There is a rather appropriate scene in Seinfeld where Kramer bets he can use his knowledge of George’s considerable vices to guess what his ATM password is. Kramer surmises that when one picks such a code we always, ‘return to our dark masters’; the things that pray at our weaknesses, and ultimately give us our ultimate guilty pleasures. Kramer correctly identifies that George’s ‘dark master’ is the ‘cocoa bean’ and that something chocolate derived will result in a correct guess of his password (which ends up being ‘Bosco’, the chocolate syrup brand). Thinking that this month was completely open, I decided that I—after three mixes where I used girl group pop, vintage garage, early R&B drinking songs, Prog, hip pop, post-punk etcetera to varying degrees—would return to my ‘dark master’, the thing that gives me perhaps the greatest joy in popular music: the big fat groove riff. Something I largely haven’t touched in my mixes up to this point. Continue reading
With this month being the triple themed smorgasbord that it was (Valentines Day, Black History Month, and LGBT Awareness Month), I tried to come up with an idea that used all these in some way, and still flow in a coherent, seamless way. Thus, I envisioned a dance mix (what could be as romantic on a Valentine’s Day?) with a more or less continuous heavy bass line running through it using African American artists predominately, but also many overtly political ones of several different nationalities as well (of mixed gender and sexuality throughout). Featuring a wide ranging mélange of genres (from raunchy hip hop to feminist post-punk dub to 70’s English prog rock to suedehead Mod), I wanted to show how all this is cut from the same cloth. In a world like ours currently, dance floor unity Trumps all (and many of the songs feature appropriate lyrical content for anyone interested in reading between the lines). So to all my soul brothers and sisters, I present my February mix: Get Higher Baby and Never Come Down.
Over the last two days I’ve posted my favorite 50 records of this past year in a two part rundown over at this blogs sister site, Wonders in the Dark. Part 1 can be read here, while Part 2 can be seen here. Plus, as a bonus, the first post (50-26) also contains a rundown of what I considered the most essential compilations/reissues from last year. Happy listening.
Today I’m able to release my next mix titled Letter to Mommy and Daddy, just ahead of another one that is coming at the end of February. It’s a somewhat ambitious idea in concept (mixing two very different pop ideas: noise/shoegaze with deep, classic 60’s Soul) and execution (it’s bookended with kaleidoscopic sound collages and noise blasts), so I hope you all like it. There is some stereo stuff going on, so I’d recommend listening with headphones on.
My playlist imagines itself as a fictitious Horror film within the Italian giallo sub-genre, popular in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. Famous for highly stylized visuals, intricate set pieces involving cat and mouse murders, and highly convoluted thriller plots often bordering on incomprehensible, the genre nevertheless remains a cult favorite to this day (and was the chief inspiration for the more famous Slasher genre of the late 70’s/early 80’s). As such, the selected music has a creepy period correct feel that builds a coherent narrative story about a black-gloved serial killer of young women, titled Give Daddy the Knife, Cindy. My fake movie poster employs several of my favorite titans of the genre, and fans of the English punk band the Damned will get the additional bit of sly reference in my fake films title.
I’ve compiled a sound mix that is one twenty-six minute (and change) track with all my selections mixed seamlessly together with additional sound effects and movie clips to heighten the narrative plot. Enjoy.
Being a fan of 80’s guitar jangle that I am, it’d come as no real surprise that I’d consider Alex Chilton to be one the forms exemplary talents. Once anyone gets into the litany of bands from that era that regularly spoke of his expansive influence—REM, the Replacements, Teenage Fanclub, Primal Scream, the Posies, Soul Asylum, X, and on and on you could go—you would get to the point that you’d be almost tired of the namecheck and do the homework for yourself. What you’d find, first in the Box Tops records of the mid to late 60s (where his blue eyes soul vocal stylings were second to none) and then specifically the Big Star records of the mid-70s, is some of the most bristling guitar pop of that or any era. Big Star evoked a touching individualistic honesty that immediately marked the songs to his unique perspective (but, lets also not discount Chris Bell’s work with the band too; a fact his genius posthumous I Am the Cosmos LP more than bore), but the three records, as critically heralded as they were, sold poorly and the band remained mere cult darlings. These poor commercial showings strained the bands relationship with the label, and no doubt affected the psyches of Chilton and Bell. Thus, after three records (all of masterpiece quality), the band called it quits. Continue reading