Archive for August, 2009


Let’s Collaborate!

Picture 4

No, I don’t have the talent to contribute anything, musically speaking. But 20 odd souls put up their specialty to be texturized in your own mix. Here, you have 20 small YouTube clips, with each one possessing a different artist laying down his/her own track/instrument. Since you’re behind the boards today, begin a clip, mix it with another and another, to create something. The site hosts a great range of options: Banjo, synth, piano, organ, guitar, Nintendo DS, and to complete your trunk, full of amps, an OMNICHORD, amongst other tools to create.

What did I just read? It’s all explained when you click below…

You can create!


Chicago Rocked : Chicago Music in the 1990s

As a music fan, and one who enjoys books almost as much, one would think I’m a voracious reader of our common interest. Wrong. It’s not that I don’t enjoy them or wouldn’t; it’s there are always one too many obscure references. Most – or at least the ones I’ve tackled – are written for a small, tight audience. Without background knowledge on the topic and its sub-topics, these books are difficult to fully enjoy. Yes, these books should make me venture out and explore what I don’t understand; but realistically, who has the ambition and time for that?

It was this quote below that was going to be an endless catalyst for post after post on my favorite era and area of music: The 90s Chicago rock scene.

Triple Fast Action was one of many Chicago area acts signed to Capitol Records during the multi-year label frenzy that also snatched up the Smashing Pumpkins, Smoking Popes, Fig Dish, Loud Lucy, Veruca Salt, Red Red Meat, Certain Distant Suns, Liz Phair, The Lupins, Hum, Seam, Menthol, Urge Overkill, Stabbing Westward and Cupcakes among others.

Instead, a potential book, by one of Chicago’s well respected local aficionados, James Van Osdol – who many years ago hosted Q101’s Local Music Showcase – will initiate the endless and biased posts about my truly favorite acts.  James, the Chicago rock scientist, is hoping to publish a book entitled: Chicago Rocked : Chicago Music in the 1990s. His, and my dreams, will only became a reality though if the appropriate funds are raised. Read his guest post on Chicago’s Gapers Block on the potential goodness.

And, James, if I were contributing to this, I’d definitely include the act below…

Triple Fast Action :: Underwear


Life After Trance…

In the early part of this decade, I associated myself with friends who enjoyed raves. When the trance  movement came upon us, they embraced it with open arms, flashy glow sticks, and pills. Everything about it I despised – especially the music: Tiesto, Timo Maas, Judge Jules, ETC. Fast forward to the present day, and elements of this scene, musically speaking, of course, stumble into my listening habits. These artists, who my friends worshiped and I loathed, began composing more artist oriented albums. With the announcement of Tiesto’s new record, Kaleidoscope, I’m not shunning the Dutch DJ anymore – based on Feel It in My Bones, he might be on to something. And it was German DJ Timo Maas and his Pictures record that made me bother to even explore a Tiesto track. Maas’ Pictures, from his ’05 LP, is responsible for putting faith into artists I formerly thought were of an abysmal movement.

I don’t approve of the lyrics, nor the content from Mr. Molko – who fronted the glam English act Placebo. The dark, throbbing beat is what puts me into a trance; it helps me to spin this endlessly. It becomes hypnotic. Wavy synth stabs only accentuate the gruesome picture the ex-Placebo frontman is exhibiting for us. Scary, yet brilliant, all at the same time.

Timo Maas :: Pictures (featuring Brian Molko)


Across the Universe…

Picture 1

When I stumble on a cover, rarely am I familiar with the original. And I think that’s usually for the best. How frequently are your favorite tracks covered anyway? Mine? Can’t think of one. But I’ll fire off my favorite cover ever instantaneously. Across the Universe, originally a Beatles song – I found this out later than sooner – has been re-imagined a few times over; since I was never familiar with the original, I came into these tracks with an open mind. Both, are sophisticated and lovely, like I’ve discovered the first rendition is.

The operatic, classical, yet pop wizard Rufus Wainwright brings his classy style to the fab four’s original.

Rufus Wainwright :: Across the Universe

The mid-90s young phenom Fiona Apple delivers her throaty performance as starry as the original.

Fiona Apple :: Across the Universe


They Are Right: Never Can Get Enough!

Picture 1

As 2/3 of 2009 have almost come and went, some top albums are beginning to shine. Like always, the albums I deem respectable are the ones receiving consistent play. Way back in late January, I was totin’ the infectious Belgium quartet Das Pop – who are young proteges of Soulwax. They lived up – to what sounded like blasphemy at the time – to an act who concocted strong, upbeat, driving pop numbers that are truly worth returning to. And now you know 1/10 of my Best of 2009.

Never Get Enough, with its colorful melodies, robust rhythms, and overall vibe to not bob your head, but step out to the floor and shake it until…

Is in video form now…

Heartfelt and nice on the keys, too…

Das Pop :: September


Editing My Best of ’04…

Come to think of it, I don’t remember composing a best of list five years ago. And by no means was it lack of quality; because coveted records emerged in that era: Arcade Fire’s Funeral, Autolux’s Future Perfect, and yes, The Faint’s Wet From Birth, amongst other goodies. My endless task of organizing my digital collection has had its ups and downs. On the plus side, the endless emergence of forgotten tracks, like this have kept me motivated to continue this enduring task. Inside a dusty, neglected folder are poorly labeled tracks that are finally finding a home. The (re) discoveries are being made on almost a daily basis. One with legs though, was Bebe – the Spanish artist who takes genres in all directions to bring an excellent, catchy mix worth returning to again and again.

Her Malo track was the catalyst to hunt down her Pafuera Telarañas record, an eclectic collection of flamenco, meets folk, blended together with upbeat, Latin rhythms. Sometimes, the delivery is tranquil and gives the sense everything is OK; but at other times, the lyrics are unleashed with a rapid cadence and fiery motive. In 2009, after finally being exposed to everything 2004 had to offer, I’ve come to the conclusion Bebe’s record is worthy of being listed with the aforementioned titles. Brush up on your Español or, just enjoy what’s left of the summer…

Bebe :: Siete Horas

Bebe :: Ska de la Tierra


The Felt Boys are Back…


Slug, of Atmosphere fame, and Murs, the LA playful wonder, are Felt – a playful act enjoying what hip-hop should be all about. Murs said it best on Breakfast Club:

I’m Murs and I like to have a good time and on Saturday mornings, I used to like to get a big, fat bowl of cereal and watch cartoons, motherfucker; and if that– if you can’t relate to this song you’re taking this shit too serious. It’s hip-hop, man, it’s-it’s fuckin’ fun.

For their previous two albums, they’ve chosen a central theme – to be more specific, a girl to dedicate their record to. First up was Christina Ricci; their past album was an ode to Lisa Bonet, who is Rob Gordon’s girl. Regardless of the lovely this forthcoming record goes out to, I’ll be all over it. I need more carefree music about getting drunk and partying. They’ve yet to disappoint.

Experience a track off what they’re about to unleash…

Felt :: Protagonists


Get Up with El Che, Wale, and MJ…

The 80s r&b, pop master Billy Ocean creeps in there, too. But that’s only in true hip-hop lyrical fashion…

So focused/ Lens Crafter poster child with a flow like no one…now. Homey, ya’lls not blowin’, ya’ll been super soakin’ Billy Ocean/ya’ll need to grow up…

What that means? I don’t know. But a name drop of the true loverboy makes me smile. This witty lyricism comes courtesy of D.C. rhymeslayer, Wale. The track, Get Up, appeared on Rhymefest’s Man in the Mirror – which to this day, still receives a fair amount of airplay over this way. Get Up is infused with upbeat energy and tag-team rap attacks from Chicago’s Fest and our capital’s Wale.

Rhymefest :: Get Up (featuring Wale)

What would this be without a treasure from the man himself, Billy Ocean? Nothing…

Billy Ocean :: Tear Down These Walls


Hipsters, Carbon, and MC SpandX…

Picture 2

I’ve been called a music snob before. It doesn’t bother me. There just might be truth to the accusation – but will always deny it face-to-face. I’ll admit this freely and proudly though: I’m a bike snob. My weapons of choice have brakes, are not single speeds, and have real handlebars. Stumbling on this parody, knocking hipsters and roadies by MC SpandX, made me smile. Not only does it drop spot-on cycling lingo, it has a professional feel to it – like the SNL rhymes that periodically pop up.

As a cyclist, this song/video/parody is brilliant.

24/7 I’m in nothin’ but spandex; cuttin’ through the wind because I’m aerodynamic…

Nashville Continues to Not Play…

In this ADD era I live in, music videos are a thing of the past. I can’t focus long enough to sit through one. When a new song is unleashed first in video form, I’ll open the video and pop open a new tab to get on with things. Until this evening…

Still Nashville’s best kept secret, Heypenny, are gearing up for the Cop Car EP. (released yet?) The video presents a fresh, new rendition of Cop Car. To me, it’s an improved upon version than the demo. Simply watching the video you can get a brief idea of what Heypenny are capable of in recorded and live form. This band is the feel good hit of the summer. Release an EP or a full length and the feel good band of ’09.

This band is poised to explode. If they don’t, it would be a shame. A waste. They are one of the best things going now in the world of pop. Their live show is fuckin’ electric. And most importantly, a carefree and fun time capable of being enjoyed by ALL.

Upcoming Shows:


August 2009