Friday, June 30, 2006

Funky Friday 4 + 2

Today's music is all about white boys with the grooves to make you move...

Hot Chip - Careful
From their excellent sophomore LP The Warning, full of quirky grooves and memorable tunes. This record is getting more and more play each week.

King Biscuit Time - C I Am 15
From the long awaited debut album Black Gold. Former Beta Band man Stephen Mason drops the killer handclappy beats, some strummy guitar, spacey keys and one of his trademark sing-songy melodies. And then tops it all off by going dancehall, with some toasting directed at Bush and Blair.

Scritti Politti - The Boom Boom Bap
From the soon to be released in the US White Bread Black Beer (out July 25th) , Green Gartside is back. At first I was unimpressed, but I stuck with it, and now I'm hopelessyly hooked. That honey croon, squelchy electronics, classic Scritti melody. This one is going to get the serious summertime action.

Fujiya & Miyagi - In One Ear & Out The Other
I don't know anything about these guys, except that they're not Japanese. The sticker on the front of the CD had endorsements from Optimo, Trevor Jackson, Tiga, and this one from Andrew Weatherall - "Defies even the best snappy one liner desriptions on any album sticker." I bought it, and it is good. Krautrock, Beck-hop, indie rock and electronics all feature. Fantastic. Nice cover too.

Pete Shelley - Telephone Operator / Many A Time (Dub)
Pete Shelley - If You Ask Me / Plenty Of Time (Dub)
Shelley's XL-1 has just been remastered and reissued with these as the extra tracks. If you're like me and you loves you some Martin Rushent dub-remix-love action circa 1983 then this will fit the bill. Play them with no gap as they run nicely into each other.

Thursday, June 29, 2006


This week finally brought the US release of the latest Pet Shop Boys' LP Fundamental. Produced by Trevor Horn, it is all that a PSB album should be - shiny, witty, camp and full of biting commentary. I picked myself up the 2CD set which comes with a second disc called Fundamentalism. It features a couple of new songs and a bunch of remixes from Richard X, Trentemøller, Michael Mayer, Dettinger, Alter Ego, Melnyk and Stuart Crichton. My fave tune right away is Minimal (which I posted a few weeks ago as part of a funky Friday fourpack) which is a blissed electro pop song in the style of New Order. From the remix disc here is Minimal (Lobe Remix). Lobe makes it even more blissed out and shimmery. Very nice and very catchy. Not too sure about the Elton John collabo on In Private though...

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Chocolate Swim

One of my fave hip hop albums of the last year is the Dangerdoom album The Mouse And The Mask. The interludes (and a few songs) feature many of the characters from the Cartoon Network's Adult Swim block of programming. There has since been another Dangerdoom/Adult Swim collaboration called the Occult Hymn EP that has been available for download since June 1st. Today I got clued into another new free EP from the network, this time in collaboration with hipster indie hip hop label Chocolate Industries. It features new original music and/or remixes from Kovas, Lady Sovereign, Ghislain Poirier, Mos Def & Diverse, and Vast Aire (ft. MF Doom), and is called the Chocolate Swim EP. It comes in a handy dandy zip file with art for each track. Both EPs are worth investigating if you like your hiphop on the underground tip.

Further Freebies

Alice Smith - Love Endeavor - Freeform Five Remix - a nice bit of breezy, summery funky fun.

Monday, June 26, 2006

File Under : RAWK!

I recently got hep to the Eagles Of Death Metal. I've known of them for a while, I've just never bothered investigating any of the music. A side project of QOTSA mainman Joshua Homme, they traffic in hard rockin' catchy tunes that musically are sort of rooted in what QOTSA do. Instead of the spooky creepiness of QOTSA lyrics the Eagles are all about the classic rock cliches of good times, girls, big moustaches and rock'n'roll. I like it a lot. From the latest album Death By Sexy... - fab title! - enjoy these fine examples of hard rawkin' goodness, I Want You So Hard (Boy's Bad News) and Cherry Cola.

Here is the vid for I Want You So Hard - lots of fun with brief cameos from Jack Black and Dave Grohl...

Sunday, June 25, 2006

So What

This is a smoking clip of Miles Davis & John Coltrane live in 1958, playing the classic tune So What. Personnel on this clip: Miles Davis (trumpet), John Coltrane (tenor saxophone), Wynton Kelly (piano), Paul Chambers (bass), Jimmy Cobb (drums), plus Jimmy Cleveland and either Bill Elton, Rod Levitt & Frank Rehak (trombone). Perfect for chilling out on this fine Sunday, and just a thrill to see and hear. Thanks to David for pointing me in the direction of this...

Here's the original version of So What from the superior 1997 remaster of the classic album Kind Of Blue. Personnel on this recording: Mile Davis (trummpet), Cannonball Adderley (alto sax), John Coltrane (tenor sax), Bill Evans (piano), Paul Chambers (bass), Jimmy Cobb (drums).

Friday, June 23, 2006

Funky Friday Has Beats To Move Ya Feets

It's a funky Friday four pack with three tracks of leftfield electronic tastiness and one track of blazingly funky Afrobeat...

Rekid - Retro Active
From the debut LP Made In Menorca this is a bumping little techno house number with some nice dubby spaceout bits and tasty synth washes. A delicious album of largely downtempo goodness.

Tony Allen - One Tree
Tony was the drummer in Fela Kuti's band, so his pedigree is immaculate. This is a track from his new LP Lagos No Shaking, and is a shimmering, uptempo groove that floats on multiple percussive grooves. This is the kind of Afrobeat that David Byrne and Brian Eno were so enamoured of back in the late '70s - many guitars and beats colliding, topped off with big horns and soulful vocals.

Isolée - I Owe you (Remix)
From Isolée's latest Western Shore, a collection of typically blissed out rarities and oddities and remixes from this German electronicist.

Minotaur Shock - Vigo Bay
This is from 2005's Maritime which I have only just gotten around to buying. Quirky leftfield goodness on the glitchy folktronic tip - lots of nice organic instrumentation is thrown into the mix here.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Stranger On The Sofa

Barry Adamson has been active in the music biz for close to 30 years now. He began in the late '70s as bassist for Howard Devoto's Magazine. He did a stint in the New Romantic supergroup Visage. He then helped Nick Cave start up the Bad Seeds, and played bass with them until he began his solo career in 1988 with Moss Side Story. Mute Records was his label for about 14 years, and he released seven or eight albums of his unique blend of soul, rock, jazz, and noir spy themes. The initial albums were instrumental affairs, and then over the years he began to sing on some of the songs. This last year has seen him leave his longtime label Mute Records and start up his own label, Central Control International. First order of business? A new album called Stranger On The Sofa. It is a typical Barry Adamson record. There are a few dark instrumentals, some jazzy numbers and a few songs. The sound of this record is a bit of a departure from the last few in that it emphasizes the rockier side of Barry, and a few of the songs sound like some of the most commercial stuff he's ever done. I like it. You Sold Your Dreams is one of the poppier songs, and it's chorus reminds me a hell of a lot of Franz Ferdinand, which is kind of nutty. It's tough and rocking, with some killer slide guitar and piano vamping. Free Love is the album closer, and is a dubbed out bit of skank-tronica that might remind you of something Nightmares On Wax would do.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Message To The Boys (And Girls)

I'm on vacation all of this week - from my real life, that is. The job and the blog have taken second place to the wife and kids as we sleep in late and putz around the house. So far it has been great. I have a 30 minute window of opportunity here so I'm doing a quicky post. Minneapolis' The Replacements are one of the city's great rock bands. Formed in the early '80s when they were a bunch of kids, drunken and obnoxious, they reeled around the stage and studio, and in the process created some great songs and a few pretty good albums. The shift from indie to major label in the late '80s was the beginning of the end of the band, resulting with slicker records and disillusion. Rhino has just released a great 20 track best of called Don't You Know Who I Think I Was?, especially notable for it's two new songs. Yes, new songs from secret sessions in Minneapolis over the winter with the surviving members all playing a part. It is a rockin' ride from start to finish, with lots of songs from the early years and the better songs from the later years. Today you get one of the new tunes, Message To The Boys. It's pretty typical Replacements fare - fast paced, gritty yet tuneful riffage, with Paul Westerberg's rough vocals. Very nice.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Funky Friday - Franz Ferdinand Remixes

The final day of vinyl rips come courtesy of the rocking Scots' latest vinyl only set of remixes. Called Remixes - good one, eh? Take four tracks from the last album (The Fallen, I'm Your Villain, Do You Want To, Outsiders), give the tapes to four of the biggest names in the electro-remix-biz right now (Justice, Lindstrøm, Erol Alkan and Isolée), and let the funky remix action begin. I really like these two a lot...

Franz Ferdinand - The Fallen (Ruined By Justice Remix)
Franz Ferdinand - Outsiders (Isolée Remix))


Random Photo Fun
Gnarls Barkley as Cheech & Chong.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Wes Montgomery

Day 4 of "ripped from the vinyl" week brings another posting of some jazz, this time from guitarist Wes Montgomery. Known for his distinctive style (playing with his thumb instead of a pick), he began his career as a sideman to Lionel Hampton. His early solo records were more traditional jazz fare, quartets and quintets playing originals and a few covers. His mid period, mid '60s recordings for Verve began to show him drifting towards pop, and experimenting with orchestral accompanyment. His late '60s recordings for A&M Records saw him turn almost solely to covering the pop hits of his day. Today you get a taste of early and late era recordings and both are nice and breezy - no pun intended.

Blue Roz (Take 3)
(Wes Montgomery)
Milt Jackson - Vibes
Wynton Kelly - piano
Sam Jones - Bass
Philly Joe Jones - Drums
Recorded December 18, 1961

(Ruthann Friedman)
Herbie Hancock - Piano
Ron Carter - Bass
Grady Tate - Drums
Recorded June 6-8 & 26, 1967

Wednesday, June 14, 2006


Day 3 of "ripped from the vinyl" week continues with a couple of killer tracks from David + David's one and only 1986 album Boomtown...

One of my musical guilty pleasures is the occasional dose of good old classic American FM rock. I love Steve Miller and Tom Petty, Steely Dan and The Eagles - hell, I even own a couple of Don Henley albums! When David Baerwald and David Ricketts' debut single Welcome To the Boomtown hit the radio I knew I had to have it. A slightly different take on the classic rock thing, this was slickly played and produced rock music, but with a gritty edge to it. The songs were dark and moody, about sex, love, alchohol and drugs. Boomtown reeks of the seedy side of LA, of shattered dreams coming to a tragic end. The lyrics are backed up by one gloriously moody track, with atmospheric keys and the metallic clank of the beat. Several of the tunes make good use of vaguely funky ryhthms, and the duo were unafraid to use keys to embellish, usually in a way that compliments the overall vibe. Check the funky groove of A Rock For The Forgotten, another tale of sad barflys, but with a buoyant, empathetic backing track. While listening to this the other day I was amazed at how good it still sounds, and how it's too bad that they never put out another record. Baerwald has done solo work, but is best known for kickstarting Sheryl Crow's career on the Tuesday Night Music Club album which he co-wrote a bunch of. Some people might curse him for that, but I like that record too!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Sister Cheryl

Day 2 of "ripped from the vinyl" week continues with a smokin' bit of jazz courtesy of Wynton Marsalis.

Sister Cheryl is from the legendary trumpeter's jazz debut, 1983's Wynton Marsalis. This was the first outing as bandleader for the 19 year old prodigy, and he surrounded himself with some serious talent - pianist Herbie Hancock, bassist Ron Carter, and drummer Tony Williams are all on it. Several of Wynton's peers are on it too - saxophonist Branford Marsalis, pianist Kenny Kirkland, and drummer Jeff "Tain" Watts (who composed today's offering). Sister Cheryl is a breezy track that coasts on a a crisp, tight beat. It has a lovely melody, and everybody on it gets a chance to show their stuff. I have always loved this tune - something about the melody grabs me, and the tight syncopation keeps me listening. Like I said at the top, smokin'.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Duck Rock

Over the weekend I listened to a few old LPs and was inspired to do some vinyl rips. This week will be devoted to those crusty old LPs. Today is a bit of old school experimentation courtesy of a Brit nutjob svengali...

Malcolm McLaren's Duck Rock was released in 1983. I loved it from the get go. The cover featured a pimped out boombox, and the art on the foldout insert was by Keith Haring. It is a collection of world music, taken from places like Cuba and South Africa, culture jammed with the music and beats of the then rising NYC hip hop scene all glossed over with European electronic flavor. It's important to note that the genesis of the Art Of Noise is here - album producer Trevor Horn and sessioneers Anne Dudley and Gary Langan saw the potential of technology in music - you can hear some of those soon to be trademark AON sounds on this record. They are largely responsible for the music on the album, and they get quite a few song writing credits. Thomas Dolby also played keys on this. Malcolm's weedy little voice can be a bit distracting at times, but there are some good tunes - Buffalo Gals cops the serious hiphop action, Double Dutch is a tribute to jumproping teams and Soweto brings the township jive. I'm skipping the hits in favor of some side B action...

Legba is pure tribal ambience - gentle percussion, swoony keyboards. Love it.

Song For Chango is part old skool hip hop radio show, part Afro jam - nice and atmospheric. Living in the UK at the time, this skit was the closest I ever got to listening to an old school hiphop station in NYC...

World's Famous - here is where you hear that Art of Noise flavor - it's those short orchestral stabs and the big chunky beats. Criminally, too short.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Funky Friday Has The Moves

I have just purchased the new Herbert album Scales. I mean, like just 2 hours ago. I picked up the kids, came home and unloaded everyone into the house. I got the kids settled coloring at the dining table and popped the Herbert disc into the CD player. Track 1 - mmm, this is nice. Track 2 - well, this is even better! It's funky, it's got Herbert's glitchy sounds and a stomping beat, and there's boatloads of killer,cool horn riffs and quirky vocals. Track 3 has me at the stereo, cranking it up to a tolerably high level, shaking my groove thing around the living room. We're talking some seriously sublime disco here, with major string arrangements, more killer horns, and the lovely vocals of longtime co-conspirator Dani Siciliano. I stopped the disc and immediately set to work on this post. I'm sure the rest of the record is as good, but I knew that tracks 2 & 3 would hit the g(roove)-spot on this funky Friday. Listen to 'em back to back and tell me you aren't grinning and nodding your head along...

The Movers And The Shakers
Moving Like A Train

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Mamaluco Kukuruchu Chico Güerro!!!

One of my fave albums of this year was actually released last year. I just never got my own copy of Panico's Subliminal Kill until earlier this year. It is a tremendously funny, funky and rocking set of punk funk disco attack. This is the bio from the band's myspace page...

In a nutshell, PANICO are quite simply our best hope to ever have some kind of decent rawk-n-roll over here in France. Ironic, them being an all-Chileña gang that used to haunt the streets of Santiago under the mystic gaze of the South American sun.

They come a long way and together have been associated with more than ten major releases in their homeland of Chile. Now, after a bizarre chance encounter in a Parisian bookstore, they have became a full-fledge Tigersushi artist and are quite simply, ready to rock. It’s time for Eduardo (lead vocal), Carolina (bass, backing vocal), Memo (Lead guitar) Seba and Squatt (drums, turntables) to launch an onset on the world.

A dashing collection of never heard before singles, Subliminal Kill puts together the best of European electronics (Joakim (TS-Versatile) and Cristian Vogel of Super Collider fame are behind the production desk). It kicks off with the mutant ESG meets Os Mutantes dub of Que Pasa Wey and engulfs maelstrom after maelstrom of noise, superb bass grooves, psychedelic mayhem and serious rock-riffing.

No news on whether new music is in the works from the band, but that's OK cuz' I'm still loving the old stuff. Transpiralo (featuring Crazy Girl) is propulsively raunchy and rude and full of big cowbell. Crazy Girl's come on is too much fun. If you head on over to their myspace page you can grab an mp3 of a yet-to-be-released track Bate En La Mano which is nice and gritty and a lot more punk than funk. A great record that is deserving of your attention. (And a big smooch to 20 Jazz Funk Greats for introducing me to the band...)

Monday, June 05, 2006

Double Dinosaur Disco

I got a comment from Bob last week. He mentioned an old post about Arthur Russell's Dinosaur recordings, and how he lost his mp3 in a computer crash. I still had these on my laptop, and they are oh-so-tasty, so here you go, Bob...

Dinosaur - Kiss Me Again (12" Version)
Arthur Russell's late '70s and early '80s output is the stuff of art funk legend. A cellist from Iowa, he wound up in NYC after time spent studying Indian music in San Francisco. He met all of the right music scenesters (Larry Levan, David Byrne) and began to collaborate and put out records, both in his own name and as Loose Joints, Dinosaur and Dinosaur L. Some of it was minimalist modern classical, some of it experimentation for cello and voices, and some of it was art funk and disco and dub - art for the feet. This track is a great piece of dance music, with some nice loose guitar riffing and soulful vocals. A much slicker take than this...

Dinosaur - Kiss Me Again (Version)
From 1978, this was the first disco 12" released by Sire Records, and also Arthur Russell's first commercial release. It's a very groovy disco track featuring Arthur's cello, muted horns and the vocals of Myriam Valle. It's also notable for the great guitar playing of David Byrne - the last couple minutes of the song are all about David's wiggy riffing out. Arthur was almost invited to join Talking Heads at this time. Producer Steve D'Aquisto took the tapes of this tune down to Studio 54 one night and got his DJ friend in the booth to play it. The crowd ate it up - all 12 minutes of it. Another classic bit of NYC art disco.(A big HUGE thank you! goes out to Philip for hooking me up with this track...)

Friday, June 02, 2006

Funky Friday - The Tommy Boy Story

I loves me some old skool. Tommy Boy Records is a bastion of old skool goodness. Formed (and inspired by Sugarhill) in 1981 in NYC by music tipsheet publisher Tom Silverman when he started releasing demos that he was getting, it grew from it's small DIY roots into an international powerhouse with major label backing. Along the way it helped shape the face of modern music, beginning with the seminal Afrika Bambaataa & The Soul Sonic Force recording Planet Rock. Taking it's inspiration from the experimental electronic music of Europe - OK, Kraftwerk - it was mutated into backing tracks for rappers from the NYC hood. I remember buying that 45, and loving how two such culturally disparate styles could come together and be so overpoweringly good. Over the years the label continued to release classic hiphop records - De La Soul, Digital Underground, Queen Latifah, Naughty By Nature, Paris, Coolio and House Of Pain are all on the list. The label also took risks and invested in European talent and the newly emerging UK variations of Chicago house and Detroit techno. 808 State's debut was on ZTT in the UK and Tommy Boy in the US. Coldcut cut their teeth on Lisa Stansfield's People Hold On, selling boatloads of records before moving on to the Ninja leftfield. Back in April Rhino released a 2 CD set called The Tommy Boy Story Vol.01. It is a beauty of a package - a replica Tommy Boy 12" sleeve with a hole cut in the middle and with the CD sleeves made to look like the paper sleeve inserts. It is a collection of 22 of the label's classic 12" singles. It is fantastic. Some people might have a problem with some of the track selections, but that can all be taken care of with ensuing volumes of the series. This one gives you Planet Rock, Looking For The Perfect Beat, tracks from Club Nouveau, K7, Minneapolis' own Information Society, Force MD's, The Latin Rascals and on and on and on. I have been playing it at work all week and people have been really enjoying it's old school vibes - nothing like a bit of classic electro to put a smile on your face!

Special Request's Salsa Smurph cops big chunks of Kraftwerk and a bit of Cat Stevens' Was Dog A Doughnut and wraps it up in Latin flavor. Love the weird pitchiness of this tune.

Jonzun Crew's Pack Jam is just a killer electro jam. All of your requisite (video game) sounds are here, but to my ears there is a grungier and darker element to this tune. Bust out the cardboard and drop to your head.

808 State - Pacific 0101 (Remix Edit) I loved this tune back when it came out and it still moves me today. The synth washes, the hook, the skittering percussion and the saxophone all make this one gorgeously blissed out piece of music.

Thursday, June 01, 2006


Canadian collective Bran Van 3000 grabbed my attention with their 1998 debut Glee. It was an infectious blend of hiphop, techno, indie and folk rock and electronica. And a cover of a Quiet Riot tune. I loved it's crazed variety and it's DIY ethic and it's sense of humor. The collective then got signed to the Beastie Boys' label Grand Royal and set about recording a follow up. This meant a bigger budget and some star power - Youssou N'Dour, Big Daddy Kane, Dimitri From Paris, Eek A Mouse and Momus all contribute. The most memorable guest spot on it though belongs to Curtis Mayfield. The BV3K crew were allowed to use some previously unreleased accapella bits from the superfly soul guy, and the resulting track was the disco house hybrid that is Astounded (feat. Curtis Mayfield). An uptempo track that begins as a great bit of string laden disco (circa '78), it devolves into an orchestral break that then morphs into bumping latin house. Curtis' honeyed vocals are a real treat too, so unmistakably his. The rest of the album is as all-over-the-place as the debut, only much better produced. The tragedy here is that Grand Royal collapsed right around the time this album was scheduled for release in the US so it never even hit the shelves. It is still only available as an import, and often quite pricy. The band has yet to record a follow up, probably too disillusioned by the whole music biz thing. Too bad, because it is deserving of a wider audience. This is one I'd like to see someone reissue.