Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Battling it Out

A pretty cute diagram from Paste Magazine

The Year of the Swedes vs De(e/a)rs vs Bears!?!?
















-vp

Monday, October 29, 2007

Charts - 10/29

1 BRITISH SEA POWER Krankenhaus [EP] Rough Trade
2 BAND OF HORSES Cease To Begin SUB POP
3 BIRD AND THE BEE Please Clap Your Hands Blue Note
4 OCTOPUS PROJECT Hello, Avalanche Peek-A-Boo
5 AESOP ROCK None Shall Pass Definitive Jux
6 GOOD LIFE Help Wanted Nights Saddle Creek
7 CUT OFF YOUR HANDS Shaky Hands [EP] IAMSOUND
8 BAT FOR LASHES Fur And Gold Parlophone-Caroline
9 BROKEN SOCIAL SCENE PRESENTS KEVIN DREW Spirit If... Arts And Crafts
10 SHARON JONES AND THE DAP KINGS 100 Days 100 Nights Daptone
11 ENON Grass Geysers... Carbon Clouds Touch And Go
12 BLACK LIPS Good Bad Not Evil Vice
13 FIERY FURNACES Widow City Thrill Jockey
14 DEVENDRA BANHART Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon XL-Beggars
15 LES SAVY FAV Let's Stay Friends Frenchkiss
16 BRIGHTON, MA Brighton, MA Loose Tooth
17 STARS In Our Bedroom After The War Arts And Crafts
18 JESCA HOOP Kismet Columbia-3Entertainment
19 MINUS THE BEAR Planet Of Ice Suicide Squeeze
20 MUM Go Go Smear The Poison Ivy Fat Cat
21 KENNA Make Sure They See My Face Interscope
22 A-SIDES Silver Storms Vagrant
23 IDIOT PILOT Cruel World Enterprise [EP] Reprise
24 MINIPOP A New Hope Take Root
25 MAGIK MARKERS Boss Ecstatic Peace
26 ANTI-FLAG A Benefit For Victims Of Violent Crime A-F
27 THOMAS DYBDAHL Science Recall
28 ROGUE WAVE Asleep At Heaven's Gate Brushfire
29 BLACK KIDS Wizard Of Ahhs [EP] Self-Released
30 MGMT Oracular Spectacular Columbia

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Sunday, October 28, 2007

Jonathan Paplebon is out to get you

RIP


Porter Wagoner - 1927-2007

Friday, October 26, 2007

Jason Isbell Instore!

I just discovered this on the Vintage Vinyl website. It's a great way to see Jason Isbell without shelling out thirty bucks to see him at the Pageant.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Jason Isbell

http://www.jasonisbell.com
November 11 6:00 PM

Special acoustic preview with former Drive By Trucker Jason Isbell

Vintage Vinyl is proud to be hosting an instore with former Drive By Trucker Jason Isbell on November 11th. Stopping in to Vintage Vinyl for a special acoustic mini-preview of his full length electric set later that evening, Jason Isbell is out promoting his solo debut "Sirens Of The Ditch". Having turned down the guitar fuzz of his DBT material, he has opted for a more sedate but "driving" sound with instruments such as pedal steel and piano that lend a little more soul to his music. and songs. Catch a special acoustic preview at Vintage Vinyl starting at 6:00PM and you'd be a fool to miss his full length and full blown electric performance later that evening at The Pageant when Jason Isbell opens up for Cracker.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Oink shut down

In a major victory for the record industry, Oink has been shut down. Is Oink really just one of the killers of the record industry, or does it help at all? Discuss.

WTF Bobby?

After Bob Dylan put out this ad for Victoria's Secret, I defended him tooth and nail. Schilling for lingerie worked for him in his present day character as a seedy old man, with his haunting "Love Sick" off 1997's Time Out of Mind. In fact, the only aging musician I think would be better for an ad for Vickie's would be Tom Waits, but he's vehemently opposed to his music appearing in advertisements.


However, this commercial he does for Cadillac is just pathetic. Just a bunch of tired images of an SUV driving through the desert, the only thing special is that Bobby is behind the wheel of the behemoth.


In other Dylan news, the myspace for the soundtrack to Todd Haim's I'm Not There, his surrealistic tribute to Dylan coming out next month, has launched and features Dylan covers from the likes of Sufjan, Cat Power, My Morning Jacket, and Jeff Tweedy. The Sufjan bores me, but then again, that's about all Sufjan does for me these days. The latter three are excellent, so I will definitely be picking up a copy of the soundtrack when it comes out on October 30th.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Charts - 10/22

1 BROKEN SOCIAL SCENE PRESENTS KEVIN DREW Spirit If... Arts And Crafts
2 OCTOPUS PROJECT Hello, Avalanche Peek-A-Boo
3 FIERY FURNACES Widow City Thrill Jockey
4 STARS In Our Bedroom After The War Arts And Crafts
5 ENON Grass Geysers... Carbon Clouds Touch And Go
6 LES SAVY FAV Let's Stay Friends Frenchkiss
7 SEA WOLF Leaves In The River Dangerbird
8 BRIGHTON, MA Brighton, MA Loose Tooth
9 ATHLETE Beyond The Neighbourhood Astralwerks
10 WORLD/INFERNO FRIENDSHIP SOCIETY Addicted To Bad Ideas Chunksaah
11 JENS LEKMAN Night Falls Over Kortedala Secretly Canadian
12 MINUS THE BEAR Planet Of Ice Suicide Squeeze
13 ELECTRIC SIX I Shall Exterminate Everything Around Me That Restricts Me From Being The Master Metropolis
14 BAND OF HORSES Cease To Begin SUB POP
15 BRITISH SEA POWER Krankenhaus [EP] Rough Trade
16 FIGURINES When The Deer Wore Blue Control Group
17 DAVID DONDERO Simple Love Team Love
18 SHOUT OUT LOUDS Our Ill Wills Merge
19 JOSE GONZALEZ In Our Nature Mute
20 HOT HOT HEAT Happiness LTD Warner
21 WEAKERTHANS Reunion Tour Anti
22 MABUSES Mabused Magpie
23 SHOCKING PINKS Shocking Pinks

24 SHARON JONES AND THE DAP KINGS 100 Days 100 Nights Daptone
25 MUM Go Go Smear The Poison Ivy Fat Cat
26 YARROWS Plum Empyrean
27 VARIOUS ARTISTS Guilt By Association Engine Room
28 GOOD LIFE Help Wanted Nights Saddle Creek
29 CALVIN HARRIS I Created Disco Almost Gold
30 TWO GALLANTS Two Gallants Saddle Creek

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Sunday, October 21, 2007

Subversive Cinema: Disney Psychedelica

Rarely would a Disney film be categorized as being "Subversive", but as usual there are exceptions.

Case in point #1: Fantasia, 1940

Fantasia broke all the barriers. It not only challenged the visual potential (in Technicolor™!) of large scale animation motion pictures, but it heavily experimented with the possibilities of pairing classical music (in stereo!) with animation.

In fact, Disney sunk so much money into the project that it took 6 releases before the film turned a profit.

It is no coincidence that it was the 1969 re-release that finally made the film profitable. Since the film became popular among users of marijuana and LSD, Disney was able to re-brand Fantasia as a "Trip Film". The campaign was successful, as the youth flocked to the theaters (high or not) to experience this masterpiece.

The film not only captured the psychedelic look 25 years before the popularization of LSD, but it also became the first music video (film).

There have been many edits to Fantasia because of racial stereotypes, sound/picture presentation, and length. The version that is closest to the original release version is the 60th Anniversary DVD released in 2000. Just don't bug out during the "Night on Bald Mountain" sequence.

-Klax

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WU: Not Sexy Enough for Man Man!

Pardon my nostalgia, but after a conversation last night with Chris Ward of fellow Philly band Pattern is Movement, I just had to track down this article.



Saturday, 2/24, 11 p.m.

Man, do my arms hurt. We woke up at 8 this morning to shuffle equipment out of Shape Shoppe and into a van, drive several hours to a college show in St. Louis, and finally unload all this shit into what looks like a school cafeteria without the tables. This is but a day in a life of a band without a tour manager or roadies. I can only imagine what a two-month tour is like.

A sample of the things we moved to the tune of the sun-baked solo album from Animal Collective's Panda Bear: a complete drum kit, numerous cases overstuffed with noisemakers and things to bang on, guitars, overnight bags, pillows, blankets, keyboard coffins, a milk crate for me to sit on, Christmas lights for ambience, and, finally, Kattner's massive, might-as-well-be-a-grand-piano synthesizer, which elicited the comment, "This is why I always ask myself why I haven't gone digital."

All of it — the loss of breath, the profuse sweating despite it being 20 degrees outside, the "I-swear-I-didn't-drop-that-synthesizer!" — was worth it. It always is, at least when it leads to a great show amid terrible sound and a sexless crowd. Which is exactly how tonight's Washington University gig went despite the degree of smashing, shrieking, leaping and convulsing that went into fan favorites like "Zebra," "English Bwudd" and "Push the Eagle's Stomach" and such still-developing new songs as "Spooky Jookie," "Top Drawer" and "Hurly Burly." (The only new jam that fell flat was a bizarre, live drum and bass interlude called "El Azteca." And that's only because the thing sounds inhuman on record.)

There's a so-horrible-it's-awesome frat row scene unfolding before us now. Not one to avoid their (hundred or so) adoring fans, Kattner, Dufala, fellow multi-instrumentalist Russell Higbee (aka Alejandro "Cougar" Bord) and Kattner's dad have decided to follow the flier handed to them by a few nervous college radio kids to an off-campus kegger.

In one corner: a stack of premium day-old bagels and a hookah pumping out sweet-smelling tobacco. (Apparently no one here felt like springing for pot; oh, wait, no, that's happening in the back room, where "the trees are at," according to one future Volkswagen driver.) In another: a giddy DJ spinning dated dance music on turntables and a laptop. Did I mention he's also controlling a friggin'fog machine?

"This brings me back," says Gary Kattner — think a slimmer, taller version of Ryan with a slight Texas drawl — as we raise plastic cups of nondescript beer. I smile and suck down foam but can't help feeling like Bluto in Animal House.

Excerpted from: Stillborn Again: What to do when you're stranded in Chicago for a week with Man Man

-SD

KICKBALL IS TOO A SPORT.

KWUR and sort-of rival KSLU (of Saint Louis University) met recently to duke it out for the title of 2007 Saint Louis College Radio Champion of the World. On a beautiful, sunny Sunday afternoon, the teams met at Tower Grove Park for this semi-annual event. KWUR, who "brought the heat" more plentifully (We had 13 team members to KSLU's 7), took an early lead, ending the first inning with an 8-1 lead. The seven-inning game continued as such, ending with a 15-3 victory for the ragtag KWUR team. KWUR will soon be the holders of the Homer Simpson doll kickball trophy.

Better luck next year, SLU

TEAM KWUR
back row: Leah, Claire, Milstein, Evan, Andrew Schneiderman, Turner, Mansoor's head, Steven, Kinsley, Sarah
front row: Anna, Mikey, Andrew Senter

you rub what you like together









"of course, the trunk of this car is full of money..."

more history to follow
z

Saturday, October 20, 2007

KWUR at CMJ: We don't need no stinkin' awards

While Hermano Rabbit, Craig, and Dan Kandy are getting cozy in the Holiday Inn, I figured I'd give you guys an update of what's going on here at CMJ. On Thursday, we went to a couple panels, and learned how to make KWUR the best station in the world (don't change a damn thing) before having a totally surreal hour or so. Over at the World's Fair showcase, we saw Stardeath and the White Dwarfs, Tiny Masters of Today, and 1990's - and John Norris. Tiny Masters of Today, the band consisting of 13-year-old Ivan, his 11-year-old sister Ada, and Russell Simins, put on a decent set, but ended it with a cover of House of Pain's classic "Jump Around." Ivan, finally without guitar, went all out and wound up sprawled out on the stage, covered in sweat. If I could have done something like that when I was 13, I would have been the happiest kid alive, so congratulations Ivan. After they were done, Craig, the eagle-eye, spotted John Norris of MTV News, so we went over and shot the shit with him for a few minutes. Then, right before the 1990's came on, we talked to Kim and Seana, two actresses filming a webshow about two girls who go to all sorts of music festivals. They brought their own camera crew and made sure there was a clear path for them to be filmed, right at the front of the crowd. So as they "rocked out," the 1990's put on a great show. It was high-energy and lots of fun, but the real question is why they went on so early. After a few more drinks (for us), they would have been even better.

The beneficiary of more drinks (but not that many) was the Toronto band Golden Dogs. In a crowded Mo Pitkin's, they put on an amazing show that forced us to ask someone from Yep Roc to send us their CD.

Yesterday, we saw a bunch of bands at the Fanatic party, including Afuche and Old Time Relijun before momentarily splitting up. As the Holiday Inners saw some hip-hop over in Williamsburgh, I (along with the KSLU girls) ran from the Lower East Side to Park Slope to see Turbofruits. Of course, they were great, and if you didn't know them before, you should go check them out because I can not do them justice. Back in the Lower East Side, and reunited with KWUR, we saw Pattern Is Movement, who were great, but ended up being right before the showstealers in Yeasayer. Watch out for Yeasayer. They consider themselves "Middle Eastern-Psych-Pop-Snap-Gospel," but if you're like me and don't really know what that means, just take my word for it: they were awesome.

Some bands that I wish I had seen are O'Death, Black Kids (who also were showstealers, according to allmusic, Pitchfuck, and a text message I got), Japanther, Health, and Vampire Weekend. On the docket for today, maybe, is more Yeasayer, Clockcleaner, Professor Murder, Matt and Kim, and of course, the St. Louis showcase from 8-10. Come check it out if you're in New York, and if you're not, stay tuned for more updates.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Subversive Cinema: New DVDs

Klax here:

I thought I would start a new "feature" here on the good 'ol KWUR Blog about new "Subversive Cinema" DVD releases.

Subversive films "attempt to undermine existing institutions or value systems". "The subversive attacks something in control and wishes to replace it by what does not yet exist and has as yet no power". (Amos Vogel - Film as a Subversive Art)

Luckily October features a slew of nice subversive DVD releases, lets check some out...

The Films of Kenneth Anger, Volume 2
(October 2 - Fantoma Films)

Kenneth Anger is one of the leading American avant-garde filmmakers, who also blew shit up with the publication of Hollywood Babylon which detailed all the juicy gossip of Hollywood pre-1950. These brilliant restorations continue where volume 1 left off. Essential for any basic subversive collection. [Note: Puce Moment, found on Volume 1, was screened during KWUR Week 2007 Movie Night]

Included are Scorpio Rising (1964), Kustom Kar Kommandos (1965), Invocation of My Demon Brother (1969), Rabbit's Moon (1979 version), Lucifer Rising (1981).



Battleship Potemkin (1926, Sergei Eisenstein, USSR)
(October 23 - Kino International)

This is a newly restored 2-disc "ultimate edition" which includes a 5.1 mix of the originally specified score (with a 55 piece orchestra) and restored intertitles. Considered one of the best films of all time (a Film 101 necessity), this film glorifies the story of a 1905 battleship crew who overthrew their oppressive tsarist captains.



O Lucky Man! (1973, Lindsay Anderson, UK)
(October 23 - Warner Home Video)

Another 2-disc "Special Edition" with star Malcolm McDowell (think Clockwork Orange) providing commentary. This film, an "allegory life in a capitalist society" is the sequel to 1969's If... (also recently released on Criterion).

Breathless (1960, Jean-Luc Goddard, France)
(October 23 - Criterion Collection)

Finally one of the most important films of all time (Goddard's first) gets a proper 2-disc Criterion Collection release. At first look, this films seems rather conventional, which speaks to its influence on modern cinema. The films tells the "irrelevant" story of a French gangster by ingeniously purging all the conventional Hollywood norms.



Paradise Now (1970, Marty Topp)
(November 1 - Arthur Magazine)

This limited edition DVD (of 1000) is Arthur Magazine's (now back!) second DVD release, following Ira Cohen's Invasion of Thunderbolt Pagoda. The film is the definitive document of a 1968 performance by the experimental theatre group "The Living Theatre" in Brussels. [Note: Invasion of Thunderbolt Pagoda was screened during KWUR Week 2007 Movie Night]



All these films are mentioned in some way in Amos Vogel's exhaustive landmark study, Film as a Subversive Art (originally published in 1974 - now back in print!)

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Mike Reiss Makes Me Sad


Last night, I went to see Mike Reiss (left, Simpsonized as Mr. Bergstrom, a character voiced by Dustin Hoffman), a long time writer on The Simpsons, speak at Graham Chapel. While he was very funny, it really saddened me that he still thinks The Simpsons is as great as it was during the first few seasons. The show has been a giant cop out over the last few years. I tried to ask him a question about why the show has chosen to resolve long running gags, such as the location of Springfield and Smithers' homosexuality, and he looked at me like I was a huge douchebag. Maybe I am, but the show is pretty fucking awful now, and as a loyal fan, the new episodes are now just too painful to watch.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Stars vs. Pitchfork


For those who know Stars, number 6 on KWUR charts last week, you may have read the Pitchfork review of their latest album, In Our Bedroom After the War. If not: Pitchfork Stars. It got a 7.4 - I know that's what you're all wondering anyways. Stars apparently wasn't too pleased with Mr. Ryan Dombol's opinion, because Torq Campbell responded (Torq's response) vehemently, to say the least. I guess the war's not quite over for Stars. However, I think most will agree that too much of the consensus regarding indie music is laid upon their smug shoulders. Anyways, Torq seems a bit mad, but isn't that what pop musicians are supposed to be like?

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Friday, October 12, 2007

Will Al Gore run?

Now that Al "God" Gore has won the Nobel Peace Prize, everyone has asked the question: will Gore run for KWUR general manager? A source close to Gore told KWUR 90.3 FM Blog that the winner of the 2000 presidential election is currently focusing on raising awareness about global warming, but is also concerned about who will run KWUR following the departure of current GM, Michael Sandler. Gore found solace in pretentious indie music following his crushing defeat in 2000, and has been especially fond of the new album from Devendra Banhart, as well as Talib Kweli.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

What do other St. Louis stations play?

KWUR'S #1 record this week (Mum - Go Go Smear the Poison Ivy): did not chart at KDHX, #10 at KSLU
KDHX's #1 (Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings - 100 Days, 100 Nights): #17 at KWUR, did not chart at KSLU
KSLU's #1 (Jens Lekman - Night Falls Over Kortedala): #5 at KWUR, #9 at KDHX

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Joys of Sesame Street

I know that videos of famous musicians on Sesame Street get posted to death on music blogs, but they really do get some great artists on the show, from Johnny Cash to Andrew Bird to Stevie Wonder. I decided to take a trip down memory lane this morning and watch some of these videos, and one of my old favorites that I had long forgotten popped up on youtube.

While Dolly Parton never actually appeared on Sesame Street, her Muppet spoof, Polly Darton, is dead on with a platinum blonde wig and huge bazoombas. Here she is with Benny Rabbit singing "14-Carrot Love."

Monday, October 08, 2007

Keep the Funk Alive



Funk has come a long way since its humble beginnings in 60s R&B. I've always said I'm into funk music, but only recently have I realized how vague that label is. Funk could be James Brown's "Papa's Got A Brand New Bag," but it could also be synthed-out space rock in the form of Funkadelic's "Maggot Brain." Or hell, it could just as well refer to Prince's "Purple Rain." Funk even took an unfortunate detour into Disco in the 80's.

The funk of "our time" (I say this referring to the 18-24 demographic group, I guess) has been largely ill-fated. Notwithstanding its integral role in the development of hip hop, funk music went into something of a "funk" in the 90's. The biggest thing to happen to funk in the 90s was the jam band movement. These improvised funk-rockers like Galactic or Widespread (uch) took the whole "fusion" thing to a new level. In my opinion, the downfall of the jam band movement was its over-emphasis on groove-based improvisation, with not enough focus on songwriting. When it comes down to it, you can be as funky as you want, but you need to write a song people will remember.

After all this, though, funk is back. The "oughts" (00's) have a whole new school of funk that I have penned "neo-funk." Just as neoliberalism hearkens back to classical 19th century liberalism, neo-funk derives itself from the original masters: the JBs. The next wave in funk is starting now with a return to horn-driven, riff-based R&B style funk. It's a quiet movement, now only enjoyed by the true lovers of the style, but it could be the next big thing.

Here are some groups out now, that I think fit in to this neo-funk category:

Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings

This first one should go without saying. If you haven't listened to Sharon Jones yet, you owe it to yourself to check it out. The Dap-Kings, the house band at Daptone records, have some serious soul power, especially in the horn section. Sharon Jones has a voice that could break glass and melt your heart all at the same time. When they belt it out, the music pushes itself into the very core of your body. As a matter of fact, you should check out any of the artists on Daptone records. They're all pretty sweet.

Here's a song off their new album that's pretty indicative:
100%20Days%2C%20100%20Nights.mp3

Or you can check them out at their myspace or their spot at daptone

The New Mastersounds

These British Funksters got together about five years ago and represent the best that the UK has to offer the funk world. The five piece outfit features prominent sax and hammond. They have a pretty wide range in their songs, some of which sound like Booker T and the MGs grooves, while others have the flavor of a JBs song. They are a group who know and love the old masters, but aren't afraid to try new things. Their only downfall is that they can be a little hard to find in the US, and don't tour here very frequently (although I think they'll be at the Bear Creek Music Festival in Florida this N0vember).

Check them out on their myspace or their band website

Lack of Afro

This LA youngster (only 26 years old) has been playing music for a long time. He started "tickling the ivories," as his website says, at the age of seven. Now he plays just about every instrument on his album, not to mention producing it himself. His music is a combination of old-school funk-soul remixes and a ton of live instrumentation. His debut album, Press On (Freestyle 2007), is a masterpiece.

Myspace , his website


Charts - 10/8

1 MUM Go Go Smear The Poison Ivy Fat Cat
2 ELECTRIC SIX I Shall Exterminate Everything Around Me That Restricts Me From Being The Master Metropolis
3 DEVENDRA BANHART Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon XL-Beggars
4 LES SAVY FAV Let's Stay Friends Frenchkiss
5 JENS LEKMAN Night Falls Over Kortedala Secretly Canadian
6 STARS In Our Bedroom After The War Arts And Crafts
7 WE VERSUS THE SHARK EP Of Bees [EP] Hello Sir
8 SEA WOLF Leaves In The River Dangerbird
9 TINY MASTERS OF TODAY Bang Bang Boom Cake Great Society
10 TWO GALLANTS Two Gallants Saddle Creek
11 DRAGONS OF ZYNTH Coronation Thieves Gigantic
12 BRIGHTON, MA Brighton, MA Loose Tooth
13 BROKEN SOCIAL SCENE PRESENTS KEVIN DREW Spirit If Arts And Crafts
14 ANIMAL COLLECTIVE Strawberry Jam Domino
15 HOT HOT HEAT Happiness LTD Warner
16 PATRICK WATSON Close To Paradise Secret City
17 SHARON JONES AND THE DAP KINGS 100 Days 100 Nights Daptone
18 FIGURINES When The Deer Wore Blue Control Group
19 SHOUT OUT LOUDS Our Ill Wills Merge
20 MATT POND PA Last Light Altitude
21 CASS MCCOMBS Dropping The Writ Domino
22 JUST JACK Overtones TVT
23 GO! TEAM Proof Of Youth Sub Pop
24 WEAKERTHANS Reunion Tour Anti
25 CLOCKCLEANER Babylon Rules Load
26 MABUSES Mabused Magpie
27 TIGER! TIGER! The Kind Of Goodnight Chicken Ranch
28 CALVIN HARRIS I Created Disco Almost Gold
29 JOSE GONZALEZ In Our Nature Mute
30 DAVID DONDERO Simple Love Team Love

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Saturday, October 06, 2007

Wang Bu Liao

I don't care much for modern Chinese pop. It's a little bit too slick, too treacly, and generally terrible and second rate. In the schlock-fest that is modern Chinese pop, it's easy to lose sight of the fact that some pretty excellent, or at least highly enjoyable stuff came out of China during the sixties. You need only watch one or two Wong Kar Wai films to know that; he loves to take an old Chinese standard, play it throughout the movie at key moments, and absolutely crush you with it by the end. The Shaw Brothers, in their renowned Huang Mei operas and musical films, had some absolutely lovely tunes. You probably know the Shaw Brothers from their fantastic Kung Fu flicks, but their studios in Hong Kong churned out all sorts of stuff, from historical dramas to softcore porn. Some of their best sellers were the Huang Mei operas, traditional Chinese musicals that catered towards Chinese house wives. Here's a traditional example:

This is from the classic film "Liang Shan Bo Yu Zhu Ying Tai", known in English as The Love Eterne or Love Eternal. This film is considered the golden standard for Huang-Mei Opera, like the Casablanca of the genre, can't touch it. It tells the story of a girl who dresses up as a boy in order to get into college, and falls in love with one of her classmates. Typical of Huang-Mei Opera, all the leads are played by women. This clip helpfully has subtitles, so you can see the often witty lyrics that match the playful music. Besides having fairly pretty voices, if you ask me, these women are awfully good actresses, always lending character to the lyrics they sing. Besides traditional Huang Mei opera, the Shaw Brothers released a bunch of musicals set in the present day. Here's a clip, complete with Chinese characters at the bottom, for those who are inclined to sing along:

As you can see, Run Run Shaw had his pick of talent in China, and found some pretty amazing singers. My absolute favorite old Chinese song from the sixties, however, is "Wang Bu Liao" or "Can't Forget", by Lin Dai:

So, things I love about this song. First of all, the piano intro, which might sound hokey to me in any other context, just sucks me in. I fall for the whole instrumentation, the piano, the strings, especially the somber horn solo near the end, it all works perfectly for me. But first and foremost is Lin Dai's delivery. Lin Dai actually led a pretty tragic life, killing herself at the height of her fame. In the film that this song is featured in, "Bu Liao Qing" or "Love Without End", Lin Dai plays a heartbroken young woman forced to earn her living by singing in nightclubs. The lyrics are beautiful in the simple, eloquent manner of Chinese poetry. Basically, it starts "can't forget, can't forget, can't forget your good times, can't forget your bad times" and goes on to outline the various memories, good and bad, that the speaker cannot seem to forget. Lin Dai really grasps the pain of the song, and intelligently sings it in a way that highlights both the bitterness and the sadness of lost love. It's the kind of song that haunts you, and that is pretty much my favorite kind of song. Hope you enjoy.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

The state of college radio

This is from CMJ's chart recap, posted today:

"Adds saw a few surprises, as Stars went most added at both Radio 200 and Triple A, beating out Jens Lekman (No. 2), the Foo Fighters (No. 4) and Motion City Soundtrack (No. 5)."

Isn't the point of college radio to play things that aren't heard elsewhere? The surprise isn't that Stars, a pretty major indie-rock band, beat out the Foo Fighters and Motion City Soundtrack, it's that self-respecting college radio stations actually added the Foo Fighters and Motion City Soundtrack. All I can say is laaaaaaaaaaame.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Charts - 9/25 - 10/2

1 IRON AND WINE The Shepherd's Dog SUB POP
2 ANIMAL COLLECTIVE Strawberry Jam Domino
3 GO! TEAM Proof Of Youth Sub Pop
4 LES SAVY FAV Let's Stay Friends Frenchkiss
5 SEA WOLF Leaves In The River Dangerbird
6 DEVENDRA BANHART Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon XL-Beggars
7 SHOUT OUT LOUDS Our Ill Wills Merge
8 MINUS THE BEAR Planet Of Ice Suicide Squeeze
9 M.I.A. Kala Interscope
10 MABUSES Mabused Magpie
11 BLACK FRANCIS Bluefinger Cooking Vinyl
12 SOUNDTRACK Kurt Cobain: About A Son Barsuk
13 CAPGUN COUP Brought To You By Nebraskafish Team Love
14 BLACK LIPS Good Bad Not Evil Vice
15 DAVID DONDERO Simple Love Team Love
16 CLOCKCLEANER Babylon Rules Load
17 SHARON JONES AND THE DAP KINGS 100 Days 100 Nights Daptone
18 TWO GALLANTS Two Gallants Saddle Creek
19 BRIGHTON, MA Brighton, MA Loose Tooth
20 WEAKERTHANS Reunion Tour Anti
21 SNMNMNM Crawl Inside Your Head Unschooled
22 AKRON/FAMILY Love Is Simple Young God
23 TIGER! TIGER! The Kind Of Goodnight Chicken Ranch
24 GEORGIE JAMES Places Saddle Creek
25 IAN MOORE To Be Loved Justice
26 TINY MASTERS OF TODAY Bang Bang Boom Cake Great Society
27 JOSE GONZALEZ In Our Nature Mute
28 CARIBOU Andorra Merge
29 THANK GOD FOR ASTRONAUTS Bring Us Meat Needlepoint
30 FIRE ENGINES Hungry Beat Acute

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