Thursday, March 31, 2005

hosting should be back by Friday, check us up then for a new post!


keep her close


For more info about the FAMILY VALUES series, go here.

Goodie Mob - "Guess Who"

Dad: I find this somewhat more appealing, possibly because the piano adds a little tone color.

However... I'll never be able to get with this kind of music.
Mom: This song struck me more as poetry, not music. I'm happy to hear how much these guys appreciate their mommas, but it's pounding. This wasn't ever my planet; these weren't my (our?) issues. I do like the music, even if it is a little on edge, like walking on gilded splinters.

Oh, I do like the chorus where the guy (Cee-Lo) sings at the end. That part is very soothing, very pretty. This is where the blanket comes and wraps the baby up.
Sis: I guess I ought to know who these folks are, but again: it's not up my alley.

To comment relevantly on this track, one ought to be more receptive than I find myself. Sorry.

Since the fam didn't put in on this, I feel compelled to say just a BIT more:This is off Goodie Mob's seminal and astonishing first album, Soul Food. This disc had a really big impact on the way I listen to music and (along with Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik) more or less established what "Dirty South" WAS.

The good news for today is that G-Mob is apparently reuniting for a new album. High hopes!

Buy "Soul Food", from Amazon.
Read this interview with Khujo Goodie, "the first one-legged MC".
I've yet to hear Livin' Life Like Lumberjacks; can anyone say whether it's worth the purchase?
Visit Cee-Lo's official site.
Read this brief interview with Big Gipp and watch Gipp's video (with Sleepy Brown!) for his solo single, "Steppin' Out".


Famous Four (A.K.A. The New Orleans Humming Four) - "Mother's Love"

Dad: This song was originally issued on the tiny "Wonder" label in New Orleans in the early 1950's and reissued in the 1980's on the "New Orleans Gospel Quartets 1947-56" compilation that Lynn Abbott programmed and annotated for Bruce Bastin's Gospel Heritage label (HT-306). Lynn also wrote a terrific essay about this group for "Whisky, Women and..." magazine (#11, 1983).

This same quartet recorded R&B for Imperial Records as "The Hawks".

Lynn was kind enough to introduce me to Albert Veal, a member of the Humming Four since they organized in the early '30s. Mr. Veal was a sweet guy and a sure enough lover of four-part vocal harmony.
Mom: Well, that drum is odd. For a so-called "love song" this is sad and droning. I just don't get a sense of feeling or family here, except for loss.
Sis: This is soothing and certainly musically competent, but I might have chosen something different. What about Booker White’s song about looking for his mother’s grave? Or "Sleep On, Mother"; NJQ did a great version of that one. Or “Motherless Children Have a Mighty Hard Time”; where’s the love for Blind Willie Johnson?

This one is nice, but it doesn’t grab me like the best harmony singing can.

Buy "New Orleans Gospel Quartets: 1947-56" from The Louisiana Music Factory.
This album contains a Humming Four version of the gospel standard "Twelve Gates to the City" that is just STUNNING; it's a much recommended purchase.
Read this extensive piece about the RnB exploits of the Famous Four AKA The Hawks.
Read a bit about the rich history of New Orleans gospel music.


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Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Some families can be more difficult than others.


For more info about the FAMILY VALUES series, go here.

Washington Phillips - "I Had a Good Father and Mother"

Dad: Phillips recorded this track in Dallas, Texas in 1927. His recordings were pretty much beneath most collector's radar screens until Agram, a Dutch record company, reissued them around 1980 (Agram, 2006). Lynn Abbott found the first photo of Phillips in the black New Orleans newspaper, The Louisiana Weekly.

Scholar James Bryan turned up a photo of a dulceola, presumably the instrument Phillips played, in an advertisement from Jacob's Orchestra Monthly (December, 1911). The text for that ad reads: "Its action, while similar to that of the Piano, is quicker and more simple, and its sweet, soothing tone is much appreciated by invalids who are unable to listen to the louder notes of the Piano. It is portable, being only 24 X 18 inches in size and only 18 pounds in weight, and is easily taken on Yachting and Camping Excursions and Picnic Parties."

I don't think anyone has turned up any solid biographical details about Washington Phillips, but when you piece the bits together, it seems safe to surmise that he MUST have played his dulceola for invalids yachting down the Trinity River.

That's a joke.

There's a guy in Memphis by the name of Andy Cohen who collects and plays dulceolas. They're pretty hard to come by.
Mom: What a haunting, bare-boned song! I like this man's voice but the music is so lonely and sad. (My good friend) Diana found this soothing, but I found it a little difficult, very raw. He says a lot in the music without saying much in words; it's minimal. I hear a good message, though: the best things in life can't be bought; "salvation is free for you and me".
Sis: This track is just as sweet as honey. Phillips is the undisputed king of the underrated hammered dulcimer sound. He’s so heartfelt and he has a genre-bending quality that really appeals to me; is this gospel? blues? lullaby?

It's just a bit moralizing, but that doesn’t really get under my skin.

Buy "I Was Born to Teach the Gospel", a complete collection of the extant recorded works of Washington Phillips, direct from Yazoo records (you can sample a few tracks in RealAudio at the site).
Phillips' discography includes only sixteen songs and yet is as rich as El Dorado. If you're moved by "Mother and Father," this is a must own disc.

Read loads of arguments and conjectures as to the nature of Phillips' use of the Dulceola.
I'm hardly educated enough to comment on this at all; Hut readers who know better should leave two cents on the windowsill and let a brother know.
Read this brief AMG bio of Washington Phillips.


Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention - "Mom and Dad"

Dad: Frank Zappa was a smart guy for a rock and roller. The Mothers of Invention's first two albums really shook me up. I meditated (medicated?) on those albums for hours and hours when they first came out.

The Mothers had a regular gig for about two years at the historic NYC Garrick Theater, down on Thompson and Bleeker. I saw them perform lots of times there; they'd put on wild, unpredicatable shows. Back in those days ('66, '67 or so) Zappa would often stand on the street corner to catch some air between shows and if you wanted to talk about his music with him, he was usually up for that. I was young and presumptuous, but I must say, Zappa was never dismissive.

One night he invited me, your mom and a friend of ours to visit his West Village apartment, where he played us We're Only In It For the Money to get our opinion on it. It had yet to be released and would be held up in litigation for many months by Capitol records, who refused to let him get away with the amazing "Sgt. Pepper" spoof cover. It was finally printed up when Zappa and his label agreed to reverse the inner and outer covers on the LP.
Mom: Now this I know about. It's vintage Zappa, very typical. That beat is very American Indian, isn't it?
I don't know about that guy; he was always so angry. Whenever he played he had to be shocking and not fit in. He would pick people out of the audience and drag them onto the stage and just abuse them, mock them and belittle them. Every time I went with your father to see him perform, I always thought, "Oh, please don't pick on me!"
He was too much for this world. I appreciate the music he made, but his intensity... woooo! What's his kid's name, Dweezil? He strikes you as a really normal kid, doesn't he? Maybe Zappa made a good home for him.
Sis: The Mothers of Invention track really takes me back to my high school days (though they're rapidly shrinking in the rearview mirror), when I was heavy into the "Only In It For the Money" album. This track sure is lyrically powerful, if slightly outdated. Zappa’s cynicism is extremely biting; I wonder if any of the parents of the era really listened to this song and its message? In any case, this is dark and poignant and vaguely operatic; Zappa at his best.

Buy The Mothers' "We're Only In It for the Money", arguably the best album of 1968, from Amazon.
Check the personnel and lyrics for every track on the album.
Visit Zappa's official page or any number of fan pages.
Learn about the plethora of Zappa namesakes in the natural world.

we're having technical difficulties on the client side. be patient with me over the next few...

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Friday, March 25, 2005



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.

Queens of the Stone Age - "In My Head"

The Distillers - "Sick of It All"

So I'm listening to Lullabies To Paralyze for the first time and "In My Head" makes itself known as personal highlight the second I hear the same piano-ping pulse from "Go With The Flow," my favorite track from Songs For The Deaf (so aggressively passive!). But that chorus hook comes from somewhere else. What song does it remind me of? Oh yeah, its almost exactly like the climactic chant of "Sick Of It All," the opening track from the Distillers' Sing Sing Death House! Huh, what a funny lift! Could it be intentional? Hey, yeah! He's DATING Brody! Of course he's heard it! Check out his lyrics:

I keep on playin' our favorite song/
I turn it up while you're gone/
It's all i got when you're in my head/
and you're in my head so i need it

This swipe might be some sort of valentine! When you're not here I sing songs that you've written! Awww!!! What a sweetie!

Buy Queens of the Stone Age's "Lullabies to Paralyze" and buy The Distillers' "Sing Sing Death House" from Amazon.
Read Playboy's Sex Questionnaire with Josh Homme
He's mum about his relationship, though: "There's enough shit made up right now about Brody and me. I'm not Fred Durst."
Dalle is so annoyed by questions about their relationship that she's stopped doing interviews, but here's one from 2002 where drummer Andy Outbreak gives a shout out to QOTSA and Rocket From The Crypt (Brody gives it up for Smokey Robinson).


Down South's Hip Hop Interview Archive
Great resource for anyone wanting to learn more about the dirty dirty or crunk music in general.
Like our punk videogame asses aren't spending enough money on new consoles (happy psp day!), NOW they want us to pay to play, too?
There's always the web, instead.
Elaine Powell don't take no shit.
Polish league player kicks at the Detroit Shock starting point guard; discovers this is not a wise call as Elaine gets RON ARTESSSSSSS.
"Throw a drink at ME, we'll see what happen..."
Tom Waits' Twenty Favorite Albums
The man can turn a phrase.

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Thursday, March 24, 2005

glisten: Feist!

So, who is this FEIST?

Feist is the artist's genuine surname; she discusses the reaction her name gets in Germany on this live outtake:

Feist Explains the German Language

Leslie Feist was born in Calgary, Canada around about 1976 and started rockin' the casbah right around fifteen. While still in high school, Leslie fronted a punk band called Placebo (which, as far as I can find, never put anything on wax) that entered a contest and won the right to open for th' motherfuckin' Ramones. This opened the door to five years of Placebo doing regular performances and eventual touring and, ipso facto, five years of punkass screaming and hollering by the vocally untrained Leslie. All that rigorous throat scraping exacted a rather precise pound of flesh from poor Feist and she was warned not to sing AT ALL in the future. Seeking professional help, Feist seeks sanctuary in Toronto to find a specialist who can help her. She spends the lonely, quiet recuperative downtime futzing about with a guitar and a four-track recorder, emerging six months later as a capable guitarist with healed vocal cords. She is promptly taken on as a guitarist for the band By Divine Right. This marks something of a hallmark in Feist's life: her willingness to hit the road with touring artists of any stripe seems boundless.

In '99, By Divine Right gets picked up as the opening band for The Tragically Hip; it's a plum gig in front of tens of thousands nightly. The cash, the exposure, the stage time and Feist's tremendous intellectual and artistic internal combustion lead to Leslie's release of her first solo album at the age of 23: "Monarch", subtitled "Lay Down Your Jeweled Head". It's a solid freshman effort that oversteps any reasonable expectations for the young punk; "Monarch" genre-bends alt-country ("One Year AD"), poppish Frente-esque chick rock ("Flight 303"), and more ambitious singer-songwriter flights of orchestration ("New Torch"). There is certainly something of the flavor of Mazzy Star, Paula Cole, Liz Phair, Beck and Suzanne Vega on these cuts, but it is also easy to determine something entirely sui generis with Feist. Her budding but unmistakably distinct musical voice is clearest on two tracks: the eponymous "Monarch" and the obvious single, "Family".

Feist - "Monarch"

"Monarch" has the potential to drown in its own bounciness, but Feist's natural talent and her ability to carry a song keep this sunny lil' ditty afloat. "Monarch" brings to mind mid-90's Tori Amos... and I mean that in a good way.

Feist - "Family"
Relentlessly catchy and utterly without irony, this is Sesame Street rocknroll. Sweet, restrained strings, feather-light bells and bob-bob-bobbing percussion provide a lovely foreground to a cock-eyed shrug of a guitar line that regularly yanks the song into a slightly more smartass, slightly more grown-up world. It's a hip-to-be-square masterpiece that roars the arrival of a notable talent.

"Monarch" was a real small press release; only a thousand copies were made and the disc is LONG out of print.

In 2000, Feist made a fateful move into what must have been THE happening house in Toronto; her roommates and occasional couch-crashers included Peaches, Mocky, Gonzales, Taylor Savvy and The World Provider. Feist befriended and performed with the lot of them, both then and now.

After Peaches' album The Teaches of Peaches met with cult success, Feist began touring with the hirsute electropop sexqueen under the AKA 'Bitch Lap Lap', "rapping badly with a sock puppet in poor Spanish wearing Cuban aerobics outfits."

FUN FEIST FACT: As Bitch Lap Lap, Feist co-recorded a cover of Prince's "Sexy Dancer" with Peaches. It's... interesting.

Anyways, these sort of ultra-gonzo happening/concerts instilled Feist with a degree of onstage confidence and intensity that permeates her current show to the nth degree. If you've been paying attention thus far, Feist's next move will hardly surprise you: in 2001, she joined back up with a sprawling new band founded by a few of the ex-members of By Divine Right and helped the collective collaborate on an album, You Forgot It In People (site includes over a dozen full-length tracks in Realaudio format), under the moniker Broken Social Scene. "You Forgot It In People" becomes an underground critical success so, once again, off goes our heroine on tour. It was in this environment that Feist begins to record tracks for her second album, "Let It Die".

That, roughly, is where we come in: a rough demo of the first single, "Mushaboom" leaks on Fluxblog in January of '04, then Said the Gramophone posts a pair of tracks at roughly the same time that the album drops in the UK. "Let It Die" is very well received overseas; US musicbloggers fall over themselves hyping her and I am certainly no exception.

I managed to scarper an import copy of "Let It Die" and I consider it to be one of the best albums made in '04. "Die" represents a massive leap forward for Feist as a solo artist; the alt-country vein has been sublimated to a background hum and the new primary thread is a delectable melange of gentle, dancing-with-myself disco and torchy smooth jazz.

Every song on "Let It Die" is either good or great: "One Evening", "Leisure Suite" and the Bee Gees cover of "Inside and Out" are sinuous, sexy adult contemporary with just enough razzmatazz and self-awareness to save them from tipping into a lake of cheese; the primal pubic rage of "When I Was a Young Girl" provides the LP's darkest note and "Tout Doucement", a silly piano-driven French trifle flies wildly in the opposite direction; "Gatekeeper", "Lonely Lonely" and the album's eponymous track allow Feist's beautiful voice to claim the spotlight on the cabaret stage; the aforementioned "Mushaboom" is everything a single has any right to hope for. "Let It Die" is a fabulous disc; the terrific lag between its release in Europe and the US (it will FINALLY see a major label American release in early April) is not only unfortunate but downright maddening. Suffice it to say, I'm glad to see signs that Leslie's Yankee takeover is going down, better late than never.

This past Tuesday, Feist performed at Joe's Pub. It was, as she pointed out onstage, not her first New York performance but it was certainly her first big "New York moment"; the first show sold out and the hastily added second show was all but completely packed.

Before I launch into the obligatory glistening concert review, here's a pair of outstanding live tracks from Feist's '04 "Black Session" on Radio France Inter:

Feist - "Gatekeeper (Live, '04)"
This musicbox gloss on "Gatekeeper" is indicative of Feist's willingness to vamp with her own material.

Feist - "Nothin' In the World Can Stop Me Worryin' About That Girl (Live, '04)"
Feist's frustration with a clapping audience that can't quite find the beat ("You guys are screwing me up!") on this Kinks hit is neatly turned back on herself with a self-effacing flourish, but there's nothin' in this world that'll convince me that this isn't a winner of a cover.

Feist's live show is a real treat. She's an intelligent artist and almost preternaturally comfortable onstage; these skills coupled with her amazingly versatile voice, her excellent guitar chops and a stellar three-piece backing band make for a helluva concert. Not content with simple recreation of the album, she approached each one of her tracks as a cover, uncovering new wrinkles and directions in every song.

Feist's banter is easy, real and endearing; during one participatory singalong, an audience member's melismas of "Iiiiiiii Doooooooawooooooahhoooo" amused her enough that she segued into a one-on-one "singoff" between the warbler and herself. That sort of showmanship could easily seem forced, corny or hostile; Leslie made it friendly and natural. Her joy at performance is downright palpable; she's having as good a time as we are.

Feist also seemed desperate to get a rise out of the crowd; she regularly indulged in verbal and physical devil's advocacy, stepping onto bar tables and daring the audience to get a little rowdy rowdy. I, for one, wish I coulda got up and danced; it was clear she was hoping we would.

While Feist's talent and enthusiasm alone would make for a great evening, she had a card or two yet to play. As her band snuck offstage, Feist began to croon softly into an auxilliary microphone attached to a four track recorder. After every chorus, her own voice would echo behind her new part. Feist harmonized over each loop until she had scratch-built a backing track of four-part harmony out of individual solos. These one-woman choirs were so audibly homogenous, eerily pitch perfect and cold-shudder sweet that involuntary gasps and audible "wows" were drawn from the crowd. She went on to repeat this trick with multiple guitar loops, also to great effect. This appears to be a new gimmick that Feist has just worked into her live act; all her previous concert recordings don't feature this cunning multi-tracking.

I'll leave you with one more bonus track, the only one that I've dropped today that's commercially available, even if it is all but unknown in America. This duet with French pop star Albin de la Simone suggests some possible future routes for Feist; she could easily worm her way into the US pop subconscious with a few well-placed name cameos.

Albin de la Simone and Feist - "Elle Aime"

Visit Albin de la Simone's official website

Buy Albin de la Simone's self-titled first album as an import from Amazon.

Feist has the potential to become a ubiquitous voice in pop America; she has the crossover capabilities of a Norah Jones. With the album dropping soon, a song on the new Massive Attack album on the way and an ever-growing web/street team, I don't see any reason why Feist shouldn't be our next internet breakout star.

Heck, considering that Interscope has yet to spread ANY American press around on this release, I think it would be reasonable to consider a strong showing by "Let It Die" to be a sign of the marketing power of musicblog hype. What do you say kids? Let's flex some muscle, add Leslie to the Arcade Fire/Secret Machines/Killers dogpile and show the labels that talent really matters.

Hype it up!

Feist's official site is crowded with content: songs snippets, wallpaper, videos, pics and general silliness abounding and TOUR DATES.

See if she's coming near you and don't miss her if she is!

Also take a look at Feist's old website.
Check out this fairly well-thought-out review of "Monarch" and another on "Let It Die".
Coolfer talks about the plans Cherry Tree, an Interscope subsidiary, has for Feist; Coolfer's also been keeping an eye on her for awhile.
Read this 2000 interview.
She's come a long way, baby... and five years later, Feist is rip-rarin' and ready to go.

"Mushaboom", "Intuition", "Leisure Suite" in RealAudio
Live solo acoustic on the streetside. Give th' gal a quarter, already!

Also: Read the accompanying article from this session.
"Mushaboom", "One Evening", "Gatekeeper" in RealAudio
Complete album cuts from the Beeb, which calls her "one of the discoveries of the year".
Five minute BBC interview in RealAudio

"You know if I just get real with myself I SUPPOSE ("chilled folk-jazz") is what this record sounds like... The rock and roll may be inside the intention there, but it's not really that audible on the record. When I'm sitting on an airplane and the person next to me says, 'So, what kind of music do you make?,' it's the most impossible question to answer. I just say "Yeah, you're right" for whatever anyone says about it or however they want to describe it, because I'm the last to know how to put a title on this type of music."

Struggling to come up with a label that encompasses her elusive style but doesn't turn off a prospective buying public, Feist has chosen to take the cagey route and call her music "Jhai".

Fuck a label, sez I.
"Gatekeeper" in MP3 format
Left-hand side, scroll down a bit.
In 2000, the Peaches/Gonzales/Feist collective played a long show on WFMU Radio.
Give a listen to Part 1 (performance starts around 1:26) and Part 2 (performance starts around 1:40) in RealAudio format.
"Lovertits", a collabo with Gonzales, in MP3

Scroll down to the highlighted track.

Here's a great answer for anybody who thinks that Feist is only capable of doing the cutesygirl singer-songwriter schtick; this is great minimalist fuckmusic with a toe-tappin' chorus. Required stuff.
Lots of songs in RealAudio format, including _several_ from the oop "Monarch"

HOWEVER, I use an ersatz Realplayer that doesn't support these tracks (I'm not interested in Real's fairly bulky and unpleasant software), so I've yet to test drive these. Could a Hut reader let me know if these are active and accessible?
Conor Oberst cover of Mushaboom in MP3

Courtesy of fellow Feist-fanatic, Brooklyn Vegan.

This sounds pretty freakin' horrible to me and does NOT motivate me to seek out any more Bright Eyes. On the plus side, it's gratifying to see that this song seems to be jockeying for hip "standard" status so soon.



Wednesday, March 23, 2005

glisten: Feist (appetizer)

Feist and Jane Birkin - "The Simple Story"

I saw Leslie Feist last night at her second show at Joe's Pub and was duly wowed.

Me and my girl stumbled home late last night after suitable ebulliance and unhealthy snacks and, once the girl had been laid down, I threw myself at the computer to do a bit of sleuthing as to what the web had to offer on Ms. Feist.

Having thus stuffed myself a fat sausage of data and tunage, I knocked out around three in th' morning with all links in place and only the Sisyphean task of the actual WRITING left. Now here it is 9:00 AM and I must be off for my requisite thirteen hours of indentured servitude, fetching expensive coffee for angry jewish grandmothers.

Suffice it to say, I've much to say and share but no time.

Check back late tonight or early tomorrow (or y'know, whatever your personal meridian dictates) for LOTS of links and background on Feist, a hearty review of her wondrous live chops and music from her out-of-print first album... plus some live material, too!

In between-time, here's something to get the juices juicy: a funky little duet with famed French chanteuse Jane Birkin.

Enjoy! Tip your waiters! See you tonight!

Buy the import disc "Rendez-Vous", from Amazon.


Tuesday, March 22, 2005

glisten: shorties

A little bonus glisten for you afore I run out the door:

Estelle - "1980"

Talk about a late find: the venerable Gramophone dropped this track back in July of '04, but I think it merits another spin.

My UK readers probably consider "1980" old news, but US Hutters have likely never heard this sweet Lauryn Hill-esque bio-rap. I'm a sucker for strings and clap tracks and fake female choir synths. The lyrics are bright and something more than the 894th variant on the "we grew up STREET" meme; I rather like "The man downstairs was dead for three weeks / his own cats started to eat him / the house starts to reek" and "benediction was all we'd wait for / so we could run home and play Connect Four."

Buy Estelle's first album, "The 18th Day," from Amazon UK.
Read Stylus' somewhat ambivalent review of the LP.
Read this interview with Estelle.


Turtle TV
Movies spoofs with turtles as actors; my girl thinks it's dorkish and I'll admit it's about as incisive as Mad magazine, circa 1987... but c'mon! Turtles! In sunglasses!
Plustech's Forest Walking Machines
Second link has video.
Am I wrong for wanting to get in these and go Ewok hunting?
Yub Nub!
Artpad and Segplay will help you waste your day.
The first allows you to draw MS Paint-style pictures and then mail slick video of the production to, I don't know, your mom or something; Segplay is an endless/make-your-own online paint-by-numbers set.
Rocklist offers "critic single and album lists from 1974 to 2004, pop poll results from the 1952 to 2004 issues of New Musical Express, Melody Maker, Select, Q, Mojo, Rolling Stone, Spin, & Village Voice, various European publications and several independent fanzines from around the globe, personal lists from critics including Dave Marsh and Robert Christgau plus All Time Best Film Soundtrack and Banned recordings."
A nice companion piece to DJ Martian's insanely comprehensive site.
Salami and manhole floor mats.
Can't get a price on the meatatami (sic), but the NYC Manhole cover is fairly cheap and way rad!
This documentary excerpt on the making of a McDonald's commercial, circa 1974, includes an interview with the seventies Ronald, King Moody.
The golden arches would NEVER allow a camera this close to their soft innards these days. Captain Crook sighting!
And TWO Mayor McCheeses! The plot thickens!
"What is a clitoral hood?"
Taken from the Planned Parenthood's TeenWire site.
"Clittle League" baseball shirts would make BAZILLIONS.
Hurra Torpedo's infamous video for Total Eclipse of the Heart with appliance percussion is a bit on the "WACKY!" side for me, but girls seem to really like it...
Tofu merchandise sussed out on the web: I ♥ Tofu patches, pins and t-shirts!
Stock up and show the world your good taste! And get ME one!

dork magazine, culture pulp, For No Good Reason and Japundit are all worth a twice over.


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Monday, March 21, 2005

Thicker than water


For more info about the FAMILY VALUES series, go here.

Manson Family - "Roc-A-Family"

Dad: Huh? "Muthafucka," whaaa? There's nothing here for me at all.
Believe that.
Mom: Ugh! I'm having a hard time enduring this torture. This is like somebody chipping at your head. Pass the analgesics. This song(?) is angry and scary and I think I was born in the wrong generation for it.

Boy, did I get in trouble at work when I put this CD on in my office and this came on saying "Fuck you, Fuck him; Fuck EVERYBODY!"

There's no denying the rhythm but it's not spiritually gratifying in any way. It's like the Manson Family is in pain and they're gonna put you in pain out of spite.

It's very street, sounds very street to me. It's hard to interpret and I feel like maybe I should, but... aaaaah, fuck this!
Sis: The Manson Family? Is that name some kind of ill-conceived joke?

There is something ugly in the undercurrents of this and although I suppose all of that super-fast vocal action is impressive, it rather sets my nerves on edge.

Buy "Heltah Skeltah" from Amazon.
It is, no doubt, an acquired taste.
Read this interview with C-Roc, in which he makes his opinions of the Manson Fam pretty gosh-darn clear.
Three minutes with Tommy Wright III
Explore Memphis Rap, "the premier rap music store and community".
Attend the Manson Family Picnic.
I'm strongly recommending you stay away from the potato salad.


The Ramones - "We're a Happy Family"

Dad: I never heard anything I liked by the Ramones. Clearly, I don't get it.
Mom: This reminds me of Frank Zappa. It's intense, like somebody chanting, "My troubles never end". Usually "happy" music has a certain tone; in this case, the tune really didn't match the sentiment. I rather doubt this is a happy family, but it doesn't mean they don't love each other.

"Eating refried beans?""Daddy likes men"? I'm having a hard time figuring it out... is this a 'garage band'?
Sis: I always feel like I’m supposed to like The Ramones. Maybe it’s living in Memphis; people go for that stuff around here. It's usually not my scene, but I can dig this track. I hear the “rock and roll” musical aspects of it more clearly that is often the case with this kind of garage/punk stuff.

I also like the tongue in cheek nature of the lyrical content. Oh, yes, I’m sure they’re a “happy family”. Nice meltdown toward the end of the track.

Buy "Rocket to Russia," the Ramones third try at the big time, from Amazon.
Ramones Mania will also likely do the trick for the non-fanatic.
Visit the Ramones official site.
Read this interview with Tommy Ramone.
RIP Dee Dee, Joey and Johnny.


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Sunday, March 20, 2005

how else can i say it, i don't speak no other languages

The Quarterbox
The Quarterbox is the Hut's clearinghouse for all manner of swag and shows; every connecting link should lead you to music and info...HOWEVER, as not everything here has been closely explored or listened to, we can NOT be held accountable for quality. We're just the middleman. Which is another way of saying "Caveat Emptor... but look at these prices!"
Contact us at forksclovetofu@gmail.com if you've a bit of hype you'd like to see included in the Quarterbox.

As previously reported, Feist is poised and ready to show up in America in a big way in April; I'm going with my gal to go see her live this Tuesday at the 9:30 show at Joe's Pub. I'm awful excited to see this show, anybody who'd like to meet up and say hi should drop me a line.
Tix are $15 at the box office for a 21 and older show with a two drink minimum; meet you inside.
Adex Records' ridiculously busy website is awful hard on the eyes, but pretty easy on the ears.
Swing by and sample tunage from Bushwick Bill and KRS-1.
Miami Hutsters should make it a priority to stick a nose in at the URB Village Show this week; Diplo, Matthew Dear, Boom Bip, DJ Reset and A Guy Named Gerald are spinning a free 21+ show... and they're giving out cocktails? Sounds like a good time.
After a European tour, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings will swing back into the New Yawk Shitty in April for a two night gig at Southpaw in Brooklyn.
If you haven't seen them yet, put a post-it note on the calendar; it's a helluva good show. Personally, I got my ass pulled onstage at the Knitting Factory and had to get nasty with the #1 Soul Sista herself. She taught your humble narrator a few things; if I had been sharp enough to not lose her phone number, I'd have some REAL stories to tell.
When she's got it goin' on, Sharon be sexy as fuck, ya'll.
Bring two friends and be prepared to get your booty shaken, not stirred.
I love the way people describe their bands.

Telstar hypes itself as "fresh retro, Belgian Britpop in the optimal sense of the word," James Apollo plays "a rootsy concoction of sweet pop and lonesome highway blues" and MiniLife is "very much like smashing pumpkins, mixed with trip hop, mixed with new order and (a male version of) pj harvey."
Out of Tulsa, Oklahoma (and loved by Hanson!), give a listen to the rock stylings of Admiral Twin.
Throcke is a Brooklyn electronic/avant garde/noise musician who offers his music for download; it's pleasantly Aphex-y stuff and worth tipping an ear to. If that's your cup of tea, Malaventura's ambient and deep house music is similarly engaging... and let's not forget scum music.
Everybody and their brother wrote in with sympathy and suggestions when I told the sad horror story of my missing Mozilla links; much appreciated that y'all feel my pain.

One friendly fellow writes: "Whether or not you find your bookmarks, let me point you to an impossibly handy little app called wURLdBook."

"Briefly, it is a web-based service (so you store your bookmarks far from those Canadian firefox killers and can access them from anywhere). You can upload your current bookmarks, then search them in all kinds of ways. You can sort them into folders or use labels like gmail does. You can give them endless amounts of descriptive info, also searchable. You can add java bookmarks to your links bar and add new bookmarks to your collection as you come across them. You can publish them to a public page and/or an RSS feed. You can integrate that RSS feed into an offsite blog (like Tofu Hut). The list goes on and it's free, free, free."

I haven't testdriven; perhaps my more tech-savvy readers can say whether this is worth exploring?
Jim Doran's World Fiddle Music site offers some simple fiddle lessons and dozens of examples of traditional string arrangements performed by Doran.
Some days a good reel is just the thing to get the blood going.
MC Frontalot's whiteboy, nerdcore rap has earned him the hard-fought title "world's 579th-greatest rapper".

"Crime Spree" and "Nerdcore Hip Hop" are good places to start; see also MC Chris, Princess Superstar, Kool Keith, Deltron 3030 and Optimus Rhyme.

New Revolutions
In which we draw up the map to where the music be. Contact us at forksclovetofu@gmail.com if you've got a musicblog you'd like to see included in the Revolutions.

Gojira69's Ephemeral Treasures and Hepcat Willy are part of the wondrous "dust collectors" collective; vinyl-ripper DIY archivists who post one-a-month, out-of-print, ultra-obscure thrift store finds for the good of mankind.
Gojira stomps your browser into a shaky little box; if you manage to dodge the initial onslaught, you'll find yourself facing the wonder of The All Freak Band's '76 LP "For Christians, Elves and Lovers" with its OBVIOUS (and abominably catchy) single, "Theme for Fellowship of the Ring."
Hepcat Willy steps up with forgotten whitebread doowop from the John LaSalle Quartet; the "Christopher Robin Is Saying a Prayer" cut simply could not be more precious.
Zip over and bag these trophies post-haste; who knows how long strangeness like this can last?!?
The Ten Thousand Things is a delectably eclectic musicblog by Blake Leyh, crammed full of Morricone, Fripp and Eno, Bach, Turkish hiphop, Laurie Anderson and Caetano Veloso.
Monkey madness makes my musicblog meter melt! Meet Monkey Funk and the Family Guy-inspired The Evil Monkey In Chris' Closet.
The former has been missing for a minute and the latter is as verbose as _I_ am; both are worth a peek over the next few months as potential future bigshots.
One Perfect Green Blanket is dropping loads of music that the Hut has never heard which makes it as appealing to me as a crackhouse that serves sirloin. He's supposed to be back up this week; I've got my fingers crossed and am pounding the pavement outside waiting for more.
Dark Funk is dropping entire bootleg shows from major 70's fusion jazz artists, including one apiece from Miles and Hancock.
A little looking around will likely uncover DF's own musical excursions, so stay awhile and try the coffee, eh?
Ready for a little old-school metal?
Tinfoil offers a plethora of wax cylinder rips, none later than 1911.
Tin Whistle Tunes is a repository of HUNDREDS of tin whistle songs, performed by aficionados of the instrument.
Bollywood for the Skeptical is an excellently annotated mix tape of Hindi showtunes. It's a great place for aspirant Bollywood geeks to go from clueless to clued in.
Much gully linkage and music has found its way onto the Cuban Links; our hero's on vacation at the moment, but his Biggie tribute just put CL in my regular rounds.
For Now We'll Just Call It Life seems to have been stunned into submission by the Hut's avalanche of info, but we have no doubt he'll get back on the horse afore long.
Laundromat United pimp walks onto the blog scene with that COCAINE BLUNTS attitude, one good eye and two gold ears.
Beat Club, Goon Squad, Dipset and... Portishead?
Ain't Nothin' Like The Real Thing; packed jam-full with RnB, blues and funky folk, the Real Thing really satisfies.

... and here's a few more: You Ain't No Picasso is the new indie rock aggregator on the block; homebrew Finnish musicblogging at Luptarkastaja; Village Voice's Bandwidth is corporate musicblogging as we knew it would come (maybe the only place I know of on the web to find showtunes, tho'); Club Lonely is where all the hip Stylus kids like to hang out and trade tunage; Konono No. 1, Aesop Rock and Elbow show up over at STEREOGUM-esque My Old Kentucky Blog; Art of Rhyme regularly drops new hip hop in Real Audio and there's primarily Korean poptarts in the toaster at Sound Science.

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Saturday, March 19, 2005

By which, of course, I mean Sunday.
How's that cuppa?


Friday, March 18, 2005

Our hero is hitting the streets; expect that Saturday post MIDDAY.
Meantime, go get yourself a cuppa.



For more info about the FAMILY VALUES series, go here.

Family Ties Theme Song

Dad: TV theme songs are to music as billboards are to painting.
Sis: TV theme songs are always fun, but I must say that hearing 'Family Ties' brought back plenty of uncomfortable memories of the distinctly bad taste in TV viewing that characterized our many wasted youthful hours.
Mom: As sappy as this is, it made me cry. I don't know why; I never watched the show. I like the frisson between their voices; it's gentle and romantic, but the questions they're asking each other make me sad.

Whose voice is the man's? Aaron Neville?

Ouch. No, Mom, not Aaron Neville. This version of "Without Us" is performed by (believe it or not) Johnny Mathis and Deniece Williams.

I was never a fan of this show, but I _DID_ watch it for some reason; I remember my father was always easily worked up by the smarmy uber-republican ethics of Alex. Maybe it was just what he represented.

Visit this Family Ties fanpage for more information than you could possibly need on this 80's sitcom cornerstone, along with numerous soundfiles including the original theme!
When did it jump the shark?
Sitcoms Online has hundreds of sitcom opening and ending themes.


Sir Lancelot - "Scandal in the Family"

Dad: My friend Ray Funk met and interviewed Sir Lancelot as part of his duties writing the informative liner notes for the 1995 CD reissue of this track (Flyright, CD 942). Ray points out that Lancelot Victor Edward Pinard had extensive training as a singer of classical music; he didn't start singing calypsos until he came to New York in 1940.
Mom: What's the scandal and where the hell did you find this song? It's hard to get next to. Is it calypso? It's a funny track because even though it's clearly about a very serious subject, it's such a light and danceable tune. I like the clarinet especially, but let us not forget I used to play the licorice stick myself.
Sis: Beautiful, whimsical horn sounds. I often have trouble following Lancelot's narratives. It is, however, clear from this track that something untoward has occurred...

Here's some info on Sir Lancelot from Brad Beshaw's Hollywood DeathWatch Obit:

"Born Lancelot Victor Edward Pinard in Cumuto, Northern Trinidad, the boy who would become the vanguard exponent of Calypso music (years before Harry Belafonte) was already giving classical vocal recitals at age 6... "

The music I'm posting here would have hit the market in the early to mid-40's. Lancelot's honeyed, nasal tenor couldn't be more dated; but his lyrics would fit snugly into any Sean Paul single. Lancelot's singing has a distinct theatrical edge to it, hardly surprising given his extensive film career:

"His first credited role arrived courtesy of RKO producer Val Lewton, for whom Lancelot would make three pictures beginning with 1943's 'I Walked With a Zombie'. In a role more Greek Chorus than character part, Sir Lancelot provides running commentary for cast and audience alike, courtesy of the Calypso number Fort Holland (later covered by folk singer Odetta)...Following his involvement in Lewton's 'Ghost Ship' (1943) and 'Curse of the Cat People' (1944). Lancelot's acting mettle was tested under the direction of Howard Hawks, in Lauren Bacall's auspicious debut (opposite Humphry Bogart), 'To Have and Have Not'. The perfect counterpoint to this sober drama was provided by 'Zombies on Broadway' (1945), an RKO vehicle for its Abbot and Costello knock-offs, 'Carney and Brown' featuring a parody of the Fort Holland song, and a "zombie expert" played by, who else, Bela Lugosi."

Lancelot lived to the ripe old age of 98.

Buy "Trinidad Is Changing", the Lancelot greatest hits album and quite possibly the only album of his work available, from Amazon.
Explore this exhaustive Sir Lancelot fansite.

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Thursday, March 17, 2005


FORKSCLOVETOFU SEZ: The Red Headed Stranger is the nom de plume of the Hut's country music scholar.
Last evening, I awoke to a loud banging on my screen door and found a pissed off Stranger toting his rifle and practically steaming at the ears.
"Perhaps you'd care to explain why after you went and told me that I was gonna hafta give you some music on a Tuesday to put on your fancy-schmancy internet thingy on a Tuesday and that when I _DID_ give you some music on a Tuesday that YOU didn't PUT UP the GODDAMN MUSIC on a Tuesday? That was my BOWLING NIGHT and you fucked it up. EXPLAIN yourself, pardner."
I quickly told him that I had an iron on in the other room that needed to be turned off, zipped to the back of the house and slipped out the window.
The Stranger is a frightening man when he's been wronged.
Here's what you should've seen on Tuesday, still fresh for Thursday.

Julie Miller - "All My Tears"
Buddy & Julie Miller - "Little Darlin"

To my mind, the greatest compliment that can be paid to a newly-written piece of music is that it sounds like a folk song; like something that has been passed down for generations from parent to child, clung to as a cultural marker, defining those who share it. I still can't quite bring myself to believe that Julie Miller's "All My Tears" has not been forever extant, such is its primal power and perfect simplicity.

Like many gospel hymns, this one offers a salve for those troubled by the pain and sorrow of the physical world with a promise of an idyllic afterlife; as the chorus says, "It don't matter where you bury me / I'll be home and I'll be free." Julie Miller makes me want to believe in her kind of God; I only wish I could be fully swept away in her spirit of utter fearlessness and the "pie-in-the-sky" promises that "All My Tears" assures.

No matter how timeless "All My Tears" may sound, it doesn't even date back to the eighties; Miller wrote it herself and first released it on her album Orphans & Angels in 1993. It may yet become a folk standard; Emmylou Harris and Jimmy Scott have both recorded versions and Miller herself re-recorded it for her 1999 album Broken Things as well as for the '01 soundtrack for the movie Songcatcher (that's the recording heard here, with Gillian Welch on banjo).

Miller was born in Texas and moved to Nashville in 1993 with her guitarist /singer/ songwriter/ husband, Buddy. Together, they are alt-country's royal couple, collaborating on each other's albums and providing musical support to a wide variety of fellow artists. They are in demand as songwriters, singers and players (both separately and together) by artists in the country mainstream (Lee Ann Womack, the Dixie Chicks) and out (Victoria Williams, Patty Griffin).

Both Julie and Buddy's work is shot through with spiritual concerns; Buddy's most recent solo album, Universal United House of Prayer, is a more-or-less gospel album complex enough to include a raging version of Bob Dylan's "With God on Our Side." Even grimier fatal-attraction songs (like Julie's "Little Darlin'") keep the feel of that old holy ghost and of people inexorably moved by forces they cannot comprehend.

Sadly, this is thornier stuff than the pop-Christian market would likely stomach. "Come on baby, kill me with a kiss," Julie sings on "Little Darlin'," her girlish voice snaking sensually around Buddy's searing, rough-hewn harmonies. "Darlin'" is from the Millers' only credited duet release, 2001's terrific Buddy & Julie Miller. Julie accompanies her singing with a fantastic and wild trash-can percussion beat.

Once, after a show, I was escaping the after-party upstairs when I spied Julie sitting by herself on the abandoned merch table, waiting for Buddy to bring the car around (being the royal couple of alt-country has its limits). I was oddly intimidated by her; she radiates such sweetness and light that I figured if she didn't like me it must mean I truly was a bastard.

Luckily, she was very nice and we chatted until Buddy came to retrieve her. They said goodbye and rolled into the Nashville night, leaving me desperately wishing they would adopt me.

Buy the Songcatcher soundtrack or Buddy & Julie Miller from Amazon.
Visit Buddy and Julie's website, where you can learn what they were listening to last September and look at all of Buddy's guitars.
Read Chaucer's "The Miller's Tale."
Be forewarned: it's kind of dirty.
Learn where all your tears (or "lachrymations," if you prefer) come from.

where credit is due

"MP3 Blogs" are back in the news again (I much prefer "musicblog" or "audioblog" as not all of us use the MP3 format, but I'm not enough of an asshole to make a big deal out of it one way or another).

Alert readers and listeners might catch a glimpse of Tofu in this Fresno Bee article, in this Fluxblog interview on NPR (again) or in the current issue of Blender, where we catch embarrassingly positive dap from none other than new daddy (congrats!) Douglas Wolk.

Thanks for all the hype, ya'll; I'm always happy to interview and discuss any old time. And readers: let me know if you catch a Tofu sighting. I'm just wack enough to be curious.

Also, props to Teaching the Indie Kids for cornering the sole musicblogger win in the 2005 Bloggies; boo to the Bloggies for lumping Stereogum, Flux and Largehearted Boy in the same category as Defamer. What the fuck; why not nominate Kanye West for best actor and "Sideways" for best new album, eh?

Apples and oranges, folks.


We're THICK and filthy with clickadocious spiffy out the proverbial Gazoo.
Get to grazin'.
My god, what kind of Clockwork droog would a baby raised by this childcare robot grow up to be?

Probably the sort to chat up the boss' Receptobot. Creepy.

Remember the good old days when you could just cuddle up to a light sensing, servo-motor run Robogrover and not have to worry about tumbling down the uncanny valley?

Me neither.
City Hunter was a Hong Kong adaptation of the Japanese manga, starring Jackie Chan, that has never seen wide release in the States.
One look at this bizarre Street Fighter II parody clip should suggest why; this is notable less for showing Jackie in drag (and using wires!) and more because it's a JACKIE CHUN LI moment.

This had long been one of those sequences that I had a hard time convincing people actually existed on tape; finally, I have proof!
Haters gotta hate, ballers gotta ball.

Spruce up with the video to Percao (Diplo Rhythm).

I gotta get "Florida" VERY SOON.
It was a damn sad day when I realized that even AFTER watching the trailer that I had no interest whatsoever in seeing the new Star Wars movie.
Even this Revenge of the Sith Picture Gallery and the behind the scenes makeup tests aren't doing it for me.

Guess I'll have to make do with V for Vendetta and Sin City for my geeky cinematheque jollies.

I wouldn't turn down a Lego Death Star or a Darth iPod, tho'.
The thing about girls is that if they're not armwrestling robots, they're probably off naked dog wrestling or bacon whoring.

Chicks. They're funny, ya know?
My good buddy kimdog has started a new venture: Private Booth, a sex blog that prints real stories from real people. If you're a real person who has had sex (either with a friend or on your own) and want to tell thousands of strangers about it, might I recommend you drop her a line? Operators are standing by.
Aimee Mann is offering a few tracks from her new album at her slickly designed site.
Help Suicide Sam.
Check out these incredibly intricate Snow Sculptures.
I'm VERY excited about Dual Disc; if this takes off in a big way then the recording industry will be able to stop erroneously worrying about the dread file-sharer horning in on their dollar.

The only thing that's going to change the downward spiral of the record industry at this point is new and better technology that people are willing to shell out cash for; Dual Disc looks as good a bet as any in that direction. Here's hoping a little meat thrown to the wolves makes them a bit less snappish.
The Digitiser Cartoon Strip Generator
A Katamari roll-up in order from good to bad:
* This illuminating Gamasutra article notes that the original design had the Little Prince slamming a steering wheel into the skull of an unsuspecting human and "driving" him around to pick up crap.
* The Last Katamari
* While I love the concept of a gallery of Katamari slash toons, I'm not sure I can handle the sight of The Most Wrong Picture EVAR.
* Worst of all, it looks like there's gonna be delays for the sequel.

Make no mistake, I'll be buying this the day it comes out in the States.
Kim Deitch's "The Ship That Never Came In": A Waldo Cartoon!
This page not found, so maybe you'd like to visit Inaccessible Island instead?
"I'm the only one in this room professional enough, that I know of, to carry this Glock-40..."
You got to love the DEA.
I bet these contortionists are awful good at this Interactive Body Jigsaw.
Honey Where You Been So Long? has an amazing Stagolee mix going on right now; if you miss it, Stagger will whup your ass with a hotwheels track.
He's gangster like that.
Boing Boing reports that outsider artist Judith Scott has recently died.
Take a moment to flip through some pictures of her unusual artwork, this cached biography and the J. Scott catalogue.

Lastly, here's an opposing viewpoint.
Mariko Takahashi's Super Poodle Workout
If college baller Miles Orman of the Marist Red Foxes looks a bit familiar to you, it's quite possible you grew up watching him every morning.
Miles is the son of Roscoe Orman, better known as superpimp Willie Dynamite, but MUCH better known as Gordon from Sesame Street... which makes him Gordon's son, Miles!

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Wednesday, March 16, 2005

you are now about to witness the STRENGTH of th' Tofu FAMILY


We are where we came from. I grew up in a house where there was ALWAYS music playing and anyone who knows me knows that carries over into my adult life; rarely will you find me without an iPod latched to my skull or a speaker blasting somewhere in the house. It's nt that I dislike silence; it's that I love melodies, harmonies, human voices raised in song. I need music like I need air. It's how I was raised.

For the next few months, on and off, I'm going to let you look behind the curtain and see where I got this love from. I'm gonna let you meet the family.

Here's how we do: I made this mix CD, twenty-six songs, each one grounded either in name or concept to the idea of family. I mailed a copy of this disc to my mother, to my father, to my sister. I made them listen to the disc a few times. Then I asked them to respond.

Herein follows their observations on each of the songs, along with the songs themselves, in a handy two-a-day format. As per usual, more information on the artist and where you can buy the album follows the reviews.

I'll let my folk introduce themselves:

DAD: I'm your pops, the guy who set you in your playpen, put John Coltrane on the box and left you there to marinate.

I've done a lot of writing about music; particularly black music history. In 2002, my friend Lynn Abbott and I saw our first full length collaboration in print, Out of Sight - The Rise of African American Popular Music 1889-1895 (published by the University Press of Mississippi), and we're currently hard at work on our next book.

I enjoyed about half of what you put on this disc, almost exclusively the older stuff. I have to say, I'm a little uncomfortable formulating opinions about the Ramones and Rufus Wainwright. Don't get me wrong; I listen to contemporary music too, but mostly African and West Indian. Anyone who likes De La Soul is welcome to it; it just ain't me.

Before we get started, I have a few suggestions of my own for some "family" tracks that your readers might be interested in seeking out. For those with the resources to track them down, the track name is followed by the label and disc number.

1. Guitar Jr. - "Family Rules" (Goldband, 1058)
2. Silver Leaf Quartette - "Sleep On, Mother" (Okeh, 8644)
3. Golden Eagle Gospel Singers - "Shake Mother's Hand For Me" (Decca, 7670)
4. Alfred Karnes - "We Shall All Be Reunited" (Victor, 40076)
["Where is now my father's family..."]
5. Nephews - "My Old Man" (Brunswick, 6728)
6. Wright Brothers - "Mother Is Your Friend" (Okeh, 05920)
7. Alphabetical Four - "My Mother's Prayers Have Followed Me" (Decca, 7574)
8. Pilgrim Travelers - "Mother Bowed" (Specialty, 315)
9. Five Blind Boys of Alabama - "I Can See Everybody's Mother" (Coleman, 5982)
10. Soul Stirrers - "Feel Like My Time Ain't Long" (Specialty, 360)
["Got a mother done gone..."]
11. Wild Tchoupitoulas - "Brother John" (Island, ILP-9360)
12. Blind Willie Johnson - "Motherless Children Have a Hard Time" (Columbia, 14343)
13. Golden Gate Quartet - "Brother Bill" (NBC Thesaurus transcription, 1359)
14. Caribs - "The River" (Trade Winds LP, Unnumbered)
["Me and your sister / Went by the river..."]
Tofu note: This particular song is awesome and inaccessible to me. Anybody with a copy on MP3 is encouraged to mail me IMMEDIATELY.
15. Hank Williams - "The Log Train" (CMF, LP-006)
["The log train is silent / God called Dad to go..."]
16. Stoney Edwards - "Daddy Did His Best" (Capitol, 3270)
17. Uncle Dave Macon - "Poor Old Dad" (Vocalion, 5159)
18. Merle Haggard - "Daddy Frank" (Capitol, 3198) and "Mama Tried" (Capitol, 2219)
19. Shirley Caesar - "The Church Is In Mourning" (Hob, 1332)
20. Mississippi Mud Bashers - "Bring It On Home to Grandma" (Bluebird, 5845)

This is a very arbitrary selection of course; there's any number of great songs on this general subject.

Pop's focus on the music that he researches often leads to him shutting out everything except what's on his plate at the moment. I've had little to no luck trying to get him into various bits of music that speak to me (his interest in hip hop, for instance, is zero); I am very glad he took the time to address this as a real project.

Pops lives in Greenbrier, Tennessee; along the Kentucky border. He's pretty rad.

MOM: I'm glad for all my family to bring me to this space in time and gratified to know that they'll be with me on my new trips, wherever I may go.

Moms listened to this CD for something like two-and-a-half months, at work, on the road with her friend Diana, around the house... but I never got a review. Not that she didn't want to necessarily; it's just that she isn't real big on intellectualizing her emotional response to certain kinds of art. Over last Thanksgiving, I sat Moms down and had her dictate her reactions to me; I typed and she talked. Just as we finished, we received an e-mail informing us that my grandmother had been put in the hospital. The next day we flew to Portland. Three days after I had finished getting all my mother's notes typed up, my grandmother had died. Each of these entries is capped with a photo of some of my mother's mother's sculpture.

Moms lives in Nashville, Tennessee. She's a nurse, with a specialization in psychological dysfunction and drug and alcohol dependency. She's pretty rad.

SIS: First off, thanks for sending this; it definitely had some things I had never heard, and some I know and love. To be honest, quite a lot of it isn’t exactly up my alley; still, it’s always good to be exposed to things I might not otherwise consider. Overall, I think it hangs together musically; as varied as it is, it’s good listening. Mostly, I’m just a sucker for themed compilations; they're fun.

Some questions though: Why did you not include Guitar Junior’s "Family Rules"??? It must be that you don’t know this track, because otherwise you couldn’t have left it off; it's possibly the greatest “family” song ever. Plus, where in the hell is Sly Stone?

My sis is as opinionated as I am when it comes to music; she has some strong opinions and she ain't shy about sharing them. We're two of a kind.

Sis lives in Memphis, Tennessee. She's finishing a degree at Memphis University and preparing to start working as a children's librarian. She's also pretty rad.

Be kind to them; they didn't ask to play critic.

Mystikal - "Family"

Dad: There's nothing wrong with this, I guess. It just ain't very interesting to me.
Sis: This doesn’t exactly ring my bells. What can I say? Mystikal is interesting, I suppose.
Mom: This is not music I would normally listen to all the way through. I generally find rap unpleasant and I normally would turn it off, but seeing as I felt forced to listen to it all the way through (so I could give you my opinion), I got a different appreciation of it. It gradually became more comfortable on my ears and I had a realization that much of rap is an educated taste. Multiple listenings of this song (and others on this cd) have cracked the door on an appreciation for this kind of music for me.

The music sounds very strange; it's probably played on some synthesizer instruments I just don't know about. What I liked best was the chorus; the woman singing like a muse trying to draw him in. Her voice is soft and searching; the play between the man and the woman was really interesting.

Why does he keep saying "I'm from right here"? Is he saying, "What you see is what you get"? Maybe the woman is trying to say to him, "Telling me who your family is doesn't tell me anything about YOU?" It seems to me that she's asking him a lovely question, asking him about where he's coming from; but the more she asks, the more excited he gets. The man is more 'in the moment' and his voice is very scary and hard.

Something's just not right about where he's from, I can tell you that. He's obviously got some problems with aggression.

Buy "Let's Get Ready", Mystikal's 2000 breakout hit album, from Amazon.
Mystikal has long been a fave; "Big Truck Boys" remains an anthem. However...
This kinda shit makes me a little nauseous. He's up for parole in December.

I'm sticking with the difficult assumption that you never really know the complete story until you speak to all the parties involved and am making a real effort to stay out of the morality play.


It gives one pause to hype music that could be heard by a woman who was raped by the performer.

Response on my ethical obligations under these circumstances is encouraged. WSTHD?
Read this '00 interview with Michael Tyler.


Sister Rosetta Tharpe - "Family Prayer"

Dad: This song, usually titled "Don't Forget the Family Prayer," was recorded numerous times. The song index to Blues and Gospel Records: 1890 to 1943 lists four versions from the pre-WW II era and it was also recorded in the 1940's and 50's. There's a real nice version by a mixed group called the Silvertones on the Lloyds label from the early 1950's, very obscure and I don't think it's been reissued.
Sister Rosetta personalizes some of the distinctive character out of this song. It's usually done at a slower tempo, plus she doesn't sing all the verses.

If I remember correctly, I got to meet Sister Rosetta in 1974. She was singing in a small church on Herman Street in Nashville at a program hosted by The Voices of Nashville; willie Love was singing with them at the time. Sister Rosetta was travelling with the Sensational Nightingales at the same time that Charles Johnson was their lead singer. What a great line-up! In spite of the talent assembled, there were only a few dozen people in the church, which says something sad about the Nashville gospel audience of the time.

Sister Rosetta had circulation problems toward the end of her life. When I saw her, she'd recently had a leg amputated so she was force to perform out of a chair. She was a vibrant and kinetic performer, so this was terribly uncharacteristic. In any case, she sounded quite good. She kept a big smile on her face the whole time and took the time to shake my hand after the show. About three months later, she was dead.
Mom: I wondered, on listening to this, what is our family prayer? Maybe we should all take a moment to take the time to, perhaps, say grace and see wherever that takes you.

I like her spirituality; I want a little bit of that grace and I especially like her sense of family: rockin' bold and proud.

I remember seeing Sister Tharpe live. This one's a classic! Play it, mama!
Sis: Sister Rosetta Tharpe is wonderful, as always. She warbles like a bird and picks like Chuck Berry.

One of the greatest things the USPS ever did was put out a stamp on her, but I was a bit offended that they credited her only as “Sister Rosetta”. She never personally went by that name...

Buy Sister Rosetta Tharpe's Complete Recorded Works Volume Three, covering her work between the years 1946 and 47.
Nary a weak track to be found.
Read this brief bio of Tharpe (and listen to the accompanying MP3), then read this longer essay on Tharpe's stellar career.
Listen to Tharpe's version of "Down By the Riverside" with accompanying choir.


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Tuesday, March 15, 2005


Tofu Tuesdays mean a heaping helping of quality linkage culled from the many meanderings of your friendly webcrawling Spider-Ham. Forcing myself to post linkage ONLY twice a week means that some of these have made the rounds already. Funny how a link gets tired in the space of a few days. God help me if I try to post that Batman's Boner or watch it SHRED THIS late in the game, eh?

Anyhoo, here's hoping you'll find a few notes of interest amidst the ephemera. Have at it!

The Motherlode of Transformer commercials.
God, the Japanese Beastwars were SO much better than what we got.
Frightening impressionable children to sell chalk pills.
If I saw these guys on the street I'd beat them up, not off.
Kids: Kitten killing will not cause early death. It does, however, make you blind. That part's true. Sorry.

And speaking of chicken choking...
Nothing better than eating ugly fish.
The New Games Journalism is media code for people FINALLY taking video game creation, execution and business seriously without apologizing for it. Personally, I always though "Bow, Nigger" was a little fatuous but pretty well written; "The Great Scam" and Making Marvel Characters on City of Heroes are also worth your time.

I was also very amused by Greg Costikyan's note on the new 50 Cent videogame.
"the movies is where I feel your boobies" AKA Senor Coconut lite
Like Father Clinton says: "Let me put my sunglasses on so I can see what they're not looking at".
Wrong Answer, Grandma.
Increasing the too real possibility that we'll see Karaoke DJing in the all-too-near future, meet the DJammer.

Lejo will be waiting for you.
Tuwa has been hassling me to tell ya'll about this bookmark saver for Mozilla but since I'm in the process of backing up all my files to reinstall Windows, I don't think it's Firefox that was the problem.
Surfing about the Diseases and Parasites of Wildlife in Northern British Columbia Website is some serious "i told U I was hardcore" shit.

For your viewing pleasure (SENSITIVE SOULS AVOID): a rabid skunk with a faceful of porcupine, HALF of a duck head infested with nasal leeches and a mythological hellbird.

Look THAT up in your Uncyclopedia.
Speaking of hardcore, how about the art of Professor Gunther von Hagens? His plastinated body art may be "colourful, and it is not smelly" but it has more than a whiff of the freakshow about it.

Personally, I'm sticking to Chicken Mummification.
For those of you who've been hankering to show that you're a bright little monkey, may I recommend a Mofi Tee? Or perhaps you want a Banana?
Optimists will have a Glorious Day.
For some reason, I CAN'T do Twinoo. I can do the math all day, but the color blends simply don't make sense in my eye. Maybe I'm color-blind? Or just unstylish?
Hungarian Video Advertising Clips
Almost ALL of them are fascinating; start here and here.
Memphis guitar whiz (and my sister's boyfriend) Ron Franklin puts up a rollicking, punkish cover of the Blind Willie McTell joint "Let Me Scoop for You".
Giving new meaning to "crotch rocket": Jet Bike goes 146 MPH.
The Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art is showing an exhibition of work called Now and Then, pairing a cartoonist's pro work with his/er juvenalia. To wit, here's Tony Millionaire, Peter Kuper, Charles Burns and Gary Baseman.
Mac users, would you let me know if Nicecast is the future or just an oasis? Cause that shit looks CORRECT.
The Soul Sides Mark Anthony Neal Mixtape is required listening for anyone with even a passing interest in RnB. O-Dub stays killing it.

parting gifts

Step One in the Tofu Hut rebuild is in place; thanks to Ian, the Hut is FINALLY linkable by individual permalink posts. Meaning you can now go back and find all those nuggets of joy (remember Prince Week?) and interviews and link to them. Feel free to explore; we've got a year's worth of continuity to plunder!