Okay, so I’m totally out of touch with today’s music, and I end up listening to oldies. I didn’t buy many new albums this year (that’s how old I am–I still call them “albums”) but my favorites were El Camino by The Black Keys and Blunderbuss by Jack White. What was everyone else’s favorite music from the past year?
Joe got flummoxed last week when I posted a link to the awesome inbflat.net on Facebook but not on the blog and he almost missed it. It is indeed great. I like combining the glass marimbas with the bass, the clarinet, the weirdo with the ambient voice and the flight of the red balloons sequence. It’s like my own little Michael Mann soundtrack.
Something I’ve been playing more with lately is the tonematrix by programmer André Michelle, based on Yamaha’s Tenori-On. Sometimes I’ll just let the mouse slide around randomly on that board and come up with the strangest, hypnotic pling-plong.
There is also something called Audiotool, where you can have a whole set of amplifiers, knobs and stuff, but that’s way too complex and timeconsuming for me.
Thankfully there’s the slightly easier WD-1 DJ-trainer to practice on, even if its selections are pretty cheesy.
Then of course there’s just the plain weirdness that is Looptracks.net.
Surfing on YouTube made me think of the topic question: what is your least favourite theme song for a movie?
Two stand out for me:
- Paul McCartney’s title song for the 1985 comedy ‘Spies Like Us’. Hated that song when I heard it years ago and still hate it now. Probably surpasses ‘Coming Up’ and ‘Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da’ as my least favourite McCartney song.
- MC Hammer’s infamous ‘Addams Grove’ for the 1991 big-screen version of ‘The Addams Family’. It’s bad enough that it’s such an obnoxious tune, but it’s even worse considering how ill-fitting it is for the film (and such a poor substitute for the theme song of the 1960s TV series).
Feel free to add as many as you wish.
Anyone have any recommendations?
Used to be that I deferred to Metacritic if I needed something to listen to and go with the cream of the crop there. Not everything was to my taste, but at least you got to hear some interesting stuff. After finding The Hype Machine though I think I’m going to stick more with that one. Finding blogs like Good Weather For Airstrikes has been a godsend.
Jens Lekman – Sweet Summer’s Night On Hammer Hill
The Wombats – Kill The Director
Test Icicles – Circle, Square, Triangle
Bat For Lashes – I’m On Fire (Bruce Springsteen cover)
Kings of Convenience – Know How (feat. Feist)
Radiohead – Weird Fishes/Arpeggi
Justice – B.E.A.T. (extended version)
Danger – Revolte 22h10
Superstar Michael Jackson has licensed the use of the Beatles’ song “All You Need Is Love” for a series of new advertisements – for a diaper company. The hitmaker still has a stake in the music publishing company Sony/ART, which owns the rights to the Fab Four’s back catalogue. But the company’s decision to license the hit “All You Need Is Love” to pharmaceutical and cosmetics firm Proctor & Gamble is a “surprise” to John Lennon‘s widow Yoko Ono, because they had always given her advance notice of their intentions in the past. The song will appear in ads for the Luvs branded diapers, according to the New York Daily News.
Must make Paul feel a little like Driveshaft…talk about Meta:
According to extra material on the Season 2 DVDs, the producers wanted the Driveshaft members to cross Abbey Road in diapers in the commercial, but couldn’t secure permission.
I bought a couple of new CDs last week. The first was Zeitgeist, by Smashing Pumpkins. Right off the bat, I noticed a big change – they no longer had the “The” in front of their name, added with Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. I thought this was too bad, because I always thought that “The Smashing Pumpkins” was a much better name than simply “Smashing Pumpkins”.
This added to pre-existing doubts that I had from reading about the release of the album, which you can read about on Wikipedia. Basically, there are something like 4 different albums out there with different track listings. I think at this point we’re all familiar with the ploy where “Bonus Tracks!!!” are available when the album is purchased through a specific retailer, but this seemed different for one big reason: depending on where you buy the disc, the bonus tracks may be available inserted into the middle of the album. I think it’s safe to say that if tracks can be arbitrarily added or subtracted from the album, you probably haven’t crafted a particularly cohesive piece of art.
I’m somewhat of an unconventional Pumpkins fan, as I don’t really have a lot of use for Gish or Siamese Dream but always loved Mellon Collie and for all I know, I’m the only person out there who really likes Adore. I’ve never been able to understand the negative reputation that album has had from the time it was released. Anyway, it’s probably not fair to call this a Pumpkins record in the first place, since Iha and D’arcy are nowhere to be found, and have been replaced by … Billy Corgan, naturally. The album credits Jimmy Chamberlin on drums, and Billy C. with “everything else.”
In other words, Zeitgeist is basically a Corgan solo record, and it feels more like the followup to Corgan’s solo TheFutureEmbrace than it does a followup to the last official Pumpkins album, Machina/The Machines of God. It doesn’t really sound like TheFutureEmbrace, but it shares with that record a uniform tone and a conspicuous lack of musical dynamics. It’s a collection of mid-tempo rock songs with a grinding, hard guitar underpinning, and none of the songs stand out from the other. You could pretty much play any song at random, and not know which one it is.
Long gone are the days where a Pumpkins record would offer endless surprises; Mellon Collie, Adore and the box set The Aeroplane Flies High provided an astonishing array of song styles and sounds. But this downward creative trend by Corgan has been on display since Machina, which was disappointing at the time and doesn’t sound any better now (Mary Star of the Sea, released by Corgan’s post-Pumpkins band Zwan, was not all that distinctive either). Zeitgeist is, frankly, a boring album, and I was pretty much finished with it after a couple of days. On the bright side, though, it’s got me listening to Mellon Collie again, and enjoying it quite a bit.
Much more enjoyable has been Arcade Fire’s Neon Bible. The album was actually released back in March, and I really don’t know why it’s taken me so long to get it. I liked their debut album, Funeral, although I wasn’t as enamored of it as a lot of other people. Still, I had always planned to pick up their second album, but never really felt the urgency, even though I enjoyed their SNL appearance promoting the album, and noticed very positive reviews (including one by Jackrabbit Slim at his site).
But it’s really a fantastic set of songs. It’s more disciplined and mature than Funeral was, both musically and lyrically. A handful of songs (“Keep the Car Running”, personal favorite “Intervention”, and “(Antichrist Television Blues)”) are as good as anything I’ve heard in years, and even the weaker tracks (“The Well and the Lighthouse”, “Windowsill”) are pretty good. I’d definitely have to say that they’re one of the best bands going right now, and I’m glad I finally got around to realizing it.
In the 1970′s, it was essentially mandatory for any celebrity under fifty to put out an album. If I’m not mistaken, it may have been a SAG rule at the time.
Simple, but very strange, beautiful and cool. Makes me want to go see Rashomon all over again.
So what y’all been listening to the last couple of months?