Wednesday, May 6, 2009

AI recap and Seis de Mayo Mix

Last night while watching AI, my daughter tugged at my pantleg, looked up with puppy dog eyes and asked ever so sweetly, "If John Lennon was murdered already, why did that sad little boy just try to kill him again?". Ok, that didn't happen at all, but Kris did take a dump all over "Come Together". All in all, I thought everyone blew last night, especially Adam's take on Zep (despite everyone else on the shows opinon). Yeah, yeah, yeah he can hit the high notes just like Robert Plant, but if you are going to drop the Hammer of the Gods you need to come out rocking a shirtless vest and Plant's frightening, skin tight, veins and all jeans from "The Schlong Remains the Same", not mascara and hair jizz. This guy does have the pipes, but in 25 years you are much more likely to find him in a Rum Tum Tugger costume than in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Also, I really respect Slash for coming on and lending a hand to these rookie rock stars by saying, "I will hang out with you for 10 minutes, but will not license any of my songs for you to sing".

My guess is that Kris goes home tonight, Allison next week and thus setting up the showdown between Adam and Danny, in which Danny wins. No, he is not as gifted a singer as Adam, and to be fair he comes off a little bland at times, but he is extremely likeable. I could be wrong, but it just seems like even though Adam's performances never falter, he really comes off quite smug. Plus if voting comes down to what I would consider the Ohio of American Idol, voters my mom's age - yes she actively hits the phone, they are going for the nice guy with glasses over the "weird guy". Plus Danny's wife died.

So here is this week's mix. A fair amount of new tracks, coupled with a few nuggets from bygone days. And by bygone days I mean the glory years of 2004 and 05. There is no overarching theme here, but when I listened to it in its entirety this morning while running ahem...walking, I couldn't help but notice that most of the tracks have a My Bloody Valentine/Kevin Shields sound. So if you were ever into shoegaze music, this might be your lucky day.

Standout tracks: The opener is from the previously mentioned heyday and is an excellent cover of Magnetic Fields done by !!!, quickly followed by The Langley School Project's take on Space Oddity. If you ever need something to restore your faith in music, google The Langley School Project and check out their entire cd. Where I once found this to be more of a novelty, as I daily force feed my daughter her harmonica and maracas, now I find it inspirational. Ok, enough with the sappy shit...

There are two tracks from the San Diego band Crocodiles, and both seem to recall the early work of Jesus Mary Chain and Suicide. Suicide is also included deep down in the mix. On a local note (semi-local, I guess Atlanta would be considered more regional...) there is a great lo-fi track from The Black Lips featuring a guest rap from GZA, and a track from the latest Fischerspooner disc. I highly recommend anyone that is a fan of techno, electroclash, performance art, wigs, 4am in Ibiza and Christ Church of Greenville check out any of their works. Always total fucking brilliance from Greenville, SC to NY ex-pat Casey Spooner and his partner Warren Fischer.

Two last notes, make sure to stick it out to the end for the 9 minute reggae/soul/folk/wtf blast of Devendra Banhart's "White Reggae Troll". Hearing him start chanting at the midway point "that he believes in Africa" gives hope that he is finally back to where he was going with Cripple Crow, before his disappointing turn on Smokey.

And in closing, I have a remix of Adele's "My Hometown" by High Concept. I don't care if she might be struck with the Grammy curse, or is now all over the place in the media, 19 is one of my favorite albums of the past decade or so and could probably include a track from it every week. But likely I won't.

Artwork this week by Kelly Haigh.

Enjoy and comments are welcomed!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Don't Call It a Comeback...

It has been a couple weeks since I have had a chance to post anything, so I am trying to come out swinging. With Sonic Youth tickets going on sale this morning (which I managed to score 4th row center for WOOHOO!!) for their upcoming small venue tour, I thought I would get things started off with a track from their new disc Eternal. Listening to the disc in its entirety, it sounds like they have dropped some of the hardest, darkest material since the Sister or Evol era, which is a very welcome back to form. On that same note, way down in the mix is a track off of the new Dinosaur Jr disc, and like SY this sounds like a very welcome return to the sound of some of their great early work.

Also in the mix are a handful of covers. I keep promising I am going to put together an awesome covers/originals comp, but always get sidetracked. Here I have a couple of standouts from the Torotoise/Bonnie Prince Billy collaboration, including their takes on Springsteen and Elton John. When you think about covers, you can either do a faithful, risk free rendition (like the Justin Townes Earle, take alson included here,on The Replacements included here - very true to the original plus a little twangy flavor), or you can just completely deconstruct the original and make it your own. Sometimes it works, I think the two BPB tracks here are amazing, and sometimes it sort of works but you just can't be sure; like the Lips cover of Madonna included here. Make sure to also check out the stripped down, what the fuck Of Montreal cover of M.I.A.'s "Jimmy". And especially thanks to Mario for turning me on to the Fight Like Apes cover of the mclusky classic, "Lightsabre Cocksucking Blues". It is amazing how having a female take the lead on this faithful cover changes the entire dynamic of the song. It's a nice!!!

That being said the rest of the mix sort of follows the form of the title, Breaking Hearts/Making Babies. Spring fever, and N1H1 are in the air so I was tying to create a healthy mix of booty sweat inducing grooves like the Sebastien Tellier, Chromeo, Franz Ferdinand/Dances with White Girls remix, and the seven minute, haunted house disco breakdown of Bigfoot's "Watch Your Step", and Aaron Neville's jazz funk classic "Hercules". Plus if the one two punch of new British soul heavyweights Adele and Baby Charles can't get the panties dropped you are "f*cking out" (apologies to Kenny Powers), and should proceed directly to the mclusky and Black Lips tracks at the end of the playlist.

Not all tracks fit nicely into the mix, but I have been dying to drop Sister Janet Mead's disco take on "The Lord's Prayer" forever, and since I skipped an Easter mix figured why not now. This is truly one of the best "wait, what?" tracks of all times. The beats are nice if not dated, her voice is ok, and oh yeah it is a nun singing a disco version of The Lord's Prayer. What is not to like? I actually have the 45 for this song at home, and have never fully understood where it came from as my parents are pretty anti-religion, and this disc looks like it has been in my collection since the '70s. I doubt any of my childhood friends were cunning enough to hide Studio 54 indoctrination in my stack o' wax, so it might have been divine intervention.

Lastly, I debated long and hard about whether to wrap up with MGMT's thirteen minute freak out "Metanoia" or Patrick Cowley's ten minute disco opus "Megatron Man". "Megatron Man" sounds like it was crafted by a robot that is equal parts titanium, steel, body glitter and cocaine but ultimately lost out to the Queen meets Phantom of the Park psychedelics of MGMT. I am sure the sex robot will find his place on a mix in the near future.