Sunday, February 29, 2004


I give up; I'm a total Oscar whore.
So here we go, "blow by blow", as they say.

(lightly reedited for readability)

What's wrong with Sophia Coppola's face?
What's wrong with Johnny Depp's hair?
And why the chain? Is he afraid Jude Law is gonna steal his wallet?
And is he fronting a light English accent? Maybe elocution lessons from Madonna?
Check out Angelina Jolie's nipples, kids! Cold snap in Cali, eh?
Whoever this idiot "Billy" is that's interviewing, it's clear everyone hates this sumbitch. Who am I to argue?
Dude, quit grabbing starlets. They're not laughing WITH you, they're laughing AT you, fucker.
This guy is on breast level with most women, which must explains the Marty Feldman look he's sporting.
I'd like Sophia Coppola a lot better if she'd punch this guy in the face.
"Billy", you're a fucking virus.
FINALLY. Best actress. Didn't see "Something's Got to Give" and "Whale Rider" is on video on my shelf right now, but everything else got in front of my eyes. I'm pulling for the frontrunner, Theron.
Whoops, spoke too soon. Slow rambling monologue from Connery and... time for the fabled clip show.
Things not to do in an award show: display Billy Crystal's naked ass.
Three times.
Oof, some of this Crystal schtick is in astonishingly poor taste.
Four times.
And the rest of it isn't funny.
Props to Michael Moore for having a sense of humour, but I still call bullshit on that.
Ha ha, fat guy trampled by elephant espousing sane politics. I call bullshit.
The fat guy, not the elephant. Espousing sane politics. This needs editing.
Am I crazy; don't they always start with best actress?
Oh shit, musical number. Sort of. Sing or don't. Sing? Don't? Sort of.
I think Mel's "Life of Brian" is gonna be the whipping boy tonight. Just what it needed, more exposure.
Yipes. The "Old Man River" bit is making me ill. I'm remembering why I skipped this the past two times.
Oh well. This is my one mediawhore moment of the year, might as well wallow in the shit.
Getting tired of seeing people roll their eyes, though. Merely reinforces how tiring it all is.
Man, when they show the audience you get a sense of how tough the crowd is.
They're all too aware they're on camera and there's no reaction except pure Grade-A phoniness.
The longer this number goes on, the more I want to see Crystal involved in a NASCAR wreck.
I forgot Catherine Zeta-Jones won last year. Huh.
Oh shit, best supporting actor? I'm so confused.
Didn't see "The Cooler". Benicio was fine in "21 Grams" but nothing super special. Loved "In America", but this guy was like the fifth best actor in the movie. Beautiful man, though, right? Robbins. Here's your winner. And who's this Japanese guy?
Gotta be Robbins.
Sure is. Boy, he deserves this. A bright, consistently wonderful career. Well, I'm one for one.
Sean Penn was BORN looking jaded.
Heh. I like the Scorcese commercial.
Inviting all the monkeys over; welcome if you're one of them.
Jesus and Bush are fair game tonight, clearly.
Sir Ian has such gravitas. He's one of those Ginsberg types that you have to consider putting out for.
Terrible shame about the teeth though.
I STILL haven't seen this installment of LotR yet. I liked the other two, but am hardly swept up in the hullaballoo.
I'll say it again: HELLOOOOOOOOOOOOOO Angelina Jolie's nipples! Yeeeeowza.
That's the opposite of a wardrobe malfunction.
Geek category: Art direction: "Girl Pearl" "Samurai" "LotR" "Master" "Seabiscuit"
Gotta be LotR, right?
That's an affirmative and an easy geek call, but I'm still rocking two for two and feeling very special.
Should've posted my calls earlier; if i sweep, no one will ever believe it. Cest la vie.
That Robin Williams schtick was creepy. Robin Williams is creepy.
Oh boy! More Janet jokes!
Animated. "Triplets" "Brother Bear" "Finding Nemo"
"Brother Bear" looks like it REALLY sucks.
I'll see "Triplets" in a week or so.
MUST be "Nemo".
Three for three. It's about fucking time that these guys got some recognition. Hey, Stanton! Tell off Disney, eh!
Whoa, dig the towering animation leadoffthestage starlet. Shades of Jessica Rabbit.
Not sure what I think about the post reaction winner shot. I think I'd prefer a post reaction "worst loser" shot.
Is this a FYC commercial? Do they not have money for coke anymore?
I just realized how sad it is that I'm watching this via blog instead of with people. There will be some crying later.
Geek cat: Costumes: "Girl" "Samurai""LotR" "Master" "Seabiscuit"
Gotta be LotR again.
Yep. Looks like they're AT LEAST gonna clean up in all the technical categories.
Makes me wonder if "Translation" won't pull it out for best film, though.
Four for four. I'm due for a gaffe briefly.
Somebody tell these people that they need to talk faster if they're not famous.
Fame = Time. You are a New Zealand nobody and = 25 seconds. Check yourself.
Nick Cage just cracks me up. You could use his face as a battering ram, couldn'cha?
Haven't seen "Master" yet either, but it's probably worth a run at the buck theater shortly. Didn't really compel me.
Hey, supporting actress time. Who's up?
The "Sand and Fog" lady? Unlikely, but never saw. Patricia Clarkson? Not this year. She's way rad though. So MILF. Marcia Gay Harden was great in "Mystic River", but two Oscars in five years? Unlikely. Rock the cleav, Marcia! Holly Hunter was the one good thing about "Thirteen". Then there's Zell.
I'm guessing Zell, but hoping Hunter. Bets on Zell.
Yeah, that was a fait accompli, I thinks.
Your baby face and overly madeup eyes would make it too weird.
Good, she's kept it under control. God bless. Vincent D'Onofrio taught her how to work? Interesting.
Okay, you're babbling now.
The fat guy is her boyfriend? I'm confused.
Here comes Tom Hanks, looking more and more iconic every week.
Bob Hope retrospective means I can go to the bathroom.
Weird drowning anti drug commercial. What if my friend was just having some difficulty swimming and wouldn't pass the pipe in a timely fashion?
Bad anti-product placement w/Starsky and Hutch here. Going on much too long, too.
Live action short. No clue, so not playing. See, if I was in New York; I'dve seen all these at the Gramercy.
As it is, I have to pretend I know what's going on.
Miss the city. >sigh<
These guys understand the equation. Knock those names out, pal!
Oooooh, your friend is gonna be pissed if he don't get to talk.
And cue the music. Son, got stiffed on talk time. Wow, that guy gave him such a LOOK.
Animated short. See above, including ">sigh<"
Did the "Ice Age" guy get nominated?
I find the music for animated short winner demeaning.
It's seems assumed that the director of the animated short is a dork.
Oh wait, he is. Nice red body scarf, pal.
Men can thank their boyfriends now? Wow, it IS a more permissive world.
Liv Tyler is like the most fuckable librarian in the whole world.
Gosh, Allison Krauss sure has a pretty voice.
What the hell is Sting playing, the dorkaphone?
Good call keeping Sting confined to background mumbling here.
Sure do wish _I_ had an ain true love.
Shouldn't Jack White be skulking around here somewhere? We want Jack!
Elvis has a look on his face like Sting farted where he's standing.
This is actually kinda pretty, for a song about a period.
Nice restrained best song selection this year.
Did Liv have to go to the bathroom? Where'd she go?
Is Annie vying to be the secular Enya? With more teeth? Can someone turn up her mike please?
Oh, there it is. They were waiting for money notes.
Words I don't like to hear: "Stay tuned for Will Smith and Jim Carrey".
Zell looked like she spat up a little puke when she heard her name.
Haw haw laker jokes.
Haw haw pussy jokes.
Could this schtick be over, please? Man, I hate Crystal. So toothless.
Geek award: Special effects. "LotR" "Master" "Carribean"

I'm betting LotR, easily.
Whoa, six for six. I'm getting cocky.
You know what the Oscars need? More Kiwis. We're short on kiwis.
Look, Jennifer Garner's E-NUN-CI-A-TING!
Seems like all the tech guys got edited into seeming entirely too self-effacing.
Have I mentioned that I hate Jim Carrey?
I hate Jim Carrey.
Jim Carrey, you are a shithead.
And he's introducing Blake Edwards, which is appropriate.
Did Jim just make slanty eyes?
Am I listening to Jim Carrey discuss jumping on his naked sister?
Not a Blake Edwards fan. Without Peter Sellers, what've you got?
Lotsa queeny shit, if we take the clips as evidence.
Boy, that was either prefilmed or just really lame or both. What a terrible anectdote. My mother thanks you too. Blake kinda sucks.
My Oscar speech:
"I'd like to thank the motion picture industry for paying me obscene gobs of money and thank the academy for making my sticker price go through the ceiling. No more mid six figures for me, fellas!
Shake it like a polaroid picture, mufuckas!" (proceeds to shimmyoff)
Bill Murray's gonna win best actor tonight. Calling Coppola the first "American Girl" director nominated, Bill?
They'll get you in USA Today tomorrow for that.
See, I _liked_ LiT, but I thought it was terribly overrated. Good film, not great.
Scarlett Johannson is totally doing the Marilyn thing and it doesn't fit her. She's much cuter as the girl next door.
This "I'm so hot" attitude is turning me off.
Don't fuck this up, Scarlett; our children would be SO cute.
Makeup Geek: "LotR" "Master" "Pirates"
LotR again? Gotta assume?
Seven for seven. LotR cleanin' th' fuck UP.
What's a "protetic"? Is it something you'd attach to your faith?
Sandra Bullock looks like a Dairy Queen cone.
Sound Geek: "Samurai" "Master" "LotR" "Pirates" "Seabiscuit"
I'm betting on "Master" this time. Taking a chance.
Seven for eight. Holy shit; they're giving Rings EVERYTHING.
New Zealand. Don't terrorists come from there?
Sound Edit Geek: "Master" "Nemo" "Pirates"
Trying "Master" again.
There we go. Back on track. Eight for nine. I almost voted for LotR. How'd they miss that nomination?
Kat Hepburn tribute means I eat. I like Hepburn, but I don't need Julia Roberts telling me how good she was.
She was pretty damn good though, wasn't she?
"I could peel you like a pear and god himself would call it justice."
Nice dress Oprah. I take it "Mystic" was on her book club?
I thought "Mystic" was INCREDIBLY overhyped and overdone, but tremendously well acted.
Wow. Look at Penn go.
But for all that, that's all you get: Sturm and Drang.
Doc. Short . New York loss again. No idea.
Why the cut to Uma? Is she from Chernobyl? She DOES look like she's had radiation therapy...
Repping dead kids=more stage time. They don't play you off if you invoke dead children.
More people should try that tactic.
"First I'd like to thank dead children. And now my entire entourage and family, alphabetically."
Here we go: Documentary: I'm thinking "Friedmans", yes?
Nope. "Fog of War". It was a good year for docs. Where's "To be" and "Spellbound" and "Winged Migration"?
Morris cracks me up! What a great fuck you to the academy! "Thanks for FINALLY acknowledging MY FILMS!". I need to go see "Fog of War" shortly. I liked "Brief History" a great deal. Eight for ten.
About fucking time someone finally said something political. The time and the environment is ready.
Don't be smug, Billy. Wait, what am I saying? That's asking a bird not to fly.
The academy head is missing some cuecards. Or having a stroke.
More deathroll: Greg Peck. Another class act.
Art Carney, Charles Bronson, Kazan, Ebsen, Brakhage, Cronyn, Hackett, Bob Stack, Hines. A barrage of lesser knowns to follow with polite applause.
I didn't know Michael Jeter died! Bummer.
Movie "Trailer" Innovator? Hwah? Lotta dead people this year.
I liked Kamen's scores and didn't know he died either.
I don't think O'Connor would've wanted to have been eulogized by a picture of him hitting himself in the face.
This is the second time I've seen this "Caddyshack" Tiger commercial and I can now say that this sucks.
'Course I dislike "Caddyshack" anyway, but that's just me.
I'm sure somebody thinks this is a good idea, but not me.
Sting and Phil Collins together is an excellent excuse for the use of a hand grenade.
Best Score: "Big Fish" (Elfman) "Mountain" "Nemo" "Sand and Fog"(Horner) ""LotR"
Rings? Again?
And the Oscar for best catering goes to RINGS! Nine of eleven.
I don't think they're getting best film to go with all these. Too unlikely a sweep.
"Lost in Translation" looks more likely by the minute.
I bet those Rings guys all go to the bathroom at the same time, too.
Editing Geek: "City of God" "Mountain" "LotR" "Master" ""Seabiscuit"
Betting "Master".
Okay I give up. Give them all the Oscars and let me go to sleep. Nine of twelve.
I would feel up Julianne Moore if given the chance too, dude. Good call.
Jamie Lee Curtis is like eighty, right? Still pretty hot, but that cleav is Vuh-EINY. And then some.
Those titties got some blue blood up in 'em.
Never saw a "Mighty Wind". Those Christopher Guest films are pretty interchangable.
This is meant to be a parody of a bad song, but it just sounds like a bad song. Are we po-mo, yet?
Really, this isn't much more drippy than the Allison Krauss/Sting song. Them kissing is the joke?
I'm missing something here, right?
Hello, black conducting man. Do you know the way to a commercial?
Now this is more like it! Squirrel Nut Zippers with taped background singers, bicycle percussion and a three chinned lead singer that looks like my first girlfriend in college.
No wait, this sucks. Well, it was good for fifteen seconds. Now it's lame. My attention span wandered. Look! A cloud!
Words I REALLY don't want to hear: "a musical performance with Will Ferrell and Jack Black". I hate those guys.
Black in particular; I skipped what by all rights was a pretty good movie ("School of Rock").
I hate him so much. Tenacious D can suck my left nut.
Can I phone a friend for that second hand grenade?
Best Song, after we get these schmucks out of the way.
Oh Christ. These guys are as original and funny as your average eighth grade talent show.
Is Scarlett Johannson dating Sean Connery? Cause she's huggin' him pretty tight.
I'm betting on the Krauss song with Elvis. That was the only good one. Which means it won't win. But I gotta bet.
Nine of thirteen. Boy, I'm learning very slowly here: LotR is winning EVERY CATEGORY.
Let me repeat that: EVERY CATEGORY LotR has been nominated for IT HAS WON. Has this ever happened?
Annie Lennox looks like the Silver Surfer.
YEAH! The songwriter refused to leave the stage when the music came on.
It's about time somebody said "No, I just won an Oscar; I got shit to say." Very cool.
Jesus, Theron's back at fighting weight and lookin' hot.
Foreign film: I'm betting on Lord of the Rings. No, I haven't seen any of these. No vote.
Making a note to find "Twilight Samurai", though.
Cinematography geek: "City of God" "Mountain" "Girl Pearl" "Master" "Seabiscuit"
No LotR means "Master"?
Ten of fourteen. I figured "Master" would have to pick up a few, 'cause it ain't gon' win best picture.
And it IS an epic right? Those are steered by effects I've been told.
We're almost out of the geek zone. Costuming and screenplay and then we get the big stuff.
I just want to slap that sneer off Sophia Coppola.
Adapt Screenplay: "Splendor" "City of God" "LotR" "Mystic River" "Seabiscuit"
Duh. "Rings". I wish "Splendor" would get it tho.
Eleven of fifteen. This is getting ludicrous. Are we in record setting territory yet?
It's like attack of the fat dorky people in Hollywood.
Dah dah dah dah dah, I'm LOvin it.
Peter Jackson is so rad. "Meet the Feebles" "Dead Alive" and "Heavenly Creatures" rock tha casbah.
I saw "Seabiscuit" but I don't actually REMEMBER it. Pretty bland Americana.
How many married couples have matching Oscars? Are they the Sarandons the only ones?
Best Screenplay: "Barbarian" "Dirty Pretty" "Nemo" "In America" "Translation"
I'm betting "Translation", would prefer "America."
Twelve of sixteen.
"Wong Kar-Wai, Godard ...and all the others." Pssst. Name dropper.
Well it WAS a good script, mostly. Can't complain.
Tom Cruise had to check and see if the mike was short enough for him.
Director: "City of God" Jackson, Coppola, Weir, Eastwood.
Betting Jackson.
Thirteen of seventeen. It's an LotR night. Totally rad. I love that he just won this. What a cool guy.
Can't wait for "King Kong".
I give up; I'll go and see this damn thing tomorrow. ARE YOU HAPPY NOW, ACADEMY?
The last man in America not to see LotR is going, okay?
Brodie looks like a semetic Greg Peck.
Best Actress: Hughes. I'll watch this tonight and see how it is, for now there's no opinion. Cute kid. Keaton. I REALLY don't want her to win this. Enough already. Nice hat though. Morton. I would've picked this if I hadn't seen Monster. She's sexy and talented and bright. Love her. Watts. Very good, but a little over the top and stuck in a confusing movie.
Theron, though. This was great. Right? Gotta be?
Brodie's funny. I like his attitude. Little schpritz for the ladies.
Theron's not having it though, she's kissing everybody else, BUT him.
He still wants a little more, but he ain't gettin' it.
She gets to cry; I'll let her cry.
You know the story on her background? I don't want to get into it here, it's morbid; but you should read more about it.
Tony G DID do a great job on makeup.
Really, Theron earned this; I can't complain at all even if it is like the prom queen getting a big scholarship to Harvard.
"...and my mommmm..." Alright, that's enough now. "And I'm not gonna cry!" Theeeeeeeere ya go.
I love that Johnny Depp is cracking up that he just got spotlit for best actor.
Theron pissed herself when her name was called. I saw a blossom at the crotch of the dress.
Kidman sets the standard. Don't forget it.
Best Actor: Depp. He had a lot of fun, I'll give him that. Not this year though. Ten more. He's got a long career ahead. Kingsley. Didn't see this, dunno. Law or as I call him, "Sexbot". Bad southern accent, dude. Penn. The only other guy that stands a chance than Murray. He's pretty darn good.
I'm going to jump the fence and say Murray. He was spectacular.
Nope. Fourteen of nineteen. I'm actually kind of disappointed, but I really like Penn's attitude.
Nice "Mass Destruction" ref, dude.
Boy, Bill Murray is totally fuckin' cold. He's pissed; you can see it.
There ain't gonna be too many more chances and he knows it.
Boy, Penn's really doing this speech off the top of his head. What a neat guy.
If he doesn't thank Madonna I'm gonna be very sad.
I'm very sad.
Boy, Crystal's a dick calling out Murray like that on national television. Let the guy feel bad in peace, okay?
Spielberg looks the same as he has for years. He's working out and eating well; gotta be.
Best Picture: "LotR" "Translation" "Master" "Mystic" "Seabiscuit"
I get it already. "Rings", right?
They did it. All your Oscar are belong to us. Record tying. If only they had gotten that damn sound editing nomination....
Well, let's wrap it up. What have we learned tonight?

1) Kiwi tastes goooooooood.
2) We're gonna have to put up with a LOT of bad fantasy in the next year.
3) Billy Crystal needs to be put out to pasture.
4) Fifteen of twenty (with a handful of abstentions) means I'm a fucking genius.

I'd like to thank your mother for being so very gracious and your father for being out of the house.

We love you Cincinatti!

Wheaties, Breakfast of Champions!

Good Noight!


Cleaning house.

currently in the mix on my "gym trax1" ipod playlist

"Problems" - Wiley
"Rock Your Body Rock" - Ferry Corsten
"Untitled 1" - Ratatat
This Is Your Life (Fight Club)" - Dust Brothers *
"Never Enough (Chocolate Puma Mix) - Boris Dlugosch and Roisin Murphy
"My L.A. Ex" - Rachel Stevens *
"C'mon, C'mon" - The VanBondies *
"Dust Your Shoulders Off" - JayZ *
"Lights, Camera, Action" - Mr. Cheeks *
"My Week Beats Your Year" - Telefon Tel Aviv
"Elektrobank" - Chemical Brothers *
"Coin Operated Boy (Live)" - The Dresden Dolls
"Ne Ver Ne Bojsia" - TATU *
"Science City Zeoro" - Bit Shifter
"Party Ain't a Party" - Queen Pen
"Runnin' (MP Vocal Mix)" - Basstoy
"Jesus Walks" - Kanye West
"Head In Advance" - Juvenile *
"The Greatest Hit" - Annie
"Can't Get Enough" - Raghav
"Lucky Star" - Bassment Ja## w/Dizz@@ Rascal *
"17 Years" - Ratatat
"Klouny" - TATU*
"Get Low (Merengue Mix)" - Lil' Jon
"Dead Dogs Two (Boards of Canada Remix)" - Clouddead
"Bring Me To Life (Frozen Remix)" - Evanescence
"Get It, Get It" - Scissor Sisters
"The Seed 2.0" - The Roots w/Cody Chestnutt
"She Moves She" - Four Tet
"Someone In My Bed" - Sugababes
"Gay Bar" - Electric Six * (yes, STILL)
"Electromagnetic" - Freeform 5
"Me and Giuliani..." - !!! *
"Thru the Wire" - Kanye West
"Dog Days" - Matthew Dear *
"Are You Gonna Be My Girl" - Jet *
"Stuck (Superpitcher Remix)" - Contriva
"My Mouth" - International Pony
"Compulsion" - Joe Crow
"Like Glue" - Sean Paul *
"Moment of Clarity" - JayZ

*=for extra adrenaline lift

Astute readers will note that a great deal of these songs hail from the sidebar "Daily Music Fix" clicky.

This should last me the week before it needs re-tweaking, I hope. The thing is on shuffle, so there's a great deal of "oh, not that one right now" and more than a few songs that I only listen to specific parts of (I'm not sure I've EVER heard the end of "Elektrobank").

Can't really say as I care to defend or not defend any of these tracks as I hardly know anything about most of the bands or their catalog.
Probably a few of these will flare out and prove unlistenable in a few weeks. However, if you want heavy BPM running and lifting music, you could do worse than startin' out with these little fellas.


movies i've seen in 2004 not previously discussed on this blog

These'll be super tiny reviews attached, hardly anything interesting other than a brief "I did/didn't like it".

The Great Dictator: Excellent and moving, Chaplin's a great director. Somewhat dated though.

Ichi The Killer: Spectacular. Live action manga. Miike is my hero. One of the best films this year thus far.

Earth: I liked Aamir Khan since "Lagaan". Music and story are good; the ending is a bombshell. Perhaps a little simplistic, but very interesting.

The Animatrix: Everything that the second movie was missing. Somewhat uneven quality doesn't detract from the whole.

Dogtown and Z Boys: Gorgeous and inspiring. Great doc.

Gandhi: At three hours, it felt brief. Kingsley is unbelievable. Made me want to learn more.

Bad Santa: Not as bad as I had feared, but Zwigoff is still slumming. Thornton is clearly having a lot of fun.

Night and Fog: Engrossing dark poetry. The link has a complete script synopsis; worth reading. Visceral and difficult to stomach, but moving and important.

Daleks: Invasion Earth 2150 AD: Dumb as a brick but loads of fun. Cushing gives good Doctor.

One, Two, Three: The epitaph for screwball comedy. Dreadfully dated, unfunny and draggy. Not one of Wilder's finer moments and justly unknown.

Mystic River: Predictable and poorly laid out with one of the best casts in recent memory. Needs an editor, stat. Too much sturm and drang, not enough meat for me. Eastwood overplays his hand again.

Umberto D: Understated, touching, beautiful. If I get a dog, I'm naming it Flike.

In America: A tetch underdeveloped, but with strong acting (the kids in particular are amazing), sweet and engaging with a solid script and situations you'd have to be a meanie not to get a little teary with. Impressive.

You're Telling Me: Not bad, but better the first time around; most of the best gags are lifted from his earlier films in the "6 by Fields" Criterion disc.

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie: Annoying at first, but finds it's way once the pieces are in place. Worth a peek.

The Pianist: Astonishing. Brodie is great and Polanski directs with passion and flair without ever intruding into the picture; he is invisible and masterful. As good as any war film I've ever seen.

The Princess Blade: So-so Japanese sword porn with a distinct girl manga edge. Not especially remarkable.

Holiday: Years ahead of its time in every way. It trusts the audience to be intelligent and trusts its actors to show us the way. Wonderful and funny and unabashedly recommended to anyone.

El Che: Investigating a Legend: Informative, but a bit dry. The man lived an unbelievable life.

Monster: Not sure how I feel about the glorification of a serial killer, but everything you heard about Theron is true: this is incredible stunt acting. Also features the best use of a Journey song ever.

NEWS FLASH: Theron is set to play Aeon Flux in the new movie. Neat.

American Splendor: Excellent in every way. One of the better films I've ever seen. I love Pekar.

21 Grams: "Mystic River" with cinema verite. Uninteresting characters being given all too much life by the actors. Moodiness does not necessarily equal depth. No need for the non-linear editing fashion either.

Elf: Much better than I would've presumed, but self-destructs twenty minutes from the end. Ed Asner and Bob Newhart are particularly good. Zooey Deschanel is hot.

Decalogue I: The "Thou Shalt Have No Other Gods Before Me" episode. I should really buckle down and watch all these; the few I've seen are engrossing and beautiful. This one was a downer, but really something to see.

Capturing the Friedmans: The antidote for you if you think YOUR family is fucked up. These people are utterly insane. Sad and wondrous and amazing and a hell of a documentary.

The Last Round: Chuvalo vs. Ali: Two rare things: A film about Ali that isn't a hagiography and a film about a man whose losses are more intriguing and amazing than his wins. George Chuvalo fought for twenty seven years and was never knocked down. He's an interesting guy to get to know. The vintage Ali footage is a lot of fun, to boot.

Saturday, February 28, 2004

we like movies

Two of them yesterday: both on the big screen courtesy of my friendly $1 theater. There should be a government funded initiative to help keep afloat twentyfive $1 movie houses in each of the fifty states. What would that run, a few million dollars to subsidize additional costs?
Maybe not even that if they were considered nonprofits and were running arthouse fare.
I want more wheat in our bread and more elephants in our circus.

I'm off topic.

The first film I saw was "Paycheck".
I knew going into this sucker that it was likely gonna be a blend of several components: John Woo film, Philip K. Dick story, Ben Ahfluck vehicle, boneheaded action film and tense puzzle thriller; what I was hoping for was the right combination of these elements, preferably more PKDick and thriller, less Affleck and action and a restrained John Woo. What I got was EXACTLY the opposite: a chaseemupshootemup centered around Ahfluck with white doves flying at the screen and multiple moments of face/off two gun staredowns.

The Dick influence is even more meagre than in "Total Recall" and the script gets soggy with unnecessary 'audience friendly' cliche-repartee. The plotting is nice and crisp, but Woo wonks that up by weighing the film down with too many 'emotional and meaningful' moments for Ahfluck. This is like giving a chimpanzee pastel paints: you're more likely to get a mess than a masterpiece.

The deus ex machina plot twists work pretty doggone well, but the fight and chase scenes are so poorly edited that it's difficult to tell what's going on most of the time. GI Joe-style video game physics and ethics allow Affleck to open up an automatic weapon on a crowd of guards without killing anyone, yet he feels compelled to throw away a loaded weapon while staring down the bigboss since (apparently) a real man uses his bare hands under such circumstances.

Paul Giamatti is wasted here doing fourth-wall spit takes to show what a schmuck he is (I get the feeling that casting directors are confusing Giamatti with Rob Schneider for some reason), Ahfluck is typically Ahfluck (which is to say, "he sucks") and Uma is... eerie. Uma isn't necessarily looking less attractive these days; she's looking less HUMAN. "Paycheck" is the movie where she goes from resembling Sarah Connor to the Terminator.

For all that, "Paycheck" is an efficient throwaway of an action film; predictable, hackneyed and Woo-ified to within an inch of its life but only boring when the fighting starts. Though it's hard to recommend a film in which Ben Ahfluck fights a legion of gun wielding suits with a bo stick, I can't really warn you away. It's a decent mindless diversion that could've been much more.

The second film was "The Company", the Robert Altman and Neve Campbell take on life in the Joffrey Ballet.

"The Company" substitutes a celebration of life in the theater for a cohesive story but the versimilitude of the artist's lives is so accurate and engaging and the dance so exhilarating that you hardly even miss having a script.

"Company" follows a season in the Joffrey from the perspective of its leads, its backup dancers, its rising star (Campbell), its company director (Malcolm McDowell), the choreographer, the stage manager, the boyfriends of the members, the parents of the dancers.

There's no real plot to speak of; in the primary character's life, Campbell moves from understudy to lead and starts a new relationship with a sous chef; but this is all window dressing.

The movie's real concern is the dance and there's plenty of it to see. From the get go (as great a credit sequence as I've ever seen), we're treated to beautiful bodies, beautiful choreography, beautiful dancing.

The actors, with the exception of Campbell, are almost all members of the Joffrey. Characters are viewed with a degree of equality rare in any sort of film; there are no villains or heroes, simply men and women. Malcolm McDowell's petulant, pissy power-driven company director is utterly dead on: aggravating, brilliant and indisputable, he runs the show and the film on the strength of his personality. Campbell has never struck me of being worthwhile of note one way or another and her acting performance here doesn't do much to affect that thinking; but her dancing is good enough to blend into the company's level of quality and that's pretty goddamn impressive.

There is one major thematic undercurrent: Altman makes it clear that the dancers are, to a one, expendable. It is the DANCE that's important, not the dancers and not their story. In one particularly astute scene, an understudy dances for McDowell and is told to stop and watch the lead dance the part. When the lead performs for them, she hits a jump and then crumbles to the floor. Stoically, she tells them that she's snapped a tendon. Stagehands ice her down and rush her out and seconds later the understudy is performing the piece for the director again, this time with the knowledge that she'll be playing it onstage that night. Cut to opening curtain; our understudy looks brilliant and our director beams from his mezannine seat. This is standard "A Star is Born" stuff, except that the injured dancer watches the performance backstage, clearly happy for the understudy, wistful that she cannot perform, but understanding the nature of the game. No one doubts the rules for a moment, no one regrets them; everyone knowing that sooner or later their time will come.

The finale evokes this point to the nth, with a setpiece of a giant that eats the dancers one at a time and a twist in the story that leaves Campbell pulled from the curtain call at the last second.

Altman's direction is surprisingly restrained. There are a few Altmanesque touches: toast burns as a new couple share their first breakfast together, a divorced couple and their matching second husband and wife hobnob at a company party, a down-on-his-luck company member is forced to crash out in a communal pad when his aunt commits suicide (he giggles and calls her "a little crazy"), a "sweet" gesture by Campbell's boyfriend that puts him onstage for the company bows; but for the most part Altman lets the scene and the phenomenal performance speak for itself.

I hardly profess to be an expert in dance, but I have spent a considerable amount of time with modern dancers. "The Company" is an almost TOO honest portrayal of the intrigues, drama, egos, talent, business and art that make up the day-to-day of a professional company. This is as real a film as I've ever seen and certainly one of the very best films I've seen thus far this year.
Highly, highly recommended.


After a thousand downloads (literally) the Gillian Welch comes down, along with the equally popular Jill Scott. I had no idea you'd be that interested in those two divas... requests are therefore recommended and appreciated.

For the future, please note that music will pretty much stay up as long as it is on the front page here, meaning five days at least.

That seems fair, no?

Friday, February 27, 2004


Those of you lately-come-johnnies may not be familiar (or care) about this part of our show. For the former, enjoy; for the latter, scrolling down now to the music might be a good idea.


New Dave Elsewhere news: Son is in "You Got Served". I may have to rent that for a fast-forward marathon.
Here's more b-boy love: Rippin' Richie at Pop and Lock has real style and even if the logic in breakdancin' for Jesus escapes me, this makes up for many sins.
"Would you like to see Santa bust a move again, kids?" "NOOOOOYENOYEEEEES!"
Plus if you act now, you'll get some sick opening-act throat jive from Beatbox Effex.
I know it's long, but very much worth sitting all the way through... well, at least until the teenage girls come on.
Son sounds like Rahzel, no?
"Far and away the most practical information regarding female anatomy I've run across in years."
(via (appropriately) PISSRESORT)
Lately, you can't turn on the news without hearing about the new profound, dramatic reimagining of the savage murder (and possible hinted resurrection?) of the one true saviour.
I'm talking, of course, about Luigi and Phantasmagoria Crow's flash animated Super Mario Bros. Saga.
Here's Parts 2 and 3.
They just keep getting better.
More Nintendo humour.
Last one: Romscapes
(via WAXY)
Beautiful Agony might be the first porn site on the net to merit your (unironic) support. It comes with movies for any sexual orientation, is utterly without exploitation or humiliation (videos are submitted by the performer, often without intention of compensation) and there is absolutely no nudity... yet it still manages to be sexy as hell.
I think it's got a real future.
In any case, it sure does beat the Online Orgasm Simulator.
And while we're on the topic: Wouldn't YOU like to "Never be without a girlfriend again"?
(via WAXY)
Chaorin Kombat:
Before you even ask: I have no idea.
It DOES exist:
Boy, I sure was excited about AvP when they first announced it...TWELVE YEARS AGO. Since then I've stopped seeing movies like this in the theater but I may have to make an exception for the holy grail.
I think Quino is beautiful, "all your base" engrish and all.
Tardis Tennis
I can't make it work.
The Blog of Death
(via BIRIV)
The Book Quiz:
Boy, generally I HATE these things but just this once I'll make an exception, because it flattered me.
Apparently, I'm Gabriel Garcia Marquez's Love in the Time of Cholera, which makes me roughly as cool as Elvis.
Comix by Jorge Colombo
86 clicks to a Happier, Healthier You
Attack of the Honker:
Well, I finally know what I want to be when I grow up.
"Desperate men do desperate things, and stupid men do stupid things. We are in for a desperately stupid summer." The good Doctor Hunter S. Thompson discusses the Superbowl and the president on ESPN.com.
"cannnndy....mmmmmm...come to me candy...float into my mouth... i just NEEDJA candycandycandycandy"
Equal opportunity flash games for wheelchair bound athletes.
EVERYBODY already knows this, but on the off chance you're totally uncool and nobody told you: here's the infamous Pepsi iTunes Hack. Now you can send those digits over to the Tune Recycler. It's a mitzvah.
Did you ever wonder what it would be like to pop a water balloon in space?
And just what the hell are we to make of Crazygirl?
If you think the animations are bad, wait till you hear the music.
Nothing's creepier than Singing Babies.
Best for last, but let me be totally clear:
I normally loathe phoneprank gags, I _always_ hate cutesy radio DJ schtick (sorry Matt, that "Best Show" stuff leaves me cold) AND I find jokes at the expense of a Southern racist NASCAR fan unchallenging and unfunny.
That said: This is fucking hysterical.
Couldn't have been better if it had been staged.
Three words: Democrat ball sucker.

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand on that note:


By popular demand (well, at least SOMEBODY'S demand), today at the Hut is dedicated to blues guitarist par excellence, Blind Willie McTell.

McTell's music is downright ethereally grimy; otherworldly in the truest sense for us 21st century space monkeys. Just the sound of a McTell track evokes another time, another way of seeing the world.

McTell was a vaudevillian performer, instilling each song with a very personal character. His rare skill was that he was capable of a very wide range of these characters: relentless bawd, hellfirebrimstone preacher, incorrigible flirt, wistful lost lover. This, combined with his unusually (for a bluesman) clean and clear diction, made him one of the blues great storytellers.

Willie was an American treasure. If you've never heard him before now, you're in for a hell of a treat.

Here's a few selections to get you started:

Blind Willie McTell - "God Don't Like It"

McTell was equally adept at blues, gospel, country, folk or novelty song. Ray Davis at Pseudopodium makes a convincing argument that McTell was actually a pop artist (and he posts an MP3 or two of our hero's work in the bargain). Here, McTell relinquishes center stage to a finger-waggin' harridan gone batshit accusing clergy and members of the flock of hypocrisy and 'shine drinking. I suppose ostensibly this is meant to be gospel but it veers pretty deeply into satire.
McTell's guitar on this track is just TOO friedchickenfunky.


Blind Willie McTell - "Ain't It Grand To Be A Christian"

The female accompanist on both this and the previous track is Willie's wife, Kate McTell; a fascinating vocalist in her own right. Belligerent and quacky, Kate's voice should grate on the nerves, but it seems perfectly at home here; even beautiful.


Blind Willie McTell - "Death Room Blues"

See now, THIS is blues. Willie's moans and drunken guitar give us a man weedling his way to a woeful early grave. McTell's falsetto squeals are pretty creepy too. When he says he "feels like moanin' and cryin'", you believe him.


Blind Willie McTell - "Ticket Agent Blues"

I like the call and response between McTell and his wife. Bragadoccio at it's finest as McTell taunts his wife with tales of his irresistable manliness.

"I'm gon' FIND that one in Tennessee..."


Blind Willie McTell - "Let Me Play With Yo' Yo-Yo"

This is the side of McTell that's most appealing to me: his blue stuff. Chockfulla double entendres and silliness, songs like "Yo' Yo-Yo" are sure crowd pleasers. And what an amiable guitar rhythm! You just wanna let the guy play with yo' yo-yo.


Blind Willie McTell - "Mama, Let Me Scoop For You"

This is probably my favorite McTell song and the first one I remember hearing. Spectacular lyrics. My freshman year in high school, I used to play this for the upperclassmen to crack them up. It's just so darn DIRTY.

"Sometimes, maybe..."


Blind Willie McTell - "Southern Can Mama"

This is an alternate version of McTell's saga of wifebeating, slower and with cleaner diction and somewhat more psychotic for all that. I sort of prefer the original "Your Southern Can Is Mine", but that song is pretty easily accessible on any "best of"; this is harder to find.

As a bonus, here's the (prettydarngood) remake of this track by the White Stripes:

White Stripes - "Your Southern Can Is Mine"

Lately it's gotten to be hip to badmouth the Stripes now that they're popular.
I unabashedly love them.
They sound better than almost ANYBODY else in radio rock and manage to hold their own with pretty much anyone else period. Rock is not my strongest genre and it's rare that I even FIND a rock band I like enough to want to listen to an entire album, but the Stripes definitely fit that bill.

Calling them a "blues band" (or their music "blues") is crazy, though.

Just saying.

Heck, as long as you're in the mood, now's a good time to go get the White Stripes 'De Stijl' from Amazon for more action of this ilk.

Except the last, all these tracks were taken from Document's comprehensive Blind Willie McTell: 1927-1935 three volume set.

If that's a bit too much for you to handle, here's a reasonably priced two cd greatest hits collection available from Amazon.

More music come Monday. Enjoy the weekend, kids.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004


The outpouring of interest in that Jabula Home Defenders caught me off guard. I guess I shouldn't take it for granted that African choral is uninteresting to the masses; I love it, but that's never been any guarantee of cool.

Hey, you want it you got it; I got LOTS of that stuff. Here's four more tracks of beautiful, beautiful African voices for you to cue up and mellow out to.

I'm in kind of a bad mood to be writing about this stuff now, so maybe later. Till then, I'll leave the commentary to you. UPDATE: Was in a bit of a bad mood last night, as I got stood up by my date for the evening. A night's sleep later and I'm ready to talk.


Kings Boys - "Just a Closer Walk With Thee"

This is another release from the same CD that I lifted the Jabula Home Defenders song from and I think it's equally remarkable.

Short but sweet. Played back to back with Patsy Cline's version, you can see both sides of the world at once in less than five minutes.

Can't find any more info on this group anywhere... can anybody help me?

Purchase the CD direct from Amazon


Z.C.C. Mukhukhu - "Ka Lifu Laka"

A wondrous blend of old choral style and new instrumental arrangement (is that a synthesizer pushing out that beat? Can't tell, but it works).

ZCC stands for Zionist Christian Church, Mukhukhu is apparently the name of the township this church is located in (though I've found no proof to back that up).

The soloist is really something; you can hear anguish and prayer there. The tortured singing and plodding percussion threaten to weigh this down into the realm of the funereal, but a silver current of hope laces each phrase and keeps the song alive.

Purchase the album from Amazon: The Rough Guide series, while making no pretentions of being comprehensive, does an admirable job of introducing new listeners to often difficult genres. This album is no exception and its broad selection makes it well worth a listen.

Women of Mambazo - "I Say No"

This song is about overcoming mourning and is thus all the more poignant in light of the circumstances surrounding the musicians.

The lead singer for Women of Mambazo was Nellie Shabalala, wife of Joseph Shabalala (who also appears as a vocal guest on this track). Nellie was murdered in 2002, for reasons that remain unclear. In the resulting trial, Joseph's son Vivian Nkosinathi (Nellie's stepson) was accused of hiring a man to kill Nellie. Resulting court testimony by Nkosinathi led to his statement that white African policemen offered his freedom if he would implicate his own father in the murder. The trial continues today.

This is sadly not the Shabalala family's first confrontation with violence, Headman Shabalala (Joseph's brother and bandmate) was similarly murdered by an off duty policeman.

This song is from Women of Mambazo's first, and perhaps only, album. It has not yet been released in America. Here and here are the only places I could find that were selling the album. Hopefully those curious enough can find a way to get around the complications of currency exchange.

Knowing all of this, I think the song pretty much speaks for itself.

i'm leaving this up indefinitely as a remembrance for the Shabalalas


Ladysmith Black Mambazo - "Abantwana Basethempeleni"

L.B.M. and their frontman Joseph Shabalala rose to prominence in America as the backing group for Paul Simon's phenomenally successful album Graceland, but had been producing music of their own in South Africa since the 1970's.

L.B.M. are also well known in pop culture circles as the voice of Lifesavers candy, the singers in Eddie Murphy's "Coming to America" and the band performing at the end of Michael Jackson's "Moonwalker".

Their music is powerful in the sense that it communicates meaning beyond language. The hardships that the band, and Shabalala in particular, have had to bear are unimaginable and deeply saddening; yet their music is truly uplifting and all but critically unassailable.

I had the good fortune to meet Joseph when I was much younger. When I was introduced to him, he swept me up in his arms and hugged me tightly. I had as strong a sense as I ever have had of a man that is in touch with God.

"Abantwana Basethempeleni" is an excellent showcase for everything L.B.M. does well: soaring feathersoft vibrato solo work by Joseph, riverwater pitter patter vocal flow, astonishing choral blend and harmony.

The tongue rattling "drrrrrrt" sound heard throughout the track is a noise that African farmers use to calm cattle. Works on me, too.

Amen. Amen, hallelujah, amen.

This Ladysmith Black Mambazo site is a joy to leaf through: tons of song samples, a brief zulu glossary and perhaps the first occasion of automatically loading background music that I don't mind.
L.B.M. is currently on tour in America, see if they're coming near you.
Complete in print discography for purchase.


NB: I'll be taking older tracks down without notice in the future, so show up on the scene in a timely fashion or else ya gonna get left out.
Music should stay up for at least three or four days, though; depending on the size of each subsequent posting.

Also, thanks to several sites that have taken to plugging me or dropping me in their blogrolls since we've started offering music: freakytrigger, whose popnose has been a favorite for the past few months; teachingtheindykids todanceagain; verflixt und zugenewst, who inform me I'm not the only DJ Tofu on the block; the Naked Maja; dos boheinde sisters and seymore, weblog as family bonding; jam the line, who's just getting started but deserves a plug as she's turned me on to fingertips; consumptive; somedisco; and, last but not least, enthusiastic but mediocre, also a months long fave.

Update tonight will include some clicky along with the songs.
Time to clean out the pipes.

A brief respite from banjo

Squeaky wheel gets the grease and ya'll have been gettin' me glistenin' witcher JUICES. Thanks for the comments; they're always very welcome.

But I still feel squeaky (fromme). So you get more whiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiine: I'd love to get a dialogue going here twixt just us chickens on these songs: what works, what don't and why.

Music fascinates me; it's so VERY subjective, maybe even more than any other art. Play Ol' Dirty, The Shaggs, Justin Timberlake, Tchaikovski, TATU and Howlin' Wolf back to back to back and you're gonna get one guy that hates everything, one that loves everything and a whole bunch that could pick and choose. A great deal of that can be chalked up to personal distinctions of genre ("I just don't like rap/classical/happy hardcore") but not all. How can an otherwise intelligent beautiful wonderful person say that they don't like the best of the Jackson 5? Johnny Cash? They Might Be Giants? Susana Baca? Prokofiev? Orbital? Public Enemy? Dokakka? I can't figure that out, so I wish you guys would figure it out for me. Talk the selections over; tell me why you love what you love why you hate what you hate and what resonates for days.
Mind you, I don't like people gettin' stupid; so none of that.

Yesterday was a healthy dollop of bluegrass, today is contemporary rnb rarities by four of the great luminaries of the field: one blind, one dead, one MIA, one nuts; but ah my foes and oh my friends, they give such lovely light.


D'Angelo - "Africa" (Live)

Diamond D was gonna be the saviour and in some ways he is. Rnb's prodigal son, arguably the first figurehead for the 90's neo-soul movement, D was young and insanely talented. When the first album dropped, buzz was crazy. There was a month or so where you couldn't go anywhere without hearing Brown Sugar. A friend of mine played a copy of "Shit Damn Motherfucker" and I practically peed myself. Truly second coming stuff.

Then FIVE YEARS PASSED. Lotsa rumours. D is hanging with Prince. D's gettin' married and settling down. Pics of D show him getting some jailhouse muscletone. And then:

Voodoo, still probably the best rnb album of the past fifteen years; runnin' neck and neck with R. Kelly (heh. r+d).
Voodoo was TOO good. There was a throwaway track or two ("Devil's Pie", anyone?) but by and large it was a wakeup call that the king was back on the scene. D notes in the liners that he'll take as long as he damn well sees fit to release albums. Voodoo goes #1 as does the accompanying single, "How Does It Feel". Teen pregnancy rises (well, it seems like it might be related).

Time marches on. D woos Angie Stone who becomes a star in her own right. They have a child together, then she goes from this to this (not hatin', just statin'). The couple separates.

D puts out several collabos with Raphael Saadiq, Tom Jones, Joe and the Wu among others, but no word of a new album. He ends up in court over a "road-rage" assault and alienates ?uestlove for reasons that are unclear.

2004 and still nothing.

Now I'm not doubting; I'm sure he'll drop something that'll put hair on your chest... but when? Two years from now? Won't we be at war with aliens by then?

At least there's this beautiful live solo acapella version of "Africa" to keep us warm till D' stoops to drop pearls on us mere mortals. Seriously, D? Pretty please with sugar on it? Hurry the fuck up.

When something happens, she'll keep us posted.
D's official site: Not much to report, eh?
Go get D'Angelo's first two albums from Amazon: What, do I have to beg you? These are as good as rnb got this decade.


Prince and Stevie Wonder - "Maybe Your Baby" (Live)

These guys aren't exactly slouches either. Prince, my love my one and only and Stevie, the daddy the granddaddy the Son of God. Both of them felled with a degree of hubris that accompanies the wonderful heights they scaled, but Prince MUCH worse so. The guy is a frikkin' Jehovah's Witness these days.

Anybody but me take the time to listen to his last album, News? Stinky Madhouse retread of the worst kind. Prince broke my heart when he finally skipped Warner Bros. and never paid off on the potential that artistic freedom was supposed to give him. I mean, Crystal Ball? WTF?

Stevie just mellowed into easy listening, but never quite so much so as to be unlistenable. Even his last album, Conversation Peace had funky points ("Taboo to Love" "Rain Your Love" and "I'm New" come to mind), but Stevie circa 1970 could've eaten the 90's Stevie for breakfast and had room left over for Andre 3K.

Both of these cats are notorious egotists, so when we find them onstage there's no surprise that we get a load of blather ("the reality is this...") and masturbatory nicey-nice noodling... but then at 5:15, it's on. Stevie's still got it and even after five minutes of rambling, his voice is like an five-alarm fiiiiiire and we don't even give a damn. Prince's guitar is revelatory and grimy; you don't think of "Maybe Your Baby" as fodder for a vicious electric guitar solo, but dude! This is PRINCE we're talking about here.

A fun little rarity and worth a listen. Even if old tunes are most all these guys really have to contribute anymore, those tunes are so goddamn good that I'd still give blood to see either of them perform live.

Stevie Online
Notoriously web savvy Prince's homepage


Marvin Gaye - "Dark Side of the World"

Obscure side from Marvin's sixties, where he was pretty much in limbo until "Heard It Through the Grapevine" hit.

I love this track; it's so earnest and heavily orchestrated without sounding phony. You can see him getting warm for the seventies, when he would drop bombshells that reverberate today.

Remembering Marvin a week after he had gone
Get the album Love Starved Heart from Amazon: This isn't as deep or as real as later releases (hie thee to a copy of What's Going On and I Want You, but it's not as bad as Marvin himself thought. Certainly recommended.


Remember when this was a movie and link blog? I'll try to work my other interests in here soon enough, but I've got so much good music...

All hell broke loose at home and those CD's have yet to be posted, but they're ready to go. Tamarra, tamarra I swear.

Is there anything I really should be listening to right now that you can recommend?

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

(to be spoken in a david bowie squeal...)

Man, when the boys over at Fluxblog and Tangmonkey call your name, you know you're big time. Thanks to Matt and Sean, more people have stopped by in the past three days than in the entire month of January. Clearly, I've only needed to BUY your love. Silly me.

It also seems that although two out of three of you are downloading, only about one in a hundred are commenting. Not to sound whiny, but whiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiine.

One thing I've noticed in EVERYBODY'S musicblog (mu-blog? blug? mulog? moog? moo? Vote Now!) is that we're all but begging for comments. That's because each post represents something like an hour or more of leafing through tracks and writing and editing and finding info. When I come back to the page at night's end to see if you left me any presents under the tree, Little Jimmy cries when the stockings are empty.

Don't make little Jimmy cry.

Please, if you find something you like, something you hate or just want to tell me that you can smell my c^@t, leave a message under the post or over here to the right where it says "Talk to Me", alright? I ain't too proud to beg.

Alright, now that I've finished crying like a little bitch, I guess I can give up some of that sweet, sweet ear candy.
I know you like it like I serve it up: hot and banjo heavy.


Earl McDonald's Original Louisville Jug Band - "Under the Chicken Tree"

Tofuhut is YOUR source for unironic jug band music.

The jug has a distinctive and unused style, no doubt about it. Combined with the spectacylar string work and Earl McDonald's Terrytoon voice, you can't help but want to 23 Skiddoo!

Mostly posting because it's a song about a tree that grows chickens and it's awful hard to go wrong there. This is begging for a flash animation if you ask me.

Chicken Trees (also known as "chinese tallow") are actually imported environmental invaders, like kudzu. Whodathunk it'd be so hard to make a chicken tree go away?
Some historical background on McDonald and Jug Band tradition
More jug band history
Document is sold out of the CD, but here's some more classic jug band discs from Amazon that feature McDonald.


The Stanley Brothers - "Little Birdie"

Speakin' of banjos, here's a doozy fer ya by the Kings of Bluegrass.

Thanks to Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?, Ralph Stanley no longer requires introduction. This is him and his brother Carter performing on one of their earliest recorded sessions for the Rich-R-Tone label. Fifty-five years later, Ralph Stanley continues making great music (I loved his 2002 album and will likely post from it later); Carter has died, but this glory of a song still packs a kick.

Lightning in a bottle, forever fresh.

Some Stanley Brothers history and a selected discography

Revenant Records, publisher of this CD, is a music company of great style and taste. Their 150 buck seven disc Charley Patton box set is among the most freakishly ornate and obsessive compilations anyone's ever seen.

In addition to a bunch of other great downloads, Revenant also hosts a pair of great Stanley Bros. tracks. I highly recommend "The Little Glass of Wine". Ralph and Carter wrote a lot of Shakespearean ditties about murder in the name of jealousy or intrigue and this is one of the best.
Order the Rich-R-Tone album from Revenant's recommended e-tailer.

Wade Mainer - "Train Carry My Girl Back Home"

Mainer's vocal and instrumental really does evoke a locomotive.

Though I'm sympathetic to initial cold feet when it comes to traditional old style bluegrass, you gotta take some time and open your heart up to it; it's completely worth it. This is white blues, just as valid and exciting as anything Robert Johnson or Elmore James did.

Here's some background:

MSN biography
A bevy of Mainer recordings for sale
Great photo


A brief caveat as to the veracity of all the music's accompanying links: these are all found using google journalism and, in most cases, I couldn't tell you if the author knows his stuff or not. Read closely, take 'em with a grain of salt, see your doctor for a second opinion and keep looking to the skies.

NB: February 21st's music will be going down tomorrow, so get anything there you want while you can.

I'm gonna take a few days off from downloading myself to listen to the hundred or so songs in my inbox as I'm backlogged to February 20th. Nobody post anything good till Friday, okay?

Hey, we've a pair of test subjects for the free cd mix/review session noted a few posts below and mentioned over at gramophone.
I'm mailing them out today to California and London respectively (I'll have to figure out if I can do this overseas... I'd like to, but postage may be prohibitive). I'm excited to hear from these guys, so listen quickly.



Monday, February 23, 2004

Heppy heppy Monday kids. Here's a big mugga beautiful voices to sweeten the workaday drudgery.

Every song posted here today has spent at least six hours apiece on onetrackrepeat glued to my fuzzy ears; so as you might presume, I recommend them unreservedly.


Gillian Welch - "Dusty Boxcar Walls" (Live)

Gillian Welch is such an exception: cute even though she looks a bit like a brokedown Halloween ornament; popular _and_ critically acclaimed; old timey and anachronistic without a whiff of irony; a California girl who sounds like she grew up midwifin' calves. Bless her heart.

She sounds gorgeous in concert as well, as evidenced on this cover of Eric Andersen's best known piece.

This has never appeared on one of her studio albums, but was a popular song (along with a fine, slow rendition of "Tennessee Stud") during her "Hell Among the Yearlings" tour. Couldn't give you a date and a location, though; there's far too many possibilities. Anybody recognize the origin of this particular version and wanna enlighten me?

The solo guitarist is Welch's longtime collabo and producer (and boy? Not clear.), David Rawlings. Rawlings rips this song up with a fury. The folkpunk solo and the send up build at the end never cease to give me teen anthem goosepimples.

Maybe this person could trade you for a bootleg of the whole show?

Gillian's official site: Clean and easy on the eyes.


Elizabeth Cronin - "Dance to Your Daddy / Cucanandy"

"ah, that; Well thatthat reminded me of something else now too. And it was like this."

Culled from the Alan Lomax field recordings of Irish folk songs. Cronin's voice is a flock of rock doves swooping joyfully on the heath. It makes me want to ask her to make me oatmeal and take me out to the seaside.

The "throw em up up, throw em up, hwey" part is so sweet it makes me dizzy.

This benefits from repeat listening. Toss it on for, oh, maybe an hour and tell me it isn't like listening to starry night crickets.

Purchase the CD from Amazon: A fabulous collection. This isn't even close to the best track on there. Highly recommended for the Celt-Curious who'd like to get back to pre-Pogues roots.

Buy a 300 page book on Cronin, packaged with two CDs (196 songs!!), her entire recording history

A critical review of said book with a lot of information on our lady and her songbook.


Jill Scott and 4Hero - "Another Day"

Featured prominently on two underappreciated albums: Experience: Jill Scott and the breakbeat jazz band 4Hero's Creating Patterns.

Not too much to say on this one, other than I likes it. The lyrics describe far too many of my snoozebutton Tuesdays. Had this been on Scott's first album, it would've been an easy choice for a single: Gap friendly but funky enough to be taken seriously. As it is, I don't know _any_ Americans who've heard this. Is this stuff popular 'crost the pond?

And where IS Jill these days, anyway? I've heard a few guest collabos (notably with Common) but not even a rumble of a new disc. That old Grammy buzz forced a live album out... then what? Come back Jill, I want more!


Sunday, February 22, 2004

Wow. There's been a big spike in interest since the MP3's showed up.
Hope these new ones meet your approval.


So there's a few reasons why I decided to take the leap into musicblogging. First and foremost, I saw a big gap online in the traditional forms of blues, bluegrass, jazz, gospel, world (for lack of a better word) and rnb; the genres that I'll be devoting the majority of the music posting here. I hope that dispersing some of that stuff through my very modest spigot (quit peekin') might eventually unleash a tidal wave of interest in 'dese roots (See if you make a copy and he copies your copy and she makes a copy of the copied copy, that's like... three copies, or something!). Not that I won't dip into other genres; I've a notoriously short attention span, but that IS the intended focus.

Secondly, this is a bit of a family affair. Music is my father's life and although he's unlikely to ever get to this page (bit of a luddite, that one), part of musicblogging is a misguided attempt to show some love and further his agenda. What agenda? That you punk kids learn to love Clifton Chenier like you love Jay Z. Actually, Pops prolly don't know from Jigga, but you get my point. Please explain it to me.

Lastly, I've been a VICIOUS dl'er lately. That "Daily Music Fix" over here---->
is serious. I really DO dl whatever these folks post. I really DO listen to it all; god bless you iPod.
Now I'd like to give something back to all these friendly postin' folkses to crack open their gourds as they have busted me gulliver, forever and ever amen.

Plus I've got all this fricken' obscure music and nobody who wants to listen to it with me. Be my friend.

Okay, that's enough lamer exposition, here's some stuff to listen to:


Today's first selektion is special for Sean over at said the gramophone and not just 'cause he's promised to plug my blog over there.

See, Sean posted Jimmy Soul's "If You Wanna Be Happy" about two weeks ago and it got me thinking about the little-known progenitor of that funky novelty track:

Sir Lancelot - "Ugly Woman"

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.

Here's two more gems by this multitalented, underappreciated troubadour:

Sir Lancelot - "Sweet Like a Honey Bee"

Sir Lancelot - "Take Me, Take Me (To San Pedro)"

Purchase the CD: Trinidad Is Changing
Excellent, exhaustive resource page for Lancelot Pinard


Willie Dixon - "29 Ways"

Willie Dixon has a stake as one of the all-time great American songwriters. The man was responsible for some of the best known and best loved standards of the past century; "Hoochie Coochie Man", "Little Red Rooster", "I Just Want to Make Love to You" are just a few.

"29 Ways" is a great list song; one has to wonder if Jigga was familiar with this when he rattled off "22 Twos" on Reasonable Doubt.

Dixon's insistent crooning, the jingle jangle piano, the doo wop backup singers, the jaunty drums, the growling sax solo: Everything works.

On this track, Dixon and his band sound as if they were packed (piano and all) into an old Model-T and sent off down a gravel road to cheerfully plot a break in. Some serious happy ass blues goin' on here.

Purchase the two cd Chess Records Box set from Amazon: I've had this over a decade and I still enjoy it. If you've not much experience with the blues, you could do worse than starting here.
Eccentric bio of Dixon
More Poetry by Willie : I particularly like the lyrics to Dead Presidents.
This site has an alternate version of "29 Ways" and "Spoonful" available on MP3 down at the bottom. I like my version of this track better, but it's still a fun listen and much bluesier.


The Coup - "Underdogs"

The Coup - "Nowalaters"

So much for sticking to topic, eh? Oh well; if you're gonna post hip hop, you couldn't do much better than the Coup.

This is material you should all have heard by now but I have the sneaking suspicion a very few of you are still not in the know, so ears up! The Coup's political rhymin' pushed them out of the spotlight and their lack of trust in the industry machine has sent them pinballing from label to label; their albums regularly lapse into "out of print" status but they also have a host of rabid underground fans who argue that they might be the most important hip hop artists in America right now.

Why should you care? Where to begin? The terrifying screams that open "Underdogs", the Coup's bleak shout out to the impoverished? The elastic bass and poplock percussion on "Nowalaters" song-length hook? The brilliant, fluid and politically aware songwriting: "It was me up in the vaginary/And I'm gonna love my kids whether real or imaginary/Quit school, working with her parents at the mall next to Fashion Berry/Operation Cash and Carry"?

I heart the Coup. New album soon? Please?

Purchase the CD's (Party Music and Steal This Double Album) direct from the band: Hip Hop Classics.
Interview with Coup frontman Boots Riley
The story on the infamous "Blowing up the World Trade Center" cover art


So am I to believe that NOBODY wants a free mix cd of music? Check two posts down and leave me a note, would ya? You're leavin' me standin' 'round with my dick in my hand here.

And my evening? You know that Chris Rock routine where he talks about the one guy at the club who's just a little too old... not too old period, just too old to be in the club. Remember that? Well I spent the evening out at bars FILLED with that guy.

At least YOU love me, computer. Right?


Saturday, February 21, 2004

Well, here's the goods. Comments are now, more than ever, very much appreciated.


Unknown Artists - "Parsley Sage Rosemary and Thyme" (Live)

This was a P2P find, probably an accidental download; but I find myself returning to it on a regular basis. The recording is pretty poor, which somehow adds to its immediacy and power.

As best as I can tell, this was recorded live in what sounds like a church; you can hear babies cry out and the shuffling of chairs, but the crowd is entirely too quiet and reserved for a regular concert.

The beep at the start of the track suggest this was probably bootlegged off of a videocamera, the strings/drum/vocal choir and language all sounds African to me.

Precious stuff; the choir soars even through the muffled sound and the simple, innovative musical arrangement is reminiscent of Baaba Maal.

If you have suggestions about background, I would appreciate info.


The Hill Billies: Al Hopkins and His Buckle Busters - "The Feller That Looked Like Me"

This here is some snazzy real deal bluegrass recorded May 1927 in New Yawk City... skyscrapers and everythang.

Here's an excerpt from the liners by Prof. Charles Wolfe:

"Their first big break came when they got a shot on the radio at Washington's WRC in January 1926; the station was deluged by letters, post cards, and phone calls, all with compliments and requests - so much so that Radio Digest did a feature on it. Though WRC was only a 500 watt station in those days, the signal carried both up to New York and down south to Virginia... the boys were so popular that they were asked to play at a White House function before President Coolidge... (t)he end of the Hill Billie's saga came... as a result of a grinding automobile crash in October 1932 in Winchester: [lead vocalist] Al Hopkins was killed."

Part Hee Haw, part children's story; the lyrics have a great old timey bluegrass mix of sing song absurdity and mad violence. Witness the chorus: "Oh wouldn't I like to catch him/Wherever he may be/Oh, wouldn't I burst his pumpkin head/that fella that looks like me." The playing is casually expert.

Much of this album is filled with standards, but as far as my (admittedly limited) knowledge goes, this was an Al Hopkins original. It's a fairly obscure song, even for bluegrass fans, but I likes it.

More tracks by this artist: Sadly, in Real format, which I don't play with. Honking Duck is a great looking website if _you_ do, though.
A page dedicated to Charlie Bowman, famed Buckle Buster fiddler: However, please note that the fiddle on this particular track is NOT by Bowman; personnel for fiddle on "Feller" is Elvis Alderman.
Purchase the CD direct from the publisher.


Jabula Home Defenders - "Where You Come From?"

Popularized in America by Joseph Shabalala and the Black Axe of Ladysmith Township, this sort of choral performance (along with the dance that accompanies it) is known as isicathamiya, which might be loosely translated as "township jive". These songs are performed as battles, with township representatives competing in officially scored contests known as ingoma ebusuku.

The dancing here is often as beautiful as the singing; listening without seeing it is like listening to a great orchestra perform a ballet on tape: you're missing half the point. More's the pity, but the driving beat of this song should be enough to at least hold your attention.

Performed in both Zulu and English, November 1985. English lyrics: "Where you come from? Come on. What you say? That's why I speak English. You make me cross." Pretty basic and necessary English for a Zulu servant. The Zulu translates into "Dear me, there is no money. My coffers are exhausted," explaining why this English was necessary to learn.

Powerful. 8 Mile eat your heart out.

I grew up with Isicathamiya performance very near and dear to my heart. Hope you enjoy it as well.

Background on the history of Isicathamiya
Robert Christgau deigns to listen to good music: "Put off by its ethnographic audio, I shelved this as a field reference until my boundless thirst for knowledge induced me to take it out and turn it up." Hoooookay.
Purchase the CD, Zulu Worker Choirs from Amazon: I gotta tell you, this one's worth it. I could've posted any of several tracks on here; the version of "Just a Closer Walk with Me" is similarly priceless. In fact, I may have to post that one sometime later.

The Coasters - "Down In Mexico"

I love the Coasters. You've undoubtedly hummed along to a song or two; they're responsible for "Yakety Yak", "Poison Ivy" and "Smokey Joe's Cafe".

"Down In Mexico" is a seriously naughty vice, a song essentially about contacting a Mexican pimp to acquire the services of one "chick" who will do "a dance (you) never saw before".

Everything in this slinks and boogies. It's a tattoo come to life.

It's also a total personal fave. That sax riff still kills me and I defy you not to shake ya butt when the bongo solo drops.

Learn a bit more about the Coasters
Purchase the CD from Amazon: This astonishing two disc Rhino set is sadly out of print, hence the ninety buck cost. Must say, at any price it's hard to call this a bad deal. Check Ebay first, tho.

The Golden Gate Jubilee Quartet - "My Walking Stick"

"Down in Mexico" is one of the earliest songs I remember ever listening to and liking. This would likely be the first. It's in my top ten favorite songs.

This "Human Orchestra" style of acapella beats seven flavors of hell out of beatbox, for my money. Joyfully nonsensical lyrics: "Without my walking stick/I'd go insane/Couldn't look my best/I'd feel undressed/without my cane".

Simply perfect.

Purchase the CD direct from the publisher


I would never have heard any of this music if not for my father, who turns 57 today.
I love you Pops.

Thursday, February 19, 2004


Boy, the days do fly by don't they? Let's get caught up.
Take a look around; the blogroll has been updated (especially the "DAILY MUSIC FIX") and there's any number of new cool sites to peek into.


I figured out the secret of the dirty south.

Finally got around to listening to a bit more Lil' Jon while I was running at the gym; that guy _lives_ on BET these days. I'll dejack the iPod every now and again to listen in when he comes on, 'cause his music has such bitchin' verbal BPM and booty bass like a Miami thunderstorm.

Anyway, I think I got it: Crunk is bitchin' hooks, hardcore beats, misogynist lyrics, loads of pent up anger, long hair freaks jumping up and down and banging into each other.

It's black hair metal.

Can I get a witness?


MEMEPOOL lights me the way to a terrible, terrible nightmare.
I give you a David Hasselhoff singing "Hooked On A Feeling" while flying angels and dachshunds frolic in the background.
And may God have mercy on my soul.
"Peanut Butter Jelly Time" is _so_ '02. "Go-Go Girl Time" is the new hotness.
Virtual Knee Surgery:
The only way anyone's going to trust you with a bonesaw.
Cosi is really branching out these days, huh?
Raging Fred ain't the new Charlie Brown "Hey Ya", but it'll do.
Kelp Cam
A Virtual Tour of Bubblegum Alley:
Yawk! This is disgustin'! (via MONKEYFILTER)
Bunsen's Sex and the City Spoiler:

(sorry to blow your punchline, buns; this is just too gorgeous not to steal)
World's Smallest Monkey
Tuesday February 24th, Downhill.org is pimping "Grey Tuesday", a public show of support for the corporate shutdown of DJ Danger Mouse's Grey Album.

For those (two) of you not yet in the know, the Grey Album is a mashup remix of Jay-Z's Black Album and the Beatles White Album and let me tell you, the best way to listen to the Grey Album is to NOT listen to the Black Album first. I've yet to sit through the Black in its entirety, but I've been taking the Grey with me to the gym everyday for about three weeks. HIGHLY recommended; Jay's rapping takes center stage moreso than on the album mixes.

Go get a copy; I'd start with the mixes of "Dec.4th", "Dirt Off Your Shoulder" and "What More Can I Say".
FLESHBOT reports that the Brown Titty of Glory is now officially both played and sold out as Janet is "planning to launch her own range of saucy underwear and jewellery, including nipple rings..."
"Jesus Christ said suffer the little ones to come unto me, not that they should be eaten for public entertainment."
Urm. Check please.
I first read about necrotizing fasciitis in Atul Gawande's excellent book Complications. The "flesh eating disease" is extra-special scary because, although incredibly rare, it can be started by something as minor as a RUG BURN and can go unnoticed until it's entirely too late.
This must be porn for hypochondriacs.
Careful with the pictures here.
Chyugakusei Nikki: (Via BLORT)
Entrancing and confusing.
I'm really enjoying the music of Sufjan Stevens these days. He runs a well designed site and there's loads of free mp3s. TANGMONKEY turned me onto him with Stevens' gorgeous single "Seven Swans" (sadly, no longer online) from the album of the same name. This is definitely one I'll be looking to buy.
"All Your Christmas Belong To Us" Mashup
Turnpike Film's ads make me want to buy their products. Are you listening Corporate America? I want more commercials like this and this and (oh god please) more like THIS.


"Yeaaaaaah... Babies EVERYWHERE!"

The mastermind behind these is director Justin Reardon (who also won first place in the Renfrew County Science Fair [third from left]; way to go, Justin!)

He's also responsible for this excellent Sonic the Hedgehog spot and was apparently one of the hands behind the "Wasssup!" Budweiser ads, but it's been awhile so I'm ready to forgive him for that.

Like Coury Turczyn says over at PopCult, "Somebody give this guy a low-budget indie film to direct, pronto."
I'm not crazy about the nonsecular air, but Mazes does have a couple of toys to help you while away your lunch time.

...A NEW CAR!!!!

In my CONTINUING attempts to try to illicit some sort of a response out of you motherfuckers quieter types, I'm now giving stuff away. Clearly, I have issues.

Anyway here's the deal: I'm giving away an audio mix cd to the first two people who leave their e-addy in the comments for this post. I'll contact you at said email to get your snail address and will knock out a disc to you on Monday by the latest, no cost to you.

Here's the catch: By Monday next (that'd be the 29th of February) at the latest, I'm going to want a brief track-by-track review of said CD emailed to me for publication in this blog. That gives you about three days to listen the disc over closely enough that you can sit down and write a few paragraphs about it.

Please bear in mind that if I don't get a review by Sunday next, I'm publishing your email for the spambots to eat and I'll openly mock you in public and I'll be very very VERY sad. Fair? Fair.

If this turns out to be a fun and workable thing, I'll do it on a weekly basis.

Forewarned is forearmed: This weeks disc has a theme and that theme is:

Are you up to the challenge?

Continuing in my misguided efforts to teach the world to sing, I've decided to sink a little money into a webhost and start posting some mp3's over here. The slant is likely gonna be gospel, blues and bluegrass with a few other things tossed in for kicks, maybe two a post or so. Just waiting for the check to clear and as soon as it does, I'll work out the technical crap and start posting.

(This will also help me avoid the terrible terrible habit I've acquired of linking directly to other people's images. I'm quitting soon as I get a host up; I'm on the patch, I swear.)

So buckle your seatbelts kids. It's bound to be a lumpy ride.