Archive for March, 2011

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The Fancy Plans Guide to AFI’s Top 100 Films: 41-50

March 31, 2011
[Author’s note: As some of you are probably aware, a writer is a delicate human being with a fragile psyche (oft damaged by rejection notices and unnoticed misspellings) and an apparent inability to count. Hence, this skipped-over section of the Fancy Plans Guide to AFI’s Top 100 Films is appearing now (rather than never) and screwing with the whole 1-100 countdown we all agreed on sometime last year.
Further, Fundamental Jelly has indicated he would like to hear about my current tastes in media, but I don’t really have anything useful to recount at this point, other than: Archer. Watch. This. Show. Thanks in advance for your understanding and for keeping your mocking comments to a minimum.
Oh, yeah: the previous, randomly ordered entries can be found here:
The Fancy Plans Guide to AFI’s Top 100 Films Archive]

Choreography by the Mens/Ladies Restroom Dance Troupe of Greater New York.

41. West Side Story (1961)
Coming on like a glee club production of Romeo and Juliet (mixing one-half Colors with one-half Michael Jackson video), West Side Story obscures its rote storyline with just enough added elements (finger snapping, singing) to keep familiarity from breeding contempt like so many Shakespearean rabbits.

Features some of the most beloved songs ever sung by non-threatening gang members and the women who love them, including “Maria,” “I Feel Pretty” and “99 Problems.” Exceedingly musical.

James Stewart, looking as nonchalant as a telescopic zoom lens will allow him to look.

42. Rear Window (1954)
Hitchcock’s entry into the “scary murderous neighbor” genre, following closely in the footsteps of Sliver and Pacific Heights. Jimmy Stewart plays an injured man whose recuperation takes the form of scaring the bejesus out of himself (and his wife) with his obsessional, psychopathic relationship with his telescope. Is his neighbor a killer? Is 120x recommended for apartment-to-apartment viewing? Will his leg ever heal?

These questions and more will remain unanswered as the third reel has been misplaced. Sorry about that, folks. Please stop by the box office for a partial refund.

King Kong, though an effective anti-terrorist deterrent, tended to create nearly an equal amount of collateral damage in NYC.

43. King Kong (1933)
Singlehandedly credited with creating the “monster movie” genre which plagues us to this day, King Kong is a triumph of movie mythmaking. As the action shifts from the tangled jungle of what-could-possibly-go-wrong-here Monster Island to the mean streets of New York City, viewers are forced to confront uncomfortable questions about “who the real monster here is” and to what extent the love story would have gone, had biplanes and other nuisances not interrupted the mismatched couple pre-coitus.

Featuring the big screen debut of Earl, the Bigoted Horse.

44. Birth of a Nation (1915)
Early movie mogul D.W. Griffith employs a cast of thousands of whites to rewrite the history of the United States as it was still being made. Although somewhat heavy-handed and exceedingly long, Griffith manages to keep his “alternate reality” film fresh by deploying such seldom-used plot devices as the KKK in non-villain roles and a bumbling depiction of Abraham Lincoln that would not be equaled until Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure (#89). The cast of thousands lauded Griffith for his “slavedriver” work ethic and lax interpretation of EOE requirements. Exceedingly long.

Brando's endorsement contract with Russell Athletic ended shortly thereafter.

45. A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
A Tennesee Williams’ Joint, A Streetcar Named Desire stars Marlon Brando as abusive, alcoholic everyman Stanley Kowalski whose iconic cry of “Stellaaaaaa!!!” (very often misquoted as “Adriaaaaannn!!!”) has become part of modern folklore.

Parents: Steer your children clear of this film. In addition to the psychosexual antics of some sweaty Southerners, this film also teaches kids not only to talk to strangers, but to “rely on their kindness.”

Kind of like Lenscrafters, but without the advantage of improved sight. Still, gotta love the speed!

46. A Clockwork Orange (1971)
Yet another dystopian treatise on the many problems with today’s youth, not the least of which is their tendency to take long drives into the countryside for the sole purpose of smashing in someone’s skull with a large, phallic sculpture. That they are also partial to Hollywood musicals, Ludwig van Beethoven and milk is not comforting in the least, thanks to Kubrick’s ominous depiction of what was once considered an “unfilmable” book (Martin Hanford’s dada-esque tale of dislocation and hats, Where’s Waldo?).

Another “highlight” is the made-up language Nadsat, which has given the English language several new words, including ultraviolence, codpiece and tween.

De Niro, the consummate actor, heads toward his trailer to work on his "pocket pool" technique.

47. Taxi Driver (1976)
Scorsese’s ultraviolent (see above) take on the second-oldest service profession brings to life an “alternate” version of New York City where the streets are filled with rude assholes and 12-year-old hookers.

De Niro went “Method” of course, working 12-hours shifts as a cab driver when not flaunting his unlicensed weapon and nifty new mohawk. Inspired by his tireless efforts, Jodie Foster attempted a Method approach as well, resulting in the arrest of every adult on the set. Inspired by these events, a lone gunman interrupted Ronald Reagan’s portrayal of the US President with some well-placed bullets.

Inspired a new wave of filmmaking and one presidential assassination attempt, claims only equaled by Big Momma’s House and Big Momma’s House 2. Also inspired a generation of piss-poor De Niro impressions.

As is noted by the poster, being eaten by a massive mechanical shark may be "too intense" for younger children.

48. Jaws (1975)
Directly responsible for dozens of inferior monster movies and various Shark Weeks, Jaws (or Jawrs in the Northeastern US) is the tense tale of a rogue great white shark and a somewhat modern day triumph of filmmaking. Budget limits forced Spielberg to hand rig a variety of nearly-functional sharks and cast Roy Scheider and Richard Dreyfuss over younger, more attractive men who would have better handled the main characters’ often shirtless banter.

This also explains some long stretches where many people talk about the shark but not many actually see the shark. It also explains some scale inconsistencies in which the great white is portrayed as being anywhere from the size of a large tuna to the size of a 3-bedroom ranch-style home.

Based loosely on Moby Dick and followed by several sequels which stretched the emaciated idea to the breaking point before snapping it completely and continuing forward with absolutely no ideas at all. The nadir of the series (Jaws 3D) posited that the shark was only interested in leaping or charging directly at the camera.

Snow White demonstrates how she we will be paying for only one ticket at the theater.

49. Snow White and the Seven Dwarves (1937)
The first Disney film on AFI’s list, Snow White is also the first animated film to be featured in AFI’s Top 100. A triumph of imagineering, Snow White does what classic Disney does best: take someone else’s story and make millions of dollars off it through aggressive marketing, merchandising and bullying copyright control.

Ostensibly the story of a deathly pale den mother for a pack of overly-hairy child laborers, this Disney film features a timeless story ripped right from the public domain pages of the Brothers Grimm and converted into a successful series of collectors’ plates, outerwear and Happy Meal toys.

There’s some other mumbo-jumbo in there about true love being more effective than CPR and the evils of strip-mining, but mainly it’s just the normal “woman falls in love with a crew of undersexed animators under the control of a marketing machine built by an undersexed megalomaniac with Howard Hughes’ tendencies.” The New York Times Review of Film calls it “timeless,” most likely referring to Disney’s apparently infinite supply of copyright extensions.

Unfortunately, a misfiring blank cost the cameraman everything but his sepia filter.

50. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)
Proto-bloody cop flick, except that the cops are criminals and the dangerous inner city is the frontier and that Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson are Robert Redford and Paul Newman. Filled to the brim with shootouts, hijinks and hats.

A highly romanticized portrait of two thugs with screenwritten hearts of gold and the lamest theme song (Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head) in the history of lame Oscar-winning theme songs. Features some groundbreaking bicycle usage and positive portrayals of both alcohol use and “bromance.”

-CLT

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The Mozart Makes Us Classy

March 30, 2011

SearchLOL:

[Click to enlarge.]

-CLT

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Sonic Collision V2

March 29, 2011

[Nothing but fine music and links here. The commentary belongs to you. Enjoy!
Oh, wait. I take that back. Listen to the Waka Flocka Flame mix. Tell me, why (and I know I’m oversimplifying here) if this works that well, more rap producers aren’t setting their lyrics to music like that? I like the lyrics, but the beats kill it for me most of the time. Also, be prepared to add additional lyrics to your shower version of “Gimme Shelter.”]

Previous Collisions here:
The Sonic Collision Archive

The Hood Internet – Lorem Ipsum Dolor Sit Amet (Waka Flocka Flame vs. Flock of Seagulls).mp3

The Hood Internet

DJ Earworm – Gimme Freaks (Rolling Stones vs. Moguai).mp3

DJ Earworm

-CLT

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Heavy Rotation 68

March 27, 2011

[Featuring Metric, Philip Selway, Scorpion Violante, Phantom Family Halo and School of Seven Bells. Additional remix and production by Mikezilla and the always popular A Place to Bury Strangers. All musical opinions courtesy of yours truly and do not represent the views of the ownership, management and well, pretty much damn near everyone else. Need a track removed? Email me at 2timegrime@gmail.com.]

LINKS

This week, it’s links to more links, which will give you a jump on future HR links. So, there’s that.

Looking for something to read? And not just any something, but something with teeth? And depth? The Browser’s got you covered.

Jason Kottke curates a fine set of links over at Kottke.org. Bonus fact: he designed Gawker Media’s original logo!

Crowd-sourced link farming at its best. Metafilter is both an entertaining aggregator and, depending on the link, an argument waiting to happen. The comment threads are usually worth a read.

More music here:
The Heavy Rotation Archives

Metric – Blindness (Mikezilla Remix).mp3

Philip Selway – Beyond Reason (Mikezilla Remix).mp3

I can’t decide whether Mikezilla’s mixes are flat-out awesome because he knows how to dust them perfectly with dancefloor magic or because he chooses impeccably beautiful source material.

I suppose it doesn’t matter. Metric’s chilling fight song and Phil Selway’s (of Radiohead) recursive tone poem get treated to Mikezilla’s pristine production and head toward the deeper end of the dancefloor all without overstaying their welcome.

Scorpion Violente – Viol et Revanche.mp3

Crank this up loud enough and suddenly you’re covered in sweat and maybe even a bit of blood being pinned to the wall of CBGB’s by Martin Rev’s pummeling drum machine and Alan Vega’s contemptuous glare.

Scorpion Violente are Suicide reborn, riding reverb over a minimal drone and body blow rhythms. There’s something about this sort of unapologetic sonic attack that brings out primal urges from those attuned to its murky beauty and frequently turns the frontmen into a combination protagonist/antagonist.

Phantom Family Halo – Blackouts and Runaways.mp3

A low-key dirge, building steadily like a storm on the horizon, gradually spreading until the sun is blotted out by the swelling blackness.

Phantom Family Halo is very reminiscent of nobody in particular. Maybe a little of the Radio Dept. in the vocals. Keep an ear out for how soon the jagged guitar shreds enter the track. It’s a long way from their first appearance to their complete domination by the closing of the track but it’s a perfectly done buildup that bleeds out like years of quiet desperation climaxing in abrupt tragedy.

School of Seven Bells – Windstorm (A Place to Bury Strangers Remix).mp3

This is stellar. A Place to Bury Strangers lay down a distorted bass riff that sounds like a classic muscle car idling while Alejandra Deheza of School of Seven Bells drapes her airy vocals across the underpinning roar like an airbrushed nude draped across the hood. Only, you know, impeccably tasteful.

The whole thing just kind of takes off, surging from throaty growl to high-rpm whine in mere moments, leaving the entire track clouded in tire smoke and gasoline fumes.

-CLT

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Sonic Collision Volume 1

March 24, 2011

As I threatened way back in the day (actually about a week ago), I’d be posting more mashups for your listening pleasure. After all, who doesn’t enjoy a high-quality pileup of tunes both familiar and un-? (Soulless assholes, that’s who. But none of the followers of this blog fit that category.)

So, here’s the first of what’s hoped to be many, many posts featuring some of the best bastard pop in the business.

tOtALcULt – Fire Breathing Fists (Charlie Sheen vs. Cypress Hill).mp3

Suffering from Sheen overexposure yet? Perhaps not so much? Can’t get enough cocaine wisdom?

It doesn’t really matter what you answer, because Totalcult is here with the remedy, which also happens to be part of the problem. Listen in awe/annoyance as Charlie talks smack over Cypress Hill’s weeded beats.

Via the always amazing Bootie Blog.

A+D – $20 Monday (M.I.A. vs. New Order).mp3

Speaking of the Bootie Blog, here are the hosts matching up M.I.A.’s languorous half-rap with one of the most famous dance tracks in the history of ever. M.I.A. does a little on-the-fly remixing of her own, quoting a bit of the Pixies’ “Where Is My Mind?”

More links:

Mashup Industries, home of DJ Clive$ter, Dan Mei, DJ Schmolli, KrazyBen, & Mark Johnce.

The incomparable Dave Wrangler.

The inexplicably named DJ Lobsterdust.

The mashup artist’s mashup artist: DJ Earworm.

-CLT

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Heavy Rotation 67

March 20, 2011

[Featuring April March, Azzido Da Bass, Curve, Lunatic Calm, LCD Soundsystem, and Project: Komakino. Additional production by WNC. and Soulwax. Contains last hurrahs, nostalgic waves and twee Franco-pop, among other things. If you’d like a track de-listed, please email me at 2timegrime@gmail.com.]

LINKS

CLT — Also appearing at:

The Bygone Bureau, a Major Online Publication.

Techdirt – also fairly popular (718K subscribers via Feedburner).

Not appearing at:

Newspapermap – The world’s largest online newspaper map. (Over 10,000 clickable links handily pinned to a zoomable world map.)

This guy is so funny he makes me want to shoot myself in the brain. Check this out. And this. I wouldn’t be too surprised if you wander off there and never come back. Sad. But not surprised.

Previous Rotations here:
The Heavy Rotation Archives

April March – Chick Habit.mp3

Doing business under a tastefully refined pun, April March manages to out-wink and out-nudge the master of entendre, Serge Gainsborough, with this bouncy bitchslap of a tune. It’s a mouthy little thing, chiding the philandering protagonist about his nasty chick habit and warning him of his assured downfall. It’s full of sassy couplets, the kind you’ll find yourself singing months down the road.

“Hang up the chick habit
Hang it up, daddy
Or you’ll be alone in a quick
Hang up the chick habit
Hang it up, daddy
Or you’ll never get another fix

I’m telling you it’s not a trick
Pay attention, don’t be thick
Or you’re liable to get licked

You’re gonna see the reason why
When they’re spitting in your eye
They’ll be spitting in your eye

Hang up the chick habit
Hang it up, daddy
A girl’s not a tonic or a pill
Hang up the chick habit
Hang it up, daddy
You’re just jonesing for a spill

Oh, how your bubble’s gonna burst
When you meet another nurse
She’ll be driving in a hearse

You’re gonna need a heap of glue
When they all catch up with you
And they cut you up in two

Now your ears are ringing
The birds have stopped their singing
Everything is turning grey

No candy in your till
No cutie left to thrill
You’re alone on a tuesday

Hang up the chick habit
Hang it up, daddy
Or you’ll be alone in a quick
Hang up the chick habit
Hang it up, daddy
Or you’ll never get another fix

I’m telling you it’s not a trick
Pay attention, don’t be thick
Or you’re liable to get licked

You’re gonna see the reason why
When they’re spitting in your eye
They’ll be spitting in your eye”

Additional fun facts:

1. Taken from the doubly-entendred album Paris in April.
2. April March is a former animator for the Ren & Stimpy Show.

LCD Soundsystem – You Wanted a Hit (Soulwax Remix).mp3

James Murphy sounds exhausted. It’s no surprise he’s retiring LCD Soundsystem. His sentiments are the everyman exhaustion of being tied to the treadmill and hassled constantly to crank out more product. Better selling product. If it killed Cobain, then it’s probably taking years off the end of Murphy’s life as well.

It’s resignation and too-tired-to-fight-about-it complaints filed over the top of nearly-a-hit beats, aided greatly by Soulwax’s always immaculate production. Sorry, Mr. Label Exec. You can’t have what I can’t make.

“You say you wanted a hit
Well, we don’t really do hits”

Azzido da Bass – Music for Bagpipes (WNC Remix).mp3

Because, honestly, why the fuck not? Music shouldn’t have rules or guidelines. You’ve got a fistful of dancefloor electronics and Azzido Da Bass says, “Hey, a bagpipe is exactly what this needs.” Throw it in there.

Worst case scenario, you end up like Korn: remembered mainly for being 1.) kind of shite and 2.) the lead singer plays a bagpipe (and wears Weezer specs). Best case scenario? It’s the added je nai sais quois that pushes it over the top, like the intro to Jump Around. Everybody knows exactly what it is the moment they hear it.

Project: Komakino – Civility.mp3

If you’re going to be the second coming of Joy Division (and you’d better be with a name like Project Komakino) then you’ve got to do two things right:

1. Beat Interpol at their own game.
2. Do better than Peter Hook’s zombified farce that is currently touring as Joy Division (sans all original band members) with his son filling Hook’s bass-playing shoes and with Hook himself filling in for Ian Curtis, in what is the most calculatedly ugly case of nepotism since Eddie Van Halen replaced “The Secret Weapon” with his son, Wolfgang.

Project: Komakino handle both, putting together a very faithful analogue. Now you’ll have something to tell the grandkids if you’re like me and would have been all of five when JD flamed out. “I was the next best thing to there, man” you’ll say, wheezing desperately and annoyingly. The grandkids won’t even bother with a “Whom?” before leaving you to your wornout MP3s and outdated muso blogs.

Curve – Chinese Burn (Lunatic Calm Mix).mp3

This takes me back. Lunatic Calm’s riffing drum rolls and big beat bass and Curve’s Toni Halliday alternating between throaty growls and breathless swoons triggers all kinds of nostalgia. All at once it’s 1998 again and “techno” (such as it were — big beat was actually the hot thing) was just hitting America’s metaphorical shores and threatening to change everything.

Of course, it turned out to just be some sort of tidal flux and the British techno invasion swiftly returned from whence it came, leaving American slightly damp and ready to be taken advantage of by various shady characters like Limp Bizkit. And Nickelback.

But we can still dream, can’t we?

-CLT

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Internal Documents Show TSA Knew of Backscatter Imaging Radiation Problems

March 16, 2011

The TSA is back in the news again as maintenance reports have indicated that their backscatter imaging devices are emitting up to 10 times the radiation originally claimed. Understandably, this isn’t sitting well with the general public, who are now concerned that they are being robbed of valuable years off the end of their lives along with their dignity.

The TSA and the manufacturer of the device have claimed that all this stemmed from a simple misunderstanding in terminology. However, the leaked instruction manual for the Backscatter Imaging Device (or as it is popularly know, “PornoScan”) clearly indicates there were already concerns when the units shipped.

As safe as any high-powered electronic device operated by glorified security guards.

PORNOSCAN QUICKSTART GUIDE

Congratulations on your purchase of a federally-mandated PornoScan!  We know you have several less humiliating options to choose from when it comes to anti-terrorist devices and we’re glad your employers have chosen the PornoScan to serve and demoralize traveling citizens.

ASSEMBLY

First, take a moment to familiarize yourself with the contents. You should have (several) boxes, each containing (several) parts. Make sure you have everything needed to assemble your PornoScan, including a Phillips screwdriver, 151 self-tapping screws and a B.S. (minimum) in nuclear physics.

You’ll need two people to assemble this properly. When prompted, refer to the included assembly diagram. (Not included. Please call the Help Desk for replacement instructions. Allow 4-6 weeks for delivery.)

Note: your PornoScan (or Backscatter Imaging Device) contains time-sensitive depleted uranium. Failure to fully assemble this device will result in escalating isotope instability, which can quickly result in full core meltdown. (See Appendix 4.b. “OH SWEET JESUS, MY FACE!!!”)

To avoid causing undue passenger alarm, these mandatory stickers have NOT been shipped with your scanner.

CONTROLS

Now that your PornoScan (PS) is fully assembled, it’s time to familiarize yourself with the control panel. Let’s take a look at the four (4) status lights:

Power” – When power is on, this button will glow bright green. Due to improperly isolated isotopes, this light will also glow bright green when the device is off. A replacement containment device is on the way. Allow 4-6 weeks for delivery.

Note: The PS puts out a shitload (metric) of radiation when fully powered. Please maintain a distance of 15-20 feet when “Power” button is lit.

Standby Power” – A “power saving” setting. This will allow the device to quickly “boot up” upon passenger entry. This light will glow red when activated.

Note: This lower setting should allow you to come safely within 10 feet of the device. Be prepared to run 5-10 feet in under 0.2 seconds should a passenger enter the device thereby returning it to full power. Additional note: does not actually save power.

Standby” – Pretty much what passes for “Off” these days. Can still render you sterile within a diameter of 5 feet. Should you need to approach the device (for instance, to power up the PornoScan), please ensure your genitalia are covered with your hands and your body turned 30 degrees perpendicular to the egress of the machine. This button will glow orange if activated or if “Power” button is currently green.

PANIC” – This status light will glow red at all times UNLESS a meltdown or other catastrophic failure is detected by the onboard computer. At that point the light will switch off. DO NOT PANIC. When the PANIC light goes out, a signal is sent to the nearest TSA headquarters. Please remain calm and await further instructions. (Allow 4-6 weeks for signal delivery.)

Note: PANIC indicator light will go out when  “Standby Power” is activated. This is a normal control panel function. Do not panic unless instructed otherwise.

OPERATION

With the controls functional, it’s time to put your PS to work. In addition to providing the illusion of safety, your PS is also a time-saver, freeing up the time you usually spent mentally undressing passengers and allowing you to brush up on your gun handling skills and anger management courses.

The powerful patented “Backscatter” system now allows you to fully undress passengers without leaving your desk or closing your browser window. For added safety, post the included “Clothing Optional” sign above the entrance to the device.

Note: As is indicated by the “Backscatter” terminology, this device is chock full of flying atoms doing God knows what. Please keep door closed when not in use.

As passengers enter the noisy and possibly brightly glowing PornoScan, they may become apprehensive, especially when informed that their hands need to be in what is normally a stickup victim pose. Calm them by suggesting fun “role-play” activities like “Pretend you’re on a roller coaster,” or “Act like you’re at a party where the DJ is busting out some old skool hip hop.”

There may also be concern expressed as to the safety of the untested device itself, in particular the amount of radiation used to provide the naked scan. If your assurances that “Hey, I’ve been working with this thing for X number of hours and I’m still OK” fail to calm the passenger, refer to the information provided in Appendix 2.b. (“No, I’ll Tell YOU What Your Rights Are“) to answer their queries with various threats of detainment.

FEATURES

Let’s take a quick look at the newest features in the PornoScan 1.14 (beta). Here’s a brief list of the items your PS can detect that your average TSA agent can’t:

  • Unusually sized genitalia
  • Prosthetic devices (incl. unusually sized genitalia)
  • Confiscatable items such as high-dollar watches, jewelry and gold fillings
  • Sarcasm

In addition, the latest in bomb detection technology allows the PornoScan to detect these type of explosive devices:

  • Bundled dynamite with a clock/timer/fuse attached.
  • Black, globe-shaped bombs with a fuse attached.

Note: If timer is running or fuse is lit, DO NOT PANIC. Check “PANIC” light. It should be “on” (off). Evacuate terminal of all crucial personnel including TSA members, airline employees and gift shop staff. Next, calmly herd passengers and suspected terrorists to the nearest empty tarmac where they can be safely detonated. Finally, give yourself a pat on the back! You’ve just averted domestic terrorism!

The TSA agents quickly discovered her cast was made entirely out of "bomb."

HELPFUL TIPS

Pregnant women and women with infants will often try to smuggle their own fluids on board through the use of their “breasts.” Most of these suspects will have somewhat of a haggard glow about them. APPROACH WITH CAUTION. In addition to harboring “breast fluids,” their glow will often turn to vitriolic hatred once confronted.

Other women may be carrying saline or silicone in their “breasts.” To date these fluids have not been linked to terrorist activity. Play it safe and investigate further.

Good luck in your fight against terror! Armed with this information (and your gun) you should prepared to deal with any uncomfortable situation!

(Addendum: The manufacturers of the PornoScan and your management team would like to remind you to refer to the device by its proper name [Backscatter Something Something] while on duty.)

-CLT

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Heavy Rotation 66: Copyright Gangbang Edition

March 13, 2011

This week I’m going to ramble on at length, which is something I’ve been doing a lot of lately. Don’t head for the exits yet, though. I’ll be breaking up my pontificating with plenty of damn fine musicks to help ease the load.

I’ve got mashups on my mind. Bootleg mixes. Bastard pop. It’s all the same thing. Artist A meets Artist B (and sometimes, Artists C-Z) through the matchmaking skills of a mashup artist. In my mind, there’s nothing quite as enjoyable as the sound of two tracks playing off each other in unexpected ways. Where else but in the overactive imagination of a mashup artist could you find Jay-Z rapping over White Album loops? Or the Beastie Boys unleashing their mighty whitey power over the primordial breakbeats of the Prodigy? Or Ludacris calling out haters and hangers-on while riding a reggaeton beat and a chorus of “Role!”?

ABX & The Hood Internet – Bonde Do Rollout (Ludacris vs. Bonde Do Role).mp3

But mashups, despite their ability to create something fresh from something overplayed (exception: anything using Flo Rida’s Low. Never again. Please.), catch all kinds of shit from a variety of people.

First and foremost in their hatred of mashups (and mashup artists) are the record labels. They feel this is “infringement” at best and outright theft at worst. They issue takedown notices and cease-and-desist letters. They have no genuine concern for the artist’s music. After all, they know that mashup artists aren’t cutting into their sales, and even if they are, the bootleggers know that they can’t possibly sell this. It’s not really theirs. The end result is, but the pieces are not.

So, as long as the mashup artists play by the rules, the labels tolerate their existence. DJ Dangermouse caught legal hell when he released The Grey Album, a full-length mashup of Jay-Z’s Black Album and the Beatles’ White Album. Pretty much rule #1 in the music business is Do Not Fuck with the Beatles. Apple Records has all this screwed down tight. Hell, they sued Apple Computer for daring to use the same piece of fruit in their logo. They own the library of the biggest cash cow in the business and retain a very expensive team of lawyers.

DJ Dangermouse – 99 Problems (feat. samples of Helter Skelter by the Beatles).mp3

Their rights holders shut him down. But this is the motherfuckin’ internet so Dangermouse’s album was mirrored everywhere. Everyone agreed to disagree and history was made.

So that’s one angle. The labels are still trying to figure out how to sue them properly, without getting tangled up in the sticky threads of “Fair Use.” It’s also the ugly tendency of major labels to confuse “art” with “product” and see how much cash they can extract from someone who’s doing a ton of free promotion for their artists.

And then you have this attitude, which crops up during discussions of “derivative art”:

I’m more than familiar with mash-ups. It’s a cute novelty. I’ve yet to hear one whose sum is better than its parts.

And considering all the musical hooks in these things were written by other people, shouldn’t those other people be credited as co-writers?

Condescension. Dismissiveness. And of course, a little concern tossed in the general direction of the poor artists, who are apparently getting screwed by the remixers.

Or there’s this take:

For me, it’s the biggest damnation of “current culture” because they have stopped being truly creative and settled for second best recycling. They no longer are impressed by a great painting, but they are impressed with the guy sweeping up the studio once the artist left.

Much like anyone who declares the internet to be full of crap, this casual dismissal of mashups/artists tends to demonstrate the mindset of the dismisser, rather than slander the mashup artists.

Generally, the person making this statement has already drawn a mental line clearly delineating between what is Good Music and what isn’t. It’s usually drawn at a certain point in time (like 1977) but is sometimes deployed along genre boundaries (rap, techno and country get harshed a lot). It is stasis trapped in the eye of the beholder.

An insistence that one form of music is superior to another form is ridiculous.

Girl Talk – Jump on Stage.mp3

Or they just get it completely wrong with a stretched metaphor that fits about as well as a baby doll tee on a “World’s Biggest Loser” contestant:

It doesn’t take away the fact that they’re building on other people’s work. It’s like me building a second story over your house, while you still live there.

But it isn’t. It isn’t like that at all. Only someone with a pre-defined idea of what Music Should Be would confuse Girl Talk’s track with simplistic A+B arithmetic. No. It’s like this (quoting me):

It’s someone borrowing your window and someone else’s door and the front walk from your mutual neighbor and a mailbox from the guy across the street who’s always stealing your newspaper and stealing that newspaper back along with some decent shrubbery and using the same paint color as the corner house and the shingles of the house behind you and the garage doors from two blocks away and the naked cherub fountain from the courthouse and the stern street number font of the cop shop and the spiral staircase from that one movie you saw and the exit signs from the local theater and the car seats from the soccer mom’s minivan and that stoner’s stereo and mom’s couch and grandma’s collector’s plates and Uncle Jim’s junked Olds and the 12th hole green from the nearest golf course and all the ideas of a meth-addled feng shui consultant and some ideas from your local architect as improved on by your 4-year-old’s idea of what a real house looks like viewed through a combination 3-D glasses/kaleidescope.

That’s what it’s like:

(Girl Talk – “Jump on Stage” sample list)

  • 0:00 – 1:08 Portishead – “Sour Times” (portion sampled samples “Danube Incident” by Lalo Schifrin)
  • 0:01 – 0:08 Miley Cyrus – “Party in the U.S.A.”
  • 0:08 – 0:09 Naughty by Nature – “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright”
  • 0:09 – 1:23 Big Boi featuring Cutty – “Shutterbugg”
  • 0:10 – 1:08 Amerie – “Why R U”
  • 1:09 – 2:41 Talking Heads – “Take Me to the River”
  • 1:14 – 1:23 Ice Cube – “We Be Clubbin'”
  • 1:14 – 1:27 V.I.C. – “Wobble”
  • 1:15 – 1:25 50 Cent – “Get Up”
  • 1:16 – 1:28 Diddy featuring Christina Aguilera – “Tell Me”
  • 1:18 – 1:33 The Edgar Winter Group – “Frankenstein”
  • 1:31 – 1:33 50 Cent – “Disco Inferno”
  • 1:33 – 2:41 Skee-Lo – “I Wish”
  • 1:34 – 2:17 The Notorious B.I.G. – “Hypnotize”
  • 1:43 – 2:46 T’Pau – “Heart and Soul”
  • 2:46 – 2:46 Janet Jackson – “Love Will Never Do (Without You)”
  • 2:42 – 3:08 Jadakiss featuring Swizz Beatz and OJ Da Juiceman – “Who’s Real”
  • 2:50 – 2:51 New Edition – “If It Isn’t Love”
  • 2:52 – 4:26 Radiohead – “Creep”
  • 3:04 – 4:10 Ol’ Dirty Bastard – “Shimmy Shimmy Ya”
  • 3:09 – 3:11 Public Enemy – “Public Enemy No. 1”
  • 3:51 – 4:08 Cypress Hill – “How I Could Just Kill a Man”
  • 4:20 – 4:30 Busta Rhymes – “Dangerous”
  • 4:25 – 5:03 Prince – “Delirious”
  • 4:30 – 5:13 Master P featuring 5th Ward Weebie and Krazy – “Rock It”
  • 5:08 – 5:08 Prince & the New Power Generation – “Gett Off”
  • 5:09 – 6:22 Iggy Pop – “Lust for Life”
  • 5:09 – 6:17 Beastie Boys – “Hey Ladies”
  • 5:15 – 5:17 White Town – “Your Woman”
  • 5:18 – 6:22 Lady GaGa – “LoveGame”

http://www.illegal-tracklist.net/Tracklists/AllDay

And then this collective asks you to move out because you’re harshing everyone’s mellow with your lack of ideas.

A good mashup is more than the sum of its parts. Those “affected” by it would do well to remember that every new generation of anything builds on the previous one. Art isn’t created in a vacuum. And I guarantee that if you locked McCartney, Starr and Jay-Z into a room they wouldn’t come up with anything nearly as visceral or engaging as The Grey Album. I can see Jay-Z doing something close on his own but the other two are so hampered by their own images that they wouldn’t be able to make the mental leap needed to produce something this bold.

This guy is a musician like cheerleadering is a sport.

Fuck you. You’re like a guy in his mid-20s who still cruises the main drag wearing his letter jacket. Music moved on and you stayed in the same place.

Take, for instance, the last few moments of Girl Talk’s Jump on Stage where Greg Gillis combines the Beastie Boys and Iggy Pop to devastating effect. Separately, the tunes (Hey Ladies, Lust for Life) are familiar crowd-pleasers. I like the two tracks involved but have heard them enough in my lifetime to not go out of my way to hear them again. Together, though, they’re a masterful match, with Iggy Pop’s rhythm section toughening up the nasal rap styling of three Jewish kids from the Bronx.

DJ Moule – Waiting for Temper (Velvet Underground vs. Gorillaz vs. The Prodigy).mp3

It’s like hearing an old favorite for the first time again. It’s that kind of impossibility that makes the perfect mashup one of those rare things that can give you a childlike feeling of amazement. I’m in my mid-30s. Anything that makes me feel like a kid again is welcome. Anything that kicks years of cynicism to the curb for a few minutes is deeply appreciated.

If you can’t see past the obvious addition of the components and enjoy the whole as its own being, then I truly feel for you. You must have no joy in your life. Everything that could be appreciated as something of its own has been broken down and compartmentalized into nothing more than a parts list for product.

If it is your belief that no talent lies in the remixer then why would you check out the culinary talents of various chefs? In the end, they’re just making small variations on meat and vegetables. They might be able to coax out flavors and textures you haven’t had before, but most of the work is still being done by the animal or vegetable itself.

Why watch any sequels or remakes? Why read any books that come in a series or feature the same characters? Why visit an art gallery? Everything in there is based on pre-existing styles and schools. Why would you single out mashups as the nadir of culture?

It can only be one of two things: an absolute belief that the best period of music is already behind us or that mashups are glorified theft and nothing more than punishable infringement. Both views are equally close-minded. Only one is potentially dangerous.

If you want to believe the best days of music are behind us, you’re only robbing yourself of new experiences. The second belief is a particularly vindictive form of projection in which your overreaching entitlement has given you the ability to see villains in every doorway and leaking dollars pouring out of every mp3. Unfortunately, the second belief is entertained all too frequently. If unchecked, it could truly bring about the end of creativity. And as the life ebbs from the art form you claim to love so much you can’t bear to see it hurt by freeloaders and infringers, you’ll be too blinded by your myopia to realize the blood is on your hands.

One for the road:

The Kleptones – Come Again.mp3

Samples:

  • The Beatles – Come Together
  • Dezo – Y’all Know What It Iz
  • Lil Wayne – Best Rapper Alive
  • Beastie Boys – No Sleep till Brooklyn
  • Breakwater – Release The Beast
  • Rare Earth – I Just Want to Celebrate
  • Queen & David Bowie – Under Pressure
  • Cypress Hill – Insane in the Brain
  • John Lennon – Power to the People
  • Boston – More Than a Feeling
  • Freeez – I.O.U.
  • Criminal Element Orchestra – Put The Needle to the Record
  • Art of Noise – Close (to the Edit)
  • S’Express – Theme from S’Express

Download links:

Girl Talk

The Kleptones

Best of Bootie Compilations

The Hood Internet

DJ Moule

DJ Brat

Go Home Productions

Culture Bully

-CLT

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Rescued from the Cutting Room Floor: The Best Previously Unpublished Charlie Sheen Quotes

March 8, 2011

Charlie Sheen prepares for an early morning strafing run by summoning his cocaine-serving robot.

Due to the nature of the beast that is the white, powdery monkey on Charlie Sheen’s back, many of his interviews have been trimmed to fit the time allotted. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your level of fascination with this ongoing train wreck), this means that some of Sheen’s biggest proclamations have been excised in order to fit his self-absorbed ranting into an hour-long interview format.

The following is a brief selection of quotes that never made it to the airwaves due to time constraints or some sort of editorial concern over exactly how much “crazy” they were allowed to air uninterrupted. Enjoy.

  • “I’m currently crafting a trained army of attack falcons… well, more of an air force, really…”
  • “Gary Busey? Jake Busey? Winners! Third book of the Necronomicon being written now by these gnarlingtons.”
  • “I sleep only 40 minutes a night, serenaded by air raid sirens and Norwegian black metal.”
  • “Those of us who are actually still rad are still using ‘rad’ all the time. A new wave of BMX destruction is at hand, all before you get your fuckin’ Venti whatever, yuppie.”
  • “TZ [Todd Zeile] and I have spent the last four nights cock-blocking down at the Chicken Ranch because we are insatiable and our waters run deep, my friend.”
  • “We’re also druid shadow priests. Chaotic neutral. No alignment. Take that however you will.”
  • “[Jon] Cryer is buckwheat pancakes with oat bran seasoning. He’s like Jiminy Cricket crossed with John Harvey Kellogg. I’m not sure he’s ever produced semen in his life.”
  • “It’s not a mixtape without Sister Christian. Write that shit down, Alan. Gospel.”
  • “While doing Shaolin monk training with Keith Carradine in Tenochtitlan, Mexico, we ate Alfonso Ribeiro’s heart. A warning: don’t bet on bullfights. You can’t beat the locals.”
  • “Blowing money on coke and hookers is nothing. You aren’t really spending money until you’re ordering Kharma speakers online at 3 am.”
  • “As far as I’m concerned, the only legitimate president we’ve had in the past 600 years was Thor, or as he was born, Nikolai Tesla.”
  • “Do you what makes me absolutely histrionic, absolutely batshit crazy? Just coke, bro. Just this essence. It’s the rich man’s ‘white lightning,’ man. Without it, empires fall. Markets collapse. Human life is devalued. Santa dies.”
  • “I once had sex with seven women simultaneously. It was like Jesus with the five loaves and fish but instead it was with penises and tongues. When you’re winning, doors open for you and miracles are commonplace. Commonplace enough to be almost annoying.”
  • “[To a member of the studio staff] Your mom’s like Aleve, d-bag! All day strong, all day long! In the ass!”
  • “Two albums. Both with Mojo Nixon. Next year.”
  • “I’ve been certified as a nutritionist in 14 states. 40 minutes of sleep a night leaves you a lot of downtime. I maximize.”
  • “If I go down or CBS invalidates my contract, I’ve got a whole list of Hollywood people’s real names in my lawyer’s safe. Try me, Chaim. I have data. DOB. DNA maps. For real.”
  • “Scientologists have Jennifer Grey’s real nose. I traded it for their alchemy secrets.”

-CLT

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Heavy Rotation 65: Man in Black Edition

March 6, 2011

[Featuring Johnny Cash and a host of co-conspirators, including Kissed Her Little Sister, Alabama 3, DJ Topcat (who brings along Eazy-E), and Apparat. Does not contain Social Distortion. If you’d like a track removed, please contact me at 2timegrime@gmail.com.]

Previous versions available here:
The Heavy Rotation Archives

LINKS

Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about the author of the Hardy Boys series, Franklin W. Dixon. First off: his name wasn’t Franklin W. Dixon. Secondly: he hated writing them. Thirdly: here’s some additional speculation about where the series could have gone, written by some half-assed “humor” blogger.

I bitch a lot about McSweeney’s but when they get it right, they fucking get it right. Bastards.

Looking for a new band name? Here’s 10,000 suggestions.

Johnny Cash – Johnny Yuma Theme.mp3

The Wild West as the Man in Black always imagines it: as violent as it is tragically romantic. The unjust are punished. The just endure tragedy. And behind every mysterious anti-hero is a woman who is doomed to be left behind, whether the man’s destination is Albuquerque or an early grave.

“If you done wrong
Better keep your back against the wall
Keep a loaded forty-four, man
Better watch that right hand”

Johnny Cash – Restless Kid (Demo).mp3

Pure JC. Gotta blow town. It’s as dead as the man in front of me. Don’t hassle me with questions. Or love. Always on the run. Too tired to live. Too restless to die.

“None of your business where I’ve been
Don’t ask me where I’m from
Run your ranch and punch your cows
And stay behind my gun”

Johnny Cash – Rusty Cage.mp3

From much later in his career. Listen in awe as JC self-assuredly hands Soundgarden’s ass to them. Easily one of the greatest covers ever recorded.

Kissed Her Little Sister – Cocaine.mp3

It’s hard to tell exactly what the fuck is going on here. Or why. But here’s the breakdown:

A Midnight Juggernauts-esque cover of Johnny Cash’s classic murder ballad, which is propelled by a heft Pink Floyd sample and some snippets of a very familiar cartoon theme song.

It’s hard to take it all seriously but random gadgetry aside, Kissed Her Little Sister kicks out a pleasantly menacing listen.

Alabama 3 – Hello, I’m Johnny Cash.mp3

Alt-techno-country-blues artists Alabama 3 know the best way to pay tribute to a legend. First off, spend a little time setting the stage by taking shots at today’s so-called “country” music, which has about as much in common with the genre Cash pioneered as MC Hammer does with gangster rap.

Once that’s out of the way, let his words do the talking. And by talking, I mean string together a list of song titles into a somewhat plausible narrative, delivering an homage via an extended in-joke. Give it a bit of down home twang and a dash of ricocheting electronics and voila, an instant classic that exudes nothing but straight up love for the Man in Black.

DJ Topcat – Folsom Prison Gangstaz (Eazy-E vs. Johnny Cash).mp3

Once again, a classic remains un-fucked-with as DJ Topcat envisions pioneering gangster rapper Eazy-E and pioneering icon Johnny Cash sitting side-by-side trading lines while awaiting their parole hearings. I’d have to imagine that if Cash was alive today, he’d approve. He’s always been a criminal deep down inside, one that never expected redemption but rather expressed gratitude when any light shone his way. Eazy-E may have been nothing but a rhyming thug, but his cocksure, ultra-laidback flow rides shotgun with the shuffle of Cash’s original as if predestined.

***UPDATE***

Behold. The missing Apparat remix:

Johnny Cash – I Heard That Lonesome Whistle Blow (Apparat Mix).mp3

The first unwritten rule of remixing is do not fuck with a classic. Apparat knows this, delivering a remix that’s respectful without being a simple, kiss ass-y minimal exercise. If anything, Apparat’s addition of distended beats and waves of reverb makes Cash sound lonelier than he’s ever been in his life. There’s somewhat of a breakdown towards the midsection that further amplifies the heartache lying between the words.

-CLT