Thursday, November 30, 2006

Where Jerry Lewis and indie rock meet

On January 6th, James Mercer (The Shins,) Eric Bachmann (Crooked Fingers, Archers of Loaf) and Joel R.L. Phelps (ex-Silkworm,) will convene at Neumos here in Seattle to play a benefit show to help find a cure for Muscular Dystrophy.

UPDATE: Tickets available here
Playlist: Indie Rock for Muscular Dystrophy

Three-year old Aidan Leffler was diagnosed this past spring with DMD (Duchenne muscular dystrophy,) the most common form of Muscular Dystrophy. It's a degenerative disease with no cure and a 100% fatality rate, which means unless a cure is found soon, this happy-go-lucky kid will die within 20 years of respitory failure. He's a great kid who deserves so much more.

Aidan's father, Mitch, is an old friend and former bandmate of mine, and the quality of the lineup is quite a testament to his character (and his drumming.) For instance Spoon's Britt Daniels (who recently moved to the Northwest) was also on board for the benefit, but a scheduling conflict (finishing up the new album in Austin) prevented him from playing (but it also means there might be another benefit in April when his schedule clears up.)

I'll elaborate more on the subject as the date approaches, but felt the need to do a quick post upon learning the final details.

More facts about DMD:
* 15,000-20,000 children in the US are afflicted
* Around one in every 3,500 boys is born with DMD

The Aidan William Leffler Trust
Charley's Fund - Benefitting Research toward a cure or treatment for DMD

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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Super Bad Santa

After a terrible episode a couple weeks ago (see Future Shock,) it's good to see Nip/Tuck back on it's mark last night, even if it did require channeling Bad Santa to undo the damage.

Dr. McNamara, experiencing his first holidays post-family, turns to the bottle to ease his loneliness and despair, which leads to some of this season's funniest moments. First Sean messes up a G-spot enhancement, leaving the patient with spontaneous orgasms ("I can't even show my face in spin class again!") Then, desparate to find any form of holiday joy, he volunteers to play Santa for kids at the mall, but instead plays Bad Santa - drunk, impatient and lacking any tact, Sean winds up getting serviced by one of Santa's little helpers.

Musically, the scene is set with a standard (Andy Williams' "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year,") letting us think we're getting standard Christmas fare, but then the downtempo instrumental "Sunshine Christmas" signals some of Sean's downward spiral. Alvin and the Chipmunks then provide the comedic background for the (Bad) Santa scenes.

Fun Fact: That was Charles Haid playing Sean's homeless angel 'Reefer,' remembered best for his gruff portrayal of Officer Renko on Hill Street Blues, but more recently has been directing Nip/Tuck episodes (three so far this season.)

Playlist: Nip/Tuck - Episode 413
1. "It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year" - Andy Williams - Sean goes overboard Christmas shopping for the family with Matt
2. "Joy To The World" - Stephen Metcalf - Sean performs a clitoris enhancement on Caroline
3. "Sunshine Christmas" - Billy Paul Williams - Sean buys a new suit and runs into Reefer on his way to the office
4. "Santa Baby" - Eartha Kitt - Sean operates on a Santa Claus whose boots have been melted to his skin
5. "The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late)" - Alvin & The Chipmunks - Sean plays a naughty Santa for kids at the mall
6. "Up On The Housetop" - Alvin & The Chipmunks - Christian catches Sean in sexual congress with Merrily
7. "Silent Night" - Otto Sieben - James talks to Chiyo on the phone and is informed by Sean that she and Reefer will be the only ones in recovery for Christmas Eve
8. "The Little Drummer Boy" - Harry Simeone Chorale - Michelle finds Reefer after James has removed his organs/they dispose of the body
Tracklisting compiled by Avalon at

Previously: Future Shock (Episode 411)

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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Makin' cocaine quiches

I had just started to pull together my "Best Albums" list and then Clipse's sophomore album Hell Hath No Fury shows up out of the blue to throw a wrench in the process... and by process I mean going back and listening to everything I'd earmarked every new release Tuesday, a task so large I'd probably need help from the 'Black Martha Stewart.'

Album: Clipse - Hell Hath No Fury

Oh, I'd heard the advance singles "Mr Me Too" and "Wamp Wamp (What It Do)" but neither gave indication of the depths that The Neptunes plunged for sounds in their production. Just listen to the chilling dense bass wall in "Trill" and the creepy piano string strum in "Ride Around Shining" - which features the lyrics:
The Black Martha Stewart / let me show you how to do it / break pies to pieces / make cocaine quiches.
The most welcoming track is "Dirty Money," which follows the brothers Pusha T and Malice as they spend their drug money on bling for their ladies. Luckily they saved some of that bling for Pharrell and The Neptunes to sprinkle throughout the album, as there's plenty here that shines.

Regardless of all the praise, though, Ghostface Killah's Fishscales is still my hip-hop album of the year.

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Monday, November 27, 2006

Ice and snow havoc

Song: "Tear the Roof off the Sucker (Give Up the Funk)" - Parliament

Saturday we took the roof off half our house, in our neverending home remodel project (started in March.) First came a feeling of relief... progress... finally! Then utter fear as it began to rain buckets yesterday on our temporary tarp roof. Leaks began to appear in our computer room... then it began to snow. We accumulated a couple inches, then back to rain. Then it froze. Then came the windstorm, tearing down ice and snow-laden trees on our block, and wreaking havoc on our tarp roof. But we made it out without any major damage.

Same can't be said for the fellow who just drove/slid into our building here below my window here at work this morning. Crazy.

(Nothing says class like a Honey Bucket in your driveway, by the way.)

Ear on TV: Week of November 27

With a new box set (Orphans) out in the stores, Tom Waits takes his gravely voice out for some face time on the boob tube, hitting both Letterman (tonight) and The Daily Show (Tuesday.) Waits is one of those rare double threat guests - you can count on him for a highly entertaining interview as well as an electric performance. Last time he visited Letterman, he famously brought pictures of artwork from a cribbing race horse, putting a new slant on the phrase "straight from the horses mouth."

Yet another talk show double-threat, the Snoop Dee-oh-double-G, hits both Leno (Tuesday) and Ellen Thursday,) in support of his latest cd, The Blue Carpet Treatment. Only drawback is having to hear both Leno and Ellen say 'fashizzle.'

Monday, November 27
ABC: Jimmy Kimmel Live: The Hold Steady (RERUN)
CBS: Late Show With David Letterman: Tom Waits

Tuesday, November 28
CBS: Late Show With David Letterman: The Decemberists
COMEDY CENTRAL: The Daily Show with Jon Stewart: Tom Waits
NBC: The Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Snoop Dogg

Wednesday, November 29
CBS: Late Show With David Letterman: Ciara
NBC: Late Night With Conan O'Brien: My Morning Jacket

Thursday, November 30
ABC: Jimmy Kimmel Live: Jenny Lewis
SYNDICATION: The Ellen Degeneres Show: Snoop Dogg

Friday, December 1
CBS: Late Show With David Letterman: Silversun Pickups
CBS: Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson: Joseph Arthur

Saturday, , December 2
PBS: Austin City Limits: Ben Folds, Ray LaMontagne (RERUN)

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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

A Frog-Eyed Pornographer's Rubdown

Canadian artists are such affable folks... the indie rock scene from up North reads like a parade of collaborations. The New Pornographers, Broken Social Scene, Stars, The Dears, Apostle of Hustle, and whatever band Spencer Krug is playing in.

The latest has Krug (Wolf Parade, Sunset Rubdown) with longtime friend Carey Mercer (Frog Eyes) and Dan Bejar (Destroyer,) in the supergroup Swan Lake. While touring Europe to promote Destroyer's 2004 album Your Blues, Bejar employed Mercer and Krug as his backing band, which gave them the idea for what they first just simply called "The Songwriters Project."

Album: Beast Moans - Swan Lake

Beast Moans is an interesting amalgamation of the the contributors' other works. The twisting herky-jerky of Frog Eyes, with some attention to pop structure ala Wolf Parade, and the grand...scratch that... the bombast of Destroyer... it really is an incredible sum of it's parts. "The Freedom" is the killer Destroyer number, "All Fires" is Krug's latest scribed gem ala Wolf Parade, and while "City Calls" starts out all Frog Eyes, it ends up weaving it's way through it's creators idioms and ending up as something all itself.

Speaking of creators, Krug has been one busy dude, playing and singing on a lot of great albums in the past couple years. Wolf Parade, Swan Lake, Sunset Rubdown, Frog Eyes, and even a guest appearance on Islands excellent debut Return to the Sea makes for a nice playlist.

Playlist: Spencer Krug gets around

As the wealthy American Underground wept (Destroyer's Rubies)

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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Throwing peanuts at a gorilla

What started out as a collection of non-album tracks, compilation and tribute contributions and other odds and ends somehow turned into a three-disc set featuring 30 brand new tracks (more then half the total.) Word has it Tom Waits heard what was initially assembled for Orphans and mumbled something to the affect of "mmmm... naaahhh... I don't think so." So he got to work recording some new material, as well as rerecording many of the tracks, and then tossed them into three separate piles: Brawlers, Bawlers and Bastards.

Album: Tom Waits - Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers & Bastards
Download: "Road to Peace" , "You Can Never Hold Back Spring"

The first disc, Brawlers, is the familiar Waits of late... shuffling rock ala Mule Variations, and serves as a fine introduction into the set. About halfway through, Waits delivers his most topical and political of his career (and of any artist this year) with the song "Road to Peace," which reads like a newspaper report on the daily skirmishes in the West Bank. In it he namechecks Kissinger, Sharon, Abbas, and Bush, which is weird coming from the man who recently said the influence of political songs was "like throwing peanuts at a gorilla." A couple songs later, Waits recasts The Ramones' "The Return of Jackie and Judy" as a junkyard plea, and then turns the classic "Sea of Love" on it's ear if only for our listening pleasure.

Disc two, Bawlers, is a collection of Waits ballads and is easily the most accessible of the discs. Of particular note is his covers of Ledbetter's "Goodnight Irene" and The Ramones "Danny Says." Bawlers serves as a fine segue to Bastards as that album is where Waits' more difficult material resides. "Heigh Ho" was his contribution to the Disney compilation Stay Awake: Music From Vintage Disney Films, and is a good example of how Waits can turn an innocous song into the stuff of nightmares. Other oddities include Waits reading the nature of "Army Ants," Bukowski's poem "Nirvana," and his beat box cover of Daniel Johnston's "King Kong."

Some truly weird, wonderful stuff to be sure.

Quick hits before I go (Live Tom Waits tracks)

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Monday, November 20, 2006

Control issues

"Take me over the edge, make me lose control..."

For some time now, I've been looking for an excuse to post about the amazing Showtime series Dexter, and the moment finally came last night when the identity of the 'Ice Truck Killer' was finally revealed, to the sounds of Eric Carmen's "Make Me Lose Control," a mind-bending juxtaposition of sound and vision.

Song: "Make Me Lose Control" - Eric Carmen

For those that aren't familiar with the series, I won't give anything away, save to say that your protagonist (played cooly by Six Feet Under vet Michael C. Hall) is a blood splatter forensics technician with the police... and, oh yeah, he's also a vigilante serial killer.

The series goes a long way towards Showtime's goal: compete with HBO for original content. The examination of Dexter the character has deepened over the season, and as a viewer you feel like you're sitting in on some pretty riveting therapy sessions - last night's episode literally had Dex in therapy. Dexter learns there are some thing's he can't control, and one of them is the comings and goings of his doppleganger('The Ice Truck Killer.') That (along with his sister's love life) is where Eric Carmen's song comes in.

"Make Me Lose Control" was originally a song about Carmen's love for old Rock & Roll, which is apparent in the references to the songs "Uptown" by The Crystals, "Stand By Me" by Ben E. King, "Be My Baby" by The Ronettes and "Back in My Arms Again" by The Supremes.

The music on it up to this point has been strictly related to the geographic setting of Miami, hence there's a lot of great Cuban music, of which the only track (so far) that I've been able to pick out with any certainty is the great Beny More's "Que Bueno Baila Usted"

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Ear on TV: Week of November 20

"I am the Mike Jordan of recording..."
"Show Me What You Got" - Jay-Z

When Jay-Z announced his retirement back November 25th, 2003, he was going out on top. With a sold out tour, top of the charts album (The Black Album,) and Beyonce on his arm, even Jordan had to be jealous. But just like Mike, he wasn't content to watch as part-owner of the game, so he's back with a new album tomorrow, Kingdom Come, which, alas, is more akin to the Wizards-era Michael - all the talent and smarts, but none of the gravity-defying ups.

This week, Jay-Z makes his first post-retirement appearance on Ellen (Tuesday) and it's the Tivo/DVR moment of this sweeps crazy month when you factor in Ellen's other guest icon from the 90's who also retired from the game: Bill Clinton. Maybe being paired with Jay-Z's comeback will be an inspiration for the President.
"Get the f*ck out the throne you clone, the king is back!"

Playlist: TV Appearances Week of November 20
Album: Kingdom Come - Jay-Z (AOL listening Party)

Monday, November 20
CBS: Late Show With David Letterman: DJ Shadow, Q-Tip
NBC: The Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Chris Cornell
NBC: Last Call With Carson Daly: Fiona Apple (RERUN)

Tuesday, November 21
NBC: Late Night With Conan O'Brien: Robyn Hitchcock
SYNDICATION: The Ellen Degeneres Show: Jay-Z

Wednesday, November 22
ABC: Jimmy Kimmel Live: Jay-Z
CBS: Late Show With David Letterman: Lupe Fiasco, Jill Scott
NBC: The Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Nelly Furtado

Thursday, November 23
CBS: Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson: Akon (RERUN)
NBC: The Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Nelly Furtado
NBC: Late Night With Conan O'Brien: The Brand New Heavies

Friday, November 24
ABC: Jimmy Kimmel Live: Regina Spektor (RERUN)

Saturday, November 25
NBC: Saturday Night Live: Beck (RERUN)
PBS: Austin City Limits: Franz Ferdinand, What Made Milwaukee Famous

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Friday, November 17, 2006

Lily's Anatomy

Last night's 'very special episode' of Grey's was mostly about the struggles of the working mom. To that moral quandry, Baily (Chandra Wilson) sings the closing montage, "God Bless the Child," as a lullabye for her baby Tuck. Always interesting to hear the actors sing, and Wilson handles Billie Holiday very nicely.

As far as recorded music goes, the episode opens to blogtastic Lily Allen and her song "Not Big" which could describe a certain part of Lily's Anatomy [Idolator] which 'flashed' through the blog world like crazy this morning. I know there's a push for exposure here in the US, but this might be taking it a bit far.

The episode title track, is also worth mentioning, as it references TV on the Radio's great song "Staring at the Sun," and any chance to trumpet the great TVOTR I'll take, thank you very much.

Episode Title Track: "Staring at the Sun" - TV on the Radio

1. "Not Big" - Lily Allen (The Hype Machine)
2. "Everybody Get Movin'" - Get Set Go
3. "Time Of My Life" - The Watson Twins (iTunes)
4. "Where We Gonna Go From Here" - Mat Kearney
5. "Breakable" - Ingrid Michaelson (MySpace)
6. "God Bless The Child" - Billie Holiday (sung by Chandra Wilson as Miranda Bailey in episode)

Fishing without a rod (Episode 3.07)
You messed up my mental health (Smile single)
Broken beats but break-beat kind of broken drum & bass (Lily Allen video for "LDN")

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Biggest midget in the game

I'm searching for any reason to watch The O.C. now that it's up against Grey's Anatomy and 30 Rock. My poor DVR can only tape two things at once and the only reason it's slotted ahead of 30 Rock right now is my weekly post on it.

Because of the Supersized NBC lineup, I missed the first half of the episode, but I did manage to catch the first five minutes thanks to a YouTube post, and the 5 stages of grief sequence was artistic - very un-O.C. like. Is this what we have to expect from Schwartz and Co. going forward? We'll see, but considering the episode was called "The Metamorphosis" we could see a more creative series from now on.

Musically, the covers project continues, this time with Syd Matters covering the Welsh band Super Furry Animals with "Hello Sunshine" and Editors taking R.E.M.'s "Orange Crush." Meanwhile, Ryan hasn't completely returned from his South of the border run (that makes two of us,) as he's now working at a Mexican restaurant, and apparently Ranchera All Stars is the house band because they contribute a whole five songs to this weeks mix.

But the song and artist I'd like to call out is Lady Sovereign, who's "Love Me or Hate Me" provided a short glimpse of the old Julie Cooper ("If you love me then 'thank you' and if you hate me then 'f*ck you'".) The self-proclaimed 'Biggest Midget in the Game' (she's 5'1") throws down some mad grime rap and helps Julie (along with tequila and some Chingy) get her grinding on the dance floor with some local youth.

Playlist: The O.C. - Episode 4.04
1. Hello Sunshine (Super Furry Animals) - Syd Matters (FOX)
2. Orange Crush (R.E.M.) - Editors (BMG UK)
3. De Un Mundo Raro - Ranchera All Stars
4. The Pageant Of The Bizarre - Zero 7
5. Ella - Ranchera All Stars
6. Love Me Or Hate Me - Lady Sovereign
7. Dem Jeans - Chingy
8. Pa' Todo El Ano - Ranchera All Stars
9. Siempre Hace Frio - Ranchera All Stars
10. Voodoo - Chelo
11. Tu Solo Tu - Ranchera All Stars
12. Love You 'Till The End - The Pogues

Premature Turkey (Episode 4.04)

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Thursday, November 16, 2006

From the vault, circa 1971

Two nearly forgotten artists from the 70s got some reissue love last week, courtesy of Light in the Attic Records. The once obscure works of folk singer Karen Dalton and Ska pioneer Jackie Mittoo have both seen a uptick in their awareness thanks in part to Devendra Banhart and Lily Allen, respectively.

Karen Dalton's In My Own Time (1971) was a collector's item fetching a pretty penny by music collectors. Back in the early Greenwich folk days, Dalton was considered a peer amongst the likes of Fred Neil and Bob Dylan, but she never reached the success of her friends. Her Billie Holiday-like alto had a rural twang and an otherwordly oddness to it that didn't translate to the general public, and as a result, she was mostly forgotten. She died homeless on the streets of New York in 1993.

Album: Karen Dalton - In My Own Time
Download: "Katie Cruel" (Light in the Attic)

Devendra Banhart cites Dalton as his all-time favorite voice, and it's in part due to his trumpeting of her that we get a chance to hear In My Own Time. Banhart contributes to the liner notes, along with Nick Cave and Lenny Kaye (Patti Smith Group guitarist.) Her interpretation of the traditional songs "Katie Cruel" and "Same Old Man" (she plays banjo for both) is hauntingly beautiful. In them you can clearly hear how many of the Freak or Psych-folk artists today owe her props. Even a straight-up version of "How Sweet It Is" becomes more then that by Dalton's incredible pacing, as she slips and slides out of the rhythm we expect to hear.

Jackie Mitoo was the 'Keyboard King' of Jamaica's legendary Studio One and a member of The Skatalites. In 1968 he, along with many other Jamaican musicians, moved to Toronto, taking advantage of a burgeoning West Indies community and a more favorable political climate. So while he had helped pave the way for Ska and Rocksteady back in Kingston, the influence of Northern Soul and R&B mixed into his sound, so by 1971, when he released Wishbone, the sounds of Jamaica were merely an underlying current in his overall sound. The title track had minor chart success in it's day, seemingly mixing the melody of The Beatles' "Carry That Weight" with the backing of "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da" to a Ska rhythm. Highlights include "Mother Funk," "La La Girls and Cha-Cha Boys" and "Soul Bird."

Album: Jackie Mitoo - Wishbone
Download: "Soul Bird" (Light in the Attic)

Folks familiar with the tidal wave that is Lily Allen know Mittoo best from his keyboard work sampled for Allen's single "Smile" (from "Free Soul" by Mittoo's The Soul Brothers.)

Freak Folk - Beginnings (Vashti Bunyan, Karen Dalton and more)
Smile You're Number 1 (Lily Allen samples Mittoo on the #1 UK smash "Smile")

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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Rocking the bookends

While most of The Pick of Destiny feels like I need to see the movie to appreciate it, the songs that start and end the soundtrack are pretty amazing.

Opener "Kickapoo" pulls you in from the opening refrain of "A long ass f*ckin' time ago, in a town called Kickapoo..." and never lets go. Meatloaf guests, playing the father role and the music shifts quickly to accomodate his musical-style heft. Then JB pleads for help from Ronnie James Dio, who lays out what JaBles needs to do to go forth and ROCK.

Here's the first six minutes of The Pick of Destiny, featuring "Kickapoo" with Meatloaf and Dio cameos in place:

Meanwhile "The Metal" riffs (and I do mean riffs) off the resiliency of Metal:
You can't kill the metal
The metal will live on
Punk rock tried to kill the metal
But they failed as they were smited to the ground
New wave tried to kill the metal
But they failed as they were stricken down to the ground
Grunge tried to kill the metal
Hahahahaha they failed as they were thrown to the ground
Well played JaBles and KaGe, well played...

Album: Tenacious D - The Pick of Destiny

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Future shock

Last year's series finale of Six Feet Under was memorable in part because of the montage featuring flashes of each character's future. One of the keys to the success of that montage was the quick cuts... you only got a glimpse as to how they looked and there was no time to examine the make-up too closely. Last night Nip/Tuck gave us long looks at their Back to the Future and while the make-up was nearly as funny as it was in that classic trilogy, I don't believe the episode was meant to be comedic.

It's 2026, and it seems plastic surgery hasn't advanced much, as both Sean and Christian have aged cartoonishly, but the drama is seemingly played straight up with no wink-wink-isn't-this-funny. To that point, while listening to future f'd-up Annie (played by Jennifer Elise Cox, of Jan Brady fame) complain about all the attention given to Conor, didn't you expect her to raise her hands in frustration and yell "Conor, Conor, Conor!"

I'll give Nip/Tuck a break on this for one reason: the writers' backs were against the wall with the abrupt news that Joely Richardson (Julia) had to be written off the show. They provided some closure for Julia, without killing her off - the door is wide open for a future cameo appearance if Richardson decides to she's up to it.

Because it's in the future, the music is timeless, that is to say Classical. While the future has it's Dvorak, in the present Sufjan Stevens provides the backdrop to Sean fighting off tears in his goodbye to his family. The song "All The Trees Of The Field Will Clap Their Hands" has already been used to great effect last year on Weeds, and once again provides the right amount of levity to say goobye to Julia for the last time.

1. "Barcarolle" - Jacques Offenbach - Julia tells Marlowe that they are going through with Conor's surgery.
2. "Cello Concerto in B Minor" - Antonin Dvorak - Matt, Sean and Christian work together to fix Conor's hand
3. "All The Trees Of The Field Will Clap Their Hands" - Sufjan Stevens - Sean drives Julia, Conor and Annie to the airport as they see the damage the hurricane caused
Tracklisting compiled lovingly by Avalon at

(Not) What the World Needs Now (Episode 408)

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Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Does anyone even do the Western Roll anymore?

Back in the 1960s, there were several methods of getting over the bar for the high jump, in track and field. There was the Eastern Cut Off, the Scissors, the Western Roll, and of course the always dangerous Straddle. Around this time a 16-year old Portland, Oregon athlete named Dick Fosbury, found all these too complicated, and started working on his own method, which involved leaping backwards over the bar. Fosbury honed this new method and reached new heights, winning gold in the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City. The "Fosbury Flop" revolutionized the high jump, and all the other methods slowly fell by the wayside.

Flash forward several decades and the French band Tahiti 80 attempts to reach new heights with their new album Fosbury (released last year in Europe.) For this, their 4th album, Tahiti 80 called on Outkast and Neptunes production/mixing vets to shake things up, to maybe take their forward dance pop and bring it over the bar backwards. Their 2002 release, Wallpaper for the Soul, was an enjoyable album, but really was wallpaper, something to put on in the background. Fosbury jumps quite a bit more, asking to be noticed. "Chinatown" for instance, has more bite then any prior song of theirs and even a track like "Changes," which is the kind of funky pop these Frenchmen seem to be able to write in their sleep, benefits from a little more oomph in the production. Another bright spot is the retro R&B feel of "Your Love Shines" which features obscure British soul singer Linda Lewis, whose sharper vocals contrast those of Tahiti 80's honey-dipped Xavier Boyer.

All it took was a little nuanced change in their approach, and now they've raised the bar for their next release. [Did I just take the high jump references too far?]

Album: Tahiti 80 - Fosbury
Audio stream: "Chinatown" (WMA) (AOL)
Videos: "Big Day" - "Changes" - "Chinatown" (Quicktime) (AOL)

[Do I think the album's named after Dick Fosbury? No, not really... and yes, the connection is tethered by the thinnest of dental floss, but I'm tightrope walking on it for your entertainment!]

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I bet they're riding around and running red lights

Song: "Somebody Stole My Car" - The Kinks

Someone stole our 11-year old Acura Integra last night. We're in the middle of a home remodel and have been having to park on the street, and this morning it was no longer in front of our house.

We've been assured by the police that in 98% of cases like this (old Hondas/Acuras) the car is found mostly unharmed. These models are just easy to steal and folks take them on joyrides.

Thankfully, not through Liberty City.

Mr Gone in 60 Seconds has got our baby's carseat and stroller.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Bring that beat back

An essential part of hip-hop history gets a much needed reissue tomorrow.

Originally formed to contribute music to a B-Movie (The Thing with Two Heads featuring Rosy Grier, see below,) Incredible Bongo Band recorded the break-beat to end all break-beats with the song "Apache."

Used repeatedly at block parties back in the day by legends like Kool DJ Herc, Grandmaster Flash, and Afrika Bambaata, the album Bongo Rock (1973) was a must-have for any practicing DJ. But sadly it went out of print long ago. It's reissue tomorrow also includes the follow-up album, The Return of the Incredible Bongo Band (1974,) along with a couple bonus remixes, including one of "Apache" from Grandmaster Flash (used recently for a German TV commercial.)

Album: Incredible Bongo Band - Bongo Rock
Playlist: Songs sampling "Apache"

Bonus... here's the trailer for the 1972 b-movie The Thing with Two Heads:

"It seemed like a good idea at the time" - That opening line from the trailer pretty much sums up the movie and it's creation nicely.

Incredible Bongo Band on The Breaks (sample search engine)

History of Hip-Hop: Planet Rock 1975-1986

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Ear on TV: Week of November 13

Comedic/Folk-Heavy Metal duo Tenacious D is the greatest band on earth.

That's the running joke that members Jack Black and Kyle Glass have been cracking us up with for nearly a decade now, from their roots on Mr Show with Bob to their own short-lived (and hilarious) HBO series, culminating in their excellent self-titled debut album. They now have a full length movie coming out (The Pick of Destiny - corresponding soundtrack comes out tomorrow,) which has me worried the joke will no longer work - it was funny to root for the underdog, but when you're backed by New Line Cinema and Sony Records, the joke might run a little thin. Nonetheless, their TV bits always 'rock our socks off', and so I recommend alerting your Tivo/DVR to their appearances this week on Letterman (Tuesday) and Conan (Wednesday.)

Monday, November 13
CBS: Late Show With David Letterman: George Jones
CBS: Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson: OK Go
NBC: Late Night With Conan O'Brien: Los Lobos

Tuesday, November 14
ABC: Jimmy Kimmel Live: Akon
CBS: Late Show With David Letterman: Tenacious D
NBC: Last Call With Carson Daly: Radio 4

Wednesday, November 15
NBC: Late Night With Conan O'Brien: Tenacious D

Thursday, November 16
CBS: Late Show With David Letterman: The Game
CBS: Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson: Lindsey Buckingham

Friday, November 17
NBC: Last Call With Carson Daly: The Game
IFC: The Henry Rollins Show: Aimee Mann (RERUN)

Saturday, November 18
NBC: Saturday Night Live: Ludacris
PBS: Austin City Limits: Van Morrison

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Friday, November 10, 2006

Premature turkey

Thanksgiving already?

Because of the disappointing ratings for the season premiere of The O.C. we got two episodes this week, thus giving us our obligatory Thanksgiving episode a week early.

Musically speaking, though, the show was certainly no turkey. Most the dramatic moments throughout the show were backed by the song "Black Swan" (MySpace) by Thom Yorke. The smooth electro-glitch of the Radiohead frontman provides an ample backdrop to the darker moments dealing with characters still not over Marissa's death.
"You have tried your best to please everyone/But it just isn't happening/No, it just isn't happening/And it's f*cked up, f*cked up."
"Black Swan" provided the perfect close to A Scanner Darkly already this year, so it's not surprising to see it getting some more use. The other song featured in the show was Alexi Murdoch's near perfect Nick Drake impersonation, with the song "All My Days." Murdoch's not a soundtrack rookie, as you might remember his song "Orange Sky" was featured prominently in the first season, as well as a Honda Element and Hallmark TV commercials (and the movie Ladder 49.)

Tequila wishes and refried dreams (Episode 4.02)

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Fishing without a rod

Last night, Grey's removed the penis.

As I might've mentioned before, I see Grey's as sort of an emasculating show. Many of the male characters (McDreamy, McSteamy) are held up as things to drool over, and the music definitely reflects a more female-oriented perspective (to match the the voice of the show - Meredith.) This isn't a bad thing, and it works to the show's advantage when it's used with a fine scalpel. But since it's sweeps month, last night the castration was a lot less subtle.

First, the men of Seattle Grace all go camping (packing up to the tune of Beck's "Think I'm In Love,") removing the male element almost entirely - all save McSteamy, who instead performs the literal removing of the penis - a transgender surgery. The manly camping trip is hardly that (fishing to the sensitive sounds of Luke Temple's "Make Right With Me,") when even a tussle between George and Alex is reduced to a slapfest (backed by the western swing of Big Sandy and the Fly Right Boys' "It's Time.")

Back to Seattle Grace, though, the depressing music moment of the year (so far) goes to Brett Dennen's "There is So Much More," which is the soundtrack to a patient pushing out a stillborn baby. I imagine scenes like that can temper an artist's excitement of getting the exposure Grey's can give. The closing scene, no matter the situation, is always the best slot to get as an artist, and for this episode, the honor goes to singer/songwriter Bill Ricchini, who's song "A Cold Wind Will Blow Through Your Door" is played while McDreamy and Mere start their relationship over (because, lest we forget, it is sweeps month.)

Episode Title Track: "Where the Boys Are" - Connie Francis
Playlist: Grey's Anatomy - Episode 3.07
1. "Think I'm In Love" - Beck
2. "Tell Me What To Do" - Jim Noir
3. "Make Right With You" - Luke Temple
4. "Greedy" - Inara George
5. "Something In The Water" - The Jealous Girlfriends (MySpace)
6. "It's Time" - Big Sandy and His Fly-Rite Boys
7. "There Is So Much More" - Brett Dennen
8. "12:59 Lullaby" - Bedouin Soundclash
9. "A Cold Wind Will Blow Through Your Door" - Bill Ricchini

And because I missed posting last week's episode, here's the playlist for that as well.
Playlist: Grey's Anatomy - Episode 3.06
Title track: "Let the Angels Commit" - Danielle Howle and the Tantrums

Oh, the Nirvana! (Episode 3.05)

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