Archive for the 'Music' Category

Crazy Like a Fleet Fox

I’ve come up with a theory about Fleet Foxes. I actually think I may be on to something here.

Here’s what I’m thinking: Fleet Foxes are obsessed with the idea of being on the bleeding edge of the fashion world. In order to accomplish this, they spend a king’s ransom on an avant-garde stylist who oh-so carefully, assiduously, impeccably cuts their hair to make it look like they do it themselves, when they’re stoned.

Because all of their money goes to their utterly über-stylish stylist, they can’t afford to buy any music, so all they ever listen to are the CSN albums they found in their grandmother’s attic.

Oh, stop calling me a dick. I’m just kidding.

I actually think their harmonies are very pretty. Hippy-dippy and boring, but pretty.

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Napolitano: From CB to DHS

Janet Napolitano and Johnette Napolitano

And you thought Al Franken had an unusual career path. He went from comic to comedy writer, satirist, left-wing radio personality, and perhaps to the Senate.

But Napolitano has now gone from “alternative” radio sweetheart (rumor has it Michael Stipe himself came up with the name “Concrete Blonde”. I wonder if he thought up the spelling of her name, too.) to Governor of Arizona, and now she’s on the verge of becoming Secretary of Homeland Security. And it looks like she’s keeping busy, too. Her MySpace blog indicates that she’ll be working with John Trudell on his next album starting after Christmas. I hope she can squeeze it in before she has to go to DC for her confirmation hearings.

Congratulations, Janet/Johnette!

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Giddy Up

You know how sometimes you get a song stuck in your head, and it just won’t go away? Sure, that happens to everyone. What about situations — something happens, or you notice something about your surroundings, and there’s that damned song. I knew someone long ago who’d find a rock song, usually by the Stones, that she’d find relevant to almost any situation: if your shoelace was untied, Iris would somehow connect it in her head to Waiting on a Friend or Miss You, and she’d break into song with a voice that sounded like she’d never inhaled anything but cigarette smoke since birth — kind of cool considering she was 15 and didn’t smoke.

I find myself in a similar situation whenever I hear Joe Biden’s name. I don’t know for sure yet whether he’s going to be Obama’s running mate, but it’s looking more and more likely, and that means that at least until November, I’m going to be hearing his name a lot, and if Obama becomes president, I’ve got four or even eight years of hearing that name pretty damned often.

What song is it I hear whenever someone says “Joe Biden”? It’s Elvira, by the Oak Ridge Boys. Iris was lucky. She loved the Stones. Me, I can’t stand the Oak Ridge Boys, and I hate that song in particular. But that doesn’t mean I’m throwing my support to Johnny “Lotsa Houses” McCain. I’ll just have to deal with it. It’s my sacrifice for the future of this great land.

I guess I should consider myself lucky it’s not Thank God For Kids.

Joe Biden and the Oak Ridge Boys

Eyes that look like heaven, lips like sherry wine
That girl can sure enough make my little light shine
I get a funny feelin’ up and down my spine
‘Cause I know that my Joe Biden’s mine

So I’m singin’
Joe Biden, Joe Biden
My heart’s on fire Joe Biden
Giddy Up Oom Poppa Omm Poppa Mow Mow
Giddy Up Oom Poppa Omm Poppa Mow Mow
Heigh-ho Silver, away

Tonight I’m gonna meet her at the Hungry House Cafe
And I’m gonna give her all the love I can
She’s gonna jump and holler ’cause I saved up my last two dollars
We’re gonna search and find that preacher man

Now I’m a singin’
Joe Biden, Joe Biden
My heart’s on fire Joe Biden
Giddy Up Oom Poppa Omm Poppa Mow Mow
Giddy Up Oom Poppa Omm Poppa Mow Mow
Heigh-ho Silver, away

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Viva Commerce! (#17)

QANTAS logoDear Qantas,

I know you’re proud. You’re proud for good reason. You represent a unique part of the world, you’ve got that funky acronym for a name, and even Raymond knows about your pristine safety record.

Charlie: Ray, all airlines have crashed at one time or another, that doesn’t mean that they are not safe.

Raymond: QANTAS. QANTAS never crashed.

Charlie: QANTAS?

Raymond: Never crashed.

Charlie: Oh that’s gonna do me a lot of good because QANTAS doesn’t fly to Los Angeles out of Cincinnati, you have to get to Melbourne! Melbourne, Australia in order to get the plane that flies to Los Angeles!

But I’ve seen your current advert on the eye of hell, and I just wanted to let you know that if you’re going to use an elevator version of “I Come From a Land Down Under” by the thankfully not immortal Men at Work as your jingle, some people are going to be compelled to try to mess up that record of yours.

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The Pride of a Nation

From deep in the lair of the crab of ineffable wisdom, home of those Rather Good / 7 Seconds of Love folk, comes this rousing ode to brave Prince Harry.

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I Sure As Hell Hope We Can

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My old bud Blue Gal, for some unknown reason, posted this video on her blog today:

In the summer of 1979, I had a job at “Pizza Pub #1,” right by the train station in Roslyn, NY. We had one very very regular customer who’d come in every day without fail. He’d order two slices and a coke, and put two songs — the same two songs every time — on the jukebox: I Will Survive and Roundabout.

After all those plays almost 30 years ago, plus all the times my older sister played the song (she used to go see Yes in the round at Madison Square Garden every year), plus having it slowed down for me here… I STILL CAN’T UNDERSTAND THE DAMNED LYRICS!

Call it morning driving supersonic in and out the bonnet?

Mamas come out of the sky and stand there?

Tent your summers we’ll be there and laughing too?


One other thing: if you watch the video, take note of how bored Rick Wakeman looks. He’s got one word going through his head, over and over: faster!

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It’s Just Not Cute Anymore

Paul McCartneyDo you remember ?

I do, but just barely. I think I was about six years old when the band broke up, and I’d only known about them for a year or two at that point. At the time, I was a fan. My older sister had a couple of their records — I know that was one of them.

I may have lost my taste for their music by the time I was 11 or 12, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t accept the fact that they hold an important place in the history of popular music. My seventh-grade music teacher certainly never failed to point out something they (or their producer) did that no one else had ever done. And everyone knew not just the band, but the individual members:

These aspects of their individual personalities can be seen in their lives and careers in the years after the band broke up. Lennon married a conceptual artist and became deeply involved in the peace movement. Harrison’s interest in Eastern religion can be heard on albums like All Things Must Pass, Living in the Material World and of course The Concert for Bangladesh. Ringo continued to be Ringo, I suppose.

McCartney remained cute. He formed the band Wings, and included his wife Linda in the group, not because she could sing or play an instrument (she couldn’t — great photographer, though). He just liked having her around. That’s cute. Wings did release Band on the Run, which many people viewed as a pretty well-done record, but for the most part during the 70s and into the 80s he put out some cute stuff, like “Silly Love Songs,” “Let ‘em in,” “Cook of the House” and “Coming Up.” He did the theme song to a James Bond film, featuring the memorable line “But in this ever-changing world in which we live in”. That’s either stupid or cute, and given the source, I guess it was generally deemed cute. He made that god-awful film with Tracey Ullman, and she put him into a video she made, in which he mugged it up as the cute one.

Well, now it’s 2007. McCartney turned 65 earlier this week. And what are we seeing on the eye of hell these days? McCartney hawking his new single in an advert for iTunes.

Everybody gonna dance tonight
Everybody gonna feel alright
Everybody gonna dance around tonight

Everybody gonna jump and shout
Everybody’s gonna sing it out
Everybody gonna dance around tonight

If he was ten years old and he performed that for his dada and mum, that would be cute. He isn’t ten years old. He’s 65. This is just sad. Does he really want to be remembered as the composer of “Hey Jude,” “Yesterday” and this?

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True (Courtney) Love

MLB 2K7 video gameRemember when Paul McCartney sold a piece (or maybe all) of his song catalogue to Michael Jackson and Beatles songs started showing up in commercials on the eye of hell? I’m not a fan, but I thought it was kind of sad. Of course now, you’ve got Dennis Hopper shilling for Ameriprise to the hippy sellouts with their hippy sellout music in the background. This is to be expected from that generation. They were born to sell out.

Apparently, I’m now old enough that the music of my youth is starting to show up in commercials. For example, this spot for the video game :

Kurt CobainWhat’s that song playing in the background? Why, it’s “Breed” by Nirvana. Courtney Love has taken on Larry Mestel as a “strategic partner,” which basically means she sold a percentage of the rights to the Nirvana catalogue for about $50 million. As she put it,

We’re going to remain very tasteful, and we’re going to [retain] the spirit of Nirvana and take Nirvana places it’s never been before.

Right, Courtney. Do you really think Kurt had a collection of men scratching themselves and spitting in mind when he wrote

I don’t care
I don’t care
I don’t care
I don’t care
I don’t care
Care if it’s old.
I don’t mind
I don’t mind
I don’t mind
I don’t mind
Mind. I don’t have a mind.
Get away
Get away
Get away
Get away
Way, way from your home.
I’m afraid
I’m afraid
I’m afraid
I’m afraid
Afraid, of ghosts!

If you have…
Even if you need…
I don’t mean to stare.
We don’t have to breed.
We can plant a house,
Or We can build a tree
I don’t even care.
“We could have all three,”
She Said…

I don’t pay a lot of attention to baseball, but does it really involve quite that much angst?

Naughty, naughty, Courtney.

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Memories of Frank

Frank ZappaAs we’re currently in the midst of the festival of , I thought I’d slap together a few of my personal memories of Frank.

When I was in high school, I mostly just listened to electronic stuff like , , and , and pseudojazz, aka “fusion,” such as , , and that wizard of the electric jazz violin, . Kinda sad, I know, but at least it meant I didn’t have to go along when my friends would go on their annual pilgrimage to Nassau Coliseum to see (ulp) Styx.

However, there were a few exceptions to the no-rock rule for me: Pink Floyd, David Bowie, and yes,

I had to be careful who I told about that, though. For the most part, if you told people in my high school that you liked Frank, you could expect them to start quoting some of Moon’s lines from Valley Girl — their favorite track from the only Zappa album they’d ever listened to, Sheik Yerbouti. Gag me with a spoon.

Frank Zappa MonumentEvery year I’d see a few kids with t-shirts indicating that they’d been to Zappa’s annual Halloweenie concert at the Palladium in New York (die heißeste stadt), but I’d heard scary stories about that place (before it turned into a giant disco) and I never went, stupid kid that I was.

I did finally get to see Zappa live my freshman year of college, which would have been in 1981 or 1982, at the hockey arena on the campus of Boston University. It was a pretty damn cool show, but I have to admit that the most memorable part of the evening came at the end. After a few encores, the lights came up and for some reason everyone ran out of the arena as if someone had just thrown a grenade into the room. The exit my friend and I took wasn’t exactly an exit. Once we were outside, we found ourselves stuck behind a rather high chain link fence, and we and about twenty other fans had to climb over the damn thing. Chaos can be fun, kids.

Check out the videos below. It’s Zappa on the old Steve Allen show in 1963, demonstrating ways to create music with a bicycle. In between dumb jokes, Allen actually attempts to relate this to free jazz and other experimental forms.

Part 1

Part 2

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