Friday, March 21, 2008

Make my day

This is so motherfucking hottt (that's 3 "T"s, baby) that I'm gonna buy their Fantastic Playroom album this weekend. (I'd been thinking about it, but this tips the balance.) It's New Young Pony Club covering "Pump Up the Jam," live, and it is, in fact, the hotttness. You need this.

Hip-hop history, damn

Oh dear sweet Jesus: it's the motherfucking Rub, alright, giving you the history of hip-hop. And I mean history. Get to school, kids.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

rock! vol. 2

Power Station, "Some Like It Hot" (1985): Rock played on actual instruments had never (to this point) sounded processed-sexier. R.I.P., Robert Palmer and Tony Thompson. This still sounds sensational.

Jane's Addiction, "Stop!" (1990): They were capable of writing occasionally stunning multi-tiered 4-minute rock operettas, spotlit by Perry Farrell's attempts to save the world while Pierced Tits Navarro slashed-and-burned the landscape behind him. Should've reined themselves in more, but that just made 'em supernovas instead of super.

Jimi Hendrix Experience, "Purple Haze" (1967): I've always found Hendrix to be a more conventional songsmith than his rep, but he was jacking off his guitar before Prince hit puberty. As a pure technician, and source of fire, Jimi was probably the greatest rock guitarslinger ever - and that's enough.

Flaming Lips, "Race for the Prize" (1999): The closest they ever came to breaking through ("She Don't Use Jelly" = novelty hit = doesn't count) was also the finest distillation of everything which can make them great. Like Jane's (see above), the Lips too often give in to their worst self-indulgent impulses, but when they're focused - as on this classic about scientists searching for a cure - they can transcend, well, most everything.

Ian Dury and the Blockheads, "Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick" (1979): One of my favorite UK #1s ever, and one of the weirder ones. Just as non-sequitur-laden as early They Might Be Giants, but on some other post-postpunk/new wave/alt-universe pop shit musically. With, as I comprehend it, a touch of old British music-hall sensibility, too. All the (ostensibly) wrong elements colliding in just the right way to create a stroke of genius.

Beavis and Butt-Head, "Come to Butt-Head" (1993): "Baby, I just wanna feel every part of me touching every part of you. Especially your thingies." - Butt-Head
I mean, what's more rock'n'roll than that sentiment? Sure, this song is more '70s R&B than rock, but B+B were certainly of rock - and for a good part of the '90s, they were basically the king(maker)s of rock in the U.S.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

can't stop the rock!

So back in 2003, when we still didn't know what we were doing, I started making mp3 CDs. Lots of 'em. When Sony introduced a Discman that played mp3 discs, I was ecstatic.

5 years later, I just unearthed a brand-new Discman in a box of stuff, so I've hauled out the mp3 discs again. The first one I ever burned was titled, simply enough, rock! I think I need to do a Nate Patrin (still one of my favorite crits) and attempt to write about every song on it, in random order. (Mostly in the time it takes to listen to the song, but I'm not limiting myself to that.) There's 143 total. I started on the bus to work this a.m.

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, "Deanna" (1988): Coming off like the ultimate lost trash-rock classic (cf. "Surfin' Bird" - and can you imagine Cave putting his imprimatur on that?!), only slightly gothier. This is Cave at his vocal best, which is to say rather unhinged.

Jimmy Page & Robert Plant, "Gallows Pole" (1994): It's certainly not "unLedded," all advertising to the contrary. Pointing the way, clearly, to Plant's Moroccan excursions to come, this proves that the dynamic duo can make music just as propulsive and full of life with acoustic instruments.

Temple of the Dog, "Hunger Strike" (1991): Quite possibly the best record any of its principals have ever been involved with. Apart from the "dirtier" (i.e. Mudhoney et. al.) school, this is to me what grunge was meant to sound like. Eddie Vedder and Chris Cornell should cut a duets album, too.

Guns 'N' Roses, "Welcome to the Jungle" (1987): Well, GodDAMN what can you say about this? As important if not influential as "Anarchy in the UK" or even "Smells Like Teen Spirit" (quick: name me a band more influential than G'N'R and/or Nirvana in the last 20 years), and taken in context it was an ATOM BOMB. I still remember the first time I heard/saw this, in the early ayem on Headbangers Ball. Seeing it, you (I) just knew they were gonna rule the world. Shoulda known they'd implode, too.

Manic Street Preachers, "The Masses Against the Classes" (2000): Exciting partially because it was the loudest, most punk-sounding thing they'd recorded post-Richey - but also because it's the sound of an ace rock trio working in well-lubed harmony. Also: endearingly Socialist.

Pilot, "Magic" (1974): I'll argue that the guitars make it rock; you can argue against, citing the blowsy horns, handclaps, and especially the poncy "la-la-la"s, but you do so at the risk of neglecting that a) this was during the height of glam, and b) it's British. C'mon now. Roxy re-envisioned as a seaside resort hotel combo, as pop and queer as, well, Brittania itself.

Suede, "Trash" (1996): Speaking of pop/queer/Britishness... I swear this came up totally at random! At their best - combining Brett Anderson firing on all cylinders, both lyrically (sassy observations and pithiness) and vocally (like he swallowed Marc Bolan and Ziggy Stardust), with the best crunchy glamness this side of, well, '74 - they were damned near unstoppable. This exemplifies it.

Queen, "Hammer to Fall" (1984): The last great rocking Queen single? You can have the likes of "Innuendo," I'll take this. Freddie's still at the top of his form, the harmonies are classic Queen, Brian May's doing his thing, dawg, and you can place the song itself up against their '70s work with no regrets.

Scorpions, "Rock You Like A Hurricane" (1984): No shame in loving hair metal (even though this most definitely predates the genre) if it's as good as this. The guitars simply shred, and Klaus Meine is at his best here, wailing away like the Berlin Wall's already coming down. Are you ready, baby?

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