Archive for SET LIST

Lo Moda – Electric World

After Omar passed away, I was looking for another reason to keep my Baltimore obsession going. Enter Lo Moda. Helmed by Peter Quinn (who also does the extremely awesome Creative Capitalism), Lo Moda plays music that – and forgive me because I know this is Grade-E-music-writer-speak, but it’s true in this case – defies easy categorization. Take this track, for example: the tribal-esque drums (don’t let that description discourage you…I mean it in a good way) and the sinister, impish strings make this track cinematic in scope, far from a traditional indie rock song, and impossibly catchy. I don’t know for sure what the song is about, but I found it especially poigniant this morning as I was listening to it on my iPod, and I took my cell phone out of my pocket, which caused my digital camera to fall out, and I was then standing on the corner holding three gizmo gadgets. Hmm. Also, Gospel Store Front? Great album title. Cop it.

Audio — Lo Moda – Electric World

Post by Eli Russell

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Do The James

If you’re thinking about going dancing in the next few days, you may want to take some tips from the master.

Bonus Beats: Super Lover Cee & Cassanova Rud – Do The James

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The Caprells – Walk On By

This might be my favorite version of this often-covered classic that I’ve heard. The singers falsetto kills and his spacing of the lyrics is amazing, holding the words for just a little bit too long in certain spots. The echoey repeater background vocals, meandering drums and the dreamy guitar tone make the whole song sound so loose that it might fall apart at any second. What this version lacks, say, from the gloss of Dionne’s version or the massiveness of Isaac’s, it makes up for in sheer rawness. For your weekend wintertime blues.

Audio – The Caprells – Walk On By

– Post by Ben Fasman

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The Junkyard Band – The Word

Explaining what go-go is in a short blog post is difficult. The easy route will help with the basics. You could try to dime why a regional music with so much appeal on paper holds such little weight outside DC. Historical texts are fairly easy to come across: The evolution has been mapped out (quite brilliantly here by Jeff Chang). But the fact that it’s still thriving in our nation’s capital without ever having huge breakout successes with a few exceptions (Slim Charles, I see you) is the head-scratcher to most folks. For a brief second or two, it looked like things were happening. Cats had Chris Blackwell money behind them.

Our selection today has a production credit from the Slaytanic Messiah himself, Rick Rubin. But perhaps its viability outside our beloved District is a non-issue. It’s thrived this long without serious play from concepts like “retail buy-ins” and “national radio partners,” so maybe brain-teasing on the widespread appeal isn’t the issue. Maybe it’s just incredible that a regional music has stayed distinct and virtually intact in its original form. Anyway, this is the first of a series of posts about go-go. This is a more well-known joint, but incredibly dope nonetheless. The Junkyard Band’s 1986 single The Word usually gets overshadowed by the epically funky Sardines, but the low-end thump on this track keeps hindparts in constant rotation every time I hear it played out.

Audio – The Junkyard Band – The Word

Post by Ben Fasman

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Europe – Farewell

This is my first submission for what I hope are many more metal-related contributions to this blog. I’m sure many of you can relate to music obsession. Metal has always been mine. About eight years ago, I decided to go all the way back to the mid-Sixties and really trace the evolution that led me to the bands I loved when I was 12: Slayer, Megadeth, Napalm Death, even LA Guns, Kix, etc. I never had a filter for metal. I love it all, cheesy or not. Sweden has always done metal incredibly well. They took the British lineage (Lizzy, Priest, Sabbath, etc.) and added a touch of majesty, frost and a heady dose of classical influence. The new wave of British Heavy Metal became a global phenomenon, to varying degrees. Without further ado, I give you an old Europe song. To think this is the same band that would later write “The Final Countdown” … wow. But hey, many bands embraced various forms of commercial accessibility. Europe basically mirrored Def Leppard’s evolution. This track is from their first album, and it’s a gem: twin leads, ferocious drive, awesome vocals. And they were 17!

Audio – Europe – Farewell

Post by Laurent Lebec of Pelican

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Frijid Pink – Cryin’ Shame

This single was recorded for Parrot Records in 1969. Parrot Records was a division of London Records, not to be confused with the first Parrot, which was connected to Chess Records and released great blues records by Albert King, and many more. Frijid Pink was a Detroit band whose first self-titled LP (on Parrot in 1970) contained this song, as well as a fuzzy version of House of the Rising Sun, which probably brought them more attention than anything else and made them a staple of the late Sixties / early Seventies Detroit rock scene. Check the vocal / guitar back-and-forth at the end of the song. Their drummer, Richard Stevers, was a monster. I wish more rock bands still mixed their drums this loud.

— Audio – Frijid Pink – Cryin’ Shame

— Post by Eli Russell

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Idjah Hadidjah – Tonggeret

This is the title-track from a record featuring Idjah Hadidjah and Gugum Gumbira’s Jugala Orchestra. The music is mostly Sundanese in origin — it incorporates elements of Balinese Gamelan, as far as instrumentation and some techniques, but it’s much slinkier and, in general, a bit slower. This music is designed to go directly alongside a dance known as Jaipong, which was largely Gugum Gumbira’s baby, and the result of a ban on Western music in 1961 by the asshole Indonesian president, Soekarno. Ironically, despite an attempt to follow the government’s wishes regarding the preservation of traditional indigenous musics of Indonesia, this Jaipong dance — along with its Sundanese music — was deemed far too sexy for the Indonesian government when it debuted in 1974. Needless to say, by the time the Eighties rolled around, it was all the rage. It was popular specifically in Bandung, where Gumbira had his recording studio and his orchestra. Bandung, in my limited experience, is the “other” Mecca for music in Indonesia. I learned all of this information from some friends that work at a radio station while I was visiting Jakarta and Bandung. I can’t quite corroborate all of it, but it seems to match up with whatever can be found online.

The song itself makes every Western asshole with ProTools and the Auto-Tune plug-in completely irrelevant, since it was released in 1987. Idjah Hadidjah’s voice is the most original thing I’ve heard in a long time. These days, the things she can do with that voice are only possible with Ableton Live and a great deal of patience. Top it off with the classic P-Diddy style homey in the background, singing along and giving Sundanese shoutouts, and you have a classic club banger.

— Post by Joshua Eustis of Telefon Tel Aviv

Audio – Idjah Hadidjah – Tonggeret

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The Sylvers: Stay Away From Me

Is there anything better than little kids singing in bands? There’s no shortage of songs about breaking off a relationship that is doing more harm than good. What there is, however, is a shortage of those songs being sung by an 11-year-old (!). When this single dropped (and appeared on the Sylvers’ sublime Sylvers II album), it was 1973 and Foster Sylvers was, in fact, 11! Even the oldest of the Sylver siblings pictured here couldn’t buy a beer when this record came out. Later that year, Foster’s older brother Leon would go on to pen Misdemeanor for him. That song would eventually hit the Billboard charts and then get rebounded back into popular consciousness with the onset of the hip-hop era, as the track was sampled by Bambataa, Big Daddy Kane and the D.O.C., to name just a few. Similarly, this tune is quick to amp people up whenever I play this out, as it’s the sample for Ghostface Killah’s Be Easy, produced by the one and only — and very necessary — Pete Rock.

— Post by Ben Fasman

Audio – The Sylvers – Stay Away From Me

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Remembering Rich Cason (1945-2007)

Here’s an excerpt from the mid-Eighties Breakmixer series, this one by Chris “The Glove” Taylor. (See “Rainbow Sprinkles.”) It’s three tracks produced by LA electro legend Rich Cason, who passed away on March 20th, 2007. Cason can be traced to virtually every LA old school hip-hop record. (This bio tells Cason’s story.) The first track, “Radioactivity Rapp,” had been ripped up by Mac Mall, Dre and E-40 a couple years ago for “Dredio.” I wouldn’t mind a copy of “Magic Mike Theme” while we’re at it. It was released on Rappers Rapp Disco Co., a label whose name had a built-in Echoplex.

— Post by Dave Tompkins

Audio: Rich Cason – Breakmixer

Ed Note: For more on LA electro, check out Dave Tompkins’ interview with Egyptian Lover from the Hip-Hop Nuggets issue

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The Viking of 6th Avenue

Moondog remains one of the most enigmatic and unlikely presences in modern music: Blinded in an accident involving dynamite, Louis Thomas Hardin’s interest in percussion came early in life, eventually leading him to create his own instruments and to become a pioneer of modern minimalist composition. (As if blindness wasn’t enough of a hurdle, he was also homeless in New York City for quite some time.) Although Moondog recorded albums for Epic and Prestige, his music continues to defy any attempt at categorization. By deconstructing standard ideas of rhythm and repetition, shedding all notions of acceptable instrumentation, and adhering to a fashion sense that was utterly otherworldly on the streets of mid-20th century New York City, Moondog single-handedly created his own world of music, in which seemed to be the sole performer and participant (a fact that never seemed to bother him). To celebrate the release of a long overdue biography that has recently come out, here are two Moondog tracks to absorb:

Audio: Moondog – “Themes and Variations”

Audio: Moondog – “Enough About Human Rights”

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