Posts Tagged ‘mp3’

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Heavy Rotation V. 57: Obscene, Dirty, Filthy, Immoral Edition

January 9, 2011

In which Hey Champ consult their Ouija board and their rhyming dictionary, King Unique lay down their own brand of “dirty house” (and provide us with a theme and title), Cassetteboy does terrible things to a very British celebu-chef (followed immediately by an apology to his Mum) and D12 does all sorts of heinous things to their collective Mums with the assistance of Mellow Cake’s wonky propulsiveness.

Oh, and in the bonus round, Giko takes time to clarify that he doesn’t hate you, he just wants to be your proctologist.

Here are the links: (All links open in a new window.)

Bruce Sterling takes a very clear-eyed (and slightly profane) look at the Wikileaks controversy, waving away the murky haze of myth-making that currently surrounds it.

Stuff Very Specific White People Like.

Speaking of stuff white people like, Rap Genius is here to clue you in on what exactly Rick Ross, Jay-Z, Lil Wayne et al are talkin’ ’bout. “I just whipped up a watch, tryin’ to make me a Rover,” indeed.

Obscene
Cassetteboy – Nigella’s XXXMas.mp3

Dirty
King Unique – Dirty.mp3

Filthy
Hey Champ – Demon Semen.mp3

Immoral
D12 – Shit On You (Mellow Cakes Remix).mp3

Bonus:
Giko – Asshole (Facteur Mix).mp3

-CLT

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Heavy Rotation 54

July 25, 2010

I don’t have three links picked out this week due to some scheduling conflicts (read: more going on than I have actual hours for). Instead, I’m posting links to three blogs I read regularly. (Again, time permitting.)

All links open in a new window. Right-click on song titles to download.

Newmark’s Door – Full of killer links

Hit & Run – Reason’s top-notch libertarian blog, which manages to inform and entertain without going all “guns in a shack” psycho.

No Pain in Pop – Way out on the cutting edge. HR wouldn’t be what it is without their ceaseless exploration…

Previous Rotations available here:
The Heavy Rotation Archives

Deftones – Rocket Skates (m83 Remix).mp3
First of all, I’m never really sure whether to pronounce them as the Def-tones or the Deft-ones. (Wiki says “Def-tones,” but then Wiki says a lot of stuff. I’m going to go with the second.)

If you had to listen to one nu metal band, you could do a whole lot worse than Chino Moreno’s band, which has been a formative force in many a lesser nu metal band. Needless to say, we’ll try no to hold that against them.

But what we’re really here for is the remix. And m83 do a number on this one. Somehow, through some sort of electronic sorcery, m83 manage to crank up the aggression while simultaneously losing every single guitar. There’s not a single six-string chord in sight and yet, the track still sounds raw and unhinged. Moreno’s vocals deserve some of the credit here, helping to pace the tune while being set adrift from his usual rhythm section.

It all adds up to a Deftones track that I would not only listen to, but listen to repeatedly.

Twin Sister – Lady Daydream (Glitter Bones Remix).mp3
A gorgeous daytripper filled with the swooning harmonics of the greatest ’60s girl group to never exist, filtered through electronica (via Glitter Bones) that lies somewhere between Telepopmusik and Peepholes. It’s the audio equivalent of an early-morning mist rolling off the ocean as it gently breaks across the empty shoreline.

Plus, it features one of the most self-effacing daily affirmations ever:

Just because I’m losing you
Doesn’t make me a loser

Oh, and check out their site. Not only does it do the usual tours/releases thing, but stems for all songs are available so you can remix them yourselves. Bedroom producers: start your laptops.

Toy – The All Seeing Eye.mp3
English-Norwegian electronic duo Toy’s take on dub will no doubt be shunned by the very genre it embraces, because, for some goddamn reason, dub is taken very seriously by its fans. All thses kids with sunken cheeks and studio tans keep hanging around bringing everybody down with their “it’s 40 degrees and raining in my head… all the time” moodiness.

Who says dub has to be all detached and distended? Toy certainly doesn’t. Their track gurgles away, wandering around carefreely, past some cartoonish noises and into a whole pile of synthed-up strings. Not entirely unlike Dub Narcotic Soundsystem, who seldom took their “job” seriously while still managing to deploy every reverberating trick in the book.

Hot Chip – I Feel Better (Den Haan Remix).mp3
Den Haan, Glaswegian disco-technicians (and featured in an earlier Heavy Rotation), turn in a brilliant retro remix that recalls flourescent-covered bodies strutting their stuff on a smoke-filled dancefloor, when not slipping away to the restrooms to dice up coke rails with their corporate credit cards.

Plushgun – Mixtape (Buffetlibre Remix).mp3
With a track name like “Mixtape,” you know Plushgun is looking backwards. Between their rearview mirror and Buffetlibre’s surehanded post-production, it sounds like nothing less than the second coming of Erasure, who never really went away, actually. It’s just that no one really talks about them anymore…

[Need a track taken down? Got some time on your hands that you’d be willing to part with? Viagra/Cialis for sale at low, low prices? Contact me at: 2timegrime@gmail.com.]

-CLT

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Heavy Rotation 50

June 27, 2010

Welcome to the 50th installment of the Heavy Rotation. I don’t really have anything planned as this sort of snuck up on me, and if you really get technical (and we will), this is actually the 51st, thanks to the numbering system not really “catching on” until the third HR. This doesn’t even include the repeated number somewhere in the 30’s.

Long story short: we’re calling this 50, but we’re not making a big deal of it.

First the links, because we’re all just not using the internet enough already:
[All links open in a new window. Right-click on track names to download.]

http://copybot.wordpress.com/2009/04/07/the-50-most-interesting-articles-on-wikipedia/

http://copybot.wordpress.com/2009/09/29/50-more-of-wikipedias-most-interesting-articles/

http://snarkmarket.com/

Approximately 50 previous volumes here:
The Heavy Rotation Archives

The Antlers – Kettering.mp3
We’ll build up this time around. Kicking things off is the Antlers and their dream/nightmare pop, delivering a haunting dirge detailing the frustration and futility of losing someone to forces beyond your control. The internal scream of someone dying on the inside watching someone dying on the outside.

The Delta Mirror – Going to Town.mp3
Former L.A. indie hip hop producers find a new life on the offworld colonies, returning to earth with their troubled take on post-rock/electronica via the shoegazey plugins of m83 and Ulrich Schnauss. Certainly more menacing than the bands listed above (although m83 does go darker more often than US), Going to Town rides a mildly fucked-up beat deep into the shadows while bright synth tones alluringly drag the listener down with them.

How could something so pretty be so full of pain? And why the hell does it remind me so much of the following track that my brain nearly broke trying to put 2 and 2 together around 4 in the morning early last week?

Ulrich Schnauss – Between Us and Them.mp3
Germany’s least expected import, Ulrich Schnauss writes love letters to My Bloody Valentine and Chapterhouse using his newfangled software and racks of electronics, rather than the tear-stained quill and paper they’re used to. Much like m83 and the recently discovered Incubator, Schnauss builds emotional moments from a collection of bits and bytes and creates cripplingly gorgeous soundscapes from files and folders.

This track sounds a fair bit like the previous one. And vice versa. Actually, more vice versa than not, what with Schnauss hitting the scene first.

m83 – Teen Angst (Death to the Throne Mix).mp3
Now the beats are starting to kick in. Death to the Throne dresses up Teen Angst for the dancefloor without pandering to the club kids, allowing blasts of m83’s white noise to break through before sending the 4/4 beat in to restore order, most memorably in the stutter-step-stagger bursts that lead into the 2nd chorus.

Tame Impala – H.F.G.W. (Canyons Drunken Rage).mp3
Australian psych-rockers Tame Impala (described to perfection in a previous comment thread) allow their Half Full Glass of Wine track to be beaten about by the mysterious Canyons. The result?

A loping beat meets gently weeping guitar licks before the bass kicks in with the intonation, “You leave me no choice but to plot my revenge.” As the vocals loop the song starts to strut, muscling its way into your ears and heading straight for your ass, mutating into a veritable rock fucking monster that Led Zeppelin woud have been proud to call their own.

[Need a track removed? Tired of all this shoegaze-tronica? Need some money wired to an ailing relative in Kenya? Contact me at 2timegrime@gmail.com.]

-CLT

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Heavy Rotation 48

June 13, 2010

No theme this week, which should equal fewer words and more time for you to surf around the net while enjoying the finest in music via the Heavy Rotation.

[Another brief note: all tracks featured in the Heavy Rotation can be downloaded by right-clicking on the song title and choosing “Save As…” Just throwing that out there in case anyone was wondering.]

Browse here (all links will open in a new window, per Scott’s instructions):

http://www.hammacher.com/Product/78609?promo=Home&catid=0  (via Dubious Quality)

http://thinkstank.tumblr.com/post/664617570/nine-inch-niles-the-seattleward-spiral  (and he’s got a million more great ideas… check out the whole Thinkstank site)

http://shitmykidsruined.tumblr.com/ 

Previous volumes here, mostly sans links:
The Heavy Rotation Archives

Rraaiillss – SPF85.mp3
First there was the Jesus and Mary Chain. And they were awesome. And as most bands do, they started strong and faded but were divisive enough to be considered influential, what with all their feedback and darkened outlook. But for a long time, bands called them an influence but gave no musical reason for us to believe them.

Suddenly, twenty + years after their feedback-drenched debut, bands all over the place are sound like JAMC meant more to them than just something to say to music journos. A Place to Bury Strangers, the Young Boys, Nikoo, etc. And now, the cat-on-the-keyboard-named Rraaiills.

However, Rraaiillss follows the less noisy path, with one-man band Adam Anderson staking a claim somewhere in the middle of Darklands, the milder sophomore album by the Scottish noise boys. It’s all understated distortion, hummable melodies and a bleak-as-the-great-Scottish-outdoors outlook. (You can pick up his entire 4-track ep for FREE here: http://rraaiillss.bandcamp.com/ )

The Jesus and Mary Chain – Nine Million Rainy Days.mp3
This one is for comparison. From the second album by the Jesus and Mary Chain, in which they mostly turned their back on walls of feedback, but didn’t quite do an entire 180 and start looking their audience in the eye. An atmospheric broken hymn to a collapsing relationship and the attendant exposed nerve endings of obsession.

Liars – Cycle Time.mp3
Unfolds like a bar fight. The first half is the buildup, instigated by the wrong thing said or the stare that goes on a beat too long. The chips fall off the shoulders at 1:06, leading to a chorus that hits like a swung bottle. It’s over as quickly as it starts, leaving behind nothing but bruises, blood and the echo of footsteps escaping the scene before the cops show up. Check out more from the Liars here: http://www.myspace.com/liarsliarsliars

 

autoKratz – Kick (BANKSY Mix).mp3
Banging away at your psyche with brooding efficiency, autoKratz’ dark tech/prog house banger (like they made in the good old days) features some icy, industrial-esque vocal distortion and an assortment of haunting electronic hums and ping-ponging scary noises.

The 4/4 thump and bass thrum move the track along with enough singlemindedness to get asses on the floor, where it proceeds to scare the bejeezus out of anyone chemically-addled enough to get too close to the bassbins. A lot like Front Line Assembly’s best work.

Chemical Brothers – K+D+B.mp3
Los Hermanos Chemical are back! Thank god. And I don’t just mean they’ve released a new album. No, they’ve done plenty of that recently with middling effectiveness and an annoying reliance on guest stars to aid in their quest to abandon their fanbase and acquire the kind of listeners who have shown a distinct tendency to pick Lady Gaga or whatnot instead.

No. Not just another album.

They. Are. Back.

Further is easily their best album since 1999’s Surrender, which is fitting because this album sounds a whole lot like that one. And I couldn’t be happier. It’s melodic. It’s thumping. It’s the underground we all wanted to be a part of. It’s the 4am set that turns to bliss as the sun rises over 20,000 dancers in a field, celebrating a primal togetherness that can only be explained by hamfisted writing and botched metaphors.

K+D+B is all that in one 5-1/2 minute track. Starting with some drums right out of Fleetwood Mac’s Tusk, the ChemBros kick up the pace, relying on not much else but the syncopated beats. Around a minute in, the keyboards and samples kick in, bringing the track into the daylight and warming everything around it. 1:43: something that could be called an electro-bagpipe kicks in. A buzzing burst of treble noise, but calling it “noise” does it a disservice. It adds rather than distracts.

Builds and builds and builds and why the fuck not? The sampled singing keeps telling us “higher.” I’m only making things worse by attempting to express the pure euphoria and enchantment that two guys with a room full of switches are capable of evoking. Just listen.

-CLT

[Want a track removed? Think I used the words “electro” or “fuck” too much? Just say so (but nicely): 2timegrime@gmail.com.]
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Heavy Rotation 47: It’s All Coming Together Now Edition

June 6, 2010

Another week, another selection of varied tunes for your perusal. Except this week. Well, there are tunes, but they’re all up in each other’s bidness, as you’ll have bludgeoned into your head with this extremely wordy issue of Heavy Rotation. Many thanks in advance for those who wade right in.

If you’ve still got time to spare, take a look at these:

http://thisstuffisfree.wordpress.com/2010/06/04/free-magic-tricks/

http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/2010/05/sneaky-hate-spiral.html

http://hiddenleaves.wordpress.com/2010/06/06/shit-laertes-says/

Earlier, more varied and economical editions available here:
The Heavy Rotation Archives

….

Bauhaus – Rose Garden Funeral of Sores (Live).mp3
Pixies – Hey.mp3

First up: Goth pioneers Bauhaus drop their art-damaged punk all over John Cale’s dark musings on Jesus’ Marys: the virgin mother and the attentive prostitute. From the street hassle of being a virgin mother:

Virgin Mary was tired
So tired
Tired of listening to gossip
Gossip and complaints
They came from next door

to the epicenter of the pointless, projecting gossip:

And a bewildered stream of chatter
From all sorts of
All sorts of
Untidy whores
Came from next door

The song tracks the petty travails of being a legend in your own time, a position made less envious by being linked inextricably by the savior of the world, a man of impossible standards and unconditional love.

Peter Murphy struts, vamps and screams, playing off the lyrical surges while his bandmates chime in with hoarse, whorish shouts, channeling the tormented/tormenting taunts of “screaming whores” with guttural barks of “UH!”.

But their choice don’t seem to matter
They got swollen breasts and lips that putter
And their choice of matter and their scream of chatter
Is just a little parasitic scream of whores
Screaming whores
In the rosegarden funeral of sores

And now the Pixies…

From the most Biblically obsessed of their albums (1989’s Doolittle) comes this perverted love/lust song, filled with contaminated yearning and cursed fatalism. Riding a bassline they wouldn’t top until later that album (I Bleed), Black Francis unleashes his naked desire only to find it anchored to the dead weight of a self-destructive relationship:

Hey!
Been trying to meet you
Mmm…
Hey!
Must be a devil between us
Or whores in my head
Whores at the door
Whore in my bed

But hey!
Where
Have you
Been?

If you go, I will surely die.

We’re chained…
We’re chained…
We’re chained…
Chained…

As the track heats up, Black Francis obliquely quotes “Rose Garden’s” screaming whores:

‘UH!’,
Said the man to the lady
Mmm…

‘UH!’,
Said the lady to the man she adored
And the whores like a choir go ‘UH!’ all night
And Mary, ain’t you tired of this?
‘UH!’
Is
The
Sound
That the mother makes when the baby breaks!

[I’ve been listening to these two tracks for the better part of 15 years and never saw the connection until just last week. Go figure.]

Bauhaus – Rose Garden Funeral of Sores (Live)

Pixies – Hey

Pixies – Hang Onto Your Ego.mp3
Public Image Limited – Public Image.mp3

The Pixies cover a Brian Wilson track that got deep-sixed by Mike Love for being too cynical and “out there” for the average boomer, taking an angular, guitar-heavy run through the greatest Beach Boys track never to hit the airwaves. (What if it had? It might have changed the face of “classic rock” completely. I think it would have hit Jimmy Buffett’s pocketbook the hardest…)

As the band warms up for the run, Black Francis fires off “Hullo, hullo, hullo…” quoting the opening of P.I.L.’s opening salvo Public Image, another deconstruction of rock ego and myth-making. Why this appropriation? Perhaps to indicate that Hang Onto Your Ego could have been a generational kiss off to a generation of undemanding Beach Boy fans.

I know so many people
Who think they can do it alone
They isolate their heads
And stay in the safety zone

But what can you tell them?
What can you say that won’t make them defensive?

So…
Hang on to your ego
Hang on, but I know that you’re gonna lose the fight

They come on like they’re peaceful
But inside they’re so uptight
They trip through the day
And waste all their thoughts at night

But how can I say it?
How can I come on when I know I’m guilty?

Speaking of which, John Lydon (the former Johnny Rotten) sends the Sex Pistols’ fans running for the shelter of their now “status quo” punk bands with the debut single from his new project, Public Image Ltd. His last words as Rotten were, “Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?”

Cheated by your manager. Cheated by your label. Cheated by your smack-addled murderer of a bass player. Cheated by the revolution that never was. Cheated by fans who wanted nothing more than a soundtrack for drunked, drugged-up mosh pits.

Lydon flips the script, announcing punk is over with a bruising bassline thundering over some exploratory soundcheck/reality check “hullos.” A farewell to Rotten/Sex Pistols/McLaren/Punk “Scene.” If his fans couldn’t be bothered to bootstrap a musical revolution, he’d just have to do it himself.

You never listen to a word that I said
You’ve only seen me
For the clothes that I wear
Or did the interest go so much deeper
It must have been
The colour of my hair

Public Image

What you wanted was never made clear
Behind the image was ignorance and fear
You hide behind this public machine
Still follow same old scheme

Public Image

Public image you got what you wanted
The Public image belongs to me
It’s my entrance
My own creation
My grand finale
My goodbye

[Yet another connection made only recently, although, to be fair, the Rough Diamonds compilation which contains this Pixies track is only a few years old… Still…]

Pixies – Hang Onto Your Ego

Public Image Ltd. – Public Image

Pixies – Ride the Tiger (Demo Version).mp3
Pixies – Ride the Tiger (Album Version).mp3

Since we’re already in a Pixies mood, let’s take two looks at the same track and the difference a great producer makes.

Let’s go ahead and clear the air: Steve Albini is an asshole. But he’s an uber-talented asshole who doesn’t glorify his own position. As is the case with most albums he’s produced, Albini credits himself with nothing more glamorous than “recording.” He knows what he’s looking for and he doesn’t fuck around.

There are plenty of anecdotes out there dealing with his “hands off” production technique. During the 1988 Surfer Rosa sessions, the most famous Albini-ism was his direction, which consisted of declaring things to be either “pussy” (in need of improvement) or “not pussy” (good to go).

So, listen closely to the two versions.

The demo version (taken from the Rough Diamonds compilation) runs nearly a minute longer. There’s a bit more space between the verses, giving Joey Santiago a chance to run through about a half-dozen ideas, casting liberal (for the Pixies) amounts of guitar squall/skronk here and there much like he did in “Vamos.”

The chorus and bridges linger for a bit too long, but that could just be 20+ years of hindsight speaking. All in all, a little unfocused but still a track that thousands of bands would kill to have in their catalogue, perfectly demonstrating the Pixies’ flawless command of the quiet/loud dynamic.

Now listen to the album version.

It is tight. Economical. No wasted effort anywhere. Santiago’s guitar scribblings are limited to propelling the song thru some lingering notes and restrained strumming. Pay special attention to the bridge between the first chorus and second verse, when he pulls the listener along on a thin strand of sustained feedback, using a couple of held notes to tie it all together and letting the rhythm section (and Kim’s backing vocals) do all the heavy lifting.

And Lovering’s drums. Those are definitely “not pussy.” It makes the drumming on the demo version seem so… serviceable. Of course, this may be nothing more than better miking and mastering, but that’s why a great producer is worth the $$$.

Of course, the song itself rocks hard, alternating between melodic and stormy, riding a metaphor from the Gaza Strip to the Cradle of Civilization.

Pixies – Ride the Tiger (Demo Version)

Pixies – Ride the Tiger (Album Version)

-CLT

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Heavy Rotation 46

May 30, 2010

Since writing about music is so much “dancing about architecture,” why don’t we all just check out the real thing?

http://bldgblog.blogspot.com/

More white boy shuffling re: building and such here:
The Heavy Rotation Archives

K-X-P – 18 Hours (of Love).mp3
Emerging from Helsinki, Finland armed with a stack of Spacemen 3 and Suicide records, K-X-P mine a more restrained vein of space/drone rock than their influences would indicate. This track rides an amped-up bluesy groove not a million miles removed from Spirit in the Sky, which is accented with blankets of reverb, bursts of distortion and very occasional bits of electro-drumming.

Grave Babies – Eating Babies.mp3
Grave Babies – Graves.mp3

The Grave Babies (whom I’ve featured before) have been heavily rotating around my skull for the past several weeks. The entire album (which can be found here [right-click to download]) is a washed-out masterpiece, built of waves of static and distorted instrumentation suggesting the last broadcast of man’s intangible humanity, slowly disintegrating as it rides a decaying signal.

These tracks (the first and last songs on the album) are both works of severely fucking damaged beauty, exploring the minutia of the post-apocalypse as it stands in contrast to omnipresent death and destruction. In other words, there’s nothing like an epidemic of death and undeath to make every small human interaction all-important while simultaneously completely irrelevant.

Like a heartbreaking conversation that plays out with someone saying “I love you” only to hear in reply, “Does it matter?”

(Note to listeners: Graves, from about 3 minutes on, is nothing but static, distortion and disembodied talking. You can move on at that point. It’s great in the context of the album, but a bit much when sampling a single track.)

Eating Babies

Graves

We Were Promised Jetpacks – It’s Thunder and It’s Lightning.mp3
Like classic Echo & the Bunnymen/James fronted by the cast of Trainspotting. In addition to sounding just kinda fucking awesome, how about that band name? Can I get a “hell yeah” or closest Scottish equivalent? Man, it’s worth hearing just for that.

On the actual “musical information” side, the song deals with domestic violence, which the Scottish have a lot of experience with apparently… (See also: Glasgow Kiss. And also: Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine – Sealed with a Glasgow Kiss.)

Rotovibe – Become.mp3
I won’t lie to you. This is going to sound like a million other lovelorn songs for about a minute or two. I thought the same thing. I was about to hit “Next” on the mp3 player when some nice backing vocals kicked in at the 45-second mark.

I gave it a stay of execution. It started to dive back down and my finger hovered over the kill switch… Then the crafty bastards brought in an organ. And you know how I feel about organ tones. Plus, the chiming, reverbed guitars were wearing down my resistance.

So, I’m still holding. It builds a little. A little more. The vocals reach a peak. Then the other guitar(s) join in (2:30). And holyfuckingshit, we have a Heavy Rotation entry. The perfect storm of distortion, wah pedal and some skilfully wielded feedback.

To sum up: sounds like a head-on collision of Classic Girl and Up the Beach by Jane’s Addiction, which leaves behind shards of resplendent destruction and the most exquisite corpse you’ve ever seen/heard.

Dum Dum Girls – Bhang Bhang I’m a Burnout.mp3
Well, let’s hit the road with a smile on our face. Nominally a band, but more a roadshow for lead singer Dee Dee punk fixations, the Dum Dum Girls (nod to Iggy Pop) hit the ear like an all-female Ramones, a comparison aided greatly by the lead singer’s name.

Somewhere between one-chord punk and free form garage rock, the DDG experience is as much fun as a barrel full of nitrous. Enjoy. (And of course, many thanks to the oddly omnipresent MEK for pointing me in their direction.)

-CLT

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Heavy Rotation Vol. 45

May 23, 2010

Hey, readers. Sorry about the lack of insightful yet hilarious intro. Instead, please enjoy this.

http://www.behance.net/Gallery/Make-Something-Cool-Every-Day-2009/171640

It will keep your eyes busy while your ears are otherwise occupied. And remove at least 4-5 hours of your previously free time.

Like intros? Most of these have those:
The Heavy Rotation Archives

The Fall – Serum.mp3
From 2002’s underrated* The Unutterable, a heavily electronic album that seems to be stealing pages from several different electronic artists (var. Big Beat artists, some swing/samba distortion a la Foetus). This track in particular seems to be quoting (of all bands) Infected Mushroom**, I shit you not. It’s all densely layered breakbeats and acid squiggles, with Mark E. Smith’s overenunciated Mancunian drawl coloring in the spaces, ranting-uh and raving-uh about godknowswhat.

* (Let’s be honest, when you release something like 1,300 albums over the course of 3.5 decades, you’re bound to end up with a few labelled “underrated.” It’s just simple math.)
** (If you’re not familiar, and there’s really no reason you should be, Infected Mushroom are an Israeli trance group that travels the harsher, more psychedelic side of trance. Many labels have been carelessly applied to their pounding, acidic trance. Psytrance and goa are the ones that have stuck.)

Echo & the Bunnymen – Proxy.mp3
Apparently, the Bunnymen are back together. Despite all my musical expertise, I thought that they had pretty much said the hell with it after 1997’s Evergreen, which would have been the last album of theirs I purchased.

I have since been informed (by MEK and Wiki) that a.) they’ve been releasing albums every four years or so for the past 12 years and b.) the world does NOT revolve around me and my CD purchases. So… good for them!

This track is all kinds of bouncy fun, full of sixties-ish piano and harmonizing. In fact, it’s so great you’ll swear they never missed a beat all these misinformed years.

James – Dr. Hellier.mp3
Speaking of bands that have reformed (or not), here’s James with a timely body-as-world analogy that speaks in metaphors about disease-as-international-tension, which is then completed through the titular Dr. Hellier’s invasion of the body/country via a Fantastic Voyage-esque capsule in an effort to save it/them/everyone from themselves/himself/itself.

Speaking of things we’ve spoken of before, James released an album in 2008, so it could be argued that they’ve been back for at least two years already. Not only that, but this mysterious MEK also recommended this tune and told me (more or less) to hijack his “Fantastic Voyage” description and claim it as my own.

Blancmange – The Game Above My Head.mp3
This track is everything good about the 80’s: huge, lush synthwork, chilly overtones, the faux-est of faux handclaps and minimal, oblique lyrics. It’s like an audible Nagel print. Not only that, but it was released in 1984 (on their second album, Mange Trout), the eightiest year of the 80’s.

It’s the kind of electro-perfection that’s bright enough to snare the pop tarts, yet dark enough to engage the goths.

 

Moullinex & Xinobi – Discotexas (Digitalfoxglove Mix).mp3
You absolutely know the title came first. And with a title this kickass, you have to follow through. Moullinex, in conjunction with Xinobi (with valuable support from Digitalfoxglove) do exactly that, laying down a vintage 909-ish 4/4, some big-as-Texas strings and anchoring the whole ball-o’-disco to some sexed-up slap bass.

-CLT

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Heavy Rotation Vol. 40

April 18, 2010

40.

That’s a big, evil number. All black balloons and used-up jokes. Let’s not head down that road. That way lies madness. Or if not madness, then some form of doom-laden clichefest that is somehow supposed to distract you from the fact that life is continuing its unstoppable Sherman’s March to the Sea, black balloons or no.

40 got you down? The previous volumes all have smaller numbers:
The Heavy Rotation Archives

James – Born of Frustration.mp3
Leading off with a return to a simple time, it’s fan favorite James who spent most of the late ’80s – early ’90s making intelligent alterna-pop, blowing past the throngs who were waiting for the “next Smiths” and splicing atmospheric ear candy onto a sparse, jangly spine.

If someone ever asks what “alternative rock” sounds like, this would be an excellent example. It sure as fuck isn’t everything that followed the “grunge years.” Oh, and it’s got a lot of falsetto, so it’s perfect for the shower.

The National – Bloodbuzz Ohio.mp3
What James would sound like if they were fronted by a fully-matured male. Atmospheric, intelligent, etc., drenched in melancholy and a weary, dark nostalgia. “You can never go home,” they say, and since I can’t find anything in the music world that disagrees with that sentiment, I’d have to agree. The leadoff single from their upcoming album High Violet, and if this is the statement of intent, I’d have to mark it a solid “buy.”

The Big Pink – Introduction to Awareness.mp3
I’ve featured this pair of shoegazers before with their crushing single, Velvet. Still the oddest of bands, formed by a former member of Atari Teenage Riot, whose noise terrorist pedigree would seem to lend itself to a more aggressive brand of music.

Instead, the Big Pink offer up a gauzy, organ-driven LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST! THEY JUST STOLE THE MELODY LINE FROM MY GIRL! AND THEY’RE JUST MOSEYING AROUND AS IF THEY DIDN’T! OMFG!!!

(Fun fact: Alec Empire (the founding member of Atari Teenage Riot) released a “tribute” album to Elvis Presley featuring the so-bad-it’s-good track title “Jailhouse Cock Rocks the Most.”)

The Lowbrows – Midnight Pirates.mp3
The Lowbrows are back. Of course, they didn’t actually go anywhere, and thank god for that as they continue to kick out jam after muthafuckin jam with no discernible drop in quality. Like Linda is Tonight and Danse Macabre, Midnight Pirates takes a bunch of unrelated ideas and runs them through some sort of filtering system that removes anything “non-kickass”  and delivers another dance floor devastator.

Starts out with some slow-moving body blows and some early-90s rave synth stabs before taking the governor off at the 2:11 mark and sending the juggernaut crashing through the VIP room and right onto the dance floor. Another drop and jaw-crushing build later and the dance floor is set to explode.

Simian Mobile Disco – Born to Synthesize (The Lowbrows Mix).mp3
Electro near-rockers SMD get themselves manhandled by the staggeringly good Lowbrows, who take this pulsing track and insert a wobbling, tweaking bassline and some very gorgeous pads. Uplifting, blissed-out and powerful.

-CLT

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Heavy Rotation Vol. 39 – (Almost) Familiar to Millions Edition

April 11, 2010

There comes a time in every DJ’s life when he looks around the dancefloor and sees it’s time to slap the dancers upside the head (musically-speaking). At this point, he will root around in the bag and find something guaranteed to both a.) move asses and b.) appeal to the largest cross-section.

Voila! The remix. If done well, it becomes a go-to track. If not, there’s always tomorrow night, or next week or whenever.

These are done well.

Slightly undercooked, but still tasty:
The Heavy Rotation Archives

Still not enough music? Check out Hidden Leaves’ Friday throwdown, in case you’re still trying to sober up/drown out the voices/finish reading the 5,800 word article on quantum physics. A few weeks back saw Ulysses indulging his SWPL-esque rap fetish and following weeks have seen artists as diverse as Charles Mingus and skatepunkers The Saints.

Led Zeppelin – Immigrant Song (Dirty Funker Remix).mp3
The mysterious Dirty Funker comes from the UK, a mystical place where thousands of people gather in boggy fields and dance until NME announces the “next big thing.” Whoever he is, DF does some amazing mixes, rerubbing everyone from Metallica to Nirvana to Michael Jackson to the White Stripes.

This one goes large, approximating Bonham’s thunder with a brutal 808 and spinning dials back and forth for maximum effect. Tuff, danceable and huge.

White Stripes – Seven Nation Army (Adam Freeland Mix).mp3
Last week’s fan favorite returns to win your hearts, minds and organs beyond with his thumping take on the White Stripe’s already pretty thumping Seven Nation Army. The real fun is the pitchshifting tweakery on Jack White’s low-slung guitar work, which gives the track a nicely discombobulating feel.

Guns & Roses – Welcome to the Jungle (Dirty Dub Hole Mix).mp3
Well, with variety being the spice of life and all, here’s another solid mix by Dirty Funker, this time under the charming Dirty Dub Hole moniker. Lest you mistake my attempted metaphor-mixing for a pan of this track, be advised that it does kick serious amounts of ass on several levels, not the least of which is the all the panning going on inside, which flows nicely with the faux-power kill effects.

Yep. That should make it all crystal clear. Just listen.

Blur – Song #2 (Edu K Remix).mp3
Perhaps the most gregarious of Blur’s tunes, Song #2 seemed to be their Creep, the kind of inescapable hit that has all the frat boys mouthing your words and the all the sorority girls mouthing the frat boys.

So Ed Banger artist Edu K does what anyone with his talent would do: BANG BANG BANG BANG. Takes a bad song and makes it badder. If you thought all that woo-hooing was played out, well, you just ain’t heard it like this before. (Truth be told, most of the annoying “woo-hoo” has been removed and replaced with large doses of distorted, pitchshifted samples and banging dancefloor drums.)

CCR – Fortunate Son (Streetlab Remix).mp3
Good ol’ Creedence. Lebowski knows what I’m talking about. NYC electronic duo Streetlab have an inordinate amount of fun, taking this classic rock staple and getting it all pimped up and ready for the floor. Lots of pitching, shifting and knob twiddling of the non-sexual type.

Go hit up their website. They’ve got a whole album full of remixes (Pet Shop Boys, Beastie Boys, ZZ Top, Led Zeppelin) available for the low, low price of one email address.

Bonus track: (Just listen.)

O.M.G.

Well, I hope you enjoyed them all. That last track was, of course, J.D. remixed by Database. If you wish to have this piece of Americana tainting your hard drive, go ahead and right-click on the O.M.G. to download it.

– CLT

[All music posted on Fancy Plans… is kick ass and too awesome to be contained. All music is also posted temporarily and, due to its high level of ass-kicking, should not be distributed without a prescription and care should be taken while operating heavy equipment or dancing around the living room (clothing optional, but do remember that the blinds are open/kids are still awake).
Should you wish to have your brilliant artistic statement forced back into confinement, please email me at 2timegrime@gmail.com. Feel free to leave a comment, as that will probably be noticed sooner.
By all means, if you like what you hear (and you will), please support the totally rocking artist(s) by purchasing some music or heading out to see them live.]
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History of Music Media Vol. 3 – The Digital Age and Beyond!

April 1, 2010

Welcome to the future! A future that contains some of the past, a bit of the present and not much else! Behold, the miraculous wonder that is: The History of Music Media Vol. 3.

Just get here? Brush up with:
Volume 1 – The Formative Years
Volume 2 – The Analog Age

"Like printing money," said the self-satisfied music industry upon the introduction of the CD format. Or so they thought, until everyone started "printing" their own "money" at home...

Compact Discs
If LPs and cassettes were the show ponies of the media race, the “CD” (or “See Dee”) was Manowar, Secretariat and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse’s horses rolled into one.

Popular, cheap to produce and yet another format to gouge completists with, the CD had it all. Distribution cost? $0. Paid out of the artists’ royalties. Production costs? Studio time? Blow? Free. All paid for by the artists. Plastic, paper, ink – all cheap. Lots and lots and lots of profit.

The music industry responded to their incredible fortune the way any short-sighted leviathan would: by steadily increasing prices. Soon customers were paying $19 for one good song and 11 shitty ones. On top of that, the new format ran 20-25 minutes longer than the LP, leading many bands to pack their albums with filler.

Now albums that would have been solid at 45 minutes suddenly became 77 minutes of catalog dilution as bands threw in various shit remixes, shit “alternate takes,” or the ever-popular “13-minute hidden track” that was nothing more than 11 minutes of silence climaxing in two minutes of stoner in-jokes or an “ironic” cover. (This bloat carried over to the “CD Single” as well, giving you one good track and four shitty remixes, all for $5-$10.)

Finally, after so many other formats repeatedly “killing the music industry,” they had found a savior in a nice, cheap plastic disc.

But there was trouble on the horizon. The twin spectres of “used CDs” and “blank CDs” soon cast a shadow over all the hookers and blow purchased with their ill-gotten gains.

Garth Brooks deputizes himself and begins house-to-house searches for used cds.

The first, “used CDs,” was decried by artists as disparate and incredibly wealthy as Garth Brooks (68 million albums sold) and Chris Gaines (1.1 million albums traded in at used cd stores). They now demanded to be reimbursed every time the album changed hands, like at the local record store or that time when you lent your Violent Femmes album to a friend of friend and they slowly absorbed it into their CD collection over a matter of weeks, and with each passing day it became less and less likely you’d ever see it again and more and more awkward to attempt to bring it up in everyday conversation.

The other, “blank CDs,” when combined with affordable CD writers, shoved a slightly-battered industry towards the edge of a long flight of stairs. The industry responded with more built-in fees and cries of “Home burning is killing music.” This cry was misinterpreted by various local fire departments and indie-leaning arsonists, who both quickly sprung into counterproductive action.

"Proprietary format and hardware? The public will never fall for that!" - Steve Jobs, 1995.

MiniDisc
Having learned nothing from its “Beta” experiment, Sony forged ahead with a boldly miscalculated attempt to corner a non-existent market with the MiniDisc. Like a CD, only smaller, more easily lost/damaged and handcuffed to Sony hardware, the MiniDisc never had a chance.

Sony once again walked away empty-handed from the R&D roulette table, having shown only that early adopters will buy anything as long as it’s shiny and prohibitively expensive. Its ability to record music onto the midget-sized discs threatened, in an unsteady voice, to destroy the music industry. The music industry responded to this pint-sized miscreant with “Awwww. The little guy’s trying to say something” and slapped it with some punitive fees.

Hey, kids! Remember cassettes? They're back! And more expensive than ever!

DAT
Ostensibly combining the best of both worlds (digital quality; solid state reliability) but in reality combining two non-complementary traits (digital quality; little pieces of metal read by a magnet), the DAT soon escaped its early position as ultra-expensive studio equipment, going on to lead a rich, full life as the backup “band” for thousands of hip hop artists and occasionally graced the stage as a “lead singer” (Ashlee Simpson, Milli Vanilli, Joe Walsh).

"Of course it's better, you Philistine! It's made out of fucking gold!"

SACD (Superior Audio Compact Disc)
A sad attempt to drag audiophiles into the present, mainly utilizing the premise that “expensive=good.” Rolling Stone fell for it, but the number of questionable products, bands and ideas that Rolling Stone has fallen for could fill an entire Internet.

Well, if we're not getting our flying cars any time soon, at least we've got a music format that looks like the future.

mp3
Not content to be merely a threat to the entire music industry, the mp3’s storage-friendly compression rate and ultra-portability did what no other medium had, and actually destroyed the music industry. And not a moment too soon, as rock and roll itself had been declared dead multiple times since the early ’60s by such formidable publications as Rolling Stone, Cat Fancy and Businessweek.

The music industry was now truly “fuckt,” as Mozart had so aptly put it millions of years ago. Its Rasputin-like longevity was threatened as was its Rasputin-like propensity for evil behavior. Now every Tom, Dick and Harry with an eMachine could download and dump hundreds of pirated songs onto jump drives, mp3 players and CDs with absolutely no physical effort. And, thanks to the major labels and their decades of gouging, no one was troubled in the least to see them limping into port, taking on water faster than it could be bailed and covered in pirate wounds.

Soon the good ship “Suddenly Outdated Industry” was leaking money from a million tiny holes. So-called “experts” in the guise of lawyers and yes-men were consulted. They all agreed on two things:

1. Something should be done.
2. Someone should be sued.

Lars Ulrich points out Shawn Fanning to his security team.

They summoned Dark Elf Lars Ulrich to attack the face of international music piracy: a certain Shawn Fanning. Coming off their most successful album to date, Metallica forged ahead in (self) righteous indignation, alienating an entire generation of potential fans. With Napster on the ropes, the recording industry went from barn to barn to verify that all the horses were indeed missing and methodically began slamming shut door after door.

A nation of tweens and octogenarians were summoned to court and threatened with usurious fines for downloading “Happy Birthday” and other such top 40 songs. Kazaa watched in horror as its user base (which numbered in the dozens) was swept into lawsuit after lawsuit. Meanwhile, malware creators watched in horror as their remaining victims lost their internet privileges and a great deal of money, both being very key components of their continued success.

Other high-dollar performers got into the act. Madonna seeded file sharers with mp3s of her asking, “What the fuck do you think you’re doing?” Most pirates found this immensely preferable to her second-rate electronica and occasional British accent. Alicia Silverstone hastened her irrelevance by appearing in magazine ads reminding people that stealing mp3s was exactly like stealing cars, a move that upped the “cool” factor of file sharing to the nth degree. The youth of the world, properly chastened, switched from P2P to torrents, in essence moving from carjacking to Gone in 60 Seconds.

U2's private airliner sits abandoned, unable to refuel because of thieving bastards all over the word.

As the industry bled out, it summoned its archangel, Bono, to appear in the “paper of record” (High New York Times), flatly stating that America needed to follow the lead of Communist China and track every piece of information travelling the internet. This was met with sneers of derision and cries of “Fuck you, Bono! Find some other way to finance your malfunctioning electro-lemons!”

Panicked lawsuits filled countless courtrooms and lined countless corporate lawyers’ pockets. Bills were presented to anyone who acknowledged that “music” existed. Everyone and anyone was asked to “give until or else it hurts” to prop up a sagging multi-billion dollar industry. No one was spared. YouTube, bloggers, Girl Scouts, mom & pop stores, animal shelters, cop shops, hotels, bars and nightclubs all became notches on rent-seeking industry’s bedpost.

Nothing stopped the bleeding. The mighty mp3, victorious over King Music(k), waved its variable bit rate triumphantly, zipped itself into a compacted file and hid itself amongst the overstuffed shelves of Mediafire, RapidShare and Megaupload.

So long, corrupt and bloated industry. Enjoy the bitter fruits of your labor.

Coming up:
A Word* from Our Author
*”Word” may actually equal 1200+ words. Wear comfortable shoes.

-CLT