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Thursday , September 9, 2010
Heavy Rotation: Interpol, Josef K, ZZ Top, Neil Young
Interpol, "Summer Well"
Despite my official Interpol-ambivalence, I can't help but have what I call a "bro spot" for them in my heart. We're basically from the same generation of New Yorkers, meaning we first arrived in the city at around the same time and kicked around at the same nightlife parties in our struggling-in-the-shithouse days--only of course they got out of the shithouse and became successful rock stars. Or are they successful rock stars? Strangely enough, judging from their latest, self-titled album, they seem to be going through some doubt or lack of focus or early midlife crises or something about their successful rock star-ness. "Summer Well" is off Interpol, and it occupies the hallowed "track three" position of the record, which I've always said is the "iconic song of the album" position of most albums. That's pretty true in this case, as what's great and what's not with this track epitomizes the strengths and limitations of the record--it begins promisingly, but it doesn't quite gel in a strange way. Overall Interpol sound as dark and stylish as ever, and they may be even a little more vulnerable and revealing in terms of emotional content--but there's something about their songs in this go-round that doesn't quite cohere. Maybe they are sad that their bro gang is breaking up, what with Carlos D taking his gun holster and Latin-Gothic vibe somewhere else? I don't know, because even when Interpol flirted with mournfulness and melancholy, they still knew how to power out a track like "Slow Hands." They need a bit of that back in their groove, along with those nifty little dance-shuffles that they do in the video. Gentlemen of Interpol, if you're reading this: Cheer up! Hugs, not drugs! Go to Hawaii! Something! There's a bro spot in my heart with your name on it when you do, dudes! (Kat)
Josef K, "Fun 'N' Frenzy"
Before there was Interpol, Franz Ferdinand, Arctic Monkeys and a million other herky-jerky bands, THERE WAS JOSEF K!!! Seriously amazing post-punk from Scotland back in the day. Check out their anthologies Endless Soul or Entomology, you won't be sorry. Rock critics overuse the word "seminal" for bands like Josef K, but in this case, it's totally warranted. Half of musical 2006 wouldn't have existed without them! (Kat)
ZZ Top, "Balinese"
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On Monday night at the bar down the street from my house I got a Violet Vapor (champagne + creme de violet) and ate strawberries from a plastic bag in my purse and Nick the IT Guy from The Office was there and they played this song. I like this song because I like all songs that were in the movie Dazed and Confused, and also because - according to allmusic.com - Guys' Night Out is my favorite music theme. So let's have a Guys' Night Out sometime. Let's make every night a Guys' Night Out from now on. (Liz)
Neil Young, "When You Dance I Can Really Love"
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I was in a bad mood yesterday! So I went for a walk, like Einstein. After about an hour "When You Dance I Can Really Love" came up on my iPod shuffle and my black mood lifted a little and I made the decision that all discotheques everywhere should always play lots of Neil Young (or bars or whatever, wherever you go dancing on Guys' Night Out).
DJ BLACK EYES'S TOP FIVE FAVORITE NEIL YOUNG SONGS FOR DANCING (with dance-style suggestions)
5. "Are You Ready for the Country?" (the jitterbug - but, like, a slow jitterbug)
4. "When You Dance I Can Really Love" ("generic rock dancing")
3. "Sedan Delivery" (Ally Sheedy in The Breakfast Club)
2. "Cortez the Killer" (weird ballet)
1. "Cinnamon Girl" (any old way you want)
P.S. "Welfare Mothers" almost made the cut. The suggested dance style for that one would be "new wave." (Liz)
Tags: Albert Einstein, bad moods, bro spots, Dazed and Confused, discotheques, DJ Black Eyes, Guys' Night Out, Hawaii, Interpol, Josef K, Neil Young, sly Mad Men references, the jitterbug, Violet Vapor
Thursday , September 2, 2010
Heavy Rotation: Cam'ron, Dinosaur Jr. & Del tha Funkee Homosapien, Class Actress, Matthew Dear, Brian Jonestown Massacre, David Bowie
Cam'ron, "Hey Ma"
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The other night at Max's Karaoke in Little Tokyo there was this mega-hot longhair skater dude who requested a private room so he could do karaoke by himself. Which is the most fascinating thing that's ever happened, and now I wish I knew everything about that boy. Hopefully I'll run into him there again someday, at which point I'll ask him to interrupt his solo-karaoking to duet with me on either this song or "Islands in the Stream." (Liz)
Tags: Am I Anton Newcombe, Anton Newcombe, Class Actress, crazy artistry, David Bowie, double-edged swords, Gina, graphic designer-core, Halloween candy, Judgment Night, Kanye West, karaoke, Kim Fowley, listening parties, Little Tokyo, Matthew Dear, monsters, paranoia, skaters are hot, the Dandy Warhols, What a Day for a Daydream
Thursday , August 26, 2010
Heavy Rotation: Elton John, Led Zeppelin, Lil Wayne, Tricky, The Two Great Dudes of Laura's Summer 2010
Elton John, "Amoreena"
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Imagine if Elton John was a babe? Imagine if he looked just like Graham Nash, or Jackson Browne, or whichever pretty-faced '60s/'70s rock god you most want to sweetly bone forever and ever? Would you love him more, if he looked like that? I sure would, and not just because I'm shallow. I've posted this song here before but I felt like throwing it on the jukebox again - partly for pretending-Elton-John-looks-like-Graham-Nash purposes, but also cuz I'm not gonna stop till everyone in the world gives "Amoreena" a shot and loves it to death. (Liz)
Thursday , August 19, 2010
Heavy Rotation: Duran Duran, The Cure, Don McLean, The Modern Lovers, Brian Eno
Duran Duran, "Save A Prayer"
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Simon LeBon was one of my first big music crushes as a child of the 80s. Those eyes! Those lips! Those strangely arty lyrics! ("Cherry ice cream smile"!) "Save A Prayer" is a pretty underrated Duran Duran song, lacking the iconicity of "Rio" or "Hungry Like the Wolf." You can argue, though, that it's one of the few Duran songs with a fairly coherent lyric. At first you hear something about standing on a street and not wanting to be alone and you're like, "Rent boys! Duran Duran are hookers! That's why they don't wear shirts underneath their jackets!" But then a killer pair of lines nails it on the head: "Some people can call it a one night stand/But we can call it paradise." (Have you seen the video? I don't see much of a one-night stand in there, just lots of paradise. Confusion!) "Save A Prayer" is still moody and seductive, although I don't know how any Duran Duran song can top "Rio," which features one of the few palatable uses of saxophone in 80s pop music. (Kat)
Tags: baby mannequins, Brian Eno, dance sequences, delirium, Don McLean, Hippie Johnnie, James Joyce, Laura loves the Beatles, seeing through everything you believe to be true, Steven Tyler, The Modern Lovers, The Runaways, writing vs. music
Thursday , August 12, 2010
Heavy Rotation: Blonde Redhead, Broken Bells, Lou Reed, Milla Jovovich & The MDH Band
Blonde Redhead, "Here Sometimes"
This is the new Blonde Redhead song! It's from their upcoming album, which will be called Penny Sparkle and is coming out in September. I'm predicting more and more dark prettiness overall--I daresay their music is getting more and more gauzier as they move farther from their (post-)punkier days of yore. Though I miss the squall of a record like In An Expression of the Inexpressible, there's something that feels increasingly lovely and lived-in with each record they put out. I like the electro nature of this track a lot, though it was a little surprising at first and at first I ignored it because, well, there are Danzig records to be listened to in July. But then last week I was taking the N train in the evening and we went over the bridge and suddenly this song opened up something fierce and it all made sense. Sometimes a song just needs a perfect moment, right? BTW, you can download the mp3 from Fader here. (Kat)
Broken Bells, "Your Head Is On Fire"
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One of the musical surprises of my summer is how steathily the Broken Bells record has insinuated itself as a constant headphones staple for me. There's a complex theory to be made that Danger Mouse is like the Switzerland of music or something, able to bridge all kinds of music-ness into a beautiful land of geeky cool, but I'm not going to make it here. It's just amazing that he's made me able to like something remotely Shins-related. Give the dude a musical Nobel Peace Prize! (Kat)
Lou Reed, "Tarbelly and Featherfoot"
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I was going to start reading Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro but then I got to page 14 and realized all I ever want to do is read A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews over and over and over again, forever. The narrator's Nomi NIckel and she's a 16-year-old Canadian Mennonite and maybe my favorite fictional girl ever, a zillion times cooler than her big sister Tash who writes Patti Smith lyrics on her bedroom walls and pierces her own ears with a needle and a potato and runs away with a boy named Ian who wears eyeliner ("Tash had shown him how to put it on really thick so that it highlighted his pupils and made him look dead. He liked napes, which he compared to vaginas. He told me what mitosis was. I loved the way his voice sounded when he said: Two daughter cells. I loved the way he took my sister's hand like he was sure she'd let him. He had wet brown eyes, really long arms, and a slight underbite like Keith Richards'. He once gave me five bucks to go away.").
My only quarrel with Nomi is she loves Lou Reed. I feel like Nomi could do a hell of a lot better than Lou Reed, but maybe I'm biased cuz Lou Reed mostly just leaves me cold. "Tarbelly and Featherfoot" is a Victoria Williams song but it's the Lou Reed song I most wish belonged to Nomi Nickel. I really hope Nomi finds someone to be the Featherfoot to her Tarbelly. (Liz)
Milla Jovovich and the MDH Band, "Satellite of Love"
BUY AN MP3 OF THE LOU REED VERSION, WHY DON'T YOU?
Also I love "Satellite of Love," partly because when I hear it I just see Ewan McGregor lip-synching the "bom bom bom" part while riding in a magic space car. Laura put this cover on a mixtape for me like ten years or ago or something. The MDH Band = Bono and Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois and a few other dudes like that. (Liz)
Thursday , August 5, 2010
Heavy Rotation: The Dandy Warhols, Emitt Rhodes, Adam & The Ants, U2, Luscious Jackson, T. Rex
The Dandy Warhols, "Not If You Were The Last Junkie On Earth"
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Heavy Rotation is a concept by which I measure
my pain the passage of time. On the morning of last week's Heavy Rotation, I woke up in the morning, and the first thought I thought was "Not If You Were The Last Junkie On Earth by the Dandy Warhols is a song that exists," and I'm not exaggerating. I didn't think, "Oh! It's the morning. Today I have to do blah-blah-blah and blah-blah-blah and write blah-blah-blah a text message and do a bunch of other bullshit and- oh yeah! Not If You Were The Last Junkie On Earth by the Dandy Warhols is a song that exists!" My brain transitioned directly from "sleeping" into "Dandy Warhols thinking." The next exciting that happened was that I downloaded it, and then I listened to it a billion times over the course of the next three days, which feels like a very long time ago now. You can't sustain periods of excessive "Not If You Were The Last Junkie On Earth"-listening for too long, because, well, it's lame. But it's also fantastic, and really does wonders for a person who is working out on an elliptical machine. Perfect iPod shuffle fodder. It definitely captures the annoyingness of the reality of your friends turning into heroin addicts. I agree with Courtney Taylor-Taylor- it's definitely stupider than it is sad. "If you think that I don't understand depression and emotional pain/ You're insane" as well as "Never thought you'd get addicted/ Just be cooler in an obvious way" are two of the cheeky-awesomest lyrics I've ever heard. Best single of the 1990s, perhaps? Not counting "Parklife" and "Connection"?
PS: The other two Dandy Warhols songs that are good are "Minnesoter", because it says "jerked off" in it, and "Get Off", thanks to "Hot diggity Dog/ I love God all the same." These are the number one and two songs of all time that taught my high school self everything I knew about what sex is in no way like in real life. (Laura Jane)
Thursday , July 29, 2010
Heavy Rotation: The Rolling Stones, Nicki Minaj, The Nashville Teens, Depeche Mode, Jesus & Mary Chain
The Rolling Stones, "Stupid Girl"
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I guess a lot of people think this song's sexist? Male-chauvinistic? Misogynistic, even? But I dunno; I've always found it weirdly empowering and energizing and maybe even feminist, if you look at it the right way. That right way being:
1. The "Stupid Girl" isn't so stupid at all; she's cool and free-thinking and not about to let some dandy like Mick Jagger boss her around. Caring about clothes and hair and shoes doesn't make her mentally inferior; perhaps it's even an indicator of a certain aesthetic refinement. And vanity's a bad thing, supposedly, but I bet Stupid Girl isn't really even vain, just like she's not stupid. Maybe she's just into giving herself some much-deserved props, like Jay-Z, or Cassius Clay. Life would be so much richer if more girls went for that charming-braggart thing - so let's go for it, girls.
2. If someone ever called me the "worst thing in this world" - hot damn, I'd be so stoked. Like: "You mean of all the bad things in the entire world, all the murderers and despotic monarchs and thieves and pirates, I'm the worst??? That rules. I feel so powerful and extraordinary. How does it feel for you, being so completely unremarkable? Oh. Yeah, that's rough."
3. And ignore the part about how the girl's a golddigger. Let's just leave that ish to Kanye (and his goblets!).
Truly, I always thought the band was in on the joke too - I mean, the lyrics at the bridge are so lame and aggro-whiny and generally un-Stonesy, I just assumed they were poking fun a certain kinda losery dude who responds to sexual rejection by trying real hard to cut the girl down to size. But then a little Wikipedia sleuthing revealed that "Stupid Girl," according to Keith, "was all a spin-off from our environment...hotels, and too many dumb chicks." Huh. And then Mick's like: "I had so many girlfriends at that point. None of them seemed to care they weren't pleasing me very much." OH POOR BABIES I'M SO SAD FOR YOU. I can't believe those dumb chicks didn't care they weren't pleasing you very much.
Looks like the only "stupid girl" around here is MICK HIMSELF! (Liz)
Tags: crow people wavers, decadence, Depeche Mode, Don Draper, fake synchronized swimming, Jesus & Mary Chain, Kanye West's goblets, Lazers, Mad Men, Mick Jagger, Nicki Minaj, The Rolling Stones, Waver Night
Thursday , July 22, 2010
Heavy Rotation: Dramarama, Calla, The Beatles, Swahili Blonde, The Beastie Boys, Kanye West
Dramarama, "Anything, Anything"
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Calla, "Don't Hold Your Breath"
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There was a Scorpio Moon this week, which always makes me feel angsty and brooding and kind of perverse. Doesn't matter how great my life is going--I'm going to sit up in the middle of the night during a Moon in Scorpio and find something to get all dark and glowering over. It's like my Bringer of Darkness side comes out, picks the lock to my bedroom door and sits there at the edge of the bed scowling until I get up and rumble with her. What I need during times like these is CATHARSIS. Catharsis as in emotional bloodletting--but the trick is to make sure that catharsis doesn't involve me texting a dude recklessly with unanswerable existential and/or emotional queries and demanding answers within 15 minutes "OR ELSE." Or, you know, doing any actual bloodletting, either of my own or of others. This is when you NEED music more than anything else; this is precisely why music was created, really, to take the place of actual psychic warfare. Good Kat catharsis in music is all about expressing a perfect, knife-sharp sense of desperation vis-a-vis ear-splitting volume. But it can't just be "all loud, all the time," because otherwise grindcore would be more cathartic than it is. (Grindcore usually just makes me tired after 20 minutes, but luckily, that's how long most grindcore records and shows are.) Dynamics, people, that's what makes a song wonderfully cathartic. You know, like when songs start loud and get to a point where it's all quiet. And then it builds and builds and GETS ALL LOUD AGAIN. This is the case with Dramarama's "Anything, Anything." Liz posted this song ages ago in a previous Heavy Rotation, drawing attention to its hidden romantic qualities. I, on the other hand, take it at its surface and loves how it just kind of blasts away my angst in a perfect storm of power pop. My favorite part is always the section around 1:51, when the music gets stripped down to just bass and drums and then builds itself back up to all kinds of desperate pleading. So gratifying! Why are more dudes pleading like this? It's so much sexier than witless, drippy emo whining.
Calla's "Don't Hold Your Breath" on the other hand, takes the reverse tack. It starts out brooding, slow and kind of menacing, as many Calla songs do, but it burrows its way into two distinct parts. The first half of the song is precise, reticent and elegant in its way, which is very Calla. There's a guy who's sort of whispering in your ear and it sounds like sweet nothings, especially over a bass that sounds like a heartbeat in the middle of the night. It's so hypnotic that it lulls you into thinking that emotional deadlock is some kind of highly romantic, stylized form of torture. But the second half of the song is what kills, because it heightens into this cascade of drums and what is probably one of my favorite guitar parts ever 'cause it cuts right through the lull and lays bare the truth that emotional stasis SUCKS. I'm not really fond of guitar solos, but this is one that I wish would go on longer, because it makes me want to rip my blood open in a strange way. But no, it stops, and then my eyes open and I have to uncurl myself from that weird, brooding half-fetal position and shoo away the ghosts that only wait to be reborn in the next Scorpio moon. Fucking Scorpio moon! (Kat)
Tags: Barker Loves The Beatles, Beastie Boys, cornflakes, Diet Dr Pepper, drugs are cool, Fucking Scorpio Moon!, getting high, John Frusciante, Kanye West, Muppets, relating to Kanye West, sangria, shoplifting, Smoggle, space cake cookies
Thursday , July 15, 2010
Heavy Rotation: M.I.A., The Langley Schools Music Project, Billy Joel, The Rolling Stones, The Bee Gees, Julie Ruin
M.I.A., "Tell Me Why"
So yeah, let's just talk for a moment about M.I.A. because it's like the elephant in my room and I have to unload. I really wish there was an "Ambivalent" button like there was a "Like" button on Facebook, 'cause I'd be all up in that right now. First: I always feel vaguely guilty as a progressive female of color when I talk about M.I.A., 'cause I believe in solidarity and all those good things. But there's just something rubbing me kinda wrong these days, and it's not what I'd think. Honestly: I don't give a fuck that she eats gourmet fries, or married a rich dude, or whatever. She's entitled to be happy in life, however she wants, and if she's not hurting anyone, let the girl eat truffle fries with a bitch-ass NY Times writer who has a history of taking down female stars of all sorts. I don't even care that she's radical chic--I don't require musicians to have coherent politics, although it's definitely arguable that hers can be kinda sloppy. What I do give a fuck about is that her music gets worse and worse with each record. Not that MAYA is such a bad record, but it's mediocre. It's a genius concept--take that Public Enemy sonic-assault approach to things and make a lot of noisy beats and be clever and uncompromising about your slogans and your references. But the execution is only half there, because there's no real emotional connection for much of this record. I'm not talking about my emotional connection to this music, but hers--it sounds phoned-in, half-assed and only intermittently interested in itself. I love noise, I love beats, I love crazy revolutionary dialectic that scares people, but 2/3rds of this record sound like she doesn't give a shit and NOT in a punk rock way. If she wants to noise out, let her, and if she wants to be pop, that's cool, too, but it's highly ironic that an artist who was so dedicated and passionate about questioning the actions and consequences of our geopolitical commitments doesn't have much commitment to what drew us to her in the first place. But whatever. If she doesn't give a shit about her music, neither do I, really. I can still enjoy her bananas performance concepts. (Kat)
Tags: babies, Billy Joel, children, coolness, David Bowie, dogs eating bananas, enthusiastic cymbal playing, fatalism, Jack White, Kathleen Hanna/Ad-Rock relationship analysis, Langley Schools Music Project, M.I.A., pianos, radical chic, Rowlf, the Fonz, the Rolling Stones
Thursday , July 8, 2010
Heavy Rotation: Dick Lord, John Cale of the Day, The Wedding Present, Deep Forest
Dick Lord, "Like Ringo"
I seriously think this might be my favorite thing I've ever written, or at least one of the top three. It is so cool to create something that fills your heart with fuzzy-wuzzy joy, over and over again! Once, I even cried at the end. But the best is how the act of writing the beautiful fairytale story "Ringo's Best Birthday Ever! (Courtesy of Paul McCartney)" made me love Ringo and Paul McCartney at least 1.5 times more intensely and tenderly than I did the day before. That's so much love.
You know who else loves Ringo so much? The girl in "Like Ringo" by Dick Lord. Usually novelty jams mean shit to me, but this one's a gem and a pearl and such a daffy delight. The twist ending kills me every time. (Liz)