Disco Sin, Sans, and Without Dollars
The African ability to manufacture major exhilaration out of marginal economics is a skill young American musos should wrap their minds around. These 14 tracks, selected by ace German compiler-annotator Georg Milz from the decade-plus history of a broadly conceived genre that's not about to quit, modernize highlife with electronics, rap, and the occasional excursion into reggae. Their only program is getting parties started. These parties are as raunchy as they wanna be‑-"Toto Mechanic" means "Pussy Mechanic" in Ga. But they're markedly more relaxed than, for instance, the HI-NRG bashes evoked by VP's new Ultimate Soca Gold Collection‑-as if they've figured out that the toto feels better to both partners when all day and all night includes breathers. A MINUS
Sofrito: Tropical Discotheque (Strut)
The title means exactly what it says. Selected by a London dance collective called Sofrito, which is also the name of a fatback-based Puerto Rican staple, two-thirds of these 15 obscurish dance tracks are from the disco era of 1976-1980, almost all sound it a little, and all are from Africa, Colombia, and the Caribbean. Like a DJ set designed to blast rather than lure you out of your seat, they start strong, end classic, and let you sit down in the middle. Whether they achieve their pan-tropical goals is unclear; I probably prefer the African tracks‑-especially the Zaiko Langa Langa spinoff "Je Ne Bois Pas Beaucoup"‑-because I always prefer the African tracks. So let me now praise two barn burners I would never otherwise have checked out: a lead cut featuring cumbia stalwart Lisandro Meza and‑-from Guadeloupe, whose music generally leaves me feeling like I haven't eaten‑-a speedy call-and-response workout by gwo ka drummer Ti Céleste. DJ-annotator Hugo reports that this is his crate-digging crew's most-played track. You can hear why. A MINUS
burraburrahttp://latinfood.about.com/od/seasoningmarinade/p/What-Is-Sofrito.htmspice of life
(See "Thumb and Tongue Tales" in Zap comix.)
Jason -- I just thumb bombed your last comment, because I feel you are instigating a fiery McCarthy-esque witch hunt for thumb bombers, who are only trying to express their highly worthwhile opinion in secret, because they're passive-agressive to the point where they don't want anyone to get mad at them. Have you no sympathy for these people??
Other than that, I have no idea who the thumb bomber is.
EDIT, 9:16: I just thumb bombed my own comment to add to the two already there, just to make things more "dramatic," to appear in this thread's "most controversial."
4. Dio: Holy Diver
I instinctively disliked this record for most of its existence. But I enjoyed it when the That Metal Show guys put it number one on their best-of heavy metal this-or-that lists. Not because I was being kitschy, I just got a kick out of these ingratiating metalheads having opinions so obviously divergent from my own. I say I disliked this album instinctively because I barely ever heard it, certainly not all the way through. I turned the sound off when the Dio videos popped up on MTV. Nothing could be worse than a histrionic European (well he sang in Rainbow and Sabbath but I didn’t know he was actually from New Hampshire) singing songs of Satan over clunky sub-Paranoid guitar churn. So then RJD up and died through no fault of his own, and come to find out the guy was a saint. A champion. A passionate metal crusader. So I bought a copy of Holy Diver on Amazon for next to nothing to have what was definitely intended to be a kitsch-fest. And boy did I feel embarrassed and stupid when I fell in love with the CD first time through. It opens with Motorhead-worthy riffage, the sound is stripped down for circa 1983 metal, sparing on the guitar overdubs, and let’s give some serious props to the drummer, Vinnie Appice, who is just totally wicked here. But the songs are what really sell this album. Without ever deviating from post-NWOBHM orthodoxy, RJD (who produces here as well as singing and writing) carefully structures his songs around awesome chord changes (the riff that drives “Gypsy” is power pop-ready), sing-along chants (“Holy Diver”), and—wait for it—hooks galore (“Caught In the Middle”, “Rainbow in the Dark”). If you require some suspension of disbelief to get through the vocals and lyrics here, then so be it; underneath that is a glorious testament to a heavy metal hero.
Cam: Holy Diver. Wow. I think I just had some post-traumatic stress disorder flashbacks to junior high school having that (formerly) treasured album brought up. Heh.
are the people who hate Dio the same as the people who hate Hawkwind, or are there two separate pools of hate out there?
Not a Dio fan by any stretch of the imagination, that said I would never thumb bomb the man who gave the community a copy of Live at P.S. 122 broken down track by track. Can't wait for the top 3.
Current listening- Those Darlins-Screws Get Loose & Superchunk- Majesty Shredding
I just thumb bombed my own comment to add to the two already there, just to make things more "dramatic," to appear in this thread's "most controversial."
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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