music clip of the day

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Month: December, 2010

Saturday, 1/1/11

Happy New Year!

Hearing her talk about music, as I discovered yesterday during WKCR-FM’s Bach Festival (where she played deejay for a couple hours), is nearly as enthralling as hearing her play.

Bach, Goldberg Variations (excerpt)/Simone Dinnerstein, piano (Bach & Friends, 2010)

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lagniappe

new year’s resolution

To try to bring the excitement that Roscoe, my son Luke’s dog (who’s staying with us over Christmas break), brings to opening the front door and walking outside—as if, each time, it’s a new world (which, of course, it is).


Friday, 12/31/10

Tonight, at a club on Chicago’s west side (The Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western), New Orleans dance music reigns.

Big Freedia & The Queen Divas

“Double It” (with Galactic), live, San Francisco, 2010

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“Azz Everywhere,” live, Portland (Oregon), 2010

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TV show (Last Call with Carson Daly), 9/28/10

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(Yo, Rachael—thanks for the tip!)

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lagniappe

[I]nside New Orleans, the genius of sissy bounce is how perfectly mainstream it is; in the world beyond, the genius of sissy bounce is how incredibly alternative it is.

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The first of Freedia’s three successive New York gigs in May began with a preshow bounce dance class, which should give you some idea of how far from home Freedia and [Freedia’s D.J. and de facto manager Rusty] Lazer were. But “every night it got better,” Freedia said. “They was all on the Internet, posting up the pictures, like ‘If you missed last night, OMG, you missed a party.’ Each night it built, and the last night” — at a traveling dusk-to-dawn festival known as Hoodstock, held on this occasion in a raw space in the Bed-Stuy neighborhood of Brooklyn — “it was just unbelievable. Five hundred people in there. Everybody was dripping wet. The walls was dripping wet.”

Any doubt that that space, like any space in which Freedia performs, quickly belonged to the women in the crowd may be dispelled by a story Lazer laughingly told about a blog post he’d seen the day after their Hoodstock set. It consisted of two photos taken at the show, and their captions: in the first, a group of women were horizontally p-popping in what amounted to a flesh pile. “To the men,” the caption beneath it read, “we don’t need you.” The second photo depicted a woman at the same show sitting on the floor while a man prone in front of her performed a sexual act that might traditionally be described as submissive. “But we like having you around,” the caption beneath that one read.

What strikes Lazer most about the dynamic at these shows, though, is not how unexpected it is but how familiar. Long before he started D.J.-ing, he was a drummer in a series of rock bands; he is old enough to have come of age in the latter days of punk. And when he started playing shows with Freedia almost two years ago — when he started witnessing, over and over again, a same-sex group taking over the dance floor in order to perform an ecstatic act of physical aggression that is both exceptionally demanding and socially unacceptable in other contexts, at the behest of music that’s ritualized and played at seemingly impossible tempos — it all began to remind him of something.

“It’s as if punk had been reinvented for women,” he said, smiling. “I remember going to punk shows when I was 13, slam-dancing, stage-diving. It was a kind of reckless abandon, something you really couldn’t stop yourself from doing. If the girls weren’t just outright afraid of being in there, there was somebody literally shoving them out of the way. Now it’s exactly what was happening when I was young, but in reverse: the girls literally push the dudes right out of the middle. It’s just pure empowerment, physical aggression that’s not spiteful or vicious. I think it’s no accident that the slang term for a gay kid in New Orleans is ‘punk.’ It’s pretty rewarding.”

—Jonathan Dee, “Sissy Bounce, New Orleans’s Gender-Bending Rap,” New York Times Magazine, 7/22/10

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reading table

even the stone-hard camphor tree
devoured
by insects

—Kobayashi Issa, 1822 (trans. David G. Lanoue)

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radio: last call

Ten straight days of Bach, on WKCR-FM, conclude tonight at midnight.

Thursday, 12/30/10

When people hear I’m a criminal defense lawyer, they often ask: “How come there aren’t more songs about serial killers?”

Eddie Noack, “Psycho,” 1968

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lagniappe

mail

In response to yesterday’s post, a reader writes:

Ever wonder what it would be like if Neil Young circa 1971 Heart of Gold and Bruce Springsteen circa his 1975 Time magazine cover performed “Whip My Hair”?

Here’s your answer.

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Wednesday, 12/29/10

The other night, driving home from a family gathering with my (19-year-old) son Luke (we left early to accommodate his hectic social calendar), this jumped out of the radio.

Willow Smith, “Whip My Hair,” 2010

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lagniappe

musical thoughts

A few years ago Bill Gates was boasting that we’ll soon have sensors which will turn on the music that we like . . . when we walk into a room. How boring! The hell with our preexisting likes . . . .

Denis Dutton (February 9, 1944-December 28, 2010), founder and editor of Arts & Letters Daily (long my home page)

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Denis Dutton, The Colbert Report (1/28/09)

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radio

Worn out by the holidays? I know of no better tonic for post-Christmas, pre-New Year’s malaise than WKCR-FM’s Bach Festival, which runs until midnight Friday.

Tuesday, 12/28/10

I’ve got a song for you to listen to . . .

—my (23-year-old) son Alex

The Pains of Being Pure At Heart, “Say No To Love” (2010)

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More? Here. And here.

Monday, 12/27/10

Of beauty you cannot have too much.

Frederic Chopin, Ballade No. 1 in G minor, Op. 23 (1835-36)

Take 1: Vladimir Horowitz, live, New York (Carnegie Hall)

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Take 2: Krystian Zimerman, live

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Take 3: Claudio Arrau

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Take 4: Alfred Cortot

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Take 5: Sviatoslav Richter, live (Kiev)

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More Chopin? Here. And here. And here.

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lagniappe

musical thoughts

[T]he things we feel in life are not experienced in the form of ideas, and so their translation into literature, an intellectual process, may give an account of them, explain them, analyse them, but cannot recreate them as music does, its sounds seeming to take on the inflections of our being, to reproduce that inner, extreme point of sensation which is that thing that causes us the specific ecstasy we feel from time to time and which, when we say ‘What a beautiful day! What beautiful sunshine!’, is not conveyed at all to our neighbour, in whom the same sun and the same weather set off quite different vibrations.

—Marcel Proust, The Prisoner (1925) (trans. Carol Clark [2002])

Sunday, 12/26/10

Music has always been like medicine to me.

—Aaron Neville

Aaron Neville (with Allen Toussaint, piano), “I Know I’ve Been Changed” (excerpt), “I Done Made Up My Mind” (excerpt), 2010

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Saturday, 12/25/10

Merry Christmas!

Bessie Smith (with Joe Smith, cornet; Charlie Green, trombone; Fletcher Henderson, piano), “At the Christmas Ball” (1925)

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Lowell Fulson, “Lonesome Christmas (I & II)” (1950)

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Sonny Boy Williamson, “Sonny Boy’s Christmas Blues” (1951)

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lagniappe

radio: all Bach, all the time

WKCR-FM (broadcasting from Columbia University) is currently in the midst of their annual Bach Festival, which runs through the end of the year.

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reading table

Barn’s burnt down—
now
I can see the moon.

—Mitzuta Masahide (trans. Lucien Stryk and Takashi Ikemoto), 1657-1723

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going forward

I won’t be here every day; but I’ll be here often.

Saturday, 12/18/10

Captain Beefheart (AKA Don Van Vliet), January 5, 1941December 17, 2010

replay: a clip too good for just one day

For some people, going their own way seems to be the only way they could possibly go.

Captain Beefheart (AKA Don Van Vliet)

The Artist Formerly Known As Captain Beefheart (BBC Documentary, 1997)

Part 1

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Part 2

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Part 3

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Part 4

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Part 5

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Part 6

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lagniappe

Don’t you think that somebody like Stravinsky . . . it would annoy him if somebody bent a note the wrong way?

—Captain Beefheart

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About the seventh or eighth time [I listened to Trout Mask Replica], I thought it was the greatest album ever made—and I still do.

—Matt Groening

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art beat

Paintings by Don Van Vliet

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(Originally posted 3/6/10.)

Having posted this, I’m going to return to the break I mentioned the other day—back soon.

Thursday, 12/16/10

It’s a remix world.

Gil Scott-Heron, “New York Is Killing Me” (2010), Chris Cunningham remix

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lagniappe

Here’s the original track, followed by a couple more remixes.

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With Nas

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With Mos Def

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musical thoughts

In the dark times, will there also be singing? Yes, there will be singing. About the dark times.

—Bertolt Brecht

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Want more of Gil Scott-Heron? Here and here.

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taking a break

I’m going to take a little break (my first since July)—back soon.

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