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)

Monday, March 5, 2007


It's a Perry Ferrell Rave of sorts.

This is a cover of a Porno For Pyro's song, Pets (as well as a short quote from the song Sadness, and Mountain Song by Jane's Addiction). In SKA FORM, by a band called Greenhouse and the Tender Ju-Ju Coins.

I first heard this song as a ten-year-old ( did I find such odd music when I was ten?), and I suspect it is the reason I am as enamored with keyboard and electric organ sounds as I am. Sad but true. Anyway, this song is so upbeat and weird and not like the original and honestly, I am a little bit ashamed to admit that I still really enjoy it, despite its whatever-ness.

And try as I might now, I can't dig up any information on the covering band. Google has returned nothing. This is one of those "my sister put this on a tape I stole, and many years later I ganked the CD and ripped it" songs.

mp3: Greenhouse - Pets (Porno for Pyros cover)

Sheer ridiculosity.

Cover Mondays

Announcement: Mondays will be cover song day.

I have to say. There's nothing I like more than a good cover. I'm not sure what about the idea of one band playing songs written by another band tickles me pink so much. Possibly because the part of me which is classically trained has always dealt with reproducing works that have been in existence long before I came along as a musician. Cover songs are a little bit the same with a lot more creative leeway, as you are not following a notated score. Think of the possibilities.

At this point in life I certainly have a collection of weird covers. It's kind of ridiculous. Here is a rundown of my "best-of" list:

Best Cover Song, Period: R.E.M. - Crazy (originally by Pylon)

Best Cover That Is A Good Sight Different And Refreshing From Original: Tori Amos - Rattlesnakes (originally by Lloyd Cole and the Commotions)

Best Cover Song Involving The Beatles and Kameda Seiji's Bass Playing: Shiina Ringo - Yer Blues (originally by The Beatles)

Best Cover Song For Not Sounding A Thing Like The Original: Dismemberment Plan - Close To Me (originally by The Cure)

Best Cover Of A Song I Am Deliriously Obsessed With: Stereolab - St. Elmo's Fire (originally by Brian Eno)

Best Cover Song For Obvious Worship Of Perry Ferrel And Use Of Keyboard: Greenhouse - Pets (originally by Porno For Pyros with short bit of a song by Jane's Addiction)

Best Cover Song For Sounding So Much Like The Original And Being So Freaking 70's - Shiina Ringo - Georgy Porgy (originally by Toto)

Best Pair Of Wildly Different Covers Of One Song: Cornelius - Brazil and Real Tuesday Weld - Return I Will To Old Brazil

Best Cover Song Involving Full String Quartet - Kronos Quartet - Marquee Moon (originally by Television)

Best Cover Song Made Into Something Palatable Out Of Something Freaking Weird - Phish - Roses Are Free (originally by Ween)

Best Cover Song That Results In Talia Dancing Around Like An Idiot: R.E.M. - Tighten Up (originally by Archie Bell)

Best Cover Song Involving Cellos And Pink Floyd: Rasputina - Wish You Were Here (originally by Pink Floyd)

Best Band Medley Done On The Spot During A Live Show: Stuart Davis - Medley (involving a whole lot of Lynyrd Skynyrd)

Best Cover Involving A Bossendorfer piano being run through a Marshall Amp: Tori Amos - If 6 was 9 (originally by Jimi Hendrix)

Those are only a handful of covers I love.

And this is why every Monday will be Cover Monday. Or whatever. I can't think of a wittier name.

Friday, March 2, 2007

808 State

And now for something completely different, I give you electronic group 808 State (Yes, named after the Roland TR-808), formed in Manchester, England around '88. They are of I guess you could call the Acid House genre but...well, I'm bad with genres. And names and things in general. I discovered 808 State through a collaboration with Björk on one of their songs (Ooops), as well as some of Björk's released songs (go figure, as Björk is the queen of collaboration as well as ridiculous award-wear garb). So here is one song.

mp3: Mooz


I'm asking a serious question. Where is it? I feel like I hear a steady beat of count 1 and 3, but then later it seems like what is the back-beat could actually be beats 1 and 3. Seriously. It changes. For at least three years, I've thought the beat landed the first way, and the last two have left me wondering if it's really the other way. Now I'm starting to wonder if it's both and we're just not supposed to figure it out. I'm not crazy, right?!

Anybody who can give me a satisfying answer gets some sort of a prize.

And aside from not knowing where the beat is, I greatly enjoy this song. I like heavy beats anywhere, especially when those strong beats are back-beats (which, they might be in this song, at least some of the time?). And juxtaposition of beats with bright sounds. The unintelligible vocals are pretty cool, too.

To be quite honest, though, I love songs where it takes me a few tries to figure out where the beat is. It gives my brain something to do, something more to listen for.

It's difficult to categorize 808 State. Maybe they sound a bit old-school for what people are used to these days, but that's probably exactly why I like them (I've been noticing recently that have a soft spot for out-dated crap). I think they are very "real" sounding in a lot of ways, but in contrast to some fairly unconventional sounds that lead them to be a little quirky. If you listen to enough of their songs, you'll pick up that their most consistent and unifying sound feature is the fundamental type of sound (via keyboards, synths, somewhat organic and plain-sounding), whereas the actual songs in their structure and layering are complex and very different from one another. To refer back to their "real" sounds, I've noticed that they integrate real instrument sounds for a reasonable sum of their music (regular band-setting instruments like guitar, also sax, strings), as opposed to using strictly electronic sounds. And the real seems to alternate with the electronic a lot. Cool stuff.

Enough rambling. Here are some more sounds for your ears.

mp3: Joyrider

mp3: Ooops (with Björk)