Category Archives: Music

Music Overdose: Atmosphere to UNKLE

It’s another edition of Music OD, and this time instead of waiting a few months, I’m dropping this in just one. Let’s  see what I’ve blasting from my headphones this month:

Atmosphere – The Family Sign: I must say, the opening two tracks are suicide-level depressing. The piano and guitar work (the work of Erick Anderson and Nate Collins, respectively) is on point throughout though, especially on “Became” which connects to Slug’s wintry narrative. His flow on that song is on par with “Lovelife” from God Loves Ugly.  By the time acoustic guitar on “Who I’ll Never Be” comes up, it becomes apparent that the solo guitar on “Guarantees” from the previous album has stepped up quite a bit. Just keep to those types of songs on this one; the others sound like failed Ant beats or feckless indie rock. Read the rest of this entry

Music Overdose: Aloe Blacc to Tricky

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these, and with the ridiculous amount of albums I’ve grabbed  in the past few months, I think it’s time to OD on some aural goodness. Let’s begin, shall we?

Aloe Blacc – Good Things: Some of you may have heard some of Mr. Blacc’s work as the title for HBO’s How to Live In America, and after hearing his amazing cover of  The Velvet Underground’s “Femme Fatale”, I grabbed the rest of the album, and it is a damn good one hands down. John Legend fans should def. check this out, it’s soul music done right. Read the rest of this entry

Precognition to Femme Fatale

Lately I’ve been reading  Feeling the Future, a paper from Dr. Daryl Bem from Cornell University that tries to put evidence for psychic precognitive abilities in people. MSNBC’s Cosmic Log has a pretty good story on it with a lot of links to other articles at the bottom of  it.  I’m gonna keep my eye on this story.

While I’m still on crazy sci-fi stuff happening in the real world, CERN has captured antimatter atoms. Let that one sink in your head for a bit. We made ANTIMATTER (OK, so they were only antihydrogen atoms and they don’t last very long, but still).

Also, from Warren Ellis’ blog: DIY exotic weapons. Now you can make that 9mm SMG you’ve always wanted using plumbing pipes! Seriously, this is becoming a Fallout 3 world day by day.

For all you alternate history heads: Mandela’s historic election victory almost didn’t happen because of hacking. Imagine a story that could be developed from that angle: a cyberwar in South Africa , sprinkled with apartheid and all the turmoil that was happening during that time.

To cap it off, here’s a great cover of the Velvet Underground’s “Femme Fatale” by Aloe Blacc:

Top Five Halloween Party Songs

Seeing as my favorite holiday is now upon us,  I’ve compiled a list of Halloween-themed songs for any party. Without further ado, here’s my Top Five Halloween Party Songs:

Nosferatu (Ft. Mr. Lif) -DJ Krush – Now while most hip-hop Halloween songs are somewhere between the darkness of Biggie’s “Suicidal Thoughts” and the silliness of the Fat Boys’  “Are You Ready for Freddy?”, this song by the turntablist samurai DJ Krush is actually a good mix of sick beats with a nice flow from ex-Jukie Mr. Lif. It’s cool to hear Lif spit about something other than politics, and still be able to hit you with lines like “numbers crunch your bone well”.

Bela Lugosi’s Dead – Bauhaus – If you want to see just how cool Peter Murphy is, look no further than the above performance of the song at Coachella 2005. The song itself  is a goth rock masterpiece, and would definitely fit any party that has The Hunger playing in the background.  Another cool version occurred when he played the song along with Trent Reznor and TV on the Radio backing him up.

Red Right Hand – Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – Cave is no stranger to making spooky music when he’s with the Bad Seeds, and this song is a pretty good example of how dark it can get when he’s really getting into it. Like the Bauhaus song it’s been used in movie work, showing up in all the Scream movies and the first Hellboy.

Dracula – Gorillaz – If you’re like me who’s seen the “Clint Eastwood” video 5 million times, you know that the first Gorillaz album had a serious horror movie vibe to it. With a song that has lines like  “Everybody party time/
Some of us will never sleep again”, you know it’s about being a laid back, cool vamp. That or it’s about drugs.

Thriller – Michael Jackson – This one is pretty much a no brainer. I could go on about the amount of work John Landis did to make the video into what is consistently considered one of the best of all time. I could say it’s a bit more poignant now that Jackson’s gone, but honestly, I’m gonna let Dave Chappelle say everything I want to say:

Honorable Mentions:

Werewolf Bar Mitzvah – Tracey Morgan via 30 Rock

Dead Man’s Party – Oingo Boingo

Pet Sematary – The Ramones

Halloween – The Misfits

Wolf Like Me – TV on the Radio

Dawn of the Dead – Does It Offend You, Yeah?

Monster (Ft. Jay-Z, Rick Ross, Nicki Minaj, and Bon Iver) – Kanye West

Superstition – Stevie Wonder

So Haunted – Cut Copy

Music Overdose: Broken Social Scene to The Roots

Alright so, It’s another audio onslaught of the latest albums I’ve gotten to see if they make it to my library. For your review we have albums from a bunch of acts. Let’s start, shall we?

Broken Social SceneForgiveness Rock Record: I’m starting to think that there are times that BSS needs to go back to their more low-key instrumental  roots. The opener, “World Sick”, is a good example: it really can do without Kevin Drew’s vocals on it. Thing is, not even Emily Haine’s vocals on “Sentimental Xs”  saves the fact that most of the songs on this album sound like bloated hippie messes to me. Read the rest of this entry

Lost Mention: Res’ How I Do

In the last couple of months since I did my End of the Decade Edition of Top Fives, I’ve been going through my media library and finding things that might have slipped through the cracks in the whole malaise of writing them. This became very apparent to me when I added a couple of songs to my mp3 player from the album How I Do, by Res.

Released in June of 2001, this album epitomized, maybe even helped craft, my love for artists who take great experimental leaps in their work. The album has tried and true hip-hop,jazz, and soul influences that you would expect in an album that would want to classified as R&B, but the inclusion of alt-rock, psychedelia,folk, and reggae influences among others is what makes this album great.  The best part of this is, of course, is that this was her first album, so that she swung for the fences as hard as she did was impressive. Read the rest of this entry

From 3030 to Lazerfaces: Sci-Fi’s Influence on Hip Hop

To continue on my unofficial “things that people don’t associate with science fiction” series of articles, I have decided that it’s about time I wrote on the effect science fiction has had on hip-hop. Now, there are a lot of differences between the music of  The Notorious BIG with the writings of Isaac Asimov, but that doesn’t mean it can’t have some sort of overlap. Both genres have a thing for pointing out sociopolitical undertones via a narrative, be it through the lens of a robot on a generational ship or a crack dealer through his Pyrex. Both have larger than life characters that have to deal with “the struggle,” whether it’s an intergalactic war or the five-o. For my examples, I’ll present two different artists who have used SF elements: producer Dan “The Automator” Nakamura and rapper/producer Jaime Meline, also known as El-P.

The idea of a connection between a part of black culture and sci-fi in music is not a new one. Read the rest of this entry

On the Subject of the Twelfth Album

I am a huge fan of alternate histories, whether massive or minuscule in its scope. Most people turn to Harry Turtledove, and with good reason, but other people have done interesting takes with the concept. Take Stephen Baxter‘s short story  The Twelfth Album.

The story starts with two dock workers stumbling onto a mysterious black album with the word God written on the lower left hand corner. In it was a shocker: An album by the Beatles from an universe where they made one more album after Abbey Road. The songs in the album are (in our universe) ones from their solo albums, so some of the titles sound familiar, but the way they were arranged  are definitely something different. Take into account the last track on this incredibly peculiar album, in  Baxter’s words ( thanks to user  Necanthrope from  everything2):

This would be the the ultimate track–the twelfth track on the twelfth album.

The last new Beatles song we would ever hear.

Because, of course, by now we both believed.

It was recognizable from the first, faded-in, descending piano chords. But then the vocals opened–and it was Lennon.

“It’s ‘Maybe I’m Amazed,'”, I said, awed. “Mcartney’s greatest post-Beatles song–”

“Just listen to it,” said Lightoller. “He gave it to Lennon. Listen to it.”

It didn’t sound like the version from our world, which {McCartney], battered and bruised from the breakup, recorded in his kitchen.

Lennon’s raw, majestic voice wrenched at the melody, while McCartney’s melodic bass, Starr’s powerful drumming, and Harrison’s wailing guitar drove through the song’s complex, compulsive chromatic structure. And then a long coda opened up, underpinned by clean, thrusting bass, obviously scored by George Martin.

At last the coda wound down to a final, almost whispered lament by Lennon, a final descending chord sequence, a last trickle of piano notes, as if the song itself couldn’t bear to finish.

The stylus hissed briefly, reached for the run-off groove, and lifted.

That is pretty powerful, at least to me, growing up watching the Anthology documentary and knowing all the turmoil the band was going to at that point in history. As it stands, some people aren’t fans of the story, but opinions are like..well, you know. I want to get my hands on the story myself to get the whole deal. Oddly enough, people have taken this idea and run with it. This guy here might have taken it a  little too far, but I do want to see if he gets a cease and desist from EMI. Hey, it happened to Danger Mouse, right?

As a side note, I wonder if Kieron Gillen has ever wondered about tackling the Beatles for his Phonogram stuff, but that’s another thing altogether.