Tag Archives: Music

Monsters? Foreign Bodies? Not There Live at Temple on July 20th

Or: http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XNTgwMzgyNTg0.html


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This is Polly Pollen Dancing. Polly Pollen Embodies Not There

Polly. Pollen. Was Not There.

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the Iphone Blues 5/6/2013

Where I load 7 albums onto my iPhone, listen to them for a week (or more) and then write some stuff.

Artist: The Benevento Russo Duo

Album: Play Pause Stop

Comments: I’m not going to write about this album because it’s too good. Just listen to the single Play Pause Stop and draw your own conclusions.


Artist: The Black Crowes

Album: Before the Frost

Comments: Boring. Like listening to a Stones cover band. There’s even a “Black and Blue” rip-off sleazy disco song. Gross.


Artist: Caribou

Album: Swim

Comments: Very good. I dig Snaith. Dance music that you can’t dance to. Perfect for a bourgeoisie coffee shop.


Artist: Galactic

Album: Carnival Electricos

Comments: This has its moments but a Brazilian costume doesn’t really suit the New Orleans funk maestros. Also, I still miss the Houseman.


Artist: Giorgio Moroder

Album: From Here to Eternity

Comments: Giorgio has a big, creepy mustache and this album sounds like a big creepy mustache using technology to seduce Italian girls. I like it a lot.


Artist: Joey Beltram

Album: Live Mix

Comments: Old school hardcore house. Very awesome. You can hear Joey’s hands manipulating the decks. Energy Flash might be the best thing ever (at least it is right now).


Artist: Sally Shapiro

Album: Disco Romance

Comments: Every single note, every drum beat, every breath “Sally” sings is perfect. Perfect pop music.



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the iPhone Blues: 4-1-2013 to 4-8-2013

The headphone jack in my iPod broke last week. My first reaction was to get it fixed or buy another one, but then a I suddenly got very busy and didn’t have time to deal with the Beijing Apple Store. Instead I whipped up a 7 album playlist and put it on my iPhone. Yes, I was one of those idiots who walks around with an iPhone in one pocket and an iPod in the other. Why? Because I have a ton of music and I wanted all of it at my fingertips. It’s taken me 20 years to amass my music collection and having it in my pocket was remarkably comforting.

But a funny thing happened. I discovered I actually liked having a limited amount of music with me because it forced me to listen. On the bus, on the subway, in a taxi or walking down the street there were only 7 choices. I listened to every lick on every album in a way I haven’t since I was a teenager and the internet was something that existed on telephone lines and free AOL CD ROMs jammed in Time Magazine.

So I’ve decided to run with this. Every Monday, I’ll be picking 7 albums and loading them onto my iPhone. After listening to them, I’ll share my impressions, feelings and responses to what I listened to.  I’m calling it the iPhone Blues.

the iPhone Blues 4-1-2013 to 4-8-2013

Artist: Afrika Bambaataa

Album: Looking for the Perfect Beat

Comments: I was struck by how incidental the rapping felt. Bambaataa’s beats were upfront and clearly the most important part of this music. Hip Hop has become an MC driven medium with producers/DJs mostly behind the scenes, but it started off as music made by DJs.

Artist: Autre Ne Veut

Album: Anxiety

Comments: Part of a recent trend favoring weirdo / auteur R&B, Anxiety is a cool record that’s just a little bit too over-produced. This is R & B for the internet, not the bedroom, but I don’t mean that to be as negative as it sounds.

Artist: Chromatics

Album: Kill for Love

Comments: One of my favorite records from last year. Dark, danceable and immaculately produced, Kill for Love is very nearly a perfect record. It sounds like you’re driving home from a club when you shouldn’t be.

Artist: Dr. Dog

Album: Be the Void

Comments: This was surprisingly good. Dr. Dog have been around forever, mixing quirky indie-pop with rock cliches. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. “These Days” is a killer song that redeems Be the Void’s occasional forays into glam rock, a genre that fits Dr. Dog like a poorly tailored suit. If it was 1976, “These Days” would have been a very big hit.

Artist: Paperclip People

Album: The Secret Tapes of Dr. Eich

Comments: Carl Craig is the anti-dance techno artist, but Paperclip People might be his most danceable alias. It has a hip hop vibe and strong synth lines. Very “musical” dance music which can be a good or bad thing. Better for the living room than the club, where it would leave people leaning against walls while looking at their shoes.

Artist: Plastikman

Album: Sheet One

Comments: One of the best techno records ever made, Sheet One is minimal but dance-floor ready. It’s deep, dark music that reminds me of looking at a Rothko painting: it dances but it shouldn’t. In short, Richie Hawtin is pretty fly for Canadian.

Artist: Professor Genius

Album Professor Genius

Comments: Basically an ode to Giorgio Morodor, this is a great intro to Italo Disco. A very fun record that plays with Morodor’s proto-house, Professor Genius is like listening to an hour’s worth of the instrumental breaks on a Donna Summer record. That’s a good thing.

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Introducing the Riffhard World Cup

What’s the best guitar riff ever? NotThereBeijing wants to settle the debate by using science. And Brackets. And Bias. So without further ado, welcome to the Riffhard World Cup.

The rules are simple. We’ll be following the World Cup format and breaking down the field into 8 groups. The groups are:

  1. Keith Richards
  2. Hendrix
  3. the 1970s
  4. the 1980s
  5. the 1960s
  6. Zeppelin
  7. Funk/Soul
  8. the 1990s

Just like the World Cup, each group will have 4 competitors battling in a round-robin format: 3 pts for a win and 1 pt for a draw. The top 2 jams from each group will advance to the knockout rounds.

As we speak, a crack selection committee (read: me) is busy deciding who’s got the goods to battle for the Riffhard World Cup.

If there’s a certain jam you want to see make it to the dance, y’all better get vocal in the comments section. The field will be announced on Monday, March 18th.


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From Frankenstein to a Chimera

When a band starts, it’s a lot like Frankenstein. Different inspirations are sewed together and the messy seams are visible. Hopefully, as a band progresses, it becomes more like a Chimera: a mythical beast where the seams have blended into a totally new monster.

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Functional Impurity

When the guys at Bell Labs were fooling around and coming up with semiconductors that worked they discovered that impurity was necessary. In order to get the best results, they had to add a trace of boron to the silicon.

Music needs impurities too. The gravelly tone of a singer’s voice, the slightly out of tune guitar or the out of phase sample. Music needs humanity. Without impurities, the music isn’t alive.

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