Saturday, May 31, 2008

Rock, Rock Steady
I know very little of the roots of Reggae, but recently I stumbled across some early music from the 1960’s label Rock Steady. One of my favorites was this, “Pata Pata Rock Steady” by Queen Patsy and Count Ossie. And where there are some clear Jamaican elements peeking through, it has a soaring Supremes-like patina to the lead vocal that is quite quite wonderful.

Pata Pata Rock Steady

Bob Marley explains Reggae, Ska, and Rock Steady

Buy Rock Steady at Amazon
It's a Wii world
Named after a fictional Japanese videogame attack move involving spirit energy blasting from your upturned palms, Hadouken make loud and disorienting music to dance to when you are discombobulated. This quintet from London plays “grindie,” the twee-rific term that merges grime + indie. Their new record came out yesterday and is already sold out at Amazon, so you are probably behind the curve.

That Boy That Girl

Liquid Lives (Live at T4 on the Beach)

Their MySpace

And website

Buy Hadouken at Amazon

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Have I offended everyone yet?
All kidding aside, I see tremendous kinship between yesterday's song and today's. Ratatat uses some kind of electric zither, but otherwise I think quite the same. Perhaps less useful for courtship unless your prospective inamorata is substantially pretentious. Mike Stroud and Evan Mast are from Brooklyn and have been twittering around their apartment in Crown Heights for around seven or eight years, taking time here and there to remix tracks by Bjork and Joe Satriani--unfortunately not at the same time.


Seventeen Years (Live)

Their MySpace
and Website

Buy Ratatat at Amazon

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

I really should have learned my lesson. It seemed like a very mild comment, but I have not seen that level of vitriol since I suggested that I would grow tired of the Fratelli's before the Arctic Monkeys (which in fact turned out to be true.) So in an attempt to make amends, here I offer you a traditional courtship song of the Hmong people of Laos performed by the Boua Xou Mua on the gaeng, a multiple reed mouth organ. This song is called "Tsuab Nplooj" and to avoid any further insult I will refrain from telling you that it is known in my house as "What on Earth Are You Doing to the Cat?"

Tsuab Nplooj

Ricky Soua Vang plays traditional Hmong music

Listen to Hmong music on the Internet

Buy Boua Xou Mua at Amazon

Friday, May 23, 2008

Mistaken Identity
I feel a bit of an idiot. I had written a whole post describing this wonderful little band from Brooklyn, The Ting Tings. And I had made a number of neat and quite inspired illustrations of how they fit in a long string of wonderfully screechy and atonal american acts dating back to Romeo Void and tracing a neat path to The Gossip and Morningwood. It turns out however that they are a duo from Manchester, that's in England. So then I was of course tempted not to post them at all and instead, put up some traditional Hmong folk songs from Laos. THAT would have showed those Ting Tings! (But then you might not like me as much anymore...)

That's Not My Name

Fruit Machine (Live in LA)

Their MySpace

And Website

Buy The Ting Tings at Amazon

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

So the AIDS Walk was totally fun, and I had very good company.

Today Is...
So I thought today’s perfect song is “Today is a Good Day,” by Anna Ternheim. I know, I know, she’s Swedish… But there is no alternative really. And she has of course won every “Best Songwriter, “Best New Artist,” “Most Promising Radiologist,” etc. award. But she also makes startling and original songs that grab you with their percussive breathiness and tender yet slightly Gothic emotional viewpoints. She tends to make spare compositions where her voice and her piano are almost interchangeable.

Today Is A Good Day

Nights in Goodville (Live)

Her MySpace
And Website

Buy Anna Ternheim at Amazon

Friday, May 16, 2008

I hope you are happy now...
Seriously, I hope you are happy with the return of the Song of the Day, and I promise I am back! The basic reason I have been absent from your ipod is that I have a new job at The Momentum Project—a group that provides around 350,000 meals annually along with a rich array of services to people living with HIV/AIDS in poor communities throughout New York City. They are a great group, I’ve known them since I was running the Food Program at the Coalition for the Homeless and am settling in quite happily.

Which leads me to a short commercial message—I will be walking in AIDSWalk this Sunday and need some sponsors! Momentum is one of the main recipients of AIDSWalk funds, so it will really help out. You can visit my
donation page to (guess what?) donate.

So if you possibly can contribute, I would be very grateful. Thanks!

Northern Lights
One of the little known facts about Sweden is that, practically from the cradle, Swedish children are raised in a constant immersion of adorable pop songs. On their fifth birthday, each boy or girl receives a musical instrument of their choosing, and when they are 10, Tapes and Tapes come by and remix all of their early material. This is then packaged, usually as a five or six CD set, to give to their grandparents.
Understandably this leads to a fairly constant emergence of artists like Lykke Li who is poised close behind Leona Lewis to conquer the pop world. Her new record was produced by Peter, Bjorn, or John.

Hanging High (Live at SXSW)

Live at Durrr

Her MySpace
And website

Buy Lykke Li at Amazon


One of those little random Indie Rock bands, Nothing Painted Blue are named after an Ann-Margaret movie. Making small and winsome songs that stick in your head like old chewing gum, they have put out various unpopular records over the years and their latest is called “Taste the Flavor.”

Kissing Booth

Two Knives (Live)

Their Website

Buy Nothing Painted Blue at Amazon

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Oh Manchester
Been wondering what ever happened to Manchester? Me too! Well the short answer is I Am Kloot. How to describe them? That's tough, my first reaction was oh it's Simon and Garfunkel around Sunday Morning 3 am, though of course it sounds nothing like, but feels a kind of similar spare folkyness. But they have passed through all kinds of phases--to use some touchstones: Nick Drake, Nick Cave, Oasis... Hard to then say Simon and Garfunkel in that list isn't it...

Hey Little Bird

The Same Deep Water As Me (Live)

Their MySpace
And website

Buy I Am Kloot at Amazon

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Back in my comfort zone--the obscure...
Buraka Som Sistema are Portuguese, playing Kuduro--an Angolan Dance music that began in clubs in Luanda, and has migrated throughout the Angolan diaspora. Sharing a lot of similar raw and cacophonous sounds with Brazilian Baile Funk, they also have worked with M.I.A.


Sound of Kuduro (Music Video)

Their MySpace

Buy Buraka at Amazon

Monday, May 12, 2008

You all know how I feel about jokey, tongue in cheek, hipper than thou songs. At least those of you with good long memories to way back when I used to post on a regular basis. But anyway, for those of you who don't--I hate them! Loath them! Can't stand them! Even though of course every once in a while I did say something nice about Wheezer (or whatever that band is called,) but I might have been joking. Pfft ptooey! That's what I say...

Which brings us to today's brilliant song, "Hiphopopotamus Vs. Rhymenoceros (feat. Rhymenoceros and the Hiphopopotamus)" by Flight of the Conchords, a hardcore duo straight outta New Zealand. They have been featured recently on a documentary series being shown on HBO, as well as the one without glasses was briefly a contestant on this season's "Top Chef."

You may get the impression from this that I watch too much reality TV, but in truth I am quite selective and in fact did not watch the end of this week's "Groomer Has It." (Though I do know who was sent home...)

Hiphopopotamus Vs. Rhymenoceros (feat. Rhymenoceros and the Hiphopopotamus)

Flight of the Conchords sing David Bowie

Their MySpace
And Website

Buy Flight of the Conchords at Amazon