Cash"
Lil Wayne, "Problem Solver"
DJ Khaled feat. Lil Wayne, Paul Wall, Pitbull, Rick Ross & Fat Joe, "Holla At Me Baby"
After the sadness of yesterday's post (although if you read it the way I intended it, it's actually a hopeful post at heart), I figured that I would try hard to make a happy post. Nothing makes me happier than having more Lil Wayne to listen to, so after much delay, here are some tracks from The Carter 2.0: Like Father Like Son mixtape, with songs that didn't make it onto the past two versions of The Carter, plus lots of exclusives and shit.
Mang, this is a great mixtape, another high point for Lil Wayne. It's funny, because the mixtape world is so immediate that you never really give each CD a chance, you never really sit and listen to the tape over a period of time and appreciate how good one is. This is a good example, a CD that I listened to immediately and put aside, really just waiting to post up the songs. However, over the past few days, in anticipation of this post, I started listening to it again and was struck how amazing it is. It's hard to believe that these guys put out a few of these a year, that they can come up with so much material without sounding uninspired.
This mixtape is a must, continuing to solidify Lil Wayne's place at the elite level of the game. I really could listen to him with that slow, sinister cadence rap the phone boook. I never thought that he would be able to stand on his own, always assuming that he would fade away if the Cash Money Millionaires drifted apart. I was wrong. Go here and buy more proof of this fact.
-More good news. lemon-red is back! Bol has been taking a break, getting ready to bring the heat as the Spring comes in. This week Chris simply kills it, dropping some video exclusives from The Streets, as Mike Skinner's new album drops. He also puts us up on the UK rap/grime video scene, which seems to be flourishing. There is also the continuing mix series, and the CD releases of prior mixes in the series for sale. The takeover has begun, lemon-red is an empire, be a part of it!
-disco-not-disco is back too! S/he had some server troubles, but is now back to posting the hotness, and the world is back in order. Gnarls Barkley, songs for a beautiful day and the Scissors Sisters should catch everyone up. Now, if he will just let me know what server he moved to, Pound for Pound could go to the next level for good.
-Rick Mariano resigned his position in City Council, meaning that he will no longer be getting a paycheck from the city of Philadelphia. He has found G-d and is asking for forgiveness. Even better, he is looking to talk to the feds, willing to rat out his friends. So appropriate that this bully, who insulted and screamed down opponents (cf the debate over funding new stadiums), who revelled in the thuggery of the electricians' union, who did nothing for this city is proven in the end to be a coward, a fucking snitch. Good riddance, another step forward for this city.
-The Flyers also won last night, drawing closer in their series with the Buffalo Sabres in the first round of the NHL playoffs. I will say no more, so as to avoid jinxing my boys.
-Finally, Cindy Margolis has agreed to pose in Playboy. Oh, I know what you're thinking. You just wanna see her boobs, you pervert. No, I support this move because she is a 40 year old woman with three kids and I hope that all women see that they are beautiful at any age. This is empowering, ladies, you go. Plus, I'm tired of seeing shiksas in Playboy.
Django Reinhardt, "Swingtime in Springtime"
Django Reinhardt, "I Won't Dance"
Django Reinhardt, "Diminushing"
Django Reinhardt, "Bricktop"
We've come to the end of our look at the music of Django Reinhardt, which I hope has been enjoyable and informative. These songs come from the final disc of the boxed set I have been hyping since the beginning. These disc, sadly, cover the last years of Reinhardt's life, before he passed away at the age of 43 from a brain hemmorhage. Most of these years were spent in London, where he met up with Stephane Grapelli once again. He maintained two bands, his original version of the Quintet of the Hot Club of France, the one with Grapelli, and his wartime version with clarinet and drums. There was lots of touring and recording, and eventually Reinhardt moved back to Paris until his death.
You will notice that Reinhardt's sound begins to adapt to the times, speeding up, clearly influenced by the bop music coming out of the US at this time. It's interesting to hear how open to new sounds and directions Reinhardt is, as you wouldn't know it from his status as gypsy jazz inventor. I actually like the faster stuff, but nothing lives up to their swing moments, which seem more natural and suited for their stringed instruments. It allows for more space, which suits this sad, evocative music to a tee.
Most of all, these years brought Django and his gypsy jazz increasing acclaim. There was even a US tour and opening spot for Duke Ellington in New York City. Possibly the biggest sign of the increasing respect for the guitarist's music and talent came when he was asked to play with Duke's orchestra. While it wasn't much of a success, it does confirm that the greatest jazz composer of the time respected and listened to the music that Django was creating, considered him an essential part of the swing tradition.
I figured that I would add some links for further information, as my knowledge is cursory at best. Suprisingly, there is not that much out there on the Web, particularly collecting all the vast amount of info and articles written about the man. The only one I found is amazing, however, and may be the reason no one else has attempted to do this. The Django Reinhardt Swing Page is essential, dedicated to Django and gypsy jazz. The articles section is a personal favorite, a great chance to read more about the man and his critical reception.
As I said, I am going to keep going down this path, leaping ahead a few decades to the recent revival of traditional gypsy music. First, I will put up some Gogol Bordello, a few tracks off of their other releases, just to remind you of why I started discussing this in the first place. We may even get into klezmer music!
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
I received an email last night alerting me to the death of Jane Jacobs, urban theorist and scholar. I haven't been so saddened in a long, long time, as her death strikes me as a great loss for her fans, this country and the world. I'm not sure where to begin, how exactly to convey why her death has upset me so much or why she was so important to me.
The best place to start is with her masterpiece, The Death and Life of Great American Cities. I came to this book in college, and it changed my life, the way that few texts have (the closest competition might be Low Life or The Communist Manifesto). To go all the way back to the beginning, I was born and raised in Philadelphia during the 80s. It was a time of the crack epidemic, rising violence, companies leaving, the culmination of white flight, the MOVE bombing. It was an ugly time, and those of us who lived here, those of us who lived in the big cities of America, were seen as relics, as terrible people, unworthy of a second thought.
It really wasn't until I came across Ms. Jacobs' book that I found someone writing the way I felt. She gave me a feeling of hope, something to fight for, namely the big cities of America that built this country, my city, my Philadelphia. She treated the city as a welcome entity, not something to be bulldozed or escaped or controlled. She pointed out the qualities that make a great city great, from its public spaces to its diversity of uses to its creative energy. She stood up for the people against developers and city planners and other authorities who sought to impose their will on our places of living, working and worshipping.
In short, she was a courageous, brilliant, passionate thinker, writer and planner. I am a cynical, cold-hearted person, and I can say without a doubt that she was one of my few heroes. Hell, I listed her as one of two on my myspace page! She fought for cities when it wasn't popular or easy to do so. I can give no higher praise than to say that she was a fighter, unafraid to get in the ring with anyone, including Robert Moses, the NYC power broker who built Central Park, and Lewis Mumford, the influential urban planner. She created a path for me to follow, armed me with the ideas and heart to work to defend the great cities of the world against its enemies.
In memory of Jane Jacobs, there will be no more posting today, a sort of virtual "moment of silence" for a woman who will be missed greatly here at Pound for Pound. Take the time to go out and buy The Death and Life of the Great American Cities or any of her other works. Buy them at your local independent bookstore, as I could think of no greater tribute to Ms. Jacobs. I will put together another post which will help people navigate the sites dedicated to her on the Internet, and link to other people's thoughts on her passing.
I will leave you with her own words, the most powerful tribute of all: "Cities - how shall I put it? - they’re the crux of so many different subjects, so many different puzzles. There’s almost nothing you can think of that cities don’t provide some insight into."
In Memoriam: Jane Jacobs (1916-2006)
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
Team 9, "Crazy Times"
I am heading back to Philly now, will have my next Django post up soon after I get back. Last night, I drank all the tequila in the Lower East Side and am completely braindead. I promise to make it up to y'all tomorrow with lots of posts and music.
In the meantime, check out this Gnarls Barkley X Prince mash-up by Team 9 and look at huge boobs. It's the best way to get over a hangover and the shame of falling asleep on the bathroom floor.
Monday, April 24, 2006
The Noisettes, "IWE"
Hi hi hi! Did you miss me everyone? Please say you did as I am a sad, pathetic person who needs to constantly be reassured and told how much he is loved. Anyway, I had a great weekend with my mami, celebrating our 1st Anniversary. It's amazing to believe that she has stayed with me this long; I think she's still working through the stuff I have sent her to download, which is the only thing that's delayed the inevitable. Seriously though, I am thankful every day that she has come into my life and made me happy and focused and hopeful. I look forward to celebrating many more with her
Unfortunately, it's Monday and another work week has begun. I feel like it's best to give upload some loud, crazy, noisy punk to sort of cleanse the Mondays, to drive them away and get everyone through the beginning of the week. The Noisettes are a London based trio that are a lot more subtle and catchy than their name suggests. They are noisy, loud, bringing that messy British punk sound mixed with a little Japanese noise screaming. But they also have a definite structure, a songwriting sense that does not bring to mind the Boredoms, say. I hate to use comparisons, but there is a distinct Yeah Yeah Yeahs feel to this track, perhaps not as catchy as the YYYs but just as loud and aggressive. Both are fronted by female singers, and the Noisettes' Shingai has just as versatile and powerful a voice as Karen O. This single, "IWE", is an early taste from their new album coming out later this summer. You can go and stream the B-side called "Malice In Wonderland". Check out their myspace page for more info, tour dates and songs.
-In a few hours, you will be done with work and can check out the Sweat Heart video release party for their single "Fingerbangin'" at Space 1026 here in Philly. [Via Philebrity]
-Another good way to get through a Monday is with retail therapy. Have you seen the new Supreme X Vans Sk8 Hi with the Public Enemy homage? Or these CLOT X Air Max 1? The new Mishka Spring line, including their collabo with SSUR? Sadly, I'll still be rocking my New Balances, pleated pants and cheap sweatshirts despite seeing all of this great stuff.
-Or you can look into the future, all the way to this summer when the World Cup goes down in Germany. Check out this new video called "Joga Bonito" to get excited for the greatest sporting event ever with the greatest athletes. Play beautiful, indeed. [Thanks to SR for sending this link]
-Or committ to change the future by volunteering with Anne Dicker campaign here in Philly. I just came across her campaign to represent the 175th District in the State Senate, but was immediately enamored by her stance against gambling in Philly. This is an issue that I have not addressed here, but which I believe to be one of the biggest threats facing the city. Dicker is one of the few voices dissenting, plus she is a progressives' dream from supporting choice to gun control in Philly. Best of all, she is not connected in any way to hideous Democratic machine people like Bob Brady, Vince Fumo, John Dougherty, John Street et al. Go here to donate or volunteer.
-Finally, you can count on Pound for Pound to be here all week, dropping the newest shit and OG classics for your listening enjoyment. We'll finally get to the Lil' Wayne, Byrne/Eno, Islands. We'll explore gypsy and klezmer music further and the Gogol scene. Plus, we'll be letting you know the scoop on concerts, politics, blogs, etc. Same shit, different week.
Friday, April 21, 2006
New Sense, "Chase The Wind"
New Sense, "What If I Get Sick"
New Sense, "Roller Skate"
New Sense, "You Were Right"
It's Friday, I'm heading to NYC and I feel like dropping some new tracks from an up-and-coming band. What do those have to do with each other? Nothing, just somethin' to say, a way to keep my mind off the inevitable urine smell and uncomfortable seats that await me on the Chinatown bus. 2000 Liberty, treat me right tonight.
New Sense is the band that we are highlighting, a rising star out of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, home of cheese, That 70's Show and Midwestern values. Those values must include respect for pop music and catchy songs, as I really like what I hear. It kinda reminds of Spinto Band, with the loud guitars, the catchiness, the hummability factor is at an all-time high. These guys are on the verge of blogger star status, as they just opened for Voxtrot at their sold-out Mercury Lounge show. They also hit Rothko and Pianos, possibly hoping to see me walking around the LES. Not sure. Anyway, let me know what you think. For more info check out their webpage or their myspace page. Make sure to buy their new EP, Flowers Before Hours, and get in on the ground floor, before they are playing huge places and you are talking shit about how no one listened to them when they play small shows and how you hate these teenage idiots ruining the scene. Yeah!
-Huge night in New York City, as the record release show for DFA Remixes Chapter One is going down at Don Hill's in the West Village. The usual cast of DJs will be there, Tim Sweeney, Dave P, Justine D, plus there will be a special midnight performance by L-D Section - II. There may be free shit too, all for only $10.
-Quote of the century: John Roberts of CNN describing the qualification needed for being the White House Press Secretary:
Be willing to take it full in the face every day.
I knew there was some sick shit going on behind the scenes. I knew it. [Via Eschaton]
-Philly, I haven't forgotten about you. I am still working on these posts about the future of the city, and getting some thinking going on that. There are lots of good shows this weekend, and the Thrilladelphia fest starts and Making Time hits Saturday night. Yeah!
Thursday, April 20, 2006
Django Reinhardt, "Festival Swing"
Django Reinhardt, "Improvisation No. 3 (Part 1)"
Django Reinhardt, "Improvisation No. 3 (Part 2)"
Django Reinhardt, "Django's Tiger"
Okay, I'm just going to do two more posts on Django Reinhardt: one from the war years, and one from the last period before his death. The tracks above cover the entirety of World War 2, when Django was forced to stop touring because of fear for his life. That didn't mean that he would stop playing and composing, as the liner notes mention that he began to experiment with big band arrangements during these stressful times.
The first track is another of Django's most famous, "Festival Swing;" this version is actually a live one from the Hot Club, and you hear the club owner's voice introducing the band. The last track is one of the first recorded after the war ended, when the entire band was reunited in Paris. People were once again able to hear Django and his close friend Stephane Grappelli playing together.
However, my personal favorites on the entire boxed set are the two parts of "Improvisation No. 3," a solo work that showcases Reinhardt's skill on the guitar and its ability to convey incredible sadness. These songs were recorded in 1943, right after the entire gypsy community of Germany was sent to Auschwitz. It is the hallmark of this music and all of the music of Eastern Europe that makes me listen. Its deep sadness, its darkness, loss and death as inspiration. It is a quality nearly completely absent from modern music, only occasionally turning up in rap. I am going to keep looking at this music, as I hope that people are giving it a shot.
Goldfrapp, "Ooh La La"
Goldfrapp, "Satin Chic"
Following up on yesterday's female-centric post, I figured now is a good time to focus on Allison Goldfrapp. Obviously, she is the voice of Goldfrapp, the electronic pop band that has consistently released some great disco, downbeat music over 2 albums. Their debut got them a dedicated fanbase. Their newest album, Supernature, might be their best yet, sticking mainly to the upbeat, danceable tracks that they have on lock. You know, I'm not sure why Goldfrapp isn't talked about more, or is that they really are the only ones doing what they do and they fall through the cracks? Or do people just think they suck?
The tracks above are my favorites from the new album, which seems to be the band's first mainstream album. It downplays a lot of the weirdness that they have showcased on previous efforts, only letting it creep up here and there. It's just a really good electro-pop album, something Madonna wishes she was doing today. I know that there is tendency to lump all of this in with the new wave revival, but one listen should dispel that myth. The music is lush and very human, far from the machine music of New Order or Depeche Mode. There is a real sensuality to it, led by Goldfrapp's amazing voice and lyrics. This is not machine erotic, this seems like stuff for a human bedroom. Buy the album here, as it is well worth the purchase. I hope that it doesn't get lost in hype machine, as it deserves a greater audience.
-Father-Daughter Purity Balls. Does balls mean testicles? I'm not even sure, is the scary part. [Via Shakespeare's Sister]
-DJ A-Trak and The Rub are coming to Philly next Sunday, as PaperStreet is bringing them to the Walnut Room in Center City. Go here to get on the guest list, as that's going to be the only way to get in that night. Walnut Room is a small space, this should be an amazing night with Brooklyn's finest and Kanye's DJ.
-More urgently, if you are in Philly tonight, head to the Cinema at 3925 Walnut Street on Penn's campus for a performance by one of the greatest artists working in jazz today. Tim Berne's Big Satan is performing, along with the equally amazing Ellery Eskelin with Andrea Parkins and Jim Black. This will be one of the best night's of music in the city this year, a night dedicated to adventurous jazz. I need to promote the shows that Ars Nova put on here in the city, and delve a little deeper into the avant jazz of the 60s to present. In the meantime, go to this show.
-4 20 Dank!
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
Rihanna, "S.O.S. (Rescue Me)"
Shawnna, "Gettin' Some (dirty)"
Shawnna, "Gettin' Some (instrumental)"
Shawnna, "Shake That Shit"
My G-d, was it a gorgeous day or what? In honor of such perfection, I figured that I would add two perfect pop songs from two beautiful women. I've come to "S.O.S" via MTV Jams, which means that it could be a few weeks/months old. Sorry, but I don't listen to the radio at all. Anyway, the Rihanna jawn is really great, an even better follow-up to the ubiquitous reggae hit "Pon De Replay." I can't get enough of that bassline, which sounds made for the dancefloor. Rihanna's vocals ride it all so perfectly, bringing a simmering energy to the song about obsession and love.
Shawnna is finally back, and she has dropped another great song. It's like you hear from her every few years, and she brings back one or two heaters and she disappears again to buy heels and camo pants and bikinis and ice and be cool. That's her above, for the record. It's a nice picture for the Queen of Dirty Raps, from her appearance on Ludacris' "What's Your Fantasy?" to the two tracks above. She's logically a Pound for Pound favorite, hoping we hear a lot more from her down the road.
-Speaking of hot songs and hot women, have you downloaded the Kelis song yet? "I'm Bossy", best song of the year, so far, in this blogger's opinion. I reuploaded it, so go get it, you will thank me.
-I wasn't speaking about douchebags, but that doesn't mean I can't mention this profile in the Sunday Times on Loren Kreiss. I actually read it in the Park Sunday and made MC read the first two paragraphs. It's been awhile since I've thrown up in my mouth, but this guy did it with quotes like "My watch and all my clocks are set to the wrong time," Mr. Kreiss said recently. "It's symbolic of me. I don't like to look at time." New York City, I feel bad for you, as this is the sort of tolls that are taking over large swathes of the city. It's rare that Gawker and I are so intrigued by the same thing, so this must be a good one.
-The Philadelphia 76ers season ends tonight, thankfully. Last night, Allen Iverson and Chris Webber showed up late and didn't play on this last home game, which caused a lot of controversy. It's a shame, as Iverson had an amazing year and didn't give any of his enemies a chance to attack him until now. Phil Jasner had a great piece in the Daily News a few days ago, listing the 10 things that the Sixers need to do this offseason. It's sad to say, but it might be for the best for this to be the last game of the Iverson Era tonight.
-Carl Bernstein has written the political piece of the day, a scathing critique of the Bush Administration in Vanity Fair. He thinks that the Senate Republicans should convene hearings to investigate the Bush administration and its lies and scandals. I think that Bernstein thinks too highly of the Republican Senate, but it's nice to see the voice of Watergate attack this President.
Django Reinhardt, "Echoes of Spain"
Django Reinhardt, "Rhythm Futur"
Django Reinhardt, "Nuages"
Django Reinhardt, "Pour Vous"
More Django, this time from the period when World War 2 broke out and the darkness first descended on Europe. It is during this period that the legend of Django Reinhardt grew, as he not only lived but thrived during Nazi Occupation despite being a gypsy. The gypsies of Germany were already being condemned to Auschwitz for murder. But in Paris, Reinhardt was performing and recording, making money, playing American songs and American music.
This particular period saw a new band take shape out of necessity, as founding members of the Hot Club Quintet were forced into exile when the Nazis began their murderous rampage. Stephane Grappelli and his violin were replaced by Herbert Rostaing and his clarinet. A drummer was also added, giving the band a decidedly more American swing feel.
The tracks above are my favorites from Disc 2, and should give everyone a feel for this new band and its versatility. Listen to the manic jazz of "Rhythm Futur," as the band sounds like one of the first bop explorers. "Nuages" was recorded during this crazy period and would prove to be the band's most popular song they ever recorded. "Echoes of Spain" might be my favorite, as Django's lamenting guitar opens the song and beautifully conveys the sadness of the song.
Remember, buy this ultra-cheap boxed set, as it makes for an amazing introduction to the man's music for less than $30.
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
Gnarls Barkley, "Crazy"
Gnarls Barkley, "Crazy (instrumental)"
Gnarls Barkley, "Go Go Gadget Gospel"
I know that this shit's been out for a minute, but I figured that it couldn't hurt to up what I have of Gnarls Barkley. It's the supergroup of Cee-lo and Dangermouse, a collaboration made in heaven. The results do not disappoint, this sort of r&b, soul, gospel, rap electronica hybrid that sounds a lot better than that horrible description would imply. It's nothing radical, it just sounds like good, infectious music. "Crazy" is the lead single, and the one that got this ball rolling. Mang, it sounds real nice to me, reminds me a lot of those songs from a few years ago from Fatboy Slim and Moby. Does this sound legit or blasphemous? Anyway, I'm curious to know if this is getting play out by DJs, if they have found a place for this in their sets.
I also need to add that everyone needs to get behind a band that references both one of the greatest Philadelphia 76ers of all time and the greatest morning cartoon of all-time (I said it, sorry Tom, Jerry, Woody and ). I mean, I had to support this, didn't I? P.S. Musicians, rappers, whoever, name something for Andrew Toney and you are guaranteed my full support no matter how shitty your music is.
Kwaya Na Nisser has more tracks from the upcoming album, St. Elsewhere, and warns us that this will be one of 2006's best. swoon gets religious about the music. Obscure Sound has a few more tracks for your listening pleasure. Stereogum has the first "Crazy" remix that I've seen, and all of the hilarious publicity shots that the band posed for.
-I had to mention the ridiculous references to hip hop in some of these posts about Gnarls Barkley. There is nothing funnier or more discouraging than reading indie blogs that seem pained or embarrassed to mention hip hop. It only backs up every negative impression I have about the closemindedness of the indie scene, its inability to cover good music no matter who is making it or what label it comes out on. I understand devoting your blog to the music you love. However, this condescending attitude does nothing but to insecurity.
-Speaking of Kwaya Na Kisser, so much good shit over there, I'm don't even know where to begin. How about with the live Neko Case set from NPR's All Songs Considered? Or her live set on CBC radio? Or the three part Sufjan Stevens outtakes and rarities post? What about the two part Belle & Sebastian post?
-Wonderful review of the Frederick Brown's new Gustave Flaubert biography in the New York Times Review of Books. Just a reminder, we have not forgotten about Pure Dork Week, as it is just on sabbatical. We will be back with a vengeance, or at least lots of nerdy talk about design, comic books, typography, urban theory, books, you name it.
Django Reinhardt, "St. Louis Blues"
Django Reinhardt, "Minor Swing"
Django Reinhardt, "Mabel"
Django Reinhardt, "Sugar"
I know that I originally said I was going to focus on Gogol Bordello's music this week, but unfortunately I can't seem to find my older Gogol CDs. So, brilliant guy that I am, I figured that I would go all the way back and explore some of the influences on Gogol's music, in particular the music of the gypsies and Eastern Europe.
What better person to start with than the most famous gypsy musician ever, Django Reinhardt. It's inevitable to mention the fact that he was Romany, since it makes his story of being a musician in Paris during World War 2 that much more fascinating. But, I feel like this subtly downplays how amazing and important a musician he was, regardless of his ethnicity. Reinhardt and his musical compatriots brought gypsy and swing jazz together in one of the great sounds to my ears. Sort of like that whole greatest woman writer or best Jewish athlete tag that at the same time honors and limits. Dude was one of the most influential artists in jazz history, end of story.
I will get more into this music and sound as the week goes on, but just wanted to get started briefly. These tracks come off of the first disc of the Django Reinhardt Paris and London: 1937-1948, Volume 2, an amazing bargain boxed set from JSP Records. I figured that I would start with my favorite stuff first, and possibly work back to Volume 1 which focuses on his earliest recordings. This period is arguably Reinhardt and the Quintet of the Hot Club of France's finest one, when everything came together and the music smoked night in and night out. These songs come from September-December of 1937 in Paris, when the original band was complately intact, Reinhardt sharing the stage with his cohort Stephane Grappelli. A sort of calm before the storm period, if you will, a magical time before the entire world became dark.
I will be upping tracks from all 4 discs, I think. If you like what you hear, you need to immediately go buy this boxed set (it's under $30 for g-dsakes!). Do the right thing, satisfaction guaranteed.
Monday, April 17, 2006
Built To Spill, "Conventional Wisdom"
Built To Spill, "Mess With Time"
Mang, yesterday was such a great day, beautiful weather, got to spend the day with MC, EC, JN, MA, Rittenhouse Square wasn't too crowded, I didn't make an ass of myself at Scrabble. Yes indeedy. In the spirit of such a nice day, it seemed fitting to look at Built To Spill, one of the most melodic, joyous sounding bands ever.
I didn't grow up listening to indie rock, and so the last few years have oftentimes seemed like a crash course on this music. Built To Spill was one of those bands that I had never heard of, a seminal, important band that never crossed my path until I began to look. When I did find them, I really felt like I had found the template for the stereotypical indie band that I had in my head when I wanted to complain about the music. I felt like I had found the band that others had been trying to copy. Doug Martsch and partners put together amazing, melodic, eccentric, guitar-centric pop songs with obtuse lyrics, a sort of outsider/nerd's take on rock.
After a 5-year hiatus, the band is back with a new album, You In Reverse. It is a bit of a departure, especially from the band that I first heard and came to love. The two things that leapt out at me are the length of the songs and the production. These are really long, meandering songs, featuring long solos and intros. Each song has a fuzzier, more unclear sound than normal, adding to the feeling that this was a loose, spontaneous type of album. I'm sure it wasn't made that way, but it's doesn't have the same intensity and crispness that their classic albums of the 90s do.
This is not to say that this is a bad album, although it isn't going to be on the Most Played list. It sound a lot like Martsch is developing something different, and that he hasn't quite put it together. Some of the songs seem to lack direction, including the one above, "Conventional Wisdom," which never gets the second verse that seems so necessary to me. Curious to hear what long-time fans think. Kwaya Na Kisser, An Aquarium Drunkard, A Slice of Class, Villains Always Blink and girlspants have more mp3s and thoughts on the album. Buy the album here, and see what you think.
-An interesting editorial in the Times today by Adam Cohen, looking at one of the most interesting and underreported stories of the past few years, the Republican phone-jamming scandal in New Hampshire.
-I am thinking of getting real serious this week, doing some intellectual posts on Philadelphia and the future. I know that these posts might not go over well, but it's where my head and heart are. I hope that they can spur some discussion, and will appeal to all of us living in cities and trying to bring them back to rightful place as the only important centers in the world. I will also be dropping plenty of music and other less-serious things, something for everyone.
Gogol Bordello, "Immigrant Punk"
Gogol Bordello, "Avenue B"
I got back on the concert horse this past Friday, heading to the Gogol Bordello show at the Trocadero in Chinatown. This was to be my second time seeing the band, and I could not have been more excited. The first time was last summer at the TLA on South Street, a larger venue that was not even half-full. My expectations were low in the face of such a weak turnout, but lead singer Eugene Hutz and Gogol destroyed shit. It was and is one of the best shows I have ever seen, a great chance to see a band that has a unique sound and a desire to entertain its fans. Hutz acted the part of the Ukranian Iggy Pop, climbing speakers, running around the stage, destroying equipment, taking clothes off. The rest of the band was talented, creating that unique sound that blends the Lower East Side with the Old Country.
I went into this most recent show with high expectations, a packed house and a group to go with. Amazingly, this show just didn't do it for me. First, the opening act, Zao, was awful. Their music sounded like an 80s hair band, with long, wanking solos and weak songs. I mean, how could a band as amazing and unique as Gogol choose such a bland, uninteresting tourmate? It doesn't make sense, and is a real lost opportunity for the band to get the night started right.
After an interminable delay, Gogol Bordello finally went on around 10:15, 10:30 and the place went apeshit. MC and I were standing close to the soundboard on the edge of the floor, under the balcony. The entire floor began jumping and moshing, and really didn't let up the entire night. It was amazing, and unlike any other show I have been to recently. Unfortunately, I never felt that same excitement, as the music and performance never hit home. I felt like the band sounded much louder and less subtle than before, drowning out the gypsy, Eastern European sound in loud guitars and general noise. Oh, and they had a guest rapper/hype man come on, and he added nothing to the show, ruined the one song he particpated in and generally seemed to be a unneccessary distraction.
As the show wore on, I felt like they started to open up, letting the songs extend and extend, gainging that hypnotic, repetitive gypsy sound that I love. For the record, I believe that the three women I went with loved the show. MC, EC and LM can feel free to add their voices, as I imagine that they saw and heard a different show. I don't want this to be the last word on the band, one of my favorites, as it pains me to write critical words about a band on the rise that I love. I will spend the rest of this week looking at their music and some of the side projects that Hutz is involved in. If the interest and time is there, I would love to look at the music of Eastern Europe, a vital music that seems to be undergoing a renaissance of sorts, finding audiences around the world.
Straight outta the shtetl, motherfuckers!!!
Sunday, April 16, 2006
Bob Dylan, Paint The Daytime Black (unlimited downloads)
I can't think of a better way to spend a beautiful Sunday than listening to some Bob Dylan. To help you out with this, here is another bootleg of a Dylan live show, this one entitled Paint the Daytime Black. It comes from the February 14, 1974, and is considered one of the best sounding shows from that year, both in terms of band performance and tape quality. As an added bonus, you will notice more than a few songs from The Band on here, as Bob's backup band became more and more of a force of its own.
Warning, this is a huge file. A little more than 200 MB, so know what you're getting into here. I think that I'm going to do this Dylan Sunday thing once a month, as it's nice to spread the man's music, but I'm not sure I have enough to do it that regularly. Feel free to send anything along, as I am always interested in hearing more of the man's music and will always share it.
-Before you do anything, do not pass Go, do not collect $200, head to Aquarium Drunkard and download the "lost" Bob Dylan/Johnny Cash sessions from 1969. This is an amazing colllection of the collaboration between two masters. Huge props to Aquarium Drunkard for this and the entire Lost Album series.
Friday, April 14, 2006
Lady Sovereign, "Random (Menta Remix feat. Riko)"
Lady Sovereign, "Fiddle With The Volume (Ghislain Poirier remix)"
One more devoted to the little one, the 5-foot assassin. These tracks come off the Vertically Challenged EP, which was a lot better than I expected. Scratch that, it's really fucking good. Once you get over the Philly concert debacle, you realize just how talented Sov is. She's got great lyrics, a distinct style, and I'm always a sucker for an accent.
Vertically Challenged is a nice work to tide over everyone after the initial buzz peaked. I am sure most of you have heard this, but if not, go and buy it and get psyched for her full-length later this year. Oh, and again I have to say, where are the mixtapes from the grime, East London scene? I know that Lady Sov is arguably a part of this scene, but she is aligned with it to most Americans. How can she be signed to Jay Z's new label and no one has put out a mixtape of her hits, all of these remixes, some new shit of her rhyming over popular beats.
Anyway, I chose two remixes for this post, as I figure that most of you have heard the originals. If not, maybe we'll remedy that. Holler on that point. Ghislain Poirier kills it, per usual. I haven't mentioned this guy enough, not sure why, since I saw him open for Lady Sov and headline at Sin-e, thought his mix was the best of the lemon-red monthlies. He brings a dancehall vibe to "Fiddle With The Volume," continuing to demonstrate his ability to make you wanna dance no matter what he puts his touch to. We just need to get Montreal down to Philly, so he can really do it. The first track is a remix by Menta features a verse by Riko via phone, I think, with a nice grime beat.
Check out Villains Always Blink for a Rucker & Sindens vocal mix of "Random." disco-not-disco has the "Little Bit of Shh" remix done by Adrock of the one, the only Beasties Boys. Finally, Random circuits has "The Battle", although he seems to have Lady Sov as a guest on the track.
-In this vein, you absolutely must cop the Roll Deep mixtapes, Creeper Volumes 1 +2, that Logan Sama has so generously upped on his blog. Well, actually, he gives you a few links to grab them, but make sure to check the blog out for all sorts of grime info, radio shows and tunes. Yeah! [Via Mudd Up!]
-A request: Please let me know of any other good sources for grime tunes or pirate radio sets or anything in this vein. I have finally added Logan Sama's site to the permanent links on the right, and would like to expandd the grime offerings.
-I am headed to the Gogol Bordello show tonight at the Trocadero with MC, EC and L?. I am really looking forward to this show, as the last time I saw them, at the TLA last summer, they put on one of the best concerts I have ever attended. Plus, I finally can walk out of the house without looking like I'm on death's bed. I will review the show and post up some mp3s on Monday. Hell, I might dedicate the whole week to the Gogol scene and other music influenced or coming out of Eastern Europe. Also, I'll finally get up the Lil' Wayne I've been promising, some Massive Attack, the new Built to Spill, Eno-Byrne. This weekend, light posting, probably going to post some music videos I have been meaning to get up. What are weekends for if not sitting and staring at a screen? Everyone have a great weekend, check back soon.
Pound for Pound
Late Update: Krash Is King Shit and Handsome, Plastic Little at Tritone tonight. Be there, I will be.
Thursday, April 13, 2006
The Flaming Lips, "The W.A.N.D."
The Flaming Lips, "Pompeii Am Gotterdammerung"
If you can believe it, I am still sick and might actually be getting sicker. I mean, I have pink eye, people, pink fucking eye. This puts to rest the idea that pink is the new black, especially if you try to pair it with snot green. Anyway, in my medicated state, it seemed like as good a time as any to discuss the new Flaming Lips album, At War With The Mystics.
I must confess that I had never really given The Flaming Lips much of a listen before, always considering them a novelty act. But MC turned me onto Soft Bulletin and Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots, and I came to realize that they were so much more than a few goofy songs. In fact, I don't think they get enough due for paving the way for a lot of the free folk and experimental shit that has caught on, like Animal Collective and Akron/Family. Their success made experimentation doable again, harkening back to the 70s when stars like Bowie and Pink Floyd would try out different sounds and genres from album to album.
This new one seems to have a little of both worlds for the Lips, the pop tunes and the psychedelic explorations. There's lot of effects, even on Wayne Coyne's already-weird voice. There's a little bit of added funk in a few songs, and a decidely more political edge to the lyrics. I've given it a few listens, and the album doesn't quite do it. There aren't any songs that really stuck out in my head, a necessity for me to love a album. There's a lot of meandering, neither leaping into the unknown nor rocking straightaway. From the reviews on Amazon, it appears to have split fans down the middle as well. I actually think that Pitchfork's review most closely aligns with my own. Something just doesn't work. Buy it here and decide for yourself.
Stereogum has the Lips playing "Bohemian Rhapsody" at a recent concert. Binky the Doormat has the Lips doing Kylie Minogue (!!!) from a XFM session. berkeleyplace has some more live goodness. Silence Is A Rhythm Too, the CAMERA As PEN and All Things Go have some tracks from the new one.
-Philly, calling all weirdos and noise aficinados. It is going to be an amazing next few months for us, as Acid Mothers Temple is playing (April 21) and Boris and Growing are coming back (June 5). Then, the real fireworks. Sonic Youth is playing at the Starlight Ballroom (June 14), as intimate a show as they will ever do now. Best of all, announced today, the Boredoms are playing their only East Coast show in our great city, June 30th. No NYC, no D.C. Fuck yeah! Go to R5 for more information and to buy your tickets.
-"Who let the Jews out?"
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
I wanted to take a moment to wish everyone a Happy Passover, as the sun has gone down and the holiday has begun. I also want to wish a fond farewell to rye bread, and to let it know that we will be meeting again in 8 days accompanied with our friends pastrami and hot mustard. At Katz's or Famous' or Jack's. You know what, let's do 'em all. Oh, and I ain't forgettin' about you bagel, sweet bagel. We will meet again at Kossar's and South Street Bagel before you even know I'm gone.
Anyway, I hope that everyone has a chance this Pesach to spend time with their family and friends, and load up on brisket and matzo and gefilte (maybe not that last one).
Next year in Jerusalem!
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
Lady Sovereign, "Cha Ching (XXXchange remix)"
Lady Sovereign feat. Mizz Beats, Skepta, JME, Ears, Jammer &
Baby Blue, "Adidas Hoodie (remix)"
Lady Sovereign, "Adidas Hoodie (Basement Jaxx remix)"
I have been holding onto these tracks recently for no reason, so I'm going to devote a few posts to everyone's favorite performer, Lady Sovereign. The midget keeps on grindin', as evidenced above. At the very least, her songs keep inspiring remixes, a pretty good sign that the original is inspiring. I assume that some of this will find its way onto her full-length release on Jay Z's label, but have no idea.
Pay special attention to the XXXchange remix, as it's nice to see the other half of Spank Rock getting some more attention. This is a good one, as it sounds like a rock band got let into the studio. The first Adidas Hoodie remix is a grime all-star session, it would seem, and only serves to remind me how much I have slipped on following the shit coming out of East London. It's a shame that only a few performer's music have made it to the US, as it's seem just as hard to get this music a few years after the first buzz came. Whatever, we'll try to get on the grind with that. The final one is the Basement Jaxx remix that y'all have probably heard. It seemed like a good post to up this one, Lady Sov for the dancefloor. Tomorrow, I'll up some tracks from her EP, Vertically Challenged.
-disco-not-disco ran a Lady Sov contest for a few weeks. While that ended Sunday, you should head over there and check out the Tiga remixes, the goth talk, A-Trak, Eagles of Death Metal and remixes galore. Don't know how bol even gets this shit, to be honest, but I ain't complainin'.
-Speaking of disco-not-disco, head over to Banana Nutrament for this look at no wave/punk funk unknowns, Sexual Harrassment. As time goes by, I get more and more into period of music, when disco and rock and rap and punk were all mixed up and genres hadn't solidified.
-Speaking of talented women, Hardly Art, Hardly Garbage on Nelly Furtado. I have loved her from the moment that cheesy "Like A Bird" jawn dropped, and have been the object of scorn as a result. This post provides me with all the support I need; I hope that Sean can give her the hip credibilty she deserves.
Monday, April 10, 2006
DJ Screw, "South Side"
DJ Screw, "Remember Them Days"
Master P, "If I Could Change" (Freestyle w/Lil' Keke, Big Pokey, Big Jut & Big Moe)
I've been sick as a dog the past three days, which should explain the lack of posts. I figured that I would up some music that sounds right to my head full of Nyquil. These songs come off the recent DJ Screw release The Greatest Hits, a compilation of some of the best flows and songs, all proceeds benefitting the DJ Screw Foundation. Buy it here, highly recommended, especially for those looking to hear some Screw but don't know where to start. What the hell, I'm also throwing up a freestyle from Plots and Schemes, one of the classic tapes and one of the greatest freestyles. I'll be back to regular posting tomorrow, as we'll be featuring some Lady Sovereign and some old YYYs and whatever else comes up.
-Read Seymour Hersh's latest piece in the New Yorker if you are dying to feel the same nausea in your stomach as I do. It chronicles the Administration's desire to go to war with Iran and developing war plans. I mean, are we in Narnia? Is it Groundhog's Day?
-Wanna feel even sicker? Read this essential New Yorker article, "Political Science", from Michael Specter which details the Bush Administration's attacks on science and scientists. Frightening, frightening stuff. The Washington Post adds to the story, looking at the pressure being put on climate scientists working for the government in discussing global warming publicly. [Via Eric Alterman]
-Alright, that should give you an idea of how I get when I'm sick and cooped up inside. Thanks to MC, RS, JS and J C-S for putting up with me and taking care of your bol. Back tomorrow with Lady Sov and less bile.
Friday, April 07, 2006
Blood On The Wall, "When You Go Out Walking"
Blood On The Wall, "Mae Abiline"
Blood On The Wall, "Baby Likes To Holler"
In all the Yeah Yeah Yeahs excitement, I almost forgot to mention the opening set by Pound for Pound favorite, Blood On The Wall. It wasn't because the trio didn't do the damn thing. On the contrary, they put on a great set that the YYYs built on. Unlike Love Is All, however, they did not overshadow the headliners.
It was a strange show at times, as the stage seemed to dwarf the band members. There were lots of awkward pauses, the crowd was obnoxiously loud, especially in my section and there was waaaaaayyy too much tuning by the band. It seemed like a nervous tic, honestly, and diminshed from the sheer awesomeness of their songs and music.
With all that said, mang, Blood On The Wall is the real deal. This shit sounded so good, even in a big venue like the Troc. They came out firing with "Stoner Jam", and played mostly tracks from the most recent album. They sound even heavier live, as there was a point where the sibling guitarists were headbanging and playing this loud, heavy shit that made me jealous that I hadn't grown up listening to Megadeth and Slayer, wearing black t-shirts with the band's name on them and hating my parents from the privelege of suburban ennui. For the record, that feeling disappeared quite quickly, replaced by my normal feelings of self-loathing and general fear. My main thought at the end of the show was bringing the trio back to Philly for an intimate, club show, where they could feel free to go crazy, destroy the audience, just wreck shit. I'mma try to make this happen, as it's time to start making Pound for Pound's presence felt on the streets too.
The above tracks come from the band's self-titled debut, Blood On The Wall. It's a pretty amazing first album, as their sound seems to have been built in their DNA, as you will hear the same energy, the rotating male-female vocals, rock riffs, great hooks and fine sopngwriting that you hear on Awesomer. This one is a little more lo-fi, and I don't feel like any of the tracks are bonafide hits. Buy it here, I recommend it highly. It's just a good, consistent album, a warning of the great things to come. You've been warned now.
Gene Pitney, "Town Without Pity"
Gene Pitney, "It Hurts To Be In Love"
Gene Pitney, "(The Man Who Shot) Liberty Valance"
Gene Pitney, "Only Love Can Break A Heart"
We lost another great one recently, as Gene Pitney passed away Wednesday. For those that don't know, he is one of the great singers of all-time, a huge name in the 50s and 60s. I came to him through his work with Burt Bacharach and Hal David, two of my all-time favorites. Pitney's incredible voice would feature on some of the duo's most romantic, pop ballads. Above are some tracks from The Look of Love: Burt Bacharach Collection and his most famous song, or at the very least my favorite by Pitney, "Town Without A Pity." Listen to these songs about love and heartbreak and remember Mr. Pitney.
Thursday, April 06, 2006
Yeah Yeah Yeahs, "Honeybear" (thanks to TA for making this choice)
Yeah Yeah Yeahs, "Cheated Hearts"
Gosh, whatta show! So good that it has me saying "Gosh"! For real, this one totally exceeded all of my expectations. I considered selling my tickets in advance, have been sick for the past few days and hadn't really given the new album much of a listen. Definitely not the recipe for a fun night out, let alone a revelatory experience. But, honestly, it kinda was. I have always considered the Yeah Yeah Yeahs a bit overrated. I've never really thought their albums have been anything spectacular, never understood the appeal of Karen O, felt like they took the attention away from too many more deserving bands.
Mang, was I wrong. From the first notes of "Gold Lion," the YYYs just fucking killed it. They are an amazing live band, so much louder and punkier than they have come across on wax. I mean, during one song, I really thought that Mike Patton or the bol from The Boredoms got up on stage with all of the screaming and vocal noise. They sounded so much louder and out of countrol than I expected, and the show went so smoothly-- they are much better musicians than you realize. The thought that came away with me from the show was that this seems like the type of band that we will be talking about when we are older. They bridge so many gaps, between indie and popular, between men and women, between convential and experimental. They seem like the type of band that can become so much bigger, that has room to grow beyond the confines of the blogs, Williamsburg, indie snobbery, etc.
The driving force behind this theory is Karen O. I feel bad for the other two members of the band, because they are just background when she is on stage. She is a bonafide superstar, completely magnetic. I watched her for the entire show, even staring offstage when she walked off during a song. We already know she's a fashion icon, rocking the looks that girls in Brooklyn and Philly haven't considered yet. But, she's also an incredibly talented singer, able to sing a ballad or scream like a banshee. During the show, I felt like she was a mixture of Bjork and Jenny Lewis, a more popular version of the former and crazier version of the latter.
As for the album, it's a good one. It seems to me to have what their previous two efforts don't: consistency. There's no really clunker on this album, although there isn't anything as great as "Maps" either. It's just a good album, with a few standout tracks, including "Gold Lion," which everyone and their mother has heard, and the tracks above. It seems like the perfect album for this moment, as it seems perfect for introducing them to a bigger audience, which will allow them to make some real gelt. We'll see, I guess. Buy the album here, as it's less than 10 bucks.
Lots of great YYY stuff on the blogs. to die by your side has a few live songs from their Washington D.C. gig that was broadcast on NPR. The Smudge of Ashen Fluff has their song on Letterman from last week. EAR FARM has a concert from 1993 in Germany. Mars Needs Guitars and gorilla vs. bear has the Nick Zinner remix of "Gold Lion." Neiles Life helps you check out much of the album to make sure wanna buy it. However, the creme de la creme comes from m3 online again, as they have The Faint's remix of "Y Control." Awesome, and reminds me that I need to up some Faint ASAP.
Wednesday, April 05, 2006
Blood On The Wall, "I'd Like To Take You Out Tonight"
Blood On The Wall, "Mary Susan"
I'm feeling under the weather today; it snowed earlier and am sitting next to three Wharton MBA douchebags in this cafe. Needless to say, it's not a good time. To cheer me up, I have decided to post up some tracks from Blood On The Wall, the opener tonight for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs at the Trocadero.
These songs come from their most recent album from 2005, Awesomer, which belonged in my Top 10 List. I came to this one late in the year, and didn't really have a chance to give it a thorough listening while making up the Top 10 list I did. It most certainly would have made it now, as it's mixture of indie, stoner rock and metal sound so right. BOTW is a trio, led by the brother-sister team of Courtney and Brian Shanks, who clearly were very influenced by the 80s indie scene. But this is not another retro band, copying its predecessors.
It's hard to put my finger on why these guys stand out so much for me, and don't fall into the black hole that is NYC hype bands. It really comes down to their songwriting ability and catchy songs, which force you to return to them again and again. Even in the midst of loud, sludgy song like the opener, "Stoner Jam," the band still keeps your attention with a good song underneath the guitars. Best of all, like Love Is All, they have that dual vocal, male-female Sonic Youth thang going, which y'all know I'm a sucka for.
Nick Sylvester gave it an 8.1 back in the day, and hinted at the reason this album works (if you can get through the pretentious name-dropping and gibberish). Tom Breihan from Status Ain't Hood has also shown love to these Brooklyners. The Simple Mission was also on the case months ago. Funtime OK posted up another tracks from the album recently. Cop the album here, you will not be disappointed.
-Brandon Stosuy had a nice piece on Blood On The Wall and the Brooklyn scene they came out of.
-Another nice thing is that the new Flaming Lips album, At War With The Mystics, is finally in stores, released yesterday. I'll put some tracks up in the next few days, although I am sure that everyone has already heard the album before it ever dropped. Even if you have, make sure you buy the album and support everyone's favorite drug explorers.
-The Brown Brothers are getting their site up and running, with promises of many mixes for download. In the meantime, they have up a Frank Ski mix from 1991 from a show on at [Via A Silent Flute]
-The best news of all is the downfall of this motherfucker, one of the worst, most corrupt human beings alive. The face of the modern day Republican Party and conservative movement.
Tuesday, April 04, 2006
Kelis (ft. Too $hort), "I'm Bossy"
Kelis (ft. Too $hort), "I'm Bossy" (clean)
Kelis, "I'm Bossy" (instrumental)
Not me, Kelis is the bossy one. In fact, I have learned that I am passive aggressive, but I digress. This is a great song from the Milkshake girl, amazing beat by Bangladesh, I think, not sure how much radio play it's getting. It's a slow, steady burner, it doesn't have that dancefloor feel that "Milkshake" has. But, I think I may like it more, to be honest, as it's got this delicious, slow bass line, Kelis' sexy voice talking about being icey and bossy, and like a banging bottle.
Shit, the video is fire too, a nice Dave LaChapelle jawn that has Kelis in all her glory. Love, love, love the second act in the bar, with the spotlight as the only light. Great shot, I think it's been used in N.E.R.D.'s "Lap Dance" and lots of other videos. It still works for me. Oh, and ladies, pay special attention to this video. Do you notice that Kelis has cut her famous afro, rocking the short hair and looking absolutely stunning. Peep the video here, and let's hear your thoughts. Of course, Hardly Art, Hardly Garbage was on this shit a few weeks ago, I ain't never gonna keep up with bol. Read the entire post, as he drops knowledge about Portnoy's Complaint, T.I.'s new album and all the things he loves in life.
Oh, and the greatest part of all is the guest verse by the one, the only Too $hort. The Oakland legend kills it with a rap that warns about these bossy women and the damage they can do to your money stacks. Mang, it is so nice to hear Short Dogg on a big track, as the man deserves a much bigger audience. I'm thinking that I'm going to do my part on that front and dedicate a few posts to the man and his music. It will be a nice continuation of the Bay Area ish and a good lead-in to our return to Miami bass and booty music. Awww, I hope y'all ready, as we bout to run this game for good.
Here are few boss things:
-Natalie Portman on SNL in "Gangsta Rap". Again, short hair, ladies. Just sayin.
-The new Clipse single, "Mr Mee Too", can be had at DJ Benzi's site. Love the ominous beat and the Clipse verses. Pharell, enough, please. I don't wanna hear about BAPEs or Ice Creams anymore. Stop. Make sure to thank Benzi by going back and copping his next mixtape (or an old one), which is dropping soon.
-Make sure to cop A Silent Flute's first foray into mixtape-making, Universal Dress Rehearsal, (or it's the first that I've caught). Great mix, not what I expected. No Bmore club bangers, no jungle madness. Instead, you get a laid-back trip through psychedelia, Brazilian bossa and funk. Is there a tracklisting?
Monday, April 03, 2006
Morrissey, "The Youngest Was The Most Loved"
Morrissey, "I'll Never Be Anybodys Hero Now"
There are some days that are just more important than other days. You wanna believe the idea that every day counts, that any day could be special. Fourth of July, Halloween, Thansgiving. Tomorrow is one of those days, as Morrissey's new album, Ringleader of the Tormentors, drops. I say that tomorrow is as great as all three of those holidays above put together, simply for the fact that this happens once every few years. You don't get to wake up to a brand new Morrissey CD annually.
I'm not sure what to say about this album, as I know that I'm too biased an observer. I admit it, I love the Smiths, Morrissey, and am as much a fanboy as my cold, dead heart allows. I actually beat my younger brother into a coma when he argued with me that The Queen Is Dead is not the greatest album of all-time. To this day, I do not regret doing so.
However, I hope that you have come to trust my critical judgements and adherence at all costs. With that said, this is a great CD, a great Morrissey solo album, a contender for album of the year. It has a more of a rocking sound than classics like Bona Drag and Viva Hate, a louder, more defiant sound. It makes sense, having heard Moz speaking recently, as he seems to be looking for trouble, calling out Canada, the Arctic Monkeys and Kate Moss. I like it, as he seems to be singing and writing with an eye to the world today, moving away from that depressed, self-absorbed person who speaks so clearly to me. Well, not that far away, evidenced by song titles like the ones above or the main single "You Have Killed Me." There are some references throughout to the war, to the mess that the world is, and none of it seems forced.
That being said, it is still a Morrissey album, and I don't know if this will change your thoughts on him. You either love him or hate him, and nothing on this album suggests that he will be getting a lot of new fans from this one. There's a little more balance lyrically, not all doom and gloom, so I hope that skeptics will give it a listen.
Make sure to buy the album tomorrow, as I'd like to see this one hold the #1 spot on Billboard. That would be a harbinger of great things to come for me, us, and the whole damn world.
Follow this man, people:
Follow Moz wherever he wants to take you.
Don Omar, Hector Y Zion, "Ronka"
Don Omar, "La Batidora"
Don Omar & Glory, "La Popola (remix)"
I had planned to open the week with some good reggaeton tracks in celebration of the amazing weather and the beginning of Spring. Ahhh, what a difference a day can make! I am typing this on a rainy, drizzly, damp day, a complete turnaround from the beautiful days that had everyone outside recently. Well, hopefully, these songs will bring the sunshine back, and remind G-d or Mother Nature or whoever is responsible for this shit, that enough is enough. We have suffered enough shitty days.
These tracks come off of a Don Omar mixtape, Kings of the Game: Don Omar, Volume 2, which collects some of the man's best songs and remixes. I think that these are the best ways to get into reggaeton, starting with the masters like Omar, Daddy Yankee and Tego Calderon. There's a reason that these names are so synonymous with the genre, as they are the most consistent hitmakers so far. FYI, I have chosen some of the weirder tracks off of this mixtape, skipping all of his hits that are on his album and that I have uploaded here before. Cop the mixtape here, and take a look around a great resource for reggaeton street tapes.
More reggaeton to follow in the next few weeks, as it becomes more and more necessary as the temperature heats up. I'm on it.
-Another sign of spring and warmer weather came today, as the Phillies started their season today. Err, nevermind. By the time I got to check out the game, they were down 10-0 in the fourth inning. Ten to fucking nothing.
-While we're on depressing shit, check out this essential article by Murray Waas in the National Journal on just how hard the Bush White House worked to keep the public in the dark on the lies they told to get us to war. Josh Marshall has more to add to this cover-up. [Via Firedoglake]
-Starting tomorrow, no more doom and gloom. Onward and upward, people. If Mother Nature won't, I'm going to bring the heat.