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.