Thursday, December 21, 2006

DJ's Best 3 Songs of the Year/Ever

There are a few ways to look at a three song long best of the year list. I realize that some people might be coming from every random corner of cyberspace to this, so I believe I have to justify why the lists, other than the fact that we have share it between the 4 of us, are so short. I've seen the black hole that is the end of the year lists, the blogosphere's first official holiday. It's the first universally accepted celebration in cyberspace in which every member hangs up little ornaments within their little corner of the net showing their howliday cheer. Well, I, on top of these three indisputable best songs of 2006 would also like to usher in the new year with a welcoming of the first life forms inhabiting cyberspace alongside of us terrestrial based bloggers. We have been accepted into a small ring of free standing spam blogs that resemble real life unicellular organisms in more that a few comparative ways.
Anyway point being...that these three songs are dope as hell, and that instead of feeding you a list of 20 albums or songs to sort through, I give you only three, in which I hope that almost any person could like at least one of. In chronological order:

Pink Mountaintops - Lord Let Us Shine

Bishop Allen - The Same Fire

Klaxons - Gravity's Rainbow

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

I Believe In Irony (40 Million Daggers)

In a post from last month, where I uploaded a bunch of covers (all the links are dead now, but feel free to comment if you want anything put back up), I said that, as the first truly postmodern generation the only way we can express ourselves, or feel any cultural satisfaction, is through remaking the past. In that post, I also said that this general cultural trend accounts for the string of remake after remake coming out of Hollywood. I’m not so sure anymore how much postmodernism has to do with it, but one things seems to be true, Hollywood has lost the pulse of the culture, (or maybe there just isn’t a steady pulse anymore to read). I mean, box office attendance is still pretty high, but does anyone even give a lasting fuck about the actual movies anymore? The entire focus now is on opening weekend, and then it’s on to the next batch of ho-hum examples of Hollywood playing it safe, and thus completely misfiring over and over again. I mean its Chirst-Mass for fuck’s sake, the biggest movie season, and the best tinsel town can give us is Danny Devito and Matthew Broderick phoning in the old Chestnut of male holiday rivalry (with a wooden surrender that makes me long for the passion of Jingle all the Way - I never thought I’d long for the cultural sincerity of 1995). I’m insulted by my lack of being insulted by this completely mediocre and utterly pointless Holiday movie season.

Movies don’t seem to have the same cultural staying power they used to, and its seems like this mad scramble to remake every possible asian horror (Pulse, The Grudge 2) or crime film (The Departed), or 70s slasher flick (Black Christmas), or slap on a prequel to every 1970s and 80s franchise (like Dominion: Prequel to The Exorcist, Batman Begins - which has a sequel in the works, which I guess will be a prequel sequel - or the ultimate; Texas Chain saw Massacre: The Beginning, which is a prequel to a remake of a franchise that already had five or six hack sequels made in the 80s), or to get the old men out of retirement and see how willing the public is to really really suspend disbelief (The new Rocky Balboa, the philosophically titled Live Free or Die Hard, wow, and the recently announced new Mad Max, which will not star Gibson because he’s two busy directing xenophobic trash, and doing coke off the blade of a knife) or to confusedly remake 70s TV shows (Get Smart, set to star Steve Carrell, which could actually be awesome, especially since Carrell gave one of the best performance of the year in Little Miss Sunshine, but will probably be as bad as the Bewitched remake with Will Ferrell and Nicole Kidman, who was also guilty of contributing to the shitty remake of the 1975s The Stepford Wives), not to mention that the powers that be chose ‘07 as the year to finally give us The Simpsons in 35mm, on which I am completely withholding any prejudgement (this is my Episode 1), and don’t forget video games (how many Resident Evil movies are there now?) and comic books (Sin City 2 set for ‘07 release) and etc, etc, all point to Hollywood looking towards every possible avenue for inspiration, except what's actually going on in the culture.

All this seems to illustrate an almost complete inspirational bankruptcy on the part of mainstream cinema. Not that Hollywood hasn’t always tried to squeeze every green cent out of any success, be it a comic book, novel, Broadway play, etc, but this wild pillaging of any possible adaptable text, keeping their fingers crossed for the next moment of accidental relevence, points to a complete lack of ideas or connection with/understanding in any true sense of what 2006 really was (which I have absolutely no idea about as well. Is it just me, or did pop culture seem to make more coherent sense 10-15 years ago?). But at the same time, maybe this higher prevelence of remakes reflects and speaks to what this moment was actually all about, passive distance and superficial reinterpretation. Maybe remakes, and appropriations (and the primary appropriation of Asian and 70s American cinema, for some reason) of external texts are actally the only way to relate to 2006. Maybe.

I think it’s really interesting that the core era of this cinematic appropriation is the late American 60s and 70s (all the horror flicks, tv shows, formerly dead franchises dug up and forced to rot in public), and primarily the cutting edge B-movies and grimy alternative cinema that came out of an eerily similar cultural moment (Hollywood stagnation, and complete loss of touch with sociopolitical climate brought on by the after birth of Vietnam; the clash of escapism with an unpopular war). This focus on the bad boys of the seventies takes on new meaning in the context of Scorsese's new movie being a remake of Hong Kong's Infernal Affairs (especially since this mediocre, for Scorsese, remake is making best of lists accross the country).

Despite the rather uninspired product of current Hollywood, which seems to meet with general unenthusiam at the box office (but perhaps that's the new nature of viewship, or just my biased viewpoint), a diverse and even truly unique palette of independent cinema found wide distribution this year (interesting, if somewhat misguided, attempts at sincerity and cinematic relevance and innovation like The King, Short Bus, The Fountain, A Scanner Darkly, The Science of Sleep, Marie Antoinette, Babel, and Little Miss Sunshine-one of the years best films, and others). Also, there are more film fests in American now than ever before, awarding larger and larger sums of money to this new generation of film kids and DIY digital junkies demanding a say. Despite all this true vitality in American cinema, it doesn’t seem to represent the drive or modernist destructive passion that characterized the American New Wave of the 1970s. It seems that the nature and general trends of mainstream, independent, and even avant-garde cinema in this country now are all more diffused, and less impassioned. I dunno. We’ll just have to keep our eyes peeled. One thing’s for sure though, in a market driven system like Hollywood, if people stop shelling out 8 bucks (16 if you’re on a date, then another 5 for popped-corn) for asscrap like Deck The Halls and Apocalypto, then they will stop making them. I'm probably just projecting the lack of passion I felt for this year in cinema, but the last few years have felt pretty bland overall. Feel free to post a comment and rate your retrospective excitement over the movies of 2006.

The Ultimate example of all this would be the new serious live action version of Transformers (directed by Michael Bay, arguably one of the worst directors in recent history, but I’m biased because that awful Aerosmith song from Armegeddon was the slow dance at my prom), if it weren’t for this: David Cross covering, verbatim, that guy from Bank of America singing U2’s One with his own words about credit cards (opening for a Modest Mouse concert). What is this? How many layers of paradoxical sincerity and irony can one viral video hold? These are the questions of our generation. Hello 2007!
Thanks to The Hater for the video.

In Heaven - The Pixies

Here’s the Pixies covering The Lady in the Radiator Song from David Lynch’s Eraserhead. This is a Disclive recording from a show I went to in Eugene Oregon on 4/28/04 (part of the warmup tour for the exhaustive 2 year global tour that followed).

1979 - Pavement

What can you say, Pavement covering their sworn enemy, The Smashing Pumpkins. Stephen Malkmus is the master of sincere irony (ironic sincerety?), but its easy for him to pull off, being a pop musical genius and all.

Where is my Mind/Gigantic - Pavement

And the ultimate, Pavement covering the pixies, but with weird Malkmus stream-of-consciousness lyrics.

COMING SOON: The official Transmissions From Wintermute 2006 Mix tape. Check back in a day or two for installment #1.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The Amazing World of Song Poems

If you listen to these songs they sound like pretty normal 60's or 70's songs, but then, if you are the type of person who listens to lyrics, you will notice that there's something very different about them. All of a sudden you're hit with lyrics like: orgasmic explosion of love, enhances the child, why a floodgate of love circles throughout saturnate, the missing link of destiny. All you can do is stand there, with your mind spinning and your mouth hanging open. That's from The Virgin Child of the Universe a song poem by an unknown author, I will post that one too next week for a christmas post, because it's just really christmasy, why with the choir and all.

The reason these songs are called Song Poems is because the people who did the advertisements for it didn't expect their clientele to even know what the word "lyric" meant. Everybody knows what song and a poem means, you write the "poem" and we write the "song". This is a very intresting way of making music in my opinion. There's something about the clash between the words written by "regular" people, with stuff on their minds,( whether it is about the god damn hippies or about seeing a ghost and wondering if its your friend) and the polished sound of the music and voice of the professionals performing the piece. Often you do hear them struggle with making the sentances fit into the catchy tunes they wrote, this makes for a very special sound indeed. It's like trying to squeeze an angry ice cream-eating, glass eye-throwing, obese cowboy with 300 waving arms, riding on a yellow and gold striped elephant on roller skates with vampires and tentacles and fireworks coming out of it's ass, into a nice clean automobile of some sort. Not an easy task at all, but not impossible.( This is a sound that can sometimes be found in the first singer/song writer-attempts of teenagers. Not that those songs were at all catchy, they were just sweet acne-grunge, at least when it comes to my generation.)

I wonder what people would be writing about today, if song poems hadn't died out in the late 70's. I hope this genre will make a come back, because compaired to those lyrics, that come straight from the minds of people who have to tell the world about their interest for yellow things, or hamburgers, alot of music today is just a whole lot of generic bullshit about love.

So here are the songs, they are amazing. For more visit this fantastic webpage and download more song poems then you ever thought you needed.

Hamburger Baby

The tale of a man and how he met the hamburger of his dreams. ( I think, or are we talking a half woman half burger creature here, like I originally thought?)

Kay Weaver - Womans Liberation

She understands alot of things, but the one thing she doesn't understand is Womans Liberation. Anybody can get confused.

Shelley Stewart - Vampire Husband

The sexiest song ever written.

Dick Kent - Octopus Woman Please Let Me Go

So moody. So good. Enjoy.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

World Mix Tape Vol III

Welcome to the OMGIM world mix tape installment III

The first track I will be posting is from the Frida soundtrack, composed by Elliot Goldenthal. I couple weeks ago I was lucky enough to see the movie Frida. I leanrned that Frida Kahlo and her husband Diego Rivera were communists revolutionaries in Mexico. She turned out to have a very fascinating life. Frida had an affair with Leon Trotsky.

A couple of weeks ago I was also unlucky enough to be employed at a restaurant called Frida's. It's got a lot of Frida's artwork on the walls, and I was imformed by the supervisor that the owner was "an eccentric man." I figured that meant he was an eccentric art loving type. It turns out that was just code for him being a crazy sexist asshole who exploits his employees. If you don't put in your two weeks notice he doesn't give you your last paycheck, which is illegal but he can get away with it because no one is going to go to small claims court for one paycheck...yet. He also has the reputation of only hiring girls with big tits. He told one of my friends who was working for him at the time: "Go tell that girl that she's too ugly to work here." And has a bad habit of slapping female employees asses. And he expliots mexican labor. Excuse my cliche, but Frida Kahlo, the communist/feminist would be rolling in her grave.

Frida - La Llorona

The next track on our mix-tape will not be so filled with spite. Who could feel spite in the magical land of Brazilia? Not me. This will be a track from a Gilles Peterson compilation called Gilles Peterson in Brazil. He seriously plays the best music of any DJ/producer in the world right now in my opinion...which is worth more than anyone elses. This is a Milton Nascimento track covered by an all girl group named Quarteto Em Cy. It reminds me of warm.

Quarteto EM Cy - Tudo que voce podia ser

The final track is from the junky capital of the world: Vancouver. Black mountain frontman Stephen McBean, who also heads Pink Mountaintops works at a needle exchange facility in BC. Help the guy out and buy the album. This song also reminds me of warm...then fuzzy... then very very cold... then the withdrawal...then just one more hit for the road. A great man once said, "Heroin is the only substance known to man that can replace a woman." That sonofabitch was me.

Ps - Sorry Laz for encroaching on your art expertise and sorry Mazur for encroaching on your movie genious.


Monday, December 11, 2006

Here you go Mazur

Sunday, December 10, 2006

World Mix Tape Vol. 2

Ohmygodimmike has delegated the rights to contribute to others now, so here is my installment of the world mix tape.

The first track is from my favorite Japanese punk band Star Club. The only group of its kind who actually toured outside of the US in the '80s these guys started out as a poppier branch of the hardcore punk scene, readily mixing slower Post-Punk aesthetics with hardcore similar to a few other Japanese bands, drawing no distinction between the two genres like their counterparts in the west. I must say though, these guys did it the best. Eventually they degenerated (slightly) into a Sex Pistols rip-off band, but I think the later stuff is still not so bad. So here is a track off their first EP from '81 Club Take One that leans more to the post-punk side than some of their other tracks. For more info check here.

The Times - Star Club

Second is a bollywood song, pretty different from the last track. I guess I'm going for a compare and contrast thing. Still, I think theres a little bit of a similarity in the sprawing epic-ness of both these, the singing doesn't even come in until about the 3 minute mark. From the eponymous movie of the classic tale of a lower class cook's daydreams made into song, its also some of the best pop music imaginable. Being uncompromisingly disco, this track is even sometimes even called the "Dancing Queen" of bollywood.

Aap Jaise Koi - Nazia Hasan & Zoheb

Also what Bollywood track would be comlete without the music video:


Thursday, December 07, 2006

Vlad Ţepeş and I

That's right blogosphere, I have returned. From Oriland. It was a blast but I felt strangely detatched from everything. Mostly because they didn't have the internet there, because it's not " the ori-way". I escaped and now I'm back.

Meaningless Milestone

Sin Taxi - Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks

Leisurely Poison - Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks

Yesterday marked an ultimately worthless, yet still happy milestone for me. After four and a half years of film school (which will all be over in 3 weeks, transforming my life from that of a fun loving college student to that of an unemployed failure) I finally wrote a paper on David Lynch. More importantly, I finally, FINALLY, accomplished my collegiate goal of writing academically about the hot lesbian scenes in Mulholland Dr. The best part was, I was doing a feminist critique of the film (applying Laura Mulvey’s study of the “male gaze” to it) so I didn’t have to feel like a dirty asshole, and I still got to watch hot hot lesbians get it on.

Lynch's new movie (shot entirely with a consumer grade DV camera) called INLAND EMPIRE (he's insisting on the capitals) is already out in New York and L.A. and goes into limited release in the flyover states begining in January. I can't. fucking. wait. Here's more info about the movie and a super short release shedule. And HERE is David Lynch sitting next to a cow in downtown L.A.

I also found out that the professor who’s class I wrote the paper for is the 2nd cousin of the guitar player for The Jicks, Stephen Malkmus’ new (although they’re kinda old by now) band, which is one of the thoroughly coolest things I’ve heard all semester. Even better, this professor is writing me a letter of recommendation, so I will have official documented praise by the 2nd cousin of the guitar player of the new band by the frontman for Pavement who, as we all know, was the best band of all time. I now have the power to write my own ticket in life.

I was skeptical about the Jicks at first, but over the past 2 years I have been completely won over, especially with last years release of Face The Truth. Although I still run back to the safety of my Pavement records often, Malkmus with the Jicks has carved out a more accessible and melodic, yet still idiosyncratic and unique place for himself in the pop music world from which to express his personal hangups.

At the top are the B-sides off of Discretion Grove, the single off The Jicks first album. Listen to them, and share in a sense collegiate and erotic completeness with me.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Thank You Ms. Joni Mabe (Songs For Erika Doss)

In her book Elvis Culture, former CU Fine Arts professor Erika Doss quotes the following passage from Georgian artist Joni Mabe:

“Dear Elvis,
You don’t know how many times I’ve dreamt and wished that you were my lover - or father. But you died without a trace of myself ever touching your life. I could have saved you Elvis. We could have found happiness together at Graceland. I know I could have put your broken self back together. It’s as if you could have discovered that sex and religion could be brought together in your feelings for me. The hurt that you carried everyday, the passion that dried up with the years I could have restored. All of those women that sapped your spirit and gave you nothing but the simulation of passion. I know the secrets of the southern night. I worship you. My sleep is filled with longing for you. I try to make a go of daily life but all else fades before this consuming image of yourself always present in my mind. This image guides me to the places I want to be. I lay here now thinking, agonizing - in other words - masturbating over the impossibility of ever being your slave. Sometimes I feel I’ve been hypnotized that I can no longer bear existence without you. Other men in their fleshy selves could never measure up to your perfection. When making love to you in the later years, I could sense your throbbing manliness. You really touched the woman in me. I no longer know the difference between fact and fantasy. My poisoned spirit cries out for relief for just one caress to remind me that you really were a man and not a god. If God listened to my prayers you’d be lying beside me now. No matter who I’m with, it’s always you. Elvis, I have a confession to make: I’m carrying your child. The last Elvis imitator I fucked was carrying your sacred seed. Please send money. Enclosed are the photographs of myself and the earthly messenger you sent. Love-sick for you, Baby...Joni Mabe.”

This quote forms the hand-painted text at the core of Mabe’s 1983 mixed media piece Love Letter to Elvis. This funny, clever and complicated piece has many intentions, some more snide than others, but the important thing is that the basic message was written with the utmost sincerity. You can catch her traveling show, somewhere in America, sometime next year (perhaps in the south).

Before reading Doss’ book, I didn’t think much of Elvis. He passively occupied such a large part of my cultural and personal consciousness that I didn’t really feel the need to seek him out. I’ve always been peripherally aware of the tricky issues of racial mixing, privilege and full blown transgression which surround his music and image, but until reading this book I had never thought of how sexually transgressive he was as well; his gyrating hips and lusty pout a symptom of a radical new sexuality too explosive to be contained in traditional/victorian notions of performance and maleness. That his unprecendented popularity came from the invitation and confidence he gave 50s teens to challenge and reconstruct their own notions of race and gender (and their conceptions of their own bodies and image) and that, in painting his face in heavy makeup and claiming for his outfits “feminine” colors like pink and purple as his own from the very beginning (which Warhol investigates in comparisson to his macho 60s film image with Elvis I and II, pictured above), as well as the gaudy sequened jump suits he dawned durring his Vegas years (inspired, and often even made by Liberace’s designer Nudie Tailor), he paved the way for more overt gender-bending oddities like David Bowie and Brian Eno. Laz, I appologize for infringing on your turf as resident art critic, but this was all such a major revelation for me (especially since I’m such a balls-to-the-wall Bowie fan). This also marks our first official Holliday season music post. I applogize for this blow to our cynical cred.

Here’s an Elvis song and a Bowie song. They weren't picked for any particular similarities or sound, but rather as too sweet little undersung nuggets of sexual transgression and historic reinterpretation on the one hand, and as Christian/patriarchial sell-outs on the other. You can listen to them while enjoying the anniversary of the birth of our lord and savior Jesus Christ. Feel free to muse out loud over any vague similarities.

I'll Be Home For Christmas - Elvis Presley

She's Got Medals - David Bowie

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Mix-Tape Of The Year

Today is the beginning of the Ohmygodimmike world mix-tape.

Make sure to label them accordingly so when it is all said and done you can have the tracks I intended on one cd. Today this post will only include two tracks, one is a re-mix of classic Balkan Gypsy music with a modern fusion. What I love about this disk is the reincarnation of the three most well-known Balkan Gypsy bands. Electric Gypsyland 2 is a cutting edge album reinventing music from Tafaf De Haiduoks, Kocani Orkestar, and Mahala Rai Banda. This track will be a remix of Mahala Rai Banda by none other than Balkan Beat Box, one of my favorite bands playing this type of music these days. They have one member form Firewater and one member from Gogol Bordello. Not a bad combo. There self-titled album is some great music to dance to, and if I ever get a chance to see them live I plan on doing so. Gypsy's are so much fun. Anyways here is the first song of the mix-tape:

The Second track is from a 1970s Nigeria compilation. The funkiest piece of recorded music known to man. I decided not to post the obvious choice of the Great Fela Kuti. Known for his greatness in the politics of ending repression as well as his kick-ass music. I suggest checking out this DVD of his son Femi Kuti. Instead I will post a song by Koola Lobitos. This is a solid track by a band previoulsy unknown to me. It's a good second track to the compilation.

Koola Lobitos - Ololufe Mi

Note - Any music posted by me is required to be listened to at an almost unbearable volume level.