Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Angry Songs About Food Vol. 4: Cereal - OnCue (prod. by CJ Luzi)

Whenever I hear this song I picture a group of really huge dudes eating bowls of Berry Berry Kix and nodding their heads in time. If I made the music video it would include multiple slow motion shots of spoons coming out bowls, milk dripping off the utensil sensually, before a tongue flicks into frame and tosses a single piece of cereal soaring up in the air and down into a mouth guarded by grill plastered teeth.

The track is a preview from Brooklyn based rapper OnCue's upcoming album Angry Young Man, and boy has that become even more of one to watch out for after this CJ Luzi produced explosion. To indulge your own sexy cereal fantasies (or you know, nod your head in personal sacrificial solidarity and resonance as that's really more what the song is about) you can grab a download of the song for free off of OnCue's Soundcloud here.

Photo courtesy of Karli Bonnie Photography

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving Special: Alice's Restaurant Massacre - Arlo Guthrie

You may not know this, but if you don't listen to this song the whole way through the Thanksgiving Zombie Turkeys will rise up and defeat us like they did millennia ago. You don't want that do you? So please, for all of our sakes, listen to Alice's Restaurant Massacre.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Songs of the Robocalypse Vol. 6: Woods - Bon Iver


I reached California at dusk, the living lights of Nevada fading into the early night behind me. I was aiming to reach the Nappa Nexus by morning, steering as far clear of the ground zero Primary Surge Site in Silicon Valley as humanly possible- a term which has proven to mean very little in the last few years.

Much as they have with the National Parks around the rest of the country, the machines have left the Redwood forests of California relatively untouched. From what I've observed they  take a certain pride in their lack of reliance upon the natural world, instead choosing to adopt the glittering cityscapes of their creators as their own. I suppose that's one thing we have in common with our metallic children-  a belief in our own ingenuity and intelligence to conquer nature. That and we all become our parents eventually. 

By and large these forests and woods have become natural mausoleums, only frequented by roving automated hunting rifles who simply cannot let go of the past. The only exception to this rule is the Cuisinartist and his cult of Oilshiners.

The Cuisinartist- a roving food processor who rejected the blade trade most of his kind are now embedded in. They say it wandered it's way from a suburban home in the San Fransisco area all the way to Redwood National Park. Who knows what drove it on, but when it arrived it adopted the woods as its home.

 The Cuisinartist quickly set up the biggest (and probably only) moonshining operation left on Earth, creating the robotic opioid OilZone. It's a product deemed 'uneccesary' by the Calculator Council and has been banned in most cities- but that hasn't stopped the drug from gripping vast swathes of the mech-population. 

Those devices who go too far in their OZ binge find themselves drawn inexorably to the Cuisinartist's redwood fortress. As you walk through the trees you can see the glow of standby buttons quivering silently amidst the branches. However once a week the Cuisnartist's hivemind production line kicks into action- and the digital work song begins to echo through the night with the power of a thousand mechanized voices: 'I'm up in the woods. I'm down on my mind. I'm building a still. To slow down the time.'

Friday, August 17, 2012

Pussy Riot - Punk Prayer

A bad day for freedom of expression. 

From a statement released by Yekaterina Samutsevich earlier this month on their trial:

In our performance we dared, without the Patriarch’s blessing, to unite the visual imagery of Orthodox culture and that of protest culture, thus suggesting to smart people that Orthodox culture belongs not only to the Russian Orthodox Church, the Patriarch and Putin, that it could also ally itself with civic rebellion and the spirit of protest in Russia. I now have mixed feelings about this trial. On the one hand, we expect a guilty verdict. Compared to the judicial machine, we are nobodies, and we have lost. On the other hand, we have won. The whole world now sees that the criminal case against us has been fabricated. The system cannot conceal the repressive nature of this trial. Once again, the world sees Russia differently from the way Putin tries to present it at his daily international meetings. Clearly, none of the steps Putin promised to take toward instituting the rule of law have been taken. And his statement that this court will be objective and hand down a fair verdict is yet another deception of the entire country and the international community.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

On A Monday - Catfish Keith

There are some days where nothing will do but a resonator guitar, you know? I think we've all had those days.

So everybody please say Hello to one of the masters of the dobro: Mr. Catfish Keith, shown here performing Leadbelly's 'On a Monday' at a Rural Roots Concert in Southwell Library.

I've always found there's something about the sound of resonators that's otherworldly, rusty and sexy all at once. Catfish himself has one of the goofiest growly voices for both singing and talking, but he pulls it off with be-hatted swagger. He's playing the Half Moon in Putney on November 18th which seems like the absolute best way to see him. Let's all go! Agreed.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Chiptune Chuesday: Snuggle Muffin - Microchip

It's our Tuesday staple: a piece of blipblopping beats to move your digital feet.

This track can get pretty booming for a song called Snuggle Muffin (which I can't help but find adorable and annoying but mostly adorable- like a real snuggle muffin!). The track is the closer on  CalmDownKidder Records 'Cheer Up, Emo Kid' compilation, which you should grab (for free) if you enjoy our Chuedays together as many of the tracks are drawn from it.

Happy Chuesday!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

4 Aces - The Texas Tornados

I did not plan on writing about 4 Aces today, but this song has been on such a loop through my head ALL DAMN DAY that I needed to infect all of you as well.

Enjoy the propulsive texmexejano stylings of The Texas Tornados on this warm London evening (or you know- wherever you are). And be prepared for accordions to stamp through your dreams like demon slinkys.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Willie the Chimney Sweeper - Ernest Rodgers

The ur-Minnie the Moocher. This haunting recording of Atlanta journalist Ernest Rodgers (a self proclaimed 'citybilly') was cut in 1927 on wax cylinder. The wonderfully surreal imagery of Willie's drug trip is held in perfect balance with Rodgers ghostly cries in between each verse. In fact I could have used  a whole extra rendition of the song without any of the verses- just the spindly guitar and mourning cries. Haunting, funny, and timeless.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Chiptune Chuesday: Mad World - Vector Leaf

This chipped out version of Tears for Fears 'Mad World' was used by the culture'n'science'n'politics blog Boing Boing in the above fabulous video charting video game arcade deaths throughout history . The chips were chiseled by Vector Leaf, better known as Rob Beschizza, one of the happy mutants over at Boing Boing.

In some ways I actually prefer the smokier and moodier version of the song Beschizza uploaded for your aural pleasure HERE.

Otherwise please join me in a rousing: DAH DAH NAH NAH NAH NAH WORN OUT FAAAAACES!

Happy Chuesday!

Monday, August 6, 2012

The Big Noise From Winnetka - Bob Haggart & Ray Bauduc

The Big Noise From Winnetka is barest of bones jazz rhythm stretched to its breathless breaking point. Bassist (and damn fine whistler) Bob Haggart and drummer Ray Bauduc made up the rhythm section of Bob Crosby's Bobcats, a swing band mainly active during the 30s/40s but have reunited endlessly over the years. During a 1938 performance at Blackhawks Restaurant in Chicago (the Chicago Loop area, to be precise), Crosby and the rest of the Bobcats were late returning from a break so Haggart and Bauduc began jamming. And what a big noise they made.

The song is thriller music incarnate. It's cool and classy while wired and paranoid. A bit like straddling a caffeine rush between the high and the jitters. Haggart's fine lines stride and shake, jumping up and down the neck like doped up fleas. Bauduc concocts a triptrapping rhythm that seems to utilize each section of his drumkit in a series of consecutive solos before turning into an EVEN BIGGER solo around the halfway mark. Then! The really cool part happens. Right around the 1:40 mark, Bauduc starts playing his sticks on Haggart's bass strings. Haggart in turn keeps fingering the neck, creating a fabulously percussive bass solo which becomes the ultimate stripped down expression of the rhythm section in a band.

The pair kept playing the song (Crosby loved it) over the years. It's been used in countless films, has been reworked with a full band and vocals (nowhere near as powerful as the genuine article), and has firmly entrenched itself in history as one of those songs where it just sounds so natural- so intuitive -that you can't help but think, "DAMN IT. I know this song from somewhere. But WHERE?"

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Bob Ross and Mr. Rogers Remixed - PBS & Melodysheep

That all got a bit heavy yesterday didn't it? Even for a Friday. So today we're going to provide a salve for your depressed ear drums with two of The Happiest People Ever: MADE EVEN HAPPIER.

These videos are part of the Icons Remixed series PBS have launched on their YouTube channel in conjunction with Melodysheep (a.k.a. John D. Boswell) of the Symphony of Science remixes.

Bob Ross may be better known to you as that painter dude with the wicked afro. His show Joy of Painting ran for eleven years on PBS, and remains one of the most positive viewing experiences you will ever have. Ross was known for his soporific-level relaxing voice and uber positive outlook, but prior to his success as a painter he held down numerous positions in the military which required him to be an absolute bastard. He vowed that once he escaped those jobs he would never shout again- presumably unless he became particularly excited by a particularly happy little cloud.

The remix is saccharine as hell, but it makes me stupid happy. Sometimes we need to live in a world of no mistakes, only happy accidents.

Mr. Rogers was a children's entertainer, educator and minister whose show Mr. Rogers' Neighbourhood ran from 1963 to 2001 on American Television. Every week children were invited to explore the land of make believe. The adult world was glimpsed through the window. And many (MANY) sweaters were worn.

In this video Mr. Rogers is a cross between your favourite teacher, your parents when they could do no wrong in your eyes, and Timothy Leary.

Autotune remixes are a staple of YouTube. These videos are not explosively new ideas. But, unlike most autotune remixes, they don't feel like they were tossed out in five minutes. There's a genuine mood and exploration of character within the songs which I find fascinating. I love the idea of taking soundbites from a media personality and crafting a distillation of their outlook into music. More please.

Friday, August 3, 2012

TGIF! Let's Have Some DEATH: Prayer to God - Shellac

We're alive! Here's a song about dying!

Well, a song about killing. And praying!

Shellac are the heavy, metallic, noisy rock minimalists comprised of Steve Albini, Bob Weston and Todd Trainer. Albini's name alone should let you know what kind of ragged sonic experience you're in for. He's created a towering collection of hardest of hardcore albums, was the driving force behind Big Black, and produced amongst other bands Nirvana (In Utero), The Pixies (Surfer Rosa) and PJ Harvey (Rid of Me). Combo his already harsh tendencies with the raw production techniques of Weston and your ears will begin to sweat and bleed before you even press the play button.

And boy is this song bloody. Every guitar and bass chord slams home into your tendons like bundles of hot wires. The drums pop and explode and thump their way into flakes of dust, metal and drumsticks. There's a primal brutality to the sound which is mirrored perfectly by the black as pitch lyrics.

There's an unnerving elegance to how simply the rage runs. We have all wanted people to die. You don't do it because that would be bad. And maybe you don't really want to kill someone anyway. Seems hard. But thinking about it late it at night, praying to your own personal Hate for it- those are the moments which this song has captured in their entirety.

So. Remember you are mortal.


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Chiptune Chuesday: Endboss - Marteria & The Krauts

So ever since I wrote about Peter Fox I've become hooked on production group The Krauts, a trio of German born DJs who pride themselves on combining retro-electro warmth with modern instrumentation. I decided to check out their most recent producing effort the album Zum Gluck in die Zukunft (Fortunately in the Future) for German rapper Marteria. And to my pleasant surprise the first song is (sort of) a chiptune number!

First track Endboss samples what sounds to me like both the soundtrack and sound effects of Sega classic Streets of Rage. Alongside this are Mario bleeps, arcade era voice sampling, and a smattering of geek culture references. All the best ingredients for a chip-hop beat.

I love the late night-club-lights-booming inside of an arcade cabinet mood of the track, and absolutely must share the final line (translated natch) 'The game is over, the last drink is for free, but there's a trick I'm gonna tell it to you, become a Buddhist and then you can restart it.' As a gamer this line makes me happier than it probably should.

Also! The video! Did you SEE that video? Chun Li needs to be in more rap videos. As do tetrominos.

Happy Chuesday!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Bluegrass My Ass - Autofonic

I've long felt that bluegrass music works with electronic beats. The Bastion soundtrack cemented this fact for me while also instilling an intense craving for more. Yet even after employing my most excellent Google-Fu skills I still haven't managed to find the bluegrasstronica band of my dreams. I did however find the chilled out farm house built inside of a computer groove of Bluegrass My Ass by Autofonic. 

Autofonic is a Plymouth based electronica and house music solo project with a number of pretty great songs with pretty great titles such as Bitches Love Laserbeams and Spin Cycle Satisfaction. Bluegrass My Ass is his first (and thus far only) dalliance with the bluegrass style, so let me say here that this NEEDS to continue. Please. And thank you.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Sexy Saturday: Poon Tang - The Treniers

The time: The early 50's. The band: The Treniers. The song: POOOOON TAAAAANG. 

I almost don't want to say anything else about this song. I just want you to shake your head with a grin on your face. Also: orgasm saxophone. You'll know the bit I'm talking about. Have the Sexiest of Saturdays!

Friday, June 29, 2012

TGIF! Let's Have Some DEATH: Murder Ballad - Das Hoboerotica

Das Hoboerotica are a Nebraska based cello/accordion duo made up of Rachel West and Lenna Pierce. 

Before we get to the music it must be said: Rachel and Lenna are amazing at names. Their band is called Das Hoboerotica. Their first album is called So Long Succors. Their second album is called Feminine Hyjinx. They've won naming things, and congratulations are in order. So, for today's TGIF! Let's Have Some DEATH we are featuring the aptly named murder ballad 'Murder Ballad.'

The song creates an entire story out of spare and dusty parts, and it's immensely affecting. The lo-fi recording techniques render the lyrics a bit hard to catch, but it doesn't matter. When I hear this song I see the body of a woman lying in an underground station as a busking band echoes across from another tunnel. It's not the sound of a death, but what you hear after you die. This is all getting very grim, but the point is I get all of this and more from a piece of music where you can barely understand a word. It evokes an entire film out of its soundscape.

Also that last accordion screech scares the absolute hell out of me EVERY time. Even when I know it's coming. It will still scare the absolute hell out of you now, even though I've told you it's coming. Thank you Das Hoboerotica for reminding us of our own mortality, lulling us into a deathly lullaby, and then making us jump out of our skins in the final hour.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Bath - Harry Nilsson

We've spoken about the illustrious Harry Nilsson before. His refusal to perform live. How he almost became a member of The Beatles. How his voice is one of the Greatest Gifts to Pop Music Ever.

Bath, the final track on Nilsson's third album Aerial Ballet is one of the greatest album closers of all time. It clocks in at just under two minutes, and is filled with jazzy rag piano, storming brass sections, and some of the best high notes Harry has ever hit. There are few better ways to end an album than a rag belter about having your faith in mankind restored after a late night visit to a brothel. Hell, it's a great ending soundtrack to pretty much anything. If ever I feel the need to pull down the shutters on That Song Blog forever (which I promise is not something in any way forthcoming), I'm going to embed some code so that every page you go to plays this song on an infinite loop. So it shall be.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Kitchen Sink Music Vol. 4: Let That Beat Ride - Lyrical God

Kitchen Sink Music is our ongoing series focusing on using non-musical items to create songs.

Lyrical God (a.k.a Julius Wright) literally slams out his song Let That Beat Ride with nothing but his voice, a biro, and a school desk. He is known for using his percussive talents to drum on just about any surface he can (from trash cans to street signs) to create unique beats. Reminds me a bit of the singing oil barrels of Bongo Joe. It's a raw and booming performance and the very definition of Kitchen Sink Music.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Chiptune Chuesday: Juggernaut - Kubbi

Kubbi is a Chip Viking if his bio is to be believed (AND WHY WOULD HE LIE ABOUT THINGS LIKE THAT I MEAN REALLY). He says he makes Chiptune music, drinks mead, and rides polar bears to his local viking raid. You should already be loving this man, or at least giving him furtive glances from across the room because maybe he'll look up at just the right time, brushing his viking braids or whatever back from his face.

"But wait TSB," you shout in a sweet but grating voice, "What if I don't LIKE vikings?" Ah, well then my dear it's time to convince you with song. A big song. A Juggernaut.

Kubbi's latest piece of work straddles the divide between 8 and 16-bit chiprock. The intro is drenched in JRPG arpeggios as strings swell and the beat drops from the innards of an old boombox. Then just as you're getting comfy he drops some heavy bass on you and you're slammed into the next level of the game. The whole song feels like playing your way through a classic brawler or platformer, the cartridge itself slowly evolving over time from a NES cart to a SNES cart. To our less gaming versed readers-ermm… that line was totally (definitely) clever and I don't know how best to translate. The old becomes new while still sounding old over the course of the song! There. Fixed.

It's a great piece of chiprock and can be downloaded for FREE from Kubbi's Soundcloud, alongside full on albums available from his Bandcamp. Go throw some love and money at this Chipped out Viking this instant.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Happy Birthday Clifton Chenier!

A very Happy Birthday to the King of Zydeco Clifton Chenier! The first Creole to be given a Grammy on national television, Clifton was known for his howling fusion of zydeco rhythms with big band, jazz and blues. 
He is the true Accordion Hero.