Monday, February 28, 2005
Chantelle gonna clean house, y'heard?
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.
Chantelle has become one of the Hut's greatest draws these days, attracting come-ons from the critics and love-ins on the message boards. Here's the lady herself, back again to prove that she's more than just a purty face.
Crazy Titch - "Freestyle from 'Lord of the Mics'
Crazy Titch - "Scorpion Freestyle (DJ Target Mix)" from 'Aim High Vol. 1'
Crazy Titch with Keisha from Sugababes - "Gully" from 'Gully', also available on 'Garage Anthems 2005'
Twenty-one year old Carl Nathaniel is one man who’s living up to his alter-ego. Crazy by name and crazy by nature, he’s the true joker of the new MC pack, but a Titch he simply isn’t. Fresh out of the grime (or UK garage scene as he prefers to call it), his ability for hooks and catchy songs is catching the ears of more than just the underground. And for a kid reported at school to be tone deaf, that’s no mean feat.
Crazy Titch describes himself as an uncut, real and raw product of his environment; a product that comes equipped with an unquantifiable energy, passion and sense of humour. Born in Whitechapel, east London in 1983, he grew up in Plaistow with his mum, brother and sister. Among his childhood friends were Wiley, Gods Gift, Sharky Major, Demon, and Storming, who together started exploring the hip hop artform of emceeing.
Like his older step-brother Durrty Doogz (now called Goodz), he went on at the tender age of 13 to collect the renowned Kool FM Kool Skool Award for talent, pocketing a neat £50 along the way. But Titch still saw emceeing as a hobby and like many of todays inner city kids, began to find himself lost at school with no real ambition.
“Because I was like a black sheep in my early school days, I actually read books. It was cause of that, as a young kid, I wanted to be Burglar Bill. He’d always get shifted then there’d be another book so I thought he got away with it. Really, they should ban that book and just teach them (kids) the ABC and times table.”
In keeping with Crazy antics, Superman seemed a viable alternative.
“From the age of four I’d been jumping down flights of stairs, thinking I was indestructible. I wanted to save people, I didn’t like seeing the struggle around me. Even though I went to church in an itchy wool suit with my grandma right through my teens, I couldn’t understand that there was a God with the stuff that was going on where we lived.”
Soon a catalogue of misdemeanors would see Titch residing at Her Majesty’s Pleasure. But the youth detention centre proved a blessing in disguise. Lessons in cognitive skills saw him return to life on the outside with a fresh perspective and hunger to pursue new avenues – telesales and music, the latter proving his stronger fortay.
Within a short space of time, he was headlining raves such as Eskimo Dance, Young Man Standing, and Sidewinder as well as club nights at Stratford Rex and Smoove at Ministry of Sound among others.
Titch joined forces with Doogz to form Boy In Da Hood, a garage collective that would go onto become one of the UK’s leading. By January 2003 he had recorded his first track ‘True MC’s with Doogz, and NASTY Crew’s Hyper. Although it never saw a release it wasn’t long before leading producer Terror Danjah (Aftershock Records) invited Titch to appear on ‘Cock Back’ alongside Riko, Hyper and D Double E. It went on to become an anthem both at home and in garage’s summer Mecca of Ayia Napa.
His first solo outing in 2004, ‘I Can C U’, was playlisted at 1Xtra and is recognised as one of Channel U’s most voted for video’s and garage psalms. Since then Titch has become one of the most sought after vocalists, featuring on Shystie’s ‘Make It Easy’ Rmx (Polydor) and Mr Wong’s ‘Orchestral Boroughs’ where alongside JME, and Flirta D they unite the four corners of London. Forthcoming releases include a collaboration, ‘Stop’ with TNT and J2K and Titch's much anticipated second solo single, ‘Sing Along’, currently one of the hottest DJ dubplates.
From pirate stations including Rinse FM, DeJa, Heat, Freeze and Silk City (in Birmingham), to the legal airwaves of Choice FM, BBC 1Xtra and even Radio 1, all have welcomed Crazy Titch’s unique technique and energy. Even the heads at NME have discovered Titch and named him one of ‘The Coolest People on The Planet for 2005’. A rare invitation from Tim Westwood to join him on the rap show recently, following his ongoing lyrical battle with Mercury Prize Winner, Dizzee Rascal, gave Titch the official salute of approval and acceptance to a mainstream audience. His stint on D12’s UK tour, warming up alongside Lady Sovereign on several dates across the country further highlighted both current and potential popularity.
While he’s is in the studio putting finishing touches to his self-initiated mixtape and DVD series, ‘Crazy Times’, he is still managing to dream about getting Ludacris, Pharell and Cliff Richard on a track together while also working on his debut album. Producers on the album include Target, Wong, DaVinChe and a host of new names creating a fresh blend of garage, grime, and hip hop to compliment Titch’s plans for verbal domination.
Crazy Time it is.
All of the above cuts are on records available at UK Recordshop. Check 'em out.
Hobnob with another crazy Titch.
For those who'd like to learn more about grime (and the gnarled roots from whence it springs), exploration of these "pirate" London radio stations is sure to satisfy.
Josh Ellis from Mperia dropped a line to the musicblog community recently and I have to admit that I was much impressed with what he had to say.
What IS Mperia, you ask?
"Mperia is basically the Internet version of an indie record store. We allow artists to upload, price and sell their music. We don't charge them any fees for this; instead, we take a 30% cut of each sale, for which we provide hosting and streaming and useful tools for indie artists, like free mini-blogs and the ability to post their upcoming gigs where fans can see them and optionally be reminded of them via e-mail. We also provide nice tools for listeners, like the ability to form groups based on similar tastes, create Mperia Mixtapes of tracks they dig, download free samplers of tracks -- all kinds of goodness."
Sounds a lot like my late, lamented audiogalaxy (rip); only with nominal fees.
But Josh, I can't say as I recognize any of your artists...
"Not everything on the site is a staggering work of heartbreaking genius, but there's a lot of genuinely amazing music there that nobody's ever heard, that deserves to get out there, including several hundred thousand tracks from CDBaby.
I'm hoping that you'll take the time to check out what we have to offer, because I believe that what we're doing -- and what you (as a musicblogger)are doing -- is the future of music. Here is a list of artists I personally dig; it's as good a place to start as any.
Check out Rad Ho (ambient), New Weapons (garage), Brad Sucks (indie techno), Big Friendly Corporation (slowcore/emotronica), Axis Infinite (alternative hip-hop), Curiosity (goth/industrial/singer-songwriter), Immortal Technique (hip-hop), Chion Wolf (singer/songwriter) and (just to put my money where my mouth is) Joshua Ellis(downtempo, Morphine meets Tom Waits meets Tricky).
Hope to see you there!"
This might not be the final destination, but it definitely looks like the right direction.
Welcome to the Flea Circus!
In the proud tradition of pingu and yeti, here comes Nanaca Crash!
I'm unable to knock the guy past 1791, but that won't stop me from trying.
Good ol' Tuwa directs us to a story and music by the Soweto Gospel Choir, including a lovely cover of "Many Rivers to Cross".
CRUSH THEM NOW, GIANT ROBO!!!!
Nothing tickles the open wallet reflex quite like good design.
Jon at Jon's Jail Journal talks a bit about his own musical tastes and gives shout-outs to two of his old faves that he (rightly) supposes must have made it big in Europe by now: DJ Keoki and Sandra Collins.
One Man McDonalds.
I like the McShotgun.
Chris Porter at "The Suburbs Are Killing Us" is justifiably excited about a recent post on trumpeter Dizzy Reece.
Plenty of info and music and hype, so go check it out.
Mashup king dsico tries a different tactic with his new album, You Fight Like a Girl. Loads of DLable material at both links, so hop to it and consider shelling out shekels for the disc if you like what you find.
As noted earlier, I couldn't have been less happy with Ray. All hype aside, I found it overblown, dramatically unengaging, historically inaccurate, badly directed (looked like a Lifetime special to me), HORRIBLY written and generally atrociously acted. Yes, Regina King and Booger were just fine and Fox's astonishing stuntjob of mimicry was plenty impressive (if a bit hollow); but the overall quality of the performances otherwise was woeful.
My thoughts are maybe best represented in this Slate piece by Ray biographer David Ritz.
This says it all:
"The truth is far more complex and far more interesting. Ray's womanizing ways continued. His marriage to Della ended in a difficult divorce in 1976. And while he never again got high on heroin, he found, in his own terms, "a different buzz to keep me going." For the rest of his life he unapologetically drank large quantities of gin every day and smoked large quantities of pot every night. While working on his autobiography he told me, "Just like smack never got in the way of my working, same goes for booze and reefer. What I do with my own body is my own business." Ray maintained this attitude until his health deteriorated. In 2003 he told me that he had been diagnosed with alcoholic liver disease and hepatitis C. "If I knew I was going to live this long," he added with an ironic smile, "I would have taken better care of myself." Whatever Ray was—headstrong, joyful, courageous, cranky—he was hardly a spokesman for sobriety.
The producers of Ray make much of the fact that Ray himself endorsed the movie. That's certainly true. He wanted a successful crossover movie to mirror his successful crossover music. He participated and helped in any way he could. In one of our last discussions, Ray reminded me that the process of trying to sell Hollywood began 26 years ago when producer-director Larry Schiller optioned his story. Since then there have been dozens of false starts. It wasn't until his son, Ray Jr., producer Stuart Benjamin, and director Hackford stayed on the case that cameras rolled.
"Hollywood is a cold-blooded motherfucker," said Ray. "It's easier to bone the President's wife than to get a movie made. So I say God bless these cats. God bless Benjamin and Hackford and Ray Jr. Weren't for them, this would never happen. And now that it's happening, maybe I'll have a better chance of being remembered. I can't ask for anything more.""
Friday, February 18, 2005
glisten: The Orioles
The Orioles - "I Cover the Waterfront"
The Orioles - "My Baby's Gonna Get It"
The Orioles are a Baltimore vocal group founded in 1946, pre-dating their MLB counterparts by seven years. The Orioles are generally referred to as the grandpappys of rhythm and blues; they were also among the very first black artists to break through to the pop charts. The band lasted over twenty years in various incarnations, always with lead singer Sonny Til at the helm.
This style of singing is a bit drippy and certainly more than a tad dated, but I can't help but find it terribly endearing. In any case, this doesn't sound OUTdated; in fact, it's quite surprising just how little modern RnB balladeering has advanced in sixty years. Consider: sixty years prior to the Orioles, the 'barbershop quartet' sound was only just becoming popular; can we honestly suggest that modern music has made analogous sonic leaps within the same duration? Probably not.
"I Cover the Waterfront" is a beautiful rendition of the thirties era Johnny Green composition from the film of the same name. Fabulous harmonies and the soft fuzz of surface noise on the record are tremendously evocative of a different, sepia-toned time.
"My Baby's Gonna Get It" is about as different from "Waterfront" as it could be; it's raucous and swinging and spectacularly ribald. The jingly piano and thumping toms remind me of Willie Dixon's classic "29 Ways", another thinly veiled "gonna fuck tonight" song. Even though the fun is somewhat spoiled by Til revealing that his baby is in awe not of "It" but of "that diamond ring", the party can't stop boppin' while that sax is wailin' and hands is clappin'.
For those that would like to listen to MORE of this band and would like to find a few more select tracks coughsoulseekcough; I can recommend "Waiting", "Along About Sundown", "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve", "Deacon Jones", "Barbra Lee", "Cigareetos", "How Blind Can You Be" and "Don't Keep It To Yourself".
If you find that you've acquired a taste for this sort of vocal sound, be aware that there's plenty of groups out there to explore with a similiar flavor; just among secular bands, take a gander at the music of the Mills Brothers, The Cats and the Fiddle, the Inkspots, the Five Red Caps and (my favorites) the Four Vagabonds.
These songs find their way to my page via a CONSIDERABLE haul of new tunage uncovered on my trip to Tennessee. I took advantage of the time off to reload with about thirty CDs I managed to cop from my father's formidable collection; I'll be leaking little goodies from that haul to th' Hut for at least the next month or two. Possible pipeline fodder includes earth-shatterers from Uncle Dave Macon, Brother Claude Ely, the Fairfield Four, Little Richard, Marion Abernathy and the Skylarks. Any votes?
Buy The Orioles "For Collectors Only", a three disc compilation of the bands high points, from Amazon.
If thirty bucks seems like too much for three discs of Orioles material (it's not), you can always opt for the greatest hits collection instead.
If you feel like three discs isn't enough Orioles for you (it almost certainly is), you can splurge on this more extensive six disc box set, priced at a hundred and sixty smackers.
Read this fairly extensive bio of the group.
Kinda offbeat that it would appear on a site with a prominently displayed Dixie flag but that's the internet for you.
Visit the Vocal Group Record of the Week site for more of the same.
This guy maintains a WONDERFUL site and even if I dislike having to fumble about with realaudio and WMA files, I'm terribly excited to find it.
Also visit the Doo Wop Jukebox for dozens MORE doo wop hits (mostly from bands in the New York area) on RA and MP3 format.
Scroll down to the bottom to hear a thirty minute interview with Orioles frontman, the now deceased Sonny Til.
Meet the newest Oriole.
Wednesday, February 16, 2005
TALES FROM THE RED-HEADED STRANGER
FORKSCLOVETOFU SEZ: The Red Headed Stranger is the nom de plume of the Hut's country music scholar.
While off in Dixie, I had opportunity to stop by th' Stranger's shitkicker bar. We had a slab of fatback and a half-dozen Highlifes and talked about beating up women. Two days later, this showed up in the mail, along with a partially melted Goo Goo Cluster.
That boy just ain't right.
The Louvin Brothers - "Knoxville Girl"
Porter Wagoner - "The Cold Hard Facts of Life"
Neither of these songs would stand a chance in hell of becoming country hits today, even though both were just that upon release – "Knoxville Girl" went to #19 on the country chart in 1959, while "Cold Hard Facts of Life" hit #2 eight years later. It isn't their sounds that would disqualify them. The Louvins' bluegrass would have a hard time, but it might get a hearing at CMT; Wagoner's shuffling honky-tonk is downright trendy right now. Nope, the element that would make current radio programmers quickly hit the "open" button on the CD player and dash these tracks to a hundred shiny pieces is the subject: vicious, cold-blooded murder. There's plenty of death on country radio these days – in fact, it's hard to listen for 15 minutes without hearing about someone biting the big one, preferably a child – but today's country passings are always the tragic, blameless (and, of course, inspirational) product of a disease or accident.
Each of these cuts is more blood-chilling for being told through the eyes of unsympathetic narrators. The killer in "Knoxville Girl" doesn't even have a motive, although folklorists have been attempting to ascribe him one practically ever since the song originated in the 18th century. One can presume the girl has done something to make her an unsuitable wife in the murderer's eyes (and that's just inferring from one way of reading "You can never be my bride"); nothing could conceivably justify such a horrific crime, and it's impossible not to wonder what might motivate it.
That mystery is one reason "Knoxville Girl" remains riveting after two centuries, and why so many artists have recorded it (that and the transgressive thrill of adopting such a foul identity for three minutes). But it also carries a kernel of truth about the mindset of the Appalachian settlers who brought it over from England, people so beset by poverty and illness that the pain and cruelty of the world seemed inescapable and inevitable.
The narrator of "Cold Hard Facts of Life" is unlikable not because he has no motive – he catches his wife and her lover in flagrante delicto (a classic case of the husband coming home from a business trip early and … oh, snap!). What erases any tiny morsel of sympathy we may have had for this lug is his sense of satisfaction, even pride, over the particular way he chooses to deal with his wife's indiscretion.
By the way, this psychotic little gem was written by "Whispering" Bill Anderson, alone among his generation of songwriters still making hits: last year's Brad Paisley/Alison Krauss duet "Whiskey Lullaby" was one of his. That one's about an alcoholism-fueled double suicide -- notice a pattern?
Buy Porter Wagoner's RCA Country Legends CD, and check out his website.
Learn why George Jones once grabbed Porter's (reputedly mammoth) manhood and "twisted it with a vengeance."
Buy When I Stop Dreaming: The Best of the Louvin Brothers. Ira Louvin is long gone, but Charlie Louvin is still at it.
You can see both Charlie and Porter regularly at the legendary Grand Ole Opry, held for the next two weeks at the historic Ryman Auditorium. You can also listen to the show online.
Learn which areas of the country where men are more likely to murder women. Here's a hint: it seems to happen an awful lot in those oh-so-morally-upright "red states."
Rock 'n' Roll Fonts
Buy Your Own Katamari Damacy Hat!
Turns out that at least ONE of the guys in the amazing Singin' in the Rain commercial WAS my favorite pop locka, Dave Elsewhere.
Kottke is johnny-on-the-spot with an interview.
I'm looking forward to seeing The Gates this Friday; public opinion here in the City has veered from the frothing to the ecstatic. I expect to be impressed; I'll report back.
Thursday, February 10, 2005
I'm headed off to the wild and wooly world of the deep dark South to spend a little quality time with the folks.
I'll be back in with a VERY LARGE new post on Wednesday, February 15th.
In the meantime, here's a few spiffy to remember me by:
201 Stories By Anton Chekhov looks like a good way to kill a week or twelve.
The Red Headed Stranger just told me that Meters are comin' back! Yay!
family be fighting, yo.
I hear the rub's point on this one and I kinda agree; there's not really a reason to drop more than two tracks off of the same album, ESPECIALLY when it's pre-release. Then again, there's also no reason to get ugly; but that's the internet for you.
Everybody kisses and makes up in the comments section but I'm glad to see that there's some inter-community (th' rub was an early sharer and one of the places I used to slide by on the daily before I started my own space) discussion of musicblog ethics.
Growing pains mean bigger kids.
Usher/Ludacris/Lil' Jon's "Lovers and Friends" is utterly insane.
Spirited discussion, involving me and Miccio, here.
Lite Brite Bling
Junior is on another planet.
Check the videos.
No sooner had I finished our last mammoth post on video game music than I skated over to one of my daily stops, the phenomenally popular Penny Arcade, to discover that the P.A. boys had JUST put up a post about the phenomenon of SID music... even linking to some of the very same sites that I had! Believe it or not, this is just a case of great minds thinking alike; I had NO idea we'd be overlapping on each other's territory.
In any case, this is as good a time as any to unnecessarily brownnose and note that I, along with every other fanboy on the planet, LOVE to read Jerry Holkins profanity-laced diatribes. They're chocolates with an acid center. And Krahulik's art has only gotten better over the past few years. These guys live up to the hype; any video gamers out there who don't make P.A. a regular part of their M/W/F web diet are missing out on the net's equivalent of must see TV.
Livin' In the Grime is an impressive insider's look at Brit hip hop culture told through photographs.
A Day In the Life of Miss McDonald.
If loving her is wrong; I don't wanna be right.
Could this be the work of performance artist Nao Bustamante? Stay tuned.
Nick Kilroy, aka KRG at gabba passed away last week.
Gabba was and is one of the defining musicblogs on the web and one of the sites that provided major inspiration for me to start the Hut. I knew Nick mostly by reputation over at ILX and on Slsk; he was also on tap for a "Meeting the Neighbors" piece. I'm sad we'll never see it.
Condolences to his family and many friends.
Tuesday, February 08, 2005
As always, it's not the SIZE of your joystick, it's how you use it.
glisten: 8 + 16 bit edition
Time to put your quarter up, as the Hut is investigating the world of videogame music!
Some of the best music in the '80's on video games came from the Commodore 64. That machine had a revolutionary music chip called a SID, or "Sound Interface Device", that allowed for some fairly complex and beautiful compositions. Several sites still offer these songs for download in their original form, as SID files. To listen to the tracks, you'll need a SID emulator installed on your computer. You can find both an emulator and a VAST collection of SID tracks at the High Voltage SID Collection; give these a closer look.
Commodore 64 music was, for several reasons, generally much more highly regarded and artistically considered in the UK than in America; for this reason, you're more likely to find Brits with a familiarization with the composers and the sound than you are to find an American who would be able to remember what a C64 even looked like.
Here's a pair of some of the better tracks for the C64, by two of the masters of the genre: Martin Galway and Rob Hubbard.
Martin Galway - "Comic Bakery"
Comic Bakery, occasionally mislabeled "Cosmic Bakery", is a long forgotten Commodore 64 game. Even though this song is almost twenty years old today, Galway's synthetic bounce and echoing electronic harmonies are surprisingly contemporary.
The dischordant wave of sound that this track fades out to would make for a gorgeous DJ break.
Read these interviews with composer Martin Galway.
Download .SID files of every song Martin Galway ever performed.
Buy "Project Galway", a double CD collection of Galway's music, coded and performed and recorded direct from Galway's own Commodore 64 SID.
Rob Hubbard - "International Karate"
Rob Hubbard is generally considered to be one of the greatest video game composers. His work has already appeared on the musicblog circuit; his classic theme for Commando appeared earlier on last year on gabba, shows up occasionally on the web and is ubiquitous on soulseek.
Hubbard's distinctive and exciting sound is years ahead of its time; had he been born twelve years later, he would likely have been another Richard D. James.
As it stands, Hubbard's work seems doomed to be labeled ephemera, but here's one vote that this electronic pioneer receives his due from the IDM community. A retrospective compilation CD (say, from Warp or Astralwerks) would be much appreciated.
Visit this exhaustive Rob Hubbard fansite.
Read this review of the "International Karate" game.
Richard Munns - "Blip"
"Blip" is a galloping, jaunty cut that strangely ends on a riff from the Police.
Anybody else hear "Don't Stand So Close To Me" in there?
Download a few more Atari 800 Munns tracks in MP3 format.
Read this review of "Blip".
Want more? Here's a selection of some of the best places to find video game music for download on the web:
The Video Game Music Archives is an astonishingly deep repository of midi files (their banner claims over 18,000 tracks and I'm inclined to allow them that boast). If you want to hear the music to ANY game you've EVER played, this is the place to start.
Unfortunately, a MIDI file isn't really the best way to listen to the music for it's artistic merit; it's more just a suggestion of what the original track sounded like. Compare the tracks I have up today with their MIDI counterparts on VGMusic and you'll see what I mean. If the art of the song is what you're looking for, I can't recommend Overclocked Remix enough. You won't find much of the games original music there; what you will find is a thriving and dedicated collection of music and video game nerds tinkering with what they clearly believe to be the classical music of tomorrow.
OCR's mission statement defines the site as "dedicated to reviving the video and computer game music of yesterday, and reinterpreting that of today, with new technology & capabilities. This site's mission is to prove that this music is not disposable or merely just background, but is as intricate, innovative, and lasting as any other form." It's a pretty tall order and one that webmaster dj pretzel has done a helluva job of ushering into reality. He runs the place with an eye towards positivity but clearly goes out of his way to make sure that all the music posted has a definite professional sensibility.
OCR is a great site with amazing depth, wonderful interface and a real open sense of community; the remixers and remakers often work together on side projects such as this Donkey Kong Country remix soundtrack.
The music itself is, by and large, surprisingly good; often taking a musical riff and running it into a completely different direction. If you've never conceived of 'Zelda' as a bossa nova/orchestral piece/brass band/electronic rave/IDM/rock and roll jam... here's the place to find it.
NES Horsemen has a fine array of fighting music, most of it from the ill-considered flop that was the Neo Geo.
VGMP3 offers a selection of tracks in nice and clean MP3 format, along with guitar tabs for the aspiring musician.
Speaking of video game music performers, there's any number of bands that specialize in live renditions of the blips and bloops of yore. Here's a few of the better known:
The Minibosses and The Advantage are probably the most notorious of the video game rock crews.
The Minibosses take their name from the slang term for the penultimate baddies that lay in wait just before a game's majordomo; the Advantage got their moniker from a nicely designed and justly-ballyhooed NES joystick. Both bands have MP3s from live and studio performances on their sites and both are worth a peek.
Ice Climbers take their name from the iconic Nintendo Entertainment System game.
Megadriver is "a Brazilian heavy metal band devoted to videogame music" who have whole albums of their material available on site.
8-Bit Peoples don't make game music, per se; they use the sounds and motifs of eight and sixteen bit game music to make their OWN music.
The Gameboyzz Orchestra Project use the Gameboy as an instrument unto itself, connecting the systems up to a soundboard and mixing from there. The result is surprisingly listenable.
Read this brief annotation of the history of video game music (with plenty to DL and listen to).
Toshihiro Nishikado - "Space Invaders [Ambient]"
Space Invaders took over the world when it was first released, famously causing a shortage of 100 Yen coins in Japan... they were all being socked into the machine!
Even today, the sound of the aliens creeping slowly down the screen evokes anxiety and dread in anyone who ever fell under the arcade spell. Outside of the "weeeeeeeoooow-wunt-wunt" death of Pac-Man, nothing sounds quite so much like utter defeat as the crispy fart of the Space Invaders gun exploding.
Play Space Invaders at the Ultimate Space Invaders Online Shrine.
Read this tribute to Nishikado's unnerving audio.
Download instant nostalgia from Arcade Ambience: CD length recordings of 1980's video game arcade sounds.
learn more about urban artist invader
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.
Prior to sending off today's overlooked punk/pop classics from the criminally underappreciated band SCRAWL, Anthony let me know that he was "gonna drop something CREDIBLE on ya! Gasp!". These tracks do drift a bit from Miccio's general popist stylings but as they're closer to INcredible than credible, I can hardly complain.
Let's hear it for th' boy!
Scrawl - "Charles"
Scrawl - "Public Image"
While Scrawl's 1998 release "Nature Film" was not a hit (in fact the band was dropped by Elektra weeks after its release and hasn't released anything since), I wish that more prolific indie acts would follow the album's template. Over half the songs are re-recordings of anthems written throughout their decade-plus career. Few of their midwestern indie-alt peers wrote numbers as straightforward as "11:59 (It's January)," "Clock Song" and "Charles"; frank, mature songs that deserved tighter renditions and a chance to be heard by fans who didn't have access to Simple Machines 7-inches and out-of-print releases on Rough Trade.
They also included a fierce performance of "Public Image," giving the classic star tantrum a more earned sense of frustration and defiance. Had the album come out in 1993, Nature Film might have been remembered alongside such seminal albums as Last Splash, Star and Exile In Guyville. As it stands, these songs wait for some younger groups to give them the same treatment Scrawl gave "Public Image."
Since Scrawl went on hiatus, bandleader Marcy Mays has led an AC/DC cover-band (always a hott idea) and performed solo shows around Ohio. I'd almost wish for a lyricist as impressive as Mays to wind up with a career like Linda Perry's, but I wouldn't want to see her forced to put her words behind an adolescent surrogate. There's been talk of new material for years but the wait has been excruciating.
Read this interview with Scrawl by Jenny Toomey of Tsunami.
Buy 1993's "Velvet Hammer", the only in-print (that I know of) Scrawl release.
Read these reviews of Scrawl's albums and EP's.
spiffy special redux: THE MUSICBLOG HITS KEEP COMIN'
Two weeks. That's how long it took me to find another MASSIVE pile of musicblog tastiness. Honestly, if it's not reaching critical mass yet, I can only assume that we'll soon be near the point where it'll simply be impossible for me to keep up.
Until that day arrives, I'm going to continue trying to accumulate new links. I would appreciate it if any of you music afficianados/bands/labels would drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org if you start a new musicblog.
The only rule for inclusion is that you offer complete tracks on your site for download and that you try to be reasonably respectful of the artists/copyright holders in question (i.e. don't be posting full-length, in-print albums for DL).
Anyway, here's all the blog that's fit to print.
A Paper Noose Won't Get You Far but this rarely updated musicblog shows a bit of potential (Tori Amos, Cobra Killer); Music Forest is the first Japanese run musicblog I've found (tho' not the last, I'd wager) but there's no Japanese music to be found, just lots of Electronic and IDM (Aphex Twin, Plaid, Daft Punk); similarly, the French speaking among you may well dig the "éclectique et légal" musical-blog-Ô-logie (John Mayall, Camper Van Beethoven) or the somewhat more esoteric Blog Up (Will Shatner, Salim Nourallah, Hot Chip); We're Here To Help With Your Changes is all OVER, from offbeat Elton John to Oi! musicians Splodgenessabounds to the utterly filthy rnb of Andre Williams; mixing and mashing on the fly is reduced to a roux and then whipped up when you fly with the Iron Chef of Music (five dj's battle with six samples and two hours to cook, the results are posted); Bradley's Almanac offers a weekly selection of live and rare hipster goodies (Arcade Fire, Fugazi, Pedro the Lion); An American Parrothead in Canada is more than just Buffett... sorta (Joe Walsh, The Donnas); don't be skittish about checking into the Bates Hotel, you're likely to leave with a healthy knowledge of Norwegian pop music[!]; Cred Central explores albums and shares the cream of the crop (Pere Ubu, Martin Carthy, Gogol Bordello).
More (much more!) tomorrow.
why so long between posts?
1: MIA at Knitting Factory (Fun! Thanks ever so, Eppy!
2: Ray (Shitty! Why didn't anybody tell me how bad this movie was?)
3: Football (No surprises, just an ugly three quarters of play.)
4: Work and general malaise.
I'm visiting my folks this week; hopefully I'll have enough backup posts ready that you won't even miss me.
So, why do we see YOU so rarely around here?
Wednesday, February 02, 2005
Malicorne - "Le Prince D'Orange"
Malicorne - "La Conduite"
So here's something a little outside of my usual ken: seventies French "rebirth" folk music!
The late sixties saw an international trend in the popularity of folk rock, traditional songs being arranged for electronic instrumentation and generally reworked in a modern fashion. In the US, we got Dylan; in the UK, Steeleye Span and the Fairport Convention; in France: Malicorne.
Malicorne is an ensemble (that's french for "band"!) fronted by the legendary Gabriel Yacoub. Yacoub, along with his wife (and Malicorne bandmate) Marie, recorded extensively throughout the late sixties and seventies and pioneered a revolutionary revival in French roots music.
Malicorne was originally comprised of the Yacoubs; Laurent Vercambre, who in addition to vocal duties played the violin, bouzouki, harmonium AND mandolin for the group; and Hughes De Courson, who, in 1991, collaborated with the blind Gabonese musician Pierre Akendengue to produce Lambarena, a tribute to Dr. Albert Schweitzer(?!) in the form of a fusion of traditional African chant and the compositions of Johannes Sebastian Bach(?!?!)
Malicorne hasn't released an album in almost ten years but they sure made a healthy dose of amazing music in their time. I chose two vocal pieces to share with you as that's my cuppa; you should consider making an effort to find more so as to hear a couple of the equally beautiful instrumental-only Clockwork-Orangish-style tracks that the band was also well known for.
"Le Prince D'Orange" is an anti-war folk song from (I believe) the thirteenth century, newly arranged by Yacoub and performed live for this recording in '78. Here is a rough English translation of the song and here is a tree of the lineage of the Princes of Orange (the specific Prince in question in this song seems likely to be William the II; I welcome correction on this point from any Francophiles in the audience). The strident acapella harmonies are chest-swelling and exciting; rarely do songs crafted in the name of peace sound so rousing and proud.
"La Conduite" is another antique traditional, apparently a sort of wistful singsong marching cadence. The lyrics tell the story of soldiers who must "leave dear companions" and "bid our farewell to our pretty mistresses".
This powerful track's opening is strangely reminiscent of the then-decade-old "A Day in the Life"; all cacophonous strings and twisting tape. It functions almost as an aural time machine; first shredding and shedding sophisticated orchestration and recording tricks, then transporting us to an ancient country road and the dull, relentless bludgeon of a bone-weary dirge.
The sound of treading feet was recreated in concert (and apparently on this tape, according to the liners) by the performers thrusting fists into sacks of grain. It's a tremendously effective illusion, making this cut (along with Willie Dixon's "Walking the Blues") one of the most evocative slogging songs ever.
The comparison to Dixon seems exceptionally apt; this music strikes me as the closest thing the French are likely to muster to traditional American blues.
Amazon has pretty much NO Malicorne CDs in stock for US buyers; Rykodisc (who originally offered the '89 Malicorne greatest hit disc "Legende" that these tracks are taken from) has let its US Malicorne discs lapse out of print and even eBay a dry well.
Why not let Rykodisc know that they have a potential hot commodity on their hands?
TALES FROM THE RED-HEADED STRANGER
FORKSCLOVETOFU SEZ: The Red Headed Stranger is the nom de plume of the Hut's country music scholar.
The Stranger recently left a new pair of tracks on my front doorstep, along with a raccoon skin and a headcheese wrapped in wax paper.
He means well, but I'll be forever getting the songs out of my head and the smell outta my foyer.
Allison Moorer - "Once Upon a Time She Said"
Allison Moorer - "Storms Never Last"
No doubt about it, Shelby Lynne is brilliant. She's beloved by critics, country and otherwise, and by a devoted, sizable cult.
And she's not even the most talented member of her family.
That would be her little sister, Allison Moorer (Moorer being the family name Shelby dropped). Her 1998 debut Alabama Song was a quiet gem, but her genius first caught fire with 2000's The Hardest Part, a gripping song cycle about doomed romance (having been orphaned by a murder-suicide, it's a subject she knows all too well). Since then, her sound has expanded outward from traditional country to the Neil Young-ish sounds of her latest and perhaps best album, last year's The Duel -- but as they say in Nashville, she's so country that she couldn't go pop with a mouthful of firecrackers.
"Once Upon a Time She Said" is a song about resignation, about coming to terms with the fact that you're not as special as you might have hoped. It's about how people need leaders, but most of us will always be followers. Maybe, just maybe, it's about how, although she was being groomed for mainstream country stardom five years ago, it now looks as if Moorer will have to be content with a cult even smaller than her sister's. The specifics don't matter, because the lyrics are universal; there are very few who can't relate to the feeling that the fairy tales our mothers told us about growing up to be president are never going to come true. It's a song about the rest of us, performed with spellbinding patience and stillness before exploding into a bridge so simple and true I can't believe no one ever wrote it before.
Like most of Moorer's songs, "Once Upon a Time She Said" was written by she and her husband, guitarist Doyle "Butch" Primm. The couple has just split up, presumably ending their working relationship as well -- and throwing her artistic future into doubt. If all else fails, she still has one of the richest, honey-drippingest voices on earth, and she knows exactly how to use it to make cover songs like Waylon Jennings' "Storms Never Last" sound like the salve for all your wounds. It's a highlight of the spotty 2003 Jennings tribute Lonesome, On'ry and Mean; aptly enough, it was written by Jennings' wife, Jessi Colter.
Buy The Duel from Amazon. Now, dammit!
Buy Lonesome, On'ry and Mean, which also features Norah Jones' ravishing take on "Wurlitzer Prize" and Henry Rollins' ... er, spirited version of the title cut.
Read about how Moorer performed on the Oscars in 1999.
Moorer is now on tour with the equally awe-inspiring Steve Earle, giving you the opportunity to experience two of country's finest live acts in one evening. Coincidentally, guess who she's dating?
Hey, maybe they'll write together.
It was one of those moments you get every now and again where you feel like you're the first in the world to realize that chocolate and peanut butter go together. Somewhere about the three millionth listen of Beyonce cooing over "Lose My Breath", I realized just where I had heard that marching band cadence before.
No, not "The Jump Off" (though that is a pretty healthy dip into Timbo's icecream that Darkchild is taking).
Can's "Vitamin C".
Once seen, like illusion Jesus, such a connection can never be unseen again. I needed to hear these two pushed up against one another with some quickness but without any mashup skills of my own, how could I make such a miracle happen?
I popped on the Tofu Signal and got an answer a week later in the form of the following track from DJ Michael Gill. So, without further ado, here's:
Can Child - "Lost My Vitamins"
It's not EXACTLY what I heard in my head, but it's fascinating in the way it turns B's voice into a percussion instrument AND a string section. Interested parties are welcome to take a stab at remixing the remix; I'll put any submissions of merit up on th' Hut for further inspection.
And hey if you liked what Mike's cookin', give a listen to this cut from Gill's Clovers album:
Michael Gill - "Whip It"
where credit is due
Oliver at Soul Sides likes what th' Hut is serving but is pissed cuz the plates are all dirty and we WOULD show our gangsta and smack a blogga except we're in complete agreement with him about the sorry state of the site design.
Look. Here's the deal. I'm interested in CONTENT and I'm not much of a tech guy. I can't put TOO much time into making the place look all slick and cool, cuz that'll take away from time better spent writing.
Heck, I've even recieved a very nice offer to help redesign but that's not quite what I'm looking for.
So, here's what I'm begging.
I have a clear idea of what I want the page to look like and can provide artwork and direction and a look. What I NEED is someone who can implement my ideas in Movable Type and then I'll take this thing offa blogspot and go buy my own URL.
I need a New York area webhead to do some real work for me. I can offer pittance cash, a permanent link on a much traveled page to your site and some CDs in exchange.
Any takers? Please? Don't make Oliver cry.
And shouts to Hut faves Benn Loxo Du Taccu, Chromewaves, Stereogum, Fluxblog and Teaching the Indie Kids representing musicblogs up in th' '05 Bloggies!
We Movin' On Up!