There are two more pieces by me in the Village Voice this week, if you're interested in reading:
New York Radio: Left of the Dial, about the need for independent radio and my favorite New York independent stations.
Landmarks of the Bronx and Harlem: Northern Exposure, in which I list some of my favorite places to go in Harlem and the Bronx -- two of the most awesome and underrated areas of NYC. (A few sentences were cut in the editing process. Just so you know: The Point in the South Bronx also offers breakdancing lessons, taught by members of the Rock Steady Crew.)
12.30.03 @ 03:10 PM EST [link]
Hope you all had a good non-denominational holiday. I've been so busy with other things that I can't really focus here (or on the holidays, for that matter -- I worked through Christmas Day, even). Granted I wasted several hours today teaching myself to play Scritti's 'The Sweetest Girl' on keys and guitar but...ha. Thanks so much for reading The Original Soundtrack this year, shout-outs to alla cru, especially those who've written to me or mentioned this site, and have a great 2004. I'm halfway done with my epic 2003 wrap-up. I can't say much about it just now, except: expect a greater emphasis on those of the female persuasion.
12.28.03 @ 05:14 PM EST [link]
round-up postponed; updates
I'm postponing my mammoth end-of-year roundup for another week, cuz I'm still hearing great new 2003 albums and singles every day. (Latest contenders for inclusion in my top 10: Vybz Kartel and Diamanda Galas. Now if only they'd collaborate...)
If you're interested, my first review for The Wire is out in the new issue. The Original Soundtrack: singlehandedly raising the number of female writers in The Wire by 25%!
While at the newsstand this afternoon I noticed that the new Jockey Slut (a mag I must admit I never read) has Dizzee on the cover. He looks positively Yoda-like with his head peeking out of his giant hoodie. Wisdom beyond his years. Look at those lines under his sad-puppy eyes! He looks like he he could use a good night's sleep, a bowl of soup, and a mother.
Noticed at Kim's on St Marks Place today: the #1 top seller is the new Amon Düül II DVD! This is all due to me calling them 'cüül' in the Voice, clearly. (coughs) Let the hipster mind control begin!
12.23.03 @ 03:09 PM EST [link]
collapsing new buildings
I went up for the weekend to see some some old friends in their old, crumbling house in Massachusetts. The house was so drafty that I could feel the wind coming through the closed windows at night, and so unevenly heated that I slept with a jacket and scarf still on, teeth chattering. We stayed up late and sat around the poker table drinking cheap beer (30 cans for $12.99), listening to classic rock, and watching 'Sifl and Olly' reruns on a little television set. I put the upcoming Neubauten album (which I have to review) in for a spin on Sunday afternoon, and was struck by how well it suited the character of the house -- the faded, threadbare oriental carpet, peeling paint and non-working doorknobs, creaking staircase, chilly indoor air, dark wooden fixtures, picture windows overlooking grey skies and bare trees. The album sounds instantly familiar somehow; it's the sound of a band growing old, hair greying, voices cracking. The thinner, harsher sounds of yore mellowing into a new richness, machines revealing their vulnerability. 'die nicht mehr ganz entlegenen Sterne / des Nachts ist die Mitte der Ort in dem ich schlafe' (the stars are no longer out of the way, at night the center is the place I sleep.') I like it.
12.22.03 @ 02:59 AM EST [link]
year-end round-up coming soon!
Big year-end round-up in the works. It'll be up Monday or Tuesday. I'll be working pretty steadily over the next few weeks: PhD applications, postpunk project pandemonium, and -- cool! -- more paid writing work. I'll most likely be updating this throughout the holidays. Christmas was never really a big deal in my family; I guess the closest Indian equivalent in terms of massiveness is Diwali (the holiday not the riddim!)
In the meantime, go check out da boss Simon's faves...not shocked by the Dizzee #1 but there are a few curve balls thrown in there. I'm surprised, in particular, by the strong finish for Animal Collective! Also check out Matt's as-always-awesome lists here. Stelfox posted his year-end list a few days ago and it's one of the most intriguing/spot-on ones I've seen yet. Looking forward to Jess' year-end too. Mark has been joining in on the year-end madness with some great essays. Marcello has posted a lengthy, interesting year-end as well. Sasha with his ever-evolving 2003 list. The Wire posted their top 50 but what no list for Critical Beats?! My favorite section of the mag these days (big ups to Sherburne.)
12.20.03 @ 02:03 PM EST [link]
This is where I start trying to catch up on my Freaky Trigger duties, with posts for NYLPM and Proven by Science. More soon!
12.17.03 @ 07:25 AM EST [link]
a question of degree
I was really psyched to realize today that this blog is one of the top Google hits for 'playa hatin' degree'!
Ow my head.
12.16.03 @ 10:16 PM EST [link]
madonna opens for a certain ratio! (the year was 1982)
from this excellent collection of vintage Danceteria posters.
12.15.03 @ 03:16 AM EST [link]
from brussels with love
I've become really fascinated, what with it being the holiday season and all, with the Christmas-themed album released on Crepuscule in December 1981 called 'Ghosts of Christmas Past (Chantons Noel)'. The LP came with a sheet of 6 Christmas cards and this was the original tracklisting:
Aztec Camera - Hot Club Of Christ
The Names - Tokyo Twilight
Paul Haig - Christiania
Swinging Buildings - Praying For A Cheaper Christmas
Soft Verdict - For Christmas Only
White Birds - Possessed By The Stars
The Durutti Column - One Christmas For Your Thoughts
Cabaret Voltaire - Invocation
Tuxedomoon - Weihnachts Rap
Simon Topping - Peep Show International
Thick Pigeon - Silhouettes
Michael Nyman - Cream Or Christians
Magazzini Criminali - Honolulu 25 Dicembre 1990
12.14.03 @ 09:38 PM EST [link]
Just how great is "Yeah" (Stupid Version) by LCD Soundsystem? It starts out pure disco, even quoting (ripping!) the bassline to the Trammps' 'Disco Inferno', but then it subtly and insidiously morphs and mutates, step by dizzying step, into this total stomping futuristic monster...until you have no idea where the hell you are but you're so so so glad you're there. By the end, it's a completely different track, you've been flung into some silver-space-suited interplanetary paradise, the sun is out, the snow-torn sky over Manhattan is blue (BLUE!!), and life's just better all around. All this and more, in just 9 minutes and 21 seconds. I've listened to it four times already today.
(with thanks to fluxblog)
12.08.03 @ 11:14 AM EST [link]
My first Village Voice review -- on Animal Collective's Spirit They're Gone, Spirit They've Vanished/Danse Manatee -- just came out. A few longer pieces are in the pipeline, and I'll link to those, too, when they go up!
12.06.03 @ 03:04 PM EST [link]
Sullen expressions, calculus equations, those gloves! I'm in love!
(I really dig the album, too)
12.06.03 @ 11:39 AM EST [link]
Finally tuned into that Pluramon album that everyone's been all agog about and iTunes filed it as 'Easy Listening'! Ha ha!
Addendum: I don't like this very much I'm afraid! That soft, breathy female voice really grates on me. And gazing out the window at the massive snowstorm doesn't make me want to listen to fragile, ethereal dreampop -- it makes me want to listen to Borbetomagus at high volume. Fuck this weather, man.
12.05.03 @ 10:47 AM EST [link]
tapping feet to formless sound
The world doesn't need more Fall albums, and neither does my record collection (they're probably my favorite band of all time, and I'm such a sap for reissues), but 'Live at the Witch Trials' and 'Dragnet' are being reissued from the original master tapes with extra tracks and I'm pretty psyched, even though I already own both albums (like I said, I'm a sap.) Some of the stuff being pulled out of the vaults I could do without (FIVE different takes of 'Rowche Rumble'?!) but I'm so so psyched to see the inclusion of 'Dresden Dolls' -- the only song Una Baines, The Fall's original keyboardist, wrote and recorded with them before her year-long descent into madness. It's one of their most mysterious and haunting songs, before The Fall became the Mark E Smith Show, infused with a strange woman-ness more wonderful and frightening than the eras of Kay or Brix...
Dresden Dolls are back in style
With a clockwork walk and a backward smile
Dresden Dolls don't hear a sound
They're programmed to jump up and down,
Up and down, (round, round)
Tapping feet to formless sound...
(Una Baines, 1977)
12.05.03 @ 03:06 AM EST [link]
thanks to steve m. for pointing it out!
12.04.03 @ 08:59 PM EST [link]
Definitely go check this out if you're in San Francisco! Sad I can't make this!
"FROM THE '80s...
A Night of Industrial Music
Featuring the reunited band FACTRIX
where: The LAB, 2948 16th St., San Francisco
when: Friday December 5th 8:30-11pm
$7-$15 Sliding Scale
RE/Search presents a night of industrial music featuring industrial pioneers FACTRIX in a rare public reunion concert with very special guests Monique Marquisa De Magdalena, Sixxteens, and others TBA. San Francisco's RE/Search Publications played a major role in the dissemination of "Industrial" music before the genre was known, and FACTRIX was featured in RE/Search #1....this is part of The PRANKS! FESTIVAL to benefit RE/Search Publications and The LAB.)"
12.04.03 @ 09:44 AM EST [link]
the animated house musical.
12.03.03 @ 10:01 PM EST [link]
I already couldn't wait to get my mitts on the Can DVD, the new collection of various Can shorts, the previously released Can documentary, the 1972 Can Free Concert, etc -- my fetish for precision-German-engineered music aside, I really do love them. But David Keenan's rather mixed review of the Can DVD in the Wire inadvertently makes it sound like the greatest thing ever!
Out of the whole set, the Can Documentary is the most revealing, if simultaneously the most frustrating. The editing is intrusive and tacky, with stills spinning across the screen, slow-motion skits and irritating loops that situate its visual aesthetic somewhere between a 70s edition of Top of the Pops and a low-budget episode of Chris Morris's Brass Eye...
Ooh but the cheesiness makes it!
...But here's guitarist Michael Karoli with his shirt unbuttoned to the waist, looking like David Cassidy with a habit, or, best of all, the group live on The Old Grey Whistle Test, with Schmidt impossibly camp in a chainmail waistcoat taking fey, comedic karate chops at his keyboard. It's hilarious and distressing at the same time, as Can's once-mysterious veneer erodes before your eyes and you're left watching aghast as Schmidt minces and mimes "I Want More" live on Top of the Pops while decked out in a glittery Silver Surfer baseball jacket...
GREATEST DVD EVER. Keenan goes on to say that Can "...at their best worked an inviolable slipstream parallel to whatever was going on contemporarily..." Sure, but part of what made Can cool was that they were so uncool. Music so unearthly that it made sense that they were uber-nerdly. Silly moustaches, iffy fashion sense and an almost-glamminess done up Deutsche-stylee -- that all made them even more awesome, made them nearly human before they shuttled back off into space.
12.03.03 @ 01:52 AM EST [link]