Thursday, April 30, 2009

Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong - I Won't Dance

These two jazz singers became briefly famous in 1956 after their comic riposte to Joy Division's "Transmission" made it to 24 on the charts.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Joy Division - Transmission

Oh man has it been one of those weeks.

(There's another version on youtube that excises the obnoxious beat poetry, but it also omits Pete Hook's bass intro, and I won't have that.)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Monday, April 27, 2009

Median- Personified

I forgot that it was Monday. Here's the last thing that was on my MP3 player.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Juggaknots - Romper Room

This one always feels Sunday-ish, to me.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Sergei Prokofiev, Peter and Wolf

Another famous piece meant to help children learn about orchestral music, here is Peter and the Wolf narrated by David Bowie.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Wire - Map Ref. 41°N 93°W

A post-punk song about, and titled after, maps and map coordinates? Yes, please. 154 is a difficult album to love, but it's always worth the journey when this one comes up. And it's some place in the middle of nowhere in bumfuck Iowa, for the curious.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Third Bardo - I'm Five Years Ahead of My Time

It was going to be "Surfin' Bird", by the Trashmen, but then I remembered that that was in Family Guy. So, this one.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Vetiver - Rolling Sea

This one is a special tribute to a couple of my friends, who had free tickets to see Vetiver last weekend but opted (according to one, at least) to take naps instead.

(The album cover is apparently inspired by The Knife's Silent Shout on a camping trip.)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Bodies of Water - Under the Pines

Fuck you, Mother Nature. I'll steal your sweetmeats and not have even a passing regret about it.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Pharcyde- Otha Fish

Yea, high budget on the video. Not a 4/20 post.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Benjamin Britten, Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra

Finishing up a series of British composers, here is Benjamin Britten's Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra. The same theme is repeated by different sections in the orchestra to teach children about the different instruments.

Friday, April 17, 2009

The Crystals - Let's Dance The Screw (Part 1)

We've had some pretty weird selections this week, so I might as well close the thing out properly.

Phil Spector formed Philles Records in 1961 with Lester Sill, one of those promoter/manager/executive types that grease the wheels of the recording industry. Most of Spector's biggest hits, from "Da Doo Ron Ron" to "Be My Baby" to "River Deep Mountain High", were published by Philles, but unfortunately for Sill he was well out of the picture by then. As one might expect with a business enterprise where one partner is a paranoid, gun-wielding egomaniac, things eventually went south and Spector and Sill parted ways on ugly terms - Sill sold his share of Philles to Spector for $60,000 in 1962, a pittance even then, simply because he didn't want to be around Spector any more. But Spector left him one other parting gift, the legendary Philles 111, "Let's Dance The Screw", a simplistic, repetitive and completely unreleasable song he'd worked up and recorded with the Crystals simply as a last "fuck you" to Sill. Legend has it that 111's purpose was to fuck Sill out of royalties, since Spector owed him a final single and by making it this record he ensured that Sill wouldn't get shit - the same legend, more or less, that's attached itself to Here, My Dear, although sadly it's probably untrue for Spector's song. Most sources say that the voice on the record belongs to Spector, although some claim it was his lawyer. This is side A, side B is more of the same but slower and longer. In any case, only a handful of pressings, all promo copies and marked "NOT FOR SALE" were ever made of the record, so it's one of the rarest artifacts of the pop era, and it's likely that many people had been reading about this infamous record for years without ever actually hearing it. But then they invented Youtube, so enjoy.

(Apropos of Spector's recent well-deserved final act, The Crystals were also involved in Spector's other infamous Philles single, "He Hit Me (It Felt Like a Kiss)", which was actually written by Goffin/King, and in the hands of someone other than Spector might have come across as satire, but under his guidance is just fucking creepy beyond words.)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Tricky - Black Steel

I was playing the covers game last night with Chris Walker (did you know about this?) and I remembered this Public Enemy cover.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Joanna Newsom - Emily (live)

Something a little different, really. Enjoy.

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Turtles- You Showed Me

Anyone who can point out this track's significance in relation to hip hop gets a "huzzah".

Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Avalanches - Since I Left You

I hope we're all having a pleasant Sunday.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

William Walton, Crown Imperial

Here is the march played at the coronation of King George the VI of England.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Kraftwerk - Spacelab

Wanted to give some balance to the "white people" side of the ledger today and who better to do that with than the Big K? Chuck "The Model" and The Man Machine could be a pretty decent sci-fi concept album - "Metropolis" and "Neon Lights" almost put me in mind of the on-Earth bits at the beginning of Solaris, and this song and "The Man Machine" are 2001 homages, in spirit if not in literal fact. Actually, this song in particular always makes me think of another Arthur Clarke work, Rendezvous with Rama - the connection is so strong in my mind that after it came up on shuffle the other day I stopped by the library and checked the book out to read again. It covers some of the same thematic territory as 2001, involving first contact with an alien intelligence through an encounter with a large geometric artifact. A film version directed by David Fincher has been in development hell for the better part of a decade - it'd make a supremely cool movie, with the caveat that the characters, like most of Clarke's creations, are bare wisps of human beings, and would of necessity get a shitload of fleshing out which would threaten to overwhelm the rest of the story.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

James Brown - Nature Boy

I went over to youtube to look for Nature Boy - the song's always fascinated me since I heard it on a Nat King Cole box and half remembered it from Moulin Rouge. I was all set to put up the Nat King Cole version (after avoiding the bombastic, crooner-Bowie version, and not finding the Big Star one) when I found this run-through, with faux-Morricone production.

James Brown.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Bongos Ikwue - Woman Made The Devil

The two discs that comprise this compilation of Nigerian pop have been on a nearly endless rotation since I picked them up this weekend -- sadly, not from the collection of Downtown Freddie Brown. This song is a bit of a departure from the rest of the set, but I've listened to it about 15 times in the past four days.

(If the album cover alone isn't enough to sell you on it, I'm not sure you can be helped.)

Monday, April 6, 2009

Natural Resource- Bum Deal

(Seriously, "(Don't Worry) If There's a Hell Below, We're All Going to Go" isn't on youtube?)

Anyway, after looking for a bunch of other shit, this works.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Henry Purcell, Dido and Aeneas

Sticking with British composers, here is a selection from an opera by Henry Purcell.

Friday, April 3, 2009

David Bowie - Life on Mars?

No, I'm not exactly breaking virgin territory here, but the not-nearly-good-enough American version of "Life on Mars" just ended with an all-time, epic fail of a finale, and it deserves to be ridiculed to the sound of its classic namesake.

I only watched the first couple of episodes with anything more than a modicum of interest (the on-the-nose dialogue really started to wear on my nerves, and the show just seemed to be focus-grouped down to a nub) but the original series was most famous for its ending, so I watched the American finale to see what they did with it. Sam Tyler, it turned out, didn't come from 1973 or 2008. He was a motherhumping astronaut. From the future. Traveling to Mars with all of his fictitious cop buddies, running a fucking simulated program to keep his mind active or some bullshit. And Gene Hunt, the cop boss? That was the mission they were on - a gene hunt. They were searching for fucking life on Mars. Like the song!

The human race probably doesn't deserve to survive. If there is a just God, he will wipe this experiment out.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Johnny Horton - Battle of New Orleans

Saw this one in a course on historiography. The version of the song (actually, the song itself) is actually way sillier than the video, which is made of legos. Part of that whole 50s cowboys/indians/Davey Crockett phase, and just ridiculous on all counts.

Battle of New Orleans

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Mission of Burma - That's When I Reach For My Revolver

OK, judging from the limited activity in the comments section, you've either withheld your scorn or have sniffed out my little ruse. Looks like I got Dan, though (my second comment probably went a bridge too far). Mission of Burma is, of course, the shit, and so is this song.

Fuck Moby.

Moby & Trigun - That's When I Reach For My Revolver

I had originally wanted to post something new, but it's stakes-raising time around here. That's right, it's Moby and anime. I like his cover quite a bit better than the original, and the bits from Trigun should speak for themselves.

Your move, Daniel.