Wednesday, December 31, 2008

FUCK 2009

UPDATE: This has been settled, don't lose any sleep over whether or not I was able to watch Miley's New Years special. I did, and it was awesome.

THIS article has potentially ruined the upcoming year for me. Time Warner Cable (the company to which I subscribe, and occasionally pay the bill for) is unwilling to negotiate with mega-carrier Viacom who wants a pay increase for the channels they provide, and the cable company which serves New York City may lose the channels at 12:01am tomorrow if they do not come to an agreement by then. Viacom is claiming that Time Warner does not "appreciate" their many channels, and that TW's proposed increase was "pittance." Time Warner bitchily retorted that they "sympathize with the fact that Viacom's advertising business is suffering and that their networks' ratings have largely been declining. However, we can't abide their attempt to make up their lost revenue on the backs of Time Warner Cable customers." What channels do they provide, you might ask?

MTV on which I personally enjoy such fine programming as The Hills, Bromance, The City, A Shot At Love With the Ikki Twins (yeah, what of it?), and GOD HELP THEM if they interrupt my scheduled taping of A Miley Sized Surprise New Years Bash.

VH1 where I can find Charm School: Rock Of Love Girls, sometimes A Real Chance at Love if I'm bored enough, Celebrity Rehab, and the upcoming Rock of Love Bus. ROCK OF LOVE. ON A FUCKING BUS. Plus endless beautiful marathons of America's Next Top Model. And yes,

Comedy Central. I'm between the ages of 18-35, I enjoy The Colbert Report, The Daily Show, The Sarah Silverman Sometimes Hilarious Yet Often Unfunny Show and Roasts of various celebrities.

Television is important to me, it's important to my friends. Shitty programming is a calming and well needed interlude to the hectic work week, and I'm afraid of what would happen if we were denied that experience. Depression would ensue. Riots would break out in the streets. I might have to take up woodworking, clogging, crocheting, miniature-ship-bottling or whatever the hell people who don't watch television do. A friend astutely pointed out to me that Whitney Port should be an inalienable right of every American, and I could not agree more. This will not stand. WORK IT OUT. I don't even know what a Miley Sized Surprise IS yet, and I intend to find out tomorrow morning.

:) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :)

244. the Beach Boys - "God Only Knows (Aeroplane Edit)" (2008, bootleg)

Who knows if this ever gets released, prolly not, but when I first saw this Youtube I listened to it like 5 times in a row, and then when someone on ILM uploaded an mp3 ripped from a podcast, I listened to that like 5 times in a row. If I heard this out I don't know what I would do.

I haven't yet figured out what it is about the beat that, for me, largely tones down the creepy undertones of the original ("I'll make you so sure about it", etc.). Maybe it's because the Aeroplane version, even when I'm listening to it alone, makes me think of one day singing along to it with a bunch of people in the middle of a dance floor (click), which draws out the euphoria and buries the desperation. I dunno. I have to get dressed for New Year's and start drinking. Maybe we'll think more about this later. For now, happy dancefloor and open bar wishes from all of us here at YMD. See ya in the New Year (when maybe I'll do a slight redesign to make it easier on deez newfangled wide YouTube videos).

Auld Lang Crime

In case you're making a last minute topical "crazy stuff that happened in 2008" list (thanks for reminding me Sarah Palin wasn't part of a fever dream - asshole), don't stop just yet! Because former NBA star and Real World punchline Charles Barkley was arrested this morning in Scottsdale Arizona on a DUI charge. And zomg, zomg, zomg, check out how hot he looked:

GET IT? BECAUSE HE'S SO SWEATY, FROM ALL THE COKE. Nice, Chaz. So who was he vacuuming blow with until 5am? Former Giants star Michael Strahan (whose gap teeth make Madonna look like an orthodontic spokeswoman) and Jaleel White, or as you might know him:


Barkley was found swerving and driving erratically in the wee hours of the morning, when he was pulled over by an Arizona State Trooper, who found his car "full of wine coolers and bear claw doughnuts." He was released a few hours later, but must appear in court next month.

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The word is on your lips

No list of top songs is complete without boneheaded omissions, and the biggest one I've noted on my list so far is Swedish teen-poppers Alphabeat's incredibly upbeat "Fascination". Luckily, the video for that song and another similarly sugar rush-inducing track are on Idolator today. Smile!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Come on, mammy

245. the B-52's - "Whammy Kiss" (Warner Bros., 1983)

Like many B-52's songs, this one is perfect in every way. The drum machines pound out a constant love beat that accompanies the lyrics, which do the not at all simple trick of making desperation attractive. Who would turn down anyone singing this song "a refuelin'?" No one who likes fun, certainly. I hope your New Year's Eve (and mine) is 1/100th as wonderful as this song. We all need our refuelin' for the new year. Here's to champagne toasts and as many whammy kisses as you desire.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Songs Songs Songs

I heard "Love in the Club" earlier this year and immediately fell in love with it. It became an anthem for my last semester of college. I played and sang along to it at every party. A girl pointed out at a party that you could easily sing my name along to the part where Ursh sings "watchin', watchin', watchin". So it got even better. I know it's an incredibly shallow song, musically. There's one hook repeated over and over and over (a hook lifted from Garage Band, which prolly makes it even better, actually)really . But what a hook it is. This song to me is all-out ecstasy. There were lots of songs I loved this year, I could easily stretch this list out to 100, but "Love in the Club" made me happiest the most. Here's a list, along with a somewhat terribly tagged but still very useful imeem playlist. Have a really great Christmas, folk.

Maciej's 60 Bestest Songs of 2008. Let's Do a Power Hour.

1. Usher - "Love in the Club"
2. Young Jeezy - "Put On (ft. Kanye West) (Album Version)"
3. Cassie - "Official Girl"
4. Dop - "I'm Just a Man"
5. Jordin Sparks and Chris Brown - "No Air"
6. the Juan Maclean - "Happy House"
7. Rubies - "Room Without a Key (Version by Studio)"
8. The Bug - "Poison Dart (ft. Warrior Queen)"
9. Aeroplane - "Whispers (ft. Kathy Diamond)"
10. Paleface and Kyla - "Do You Mind (Crazy Cousinz remix)"
11. The Mole - "Baby, You're the One"
12. Erykah Badu - "the Healer"
13. Hercules & Love Affair - "Blind"
14. Wiley - "Wearing My Rolex"
15. Little Boots - "Stuck on Repeat"
16. Los Campesinos! - "...And We Exhale and Roll Our Eyes in Unison"
17. Ryan Leslie - "Addiction (Remix ft. Cassie and Fabolous)"
18. Ida Maria - "Oh My God"
19. Solange - "I Decided"
20. T.I. - "Live Your Life (ft. Rihanna)"
21. Lil Wayne - "A Milli"
22. Of Montreal - "Nonpareil of Favor"
23. Beyonce - "Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)"
24. Portishead - "Machine Gun"
25. Ricardo Villalobos - "Enfants (Chants)"
26. Ponytail - "Celebrate the Body Electric (It Came From an Angel)"
27. El Guincho - "Kalise"
28. Kelley Polar - "Roseband"
29. Britney Spears - "Mannequin"
30. Music Go Music - "Light of Love"
31. Keri Hilson - "Energy"
32. Paul Frick - "Knock On Wood, Babe (ft. Matthias Engler)"
33. the Mountain Goats - "Heretic Pride"
34. Bun B - "You're Everything (ft. Rick Ross, David Banner, 8-Ball, and MJG)"
35. Crazy Cousinz - "Bongo Jam"
36. Hot Chip - "Ready For the Floor"
37. Len Faki - "Death by House"
38. The Whitest Boy Alive - "Golden Cage (Fred Falke remix)"
39. Dave Aju - "Crazy Place"
40. the Magnetic Fields - "Too Drunk to Dream"
41. Poni Hoax - "Antibodies"
42. Deerhunter - "Never Stops"
43. Lindstrom - "Where You Go I Go Too"
44. DJ Koze - "Zouzou"
45. Ne-yo - "Mad"
46. the Hold Steady - "Slapped Actress"
47. T-Pain - "Chopped and Skrewed (ft. Ludacris)"
48. Prosumer and Murat Tepeli - "Makes Me Wanna Dance"
49. John Legend - "Green Light (ft. Andre 3000)"
50. Wire - "One of Us"
51. Osunlade - "My Reflection (Deetron Remix ft. Divine Essence)"
52. Ayumi Hamasaki - "Part of Me (Carl Craig Remix instrumental)"
53. Vivian Girls - "Where Do You Run To"
54. Italoboyz vs. John Coltrane - "Bahia (Mucho Lungo)"
55. DJ Mujava - "Township Funk"
56. Jennifer Hudson - "Spotlight (Quentin Harris Dark Collage Club Mix)
57. Religious Knives - "The Streets"
58. Mathias Kaden - "Perclue"
59. Hood Headlinaz - "Rollin' (ft. Jackie Chain & Jhi-Ali)"
60. Son of Raw - "A Black Man in Space"

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Albums Albums Albums

The folks that made my fave record of the year look (and sound) like this. I'm as surprised as you are.

I make year end music lists every December, prolly because some compulsive aspect of my personality (reification!) makes me enjoy it a whole lot. It inevitably leads to me listening only to the music of the past year in December, which is odd, but, well, if we're gonna divide our lives into chunks of time we might as well divide our art into these chunks as well. Other people's year end lists always lead me to discovering something I missed and, though I can't imagine this will be too widely read, that's hopefully a small function of it. But won't lie and say that this list is anything other something I do for me, something to look back on (most likely in embarrassment) in the future, and something to think about for now.

The top three records on the list below could all easily have topped it. Jeezy put out a record full of super dramatic beats that perfectly complimented his hoarse rumblings, the best record of his career, and the best rap album in a year of pretty great big rap albums. Erykah Badu came back with an absolute classic, an album so full of interesting emotional and aural textures that I'm in awe every time I hear it. I certainly wasn't expecting anything remotely like neo-soul to pique my interest in 2008, but a masterpiece is a masterpiece. I prolly got the most fun this year from Los Campesinos!, a band who do messy, sugary, wordy indie-pop (another genre I wasn't quite checking for) better than maybe anyone I've ever heard. You know that anyone willing to take on one of my least favorite songs ever with a poptimist lyric like "four sweaty boys with guitars tell me nothing about my life!" get some bonus points for year.

But yeah, (like every year) it was a great year for music, and anyone that tells you otherwise probably shouldn't be trusted. Here's a bunch of albums I enjoyed, and I'll be back tomorrow with songs list (which I put a ton more effort into than this one, to be honest) and a gigantic playlist to boot.

Maciej's Top 25 Albums of the Year (okay so the-Dream was December '07 fucking sue me)

1. Los Campesinos! - Hold On Now, Youngster... (Wichita/Arts and Crafts International)
2. Young Jeezy - the Recession (Def Jam)
3. Erykah Badu - New Amerykah: Part One (4th World War) (Universal Motown)
4. the Bug - London Zoo (Ninja Tune)
5. Portishead - Third (Universal Island Records)
6. Hercules & Love Affair - Hercules & Love Affair (DFA)
7. the Mole - As High as the Sky (Wagon Repair)
8. The-Dream - Love/Hate (Island Def Jam)
9. Gang Gang Dance - St. Dymphna (Warp)
10. Of Montreal - Skeletal Lamping (Polyvinyl)
11. Bun B - II Trill (Rap-A-Lot Records)
12. Dave Aju - Open Wide (Circus Company)
13. Lil Wayne - The Carter III (Cash Money Records/Universal Motown)
14. Ne-yo - The Year of the Gentleman (Island Def Jam)
15. the Mountain Goats - Heretic Pride (4AD)
16. Shed - Shedding the Past (Ostgut Tonträger)
17. Deerhunter - Microcastle (Kranky)
18. Beyonce - I Am...Sasha Fierce (Columbia)
19. El Guincho - Alegranza! (XL Recordings)
20. Ponytail - Ice Cream Spiritual (We Are Free)
21. Vivian Girls - Vivian Girls (Mauled By Tigers/In the Red)
22. the Hold Steady - Stay Positive (Vagrant Records)
23. T.I. - Paper Trail (Grand Hustle/Atlantic)
24. Spiritualized - Songs in A&E (Sancturary Records)
25. Prosumer & Murat Tepeli - Serenity (Ostgut Tonträger)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A list of funny things in this picture would take longer than the 303 songs thing

/film posted this the other day. I LOLd. Who cares what the movie is called or about?

Bey yr the best

I passed out

246. the Olympic Hopefuls - "Holiday" (from the Fuses Refuse to Burn LP, 2024 Records, 2004

Like the Improv Olympic, the Olympic Hopefuls were later forced by the actual Michael Phelps style Olympics to change their name, thus becoming simply the Hopefuls, which isn't nearly as good a name. This song is sweet though. I heard it today on an old mix CD I found in my bedroom in sunny (opposite) Chicago. Indie rock days, those were.

(fun fact, though the iMeem the link above might promise to take you to the best songs of 2008, a good number of those songs will actually suck. Stay tuned to YMD this week for the actual, scientifically proven best songs and albums of the year)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

College is officially over.

Matty just texted me the worst news I've heard since I found out a lot of people like the Fleet Foxes. Amidst pressure from legislators around the country, the yellow-bellied (and no longer orange-tounged) cowards at MillerCoors are taking the caffeine out of everyone's favorite Friday night pick-me-up, the mighty Sparks, thus rendering the Sweet Tart flavored malt beverage completely useless.

I know that everybody involved here means well (and by "means well" I mean "thinks this will make them look good"), but do you know what you idiots are doing to us kids who don't like putting things in our nose and drank Sparks for a little burst of energy every so often (or all through the night, as the case may be)? No, we're not gonna start doing cocaine (no one can afford that anymore), but a little birdie told me Crystal Meth is coming back in a big way, and this is just another step towards armies of meth'd out zombies scratching themselves over the Williamsburg Bridge. I dunno how you can sleep at night, MillerCoors bigwigs (prolly a lot easier than me though, because I'm still Sparks'd up for the moment!).

On booing

(Sorry, don't have Photoshop for the moment so I had to try to do that with Seashell)

You might have heard that the shit sandwich in this photo is doing the invocation at Barry O's inauguration. I'm not here to point out that this is a terrible idea, because honestly WHAT THE FUCK that should seem obvious. Yes on Prop 8 is one stupid, stupid thing, yes on Prop 8 justified with some half-brained freedom of speech bullshit is another. Forreal though, I'm posting for one reason, and that is to beg anyone who reads this and is going to the inauguration (whether you're within a mile of the actual event or not) for one simple thing: BOO the fuck out of this man.

From former Chicago Fire forward Ante Razov to the President of Fordham University, Rev. Father Joseph McShane, I've booed a lot of people, and let me tell you, it feels great, and it really feels like you're making a difference (if this reads like sarcasm, I assure you I mean it from the bottom of my heart). And don't let anyone tell you that an invocation isn't a proper time to boo. It's the best time.

I obvs. still love you, Barry, but seriously, there's reaching out to the right, and then there's bulllshit. Booooo.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Please don't dumb it down and never leave me

247. Livin' Joy - "Dreamer" (MCA Records, 1994)

You're in the middle of the dance floor with a bunch of your friends and then suddenly a bunch of you are spinning up towards the ceiling, having been lifted off of the floor by god knows what energy. And you don't go through the roof and you don't go into space, you just go to the top of the club, where there is a (silver) room in which every person that you want to dance with is dancing. You are a dreamer.

Friday, December 12, 2008

What am I gonna do?

248. Chic - "I Want Your Love" (Atlantic, 1978)

Wednesday night, Edgar, Sarah, and I went to the last Special Disco Version party of the year at Santos Party House. SDV has easily become my favorite regular party in NYC over the last few months, not that I go to that many regular parties at this point. If it was on a weekend it would be impossible to get in. As it is, it was packed as hell for Liquid Liquid the other week, and it was more comfortable but still with a nice crowd this Wednesday when Horsemeat Disco from London were the guests. James Murphy was playing when we walked in and, as usual, was excellent. The peak of the night for me, however, was when one of the Horsemeat guys played this Chic classic.

"I Want Your Love" is an embarrassment of riches, really. The vocal hook is easily one of the best hooks to sing along with on a dance floor. The vocals are silk. The rhythm section is so tight and sturdy you could prolly build a club on top of it. Then that horn riff comes in after three and a half minutes and just opens up the track completely. Best served at about 2 am, depending on what time your dancefloor is ready to peak, of course.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Driving Music

249. Neu - "Hallogallo" (from the Neu! LP, Brain, 1972)

This song means driving to me more than Kraftwerk's "Autobahn". This song is steady 100mph towards the horizon on I-57 with liquid sunshine filling the car, the rush of speed somehow in concert with relaxation and beauty. This song is a long, beautiful straightaway with no cops surrounded by green, green fields.

Monday, December 8, 2008

I can see lights, I can feel love, I can see the sun

250. Gui Boratto - "Beautiful Life" (from the Chromophobia LP, Kompakt, 2007)

The homie Jason briefly posted on a little facebook group today about the Lantern, this wonderful little shithole in the Bronx that, you might remember, we used to DJ at on Tuesday nights for a few months in early 2007, and this was definitely the first song that made me think of. "Beautiful Life" holds a special place in my heart not just because of how happy I was when I first heard it, but because how wonderful it felt to play it out when I was a college junior trying my hand at DJing a few parties. I would play it almost every week at the Lantern, or at a Facefuck party (those were they days, I tell ya) and the first few times I played it, someone would without fail ask me the following day what it was.

It got to a point where if I played this song at Fordham there was no way people weren't going to go crazy, and, as arrogant as this might sound, it was the one song with which I was pretty sure that like 90% of the folks there, if they loved that song, it was a love that grew largely through hearing me play it at the Lantern. Thankya Gui.

Video of the Year

Thursday, December 4, 2008

You started this fire down in my soul

251. Thelma Houston - "Don't Leave Me This Way" (Motown, 1976)

The sentiment of "Don't Leave Me This Way" is a fairly desperate one. However, 34 seconds in (and again, more emphatically at 1:24), the song realizes something amazing, namely that coming back to someone who is leading an amazing group of dancers in the middle of a club is often a much more attractive proposition than coming back to someone sulking in the corner. By the end of the song I'm not sure that idea of leaving the singer "this way" is remotely realistic, unless you hate fun or something.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

I'll take advantage while you hang me out to dry

252. Cibo Matto - "About a Girl" (from the Moonchild Maxi-single, Warner Bros., 1999)

What better artist to write about in a food post than the food-obsessed ladies of Cibo-Matto, who here take a grumpy old Nirvana song and turn it into a lively bossanova-pop gem. Here's a recipe I stole from Rachel Ray and made a few small changes in and made today. Hope you like.

About a Pot


Group 1 (you'll see how this works, I think it's good for prep):
- two skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
- some extra virgin olive oil

Group 2:
- about 3/4 of a pound of Chorizo
- 2 or 3 minced cloves of garlic

Group 3:
- 1 onion, chopped
- 6 small red potatoes, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped thin

Group 4
- 3 Large tomatoes (or a bunch of Plum tomatoes), roasted and diced (instructions to follow)
- 1 can of chicken broth
- 1 a decent glass of white wine
- hot sauce (a dash to a few tablespoons, depending on yr taste and the strength of the hot sauce)
- a dash of cinnamon
- salt and pepper to taste.

Group 5:
- some crushed tortilla chips
- Cheeeeese. I used a pre-made cheddar/jack mix cuz we had it on hand, but use whatever as long as it melts well.

OK, first of all, why did no one tell me how delicious roasted tomatoes are? I put them on a baking sheet, sliced into about 3 pieces each with the cut side of the outside pieces facing up. Then I drizzled some olive-oil over them and put them in a 260 degree oven for around 2 hours. Not too dried out, but delicious as hell.

Onto the pot, in my case a regular old medium-large pot. Heat it up on medium-high and put the oil and the chicken in it for about 2-3 minutes, until the chicken browns up nicely. Then dump in Group 2 (chorizo and garlic) and cook another 2-3 minutes, making sure to go at the chorizo a little with yr long spoon/spatula/whatevs, to make sure it nicely separates. The chorizo will release a lot of flavor into the pot. Trust me. You'll love it.

Okay, next comes Group 3 the potatoes, onions, and red peppers. They cook for 5 more minutes. After that, Group 4, the diced roasted tomatoes, wine, chicken broth, cinnamon, salt, and pepper. Wait for the liquid to start bubbling up, reduce the heat and let it simmer for 15 more minutes, and yr pretty much dunn.

Ladle some into a bowl, top it with a whole bunch of tortilla chips and cheese, and go at it. This should prolly make about 4 or 5 decent sized bowls, thought I'll tell you for sure when I manage to finish all the leftovers.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

All deez lonely girls wanna cut

253. Slimm Calhoun - "It's OK (ft. Andre 3000)" (Elektra, 2000)

Guys! I'm back in New York! And for some reason this song just appeared in my head (synapses! science!) out of nowhere and God fucking Christ do I love it. It's one of those turn of the century Dungeon Family Jams (remember Witchdoctor and Cool Breeze?! I know I do, but then again I watched Rap City probably every weekday from 1998 to 2001), and it's just such wonderful, happy music. All these lonely girls wanna cut/fuck? Of course it's OK! Andre as the Caterpillar from Alice in the video? That's OK too! Guys I can barely contain my glee at this song.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Cameras ready, prepare to flash

254. Green Velvet - "Flash" (Open, 1995)

I can't reiterate enough how useless it would be to talk about the recent musical history of Chicago without talking about House music. Here we have some mid-90s hotness from Green Velvet, who I had the pleasure of seeing at Studio B earlier this year. Like many of Velvet's tracks, it manages to be pretty damn funny and super jacking and awesome at the same time.

Ben Lyons go far far away from my TV.

I just turned the channel to Chicago's ABC7, which (I had briefly forgotten) shows At the Movies, now with TCM's Ben Mankiewicz and Jeffrey Lyons spawn Ben Lyons. Now, at a brief glimpse, Ben looks and sounds like a 18 year old idiot, so I went to his Wiki to do some hard research and was met with this gem:
Unlike Roger Ebert, a former PHD candidate in English, published author, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist of 40 years and screenwriter, Ben never went to college, never wrote for a half-serious newspaper, never produced or wrote a film and, indeed, was only a "film critic" for E!. Yeah, that makes him perfectly qualified to replace Roger Ebert.
It's pretty sad, really. As much as I hated hated hated Roeper and as much as poppa Roger is going kinda loopy, Ebert and Roeper's show was, at its worst, never as terrible as this.

Speaking of Roger, he wrote a wonderfully meandering, entertaining, and on point review of Transporter 3 this week. I would've totally added on at least half a star, but the text I'm pretty much down with. Bring on Crank 2 god I can't wait.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Your body's like a camembert oozing from its skin

255. the Art Ensemble of Chicago - "Theme de Yoyo" (from the Les Stances a Sophie LP, Nessa Records)

The Art Ensemble of Chicago made a lot of crazy, wonderful music over the years. They are an inspiration for those open to trying new things, engaging with traditions that aren't your own, and looking backwards, forwards, and in every direction at the same time. This track is an absolute fireball of funk, and the short bursts of free jazz style freakout (and how tightly the band goes into and out of them) make me really happy.

I'm going to see Transporter 3 with my fam after dinner for some sweet reason. Will report back. Happy Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

rattlesnake sausage forreals

257. Chicago - "I'm a Man" (CBS, 1969)
256. Chicago - "25 or 6 to 4" (Columbia, 1970)

Some might know Chicago (the band) just for their Peter Cetera-fronted M.O.R. ballads, but us Chicago (the city) folk know that they started out as a pretty sweet band. I never get tired of these two early singles. "I'm a Man" puts Chicago's rhythm section on full display and "25 or 6 to 4", despite its stupid title, is a hard-charging rock song with the band's trademark killer horns and an awesome guitar solo.

On a side note, I finally went to the much vaunted Hot Doug's today and boy was it as great as advertised. I had a regular Chicago Style dog (mustard, onions, relish, pickles, tomato) of course, but I figured I had to try one of their more exotic sausages as well, so I went for this week's Game of the Week, a Chardonnay and Jalapeño Rattlesnake Sausage with Ancho-Lime Mayonnaise and Smoked Gouda Cheese. It was amazing. Def one to add to the list of places you have to go when in Chicago.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Do you wanna riiide

258. Do or Die - "Po Pimp (ft. Twista)" (CWAL Mob Recordings, 1996)

Our countdown is back and, since I'm in Chicago for the Injun killin' holidays, let's make it a scientifically determined Chicago week.

Now, I don't know about yall, but when I was growing up we had a little channel on TV called the Box where you could call in and pay a buck or so and have your video played. The fact that this actually worked I take on faith, because I don't know anyone who ever called in. Anyways, round 1996 the Box would often crank out this song, a huge local hit for Chi-town rap group Do or Die and local legend Twista. This is what Midwestern hip-hop was to me at the time.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

If You Seek Maciej

The last 36 hours or so = trying to form some semi-coherent thoughts about the Britney album. Still working.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Dreams stay with you

259. Big Country - "In a Big Country" (Phonogram, 1983)

This is quite an odd song, as far as the structure of the verse and chorus lines, but it really is as BIG as the title promises. I'm not sure whether that awesome riff at the end of the chorus is a heavily effected guitar or a synth approximating a sax/bagpipe/whatever, but it sounds soooo awesome. This is better stadium rock than anything U2 ever put out easily.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

from Bill Simmons' mailbag (!) about the Hills(!!)

I read Sports Guy today for the first time in a bit, and the most entertaining thing in it was Sports Gal re: Hills.

Q: Can you ask the Sports Gal if she's keeping track of how many birthdays Brody Jenner gets per year? We've counted two this season already.
-- Lauren and Kristina, Boston

SG: It took two people to write that e-mail! Here's the Sports Gal's response: "Brody is the only person with an IQ greater than 85 on that show and figured out three years ago that not only could he be the center of two birthday party shows per year, but everyone would be dumb enough to keep giving him gifts. Remember, he is the only person on the show who sees right through Spencer's loser sister and that is saying something. I like when Brody has a birthday because it reminds me that we have to move our clocks either forward or back soon." Well, then.

Hahaha. Discuss.

And I shot her!

260. the Jimi Hendrix Experience - "Hey Joe" (Reprise Records, 1967)

The Jimi Hendrix Experience was the first real rock band I ever got into when I first started experimenting with the rock and roll, sometime in eighth grade. Obviously Jimi himself was the main draw, being the best guitarist like ever and a hell of an underrated songwriter. However, Mitch Mitchell, who passed away today, was almost as immediate and impressive.

I don't know much about drumming technique, but I do know that I love a drummer who can play cool as shit and then all of a sudden launch into a fill so quickly that it would almost certainly give you whiplash if it didn't sound so smooth and natural. And I marvel at a motherfucker who can be so awesome and flashy and yet fit perfectly into the band dynamic.

As hard as it is to take one's eyes off of Jimi, take a look at Mitch's hands in this video when you can see them:

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Curiosity killed the pop-minded blogger

The new Nickelback album is slowly slinking onto my hard drive. Watch this space.

- The leadoff track is called "Something in Your Mouth". That phrase is used in the exact context you might be scared that it would be, of course. Actually maybe an even more uncomfortable context. I dunno.
- They not only use the line "Well she ain't no Cinderella when she's gettin' undressed/cuz she rocks it like the naughty Wicked Witch of the West", but repeat it 2.5 times! Ballsy.
- This is kinda dirty.
- The rockers aren't great, but the ballads make the rockers sound like sweet aural manna from heaven.
- Shit, Maura at Idolator beat me to this anyways.

So yeah, no big revelations, I guess. One or two decent guitar riffs, buttrock city. Prolly won't listen to again except maybe for that wicked witch song for the LOLs and maybe "Burn It to the Ground", which has a decent little groove. Not nearly the worst band in the world tho.

We miss things by not watching the Hills aftershow, I swear

So myself, Matty, Rich, and Epps were watching GG and the Hills as we tend to do on Monday nights, and I was thinking about how these two shows, which we watch back to back (DVR, obvi) every week are so completely opposite in terms of the amount of shit that happens on them. Rich has talked before about how GG is almost too fast paced sometimes; story lines which could be stretched out for a season are handled neatly in a few episodes. It is this breakneck pace which makes me both amazed at how well the writers are handling the second season of Gossip Girl and scared about how long they can possibly keep this up.

The Hills, on the other hand, is comparatively (hell, even on its own terms), a total drone piece. Sure, there's the odd relationship issue or move but, especially this season, things not only happen at a snail's pace, but, when they do, just don't seem to be all that serious; certainly more smooth rolling Hills (ha!) than large peaks and valleys. This is especially true this season for LC, the supposed main character of the show, who hasn't really gone through shit this season. Her one big relationship (Doug the failed baseball player) ended up causing more drama for Stephanie Pratt than herself. Her work life has been much more interesting for Whitney than for her. Her run-ins with Heidi and Spencer have been much more about Heidi and Spencer than about her. Lauren's just kind of there.

And this is actually okay, I think, especially given the fact that we can use the Hills as a nice little comedown after GG. And no worries about the Hills running out of plotlines because, well, the plots seem completely inconsequential. It gets by on the fact that it's a surprisingly well shot show that we're just so seemingly comfortable with that there's no real reason not to watch it.

Coincidentally, it seems that Charlize Theron recently said some shit about how the Hills is about nothing and she can't figure out it's popularity, to which LC responded, more or less, with "Uh, well, yeah." I think the Seinfeld comparison is interesting because in that case, if someone asked "Why do you watch a show about nothing?" I could at least answer that I watch because it's funny. In the case of the Hills, especially in this relatively drama-free season, I'm not sure I know why. Comfortable, again, seems like as good a word as any, and I'm currently fine with that.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


Grant Park Pimpin'

Well that whole election thing certainly went well.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Lake Michigan is burning

Seriously, this better go well tomorrow. And while the above image might well be a nice representation of our psyches if Barry O loses tomorrow, my current concern is what the hell is going to happen to my hometown of Chicago tomorrow night. If you haven't heard, our beloved Mayor Richard Daley is throwing Barack a victory party in Grant Park in downtown Chicago. The capacity of the part of the park gated off for the celebration is around 70,000 people, but we might be looking at around a million descending on the area.

Now, I would never call my fellow Chicagoans rowdy, but I do seem to remember a good amount of jubilant destruction during the Bulls dynasty years, and none of that had a million people gathered in the same square mile to start off. I'm worried about what happens even in the case of an Obama victory, if McCain wins, I don't see any way around a really bad riot. God bless you, Chicago, stay safe.

Friday, October 31, 2008


261. Goblin - "Suspiria" (from the Suspiria LP, Cinevox 1977)
262. Merzbow - "Yellow Hyper Balls" (from the Pulse Demon LP, Release Entertainment, 1996)

Halloween is upon us and, in honor of that most glorious of holidays, our scientists have today dialed up two very awesome pieces to scare, shock, and aurally disembowel our listeners.

First is the theme from my very favorite horror movie, Dario Argento's masterpiece Suspiria. The music, as in many Argento classics, is provided by Goblin, heroes to spooky prog rockers, dancers, and freaks everywhere. Like many soundtrack pieces, it is improved by context (in this case, dark nights, bright colors, witches, and blood), but it's definitely good enough to give you an idea of the mood of the film all on its own.

Our other selection sets a different tone altogether. It's "Yellow Hyper Balls", and it was my first ever introduction to Japanese noise legend Merzbow. The first time I heard it I thought it almost completely unlistenable, but I've kind of come around on it as a sort of meditation exercise. It's brutally compressed and terrifyingly abrasive, and I think listening to it at least once on Halloween can only be a positive experience.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I have visions of many things

263. Jimmy Ruffin - "What Becomes of the Broken Hearted" (Soul Records, 1966)

This is another one of those songs that I tend to lose for a while, and then comes back to me through the magic of iTunes/random television/jukeboxes. I remember hearing it fairly early in childhood, though I've no clue where. The lyrics are fairly standard (though it's a pretty high standard) Motown bittersweetness, but the vocal melody in the chorus is I think one of the most memorable hooks ever, and the arrangement is top notch.

Apparently this is the song that Whitney Houston was originally supposed to sing in the Bodyguard instead of "I Will Always Love You" (we'll get to that later), but they changed it last minute after Paul Young (I have no idea who that is) covered it on the soundtrack of Fried Green Tomatoes. Prolly all for the best, as while I think this is a better song than the Dolly Parton one, the latter was better suited to Whitney's ear-shattering strengths.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

I know now fragility

264. The Knife - "Heartbeats" (Rabid Records, 2004)
265. The Knife - "Silent Shout" (V2 Records, 2006)

So Pitchfork reported today that Karin Dreijer from the almighty Knife is putting out a record next year as Fever Ray. You can hear the first sample of this project on the Fever Ray Myspace and it's a very cool, bass heavy instrumental that has me anxiously awaiting more more more. I am a bit sad, however, because while I wish Karin all the best this would seem to indicate that a new Knife record isn't coming anytime soon.

The Knife, as you may well know, are a Swedish sibling duo and one of the best bands in the universe. They first got my attention with "Hearbeats", a pop song so beautiful and sad and interesting that it is capable of melting and freezing hearts at the same time, something our scientists are currently trying to work out.

Deep Cuts, the album which "Heartbeats" opens, was a fun, weird record, but two years later the Knife came back with a complete masterpiece in Silent Shout. I'm not sure there has been a record released this decade that deserves more to be listened to really loud on some really sweet speakers. The track on our list is the title track and opener, which rather nicely sketches out the icy, dark, neon-lit motorway the album takes us through.

Please come back, Knife, come back and take us further into your frosty, shimmering future.


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

F--- you, F--- you, You're cool, I'm out

Sorry about the cliched Half Baked reference but if you bare with me, it actually winds up being pretty damn appropriate.

I'm going to go ahead an assume that none of you have heard of Andrew Lahde. That's probably a good thing.

Long story short: In late 2006/early 2007 he set up a hedge fund in Santa Monica California. The fund's strategy was based on his prediction that the US housing market would collapse. Needless to say he was correct. His fund earned returns of over 1,000% (not a typo) and he became one of the most famous investors in the world.

He just quit and left this gem of a goodbye letter:

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Saved you the room you used to stay in every Sunday

266. The Zombies - "Care of Cell 44" (Epic Records, 1967)

Ideas for what crime the object of affection in this song has been imprisoned for"
- Hopping trains/not paying train fare. This would add a nice irony to the singer having "saved up for the train fare money."
- Domestic assault. The singer still loves her and wants her back, but who knows, maybe he's a touch scared as well.
- Creating a public disturbance. Y'know. Like a hippie.
- Possession of a controlled substance. Y'know. Like a hippie.

Doesn't matter of course, because the melodies and harmonies on this song make it easily one of the best songs of the 60s, that decade that I've been told I'm supposed to worship as, like, when everything was real and meant something.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Goren, are you rescuing me?...Fold.

Looks like I got cable right on time, kids. You may have heard the news earlier this year that Chris Noth will be leaving Law & Order: Criminal Intent to be replaced by Jeff Goldblum, and now we will finally get to see the results. The new season of CI premieres Friday, November 7 on USA, which prolly means I will be DVR-ing it and watching it hungover on Saturdays. No word on whether any dinosaurs will be involved.

DeadinthemiddleofLittleItalylittledidweknow- thatweriddledsomemiddlemanwhodidn'tdodiddily

267. Big Punisher - "Twinz (Deep Cover 98) (ft. Fat Joe)" (Loud Records, 1997)

I feel like (and I might be wrong, strawmen being what they are) for folks who weren't really into hip-hop like me and some of friends were in 1998 (by which I mean reading the Source, watching Rap City, etc.), Big Pun means something very different; let's say a very large, talented rapper that died and the first hugely popular Hispanic rapper. And he very much was both of those things. But I'm not sure they (those magical strawmen) realize just how insanely dope we thought Pun was when he came out. I remember having my mom buy me Capital Punishment, stopping at the mall on the way back from a 6th grade basketball game maybe, coming home, listening to it once, and immediately calling one of my friends to rave about it. Pun was on some completely next level tongue twisting shit and he was great at it.

It should also be noted that Fat Joe at this point was, in the order of things, a solid if unspectacular rapper, loosely affiliated with DITC crew, not the kind of guy you'd anticipate releases from, but you might have a tape of, a rapper who had paid his dues and had all the hardcore cred in the world. Certainly, before Pun, the odds on Fat Joe becoming super famous in the next decade were fairly long.

But Joe does his best to keep up with Pun over the "Deep Cover" beat here, and comes as close as anyone could have hoped for. Pun murders him, of course, but he would've murdered about anyone at this point. The amount of rapid-fire rhymes and syllables he squeezes in to each line is a joy to behold. (I had completely forgotten until seeing it today that Snoop appears in the video, giving our Boricuan heroes blessing to use the beat).

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Emotions they stir

268. the All-American Rejects - "Swing, Swing" (Dreamworks Records, 2003)

In 2003 I was a Junior/Senior in high school, I was just beginning to get into rock and roll/indie/whatevs and I hated this song, as I was wont to do with pop-punk (I guess that's what I would've called it then) of the kind. Flash forward to a few months ago, driving down from Cape Cod someone put in an old CD and this was on and, go figure, it's brilliant now.

It took some time to sort out what exactly the lyrics on the chorus were, and I think Rich was the first to figure out that it went "Swing, swing, swing from the tangles of/my heart is crushed by a former love," which is actually quite clever and out of the ordinary, overlapping the last word (and object) of the first sentence and the first word (and subject) of the second one. To wit:

Plus, you know, the organ intro and bridge are super sweet.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

An excellent question...

...that comes from Devin.


These are the things that haunt my nightmares.

Thanks Devin...I guess.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I guess you turn me on/when you're gone

269. Luomo - "Tessio" (from the Vocalcity LP, Forced Tracks, 2000)

There is another version of this song on Luomo's 2nd LP, the Present Lover. That song goes for a more constant house groove with more cut-up vocals and is also excellent. But I tend to prefer this longer, more dreamlike version. It makes me want to dance so bad, it does, but it makes me want to dance in a kind of ether. It's incredibly rich in both sonic and emotional texture, maybe not straight ahead jacking house, but definitely a record I really feel.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Fool me, fool me

270. the Cardigans - "Lovefool" (Stockholm Records, 1996)

An absolutely perfect pop song sung by an impossibly gorgeous Swedish girl from the perspective of someone so depressed that they're begging someone to lie to them. I'm sort of disappointed it's this low on the list, but that's science for ya. Bonus points for Nina Persson's utter unflappability in these videos (I had no clue there was an original version either).

U.S. Video:

Original Video:

Thursday, October 9, 2008


271. Coyote - "Too Hard (Aeroplane Remix)" (from EP2, Is It Balearic?, 2007)

Belgian duo Aeroplane has been busy in 2008, putting out one of my favorite singles of the year ("Whispers"), one of my favorite remixes of the year (of Shortwave Set's "Now Til 69"), and one of my favorite mixes of the year (their RA Podcast). None of those delicious releases, however, is a patch on what they did toward the end of last year, namely this absolutely transcendent remix of Coyote's "Too Hard". It starts out pretty enough, soft synths and fun percussion. But then around two minutes the waves start rolling in, it all gets a bit transition-y for a minute, and at 3:48 the second part of the song starts with a simple guitar line, and suddenly the sunrise on a beach that a lot of this nu-Balearic movement seems to be striving for crystallizes before me, and it is as beautiful as promised.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Something better than in the middle.

272. The Wallflowers - "One Headlight" (Interscope Records, 1997)

So, Tom Petty sounds like Bob Dylan. And the Wallflowers sound like the Heartbreakers. And Jakob Dylan sounds like Bob Dylan. But Jakob Dylan doesn't sound like Tom Petty. Like, at all, really, at least not to me.

The line "there's got to be something better than 'in the middle'" is super-ironic, because everything about this song is really quite middle of the road. The difference between Petty and Jakob's Bob Dylan voices is that Petty really goes for it, the screechy, over-exaggerated, and at times annoying impression while Jakob just seems like "hey, yeah, I sound like the guy, he's my dad, so what? Ain't nothing funny about that." And yet, something about this song, with all its po-faced M.O.R., makes me like it better than anything by Tom Petty and anything Papa Dylan's done in about a quarter of a century. Maybe it's just that disco beat, and the earnestness that lines like "She says, 'It's cold, it feels like Independence Day'..." (btw, in my head, she's thinking of this, not this) are delivered in. I mean, "a Broken Heart Disease," fer chrissake, ha!

Jakob might not have his father's gift for winking at his own bullshit, but maybe sometimes believing in your own bullshit works even better.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Feel The Rain On Your Mustache

Rich pointed this out to me, actually several times, and I didn't really pay much attention to it. I guess I thought it was bad lighting (it's been known to happen), or maybe a bad reaction to her hormone therapy. But seriously, it's there, it's bad, it's thick, and it's bushy.

I KNOW, RIGHT?! I was just as shocked. It's also an impressive realization and it almost makes me want to go back and have a Laguna marathon just to see if this stache has always existed. But did a quick google search for Lauren Conrad Mustache and lots came up! One blog even refers to her only as Mustache Baby. I don't mean to be unusually cruel, but seriously girl, even Kelly Cutrone has her facial hair situation under control, and let's be honest, if anyone on The Hills was to rock that look, it'd be that bitch.

Yeah, that's right.

OK I feel bad about myself now. I'm going to bed.

You're not alone!

273. David Bowie - "Rock and Roll Suicide" (RCA Victor, 1974)

So this is Ziggy's (not Bowie's, mind you) letter to his future self, and it's brilliant and anthemic and interesting and we love it.

Friday, September 26, 2008

A lil' spot where young men and young women go to experience dey first lil' taste of the nightlife

274. Outkast - "SpottieOttieDopalicious" (from the Aquemini LP LaFace Records, 1998)

Aquemini is one of the best rap records ever. That said, this isn't really a rap song, per se. But while I've complained in the past and still complain constantly that I wish Andre would go back to doing rap songs, this shit is soooo immaculate, and it highlights both Dre and Big Boi's narrative abilities to the fullest. And that horn part makes me want to sink completely into a couch or the seat of a Caddy or Oldsmobile or whatever in the best way possible.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

(When You Wake) You're Still in a Dream

So we went to the Roseland for the big My Bloody Valentine to do last nite, earplugs in hand, and it was pretty much the greatest thing ever as advertised, some parts of it almost overwhelmingly so. I ended up taking my earplugs out for a good bit of it, because while I value my hearing, I really do, I just couldn't bear not hearing every single bit of noise. I mean, My Bloody fucking Valentine!

"Only Shallow," I swear, if I had any more stimulation I would've exploded. "Soon" was similarly wonderful. And then, the much-vaunted "You Made Me Realize" holocaust section. For real tho, it sounded like a nuclear explosion stretched out for over ten minutes, and then when I took my earplugs out for a second it sounded like that plus a billion people shrieking. Me and Conor both thought of the above-pictured scene from Raiders. It was beautiful.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Madame Butterfly let me in your house of pleasure

275. Camp Lo - "Luchini (This Is It)" (Profile Records, 1996)

These lyrics barely make sense at all, from a narrative point of view. They're almost completely impressionistic, but man do they give off the hepcat 70s vibe Camp Lo is going for real well. Of course, even if they weren't so great the beat would still be one of the best beats of its decade/genre/whatevs. Super funk.

Friday, September 19, 2008

I'm giving you the power to rearrange

276. Germs - "Lexicon Devil" (from the (GI) LP, Slash Records, 1979)

"Lexicon Devil" is, as best as I can make out, a song about a young man who wants to rearrange the world through, in addition to the good old methods of violence, the ability to fuck with words and language and therefore destroy the traditional systems of control. And, you know, the guitar riff and vocals aren't half bad either.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Studio Lighting...

...can be a bitch. Trust me, I just took a class on it. Word to the wise: if you ever become famous, don't sit for a photographer if you're unsure of how you'll be seen by them. As we learned in class, sometimes the light doesn't just compliment the image, it becomes the image. You can make people look flawless by lighting them with a huge soft light, you can make them look demonic by lighting them from below, and with some careful positioning, hard lighting and shadowing, you can reveal every nook, cranny and pore. This picture has not been retouched:

[Fun outtakes with some photoshop.]