From the category archives:

Musical

Trepidation… is the best word I can use to describe my feelings upon learning there’d be a 5th and final A Tribe Called Quest album when Ali Shaheed Muhammad teased that fact a few weeks before its release on November 11th, 2016. Since then, there’s been a triumphant SNL performance, an avalanche of positive reviews and “We’ve Got It from Here… Thank You 4 Your Service“‘s position as the #1 album in the country. Wait, what? This played out better than I ever could have hoped. Well done, gentlemen.

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Update – 12/14/15: While I think I got it right the first time, admittedly I should have added Sex Dwarf to the list. We didn’t have YouTube when I first posted this list of the best 80s songs almost 11 years ago – so I’ve also updated this breathtaking collection in that respect. See what you think and I look forward to hearing your own opinions in the comments below.

I have a friend named Katie who is convinced I am the leading living authority on 80’s pop music. I made her 3 CDs of my favorites called “Katie’s Eighties” and she’s copied it for a dozen or so of her friends. She plays it in the office, in her apartment, her car – she’s obsessed. Whenever I go over to one of her parties, I’m immediately recognized (“YOU’RE the guy who made that CD?!”), cornered and then praised incessantly. To be honest, it’s kinda nice to be able to make something so many people have enjoyed so much. And the music angle is also sorta on the cool side.

I think the key here is to really “dig in the crates” as they say, and find great songs that a lot of people have completely forgotten about. Anyone can make an “80’s Mix” With Soft Cell, Rick Springfield and Kenny Loggins on it. Big whoop. To make a good 80’s CD, you have to do better than that. You also have to set boundaries as to what exactly constitutes 80’s music. For example, my favorite band, the Pixes, recorded the vast majority of their material in the 80’s – but I’d never put one of their songs in an 80’s collection (well, maybe Here Comes Your Man). This is because I like to associate 80’s music with synthesizers, ridiculous haircuts, legwarmers and the like. Although there are many important guitar-driven bands from the 80’s, for the most part I leave them off of my pirating endeavors. And I’m not even going to start worrying about what I’m supposed to do with rap.

You also have to make sure you’re not picking songs for the sake of being original or clever – they have to be crowd-pleasers. I’d love to throw a brilliant-yet-obscure Gary Numan song like Are Friends Electric? on there, but no one would ‘get it’. Your CD has to be one you can throw on at a party and that people will dig the whole way through. Lest you start ‘gagging them with a spoon’. You can’t be self-indulgent.

So I started to think – Maybe I can be considered an 80’s music authority. I’ve certainly done the legwork. I was as much of a music fan when I was 10 as I am now, so I was alive and conscious during the 80’s onslaught. I was such a Culture Club fan at the age of nine that my father pretty much gave up on trying to teach me how to throw a baseball. Or having grandchildren. Then I asked myself what songs I’d put on my top ten list and decided to turn this whole unabashedly uninteresting project into an article here on Pye In The Face. You lucky devils. So with no further ado, here’s my ultimate top ten bestest eighties song list. In very particular order.

10. Uncertain Smile – The The

Matt Johnson never managed to break into the bigtime, and it’s too bad because The The have some truly amazing material. This song is not my favorite, but it’s the most easily digestible. I’d rather put “The Sinking Feeling” or “Giant” on here, but again – you have to cater somewhat to the lowest common denominator for this project.

9. Whisper To A Scream – Icicle Works

This song reminds me of growing up on Island View Drive in Manotick, Ontario. Everytime I hear it, I feel like I’m back on my BMX, racing around the subdivision with a bag of stale bread to go feed to the ducks at the river. A great little catchy guitar intro, interesting call-and-response phrasing and a thunderous chorus.

8. Head Over Heels – Tears For Fears

This was the first concert I ever saw, back in 1986 at the Ottawa Civic Center with Mr. Mister opening up. What an evening. I went with my Dad’s friend’s younger brother and saw my first lesbians and smelled my first marijuana. “Why are those two women kissing and what’s that wonderful smell?” An eye-opening experience to say the least. I love the piano in this song – it sounds as though someone is hitting the keys with a hammer. Also the way Curt Smith and Roland Orzabal take turns singing sections of the verses is very cool. And I’ll never forget the video: Roland following a pretty librarian around trying to win her affections. In 2004, we’d call that sexual harassment.

7. When The River Runs Dry – Hunters and Collectors

This song could have the catchiest chorus of the decade. I once saw this Australian band open for Midnight Oil at Great Woods and they were amazing. The lyrics are horribly convoluted and just really bad. But then so are most of the others on this list. It’s also unique in that they build up to the chorus over two verses, and then separate them with just one verse for the rest of the song. And I love the way Mark Seymour screams the one word “Salvation” at the end of the chorus. The song is mostly guitar based, but the bass sound is altered in such a way that I’m gonna let that slide.

6. Voices Carry – Til Tuesday

Many people don’t know that Boston’s own Aimee Mann was the lead singer of this shortlived outfit. This song was a no-brainer for this list – I’ve loved the dirty sounding guitar picking coupled with her amazing voice since I first heard the song as a mere pup in 1985. Mann and her baffling hairdo always reminded me of Pris from Blade Runner. And that it was getting increasingly more interesting to touch myself in the pants.

5. New Moon On Monday – Duran Duran

I had to put the double D’s on this list somewhere, as I was thoroughly obsessed with them for years – but I was originally a strict Tears for Fears man.I had a friend named Andrew Habbington during most of the eighties and we used to fight, literally, over who was the better band. But I eventually crossed over to the dark side and became a Duranie myself. I haven’t seen Andrew in 20 years, but maybe someday he’ll Google himself and find this, and then laugh with some sense of smug satisfaction. The harmonies in this song are intense, and you’ll need a degree from Juliard to be able to sing along in your car. Forget Hungry Like the Wolf for a minute and get yourself Duracclimated.

4. We Run – Strange Advance

Bryan Adams wasn’t the only Canuck rocking out hardcore in the eighties. Darryl Kromm sounds almost as if he’s fighting back vomit during the entire song, but I like the 2nd synthesizer that comes in mid way, and the eerie high-pitched “hayaaa hayaaa” vocals that get layered in at the end. I don’t know much about this band, and I don’t think anyone does, but I love this song. And Bryan Adams.

3. In A Big Country – Big Country

Where do I begin? My friends are all well familiar with my enduring love of this band, and I was absolutely shattered when Stuart Adamson hung himself a few years ago. Their live DVD entitled appropriately enough, Final Fling, is amazing and I watch it all the time. This song has an enormous energy behind it which is only made better by the fact that Stu and Bruce figured out a way to make their guitars sound like fucking bagpipes. And I love the video where they’re zipping around Scotland on ATVs – perhaps in search of a deep fried Mars bar.

2. Do You Really Want To Hurt Me – Culture Club

Quite possibly the funkiest bassline ever laid down. Incidentally the bass player, Jon Moss, was subsequently laid down by Boy George – which led to the untimely demise of the band. Listen to this song with the subwoofah turned way up and recollect that ridiculous dance George was doing through the male senior citizen bath house in the video. Or was that his living room? And he’s still influencing disassociated nose-piercers to this day – by no means look at this page if you plan on sleeping tonight.

1. The Promise – When In Rome

This is a truly incredible song. It’s recently been resurrected by the film Napoleon Dynamite, and was an excellent choice for the soundtrack. The choppy synth bass, 14 octave vocals and clever chorus drove this to my number one with a bullet. You don’t know a lick about the 80’s if you haven’t heard this tune. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

It was extremely hard to pick just ten – I could have easily done twenty. Honorable mentions go to Sunglasses at Night by Corey Hart, Kyrie by Mr. Mister, Pop Goes The World by Men Without Hats, Major Tom by Peter Schilling – but I just have to draw the line somewhere. And get some sleep. Yep – all in all, with the possible exception of Monchichis, it was a pretty cool decade.

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Preface: I’m not as mad at Chris Brown for beating the living daylights out of Rhianna as I am because he’s acting like it was no big deal and should be forgiven simply because 2 entire years have passed. That is a long time when you think about it. Maybe she was attacked by a Pterodactyl.

 

Chris Brown is sorta-talented, in a “Michael Jackson’s corpse isn’t even cold yet” kinda way. I’d give credit if credit were due – his recent SNL performances made me long for Sinead O’Connor’s pope-tearing technique. There’s a big talent pool out there and he’s no big whoop. It must suck when you lay low for a couple of years and no one even notices. Although I’m sure his P.O. was proud of him.

pterodactyl_fncarHe’s also in possession of the humility of a peacock and definitely in serious denial as to the seriousness of the physical attack he launched on Rhianna. He’s not ducking half-assed domestic violence accusations from an unknown forlorn lover who hasn’t got the pictures to prove it. He beat one of the biggest stars in the world like she was a red-headed step child. A red-headed stepchild who’d just set fire to his Michael Jackson CD collection. His little episode at the Good Morning America studios today speaks volumes about Brown’s weak, narcissistic character and I absolutely cannot believe how well his album is selling (Currently #1 in iTunes). How soon we forget, people…

Exhibit A: Some randomly selected tweets from this evening:

leave-chris-brown-alone

Leave him alone? Who are we to judge? I’ll answer those questions with a question: What fucking planet are you kids on? I was speechless even before I realized that the vast majority of Tweets in support of Brown come from women – albeit young ones. And let’s not overlook the other above gem, “…that bitch provoked a lot of what happened.” That statement scares the heck out of me. Future of America, do you need a wee refresher?:

rhianna-beaten

This isn’t even the worst of the photos, but I’m sure you’ve all seen them. Actually, after my little sojourn on Twitter tonight – I’m not sure at all. What the fuck is going on right now?

mitch-green-eyeIn my younger days I was jumped, kicked and beaten unconscious by a bunch of jerks at a party (in the interests of full disclosure, I might have knocked out their “leader” first) – and I looked better than Rhianna did after her final car ride with Brown. Remember when Mike Tyson punched Mitch Green, bare-knuckled, back in 1988? Ever see that picture? The damage to the man’s face is so bad it’s almost revolting – but it still seems like nothing when compared to Brown’s inflictions. By the way, that’s Mitch Green on the left. Not me. It’s OK. I get that a lot.

You’d think Brown’s record label would have a veritable army of publicists and temper coaches following this juvenile clown around. They mustn’t, however, because I’m sure that “frightening female staffers to the point they call security, ripping off one’s shirt and then smashing a dressing room window sending huge shards to the sidewalk below” probably aren’t featured tactics in the arsenal of many PR firms who have a client they’re trying to make the public at large forget is a merciless woman-beater [takes a deep breath]. I wish the youth of America had a memory as long as that sentence. At least I can take a little solace in this guy:

chris-brown-is-a-douche

There are two types of men in this world, Chris. Those who hit women and those who don’t. You’ll likely be haunted by this to some degree for the rest of your life. You screwed up, big time, and showed the irrationally forgiving world what you’re capable of. I hope ABC bans you from their building after your little hissy fit today and cancels your scheduled appearance on DWTS next week. If the tantrums continue may many other networks/shows do the same. Resume the low-laying at your nearest possible convenience.

You have one hope… one option if you’re ever to be taken seriously again or redeemed in the eyes of anyone old enough to vote. And that is to simply answer people’s questions and accept responsibility for what you did for as long as it takes popular culture to let you off the hook (and apparently many already have). Someone else will batter the teeth out of their unfortunate girlfriend’s superstar face and the media will forget all about you. In the meantime, show a little humility. At the very least leave your shirt on, Bruce Banner.

What a strange story and stranger world we live in. Do you agree with my reluctance to simply forget about the violent actions of this this hugely influential role model? Or are you on Team Brown? Believe me when I say – I’d love to hear you explain why he should be forgiven so quickly and in spite of the fact he shows no signs of changing his violent, hair-trigger ways. Fascinated. Fire away. Just don’t hit any girls while you’re at it.

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This is one of the best tunes I’ve ever heard. Period. I absolutely love it. It has been on my “must blog” list since the first time I came across it 6 months ago. Lack of the baseline for more than a week sends me into a sweaty withdrawal and the late-arriving chorus is sung aloud in my house on a daily basis. My appreciation is so all-encompassing that I almost feel like further explanation isn’t necessary. Get the picture? I’ll put my pants back on. Just listen…

It’s Not Meant to Be, the opening track, has son-of-Stone Roses written over its sun-dappled, almost drawling psychedelia that lolls about and lets the whammy-bar guitar prod its warm form. This is an afternoon song. – Sydney Morning Herald

Quite possibly the best Australian song, ever.

Tame Impala hail from Perth, Australia. They’re a brash young bunch of longhairs and the remarkable music they produce in between fish bowling studio booths is commonly called “psychedelic” or “trippy”. People used to say that the Madchester music scene of the late eighties/early nineties was trippy, but that was largely due to the Everest-sized mountain of drugs everyone was taking. This is a different animal. This is… an Impala.

Were you alone in a dark room with lead singer Kevin Parker, and you asked him to sing, and he could actually oblige because a ballgag wasn’t also part of your weird little fantasy – you’d think you were sitting beside… Let me start over: he sounds exactly like John Lennon. He’s not trying to, so it shouldn’t ruin the experience… Just be forewarned. It’s really just a pleasant coincidence considering the Beatles’ own hallucinogenic get-the-spiders-off-me phase produced their best work.

imageEmo Hoodoo Gurus

Their debut album, Innerspeaker, is full of gems and was apparently recorded in a shed several hours outside of Perth. Although “It’s Not Meant to Be” is still my favorite, it was also a gateway to “I Don’t Really Mind”, “Solitude is Bliss” and “Make Up Your Mind”. Do these boys ever love singing about minds. And using contractions.

"Innerspeaker" is what The Beatles would sound like if they took EVEN MORE drugs with a dash of Led Zeppelin and Cream. The albums nostalgic lo-fi spaced out psychedelia, while nothing groundbreaking, does a lot of things pitch-perfectly right. – SputnikMusic.com

I have linked the aforementioned songs to YouTube videos for your easy and free listening. I’ll be in attendance when they play Toronto on May 1st and I can’t say enough good things about this record. Let’s hope they stick around a little longer than Silverchair.

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nickandmaryMost reviews I’ve read of Don Lennon albums, or articles about the man himself, begin the same way – by comparing his sound to someone else. I get the Jonathan Richman references and I understand the inevitable likening to Stephin Merritt. I refute, however, the notion that Jens Lekman is an influence on Lennon – I’m quite certain it’s the other way around.

Maniac came out in 1997, 6 years before Lekman’s first EP. Don has maintained a strong Swedish following for over a decade. It doesn’t take Sam Spade to connect those dots. Where am I going with this… Released last week, Nick and Mary is Don’s 6th studio album and I pray the day will soon come when the music press stop obsessing over peripheral similarities and inaccurate influencers because they’re doing their readers a disservice. They’re denying them some Don.

More specifically, the incessant comparisons do little but downplay 15 years of consistently outstanding and unique output. You’re no longer coming off clever by discussing parallels to other musicians which have already been done to death. With a new album will come a new crop of reviews/articles and I pray this time around Don’s exceptional new album is judged on its merits and not its Merritts. See what I did there?

Nick and Mary is a double album featuring 24 songs in total. Although I’ve listened to it 4 times all the way through as of this writing, I feel like I’ve only scratched the surface. One of my early favorites is “Months”, and I put together a YouTube clip so you can enjoy it easily below. I do want to share amazing music with my readers. I do not wish to go to jail for hosting MP3s or have Don pissed at me. This seemed like a good compromise:

”The months, they freak us out.”

Fat-sounding guitar chords kick the song off rather suddenly and were what first caught my ear, helping me make the difficult choice of which of the 24 tunes to feature on Wadio. I could just have easily gone with Rats!, Naked in Public, Bedbugs or Kids at Pearl River Mart – the album is rich with Don’s amazing knack for the catchy, subtle humor, blissfully-jangly guitars and superior songcraft. This LP will be with me for a good long while.

Don’s equally impressive back catalogue is available on iTunes, and you can purchase Nick and Mary from DonLennon.com. Let me know what you think about this song and all things DL related in the comments.

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Documentaries are a huge love of mine and I find myself seeking them out more and more frequently. As a result I’m going to add a dedicated new category to the blog – Doc Squawk. Where I squawk about the docs, obviously. I may also chirp, bu-gock or even “review” them.

During my senior year of high school Oliver Stone conveniently created a major motion picture/biopic about classic rock band The Doors titled, intuitively enough, The Doors. Jim Morrison was played by Val Kilmer, John Densmore was played by an Entourage douche, Robby Krieger was played by a Pulp Fiction fruitcake and Ray Manzarek was emoted by a Twin Peaks twit. High-calibre director and actors equalled a solid flick overall. I thought that 20 years ago as a confused teenager – and still do.

“Faces come out of the rain? Who’d you buy this shit from?”

Although convinced I hated “classic rock” back in 1991 and spent almost all my time cooing about the Happy Mondays and Stone Roses, for some reason my group of friends and I were hell bent on seeing this movie. I remember the pre-flick “preparation” in the parking lot of the movie theater in Woburn, Massachusetts like it was yesterday. In fact, it’s amazing we were able to put one foot in front of the other long enough to have our tickets torn.

We came, we saw, we began listening to The Doors incessantly for the rest of the year. In fact, I distinctly remember creating mixtapes (of which I was a mass-producer) which contained both Doors tunes and the likes of Manchester masters like the aforementioned – plus perhaps Inspiral Carpets, The Farm and The Charlatans – all mixed together. And I remember why I did this. The Doors never had a bass player. The entire low end was provided by Manzarek’s awesome dual-keyboard adeptness. As organs were also a huge part of the “Madchester” music scene, the synergy was obvious to me at the time and I rest my zit-faced case.

I’ve retained my appreciation for the band over the last 20 years, well beyond the strange little pop culture fad I went through way back when. As a result, when I finally signed up for Netflix and hooked it up in the Man Cave via my PS3 last night, the first thing I watched was the recent documentary “When You’re Strange: A Film About The Doors ”. It’s full of first-hand footage the world has never seen before and there were many moments and mutterings I remembered (probably because I revisited it a couple of weeks ago) from Stone’s scripted movie. When Hollywood’s version was filmed said backstage/personal/home movie footage was available only to the likes of screenwriters and folks like Val Kilmer.

jim-morrison-miami

My point is, tons of the dialogue we see spoken in the documentary made it into the script of the biopic – and that realization enthralled the heck out of me. For example, I always had a hard time picturing Jimmy screaming, “You’re all a bunch of fuckin’ slaves, man!”, to thousands of people in Miami. I no longer have that problem. I really enjoyed and maybe even nerded-out a little over finally getting to see so much of what was source material for the film I’ve dug for such a long time now.

In short, loved it. Great insight (especially all the movie-like footage of Morrison being chased through the desert in a ‘68 Mustang – anyone know where and why that was filmed?) Fans of The Doors (movie, band etc.) have to seek it out. And in closing I’d just like to say… thank goodness my 17-year-old self never had access to peyote.

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I’ve been hearing about how good Deerhunter is for a couple of years now. Admittedly, a lot of the kudos was from Pitchfork, who routinely give 8/10s to dime-a-dozen Southern rappers and the side projects of hipster side projects – so I have learned to take their enthusiasm with a grain of obscure salt. My biggest reaction prior to finally listening to their latest album, Halcyon Digest, a week ago was to giggle and shout, “Mau!” I was ignorant, folks. Ignorant and so very, very wrong. Pass the revolver and make sure Mikey hasn’t drowned or been eaten by rats yet. How’s that for obscure?

The whole record is great. Standouts include “Helicopter”, “Revival” and “Coranado” – but the tune that has kept me completely obsessed, for a variety of reasons I’m about to get into (and for at least 50 listens to date), is the remarkable “Desire Lines”. Get stuck into it right now…

Homage or not, this song’s been added to my all-time favorites list.

It’s a beautiful, catchy song. Bradford Cox and company know how to write themselves a tune. And after you get through the first 4 lovely minutes, it shifts gear into another 4 minutes of equally listenable, lyric-less jamming. Here’s where I get especially turned on – the similarities of said 4-minute jam to the last 4 minutes of my favorite Pixies tune, also sans lyrics after a completely different sounding first half, are so striking that it absolutely has to be some sort of homage. That or an accident perpetrated by the Gods especially for me. You be the judge…

This Monkey’s Been to Heaven. And most likely Atlanta, Georgia.

Any way you slice it, “Desire Lines” uncanny resemblance to “No. 13 Baby” in no way detracts from my enjoyment of Deerhunter’s new classic. It is so rare that a song, let alone an entire LP, reaches out and grabs me like this that it absolutely had to be the first Wadio of 2011. I hope you like it and look forward to your comments. It’s gonna be a good year for music.

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E-O-Twenty-Eleven

by Dave on January 21, 2011

in Heartwarming,Musical

What better way to kickstart my long-overdue blogging rebirth than the announcement of a Pixies show in Ottawa? That news certainly shook the dust off my semi-dormant pop culture nerdery. Like a soon-to-be-incarcerated nanny. As did the first hand realization that the lack of a regular creative outlet sometimes leads to very dark places.

And how could I have gone two whole weeks without screaming from the rooftops about the birth of my gorgeous little niece? The rooftop in this case being www.DavePye.com aka www.PyeintheFace.com? The world is a much better place with you in it, little Bonnie MacKenzie Helem (“Kenzie” for short). Yes, she’s named after my beloved Mother so feel free to shed a few tears. Or pounds – it is January after all.

I just got a better idea. Why not combine the two topics via my trusty Photoshop installation and then title the whole thing with an obscure reference to an old Rat Pack film? It’s as good a rebirth as any I’ve seen recently. Excepting, of course, Los Pixies themselves. On we go…

bonnie-pixies1

My niece may very well go on to become one of the most influential guitarists of all time. It’s not for anyone to say as the paint is still wet. Incidentally, the venue in question is the Ottawa Civic Center on April 16th and a ticket pre-sale begins today at 1pm over on www.PixiesMusic.com. Happy New Year, everyone. I’m back.

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Guru is Gone: The 5 Best Gang Starr Songs

by Dave on April 23, 2010

in Musical

Photo by Jennifer Taylor Gang Starr is easily one of my top 5 favorite hip hop acts, evah. To die of cancer at age 43 is tragic whether you’re a streetwise rhyme spitter or a sanitation professional. Keith Elam will be sorely missed and I’d like to thank him for his exceptional work by listing my personal top 5 favorite Gang Starr tracks (not sure if there’s a specific order). Whether you’re hearing these for the umpteenth time or the very first – revel in the talent that was Guru (Gifted Unlimited Rhymes Universal) and Premier.

Click the song titles if you’d like to download the MP3.

5. Take It Personal
The first time I heard this was as a boarding student at Vermont Academy in 1992. My friend, Jamal, was from Brooklyn and had someone send him Daily Operation on cassette the day it was released. The tune blared out of his dorm room for the better part of a week and I’d never heard anything like the machine gun kick drums which make up the beat. The scratchy old time piano and manic scratching of the Brand Nubian sample on the chorus rocked my young world and does to this day.

"I can see through you, cause I’m the Guru. So what you gonna do when I start to step to you?"

4. Who’s Gonna Take The Weight?
The standout feature of this song is the borderline-nerve-grating steam whistle noise which DJ Premier manipulates throughout. This sort of sound would become a huge hip hop staple in the coming years. House of Pain, Cypress Hill and others were definitely influenced by this track and that’s a big reason why it makes my list. And I think there’s also an underlying message or something.

"I be plannin’ to be rammin’ what I wrote – straight on a plate down your throat."

3. DWYCK
This is one of the silliest songs and videos from the 1990’s “golden age” of hip hop – but goddamn it’s catchy, funky and has retained a place of honor on my iPod… since it was a walkman. A rare Gang Starr “party jam”, Hard To Earn ’s DWYCK features Nice n’ Smooth and references to everyone from Cassius Clay to John McClane himself. It’s an incredibly enduring classic. Period.

“Lemonade was a popular drink and it still is. I get more props and stunts than Bruce Willis.”

2. Words I Manifest
One of the singles off their first album, 1989’s No More Mr. Nice Guy , Manifest features a devastatingly catchy sample from A Night in Tunisia by Charlie Parker and was probably the first Gang Starr song I ever heard. The video sees Guru playing up his uncanny resemblance to Malcolm X, but thankfully he lightened up after the afro-centric 80s and settled for a baseball cap like everyone else. Such a great, early, seminal hip hop track.

“I suggest you take a breath for the words I manifest they will scold you and mold you, while I impress upon you…”

1. Mass Appeal My very favorite track from the classic canon of Gang Starr. Not an easy distinction to make but this song stands out for me amongst a slew of deserving options. DJ Premier is a master at sourcing stand out samples which no one has ever used, and the repeating riff he creates from a few keystrokes of Horizon Drive by Vic Juris is one of the best you’ll hear throughout the short history of hip hop.

”Word is bond I go on and on, for you it`s tragic, I got magic like wands.”

In closing all I can say is, “thank you, Guru”. My 15-year-old self thanks you, my 36-year-old self thanks you and I’m quite confident that when I’m old and as deaf as a doorknob… the hook from Mass Appeal will still be ringing clearly in my memories of one of the best there ever was.

More Guru Memorials Worth Reading:

  • DJ Treats: “I would go so far to say Gang Starr is the reason why I have a career as a DJ, and more importantly a full-time job in music journalism.”
  • Guru’s Brother: “At his bedside, I stood and stared at his overly frail frame, his head that he had kept clean-shaven for the last 20 years uncommonly covered with hair, his body connected to a sea of tubes and wires.”
  • Guru’s Personal Goodbye: “"I write this with tears in my eyes, not of sorrow but of joy for what a wonderful life I have enjoyed and how many great people I have had the pleasure of meeting."

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Crazy Heart is a bit schmaltzy. A bit sappy. The May-September romance between Jeff Bridges and Maggie Gyllenhaal is tough to buy into. Colin Farrell as the biggest country star in the world (and the hideous accompanying ponytail) is even tougher. Someone slap that casting agent on the back of the hand and make them work at the WB for a year as punishment. But the film’s music, oh the music.

I am a fan of “Classic” country but don’t give the time of day to “New” country. My opinions have been solidified in this respect having lived the last 2.5 years in rural Canada where I cringe every time one of the local 20-something girls stumble towards the jukebox at Duck’s Roadhouse. The songs on the Crazy Heart Soundtrack are new in the real world, but are meant to be the protagonist’s old standards in the realm of the film. And they sound old, and they’re awesome.

Leonard Cohen meets George Jones meets The Dude.

My favorite is “Brand New Angel”, a very sad, mournful song as you would probably expect after contemplating the title for a split-second. Someone has died, hence… right. The chord progression, minor/major back-and-forth coupled with Bridges’ own solid, booze-soaked vocals make for a real unexpected treat. It could just as well been called “The Whiskey Waltz” and kicked off a 30-year-old Kris Kristofferson record. Written by Greg Brown, the song accurately reflects the musical influences producer T-Bone Burnett suggested Jeff Bridges draw from when developing the character:

“In fleshing out Bad’s background, it was decided that his influences should extend beyond the country genre and that he should have an eclectic taste in music. T-Bone made a wonderful graph for me of the music that Bad might have listened to. Leonard Cohen was one of the guys we thought of.” – Jeff Bridges

jeff-bridges-crazy-heart Have a listen, see what you think and then seek out the movie. It gets a solid ‘B’ from little old me. The quality of the toe-tappers, coupled with Bridges’ convincing turn as the wedding and world weary Bad Blake, ensure you’ll be glad you did, partner. The soundtrack also features performances by Colin Farrell and Robert Duvall – and you can purchase an MP3 of "Brand New Angel” or the whole shebang right here: Crazy Heart: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Deluxe Edition) .

I wouldn’t be upset if Jeff beat out Jeremy Renner for best actor, and it’s definitely going to come down to the two of them. Morgan Freeman did little more than a great Nelson Mandela impression, Colin Firth is Colin Firth. Clooney’s performance in Up in the Air is as inexplicably overrated as the film itself. If Ryan Bingham and T Bone Burnett, who produced the soundtrack and composed “Weary Heart”, (the official theme from Crazy Heart and another solid tune), lose out to Randy Newman – I’m liable to swig back a fifth of Wild Turkey and find a truck stop waitress to impregnate/beat mercilessly. No one wants to see that happen, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, so do the right thing.

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sky-blu-rapper-romneyThe unidentified man who assaulted Mitt Romney on his recent flight back from the Winter Olympics has been identified. As a rapper. Shocking. And for the curious, here’s a photo of the little darling. Click it for a larger image. Seriously. Look at this clown. I’ve never listened to LMFAO, but this guy looks like someone I’d need little excuse to wanna throttle. I’ve read a few articles describing the incident now, which in the internet realm makes anyone an objective expert in no way influenced by anyone else’s spin, and I gotta tell ya, I have to side with Mitt on this one.

Not shocking: the “musician”, who calls himself Sky Blu, denies any wrongdoing. I’ve been in the same situation numerous times – namely stuffed into an airplane seat which is way to small while some inconsiderate arsehole flings their seat backwards, crushing my kneecaps -  and in this case it wasn’t even Mitt on the receiving end… it was his wife. I don’t know many people who would even try to somehow turn the tables on an incident like this if a woman in her 50’s were involved. I’d apologize profusely and then sink back down into my seat for the rest of the flight like I were born without a neck.

sky-blu-naked-cardHave un autre look at this silly bastard. So the seat flies backwards, Mrs. Romney takes the brunt of it and Mitt finds himself having to ask some twat, who has named himself after a brand of cheap vodka, to please behave like a civilized human being. Mitt is ignored, so he taps Mr. Absolut on the shoulder and has his hand soundly slapped away and another swing of the fist follows but doesn’t connect. The future-Beethoven is then escorted off the plane by authorities after the captain returns it to the gate. Not true, claims the frizzy fool – Romney started it. Not only that, but he claims the former Governor of Massachusetts used a Vulcan grip. And I suppose Deval Patrick’s office is infested with Tribbles.

Sky Blue was very lucky that Romney is a) a public figure and b) gearing up for a serious run at the 2010 Republican Presidential nomination. There’s also a slim chance he’s a gentleman traveling from an important international event with his beloved, no less. Most plumbers would say to themselves “Keep cool, Sully. Not the right time. Get him later near the baggage claim.” So who is more likely to be telling the truth here? I mean, besides all of the witnesses backing up Mitt’s version of events?

sky-blu-lmfao Oh my God, look at him! It’s beyond easy to predict the eventual evolution of Sky’s defence in this matter. It will either have something to do with his race or he’ll complain that the only reason the airline made a big deal about the incident was because it involved Mitt Romney – and that’s absolute bullshit. I read about people being ejected from commercial flights regularly and it makes me smile every single time. You wanna fly? Learn how to behave on a means of transportation that has to be fiercely regulated lest hundreds, nay, thousands of people a year be inconvenienced or even killed. Wanna act like an irrepressible, obnoxious frigtard? Prepare to be slung off the plane like a cheap piece of luggage, with polite society’s blessing. Better yet, go to a LMFAO show.

If that were my wife being whacked on her perfect knees with a seat, the only part of Blu being escorted off the plane would have been his hair stuck to my bloody palms. The rest of him would have exited unceremoniously somewhere over Vancouver Island, covered in that blue toilet water. Geronimo, joker. Where’s Frank Horrigan when you need him?

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“They say hip hop is dead, nah it’s up North with me. I can do this all day cause it’s part of my routine, but suppers almost done and tonight – POUTINE!” – Classified

This was sent to me today by a Canadian friend of mine – as I’ve been way out of the loop for a month and a half down here in Boston – and when I realized what I was about to watch I cringed. Probably visually. A pro-Canada song, by a white rapper from the East coast, just in time for the Winter Olympics… I mean, surely it must suck polar bear sack, right?

Classified’s tribute to Canada… Kinda fuckin’ rules, buddy.

I love the fact that he’s not standing around with a bunch of black guys and wearing a ton of tacky jewellery for “street cred”. I love the fact that he only mentions pot to remind the rest of the world that it’s legal. I love his line referencing “90’s hip hop” and subsequently the song sounds a heck of a lot like just that. He doesn’t refute the stereotypes – he embraces them. Was that Mr. Lahey? Did he just give SCTV a shout out? What the frig is this?

Anybody else think maybe Maestro Fresh Wes, Snow or the Swollen Members are feeling a little left out right now? This kid is good and I’m going to hit the nearest record store (wink) and get myself acclimated. It’s probably, like, my friggin’ duty or something too, eh?

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Florence and the Machine's Lovely Bottom As the credits rolled and the highlight reel spun at the conclusion of Friday’s 10th and final series of the UK’s Celebrity Big Brother, a song which played overtop really, really caught my attention. After some research that song turned out to be Florence + the Machine’s You’ve got the Love, as I’m sure you’ve already surmised. I have enjoyed BB and CBB (The Davina McCall created Channel 4 versions only) for at least half of the decade during which they’ve helped define British television and the moment was a sad one for me. Perhaps that’s why I was susceptible to this particular ditty, but susceptible I was. Nearly a week later I am still so enamoured that, in the first instalment of Wadio since early August, I’d like to share.

A quick note to my readers who don’t usually share my taste in music – do yourself a favor and watch the video anyway, as Florence has a truly breathtaking hiney. If spectacular buttocks are what it takes to convert a new F+TM fan, then so be it. She put them on full display for a reason.

Florence has the love. And a legendary rump.

“I want my music to sound like throwing yourself out of a tree, or off a tall building, or as if you’re being sucked down into the ocean and you can’t breathe,” – Florence Welch.

florence-youve-got-the-love-ass-video-bum Florence says she writes her best music when drunk or hungover because that’s when she finds herself “most lucid”. As she’s from South London, I’m sure there were lots of opportunities to be lucid whilst growing up. The “+ the Machine” half of her stage name stems from the fact she’s backed by a revolving door of musicians and DJs, the focus remaining on her alone. Likely as a result the music press frequently compare her to Kate Bush. Regardless of how she got here, Miss Welch is making a huge dent on the music scene and I’m glad I finally noticed the bandwagon careening past. Did I mention how absolutely enraptured I am with her hindquarters?

There’s also a great “Live from Ibiza” version fans of the song should check out. Her stage presence is impressive. As this year’s 3rd place CBB winner, the almighty Vinnie Jones, was prone to say in the house: “It’s been emotional”. So, yeah, my initial reaction to the tune was inspired by a bit of sad melancholy – but the song fits the mood. Praise and thanks be to Davina and Florence.

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Holy mother bird – have I ever grown to love this band over the last 2 years. I mean it. Their name is meant to be ironic. It isn’t death metal. It’s incredibly catchy, guitar-driven, sometimes campy, heavily and unapologetically Rolling Stone-influenced, audio magic. Watch the video, read on and put on some tight pants. Yes, the almighty EODM came to the nation’s capital Friday night July 31, 2009.

Megan, Seamus and I drove 3 hours total to Ottawa and back to behold Eagles of Death Metal. I took a lot of HD video throughout the show (with my excellent new camera which I’ll mention in more detail another time) that I’ll be editing together and posting eventually, but I got the YouTube ball rolling with a tune which was definitely a welcome surprise for all in attendance. After the band left the stage for 10 minutes concluding the first half of one of the best shows I’ve ever seen – and I’ve seen a lot of them – Jesse Hughes returned to the stage solo. He proceeded to mention Atomic Dog, paid the audience yet another of many compliments and then broke into the BTO classic “Taking Care of Business”. I’ve never heard it sound better.


Jesse takes the 8:15 into the city. Of Ottawa?

If you’re unfamiliar with EODM, they are the close friends and protogees of QOTSA, right down to the long, ironic band name and cool-ass acronym. Although they already had a huge “underground” following, they got some major radio play earlier this year when the incredibly catchy WannaBe in L.A. became the first single off their latest – and incredibly solid throughout – record, Heart On. Have a look at the video below and you may find you’re not as unfamiliar with them as previously thought.


EODM sells their soul for rock n’ roll.

Prior to Friday’s Ottawa date, EODM played Toronto, Kitchener and a few other Canadian dates and Saturday they played in Montreal. I don’t know what my Northern brethren had been doing to the band, but Jesse said early in their set that the Ottawa crowd was amazing (watch the video for blatant proof) and that they “really needed tonight”. Perhaps their Canadian foray had been a bummer up until that point? Do you have any insight into Hughes’ constant compliments to us Ottawans? Were you at the show or any of the other Canadian dates? Do chime in and introduce yourself, babies.

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What do you get when you cross Nasty Nas, the Beastie Boys and a supermarket? Why, the Boys’ first new track in 4 years, of course!

Adam Yauch underwent surgery to battle throat cancer yesterday and I for one want to wish him the very best of luck as he, Horowitz and Diamond have brought me bucketloads of musical joy over the years. There is a great retrospective of Adam’s more memorable contributions to pop culture at Mic to Mic.

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