Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A Doctor in the House, Disc 4

And now the exciting conclusion (though I should add that this was not the conclusion to the night. Nay, we went back to disc 3 and found the remaining liqour in the house - blueberry Smirnoff [NOT RECOMMENDED]).

I like how this turned out overall. Even knowing that you may not get to disc 4 (though we did), there's a lot of weight put on that last song. I always feel like it has to be something meaningful or at least climactic. I chose Jackie Wilson's "Higher and Higher" for two reasons. First, it was preceded by a little soul set anyway, and flowed well. Second - though it may seem cheesy, I saw it as a reappropriation of the song. While the lyrics are directly about a romantic relationship that buoys the narrator's spirit, I applied it to the relationships with my Iowa peeps, who were my friends, colleagues, motivators and support group over the last 5 years. On many occasions, they did indeed lift me "higher and higher." I told you it was cheesy, but what can I say. I'm a bit of a sap.

In closing, I give you:
A Doctor in the House, Disc 4

See previous posts for earlier discs:
Disc 1
Disc 2
Disc 3

And the tracklist for the whole set is in the comments of this post.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Weekend Recap

I don't usually delve much into my personal goings-on here, but Saturday was filled with music, and I'm still kind of reeling from it. So I shall share.

One of my best friends from college came to visit and we set off on a record shopping excursion. My plan was to use this as an excuse to check out a bunch of Baltimore records stores that I haven't gotten around to yet. In this sense, the mission was a failure, as after only two stops, we both had to stop for fear of our bank accounts going belly up.

But it was absolutely a successful trip.

Consider this a plug for a tiny record store tucked away on Aliceanna St. in Fell's Point. I'd passed !El Suprimo! many times on my long runs, each time thinking "I really need to check this place out some day." I wished I had gone sooner. !El Suprimo! is a small shop, possibly the size of an average bedroom. Despite this spatial limitation, the racks are PACKED with great finds, AT GREAT PRICES. I know that this sounds like a commercial, but it's true. Being a Pittsburgh native, I'm fairly spoiled by Jerry's Fine Used Records, where discs average between $3-$6. Because of this, I often find things that I want when I'm shopping other places, but am resistant to paying say, $10, $15, $20 for a single disc (unless of course it's something that warrants such cost).

ANYHOW, upon exiting !El Suprimo!, I said to my friend, "It's like a little Jerry's." By this I meant that I found a bunch of gems (roughly 12 discs) and paid about $30 for the whole lot. SCORE! Their funk/r&b section is particularly tasty. So check them out if you're ever in the area.

And, they're conveniently located near what I would say is Baltimore's landmark record store, The Sound Garden.

The Sound Garden is much more expansive in terms of space. The bulk of the store is devoted to CDs and DVDs, but within the last year, they've opened a vinyl room that is pretty dope. The bulk of the vinyl is new (and newISH) releases and reissues. So you might not have luck finding that original pressing of Zen Arcade, but you will find modestly priced hip hop, indie rock and electronica discs. I picked up two discs that have been on my list (2008's releases from Portishead and Love is All), which set me back about $35. Not bad.

But what has gotten me and my friends in trouble at Sound Garden in the past is their used CDs. Prices aren't exceptional here, but are about the standard you'll find in any used CD joint. However, they somehow manage to bring in pretty high quality discs, especially newer releases. It's well worth taking the time to sift through the used bins, for sure.

So that was my Record Store Day. Given the occasion, I justified my purchases as fighting the good fight for indie record stores. A good deed, if you will.


We topped off the day with what I hear is an annual event, the Prince vs. Madonna vs. Michael Jackson dance night at the Ottobar, conveniently within stumbling distance of my apartment. Well worth the $6 cover, which I paid as "Joy in Repetition" played.

Overall, a killer night. The place got pretty packed, and pretty much everyone was dancing. How could you resist with the triumvirate of 1980s pop royalty? They played far too much 21st century Madonna, for some reason, but that's my only real complaint. There wasn't much in the way of deep cuts, but I think that's to be expected when your covering three huge artists. There were a few unexpected tracks though, such as Madonna's "Gambler" (from the Vision Quest soundtrack), Prince and Sheila E.'s "A Love Bizarre," and one of the hottest jams in my book, "Hot Thing." Beyond that, other highlights for me included "Pussy Control," "Erotic City" (duh) and "Remember the Time." The latter was amazing purely because I was on stage dancing next/with a dude that knew the song as well as I did, and I think we were both floored that each of us knew all of the ad-libbed lyrics in the break. It was "a moment."

But the kicker was the end of the night. The DJ announced this was the last track, when I heard Casey Kasem's voice. Of course, hearing Kasem always makes me think of
Negativland's take on "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For". But no, Casey was here to tell me that the number one song of the week was Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson with "Say Say Say." I have to admit that I did NOT see (hear?) that coming, and it blew my mind into a million pieces. Needless to say, the place danced everything they had left into that song, and it's been in my head for the last 48 hours. I even dusted off the 12" a friend picked up for me a few years ago, which I have share for the ridiculous cover art:

So Saturday was kind of epic in my little music geek world. And for now, I'll leave you with the video. It always creeped me out a bit that Latoya was MJ's love interest here. But that's beside the point, I guess (???).

Paul McCartney & Michael Jackson - Say, say, say

A Doctor in the House, Disc 3

Ah, here's where things get into full swing. We got gangsta, we got down on it, and we most certainly did not stop the music. Maybe it was just how things worked in my admittedly foggy perception, but I kind of felt like the basement-cum-dancefloor kind of exploded with "U Got the Look." Further, I remember clearly dancing with Paul to New Order, and taking pride when a stranger flipped at the inclusion of Cut Copy. Disc 3 is always good times, and A Doctor in the House is no exception. In fact, we even came back to it when disc 4 had run its course. But I'll leave that for the next installment, wherein I offer up the conclusion to this 4 disc set, followed shortly by revealing the complete tracklist for the entire set.

But for now, enjoy:

A Doctor in the House, Disc 3

Friday, April 17, 2009

A Doctor in the House, disc 2

And here we have disc 2. Things are still warming up, though I do recall a small group of us dancing to Gary Numan and Crystal Castles. But again, we were more concerned with consumption rather than expression at this point. Priorities, people!!

A Doctor in the House, disc 2


This comes last minute, sorry. But tomorrow is Record Store Day. Lots of independent stores across the country are holding special events, giveaways, etc. Check out the official website. Coincidentally, I was already planning an afternoon of record shopping, so this is rather serendipitous. Music geeks: we're in synch.

Latest Epic Dance Mix

This past friday was my (successful) dissertation defense. More importantly, some good friends humored me by marking the occasion with an epic party, which included much dancing.

Initially, I felt that this mix wasn't as good as the last one. But listening to it again on the ride from Iowa to Pittsburgh and judging by the amount of dancing, maybe I was too quick to judge.

Let me qualify this though. This is the third four-disc dance set I've made in a year and a half. Being geeky and anal, I have a self-imposed policy amongst these sets not to repeat songs. Admittedly, that is starting to become difficult. But it should be a while before I have occasion to embark on another similar project, so perhaps it's a non-issue.

Experience has taught me the art of buildup. People need to get their drink on before dancing commences, of course. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't provide some kick ass music while people arrive, mingle, and imbibe. The earlier portion of an epic dance mix thus allows quite a bit of freedom - a little more rock, some lesser-known tracks, etc. - but the undercurrent must get folks in the mood. At any rate, it's a safe bet that no one will be dancing for disc 1. Indeed, that was the case here, and given that the "dancefloor" was downstairs, I don't imagine anyone heard disc 1, and that was what I expected. Christ, I hadn't seen these folks for 8 months, we had much catching up to do (and many beverages to consume)!

Nevertheless, some good tunes for you. Personally, I find that they also work well for accompaniment on those long runs.

And so ladies and gentlemen, I give you
A Doctor in the House - Disc 1

Disc 2 will follow shortly.

Friday Funk

Sorry for my absenteeism as of late. I had a post all planned out for last Friday, but got caught up in the day's events. I returned to Iowa City to (successfully) defend my dissertation. Know that The Ramones, Prince and "Dr. Funkenstein" were all mentioned through the course of the defense. Anyhow, I was too busy reconnecting with my peeps and generally soaking in what is (at least at this point in my life) the only city aside from Pittsburgh that will always have an element of "home" for me.

But I digress. Here's what I would have posted last week:

Friday, April 3, 2009

Friday Funk

A bit 'o New Jack Swing these week, due to the fact that House Party 2 was on Comedy Central during breakfast.