Monday, May 30, 2011

"Dirty Boots"

I was just informed Sonic Youth has not performed "Dirty Boots" since before 1995, and I'm thinking they should bring it back... In fact, they should just do a fucking "Goo" tour and play the whole album since that's a trendy thing for older bands these days. I'd pay $25 for that, just to see teen kids wearing Nirvana shirts jump on stage and start making out.. This video is fucking amazing...


90's Jams #3: Nirvana "Aneurysm" (1991)

Please forgive our use of "epic" in this case, since the term is virtually meaningless at this point due to its overuse in describing lolcats pics. However, the actual definition of "epic" is probably the best possible single-word description for "Aneurysm," due to its enormous build and release structure. It's simply Nirvana at their most massive, and probably the most perfect combination of metal and punkrock, existing about halfway in the middle of a civil war cannon battle between Black Sabbath and Sex Pistols. It was the logical next step after Nirvana recruited Dave Grohl, which Kurt Cobain clearly understood as it's one of the rare Nirvana songs to issue songwriting credit to all three band members. It would not be obvious until reading Come As You Are that the lyrics are yet another song written "about a girl.." Turns out there were a lot more of those than we thought. And based on the intensity of the music, this particular situation may have been just a bit frustrating.

It's also not typical for such a beloved track within a huge band's catalog to have no definitive version.. The b-side on "Smells Like Teen Spirit" came first and was the rawest... The BBC session take from Incesticide is what most people have heard, which increases the production value and sounds like they've been practicing it a lot. It was recorded in late 1991, a time when really any live version of "Aneurysm" could have been considered just as perfect, especially the Amsterdam version heard on Live! Tonight! Sold Out!

"Holing Out"

Friday, May 27, 2011

90's Jams #4: The Notorious B.I.G. "Gimme The Loot" (1994)

In probably his most intimidating and rawest performance, here lies the proof that Big Smalls was hiphop's most convincing and greatest storyteller.. (Nothing that happens in this song is true.) And probably the best song for tricking people into believing that he collaborated with ODB... Turns out Biggie & Puff Daddy thought up the brilliant idea of trying to make the same voice sound like a gang of rappers, since #1 the intensity of the rhymes calls for some lyrical overlap, and #2 Have you ever actually tried rapping along to this song with the same vocal inflection and pitch? You WILL run out of breath... It's like running a fucking marathon.. Although that doesn't stop people from trying (Artie Lange did an ok job).. While "Juicy" is the jam that permanently placed his name in the history books, "Gimme The Loot" is the kind of stuff that can turn someone from "amazing" to "legendary.."


Is the first youtube comment for this video...

Monday, May 23, 2011

90's Jams #5: Aaliyah "One In A Million" (1996)

Timbaland's canvas was as huge as the entire great big starry moonless fucking 2AM sky, and he filled in every last spot with layers upon layers of precious subtlety. As a result, there is a very strong chance, upon the first listen, that the listener will NOT AT ALL get what makes this song the absolute pinnacle of not only 90's R&B, but 90's pop singles, period. Within "One In A Million's" dozens of brilliant subtleties, the absolute standout would have to be its inventive arrangement, showcasing motherfucking cricket noises as a percussion instrument... and backwards-reverb on a recurring soul-guitar fill... Let's just take a moment to really let those 2 elements sink in, considering this song was played on Hot 97 constantly, and sounded nothing like anything else in the world of radio R&B at the time, but somehow set a course in place (along with a handful of other radio singles, most notably "Pony" and "The Rain") to permanently alter pop music production over the next 6-7 years.

Other noteworthy brilliant subtleties, in no particular order:
#1 17-year-old* Aaliyah's barely not-that-innocent delivery, although no more naughty than what high school kids are normally concerned with... We do miss her so.
#2 The vocal arrangement and lyrics were more than likely Missy Elliott's biggest contribution, mostly noteworthy for how they blend so perfectly with Timbaland's warm and silky keyboard arrangement..
#3 This particular style of percussion arrangement, with its slight nods to early 90's drum-n-bass, spent a good 2-3 years lingering within the top 10 singles chart in tracks like Usher's "Nice And Slow" and Christina Aguilera's "Genie In A Bottle," although it was never quite like the first time..

(*Considering Bieber and Earl Sweatshirt and that chick from iCarly are now the same age as Aaliyah when the One In A Million LP was released, she seems notably mature in comparison... And as far as we can tell, her particular style of "teen-girl subtly hinting at promiscuity" predates everyone else, albeit much more tastefully than what followed...)

And that's the bulk of it... With this song, Missy & Timbo kicked off their trippy futuristic sci-fi party. There's a fitting night shot at the end of this video with Aaliyah riding with some motorcycle dude over a bridge with the stars above them. You can listen to this during the day if you want to, but "One In A Million" is a perfect jam for the stars...

Friday, May 20, 2011

90's Jams #6: Depeche Mode "Enjoy The Silence" (1990)

From Wikipedia: 4′33″ (pronounced Four, thirty-three) is a three-movement composition by American experimental composer John Cage (1912–1992). It was composed in 1952 for any instrument (or combination of instruments), and the score instructs the performer not to play the instrument during the entire duration of the piece throughout the three movements. It is commonly perceived as "four minutes thirty-three seconds of silence." In a 1982 interview, and on numerous other occasions, Cage stated that 4′33″ was, in his opinion, his most important work.

4'33 seems to be a celebration of all Earthly sounds, no matter how quiet. And when Dave Gahan sings "All I ever needed is here in my arms" and starts denouncing all spoken words, it seems like the "silence" he explains is "absence of words" and not necessarily "absence of all sound." In either case, there IS sound. In "The Sounds Of Silence," Simon & Garfunkel sang about moments within the "silence," which were the sounds that were heard in 4'33. So Gahan wants us to embrace (or enjoy) those sounds (the silence). And if you're gonna sing about embracing the silence, your synths better sound like a cathedral and your guitars better sound like riding on horses in the desert - in other words, a lonely experience, since the inevitable words like violence will break the silence and come crashing in, ultimately putting an end to what's there in his arms... It's a weighty message, and one that could ironically only really be told the best way through a gorgeous pop song.

Never knew this existed until a few minutes ago, but here's an alternate version of the video shot from the roof of the World Trade Center in 1990:

Thursday, May 19, 2011

this week's billb(oard)

Surprisingly decent top 10 this week....

Not sure why blogger uploaded it so small but whatever...

90's Jams #7: Wu-Tang Clan "Shame On A *****" (1993)

"Starring Ol' Dirty Bastard" is just one of those phrases that will always generate a huge reaction. Within the 11 years after Wu-Tang's first release, he may have lead the most outrageously "I don't give a fuck" career of any high profile Top 40 artist. And it all started with arguably his most perfectly and insanely on-point moment. Method Man and Raekwon adequately fuck shit up as per usual, and RZA's instantly recognizable monster-party beat by itself crowns "Shame On A *****" as the quintessential Wu-Tang explosion. However, it's belligerent Dirt McGirt who propels this into the upper stratosphere of 90's hiphop. They were never again as hungry as on Enter The Wu-Tang: 36 Chambers, with this track as Ol' Dirty's grand entrance, bustin' down the door, with a breakfast 40oz in hand...

This is the closest thing to a music video we could find on Youtube...

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Mom Of The Year


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

90's Jams #8: Stardust "Music Sounds Better With You" (1998)

Deep ambiguous nostalgia... Is it retro 70's? 80's? 90's? "Love might bring us back together." Whenever "together" happened, it's clearly not happening now. Scattered memories are often a happy effect of weed consumption, which could possibly be the "You" in the song title, although the song itself mostly sounds like E. In any case, this fills up the listener with a rush of SOMETHING... Coursing through the bloodstream, and "feels so good." Perhaps love is this ultimate drug?

And then there's the middle section... Bangalter's sticks to his trademark "turn down the treble so it sounds like you're listening to the song being played at the apartment down the hallway" used previously in "Phoenix" and "Revolution 909" and pretty much every other song on Homework, and perfected in this case... The bass drum groove continues pumping, like our hearts continuing? To pound out of our chests? When a huge moment of our lives is right in front of us? Perhaps this is overthinking simplicity...

By the way, it might be tough to remember this, but Daft Punk and Chemical Brothers actually used to receive airplay on daytime MTV throughout Spring and Summer 1997. Hard to believe, but yes it's true, right around the time "Electronica" became a buzzword. Prodigy & Chem Bros recieved most of the hype for riding the wave commercially, while Daft Punk were the slow burner... "Around The World" got some daytime spins. By the time Stardust happened, MTV airplay was confined to AMP & 120 Minutes. Perhaps Gondry's most underrated video...

"Bye Bye Love"

May is almost June. This is the only time of year that's not depressing in case anyone was wondering. The Cars released a reunion album and it's fitting in well for this time of the year.. Here's a preview of what will likely place really high up if we ever get around to "70's Jams" ...

Sunday, May 8, 2011

90's Jams #9: Nirvana "Heart Shaped Box" (1993)

90's Jams enters single digits, and it's getting a lot tougher to get into the worthiness without sounding like a douche... And then we remembered "Heart Shaped Box" probably has a wikipedia entry... It doesn't mention exact dates, but I recall reading in one of those big Nirvana biographies that this song took something like 9 months to complete... The two verses are described by Charles Cross as "the most convoluted route any songwriter undertook in pop history to say 'I love you'." The vocal melody in the verses may have further raised fans suspicion of Courtney Love receiving ghostwriting assistance from her husband on Live Through This, although it's been noted that Cobain purposely constructed the melody on the verses to sound like a Hole song. In the chorus, Kurt snarls "fuck you" to the media, ironically complaining "I got a new complaint" with a dissonant 2-note interval in both the vocal melody and guitar solo, which couldn't possibly have sounded more overwhelmingly sarcastic. And then of course, there's the performance and the recording itself, matching most of the darkness and catharsis of the rest of In Utero's "Godzilla tearing down buildings in slow motion" massiveness...

Saturday, May 7, 2011

dope shirts

rip beavis videos again

I'm not sure why it didn't occur to me that posting Beavis & Butthead videos on here would be completely pointless .. I just thought it was unusual that so many of them hadn't yet been removed, but at some point in the past week they were all removed by Viacom... As well as all MTV performances posted for the 90's jams. Like seriously, the upper management of MTV and Viacom are awful awful people who should be ashamed of their lives. AP reported 2 days ago that MTV's CEO is retiring which I'm somehow sure will make absolutely no difference in the quality of their programming...

It's not entirely unfeasible for MTV to seek a programming which will generate ad revenue and yet is also not completely based around shock value, and still contains some artistic or creative merit. Once upon a time, MTV was the coolest cable channel of alltime, and now they are the personification of all things evil, who still somehow is proud to naively project this false image as if they still represent the voice of modern youth culture. Any station that would air TV shows whose content is based around Youtube clips should prove this point... HBO, Showtime and AMC are considered the best channels right now, while MTV has continued digging deeper into their lowest-common-denominator demographic, breeding more and more anti-intellectualism, just because they think it's more marketable. 2 six-minute commercial breaks every 30 minutes means their shows only need to be 18 minutes long.

So in 1993, "smart" and "creative" was marketable and generated more ad revenue, while in 2011, "dumb" and "predictable" is what brings in the money... The world deserves a channel that's actually dedicated to new music and the fresher aspects of modern culture, but I guess that's too much to ask for.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Dead Wives "Hellrazor"

Dead Wives
Hellrazor (demo tape)

1. Dead Wives - Yard (2:25)
2. Dead Wives - Follow The Chain (1:07)
3. Dead Wives - Capitol Hill (3:15)
4. Dead Wives - Camera (2:56)
5. Dead Wives - Recycled 2 (2:43)
6. Dead Wives - Blood (5:21)
7. Dead Wives - Vegas (2:59)
8. Dead Wives - Hail Storm (2:26)
9. Dead Wives - Move In (3:10)
10. Dead Wives - Null (1:41)
11. Dead Wives - Ammo (3:04)

Bonus tracks...
12. Dead Wives - Your Little Sailboat (2:19)
13. Dead Wives - White People (3:48)
14. Dead Wives - Good Suffering (Long Version) (12:15)

We actually had requests for more Dead Wives, which was unexpected and nice. Out of the 4 that have yet to be uploaded, Hellrazor is probably the demo tape I'd be least embarrassed to post here, even though the mix is really bad and the vocals are kinda not that impressive as they were recorded entirely in one take at 4AM on a random Thursday morning back when my work hours were 2:30PM to 11PM .. which I actually had some odd nostalgia for recently..

Dead Wives will never perform "Capitol Hill" live even though I do really like the song.. It was supposed to sound like a combination of about 8 bands (The Modern Lovers and Interpol come to mind), but instead people told me they thought it sounded like Blink 182... ugh.

There were 3 versions of "Recycled." The first one sounds like Wire. The second one sounds like Franz Ferdinand. The third one sounds like Electric Wizard. The 2nd version is the only one that got finished (for better or worse).

"Blood" was an ongoing project since back in like 2003.. An 8-minute version was recorded for Milk And Water but wasn't included. At the time of recording, Phoenix had just recently performed "1901" and "Lisztomania" on Saturday Night Live, and so the original atmosphere of the song ended up getting changed... A regrettable decision, but whatever...

These were all recorded between March and April 2009, except for 12 and 13 were recorded at the end of May on a boring Saturday when I was missing my friends and feelin Yo La Tengo.. "Your Little Sailboat" is a Smooth Hands song (with an amazing video that probably isn't on Youtube) and "White People" is a Smile Democracy song. Both songs are so lovely and I felt like trying to make them sound like YLT... The singing is really quiet because I did it in my bedroom and I didn't want my roomies to hear.

My friend Dan and myself recorded "Good Suffering" on another boring Saturday in April... Someone left a cello in the band room, and we had access to a creepy sounding organ, so we tried to make the best of our surroundings... I don't think Dan liked it, but personally I think it sounds awesome.

Download "Hellrazor"