Friday, December 30, 2005

The Wind of Strange

So this is how you get your New Year's weekend started. On the way home from work, school, whatever, blast these songs by Dandi Wind, from her upcoming Concrete Igloo. It's new wave, with balls, and it throbs stronger than a New Year's hangover.

Flooded Grass (mp3)

Safety Dance (mp3) - from her myspace page, where you can also download the fantastic einsteinbrains and Balloon Factory, and listen to Apotemnophilia.

Happy New Year's!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Sometimes Less Is More

I'm just about to go on break until the New Year, and, as bandwidth is about to be exceeded, so is the Smudge. So this might be my last mp3 post of the year...and the mp3 is coming down tomorrow.

Everyone's curious about what effect Sonic Youth collaborator Jim O'Rourke had on the new Beth Orton album, Comfort of Strangers, and how the album stands up to her previous work. If you're Jim O'Rourke, you know you can't get in the way of that voice, and you have to preserve the arpeggiated acoustic guitar & piano chords that hold her songs together and mark her as a singer-songwriter. You've got to try to not so much embellish those things, but to showcase them.

Here's the title track, written by Beth Orton, M. Ward, and Jim O'Rourke. After you listen to it, you're going to have to replay it. That isn't a recommendation. You'll be compelled to play it again, trying to figure out how a song that seems so lightweight can hit you so hard, and how a song that shouldn't hold up longer than two minutes makes you want to hear more when it ends at 3:12. All you get is all the song needs: bass, piano, light percussion, acoustic guitar, her voice, and great songwriting: I know there's an answer to your question/but I don't know if I can word it right/Say what you mean, don't tell it like it could be/I don't know, should I say it out loud?

O'Rourke & Orton could have gone deep with the percussion, and could have fully arpeggiated the guitar chords, rather than holding the first note and playing the last two together, but though the song would have sounded fuller, sometimes less is more.

Comfort of Strangers holds up. It's her best record yet.

Beth Orton - Comfort of Strangers (mp3)

(Another) Holiday Mix

The good people at Relative Theory Records, in Norfolk, Virginia, compiled a damn fine 24-track holiday* mix called "Wreck The Halls." You can download the zip file and cover art here. I love the fine print at the bottom of the page:

©® 2005 - All copyrights belong to their respective writers / publishers / etc. Used without permission.

I could use that last sentence for about 99% of my mp3 posts.

The tracklist is:

1. The Free Design - Christmas Is The Day
2. James Brown - Soulful Christmas
3. Run DMC - Christmas In Hollis
4. Stevie Wonder - What Christmas Means To Me
5. Wesley Willis - Merry Christmas
6. Polyphonic Spree - So This Is Christmas
7. Grandaddy - Alan Parsons in Winter Wonderland
8. Pat Benatar - Please Come Home For Christmas
9. Mogwai - Christmas Song
10. Danny Elfman - Edward Scissorhands Ice Dance
11. Carpenters - Carol of The Bells
12. Saint Etienne - My Christmas Prayer
13. Eels - Christmas Is Going to the Dogs
14. Low - Just Like Christmas
15. Erlend Oye - Last Christmas
16. Sam Cooke - Christmas Means Love
17. Rufus Wainwright - Spotlight On Christmas
18. The Raveonettes - The Christmas Song
19. Badly Drawn boy - Donna and Blitzen
20. Feist - Lo How A Rose E'er Bloomin
21. Sufjan Stevens - Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing
22. Matt Pond PA - Holiday Road
23. Murder City Devils - Dead By Christmas
24. David Banner - It's Christmas Time

*The word holiday is from the Middle English holidai, meaning "holy day." So is "Holiday Mix" more politically correct than "Christmas Mix?"

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Things Are Going To Change

The Islands (ex-Unicorns, plus Richard Parry & the lovely Sarah Neufeld of the Arcade fire guest appearing) hold up under the great weight of indie hype. Take this song: these guys understand that there's nothing like upbeat apocalypse music with a country twang to soothe the weary shopper's soul this wartime holiday season. It has nothing to do with shopping, maybe something to do with war, but none of that really matters when the Day After Tomorrow is the day after tomorrow, now does it?

Well, okay, so the record won't be out until January, in the UK. I saw something glowing, and it's going to cause an early thaw.

Islands - Volcanoes (mp3)

Flippant dread. It's an American tradition. And apparently, the Canadian Islands get it, too.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

This Naked Flame of Suffering much as it may sound like it, is not a line from an Arcade Fire song. It's from The Word, a short story by Vladimir Nabokov, in next week's New Yorker (International Fiction Issue).

The flowers spilled their humid sheen in flight; the sleek, bright beasts played, whirling and climbing; the birds chimed with bliss, soaring and dipping. I, a blinded, quaking beggar, stood at the edge of the road, and within my beggar’s soul the selfsame thought kept prattling: Cry out to them, tell them—oh, tell them that on the most splendid of God’s stars there is a land—my land—that is dying in agonizing darkness.

Suck I Do

Because I take forever to work out the "HARD" Sudoku puzzles.

The literature of Sudoku is growing. Check out these excerpts from recent publications:

Complexity classes such as NP do not measure the difficulty of any specific problem instance but rather describe the rate at which difficulty grows as a function of problem size. If we can solve an order-n Sudoku, how much harder will we have to work to solve a puzzle of order n + 1? For problems in NP, the effort needed grows exponentially.

Most discussions of the complexity of Sudoku refer to the work of Takayuki Yato and Takahiro Seta of the University of Tokyo, whose analysis relates the task of solving Sudoku to the similar problem of completing a partially specified Latin square. The latter problem in turn has been connected with others that are already known to be in NP. This process of "reduction" from one problem to another is the standard way of establishing the complexity classes of computational problems. Yato and Seta employ an unusual form of reduction that addresses the difficulty of finding an additional solution after a first solution is already known. In Sudoku, of course, well-formed puzzles are expected to have only one solution. Yato and Seta say their result applies nonetheless. I don't quite follow their reasoning on this point, but the literature of complexity theory is vast and technical, and the fault is likely my own.

Your fault and mine, dude. From Unwed Numbers: The Mathematics of Sudoku, a Puzzle That Boasts, "No Math Required!" in the Jan-Feb 2006 American Scientist.

We provide a simple linear time transformation from a directed or undirected graph with labeled edges to an unlabeled digraph, such that paths in the input graph in which no two consecutive edges have the same label correspond to paths in the transformed graph and vice versa. Using this transformation, we provide efficient algorithms for finding paths and cycles with no two consecutive equal labels. We also consider related problems where the paths and cycles are required to be simple; we find efficient algorithms for the undirected case of these problems but show the directed case to be NP-complete. We apply our path and cycle finding algorithms in a program for generating and solving Sudoku puzzles, and show experimentally that they lead to effective puzzle-solving rules that may also be of interest to human Sudoku puzzle solvers.

I don't need no stinking rules. All I need is a sharp pencil, a good eraser, and a few hours of uninterrupted time, so I can hit the Sudoku Zone for a few minutes here & there. From Nonrepetitive Paths and Cycles in Graphs with Application to Sudoku, in the 20 July 2005 Computer Science.

More on the Mathematics of Sudoku in Wikipedia.

Synth By Numbers

Synth Pop 101: Intro To The Break: See how the synth gives way to piano, followed with some na-na-na vocalizations, then the rhythm guitar throbs again, and lo, the synth comes back with the chorus. Meanwhile, the lead singer dances, flirts and plays with band members and the audience. Who cares what's being sung? The listener has no choice but to just go with the moment, captivated by the sights and The Sounds.

The Sounds - Painted By Numbers (mp3)

Monday, December 19, 2005


Bert Williams, largely forgotten today, was the first African-American star: the most famous “colored man” in America during the early years of the twentieth century. The team of Williams and Walker put together the first all-Negro musical comedy to play a major Broadway theatre...their popularity among audiences both black and white allowed them to force the integration of first-class theatres around the country...through it all he continued to perform in blackface, embellished by giant lips painted over the cork, an ill-fitting suit, a preternaturally unhurried style of locomotion, and a cringing “Uh-huh, boss” lazy drawl. According to another Follies colleague, W. C. Fields, Williams onstage was the funniest man he ever saw, and offstage was the saddest.

Both Williams’s reputation and the remaining record of his work—a number of scratchy vocal tracks, some suggestive photographs and reels of film—make one long to ask: What on earth was he thinking? How does a mind maintain its balance when professional pride is so bound up with personal shame?...

-from BEHIND THE MASK: On the minstrel circuit, by Claudia Roth Pierpont, a review of Caryl Phillips' novel "alternately fascinating and frustrating novel 'Dancing in the Dark' (Knopf)," in the Dec 12 New Yorker.

Bert Williams mp3s:

Eve Cost Adam Just One Bone
Oh Death Where Is Thy Sting

From Bert Williams 1915-1921.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Friday Live - Pixies

eMusic has a new exclusive double-disc live Pixies album, titled Hey - Live Pixies. It features 28 stellar live tracks from various venues--highlights of their reunion tour. You need a membership to get the album. If you've been thinking of becoming a member but haven't yet, I highly recommend you go ahead. They've got an encyclopedia of great music. Browsing through their collection is like immersing yourself in a dusty record store.

Anyway, Hey goes something like this:

1. Planet Of Sound (Manchester, England - 8/30/2005)
2. Debaser (Norfolk, VA - 12/6/2004)
3. Gouge Away (New York, NY - 12/16/2004)
4. Ed Is Dead (Washington, DC - 6/13/2005)
5. Bone Machine (Cleveland, OH - 6/8/2005)
6. No. 13 Baby (Leeds, England - 8/272005)
7. Holiday Song (Raleigh, NC - 6/12/2005)
8. I Bleed (London, England - 6/2/2004)
9. Is She Weird? (Leeds, England - 8/27/2005)
10. Caribou (New York, NY - 12/12/2004)
11. Crackity Jones (Norfolk, VA - 12/6/2004)
12. Something Against You (Washington, DC - 12/7/2004)
13. Into The White (Raleigh, NC - 6/12/2005)
14. Dead (New York, NY - 12/11/2005)

1. La La Love You (Los Angeles, CA - 6/2/2005)
2. Cactus (Edinburgh, Scotland - 8/28/2005)
3. Wave Of Mutilation (UK Surf) (Indianapolis, IN - 6/7/2005)
4. Mr. Grieves (Indianapolis, IN (6/7/2005)
5. Nimrod's Son (Washington, DC - 12/8/2005)
6. Subbacultcha (Leeds, England - 8/272005)
7. Monkey Gone To Heaven (Denver, CO - 6/5/2005)
8. Velouria (Toronto, Ontario - 7/9/05)
9. Wave Of Mutilation (San Francisco, CA 5/30/05)
10. U-Mass (Boston, MA - 12/9/2004)
11. Here Comes Your Man (Newport, RI - 8/6/2005)
12. Hey (Dublin, Ireland - 8/23/2005)
13. Vamos (Washington, DC - 12/7/2004)
14. Gigantic (Norfolk, VA - 12/6/2004)

This post goes out to our young friend, co-worker, concert buddy, exotic food experimenter, and greasy hashbrown donor, Randy, whose last day at work was yesterday. Among others, I saw Final Fantasy, Arcade Fire, The Hives, and The Pixies with him. We'll miss seeing your mug every day, RC. But we'll still get out for lunch or a show.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Sufjan REM Cover

Clever Titles Are So Last Summer has a non-rocking Sufjan cover of REM's The One I Love here.

High School Reunion - Uncovered

A few days ago, I mentioned how much I love the High School Reunion compilation. The two covers I posted are fantastic, and there's so much more worth listening to: The Dresden Dolls' 80's-baroque cover of Pretty in Pink, Frank Black's dark Repo Man, and solid covers of Somebody's Baby, A Million Miles Away, Weird Science, The Specials' Little Bitch, I Melt With get the point.

Earlier this year there were compilations with companion discs. There was Verve Remixed 3 and Verve Unmixed 3, there was Motown Remixed and Motown Unmixed, and even last year, we had Daniel Johnston Discovered, and where's the High School Reunion Uncovered?


isn't she?

Jackson Browne - Somebody's Baby (Fast Times)
Plimsouls - A Million Miles Away (Valley Girl)
Tom Petty - American Girl (Fast Times)
The Vapors - Turning Japanese (Sixteen Candles)
Oingo Boingo - Weird Science (Weird Science)
Simple Minds - Don't You (Forget About Me) (The Breakfast Club)
Peter Gabriel - In Your Eyes (Say Anything)
Thompson Twins - If You Were Here (Sixteen Candles)
The Specials - Little Bitch (Sixteen Candles)
The Psychedelic Furs - Love My Way (Valley Girl)
Echo & The Bunnymen - Bring On The Dancing Horses (Pretty in Pink)
The Cars - Moving In Stereo (Fast Times)
The Psychedelic Furs - Pretty In Pink
Pixies - Wave of Mutilation (UK Surf) (Pump Up The Volume)
The Smiths - Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want (Pretty In Pink)
Modern English - I Melt With You (Valley Girl)
Wayne Newton - Danke Schoen (Ferris Beuller's Day Off)
Iggy Pop - Repo Man
Orchestral Manoeuvers In The Dark - If You Leave (Pretty In Pink)*
The Replacements - Within Your Reach (Say Anything)

* If You Leave is not on the High School Reunion compilation. I don't have I Go Crazy by PC Munoz, so I substituted in the OMD.

NOTE - These are coming down tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Who The Hell Cares What The Keoki Thinks About King Kong?

Let's start these proceedings by first saying that there is nothing you will read here that will make you want to see King Kong if You have already decided not to see it. All you're going to get here is an unabashed love letter to a between 25 and 28 foot tall gorilla. If that's not what your looking for, than take your Mp3 and move along. So, for the two of you left, I say this is quite a movie. That's right, MOVIE! This is not a film or cinema, it is truly a motion fact it is exactly the kind of picture that Edison would have wanted to see. Truth be told this would have made Edison shit, but still he would have had a ball doing it. I don't feel I need to go over the particulars of Jackson's version of this story other than to say that it suceeds and tops every monster movie ever made including the original Kong. That's right, I'm saying it loud and clear.....Jackson's Kong kicks Cooper's Kong in the head and makes off with his bananas. Yes it's true that it is three hours long, which is twice as long as the original! It's a fast three hours. Yes it's true that it takes it's time getting to Skull Island! What do you want? New York to the South Pacific didn't take a week. There have been some changes made, but every one for the better. These characters are people that you will actually care about. You will feel for Ann and Jack, and you will grow to despise Jack Black's Denham....But the greatest actor on the screen is Kong from the moment he gets on it! There has NEVER been a CG character with this much life or humanity or heart or soul. His eyes are alive and they set a new bar for animation, it simply doesn't get any better than Jackson's Kong. Smack dab in the middle of this movie is an action sequence that is, by my estimation, the greatest action sequence put to celluloid. Here's the score cue that accompanies Kong vs the Rexes...that's right Rexes!

Tooth and Claw - James Newton Howard

I'm telling you, there's nothing that compares to Kong fighting a pack of Rexes. Nothing! If you say there is something that does, you must be a moron. The pacing is amazing and non-stop from the point they get to the island until the unfortunate business on top of the Empire State Building. But within all of the action is beautiful love story that anyone who has ever loved a big dumb animal can relate to (Meaning that we can take our ladies to see Kong and they'll love us even more afterwards! Win win right?). And right before the gorilla shit hits the fan, Jackson gives us one last moment alone with the fair maiden and the Kong. Prettiest track off the score and prettiest scene in the movie.

Central Park - James Newton Howard

Anywho, I don't think I can say enough about how much I enjoyed my three hours spent on The Venture, Skull Island and in New York. Good times.
Do I think you should go? Absolutely! Do you care what I think? I'm pretty sure we've already established that.

She can't stop messin' with the danger zone.

Cyndi Lauper bops in front of a large audience.

Cyndi Lauper - She Bop (Live) (mp3)

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Beck vs. Mae-Shi: Que Onda Guero

Mae Shi are offering a really good Beck remix, not found on Guerolito.

From yesterday's message to many mp3 bloggers:

On the eve of the release of Beck's Guerelito, we
offer a Beck remix you won't find on the remix CD:

"Que Onda Guero (Team Shi Latino 96.3 Remix)"

So much of Beck's '90s output was a mythologizing of
the 80s Los Angeles he grew up immersed in –
lowriders, mariachi, turntables and microphones. Sure,
it's patronizing at times – "Odelay" was his gringo
approximation of "orale," as in "orale vato" – but for
some, it's the perfect whiteboy synthesis of
pre-Rodney King Riots Los Angeles.

However, the sound of the city has changed. With this
remix, local L.A. surprise punks The Mae Shi have
tried to capture the sound of a summer in Los Angeles
in 2005 – the sound of Daddy Yankee selling out
Staples Center, the sound of narcocorridos booming
from the car next to you as you drive down Pico Blvd.
This year saw a new radio station take over the
streets of Los Angeles, Latino 96.3, a bilingual
station "blazing reggaeton and hip-hop." In the hot
windows-down summer of 2005, the station was
impossible to ignore, and its rise in public presence
coincided with Daddy Yankee's newfound ubiquity (as
well as his ability to sell out Staples Center).

"Que Onda Guero (Team Shi 96.3 Latino Remix)" is The
Mae Shi's attempt to capture the sound of 2005 in the
same way Beck captured the sound of 1985.

Back to School With Kristen and Matt

My High School Reunion CD, which features covers of 80's movie songs, finally came in the mail yesterday. It was worth the wait. For the most part, the songs are faithful and reverent, yet almost always fun. It's already one of my favorite compilations of the year.

Matthew Sweet - American Girl (Petty cover) (mp3)

Kristin Hersh - Wave of Mutilation (cover of Pixies' UK Surf version) (mp3)

Monday, December 12, 2005

Jack Johnson and Rudolph Teach Us A Lesson

I've always hated the end of Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer. The mean reindeers like him now and everything gets wrapped up in a nice little package. It shouldn't be that easy. Rudolph should have said something, he should have put his antlers in someone's ass and been like, "Up yours! Up all of yours! You guys hated the nose....But now you all love the nose! You guys all STINK...Thats right you STINK like three day old reindeer shit!!!" That would have been the way my version ended, and while Jack Johnson doesn't get as extreme as I would like he does address the situation in his very last verse. Which makes this my favorite version of this holiday classic. Enjoy.

Jack Johnson - Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer

Nellie McKay Got It Right

Dear Nellie,

Recently, according to Defamer, you had a meltdown at a recent performance. A reader reported:

She was talking to the audience about the problems she’s been having with Sony and someone shouted “Shut up and sing!” This seemed to touch a nerve with dear Nellie. After politely explaining to the miscreant that “If this continues with Sony, I will leave the music business, BITCH. And NEVER SING AGAIN,” she started screaming and crying and “They say I’m just pulling a Barbra Streisand,” and “You have NO IDEA WHAT I’M GOING THROUGH,” and corporations are raping the world, etc.

You tell 'em, Nellie. Raping the world with greed(leavingartistscrumbsofthepie)&greenhousegasses&rootkits&whatnot.

You tell 'em, but please, PLEASE do not stop singing!

First of all, I'm going to try to see you at the Birchmere in January.

Second...what would we do without your spunk & flair? And now, you've got ditties like your Beatles cover on This Bird Has Flown, and this euphorically harmonic duet with k.d. lang, from your forthcoming Pretty Little Head:

Nellie McKay & k.d. lang - We Had It Right (mp3) (radio rip)

And third and finally, if you quit, that would leave us with the likes Springfield?...well, this defamer commenter doesn't care so much:

My God, I've lost touch. Who the fuck is Nelly McKay and why should I care? Write more articles about Rick Springfield, for Christ's sake, man! I care about REAL entertainers!

YEAH! REAL entertainers, for Christ's sake, man!

See (and hear) you soon.

With all our love,

The Smudge

Sunday, December 11, 2005

The Kinks Teach Us The True Meaning Of Christmas!

Here's a rockingly sweet Christmas tune that tells it like it is. A satirically capitalist Christmas carol that I think rings pretty true for our readers....You all know who you are. Ray Davies and his Kinks kick a little ass while throwing jabs at "All the little rich boys!"

Father Christmas - The Kinks

Friday, December 09, 2005

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Happy Birthday Teri Hatcher. Here's A Little Gift From The Smudge.

Happy Birthday to Teri Hatcher, who turns 41 today. You'll always be one of our favorite Desperate Housewives, though we know that you're neither, despite the caption on the above photo.

To celebrate your birthday, we dedicate this song to you:

Commodores - Brick House (Original 12" Mix) (mp3)

What's a Brick House? Ms. Funkyflyy knows.

Bull Moose Jackson Pulls Out His Big Ten Inch...

...record. But of course, it's not the size of the classic blues record, it's how you use it. 1952, King Records.

Bull Moose Jackson - Big Ten-Inch Record (mp3)

The young boys don't do anything for Little Esther. She likes her men like she likes her whisky - aged & mellow. 1952, Federal Records.

Little Esther - Aged and Mellow Blues (mp3)

Both songs taken from Dealing With The Devil: 25 Essential Blues Classics (out of print).

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Christmas + The Ramones = Smiles All Around The Tree!

This one's simple....People fight during the Holiday season. The shopping, the idiots who are shopping around you, the blinking lights, the crappy fruitcake, the whole nine. My family fought (but they fought all the time so maybe they're a bad example!), most likely yours did too and according to this song so did The Ramones. So here's a two minute slice of punk heaven to relieve a little holiday stress....Go ahead, feel free to punch someone while they're under the Mistletoe. Enjoy!

Merry Christmas (I Don't Want To Fight Tonight!) - The Ramones

The Ballad of Tourettes

La Ballade de Tourette (mp3) may be the most tragic, poignant song you hear about Tourettes today. The fake French band, Nous non Plus (Us No More or Neither Do We), previously named Les Sans Culottes before a lost legal battle, touche your heart with lyrics like these:

Personne dans mon cœur
Mes propos orduriers n’attirent que les fumiers,
comment leur expliquer qu’je suis sage?

that is:

Nobody is in my heart
My dirty language only attracts lecherous men,
how to explain that in reality I am a good girl?

Not so touching, or even more touching, depending on how you look at it, is One Night in Paris (mp3), a warped tune about Paris Hilton (via

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Surfs Up Santa!

So I guess the idea of bands who shouldn't make Christmas music (I'm looking in your direction 'N Sync, Backstreet, 98 Degrees, Destiny's Child, the list goes on and on.)has been around for ever. Because even in the '60s there were Christmas albums that had no business being made. This one should be in that category....but it's not, on account of it actually rocking. The Ventures were a surf band in the '60s, when that type of music was abundant, and they put together a Christmas album that should have sucked but then it didn't. Here's my favorite off that album. Enjoy!

Sleigh Ride - The Ventures

Pabst No Ribbon

Yesterday afternoon, Uncle Tom, RC666 and I shared our bad feelings about Pabst Blue Ribbon beer. It was a tender moment among men. I concluded the conversation with the proposition that one of them should eat about a dozen deviled eggs, chase them with a six-pack of Pabst, and see what happens. They're thinking about it. Meanwhile, any takers out there in the blogosphere?

After our talk, I thought of the following Untamed Youth tune with profound lyrics, from Children of Nuggets: Original Artyfacts From The Second Psychedelic Era, and a related companion piece from the same collection, which, by the way, makes a fantastic gift for aficionados of the off-center.

The Untamed Youth - Pabst Blue Ribbon (mp3)

The Swingin' Neckbreakers - I Live For Buzz (mp3)

Monday, December 05, 2005

X3 Teaser Trailer

Here's the X3 teaser trailer....and it looks pretty damn good. If you look close you'll see Juggernaut, Colossus, Dark Phoenix, Angel, Beast, Pyro and a whole hell of a lot of Evil Mutants. Enjoy!

X 3 Teaser Trailer

The Single Greatest Photo EVER!

Otis My Man!

When I was a wee lad, my Uncle Jeff gave me all his records for safekeeping. It was a box of gorgeous wax that included Sgt Pepper's still in the shrinkwrap, beautiful Hendrix albums, sexy Stones records, inebriated Doors discs. The whole nine! They had these amazing covers that were basically peices of art and they would take you away somewhere and sequester you for about 45 minutes at a time (unless it was a double LP). Anywho, the one record that got more airplay from me than all of them, was a live record of Jimi Hendrix on one side and Otis Redding on the other. LIVE AT MONTEREY, exclaimed the cover and it made your ears cry. But, oddly it was the Otis Redding side that got the most action from me. It was a short version of his legendary set at the Monterey Pop festival where he turned on a bunch of hippies to soul. Redding tears through his set and listening to it as a young boy of about 12, it was the one concert I wanted to get in a time machine and go back to. You cant find that album never made it to CD which is a damn shame. But it served as my door to Otis and other soul legends. What I have here is Otis Redding doing a pretty sweet Christmas song called Merry Christmas Baby, and it's kind of amazing. The organ and the jingling bells really do it for me. A sweet little bauble you might find under the tree after you open everything else, but wow does it shine. Enjoy!

Merry Christmas Baby - Otis Redding

Sunday, December 04, 2005

I wanna walk around with you

Isobel Campbell's voice is delicate and refined, and carries schoolgirl charm. Mark Lanegan's is harsh, and carries a bit of barroom menace. Put them together, and you would expect...well, maybe you wouldn't know what to expect. What you probably wouldn't expect is to hear them sound convincing in this infectious lullaby.

(Do You Wanna Come) Walk With Me - Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan (mp3)

Yo Ho, Yo Ho.....Sounds Like Something A Pimp Would Say!

The teaser trailer for Pirates Of The Carribean is out on the net and it looks pretty good. The first was a complete surprise hit, largely due to the Oscar nominated performance of Johnny Depp's Captain Jack Sparrow. That film was about 20 minutes too long, but still a lot of fun. So now here comes the first of two sequels that will arrive in cinemas in back to back summers. Enjoy the squid faced Davey Jones!

Pirates Of The Carribean: Dead Men's Chest

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Never thought I'd do it!!


This weeks food review post is brought to you courtesy of my lady love Sugarduck! I promised her this week that we would try the infamous Gingerbread Latte from Starbucks. Now now for those who know your Uncle Tom, Starbucks is generally off limits. Often times too bitter to even look at let alone consume your Uncle Tom tries to avoid any intestinal distress related to coffee consumption. But a promise is a promise and it is too hard to say no to the one that you love. We found a local Barnes and Noble/Starbucks in Rockville, made our order and it was then that I was able to try this famed concoction. ONE WORD..... DELICIOUS AND AMAZING (okay that's two words, but it's that damned good I tell you). The gingerbread flavor mixed with the milk was perfect. I can certainly see how it can become addicting, especially if you happen to live near a Starbucks and unless you live in Appalachia there are at least 217 Starbucks located within 2 miles of your home. If you do live in Appalachia, can you tell us more about the Blue People? I would accept any sort of information that you can pass on. Since I am left without my usual work companions this week, I don't know if I will get to any other food review. I hope that you all had a great Thanksgiving!!

-Uncle Tom

The revamped features four new songs on a snazzy Flash boombox. They're worth checking out, especially "Untitled Song 2," but Beck isn't meant to be played on tinny computer speakers. Well, okay, yeah, he is, but he wasn't meant to be played solely on tinny computer speakers. I saved the audio to burn a CD for my trip to Pennsylvania tomorrow. Yes, that means I'll be away (again) for several days. Until then, here are a couple of tinny Beck mp3s:

Beck - Untitled Song 2 (mp3)

Beck - Shake Shake (Black Tambourine) (adrock remix) (mp3)

Also, preview the remix album, Guerolito, here.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Beth Orton - Conceived

I heard Beth Orton's new single, "Conceived," twice today - on WRNR (Annapolis) this morning, and on KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic online stream this evening. Something about Beth Orton's music grabs me. Maybe it's her unique voice, with that mysterious accent. Maybe it's the straightforward melodies, always pure and clean. Whatever it is, it cuts through the pop clutter and sounds new without coming off as trying to be avant-garde. I may or may not have been Soulseeking her forthcoming album, "Comfort of Strangers," due February 7th. I haven't found it yet. Too bad, because I have a feeling the winter would be a lot warmer with it.

Download "Conceived" at Some Velvet Blog.

Stick This Up Your Chimney Johnny!

I cannot disagree more with Johnny about the Christmas music. Furthermore, I will prove it by posting a kick ass Christmas song every day until the big day arrives. Today's selection is a super bad classic from the "Hardest Working Man In Show Business!" James Brown. Listen to his back-up band, that bass line with the horns in there. Those horns are so damn fine and this track is like some sort of Aged Cheese, 'cause it smells funky! Anywho, this is what I call a Christmas song! Enjoy!

Santa Clause, Go Straight To The Ghetto - James Brown

Monday, November 28, 2005

Ohhhhhhh, The Weather Outside Is Frightful, Christmas Music Is Not Delightful...

...but Vince G is always welcome at the holidays

Tired of Holiday music already? Tempted to grab some of the nearest gift ribbon to strangle that person in the next cubicle who keeps playing Jessica Simpson's or Garth Brooks' Christmas album?

Let me offer two ways to preserve your sanity along with your sexy:

1. Fast-forward to New Year's Day, 12" style:

U2 - New Year's Day (12" wave remix) (mp3)

2. Next time someone asks, "Don't you have any Christmas music?" play this, only this, over and over:

Daniel Johnston - Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree (mp3)

It's weird, it's fun, and the food is amazing.

Here at the Smudge, we love pho. As you can see on the right. So to brighten up our Monday, from Khoi Vinh's account of his recent trip to Saigon:

I was born here but I left when I was three and a half. So just being back, in the midst of the quotidian and the unremarkable, is profound in a very private, intimate way. It's more than just being a visitor to a place one cherishes; it's like playing tourist in another course of events, sightseeing the attractions of a life I might have led if it weren't for, you know, global politics and war and all. Everywhere and everything is a could-have-been for me, superficially strange and foreign but, in an emotional way, also deeply familiar. It's weird, it's fun, and the food is amazing.

No recipes. A link to photos on Flickr though.

Please enjoy.

Let's Geisha Up With Johnny Williams!

John Williams is having a prolific year. By the end of this year, he will have scored 4 extremely high-profile films and in January he will be nominated at least once for an Academy Award. The award tidbit you can take to the bank! But, unless his score to Munich is a Grand-Slam he will not win and that has more to do with the fact he's already won 5 than the quality of who he'll be up against. His 2005 resume goes like this....

In May he put music to pictures in a Star Wars film for the last time, in what was an extremely satisfying end to a work that has spanned almost 30 years. If there were any justice he would receive some sort of Honorary Oscar for the achievement of the six Star Wars scores as one composition. When listened to in one sitting they are a sonic masterpiece that will never be matched in film history.

In June he and Steven Spielberg teamed up for the 21st time with War Of The Worlds, where he blended paranoia, familial heartache and Bernard Herrmann. The result was brilliant, a score that never overpowered and never felt over the top or too "Williams".

Those two scores were fine additions to his catalogue, but with Memoirs of a Geisha Williams truly seems to be hitting critical mass. It is haunting, sweeping, beautiful and epic and completely accessible to anyone who enjoys music. Williams brings Itzhak Perlman and Yo Yo Ma along for the ride, which makes for a meeting of three certified geniuses and it is a marvel. Perlman's solos are heartbreaking and Yo Yo Ma's work is so thick and dense, it's as if you're walking through a musical forest. Until now I had no interest in seeing the film. This score has changed all of that for me and now I have to see the pictures that meet with these notes. Here are three tracks off of the album. Do yourself a favor and pick it up at your local record store, you will not be disappointed. Enjoy!

Going To School - John Williams

The Chairman's Waltz - John Williams

Sayuri's Theme And The End Credits - John Williams

Sunday, November 27, 2005

The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou and The Keoki

Everything about this movie gets better everytime I see it. The rest of this entry is just Bill Murray quotes taken from the movie....turn on Sue Jorge, read the quotes and do whatever else. I don't care.

"I think your Team Zissou ring might've caught me on the lip." "I'm going to find it and I'm going to destroy it. Possibly with dynamite." "Don't point that gun at him, he's an unpaid intern." "I'm going to fight it, but I'll let it live. What about my dynamite?" "Merci, Cedric. Remind me, we'll send him a red cap and a speedo." "Well, out here we call them "pirates," Ned." "Wolodarsky, go get the keys to that fishing boat, and throw them in the water. No, wait. They might have another set. Just blow it up." "Son of a bitch, I'm sick of these dolphins." "Your way's four inches, mine is an inch and a half. Do you want to pay for the extra gas?" "You know, I'd be jealous about you staying at Allie's place, except I always thought he was kind of a closet queer." "We're in the middle of a lightning strike rescue op, Klaus. What's the deal?" "Go downstairs and throw a tarp over anything that says "Operation Henessey" on it." "That pregnant slut is playing us like a cheap fiddle!" "If you're not against me, don't cross this line! If yes, do." "I dunno, I think that bull-dyke reporter is gonna burn us." "Those fucking amateurs. You left your dog, you idiots!"

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Prince's 12 Inches

Since I'm going to be away until around Tuesday or Wednesday of next week, I'm going to sign out with a couple of impressive mp3s for your long holiday trips, and wish our U.S. readers/downloaders a Happy Thanksgiving.

We are thankful for each other, and for you.

Prince - Little Red Corvette (12")

Prince - Raspberry Beret (12")

Antonio Carlos Brasileiro de Almeida Jobim

Elis Regina

When it comes to bossa nova, it's often sexier when you don't understand the words.

From Fotografia: Os Años Dourados de Tom Jobim, a compilation of the best of bossa nova legend Antonio Carlos (Tom) Jobim, released yesterday.

Águas de Março - Tom Jobim, Elis Regina (mp3)

Só Tinha de Ser Com Você - Tom Jobim, Elis Regina (mp3)

Fotografia - Tom Jobim, Elis Regina (mp3)

Lunch Time Review

Well, it's been awhile since your Uncle Tom has been a part of the smudge so today I am going to try something different. We here at the smudge enjoy the occasional dining out experience and by occasional I mean up to 4x a week. So with that being said, I am going to try and be a good blogger and post my review of the restaurant of the week. This week it was Hard Times Cafe in Bethesda. Since Canowine's Maryland Terrapins were playing yesterday in beautiful Maui and it was a locally televised game, we were expecting a crowded restaurant. We were pleasantly surprised that no one else was there and were ready for some fast service so that we could return to work defending our great Nation. We started with some appetizers of Texas Hot & Spicy chicken fingers that were excellent and had just the right amount of heat to satisfy the pallet. We then moved on to the entrees with RC666 and myself ordering Frito Chili Pie with Terlinqua Red sauce, Canowine ordered the Chili Bubba with Cincinnati Red and Terlingua Red. The Frito Pie turned out perfectly. The moist chili sauce softened up the fritos so that they were tender and not too crunchy. Canowine commented that his cornbread was the same with the sauces accenting the sweet cornbread superbly. Speaking of the Terrapins, they pulled off a 98-69 win over Chaminade whose name brings me back to a great little skit from The Muppet Show. Here is a link to a video clip for your enjoyment. Keoki found this orginally for us on the smudge so lets take the time to thank him for that. Canowine and the rest of the Terps will be playing Arkansas today so we wish him luck and we hope that his flight back from sunny Maui is pleasant (please bring us back some kick ass souvenirs). This is the first of what I hope to be many reviews of your local dining establishments, so if anyone has any suggetions for us, let me know and we will be happy to try out your requested restaurant. I will also be giving food and culture reviews from and about Korea when I will become a temporary resident starting in April 2006. Enjoy folks!!

-Uncle Tom

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

When The Adults Cry

In the Year Of Our Lord Nineteen Eighty Something, the hard-rockin' White Lion tamed their monster sound a bit and shat out this ballad, which, as you may remember, was about the plight of crying children. They touched the world with their social conscience.

This song kinda makes you want to cry, doesn't it?

Great White,, White Lion - When the Children Cry (mp3)

Grave Nick Cave

If you've seen Nick Cave play, you know how sinister and dangerous he appears on stage. And you know how his music eats away at you, claws its way into your mind as you resist its dark truths. Listening to him is like sinning.

These creepy, minimalist mp3s are from his movie, The Proposition, a violent western set in Australia, starring Guy Pearce and Emily Watson. The OST will be released in the U.S. early next year.

Nick Cave & Warren Ellis mp3s, from The Proposition:

The Rider #2

Down To The Valley

Monday, November 21, 2005

Not My Experience...Not Even Ribbon

They say
the first love's most important.
That's very romantic,
but not my experience.

Something was and wasn't there between us,
something went on and went away.

My hands never tremble
when I stumble on silly keepsakes
and a sheaf of letters tied with string
— not even ribbon...

-excerpt from First Love, by Wislawa Szymborska, taken from Poetry Daily.

Levitating the Furniture

Listen as you read:

Idil Biret - Chopin - Polonaise-fantaisie in A flat major, Op 61 (mp3)

...When he listened to music, he listened with his whole body, as longingly as a condemned man aches for the sound of distant feet perhaps bringing news of his release. When spoken to, he didn't hear. Music dissolved the world around him just as it dissolved the laws of artistic unity, and at such moments Konrad ceased to be a soldier.

One evening in summer, he was playing a four-handed piece with Henrik's mother, when something happened...They were performing Chopin's Polonaise-Fantaisie and Henrik's mother was playing with such passion that the whole room seemed to shimmer and vibrate...It was as if music was levitating the furniture, as if some mighty force were blowing against heavy silk curtains, as if every ossified, decayed particle buried deep in the human heart were quickening into life, as if in everyone on earth a fatal rhythm lay dormant, waiting for the predestined moment to begin its fateful beat. The courteous listeners realized that music is dangerous. But the duo at the piano had lost all thought of danger. The Polonaise-Fantaisie was no more than a pretext to loose upon the world those forces that shake and explode the structures of order which man has devised to conceal what lies beneath. They sat straight-backed at the piano, leaning away from the keys a little and yet bound to them, as if music itself were driving an invisible team of fiery mythical horses riding the storm that circled the world, and they were bracing their bodies to maintain a firm grip on the reins in this explosive headlong gallop of unshackled energies. And then, with a single chord, they ended...

...The Officer of the Guards...said, "Konrad will never make a true soldier."

"Why?" asked his son, shocked.

...calmly, with the assurance of an expert, he said, "Because he is a different kind of man."

-from Embers, by Sandor Marai (Knopf)

Sunday, November 20, 2005

The Keoki Drinks From The Goblet And Blah Blah Blah Blah.....

Who the hell cares what The Keoki thinks about the new Harry Potter movie?
According to Johnny we're very big in Belgium, Uraguay and DirkaDirkastan. He's acquired a bit of a cult following and I've managed to hook on to the bumper, riding my skateboard behind his Jeep. The needle dips when i write anything here at The Smudge and at this point Johnny is just keeping me on staff because he doesn't pay me and our wives our friends. Anywho, there's a new feature here at The Smudge called The Keoki Knows Shows and while I applaud Johnny for the rhyming, the truth is I KNOW NOTHING! And know even less about shows! So I'm petitioning for a change to the title of my column to be called "Who The Hell Cares What The Keoki Knows?" I thinks it's a winning title, get's me warm right in the cockle region.

So now that that's done, on to the point of this....the fact that no one cares that I loved, I loved, and loved me a bit more of the new Harry Potter film. This has been an amazing year for movies. I'm not talking about cinema, I'm talking about movies. The ones that are fun to go see, the ones that take you somewhere you've never been before and show you things you've never seen. We've seen the very last Star Wars movie, we've seen a black and white and blood red comic book come to life, we've seen a really good Batman movie (LEAVE IT ALONE UNCLE TOM!), we've seen emperor penguins fall in love in the cold wastelands of Antarctica, we've been to the sweetest chocolate factory ever and now we've seen kids be mean as hell kids at Hogwarts! After seeing the lastest Harry Potter movie I'm undecided whether this one is my favorite or if Azkaban still stands as the standard bearer (Purely due to it's Time-Traveling plotline) but great googeley moogeley if it's not the funniest. The humor is found in the relationships these children now have with each other in their newfound teen years. They make fun of other kids and you start to see that Hogwarts is no different than any other school....there's cliques everywhere!!! The interaction is true, their emotion is heartfelt and the acid that they sometime spit at each other is brilliantly biting. They're jealous, catty, bitchy and undermining....and thats just the boys! This is the first time that the bonds of brotherhood and friendship are tested and the way it's handled is emotionally satisfying. The film has all of the things that makes a Harry Potter movie but this time adds a heart to the boiling cauldron (C'mon I had to!). The effects are better this time around, which I had thought would be hard to do after Azkaban. The dragon that Harry has to battle is simply the most amazing dragon ever put to ceeluloid, but honestly what was it competing with? All of the actors are really growing into their roles and seem to be having quite alot of fun doing it. At this point there is now way that the triumverant of actors playing Harry, Ron and Hermoine could be replaced due to age, as they are way too good at what they do in their robes. When this series is over, a proposed seven movies in all, it should be an amazing feat of sterling consistency with each one getting better and better. The only thing that I missed was the John Williams score, although the Patrick Doyle one was quite good. Williams is a master at giving scenes true emotional heft and ocassionally I felt Doyle missed the mark. Each Potter film has had a new theme that was heads and shoulders over everything else in the film and Doyle does succeed in that area. Harry's Love is maybe the prettiest theme in all the Potter films and being such a Williams fan it pain me a bit to say that. Overall, the movie is amazing and definately worth your $6 - $9 at your nearby cinema.....but as I mentioned earlier, I know you don't really care what the hell I think!

P.S. Here's a couple of tracks from the Original Soundtrack by Patrick Doyle Enjoy!

The Quidditch World Cup

Foreign Visitors Arrive

Harry Potter's Love / Harry In Winter

Friday, November 18, 2005

Quote of the Day #2: Sergeant Kaplan

It's [Robert Kaplan's Imperial Grunts] about stories of individual soldiers and Marines—not generals and colonels, but sergeants and corporals. They don't lose morale, they don't get discouraged. On the ground, American soldiers and Marines speak a common language where they communicate very directly without nuance. It's a world of practicality, of mechanics, of doing things. It's not about thinking or imagining, it's about doing. What I've found is, never ask a sergeant what he feels; ask him what he does and he'll talk for hours...

Look, once we're fifty, all of us wonder, What would it have been like if we had done something different? That's very normal. I've been very satisfied with being a freelance writer for the last third of a century. I've had a great life. But if I were forced to choose an additional life, being a career soldier certainly would be something that would appeal to me. I think I would have enjoyed it better as a non-commissioned officer.

-From Warriors for Good, an Atlantic interview with Robert Kaplan

Field Music - If Only The Moon Were Up (video)

Field Music's latest UK single, out Monday, is "If Only the Moon Were Up."

Here's the super rad video: .mov / .ram

Quote of the Day: Welcome to the (sex) machine

"Here I am, this divorced Christian guy, not promiscuous at all, and here I am with a sex machine...I will require anyone ordering a machine from me to provide proof of marriage and a signed statement of intent to use only within that marriage. Kind of like a gun dealer that requires proof of age and proof of passage of a firearm safety test before selling someone a firearm. Sexual arousal is a doorway to a person's very soul and isn't to be messed with lightly."

-Jon Traven, a sex-machine inventor, as quoted in The Sex Machines Next Door, in Wired.

Friday Live

Here are today's Friday Live mp3s:

Fiona Apple - Never is a Promise (live on letterman)

PJ Harvey - You Said Something (live on letterman)

Talking Heads - Once In A Lifetime (live extended mix)

Thursday, November 17, 2005


Brando's Voiceover! Williams Score!! Beautiful Imagery!!! Good god June 29th, 2006 can't get here fast enough. Enjoy!

Superman Returns - Teaser Trailer

Quote of the Day #2: Stud Farmer

"I am opening up a stud farm," Fleiss declared from her Hollywood home overlooking the Sunset Strip. "I am going to have the sexiest men on earth. Women are going to love it."

-From Heidi Fleiss plans 'stud farm', from

Quote of the Day: On Rootkits

"Most people don't even know what a rootkit is, so why should they care about it?"

- Thomas Hesse, Sony BMG's president of global digital business, in an NPR interview on Sony's copy-protection scheme. From Real Story of the Rogue Rootkit, in today's Wired.

The Sounds, Live on Carson

The Sounds have finished their new CD, to be released in Spring 2006. They played one of the new songs, "Queen of Apology," on Carson this Tuesday.

This is what it looked like:
Sounds - Queen of Apology (Live on Carson) (.avi video)

And this is what it sounded like:
Sounds - Queen of Apology (Live on Carson) (mp3)

The lines and the hiss are from too much signal amplification on my cable. But you get the idea.

You can listen to the album version on their myspace page, or a low-quality webripped mp3 here. If you liked their debut CD (you should have), you'll like this song.

The Sounds are playing tonight at the Hiro Ballroom in NYC.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The Quote of the Day is from the Washington Post's Micro-Porn article

"I don't have one gay friend who would not have the new iPod," he [Michael Lucas, founder of Lucas Entertainment Inc] said. "Gay people are much more technologically advanced."

- From "Mini-porn could turn into mega-business," in Monday's Post.

Elliott Smith's Blues

Unreleased Elliott Smith material has been popping up here and there lately, including live unreleased songs at Elliott Smith B-Sides, as reported by Everybody Cares, Everybody Understands.

Last Thursday, someone posted this concert on the Live Music Archive, which includes this cover (mp3) of the Beatles' "Yer Blues." It's chilling when he sings:

The eagle picks my eye
The worm he licks my bones
I feel so suicidal
Just like Dylan's Mr. Jones
Lonely wanna die
If I ain't dead already
Ooh girl you know the reason why.

Black cloud crossed my mind
Blue mist round my soul
Feel so suicidal
Even hate my rock and roll
Wanna die yeah wanna die
If I ain't dead already
Ooh girl you know the reason why.

Weekly Cheese

I tried to post a crap song yesterday, but the one I was looking for, which shall remain unnamed, is apparently so bad that it has disintegrated from cyberspace and left no trace.

Donny Osmond, Captain of Cheesy Cliche

So, I'm left with no choice but to leave you with this shiny gem from a teen idol and role model extraordinaire: Donny Osmond. If being a great role model correlated with making good music...well, if only. He is a rebel, though, and he has a heart made of stone. That's how these awesomely original lyrics go, anyway:

So you heard that I'm a rebel with a heart made of stone.
I got a restless spririt that nobody can own.
If a picture tells a story won't you listen to mine,
I'm searching for the answer but it's so hard to find.

You'll see much deeper when you read between the lines,
'cause there's a fire burning in my eye.

Like a thief in the night, who can't get enough,
I am willing to fight,
'cause I'm a soldier of love.
Like a shot in the dark when the going gets rough,
I'ts a state of the heart
when you're a soldier of love.

I'm willing to fight.

The lyrics speak for themselves, and so I have nothing to add, except for the mp3, for your listening pleasure.

Donny Osmond - Soldier of Love (mp3)

It's About To Get A Whole Lot Harder

This track from The Films' The-Films EP is a damn good straight-ahead rock song that doesn't try too hard to be one. Complete with hand claps and genuine guitar solo.

The Films - Black Shoes (mp3)

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The Junco Partner EP

Here are seven takes on a blues staple, from James Wayne to James Booker to the Hindu Love Gods to Joe Strummer & the Mescaleros, each with its own personality & soul.

Junco Partner mp3s, by:

James Wayne) (Sittin' In With Harlem, Jade & Jax, Vol. 1)
Louis Jordan & His Tympany Five (Let the Good Times Roll - The Anthology 1938-1953)
James Booker (Junco Partner)
(Live) - Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros (Give 'Em The Boot IV - VA)
Dr. John (All By Hisself: Live At The Lonestar)
Professor Longhair (Rum and Coke)
Hindu Love Gods (Warren Zevon with REM's Buck, Mills & Berry) (Hindu Love Gods)

Monday, November 14, 2005

Not Q & Not U

It was sad to see Dischord's Q & Not U disband, but I'm excited about the new projects - drummer John Davis is working with Laura Burhenn, and Chris Richards, a.k.a. Ris Paul Ric, has released the excellent, challenging Purple Blaze.

In a concert review, Popmatters said:

In talking with Richards, you realize how humbling it is to tour like this: a man, a car, a map. Completely free of rock star posturing, Richards is doing some serious soul searching on this go-round. The same can be said of his music. He is touring to support Purple Blaze, a quiet and haunting affair recorded and mixed earlier this year.

Armed with his black, duct-taped guitar, Richards opened the set with one of the strongest songs in his solo repertoire, "Valerie Teardrop" -- a compelling number that brought to mind Gary Jules' cover of "Mad World" in its emotional resonance and delivery. The psychedelic freak-outs that were the one-two punch of "Hanging from the Grapevines" and "Up in My Window" dissolved into a fascinating (if troubling and noisy) collage of sound.

Dusted magazine recently reviewed Purple Blaze, and concluded:

Purple Blaze has the material and the determination to become a dorm room classic, but the intelligence and restraint shown here lead to far more. It’s sentimental, explicit pop for people who don’t need their own pimply emotions whined back at them, and if Richards keeps up this level of quality on future releases, the world is his, ready to take.

It's one of those albums that you listen to, and it does something to your psyche, but you're not sure exactly what. You are sure, though, that you want to hear it again, now. So you pop it back in, and it's as challenging as it was the first time. Richards assaults your psyche with his acoustic guitar, incisive songwriting, and some subtle, organic effects via Tim Hecker. Once they get hold of you, you're theirs.

Ris Paul Ric mp3s, from Purple Blaze:

Purple Blaze

Valerie Teardrop

Ris Paul Ric is playing at the Black Cat tonight.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Hymn To The Fallen

At this point in our history, Veteran's Day seems like nothing more than a reason for stores to have a long weekend sale. I'm not the greatest writer in the world. I have no words to put down that will suddenly make this day any more important than it already should be. All I will say is that American soldiers died so that we could all have the freedoms that we have today. We should earn that freedom every day we're alive.

Hymn To The Fallen - John Williams<

Thursday, November 10, 2005


According to this story Arrested Development is cancelled ,will finish out this season and then get punted off a bridge like Baxter the Dog. At this point it is painfully obvious that Fox Broadcasting Network is run by poo-throwing monkeys. Amazing that a show that has gotten nothing but critical acclaim can be cacelled in favor of fucking reruns of Prison Break. This is par for the course at Fox though, they have a mile long list of shows that they got rid of, yet lets roll TEMPTATION ISLAND 2!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! People have to stand up and say I'M MAD AS HELL AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE ANYMORE!!!!! PETITIONS HAVE TO BE STARTED! SIT-INS MUST BE SCHEDULED!!! HUNGER STRIKES!!!!! HUMAN CHAINS AROUND THE FOX BUILDINGS!!!! SOMEONE NEEDS TO KIDNAP RUPERT MURDOCH!!!!




The Fountain Spills Over

So this film The Fountain has been in the offing for a number of years. It started, it stalled, it picked up Brad Pitt and made him grow a ridiculously cool beard, and then stopped again....Pitt shaves beard and does Troy and The Fountain stayed in a dark corner. Then it came back to life with Hugh Jackman and the big beard, Rachel Weisz who we at The Smudge all like and Darren Arnofsky directing finally. Arnofsky is a very weird bird and is known for his challenging films Pi and Requiem For A Dream, but The Fountain stands to be the most out there film of his career. From what I've read, the film takes place in three different times and is the story of one mans journey through those times....and of course the beard plays a major part. Anywho, here's the first moving images from The Fountain. Enjoy!

The Fountain Trailer

and here's a really cool screensaver

Final Fantasy Does Bloc Party

Owen Pallett and his drummer played a violin & drums version of Bloc Party's This Modern Love a couple of weeks ago. This very kind fellow posted a video of it here (megaupload). If you haven't had the chance to experience the energy of his live shows, this video will amaze you.

Here's the mp3:

Final Fantasy - This Modern Love (Live Bloc Party Cover, 10/25/05)

Please don't download the mp3 without also checking out the video. You won't quite get it if you don't see it.

Also, the Final Fantasy live performance on WFMU is here.

The tracklist is:

1. Spell for a Weak Heart
2. The CN Tower Belongs to the Dead
3. If I Were a Carp
4. What Do You Think Will Happen Next?
5. This is the Dream of Win & Regine

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Great American Treasures

I have not seen Cameron Crowe's new film Elizabethtown. From the very first images it seemed like a mixed bag. I can't get on board with Kirsten Dunst, which puts me smack dab in the minority here at the Smudge. On the whole the trailers and clips made the movie look very episodic and choppy and it seemed like the one time that Crowe may have lost his way in the editing room. The only thing that we could be sure of was that the soundtrack would be is. Filled with American Music it's definately worth the purchase. Here are the first two tracks off the disc by Nancy Wilson and Tom Petty, both American Treasures. It's easy to dismiss Wilson as the hot blonde from Heart, but since the early '90s she's mainly scored Crowes films and has always added heart (no pun intended) to those films. Her track in this album is no exception. Petty's track is as heartbreaking as his voice is soul-touching. Enjoy!

Nancy Wilson - 60B (E-Town Theme)

Tom Petty - It'll All Work Out

Remains of the Day

A while back, Keoki posted the two best tracks from the Corpse Bride soundtrack, the moving Victor's Piano Solo and the playful The Piano Duet.

You might try to hide and you might try to pray
But we all end up the remains of the day
-from "Remains of the Day"

Those tracks motivated me to see the movie and buy the soundtrack. It's fantastic, and does what a good soundtrack should - enhances the movie and keeps it in your mind long after you've seen it.

Here are two more of my favorite tunes, both darkened with warped humor.

Remains of the Day (mp3)

Tears to Shed (mp3)

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Munich Trailer

The original title for Spielberg's new film was "Vengence". After seeing this trailer, that title seems apt....APT I tell you. I love Spielberg, but I've complained over the last few years that he seems unwilling to show the dark side of human nature and really get dirty. After seeing this trailer I'm not sure if my complaint holds true this time around. Enjoy!


The Weekly Poo: Jamie Walters

Nearly every day, I have to listen to this guy Randy urging me to bring back the weekly Shittiest Shit Ever Shat feature. So today I resurrect the poo.

Jamie Walters: Teen Idol 4-Eva!

If you browse your local record store's Teen Idols Bargain Bin, you might come across a Jamie Walters CD. Today's poo, How Do You Talk to an Angel (mp3), is from the soundtrack to The Depths. I mean The Heights. Jamie Walters was clearly influenced by Richard Marx. You can hear it in the please-shoot-me-now lyrics, the musak sax, and the guitar licks that you hear the-guy-who-still-sports-a-rattail playing in Guitar Center. I'd say he's just a notch below the Marx-man, and maybe just a notch above Don Johnson. Yes, I'd say he's nestled comfortably between the two. Picture that, Gay Men Of The World Who Are Stuck In The 80's.

Speaking of rattails, the one thing he has going for him is his uncanny resemblance to everyone's favorite Padawan, Anakin Skywalker, played by Hayden Christensen. I only mention Hayden because acting-wise, he's just a notch below Jamie Walters.

How Do I Talk to a Padme? Not very well, if you ask Anthony Lane.

Anyway, back to Jamie Walters. Where has he gone? Perhaps he, like many before him, has taken a sabbatical to ponder the meaning of that unnatural space between Tori Spelling's boobs, as they existed when he was on Beverly Hills, 90210.

Tori's terrain features.

P.S. Don't come looking for me when you find yourself humming this tune this afternoon.

Bloodshot in Earshot

For 11 years, Bloodshot Records has been home to no-nonsense acts who record beautifully jacked-up tunes. Bloodshot sums up that tradition in their new compilation, For a Decade of Sin: 11 Years of Bloodshot Records.

As Popmatters put it,

What's to be made of Bloodshot Record's 11th anniversary compilation, For a Decade of Sin? It's not a retrospective, culling seminal tracks from the first decade of the self-proclaimed "insurgent country" label's releases, but rather all new/unreleased music. And a good chunk of the 42 artists represented on this compilation aren't even members of the Bloodshot family! Not that these facts makes the album any less enjoyable, but still: Weird.

The weirdness lives on.

The Meat Purveyors' Little White Pills (mp3) starts as a southern rocking foot-stomper, but gets groggy when the the lyrics turn to the pills:

I was always tired
I was always blue
I found something that'll cure my ills
I'm talkin' about those little white pills

Those little white pills got me feelin' fine
They hurt my stomach and sharpen my mind...

Porter Hall, Tennessee lament fallen friends in a cover of Jim Carroll's People Who Died (mp3):

Teddy sniffed some glue, he was 12 years old
Fell from the roof on East Two-Nine
Kathy was 11 when she pulled the plug
on 26 reds and a bottle of wine
Bobby got leukemia, 14 years old
He looked like 65 when he died
He was a friend of mine

Those are people who died, died
They were all my friends, and they died

And Nora O'Connor's Two Way Action (mp3) is simply gorgeous.

It's available at for 13.99...that's 42 songs for 14 bucks. At 33 cents per track, it's a steal.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Annoying Word of the Day - Colour

The word colour spelled by a British or Canadian: okay.

The word colour spelled by an American: Drop the "u." It doesn't make you sound any smarter.

But, Soft! What Light Through Yonder Window Breaks?

It is Higher (mp3), the new single by Soft.

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend them your ears!

Soft make good rock music, cleanly played. Ever heard a song and thought, "this would be a great song to hear live?" Higher is one of those songs. I hope that when they go on tour again, you'll sing this one along with me.

From the self-released Soft EP.

Annoying Word of the Day

I'm pleased to announce a new feature on the Smudge: The Annoying Word Of The Day. It will be an adjective (most of the time) that is likely trendy and overused, and ought to be stabbed and sent directly to The Big Lexicon in the Sky. Words that might make you want to gag yourself. Words that that guy who says "in a nutshell" or "modus operandi" in office meetings might use.

This feature might not last long. In fact, today might be the first and last edition.

Suggestions are always welcome.

Today's word is:


As in:

Ooh look, it's turning into Indie Pop Day here at Pitchfork News! Rose Melberg's back in action, the Clientele are spicing up their vinyl with free MP3s, and now twee gods/goddesses Belle and Sebastian have announced a tour in support of their forthcoming album, The Life Pursuit. Alas, only British and Irish dates have been scheduled as yet, so us B&S fans across the pond will have to keep tugging on the sleeves of our cardigans in anticipation.
(from Pitchfork)

This feature is inspired by Slim Clady, who went on a quest for adjectives to replace "awesome" earlier this week.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Friday Live - All Beck

Last month, Uncle Tom, Sugarduck and I saw Beck in Camden, New Jersey. Heavy rain, flooding, and Tom's broken down car almost ruined the night. They were stranded in the rain as the roads closed around them, and as the minutes passed, the waters rose. Luckily, they made it to the show, and warmed up with a beer and dry concert tees (fittingly, this one):

I hope that their wet memories fade and the dry ones remain, especially the memories of these songs. Maybe the surrealism of the night will permanently burn the entire experience into our neurons. One thing is for sure: the dinner table percussion during Golden Age and Clap Hands was unforgettable.

These mp3s aren't from the Camden show we attended, but they sound pretty much the same.

Everybody's Gotta Learn Sometime/GoldenAge/ClapHands-Live in Japan 7-30-2005 (mp3)

Do You Realize? (Flaming Lips Cover) - Live in Detroit 9-22-05 (mp3)

He's A Mighty Good Leader/Hotwax - Live in Detroit 9-22-05 (mp3)
Lost Cause - Live in Detroit 9-22-05 (mp3)

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Impressive Jazz Reworks

On this collection, remix and reverence co-exist comfortably. After all, Impulse never held preservation as a primary directive. It prioritized new sounds and new technologies, and treated all of its musicians as innovators, as revolutionaries in their own right. Perhaps that’s the label’s true calling card, the real reason behind the continued reverence. From the most challenging jazz to the most traditional, Impulse made it all sound equally, eternally modern.

- From the Spectremusic review of Impulsive! Revolutionary Jazz Reworked

II B.S. (RZA's Mingus Bounce Mix) (mp3)

Iconic bassist and composer Charles Mingus' output on Impulse Records remains his most alive, his most soulful and his most contemplative. "II B.S." not only showcased Mingus' lyrical bass-playing (especially its momentous intro), but also the rebellious, fiery nature that colored Mingus' life. The RZA is the production mastermind behind the Wu-Tang Clan, the Staten Island collective that turned hip-hop on its head with their gritty, grimey street-reared albums over the last decade. RZA, who has become a masterful composer in his own right (check his score for Jim Jarmusch's "Ghost Dog," or Quentin Tarantino's "Kill Bill" movies), turns Mingus' original inside out, playing with the windblown horn stabs and chopping up the song's rhythms into a playful jazz-bounce.

Mizrab (Gabor Szabo / Prefuse 73 remix) (mp3)

Gabor Szabo's free-wheeling, self-taught guitar style, personified the limitless creative palette that jazz had appropriated in the late 1960s and early 1970s. This composition, from the 1972 album of the same name, was one of his most astounding. The gorgeous, original "Mizrab," has become a favorite of many jazz-heads through the years, so it is no surprise that Prefuse 73 aka Scott Heren, chose to remix it for his contribution to Impulsive. Prefuse 73, who splits his time between Atlanta and Barcelona, has a wonderfully experimental sensibility when composing music, using electronics, samples and new ideas in sound compression to create formed, melodic mosaics. Here, he replicates Szabo's passionate guitar playing with his own fractured electronic melodies and the result is pure elegance.
- from

Monday, October 31, 2005

A Suitable End

I'm a big fan of Ocean's Eleven with Clooney, Pitt and the rest of that crew. Great little movie right? But my absolute favorite part was the end, in front of the fountain. After everything was said and done there's a beautiful moment and nobody says a word because they don't have to. To cap it off Carl Reiner leaves last, that's brilliant. And of course it's all set to maybe the prettiest piece of music ever. Enjoy!

Clair De Lune - The Philadelphia Orchestra

Something Nice And Easy To Start Off The Week

Here's a couple of live Jack Johnson tracks to put you in a mellow mood. Hope you enjoy.

Jack Johnson - Trenchtown Rock/Garden Grove/Ring The Alarm

Jack Johnson and Ben Harper - High Tide Or Low Tide

Antony Haunts

Antony's eerie vibrato might be the most haunting thing you hear all day.

From last week's performance on Letterman:

Antony & The Johnsons - You Are My Sister (Live on Letterman): mp3 / avi

Friday, October 28, 2005

Plantman Knows

While I was away on my trip, I met this guy who knows former Pavement drummer Gary Young. Gary played drums one of his band's songs. We sang this one together in class.

Gary Young - Plantman (mp3)


And TG I'm home. The sun shines down, and it's a perfect day for this:

Prince - Let's Go Crazy (12" Special Dance Mix) (mp3)

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Senor Spielbergo's Munich!

I was talking to Uncle Tom the other day about directors who are so good you're constantly asking, "What are they doing next?". We came up with a short list of Wes Anderson, Shamylamadindong, Tarantino, Soderbergh, Pete Jackson and towards the end I mentioned Spielberg. He's the oldest of this lot but still, when I leave his films I immediately wonder what he's going to do next. I loved his War Of The Worlds this past Summer and I can't wait to see Munich, which he is currently finishing and will be released on Christmas Day. Munich is about the terrorist action during the Munich Olympics. He started filming Munich in June and is in a mad dash for Awards season, and it's already one of the top contenders for Best Picture. The last time he did a popcorn movie in Summer and a socially important film in the Winter it was the one-two punch of Jurrassic Park and Schindler's List. Here's the striking one-sheet for Munich.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Sloppy Drunk Blues

Carr was the most influential male blues singer and songwriter of the first half of the 20th century, but he was nothing like the current stereotype of an early bluesman. An understated pianist with a gentle, expressive voice, he was known for his natty suits and lived most of his life in Indianapolis. His first record, "How Long — How Long Blues," in 1928, had an effect as revolutionary as Bing Crosby's pop crooning, and for similar reasons. Previous blues stars, whether vaudevillians like Bessie Smith or street singers like Blind Lemon Jefferson, had needed huge voices to project their music, but with the help of new microphone and recording technologies, Carr sounded like a cool city dude carrying on a conversation with a few close friends.

...although Carr died of an alcohol-related illness shortly after his 30th birthday, what made him a key figure in American music was his records, not his lifestyle. His followers dominated blues for more than 20 years and affected every aspect of the African-American pop scene.

-from, originally printed in the New York Times.

Mp3s from Leroy Carr: Complete Recorded Works 3 (1930-32):

New How Long, How Long Blues, Part 2
Sloppy Drunk Blues
Hard Times Done Drove Me To Drink