Tuesday, March 5, 2013



0/ The Streets --Original Pirate Material
1/ Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti - The Doldrums
2/ Dizzee Rascal - Boy In Da Corner
3/ Vampire Weekend - s/t
4/ The Focus Group - Hey Let Loose Your Love
5/ Daft Punk - Discovery
6/ Various Artists - Run the Road
7/ Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti -- Worn Copy
8/ Belbury Poly - The Willows
9/ The Good The Bad and the Queen - s/t
10/ Scritti Politti - White Bread Black Beer
11/ Radiohead - Kid A
12/ Mordant Music - Dead Air
13/ The Advisory Circle - Other Channels
14/ Black Moth Super Rainbow -- Dandelion Gum
15/ Burial- s/t
16/ Micachu and the Shapes -- Jewellery
17/ Jay-Z - The Blueprint
18/ Moon Wiring Club - An Audience of Art Deco Eyes
19/ Arctic Monkeys - Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not
20/ Blectum from Blechdom - Haus De Snaus
21/ Panda Bear - Person Pitch
22/ Kanye West - The College Dropout
23/ Isolee - Rest
24/ The Avalanches - Since I Left You
25/ Joanna Newsom - Ys
26/ Hot Chip - Coming On Strong
27/ The Dirty Projectors -- Bitte Orca
28/ Terror Danjah - Gremlinz
29/ J Dilla - The Shining
30/ Lady Sovereign - Public Warning
31/ Zomby - s/t
32/ Portishead - Third
33/ Villalobos - Alcachofa
34/ J Dilla - Donuts
35/ Blectum from Blechdom - The Messy Jesse Fiesta
36/ Dolphins Into the Future - Mountains Saturnus
37/ Animal Collective - Here Comes the Indian
38/ Pulp - We Love Life
39/ Cannibal Ox - Cold Vein
40/ Sally Shapiro - Disco Romance
41/ Clipse - Lord Willin'
42/ Lily Allen - Alright Still
43/ Kanye West - 808s & Heartbreak
44/ High Places - s/t
45/ Infinite Livez - Bush Meat
46/ Pitman - It Takes a Nation of Tossers
47/ Juana Molina - Son
48/ Gang Gang Dance - Saint Dymphna
49/ Avey Tare, Panda Bear & Geologist - Danse Manatee
50/ Boards of Canada - Geogaddi


1/ Dizzee Rascal, "I Luv U" b/w "Vexed"
2/ Daft Punk, "Digital Love"
3/ Vampire Weekend, "Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa"
4/ Big E.D., "Frontline (Terror Danjah Remix)"
5/ Outkast, "Hey Ya"
6/ Missy Elliott, "Get UR Freak On"
7/ Lethal B featuring Fumin, D Double E, Nappa, Jamakabi, Neeko, Flow Dan, Ozzi B, Forcer, Demon & HotShot, "Pow (Forward)"
8/ Usher feat Lil Jon and Ludacris, “Yeah”
9/ Ludacris, "What's Your Fantasy"
10/ Vampire Weekend, "The Kids Don't Stand A Chance"
11/ Kanye West, "Thru the Wire"
12/ Vybz Kartel, "Sweet To The Belly"
13/ Jammer featuring Wiley, D Double E, Kano & Durty Doogz, "Destruction Remix"
14/ Wiley featuring Dizzee Rascal, "Ice Rink"
15/ Truesteppers featuring Victoria Beckham & Dane Bowers, "Out of Your Mind"
16/ TS7 featuring Tonia, “Smile”
17/ J Dilla, "Won't Do"
18/ Styles, “Good Times"
19/ Micachu and the Shapes, "Golden Phone"
20/ Kano, "Boys Love Girls"
21/ MC God's Gift versus Teebone, “Tribute to 32 MCs”
22/ Outkast, "The Way You Move"
23/ Jammer featuring D Double E, "Birds In the Sky"
24/ The Blackout Crew, "Put a Donk On It"
25/ Oxide & Neutrino , "Bound 4 Da Reload"
26/ Terror Danjah featuring Kano and Katie, “So Sure”
27/ Kelis, "Milkshake"
28/ Wonder featuring Kano, "What Have You Done"
29/ The Streets, “Let’s Push Things Forward/All Got Our Runnins”
30/ Lady Sovereign, “Cha Ching (Cheque 1, 2 Remix)”
31/ Terror Danjah featuring Hyper, Bruza, D Double E and Riko, "Cock Back"
32/ Genius Kru, “Course Bruv“
33/ DJ Marky & XRS featuring Stamina MC, "LK (Carolina Carol Bela)”
34/ Terror Danjah, Industry Standard EP
35/ Junior Boys, "Last Exit"
36/ Kano featuring D Double E and Demon, “Reload It”
37/ Burial, “Southern Comfort”
38/ Kanye West, "Love Lockdown"
39/ Villalobos, "Dexter"
40/ Clipse, “When The Last Time”
41/ The Dirty Projectors, "Stillness is the Move"
42/ Flirta D, "Warpspeed"
43/ The Libertines, “Can’t Stand Me Now”
44/ Musical Mob, "Pulse X (VIP Mix)”
45/ Teebone feat MC Sparks and MC Kie, "Fly Bi"
46/ J.O.Y, “Sunplus (DFA Remix)”
47/ Common, "The Light"
48/ Nelly Furtado, "Say It Right"
49/ Pitman, “Phone Pitman/Pitman Sez”
50/ Ludacris, "Southern Hospitality"

(originally posted on Blissblog in January 2010)

if i was to do it now... I'd probably put  Discovery equal #1 with The Doldrums, and "Digital Love" equal first with "I Luv U"

And why aren't there at least two more DP singles from Discovery?

Also, I would possibly retroactively shove "TiK ToK" by Ke$ha in at #3 in singles even though I didn't fall for it or maybe even hear it until late 2010 ...

What else? I would shove Pinch "Qawwawali" in there somewhere in the mid-20s...  Black Eyed Peas, "Boom Boom Pow", ditto... seems like there should be some Lily Allen songs in there, although i didn't hear them as singles (not being in the UK) but on the album... and what about Dizzee, "Bonkers"?...  And then there's The Killers's "Mr Bright Side" (one of the few real radio rock anthems of the 2000s)  - but in truth I didn't love that until I moved to LA and heard it as radio fodder (same goes for Jet, "Are You Gonna", "Litzomania", Miike Snow "Animal")

As for the 2010s, singles-wise so far it's something like 1/ "We R Who We R" 2/ Dev "In the Dark" 3/ "Rack City" 4/  "Locked Out of Heaven"  5/ Gotye 6/ Flo Rida + Etta "Good Feeling" 7/ "Faded" 8/ Shorty put it down on me sh-shorty put it down on me 9/ never feelin mercy your chick she's so thirsty

Maybe radio is like Spotify (i don't know, never used Spotify or other streamy things) but i find listening to the radio a lot, flicking back and forth between the channels in your car -- it has an insidious poptimizing effect in so far as you start responding to music purely as units of pleasure and surprise, with less and less interest in context, intent, meaning, resonance, etc... and that this is also retroactive effect, wreaking its de-rockism-ification effect back through classic rock, abolishing any different between The Clash and Steve Miller Band, ZZ Top and The Cars.... it's all just tunes! there's pluses and minuses to this, new potentials in old music get realised by juxtapositions or by hearing them out of historical sequence.  But you become a shallower, more restless listener, easily amused and easily bored...

Monday, February 25, 2013

end of year commentary for The Wire, 2012

I’ve always been more about records, not so much about live. So perhaps it’s a sign of the times, or a sign of something,  that the music experiences that affected me most this year weren’t artifacts but performances. When the prevailing modes of distribution and consumption have the effect of at once reifying and insubstantialising music into units of decontextualized data, there’s much to recommend being forcibly reminded that actual living beings made the sounds you’re hearing.  So the moments that linger in the memory at year’s end mostly involve the presence of the performers (and, of equal analogue-flashback importance, an audience). The imposing ludicrousness of Mayhem, at By:Larm in Oslo, and of Laibach, at Incubate in Tilburg. Also at Incubate: the frangible exhilaration and frayed nerves of Maria & the Mirrors; Chris & Cosey, thick and wet and absolutely stunning; Raime’s rhythmic stealth and lustrous monochrome;  the charisma of Carla Bozulich; Buzzcocks blasting down memory lane, even with Diggle’s daft guitar heroics;  getting coerced into conga-ing to the schlager-tastic De Deurzakkers.  Ariel Pink’s peculiar hissy-fit of a show at the Fonda Theatre, LA.  Totally nowtro: Skrillex’s digi-maximalist audio-video barrage at Hard Summer;  Kode 9 slaying a Berlin club crowd and showing that post-step eclecticism needn’t be tepid and diffuse.  Totally retro:  Go  Gos at Hollywood Bowl;  Nightingales in St. Gallen (bizarrely sounding closer to Family and Groundhogs than a shambling-band nostalgia act). Some records did manage to sneak through the numb info-overload anomie and make an impression: Ariel’s Mature Themes, especially the gorgeous last three tunes, and “Steviepink Javascript” off Ku Klux Glam; Death Grips; the brave move of Woebot’s Hallo; Maria Minerva; Mark Van Hoen’s Revenant Diary, particularly the astonishing “Holy Me”; the Sun Araw/Congos communion; Hyperdub women Cooly G and Laurel Halo.


albums (new)

Ariel Pink, Mature Themes (4AD)
Mark Van Hoen, The Revenant Diary (Editions Mego)
Death Grips, The Money Store (Epic)
Woebot, Hallo (Hollow Earth)
Traxman, Da Mind of Traxman (Planet Mu)
Maria Minerva, Will Happiness Find Me (Not Not Fun)
Cooly G, Playin Me (Hyperdub)
Ariel Pink, R. Stevie Moore, Ku Klux Glam (Stroll On)
The Congos/Sun Araw/M. Geddes Gengras, Icon Give Thank, Rvng Intl.
Laurel Halo, Quarantine (Hyperdub)

albums (archival)

David Cain, The Seasons (Trunk)
A.R. Kane, The Complete Singles Collection (One Little Indian)
Laurie Spiegel, The Expanded Universe (Unseen Worlds)
Disco Inferno, The Five EPs (One Little Indian)
Daphne Oram, The Oram Tapes Vol. 1 (Young Americans)
F.C. Judd, Electronics Without Tears (Public Information)
Various, Personal Soul (Numero Group)
some of my favorite 2012 things for The Thoughtfox, Faber & Faber blog

Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti - Mature Themes (4AD)
Ariel Pink, R. Stevie Moore – Ku Klux Glam (Stroll On Records)
Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, live at the Fonda Theatre, Los Angeles, October 5th 2012

I didn’t get on with Mature Themes at first, I must admit.  Found it goofy and throwaway and a bit fussed-over-sounding. The herky-jerky whimsy of opener “Kinski Assassin” had me flashing on bubblegum psych like Strawberry Alarm Clock and New Wave novelties by Split Enz and Cardiacs.... minor league stuff, you dig.  I did seriously wonder if Ariel Pink’s reign as my favourite musician of the last eight years had finally fizzled out. But Mature Themes snuck up on me, and now I love not only “Kinski Assassin” but even  more slight and silly ditties like “Schnitzel Boogie” (inspired by a favorite fast food joint) and “Pink Slime” (an ode to that meat-derived colloid used to bulk up burgers).  

Masked by the archness and frivolity of some of the material is the fact that this album is Ariel at his most open-hearted and forlorn.  Several of these songs—including the exquisitely melodic title track and “Farewell American Primitive,” which at one point was also going to be title track until “Mature Themes” displaced it—seem to address his break-up with long-time partner and pop performance artiste Geneva Jacuzzi, albeit with varying degrees of obliqueness and directness.

So, I suspect, does the gorgeous “Baby”, a romantic-erotic reverie (“holding hands and making love”) whose elegaic afterglow vibe suggests that the beloved is attainable only in memory.  That song’s slow Seventies soul mode and raspy vocal is a departure for Ariel. It shows how he uses other styles and other voices to express his own feelings. Pop as ventriloquism or costume-play, maybe. It verges close to the parody zone:  comedy-with-music-elements shows such as Mighty Boosh or Flight of the Conchords, whose mock-loverman “Business Time” isn’t so far from “Baby”. 

But that’s been part of pop from the start: the way that comedy and seriousness, authentic feeling and caricature, can coexist and commingle in a performance or recording without cancelling each other out.  Ariel revels in the stylization of emotion, but he’s venting real stuff, at least some of the time.  Not so much on Ku Klux Glam, though, his collaboration with hero and DIY role model R. Stevie Moore.  “Steviepink Javascript” (actually recorded back in 2001) is hilarious: a seemingly improvised-in-the-studio comedy-duet,  in the tradition perhaps of that Dexy’s album nobody bought, or Jah Wobble and John Lydon goofing off on PiL’s first album, or even  Peter Cook and Dudley Moore’s Derek & Clive. The two cult heroes stroke each other’s ego and make with the daft FX-processed  voices. But the music is actually amazing, a glistening glide of psychedelic  disco defaced with gouts and gashes of noise.

Joking aside, it’s a fine example of Pink’s experimental side, which also crops up on Mature Themes with the slinky ghost-funk of “Live It Up” and the swirling ambient  kaleidoscape of “Nostradamus & Me”.

Seeing Pink and his Haunted Graffiti bandmates at the Fonda Theater in LA was an odd experience: a gig that wasn’t very good, but that stuck in the memory much more than if it had been a straightforward, well-played rendition of the songs.  There was something off about the sound, a grating edge, exacerbated by Ariel feeding his voice through a battery of FX much of the time.  He seemed to be in a foul mood, and every so often would literally snarl at the crowd through the FX, like a cat having a hissy fit.  But perhaps this is just his technique, to put the audience on edge (the other time I saw him perform, in New York circa Before Today, he stormed off stage). There seemed to be a desire for the concert to be more than just another show by a middling-level indiepop band, watched with impassive pleasure by its dedicated but compact audience.  Towards the end Ariel muttered darkly that the gig we were witnessing  was “Winterland, 1978.... Kezar Pavilion, 1981.” In other words, the last ever gig by a legendary band that immediately afterwards split up (in those cases, the Sex Pistols and Throbbing Gristle). (Both of whom actually reformed much later, but that’s by the by).  What struck me again was the  ventriloquistic or play-acted aspect: someone trying to express himself, his authentic, innermost desires or frustrations, through this second-hand language, in this instance all those  read-about and handed-down Myths from rock history.

 A fascinating, conflicted figure. “Step inside my timewarp” he sings, on one Mature Themes song, and I’ll be doing that for a good while to come, I hope.