Saturday, January 31, 2009

Beethoven, Symphony Number 9

You may recognize this cut from the intro to Countdown with Keith Olbermann. Many consider it the greatest symphony ever written. It's hard to argue.

Friday, January 30, 2009

The Wailers - Concrete Jungle

So....we haven't had any reggae here yet, so here's the obligatory Wailers song (fortunately it didn't make the cut for Legend, although who knows why not). What I really wanted to do was spotlight "The Old Grey Whistle Test", one of the great repositories for live performance videos, especially in the Youtube era. It ran from 1971 to 1987 on BBC2 and featured a shitload of the best British and British-loved (Tom Waits was on it twice, all you Waits weirdos) artists. And some terrible ones too, of course. OGWT clips are always peppered throughout those VH1 top 100 lists and other such things. This is the Wailers' first UK performance, and was a pretty important milestone in the increasing popularity of reggae music there in the early-70's.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Neil Young - Thrasher

I had intended to post something more recent, but it turned out that today was the day I decided to finally listen to Neil Young, specifically Rust Never Sleeps. So here is "Thrasher", in true "Song of the Day" fashion.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Beach Boys - I Know There's An Answer

In light of the Animal Collective yesterday, I feel compelled today to post their musical ancestor (or at the very least Panda Bear's):

(Tell me "Hang On To Your Ego" is the "better" version in the comments -- I'm already well aware. But the YouTube clip cuts that one a full minute short, so you get the album version instead.)

Monday, January 26, 2009

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Beethoven, Piano Concerto No. 5, "Emperor"

Beethoven's fifth piano concerto is his most famous. The third movement is a Rondo which means that the themes follow the pattern ABACABA. This performance by Murray Perahia is outstanding. His light touch in the fast passages contrasts well with the heavy hand he uses on the chords.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Curtis Mayfield - Move On Up

I went through a few options - an Otis Redding song, something by James Brown, even another Curtis song, but in the end I decided that, even with my black, bitter heart, the Friday of Obama Week just needed something unabashedly uplifting, no matter how cliche. My advice: if you're working, crank this sucker up to 11 at work. Everyone loves this song.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Big Bill Broonzy - I Wonder When I'll Be Called A Man

I guess I would like to linger, just for a bit more, on the historical nature of the week. All of our previous black presidents have been fictional; this one is not just symbolic like them but an actual day-to-day director of a crumbling state. I fear the ideals and hopes we've attached to him will be lost in that business of daily politicking, in all the news managing, in all that administrating.

Well that doesn't go with the song at all. I hope that the fact of a black president makes for far fewer future racists, but as for today, those feelings have only been pushed under the surface. I'm sorry to sully such a beautiful song with all this little pessimism, but there it is.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

James Cotton - There's Something on Your Mind

I have endeavored in the past several weeks to really build up the soul/funk/blues side of my record collection, so you'll be seeing a lot of this stuff in the coming weeks. (Really I just want to make things harder on Daniel.)

Back in the '50s, James Cotton played harmonica for Howlin' Wolf and Muddy Waters; he established the James Cotton Blues Band in 1967. I first heard this track on "3 Harp Boogie," a mid-90s album of previously released Cotton material (compliments of my roommate). It originally appeared on 1967's James Cotton Blues Band, and it is awesome.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Midlake - Roscoe

This one got into my head yesterday, and it stuck there until now. It's got a nice musky smell about it, I likes.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Nas - Black President

For Obama Week. Obligatory.

Tapes 'n Tapes -- Insistor

I'm not a huge fan of this band, but I did like this song a lot. Whatever.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Beethoven, Violin Concerto in D Major, Op 61

Sticking with Beethoven for a couple weeks, this is the Beethoven's only violin concerto. Joshua Bell's performance is vibrant and energetic. It's interesting the Beethoven decides to introduce a number of themes before the soloist begins, but I think this adds to the richness of the melodic line throughout the movement.

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Jam - In the City

Two birds with one stone on this one - you get the late, great Tony Wilson, giving a typically verbose intro on "So It Goes", his legendary punk rock showcase on Grenada TV (featured, briefly, in the movie 24 Hour Party People), and you get the Jam playing a floppy, sloppy, sweaty live version of "In the City".

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Bonnie "Prince" Billy - Raining In Darling

It hasn't been the best week, and I find that this guy is almost the default for days like these. While the album I See A Darkness is mostly outright bleak, it does have a hopeful, uplifting ending.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Brian Eno - St. Elmo's Fire

I had intended to post King's Lead Hat, but the audio quality from that clip is piss poor (and even skips at one point). So you get this rather uninspired selection instead:

Brian Eno is the best.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Monday, January 12, 2009

Black Star ft. Common- Respiration

The search for this video brought up all sorts of science videos, and a sponsored video which couldn't be embedded. But, alas. Off the album "Mos Def and Talib Kweli are Black Star", which is full of good stuff.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Beck -- Bad Cartridge (E-Pro Remix)

This is off Beck's gameboy variations EP. The Girl remix (named Bit Rate Variations in B Flat) is also very good, so check it out if you like this song. Beck is so cool.

Jens Lekman - Pocketful Of Money

Okay, I lost track of what day it was last week, with a wacky work schedule and all. Not that you guys missed me or anything. Anyhow, I am functioning again, at last.

This blog seems to have gotten away from its twee roots, and it seems like we should honor our temporarily-absent comrade by getting back to it. (Craig was the one who liked the sissy music, right? ...)

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Beethoven, Piano Sonata No. 23

Beethoven may be most famous for his symphonies, but he shined in many different genres. He wrote 32 piano sonatas, many of which are quite famous. The Appassionata, No. 23, is perhaps his most intense sonata.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Bob Dylan - Summer Days

It's been a good week here at Oscar, Gamble & Associates, and I thought I'd just put in our first Dylan song, a nice rollicky driving number from "Love and Theft".

Not the most groundbreaking selection, I know, but at least I'm not making us listen to "With God On Our Side". It's topical, anyway, being January.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Stooges - 1969

So, I could have dug deeper into the Stooges' catalog (In a world where I was God and therefore everything was awesome and not sucky, Penetration is how Guns n' Roses would sound. Also, the celesta). But fuck it, this is the opener, with Ron Asheton's wa-wa, fuzzed-out guitar giving way to that Bo Diddley beat and a solo which takes up the entire second half of the song, meandering its way from nowhere to nowhere, restless, bored and (probably) high just like Iggy. "And now Im gonna be 22 I say oh my and a boo-hoo". Ron Asheton, he played 'til he dropped.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Jewel & The Rubies - Kidnapper

I first heard this a few weeks back on The Roadhouse, a specialty show on KEXP that features blues, soul, folk, country, R&B and classic rock (the esteemed Marion Black has enjoyed airtime, in fact). I think you could probably get me to love just about any song that references old detective shows and Westerns throughout. (Bonus points for catching the theme song that is referenced in a Corey Feldman movie). I apologize for the audio quality, but this is what YouTube gave me:

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Sam Cooke - Bring It On Home to Me (Live)

Yeah, Sam Cooke is probably the best thing ever.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers: Moanin'

It's still Monday on the West Coast!

Freddie Hubbard died at 70 last week. He had a great career, distinguishing himself as one of the best trumpeters around. I didn't want to post a real long track, but here's something that will give you a good feel for his abilities. If you can't tell, Freddie's solo begins at about the 55 second mark.

Beat Happening - Pine Box Derby

It's far from my favorite Beat Happening song, but it comes with an actual video!

This one goes out to Dave Mills, may he rest in peace, and I'm still a little pissed about Craig killing him.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Gorillaz - Happy Landfill

You knew I had to post at least one song by the Gorillaz at some point in time, and I'm too tired to think of anything else, so here you go.

This song was off of the D-Sides CD (released after Demon Days), and if you had the demon days CD and went onto their website with the CD in your computer, you could do a quest that takes 15-20 mins in order to unlock this song early. The comments say this was the real music video for it, but i had never seen it before.

Anyway, watch it, tell me my musical tastes suck. You know the drill.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Keyboard Sonata in B Minor, Domenico Scarlatti

Scarlatti is most famous for his sonatas for harpsichord. He is considered one of the bridges between the baroque period and the classical period. Here is a typical recording of one of his sonatas.

Vladimir Horowitz was one of the greatest pianists of the 20th century. He is best known for playing romantic music, particularly late romantics like Tchaikovsky. He decided to tackle the Scarlatti repertoire, and his romantic interpretation garnered a lot of attention. Here is the same sonata, performed by Horowitz, on a modern piano.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Portal - Still Alive

So, instead of even bothering to try to follow Daniel and Caroline's selection up, I'm taking a page from the Happy playbook for this one. It's a video game end credits song and no, I don't have a problem with that.

The background - Portal is a puzzle game where your character is led through the levels (towards the promised reward of....cake) by a passive-aggressive AI named GlaDOS, who becomes less passive and more aggressive as you advance through the game, and eventually just flat-out admits that she's trying to kill you. As you get close to her she becomes pretty unhinged:

"I'd just like to point out that you were given every opportunity to succeed. There was even going to be a party for you. A big party that all your friends were invited to. I invited your best friend the companion cube [An inanimate cube needed to complete some of the puzzles, that GlaDOS ends up forcing you to drop into an incinerator]. Of course, he couldn't come because you murdered him. All your other friends couldn't come either because you don't have any other friends. Because of how unlikable you are. It says so here in your personnel file: Unlikable. Liked by no one. A bitter, unlikable loner whose passing shall not be mourned. 'Shall not be mourned.' That's exactly what it says. Very formal. Very official. It also says you were adopted. So that's funny, too."

Eventually you find GlaDOS and kill her by breaking off pieces of her and chucking them into an incinerator. And then, your reward. First, cake, and then a song sung to you by GlaDOS.

Nina Simone - 22nd Century

It's not the most optimistic or festive song for this occasion, but it's something large and sad and slow and full of life. Nobody sounds more in the moment than Nina Simone. This song feels more like an event than any day on a calendar.

It will be.