Monday, August 30, 2004

r.d. james in a rare moment of normality
glisten: Blue CD 10

19. Aphex Twin - "Blue Calx"

Juan - Not my kind of thing. Never will be.

Brian - Or not. Richard James, John Cage. John Cage, Richard James. That’s a stretch though, isn’t it? Too easy. Aphex Twin creates movements, though, like Cage. He seems restless. He wants to play with tonality. But he’s different isn’t he? Like Cage, or even Brian Eno, he takes some time. Digestion. But you get rewarded. Just not necessarily in the way you expect.

Rob - I listened to this right before falling off to sleep, with all of the lights off. It is a beautiful track that conveys a sense of sadness and desperation. I quite enjoyed it.

Pastor - Ahh yes this was a welcome ear cleaner to scrub out the lingering harmonica gunk from the last track.

Before all the hArD(0R3 aphex phreaks come by to inform me that I've mislabelled this, let me mea culpa in advance and tell you that part of the fun of listening to "Selected Ambient" is trying to figure out just what track you have on in the first place.

Celebrated as one of the greatest albums of the nineties, "Ambient" is perenially music of the future today. Fleshy and crystalline all at once, Aphex has hours of music that runs roughshod over the too clean pigeonholes that electrogeeks love to fall back on. It's among my favorite things to listen to when I need to recharge the ear.

Buy "Selected Ambient Works, Volume 2", a two disc collection of strangely organic electronic music, from Amazon.
Visit Aphex Twin's site for his album 'Drukqs' from Warp Records.
Lotsa DLable music!
Read this '97 interview with James.
Explore Kamm's fairly comprehensive (if outdated) Aphex fan page.
Bookmark this fairly nicely designed "Blue Calx" blog.


20. Blind James Campbell - "I Am So Blue When It Rains"

Juan - A bit chaotic and out of tune, but good to sing with your friends at the bar.

Brian - Yes. Yesyesyesyesyesyes. Break out the bourbon, the whiskey, the ‘shine…I don’t care. Joy. Happiness. Morning comes. Perfect ending…I really don’t know what to say…Best song on the cd. There, I said it. Thank you, Blind James.

Rob - Odd way to tend the album, yet somehow it fits.

Pastor - He may be blue but this brought a huge smile to my face.

Heh. Nothing like a little joy to clean the palate, eh?

Buy "Blind James Campbell and his Nashville Street Band," a funky raggedy ass '63 reissue, direct from Arhoolie Records.
I'm So Blue
When It Rains

That's all for the Blue action. Thanks again to my reviewers.

C'mon back t'morrah; we gonna get DRUNK!


We made 100,000 individual hits over the weekend. I feel so special!
All the self-respecting music geeks in the house need to get out to check the Top 100 singles and Top 100 albums of the past five years, as selected by ILM.
Required reading.
I can't even pretend that I agree with all this (especially as there's far too much on there that I know nothing about) but this is definitely gonna color my purchasing for the next year or so. Heck, I already (finally) picked up copies of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and "Kid A" based on their placement.
A letter from Ray Davis, re: our last entry:

"I play Elvis's 'Blue Moon' every June 16, along with 'Finnegan's Wake' and 'The Croppy Boy' and 'The Low-Backed Car' and 'I Dreamt I Dwealt in Marble Halls' and Van Morrison's "St. Dominic's Preview'. I assume all my fellow Joyceans would agree that Elvis should've played Stephen Dedalus in the movie version of 'Ulysses', although I've never bothered to ask them.

'Bloooom... you saw me standing alone... without a dream in my heart... without a love of my own. Bloooom....'
Darwin (previously of the ODB/Talking Heads mashup and the excellent Nuclear Beef contributes another mashup from Acapella week and... well, I'll let him tell you:

"> Forksclovetofu sez:
> I have to tell you, this really was difficult for me to get into but I totally bought in after a half dozen listens.

It's weird, because I had a similar experience while writing it. I thought it was just that I have no idea what the original song is about or what the lyrics are saying. Over the last week or so I've noticed that snippets of my remix have popped into my head.. the vocal interacting with the beat.. and I still don't understand what the lyrics mean. Needless to say this hasn't really happened to me before. Thanks for prompting me to do something satisfying which I probably wouldn't have done otherwise.

I also get the feeling that maybe the Ladysmith track is not exactly in the same time signature (time system?) as the backing track. With the long sustains and decays on their vocals (and the fact that the track is a "pure" acapella instead of the vocal for a full track) AND the lack of lyrical signposts, it was a matter of trying to fit it together until it sounded right. Usually when mashing or remixing you have a more defined structure in the original vocal. I think I probably discarded about 20% of the vocal because it didn't "fit" with the musical progression. There's also random segments which I re-used in the middle, to bridge between "verses" ... which obviously would never work with a song in a language that I can understand.

Like I said, not your typical remix!"

1. Ladysmith Black Mambazo vs. Bobby Brown - "A Boy's Prerogative (DJ Darwin Mashup)"

Friday, August 27, 2004

This heartrending photo and many others like it are available at Erwin's Elvis Home Page
glisten: Blue CD 9

17. Elvis Presley - "Blue Moon"

Juan - The King. He's beyond evaluation.

Brian - There’s this song I used to really like by, of all bands, the KLF called “Elvis on the Radio, Steel Guitar in My Soul”. It features snippets of train sounds, steel guitar and, yes, Elvis floating in and out of the mix singing “In the Ghetto”. I’m not, admittedly, a big Elvis fan. But this version of Blue Moon… I’m back in the same car I was riding in for the Four Vagabonds. Untypical Elvis... low key, under produced in all the best ways. I dare to say tender. Maybe this time it’s a transistor radio.

Rob - Continues in the vein of the last track. Doesn't do anything for me.

Pastor - I've got this image of Elvis in an electric blue cowboy outfit riding a horse at dusk with one of those 'Hee-Haw type' red, white, and blue guitars and singing after a long day of cow poking. It does frighten me when he sings those high bits however.

Early Elvis is pretty much untouchable in my eyes. Sure, he continued to make (occasionally) interesting music for most of the rest of his life but nothing quite as exciting and honest as those first two dozen or so cuts.
The King is sweet and endearing here; you sorta wanna give him a hug and the yodelling makes me wanna give him my hankie.

Definitely among my top ten for th' big fella.

Buy "The Sun Sessions", Elvis' overwhelmingly good early singles, from Amazon.
Visit the official Elvis page.
Tour (virtually) Sun Studios.
Explore this fansite for "Mystery Train", Jim Jarmusch's spectacular film about Memphis and Elvis and Carlu Perkin-san.
Learn what causes a real blue moon.
Be amazed by the glory that is ELVIS' SHOPPING LIST!!!1!!1!ONE!!


18. Bob Dylan - "It's All over Now, Baby Blue (Live)"

Juan - I was actually expecting this one. Not this version, though, which is actually very good. The voice is a little bit more nasal than usual, but it doesn't annoy at all. On the contrary.

Brian - Is it just me, or does that beginning guitar bit sound like Nick Drake’s Pink Moon? Ok. The song. Well, Bob’s Bob…what can I say? Bob’s always a bit blue. Seems that when Zim goes live he’s either terrible or brilliant, you get no in-between. Obviously this is the Bob when he’s on. One of his more direct songs from a time when he was discovering the joys of directness. Does anyone discuss what a brilliant harmonica player Bob is? He uses the harmonica like Neil Young uses the guitar…a complement to a voice. Seems we’ve come back around to the voice again…the oral rhythm.

Rob - Sounds like a typical Bob Dylan song. I like Bob Dylan, and I enjoy this song, although it doesn't really stand out as one of his best. Still the lyrics are always great.

Pastor - I'll say it - I have never liked it when Bob plays the harmonica. I know I'm supposed to get into the storytelling and poetry aspects of the performance, but at this point in time I just can't do it.

Dylan has been a real uphill battle for me and it's only been in the past few years that I've really wholeheartedly embraced him (unsurprisingly, twas 'Blonde on Blonde' and 'Bringing It All Back Home' that did the trick). "Baby Blue" isn't even close to one of my favorite tracks but it is innocuous and mellow, the sort of thing that you can listen to two or three hundred times in a row without it ever becoming grating, intrusive or annoying and that's hard to come by.

Buy "The Bootleg Series, Volume Four", Dylan's legendary 'Royal Albert Hall' concert backed by The Band, from Amazon.
Visit Bob Dylan's website for TONS of audio fun.
Would you believe the nutty sumbitch has clips of his ENTIRE CATALOG online? It's like a Dylan library.
Explore this massive collection of Dylan links and essays.
Save up now for the soon-to-be-released Dylan autobio.
My sister had a hardcover first edition of "Tarantula" back in the day. Wish I'd have read it...


Much love and well wishes go out to the Dooce. Think good thoughts and keep her close to heart, ya'll.
NYC Tofu readers are advised to make it out to see Go Robot Go a new Fringe Festival play by my good friend (and "major talent") Julie Shavers. The dialogue is sharp as a needle and funny as hell and th' music rocks the casbah. If you see it and don't like it, I'll give you your money back. How's that?
More reasons to love Bjork:

“You know, its ironic that just at the point the lawyers and the businessmen had calculated how to control music, the internet comes along and fucks everything up.” Björk gives the finger again, this time waving it into the air. “God bless the internet.” She adds, “I'll still be there, waving a pirate flag.”
I feel like I've brought this up a dozen times, but since they're asking me directly:
What's the ethical grounds for me allowing Google AdSense on this page? Is it cool, do you think? Seeing as they pay me only if you click? Or am I being disingenuous?
You wanna know what cool is? Cool is having a photographer from the muthafuckin' Rolling Stone call you to find out when would be a good time to come over to take your photo.

More info soon but the long and the short of it is that there's likely to be a nice piece on musicbloggers in th' Stone fairly shortly with some typical malapropisms from yours truly thrown in.

Could this be the beginning of mainstream recognition? Or just the spark that the big boys need to start litigation? Or just a lot of little people flipping out at their tempestuous teapot? Don't touch that dial!
Lest I forget, my good good buddy Kimdog is finally blogging with some regularity. It's still embryonic but she's fun to read and turns a good story.

You should drop by and leave her messages. It would totally fuck with her head if she got two hundred hits and twenty notes today.
I have a crush on bunny mcintosh and it's not pretty. I mean, it's not like some kind of bullshit SUICIDE GIRLS crush or anything but I still am dropping by her page more often than is healthy. Which is to say, often.

Bunny, ya want a CD? And speaking of which..
One more blue yet to go! Monday will cap us off and then we're off to play with the drunks.

Ending one CD means it's time for another, so let's try again to hook you up with a:


This time the mix is A FAMILY AFFAIR.

Want to be a guest reviewer? Here's how we play:

If you want a copy of the next mix CD, email me at the address listed at the top of this page with "CAN I HAVE A CD?" in the subject line and a friendly request in the actual mail. The first FOUR requests I receive will get a response from me detailing the rules of review. Everybody else gets a nice pat on the head.

As soon as I receive the first four requests, I will update this post or leave a note in the next post to let you know that we're full up; however, professional music writers (anybody who publishes in a glossy mag or regularly in a daily paper) as well as other musicbloggers are STRONGLY DESIRED. I may toss an extra disc out if you show up late, so drop me a line, yes?

Please note that there is no charge whatsoever for this CD, _except_ you are going to be expected to write a track by track review... quickly. By quickly, I mean within a week after I mail the thing or more or less two or three days after you receive it in the mail.

United States players only please, unless you're willing to fedex me a check for shipping and handling (or buy me something off of my gift list, in which case you're in. Sorry to be American elitist; I'd love to be able to go global but it's just too damn expensive. Again, if you wanna pay for it then I'm happy to include and indulge my beloved overseas readers as well.

UPDATE: Thank you; we're full up!
Professionals, celebrities and friends of the family can still drop a line tho'.


Thursday, August 26, 2004

The Fantastic Four
glisten: Blue CD 8

15. The Long Winters - "Blue Diamonds"

Juan - Much better. I don't know these guys. What does the LA times say about them? I like the contrast of the lead guitar with the organ.

I don't have the SLIGHTEST what the LA Times line means. All the lyrics are bizarre but I find myself shouting along to them nonetheless. "These chicken are fish in a barrel and the tall one is gonna be for sale" strikes me as a Ludacris line, really.

Brian - Ok gotta admit…I’m really tired of indie pop at the moment. When was the last time one of these bands was really exciting? Exciting in a Pavement kinda way…where you remember the exact moment you heard it for the first time? Most of these bands are forgettable, at best-same themes, same key, same sameness of guitar, and let’s add some processed laptop horns over the top so we sound like Apples in Stereo covering the Beach Boys (or at least one Beach Boys album…. people forget that the B.B.’s were responsible for quite a bit of generic music too). Maybe that’s the word I’m looking for…generic. Does this song suck? Well, no. Does it make me want to run out and buy the album? Nope. Wallpaper. Soon to be replaced by the next band trumpeted by Magnet or (insert fanzine of the moment). On a cd with so many hard hitters (Coltrane, Brown, Williams, Cash), just can’t get behind this.

I dunno Brian; this resonates pretty well with me. I understand what you mean about flavor of the month harderbetterfasterstrongernextbigthing music being exhaustingly boring, but this shit really moves me. Vive la difference, I guess.

I can see where you hear the Beach Boys connection but I think it's entirely cosmetic.

Rob - A little bit of a puck up here which I really enjoy. I like this song, makes me want to find more out about these guys. The vocalist almost sounds like Michael Stipe, a stretch maybe. Still, I can rock out to this song.

Pastor - I'm a sucker for that particular two chord progression that starts off the song (The Monkees' 'All of Your Toys' is another that uses it). It had me hooked immediately. Looks like I found another CD to track down.

This particular track comes from another musicblog... several in fact, as I'm pretty sure that it's appeared on both Teaching the Indie Kids AND Gramophone (S/FJ is guesting today!). Normally I'll steer clear of repeats, but I sure do like this track. It's got staying power; I've been listening to it for over seven months now and it still sounds fresh. Keith said he didn't understand the lack of buzz for these fellas; I'll second that wholeheartedly.

Buy "When I Pretend to Fall", the Long Winters second album, direct from Barsuk records.
Visit the Long Winters website. They've got a bunch more MP3's for download so try em out and see if they're you're cuppa.
Read this interview with Long Winters lead singer John Roderick.


16. Janette and Four Vagabonds - "In The Blue Of The Evening"

Juan - Sounds like it belongs in the soundtrack of some
Woody Allen movie, which is not necessarily all that bad.

Pastor - I feel like I'm in a musty attic and I'm covered in dust - like somebody left me up there and forgot about me. But I like that feeling so this gets a thumbs up.

Brian - Have you ever driven alone, late at nite, on some country road? And you switched the radio over to a.m. ? Through the crackle and hiss comes a song…you have no idea where it came from, you’ll never hear it again, you can barely keep the station tuned, and you may be the only one listening. But for that small moment in time everything is all right, everything in it’s place. This is the song you heard.

Rob - From the pick up to the inevitable let down. This song falls shallow and makes me miss the rock that I just got teased with.

Rob, methinks you and Brian should talk this over.

Buy "The Complete Four Vagabonds: Volume Three" from Amazon.
This is one of several tracks that feature "Janette" a very, well, WHITE sounding female lead. I can really do without her to be honest with you. I'm all about the amazing human orchestra music.
Read this Four Vagabonds retrospective.
In their own time, these guys were a real pop force.
Learn about the unlikely originators of the "Four Vagabonds" nomenclature.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Sorry to be AWOL; I conked out early. Musta needed a day off. We're here, I swear!
glisten: Blue CD 7

13. Stevie Wonder - "Girl Blue"

Juan - Two things wrong with this song: there is a kind of robotic voice on the first chorus, and is that the Yamaha dx7 horrible signature sound? Other than that, great Stevie Wonder song.

Admittedly, that synth warble is all kinds of Velveeta. Somehow it blends with Stevie's vocoder vocals in such a way that makes me think of a Motowned-out Daft Punk.
That's good. Leastways I think so.

Brian - Old Stevie Wonder, before bad things started to happen to him (can any explain exactly what happened to him? When did he start to be…well…bad? Lackluster?). Funk, funk, funkity funk funk. This is aqua blue. Blue love, like a summer rainstorm washing all the bad things away.

I'm champing at the bit to hear Stevie's new album A Time 2 Love. It's been delayed several times (the current rumour has it he's adding tracks to memorialize Brother Ray) and he backed out of a promotional concert at Bryant Park for Good Morning America that I was gonna go see come hell or high water (it was cancelled due to the coverage for Reagan's death).

I wouldn't call Stevie's more recent work "lackluster" necessarily (tho' the 'Jungle Fever' soundtrack was a bit of a stinker). It's certainly not on par with the period when he produced tracks like THIS, of course... but there's some gold in that straw if you take your time.

Rob - Almost sounds like prog rock i.e. early genesis with Stevie Wonder vocals ('Invisible Touch', indeed!). I'm not that enthused on the first listen, but maybe being in an altered state of mind could make it all make sense. Or it could just be messed up =)

Pastor - I don't know - this one left me kind of flat. If I were driving in my car, it wouldn't be bad enough to force me to change the station, but I probably wouldn't actively listen to it either.

Stevie's experimenting with trippy pop, getting ready for a half a decade of nonstop brilliance.

Buy "Music of My Mind", Stevie's '72 breakthrough to conscious RnB.
Make no mistake; this is just a warmup for the flood that was on the way ("Talking Book", "Fulfillingness' Final Finale", "Innervisions" and "Songs in the Key of Life" would be on the way in less than FOUR YEARS) but this offers a few great tracks too.
Other faves off this one include "Evil", "Sweet Little Girl" and "Love Having You Around".
Actually, now that I'm looking at the tracklist, I wanna break this one back out. Hella good.
Explore this excellent Stevie fansite.
Read this incredible Stevie Wonder interview... conducted by Kermit the Frog!
Read this selective, opinionated and interesting annotated discography.


14. Suzanne Vega - "Small Blue Thing"

Juan - Sorry, doesn't do it for me."I am cool and smooth and curious, I never blink"?? Don't come close to me!

Brian - Ah, nostalgia. For some reason, I always think of Lloyd Cole when I hear Suzanne Vega. No good reason. Perhaps it’s a time and place thing. It’s too bad people still only think of Luka or Tom’s Diner when it comes to Ms. Vega. She crafted some beautiful and haunting songs. Delicate and lovely. This is one of those songs. Perfectly grey afternoon. (your perfect blue raincoat?)

Rob - Great voice and the poetic lyrics really make the song for me. The minimalistic guitar with fills suits the song well and keeps with the tone.

Pastor - The song is pretty enough but personally I'm not a big fan of 'I am a [blank] and this is how I see the world' type stuff. Mediocre coffee house fare with synthesizers (which sound a little dated to my ears).

What can I say? I'm a sucker for Suzanne Vega. It's part nostalgia and part appreciation for a sweet soft voice.

Buy "Suzanne Vega", her eponymous '85 first release, from Amazon.
Explore Vega's excellent homepage, overflowing with soundsamples.
Read this interview with Suzanne.

I absolutely refuse to say die on this Sufjan concert review.
As John Holmes was known to remark: It'll come, it'll come.
Better get cracking on my writing.

Monday, August 23, 2004

glisten: Blue CD 6

11. Heavy D & the Boyz - "Blue Funk"

Juan - Liked it better the second time around. Still, not my thing.

Brian - I never, never, never get tired of this drumbeat. Not quite funky drummer…but it kills. Teaching the Roots some lessons. Not sure when this came out in relation to Gang Starr/Jazzmatazz, but I like this better. You got a white boy saying “Heavy kicks it don’t he?” Great jazz horn samples (I’m guessing). Blue neon lites spin, blue haze. I haven’t put my chair down yet.

Rob - What he does is pretty good. Old school beats with a style that doesn't really distinguish itself . Still, the bag of blue funk is kind of catchy.

Pastor - If it will make me feel like I did while listening to this, I want a bag of Blue Funk too!

Heavy D-efining moment for me was riding on the bus on a high school band trip and playing (Pete Rock produced) "Do Me" off of 'Peaceful Journey' and chanting the chorus and then getting griped at by all the band parents on board for our "guttermouths" and having our music privileges revoked and having to secret on walkmans and boomboxes on the dl.

Thems were th' days.

Buy "Blue Funk", probably the Hevster's best album, from Amazon.
Read this brief bio on Heavy from New Jack Swing 4Ever.
Read this '97 Ebony interview.
Marvel at this cache of an article that claims the Hevster lost 135 lbs in 2003. I want some pictures.
Buy a blue funk guitar.


12. Aesop Rock - "Blue in the Face"

Juan - Much better than the previous one.

Brian - Ok, I put the chair down. There’s an audience for this. Somewhere. I’m not one of them. Sorry.

Rob - I like the song, although it takes a few listens to really follow it. Nice beat though, and I enjoy the violin.

Pastor - I enjoyed this. I especially got a kick out of the section about trying to catch a fish with a worm and the quasi-Indian flavor of the background.

Imagine my consternation when I discovered that the always dope Cocaine Blunts had beaten me to posting this AceRock track by all of three days. Luckily, we at the Hut have deep pockets when it comes to music so we gots back ups.

First go get Blue in the Face' from CB and then c'mon back here for your second helping:

12 1/2. Aesop Rock - "Shere Khan"

'Shere Khan' is about as offbeat a hiphop track as you're likely to find anywhere. Disparate elements out the wazoo. Exciting stuff.

This track comes off of "Music for Earthworms", which Ace has made it clear that he's not likely to re-release.

The album 'Blue in the Face' hails from, "Appleseed" is also no longer in print, but if you like what you hear, you'll probably dig on what you get when you buy "Labor Days" from Amazon.
Read the Def Jux Ace page.
Read this interview.
Read this bio from 'Shere Khan' producer, dub-l.


That Sufjan concert piece should be up tomorrow. I'm draggin' a bit; forgive please.

Friday, August 20, 2004

"James Brown's Perm Power"
glisten: Blue CD 5

9. James Brown - "Out of the Blue"

Juan - This is how I like James Brown: in small doses.

Brian - Hell, if you can’t get off yr damn chair and shake what (insert deity of choice) gave you to this’n here track, then yr dead, my friends. Dead. Soul, baby, Soul. You know how the kids are all mad about them there mashes nowadays? Well, take a little big band horns, some Ray Charles Soul (background singers included), the meanest pure sex voice ever…mash this. Don’t need to. S’already been done. Worship time. James aint blue, he’s BLUE. Yep.

Rob - James Brown is a nice transition out of the slower stuff. You can't beat the godfather of soul, ya'll.

Pastor - I didn't realize this was James Brown until about halfway through it (smacks head)! He sounds like a woman at times (not that that is a bad thing).

JB sounds a bit like the voice of the dirty dirty id to me. He's the polar opposite of Sufjan Steven's angelic choir; James is the devil on your shoulder.

Where does he pull those screams of anguish up from? It's enough to scare your momma.

Buy "Star Time", the four disc James Brown best-of, from Amazon.
You can find it used for twenty five bucks; not a bad price for what's likely to be a lifetime of listening. Definite desert island material.
Read this very recent interview.
Read AND Listen to this 1996 interview with th' Godfadda.
Explore the James Brown American Masters site.
Check out this excellent JB fansite and The Godfather of Soul site, Brown's official home on the net.


10. Prince - "Blue Light"

Juan - I remember hearing this for the first time, and not liking it. Now I do. I like how Prince does the blues voice with the reagge rythm.

Brian - Brother Brown had a son. Yeah, somewhere along the way the Man had relations with Sly and the entire Funkadelic/Parliament co-op.

There's an image for you. Bootyzilla, baby!

‘Course it was all blessed by the best little Southern Baptist choir you never heard of from a town in Mississippi you aint never heard of neither. But how did Bob Marley join the party? Must have been some good times. What worries me all hot and bothered is that they only gave us a Prince…what happens when the King comes along; no, not Elvis. Please. Ooops…just looked down the list). I’m too busy dancing with my chair right now to say much more.

Rob - Almost a dub reggae entrance. I've never really like Prince's voice. We were listening to this in the car and my dad said it sounds like reggae with a cowboy singer. I can kind of see it.

Pastor - "The love we make is pretty rude." - Great line! He writes a song about sexual frustration that is happy and upbeat. And it works.

I don't know if you knew this or not, but I kinda like this guy.

Buy "Symbol" from Amazon.
This is quite possibly Prince's most underrated album. There's at least half a dozen classics: "7", "The Morning Papers", "Damn U", "And God Created Woman", "My Name Is Prince" and "Sexy MF"; just to start.
Read this Washington Post interview with Mr. Nelson.
Visit Prince.org, The NPG Music Club, Prince Record Reviews, DMSR, Dove City, Ecnirp's Link List, etc. etc. etc.
Explore Little Blue Light, Blue Light, Labatt Blue Light, Blue Light Scattering , Creating a True Blue Light., etc. etc. etc.


special secret tracks from Sharon Jones!

This marks a surprising first for th' Hut; music we were contacted and ASKED to put up. And no, it's not from th' WB; it's from Brooklyn indie label DAPTONE.

Daptone sent the Hut the following lil' note:

Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings have just recorded two brand new heavy tracks with a heavy message about the state of the US today.

The tracks will come out as a 45 RPM single in about a month, but in the meantime we would like to offer the tracks for free downloads or streaming audio to certain web sites that share our political goals. The A side "What If We All Stopped Paying Taxes?" reflects our view on how the Bush administration is putting our hard earned tax money to no good. The B-side is a super heavy soul version of Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land", with all the correct lyrics that are usually overlooked by most people who sing this song. Like I said, we are looking for web sites who might be into posting this music for their subscribers. Let me know what you think and I will be glad to send you the music for review.

A "super heavy soul version of 'This Land Is Your Land'"? Even though I do seem to "share their political goals", it still sounded a little iffy to me.

I figure wotthehellwotthehell and fire off a note saying I'll give it a spin. A few minutes later, there's a pair of MP3's in the inbox and I fire em up.

What happened next was a close encounter of the funky kind. My ass started doing the boogaloo and my feets they was shufflin'. The impossible was possible: I was gettin' it the fuck down to "This Land Is Your Land".

And now so will you.

1. Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings - "This Land Is Your Land"

2. Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings - "What If We All Stopped Paying Taxes?"

Visit Daptone Records to order the 45 of this fiery bum-bum; should be available fairly soon and there's plenty else to look into in the meantime.
Watch this twenty-two minute Quicktime interview with Sharon Jones (scroll down just a bit), courtesy of Brainwashed.
Read SF Weekly's review of Sharon Jones and the Dap King's album, "Dap Dippin' with...".

The worst anybody can seem to say about the album is that it betrays a heavy debt to James Brown and that it could potentially be a bit too close to "ironic soul", too retro for its own good.

The first strikes me as no sin, the second sounds like bullshit.

I _REALLY_ want a copy.

and also...

Managed to get out to see Sufjan Stevens on Thursday night. Tune in over the weekend for a Misanthrope special.

Suffice it to say he was great but right now I'm so tired that I'm about sick.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Sonny Rollins, by Freddy Warren

Let's see that comment box fill up! Tell me what you like, what you don't like, what new musicblogs I should check out, how to bronze my baby booties; just SAY something!

Actually, this is the last of the jazz section of the Blue CD; have you heard anything that's gonna make you want to go learn more about the genre?

I'll take comments on ANYTHING but if you're at a loss, why not try out our spiffy new "Daily Question"? Every day, I'll offer a new question up at the top of the page to be answered by YOU the reader in our handy dandy comments or in the "Talk to Me" forum.

It's yet another interactive feature at Th' Hut. Because we care.

Think of it as a very very short ILM.

Also, be on the lookout for the new random daily clicky that's been grafted onto the "FORKSCLOVETOFU SEZ:" up there; just be aware that it won't always be work safe.

glisten: Blue CD 4

7. Sonny Rollins - "The Blue Room [Take 1]"

Juan - I'll have an extra-dry Tanquerai Martini with a twist.

Rob - In the vein of the last song, sleep inducing. I'm not in the mood for it right now, but I suppose if I was feeling more melancholy or relaxed it would be perfect. It fits its title pretty well.

Pastor - I like it. Nothing seems to lower my blood pressure as well as music like this.

Brian - Kind of a rare downtempo tune for Sonny. This mix is seeming more and more like an Autumn afternoon mix. I used to live in a state where autumn lasted about a week…it’s good to be back where I can listen to this song as I watch the slow turn of leaves…and I mean that as the highest of compliments. Simple, clean, sad and joyous at once. Great tune.

This track was originally released on Miles Davis' 1951 record "Miles with Horns". This was quite early in Sonny's career; he'd only been recording for about three years or so. "Miles with Horns" marked his first album with Davis; they'd go on to cut four more over the next three years and then not record together again.

Brian's right; this song is hardly indicative of Rollins at his peak and as it's an alternate take anyway, it's most interesting as a bit of curiosity.

Aw hell, now I better put something up here to assuage my guilt about giving this legend such a weak introduction. Let's sample the legendary:

Sonny Rollins - "St. Thomas"

That's better. Beautiful, eh?

Curious Rollins neophytes are instructed to go check "Saxophone Colossus" (where 'St. Thomas' hails from), "East Broadway Rundown" and "Tenor Madness". That'll get you started.

You're looking at a rough call if you want to get this on CD. You can either buy "Chronicle", the eight disc $125 Miles Davis Prestige box set; or you can buy "The Complete Prestige Recordings", the seven disc $93 Sonny Rollins box set. Both are from Amazon, both are for serious bop-heads only.
Read this interview with Sonny and this interview with Jazz historian Gary Giddens about Rollins.
Listen to NPR's Jazz Profile and Biography on Rollins.
Sing along with the lyrics to this Rodgers and Hart standard.


8. Joe Pass and J.J. Johnson - "Blue Bossa"

Juan - This is one of the first tunes I learned to play in the guitar. I love Joe Pass, but what is the other guy playing? A trombone?!? (I Googled it.) It makes it sound a little bit like a joke. Still, nice.

Brian - Not a huge fan of guitar jazz outside of Django. It kinda floats along, this tune. The muted horn gives it a…errr…well….muted feel. Again, lazy afternoon music.

Rob - Great guitar intro, , but the direction the song takes after lets me down... until the next guitar solo in the middle of the song. jazzy.

Pastor - It's criminal how well that guitar is played, and how well it and the trombone sound together.

Can't say I know much about either of these musicians but the song sure is sweet.

Buy "We'll Be Together Again," a disc of duets with Joe Pass on guitar and J.J. Johnson on trombone, from Amazon.
Visit the Joe Pass Online Memorial for more information on the remarkable guitarist of this piece.
Read this interview with J.J. Johnson, the excellent and influential trombonist on this track.

Is that a banner in your sidebar
or are you just happy to see me?

It's all true; th' Hut has sold out! Well, not quite.

Here's the deal: the fine folks at Racknine have offered, in exchange for my posting of a banner, to aid with my bandwidth overflow. This is astonishingly helpful and really pulls my fat out the fire; I've consistently overshot my bandwidth for the past three months running and as my readers (you ARE reading, aren't you?) continue multiplying like rabbits, I was beginning to get worried that the Hut would be a victim of its own (admittedly meager) success.

I'm happy to welcome Racknine as a white knight.

R9 has been with The Tofu Hut since we started musicblogging and has been nothing but reliable and helpful. Their interface is simple enough that even a tech unsavvy geek like myself can work it; their customer service is knowledgable, accessible, helpful and ridiculously friendly; their management has been nothing but accomodating. Every time in the past eight months that I've had a stoppage of service (and I can count the number of times on one hand), they've had me up and running after just one phone call.

For anyone seeking a quality hosting company and especially to those of you who are considering getting in on the musicblogging trend, I recommend R9 completely and utterly without reservation.


1): Please be aware that Racknine is NOT paying for my hosting; just spotting me a little extra bandwidth as is necessary. I'm STILL paying to do this; so PLEASE no hotlinking. Don't waste my cash and I'll be able to keep sharing the music I love, okay?

Also, I'm not getting a dime from them in payment for advertising, so cries of "SELLOUT!" would be (sadly) inaccurate.

I'm still VERY much willing and available to sell-out; isn't anybody listening?

2): I have not tried ANY alternative hosting to Racknine. For all I know, .Mac washes your privates and pats them down with baby powder; I've been happy enough with R9 not to stray.

Caveat Emptor.

3): Apparently, if anybody buys a year of hosting via the above link then I get a free month, but to be honest with you would-be musicbloggers looking to get started?

I'd go month-by-month to see if you dig it before I dropped a lot of cash. Musicblogging is a LOT of work and only middling reward. If after four months you still wanna continue, then buy your year back here, okay?


Movie of the moment: Kill Bill 1 and 2.
Yeah, I never saw it; I was pissed because the thing got neatly chopped into two films when it was very obviously meant to be one (I understand from a business perspective but it pisses me off as a moviegoer, rabid Tarantinophile though I am) so I intentionally waited until they were both out on video and watched them back to back.

Whoa. I just... whoa. Wish I could be clever here but I only now finished four and a half hours and I'm still blown away.

One of the best of the year though; no doubt about that.
CD of the moment I can't stop listening to: Desmond Dekker and the Aces. This double disc set of "Action!" and "Intensify" is solid reggae gold, absolute and undeniable. I'll pop a track or two up at M4R afore long but you owe it to yourself to go check out this original rude boy ASAP.
I've started posting a "musicblog reviews-in-brief" over at Better Propaganda and there's some promise that this might work its way onto the front page as long as I keeps grinding them out.

Stop by now for my take on Mark Martin's excellent Ditties for the Party as well as the basic format the reviews will take.

Musicbloggers who would be interested in getting a little free publicity and would like a writeup are encouraged to contact me and I'll send you a questionnaire about your blog that I'll use to assist in writing you up. I can't guarantee I'll get you a piece, but I'm more likely to follow up on people who holla at me. The email is up top, if you're down.
We have all our CD's set up for the next round at the Hut. Keep a look out at the end of this theme (that'd be Monday after the upcoming) for another offer.

For those that DID get discs, I'm mailing them out Friday. Keep watching the skies.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

There's a big ol' Trane comin' through
glisten: Blue CD 3

5. John Coltrane - "Afro Blue"

Juan - This version doesn't remind me at all of "Undergound." Coltrane's solo is awesome.

Brian - And then the same song…”Coltrane-ized”. Starts out familiar, with the tune up front….first time on the cd that the voice is no longer vocal, but instrumental. Of course, we veer wildly (?) into Coltrane area…the song’s original melody rendered into unrecognizable, brilliant, skronk, wheeze, beats ‘n’ bashes, almost falling apart, then finding it’s way back (slight return). Genius. How exactly does one follow this?

Rob - Mmm.. good stuff. Perfect for dancing around the house too, kinda like Calvin and Hobbes when they slide around the floor, just letting go to some good music =)

Pastor - It is nice to hear soprano sax played well and in its lower register as opposed to Kenny G style aural corn syrup.

This is a real fairy tale of a piece, a guided tour through a 'Trane-y childhood wonderland. Coltrane pulls this same slight of hand with his versions of "My Favorite Things" and "Chim Chim Cheree" to make the song unmistakably and forever his. There's an elation and joy to the playing that speaks to windy orange Sundays. Utterly rhapsodic and one of his nicest cuts.

Coltrane was so ridiculously prolific and so much rare and live material is in print that it's difficult to know where to get started if you never really listened to him much. May I respectfully submit "My Favorite Things", "Giant Steps", "Kulu Se Mama" and "A Love Supreme" as some reasonable starting points?

'Trane is one of my ten or fifteen favorite musical artists; I've got maybe twenty-five albums and I'll pick up anything I can find that I don't already have. If you haven't dug the man before, start now; life is too short.

Buy "Coltrane, Live at Birdland", commonly regarded to be his best professionally recorded live set, from Amazon.
Visit the Saint John Coltrane African Orthodox Church at it's new temporary location in California.
Listen to this forty-five minute interview with Coltrane, circa '58. It's an interesting thing to hear the man speak; you expect him to have the voice of God, y'know?
Read this interview with 'Trane biographer, Lewis Porter.
There are LITERALLY dozens upon dozens of Coltrane fan pages on the web. Here's three to get you started, all featuring online music to listen to: A Tribute to John Coltrane, The Official Coltrane Site and the NPR feature: John Coltrane, First Impressions.


6. Sidney Bechet - "Blue Horizon"

Brian - Slow waaaayyyy down. Now where’s that Artie Shaw album I just saw sitting around…..Anyway, we’re sad again. A bit jarring, but I see where we’re going…”blue” can be a shitload of things…and we seem to be in the “jazz” part of the cd…some of america’s oldest and most original musical forms taking up the first fourth of the cd. (just wondering, though…is substituting jazz for “blues” cheating? No? yeah, guess not). Well, I like the song…Not love, not hate. Fits its’ placement…draws us back down.

Rob - I played the clarinet in high school, so hearing it played well is something I can appreciate. Relaxing track, almost puts me to sleep.

Pastor - How is he doing that tremolo type effect on the sustained notes!? His chin must be going up and down like when you vibrate a ruler on the edge of a desk. It is so regular and even! I also like how the horns are really distant sounding in the mix. Like Sidney was playing and the horn guys happened to be passing by outside and decided to play along. Didn't Sidney Bichet also play soprano sax?

He sure did, well enough to teach it to soprano sax legend Bob Wilber.
That wild wiggly New Orleans Jazz tremolo really is somethin', eh?

Buy "The Best of Sidney Bechet", an excellent introduction to the legendary clarinetist's oeuvre, from Amazon.
Explore the online branch of the Sidney Bechet society.
Read Red Hot and Jazz's Bechet bio. Scroll down to listen to his rare version of "The Sheik of Araby", a multi-track recording from 1941(!) featuring Bechet on every instrument.
Listen to the Bechet NPR profile.



Laurence Lessig is guesting out his blog at the moment; luckily his guests are just as interesting as he is. Stop by.
A special note to Radio Free Sauble: It's not spiffy to hotlink musicblogs tunes. I would've contacted this guy directly, but there's no contact info on the blog, so I'm just hoping he checks his referrers.

I appreciate anybody's interest in th' Hut, really I do; but even in a best case scenario you're only sapping my bandwidth.
Could everyone just link to the blog and not the songs, please? Thanks.
Here's some new blogs I've been frequenting: The WOW Report, My Escape From Entropy, Agony Shorthand, Que Sera Sera, Hottpants (I think us boy musicbloggers should all pick out a few girlie blogs and stalk them like the ubergeeks we are. Seems appropriate), One Louder, Beatmixed, Just Us and masamania.

Now playing on a screen near you.
Swung by Seraphim just posted the ultrawicked Skinny Puppy "You Got Served" video.
Don't just watch it. Live it.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Hank sure was a dapper fella, warn't he?
glisten: Blue CD 2

3. Hank Williams - "Blue Love In My Heart (Demo)"

Brian - Hank’s always been one of my favorites. Like Mr. Cash, it’s a voice ingrained in our minds…the very soul of sadness. So far this disc is about voices, and how those voices convey “blue”, I guess. The lyrics, as ever, are never complicated…they speak directly, and true. I have a different version of this song, but I like this version much more…the way the almost peppy guitar belies the voice behind it. Well done, Hank. Nashville misses you.

Pastor - I really haven't listened to much of Mr. Williams. This was pleasant, but it didn't blow me away.

Rob - Kinda boring, love song/heartache song that doesn't really feel like it has much behind it. doesn't leave me fullfilled =/

Juan - I want to say "The Real Thing," but what do I know?

Enough to recognize the real thing when you hear it, apparently.
Hank Williams Sr. always tastes like blood and hay to me.
Never could handle his son; never have listened to his grandson.
Am I missing out? Chris, y'wanna send me a little?

Buy "Alone With His Guitar," a collection of Williams demo tracks, from Amazon.
An entire disc of raw and rugged Hank. Not a bad place for a curious beginner to get started and an excellent gift for any of the blues and bluegrass fans in your life.
Visit Mercury Records official Hank site.
I own a copy of that Complete Box Set that I got from my father; it's a serious piece of work but by no means "complete". Check out this fansite for a listing of additional recordings not included and what amounts to the closest thing you can get to a total singles discography.
Visit the Alabama Hank Williams Museum.
Explore Hank's American Masters page.
Read this brief (and rare) Q+A interview with Hank.


4. Abbey Lincoln - "Afro Blue"

Juan - I like it. The horns remind me of the music in Kusturica's "Underground".

Brian - Great transition. I’m not familiar with Ms. Lincoln, only hearing her name in passing. She’s got that interesting Billie Holiday meets Nina Simone quality, with the Skokiaan-period Louis Armstrong horns. It’s a nice piece…a kinder, gentler song when faced with the previous songs. A little sexier, a little more hopeful.

Rob - The horn intro is great, but I wish they would have stuck with the blaring brass throughout the rest of the song. The trumpet solo near the end is the best part of the song while the lyrics don't do it for me until the last verse.

Pastor - Funny, but the first thing I thought of when Ms. Lincoln started singing was, "Her voice sounds like Neneh Cherry when she sang in Rip, Rig, and Panic.". I guess that that would make a bit of sense. She must have been steeped in stuff like this having Don Cherry as a step dad. I like the horns too - those guys can really play well quietly. You don't hear that often.

Abbey Lincoln's early albums are criminally underrated. I'm not a big fan of what she's putting out now, but her late 50's early 60's cuts with Max Roach are about as nice as anything I've ever heard.
I really like how the horns go a little off key at the 1:03 mark. That's Tommy Turrentine on trumpet there; he was known for playing with Roach but was also part of Lowell Fulson's band alongside Ray Charles.
Musta been one helluva show.

Buy "Abbey Is Blue", Lincoln's seminal '59 set, from Amazon.
A glorious album, top to bottom. Her covers of "Softly, As In a Morning Sunrise" and "Brother Where Are You?" are great; the astonishingly dark "Laugh Clown Laugh" ranks as one of my favorite jazz vocals of all time. To be cherished.
As long as I'm shilling, the two pack of "Abbey is Blue" and "Straight Ahead" for $25 is a hella nice bargain as well.
Read a long and fairly recent interview with Abbey.
Research this extensive and exacting Lincoln discography.
Listen to Abbey's NPR jazz profile.
See Abbey perform live at the NYC Blue Note, Sept. 2-5th.
I can't afford that kind of cover but if anybody would like to take me...

yet more late breaking name dropping news

Check out this NEW reuters article released over the weekend.

Some quotage:

"'Film companies and music companies are seeing that 18- to 35-year-olds who are smart and have money and buy everything online are almost entirely our audience,' says Chiore Sicha, editorial director of Gawker Media, a leading producer of blog content. 'Blogs have this shocking demographic that most magazines would kill for.'"

"'It's up to individual copyright owners to decide how their works should be distributed,' says a spokesperson for the Recording Industry Assn. of America. 'Those who choose an MP3 blog to boost attention -- that is their choice, because they're the ones making the decision, rather than some third-party profiteer deciding for them. In terms of piracy, it's an issue we're monitoring, and we could decide at any time to make this an enforcement priority.'"

Now I doubt that the RIAA is taking particular umbrage with my hyping of decades old Hank Williams and Abbey Lincoln tracks, but perhaps it's time some of us tried to open a dialogue with these fellows? Perhaps they should try opening a dialogue with us. Either way would be nice.

"Unreleased material from upcoming albums by Epic's Fiona Apple, Matador's Interpol and Elektra's Bjork have been posted on MP3 blogs in recent weeks without permission from the labels. The most trafficked MP3 blogs -- Fluxblog, Scenestars, TofuHut -- can draw thousands of visitors each day."

Some proofreading notes:

1) It's "The Tofu Hut", thank you.

2) We've yet to hit thousandS per day here. A really really good day is a thousand and I imagine Scenestars is along the same route.
Flux, on the other hand, there's your big money.

3) The Interpol and the Fiona tracks were RAPIDLY taken down when even the slightest breath of negativity from label or artist blew up. I feel QUITE sure that the Fiona was intentionally leaked; the Interpol somewhat less so. The Bjork is EVERYWHERE on the web; it was leaked to Pitchfork a long time ago and there's been a steady stream of leaks all over the place. Again, I believe this is intentional marketing; if not by the label then by the artist or the artist's friends. It's certainly not malicious.

Personally, I haven't posted anything by any of these artists. As usual, I'm out the pool when the cool kids get in.

I also would like to note that I agree with Matthew at Flux; it's a little silly that we're being viewed as some great amalgamated unit. That would be like expecting to see Jerry Springer on PBS and getting indignant when you don't.

Any publicity is good publicity in my eyes and I continue to be pleased to see our Q rating go up.

Does everybody understand that when this goes above ground and it becomes clear to the average 18-35 year old just how EASY and FUN and CHEAP it is to musicblog, that there will be THOUSANDS of these things popping up every month? This first and second generation of musicbloggers need to set some standards as to reasonable fair use and quality of posting so that when the floodgates open there will be an established understanding as to what's acceptable to the labels and what the average reader of these things demands, content-wise. Otherwise, apres moi, le deluge folks.

So far, I think we've done a good job of getting the stage set but it's still a young movement; the serious movers and shakers have only been posting for about two or three years, y'know?

Two or three years from now, the music industry is going to be VERY different and we may represent the first steps in a bold new direction; we may represent a serious issue of free speech versus copyright law; we may change the way music is distributed, period. It's an exciting time.

Monday, August 16, 2004

Johnny flippin' the bird. Coolest ever? Vote Early, Vote Often.

Hey everybody, heppy heppy Monday.
If you missed the Friday Hut (which went up late and closed out the acapella collection), I strongly recommend you scroll on down and get caught up. I'll wait for you.

All done? Great! New mix time!

For the past several months, I've been sending out a mix CD collection with an arbitrary and offbeat theme (previous mixes include "songs by children", "songs with the word "f*ck" in the title", "songs that start with the letter B by artists whose names start with the letter B", "embarrassing music to listen to at the gym", "spider music" and our last compilation, "acapella tracks"). These CD's are sent to Tofu Hut listeners who are granted a scant few days to listen to the CD and then email me a track by track review of the mix. Then I post their reviews UNCUT, UNCENSORED and UNEDITED (but peppered with my own smartass comments and observations in italics) along with the tracks in question. It's like listening to a mix CD with a bunch of friends... only you don't have to have any friends... except me. And I'm already your friend! Yay! Get it? Got it? Good!

So what's on the menu for the next two weeks? Our theme is:


My self imposed rules allowed me only to include tracks that featured the word "blue" in the title... NOT "blues".

Additionally, none of the tracks could be blues tracks. What I wanted was a collection of songs that celebrated the COLOR, not the emotion (with the exception of the first and the last; I'm a sucker for alpha and omega bookending).

This is easier said than done. I've got over a thousand tracks about the blues, not too many about "blue". I'm pretty happy with how it turned out though; as always, the goal is too try to genre-bust, find enjoyable and reasonably obscure music and try to keep a healthy flow to the mix. Mission accomplished? In September, you can tell me.

Pissed that I skipped over your favorite shade of blue? Feel free to submit tracks that you think got short shrift as we go along; recommendations are always welcome.

Let's meet our azure guest reviewers.

Pastor: Attached are my comment for the 'Blue Not Blues' collection.Overall I really enjoyed listening to it. I thought you did a great job with the mix and I didn't think any of the transitions were jarring at all. I especially liked the Long Winters track and will be on the lookout for them. Thanks for including me in this - It was fun and I'm looking forward to seeing everybody else's comments along with mine on the Tofu Hut. Take it easy.

Pastor is too modest to tell you but he runs his OWN musicblog, The Our Lady of Perpetual Obsolescence Vinyl Rescue Mission and Orphanage, where you're likely to find great offbeat obscurities saved from the scrapheap of history.
Be sure to check him out!

Juan: Well, here it is. It might not be very good, but it's on time. Many thanks for this, John. It's a great mix. There is one track that I missed: Blue in Green, Miles Davis, from Kind of Blue (hey, there is even "blue" in the title of the song *and* the album!). I'll send you a cd with some argentinian music. In a week or so. Thanks again.

Dude, you KNOW 'Blue in Green' was one of my first choices and if this were a person to person CD, I'd HAVE to put it on there.
Unfortunately, this is all gonna be up on the blog and posting 'Blue in Green' is like posting 'Billie Jean'; I wouldn't argue that they're great songs, but you could catch it on the radio anyday.

Brian: hey, sorry this is a couple days later than promised (slacker...i'll blame it on the cubs). But here it is, or should be. Really enjoyed the cd. I think i stated several times in the comments that it really struck me as a great autumn afternoon mix. I hope that the comments fit in to what you wanted...though i did get a little crotchety on a couple of songs. I'm working on a mix to send back to you, if'n you still want...my cd burner's acting a bit cantankerous, so i may have to give it a good cleaning...should get it out to you shortly...
Thanks again for the opportunity. I had alot of fun doing it, which is really the point, aint it? Take care.

Rob: Sorry it took so long.. had some trouble finding a computer to do email with since i'm on vacation (which i prolly should have thought of before hand), but anyway, here's the review =)
Thanks for letting me be involved in the whole review process, I had a great time.

Enough preliminaries! Let's get started.

glisten: Blue CD 1

1. Langston Hughes - "Too Blue"

Juan - This is a great start. "It'll probably take two." I love that.

Brian - I love putting little intros at the beginning and end of mixes. Sort of like little surprise packages. Langston Hughes was a perfect way to start this off. That coffee house meets street rhythm voice of his. And his reference to a gun? A perfect intro to…

Rob - short but sweet. the southern twang and monotone of the speaker doesn't quite fit the subject matter, but that seems to be intentional

Pastor - Poor guy. Too depressed to even work up the energy to off himself. I'd buy him a drink if I could. I don't think I've ever heard a recording of Langston Hughes' voice - very cool.

I feel bad about double packing the Hughes; I didn't realize that the last CD would segue this way. Ah well. Hughes is certainly worth your attention.

This track is off the same album as the previous Langston: Voices of Black America.
If you've gotten bit by the Hughes bug, may I recommend that you instead
Buy "The Voice of Langston Hughes" from Amazon?
It's good stuff.

Scroll down to the August 12th entry for more Langston info; no sense in repeating myself so soon.
Find out if you have your own problems with depression.
Whip up some "too blue for you" mashed potatoes.
Commiserate with some other Blue Men.


2. Johnny Cash - "Run Softly, Blue River"

Juan - Not my favorite from Johnny Cash. The rhythm guitar is interesting--it could as well be a grater.

Brian - Boom chicka boom….Johnny. There’s something about his voice that just demands longing, isn’t there? “Run softly blue river, my darling’s asleep”. Can’t get it out of my head. That trademark train/truck guitar line, carrying Johnny home. Really quite keen on this, I am. Perfect setup to “blue”-blue Johnny, blue voice, blue river.

Rob - I've never really listened to Johnny Cash, but from this song I can see the power of his voice coupled with the simplicity of the his guitar. I like the song and i'll have to go find some more of this.

Pastor - This reminds me of the type of music my father used to play in the car on family trips. He died six years ago so this type of stuff will always have a soft spot in my heart. I don't think I've ever heard this Johnny Cash tune - I miss them both.

Short, sweet, simple, rockin', twangy, homey, contemporary, legendary.
Cash, baby. Cash money.

Visit the official Johnny Cash site.
Watch the "Hurt" video and read some opinions about Johnny's later works.
Explore this Czech Cash fan site. Dig deep and you'll find a cache of DL'able tracks.
Download a copy of this classic Cash mugshot. Stellar wallpaper.



Just posted a fourplay of "WAR" tracks over at Music 4 Robots. Zip by if you have a chance; they're solid cuts one and all.

In other M4R news, Mark Willet (who's gonna be doing one of the reviews for our NEXT mix CD) was interviewed by the New York Times today about the Warner Brothers Secret Machine tracks.

Also mentioned in the article are Fluxblog and Cocaine Blunts. Much dap to everybody on gettin' the word out.

HOWEVER, there were some surprises in the interview:

In the week after the song was posted on Music for Robots, a message board on the site attracted some thoughtful commentary on Warner's move. But a few comments, posted under several different names, stood out because they looked like something one might read on a teen-pop fan site.

"I never heard these guys before, but theyre awesome," read a posting last Thursday under the name Ron. "I went to their website and you can listen to a lot of ther other stuff, very cool and very good!" Another post, sprinkled with casual profanity, asserted that big corporations could still release good music, and cited the Beatles as an example.

A check of site records by Mr. Willett revealed that all four of the suspect comments had been posted from the same Internet Protocol address, indicating that they came from the same computer or from a computer within the same company. That address was also the source of two e-mail messages that Ms. Bechtel(, the vice president for new media at Warner Brothers and Reprise Records,) sent to a reporter, as well as the original messages sent to the bloggers.


They just tried to play us, gentlemen. Play us like CHATROOM PUNKS. I'm invoking Godwin here.

Some thoughts on the whole scene:

1): While I applaud Warner's attempt to reach out to the musicblog community, spamming boards with pro-corporate nonsense is just short of self-parody. It's enough to make you laugh or cry and it certainly lets you know what they think of the intelligence of their consumers. So thumbs down on how that was handled. However:

2): This shouldn't put us all on the offensive against corporate contributions in the future. I'm certainly not advocating that we allow ourselves to become tools but I'm suggesting they may need a bit of time to know what to make of us. Let's give them a chance to figure it out and see if they can come to a better solution to dealing with us.

Most importantly: music is music is music and if it's good I don't care if it came from Britney's teat, the Delta or straight from the hipster. I'm not gonna turn down the opportunity to hype good music just because I don't like the company that publishes their stuff; I think that's unfair to the artist.

The transition to a new music marketplace is going to be difficult; if we can avoid knee-jerk "FUCK YOU MR. SUIT!" responses, maybe they'll avoid knee-jerk "THIEVES IN THE TEMPLE!" accusations.

Just a thought.

3):On the plus side, here's another quote from the same interview:

"The blogs - which are relatively new but increasingly popular - are personal Web sites that offer music criticism right next to the actual music, in the form of downloadable MP3 files."

So there's a pretty good and straightforward description in black and white in the paper of record. In the business section, no less.

We're getting closer to coming above ground and that's when the fun really starts.

4): Though WB _was_ fool enough to contact Cocaine Blunts (where there was NO chance of the track getting posted), they DIDN'T call the Hut. So we're apparently less high profile than we've been led to believe. Que Sera.
Still one CD left. Anybody want it? Scroll down for instructions how to get the hook up.
Oddio Overplay just relaunched their site and it is unbelievably mega-gorgeous.
I mean REALLY. You have no reason to be here when sites like Oddio are available. I'm just in awe.

As part of the redesign celebration, Oddio has invited a group of web musicians and friends to contribute to a Compilation CD, now available for download. Yours truly contributed a rambling piece for the liner notes but skip that nonsense and go grab the excellent tunage and marvel at the fabulous design.

Rush over. Seriously. We're done here, so go NOW!

Friday, August 13, 2004

Russian men wave bye bye.
Gollee you folks done et up th' bandwidth.
But we're back. No promises on what the future may hold. Wait and see.


glisten: Acap' CD 13 and FINAL

25: Rustavi Choir - "Tsmindao Chmerto"

Adam - Back in junior high I tried out for the choir, though due to not having any talent (see track #18) I didn't make it, but I always respected those that could. Of course I was always mean to them, but such is junior high. However, I think it's high time I apologize. I'm sorry.

Spencer - If I were 54 & driving my Benz home in the rain after murdering & burying my wife or mistress 5 miles off the highway, this is what I'd be listening to.

So you think that the Rustavi Choir is Jeremy Irons' theme music?

Kevin - I miss being in my college chorale. Something about the overtones created by so many people singing together in one room just mellows you out. Not familiar with this composer, but i like the way this is paced.

As far as I could learn, Kevin, "Tsmindao Chmerto" is a Russian traditional folk song.

The Georgian Rustavi Choir is over thirty five years old and still touring.

Buy "Georgian Voices" from Amazon.
Explore this excellently assembled Rustavi fansite, complete with loads of history and audioclips.
More music of the Rustavi Choir is only one of many of the audio clips available at Universel's Course of Meditation audio section. Explore at your own risk.


26: Flying Pickets - "Don't Dream It's Over"

Spencer - uhm. hmm. ok.

Adam - What's that? The sound of Crowded House rolling in their graves? Well, truth be told, this is pretty well done for what it is. The percussion guy is excellent.

Kevin - Sixpence None the Richer did it better. Seriously, what's with the tendency for contemporary acapella groups working in western traditions to do little more than cover popular hits? How could this be creatively fulfilling for anyone?

Don't ask me Kevin. I just work here.

The Flying Pickets scored a number one hit throughout Europe with a remake of "Only You" and never showed back up on the charts. They're pretty much unknown (and mostly unreleased) in the States though one would assume that the climate for this sort of boomer nostalgia is pretty ripe.

You can't really argue that the band has technical merit, even if they push pretty hard on the cheese-o-meter. I'm a reluctant fan, drawn in by jawdropping covers of Terence Trent D'Arby's "Sign Your Name", Marley's "Buffalo Soldier" and a psychedellic swipe at Prince's "When Doves Cry" that has to be heard to be believed. Trust me, Dokaka has nothing on these guys.

Buy "The Warning" from Singers.com.
The "Billie Jean" and "Tainted Love" covers are must hears.
Visit the Pickets official site.
You're allowed to giggle at the picture. I know I did.
Speaking of a giggle, this Taipei Times article labels the Pickets as a "popapella-cum-rockapella" act.
Though it's a catchy phrase, it sounds more like a fetish than a genre, no?
Explore this Pickets' fansite.

It's something more whimper than bang but that's how we're ending our acapella series here. Big thanks to the boys for doing the review duties; starting Monday, we'll have two weeks of blue songs for you with four new reviewers.

But since we're done here, it must be time for a...


This time the mix is THE NUMBERS GAME: ONE TO TWENTY.

Want to be a guest reviewer? Here's how we play:

If you want a copy of the next mix CD, email me at the address listed at the top of this page with "CAN I HAVE A CD?" in the subject line and a friendly request in the actual mail. The first FOUR requests I receive will get a response from me detailing the rules of review. Everybody else gets a nice pat on the head.

As soon as I receive the first four requests, I will update this post or leave a note in the next post to let you know that we're full up; however, professional music writers (anybody who publishes in a glossy mag or regularly in a daily paper) as well as other musicbloggers are STRONGLY DESIRED. I may toss an extra disc out if you show up late, so drop me a line, yes?

Please note that there is no charge whatsoever for this CD, _except_ you are going to be expected to write a track by track review... quickly. By quickly, I mean within a week after I mail the thing or more or less two or three days after you receive it in the mail.

United States players only please, unless you're willing to fedex me a check for shipping and handling (or buy me something off of my gift list, in which case you're in. Sorry to be American elitist; I'd love to be able to go global but it's just too damn expensive. Again, if you wanna pay for it then I'm happy to include and indulge my beloved overseas readers as well.


Thanks for all the feedback yesterday. You are somewhat more absolved of guilt but it'll be better for both of us if you keep up the jibber jabber.

Also, I'm on the lookout for some remixes of these acapella tracks. Outside of Darwin, I ain't seen hide nor hair. Anybody wanna give it a go?
Here's one more stupidly obvious revelation: Dooce is brilliant. Lord knows you're all already reading her but if I catch ONE of you PUNK SONSABITCHES NOT READING THE DOOCE? I'm turning this blog around and we're going home.
Got a spare two grand fouling your wallet? Then get me Johnny Cash's driver's license so that I may be the coolest motherfucker on the planet.
(via Traveler's Diagram)
After the Quizno's success, what we feared most has happened: Joel Veitch has gone mainstream.
What a sell-out.
Different Kitchen provides us with SlamBush which would be cooler if the cat could rap, but I guess that's the point. Why can't Twista get down with this? Or shit, Jada's clearly willing...
So I warned you that I was knee deep in music these days. So not even taking into account the stuff I'm ALREADY listening to, the music that you nice people dropload on me and the stuff I find on other musicblogs, what could I possibly be listening to these days?

Well, there's the four disc John Lennon's Anthology, Public Enemy's It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, NINE discs of Richard Pryor's stand up, John Lee Hooker Live at Newport, Sam Cooke Live at the Harlem Square Club, Ying Yang Twins Me and My Brother, two discs of the CompleteAl Hopkins and His Buckle Busters, American Primitive Vol. 1, Bill Cosby's I Started Out As a Child, Lenny Bruce's To Is a Preposition, Come Is a Verb, a great two disc set of Studio One Ska, the new Scissor Sisters, two great P-Vine Gospel releases, the complete works of The Fisk University Jubilee Singers, the new Dizzy Rascal Showtime, the World Library of Folk and Primitive Music: England and Scotland, Roland Kirk's Volunteer Slavery, Basement Jaxx's Kish Kash, an incredible Dirty Harry and DJ Green Lantern Tupac Tribute Mix Tape, that bitchin' Quincy Jones Hikky Burr... not to mention another THIRTY or so discs that I haven't even cracked yet (Chingy, DMX, Coltrane, El-P, Louis Jordan, Belle and Sebastian, NWA, Norman & Nancy Blake and Tampa Red are on the immediate back burner, awaiting a spin). Quite a few of these are replacements for old audio tape and not all of them are holding up quite as well as I would hope, but there's gold in thar!

Thank god for the iPod; I'm doing something like two new albums a day along with reviewing older stuff. My ears, they be a- ringin'.
The book of the moment? The first volume of Gabriel Garcia Marquez's autobiography, Living to Tell the Tale. Inspiring, of course. Luc Sante's Low Life is in the curtains but given the density of Marquez's prose, I'm not sure I'll get to it. Looks interesting, tho'.
Musicblogs are updated. Check out the new blood; there's plenty of nuggets of excitement that I don't have the time to highlight. So go hunting.

I'd like to see a few more new musicblogs that could fit into the "Bluegrass/Country/Folk" genre, okay?

Also, don't miss out on (now favorite listed) Red Lotus Radio, offering up a seriously eclectic mix of Iranian, Japanese, Uzbeki and Russian tunes (both traditional and poppish).
Hey, anybody in the NYC wanna go see Nas at Summer Stage this Sunday at around 2:00?
Only ten bucks. Less if you're shameless.
I don't know if I'll be able to motorvate by myself but if someone set up a time to meet me there I'd love to check it... hell, I'll prolly still go but company would be nice.
Drop me a line.