Monday, February 21, 2011


Prezbo Knows playlist

Last night's +DRAWING+MODEL+MUSIC+BEER+ session paid tribute to the holiday weekend by drawlring to songs for, against and (arguably) by presidents. No, we didn't listen to Bill honk.

I made lots of 11th hour changes to this setlist. I thought this would be a cakewalk -- play some trashy campaign songs, no problem -- but it sounded, well, trashy. Came home on Saturday after a long day of waiting and waiting and finally seeing the Christian Marclay video "The Clock" (totally worth it) and realized what changes needed to be made.

The songs were grouped into:

* 30-sec poses: Animaniacs (introduce the theme with a list!)
* 1-min: Campaign songs (past generations)
* 2-min: Funky songs about presidents
* 5-min: "Letter songs" to presidents
* 10-min: Disillusionment and perverse interpretations of "president"
* 20-min: a) JFK; b) songs released on or immediately after Obama's election; and c) Campaign songs (our generation)

Once again, good vibes all around. Lots of interesting poses and everyone took the ideas and ran with 'em. And plenty of patriotism, criticism and everything in-between.

A few housekeeping items: not all the tracks played are on YouTube. E.g., the version of "Abraham, Martin & John" spun was from a Bob Dylan concert in the early '80s, not the Marvin Gaye version in the playlist. Other "loosies" not included in the playlist include:

* Janelle Monae "Mr. President"

* Mort Sahl "Eisenhower, Nixon & Brubeck" From his The Future Lies Ahead LP (as influential a comic as he is, most of his critical output remains sadly out-of-print, but you can often find his albums in the dollar bin)

* Elvis Costello "Less Than Zero" The version spun was from his Live at El Mocambo concert. Apparently the song's "Mr. Oswald" was mistakenly interpreted as being LHO upon initial release, when that was not the case. At this concert, Costello flipped the third verse to talk about Lee Harvey Oswald.

* DJ Trident "miamiobama" By the good homie.

Oh, and the song "by" a president? Sinatra famously re-did "High Hopes" for Kennedy's 1960 campaign. A 7-inch record of the song was released, but credited not to Sinatra, but one "Jack Kennedy."

Next session will return to a Wednesday on March 9. Visit our new Facebook page for more information. And holler to get on the list, so you get the reminder...

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Friday, February 18, 2011

Ride My Pony

not your ordinary podcast

liners: febrA 2011

It's been roughly 10 years since I've done radio. There have been a few rewinds -- those sessions for East Village Radio in its early days, and the behind-the-scenes work for WNYC -- but I've been absent behind the mic for a while.

Man, I have missed it.

There's talk talk on the second edition of the still unnamed sound journal/podcast thing. Oh, technology! In case you don't remember, it's a biweekly digest of chunes on rotation in these parts -- this time, songs from the first half of February. Don't worry: no Valentines schmaltz. It feels more natural to chat a little, listen a little, then move on. Still a bit longer than expected (25 minutes), but enough for a short commute, right?

Please, send comments, questions, etc. I want to hear your thoughts on what you like, don't like, suggestions for a title... I know, the vocals are way Too Low. I pinky promise to get it right next time, aight?

And for the record: Animal Collective's "My Girls." And The World of Arthur Russell on Soul Jazz.


Thursday, February 10, 2011


Egypt, Egypt setlist

Ok, jheri curls were the source of last night's session's title. That said, looking in from the outside, Egypt (and Tunisia and Yemen) currently represents the aspirations of democracy. Hence, the songs of revolution, overthrowing slavery and independence.

Much of the feedback last night was about the music's affect. Then again, it's hard not to listen to Otis Redding without a concern. Baby Huey was a highlight. Even though the rap in the last part of the song sounds dated, especially with the talk of drive-ins and grass, but his halting screeches are showstopping. So glad to find a forum for him, aside from a mixtape of hip-hop breaks (his song "Hard Times" has been sampled numerous times).

Similarly much of Fela's mid-tempo work lends itself to longer poses. There are plenty of other Fela songs I prefer over "Army Arrangement," but the lyrics of government corruption made it a better fit. Too bad the record was finished while Fela was serving a prison sentence. Bill Laswell was tapped to mix the final product so he brought in Bernie Worrell on keys and Sly Dunbar on drums. Which explains why there's a distinctly soft, '80s touch to the record. Evidently, Fela wasn't happy.

Not sure what direction we'll head in for the next session, but we will experiment with a different day: Sunday, Feb. 20, time tbd. We'll also be starting a Facebook page shortly to help spread the word.

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Friday, February 04, 2011

Be A Good Sport

For a couple weeks in January this is what I was digging.

I go batty writing all day, so I'm starting a biweekly(-ish) mix series. I'm listening to new music all the time, but the ones that stick in my craw often come up through research. Plus, figured this would be a way to journal what I'm actually liking over the course of the year -- something that never really comes across whenever it comes time to do year-end lists, which usually focuses on new music only.

No guarantees or structures. Sometimes it will be a buncha tunes. Sometimes it will be one tune. I'll try to do this every two weeks or so. Keep the work manageable for me and the blends digestible for y'all.

The first one comes with liner notes, which can also be found in the "Lyrics" field. iPhone users should be able to see this automatically.

Anyway, let me know what you think!

Floyd Cramer "On the Rebound"
* I stopped seeing a lot of films in the theaters, thinking I'll wait 'til the disc hits the public library shelves. It's like a socialist new music Tuesday. I kid. Glad I waited for "An Education." Hey, there's the wedding crasher! Liked Carey Mulligan, but the story is a bit light. Then again the film kicks off with this country-soul instrumental. What more can I say?

Hosono Haruomi "Sportsmen" & YMO "Rap Phenomena"
* I am really kicking myself for not picking up all those YMO LPs back in the day. Can't have it all, right? The country version of "Sports Men" above is pretty bizarre.

Burial "Raver" & Kode9 "9 Samurai"
* Preparing for an interview with producer Kode9, I checked out his Hyperdub label's catalog. As usual, I'm behind the times and hadn't known about Mercury Prize-winning artist Burial and the whole mystery behind his identity. All of which is less interesting than this intensely moody and weird music. I really liked Kode9's 2009 single "Black Sun." Weird, bending synths and skittering beats. These two tracks put it in context.

Killer Mike "Burn"
* Hearty raps over peak-tweaking Funkadelic breaks. I loved Funkadelic when I was in high school, though most of it went over my head. Lovely to be able to revisit it.

Nigel Godrich "Bass Battle"
* More library action. Wish I saw Scott Pilgrim in a theater, though. Love this "battle" b/c it sounded like it was fun to record. Really into Scott's Bad Brains-ish lick.

Japandroids "1297 Heavenward Grand Prix"
* The Mountain got into this group, so I had to give in. Noisy, poppy, good beats.

Daedelus "Femme Fatale"
* Disco askew. Eghk.

PJ Harvey "The Words that Maketh Murder"
* Patti Smith hearts this. Now it's hard for me to tell if I like this song b/c it makes me want to dance in my kitchen, or if I like this b/c it makes me think of Patti Smith dancing in her kitchen.


Wednesday, February 02, 2011


Here's the setlist through Wes Anderson's eyes.

Here's the setlist through the artists' (and others') eyes.

Before we get into last week's "Wes Anderson" session, thank you all for coming during one narsty blizzard! That was amazing. You are amazing. Snow is amazing. Couldn't bring myself to take photos of it b/c I just wanted to stare at it. Well, I suppose we all had a chance to do that on our respective walks/drives/rides home. I opted to walk. Guys were walking up and down 4th Ave shoveling cars out.


What's the saying? "MTV doesn't play music anymore." It's one of those things stodgy thirtysomethings like me are supposed to gripe about, right?

Truth is MTV plays plenty of music. Just not in the familiar format of music videos. Instead the network delivers the music in a current way -- like every other media outlet. Music is the driver in commercials. It sets the tone of Ameri-novellas. It's the aural bumper that moves us from one channel, one program, one mood, one item of interest to the next. In fact, music is too present to the point that it mirrors the ADD of pop culture. Here one momen...

Which is perhaps why I like Wes Anderson's films. He's as obsessive as the rest of us, consuming culture left and right. His films are often jam-packed with familiar and obscure nuggets (and Nuggets). Yet he takes his time. Shots are framed carefully, dialogue is delivered deliberately, music is woven carefully and everything feels contained. His films are like a less non sequitor version of a Mr. Show episode: vignettes flowing together in harmony. Moments like the revenge montage in Rushmore are meant to be remembered alongside the epic ending of the Who's "A Quick One" (which I just realized is noticeably pitched up in the film). Even more subtle moments like Max's midnight romancing of Rosemary involve an inseparable union between image, narrative and sound -- though Max's Yves Montaud tape may be a bit much.

Such containment means his films are often accused of being emotionally stilted. That's the big complaint, right? Then there's the "Needle in the Hay" scene in Royal Tenenbaums, which remains a particularly distressing moment -- perhaps most so when the music swells then suddenly clips out as Dudley walks in on Richie. The entire scene is a composition unto itself, something that makes the music and the visual so much better together.

Anderson more than earns his spot at a drawing session. While few of his scenes really conjure a particular physical expression so much as a feeling or a narrative, he consistently picks dynamic music and edits them in an efficient way.

I broke up the sets in terms of music themes he returns to: aggressive (Ramones, Stooges, garage rock), French pop/waltzes, classic Hindi film music and the Stones (who have appeared in all of his major films). The longer poses were just bits and bobs from selected films: Royal Tenenbaums, Darjeeling Limited and Rushmore.


Nate and I talked about doing fantasies or dreams as a theme for the next one, which should be this time next week. Will keep you posted. Oh, you're not being kept posted? Holler at me to be added to the list.

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