Friday, October 29, 2004

through five rose colored lenses

glistening by the numbers: FIVE

Dorothy Masuka - "Five Bells"

41: Here it is! Hallelujah! Excellent. This is my kind of song, definitely, if, uh, if you can't tell by the lurid display of blessed excitement. No, seriously. It may even sit there for a while but still, can't beat that crazy periodocity. My stuff.

Avi: There's some really great subtle shifts in the drumming that totally drives the song and keeps it from being too repetitive. A good song for headphones so you can pick out all the cool little variations buried in the mix.

Lee: I'm not familiar with her work, but it's an interesting blend of jazz, doo-wop r&b and african music. Trying to look up the year for this...it sounds like mid 60's. The background vocals are what make it for me. I like the hypnotic groove and chant, but the drummer can't decide which of the two beats he knows to play, so he switches back and forth randomly. This song drove my wife nuts.

David: This leaves me cold, really. I can't quite get a handle on it, I suppose.

Rosecrans: I can't help but hate this song -- the intro is the same series of tones as my doorbell, which doesn't actually work when you press the button downstairs, but it does respond to the radios used by the limo company across the street.

If this was my doorbell, I'd be awful happy.

I posted SEVERAL tracks by Masuka back in March, now that my audience is a tetch larger than it was back then, I'm happy to bring her back onto center stage.

Buy "Hamba Notsokolo", Masuka's greatest hits collection, from Seattle Washington Zimbabwe music mailorder storefront Dandemutande.
They carry an interesting variety of Zimbabwe tunage; go cop that.
Read Masuka's bio.
Read this '99 interview with Masuka.


Odea Matthews - "Five Long Years for One Man"

Odea Matthews was the focus of one of my very first posts here at th' Hut: a selection of prison music. Her version of the country/blues standard "The Moon Is Rising" was even remixed by Gardner Linn by mashing it up with "Milkshake" (yes, it's okay to be nostalgiac about March now). One wonders if Gardner will have the wherewithal to blend this one with "Drop It Like It's Hot".

Odea is working a sewing machine in the stir, letting the bobbin keep time for the music. This is that ORIGINAL gangstress shit; the sad lament of a woman who let herself get pimped by a true love sung from behind prison walls. That's realer than real.

Buy "Angola Prison Worksongs" direct from Arhoolie Records.
Listen to "The Other Side of the Wall" an internet radio station that offers "all incarceration, all the time."
Read the obit for Eddie Boyd, the Chicago bluesman who wrote "Five Long Years".

Tofu Mailbag

The saga of George W. Pussy continues; David Boyd drops us a letter:

I've got the song on my own site and a little bird tells me my song may be mentioned in next week's Village Voice as well.
Blogs in Germany, Italy, and Holland seem to have picked up "George W. Pussy" too. It is even reachable at the Centre for Political Song at Glasgow Caledonian University, at http://polsong.gcal.ac.uk/news.html ! (three entries below their entry on "Mosh") I feel like a Ph.D. (Well I am a Yale B.A., like Bush and Kerry, and a U. of Michigan Law School J.D., I suppose.)
As mentioned, am working on video for the song: the "George W. Pussy" video may feature Bush running around in a green flight suit, the word "aWol" prominently printed on a sign he's wearing. May shoot Friday. (Later than I intended, believe me, but that's life...)
While Eminem's "Mosh" may deserve some coverage--and you'll never hear me use the word "jealous"!!!--, I think "GWP" says similar things but in a funkier, more succinct and less foul-mouthed manner...for me, "Pussy" just means "cat", of course. (And what's this about "shouting out to al-Qaida?" Absurd and self-defeating. People'll be accusing Eminem of treason.)
To my amusement, by the way, the Google ad I was running to expose the song to Middul America has just been censored after running fine for several days.
It read: "George W. Pussie, da song 'I'm Rick James, Bush!' A funky rap! Download a free 'October surprise'!"
I had to spell it "pussie" originally cos the system wouldn't allow "pussy" for the reason of it being "Unacceptable Content".
Instead it was removed due to "inappropriate language".
Here is my reply which you may find fun:

Dear Google:
I see my ad for my song "George W. Pussy" has been disapproved. If you listened to the song you'd know it's about cat stuff, that's all, since I have meowing sounds in the song. And there was no problem for days with my spelling it "Pussie" in the ad title, now you complain.
Let me tell you of some of your own current ads:
1. With Google entry "bush", there is the ad:
"Bush, Dick and Colon T-Shirts - Rude T-Shirts at T-Shirt King www.T-ShirtKing.com" linking to a shirt comparing Colin Powell, a black man, to a bodily conduit of feces, the "colon";
2. With Google entry "pussy", there's the ad:
"Free Porn All Day Long Young teen, lesbian - every fetish. Live feeds, pics, vids - hardcore! www.penisdance.com"
I didn't click it, but if "young teen" is accurate, CONGRATULATIONS, YOU'RE SUPPORTING PEDOPHILIA!!!
3. And at Google entry "young pussy", to see how pedophilic you are at Google, I'm not gonna even focus on the non-Google-ad entries you allow, e.g.: "Young PussyYoung Pussy. Fresh Wet Young Pussy All For You! Young Fresh Teens Go Fucking Wild! ... 18 Year Old Teen Sluts Fucking Like Real Whores! Young Pussy at Teen Body!", but there's the "penisdance.com" Google ad again--with "Preview Porn For Free" as the top line--, plus other ads such as:
"KaZaA of Teen Porn Steps explained how to get porn without paying for it. Totally Free kazaafreeporn.com".
Well well. Pot calling the kettle black, huh?
If you don't restore my ad immediately, despite whatever political pressures you've apparently knuckled under to, I'll be happy to consider contacting the news media and the ACLU, etc. not to mention agencies against child molestation, etc., immediately, about your double standards. Hope to hear soon,
David Boyle"

We'll see what happens. If Bush can give the finger to people and Cheney can tell "Leahy" to "F*** yourself", then the Pussy should be allowed to roam around Google with no problems, word.
I should limit nasty stuff I say about Sir Shady "my deadly rival MC", but I just saw the video for "Mosh" today...and isn't he like GRABBING HIS CROTCH A HUNDRED TIMES DURING THE VIDEO?? or did I just imagine that?
I mean, I call Arnold a "masturbator" during my song, it's horrible to see M-n-M doing things that are similar to that; in fact, I am seriously curious as to what Republican comment if any we may get on "Mosh" before Nov. 2. If I were Karl Rove, I'm sure I could say some really ugly things about M-Mathers III and the video.
I'll keep you posted of stuff. Am working on songs "Ralph Nader, Masturbader"; "Pussy Supreme" (about Scalia); etc.
I actually e-mailed some of this stuff on Saturday to John Peel (and Tim Westwood, big BBC rap guru), but if Peel hears it at all, it might only be in Heaven...
Thanks again for your kindness in posting my work, and feel free to contact back,
David Boyle
P.S. Feel free to reproduce, tho I retain ownership and commercial rights to my e-mail (haw haw)!

That's our guy! First person to report a VV sighting wins a cookie.

Some related links:

Doyle's "Bushina Monologues"
RIP John Peel
The "Mosh" Video
I'm still not really feeling the song, but THE VIDEO! Whoa!


Fernando Jimenez Manero writes us to say:

Dear Mr Tofu,
I know it's a little late but,if you are still interested, I have something to add to the "De los tres colores madre" issue. I must say that, despite being a native Spanish (and with many friends from Asturias) I can't make out completely the lyrics of the song. It could be a matter of the recording but I think the main reason is because it is not "properly" sung: it happens with other folk recordings I've heard, that the lyrics are partially lost or vaguely remembered, and substituted in appropiate places by a kind of yelling. Anyway, I *can* tell you that the first line can be translated as "Of the three colors, mother, the best one is the dark". "Madre" does not qualify to "colores"; instead, the song is directed to the mother of the singer (or to a mother). The word that I have translated as "dark" is "moreno", which can refer to the color of the hair (it would be brown or black) or of the skin (it would be -- in Asturias -- olive or just a deep tan). From the rest of the song, the other two colors are white and red ("blanco" and "colorado" in the song). Red is given, according to the song, by the sun, and white (this part I'm not sure of) by water. My guess is that the song talks about skin hues, showing a preference for the dark ones. The recording of the lyrics is incomplete, so maybe more details can be found in other recordings, if any. I'll ask around!

You learn multiple new things everyday!

Tuesday, October 26, 2004


glistening by the numbers: FOUR

Coleman Hawkins - "I'm Looking Over a Four Leaf Clover"

41: weird- just came across this song for the first time on an old banjo album the day I got the cd in the mail. it's better on banjo but still smarmy.

Lee: Nice, smooth rendition. Once again, the arrangement is tasteful and pleasant. Not surprisingly, it reminds me of Stan Getz or Vince Guaraldi. I've listened to a lot of jazz over the years, and I find this kind to the most enjoyable. Must be my old age.

Jamie: Jazz vet jumps on the bossa nova bandwagon and doesn't fall off, even if it's not far removed from Stan Getz. The type of tune to listen to while driving along a beach or through a quiet country pasture - I have a habit of imagining music coupled with where I am as background for movie scenes/title sequences.

Rosecrans: Samba never fails to sound pleasant, but can it sound astounding? This is not astounding; this is a very pleasant-sounding fad that sold millions of records worldwide. I'm waiting for the day I hear ASTOUNDING samba. Still, Hawkins's solo is killer.

David: This is true easy listening - nice enough when its on, forgotten as soon as its ended. The sort of stuff they play in bookshops...

This is EXTREMELY late era Hawkins and is hardly indicative of his range but it _does_ highlight his tremendous versatility and mastery of the instrument... plus it's a real feel-good song.

And maybe a little corny as well, but something this soft and huggable should always be welcome in your life.

That little chord progression flutter on the sax part for "I-I-I-I'm looking over... a four-leaf-clover" is sweet like molasses.

Buy the newly remastered "Desafinado: Bossa Nova and Jazz Samba" from Amazon.
The early sixties offered a host of Jazzsters climbing up on the then popular Bossa Nova train. Miles, Sonny Rollins and Cannonball Adderly were among the many who horned in on Stan Getz's phenomenally popular American reimagining of the Bossa Nova; Hawkins' take is awfully endearing.
Read more about the origins of the Bossa Nova in this extensive piece, featuring an excellent recommended discography and a collection of translated songs.
Learn more about sax legend Coleman Hawkins and then listen to some vintage tunage, via realaudio; all thanks to the Red Hot Jazz Archive.
"According to a cereal personality test... people who prefer this cereal usually become accountants, Internal Revenue Service auditors, librarians who work at the reference desk or low lever government bureaucrats that stagnate in a dead end position."


Four Vagabonds - "Four Buddies"

This WWII era song presages The Deer Hunter (mind the MIDI) with a sad and soulful tune about old neighbors and pals trudging on to war, perhaps never to return.

Unfortunately, this human orchestra extravaganza is still grimly appropriate.

The Four Vagabonds are quite possibly my alltime favorite band. They're definitely in the top ten.

Buy "The Four Vagabonds Volume III: 1943" direct from Document (if you're in Europe) or from Amazon if you're in the states.
All three volumes of the set are great but I do feel obliged to warn that this third volume is filled with tracks where the Vagabonds act as backup vocalists to a generic female crooner named "Janine". Her treacly style does NOTHING to improve upon the 4 Vags dulcet tones; you'd be better suited starting with the first volume in the series and buying more once it lodges in your ear.
Read MUCH more about the Four Vagabonds in this extensive history of the band.
"Wherever I go, he goes too..."
Explore the archives of "My War", the blog of an American soldier in Iraq.

Meeting the Neighbors

Stereogum is best known on the blogosphere as an arbiter of one-stop-shopping-up-to-the-minute pop culture; the VH1 vet's site has long been a cornucopia of Britney and Olsen twin sitings. More recently, his comments box on a post addressing the Ashlee Simpson affair currently clocks in at over two hundred pithy blurbs.

While Stereogum's unique brand of celebrity schadenfreude is almost always good for a laugh, we here at th' Hut are more excited by his habit of regularly releasing new and noteworthy tracks to the hipster masses. While these cuts do tend to lean toward an indie sound that rarely does much for me, Scott's certainly not above throwing some wild cards into the deck.

Recent offerings include music from The Long Winters, Herbie Hancock, The Shins and The Handsome Boy Modeling School.

Baby, hit me one more time.


Hey Internet readers! I'm Scott from Stereogum, where you’ll find links to hott new indie rock MP3s and embarrassing photos of Britney Spears.

Where did the name of your blog originate from?
It’s from “Radio #1,” a song from one of my favorite bands, Air. I like how it conveys the idea behind my site (songs in the context of pop culture).
What are the criteria you judge a song by to decide if it's post-worthy?
It’s all based on personal preference. I have to love the song. The exception is if I post something because it’s funny or newsworthy (e.g., Britney raps). I do have a few self-imposed rules for posting. First, I generally only post from indie bands … a group like U2 doesn’t need any help from MP3 blogs. Second, if there’s a new album I want to help promote, and the band is offering an MP3 from it, I try to defer to that song choice instead of choosing my favorite track. The goal is to get the labels to accept the value of giving potential buyers a taste of the album; I want to work with them, not piss them off. In the same way, I try not to give away more than one track from an album. If you like the track I’ve shared and wanna hear more, go buy the album. I’m also big on posting remixes and mashups … stuff people wouldn’t hear otherwise.
What song would you like played at your funeral?
“Burying Song” by Hem. Or “Dress Sexy At My Funeral” by Smog.
What do you do for kicks when you're not posting?
Inevitably, I’m doing something related to music. Right now I’m answering these questions while burning CDs and watching a Brian Wilson documentary on Showtime. Then I’ll play guitar, read Uncut, and wait for my fiancée to come home and drag me outside for fresh air.
Do you have a favorite music critic?
Most music journalism is so pretentious. However, I’m a fan of Rolling Stone’s Rob Sheffield and Spin’s Chuck Klosterman, two critics with unique voices who use humor to get their point across. Their writing isn’t formulaic.
Do you consider yourself a "music journalist"?
Sometimes, but at least the reader can form his/her own opinion about the music by listening to the sample MP3 I post. Print mags don’t allow for that, which is why the blogs are vital for discovering new music if you don’t want to risk $15 on a new album. Moreover, the major music magazines trip over each other writing the same tired shit about Eminem, whereas the bloggers can write about any obscure artist they want.
Is there any genre of music that you dismiss out of hand?
Metal. I even like country more than metal.
Which critical darling do you find most overrated?
Who's the most overlooked genius in the music industry?
Jim O’Rourke.
Recommend three other musicblog sites.

1. Fluxblog is the king. Great for bizarre Europop.
2. The Catbird Seat streams a monthly mix that’s turned me on to countless new bands.
3. Largehearted Boy is very eclectic, and you’re bound to find something you like.
Do you really think that posting music effectively promotes sales of the album?
Without a doubt. I think a band like Arcade Fire wouldn’t be “flavor of the month” if the buzz had not first spread on the influential MP3 blogs. Franz Ferdinand and the Killers also have fanatical online fanbases; they released this year’s breakout rock CDs, even though MP3s were freely traded for months before the albums were in stores.
Are you a proud member of the iPod Nation?
I take it everywhere. It’s probably my fifth or sixth MP3 player. I bought the Rio 300 as soon as it came out, and I’ve been upgrading as often as possible ever since.
Pick one musician and one question. Who is it and what do you ask?
I would ask Sting if he’s aware how much he sucks these days. He used to be my favorite songwriter. I’m really disappointed in everything he’s done since The Soul Cages.
Do you ever get obsessive about collecting music?
I’ve always been obsessive about collecting and organizing music (yes, my CDs are alphabetized). It was hard enough finally making a full transition from tapes to CDs … now I’ve got thousands of MP3s to deal with. I’m anal with the ID3 tags to a point - I want every track to have the correct song name, album title, and year. Thank god for CDDB … I spent countless hours doing that stuff manually in the early days of digital music.
Drop on by betterPropaganda and pick out a track to hype.

RJD2 - “Exotic Talk”

Since We Last Spoke is one of the best albums of 2004. RJD2 is like a poppier DJ Shadow. It’s ambient soul with a rock twist; and the way he seamlessly mixes genres is great proof of DJing as art.


I suppose it's old news now, but new investigations by the NY DA into label payola could mean more labels look to the net to distribute their music. Do you suppose blog-ola laws will ever be in the offing?
So what the hell was that Mary Cheney ish about anyway?
Let Frank Rich break it down for you and then go read excerpts from Lynne Cheney's steamy "Sisters".
Oddio Overplay's Halloween Spooktacular is absolutely AMAZING.
I have a serious weakness for novelty tracks; this is like manna from heaven.
They like us in France.
Read about it here.
Les blogs sont tenus par des furieux et des maniaques, ça va du fils d'un historien de la musique noire américaine (The Tofu Hut)....
Heh. "Musique noire américaine" sounds like you're ordering a plate of hominy grits confit.
In fixing up the massive blogroll, I ran into a few gems that deserve fresh hype:
The Box, a French hip hop archive offers cuts from Busy Bee, EPMD and Stetsasonic; Bubblegum Machine simply don't stop bringing NOTHING but prime rib; Ecclectric City has astonishing content but unreadable type (CHANGE YER FONTCOLOR DEWD!!!!) and sleevenotes appears to be making rumbling noises.
Oh dear.
Props to Catchdubs for catching a winner.
Don't miss the message board.
M4Robots post (Spiderman Special!) to follow; I'll let you know when it drops.
File Under "My God, these are REAL people writing out there": Jon's Jail Journal.
I don't pretend to understand the circumstances of his incarceration but the stories listed here are pretty shocking stuff.

Heartbreaking note: Jon's family informs me that he does not have access to music in prison. Try and imagine living YEARS of your life without a song. It literally makes my head hurt.

Stop by, read up and leave Jon a note.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Alright, no post today but the dog didn't eat the homework.
For the past... let's say, SEVEN hours (conservatively) I've been reworking the blogroll over on the right, methodically clicking on EVERY link, removing dead ones, restructuring the roll and plunking everything into its proper pigeonhole.

Some comments:

1): The newly updated musicblog listing is fully operative. All dead musicblogs have been shuffled off to MP3 Blog heaven, aka AWOL. Any AWOL blogs who resurrect can contact me to get your Link Lazarus.

2): I've finally pulled the "DAILY" musicblog list and shuffled all my faves in by type. That list was getting terribly unwieldy; I'm more likely to find what I'm looking for in the current organization.

3): Genres at play here are based on my own evaluation of what the majority of what that blog releases. If such an evaluation is effectively impossible due to the blogmaster's diversity, they got thrown into that overstuffed compartment marked ECLECTIC.
Anybody who is unhappy with their placement is welcome to contact me to suggest where they should be shelved to be kept maximally fresh.

4): In addition to the now familiar pigeonholes of NEWBIES, ECLECTIC, SOUL/FUNK/RNB, HIPHOP/REGGAE, ROCK/J/POP/INDY, JAZZ/BLUES/OLDTIMEY, EXOTICA/BIZARRE, ELECTRIC/DJ/MASH, SPECIAL NEEDS (generally eccentric or unusual subject-oriented blogs) and AWOL; we now offer you MINIMAL/EXPERIMENTAL, VIDEO GAMES MUSIC, WORLD, BANDS/ARTISTS (individual sites for individual artists), LABEL/STORE/RADIO/ETC. SITES and MUSICBLOG AGGREGATORS.

5): I got to look in on EVERY link listed over there on the right and I was surprised by how far and how wide ranging our little community has become. BUT...
No country? No bluegrass? No classical? No soundtracks? No Spanish music? No Russian music? No folk? No dancehall? No disco? No choral? No gospel? To say nothing of the genres that are only barely being served? I'm happy to see an explosion of hip hop blogs; can we get SOME love in some of those other styles listed now? Please?

6): To that end, let me know if you'd like your blog listed. Presuming you're hosting MP3's in a responsible manner, I'll be happy to hype you; no link exchange is requested or required.

More of the numbers game tomorrow, along with a Music 4 Robots update and a Stereogum interview.
Part of the reason you get no daily music fix is because I had to bail out of my house after a large chunk of my ceiling collapsed under a leaky pipe.

Nothing was too badly damaged but the upshot is that I'm looking to move out December first for the fourth time (and the second state!) in the past year. Ouch.

Help from NYC and/or Jersey City Tofusketeers in locating a roomie and/or an affordable apartment would be appreciated. Drop me a line; let's talk.
Tofu reader Polo writes:

That Babelfish translation is awful; "De Los Tres Colores Madre" is better translated as "Of The Three Mother Colors" or, more probably, "From The Three Mother Colors".

I don't know that song, but I can tell you after listening to it that it
isn't a flag anthem. It sounds more like an old folk song, describing
natural things related to what are called the "mother colors": green, red and
white. However, these _were_ probably taken from any one of the different flags from XIX century castles in Euskadi (Country Basque), a nationalist region
that maintains those colors on their modern flag.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

the three graces: sour, bitter and sweet. But you would be too if you had no head.

glistening by the numbers: THREE

The Coasters - "Three Cool Cats"

41: let's split a bag of potato chips and listen to this one again! clever too.

Avi: Another fun track, perfect for a hot summer day. 'Nuff said.

David: Now this is more like it. I've never heard this before, but its fucking wonderful. Really fucking wonderful.

Jamie: You know these cool cats are doomed from the start, when they're sharing a chocolate bar and bag of chips. Guess they spent all their dough trying to look cool. The attempted pickup might have gone like this:

Cool Cat: Hey chickie-baby, what's shakin'?
Chick (thinks to herself): Great, this guy's dripping with greasy kid stuff and his breath smells like a grease pit. No way he's getting a kiss. (speaks) Nothing.
Cool Cat: You're one cool chick this cat would like to devour...
Chick: Yeah, well devour this, Sylvester!
(gives CC a swift kick to the groin)

Recipe for a cool cat's failure...and a funny song.

Lee: Never liked this song, not even the Beatles' goofy version. Too much repetition, and not as entertaining as the Coasters could be. They do make it their own, however.

It IS their own; this original '59 version predates the Beatles cover by about three years.

The Coasters are spare, universal and timeless pop music; a difficult label to place on virtually anybody else but Ray Charles.

Buy "The Coasters Ultimate Collection" from Amazon.
If you haven't touched the Coasters before, I genuinely envy you the opportunity. Here's as good a place to get started as any: "Smokey Joe's Cafe", "Charlie Brown", "Poison Ivy", "Little Egypt", "Young Blood" and "Framed" are all honest-to-gosh indisputable classics.
Explore this somewhat exhaustive Coasters fansite.
Visit the current incarnation of the Coasters on the web.
Take a test drive in these cool cats.
Split a bag of the best potato chips ever.


Unknown Artists - "De Los Tres Colores Madre"

This tastes pretty, pure, brief and uncorrupted; like a bite of ripe mango. Waves of maracas and tincan percussion clack and clank like a flood of oysters, bearing a few strident voices on their shells. The song passes in you and through you and on to another city.

The flawed but priceless Babelfish translates the title as "Mother of the Three Colors" which would suggest to me that this is a flag anthem... except the Spanish and local regional flags are TWO colors. I can't dig up the notes for this disc as they're over in Florida (long story), but I would welcome background that any of my Spanish listeners could provide.

Buy "The World Library Of Folk And Primitive Music Volume 4: Spain", direct from Rounder Records.
This whole collection is a joy; the Irish and Indian albums are particularly strong.
Learn more about the Asturias region of Spain, from where this track hails.
Read (on an entirely different note) about the music of Medieval Spanish Jews.


George W. Pussy: The Saga Continues.

"I thought it would kinda bring Rick James back to life," he says over the phone from his home in Ann Arbor. "I can imagine Rick James, instead of saying, ‘I’m Rick James, bitch!’ saying, ‘I’m Rick James, Bush!’ Ha ha ha!"

That song REMAINS available for download.
Spread the word Tofusketeers; I want this guy to have a record contract by the end of the year.
Journey to the Past offers the "Shaft in Africa" soundtrack (with Four Tops vocals)!
Bitchin' ILM threads, part 15: I met screw in '94 at a fat pat show, The 40 Most OMGWTFLOL(ROFFLE) Songs Of The 90s (drop by Music 4 Robots to DL remixes of the #1!) and The Music of Grand Theft Auto 'San Andreas'.
The tracklistings for GTA III make it look like they'll be worth the price of admission on their own.
In the interest of non-partisan political commentary and general unity, you may feel free to Slap the Candidate of your choice.
Strangely, this doesn't seem to ever get old.
Kimdog is transformed into "a giant graphic behind Mary Hart's head" when she's called on to Entertainment Tonight to comment on "the new reality show The Biggest Loser, which basically reinforces lots of stereotypes about fat people and promotes the same failure based weight loss mentality that the diet industry has been using for the last several decades to make billions of dollars."

Kimdog is your BEST source for ex-Tennessee/nu-York/big girl/godless heathen news and if you ain't bookmarking that, you're nuts. The archives are hella good readin'.

Now post the menage a trois story!
I'm about to embark on a serious cleanup of the links and maybe even a slight redesign; if you were going to contact me about your new musicblog in hopes of getting a link, now's the time.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

it takes two, baby

glistening by the numbers: TWO

Blossom Dearie - "Tea for Two"

David: And after Funkadelic, this is a pretty jarring mood change. I can't say I like this track, to be honest, and being sandwiched between two pieces of brilliance hardly helps its cause. And now it keeps getting skipped...

41: beautiful voice. intriguing. smooth. I like bouncier versions. Still, sweet.

Avi: I've never heard Blossom Dearie before, but she's got a great delivery. I bet she could really belt it out if she wanted, but she keeps it smooth and restrained, in just the right ways. Very nice.

Lee: Bit of a weird transistion here. Fine rendition, and this arrangement is great. It works so much better slower than the typical skip-and-shuffling-along tempo I often hear. Although Blossom's 'little girl' voice gets under my skin a bit.

Rosecrans: Blossom's new to me. The song's very sweet. The slow-down when the band comes in is kind of perfect.

You can hear more than a bit of Nellie McKay's spiritual grandmammy going on here.

I had never exactly thought of "Tea for 2" as a curl-up-by-the-fire torch song, but Dearie is strangely wistful and sad about what's in her cuppa. What makes this worth the download is Blossom's navigating the razor's edge between kitten purr and soft sobbing. Laugh 'til you cry.

Buy "Once Upon a Summertime", the Polygram rerelease of the 1958 album, from Amazon.
See Blossom Dearie live every Saturday and Sunday at seven. Strangely enough, this is a five minute walk from my apartment. I can't imagine that her voice hasn't changed a bit since this was recorded in 1958 but I'm still curious.
Anybody want to go to a cabaret with me?
Visit Blossom Dearie's official site.
Tea for Totoro?


Underworld - "Two Months Off"

Quite a study in opposites; 'Two Months Off' couldn't be LESS like 'Tea for Two'.

This anthem has everything I want out of an Underworld track: a minute and a half of warm-up to get the heartbeat maxed-out, meaningless babblelyrics rendered heavenly by vocoder, a glistening curtain of synth arpeggios, at least three false crescendos and four concurrently running drum machine beats... and one false ending with plenty o' cowbell!

Robin calls this stuff "elation disco". I can't think of a better name for it. It is music that lets you see the Earth from the eyes of the hawk.

Or maybe that's just the drugs talking.

Buy "A Hundred Days Off", Underworld's last album, from Amazon.
Not a good place to get started but perfect for fans (read: get the x and the glowsticks out and let's call it a week).
Visit Underworld's "Dirty" hub.
Explore Underworld, L.A. artist Kaz's comic strip.


Currently being amused by: gossiping bitche$.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Still #1

glistening by the numbers: ONE

Funkadelic - "One Nation Under a Groove"

41: Per me; long, cliched, monotonous. Per how these things go; fairly funky, excellent in parts, overall average.

Avi: I'm sitting here in my stiflingly hot house on a Friday afternoon trying to ease into the weekend and bam! Here comes Funkadelic to help me on my way. How could anyone not smile while listening to this? My first introduction to this song was through Ice Cube's "Bop Gun", but the original is obviously far, far better.

Lee: Funkadelic are kind of hit or miss with me. I know how important they are, but I can't help not loving everything. Some of their stuff just rocks. Other times, the groove feels weak and just blobs along with no direction or purpose. This track isn't bad, but it's not a favorite and it certainly doesn't need to be 7 minutes long. I would love to hear a fuzzed-out synth solo or something, and lay off the vocals a bit. Gonna go play me some Dazz now.

Jamie: If only the nation were under one groove...need a dance floor close by. The two phrases repeated throughout left James Brown and Little Feat running on the tape deck in my head for hours.

Rosecrans: The big boogie, now reserved for movies about college and smoking pot. Follows DJ Shadow nicely, and sets up hopes for a good mix! I love the now-ubiquitous bouncing-spring noise. BBD used it in a big song of theirs around '97. I remember because the video used to be very popular on South African MTV. I was living in Cape Town at the time with an African family, and my host brother and I used to practice the dance moves in front of the TV.

When you consider that it spent six weeks at #1 on the Billboard R+B charts, calling "One Nation" too long is like calling the Sistine Chapel too darn big. I could (and HAVE!) put this on repeat for hours at a time.

For me, this is pretty much untouchable; the elastic thump, the squeaking and sliding synths, the relentless soul vamping Clinton and that wickedbadassfunky guitar line make for a happy boy.

"Doh-dohdy-oh-doh", ya'll.

Buy "One Nation Under a Groove", Funkadelic's 1978 soulsalivasaviourlicious LP, from Amazon.
With the notable exception of "Who Says a Funk Band Can't Play Rock?!?" (in this instance, they can't), this is a solid enjoyable K-lassic throughout. If you've never bought any of the Clinton Parliament/Funkadelic catalog before, this is a good a place to start as any.
Visit Priority Records official Funkadelic site.
Explore George Clinton's official funksite.
With Color Me Funktelechy action!
Listen to lengthy interviews with Clinton and Company in realaudio.


Nas - "One on One"

The 1995 Jean-Claude Van Damme vehicle "Street Fighter: the Movie" is probably best known (when it's remembered at all) as the worst bit of miscasting that poor Raul Julia had to suffer through; but would you believe that it's soundtrack spawned a superobscure Illmatic era Nas cut?

While certainly not on a par with Nasir's better material from that time, this still holds up pretty damn well. Regardless, hearing the always uber-serious Nas quip about his "brawl with Blanka" and how he "caught Bison in the thinker" is priceless.

Buy the surprising "Street Fighter the Movie Soundtrack" from Amazon.
Obscure videogame themed tracks from Ras Kass, Ice Cube and the Pharcyde? Angelique Kidjo, even?
And four words: Deion Sanders/Hammer collabo.
Ye who say ye don't want to hear, I dub thee LIAR.
Visit Nasir's official site.
The Tomatometer is not too kind to the Street Fighter movie, but the game itself is gold.
Oh the hours I wasted...

Meeting the Neighbors

Fat Planet is another in the Radio Babylon school of linking to "artists' sites, labels or other legitimate sources" but F.P. is a bit more aspirant: offering itself as a de facto aggregator/taste filter of all manner of international music and then indexing the tracks by country.

Recent offerings include songs from !!!, Ulrich Schnauss, Air and Mouse on Mars.

Who got the whole world in their hands?


Fat Planet started as a way of logging playlists from Stuart Buchanan's 'new international music' radio show in Sydney, Australia and has quickly grown into a mp3 blog in its own right. The blog, like the show, is designed to promote new, alternative from around the world - providing an alternative global music perspective that doesn't fall into the traditional 'world music' category. For example, psych-rock from Japan, breakcore from Egypt, electronica from Argentina, drum'n'bass from India etc. Our first post was on January 2004.
I work at a radio station full-time (FBi 94.5FM), which is the same station from which I present my show. In my spare time (not that there's much), I also work my wife on our own web design business. In recent years, we developed the site for Goldfrapp (which won the 2003 MTV Europe Web Award), for Groenland Records (nominated for 2004 Online Music Awards) and we've recently completed some work for Depeche Mode for their new remix collection. Which is all gut-bustingly exciting. Check out my personal site at zerogweb.net for all the info.

Where did the name of your blog originate from?
Derived from Leftfield's 'Phat Planet', but preferred the chubby version.
What are the criteria you judge a song by to decide if it's post-worthy?
Original, innovative, unlike anything we've heard before. Derivative rock bands need not apply.
What do you do for kicks when you're not posting?
Time is a cherished commodity... I'm usually preparing for the FAT PLANET radio show and I've recently taken on a 2nd radio show project for Australia's community radio satellite network - see theprototype.net
Five Desert Island Discs?
1. The Velvet Underground and Nico - "Eponymous"
2. Nina Simone - "Verve Jazz Masters"
3. Bjork - Homogenic
4. Boards of Canada - "Music Has the Right to Children"
5. Bill Hicks - "Arizona Bay"
Do you consider yourself a "music journalist"?
No, if i don't like something I won't post it - so therefore I'm only promoting music I like, rather than criticising music I don't. ed. note: This is spot on and hardly ever noted in discussion of the field.
What was the last track you heard that really changed your life?
Not sure about the life change, but CloudDead and the Mush crew inspired me to start writing music again, so that was an influential period.
Is there any genre of music that you dismiss out of hand?
I've yet to get excited about metal, which I think is entirely to do with the testosterone levels. In saying that, I really got off on the new Metallica documentary, so maybe there's a sleeping metalhead inside of me somewhere.
Which critical darling do you find most overrated? Who's the most overlooked genius in the music industry?
Jet, allegedly Australia's No.1 rock band. I read an interview where they went about how much they despised electronics, that 'techno' was the work of the devil etc. I just can't deal with narrow-mindedness, especially when it comes to music and especially not at that scale - i.e. dismissing entire genres. It just so lazy and misguided - and sadly representative a large group of supposed 'fans' of music. i.e. those people who have never dared to pick up an electronic album for fear their heads might implode. Overlooked? Einsturzende Neubauten should be in the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame.
Recommend three other musicblog sites.
1. Swen's Weblog: The one that started my interest and still continues to deliver. Ostensibly a guide to artists that feature in The Wire magazine, but it's expanded to be much more comprehensive. As well as alternative and experimental music, it now includes alternative video, glitch art and a whole heap more.
2. Music For Robots: Consistently excellent. More electronica and dance as well as the odd post from somewhere very random in the world.
3. dozerblog: I ought to give props to a new kid on the block, whose tastes are almost 100% spot on.
Do you really think that posting music effectively promotes sales of the album?
Absolutely, it can't fail to. If only more artists and record companies would catch on to this fact. There are so many ways to read about artists, not so many to actually hear them. I'm not going to buy an album from an artist I haven't heard, that's too much of a risk. And having streaming real audio or windows media player files is way too time consuming and tedious - plus you can only listen to those when you're sitting in front of your PC. Alternatively, if I can grab an mp3, then I can throw it on the iPod, burn it to CD as part of a compilation and listen to it a few times. Once it's lodged in my brain and I've become a fan of the track, an album purchase surely follows.
Can you list a few bands that you enjoy listening to that might surprise your readers?
I used to really dig Madonna and still have a soft spot for her. Especially the "Like A Virgin" album. Oh, and Gary Numan.
Are you a proud member of the iPod Nation?
100% and very proud of it. iPod changed the way I listen to music and, by the genius invention of the 'shuffle' feature, I've found parts of my music collection that I never knew existed.
What's the best live show you've ever seen?
So hard to decide between them all, but the most dramatic was probably at last year's Yeah Yeah Yeahs gig in Sydney. After about 6 or 7 songs, Karen O took a tumble off the stage, fell head first into the mosh pit. Even though she was seriously injured, she opted to sits on the stage and sang an incredible version of Maps. At the end of the track, the paramedics grabbed her and whisked her off to hospital. That song will remain burned in my head for a long time to come.
Do you have a message for youngsters who'd like to start their own musicblog?
Be true to your own tastes and your sense of what's good and bad and don't worry if anyone disagrees.
The head of Sony/BMG is sitting across the table from you, asking how to improve the music industry for both the consumer and the company. What do you say?
There used to be an argument that the record companies' % profit from an artist's CD would go to fostering and developing new talent. Now that % seems to go to developing Pop Idol / American Idol rejects. Recently, a very famous and a very good Australian rock band was bumped from their record label - and at the same time, the label signed a whole crew of Idol wannabes. When the industry favours chancers signing cover versions (or insipid ballads) over original, exciting talent - then truly there is no hope.
Who's your favorite producer?
I really dig Mark Bell's work - formerly LFO (and not the American boy band, the Sheffield seminal techno duo). He recently produced Exciter for Depeche Mode and also does great work with Bjork.
What makes you so goddamn smart?
Listening to Bill Hicks, reading Kurt Vonnegut. Laugh in the face of stupidity.
Drop on by betterPropaganda and pick out a track to hype.

Boom Bip and the Boards of Canada - ""Last Walk Around Mirror Lake" (Remix)

There's so much good shit on there - recent posts like Milosh, Diplo and Subtle all comes from superb albums. However, my money goes to "Last Walk". As electronic music goes, this track has so much warmth and soul, it's a beautiful collaboration. Boards Of Canada are one of the best things that have happened to electronic music in the last few years and Boom Bip too is taking the genre into interesting territory. I saw him live in Sydney recently and I'm now happy to say that I'm a convert. So it goes.


Herein follows a somewhat spiffed up answer to the response "Do you have any suggestions as to how to run a musicblog?" that I got way back when from the then-embryonic-and-now-defunct Word in the Alleys:

So you want to be a wizard? Well you've come to the right place. Let's make a good musicblog, shall we?

What separates "good from bad" in my mind is the people who realize that the music comes first.

In the end, the point is not to get the most visitors but to disseminate the most music to the most people who will actually listen to and enjoy it. To that end:

1:) POST CONSISTENTLY. I know, I know; look who's talking. Still, this is very important. If you can only post (and we're talking about music here) one time a week, that's fine. Tell your readers that. If you miss a post or two, that's fine; just don't make a habit of it. If you post daily, great; BUT STICK TO POSTING DAILY. Consistency attracts people, constantly changing content is gonna make you somebody's homepage.

2:) HAVE A PERSPECTIVE. Don't just post music and tell us it's great. Give reasons that are personal to you; tell us about other similar tunage, talk about other work by the artist, find things to say about the song that give us insight into both the artist and the listener.

3): FIND A NEED AND FOOL IT. What exactly will you be posting? Are there fifteen other blogs out there that are gonna post the same thing? What do you have to bring to the table? If you've got a huge collection of polka; great! If you're into mainstream hiphop, not so much so. A good rule of thumb for me is that if you're just as likely to hear it on mtv or the radio, why bother? Leaf through your collection, find your strengths (in ownership and in knowledge) and try to steer the style in that direction. Some of my MUST READ blogs are MUST READ because nobody else is putting up what they're putting up (Cocaine Blunts; Honey, Where You Been So Long and Fat Planet come to mind immediately). Nobody's stopping you from changing course midstream; if you find that you're suddenly drawn to modern bird calls, have at it!

Here's a partial list of genres that I would love to see served on an audioblog: jazz (bebop, modern, fusion, whatever), country (old-school, bluegrass, modern), spoken word (comedy, speeches, lectures), classical, pop culture (tv themes, commercials, newscasts), instrument and/or region specific (clarinet/Zaire)...

You can be clever and make a collection of songs that make you wanna have sex... or get in a fight or turn off your brain or whatever! Genre theming lets your audience have a sense of what channel they're tuning in to. You're welcome to give them a surprise every once and again, but it's not bad to have a specialty.

4): BE KIND. Nobody likes to be told how shitty their taste is or how lousy band X is or whatever. Celebrate what you have to offer; don't beat up on musical styles or performers or other people's creative endeavors and others will respect you in turn.

5): CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE. I try to make sure to link to more information on any artist I highlight and also give access to a spot where you could BUY more of the same if you wanted to and I'm glad to see that this is slowly becoming S.O.P.

99% of the time it's on Amazon anyway, so just put Amazon on your favorites and look em up. If the label that produces the album is minor league, google them and try to see if they sell direct. Nine times out of ten they'll be using Amazon, but it's best to direct the money as close to the artist as possible.

6): DO YOUR RESEARCH. Tell me something about the artist. Show some background; give me a bio; link to their personal page; point out other joints to get more music from these fellows.

7): SEEP IT KIMPLE... The best musicblogs I see are extremely simple in design. The more complex the design gets, the further away you get from the music. Furthermore, don't feel compelled to make EVERY post your alltime favorite post. It can get awful stressful after a month of posting your all-time favorites to find something that will top what you've just put up (plus a lack of response may be TERRIBLY disenheartening). Instead, consider allowing us to listen in to whatever obscure stuff you may have in current rotation.

7.5): BUT NOT _TOO_ KIMPLE. What's the point in posting JUST music? A very few musicblogs out there have a selection that's interesting enough where they can get away with it; unless you have nonstop bombs, you might want to try a little harder. Furthermore, what's the point in posting tracks that anybody could find on MTV or the radio or (god help us) any old P2P in a heartbeat? The world does NOT need more Hoobastank now; consider this a call for musicblogs to "keep it real". Please.

8):TALK IT UP. Visit other musicblogs. Leave messages; everyone's starved for attention. Contact other blogs that you think would like your stuff and hype yourself. They'll draw some attention to you and whatever sticks, sticks. You'll find your own niche over time.

9): BE PREPARED. Once you start getting REALLY going, you could be looking at well over thirty gigs of DL a month. Are you prepared for that kind of bandwidth drain? Try to not be a victim of your own success.

FWIW, something like the "brief statement" that I have flying on the right of my page stating that you will take down tracks if asked, that you're not attempting to infringe copyright, etc. may or may not provide legal protection (if I walk into a store and say, "Hey, I'm gonna take some stuff and leave; make sure to tell me if you think I'm stealing", that ain't gonna fly); at least it promises some good faith. Because really, you're NOT doing this for cash; it's COSTING you cash. You're doing it cuz you love music. If that's true, than it'll show on the page and really keep you and your readers in the game.

10): HAVE FUN, ASSHOLE! Musicgeeks are notoriously obsessive and running a musicblog rapidly becomes more responsibility than hobby. Try not to let that happen; set up a realistic posting schedule, enjoy the time you're spending writing and don't let traffic and response (or lack thereof) bother you. Just have fun!

And for crissakes, FIX YOUR MP3 TAGS!

That drives me nuts.

We still need to discuss Blogger and LiveJournal and hosting. Soon.


Daniel's Journey offers us "The Bush Administration".
It's no "George W. Pussy", but what IS?
If you're perverse enough to be curious about how _I_ would answer a Meeting the Neighbors session, you're not alone. David over at Largehearted Boy gave it a shot and you can find my inane answers here.
The New York Times gives credit where credit is due on the Arcade Fire CMJ buzz:
"All right," said Win Butler, sizing up the crowd late last Wednesday night at the Mercury Lounge. "We're the flavor of the month. Let's go."
The debut Arcade Fire album, "Funeral," was released barely a month ago, on Sept. 14, by the indie label Merge, based in North Carolina. Enthusiastic reviews were written, even more enthusiastic blog entries were posted, MP3's circulated. It used to take months of touring and record-shop hype for an underground band to build a cult, but now it takes only a few weeks. "I'd like to thank the Internet," Mr. Butler said...

Speaking of the Times, kudos to Fluxblog for the recent nod. Side by side with Trick Daddy and Brian Eno! Very impressive!

One quibble with the writeup: Alex Balk comments that "MP3 blogs are a dime a dozen". Interesting that WE'VE become flavor of the month so fast. Seems like only eight months ago there were only about a dozen to choose from, PERIOD. Let's not write off the zeitgeist quite so fast, eh?

Anyway, has anybody seen that SPIN article yet? I'm curious.
Can you HELP but get hooked by baseball right now? Bottom of the seventh and a game seven is looking more and more likely. S'gettin, s'gettin, s'gettin kinda hectic.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Quoth everybody's favorite pimp: "One! Two! Three little plasma-bags to join my undead army; ah ha ha ha!"

Hey, remember when we used to do entries with multiple reviewers?

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", "acapella tracks", "blue music" and our last compilation, "drunk songs"). These CDs 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!

The theme for the next MONTH or so is:


The CD itself has twentytwo tracks, one intro and one outro with the word "numbers" in the title and each of the remaining twenty tracks feature an appropriate number; say, Air's "Radio #1" followed by Rob Base and DJ EZ Rock's "It Takes Two" and then They Might Be Giants' "Greek Number Three" and so on.

Herein lies the rub: there are SO many songs out there with number titles that I feel like I could've done this disc at least TWICE. So I did. For each entry, I'll post two tracks: the first track is the one that's on the CD that I sent out to our guests; the second track is a fabulous BONUS song. It's like two numbers discs in one! Here's hoping you appreciate the irony.

You can also feel free to submit your suggestions for OTHER numbers songs in the comments box at the bottom of each day's entry.

Anyway, speaking of our guest reviewers, here they are now! This time around we have QUITE the distinguished entourage. Let's start out with a man who knows a little something about numbers, Mr. Fortyone:

Hey there. Short of chatting with folks while sharing music on the net I have no experience 'tall, that's at all, writing reviews like this. I make music using absolutely nothing but 100% samples (mainly from old phonograph records) that's what I do. Check check me out on Comfortstand
And I'd love to sample most every song on this CD and particulary enjoy a few. I think the theme is beautiful. Very clever and very well put together. Tasty. All in all quite good. T'was a fun time.

A fun time is what we aim for here at th' Hut and giving numbers to numbers certainly qualifies!

Next up we have the Scandinavian Scooter, Avi:

Hi, I'm Avi. I live in the SF Bay Area with my wife and three dogs and in my free time, I run the Scandinavian music webzine/record label It's a trap! As for my musical background, I played in bands and did the touring/working band thing for awhile until I got to the end of my rope and turned into a total burnout recluse. It took some time, but I finally recovered enough to get excited about music again once I figured out I get more pleasure from writing and working behind the scenes. Now I can safely channel all my built-up cynicism into being a critic. (I kid! Honest!) Since I'm so involved with only the Nordic scene for the most part, I thought it'd be nice to break away and check out some other kinds of music for a change. That's why I signed up for this honor. Oh, and maybe to also put in a plug for the comp I'm putting out. Thanks again for letting me take part! I listened without a tracklist the first time through to see if I could guess what song came next and was surprised every time. Just as I had anticipated, lots of material I never would have discovered on my own. I may not have loved every single track, but I was thoroughly entertained and have quite a few names to investigate further. Certainly can't complain about that. Cheers!

I'm just embarrassed at my lack of Scandaknowledge. It's Scandalous, I tells ya!

Holla if ya hear Lee:

I'm a radio technician and producer for the CBC in Canada. I was incredibly lucky enough to find my soulmate (or she found me, I should say) and marry her. I collect music of all styles and have done so since I was 5. Played drums for a very long time, been in lots of bands that never made it anywhere but gave me tons of horror stories. Record music for fun on my trusty analog 4-track, and run websites like Jem's Starlight Jukebox and Audio Oddities. Latest listening: Right now my wife and I are catching up to the sadly underappreciated career of Laura Branigan. Man, she could sing.
This CDs theme is a pretty challenging and limiting goal. The hardest thing about a mix like this, can you find enough stuff that fits the theme, different style of music, and a good track? And how well does it flow? I'm open to lots of styles and genres, but I found this to have way too many rap and blues songs. Also, no childrens songs? Sesame St. could fill a disc alone with number songs. Overall, it's not a very 'fun' mix...it's pretty serious in tone and it's not quite what I expected. This was a challenge.

All I can suggest in my defense is that my mixes are meant to be smorgasbords. These are almost GUARANTEED to contain music you’ll love and hate, tracks you’ll know like the back of your hand and songs that you’ve never heard before. Diversity and (relative) obscurity is the name of the game and that sometimes means that I sacrifice a little bit of flow in the name of broadening the musical panorama. Hopefully not TOO much flow; ya'll will be the judge of that.

Enough hedging! Let's meet our next Tofutripper Skipper, Rosecrans:

Rosecrans Baldwin is a co-publisher of The Morning News. He lives in Brooklyn.
Overall: Nice mix, very nice transitions, and quite a few songs by artists I'd never heard of. Thanks for let me playing John.

Pal, you'd be SURPRISED who I let play with John. Take a number.

Oh say have you met David:

I've never actually written any reviews of anything before, so if this is all a little bland (or repeats the same stock phrases over and over again), I apologise. Next week, I'm going to try dancing about architecture.
Stuff I've done on the internet, if anyone's interested: three stupid computer games quizzes, a weekly newsletter containing rubbish cartoons and a cartoon generator.
A damn good compilation. There's a couple of pretty rubbish tracks, but the rest of the album drowns them in excellence, really. Well done. and surprisingly coherent, consider the pretty tight restraints of having each track containing a different number in its title. And some of the stuff is just too good for words.

Flattery will get you everywhere DG. Last on your radio dial is Jamie:

I'm a 29-year old editor from the centre of the universe (as it likes to think of itself) Toronto. I grew up surrounded by records and picked up my father's habit of compulsive music buying from our dives through $1 record bins in Detroit - places like Car City, Sam's Jams and Street Corner. Put the library we amassed to good use as a DJ during my university daze and a stint as entertainment editor of the campus paper. One reason I love mp3 blogs is that they allow you to still cram in a bit of DJing into a busy schedule - hence The Sound and Fury of Radio CRMW.
Great concept for a disc - I made one for a friend a few years ago, but it pulled some of the obvious choices (One, Seven and Seven Is, Eight Days a Week, etc). Nifty mix you've made, though I wonder how tongue-tied I'll get trying to describe each track :) Not too familiar with many of the hip-hop/DJ acts, so it was a challenge to review those tracks. Maybe this will add to my expanding tastes...that's enough yammering, on with the game!

Indeed. Time to get our abacus on.

glistening by the numbers: Countdown

DJ Shadow - "The Number Song"

NB:With so many reviewers on board, I'll be cutting out one response per track for the sake of brevity.

Avi: I know it probably sounds totally ridiculous, but I don't think I've ever really listened to DJ Shadow. I suspect I've probably heard some stuff in passing, but it certainly never made an impression. Now I find myself trying to think of something to say about this track and drawing a complete blank. That drum break at the end is decent, but otherwise it's forgettable.

Lee: This guy is truly innovative. He's in the top of turntablists for me, in terms of the samples he chooses and how he puts them together. Totally obscure stuff, but it all works. Kid Koala and Christian Marclay are other favorites in this field.

Jamie: The countdown song needed to get the numbers theme rolling - the drumming's like a marching band leading you into the stadium for rest of the disc.

Rosecrans: Nice opener, lots of style and big sound. But boy, even excellent turntabling gets real dry real fast. Is this excellent turntabling? I can never tell.

David: I love DJ Shadow, so I'm probably too familiar to review this properly. It is excellent, though. I bought this album when I was still at school, about ten years ago, almost, and have probably listened to it about a million times, and yet I never get bored of it...

This isn't exactly the most obscure track out there but it's one that I have a real fondness for. Shadow lit the way to a world of cut'emup DJing and electronics that I was mostly ignorant of in college; "Endtroducing" opened my mind to a lot of new concepts, cliched and weak though that statement may be.

That slow grinding guitar sample that drives this forward is from Metallica's "Orion"; in high school I remember thinking you could build a whole song around a sample from that. I used to try to do just that with a dual-cassette deck... ah, memories.

Those in the know can go look up the "up again down again" Complete DJ Shadow Sample page for references and sounds for everything that's included in this sonic collage; that website's author prefers not to have the address reproduced on the web.

Buy "Endtroducing, the trailblazing first release from DJ Shadow, from Amazon.
Incredibly influential. Future releases never completely lived up to the promise, though Private Press WAS quite good.
At the very least, this will always hold a special place in my heart for turning me on to Georgio Moroder by way of his reimagining of "Tears" as "Organ Donor".
Visit Shadow's official site.
Read this "Endtroducing" era interview.

Kraftwerk - "Numbers"

There's something downright Seussian-ly minimalist about making a song that features no other lyrics than counting and something obscenely perverse about couching that simple theme in the rich layers of Kraftwerk production.

Heads will recognize this as the inspiration for Africa Bambaataa's "Planet Rock"; if you're ever in the Big Apple you should look me up for a copy of Kraftwerk's HOUR LONG remix of that hiphop standard.

Buy "Computer World", Kraftwerk's 1981 digital textbook, from Amazon.
Almost twenty five years old, but still as contemporary as all get out. Electronic club kids with a taste for Daft Punk who've never tried out the Kr-auts can jump right in here. "Pocket Calculator" and "Computer Love" set the standards.
Visit Kraftwerk's official site.
Listen to Kraftwerk live audio and interviews with the band.

Meeting the Neighbors

Radio Babylon is mostly electronic music with a considerable amount of political commentary thrown in. Babylon is also a lesson in zero-cash musicblogging; Babylon links almost exclusively to music hosted on label and artist sites. While it's really downright SKANKY to do this with a privately owned musicblog for a host of reasons, I'm of the opinion that hotlinking to a label mp3 accomplishes exactly what was initially intended: further dissemination of the track to the musiclistening (and buying) public.

I'd welcome further conversation on this ethical boondoggle; when should hotlinking be verboten?

I'm getting ahead of myself tho'.

Let's say hello to Babylon.

Radio Babylon launched on April 15, 2004 as a music blog. Now it's a sort of hybrid blog; combining images, music and other writings. I am Kevin and my computer is bluecalx.
What's the worst job you ever had to suffer through?

The worst job I ever had was working for a movie theater. Awful. Bloody awful. My second night there was spent containing crowds on opening night for Star Wars: Episode I (and yes, many of those people were wearing costumes). And it only got more fun from there. I worked there for two months. When I tell people that I used to work there, I usually get something like, "Oh, that must have been fun!" Generally, people don't make the mistake of saying this to me twice.
Recommend three other musicblog sites and give them a sentence or two of introduction.

1. Music (for Robots) - community blogging, it's like nine blogs in one, each with amazing taste.

2. An Idiot's Guide to Dreaming - in the blogger's own words, "the blogging equivilant of an acid tattoo scare"

3. Scissorkick - amazing selection of electronic, indie and experimental music.

And of course Fluxblog and Tofu Hut both continue to put my humble blog to shame.
Do you really think that posting music effectively promotes sales of the album?

I prefer music blogs as opposed to all the P2P systems that are constantly trying to dodge legal battles in the shadow of Napster. I feel like there's less exposure to new artists, when you're just searching for the stuff you already know. I have about a dozen or so blogs that I read daily because I like their tastes, and a ton of others on my blogroll that I check occasionally. So I learn a lot that way, and yeah, I've bought some albums because of it. It's a better way to find new music than listening to what Viacom and Clear Channel say are the hits. The motivation is different.
Can you list a few bands that you enjoy listening to that might surprise your readers?

Most everything I post is electronic, some of it is experimental. But I try to post other genres from time to time, so I don't really know what my readers would be surprised by. I listen to some old jazz stuff that I don't post (Miles Davis, Charlie Parker and the like) and lately I've been interested in some international music (African, Indian, South American, etc).
Give me a good story about how one of the tracks that made it up on your blog got there.

The best story I can think of I wrote about recently on the blog. It was in this post about Stereo Total.
Pick one musician and one question. Who is it and what do you ask?

Björk and I probably wouldn't ask her anything. I'd just sit there swooning over her for a bit. Hours later, I'd think of something brilliantly witty that I should have said to her about how archaic it is to use instruments to make music nowadays. Something like that.
What's the best live show you've ever seen?

I can't pick a favorite, but Sigur Rós at the Beacon Theater in NYC is up there. I went as part of the 2002 CMJ Music Marathon. They were only letting in 100 people with CMJ badges, so I had to wait in line for an hour in the cold to get in. The seats weren't great, but something about the experience of coming in out of the cold and hearing music inspired by the landscapes of Iceland was an amazing experience. It was close to what I imagine it might be like to die of hypothermia.

This a track from the show: Sigur Rós - Hafssól (Live @ Beacon Theater, Nov. 2002)
Do you have a message for youngsters who'd like to start their own musicblog?

Keep an open mind, read the other music blogs, and update on a regular basis.
Drop on by Better Propaganda and pick out a track you'd like people to give a listen to.

Squarepusher - Ultravisitor

Squarepusher quickly became my favorite drum n bass artist when I first started to listen to his work. The effortless combination of the genre with acid, jazz and ambient music are just part of his genius. This is the title track from his self-declared best album, Ultravisitor (it's a bit conceited, yes, but it's still a damn good album)

REALLY not spiffy

Defining not spiffy: hard drive crash at the casa de tofu. Friday 11:00 pm to Saturday 6:00 AM was spent figuring out how to rout around my now useless D drive, reinstalling Windows and doing my damnedest to get all my settings back to status quo.

The good news, such as it is, is that the drive that crashed was relatively empty: no songs and no documents; just my OS, MS Office, virus protection, lotsa utilities (most of which, unfortunately, are packed up in a box in Florida somewhere).

I'm NOT a techtype but I did manage to fumble about with BIOS enough to get the thing running again, albeit in a somewhat hobbled state. New York pals with a nose for this sort of thing who would like to lend a hand in taking off some of the silicon sutures are asked to drop me a line.

I've lost a few new musicblog addys (along with all the settings to my Mozilla) when I had to reinstall XP; if you're not on here and I've somehow missed you until now, PLEASE contact me with your URL and I'll be happy to put you on the masterlist.

Just a reminder to all you kids out there: backup backup backup! We live on a snowflake!
I COMPLETELY skipped CMJ (though I did manage a quite spiffy meetup with Dana from BetterProp; all future tofufans note: getting me dinner is an excellent way to get on my Hannukah list).

I also missed this opportunity to rub noses with Matt and Mark. I'm curious to hear what was said and how the talks went. Are we evil yet? Or are we journalists? Or are we just hopeless?
MEA CULPA DEPT: Even though these have been some MONSTER size entries, I have no choice but to admit to having been quite delinquent in updating as of late and I will submit myself to your lash as is appropriate. However...


You'll be happy to hear that skeletal posts for the next twenty or so entries at th' Hut have been prepped and are in the oven, GREATLY increasing the chances of this becoming a weekdaily updated site again.

I also greatly look forward to being able to tell you more about a SPECIAL SUPERSECRET MYSTERY GUEST contributor who'll be (hopefully) writing for us on a regular basis. I've heard some of the tracks she plans on dropping and I don't mind telling you that what she has to offer is going to split some wigs wide open.

We're talkin' French labor union protest songs from the late nineteenth century, mid-60's Brazilian female quartets covering indigenous standards, ultra-obscure mid-seventies Moroder, forgotten New Wave one-hit wonders, hard-to-find instrumental versions of RZA's soundtrack work...

So just as soon as she gets some free time.

Then she'll write something.

Sure do wish she'd hurry up.

Then I can tell you more about her.

I may have blown the surprise, though.
I'm going to try to continue to post a new entry over at Music for Robots every Monday from now on. Stop by for this week's bonus tracks, all instrumentals.
Credit where credit is due: all those songs come courtesy of our aforementioned BRAND SPANKIN' NEW TOFU PARTNER, so swing by to see if you think she's got the stuff. I shore do.
Jon Stewart's Crossfire appearance is this week's internet wildfire and I would be remiss if I did not throw fuel on that fire.
It's absolutely stunning; along with Borat's "Throw the Jew Down the Well", it's the best television has had to offer this year.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Whew! I've been working on this post (and the newly revised blogroll) for over FIVE HOURS STRAIGHT. Hope you like it.

We're a few hours away from droppin' a new CD on ya'll but there's some foundation work remaining to be done. In the meantime, we figgered we might as well cap off the "SOUL HUT" with a few funky tracks to get you swayin' yo' badunkadunk.

glisten to da funk

Edwin Birdsong - "Freaky Deaky Cities"

Ed Birdsong is a recent discovery and one that has had me all but leaping out of my skin. Better known as a longtime Roy Ayers collaborator, Birdsong has released some five out-of-print albums of overwhelmingly joyous fusion freakydeakishness.

Heck, you're probably already familiar with one of his tracks already: this is a sample of the opening of Birdsong's 'Cola Bottle Baby'; Daft Punk lifted that cut pretty much wholesale for 'Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger'.

'Cities' is mindless disco bounce in the best possible way. I mean, "R2D2, Let Me Freak You"? Are you kidding me? Just wild. Great music to get naked and run around your room too.

Not that I've done that. I meant hypothetically.

Why this guy's rep languishes amongst the lesser-knowns of funk/soul is a TOTAL mystery to me; most of his material is just as good as what you're listening to here.

Birdsong's material is pretty hard to find, which is eight different flavors of a shame (positive feedback on this track will likely result in more E.B. postings; I also recommend you talk this guy up to everybody you know as I'd like to see a "Best of" set); you COULD buy "Evolution", Roy Ayers double CD 'best of' from Amazon, which features a DIFFERENT version of this track along with several other Ayers/Birdsong collabos.
Learn a bit more about Edwin.
Listen to hundreds of birdsongs.


The Politicians - "Psycha-Soula-Funkadelic"

The Politicians were a Detroit based hard funk band that recorded only one album but BOY what a doozy of a title cut.

The anger and intensity of this is like a mighty giant; the instruments sound downright strained under the pressure of the funk. The vocal stylings and production really ain't too far from contemporary music, maybe even modern crunk. Heck, slip some heavier bass and a couple of "YEEEEAH!"s underneath and the possibility that this could be a Lil' Jon production is something less than, er, ludacris.

McKinley Jackson, the group's frontman (previously of the Originals) went on to be a major force in the music industry, arranging much of the Holland/Dozier/Holland catalog and siring Proof of D12.

Buy "Psycha-Soula-Funkadelic", the Politicians only release.
I can't lie; this IS the best track on the album. The rest is more of the same, only not quite as off the hook. Still a nice disc tho'.

...and what better way could there be than a track by The Politicians to segue into:

When I opened my email and "George W. Pussy" stared back at me from the inbox, I had to wonder if my spam filter had been backdoored. Not quite. Here's what the letter said:

Dear Tofuhut,
Have never written to a music blog before today, so forgive any inexperience on my part. --In late August, I recorded a rap song called "George W. Pussy", a copy of which I'm attaching to this mail in MP3 form, and lyrics pasted in below. No, there're no obscenities in it really, just some "meowing" sound effects off the keyboard, etc., so there'll be no FCC problems. I borrow the riff from "Super Freak" (R.I.P. Rick James; I went to his 8/14 funeral service in Buffalo NY, touched his hand). There may even be subtle Sex Pistols references worked in...
If you're worried that the attached MP3 could be a virus (it's not), just mail me back right away with an address and I'll try to mail you the song in CD form. November 2 is coming up awfullll fast...
I wonder if the song or a video of it could even influence the 2004 election; there's no really memorable "Bush stinks" music out there, so that "George W. Pussy" could be the "Fahrenheit 9/11" of music (or even the "October surprise"?!).....there's even the Rick James nostalgia factor, believe it or not! Use of the "Super Freak" hook made a #1 hit for M.C. Hammer, and "George W. Pussy" is far more controversial/hypertopical than "U Can't Touch This", so should be able to do even better..... Though I've no distributor or promoter yet, so am looking around.
Anyway, please listen and let me know what you think; the song is a quick listen at 3 minutes, 9 seconds, though it packs in commentary about Abu Ghraib and everything else. Thanks. (And do play it loud, as the Pretenders say on one of their album covers!!) Will also be grateful for any mention, good or bad, on your blog. (I guess I don't have a link to "George W. Pussy" on my website yet, but could so do if critics think the song's worth listening to...)
I'm already working on storyboarding for the video, much of which involves Bush running around in a flight suit with the word "AWOL", "W" much bigger than the rest of the letters because he's "W" himself, on his chest, as he's running away and crying. I think that should get the message across pretty clearly, since people have to graphically be shown the truth: the truth that Bush is America's biggest sissy, the Coward-in-Chief.

Thereafter followed the lyrics.

"George W. Pussy":

Pussy pussy George W. Pussy
Pussy pussy (cat) George W. Pussy

Look under a bush, u might find a cat
Yo whatchoo think of that
He didn't fight in Iraq
Didn't fight in Viet Nam
9/11 sent those people to Heaven,
But buddy you couldn't even run a 7/11
How come you failed
Waving your bushy pussy tail

Wussy pussy George W. Pussy [voice in background: "Can't touch this"
Sissy pussy (cat) George W. Pussy [background: "Can't bust this"]

You sent those kids to go invade Baghdad
To look tougher than your Dad
Now they mamas sad
Their babies coming home in a body bag
So u was too naive
To stop Abu Ghraib?
The torture house
You're in Saddam's posse now

Posse pussy George W. Pussy
Nazi posse (cat cat cat) George W. Posse

(M.C. Hammer-style musical break, ending with "Halliburton time", not
"Hammer time")

You and Cheney in a little white carriage
That's what I call a real gay marriage
Sodomized by Halliburton whenever they please
You lucky you ain't got---venereal disease
And your pal running Californy
Groping women cos he's so horny
Arnold Fornicator, what a masturbator
Almost half as bad as Ralph Nader [voice in background: "Oh my Lord"]

Hussy pussy George W. Pussy
Scuzzy pussy (kit cat) George W. Pussy

Dick Santorum said gayz r like dogz
Well you're just a pussy cat, ha ha ha

Pussycat pussycat where have you been
Going to London to visit the Queen
We got England right here, Lynndie's her name
Why didn't you prevent America's shame
Playing kissy face with Tony Blair
Pussy and poodle, what a pretty pair
Maybe you're the real Queen flaunting your flair [voice in background: "God
Save the Queen"]
But the British homies tore down your statue in Trafalgar Square
[background: "His fascist regime"]

Missy pussy George W. Pussy
Hissy pussy (kit kit) George W. Pussy

(second M.C. Hammer-style musical break, ending with "Pussy time")

You should be ashamed
Y'all gang-raped Valerie Plame
George W. Pussy is your name
Cat in the dunce hat, you're the one to blame
Not to mention the election you robbed
And how come y'all lost 3 million jobs
Of course, I love Americans too
God knows I love them more than you

Woozy pussy George W. Pussy [background: "Can't trust him"]
Boozy pussy (cat cat cat) George W. Pussy [background: "Can hardly love

I don't care if you went to Hah-vahd
We'll send your punk pussy-ass back to Crawford
We ain't give you no mo pussy time
To commit yo pussy crimes
So let me represent
That y'all better repent
Cos you know full well
God sends bad pussy cats to Hell

Pussy pussy George W. Pussy
Pussy pussy (catty cat---) George W. Pussy

Hell??? ....Yeahhhhhhh.

---GEORGE W. PUSSY !!!!!

Copyright 2004 David Boyle All rights reserved

Needless to say, I was intrigued. To say the least.
Fluxblog beat me to the punch on this one (dang late nights! I'm taking steps to stop these missed posts; I'll tell you more later) but I think "G.W.P" is, um, interesting enough to merit a cross-blog pollination; so without further ado, I give you:

David Boyle - "George W. Pussy"

If we can get this guy a record deal, the power of musicblogs will have reached a zenith.
Stranger things have happened.

Visit Mr. Boyle's website, where you can sample "The Rapping of the Christ" and read an EXTENSIVE essay about David's disappointment with the Rings trilogy films.
Heads be talking!
We love you David. Really. Any man who has the balls to touch the corpse of Tricky Rick is alright by me.
At the Republican National Convention in 1988, (George W.) was asked by a Hartford Courant reporter about what he and his father talked about when they weren't talking about politics. "Pussy," Bush replied.

glisten: Soul Hut... One Mo'gin?

Following the lead of O-Dub over at Soul Sides, I'm offering up the five gospel tracks I posted over at S.S. for a limited time only.
If you didn't snag em the first time, make it snappy.

1. The Fairfield Four - "Don't Let Nobody Turn You Around"
My (and O's) original commentary

2. The Sensational Nightingales - "Guide My Mind"
My (and O's) original commentary

3. The Brewsteraires of Memphis - "So Glad"
My (and O's) original commentary

4. Jackson Gospel Singers - "Heaven Bound Train"
My (and O's) original commentary

5. The Soul Stirrers - "He Knows Just How Much We Can Bear"
My (and O's) original commentary

Oliver has a new superfriend and sparring parter in Cocaine Blunts and they are concurrently rippin' it up, nastylike.

Best click your ass over there before the party ends.

Meeting the Neighbors

Ready Rock Moe Rex runs a joint down the street with a penchant for world, dance and electronic music accompanied by beautifully lurid photos of street graf. The big draw is Matt's voice, which is unique, learned, reassuring and excitable. He's big on ear pudding, short on ear broccoli and a fun cat to have around the house.

Recent offerings include music from David Byrne, Diplo, ELO and Seu Jorge.

Ready? Rock!

My name's Matt, and I'm 35 years old, happily married with two itinerant cats, a longtime San Francisco resident and generally overcaffeinated as a rule. By day I'm a software industry tech writer and while this profession enables a comfortable standard of living in the hyperexpensive Bay Area, there's a tradeoff: it encourages you to become very, very good at writing the dullest, deadest prose imaginable in the service of practicality and ease of translation. I began writing online in late 2001 as a strategy to save the more lyrical, creative aspects of my writing talent from atrophy.
I've also always been more than a bit of a musical obsessive--my wife, in rare moments of exasperation, refers to it as my "illness"--and I think that over the years my blog has continually reflected this. Back in February of this year, just as I was getting burnt out on the concept of yapping online about my mostly mundane life, I ran across Fluxblog and Said The Gramaphone. They blew my mind, and I immediately wrote a gushing post about my discovery. A month later (March 2, 2004, to be exact)--after weighing pros (personal satisfaction of sharing cool music) versus cons (possible legal ramifications) I took the plunge and converted my LiveJournal to the mp3 blog format.
Where did the name of your blog originate from?
"Moebius" was my very first online handle, for a UNIX account that I had at UC Santa Cruz when I was a student there in the late eighties. To be brutally honest, the name started out as a typo: I intended it to be "Möbius," as in the famously one-sided strip, but was apparently too arrogant to check the dictionary first. However, I quickly warmed to the name: I liked how people would refer to me online as "Moe" for short, and I could sometimes get away with the implication that it was a tribute to the French comix artist Jean Giraud "Moebius."
I used "Moebius" as an online identity off and on throughout the following decade. The "Rex" and "Ready Rock" bits were added when I opened the LiveJournal account, to amplify the name's coolness quotient or something stupid like that.
Although I'm almost certainly going to move to a Blogger/Moveable Type/TypePad format over the next year or so, I'll probably keep "Moebius Rex" as the blog name. It's become a bit of a brand now, and I don't want to screw with that. You never know: this blogging gig might blow up into the stratosphere, and the next thing I know, Nike'll be on the line asking for permission to start up a new line of Ready Rock Moe Rex Airwalks or something.
What are the criteria you judge a song by to decide if it's post-worthy?
Well first off, the song has to be the kind of thing that I would be listening to over and over again even if I weren't running an mp3 blog. A lot of the tunes that I post are tracks that have blown me away when they've turned up in my iPod magic shuffle--stuff that I may have overlooked on first listen, or in the context of a full LP.
I also tend to try to put together sets of songs that are united by genre or theme, or which complement the photograph heading up the post. The thematic cohesion really works at times--as it seemed to do with my Hanging On The Line and Native New Yorker entries, for example--and kinda fizzles out at others.
The hunt to find tunes that are both postworthy and underplayed in the blog scene can get kinda demoralizing. There are days when it seems like there's no fresh funk to be found. But that's just fatigue: the reality is that there's an ocean of sound to explore out there, and a flood of new music is constantly pouring into it. Just because I don't catch anything one day doesn't mean I won't be able to harpoon a musical Moby Dick the next.
What do you do for kicks when you're not posting?
I'm an avid collector of books, comix, and music so I spend more time and money than I should shopping for and enjoying those things. Obviously I have a love of photography, and I regularly go on walkabouts around San Francisco and the Bay Area in search of postworthy images. And then there's going to shows (though not so many as I used to, sigh), seeing films, attending various and sundry noteworthy cultural events, and when I can, travelling. In a lot of ways my lifestyle now is pretty much what it was back when I was 25. However, this state of being probably can't go on much longer, lest I end up like the protagonist of an especially bad Nick Hornby novel.
Do you have a favorite music critic?
These days I have to admit that Sasha Frere-Jones is a a bit of a lodestar for me. I first became aware of the guy back in the 90s, through his (now defunct, I think) band Ui. Then I mostly lost track of him 'till I ran across SF/J via Fluxblog. As a music critic, Frere-Jones is a bit of a pop thug, but as such his explanations for why we should give big money stars like Beyonce or Usher a serious listen are more compelling than just about any others I've read recently. As a result of his influence I've lately been experiencing an outbreak of "Madonna Moments"--personal epiphanies where I let down my guard a bit and discover value in stuff that I usually dismiss reflexively. This is part of a larger lesson that I'm constantly relearning: every time I jury-rig together an equation for What Makes Good Music, I am forced to admit that all of my rules and qualifications are, for the most part, bullshit: Nothing is true and everything is permitted. This realization, while initially destabilizing, ultimately liberates the mind somewhat. The world is a better place when you quit trying to find reasons to hate on every little thing. (Sasha's been a big influence in another aspect as well--it was his use of photography in his blog that inspired me to post photographs with each of my entries.)

Other influential music critics, columnists, and essayists: Phillip Sherbourne, Simon Reynolds, Gina Arnold, Camden Joy, Greil Marcus, Clinton Heylen, and David Toop.
Do you consider yourself a "music journalist"?
The whole "bloggers as journalists" thing is such a loaded debate. It's the million dollar question that everyone wants the answer to nowadays: where does blogging end and journalism begin?
As far as I'm concerned, I'm not a music journalist. I'm just a guy who loves talking about music and sharing the music that he loves with others. But the definition isn't under my control. As long as I write about this stuff, people will define me as a music journalist simply as a way of categorizing what I do. And that's fine with me. Music journalism is a noble line of work, and sometimes, if you're very lucky, there's even money to be made from it. But I'm not holding my breath.
What was the last track you heard that really changed your life?
I'd say it was "Float On"--the first track I ever downloaded from an mp3 blog (Said the Gramaphone), back in early February. It wasn't the song itself that changed my world (though I did love that single) so much as the medium that brought it to me, along with the instant realization that this was something I could do.
How much does it cost you to maintain your site (in time/money/effort)?
The cost is fairly minimal, unless you count buying CDs, which I still find myself compelled to do on a distressingly regular basis despite the expense-busting opportunities offered by filesharing apps. Time and effort, on the other hand, fluctuate wildly. Sometimes I flail about a bit madly looking for inspirational stuff to post, and sometimes my posting windows are excruciatingly short due to the demands of my job and other responsibilities. It's a struggle to get more than two posts a week in, and throughout much of the summer, I've often had to get by on just one weekly entry. But I think that fans of my blog have found a tradeoff of quality over quantity there. I put a lot of effort into the posts I do put up and the feedback I get suggests that people appreciate it.
Describe the space you do your writing in.
Well, right now I'm actually writing from The Atlas Cafe, a bohemian gathering place deep in San Francisco's Mission District that's locally famous for its terrific roasted yam sandwiches and liberal dog-friendly policies. But usually I do my blog writing and research either in my home office, with my towering music collection at my back and a cat purring on my lap, or from my cube at work, where I compose prose in stolen moments between the writing of user interface reviews and application programming interface documentation.
That old chestnut dinner party is at your house and you can invite three musicians living or dead. Who are you inviting?
Brian Eno (for his imagination and ideas), Larry Levan (for anecdotes of the '70s underground disco scene and general party attitude), and Kathleen Hanna (for chitchat about art and 2004 politics).
Is there any genre of music that you dismiss out of hand?
When I was a kid my category of Dreadful Musics was fairly large. Listed: country & western, classical, opera, showtunes, hair metal, and most british synthpop. As I grew older and more open-minded, I gradually found exceptions to all my rules, and for years I thought I'd pretty much opened my heart to all genres out there. And then I ran into a coworker who listened to nothing-- and I mean literally nothing --but Celtic music. OMG.
Which critical darling do you find most overrated? Who's the most overlooked genius in the music industry?
All critical darlings have to go at some point or another. I've long been of the opinion that whenever the critics really start to focus their attentions on any one artist, that's generally a sign that the really interesting stuff is going on somewhere else, probably in a cluttered, sweaty suburban garage somewhere or in some nocturnal kid's bedroom music studio. But according to Newsweek this is apparently "All Hail His Majesty Bob Dylan" month, so forget all that. This is why the world needs mp3 blogs. In general, we couldn't care less about the faces gracing the cover of Spin at the moment. By the time a band gets that well known, they're old news to us. We're all about tunneling through the detritus of pop culture and mining out unpolished gems and forgotten treasures.

As far as overlooked genius goes, I'll just direct you to Sublime Frequencies, an interesting little label run by members of the Sun City Girls. Field recordings are going to be the next big thing. Just you wait.
Are you much of a dancer?
As a child I developed a sort of herky-jerky, minimalistdance style that I eventually dubbed "The Dance of the Lonely Suburban White Boy." When I'm feeling particularly inspired, I can get some pretty funky hip and leg movement going, and even toss in elements from complicated dance moves like "The Tilted Windmill" and "The Shopping Cart"--but at best it still comes off like a bad version of David Byrne's "Stop Making Sense" choreography. All that said, I'm pretty shameless when it comes to dancing. Give me a beat and I'll find a way to move awkwardly to it.
Recommend three other musicblog sites and give them a sentence or two of introduction.

1. Spoilt Victorian Child has quickly risen to the top of my mp3 blog heap over the past several months. Simon and Rowchie have funny and insightful writing styles, their musical interests are wideranging, and their collective skill for picking out the sweet sides from the towering stacks is awe inspiring.

2. Moistworks never fails to bring some good noise to my ears, and he fills my plate with amazing commentary to boot. He picks out a good mix of rare and familiar (but not too familiar) tracks, and even when I've heard the song before I want to find out what he has to say about it.

3. Benn Loxo Du Tàccu made its debut a couple of weeks back and so far I think it's one of the best new blogs to come around in quite some time. It's curated by an Associated Press writer in Senegal, and it (of course) features only the best African music you've (n)ever heard.
Is there a major flaw in the way that musicblog sites function that you'd like to see corrected?
I think as the musicblog trend continues to expand it's going to become increasingly difficult for the more popular blogs to walk that line between being free-willed music enthusiasts and becoming seen as bought and paid for operatives of publicists, labels and media corporations. There's a bit of a punkrock DIY sprit to this scene, and it will probably falter a bit when people inevitably start crying "sellout." But in the long run, this will probably be a healthy thing--certain blogs will transcend the scene and move on to other spheres, making room for other blogs that "keep it real"--for the time being, anyway--to come up after them.
Do you really think that posting music effectively promotes sales of the album?
All I can offer is anecdotal evidence: I know for a fact that I've bought CDs after downloading their tracks from mp3 blogs (such as the new discs by Wilco, Cut Copy, Superpitcher, and CocoRosie, to name a few) and my readers have reported doing the same after hearing stuff that I've posted. A close friend of mine who now lives in Prague came back to San Francisco recently to visit friends and family, and, among other things, shop for a copy of the debut Nouvelle Vague album, which I promoted early this summer, well before its offical release. Unfortunately for him, it's only available in the UK and France (as far as I know), but I know he's gonna track down that CD eventually.
Can you list a few bands that you enjoy listening to that might surprise your readers?
Well, new readers of my blog might think that I listen exclusively to funk, disco, electro, and combinations therof. But only four years back my musical diet was almost entirely made up of alt-country/roots/americana/bluegrass. If I'd started this blog back in 2000, you'd probably. be hearing a lot of Old '97s, Red House Painters, and Son Volt. And if you look carefully through my blog entries from a year or two back, you'll find me ranting against some of the stuff that I tend to celebrate now. I went through a period where the whole eighties retro revival thing just irritated me to no end, and I kinda flipped into Grumpy Old Codger Mode for awhile there. Hey kids, that there's my decade! Put it down! Go out and find one of yer own! I'm constantly fascinated by the paths my musical enthusasm has taken me down over the years, though. And I never know what I'll get infatuated with next.
Are you a proud member of the iPod Nation?
Man, sometimes I think that the iPod is the best invention to come along since the steam engine. It's totally changed the way I listen to and appreciate music. I've got a 10GB 2nd gen iPod that's on its last legs, batterywise, and I've got a brand new 4th gen 20GB pod waiting in the wings, ready to take over.
Could you see yourself still running your site in five years? Would you ever consider selling the blog?
It's possible, but five years is a LONG time in Interweb terms. I have a feeling that by then the whole mp3 blogging phenomenon will have either played itself out or mutated into something markedly different from what we're looking at now. It'll be interesting to see where we're all at then. I'll probably end up as a bit player in the TimeWarnerFluxHut(For Robots) megamedia conglomorate, with my luck. Hopefully the benefit package will be decent.
Drop on by betterPropaganda and pick out a track to hype.

Afrika Bambaataa - "Metal"

A brand new electropunk track featuring both Afrika Bambaataa and Gary Numan? Hell yeah! Fresh retro robofunk for the cyborg nation right here.


SIXTY-SIX new musicblogs (and more than a few of the old-fashioned variety) means that the sidebar is newly burgeoning with excess and quality.

But where to start? Here's a few iconoclasts worth investigating:

Jazz and Conversation FINALLY gives us a regularly updated and intelligently written Jazz musicblog. It's a little light for my tastes but ANY jazzblog is welcome.
J+C is run by Nick Francis a longtime radio DJ who looks to be in it for the long haul.
According to Amber is an EROTIC blog about her (marital) sex life that features a mood setting track at the end of every entry.
The songs aren't my cup of tea but the idea of that much chocolate with the peanut butter amuses me to no end.
ComboPlates has great writing, great taste (Jaki Byard up at the moment!) and a puckish tendency to mix in film reviews and recipes with every track:

it's not that i can't or don't enjoy an orange by itself. to me, an orange just always tastes better, more interesting, when eaten either immediately before or after a handful of dry-roasted peanuts. somehow, with that combination, the orange becomes more than just an orange; the citrus flavor gains more complexity, something with more sensory dimensions than just orange or peanut alone. it's just a fun way to eat. i enjoy discovering new flavors by mixing familiar ones together.

this is also how i listen to music.

May I ALSO suggest Blogotheque, dozerblog, Tikun Olam, Benn Loxo du Taccu, Naugahyde Life, Aurgasm, Rustic Round Up, Tuwa's Shanty and Futurism Ain't Shit? These guys have really come out the gates rip-rarin' and a-huntin' for bear; give 'em a peek.
New and highly recommended on the blog front: the rightfully omnipresent and hysterically funny Go Fug Yourself, Don't Wake Up (Nemo's bloggin' again!), Kotaku (the Gawker kids try their hand at a videogame daily blog with nice results), Phoebe Gloeckner (one of my fave cartoonists is a'bloggin!), Cooking for Engineers shows the logical recipe route, Girish Shambu calls us an "erudite house of immaculate taste" and I don't know whether to hope that Jon's Jail Journal is fake or real but it IS compelling.
Newest (and highly appreciated!) trend in musicblogging: hiphop musicblogs showing up in a big way. Check out We Eat So Many Shrimp, Weave In They Hair, Weed In They Purse, Razorblade Runner, When Mad Was Tall and Phat Was Cold, Street Dreams and Government Names and school yourself.
Michael Bell-Smith and Downhill Battle are seeking submissions for 3 Notes and Runnin', an online music compilation commemorating and protesting The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in Case No. 01-00412. In the case, the court found that NWA violated copyright law when they sampled 3 notes of a guitar riff from Funkadelic's "Get off Your Ass and Jam" for their song "100 Miles and Runnin'". The ruling reversed a district court finding that because "no reasonable juror, even one familiar with the works of George Clinton, would recognize the source of the sample without having been told of its source", sampling clearance should not be required. To protest this decision, we are creating a forum for sample-based musicians and artists to share their own 30 second songs which have been created using only the sample in question. Your song must use only the designated two seconds of the intro to Funkadelic's "Get off Your Ass and Jam" as source material. You can slice it, layer it, loop it, stretch it, finger it, smack it up, flip it, and rub it down, but you can't bring any other sounds into the mix. Your song must be thirty seconds in length.

In under a month, Downhill Battle has amassed over 150 such tracks.

Curious to hear what you can do with a ten second sample? Stop by 3 Notes and Running and give 'em a listen.
File under "new ideas in musicblogging":

due to the ridiculous difficulty of finding webspace, i'm gonna host all of my mp3s through the soulseek file sharing program. i wish i could due real audio to make it easier for you all but i'm running up against a lotta crap. my username is: razorjack look under the lunatic's asylum folder.

Click over to Lunatics Asylum and/or Soulseek to learn more.
Greetings to those of you who are here via Podcast. I hope that once you hear a few tracks, you'll be interested enough to come and do some of the required reading as well.
Scandanavian music master Avi Roig of It's a Trap! just released an introductory compilation disc: It's a Trap: Volume One for only six bucks! Get it now and be the first kid on your block to get heavy into Thirdimension and The Carpet People!
Local group made good, Dirty on Purpose, will be opening for critical darlings Arcade Fire and the Hidden Cameras, November 11th at The Bowery Ballroom. I've been on the Arcade Fire and D.O.P. bandwagon for awhile; I can recommend you go get you some tickets.

Tell jinners Tofu sent you.