Sunday, February 25, 2007

New addition to the blogroll

Somehow or another this weekend, I stumbled across the blog
Action Time...and Vision!. I was drawn there by a post of French garage rock, but scanning through past entries, this one looks like a keeper. I'm currently listening to the French garage stuff, and it's stellar. Pay them a visit - lots of good stuff there.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Ys, Joanna, there is a Gonzo Claus.

I don't even know what that title means. Just ignore it. I'm nearing the end of a night of productivity, so my brain may not be at its best.

But I digress.

Here is a recent discovery that I highly recommend checking out. I believe I came across Joanna Newsom through some Pitchfork article or another. The blurb started thus: And we all thought Bruce Springsteen only influenced dude-rock bands like the Hold Steady and the Killers. But no, His Bossness' magic even infiltrates the enchanted forest where pixies like Joanna Newsom hang out! Interesting, I thought. So I gave it a whirl. Let me tell you know that this is pretty fucking far from sounding Springsteen-ish at all. Now I realize that those oh-so-witty folks at Pitchfork were making a pun about Joanna's upcoming release, Joanna Newsom and the Ys. Street Band.

So what does it sound like exactly? Lots of strings, bowed and plucked. All Music dubs it an "Appalachian-meets-avant-garde take on folk music." It's difficult to describe, which is generally the mark of something interesting. This 2006 release is technically an EP, boasting only 5 tracks. However, the disc clocks in at just over 55 minutes. And it's quite a journey - I recommend it highly. I'm curious, let me know what you think.

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Thursday, February 22, 2007

Let's Go Get Stoned

I've been listening to a lot of Stones this week. My guess is this is spurred by an after hours get together in my living room last weekend. At one point I threw on Beggar's Banquet, and it basically hit the spot. When the whiskey's working it's way through your system, the right music is essential. But really, how can you go wrong with that one?

My favorite Stones material generally resides within the span from Satanic Majesties through Exile, but this may be more for the evolution of the Jagger/Richards songwriting dynamic than anything else. That said, I've always been drawn to their early output for that rawness, that energy, that raunchiness that can only come from a group of white Anglos playing the popular music of black America.

This collection is comprised of demos from 1963-1966, most of which are of compositions not released on any of the group's studio output. The whole collection is great, although I have to admit that the opening pair of Bo Diddley tracks ("Diddley Daddy" and "Road Runner") are my personal highlights.

1. Diddley Daddy 2:36
2. Road Runner 3:01
3. Bright Lights Big City 2:23
4. Baby Whats Wrong 3:21
5. I Want To Be Loved 2:01
6. Snap Crackle Pop 0:27
7. I'd Much Rather Be With The Boys 2:06
8. And Mr Spector And Mr Pitney 2:51
9. Andrews Blues 3:01
10. Hi Heel Sneakers 2:57
11. Stewed And Keefed 3:45
12. Tell Me Baby 1:53
13. Down In The Bottom 2:41
14. Don't Lie To Me 1:59
15. As Time Goes By 2:14
16. Some Things Just Stick 2:24
17. Each And Every Day 2:46
18. Heart Of Stone 3:41
19. Sleepy City 2:47
20. We're Wastin' Time 2:34
21. Try A Little Harder 2:15
22. Everybody Needs Somebody 2:53
23. When Blue Turns To Grey 2:29
24. I've Been Loving You 2:49
25. Looking Tired 2:13
26. Out Of Time 3:13
27. Can't Believe 3:14
28. If You Let Me 3:10

Definitive Demos, 1963-1966

This is a great collection. Listening to it carries a pleasure similar to that of the Beatles' Live at the BBC set. Give it a spin, and hang fire.

And staying within that early period, here's the boys doing "Get Off of My Cloud" from a 1965 appearance on Hullabaloo.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Monday, February 19, 2007

recent mix#2: Onomix.

A while ago I told my friend Stephanie that I would make her an all Yoko Ono mix. Admittedly, my offer was more self-serving than anything. What would an all Yoko mix even look like? I ended up making her a different mix instead, and it fell by the wayside. Then, following a recent presentation in my sound and voice seminar where I played "Don't Worry Kyoko" for my classmates, Matt asked for an all Yoko mix. So they're both getting copies.

This was actually much more difficult to pare down to 80 minutes than I would have thought. After working through all of my Yoko discs (Onobox, Rising, Blueprint for a Sunrise) and ripping what I wanted, I ended up with a playlist over 3.5 hours long. I kept paring it down, but when it got to be about 2 hours, this got very difficult. I had to make some sacrifices. Who would have thought? At any rate, I'm pleased with the result. It spans her entire career (save the latest disc, which isn't new originals anyway), and is extremely varied in styles. Coincidentally, I finished this earlier today, only to find out that it is her 74th birthday today. Crazy coincidence! So happy birthday to Yoko. I actually think I'm going to do a paper on her this semester, but more on that later.

1. Mind Holes
2. Open Your Box
3. Don't Worry, Kyoko (Mummy's Only Looking for a Hand in the Snow)
4. Yangyang
5. Approximately Infinite Universe
6. I Felt Like Smashing My Face in a Clear Glass Window
7. What a Mess
8. Woman Power
9. Yes, I'm a Witch
10. O'oh
11. We're All Water
12. Walking on Thin Ice
13. Kiss, Kiss, Kiss
14. Give Me Something
15. Every Man Has a Woman Who Loves Him
16. You're the One
17. Ask the Dragon
18. Talking to the Universe
19. I Want You To Remember Me -A-
20. I Want You To Remember Me -B-
21. It's Time for Action!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

recent mix #1: Prince In Character

After making so many mixes of Prince music, I'm trying to make things more interesting than simply a collection of great songs. Other mixes in this series: the Prince sex mix and Emancipation Redux (whittled down to 1cd). This is one I've been thinking about doing for a while. Some of my favorite Prince moments are when he works in a little bit of comedy. Many of the funniest moments in Prince songs are when Prince shows up as some sort of character. This most often occurs on protege tracks. So we have the irate 'other woman' in Vanity 6's "If a Girl Answers..." (which also an incredibly funky tune), the classic Chinese waiter in The Time's "Chili Sauce," and the racist redneck in the NPG tune "Black MF in the House." There may be things I'm missing here, who knows. These are the ones that stick out to me (and some friends - thanks for your suggestions!). I had to cut "Cloreen Baconskin" for length, but "Tricky" is very much in the same vein. I debated about "Movie Star." It's not quite the same as the other tracks in this mix regarding Prince's vocal character, but Matt convinced me to include it. He is after all, not playing Prince here. The whole song is a commentary on celebrity, and may very well have been intended for the Time (although Prince is not using his Morris Day voice here). At any rate, it was a fun mix to make, and fun to listen to as well.

1. Vanity 6 - If A Girl Answers (Don't Hang Up)
2. The Time - The Walk
3. Vanity 6 - Vibrator
4. The Time - Chili Sauce
5. The Time - Tricky
6. Prince - Movie Star
7. The Time - Chocolate
8. NPG - Mashed Potato Girl (segue)
9. O(+> - Work That Fat
10. Prince - Bob George
11. NPG - Black MF in the House
12. NPG - New Power Day (segue)
13. O(+> - Poom Poom

Friday, February 16, 2007

weekend music

Over the holidays, I hung out with a friend of mine from high school that I haven't seen in probably three years. He was always a music geek too, and whenever we do see each other, we inevitably start talking about what we've been listening to. We were in my car, and I was bumping my 2006 mix. Digging Nino Moschella, he said "Have you heard Jamie Lidell?" "No." "If you like this stuff, you'd totally dig him." So I did some research, and came across his 2005 album Multiply.


This shit is the bomb. I can see it in the same vein as Nino, although perhaps not quite as lo-fi in the production department (he's on Warp, after all). This guy is somewhere between funk and soul, somewhere between the early 1970s and the early 2000s. I was listening to this all day last friday - in my discman (yes, still rocking one of those), at home, in the car, I even played the title track for my students before class started. It's an addictive record, and I'm anxious to explore his other releases.

I'm serious - make a point to spin this this weekend. If you're reading this before work, take it with you. It will make your day better, I promise.

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Jamie Lidell on Myspace

Jamie's Official Site

And check the video for "The City," which you can find on Warp's recently released DVD video compendium:

Monday, February 12, 2007

"I know my mind is made up..."

Meaning that I absolutely have to get tickets to see the Police.

I already ranted on how much I love them last week. But this performance has me even more psyched. I've talked a lot of shit on Sting and his solo career over the years. But man - his voice is still in tip top shape. So he can play his lute and practice tantric sex all he wants on his own time, so long as he continues to rock the fuck out with Andy and Stu. Also - remember when Sting was super scrawny?

Below are the tour dates. I'm pretty confident that they'll be adding more, as this isn't a very extensive itinerary. You can also get in on presales if you fork over $100 to be in the fan club.

I was hanging out with a buddy of mine the other night and started to get a little weirded out that so many of my favorite bands are reuniting: The Police, the New York Dolls, the Stooges, Van Halen and Diamond Dave....kind of exciting. Also kind of weird. But I'll take it.

The dates:

Mon. May 28

Wed. June 6

Sat. June 9

Fri. June 15

Sat. June 16
Bonnaroo Festival

Mon. June 18

Tue. June 26

Sat. June 30

Mon. July 2

Sun. July 22

Wed. July 25

Sat. July 28

Wed. Aug. 1

Fri. Aug. 3

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Prince at the Superbowl

I meant to put in an entry on this last night, but work got in the way. So here are some thoughts.

I'm not going to lie, I was nervous about the Super Bowl performance. They are generally disappointing affairs - medleys, cheesy visuals, subpar performances. There's just something about the very nature of them that often lends itself to a sort of Vegas-type act (insert pun here). I've also been hugely skeptical of half time shows since the late '80s, when the buildup promised a 3-D halftime spectacle. I got the glasses from CoGos, I waited with anticipation. And it was the lamest thing I'd ever seen. Not only was the music horrible, but the 3-D didn't work. [A quick google led me to Wikipedia, which jogged my memory - the performer was a damn Elvis impersonator named Elvis Presto.]

At any rate, I was pleasantly surprised by last night's performance. Although Prince's original songs were predictable choices (wasn't this fairly similar to the Grammys performance a few years ago?), the quality of the performance and Prince's energy made up for it.

Visually, it was interesting. The purple symbol stage looked much cooler than it probably should have. The sheet/silhouette bit was cool (although methinks this was a trick appropriated from MJ, who probably took it from somewhere else), particularly when Habibi was strategically positioned as Prince stroked its neck (Pete over at IckMusic astutely noted this oh-so-brief moment of Prince naughtiness). I haven't watched it since the original broadcast, but the bolt of lightening that started the set was good theatrics. For a split second, James and I wondered if it was planned, if the power was out on stage, etc. It had been raining throughout the game, afterall.

The cover of "Proud Mary" was unexpected. He used to do this in the Gold/Exodus era, but to my knowledge hasn't done it recently. The Hendrix/Foo Fighters cover is something I'm warming up to after the Howard Stern clip last week. I haven't listened to the Foo Fighters since their second album, so I'm unfamiliar with this song. But it suits Prince's rock mode, and this was probably the best vocal moment of the set.

Musically there were some flaws (which again, have been duly noted on IckMusic), but overall the performance was better than I'd anticipated. Prince has been much more public since the Grammy's performance, and it's great to see people responding so well. It restored my confidence from Friday's newly available track "Guitar," which I found largely uninspired and unenjoyable. At any rate, the halftime show leaves one wondering what his next move is. The Vegas gig ends next month if I recall, so who knows. I'm still hoping that when he does tour again (whenever that may be), it's akin to the One Night Alone tour, i.e. smaller venues, more interesting setlists, etc. But we'll just have to wait and see.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

"our so called leaders speak"

This quote has become ever so relevant in recent years, eh?

Alright folks. It's been a long (but productive) day. I've been sitting on this entry for a few days, so here's something else to cross off of my list.

No doubt my fellow music geeks have heard the news of the impending reunion of The Police. This is huge. The Police are one of two bands that I've most wanted to reunite (the other is The Talking Heads). I figured both would never happen, aside from the little one-offs they've done. Rumours have been flying for the last few months about The Police, but the cat is now out of the bag. After what will likely be the only redeemable performance of the Grammys on February 11, the band will continue rehearsals for their upcoming tour. I'm pretty much resigned to the fact that this show will be incredibly expensive. I'm equally certain that I will do everything in my power to see it.

The Police are undoubtedly one of my top ten bands of all time (although I just said this about the New York Dolls below, I assure you that I don't award this status willy-nilly. Just a coincidence!). The Police are an incredible power trio. In addition to Sting's incredible voice (which has sadly been matched with a fairly uninteresting solo catalog), each member is simply a master of their instrument. Beyond that, they were/are great songwriters. There is not a single song in their proper catalog that I don't like (the qualifier of 'proper' bars "Don't Stand So Close to Me '86" and the like).

I was certainly aware of The Police coming up. My parents most definitely had a few of their tapes that were road trip staples. It wasn't until I started getting heavy into music that I really appreciated The Police, and dug deeper than their hits. My first high school band, Dead Uncle Frank (the name is an interesting tale which I'll save for another day) practiced in my parents' basement. I learned a lot from those guys, both in terms of playing and music in general. At any rate, the guitarist left his backpack behind one day, which had a number of tapes in it. One of them was Zenyatta Mondatta. After listening to it I was hooked. I dove in and bought the Message in a Box: The Complete Recordings collection, which ended up being one of the most worthwhile purchases in my music-buying history. It still gets pretty heavy play, and I recommend it to any music fan.

This reunion is something that I and millions of music fans have been waiting for. I'm still sort of in shock that it's happening. I mean what's next, Van Halen touring with David Lee Roth??

In celebration of this occasion, here is a show from 4/28/80 in New Castle. I believe this comes from a BBC broadcast, but I'm not sure on that. It's also the first time they played "Driven to Tears" live, and the last show of the Regatta de Blanc tour. Enjoy!

Thanks to the original uploader.

Part 1
Part 2

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Rock Mix for James

James is a friend of mine. We frequently exchange mix tapes. Yes, tapes. James has brought me back into the fold of the art of the mix tape, which is undoubtedly a much different art than a mix cd. It's also great because it gives me more options, i.e. my vinyl. Our first round were general mixes. Then I made him an all funk tape, and he's since made me two tapes of 1970s/1980s UK alternative stuff, which I've loved. So the theme here began as garage, but naturally expanded to include punk, surf, British invasion, etc. Still, it turned out rather well. Still don't have a name for said mix, but here is the tracklist:

Side Rock
Beasts of Bourbon -“Psycho”
The Raveonettes – “Attack of the Ghost Riders”
The Ramrods – “War Party”
The Replacements – “Bastards of Young”
The Buzzcocks – “What Do I Get?
Iggy Pop – “Sweet Sixteen”
The Black Keys – “Midnight”
The White Stripes – “Death Letter”
Johnny Thunders – “You Can’t Put Your Arms Around a Memory”
The Vaselines – “Son of a Gun”
The Who – “So Sad AboutUs”
The Dave Clark Five – “Anyway You Want It”
Barry and the Remains – “You Got a Hard Time Comin’”
The Rolling Stones – “I Wanna Be Your Man”

Side Roll
The Greenhornes – “I’m Going Away”
Pink Floyd – “Candy and a Currant Bun”
The Golliwogs – “Fight Fire”
The Mourning Reign – “Satisfaction Guaranteed”
The Chesterfield Kings – “I Can’t Get Nothin’”
The Turtles – “Eve of Destruction”
The Kinks – “A Well Respected Man”
Link Wray and his Wraymen – “Rumble”
The Bambi Molesters – “The Wedge”
Blood on the Saddle – “Blood on the Saddle”
The Misfits – “Last Caress”
The Ramones –“Bonzo Goes to Bitburg”
The Clash – “Police on My Back”
Television – “Marquee Moon”


Up next: Una entrada en La Policia.