Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Heavy Rotation: The We Shot J.R. Playlist

I continue to be pretty bored with new music this year, and I still can't decide if its just me, or if 2006 has been one of the slowest years for indie releases in recent memory. Who knows. Anyway, here is some stuff we've been listening to round these parts lately. Most of it isn't new, but we've posted some MP3s in case you haven't heard some of it and are interested in checking it out.

Lee Perry Arkology: I've never been an absolutely huge reggae fan, but I've maintained something of an interest in 60's and 70's reggae for quite a while, which inspired me to finally pick up Arkology, a 3 cd collection of the "best" of Lee Perry. Of course, spending just a short bit of time with these songs reveals the vast reach of Perry's influence on popular music in all forms, but his innovations in dub and the revolutionary way that he approached production can be most clearly heard and felt in hip hop and dance. But shit, even Ariel Pink seems to be heavily influenced by the guy, so I'm sure you can come up with a million more names to prove that quite a bit of the music we like could sound quite a bit different if Lee Perry had never been around. The MP3 below is his recording of The Heptones' "Sufferer's Time."


Ethiopiques Series: Ever wonder what Jabba the Hut's band in Return of the Jedi was influenced by? Well, some dork on here probably knows the real answer, but I'm going to pretend that they were influenced by 60's soulfunk from Ethiopia. We were inspired to check out the Ethiopiques series a few weeks ago when Ray from Castanets mentioned it in our interview, and we are quite glad we did. The French record label Buda Musique has put together this series of over 25 discs compiling Ethiopian soul and funk in the 60's and 70's, as well as a couple of discs of modern african electronic music. How the hell did Ethiopia have a funk scene that produced material to fill 25 plus discs, you ask? Well, Ethiopian capitol Addis Abbaba was one of Africa's most happening party towns during the reign of Emperor Haile Selassie in the 1960's and 1970's. This, combined with American students, aid workers and missionaries introducing western records to elites in Addis Abbaba, produced a very prolific scene of talented African musicians inspired by both western musicians like James Brown and the traditional Ethiopian folk music that they had been playing all of their lives. Take a listen to the MP3 below, from Ethiopiques Vol. 3. The vocalist is Tey Gedyeleshem, and the song is called "Alemayehu Eshete." You'll likely discover that this strange combination of soul, funk, african rhytms, and middle eastern influences is quite interesting and instantly enjoyable.


Ratatat Classics: I truly don't know how to describe Ratatat's new album, but it is shaping up to be one of my favorites of the year. Everyone is jumping all over the "Wildcat" single already (which happens to be one of my favorite tracks of the year), so I thought I might post the first track from the album, which has a slightly more subdued feel. Let the amazing melody and percussion grow on you a bit, as you start to see how everything fits together, and why Ratatat's music makes so much damn sense. The song is called "Montanita."


Flosstradamus "Overnight Star": I pretty much can't fucking stand mash ups. I've never really liked them (although a couple of those Pavement- Jay Z songs were pretty cool), and I never thought I would change my mind. This track alone hasn't converted me by any means, but Flosstradamus has probably created the best mash up I've ever heard. I'm not sure why I like it so much, but it might be because it combines Sigur Ros' "Staralfar" with Twista's "Overnight Celebrity," creating an amazing dance track that is truly ass shake worthy while still somehow maintaining much of the emotional power of the Sigur Ros track. Don't believe me? I don't blame you. But Flosstradamus has been spinning to packed houses in pretty much every club they've set foot in around the country this year, and there is a good reason for it. Give it a shot.


And has anyone else been dusting off some late 80's/ early 90's shit like Jesus Lizard, Melvins, Swirlies, Nirvana's Bleach and Jon Spencer Blues Explosion lately? Well I have, and I'm happy about it.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

these links don't work

1:29 AM  
Blogger stonedranger said...

they just worked for me, and downloaded quite fast as well. Give it another shot and let me know if it works.

1:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

it worked for me, too. i love you~

1:47 AM  
Blogger shil said...

definitely been listening to some swirlies lately. as well as some shellac and archers of loaf.

1:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

no, you are correct. this year sucked. booring!

im thinkin' arby's!

2:54 AM  
Anonymous m samantha m said...

a resounding YES to both Arkology and Ethiopiques series. something else interesting to throw out there:



8:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To say that I was dusting them off would be to say that I had put those great albums away.

9:12 AM  
Blogger kidko said...

I actually have been spinning Bleach and the Lizard lately. I guess it's been long enough.

Thanks for the Ethiopiques mention. I like this track enough to want to find more.

The only 2006 albums I listen to still are of the electronic variety like Umami's part ambient, part beats album Theme for Travel and CosmoD's cello-meets-software masterpiece Plantastic Joyage

9:34 AM  
Anonymous adub said...

It has never mattered, to me, if a bunch of new music comes out or not, good or bad. There are so many bands and albums of the past that I'm never bored, finding a gem or a rediscovering something someone told me to check out years ago and just got around to. Just takes a little digging and allmusic.com

10:10 AM  
Blogger Zak said...

Good choice on the Lee Perry. I'm a huge fan of roots reggae and dub from the 70s. If you dig that Arkology, definitely pick up the Blood and Fire re-issue of the Congos' Heart of the Congos album. That is Perry's masterstroke of production genius. It blew me away when I heard it back in the 90s and still am in awe of that sound.

King Tubby is rather amazing too and I prefer his stuff a little more. Very heavy on the reverb and echo, mainly instrumental tracks. Definitely a different style than Perry's. Blood and Fire has reissued just about everything by him.

That whole dub scene has so many gems...

It's amazing to hear what those guys in jamaica were doing with reel to reel, crappy boards and homemade echo machines, etc... sounds better than a lot of stuff does today.

As far as modern releases, I think the year is picking up now. I have been liking a few recent records so maybe this will turn out to be an ok year.

10:35 AM  
Blogger JS said...

have you ever listened to girl talk? it's like one big mega mashup...

11:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My Jesus Lizard stuff doesn't sit long enough to collect dust.

11:48 AM  
Blogger blixaboy said...

Ethiopian Funk. THanx for the turn on. You guys rule.

This year might be kind of lame, but at least we got The Liar's,Oneida, Barry Adamson, The Proposition soundtrack ,Scott Walker, My Education,Boris,Nomo, Barbara Morganstern, Ellen Allien and Apparrat, Jesu,Burial and Ableton Live 6(which I am beta testing right now). NOt to mention to the new DVD audio remaster of Psychocandy which actually feels like you are listening to that record for the first time.

That is a lot of good releases, but I had to dig to find half of that stuff. I think the general taste in music media is getting lamer and not telling people about the good stuff enough. Just my opinion.

anyone else gonna go see Scratch Acid at Emo's?

12:11 PM  
Blogger fuzzbuzz said...

Wishing and wanting to! Scratch Acid hurts! "STOP EATING MY BRAIN!"
Good reason to trek to Austin for sure.

12:39 PM  
Blogger fuzzbuzz said...

And because I'm kind....


12:42 PM  
Blogger Silence Productions said...

im thinkin' arby's!


2:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

vh1 classics, that's all you need.

2:39 PM  
Blogger stonedranger said...

yeah Zak, I'm also diggin on some Tubby lately too, and I would say that his work is certainly more extreme in its dub strangeness. But remember, Tubby was a student of Lee Perry, so you gotta give props to his teacher.

3:03 PM  
Blogger fuzzbuzz said...

If you've got some volume, whet your tastebuds:


3:12 PM  
Blogger Zak said...

Well, some dispute who taught who. Tubby technically was doing dubs before Perry. Depends on who you talk to or what you read and as Perry is still alive, he can can continue to say he started it all. They did one record together though, Blackboard Jungle, that is really good.

According to one thing I read Keith Hudson actually pre-dated both guys with his work, especially the Pick-a-Dub album in 74.

I would argue that Tubby started it all however. But it is all murky as when those remixes producers were doing turned into 'dub.'

Damn, now I need to break out my cds...

3:23 PM  
Anonymous lisa said...

I esp. love vols. 8 and 13 of the Ethiopiques series -- Swinging Addis and Ethiopian Groove. There's a track from vol 13 on the wild in the streets myspace player (shameless plug, yeah). My fave (and the most dance friendly IMHO) is 8, though.

also been craving some swirlies and (somewhat along those lines) furry things lately as well.

8:52 PM  
Anonymous Jason said...

I think King Tubby was the first. He was more of a sound guy working for Duke Reid and tinkering with equipment while Lee Perry was still doing the ska thing with the Upsetters.

9:52 PM  
Blogger mb said...

Glad to see more people are finding out about the Ethiopiques series. I play these records pretty often when I'm running sound (at Hailey's and elsewhere)

Just FYI, you got the artist & song title mixed up in your description.

Alèmayèhu Eshèté has his own volume in the series, no. 9. His and Mahmoud Ahmed's volumes are both amazing. I also suggest checking out no. 21, which is a bunch of solo piano recordings by Tsegue-Maryam Guebrou.

My favorite of the series, though is no. 14, Gétatchèw Mèkurya, "Negus Of Ethiopian Sax". I can't recommend it highly enough. I saw him play with the Ex in Amsterdam a couple of years ago, which was mind-blowing. He just finished a new record with them which should be out later this year.

10:47 PM  
Anonymous adub said...

shut up matt. you smell like cabbage.

10:52 PM  
Blogger stonedranger said...

hmmm... so what is the correct artist and song title? I was pretty sure I had it right since I doubled checked on CDNow, but maybe they fucked it up. Or maybe I fucked it up anyway.

12:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can I go anywhere without seeing Matt Barnhart correct people and flex how smart he is? Go speak "fake italian", dork.

8:26 AM  
Anonymous mb said...

Alèmayèhu Eshèté is the singer, "Tèy Gedyèlèshem" is the song.

10:33 AM  
Anonymous mc said...

Hey this Ethiopiques is some of the same type stuff that was the highlight of the lukewarm Jarmusch/Bill Murray indie-cred vehicle Broken Flowers, correct?

Assuming so, one contemporary (as in current) American-based group on that soundtrack and highly recommended is the similar sounding Dengue Fever, a killer live act that features (oddly enough) Senon Williams of the Radar Bros.


4:44 PM  
Blogger Joseph B. said...

I've heard a few great things this year, namely Thom Yorke's solo album and "Peregrine" from The Appleseed Cast. Hell, plus there's a new Mars Volta coming out this month. That's always cause for celebration.

10:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

mars volta kinda needs to take their guitars out of their asses and strap their balls back on

....oh, and then maybe go back to being At The Drive-in

3:00 AM  
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