Friday, August 28, 2009

Why don't you throw me out the door?

116. Blue Cheer - "Doctor Please" (from the Vincebus Erebrum album, Philips Records, 1968)

The first 18 seconds of this are the essential ones. Blue Cheer's awesome and idiotic guitar riffs are what get the most discussion, but that tuneless bass tone and drum bashing are what I want to listen to over again. This comes third on Vincebus Erebrum (one of the best albums ever), and while the first two tracks (covers of "Summertime Blues" and "Rock Me, Baby") aren't exactly clean-cut, this is where it really starts to get stupid and wonderful. The whole eight minute "song" is wonderful, but that first bit before the guitar comes in is like the sweetest of candies.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

I feel fine and I feel good

117. New Order - "Bizarre Love Triangle" (Factory Records, 1986)

When I was a sophomore in college I started going out in downtown NYC and there was a lot of folks playing 80s indie and post-punk, 00s indie, and later 00s blog-house and the like. And I have a lot of fond memories of those nights, but eventually I got bored to hell of the music ("We Are Your Friends" and me thinking "Really? You fuckers?"). But towards the end there, when we still got to Trash at Rififi at like 2 in the morning already nearly blacked out and waiting for 2-for-1s at 3, I don't ever remember being pissed about New Order coming on, even as I was lamenting the fact that they had been playing the exact same songs for years and years on end. In most of my positive memories of dancing on various stages and chugging various drinks whiskey drinks, this is still the soundtrack.

Plus, man, Bernie Sumner is one of the worst lyricists of all time ever, to the point that it's hard not to view the awkwardness and nonsense as a gift:
But there's no sense in telling me
the wisdom of the fool won't set you free
But that's the way it goes
and it's what nobody knows
well every day my confusion grows
Mine too, obviously.

(the 6:39 version on the 12" is preferable as it has a sweet vocoder bit and more beats, but couldn't find a YouTube, so this'll do for now)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Ooh, it's the l-i-y-a-h

118. Aaliyah - "Back and Forth" (Blackground/Jive, 1994)

The Timbaland collabos are very rightly celebrated as the best of Aaliyah (/modern R&B), but how amazing and fully formed does she sound as a 14 year old on her debut single here? Very rarely in the last few decades of R&B have the singers on the musically progressive edge of things had this air of classiness about them. Aaliyah's vocal style, even at 14, brings a gravitas to this party jam that no other singer of her generation could match.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Running fingers through my hair

119. Silver Apples - "Lovefingers" (from the self-titled album, Kapp, 1968)

Playing with oscillators in 1968 is impressive and all, but this track from the super-influential Silver Apples wouldn't have been chosen by YMD science if it wasn't also super-fucking great. From the first beats of Danny Green's drums trying to settle into a groove to the two chords to the barely there sub-bass oscillations to the hooky bleeps that arrive in the second verse, this is great fun every time I put it on.

BTW, I've seen the Silver Apples twice since Simeon decided to take it back on the road as a solo project (R.I.P. Danny) and I've come out sweaty and overjoyed both times. Highly recommended, and about as fun as an old man playing with his oscillator could be (which, again, is very, very fun).

(note: this Youtube also includes "Program" from the same album. It's pretty much just as good)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

All it takes is my pretty face and my gangsta wit

120. the Beatnuts - "Off the Books (ft. Big Pun and Cuban Link)" (Relativity, 1997)

I confess that until very recently I thought the sample in the chorus was "yooooo better watch yourself." Turns out it's "watch your step" and I can hear it so clearly that my original mishearing sounds very silly.

Anyways, this is notable for being one of Big Pun's first appearances on record, but even more notable for the beat, which is just sublime in its mid-90s rap simplicity. It's such a hooky beat; the main melody is one those 3 second loops that I could prolly play for 20 minutes. And the way the drums drop out after the 4th beat of every other measure gives it this odd quality, like a not perfectly round wheel rolling over.

(I was gonna say that the Rap City logo in this YouTube makes it a perfect, because there surely was a Rap City logo the first time I saw this video in real life. But then I looked closer and noticed it was a Rap City: tha bassment logo, which means it's a show from post 99. The Big Tigger era just wasn't the same as the Joe Clair/Big Lez era, no it wasn't.)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

I'm an amputee now, baby

121. Harvey Danger - "Flagpole Sitta" (Slash Records/London Records, 1997)

We had a few folks over the other night and somebody played this in the middle of holy shit, do you remember the shitty 90s YouTube jag, and I objected, cuz this stands head and shoulders above pretty much all of the self-consciously quirky alterna-rock that littered the 90s in America like a rainy day plague of mosquitos coming from the Northwest. "Paranoia paranoia" is the great after-the-fact flannel hook of all time, after all, even if the "if you're bored then you're boring, the agony and the irony, they're killing me" reveals the boys to be, in the end, anti-grunge. Bonus points for memories of outrageous late-90s Katie Holmes cuteness, obviously.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

March on, you freak parade

Back in the old days when I went to the esteemed Fordham University in the Bronx there was a place called Rodrigue's where we could play stupid rock shows and get sweaty. Well, after a very long period of renovation, there will once again be such a place, and I found out yesterday that I will fa sho be part of the festivities on September 26th. I got so excited I recorded this mix here, with all the values of Rodrigue's (love, devotion, workin' that mutha fucker) in mind. Exclusive Hiroko Saki edit by yours truly. Playlist and link below. Holler holler holler.

Rodrigue's Resurrection Mix (March on, you freak parade)
- My Bloody Valentine - "Soon (Andrew Weatherall Remix)" (Creation, 1990)
- the Jesuses - "A Match Made in Space (dub)" (unreleased)
- Jamie Foxx & T-Pain - "Blame It (acapella-ish)" (J Records, 2009)
- Enur ft. Nastasja - "Calabria 2007" (Ultra Records, 2009)
- OOIOO - "Uma" (Thrill Jockey, 2006)
- Steve Poindexter - "Work That Mutha Fucker" (Muzique Records, 1989)
- Hiroko Saki - "G.O.A.T. (Jesuses Rodrigue's Resurrection Edit)" (unreleased)
- ESG - "Moody (Spaced Out)" (99 Records, 1982)
- Barry White - "Can't Get Enough of Your Love, Baby" (20th Century Records, 1974)
- Len Faki - "Death By House" (Cocoon Records, 2008)
- Ten City - "Devotion" (Atlantic, 1987)

Download it (New Rapidshare Link)

I let your love come in.

New (oddly short) video for easily one of my favorite songs of the year, Egypt's Fuzzy Logic-produced funky jam "In the Morning". Not the most spectacular vid, but it does look like a party I would like to attend, so that's always good.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

So majestic

Courtesy of Billadelphia Donahue. This should really have taken off.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Cuz we all have wings

122. INXS - "Never Tear Us Apart" (Mercury, 1987)
"we could live for a thousand years, but if I hurt you, I'll make wine for your tears
I've been sitting here for 20 minutes trying to make sense of that "but"; maybe trying to offer up one of my usual creative misreadings or something. But it doesn't make sense. It doesn't make any sense. The potentially unusual lifespan of our characters seems to have very little to do with the wine bit, unless it's a riff on aging and wine, but then while an "and" would make some semblance of sense the "but" still doesn't. This song is soaring and anthemic and wonderful and impossible not to sing along to, though.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Adios Minagua

Tomorrow morning I will wake up and leave for the States.

My only feeling is that I wish that I could stay for at least another week.

I really feel that I have a lot of unfinished business left in Nicaragua. There were a lot of people and a lot of things that I was just starting to connect with. I wish that I could spend more time with some of the orphans. I wish that I could see more of La Chureca, the country side and the new orphanage being built in a nearby town.

Life goes on. My flight leaves tomorrow. My grandparents are expecting me on Saturday. On Wednesday, I have an interview for a prestigious job and I don´t know if I care about it anymore.

Not to get too MH'esque but when spending time in the orphanage this week, I learned that the hardest thing to do wasn´t picking the kids up. It was putting them down.

Monkey Business

Hey guy, sorry for the lack of posts. I have had zero time.

Yesterday was our day off, in which I:
1) Had a delicous lunch complete with a bottle of coke for approx. 25 cordobas ($1.25)
2) Tried about 20 kinds of fruit that I have never even SEEN before
3) Accidentally peed in a womens bathroom
4) Looked into an active volcano
5) Gave a monkey a banana
6) Ate a fish, complete with head (I dint eat the head but it was still attached when they put it on my table)
7) Destroyed my toe and ripped my shoe on a rock while running (the roads here sometimes resemble hiking trails more than roads)

Today is my last day here. It will be sad to go.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Under an ocean of sky

123. Brightblack - "True Bright Blossom" (form the Ala.Cali.Tucky album, Galaxia Records, 2004)

The New Mexico hippies now known as Brightblack Morning Light have put out better albums since Ala.Cali.Tucky, but none of the songs on them have, for me, approached the forest-psychedelic majesty of this song. The woozy effect they get by extending certain beats is perfect. The roomy, live-yet-magical-sounding production is perfect. The build to the release achieved when they finally give in and sing the title phrase, as if performing the True Bright Blossom[ing] of the song - it's perfect too.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Download Dis!

Not to yet again sound like a shill for the Amazon MP3 store but, while looking for the above displayed Cooly G record, I discovered today that dubstep king Kode 9's label Hyperdub is getting mp3 distro in the US through Amazon, which is pretty wonderful. Run and grab Cooly G's "Narst/Love Dub" release right now for a look into the darker side of our favorite burgeoning genre: UK Funky House. The a-side is hard as hell, and the b-side, in both its versions, is just gorgeous and lovely. I'd also very much recommend Joker's "Digidesign", only if you like a little G-Funk in your underground British dance music, of course.

Baby put your handcuffs on me

Apparently JoJo is currently in the major-label hell that seems to affect so many of our favorite R&B singers these days, which will be quite a shame if it stops this single from attaining the hit status it so richly deserves. The sudden changes into four-on-the-floor were kind of jarring at first, but now I've listened to this song like 15 times in the last week with no end to the madness in sight. Get it together, Blackground Records.

The Curious Case of Devin´s Shirt

To answer the question regarding me getting peed on: one of the orphans wetting herself while I was holding her yesterday morning, which was fine. Then we took her to Church where as luck would have it, she wound up on my lap where she wet herself again. I was wearing khakis. So for the rest of the mass, it really looked like I had just wet my pants. Super.

Today I went to the dump for the first time. I don´t really know what to say about it. Within the ground of the dump is a village with a school and medical center and even what appeared to be a bodega. We spent a good amount of time today around the medical center. There were points where I had a lot of fun (playing soccer with some kids outside of the center) and there were times where I feared for my own personal safety.

No matter how much you try to prepare yourself, it´s still difficult to see some of the things that go on there. However, overall, it was a great experience. Hopefully on Thursday I will be able to head back into the walls of the dump and be able to walk around the area and see more of it.

Monday, August 3, 2009

It just holds me where I wanna be with bonds of tenderness

It's been a hectic few days here at YMD HQ. We had internet problems, we had (have) drinking problems, but somewhere along the way we managed to get the homie Devin posting about his quest for charity and the homie Atticus posting about his quest for a heart attack, so it's all good. Now back to disco.

124. Diana Ross - "Your Love Is So Good For Me (12-inch version)" (Motown, 1977)

I came upon this song while reading the preview (download it here) for Vince Aletti's seemingly essential (but as of yet sadly unattained by me) book The Disco Files 1973-78: New York's Underground, Week By Week and I think I might like it better than any of the singles from Diana's 1980, Chic-produced masterpiece Diana. Instead of Nile and Bernard, this jam is produced by Richard Perry (known for working with Ringo, Babs, and the Manhattan Transfer) and written by Ken Peterson (the internet seemingly has no idea who this is). But it's amazing, I tells ya. The groove is kind of weird, as the bass and guitars are at times so busy that they seem to be completely unaware of each other. But Diana's vocal performance balances yearning and joy so briliantly that it carries this into dancefloor bliss even before that wonderful synth hook rolls through in the bridge.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Day 2

After two days of riding around Minagua, playing with orphans, talking some workers in the orphanage about life and microfinance (which all that it´s cracked up to be thanks to 60% interest rates), generally butchering the spanish language, having my shirt peed on, having my pants peed on (in public and precisely in a fashion that made it look like I wet myself), washing my clothes on a washing board, watching cooking classes in the sewing center, avoiding bulls grazing in the outfield while playing pick up baseball with local kids, having my utter hatred of people from Los Angeles reaffirmed, pushing back to urge to yell ¨HITLER!¨and ¨TSUNAMI!¨ when people lectured me about fate, and learning the general level of patience need to maintain one´s sanity in Nicaragua, it looks like I will finally start doing actual work tomorrow.

Tomorrow morning, I will be heading inside of the gates of the dump for the first time and then building some shelves and tables for the sewing center (located right outside the gates of dump´s gates). Although I have seen the slums of Managua and met numerous people who reside in the dump, I´m still pretty nervous as I don´t know what to expect.

PS - Sorry as these posts are pretty disjointed as I don't have much time to plan and write them. Also, the spell check isnt working for some reason.

Chicken Ranch Special #1

Welcome to the first installment of YesMoreChickenRanch. As Maciej mentioned earlier we tried Chicken Ranch this evening. What a treat. Cheap, greasy food and an unintentionally hilarious receipt (seriously, order just to laugh at it, it's incredible).

Here's the rundown of YesMoreChickenRanch. There are 20 unique specials at Chicken Ranch, running the gauntlet of greasy food from chicken to fried shrimp and white fish to cheeseburgers, typically accompanied with a soda and your choice of an assortment of rice, fries, mashed potatoes and biscuits for sides. I plan on eating all of them and giving a quick review.

Today, we start out with Special #1 - 2 Pcs. Chicken, F.F. or Mash Biscuit & Soda - $4.50.

Now, from that description from the menu I assumed that I would get a bisuit and soda and then choose between french fries and mashed potatoes. I chose french fries and a sprite but was saddened to see that a biscuit was not included. I don't know if that was an oversight or if it's just not included with the specials. I guess we'll see as we progress through the menu.

Onto to the meal itself. It came in a positively glorious American flag box. The chicken was a sizeable breast and a sizeable drumstick, it took up roughly a third of the box. The fries took up the other two-thirds. The fries were pretty thin and perfectly fried. Very tastey. One gripe. They don't give you nearly enough ketchup for fries. Three packets ain't gonna cut it.

The chicken was delicious (for $4.50). It was fried and it had a nice reddish, orange-brown color that suggested that it would be a little spicy. It wasn't, although it was seasoned very nicely. The meat was very moist although at points it could be a little too moist, even oozey at times. Overall, very good though. We had a little (slightly old) ranch dressing in the fridge and it was excellent with the chicken. Also, the Sprite was to die for.

Overall, it left me satisfied and it was definitely well worth the $4.50. On a scale from 0 to 5 (5 being the best, obvi) I'll give it a solid 3.5 burps.

Up next we skip ahead to Chicken Ranch Special #6 (their #'s 2-5 are chicken specials with more pieces).

the Chicken Ranch

Will be live-tweeting our first order from Chicken Ranch. As much as our greasy hands permit. @YesMoreMaciej.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Si Mas Drama

If you take a piss on a flight from Atlanta to Minagua on a Friday night, you´ll probably wind up hitting a Christian Missionary. Typically they´re southern, the women in the group are wearing far too much make up and the men carry themselves with a pretty exaggerated sense of self satisfaction. If they´re really special, the group all dons matching t shirts with sayings like: Ordinary people, Extraordinary purpose. Although I was not wearing a t shirt, I was one of these people. Seeing and joining in with this mass of people all attempting to assist the poor or undertake some other great task forced me to arrive at a rather disturbing thought. Only an unforgivably large amount of hubris could pursuade a group of otherwise rational individuals that a week spent in a third world country could actually make a difference.

Instead of spending $2000 on 14 people to fly somewhere, why not just dole out $28,000 to the organizations that we´re helping?

My first day in Nicaragua was spent at the sewing center that my mother helped to found and saw that she actually was able to make a difference but more importantly, I realized that I will probably get more out of this than anyone who I help.

I am troubled by the fact that I will probably not change anyone´s life in Nicaragua during my stay here. A few orphans might be have someone else to carry them around and I´ll probably help build a few things for the sewing center but really my impact will probably not be that amazing in all actuality. However, if I am able to give back what I gained in my first day in Nicaragua, then my trip will be a success.

I´ll try to keep everyone updated on the blog if I have time, if anyone has any questions, leave a comment.