In case you were wondering what it might be like to attend The Gathering Of The Juggalos, artist Derek Erdman went, video camera in tow, and chronicled the Faygo-fueled masses’ trek into the deepest woods of Illinois. I… really don’t know what to say, although I really do hope that the guy cracking about breaking his parole for the purposes of making his pilgrimage was joking. [YouTube via The Awl]
Today’s Internet curio that should hold your attention for at least 10 minutes: Yooouuutuuube, a Flash-heavy site that breaks down clips frame-by-frame, shrinks those frames down, then creates a huge matrix of flipbooks, each going through the embedded video on its own timetable. It’s one of those sites with a lot of rabbit-hole potential, which is why I’ve decided to share five clips that look pretty amazing when put through it; feel free to share your own.
(The embeds are of the originals; the stretched-out versions are linked from the titles.)
Earlier this month, I posted about (the band) Phoenix’s mix disc for the Kitsune series, briefly mentioning that I appreciated the inclusion of a track by Urge Overkill. Sadly, my mentioning of Urge Overkill brought out some of the band’s fans who have been oppressed by the scourge of popular opinion. I know it might not be cool—especially after hearing the cover of “Girl, You’ll Be A Woman Soon” for the thousandth time—but I’m here to stand up and say that I really like Urge Overkill, especially their 1993 desperate grasp at alternative stardom, Saturation. Sure, their albums for Touch and Go are probably more artistically credible, and the production is beyond glossy, but any album that has a tribute to All My Children star Erica Kane is one I’m going to appreciate and enjoy. Some of my favorite tracks beyond the cut.
“Positive Bleeding (live on David Letterman)”:
“Sister Havana” (since the geniuses at Universal won’t let me embed a live performance of this song from some ’90s talk show and MTV’s site seems to do wacky things to the site, you get Dallas Mavericks highlights) :
I’d like to blame John Mellencamp, but I don’t really have an excuse for forgetting Don Covay‘s birthday on March 24. Better late than never, and I’d rather do something to expose Covay’s amazing catalog of music in the context of a celebration, and not in an obituary some day. A few selections are below the cut.
I spent a few hours this week digging through the boxes of CDs that haven’t quite made it to shelves since my move in January; from them I compiled aplaylist of music that I purchased in the late ’90s, back when I probably should have been investing in tech stocks or something that I haven’t really listened to since. At one point, I ran into a somewhat embarrassingly large collection of Pizzicato 5 discs.
Somehow, owning Japan-only CD singles of rare Shibuya-kei tracks seems less useful now than it seemed then, but pulling out the act’s American full-length debut Made in USA is a nice flashback to a time when reimagined versions of ’60s stereophonic sounds seemed like the next big thing. Although I guess I stopped following the band around 1996 or 1997, they continued on until 2002. As far as I can tell, the mastermind behind the group now does remixes of songs from cartoons or something. I was a bit confused by the translation. Anyhow, selections from the album I consider their finest moment, below.
“Sweet Soul Revue”:
“Baby Love Child”:
“Magic Carpet Ride (live)” (if you believe the tags on YouTube clips, this was their last TV appearance):
Q. Your new album is Epiphany, and it’s out later this spring. The title song is about realizing that a relationship is bad for you–is that the focus of the album or is it more wide in scope?
That’s one of the main focuses of the album, is coming to a realization that when something’s not healthy for you, it’s your responsibility and your right to walk away from it, which is definitely what it speaks about, so that’s a big part of the album.
Q. What are some of the other songs about? Do they all draw on your life?
They definitely draw on my emotions. I gave you a lot of vulnerability this time around. I talked about getting out of crazy relationships and I talked about being in an uncomfortable relationship. There’s a song called “Blame It On Me” where I’m telling a guy, “I don’t care how this relationship has to end, it just has to be over, just get me out of this thing. Say it’s my fault, I don’t care, just make it over.” There’s another song, “On My Own,” which is I’m in a relationship, but I’m going to deal with it without the help of even my family or my friends, and most importantly, my dad.
Q. You wrote your first album by yourself. How was the process different this time? Did you come in with ideas?
I had some ideas. Everything that you hear me sing on this album is definitely from the bottom of my heart, but what was spectacular about this album is that Ne-Yo made me so vulnerable, he made me so open. When you’re telling somebody a story, you have your Side A. “What happened was she came and she hit me first, right, so I had to hit her back.” Ne-Yo’s like, “Wait a second, you made her hit you, and that’s why you have a big bump right now.” He made me tell the truth. Even though the first album was very honest, this one is even deeper, because somebody else wrote some of the songs–a lot of the songs.
Q. Kind of the three sides to every story concept.
Yeah, there’s 40 sides, and he got all the other 39 sides. It’s a good thing, because so many people have been through similar circumstances, similar situations, and if I don’t sing those songs, I can’t represent for them, I can’t cry for them. Whatever song they’re listening to has to be their story, too, it can’t just be something that’s easy and go-lucky, because we do that all the time.
Q. You mentioned the video. Did you shoot that on Friday? How did it go?
Girl… besides all the glitzy stuff, which is part of being a girl, I sang from the bottom of my heart at that video shoot, I gave it to you, and I felt other people’s pain, and something happened where I was like, “I’m going to be so honest, so open, so real.” There’s times when I was on the floor, and I was wilding out. I was, [singing] “So I think of…” They were like, “Beautiful!” and I was like, “Word?”
Q. Did you act in it as well or is it a performance video?
A friend of mine came down from Canada, and he was my boyfriend in the video. I definitely did act, we have a big fight in the video. He wasn’t paying attention to me, and it made me upset. It’s so weird when you act–when you act, all of the sudden…it felt like it was happening, I got so mad. I picked up his jacket and threw it at him, and I was like, “Get out of my house!” and then I was like, “Wait, this isn’t real. This isn’t happening.”
[Ne-Yo chimes in: "A method actor in training."]
Q. You’ve acted on TV shows, right?
Yeah, and I’m with an acting coach now. One thing I definitely learned how to do was when you give a line, you say the line, allow that to be your honest reaction. Let the line come to you as a surprise. So if I say, “You’ve got something on your shoe,” somebody may have told me to say that, but when I say it, I have to believe it as if I just said it. that’s what happened on Friday, it just happened, and I was as if the song was just happening, so you can feel that, and it’s honest.
Q. Did you start your performing career on Long Island? You sang in church?
I sang at church in Brooklyn–Hezekiah Walker, CeCe Winans, Twinkie Clark, Kim Burrell, the gospel girls. But in Long Island, I played the saxophone and the piano and I tap-danced and I balleted and jazzed and I hip-hopped my way to the arts, that’s how I fell in love with it.
Q. What have you been listening to these days?
A lot of classical music. [singing] “Bring in the clowns…” Sarah Vaughan is amazing. What’s on my iPod? Lady GaGa’s on my iPod when I go to the gym. [singing] “Told you I was gonna…” I have so much stuff on my iPod, just everything.
Q. Are you going to go out on tour with the record and everything?
Yeah, I am, starting at the end of April. Then I’m doing a promo tour in two weeks. Then I’m going to Europe and Japan – just going to have a really good time. That’s the best part, I think.
Because you get to touch people. You get to meet people, and you get to see people’s reactions to what your heart has been saying. It’s one thing to say, “I feel this way,” but to have somebody say, “Me, too,” to literally touch their hand is really special.
Q. Where is your favorite place to go on tour?
I can get beat up if I answer this, because I love so many places. America is so huge, you go to Texas, and it’s nothing like San Francisco. You go to Washington D.C. and it’s nothing like Chicago, so I can’t compare one place to the other in America. Japan is amazing, they’re so passionate and sick, the Caribbean is really special, because they fill your soul and it’s warm and your skin looks really good because of the humidity. Everywhere! I just like to travel, I’m a nomad.
Q. Things must be insane for you, every moment planned out.
Yeah, my Facebook status changes like every half an hour. “I’m in the studio with Ne-Yo, I’m at the radio station, I’m in Japan,” 20 minutes later. It feels good, and it’s a lot of fun–way too much fun.
Ever since the leak of “Love etc.”, my affections for the Pet Shop Boys have been revitalized; the performance commemorating their lifetime achievement award (or whatever they called it) at the Brits earlier this week really reminded me of how great they are. In that spirit, here are my five favorite Pet Shop Boys singles. (I have no idea why I’m restricting this to just singles, other than doing so restricts the possibility of me slapping my head later wondering why I forgot [fill in the blank].)
5. “Home and Dry”:
4. “Left To My Own Devices”:
2. “I Wouldn’t Normally Do This Kind Of Thing”:
1. “It’s A Sin”:
Still, I’m going to spend the rest of the afternoon thinking that I should have included “Being Boring” or “Can You Forgive Her?”, but so be it. If you’re having a Pet Shop Boys week as well, feel free to contribute your top five.
Lost in the shuffle over a whether or not Mark Mudd was threatening the life of Paula Abdul was the fact that someone auditioned for American Idol with a George Jones song about moonshine. And the related fact that Randy Jackson said it was a “great song.” Sure, Simon Cowell might not understand the appeal of music outside the Whitney Houston catalog, but there’s an entire segment of our American populace that enjoys hearing songs about backwoods distilleries, and that segment includes this part-time blogger.
Even when I went back to the hills above Boone, N.C., with my father in the ’90s, he gave me the advice not to wander too far off into the nearby woods, because someone might not take to kindly to someone stumbling upon their still. So there’s clearly still a market for songs covering that subject. While a few of my favorites were sadly unavailable, as long as there’s an opportunity to hear Robert Mitchum sing about Appalachia, our world retains a tiny glimmer of hope.
Today marks a strange milestone in music history: It’s one day after the fourth anniversary of the death of Russell Jones (a.k.a. Ol’ Dirty Bastard or a number of other names) and one day before what would have been his 40th birthday. At this point, ODB may be remembered more for his general nuttiness (i.e. storming the stage at the Grammys) than for his recorded legacy. (The parade of posthumous albums didn’t help.) But in brief glimpses, the man was brilliant, or at least handled brilliantly. Some of his finest moments collected below the cut.
Happy birthday to Morrissey, who turns turned 49 today yesterday. To celebrate, we could go the easy route and throw some Smiths videos together, or even some of the highlights of his solo career. But what would Morrissey want for his birthday? What would make him happiest, and properly thank him for all the (emotional) misery and (musical) joy he’s provided over the years?
A Spanish-language cover of one of his most famous songs!
The Sweet and Tender Hooligans have been paying tribute to Moz since 1996, and, in some cases, provide a more reasonable facsimile of classic Morrissey than the original does these days.
Sadly, “Esta Luz Nunca Se Apagará” is (as far as I know) the only track they perform in Spanish, but you just can’t go wrong with a Morrissey tribute act, can you? I mean, he even has the awkward dancing down.
Happy birthday, Morrissey. May all your dreams come true.