Friday, August 20, 2010

Diggin' now... Cee-Lo 'F**k you'

Short post: This is a great track, and made me really excited for Cee-Lo's coming record. It's been a while since Mr. Green's been around solo, and this is a great come back.

DISCLAIMER: People easily offended by certain parts of the English language maybe should've watch this.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Digging Now... Isobell Campebll & Mark Lanegan - 'Hawk'

One is a former singer and cellist with Belle and Sebastian. Another comes as the leading man in the Screaming Trees. As this Pitchfork review notes, you may not have guessed, but this combination works. It really, really works.

I decided to check out this duo's latest record, 'Hawk', yesterday after reading the afore-linked-to review, and already I think this could be one of those super underrated records that never really gets much of the attention it deserves, but really, really should. Perhaps one of the most criminally underrated records of the year.

What we have here is great combination of folk, blues, country and general rock-a-billy, rock & roll music. Much of the record rests squarely in the folk/country realm, with what I can only describe as blues sensibility mixed it, and you can tell these two have solid rock chops. It's not necessarily strict folk/country, despite first impressions, and that's probably because these two are experienced, talented and very different musicians.

To prove my point, I chose to post a video to the title-track, Hawk, above. Imagine yourself listening to a record that's been mostly folk-y and country sounding, with some forays more into rock, and then, halfway through, THIS distorted, bluesy freakout of an instrumental track hits you. With the chatter at the beginning, the screaming throughout, the horns, the heavy drums, the scratches and sounds mixed it, it sounds like someone gave the Blues Brothers some acid that night at the Palace Hotel Ballroom -- 106 miles from Chicago -- and said have at it, boys.

To be sure, Hawk is an anomaly, and the rest of the record fits into that folk/rock/country mold that Pitchfork review and I have mentioned. And the rest is really good too! But damn, that Hawk track. Do yourself a favor and check out the rest.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Diggin' now... (again)... TWDY - Players Holiday

"I'm just sittin' here timin' like a Rolex watch..."

These days, I don't have a car of my own -- I got these bikes though! So, anyway, last night when I borrowed a vehicle from my parents I was without the usual iPod adapter or selection of CDs that I would most likely have in my own car. For a minute, this was disappointing. But, then I went digging through the glove box and center console for something to listen to.

I found a host of mixes I made circa 2003 - 2005, basically from the point I got my drivers license through graduating from high school.

Perhaps, the best find was the song in the video above: TWDY, which stands for The Whole Damn Yay and the classic track 'Players Holiday' featuring Mac Mall, Otis & Shug and..... Too Short (!). The song begins with a reference to the, shall we say, less consequential affairs of the Bill Clinton presidency. The artists' astonishment that he got away with it leads them to deem this day, OF ALL THE DAYS, "Players Holiday," and the song unfolds from there.

Oh, and it includes one of my favorite lines of all time: "I'm just sittin' here, timin' like a Rolex watch."

Maybe it's nostalgia, or maybe it's a really great song -- probably the former. But, on a day like today, it seemed appropriate. And, well, here we are.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Dear Cheapo: I think you're great

Since the very beginning of this blog I lamented the fact that I was, in fact, located in Washington, D.C., half the country away from the record stores of the Twin Cities, where all of this began. Sure, I grew to find some really good shops in Washington, met some cool people and found some good stuff. But the whole time, I was always comparing it to what I left, and I publicly celebrated my (first, temporary) visit to the Twin Cities followed by my permanent move back.

The whole time, I always had one shop in mind: Cheapo Records. It has two locations in these Twin Cities, one in St. Paul a mile or so from where I live, and another in Uptown Minneapolis. The former is in two locations, one for CDs and DVDs, another across the street strictly for records and tapes. Minneapolis' is in one location, with the entire basement containing only vinyl records. So, yup, I really like it.

So far, I've visited St. Paul's Cheapo twice, and both times I walked away with more than I had intended to buy and more than I could've hoped to find. Today's buys?
  • The Sex Pistols -- Never mind the Bollocks
  • Woody Guthrie -- Best of (2xLP)
  • Jefferson Airplane -- Volunteers (which happens to be one of my favorite records from the whole West Coast, San Francisco 60s sound/era).

On my first trip?
  • An Ella Fitzgerald/Billie Holiday compilation
  • Neil Young -- Harvest
  • Sly & the Family Stone -- Greatest Hits
Not bad, and that was just in the recent arrivals. So, yeah. In short? Looking forward to visiting many more times, and buying many more records, for a while.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

White Stripes to reissue catalogue on vinyl

Perhaps I'm late to this, but I read today the White Stripes have plans to reissue their catalogue on vinyl. Needless to say, um, that'd be pretty awesome, and it's definitely one of the few vinyl reissues that I'd feel almost compelled to drop way too much money on investing in the handful or more new vinyl releases.

But that -- god, $100+? -- would be well worth it in my mind. And until they figure out a way to 'burn' your own record like you would a CD -- seriously, how crazy would that be? -- buying great music like this upon reissue when you get the chance is likely the only way to hear it in the best way possible: on wax, of course.

Diggin' now... Stereo Total

It was just a random link on a blog to this song, Je Rêve Encore de Toi, from the Berlin-based, German/French/English/Japanese language duo known as Stereo Total.

Here's how the group's Web site described Stereo Total and its music:
The music of the chanson- electro- nonelectro- garage- rock'n'roll- french-pop- rock-à-billy- disco- international- underground- duo Stereo Total can be described as:
40% Yéyétronic, 20% R'n'R, 10% Punkrock, 3% electronic effects, 4% French 60ies beat, 7% genious dilettantism, 1,5% Cosmonaute, 10% really old synthesizers, 10% 8-bit Amiga-sampling, 10% transistor amplifier, 1% really expansive and advanced instruments, a minimalist production, meaning a home- made- trash- garage- sound crossed with underground, authentic as well as amateurish, ironic as well as effective, pop as well as political.
Stereo Total are Françoise Cactus, (from France, drums and vocals) and Brezel Göring (guitar, synthesizer, sampler).
Right. If that sounds as awesome to you as it does to me, click play on the video above, check out this other song 'Prends-Moi' (translated: Take Me), watch the other I linked to above and just generally start exploring the catalogue. The group has released eight albums since 1995 (!) and the way the sound includes so much of the mashup, genre-bending style that's become a staple of recent music is really astonishing. Oh, yeah, and it's a hell of a lot of fun too.

A note on the language, I'm no linguist, but I have read the lyrics in fact do range from English to French and German to Japanese, maybe more. My French isn't what it used to be, but I can pick up pieces here and there. I'd imagine the same would go for German speakers as well, and for Japanese speakers on whichever songs employ that language.

But, really, it's different. It's strange at times. But I'm definitely digging it right now.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

July 25, 1965: Dylan goes electric at Newport Folk Festival

On this very day (July 25, 1965), 45 years ago, on a Sunday in Newport, R.I., Bob Dylan 'went electric,' as the moment is called now. He was roundly heckled and booed for the performance, as many of the folk-heads seemed to be channeling their more picky and fickle hipster counterparts these days.

Anyway, it was a really important moment, for Dylan and music. Check out the video, and the link above. If you want to know more, check out Martin Scorcese's Dylan flick 'No Direction Home', in which 1965 Newport performance is played as an important event as well.

Or, just watch the embedded performance. It's great, too. Enjoy.