Hat tip to Don Boudreaux, who seems not to have the same inner conflict that I do on this one.
February 1, 2010
January 30, 2010
Okay, this one’s been going around pretty much every economics-related blog I’ve seen: Fear the Boom and Bust. They actually did a really good job for being a bunch of white people talking about economics.
Rap’s not at all my style, but while I’m at it, here’s Lazy Muncie. It’s old, but still funny.
And finally, something a little closer to my tastes (which I can’t embed). Tony will probably like that band.
September 8, 2008
Vacation time is over and it’s back to the daily grind, so what better time to talk about a great band?
Aside from the Sex Pistols, my favorite ’70s band is probably The Runaways. The combination of young Joan Jett with Lita Ford was fantastic, and so I honor the Queens of Noise (well, the female version at least; Freddy Mercury may have wanted that title…) with YouTube goodness.
And finally, the song that most anybody who remembers the Runaways will remember: Cherry Bomb.
January 22, 2008
I finally completed my project to make Wir Sind Helden’s first album (Die Reklemation) high-quality. It turns out to be a near-total success, with only one point in which it is noticable that I cut something out. I ended up shaving 5 minutes off of the album and I am definitely pleased with the end results.
December 1, 2007
I have a theory that Wir Sind Helden’s first album—Die Reklamation—is actually an outstanding album if you take roughly the last minute off of each song. I am finally getting around to testing this theory, and will have a version for tomorrow’s trip to Pat’s house. The downside is that a 50-minute album will shrink to roughly 35-38 minutes, making it too short for solo-album drive-time goodness, but the upside is that at least there won’t be highly annoying repetitions at the end. I shall keep everyone up to date on this.
June 29, 2007
5) Adam’s Rib is a Shiv
4) Lipstick Babylon
3) Menstrous and Undefiled
2) Sarai to Sarah
1) Heavens to Betsy!
June 3, 2007
About 30% of Sonic Youth’s eighties output is more or less strictly about Thurston Moore’s libido. Here’s how it usually pans out, in Choose Your Own Adventure format.
1) Moore’s Libido (100% of my love)
A) Act Out (15%) [end] B) Repress (35%) C) Sublimate the Ever-Loving Hell Out Of (50%) [end]
I) Repress For the Sake of Feeding Back Into Libido (1) (10%)
This creates a sort of amplification loop that eventually leads to a smoother, more melodic sound
II) Repress for the Sake of Feeding Back Into Sublimate… (C) (15%)
This creates an amplification loop that leads to a rough, chaotic sound
III) Repress for the Sake of Catholic Block (10%)
Anyway, one day Thurston decided that he wanted to hone his Chi to the point where he’d be able to shoot a beam of psychic energy 200 miles from New York to Washington D.C. to immolate President Reagan. So he took up a rigorous discipline of meditation and staring at pictures of naked women with Reagan’s face taped over their heads while eating raw tomatoes and oysters. By day five Thurston had stored up nearly enough sexual energy to achieve his sordid ends. Fortunately for all involved, a friend showed up at Thurston’s apartment with a bag of “killer” weed and they both got high as kites. Having a huge reserve of libidinal energy and being too stoned to remember why he had it, Thurston resorted to his usual, tried-and-true method of release and in a little under three hours penned Daydream Nation in its entirety. Anyway, that’s the story of the greatest album made in my lifetime.
May 23, 2007
Yesterday, I went to an independent music store and bought two Interpol CDs. I chatted with the people at the counter as they were talking about just how much they love Interpol.
If this post doesn’t get a response from Mr. G, I dare say that he’s been eaten by sharks.
January 3, 2007
First of all, happy belated Hanukkah to Kevin and happy belated Halloween II: The Pagans’ Revenge or whatever he celebrates this time of year to the Penguatroll. Happy whatever to all and to all a good night.
An integral part of my holiday season is the composition of the Year End Mix Disk. I almost didn’t do one for this year, but around early December every year my muse knocks me up and I become pregnant with the urge to make a new mix. That’s really almost exactly how it happens. The last two years I wasn’t sure if I would do one, but as December goes on the urge gets stronger and stronger until I don’t feel like fighting it anymore.
Now my Year End Mix is an event that is greatly anticipated by literally two or three people, so this year it has spawned a couple imitators. First, there’s Andy Leighty‘s take on the year, which goes a-little something like this, like this:
Zao- “Pudgy Young Blondes With Lobotomy Eyes”
Regina Spektor- “Fidelity”
30 Seconds to Mars- “The Kill”
Matisyahu- “King Without a Crown”
Ben Harper- “Morning Yearnings”
The Decemberists- “O Valencia!”
Calexico- “Dance of Death”
Dresden Dolls- “Dirty Business”
Flyleaf- “I’m So Sick”
Hellogoodbye- “Here (In Your Arms)”
August Burns Red- “Endorphins”
Gnarls Barkley- “Crazy”
My Chemical Romance- “The Black Parade”
The Weepies- “All That I Want”
Norma Jean- “A Small Spark Vs. A Great Forest”
Neko Case- “Star Witness”
The Killers- “When You Were Young”
…Which in my humble opinion is not too shabby. Ben Gudorf, long-time Assistant Editor and Chief Consultant of the Year End Mix Project, though continuing to provide me his invaluable assistance, has split with me to offer his own take on the year. This is due largely to irreconcilable ideological differences and his still, I believe, being a little miffed at me over perceived flaws in last year’s mix. Ben has not provided me with a tracklist yet. Hopefully this project will give Ben a chance to work through his denial of his twee / indie pop fetish. Like every 2006 mix made anywhere by anyone, it will include “Crazy.”
So what was the year in music like? Messed up. It’s like all of pop music has collided together and congealed into one huge molten mass, and then pieces fell off and became bands. “Genre-splicing” is a term that has just about lost its meaning. 2006 is the year that two former boy-band members were more avant-garde than Sonic Youth.
Some may argue that it’s always been like this to some extent, but to that I say listen again to the past five years or so. And look at the forces that have shaped popular perception of music. Bear with me if you already know the story, because I’m going to rattle off the usual suspects. The internet, iTunes and their iPods, car commercials, the OC, Conan O’Brien, the WB, the Garden State Soundtrack; and, as though in exile in uncharted territory from this new encroachment upon their native lands, the underground’s nearly inexplicable widespread acceptance (aided by a handful of really strong albums on the part of the following parties) of Wolf Eyes, Sunn0))), Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Keith Fullerton Whitman and Xiu Xiu and the like. And then freak-folk, etc. Take a step back, cross your eyes, and the image becomes clear. It’s 2006!
So here’s my tracklist, complete with how the songs faired on Rolling Stone’s and Pitchfork’s year end lists. I come somewhat recommended!
TV on the Radio- “I Was a Lover”
Justin Timberlake- “Let Me Talk to You Prelude / My Love” (RS #50, P4k #1)
Sonic Youth- “Incinerate” (RS #40)
Xiu Xiu- “Vulture Piano”
Liars- “Let’s Not Wrestle Mt. Heart Attack” (P4k #65)
Hot Chip- “Over and Over” (RS #30, P4k #16)
Zeigeist- “Tar Heart” (P4k #60)
My Chemical Romance- “Teenagers”
Mission of Burma- “2wice”
Mastodon- “Crystal Skull”
Wolf Eyes- “The Driller”
The Knife- “Silent Shout” (P4k #2)
Ghostface Killah- “Shakey Dog” (P4k #19)
Gnarls Barkley- “Crazy” (RS #1, Pitchfork is so on-the-ball that this made their best songs of 2005, despite the notable handicap of having not been released yet.)
The Pipettes- “Your Kisses Are Wasted on Me” (P4k #74)
Islands- “Rough Gem”
Yo La Tengo- “Beanbag Chair”
Beirut- “Postcards from Italy” (P4k #29)
Mogwai- “Folk Death 95″
Girl Talk- “Smash Your Head” (P4k #58)
JT pretty much tears it up as far as I’m concerned. Blah, blah, blah, Cameron Diaz, Michael Jackson and N’Sync, but when was the last time you’ve heard a pop celebrity sing (or make his friend sing) over that much cowbell, practically through a signature change, under heavenly but barely audible female vocal harmonics and over some indescribable wah-ah-wah-ah box-spring-mattress thing and, like, five different flavors of human beat-box sample? What really takes the cake is that brilliant violin substitute, the janked-up but still ethereal synths. Does a pop star have to resort to autoharp, didgeridoo and Zulu tribespeople on backing vocals to get music geek cred? Heavens bless Pitchfork!
It’s worth mentioning, though, just how much more “Silent Shout” is worth than Timberlake’s whole career. As far as I can tell it’s hands-down song of the year, and I’ve felt this way, adamantly, for a couple months. A song of its caliber comes along only once every two or three years. All you can do is sit there and let your drool well up on your keyboard as a little bit of what you thought you knew about pop music is destroyed forever. Like I told a friend, it’s the kind of song that you want to assign ten page essays on why it’s such a gem to everyone you know, and then return those essays with grades. Unlike, say, “We Share Our Mother’s Health,” it doesn’t grab you and immediately rattle your brains silly. I doubt that anyone developed a more or less full appreciation of “Silent Shout” in a couple of listens. But it’s all there.
Ahh, My Chemical Romance. Song steals its verse’s melody and guitar from (I swear on my own grave) the theme song of some nineties sitcom I can’t quite place and steals its chorus’s melody from traditional Irish drinking songs. But to quote Lennon, everyone’s a rip-off, it’s only a matter of how you rip-off.
Not flirting with controversy so much as drunkenly making out with it on the sofa in the corner, I opted to include Zeigeist’s “Tar Heart.” The first time I listened to it I just buried my eyes in my hand and shook my head and smiled. I’m pretty sure this happened when the chorus rolled around and the backing vocalist gasped, “You’re a man!” In other words, it’s the kind of song that I’m embarassed to listen to in private. But good gravy, does it have some melody. I don’t know how anyone managed to fit so much Sweden into one song.
There were quite a bit of bubble-gum dead-ringers this year, especially “Rough Gem” and “Your Kisses Are Wasted on Me.” As far as the latter is concerned, I have no doubt that “Pull Shapes” is quite a bit more clever and sophisticated, but there ceased to be any kind of debate at all over which song to pick when the blonde hits the second note of the chorus, the “you,” which I do believe is a B-flat. From there on out you’re pretty much just crushed by a tsunami of pop.
Celebrated fifty year-olds Sonic Youth and Mission of Burma just do their thing and do it very well. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that their songs seem the most natural, organic and relaxed of all those on the mix, despite their economy and angularity. Just blithely strumming away amidst the scenery they helped plant the seeds for some twenty-odd years ago.
Now Check the Method:
First, the ground rules. Exactly 20 different songs from 20 different groups. The mix must be as close to 80 minutes as possible (79:36 this year!). Track six must feature cowbell.
When making a year-end mix, I always do my best to remember my five C’s: Continuity, Coherence, Catchiness, Comprehensiveness, and Contextualization. Coherence and comprehensiveness are natually pitted against each other, but I try to offer a picture of what the year meant to me without having any songs stick out like sore thumbs or leaving any important genres or movements completely out of that picture. When representing an album, I usually pick the catchiest song on it. Mixes are not places to strain audiences’ attention spans. I have the most fun in how I play continuity and context off of one another. I had to put Wolf Eyes directly before “Silent Shout.” I had to end the disk with a series of retrofied pop songs that bled into retrofied pop songs about nostalgia that shifted to a sweeping instrumental titled “Folk Death 95″ that shifted again, abruptly, to a seeming non sequitur that closes the album with the deceased Biggie Small rapping a reference to the first World Trade Center attack over the piano and vocals from “Tiny Dancer.” I am meticulous and there is usually a method to my madness.
Well, enough patting myself on the back. I am very excited about the current state of music and so far happy with my portrayal of it.