Saturday, August 30, 2008

Who Shakes the Best

Song: Who Shakes the Best
Artist: Candyman
Album: Ain’t No Shame in My Game

The early late 80’s/early 90’s were a very exciting time for hip hop as it was gaining strength as a major force within the business despite (or because of) various content controversies that popped up (from “Cop Killer” to “Me So Horny”) and yet, comparatively… it’s was all pretty innocent, given the times.

Best known for the pop hit “Knockin’ Boots,” Candyman’s debut album “Ain’t No Shame in My Game” was released toward the end of 1990 and enjoyed some success mainly based on that single. I was actually a pretty big fan of the record at the time… it’s filled with catchy, albeit goofy, pop hip-hop tunes that really capture THAT time. I pulled the album out and listened to a few tracks recently, it really took me back. I especially was fond of “Who Shakes the Best,” a back and forth diss track that is again goofy, yet very, very endearing in its naiveté. It was never a single… just a fun lost jem of an album track, in a time when you bought a full record… not download a single.

Unfortunately for Candyman, his career sank fast. Releasing album after album of critical and commercial failures. Most recently, unfortunately, with “Knockin; Boots 2001: A Sex Odyssey” from 2001. The album included a remake of his solo smash, as well as remixes. Again, critical and commercial failure. And yet this wasn’t his first time of re-hashing old songs as his sophomore album contained, you guessed it… “Who Shakes the Best, pt. 2.” Hey-hey, you know it.

But I never got any of his other albums, so really can’t speak of them honestly. All I know is I dug his first record (he really has a nice flow) and now think upon it as a reminder of a nicer time in the record business. Not artistically per say… just nicer.


Knockin’ Boots

Yo! Tone Loc makes a cameo in the intro, I totally forgot that.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Makin’ Like a Rug

Song: Makin’ Like a Rug
Artist: Eleventh Dream Day
Album: El Moodio

Chicago based Eleventh Dream Day formed in the late 80’s, and after a couple independent releases graduated to the majors but never caught on. I was first introduced by the band back in 1993 with the release of “El Moodio,” their sixth LP. Mixing straight up rock, elements of punk and rockabilly, Eleventh Dream Day to me were quintessential rock & roll, true, raw, and just plain good.

My introduction to the band came from seeing the video for “Makin’ Like a Rug” on 120 Minutes. The domestic drama subject and back and forth vocals of leads Rick Rizzo and Janet Beveridge Bean really wailed, and I picked up the record soon after. The rest of “El Moodio” did not disappoint, with more down and dirty rock that seemed to seep with raw rock and roll energy.

Apparently “El Moodio” was their true stab at rock stardom which didn’t happen, and Atlantic Record subsequently dropped them. They returned to an indie and continued to release records. I missed the follow up, “Ursa Major” from 1994 but did get the more moody eighth record entitled um… “Eighth.” They’ve continued to release records, most recently with “Zeroes and Ones” from ’06.

I haven’t kept tabs on the band since “Eighth,” but I must admit… a recent spin of “Makin’ Like A Rug,” and other killer tracks from “El Moodio” like “That’s the Point,” “Murder,” and “Figure it Out” surely make me want to do a little more research. They’re a band that mostly fell through the cracks, making music that “they just don’t make like they used to.”


I guess they are obscure enough not to have any of their videos on YouTube… unbelievable!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Riding on the Rocket

Song: Riding on the Rocket
Artist: Shonen Knife
Album: Let’s Knife!

One of the more endearing acts that came out (at least majorly) of the “alternative” music boom of the early 90’s was Shonen Knife, three women from Japan who played punk rock music about jelly beans, bison, Barbie, ice cream, and space travel. Given that this was a time in music when it seemed any odd act could get a record deal, Shonen Knife were truly a standout. With zero pretention and charm to spare… I was a fan immediately. Though admittedly, I lasted for two records… finding the whole thing just a bit too cloying.

“Riding on the Rocket” was my introduction to the band, and can be found on their major label debut “Let’s Knife.” Check out the video below which really shows how charming and goofy they are. I must say that if you like this song you’ll like this whole record… it’s very fun, and partly comprised from tracks already released independently in Japan.

I remember Kurt Cobain being a very vocal fan of the band, and they opened for Nirvana for a leg of one of their tours. I sort of can’t imagine the more jock fans of Nirvana digging these ladies. Haha. Surprisingly, I didn’t realize that the band formed all the way back in 1982, and that they were still releasing records! (Most recently with last year’s “fun! fun! fun!”)


Riding on the Rocket

Twist Barbie (live)

Brown Mushrooms

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Longing for Lullabies

Song: Longing for Lullabies
Artist: Kleerup (w/Titiyo)
Album: Kleerup

Best known for writing and producing Robyn’s recent global mega-hit “With Every Heartbeat,” Kleerup is a Swedish musician, formally of “The Meat Boys,” whom just released his debut self titled album in May. The album is comprised of tracks he wrote and had other singers do vocals. Included on the album are tracks with Neneh Cherry, Marit Bergman, Lisa Millberg, Titiyo, and current Swedish indie-darling Lykke Li. The Robyn song is also included.

I have been really digging this record and specifically “Longing for Lullabies.” The album proves that Kleerup is indeed an electronic producer to watch, though he does seem to have a specific bag of tricks that he re-uses. This is not a bad thing, but if you know “With Every Heartbeat,” you’ll hear elements in that song in his others. (So to that end, if you liked that song, you’ll like this record.) I really dig “Until We Bleed,” the Lykke Li track, as well as “Forever,” which Neneh Cherry provides writing and vocals too. “Thank You For Nothing” is odd to hear as it’s basically an instrumental that created the basis for Cyndi Lauper’s “Lay Me Down” from her new album.

Like Sia’s “Breathe Me,” “Longing for Lullabies” is one of those songs that grabs you immediately. It’s very cinematic in that way, and I envision it being featured in a movie or TV show soon. It’s quite beautiful, and I can’t stop listening to it. Lyrically it’s a bit obtuse, but it has a bitter-sweet vibe to it, some sad emotional change with a touch of hope. (Or maybe that’s just me reading too much into it… or the beauty of obtuse lyrics, make it your own!)

I’m really digging this record, and as mentioned… if you’re a fan of the Robyn track I think you’ll really like this. It’s not exactly pop music, not exactly techno… it’s like singer-songwriter electronica.


Longing for Lullabies

With Every Heartbeat

Monday, August 25, 2008

One Month Off

Song: One Month Off
Artist: Bloc Party
Album: Intimacy

When will this become the norm? After semi-sneak attack albums from the Raconteurs, Nine Inch Nails, and Beck we have a brand new surprise album from Bloc Party. No strangers to the loss of control that happens with album leaks, Bloc Party saw their sophomore album “A Weekend in the City” leak to the internet over three months before it was set for retail. So they have wised up and taken a bit of the new Radiohead/Nine Inch Nails model and gone digital. Currently you can buy the album as a digital release for $10, or pay $20 and get the digital download immediately, and the physical CD in the mail when it comes out in October. AND, that CD will contain other songs. (which the band has said they don’t know what will yet.)

My first reaction (besides “oh nice, a new Bloc Party album!”) is to cringe a little at this “you’ll get extra songs,” “we don’t know what yet,” thing as it seems clearly to mark the increased insignificance of the album as a complete work. You can’t just throw random songs together right? Well the truth is… most artists don’t do this, and a “record” is really just a collection of songs. Now, while I am a fan of the album as work of art, my guess is that Bloc Party have a bitter taste in their mouth in regards to this. Given the success and rocket to stardom that “Silent Alarm,” their debut, got them, they probably spent a ton of time crafting “A Weekend in the City” and to have it leak JUST as it was finished is awful… but then as the B-sides from the album began to leak, online fans began to say that some of those songs were better, compiled them together and titled it “Another Weekend in the City.” So I can see where they might just be frustrated with the lack of control.

All that said… how is “Intimacy?” Well I’ve only given it two full listens, but my initial impression is very favorable. I’ll be honest and say that I got lost in the sea of tunes that was “A Weekend” and “Another Weekend” and while specific songs really popped for me, others just went on. Since the release of “Weekend” the band put out a single, “Flux,” that sounded nothing like what the band had done prior. It was practically techno with driving beats and an urgency that wasn’t always there with the band before. They have married the new Bloc Party of “Flux” with the Bloc Party of old (a mix of “Silent Alarm” and “Weekend”) and creating something new and exciting with “Intimacy.”

The album is immediately attention grabbing and holds you throughout. First single “Mercury” is all blips and beats and stuttering voices. And while the lyrics point more inward (lead Kele Okereke apparently just went through a bitter break up) it somehow makes the songwriting more universal. “One Month Off” stopped me in my tracks (okay, I was cleaning the apartment) with its intense beat and hard guitar riff. It sounds a bit new wave, yet very Bloc Party. It’s a bitter track, but filled with more life that I thought “Weekend” had in its entirety. It’s also totally strange.

Which brings me to my next thought… while Bloc Party have always been just another band in the dance-rock movement with (minor) comparisons to Radiohead, this was really the first time where I thought they might have something Radiohead -worthy in them. They play around a lot with sounds on this record, and yet keep things catchy and moving. If they harnessed their ideas together I think they could do something really out there and brilliant. Am I crazy?

But beyond those lofty goals I think Bloc Party has released a fine collection of tunes here for their third record. And having it be a surprise is the cherry on top.



Friday, August 22, 2008

The Girl You Lost to Cocaine (Sander van Doorn Remix)

Song: The Girl You Lost to Cocaine (Sander van Doorn Remix)
Artist: Sia
Album: The Girl You Lost To Cocaine

Sia is still probably best known for her 2004 single “Breathe Me” which was used in the finale of the HBO series “Six Feet Under.” I loved the song (as well as the Mylo remix) but couldn’t get into the other tracks I heard from her record, “Colour the Small One.” Earlier his year she released her follow up, “Some People Have Real Problems,” which I got, listened to, and thought was awful. Well… awful boring. So long Sia.

Well not yet. I randomly found a blog that posted this remix done by Dutch DJ Sander van Doorn. One listen and I was hooked. It gets a bit trancy at times, but it has a great build and fills a boring song with new life. As it happened again… I heard this song at my first Blowoff party… and it’s a great four-on-the-floor dance anthem. (and the irony of seeing blissed out guys on drugs dancing to a song called “The Girl You Lost to Cocaine” did not ecscape me.)

I do think Sia has a great commanding voice, but really don’t know what I think of her as a songwriter. When the Dido-esque “Breathe Me” was a hit I expected her to expand on that sound and really deliver. But instead she either followed her muse or wanted to defy expectations. Either way, it doesn’t work.

This is the only Sander van Doorn remix I’ve heard, but I did have a chance to listen to his debut album “Supernaturalistic.” Unfortunately it’s entirely instrumental… and lacks exactly what I seem to be missing in a lot of this club music. Where are the words?! While he does, as mentioned, veer the song into a few vocal free moments, he does employ them at just the right time. It works. So while Sia is so-so, and Sander’s right with her, the combo turns out to produce dancefloor bliss! Yay.


Breathe Me

Cool video!

The Girl You Lost to Cocaine (original)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Girlz & Boyz (Vandalism Club Mix)

Song: The Girlz & Boyz (Vandalism Club Mix)
Artist: Brad Hed
Album: Hed Kandi - Twisted Disco 2008

I stopped getting dance compilations a long while ago because most of them were awful. Since I didn’t understand the business, with royalties etc., I didn’t truly understand why you would get one good song married with a ton of lousy ones from artist that you’d never heard of. But now I realize why… they’re cheap! (So while all of those Now! Compilations sell like crazy, they must cost a pretty penny as well.)

My friend David introduced me to this really neat series/company called Hed Kandi that gives you the best of both worlds. While just about every one of their compilations feature an established artist like Hot Chip, Beth Orton, Shirley Bassey, Junkie XL, or Peter, Bjorn, & John, the rest of the CD’s have more obscure dance artists that are actually GOOD. It became quite obvious to me that these people knew what they were doing.

The company was started in the U.K. in 1999 by Mark Doyle, whom sold the business to Ministry of Sound. Each one of the releases has a distinct look as helped by the artwork of Jason Brooks. Mostly house music, the company releases different compilations under different titles such as “Serve Chilled,” “Twisted Disco,” “Beach House,” “Disco Heaven,” etc. They have since branched out into the fragrance business, as well as clothing and even an airline to Ibiza.

My favorite of the full compilations I’ve heard thus far (which has been limited admittedly) has been the most recent “Twisted Disco 2008” release. It opens strong with “Let it Go” by Dirty South (never heard of them) includes a new remix of Utah Saints Kate Bush biting 90’s single “Something Good,” and includes a remix of the Junkie XL track “More.” But my favorite track off the record was by someone called Brad Hed (again never heard of him.) “Girlz & Boyz” is straight up driven house that is a party starter for sure. Vandalism does the remix (of “Smash Disco” fame) and I was pretty happy several months back when it was played at my first time attending Blowoff.

If you’re interested in getting into house music a little more and don’t know where to start I highly recommend these compilations. As mentioned there is SO much garbage out there in regards to dance compilations and Hed Kandi is a safe bet from a group of dance music lovers that know their stuff.


Listen to the track here:

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

That’s Not My Name (Tom Neville Remix)

Song: That’s Not My Name (Tom Neville Remix)
Artist: The Ting Tings
Album: That’s Not My Name

The Ting Ting’s record… which I think is about half good, has still been in pretty constant rotation on my iPod and at work. I think it’s some of the best indie-type dance pop that’s come down the pike in a while. Aside from the iPod commercial assisted “Shut Up and Let Me Go,” other singles “Great DJ” and “That’s Not My Name” have been playing over (and over) just about everywhere I go.

Also getting just as much play is this excellent club remix by Tom Neville. It actually slows the song down a bit to fit its beat, which seems odd but totally works. (Most times it’s the other way around.) Neville has only recently made a name for himself with remixes for Kelis’ “Milkshake” and Mylo’s “Destroy Rock & Roll.”


That’s Not My Name (album version)

Monday, August 18, 2008

When You Touch Me

Song: When You Touch Me
Artist: Freemasons
Album: When You Touch Me

It’s taken some time but over the past couple years I have slowly gotten more and more interested in dance/house music, beyond DJ’ing dance parties and the odd workout mix. But like it or not homo culture has always had a strong dance element from disco to more recent circuit parties. And while I am finding myself more interested in dance mixes and club tracks I still ,at times, find it wildly repetitive, and the sometimes lack of vocals totally monotonous and boring.

Yesterday I went with a small group of my favorite people on the planet to help volunteer for the Gay and Lesbian Task Force sponsored “Ascension Dance Party” out on Fire Island Pines. Basically it is a huge afternoon dance party that draws a crowd in the thousands right on the beach. A wood floor is laid down, tickets are upwards of $100 (for good cause!) two tents featuring a regular and VIP bar, private little areas for the homo elite to stand and pose in the shade, and then the crashing surf of the Atlantic just feat from the whole spectacle.

The below video from last years party will give you an idea:

Anyhow, my main point in telling you all of this is that the music really wasn’t that good. The DJ for the event Chris Cox is a widely known remixer and DJ. Aside from Rhianna’s inescapable “Please Don’t Stop the Music” and the great “Let Me Think About it” by Ida Corr the music like all of these dance parties just dragged on thumping away. Now, this does not mean that he needs to play something the whole crowd will know… but can it be a little less monotonous?

Case in point, my friend Artie sent me this great song my the Freemasons, a UK based remix duo whom has reworked tracks by Angie Stone, Fatboy Slim, Luther Vandross, Jamiroquai, Kylie, Moby, and Beyonce. “When You Touch Me” was released as a single back in June and it’s just a fun bouncy track that is immediately likable. I didn’t know it… but could see myself dancing to it. I suppose that my interest in a great little pop tune skews my likes of deeper trance music. Snore City!

I found that I had a couple of the Freemasons tracks, including their re-do of the Alanis ballad “Uninvited” with vocals by Bailey Tzuke. (Which is good… but the white label remix of the Alanis version is a bit better in my opinion.) They’re pretty good, and I’m interested in hearing some of their full albums, which include remixes as well as tracks they have written.

Since I’ve most recently been finding new dance music that I’ve been digging (vs. any good rock/alternative music I dig) this Freemasons track with kick off a week of great dance music I think you should know.


This video is SO European…

Rain Down Love

Friday, August 15, 2008

Lucid Dreams

Song: Lucid Dreams
Artist: Franz Ferdinand
Album: Madden ’09 Soundtrack

Franz Ferdinand’s as yet untitled third album is one of my most hotly anticipated for the upcoming new year (I know… still a big wait.) but we got a little bone thrown at us as a brand new song was just released that is reportedly on the new record (though not a single.) It will first be officially released on the soundtrack to a football videogame. Huh? Well, apparently there is this popular series of football video games that release about one a year called Madden (insert year.) I know I know… to you video game enthusiast I must sound like a super moron. I suppose it comes across the same as if someone asked me, “Have you heard of this band called the U2? I think they’re pretty great and may go places.” Ugh.

Well, like indie dance-rock act The Rapture showing up on the soundtrack to the latest Grand Theft Auto, which I recently blogged about… Scottish indie dance-rockers (hmmm… pattern here?) Franz Ferdinand are giving a brand new track “Lucid Dreams” for the soundtrack to this recently released game. I have no idea how Franz, and really specifically this song, fit into a football game but obviously a trend is on the horizon, and why not? Video games have become serious business, raking in more money than a lot of big-budget Hollywood movies. So if a song in a movie can change the career of a band or performer why not a video game? The audience is that big… and if the video game audience is more likely to then pick up the next album by either The Rapture or Franz vs. the latest emo crap I’m all for it. Rock on!

While “Lucid Dreams” doesn’t pop with the glorious hooks of “Take Me Out” or “Do You Want to?” after a couple listens I was sold. It has a faint needle scratch effect through the song (a notion almost extinct in the digital age) that gives the song a lo-fi charm. This is Franz at their most raw and given that the band had hinted the new record was going to focus more on the DANCE that the ROCK of their sound I’m a bit baffled. But now I’m even more excited… what are they going to surprise us with? It has an almost live quality to it that hasn’t been evident in any of their released material. But like all Franz, it’s catchy, fun, and you’ll find yourself singing along to the “whoa’s!” in the track.


the wait.

Thursday, August 14, 2008


Song: Spiralling
Artist: Keane
Album: Perfect Symmetry

I guess I still don’t know what I think of Keane. Their 2004 debut “Hopes and Fears” was the best selling record in the UK for that year, and while it took some time to make its way across the pond, their breakout single “Somewhere Only We Know” did make quite a splash here in the states. I for one found them to be a cheap Travis rip-off but nobody knows Travis here… so Keane took the sensitive music with a piano market. (Well, what was left of it from Coldplay.) For their follow-up the band seemed to be taking a leap forward in that they wanted to ROCK. I actually totally fell for their first single from their sophomore set “Under the Iron Sea,” “Is it Any Wonder?” which (again like Coldplay) showed that Keane didn’t want to be known as just a drippy piano band… they wanted to be… umm, U2. I didn’t mind though because “Is it Any Wonder?” was a killer track and I played the hell out of. So I bought the record (which, to be honest, was partly to cover up that I was buying the Paris Hilton record on the same day) and found out that Keane hadn’t really changed… the rest of the record was straight from Snore City.

The album had crazy sales in the UK… but for reasons that will probably un-earth themselves (conveniently) for the marketing of their third record, lead singer-songwriter Tom Chaplin checked himself into rehab for drugs and alcohol. The fall-out from his problems lead to a cancelling of their US tour as well as cancellations of shows in Europe.

October will see the release of “Perfect Symmetry,” and “Spiralling” the first single was recently released digitally for free via the bands website. And just like “Is it Any Wonder?,” “Spiralling” is an out-of-character rocker… and I really dig it. So who are Keane? And will this be another bait and switch? If I’m honest “Somewhere Only We Know” totally grew on me, and Lily Allen’s cover of “Everything Changes” made me re-visit, and like, the bands version. These guys are obviously talented… so I will give them the time to see what new directions they may be following.

Besides… post-rehab albums are usually such a joy.


Is it Any Wonder?

Somewhere Only We Know

Everybody’s Changing

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Song: Illusions
Artist: Heloise and the Savoir Faire
Album: Trash, Rats, & Microphones

So my good friend Brian just introduced me to this new fun Brooklyn based band. Heloise Williams, the leader of the band and former Peaches bodyguard/driver (seriously) formed the band, Heloise and the Savoir Faire in 2004. Their debut, “Trash, Rats, & Microphones was released in April of this year.

This CD has either been a bit under the radar or I’m not paying enough attention… but are they just another hipster elctro outfit from Brooklyn? Yes… and no. Well yes they are… composing fun bouncy elctro-rock tunes that will fit perfectly for your next Williamsburg roof-top party, but they’re also pretty good. A bit more Scissor Sisters/Franz Ferdinand than say, Hercules & Love Affair… but only after two listens do I realize this one could make it to my “liking this! Smart playlist on my iPod. Actually, I think the perfect comparison is really a latter-day B-52’s. This is a party record in which everyone there is interesting, arty, and a bit kooky.

I’m still getting into the record but track number one “Illusions” really sets the stage, telling you “you should be dancing all night.” Catchy choruses seem to be a trademark of the songwriting… give it a chance, I think you’ll be dancing this mess around.


Here is the band performing on Graham Norton

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Most of All

Song: Most of All
Artist: Morgan Geist
Album: Double Night Time

I’m not usually a fan of ambient, or faceless lounge music, but I do realize… the problem is me. I’m a hook guy. An emotion guy. And the idea of “background music” sort of makes me cringe. (I literally don’t own ONE film score, what’s the point?) But again… this is a little quirk in me as I just don’t connect to it. Like seafood, Cold Stone Creamery, and Celine fucking Dion.

So while “lounge” music doesn’t take up much space on my iPod, I do see how music that just sort of exists without much attention needed has its place. And I’ve DJ’d enough cocktail parties and dinners in which light music is exactly what’s needed; something in the background that doesn’t overpower conversation but alleviates awkward silence.

So recently I found a great record of this ilk in Morgan Geist’s (of Metro Area fame) upcoming September release “Double Night Time.” It reminds me a bit of Junior Boys, though there isn’t as much focus on actual “song” here. Mostly instrumental, it’s a great late night record, or early morning. “Most of All” is lyric based… so not totally representative of the record but you get the idea. Instead of “background” let’s call it “mood.”


Monday, August 11, 2008


Song: Freeway
Artist: Aimee Mann
Album: @#%&*! Smilers

While cultural osmosis lent its hand for me knowing “Voices Carry,” the biggest hit from ‘Til Tuesday by heart, to know the solo work of member Aimee Mann you have to work a bit harder. And while I knew the name and the woman… it wasn’t until her songs created the plot and soundtrack for Paul Thomas Anderson’s masterwork “Magnolia” did I really understand the true brilliance of this amazing songwriter.

The delightfully titled “@#%&*! Smilers” marks Mann’s 6th solo release and her latest since ‘05’s story/concept record “The Forgotten Arm.” I’ve been living with the record for a couple weeks now and I’ll come clean… it just doesn’t grab me the way her songs from the “Magnolia” soundtrack and the follow up album “Bachelor No. 2” did. But make no mistake… there isn’t such a thing as a BAD Aimee Mann record. Like Lucinda Williams, Aimee Mann has a couple incredibly good records in between draw-droppingly brilliant ones. As a songwriter, Mann has uncanny abilities in getting clever emotionally true lyrics to ride her bouncy melodies… which are evident once again in lead single/track “Freeway” from her latest. I really dig this song, and love the new wave synths that are added to Mann’s mainly acoustic vibe.

If you’re not familiar with Mann’s work I might suggest that you start with “Bachelor No. 2” or 1995’s “I’m With Stupid.” Two killer records. While initially she may come across as a run-of-the-mill singer-songwriter, her songs get under your skin… and at least for me new layers and meanings come clear sometimes years after I first get to know a song of hers. It’s not often that such human truth can manifest itself in something so catchy.



Save Me

An all-time favorite song with a great video

That’s Just What You Are (Live on the Jon Stewart Show)

Thursday, August 07, 2008

My People

Song: My People
Artist: The Presets
Album: Apocalypso

I was a fan of The Presets 2005 album “Beams,” a mix of hard hitting electronica that had a vaguely gothic vibe to it. Their international hit from that record “Are You the One?” was killer, and later used in a BMW commercial. The band hails from Sydney, Australia, and released their follow up album “Apocalypso” this past April.

It’s taken me a while to get around to getting the new record and listening to it and for the most part… it’s more of the same. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing… it is what it is. I really do like lead single “My People” which is reminiscent of “Are You the One?” There have been two other subsequent singles from the record, which no doubt helped it reach the # 1 spot on the Australian Album chart.

To me, The Presets seem like the house band at some underground Eastern European sex club. It’s dark, a bit scary, but thrilling all the same. I can’t claim to be a HUGE fan… but I do dig their sound as it’s pretty distinct. And what they may lack in pop hooks that seem necessary for this type of music, they make up for it in mood. So throw this in when you’re throwing yourself your next Eastern European-themed orgy.


My People

Creepy video.

This Boy’s in Love

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Genius of London

Song: Genius of London
Artist: Tom Tom Club vs. Fergie
Album: MTV Mash Up

I’m a fan of mash ups, the name given to a song which combines elements from two or more songs to create a different one. For the most part, a mash up usually takes the vocals from one song and lays them over the music to another. One of the first known mash ups that I had heard about (and apparently started the craze) was “Love Will Freak Us,” a mash up of Missy Elliot’s “Get Your Freak On” with Joy Division’s “Love Will Tear Us Apart.” It’s pretty wild, and like the best mash ups, it infuses two songs that seemingly could not go together at all. (You can read more about the history of the mash up, and the most popular ones, here.)

A really great left-of-center mash up in a party playlist can be a beautiful thing, confusing your audience yet getting them to bop along to something that they (sort of) know. But be warned… use them sparingly as they can certainly overstay their welcome. Haha.

Never one to shy away from cashing in on a trend, MTV released a compilation of mash ups by DJ Rob Boskamp last year. It could have been aweful, but if listened to sparingly, can be a pretty enjoyable cross-genre journey. My hands down favorite is “Genius of London,” a winning combo of Tom Tom Club’s 80’s classic “Genius of Love” (which Mariah sampled er… stole the melody for “Fantasy.”) and Fergie’s bazaar pop hit “London Bridge.” It’s a party starter for sure, even if the music from “Genius of Love” isn’t 100% recognizable.

At this point the amount of mash ups floating around the internet are pretty daunting… but do some searching, you’ll get hooked for a while.

Other favorites to find:

“A Stroke of Genius” – Christina Aguilera vs. The Strokes
“George Will Freak Us” – George Michael vs. Missy Elliot
“Ziggy at the Party” – David Bowie vs. Pink
“Take Me Out for a Milkshake” – Franz Ferdinand vs. Kelis

Just to name a few…


Some Mash ups:

Slow My Bitch Up

Hey We Will Rock You

Genius of London

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Soul Finger

Song: Soul Finger
Artist: The Bar-Kays
Album: Soul Finger

Arguably one of the most popular posts I’ve ever done was also a fun one to me… French DJ Bob Sinclar’s “Love Generation,” a song that took me ten months to figure out who did it and the title. (For the full story, check it out here.) Because I had actually put in all the wrong lyrics I had googled to find out what the song was in my post, others in the same situation got the info. Yay!

So when I was recently on vacation I finally got around to watching “Superbad” and heard another song that I didn’t know what it was, this one dates back to college so it’s practically a ten YEAR old mystery. Is that officially a “cold case?” Well I had certainly given up and stopped looking for answers. Anyhow, while I discovered the song I still haven’t found this compilation that it’s on.

Back in college a local radio station was being sold (in Rochester, NY) and a friend discovered it was no longer being programmed, it was just playing an instrumental compilation on repeat, 24/7. It was an absolutely crazy mix of all different kinds of tunes from the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s. Since this was still before the age of burnable CD’s, I made myself a little cassette mix of my favorite tracks right off the radio. (Old school right?) Since I didn’t know the song titles or artists I have them ridiculous names like “Soulful Space Jam” or “Your Hand is Caught in My Poodle Skirt.” I loved it.

Since seeing “Superbad” I have learned that a favorite off of that compilation, The Bar-Kays 1967’s single “Soul Finger,” is not, in fact titled “Snow Finger.” (Hence another reason internet searches lead me nowhere.) The compilation also features the song “Sleep Walk” by Santo & Johnny (listen here) which I had titled “Scary Small Town Theme.” Even knowing those two tracks I still can’t find this compilation. Might a reader know it?

The Bar-Kays were a funk/R&B band that became Otis Redding’s backing band in 1967. Both “Soul Finger” and “Too Hot to Stop” were both used in “Superbad.” It’s a great little quirky party tune that’s good for any collection!


Son of Shaft (Live in Los Angeles)

Holy Ghost