What I’m listening to

July 16, 2010

Divided into groups so you can skip the parts you don’t care about:

ROCK and/or ROLL

Jamie Lidell – Compass

Technically Lidell is a former electronica square-pusher who is now doing R&B and funk.  But he has time for other genres too, including this folky title track from his third album.  Here it is paired with visuals from the game “Red Dead Redemption,” which it played a key role in.

Jose Gonzalez – Veneer

Speaking of “Red Dead,” this summarizes why the game was so absorbing to me, and why my girlfriend probably considered hiding my copy.  This is what happens in the game when you first enter Mexico.  (This song isn’t on “Veneer” but it gives you a taste of the beauty of Gonzalez’s music.)

Broken Social Scene – Forgiveness Rock Record

For indie rock this is pretty high-profile.  I beg your forgiveness, but frankly I don’t have the energy to read the reviews in Alternative Press every month any more.  But here’s what matters: it’s a damn good album.

HIP HOP

Big Boi – Sir Lucious Leftfoot… The Son of Chico Dusty

OutKast fans can rejoice because half of that classic group finally released something, after several years of label drama and non-music-related BS.  Hip hop fans can rejoice because this right here is the best rap album of the year… and it’s only July.

Homeboy Sandman – The Good Sun

This cat is just weird.  Video below isn’t from this album, but from his previous one – however, I find the video so low-rent charming and his flow so bizarre in this song that I just had to throw this up.

Roc Marciano – Marcberg and AG – Everything’s Berri

No video here, but let me just say this: if you miss old school boom bap with grimy production and sedate flows, and above all that immersive, cinematic quality that made “Only Built 4 Cuban Linx” a classic, check out both of these.  I especially dig “Snow” off of “Marcberg” and that very-70s cover art for “Berri.”  Both albums are nice.

DANCEHALL and REGGAE

Busy Signal – D.O.B.

Excellent album in general (though his debut “Step Out” remains his best), but this dark, poverty-focused track with Bounty Killer is the high point for me.

There’s also, rather weirdly, a few semi-covers of popular hit songs.  This one really works for me and I couldn’t even explain why.  I only wish Busy would get past the autotune trend – his voice is so effective without it.

Black Dillinger – Love Life

This track is so huge, reminding me of old Sizzla cuts such as “Like Mountain.” The digital version of “Love Life” has been out for a spell (since January or so) but the CD still doesn’t exist, which is a shame.  Anyway, give this a listen.

METAL and RELATED CRAP

Hooded Menace – Never Cross the Dead

Death metal mired in sludge, taking one horrible crawling step at a time in your direction.  Hooded Menace’s concept is based on the sleazy, cheesy Eurohorror “Blind Dead” series of movies:

…and the music is SO fitting to that premise.  Also: best metal cover art of 2010, without question.

Sabbath Assembly – Restored to One

Sabbath Assembly is Jex of Jex Thoth – a sonorous-voiced woman who sounds imported from both the 70s and a Frank Frazetta painting – along with Dave Nuss of the No Neck Blues Band and a guy who produced Sunn O))).  The concept behind the album is to take a bunch of hymns of the Process Church of the Final Judgment (key excerpt: “They were often viewed as Satanic on the grounds that they worshipped both Christ and Satan. Their belief is that Satan will become reconciled to Christ, and together will come at the end of the world to judge humanity, Christ to judge and Satan to execute judgment”) and realize them with fleshed-out arrangements and a serious evil hippie, Manson cult vibe.  It’s 60s flower rock meets 70s doom metal meets seriously weird religious fanaticism, and if I thought they believed in what they’re singing, I’d be a little concerned.  But as is, it makes for really interesting listening, almost like an alternative reality soundtrack to “The Wicker Man.”


“Prepare yourself” – damn straight

June 17, 2010

That’s right, it’s the “Smurfs” trailer.

This is a parody, right?  Some enterprising wiseacre with editing skills and a rudimentary grasp of CGI made this for the YouTube lulz?  ‘Cause if not, I just don’t get it.  I think as far as shitty-looking, childhood-raping, hip-hop-ized, designed-by-committee swill, this is the pure stuff; they must have spent hours reducing this just to ensure that nothing about it was accidentally tolerable.

Two further points:

1. Neal Patrick Harris.  Really?  I like you, man, don’t do this shit.  Leave it to the David Crosses of the world.

2. When I loaded this page, the trailer played on an endless loop.  I watched it three times in horror, then opened a new tab to write this post while the trailer continued to torment me via my computer speakers.  I expect this means that I am now in hell.  Room 1, eternal hot pokering in various orifices.  Room 2, eternal “Smurfs” trailer.


Ambiguity

June 11, 2010

“The question is: Where would it get you if something that’s a little bit ambiguous in the movie is made clear? It doesn’t get you anywhere.”

- Joel Coen


Can it still be a circle jerk if I’m the only one masturbating?

May 27, 2010

Forgive my blue humor, Diane.  What we have this morning is a link to a blog called Witchpolice, which has very kindly re-hosted and re-posted my Sizzla remix album, and interviewed me about the thing to boot.  I suppose it’s pretty masturbatory for me to prattle on so much about my own project, and doubly so to link from my blog to theirs – but anyway, it was really nice of them to do this, and they asked a lot of good questions.  Stand-up guys, good blog, check it out.


Tortuga’s gonna mess you up… with his MACHETE

May 13, 2010

I have no words for this slice of insanity, except to stutter a list of names: De Niro… Lapidus and Ana Lucia and Hurley’s dad (a.k.a. Cheech) from “Lost”… Jessica Alba… Don Johnson… Steven Seagal’s bloated corpse… La Lohan… and Danny fucking Trejo.  In the words of many an internet ‘tard, LOLWUT

Also, Danny Trejo gives good interview.  Here are some choice pull quotes: “So I said, ‘How bad do you want this guy beat up? Shit, for 320 bucks‘”  “I think he was scared of me, so he’d do whatever I told him to do.”  “When you’re using drugs and doing robberies, it’s hard to distinguish whether you’re doing robberies to support your drug habit, or doing drugs to support your robbery habit.”  “So I kick in the door, somebody jumps up, I bash them with the shotgun, and I ask this guy, ‘Oh, you wanna die, huh?’ This lady starts screaming, and I put this gun right in her face. So the director yells, ‘Cut! Cut! God, Danny, where did you study?’ I said, ‘Let me see. Von’s. Safeway. Thrifty Mart.'”  “This guy looks at me, almost starts crying, and says, ‘Hey, I’m trying to stay in character.’ I was, ‘Well, your character’s about to get his ass beat.'”


Revisiting a remix

May 4, 2010

Diane,

First of all: sorry for my inattentiveness to this blog.  I wish I could say I was going to change, but I’m not.  In fact, there’s a good chance I’m going to retire from this pursuit of mine.  Not that I’ve said all I have to say about every trivial damn thing in the world – quite the contrary! – but I blog too intermittently and of various quality to keep this place well-tended and -trafficked.  If I close up shop, you’ll be the first (and judging by my visitor stats, the only) person to know.

Now down to it.  I thought it would be fun today to revisit my last major creative project, “The Good, The Bad & The Remixed.” Yeah, that reggae/spaghetti Western mashup thing.  Part of the fun of that was knowing that I could never legally or morally try to make a cent off it, so I wanted to give it away and see if it would spread at all – but I did little to promote it really.  I think the entirety of my promotional efforts included: 1) blogging about it here with a download link; 2) posting about it on a couple forums (one devoted to spaghetti Westerns and the other about dancehall and reggae); and 3) sent it to an online acquaintance who runs a reggae review site, and was kind enough to write it up for me.

Digging into it today, I found that it did spread.  Not exactly like wildfire, but it is a pretty specialty taste – a mix of Morricone (critically well-regarded, but even his classic soundtracks don’t exactly fly off the shelves) and Sizzla (an artist only marginally known outside of Jamaica and the UK).  If you stuff those two into a Venn diagram to represent what group of people would have a pre-existing interest in both, it looks like this:

Still, hope springs eternal, and Googling your own shit is cheap and easy.  So I Googled away.  And look!

A blog, which says: “With a palette of the entire history of recorded sound, it still amazes me how many people choose to plagiarise the same old stuff… but fortunately there are still some exceptions.”  That’s right, motherfuckers, I plagiarized something completely different.

Another blog, whose writer is kind enough to get briefly into the shared history between Westerns and reggae (it does exist, I swear), and to comment very kindly, “The cuts of ‘Represent’ and ‘Rise To The Occation’ [sic] are pure genius.”

Another blog, which pronounces it “weird and original” and even links up a sample track so you can hear it before downloading.  I’m pretty sure I was too lazy to do that, and even if I wasn’t, I’m too lazy to go back and check.

Yet another blog, who says the project is “fully leftfield.”  Stern but fair.

Also this blog.

And this one.  The writer opens with a quote from the Reggae Reviews review, but adds, “This one is crazzzzy…wicked wicked wicked remixes, this one is ah must have…tek ah slice and listen.  Big up Dale Cooper & Kalonji!!”  That’s in actual patois.  Honestly, I’m fucking touched.  Sniff.

One more blog, who didn’t comment but color-coded the text into red, gold and green.  Good enough!

Two more blogs – in Spanish and Portuguese.  ¡Internacional!

This site (ReggaeTopSite.com) which actually added the remix to their album download list.

A music forum, in what appears to be… Hungarian?  Is that what “.hu” means?

A YouTube channel.  Soon I’m gonna be raking in that “Chocolate Rain” money.

Plus I’ve now, basically at random, run into two reggae enthusiasts online who had heard and liked (or semi-liked) the remix – one of whom is the unstoppable Achis, who I’m pretty sure blogs in real time, exactly as fast as a normal person talks.  (There’s no other explanation for the quantity and length of posts he puts out.)

Anyway I am quite grateful to have seen this thing move around a little bit, and one day perhaps I’ll get off my lazy ass and do another one.  But not before that death metal album my friend Sweaty B has been bugging me about.


Help me write a book/movie/TV show

March 26, 2010

A guy is driving down a familiar street to a familiar place.  He comes to a T intersection.  At the “top” of the T is a thickly wooded area.  To the left is his neighborhood, his home.  To the right is who cares.  He turns left, goes home.

The same guy is driving down the same street to the same place, at a later time.  He reaches the same intersection and sees a narrow dirt road directly across from him, extending into the woods.  He is fairly certain, but not 100% certain, that this road didn’t exist before.  Did someone just make it?  Is something weird going on?  Is he having a stroke?

Curiosity gets the better of him.  He forgoes his usual left turn and navigates his car down the dirt road, into the semi-darkness of the woods.

A.) What is this road and why does it exist?

B.) Where is it going?

C.) If this is a complete work of fiction, what is the long-term goal that we have initiated by introducing the road?


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