Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Menomena - Friend Or Foe

Menomena, "Rotten Hell" (YSI link)

Menomena's Friend Or Foe is one of the first hyped records of 2007, as it's been getting lots of blog and Pitchfork love. It's my first time hearing this band, as I haven't heard their earlier albums. The consensus seems to be that this is their most accomplished, so I don't feel so bad. It was released on the excellent Barsuk label about a month ago, complete with an amazing cover and packaging.

The music inside is pretty good too, definitely not the typical indie retread crap that passes for buzz today. I'm reminded of bands like Animal Collective, Flaming Lips, Deerhoof, Man Man and Neutral Milk Hotel, just to give you a sense of what to expect. It's got lots of falsetto vocals, stops and starts, interesting instrumentation (love the baritone sax!). It straddles the line between pop and experimental, like the bands I mentioned before. On first listening, it seemed like I wasn't quite getting it. Nothing sounded terrible, but it wasn't that great either. Repeated listens are the key, as the songs started to make more sense to me and my ears kind of adjusted, so to speak. The band uses some sort of computer program to create loops that they then build songs from (correct me if I'm wrong about this).

I recommend this one, definitely worth a purchase. It's held my attention, despite the fact that I've been pretty soured on indie and more experimental music lately. So, all my dance and rap and booty fans, give it a chance and get some new sounds in your life. Grab a copy here and let me know what you think.

-There's an amazing party in Manhattan happens tonight celebrating the 2 year anniversary of Chinatown reggae shop Deadly Dragon Sound. This is a serious list of performers - Tony Screw, Johnny Osbourne, Ranking Joe, Carlton Livingston. Wow is all you can say. It all goes down at Happy Ending (302 Broome St.), not to be missed.

-Flier of the night goes to High Voltage at Sutra (16 1st Ave.) with Dimitry and DJ Tanner. Special guests tonight are Zachary Palmer from L Magazine and Miami's John Vincent.

-Pound for Pound is all about the kids. So are Guns 'n' Bombs apparently, as they guest DJ Trash and Diamonds, a new Wednesday LA dance party that's open to 18+ crowd. Get yourself to The Social (6525 Sunset Blvd.) and be young again!

Trash And Diamonds

-Or if you don't like being in the same room as teenagers, head to Moscow at Boardners (1652 N. Cherokee). Heart of the Sunset Strip, baby!

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

-Finally, DJ JJC and APT One have the party name of the night with Hakeem Olajuwon Is The Next American Idol at Upstairs at Sal's (12th and Walnut-ish).

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Bob Dylan - Visions of Johanna

Bob Dylan, "Visions of Johanna"

Bob Dylan, "Visions of Johanna (alternate take)" (YSI link)

Bob Dylan, "Visions of Johanna (live 1966 "Royal Albert Hall")

Bob Dylan, "Visions of Johanna (4.13.66 The Stadium Sydney Australia)

Bob Dylan, "Visions of Johanna (5.06.66 Gaumont Theater Sheffield, England)
(YSI link)

Bob Dylan, "Visions of Johanna (live 11.02.2006 Auburn Hills, MI) (YSI link)

Well, the time has come. I am finally going to discuss what I believe to be the greatest song ever written, "Visions of Johanna." Not surprisingly, this is by Bob Dylan, as I'm guessing no one expected me to think a Wang Chung song was the greatest of all-time. I feel like this is the perfect follow-up to our last post on The Mountain Goats' recent album chronicling the aftermath of a break-up. No one has ever turned that state into art more brilliantly than Bob Dylan in "Visions."

I can't remember the first time I heard this song, can't even remember if it struck me as profoundly as it does today. It comes in early (Track 3) on Blonde On Blonde, Dylan's magnum opus. That album's so jam packed and long that it could've gotten lost. It wasn't until I went through my own descent into near-madness after a break-up that this song took its place in pantheon. It was until a recent one that it was elevated to the very top, that song that seemed so much more than a song, it seems to speak to me.

From that first harmonica note on the original, you know that this is going to be a dark journey. It sounds like a cry, or maybe a crippling sigh, the sounds of a broken man. The sound is almost reserved in a way, with the eerie organ work and acoustic strumming. It's only the burst of electric chords that indicate a fire still there. For me, the song is about the aftermath of a breakup, lost love haunting a broken heart. It's a song about ghosts, the ghost of an ex-lover and how s/he never leaves you. From there, it becomes all about the lyrics, which paint pictures of a man unable to sleep in a NYC loft (I write at 1:30 am, jewels and binocular hanging from the head of a mule and much more. They're amazing, drug visions, crazy talk, words that come to haunt you as much as the memories haunt the narrator of the song.

What this song really brings home to me is how essential this notion of haunting is to the greatest works of art. Whether it's being haunted by one's influences, a ghost or memories, it's what elevates a particular work for me. It's the one condition that speaks to me, the notion that we are nothing more than memories, fighting them, trying to understand them, coming to terms with them. In "Visions of Johanna," Dylan has put all of this into one seven and a half minute song.

I've tried to put a pretty good selection of recorded versions of this song, giving you in its recorded, live, electric and acoustic variations. I put up the original Blonde on Blonde version, but everyone needs that album in their life. Buy it now, do not pass Go, do not collect $200. I also put up the alternate take from the No Direction Home soundtrack, Scorcese's Dylan documentary. It's a more electric affair and is a revelation. The Hawks are the backing band, I believe, and that electric sound really fits the song's lyrics about madness and the city. After that, three live performances from 1966 in all of their solo acoustic glory. It's stunning to hear Dylan get up there all by himself and captivate an audience, I kinda feel like this is the perfect form for this song, one man singing his heart out, alone.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Stage Show Riddim

(Baby) Cham, "Rudeboy Pledge" (YSI link)

Spice and Pinchers, "Rudeboy Love" (YSI link)

Assassin, "Good Over Evil" (YSI link)

I can't believe that it's snowing out again, what a supreme disappointment. I can't bear to consider weeks more of snow and cold on the East Coast, so I'm going to put up some dancehall and pretend it's 90 degrees and the ladies are in bikinis and I've got too much sand in my bathing suit. Serenity now!

Here's one of my favorite riddims I've heard in a minute, the Stage Show riddim. It's another Dave Kelly classic, the man who is responsible for literally hundreds of amazing riddims over the past few decades. I owe this post to my bol Project Matt, who has the Cham song above, "Rudeboy Pledge" as his song on myspace. It immediately hit me, as Cham has this great voice and sing-talks about how he has forgotten about his hood and city, while his rivals live it up elsewhere. Oh but it's the instrumental that floored me, this minimalist classic that has a simply huge loping bassline. Add to that steel drums and a vocoder-y vocal that helps make the melody and you have another heater.

The Spice and Pincher version might be the most club-friendly, featuring a nice female-male back and forth vibe. Assassin delivers something more in line with the Cham one, shouting down Babylon, another real good tune. Grab the Riddim Driven : 2 Bad Riddims for a nice look at two Dave Kelly riddims coming out of his Mad House Productions. Grab the Cham from Turntable Lab.

-Read the latest Seymour Hersh article in the New Yorker, where Hersh looks at the new Bush policy in the Middle East. It basically entails us cozying up to Sunni extremists, a.k.a. Al Queda supporters, you know the people who attacked us on September 11th, in the region to undermine Iran. Kevin Drum has more on the insanity, as do both Digby and Tristero at Hullabaloo.

-Glenn Greenwald of Salon destroys the despicable coward Joe Lieberman over Joementum's op-ed today in the WSJ on the "new" Iraq policy. It really does sum up the Iraq tragedy, the lies, the incompetence, the fascist attacks on dissent.

-Since the world is probably coming to an end, you might as well party. Tonight, Roxy Cottontail brings in Texas mixtape legend Rapid Ric for her weekly Sway jawn (305 Spring St.). It should be a massive night of Texas rap, not sure what else you could ask for on a Monday.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Lo-Fi-Fnk - Boylife

Lo-Fi-Fnk, "Steppin' Out" (YSI link)

Lo-Fi-Fnk, "The End" (YSI link)

I figured that I would finally take a look at Lo-Fi-Fnk, a band that DJ Never Forget put me on months ago in honor of No Big Deal last night. Let's see, the band is a duo consisting of Leo on vocals and lots of instruments and August on drums. Boylife is their first full length release, coming out in 2006 on Moshi Moshi. They're yet another brilliant young Swedish band, repping Stockholm to full effect.

The music should appeal to anyone who likes the music I post up here. It's right in line with bands like Hot Chip, The Blow, you know, all of those great artists who are blurring the line between electro and rock, dance and indie. The songs here are much more on the lighter side than most of the reference points I named, just gorgeous, beautiful music that makes you think of spring and warm weather and 40s and girls and rooftops and water ice.

-Aww yeah, all kinds of Pound for Pound crossover effect tonight in LA. My bol Daniel's amazing weekly Le Disko has special guest DJs Lauren Flax and E Frank in from NYC for the best thing in that city (sorry Oscar). It goes down at Safari Sam's (5214 Sunset Blvd.), not to be missed.

-Huge props to the Finger On The Pulse bols and Cousin Cole and anyone else who had in putting togther No Big Deal last night at Studio B. It was a great night, real nice crowd of people there to dance with no concern for what photo website was in the house, nice mix of music, yeah! I know that this one will go down again in a month or two, I'll keep you posted.

Oh, and the iPod battle beforehand was bizarre. One of the teams was disqualified when he attempted to smash the face of a competitor with a skateboard, then his fist when the skateboard was taken away. The finals didn't happen b/c a team that seemed to have a bye into the finals had an older iPod that didn't fit in the dock system. Congrats to the Wowch guys on their victory, I think.


Saturday, February 24, 2007

The Black Ghosts - Face

The Black Ghosts, "Face (original)" (YSI link)

The Black Ghosts, "Face (Switch remix)" (YSI link) 320 for the DJs!!!

The Black Ghosts, "Face (Teenagers remix)" (YSI link)

The Black Ghosts, "Face (The Little Digitals remix)"

We're getting back into the swing of things here, so of course we need to drop some indie dance bangers. This one comes from a mysterious group called The Black Ghosts, which consists of four members I believe. There's an air of mystery to them, as the picture above is the only one I could find that showed the band members. But, who gives a shit if they're gonna drop such goodness? This one's got all the elements, a nice catchy refrain ("Face the music"), synths, sick bassline, perfectly in line with bands like The Presets and Klaxons.

There's been a ton of remixes, although the two main ones came from Switch and a new band called The Teenagers. I'm feeling the Switch one the most, but all of them are quite excellent. Switch really reworks the original, chopping it up, add percussion and let's the whole thing build steam until becomes an almost tribal banger. The Teenagers don't fool with things too much, adding percussion, lightening up the darker original.

-My bol Project Matt does up Saturdazed at Home Sweet Home with special guest Nick Catchdubs. Village Voice called this the flier of the week and did a mini-interview with Matt. I'll go one better and say that this is the best weekly in NYC, great music, chill spot, no Manhattan douchebags, cheap drinks. People are still kinda sleeping on this, so lemme just say: Stop! Make this a weekly stop, Pound for Pound approved.

-DMZ meets Dub War downtown at Tonic (107 Norfolk). Direct Drive, Dub War and XLR8R bring you jungle, dubstep and drum 'n' bass in the Lower East Side, should be an amazing night.

-Philly, what should you do tonight? Spend the night with the Philadelphyinz a.k.a. DJs Skinny Friedman and Apt One at their monthly Khyber jawn. $1 PBR til 11, there may or may not be dirt bike riding, show up to find out.

-Also, stop by for 80s Night at Upstairs at Sal's and relieve that unremembered decade. Free Sparks, DJ Solobuns and the Super Todd Bros on the decks, 80snewwaveromanticindiedance, yeah!

-Finally, DJ DJ Dylan a.k.a. Le Castle Vania spins at MJQ in Atlanta. No flier, but trust me it'll be good.

No Big Deal Is A Huge Fucking Deal - New Party Alert NYC

New York City, meet the new boss. Two of my favorite DJs in the world, Never Forget and Terry Diabolik a.k.a. them Finger On The Pulse bols, have started up a new party called No Big Deal and I can't recommend it more highly. It's got all the prerequisites for Pound for Pound approval - amazing DJs, great space, cheap drinks, cute girls, the possibility that I'll hear Hot Chip. Cousin Cole joins FOTP up front, there's a ton of DJs in the back room although I have no clue what the back room is at Studio B. Shit, Studio B is the best spot in Brooklyn, huge space, great dancefloor, nice lounge-type jawn in the back. For real, this is gonna bring back that old Williamsburg style - crazy, fun, drunken, debaucherous. There's no other place you should be tonight. RSVP at for free entry. Check out the last Never Forget mix for a sense of the soundtrack for the night:

DJ Never Forget, 2nd Class: The Story Of A Laptop DJ

Oh, and there's also a special Ipod Battle presented by Ouh La La going down with four teams of DJs putting together their best sets with the little gadget that makes riding the subway possible. (Crazy person, I can't hear you with this headphones in ears, sorry!) The Wowch guys are there, the White Doves ladies, many others, kicking out the mp3 jams.

This one is going to become a monthly down the road, so get a taste now as this is gonna be an essential night. Pound for Pound approved, see you there!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

DJ Funk - Live at Bootyology

DJ Funk, Live at Bootyology Part 1 (YSI link)

DJ Funk, Live at Bootyology Part 2 (YSI link)

Aww, here's a little treat my dear readers, in honor of DJ Funk's gig tonight in New York fucking City. (Have I mentioned that party? Yes, right here.) Funk is way too underrecorded, especially for being the main figure behind the Chicago ghetto house sound. Dude was on Dance Mania for g-dsakes, one of the greatest dance labels that ever existed and yet it's hard to find anything he's put out. Recent stuff is almost non-existent. Let's work on that everybody, although I may have to step into fill that void. Any one know how to start a label?

Here's a live set that DJ Funk did, although the details are very sketchy. It's done for a party called Bootyology and showed up on CD a few years ago. I do not know the date or specific venue/city, nor do I have the setlist. If you have any of this info, please leave a comment or email me and I will be incredibly grateful. All in all, you get 40+ minutes of jackin' booty music, perfectly mixed. I really don't know how the entire world doesn't love this shit and want to listen to it every minute of the day and get married and make babies and fight and hug and eat and sleep to it. I'm sitting here ready to do all of those, although the lack of a partner makes it kinda creepy. For real, this is dance music, this is what this blog is all about. Enjoy

-NYC, your last warning. DJ Funk, DJ Assault, Spank Rock, Stretch Armstrong and others pay tribute to Disco D at Studio B (274 Banker St.) I cannot recommend this more highly. Prove me wrong, show up, dance, don't worry about the cameras taking your flick for some website, just listen to the greatest music in the world and have fun.

-Dave P join Julie G and AJW for some initials goodness at the Khyber (3rd and Chestnut, sort of) with the Driz Horse in Philly

-Hurrah! at Upstairs at Sal's in Philly (12th and Walnut, sort of) with Kyle M, Stereofaith, Chris Rogy and Shawn Ryan

-Denver, White Girl Lust is back together again for tonight's edition of Tramp! at the Rock Bar(3015 E. Colfax) More to come on WGL this week, I am confident that Eric and Clay will channel Funk and Assault tonight

Disco D Tribute at Studio B tonight

Tonight's the night, Brooklyn. The final Disco D tribute is going down in Greenpoint and it features quite possibly the dream Pound for Pound line-up. DJ fucking Funk and DJ Assault are both spinning sets tonight, along with legends like Stretch Armstrong. That's right, DJ Funk and DJ Assault. Same night. Same place. I really can't say any more about this; if you're not already sold, there ain't nothin' I can do to make your life better. Say hi if you see me!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The Mountain Goats - Get Lonely

The Mountain Goats, "Half Dead" (ezarchive link)

The Mountain Goats, "Woke Up New"
(ezarchive link)

This post is dedicated to me, because I feel sad and I'm listening to lots of sad music. It don't come any sadder than The Mountain Goats' Get Lonely, one of last year's best albums. Let's get this out of the way: I just got the album, didn't have a chance to really listen to it before I made my year end lists. This is a huge omission, as it's wonderful and one of the best of the year and so those lists are probably obsolete but that's the beauty of music and lists and nerdom. New things are always coming to the fore, forcing you to change what you listen to.

Get Lonely is quite possibly the greatest work created from the ashes of a break-up since Blood On The Tracks. I must confess that I don't have much history with The Mountain Goats, so I don't know if this is typical of their work or not. The band is really John Darnielle, who has been the one mainstay through various line-ups over the years.

I think that the brief conversation between Tom Breihan of Pitchfork and Darnielle is the best thoughts on the album I've come across:

Darnielle: Have you heard the new album?
Me: Yeah, I just got it.
Darnielle: What do you think?
Me: I've only heard it a couple of times; I'm still processing.
Darnielle: Do you have a girlfriend?
Me: Yeah, she's right over...
Darnielle: I hope she leaves you. Then you'll understand it.

I can't speak how truthful it is for those who haven't suffered a break-up and the collapse of a relationship. For me personally, this album is the truth. Darnielle takes us inside after the collapse of his own relationship, exposing us to the pain and struggle and false starts of recovery that we all go through. As he sings on "Woke Up New", "On the morning that I woke with you for the first time, I felt free and I felt lonely and I felt scared." He then goes on to discuss the disconcerting reality of suddenly being alone, from making coffee for two to drinking it because his ex didn't like to waste things to talking to himself to fill the silence.

This album isn't an easy listen, as personal works rarely are. It tends to stay within the acoustic parameters set up, as the music is never really very loud or energized. That's not to say that it's a blur of same-sounding acoustic strumming, as there is more upbeat tunes, some are sparser than others. I'm really not sure if this album is for everyone, but I really can't believe that there is someone out there who hasn't experienced heartbreak at some point. This album should speak to everyone, I can't recommend it more highly. Go here and buy it, let me know what you think.

-I figured that I'd hype a few of my recent articles for the Philadelphia Weekly. Check out this one on the new clothing boutique Umoi, which specializes in Japanese clothing and trends. More recently, I profiled Philadelphian Jeremy Dean of House 33 who has started his own line called Double Edge Sword. Some real sick t-shirts in the first line, check out some of them and holler at him on myspace. I'm gonna do more detailed posts about both of these two in the near future, as this is the new Philly rising and what else am I here for than to spread the word about this? Oh, and I think that this one is kinda funny for a Valentine's Day party.

-I have begun using Axe Body Wash these past few weeks. I'd like to say that at no point has anyone's mother or a gaggle of hot young babes come onto me and propositioned me. I cannot believe that the company lied in its ads, so my only answer is that the fact that I have a blog offsets the pheromones of the Axe. I'm asking the manufacturer to create a blogger edition, one that is extra strength and can overcome the embarrassing fact

-Finally, add Pound for Pound as your myspace friend, as I'm gonna start utilizing that more and more for party info, extras, maybe even more free music! Plus, you know you wanna say that you had P4P as a friend before it blew up like the blogger

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Erol Alkan - Disco 2006 mix

Update: I re-upped the mix, just click on the link and it should be good to go.

Erol Alkan, Disco 2006 mix
(YSI link)

Here's a little Sunday treat for everyone, Erol Alkan's Disco 2006 mix that he did for Mixmag. I thought it would be a great shortcut to the best singles and remixes of the year, as I honestly don't have the ability to either rate all of the amazing songs from this year nor the desire to chronicle all in a few posts. Mr. Alkan has done me a favor and put together a 70 minute mix that incorporates many of the best that would have ended up on any list. I'll leave the tracklisting in the comments, but you'll hear The Knife, Hot Chip, Justice, Digitalism, Peaches, Spank Rock, Switch. In essence, a full year of posts at Pound for Pound, a great chance to hear the best music of the whole year. I've already discussed it, but let me repeat that this electro/house/dBest of all, it's done by Erol Alkan, another man who helped make 2006 amazing. Mixmag named him DJ of the year, so it makes sense that he put this mix together.

My only qualm with it is in the title. Just not sure how literal the word Disco is meant to be. If it references the disco as club, that's cool. But, if it's meant to describe the music on the mix, I don't get it.

This week, I'm gonna wrap up my look back on 2006 with a few posts on albums that meant a lot to me, amazing LPs that may not have gotten as much blog hype and media attention as I think they deserve. Basically, albums and mixes that I really think you need to buy from artists on the rise who helped define the year for me. Of course, we'll have our regular mix of new and old too; the time to look back is ending, on all fronts.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Ricardo Villalobos Remixes

Depeche Mode, "The Sinner In Me (Ricardo Villalobos Concave remix)"
(YSI link)

Rhythm & Sound, "Let We Go (Villalobos remix)" (YSI link)

I said that I would try to dig deeper into dance music and here we go. Ricardo Villalobos is a pretty huge name, but I've only recently begun listening to his tunes and remixes. He's

-Amazing event tonight at Studio B in Greenpoint. The Rapture have started a new label, Throne of Blood, which is releasing vinyl for the clubs. Tonight, they're celebrating with the FUN crew. You get a live mini-set from the band, DJ sets from Druzzi and Mattie, James F!@#$%^ Friedman, Max Pask and The Wiz. That's on top of the resident FUN dudes, The Bangers and Eamon Harkin. Like whoa. See ya there!

-Club82 Calling All DJs tonight at Club Avalon (1735 N. Vine St.) with my bol Daniel Linton, DJ Papparazi and others, along with special guest sets by members of We Are Scientists, Louis XIV and Secret Machines.

-Berlin, stand up! Best Sweater Party with DJ Almost Tropical at the Stella Bar!

fri 16 flyer

-Plastic Little in Baltimore at Taxlo

-Hands and Knees with special guest Shaun Sheridan at the M Room in Philly

Disco D Tributes in NYC

I wanted to give a special heads up to 2 special parties going down in New York City in the next week honoring Disco D. The first one happens tonight and it features a full set by DJ Godfather.

That is a massive line-up, as it's almost overwhelming to think of the Federation Sound crew and Lauren Flax and the Booty Bar Throwdown all in one place for 6 hours. The bass might bring the place to the ground. Why oh why does this have to happen at The Delancey?!? I'm not even going to get into why I don't want to go to this spot, as they're personal, ugh.

Next Wednesday Brooklyn gets into the act with a simply massive party at Studio B. 5 words : DJ Funk and DJ Assault. Yes, the kings of ghettohouse and ghettotech are in the house doing seperate sets. I'm speechless at this line-up, as

I hope that people will make it out to at least one of these nights and pay their respects to the memory of Dave Shayman and his musical legacy. All proceeds are going to Neutral Zone, a Ann Arbor, Michigan youth charity. Thanks to all of those who are involved in putting together, from Matt and Funtime Party Team, New York Fucking City, Oxy Cottontail, Lauren Flax, Jukebox Heroes, Cut, Databass, Mass Appeal, Good Peoples and anyone else I'm missing, as this is an amazing tribute to the man. I'll be at both, you should be there too.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Krazy Baldhead - Bill's Break

Krazy Baldhead, "Bill's Break" (YSI link)

Krazy Baldhead, "Bill's Break (Feadz remix)" (YSI link)

It's been a minute since I dropped any Ed Banger jawns, so I'm correcting this now. I know that they've got a lot of new stuff dropping now and in the near future, including Krazy Baldhead's new 12", but I wanted to take it back to the old days. All the way back to 2004. You remember it, when we were at war with Iraq, and this blog was just a figment in the imagination of a nerd. Seems like ages ago. Anyway, this 12" is the fourth release on Ed Banger Records, but you can already hear a distinct sound. Stuttering beats, tons of synth action, mutant bangers in a sense.

-I mentioned it in the last post, but it deserves 2 mentions. Ed Banger in NYC! Uffie! Feadz! You also get Philly's V.I.P., although they may be based in NYC now which lessens my recommendation.

-Beforehand, you can hit up Splash Dance! with Lauren Flax and Defidelity 5-6000 at Hotel QT (125 W. 45th St., yes 45th St.). Johnny Love of Guns'n'Bombs is not going to be there, as he's stuck in Boston.

-Broadzilla Thursday night jump-off at Upstairs at Sal's, this is your new Thursday night spot Philly.

-Bangerism jumps off in Portland tonight with special guest DJ Never Forget. He's joining Hoop Dreams and Pointblank at Dunes for Plug pre-party

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself

Lloyd Cole and Robert Quine, "I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself" (YSI link)

Tommy Hunt, "I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself" (YSI link)

Dusty Springfield, "I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself" (YSI link)

Elvis Costello, "I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself (live)" (YSI link)

The White Stripes, "I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself"
(YSI link)

I'm sure many readers were taken aback with my post yesterday filled with beautiful love songs. Fear not, dear reader, it was only a momentary lapse. It's time to get back to some of that good old-fashioned heartbroken music, the only stuff that you really remember. Admit it, it's the sad songs that help you get through that break-up or death or sadness that are dearest to you. It's those songs that you remember more clearly, that you turn to with an eagerness that the happy stuff in happy times can never understand.

Here's quite possibly the greatest sad song ever written, "I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself." The song's written by Mr. Burt Bacharach with lyrics by Mr. Hal David. Bacharach-David needs to be a part of any true music fan's life. I consider their work to be among the most important composing team in pop history. I'll get to them more in the future, but for now, let's start with one of their greatest songs. For me, the best and quintissential version is probably the most obscure. Lloyd Cole and Robert Quine did their version for Tzadik's Great Jewish Music: Burt Bacharach tribute and it is perfect. I love the simple, guitars only, minimalist take, allowing the heartbreaking lyrics to take front and center. Listen for the subtle drone throughout, as if a wailing person sits in the studio.

I'd say the best known comes from Bacharach regular Dusty Springfield. I'm sure you've heard her "Son Of A Preacher Man", but if that is all you know, you're missing out. She's got the most amazing voice, it easily conveys the sadness in this song. Elvis Costello's live version does the same, as this is an early version of Costello's recent poppier work (who did he collaborate with? Burt Bacharach!). Tommy Hunt did the original version in 1963, a tad too reserved perhaps for my taste, but it's hard to hate this song ever.

Until we hear the White Stripes version. Not feeling this one at all, the noisy interlude ruin the mood, doesn't work for me. I want to dedicate this post to [redacted] and [redacted], I hope that they are well. Hearing Cole sing the lyrics, "I'm so used to doing everything with you/Planning everything for two/And now that we're through/I just don't know what to do with my time" I want to cry. If it doesn't do the same for you, I can only guess you've never had a broken heart.

-I just don't know what to do with myself when I see how stupid and gullible the media are. The best example came this past week with the fake controversy over Nancy Pelosi and the plane she uses for traveling home from DC. It was a fake story started by the right wing nutjob blogs, hyped by the rightwing media like Fox and NY Post, and then picked up uncritically by the mainstream media. Suddenly, a lie becomes truth for lots of people. Oh, journalists, have you heard about what's happening in Iraq? Not good.

-I do know what I would with myself right now. Head over to Palms Out Sounds for an amazing Daft Punk post, covering all of the samples they've used in their work. If my jealousy at not having done this first is any indication, this is post of the year in the blog world.

-I do know what I'm doing with myself tonight. Uffie and the Ed Banger crew tonight at Hiro. More to come on this in a bit. Ed Banger? I didn't even touch her.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day - Phil Spector's Girl Groups

Who wants to be Pound for Pound's Valentine?

Darlene Love, "(Today I Met) The Boy I'm Gonna Marry" (YSI link)

The Crystals, "Then He Kissed Me" (YSI link)

The Paris Sisters, "I Love How You Love Me" (YSI link)

The Crystals, "He's Sure The Boy I Love" (YSI link)

The Ronettes, "Be My Baby" (YSI link)

Hope everyone is having a great Valentine's Day or completely ignoring it. Since it's a day for love, I figured that I'd throw up some classic love songs from the Phil Spector-produced girl groups of the 1960s. I'm not sure why, but these songs just seem so perfect for thisw day. These ain't slow-jams, baby-making music, this is just beautiful music that's all about being in love and kissing and holding hands. Yeah, I know that you were expecting some filthy bass music or depressed singer-songwriter shit, but that's what we're all about here. Fucking with your head, maaaaaayyyyynnnnnnn.

For real, these songs above will probably sound immediately familiar to anyone who ever listened to the oldies station with their parents. While they may be familiar, that doesn't decrease their awesomeness. I highly recommend splurging and grabbing the boxed set that these mp3s come from, Back To Mono.

-My permanent Valentine is Philadelphia. I'd spend the night at The M Room with the Broadzilla peeps at the I Love You I Hate You Valentine's Prom. Don't sit at home bitching about Hallmark and watching your Tivo'd What Not To Wear and Law & Order episodes (hypothetical scenario).

-Awesometown has the XOXO Party tonight in LA at the Short Stop with Dirty Dave, Alex Ebert, Ross Angeles and DJ Chips


-I wish I was in Paris now and forever. Tonight, hang out with Orgasmic for his CD release at Rex Club.

-DJ Tiny Pants and Oliver are holding it down at Royal Oak, which may get a late Pound for Pound appearance.

-High Voltage at Sutra (1st and 1st) with Dimitry, DJ Tanner and guests Alex English and Shaun Slaughter. Dimitry promises that you'll get laid.

-Philly takes over NYC with Can't Stop. Won't Stop. at Sweet Paradise (14 Orchard St.) with the Philly trio of Andy Pry, Bushy and Dances With White Girls
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-Happy BDay to Numbskull, celebrating at Triple Crown in Williamsburg

-Finally, Williamsburg's own DJ Never Forget is out in Eugene, Oregon for a Northwest Takeover at Indigo District

Best Albums 2006 - Love Love Love

Cat Power, be my Valentine and we will walk in a field of flowers

Okay, here's the last post with a bunch of 2006 albums and me droning on about them. Since it's Valentine's Day, I thought that it would be appropriate to end all of this on the albums I just love love love, as the subtle title indicates. These are my favorites from the non-dance genre (cop-out, you betcha), the five best LPs of the year (along with Hot Chip and The Knife). For real, these albums floored me the first time I heard them and never let go throughout the year.

1) Cat Power, The Greatest - I assume that everyone knew this was coming. Chan Marshall dropped a stunningly beautiful album early in 2006 and it probably competed with Hot Chip for most listens over the entire year. G-d, you need to hear this one. Rock music and I don't always get along; in fact, most of the time I just don't think we're that into each other. But, then along comes an album that floors me and I understand the power of rock. The Greatest is in the tradition of redemptive music, songs about love, love lost, struggles with demons, overcoming, falling. I don't throw the comparison around often, but there's a lot of Dylan in here. I also see the comparison in the fact that Marshall's sound on this album is 180 degrees from her previous guise as a solo, singer-songwriter. Here she becomes a blueswoman, fronting a rocking, soul/r&b band. Such a great sound on this one, lots of horns and piano and sha-boop backup vocals. To top it off, the voice seals the deal. It's raspy, forceful at times, soft at other times, not always perfect, in other words she's got a expressive, human voice that fits these songs perfectly.

Cat Power, "Willie" (YSI link)

2) Clipse, Hell Hath No Fury - This is a stone-cold classic, an album that I will return for many years. I know that this one gets a lot of hate from rap fans, as they loathe hipsters like me carpetbagging or whatever the fuck they think. While I won't defend my credentials, I will defend this album. For me, it's in the greatest tradition of cold, nihilistic rap music, best exemplified by Mobb Deep's first two albums (maybe the Wu's first one too, as I imagine everyone has heard that). The beats are cold and brutal, the lyrics even moreso. While I love the standard thug stuff, this one takes it all to the next levels with brilliant lyrics and an awareness of the world, the rap game, even the reality of being known for selling drugs. At no point does it turn this into inspirational garbage, it looks at the blackness and shrugs it shoulders.

Clipse, "Keys Open Doors" (YSI link)

3) Liars, Drum's Not Dead - The final album in the trilogy, Liars' latest album was their best and one of the best of the year. The band was one of the original names lumped into the disco-punk movement a few years back. I'm not sure the tag ever fit, but since they've moved to Berlin and dropped this album, it's almost farcical. Drum's Not Dead is a concept album, telling the story of Drum, although the only concept I really follow is that of kicking ass. This one is dark, dense, not an easy listen. But unlike the majority of experimental music, it never seems pretentious or difficult for difficult sake. Maybe that's a result of their understanding of the dancefloor from the beginning, I don't know. Either way, this is one of the best albums of the year.

Liars, "Let's Not Wrestle Mt. Heart Attack" (YSI link)

Honorable Mention: Regina Spektor, Begin To Worry; T.I., King; TV On The Radio, Return To Cookie Mountain

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The Year In Books With Piano & Scene


This is a special edition of Pound for Pound, as it's that rarest of rarest beasts here, a guest post. I believe it's the first one, in fact. I can't think of a person I'd rather have put their imprint on this blog than the one and only Jennifer Cacicio, a.k.a. piano&scene, a.k.a. The Fort Greene Assassin. You haven't heard of her? You will. Jennifer is one of the most talented, brilliant writers I know, currently finishing up her first novel. If you are an editor reading this, get in touch immediately, as you do not wanna sleep and miss out on a chance to sign the next Joan Didion. She's also the woman behind piano and scene, the cool literary buttons that I hyped a few months ago and which are about to find their way into stores this Spring.

I asked her to do a post on a topic that I love, books. While I love to read and buy them, J has made it a mission to make reading cool again. From the buttons with your favorite authors on them to her booklog called I heart reading. about recent reads, she makes it all feel special and exciting. Almost like you're back being a kid, psyched to check out the latest Choose Your Own Adventure book at the library (Harlowe Thrombey, holler!). That's the way it should be, as there are so many amazing books and young writers and classics that can provide you with the chance to imagine a different world. She's a great guide to bringreadingback, she's got amazing taste (she covers two of my favorite books of all-time below) and she writes about it all with intelligence and fun.

Thanks to JC for doing this and taking time out of her busy schedule to school us all. Please check out her piano&scene site and cop a few buttons to show some appreciation. Add her as a friend on myspace to find out more about what she's got cooking. Such big things in 2007, (publishers, for real, don't sleep). I'm hoping that we'll be able to get her to do some more at Pound for Pound. For now, enjoy my homey's post.


I’m not much of a hardcover girl. I read everywhere – on the subway, at my desk, even in the bathtub (just ask my copy of Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying, forever wrinkly and yellowed thanks to a tub full of bubbles), and being one who already carries half of her life around in her purse (read: duffle bag), my right shoulder just can’t handle the extra few pounds. Not to mention I’m broke. I mean, those timeless hardcovers will look lovely on your shelf, but they’ll also set you back nearly thirty bucks a pop. Do you have any idea how many used books you can buy for that?

My point is that the books that make up my “Best Books of 2006” round-up didn’t necessarily come out last year (although one of them did). I’ll most likely get around to reading last year’s best-sellers this year. It’s just sort of how I operate – no real rhyme or reason. I let one book lead me to the next. But I will admit that I considered fudging this whole thing, adding books I read before last year, piecing the list together carefully and with precision, trying to out-mixtape everybody, if you know what I mean. I could’ve added Bellow or Dickens to command respect, Berman or Brautigan to prove my indie-cred. I mean, how would you know which books I actually read last year? But in the end I decided just to be truthful. Of the many books I happened to read in 2006, these five are the ones that at first I couldn’t put down, and then still couldn’t stop thinking about once I did. Simply put, these are the ones that will stick.

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
Michael Chabon
Published Sept. 2000; Read Jan. 2006

It’s difficult to explain this book to someone who has never read it. It’s nearly impossible to articulate the serious power that Michael Chabon has over language – to say that he has the English language in a major headlock would be an understatement. Weighing in with 639 pages, sentences that go on for paragraphs, and a writing style that takes a while for the reader to ease into, this novel can at first seem rather daunting. But don’t worry, soon you’ll be so lost in this book and its colorful, comic-book loving, complicated characters, that you’ll feel right at home. It’s kind of like going to Europe. You take off, you land, everything seems strange, foreign, almost fuzzy. But it only takes a few days for you to navigate the subway, recognize your hotel’s street the moment you turn onto it, order in a restaurant with that 11th grade Spanish that suddenly reappeared on your tongue. You start to feel like maybe you could even live here, move right into this book with just you and your backpack. The story even opens in Europe (in Prague during the Nazi occupation), though most of it takes place in New York City, during the birth of the comic book (late 1930s to early 1950s). Travel with cousins Joe Kavalier and Sammy Clay as they draw superheroes, jump off buildings, fail at rescue attempts, fall in love, wander aimlessly, procreate, escape from tight corners, and basically just grow up in prewar New York, adding color to all that gray. This book of course carries an underlying theme of tragedy (don’t all comic books?), but will make you feel more alive than you have in years.

The Year of Magical Thinking
Joan Didion
Published Oct. 2005; Read February 2006

I worship Joan Didion. There’s just no other way for me to put it. And each time I believe I’ve reached my maximum obsession rate, she does something else to nudge it up another notch. I must admit I already feel a bit guilty for starting this out so lightheartedly; this book isn’t exactly a pick-me-up. In short, it’s Didion’s personal account of death. In December of 2003, her husband of nearly forty years, writer John Gregory Dunne, dropped dead of a heart attack in the living room of their Upper East Side apartment. What’s worse, they had just returned home that evening from visiting their only daughter Quintana Roo in the hospital, who had been unconscious for five nights thus far, and would, ultimately, die twenty months later of septic shock. “Life changes fast. Life changes in the instant. You sit down to dinner and life as you know it ends.” Please don’t be put off by the heavy subject matter. Please don’t say you’re not one for depressing books. This story rises above all the words and phrases normally tacked on to tragic stories. Didion explains that this experience “cut loose any fixed idea I had ever had about death, about illness, about probability and luck, about good fortune and bad, about marriage and children and memory, about grief…about life itself.” Her experience did this for her, and in turn, her book does this for the reader. In her straightforward yet lovely style, she strips away all previous assumptions. She sweeps aside the fluff, leaving us with the clearest view of how unclear life truly is and will always be. To quote John Leonard from The New York Review of Books, “I can’t imagine dying without this book.” Me, either.

The Year In Books With Piano & Scene, cont'd

East of Eden
John Steinbeck
Published Sept. 1952; Read June 2006

I tend to get caught up in the contemporary. I get overwhelmed when I think of all the books there are to read out there. I get anxiety attacks in the basement of Strand. I get depressed thinking about the fact that even if I put my life on hold right this second and committed myself to reading during every waking moment of the rest of my life, there would still be pages left unread. I realize this isn’t completely normal. But it’s why I get caught up in the present. When I fall in love with a book, I fall in love with the author as well. I want to know everything about them, read everything they’ve written. I want to see them read. There’s nothing worse than finding a new book, loving it, and then finding out the author passed on years ago. It’s hard to be in love with someone who’s dead. Trust me, I’ve tried it. But enough people urged me toward this book – my high school English teacher suggested it, my sister swears by it, even Oprah promoted it, and so finally, I picked it from a shelf. Simply put, this novel is epic. It’s long as hell, but I would dare any American-born human being to read this book and not relate to it in some way. As previously blogged on my own site, (sorry, had to do it) – you will like this book if you can identify with one or more of the following:

A. You were raised religious.
B. You have a sibling.
C. You want to be good.
D. You worry you might be bad sometimes.
E. You like to read.
F. You romanticize California a little.
G. You like stories.
H. You breathe.
I. All of the above.

I, of course, choose I.

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The Disappointment Artist
Jonathan Lethem
Published March 2005; Read Oct. 2006

Jonathan Lethem equals another obsession of mine. He’s a great writer, and if you haven’t read his novel Motherless Brooklyn, please, for the love of God, do. That book was the hit that got me hooked. You know what I mean – not exactly the first time I tried him, but the time that would lead me down the road of needing to read everything else he had ever written, ever. The Disappointment Artist is his first collection of essays. Topics range from the New York City Subway system to his fixation with Philip K. Dick to his mother’s death. They are beyond smart (I sent myself to the dictionary twice at least), interspersed with pop culture commentary, personal truths, and single sentences that you’ll want to read five times. Lethem is somewhere between my generation and that of my parents (I’m 27, my parents are in their 50s), and so I think he has this sort of older brother power over me and perhaps over most people my age. He sort of guides the reader through the material like that hip, sort of avante-garde sibling that wore all black and listened to the Talking Heads before anyone else did. He played guitar in the garage and still got good grades and might’ve even made eyeliner look cool. I’m too young to have first discovered that obscure Dylan record before any of my friends, or to have frequented that creepy subway station in Brooklyn when it was still way dangerous (I live just a few blocks from it now), but I’m not too young to relate. Lethem falls head over heels in love with everything – books, movies, pieces of art, even subways. I’m the same. Recently I even fell in love with a certain corn muffin found only in the East Village (order some buttons, and I might divulge the secret). When you feel things this passionately, it consumes you, even if only for a moment. But loving this hard has its downside too. When your expectations are sky high, it’s inevitable that every so often they fall. I think that’s how this collection can best be described: to appreciate, dote, love, or obsess, is also, inexorably, to be disappointed. But you’ll have to trust me when I tell you, that above all else, it’s worth it.

The Lay of the Land
Richard Ford
Published Oct. 2006; Read Dec. 2006

Richard Ford wrote The Sportswriter in 1986, introducing his readers to his protagonist, Frank Bascombe. Frank is many things – a failed novelist, a father struggling with the grief of his lost child, a wandering ex-husband, a man sort of in love with New Jersey, an all-around likeable guy. Independence Day appeared in 1995. Frank is then ten years older, a real estate agent who strangely lives in his ex-wife’s house, fumbles around with his troubled teenage son, and owns a birch beer stand. Enter The Lay of the Land, the third and final installment in Ford’s fiction trilogy that came out at the end of last year. For whatever reason, I waited years to read these books. I had somehow been informed that there would eventually be three of them, and so I hatched a pointless plan to wait for the third to come out, and then to read them all in succession. Don’t ask me why I do these things – I just do. I loved all three, but The Lay of the Land was my favorite, though it’s difficult for me to pinpoint exactly why. Each novel revolves around a holiday, Easter, the Fourth of July, and Thanksgiving respectively. All three deal with dark subject matter – death, divorce, disappearance – but when told through the voice of good old Frank, these stories come across as rather lighthearted. Only when looking back, when connecting the dots, do you truly realize how dark a lot of the material actually is. In Lay of the Land, Frank has left the suburbs for the coast of New Jersey. He has prostate Cancer. His second wife may or may not have left him for her first husband, Wally, long believed to be dead until someone found him on Mull, an island off the coast of Scotland (this little tidbit of plot is only an inkling of the many inventive and interwoven characters and situations that litter Ford’s story like shells in the sand). In many ways his books are mundane. Lay of the Land is just under 500 pages and covers a mere three days, and so every detail is here, down to how many times a day Frank takes a piss. Ford’s writing requires a certain patience that you don’t find in many contemporary works anymore, and so it takes a while to slow down, to ease in, to get used to the precise and detailed pace. Frank takes it easy, and for maximum enjoyment, so should the reader. Perhaps that’s why the third was my favorite – by the time I had finished all three, by the time I had gotten to the end, I had finally learned how to slow down, how to just go wherever the story might take me.