Tuesday, October 11, 2005


Stevie Wonder - "Ribbon In the Sky" (Live)

I'm still seriously considering going as Prince for Halloween, but a Stevie costume is a possibility as well. Big brocade shirt, yarn braids and a pair of sunglasses and you're all set.

But I digress. Stevie's 'Ribbon' has never been a big favorite of mine, it's a bit too firmly centered in his Lite FM collection. THIS version is an entirely different animal. The start is pleasant enough, but at 5:47 or so on the track, Stevie goes off to do a little improv play and what comes out on the tape is as close to the feel of flying as I've ever heard.

When I first heard this track in college, I had just gotten my first off-campus place: a room in a hippie flophouse that kept six or seven people, not including strays. It was far away enough from campus that at the tender age of eighteen, I finally had to learn how to ride a bike to get back and forth. I had just got the apartment and just learned how to stand on the pedals when I was coasting downhill and I had just discovered Stevie and oh my god this will forever be that freedom of space and wind rushing by and that great "skyyyyy fallin'" always equals sweet, exhalted FLIGHT.

Maybe I exaggerate. Give it a listen and let me know.

Buy the amazing Natural Wonder two disc live collection of Stevie from Amazon.
Used, as cheap as ten bucks.


I love when people undertake Quixotic tasks, like the record-a-song-a-week chestnut.
There's something about Playmobil that's relentlessly fascinating to me. Part of it is their vision of a unified, plastic world; part of it is their sheer bizarro belief that what kids really want to play with is an airport security checkpoint (love the reviews on this one), a pair of safe-crackers or a toxic spill cleanup set.

Anyway, since I'm talking Playmobil, here's an odd little story: about a month and a half ago, my girl and I were wandering out to a picnic in Park Slope, Brooklyn. For those of you unacquainted with the place, it's crawling with upper-middle and upper class families; you can't throw a dead cat without hitting a kid (and, not incidentally, likely incurring a lawsuit). Park Slope on garbage pickup day is like an open-air Toys R Us; everybody has stoop sales or just throws their old toys on the side of the road. I amassed a pretty decent collection of throw-em-out material without even trying, but at one stoop sale I found an amazing and now-out-of-production Playmobil figure that was just so... god, I wish I could find a pic online. It was a depressed man inaction figure. It came with an ottoman and a reclining chair and slippers and a BRANDY SNIFTER and a newspaper and a dog and a framed family portrait and a light up fireplace. Still sealed in the box, too. It was a great find, this little sad fellow with his german newspaper and his sere, sterile world. What stymied me was the possibility that any kid ANYWHERE could possibly get a kick out of this thing. Who were these nutjobs marketing this stuff for?

The lady of the house asked two bucks for it and I got her to throw in a clown figurine as well. So, you know, score.

Okay, so I go to the picnic and on the walk back to the train, I pass a big sack of toys on the curb. Me being me, I'm on hands and knees rummaging through it and it's a doozy: pokemon figurines, Dark Horse Star Wars graphic novels, floaty pens... good stuff! Just as I'm amassing a final pile and my girlfriend is giving me the "how many more times are we going to have to do this today?" eye, out comes this kid down the block screaming bloody murder. "DAD! DAD! WHY DID YOU LEAVE THIS OUT HERE! DAD!" Here comes kid and here comes dad and while dad is riffing about responsibility and cleaning up after yourself the kid is staring aghast at his stuff being rummaged by your hipster hobo narrator.

I started apologizing profusely; I didn't realize, I never would've taken it if I had known. The kid is actually pretty cool about it and the father is still going on about how it's the kid's fault for not being responsible with his stuff and I gotta tell you, I feel like I got busted for mugging a nun. Here I am, LITERALLY stealing toys from a kid.

"Hey," I say, "I'm real sorry. Tell you what, would you like this toy?" I pull out the little Playmobil guy. The kid, confused, asks what it is. "Oh," I blurt, "it's a depressed guy. All he does is come home and sit in front of the fireplace and get drunk."

That kids eyes lit up like a christmas tree. "REALLY?"

"Yeah; he also comes with a newspaper."

"Cool! Thanks!"

And let me tell you, the look that I got from the kid's dad as I walked away was worth every penny of that two bucks.

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Saturday, October 08, 2005

our man in the field
David Boyle - "Eminem's Ambience"

Back about two months ago, the Hut recieved this communique from our resident musical parodist and all-around lovable oddball David Boyle that read as follows:

Dear Tofu:
How are you? I am worried at not having seen you post for weeks. And just when I finally have been able to drag myself back into the studio (!!! --yesterday, and may finish it up on Tuesday) to do my new song, "Eminem's Ambience", which deals with his drug problem, tour cancellation, aunt and uncle suing him, Mariah Carey booing him, truck driver and wife suing him for tour bus sideswipe, etc. ...It may even use "White Lines" the way "George W. Pussy" used "Super Freak"!!!
But seriously, I am concerned. I apologize again for not having produced much the past couple months. But I may have a "new source of funding" to let me even cut recordings in the first place, not to mention the ""inspirational"" tale of Eminem's downfall. (You remember how I've dissed little homie in the pages of Hut, right?)
Bring back the Hut!!! !! ! !! !!! !!!!!!!
Let me know if there's anything I can do, and hope you and yours are well,
Cordially as ever,
D(avid). Bo(yle)

That was followed by this:

"Nice to see the Hut afloat again online and to see that Katrina and the waves
have not sunk it (heh). Also glad to hear that Allen Toussaint is alright. I guess all the saints are preserving him, as per his name. Thank goodness for Fats Domino, too. Anyway, for the first time in 8 months or so, I have finished recording a
song, maybe my longest ever. It's called "Eminem's Ambience",riffing mostly off "White Lines" but also "The Message" to deliver a highly critical yet also concerned message to Eminem re his drug addiction and also his problem of abusing people close to him and being a poor role model. I hope to see it up on the Hut, if you are so gracious as to put it up. (For extra topicality, there's a plea inside for Eminem to donate something to the people of New Orleans.)
I've been concerned about you, as I haven't heard from you lately.
Have a nice Labor Day weekend, and hope to hear,
Cordially as ever,
D. Bo

Some lyrics of choice:

"Eminem you're a minimum not maximum, a drug-addicted mannequin
That Ambien did Eminem just like Vader did to Anakin
It's almost like some form of hideous divine punishment
Isaac sacrificed to Abraham like eminem to Ambien""


Those of you who share my obsession with Bone's black sheep Bizzy may want to give a listen to the man's new single from his recent release Speaking in Tongues (auto-load audio on page). He hasn't missed too many steps.
It was really just a matter of time before a publicity firm started audioblogging. I can't hate the game so player, play on.
"We wanted something that was real war - Smurfs losing arms, or a Smurf losing a head -but they said no."
Econoculture is a new music/culture e-zine; current features include brief face time back and forth with Broken Social Scene's lead man Andrew Whiteman, Yoko Ono and Boots Riley (cannot WAIT for the new Coup album).
Assacre is a one man noise/fantasy/rocker out of Austin, Texas with adrenaline and licks to spare.
There's at least a dozen songs up on the site and a link to get the new album if you're taken with them.
The Oxygen Ponies are Paul. Paul has been known to tend bar where I wait tables. One night we almost got in a fight. Since then, we've had drinks together a few times. He's good people. Go check out his sad, folksy, demo track and then make him rich.
Don't believe the hype.
Lee Hartsfeld's Fields on Fire and Music You (Possibly) Won't Hear Anywhere Else audioblogs are roaring treats; the latter is on a wonderful Halloween music kick, the former focuses exclusively on white-performed gospel music and draws from acts as diverse as Little Marcy, Smith's Sacred Singer and Metropolitan Opera star Jerome Hines.
These are don't miss sites and should be on your regular crawl.
As one of the first people to really stand by the idea that full-length tracks could HELP sell the album, when buttressed by "buy it here" links, I'm somewhat amused that a cottage industry has sprung up from the notion.
I'm going to hope that these guys aren't evil and sign up; if you're curious, you can too.
Recommended for spiffy in the "TALK TO ME" section and I like it: Ugly Quilts for the Homeless.
The Rubber Soul alt-rocker tribute album This Bird Has Flown is chockfulla some artists I enjoy including Ben Harper, Sufjan Stevens and Nellie McKay; might be worth a look and a listen (some audio on that link, if yer curious).
EC Brown's Audioblog listing has gone through a pretty serious revamp and clean-up and bears another look; he is, after all, the don of this blog shit.
Makes me kinda want to do some housecleaning myself...
I know three things: this is gonna suck and it's gonna sell like hotcakes and there will be much hue and cry about this being the death of western civilization.
Maybe this will help usher in a new generation of adult videogames (and by adult, I don't mean gratuitous nudity, drug use, violence and lots of saying 'fuck'; I mean stories an adult can appreciate) but, boy, do I doubt it.

Meanwhile, I'm hooked on Paper Mario and We Love Katamari and that's as adult as I care to get.

Those of you that DO like truly adult videogaming should hasten over to I Love Games, a wonderful new ILX board where we talk about all things gamey.
'Tain't your mommas videogame board.
And nobody uses 13375p34/<. - I pretty much had decided to go as a Music Pirate for Halloween this year (a bag with pieces of 8-track, a CDoubloon belt, an I-Patch, an ARRRRRRRIAA flag, etc.), but this is gonna be hard to pass up.
Bill Gates and Steve Jobs slash fic?
Oh yeah. We got that.
Sing a song of Shooby.
Oh sure, casting Nick Cage in the lead is puzzling, but the very idea that Neil LafuckingBute is writing and directing the remake of the Wicker Man just addlepates my poor widdle mind.

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Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Jim Jack Paddy Whack

glisten: The Knack

The Knack - "Pop Is Dead"
Tasty coffin-calling from a pot calling the kettle corpulent that's neat enough to allow you to overlook the horrendous lyrics.

The Knack - "Harder On You"
A perfect tack-on to any breakup mix, 'Harder On You's bad-boy emo sneer has aged remarkably well; likely due to the preservative of a vicious and rock-out with-your-cock-out guitar line.

Prior to this week, I've never considered myself a Knack fan. The band's best known track, the ubiquitous 'My Sharona' brings to mind a slew of "wacky", pseudo-impromptu dance sequences from a dozen bad circa-'94 films and nothing else. Imagine my surprise when I popped the seal on this quarter-century old fake-live collection (don't be fooled by the cheers, this is a canned companion to the staged DVD of the same name) and found some of the most fun radio-friendly-unit-shifting that I'd heard in an age.

The Knack's appeal has always been that of a neutered Andrew WK or Skid Row more than a ballsier REM or The Cure; the naughty-boy nature of songs like 'Good Girls Don't' and 'Baby Talks Dirty' ain't hardly shocking and sounds even hokier now then it did then. Anyone expecting more than big ass rock drowning in a thick Velveeta sauce will likely be disappointed. Those of us who revel in the scent of vacuuum-packed plastic with our power-pop are in for a treat.

Buy The Knack's Live From the Rock'n'Roll Fun House from Amazon.
Dig the extremely odd review on this one, praising and not burying Paul Collin's Beat.
Visit the official Knack site.
No sounds, but plenty of linkage.
Lead singer Doug Fieger's webpage is a bit dicier.
"Some would say his adventure started when Doug was three or four and saw his first movie."
Listen to this "could-be-worse Toxic/Sharona mash.
ILM is never shy about weighing in and this discussion from the always interesting and excitable Alex in NYC about the intrigues that an alternate Knack-less universe would hold.
Not such a A Wonderful Life.