Posts Tagged ‘Punk’

You Call That A Shuffle?

January 8, 2016

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To try and make this blog a little more regular in 2016, I hope this will be at least a weekly post.  The idea is to fire up iTunes, hit shuffle, see what comes up in the first three songs and share it here.  I’ll write a little bit about each song and give my rating I’ve given the song on iTunes.  Here’s my ranking rationale:

1 star = Why haven’t I deleted this song from my library?  The answer, in many cases, is because they are skits on hip hop albums.

2 star = Skippable.

3 star = Background music.

4 star = This will perk my ears up; crank the volume.

5 star = Stop what you’re doing and give your undivided attention to this song.

Without further ado…

  1. Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Flavor Part 2 (Beck/Mike Diamond/Mario Caldato Jr. Remix) from Experimental Remixes.  4 Stars.  Look at the names associated with this remix and you have a good idea what this is going to sound like.  Taking the unadorned bluesy punk of JSBX and adding several  layers, this easily could have been a cut that didn’t quite make it onto Mellow Gold, with the slightly echoed vocals, electronic flourishes, straightforward drum beat, and the hip hop vocal sample.  A funky baseline gets added in during the last minute of the song.
  2. Madlib, Dark Alley Incidental Music, from Beat Konducta Vol. 3-4 Beat Conduct in India.  Madlib likes to take on themes with his Beat Konducta series and here, it’s Indian culture.  4 stars. This song starts with thirty seconds of dialogue from an Indian movie (TV show?) and then takes what seems to be a clipped sample of James Brown yelping to introduce a beat buoyed by bass drum and rattling tambourine.  Add in a tingling sitar line that Madlib lifted from a Bollywood movie and you have a very good hip hop beat.  I’d love to hear Missy Elliott rhyme over this.
  3. Massive Attack, Risingson, from Mezzanine.  4 Stars. If Massive Attack tried to do space rock, this is what I’d expect to be the output.  Echoing beats and vocals that swirl among atmospheric sighs (exhortations to “dream on” meld into those sighs) and skittering cymbal hits.  Brings both menace and soaring euphoria.

SXSW 3/14/13 Wet Nuns

March 14, 2013

After Bastille, we headed to Latitude 30 which had been transformed into a British Invasion HQ. All afternoon they were having new British bands. We got there right before the start and just had a short wait. Once we got in, we realized there was free BBQ and alcohol. Lunch location solved!

The first band on was a two piece named Wet Nuns. They started by saying you wouldn’t find them on Google and then launched into a half hour thrash of heavy guitar riffs and drum crescendos. There was definitely some Sabbath influences and punk ethos going on. The guitarist wandered into the crowd during the last song and did some head banging. We had to move on, but I enjoyed this band and this is what I had hoped for from SXSW, hearing stuff I normally wouldn’t listen to.

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Book Review

July 14, 2012

I recently finished reading Will Hermes’ Love Goes to Buildings on Fire.  I picked it up at the library for some entertainment on a cross-country flight, I vaguely recognized his name (probably from the contributions he’s made to Rolling Stone and Spin) and the subject.  The book chronicles five years, 1973-1977, of the music scene in New York City.

Hermes was a teenager during those years living in NYC and he does a fine job of weaving his own personal experience into the narrative of the music scene as a budding music fan himself as well as, well, a teenager.  Only a teenager would find it entertaining to go stand in line for a club, in this case Studio 54, that he knows he has no chance to get into, just to experience the spectacle (and probably to mercilessly ridicule those around him, if i know teenagers at all).  SPOILER ALERT: He didn’t get in.

From the title of the book (referencing a Talking Heads tune) and some of the caricatures prominent on the book cover, Hermes’ affinity for rock/punk/new wave shines through.  Lots of pages are devoted to CBGB and other clubs that allowed acts like the New York Dolls, Television, Suicide, and the Talking Heads to hone their craft and their antics, on and off stage.

But, I learned a lot about other musical scenes through this book and its obvious Hermes has studied all of them:  hip-hop (the very, very early days), latin music, loft jazz, experimental composers, folk, and DJ/club culture including disco.  For this reason alone, this book is a great resource.  Especially with latin music coverage, I got a lot of context for music I’ve been discovering through blogs like Soul Sides.

Additionally, Hermes does a great job of relating how the City itself was influencing the music.  The City is treated as another character in the drama, and when it’s not doing good, which is often during the 70s, there’s a palpable effect on some of the players in the bands being discussed in the book.

As a fan of history and music, this was a home run of a book to me.  I’d recommend this to anyone with an interest in either.  Hermes also has a blog he’s put up that adds even more depth to some of the stories in the book.

Leave you with a clip of Patti Smith peforming at the Bottom Line (one of the clubs that gets a fair amount of coverage in the book), who along with Bruce Springsteen, are cast in the book as the new king and queen of a new brand of rocker, with lyrical sensibilities of folk heros like Bob Dylan, a relentless drive to make music, and the energy of rock heroes of yore (like the Who) cranked up a few notches: