Monday, January 31, 2005

Shape of... a bitchin' track!

glisten: guest edition

Twin guns up today: music from Fiddy and Miccio.

She'll drink you under the table, son.


FORKSCLOVETOFU SEZ: Chantelle Fiddy is the Hut's overseas correspondent on the UK hiphop phenomenon that is grime.
Visit her site for more pearls of wisdom.
Today, Chantelle offers us a fairly thorough look at one of her favorite artists: the UK hip hop sensation Riko.
R. sounds like something special to me; give him a listen and see if you don't agree.
NB: Parts of this article appeared in Deuce Magazine, November 2003

Riko - "Freestyle"

Riko - "Popadoms [DJ Target Remix]" (Incomplete Edit)

Riko - "Don't Want You Back" (Incomplete Edit)

He did the crime and he’s served the time, so move over 'cause Riko is busting through with legal arms – his lyrics.

It’s been a rocky road for Zane Williams, 26, and he’s not denying it on meeting me in East London. After two stretches behind bars, Riko is back, his statement to the mean streets raw and defiled like a freshly massacred carcass. Seriously.

Back in the mid-nineties, MC Riko was one of Pressure FM’s leading jungle MC’s, tipped by many as the next big thing but getting caught up on the wrong side of the law saw a premature hold in his career. Having spent his time building up bars, Riko returned in late 2002. Within a month his name was headlining raves and club nights across the country such as Sidewinder, True, Eskimo Dance and Ministry of Sound’s Smoove.

Skiba and Shabba used to come and murk me. I used to class it as training, thinking ‘Well, next week I’ll be better’. They made me feel small” Riko says, shaking his head before smiling, “But now it’s different. Very different”

At raves such as New Jack City and Labyrinth, his mission was to make the crowd go home with Riko instilled in their minds.

“I jumped on Ray Keith and Nicky Blackmarket’s sets. I also remember once emceeing for Kenny Ken and he came over after and gave me a big zoot. He was saying ‘thanks’ cause the guy I’d taken the mic from was shit. That was BIG.”

Riko tried but gave up on the idea of getting back into education by studying Graphic Design. His name was growing ever familiar on the underground circuit, but Riko got caught up on the wrong side of the law. He found himself serving a five year sentence for armed robbery. Three and a half years later back in east London, finding his feet, it seemed that luck was on his side. Riko had fans, bookings abounded, the garage community had quickly accepted him, there was a fresh buzz around his name... but it just wasn’t to be. In 2003, he found himself back on lock down at Her Majesty’s Pleasure for a further five months after being found guilty of a commercial burglary he committed in 1999.

There’s no point beating around the bush: some people are already, or will be, put off by the apparent stereotypical gangster MC seen portrayed here. While he does chat the bad alongside the good, regardless of whether you like the verbal direction, Riko would prefer it if you saw him as a class A example of why not to judge a book by it’s cover. Now, Riko is in a position to use his experiences to educate others about the consequences of street life and, having been on the wrong side of the law, his messages are delivered with sheer power and determination.

“Man, I’ve changed over the years. I’m better... much better. I was terrible, I was a different person. It’s a weird feeling looking back, but I feel good now. Getting caught up with guns when I was 20 is my biggest regret. It's hard when it's put in front of you; people who have seen further than today stay away. Some people don’t even think they’ll be about that long, so they don’t think about next week, just "I’ll do what I can now". I’ve had enough time to see it all; I’ve done too much and crime really is long. I can’t go back to that.”

So was the transition from cell back to microphone blazing hard?

“All my old lyrics and the new ones I’d been building up just didn’t go. I was trying to be what I’m not; I was trying to be funny. I didn’t think you could chat wicked. The worst thing when I came back was when people said I sounded like (MC God's)Gift. But people can’t say that anymore.”

Where inspiration is concerned, Riko picks up a lot from those in the garage scene around him (including Viper and old friend B-Live) along with past experience, furthermore flexing an astute ability to write songs about a given subject.

“People talking about guns is sort of a bad thing I know, but it does sound good on the mic. But gun shots in raves that’s bad, there’s nothing good about that. I think it’s an idiot ting.”

“My album’s going to be very roadish. I’d like to be the UK’s answer to Fifty Cent - but without getting shot nine times. In America, it’s easier to get signed because they give the gangster stuff a chance, they help them do commercial tunes. No one helps us. The Dreem Team, the only national garage show, they're gone; they don’t care about none of us anymore.”

Regarded by those in the know as one of the most versatile MC's around, capable of spitting over any beat, his album will reflect this by featuring a culmination of the urban sub genres.

“I don’t really see any one music as me, I see MCing as me. Before I was really into the music, people would talk to me because they had to... or just NOT talk to me because I’m not supposed to be nice, am I? I’ve done bad things."

"But now people realise I can’t be that bad if I’m doing all of this, they’re giving me a chance and I’m grateful.”

Given the benefit of the doubt or not, Riko has got an insatiable appetite for word play and unlike many of his contemporaries, a package. He’s distinctive, aided by an excitable nature, an insatiable hunger for success, professionalism, humbleness and above all else, a whole lot of talent.

50 Cent? He’d be worth every penny.

His debut release in 2003, "Popadoms" (production courtesy of Dumpvalve’s Wizzbit aka Geeneus) received approval across the board from mainstream dance magazines Muzik and Mixmag to urban publications Deuce and RWD. Brand endorsement from adidas and Vauxhall hasn’t gone amiss either.

Riko has collaborated with Wiley, J2K and Breeze on "Pick Yourself Up," which went on to appear on Wiley’s debut album, Treddin On Thin Ice (although it should be noted Riko thinks his bars on here are dismal). Other collaborations with the likes of Target, Wiley, Danny Weed, Terror Danger (Aftershock/1Xtra), Pay As U Go, Gods Gift, Crazy Titch, Hyper and D Double E have met with considerable acclaim. The Target produced "Chosen One" (previously featured at The Tofu Hut) is a surefire underground anthem, and appears on the 679 Recordings compilation, Run The Road.

New tracks such as "Critical" and "Boogeyman" (number one in current independent record shop charts) are already tipped for even bigger things. Riko is currently laying down the finishing touches to his debut album while preparing for the release of the Roll Deep Creeper Mixtape Vol. 1, the Roll Deep DVD and the Roll Deep album (now signed to Relentless Records). He's also set to feature on Lady Sovereign’s album due out in early 2005 on Universal/Island Records.



FORKSCLOVETOFU SEZ: Anthony Miccio is a poprocka and th' Hut's expert on all things big, radio-friendly and glistening that might otherwise escape our more rockist readers earholes.
Anthony dispenses wisdom and choice bon mots at Anthony is Right.
Th' Hutster grew up being forced to listen to Back in Black, License to Ill and Slippery When Wet on the forty five minute busride to junior high every morning, so we're somewhat predisposed to NOT like AC/DC much... but we've learned to buck that trend.
In any case, pretending to not find some joy in "Rock 'n' Roll Damnation" requires more chutzpah than I can muster.

AC/DC - "Rock 'N' Roll Damnation"

AC/DC - "Love Song"

My favorite band of all time is Bon Scott-era AC/DC. Reliable, crass, hard-hitting, witty, honest, danceable rock that relentlessly espouses a self-aware but undeniably bad-ass aesthetic. People who can't tell the difference between this era and the years following Scott's death (except for the live version of "High Voltage" off If You Want Blood, You've Got It where Scott's voice is worn into a disturbing rasp) are idiots: for one thing, Scott could enunciate. "Rock'n'Roll Damnation," off of their finest and most underrated album, Powerage, is a (proto)typical anthem.

When my friend Veronica told me she had an mp3 or two from their early Australia-only albums (most tracks were re-released on High Voltage, Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap and '74 Jailbreak) I jumped at the chance to hear them. More Bon! More rawk! More...love ballads?

I already knew that their earliest work was their most diverse (The bagpipe solo on "Long Way To The Top" may be the only time I've noticed a sound other than guitar-bass-drums), but I still wasn't prepared for "Love Song," from the Australian version of High Voltage, with Scott cooing "When you smile, I see stars in the sky/ When you smile, I see sunrise" over the most Santana-esque solo of little Angus's life. It's a little rote, as the title implies, but this is as close as AC/DC ever got to asking us to listen to the flower children and a startling listen for true believers.

Visit the official AC/DC site.
Buy "Highway To Hell", an excellent Bon Scott biography.
Read this interview with Vince Lovegrove, a close friend of Scott's.
Choice quote: "They said to me that Bon was too old, that they wanted someone young. I told Malcolm that Bon could rock them til they dropped, that he could outrock them anytime. When I told Bon, he told me they were too young, that they couldn't rock if their lives depended on it."

Here's a big collection of spiffy roundup, all found courtesy of our omnipresent sidebar buddies. Thanks to the appropriate tipsters.

Musicblogger-on-break Tuwa (of the 'Shanty') can't stay outta the game; here's a concert review that he recently fired off to th' Hut:

At the suggestion of a friend I ventured out to see the Soweto Gospel Choir tonight. They came onstage, twenty-seven band members in brightly colored outfits, taking turns stepping up to sing lead and/or dance. On some of the songs, four singers would go to the drum set/keyboards/bass/guitar and perform backup. Many of the songs were traditional, with the strong harmonies you'd expect; some of them were more contemporary but performed traditionally... you haven't heard "Biko" until you've heard it with two drummers and two dozen singers! They sang a version of "Amazing Grace" that took the melody as more of a suggestion than a dictum; what they did with it was enthralling and earned them a standing ovation before they were half done with the concert. They also sang a number of medleys, one of which comprised the first half of the South African anthem.

As an encore, they came back out and played a song with a lead melody that was intermittently melancholy and full of gossamer beauty. Then they played a number with a ska rhythm and a 50s bubblegum pop melody; after that it was "Oh Happy Day" and another standing ovation; then ANOTHER encore: a wild funk/jazz tune.

All in all it was a great show, loads of fun! They're on tour now; check them out.

Paul Adams of The Neurons may well be an old fogey but I find him terribly endearing.

Stop by and he'll have a cuppa witcha.
Defining uncool? Your father thinks that The King of All Cosmos "looks like Bentley from The Jeffersons".

Those seeking to be down should hook up with the Prince and roll on.

Katamari trivia note: KD was apparently created by a student as a SCHOOL PROJECT?

Visit the KD livejournal community and CHECK OUT THE NEW SEQUEL MOVIES!
DINOSAURS! (open at yr. own risk)
Google Video Search has the potential to change the way we do research AND watch TV; I'll be excited to see this evolve over the next few years.
The Man Who Fell Asleep
We're already nosing February of th' new year, but if you're still trying to digest '04, this NYT Mag article detailing the year's best ideas provides an excellent recap... or instant nostalgia, if you're a VH1 fan.
Not to be a puss or anything, but the Ring STILL creeps me out a bit; I was very impressed. Now, with the American sequel on the way, there's new virals all over the web: A NEW tape-'o-death, a "no, really; it's TRUE" site and this somewhat Manson-esque warning page.

Also, check out the trailer for the sequel, this remarkably thorough fansite and this interview with Koji Suzuki, the author of the Ring cycle books.
Cigarro and Cervera es muy bueno.
"There are other worlds than these".
Complete episodes of Frontline = less Monday productivity.
Robin thinks this is beautiful and I agree.
Watch videos of NES classics being beaten at breakneck speed at Nintendo Records.

Strangely hypnotic.
I'm generally not much for CGI doppleganger remakes of past genius but this astonishing "Singin' In the Rain" Volkswagen Viral is KILLIN' IT.

I'm such a sucker for pop lockin'.

The VERY nice remix is by Mint Royale and is being released as a single in the UK.
Attack of the Kung Fu Watermelon
A sure sign you've been playing too much "GTA: San Andreas" is when you find yourself holding up a McDonalds armed with a samurai sword and a lead pipe.
Girl You Nasty: "a blog dedicated to sharing too much information."
I had been looking for a simple place to try out some iPod shareware programs to tweak performance and squeeze additional goodness from that little mother box, but almost everything out there is Mac oriented.

iPod Lounge to the rescue.
Squashed Philosophers is an undergrads dream: Spinoza in thirty minutes, Kant in twenty-three and Hegel in twenty-two means less time hitting the books and more time hitting the beer bong.
c30, c60, c90, GO!
Fine Art action figures.

I'm especially fond of the Arcimboldo, the Breugel, the Bosch, the Grunewalds and the Beardsley.
Would you believe that Penn Jillette is making a film version of the Aristocrats?

I MUST see this.


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Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Meeting the Neighbors


Part of what makes musicblogging so appealing to me is how it gives voice to the voiceless. If you've got music that you love, that tells people something about who you are or where you're from, this is a way to share that with the world. Musicblogging also lends an immediacy to the music; there's the potential to put you on to what's hot RIGHT NOW.

Shamelessly few of us are just kids shouting out what's hot; most of us are long in the tooth musicgeeks in varying shades of jade. Not Government Names tho'. They're a pirate radio station that plugs you into an international underground rap world that doesn't wear backpacks.

Recent offerings include music from E.S.G, Chamillionaire, David Banner and Lil' Flip.

Spit that shit, gentlemen.

My name is Dylan. I'm 20 years old. I drive a delivery truck for a living and I enjoy writing about rap music. Government Names was started by Al and me. It's become a collaboration between a bunch of people Who are interested in being down and can write. It doesn't have any consistent focus or goal, per se; we've written about everything. Our first post went up in May of 2004.

My name is Al Shipley. I’m 22 years old and live in Baltimore, Maryland. Six months ago, I started the team rap blog, Government Names. More recently, I started a solo blog (Narrowcast) just to have an outlet for stuff that wouldn’t fit on Gov’t Names. I’ve been writing about music in one way or another for a long time, mostly on the internet. It feels good to have an outlet that’s more semi-permanent and all my own. Over the past few months, Gov’t Names has really surpassed my expectations and everyone involved has stepped up to the plate to make it something we think is worth checking daily.

Why "Government Names"?
Al: Government Names is just a phrase I always liked. It’s used in hip hop a lot and evokes the hip hop life well without explicitly reference to it. I think I proposed some other really lame ideas to people before that one clicked; it was dlk’s idea to make it plural.
What are the criteria you judge a song by to decide if it's post-worthy?
Al: It basically comes down to whether I feel like I have anything worthwhile to say about it. It also helps if it’s very new and I can be one of the first people to hype it. Usually if every other blog I read or associate with has already written about a song, I won’t bother with it unless I feel like I have a unique perspective or a dissenting opinion.
Do you have a favorite music critic?
Dylan: Ethan Padgett is the only music writer that i take really seriously right now. I take most of how I do straight from him, from the way he's writing right up to the way I think on things.
Check the N.O. roll call and this early Master P roundup.
Five desert island discs?
1) Nas - "It Was Written"
2) Nas - "Lost Tapes"
3) Nas - "Nastradamus"
4) Nas - "God's Son"
5) Sarah Harmer - "You Were Here"
Do you consider yourself a "music journalist"?
Al: Not really. I take professional music journalism/criticism fairly seriously, which is why I don’t particularly want to go pro with it. I have had some writers I respect encourage me to pursue it professionally, which is flattering, but I like writing about music for fun. What little semi-professional experience I've had tended to suck some of that fun out of it.
Recommend three other musicblogs.
1: Gel & Weave is kind of Gov’t Names’ sister site; they started right around the same time as we did and there’s a lot of mutual respect between us and them. Anyone who enjoys us should definitely be reading them.

2: Dip Dip Dive is Tom Breihan, a fellow Baltimore native and one of the only people in the blogosphere who I’ve actually met and get to hang out with now and then. He’s also a really good writer; look out for his work in Pitchfork, the Baltimore City Paper and Neumu.

3: Jess Harvell is another writer I respect and he just recently converted his blog to the MP3 blog format.
Who's your favorite producer?
Dylan: Da superproducers: DJ Paul and Juicy J.
What's the best live show you've ever seen?
Dylan:I saw G-Unit and Kardinal Offishall last year. Everyone was going wild by the time shit got started: looking fabulous and beautiful, fat little high school girls smoking weed in corners and kids fighting in the stands. The Whoo Kid gunshot sound effects were so loud over the arena speakers that it shook your ribcage. We snuck down to the floor and it was like a riot. Later on, we hit the Whoo Kid afterparty, where some Indian posse cats fought with G-Unit security and tried to snatch Young Buck's chain.

Al:Probably the Boredoms at the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C.; June, 1999.
Do you hope to someday make a living with something music? What's your Dream Job?
Al: I’m definitely going to be putting out records at some point in the future; whether I caever turn a profit off it is anyone’s guess. The only thing that’s less realistic than music to expect to make a living off of is the internet.

Dylan: I'd like to be a highschool english teacher, I think. I guess that's what I've always planned on doing.

I just finished a month working in a beef plant on a non-stop line, hundreds of cows a day. I was working at the station right after the hide gets peeled off; our job was to carve the neck out so the head was hanging on by the windpipe and esophagus. Then we'd secure the esophagus with an elastic band, cut the windpipe and hang the head on a rack to be cleaned and broken down by the head line workers. The money was really good but it's brutal work and you get soaked in hot blood.

The good thing about tedious manual labor jobs is you've got these huge stretches of time where your mind is free to wander. That's how i've always written things: map it out in my head then lay it down as fast as possible.
Describe the space you do your writing in.
Dylan: Pale blue couch, laptop set up on leather footstool in a downtown apartment over the korean grocery store. Cute little asian girls from the university are buying phone cards to call home and nervous chinese ladies are slouched in idling lexuses, waiting for their husband to run back out. Kids are selling in our alcove and ducking in the stairwell when the pearly white Crown Vics roll past or wandering back from the circus tent the church sets up in the empty lot beside our block on Rriday nights.
How difficult is it to maintain the site?
Al: Not very hard at all because there are several contributors; two of them are as prolific as I am. If I’m having a busy week, I don’t have to worry about not having anything new on the site for people to see because everybody else will hold it down.
That old chestnut dinner party is at your house and you can invite three musicians living or dead. Who are you inviting?
Dylan: Shawnna. Eve. Remy Ma.
What was the greatest motivation for you to create your site?
Dylan: Al and I wanted to write some bullshit about songs we were feeling. There weren't really many rap blogs when we started and most of the ones that have come up since then are still pretty lame. They're either for some sort of hipster guys or they're written by journalists that would rather be writing about movies or the war or money and NOT the music or they're just shitty. Or a mix of all three.

We just wanted to write about stuff we liked and not be lame.
Has meeting with an artist ever left you feeling tongue tied?
Dylan: I don't know about tongue tied. Shocked, sometimes. With lots of southern dudes, it's pretty easy to get in touch with them. You just have to call them up or e-mail them and they're right there! Like I wanted to interview Fiend, so I just called the number for his record company in a magazine ad and he answered! I talked to him for like ten minutes. It was the same deal with pretty much everyone else but it still surprises me.
Drop by Better Propaganda and pick out a track to hype.

Dylan: Paris - "What Would You Do?"
I like this. It starts with some George Bush chopped up speech talking about "we are mounting a sustained campaign to crack down on every american...." calm, fatherly voice over beautiful jazzy beat you'd use to talk about smoking weed on. -- interrupted by: "FEDERAL AGENTS WE ARE ARMED," kicked in door sound effects, thin-voiced hook girl, drum loop, spooky x-files theme keyboard. paris talking about bush administration opportunism. old man voice, deep and deadly serious.

Al: The Oranges Band - “Finns For Our Feet”
These guys are from Baltimore, and they do good work. All of their songs are pretty much the same jangly chug, and this one is as good as any.


Travis and Jonathan been doing that Jackie Harvey ish long before that mufucka broke his first EXCLUSIVE!

It's the ONLY place to get Rwaffles.

"Because you don't wanna offend anybody."
Filboid Sudge is blogging Academy Award winning Tom 'n' Jerry animator Irvin Spence's 1944 day-by-day cartoon diary. It's really beautiful stuff and a healthy part of your daily blogroll.
Prussian Blue and Panzerfaust.

I gotta warn you: racists REALLY don't keep a backbeat (lack of negro blood, dontchaknow). I couldn't find a single track I liked on the latter page and the lil' Klan Kiddies aren't nearly as good as the hype led one to believe.

Disappointed by White Power music again. Darn.
Taking a step in the direction of Podcasting, I purchased a Playstation compatible microphone for use with the computer and also figured, what the hell, let's try this Get on da Mic that's been catching my eye for the last few weeks.

Do not make my mistake. "Get on da Mic" SUCKS.

Oh, the SONG SELECTION is incredible, no doubt. Rap along with Dizzee Rascal and the Ying Yang Twins? Where do I sign up?

Unfortunately, the game execution makes it absolutely unplayable. The voice recognition is so bad as to be a joke; I found that if I just screamed into the microphone for four minutes I'd ace the stage. SO weak.

I _am_ having some fun with my backup choice though.

Miccio, you karaoke "Burn"! Go get it!
Sabadabada's Brazilian music is a must download collection. Don't, whatever you do, miss the Quarteto Em Cy!

Related topic: remember the mogambi giant post of new musicblogs from, oh, Friday? I've got another thirty or so since then.
Herve Trouillet's animated trailers are very impressive.
Shoegazing at Popstar Feets.
Your assignment, should you choose to accept it is to tell me who sings this amazing theme song for Detroit's Monorail.

Heck, I'd settle for an MP3 file. Anybody?

"People Movin' to the Rhythm, Take A Ride Take A Ride!"

Would that we could.
Bart Van De Vel Wallpaper
Osymyso is dropping his new album, one track per week, online.

Late to link and this has already found it's way around the internet but if you haven't seen Hardly Art, Hardly Garbage's "Hip Hop Quarterbackin'", now's the time.

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Monday, January 24, 2005

Custom FF figures courtesy the long defunct Paul's Page

glisten: guest edition

The Tofu Hut Rolls DEEP, son.

We step up today with a super special, highly eclectic fantastic foursome: Chantelle Fiddy, Anthony Miccio, the Red Headed Stranger and David Boyle.

Make 'em feel welcome, ya'll.


Chantelle gonna clean house, y'heard?


FORKSCLOVETOFU SEZ: Chantelle Fiddy is the Hut's overseas correspondent on the UK hiphop phenomenon that is grime.
She's fuckin' wicked. So is this track.
Visit her site for more pearls of wisdom.
NB: A version of this article appeared in i-D magazine, 2004.

D Double E - "Freestyle"

English language scholars looking for modern day inspiration need look no further than MC D Double E, the self professed Newham General and modern day reviver of poetry.

Despite not cutting the grades when at school, D Double E and his lyrics are cutting it now. His bars, which can at first glance or listen, imply irreverence or a level of distastefulness (come on this is grime), detail a prevalent street philosophy, one where false childhood conceptions on life and illusion-ridden lifestyles are played out.

“I don’t eat bangers and mash/but I roll in the banger with mash/and if you get moved I’ll be banging the mash/quicker than a flash/bang be gone in a flash”

But to date, in many ways, DEE has been a victim of his own success. On his home turf of Forest Gate, East London he’s a hero with cult status. Walking down the road kids point him out, shouting, “ooh, ooh, it’s me, me” like he needs a reminder of his classical lyric. It’s these supposed gimmick lyrics that bring raves to a standstill, fans nearing hyperventilation, that have overshadowed his underlying talents and led to many people viewing him as little more than a novelty act.

“I just did it one day, made my voice echo on the mic and it stuck. I’ll walk into a dance in Manchester, Birmingham wherever and I all can hear is ‘ooh, ooh.’ It’s a big feeling trust me. But it’s very serious, you have to listen, I mean, I was ahead of my time, I’m doing lyrics still now that I wrote at 15.”

For DEE, it seems people are finally opening their ears. Having battled his way for the last ten years, from jungle through to (what he calls) ‘gayrage’ and now grime, it’s since parting with N.A.S.T.Y. Crew last year, alongside his co-d’s Footsie and Monkey. that his authority within the scene has become uncontestable.

“The way of getting light now (as an MC) is clashing. It’s like a cheat,” murmurs D Double E, shaking his head. “Thirty MC’s on a set, its going to be good right, but what can you do on your own? I know what I can do, I was on radio when these (yoots) were all locked in their yards on curfew.”

As his verbals and stature have grown in appeal, so it seems have his strides into mainstream territory. The only MC to have appeared on a Dizzee Rascal release (despite it not making the Showtime album, like why?) recognition away from the traditional territories is coming.

“We just did a PA at Homelands and boy, I felt like I was no one. I didn’t get that vibe like when I do a rave and everyone’s watching me. Those crowds are different, but they listen hard and the deep eruptions I heard when the music stopped must mean they heard it properly, the reality, right?”

Let buzz be the judge.



FORKSCLOVETOFU SEZ: Anthony Miccio is a poprocka and th' Hut's expert on all things big, radio-friendly and glistening that might otherwise escape our more rockist readers earholes.
Anthony dispenses wisdom and choice bon mots at Anthony is Right.
I'm somewhat surprised to note that these tracks, if a bit innocuous and hardly innovative, ARE actually fun and not at all bad listens! Tickle me pink! Or maybe just a stripe down the middle.

Kelly Osbourne - "Contradiction"

Kelly Osbourne - "Come Dig Me Out"

While watching the brouhaha following Ashlee Simpson's public flubs, I could only think of two things: poor girl and glad this never happened to Kelly Osbourne.

Ok, it never would have happened to Kelly anyway cuz she'd tell the planet to collectively blow itself, but I would have been even angrier that hypocrites and couchwarmers respond to a teenager's slightly-less-than-professional half-time special (usually the artistic highlight of your night, I know) with scorn rather than indifference since Kelly is responsible for one of the best pop-rock albums in recent years.

Osbourne and collaborators Ric Wake (Celine Dion associate) and Powerpack (who knows) may not have any right to make trashy, insightful glam-punk but they did a tremendous job with "Shut Up!" and we're just gonna have to deal. Osbourne says she wrote almost all the lyrics and frankly I'm inclined to believe her, as Sharon's shrewd confidence and Ozzy's ability to pen naked confessions of mental anguish are united here.

I have to go back to Sleater-Kinney's early releases to think of a similar cathartic mix of command and frustration. I'd feel that way even if she didn't name her best track "Come Dig Me Out." The sound is more Donnas and the cred is more Ashlee, but the spirit is pure S-K (minus the self-stifling indie guilt).

Her new single in the UK is co-written by Linda Perry and inspired by Kraftwerk and Nostradamus. Intriguing.

Buy "Shut Up!", Kelly's '02 debut album, from Amazon.

Buyer beware: Shut Up! was re-released as Changes in 2003, with the only additions being a few live tracks and a horrific duet with Papa on the titular Sabbath cover.
Visit Kelly's official site.
It's in stasis right now but information about her new album on Sanctuary Records, her critically acclaimed TV show Life As We Know It and her new clothing line (Stiletto Killers) is forthcoming.
"I like smelly, ugly boys. They need the really cute "I haven't showered in a week but I really have, I meant to look like this" look. You know what I mean?"
The Young Conservatives offer a differing viewpoint.



FORKSCLOVETOFU SEZ: The Red Headed Stranger is the nom de plume of the Hut's country music scholar. He's just getting started.
Incidentally, he was so pissed that someone would presume that he was a "literary device" that he shot up my mailbox.
God bless his heart. He's a little cranky.

The last time I was on the Tofu Hut, I offered a song ("Traveling Soldier") from singer/songwriter Bruce Robison. Here's one more:

Bruce Robison - "Can't Get There From Here"

"Can't Get There From Here" carries none of the cultural baggage of "Traveling Soldier", except perhaps in the way it expresses a peculiarly Texan kind of ennui. It's about the way sadness and frustration can roll across the vast, flat land and leave you wondering if there's another person within hundreds of miles who could understand how you feel. It's about wanting to change your life, but not having the time, energy or direction to make it happen. The singer can't even quite complete the joke he's trying to tell you: "You heard the one about the farmer's daughter?/She just needs a little atmosphere."

"Can't Get There" is from Robison's best and most recent album, 2001's "Country Sunshine". Robison's co-writer on the song is Nashville's wonderful Allison Moorer (more on her at a later date), but "Can't Get There" is suffused with his personality – it may be as much Moorer's as his, but her own version (on her Miss Fortune album) winds up sounding like a cover. Such is the infectious power of melancholy.

Buy "Country Sunshine", direct from Robison's Boar's Nest Records label.

our man in the field

FORKSCLOVETOFU SEZ: David Boyle is the ODB of the Hut's Wu-Tang squadron.
He's nuts and I love him; the songs are really only getting better, in my opinion.
David's stuff is crunk as fuck, totally DIY and heartfelt. I wish more people were doing what he was.
More of David's political commentary and music can be found at his website D-Bo.com.
Again, standard political disclaimer: Please note that while the Tofu Hut does not necessarily agree with all of David Boyle's politics, we are enamoured with his exuberance and almost irrationally crafted leaps of sonic (il)logic.
But I can't imagine that Lydon would argue with the sentiment.
This is D-Block, mighty mighty D-Block:

David Boyle - "God Save the Queen 2005" (Prince Harry Remix)

Dear Frodofu:

I have just finished recording my new song. Feel free to offer it on your site or you can direct interested parties to where I'm hosting it along with the complete lyric list.

I enjoyed the chance to mash "God Save the Queen", "Holidays in the Sun" and "Anarchy in the UK". NO THANKS to "Heil Harry," that wicked Buckingham brat; even if his swastika stunt did inspire the song.

If nothing else, you've got to hear it for the "Hava Nagilah" part at the end.

Here are some of the words:

"Heil Harry? / You thought Belsen was a gas? / Time to visit Auschwitz my lad? / Tsunami of insensitivity? / A cheap holiday in other people's misery?/ Adolf Hitler ist ein Londoner?

Don't be told what you want / Don't be told by the BBC. / There's no future / there's no culture / there's just a swastika for you!

Oh God save history / your colonial parade / Oh Lord God have mercy / all crimes are paid.

When there's no future/ how can there be sin / we're the black natives / in your Belmarsh prison / we're the poison / in your Windsor machine / we're the future! / Your dark future!

Oi! Down with the Nazis! (clap) and monarchy too! (clap) Britain's head of state (clap) should be black or a Jew!!! (clap) Long live Israel!"

In other news, I see that Linkin Park and maybe some others have set up a
relief organization, Music For Relief, for the tsunami victims in Southeast
Asia, at Music for Relief. I have donated $5 myself to the American Red Cross International Response Fund which is where the Music For Relief money goes; it ain't much, but if 300 million Americans all donated $5 that would be $1.5 billion...

Hope all is well in tofu town,
D. Bo

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Friday, January 21, 2005

Don't Stop Til You Get Enough


It has been a grand total of thirty-five days since I've updated my blogroll.

In that time, I've acquired well over a hundred new musicrich bloglinks.

This is getting ridiculous. I knew that this MP3 Revolution was going to blow up but not quite like THIS! Not so soon! Not without me making money on it!

Ah well.

I'm going to continue trying to accumulate new links (and I would appreciate if you would drop me a note at forksclovetofu@gmail.com if you start a new musicblog) and I will occasionally update.

But I'm not sure how much longer I can reasonably try to keep my finger on the pulse. The blood, you see; the blood is POUNDING!

Without further ado, here's a brief rundown of what I've found just recently:

Coverville follows copy, right? except that they claim to HAVE the copyright (nice work if you can get it!); Kiddie Records is the latest GREATEST innovation over at basichipdigitaloddio, packed with a new classic kids LP every week; an order of progress offers great Brazilian tunage; Sweet Blasphemy brings pop glam and modern hipster ish; Blog this way is a french and BLUES HEAVY site; cool hand bak is eclectic modern redux; a best truth is mp3 filepile in Spanish; buscate un novio follows the same dictum and lingua but centers on female rock; adoru has longass dj mixes, hip hop and dance and rock and all things great and small; more multilingual fun at Rock de Siempre; NPR's All Songs Considered takes the most adult contemporary tracks from the Flux/Stereogum contingent and makes your mom and dad listen to them so that you can go "Holy shit, ma likes BRIGHT EYES?!?!"; Blog Alive fulfills an excellent niche need with his simple but cleverly designed musicblog devoted to live performances, both bootleg and officially sanctioned; Each Note Secure seems more like a business venture and an aggregator than a labor of love but they do have some interesting finds; fire of love's descriptions are brief but the music is well chosen and the insight is sharp and heartfelt; Good Rockin'Tonight dips into the well for some older rock selections; keep the coffee coming offers music from the perspective of "a more than middle-aged baby boomer looking at the world with increasingly blurred eyes and wrinkled features"; WFMU's 'On the Download' is that station's monthly-updated musicblog that puts the "excellent" in excellectica; P.S.M.Evenings and Weekends runs the gamut from the Pixies to El Vez and back to the Shangri-Las; Revolution in the Head is similarly all over the place with Manu Negro, Annie and the Breeders; Just for a Day, bedroom dancing, 7 and 7 is and Torr provide more hipster- and obscurist exploration; Melodia Records offers a rotating mix of tunes from the British label's indie archives; Play/Pause's bilingual (French/'Murrican) mush of rnb, disco and rock is sure to please OR Francophiles could go wallow in the 'lectric joys of Listoplay's selection of LCD Soundsystem, Chemical Brothers, Clinic and Fisherspooner.

Any blog that finds a way to link the Archies, Buck 65 and Carla Thomas is on my MUST list and the of mirror eye does just that; Yu-Mex follows the little known and FASCINATING saga of the 50's Yugoslavian obsession with Mexican music (seriously!); Upon First Listen tries new tracks with you and sums up his one paragraph initial impression; NES Horsemen has bridled up a team of Capcom games and groomed the tunes for your enjoyment; this Swiss Yodeling site is a joy and a boon for lonely mountaineers; while those of us afflicted with S.A.D. might want to live in The House of 250 Rising Suns; Throwaway Style's uber hipsterism and excellent design makes for a fun romp but perhaps you're more in the mood for some Polish Jazz?

From Steve Earle to Stetsasonic, nothing escapes IckMusic; Henry's Harmonious Head is a bitchin' online radio broadcast that starts with Rollins but doesn't stop 'til it gets to DJ Screw (and not even then); A Spoonful of Lester offers plenty of that good ol' fashioned navel gazing that blogs are famous for, 'cept this is well written and comes with a soundtrack; Buked and Scorned is even more of a genre whore than _I_ am, plus DJ/critic Mike McGonigal is considerably more knowledgeable to boot (no fair!); grab some luverly 1920's era shellac-ripped tunage over at Hot Dance and Jazz; you can probably guess what the 80's Tunes Livejournal community is into; I am absolutely in love with Bedazzled's warped and wondrous aesthetic, plus I'm floored by the quality of his/her offerings (i am, for the record, very PRO Kovacs); Spitzenschlager's rotating Hungarian vinyl selections should be all but guaranteed to be new listening; Ta Hu Wa Hu Wai is another welcome addition to the "dust preservation society", sites that offer a single complete obscure and out-of-print exotica LP for listening.

Reverend Frost's Spread the Good Word steps with a high concept: blend the spooky with the soulful and I LOVES IT; boomselection's gift of the STELLAR MIA/Diplo Piracy Funds Terrorism Mixtape is something better than Myrrh and Gold, any of you who don't have this are COMMANDED to go get it and play until your ears bleed. Then rush over and snag the cavalcade of hip hop vinyl scarcities, test pressings, remixes and general wonders at The Rookie, Freemotion, Steady Bootleggin' and Broke BBoys; these four are so good they make a man wanna cry; Scream(becausemusicisfreedom) purports to be mostly rock and metal, hunt for the music in the tiny box on the lower right; Milk Cocoon is rough and indie and kawaii; Domo DJ is on the scene with underground/backpack hiphop and world pop.

Don't dream that self promotion could possibly be dead; here's a list of sites either run by or about bands that offer eponymous music: The Pop Group, Alison Breitman, Splogman, StrangeView Productions, The Sermon, DJ Sherburne, The Revelators, David Sylvian, Sweet Billy Pilgrim, Hello Nurse, Pretty Flowers, Cracks in the Sidewalk and Kate Bush. Also, just for kicks, here's a group of labels that have MP3s of their artists available on site: Glorious Noise, Secretly Canadian, Thinner/Autoplate, Foul Country, TVT, 4AD, Beggar's Group, XL and Daptone.

Mr. Bassie's Notes and Comments is Jamaica exclusive and cracklin' hot; Evigan Funk's selection and writing couldn't be better; My Everchanging Moods comes out the gate with harsh words for our newly reminted Satan and some Rakim t' boot; Republic of Replicants is 80% comics and 20% music; BowBow2 is an aggregator with attitude; Deep Soul Junkie is stone cold funky; Shirley and Spinoza is where my radio dial lies these days and I recommend you join me on the strange side; bored with music has unceremoniously lifted my entire blogroll but you know what they say about the sincerest form of flattery (though for the future: a brief 'would you mind?' email prior to lifting my lock/stock/barrel would be somewhat appreciated); The Corduroy Suit is Silver Jew specific; forward-thinking label 'Secretly Canadian' is offering a complete new release by the Impossible Shapes for free for a limited time; Free Sample Zone follows the Comfort Stand business model and styles itself as a gratis, web-only label with a subversive set of copyright politics (fuck yes!); Shredding Radio has the best of both worlds: radio station AND downloads; Aural Pleasure and Track 69 are simple and direct and an excellent source for your RDA of Taco and MC Solaar.

Thirty-five years of homegrown tunage (if your home is London, Ontario) is available at the archives of 94.9 CHRW, it's fascinating to listen to the music change over time; look in on two OTHER very specific snapshots of musical history over at The Big City, a musicblog specializing in NEW ZEALAND music (you listening, Tracicle?) and Russian Recommended Records; ex-Veruca Salt frontgal Nina Gordon has been stirring up a tempest in a teapot as of late but it's the Youngblood Brass Band's collabo with Talib Kweli that's been turning MY crank; Trout Fishing in South-Central Wisconsin is one of Vinyl Mine's faves and it could be one of yours too; FRUITS OF CHAOS IS BACK, MOTHERFUCKAS! and in honor of Mel and El you should check out this slew of Japanese-/Chinese-/Korean-Pop sites: Broken Cadence, Angelfish, Bootleg, Music of Aodai, Crimson Stigmata, Mona Lisa Overdrive, momomomomomomomomo and Cardiography.

Tape Findings found sound is a sheer delight; Arjan Writes about house and club music, then provides you with clips of the songs; the recent digitization of the Smithsonian/Folkways archive is reason for celebration, go listen to samples and then load up your shopping cart and THEN spin over to Worldly Disorientation for yet MORE wondrous music from all over the globe; 510 to 514 is droppin GEMS and vinyl podcast takes old technology, adds it to new and hysteria breaks out worldwide!

WHEW! I'll try and update the sidebar over the weekend. In the meantime, go check 'em all out!

As long as I've got your attention, I'd like to say a few brief words about YouSendIt.com.

A growing number of musicblogs are eschewing hosting in favor of YouSendIt and similar sites. I've come to think of it as a ghetto alternative; YSI is free and easy to use but only allows for a scant handful of downloads.

I turned my nose up at this populist alternative at first but I have to admit that it's really served the musicblogging community well. So count me in as a provisional fan: those curious to start their own musicblogs should check out YouSendIt and consider it as a babystep toward building an audience.

But as soon as you start getting past the twenty-download-a-day threshhold, consider blowing ten bucks a month and getting some hosting, eh?


Thursday, January 20, 2005


glisten: THWIPPPP! Edition

Stan Lee - "Narration #1"

Marty Nelson - "Peter Stays and Spider Man Goes"

Marty Nelson and Geni Sackson - "Square Boy"

Reissued five years ago on CD, Lifesong's "Spider-Man: Rock Reflections of a Superhero" represents a STRANGE little bit of comic book ephemera. Old school Marvel zombies like yours truly will no doubt remember seeing ads for this album in the back of many an old issue of Conan or Howard the Duck but those of you who actually had normal childhoods may require a bit of back story.

Way back in the mid-seventies, Spider-Man was something less than the marketing behemoth he is today. In a rather desperate attempt to keep the character fresh for a somewhat older audience, Marvel licensed out Spidey to Lifesong with instructions to create a concept album from the webslinger's origin story. And what better way to attract hipsters than to cast one of the founding members of Manhattan Transfer, Marty Nelson, as the voice of Spider-Man? Other, er, notables on-board include Alan Axelrod (Barry Manilow's keyboardist) and 'smooth jazz legend' David Sanborn. In the end, they produce a salmagundi of an album, filled with tracks of all types: rock opera, pseudo-reggae, pop disco, faux swing, over-the-top cheeseball doo-wop. Plus just to, y'know, TIE IT ALL TOGETHER, they got Stan 'The Man' Lee to provide interstitial narration in his trademarked overblown hyperbole.

I ask you, how could this possibly have aged poorly?

Admittedly, "Rock Reflections" makes for a tough listen but it's good for more than just a few giggles. There's several fun cuts to rummage through, like the power ballad 'High Wire' or the Pink Floyd-esque 'Dr. Octopus'.

And you claim you've never heard Spider-Man get downright emo before? After one listen to 'Peter Stays and Spider-Man Goes', you'll never be able to say that again. Played with the Stan Lee intro, this is a real party-stoppin', mix tape endin' winner.

As for 'Square Boy'... well, what can you say about any song that features the lyric, "wa wa we, ya gotta dig this atomic energy"?

On a personal note, this album was unleashed on an unsuspecting planet in 1975, the very same year your Tofuriffic narrator made the scene.

Could this be a coincidence?

Well, yeah. But still.

Buy "Spider-Man: Rock Reflections of a Superhero" from Amazon.

It is, in the final analysis, an excellent hipster accessory for every comic book geek out there and a gag gift that keeps giving.
Watch the astonishing Spider-Man Lego movie.
Visit the official Spider-Man movie page, video game site, newspaper strip and comic book url.

Jeez, is Peter hooking up with Gwen Stacy's... clone? Daughter? Zombie?

I'm so out of the comic book loop these days.
There was some buzz about a Spidey musical back in '04 (Music by U2! Directed by Julie Taymor! Script by Neil Jordan!), but nothing ever really came of it.

Any industry hacks or webgeeks got any 411?
Read Amazing Fantasy #15, the first appearance of your friendly neighborhood webhead.
Spider-Man will make you gay.
Spider-Man Rocks!
Spider-Man reviews Crayons.
Spider-Man vs. real spiders
Check out "Stan Lee and the Rise and Fall of the American Comic Book" by Comics Journal alumni Jordan Raphael and Tom Spurgeon.

Considering the way Stan's living these days, his shoddy treatment of Ditko and Kirby (to pick the two most obvious cases) reverberates ever sleazier.
The infamous Spider-Man bodypainting collection.
Click at your own risk.

CAP SEZ: The Nostalgia Is Stifling.


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Monday, January 17, 2005

Still working on the text for that neat-o song I mentioned on Thursday.

Here's a few goodies while you're waiting.



It was late at night when I got the call. Four in the morning, I rolled over and picked up the phone and heard a gruff country twang on the line.

"BOY! What's this ah hear about you puttin' up music all hither and thither!?"

It was the Red-Headed Stranger, an old buddy from my ponderosa days.

"Oh, hey R.H.S."

"Don't you 'Hey Arr Aitch Hess' me! Ah heard you been puttin' music up on tha' intarweb and spreadin' it round so all sorts of people can hear! That right?"

"Well, yeah, R.H.S.; but I put up music with the intention of attracting new listeners to lesser known artists and unheard tracks, not to promote piracy or-"

"Boy, save that hawgwash fer th' Justice o' th' Peace! Ah don't give a gawldarn WHY you doin' it! Ah just wanna know why ah ain't seen no COUNTRY up over thar!"

"Um... well, I _did_ put up some Hank a while back..."

"'A while back'! 'A while back'! Son, yer momma must be sick over you! Don't you know that th' intarweb is a downright lonesome prairie when it comes t' country music?!?
Y' gotta OBLIGATION to let people know about good COUNTRY MUSIC, not this HARCADE FAHR flim flam!"

"But R.H.S., you know that modern country isn't my specialty!"

"Then consarn it, ah'll write th' damn thang MYSELF! Whut's yer email, feller?"

And that's how ah... I mean, _I_... came to find myself with a new contributor to the Hut. We're happy to welcome the erratic stylings of the mysterious Red-Headed Stranger.

Bruce Robison - "Traveling Soldier"

For me, irony finally, truly expired in March 2003. Dixie Chicks lead singer Natalie Maines made an offhand onstage remark about George W. Bush, and the group was immediately expunged from conservative-friendly corporate radio chains. The result: their current single dropped from No. 2 on the country chart to nowhere in one week flat.

Funny thing is, that single happened to be their version of Bruce Robison's "Traveling Soldier," an intimate portrait of wartime loss. The soldier of the song reaches out to a stranger, desperate to make an interpersonal connection before he goes to face death in Vietnam. The song reminds us that each soldier is a human being, and each casualty devastates someone on the home front – even if it's just one girl, crying underneath the high school bleachers.

With the ban, the Bush administration's attitude toward the Iraq war dead found a little-noticed macrocosm. The absence of "Travelin' Soldier" from the airwaves presaged the way the Iraq casualties would be ignored by an administration eager to make us believe the war was bloodless. We would not be allowed to see their coffins, and Bush would not be attending any funerals. Their sacrifice was to be lauded in the abstract, but their humanity was to be denied. I waited in vain for the American listening public to slap its collective head and say, "'Travelin' Soldier' got banned! Wow, that's really ironic!" This did not happen, and it hit me: irony is dead. It got fragged.

This is not to say that "Travelin' Soldier"'s power is tied only to its cultural context; it would have been a stunner in any year, just as it was when Robison himself recorded it on his 1999 sophomore album Long Way Home From Anywhere. Over a wistful melody, Robison carefully draws a picture of the way war annihilates possibilities for those dragged into it, both those who do the fighting and those who wait behind. Given that the song is written in the third person, it's instructive to note how the point of view shifts in the Chicks' version to the girl in the lyric, while with Robison we think more of the soldier.

Incidentally, Robison's brother Charlie (also a talented singer-songwriter; think of Charlie as the party and Bruce as the long walk home afterward) is married to Dixie Chick Emily Robison. George Strait and Tim McGraw have also had hits with Bruce Robison songs, even though he isn't related to them.

(THE HUT SEZ: I loved this song when I first heard it and was always curious to try the original. Must say that I find the woman's perspective much more engaging, not to mention the more lush (and expensive) orchestration that the Dixie Chicks provide.

Is it just me or do you hear a bit of REO Speedwagon floating around in the melody?

Meeting the Neighbors


Jim explains what he's doing much better than I could:

"For reasons I don’t fully understand, I dropped out of the music scene around ’93 and so I have this 10 year hole in my knowledge about all things underground. Mostly during this time I bought music based on a tune I heard in a movie or on TV or I just picked up new albums from my old stalwarts (Dylan, Elvis Costello). About 2003, I got into iTunes and that got me interested in new music again. And so I had these boxes of Lps hanging around and an iPod that was only 25% full so I started digitizing. Along the way, I‘m writing about it and throwing up samples of mostly out-of-print and obscure stuff for discussion."

Recent offerings on Jim's site include music from King Face, Bread, Junior Kimbrough and The Bags.

The canary's still kicking... let's go down into the mine!

Vinyl Mine is part baring my record collection to the world (this can be embarrassing), part a “where are they now?” look at long-gone bands and part what am I listening to these days. I do an occasional “web jay” feature I call “Coffee and Cigarettes” in honor of that great Jim Jarmusch and Tom Waits in which I just go put together a mix of songs I have found on the ‘net.

I’m a 40-something living in Washington DC. I’m a amateur percussionist - that means I play nearly all the instruments in the percussion family including, of course, drum set. I used to play professionally (wedding bands, sleazy pick-up combos, polka even) and was also in some very obscure bands (Bikermutt, Fuktupmommy) that released vinyl and cassettes -- now I’m just a weekend jammer. I currently play in pit orchestras around town for beer, fellowship and, if I’m lucky, gas money.

In the ’80s, I published an obscure zine and contributed to a more prominent local zine (WDC Period) and to some others (Phfuddd!, Lowlife). Some of the high points of my ‘zine career (or low points) was doing an interview with Bret and Jimbo of Psycodrama, introducing the zine underground to the likes of Lisa “Suckdog” Carver and her madman lover Costes. I kind of credit myself with introducing Carver to Bill Callahan (Smog) who was then writing a zine up in suburban Maryland and joined them on tour if memory serves me right - he got serious about his music around that time. I also enjoyed meeting The Happy Flowers who had a faux-noise-goof band thing going on for several years - they were a blast.

My first post went up on February 15th, 2004 and then I took a three month break trying to figure out how to do the digitization right (mostly I just procrastinated). During this time I discovered MP3 blogs and it reminded me of the energy and love of music from the ’zine community.

What are the criteria you judge a song by to decide if it's post-worthy?
I’m not always looking for the killer cut although its nice if I find something that's really cool - most of the time the cut should complement the post. As I said, I also tend to look for stuff that is out of print or might still be around but not exactly getting a lot of attention. My current hosting service also limits the size of my files to be less than 5 Mb (sometimes I have to adjust the bit rate down to fit). Finally, if the tune is available on iTunes or elsewhere, I generally don’t post it but I may link to it if its free or less than a buck to download. I don’t participate in peer-to-peer networks so I have no idea if the song is available out there.
Do you have a favorite music critic?
Sure - Jay Hinman of Agony Shorthand, Christopher Stigliano of Black to Comm and Lindsay Hutton of Next Big Thing - thanks to Blogger, we can read them everyday where I used to have send several bucks in the mail to read their zines.
Gimme five desert island discs.
An interesting question -- it doesn’t necessarily mean you pick your top five discs. Because you are picking stuff you have to live with the rest of your life, I would tend to go for variety and volume (that means double-CD sets - I’ll assume “box sets” are outside the scope).

1: Bob Dylan - "Live 1975 - The Rolling Thunder Revue (Bootleg Series Vol. 5)": This is my favorite period of Bob’s output so it’s like getting some of the classics, some Blood on the Tracks and Desire on one set.

2: "Frank Sinatra and Count Basie at the Sands" (1966): I’d build a wild bachelor pad hut deep in the jungle stocked with all the booze, baby, you can drink. This would be on permanent play.

3: Velvet Underground - "VU": A lot of the purists scoff at this one but I can groove forever on it, fuck you very much. Downside is liner notes by Kurt Loder, but hey you‘re gonna need toilet paper. My only “single disc” disc.

4: The Clash - "London Calling": I need something for late at night railing at the world and kicking at the sand. Can’t think of a better record for it.<

5: Husker Du - "Zen Arcade": My only caveat is that I haven’t listened to this lately but it affected me so much in the ‘80s that it seems perfect.
That old chestnut dinner party is at your house and you can invite three musicians living or dead. Who are you inviting?
Screw the dinner party, I’d do a sequel to Field of Dreams invite the dead members of the Ramones to have an allnight jam (me on drums of course - sorry Marky).
Recommend three other musicblog sites.
These three blogs aren’t on my blogroll although I have started checking them regularly and I’ll eventually get around to putting them up.

1: The best worst music in the world is on Bubblegum Machine. Every week this guy puts up songs that are so godawful that it’s almost the aural equivalent to slowing down and gawk at an accident. I listen to it to see how long it will be before I press the stop button. I kind of imagine John Waters checks this site out often. I think it’s a goof but for all I know the guy may be totally serious about this stuff - there’s a song out there for everyone, I guess.

2: I like what young Kate does on Red Lotus Radio. I think the reason we fugly Americans don’t listen to more world music is that there’s very few outlets to introduce the good stuff to us and so what little we hear comes from TV or movies and is generally drivel. Much as I like putting on the India or Iranian TV station, the music can be quite cheesy, and I usuallyturn down the sound and put on some other tunes. This is where I think music blogs are at the best -- I look forward to more world music blogs and even though this is emanating from Missouri (I think), there are plenty popping up in other countries.

3: Troutfishing in South-Central Wisconsin is a combo personal blog - music blog by a very creative person (and great web designer) -- music is central to the site and he almost always has a cut or a mix up that I dig. He also makes some cool dada-ist political cartoons.
Do you really think that posting music effectively promotes sales of the album?
I personally don’t think it’s as significant as people want it to be - perhaps, I‘d say about a third of my buys are based on internet - but that includes those places where you can grab 30 second samples. It’s probably worth some study - some business school students could probably make a good term paper or project out the topic.
Can you think of a few bands that you enjoy listening to that might surprise your readers?
I doubt it. But I recently purchased some remastered Fleetwood Mac from their mega-star period, that‘s pretty sad ennit? I always liked Mick Fleetwood‘s drumming and it‘s crystal clear in these new versions. I also listen to an occasional classical CD preferring the younger artists - Midori and Evgeny Kissin are in my playlist.
Are you a proud member of the iPod Nation?
I wish it was louder. Did the lawyers make it so it would be hard to blow out your eardrums? That’s no fun. I’m asking for some in-ear phones for Xmas.
Make a ten song mixtape playlist on the theme of:
Halloween Songs to Scare and Amuse You As You Hand Out Candy to Yard Apes

01: "The Banana Boat Song" by Harry Bellefonte
02: "Invisible Hands" by Joseph Arthur
03: "Worry About You" by Ivy
04: "Spooky Girlfriend" by Elvis Costello
05: "Curse of the Crying Woman" by Divine Horsemen
06: "The Hunger" by The Distillers
07: "It’s Bad You Know" by R. L. Burnside
08: "Women in Black" by Pepe Deluxe
09: "There’s a Ghost in My House" by The Fall
10: "Mary of the Wild Moor" by Johnny Cash
Drop by Better Propaganda and pick out a track to hype.

Mogwai - “Hunted by a Freak”

A band that I hadn’t heard of until I checked out the Matador 15 year compilation but they‘ve been kicking around - they’re just not as cute as Interpol. On the Matador disc, they had some trance-electronica - a genre that I don’t mind going to sleep to or putting in the background but rarely go out of my way to track down a specific artist. Something about Mogwai piqued my interest, though. They seem to be using the genre rather than being used by it, if that makes sense. Here’s another cut that isn’t trance or electronica but more of a conventional rock orchestration that might be a deep album cut on a rock band outfit but it also could serve as a cool down cut after about a couple of hours of dancing.

As The Tofu Hut’s blogroll has decided, I’m an eclectic type so its no wonder I am falling in love with this group.


Moistworks has been temporarily shut down by the IFPI.

James was not contacted directly or asked to remove offending tracks; instead, the IFPI decided to go after his host company.

I think further discussion is warranted.

EDIT: Mystery and Misery says it pretty damn well. I would only add that while I DON'T really support sites that post whole albums or piles o' files, codes of ethics are VERY subjective when it comes to musicsharing. I try not to throw stones if I can help it.

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Friday, January 14, 2005

Middaynight post on the way...
The aforementioned "rockyourworld" story and single is gonna wait till Monday.
I'll try to post some music tonight.
In the meantime...


We're backed up on amusing linkage like a kid who overdid it on the Halloween candy. Long overdue for a little Fleet-style spiffy cleanup.

Let's do it:

Alien Loves Predator and so do I.
Kitten Kuteness specially for Jole and Kim:
Kitty Squeegee and Bunny Loves Kitty.
"A fatal error has occurred"
The Art of Travis A. Louie
just one word
I've been getting hooked on making this a part of my daily routine and recommend that you do too.
google collage
New Music via ILM: "DJ's post your mix for download"
Can you handle the retro-thrills and subversive hipsterism of Cobra Island Rave?
Thunder... thunder...
Chunklet offers a mix of some very un-easy listening.
For the perverse and comic geeky only: Johnny Ryan's 'Angry Youth Comix'
More information than you can shake a baton at via onlineclassical.com.
If you'd like a simple way to bounce through all your dailies, consider creating a personal ring at Nibelung.
"i couldn't think of anything. sorry."
Tribute Art for Will Eisner
Along with R. Crumb, Carl Barks, Winsor McCay and Al Capp; Will was one of the more powerful influences on my young mind. His death is a terrible loss.
Swapatorium is my new favorite site of the moment; eclectic beyond words with a clever and unique style of writing and presentation.
Prepare to covet. Step up to the Swap.
My theory is that boys like video games of conflict and conquest, girls like video games about acquisition and completion.

A smart guy who's looking to get a girl coughrobincough to spend more time at his place could do worse than to invest in a copy of Katamari Damacy or Animal Crossing.

They don't tell you this kind of stuff in charm school, but it's true!
Somebody get this frikkin duck away from me!
Extreme Pogo Stick Jumping


Thursday, January 13, 2005

Wave bye bye, Fibonacci

glistening by the numbers: TO INFINITY

The Beatles - "You Know My Name (Look Up the Number)"

41: Ahh, another, one, of the few good beatles songs. Great sock hopping kitschy stuff.

Avi: I always like to hear John Lennon really let loose and scream, but otherwise this song is pretty much worthless.

Rosecrans: The goofy off-ramp. Works for me.

David: Ah, The Beatles. I know all their stuff so well I can barely actually hear it anymore.

Lee: One of my favorite Beatle songs. There really isn't enough material that got released that shows how funny and entertaining the Beatles could be, besides all the great music they wrote. I have a theory that most of the girls in the 60's were more in love with the Beatles' personalities than their music, so it's ironic that it took until 1969 for this recording to come out. Actually, the Christmas recordings are pretty charming, but more people heard those after they broke up. Too bad you couldn't fit the whole song on the disc - it finished at my favorite section.

Jamie: You know they were on something when they looked up this number. Prefer this version from the Anthology set over the original single, due to the ska section. You also picked a good point to cut it off before it starts meandering off into gibberish.

This bizarre curio took TWO YEARS to finish recording, finally seeing release as a single in 1970. Paul's called this his favorite Beatles track; one wonders if he'd still be ballsy enough to make that assertion these days. I daresay he's fallen back on 'Yesterday'.

I'm crazy about the goony John and Paul baby talk at 3.50, complete with cuckoo calls. The next time you have opportunity to give some kid their first Beatles track to listen to, queue up this part of the track and fuck them up for life. "THIS is the most popular band in the history of pop music? Forget this; I'm gonna go get me some Rachmaninoff."

Denis O'Dell, who is name checked repeatedly at 2.25 in, was a producer who worked with the Beatles on the movie version of "A Hard Day's Night". One can only imagine that he must've gotten a few prank calls.

Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones fills in to pull duty as guest solo sax for the finale of the piece.

The Beatles certainly rarely got weirder.

Space considerations dictated that I edit this song down for the mix; I see no reason why my gentle readers should be likewise subjected to such indignities.

Buy "Anthology 2", the Beatles much ballyhooed double disc collection of outtakes and rarities, from Amazon.
I must say that I've grown to like a number of the alternate takes on these discs more than the final cuts, 'Taxman' 'Across the Universe' and maybe even the sweet acoustic version of 'I'm Only Sleeping'.
The giggly 'And Your Bird Can Sing' is pretty damn good too.
Visit the Beatles "1" site.
Listen to these Beatles/Beastie Boys mashups.
I'm astonished this has managed to stay up as long as it has; I recommend a quick download if you have any interest.
Fansites for the Beatles abound online; you might just as well start here and here.
Also in Espanol!
Now where did I leave that tilde?
Explore "What Goes On: The Beatles Anomolies Page"

At the start of John's incoherent mumbling, someone belches. This was attributed to Ringo (why?), but Paul and John were the only ones present (Lewisohn).


Orbital - "Philosophy by Numbers"

What better way to end the collection than with this rambling road to nowhere?

'Philosophy' is a real wonk of a track; you can't dance to it any more than you could a broke metronome and it refuses to sit still long enough for you to give it a stern talking to. What you get instead is the Orbital speciality: dense layers of repetition and pulsing sound that course into one another until they get downright languorous and fuzzy. The beat is damp, soft and steady, like the sound of a mother through a unborn child's ears; 'Philosophy' is similarly guileless and without didacticism. It's an on-again-off-again aural mirage, full of splash and soothing but signifying nothing.

The wobbly sample of a woman's voice hawking enrollment in a vocational school is pure Orbital: inexplicable, seamlessly integrated and ostentatiously Anglo. God bless 'em; I hope we've not truly heard the last from Ms. Hartnoll's boys.

Buy "Snivilisation", Orbital's junior release, from Amazon.
Third times the charm here. Following the stellar (but somewhat two-dimensional) "Brown Album", the brothers Hartnoll lifted the bar in '94. Just SO many high points: the clever splicing of a freakshow barker with a radio advert for plastic surgery on 'I Wish I Had Duck Feet'; the glitchy, dreamy Churchillian ranting of 'Forever'; the neurotic Metropolis ant-hill fervor of 'Crash and Carry'; the epic search for intelligent life on this planet that is 'Are We Here?'.

It's Orbital's most organic, multifaceted work and one of my all-time favorite albums.
Visit Loopz, the official Orbital site.
It's dense with information and downloads.
Read this late '04 interview with Paul Hartnoll, discussing life after Orbital.


And with that, we bid GOODBYE to the numbers CD and holy shit did I start this one in MID-OCTOBER? This must be some sort of official record for the longest playing LP.

I'd like to thank our friends and guest reviewers: 41, Avi, Lee, Rosecrans, David and Jamie. I didn't always agree with what you had to say but you hung in there like troopers right until the very end. Thanks a bunch for playing along! Give 'em a big hand everybody! And visit their sites!

I hope everybody found something to love on this VERY extended mix... and maybe we all learned a little something. I learned not to make any more two disc collections; even I was tired of these songs near the end.


As Frank White was prone to say, "I got a story to tell." It's a tale of record company intrigue and deception, drug addiction, underground explosions, mysterious death, Jean-Michael Basquiat, the Clash, civil disobedience, Jazz at Lincoln Center and an exciting and untrod path that rap could have followed... but didn't. It all culminates with the only release by the little band that almost did and a plea for the long overdue release of the never heard album that has some legit claim to being part of the foundation of the NYC hip hop movement.

If you're gonna download one song tomorrow, make it this one.

Then, in the weeks to come I've got a NEW mix with a gimmick I'm plenty excited about; this one's all about family and who better to help me review than my very own flesh and blood? I got my mom, my dad and my lil' sis to all contribute commentary.

It's like a Hut reality show! Find out what happens when people stop being polite and start getting jiggy with it.

Which of the Tofu clan will YOU like best?

And did I mention the interviews with Vinyl Mine and Government Names?

Don't touch that dial!