Saturday, May 30, 2009

Yusuf - Midday (Avoid City After Dark)

Of the entirety of Cat Steven's oeuvre, why choose something from his post-conversion to Islam post-deciding-music-is-still-okay era? I understand this idea. But I have two reasons, and one of them isn't very good:
  1. We all know the great Cat Stevens tunes. Seriously, they're fantastic, they seriously are, but they're also ubiquitous. The one Cat Stevens tune to appear here already has been a lesser-known one, but in general he's like The Beatles. Undeniably great, but also the music we generally came up with.
  2. This song is actually really good.
On its surface, this is almost an old man song, like a re-imagining of "What a Wonderful World." The catchy horns and the upbeat percussion make it feel like this song was created to be covered by buskers and sold at Starbucks, and the lyrics nearly support that idea. They talk about how great boring things are during the daytime and children and shit.
But the end of every verse reminds us: I avoid the city after dark. Like The Velvet Underground's Sunday Morning, once we get comfortable with the theme of the song, a terrible paranoia creeps in, shaking us a little, and nudging us if we allow ourselves to enjoy a fleeting moment of sunlight. I've written enough already. Just listen to the song.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Miles Davis - Move

Let's keep moving backwards in time. I think Birth of the Cool is the only pre-rock era album I own. If you were looking to start your Miles Davis education, this would most definitely not be the place to start. But it is his opener, so here it is. (I was actually looking for a video of "Venus de Milo", which I think is the best song on the album, but this was the best one I could find)

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Bill Haley - Thirteen Women

"Bill Haley was the first white man to invent rock 'n' roll, unfortunately he was a small, chubby man who wasn't very good at it. Bill became the only rock singer to die of old age........."
Great Pop Things, Colin B. Morton & Chuck Death*

The strip (which I cannot find an image of) goes on in the next panel to christen Elvis Presley the "second white man to invent rock 'n' roll" ("'I'm sorry Elvis but I forgot to iron your karate suit..'/ "'oh that's alright mama'") along with the caption "pure sex".

Bill Haley's usually a punchline, but he did have one B side that can be described as


*N.B. Actually pseudonym for Mekon Jon Langford

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Roxy Music - Ladytron

I picked this album up yesterday on vinyl and was all ready to post the album version of "If There Is Something," which is itself a fine example of the Roxy Music that existed before it became the exclusive Bryan Ferry property. Then I saw this.

Craig's tyranny of The Old Grey Whistle Test ends today! Today, I say!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

John Stewart - Gold

Yes, that John Stewart. He's been dropping hits since the 70s. What a Jew!

I could have easily found a clip without all the stuff beforehand, but really, it would only have diminished the result. The 70s, indeed, were a fearful and alien time...

Monday, May 25, 2009

Leon Thomas- China Doll

uh...why the fuck not?

Tanya Morgan - On Our Way

This album sort of reminded me of The Minstrel Show, in a way. I wish "Hardcore Gentlemen" was up on the youtubes, because that song is awesome. But yeah. Here.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Baby Gramps - Shake 'Em And Break 'Em

Hey gang, time for this again. I got introduced to Baby Gramps through this album, which shouldn't be good but totally and surprisingly is, on which he plays two songs, one of which can be viewed live here. Anyway, I started scouring the internet for his albums, and I've slowly pieced a few of them together, though a lot of it is nebulous, because he, like John Darnielle and Kilgore Trout, released voluminous material in ways that are difficult to keep track of.
In any event, his music is unlike much that I hear, ever, and his public persona rivals Tom Waits' for possible entire lack of veracity and also somewhat legendariness, though he rarely wanders beyond the Pacific Northwest. In any event, this is Shake 'Em and Break 'Em, which is a kind of ragtime-infused combining of different blues songs and some original material, equalling an extremely solid entry into the pantheon of American folk music. Yeah, I said it.

Shake 'Em and Break 'Em

Friday, May 22, 2009

Gang of Four - To Hell with Poverty

Dipping into the OGWT well again. This song seems appropriate to the times we live in. Plus, dig that funky funky bass.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Mischief Brew - Roll Me Through The Gates of Hell

I saw Erik Peterson on Friday night, at the Mehanata Bulgarian Bar (the Gogol Bordello haunt). Here is a live one from youtube,

or the album take if you prefer.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Bill Callahan - Eid Ma Clack Shaw

You may know him better as the gloomy singer-songwriter behind Smog. I picked this album up about a month ago and have been digging it. Reminiscent of Bonnie Prince Billy.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Monday, May 18, 2009

Burning Spear- Foggy Road

Burning Spear is still making new shit, apparently. His last album won a grammy...and one of the other nominees was Heavy D. This amuses me. Anyway, here's a track off the album he put out in '74, Rocking Time.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Be Good Tanyas - Human Thing

I've been listening to an unhealthy amount of Tanyas lately. Check out "The Littlest Birds" if you haven't already.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Dead Prez - Hip Hop

I am embarrassed to say that the first time I heard this song was in the Michel Gondry-directed concert documentary "Dave Chappelle's Block Party." As far as concert documentaries go, "Block Party" is probably the best I've seen (it constitutes 50% of the total concert documentaries I've seen), and I cannot recommend it highly enough. It so perfectly captures a great moment in hip hop culture, filmed before Chappelle ran off to South Africa, but released afterwards. It also featured John Legend as one of Kanye West's backup singers, before he got pretty big.
As to this song: it is difficult to put on when company's over, because it's easy to come off as an idiotic white guy co-opting black culture, especially when you sing along with "This real hip hop/And it don't stop/'Til we get them crackers off the block." But I suggest putting those feelings aside and really allowing yourself to enjoy the song, and taking the opportunity to think critically about your own relationship to racial politics. I'm so serious.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Ides of March - Vehicle

This dude did this at the bar last night (he rocked the shit out of it, too) and I couldn't stop singing it when I got home.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Flight of the Conchords - Think About It

I know idiot beat me to the Conchords, but I am going to see them tonight at the Paramount. "Mugged," the episode in which this song appears, is far and away my favorite. And it just seems right to follow up last week's Marvin Gaye with what is essentially a "What's Goin' On" parody.

"Why are we paying so much for sneakers when you've got them being made by little slave kids, what is your overhead?"

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Deer Tick - Ashamed

Let this be your missive from the heavenly ethers, on this, this glorious Tuesday fair.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Novos Baianos- Preta Pretinha

Not much time, so here's my post for today, before I forget.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Cat Stevens - Father & Son

(I am not really trying to be ironic on Mother's Day, it's just the way things worked out, but if it looks that way then whatever.)

Saturday, May 9, 2009

She & Him - Why Do You Let Me Stay Here?

Hey, I'm new here, and I thought I'd get off to a bad start. Here's the second track off of Zooey Deschanel's debut album (she did it with this other guy who sounds like a neighborhood in New Orleans). Lately I've been listening to a lot of celebrity vanity albums, and I think that Vol. 1 exemplifies why: ZD is not trying to make a career as a musician (she has a day job), so she doesn't have to do anything to make her album popular. She just has to make music like she wants, and it opens her up creatively in a way you don't see that often. This song is just fun, like someone really really smart wrote an early 60's girl-group song and then just sang it herself, acting as her own chorus. And the music video is crazy.
Lemme know if I blogged this wrong or anything.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Donna Summer - I Feel Love

This will be our first and, it seems likely, last disco hit here. A couple of connections that got me to this point - one, we went to a "Eurotrash" themed party last night, so I immediately conjured up images of Giorgio and two, the David Bowie song "Cat People", produced by Giorgio for the movie of the same name, was inexplicably featured on "The Office" tonight.

Giorgio, of course, is Giorgio Moroder, the godfather of techno, and this song is his crowning achievement. DANCE PARTY!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Wanda Jackson - Funnel of Love/ Candy Man/ Hard-Headed Woman

The lady-Elvis.

Also 'Candy Man' (associated with Roy Orbison), but it's a really bad recording or transfer or whatever.

While we're here, Hard-Headed Woman (associated with Elvis).

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Marvin Gaye - Here My Dear / I Met A Little Girl

So ... that happened.

Beyond the legitimately awful album art, I'd often heard this was a bit of an underrated classic. I never got around to listening to it until I bought it on vinyl this past weekend. And it's awesome.

Some background: The album is the story of Gaye's divorce from his first wife, Anna Gordy. Perhaps hilariously, it was written to fulfill his divorce settlement -- he had agreed to pay a portion of the royalties from his next album as alimony. Definitely hilariously, the album tanked. I don't post this on the occasion of a breakup, but I can think of one or two for which this would have been apropos.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Jay-Z - Izzo (H.O.V.A.)

Help! Jigga's taking over my bl IT'S THE ANTHEM GET YOUR DAMN HANDS UP

Monday, May 4, 2009

Digable Planets- 9th Wonder (Blackitolism)

I don't know. There's a track called "May 4th Movement" on the album, if that's a tie in. I wasn't going to post "Ohio", yea. Here you go.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Jay-Z - Brooklyn Go Hard

This song track anthem! is catchy, commericial, stupid, and silly. We have been obsessed with it for days.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Camille Saint-Saens, Carnival of Animals

Here's a fun piece by Saint-Saens, another one meant for children. This movement is meant to represent the beautiful and graceful swimming of a swan.

This will be my final post on the blog. It's been fun.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Wilco - Wilco the Song

I'd forgotten about this - they were on Colbert not too long before the election and played this song. It's the first track from their upcoming album, and they even changed some of the lyrics around for him.

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