Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Stuck in Greenville with the chemo blues '09

With the 4th just around the corner, I thought it might be a good idea to put a mix together for any cookouts or parties that might pop up. Also, I thought it might make sense to put together a mix that is insanely fun and full of energy in an effort to make sure everyone around the Hall house is in party mode for the weekend. The irony is that even though I stand by this mix as an absolute uplifter, Katherine hates anything with beats in it, so this will likely get shelved in favor of the new Wilco disc (not a bad substitute but still).

That being said, what's on the plate in the mix? We start off with a track I left off of my funk playlist from a couple weeks back, a smoking cover of Bill WIthers', "Who Is He?" by Me'Shell N'Degeocello. Yeah, I get it, it's a gender fuck mashup, but once you hear that greasy bassline, you can take all of your politics and hangups and toss them in a pot of fatback. This track rawks. Next we have a track from DJ Kaos that is turning out to be one of my favorite tracks of the summer "Love the Night Away". Usually a summer track filled with kettle drums, bongos and xylophones would slide toward the Jimmy Buffet vomitorium, but thanks to some slinky beats and keyboards this thing brings visions of Haircut 100 bouncing around the jungle to mind as opposed to frat boys playing pee pee touch games behind the urinals during "A Pirate Looks at Forty".

In addition to the DJ Kaos track being one of my favorite tracks of the summer, also in that line up is a track by Free Energy called "Dream City". I am not sure where this DFA track came from but it absolutely scorches, and when teamed in a mix with the new Modest Mouse track "Satellite Skin", you have my top three picks of Summer 09. Did you ever think Modest Mouse would be the feel good band of any season, other than that of the witch?

There are two tracks in here from the band Discovery, that I would easily cast as a favorite for any best of 2009 list. The first track jumps all over the place with Art of Noise backbeats, swirling synths and Hot Chip vocals, and the second track features a freaked out Auto Tune take on the Jackson 5 (timely, huh?).

The two blacksheep of the lot are a duet with Scarlett Johannson and Pete Yorn that brings to mind the best duets of Lee Hazelwood and Nancy Sinatra, and makes you think about reconsidering Johannson's unfairly maligned disc of Tom Waits covers. The second is The Lemonheads covering GG Allin's "Layin' with Linda". Sure the song is about murdering your lover, but Evan Dando makes it sound much more sweet and playful than the turd covered suicidal burnouts original.

In the middle we have a little bit of a soul breakdown with a throwaway classic from Maurice & Mac, a sticky sweet nugget from Allen Toussaint that apparently has been co-opted by Axe body spray, and a keyboard shredding beaut from Booker T & the MG's.

Lastly, there is a track by Brakes on here that I swear reminds me of the Pixies, yet I still like it.

Outside of that, just enjoy!!!


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Furious Fists of Funk!!

It has been awhile since I have had the motivation, energy or time to put together a mix, so I am hoping that this one is received with hungry ears. Over the past month I have had a couple of sleepless nights where I do nothing but lie in bed scrolling through my iPod and adding songs to playlists. The one thing I noticed is that in all of the playlists or mixes I have made, none of them are geared toward helping me unwind. Plenty of them are for entertaining, driving or flat out all night drinking. I decided to put something together that would come in handy for just hitting the relax button, taking some deep breaths and slipping outside of my mind. With that said, after scrolling through 14,000 songs, here is what I have come up with. Trust me, this was not an easy task. I wanted to find the perfect seamless balance and keep it at under 2 hours.
Commentary on the tracks will be slim, as a lot of them come from some of the recent Lagos, Nigeria and Jamaica compilations from various labels but here goes...

Leading off is one of my favorite Funkadelic tracks. I never got into the party vibe of Parliament that much, but when it comes to down and dirty, red-eyed funk there is none better. I had a hard time choosing between this or Maggot Brain, but there is a Cymande disc later in the mix that is similar enough in structure to the Eddie Hazel masterpiece to skip it. Along the way is a great Talking Heads track that definitely sets up the groundwork for all of David Byrne's Luaka Bop work; a version of "Whole Lotta Love" by Ike & Tina Turner that makes Adam Lambert's version look like a Lucky Pierre between Clay Aiken and Scott Stapp. Probably the oddest addition is the krautrock "Vitamin C" by the German band Can. Maybe it is just me but I think their improv merges right in. Also there is a second great track by Ike and Tina Turner called "Young and Dumb", that smokes on its own, but is included because I really like to hear Tina growl about being "young, dumb & full of cum". Call me juvenile. I can't help it.

Just about every mix I have made seems to have a Clash track on it somewhere. Usually, they lead off; but in this case I love the tribal drum pattern of "Car Jamming" and like to think as the music fades that somewhere that drum line keeps playing forever in the background.

As always, enjoy and if I can remark without sounding desperate please leave comments. I track my hits, and know that I get a fair amount of listeners, but it makes putting mixes together a lot more fun and interesting when I know what people are thinking about the tunes I am dropping.