an early 2014 5-star album

Posted on April 25th, 2014 by Scraps.
Categories: Albums, Music, Musicians.

Juçara Marçal's Encarnado.

0 comments.

sixteen years ago good negro problem article

Posted on December 29th, 2013 by Scraps.
Categories: Music, Music Criticism, Musicians.

Sixteen years ago -- my god -- there was the Negro Problem's first album, Post-Minstrel Syndrome. People got tired of my championing their cause long ago. Still, I never heard lots of information contained in this article, and it contains many frank* Stew thoughts.
_________________________

* when I use "frank" it doesn't mean "offensive".

6 comments.

twelve favorite captain beefheart songs

Posted on August 15th, 2013 by Scraps.
Categories: Music, Musicians, Songs.

Fred: Out of curiosity, are these your ten favorite songs, or just your ten favorite Captain Beefheart song titles, or just ten random Beefheart song titles?
Scraps: The second one. But I could do my ten favorite Captain Beefheart songs, easy. Do you want that? Sure you do!

12. Veteran's Day Poppy
11. Woe-Is-Uh-Me-Bop
10. Brickbats
9. Pachuco Cadaver
8. Ice Rose
7. Clear Spot
6. Lick My Decals Off, Baby
5. Her Eyes Are a Blue Million Miles
4. Hot Head
3. The Floppy Boot Stomp
2. Click Clack
1. Bat Chain Puller

2 comments.

best buds

Posted on August 14th, 2013 by Scraps.
Categories: Media, Music, Musicians.

I know everybody who keeps up more than I about celebrities & such* already knows this, but: Damon Albarn and Noel Gallagher are friends? And they're apparently even working on materiel** together?

Even better, though it's mind-reading, is some people's conviction that Noel is just doing this to piss Liam off. (I know, I shouldn't. But: ha ha ha.)
____________________

* and that's fine.
** okay, material.

2 comments.

how tori amos changed a wrestler's life

Posted on September 28th, 2010 by Scraps.
Categories: Music, Musicians.

...I guess the reasonable goal, looking back all these years later, should have been just to get through the match. But back then, my goals tended to be not all that reasonable. As ridiculous as it might seem to me now, my aim that night was to have the best barbed-wire match ever.

There was only one problem: I was terrified. This is a normal human response to the very abnormal prospect of being dropped head first, neck first, and, yes, even balls first on jagged metal barbs. How exactly does a gentle, caring man (me) transform himself into a willing participant in such a barbaric spectacle? I needed to find some kind of inspiration in a hurry.

I looked out the dressing room door and saw the Japanese preliminary wrestlers taking down the ropes, beginning the process of putting the barbed wire around the ring. The wire they used was the real stuff: cold and uncaring, capable of tearing flesh in a hurry. I knew I had about 30 minutes before the wiring process was completed—a half-hour to undergo a drastic mental transformation. I took out my battered Sony Walkman and, after great deliberation, bypassed the obvious hard-rock selections. Finding solitude in a far corner of the frigid backstage area, I saw a cloud of my own breath as I pressed the play button. "Snow can wait, I forgot my mittens/ Wipe my nose, get my new boots on."

The complete story.

1 comment.

"what happened to the bangles?": old post from the well #41, 31 jul 00

Posted on April 13th, 2010 by Scraps.
Categories: Comedy, Musicians, Old Posts, Words.

Debbi converted to Zoroastrianism and distributes leaflets in Fresno bus shelters. Vicki has returned to her first love, waitressing. Michael is a lobster fisher in the Maritimes. Susanna was carried off by a twister.

0 comments.

old post (from the well) #32, 12 oct 98

Posted on March 13th, 2010 by Scraps.
Categories: Music, Musicians, Old Posts, Words.

From a No Doubt website:

"Fan site including +70 pics of Gwen, pics of EVERY band member including horns!"

0 comments.

old post (from the well) #31, 25 jul 96

Posted on March 13th, 2010 by Scraps.
Categories: Musicians, Old Posts, Words.

Look, Oingo Boingo were pretty damn good, but put down XTC and I kill you. They disconnect my atoms and rearrange them; they reprogram my synapses and polish my dendrites; they save my life every two weeks. If that's pretentious, man, lock me in grad school and shower me with footnotes.

0 comments.

bite

Posted on January 25th, 2010 by Scraps.
Categories: Music, Musicians.

Frank J Oteri: And in terms of training before you got exposed to jazz? Did you train in classical music at all?

Carla Bley: No, I didn't. I never studied anything.

Frank J Oteri: So you're completely self-taught!

Carla Bley: No, my father taught me until I was four, or five maybe, and then my mother tried and I bit her. I bit my mother at the age of five and they gave up on me. That was it. I never learned anything else.

0 comments.

kristian hoffman, "sex in heaven" (2002)

Posted on June 17th, 2009 by Scraps.
Categories: Music, Musicians, Songs.

Song Project #20

Did you know that reality tv went back to the seventies? And PBS started it. An American Family was shown in 1973, twelve episodes long, depicting an actual family, the Louds. And yes, the Loud Family got their band name from them (and no, not the Loud family on Saturday Night Live); but that's not what I'm writing about now.

Lance Loud, one of the sons, was gay, credited with being the first openly gay person in television history. Eventually he died of AIDS, in 2001. But first he led a critically-respected rock band, the Mumps, in New York City, part of the late-seventies CBGB's scene. A friend from high school, Kristian Hoffman, was the keyboardist.

Kristian Hoffman is not famous, but he should be; well, at least at the level of the new wave and no-wave bands that he played in. He played with Ann Magnuson and Lydia Lunch, and was in Klaus Nomi's band: he wrote "Total Eclipse", the most famous Nomi song. Eventually he arranged for Rufus Wainwright's band, and became a long-term keyboard player for Dave Davies's band. And he played around the Los Angeles scene in the eighties and nineties, becoming not famous, but known to musicians.

I didn't know who he was when I picked up a used cd in a pile of one-dollar cds, but the names made me curious. It was called &; in fact, it was an album of collaborations: fifteen of them, and all of them more famous than him. Rufus Wainwright, Russell Mael, Anna Waronker. Maria McKee. Ann Magnuson, Michael Quercio. Lydia Lunch! Stew! Van Dyke Parks! Paul Reubens?? Well, I bought it.

I didn't prepare myself for the barrage of hooks that came at me. From the first song to the last, one listen was enough to tell me this was a once-a-year find, one I'd play tomorrow and next day and twenty years from now; a top-five for the year. And fifteen songs in (out of 17), the song that blew me away:

Sex in Heaven

That's Ann Magnuson and Kristian Hoffman, trading off. It starts with Magnuson, hushed, piano-driven; the first hook, the verse hook, on the words "boy, earthbound", then loud drums, dum, dum, pause, dum, dum, dum, dum, dumdumcrash. Then repeat the verse. Then the chorus, the drums now there throughout, with tambourine, and guitar, Hoffman singing lead and Magnuson wordless harmony. The main hook at the end of the chorus: "where do I sign?" with the jump up an octave. Then stop, and head back into the verse, again hushed, but added vocal by Hoffman, though distant, ethereal. Then repeat verse, with two added keyboards. Then the bridge, then verse, once through this time, then the chorus, twice.

The chorus is amazing. It occurs four times, and each occurrence has a different musical lead-in to the title ("that's what is costs to buy a note so pure and high and so divine") and after the title ("the bottom line"), and that's gravy: the hook can stand by itself. And the words: it's about castrati, and the longing by the singer ("where do I sign?"), perfectly captured by the hook. That's a perfect pop song: words and music working together.

7 comments.

selling out

Posted on June 16th, 2009 by Scraps.
Categories: Music, Musicians.

On the Well, another "selling out" conversation has broken out. The Sex Pistols' "Filthy Lucre" tour has been cited as selling out; another reader has pointed out "but the Pistols were pretty much meta from the git-go."

Right; and they're a test case. They were selling out from the beginning. Yet Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols was not only a terrific album: it has lasted. The motivation was fake, but the feeling was real. Probably the single cause of it was Johnny Rotten, who delivered one of the most frightening, visceral vocal performances in history. An act, maybe; well, then, a really good act. Sometimes selling out is done with such consummate skill, it becomes art.

0 comments.

the ears

Posted on April 8th, 2009 by Scraps.
Categories: Music, Musicians.

I am learning 2007 and 2008, because, well, I got time. So I got around to Girl Talk, which I gather has generated controversy. And I certainly hear what pisses others off: it really absolutely rips off other artists, twenty times per song.

But I love it. He has The Ears.

0 comments.

the return of black francis

Posted on June 28th, 2008 by Scraps.
Categories: Music, Musicians.

I gave Frank Black a lot of rope before giving up. Not just because the Pixies were the best rock band since the prime of Talking Heads, but because his first two solo albums were great. Then the third one, The Cult of Ray, was just... bad. (And matched by an awful cover, which reminds me of the badness inside every time I see it.)

Frank Black - The Cult of Ray
fig. 1 - badness

The next album wasn't that bad. But it wasn't really good, either; it sounded tossed off. As did the next one, and the next. After five uninspired not-bad not-good albums, I stopped bothering; it seemed like he was content to be just an ordinary rock songwriter knocking off ordinary albums with no memorable songs.

Then in the wake of the Pixies nostalgia reunion, he changed his recording name back to Black Francis, heralding, I suppose, a change in intent. But I never got round to hearing his 2007 album under that name, though I'd seen a few mildly enthusiastic reviews.

A couple weeks ago I ran across a copy of the subsequent EP, Svn Fngrs, and gave it a try. The first track grabbed my attention: it was the sound and style of the first two solo albums. And the songwriting was that exciting combination of angular but propulsive, abrasive but melodic, that had always marked his best work before he'd appeared to stop trying. The whole EP held up, too. I played those seven songs a couple dozen times over the next few days. None of them are likely to make it into my all-time favorites of his, but they're all good: like seven lost tracks from the Teenager of the Year sessions. Yesterday I went back and picked up that 2007 album, Bluefinger, and it sounds like more of the same.

So my own initial mildly enthusiastic review: the feel of Black Francis -- or rather, the early Frank Black -- is indeed back. I hope he keeps this up, because while this isn't great, it's good, and it's interesting, and it reopens the possibility that he could make great music again.

2 comments.

a pleasant work environment

Posted on April 19th, 2008 by Scraps.
Categories: Music, Musicians.

Working at home on weekends is difficult. I can't combat the frequent outbreaks of bass-heavy music and piercing television from apartments on both sides of us with loud music of my own, because Velma doesn't like the music that loud and it just makes the problem worse for her; but I can't concentrate on my work. When I must get paying work done, as I must this weekend, sometimes the solution is to go in to my office. I've done so today, and the office is blessedly empty but for me, which means I can crank my own music, not bother anyone and not be bothered. And being away from the distractions of home helps me focus. The only downside is not being able to share space with Velma, a constant low-level nice thing we both like.

I knew I might need to come in to the office, so I prepared. I have twenty-two beloved Mingus albums digitized to my mp3 player, and I'm playing them all on shuffle now. This makes me very very happy.

3 comments.

r. kelly: creepier than you think

Posted on April 18th, 2008 by Scraps.
Categories: Badness, Music, Musicians.

Bill Wyman -- the music journalist, not the musician -- has been doing a lot of good work at his weblog Hitsville. The most important and disturbing piece he's written, one that ought to be more widely disseminated, is his extraordinary compilation of facts and allegations concerning R. Kelly's sexual history with minors leading up to his trial on one of the allegations.

I knew that he was in trouble for taping himself having sex with a minor. I knew that he married Aaliyah when she was fifteen. But I hadn't any notion of the documented extent of Kelly's history with teenagers. Eleven separate allegations of sex with minors have been reported. Some of the details, as Wyman notes, are "a little bit barfy". For example, a year after he'd settled out of court for $250,000 with a fifteen year old girl, the first sex tape emerged:

...showing Kelly having sex with a young girl. The girl’s aunt identified her, and Kelly. In the tape, the singer called her by her first name; she called him “Daddy.” Besides a variety of sex acts, the girl urinates on the floor at “Daddy’s” direction. “Daddy” then urinates into her mouth.

The girl was fourteen at the time. In the reporting surrounding the case, it emerged that Kelly had settled out of court with two other teenage girls.

Th details surrounding the marriage to fifteen year old Aaliyah are creepy, too:

...she was a singer and a protege of Kelly’s with whom, associates have said, he was having an affair. Without telling her what was going on, Kelly arranged an impromptu wedding at a suburban Chicago hotel and then swept her toward a plane. Fortunately, the girl called her parents. They came and got her and, articles have said, the pair never saw each other again. As rumors surfaced about the union, Kelly lied about it. But then Vibe magazine found a marriage certificate, on which Haughton’s age was listed as 18. The union was annulled a short time later.

There are several more allegations. I'll just mention one more:

Many of Kelly’s associates have been quoted saying they thought he was sick, or had an uncontrollable compulsion to have sex with young girls. Perhaps the strongest evidence of this is that, while already under indictment for filming himself having sex with a child, he was found to have in one of his houses a digital camera with new photos of him having sex with an underaged girl. ... The search that produced the camera was later disallowed by a judge, so Kelly was never prosecuted for those photos.

R. Kelly has been subject to a certain amount of mockery for what has been generally seen, so far as I can tell, as celebrity peccadilloes, maybe a little further over the line than most. I think the record Wyman has compiled makes a compelling case that Kelly is a genuine sociopath. Why he has not been held more accountable by the media and the entertainment industry, I don't understand. Read the whole thing and see if you don't agree.

0 comments.

bob dylan awarded special music pulitzer

Posted on April 8th, 2008 by Scraps.
Categories: Music, Musicians.

My dislike of Dylan and annoyance at the perpetual exaggeration of his (admitted) virtues and ignoring of his (near-constant) flaws aside, I can't argue with the award, which is obviously deserved. My main reaction is to be grateful it isn't a special poetry Pulitzer, which would have ground my teeth to stubs.

2 comments.

i'll bet it was about making a statement. yeah.

Posted on January 24th, 2008 by Scraps.
Categories: Badness, Music, Musicians, Quotes.

Quoted from Idolator:

The Spice Girls are walking away with "£50 million between them" for their sold-out 17-night stand at London's 02 Arena. "The truth of the matter is, to put on this tour has cost £18.6 million," Ginger sez. "This is not a money-making expedition...Hopefully we will break even but it has never been about that."

I'm soliciting theories on what the Spice Girls reunions shows were really about, since they were never about making money (or breaking even), as pretty much everyone on the planet who isn't a Spice Girl might naturally assume.

1 comment.

you don't say

Posted on December 17th, 2007 by Scraps.
Categories: Music, Musicians, Quotes.

As unfathomable as it seems from the distance of over 30 years, for a few months, Gerry and the Pacemakers were the Beatles' nearest competitors in Britain. --Richie Unterberger, Allmusic

For a very brief time in 1964, it seemed that the biggest challenger to the Beatles' phenomenon was the Dave Clark Five. --Rick Clark and Richie Unterberger, Allmusic

1 comment.

cafe tacuba, the repost

Posted on November 26th, 2007 by Scraps.
Categories: Music, Musicians, Songs.

(This is a combined version of the two posts I made on Cafe Tacuba at the beginning of the holiday weekend, just in case anyone who normally reads this didn't see them. I apologize to those of you seeing this twice, especially Martin.)

After last night's show at Hammerstein, I am as confirmed in my opinion as I can be: Café Tacuba (aka Café Tacvba) are the greatest rock band in the world: the most exhilarating combination of energy, invention, and breadth of style currently going. I can't imagine that the language difference is that big a barrier to their being better known in the states, but apparently it is. That and the fact that, for all their variety of form, they aren't trying to break or deconstruct any forms, which makes them of less interest to the indie press than weirder foreign-language stuff.

If you remain interested in where rock and roll is going, not just the underground stuff but the bands that play arenas, I urge you to try Café Tacuba. Robert L, you especially. Try Re first if you can, but try anything. Maybe it won't move you, but you should find out.

A few songs, chosen to represent Cafe Tacuba's entire career, and some of their breadth of style. Not all my favorites -- I like some of their styles more than others -- but all songs I love.

from Cafe Tacuba (1992)
Las Persianas
Rarotonga

three consecutive songs from Re (1994)
El Ciclon
El Borrego
Esa Noche

from Avalancha de Exitos (1996)
No Controles

from Yo Soy (1999)
Guerra

from Reves (1999)
3

from Cuatro Caminos (2003)
Eo

from SiNo (2007)
Volver a Comenzar

0 comments.

tacuba! - some evidence

Posted on November 22nd, 2007 by Scraps.
Categories: Music, Musicians, Songs.

A few songs, chosen to represent Cafe Tacuba's entire career, and some of their breadth of style. Not all my favorites -- I like some of their styles more than others -- but all songs I love.

from Cafe Tacuba (1992)
Las Persianas
Rarotonga

three consecutive songs from Re (1994)
El Ciclon
El Borrego
Esa Noche

from Avalancha de Exitos (1996)
No Controles

from Yo Soy (1999)
Guerra

from Reves (1999)
3

from Cuatro Caminos (2003)
Eo

from SiNo (2007)
Volver a Comenzar

1 comment.

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