Music Consumption in the MP3 Era
Music Consumption in the MP3 Era

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Name: uao
Location: California

uao is also a contributor to Blogcritics.org, Rhapsody Radish. and FIQL.com.

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Feel free to dig through the Deep Freeze for more, but stuff dated before mid-March 2005 is still formative and impressionistic, and not really worth the effort.

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I grew up reading Robert Christgau, Village Voice, and Lester Bangs, Creem, Punk, various others.

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Note: the copyrighted audio material on this site is for listening only, and is not downloadable. It is provided as illustrations to the articles, and to interest people in the legal purchase of these artists' material. Any copyright holder who would like their material removed should contact me, and I'll remove it.

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Wednesday, April 20, 2005
 

Neverending Randomplay #11-#20

Neverending Randomplay is a weekly Wednesday night/Thursday AM feature in which I let my J-River Media Center choose what we get listen to. My collection currently stands at 17,301 titles. The lion's share are rock of all genres, with a mix of pop, blues, country, pre-rock, jazz, reggae, soul, electronic, avant-garde, hip-hop, rap, bluegrass, trance, Afrobeat, J-Pop, trip-hop, lounge, Worldbeat, commercial jingles, etc. filling it out. I don't influence the track selection in any way; whatever comes up, comes up. Jam Tags, 1-5 stars, follow each track.

11. I Am The World Trade Center: Flute Loops **
I Am The World Trade Center: Out of the Loop (2001)
The New york electronica duo of Daniel Geller and Amy Dykes, I Am The World Trade Center (named prior to 9-11), recorded their 2001 debut, Out Of The Loop, entirely on a laptop computer. Dykes added lyrics and vocals to Geller's mixes. "Flute Loops", which does not feature a Dykes vocal, has a distinctly lo-fi electronica sound, and has a bouyant beat, looped electronic bleeps and whistles. Actual flute-ey sounding loops whirl throughout in the background. The most intriguing thing here isn't so much the music, but how it was recorded; while the limitations of Geller's laptop does lend this a vaguely cheesy texture, it almost passes for something done in a professional studio. Power to the people.

12. Louis Armstrong & His Hot Fives: Struttin' With Some Barbecue *****
Louis Armstrong: Hot Fives and Sevens Vol. 3
Recorded in 1927, this is seriously exciting and historic music. With his Hot Fives in the 1920's, Armstrong was busy becoming the single most influential jazz artist of them all, becoming the very first important soloist to emerge in jazz, from which everything from the improvisation that is at the heart of jazz to the rock guitar solo stems from. On this number, recorded in peak form, Armstrong delivers a perfectly constructed, smokin' solo; the doorway that would eventually lead to bop, 20 years later. He was only four years into his recording career at this point; 26 years old. The Hot Fives were excellent too, a lineup consisting of clarinet, trombone, banjo, piano, and drums behind Armstrong and his trumpet.

13. The Flying Burrito Brothers: Just Because ****
Flying Burrito Brothers: Honky Tonk Heaven (1974)
This pre-war pokla-style country tune written by Bob and Joe Shelton and later recorded by Elvis Presley and a host of others, is given a somewhat rushed contemporary country-rock rendition by the Gram Parsons-led version of the band. This didn't make it onto the two albums released with Parsons; it first surfaced on a 1974 compilation Honky Tonk Heaven, a quickie cash-in release following Parson's death. Even though the rough performance edges do give this the sound of an outtake, it is an excellent outake. Parsons sounds invigorated, the band plays well.

14. ABBA: Voulez-Vous ****
Abba: Voulez-Vous (1979)
This title track to ABBA's 1979 album is thoroughly steeped in disco, and the album from which it comes represented a decline in quality from The Album, in 1978. That said, this is a perfectly fine track providing all the glossy thrills one looks for when seeking out late 70's disco. The girls sex it up a little, the synthesizer is sleek and shimmery, the guitars and bass make like Chic a little, and the beat is big. If you can't stand ABBA, this won't convert you, it might even make you hate them more. If you like ABBA's most famous hits, this one ranks close.

15. Nelly Furtado: Island Of Wonder ***
Nelly Furtado: Folklore (2003)
Nelly Furtado comes to music from a pretty unusual direction. A Portugese-Canadian, who listened to mainstream R&B when she was young, and then got interested in rock and electronica, her music is a very original mixture of all of these influences. Not always easy to get into, but often compelling nontheless. This one falls short of compelling, but it is interesting; a trip-hop influenced duet with exotic melody and instrumentation. Overly somber sounding, it didn't get my head bobbing like some of her other stuff does. From her 2003 release, Folklore.

16. Badfinger: Midnight Caller (re-recording) **
badfinger: best Of badfinger (1997)
This is really a rip off. Not Badfinger at all, it is really Badfinger guitarist Joey Molland and a band of session players from a quickly dashed off 1997 album misleadingly titled "Best of Badfinger", which consists of ten such re-recordings. "Midnight Caller" was a fine song when the real Badfinger recorded it in 1970. Originally sung by Pete Ham, the song suffers here, with cheesy-sounding lightweight production and Molland's own voice, which sounds hoarse and hurried. Original pressings didn't identify these as re-recordings; subsequent ones do. Molland must've needed a few extra bucks that year; the album is useless except for super-diehard completists. And even they should feel a little guilty about this.

17. Yes: Machine Messiah ****
Yes: Drama (1980)
Drama, from 1980, occupies a strange niche in Yes' history. Jon Anderson and Rick Wakemen had just quit the band, and were replaced by ex-Buggles Geoffrey Downes and Trevor Horn. The vocals here sound so much like Anderson, you'd swear it was him. The instrumentation veers toward metal territory in places, with Steve Howe producing uncharacteristically doomy sounding chords. The band is, in fact, in fine form on this 10-minute workout; while it doesn't rate with their best, it does let fans hear what a heavy metal Yes would sound like, and the icy, crystalline textures here point to other interesting potential roads. However, after Drama, the band broke up, only to be re-formed with Anderson again a couple of years later, and score a few more hits. Downes and Howe formed Asia in 1981.

18. Black Pearl: Mr. Soul Satisfaction *****
Black Pearl: Black Pearl (1968)
Black Pearl recorded two albums for Epic, a studio debut from 1968 and a live one from 1969. Credited by Lester Bangs as being one of the original three American heavy metal bands, alongside Blue Cheer and Iron Butterfly. Black Pearl was essentially the merger of two legendary 60's garage bands, The Barbarians and The Tallysmen. "Mr. Soul Satisfaction" is a kinetic, fuzzy piece of acid rock, with a fluid psychedelic lead guitar and soul shouter style vocal.

19. Dead Kennedys: Viva Las Vegas ***
Dead Kennedys: Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables (1980)
While their relative merit as music has been argued pro and con for two decades, Jello Biafra's quavery vibrato atop radical skatepunk was a sound all their own, and All-American, too. Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables remains their lone classic; while much of the politics have dated to the point of irrelevancy, the audacity in this music is still admirable today. A smirking "Viva Las Vegas" closed the album, and while it isn't on par with the violence that precedes it on the album, it's funny in its own way.

20. Blue Oyster Cult: Before The Kiss, A Redcap *****
Blue Oyster Cult: Blue Oyster Cult (1972)
Excellent track from Blue Oyster cult's excellent 1972 debut. This one is a bluesy hard rock boogie, sporting stellar Donald "Buck Dharma" Roeser riffing, Eric Bloom and Allen Lanier adding two more guitars for a triple-attack, and a tight, charging rhythm section of Joe (bass) and Al (drums) Bouchard. Malevalent and menacing, murky but thrilling, this is what this sinister band was all about in its conceptual early days. Produced by concept master, Sandy Pearlman.




Listen To Louis Armstrong: Struttin' With Some Barbecue (1927)




     


 
Comments:
I have Whoa Nelly! and found that it was a pretty good album - closest to HipHop that I've really come.

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