Monday, September 27, 2004

da Rizz

Scattershot fill-in glisten today while we jerry-rig up the Soul Sides tag team. Both of these cuts have been on the back burner for a minute but don't worry. Spice and flavor keep 'em fresh LONG past the sell-by date without a hint of preservatives. That's the Tofu promise.

RZA - "Cherry Range"

I don't know if I've made it clear how much I like the RZA. His production is fascinating; he drops these strange flawed gems made of coke bottle bottoms and tarmac. Historians looking back for a musician to represent the era could do worse than the Rizz; really, who embodies hip hop both post- and pre-2000 more completely?

"Cherry Range" is all about that ONE extra bounce; you know the one: dunna, dunna duh duh; dunna, dunna duh duh; dunna, dunna duh _dee_; dunna, dunna duh duh; dunna dunna... DUNNA DUNNA! Oh FUCK yeah with that extra dunna! Makes me wanna holler!

This here is the shitty nitty gritty; a robotic monster with a highhat heartbeat on an elastic bass rampage spittin' the apocalypse: "You've seen Bird? You had beef with that chump/ And I heard he came home from a two-year slump/ Yeah, I heard, I got the pump in the trunk/ And when I see that crab, I'm-a dump in his lump".

That's that Clockwork Orange shit, son!

I also love that, perhaps appropriately for th' Hut, it's a dis track against radio payola. One thing that's not often touched on in discussions of musicblogs is that we feel free to post tracks that simply CAN'T be heard on post-Janet-tit-tay airwaves. "Range" is insanely hot but FCC sez it can't see the light of day because of a reference to "fucking airwaves"? Hell no! We wanna say what we wanna say, lay where we wanna lay! No pay for play necessar-ay.

Buy the much slept-on "Birth of a Prince" from Amazon.
Loads of genius on here: th' old school funk-riff "Grits", the lyrically brilliant sperm-cell-POV "The Birth" and the Holiday-centric "A Day to God is a 1,000 Years". Admittedly, the A-side is a little weak but this is still worth adding to any well-equipped collection.
The RZA vs. Gold-fanged vampires
Be on the lookout for the Blade III soundtrack!
The GZA/RZA/Bill Murray section of Coffee and Cigarettes was BY FAR the most amusing section of an otherwise worthwhile but somewhat confounding movie.

I mean, Jim, really: did the world need another, more inscrutable Blue in the Face?

Mort Garson - Swingin' Spathiphyllumus

Speaking of Clockwork Orange....

This is a listener submitted track from Chris F. in Minneapolis. Chris offers a cut from Garson's 1976 "Plantasia", a collection of groovy moog tunes intended to be played to houseplants to help them GROW. Garson is no stranger to the offbeat; he produced a considerable number of canonical Zodiacal albums and a "Soundtrack for Sensuous Lovers" that combined electric noise and porn-style moans.

If I were a plant, _I'd_ sprout for Garson. It's germinatin' stuff!

This is sadly out of print but Chris has the whole album... anybody clamoring for more?

MUST have it on vinyl?
Read this brief Garson bio and discography, courtesy of Space Age Pop Music.
Learn more about the Moog at Synthmuseum.

Meeting the Neighbors

#1 Songs In Heaven is only a fraction of the musical wonder that is London Lee but it's awful nice nonetheless. Lee regularly restocks #1 with piping hot soul music from all eras and all styles.
Recent offerings include music from Erykah Badu, Joe Tex, Charlie Rich and Little Willie John.

London! Reprazent!


I'm a 42 year old Englishman, born and raised in London. I earn my living as a graphic designer. I've lived in America for 12 years now, the first 10 in Tampa and the past 2 in Boston where I'm the Associate Art Director at The Atlantic Monthly magazine. I've been married to the lovely Kristin for 4 years. No kids yet, 1 cat. My first music post went up Tuesday, June 8th, 2004. The song was "It's Great To Be Here' by The Jackson Five.

Where did the name of your blog originate from?
It's the title of a song by Sparks. My other music site is called Pop Heaven so I thought it tied things together nicely.
What are the criteria you judge a song by to decide if it's post-worthy?

Probably the same as every other mp3 blogger: Ones that I love and think a fair number of people might not have heard before. It's like going through your record collection with a friend and pulling out some old gem that you think they absolutely must hear. The main thing for me is to avoid posting too "obvious" tunes, I would never, ever post something like "Sex Machine" or "What's Going On?" for example. Luckily there are so many wonderful soul tunes that aren't that well known (especially in America, the English are a bit more clued into buried soul treasure) that the real hard part is choosing between them all.
What song would you like played at your funeral?
"The Party's Over Now" by Noel Coward.
What do you do for kicks when you're not posting?
Drink, smoke, read, have fun with my wife, watch English football (preferably while drinking)
Do you have a favorite music critic?
I don't think about particular music critics that much, I'm not the sort of person who owns the collected writings of Lester Bangs or Greil Marcus. I like a lot of the stuff Marcello Carlin wrote on his blogs The Church of Me and The Naked Maja. Anyone who can devote hundreds of words to the ouevre of David Essex is dandy with me.
Five desert island discs?

1. Sign O' The Times - Prince
2. All Mod Cons - The Jam
3. The Complete Al Green - Al Green
4. The Capitol Years - Frank Sinatra
5. 3+3 - The Isley Brothers
What was the last track you heard that really changed your life?
Blimey... "changed your life" is such a huge concept to attach to a pop record. I can name the first one, which was "Down In The Tube Station At Midnight" by The Jam back in 1978, that changed a lot of my musical tastes at the time and, I think, changed me too as it led me to all sorts of other musical and cultural things. Maybe I would have got to them anyway, who knows? But I was a lot younger then, my life since has been changed by events, music has just been the soundtrack.
How much does it cost you to maintain your site (in time/money/effort)?
Not that much time really. It probably works out to half an hour a day of actual work. Researching discographies and artist biographies takes the most time. Money? My hoster charges $9.95 a month. The music (so far) comes from albums I already own or would buy anyway. Effort? No effort at all, it's a total pleasure.
Describe the space you do your writing in.
I usually write on the computer in my office at work (when I probably should be, er, doing other things like proper work) which is in the North End of Boston. I have a nice little room of my own with a comfy armchair for reading and a window that you can see the USS Constitution from.
That old chestnut dinner party is at your house and you can invitethree musicians living or dead. Who are you inviting?
Sam Cooke, Frank Sinatra, Amy Winehouse
Is there any genre of music that you dismiss out of hand?
Is Hair Metal a genre? It had absolutely no impact whatsoever in the UK so I managed to avoid it at the time, but then I moved to the States and was like "you all listened to this shit in the 80s?"
Are you much of a dancer?
I used to be. I started going to clubs and having a good boogie when I was about 17 and spent the best part of the next 20 years doing it. Now I'm 42 I don't so much at all, partly because there aren't many clubs that play what I want to hear and partly because my limbs aren't as rubbery as they used to be. But there are few moments in life as pleasurable as being on a dancefloor and getting caught up in some great track.
Drop on by betterPropaganda and pick out a track to hype.

Superstar -King Britt

Am I allowed to just say "I like it"?


I've been threatening to do something like this for a long time and I think it's right about time that I actually follow through.

Let's start out by making a few assumptions. You have a computer or have access to one. You have an internet connection or have access to a computer that you can store files on that has an internet connection. You have music or have access to music. You have a chunk of free time equal to or more than two or three hours a week you can devote to making a music blog. You know enough about computers to get done what you want to, even if you're no tech whiz. You have opinions and are fairly adept at expressing them.

If this is you, you can make your own musicblog.

Let's say you've been reading a musicblog (is it mine? It is? Do you like it? You do? You rock!) and you like the idea so you'd like to make one for yourself. You're excited to share music with your friends but even more excited to try to hip others to some of the supercool stuff you listen to. Great! Only problem is:

A): You don't know the first thing about how to host files.
B): You don't know how to make a blog.
C): None of your music is on your computer.

Let's address these problems back to front and figure out how to best approach them. The first thing that you need to know is how much hard drive space you have available. You're going to want a few spare gigs (at least one or two) to store your potential online collection. Make a folder ("musicblog") with a bunch of subfolders (by genre, style, whatever) so that you'll be able to keep track of where your music is and to find it. This will simplify your life later on.

Now you need a program to listen to and rip music to your computer. Chances are that you already have a program like this; if you don't, many are available online for free. I use iTunes to manage my music library (though I don't allow it to manage my files and I don't necessarily recommend you do either); you could also try winamp or musicmatch or any of a dozen others. Google around, find one and get used to it; use it a lot and experiment so that you don't run into trouble later on. Make your music program your friend. Everybody cozy? Great. Now set aside a day or three and rip anything you think that would be neat onto your harddrive, specifically to those folders we made earlier. When you're ripping, make sure that you take the time to fill in the album, artist and track name on the id3 info. That way you and your listeners will be able to keep track of exactly what it is that they're listening to. I can't stress enough how frustrating it is to play a downloaded track listed as 01 and not know who's playing.

What's that? All your music is on tape or record? Boy, do we need you! A lot of that stuff hasn't been reissued and is doubly exciting to hear! Go to this site or google "analog to mp3" or "records to cd" and you'll find all the info you need along with what you'll need to buy. It'll likely cost you less than fifty bucks.

Next you need to get that music online! To do that you're going to need two things: a hosting company and a blogging program. If you knew what you were doing, you could use the hosting company's site builder and just go from there; of course, if you knew what you were doing you wouldn't be reading THIS, would you?

Meet me back here tomorrow and we'll figure out how to connect with a blog and a host.