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Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Home for the holidays.
See you on Monday; enjoy your turkey, kids.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Mercy, Mister Percy!


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It's been a long time. At least I left you with some dope beats to step to.

Here's a few more. Not much more in common with one another than all being beautiful; here's hoping that's enough.

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glisten: potpourri

Percy Sledge - "Love Me Tender"

Sledge's cover of the Presley standard adds a level of nuance and teardrop I never heard in the King's version.

Where Elvis plays the cowboy troubadour, Percy is dateless for the prom, BEGGIN' in that old fashioned James Brown way for just a little sugar. I have no doubt that Elvis roped his little dogie; Percy might have an empty bed ahead.

Every note Sledge sings on this track is butterfly fragile; no matter how many times I listen to this cut, I expect it to be lost as soon as it's over. It's a heartbreaking little ice sculpture, a velvet poco-a-poco lullaby to soothe your Monday hangover and softly break your heart.

Repeat as necessary.

Buy "It Tears Me Up", a twenty-three song overview of the stars in the Sledge constellation, direct from Rhino Records.

Those of you whose understanding of Percy begins and ends with "When a Man Loves a Woman" owe it to yourselves to sniff out a copy and immerse yourself in "It's All Wrong But It's Alright", "Take Time To Know Her", "That's How Strong My Love Is", along with the compilation's soul-wracking title track.
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Visit Percy's official site or visit this French fansite to learn more about "When has man coil has woman".

No, seriously; they've got some pretty album cover pics.
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Listen to Sledge speak with Tony Kox in this late '04 NPR interview; he discusses the links between country and soul music back in the day as well as his love for the Brothers Gibb.

"Percy... ya like ol' Steel!"
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Trust me... I know what I'm doing.

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The Cats and the Fiddle - "Drink Muddy Water"

These Cats live up to their sobriquet; vicious, prissy and cutting. Even the jaunty string cadence evokes a "oh-no-she-DI'INT" neck waggle and a talk-to-the-hand stop sign.

"Muddy Water" is a solid "bitch begone" cut in the style of Gloria Gaynor, R. Kelly and Frank Sinatra; how many other songs can you think of that boast that roster of influence?

The harmonies and lead vox are, in a word, spectacular. Other words you could reasonably use: precise, gorgeous and yes, corny.

But I Love corny! I want more barbershop pop, more forties-style boy bands!

I don't think you're ready for this belly.

Buy "The Cats and the Fiddle: Killin Jive, 1939-1940", volume one of the band's complete recordings, from Amazon.
Fans of the Mills Brothers, the Four Vagabonds, the Five Red Caps, the Inkspots or any other early jazz vocal bands are likely to love these fellows.
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Read this extensive history of the band.
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Listen to the "Muddy Water" B-side, "I'll Always Love You Just The Same".
A lot more generic but still swinging.
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Hey diddle diddle.

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Bill Carlisle - "Feet Don't Fail Me"

What can you say about a bluegrass track that's as gangsta as Ghostface's 'Run'?

Check the lyrics:

"Sittin' on the corner just-a rollin' some dice / I took the money once and I took it twice / Saw the police comin', just a burnin' the ground / I started pickin' up my feet and a' layin' 'em down / I said Feet don't you fail me this time; Lawd, Lawd / Said, Feet don't you fail me this time / Lawd no, don't fail me."

Or this verse:

"I was huggin' (or maybe even "hookin'"?) my gal the other night / In come her maw, lookin' for a fight / A rolling pin hit me on my dome / I said: Feet don't you fail me, please carry me home! / I said, Feet don't you fail me this time; Lawd, Lawd / Said, Feet don't you fail me this time / Boy, and I started pickin' 'em up and layin' em down!"

Geto Boys? UGK? Naw, just a Kentucky country boy circa 1937.

Carlisle was notorious for abruptly leaping onto a chair while he performed, earning him the AKA Jumpin' Bill Carlisle.

To my mind, Jumpin' Bill is as reasonable an MC handle as Bubba Sparxxx.

But let's forget the lyrics and the able rap skills for the moment; just LISTEN to that guitar! Downright superhuman pickin' speed with the accuracy of a sniper.

Jumpin' Bill died in March of '03 at the ripe old age of ninety-four. Pour out a little likka.

Visit the Country Music Hall of Fame's page for Carter.
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Read this Carlisle bio.
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Explore the history of Nashville's Grand Ole Opry, one of Carlisle's haunts for almost fifty years.

I sat on the stage as a kid; it's a big party for everyone involved.
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I ain't gellin'.

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spiffy: down with the dirt dog

The positive response to the ODB obit has been much appreciated. Literally DOZENS of other musicblogs have posted music and respect for Russell; I think we gave him a helluva send off.

I heard from someone who attended the funeral that the picture on the cover of the program was taken from the welfare card photo on "Return to the 36 Chambers"... complete with that album's street date emblazoned over it.

For a man whose personal and artistic life collided and coalesced into such an utter trainwreck, one wonders whether this is grotesque or simply appropriate.

Most likely it's both.

Watch the infamous Grammy speech.
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Listen to this ODB press conference, as heard on Howard Stern.
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Davey D eulogizes the Dog.
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Heck, while we're at it; let's toss in another bonus rarity.

Ol' Dirty Bastard - "Sussudio"

What I like most about this track (you can hardly call it a cover) is how straight ODB plays it. When you most expect a burlesque pisstake, that's when the Dog steps up with a vocoder, a bitchin' backup singer and a hot rap to boot. Surprisingly meaty and Roger Troutman-esque production along with a rare clean-mouthed lyric sheet give this the heft of the radio-friendly single that ODB never tasted after "Got Your Money". More's the pity this never found heavy rotation airplay; smells like a pop (s)hit to me.

This cut hails from the obscure import only R+B Phil Collins tribute album, "Urban Renewal". That disc also boasts Brandy on "Another Day in Paradise", Kelis doing "I Don't Care Anymore" and Lil' Kim teaming up with Collins himself to remake "In the Air Tonight".

You can't make this shit up.

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Meeting the Neighbors

Mystical Beast


Mystizzy Bizzeast has always been a real kindred spirit: we both got into this game when we were unavoidably jobless and homebound; we both sought out rarities and obscurities and we both spend way too damn much time researching and writing about our picks. Where my tastes lean to obscurities and hip hop, Dana is more taken with new wave and classic rock but we both love music so much that we're drawn to a million different styles and tastes on any given day.

Recent offerings at the Beast include music from boyskout, yo, ELO and Alison Breitman.

(On a side note, I'd like to put in a vote in favor of Ms. Breitman myself. The album is sweet, poppy, enjoyable and gentle. Recommended to anybody with a taste for Suzanne Vega, Paula Cole or Norah Jones. I'd love to see her blow up like a helium balloon; gal got some skills.)

Here's our Beastman.

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I'm 35 (36 in two weeks) and live in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn with my wife and our cats. My fun fact: I was housemates with Soul Coughing's M. Doughty when I first moved to NYC, though he hadn't formed the band at that point. I've lived in Brooklyn since '91 and bought a house here a few years ago. I've dabbled in music in the past, but never very seriously. I come from a musical family (dad has a string quartet, sis teaches it) so I didn't have much choice. My first post was on October 23, 2003.
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Where did the name of your blog originate from?
I named it after a children's book called "The Mystical Beast" by Alison Farthing. It's a strange little book about witches and children (pre Harry Potter) that wasn't rare, but for some reason, there's almost no info about its author on the internet. When I started the blog I wanted to focus on music that wasn't rare, but had somehow slipped through the cracks: the kind of groups who put out decent albums on real labels, but don't have a website, don't have a good allmusic entry, etc. Unfortunately, everyone seems to interpret the blog's title as if I want to be called "The Mystical Beast." Next time I'm just going to use a lyric by The Fall.
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What are the criteria you judge a song by to decide if it's post-worthy?
I have to really, really like it. I guess that's the main one. I try to steer away from current popular releases. If it's got some relation to No Wave, so much the better.
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Do you have a favorite music critic?
I love Gail O'Hara of chickfactor for her excellent musical taste, despite her nepotistic tendencies and despite the fact that most of her reviews read like "I'm jumping up and down drinking champagne to this swellegant new disc by this fantastic chick with whom I'm best pals...." Actually, Gail doesn't really write reviews anymore, so I guess the answer is that I don't have a favorite music critic.
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Five desert island discs?

1. Magic Dirt - "Friends In Danger"
2. Swans - "Feel Good Now"
3. The Nightblooms - "24 Days At Catastrofe Cafe"
4. The Dustdevils - "Struggling Electric And Chemical"
5. The Moles - "Untune The Sky"
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What was the last track you heard that really changed your life?
The only thing that springs to mind is the experience of first hearing Bowie's Ziggy Stardust, which jolted teenage me out of a prog-rock lifestyle and pointed me in the direction of the Velvet Underground, etc. We're talking a long, long time ago.
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How much does it cost you to maintain your site?
Not so much these days, as I spent a ton of money on albums over the past 10-15 years and I'm still working off of that material. At some point I'll run out though. Scary! Time is the real problem. I'm really uptight about fact checking (though I still sometimes screw up) so it's often 2 hours to put up a simple post. When you stop trusting Allmusic, life gets difficult.
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Describe the space you do your writing in.
Very basic, in my bedroom, beneath a colored-tin-foil enhanced painting of Mao that I found in the trash outside of a Chinese restaurant. I often have to run into the other room where I keep my CDs to check release dates and stuff like that. I have trouble with typing, so I dictate most of my posts with Dragon Naturally Speaking.
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That old chestnut dinner party is at your house and you can invite three musicians living or dead. Who are you inviting?
I don't like to hang out with musicians. I don't really enjoy talking about music in real life.
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Which critical darling do you find most OVERLOOKED?
The duo of Michael Duane and Jaqi Dulany, who played in The Dustdevils back in the late 80's and early 90's.
ed. note: this was originally falsely noted as most OVERRATED by your dumbass editor; Dana loves the Dustdevils, honest!
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Recommend three other musicblog sites?

The first places I check each morning are:

1. Spoilt Victorian Child who seems to be drawn to the same sort of stuff that I like. He does noisy, he does pop, and he seems to zero in on interesting examples.

2. An Idiot's Guide To Dreaming who gets the weirder and druggier stuff without going off the deep end.

3. Largehearted Boy is a little more indie-rock than I personally like, but he does an amazing job of spotting headlines and news items day after day.
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Are you a proud member of the iPod Nation?
I still have an old 10 Gig model. Life changing device! Everyone should own one.
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What's the best live show you've ever seen?
Ok, don't go buying their CDs, but The Upper Crust was the most fun band I've seen. They dressed up as French nobility and sang AC/DC style songs about how hard it is to tolerate the poor. You really did have to be there, but they were utterly hilarious and rocked the house. Actually, the best live show I ever saw was when Luna played at my wedding, but I'm not sure if it's fair to count that.
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Do you have a message for anyone who'd like to start their own musicblog?
I wish more old people would start musicblogs!
ed. note: SECONDED!
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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?
Put more women in charge. Seriously.
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Who's your favorite producer?
I'm going to go with Tony Visconti. Those T. Rex albums are just amazing. They ought to be taught in school as an example of how to turn basic building blocks into a lethally catchy weapon.
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Often, a mondegreen can be more satisfying than a song's intended meaning. Do you have a particular personal misinterpretation of a tune that you prefer to the god's honest lyrics?
A friend of mine has a very worked-out and fairly plausible theory that David Bowie's Width Of A Circle is all about anal sex, and that certainly does add something to the song.
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Drop on by betterPropaganda and pick out a track to hype.

Clear Horizon - "For Days"

Better Propaganda doesn't mention it in the blurb, but Clear Horizon is, for all intents and purposes, Flying Saucer Attack (it's the guy from FSA collaborating with a FSA devotee named Jessica Bailiff). Their album came out last year on the Kranky label and my sense is that almost nobody realizes that it is 1. fantastic and 2. of a piece with the rest of the Flying Saucer Attack discography. For those who don't know, FSA was a group that figured out how to fuse extremely rudimentary recording technology with an interesting take on My Bloody Valentine, folk and Krautrock to produce some gemlike recordings that work on a number of levels (ambient, experimental, psychedelic) at the same time. People really flipped over them back in the 90's.

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even MORE spiffy

Reason #8,765,493 to love the internet: now, at the touch of a button you can bet told how liked you are.
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It's been said before, but the Japanese sure do have some weird commercials.
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As long as we're on the advertising tip: I generally shy away from viral shit, but I have SUCH a weakness for Transformer cars breakdancing.
As such, I recommend that you go here and click the "watch ad" button.
See also here, here, here, here and here for more of the same.
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Thanks to an anonymous reader who tipped me off to this Matt Groening interview:

"I once did a comic strip about Akbar and Jeff's Tofu Hut, and it was printed in 40 papers. In two of those papers, Santa Barbara and Hermosa Beach, the papers received a call, 'I saw your ad for Tofu Hut and I've been looking for it, where is it?'"
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More videos like this, please.

DUE WARNING: This may hurt your brain.
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I have been convinced by this site that I _MUST_ buy an Eyetoy in the near future.
I'm a sucker for this level of interactivity.
I'm also seriously considering getting Donkey Konga.
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Throwing down the gauntlet.
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Dana offers some creative anarchy of the Yippie variety.
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Less than forty shopping days left, but this is all I want for Giftmas.

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some more self-important blather

The tradeoff for taking more time off in between posts is pretty obvious: I can spend more time increasing the quality and expanse of writing in each 'issue' and have more fun while I'm doing so. On the other hand, I like to be able to keep the content in pretty constant rotation. So I'm torn.

In any case, commentary and curiosity is always more than welcome as it's the only real reward I reap from the site.

Which brings up an interesting point.

I'm considering putting a tip jar on the page.

Money collected from donations would go toward buying me more time to write and post.

Am I fooling myself, ethically, with this solution or am I fooling myself by thinking anyone would wanna drop cash on my fool head for this stuff in the first place?

Let a blogga know.
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Chris over at Uncritical caught me hysterically blathering on the ILM Soulseek board about a week ago while I was searching for Three Six Mafia bootlegs and outtakes from the Katamari Damacy soundtrack and ranting with all the wit and obscenity and foolishness that my sleep deprived mind can produce.

Little did I know that the big fella was logging my hysteria. He's just posted a mash-up of some of my patter in my (soon-to-be-patented) "Meeting the Neighbors" format.

While it should be known that I distinctly DO NOT remember answering any of those questions, all the quotes are tongue in cheek, but genuine.

My name is Forksclovetofu and I approve this message.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

grime be wacky


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glisten: grime

I've been thinking quite a bit lately about hip hop and about grime in particular, so I thought I'd share some tracks and some thoughts with you on the subject.

In the mid eighties, hip hop exploded out of the east and west coasts in a big way. In the mid nineties, the zeitgeist reached a new apex in the Dirty South movement. In the mid '00's, hip hop has a new home: London.

Grime is a natural progression of traditional hiphop and British garage/house dance music. The beats are relentless and fast; the samples are simple, electronic and catchy as fuckall; the rapping is speedy and innovative. This is that next shit, the step into a new direction same as the old direction.

Grime has already fronted a pair of international stars in Dizzee Rascal and Mike Skinner; more are hopefully on the way.

The location may change but the song remains the same: hip hop has always embraced optimistic self re-creation, sexist hot boy come on games and rhyme battles. I've pulled three great grime tracks that play off these iconic themes in a new way.

Meet some of the future:

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Wiley with Breeze, J2K and Riko - "Pick UR Self Up"

The chopped strings and "sk-skippin" beat never cease to hook me right in to Wiley's world. It's an addictive earworm with a hella singable chorus. What more could you want?

This self-affirming "step up your game" anthem holds it's own against Ghostface's "The Juks" and also makes an excellent bookend to the Nas "I Can" done right that is Dizzee Rascal's 'Dream'.

Wiley shies away from the "grime" label, preferring to call his music "eski". Whatever, it's still hip hop to me; note the C.R.E.A.M. reference.

Buy "Treddin' on Thin Ice", Wiley's remarkable first album, from Amazon or, if you can deal in pounds, direct from XL Records.
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Read this long interview with Wiley.
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Read this excellent and accurate review of "Treddin'" from Stylus magazine.

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Brazen - "Buff Girls"

Video game melodies and big beat and cowbell and cherry flavoured condoms? Count me in. "Buff Girls" is a sweet Miami Vice dream of old-school mack daddy balladeering that stinks of kitschy "Knockin' the Boots" beauty and novelty. This is NOT a bad thing.

Brazen is pretty ungooglable, but his flow is fairly unassailable.

"Fortunately we ain't gotta be together/let's just missionary like we were a couple forever" is a lyric that LL (who Brazen is DEFINITELY biting a bit) wishes he had thought of first.

Buy "Aim High Vol. 1", a collection of tracks spun by DJ Target, from Uptown Records.
There's an obscure but not especially interesting cut from Dizzee and Wiley onboard; I'd recommend picking it up for the lesser known (in America) artists. Lots of nice tracks.
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Read Sasha Frere-Jones take on the genre, via a Diz/Skinner overview.

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Medasyn with Frost P, Zuz Rock, Lady Sovereign and Shystie - "The Battle"

Saved the best for last. This astonishing eight minute two-on-two battle of the sexes hip hop track has a deceptively simple string hook and four dynamic MC's that ride the beat like a rodeo cowboy. This is exciting, pulse-raising stuff that climaxes with a series of solo spits that would put many an American artist to shame.

Bottled adrenaline, pure and simple.

This is one of my favorite tracks of the year, methinks and Lady SOV is probably my favorite new artist of the moment. I can't wait for the album to drop internationally. This girl is the real thing and then some.

I can't find a place to buy this promo disc; anybody got a source?

Read "The Battle" press release.
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Read this engaging piece on grime, which includes a short profile of Lady SOV.
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Visit HardStep Sistaz and read about the next generation of femm-cs.
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Read this Guardian piece about British lady rappers.

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spiffy

The Numbers game CD will return; I've just felt the need to diversify and come up with the occasional set of tracks that have me excited. I've also decided to feel comfortable about posting when I CAN (between two and four times a week) as opposed to forcing myself into an arbitrary schedule. Don't worry; I'll still do my damnedest to keep the music coming.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Russell Jones painting courtesy of Colin


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RIP 2 THA ODB

I was deeply and genuinely saddened to hear the news that Dirt Dog is with us no more. Long time readers of the Tofu Hut may remember that we have often professed a real love for the ODB. Maybe it's time I explained a bit more.

"All I wanna be is free with mad fuckin' money man. You'll never be free fuckin' with these white boys."

Ol' Dirty was an impossible blend of Tom Waits, Iggy Pop, and Sam Cooke. He was childishly, abstractly obscene; an oblique and apocalyptic lyricist ("I don't have no trouble with you fucking me, but I have a little problem with you not fucking me" remains about as clear an evocation of punk as we're likely to see for the next few decades); a grimy street Marvin Gaye without modesty or shame. He was either an outsider artist, a soul singer, a hardcore rapper, a pure rock+roll ball of fire, a pop shadow doppelganger, an adolescent novelty, all of the above or quite possibly none.

"I reign on your college ass disco dorm"

ODB was a super guest to have on any track (the man MAKES "Ghetto Superstar" and "Fantasy"); he broke Kelis onto the scene with "Got ya Money"; he was forever misunderstood as comic relief. He was a canary in a cultural coal mine screaming for help and we filmed him for a reality show. He was treated as an amusing freak rather than as a troubled man. He may well have died for our sins.

"I keep my breath smellin like shit so I can get FUNKY; but baby I'm not havin it."

It would perhaps not be strange to make some comparisons between ODB and Wesley Willis; both were clearly disturbed artists on the fringe who were taken too soon. Sadly, where Willis seemed to have found some solace in his music, ODB's artistic expressions were less therapeutic and more an echo from a dark place. Sure, Dirty's music was often very funny but there was almost always a black edge to that humour. When ODB talked about going crazy, popping shots at the cops or fathering a passel of little bastards; there was no poetic license being employed. Motherfucker was LIVING a life with ten flavors of hell and his voice and songs reflected that.

"I came out my momma's pussy, I'm on welfare; twenty-six years old: STILL on welfare!"

In what seemed at least partially an attempt to remake himself from scratch, ODB would literally rename himself at the drop of a hat; he assumed the moniker 'Big Baby Jesus' in THE MIDDLE OF AN INTERVIEW as a pisstake.

"What's my name? SHUT THE FUCK UP!"

From any other artist, this kind of grandstanding would smack of PR. Not with Dirty; his interest in commercial acceptance could be summed up simply: Nigga Please. Dirty didn't need to "stay real". If anything, he desperately needed to be LESS real.

"All music must obey me. All pain must obey me."

What kind of a man ODB was in person is as meaningless as what kind of a man Beethoven or Elvis was. He was clearly a shitty father. My argument is that he was undeniably an powerful and genuine ARTIST, not just some sillyass sideshow. He was not a clown; he was a MAN, albeit a broken one. His choices as a musician were not random or unconsidered; he had genuine skills as a performer. Respect is due.

"Everything is so fine and so SPLENDID girl!"

An ODB song had the possibility of changing what you could bear; he pushed the limits every time. The man's _life_ was a work of dark, bloody and painful art; he was a sonic ghetto Bacon.

"I ain't got nothin' for nobody to hijack. What they gon' take? My beeper?"

All this don't mean a damn thing if you don't hear it, if you don't feel it.

So here is some music. Approach with an open mind.

Russell Jones would've been thirty-six today.

Ol' Dirty Bastard - "Rollin' Wit' You"
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"Rollin'" is from the astonishing "Nigga Please" album, available from Amazon.
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AllHipHop.com breaks the news.
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The mp3blog community stands up for Russell: Cocaine Blunts, futurism ain't shit, government names, we eat so many shrimp, emptyfree, Music 4 Robots and You Don't Have to Entertain Me all offer condolences and music.
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I also strongly recommend stopping by Honey Soul for something special; they're running a radio blog playlist of ODB tracks, almost everyone a kickin' classic.
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Read the NYT review of ODB's infamous "I can't stay on stage too long tonight; the cops is after me" show.
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Ol' Dirty Bastard - "Dirty the Moocher"
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ODB saves child from burning car
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The UK Telegraph obit.
Inexplicably, as of this writing, the Times has nothing up.
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In an eerie coincidence, the server for the Wu's official website, Wu-Tang Corp., CRASHED the night ODB died.
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Busta Rhymes and Ol' Dirty Bastard - "Woo Hah! Got You All In Check! (The Worldwide Remix)"
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Top 10 ODB Moments
"He announced in early 2004 that he was running for president; when questioned by a reporter as to why, an incredulous Dirty cut through all the usual rhetoric, responding 'To get pussy!'"
Sound familiar?
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Pour out a little likka
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'ODB' to host Dove Awards
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"Please calm down. I don't know how you all see it, but when it comes to the children, Wu-Tang is for the children. We teach the children. Wu-Tang is the best. I want you all to know that this is ODB, and I love you all. Peace."

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spiffy

Perennial Tofu Hut fave Devin tha' Dude is the subject of a new interview over at Prefix Magazine. Read it here.
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Joe Seigenthaler's online gallery was down as of the writing of this post; hopefully it'll be up by the time you click.
Brilliant ultrarealistic phantasmagoric sculpture.
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Keith at Teaching the Indie Kids spoke awful eloquently about post Nov2nd US life; if you missed it when it dropped, stop by and peep some wisdom.
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If it walks like a duck...
Not the end.
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Christmas comes early: Paul Adams and David Hoffman offer Madhouse-style holiday cheer.
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Is this a revised blog and musicblogroll I see before me, the handle toward my hand?
Methinks it is. Click away, ya'll.
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I've been getting a lot of emails from people asking what I would recommend they do about hosting if they start their own musicblog so here's my suggestion FWIW:
Racknine offers plans for between 15 and 50 gigs of DLable bandwidth.
For the beginner, I'd recommend their "General" hosting; it's only NINE DOLLARS a month and allows for 15 gigs of bandwidth, more than enough to get you started and see if you're in the market to do this for the long run.
You can always upgrade if you find you need more.
Racknine's technical support has been nothing but helpful and accomodating to me and they've proven to be reliable and easy to use.
Nine dollars in NYC is a sandwich. If you have ANY interest at all, consider setting aside a little bit of cash and giving it a go.

Best of luck and let me know when you're online!

Friday, November 12, 2004

We're working on it.


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glistening by the numbers: ELEVEN

Yellowman - "11 + 11"

41: is he calling me? let me know what he needs 'cause he's great. No, I'm not bi-lingural. chew chew chew. Great laid back, top drawer reggae.

Lee: I didn't hear much on this song that made me want to listen to it more than once. It suffers from the problem of the previous track - the kind of song where I hear it, and then immediately forget about it.

Jamie: Guessing this is a more recent vintage of Yellowman than his early, raunchy stuff? My collection of Jamaican music stops dead around the time dancehall and ragga take over - never could wrap my ears around those genres (true, I have the Tougher Than Tough boxset, and have nearly worn out the first three discs, but disc four has been spun 2-3 times tops).

Rosecrans: Ooh, this is really, really bad. I'm actually laughing. It would be hard for a singer to sound less convincing.

David: Another very good song. There's so much high quality stuff on here that I've never heard before, I'm losing the ability to articulate just how good some of this stuff is.

Yellowman is a tuff tuff cat; he overcame intense prejudice in Jamaica (son is an albino and that doesn't get much love) and a REALLY rough bout with throat cancer. In the eighties, he is generally acknowledged to have dethroned Marley as the most popular reggae singer in his home country.

Sadly, Yellowman falls prey to the main caveat that keeps dancehall off US pop radio; some of his songs are overwhelmingly misogynistic and homophobic, "AIDS" and "Want a Virgin" come to mind. Even so, Yellow also drops occasional pearls of political and ethical wisdom; "Stop Beat Woman" is as close as we'll get to a dancehall call for an end to marital violence.

One of the reasons I picked this track was for the nod to 41. Glad he caught it.


Buy "One In a Million", essential later-era (read: braids, not 'fro) Yellowman dancehall toasting, direct from Shanachie Records.
I _highly_ recommend ya'll go check out "Mister Yellowman" and "Zungguzungguguguzungguzeng" as soon as possible as they both is smokin'.
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Read this brief interview with King Yellow.
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Just how do you say "Zungguzungguguguzungguzeng?"
Remember AudioGalaxy? Oh my god, I used to LOVE audiogalaxy. God bless em.
Good for nothing now, though. "Due to customer demand we now showcase the web's most popular auctions". Riiiiight.
The articles they still have up are the same ones that were up THREE YEARS ago.

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HY - "A.M. 11:00"

How cool are the Japanese? Cool enough that they can create as genre like 'Indie J-Pop' and then come up with music that's good enough to make you not laugh at the label.

This track was passed on to me MONTHS ago by the lovely El-Chan from the currently defunct Fruits of Chaos. Come back soon and get ta bloggin' ladies!

Buy HY's debut album, "Street Story", from yesasia.com.
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Read this HY overview in 'Time: Asia' about HY's DIY ethic.
Fave quote: "Says lead singer Hideyuki Shinzato, 'We're not cool like SMAP'."
Yeah, but really; who is?
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Visit HY's official site.

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remember "clicky"?

Cleaning out the ol' links box today, so you get some funlinks.

I need another Jay-Z remix album like I need a third buttock.
Even so, The Classical Album is reason to buy an extra chair.
(via the aforementioned Music for Maniacs)
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Kill a few hours at Grand Illusions.
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This is creepy.
"Powered by Google"?
G-dudes. C'mon. Don't be creepy.
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Realdoll vs. Superbabe.
I weep for the children.
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This guy is my evil twin, a bazonkers leech and precisely what I'm trying to avoid fostering.

Gay animals.


Musicblog updates over the weekend. As always, plenty of newbies.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

The Big 10


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glistening by the numbers: TEN

808 State - "10 X 10"

41: Loopy goodness at first. rhythmic-lyric loop good, goes on too drudgingly, dull, becomes boring. great sample'y outro.

Lee: This track doesn't really go well after Marvin....after a welcomed dose of soul, the fake piano and drum machine feels cheap. Wrong somehow. As far as techno-dance stuff goes, I have a very limited threshold on what appeals to me. It has to be either melodic, or it needs a killer riff to drive it, or some totally weird things like Art Of Noise. Unfortunately, this track is like techno wallpaper.

Jamie: Honestly? Indifferent towards this one. Couldn't think of a good quip, old story or something pretentious to say. Nothing wrong with it, but it's just there.

Rosecrans: Ugh. Gospel for house parties? As in, parties thrown in big warehouses on Sunday mornings, where people drink Vitamin Water while they dance?

David: I've never really liked 808 State. I just find them a little boring. This track all seems a little forced - it sounds like music by numbers (haha!).

This holds up for me as an extravagant game show theme; maybe the Running Man. The gospel choir is unabashedly the choice of a new generation; the synth bass sweeps over church piano and the video game efx rattle and bleep like a cloud of electric locusts. Comin' ta getcha!

For crying out loud, IT HAS A DOUBLE-TIME CLAP TRACK. Come on. Just how cynical ARE you?


Buy "Gorgeous", late era '98 techno as techno/broad stroke dance music, from "Amazon".
I'd start with "Ex-El" if I were you.
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Visit 808 State's official site and learn about their new release, Prebuild.
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Read this brief State interview.
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Nothin' sounds quite like an 8. 0. 8.

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The Bailes Brothers - "Romans Ten and Nine"

Romans 10:9 is a serious evangelical bugaboo as the assertion that faith in Jesus=eternal salvation runs directly opposite of certain church doctrine, notably baptism and that keeping the commandments thingy. I suppose it's clearer than ever these days that the oversimplification of scripture by certain bumbleheaded bornagains makes loads of problems for those who recognize that moral absolutes are not the sort of thing that you just add water to. They need the strength of convictions, clarity and empathy.

Perhaps I'm just bitter.

Nothing bitter about this beautiful cornpone gospel, though.

Buy "Oh So Many Years", a glorious compilation of the Bailes Brothers music, from Amazon.
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Visit CMT's Bailes Brothers page.
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The Roman Number Convertor

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bitchsaywhat?

Lately, we've gone from five posts a week to three.

Some reasons why the posting schedule has been so erratic:

1. The drugs are working.
2. ILM
3. Work.
4. Confusion with moving (AGAIN) and other such silliness.
5. Girls, girls, girls, girls; girls I do adore.
6. GTA: San Andreas
7. Attack of lower back pain from hours hunched over the keyboard. Sewiously.

All this will end. Over the weekend I'll get it together enough to get several days of posts ahead of time.

Meanwhile, we beg your indulgence like we've never begged before.

grovel grovel.


Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Some options for those who'd like to emigrate from the punishment of four more years


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glistening by the numbers: NINE

Marvin Gaye - "Cloud Nine"

41: I like the song there, just not the vocals or the beat or the way the vocals and the beat match up (for the most part) there. What else to say, I dunno.

Avi: That hi-hat is mixed just about as loud as the vocal, but it totally works. So is that two drummers or just an overdub? It's a shame that engineers don't seem willing to take chances like that anymore. Everyone's been arranging instruments in the exact same stereo spectrum for so long, no one wants to break the mold.

Lee: Thank god! Finally, some soul! Marvin is a god. I always hear something new everytime I listen to one of his tracks and I never get tired of them. This track makes me wonder what would've happen had Marvin and Curtis worked together on the Superfly soundtrack. Super soul.

Rosecrans: Marvin Gaye was shot by his father, Marvin Gaye, on the day before his birthday. The song's about escaping the world and living a million miles away from the father who treated your mother like shit. I don't know the last time I actually paid attention to a contemporary singer's lyrics and felt moved or impressed.

David: I'm a big fan of Marvin Gaye, but I don't think I've ever heard this one before. I certainly should have done, because its bloody marvellous.

This cover of the Temptations' cut (which had already been a big hit and a grammy winner only a year earlier) packs twice the wallop of the original. Shit is ANGRY, son. That stabbing hi-hat, the coiled snake restraint of the background girls and that psychedelic funk guitar just WAH WAH'n like a redheaded stepbaby adds up to one vicious song.

Marvin's capable of such a smooth flow when he gets his dander up; some of the lyrical riffs he gets into on this are so tongue tripped that you wanna push up ya lighter. Few artists move me quite as intensely and as bonedeep as Marvin.


Buy "MPG/That's the Way Love Is", a double album remastered Motown gold mine import, from Amazon.
This is Marvin on the cusp of embracing a new kind of genius, comparable to Stevie's pre-quantum leap album "Music of My Mind". Two years away from "Grapevine" and one year ahead of "What's Going On?", "That's the Way Love Is" is a heavy laden treasure chest of little appreciated Marvin. Worth a peek and a poke.
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Read Marvin's sad obituary.
What is it about being the king of R+B that destroys great men?
We eat our young.
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Consider "Mercy Mercy Me", Michael Eric Dyson's recent biography of Marvin.

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Prince and the Time - "9 Lives"

Here, as promised is your weekly purple quotient. This unreleased Time track sounds roughly 'Grafitti Bridge' era to me; your milage may vary.

Absolutely beautiful. Everything I love about early nineties Prince: lyrics like "heckapumpbody", multi-layered synths and funky/spiritual backup singers, obsessively chantable chorus, bitchin' guitar solo, power diva screamin'. Yet another case of some of the best of the man's work slipping through the cracks.

Sorry about the sound quality; it's just good enough that you should be able to appreciate the song. Leastwise, _I_ do.

Visit the boy king.
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Explore "Ecnirp", probably the only Prince website you'll ever need.
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My Nine Lives in Scientology

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Meeting the Neighbors

Honey, Where You Been So Long? is doing you a big favor and you may not even know it. He's offering a regular selection of classic pre-war blues tracks that are pretty much unavailable ANYWHERE ELSE ON TEH INTARWEB to say nothing of how expensive and time consuming it would be for you to go hunting in libraries and rekkid shops for this stuff. Quite a lot of what shows up on 'Honey' is clearly the result of years of careful listening and loving; you can get a real education just by keeping a close eye on the place.

Better yet, Peter is no closeminded Blues nut; he's got real love for plenty of other kinds of music and this informs his picks and commentary in such a way that he has patience for those new to the genre.

Recent offerings include music from Memphis Minnie, Memphis Slim, Bukka White and Blind Willie McTell.

Sing yo' song, Honey.

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'Honey, Where You Been So Long?' started in late May 2004 with the track "Black Snake Blues" by Little Son Joe. I started 'Honey' because I thought that mp3 blogs were mostly posting the same batch of songs, and that what I really enjoy wasn't being represented. 100 plus tracks later, I've moved onto a bigger server for my tracks and a second writer will be joining the fray. I've lived in three different apartments since I've started the blog, two jobs and one goldfish. We are always looking for guest writers and mp3 submissions.

Where did you get the name of your blog?
It comes from the Ma Rainey song, which for some reason i haven't ever posted on my blog. I should probably get to that soon. I was going to name the blog "Everyday of the Week Blues" from the Pink Anderson song, which I used as my first post, but I though that "Honey, Where You Been So Long" would be more of an attention grabber and give some personality to the blog.
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What are the criteria you judge a song by to decide if it's post-worthy?
I'm not sure if i have a criteria in which I pick songs by. I normally pick a song that best reflects what I'm thinking about, what is stuck in my head, or what is new to my blues collection. The only think I really try to avoid is later day blues that fetish the guitar or songs every one has heard. Though I'm moving away from the latter rule as a lot of people enjoy when I post some of the more famous blues tracks.
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What song would you like played at your funeral?
Blind Willie Johnson's "Dark Was The Night, Cold Was The Ground". Hauntingly, beautiful instrumental track from the best slide guitar player of all time.
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Five desert island discs?
1. Blind Willie Johnson – "The Complete Blind Willie Johnson"
2. Aretha Franklin – "Spirit in the Dark"
3. Nina Simone – "Pastel Blue/Let It All Out"
4. Billie Holiday - "Songs For Distinguished Lovers"
5. Son House - "The Complete Library Of Congress Recordings"
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That old chestnut dinner party is at your house and you can invite three musicians living or dead. Who are you inviting?
Bessie Smith, Bille Holiday and Nina Simone. I wouldn't be able to speak, though.
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Which critical darling do you find most overrated? Who's the most overlooked genius in the music industry?
Corey Harris, My Morning Jacket and Sunburned Hand of the Man get most of my scorn.
Robbie Fulks is quietly becoming the best songwriter of the current generation.
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Recommend a few other musicblog sites.
1. Number One Songs In Heaven: Extremely well written musicblog with great soul/funk selections.

2. Locust St.: Focuses on music from the War Years, very informative and it has a great Tex Ritter song up now.
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Is there a major flaw in the way that musicblog sites function that you'd like to see corrected?
I think musicblogs are progressing nicely actually. I just hope that more people expand into smaller styles of music rather than trying to cover everything. I can't wait until someone puts up a old country music blog as well as a good mainstream country blog.
ed. note: PLEASE!!!!!
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List a few bands that you enjoy listening to that might surprise your readers.
I grew up listening to only rap music and still listen to a lot of mainstream rap so alot of that would be surprising to my readers. Also the Scissor Sisters album is top 10 or 15 for the year.
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Are you a proud member of the iPod Nation?
I don't have that many mp3s, shockingly enough, to make it worthwhile, really. I don't even own a walkman!
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Would you ever consider selling the blog?
I'd sell my blog in a heartbeat to Document Records in exchange for a complete set of their releases. Document Records, please feel free to contact me about this offer. Also, Document or Yazoo can feel free to send me albums as a form of sponsorship. Outside of that, I'd never sell out.
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Make a ten song mixtape playlist based on the following topic:
All You Need to Know


1. Glen Campbell - "If This Is Love"
2. Willie Nelson - "Stay All Night (Stay A Little Longer)"
3. Chuck Higgins and His Mellowtowns - "Ain't Gonna Leave Baby"
4. Laura Lee - "I Can't Hold On Much Longer"
5. Ghostface Killah - "Save Me Dear"
6. TV on the Radio - "Dreams"
7. Yvonne Hunter - "Have You Ever Been Mistreated?"
8. Elizabeth Cotten - "Oh, Babe It Ain't No Lie"
9. Nina Simone - "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood"
10. Hattie Hart - "Won't You Be Kind?"
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Drop on by betterPropaganda and pick out a track to hype.

American Music Club - "Another Morning"

'Big rooms only make our lives small." Great Eitzel line, delivered with a wonderful hushed tenderness, is the soul of American Music Club. Its not a reunion it's just a new album.

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our man in the field

So, yes, we DID take almost a week off and yes it WAS because we were depressed about the election.

I gave a lot of thought during this time off what the best way to respond was.

I'm still not exactly sure what I should do.

Bear with me while I figure it out.

In the meantime, crazy times call for crazy solutions.

Meet our new political/live music correspondent, David Boyle.

=================================================================

First of all, thanks for putting up the link to the "George W. Pussy" video on my site. The vid certainly didn't change the election results but at least it got out on the streets before Nov. 2.

I've now been mentioned at the top of Chuck Eddy's Nov. 2-8 "Eddytor's Dozen" list. How pained Michael Moore, Michael Stipe, Bruce Boss, Em-em and P. Diddle must be that they got so much media attention and yet proved largely impotent.

This world is getting worse.

I went to a Le Tigre concert last night in Detroit at St. Andrew's Hall. Le Tigre is "good" by definition, but yesterday they often seemed homogenized. I much preferred their August 2002 concert at the Magic Stick. They finished with a one-song Pointer Sisters encore, "I'm So Excited", with Kathleen Hanna doing her Miss America bit. I guess you can't castrate a woman but KH seemed pretty close with her "good night drive safely" wave-off to the audience as she left. I guess that's what signing with Universal does to you.

Hanna also said "Fuck Jesus" during her performance, which I didn't think was too cool. It's especially inappropriate in a venue named St. Andrew's Hall, but when she's sampling Reverend Al Sharpton on "New Kicks" and (gag) part of their new logo on their "This Island" CD is a gold crown with a _CROSS_ on top of the crown... talk about uprooting your own garden.

One of their opening bands, The Gossip starring Beth Ditto, was waaaaay better than Le Tig itself. I discussed some of this stuff (more about Pointer Sisters than the "Fuck Jesus" thing) with Beth Ditto after the concert and she said, "Well, Kathleen's thirty-five; she's paid her dues," which may be nice to say but I'm not sure if it's sufficient excuse.

I actually "advertised" the Tofu Hut during my recent four night stay in D.C. I went there to demonstrate and spent several days in a green flight suit wearing a sign saying "aWol Bush" along with a poster covered with Bush photos and the words "Coward-in-Chief". Also, on November 2, I dressed up as Jesus with a robe, a cardboard cross and a sign saying "Bush = JUDAS to Valerie Plame, National Guard, U.S.A." The other side of sign said "Forced sodomy at Abu Ghraib is _not Christian_".

I also carried another sign that said "VOTE" on one side and "See 'George W. Pussy Cat' at d-bo.com or tofuhut.blogspot.com" on the other.

I added the qualifier "cat" as my concession to be non-controversial. Maybe I should've advertised "Rapping of the Christ" as well...

TV crews from Canada, Denmark and Germany interviewed me when I was in the Jesus suit. There is a good chance some of the footage with your URL got on those countries' TV stations.

Tofu Internationale. Wow.

I'm probably on a CIA death list now, as I walked with those signs AROUND THE WHITE HOUSE REPEATEDLY on Nov. 2, getting a lot of friendly-but-concerned questions from guards and Secret Service men, mostly of the "how long are you going to be around here" variety.

My last donning of the green flight suit was when I went to the Capitol Hilton at 16th and K Street around 9 p.m. on the 2nd for the Democratic National Committee "victory" party where Eleanor Holmes Norton spoke.

At the Hilton, I switched the small sign on me from "aWol Bush" to one that read "Kerry: Mission Accomplished", which prompted at least one admiring photographer to take a picture and also one girl to say I "looked hot".

Well, the sign did say "Mission Accomplished", not "Mission Successful", so I guess I wasn't wholly inaccurate.

Wow, did it get somber at the "Victory" party after a couple hours! People saying that the party’s head was handed to them on a plate, Democrats swearing at each other and arguing about whether Terry McAuliffe should be sacked, etc, etc. Ugh. It didn’t help that the hotel staff got REAL surly and even openly aggressive and confrontational. They kicked us out of the party room after 1 a.m. and told us we had to leave immediately. Jeez.

Hope all well,
Cordially,
D. Bo

=================================================================
spiffy

mr. t and me
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music for maniacs is heating up.
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Blogroll update on the way.
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Continuing to seek employment and housing. Any interested parties, inquire within.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Save the Pacific Northwest tree octopus


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glistening by the numbers: EIGHT

DJ Quik - "8Ball"

41: Loved dj quik when I was younger- still like his voice.. love the eazy-e samples 'cause I love eazy-e. This can't compare. Good for ya when you're drinking though, I suppose.

Avi: Too many years of growing up listening to heavy metal has conditioned me to ignore most lyrical content. Thus, most hip-hop does absolutely nothing for me, especially when the subject matter is less than compelling. I don't actively dislike this, it just doesn't do anything for me.

Lee: Ok, this is a joke, right? Did this guy learn to rap from Vanilla Ice? This track epitomizes everything I hate about rap. Not to mention an incredibly irresponsible message, the music is lame, and the scratching is totally amateur. Wicky-wicky-whack. Easily the worst track in the mix. I can't even laugh at the lameness of this guy.

Jamie: Offers crucial advice to alkies - don't forget the Doublemint to cover up your breath. Is this meant to be an ode to the joy of getting stereotypically wasted or the opposite?

Rosecrans: A great example of an old rap song that could drop the lead vocal to become a decent TV jingle. This is awful.

Whoa nelly! The lack of love for Quik confounds me. The West Coast rapper's style may not have aged quite as well as some of his peer but son is a hiphop foundation block and deserves respect as such.

Personal fave DJ Quik moment: realizing that music in Bust a Groove was a remixed version of "Youz a Ganxta"!

For the uninitiated, '8Ball' here refers to Olde English '800' 40 ouncers and not three and a half grams of coke (Ebay is slangin'?).


Buy "Quik Is the Name", the Cali rapper's debut album, from Amazon.
Highly underrated, if just a bit dated.
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Visit DJ Quik's official site.
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Read this Quik interview from '02.
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Gotta Catch 'Em All!
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Superman Meets the Quik Bunny

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The Eight Seasons of Chromalox

This track is a long revered classic of the vinyl promo genre. This sort of silliness hit its apogee in the early seventies when everybody and their brother was dropping strange product music, but few were offering the beautiful orchestration and insane lyrics ("even though my toes get tight"?) of Chromalox's paeon to the joys of HVAC.

Favorite line: "Most of us at one time have been cold before".

This is a hella long song and it slows down a bit after Spring but I'm already in paroxysms of geeky joy by then. So sweet.

"8 Seasons" (and the accompanying links on this post) are scarpered from the inimitable 365 Days; click on the link for a gorgeous essay on this track near the bottom of the page.

Visit Chromalox on the web.
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Read this long article on product music.

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Meeting the Neighbors

Scissorkick is one of the few musicblog fellas I've actually had opportunity to meet in person. Steve is a hella nice guy, a sweet live DJ and a voracious music geek with insight into all types of sound.

He also takes this game SERIOUSLY and rewards his long-time readers with a constant barrage of new tunage and an ever-changing and always slick site design.

Recent offerings include music from Medina Green, Dub Diablo, Jet Black Crayon and Romanowski.

But who is Scissorkick... really?

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I'm just another blogger really. I've been up since 2000; first mp3 blog post in May 2004. I found a small niche in a lack of downtempo and post-rock on the Web and decided to start posting some of the promotional stuff I get from working as a music journalist along with some digitized vinyl from the occasional DJ gig. Although the URL has been around since 2001 in some form (e-zine, design portfolio, etc.) I was pushed into blogging by my friend Aaron Schultz whose new(ish) blog is no longer online. I try to mix lesser known stuff along the IDM/cinematic vibe of Ninja Tune and Warp with downtempo groove with an edge, dub or underground hip-hop or DJ stuff. It balanced nicely with the post-rock or hybrid rock of bands like Home Video or Midwest Product. I guess I like that space where electronic and organic music collides head-on.
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Where did the name of your blog originate from?
Scissorkick was just one of the many rejected names we brainstormed for a bullshit dotcom I worked at in 2000, right in heart of the Internet boom. Five of us were locked in a stuffy boardroom and prodded for almost 8 hours by some venture capitalist to come up with a name for a web site that essentially had no business plan. At the end of what seemed like 40 hours we were told that the sight already had a name and that this ordeal was simply a way for the new staff to bond. It was a nightmare. I was told if I used scissorkick (which I had come up with) I would be sued. It never happened thankfully. It doesn’t really mean much literally. Sick karate move; sounds good enough I guess.
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What are the criteria you judge a song by to decide if it's post-worthy?
I generally post my favorite tracks. There is no screening process or anything. It’s essentially what I’m feeling at the time. I usually do a small search to see if the track is online. If not, then I post it. With so many blogs, I try not to post an artist that has already been posted somewhere else.
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What song would you like played at your funeral?
Bone, Thugs and Harmony “Crossroads.” No doubt about it. And I’d like my face to be projected on the Moon by the world’s most powerful gobo lamp. Just for a few minutes.
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What do you do for kicks when you're not posting?
For kicks? Literally, I play in a men’s soccer league. Been playing my entire life. Love the game, although I feel like Quasimoto every time I play (“Come on Feet.”)
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Do you have a favorite music critic?
I like Sam Chennault’s hip-hop writing and Phil Sherburne’s writing on electronic music.

It’s hard not to sound like a complete douche, but two of the magazines I write for — Resonance and RE:UP — are two of the best around (and not because I am involved). I can’t say enough about ‘em. Just amazing pubs run by completely talented and dedicated folks. I feel honored to be writing for both. And of course earplug.
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Recommend three other musicblog sites and give them a sentence or two of introduction.
Everybody always seems to mention Fluxblog, Tofu Hut and Soul Sides because you have to acknowledge the blogs that laid the concrete. And I a am really greatful that you Matt and O-Dub do what you do. Scissorkick was started by the excitement generated by New(ish) run by my good friend Aaron but which is unfortunately now defunct. I always considered it within the second generation of blogs to surface. These are the guys I originally shared emails and links with and we all sort of helped each other out by driving traffic. A lot of great blogs have surfaced recently like 3Hive, Aurgasm and Dozer.

That said, here's three more plus one:

1: Something I Learned Today : A punk/harcdore site without equal (unless you check out Dave McGurgan’s self-titled blog). Each post by Eric reminds me of the time I spent as an indie outsider in a compound in Buffalo known as the “headquarters” with insanely knowledgeable punks with incredible record collections. Top notch.

2: Gabba.pod : The sickest designed MP3 Blog out there in my opinion. Just for introducing me to J-Skillz , I put Gabba>pod at the top of the list. There is, surprisingly, a dearth of electronic blogs that features the range of this brilliant site. A fantastic mix of dancefloor and IDM electronica with a great rating system and feeback model.

3: The Suburbs are Killing Us : We share a great fondness for Jaga Jazzist, but this blog takes world music posting to another level, especially when Chris dropped the Konono N_1 bomb on me. Just an amazing array of smartly curated tracks. Esoteric but appealing to fans of the more fringe performers from around the globe.

+1: Pop 77 : Although it is no longer online, this was one of my favorites. Great mix of music and design culture. RIP.
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Is there a major flaw in the way that musicblog sites function that you'd like to see corrected?
Since many of us are not programmers we are limited by the search capabilities of the sites. I tried adding pull-down menus (people seem to like them) but I think more blogs need better searching and archiving elements.
But this is just small potatoes. Most bloggers work long days and should be commended for doing what they do.
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Do you really think that posting music effectively promotes sales of the album?
Sure, in underground circles and for indie records. A lot of the PR people I deal with for my magazine stuff enjoy the blog and love when I post stuff they represent. The best is when the artists themselves stop by and leave comments. Walter Schriefels, Monk One and ZILLA (of Warp-mix fame) all have stopped by.
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List a few bands that you enjoy listening to that might surprise your readers.
Lately I have been posting mostly electronic, sort of hybrid organic/electronic stuff so readers wouldn’t really know that musically I have always been about the rock as much as the post-rock/downtempo stuff. Rush is a personal favorite. Love really strong, melodic 80s electro-pop. Been rocking INOJ “Love You Down” and Boy Meets Girl “Waiting for a Star to Fall” a lot recently. I also have been listening to a lot of new, sort of intelligent metal – Isis, Meshuggah, Mastodon. I love a lot of different shit pretty much equally.
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Are you a proud member of the iPod Nation?
I am, but my allegiance is waning. Now that it seems a new one comes out every three months, I am starting to feel a little suspicious about my purchase. It’s great on car trips though.
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Could you see yourself still running your site in five years?
Absolutely. I would love to see where I am with this in 5 years. It’s so easy to maintain that it really does seem realistic.
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What's the best live show you've ever seen?
Back in 1991, I was a sophomore in high school and we had a double bill weekend almost exactly 13 years ago this month, I think. Friday night was Primus and Fishbone at Stony Brook and Saturday followed with The Chili Peppers with Smashing Pumpkins and Pearl Jam opening at the Academy in NYC. DJ Shadow at Turnmills in London 1996 was amazing and Fugazi and Unwound at Maxwell’s comes to mind. We saw Isotope 217 back in 95 in Rochester at a tiny place called The Bug Jar. They absolutely killed it.
Rodan with Don Caballero at the Old Knitting Factory space was pretty sick.
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Do you have a message for youngsters who'd like to start their own musicblog?
Do it. It’s easy and incredibly gratifying, although I think it is important for bloggers themselves to do a good amount of blog-jumping and see what is out there. The point is to provide people with something that is ordinarily not found online or to get something up that is exclusive or advanced release. Even though music blogging culture has exploded, there is turnover and the possibility of creating your own space.
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What makes you so goddamn smart?
I’m pretty stupid actually if you consider that all the time I spend writing and promoting underground music may only turn a few people onto new things. But that is what has motivated me for over 14 years I guess. I just want people to potentially get the same satisfaction from listening to a song as I do. It’s corny I guess but that’s just how it is. And because mainstream music (as a whole) has consistently sucked for as long as I can remember. I don’t know a lot of people who like indie rock, dance, hip-hop, electronic, metal and classic shit with the same kind of energy. The rockist tendency to eschew anything that isn’t “punk” is just fucking ignorant to me. I was lucky to live in London in the mid-nineties and experience a burgeoning electronic scene with countless similarities to the indie culture of the late 80s and early 90s. I’m not a huge networking kind of person, but blogging has introduced me to a lot of people with wildly eclectic tastes.
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Five desert island discs?

I'll just go with the first five records that come to mind from different genres.

1: Tortoise — 'Millions Now Living Will Never Die'
2: Mo ‘Wax — 'Headz 1 & 2'
3: fIREHOSE – 'Ragin’ Full On'
4: Boards of Canada – 'Music Has the Right to Children'
5: Black Sabbath - 'Paranoid'
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Do you consider yourself a "music journalist"?
I guess I am technically because of my freelance gigs with the pubs mentioned above. I also write frequently for WYWS and will be starting up with Grooves shortly, although my day job is as a producer in advertising. I prefer to think of myself as a really big music fan with a reasonable faculty with words.
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What was the last track you heard that really changed your life?
Although I am prone to hyperbole I think every new, really fantastic song sort of changes my life. But a real change, like a things-will-never-be-the-same change was definitely back in 96 with Squarepusher’s “Squarepusher Theme” from his Feed Me Weird Things record. I sincerely believe that to be his best record.
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How much does it cost you to maintain your site?
About $9 dollars a month and about 15 minutes a day. Each month I change the design and that takes about an hour or so.
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Is there any genre of music that you dismiss out of hand?
If the Insane Clown Posse were considered a genre (Circus Rap, clown-core?) then you’d have yourself an answer.
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Who's the most overlooked genius in the music industry?
The genius term is thrown around with way too much ease these days. Is Conor Oberst a genius? No fucking way. But he is a really talented young songwriter. Is Robert Pollard a genius? Pretty close but lacked the self-control to limit his songwriting to what seems like less than 100 a day. Go see Squarepusher live. It’s about as close to genius as I’ve seen.
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Are you much of a dancer?
Sure, I like me some legwork no and again. I’m no Baryshnikov of Brooklyn or anything but I like to get down. No signature moves unfortunately.
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What was the greatest motivation for you to create your site?
The same as it was back when I was hijacking car stereos and commandeering party boom boxes: To simply get people on to new amazing stuff they may have not known about. I love the sense of discovery and music provides an infinite amount of that feeling.
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Drop on by betterPropaganda and pick out a track to hype.

Boom Bip - “Last Walk Around Mirror Lake” (Boards of Canada Remix)

Boom Bip has the potential to become a member of a very small group of electronic musicians who sit at the top of the food chain, who construct instantly recognizable wordless compositions. That is not easy to do, especially with the quality recordings coming from little more than a home computer. But I expect his next full-length to launch him into the BoC, Prefuse, Plaid sort of stratosphere. Here he gets worked over by one of electronicas master duos. Not much else to say really.

Tomorrow, we find out where Honey's Been So Long.

And we don't stop for NOBODY.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

He's a baaaad man


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glistening by the numbers: SEVEN

Count Bass D - "Seven Years"

41: Smile. At that spoken bit at the start. Love it mon. Rest of it's like Funkadelic, 'cept this is better. Love the rhymes at times. Also, 'tis rather catchy and intrancing. Can't talk now son, me dancing.

Avi: Great use of oboe on the backing track and an excellent posi message. I don't think I've ever heard a hip-hop love song sound so meaningful and touching. Or many other love songs for that matter - It's not often you hear an ode to marriage and child-rearing. It's certainly not a typical subject matter in the rock n' roll canon.

Lee: There are only a handful of rap/hip hop artists I can listen to. De La Soul, Grandmaster Flash, Beastie Boys and Public Enemy, and even then I don't have all the albums by each. This did nothing for me. The backing track was ok, but something else needed to happen - the groove needed to go somewhere, or add something to it to make it fresh. I mostly concentrate on the music and barely listen to lyrics most of the time, so rap-wise this was pretty forgettable, although not offensive.

Rosecrans: Bang-up all around. Makes me wish I owned a convertible so I could play it while riding. Is there enough Sade in hip-hop? Big no. The vocal's not Sade, but why aren't people going nuts to sample her? I'd like to see more Sade in everything, politics, fashion, literature. The world could do with more Sade.

David: This really reminds me of Camp Lo, which certainly isn't a bad thing.

I found Count Bass D in college with his EP, "Art 4 Sale". The fella is a once-from-Tennessee backpack rapper with ties to MF Doom and the B-Boys; his songs are conscious stuff with real musical insight and moments of religious meaning and street philosophy.

This particular track is powered by an oboe hook, an ethereal female croon and a great Harder They Come sample. I strongly recommend that if this pushes your buttons you go get more; dude's got skills.


Buy "Dwight Spitz", the Count's last major release from Amazon.
I'd suggest you go to the man himself but his personal site is pretty much sold out of everything. Speaking of which:
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Visit Count's official site.
Plenty there to read and listen to.
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Read this interview with the Count.
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"Unlocking the secrets of the French and Indian War"

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Patsy Cline - "Seven Lonely Days"

Seems like I complain a whole bunch about not seeing any country music blogs out there but it's rare that I make any offerings in the genre, so here's a classic cut from the queen of the cowgals.

There were a WHOLE BUNCH of good options for seven songs; it's a tune-acious number. The most obvious would've been any one of the hot remix versions of Prince's "7" but the purple one has already locked down number nine. All of which is just my way of saying that The Kid will get his just due; be patient.

Buy "The Patsy Cline Story", her greatest hits collection, from Amazon.
Pretty indisputible classics.
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Explore the obscenely dense "Patsified!" fansite.
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Read the story of the making of "Crazy".

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Meeting the Neighbors

Bumrocks is less a musicblog and more of a freeform, rotating mixtape. I generally disapprove in a scowly, old man way of sites that post music without any information about the artist or a link to buy the album but Bumrocks eccentric and eclectic tastes make for a googly scavenger hunt with each new batch of tunage.

BR offers life to some extremely esoteric and unlikely music, hurly burly-ed together in a most surprising manner; recent offerings include tracks from Sir Mixalot, the MC5, Ennio Moricone and Os Mutantes.

Bum it up, fellas.

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Bumrocks is the deafmute mp3 blog, mainly posting damage in a disco/italo/punkrock/darkwave/homemade/art/psych style. Our first post went up April 2004.

Where did the name of your blog originate from?
Bummmy tracks without a home. Our favorite noises are ones that don't quite fit into a particular form, that come from an artist's own place -- bedroom space boogie, christiane f. street life, naked and speaking with the trees or whatever.
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What are the criteria you judge a song by to decide if it's post-worthy?
Usually it is things we're listening to right now. Sometimes it's things we think are important. Maybe it's something that can rock a party. Mostly it's only things we love.
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What do you do for kicks when you're not posting?
When the site misses a day or 2 it's usually because the waves have been good. Haven't figured out yet how to post during the upcoming "bumrocks surfs nicaragua" tour.
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Do you have a favorite music critic?
Although our tastes don't always match, I think julian cope is rad. I also like reading whatever is posted at Optimo.
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Do you consider yourself a "music journalist"?
No. But still, I think that we (like anyone) are laying down our idea of what music can/should be.
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What was the last track you heard that really changed your life?
I saw The Cramps play live when I was 15 years old. I could not believe what I was seeing. Lux did a 25 minute solo Surfin Bird performance that, in a way, permanently altered the way I thought about most things.
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Describe the space you do your writing in.
Unfortunately it looks like a set from THX-1138... with a water cooler.
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Is there any genre of music that you dismiss out of hand?
I don't really feel reggae, ska, ragga or whatever. Also pretty much anything before 1960, anything people call roots music and anything which uses the adjective "lounge".
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Who's the most overlooked genius in the music industry?
I think Holger Czukay is a largely unrecognized pioneer. Obviously his work with Can, but also check out any of his solo things.
Afrika Bambaataa is finally getting his props for real. I think he should be remembered as one of the major artists of our time.
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Are you much of a dancer?
I can pogo to just about anything.
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What was the greatest motivation for you to create your site?
Reading about particular music but not being able to hear it or buy it. And then there was stumbling across someone's fan site of disco music. This guy posted full mp3's from classic and not so classic 12"s, and would have 30 or so files available for download at any one time. That site is not around anymore, and I can't remember it's name, but it just seemed like a total discovery at the time.
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Can you recommend a few other musicblogs?
We would like to thank ALL the sites that link to Bumrocks, especially tofu hut, totally fuzzy, the suburbs are killing us,never came home,radio babylon and an idiots guide to dreaming.

No love at all to those mp3 search sites that jack links and bypass the host page.
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What are a few bands that you enjoy listening to that might surprise your readers?
Although this is not reflected on Bumrocks, we totally love hiphop and rap. Not the indie kind, and lately, the crunkier the better.
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Are you a proud member of the iPod Nation?
I always pack it when I travel. As a way to swap files and music with friends it can't be beat. In case you don't already know it, Bruno is the unsung hero of file sharing.
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How difficult is it to maintain the site?
It's pretty easy. I think the decision not to have to write about each post has made the site possible.
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What's a good story about how one of the tracks that made it up on your blog got there?
The best is when tracks are contributed by listeners. Leigh had been looking for a particular song he had seen on Countdown (old music tv show in Australia) when he was young. He finally ID'd the artist and found the 7" in a op shop. He sent in "I Love 'lectric Motors" -- a song promoting electric powered cars 20 years before Hollywood started half-heartedly plugging in.
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Do you have a message for youngsters who'd like to start their own musicblog?
Post every day. Post better music.
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Has meeting with an artist ever left you feeling tongue tied?
Running into (literally) Joey Ramone at LAX.
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Often, a mondegreen can be more satisfying than a song's intended meaning. Do you have a particular personal misinterpretation of a tune that you prefer to the god's honest lyrics?
We think mistaken lyrics are nearly always better than the real thing. Although you can't really make up something much better than Dre singing, "Roses really smell like poo-oo-oo".
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Drop on by betterPropaganda and pick out a track to hype.

Afrika Bambaataa - "Got That Vibe"

Tomorrow, we'll get Scissorkicked. Stay tuned.

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spiffy

The eagle-eyed among you may have noted that the FOREVER BURGEONING blogroll has undergone revamping number one zillion. Say hello to all of our new additions and be _sure_ to peek in on the following gleaming homes of promise:

STICKERSHOCK is what happens when the big boys get in the pool. Ya'll play nice; no splashin'.

Orchard Lounge offers a fine selection of ephemera and timelessness.

The Louisiana funk leaking out of Home of the Groove is enough to knock the fleas off a dog.

Locust Street takes us WAY back to 1945 for a musical tour of a world most of us have only read about in... oh, the bible maybe?
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Mr. Boyle has started hosting the GWP vid on his own site, so hurry over and check it out if you haven't already.
David Boyle - "George W. Pussy Video"
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Speaking of things political, there's a lovely collection of fellows who are mobilizing the mp3blog medium as a means to remind all you folks to get out and vote.

While I'm glad that they're doing this, I have to think that if any of you out there in Americaland are so braindead that you need ME to remind you to get out and do your part for Democracy, you're probably better off not voting.

Also, this is a nonpartisan coalition and, truth be told, I'd rather you didn't vote if you were going to vote for Bush. Honestly, I'm simply not mentally prepared to deal with four more years of this insanity. F'r crissakes, this administration is gung-ho for crazy copyright protection and prosecution of intellectual copyright infringement with JAIL SENTENCES. So if you're reading this, you're probably a criminal in their eyes. Lord knows this is the LEAST of their damnable crimes but it's a reasonable place to start.

Anyway. Here we are. I'm genuinely frightened as to what this day will bring. I gotta get to bed soon so that I can try to get to the polls early enough that I can get in before I have to spend my whole day waiting tables. Not that my New York vote counts for anything. Even in the farcical scheme of things, my say is even MORE worthless because I've chosen (understandably) to surround myself with like minded people. Go figure THAT one out.

In any case I have faith in the intelligence of the American people. We can't not elect this guy TWICE.

See you on the other side, red rover.