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Tuesday, May 31, 2005

A hundred bucks don't get you very far these days, do it?


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Meeting the Neighbors Special: Hey DJ

I couldn't help but hear monju bosatsu, when in response to the big ol' audioblog list he cried out, "Yes, but which ones are the *good* ones?" Corralling a new audioblog is a difficult enough task; if the type of music is one that you're unfamiliar with, it can be downright impossible... without a guide.

Herein, th' Hut will take hold of your hand and show you the sights from a select few of my favorite audioblogs, each one chockfulla downloading goodness for those willing to take a few chances... and who knows? Jordi sez you just might learn something along the way.

Today's theme is ONLINE DJs: remixers, mashers and mixers who ply their quasi-legal music on the great big intarweb. Many professional DJs put a lot of their work online to try and attract offers to gig; there's also a whole buncha auters and amateurs who love to post their efforts for review, but separating the wheat from the chaff can be tedious work. Here's two of the very best of what the Tofu thresher has reaped, complete with some descriptive testimony and a list of suggested grabs available for DL!

DJ Dopplebanger
Dopplebanger's stock in trade is mashes: elegant portmanteaus of songs that generally share little DNA at all, engineered into great, lively Frankensteins. Dopplebanger's diversity of taste and genre produces some great ideas that function much better than they sound on paper; both Aaliyah and 50 Cent improbably benefit from accompaniment provided by Sonic Youth, to say nothing of what Prince's "Gett Off" does to accentuate Missy's "Work It".

Dopplebanger's work succeeds in two different ways; first, as in the aforementioned examples, he reinforces the thrust of a song by finding a brother in arms. These kind of mashes are to the ear what a double martini is to your sobriety: more simply means MORE. Other tracks subvert one, or sometimes BOTH, of the original meanings in favor of some sort of musical blackbird pie. The addition of DJ Villeneuve's house music to Christina Aguilera's "Genie in a Bottle" turns the two together into a delicate and sweet pastry; Mobb Deep is defanged by The Rapture, but not before they imbue the latter's double-dutch electro-pop an edginess that it could never accomplish on its own; the strange offspring of Khia, M83 and Aphex Twin (unimaginatively, but evocatively, titled "Pussylicker") is neither fish nor fowl, lurching wildly across the dancefloor like a wild beast.

DJ Dopplebanger is a mad beat scientist with a diverse and fabulous menagerie available at the click of a mouse; go forth and get down with the experiments.

Recommended tracks to DL: Don't miss the deceptively simple mashes of White Stripes with Biggie on "Hypnotize the Army", Vangelis with Grandmaster Flash on "Flash Runner" and A-Ha with the Jungle Brothers on "Take On Me Brotha"; the Usher over music from Clint Mansell's 'Requiem for a Dream' is a favorite that I've already hyped on th' Hut; there's also a brand new mash of Snoop and Justin's 'Signs' that ups the disco quotient considerably, leaving a potent ass-shaker of a track even MORE bootylicious than could be deemed possible.
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Pojmasta
A Poj remix is unmistakable; th' Masta likes to create "glitch" mixes, which is to say that everything is very finely chopped (and only lightly screwed). The final effect is that of an impossibly speedy and accurate digital dj, slashing songs into a thousand syncopated mini beats.

In theory, this sounds repetitive and unpleasant; but in practice, Poj's esoteric skills makes the spastic cuts amount to something more than just lost space. A listener familiar with the track will re-hear it again and be forced to reasses the music; a first time listener will discover an entirely different sonic landscape, filled with bumps and soundless valleys. This can be subtle, as on Poj's gentle doubletime beat mix of Massive Attack's "Teardrops", or revolutionary, as the violently jumpy reimagining of LL's "Mama Said Knock You Out" or the garage-meets-bebop remix Destiny's Child's "Jumpin', Jumpin'". Pojmasta mixes are often whimsical (the bouncing bass of the reimagined "Inspector Gadget"), hyperactive (the glitch-upon-glitch of the Madness' "Baggy Trousers") and imminently danceable (Kylie's extra slinky chopped-up "Slow"); the same holds true for his original electronic pieces ("D//E" and "Klapt" sound like early Richard D. James).

Poj's approach to DJing is downright zen: it's not what he adds to a track so much as what he takes away. By punching a thousand holes in a song, he has created a new readymade work of art. He also gets me up outta my seat; I think he'll do the same for you.

Recommended tracks to DL: The Poj take on "Toxic" long ago supplanted the original as my favorite, ditto for "Lucky Star" (the Basement Jaxx/Dizzee, not the Madonna). Even Diplo's 'Piracy' mix of M.I.A's "$10" pales beside Poj's. The long form "Scummer mix" provides thirty nonstop minutes of chopped and mashed excitement to liven up your run, party or bar mitzvah; I wouldn't want to live in a world without it.
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Next time we'll take a peek at DJs Osymyso and FakeID.

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Tuesday, May 24, 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.

On receipt of today's piece, the RHS made me swear a solemn vow not to cut loose with any introductory monkeyshines.

"None o' yer tomfoolery this time, Mister Tutti-Frutti! We's praisin' th' dead an' this sumbitch deserves a lil' goddamn dignity."

I agree. Here's the Stranger.




Jimmy Martin - "Sophronie"

Jimmy Martin - "Rock Hearts"

I'm riding in the back seat of a 1970s-era limo and the King of Bluegrass, Jimmy Martin, is behind the wheel. He's attempting to navigate this land shark – his daily mode of transportation – out of the cramped driveway at his home in Hermitage, TN; just outside Nashville. He backs up, backs up ... until THUNK! The limo slams into a tree. I expect Martin to get out and inspect the damage, but he doesn't even blink. He knows the car can take it -- and besides, for him, banging into a tree was how you knew you'd gone far enough. He calmly points the limo toward the highway and we're off to Shoney's for a long interview over a longer breakfast.

Jimmy Martin was a man who pushed things to extremes. If Bill Monroe put a 16-horsepower engine into mountain music and created bluegrass, Jimmy Martin drove that sonofabitch harder than anyone. When he rocked, he rocked hard; when he sang a sad song, you believed he was miserable; when he delivered a gospel song you could imagine Heaven was near. If there's such a thing as emo bluegrass, Martin was it.

Martin traveled from his hometown of Sneedville, TN, to Nashville in 1946. He found his way to Monroe, his idol; he auditioned, impressed the great man with his harmonies and propulsive guitar playing and was made a Blue Grass Boy straightaway. During his tenure, Martin's high harmony singing pushed Monroe's lead into the stratosphere, effectively creating the "high lonesome sound" we now know (as Martin himself would tell you). But when Martin went solo a few years later, he began to suspect (with some justification) that Monroe wanted to sabotage his career -- including keeping him from his oft-stated greatest ambition, to become a member of the Grand Ole Opry. A half-century later, his eyes still welled with tears as he told me of both his affection for Monroe and his frustration at their estrangement.

The Opry didn't really need Monroe's disapproval to deny Martin entrée – he rubbed a lot of folks the wrong way. He did not suffer fools gladly and if he thought you a fool, he just couldn't stop himself from telling you. His standards were just as high for himself; he complained to me that he couldn't find pickers good enough to play in his band and that he didn't like any recording he had ever made. He was wrong on that last point: his records, especially the early ones, crackle with the same energy that he brought to his famously roof-raising live shows. He named himself "The King of Bluegrass," but anyone else would have been a fool to try and challenge him for the title. If Monroe could be the "Father of Bluegrass," Martin might as well be the King.

His recordings became more infrequent as he grew older and he was semi-retired by 1980. He continued to perform at bluegrass festivals from April to October every year and never gave less than his best. As late as a month ago, he was looking forward to playing at the Bean Blossom Bluegrass Festival in June, but it wasn't to be. Just over a year ago, Martin was diagnosed with bladder cancer and it finally defeated him. He died on May 14, 2005 at Nashville's Alive Hospice and was buried four days later in Spring Hill Cemetery in Madison, TN; beneath a tall, elaborate tombstone extolling his accomplishments that, naturally, he designed himself. The King of Bluegrass was determined to have the last word.

Martin told me that his plot was close enough to that of Roy Acuff (whom he adored) that "I can reach out of my grave when I get buried and get me a flower or two." And if Jimmy Martin believed he could do that, then I do too.
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Visit Martin's official website, and read his bio: "When he is at home, Jimmy enjoys taking care of his farm and watching boxing matches on television. He remembers listening to the great Joe Louis on the battery radio back in the hills of Sneedville as a young boy. Jimmy still thinks that Joe Louis is the best boxer in the world!" He loved his hunting dogs, too.
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Buy the Country Music Hall of Fame's wonderful Martin compilationThe King of Bluegrass. Do NOT pay $50 for it, which is how much it's going for on Amazon.com.
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Check out the critically acclaimed documentary on Martin, King of Bluegrass. It's okay to buy that from Amazon.
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Visit the International Bluegrass Music Museum, which includes Martin in its Hall of Honor.
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Learn about Hermitage's other most famous resident, President Andrew Jackson.

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spiffy

Perhaps it was inevitable: combine spinnas with fronts and your get sponts.

Wouldn't these rip the inside of your lip all to hell?
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LEEEEEEROOOOYYYYY JEEEENKINSSS!
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Tuwa's Back!
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These handpainted reproductions of old Indian horror movies are pretty awesome; I'm seriously considering getting a T-shirt with this on it.
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New singles reviews from yours truly over at Stylus.
Spoilers: I like Amerie and Gwen, Coldplay and My Chemical Romance not so much.

As long as you're sniffing about Stylus, there's an excellent essay on the state of the US Billboard charts that bears a read. Were you aware that Mario (the Chris Rock lookin' one, not the Italian plumber) was at number one for nine whole weeks this year? Can you name the song?

Shit be floatin' HIGH, ya'll.
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It's rare that I care to indulge my taste for schadenfreude, but watching a flock of fainting goats going all "Pass-the-Pig" is just the thing to satisfy my dark side.

Mowses Hum Pij
I'm a sucker for "Archy and Mehitabel" style animal diaries.

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Monday, May 23, 2005

Dusty Grooves Give Good Music


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glisten: skimming the surface noise

The Pitter Pats - "Bury Me Dead"

The Hueys - "You Ain't No Hippie"

In the spirit of Soul Sides' Black Label Collection, Th' Hut is both excited and proud to offer a new regular feature: skimming the surface noise. The skimming tracks are analog-to-digital transfers of 78 and 45 RPM cuts from a number of genres; you'll find gospel, bluegrass, jazz, quartet singing and folk music in the mix. All of this material has been provided by the good graces of Good Ol' Pops Tofu. Every track is either horrendously obscure or simply out of print; you're unlikely to see this music anywhere else. Beathunters and DJ's should keep an eye peeled for the surface noise imprint; you ain't gonna have THESE hooks, I promise.

As the title and the source suggests, skimming tracks are going to be clad in a bit of surface noise; this may sound a bit disarming to modern-day laser-eared listeners, but I find a reasonable (read: not obtrusive) amount of surface noise to be nostalgiac, warm and somewhat desirable. Rather than give you some sort of sterilized copy of the original, here's the real dirty dirty, just like it would sound on the shellac today. If you can't handle that, Jack, you can stick it up your filter.

Our first episode of surface noise focuses on a pair of pieces from New Orleans r+b piano maestro, Huey 'Piano' Smith. Huey's big smash back in the day was "Don't You Just Know it"; the singles he wrote that you probably still know include "Sea Cruise", "Lil' Liza Jane" and "Rockin' Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu". All of Smith's hits came on Ace Records; by the time of these two recordings, Huey's star had faded somewhat and he had been forced out to the much smaller and less-reliable Instant label.

Nonetheless, Huey STAYED recording and touring for well over twenty years, mostly with his primary backing band, The Clowns; but, by the 1960's, Smith chose to start hitting the road with a few smaller side projects, giving himself the liberty to cut loose and test out new material without jeopardizing the Clown's good name. These AKA bands including 'The Hueys' and 'The Pitter Pats' (presumably named after the popular card game that band members gambled over). Huey was joined on these trips with his fellow songwriter, collaborator and lead female soloist, Brenda Brandon. Brandon can be heard doing solo work on 1967's "Bury Me Dead," a cocky and joyous paean to bachelor(ette)hood.

Huey would eventually retire from the music industry and join the hallowed musical ranks (Prince, MJ) of the Jehovah's Witness, but not before he took a broad stab at posers and youth culture wanna-be's with his vicious, funky, bass-blasting "You Ain't No Hippie", circa '68.

Both of these cuts remain, to the best of my knowledge, currently unissued on CD; however, both HAVE been recently re-released on an import-only vinyl pressing of Smith rarities called Pitta' Pattin' that I would LOVE to get ahold of. Holla if ya holdin'!

How to make sure that they ONLY bury you dead.
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Learn a bit more about hippies.

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spiffy

$615 coulda got you an ivory monkey head with baseball cap.

Unfortunately I had all my money tied up in this cosplay fox head.

Decisions, decisions.
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For those of you who have a PS2, you owe it to yourself to take on God of War, which held me rapt for three glorious days. It's a perfect rental.

on the other hand, I feel entirely safe in saying that I think I should be able to comfortably skip fiddy's entry to the ol' ultraviolent.

I mean, what the fuck, you're getting involved in real world gunplay and then making hyperrealistic looking supersamurai killmachine videogames starring yourself? This, for me, is off the rails. And yeah, I know it's not meant for kids, but they're releasing it on Christmas? Pfah.
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Ugly animals yawning.
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Sure, everybody heard about that great lion vs. midget battle royale, but were you aware about the outbreak of Cambodian zombies?

More news pranks, please.
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Our old buddy D. Boyle is more than willing to ride the new Star Wars train to the dark side.

As long as it's organic, I guess...
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FUCK FUCK FUCK DEVIN FUCK FUCK!!!

I am EXTEMELY hyped about this concert; Devin is a BIG Tofu Hut favorite and somebody I would totally go out of my way to see. Luckily, th' Dude is gonna be nearby and I will DEFINITELY be on hand; anybody who'd like to come with should drop me a line so we can get together and show this gentleman some serious New York love.

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followup

First off, a big apology to all readers, new and old, for my enforced suspension from school. A severely wonky Firefox continued to bump me out of Blogger's homepage, iTunes erased my playlists, I couldn't get my files FTP'd over to my host, dogs ate my homework...

Suffice it to say, a dozen insolvable problems came to a head and had to be dealt with by sowing the earth with salt, invoking a few sacred names, sacrificing a cute lil' goat and finally reinstalling Windows (shudder). Tensions ran high and I'm not ashamed to say that some tears were shed, but I think we're back on solid ground again (though this post had to be re-written when my C drive got wiped on the OS reinstallation); keep those fingers crossed.

Obviously, this lag couldn't have happened at a worse time: I could hardly help but notice that the incomplete audioblog list seems to have stirred up a little attention to my humble abode and what better time to abandon a thriving project than when you have thirty five thousand hits a day? Oy. Anyway, welcome to those of you who found your way here in the aftermath of all the hubbub; I hope you'll find the general blither-blather and spucktacular music worth hangin' around. I've a completely full roster for the upcoming week (we've got underground Japanese hiphop and more surface noise rarities just to get started), so check back often... heck, I'll even quit buggin' ya for contributions for the next two weeks until we've done some genuine content providing; how's that?

COMMERCIAL FREE HUT, YA'LL!

You may notice that I said incomplete audioblog list; I've been turned on to and discovered some FIFTY MORE since the post in question. There will be an update on the sidebar within the week, so if you already breezed through the last six or seven hundred links, I'll have fresh meat for you soon.

Also worthy of note: the list in question has since been wiki-ized, so feel free to play along at home!

And let's not forget the fallout from the Bizzy radio interview; that shit went tempest in a teapot over at Allhiphop, culminating in this public apology from Matt.

As far as I can see, Matt did pretty right by Bizzy and Bizzy responded with how he felt. No harm, no foul all over; I still wish somebody would step up and do right by the brother.

Lastly, a big thank you to the boys over at The Morning News for throwing a few kudos my way. I'm much impressed to be hangin' with the company on this list and while I _haven't_ heard (or loved) "every song possible", I _am_ insane.

So, you know, I got that goin' for me.
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Wednesday, May 18, 2005

sorry to be so silent out here; itunes and firefox have crashed AGAIN and I'm getting it back together. music is on the way; ah swears!

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Thursday, May 12, 2005


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spiffy special: Mylène Farmer
A very special guest joins us today at th' Hut:
Elisabeth Vincentelli is a former music editor and current senior editor at Time Out NY. Elisabeth has written for the Stone, EW, the Voice and has penned liners for more than a few discs. This is, I hope, the first of several pieces that she will be doing for us on French pop music.
Make her feel welcome and leave some commentary, n'est-ce pas?


Mylène Farmer - 'L'amour N'est Rien'

Mylène Farmer - 'Porno Graphique'

There¹s only one person who matters in French pop, and it¹s not Benjamin Biolay or Keren Ann or Phoenix or Daft Punk; it¹s Mylène Farmer.

In her adopted home (for she was born in Canada), Mylène¹s often dubbed "the French Madonna," a comparison she¹s earned by dint of her longevity as a best-selling star (close to 20 years), her ambitious, super-slick pop sound, and the obsessive devotion she inspires in her fans (of which I¹ve been one since hearing her first big hit, 'Libertine,' in 1986. Unlike Madonna, though, Mylène isn¹t really embraced by her own country¹s intelligentsia, which is sadly incapable of seeing that she¹s the most idiosyncratic, eccentric, completely sui generis singer we French have. She sells millions of records and is treated with derision by tastemakers, the fools!

Like her frozen-in-amber appearance, Mylène¹s songs, which she writes with longtime producer Laurent Boutonnat, have changed very little over the years: a disco-Goth stomper here, a dramatic ballad there; frequent lyrical references to mysterious shadows, obsessive love, death and the joys of anal sex; echo-drenched vocals alternating between sexy whispers and asthmatic high notes. (The one time she tried to deviate from her formula, on the guitar-heavy, Los Angeles­recorded Anamorphosée [1995], the reception was frosty.) To accompany this delirium, the red-headed singer's made a string of demented videos boasting huge budgets, full credit rolls and nutty storylines.

Here are two excerpts from Mylène¹s brand-new CD, "Avant Que L'Ombre;" the first single is titled 'Fuck Them All' (in English) but the album is so good that it isn¹t even among the best songs.

'L'amour N'est Rien' is a straightforward, vaguely uptempo pop tune. The lyrics cover all the Mylène bases, referencing metaphysical something or other, the darkness, and love being boring when it¹s sexually correct.

In 'Porno Graphique,' a crow-like cackles introduce a typically catchy Mylène tune that, also typically, combines gloomy bells, a nursery-rhyme melody, a piano counter-melody, disco-inspired strings and treated vox provided by the multitracked singer. Lyrically, the song joins 1988¹s 'Pourvu Qu'elles Soient Douces' (available on Farmer's two disc best-of "Les Mots") in the pantheon of great Mylène songs praising sodomy. Oddly, the track concludes on the singer asking for a mojito before erupting into disquieting laughter. It doesn¹t make sense but then Mylène hardly ever does and still, it works; that¹s what makes her a pop star.

Import "Avant Que L'Ombre" (roughly, "Before the Darkness"), Farmer's new and long-awaited album, from Amazon.
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Explore this extensive Farmer site.
It's in French but the monolingual among us can always rely on pidgin babelfish.
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Download a score of Farmer tracks (and some wallpapers!) from this slick fansite.
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Read this Farmer bio (in English!) from Radio France International.

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spiffy

BUFFO IS THE WORLD'S STRONGEST CLOWN.
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Want to live MOMA chic, but can't afford the toll?
Why blow your money on a 45 buck Carlo Contin Satellite Bowl when you can get the same effect from six pairs of chopsticks and a rubber band?
More economical DIY design available here.
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Custom Pez dispensers.
I'm diggin' the Mister Natural, the Alien and the Badtz Maru.
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Having just zipped through the first two seasons of The Wire in about a week-and-a-half flat, I can't recommend it enough.

Nobody's harder than Omar, so check out this great Tavis Smiley interview (transcription here) with the man himself, Michael K. Williams.

Dude is street fa real and fa sho.
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"Dave Chappelle has checked himself into a mental health facility in South Africa"
I'm a-hopin' and a-prayin' that this is some sort of Kaufman-esque stunt; otherwise, it's a damn shame.
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Lord knows I monkeyed it up enough yesterday, but here's one more: An Ebay auction for a screaming monkey button.

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Wednesday, May 11, 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.
I had plans over the weekend to meet with the R.H.S. for a friendly game of horseshoes thrown over a few High Lifes. After waiting over an hour for his no-showing ass, I presumed the fellow had hit the booze early and chose to pack up my steel and hit the road. No sooner was I about to head home when here comes the Stranger, yowling like a half-skinned cat and beshitted from head to toe.
"What", I dryly intoned, "happened to YOUR redneck ass?"
"MONKEYS!" the Stranger screamed. "GODDAMN SPACE MONKEYS! THROWIN' THAR FECES LIKE IT WAS GOIN' OUTTA STYLE!"
"Space monkeys?"
"Y'HEARD ME, SMALL FRY! They flew on down in some sorta secret gubmint you eff oh right alongside next to my pickup! Soon as I saw em, they stuck they heads outta some kinda porthole and started yammerin' on about some sorta 'We-come-in-peace' nonsense. I seen plenty a sci-fi movies so I knows a loada alien hooey when I hears it; them space monkeys was here to take over the planet but I'll be damned if I'll see it happen on my watch! I reached back to m'gunrack and let off a quarter pound of rocksalt just about point blank into they damned chimpanzee hides! Soon's I pull that neat trick tho', they shows their true colors and commences to flinging primate waste till it just about fills my cab! I had to leave the car behind and take off running!"
I remained skeptical. "Have you been drinking again?"
"I been knockin' em back as quick as I can! Can you blame me? Iffin you was covered in space monkey shit, wouldn't YOU have a go at the bottle?"
"Where are these flying apes now, Oh Currently-Brown-Headed Stranger?"
"They done buzzed off, yeeping and ooking a terrible mess and trailin' doo-doo behind 'em. I must say that in retrospect, I shore do wish I hadn't been so hasty to use firearms. Coulda maybe learned somethin' from those space monkeys."
"Indeed," I replied; "If not for your hotheadedness, the human race might've been privy (no pun intended) to the key to interstellar travel, surpassing lightspeed and mayhaps the very secrets of the universe."
The Stranger commenced to blow a raspberry. "To hell with all that high-falutin' gibbertygee; I just wants to know how theys been treatin' Elvis."
With that, the Stranger tossed me a stained CD and some godforsaken shitsmeared notes, then hightailed it off to drop a dime to the Weekly World News, leaving yours truly to pass along the music and tell the tale.
Here's the Stranger.


Pinmonkey - Sweet Blossom

Pinmonkey - Fly

Rock and roll began with solo artists -- Elvis, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis -- but came of age with bands. The Beatles, the Stones, the Who, Zeppelin, on and on and on. Kids grow up dreaming of being in a rock and roll band. But while the country music business has come to look more and more like the rock music business over the years -- the shows have gotten bigger and more showbizzy, the production has gotten glossier and the fashions are even a little more up-to-date (well, not for everyone) -- country has never quite adapted to the idea of bands.

When Alabama found success in the early 1980s, the door opened a crack, and a series of groups like Diamond Rio, Shenandoah and Sawyer Brown slipped in -- and then the Garth Brooks cult-of-personality era shut the door tightly again. Duos do fine, trios are good to go, but real bands have an uphill climb. Currently, only Lonestar could be considered a major mainstream country group, and they follow the time-honored tradition of allowing Nashville session guys to play on their records; they also lack a permanent bass player, detracting from that intangible sense of bandhood.

Why the resistance? Country music's core appeal is the mainline emotional connection between singer and listener, and the presence of multiple personalities in one artistic entity tends to dilute that impact. It's easier to believe a solo artist is singing just for you. It all starts with a song, they say around here, and anything that distracts from that tends to fall away.

Perhaps all this explains why country radio took a pass on Pinmonkey. The foursome formed in 1998, debuted with an indie album (Speak No Evil) in 2002, and caught the attention of a Nashville major, which released their self-titled second album later that same year. Both albums showcase a sharp blend of radio-ready '70s-style country-rock, bluegrass, gospel, folk and R&B. (Defying all logic, their major-label album is superior to the indie.) Lead singer Michael Reynolds is possessed of one of the finest voices in the city, a sweet tenor that wouldn't have gotten him kicked out of the Gram Parsons-era Byrds, while multi-instrumentalist Chad Jeffers, his bass-playing brother Michael and drummer (and superb harmony singer) Rick Schell offered ample support.

But it just didn't happen. Their thumping single "Barbed Wire and Roses" rose to #25, but follow-ups floundered. Last May, the band lost its record deal and Schell walked out within weeks. The remaining trio have stuck together, although Chad Jeffers is now doing double duty as a member of Keith Urban's backing band. Nonetheless, Pinmonkey are currently putting the finishing touches on a new album and securing a new record deal. Maybe the mainstream will come around eventually, but it's likely that "Pinmonkey Junkies" (as their fans are known) will have the band to themselves for a while longer.

Speak No Evil's "Sweet Blossom" shows off Reynolds' voice and songwriting skills, while on Pinmonkey the group dips into its bag of bluegrass tricks to turn Sugar Ray's "Fly" inside out. (That one's for you, Miccio.)

Be a Pinmonkey Junkie! Find out how you can help Pinmonkey. (First suggestion: buy some merch.) Pinmonkey and Speak No Evil are also available at Amazon.
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Check out former Pinmonkey drummer Rick Schell's solo album.
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Pre-order your copy of the sixth season of The Simpsons on DVD, featuring "And Maggie Makes Three" -- the episode in which Homer fulfills his lifelong dream of becoming a "pinmonkey" at the Bowl-o-Rama. You'll have to wait 'til the seventh season comes around for "A Fish Called Selma," featuring that other simian-themed masterpiece, "Stop the Planet of the Apes, I Want to Get Off." Rest in peace, Troy McClure.
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Learn about famous monkeys through history, including the "first non-human punk rocker," a rhesus monkey named "Crap."

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spiffy

It's called travelling music, bustin'-ya-ass-style: Oliver Wang and Junichi Semitsu's 'Poplicks' blog offers some on-the-road mixtape tracklistings for you would-be Kerouacs.
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Ephemera Now's enviable collection of pop-art advertising is a mouth-watering delight that should keep you busy switching your wallpaper for hours. This fine fellow has been adorning my screen for the past two weeks; ain't he purty?
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The inevitable Darth Vader blog.
"He enjoys fixing things, listening to music, and crushing people's tracheas with his mind."
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Ska for the Skeptical follows the same path as the equally admirable Bollywood for the Skeptical: both sites provide an MP3 mixtape of the genre in question along with copious annotation.
Get it while it's hot; who knows how long these excellent repositories will stay live?
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Found on EBay: this unbelievably beautiful silk bat-fan, circa 1900 (sold for over $3,200!) and this shocking paper fan that shows a trio of naked, crying toddlers with the subtitle ALLIGATOR BAIT. YIKES!
There's a UGK album cover, eh?
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Rosie O'Donnell Needs Toilet Seat Assistance, Finds Will Smith Attractive, Loves Marshmallows Too
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Shadow Murder Force Androids
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Purpology reviews music videos and, better yet, shows you where you can find them yourself.

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Monday, May 09, 2005


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Even when you don't find music here, you can bet I'm on my grizzly.

Here's a recent post I made over at Monkeyfilter and ILM:


Some of you may know me from around town; I'm an audioblogger.

A musicblogger/audioblogger/MP3blogger is a person who offers interesting, out of print, rare or otherwise engaging music to people at no charge, out of love for the sound and to promote artists that they would like to see get more popular. I'm not prejudiced; I also include record label sites, artist's personal sites, people who aggregate the daily adventures of other musicbloggers into digests... I like em all.

What you WON'T find in here are file directories without commentary or sites offering a full album that is currently in print. Audioblogging is NOT about piracy; it's about selectively sharing sounds.

There are more musicbloggers out there than most people would believe; I've been keeping a close eye on the phenomena for about two years and have compiled what I think is the most comprehensive list of musicbloggers yet available.

As of May 9th, 2005, all of the following sites are live and have tunes available to listen to. Almost all of them allow you to download music to listen to at your leisure.

Here's the grand collection, organized by my own interpretation of their primary genre and (new feature!) alphabetically for easier reference.

I hope you'll forgive me an initial self link here as I modestly suggest that you might want to start your musical journey by dropping by MY SITE, the other home of this list, The Tofu Hut?
Th' Hut drops new posts regularly with scads of reference material and MP3s for your delectation; we also update this list with newly emerging musicblogs on the regular and cover the waterfront with all matter of silly linkage and news in all fields.

Enough horn-tootin'. First, let's take a look at some ECLECTIC blogs, sites that offer music in a variety of genres and styles: #1 In Belgium, 2 Trombones+Crossbow, 3hive, 15 Min. 2 Listen, 20 Jazz Funk Greats, 80's Tunes, 510 to 514, 10,000 Things, Achtung Baby!, Acousticwoodlands, Adoru, ANAblog, Angelfish, Angels 20, Antificial Radio, Audiography, Aurgasm, Awful Thom's Cabin, Bars and Guitars, Bedazzled!, A Best Truth, BigRockCandyMountain, Birth/Music/Death, Blah Spot, Blog this Way, Blogotheque, Bloggio Oddio, Blow Up Doll, Bomblog, Bootleg, Borrowed Tunes, BowBow2, Broken Cadence, Bubblegum Machine, Buked and Scorned, Bumrocks, Captain's Crate, Club Lonely, Comet/Star/Moon, Comboplates, Comfort Music, Cool Hand Bak, The Cool Out, Copy, Right?, Cotton Candy Hammer, Cowboytranceorchestra, Coverville, David F. Presents, DeviceIsSecurity, Dirty Poodle, Dozerblog, Dream Chimney, Dump In a Box, Eclectic Sound Basement, EderBlog, EJFlavors, Em P Me, EmptyFree, Entroporium, EuroRanch Log, Evil Closet Monkey, Exiled Afrikan, Faint Deluded Smile, Fol de Rol, Fresh Tunage, Fluxblog, FuturismAin'tShit, Garage Hangover, Gathering Dust, Get Levitation, Grapejuice +, Gutterbreakz, Headphone Sex, Hey Mercedes, Hippocampus, The Hound, IckMusic, Idiot's Guide to Dreaming, ILMiXor, Imprudent Marriage, Jeff's Cubicle, Just For a Day, Keep the Coffee Coming, Kenneth Trax, Kick and Go, Kittytext, Lacunae, Largehearted Boy, LastNightMP3SavedWife, Laundromat-United, Lil' Mike, Listen!, Listoplay, Little Hits, Locust St., Lost in the 80's, Louder than War, Mangos and Mandolins, Marx v. Monorail, MasterMix, Megalomania, Mez Ecl Ext, Microlips, Million Miles Away, Moistworks, Monkey SARS, Monkey vs. Robot, Mudd Up!, Muppet Pastor, Music Is a Virus, Music For Robots, Mystical Beast, Naugahyde Life, Nervous Music, The New Black, Nite Songs, Nimbus Coleman, No Frontin', Just Music, NPR: AllSongsConsidered, Nuclear Beef, The Of Mirror Eye, Off City Limits, One Track Minds, Oorsmeer, Orchard Lounge, Order of Progress, ORTF, Otsikheta Ame!, PCL LinkDump, Perfect Green Blanket, Pimps of Gore, Planet Blarg, Play/Pause, Pop 77, Pop Is Pablum, Poptext, Poptones, Punkassbitch, Radio Babylon, Radio CRMW, Radio KRUD, Ready Rock Moe Rex, Th'Real Thing, Retrobabe, Revolution in the Head, Rhetoric Pig, Riff Central, Robosexual, Rusty Spell, Said the Gramophone, Scene Point Blank, Scenestars, Scissorkick, Seibuone's 45, The Selector, Silence Rhythm 2, Sleeve Notes, Smashed Robot, So Cynical/Hip/Full, Something Old/New, Songs: Illinois, The Sound of 7, SoundScience, SAA: Baby Snakes, A Spoonful of Lester, Spread the Good Word, Stereogum, Sticker Shock, Stypod, The Suburbs are Killing Us, Suckapants, Swound, Take Yr. Medicine, Talkie Walkie, Techno Rebels, Teenage Kicks 3K, Telephone Thing, Thought+Expression, Throbbing Skank Ape, Throwaway Style, Trouble Crunk, Tuning, Turquoise Days, Tyrone Shoelaces, U Mean Competitor, Uncritical, Universal Pop, Vinyl Mine, Vociferous Slam, WFMU'S On the Download, WitnessExchange, Womenfolk, Work 4 It, Yewknee and YouDon'tHave2EntertainMe.

Next up is a collection of sites devoted to SOUL/FUNK/RNB music: #1 Songs In Heaven, Diddywah, Ear Fuzz, Funk 45, Funk You, Home of the Groove, Monkey Funk, Music From My Loft, Soul Club Jukebox, Soul Sides and Vinyl Podcast.
(NB: Most, but not all, of these emphasize music produced before 1990.)

One of the real booms in musicblogs has been in the field of hiphop sharing sites. Check out these hot HIPHOP/REGGAE-TON blogs: The 3, 45 Blog, African Hip Hop, Art of Rhyme, Better Than Yours, The Box, Breaking Ranks, Broke BBoys, Can I Bring My Gat?, Cocaine Blunts, Cuban Links, DigiCrates, Eric's Archives, Free Motion Hiphop, Government Names, Hardly Art, Hectic, Hip Hop Music, Honey Soul, Houston So Real, Lemon Red, Low End Theory, The Perfect Beat, Popadopalis, Rap Nerd, Razorbladerunner, The Rookie, Sartwell's Reggae Guide, Steady Bootleggin', Straight Bangin', Street Dreams, Treat Williams, Turntable Lab, Versionist Riddim, We Eat So Many Shrimp, Weave In They Hair and Weekly Vinyl.

A few devoted JAZZ bloggers have recently made the scene: Dark Funk, Hot Dance/Jazz, Jazz and Conversation, Polish Jazz, The Red Hot Jazz Archive and xanax taxi.

These sites specialize in BLUES/FOLK/OLDTIMEY music and sounds: American Memory Audio, American Music, Cantaria, Honey Where You Been?, Honking Duck, The Ragtime Ephemeralist, Tinfoil and Uncommon Folk.

There's a whole bunch of folks who would love to share their tastes in ROCK/J(apanese)-POP/POP/INDY with you: 4F, 7 and 7 is, Aging Rapidly, Angels Twenty, AutoRadioABordo, Bastard Camus, Bedroom Dancing, Th' Big Ticket, Buscate un Novio, The Catbird Seat, Cerulean's Love, Chromewaves, Crimson Stigmata, The Crutch, Dasp, DreamtimeMix, Each Note Secure, Ending East, Famous for Dying, Fire of Love, Fruits of Chaos, Good News/Bad Music, Good Rockin' Tonight, Heraclitus Sayz, House of Leaf+Lime, IHOPussy, Into the Groove, John Peel, Juke Box, Keep C86 Alive, Kill All Artists, Kingblind, LastSoundofSummer, Life of a Spuckle, Lost Bands/New Wave Era, Milk Cocoon, Mod Pop Punk Archives, momomomomomomomo, Mona Lisa Overdrive, Music of Aodai, Music For the Free World, Music for Unicorns, Mystery and Misery, No Night Sweats, No One Here Is Asking, No Picasso, Nobu Log, Perfumed Garden=Peel, Pitchfork, PWI, The Pop Group, Popsheep, Preservation of Music I Love, Punk Rock I.M.V, Punk Vault, Rock de Siempre, Rock'N'Roll in the Real World, Sixeyes, Some Depression, S. I Learned Today, Sonic Overload, Sounds Like Funday, Spoilt Vict. Child, De Subjectivisten, Sweet Blasphemy, Swish, Swung by Seraphim, TtIKtDanceAgain, Teenbeat Mailing List, Telephone Thing, Torr, Upon First Listen, Uncritical, Verbose Coma and Wants 2B Nameless.

There's plenty of fans of ELECTRIC/DJ/MASH-UP music, too: Ambience for the Masses, Beathunters, //Blahblog, bOOmbOx, Boom Selection, Certified Bananas, Consumption, Cousin Cole, Creative Misuse, cry.on.my.console, Culture Deluxe, Deep Disco Force, disquiet, DJ BC, DJ Earworm, DJ Gloomybear, DJ Food, DJ JayR, DJ Prince, DJ Riko, Dopplebanger, (ed)it: 209, Emmet, Empire State Human, Eve Massacre, FakeID, Fettdog, Fetter Konig, Fourstones, GetchaBootlegOn, Go Home Productions, IDC, Lenlow, Lionel Vinyl, McSleazy, NeverHeardIt, osymyso, Poj, Reset Music, Scum Music, Songfight, SutureSounds, Sychophantom and Tone 396.

For the artsy, you can explore all sorts of MINIMAL/EXPERIMENTAL sounds: 3 Notes and Running, Conet Project, Eigenradio, Experimental Audio Psychology, Found Tapes, ihypq, Oljud, Quiet American, Radiant Slab and RIAA is my Fave Band.

Believe it or not, there's a thriving sub-genre of people who love, perform and share VIDEO GAME music: 8 Bit Peoples, 8 Bit Weapon, The Advantage, GameboyzzOrchestra, The High Voltage SID Collection, Kong in Concert, Metroid Metal, The Minibosses, One Up Studios, Overclocked Remix, Video Game Archives, Video Game Pianist and Virt.

When you want something offbeat, vinyl-only or unheard-of; you want to take a look at these EXOTICA/OBSCURE sites: 365 Days, April Winchell, Basic Hip Digital Oddio , Belly Bongo, Cake and Polka Parade, Cinema VII, Dana Countryman, Ditties for the Party, Doctor Demento, El Bakkar, Empty Handed, Frank's Vinyl Museum, Gojira 69, Goofspot, Hepcat Willy, Little Marcy World, Mark VII, Mister Swank, Music 4 Maniacs, Nothing Exceptional, Pastor McPurvis, Rato Records, Raymondo's Dance-O-Rama, Record Brother, Rummage/Crevices, Sem Sinatra, Show and Tell, Singing Science, Space Age Pop, Space Debris, Spitzenschlager, Splogman, Strange Records, StrangeView Productions, Ta Hu Wa Hu Wei, Tape Findings, Tumbleforms, Vegas Vic's Tiki Lounge, Weirdomusic, Your Pal Doug and Zong of the Week.

Being from America, I consider anything outside of our country to belong to the genre of WORLD music: AkwaabaSound, Asian Classical, Balkan/Greek Folk, Benn Loxo du Taccu, The Big City, Byzantine Choir, Fat Planet, Funky Do Morro, Hindi (Pre-'60), It's A Trap!, Mari-Posa, Middle East Traditional, Native American Music, Norwegian Eardrums, Radio Bastet, Recommended Records, Russian Folk, Skeptical Bollywood, Sounds of Sweden, Stap Isi, Swiss Yodeling Music, Steev's South America, Think Small, Turkish Delight, Umeån Tunes, Wirtualna Polska, Worldly Disorientation and Yugoslavian Mexican.

The SPECIAL NEEDS section is a big ol' salmagundi of odds and ends that don't fit anywhere; click and discover sub-sub genre interests, offbeat weirdness, spoken word or one-of-a-kind sites: 100 Songs/1 Disc, Auctioneer Champions, Audiobooks for Free, The Authentic History Center, Banned Music, Bootleg, Dell's Den, Drummerworld, Early/Renaissance Music, The Fan Soundtrack Listing, God Shamgodd's Mix, Hippocampus, House of 250 Suns, Kiddie Records, Live Music Archive, Musical Family Tree, Noam Chomsky Audio, The Oak Room, Oozak=Kazoo, Orrin Hatch Sings!, Project Gutenberg AudioBooks, Radio Lovers, Songs to Wear Pants To, Theremin Vox, USAF Heritage, Vienna Veggie Orchestra, Virtual Bird, Voices on the Wind and World Fiddle Music.

Lots of BANDS/ARTISTS (both big time and small) either run their own sites or have fans who run unofficial tribute pages: Admas Band, Apeonaut!, James Apollo, Apollo 13, AshTree, At Dusk, Beats in Space, Big Wassabi, Blimpus, Blue T-Shirt, Alison Breitman, Buddha Brains, Kate Bush, Ce'Cile, The Changes, Chaussette Verte, The Cinema Eye, Leonard Cohen (Live), Cracks in the Sidewalk, Da Back Wudz, Dear Leader, Desperate Bicycles, DJ Sherburne, Bob Dylan, Excepter, Feist, Four Eagles, Matt Sandy Band, Gamelan Nyai Saraswati, Glideascope, Go Robot Go, Nina Gordon, Growch, Haunted Ink, Haunted Pussy, Heather Christian, Hello Nurse, The Hypertonics, it's matt, The Jennifers, Juliette and the Licks, Kurt, Lâszlô Hortobâgyi, Kleptones, Lady SOV, Letting Up D.G.F., Maps of Norway, Marissa Marchant, The Marks, Richard Marriott, Angie Mattson, MC Chris, MC Frontalot, Nellie McKay, Meiko Kaji, George Michael, Monkees, Morrissey, The Party Party, Plastic Little Raps, Port Authority, Pretty Flowers, Princess Superstar, Prodigy, Public Enemy, Qua, The Revelators, The Roots, Science Groove, The Sermon, The Shifties, Silver Jews, David Singer, Ryan Smith, Soft, Song Corp., Soulfege, Sparkola, Andrew Spencer, Spinal Tap, Stop Children, Sweet Billy Pilgrim, David Sylvian, Shooby Taylor, TMBG, Timbaland, The Vamps, John Vanderslice, Julian Velard, Tom Waits, White Stripes, The World, X-Wife and Youngblood Brass Band.

The following are a number of LABELS/STORES/RADIO STATIONS/NOT-FOR-PROFIT RECORDS, ETC. that offer music online: 2IfBySea Records, 4AD Records, Amazon, Ampcast, Amulet Records, Aquarius Record Shop, Bastard Jazz Records, Beggar's Group Records, Better Propaganda, Big Dada Recordings, Blue Note Records, Boombastic Radio, Boombox, Brazil Music, Comfort Stand Records, Daptone Records, Document Records, Epitonic, Foul Country Records, Free Sample Zone Records, Frigital Records, GLOBALPOPCONSPIRACY, Glorious Noise Records, Glurp Records, Illegal Art, Insound, Internet Archive, IUMA, K-Records, Ken Nordine, Lakefront Prod.LightinAtticRecords, Magnatune, Matador Records, Miz Kafrin Records, NetLabel, NPG Music, On Classical, Opsound, Protest Records, Pure Volume, Radio Kurtodrome, Real World, Redder Records, Reptilian Records, Ropeadope Records, Salon Audiofiles, Samadhisound Records, Secretly Canadian Records, Shirl+Spinoza Spin, Smithsonian/Folkways, Soulseek Records, Sounds Are Active, SpinTheGlobe Radio, Spinart Records, Starving But Happy Records, Studio Distribution, Surfdog Music, Thinner/Autoplate Records, Tofu Records, TVT Records, Ubiquity Records, V/VM Test Records, Village Voice, Warp Records, Weed, WFMU, WM Recordings and XL Records.

Lastly, here's a collection of AGGREGATORS, sites that catalogue new music that comes out on the web from musicblogs, keeps you posted about when all these sites post and sometimes links directly to a number of sites to pick out their favorites: 1MillionFree (SomeLegal), Ampari, Berkeley Place, EC Brown, Fingertips, Hellthy, Hip/Ster/Eo, The Hype Machine, I'm A Cuckoo, Lonesome Music, Lupatarkastaja, Mixtaper, MP34U, MP3 Blogs, MP3 Jackpot, My Ol' KY Blog, My Shared Folder, My Space Music, Oddio Overplay, Smartmusic, Some Velvet, Totally Fuzzy, USounds, V.23, Web Nymph, Webjay, Will's Music Blog, Zero Transmission and Zombizi.

And there's plenty, plenty more; new ones are appearing LITERALLY every day.

If you found this list helpful or if you enjoy Th' Tofu Hut, would you maybe consider donating a couple of bucks to the cause? The plan is to release the next version of this list with short descriptions of each blog and interviews many of the most prominent writers. Doing these sort of projects is laborious and time-consuming; any little bit can help.

Explore this incomplete listing, enjoy the sounds and buy an album from one of your new favorites!

This list will, of course, live on the sidebar. Anybody with a beef about where they've been categorized or who has a site I've missed should drop me a line.

We'll get back to the music in a few.

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Friday, May 06, 2005

Bob Digi, yeah you know who is he

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glisten: RZA

Who, in their wildest dreams, would've imagined that the mind behind at least one (and, I'd argue, many more) of the great hip hop albums of all time would find his calling in scoring movies? That's where we find the RZA today, as one of the most sought after composers in Hollywood. There's good reason for that: a RZA soundtrack has the imprimatur of true hip hop and comes with a rabid built-in fan base. Besides all that, the work is likely to be great; RZA's previous recordings have been critically lauded and well-received by the record buying public.

RZA - "Ghost Dog"

For those very few of you unfamilar with RZA, also known as Bobby Digital AKA Prince Rakeem AKA th' RZArecta AKA Robert Diggs: Rizz is one of the founding members of the Wu-Tang Clan, one of the most successful and influential bands active in the last decade of the twentieth century. The Wu relies heavily on th' Rizz; he is their producer, de facto leader and the most creatively diverse and ambitious of the bunch.

RZA - "Opening Theme (Raise Your Sword)" [Instrumental]

RZA's first foray into the work of soundtracks was for Jim Jarmusch's 1999 movie 'Ghost Dog,' a moody, stylistic film about a bushido-obsessed hitman played by Forest Whitaker. A samurai flick was a natural fit for the Rizz; his work shows considerable influence from plenty of pop-culture touchstones, but none so prominently as his abundant love for 70's/80's chop-socky punch'em ups. RZA's finished score proved revelatory; given leeway to employ his production without the need to regulate a beat for one of the clan to rap over, the songs sounds disjointed and experimental, almost akin to noise or free jazz. Jarmusch himself called the soundtrack "dreamlike"; that seems pretty accurate to me.

Unfortunately, when it came time to release the soundtrack, Sony decided that heads would be unlikely to buy RZA's stream-of-consciousness melodies and opted instead to drop a collection of movie quotes and B-level material from friends of the Wu. The RZA soundtrack was ultimately released only in Japan; that rarity is where all the tracks on this post hail from.

RZA - "RZA's Theme"

RZA took the next four years to work on side projects and hone his craft but, since 2003, he has been obscenely busy in the studio. Besides a number of smaller Wu-related film projects and (betraying his comic geek leanings) an Alan Moore documentary, RZA has contributed incidental music to no less than five major films in the last two years: Blade: Trinity, Soul Plane, Barbershop 2 and, most notably, both episodes of Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill.

Rizz's is currently involved in producing a new album with Method Man, extending the muscle of the Wu imprint internationally by producing overseas artists and continuing to hype the new book.

Rizz is also about to drop a new track or two alongside Massive Attack for 'Unleashed' AKA 'Danny the Dog', the new Jet Li movie that opens stateside in a week, but don't be fooled by ads that seem to suggest otherwise: it's not really a RZA soundtrack.

No word on when he might settle down in the studio to do another score but, as a fan who is beginning to believe that's where he does some of his best work, I'm hoping that's next on the agenda.


I can't honestly recommend that you buy the import "Ghost Dog" soundtrack from Amazon. C'mon: fifty bucks? For one disc? Who's kidding who?

What I can recommend heartily is the album itself; there are several other great atmospheric cuts lurking around and a few more obscurities from the Wu, including some notable verses from ODB (though some of these, like 'Fast Shadow', are available on the US release). If money is no object or if you MUST, you can find it easy enough. Otherwise, keep an eye peeled and grab it on sale.
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Every time RZA releases a new soundtrack, he's on the press junket talking about the experience. You can read interviews about the man's work on Kill Bill, Soul Plane and Blade: Trinity over at ign.
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Listen to this recent Fresh Air with th' Rizz and listen to this older NPR piece on RZA's scoring ways.
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Read this May '04 interview with Rizz in which he talks about how he met Jarmusch and read this December '04 interview where he talks about studying Danny Elfman.
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Explore this article about auteur Jim Jarmusch and read any of dozens of reviews of 'Ghost Dog'.
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Read the Hagakure, the eighteenth century manual of samurai ethics that figures prominently in 'Ghost Dog'.
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Watch the trailer for 'Unleashed'.
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Proving that EVERYBODY loves the Wu, witness the Fluxblog guide to the Clan, from '02. I don't agree with all his observations ('Nigga Please' and 'Bobby Digital' are both great to me), but Matt's generally pretty much on the ball.

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bonus RZA glisten

Wu-Tang Clan - "Wu World Order" (version one)

"Wu World Order" has only been previously released in the US as a bonus track on the sadly mediocre Wu-Tang video game, Shaolin Style.
It's a nice cut and doesn't deserve to be buried as an unheard rarity.
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