Thursday, April 30, 2009

Fav Mixtape Cover of the Year So Far

Kilimanjaro rises like Olympus above the Serengeti

161. Toto - "Africa" (CBS, 1982)

I know, I know, the lyrics are horrid, and Toto deserves shit for a lot of their other songs, and the chorus isn't even a world beater. But that riff, the one that adds the odd extra measure to some of the lines in the verses, that shit is sooooo good. You can't fuck with it. Can I enjoy nonsensical exoticist bullshit if it grooves this good? I guess I can.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

PWRRNKNG Questions

:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:( That was an amazingly terrible picture though. And she didn't know what time it was? Sorry Fo.

Ranking This Week (Ranking Last Week). Model Name (rankings in the last 4 episodes), bold for bottom 2, italics for winner of the reward challenge), [average ranking overall]

1 (1). Teyona - (3, 1, 2, 1) [2.56]
Has any non-Christian Siriano competitor been this good on a Top show? (Interior Design/Hair shows don't count because I don't watch them)

2 (3). Allison - (7, 5, 1, 2) [4.11]
She's been up there with Teyona the past two weeks picture-wise, but can you imagine her in the final episode walking in a fashion show and not looking like an only-somewhat mobile action figure?

3 (5). Aminat - (6, 7, 6, 3) [5.89]
Raised from the bottom by a combination of amazing walking, amazing body, and Celia's continuing oldness, can Aminat ever take an interesting picture? (Hint: no)

4 (4). Celia - (1, 4, 4, 4) [4.44]
Is there a reverse aging machine somewhere that can make the judges take Celia seriously again?

Only a few episodes left. Whoyagot?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

You've got somethin' that I just can't figure out

162. Nu Shooz - "I Can't Wait" (Atlantic, 1985)

I had no clue what this song was until fairly recently, and then I heard it and I was like, "Holy Shit! That riff they play at NBA games when a team is bringing the ball up!" Now I'm sure that more knowledgeable ears than mine knew that all along, or don't give a shit about basketball or whatever, but I was shocked. This is so cool though, a slowish burner with an awesome hook and a deep groove. And I think its ubiquity among a nation of basketball fans who have never heard of Nu Shooz (surely I'm not the only one) is pretty interesting.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Alcoholics Unanimous

Video for the first single from the very good new Art Brut album, Art Brut vs. Satan. It's about getting really drunk and blacking out, so that's sweet. Eddie Argos still hasn't really missed as far as I'm concerned.

(Also, hey, look, I wrote about Ciara's new blacking out song at Music For Perfect People)

Friday, April 24, 2009

I want you, I want you, I want you so bad

163. Bob Dylan - "I Want You" (Columbia, 1966)

So Dylan's the great lyricist, sure, wonderful, but besides the great image of "the lonesome organ grinder" crying and, of course, the repetitive chorus of "I want you (3x) so bad," the lyrics in this song don't mean all that much to me. It's the melodies and the hooks. The organ and guitars interweaving, calling and answering both each other and the vocals. That little "doo, doo-doo" thing that the organ does during the bridge. (Is that even an organ? I feel like a dummy identifying instruments sometimes). Instrumentally, this is amazing pop, catchy and memorable at every turn. The fact that it has Bob Dylan Lyrics is, for me, an afterthought.


164. The Darkness - "I Believe In A Thing Called Love" (Must Destroy Music, 2002)

This song had no retro-nostalgia value for me at all when I first heard it in 12th grade. I was aware of hair metal, but I wasn't particularly fond of it and I sure as hell didn't remember it being around. I knew Queen, the other thing often referenced w/r/t the Darkness cuz my aunt loved them, but again, no major allegiance there. But for some reason, when this hit MTV2 or whatever and I heard it I was like YES! Amazing!

(So you're saying it's a sweet song for actual musical reasons? Wotta breakthrough!)

I mean, yeah, I guess it's just kind of great. They seem like they're really having fun. And then it eventually did kind of get huge to the point that we prolly sang it at school dances and now it does, actually have nostalgia value. Oh, man, we thought it was so sweet when he said "guitar!" before the guitar solo (it is).

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Come join our hopeless cause

Great new video by ex-McLusky warriors Future of the Left for "the Hope That House Built" from their forthcoming Travels With Myself and Another, which is somewhat face-melting and I can't wait to hold in my arms. Lotsa death and pissing.


Top Model takes its international trip a few episodes early this year, sending our final six six six girls to sunny Sao Paolo. An episode full of surprises this week, as Fo fights the curse of extra frames and Natalie is somewhat surprisingly (especially after glowing Mr. J praise) dispatched after turning into the Platonic Form of the Ugly American. I knew there would come a point at which Natalie would have to stand out or get thrown out, but I didn't think Aminat would still be here for that. Oh well. They lost a good villain if you ask me, but no worries. 1 and 5 are crystal clear for me here, whereas the middle three are clawing it out. Anwyays, GO!

Ranking This Week (Ranking Last Week). Model Name (rankings in the last 4 episodes), bold for bottom 2, italics for winner of the reward challenge), [average ranking overall]

1 (1). Teyona - (2, 3, 1, 2) [2.75]
When was the last time we had such a consistently great contestant on this show? And she can smile now! Granted, it has been proven that on any given day Teyona can be beaten, but I wouldn't bet against her, no sir, I sure wouldn't.

2 (3). Fo - (1, 4, 2, 3) [4.38]
Okay, so Fo didn't do super well today, but I feel that beating the Extra Frames Curse at this point in the competition is almost a sign. She was so happy to win them, too. As Matty would say, "have you never seen this show before?" She has some Cute Stigma, but she's been doing well enough and still, I think, has enough upside (oh hai NFL Draft), that I'm putting her at two.

3 (5). Allison - (5, 7, 5, 1) [4.38]
Good timing on taking your best pic of the competition there, doll eyes. Two trains of thought on this result, I think. One: she has proven that she can make more than one face and sky's the limit now. The other: great, now she can make exactly two faces. I don't like binaries so I'll put her right in the middle of this list.

4 (2). Celia - (8, 1, 4, 4) [4.50]
Looks like they're gonna continue calling her old, so Celia might have hit her ceiling. Paulina said she ain't photogenic, which is a hell of a thing to say about someone that's made it this far, but it was def true this week.

5 (6). Aminat - (4, 6, 7, 6) [6.25]
"She's the noun, not the verb." - Tyra

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Cougar Hijinx

Dear TVLand,

We know that, seeing as the lead-in for this show is an Andy Griffith marathon, you're not used to this prime time reality thing. And we admit that we're watching this more for the LOLs than the suspense. But, still, if you're gonna post exit interviews on your website, you probably should wait to link to them until the current episode is over. Especially with a screen shot of one of the people exiting. To wit:

Yeah. He went home tonite. And the website def told us so at least five minutes before the show did. Good job on the show itself though, TV Land, shit is hilllaaaarious.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

In Love With Bacon & Egg Risotto

165. The Paradise - "In Love With You" (Vulture Music, 2003)

A rich Bacon & Egg Risotto recipe for this richest of Alan Braxe's French House tracks. Adapted from here.

Take 3 slices of thick cut bacon and put them in a dry frying pan over medium-low heat. Cook them until a good amount of fat renders and they are crispy but not dry. Yr not eating cardboard, yr eating delicious bacon. Remove them and drain them on some paper towels. Put like one tbsp. of butter in the bacon fat and let it melt.

Meanwhile, put about 4 quarts of chicken broth (or whatever broth) (stock works too) (not just water though) in the a sauce pan and bring it up to a simmer. Pretty little bubbles.

While the broth heats up, turn the heat in the pan up a smidgen and throw in one medium-sized, chopped white onion. Let the onions cook until translucent and throw in 1 1/2 cups of Arborio Rice. Stir that up for a bit, add some salt and pepper, and let the rice fry with the onions for a minute. The rice will get translucent on the outside and remain white on the inside.

When this wonderful effect is achieved add a good few sips of white wine. Stir the rice and onions and let them absorb the wine. Then, the fun begins. Add the chicken broth like 3/4 of a cup at a time, and keep stirring or shaking the risotto (whatever dance you wanna do, baby) until the liquid is mostly absorbed. The rice won't get dry, as the starch is released and mixes with the broth, but you'll be able to tell when it's not absorbing more liquid.

Then, add more broth and keep stirring and adding. How long it takes to finish will vary, but expect a minimum of 20 minutes from the first time you add the broth. At that point, start tasting the rice. It should taste cooked but not completely mushy. During yr last stock addition, add another tbsp of butter, 1/3 cup of Parmesan, and the bacon you cooked earlier, which you should chop at some point.

When the risotto is done, you'll wanna top it with a poached egg yolk. No whites for this one, just the really delicious part. Put a few inches of water in a saucepan and bring it up to a calm, not at all violent simmer. Then gently lower an egg yolk into and let it cook. It should lay there for a minute and it'll be ready. Slide it out on a slotted spoon and put it on top of the risotto. Break it whenevs. The choice is yours. This should feed you and a dance partner. Though God knows if you make it yourself you might eat more than your share.

Oh the boys with cars want motorcycles

166. The Shaggs - "Philosophy of the World" (from the Philosophy of the World album, Third World Records, 1969)

If you don't know the Shaggs' story, read the wiki right quick. There is a curious appeal to this stuff that comes strictly from the odd sister act storyline. But I really do love the Shaggs' songs, and you can say that they're only interesting because the Wiggin sisters were incompetent, or you can say they were idiosyncratic, but that doesn't change the results, which rhythmically, melodically, and structurally sound like they come from a different world. Whatever the intention, the effect makes me quite happy.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Oh! Oh!

Psst, walk over to Music for Perfect People and listen to Kelly Clarkson's excellent "I Do Not Hook Up" and read what I wrote about it and the Katy Perry version.

One thing's for sure

167. R. Kelly - "Step In the Name of Love (Remix)" (Jive, 2003)

Even with the slightly beefed up groove of this remix, "Step In the Name of Love" just floats along. This is endlessly positive music. This is happiness as an emotion that's as interesting and genuine as any sadness or heartbreak. This is the sound for a dance floor at the top of the mountain.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Let me see your 1, 2, 3, 4 etc. ANTM PWRRNKNGS

Another week of wild, wacky model antics is behind us, and what happened? That's right, they kicked off the fat one and made a quite hilarious show of going to Brazil. Also, ANTM decided to help out our R&B Week by featuring the wonderful Ciara as a guest. We will do our best to outdo Tyra as far as using Ciara songs in our critiques. Our order this week stays the same, which is boring, but whatever. GO!

Ranking This Week (Ranking Last Week). Model Name (rankings in the last 4 episodes), bold for bottom 2, italics for winner of the reward challenge), [average ranking overall]

1 (1). Teyona - (2, 2, 3, 1) [2.86]
After weeks of being up here, Teyona finally found her way back to the top, and she's going to win this thing. Too good. (Goodies. She got them goodies.)

2 (2). Celia - (7, 8, 1, 4) [4.57]
She's still so good that I won't drop her below Fo just yet (she and Teyona are still doing the 1 2 Step), mostly because the 2 seconds of On Next Week's Episode that we saw seemed Fo seemed to be struggling. But also, Celia is crazy looking and awesome and though her face scares me she could take this. The only thing that worries me is that Tyra won't stop talking about how old she is. That, and she's not Teyona.

3 (3). Fo - (8, 1, 4, 2) [4.71]
Well, her styling of LDN sucked, but this isn't Top Stylist (or Top Scallop), it's Top Model. Another very good photo shoot, a super-cute outfit at judges table, and off we go to the southern hemisphere. (She got that cuteness like Oh)

4 (4). Natalie - (4, 6, 2, 3) [5.14]
She could stick around long enough to win this, huh? I mean, she's boring, obvi, but she never ever sucks. I think her lack of 1st places qualifies her as a dark horse, despite being a favorite early one. I 'm not sure what that even means.

5 (5). Allison - (3, 5, 7, 5) [4.86]
[Robot voice]: Doll eyes needs to lose control.

6 (6). Aminat - (6, 4, 6, 7) [6.29]
I promise she isn't going to win.

Shawty do that again!

168. The-Dream - "Take U Home 2 My Mama" (from the Love vs. Money album, Radio Killa/Def Jam, 2009)

The first 2009 inclusion on our magic 303 is "Take U Home 2 My Mama", at this point an album track from Dreamer's amazing Love vs. Money. Let's just list:

- "Man, I'm trying to get a ten/you better be the shit" = Dream's 2007 song "Shawty is the Shit", the edited version of which was "Shawty is a Ten". The backing vocals even sing "or you better be the shit".

- The imagery of Dream actually running out of the V.I.P., his eyes all buggin out cartoon style is awesome. Also, V.I.P. being seemingly shortened to "V.I.", but then kind of completed by the next word starting with a 'P'. This maybe looks more obvious on paper than in song, but it works for me.

- The backup vocals again: "cuz I'm already gone (cuz I'm already neeeaaww)". Obvi can't do that sound he makes justice.

- Obviously the post-chorus bit (or whatever, there are like 8 bits that could describe). I mean the "titties" line, which for those who haven't clicked the YouTube yet basically goes "her titties like wooo-oooo-ooooh/her booty like wooo-oooo-ooooh," where the second "wooo-oooo-ooooh" sounds slightly different, with some kind of filter. Anyways, it'll prolly be hard to convince you that a line with the word "titties" is a Great Lyric, but it sounds and works soooo well that I've been singing it out loud non stop. Honestly, it relays the feeling of seeing someone really attractive while drunk as well as any lyric before it.

- It's my favorite song on what is, after two months of listening to it, sooo easily my favorite album of the year and shaping up to be one of my favorites of the decade.

- The melody and arrangement is the happiest shit ever.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Cassie got a haircut

Well fuck, if I'm gonna declare it R&B Week, I may as well post this like the rest of the Cassie-loving internets.

Me, I'm 100% pro.

"I cherish every hug" (R&B WEEK!)

169. K-Ci and JoJo - "All My Life" (MCA Records, 1998)

I've been putting together music for an R&B themed birthday party that's coming up in a few days, so I've decided that it's R&B Week here on Yes More Drama. I'm not quite sure what that's gonna entail yet (and isn't every week around here more or less R&B Week) but let's get a'rockin!

In my rebirth as an R&B fan (I def was at some point in mid-90s, then stopped for a while) I'm pretty sure the type of song that it took me longest to get back into is the sincere, not particularly sex-drenched slow jam. The faster paced poppy/dancey stuff I dug right away, and the LOLKelly sex jams worked for me, but I'm really only coming back around on stuff on this in the last year.

But God, this song was sooo huge, wasn't it? I'm can definitely sing along to it with great accuracy and I'm not sure I even liked it at the time. I remember dancing to it at like a seventh grade dance, though I'm not sure if I should take the poetic license to lie and say I remember what girl I was dancing with. I'd prolly just remember the one that my 12 year old self would have wanted to be dancing to this song with. Naw, let's not.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter!

Celebrate the rebirth of the world's most famous Zombie, Jesus H. Christ!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Easy, Breezy, Beautiful Power Rankings

Well, I guess I picked the wrong week to finally believe in Tahlia. In the dreaded Cover Girl Challenge, only one contestant got a really positive criticism, and the rest went from kinda shitty to terrible. I'm back in Chicago for a week and thus watched this DVR'd with my mom this morning, and we were both shocked to see Tahlia leave over Allison, given how Allison keeps getting criticized for the same thing and how much Tyra seemed to lurv Tahlia, but here we are. Parting words to Tahlia from a man with a gigantic bow-tie: "You looked like when Moses was parting the Red Sea, you were on the other side fishing. That's how old you looked." THE POWER IS ON!

Ranking This Week (Ranking Last Week). Model Name (rankings in the last 4 episodes), bold for bottom 2, italics for winner of the reward challenge), [average ranking overall]

1 (1). Teyona - (8, 2, 2, 3) [3.16]
Second week in a row in which a weakness of Teyona has seemingly been exposed, with this week focused on her seeming inability to keep her eyes and mouth open all the way at the same time, but she's still somewhere towards the top when it all shakes out. Combo of Tyra thinking your face is interesting and thinking you're talented = priceless.

2 (4). Celia - (5, 7, 8, 1) [4.66]
One week in the doghouse for outing Tahlia's emotional frailty (which obviously was quite dick of her, but whatevs), and now look what's up. Tyra still had something negative to say about Celia's commercial, of course, but who else was she going to pick? Celia was by far the most charismatic, stylish, solid model today, and despite (or maybe with the help of) her not-quite-human face, she looks like a really strong contender.

3 (2). Fo - (4, 8, 1, 4) [5.00]
She may not be as natural of a model as Natalie, but Fo actually has a personality and a fairly distinctive look, so I'm going to keep her up here. She didn't do that well here, but no one really did.

4 (6). Natalie - (9, 4, 6, 2) [5.50]
I guess she's our villain for the season? Natalie did the best of all the models that didn't do well (so everyone except Celia) today, and while that's good enough for now, I wonder whether she doesn't lack that extra push to go over the top when necessary. Has anyone this cold and empty-seeming ever won Top Model?

5 (5). Allison - (10, 3, 5, 7) [4.83]
She's over Aminat only because Doll Eyes, while not possessing much in the way of (modeling) talent or creativity, has the potential to pull off an absolutely stunning picture at any moment. She did terrible this week though, and could also be gone any week now. Maybe when your eyes dominate that much of your face it limits the amount of expressions you can perform? Science?

6 (7). Aminat - (2, 6, 4, 6) [6.16]

7 (8). London - (7, 5, 7, 5) [5.50]
While Ceila hammed it up with Clay Aiken and then was wonderfully natural for the Cover Girl spot (which, you know, makes sense), poor London did a great, natural job with Clay and then proceeded to do something which made me think of Bobby Hill's Old Jewish Man impression for the commercial (I know that's a stretch, but I think it fits like a glove compared to Tyra's odd street hustler routine). Speaking of Bobby Hill (I'm sorry), poor London was subject to our first Weight Issues of the season, which were pretty creatively presented with her not being able to fit into her prize jeans (surprised they didn't work it into the Thanksgiving Dinner). :( Obviously, she's still gorgeous, but the gain from the beginning of the season is visible. This doesn't usually end well.

See ya next week. For now, let's meditate on the always amazing megapost of Tyra animated GIF's by the mighty Rich at fourfour. Holler.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

If we believe in the night we trust

170. Patti Smith Group - "Because the Night" (Arista, 1978)

The last time we had a big old college style dance party, many months ago, the homie Sam threw this on and the room went crazy. I had no clue so many people knew and loved this song, and it was definitely a case in which the communal reaction made me love it a lot more than I did before then. What made me love it even more was that Sam, it turned out, was so drunk that half an hour after ceding DJ duties to me he asked me whether he had DJ'd yet. Needless to say, he was pretty happy the next day to hear how this song went over.

PS, Power Rankings might be a little late this week, as WGN, which is a CW affiliate in Chicago, isn't playing ANTM til 10:30 Central time b/c of the Sox game and I might go out tonite. We'll see tho.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Have you ever heard of Chaos Theory?

171. John Williams - "Theme From Jurassic Park" (from the Jurassic Park - Music From The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack album, MCA, 1993)

This came up on two separate occasions this weekend. It is the grandest thing ever.

I can't possibly put it better than YouTube commenter trexlpl:
sometimes when i just listen to this song i think of the true history of life on earth except in song i feel in my dreams when i listen to song the true power might and most of all THE WORLD OF THE DINOSAURS!

Linking to Myself

On Ida Maria and pronouns right over heres.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Lazy Saturday Foolishness

Top Fifteen Professional Sports Teams I Hate in Order of Hate Amount

1. St. Louis Cardinals (MLB)
2. Green Bay Packers (NFL)
3. Manchester United (EPL)
4. Chicago White Sox (MLB)
5. Detroit Pistons (NBA)
6. Everton FC (EPL)
7. New York Knicks (NBA)
8. DC United (MLS)
9. Detroit Red Wings (NHL)
10. Chelsea FC (EPL)
11. New England Patriots (NFL)
12. Columbus Crew (MLS)
13. Minnesota Vikings (NFL)
14. New York Yankees (MLB) (tie)
14. Boston Red Sox (MLB) (tie)

Friday, April 3, 2009

Bruised hips from doing the bump too much.

172. Lifter Puller - "Lonely in a Limousine" (from the Fiestas + Fiascos album, The Self-Starter Foundation, 2000)
173. the Hold Steady - "Your Little Hoodrat Friend" (from the Separation Sunday album, Frenchkiss Records, 2005)
174. Lifter Puller - "To Live and Die in LBI" (from the Half-Dead and Dynamite album, Reckless, 1996)
175. Lifter Puller - "Back in Blackbeard" (from the Might as Well... Can't Dance compilation, Adeline Records, 2000)
176. the Hold Steady - "You Can Make Him Like You" (from the Boys and Girls in America album, Vagrant Records, 2006)
177. Lifter Puller - "11th Avenue Freezeout" (from the Soft Rock compilation, the Self Starter Foundation, 2002)
178. the Hold Steady - "Positive Jam" (from the Almost Killed Me album, Frenchkiss Records, 2004)
179. Lifter Puller - "Touch My Stuff" (from the Fiestas + Fiascos album, The Self-Starter Foundation, 2000)
180. Lifter Puller - "The Pirate and the Penpal" (from the Twin Town High Music Yearbook Vol. 2: 1998-1999 compilation, Digital Edison, 1999)
181. the Hold Steady - "Modesto Is Not That Sweet (acoustic)" (unreleased?)
182. Lifter Puller - "Nice, Nice" (from the Fiestas + Fiascos album, The Self-Starter Foundation, 2000)
183. the Hold Steady - "Cattle and the Creeping Things" (from the Separation Sunday album, Frenchkiss Records, 2005)
184. Lifter Puller - "Half Dead and Dynamite" (from the Half-Dead and Dynamite album, Reckless, 1996)
185. the Hold Steady - "Slapped Actress" (from the Stay Positive album, Vagrant Records, 2008)
186. Lifter Puller - "Sherman City" (from the Half-Dead and Dynamite album, Reckless, 1996)

And you thought I was a Mountain Goats fanboy.

I put on Separation Sunday today and I realized that I've been putting off this post long enough and got to it. Craig Finn, formerly of the mighty Lifter Puller and currently of beer-case shredders the Hold Steady is probably my favorite lyricist and one who is lucky enough to have had two bands good enough to make his lyrics actually matter. In Half-Dead and Dynamite, Fiestas + Fiascos, and Separation Sunday he's been behind three of the best rock albums of the past two decades. His lyrics tick all the right boxes I always go for. Booze, check. Intertextuality, check. Specificity, check. So here's a selection of my favorite Lftr Pllr and Hold Steady songs in a convenient playlist and, why not, some more of my bullshit.

When I started listening to Lifter Puller they had already been broken up for a few years. I was in high school and somehow hadn't discovered the glory of alcohol yet (amazing as it sounds, I went through high school sober), but I figured that, man, these Lifter Puller kids sure would be a good soundtrack if I ever did choose a life of booze and drugs. These are the type of things my stupid high-school ass thought. Let's move on.

There are two major differences between Lifter Puller and the Hold Steady. The lyrical on is the amount of religious imagery in Hold Steady songs. There's a lot. The more important and obvious one is musical. The Hold Steady is slightly reconfigured classic rock, huge guitar solos, piano accompaniment, Thin Lizzy riffs and Springsteen movements. Lifter Puller is aggression with the occasional groove, the occasional mathy drum part, the occasional out-of-nowhere chord switch. But they both work exceedingly well as a background to Finn's barking, occasionally apoplectic delivery.

And the lyrics that delivery delivers are probably the best thing about these bands, so let's get to em. The characters are largely lowlifes doing lowlife things, grasping at fleeting glories and sinking into despair but mostly just living their sometimes fucked-up lives. Some characters run through Lifter Puller's whole discography: chief among them Night Club Dwight, a drug dealer/club owner/businessman whose club is eventually burned down (or is it) at the end of Fiestas + Fiascos and Jenny, a sorority girl who goes to the city and starts partying hard. "I never saw the sun rise, until I met all you guys," she says on "Back in Blackbeard". There's Juanita and the eyepatch guy. In the Hold Steady we get Hallelujah and Gideon.

The intertextuality: there are writers (Berryman) and TV shows (the Rockford Files) and actors (Gazarra/Rowlands) and bible verses (a ton of them) but there are tons and tons of other bands and songs. The awkward high school girl in "the Pirate and the Penpal" gets hope from Dinosaur Jr. guitars. The debauchery in "To Live and Die in LBI" is soundtracked by 2 Live Crew. In "Sherman City", the narrator tells Juanita things that "sound the way that James Brown sings the 'Sex Machine'". Finn writes fantastic characters, really he builds fantastic worlds out of these characters and the very specific places they inhabit (geography is an obsession).

It took me more than a year of living on the East Coast to figure out what "Peter Pan-ed into NYC" meant and I laughed to myself when I got it. Finn's lyrics don't require research (or obsession), but I think they reward it. Which is not to say they aren't also great pop, and great stand alone songs. "Your Little Hoodrat Friend" is on the Hold Steady's strictest concept album, but even it stands wonderfully as a catchy, meaningful pop song. I suppose I'm being kind of a dolt in highlighting the references and recurring characters. They're really not the main reason to listen this stuff. Let's start over.

Among many of the magical qualities of Pop is the ability to make you feel things through bullshit that complete strangers sing, complete strangers who sometimes are nothing like you as far as attitude, demographics, or whatever, and are singing about characters who are nothing like you as far as attitude, demographics, or whatever. I think that more often than not Lifter Puller and the Hold Steady both connect with me. The narrator in "Modesto Is Not That Sweet" is a prick, sure, and is saying "I told you so" more than anything, but there's the part of him that still cares that is heartbreaking. And the folks running from the Nice Nice when it gets raided make me want to run with them. And the takedown of nostalgia in "Positive Jam" is thrilling. And the self-destruction in "To Live and Die in LBI" does seem kinda fun, and that doesn't mean it's being glorified, and "Feels great! Gonna dance all the way to the ending" is a perfect way to end that song.

I just really like these songs is all.

(PS, Fiestas + Fiascos and the Soft Rock, a collection of most of Lifter Puller's non-F+F material, are available at Amazon MP3. However, their official site seems to indicate that there is an Antology(!) and a book(!!) coming out this year. Stay tuned)

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Sex Bomb Baby!

187. Flipper - "Sex Bomb" (Subterranean Records, 1981)

Sometimes you just need a bassline to do a gigantic, dinosaur sized stomp through the whole building and get everybody so freaked out that they forget to be scared and just do the good kind of freaked-out movin' and a'shakin'. Those are the times you put on "Sex Bomb".

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

"She looks dead, like she vomited blue and then she died."

Is it obvious yet that I don't know what I'm talking about? Though both of the ladies in last place in my power rankings have gone home the following week, I've no clue what's going on with the rest of the field. This week was especially confusing, because while Mr. J's running commentary during the shoot usually jives exactly with what the judges say (as if this was all predetermined somehow, hmmm), they seemed to grow minds of their own this week. London and Celia's pictures got dissed by the judges after glowing Mr. J reviews, while Teyona got dissed by him and finished second. Whatevsies, GO ANTM!

Ranking This Week (Ranking Last Week). Model Name (rankings in the last 4 episodes), bold for bottom 2, italics for winner of the reward challenge), [average ranking overall]

1 (1). Teyona - (1, 8, 2, 2) [3.2]
Ol' wind-tunnel face might've gotten exposed for her lack of aptitude at smiling today, but no one else has been so consistently on top. Even with Mr. J's slight reproaches, the way the judges talked about her makes me think she's still in the money.

2 (7). Fo - (11, 4, 8, 1) [5.2]
I know this is a steep climb and it's prolly just my hopes and dreams, but I think this is it, guys. I think now that they've finally recognized how dope she is, the sky's the limit. She smiled with her eyes without Tyra having to tell her to! DOPE

3 (5). Tahlia - (7, 3, 1, 3) [4.8]
Well, she's doing pretty well, huh? Buoyed by her performance last week, Tahlia did great again this week. The judges love her. Cool.

4 (3). Celia - (2, 5, 7, 8) [5.4]
So here's the thing. I know. Tyra hates her. But if they didn't kick her out right away for being a meanie last week, I don't know how long they can hold it over her head considering how great her pictures are.

5 (2). Allison - (3, 10, 3, 5) [4.4]
Gigantic doll eyes please learn to do something else besides just have gigantic doll eyes. Love, Maciej.

6 (4). Natalie - (4, 9, 4, 6) [6.2]
She's beautiful, she does great in all the mini-challenges, and she finally got a little shut down on her picture this week, but they've already done the token "girl who's just pretty and not a model" elimination so I still have faith here.

7 (8). Aminat - (10, 2, 6, 4) [6.2]
I have to admit that she's kind of good now, huh? That's the thing with doing power rankings for this though, the shitty people get eliminated and at this point everyone left is more or less decent. Still not too impressed with Aminat's chances at winning this, but whatevs. Nigel did pull out the best nonsense crit of the season so far, saying of her photo, "This is the modern take on green." Bravo.

8 (6). London - (5, 7, 5, 7) [5.6]
Quoth Paulina: "She looks dead, like she vomited blue and then she died." Love her.

No Foolin'

It's a new month, and YMD comes through with a new grip of songs for yall to spend the month to. Just hit play to your right and bang your head. On the menu this month:

- Some grilled avocado courtesy of Mr. Black Boy Swag, White Boy Tags himself, Young Dro. This beat comes courtesy of 2 Band Geeks, and Dro slays it. He knows how to turn bread into dressing, apparently, which is a trick that only Dro would really brag about.

- Some early summer squash from the soon(ish) to be released LP from Lindstrøm and Prins Thomas. The record is as luxurious and epic as you'd expect from these balearic/space disco kingpins, and my fav track on it so far is "Skal Vi Prove Naa" (I don't know Norwegian at all, but let's pretend that means "Forest Dance Holiday").

- A blood orange indie salad with chili vinaigrette from Phoenix and Jeremy Jay. The former comes back strong with their new Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix LP, represented here by the fairly huge sounding "1901", and the latter invents the genre of Lone Ranger Disco with the very aptly titled "Gallop".

- Delicious creole soup, via Kenny Dixon Jr. aka Moodymann aka Moody's reworking of jazzy crooner Jose James' "Desire" into a beautiful 4am housey groove. This is out now on KDJ's label on the Anotha Black Sunday LP and is absolutely top notch.

- For the fish course, some fresh striped bass (bass) from, and I'm as surprised as you are, the Black Eyed Peas. "Boom Boom Pow" is a monster, and you may as well learn to love it now cuz there's no reason it won't be huge this summer. The beat thumps, the sound design is great, and the raps are perfectly fine. Extra points for Fergie's "I'm so 3008, you're so two thousand and late".

- Some wild game next, as we proceed to dance to Quarion's remix of Christian Vance's "Tiger Snake". The original is a fun, propulsive techno track, but Quarion lightens it up a bit to great effect. This is some shit I really hope to dance to outside this summer. Breezy and bouncy in the right way. We also bring to you, straight out of South Africa, Culoe De Song. Early this morning we repped for his RA Podcast, and now we bring you the b-side to "The Bright Forest", the track that closes that mix. While that A-side is indeed killer, I think I like the drum workout on "African Subway" even better. Kid has a way with percussion.

- Still hungry? Surf'n'turf from the new album by Texas legends UGK, and it's called "Still On the Grind". UKG 4 Life, with the spectre of Pimp C droppin' some of the illest rhymes and beats of his career on it, is one of the records of the year so far. This beat just moves and moves.

- A dessert trio of Keri Hilson ft. Ne-yo and Kanye West to finish off this most delicious of meals. Miss Keri baby's album is finally out, and this is some good shit. Everyone brings their A-game and, as I've tweeted about like 3 times already, Kanye rhymes "OMG" with "woe is me".

- We ease into the night and look forward to tomorrow with Martin Stimming, whose new LP Reflections is a clean but madly interesting journey through dance music. His tracks have hella groove, but they also actually go places, which is nice. The opener, "Sunday Morning", goes along like a sweet tech-house joint for five minutes and then breaks down and builds back up with huge, dramatic strings that both come out of nowhere and work perfectly.

Holler holler holler.

The Bright Forest

This might be a bit redundant, cuz I feels like a lot of the folks that read this site are fwends that already follow me on the Tweets, but I cannot stress enough how important it is that, if you have any interest in house music, African music, or dancing, you get over here and download this Culoe De Song mix from the blessed Resident Advisor Podcast series. Kid's a prodigy from South Africa, and this is easily my favorite DJ mix of the year so far. Vital.

It's better than nothing, I suppose

188. Pet Shop Boys - "You Only Tell Me You Love Me When You're Drunk" (Parlophone, 2000)

The Pet Shop Boys have had such an amazing career making great pop songs that it's hard to choose a favorite, even with science on your side. But if I had to (which I don't, but whatevs), I would probably go with this beauty. Neil Tennant's lyric about a partner who needs booze to say the three magic words is, well, it's just so wonderfully specific, isn't it? Longtime readers/friends will point out that any song about booze automatically gets extra points from me and, well, that may be true, but very few songs about booze or anything else are this witty and charming. Neil even manages to pull off the lyric "you should be kissing him instead of dissing him like a punk" and sound perfectly reasonable!

The arrangement is way over the top, especially considering the somewhat quirky lyric, and it's awesome. There's an orchestra, steel guitar, acoustic guitar, plenty of synths, and they all go up, up, and away at the end. Wonderful work, all involved, keep crankin' em out.

(embedding on the actual video is disabled, but that just means I get to post Top of the Pops lip syncing)