Monday, April 17, 2006
glisten: two sad white boys
Milosh - "I'm Trying"
Electro-ambient Justin Timberlake impersonator Milosh's new album 'Meme' has gotten a pretty healthy workout on my iPod over the past month. The disc is packed with wounded, beat-heavy tracks that flirt with mope and self-flagellation; what sets 'Meme' apart from the "woe is me" crowd is clever and glitchy production and a gentle and ultimately forgiving worldview. These aren't songs about loss; they're about redemption and growth, 'I Will Survive' through the prism of Tangerine Dream.
'I'm Trying' is my favorite of the bunch: a chopped and screwed accordion breakbeat atop a traintrack cadence, punctuated by monolithic synth chords and Milosh's hopeful, rising tenor. It's a sweetly seductive narrative with a meaning left open to the listener; is it a story of a first approach or of a last goodbye? It's awful purty either way. The rest of the album holds up to the promise of 'Trying' and is greatly recommended.
You can buy both Milosh's last album and his new one from eMusic or get a hard copy direct from his label,Plug Research.
Listen/Download more music from Milosh via betterpropaganda and at his myspace site.
Daniel Cirera - Motherfucker Fake Vegetarian Ex-Girlfriend
Where Milosh manages to be genuine through a haze of synthesized electronics, Daniel Cirera strives for smarmy obnoxiousness over acoustic strings. Cirera's schtick is oddly post modern; where most emo-pop hides its misogyny and selfishness behind a front of weltschmerz and abnegation, the songs on Cirera's aptly titled debut I Love You *cough* offer nastiness without guile. Cirera is content to play the unapologetic, juvenile prick; check out these lyrics from 'Dog':
"The apple of my eye turned out to be / sorry and stinking and full of shit / now I'm proud of myself for putting up with it / life just sucks / I lost a girl / it's all messed up / it really hurts and / where's my dog / i need him more than ever".Imagine that over a jaunty guitar line and you've got the Daniel Cirera experience.
Actually, you don't have to imagine, just give a listen to 'Motherfucker Fake Vegetarian Ex-Girlfriend', likely the sweetest song you'll ever hear about a hate fuck. Once this gets appropriated as a frat-boy anthem, it'll likely be too impolitic to appreciate, so enjoy it with a clean conscience while you can.
Daniel Cirera's album is due out this summer; you can pick up the 'Motherfucker Fake, etc." via iTunes.
More info, video and music over at Cirera's homepage, at his myspace site and over at his American label Tommy Boy.
Miss Frank E. Buttolph American Menu Collection, 1856-1930
Datajunkie is comicbooks, crappy scifi paperbacks and old radio thriller serials on MP3.
Great way to kill a few hours with the obscurest of nostalgia bumps.
Quintron and Miss Pussycat
Y'know. For Passover.
Andrew Norton Webber's artwork is cluttered and strangely compelling.
The wild wild world of Wilson Rainway, man of the year.
Toothbrush and Cough Drops is great! His Prince vendetta, not so much.
Goofy Gifts from Secret Fun Spot.
What exactly IS the worst sound in the world?
I'm looking for a complete tracklisting for Mort Garson's Plantasia, an album I certainly listened to quite a bit not so long ago. Can anybody help me out? Email!
blah blah blah
I've gotten myself into the position of writing for Stylus; mostly as an excuse to get my writing sharper and also to keep me plugged into what's what on the worldwidepop airwaves. Here's some of my old weekly snarkiness, along with a bunch of youtube links where you can either hear the album cut, a live version or a fan-created video so you can make up your own mind.
A handful of gold-plated lead statuettes later, the Memphis, Tennessee hip hop collective Three 6 Mafia have gone from being the self-styled Most Known Unknowns to being simply Known. The shame of the matter is that it took the weak Hustle and Flow soundtrack to do it; longtime fans of the band are fast to disown the almost self-parodying 'It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp' in favor of any of their dozens of other classic bangers. First and foremost in that formidable back catalogue is the band's previous single, their breakthrough platinum hit 'Stay Fly'. 'Poppin' My Collar' isn't anywhere near as spectacular as 'Stay Fly'; it's actually not as good as the other potential singles Three 6 had to choose from (the admittedly somewhat difficult to market 'Pussy Got Ya Hooked' and 'Knock the Black Off Yo Ass' are both far superior). Even so, 'Collar' is miles ahead of the odious 'Pimp' and the hook can hold its own well enough against anything else on the dial; a compulsively chantable chorus, the trademark Hypnotize Minds crosscut drum machine/dirty horn loops and a judiciously used Kanye-esque gospel choir see to that. Lyrically, unfortunately, it's not any better than anything else on 'Hustle'; 'Collar' is just another braggadocious document of the singer's skills at convincing women to prostitute themselves. For better or for worse, it'll still keep your head bobbin'. Great video mix, too; especially Project Pat's verse.
Gnarls Barkley might be business as usual for Gorillaz/Grey Album alumni DJ Dangermouse, but it represents a ballsy career move for Cee-Lo Green, the once and future best-known member of Goodie Mob and august statesman of the Dirty South. Over ten years ago, Sugah-Lo and the Goodie came hard and angry with tracks about ghetto philosophy and street beatdowns; what the hell's prompted him to take on the mantle of this century's Sylvester? Actually, who cares; when pop music is done with this much heart and soul, better just to appreciate. Cee-Lo's walked this road before, notably on De La Soul's 'Held Down', as well as his own 'Bass Head Jazz' and 'I'll Be Around'; but 'Crazy' most clearly resembles, in spirit if not in sound, his Pharrell Williams collabo 'The Art of Noise'. Both songs are joyful, egocentric and obsessively listenable but 'Crazy' pushes the line even further. Eschewing Pharrell's pretty-but-dense Coat of Many Colors approach in favor of laying down a serviceable bass line and a boom-de-bap drum loop, Dangermouse puts a polished Cee-Lo front and center. It's a good call; the result is the ne plus ultra of disco/gospel and a definite frontrunner for single of the year. Less hip hop than pop and more dance than electronic, the track rings of instant vintage on a first spin and only improves from there. Thank god it's so easy on the spirit, because I'll bet we're all destined to soak in this with 'In Da Club' and 'One Thing' frequency; if this debut isn't a massive international hit, we're the ones who're crazy.
Here's the thing: I just don't like U2. More power to Bono that he's doing good things on the world stage, but I can't stand the guy's voice. As a band, I don't think they've produced, at best, much of anything more than vaguely worthwhile pop fodder since about 1983. Mary J, on the other paw, is evergreen to my ears but who the hell convinced her that a cover of 'One' was what her fanbase was clamoring for? It sure isn't anything _I'm_ clamoring for; pairing these two like some big budget mash-up brings to mind the old adage about mixing ten pounds of ice cream and ten pounds of manure. Surprisingly, this somehow ends up to be a reasonably tasty sundae; thank God that U2 had the sense to hang back and let Mary roast their chestnut. Blige is happy to oblige with a diva turn; she bumps everything up an octave or two, turns every available vowel into Aretha-y melismas and airs out the pomp from this overblown pseudo-spiritual in favor of singing it like a good ol'fashioned love song. Trainwreck averted.
Do the Japanese put amphetamines in their drinking water? Red Bull in their cereal? Coffee enemas? How else to explain the aughties explosion of speedy J-pop hits like 'Sexy Boy'? Equal parts Gabba, Reggaeton and Hello Kitty, 'Sexy Boy' hails from Morning Musume, the Japanese talk show host/bubblegum band that's best understood as an all-girl Asian Menudo. Band members are auditioned yearly, a la American Idol, to fill in for retirees. M. M. have been around nine years and have hit number one on the Japanese pop charts nine times, making them likely the most popular group you've never heard of. 'Sexy Boy' may be less an introduction and more of a slap to the face; few songs are quite this assaulting. Don't get me wrong; it's still great raucous fun and, if you've got a taste for this sort of thing, a supercharged spray of colors and bright lights that'll make for hella good wake-up-and-greet-the-morning music. All that said, nota bene: repeated listenings may cause caffeine headaches.
Toby Keith is certainly _capable_ of making catchy red state barnburners; lord knows he's been doing it long enough and 2004's Shock'N'Ya'll was, right-wing assholism and all, chockablock with humdingers, so it's pretty likely that Keith's newest album has something better than this shruggable 'Take This Job and Shove It' rehash. As blatant a stab at a blue collar 5:00pm drive-time anthem as you'll ever hear, from its cornball lyrics ("we're just everyday people in an everyday bar / driving from work in our ordinary cars / I like to come here with regular joes / drink all you want, be the star of the show") to its predictable 'Show Me the Way to Go Home' coda, 'Get Drunk and Be Somebody' commits the unforgivable sin: it's boring. Hopefully next time we'll get drunk and BEAT somebody; that sounds a bit more realistic anyway.