Saturday, December 11, 2004

Who knows when your fifteen seconds of fame are coming?

glistening by the numbers: FIFTEEN

Naftule Brandwein - "Fufzehn Yahr Fon Der Heim Awek (Fifteen Years Away From Home)"

Avi: I'm a big fan of klezmer, especially in a live setting when you can really see and hear the players get all fired up. There's so much great stuff in the European folk tradition. I especially love to hear modern revivalists who take the old styles and can make them vital once again, be it Masada with klezmer or groups like Hedningarna in the Scandinavian folk scene.

Lee: This is a very weird inclusion...is there a connection between Lynda Barry and this? Whitey getting down in the homeland Klezmer style? I like the squeaky-toy sound he gets from the clarinet. Hard to tell if the wobble in his tone is the recording or the playing.

Jamie: Can't quite say why, but first listen-through felt a twinge of melancholy...probably because it's not as raucous as most klezmer music I've heard. Bought my first klezmer album (Mickey Katz's Simcha Time) because it was the odd-item-out in a BMG Music Club flyer. A whim purchase that brightens my mood when I'm down.

Rosecrans: Music I'm glad to know is being archived somewhere, by someone, but otherwise I wouldn't listen to this again unless I needed a soundtrack for my dagguerotype room.

David: This is just perfect. And reminds me of too many black and white European films watched late at night while drunk and confused.

Naftule's "wobbly" tone evokes sorrow and homesickness both deeply and clearly. The subtitle of this piece is "Russian Dance"; it's a wistful little wisp of a waltz that occasionally threatens to swing like Django. Brother rips up a licorice stick, don't he?

Klezmer, a sort of early Jewish Jazz tradition that relies heavily on the tradition of Greek and Gypsy folk songs, is a beautiful style of music long overdue for resurrection on the pop stage. I think Britney on a dancefloor Hava Nagila remix offers great possibilities; hell, Gwen Stefani is biting "If I were a Rich Man" on the new album. Anything's possible.

Buy "King of the Klezmer Clarinet", a roundup of Brandwein's material from the mid-twenties, direct from Rounder Records.

This is pretty much the ONLY commercially available Naftule collection I can find.

Those of you who don't see how a Kings of Crunk/Klezmer mashup could be fun are simply without a soul.
Naftule info on the web is scarce, but you can read a brief AMG overview of some of this master musician's notroious shenanigans:
"Klezmer historian Henry Sapoznik {writes} of Brandwein walking onto a stage while wearing an Uncle Sam costume adorned with Christmas lights and nearly electrocuting himself."
Read this extensive historical shpiel on the rich tapestry of Klezmer music.
Explore 'Ari Davidow's Klezmer Shack', a comprehensive collection of contemporary artists and bands that perform in the Klezmer tradition.
Read this interview with David Krakauer, probably the best known Klezmer clarinetist working today.


Fischerspooner - "The 15th"

Fischerspooner's much maligned take on the classic Wire track is often criticized for its paint-by-numbers imitation and soulless bouncing bass and mechanical drum machine.

Personally, I really rather like this cover; it's soft blues for robots. Hardly what Wire intended, but the times they are a changin'...

Buy "#1", FS's inescapable debut album, from Amazon.

Now that the buzz is over, am I allowed to say that I still kinda like it? Especially "Megacolon".
Visit Fischerspooner's official site.
If you never heard it before, now would be a good time to listen to the original, courtesy of The House of Leaf and Lime.
Buy "154", Wire's third album, from Amazon.
Read Kevin Eden's exhaustive biography and chronology of Wire, taken from an EMI CD set that never came to fruition and also read the story of the making of "154".

Meeting the Neighbors

Spoilt Victorian Child

"Spoilt" is a musicblogger's musicblog; it's an eclectic fave for discerning indie ears in the know.

Recent offerings include music from Bessie Smith, Felt, Red Sovine and Dr Buzzard's Original Savannah Band.

The Spoilt Victorian Child is SUPPOSED to "avoid reflection", but come now boys. Just this once.

The site has been going for about 6 months now and we're still having fun with it. In the beginning there was just me, the SVC (generally known as Simon in the real world), then there was Rowche who stood in for me in the early days when I couldn't post for a couple of weeks. I liked the cut of his jib so he became a permanent feature, kind of like an old rose bush; really thorny and gnarly but still kinda sweet. My doing this blog thing was Rowche's idea anyway; I think he saw it as a way of trying to keep me sane. Just recently, we've recruited another member: Mike Seed, the great, mad, renowned saxophonist and songwriter. Sadly, Mike couldn't make the interview so Rowche and I will have to do.

Where did the name of your blog originate from?
SVC: It's a great track from a great band... The Fall.
What are the criteria you judge a song by to decide if it's post-worthy?
SVC: Only one criteria really, and that's that I love the track.
What song would you like played at your funeral?
SVC: "Raw Power" by the Stooges. Or something by Joy Division. Or maybe Wham's "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go".

Rowche: ".215061" by AFX, "Someone Like You" by Faye Adams or Dusty Springfield's "Goodbye".
What do you do for kicks when you're not posting?
SVC: Listen to music and read books. Exciting eh?

Rowche: Take photographs of friends, drink, buy 7" records and play them repeatedly.
Do you have a favorite music critic?
Rowche: Justin Quirk. He writes for The Guardian, Arena and ID. I like his irreverent belittling of the sacrilegious and the fact he drinks in train-station pubs.
Five desert island discs?

1. Joy Division - "Closer"
2. The Go! Team - "Thunder, Lightning, Strike"
3. Adam And The Antz - "Dirk Wears White Sox"
4. Low - "Things We Lost In The Fire"
5. The Human League - "Travelogue"

1. Lift To Experience - "The Texas Jerusalem Chronicles"
2. The Human League - "Reproduction"
3. Aphex Twin - "Selected Ambient Works 85-92"
4. New Order - "Power, Corruption and Lies"
5. Botnledja - "Magnyl"
How much does it cost you to maintain your site?
SVC: A lot more effort and time than money, which makes it really nice when people go to the trouble of leaving a comment.

Rowche: I've spent above my means on records for the last 20 years so no change there. The time it takes to write and research a post can vary between an hour to four hours. I usually write them at the most inopportune moments... like when I should be doing 'real' work.
Describe the space you do your writing in.
Rowche: Square room, old house, new carpet, antique black flowery wallpaper, knackered laptop, overlooking garden... oi, get out ginger cat!
That old chestnut dinner party is at your house and you can invite three musicians living or dead. Who are you inviting?
Rowche: Roots Manuva, Jerry Dammers and Elton John. What a laugh that would be. I'd expect Elton to momentarily fall off the wagon for the occasion.
Who's the most overlooked genius in the music industry?
Rowche: Ed DMX perhaps. Maybe not genius, but that guy is a wizard with melody and beat.
Are you much of a dancer?
SVC: This is no word of a lie, but i'm the worst dancer on my street, bar none.

Rowche: This is no word of a lie, but i'm the best dancer on my street, bar none.
Recommend three other musicblog sites.


1. 20 Jazz Funk Greats - An excellent selection of left-field curios and a tiny picture of Cosey Fanni Tutti in the nip.

2. Number One Songs In Heaven - A soul aficionado in the truest sense with a mind-boggling array of forgotten masterpieces.

3. Bumrocks - A dirty fix.

SVC: Just what Rowche said, PLUS:

1. Throwaway Style - A newbie that's off to a great start.

2. Tuwa's Shanty is pretty bloody good too, great writing and great tracks... Sadly he say's he's running out of tracks he wants to post, so can I suggest everyone sends him their record collection!

3. I really like Moebius Rex, for the same reasons as Tuwa really but he also always has some great photography on there as well.
Are you a proud member of the iPod Nation?
SVC: Yep... love mine, engraved with Empire State Human and all.

Rowche: Yes, but being part of the white headphone 'gang' embarrasses me so much that I've swopped the earbuds out for my old mini-disc black headphones.
Pick one musician and one question. Who is it and what do you ask?
SVC: Celine Dion: Why?
Could you see yourself still running your site in five years?
SVC: I'd quite happily sell it for a Texan Chew Bar!
What's the best live show you've ever seen?
SVC: For sheer enthusiasm, The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion in front of about 9 of us in this huge place just before they were starting to get better known; I think we were all there because we loved "Pussy Galore". How many bands do you know that would give their all for a whole set in front of less than a dozen people and still come back for an encore? I'm eternally grateful.
For sheer spectacle, The Velvet Underground. Every few minutes, everybody in the place was saying: "That's The Velvet Underground up there that is... bloody hell.... bloody hell!" Honestly? It wasn't a great show... but it was The Velvet Underground up there! Bloody Hell!

Rowche: Lift To Experience, Dingwalls or The Prodigy at the opening night of very short-lived Gush club in a old hangar on Greenham Common old military airbase.
Utter lunacy.
Do you have a message for youngsters who'd like to start their own musicblog?
SVC: Firstly, post tracks you love and not tracks you think people want to hear.
Secondly, never listen to anything a grumpy old bugger like me says; do what you want.
Make a ten song mixtape playlist based on the following topic:



"Only The Heartaches" by Houston Wells & The Marksmen
"Come Softly To Me" by The Fleetwoods
"I've Seen It All" by Bjork
"Someones Got To Love You" by The House Of Love
"Tell It Like It Is" by Aaron Neville
"Know" by Nick Drake
"Can't You Hear The Beat Of A Broken Heart" by Iain Gregory
"Pretending To See The Future" by OMD
"I'm Gone" by Shirley And Lee
"On The Romance Tip" by Caustic Window
Do you ever get obsessive about collecting music?
SVC: First Vinyl. Now CD. Too many.... too many...

Rowche: I once went a bit far with dangerous and disorderly garage rock on 7" but luckily The Datsuns, Jet, The Hives, The Kills, Ravonettes, The Bellrays, et. al. put an end to all of that.
The head of Sony/BMG is sitting across the table from you, asking how to improve the music industry for both the consumer and the company. What do you say?
SVC: Mine's a large Bushmill's; thank you very much.

Rowche: What a pointless and fickle exercise that would be. Record labels of that size are careening out of control like King Kong. Trying to change course at this stage of the game is futile. Fuck MTV; I want my Home-Taping Is Killing Music.
Has meeting with an artist ever left you feeling tongue tied?
Rowche: Kind of: I was talking to Kevin Shields and Graham Coxon stuffed a lemon in my mouth. He also threatened he could have one of my friends 'wiped out' and hit him on the head with a guitar case. And these were on two separate occasions!

I wish Graham hadn't given up the sauce.
Who's your favorite producer?
SVC: Phil Spector/Steve Albini/Joe Meek...

Rowche: Joe Meek
What makes you so goddamn smart?
SVC: Smarties.
Drop by betterPropaganda and pick out a track to hype.


Fingathing - "Walk In Space"

I don't really know much about Fingathing but i really like this one, I also have a lot of time for Ninja Tune who's output over the years has always been consistently great, just thinking how much stuff I own on Ninja Tune... Quite scary really.

Boom Bip - "Last Walk Around Mirror Lake" (Boards Of Canada remix)

Thirty seconds in and the repeated guitar motif reminiscent of a million and one precedents lifts with now trademark Boards Of Canada scuffed and lolling drums. Ah that's more like it I think as I settle down into the cosiness with my mug of winter vegetable soup but hang-on this song seems to be going nowhere, a two chord strum, some squashy beats and a slightly insipid melody that's left trickling out of the BOC pan-pipery. Thankfully there's some fey scratching noises here and there, just enough to 'keep it real' for all the web-designers to feel street but little else except for the relief of it all being over after about four minutes. The musical equivalent of a sugary cup of tea in a dirty cup.


L to R: fellow journo Hattie Collins, Terror Danjah and "Trashy" Chantelle


Chantelle Fiddy continues to serve up hot UK grime tracks and school her poor American cousins on the future of hip hop.

Chantelle Fiddy is a freelance music journalist who has been writing about UK street music and more specifically grime (from way back when it never had a name). Her work has appeared in publications including Deuce, i-D, Touch, Tank, Blues & Soul, Tense, and Muzik amongst other. She also acts a consultant to record labels and management companies while attempting some serious moves into A&R.

Lethal B - "Forward Riddim/Pow from Lord of The Mics

Due for official release on December 13th on Relentless Records (yes, the UK home of Joss Stone) this has been licking down the underground for a good six or more months. Banned in many clubs because people get way too excited and kick the shit out of everything, this is, and will be remembered as a classic. Featuring MC's such as D Double E, Fumin, Napper, it's time to hit the walls and bust the biggest 'Pow' you can muster. I wish I could show you the video I've got here that shows the track getting dropped at an under-18 club night; you've never seen anything like it. I think to fully understand the onslaught that is Lethal B, you need to see the video and hear the full version of this tune... REALLY loud.

Read this interview with Lethal B and his original squad, the More Fire Crew, and listen to the single "Soldier, Fallen" in RealAudio.
Read this 2004 interview with Lethal B, from RWD Magazine.


Bruzer - "Freestyle" from Lord of The Mics

One of the Aftershock Camp's biggest players, Bruzer, laces this Terror Danjah beat for the Lord of The Mics mix cd. A self professed true black British cockney, he uses this to further differentiate himself from the hundred of MC's on the circuit. This also paved the way for his debut release, 'Get Me', currently doing the rounds on a limited vinyl run. Bruizer is definitely an artist that people tend to love or hate. The Streets has been doing remixes of all of his singles with MC versions and people are loving it over here in the UK. I hope he keeps it up.

Read this Beeb grime brief/comp review by Fiddy's girl Hattie, that namechecks Bruzer. Then listen to a couple of suh-weet cuts from the "Run the Road" compilation on RealAudio.


download the music or we toast the kitten


When it rains it pours and it's monsoon season in Tofu country.

Having just scored a plugged in UK/Grime connection with Chantelle; th' Hut is excited to introduce our OTHER new irregular correspondent's inaugural posting.

I found this guy over at ILM and after a number of upbeat conversations and arguments, followed him home to HIS page Anthony is Right. I liked it so much, I bought the company.

Ladies and gentlemen: our new pop rocka, Anthony Miccio.

Anthony Miccio is a freelance music critic whose work has appeared in the Village Voice and Blender. He's currently a reviewer for Stylus Magazine and dilligently voicing his opinion once a day at Anthony Is Right, cuz he is.

Rocket From the Crypt - "Human Torch"

Later tonight I'm going to DJ for the first time in about two months at Roustabout, basically the only cool music series we've got here in State College, PA. Along with obvious anthems, cool stuff I swiped from mp3 blogs and great new hits, I usually throw in a few blasts from my personal canon. I'm a huge enough Rocket From The Crypt fan that for years I assumed I couldn't pick a favorite track, but judging by how often I listen to "Human Torch" (and how infallibly it shows up in my set), I suppose it gets the title. Guitars Like Jehu, Vegas horns wells, relentless pace and colorful mock-macho lyrics (also some barely audible huff'n'puffs from bandleader Speedo following the chorus). I'm a sucker for songs with swearing in the chorus. As my occasional co-DJ Megan once noted, I like being naughty.

Buy "The State Of The Art Is On Fire" at Merch Lackey's Official RFTC Store.
Read my "Top Ten Rocket From The Crypt Songs That Reference Animals" list.
Visit Rocket From The Crypt's site.
Read this classic Speedo Interview.


The Osmonds - "Crazy Horses"

The mixture of catchy Vegas flash and brash hard rock is part of what makes Rocket From The Crypt so consistently appetizing and I've often wondered if this Osmonds hit from 1972 was a big influence on their sound (Chuck Eddy swears Aerosmith ripped it off for "Back In The Saddle in Stairway To Hell). At the very least I'm surprised they haven't covered it. Apocalyptic animal-references, giggleriffic whinnies and a guitar solo that I pray they didn't need a session dude to handle.

Buy "Crazy Horses" off one of several compilations at their store, which is also selling cassettes of their 1973 Mormon concept album, "The Plan".
Visit the Osmonds' site.
Read this interview with Osmond Brothers Wayne and Jay, dropping knowledge about "Crazy Horses".