by Dave Segal
on Mon, Nov 19, 2012 at 1:51 PM
Running in the downpour this morning spurred me to think about Deep Puddle Dynamics, the seriously slept-on hiphop crew from the early days of anticon. Featuring Doseone, Jel, Abilities, Ant, Alias, Slug, Sole, Moodswing, and Mayo, DPD released only one album, The Taste of Rain…Why Kneel, in 1999. It stands as one of underground hiphop’s most understatedly adventurous documents, both sonically and lyrically, and was the precursor to the maverick works by cLOUDDEAD and Themselves.
DPD had truly mad skills (mad, I tell you), and, yeah, they were kind of nerdy, but they were still tough as fuck. “Read The Art of War when I should’ve been outside fighting.” Uh-huh. Step lightly out there.
(Emerald Queen) I was turned on to the high-quality early rock of Alice Cooper (as opposed to the cartoonish later schlock of Alice Cooper) by one of his biggest fans: Joey Ramone, who listed Cooper's Love It to Death as one of his favorite albums. So great was my love of Joey Ramone, I bought Love It to Death on his say-so. So great was my love of Love It to Death, I happily bought a couple other early Cooper records (Killer! Billion Dollar Babies!) and loved them, too. These days, Cooper's essentially a male Elvira, but his early songbook will provide him high-quality rock fodder until we're all dead.
by Dave Segal
on Thu, Nov 1, 2012 at 2:53 PM
While we’re on the subject of Miles Davis this week, take a look at this memo by On the Corner producer Teo Macero to Columbia Records dated November 14, 1969 (three years before OTC) regarding another paradigm-shifting LP. I imagine the executives sighing so loudly, people in New Jersey could hear it.
We are NOT effing around with the newest, most SIZZLINGEST edition of the Friday Night Giveaway. Answer this Line Out trivia question and WIN BIG:
What was the name of the child born and raised in the post office line while Utilikilt Man pulled packages out of his hippie cart?
The first hot shot to answer correctly will receive the following incredible prizes:
· A Justin Beiber singing toothbrush (plays the songs "Baby" and "U Smile")! · A $4-off coupon for See's Candy (if you buy $40 worth, that is)! · A rose necklace I found in Cal Anderson Park a long time ago! · Two cough drop filled with cough suppressing goo! · Birthday candles! · TWO perfume samples! · A pumpkin spice lollipop (that tastes like Bath & Body Works)!
by Dave Segal
on Mon, Oct 22, 2012 at 3:48 PM
Mute and Spoon Records will issue The Lost Tapes by Can—the best rock band that's not American or British; maybe the best rock band ever, when we're in a certain mood—in a 5XLP box set on Dec. 4. The tracks on these records were forgotten about for decades, but were unearthed when Can's studio in Weilerswist was sold to the German Rock N Pop Museum.
Some of the long-lost material (from 1968-1977) rivals some of the legendary krautrock group's greatest efforts—which means that it's better than just about everything ever recorded in the rock realm—yes, even your band. Few groups could match Can's rhythmic inventiveness and precision, their odd melodic capabilities, and their telepathic jamming prowess—skills that have made them one of the most influential units in the world. Plus, Can had Malcolm Mooney and Damo Suzuki on the mic at various points during their tenure—unique throat artists whose timbres took the band down very different but very rewarding avenues. You know, The Lost Tapes would make a fab Kwanzaa gift. (Tip!)
British graphic designer Peter Saville provides a fascinating account of the origin of the design that graces Joy Division's 1979 LP cover Unknown Pleasures on Factory Records. For decades, many thought those ridges were a mountain range. Nuh-uh. They actually represent the frequency of the signal from the first pulsar. The jagged lines came from a page out of the Cambridge Encyclopedia of Astronomy. After Saville reversed the colors, the design soon appeared on T-shirts and various other clothing items, pottery, tattoos, condom packages, and in many other places.
You do realize that if you wear this design now, you're a cliché? Good. Glad we got that sorted.
I have a friend who hates Tom Waits, so I hope he doesn't see this, because "best" is a useless term in his case. In mine, it took a few years before I fully embraced the guy. His recording career began in the 1970s, but 1980's "Heartattack and Vine" marks the first song I heard, so that's when my interest began.
Though I don't follow his career as closely as I once did—2004's Real Gone (which features cover art that looks like it was puked up by a drunk design student) represents the most recent Waits record in my collection, in part because an editor asked me to write about it, but I can't imagine he'll ever completely fall out of my favor (plus, he was one of the few alternative artists my father enjoyed, assuming it's acceptable to use that term to describe his unique jazz-folk-blues concoction).
It's just that he has a schtick; that whole beatnik-by-way-of-Louis Armstrong thing (not that Armstrong wasn't a bit of a beatnik himself). As schticks go, it's a pretty good one, and the guy can write a song. I may come up with a different favorite next week, but for now it's the fabulously written and fantastically performed "Step Right Up" (1976), which popped into my head a couple of days ago, because I'm finally selling off all the old crap I don't use anymore. Plus, I can't resist that what-the-fuck line about "a nine-year-old Hindu boy."
I know. WHAT THE FUCK KINDA QUESTION IS "What IS Aretha Franklin's BEST Song?" ...and who the FUCK asks that shit on a TUESDAY?! Right, so we all know Ms. Franklin has a catalog long as my right arm, most of her Atlantic label recordings are canon, but for as timeless and HUGE as all those songs are...I'm a sucker for the deep soul. Like, BIG TIME. And if I gotta stake this, Ima say I don't think Re Re, in all her glory, never topped this song, "Prove It." The heartbreak here is visceral.
by Dave Segal
on Tue, Sep 11, 2012 at 10:07 AM
Veteran Ninja Tune artist DJ Food and DJs Moneyshot and Cheeba have deconstructed the Beastie Boys' Paul's Boutique sample by sample in order to shed light on how ingenious the Dust Brothers' production job was on this classic hiphop album. Caught in the Middle of a 3 Way Mix took the jocks three years to complete. They had the audio collage over 50 percent completed when they heard of Beastie Boys rapper Adam Yauch's death in May, so this serves as something of a tribute to the late MC.
Insanely detailed breakdown of this fantastic labor of intensive love after the jump.
by Dave Segal
on Thu, Sep 6, 2012 at 2:55 PM
Give me a late pass: I just discovered the understated beauty of the Residents’ “You Yesyesyes Again” (from their 1977 album Fingerprince) and am totally taken aback by its lovely melody, which is still kind of odd and eerie, but downright accessible for these murky-fidelity-loving, eyeball-headed subversives.
*That I've heard; I'm by no means a Residents completist. Feel free to correct me if you think I have erred—because this matter is not at all subjective and can be proven scientifically.
by Dave Segal
on Wed, Sep 5, 2012 at 1:21 PM
John Cage's centennial is today, so let's take six minutes out of our busy day to immerse ourselves in "Williams Mix," a way-ahead-of-its-time audio collage by the innovative composer from 1952. It's doubtful heads back then were ready for Cage's paradigm-shifting, Dadaist disorientation—hell, many people still aren't.
by Dave Segal
on Fri, Aug 31, 2012 at 2:07 PM
“A Love Supreme” is one of the cornerstones of jazz—particularly that of the astral/mystical persuasion. It should be one of your life goals to get this work ingrained in your DNA. As you may know, several versions of John Coltrane’s monumental composition have been executed. Our job today is to determine who did it best. Blasphemy to even consider someone did it better than John? So be it. I’m feeling kind of iconoclastic today. My mind wavers between Alice Coltrane's and John McLaughlin and Carlos Santana's renditions. This calls for a poll.
There seems to be an argument amongst YouTube users about the account named Curmodgeon. Some people claim that the account holder is the savior of Nirvana's legacy and could possibly be Krist Novoselic or a reincarnated Kurt Cobain. Others claim he's a member of a highly private Nirvana bootleg group, who has broken an oath to not leak material to the public.
Composer Chris Brokaw (Codeine) and director Roddy Bogowa came to the Northwest Film Forum last Saturday to present Taken by Storm: The Art of Storm Thorgerson and Hipgnosis as part of the annual ByDesign series (now based in Houston, former NWFF programmer Peter Lucas put the series together).
by Dave Segal
on Mon, Jun 18, 2012 at 9:38 AM
With anticipation running high for Can’s 3-CD/3XLP release of The Lost Tapes, The Guardian has offered a sneak preview of 10 tracks, most of which are worth the long wait. On top of that, LA Record has conducted a brief interview with Can keyboardist Irmin Schmidt, who edited the 50 hours of material recorded by the phenomenal krautrock group from '68-'77 into the relatively concise three-hour archival package that’s coming out June 19 on Mute Records.
Watch the video for "A Swan Is Born" after the cut.
It wouldn't be completely accurate to describe myself as a Bruce Springsteen fan, because I don't actually own any of his albums, but there's a reason for that, and I do like the guy. When I worked in radio, I took certain artists for granted, because their records were always available, which means I could play them most any time I wanted. Consequently, I felt like I owned a few even if I was sharing them with dozens of other DJs (when I started out in radio, it was all records and carts and then CDs and carts). I'll get around to Bruce's catalog at some point.
I'm sure Oscar-winning songwriter Paul Williams has a few young fans scattered here and there, but if you're a person of a certain age, like me, he's an icon. Not "kind of an icon" or "sort of an icon," but an icon. Full stop. And the reason is simple: he ruled the 1970s. His songs, like the Carpenters' "Rainy Days and Mondays" and "We've Only Just Begun" were all over the radio, and every time you turned on the TV, there he was: guesting on Baretta, Police Woman, and The Tonight Show. Johnny Carson was such a fan he had Williams on 50 times.
by Dave Segal
on Tue, May 22, 2012 at 2:53 PM
Heliocentric jazz avant-gardist Sun Ra was born on this day in 1914. Hallelujah!
You could spend this life and your next one trying to absorb all of Sun Ra’s mercurial music and not succeed—but what an exhilarating challenge you’ll feel in the effort. One day I hope to have the vast amounts of time and money needed to dive headlong into Sun Ra’s catalog and make some sort of sense of it all. I guess one could navigate his huge, labyrinthine canon on YouTube, but experiencing the twisted majesty of Ra’s work on computer speakers is far from optimal. But it’ll have to do for this post.