Tuesday, August 31, 2010

90s Jams #55: The Notorious B.I.G. "Juicy" (1994)

Although he often dipped into more hardcore subject matter, 2Pac ultimately became best known for his "inspirational" tracks ("Dear Mama," "Changes," "Keep Ya Head Up," etc, etc...). As mentioned in the "Mo Money Mo Problems" entry, Biggie's albums portrayed a broad spectrum of textures and emotions, far more so than 2Pac. But the "inspirational" elements of "Juicy" are probably what ended up linking Biggie to 2Pac more than his other singles. Almost every lyric of this song is considered among hiphop's most legendary: The urgent nature of "Super Nintendo Sega Genesis;" the comparison of his immense popularity to the bombing of the World Trade Center; and of course, "Birthdays was the worst dayys/Now we sip champagne when we're thirstayy.."

If you'd like to read more about "Juicy," might I NOT suggest the immensely bloated and absurd "synopsis" currently detailed in its wikipedia entry. I guarantee you there isn't a single living person who gained any hint of knowledge from this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juicy_%28The_Notorious_B.I.G._song%29

90s Jams #56: Janet Jackson "That’s The Way Love Goes" (1993)

As the lead single from janet., the mood was a stark contrast to her previous album Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814. Jackson was not excited about the track the first time she heard it, so Jam and Lewis gave her a tape of it just as she was leaving for a Christmas vacation in 1992. When she returned, she told the producers, "You know that track you did? I love it. It's absolutely the bomb." She called Jam at two in the morning to tell him she was taking a different direction, casting the lyrics in a more seductive light. - Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/That%27s_The_Way_Love_Goes

90s Jams #57: A Tribe Called Quest "Bonita Applebum" (1990)

The name Bonita Applebaum works phonetically and one gets the sense that she is a great looking woman. "38-24-37" effortlessly invokes fantasies of this "superwoman." That fact helps hammer home the sensual, light-headed feeling of intoxication. Q-Tip gets all of the rhymes here and using his trademark spacy though crafty Romeo act. For a genre who's hard heart was its calling card, "Bonita Applebaum" proved that finesse and melody could be just as captivating. - Allmusic http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=33:wpfexxy0ldhe

90s Jams #58: Pearl Jam "State Of Love And Trust" (1992)

According to Ament, the lyrics for "State of Love and Trust" are based on what Vedder took from watching the film [Singles], and added, "I think he probably took a heavier angle on what the movie was about than a lot of people will, but that's Eddie, which is a beautiful thing." According to Cameron Crowe, director of Singles, the song is "about battling with your instincts in love." The song was originally recorded during the sessions for Ten. Ament said, "The version of "State of Love and Trust" with Dave Krusen on drums is so much better than what ended up being released," and added, "He really plays that song in the spirit it was written in. It's has a much trashier, Crazy Horse feel to it. It's awesome." - Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_of_Love_and_Trust

90s Jams #59: Smashing Pumpkins "Cupid de Locke" (1995)

I'm not really sure how to review something like this without making outrageous claims, like "Cupid de Locke is the most beautiful song I've ever heard in my life," which even stranger is probably true. When Billy Corgan tried to be Robert Smith, amazing things happened. I'm desperately praying that some shitty forthcoming 90's nostalgia Hollywood-posing-as-indie movie doesn't end up ruining this song, which I could totally see happening... Corgan compared himself to Pavement by describing Smashing Pumpkins as living music, for growing up, and experiencing what eventually becomes your most cherished memories. Typical Corgan: He sounded like a complete asshole when he said this, even though he was absolutely correct.

90s Jams #60: My Bloody Valentine "Only Shallow" (1991)

With its opening track, Loveless decisively sweeps the shoegazer table clean, presenting My Bloody Valentine's infinitely textured, obsessively overdubbed sound in a forceful manner that basically screams "Listen to this or we'll bludgeon you senseless." The album's cover art -- a blurred, magenta-filtered shot of a guitar in play, photocopied, double-exposed, and blurred almost into unrecognizability -- is a perfect metaphor for the sound of "Only Shallow." It's a breathtaking start to a near-perfect album. - Allmusic http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=33:apfqxxwjldte

90s Jams #61: Screaming Trees "Nearly Lost You" (1992)

Singles [the movie] essentially functioned as an encapsulation of the Seattle rock scene for a neophyte mass audience, and the Trees were there to stand up and be counted with the big boys. "Nearly Lost You" was an excellent way to do that, too, proving one of the soundtrack's highlights with its monolithic guitars and Mark Lanegan's smoky rasp. It was that rare up-tempo rocker that managed to sound wistful and reflective even as the din of guitar distortion raged in the background. It's a shame that the band was never really able to capitalize commercially on the exposure provided by "Nearly Lost You," but at the very least, it gave them one of grunge's best overlooked singles. - Allmusic http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=33:wzfwxq9rldte

Monday, August 30, 2010

90s Jams #62: Beck "Diamond Bollocks" (1998)

Beck's preoccupation with death on Mutations didn't make the record dark so much as strangely familiar, in that Hank Williams sort of way.. Some of the melodies were so basic, they felt like they were jacked from old country music from the 50's and 60's. But instead, that was just Beck working his genius so effortlessly. Every Beck album is its own experience, and the cohesive flow of the 11 songs on Mutations are surely unlike anything else in his catalog.

After Track 11 ("Static") fades out, the album still has 8 or 9 minutes remaining... And that means it's bonus track time. After years of hearing the jokey throwaways bands like Tool and Green Day had been tagging onto their albums, it wasn't merely refreshing to hear the epic prog-rock brilliance of "Diamond Bollocks." Rather, it was like a revelation, due in no small part to the assistance of Nigel Godrich... Like those rare "Sixth Sense" type movies that force us into an eventual 2nd viewing from a different perspective. Upon repeated listens, "Diamond Bollocks" is clearly the same band who was performing on Mutations' previous 11 songs, and not a leftover from the Odelay sessions. And what's even stranger, as a bonus track, it actually closes the album perfectly.. "Looking back on some dead world..."

90s Jams #63: Portishead "Sour Times" (1994)

Portishead's album debut is a brilliant, surprisingly natural synthesis of claustrophobic spy soundtracks, dark breakbeats inspired by frontman Geoff Barrow's love of hip-hop, and a vocalist (Beth Gibbons) in the classic confessional singer/songwriter mold. Dummy hits an early high with "Sour Times," a post-modern torch song driven by a Lalo Schifrin sample. The chilling atmospheres conjured by Adrian Utley's excellent guitar work and Barrow's turntables and keyboards prove the perfect foil for Gibbons, who balances sultriness and melancholia in equal measure. - Allmusic http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:hifixqthldde

90s Jams #64: Green Day "J.A.R." (1995)

I'm guessing the reason why this song didn't appear on Dookie or Insomniac was because it was written by Mike Dirnt instead of Billie Joe Armstrong, which I didn't realize until about 2 minutes ago. In the 90's, the concept of the non-album track was like a status symbol among prospective (high school) music geeks... Never were so many of these played on commercial radio than in the mid-90's.. Nirvana's "Verse Chorus Verse," Pearl Jam's "Yellow Ledbetter," Smashing Pumpkins "Landslide." They were slightly more difficult to locate at Sam Goody than the bigger hit songs, but radio stations played them anyway, because most of the fans in the radio audience were diehards of at least one of these huge bands.

"J.A.R." has remained a fan favorite, not only for this reason... It was the perfect and most interesting example of the intersection of all of their best elements, from the unorthodox punk song structure heard in "F.O.D." and "Chump," the extreme high energy from "Burnout" and "Having A Blast," and the pitch perfect pop craftsmanship of "Basket Case" and "When I Come Around." It's all here in one 3-minute epic. The bridge and the outro of this one are especially brilliant...

90s Jams #65: Yo La Tengo "Sugarcube" (1997)

Once again, there's nothing on Allmusic or Wikipedia that really works to describe this... YLT has released such a mammoth volume of material, and it's difficult to find stuff that I wouldn't recommend.. "Sugarcube" is one of the rare cases where their pop, drone, rock, and groove senses intersect. It's not only a brilliant (and accessible) song, but it also can easily be used to define their sound just as well as anything else throughout their 25+ year history.

90s Jams #66: The Verve "Bittersweet Symphony" (1997)

Not long after the release of A Northern Soul, the Verve imploded due to friction between vocalist Richard Ashcroft and guitarist Nick McCabe. It looked like the band had ended before reaching its full potential, which is part of the reason why their third album, Urban Hymns -- recorded after the pair patched things up in late 1996 -- is so remarkable. Much of the record consists of songs Ashcroft had intended for a solo project or a new group, yet Urban Hymns unmistakably sounds like the work of a full band, with its sweeping, grandiose soundscapes and sense of purpose. The majestic "Bitter Sweet Symphony" and the heartbreaking, country-tinged "The Drugs Don't Work" are an astonishing pair, two anthemic ballads that make the personal universal, thereby sounding like instant classics. - Allmusic http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:h9fqxqejldte

90s Jams #67: Fiona Apple "On The Bound" (1999)

Opening Fiona Apple's second album, When the Pawn..., "On the Bound" begins with a wildly syncopated, funk rhythm crossed with a dark, brooding melody that strikes the listener upside their head. Shifting quickly into an elegant, neo-classical chorus and bridge, the song combines wildly different melodic shifts and tempos, yet resolves itself in an organic fashion that truly beguiles the ear. Producer John Brion's unique and quirky keyboard lines keep the song from settling into an orthodox patterns, and this adds to the song's originality. Apple's lyrics speak of the politics of relationships, as well as self-defense, obviously two of her favorite, intertwining subjects. - Allmusic http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=33:39frxcwhldke

90s Jams #68: Elliott Smith "Angeles" (1996)

He sings, in his endearingly limited whisper, of late-night drinking and introspection, and his subdued strumming creates a minor-key mood befitting the mysteries of self. "Angeles" is equally ethereal -- Smith's acoustic fingerpicking spins out notes which briskly move around a single atmospheric keyboard chord. The lyrics are a darkly biting rejection of the hypercapitalist dream machinery of Los Angeles (it would make a great theme song for Smith's label, Kill Rock Stars). Ironically, "Angeles" was included on the Good Will Hunting soundtrack, which won Smith the acclaim of Hollywood's biggest, brightest, and best connected voting body, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. Smith's stock in L.A. soared after he took his bow at the Oscars with Celine Dion and Trisha Yearwood. It might have been more interesting had he sung "Angeles." - Allmusic http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:gxfyxquhldfe

90s Jams #69: The Notorious B.I.G. "Mo Money Mo Problems" (1997)

Biggy projected a wide range on both of his official albums. The dark tracks were fucking DARK (like "Suicidal Thoughts"), but when Biggy sang about "Party And Bullshit," it was nothing short of Andrew WK screaming "Party Til You Puke" into a distorted microphone. "Mo Money Mo Problems" was the party anthem Biggy was meant to deliver, and the one that finally made him the biggest MC in the world (albeit posthumously). It's still played on Top 40 stations for a reason.. Along with what now is certainly known as the most popular production beat Puff Daddy ever laid to tape, both he and Ma$e wisely avoided embarrassment by playing it cool and laying low, allowing Big's monster final verse to carry this one into the stratosphere.

WTF this video is classic as shit, and yet there are ZERO decent quality uploads of this on Youtube???? Shit is wack...

Sunday, August 29, 2010

90s Jams #70: Modest Mouse "Whenever You Breathe Out, I Breathe In (Positive/Negative)" (1996)

The single version of this was chosen over the EP version, because the performance and the subtle production changes seem to fit the song that much better, in my own opinion anyway.. I can't find anything good from Allmusic or Wikipedia or any other sources for this one... I know it's a bad description to just say the song speaks for itself, but when it comes to sad songs, I mean, honestly... There's no cryptic sugar coating here. Stay in bed for a month. Quit your job. Drink beer. Chain-smoke. What fucking difference does it make anyway? Bummer slack. It's one of those rare examples of pure apathy and depression, right down to the "fuck it" lo-fi production elements.

90s Jams #71: Underworld "Dirty Epic" (1993)

Injecting a much-needed dose of darkness and cynicism into the increasingly scrubbed, hygienic dance scene of the early '90s... Underworld never fell into the tar pits of major electronica artists during the '90s: even while remaining a concert draw witnessed by millions and presenting themselves as tremendously effective album artists, they continued releasing tough tracks -- not pop-oriented singles -- and never slipped into the album rock crowd (led by the Chemical Brothers and Orbital) or the indie rock crossovers of techno experimentalists (Aphex Twin, Autechre). - Allmusic http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:avfoxqualdte

Not a huge fan of that description.. The vocal melody is a huge part of what makes this song work. I know their production was Underworld's forefront element, but the subtleties in their songwriting shouldn't be underestimated, which is what set them apart from other "electronic" artists from the 90's, who certainly weren't as obviously influenced by New Order. "Dirty Epic" is what made this baton-passing of sorts just that much more official. In recent years, artists such as Cut Copy have been (less effortlessly, but albeit pleasingly) carrying the New Order/Underworld torch into the new century.

90s Jams #72: The Breeders "Divine Hammer" (1993)

"Divine Hammer" could be described as the most faithful attempt at pure pop on Last Splash. The bubbly rocker features a hook-laden arrangement with a feel-good vocal melody that belies the song's otherwise weighty subject, though softened by the use of sexual double entendre that has Kim Deal awaiting a personal epiphany to strike.

I haven't seen this in years, but those who were watching MTV on New Years Eve 1993/1994 might remember as well as I do.. Live And Loud was one of the best evenings in MTV's history. Here's The Breeders' segment in its entirety...

90s Jams #73: Fiona Apple "Criminal" (1996)

Apple described the song as a description of "feeling bad for getting something so easily by using your sexuality." The song's music video was directed by Mark Romanek exploring themes of voyeurism and adolescence and featuring Apple sulking in various states of undress. The New Yorker described her as "looking like an underfed Calvin Klein model." In 1998, it won an MTV Video Music Award for Best Cinematography. - Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criminal_%28song%29

90s Jams #74: Green Day "When I Come Around" (1994)

Singer Billie Joe Armstrong wrote the song after breaking up with his girlfriend (who he later married). The band's friend and now backup guitarist Jason White can be seen in the video with his girlfriend at the time. [Also of note] the infamous live performance at Woodstock '94 after a mud fight. - Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/When_I_Come_Around

90s Jams #75: The Jesus Lizard "Puss" (1992)

This is still the musical equivalent of a ranting lunatic you would never dream of sitting next to on the subway. While said lunatic would probably be best personified by vocalist David Yow, whose litany of gasps, bellows, and shrieks is freakishly eloquent even when you can't figure out what he's saying, the drill-press guitar of Duane Denison and the constant rhythmic pummel of David Sims and Mac McNeilly conjure up a remarkably convincing re-creation of the noises in his head, and the band's taut, rapid-fire precision and striking command of dynamics (no matter that the silences appeared in split-second bursts) generate a groove that manages to be sensuous and uncomfortable at the same time. - Allmusic http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:0cftxq85ldhe

90s Jams #76: Superchunk "Slack Motherfucker" (1990)

A breathless punk-pop diatribe written by singer/guitarist Mac McCaughan, it's an anti-anthem, a personal vendetta which nevertheless captures the zeitgeist of its time and place to perfection. Though implicit in "Slack Motherfucker"'s message is a denouncement of an American system increasingly forcing its young to accept menial, low-income employment, indie rock's "Take This Job and Shove It" it ain't -- the song's vitriol is aimed far less at the socioeconomic structure at large than at a shiftless co-worker who won't get off his sorry ass and pitch in. Propelled by McCaughan's high, nasal yelp and a surging, buzz saw guitar hook, its chorus -- "I'm working, but I'm not working for you!" -- is as much an outcry of minimum-wage angst as it is a crystallization of the D.I.Y. ethic at its purest. Arguably, no band of the era transformed the personal into the populist (and vice versa) as brilliantly as Superchunk, and for all the superb records the band issued in the years to follow, "Slack Motherfucker" remains their crowning achievement. - Allmusic http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=33:gbfexx8dldae

90s Jams #77: Beck "Asshole" (1994)

Certainly, of his three 1994 albums, One Foot errs in favor of the sincere, partially due to those folk-blues covers, but also in its overall hushed feel, its muted acoustic guitars and murmured vocals suggesting an intimacy that the words don't always convey. Much of the album is about mood as much as song, a situation not uncommon to Beck, which is hardly a problem because the ramshackle sound is charming and the songwriting is often excellent, channeling Beck's skewed sensibilities into a traditional setting, particularly on the excellent "Asshole," which is hardly as smirking as its title. It's that delicate, almost accidental, balance of exposed nerves and cutting with that sets One Foot in the Grave apart from Beck's other albums; he'd revisit this sound and sensibility, but never again was he so beguilingly ragged. - Allmusic http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:wifwxqehld6e

90s Jams #78: Blur "Sing" (1991)

The U.S. version of Leisure was front loaded with Blur's three UK singles and the song "Sing" was replaced by the B-side "I Know" (see track listings for exact changes). The Canadian version has the same tracklisting as the UK version. "Sing" was included on the Trainspotting soundtrack in 1996. The original version, "Sing (To Me)" was recorded as a demo in late 1988 under the band's former name- Seymour, and can only be heard on the ultra-rare Promo-only single which was released over a decade later in February 2000. In 2008, Coldplay announced upon the release of Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends that "Sing" from Leisure provided a starting point for "Lost!" - Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leisure_%28album%29

90s Jams #79: The Posies "Dream All Day" (1993)

Frosting on the Beater opens with a thick wall of distorted guitars and booming drums kicking up a very melodic fuss behind Ken Stringfellow and Jonathan Auer's creamy-smooth harmonies on the psych-tinged "Dream All Day," and the track's sweet-and-sour blend immediately announces this is going to be a very different affair than the Posies' major label debut, Dear 23. With noisy rock dude Don Fleming in the producer's chair, it came as no great surprise that Frosting on the Beater was a much harder sounding album, but surprisingly enough, Fleming also knew how to make the most of the band's expert pop songwriting; with the tempos and guitars turned, the tunes gained a needed physical impact that brought the melodies and hooks into the forefront, where they belonged. - Allmusic http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:kvfqxq8gldte

90s Jams #80: Dinosaur Jr "The Wagon" (1990)

"The Wagon" would mark big changes in the career of Dinosaur Jr. Not only did it signal the end of the group's three-record relationship with the legendary SST Records, but it was the first record without the involvement of founding bassist Lou Barlow. The song rides on a wave of distortion and an immediately infectious pop melody that is punctuated by a slamming group syncopation at the end of each line. The "wall of sound" production never lets up, lending the recording a sense of urgency and providing stark contrast for J Mascis' laconic drawl. As usual, the lyrics are a jumble of yearning and confused emotion, trying to make heads or tails of a relationship that's in a perpetual state of disconnection. - Allmusic http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=33:kzfpxxesldke

90s Jams #81: The Notorious B.I.G. "Everyday Struggle" (1994)

The album that reinvented East Coast rap for the gangsta age, Ready to Die made the Notorious B.I.G. a star, and vaulted Sean "Puffy" Combs' Bad Boy label into the spotlight as well. Today it's recognized as one of the greatest hardcore rap albums ever recorded, and that's mostly due to Biggie's skill as a storyteller. His raps are easy to understand, but his skills are hardly lacking -- he has a loose, easy flow and a talent for piling multiple rhymes on top of one another in quick succession. He's blessed with a flair for the dramatic, and slips in and out of different contradictory characters with ease. Yet, no matter how much he heightens things for effect, it's always easy to see elements of Biggie in his narrators and of his own experience in the details; everything is firmly rooted in reality, but plays like scenes from a movie. - Allmusic http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:3ifpxqwhldfe

Saturday, August 28, 2010

90s Jams #82: Add N To (X) "Metal Fingers In My Body" (1999)

Add N to (X)'s third album, Avant Hard, combines the noisy, analog aesthetic of their previous works with an increasingly sophisticated, structured approach. Avant Hard finds Add N to (X) expanding their emotional range as well. The album begins with theoretical pieces like the aptly named "Barry 7's Contraption" and segues into a brace of filmic songs like the horror-show creepiness of "Steve's Going to Teach Himself Who's Boss" to the robo-porn soundtrack that is "Metal Fingers in My Body." - Allmusic http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:0ifwxqqkldfe

90s Jams #83: My Bloody Valentine "Loomer" (1991)

Isn't Anything was good enough to inspire an entire scene of My Bloody Valentine soundalikes, but Loveless' greatness proved that the band was inimitable. After two painstaking years in the studio and nearly bankrupting their label Creation in the process, the group emerged with their masterpiece, which fulfilled all of the promise of their previous albums. With its voluptuous yet ethereal melodies and arrangements, Loveless intimates sensuality and sexuality instead of stating them explicitly; Kevin Shields and Bilinda Butcher's vocals meld perfectly with the trippy sonics around them, suggesting druggy sex or sexy drugs. - Allmusic http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:d9frxqw5ldse

90s Jams #84: Teenage Fanclub "Alcoholiday" (1991)

Arguably Teenage Fanclub’s finest album, Bandwagonesque contains a host of great songs, but there are few finer than the perfect sunshine pop of “Alchoholidy”. Driven on a swell of guitars that immediately bring to mind The Byrds, the song contains a meditative, thoughtful lyric – “There are things I want to say/But I don’t know if they will be to you” – and an infectious, and wonderfully light melody. Indeed, the song is typical of many of Teenage Fanclub’s finest moments, and “Alcoholiday” manages to merge the best bits of The Byrds, Big Star and The Beatles into one glorious burst of inspiration. - Allmusic http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=33:0bftxzeald0e

90s Jams #85: The Chemical Brothers "Setting Sun" (1996)

"Setting Sun" was the Chemical Brothers' and Noel Gallagher's attempt to summon, for contemporary audiences, the intense pop supernova created by the Beatles on their 1966 stunner "Tomorrow Never Knows." Astonishingly they almost succeed, thanks not to Gallagher's whiny vocals but to the Chemicals' blazing production. Instead of the dense musique concrète of backmasked guitar and sitar, "Setting Sun" features rave sirens and head-splitting samples of Gallagher's guitar; instead of the dense rhythm section of Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney, we get a bedrock of insistent, pummeling breakbeats. Gallagher's vocal is a bit forced but mostly true to the screaming production. Easily one of the more extreme singles to ever reach the British charts, "Setting Sun" hit number one in 1998, thanks in part to the quickly peaking phenomena of Brit-pop and big-beat techno. - Allmusic http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=33:fzfqxztjldfe

90's Jams #86: The Cardigans "Erase/Rewind" (1999)

"Erase/Rewind" is a pop rock song written by Peter Svensson and Nina Persson for The Cardigans' 1998 album Gran Turismo. The song is the album's second track, and was released as its second single. It was also featured in "The Thirteenth Floor" during the ending credits. The music video, which features science-fiction references to Star Wars and 2001: A Space Odyssey, was directed by Swedish director Adam Berg. - Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erase/Rewind

90's Jams #87: Cat Power "Cross Bones Style" (1998)

Cat Power's 1998 album Moon Pix continues Chan Marshall's transformation from an indie rock Cassandra into a reflective, accomplished singer/songwriter. Where her previous works were an urgent, aching mix of punk, folk, and blues, Moon Pix is truly soul(ful) music: warm, reflective, complex, and cohesive. Moon Pix's expressive arrangements mirror the songs' fine emotional shadings. Marshall is hypnotic and seductive on "Cross Bones Style..." - Allmusic http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:3bfwxqrjld6e

90's Jams #88: Local H "Bound For The Floor" (1996)

Just as much of Nirvana's early material was informed by Cobain's experiences growing up as a misfit in blue-collar Aberdeen, WA, Local H's Scott Lucas spun a loose concept album out of life in Zion, IL, a dead-end town in the industrial Midwest, for the group's second disc, As Good as Dead. But while Lucas has the guitar (and bass) style of a rock dude, like Cobain, he has the soul of a punk rocker, albeit one growing up in a nowhere town who isn't sure how to get out. With 13 songs written in the voice of a guy who never got past the city limits, As Good as Dead is a litany of bitterness over a life that's being wasted before your very eyes - Allmusic http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:0zftxqwhldae

90's Jams #89: Depeche Mode "I Feel You" (1993)

"I Feel You" feels quite a bit like a sequel, at least musically and in tone, to Violator's "Personal Jesus." But the vibe is more confessional and spiritual, at least on the surface. David Gahan almost screams Martin Gore's lyrics, venting as emotionally as if he's confessing his love to God in a church. If one was to take the album's title literally, "I Feel You" would be a song of devotion, but it's delivered as if it's a song of faith. That it feels simultaneously like a religious song and a dark love song is merely a testament to how powerful Gore is as a songwriter and how tight the band was musically at this point, even as it collapsed internally. - Allmusic http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=33:apfyxqlaldae

90's Jams #90: No Doubt "New" (1999)

In early 1999, No Doubt released "New", co-produced by Talking Heads member Jerry Harrison, for the soundtrack of the film Go. After the success of No Doubt's breakthrough album Tragic Kingdom, the band wrote more than twenty songs for a new album, influenced by artists such as The Cure. Having toured extensively for two and a half years since the release of Tragic Kingdom, they initially had trouble producing material and decided to experiment with new sounds. Allmusic, gave it four and a half stars, calling it "a terrific, layered record that exceeds any expectations set by Tragic Kingdom". - Wikipeida http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Return_of_Saturn

90s Jams (+3): Pinback "Loro" (1999)

"Loro" is a single released by indie rock band Pinback, on their self-titled debut album. The single was released as a CD in 1999 and on 7" vinyl in 2000. The song was also part of the Elizabethtown movie soundtrack. - Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loro

90s Jams (+3): LL Cool J "Around The Way Girl" (1990)

"Around the Way Girl" was the R&B-spiced single off LL Cool J's 1990 success, Mama Said Knock You Out. It's a smooth-flowing, happy-grooving ode to the strong, independent girls (of all styles) of the 'hood, produced by Marley Marl and co-produced by LL Cool J. "Around the Way Girl" is a pleasant and light song, with well-crafted sections and good samples, that's made to move to, whether it's playing in your car, on your headphones, or on the dancefloor. A few fashion references are the only details that could date the song somewhat -- a New Edition Bobby Brown button, a Fendi bag, etc. -- but "Around the Way Girl" has proven to be not only one of LL Cool J's most enduring singles, but also one of the most enduring singles of that year's rap- R&B- pop offerings. - Allmusic http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=33:jbfuxx9sldke

90s Jams (+3): Chemical Brothers "Let Forever Be" (1999)

"Let Forever Be" is the second single from The Chemical Brothers released from their third album Surrender. It contains the vocals of Noel Gallagher of Oasis who also co-wrote the song. The song's drum loop and crashing cymbal effects bear similarity to those of the Beatles' "Tomorrow Never Knows". The video for the track was directed by Michel Gondry, and utilized ground-breaking video and film effects in its depiction of a young woman's nightmares. The video, which drew much visual inspiration from Ray Davies' 1975 Granada TV production "Starmaker", received much media attention and became one of the most well-known videos from the band. - Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Let_Forever_Be

"90 Jams From The 90's" Starts Here

As we mentioned yesterday, the 90's jams will be kicking off tonight, celebrating the richest decade for amazing music that has ever happened. Just the same as any other decade, the 90's had a lot of shit music. None of that music will be represented here. Only the hot jams. Let's do this...

pitchfork 90's list

Pitchfork posted a news item today saying that next week they'll be posting their 200 best songs of the 90's feature..

We're sure it's gonna be a nice list.. However, this kinda bums us out because since 5 or 6 months ago, we've been working on choices for a "best 90's songs" feature to post right here... We were gonna wait a little bit since the "80's Jams" thing only wrapped up a few weeks ago, and we don't want our choices to seem redundant with lists from any mainstream publications.. But that's probably going to happen now... Especially if there's excessive redundancy, it just might lessen the impact of our selections.. Or in fact, it most certainly will lessen the impact, because we have a feeling their list is going to be really good. Oh darn.

We know no one really cares, but we'll just say this: The 90 songs for the upcoming "90's Jams" feature have already been chosen and were not influenced by Pitchfork's upcoming 90's list in any way. Are we in the clear now??

A quick breeze through "The Pitchfork 500" makes it pretty easy to predict which selections will be included vs. which ones will remain forgotten.. So hopefully there won't be TOO much redundancy... Man, that would be a bummer.

EDIT: Whatever, fuck waiting around... It's been decided that we're going to rush-post the entire "90's Jams" list complete with videos between now and next Friday...

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Cee-Lo update

Billboard revealed today that Cee-Lo's new "viral hit" single "Fuck You" was written and produced by Bruno Mars, the same guy who wrote Flo Rida's "Right Round" (which appeared in our "Worst Singles of 2009" from a few months back) and the same guy who does guest vocals on Travie McCoy's "Billionaire," which is one of the most appallingly horrendous vomit stains to ever flood the airwaves of corporate radio (and a total lock for the top 5 of the forthcoming 20 worst songs of 2010). So despite the hype, "Fuck You" is shit. It's been confirmed. Sorry kids, I don't make the rules..

new rule

If you play in a band with someone who looks like this...


Monday, August 23, 2010

P4K Best 90's Videos

For whatever reason, Pitchfork decided to post a "50 Best Videos Of the 1990's" feature, and I'm happy to report that 9 videos from last year's list of our 20 Best Promo Videos Ever made the final cut... If you know what you're talking about, it's hard to fuck up a list of the best 90's videos, although I'm pretty sure they only included Pavement because they felt like they had to.. which is understandable. Is "Cut Your Hair" really a better video than "Heart Shaped Box" or "California?" You decide...

Pitchfork: The Top 50 Music Videos Of The 1990's

Taste My Kids: 20 Best Promo Videos Ever

Sunday, August 22, 2010

new Cee-Lo single

You wanted us all to be abuzz... Well the internet buzz of the moment seems to be circling around the new single from Cee-Lo, which is called "Fuck You." There have been many songs released over the years with this title, and this is by far the most radio friendly of all of them.. In fact, I'm afraid to listen to it again, because I finally got it unstuck from my head, and it makes me kind of uncomfortable thinking about it.

I will not be embedding the video here, but it's been getting some crazy Diggs over the past 48 hours..


And for the record, it's "incredible" in the sense that it's making lots of people talk, which has really no bearing over its quality. I'm considering this the next in the shortlist of high-quality and ultimately huge alternative-hiphop singles released since "Hey Ya!" which also includes Gorillaz' "Feel Good Inc," M.I.A.'s "Paper Planes," and Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy," a song which shot to #2 in the summer of '06 and also featured Cee-Lo on lead vocals. "Fuck You" has unfortunately broken the quality cycle... It's destined to at least reach the Top 10, and people in-the-know have been predicting it will not take long for it to shoot to #1... I wouldn't doubt it myself. But the lyrics are so incredibly embarrassing, to the point where I was unable to watch its video (a video which only displays the lyrics of the song). It made me feel awkward while listening, as if I was witnessing the molestation of modern day culture within a single song.

I have a strange viewpoint.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Pill's cooking show & new video "On Da Korner"

I have to be honest.. when I saw the words "the first installment of Pill's new cooking show" (which was obviously a joke) my first reaction was to think, wow, they're actually going to show him cooking up crack in his own kitchen? ... And with good reason, in the tradition of Clipse, it's pretty much the most frequently referenced subject matter of the songs on 4180: The Prescription, which is probably the #1 album I've listened to most often since Fall 2009, followed closely by Japandroids' Post-Nothing.. I know Pill has released 2 other mixtapes since 4180, but for whatever reason they haven't struck me in quite the same way... His singles have still been tight as fuck, such as "Hear Somebody Comin'" and "On Da Korner..." The latter specifically is truly a testament to Pill being my favorite MC of the moment, as the song itself is decently bland, but is completely taken into an unforeseen realm of badass awesomeness once the flow begins...

Here's the new video...

Pill - On Da Korner from Motion Family on Vimeo.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

VMA nom predictions: Not so great

Just a warning for those who are normal and who don't care about any of the artists mentioned after this paragraph: Please ignore this post entirely and go directly below it to the At.The.Drive.In video posted yesterday which I promise you is approximately 4 thousand times more entertaining and far less boring than anything I'm writing about here... For those who are leftover, who probably equates to approximately zero people, you lucky fucks get to read about how closely I predicted the VMA nominees last week. Seriously though, please don't read this because it's fucking horrible and embarrassing...

So anyway, even someone as dumb as me had enough sense to realize that "Bad Romance" was the most obvious candidate for what will definitely be receiving the "Video Of The Year" award. Lady Gaga was nominated 13 times, and what I hadn't counted on was that not one, but TWO of her clips would be up for Video Of The Year.

My only other correct guess was Enimem's "Not Afraid." MTV didn't do the same thing they did last year by only choosing stuff that was immensely popular... Out of my friends and family, pretty much all of whom discuss music with me on a regular basis, none of them have ever mentioned anything about the new 30 Seconds To Mars or the new Florence + The Machine. Up until reading the VMA nominees, I was barely aware that either band had released any music in the past year. I know who Jordan Catalano is, but regardless, these appear to be some pretty random ass choices. Whatever...

My predictions came closest with "Best Male" by correctly guessing the Usher, Drake & Eminem videos; however Bieber was nowhere to be found here. (The same Bieber video was instead up for "Best New Artist," which I'm pretty sure is a no brainer, since this award normally goes out to "here today gone tomorrow" kind of talent..) B.O.B. was correctly predicted; however, with a different video. "Nothin' On You" was instead nominated for "Best Pop."

I would have made an easy prediction of Beyonce for Best Female, except I hadn't realized at the time that she had released any new music since last August. Same goes for Taylor Swift, who I'd rather see win before Miley Cyrus anyday... The other 3 I predicted correctly (Gaga, Katy & Ke$ha)...

Phoenix is NOT up for best rock.. In fact, their "best rock" choices are pretty fucking bland... This is frustrating because I have nothing to base MTV's choices on since they don't play videos. Actually, I was basing it mostly on Billboard. The 2 "new rock" stations in my area play the shit out of "1901" and "Lisztomania," but I have yet to hear that MGMT song (although they both still play the shit out of "Kids") and I'm pretty sure I've never heard that Paramore song.

And although I think she's mostly boring, I'm surprised that Rhianna is up for zero awards, since the "Rude Boy" video (albeit an obvious M.I.A. ripoff) is sorta different and colorful.. and the song was a #1 hit and all.. yeah, whatever..


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Monday, August 2, 2010

Fight the real enemy

I can't believe how many songs I hate that this guy Dr. Luke has produced... It's kind of amazing. His recent claim to fame is as an "SNL band member turned producer" who worked on many of the most annoyingly ubiquitous radio hits of the past 5 years.. You know, those inescapable ones that just make you want to snuff it when they come across the radio airwaves for the 300th time in the past 7 days...

Once upon a time, Swedish songwriter/producer Max Martin used to work (mostly) alone, and made a name for himself, as well as making millions of dollars for himself, by writing some of the most iconic TRL favorites of the late 90's and during the 00's..

Max Martin wrote "Quit Playing Games With My Heart," "Tearing Up My Heart," "Baby One More Time," "Oops I Did It Again," "It's Gonna Be Me," "I'm Not A Girl Not Yet A Woman," and dozens of other iconic teen-pop favorites, the full list of which is available right over here.

At the risk of burning himself out, in 2004 he called upon the assistance of former SNL-band member "Dr. Luke" for assistance on Kelly Clarkson's "Since U Been Gone," which turned out to be an artistic and creative peak for both gentlemen. "The industry took notice," and ever since, this pair have been called upon for a string of very successful radio singles. However, what the industry had not counted on was the inane and infantile direction these songs would veer towards... The most famous of these were "U + Ur Hand," "Girlfriend," "I Kissed A Girl," "Hot + Cold," "Right Round," "Party In The USA," "Tik Tok," "Your Love Is My Drug," and "California Gurls." And they're not done. Not even close. Here's Dr. Luke's wikipedia page.

The same guy? Really?

I shouldn't need to go any further. People who are angry at the artists who sing these songs have been misdirected the whole time. Sinead O'Connor needs to come back to SNL and rip a picture of their former band member... "Fight the real enemy." The Machine (referring to the part of The Machine that keeps people's minds occupied by horribly inane pop music) needs some serious re-tweaking. Once upon a time, there were hitmakers with names such as Pharrell Williams, Timbaland, Dr. Dre and Jermaine Dupri, and dudes like Kanye West who are still keeping busy, who don't water down their records by shooting for the lowest common denominator. The whole reason why mediocre artists like Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry and Pink are still around is because after enough time passes, their agents can call upon these guys and be like "hey, we need another hit.." These are singers whose careers all should've dissolved after their first 2 songs, but are still around today, continuing their rampage of annoyance, all thanks to The Machine keeping things in their favor.

The bottom line: This is a clearly talented man using his powers to praise Satan and encourage ignorance. This man must be stopped. But he won't be. The cash-flow will continue, and more and more terrible, terrible songs will flood the Top 40 airwaves for at least 2-3 more years. Maybe we can just ride this out and hope/pray that some new talent can be called upon soon.

Rock music isn't exactly kicking ass right now either... I'm looking into the possibility of conspiracy surrounding the current craze of rock bands using unnecessarily excessive vocal reverb, often turning what might have been otherwise badass rock music into a giant pile of wuss. Stay tuned for more developments as this story unfolds.

"Endino Jam"

I've been searching for this song (or "jam," whatever) many times over the past few months.. still can't find an mp3, but someone did post it on youtube!! Great success!