Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 On My List

First, the biz:

I'm spinning tonight (NYE) at:
Draft Bar
157 Ludlow St (LES)
10pm, $5 (includes a glass o' bubbly)
Link for more info here

I'm not such a fan of making year-end lists as they're usually prone to faulty reasoning (are you really going to judge something released 11 months ago the same way something from last week?). But I like the end results as they're a quick, easy way to share ideas, so here are a handful: best albums, songs and videos.

You can find my top 15 albums over at Prefix (scroll down, the lists are alpha by writer's surname). A few factors skewed my list: 1) we had to have 15; 2) we were limited to 1 reissue; and 3) I excluded (Hold Steady) or dropped (Kanye) the ranking of certain albums b/c I figured other writers would rank those same choices higher. So, here's a more representative list:

Top Albums
Laura Marling I Speak Because I Can (Astralwerks)
LCD Soundsystem This Is Happening (DFA)
Flying Lotus Cosmogramme (Warp)
Brad Laner Natural Selections (Hometapes)
Das Racist Shut Up, Dude Mixtape (self-released)
Brian Eno Small Craft on a Milk Sea (Warp)
Dirty Projectors and Bjork Mount Wittenberg Orca (self-released)
She and Him Volume 2 (Merge)
DaVinci Day the Turf Stood Still (self-released)
Walter Gibbons Jungle Music (Strut)
The Method Actors This is Still It? (Acute)

Top 10 Songs
My song choices are laughably light. I suppose this has more to do with how I divide my music between personal listening and mass consumption (i.e. DJ sets or blends). But this is what I can remember liking:

Sleigh Bells "Tell 'Em"
Admittedly this got old after a month (wow! it's loud!) and the linked clip summarizes the band's entire live set, but I still thoroughly enjoy the heroic quality of the main guitar riff. I usually equate Superman entrance cues with horns or orchestral swells, but Derek Miller took a choice page from the Angus Young/Jimmy Page comp book.

She and Him "In The Sun"
Abnorml said he put this on repeat when it came up in the spring 2010 blend. I think that about sums it up.

Yeasayer "O.N.E."
I recently realized that I used to play gigs with the Fool's Gold guitarist back when he was in the Americanas. So cool that he's continuing to do such interesting music now. This Yeasayer joint reminds me of the Afro Pop that FG references. Very fun video, too.

Marcus Price and Carli "Mat Bira Kvinnor Weed"
There's something perverse about the voice modulation. And then offset by the "Keeps my fire burning" lick. Very odd. Another funny video.

Katy B "Katy on a Mission"
She reminds me of that singer that Ronny Fazer produced/slept with in Skins. And this song is lighter than powder, but everyone lost their shit to its bass on my bachelor night. Those are the cards sometimes, right?

Hold Steady "The Weekenders"
Thirtysomething struggles are way better than twentysomething angst.

Gyptian "Hold Yuh"
Neat trick: right-hand piano lick, snare hits and a looping lyric. Linked to the remix w/ the Nicki verse as it adds some needed spice.

Gucci Mane "It's Gucci Time"
Swizz Beatz updates "Touch It" by moving down the block from Daft Punk to Justice.

Eminem "Won't Back Down"
I forget that I saw him pre-Aftermath deal when he was a bespectacled freestyler performing for a befuddled Bay Area crowd. Even then he was hungry. Over ten years later he actually looks hungrier now. Anyone know who is the gray-haired keyboardist at stage left?

Wyatt, Atzmon and Stephen "Laura"
Compendium to Charlie Parker with Strings.

Top Videos
I actually don't spend a lot of time watching videos as I barely have enough time to listen to music, read, etc. So this is probably better described as a list of videos I actually watched from start-to-finish.

BIG BOI "SHUTTERBUG" from BEMO | Brandon Hirzel on Vimeo.

Big Boi "Shutterbug"

What's not to love? Ok, the Tron promo is a bit much, but keep in mind this came out months before the film's marketing blitz started. Anyway, back to the pros: Puppet versions of the band -- playing talk box, no less (1:15); and inexplicably surreal bits, including shoe-mountain-climbing (1:09), a mouth of rhyme pages (1:52) and a Rothko-esque (or is it Warhol?) wall of red plastic cups (1:34). Nice to see a slight inversion on the live performance video.

Grum - Through The Night from The General Assembly on Vimeo.

Grum "Through The Night"

'80s parodies, buddy/cop action and ironic homoeroticism are all pretty well-trodden fare. But Dangerous Minds hit the nail on the head by captioning this "Gay Glock Rockin' Cops and New Wave Dance Beats..."

Kanye West "Power"

I watched the premier with my in-laws. Mind you, I think we were in between episodes of Jersey Shore or some house-flipping show. I don't think this changed anyone's opinion of Kanye.

Rusko "Feels So Real (Douster & Savage Skulls Jersey Shore Remix)"

Speaking of Jersey Shore, the show and every stereotype of Italian-American culture that it manages to not just perpetuate but somehow magnify have all become a convenient punchline. That said, how many of you dance with this kind of abandon and lack of self-consciousness?

Dam Funk "Things That Dreams Are Made Of"

I loved Major Lazer's "Keep It Goin' Louder" video and Dam Funk came through with an improvement. And a great reminder of an awesome Human League record.

Hot Chip, Bernard Sumner, and Hot City “I Didn’t Know What Love Was” 

It's not that I really like this video as much as I was reminded how much I would like to see new Michel Gondry work. That said, I'm pretty sure Green Hornet will not be like this.

Blaqstarr "Pressure"

More creepiness. The use of CCTV visuals in mass media has probably desensitized us to how it is actually used on an everyday basis. Blaqstarr brings us back to reality by adding some psychedelic effects and focusing on an intimate moment.

Daft Punk "Derezzed"

Got super excited by this clip. For the song and the film. Thankfully, I didn't see the full-length video 'til now. The original Tron low-bit effects are neat, but a bit one-note. But I'll take either over the disappointing fight sequence in the actual film.

Mark Ronson & the Business Int'l "Somebody to Love Me" (Feat. Boy George)

YT comments are always hilarious: "Is that Diane Kruger as Boy George?"

Cassius, I Love you so from WE ARE FROM L.A on Vimeo.

Cassius "I Love You So"

A summation of hip-pop culture: synths, sped-up vocals, iPhones, apps, beautiful people using iPhone apps, vague references to cross-culturalism (black female lips over white male?), and, of course, shameless self promotion.

Rita Indiana y Sus Misterios "La Hora de Volver"

Technically from 2009, I believe, but caught this on Generation Bass a month back. It's a better version of M.I.A. and Major Lazer's Y2K-era throwbacks. Why is Rita better? The Klaus Nomi look.

Thanks again for all the love and support. See you on the other side of tonight!

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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Movin' On Up is up! Super high fives to dirtystylus for gifting me with this beautiful site. Please check it out, tell your friends, send me feedback...

I'll continue to post here, as well as on F-book and Twitter, but the site will be the one-stop shopping hub for all your, uh, me needs.


Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Drawing by I. Moros

White Xmas setlist

The funny thing about looking through a music library, no matter how broad, is the inevitability of finding a familiar ethnic, gender, sexual orientation, etc. breakdown. In other words, it's a majority white man's, man's, man's world in both the real and in our lp/cd/tape/mp3/cloud collections. Call me a product of the affirmative action age, but I often make it a point in my sets to find room for other voices. If anything, it's a great realization finding the voices I am not including and figuring out how to include them. Or finding other ways to flip my ideas of what a certain voice sounds like.

So, why a white Christmas? Sure, we hear plenty of the lily-white this time of year. But there are plenty of white folks that have played to other crowds and with the sounds of the other. The line between appropriation and appreciation is actually pretty distinct to me, so I figured why not pay tribute to those that pay tribute?

That said, I have to give much respect to the godparents of this line of thinking: Bambaataa, Kool Herc, Hollywood, Frankie Crocker, et. al. The idea of crossing lines to find the right beat is an old one, indeed. And a lot of these beats are classics: Rare Earth, "Black Betty," "Take Me to the Mardi Gras..." Admittedly the set just wrote itself.

I didn't think the music would have much to do with the drawing besides playing the role of the bleachers, but, man, Ms. Moros came through with a mind-bender for me. For the record, it was not the Beasties, but a Beck (by way of the Dust Brothers, who also worked with the Beasties) beat. But I love her use of text alongside the images. Maybe there's another idea: lyrics to match poses?

P.S. Peep game to screen right: Tony Rico and I are DJ'g NYE at Draft Bar in the LES. Be there. Holler at me via F-book for more deets.


sintalentos - winter 2010

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Thursday, December 02, 2010


View from the "booth" (of Sarah K & her work)

British Invasion playlist

Colonized v. UK playlist

George Williams Aingo "Akuko Nu Bonto" from the comp Living Is Hard: West African Music In Britain, 1927-1929
Fela Sowande "Akinla" from African Suite
Fela Kuti "Buy Africa" from London Scene


UK Sitar Takeover playlist

Covers of the Beatles playlist

UK v. Colonized playlist

Small hands, small hands all around for another great session last night. Special claps to Chit of ABCDs of Cooking for catering. She made us persimmon salsa (the fruit came from California!) and tzatziki with Indian spices (i.e., subtly spicy) which were promptly devoured. If you don't know about her American-Desi fusions, get the knowledge here.

Very much a coincidence, but the music theme mirrored the food: West meets East... and other points colonized. "British Invasion" was less about the Beatles, Stones, etc. crossing the pond and going all D-Day on the Billboard charts, but more about the interaction of English music culture with that of the Queen's subjects. Not to make light of or justify colonization, but there is a strangely fluid exchange of music ideas between colonizer and colonized.

Personally, I felt I kept the range narrow: UK v. India, UK v. Nigeria and UK v. U.S.A. (rhythm & blues, soul and hip-hop). But Keith mentioned that the music was probably my broadest stretch to date: from Lily Allen 50 Cent satires to mid-century Nigerian art music.

Even though the connections were pretty familiar (isn't the sitar in rock a joke?), the research process turned up goodies again. The extent of Chuck Berry material covered by the Beatles and the Stones was a bit surprising. I came to those Bombay Talkie cuts via the Darjeeling Limited soundtrack, but it also turned up a convenient connection to the former British overlords by being a Bollywood-style film produced by the famed Merchant-Ivory team. Should I be surprised that this (and Satyajit Ray) was the style of Indian film music that Wes Anderson would reference? Anyway, my favorite connections were by far the Nigerian/West African ones (sorry, couldn't find the tracks on YT, but the tracks are listed above). I couldn't make out the highlife influences in the George Williams Aingo track and African Suite until a few days ago. Proof of how the highlife rhythm is still not ingrained in my conscience, even after all these years. But how wonderful to hear that rhythm in two very different contexts.

Thanks again to y'all for coming through. Next session will happen in two weeks (12/16?), likely on a Thursday instead of a Wednesday. Stay glued to the f-book or this site for more deets.

PS: Don't get it twisted, this was not the first time we had food. Dr. D has been hooking us up since Day 1 and she once again came through with sweet cake to wash it all down. Lovin' it!

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