“My interest in vinyl started pretty late. I have always been a huge fan of music and have always explored new artists but I never really cared about the medium with which I listened to the music through. To me it seemed like it was all going to end up on my iPod anyway, so it didn’t really matter; however, when I started learning more about the music I was listening to at the time, artists like DJ Shadow and Four Tet, I realized that the unique sound these producers had came directly from the use of vinyl in their music.”
“As a musician trying to make music on the computer, the practicality of vinyl was something you couldn’t beat. I didn’t have enough money to buy nice studio gear, but I had enough to start a small collection of vinyl records to begin sampling from.
Since then I’ve started looking for records based on their use to me as a producer. The more obscure an album is, the better. Often times all I was looking for was a small portion of music where there might be an instrument alone that I could rip off the recording and manipulate on my computer.
“We had the great pleasure of working closely with an incredible director, Marta Dymek on this video.”
“It was somewhat of a serendipitous pairing between the song and Marta’s concept, which she had brewing for a while, waiting for the right opportunity. I’d been a longtime friend and fan of Marta’s work for years and one day we got to catching up. I shot her the rough mixes of our EP back before it had been released. Then we had a moment that went approximately like:
Marta: Dude, The Salt. MUSIC VIDEO. Me: Dude, YES.
Graceful, I know. And then we went straight into caffeine-induced, full fledged brainstorm mode on how we could make it happen. We made a crowdfund and presold the album to push the video as far as we could go. We had such humbling support from the community, friends, and local artists volunteering talent toward helping us to make it happen. I can’t even begin to explain how grateful I am.
Live at the Cellar Door is the latest entry in Neil Young’s Archive Series. While it’s certainly a must for his hardcore fans, the set is also engaging enough to be of interest to more casual listeners. Recorded late in 1970 shortly after the release of After the Gold Rush, it paints a vivid portrait of an essential rock figure before his fame had been completely established.
Neil Young’s edging up on a half century of artistic vitality. Unsurprisingly, it’s a run of productivity that features an unusual number of highpoints along with a sprinkling of a few rough patches, but while far from unprecedented his stature ain’t exactly typical either. Most musicians are lucky if they remain relevant for five years, much less across the span for five decades. And from this vantage point it can be a little difficult to remember that in a solo context Young underwent a substantial period of development.
The studio albums do bear this out, and yet because of their status as the early and quite successful motions of a true great, this growth can still be easily misplaced. For instance, his at times very strong but ultimately less than classic ’68 solo debut Neil Young is often overlooked, with the omission perhaps reflective of its lack of chart status upon release.
It came directly after the ending of Buffalo Springfield and prior to his first great solo disc, ‘69’s Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, and those who do engage with Neil Young, this writer included, often chalk up its minor qualities to errors in judgment related to presentation and production. Giving the record a fresh listen bears out these assumptions.
I saw the Doobie Brothers live a long, long, time ago. It was an afternoon show at a suburban amphitheater, and I smoked a shitload of what I thought was pot but turned out to be PCP. And before long all the Doobies were 9-feet-tall and changing colors like chameleons, and played every single song at about 300 mph, in effect inventing hardcore. Or at least that’s how I remember it. That PCP was some good shit. I recommend it to everybody.
Nobody pays much attention to the Doobies nowadays, except to laugh at them. I know I laugh at them; I can’t even hear their name without cracking up. They were, even during their heyday, the least hip and most faceless big-name act in rock, and since then they’ve become the punch line to a joke that goes something like, “Why did the Doobie Brothers cross the road? To get away from the Doobie Brothers.”
Unhip and faceless the Doobs may have been, but back in the day they were big—scary big, in fact—with rock’s protletarian audiences (i.e., the same folks who loved BTO, Grand Funk, etc.). This can be attributed to one of two things. Either The Doobie Brothers were a pretty decent rock’n’roll band, or the musical wasteland of the early to mid-seventies left rock fans so hard up they were reduced to lapping up all manner of crapulous corporate swill, including the Dööbiemeisters.
I may be the only one, but I think it’s high time for a reassessment of the Doobie Brothers. And since their career was so neatly bifurcated into pre- and post-Michael McDonald periods, I decided it would be only fair to review 1976’s Best of the Doobies, which while skewed toward the band’s earlier work includes two McDonald-era songs, although it omits (because they were, duh, released later) such McDonald hits as “What a Fool Believes” and “Minute by Minute.”
It’s been two weeks since I sat in my garage office and cut an episode of the Idelic Hour. Between a short trip to NYC and Thanksgiving week off, I had a lot to think about as I sat between the “1′s and 2′s” up here in the now-crispy cold canyon.
The two major influences of this week’s playlist: a couple of hours spent with old friends at WFMU’s record fair and this month’s delightful 20th anniversary issue of Mojo magazine.
First off, thank you, Phil Alexander, and congratulations to Mojo for inspiring and entertaining record freaks for these last 20 years. If there is one concept that Mojo consistently plays up and hits home, it’s what I call “the obscure gem.” The term “gem” goes back to the ancient Greeks and begins with the distinction of being precious. As record collectors, our instincts make the more obscure and harder-to-find records closer to our hearts.
There is a famous story concerning the cynic philosopher Diogenes of Sinope. Invited into a rich man’s home, Diogenes was asked by his host to please not spit on the floor. Whereupon Diogenes spit in the man’s face, saying, “In a rich man’s house, there is no place to spit but his face.”
I think about that story when I listen to Anal Cunt, the defunct grindcore band that became infamous for its heinous name and truly vile sense of humor (“I Became a Counselor So I Could Tell Rape Victims They Asked For It,” anyone?). Because I think—and I know this may sound outrageous—that Anal Cunt front man Seth Putnam, the so-called “GG Allin of Grindcore,” had a lot in common with the great Greek philosopher. It is my contention that Putnam was, like Diogenes, convinced there were no honest men, and so spent his career spitting in our faces. I believe he had a lot of hate in his heart, but it was a hatred of hypocrisy, and not the women, minorities, gays, and other folks he mocked in his songs. He coolly dredged up the crudest, sickest jokes he could, believing in his heart of hearts that he was just saying what we were all thinking.
And boy, did it work. It’s not so difficult to offend somebody; but to deliberately set out to offend everybody, well, that takes pluck, chutzpah, and a willingness to wave bye-bye to the respect of all ostensibly decent human beings. “Better in the gutter than a pedestal,” wrote E.M. Cioran, and Putnam gleefully relegated himself to the gutter by stomping on every taboo and shibboleth in sight with his vulgar, crude, and often very funny lyrics. If I thought for a moment that Putnam actually believed what he was saying I would despise him. But I think his sense of humor was based on a belief that morality was a façade and a sham, human beings were vile, and what they really needed was to have all of their worst impulses thrown back in their faces.
Much like his Detroit counterpart Danny Brown, Curtis Cross, aka Black Milk, is a rapper and producer proving that age does not matter. Now 30, the man has been rapping and producing since 2002, collaborating with the likes of the late J. Dilla, Elzhi, Royce da 5’9”, and Pharoahe Monch. Raised on the “golden age” vibes of A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul, his production work has led many to compare him to Dilla and producer/MC Madlib.
Black Milk’s career took flight when he was invited by fellow Detroit hip-hop outfit Slum Village to produce a track for both their 2002 mixtape Dirty District and full-length Trinity (Past, Present and Future). Not long after, he teamed up with Young RJ (RJ Rice Jr.) under the name B.R. Gunna to handle production 11 of 13 tracks on Slum Village’s 2004 Detroit Deli (A Taste of Detroit).
2005 saw a solo self-release from Black Milk, titled Sound of the City. Catching the ear of hip-hop label Fat Beats, he was promptly signed in 2006, and had his official debut record Popular Demand released the following year. His latest effort, No Poison No Paradise, has already turned heads within the world of hip-hop music, with Consequence of Sound calling it a “well-produced” effort, while AllMusic.com believed it to be “deeper, and artistically more filling” when compared to his other releases.