Thursday, February 28, 2008


For any of you interested in hearing some remarkably good new tracks from the legendary MC Rakim, a couple of them are streaming on Soulbounce.

I just downloaded the whole of his new "archive" collection from iTunes, and I'm pretty psyched about it. It's a collection of unreleased tracks, rare tracks, and live cuts of a bunch of his classics. I'm especially enthused about the quality of the newer, unreleased material...for a hip hop pioneer who's only been heard from rarely in recent years, I hope it bodes well for his long-awaited new album, possibly to be released later in the year.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

More Airplane Gazing

The previous post about airplane related songs gave me an excuse to post this, my personal favorite song abouit airplane flight, which just so happens to be from a band I'm currently really digging on. "Thirty-Five Thousand Feet of Despair" by The Flaming Lips. This was originally on Zaireeka, here in a normal stereo mode courtesy of the Waiting for a Superman single. Listening to this makes me wish that any band, including the Flaming Lips themselves, would be gutsy enough and weird enough to put out something as ridiculous as Zaireeka again. I mean seriously, that thing is insane to even contemplate releasing as an album, but they did it, and it blew my mind. I wish to have my mind blown in that same manner again, but until then, this will have to do:

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

No, Really: Re-Thinking The Pointer Sisters

I'm re-editing this post because I feel like you guys might have just taken a pass at this. Whatever you think the Pointer Sisters are, this isn't it. This is them young (1974), 4 of them (not 3), combining earthy funk and vocal jazz - totally organic, with virtually no resemblance to the 80s hits you know them for. Watch to the end for some truly thrilling vocal improvisation.

More Logan

That Jack Logan has been endorsed by Dr. Kittybrains himself speaks volumes. Buy his albums! They're undoubtedly (and unfortunately) available used in most CD stores and various web sites. I'm guessing "Bulk" is practically free from a reseller on Amazon. It only takes the slightest of encouragement to get me going, so here are 3 more tracks.

First, by request, "Female Jesus" from Bulk.

Then, "Teach Me The Rules" from his first album in an actual recording studio, which is called
Mood Elevator.

Finally, "Marching With The Saints," from his first album with Bob Kimbell (another great musician, based in Logan's former state of Indiana.) The record is Little Private Angel.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Jack Logan

Partly for the amusement of Eric, I'm going to share a true chestnut from the ol' Drischord vaults: Jack Logan. This guy is an auto mechanic from Winder, Georgia (adjacent to Athens) who was discovered by Peter Buck of R.E.M. and Peter Jesperson, who ran Twin/Tone Records. His initial release was called "Bulk," a 2-CD set culled from a decade's worth of home recordings with his buddies. Most of it was recorded in living rooms. I love many of Jack Logan's subsequent albums, but the rough-hewn charm of "Bulk" could never really be duplicated. He'd go on to write better songs, but none sounded as organic as these ones. Here are three tracks from the album. Blaze Foley fans might find a similar charm, although Logan isn't half the tragic drunk that Blaze was.

"New Used Car and a Plate of Barbecue"

"Giant City, Tiny Town"

"Shit For Brains"

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Airplane Gazing

Here are two little songs I really like, which I'm posting together because they're both about staring down at cities from airplanes. Hope you enjoy.

First is an old gem from The Flatlanders, called "Dallas". I'd nominate this as one of the greatest songs ever written about a kid from the country contemplating the big city.

"Dallas is a rich man with a death wish in his eye...a rich man who tends to believe in his own lies."

And second is "Stratford on Guy", one of my favorite Liz Phair songs, from back in her Exile in Guyville days. She's contemplating Chicago, but in the end she's really more interested in herself than anything else.

"I had on my headphones, along with those eyes that you get when your circumstance is movie-sized."

Friday, February 22, 2008

This is so freaking cute it's ridiculous

I like the scream and the bow the best.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Tell them you're going 2 the crystal ball...

I love when I get really obsessively into a particular artist where I listen to nothing but that artist for days on end. It makes me feel justified in having a large CD collection. Even if I haven't listened to an REM album in a couple years, when their new one (rumored to be a return to form) comes out, I'll be glad I have their full catalogue to immerse myself in.

Anyway, right now I'm into Prince. Specifically late early period Prince. Or maybe early middle period Prince. Basically, Sign 'O' the Times, which was his first album after the Revolution broke up, but before he formed the New Power Generation and became kind of not as good.

Sign is awesome. Double albums tend to be the critical favorite (London Calling, Exile on Main St., etc), I guess just because on some level the more of that artist, the better (though for some, a triple album like Sandinista! probably goes too far). But I tend to love double albums because, like Texplush, who mentioned this in some top ten rundown in a past year, I love albums that jump all over all styles. That's why I love The White Album so much; it was almost a catalogue of all the musical styles the Beatles had worked with-- and then some!

So too with Sign 'O' the Times. It's got everything that made Prince great-- hard, spare funk workouts, falsetto-laden ballads, shiny dance-pop, crazy guitar solos and lots of gender bending lyrics. Several of the songs actually feature him using an androgynous pitch-shifted higher voice that he called "Camille" (as in, Camille is credited with the vocals on "If I was Your Girlfriend" and other songs). The 80's production is kind of thin and it's in need of a cremastering, but it's also kind of timeless, with some of the harder funk songs especially sounding almost like Timbaland productions with their harder beats and stabbing horn and keyboard hooks ("It," "Housequake").

The crazy thing is that the double album was actually a cut down version of a TRIPLE album (Crystal Ball-- not to be confused with multi-disc compilation of the same name). And that triple album was the combination of two previous aborted albums: one was a whole album (only a single though) of songs using the Camille voice, and the other was a double album with the Revolution made just before they broke up (Dream Factory). It was going to be the most collaborative Revolution album yet, with extensive contributions from Wendy and Lisa.

That's actually what got me in this phase-- I found links on a blog to both the Camille album and the Dream Factory album and they're both awesome. Dream Factory is all over the place, both in sound and style, but there are some really great tracks on it. Camille is in some ways even better, just because it's such a tight, focused album. The song are all that James Brown-style funk with great horn lines, as in "Housequake."

It's crazy what a creatively fertile period that was for him.

If you like Prince-- or rather, if you like music-- you should definitely check them both out:


Dream Factory:

Monday, February 18, 2008

Further Nels Reading

Via Chicago, my answer to your questions is an emphatic "yes." Nels is the best guitarist rock n' roll has to offer.

For those so inclined, I highly recommend the following Nels solo LP's:

Nels Cline Trio- Chest
Nels Cline Singers- Instrumentals
Nels Cline- The Inkling

Also highly recommended is Mike Watt's self-described "punk rock opera," which is called Contemplating The Engine Room. It's a trio effort with Watt on bass and vox, Stephen Hodges on drums and Nels playing some totally brilliant guitar. I know some of you are familiar with this record to varying degrees, but go back and revisit it today... great playing, great narrative, great people too-- I met 'em freshman year at NU.

I'm embedding the first track, "In the Engine Room." There's a bookend introduction, but you'll hear the song's awesomeness in due time.

Wilco and Nels Cline

Just got back from the Wilco concert, which was unbelievably amazing. I'm so sorry all of you could not have been there to join me. It's been said many times, but this version of the band is just so good live it's scary. I can't even remember what they sounded like lice before this.

Anyway, here's my question for you: Is Nels Cline the best guitarist in rock right now? I say yes. If you disagree, prove me wrong.

Here's some fun footage to help back my point, and yes, I do see the irony in posting this not long after the fantastic guitar wankery videos.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Hard Sun

I've been kind of obsessed with this song for the past few days, from Eddie Vedder's Into the Wild soundtrack.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

"I Love Every Little Thing About You"

You guys may already be familiar with the Stevie Wonder version of this song, which is of course utterly fantastic and catchy and joyous and typically delightfully Stevie, but here it is anyway, in case you don't know it:

HOWEVER, here is the version Stevie arranged and produced for his soon-to-be ex-wife's first album 'Syreeta' - it's clear from the tracks that Stevie is, as on the previous version - playing everything that we hear, from the burbling synths to the sweet hi-hat clicking away in the left channel.

Not only is this a version of the same song written, produced and performed instrumentally by the same dude, but it's completely different from the better known Stevie version, and in my opinion KICKS ITS ASS. On top of it all, Syreeta's vocals (not unlike Beyonce's, except much more... um... 'real' might be the word I'm looking for) are sublime honeyed perfection.

Here's the proof:

(Allison just told me that she thinks Syreeta doesn't sound like Beyonce at all, but more like Mya. What do you guys think?)

ADDENDUM: upon further listening, the major distinction between the two is that Stevie's performance is really sincere - you believe he honestly loves everything about her. But Syreeta's is coquettish (Allison's word) - she might just be saying those things to get something. It's definitely an interesting contrast.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


This will probably be most appreciated by Drischord, but in case he hadn't seen it, I figure we can be the umpteenth music-geek blog to post about this.

I saw it at the AV Club but the videos are at the Wired Magazine site.

Basically this guy (who is an actual guitarist) took videos of "guitar gods" wanking away on their axes, and overdubbed his own playing, which is basically a more horrible (though in some cases only slightly less so (See Malmsteen, Y.)) version of that wanking. At first I didn't get it, but by the time I got to the Santana one, I was laughing so hard I was crying. I'm not sure if it was the eerily impressive way he tracks their hand movements with his own playing, or the fact that the accompanying instruments are only filled in when they're actually on screen (especially Ozzy Osbourne's clapping), but something about it is hilarious. I think it's because of the faces and exaggerated body motions the guitarists make. Having that accompanied by awful playing just makes me laugh.

Definitely worth checking out, especially the aforementioned Santana, the Yngwie Malmsteen (and orchestra) one, the Van Halen one, and the Slash one.

The postscript is that these were on youtube but of course someone had them taken down because of copyright violations (it's their policy to just take something down when given notice, which places the burden on the original contributor to show that it's not a violation, which probably makes sense from youtube's perspective, but it's still shitty).

Friday, February 08, 2008

Fred Rogers: Poet and Sage

I think it was Drischord who first alerted me to the existence of this old footage, although I feel like he told me about it in the days before YouTube, so I don't know where he would have originally seen it. I remember that when YouTube was first becoming prominent it was the fact that I was able to search for this very clip and find it immediately which first made me realize YouTube was going to be a very big deal.

Anyway, for no particular reason I thought I'd post it now. Fred Rogers may have been a very soft spoken man, but watching this made me appreciate the power he had behind his mild mannered outward demeanor. He was a tough customer, in the most unassuming way imaginable.

"The gentlest thing in the world overcomes the hardest thing in the world"
- Lao-Tzu

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Hot Chip?

So who has an opinion on this Hot Chip band I hear about these days? I know little about them, but I love the new single (which can be found in the AV Club review here). Anyone a fan? Or a hater?

Jackson Reaction

You know, upon further perusal of Rhymefest's Michael Jackson tributes, I can't help but recall this classic Onion headline.

Call me a hater if you must.

Finally A Post

Sorry to have taken this long to post something on the blog. My grandma died, the dog ate my homework, the power went out.... no seriously, my grandma did die, and I've been accordingly preoccupied until just now.

While the Michael Jackson references certainly take me back to the day, I feel compelled to share one of the few insightful Pitchfork reviews I've read in months. I probably feel this way because they're praising an album that was on my Top 10 list, but whatever. It's Bottomless Pit-- risen from the ashes of Silkworm-- and I'll warn you: they are infinitely less funky/dance-able than anything posted here thus far.

Here's the first track, "The Cardinal Movements," in all it's dour glory.

Now resume the discussion of fun music.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Build Me Up

More Rhymefest, as requested by Dr. Kittybrains.

"You ever seen When Harry Met Sally? It's kinda like what I'm going through."

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Man in the Mirror

Here's one for those of you who are more hip-hop oriented then I...

I was recently pointed to the new Rhymefest album, which is available for free download here

The basic deal is that it's a "dedication" album to Michael Jackson, using almost all Michael Jackson and Jackson 5 samples, plus some great interview clips to make it sound like Jackson and Rhymefest are recording it together. For someone like myself who really loved Jackson back in the day, and is still sad that he's so crazy now, it's kind of great. Anyway, this is my favorite track from it:


Friday, February 01, 2008


In response to Quinapalus' post on political art, here's my first post on Fela Kuti.

"[Zombie] ignited the nation to follow Fela's lead and antagonize the military zombies that had the population by the throat. Fela is direct and humorous in his attack as he barks out commands to the soldiers like: "Attention! Double up! Fall In! Fall out! Fall down! Get ready!" Meanwhile, his choir responds with "Zombie!" in between each statement. Since the groove was so absolutely contagious, it took the nation by storm: People in the street would put on a blank stare and walk with hands affront proclaiming "Zombie!" whenever they would see soldiers. If "Zombie" caught the attention of the populous it also caught the attention of the authority figures -- this would cause devastating personal and professional effects as the Nigerian government came down on him with absolute brute force not long after the release of this record."
- All Music Guide