The Big Beat Got Me Dancing in My Seat
SebastiAn: Total (Big Beat/Atlantic/Because/Ed Banger)
I like my dance music cheap and with a sense of humor, as on this debut album by a fashionable French DJ with Ed Banger connections. Imagine the not-bad Justice keeping 22 tracks under four minutes as it mixes and matches hardish club fads you lived without going back to 2005. Committed to synth squelch and chary of synth tweedle, it's basically instrumental except when transforming Mayer Hawthorne into the generic soul falsetto he was born to be and M.I.A. into the cheeky disco dolly she's too conscious to become. Even the interludes are catchy. In my favorite musical moment, it segues from switched-on baroque to a speedboat engine. A MINUS
Skrillex: Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites (Big Beat/Atlantic)
Having blown his scream fronting drama kings From First to Last, Sonny Moore dialed it down, launching a solo career that has endeared him to Lady Gaga and the Black Eyes Peas. True, he does enjoy turning synthesizers into doom dybbuks and hiring chipmunks to sing "I want to kill everybody in the world." But he also gets winning girlpop out of a sprite named Penny. This EP could use the two new songs on the all too accurately entitled More Monsters and Sprites EP, and Moore should stop milking that woman who goes "Oh my God." But when he swears rock n' roll will take you to the mountain, he's being sincere. B PLUS
the completist Mofungo and Plastic People "we"
Who is this "we" of which you speak? (there's gotta be Xgau readers who don't have a massive music collection... right?)My bad. I forgot there are different "we"'s here all the time. There's the completist Mofungo and Plastic People "we" who I would expect to be well-endowed with Fela (not having checked how obscure today's free track might be -- I'd assumed not, that it would be something canonical) -- and there's the "we" who use nicknames like "Ye" and "Hov" that I have to consult the Urban Dictionary to figure out. "Hov" short for "Jehovah", Jay-Z's chosen nickname? I listened to six hours straight of Z the other day, so you can't call me a disser, because my respect only waxed (not waned). But sometimes you guys (as opposed, I guess, to my "we") keep me guessing. Good thing there's Google, I say. A lot of song titles get tossed around. Now when I listen to music I never know what actual titular song I am listening to. Quote me the title and I draw a blank but play me it and I probably know I've heard it (and maybe even know it -- to play along with it, anticipating it's progressions, albeit probably too early). In fact, it's amazing how songs I can't remember ever having heard, if I hear them again and they sound familiar -- it turns out I did hear them (and maybe can figure out when). Wow!
The subconscious mind, which is what seems to really dig the music as much as any consciousness, must be the player here.
But Tom, I've got to ask: is Warren Smith's Cats Are Stealing My $hit worth hearing? (What a title!)
I can picture the lime green album cover but can't recall the music, and didn't write down any notes -- at least none I can find now, other than the B- grade, so I have to say not. On the other hand, the reissue in Jazz Prospecting today, Dragon Dave Meets Prince Black Knight From the Darkside of the Moon, is worth a spin if you are into the early 1970s "black power" avant-garde -- it as done later but has the same aesthetic. I don't think it's especially good, but it's not the sort of thing you hear often. The label, Porter, is very tuned into early '70s avant-garde and has found a few really obscure gems there. Most of their stuff is on Rhapsody.
The other Jazz Prospecting record that I think has some upside potential is Aaron Shragge -- imagine Jon Hassell louder sans beats. I played it twice, decided that was as much time a I was willing to spend. The (***) records are much more conventional postbop, well done, but have almost certainly hit their ceiling.
I work all day teaching recent immigrants how to use their new signal to open gmail accounts and find job listings on craigslist. You should see their faces when they YouTube music they haven't heard in 20 years.
Two totally rocking uses of technology!!!!
Edit: In case you haven't seen this yet over on the AV club. It's Bob Mould plugging his book and singing a song; http://goo.gl/BXn3t
This is why Motley Crüe is an unpronounceable idiocy.
Blue Oy!ster Cult.
Umlaut is a German word, used there on [a,o,u] where it changes the vowel sound. It's interchangeable with adding a following e, as in [ae,oe,ue]. This is why Motley Crüe is an unpronounceable idiocy. Blue Öyster Cult has a similar problem, although it's harder to explain. Hüsker Dü, by the way, is viable in German, but it hurts my face to try to pronounce it that way.
I am aware of and concerned by the access gap, which is why I moved to San Fran to intern at an organization called One Economy that turns government and (in an increasingly uncomfortable way) corporate grants into free broadband for inner-city communities.
It's painful to spend years and years and years living with a decor that can only be called Early Record Store.Haha, Early Record Store is totally what I aspired to as a kid. It's an achievement! I grew up wanting to stare at a wall of records that belonged to ME. I still get excited looking at my collection. Or I would if my shelves weren't falling apart, and if the As and most of the Bs hadn't gotten flooded when I moved in the new place.
Recording LPs onto cassettes was surely widespread, and it was simply a way to save money.
Oh, absolutely, and I did to some degree myself when I had no other way of hearing an album. But I knew many people (most of whom could easily afford to buy albums) who were perfectly content just owning the copy, and having their entire collection just be a bunch of cassettes with hand-scribbled stuff on 'em, who didn't seem to feel like they were missing anything - that's the part that was baffling to me.
I have never really forgiven the record companies for the insane price uplift when CDs came out. Vinyl albums were running around $5.99, and then CDs came out at $15.99. Ok, new format and all. But it never went back down again, even when it turned out they were cheaper to manufacture then vinyl.YES X 1000!! I'm still bitter that they managed to pull that off, and that consumers went along with it and cheerfully coughed up $5-10 more for each album.
about the blogger
Starting in 1967, Robert Christgau has covered popular music for The Village Voice, Esquire, Blender, Playboy, Rolling Stone, and many other publications. He teaches in New York University's Clive Davis Department of Recorded Music, maintains a comprehensive website at robertchristgau.com, and has published five books based on his journalism. He has written for MSN Music since 2006.
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