Archive for the ‘Music’ Category


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]


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 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.



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.



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]


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?



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”

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


  • 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



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]

Previous versions available here:
The Heavy Rotation Archives


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.


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.



Heavy Rotation 64

February 27, 2011

Featuring The Straight Jacks, Dick Dale by way of Sector, Guilty Ghosts, Soap Opera and Spoon being beaten by BEAKR. Kind of all over the place here and featuring, unbelievably, some drum & bass. Go figure. Wish a song of yours would just go away? Email me at

More spinning done here:
The Heavy Rotation Archives


A long, long, ultra-long look behind the scenes from a former top member of the Church of Scientology.

Sweet! Hacker supergroup Anonymous is taking on the Westboro Baptist Church. Bring on the well-deserved LULZ!

Upon further review, Anonymous will NOT be taking on the Westboro Baptist Church. Because it is they who are the trolling fuckers and they’ve got lawyers like other people have IQ points.

Kate Beaton, the genius cartoonist behind Hark, a Vagrant, has never seen an episode of Dr. Who. This hasn’t stopped her from whipping up a representative episode of the show. As far as I can tell, her sketches are more accurate than the show itself.

The Static Jacks – Parties and Friends (and Bullshit).mp3

Sounds like a less aggro Social Distortion, but one that traces the same outlines (drinking, women, pain) that Social Distortion did best. It’s easy to imagine Mike Ness’ heavily-tattooed growl throttling this one, decrying the injustices perpetrated on him by his woman, her nasty drinking habit and her even nastier drunken habits.

If indie rock had a “classic rock” subgenre, the Static Jacks would be the trendsetter.

Dick Dale – Misirilou (Sector Drum & Bass Mix).mp3

As has been stated before, I don’t care much for Drum & Bass. But as was also pointed out, the DnB I do like (Aphrodite, etc.) isn’t considered real DnB by the purists. So what we have here is something that works so well it seems obvious with about 30 seconds of hindsight: a “not real DnB” remix of Misirlou, a speedy Dick Dale track made bouncier by the addition of filling-loosening bass and a jump-up breakbeat.

Thus, Eastern-informed surf guitar becomes theoretically danceable, even if you can only get as far as your computer chair.

Guilty Ghosts – Bergen Street.mp3

Like Mogwai, only more electronic-y, Guilty Ghosts pair a skipping CD drumbeat with a blanketing fog of melodic distortion. The perfect soundtrack for a rainy day. Or (depending on current local conditions) the perfect soundtrack for a hungover, shades-drawn kind of day.

(Photo: Jason Pfeifer)

Soap Opera – Colliqual.mp3

Some sort of rough-hewn dubby breakbeat, sporting Massive Attack meets Mad Professor beats with barking electronic interjections and unintelligible vocals that weave in and out of the murk. No single element is particularly threatening but the whole thing has an ass-kicking air about it. And who is Soap Opera? You won’t find any answers here.

Spoon – I Turn My Camera On (BEAKR Mix).mp3

Spoon for your dancefloor, without any lazy beat additions or bland 4/4 club pandering. Just a kick-ass BEAKR re-edit, stressing the thump while retaining Britt Daniels’ distinctive vocals and lyrics.


Some content on this page was disabled on June 16, 2020 as a result of a DMCA takedown notice from Performing Right Society Limited (PRS). You can learn more about the DMCA here:


Friends (Or a Reasonable [Electronic] Facsimile Thereof)

February 24, 2011

I first heard Gary Numan on a Beggars Banquet compilation (which also featured some brilliant tracks by Peter Murphy, Rollerskate Skinny and Tones on Tail). Well, I had probably heard Cars first via the radio, which at that point was still trotting out that lurching classic 15 years on from its heyday, myopically reducing Gary Numan to a single song.

And that’s really the problem with radio. Every band exists only as their hit, no matter how many other just as catchy tunes reside on their albums. For instance, the US knows Love & Rockets as So Alive.

At least if you lived in Britain, you had All in My Mind or their cover of Ball of Confusion added to that arbitrary list. Oh, and No New Tale to Tell, which was one of about three salvagable tracks from Earth-Sun-Moon, which many people still insist on calling “underrated.” I don’t know. To my ears, the “underrated” scores are right where they should be.

But we’re not here to discuss my lover for Love & Rockets or the poorly done tattoo of the band’s logo I have tattoed on my right arm.

The follow-up question to Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Are Friends Electric? is vintage Numan, all icy synths, monotone vocals and a melodic hook as big as the dystopian outdoors. The huge synth line is twice as good as the one in Cars, if only half as popular.

Here’s the original in all its synthetic glory:

Now that you’ve gone to the source, here’s two different takes on the masterpiece:

Moloko – Are Friends Electric? (live).mp3

Moloko takes the first swing, opting for a rather straightforward rendition. The main twist is part-time singer Mark Brydon’s vocals, which out-deadpan Numan’s original, lending a bit of ironic distance to the cover. It turns out a bit like something that wouldn’t sound out of place in the more restrained portions of Fischerspooner’s discography.

Giresse – Mon Ami.mp3

Giresse heads off in a different direction, using the outsized synthline as the foundation for a dancefloor killing machine. The patented Numan riff gets distended, altered, pitched and otherwise electronically manhandled over the course of the pounding track, one which wouldn’t sound out of place in Mauro Picotto or Yves Deruyter‘s setlist.



Heavy Rotation 63

February 20, 2011

Featuring Tobacco, Glitter Bones, No Age, Slowdive and The Fauns. Damaged electro followed by the soothing sounds of various -gazes, nu- and old skool shoe-. Would you like a track removed? Email me at


Learn how to do stuff from self-annointed “experts” over at The Content Farm. The first step to paying off your credit card debt? Get money. It seems obvious now, but your lack of expertise probably blinded you.

How J.C. Penney gamed the search engine system. Yeah. J.C. Penney. Even the most staid of mall anchor stores are hacking their way back to relevance.

Multiple links here. All good. The story behind security firm HBGary and one man’s idiotic attempt to take on notorious hacking hivemind Anonymous. To quote one of the many: “Moral of the Story: Don’t drum up business by banging on a hornet’s nest.”

1. The Man Who Knew Too Little: Behind Aaron Barr’s (of HBGary) convoluted plot to bring down Wikilinks.
2. How Aaron Barr tracked down Anonymous and paid heavily: 68,000 company emails made public, 1.5TB of data flushed, Twitter account hacked, website defaced, and more.
3. After Anon’s preliminary attack, Aaron Barr confronts his attackers. Bitch-slappage ensues.
4. Anonymous details the hack.
5. The complete IRC chat log of Barr’s “face-to-face” with Anonymous.

More Heavy Rotation(s) available here:
The Heavy Rotation Archive

Tobacco – Six Royal Vipers.mp3

Tobacco makes a particularly unhealthy form of electronica, one that sounds like it’s composed in a roomful of lengthy wiring and dust bunnies, lit with a single, flickering fluorescent bulb. You can almost picture him hunched over a jury-rigged beatbox, surrounded by overflowing ashtrays and unsleeved LPs, coaxing out distorted melodies and warped tones, occasionally interrupted by tripped circuit breakers and periodic hits from his n2o cartridge.

Clinking through the discarded cartridges, he presses REC on the reel-to-reel which is loaded with decaying tape originally purchased from a boot sale somewhere in the darker parts of Mile End, along with a set of ancient pornographic comic books, a stack of which are currently in use leveling out the mid-70s console stereo.

Finally happy with his efforts, Tobacco dumps it all into the aging Atari ST (don’t knock it: Fatboy Slim still uses one) and, with a flip of the circuit breaker and some wire rearranging, sends it to the waiting vinyl press. One the grooves are imprinted, Tobacco grabs the fresh acetate and drills an off-center hole in it and quickly inscribes “???: ? RPMs” on the label.

No Age – Losing Feeling.mp3

When not confidently speeding through Pavement-damaged angular indie rock, No Age like to wind their way down a poppier, melancholic path lit only by filtered sunlight and bright chords which intermittently expose the darkness just below the surface. This is the way indie pop should be done: kiss to the brain melodies coasting on frictionless sounds just left enough of radio to avoid being tagged “sellout.”

The Fauns – Road Meets Sky.mp3

Nu-gaze that conjures up the best Lush tracks with a bit of Slowdive (see below) thrown in for good measure.

Glitter Bones – Race to Heaven.mp3

Like a slightly more cheerful Slowdive, making use of the same softly focused palette but with brighter colors mixed in. Kind of as if Slowdive had hied the fuck up out of watery Reading and relocated to somewhere with a few more months of steady sunlight. Like Ibiza.

Glitter Bones‘ dreampop sounds a little poppier and a little less like the suicidal teen down the block and hits your ears like a love letter written on a sugar rush.

Slowdive – Machine Gun.mp3

For comparison. (Also works fine as a stand-alone piece.)



Heavy Rotation 62

February 13, 2011

Featuring Umberto, Simian Mobile Disco, the Sleep-Ins, Marina and the Diamonds (assistance provided by Pictureplane) and Bisquit. Some dark electro, light electro, post-electro, good old fashioned indie rock and a fat slab of cheese. Need a track removed? Email me at

Previous Rotations available here:
The Heavy Rotation Archive


Old sports cards treated with the utmost disrespect and indignity.

The 40 Most Amazing Pictures Of The Blizzaster Of 2011: Pics, Videos, Links, News

This clip will make your brain cough up blood.

Umberto – Someone Chasing Someone Through a House.mp3

Zombie Zombie? John Carpenter? Gatekeeper? Goblin?

If any one of these ring a bell, you’re in for an atmospheric treat. Umberto lays down the creeping menace like nobody’s business, least of all the person who has just now realized the calls are coming from INSIDE THE HOUSE.

Knives out. That door. Fuck. That door locks from the other side. Upstairs. Shit. The lights. The fucking lights!

(While you enjoy that minimal word picture and the soothing tones of your near-death experience closing in, take a moment to revel in the pure snark of the song title. The perfect answer to the sneering Nimrod who knocks your music with a sneering, “So, you like write soundtrack music for movies that don’t exist? Is that about right?”

Let’s all hope this prick is the expendable cast member. You know, the annoying one that the audience starts shouting directions to, like “Open that door!” and “Go lay down on the centerline!”)

Also noted: Umberto hails from Kansas City of all places. Isn’t music fucking great!

Simian Mobile Disco – Hákarl.mp3

I don’t know what someone said to Simian Mobile Disco but it must have cut them deep. Something about selling out. Going pop. Jumping in the shallow end with Justice.

Whatever was said worked. SMD released the most aggressively non-commercial album of their career with Delicacies. Dark dirty dancefloor material. Brutal minimal beatdowns with no concessions granted to the hipsters, the charts or the pretenders claiming to be tastemakers.

No vocals. Well oiled precision electronics hammering the point home. Nothing under 7 minutes in length. You wanted a hit? Not here. No sellout.

The Sleep-Ins – Silver State.mp3

The Sleep-Ins are a throwback to very early-90s altrock, throwing around walls of guitar fuzz like the adopted children of the Inspiral Carpets and the Soupdragons. There’s also a bit of Dinosaur Jr’s more temperate moments (Feel the Pain, in particular) where Mascis could un-slack long enough to make a brief connection with a potential audience.

I also here a bit of Pavement in here as well (Box Elder, specfically) but this would be a Pavement that wasn’t so damn sure it was smarter than its listeners. Great, earworming stuff.

Marina and the Diamonds – Shampain (Picture Plane Remix).mp3

Marina and the Diamonds revive the adventurous near-pop of Laurie Anderson and Kate Bush (especially the latter) in this charming, chiming shard of bliss. “Rapturous” could get tossed in here as a prime adjective. Incredibly catchy, sporting a melody that goes for miles. Pictureplane is on hand to add more charm, chiming and roughed-up chords and samples.

Bisquit – Roller Boogie.mp3

I left this one for last since it may be the last thing you hear today. It’s not that other music won’t reach your ears, it’s just that whatever it is will have no chance of dislodging this insidious piece of bubblegum from your subconscious. It’s so infectious it should come with penicillin booster shots.

It’s German but the lyrics are in English. There’s plenty of vocoder scattered all over these lyrics which gives it a high-tech feel while still being retro as all hell. (Kind of like an audio approximation of The Jetsons. And the vocoder is easily one of my favorite electronic thingies, right behind the Roland TB-303.)

Do yourself a favor and watch the video, which contains some of the most half-assed choreography and easily-tired dancers I’ve ever seen. I’m pretty sure that if this didn’t exist, neither would the Vengaboys, which in no way diminishes the ridiculous amount of pure, naïve fun this brings to the table.




Heavy Rotation 61

February 6, 2011

Featuring Power Animal, Ivansxtc, Big Troubles, the Liars and Blessure Grave in conjunction with the always delightful Deathface. Rather not have your music out in the open? Email me at for track removal.


Mike Doyle is doing impossible things with Legos.

Two views on blogging: It’s dead. It’s changing.

Fuckin’ McSweeney’s.

Power Animal – Better Water.mp3

Completely unrelated to Powermen 1-5000, Power Animal project a combination of swelling choruses and backsliding loops which coalesce into a compelling noise not entirely unlike what I imagine successful prayer sounds like: the ecstasy of an open line with the heavens mixed with prostrated frustration, resulting in unrevealing responses.

Ivansxtc – Yesterday.mp3

I may overuse “gorgeous” but that’s exactly what this is. Ivansxtc whips up a sonic daydream out of indescribable longing buoyed by repeatedly cresting waves of guitar crush and minor keys. Bears a solid resemblance to Peter Murphy taking My Bloody Valentine for a quick spin through the darker corners of 4AD’s catalog.  Apparently, Ivan cuts his product with tears of quiet desperation.

Big Troubles – Video Rock.mp3

Big Troubles bring back the big fun of the eighties via an underground broadcast of white-hot keyboard swirls and the most clattering of drums. It’s bunker-party rock broadcast on cellphone speakers, overdriven and compact. The audio equivalent of scrambled cable.

Liars – The Overachievers.mp3

The Liars return and bring with them this tasty slab of power-pop-punk, a radio-friendly unit shifter that snarkily bemoans complacency, hiding its self-hatred behind a smiling costume party mask. There’s some Pixies-esque guitar wrangling, some Ramones-ish shouting and plenty of “harmless” sentiments spat out through clenched teeth. Catchy as a motherfucker, too.

The smoothest move? When the chant morphs seamlessly from “L.A., L.A.” to “Help me, help me.”

Blessure Grave – Stranger in the House (Deathface Mix).mp3

Blessure Grave channels true goth, reaching into the past for the tortured soul of Fields of the Nephilim and then, I don’t know, fuck around and start moving furniture with their minds and cranking out page after page of automatic writing. Deathface pitches in as well, channeling the hoover clamor and arpeggiated synths of an early-90s warehouse rave, pushing everything forward on a sweat-drenched 4/4.

Looking for more? Check here:
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