Thursday, June 30, 2005

Monika Bullette Figures Out Ways to Avoid the Neighbors

Monika Bullette answered my question, "What do you see when you listen to music in the dark?" Instead of posting it under the comments, I saw her brilliant reply as a great opportunity for an mp3 post. Here's what she said:

What I see in general? In fact I "see" a black (but a black like the night time oil stain of a quik stop grocery parking lot). I find that knowledge gives you a decreased ability to "let go" - the more you know about the mechanics of music making or recording engineering the more likely you'll dissect it into parts than enjoy it as a whole. When I can get away from that I see in my thoughts range from musings on the people who introduced me to the song/band to abstract visualizations like you get with computer digital music players to devising a story around the lyrics with specific people playing the roles. But they aren't laid out like a film in front of me - they're further deep in my brain like a four inch sphere from the center point.

Okay, I did it - I put on my headphones and closed my eyes and listened to a song (one for which I had never seen the video - since that usually burns an imprint in my visuals). I listened to "I'm A Mess [mp3]" by Nick Lowe from The Convincer album. What I see in specific? Well, despite strong showings of memories of Nick in a fine bespoke suit from when I saw him in Philadelphia, I get sparks of musty wall to wall carpeting and very wide vertical venetian blinds closed against the daylight and figuring out ways to avoid the neighbors. (And a tiny delight in that one snare hit at 2:07 where the bridge hovers for a bar.) What a great song!

I suspect that she would do justice to "I'm A Mess" as a live cover.

I mentally break songs up into parts, too; I'll dissect them, and I never listen to the same song in the same way twice, but I'm still able to "let go," and that's where the high is. It's an especially strong high when the album has one good song after another, with material that breaks through all the stale pop clutter - a patch of clean grass as we walk out among the manure. It's hard to find albums that sound new, and doubly hard to find ones that are both new and good. Bullette's The Secrets (free download or $10 limited edition CD) and Final Fantasy's Has a Good Home are two records that are both. That's why I asked them the question (Owen Pallett's reply is in the comments to Monday's post): I thought they'd have the most interesting answers. If you don't have their albums, you're missing out on a piece of the future.

Many thanks to Monika Bullette and Owen Pallett for their replies.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Blues From Nina

The survey results of the Mp3 Blog Project were announced last week. Question 10 was "What genre of music does your blog predominately cover, if any?" "Indie/Alternative" and "Eclectic" apparently dominate the mp3 blogosphere:

Balance must be restored to the Force.

From Nina Simone: The Blues:

I Shall Be Released (Dylan Cover) (mp3)
The Pusher (mp3)

Monday, June 27, 2005

What do you see when you listen to music in the dark?

“You know what I see when I listen to music in the dark?” she asked, finishing her water. “I think of a glass-bottom boat sailing through the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. I don't like it. But when I'm tired, it doesn't scare me as much. But imagine, Charlie, the glass cracking. Not a good way to die. But that is not what scares me. The dark, the dark that passes underneath. How it can just as easily be nothing. Do you know about that? Why do you think I have such a fear?”

“Sounds like you take yourself too seriously.”

“Who else will?”

“Good point.” I said, getting back into the bed and pulling the covers over me.

“What do you see when you listen to music in the dark?”

“Depends on the song.”

- From "A Chapter From a Novel," an undergraduate creative writing selection by Andrew Condouris, at Farleigh-Dickinson.

What do you see when you listen to music in the dark, or with your eyes closed? Do you see the band or orchestra from afar, or are you close enough to see the instrument-forged fingers of each player? Do you see a dance floor, beads of sweat on a partner's brow? Do you see strobing lights? Maybe you see the band playing right in front of you, in your living room. Or maybe you see yourself playing an instrument, singing to an adoring audience. Do abstract waves and color patterns pass through your conscious brain with some instant doppler effect? I imagine some see images of lovers or friends, or scenes from unmade movies. Others may see nothing at all, able to isolate the music as travels from the ear into the nervous system to create a purely auditory experience.

Most of the time, I see the performers, their guitar strings vibrating, the labored look on the violinist's face, the death grip on the microphone. Sometimes it's me playing. I'm almost always on stage, whether performing or just watching. If I'm listening to a song that triggers the memory of a significant emotional event, I'm transported there instantly.

Whatever it is that you see when you close your eyes and listen to music, I'm interested. Please tell me.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

I Know I Can...I Know I Can

This might be the best song about erectile dysfunction that you ever heard. From Art Brut's Bang Bang Rock & Roll.

Art Brut - Rusted Guns of Milan (mp3)

NOTE: I abbreviated the file name, so change it when you right-click save-as.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

But I Was Just Offering Her a Ride

From the Chicago Tribune:

People seeking prostitutes in Chicago already face arrest and impoundment of their cars if they are caught, but now they risk something else: public embarrassment on a city Web site.

The city has begun posting the names and photographs of alleged "johns" on the Police Department's Web site for all to see, including spouses, children, employers, friends and neighbors, Mayor Richard Daley announced Tuesday...

Chicago is not the first city that has attempted to use shame as a deterrent to prostitution.

"Operation John Be Gone" in Akron, Ohio, "draws the most hits on our Web site by far"--100,000 in its first year of operationsaid Police Lt. Rick Edwards.

You can see the Chicago johns here, and the Akron johns here. The super sexy Akron prostitutes are here.

Before you laugh too much, consider:

"Its [prostitution's] victims are, first of all, the prostitutes themselves," [Mayor]Daley said. "It is estimated that between 16,000 and 25,000 women are involved in prostitution in Chicago over the course of a year. Most of them were victims of sexual abuse and domestic violence from a very young age.

"Once they become prostitutes, they're subject to even more violence, abuse and possible death from their pimps and their customers. They spend their lives surrounded by criminals and drugs and [are] vulnerable to sexually transmitted diseases."

Not feeling sorry for prostitutes yet? Read Edward P. Jones' excellent short story, Old Boys, Old Girls, from the May 3, 2004 New Yorker.

Feist and the Lingering Moment of Experience

In The Record Effect, a recent New Yorker article on the dehumanization of music through advances in recording technology, Alex Ross states, "Twenty years ago, the American composer Benjamin Boretz wrote, “In music, as in everything, the disappearing moment of experience is the firmest reality.” The paradox of recording is that it can preserve forever those disappearing moments of sound but never the spark of humanity that generates them."

Also, "Modern urban environments are often so chaotic, soulless, or ugly that I’m grateful for the humanizing touch of electronics. But I want to be aware of technology’s effects, positive and negative. For music to remain vital, recordings have to exist in balance with live performance, and, these days, live performance is by far the smaller part of the equation..."

KEXP and KCRW (see sidebar) are two stations who are helping to balance that equation, broadcasting live in-studio performances over the internet. KCRW even lets us watch the performances as they occur.

Yesterday KCRW entreated us with the live, breathing dimension of the Canadian artist that is Feist. Her performance shone with that spark of humanity that can be lacking in those perfect studio recordings that are often lauded for their "stellar production." It was as close to being in the room with her as you can get. (Listen, Watch)

From that show, here's her opening song, her version of Ron Sexsmith's Secret Heart (mp3), from Let it Die.

Too bad KCRW is in danger of extinction.

Monday, June 20, 2005

One Time at Band Camp

Blair Tindall.
Flutes are for wusses.

Those crazy, hedonistic oboists:

A PROFESSIONAL oboist has lifted the curtain on sex, drugs and nepotism in the world of classical music.

Blair Tindall, who played with the New York Philharmonic, offers an unseemly tour behind the scenes in a book entitled Mozart in the Jungle: Sex, Drugs, and Classical Music.

Tindall claims that sex played a decisive role in her musical career. She says she was simultaneously involved with three leading New York oboists — two married — who gave her work in their orchestras. One had a maxim: “The section that lays together plays together.”

She describes leaping naked into a hotel pool with a leading member of a touring Andrew Lloyd Webber production who subsequently made love to her in his hotel suite as “exuberantly” as he performed music...

Now in her mid-forties, she says she dated “almost every classical musician around my age” — as well as some who were not, including two of her high-school music teachers.

“Instrument players had a sexual style unique to their instrument,” she writes. “Neurotic violinists, anonymous in their orchestra section, came fast. Trumpet players pumped away like jocks, while pianists’ sensitive fingers worked magic. French horn players, their instruments the testiest of all, could rarely get it up, but percussionists could make beautiful music out of anything.”

- From The Truth of Making Sweet Music, by James Bone, in Saturday's TimesOnline.

I wonder what she thought of the tromboner.

But what sort of lover might Ms. Tindall be? A quick internet search gives us a hint. According to the Winter 1992 Double Reed, NYT critic Allan Kozinn called her February 24, 1991 solo debut recital in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall "a clever, stylistically varied program...her sound was as sweet as an oboe timbre can be. She played a Telemann Sonata in c minor, and applied ornamentation that was adventurous, sometimes unconventional, and consistently rich in character. Ms. Tindall was joined by members of the Colorado String Quartet for a beautifully balanced, carefully shaped account of the Mozart Oboe Quartet."

Smile as We Align

Meredith Bragg and the Terminals are (or were*) an indie folk pop band from Arlington, VA, but not in the way you think of "indie folk pop." Their songs are as quiet, melodic, honest, sincere, and sparer than much of the new bunch. Bragg is more like Elliott Smith without the biting irony and angst, or like Ben Gibbard with spare arrangements and no electronica.

Check out their myspace page, and start with the fingerpicked chords and haunting cello of the introspective Below the Storm. In Work and Winter, Bragg evokes Elliott Smith as he sings "smiling as I feel our bodies align/yours and mine/smiling as I feel our breathing align/yours and mine." When you listen to I Won't Let You Down, you'll feel as though you're in a coffeeshop as someone who sounds eerily like Ben Gibbard strums his guitar, accompanied by piano, cello, and drums, as the gathering crowd freezes into place.

The debut album, Volume 1, is available July 12th, available for pre-order now.

Meredith Bragg is embarking on a solo tour.

The CD Release Party is at the Black Cat, July 3rd.

Meredith Bragg's New York (mp3 sample) was also featured on Deep Elm's This is Indie Rock compilation. You can listen to that entire compilation here.

*According to their April 13 myspace blog entry, "We are recording an EP this week at Inner Ear Studios in Arlington, VA,...before this incarnation of Meredith Bragg and the Terminals goes bye-bye, and the band reconvenes at a later date with what will likely be a different line-up."

Saturday, June 18, 2005


KCRW urges you to contact your congresspersons to voice your opinion on the proposed funding cuts to public broadcasting.

From Federal Funding Cuts to Public Broadcasting, Message from KCRW General Manager Ruth Seymour:

The proposed cut is 25% to KCRW's CPB grant this October and next October as well. Moreover, adding the proposed additional cuts to PBS childrens' programs and station digital conversion -- the total reduction adds up to a whopping 45%!...

If these cuts stand, KCRW may lose over $1,000,000 from its operating revenue. This would severely impact KCRW's local programming and our ability to sustain NPR.

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting is the independent organization created by Congress to support public broadcasting and act as a heat shield against political interference. But now, ironically, the Corporation itself is providing the heat...

We can't reverse the funding cuts by ourselves. We need your help.


Please register your opinion by contacting your Congressional Representative right away.

The full House votes next Thursday or Friday.

Find your Congressional Representative at:

I'll be making that phone call, and I implore you to do the same.

For all its past criticisms of Big Government, our legislative body is pushing to make it a Damn Intrusive Enormous Government.

Bloc Party NPR Download

Normally, NPR lets you listen to their programming online via RealAudio.

They're letting you download an mp3 of the 9:30 Club Bloc Party concert recorded this Thursday here.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Friday Live, Saturday Edition

It's almost too late to call this a Friday post. I've been busy. There's this thing called life that sometimes distracts me from blogging.

Friday Live mp3s:

Martha Wainwright - When the Day is Short (Live on KCRW, June 2005) (from this Morning Becomes Eclectic broadcast, on Watch the performance here.)

Eurythmics - Here Comes the Rain Again (Live Acoustic, 2000)

The Clash - I'm So Bored With the U.S.A. (?? Not sure where or when)

PJ Harvey - Send His Love to Me (23 Apr 05, BBC Radio 1 - All Tomorrow's Parties)

The Comas - Falling (Live on KEXP, 5-6-05) (From know I've been pushing the Comas a lot since last year. NO, I'm never going to stop. I had to include this song, because I can't listen to it enough. Is it me, or does Andy Herod sound a lot like Paul Westerberg in this song?

Also, you can listen to Keren Ann's in-studio performance at KCRW here, and watch it here.

Thursday, June 16, 2005


I was selected for a promotion today. So instead of blogging I'll be calling family and friends. Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, June 15, 2005


This is the most disturbing image I've seen this week:

Shomei Tomatsu
Untitled [Iwakuni] (jpg), from the series Chewing Gum and Chocolate
1960, printed 1983
gelatin silver print
12 x 8 5/8 in

From Shomei Tomatsu: Skin of the Nation, at the Corcoran.

Mavis Staples Sings Ray Charles

...with John Scofield on guitar, on I Can't Stop Loving You (mp3), from Scofield's That's What I Say, his new album of Ray Charles covers. Warren Haynes belts out Night Time is the Right Time (mp3) on the same album. Both highly recommended.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

SSS--> Monster Ballad Tuesday

Starting today, and for the next several weeks, Tuesday's "Shittiest Shit Ever Shat" will be known as "Monster Ballad Tuesday." Really, it's pretty much the same thing.

We'll kick start this series with some Kix. Here's proof that you can never really trust the editorial reviews (from the review for the playfully titled Blow My Fuse (1988)):

Probably the best album from sadly defunct hard-rockers Kix. Never overwhelmingly popular, their only major hit (the anti-suicide ballad "Don't Close Your Eyes") is on this album...they incorporated the L.A. glam style into their music while maintaining a grittier edge that owed a good deal to AC/DC...With considerably more substance than most 1980s pop metal, this album holds up much better than its contemporaries.

"...sadly defunct"...sadly not. Look here. You can catch them at three concerts this year, including the Hagerstown, MD Rod & Gun Club.

"considerably more substance"...if by "substance" you mean poo, I suppose this may be correct.

Paradoxically, the "anti-suicide ballad 'Don't Close Your Eyes'" has driven more people to suicide than it saved. I challenge you download or stream "Don't Close Your Eyes," which climbed to #11 on the Billboard chart in 1989, without holding your ears shut.

Kix - Don't Close Your Eyes (mp3)

The Art Brut - MTX Connection

I've been listening to Art Brut's Bang Bang Rock & Roll over and over and over. And over. It's so good, I had to change my list of ten CDs I'd take to a deserted island. Yeah, that good. Maybe I'll give it a proper review when I have enough time to write 5000 words.

So during my time with Art Brut, whenever "Good Weekend" plays, I stop and wonder where the hell I've heard that lick before. Because I have. But whenever enlightenment started to roll off my tongue tip, the Rolling Stones' Satisfaction lick would invade my brain. And then, I'd think, egad, no that's not it. get out of there.

It finally came to me yesterday. A variant of the lick came from Dumb Little Band, a song from the 1996 Mr. T. Experience album, Love is Dead.

There you have it. Compare and contrast. Art Brut's Good Weekend is available at fluxblog. The MTX track is here: Dumb Little Band (mp3)

Monday, June 13, 2005

The Waking

Robert Pinsky comments on these two Roethke poems in this week's Washington Post Book World.

The Waking

I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I feel my fate in what I cannot fear.
I learn by going where I have to go.

We think by feeling. What is there to know?
I hear my being dance from ear to ear.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

Of those so close beside me, which are you?
God bless the Ground! I shall walk softly there,
And learn by going where I have to go.

Light takes the Tree; but who can tell us how?
The lowly worm climbs up a winding stair;
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

Great Nature has another thing to do
To you and me; so take the lively air,
And, lovely, learn by going where to go.

This shaking keeps me steady. I should know.
What falls away is always. And is near.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I learn by going where I have to go.

My Papa's Waltz

The whiskey on your breath
Could make a small boy dizzy;
But I hung on like death:
Such waltzing was not easy.

We romped until the pans
Slid from the kitchen shelf;
My mother's countenance
Could not unfrown itself.

The hand that held my wrist
Was battered on one knuckle;
At every step you missed
My right ear scraped a buckle.

You beat time on my head
With a palm caked hard by dirt,
Then waltzed me off to bed
Still clinging to your shirt.

Attack of the Clones

LIKE THOUSANDS of patriotic Americans, I spent Memorial Day weekend illegally downloading a copy of the new ''Star Wars" movie. I was shocked by how quickly I was able to locate a copy on the Net (less than five minutes) and how long it took for the whole thing to end up on my computer (two days and change -- talk about holiday weekend traffic). There were no secret passwords, no locations known only to the cognoscenti. All I had to do was Point, Google, Pilfer.

I won't pull out the ''I am a journalist and I was just doing research" defense. I acknowledge the indefensibility of my actions...

The age of digital media is upon us, and the film companies should stop hunting down individual filesharers (like, er, me) and just keep innovating until they find the right technology and business models.

- From The downloaders strike back, By Jimmy Guterman, in today's Boston Globe.

The Crack in Everything - Slow Dazzle's The View From the Floor

Every week I download an album from emusic - usually something that I'm curious about, but not sure I want to buy. Most of the time I'm glad I didn't spend the money, but sometimes I get lucky, like last Tuesday, when I downloaded The View From the Floor, by Slow Dazzle (Misra).

Slow Dazzle is the side project of Shannon McArdle and Timothy Bracy, of the Mendoza Line, who put together last year's excellent Fortune. The band is named after the John Cale song, and he's listed as an influence on their bio. Their name also describes several of the tracks on the album--languorous trips through a modern south soundscape.

The opening track, Fleur de Lis (mp3), (from taken from their website, wins you over instantly . Shannon McArdle channels Hope Sandoval, her voice showing a steely steadiness through haunting crescendos and flawless bends. The dissonant chopsticks-like two-note piano pulses contrast with the perfect harmony between the bass line, the synth, guitar and voice, yet complements the bright interplay between those elements, and adds just the right amount of tension to give the song that extra momentum.

The other song posted on their website is The Prosecution Rests (mp3), which has a repeating piano line that doesn't work so much for me - for some reason, it makes me think of wedding songs. To better convince people to buy, I'd have posted The Extent of My Remarks (mp3), with its sassy attitude with a southern drawl, and crazy break just before the second minute--something that defies description. It's like a manic harpsichord solo with feeback noises and bleeps substituting for the harpsichord. Or maybe they should have posted Anthem, an organ and guitar-driven song that sounds more sweet, slow southern gospel than anthem, in which Shannon McArdle sings, "There's a crack/a crack in everything/That's how the light gets in."

There are only 8 tracks on this gem. That's a good thing. There are too many artists who try to fill empty disc space with empty songs, just to get to that magical 10-12 track mark. Take off the weaker ones, and leave us with a better CD. Thank you, Slow Dazzle.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Friday Live

What an eventful week. Here are a few of the things that happened in canowine's world this week:

- I got rear-ended on the beltway.

- The lady who rear ended me had a dog that escaped her car when she got out to give me her information. I saved it from certain death. Maybe I should have let it go. It was a really ugly dog, more porcine than canine, like a giant pig embryo.

- It was the hottest week of the year so far, and the AC at the house went kaput.

- I went from working in my own office space with a door and a window to sharing a glorified closet with six other people.

- I lost the cord for my computer speakers.

- EMI ordered me to remove all mp3s from artists owned by them.

- I removed the EMI mp3s, and the rest of my mp3s were removed by "someone else."

- My transmission needs repair.

- And more.

But you know, it's Friday Live, and that's a wonderful thing. We've got a leitmotif going on for today's edition. See if you can guess it.

Friday Live mp3s:
Sex Pistols - EMI (live, Atlanta, 1978)

Clash - I Fought the Law (live)

Jane's Addiction - Been Caught Stealing (live)

Ringo Starr [NOT THE BEATLES] and his All Star Band - Who Can it Be Now (live)

Comas - Last Transmission (live, KEXP, from

Download the rest of the Comas' excellent KEXP performance and interview here.

And if you don't already own Conductor, you need to buy it now.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

The Obligatory Bullette Bandwagon Post

Monika Bullette has been hunting down all the mp3 blogs and sending them e-mail messages. She’s almost as efficient as EMI.

I downloaded her online album over a week ago, after largehearted boy said “This talented woman deserves to be heard,” and linked to the verbose Mystical Beast’s review, which calls her album, The Secrets, “the most original and intriguing album of 2005.” I wasn’t going to review it, since all the other blogs already have. It would be redundant. But since I received the gracious e-mail message this week, with a complimentary personal touch, yeah, I’ll say a word.

The two things that first struck me about The Secrets was its intimacy and its range of styles and tone. When I first pop in a CD, I like to listen to the first 20-30 seconds of each track to get an idea of what I’m getting into. After doing the exercise with this album, I knew I was in for a varied and refreshing listen from an uncompromising songwriter. She does growling guitar rock (Show Me (mp3)), ultra-harmonic heartbreak pop (What Love Can Do Without (mp3)), creepy accordion obsession rock (I Try (mp3)), PJ-Harveyesque acoustic aggression (The Secrets(mp3)), even bossa nova (Disappearing Act(mp3)), all with a voice that makes you feel alone in the room with her. So though she runs the musical gamut, it all comes together in a strong singular personality.

And her lyrics are incisive.

From What Love Can Do Without:

We know what love can do without
It grows upon a glance alone
A tired wink, a lean into
An ancient tale that's ever new

The second time is sweeter still
We know what's there and it can tear
As easily as once before
Dead hopes renewed to mock us more

Listen close: From What Love Can Do Without is in iambic tetrameter.

From I Try:

I've been trying to hold my breath
And see black-edged pulses of you
A silhouette with my own heart beat
And nothing more to do

I’ve been trying to tear you out
And there's a ragged edge to everything
Where the sky meets the clouds
And what your words really mean

I've been trying to sing you off my mind
But with each note you rise again...

The imagery of heartbroken obsession.

All this from an unsigned dynamo from Delaware, the No Sales Tax State. The good news is, if you get it now, you don’t pay sales tax either. You can’t charge tax on something that’s temporarily free. Download here.

The Office Move

is today. We're moving back across the street, carrying boxes in this humid heat. No posts until tonight...

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Shittiest Shit Shat, VOL 6: The Ballad of Frisco and Felicia

The Darlings of Port Charles, circa 1985.

So I used to like General Hospital back in the days when Jack Wagner was on it, so what! Didn't we all at one time or another?

Back in 1985, Frisco Jones used to gaze into Aztec princess Felicia's Cummings' emerald eyes as they tried to solve the mystery of the lost Aztec treasure that once belonged to Felicia's family in Mexico. Read all about it here.

But don't read it without downloading and listening to this week's SSS, Jack Wagner's All I Need (mp3).

Jack Wagner has fansites, one of which is here. You can download two more mp3s, if you really want to, here.

Sign his guestbook, where fans say things like:

Meredith (USA)- It's ashame Jack didn't win the Emmy. He deserved it greatly. Jack will always be #1 in my heart. I love coming to this site dedicated to my favorite actor to get my daily Jack Wagner fix.


Arcade Fire mp3 - Cold Wind, from the Six Feet Under: Everything Ends OST

I love the organ introduction toward the end of this song, and the way it's isolated to signal a change, in the same way that the riffing guitar in Funeral's Une Annee Sans Lumiere does. Cold Wind doesn't quite let you off the hook, though; where Une Annee turns into a jubilant quickening, Cold Wind keeps you somber with a return to that melancholy chord that begins the song.

Arcade Fire - Cold Wind (mp3)

***NOTE: Mp3 removed per request of EMI.***

From the second volume of soundtrack music from the hit HBO® series Six Feet Under, entitled Six Feet Under: Everything Ends, Music from the HBO Original Series – Vol. 2, on June 21, 2005

Monday, June 06, 2005

Underwear History

No, this is not a personal entry about my having to part with beloved undergarments.

Rob from Regina, Saskatchewan has an illustrated blog dedicated to the history of lingerie and underwear.

It's educational.

The Hypersexual Dinah Washington

From The Royal Blues, a review of Nadine Cohodas' Queen: The Life and Music of Dinah Washington, in the 23 Jun NY Review of Books: is surprising to imagine someone like Dinah she was when she first attracted national attention: a hypersexual eighteen-year-old. The fact is, Washington represented the norm for what was then a music made primarily by and for young Washington, most of the singers (and many of the instrumentalists) in big bands during World War II were teenagers speaking to their peers when they made their first records: Ella Fitzgerald was seventeen; Doris Day, sixteen; Billie Holiday, eighteen; Mel Tormé, nineteen...

During one performance in Las Vegas, the hotel pit boss lowered Washington's volume to satisfy a high roller from the South who didn't like her singing; Washington left the stage, walked through the casino, and told the boss, loudly enough for her audience to hear, "Motherfucker, I'm going to turn that [sound] back where it belongs, and if you touch it, I am going to break your fuckin' ass."...

She treated everything she sang as the rawest of materials, equal opportunities to impart her ebullient fury. When a British journalist asked her what kind of singer she considered herself, Washington said, according to Cohodas,

I don't think of myself as anything except a singer. I like to sing, and I'll sing ballads, church songs, blues, anything. I'll sing [the Hebrew song] "Eli, Eli" if you hang around. To me the important things are soul and conviction.... The Negro has been downtrodden in America for a long time, as you know. Maybe when you're singing a certain song you think of things that happened to you years ago.... Spirituals, blues, ballads, it doesn't matter.

Dinah Washington mp3s:
Evil Gal Blues (mp3)

Baby Did You Hear (Danger Mouse Remix) (from Verve Remixed 3)

Is You Is or Is You Ain't My Baby (Rae & Christian Remix) (Verve Remixed)

Coldplay - Fix You (MTV Live Leak) mp3

This Coldplay performance of Fix You was the best thing I've seen on MTV in a long time.

Thanks to the keoki for telling me to start recording.

Coldplay - Fix You (MTV Live Leak)(mp3)

***NOTE: Mp3 removed per request of EMI.***

Sunday, June 05, 2005

No Matter How Old I Get...

you know the rest.

Page through prom pictures from the Boston Globe.

Taking the Slam out of Islam

It was two days after she appeared on "Nightline" talking about her fight to change her mosque that the death threats began. The first call came on her cell phone. The caller left a message, in Urdu: "If you want to stay alive, keep your mouth shut." Otherwise, he said, he would "slaughter" her, halal style, saying a prayer as he slid a knife across her throat. If she didn't shut up, he'd slaughter her mother and her father, too. Think before you speak, he said. I know where you live. I know where your parents live.

Then he called her parents' home 10 minutes later. Just to reinforce the message.

It's not a message that Asra Nomani, Muslim, unwed mother, former Wall Street Journal reporter, author and left-leaning feminist, is planning to heed (although she did contact the FBI and her local police). Yes, she's started locking her doors now, a rarity for her here in her hilly home town. But she won't be shutting up, definitely not, never...

Nomani's mantra: It's time to take the slam out of


..."I refuse to sit in the back, that's so demeaning," says the small-boned Nomani, 39, whose soft voice contains both Valley Girl-esque inflections and a faint lilt of India. "The mosques are set up like a men's club. . . . I just want them to consider women as human beings. Not to throw us into corners. I want the Muslim world to fast-forward into the 21st century and not segregate us into women's ghettos."

Other mosque members doubt her sincerity:

"She's like a troublemaker," says Gamal Fahmy, 31, a British-born, Egyptian-raised assistant professor at West Virginia University and a mosque member who once clashed with Nomani and her father in a study session. "I don't think she's that religious, she's that zealous about Islam and being a Muslim," he says. "Bottom line, I believe she's doing this for profit reasons."

- From The Woman Who Went To the Front of the Mosque:
Feminist Faces Ostracism -- or Worse -- for Praying Among Men
, in today's Washington Post.

While googling "Asra Nomani," I came across alt.muslim, where these and other questions are addressed in the Opinion & Commentary section:

Should Muslim Women Be On Mt. Everest? :"We have to admit that the requirements of modesty depend on context, and that there is more to a woman's soul than her hijab...It appears that two Iranian women have become the first Muslim women to scale Mount Everest. This impressive feat will no doubt be heralded around the Muslim world, and for good reason. But do many of us really have the right to be proud of them?..."

Are We Really Supposed To "Kill All The Infidels"?
Are We Really Supposed To "Kill All The Infidels"? (Part II)

Qur'an Desecration: Far Worse Than Abu Ghraib

The Rwandan Genocide: What Would I Have Done?

Ihya Uloom al-FatAlbert- "Fat Albert said something that reminded me of a verse in the Qur'an. He said that loving someone is inherently wonderful, even if the person is not physically with you."


The Most Profound Statement In The Qur'an - "This statement, "Let not the hatred of a people toward you move you to commit injustice," is perhaps one of the most profound statements in the Qur'an."

Nothing Being an Answer to the Loneliness for the Lack of Loving

"I'm trying to say something not tell a story telling stories is telling lies and I want to tell the truth about me about my experience about my truth about my truth to reality about sitting here writing looking out across Claremont Square trying to say something about the writing and nothing being an answer to the loneliness for the lack of loving."

- B.S. Johnson, in Albert Angelo (1964), taken from Dirda's review of LIKE A FIERY ELEPHANT: The Story of B.S. Johnson, in the Washington Post Book World.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Nice Sausage...Wanna Come to My Place and Marinate Your Meat?

The Personal Ad of the Week is from the Washington Post's Personals. Eyes meet at the Giant meat section (I apologize for the obvious pun), and we hope our carnivorous predator gets her pork:

Location: Laurel, MD
Our eyes met in the meat department at the Giant on 197. You were very handsome and I was very nervous. Your smile opened my heart...I want to love you!!!

Soul mp3s for Rainy Days

These mp3s are from Eccentric Soul: The Capsoul Label (Numero, 2004). I meant to post a couple of tracks from this last year, but Christopher Porter beat me to it, and with the same tracks I wanted to put up!

They're the most fun songs of the bunch, and if you want them, e-mail me. But for now, for those of you who have been sitting in the rain, a little down and trying to tell yourself that things might be better tomorrow, and you know who you are, Marion Black feels you, and you can hear it in Who Knows (mp3).

On a more upbeat note, here's the equally determined I'm Gonna Keep On Loving You (mp3), from Kool Blues.

And now that your blood is circulating again, some Pure Soul (mp3) by Elijah and the Ebonites.

Friday Live mp3s

Here's this week's Friday Live collection of five live mp3s, this time with two covers. Learn more about Final Fantasy here.

Final Fantasy - Fantasy (Mariah Carey Cover), 2005-05-20, Berlin, Postbahnhof (mp3)

Final Fantasy - This is the Dream of Win and Regine, 2005-05-20, Berlin, Postbahnhof (mp3)

Andrew Bird - Savoy (with My Morning Jacket) (mp3)

Belle and Sebastian - Gigantic (Pixies Cover), Boston (mp3)

Loudon and Martha Wainwright - One Man Guy (mp3)

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Classic Soul Internet Radio

I jammed to this all morning: KXGQ - Classic Soul 92-GQ

Open your iTunes, click on Advanced, choose open stream, and copy and paste this link in there. Or click on the link and drag into your WinAmp or other playlist.

Dirtbombs mp3s

The Dirtbombs released If You Don't Already Have a Look, a 2-cd set this Tuesday consisting of singles, b-sides, covers, 8 new recordings, and unreleased tracks.

Their songs have the power and roar of a jet fighter, and they grab you and yank you around like the jaws of a pit bull.

Here's one track from Disc 1 (originals):

The Sharpest Claws (mp3)

and two from Disc 2 (covers):

No Expectations (mp3) (a harsh mix of The Rolling Stones' No Expectations and Sympathy for the Devil, and the Beatles' Hey Jude)

Tanzen Gehn (Hubert Kah cover) (mp3)

Foosa Nova - Foo Fighters with Norah Jones, New Acoustic Mp3

Get it while it's here, because I'm not leaving it up for long.

I never thought the Foo Fighters could sound so sexy, but then I think Norah could make a Speak 'N' Spell sound sexy if she sang along with it.

From the In Your Honor acoustic disc (Disc 2), out next week!!!:

Foo Fighters (with Norah Jones): Virginia Moon (mp3)

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Bebel Gilberto Remixed mp3s

You knew it was coming after the success of Tanto Tempo remixed: Bebel Gilberto's self-titled 2004 album has also been remixed, and was released yesterday.

Most of the remixes don't diminish the sultriness of the Brazilian songstress' sexy Portuguese. Here are my favorite tracks, plus a remixed acapella version of Sem Contencao that wasn't on the Tanto Tempo remixed CD.

O Caminho (Guy Sigsworth Mix)
Next to You (Steve Hillier Version)
Simplesmente (Tom Middleton Balearic Mix)

San Contencao (One Rascal Remix, Acapella)

Broken Heart Syndrome

Medical scientists are studying "Broken Heart Syndrome," from Sunday's Washington Post Magazine:

Dr. Ilan Wittstein is a student of the heart. The son of a rabbi, he studied Sufi mysticism and jazz guitar in college along with molecular biology. Now he's a respected cardiologist at one of the world's leading centers of medical science, Johns Hopkins University.

Perusing bookstores off-hours, he's as likely to reach for a tome exploring the brain-wave patterns of meditating monks as he is a more conventional science text, he says. He doesn't think it's a waste of time when he reads that a Harvard neurologist has studied the phenomenon of voodoo deaths -- seemingly healthy people who drop dead after learning they've supposedly been hexed. He thinks that's very interesting...

This past February, just before Valentine's Day, the New England Journal of Medicine publishes the results of the Johns Hopkins research on broken heart syndrome. Ilan Wittstein and Hunter Champion are the lead authors.

The study -- titled "Neurohumoral Features of Myocardial Stunning Due to Sudden Emotional Stress" -- concludes that emotional stress can cause severe but reversible dysfunction of the heart muscle that mimics a heart attack.

Don't Go Breakin' My Heart - Mr. T Experience (mp3) from ...and the Women Who Love Them, Special Addition

Heartbreaker - Ray Charles (mp3) from The Essential Collection

Heartbreaker - Pat Benatar (mp3) from In the Heat of the Night