Thursday, November 30, 2006

Borat's Music Picks

I laughed so hard during Borat The Movie that I was afraid I was doing internal damage. Here is his music choices, lifted word-for-word from Stereogum:

1. "Beat It" - Michael Jacksons
I a huge fanny of this new song by dancing negro, Michael Jacksons. We have many major exports in my country -first is potassium, second is apples and third is small boys to Michaels ranch. Why not? Is niiice!

2. "You Be My Wife" from Borat Musical Listenings....
This is romantic song that I wrote about a woman's in my moviefilm, whom I wanted to make romance inside off. This feature Belinda Bedekovic, our famous keytar player and was produced by Korki Buchek!!!

3. "Throw The Jew Down the Well" from Borat Musical Listenings for Make....
This is most popular children's song in Kazakhstan. It is not in my moviefilm, but was record for Kazak television in cowboy bar in Arizona, which in US and A. I have hear this song have upset some peoples - I think it because my guitar playing not so good. I sorry.

4. "Macarena"
We play this party song at my first wife funeral. Happy times.

5. "It's a Kind of Magic" - Queen
I like very much the lead singer - ladies man Frederick Mercury. It great shame that he die in that car crash. Many peoples say I looks like him, infacts, last month I come 7th in Almaty's annual 'who look most like Freddy Mercury' competition. This out of over 843,000 entrant!

6. "Leader of the Gang" - Garry Glitter
This one from convicted sex criminal Gareth Glitter. He very much admired in Kazakhstan and his music is also popular. Infact he second most popular sex criminal in Kazakhstan. Our most popular Urkin the Rapist who become big star after appearing in my moviefilm 'Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan'

7. "Elokeinu" on Album One Three Seven - Zohar
It is Jew music. You must listen to this, so you know what your enemy is think.

8. "Candle in the Wind" - Elton John
I very much like this song about crushed princess of Wales written by bald homosexual Elton John.

9. "Rock Me Amadeus" - Falco
Me and my producer Azamat Bagatov like listen to this.

10. "I Wanna Sex You Up" - Color Me Badd
This favourite of my 11 year old son, Bilak. His wife and childrens like it too.

11. "Holiday" - Madonna
I liking very much this new song by singing transvestite Madonna. He is very convincing, the only thing that gives him away is his big hands, and the bulge around his chram.
By the way, if you don't have a Christmas gift for me yet...Borat Musical Listenings...

Stephen Colbert vs. The Decemberists

So I've already blogged about The Decemberists' own green screen challenge but now Stephen Colbert is fighting back, accusing the band of riding his coat tails after Colbert filmed himself doing a lightsaber dance in front of a green screen and asked Report viewers to add their own footage. So Colbert's new challenge: Edit HIM into the Decemberists O Valencia! video.

Not to be outdone, The Decemberists have written Pitchfork to counter Colbert with "the very first 'Decemberists vs Stephen Colbert Guitar Solo Challenge".

Put down the pen, Colbert, and pick up the axe! Let's see what kind of a man you really are -- let's SHRED.
Oh, and Meloy & Co. challenge their fans to edit Colbert into their video, but with a twist.
That's right, we want you to help us defeat Stephen Colbert in our video! Show us how you would 'Mulch' him, take him down to the banks of the Ohio, put a cap in his Dockers.
I'm expecting great things to come of this.

UPDATE: Colbert accepts the counterchallenge.

Arcade Fire for RED

Yes, it's a commercial. But it's for a good cause! And it's Arcade Fire!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

And the Nominees Are...

File Under: The Best Albums of 2006

Happy Turkey Day!

It's that time of year for the unveiling of my 2006 Album of the Year nominees (winner to be announced on or around New Year's). I've decided, in the hopes that you will listen to my podcast (you should! it has song clips!), not to list the nominees in this post right away (I'll update it eventually) and just post the (brief) mp3 version of the announcement here for now. Hope you enjoy it!

MAOTY 2006 Nominees [mp3]

UPDATE: You asked for it, you got it...

The nominees for the 2006 MAOTY, in the not-quite-alphabetical order I chose when making the cover art collage posted below (with links, where available):

Belle and Sebastian - The Life Pursuit
Bonnie 'Prince' Billy - The Letting Go
Bob Dylan - Modern Times
The Decemberists - The Crane Wife
Figurines - Skeleton
The Long Winters - Putting the Days to Bed
The Mountain Goats - Get Lonely
My Brightest Diamond - Bring Me the Workhorse
Joanna Newsom - Ys
Shearwater - Palo Santo

Honorable Mentions: Art Brut - Bang Bang Rock 'N' Roll; Asobi Seksu - Citrus; Band of Horses - Everything All the Time; Current 93 - Black Ships Ate the Sky; Don Peris - Go When the Morning Shineth; The Great Depression - Preaching to the Fire; Grizzly Bear - Yellow House; Guster - Ganging Up on the Sun; Islands - Return to the Sea; Loose Fur - Born Again in the USA; Mogwai - Mr. Beast; Neil Young - Living with War; Sonic Youth - Rather Ripped; Thom Yorke - The Eraser; Yo La Tengo - I Am Not Afraid of You and I WIll Beat Your Ass

Turkey Award: The Flaming Lips - At War with the Mystics

* * *

Past Winners:
1993 Counting Crows - August and Everything After
1994 R.E.M. - Monster
1995 The Innocence Mission - Glow
1996 Dave Matthews Band - Crash
1997 U2 - Pop
1998 R.E.M. - Up
1999 John Linnell - State Songs
2000 Radiohead - Kid A
2001 Bjork - Vespertine
2002 Wilco - Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
2003 Bonnie 'Prince' Billy - Master and Everyone
2004 Wilco - A Ghost is Born
2005 Sufjan Stevens - Illinois

* * *

UPDATE 2: The final rankings, Nos. 10-4.

Monday, November 20, 2006

2006 Album of the Year 'Podcast'

UPDATE: Here are the nominees and here is the podcast [mp3].

UPDATE 2: The Top 10, Nos. 10-4 and Nos. 3-1

So it's customary for me to announce my Album of the Year nominees on Thanksgiving Day. Last year, for the first time, it wasn't just a list but a short semi-podcast. Well, I've done that again this time around and, in fact, I just wrapped it up. I crammed it all into just under seven and a half minutes of audio and I think it sounds pretty darn good. A few glitches here and there. I had intended the nominees to be in alphabetical order but I screwed that up and also I forgot to explain the motivation behind the Turkey Award (worst album of the year by a respectable or formerly respectable artist). But pretty good for an amateur with a crappy USB mic and Garageband.

Jen gets first listen when she gets home tonight. But if any of you actually read my blog and want a sneak peek before Thursday, E-mail me and I'll consider forwarding it to you on two conditions: 1) You hold your comments until Thursday and 2) You do actually come here and comment on it.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Joanna Newsom - Ys

Joanna Newsom's Ys is a five-song LP without a track under seven minutes (the longest, Only Skin, is 16:53). They each sound like an original fairy tale set to music by the inhabitants of an asylum. I see Newsom in a paper gown, drooling on herself most of the day, but then suddenly waking and putting on brilliant puppet shows for the night watchmen.

I don't know how to pronounce the title of this album and I have quite a bit of navigation through the uncharted waters of these songs ahead of me. And they demand time. But I plan on giving Ys what it deserves, Jen would argue because she sounds like Bjork, but while I definitely hear that, this has something all its own. What that is, I'm not entirely sure. I just know that I like it. Released: November 14, 2006. YSSIREE.

Joanna Newsom - Emily [mp3].

One Love, One Bank

It happens all the time that I see something, am amused by it, and then realize much later that I should have blogged it. By which time, it's ancient in the blog world and I feel silly. But if you, my loyal readers, haven't seen it, then it's new to you, right?

So, with apologies to those of you who have seen it, here's some poor fucker appropriating U2's One to show his love of banking. Not that U2 doesn't deserve it.

P.S. In the same spirit of this post, there was a video I saw at Idolator today that I decided not to post. But, you know, just in case.


"I may not have the type of voice you like, but I can sing. You can't take that away from me, 'cause singing is a gift from God, and when people say I can't sing, it's kind of like insulting God."

- Fergie tells Vibe magazine
Records I Buy Without Further Comment #1 (via perez)

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Out of TIME

Perhaps someday I will be an old man, with fifteen grandchildren, and I'll be deaf and mellow and completely oblivious to rock 'n' roll lists penned by hack journalists who wipe their asses with art just to sell magazines.

But I'm not there yet, so the TIME 100 list gives me chest-ripping agida. In a world full of asinine, fatuous tripe, this is worthy of special recognition.

That Hole's Live Through This made their best of the '90s portion is easy to shrug off. There will always be shite albums on these kind of lists. But what I can't accept - as Jen can attest based on our long conversation about this last night - are the picks from the current decade.

First, the rational ones.


Kanye West - The College Dropout
Radiohead - Kid A
Outkast - Stankonia
PJ Harvey - Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea
Eminem - The Marshall Mathers LP
These work well enough. Kid A was my album of the year for 2000; The Marshall Mathers LP is genius, as is SFTC,SFTS; Outkast and Kanye aren't my bag as much, but they're decent choices nonetheless.

But then come the unacceptable choices, picks so awful that I refuse to believe they're only the result of bad taste or faulty assumptions.

Hank Williams - The Essential Hank Williams Collection
Sam Cooke - Portrait Of A Legend 1951-1964
Elvis Presley - Elvis: 30 No. 1 Hits
Muddy Waters - The Anthology, 1947-1972
These selections, to me, are a conscious slap in the face to a whole generation of music fans. All of the above artists are dead, and, what's more, they've all been dead for at least 23 years. And Hank's been gone for more than half a century. Yet these "albums" make up slightly less than half of TIME's 2000s list.

Do I like these four guys? Absolutely (especially Sam and Hank). But do posthumous compilations of decades-old hits deserve to rank among the best albums of the 21st century? If your answer to that is yes, then you, my friend, are an idiot.


Review of a new album by a living artist coming later tonight or tomorrow.

Monday, November 13, 2006

The Air Guitar T-Shirt?

This is making the rounds and has been linked to by mainstream media. Based solely on this suspicious-looking video, I'm calling foul. But if it's real, you know what to get me for Christmas.

Jay Bennett - The Magnificent Defeat

Jay Bennett is mostly famous for getting fired from Wilco by Jeff Tweedy in the documentary I Am Trying to Break Your Heart. Bennett's off-camera firing provides a nice segue into the glorious third act of the film where, free of both Bennett and their former record label, Wilco can release Yankee Hotel Foxtrot -- hailed in the film as the most amazing album ever.

Of course, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot is not the most amazing album ever, but it's pretty damn close.

And what differentiates Yankee Hotel Foxtrot from Wilco's less accessible (and, ultimately, less successful) followup is the pop influence of Jay Bennett.

On his own for his third album, The Magnificent Defeat, Jay is still playing the part of experimenting multi-instrumentalist. This means an album with a tremendous depth and breadth of sounds. From the first discordant look-I-can-still-sound-like-art-rock-Wilco track to the ditty stuffed near the end that sounds like an Irish drinking song, and all the 60's vocals and audio filters in between, Jay is playing with his sound. Like he's trying to show he can do anything.

But, of course, he can't. He does, however, have some core competencies and that leads to a couple of little gems on this album. Whenever his singing is more restrained and held back in his throat, like a guy who's reluctant to speak about such personal matters, the songs are more successful. "The Palace at 4 AM" (clearly, it's a concept he's obsessed with, as his first solo album was titled "The Palace at 4 AM, Part I") mixes his gravely murmuring with layered bubblegum elements, which somehow ends up being heartbreakingly appealing. Later "Survey the Damage" does more with the same vocal stylings and wailing guitars.

The rockers fall apart not in construction, but in Jay's voice. There's an insincerity that comes across.

But I like this album. It's interesting. Maybe it's interesting because I find Jay such an interesting character in the musical universe. He was there for Wilco's best album, but Jeff Tweedy gets all the credit. Back when the Palace at 4 AM Part I was released, Pitchfork wrote a review of it which was (much like this one) drenched with Wilco comparisons. It's hard to separate the two. The last line of that review touched on Wilco's formation, brought about when Tweedy and Jay Farrar broke up Uncle Tupelo with their differences:

Bennett's future may not be you-gotta-wear-shades bright, but we probably shouldn't write him off just yet. Keep in mind that nobody thought Tweedy was the talented Tupelo.
I believe Jay has a sublime album in him, yet. He just needs to focus on being Jay, not What-Jay-Could-Be. And maybe that's what makes Jay's music so interesting to me -- seeing if he can do it. Released: September 26, 2006. MULTI-INSTRUMENTALED.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Re-animating The Decemberists

Speaking of quality filmmaking, The Decemberists and mtvU are sponsoring a contest to let fans put the finishing touches on Meloy & Co.'s upcoming video for O Valencia! (a song I have previously endorsed on this blog). They've filmed the band playing in front of a green screen and wannabe directors need only add a background. This is so Web 2.0 I can barely control myself.

A link to the raw footage is below - maybe it'll inspire you.

The Decemberists - O Valencia! (raw) [mov]

Adolph's Beautiful America

The best music documentary that Geoff G. has ever made. Enjoy!

(For more on Adolph Hofner and Mr. G's filmmaking oeuvre, click here. And download Julida Polka, because it's freaking great - and in Czech [iTunes]!)

Friday, November 10, 2006

Saturday, November 04, 2006

MTV Europe Doesn't Like Black People

If Kanye doesn't win, no one does.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

R.E.M. - When the Light is Mine

Growing up, the three most magical letters in the English alphabet were r, e and m. The night before an R.E.M. release was like Christmas Eve. The day I bought Monster - which I love, even if you don't - is etched into my memory forever. I remember sitting in math class about to lose my mind, the drive to the store, not finding it (because who expected a bright orange album cover?) and the excitement of having all my expectations thrown in my face, to delicious result.

There are eight million stories I have about the boys from Athens - the Burger King crown incident and other run-ins I've had with the band, including my trip to Georgia; the fans I've met across this country and across Europe; the shows I've seen. Even my first phone conversation with fellow blogger Geoff G. - as two soon-to-be-freshmen speaking to their future college roomate - went from awkward to the spark of a lifelong friendship when we both had the same answer for "Who's your favorite band?"

My interest in R.E.M. has waned these past few years, as their last two releases have left much to be desired, to say the least. But when I put old R.E.M. records on (I have a nice little collection left over from when I would scour every flea market I could find for them), the magic rushes right back and I'm fifteen again.

Same goes for this DVD.

During the period this DVD covers, I was between 4 and 9 years old - and many of these music videos, live performances and interviews, etc. I'll be seeing for the first time (I just put it on as I started to write this, it being a Halloween gift from Jen, who kicks ass!). But in high school I bought up their entire back catalogue - and these songs make up a very significant portion of the soundtrack of my young adulthood. And, along with the Beatles records my father played when I was a kid, these songs make up the foundation of what I love in music - and, to a great extent, what I look for in every new band I discover. Released: September 12, 2006. MAGIC.