Tuesday, December 26, 2006

"fined his band members for missed notes or imperfect shoeshines"

What a man, what a man, what a fucking crazy man. James Brown was one of the most important figures, icons, legends (all those words. he deserves 'em all.) in pop music. Of course, that spills over into hip hop, funk, soul, r & b, et al. And he was muthafuNkin' craz-zay and crazyTOUGH.

Great obit by Jon Pareles says it all (just about).

Last night I mistakenly (let's face it, drunkenly) set my radio alarm to 89.9 instead of 89.3 and I righteously woke up to "Say It Loud — I’m Black and I’m Proud."

What an awesome way for a white girl to get roused outta bed.

Thanks for *EVERYTHING*, Mr. Brown. You put the drama, the sweat, the funk and the stamina in pop music and you will never be forgotten.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

"Sinatra was swinging/ all the drunks, they were singin'"

For some reason The Replacements = snowy, wintery, x-mastime in downtown MPLS, to me...(I think it's the whole "Skyway" thing.) I *needed* to hear Mr. Westerberg and co. while I was walking through the slush tonight. It felt so right.

Before I made my way out in the night, a real life musical event made me take my headphones outta my ears. I heard the most awesome x-mas song I could've possibly heard at that moment, it penetrated through my iPod! A dread-locked busker chick was playing accordion in the skyway...and out came the sounds of "Fairytale of New York," The Pogues' wonderfully, comically, conflicted romance/x-mas tune. So fucking refreshing, cuz I really could live the rest of my life without hearing Vince Gill sing all religiously in public, and all the rest of it, really.

I couldn't wipe the smile off of my face and I threw my money down.

Friday, December 15, 2006

surprise! I love British pop music!

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

These two records are meeting my needs and then some. Yesterday, as I was listening to “Space and Time” and thought---Urban Hymns might be the one album I have heard more than any other album….ever. Heavy. My specific memory is flying back to the States from London, when I was 17 years old. I was drifting in and out of sleep as I heard Richard Ashcroft’s passionate, dramatic vocals soar…there are pleas for love and peace of mind… and optimistic visions for the future with his new wife. I remember it being almost haunting, with the eerie, blue-green light light coming in through the windows. The feeling that it's not a tangeible time of day, because your body doesn't know what time it is or where you are...and here are these "timeless melodies." My memories float back to those moments when I hear some songs, still. In the last eight years, I have consistently listened to those songs more than any other.

“Village Green Preservation Society” is one of those Damn Jeremy Albums. He *tried* to get me into it, years ago, (just like the fucking Stone Roses) and I resisted for some dumb reason. I thought the concept of it all seemed too twee, or something. Well, that is total bullshit. It’s incredible. I can’t stop listening to it. The lyrics are brilliant and the music is dated and almost a little timeless (but ahead of its time) simultaneously.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

a response

Yes, Anonymous, it is a bit of a generalization.

BUT, I am an Anglophile when it comes to pop and rock music from the British Isles and I have been reading Q and Mojo (and Select, Vox, etc.) since I was 12 years old.

They feature lots of lists. ALL THE TIME.

And I think, compared to the States, the Brits *seem* to value music more. It's evident in the passion in the writing and the abundance of music publications. We really don't have that here. Also, as I've written about before, Western European audiences (hell, it could be everywhere BUT the U.S., as far as I know) are just so much more enthusiastic than we are when attending a rock show.

I don't know about Iran or India...

Sorry if I offend!

"like a cat in a bag, waiting to drown..."-- you call that sad?

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
yeah...so do I.

I found it especially sad when I found out that Richard Ashcroft wrote "The Drugs Don't Work" about his father's death.

J Mo sent me this. It's fantastic. Again, always leave it to the Brits for their obsession with list-making and their appreciation for music in all aspects of life. (Course the "on behalf of Nokia" kinda threw me...I can hear Alex, "there's only music, so that there's new ringtones...")

Sad songs say so much
December 11, 2006 12:00am

THE Drugs Don't Work by The Verve tops a list of songs which make us sad, according to a scientist.

Dr Harry Witchel, an expert in physiology and music, analysed the physical reactions to music on behalf of Nokia.

Using a shortlist compiled by the Official UK Charts Company, he measured their "tune trigger quotient" measuring heart rate, respiratory response and skin temperature to find the saddest, happiest and most exhilarating tracks.
The happiest songs were measured by contentment judged on levels of sighs per minute (indicating the recall of happy memories) plus low level of boredom.
Sad tracks were indicated by decreased heart rate and exhilarating tunes by increase in breaths per minute.

The happiest song was LDN by Lily Allen, followed by Abba's Dancing Queen and REM's Shiny Happy People.
Kylie Minogue's Spinning Around also rates as one of the happiest songs.
Most exhilarating were Blur's Song 2, Love Machine by Girls Aloud and Somebody Told Me by Killers.
The Verve beat Robbie Williams's Angels for the title of saddest song, with Elton John's Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word coming third.

"Music is undeniably powerful at triggering different emotional states," Witchel said. "Changes in tempo and frequencies induce profoundly different emotional states.
"A slow tempo song like the Verve's The Drugs Don't Work slows down the heart compared to most of the other songs and compared to white noise - in other words, it works like the emotional state of sadness.

"Also, I have to say there were many powerful and exhilarating songs we tested, and I was surprised that Blur's Song 2 could be such a clear winner among our participants."

The happiest 10 songs were:
1. Lily Allen - LDN
2. Abba - Dancing Queen
3. REM - Shiny Happy People
4. B52s - Love Shack
5. The Beatles - She Loves You
6. Beyonce - Crazy In Love
7. Britney Spears - Baby One More Time
8. Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes - I've Had The Time Of My Life
9. The Spice Girls - Spice Up Your Life
10. Kylie Minogue - Spinning Around

The saddest 10 songs were:
1. The Verve - The Drugs Don't Work
2. Robbie Williams - Angels
3. Elton John - Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word
4. Whitney Houston - I Will Always Love You
5. Sinead O'Connor - Nothing Compares 2 U
6. Will Young - Leave Right Now
7. Elvis Presley - Are You Lonesome Tonight?
8. Christina Aguilera - Beautiful
9. James Blunt - Goodbye My Lover
10. Radiohead - Fake Plastic Trees

The most exhilarating 10 songs were:
1. Blur - Song 2
2. Girls Aloud - Love Machine
3. Killers - Somebody Told Me
4. Prodigy - Firestarter
5. Razorlight - Rip It Up
6. Rolling Stones - Start Me Up
7. Gnarls Barkley - Crazy
8. U2 - Beautiful Day
9. Oasis - Roll With It
10. Take That - Relight My Fire

Monday, December 11, 2006

The Purple One

Prince is playing the SuperBowl.

Of course he is.

He is occupying a very large region of my brain, right now and will be for at least a week more.

I'll tell you why...later....

Thursday, December 07, 2006

that stuffy time of year...award nominations!

The Grammy noms were announced today.

I got all giddy when I saw my lads made it--in the States, in the usually stuffy, out-of-touch world of the Grammys.

Not surprisingly, the Grammys chose safe, mostly bo-rrrring choices, as per usual. That abhorrent James Blunt song is fucking all over the noms. Yuck. And, why, why, why:
Best Pop Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal :My Humps; The Black Eyed Peas

I truly feel that that song just might be the worst pop song of all time.

This is a fun race, though:

Best Female Pop Vocal Performance
(For a solo vocal performance. Singles or Tracks only.)
Ain't No Other Man
Christina Aguilera
Natasha Bedingfield
You Can Close Your Eyes
Sheryl Crow
Stupid Girls
Black Horse And The Cherry Tree
KT Tunstall

If Pink or KT won, I'd be shocked, but extremely happy to see either of them get it. Xtina better nail it, though.

The Best Surprises:

The Arctic Monkeys got nommed for Best Rock Instrumental Performance with thieir non-LP track, “Chun Li's Flying Bird Kick.” WHAT THE FUCK? That is too awesome.

Neil Young got several! “Living With War” got him a nom for Best Rock Album and
“Lookin' For A Leader" got nominated for Best Rock Song (the Killers also made it with their powerhouse of a pop song, “When You Were Young”).

and, holy shit do I want to see my lads take Best Alternative Music Album:

Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not
Arctic Monkeys
At War With The Mystics
The Flaming Lips
St. Elsewhere
Gnarls Barkley
Show Your Bones
Yeah Yeah Yeahs
The Eraser
Thom Yorke

Monday, December 04, 2006

"kiss the fucking sky"

Fitzy taped a fantastic Oasis show from last year, in the States (so the kids were not as "mad fer it" as the Brits, claro) and we watched it with J Mo and Will this weekend. It was quite a hoot to see them watch the Original Lads at it, pumping out their songs. Liam, in his stupid hat and shorts and Noel and His Hair. Will couldn't really get over it. Said it looked like an old timey leather NFL helmet. So true. (But, hey, rocks stars got to have the right hair--just ask 'em, they'll explain why.)

I have never considered Oasis a good live band. I've seen them 3 times and I think they are a studio band. Really. Liam is just an ape. And Noel is a rock gawd, sure, but he's really so very-un-rock star. They take great pains to ignore each other on stage, which is silly and frustrating ("They're babies!" says Fitzy. True, say I.) Not that Noel needs to do the Windmill or set his guitar on fire or something to be righteous in the flesh...but...he just doesn't have that star quality. He just writes perfect rock songs and has a wonderful guitar talent that drives that Oasis sound (Tom Petty-like-solos, if you ask J Mo--she totally has a point).

In Manchestah, my man just played (*sigh*) these songs...all by himself. whew. I fully support the idea of Noel going solo...by the by...

(It's Good) To Be Free
Talk Tonight *he dedicated this one to Andy, the ex-Arctic Monkey! huh*
Fade Away
Cast No Shadow
The Importance Of Being Idle
Listen Up
Half The World Away
Slide Away
Strawberry Fields Forever
Don't Look Back In Anger
Married With Children

Ah--and: my most recent fave Noel quote, talking about his music, of course:
"[music that will]make you feel like you're 18, you've got a new jacket on and you're going out to kiss the fucking sky."

or, as I might say...Oasis is the kind of shit you put on *immediately* after work on a Friday evening.

Friday, December 01, 2006

yet ANOTHER reason not to smoke

Yep, cigarette smoke is radioactive.

Fucking hell.

To all my friends and loved ones who have quit (congratulations! you should be very proud of yourself!) and to those that are thinking about quitting...

December 1, 2006
Op-Ed Contributor

Puffing on Polonium

Stanford, Calif.

WHEN the former K.G.B. agent Alexander V. Litvinenko was found to have been poisoned by radioactive polonium 210 last week, there was one group that must have been particularly horrified: the tobacco industry.
The industry has been aware at least since the 1960s that cigarettes contain significant levels of polonium. Exactly how it gets into tobacco is not entirely understood, but uranium “daughter products” naturally present in soils seem to be selectively absorbed by the tobacco plant, where they decay into radioactive polonium. High-phosphate fertilizers may worsen the problem, since uranium tends to associate with phosphates. In 1975, Philip Morris scientists wondered whether the secret to tobacco growers’ longevity in the Caucasus might be that farmers there avoided phosphate fertilizers.

How much polonium is in tobacco? In 1968, the American Tobacco Company began a secret research effort to find out. Using precision analytic techniques, the researchers found that smokers inhale an average of about .04 picocuries of polonium 210 per cigarette. The company also found, no doubt to its dismay, that the filters being considered to help trap the isotope were not terribly effective. (Disclosure: I’ve served as a witness in litigation against the tobacco industry.)

A fraction of a trillionth of a curie (a unit of radiation named for polonium’s discoverers, Marie and Pierre Curie) may not sound like much, but remember that we’re talking about a powerful radionuclide disgorging alpha particles — the most dangerous kind when it comes to lung cancer — at a much higher rate even than the plutonium used in the bomb dropped on Nagasaki. Polonium 210 has a half life of about 138 days, making it thousands of times more radioactive than the nuclear fuels used in early atomic bombs.

We should also recall that people smoke a lot of cigarettes — about 5.7 trillion worldwide every year, enough to make a continuous chain from the earth to the sun and back, with enough left over for a few side-trips to Mars. If .04 picocuries of polonium are inhaled with every cigarette, about a quarter of a curie of one of the world’s most radioactive poisons is inhaled along with the tar, nicotine and cyanide of all the world’s cigarettes smoked each year. Pack-and-a-half smokers are dosed to the tune of about 300 chest X-rays.

Is it therefore really correct to say, as Britain’s Health Protection Agency did this week, that the risk of having been exposed to this substance remains low? That statement might be true for whatever particular supplies were used to poison Mr. Litvinenko, but consider also this: London’s smokers (and those Londoners exposed to secondhand smoke), taken as a group, probably inhale more polonium 210 on any given day than the former spy ingested with his sushi.

No one knows how many people may be dying from the polonium part of tobacco. There are hundreds of toxic chemicals in cigarette smoke, and it’s hard to sort out how much one contributes compared to another — and interactive effects can be diabolical.

In a sense, it doesn’t really matter. Taking one toxin out usually means increasing another — one reason “lights” don’t appear to be much safer. What few experts will dispute is the magnitude of the hazard: the World Health Organization estimates that 10 million people will be dying annually from cigarettes by the year 2020 — a third of these in China. Cigarettes, which claimed about 100 million lives in the 20th century, could claim close to a billion in the present century.

The tobacco industry of course doesn’t like to have attention drawn to the more exotic poisons in tobacco smoke. Arsenic, cyanide and nicotine, bad enough. But radiation? As more people learn more about the secrets hidden in the golden leaf, it may become harder for the industry to align itself with candy and coffee — and harder to maintain, as we often hear in litigation, that the dangers of tobacco have long been “common knowledge.” I suspect that even some of our more enlightened smokers will be surprised to learn that cigarette smoke is radioactive, and that these odd fears spilling from a poisoned K.G.B. man may be molehills compared with our really big cancer mountains.

Robert N. Proctor is a professor of the history of science at Stanford University.