Friday, June 29, 2007


SECOND HAND NEWS by Fleetwood Mac.

It's been a hell of a week, so, TBH, TGIF! Part of my difficulties this week was being confined to a computer without my iPod, and not much time to surf around (the horror!) But I did have the blog, so I actually listened to the songs posted on here. Each one for the last few weeks, about 10 times each! I'm ready for something new.

It's a little odd to call anything from "Rumours" new, since some of those songs have by now been hard-wired into every American brain, but Second Hand News counts, I think. I don't believe you hear it much on the radio, and it's a great, tough tune. And like all the famous songs on that album, the obvious subtext is the bitter breakup of members of the group (Lindsay and Stevie here). It's a brilliant tune to revisit, so take that with you into the weekend.

Before I leave to try to get an iPhone, let us note a bit of a milestone here. By my count this is the 100th song we've posted on the blog, which is quite a lot. And they look pretty good too. Check them out below the fold. If you want any that you missed the first time around, let us know!

Here are the songs we've posted to date:

'Til I Die by The Beach Boys
(You) Got What I Need by Scott, Freddie
3,000 Miles by Vladeck, Andrew
400 Blows: Playing Hooky by Constantin, Jean
400 Blows: Prologue by Constantin, Jean
400 Blows: The Police Van by Constantin, Jean
Atom Sounds by Mittoo, Jackie
Auntie Aviator by Martyn, John & Beverley
Balancar by Mestre Iram Custodio
Balmy Night by Department Of Eagles
Bits & Pieces by The Rivals
Boll Weevi by Leadbelly
Brainiac's Daughter by The Dukes Of Stratosphear
Brazilian Rhyme by Earth, Wind & Fire
Break In The Road by Harris, Betty
Cabin Fever by Super Furry Animals
Caminando Caminando by Jara, Víctor
Canyon Life by The Rivals
Cardova by The Meters
Carol by Reigning Sound
Charlie (Shoot the Piano Player) by Delerue, Georges
Childhood by Beach House
City Life by Nilsson, Harry
Colorado by Grizzly Bear
Comfy In Nautica by Panda Bear
Danger In Your Eyes by The Paragons
The Dolphins by Neil, Fred
Dream by Green, Al
Drunkard's Lament by The Honey Brothers
Drunkard's Special by Jones, Coley
Dynamite! (Single Version) by Sly & The Family Stone
Easier (Alternate Edit) by Grizzly Bear
Everyman by Double Exposure
The Freedom Under Certain Konditions Marching Band by Whitehead,
Charlie and the Swamp Dogg Band
The Gal From Oklahoma by Brown, Junior
Glorioso Santo Antonio by Carlos, Antonio & Jocafi
God Bless America for What by Swamp Dogg
Hedfan by Elisa, Gillian
Honey Dove by Fields, Lee & The Expressions
I'll Bet He's Nice by The Beach Boys
I'm The Greatest by Starr, Ringo
I am the Greatest (single) by Clay, Cassius
I Am The Greatest Says Muhammed Ali by Dr. Alimantado
I Don't Want To Be President by Watson, Johnny "Guitar"
I Met A Little Girl by Gaye, Marvin
It's Your Thing by Cold Grits
Krakken by Acid Casuals
Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space (original version) by
Let's Make Christmas Mean Something by Brown, James
Let My People Go by Darondo
Long Long Long by Smith, Elliott
Los Mas Grande Que Existe by We All Together
Lovely Day by Withers, Bill
Manha De Carnaval by Jobim, Antônio Carlos, João Gilberto & Luiz Bonfa
Maninha by Miúcha & Antônio Carlos Jobim
Message From The Country by The Move
Miss Blonde, Your Papa Is Failing by Of Montreal
Moonshake by CAN
Muchacha (Ojos De Papel) by Almendra
My Gorilla Is My Butler by Sly & The Family Stone
Night Must Fall by Xavier Cugat & His Waldorf-Astoria Orchestra
The Nightmare Of J.B. Stanislas by Garrie, Nick
Oklahoma Hills by Guthrie, Jack
Oklahoma Rag by Wills, Bob & His Texas Playboys
Oklahoma Waltz by Bond, Johnny
Ominous Cloud by Broadcast
One More Time Around by The Majestic Arrows
Out On The Side by Dillard & Clark
Past, Present & Future by The Shangri-Las
Philistines On The Land by Murvin, Junior
Please Please Me [Take 1] by Wray, Link & The Raymen
Poco a Poco by Chetes
Poison Cup by Ward, M.
Ponta De Areia (Epílogo) by Nascimento, Milton
Postcards From Italy by Beirut
Postizo by Ribot, Marc & Los Cubanos Postizos
Prodigal Son by The Rivals
Que Reste-T-Il De Nos Amours? by Trenet, Charles
The Rain by Asteriadi, Popi With Lakis Pappas
Second Hand News by Fleetwood Mac
Shut 'Um Down by Scott-Heron, Gil
Sign On The Window by Dylan, Bob
Sleep Away Your Troubles by Softies
Spring Hall Convert by Deerhunter
Sunlight Bathed The Golden Glow by Felt
Sunstroke by Joy Zipper
This Could Be The Night by The Modern Folk Quartet
This Is Love by Sly & The Family Stone
Thrills and Chills by Smith, Helene
Tomorrow & Me by Nesmith, Michael
Town Feeling by Ayers, Kevin
Traces by Classics IV
Tripoli by Pinback
Wa Muluendu by Sankayi, Masanka + Kasai Allstars feat Mutumilayi
Waiting For The Coffee To Kick In by Vladeck, Andrew
We All Gotta Go Sometime by Louis, Joe Hill
Where Does Yer Go Now? by Gorky's Zygotic Mynci
Whip Them Jah Jah by Brown, Dennis
Whizz Kid by Mott The Hoople
Woman I Love by Cale, J.J.


Photo: Le Croix (3).


Wednesday, June 27, 2007


I MET A LITTLE GIRL by Marvin Gaye.

This story is so familiar to me I thought I had blogged about it before. Back during sophomore year, Jimmie brought home this Marvin Gaye album that had just been remastered and re-released, and until then, was pretty much completely unavailable. We had heard it was a "difficult," "spotty" album, but put it on with great anticipation. And were still blown away.

Even now my favorite Marvin Gaye album, "Here, My Dear" has to be listened to to be believed. The short story is that in Marvin's divorce settlement he was required to give half of the royalties from his next album to his ex-wife Anna Gordy. So in a total f*ck-you move, the album Marvin recorded was a blistering, bitter, highly-detailed (and extremely self-serving) account of their marriage and divorce.

I Met A Little Girl is early in the record. It's mostly sweet, sensitive and faux-sensitive, in a doo-wop style. For the most part, the bitterness is tamped down on this track, but (especially if you know the context), it still peaks through and is more effective for it.


Photo: Le Croix (2).


Monday, June 25, 2007



Over the course of this year the album I've played more than any other has been Of Montreal's "Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer?" I think it's a masterpiece in an age when the album qua album is increasingly irrelevant. I don't know much about the backstory for the album except what I hear in the lyrics themselves. The short version is Kevin Barnes's relationship fell apart and he spent a summer in Norway dealing with the fallout. Or something like that. However it worked out, he made some remarkable songs. Wonderfully elastic tunes (surprisingly funky as well) paired with incredibly bleak and direct lyrics. Which sounds like a tried and true pop formula over the years--and it is--but that takes nothing away from the scale of his achievement, and I'm sure nothing away from how difficult it surely was to record them.

A few weeks ago I discovered that Of Montreal released an EP called "Icons, Abstract Thee" (believe me, the directness of the lyrics is in direct contrast to the obtuseness of these titles), so I went and tracked it down. In my opinion, a few of these songs are just as strong as anything on the album. Here's one, Miss Blonde, Your Papa Is Failing, that is just beautiful. But also, as bleak and bitter as anything you're likely to hear all year.


Photo: Le Croix (1).


Friday, June 22, 2007


QUE RESTE-T-IL DE NOS AMOURS? by Charles Trenet.

The other day Chris asked to borrow "Stolen Kisses," which put me in mind to revisit some of these Truffaut soundtrack songs. That, and I noticed the other week they're using a Charles Trenet in some commercial. (The song is Boum! and it's in that Absolut pillow fight commercial. Pretty great, I have to admit!)

I don't have much to say about this song, except that it's about my favorite in that language, and maybe the only one I can sing along with en français (a little bit at least!)

That's all for today (and this week in fact!)


Photo: Washington Street.


Thursday, June 21, 2007

Ministry of Special Cases

The nice thing about the train, I've said (everybody's said), is it gives a little mental space to read. After doing a bit of work, I finished up "The Ministry of Special Cases," a comic/tragic novel set in Buenos Aires set during the early days of the military junta in the mid-70s.

It helped reading it having been to B.A., it's a very particular city. One example--it's key knowing just how wide the River Plate is--it's like an ocean, really.

The narrative arc went somewhere completely different than I expected it to and left me feeling pretty glum. Also left me on an empty train because I read the last 10 pages after we pulled into Penn Station! It's a good book, kind of leaden funny in some places, but overall I recommend it.


Wednesday, June 20, 2007

CHARLIE (from Shoot The Piano Player)

CHARLIE (from Shoot The Piano Player) by George Delerue.

Charlie's theme opens Truffaut's second film, Shoot The Piano Player. I've long known this movie as "Bob Dylan's favorite movie" on the basis of having heard that somewhere. (Or possibly because Dylan namechecked it in the liner notes to The Times They Are A-Changin':

there's a movie called
Shoot the Piano Player
the last line proclaimin'
"music, man, that's where it's at"
it is a religious line
outside, the chimes rung
an' they
are still ringin')
Be that as it may, this tune is so mesmerizing. The way it's written and played it seems to loop around on itself so as soon as it comes to the end, I have an impulse to start it up again. Usually when I read about this tune it's described as "honky-tonk." I don't really agree. I mean, maybe it has some formal characteristics of honky-tonk, but there's something so twitchy and nervous about it. It's catchy but it doesn't really swing like I would think honky-tonk piano should. Who knows. Fun stuff regahdless. P.S. Charles Aznavour is a god. Off to D.C. for the day, so see you Friday morning!


Photo: Houston median.


Monday, June 18, 2007


PLAYING HOOKY (from the 400 BLOWS) by Jean Constantin.

The very first week of this blog's existence we posted a song from the 400 Blows. In it I talked about sneaking over and catching a double feature of Truffaut films at the Film Forum. I wouldn't say we've come full circle or anything, but I thought I'd post another song from that soundtrack. This one's called Playing Hooky.

It's a little more typical go-go French early 60s style, just little variations on a jazzy riff (just like Cassius Clay's tune from a couple years later, as a matter of fact).


Photo: DC Office.


Sunday, June 17, 2007

Don't Stop Believin'

Sunday night silliness:

JAIPUR, India - A 73-year-old man who failed his 10th grade high school exams for the 39th time vowed Friday to try again next year in the hopes that an education will improve his job and marriage prospects.

Shivcharan Jatav, a farmer from the desert state of Rajasthan in western India, had no formal education as a child. He has been trying to pass the exams since 1969, when an army recruiter told him it would improve his chances of being accepted into the military.

"Since then I have been trying to pass this examination, but without any success," Jatav said, days after receiving the bitter news that he had failed again.

Jatav passed only one subject — the ancient language of Sanskrit — and he said he scored just 103 out of a total of 600 in the examinations.

Even though he is too old to join the army he has kept at it, hoping to become a more eligible bachelor.

"I could not get married as the girls told my family members that I was not properly educated. It's my fate that deprived me of education and a married life," he said.

Still, he has no regrets. "I am a happy and contented person," said Jatav.

Friday, June 15, 2007


I AM THE GREATEST by Cassius Clay.

I was musing the other day about what's fun about blogging and what's hard. The fun part is easy enough, the hard part, though, is kinda unique to the kind of blog we have here (and the other one). Basically, every post has about the same tone--I'd call it "enthusiastic exposition." Tell you about how great this song is. Never, this song is average, or let me rip into this thing six ways from Sunday. What would be the point of that? Just don't post the song! But using the same writing tone does get old. I need some more synonyms for great! funky! beautiful! etc.

I bring that up in this post because for this song it's no trouble at all being enthusiastic. I Am The Greatest is mind-blowing and hilarious. It's just Cassius Clay talking smack over a jazzy, bouncy beat, with crowd noise pumped in. I can and have listened to it a million times just for the sheer enjoyment of it. It's the title track from an album Clay released in 1963, shortly before fighting Sonny Liston and before changing his name to Ali. It used to be impossible to find, but it's been re-released on CD. You should get it!


Photo: Soho, early evening.


Thursday, June 14, 2007

Just great

First things first: Amy's done with the kids for this year! (Just about.) They say teaching gets easier by the fourth year, and from my perspective, it seems like it has, but I'm still amazed at how much work she puts into it every day. Legend.

Speaking of legends, the other day on NY1 they had a little segment on a photo exhibit on Muhammad Ali over in the West Village. So Martin and I decided to pop over and have a look! Here's one of the photos we saw:

So that was nice. Having finished as much reading as I'm going to do about Maine (probably), I am back on non-wedding stuff. Yesterday I finished "Falling Man," by Don DeLillo. I shouldn't say I was disappointed, because I wasn't. More disengaged. I found the book easy to read and even easier to finish. It simply passed by me. Writing a "September 11" novel must be a very difficult thing to do. Since I have (everybody has) such a strong feeling of what it was like to live through 9/11, I found myself not particularly interested in how the characters in the novel reacted. Their experience was singular, not much to tell me about mine or anything. Some of my reaction, though, must be controlled by DeLillo, because the style of the novel is so clipped, elliptical. It encourages the reader to pass over it lightly. Anyway, enough about that.

Our friend John is now a blogger! He just started this week, looks like. Go say HI THERE.

More songs Friday.


Wednesday, June 13, 2007



Today's offering comes from one of the great Jamaican albums, and in my mind the GREATEST Jamaican album cover. It's from the Best Dressed Chicken In Town (making it also one of the greatest album titles too!)

I Am The Greatest Says Muhammed Ali is just a little goof mixed by Lee Perry. This track should be played really loud but not paid much attention to. Maybe Stu can pop in and tell us what song is sampled because I've drawn a blank on the name of it.and then listened to very closely! ...Having a little more time to blog this evening, I've reconsidered my blurb here. The only thing I'll say in defense of my earlier statement is that there's nothing of any social or political significance, so in that sense you don't need to pay any attention to it (it's an instrumental after all!) Musically, though, there's SO much going on. Like a lot of Scratch Perry tracks, it sounds inside out, where everything that should be prominent is buried, and all of the guts & viscera are out in the open. This track features some distracted wah wah guitar, organ, and especially paranoid wood block scraping.

Oh, and one more thing, the misspelling of Ali's name is Alimantado's (or Greensleeves), not mine!


Photo: Soho, snowy.


Monday, June 11, 2007


I'M THE GREATEST by Ringo Starr.

This evening we're blogging with Journey ringing in our ears and Gordon Lightfoot picked by the iTunes gods to entertain us while we think of what to write. After the Sopranos ended, I, like scores of thousands of others, switched over to the NBA game to see if Cleveland was making a game of it. And like scores of thousands of others, I'm now looking for something else to do!

I'm the Greatest is the closest we ever got to a Beatles reunion. But you'd only need about 16 seconds to figure that out. First there's John's distinctive prickly rhythm guitar. And when Ringo sings, that's two. And finally, at 16 seconds, you'll immediately recognize George's fill. Also, Klaus Voorman does his Paul imitation. Billy Preston's on organ. John sings some backup (and plays a solo himself), the Sgt. Pepper's crowd makes an appearance. It's the greatest.
And all I wanna do! is boogaloo!


Photo: Soho, yesterday.


Sunday, June 10, 2007

I am the greatest.

I just realized something nice, that iTunes lets you convert different audio formats to mp3. I'll be doing that from now on because I know some of you have trouble opening up the m4a/mp4/aac formats. Back tomorrow with songs!


Friday, June 8, 2007


POSTIZO by Marc Ribot & Los Cubanos Postizos.

Here's some more wacked out dance music for you this Friday. Here are a few random observations:

Marc Ribot is a fairly well known guy in these parts, especially if you're in to Tom Waits, jazz, or the Lower East Side music scene.

A few years ago he released a couple of albums with a group he called Los Cubanos Postizos ("The Prosthetic Cubans"). These are his "dance records," and even though his style is so angular and bent, it really works as dance music. Indeed, his playing here reminds me a lot of the sounds coming out of the Congotronics crowd featured on Wednesday. Listen to both and you'll see what I mean.

One reason Ribot's sound is so distinctive is that he's a left-handed guitarist who plays right-handed. (Not, like Jimi Hendrix, a left-handed guitarist who plays a right-handed guitar strung upside down, but a guy who plays it as if he was right-handed, even though he's not.) You can see what I mean in this clip of him playing with the Cubanos. As someone who's always had left- and right-handed issues, I identify with him on that.

As mentioned above, Ribot is a well-known New York scenester and commentator. He gave an interview recently that was full of cool observations. Read the whole thing, but here's a good passage: With record labels failing, and clubs failing, what's the best a musician can hope for?

MR: Buy an uzi. (Laughs.) The place where musicians start is the place where musicians always start: learn your instrument, or work on your conceptual skills. I've always considered myself more a semiotician than a guitarist anyway. Work on your conceptual skills, work on your ability to do whatever it is that you need to do on your instrument, find other people with whom to work, and then understand that your band, or your individual ability to say what you need to say exists within a political and cultural context. Just like you practice your guitar, and just like you rehearse with your band, you have to work politically, to find a context in which you can exist.
So that's your odd dance music + semiotics for today. Enjoy your weekend!

...Before you go, read through this article Ribot wrote that appeared yesterday, on the state of the New York music scene. It's fascinating. Especially liked his discussion of the European arts subsidies. I had no idea it played such a big role.


Photo: RFK(3).


Wednesday, June 6, 2007


WA MULUENDU by Masanka Sankayi + Kasai Allstars featuring Mutumilayi.

This is the opening track from the Congotronics 2 compilation (Congotronics 1 being the Konono No. 1 album that made a bit of a splash in 2005. A bunch of us saw Konono play their first New York shows a year or two ago).

You know if I'm posting a song called "Wa Muluendu" it must be good right? It is, so good. This one gets straight to the point: junky overdriven instruments weave in and out of a really nasty rhythm. The call and response vocals fill in the rhythmic cracks, keep you moving, moving. They lock in around 2:30 and then if you've given it any chance you've got no chance. Then it's over. Tout puissant.


Photo: RFK(2).


Monday, June 4, 2007



Okay, we're back! This week we're having some fried and funky fare. First up is Can's Moonshake, from "Future Days." It's a frustrating song to blog, because if you know Can, you probably more than likely know and love this tune, and if you don't, it's hard to convince you to check it out. It's bent. You can filter it through Damo Suzuki's whispery, distracted vocals or Michael Karoli's equally mixed down guitar and think it's a laid back track. But Jaki Liebezeit's drumming is so propulsive, there's no real way to feel at ease. Plus there's a great weirdo electro solo, I don't even know what it is they're "playing." Probably the heaviest, deepest track we've featured here. Summer of 73. Hope you like it.


Photo: RFK (1).


Friday, June 1, 2007

More promises...

Ach, I'm taking the whole week off! See you Monday.