Thursday, December 23, 2004

Just a brief note to say that I'm still getting set up in the house.
My desk snapped in half and is being propped up by a box. New desk on the way shortly.
Work and cleaning and buying and no time for creativity, which sucks.
On tap: the last of the numbers set and another new CD from my family, more interviews , more Anthony and Chantelle (we hope), definitely more D.Boyle and the massive 2004 Tofu Hut Best Of Round Up.

Dancing as fast as I can. Party at my house once all this shit is finished!

Friday, December 17, 2004

16 boards? InconCEIVable!

back like vida guerra

So I got a new home and it feels NICE.

No more dams I'll make for fish, nor fetch in firing at requiring; nor scrape trencher, nor wash dish.

Well. Maybe a little. Just for you.

Sorry to leave you dangling and sorry I can't promise it won't likely happen again before I get thoroughly situated. It'd be nice if I could get a bed soon.

On the plus side, the net is connected and I have an address that you can send me stuff at, conveniently located to the right in the sidebar.

But enough about me. How're you?

glistening by the numbers: SIXTEEN

Stevie Wonder - "Sixteen Tons"

41: I'm oft singing this, or trying to, loving the rhythm and flow as I do, and failing so, to recall the words. This version is fantastic- soulful. Dig it. Oh.

Avi: The obvious song choice for number sixteen, but of course there's so many performers to choose from. Stevie does a great job - I especially dig the restrained tempo. My pick: Patsy Montana's answer song, "Sixteen Pounds".

Lee: Wow...I never liked this song much, but in Stevie's hands, it has a completely new meaning. Tennessee Ernie always made it sound like he was having a hard day at the gas station, but Stevie can deliver the goods. It won't become a favorite, but this version is great to hear. Stevie is also a god, although I don't know what's happened to him lately. If anyone reading this doesn't have "Innervisions" yet, go buy it now.

Jamie: A good argument for why Stevie deserved his creative freedom much earlier than he received it. Maybe the adult Stevie could have put a relevant spin on this (you could turn this into a stronger statement about being put down by the man, due to wages, race or both), but it's as absurd for teen Stevie as his appearances in the Beach Party movies.

Rosecrans: Gorgeous all the way through. Gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous.

David: Are you sure this is Stevie Wonder? It doesn't sound like him at all. I don't really like it, either. Sorry.

An endearing track because of young Stevie's almost embarrassing stumbling. You can hear him struggling to find a style that will allow him to convey the emotion he hears so clearly in the song and when he can only make the surface bubble, he seems about to give up.

Then there's that "SAAAAINT PETAH DON'TCHA CALL ME!" breakthrough and the jig is up and another tune is in his pocket.

The "everybody hum it on me" at the end is just gravy.

Stevie's third album, "Down to Earth", with its Bill Cosby and Holland/ Dozier/Holland produced tracks and Dylan cover, has long since passed out of print. It's not Stevie's best work by a long shot, but there are quite a few high points. I'd keep an eye out at used record shops or you COULD buy a sealed copy from this guy for a c-note, but... let's just say this is why soulseek was made.
Read this intelligent and surprisingly hard-hitting Wonder interview.

I, for one, would buy a Saadiq/Wonder album in a heartbeat.
Visit this Stevie fansite.
So now "A Time 2 Love" is coming out in APRIL? Come ON! What's going on with this album?
Last I heard, they pulled it so that Stevie could rework a track and dedicate it to Brother Ray; at this point, I have to assume something's gone VERY wonky in the studio for this to take so damn long to emerge.
Listen to Merle Travis' original (and controversial!) version of the song and read about the tune's history.


B.B. King - "Sweet Sixteen" (Live)

What could be more appropriate to a prison crowd than a song about jailbait?

B's sound has never exactly had me doing cartwheels but the way he lets loose on this standard is pretty damn hard to argue with.

Buy "Live at Cook County Jail", the essential '71 B.B. concert album, from Amazon.
Visit King's official website.
Oh dear.

where credit is due

O-Dub recently hooked me up with one of my holy grails: a rip of the unavailable-on-CD "Jamal Plays Jamal". Amazing stuff that, sampled by Jigga and De La to name just a pair. Much respeck, Mista Dub-san.
Over at Sounds Are Active, you'll find a copy of the somewhat deranged hollyday album "krismus karuls".
Explore and grieve.
New innovator on the block, Frosty Chestnuts throws down the gauntlet in the kindest of ways, granting my wish for a precious MP3 of "Jingle Dogs" but demanding that I satiate my readers taste for velveeta with a musical embarrasment, assumedly of the Christmas persuasion.

We're not one to back down from a gauntlet flung, so here's a tender morsel of gouda:

Seymour Swine - "B-B-Blue Christmas"

Guilty pleasures don't come much guiltier.

(via the inimitable april winchell, who's been on this musicblog shizz since the jump off. Recognize.)
Speaking of Giftmas, I've been considering begging my discerning and deeppocketed listener/readers to pony up a little and get th' Hut a lil' somethinsomethin... like, say, some DDRAM for the machine or a decent set of headphones... but then I decided we should try and do some alms for the needy.

I've been GREATLY enjoying (and been horrified by) Jon's Jail Journal and would like to give something back to him. So if you're feeling in the giving spirit, use the money you'll save on gifts for your friends and drop him a card or Amazon him a book or find a company that will send a tape of music directly (Jon's not allowed to have CDs) to the poor fellow at:

Shaun Attwood ADC#187160
ASPC-Lewis,Morey 2-D-2,P.O. Box 3300,Buckeye, AZ 85326, USA

And, alright if you MUST get me something, how about a jar of double lollies?

I like those darn thangs.

idol thoughts: Larry King eat your heart out

Who do you suppose they'll put on the stamp: fat Missy or skinny Missy?
Is there any connection to be made between the ancient tradition of carrying a gold obol in the mouth so that you have the fee to pay the ferryman to Hell and the wearing of gold fronts?
If you're going to make a song about Angelina Jolie's tit-tays shouldn't you pronounce her name correctly?
"And how could I forget Ashlee Simpson?"
At the end of every track, wouldn't it be spectacular if all the members of G-Unit and Terror Squad just looked at one another and did the Muppet Nod? You know the one: where all the muppets affect that terribly self-satisfied pose and start bobbling their heads around like spastic woodpeckers? Now imagine Dipset doing it. Beautiful.

our man in the field

The Infamous Davey Boyle fires off musketballs into a sea of red:

Dear Fo-To:

As previously promised, I am enclosing another track for you and your audience. This "hip-hop" song, "The Rapping of the Christ", while humorous in tone, is also meant as a serious piece of Christian appreciation. You see, Jesus must have been a great Aramaic rapper. Certainly if He spoke the "Word of God" would He not Himself have been the Greatest MC? Logically speaking, how could it be otherwise? Herein follows the word of the Lord:

David Boyle - "The Rapping of the Christ"

Lyrics to "The Rapping" can be found here. I am seriously thinking of making a video for it, though I may have difficulty doing so before Xmas.

Tell me if the MP3 sounds normal to you. Or rather, tell me if it sounds _too_ abnormal. I haven't heard this in months and listening to it recently, something sounded maybe a little off. Maybe the computer terminal I was at has a bad sound system... or maybe the whole song is off!

I am not trying to create a "David Boyle Glut" on the Hut; but it _is_ the holiday season and this should complement the "Hanukkah" theme I heard in the Brandwein klezmer tune you posted.

It occurred to me while walking home in the snow late last night that I don't think the Hut has what every musicblog should ideally have: a * * *THEME SONG* * *. I doubt I could finish one before, say, the end of January. What you would want to do with it after it's done is another question. Anyway, I will see what I can doo(-wop).

Ed. Note: David is hard at work composing this opus; any others who'd like to make a Tofu Theme are hereby exhorted to join in!

And now, the news:

Here's the scary story of P. Diddy visiting the White House and making nicey-nice with W. This reminded me of the end of "1984", where the broken Winston Smith learned to love Big Brother.

The title of this MTV article on the event puts it nicely: "P. Diddy Gets White House Tour From The Bushes, Tells Them, 'Nice House'.

I thought you might want to see this CNN article, as much for the crying Eddie Van Halen photo as anything: "'Dimebag' Memorial Draws Thousands". Poor guy.

Lastly, from this Guardian piece:

"...What Bauman describes as a "matter-of-fact efficiency" was facilitated by the perverted use of Schubert, Strauss and Bach; to help the Holocaust's perpetrators believe not only that they were doing nothing wrong, but something noble... No wonder, then, that the abuse of music is still with us. Pop songs were played before the massacres in Rwanda. Former British detainees at Guantanamo Bay claim that strobe lighting and loudly amplified Eminem songs were pumped into the rooms where they were held."

That's our thought for the day.




Please note that while the Tofu Hut does not necessarily agree with all of David Boyle's politics, we are enamoured with his exuberance and almost irrationally crafted leaps of sonic (il)logic.

We also enjoy the idea of Diddy in Champagne Room 101, getting his face gnawed on by Cheney-visaged rats.

Vote AND Die, you pompous, washed-up asshole.


"László Hortobágyi‘s music is fiction and reality at the same time. He creates musical worlds in which we can rediscover ourselves, just to forget ourselves all over again. The essence of his music is that the 20th century was not culturally influenced by the Occident, but from the Orient instead.
Just imagine that the Western and Asian polyphony had united, such as, for example, baroque organ music with phrases of Indian Ragas. A harpsichord player performing Northern Indian sitar music on his polyphonic instrument supported by a psychedelic reggae bass. Or an orthodox Slavic church choir was to sing in a classic Indian "Dhrupad" style, in the course of which repetitive gamelan music utilized compositions of Indian ragas during an electronic rock concert in Java.
He is pursuing these questions in the institute he founded in 1980 in Budapest, the "Gáyan Uttejak Society", which is equipped with a unique Indian and Asian music archive. Not belonging to any real genre, this music should transport our fantasy to more exciting cultural fusions in virtual realities. This music is an exciting challenge for the musical scientist; and a drug for those that want to relax."
- Erdenklang Music

Intrigued? Check out Hortobágyi‘s site for dozens and dozens of sample tracks.

(Thanks to Katya from Oddio Overplay for unearthing this one; she finds all us Charlie Bucket-types the nicest sorts of Golden Tickets.)
Forgive me if I'm late to the party on this one, but all my other Machead iPod junkies should leaf through Apple's spectacular user created iPod app downloads.

Loads of fun and free accessories and demos. Make your iPod into a pocket bartender, a cookbook (vegan version also available), a bible, a PDA, a foreign language phrasebook, a copy of the constitution... but what I'd be most excited about is this program that FINALLY allows you to find and destroy duplicate tracks on your iPod and iTunes, something I've been in desparate need of for almost a year now.

I've can't testdrive these as they're all Mac specific; anybody wanna spin 'em around the block and report back?
What's cooler than a U2 iPod? Diptheria.

But what's cooler than diptheria? A Negativland iPod.

Good luck finding it; Ebay turned tail and ran.

Meanwhile, if a midnight pod from colorware appears in my stocking, I may turn Catholic. Alert the Pope.
Looking to kill a few hours with a cleverly designed advertisement? Look no further than What's That Song? It's a Delicious Viral!
("a label that's unstable / choppin' bliggy on the table)
She's just -too- cute, ain't she?
Regulators? MOUNT UP.
It's Just a Plant.
You know. For kids.
Mathematical Patterns in African-American Hairstyles
It's rare that I highlight a specific downloadable song out amongst the hundreds of musicblogs but Jazz and Conversation's Nina Simone cover of "I Put a Spell on You" is really something special. A normally subversive artist subverting a novelty subversion? META!

Also, zip over to Honey Where You Been and snap up his lovely collection of Gee's Bend gospel afore it slips down the drain.

Hustle kid, HUSTLE!
For Robin: Wallpaper From the 70's.
Sharp eyed devils may have noted that the vaunted sidebar has been reupdated yet again. Here's a few newcomers especially worthy of exploration:

Deep Soul Junkie enters the soulsides ring and holds his own.

Mangos and Mandolins offers world music of all stripes.

Only one week old, lil' Breaking Ranks has already dropped bhangra, Maxi Priest, a massive dj set and Egyptian shaabi. Can't wait to see what the next few weeks bring.

You say you want a revolution? trrill keeps it trill... well, in an fat lady way. Kudos to the former opacodex kid for founding a musicblog site specifically for "Florid Passages from Queer Opera Zealots."

One Track Minds steps up with more fresh thinking: "girl" and "boy" offer alternate perspectives on old vinyl cuts and then get dinner and a movie... with SEXY results!

And, again, I'm still enjoying angels 20 and blow up doll. Checkemout.
Gem Sweater Be Thy Name has a muthafuckin' BAND, now.

In my book, that's a sign of the apocalypse.

For reals tho': "Gold Pants" IS pretty dope.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Aaaaaand we're moving! Again!
Posting may be erratic for the next week or two. A longer entry is on the way shortly.
Up up and away!

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Who knows when your fifteen seconds of fame are coming?

glistening by the numbers: FIFTEEN

Naftule Brandwein - "Fufzehn Yahr Fon Der Heim Awek (Fifteen Years Away From Home)"

Avi: I'm a big fan of klezmer, especially in a live setting when you can really see and hear the players get all fired up. There's so much great stuff in the European folk tradition. I especially love to hear modern revivalists who take the old styles and can make them vital once again, be it Masada with klezmer or groups like Hedningarna in the Scandinavian folk scene.

Lee: This is a very weird inclusion...is there a connection between Lynda Barry and this? Whitey getting down in the homeland Klezmer style? I like the squeaky-toy sound he gets from the clarinet. Hard to tell if the wobble in his tone is the recording or the playing.

Jamie: Can't quite say why, but first listen-through felt a twinge of melancholy...probably because it's not as raucous as most klezmer music I've heard. Bought my first klezmer album (Mickey Katz's Simcha Time) because it was the odd-item-out in a BMG Music Club flyer. A whim purchase that brightens my mood when I'm down.

Rosecrans: Music I'm glad to know is being archived somewhere, by someone, but otherwise I wouldn't listen to this again unless I needed a soundtrack for my dagguerotype room.

David: This is just perfect. And reminds me of too many black and white European films watched late at night while drunk and confused.

Naftule's "wobbly" tone evokes sorrow and homesickness both deeply and clearly. The subtitle of this piece is "Russian Dance"; it's a wistful little wisp of a waltz that occasionally threatens to swing like Django. Brother rips up a licorice stick, don't he?

Klezmer, a sort of early Jewish Jazz tradition that relies heavily on the tradition of Greek and Gypsy folk songs, is a beautiful style of music long overdue for resurrection on the pop stage. I think Britney on a dancefloor Hava Nagila remix offers great possibilities; hell, Gwen Stefani is biting "If I were a Rich Man" on the new album. Anything's possible.

Buy "King of the Klezmer Clarinet", a roundup of Brandwein's material from the mid-twenties, direct from Rounder Records.

This is pretty much the ONLY commercially available Naftule collection I can find.

Those of you who don't see how a Kings of Crunk/Klezmer mashup could be fun are simply without a soul.
Naftule info on the web is scarce, but you can read a brief AMG overview of some of this master musician's notroious shenanigans:
"Klezmer historian Henry Sapoznik {writes} of Brandwein walking onto a stage while wearing an Uncle Sam costume adorned with Christmas lights and nearly electrocuting himself."
Read this extensive historical shpiel on the rich tapestry of Klezmer music.
Explore 'Ari Davidow's Klezmer Shack', a comprehensive collection of contemporary artists and bands that perform in the Klezmer tradition.
Read this interview with David Krakauer, probably the best known Klezmer clarinetist working today.


Fischerspooner - "The 15th"

Fischerspooner's much maligned take on the classic Wire track is often criticized for its paint-by-numbers imitation and soulless bouncing bass and mechanical drum machine.

Personally, I really rather like this cover; it's soft blues for robots. Hardly what Wire intended, but the times they are a changin'...

Buy "#1", FS's inescapable debut album, from Amazon.

Now that the buzz is over, am I allowed to say that I still kinda like it? Especially "Megacolon".
Visit Fischerspooner's official site.
If you never heard it before, now would be a good time to listen to the original, courtesy of The House of Leaf and Lime.
Buy "154", Wire's third album, from Amazon.
Read Kevin Eden's exhaustive biography and chronology of Wire, taken from an EMI CD set that never came to fruition and also read the story of the making of "154".

Meeting the Neighbors

Spoilt Victorian Child

"Spoilt" is a musicblogger's musicblog; it's an eclectic fave for discerning indie ears in the know.

Recent offerings include music from Bessie Smith, Felt, Red Sovine and Dr Buzzard's Original Savannah Band.

The Spoilt Victorian Child is SUPPOSED to "avoid reflection", but come now boys. Just this once.

The site has been going for about 6 months now and we're still having fun with it. In the beginning there was just me, the SVC (generally known as Simon in the real world), then there was Rowche who stood in for me in the early days when I couldn't post for a couple of weeks. I liked the cut of his jib so he became a permanent feature, kind of like an old rose bush; really thorny and gnarly but still kinda sweet. My doing this blog thing was Rowche's idea anyway; I think he saw it as a way of trying to keep me sane. Just recently, we've recruited another member: Mike Seed, the great, mad, renowned saxophonist and songwriter. Sadly, Mike couldn't make the interview so Rowche and I will have to do.

Where did the name of your blog originate from?
SVC: It's a great track from a great band... The Fall.
What are the criteria you judge a song by to decide if it's post-worthy?
SVC: Only one criteria really, and that's that I love the track.
What song would you like played at your funeral?
SVC: "Raw Power" by the Stooges. Or something by Joy Division. Or maybe Wham's "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go".

Rowche: ".215061" by AFX, "Someone Like You" by Faye Adams or Dusty Springfield's "Goodbye".
What do you do for kicks when you're not posting?
SVC: Listen to music and read books. Exciting eh?

Rowche: Take photographs of friends, drink, buy 7" records and play them repeatedly.
Do you have a favorite music critic?
Rowche: Justin Quirk. He writes for The Guardian, Arena and ID. I like his irreverent belittling of the sacrilegious and the fact he drinks in train-station pubs.
Five desert island discs?

1. Joy Division - "Closer"
2. The Go! Team - "Thunder, Lightning, Strike"
3. Adam And The Antz - "Dirk Wears White Sox"
4. Low - "Things We Lost In The Fire"
5. The Human League - "Travelogue"

1. Lift To Experience - "The Texas Jerusalem Chronicles"
2. The Human League - "Reproduction"
3. Aphex Twin - "Selected Ambient Works 85-92"
4. New Order - "Power, Corruption and Lies"
5. Botnledja - "Magnyl"
How much does it cost you to maintain your site?
SVC: A lot more effort and time than money, which makes it really nice when people go to the trouble of leaving a comment.

Rowche: I've spent above my means on records for the last 20 years so no change there. The time it takes to write and research a post can vary between an hour to four hours. I usually write them at the most inopportune moments... like when I should be doing 'real' work.
Describe the space you do your writing in.
Rowche: Square room, old house, new carpet, antique black flowery wallpaper, knackered laptop, overlooking garden... oi, get out ginger cat!
That old chestnut dinner party is at your house and you can invite three musicians living or dead. Who are you inviting?
Rowche: Roots Manuva, Jerry Dammers and Elton John. What a laugh that would be. I'd expect Elton to momentarily fall off the wagon for the occasion.
Who's the most overlooked genius in the music industry?
Rowche: Ed DMX perhaps. Maybe not genius, but that guy is a wizard with melody and beat.
Are you much of a dancer?
SVC: This is no word of a lie, but i'm the worst dancer on my street, bar none.

Rowche: This is no word of a lie, but i'm the best dancer on my street, bar none.
Recommend three other musicblog sites.


1. 20 Jazz Funk Greats - An excellent selection of left-field curios and a tiny picture of Cosey Fanni Tutti in the nip.

2. Number One Songs In Heaven - A soul aficionado in the truest sense with a mind-boggling array of forgotten masterpieces.

3. Bumrocks - A dirty fix.

SVC: Just what Rowche said, PLUS:

1. Throwaway Style - A newbie that's off to a great start.

2. Tuwa's Shanty is pretty bloody good too, great writing and great tracks... Sadly he say's he's running out of tracks he wants to post, so can I suggest everyone sends him their record collection!

3. I really like Moebius Rex, for the same reasons as Tuwa really but he also always has some great photography on there as well.
Are you a proud member of the iPod Nation?
SVC: Yep... love mine, engraved with Empire State Human and all.

Rowche: Yes, but being part of the white headphone 'gang' embarrasses me so much that I've swopped the earbuds out for my old mini-disc black headphones.
Pick one musician and one question. Who is it and what do you ask?
SVC: Celine Dion: Why?
Could you see yourself still running your site in five years?
SVC: I'd quite happily sell it for a Texan Chew Bar!
What's the best live show you've ever seen?
SVC: For sheer enthusiasm, The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion in front of about 9 of us in this huge place just before they were starting to get better known; I think we were all there because we loved "Pussy Galore". How many bands do you know that would give their all for a whole set in front of less than a dozen people and still come back for an encore? I'm eternally grateful.
For sheer spectacle, The Velvet Underground. Every few minutes, everybody in the place was saying: "That's The Velvet Underground up there that is... bloody hell.... bloody hell!" Honestly? It wasn't a great show... but it was The Velvet Underground up there! Bloody Hell!

Rowche: Lift To Experience, Dingwalls or The Prodigy at the opening night of very short-lived Gush club in a old hangar on Greenham Common old military airbase.
Utter lunacy.
Do you have a message for youngsters who'd like to start their own musicblog?
SVC: Firstly, post tracks you love and not tracks you think people want to hear.
Secondly, never listen to anything a grumpy old bugger like me says; do what you want.
Make a ten song mixtape playlist based on the following topic:



"Only The Heartaches" by Houston Wells & The Marksmen
"Come Softly To Me" by The Fleetwoods
"I've Seen It All" by Bjork
"Someones Got To Love You" by The House Of Love
"Tell It Like It Is" by Aaron Neville
"Know" by Nick Drake
"Can't You Hear The Beat Of A Broken Heart" by Iain Gregory
"Pretending To See The Future" by OMD
"I'm Gone" by Shirley And Lee
"On The Romance Tip" by Caustic Window
Do you ever get obsessive about collecting music?
SVC: First Vinyl. Now CD. Too many.... too many...

Rowche: I once went a bit far with dangerous and disorderly garage rock on 7" but luckily The Datsuns, Jet, The Hives, The Kills, Ravonettes, The Bellrays, et. al. put an end to all of that.
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?
SVC: Mine's a large Bushmill's; thank you very much.

Rowche: What a pointless and fickle exercise that would be. Record labels of that size are careening out of control like King Kong. Trying to change course at this stage of the game is futile. Fuck MTV; I want my Home-Taping Is Killing Music.
Has meeting with an artist ever left you feeling tongue tied?
Rowche: Kind of: I was talking to Kevin Shields and Graham Coxon stuffed a lemon in my mouth. He also threatened he could have one of my friends 'wiped out' and hit him on the head with a guitar case. And these were on two separate occasions!

I wish Graham hadn't given up the sauce.
Who's your favorite producer?
SVC: Phil Spector/Steve Albini/Joe Meek...

Rowche: Joe Meek
What makes you so goddamn smart?
SVC: Smarties.
Drop by betterPropaganda and pick out a track to hype.


Fingathing - "Walk In Space"

I don't really know much about Fingathing but i really like this one, I also have a lot of time for Ninja Tune who's output over the years has always been consistently great, just thinking how much stuff I own on Ninja Tune... Quite scary really.

Boom Bip - "Last Walk Around Mirror Lake" (Boards Of Canada remix)

Thirty seconds in and the repeated guitar motif reminiscent of a million and one precedents lifts with now trademark Boards Of Canada scuffed and lolling drums. Ah that's more like it I think as I settle down into the cosiness with my mug of winter vegetable soup but hang-on this song seems to be going nowhere, a two chord strum, some squashy beats and a slightly insipid melody that's left trickling out of the BOC pan-pipery. Thankfully there's some fey scratching noises here and there, just enough to 'keep it real' for all the web-designers to feel street but little else except for the relief of it all being over after about four minutes. The musical equivalent of a sugary cup of tea in a dirty cup.


L to R: fellow journo Hattie Collins, Terror Danjah and "Trashy" Chantelle


Chantelle Fiddy continues to serve up hot UK grime tracks and school her poor American cousins on the future of hip hop.

Chantelle Fiddy is a freelance music journalist who has been writing about UK street music and more specifically grime (from way back when it never had a name). Her work has appeared in publications including Deuce, i-D, Touch, Tank, Blues & Soul, Tense, and Muzik amongst other. She also acts a consultant to record labels and management companies while attempting some serious moves into A&R.

Lethal B - "Forward Riddim/Pow from Lord of The Mics

Due for official release on December 13th on Relentless Records (yes, the UK home of Joss Stone) this has been licking down the underground for a good six or more months. Banned in many clubs because people get way too excited and kick the shit out of everything, this is, and will be remembered as a classic. Featuring MC's such as D Double E, Fumin, Napper, it's time to hit the walls and bust the biggest 'Pow' you can muster. I wish I could show you the video I've got here that shows the track getting dropped at an under-18 club night; you've never seen anything like it. I think to fully understand the onslaught that is Lethal B, you need to see the video and hear the full version of this tune... REALLY loud.

Read this interview with Lethal B and his original squad, the More Fire Crew, and listen to the single "Soldier, Fallen" in RealAudio.
Read this 2004 interview with Lethal B, from RWD Magazine.


Bruzer - "Freestyle" from Lord of The Mics

One of the Aftershock Camp's biggest players, Bruzer, laces this Terror Danjah beat for the Lord of The Mics mix cd. A self professed true black British cockney, he uses this to further differentiate himself from the hundred of MC's on the circuit. This also paved the way for his debut release, 'Get Me', currently doing the rounds on a limited vinyl run. Bruizer is definitely an artist that people tend to love or hate. The Streets has been doing remixes of all of his singles with MC versions and people are loving it over here in the UK. I hope he keeps it up.

Read this Beeb grime brief/comp review by Fiddy's girl Hattie, that namechecks Bruzer. Then listen to a couple of suh-weet cuts from the "Run the Road" compilation on RealAudio.


download the music or we toast the kitten


When it rains it pours and it's monsoon season in Tofu country.

Having just scored a plugged in UK/Grime connection with Chantelle; th' Hut is excited to introduce our OTHER new irregular correspondent's inaugural posting.

I found this guy over at ILM and after a number of upbeat conversations and arguments, followed him home to HIS page Anthony is Right. I liked it so much, I bought the company.

Ladies and gentlemen: our new pop rocka, Anthony Miccio.

Anthony Miccio is a freelance music critic whose work has appeared in the Village Voice and Blender. He's currently a reviewer for Stylus Magazine and dilligently voicing his opinion once a day at Anthony Is Right, cuz he is.

Rocket From the Crypt - "Human Torch"

Later tonight I'm going to DJ for the first time in about two months at Roustabout, basically the only cool music series we've got here in State College, PA. Along with obvious anthems, cool stuff I swiped from mp3 blogs and great new hits, I usually throw in a few blasts from my personal canon. I'm a huge enough Rocket From The Crypt fan that for years I assumed I couldn't pick a favorite track, but judging by how often I listen to "Human Torch" (and how infallibly it shows up in my set), I suppose it gets the title. Guitars Like Jehu, Vegas horns wells, relentless pace and colorful mock-macho lyrics (also some barely audible huff'n'puffs from bandleader Speedo following the chorus). I'm a sucker for songs with swearing in the chorus. As my occasional co-DJ Megan once noted, I like being naughty.

Buy "The State Of The Art Is On Fire" at Merch Lackey's Official RFTC Store.
Read my "Top Ten Rocket From The Crypt Songs That Reference Animals" list.
Visit Rocket From The Crypt's site.
Read this classic Speedo Interview.


The Osmonds - "Crazy Horses"

The mixture of catchy Vegas flash and brash hard rock is part of what makes Rocket From The Crypt so consistently appetizing and I've often wondered if this Osmonds hit from 1972 was a big influence on their sound (Chuck Eddy swears Aerosmith ripped it off for "Back In The Saddle in Stairway To Hell). At the very least I'm surprised they haven't covered it. Apocalyptic animal-references, giggleriffic whinnies and a guitar solo that I pray they didn't need a session dude to handle.

Buy "Crazy Horses" off one of several compilations at their store, which is also selling cassettes of their 1973 Mormon concept album, "The Plan".
Visit the Osmonds' site.
Read this interview with Osmond Brothers Wayne and Jay, dropping knowledge about "Crazy Horses".

Friday, December 10, 2004

And by a Friday update, of course, I mean Saturday.

Because we're lame like that.

Stay tuned; big post on the way with music from me, Chantelle Fiddy, our new special guest contributor; an interview with Spoiled Victorian Child; some musings on the U-Send-It phenomenon and more traditional spiffy; some obligatory top ten lists and a few other surprises.

Just trying to work out some moving details. Keep an eye on me and a prayer out!

UPDATE: 4:30 in the morning and I'm only halfway through the post? It's coming tomorrow; it's coming tomorrow!

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Fourteen for fourteen! Way to score, America!

glistening by the numbers: FOURTEEN

Lynda Barry - "Soul Mama Number 14"

41: Ooh, this is tasty. classic, interesting, humourous, spoken word loveliness. Unexpected fascinations abound throughout the experience. Truly lovely. I might just call this Lynda Barry.

Avi: I can't really explain why, but Lynda Barry sounds exactly how I imagined she would. My favorite creation of hers: Fred, the beatnik poodle.

Lee: My first reaction was to laugh, but by the end of the track I found it incredibly sad. Blame numbers...everytime you bring numbers into anything, things get messed up. This piece also reminded me of a record I grew up listening to: "Free To Be, You and Me" (the one from 1972). I would highly recommend it for anyone, especially for younger kids. It really embraces equality on issues like gender and race, and blows away any social stereotypes, all without being preachy.

Jamie: This reminds me of situations I encountered in university, running into peers who took their sympathies for the oppressed over the line, to absurd extremes... like the classmate who argued in a Native American lit class that only Natives should study and understand the subtexts of the books we read - but she was as Native as I am; so why did she take the class if that's how she felt?.

David: Ah, teenage confusion - is their anything finer in the world? It always seems to me that spoken word is some of the hardest things to get right. This does get it right. Excellent, engrossing, powerful and odd.

I'm gonna ignore the VERY interesting themes this track explores in favor of waxing rhapsodic about how much I like Lynda.

I can't say enough good things about Lynda Barry and this is as good as anything she's ever done. It achieves her specialty: clothing the exquisitely deep and meaningful in easy, almost vulgar vernacular that o'erleaps the sublime. Sista brings the funk!

That amazing jive-gal american voice of hers kills me. It's so expectant and juvenile and exciting and open.

I love her stuff. Right on Lynda! Yeah!

Buy "The Lynda Barry Experience", a fabulous collection of Barry's NPR work and answering machine messages, direct from Lynda Barry! Just click the second link down! Hand lettered track list and autographed! What are you waiting for?!?!?!

This is a treat from start to finish. "Naked Ladies" is particularly good; it's truly one of the all-time great spoken word tracks.

And hey, while you're at that site, don't forget to:
Explore "Marlys Magazine", the home of Barry's long running strip "Ernie Pooks Comeek".
Listen to this NPR interview with Barry, focusing on her excellent book "One Hundred Demons".

Her "YEAH!" at 11:27 absolutely SLAYS me! Lynda sounds SOOOOO cute and is totally DIY inspirational. I just wanna put on some Prince and boogie with her.
Read this CNN interview with Barry or this one via The Onion.
Buy Barry's novel, "The Good Times Are Killing Me", which expounds upon the themes forwarded in "Soul Mama #14".

Her other book, "Cruddy" is one of my all-time favorite reads. I wish she'd write another one. Like, yesterday.
Enjoy David Kelly's "Lynda Barry Experience".
I've yet to read or hear anyone say ANYTHING bad about Lynda. All signs point to her being a total sweetheart of ginormous proportions. I have such a crush. Is it obvious?


Beck - "Fourteen Rivers Fourteen Floods"

Yeah I know, but just forget that it's a Beck track before you queue it up and then listen to that dirty steel slide guitar. Did you know he could do that?

Beck doesn't get in the gutter that often unless he's wearing his suit of irony and spangles, but when he chooses to the man can wallow in the blues with the best of them. Is it simply convincing mimicry or does an old and lonely heart beat under that bird's chest?

Does it matter?

Buy "One Foot in the Grave", Beck's underrated ultra-lo-fi diversion from his faux disco-carnival, from Amazon.
Visit Beck's official site.

Meeting the Neighbors

Broadcasts from Planet Blarg

While the rest of us drone on about our obsessive and obscure musical tastes, E.K. just stays on the grind. She's knocked out tunes for a year and a half and is still treating her readers to a diverse mix of styles and sounds on the daily. At no extra charge, you can follow her as she engages in the artist's life and points out spiffy linkage.

Tracks fly up and come down fast, so you'll want to keep a finger on her pulse.

Recent offerings include music from Au Revoir Simone, Yoko Kanno, Pharoahe Monch and John Lee Hooker.

Blah blog blarg.

I apologize in advance for the poor writing - I finished filling these out while a head cold was pulling me under. I am a 27 year old Earth lifeform by the name of E.K. By day, I am an illustrator and graphic designer; by night, I am a professional sleeper. This is my main site; I use the hosting for MP3 storage, but if you visit the site you will see my design portfolio.

I've had an LJ account since March of 2002, but I've only been using it for music for about 18 months. I didn't really intend for the journal to become a music blog; I just enjoy sharing songs with folks.

Where did the name of your blog originate from?
"Blarg" is the onomatopoeia that my boyfriend and I use to describe something dull, unappetizing, ill or just generally unappealing. On the day that I decided to start regularly posting music, I was a bit under the weather - feeling "blarg".
What are the criteria you judge a song by to decide if it's post-worthy?
I don't hate the song. Or I really, REALLY hate it. I'll put up anything, really.
What do you do for kicks when you're not posting?
I have a pretty dull life, really. I work full-time as an illustrator and do freelance work on the side. On any given day, I'll be in the gym, out running with our two dogs, biking or working/doodling in front of the TV. I also volunteer at the local SPCA cattery, which is fun (and noisy).
That old chestnut dinner party is at your house and you can invite three musicians living or dead. Who are you inviting?
David Byrne, Henry Rollins and Laurie Anderson.
I'd just sit back and listen to the conversation.
Is there any genre of music that you dismiss out of hand?
Oh man, I'm going to get hated on for this, but... hardcore punk. Or really, any music that involves guttural, throat-ripping lead vocals. I just really don't like that sound. Of course, I make exceptions when it's done lightheartedly.
Are you much of a dancer?
I can waltz and two-step passably, but if I try anything else I am promptly mistaken for a drunken camel, tranquilized, and dragged off the premises.
Recommend three other musicblog sites.

1. 3Hive: Updates very frequently, featuring one artist per update, with a nice sampling of their work.

2. Aurgasm: Unusual or obscure music - one or two tracks at a time, with a short description. I also really like the layout here - very easily understood, without being graphic-heavy.

3. Benn Loxo do Toccu: Tracks from all over Africa. I love African music of all stripes, so this one is a real treat.
Do you really think that posting music effectively promotes sales of the album?
Oh, definitely. Because of music blogs, I've bought more CDs in the past three years than I have during the entire rest of my life. There's so much good music out there and without the Internet, I think we wouldn't be aware of a lot of it. I found out about Stellastarr, Elbow, clouddead and a lot of my current favorites through various music blogs.
Can you list a few bands that you enjoy listening to that might surprise your readers?
I like a pretty broad spectrum of music. One advantage that comes from not listening to the radio is the fact that I have no idea what's overplayed, what's popular or what's obscure. Hell, I still like "Hey Ya". I've got shameless cheesy love for Journey, Foreigner, John Denver, Judy Collins... I also dig a lot of 20th century Broadway and film composers.
Are you a proud member of the iPod Nation?
Nope. Money issues aside, the only times I'd want a portable MP3 player are the times I shouldn't be wearing headphones at all - jogging, etc (I need to hear cars coming). I'm also not much for gadgets; I was probably the last person in Austin to get a cell phone.
Make a ten song mixtape playlist based on the following theme:


1. Candidate - "Circle of Ash"
2. Susumu Hirasawa - "Run"
3. 1 Mile North - "Parents Arrive"
4. 7% Solution - "Blindshore"
5. Air - "Alone in Kyoto"
6. Marta Sebestyen and Muzsikas - "Harom Arva"
7. Claude Debussy - "Clair De Lune"
8. Interpol - "NYC" (coloured, I'm sure, by listening to Turn on the Bright Lights nearly non-stop during an ice storm in early 2003)
9. Lanterna - "Sands"
10. Crooked Fingers - "A Little Bleeding"
What makes you so goddamn smart?
Drop by betterPropaganda and pick out a track to hype.

Valley of the Giants - "Westworld"

I decided to choose something by a band I'd never heard of. I'm usually not much for breathy female vocals, but this one really grabbed me. Gentle but persistent, airy but firm. The vocals and guitar snake around each other gracefully... it feels like drifting off to sleep on a foggy afternoon.

our man in the field

David Boyle can't stop till he gets enough:


Thanks for posting my Arafat lyrics and for comparing me to Enema (isn't that what they called him in the last "Scary Movie" installment?) By some odd Police-like Synchronicity, the broccoli/garlic/oil-and-sausage spaghetti I ate two nights ago inspired me to start writing a dis song about Mr. Mathers called "Eminem Means Masturbating Monkey". I am not done yet, but we'll see; I may instead, for various reasons, call it "Eminem Is My Monkey". If I write songs dissing certain people, perhaps I could expect threats of violence, but I suppose that's what the police are for.

It's not that I hate Slim Shady, but if he's supposed to be the world's best rapper (or even the best _white_ rapper), we are in real trouble. Not to go on too much about my Yale bachelor's degree or University of Michigan law school degree, but I should think that I should be able to write better lyrics than _that_ guy. You put up some of his 1996 stuff yesterday and, not to boast, even though I've only been recording since April of this year, I think my "learning curve" seems to be a little bit faster than his.

I don't have as much "street" or "trailer park" in me to draw on as Eminem has, but I can live with that. I also refuse to use obscenities in my songs and videos; pussy only means cat and an ass is just a donkey. I also don't talk about being a pimp or raping my relatives or dissing my ex-wife or beating gays so I know that my material is necessarily limited. ...or should that be "liberated"?

I've never really listened to Jay-Z or 50 Cent either but since I know their vile subject matter (pimping/drug dealing/whatever) all too well, I know I don't have to take them entirely seriously because they're too corrupt to be taken seriously. It's the same with Eminem; I don't own any of his work. I wouldn't waste the money. I can't really respect much of any rap done after 1988 or so; really anything after "It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back".

As for "Arafat Will Never Die", it's just gotten a sort of endorsement from Baruch
of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at the Hebrew University of
Jerusalem. I mailed him a copy of the tack and he replied:

"Ye-ye-ye! Thanks."

So that's good.

On an unrelated note, I thought you might like to read this interview with Richard Gephardt that ran in the New York Times over the weekend:

NYT: What else have you been buying?

RG: I did get an iPod. Oh, I love it. It's the best thing that ever happened to me.

NYT: What are you listening to -- political speeches?

RG: The collected speeches of Newt Gingrich. That would be NO. I like Josh Groban. I like Tony Bennett. I like Nelly. He's from St. Louis. He's a very good rapper. I like Eminem. I have his album.

NYT: Some of the lyrics are a little hard to take.

RG: Oh, I don't listen to the lyrics. I just like the music. I like the beat.

Maybe I should send the Dick some of my work? Word.

I have no expectation of ending up as the Dante of rap. I certainly wouldn't mind if that somehow happened.

As ever,



Please note that while the Tofu Hut does not necessarily agree with all of David Boyle's politics, we are enamoured with his exuberance and almost irrationally crafted leaps of sonic (il)logic.

Also, please note that although I've been pretty tough on Em in these pages lately, I really DO consider myself a fan. His verses on the Lil' Jon remix of "Lean Back" absolutely kill it. I only wish he'd leave off his work on his production and focus more on his direction.

For more of Em's celebrity fan mail, check out Stephen King's commentary in Entertainment Weekly:

The prodigiously talented Eminem delivered two great tracks, one sacred and one profane — ''Mosh'' and ''Just Lose It.'' If any two songs have ever done a better job of marking the two ends of hip-hop's playing field, I don't know what they are. Some critics have spanked ''Just Lose It'' for its silliness (the song's high point is a fart noise). My response: That's right, fool, it's silly. Now you silly too. ''Mosh'' is angry and adult. That doesn't make it better than ''Just Lose It,'' just different. The two together show how much running room hip-hop affords a fleet-footed lyricist. Em takes advantage. Good for him.

"Now you silly too"?

I read EW over three bathroom visits and it IS good for keeping up with the Joneses but WOO-BOY if King's regular column isn't sub-sub-blogger trite and opinionated nonsense. If you're gonna play THAT game, get Fred Durst to do the job, eh? Go right to the source.


Chantelle on the right, Lady Sovereign on the left, You wish you were in the middle

fiddy shotcha

Some days you just get lucky.

It was only my last post that I hyped the remarkable and informative Chantelle Fiddy's World of Grime, noting that the ONLY thing that blog was missing was music to listen to.

Axe and ye shall be relieved.

Chantelle and I swapped a few emails and I discovered that she was willing to drop some knowledge and a few tracks for my American listeners. This is, I hope, the first of many posts from our girl abroad.

I could not be more happy to welcome Chantelle Fiddy into the Tofu Hut as our new resident grime expert and guest contributor.

Here she is in her own words. Make her welcome; she brought music and she wants to play.


Chantelle Fiddy is a freelance music journalist who has been writing about UK street music and more specifically grime (from way back when it never had a name). Her work has appeared in publications including Deuce, i-D, Touch, Tank, Blues & Soul, Tense, and Muzik amongst other. She also acts a consultant to record labels and management companies while attempting some serious moves into A&R.

Read this excellent piece by Chantelle on the UK hip hop movement.
DJ Target & Riko - Chosen One from Aim High, Volume One

After a spell at her majesty's pleasure, Riko, now a firm favourite in the Roll Deep Entourage, returned in early 2004 with 'Chosen One'. A far cry from previous outings such as 'Cock Back', it saw Riko dabble with his conscious side and more articulate word play, something he does remarkably well when he chooses to. Touted recently by Simon Reynolds (in The Observer's Music Monthly) as the stand out track on the forthcoming 679 compilation Run The Road, I'm not about to disagree.

Read the letter Riko wrote to Deuce Magazine while waiting to stand trial.

He also found time to knock out a collabo with Lady SOV. Speaking of whom:
Lady Sovereign - Little Bit of Shhh! from the White Label single

Although perhaps not her best piece of work to date (be sure to keep your ears open for new track "Random"), on it's release earlier this year, the Medasyn produced "Little Bit of Shhh" firmly placed her on the grime map as the alternative mic vandal to be watching. Played on every specialist Radio 1 show as well as garnering massive support from the usual urban suspects such as 1Xtra and Channel U, it showcases both her potential and appeal.

Visit Lady Sovereign's official site.
Wiley - Ice Rink Freestyle from Creeper Mixtape Vol. 1 (EXCLUSIVE!)

One of the godfather, Wiley's, biggest beats to date gets the verbal once-over from Will himself who draws in assistance from co-d's Trim, Breeze, Riko et al. Although Creeper Vol. 1 boasts many-an-R&B influenced number, this serves as a perfect reminder as to why grime, and Wiley, are as important as they are.

Read this '03 interview with Wiley Kat.


Fiddy returns this Friday with music from Bruizer and Lethal B. Show her some appreciation; drive by her blog and leave a message to tell her how rad she be.


With Chantelle and David on board as (sorta) regular Hutsketeers, are we witnessing a step into the new Terrific Tofu Future Wonderland, where multiple Hut Cadets tease your soft earholes with a vast variety of wild and wonderful aural pleasures?

Signs point to yes.

Yesterday's Faces Today fulfills your inner nostalgia whoring and celebrity stalking in deeply sick and utterly gratifying fashion.
File under "Things that Make You Go 'Well, Duh'":
Across the board, among those who are both successful and struggling, the artists and musicians we surveyed are more likely to say that the internet has made it possible for them to make more money from their art than they are to say it has made it harder to protect their work from piracy or unlawful use.
The King of Audio is just one of the amazing characters by Japanese artist Hiroshi Araki.
Even though she got fired for this, you've got to believe that it was worth it.
Local enfant terrible 'Heraclitus Sayz' engages Arcade Fire member Richard Parry in a combative, lengthy and nutty interview.
Via Unguent: Conservative journalist and essayist WILLIAM FUCKING SAFIRE explores the world of (guffaw) kiduage, where he informs us that (snicker) " logic has no place in the coinage of neologisms" (hee hee hee) and that "Frankly, if I were to accost a young person and say, ''What's the current term among your contemporaries for 'desirable, attractive'?'' the likely response would be," hahahahaha "'Filthy, Gramps.' This would follow slang's frequent linguistic pattern of semantic reversal, with ba-a-a-d meaning 'superb,' with shut up meaning 'tell me more'"hahahahahahhHAHHAHA "and junk no longer pejorative, instead updating the meaning of 'awesome.'" And heee hee hee also ha ha ha says "The word" HAHAHAHAHA "'sexellent'" BWAHHAHAHAHA "for 'awesomely sexy,' strikes me as a strained coinage"


Tell ya what, Will, you old pedant; call me back when you can follow peabs, alright?

I like my sugary pastry iced with sugar and then filled with more sugar (mixed with lard). And that is some serious medicine for some serious PMS, my friends. Just be glad we have these options. Lives are saved.

Kimdog offers her top five Pre-Period Pastries.
Nate P. takes a step into the realm of musicblogging at The Cool Out and an angel gets its wings.
After much thought, I've decided to restructure the Hut's posting schedule for the foreseeable future so that there will be BIG new posts on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. That's when you get fed, so don't come begging for scraps on a Tuesday. I'll let you know when and how this changes; there'll likely (hopefully?) be a pause in the Hut's publishing status when I make this move at the middle of this month.


And incidentally, doesn't anyone want to get an apartment with me in Jersey City? Let a brother know.


Monday, December 06, 2004

Thirteen! Thirteen Fabulous Blackbirds! Ha ha ha ha ha!

glistening by the numbers: THIRTEEN

Johnny Cash - "Thirteen"

41: Love Cash- anything sounds good sung by him. This one's a tad bit dark and loathing. I've never heard this song of his before - were folks freaked by the spooky number thirteen?

Avi: I was kind of hoping you'd put Cash's version of "One" by U2 on this mix, but I'll gladly settle for this. It's a shame that Danzig is so obviously capable of writing great material but somehow continues to release nothing but crap albums these days.

Lee: The Cash-ster always had a knack for delivering a story that made it sound it was his, and I always enjoy that aspect. I was kind of expecting it to be the Big Star version.

Jamie: Few could sell spare, grim tunes better than the Man in Black. The American albums provided a great service in letting friends admit they liked ol' Johnny (though he should have thrown the Fiona Apple duets in the dumpster).

Rosecrans: I'd be a lot more into this song if I hadn't listened to a lot of Johnny Cash recently and gotten sick of his voice. Something about his inflections gets tiring after too many listens in a row and stands in the way of appreciating the singing.

David: I've never really liked Johnny Cash. His voice is, obviously, just amazing, but his songs don't really connect with me at all. This is alright, I suppose, better than most of his stuff, but mainly it just drifts by unnoticed. It keeps threatening to get really good, but doesn't, which is pretty disappointing.

I certainly don't need to sell you guys on Johnny Cash, do I?
One assumes that your mother taught you better than to question the Man in Black.

Buy "American Recordings", the first in the series of Rick Rubin produced cover albums that restarted Johnny's career, from Amazon.
Plenty of good material on here; "Tennessee Stud" is one of my favorite Cash tracks, period.
Visit Johnny's official site.
Read this '93 interview with Cash.
Play along with Johnny.


Eminem and Eye-Kyu - "313"

Early Em. Awwwww. He's just a baby. Still got styles: "I shout with a slang simple as ABC's / skip over the Ds and rock the microphone with ease", "You couldn't make the fans throw up their hands if they swallowed their fingers" and "Your ass forgot / so just in case you don't remember me I run your brain around the block to jog your fuckin' memory" are pretty nice.

I am hardly a fan of the new album (The painfully autobiographical "Yellow Brick Road", the mindbogglingly juvenile "Big Weenie" and the ASTONISHINGLY gay "Reign Man" are about as much as I can really recommend). I just wish the guy wouldn't sound so goddamned lackadaisical in the studio.

This quote is from Mass Appeal magazine, 2002: "I spend my time and I build my rhyme until it's dope. If it's wack, I scribble it out. You can tell when an MC spends a lot of time on his shit and is really trying to craft his form. You can tell when somebody's in the studio writing two-minute rhymes and doesn't really give a fuck."

This one's from the Rolling Stone, 2004: "The hook for 'Just Lose It', I probably wrote in about thirty seconds as soon as the beat came on... A lot of times I'll be short a couple of bars and I'll have a couple of lines wrote down and then I just go in the booth and try shit and see what I'll say. I'll lose my space on the paper and just start blurting out and it'll just come out."

Em. What happened?

98 percent of "Encore" sounds like exactly what it most likely is: Em fucking around. Only a fool would doubt the man's skills; I'm of the opinion that he's a strong a rapper as Rakim was. The problem is that he gets bored and squanders his ridiculous skills with bathroom humor (though I must admit the vocoder MJ skit is vaguely amusing) and overwhelmingly idiotic D-12-ish bullshit (if you can sit through 'Puke', 'Ass Like That', the Elton John inspired 'Spend Some Time' and the Heart(?!?) inspired 'Crazy in Love', you're a more patient man than I am). "Encore" is unnecessary except for completists.

I'd stick to the mixtapes if I were you.

This fairly obscure cut hails from Em's '96 debut album 'Infinite'. That disc is out of print and unlikely to see re-release until the inevitable posthumous box set but you can easily and cheaply buy a copy through E-Bay.
Visit Em's official page.
Play "Eminemania".
Watch the infamous 'Mosh' video.
Read the recent Rolling Stone interview with Marshall.
Cop the infamous Shady Mugshots.

Say as long as we're talking about Em, why don't I take this opportunity to drop a long hoarded Bonus Track on ya'll?

Roza Eskenazi - "Eminem"

It's not often that you get a song that can be appreciated on so many levels, the least of which is Eskenazi's repeated cry of "Eminem!"

Will someone PLEASE use this beautiful track as a base for either an Em dis or appreciation song? It's all Timbo'd out and good ta go!

Buy "The Women of Istanbul", a compilation disc of classic Turkish delights from the 1930's to the 50's, from Amazon.
Visit the Roza Eskenazi home page for more information than you thought you needed.
Read about the Greek/Turkish tradition of the indigenous blues called Rembetika.

Meeting the Neighbors

It's a Trap

Oh sure, ANYBODY can do a massive, fanatically updated, beautifully designed, content-rich musicblog filled with tons of new dl-able music about Scandanavian pop music and use it as a hub to build a record label around, but could you do all that AND take the time to fill out a form interview?

Avi can. Plus, he was nice enough to do this month's CD review for us. The man knows no boundaries.

So, who's a 26 year-old dot-com survivor living in the small town of Albany, CA, just north of Berkeley in the beautiful SF Bay Area?

That's me. I've been married for just over one year and share the house with our dysfunctional family of three dogs and three cats. Even though I run a website wholly devoted to Nordic music, I'm not actually Scandinavian myself. I can't even speak the language. I guess I can probably read enough Swedish to get by but I'm sure I mangle pronunciations all the time. I'll take classes someday, I swear!
IAT went online as a full-time musicblog on September 30, 2002. My first release as a record label was on March 23, 2004.

Where did the name of your blog originate from?
It's definitely not from Star Wars, I'll tell you that. I'm no fan of the old movies and I have no plans on seeing any of the newer ones. 'It's a Trap!' first came to me as a name for a music project I was working on that never went anywhere. I registered the domain mostly because I was surprised that it was free and figured why the hell not? It wasn't until at least a year later that I finally decided to start the whole music blog thing.
What are the criteria you judge a song by to decide if it's post-worthy?
It's fairly arbitrary. I often go for whatever new thing is on my heavy rotation list but there are also times that the new thing is actually an old thing. I try to select tracks that are both immediately gripping and representative of the band's material as a whole, but tend towards the former when it really comes down to it. I know that when I hear new music, if they don't have me by the first 30 seconds or so they probably never will. Now that the site is getting bigger, I find that I'm getting more and more offers to post solicited material from labels. I think it's great that more and more labels are embracing the idea of mp3 blogs and I'm glad to help out when I'm already a fan of the artist. On the flipside of that, the more attention I get from labels and industry-types means I have to also watch what I post as to avoid anything that might piss off the copyright holders. I've been very lucky so far but the last thing I need is a lawsuit, so I'm starting to get official clearance for almost everything I do.
What do you do for kicks when you're not posting?
My life revolves around entertaining, feeding and exercising my three pups: Samosa, Parker and Cooper. Without them, I wouldn't know what to do with myself. Otherwise, my wife and I are both fairly serious foodies (we met while working at a gourmet grocery) so we cook a lot. Oh, and I brew beer too.
Five desert island discs?
01. Black Sabbath - "Master of Reality"
02. Black Sabbath - "Vol. 4"
03. Black Sabbath - "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath"
04. Black Sabbath - "Sabotage"
05. Black Sabbath - "Never Say Die!"

There is only one band I can never get tired of and that's Black Sabbath. I actually made myself listen to them exclusively one summer while working graveyard shift at a tech support job and proved it to be true. And yes, I happily admit to being partial to the later-era Ozzy years.
Do you consider yourself a "music journalist"?
Unlike a lot of music bloggers, a lot of what I do really is music journalism. I don't necessarily adhere to the same standards that most journalists do but I try to keep most of my posts opinion-free. My mother taught me well: if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all.
What was the last track you heard that really changed your life?
When I downloaded the mp3 for "Kann ingen sorg för mig Göteborg" by Håkan Hellström over Napster way back when, it opened up a whole new world of Swedish music to me. I was browsing the files of someone who had similar tastes to me and selected this track knowing absolutely nothing about it, I just knew it was Swedish. I still have no clue what most of the lyrics mean beyond the chorus, but wow - the song and the entire album it comes from are just irresistible. Proof that great pop music works across all language barriers.
How much does it cost you to maintain your site?
I easily spend a couple hours each day doing the news updates and dealing with email and mail-order stuff. The longer I do the site, the more acts and labels I find myself covering and the more time and energy I need. I also do almost all of my own coding which is both a blessing and a curse. It's good in that when I want something to get changed I just go ahead and do it. On the flipside, I also have to deal with it when it breaks. Now that I've started the label, I'm thousands in the hole. Of course, the dream is to figure out a way to make everything pay for itself or maybe even generate additional income but it's quite a ways off.
That's every blogger's goal, right?
(ed. note: And how, pal.)
Describe the space you do your writing in.
My home office is in a dingy, yellow nook attached to the kitchen. The computer is on an Ikea Ivar-system desk/shelf-unit piled high with boxes of CDs, press materials, pet hair and all sorts of other junk.
Is there any genre of music that you dismiss out of hand?
There's nothing worse than the kind of person who will say something like "I listen to every kind of music 'cept country." Obviously if they really actually tried to listen to country, I find it very hard to believe they couldn't find something they like. I don't write a lot about hip-hop or techno simply because I lack the proper vocabulary and familarity with the genre to do it justice, not because I have any sort of bias against it. Music is music and it's good if you like it. That's all there is to it.
Which critical darling do you find most overrated and who's the most overlooked genius in the music industry?
There's a lot of hype in Sweden right now around Service Records and their acts Jens Lekman (on Secretly Canadian in the US), Embassy and The Tough Alliance. I really struggle with trying to understand their appeal. I've grown to accept Jens and his place in the music world but the others continue to confound me. Anyhow, I'm a firm believer that hype almost always exists for a good reason.

As for overlooked and underappreciated acts, there's so many: Breach, Him Kerosene, KVLR, Moonbabies, Kayo Dot, The End Will Be Kicks, Logh, Beyond Dawn, etc. I could go on and on. The fact that David Eugene Edwards of 16 Horsepower/Woven Hand has to tour Europe in order to find an audience receptive to his version of Americana music is absolutely criminal.
Are you much of a dancer?
My crazy dog Samosa is nicknamed "The Reverend" because he absolutely hates dancing. You even so much as tap your foot a little too enthusiastically in my house and he'll charge you.
So no, no dancing.
What was the greatest motivation for you to create your site?
To be honest, I was surprised that no one else was already doing it. The more time I found myself spending tracking down information about various Scandinavian artists, the more I figured there ought to be single site to find it. I knew there had to be other people out there with similar musical interests and I was right. I know it's ridiculous that I'm just some kid from California doing this site, but it's really satisfying to know I fill a much-needed niche.
Recommend three other musicblog sites.
1. DJ Martian: This site is a great inspiration to me, both in style and in substance. We share a lot of similar interests and tastes and will often be reposting links and news items back and forth.

2. Coolfer: Industry news is just as essential as artist news in my book and no one covers it as well as Coolfer, especially when it comes to the ongoing digital music revolution.

3. Largehearted Boy: There's a reason this site regularly tops so many other people's blog lists and that's because it's indispensable. I wish that David included his own personal quips more often, but it's really not my place to complain when he does everything else so right.

An honorable mention has to go out to Simon at Fat Planet as well because there just really aren't enough people covering international music.
Are you a proud member of the iPod Nation?
Nope, not yet. They're still just a bit too expensive for me to take the plunge, but man do I feel left out. Even my librarian mother has an iPod for crissakes. But hey, the holidays are just around the bend, so who's in a giving mood? I've been good this year, I swear.
Do you have a message for youngsters who'd like to start their own musicblog?
Unless you really, truly have something new and original to offer the world, don't bother. It's probably a lot more work than you think and the rewards are few. Beware.
ed note: Obviously, I disagree on the former note, but the latter is pretty accurate.
Make a mixtape playlist based on the following topic:

Wedding Day

1. Dolly Parton - "Marry Me"
2. Billy Bragg & Wilco - "Hesitating Beauty"
3. BR5-49 - "You're a Hum-Dinger"
4. Guns n' Roses - "Sweet Child O' Mine"
5. Cheap Trick - "The Flame"
6. Billy Holiday - "What a Little Moonlight Can Do For You"
7. Caesars Palace - "Candy Kane"
8. Johnny Cash - "Flesh and Blood"
9. Johnny Paycheck - "The Lovin' Machine"
10. Foreigner - "Waiting For a Girl Like You"
11. Lefty Frizzell - "Give Me More, More, More (of Your Kisses)"
12. Merle Haggard - "If I Could Only Fly"
13. Nicolai Dunger - "Soul Rush"
14. Patsy Montana - "Cowboy's Sweetheart"
15. Red Meat - "Lolita"
16. The Blasters - "I'm Shakin'"
17. Travis - "Flowers in the Window"
18. Weeping Willows - "I Give You the Morning"
19. Scorpions - "Still Loving You"
20. Ann Wilson & Mike Reno - "Almost Paradise"

Marriage should be both serious and fun, so there's plenty of selections here that reflect both. I cheated a bit and selected a single CDs worth of material from the quadruple disc set I made for my own wedding reception. It's meant to be played on shuffle.
Who's your favorite producer?
I used to buy anything that had Pelle Gunnerfeldt's name on it, but since he's become so in-demand (and burnt-out, from what I hear), he's not as reliable as he once was. He does the best he can with the material he's given, I guess. Otherwise, I've been hearing promising stuff from both Mathias Oldén of Logh and Daniel Berglund of Isolation Years.
What makes you so goddamn smart?
It's not so much that I'm smart, it's that I've got this goddamn overactive puritan work ethic that makes me obssessive about every single thing I do. Combine that with the fact that I can't help but retain almost every single little tidbit I've ever posted and I'm a certified genius. Well, a walking encyclopedia at least. But seriously- my brain is a steel trap and I can't do anything to help it. It's not my choice, I swear. Otherwise, I just make sure I come across self-assured enough that everyone knows damn well they better not question my authority.
Who's the man?
I am.
Drop on by betterPropaganda and pick out a track to hype.

Mare - They Sent You

They might not be as orchestral as my pals Kayo Dot, but they still go way beyond the sonic boundries of the standard trio. The only other three-piece that even comes close to challenging these dudes are Switchblade and they've got an ocean between them. This song has all of my favorite elements: it strikes the perfect balance of the epic, heavy and melodic, all at the same time. To think that this is just a demo that Hydrahead repackaged for wide release is ridiculous. Given a real budget for a proper full-length, they'll be unstoppable.


Oh lord, even MORE musicblogs to wade through? Yep; we update like that.
Here's some high points from da newbies:

Blow Up Doll just made my top ten list.
Nonstop bubblegum girlie-girl action that snaps when ya chew it? All day? Just show me where to sign.

Grape Juice Plus offers excellent eclectica from Nancy Wilson, Felt and Crispin Glover.

If you visit only one website dedicated to Dutch indie rock, make it Think Small.

Hip hop musicblog Popadopalis is where we headed: read the review, then listen to the song. Drop in a link to buy the album and the future is now.

Marissa Marchant will likely be the subject of an more in-depth review upcoming; hustle over to beat the crowds. One of those type of things you best experience yourself.
Chantelle Fiddy is a serious cutie wot loves da grime. If I can talk her into posting music on her blog, life will be complete. Start a letter writing campaign, folks.
Fans of the Fug owe it to themselves to indulge in the celebrity trainwreck of Oh No They Didn't.
Bumrocks debuts a guest post today from Pablo Clements of the Psychonauts. Checkacheckit.
Am I to believe that there is a genuine American market for erotic furry anime computer games?

Because it's dorky enough to like computers. And anime. But if you get your rocks off to 'Do You Like Horny Bunnies', 'Let's Meow Meow' or (god help us) 'Water Closet: The Forbidden Chamber'... well, maybe it's time for help. Or a Fleshlight.
Those of you who want to sing along to David Boyle's triumphant Arafat May Never Die will find the lyric sheet here.

Watch ya back, Em':
"In the end, you looked fatigued in your fatigues / Looking a little bulldozed like Rachel Corrie / But yo, yo don’t forget the triumph at Oslo / Or your Nobel Prize, that's a way to go-go"
David Guy's 100 Songs on One Disc.
Waxy is, as always, on point with this astonishing portfolio of cartoon skeletal systems.

Meet my new desktop.

tofu luv

Not to start sucking each other's dicks quite yet, but when the Anti-Dubya calls you Mayor McCheese how do you keep from cryin'?
I appreciate all the well wishes from folkses about my grandmama. Your kind words are heard and hugged. Thank ya kindly.
By the end of the day, we'll have broken over two hundred thousand unique page views for the last ten months or so. Not bad for a country boy in th' big city. Will somebody please go ahead and PAY my ass now?
And what about that Tofu Luv feature I mentioned last post?
If you forgot:

Any single women who would be interested in meeting with a like-eared Tofu listener in her immediate area should contact me at the email listed above. I'll pick one lucky loser and we'll collaborate on a profile written up with your location, description, taste, interests and photo and then post those alongside a song that you think best represents who you are. Would be suitors will reach you at your brand new spiffy gmail dating address (provided by yours truly). When the lady picks a boy (or girl) she likes, the Hut will post a report on their first date and keep all ya'll up to date on the budding romance.
Legal age of consent contestants only, please.

Think of it as 'reality blogging'.
Come on. Entertain us.