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February 29, 2008

vampire weekend - vampire weekend


Now that I'm in the stride of Vampire Weekend's debut album: Vampire Weekend, I can listen to it almost ceaselessly, kind of like many people can Paul Simon's Graceland, which is practically this album's spiritual father.

In Graceland, though, Paul Simon hired a bunch of African musicians to accompany his band. Vampire Weekend's percussionist, Chris Tomson, does a great job of African pop drumming all by himself.

It's not really African music though, any more than The Police was really reggae music. (Vampire Weekend's song "The Kids Don't Stand a Chance" could easily be a Police song, if The Police could write such smart, snappy lyrics.)

It is good though, if all pop music were like this, I would listen to more pop music. I almost wanted to dislike it, since I got the impression it was some kind of teeny bopper sensation. It's pretty difficult to dislike, though. Even though I figured it was going to be arrogant college kids overstating the importance of their own worldview, eventually I realized that they make fun of it as much as they explain it.

Can you really hate a band that writes a song ("I Stand Corrected") about sincerely admitting a mistake? When it all comes down, it's just a sweet, smart album with fine musicianship that makes you want to just leave it in the CD player again after it's done.

February 20, 2008

late to the odb game


Of course people have been lauding this album for a dozen years, dirty is long dead, and there's a rap on the new Wu-Tang album lamenting his death (shoulda taken it easy on the Tramadol and coke, dirty), but for me it's a sudden revelation.

For those who have no idea who Russell Tyrone Jones aka. Ol' Dirty Bastard aka. Ol' Dirty Doggie aka. Dirt McGirt aka. Sweet Baby Jesus aka. Freeloading Rusty aka. a bunch of other things even is, he is one of the rappers of the famous Wu-Tang Clan, one of the most famous rap groups of all kinds.

I've heard him rap before, on Wu Tang albums, but it wasn't until I really started listening to Return to the 36 Chambers that I really got the idea of the explosion of madness he really creates.

Method Man, another Wu Tang rapper, once said that Dirty's style had "no father", but I have to disagree. There is a clear father to his style in the crazy howling and singing of Screamin' Jay Hawkins. Even if you're not familiar with Hawkins you've probably at least heard his insane version of "I Put A Spell on You". He sings the standard and deconstructs it into a raw series of howls and growls.

Dirty keeps this tradition, but adds his own strange rapping into the mix. His subject matter is often sexual or mildly, playfully violent, but more often is just his own strange free association on any topic. But no line is ever just spoken straightforwardly. Dirty keeps you guessing with sudden changes of tone, volume and delivery.

In any one song he alternately gurgles, growls, sings like a drunkard, howls in surprise as if the situation he's rapping about is totally new to him, shouts, whispers, makes up new words, does impromptu scat... in short... it's never boring.

That aside, the album itself is great. He sets the tone by pretending to introduce himself on stage, as Russell Jones trying to fauningly introduce Ol' Dirty Bastard, showering him with compliments, but then at the last second forgetting his name and instead introducing James Brown. Finally he remembers who he's introducing, and finally finishes with "I love that guy!"

Then, he takes the stage as ODB himself and begins what sounds like it's going to be a touching ballad with a confessional gone wrong, talking about a girl who gave him gonorrhea twice that he knew for ten minutes. He begins to sing his horrible crooner song about oral sex, and then finally says, "Just kidding, listen to the album, because it's bangin'"

And it is bangin'. RZA is the producer and does it in a simple, amazingly mellow way. ODB clowns and sings in a way that sounds accidental, but with a few repeat listens it's clear that his strange patter and singing is pretty crafted.

Such a strange, confusing, beautiful album. If you ever liked it, give it another listen.

February 13, 2008

my facebook groups

Join this group, invite all of you friends, and then leave.i dont care how old i am.....i still love Tom & Jerry..:D:dI skip stairs when i go up themMoleskinerieYes . . . I Padiddle Kids Who Hid In Dep't Store Clothing Racks While their Mom Was ShoppingFacebook is an Evil Postmodern Construction Relegating Life to a Video GameDeep Thoughts by Jack HandyHOMESTAR RUNNER!!!Be careful what you say... It may remind me of song that needs to be sung.Curse Your Sudden But Inevitable BetrayalHugs Make the World a Better PlaceI noticed that you're a Badass... I too am a Badass.Fuck All Those Kids That Won't Give The Trix Rabbit His Own Fuckin CerealI think patterns on scantrons are suspiciousI join groups mostly for the thrill of agreeing with the name publicly.Chipotle: Usually When You Roll Something This Good, It's Illegal!Seattle FoodiesBig/Thick Girls and the Guys Who Love Us!!!If this group reaches 100,000 my boyfriend will quit World of WarcraftIf I were an enzyme i would be DNA helicase so i could unzip your genesUnlike 99.99% of the Facebook population, I was born in the 70s.I hate the "celebrity" voices on the FerryLibraries and LibrarianscornerhostYongey Mingyur RinpocheWhen I was your age, Pluto was a planet.Free Rice ChallengeNuns on the RunGo Dietgirl Go!

February 10, 2008


Boys Night Drinking

I know, I know what you're thinking. What kind of fabulous photos have you been taking Daniel... if you don't show me, I'll die.

Don't worry... I wouldn't let you die like that. Here's some little sets:

Georgetown in Ruins
Couch Colleen... approved photos only!
Shelley Price, the big trouble.
Oh Strudel, my love.
Boys Night Drinking
Miscelleny in February

Strudel my Love

February 6, 2008

i invoked this emily cover into being

Wasn't I just bitching that there wasn't any real Joanna Newsom cover from her Ys album? Well, there you go... somebody actually did a real produced recording of a Newsom cover, of the song Emily.

Pretty good, I must say... although I wish he would have kept more of the song's natural quirkiness in. He makes it almost as close to like a regular indie rock song as he possibly can, which is kind of cool, but sometimes he misses out on some easy opportunities to bring up the intensity a notch in the way Joanna does so effortlessly.

It's still an amazing song, and I hope some people can listen to it and vibe with it in a way that they wouldn't otherwise be able to because they just can't get over Newsom's voice.