Flava in your ear
Public Enemy: Most of My Heroes Still Don't Appear on No Stamp (Enemy)
Public Enemy: The Evil Empire of Everything (Enemy)
This is going along fine, politicizing indefatigably with cameo help from super-scratcher Davy DMX, saxophone pro Gerald Albright, Otis-channeling soul sister Sheila Brody, and Ziggy Marley 10,000 dutchies on, when finally, midway through, here comes some madman with the deeply stoopid "31 Flavors" and you realize it wasn't going along fine enough. Flav even contributes a superior Otis homage, about cars, and sells the irresistible "Broke Diva," in which Chuck joins an attack on gold-diggers I have the feeling Mrs. Chuck could do without. To compensate, the boss ropes the celebreality money-grubber into an attack on "Fame." B PLUS
Here's our host on Pablo ....from the CG80s book. Subjects for Further Research section.
Augustus Pablo: Before either route was more than a gleam in the zeitgeist's eye, the world's greatest melodica player set up house at the corner of "world music," with its vaguely folkie-futuristic aura, and "world-beat," a term favored by rockers dancing their way to the next big thing. By the middle '80s he was the greatest of all new-age musicians even though the new-age market didn't know he existed. It's entirely conceivable he'll prove reggae's most enduring artist a century from now, but I often feel he's a little beyond me, which I don't necessarily mean as a compliment, and would no more try to parse his oeuvre than I would, oh, Steve Reich's. When I'm in the mood for mood music, I think about him sometimes, only to put on Another Green World or something. King Tubby's Meets Rockers Uptown, which in 1976 made dub possible as a (highly specialized, I insist) subgenre, has the mark of greatness upon it. Also in my A shelves are 1980's Original Rockers (bracingly abrasive), 1987's Rockers Comes East (poppishly upbeat), and 1986's Rebel Rock Reggae (simply sui generis).
Greatness awaits. And weirdness too. The 60's turning into the 70's.
I'll be spending part of tomorrow going backwards though Millman's stuff. (Some interesting and useful comments on there as well.)
Greg, go for the Seattle show and I'll go with you.
Nice write up Cam, my dinner at The Lantern (which you reccomended) was great, Can't wait to eat there again and finally see a show at CC. Chapel Hill is such a fun town.
OK, let’s try this again. Yo La Tengo were at the Cradle last night. They played two sets, starting right after Miami finished wiping the basketball court with Duke blue (watched and cheered on by everyone in the bar area), no opening act.
The first set was acoustic, tuneful, but extre-e-e-mely placid—Elliot Smith gazed down from heaven in approval. They played lots of songs off the new album, which I haven’t heard yet (Chapel Hill Syndrome—gotta play all the songs off your new album to impress the Merge folks, who Ira thanked from the stage. In fact, Ira also shouted out for the Lantern, a restaurant owned by Mac’s wife, so he gets extra points for covering all the bases). The one song that stood out in this set was an after-tennis version of “Tom Courtenay” sung by Georgia.
With that out of their system, I was hoping that all they had left in them for the second set was to shred. And indeed, Ira’s guitaricus spasticus approach is now less about finding a quarter in the change slot of every payphone and more about crafting a proper Robert Quine solo. Still, shred they seldom did, drone was the preferred mode. The packed crowd was appreciative but (except after a serious romp through “Time Fades Away”) seldom awe-struck. Too much horizontal motion, not enough up and down.
Not a bad show and perhaps a kind of message show (I remember the “Fakebook” tour, which had a similar feel coming on the heels of “President Yo La Tengo”—in retrospect that tour had to happen in its own way). And it was great to see the whole band look happy and Ira look healthy. But not a rousing show. Would have been better if the crowd was en repose on pillows in an opium haze.
A Wednesday night in Portland. Grrrrr.
Or a Friday night in Seattle.
Depends on how much wifey wants to get out of town.
One or the other though. That's for sure.
Thanks a lot, Nora! What a great pairing!!
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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