Wednesday, January 31, 2007

S.P. News/Industry Wind Chill

Sordid Puppy, in a gesture befitting of his reputation, steps out to meet -- and amaze -- his adoring fans.

S.P. is not going to fib -- he was enjoying the tropical lifestyle afforded us all by weak fourth-quarter '06 coke rap album sales. However, with the arrival of snow and cold and winter throughout the U.S.F.M.T., I'm genuinely pleased with the return to seasonal normalcy. Worrisome were projections of the 007 as the hottest year ever, and 75 degree weather in December doesn't bode well. I apologize for the dearth of updates as of late, but my coat of (allegedly) 100% faux fur had been stunted in its proliferation by the warm weather, and is only now in full effect.

If you don't care about Stones Throw Records, then you probably don't care much for S.P. News, but, then, if you don't like Stones Throw Records and don't like S.P. News then you probably don't like fun. Here's all of Chrome Children Vol. 2, available as a free download on Stones Throw's website. While you're on the site, buy Chrome Children Vol. 1 if you don't already have it, because it's a damn good album. Just forego the biggie-size option next time you're at your favorite fast food eatery. Music is better for you than high fructose corn syrup.

S.P.'s been bumpin that (DJ) Greyboy as of late; he's a guy who, like, makes ill beats and sometimes lets rappers -- who, let's be serious, are predominantly douchebags at this point -- spit over them. Fortunately, the tracks tend to dominate.

I'm also willing to listen to John Legend occasionally, but I don't like to admit it, save when cloaked by the anonymity that FMT provides. Here's "P.D.A. (We Just Don't Care)." Shut up and impress a girl with it.

I've been thinking a lot about all the effery that was made of the DJ Drama/Don Cannon RIAA shakedown fiasco that occurred a lil while ago (millenia in hip-hop bloggart time). The bloggartz seem to be missing the point: the RIAA is bugging the fuck out because no one's buying rap records any more and they're scrambling for an explanation/solution. They've been picking up illegal downloaders for a while now, and it's not that surprising that mixtape DJs came up in discussion as to who to go after next. I agree that the way Fox News handled the story was on some straight racist/classist/fuckingasshole shit, but I can't believe that no one saw this coming. People aren't buying albums any more -- particularly not people who spend all their time downloading the latest, illest leaked track off so and so's hot new record -- and the hip-hop industry is dying. S.P. predicts that pretty soon, the major department stores like Walmart and Target, not to mention the chain bookstores like Border's and B&N, will shrink their music sections significantly and eventually eliminate rap from their inventories altogether. These places care about only one thing: the success of their corporation, their Christmas bonuses, and the happiness of their shareholders, and they could give a fuck if some rappers can't buy the newest Escalade. Repeat: they do not give a fuck about how you feel about the Dedication series or how cool DJ Drama is.

FMT's rival bloggartz will probably respond that real music fans don't shop at stores like the ones mentioned above, that I don't understand how the rap industry works and that I should eff off with my DJ Greyboy and my Chrome Children. The fact is, though, that the hundreds of millions that the powers that be over at the major labels (should be) make(ing) at big chain stores are the same ones that fund Styles P's (nonexistent) music videos. In the late '90s and early '00s, peripheral members of Bad Boy, Ruff Ryders, Cash Money and No Limit Records were going platinum, and the big stars were selling spectacular units. Granted, a great deal of the music that fueled this explosion was mainstream pop-rap that lacked depth or longevity, but the fact that RAP was POPULAR widened the shelf space for the genre at Best Buy and KMart and wherever and thus opened the door for cats that were actually worth listening to. Only a small handful of rapping artists sold well last year, and with less demand comes less supply -- the hip-hop industry has dwindled and will only continue to do so, unless rappers start making great pop records that 15 year olds devour and purists shake their heads at. Whatever happened to the days of your favorite MC dropping one bouncy megahit to sell the album to teenyboppers and then filling (most of) the rest of the record with the shit that you really wanted to hear? Apparently, the music industry in general isn't struggling, and fucking High School Musical sold something like 4 million copies last year and I worry that, in a couple years, it's only records like that, My Chemical Romance, and maybe the latest Tony Bennett joint, that will be sitting on store shelves, let alone moving off of them.

This bozo -- and I call him a bozo because he writes things like "cultural sea change" -- points out that rap album sales dropped off by twenty percent, which is a spectacular amount, but rap lost yet again because New Age experienced an even worse year. All the hip-hop bloggartz have been in a frenzy about all of this, but they seem to fail to understand that their relevance, and indeed their occupations, are in jeopardy, that if no one cares to buy the Lupe Fiasco album then they certainly don't care about how they feel about it.

Finally, Disco D died, and that really blows. "Ski Mask Way" is an amazing song. The hip-hop community may miss him, but it probably didn't deserve him. R.I.P.

FMT up.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Monday, January 22, 2007

Get the Fuck Off the Commode

Rage Against the Machine are getting back together...if for only one show. Well, you might say, who gives a poop? Well we do. I read a couple things things on blogs this morning that were like "oh Rage is getting back together to play a show, they were kinda good but we're afraid to risk cred with people who don't like rap and loud guitars and admit that they were pretty much a dynamo of spleen busting music." I would link to these things but blogger is a big fucking idiot who won't let me do that on my Mac without typing the code in.

I remember distinctly walking down the hall in middle school, listening to the radio on my walkman because I had a skin disease and my peers often yelled derogatory remarks in my direction. When the radio disc jockeys would play the soft music, the remarks wouldn't be drowned out, and I would cry a large single tear that took longer than usual to run down my face because of the adhesive properties that my skin disease lended to my face. When Nirvana and Offspring would come on, I would be happier because I would hear plaid shirts instead of insults that hated my soul. Nothing compared to the moment when I first heard Rage. I was walking to the wing of the school where the science and math classes were (read: nerdspace) and I was walking down a ramp that was installed for those kids whose legs were run over by trucks when they were little. I used the ramp because I had a particularly precocious case of Osgood Slaughter's disease so my knees were already giving out on me. So I was walking down that ramp and "Bombtrack" came on. I thought for sure one of my vital organs had failed (I was was quite a hypocondriac and really wasn't equipped to handle this kind of excitement). When I woke up in the nurse's office and she called me a "little pussy," I was galvanized and inspired. I still cried, but the tear was smaller, for I needed to hear that shit again.

I didn't know what the song was until it came on the radio again, and I summoned all my powers of homeostasis not to pass out from the excitement. The band sounded like the name of something cool, and I went to the local record shoppe to purchase the record with the co-pay that I withheld the pharmacist the previous day, telling them that my mother would take care of it the next time she was in. The album that I bought had a picture of a self-immolating monk on its cover. I thought this was a charming parlor trick, until years later, when I found out the monk was doing that because the Zapatistas were being oppressed in Mexico. I listened to the album over and over again. I had also recently discovered the rap music w/o the guitars and sons of revolutionaries, and I liked how the Rage guy yelled about how I was going to "Boin, Boin" me on "Bombtrack" I thought he was speaking french or something. Again, years later I found out that this was more about immolation. I bought a Rage T-Shirt and wore it to school. One of my teachers noticed the Molotov cocktail on the back and asked me about it. He was one of those cool young teachers who seem like the apotheosis of humanity when you are in middle school, and he told me what the picture was. I thought it looked like a sunset of something. He told me it was something that was made so that explosions achieve political ends. He asked me if I knew who Noam Chomsky was, and I said "bless you."

By the time Evil Empire came out, I was already a seasoned RATM fan. My skin disease had cleared up somewhat, and I had talked to a girl. She worked at the post office and she was at least 35, but I figured that was like, extra points or something. So I had gained confidence and when the jocks and cool guys started to listen to Rage I acted all uppity and asked them if they knew who Noam Chomsky was. Sometimes they did, which was kind of humiliating. In 1997 Rage went on tour with the Wu-Tang clan. To me, this was like the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus teaming up to do Wrestlemania XVLXMI. Unfortunately about a third of Wu-Tang showed up for the first couple shows of the tour, and then Zach de la Rocha broke his ankle or something when he jumped across the stage and landed on a speaker. The rest of the tour ended and they never made it to my neck of the woods, which caused my skin problems to relapse.

The Battle of Los Angeles came out, and that covers album, and then Rage broke up. At this point, I had discovered Joy Division and Sonic Youth, and so I didn't really care that much about Rage anymore, because I basically thought that big guitars meant the same as big phallus. Zach started working on his solo album, which he has been working on for 348 years now with zero results, and Chris Cornell joined the rest of the band and came up with a terrible new name. This band sucked, but I think I still bought the record, because I had begun to feel nostalgic for those bands that I discovered in middle school that helped me get though my various heath problems and pariah status. Listening to Rage now, I realize that Zach was a good rapper, even though I now know what he's talking about. Morello made some great rap beats with his guitar and the drummer helped him with that. I hope they get back together and Chris Cornell becomes a hairdresser so that they can make another album. It can be called Barack Obama for President 08 and it can have a picture of Hillary Clinton being bludgeoned with Das Kapital on it.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Lewis Parker - Mr. Parker's Siesta

If you haven't checked the Champions of Nature track a few posts ago, do so now. This shit is some good shit.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Cut the Grass on You Effing Snakes

Someone made a movie of this, and the movie they made is good

I used to watch PBS when I was a kid, and I was allowed watch little else. My parents didn't have cable, and they were less than keen on letting us chiddlers view anything on the nefarious networks. In retrospect, I'm sorta glad ma and pa took this approach, but at the time, I felt deeply slighted. When my parents left the house for any period of time, no matter how brief (read: ma walking to the mailbox), the TV was turned on, and for a glorious moment I basked in the glow of televisual vittles that weren't "Homework Hotline" or about gardening or news or whatever. Sesame Street was an amazing show, and I managed to grow up just before Barney could suck me into the hivemind, but all in all, PBS is pretty lame when you're eight.

There was one important, incredible exception to the above rule, and it was Mystery. Each Saturday night, SP and his littermates would gather around the ol' picturemaker and devour the latest crime thriller, mostly imported from across the big pond. For one uninterrupted hour a week, abominable acts were committed by the slimiest of villains and the cases were blown wide open by the best of minds. I was never much good at figuring out who'd done what, but I respected the heroes -- the detectives -- of these shows because they all had their own distinct crime-solving style. This is less than shocking, because Mystery wasn't some drama series that has the same people writing and producing it each week; instead, the best of mystery shows from the U.S. and the U.K. would rotate in and out every couple of months to keep things fresh and interesting. I used to observe the forensic ingenuity of the likes of Agatha Christie's Poirot (played by David Suchet, longtime friend of FMT), Inspector Morse, Cadfael, Maigret, and P.D. James's Dalgliesh. This was truly great television.

When I was really young, I was most impressed by Suchet's Poirot, in the way he would get everyone in a room at the end of each show and break it all down with impossible discretion, and Cadfael, because it was set in the Middle Ages and there were lepers and damsels etc. As I grew a bit older, however, it was Ms. James's Dalgliesh, played by Roy Marsden on Mystery, that really earned my respect. He's a really private guy, preferring to write poetry and not talk to people when he's not busy solving murders, and he's something of a tragic figure, a widower whose wife passed on during childbirth. He's a lonesome type of cat, and not the type of bozo that you're likely to catch on the next episode of CSI: Arctic Adventures, but that's what makes him awesome, not to mention somewhat beievable.

P.D. James also wrote The Children of Men, which I haven't read because I'm still bogged down by this tome (no Thomas Pynchon), but I did catch the fil-um adaptation of it, and it's the best movie of the year thus far (then again, I haven't yet seen Primeval). It's bleak and earnest and thought-provoking and scary and intensely sad and thoroughly entertaining. The application of James's vision to contemporary political climes is frighteningly real, but one doesn't get the feeling that the filmmakers were out to push any particular agenda. In fact, the story feels like an indictment of the narrow-mindedness of those that pursue only their own ends and lose sight of the fundamental ethos of right and wrong, of solidarity between humans. I feel as though the reigious, ethical and/or political types are probably having a field day over the issues raised by this film, and I'm sure myriad interpretations have been and will be drawn up.

In the meantime, SP says that P.D. James and the folks that turned her novel The Children of Men into a film called Children of Men probably thought and think that the vindictiveness that prevails in our world these days is guiding us down a path towards permanent division between and misery among the people of planet Earth. Respect your fellow man and woman, and admire them for their differences instead using incongruities as a rationale for hate. It's also a good effing story, and a damn good film.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Great New Positive Rap Albums

Mos Def and Talib Kweli both have one of those things called rap albums in the marketplace. Well, actually this isn’t really true. Def owed Geffen an album, so he made one. Then one of the most bizarre record release controversies I’ve ever heard of followed. [1] Kweli’s album is free and produced by Madlib, who, if you don’t know, just won the Nobel Prize for Urban Musics.

Mr. Def, whose name is an abbreviation for the street slang “most definitely” and Mr. Kweli, whose name means “I talk the truth,” were part of a rap duo from the nineteen-nineties called Black Star [2], named after Marcus Garvey’s Black Star shipping line, which aimed to repatriate railroad tracks back to China. Black Star (or Black Star) told us truths about the world and used production from DJ Hi-Tek, a WKRP personality and the son of Cincinnati Reds owner Marge Schott. Mr. Tek’s work was clean, minimalist and nice, but also menacing in the way that Jack Johnson (the surfer not the boxer) is menacing [3]. Mos Def then split, because he had a feeling that his personality was bigger than Kweli’s, who was really kind of a bore. Def made an album called Black on Both Sides, which he recorded while wearing a fedora hat. BoBS was an album that told people about evil people in the world who conspire to quell fun, but it also had a song with an Aretha Franklin sample in which Def talked about coitus and heavy-petting, so you could play it at mid-afternoon sex romps. Like 3rd Bass and Steven Tyler before him, Def proved that rap could be liked by people who only used pyrex cookware to make muffins for the PTA bakesale, and 9mm’s to shoot “only people who were in the game already.”

Meanwhile, Kweli kept working with Hi-Tek and released an album without any actors on it, called Reflection Eternal, which was titled after the Buddist idea that if one reflects on oneself and the world forever, one will one day get to wear a robe with a hood and live on a mountaintop, where boomboxes are not allowed. This day never comes, however, because one would have to reflect forever before one is rewarded with the hooded robe and the boombox-less mountaintop, and since there is no “after-forever,” it’s a paradox. Anyway, that album was pretty good. Kweli actually brought the gem-like flame with “Move Somethin’”

After that initial bunch of critically acclaimed [4] LPs from Def and Kweli, then came the post-millennial, lets-make-shit-albums-because-either-we-don’t-care-about-rap-anymore-because-we-are-now-broadway stars-or-we-were-kinda-boring-in-the-first-place era of their respective careers [5]. Def released The New Danger, which tried to reclaim rock music from Europeans, who, according to Jared Diamond, author of Guns, Germs, and Steel, were able to co-opt a music that came from displaced Africans because of the particular layout of mountain ranges in Europe. There was a parody of Jay-Z’s “The Takeover,” from The Blueprint, in which Def said that lots of things are “runnin this rap shit” including “tall Israelis” and “quasi-homosexuals.” It was so cognizant that I nearly killed my hairstylists with an enormous mallet. Like Andre 3000 shortly thereafter, Def seemed disinterested not just in rapping, which was supplanted with his not very good crooning, but also in hip-hop, which he didn’t think could make him a famous enough artist. So a half-assed self-conscious crossover record it was, and we stopped caring about Mr. Def.

Kweli stayed with hip-hop and rapping, and made Quality, which featured Def on one track. At this point, however, the Native Tongues seemed like a refuge for college kids who figured rap had to tell them things that weren’t about “da club” or “da trap” to be good. Fearing irrelevance, Kweli make The Beautiful Struggle, which he thought might be able to ride Kanye’s College Dropout coattails into mainstream success. Unfortunately he made a flabby, awkward record. He tried to make a party album or something, but Kweli is a sober eunuch, so it wasn’t an apt look.

Finally we are up to the present, and after the deluge of albums by “rap kingpins,” the Black Star boys are back. Def’s album is called Tru3 Magic, apparently influenced by Numb3rs, the TV show, and normally I wouldn’t pay attention to it. There is more singing and a recreation of GZA’s “Liquid Swords,” which is a song that is too good to even approach, even if you had a gaggle of robotic elephant-superproducers who have The Wu-Tang Manualprogrammed into their circuits—let alone “cover” it or whatever he’s doing. However, Geffen either pulled some wily shit, or just fucked up royally and in a very odd way--some excessively shady record company dealings--I paid attention to that. The label shipped a few thousand copies out on a goddamn Friday, between Christmas and New Years, when the media sits at home and bathes in egg nog and people have no money anyway because they bought gold plated ceilings and priceless truffle-hunting pigs for their loved ones. Also, the album case was shipped without a sleeve, which may reflect the album’s rejection of superfluous consumerist imagery, but Mos Def is not a post-punk band with allegiances to Marxist theorists, so we can surmise that Geffen just didn’t give enough of a fuck to stick a piece of paper inside the case. Publicists for the label reacted strangely, saying that this meager offering was actually a “pre-release” limited-edition…uh…release, and that the proper album will come out in the spring. Soundscan tells us the album sold about 11,000 copies. A song on the album called “Undeniable” was nominated for a Grammy, and lots of people cared about this because the Grammy’s are great.

This bizarre situation was covered by The Village Voice, which, after firing Robert Chirstgau and Chuck Eddy, has opted for a music section with no credibility and a bunch of Pitchfork writers [6]. Makkada B. Saleh, who wrote The Voice article, is not a Pitchfork writer as far as I know, but he or she goes for some formal experimentation, which is not out of the ordinary for the very creative modernists at ‘Fork. The article is mostly quoted messageboard posts and blog comments that are hard to differentiate from the actual article, which is quite deferential and at times an all out laud-job. Here’s some great music crit: “despite its occasional lax moments, the album as a whole has an intensity and rambling impromptu-ness that few artists ever attain” I’m not one of the lucky folks to have picked up a copy of the LP, but man, it sounds like the album is as good as “Like a Rolling Stone,” by Bob Dylan. At the end of the article, Saleh writes that Def needs to stop singing and caps things with “all these motherfuckers tryin’ to be Al Green.” Wow, yeah, that’s true.

Kweli latest effort is not bound in controversy at all. That’s because it doesn’t cost money, that thing that usually makes humans yell at each other and challenge each other to foot races and stuff. The album is called Liberation, and Stones Throw, the label that likes cartoons and Texas High School funk bands, is releasing it. Madlib is at the helm, as he is with basically every rap album Peanut Butter Wolf puts out. There are 9 songs, and none them are very good because Kweli’s humorless talking has nothing to do with the Madlib’s beats, which aren’t his best anyway. Kweli talks about cous-cous and Bluetooth, namechecks Larry, Angela AND Ossie Davis, and says things about societal ills with pointless voice distortion. As is often the case when voices are put on top of Madlib’s compositions, Kweli dilutes the whole affair. Melvin Van Peebles samples and a squeaky-voiced alter-ego would’ve done better.

Things aren’t goin that well for rap in general, but it seems almost impossible that a “positive” Native Tongues-type rapper could have much impact now. It’s like trying to beat someone up with a sock without quarters in it, while reading from a book by Cornel West. .


[1] And I was alive when the now infamous Hell Hath no Foxtrot controversy went down. The album was, upon the truncated terminus of a corporate listening session, defenestrated by Columbia Records for its “artsy fartsy inaccessibility.” Then, the story goes, a bum on the street, named Pickles Bob, picked it up out of the gutter. Thinking the tape was a correspondence from the CIA, who for years had been trying to steal his alchemy equation that turned Gak into a critically-acclaimed coke rapper, brought the tape to a fellow bum, unironically named Mentally Stable Lucious, who Pickles Bob thought was the second coming of Ronald Reagan, the one who could make all bad things good. Mentally Stable Lucious listened to the disc and saw it for what it was; that is, the thing that would save music and make it the art form that geniuses prefer. In a fit of entrepreneurship, Mentally Stable Lucious decided to stop being a bum and start a Record Company, which he titled Komitet Gosudarstvennoy Bezopasnosti Records. He rounded up a bunch of fresh-faced subway car b-boys and taught them how to lip synch and wear cut-off denim jackets. The group, named Yuri Gagarin and the Space Racers, played a few shows with re-mastered versions of HHNF blasting behind them, at malls and ice-skating rinks. Despite the album’s limited pressing on boiled-down toenails, the record was met with universal critical acclaim. At first it was ignored by Rolling Stone, Spin, The Source and pretty much every other large-circulation periodical; however, the grassroots praise grew to a point where national magazines couldn’t ignore it. Yuri and the Racers were suddenly the hottest musical act in the world.

Then everything crumbled. Mentally Stable Lucious, it turned out, was a Russian mole who had been planted in the gutter by the KGB to wait for any uncompromising albums discarded by the American major labels, so that he could steal them, bury anti-American slogans in them during the re-mastering process, and then feed them to the unwitting American intelligentsia, who would accused of blasphemy by the government after lavishing praise on an album rife with pro-soviet messages. The plan didn’t work very well, since Mentally Stable Lucious forgot to translate the pro-soviet slogans into English, and critics fawned all over the random Russian phrases because, as one critic wrote “Yuri and the Racers are aestheticizing the Cold War, to the point were Russians and Americans might as well spooning on a bed of nuclear weapons in MoMA.” When the KGB heard the album, and Lucious' conspicuous blunder, he was murdered immediately and unceremoniously.

Ironically, it turned out that Pickles Bob was right, sort of. The CIA did record the album, with their house band. It’s just that it wasn’t a correspondence about Gak alchemy; rather, the Agency had been tracking Mentally Stable Lucious all along, placing agents at Columbia years ago. Lucious didn’t forget to translate the anti-American messages. A young agent named Rick Rubin snuck into the studio after Lucious was finished and changed it. Of course, the whole affair has been covered up thoroughly, as if it never happened. But yeah that was quite a controversy.

[2] Or 'Black Star' was just the name of their only album, it always seemed unclear to me which was the case.

[3] So menacing that you don’t even realize that you are being menaced until you no longer have a face.

[4] Rolling Stone gave all of them between 3 and 4 stars.

[5] I think that the whole really-long-hyphenated-phrase-joke-thing is so engrained that it warrants a CAPS LOCK-type command that eases the annoyance of forsaking the space bar for that small key in the Siberia of the board, where the clumsy ring finger reigns.

[6] At this point it is a cliché to accuse Pitchfork of bad writing, questionable journalistic ethics, and generally annoyance, but now that a lot of the writers are working for The Voice, including Tom Breihan, Chris Ott, and Zach Baron and the old guard of Eddy and Xgau are gone, its impossible not to see The Voice music section as a co-opted bunch of pages.

Pop Levi - Sugar Assault Me Now

SP gambles credibility by endorsing non-coke-rap, tight-jeans-wearing white man.

S.P. News/Effery

Tarantino & Rodriguez team up for B-movie splatterfest, to be released later this year. Here's the preview.

It's mid-January, in the year of the Thunderball. Bizarre, botched executions are going down in Iraq, except this time around they're state-sanctioned. Winter finally arrived, but that hasn't done anything for coke rappers, which leads me to believe either that my theory was wrong or that what snow has come is just too little, too late.

Fat Freddy's Drop isn't a coke-rap outfit. They are, however, a reggae or funk or something band from Wellington, New Zealand. Gilles Peterson has been up on them for a while, apparently, which makes me look a little behind the times, but whatever. He's got more people. If FMT had BBC (no, not that BBC) gouda running through it, we'd be showcasing the best of what's next before all yuz other bloggartz wake up in the morning. For now, here's a video for FFD's "Wandering Eye".

Hot on the heels of their god-awful December 2006 "Big Cat" leopard print release, Lids keeps it bizarre, albeit less garish, with their January Fresh Goods Fridays release: MLB Moonman
Ever since this roguish mongrel was just a little pup, SP's been rocking Reebok Classics. I don't hate AF1s or Nike SBs or Dunks or whatever else, but the Classics were always more affordable and comfortable and came in nice enough colorways (though these sometimes took a little bit of tracking down). Reebok's been doing the design-your-own-shoe thing for a while now, but the new RbkCustom shop is truly nice, particularly because of the inclusion of the Ventilator model for manipulation. The unofficial FMT custom soldiers are on order, and the trademark colorway is coming soon, so I recommend you bloggartz get your sneaker game way up.

French non-coke rappers TTC receive FMT commendations for hot French women, expert use of Tyrannosaurus Rex cutout, great t-shirts worn by chubby bald guy, and a banging track.

SP's not positive about this one, as it lies a little bit outside of his, admittedly, narrow field of vision/scent, but there's been a fair bit of buzz surrounding Mika, and I can imagine this being a good song, so here he is on FMT certified U.K. media icon Jools Holland's late night television show. I reverently defer to Furman on this one -- thoughts?

Read FMT every day, eat lots of food, drink good inexpensive wine, and try, for once, to be nice to one another.

Champions of Nature - Salsa Smurf

U.K. export from the 000

Monday, January 08, 2007

Ab-Liva, Slick Pulla Blamed for Lackluster Ski Season in Swiss Alps

Or, An Incongruous Truth: Global Warming Melts 4th Quarter Coke-Raps

SP flew back from the motherland yesterday. This cur's itinerary had him quarantined on a barstool in Newark, NJ for a seven and a half hour layover. Shouldn't bars that are called "Budweiser" be like outlet stores, full of discount beers in aesthetically displeasing bottles? They should fill all the rejected longneck designs and send them to such places; instead, pints of Bud were $6.83 and before long I shrank back to a seat in the terminal area to read about proselytizers and other such gangster shit. I didn't make it outside, but apparently it was something like 55 degrees, a chilly change from Saturday's tropical high of 73. I'd be telling tall tales if I claimed to be bothered by shedding the heavy winter gear for once, but predictions of continuing sultriness throughout the 007 have me a bit worried. What's to be expected for the upcoming summer months? 120 degrees and 98% humidity? Normally, Slothra and I don't mind a bit of extra warmth, as we're aquatic mammals and so we're way more concerned about powerboats and keeping the female manatees happy keeping us happy, but this is getting ridiculous.

This winter has been bad news for a lot of creatures, particularly for people that own and work at ski resorts in Europe and also particularly for people that rap. If there isn't some confluence of contributing factors here, someone punch me in the face. All these mofos over in Courcheval, France, talkin 'bout "We got that snow" and "Round here it snows even when it don't snow," you know, because they can make fake snow and shit, better believe that when it's 65 degrees that junk will melt. Same with The Clipse and Young Jeezy and all those trendy kingpins-turned-rapping artists; when it's hot outside, you don't want snow, because that shit will melt and make you all wet and who knows what's in the snow these days anyway and being wet and dirty is definitely not the Nilla wafers.

It should come as no great surprise to anyone that no one's buying rap records any more. In the '90s and the early double-o's all the major labels dropped records as if they were involved in a competitive business or something crazy like that. Now every company seems like a one-rapper show, and former independent contenders sign deals with majors in what should be great career moves and fall further into the bowels of anonymity. Don't even get me started on Dr. Dre, who obviously sits around all day thinking about how great The Chronic was and pressing the "strings" button on his MPC-shitbag and charging people more money than they will make off their albums for one mediocre beat. Remember when rap was a legitimate commercial art form, and store shelves were regularly loaded with new records, most of which were bad or awful but some were good or even, occasionally, great? Ha. I'd almost forgotten about that. That was awesome.

Friday, January 05, 2007

I killed my dinner with karate

Better than TV on the Radio

Nahright informed me that The Killers turned down Ghostface’s collabo offer. I assume the Tabernacle choir already had the Vegas moustache boys booked for that day. Joe Smith-sweatin motherfuckers. Too bad for them. Ghost just wanted to do it because he’s the Killah and they’re the Killers. For once Ghost is misguided. He should round up Killer Mike and Cam’ron and go knock on Jerry Lee Lewis’ door with a bucket of Percocets and a bottle of Jim Beam. They could play on the front steps of the IRS HQ.

The Idolator “Jackin Pop” poll is up. Basically they’re trying to take over the Voice’s Pazz and Jop poll which was always the standard, but disappointing in its ignorance of the whole spoonerism thing. Spoonerisms are pretty much the most fun thing you can do without a spiked collar asphyxiating you. Anyway, Xgau’s ballot is there (he always ran the Pazz and Jop until he got canned). Amongst Dylan, Sonic Youth, Ghostface and Outkast, lies Crunk Hits vol. 2 at # 4. That’s not a joke. Chuck Eddy, the other music editor the Voice canned last year, is on here too. His ballot is great. He’s got Paris Hilton at #6 and all his Artists of the Year are all websites (youtube, Pandora myspace)…and Walt Disney. That guy is the man. Fuck Village Voice Media or whoever those overseers are.

The OC got cancelled. I don’t care about this, really. Laguna Beach blasted that show out of the water and for good reason. Mischa Barton always reminded me of a meerkat. A highly attractive meerkat, but a meerkat just the same. It was interesting how they had The Walkmen and Death Cab for Fuckface play in the High School’s cafeteria or whatever. The Max only could only manage Casey Kasem, and he was just there to judge a dance contest.

The Arcade Fire sold out 5 shows at the Judson Memorial Chuch in NYC in about .000000004 shakes of a lamb’s tail this morning. Not sure if that church is as big as a the behemoths in Salt Lake City, but obviously this is that serious indie band that people who don’t really like music that much listen to and go online to buy tickets to, while critics were snoring about about 7 blog posts about them. I saw them basically bring the house down just as the hype was gathering steam. They had no roadies at this point and they took about 9 hours to set up all their quirky Xmas decoration-like stage props and then their keyboard broke. It was 300 degrees in the place, but Win Butler, the lead dude, never took off his jacket, which had a skull drawn on it or something. All the kids knew the words to every song, the band played their hair off, and my lungs were eating sweat from the air. It was pretty sweet. Too band Funeral is pretty boring now.