Tuesday, September 25, 2007

2 brief notes

Apologies for the sparse blogging as of late - I'm incredibly busy with school business this semester. Posts will continue to be sporadic for a few months - bear with me.

In better news, thanks to an anonymous commenter for pointing out that the Ethiopiques series is being posted over atChocoreve, which is a great blog anyway. Enjoy - I know I will!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


One night in the not too distant past, my buddy James came over for some drinks and camaraderie. As usual, he brought some music with him. "Ethiopian jazz," he said. I was pretty certain that I'd never heard Ethopian jazz (or any music from the country, for that matter). So we threw it on. Within a couple of tracks, I was taken in.

The disc collects the works of composer/bandleader Mulatu Astatke. Apparently Jim Jarmusch included some of these tracks in Broken Flowers. I never got around to seeing it though. At any rate, these instrumentals are captivating and an unique take on this American form. If I could compare it to anything that I'm familiar with, I might point to John Zorn's Masada project, although I'm not entirely sure that would be a fair comparison for either party.

A little research on the Internet tells me that there are 22 volumes in this series! I'm definitely curious to hear more. But for now, enjoy volume 4.


1. A Man Of Experience And Wisdom
2. When Am I Going To Reach There?
3. From All The Time I Have Passed
4. Nostalgia
5. My Own Memory
6. My Muna
7. My Gubel
8. My Asmara
9. February
10. Liberty
11. Baby, My Unforgettable Remembrace
12. My Saba
13. I Can't Live Without You
14. Bell

Ethiopiques 4

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

"Help" on DVD - finally!

Thus far, the only Beatle films to see worthwhile DVD releases in the States have been Yellow Submarine (released in 1999, and apparently once again out of print?) and A Hard Day's Night (a slick 2-disc edition released in 2002). Rumors persist annually that Let it Be is being worked upon, but who knows if that will ever happen. And I know that I'm in the minority, but I'd love to see a special edition of Magical Mystery Tour as well.

But the good news is that the second Beatles/Dick Lester film is finally getting the DVD treatment. Help! is to be released on 10/6 in the US. Two versions - one standard 2-disc set and another 'deluxe' edition with schnazzy packaging, a copy of the script, a book, repros of the movie posters, etc. I was all about going for the deluxe edition (I am first and foremost a Beatlemaniac). But seeing as it lists for $134.99, I think I'll settle for the standard version.

At any rate, I'm excited about this finally getting a proper release. Now I don't need to hold on to that VHS copy any longer. A Hard Day's Night is probably a better film, but Help! is so absurdly wonderful.

Here's one of my favorite music clips from the film, for "Another Girl."

And here's an extended trailer for the dvd.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Paint the White House Black

It would be a great campaign song. I'm just sayin'. I also forgot how much of an all-star affair this video was. Hooray, 1993!y

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Radio Nowhere

Normally I wouldn't overlap with posts over at Ick Music here, but I'm compelled to share this one for a couple of reasons. One, it's a great Springsteen song. Two, the video on amazon is pretty bad quality. Three, it's about radio consolidation! I'm curious to hear the rest of the album. Until then, here is "Radio Nowhere."

Sunday, September 2, 2007

United States of America

In high school and early college, I got into a lot of music on account of a particular friend of mine. We had similar, yet also distinct tastes. Over the years, we turned each other on to a number of artists. One group Justin hipped me to was Broadcast, who put out some stellar music in the early 2000s. This post isn't about Broadcast, but bear with me. One day, he asked me if I'd ever heard the United States of America. The only thing that came to mind was the Presidents of the United States of America ("millions of peaches..."), which I knew wasn't what he had in mind. He played me the band's sole, self-titled album, and I was very taken with it. Much more so than "she's lump, she's lump, she's lump."

The reason I mentioned Broadcast earlier is that USA is one of their most overt influences. The connections are clear, although to say that Broadcast is merely imitative of USA misses the point entirely.

Lacking a guitar, the band opted instead for strings, synths and various electronic gadgetry to round out their sound. The result is something unique in the context of popular music in 1968. Experimental yet focused, edgy yet polished. The album's poor sales and the internal tensions of the band's only tour led to the band and album's disappearance.

The great Sundazed label reissued the album in 2004, giving it the remaster and extension treatment, serving up 10 previously unreleased tracks, all of which are worthwhile. You'll have to buy the album if you want those, but here is the original LP in its entirety.

(link expired)