Saturday, December 4, 2010

Top Releases of 2010

For whatever reason, these are the the jams that I've had on repeat this past year. Not a lot of time to wax poetic about how awesome they are (and they are!), but here's the list.
In no particular order:

1) Flying Lotus- Cosmogramma
2) Etoile De Dakar- Once Upon A Time in Senegal-'79-'81 (reissue)
3) Autechre- Oversteps
4) Ali Farka Toure & Toumani Diabate- Ali & Toumani
5) Massive Attack- Heligoland
6) Grinderman- 2
7) King Midas Sound- Waiting For You
8) Mako Sica- Dual Horizon
9) Richard Skelton- Landings
10) Propaganda- A Secret Wish (deluxe reissue)
11) Philip Jeck- An Ark For the Listener
12) Sun City Girls- Funeral Mariachi
13) Strand Of Oaks- Pope Killdragon
14) Bruce Springsteen- The Darkness on the Edge of Town Story

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Hey all, this is Frida. We all know that Ian's been a lazy ass with his blog, so I'm doing this one.
Anyhow, it's really great to be with him again. I totally thought he bailed on me almost 2 years ago. I was pissed for awhile- when he use to call the folks, they'd hold me up to the screen to see him. I'd pretend I didn't know what was going on and ignore him. All is forgiven now, though and we are reunited just like the old Peaches & Herb song.

So, New Jersey- it's cool I guess. I can run around outside without a leash and not worry about cars so that's cool. My new favorite thing is chasing the neighborhood cats up the fence and the trees. Last week Ian woke me up from a nap and took me to a new park. It was perfect fall weather, I peed and sniffed a lot, and the squirrels- my god the squirrels! They were everywhere! I gave Ian the "Come on, please? What do you say?" look, but he just shook his head and laughed. Total drag, right? Yeah, I know. That's not the only time Mr. Buzzkill has spoiled my fun. Dig this- his uncle let me clean out the ice cream bowl after he was finished. Strawberry. I've never had it before and it was awesome! When Ian heard about it, he advised him not to do that because "supposedly" it gives me bad gas. Personally, I could care less. Doesn't bother me none. Again, total buzzkill but I love him anyway.

Also, his new bed is so amazing! Check it out

I know Ian usually posts these, so here are the books on his nightstand:
1) Imperial Bedrooms by Bret Easton Ellis
2) The Theory of Almost Everything by Robert Oerter
3) This Is Your Brain On Music by Daniel J. Levitin

and these are the jams he's been making me listen to

1) Bilal- Airtight's Revenge
2) Soars- Soars
3) Grinderman- 2
4) Scritti Politti- White Bread Black Beer
5) King Crimson- In the Court of the Crimson King (Reissue)
6) John Foxx & Robin Guthrie- Mirror Ball
7) John Lennon- Gimme Some Truth

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Thailand etc

Went to Thailand last month and returned to Japan only to find that my company went bankrupt and was bought out by another company. I've recently relocated to Osaka, as the school I was at sadly closed. New sounds, new faces, new experiences, new friends.
Planning to make the next move...whatever that may be.
Anyway, here are some pics.

1) Sway: The Irresistible Pull of Irrational Behavior by Ori & Rom Brafman

1) Flying Lotus- Cosmogramma
2) Peter Ivers- Take It Out On Me
3) Various- Can You Dig It? Music & Politics of Black Action Films
4) LCD Soundsystem- This Is Happening
5) Dennis Wilson- Pacific Ocean Blue
6) Richard Skelton- Landings
7) Paul McCartney- Ram
8) Arto Lindsay- Mundo Civilizado
9) Various- Radio Thailand- Transmissions From the Tropical Kingdom

Friday, March 26, 2010

Record Store Day

Saturday April 17 is Record Store Day 2010. Record Store Day was developed as a sort of call to arms for music nerds throughout the US to rally against the corporate bullies and attempt to hoist up the slowly sinking 'indie shops.' Trivial to some, but it crushes me each time I consider it. It's an amazing feeling to spend a few hours digging around a record shop not knowing what you'll encounter and walking out with a stack under your arm. I did it every week. The number of discoveries I have made over the years spent in the record shop is ridiculous!

Yes, we have Amazon, itunes, emusic, or whatever other online shop you fancy, but you lose that journey of exploring, learning, and socializing. Beyond that, indie shops foster creativity. These are the types of places where like minded folks gather, reach for the same Eno record, begin chatting, and eventually start a band. The other side of this is the market that the corporations are catering to currently. These are the people who buy one or two cd's a year. One of these discs is guaranteed to be by whoever won American Idol that year. It pains me to see music reduced to such a disposable product. What was once a means of creativity, thought, and expression is now being placed next to batteries on an impulse rack.

Obviously, this is all part of a much bigger picture. Without getting too heavy, it's a struggle to watch America become a logo. America TM. Every town with a significant population is being built to look exactly the same: Red Lobsters, Best Buys, Wal-Marts, CVS's, Staples, etc. The idea of small business owners working together to form a community is becoming an antiquated concept. This happened about 10 years ago with the independent pharmacies. I remember when my family's pharmacist was forced to shut down his business and go off to work for a CVS somewhere. For years his business had thrived and he was loved by all of his customers for his warmth, sincerity and individuality. Likewise, places like Main Street Jukebox, where I worked for almost a decade, Princeton Record Exchange, Vintage Vinyl all offer that same individuality and expertise that is not found in FYE, Best Buy, or Target. I think the music checkout in Wal-Mart is run by the same fellow who is selling guns and knives in the next department. The sad reality is that these indie shops will not be around forever. Still, we should give them a few more years, don't you think?


1) Autechre- Oversteps
2) Erykah Badu- New Amerykah Parts 1 & 2
3) King Midas Sound- Waiting For You
4) Four Tet- There Is Love In You
5) Harry Nilsson- Nilsson Schmilsson
6) Andrew Weatherall- A Pox On the Pioneers
7) Ralph Towner- Solstice
8) Big Star- Third / Sister Lovers
9) Gil Scott-Heron- I'm New Here
10) Olivier Messiaen- Meditations Sur Le Mystere...

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Thinking- March 2010

Been doing a lot more reading as of late, which you can all deduce from the feeble amount of postings on here. Recent reading material has caused me to think. Thinking has caused me to think about how I think. Confused?
I've been reading a lot of essays about personality- ways of thinking and how and why decisions are made. Many nights have been spent on my red sofa thinking and writing about my own mental processes thus leading to some interesting revelations. At least to me. It seemed to explain a lot about my frustrations when it comes to writing. Quite an 'a-ha' moment for me.
What I've come to realize, is that I do not and cannot think linearly. Furthermore, I often do not speak linearly either, at least when engaged in free conversation. If linear thinking is like reading a novel from page to page, my way of thinking is more akin to a romp through Wikipedia. You stop at one entry, see a hyperlink that sparks your interest, click it, see another, click that, and so on. I cannot think in a straight line. It's all one big Venn diagram.
I'm reminded of my mother's concern over my 'organization' of things- mainly school related. However, even to this day when I attempt to compartmentalize I end up losing things. It doesn't work for me. I'm not saying it has to be all entropy and disorder, but a traditional 'organized' way doesn't particularly work for me.
My frustrations with writing stem from unconsciously trying to go against the tide and select only bits and pieces rather than just let everything wash ashore. Sort it out later. I guess I've forgotten about the purpose of the 'blog.' Chaos is alright.

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

1) Autechre- Oversteps
2) Andrew Weatherall- A Pox on the Pioneers
3) Ralph Towner- Solstice
4) Gil Scott-Heron- I'm New Here
5) Massive Attack- Heligoland
6) Hall & Oates- War Babies
7) Gang Gang Dance- Saint Dymphna
8) Scorn- Stealth
9) XTC- Skylarking
10) XTC- Oranges & Lemons

Sunday, January 24, 2010

January 25, 2010

A belated thanks to all those who sent cards- it meant a lot to me to receive thoughts from back home! It was wonderful to hear that everyone is doing well.
Exactly one year has passed which completely blows my mind. It has been a success so far, yet I still feel that there is a bit more exploring to do. I can honestly say that 2009 was quite possibly the most peaceful year I have ever have- at least since I was a very young child. No pressure.

Some random thoughts= finally sat and watched Slumdog Millionaire for the first time- well-deserved praise, rediscovering the Wrinkle in Time series by Madeleine L'engle, thinking of taking a vacation- where to go? and a quick rant: I've absolutely no desire to hear another Michael Jackson tune ever again. I've always enjoyed the Jackson 5, Off the Wall, and Thriller, but the Japanese have officially killed it for me. STILL, anytime you walk into a store it's always MJ. In Hiroshima, there was even a shrine built to him. A tragedy, yes but enough already! I was not around when Lennon was shot but can distinctly remember the deaths of Kurt Cobain, Jeff Buckley, Freddie Mercury, Joe Strummer among others where there was a significant amount of coverage that eventually just kind of hovered in the atmosphere rather than being shoved in your face. Even the death of James Brown who paved the way for cats like MJ was a rather light affair compared to this. It was sad, but enough already. Once again the media manipulating the public (and their wallets). We'll save that for another time.

Anyway, thanks again for the New Year's wishes and glad everyone is doing well. Stay well

1) A Wind in the Door- Madeleine L'engle
2) "Into the Night Life"- Henry Miller

1) The Necks- Silverwater
2) Knifeworld- Buried Alone
3) Frank Zappa / Mothers of Invention- Burnt Weeny Sandwich
4) Prefab Sprout- Let's Change the World With Music
5) Black Sabbath- Sabbath Bloody Sabbath
6) Aphex Twin- Drukqs
7) Oren Ambarchi- In the Pendulum's Embrace
8) El Perro Del Mar- "Change of Heart" (possibly the greatest 'pop' song of the last few years)
9) Momus- Ping Pong
10) XTC- Black Sea

Friday, December 18, 2009

Best of 2009

2009 proved to be another satisfying year musically. Lots of great new releases/reissues to catch up on. These are my favorite 12 releases of the year, in no particular order. I'll give a bit info but you should seek this stuff out yourself.

1) John Frusciante- The Empyrean- I've recently heard that he has left the Chili Peppers again. I have not liked a Chili Peppers record since the early 90's so I'm very happy to hear this as his solo stuff in always incredible. A lot of cool sounds on this and it has a really trippy mix. Johnny Marr is a nice bonus too.

2) Tim Hecker- An Imaginary Country- 2008 was a drone heavy year for me. After moving to Japan, however, I no longer had a stereo to listen to it properly- so I tried to stay away from a lot of it. I caved a few months in and listened to this constantly for several months. "Borderlands" is hands down my favorite single track of the year. Yet another example of how beautiful so-called 'noise' can be.

3) Bee Gees- Odessa (reissue)- I love the early Bee Gees. I had trouble with this one a few years ago, but this has some of the best and weirdest stuff they ever did. Plus, it comes in a red-flocked box just like the original vinyl. There's an "alternate" album included that deletes a lot of the heavy-handed orchestration revealing some really killer mellotron work. Several of these are superior to the finished versions. These guys were the original Animal Collective.

4) Dragon Turtle- Almanac- To me, La Societe Expeditionnaire stands with other classic labels as Factory, 4AD, and Creation. I hate trying to make lazy comparisons to what bands sound like and I think they describe themselves better than I can: ambient-winter-calypso-space-folk. Buy it- it's great and you will be feeding some good friends of mine.

5) Leyland Kirby- Sadly, the Future Is Not What It Once Was- One to listen to in the dark, for sure. I imagine this is what big budget movie soundtracks might sound like if they didn't use the same predictable John Williams or Hans Zimmer score. Beautiful waves of minimal sound. This actually may be my favorite release of the year.

6) Sunn 0)))- Monoliths & Dimensions- The almighty Sunn 0))). Possibly the biggest leap yet. Parts of this album are actually really beautiful and melodic. They even got Julian Priester from Herbie Hancock's Mwandishi band to play! Always uncompromising, always compelling. I shouldn't have to say this- Maximum Volume Yields Maximum Results!

7) Neil Young- Archives Vol 1 (DVD)- I would've loved the Blue-Ray version, but have no way of playing it so I settled for the DVD. I've heard a lot of bitching about this, but I think this sets a new standard for what box sets should be. The packaging is a bit annoying, but there's some great stuff on here. The sound is really impressive- I heard things on "After the Gold Rush" that I've never heard before. There's also cool video footage of Neil making "Harvest" in his barn, and a really amusing video of Neil finding a CSNY bootleg in a record store, getting pissed off at the clerk, and taking the bootleg without paying for it.

8) Mew- No More Stories...- This is what 'pop' should sound like to me. Bands that can take straightforward hooks and make them sound unpredictable and weird always interest me.

9) Susanna & the Magical Orchestra- 3- From Norway and produced by Deathprod, another favorite. For fans of Kate Bush, the Cocteau Twins, and the like. Plus, they do a cover of "Subdivisions" by a certain Canadian band.

10) Jim O'Rourke- The Visitor- He may be a cranky dude, but he still makes incredible records. A single 38 minute instrumental track with guitars, pianos, horns, strings, and typical O'Rourke-fare. No ugly man-child on the cover, though.

11) Akatombo- Unconfirmed Reports- Supposedly this guy's originally from Scotland and lives in Hiroshima somewhere. Provides some nice sub speaker abuse. Reminds me of a lot of old ambient dub, especially Mick Harris' Scorn project. It comes with a DVD of videos he shot in Hiroshima which are pretty cool. It's limited to 500 copies, but I'm pretty sure you can still find one at this point.

12) St Vincent- Actor- Another artist making really interesting pop music. It reminds me of early Peter Gabriel or a noisier Kate Bush. I also read somewhere that she was listening a lot to "Scary Monsters" which is my favorite Bowie album. Good stuff.