Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Happy New Year from LET!

I don't know about you, darlings, but 2009 has been both kind and oh-so cruel. The highs of 2009 were astronomical, SXSW and the NIN/JA tour immediately spring to mind. But the tail of the year has been a real pisser (most recent setback: premature iPod demise. Anyone have any hookups to Apple?!). I've been busily deciding on some resolutions, the first of which was resolving to have resolutions again. I didn't make any last NYE, and figured what the hell.

2010, you are welcomed with open arms. Please don't suck.

Another of my resolutions involves writing more. While lately this has proven challenging (another lemon 2009 has thrown my way is computer problems), now that I only have 5 more work days until the void known as gainful unemployment, I'll have plenty of time to let Chris take a breather every now and then. But I must say, as far as partners in crime go, Mr. Terrible is as good as it gets.

In the spirit of the New Year, may I present to you two wonderful NYE-appropriate tunes. The first, being from those darlings of
The Walkmen, is a driving force in the face of the harsh winter. The second is a new take on an old classic, Vandaveer's cover of "Auld Lang Syne". If you don't yet know about Vandaveer, don't worry, you soon will.

And with that, on behalf of Chris and myself I'd like to wish you all a spectacularly Happy New Year! May 2010 be limitlessly joyful, and bring you much happiness and good health. Cheers!

In The New Year (buy)

Auld Lang Syne (free Xmas EP)

Old Skool Review: Eric B. and Rakim

It just dawned on me that while there's been a fair amount of the hipping and the hopping here at LET of late, it's all been of a decidedly current bent. Seeing as this could well be the last post of the year and how much you damn kids love to hear about how things were back in my day ("Our mixtapes actually were mixtapes, so stay the hell off my lawn before you mess up the potholes, punk!"), i figured now was a damn fine time to break out another Old Skool Review if i damn well say so my damn self.

Today we're going to deal with one of the strongest MC/DJ combos of all times, Eric B. & Rakim. Back in the day, the Long Island duo essentially were IT. Credited rightly or wrongly with everything from the introduction of DJs sampling James Brown to creating gangsta rap (remember that Follow the Leader video?), it's hard to think of a stronger matching pair than these guys during their all-too-short six year run. In a time when a lot of players were trying desperately to define the genre, Eric B. and Rakim did so with such effortless style it's a wonder they don't get royalties from every single rap record made since then.

The two eventually disbanded, allegedly over label issues. They've both had a solo album or two, with Rakim receiving the lion's share of accolades since their dissolution. Isn't that always the way? Note to self: while DJ Terrible is making itself a household name, work on that lyrical fury if you want to have a better shelf life.

Eric had a smooth but spooky style, using numerous JB beats as previously mentioned. Rakim has a staccato style, slow, but forceful at the same time. Combined, the two formed some otherworldly Mecha-Beast of superior, yet sinister sounds.
And that, my friends, ain't no joke.

mp3: Paid in Full (Eric B. & Rakim from Paid in Full)

mp3: Microphone Fiend (Eric B. & Rakim from Follow the Leader)

mp3: Mahogany (Eric B & Rakim from Let the Rhythm Hit 'Em)

Oh, in case you did NOT remember that video:

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

More Free Mixtape Love

i hope to get another post up later today, but i'm totally blown away by what i'd call some rather glaring omissions from some of the "Top 10 Mixtapes" lists i've been seeing. i'm pretty sure it's my self-appointed duty to do what i can to enlighten the masses, no? As always, props to those that helped me find this stuff in the first place.

Heads noddin' and bobbin' shout out to the incomparable Berkeley Place for heppin' LET to "LE DA SOUL: 20 Years of De La Soul" from i've professed my love for those D.A.I.S.Y. lovers here before, so imagine my delight finding a mixtape of some up and comers rapping over De La beats. Very, very nice.

And, of course, yet another tip of the kangol to Passion of the Weiss for introducing LET to both Danny! and Flying Lotus. i've already waxed rhapsodic on Danny!, so let me take a moment or two to do the same for Flying Lotus. The fool is a space-age DJ that sounds years ahead of the game. When he gave away those Lil' Wayne remixes earlier this year, i figured he'd done enough to keep the masses happy, but then he goes and releases a 10-year retrospective mixed by the Gaslamp Killer. Sweet Bippy, this is some incredible stuff.

(Ed. note: i hope LET readers are checking out those aforementioned blogs with undying loyalty, so my apologies to those that are and see some repetition of topics. However, it's always good tuneage, so don't be so damn pushy.)

mp3: Pease Porridge (Mick Boogie & Terry Urban ft. Phife Dawg from LE DA SOUL: 20 Years of De La Soul)

mp3: A Decade of Flying Lotus (Flying Lotus remixed by Gaslamp Killer)

Monday, December 28, 2009

Singles Club: Sound the Horns

Sorry, folks, park's closed. The moose out front should have told you.

Hey, you're lucking to be getting anything from the blogosphere during the holidays, you ingrates. It's a good thing for you that i love you the way i do, or that would be the end of that.

Can you tell i'm a bit tired? Well, after a rollicking Christmas with the fam, the Missus and i went on the home inspection for the new house this morning. Then i had another doc's appointment, and now i'm the only one in the office because everyone else is out on vacation. While i arguably could have used this time to wax rhapsodic upon whatever, i kind of feel like something from Inspectah Deck is appropriate, what with the home inspection (including large deck) and all, so that's what you're getting. So there. Sew buttons, as a matter of fact.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

On The Soap Box

(Ed. Note: We normally steer clear of anything political 'round these parts. Personally, i think they're all in cahoots, towards whichever side of the pendulum they claim to swing. i received a message earlier today from the 9:30 Club, though, that most likely impacts nearly all LET readers--the proposed merger between Ticket Master and Live Nation. Since they've gone to all the trouble of taking legitimate steps towards making sure this doesn't happen, i'll leave it to those hep cats to explain. Final word--i wrote and sent the proposed email suggested below. If you're tired of getting charged exorbitant fees to hear live music, you should do the same.)

Concert Fans Beware!

There’s a train wreck about to happen and consumer groups say YOU will be the victim if the two most powerful corporate interests in the live concert business get their way. But you can help stop the merger of Ticketmaster and Live Nation. The government needs to hear from music fans now. Tell the Department of Justice that you’re against these monopolies amassing illegal power over consumers, before it’s too late.

As a concertgoer you have already felt the pain, and if Ticketmaster and Live Nation get their way, it’ll get worse. In the last 12 years, since Live Nation and its predecessor started its widespread takeover of the concert industry, concert ticket prices have shot up 82% while the consumer price index has gone up just 17%*. We are concerned that if the two concert industry behemoths, Live Nation and Ticketmaster, are permitted to merge, the variety and quality of artists coming to local venues will be affected, and your costs could rise further and faster.
Five of the nation’s most prominent public interest groups called on the Department of Justice to block the proposed merger of Ticketmaster and Live Nation:

“Consumers deserve a fair deal in the entertainment marketplace, not the fewer choices and higher prices that would result from this merger,” said Susan Grant, Director of Consumer Protection at Consumer Federation of America

“This merger is an insult to both musicians and consumers,” said James Love, Director of Knowledge Ecology International
“We cannot envision a remedy that would ease this chilling impediment to competition… In the absence of other effective, expeditious remedies, the proposed transaction should be prohibited.” American Antitrust Institute White Paper
As described by Senator Herb Kohl (WI) in the House Antitrust hearing, “This merger will not only expand Ticketmaster’s control of the ticketing market by eliminating a competitor, but it is also creating an entity that will control the entire chain of the concert business – from artist management to concert promotion and production to ticketing and ticket resale.”

“This merger would be a disaster for consumers. Nothing short of blocking this takeover of the ticket market by two industry behemoths will be acceptable,” said National Consumers League Executive Director Sally Greenberg.

“As president, I will direct my administration to reinvigorate antitrust enforcement. I will step up review of merger activity and take effective action to stop or restructure those mergers that are likely to harm consumer welfare…,” said Senator Barack Obama when he was campaigning for the presidency.

If you agree with the consumer groups and lawmakers, make a difference and LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD NOW.

Send a message to the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice telling them you support President Obama’s campaign promise to protect the American public from abusive monopolies.

To learn more, check out:


The 9:30 Club, I.M.P., Merriweather Post Pavilion, Jam Productions, Metropolitan Talent, Another Planet Entertainment, Frank Productions, Stone City Attractions, Rams Head Live, The Black Cat ... and independent concert promoters and venue operators nationwide.

*Study by Princeton University economist Alan Krueger

mp3: Political Song (Brock, live at IOTA, 2-9-04)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Greatest Getting Ready To Buy A House Mix You Will Ever Hear

(Ed. note: i actually wrote this entire thing yesterday afternoon, but thought i'd have time to post it last night since i hadn't finished the links. Guess i was wrong on that one. Oops.)

OK, kids, i'm going to put together a bid to purchase a house in a couple of hours, so that's obviously going to reflect in this here post o' mine. C'mon, you know how things work 'round these parts by now, don't you? If not, you may really want to rethink majoring in Terrible Chrisology. Sure, the lab work seemed light at first glance, but you knew the readings were going to be killer. Plus, who could have guessed that all that nude modeling was required? What's really disappointing, though, is that your parents honestly believed this was going to be the semester you finally graduated. And now you've let them down again. i hope you are satisfied. Ass hat.

Changing topics completely, anyone out there a Gabriel Garcia Marquez fan? Specifically, have you read The Trail of Your Blood in the Snow? i cut my cuticle nearly seven hours ago, and the damn thing is still bleeding. That can't be good, can it?

Now back to the Greatest Getting Ready To Buy A House Mix You Will Ever Hear...

The Missus probably will disagree, but one of the things i'm most looking forward to regarding buying a new house is the opportunity it will allow me to have a room dedicated entirely to ninjas. While i may or may not be kidding, was your immediate reaction that such a room was incredibly cool or patently lame? Factor your geekdom quotient accordingly. One million bonus points if you're female and went with the former.

Who doesn't want their home to be a metaphor for illicit sex? Nobody. Not even your grandfather. While that's probably not the actual metaphor that Zero 7 was shooting for on this track, i stand by my initial statement.

Good advice is good advice.

This is going to be the third house we've tried to purchase (first one, the preggers wife of the selling couple went hormonal and decided she didn't want to sell after all; second one, guy didn't like our bid, which was his problem, as he was approximately $100K overpriced; and now this one). Of course, we've already sold the place we live in and have to move out in a few weeks, meaning it's either moving into the Ps' basement or out on the streets if this bid doesn't happen.

As long as it doesn't go as bad as this, though, i'm sure we'll be fine.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Singles Club: The Swinging Singles Edition

i figured i was just going to put together some snow mix today, seeing as how the DC area got hit with around two feet worth of the powdery stuff over the weekend, but i suppose i'll reserve that for another day. When i turned on my computer this morning, i found a virtual cornucopia of free mp3 love just waiting for me to share with you. For both our protection and enjoyment, rest assured that i'm wearing a full latex bodysuit while i type this. Actually, i'm wearing nothing but hip waders right this moment, but we're clearly getting off topic here. Yipes.

If you already are on the Zero 7 email list, you'd know that the band is offering a kick-ass live session version of "Mr. McGee," the regular version of which can be found their latest, Yeah Ghost. You might think that the band is only capable of creating its sound in a studio environment, but that would simply make you wrong. Having seen these cats live a couple of times now, i can assure you that they put on a stellar show. i imagine you'll agree with me that this track goes a long way in furthering my point. In return for said sign, they'd be ever so thankful if you'd join that aforementioned email list.

mp3: Mr. McGee (Zero 7, live session)

Next up is the latest from Jason Collett from his upcoming Rat a Tat Tat CD. Due out March 9, 2010, Mr. C once again teams up with Carlin Nicholson and Michael O’Brien. If this track, Love is a Dirty Word, is any indication, we're in for another round of indie pop rock goodness. You know, for my money, those Arts & Crafts cats just can't seem to put out a bad album.

mp3: Love is a Dirty Word (Jason Collett from Rat a Tat Tat)

Still not sure whose mailing list sent me our next yum yum treat, but if you've always thought another collaboration between Danger Mouse and James Mercer would be tits, well, consider yourself amply breasted, kid. They did a fine job teaming up on "Insane Lullaby" on Dark Night of the Soul, and might just sound even better here. If nothing else, this latest track is a lot less spastic. Their new project is called Broken Bells, and ditto on that signing up for ye olde email list. Oh, and ditto on the March 9 release date, too, though an on-line version will be available tomorrow (Dec. 22).

mp3: The High Road (Broken Bells from Broken Bells)

And for a final piece of goodness, Kayne West has the latest from Mos Def up on his blog. Ski Beatz produced the track, but i have no idea what album this is from or what Kanye's role in the track might be. Oh well, it's kick ass regardless, so who's complaining? It's not like the guy hasn't provided the world with buckets of entertainment in the past.

mp3: 24 Hour Karate School (Mos Def from Kayne's website)

Regarding calling today's Single's Club the Swinging Singles edition, i really just wanted an excuse to post this.

Chrissy Snow as a boozing whore and J.J. Evans trying to avoid marriage. Now That's DYNOMITE!

Friday, December 18, 2009

It's Covered: Joy to the World

You've probably noticed i've shied away from "traditional" Xmas tunes here at LET. Quite frankly, we've heard those songs a billion times before by a billion different artists, but hardly anybody ever does anything different or exciting with them.

Fortunately, we've got two artists today that have gone out of their way to prove me wrong. While you might not think of Joy to the World as an indie classic, here are a couple of cats who are trying to change your opinion on the matter. First published in 1719, the song has nothing to do with the birth of Baby Jesus. Instead, it's about his return following his death (or at least a very heavy three day nap). So while all of us think we're singing a birthday hymn of some sort, we're actually apparently trying to usher in Christian Ragnarok. Which is nice.

Indie fave Banjo or Freakout has just put out a FREE Xmas EP of classics that sound absolutely nothing like the originals. Clearly, if the band name is posing a question, the answer is definitely Freakout, as i have yet to hear any Banjo on this thing. Any way, here's his take on the track. It's a spacey, hazy affair that starts with what sounds like an old children's album sample stating the parts of the body. What that has to do with the price of potatoes is beyond me, but even if it weren't free, this thing is worth the price of admission.

Secondly, we have Eef Barzelay's plaintive version. The Clem Snide front man gives this a sparse arrangement, just vocals and soft vocals. And yet, it sounds all the more powerful for its lack of bombast. Personally, i dig it. And while its not blog-on-blog love, Rory, if you're reading this, thanks for turning me onto Eef in the first place.

Of course, the version that seems to stick the most in my mind comes from the Claymation Christmas Celebration. While this is the only song segment that didn't' feature dried out grapes or borderline sacrilegious camels, this clip does still contain the two very gay dinosaur hosts. So it's got that going for it. Man alive, cartoons back in the day were pretty fucked up.

mp3: Joy to the World (Banjo or Freakout from XA2009)

mp3: Joy to the World (Eef Barzelay from Bitter Honey)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

It's Covered: When the River Meets the Sea

Every year, the networks trudge out the same old holiday specials. You've got your tried and true Chuck Brown and his pathetic tree and the Grinch fucking with the Whos, as well as some newer numbers, like Shrek, making a bid for "classic" status. Back when i was knee high to a grasshopper, there was a show that helped "make it" Christmas for me every year which, sadly, no longer sees the light of syndicated day. As any Gen Xer worth his salt would know, i'm obviously talking about Emmett Otter's Jug-Band Christmas. This is old school Muppetry at its finest--Jim was still live and kickin' and Walt Inc. hadn't gotten their nasty little fingers into that marionette puppet pie. HBO ran the show for a number of Christmases past, but hasn't in forever. i'm guessing it has something to do with the aforementioned Disney buy-out, but who knows?

Regardless, the show had a number of winner tracks. One might even be on the verge of that "classic" status. For those of you in the know, i'm obviously talking about "When the River Meets the Sea," though i wouldn't have faulted you if you thought i meant "Riverbottom Nightmare Band." While the track was written by Paul Williams for the Emmett Otter special and later covered by John Denver and the Muppets for that kick ass Christmas album, it actually isn't about Christmas or even the holidays at all. It's about dying and leaving this mortal coil, so you know the kids loved it immediately.

For your listening pleasure, we have two versions from Ma Otter herself, plus JD and the Muppets, AND a take by none other than Rose Polenzani (that's OK, i didn't know who she was, either). Whilst enjoying, i strongly recommend chowing down on some of Momma's barbecue, but that may just be me.

mp3: When the River Meets the Sea (Ma Otter and Emmett Otter's Jug-Band from Emmett Otter's Jug-Band Christmas)

mp3: When the River Meets the Sea (John Denver and the Muppets from A Christmas Together)

mp3: When the River Meets the Sea (Rose Polenzani, live on WERS, 3/13/07)

(Ed. note: continuing our blog-on-blog lovefest of late, a special shout out to another of our faves, She'll Grow Back, for assistance procuring the EOJB soundtrack. Longtime loiterers will recall that these are the cats that inspired It's Covered in the first place, so you can blame/thank Mark over there accordingly by checking out his blog. His Stagger Lee Saturdays alone are worth the price of admission.)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Breaking News! All DC, All The Time!

Yes, friends, the rumors they are true.

Yours truly is leaving the Richmond, VA office of LET and moving back to the northern reaches of the fair Commonwealth of Virginia. I won't be covering Richmond after January 31st, when I leave my wonderful (though leaky) apartment on Monument Avenue for the last time. This means that Chris and I will both be focusing on the DC metro area, so please bear that in mind as we move forward in 2010. Your favorite DC/RVA blog will now just be your favorite DC blog (we hope!).

People have asked me why I'm leaving Richmond. While I have found my 2-odd years here full of fun and excitement, I just missed the huge traffic jams and cranky politicos that DC offers in spades. Just kidding. I missed the abundance of music, mostly, and so I had no choice but to return.

In honor of my move back, here's my oh-so-very favorite song about DC, done by the splendid, divine, incomparable Magnetic Fields.

It's Covered: Gravity Rides Everything

Alright, i'm going to be upfront here and admit i can't really think of much to talk about today. Usually, a song or theme or something hits my radar, and then these little posts have a way of writing themselves. Today, i got nuthin'. No such celestial muse found its way towards me so far today, meaning i guess i'm going to have to fake it.

So i'm driving home last night, and i asked The Missus if we had a bucket at home. She asked what size, and i replied, "You know, the regular size." After a brief discussion detailing exactly how many and of what size buckets we had, The Missus queried as to why i needed a bucket in the first place. As chance would have it, i really felt like making a gravity bong last night. Don't ask me why because i have no answer. The mood just struck me is all, i guess. Unfortunately, i never got around to it, which might explain why i find myself less than motivated today. You can't build up that kind of excitement for yourself and then not deliver. That's like starting to rub one out and then stopping because of an alleged finger cramp. Not cool.

Fortunately, however, while lamenting the lack of self-fulfillment on my part, i recalled that i had a couple of kick ass versions of "Gravity Rides Everything," and here we are. The Mouse wrote the track for The Moon & Antarctica, though you may remember it from that Nissan Quest commercial. The cover is by Lenka, an Australian lass i know next to nothing about. Though she's since released a single version, this particular track is from the Woodstock Sessions. (Not sure what they're putting into the water Down Under, but between her and Sia, Australia seems to be cornering the world market on pixie-like lady singers with only one name.) Excellent versions, the both of them.

i have no idea what the hell is going on here, but i think it's obvious this chick has done more than her fair share of gravity bongs.

And thus, it all comes back to footwear.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Singles Club: Gift Basket

Historically, the last couple of weeks of the year are somewhat quiet around my office. Everything that needs to be wrapped up for the 09 books usually is by now, so folks start clocking out earlier and earlier as December drags on. Throw into the mix the fact that both Xmas and NYE both are causing long weekends, and it's damn surprising anybody is getting anything done at all these days.

And yet, for reasons i cannot begin to fathom, it's busier than all get out here at the Terrible Family Bidness. While trying to figure out what could possibly be the cause of this new madness, i was reminded of one of my all-time favorite holiday tunes, Gift Basket by Ethan Lipton.

Now, i've never seen Ethan live, but i've been addicted to his music since the good folks over at The Late Greats hipped me to his dulcet tones. Suffice to say, Mr. Lipton has a way with witty lyrics, plus a damn impressive horn blower on his roster, so it's pretty much all good any way you slice it.

Fortunately, Mr. Lipton has a couple of cold weather tracks for our listening pleasure, plus one of my top 25 (maybe higher) favorite songs of this decade. Enjoy.

mp3: Gift Basket (Ethan Lipton from Gift Basket)
mp3: Winter (Ethan Lipton from Mr. Softy)

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Greatest Inappropriate for a Workplace Xmas Party Mix You Will Ever Hear

So today's mix theme is hysterectomies.

Actually, i am totally fucking with you. A hysterectomy mix. Jebus, can you imagine? Yipes.

i do, however, have a mix in mind. Here it is, nearly halfway through December, and i haven't put together one Christmas Mix for you cats. (Yes, i do say Christmas--not Holiday or Seasonal. Look, i'm about as agnostic as they come, but if the early Christians went to all that trouble to rip off the pagans in their efforts to destroy the older religion, well then, by gum, it's their damn holiday, and they get to call the shots. Fair is fair, after all. And co-opting is for the birds.)

After much prodding, my lazy ass got around to making an Xmas Mix for the Missus' office party. The only "rule" i was given was to keep it clean enough for the post-party clean-up. i thought i did a pretty good job, with only one "maybe not" song on there. Of course, the mix consequently was played in front of some Veep, who then admonished the Missus, who then let me know what was what.

Note to readers: As kick ass a song as it is, Fairytale of New York by the Pogues apparently isn't "appropriate for a workplace environment." Go figure.

It is with the above in mind that i bring to you The Greatest Inappropriate for a Workplace Xmas Party Mix You Will Ever Hear. My stars and garters, you are some lucky bastards.

What better way to kick things off than this heartfelt wish for the true meaning of Christmas.

I could have gone with a couple of different tracks by my personal favorite pint-sized rapper, but this one seemed to work best. Sure, he's talking about, you know, the reefer, but he's Christmas-ed it up by using Xmas foliage as a metaphor. Which was nice of him.

i'll be honest, i didn't care for many of the songs on this otherwise hilarious CD, but what's not to love about a Hebron sister's plea for her share of the Xmas loot? Plus, it encompasses my favorite part of religion--quaint dismissal of all other religions. Gods bless us, everyone!

Not technically Christmas specific, but it's certainly winter-y enough to make the list. Plus, everyone needs a bit more Zappa in their daily diet. Anyway, some people find this song to be gross. Personally, i think it's just good advice.

i've probably mentioned it before, but Neil is one of my top three favorite current writers. There's nothing particularly "inappropriate" about this spoken word piece at all. But it is kind of creepy as hell. You certainly wouldn't want to play this at any party with young kids present, though, i'm pretty sure of that.

This is actually a "hidden" track on the album. Why do bands do that? It's not hidden at all, jack, you're just making me sit through some indeterminate period of silence before the pay-off. Pretty selfish if you ask me, dog. Just saying. Anyway, even though it's kind of old-timey jazz, most employers don't like pot tracks. Bastards.

Dude, it's a Christmas song by Snoop Dogg. Do the math.

An elf's plan to bang Santa's Old Lady. Monkey bless the U.S. of A.

You'd think this would have everything an office Xmas track would need--rape, incest and murder. Well, i guess that depends entirely on where you work. i could have gone with the Roots cover here, as it's arguably an even creepier version, but i'm down with De La. What can i say?

i'm fairly confident this was the verse that didn't sit well with the Veep:

You're a bum
You're a punk
You're an old slut on junk
Lying there almost dead on a drip in that bed
You scumbag, you maggot
You cheap lousy faggot
Happy Christmas your arse
I pray God it's our last

i fucking love my Mc Brethern.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Xmas Gift Guide 2009: Light in the Attic Vinyl Subscription

Hello dear sirs and madames. Contrary to popular opinion, I have not fallen off the face of the Earth, though it certainly does feel that way. My dearest partner has been writing up a storm, so I thought it time to show my face around these parts for the first time in quite some time. I've been up to no good as usual, and there will be a fairly big announcement coming soon. But in the meantime, it's time to indulge in a little pre-holiday wish-listing.

Over the past year and a half or so, I've become moderately obsessed with vinyl. Most of my collection is of the used (and $1 variety, from Plan 9) ilk, but I certainly do enjoy hearing that modern music on the record player. This particular wish list item would be great for yours truly, or any other vinyl-hoarder you happen to know and love. Our dear, darling friends at Light in the Attic have put together another wonderful, tempting subscription service, much like the one they did last year (including Serge Gainsbourg and Karen Dalton to name just a couple). For the sum of $130 US dollars (slightly higher for you Canucks and other international sorts), you will be subscribed to a year-long feast of vinyl delights. Among the offerings for 2010 is the oh-so-scandalous Serge Gainsbourg/Jane Birkin opus J'Taime/Moi Non Plus, and the fun doesn't stop there.

Read all about it and get your subscriptions here. And if vinyl doesn't float your boat, the subscription is also available in CD and digital formats. Hurrah!

The Greatest MRI Mix You Will Ever Hear (Unless You Hang Out with Charlotte Gainsbourg, I suppose)

Guess who had an MRI today? Well, your mom might have had one, too, but yours truly most certainly had one, as well.

For those of you not in the know, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) essentially is a good way for doctors to look at your insides. To accomplish this, you're put inside of a large metal tube and blasted with Monkey knows what kind of rays. Now, i've been assured that no ionizing radiation is used, only simple magnetic fields. If that were entirely true, though, why did the technician hang out on the other side of a wall from the tube? Exactly. Let me tell you, this is not an activity for the claustrophobic. Fortunately, i wore a sleep mask and thought about what the inevitable MRI mix was going to sound like.

That's right, instead of contemplating being crushed by tons of steel in a coffin-like tube, i thought of you bastards. My canonization is imminent, i tell you what.

The process itself is loud as hell, so much so that i was offered (and accepted) ear plugs. The most interesting lesson today, though, came from ink. i was asked if i had any tats on the sign-in sheet and marked "yes." As they were getting ready to put me in the tube, the nurse asked me where my tattoo was. "Which one?," i replied. As the MRI was for my lumbar, she asked if i had one on my lower back. While i am a lot of things, fortunately i am not the kind of guy who has ass antlers. It appears that certain tat inks contain metal, so there was an outside chance of the magnets fucking with them during the procedure. Again, i didn't fall into that tramp stamp category, so it was a moot point, but thoughts of having a tat ingloriously ripped from one's flesh did keep my mind occupied for a moment or two.

All in all, the process wasn't too horrific. Of course, i was on my usual dose of meds and wearing a mask and earplugs, so i have no doubt it could have been much rougher. Ever since i got locked in a locker at the Y as a little kid, tight places haven't been too high on my list. But that, of course, is a story for a different campfire. Now back to the mix.

mp3: If I Don't Die (Some dude from a badly dubbed kung-fu flick)

What up, RZA? Like he's the only Mix Master with a cache of karate movie dialogue.

Leave it to those pesky French to go change the word order. Miz G underwent a number of MRIs herself recently. Where as most folks simply freak out while in there, she decided to use the noise as inspiration for her new CD. i guess if my old man was on Bridget Bardot's speed dial, i'd probably do weird shit like that, too.

While simply having Samurai Champloo tracks in a mix is enough to make it stellar, this track has the added bonus of actually sounding similar to all those blips and pings Charlotte seems to love so bad. At least, i was adding bass lines and keys to the mechanical drum solo i was hearing in my head to try to make it sound more like this. Again, though, i get good drugs.

i really wanted to use a Magnetic Fields track that had something to do with the medical profession, but i don't have such a song in my personal library. So i bring you one of my faves from their major opus. The pantone and Nino Rota lines are some of the most clever i've ever heard.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Free Mixtape Love

Sadly, i do not have any interesting medical updates today. Nothing was stuck in an uncomfortable orifice, my pee hasn't started glowing in the dark, and my cravings for brains remains pretty much at a constant, controllable level. So what the hell do we have to discuss today, class?

Well, i would hardly be worth my Irish heritage if i couldn't think of something with which to regale you lot. As luck would have it, i've stumbled across all sorts of good freebies in the past 24 hours. Luckier still, i have deigned to share these treasures with you jackals. After all, it is the holidays, and LET is all about the love.

First (and second) up are two incredible rap mixtapes by some freaking incredible underground, indie MCs, Danny! and Lupe Fiasco. i could lie and claim i stumbled upon this myself, but i won't. As with all your hip-hop news related needs, it came from one of my top three mp3 blogs, Passion of the Weiss. i could turn this into a real blog-on-blog handjob article on how dreamy PotW is, how i have their picture in my locker at school, blah, blah, blah, but that hardly would be very exciting, now would it? Instead, i will draw your attention to their take on the new Blakroc release. Any of that sound familiar? Did LET and PotW have some emails going back and forth on the topic, spitballing review ideas to one another? i really want to use the Robin Colcord lines from when he took Sam's ideas for the bar upgrades, but Google is really letting me down here. Anyway, they do a far better job than i can describing the latest from Danny! and Lupe Fiasco than i can, so i'll let you read theirs. i will say this, though--both spit fire with quick, intelligent and still goofy rhymes. Personally, i like Danny!'s beats better, but that's just me. Anybody who can add a Cheshire Cat sample from Disney's Alice in Wonderland is alright in my book.

(Ed. note 1: Students, refer to earlier chapters on Beef Wars. What's happening here is good natured ribbing to help cross-promote an excellent blog. Always remember and never forget, LET always using ribbing because we care about your pleasure.)

(Ed. note 2: Yes, i did go that far for that juvenile a condom joke. You're welcome)

Last, but most certainly not least, is a holiday treat from ex-Grandaddy frontman Jason Lytle. He's whipped up a handful of instrumental piano pieces just for us. Other than the album artwork and the note on the webpage denoting this is for Xmas 2009, there's nothing particularly "Christmas-y" about it, but it is excellent music to have on while wrapping presents nonetheless. According to the J-Man, the music is a result of him simply sitting down and recording about a half hour's worth of improvisational tunes. He claims this is one of his favorite things (musically) to do at home, and i have to admit, the comfortableness of the moment certainly does shine through.

You'll need to follow the various links below to get the full mixtapes, but here are some of my fave tracks to get your tongues in chop licking mode.

In summation, i'm not saying PotW is biting on my rhymes, chomping on my styles, macking on the kid like a crocodile, i'm just saying. You know what i'm saying?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Greatest (And Probably Only) Coumadin Mix You Will Ever Hear

In the on-going war to destroy my evil inner ninja scabs, one of my numerous docs has decided it's time for me to take Coumadin, marking the third blood thinner i'm currently on these days. While they have me doing these for different reasons, some of the lovely effects include bruising as easily as a kindergarten girl and tending to bleed heavily if so much as a sharp breeze passes me by. To make matters more interesting still, Pop pointed out that the drug originally was used as rat poison. It's clear that there's only one way to process all this information overload. Yep, that's right, it's time to put together The Greatest (And Probably Only) Coumadin Mix You Will Ever Hear.

You know, at this point, i might as well just start a "Stump the Mix Master" column where you cats are invited to attempt to give me a topic upon which you think it would otherwise be impossible to make a mix tape. Of course, i will prove you wrong, but at least the kids at home can play along.

Seriously, a Coumadin mix? Sweet Yoda on a yak, i'm fucking good.

(Ed. note: upon further review, it was blatantly clear to the otherwise three blind refs that this mix had to start with Groucho's remarks on the matter. For earlier fans who downloaded with the great mustachioed one riding fourth, please change your score cards to reflect appropriately. Clearly, i needed more meds before the original posting. Remember, kids, drugs make you strong, cool and popular.)

mp3: Poison (Grouch Marx clip from A Day at the Races)

mp3: Bleed Like Me (Garbage from Bleed Like Me)

mp3: Bruises (Melanie Pain from My Name Is)

mp3: I Smell A Rat (Buddy Guy from Stone Crazy!)

mp3: Poison (Bel Biv Devoe from Poison)

Monday, December 7, 2009

Drugged Up Kids Say The Darnedest Things

Earlier today, i had to get a TransEsophageal Echocardiogram (TEE) essentially to make sure i don't have any free floating ninja scabs on my heart that might cause further clogging in other arteries. The procedure entails them spritzing one's throat with a numbing agent and applying a minor sedative (enough to make things hazy, but not to knock a person out completely) before snaking a rather long tube with a camera on the end down one's throat. Even with the wonderfully charming narcotics I was given, i still had a bit of a gagging problem.

Once they finished and snaked the tube back out of my esophagus, my first words apparently were, "Well, that settles that. There's no career in man-on-man porn for me."

i'm not sure why, but nobody found that nearly as funny as i did.

mp3: Cocksucker Blues (Rolling Stones, unreleased, recorded in 1970)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Album Review: Blakroc by Blakroc

I think we all can agree that Judgement Night taught us three very invaluable lessons:
1. Apparently, there are parts of Chicago about a block off of the Magnificent Mile where nobody is awake, out or about by about midnight-ish.

2. Regardless of what HBO might have you believe, one NEVER should hang out with Jeremy Piven.

So why the hell would the Black Keys even want to try their hand at that hybrid game? Turns out, Patrick and Dan have been hip-hop heads since they were teenagers, and, truth be told, who wouldn't want to hang out with RZA for a while? The kung-fu movie recommendations alone would be worth the price of admission for the artists, sure, but what about us fans?

Believe it or not, we fans are in for an actual treat. The musical duo lay down some impressive beats and riffs for some of today's top tier MCs. The guest list includes such heavyweights as Mos Def, Q-Tip, RZA, Raekwon, Ludacris, and, back from the grave, Big Baby Jesus himself, the ODB. (Speaking of which, somebody remind me that if i ever fake my own death to "just have" boatloads of blog posts laying around for other bloggers to sample me into their writings for the next decade or so.) Nicole Wray shows up to add some actual singing here and there, as does Auerbach. The only real disappointment for my ears is the inclusion of NOE. Sure, one should assume that if one of the co-founders of Roc-A-Fella Records was going to be a driving force behind the album, then you'd have at least one cat who sounds eerily like Jay-Z, but guess what? i can't stand Jay-Z, so why would i like a knock-off version any better? (i don't mean to hog the soap box or anything, but Jay-Z, Radiohead and U2 are the top three most egregiously overrated musical acts of my lifetime.)

But i digress. Beyond simply being a damn fine album, what do we learn upon listening? Well, for one thing, the Keys can play a boatload more than their usual white boy garage punk blues. Seriously, give those guys a back-up singer or two and a keyboardist, and they're freaking lethal. i don't even know what would happen if they added horns. Probably the start of some new religious movement, i'd imagine. The bearded clearly would be the Chosen, but i'm digressing again. While damn near everyone on the album puts in at least admirable performances, can i tell you, those two Mos Def tracks blow me away. While his lyrics remain sharping and his vibe stoney chilled, it's his off-key singing that intrigues me. i can't quite put my finger on it, but there it is.

i think there are greater chances of me growing a mullet than there are of the entire project ever touring, but i'll say this right now--make it just the Keys, Mos Def and Nicloe, and you've got the makings of a super band right there.

And if all that still wasn't enough for you, you can always buy the accompanying ride and go from there.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

It's Covered: Abracadabra

i'm sure i could blow your mind away with a charming metaphorical simile comparing my blogging capabilities to that of a great wizard, a la Merlin or Brother Voodoo or somebody, but i don't think i'm medicated enough to make it worth either of our whiles. i figure it's enough that i referenced Dr. Strange's successor in a post that's really about Steve Miller.

Which brings us to today's actual topic, Abracadabra. Penned by Steve Miller for the eponymous album, i've loved this track since it first hit the airwaves back in '82. i distinctly recall my buddy playing it over and over again on what we used to call "record players." We ran around like madman screaming the chorus while hopped up on some candy that probably wouldn't pass FDA regulations today. There may or may not have been capes and wands involved, too, but we're going to move on before this becomes a questionably attractive post to pedophiles.

This was also when MTV was first gaining traction, and being 8 years old, the effects for the video impressed me. How the hell did they get that ball to spin backwards like that? Sure, it certainly ain't CGI, but it was good enough for us back then. You kids and your damn Lucas Arts--we were getting poorly executed shots played in reverse AND WE WERE HAPPY TO HAVE IT!

Steve's original pretty much speaks for itself. It's classic 80s rock with just the slightest hint of disco somewhere on the periphery. Martin Philadelphy slows things down considerably, adding a slow burn blues feel the song somehow deserves. Robin McKelle goes in a different direction, turning the track into a big band extravaganza. Both routes hold up more than well enough to the original. These tracks, quite frankly, are what good cover songs are all about--you take and respect the source material and then add your own signature touch. i did come across a number of poorly executed Euro dance versions, but i figured i'd spare us all the ignominy of listening to that.

You can see for yourself how good we had it back in the day, back when MTV actually played music.

mp3: Abracadabra (Steve Miller from Abracadabra)

mp3: Abracadabra (Martin Philadelphy from Death to the 80s)

mp3: Abracadabra (Robin McKelle from Modern Antique)