Monday, April 23, 2007

Tighten Up

Somebody give me a cookie! I'm posting twice in 24 hours!

Tighten Up was the 1968 hit by Archie Bell and the Drells, and I seriously would never have known this or cared had this cover of the original not come as a bonus track on some new edition of R.E.M.'s Reckoning. It's ridiculous and very '60s and is a song that generally makes me want to get up and prance around.

mp3: R.E.M. - Tighten Up

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Number Girl

Horaay. Possibly my most obsessed-over Japanese group.

Yeah. Number Girl. They mix a very distinct rock sound (think The Pixies or Sonic Youth on some Asian form of crack) with a very distinct Japanese sound (pentatonic! Using only a specific five notes from a scale. I love it in rock music. Thus what I meant by "Asian crack"). Their lead guitarist collaborated with Shiina Ringo, thus how I discovered them. In fact, so did their vocalist/rhythm guitarist, Mukai. But stuff.

I also tend to occasionally obsess over their drummer, Inazawa Ahito, for being a) awesome b) collaborating with everybody and their mother, including Shiina Ringo and another fairly bizarre and almost Debussy-esque group called Luminous Orange.

But you don't care about names. You care about sounds. Sounds!

mp3: Number Girl - Super Young

mp3: Number Girl - Mangasick

mp3: Number Girl - Yaruse Nakio no Beat

In addition to the very good blend of sounds and the pentatonic stuff, there is a lot of musical and rhythmic juxtaposition between the two guitars, and in the rhythm section. Juxtaposition pleases me greatly.

Number Girl disbanded in 2002, only for the members to go off and form a bunch of other really insane-but-awesome ensembles. So clearly it wasn't a completely sad thing.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Marquee Moon

Maybe it's just me, but I almost love this version more than I do the original by the early punk band Television. Yeah. I think it's just me, and maybe the fact that I'm a string player and I have hero-worship issues with Kronos Quartet and the covers of some popular tunes they've done (Jimi Hendrix's Purple Haze, Sigur Rós' Flugufrelsarinn). Also, every other composer work I've experienced through them.

Kronos actually comes through my area once every couple of years. I've been really lucky to see them perform live several times since I was about ten or eleven. I actually suspect that they were my initial introduction to new music as I know and appreciate it now, and might have influenced some of my ideas for what I want to do professionally.

Wow. But that's definitely another entry for another time.

In the meantime, here's the song. Really cool stuff.

mp3: Kronos Quartet - Marquee Moon

In a true Kronos fashion, it's as much in accordance with the original as it possibly could be in consideration of four string-players and no recognizable percussion. The cellist even tunes the C string down to a B to enable a lower octave in places. Also: David Harrington (1st violin) has and always will rock my world.

My apologies for the severe shortage of posts. I've had the plague/been busy/am lazy. Will try harder.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Little Fluffy Clouds

I have a definite soft spot for The Orb, and I suspect it is due to this song.

mp3: The Orb - Fluffy Little Clouds

It's true, you might have heard this song before, if you watched TV in the late 90's and ever happened upon a commercial for the new VW Beetle.

I've gotta say. It's beats, keyboards/pitch producers, and cut&paste when done the right way that make me incredibly happy. This song actually features a sample loop of minimalist composer Steve Reich's Electric Counterpoint (originally recorded and performed for guitar by Pat Metheny, but is apparently also arranged for guitar ensemble). Sadly, I have been listening to both this song and Electric Counterpoint for well over four years and it took me until somewhere in the middle of LAST WEEK to go "huh," check Wikipedia, and then kind of want to hit myself in the face.

toothpaste for dinner

The other pasted clip featured in this song is from an interview with Rickie Lee Jones, a sample which was found on a promo CD. According to Wikipedia, Steve Reich was cool about his work being sampled, but Rickie Lee Jones was not down with the interview being used. Fascinating.

The other point I want to emphasize is that those VW commercials from the mid-90's featured some interesting tunes. The Orb, Hooverphonic, Nick Drake, Stereolab, and even Fluke. Maybe they still do. I don't know. I need to actually watch TV, apparently.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Georgy Porgy

It seems that with Spring Break, my will to obsessively push-button publish was simply gone. But behold, for it is Monday, and Monday means covers.

This is Shiina Ringo and...somebody else, doing Georgy Porgy, originally by Toto. I kind of maybe don't like to admit how much I really like this song. Nobody tell my family members. They would give me funny looks.

This version is basically a copy of the original, except the mixing is slightly more clear. The piano is slightly more sustained. The vocals are slightly more rumbly and Shiina Ringo-y. I also enjoy the slide guitar solo thing.

So good. And yet so bad.

mp3: Shiina Ringo - Georgy Porgy

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Buffalo Daughter

I need to ramble. About Shibuya-Kei pop. I know. It's technically J-Pop. But it's SHIT-ASS WEIRD J-pop. Also, the more I listen to it and think about it, it's a lot more electronic and punk-based than it is pop.

What's truly crazy is how everybody in the Shibuya-Kei pop chain all know each other and have collaborated or remixed one anothers songs. As may have been implied with the weekly Cover Song dealie, I am thoroughly excited by collaboration and line-crossing and all that. But the weird thing is how some of this Shibuya-Kei ended up on the Grand Royal label (aka, The Beastie Boys). And that would be Buffalo Daughter, with their first two full-length releases ending up on Grand Royal, along with the probably better-known Cibo Matto and all their released albums.

But enough with the credentials and connections and crap. Let's cut to the chase.
Things I love about Buffalo Daughter:
-the cut&paste electronic techniques
-the use of moog and other keyboards
-the general guitar sound
-the interaction between electronics and guitars
-the fact that one of their three members names is Dr. Moog.
-another member calling herself "Sugar Yamamoto."
-the musical build over repetition
-the repetition (my aural attention-span is might sturdy)
-the whimsical-ish vocals
-the absurdity (which you will hear)

Here are some sounds for your listening pleasure...

mp3: Buffalo Daughter - Sky High
mp3: Buffalo Daughter - Dr Mooooog (this song doesn't actually start doing anything much until after the 1st minute, so sit tight...)
mp3: Buffalo Daughter - I


Oops. I was having some ftp problems. Everything should be fixed and where it belongs now.

Monday, March 12, 2007

You Don't Own Me

I know that a week has passed and I haven't posted. But hey, school is hellish. Cut me some slack.

But anyway. It is once again Monday. You know what that means.

This week is Rasputina, covering You Don't Own Me, originally by 60's pop singer Lesley Gore.

Very cello-y. Kind of ominous. Enjoy.

mp3: Rasputina - You Don't Own Me (Lesley Gore cover)