All in one place, lots of videos. Heavy on indie.
You can listen to Virgin Radio for no money and hear “Band On The Run” right after some other good song. You may have to listen to the very affectionate DJ extol the virtues of James Blunt. But: free free free. Like radio.
“I read the first and last words of a book to see if it will make a new book.”
“Does this one?”
“Let me see. [Reading.] ‘Mrs. Gorf...booed.’“
“Is that a new book?”
“Yes. But I wouldn’t read it.”
I am waiting for this story to show up in a Shellac song.
Robin Thicke liked the first song on his cut-out bin debut so much that he got Lil' Wayne to sing over it. Now everyone will agree with him. I know Ben is feeling Thicke—help me out, people. Jon? Julianne? Jane? Represent for A/B-list R&W, please.
POSTSCRIPT: Jon, it turns out, not so big a fan of the Thicke. He also writes to say that "based on the snippets of his new album on his website, Pharrell's not doing him no good neither."
David Rees feels about The Minutemen pretty much the same way I do. Watching them in April of 1985 at The Living Room in Providence, eight months before D. died, I got an idea of what you might be able to do as a musician (as in, how wide your blast radius would be if you placed "x" amount of C4 into "y" bottle), and what it would be like to exceed the expectations of even those who expect you to be great. It was a "hang it up or turn it up" moment, and we turned it up. To no particular end, but I've always hoped D. would approve. (Link courtesy of the mighty Jonathan Shainin.)
I cannot yet establish convergent validity for the utility of this person's taste matrix, but the effort involved in presenting this many preferences makes me want to holler, in a collegial and unfrightening way.
Even though it looks nothing like Ghostface, this is all I want for my birthday.
Date: Fri, 23 Dec 2005 15:28:12 -0500
From: University Registrar
I am terribly sorry for the typo in my previous email. It should have been "Dear Course Instructor," not "Dead." Please accept my apology.
Faculty and Academic Services
My favorite writer who lives in New York does not give a shit about hip-hop. (Postscript edit: "no longer gives a shit about hip-hop." [It seems pedantic to point out Diplo doesn't rap, just the kind of distinction that makes people hate music critics.] And since I'd rather sit around listening to L7 with Choire than listening to rap with almost anybody, what the hell do I care if he's INSANE enough to pay money for an M83 record.)
I, too, miss Boss, though if it is lady rappers we are missing, I offer Yo-Yo, the person who I naïvely and honestly thought would break the glass ceiling and be the first solo female superstar. I do happen to love Lady Sov, but if this is a gender-specific Raplympics we're having, Sov is fortunate that her competition is Shystie, Ms. Snoozamite and Estelle, rather than Michel'le, Yo-Yo, Boss, Salt-n-Pepa, Da Brat, and/or Roxanne Shanté.
Then again—never forget Argentina. Pride goeth before a bronze medal.
I heard this moments ago on WNYC: "This year CD sales were down seven percent, but paid downloads doubled. The year's biggest-selling CDs were 50 Cent, Mariah Carey and Kelly Clarkson. Hey—those are my favorites, too. Just kidding!"
Yes, that would be INSANE, Normative Dude.
This completely revelatory box set does what you are probably trying to do when you array things in the hopes of demonstrating a categorical affinity between the things: change history by proving that the category actually exists, and is possibly larger than the category standing in its place.
I like how Lil' Kim bit the cadence—but not the lyrics or music—from "Welcome To Jamrock" for "Lighters Up."
Will rap turn out to be for, and by, white people? Jane reminded me yesterday that the first rap song to hit Number One on The Billboard Hot 100 was Johann “Hans” Hölzel’s “Rock Me Amadeus.” This happened on March 29, 1986. Eminem can let go of that whole “White America” apologia and enjoy his billions now. Harder still for anyone clinging to distinctions between bad and good, is the fact that Sketch Hop is that next shit. Things have not yet become so confusing that Sketch Hop is more enjoyable, more often, than Lil’ Wayne or Jeezy, but it now seems unwise at this point in history to wear anybody’s uniform, or to bet on anything. (Thank to Murray siblings for the links.)
And if you were wondering:
4. Ice Cube
5. Chuck D
6. Shock G
7. LL Cool J
10. Ad Rock
but they were unsuccessful. As we close in on total obsolescence, there is still comfort in random chronological sync. I was dropped off on January 31, 1967. (Rotten! Timberlake! Schubert!) The greatest rapper of all time was born on January 28, 1968. On January 30, 2006, we'll be in the same room, and you know I'll have more to say before then.
Rap trivia: If you tell me you knew this, I do not believe you. "Licensed To Ill" was the first rap album to hit number one on The Billboard Top 200. The Beasties album did not reach Number One on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. It peaked on at Number Two on February 21, 1987. It has since sold eight million copies. The album that kept it out of Number One was released in 1985 and stayed on the charts for 69 weeks. It has only gone platinum. The album was Freddie Jackson's "Just Like The First Time."
This Saturday Night Live routine is pretty much my nightmare, like people telling me they really like Danger Mouse, even though they don’t like rap. What is difficult to process that, while hideous on paper, this routine is good, both as comedy and as rap, even the delivery. If the track isn’t a Sir Jinx production I’ve forgotten, it's an impressive mimicry. (Thanks to Jenn Lena for the link.)
My friend Dwayne writes: “On the upside, this morning I was walking to the train and I saw, in a car, with the windows mostly rolled up, a little kid, maybe six, maybe seven, dancing like crazy to “Shake Appeal.” He was doing the handclaps and everything. That cheered me up almost to the point where I missed no one and nothing.”
See? No wonder I thought I didn't have it. Look at Columbia's retarded mid-80s budget reissue cover. So lame. And, no, Gadson didn't play on it. (Thanks to all who wrote.) Below, the original cover, Legacy's wise choice for the DualDisc reissue. Cop it. (Bill's management confirms that it is Al Jackson playing on "Ain't No Sunshine.")
Wes: ["Erotic City," "Nasty Girl," "When I Hear Music."]
Jordan: What is the gender ratio?
SFJ: Same as Neil Diamond, but a third the age.
Gwen Fauxtani: Hello.
Gwen Stefani: Hello.
Meghan: You know why I’m here—play "Hollaback Girl."
Gwen: This album is a collision of cultures, like New York.
SFJ: I will buy your champagne for 7.50 because I am stupid.
Woman from Teen People: My battery died, can you email me your photos?
Meghan: Play "Hollaback Girl."
The Clipse: …
Meghan: That outfit is sick.
The couple in front of me: [leaving, insanely, before "Hollaback Girl."]
Guitar player: [Playing a solo, totally not part of the deal.]
Meghan: Play "Hollaback Girl."
Wes: She has some good new songs right?
Gwen: "Hollaback Girl."
Meghan: Thank you.
Do you have Bill Withers' Just As I Am on vinyl? Can you scan the credits, or type them out and send them to me? There is some disagreement as to whether James Gadson played on the record, or just in the road band. I remember Gadson being on it, but I don't have the LP anymore. The new Legacy CD reissue—with killer interview footage on flipside DVD, plus live Gadson and Bill on TV—does not list him as a player. Nerd up! Email funkydrummer at sashafrerejones dot com.
So, we writers of music are waiting to go on this talking show, and we see Mr. Rose on television screen talking with his mouth to the science genius people Wilson and Watson and he is speaking that "I have done more than 30,000 interviews and I think this is the best I've ever done." None of us have discovered DNA, so our chances of beating these scientists is not good, though our chances of hitting them is good, because they move slowly.
Mr. Genius Watson brings his body into the green room (which is not green) and says "Are you waiting to go on?" He puts on Bill Cosby's sweater. (I am thinking without saying it in my voice that maybe Bill Cosby is previous guest and scientist has stolen his clothing because scientists are not funded by government, wrongfully.) We say something stupid like "Yes." He says "What are you talking about?" "Popular music," Jon says, which is not lying. Watson pauses. Then he looks at my face with his eyes and says with his mouth "I always liked Dolly Parton." Today, while thinking, I wish that I was saying "Then, I like you, Mr. Watson," but I just said "Me, too." This is lost chance that makes me cry inside for all of time.
Then, talking on show is fun and not at all weird, maybe because I spend entire day thinking that it will be weird to do. Is impossible to see where camera is and I think maybe this is excellent. The making-up people use make-up to make us different colors but not the same color as Charlie, which is good for telling people apart with eyes.
I am trying, because of wishes to be good and kind, to listen again to Coldplay album, which is also about DNA or something that reminds us of DNA. We are saying last night it is mean that Gwyneth says bad things of Jon because Jon expresses his American right to dislike Coldplay. All of this talking makes my brain to think I should have generosity in my heart to Coldplay records, because I like very much “Head Filling Quickly With Blood” and “The Movie Which Does Not Make Up Its Mind.”
But, today, I listen to Kraftwerk-stealing band and I think maybe the album they make is all of horseshit, with feeling of hot air and very little ideas beyond strange idea to make large sounds without need of this bigness. We are excited by the prospect of going to St. Mark’s Place and selling this CD illegally for less than five dollars, which will buy us new scarf and protect us against weak, feminine American weather.
What was very exciting is that after the making of TV, we go to terrifying bar near The Bloomingdales. Drinking is never scaring us, so we pay for our Wild Turkey with bill marked “50.” American bartender, maybe sexually excited by our make-up, gives us the mathematical change of bill that says “100.” When we realize this, we hit table with hand and make plans to not sell Coldplay CD, because we are now rich like rich people.
(NOTE: Though this is written in stupid comedy dialect, it is all true: the Watson quote, the mistaken bill change, my not liking “X&Y.” But I would not ever sell a CD illegally. That I made up.)
The title track of Talib Kweli's new mixtape is another "my label sucks" tale, in the same conceptual tradition as Bun B's "The Story." I am totally in favor of this new subgenre (much better than "intimate club music," Banner's euphemism for eew-hop). I wish there was a Mecca Normal track called "I Am So Sure We Could Have Sold More, Gerard," or a Spymob track called "Star Trak, My White Ass." (Those are purely conjectural song titles; I know nothing about the business relationships between these musicians and their labels, and my gentle joshing should not imply that I do. [Hedging, what.])
1. The Thermals “A Pillar Of Salt” (Sub Pop)
2. Earl Greyhound “SOS” (Some)
3. Justin Timberlake f/T.I. “My Love” (Jive)
4. Kelis f/ Too $hort “Bossy” (Jive)
5. Gnarls Barkley “Crazy” (Live Top of The Pops version or the regular Atlantic version)
6. Christina Aguilera “Ain't No Other Man” (RCA)
7. Nelly Furtado f/Timbaland “Promiscuous” (Geffen)
8. Dixie Chicks “The Long Way Around” (Sony)
9. Nerina Pallot “Everybody's Gone To War” (14th Floor)
10. Yeah Yeah Yeahs “Cheated Hearts” (Interscope)
11. The Pack “Vans” (Jive)
12. JoJo “Too Little, Too Late” (Blackground)
13. Cham “Ghetto Story” (Atlantic/Mad House)
14. The Duke Spirit “Cuts Across The Land” (Star Time)
15. Rick Ross “Hustlin’” (Def Jam)
16. Pink “U & Ur Hand” (LaFace/Zomba)
17. Cherish f/Sean Paul of YoungBloodZ “Do It Do It” (Sho’nuff/Capitol)
18. Beyoncé “Irreplaceable” (Sony)
19. The Pussycats Dolls “Beep” (A&M)
20. Lillix “Sweet Temptation” (WEA)
21. My Chemical Romance “Welcome To The Black Parade” (Reprise)
22. Prince “Black Sweat” (Universal)
23. Ak’sent f/Beenie Man “Zingy” (Capitol)
24. Chamillionaire f/Krayzie Bone “Ridin’” (Universal)
25. Polow da Don “London Bridge” (instrumental) (A&M/Interscope)
26. Yung Joc “It’s Goin’ Down” (Bad Boy)
1. Scritti Politti “White Bread, Black Beer” (Nonesuch)
2. Joanna Newsom “Ys” (Drag City)
3. Ghostface Killah “Fishscale” (Def Jam)
4. Grizzly Bear “Yellow House” (Warp)
5. Arctic Monkeys “Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not” (Domino)
6. Shrift “Lost In A Moment” (Six Degrees)
7. Clipse “Hell Hath No Fury” (Re-Up/Zomba)
8. DJ Drama & Lil Wayne “Dedication 2” (Gangsta Grillz)
9. Deftones “Saturday Night Wrist” (Warner Bros.)
10. Julie Roberts “Men & Mascara” (Mercury Nashville)
11. T.I. “King” (Atlantic)
12. The La’s “BBC In Session” (Universal Polydor)
13. Justin Timberlake “FutureSex/LoveSounds” (Jive)
14. Cat Power “The Greatest” (Matador)
15. Burial (Hyperdub)
16. Goldfrapp “Supernature” (Mute)
17. Beyoncé “B’Day” (Sony Urban Music/Columbia)
18. Henrik Schwarz “DJ-Kicks” (Studio K7)
19. E-40 “My Ghetto Report Card” (Reprise)
20. Growing “Color Wheel” (Troubleman Unlimited)
21. Regina Spektor “Begin To Hope” (Sire)
22. Sibylle Baier “Colour Green” (Orange Twin)
23. Allison Moorer “Getting Somewhere” (Sugar Hill)
24. Boris “Pink” (Southern Lord)
25. Mew “And The Glass-Handed Kites” (Sony)
but Neckface stopped by last night. So don't tell me he's dead or living in Switzerland.
Do you like it when songs make you cry? Does this indicate that a song is doing its job? Or do you find crying to be a lower, monkey brain reaction that proves only that a song has manipulated you? Have you ever not been manipulated in some way by a song? Do you want to be un-manipulated, left alone in the corner (why do we always invoke "the corner"?) with your unspoiled mind? I am comfortable being worked on, and Jamey Johnson's "The Dollar" pretty much flattens me every time. People who are not working parents might feel exactly the same way, if they give the song a chance. Less emotional types may be impressed by the pacing of the story, which actually saves the punch line for the punch line, instead of putting it in the chorus—though it does that, too. (Looks like the first solid Nashville record of 2006, too. Amazing singing in the George Jones duet. Buddy Cannon, what.)
Thanks to Hua for this link. (The French dude is right. And I miss hearing Rakim rhyme in a way that I cannot express. If I had never heard Rakim rhyme, I might be a clamdigger or a fiduciary nutjob.)
French fry heat lamps? Tony living room fixtures supersized for hockey games? Red, at least, in sync with latest album color scheme.
An inner circle, literally.
Videos projected on lovely pendant chains of reflective circles: denotative images if you strain; connotative twinkles if you're preoccupied with the raising of arms and singing along with non-specific humanist yodeling.
The Mezzanine of Blinding Lights.
The Edge's guitar parts are reduced, at the level of writing, but inflated on delivery, by volume and digital delay. Brilliant trick, but wearing on the ears after five songs.
We are watching a band that has been together for twenty-seven years, having undergone no personnel changes, and getting the loudest approval for new songs: new singles. Opine as it suits you, but this is not only no mean feat—I have thought for weeks and can't come up with analogous numbers for anyone else.
[PARALLEL, REAL-TIME COMMENTARY: Kenny Chesney's "Keg In The Closet" tells the story of someone who tries, unsuccessfully, to duplicate Dubya's college years.
"No real problems we needed to drown / but we'd try our best anyway. / We went to class just to pass the time."
"For a while we had it all. / We never dreamed it wouldn't last. / We went to class just to pass the time."
Was the impermance of college surprising because a) the subject assumed that he had signed up for a 45-year-long baccalaureate? or b) because the sinecure he expected upon graduation did not pan out?]
The red waves were my favorite backdrop. But the coolest shit—within the clearly established paradigm of very cool shit—was this shit:
The lights dimmed almost to black, and it was revealed that the inside and outside circumferences of the inner oval stage path were rigged with red lights that zoomed around sequentially in a totally wicked fashion. U2 could have been playing "My Humps" and it would have given me chills. Seeing this show in the Garden only drives home similarities between arena rock and the circus. You are hoping something ridiculous and huge will happen. And it does. Vertigo!
Bro went searching.
Broseph closed in.
"Was he always fat?"
"I can't tell with those glasses."
"He's wearing them, not you."
"I know, but they're distracting."
"He doesn't even have them on now."
[ANOTHER NBOX INTERRUPTION: Another Bushist take on college—Phil Vassar's "Carlene." A dude who can't even sing as well as Eddie Money needs better songs and less noxious themes than a "little Miss 4.0" with a Ph.D, who has an inexplicable need to model for cash.]
"Jew! Jesus! Mohammed!"
You can see the same electronic art, rendered smaller and in monochrome orange and black, on either side of the Chambers Street entrance to City Hall. Julian Opie, what.
The Songs That Are Not As Good As The Songs That Sound Like U2 Section (a.k.a. The Reggae Ballads) begins.
Projection of woman reading excerpt from the Geneva Convention. Huge, genuinely thrilling cheer goes up when section about "degrading treatment" comes around. Even the doubter give Bono an imaginary hug. Appropriate use of a stadium.
Many flags = "This applies to everyone."
Fiona? Tonight? Monster. Killer. Fifteenth Wu-Tang member. Set list here at Fluxblog. Matthew and I experienced pretty much the same show, and I have little to add except this: Charley Drayton is one hell of a drummer. Mike Elizondo is a perfect bass player. The other guys play lots and lots of keyboards. Dave Palmer played a great, pounding piano "solo," except it was really just an extended coda, and it was mostly chords, which is the kind of thing that should make a guitar player think, because the effect was not so much of a solo but of a song that just kept branching out in self-regenerating Lego forms, getting dissonant, but never chaotic, and then just stopping.
Thanks to Will Hermes and Bill Bragin for sending on the below note from Andrew Frankel about King Sunny Ade and the practice of "spraying." I was at the Great African Ball and left because I found the spraying so annoying. Though it was amusing for maybe half an hour, the spraying (which involves no physical act that looks like "spraying") eventually became a long, static line of people on stage, blocking the audience's view of the musicians, and preventing us from seeing whatever transactions were going down between the patrons and King Sunny. It was extra boring, and a real shame to have a wet blanket dropped on such a sparkling, spring-heeled show. J Shep and I were ready to stay all night—the band knew what they were doing, when they were allowed to do it.
"To the comments on the King Sunny Ade tour and spraying: I don't know exactly how much money the band collected on stage (they keep it all) but it was a lot less than they generally get sprayed at home.
The spraying bit for the US shows was my idea, as we struggled in advance of a very unusual tour (co-promoting shows with Nigerian social clubs all over the US) with how to bring together this artists three primary audiences (in the case of King Sunny Ade that would be Nigerian expatriates, African-Americans, and the "mainstream" poly-ethnic World Music audience). We thought that maybe presenting a show in a context more familiar to Nigerians from home would bring them out, while doing the educational legwork, and providing a new angle on this practice would bring out, and maybe expand the horizons of the other audiences. Our emphasis, at least initially was on the praise singing aspect, more than the spraying, but the two tend to be part and parcel.
Ironically, while it was fun, and generated lots of nice press, I would have to pronounce the experiment a failure. I am not condemning the process nor claiming that I would not refine the concept and try it again, but we just didn't get the results we had hoped for (i.e a large and satisfied audience, and a happy band). Our shortcomings are the most interesting and culturally informative bits of the experience.
1) The Nigerian crowd did not materialize in proportion to what we hoped for/expected. Indeed the spraying angle was appealing to them, but, in fact, most Nigerian parties are hosted (weddings, birthdays, openings), and there is typically little or no admission. Rather, guests are fed and watered, and their only outlay (other than for their spiffy duds, and a gift for the celebrants) may be what they want to spray. $30-$50 ticket prices for the shows scared many of these folks (especially those with families) away. Furthermore, typical Nigerian parties are gatherings of friends, family, age mates, social organizations and the like, so even though you might have 2000+ people at an event, there is a social cohesion one does not get at a ticketed show and, which adds to the appeal of participating in being praised and spraying in response.
2) The non-Nigerian audiences found spraying fascinating for a full Warholian 15 minutes. . . . and then they started heading for the doors . . . and streaming out of the venues. This was largely attributed to two things, a) the band are very visual with lots of dancing, and no-one could see them for the audience members lurking on stage, and b) the music which provides the background for typical praise singing is more repetitive than your normal verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge song structure. The band lay down a groove and the singers provide the variety through their call and response, proverbs, and social commentary. All the education and PR in the world did not help audiences penetrate the dense Yoruba language and idiom to make this interesting to non-speakers.
3) King Sunny Ade and in general the band, were not all that happy with the experience. Firstly, they really enjoy coming to the west to perform pure stage shows as a nice counterpoint to what they mostly do at home. They felt short changed on their opportunity to put on a great show. Secondly spraying in Nigeria is actually an elegant and stately affair for the most part, where patrons and audience members follow some generally unspoken but widely understood protocol. For instance, celebrants, hosts and honored guests go to the stage (to dance and be praised) first; when one has finished spraying or the band has started singing about someone else, its time to move-on; don't interfere with the show or molest the artist or their band.
As I mentioned above, what looked like a "lot of money" to audience members, was not all that much to this band, who are often sprayed in excess of $10K on an average night and much more on a good night. They can enjoy this without leaving the comforts of home for nights in a cheap hotel and long days on a bus. The Nigerians who came to spray in the US shows were, in large part, not the same people (that is, Nigeria’s elite and upper class) who would find themselves with the opportunity to do so back home, and apparently many people grabbed, pinched, fondled and otherwise molested the artist in ways he was VERY unhappy with (a nod to his good showmanship for keeping a smile on his face while on stage). Others, as Bill mentioned, mounted the stage and refused to leave, grandstanding, disrupting the show and generally exhibiting bad manners in a way which they could not get away with at home in Nigeria.
Believe it or not, the band wanted to drop the praise singing/spraying component of the shows after about the 3rd night. But since we had so heavily focused the media on our traditional Nigerian night party concept, and Dmitri & RockPaperScissors had done such a good job selling that angle, we felt there was an expectation we could not back away from. So we all agreed that we would be best to tough it out and continue to present a regular show followed by a more traditional praise singing portion of the show.
So what did we learn? Well, its not so easy to re-create the traditional, a little organic spraying at an African show is a nice way for the band to gather some pocket money, and a good way for their home audience (and well informed fans) to participate. But trying to actually "create" a traditional context . . . . . well it was a nice idea, but I think it lacked some essential innocence and all the magical organic elements which allow these things to just unfold naturally back home.
Even though praise singing and spraying in Nigeria are about the display of public prestige, there is an innocence to them. People are out celebrating with their friends, and they really do get carried away by the music, the words, and the moment. The spraying becomes an expression of that jubilation, not to mention the fact that a good deal of spraying in the Yoruba context is directed between friends and celebrants and not just in one direction towards the band. . . Its like money flying everywhere, trickle down, trickle up, trickle across. . . . . . social democracy in action.
Information on King Sunny Ade, Nigerian Praise Singing and Spraying.
I wish the Interweb would realize the more useful of our liminal daydreams, like the car as thick as a credit card that smells like cinnamon and goes a million miles an hour.
Or, that is, calls from people thinking they were hitting up this Sacha for press. Imagine their disappointment when they discovered the truth. Early in the morning, we don't sound all that different on the phone. But I am a complete toy as a graf writer.