Musicophilia Daily

[Audio] – ‘No Heroes’ Bonus Tracks, Part 3 (Gary Numan, Siouxsie & The Banshees, Television Personalities)

Posted in Audio by Soundslike on June 4, 2009

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Various – ‘No Heroes’ Bonus Tracks, Part 3

Adding to the  ‘No Heroes’ compilation at Musicophilia, here’s part 3 in a series of “bonus tracks” revealing the hidden nostalgic side of the post-punk ethos. This set features Gary Numan making “On Broadway” his inimitable own; Siouxsie & The Banshees with a post-Manson Beatles cover; and Television Personalities with a slightly twee revival of their bow-wielding godfathers The Creation.  Be sure to hear the originals at the links below.

Gary Numan [Leiber, Mann, Weil, Stoller] – “On Broadway” (1979)

The original, as performed by The Drifters

Siouxsie & The Banshees [The Beatles] – “Helter Skelter” (1978)

The admittedly pretty fucking heavy original

Television Personalities [The Creation] – “Painter Man” (1982)

The original performed by The Creation

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[Audio] – ‘No Heroes’ Bonus Tracks, Part 2 (Doctor Mix & The Remix, Lounge Lizards, Neonbabies)

Posted in Audio by Soundslike on June 3, 2009

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Various – ‘No Heroes’ Bonus Tracks, Part 2

Companion to the recent ‘No Heroes’ compilation at Musicophilia, here’s part 2 in a series of “bonus tracks” dispelling the myth that all post-punk musicians were perfect Modernist cultists, eschewing all ties to the past.  Here’s Doctor Mix & The Remix providing a coldwave take on king of cover tunes “Hey Joe;” The Lounge Lizards adding a little no wave skronk to Thelonious Monk; and Neonbabies giving a DNW edge to a classic show tune.  Don’t forget to check the links to videos of the originals!

Doctor Mix & The Remix [Billy Roberts] – “Hey Joe”

The original, as performed by The Leaves

The Lounge Lizards [Thelonious Monk] – “Well You Needn’t”

A more orthodox interpretation, as a piano duet

Neonbabies [Cy Coleman] – “Big Spender”

The original performed by Peggy Lee

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[Audio] – ‘No Heroes’ Bonus Tracks, Part 1 (Agent Orange, The Cramps, Cristina)

Posted in Audio by Soundslike on June 2, 2009

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Various – ‘No Heroes’ Bonus Tracks, Part 1

Post-punkers were ardent futurists, concerned only with moving forward, striving for ex-nihilo expression, right?  Well, maybe rhetorically; but like everyone, they made art partly because they loved art they’d experienced.

Following the recent ‘No Heroes’ compilation at Musicophilia (with links to YouTube videos for the originals), here are some “bonus tracks” of more post-punk covers of classic rock/pop/r&b/jazz tunes.  In this set, we’ve got Agent Orange and The Cramps taking on surf rave ups, and Cristina adding a touch of classy schmaltz to The Beatles.

Agent Orange [Dick Dale] – “Miserlou”

The original by Dick Dale

The Cramps [The Trashmen] – “Surfin’ Bird”

The original by The Trashmen (covering/altering the Rivingtons)

Cristina [The Beatles] – “Drive My Car”

The original by The Beatles (in animated form)

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[Video] – Arthur Russell – “Terrace of Unintelligibility” [Part 2] (1985)

Posted in Video by Soundslike on April 10, 2009

Arthur Russell – “Terrace of Unintelligibility” [Part 2] (1985)

This is an excerpt from the short film that was included with the first copies of Audika Records’ reissue of ‘World of Echo,’ featuring live performances of tracks from that album (especially “Answers Me”).  The meditative fullness that Russell could achieve breaks my heart every single time, hundreds and hundreds of listens on, after so many years.  I can’t begin to fathom how he could do so much with so little, but I’ve heard nothing truly like it.  This film nicely reflects the intimacy one feels when hearing ‘World of Echo’ in the dark through headphones.  [Find previously featured incarnations of Mr. Russell at Musicophilia Daily here, and mixes which incorporate his music at Musicophilia here.]

[Video] – La Bionda – “I Wanna Be Your Lover” (1980)

Posted in Video by Soundslike on March 29, 2009

La Bionda – “I Wanna Be Your Lover” (1980)

I would never, ever have suspected this fantastic fully-animated video existed for one of my favorite Italo Disco/pop tunes.  But it does, and like the track, it’s pure joy.   Every once in a while, YouTube justifies its existence big-time.  Unfortunately, nothing on the album from which “I Wanna Be Your Lover” comes close, as I learned the hard way a while back with a dodgy Russian “import,” but some of their other stuff seems like reasonably good, if rather more standard-issue, disco fun.  (For a bonus, check below the ‘more…” link for a “live” performance by the duo of the track, in front of this video on a bluescreen, that adds another unbelievable layer. )

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[Video] – Joni Mitchell – “California” (Live, BBC, 1970)

Posted in Video by Soundslike on March 26, 2009

Joni Mitchell – “California” (Live, BBC, 1970)

Singer-songwriter is for me like prog, metal, ska-revival, punk: a whole lot of utter detritus, pierced by moments of absolute brilliance.  For me, Joni Mitchell is the absolute pinnacle–‘Blue’ was one of the first albums I ever identified as a “favorite” as a small child (my mother would sing us Joni songs and play her guitar, her hippie youth waning but still vibrant, as lullabies).  And it remains a top-10 album, a quarter-century later.  Her voice aged well, in my opinion, and at this point I find later albums more “interesting,” and beautiful in their own ways–but ‘Blue’ is a solitary achievement, and it still makes my heart ache in a wonderful way however many hundreds of listens on.  Plus, I just love that dulcimer sound.

[Video] – Billie Holiday – “Fine & Mellow” (1957)

Posted in Video by Soundslike on March 18, 2009

Billie Holiday with Lester Young, Gerry Mulligan – “Fine & Mellow” (1957)

Despite being visibly emaciated and quite possibly stoned in this very late performance (from CBS’ ambitious ‘The Sound of Jazz‘) all the musical strength and grace is there.  The one good thing that came of Ken Burns’ horribly skewed ‘Jazz’ documentary for me was seeing the context to this performance, and realising just how emotional a moment it must have been for Holiday and Young, estranged for so long, performing together one last time.  It’s all there in the music, and in her eyes.

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[Video] – Massive Attack – “Protection” (1994)

Posted in Video by Soundslike on March 12, 2009

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Massive Attack – “Protection” (1994) [By Michel Gondry]

With its James Brown-based beat and Tracey Thorn (Everything But the Girl and post-punk tweesters Marine Girls) vocals, though it’s dated slightly, this track is still a winner.  For me, though, its impact is heightened greatly by this technically unbelievable single-shot, single-take Michel Gondry video, one of the first videos I ever remember finding simply enthralling.  Typical of Gondry when given emotionally meaningful material, his faux-lo-tech wizardry transcends the technical fascination and comes to reflect its subject matter in a way more honest and accurate than any more straightforward presentation ever could.  UPDATE: Argh, embedding disabled for whatever reason, so a link instead–worth your while.

[Link] – Kutiman – ‘ThruYOU’ (2009)

Posted in Link, Video by Soundslike on March 6, 2009

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Kutiman – ‘ThruYOU’ (2009) [Video EP]

Often one hears about how it took, say, John Cage weeks to create the tape splices for “Williams Mix” in 1952, but how it would take some random kid fucking around on his iMac ten minutes to create it now with a few clicks of a mouse.  Well, I’d say this “technology today makes it all so easy” thing is at least a little half-baked: any sort of musician who ultimately prides himself more on how long his music takes to make, rather than how good it is, is no musician I trust.  But regardless of the effect–good, bad, or indifferent–on the quality of “sample-based music” of  streamlined/accessible technology, I think the same basic impulse is there and the same search for resonance is at play now as in 1952.  Technology–primitive or advanced–only takes things so far.  Still–if we concede it’s gotten any “easier” to undertake, this guy, “Israeli Afrobeat artist” Kutiman, seems to have decided to make it just about as difficult and time-consuming as it was for those early tape-spicers.

The funny thing, though, is that instead of creating avant-garde abstraction via laborious technique, ‘ThruYOU‘ encapsulates the full-circle from experiment to pop: countless hours of disparate-sound-seeking and (digital) splicing have come together to create songs, songs that “could have been made the old-fashioned way” (at least as old-fashioned as circa 1976 or so).  Some might say, then, “why bother”.  For me, I think it’s pretty masterful: through the video medium, this guy is laying bare a lot of technical factors most people probably don’t think about, and getting them to ooh and ahh (or maybe boo and hiss) just like the crowd at the first performance of “Williams Mix,” and making a nice little joyous statement for combined creativity being greater than the sum of its parts.  But the impressive thing is, even if people didn’t know the technique–and it is impressive, it is laborious, it is some sort of “YouTube finally came to something” social/cultural moment–it really wouldn’t matter.  For the most part, these are good songs, as well as good avant-garde application of tech.  For me, that just does it–I love best where these supposedly oppositional forces meet up seamlessly.

The idea here has been done before, even as a 15-minutes-of-fame viral YouTube sensation (the one with the training videos spliced together).  But this takes it to another level.  The basics: the guy waded through surely thousands of YouTube videos by totally unrelated video makers, spent who knows how many hours cutting and editing and mixing them, and came out with lovely funk/Afrobeat/dub/hip-hop/R&B/dance fusions.  Perhaps this process of splicing and sampling eventually becoming normal elements of pop music, just another instrument, was inevitable.  Things start out a little cute, but like a good Matthew Herbert concept or an Eno/Byrne deconstruction, these tracks take on (through the seven songs in the playlist) increasing emotional resonance, transcending their theory-exercise origin.  And thanks to a few lovely borrowed melodies and catchy beats and hooks, they honestly have some pop potential.  I just love synergy, those serendipitous moments when sounds just fit, so I imagine Kutiman must’ve been grinning ear to ear.

Watch and listen here.

[Video] – Dif Juz – “No Motion” (1987)

Posted in Video by Soundslike on March 3, 2009

Dif Juz – “No Motion” (1987)

Their early-80’s work is even more to my tastes (find early EPs on the readily-available ‘Soundpool’ compilation), but this is still heady stuff, out of time for the late 80’s and undeniably calling ahead to Disco Inferno and their heirs.  [Dif Juz are featured here and here in mixes at Musicophilia.]

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Welcome

Posted in Album, Audio, Link, Review, Talking, Video by Soundslike on March 3, 2009

Welcome to Musicophilia’s more impulsive little brother, Musicophilia Daily.  My ultimate goal when I started blogging was to help people hear great music, and hopefully get inspired to support the featured artists and independent music shops.  I love mixes, and I think they can have value in and of themselves; but they take a lot of time (for mixers and listeners) and energy, and have their own inherent limitations in terms of variety and spontaneity.  So to further Musicophilia’s goal, I’d like to have the flexibility to move beyond the mix-only format, to share individual tracks, links to recommended posts at other blogs, videos, reviews, out-of-print albums, previews of upcoming mixes, questions, and ideas; all sharing the spirit and sounds of Musicophilia.  However, I would like to do so without cluttering up Musicophilia–which will continue to focus on carefully crafted mixes–or forcing more content on its subscribers than they bargained for.  To that end, I’d like to present Musicophilia DailyI encourage you to subscribe in order to automatically receive new updates. Further details after “more…”.  Thanks for listening!

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