Tag Archives: Fela Kuti


~ 0 ~
SFO in the early morning
triple couple brunch date
SFO in the afternoon
yellow fever film
SFO late at night
Japanese, Mexican, American, or Chinese?

~ 1 ~
Hank Williams on the
turbulent red-eye
flashlights in the early morning
United Club at IAD
hella babies on the
flight to Jamaica
the first Jamaican woman to speak to/about me:
“it’s not fair. he’s not even using it,”
referencing my hair
all customs agents are the same stern
accosted by taxi drivers
one is hella chill so we go w him ($15)
he walks slow as hell
“we grow up w weed”
tried to sell me some but his guy is out
Caribic House
gentleman clerk
third floor balcony view of the sea
buy weed from souvenir shop ($20 for crap)
Pork Pit
buy weed from random vagrant (J$200 for crap)

~ 2 ~
breakfast at the Mocha Cafe
Knutsford Express to Negril
buy Blue Cheese from taxi driver ($5 for quality)
Yoga Centre
stroll and smoke along the beach
the German dude
yoga in the evening
shower and drinks
Alfred’s Ocean Palace
couple drinks and cricket at the Sunrise

~ 3 ~
smoothies and breakfast at the YC
chillin on the beach
spring rolls and papaya salad
Natalie naps / Americanah
drinks at One Love bar
curried conch w rice & peas at sweet spot

~ 4 ~
goodbye YC & Negril
KE to Kingston
wild winding ride east
the big city
the Spanish Court,
free rum punch on arrival
walking in the rain to
Devon House
coffee for her, coffee i-scream for me
walking in the lightening rain
Natalie goes chic in the city
divine Indian at Nirvanna

~ 5 ~
free breakfast: eggs, platanos, festival, bacon, fruit, coffee, water
taxi drive with a former yam farmer to
the National Gallery of Jamaica
walk through saturday downtown market
taxi to the grocery
Tashanna the angel
Natalie runs on the treadmill, i walk to KE
sunset swimming in the freezing infinity pool
hot bath w love
shower the hair
dress and small dinner
last home drink
up up up the hill to
dub club
smoky dub music in the clouds
saw fireworks
and popcorn
and dancing
circles, circling back to a
champagne glass next to the drivers seat
flask of herb wine next to mine
slowly, slithering back to New Kingston
in the nighttime of a new day

~ 6 ~
free breakfast: kitchen sink omelet, fruit, coffee, water, festival, platanos, and a complimentary mimosa
walking to the banks, several failed withdrawals
packing up
waiting for Robert
red shirt, tan truck, big smile
cash out
ride up
the treehouse
the tour
the pool and trail
dinner at 6?
acki and shellfish, peas and rice, greens not calaloo
reading and drinking
scrabble in bed under the net
never ending music for a wake, then an end

~ 7 ~
wake up puffy eyed a little before 9
shirtless on the balcony
big rainbow across the sky
Chef says breakfast is on the way
coffee, scrambled eggs w veggies, fried plantains, breadfruit (looked like dry pineapple slices), slices of mango, a peeled orange, everything fresh, juicy, lovely
more coffee, Bobby and Chef smoking
driving to Holywell
the waterfall hike
smoke at the falls
kiss on the hills
walk to David’s coffee plantation
the Chinese crew, little kids giggling and playing games, the two big dogs loafing and eyeing everyone, the coffee man deeply darkened by the sun yet profoundly lightened by endless cups of coffee
walking back home
Natalie’s forgotten R1: the run
gap cafe too fancy
walk thru the military yard
flask of clear rum, water, cheese puffs, and chocolates at the bubbles stop
walk home
cold shower (Ginger on drums)
wifi, soup, and dinner (more Fela)
seafish, fried carrots and greens, potato, yams, plantains
greasy spliff
drinks and reading

~ 8 ~
up a little earlier, round 830
coffee and breakfast on the taller balcony
acki and fish, breadfruit, fried plantains, papaya, orange
reading reading reading
the ride to Craighton
the $25 tour w Jerome
280,000 coffee plants—arabica not robusta—the latter 52% of the world coffee, the former 48%—though like the #1 most traded good (oil), the #2 (coffee) is often adulterated as there’s no standard nor authority—and Blue Mountain arabica is something special, with 70% of its sales going to wealthy Japanese—Jamaicans themselves drink instant coffee—unless they’re like Robert—usually Arabica ripens in 5-7 months, in Blue Mountains it takes 9-11—juicier, sweeter—Twyman and other north side farmers get less sun so their harvest is shorter
three cups of coffee after the lesson
walk to red light
bananas and coconut snack from the roadside rasta
walk from red light
Natalie loses her shades
hitching a ride w the 33 year old who spent 20 years living in Kingston before moving to London, comes back to visit family every xmas, warned us of the dangers of hitch hiking
eits cafe
walking up and a ride w David, bobby’s coz
walking to prince valley
glasses for a drink and phone
meeting, laughing, smoking w omero from Oakland and Tazia from near Kingston
drinks and dinner: beans, greens, and pumpkin rice, perfection
beer and adieu
reading, reading, hearts, reading

~ 9 ~
up a little earlier, around 815
Ovid on the balcony
coffee and breakfast in the usual spot
acki and fish, plantains, coco bread
packing up and paying
dj dale down the mountain
bob Marley museum
best dinner (fried chicken, beef stew, pork stew, or curried goat?) plus rum
two wedding episodes of friends

~ 10 ~
coffee, toast, and fruit on the balcony
Mahogany Beach
food and drink on James (same menu)
crazy dance boat party TV
Turtle Beach
souvenir shopping i
drinks on James
moms restaurant (fish stew)

~ 11 ~
coffee, toast, and fruit on the balcony
souvenir shopping ii
passage to passage to India (naan, South Indian chicken, chicken tikka masala)
chilling at KE
KE to Mo Bay
El Greco, cocktail on arrival
cocktails and joint on the balcony (Half Pint)
bellboy escort to room, J$400
atm, the old walk
1/2 lb ribs at pork pit
the walk back
another round

~ 12 ~
up around 8
finished Herzog
breakfast: one American, one Jamaican (mine is fried fish, greens, small banana, yucca, dumpling, and Nat’s French toast)
old white retired everywhere
blacks go J, whites go A
down to the street, rum up
packing, Brilliant Corners, checking out
smoke on the cliff side
delayed flight
walk down to the park shade
bk fries
taxi to airport
lines, lines, food court, hearts
exit row flight
chaos at CLT Continue reading

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what happens when you are the input and the output

what happens when you only have two states: drunk and hungover

what happens when you refuse to sip on anything but top-shelf lit

the obvious cognitive dissonance in selling your words but not your music while knowing full well that rhythm is rhythm

what happens when you decide to quit

what happens when the people you love think that’s a great idea

what happens when you think the people you love are a great idea

what happens when a work of fiction is not real fiction

what happens when the fruits of your entire consciousness are simply the back page scribbles of someone else’s story

a single glass of four-day-old $4 wine

what happens when you only dance and cuddle, no no fuck

what happens when wave

what happens when you want to be the pacifist shark in the tank

a dark, long-haired man kissing Israel, hugging Palestine

what happens when you crack an egg over bibimbop pizza

“this is happening,” concluded the stubbly subway sound engineer

what happens in the city does not stay in the city. Continue reading

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it’s a great time to be a genius.

copper fox ring wrapped around my right pinkie, and i’m thinking about all the things i’d like to do today. shopping and laundering and reading and writing, music coursing through it all like the blood in my little finger. first … Continue reading

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favorite “new” albums of 2010

Fly Pan Am – Fly Pan Am (1999)

i’m going to be completely honest here: this is the first post-rock album that i would consider a flat-out masterpiece. while i love a whole bunch of others (most notably Ágætis byrjun by Sigur Rós, & Yet & Yet by Do Make Say Think, and The Earth Is Not a Cold Dead Place by Explosions in the Sky), Fly Pan Am won my heart (and may be my favorite album of the year) because it is post-rock for lovers of Minimalism. it’s like Steve Reich or The Field composed the music and four dudes from Montreal performed it. like My Disco, but with more life. the disc is five tracks long–all instrumental–and lasts just over an hour. every one of the album’s 9+ minute songs sticks, breathes, sits with one short musical phrase, but the phrases are good enough to hear on repeat. and in between jams, right when you think you’re getting into it, you’ll be led astray, down a dark path of ambient electronics and unexpected musical explorations. and then the jams come back. try track one, “L’espace au sol est redessiné par d’immenses panneaux bleus” (Google Translate: “The floor space is redrawn with huge blue signs”) here:

Fela Kuti – Zombie (1977)

i already said a lot about this album when i six starred it over the summer, but i really can’t tell enough people about its greatness. it’s funk, it’s rock & roll, it’s African rhythms that will shake your ass no matter how hard you try to resist. since listening to Zombie over ten times, i’ve downloaded six other Fela albums–Why Black Men Dey Suffer (1970), Gentleman (1973), Alagbon Close (1974), Confusion (1975), No Agreement (1977), Shuffering and Shmiling (1978)–and i already consider the ’73 and ’75 ones essential listening also. thank god for Fela. rather, thank Fela for the godliness that is his music.

Spacemen 3 – Walkin’ with Jesus (1986)

according to my iTunes, i first added an album by Spacemen 3 (Taking Drugs to Make Music to Take Drugs To) at the end of summer 2008 (maybe from Mark?). weirdly enough, i don’t remember there being any point where this album just “clicked” for me. on the contrary, around january of this year, around the dawn of the Great Never-Say-No To A Tab of Acid Imbroglio (which continues today), another thing dawned on me: i fucking love Spacemen 3. it must have just seeped into my brain slowly over the past year and a half. i now have pretty much everything by them in my library, and Walkin’ With Jesus is the one that is pure gold. it’s a three-track psychedelic space rock EP–four minutes, seventeen minutes, five minutes–and it just kills from beginning to the end with wailing, storming guitars, simple drum beats perfect for stoned head bobbing, and the most obviously drug-induced lyrics around. the first track, the title track, is about how we’ve found Heaven on Earth and don’t really need the bearded dude because we are the Bearded Dude. the final track is about how… we’ve found on Heaven on Earth and it Feels So Good:

Quicksilver Messenger Service – Happy Trails (1969)

i was really surprised to discover this album because–honest to god–i was once ignorant enough to think that i was already familiar with every single great psychedelic rock work from the late ’60s. never again. side A, the first 25 minutes, is an extended cover of rock & roll originator Bo Diddley’s classic “Who Do You Love?” and they do it justice, no doubt. long, sprawling guitar solos, cosmic ambient interludes, and jam drops that would make dubstep producers jealous. it’s really the perfect mix of psychedelia and blues, and it’s aged in the best possible way.

The Vaselines – Dying for It (1988)

the chorus to the first track on this 11-minute, four-track EP, Dying for It, is “ahh… i’m hanging on / i’m hanging on, baby, i’m hanging on,” on repeat. (it actually might be “i’m hanging out,” which would be just as amazing.) though i should have looked these guys up a lot earlier because of Nirvana’s cover of “Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam” on MTV Unplugged, it took a positive Pitchfork review of Enter the Vaselines for me to finally actually listen to them. (plus, i’m a sucker for small compilations that encompass the artist’s total output [see also: Black Tambourine, Kleenex/LiLiPUT].) anyway, Dying for It is a poppy punk album brimming with raucous lo-fi guitars, straight-ahead drumming that you wouldn’t call flawless, and a whole lot of teenage angst that you’re not really sure to take as truly sincere.

Matthew Dear – Black City (2010)

the way to get into this is to listen to the longest song on the album, “Little People (Black City),” about ten times before investigating the rest of the album. or that’s how my cousin Chris got me into it, anyway. it’s the longest by far, at nine-and-a-half minutes, and it’s the danciest by far too, a dark hole of disco and city lights. Matthew Dear sings a little bit like David Bowie but his music sounds totally unique. although, like pretty much everything else Chris recommends to me, the music is very much inspired by ’80s production. thick and delicious sounds abound. if you’re like me, and decide to try listening to the album in full, you’ll at first be just waiting for the fun and dancy title track; but eventually, one by one, the more sullen, more low-key songs that surround it will begin to shine through. weird. easily my new favorite electronic album from 2010.

Sufjan Stevens – All Delighted People (2010)

“tomorrow you’ll see it through.” the album starts with that line, sung by Sufjan all emo over a chorus of angels cooing behind him, as they dive into the almost 12-minute monster opening title track, a sort-of ballad. it really sounds like it could be standard Sufjan, but it’s not. it’s still him, sure enough, but if you keep listening, you’ll discover that there’s something more dramatic, more theatrical, more of the Greek epic in here. this guy loves conceptual stuff–producing albums about states and expressways or writing albums based on the Chinese Zodiac–and this album still lives in that space, but it’s less blunt about it, which is kind of nice. sure, he got me to buy the album digitally by describing it as “a dramatic homage to the Apocalypse, existential ennui, and Paul Simon’s Sounds of Silence,” but at least it’s not called The End of the World. yes, it’s the end of the world: Sufjan is using autotune and Kanye is dancing with ballerinas. do you love Music from the top of your heart? the rest of the album is gorgeous too, and more closely resembling Classical Sufjan.

Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (2010)

you know what else is weird? my three favorite albums actually released in 2010 all have 10-minute epics–“Little People (Black City),” “All Delighted People,” “Runaway”–that serve as the album’s centerpiece. the only difference with Kanye is that “Runaway” isn’t my favorite track from the album. that honor is split between three other songs, “All of the Lights,” “Monster,” and “Devil in a New Dress,” thanks in no small part to Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, and the Temptations, respectively. but really, this is my favorite album released this year. even better, it might be the best hip hop album ever. sure, Public Enemy, Eric B. and Rakim, and Afrika Bambaataa got it all started; sure, Dr. Dre created some of the most delicious, bombastic beats ever; 2Pac actually spoke poetry. but Yeezy’s MBDTF is the perfect goddamn culmination of two decades of saying stupid shit over excruciatingly-well-picked samples on repeat. it’s also a brilliant crown to Kanye’s four other five-star albums; they just keep building on top of each other. “Jesus Walks” –> “Gold Digger” –> “Stronger” –> “Amazing” –> “All of the Lights.” classic after classic after classic after classic after classic. it’s unreal, especially since he’s changing up his style, not just doing the same shit over and over again. MBDTF actually manages to surprise your ears, even on repeat listens. when was the last time you could call a mainstream hip hop or rap album “experimental” or “unpredictable”? maybe never. i really don’t know if i can trust you to play this on the sound system you really need to hear it, but i’ll take the risk (after all, it’s only YouTube):

Woods – How to Survive In/In the Woods (2005)

if Destiny’s Child was a sad lo-fi freak folk band from Brooklyn, they would have sounded like Woods. or, that’s how i feel about this album at least. the others i’ve heard, particularly Songs of Shame, sound more serious, more this-is-rock-music, but this one just rings of pop music for people who like whiskey and cassette tapes. if i were their record producer, i would just be smacking my lips with glee over all these brilliant catchy tunes: “okay so we’re definitely going to precede the record release with one single release, probably ‘Holes,’ it’s the opening track, it’s nice and safe, good feet-tapping music. next, we release the big winner, ‘Make Time for Kitty,’ simultaneously with the record release. huge money there. now we don’t want to let the hype fall, so we quickly follow that with the furious zinger you got there, ‘8-5 5-10,’ follow? then we mellow things out with ‘Silence is Golden.’ if it still makes sense, we’ll release ‘Kid’s Got Heart’ as your fifth single. oh, this is going to be a big year for you, boys. you and me!”

Caribou – The Milk of Human Kindness (2005)

both this and the album before were gifts from Rachel, and i really can’t thank her enough. a Caribou emerged from the Woods to lick my ears, as i lay on the soft leafy floor and stared into Music’s beaming eyes. while it would take a very specific kind of environment for me to play Woods, however, Caribou is something i would never hesitate to put on. this is one of those albums that you will always be happy to see while frantically scrolling through your library; i’ve never thought, “man, shouldn’t have put that Caribou on. now everyone hates me.” but don’t go away! this isn’t boring bullshit easy listening grammy awardwinning garbage either. this is Caribou, i’m ronny, and this shit is psychedelic and groovy as fuck! some of this stuff sounds like Boredoms’ Vision Creation Newsun, some of it sounds like lost Creedence Clearwater Revival demo tapes, and some of it sounds like DJ Shadow slipped in a cool record he found at his local shop. but it all sounds like good fucking rock & roll, and you can’t say that about new music often.


Beach House – Teen Dream (2010)

i love you, Victoria. both Miss Legrand, the beautiful curly-headed hottie that sings this dream pop dream, and Miss Wolffe, the dark-haired California Girl that spiraled into that dream with me for the first time (for me). i may have downloaded this album around the time it came out or when it got a lot of hype from both indie internetz and Pomona kids (no idea if those happened simultaneously [by Pomona kids, i mean Christian]), but i didn’t really get into it until i spent a week with Tori in Seattle. the girl is a role model for me because she actually listens to music mostly via her record collection. it’s a completely different experience, and it feels so good. every side of the record is a moment. but, no matter where we wandered that day (to Jimi? to Pink? to Vampire?) we kept going back to Teen Dream, and the lush waterfall fantastic reverb of Beach House. we played this record so much, Tori’s roommates gave us shit for it. it was our heroin, and that’s really what it’s like. not perfect, but perfect enough, heavenly.

Spiritualized – Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space (1997)

the first song on this record is one of the greatest moments in music history. no fucking understatement. to start, a lo-fi lady with a British accent speaks the title just like that, like it’s no big deal. then slowly, so slowly, just as silently, Jason Pierce aka J. Spaceman aka former Spacemen 3 co-leader almost whispers sings, “all I want in life’s a little bit of love to take the pain away, getting strong today, a giant step each day…” on repeat to the unmatchable Pachelbel melody, “Canon in D.” as he fades in louder and louder, more instrumentation emerges, more keys, more drums, more guitars, then more verses layered over his voice, was that a beep? are we on a spaceship? synthy sounds hover from left to right, maybe a little harmonica, there’s that beep again, drum roll crash and we’re in this ocean of exotic, familiar, soul-filling sounds of Superbia if Superbia were a place and everyone there just hugged each other and squeezed each other’s squidy hands and cried while pointing into the sky because there’s nothing really here unless we say it’s here and wouldn’t it be nice if we could just give each other all the love we need? phew. it’s not one of Meryl’s five favorite songs of all time for nothing. oh, and the rest of the album is pretty good too.

Entrance – Prayer of Death (2006)

once upon a time, i saw my favorite San Francisco garage rock band play three times in one weekend, and the last time a stupid psychedelic band called Entrance opened for them. once upon a time, i had the hots for a high-heeled bassist from A Perfect Circle, and i still do, except she now plays for a stupid psychedelic band called Entrance. once upon a time, Meryl said i never listen to her music recommendations, until i fell in love with a stupid psychedelic band called Entrance. i say psychedelic, because his guitars are all acid-soaked and his voice is all death-croaked, that’s a given. i say stupid, because i’m stupid and so is Guy Blakeslee, the leader of this band, because we’re both white boys with dark long hair that love drugs music girls and want to love death but don’t know quite how. but we will.

Gas – Gas (1996)

i can safely say that this is the only Noah Lennox recommendation on this list. thank god, i guess i don’t completely idolize the fucker. Gas is Wolfgang Voigt and Voigt is a man from Cologne, Germany who tripped on LSD in Königsforst, a part of Germany’s black forest, and returned with this, one hour eight minutes of ambient bliss divided into six tracks, with the intention of “bringing the forest to the disco, or vice-versa.” holy shit did he do it. it’s kind of what you would get if you mixed Aphex Twin’s two ambient albums together, with an emphasis on SAW2. dark, brooding, heavy, ethereal, apocalyptic and… sometimes dancy? this is definitely a creature of the night, a panacea for the stoned.

The Strokes – Is This It (2001)

i don’t really know why i put this album on the list. i guess it was sort of a rediscovery. the drive from Claremont to LA is fucking long, often an hour each way, so there’s a lot of time to listen to music; The Strokes eased the pain for half an hour of that voyage many, many a time. none of the eleven songs goes over four minutes and every single one of them is a catchy headbanger, so there’s really no time to get bored. silly fun garage rock!

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the best music of 2010 (mid-year [by year {mostly}]) [archive]

oh yeah, i gave up on doing BEST OFs the year we’re actually in, because i don’t listen to enough of that newfangled crap and when i do, i’m already a few years late to the party. only one 2010 release made this list and it’s not even actually released yet.

Happy Trails – Quicksilver Messenger Service (1969)
1969! sex! drugs! rock & roll! acid! psychedelia! the goddamn motherfucking blues. exactly 25:18 of this 50:09 piece of work (that’s “side A” for the vinyl-inclined) consists of an extended cover of Bo Diddley’s “Who Do You Love?” side B is a few different songs, but they flow together almost as excellently as the first side. though i only discovered this album about a month and a half ago (from a torrent site recommendation), i can honestly already recommend it highly. in fact, i did so after just one listen. if you at all like blues rock, classic rock, jam rock, psychedelic rock, or your soul, this album is essential.

Sing for Very Important People – The Free Design (1970)
fucking hippies did so many drugs the year before that all they could sing by 1970 were children’s songs. one of many Panda Bear recommendations to come, this album–by a band allmusic calls “a pop group for children”–features songs that are as cute as their titles: “Don’t Cry, Baby,” “Little Cowboy,” “Love You,” “Bubbles,” “Daniel Dolphin,” and “Kites Are Fun.” the last one has lyrics like “i like flying / flying kites / flying kites / flying kites / kites are fun / kites are fun / kites are fun / kites are fun / see my kite, it’s green and white” etc etc. it’s like Daft Punk but less mature. if that’s even possible. they even do a cover of “Can You Tell Me How to Get to Sesame Street?” how is this not the greatest album ever? you’ll probably like this if you like Peter, Paul, and Mary and can handle super sappy lyrics

Gentleman, Confusion, Zombie – Fela Kuti (1973, 1975, 1977)
Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here, Animals. Gentleman, Confusion, Zombie. who doesn’t miss the 70s? if you haven’t yet listened to Fela Kuti, you’re an absolute fool. i was an absolute fool for almost 22 years, but was saved the embarrassment one very late night at a friend’s house in Claremont, blazed out of my mind, sunrise approaching, when someone had the prudence to play the third of these three albums, still my favorite. the couple friends who were still awake, lay sedated on the couch. but i couldn’t not move myself, for afrobeat–the polyrhythmic Yoruba music, jazz, highlife, funk, and chanted vocals–had invaded my brain and firmly seated itself at the controls.

Love to Love You Baby, I Feel Love – Donna Summer (1975, 1977)
it’s the late 70s, so it’s singles time! i was tempted to actually just list the albums, Love to Love You Baby and I Remember Yesterday, from which the singles come (i did actually listen to both a lot!), but i would be lying if i denied that the singles beat all the other songs by a mile. the first, “Love to Love You Baby,” is a 16:53 epic of soulful r&b love, delivered to your ears courtesy of the singer’s orgasm. no really, she moans and groans for almost twenty minutes over an unbeatable disco track. the second? “I Feel Love” is breathtaking, groundbreaking, and irresistible for dancing. forty years ahead of its time. that is, timeless.

Rasputin – Boney M. (1978)
running somewhere between 4.5 and 8 minutes, depending on what version you get, “Rasputin” is always an epic dance journey. personally, i prefer the 12″ version. it lets you savor every sound longer. the militaristic drumming. the synthesized claps of the masses cursing Rasputin. the Serbian/Turkish folk guitar licks. the see saw between the creepy male vocals and angelic female vox. and then, when you finally get into the heat of the song (probably where another version starts off), another guitar stream announces a flurry of strings, which themselves make way once more for that Turkish guitar. and by now, you’re thirsting for the chorus (“Ra-Ra-Rasputin, lover of the Russian queen / There was a cat that really was gone / Ra-Ra-Rasputin, Russia’s greatest love machine / It was a shame how he carried on..”) and fist-pumping! every time i hear this song, i will think of a great 11th/Yale party with Aerienne and Meryl dancing around like madman jesters. oh.. those Russians…

The Message – Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five (1982)
again, the most of the message is on the single. frequently referred to as the greatest record in hip hop history, according to Wikipedia, and the first hip hop record ever to be added to the United States National Archive of Historic Recordings. “don’t push me ’cause i’m close to the edge / i’m trying not to lose my head / it’s like a jungle sometimes / it makes me wonder how i keep from going under.” even if you don’t know the song, you already know the beat and you already know the lyrics. i love songs that are just that good. plus, it’s probably fitting that i rediscovered this gem sitting stoned with a bunch of white kids (friends of Tori) i had just met in Seattle.

Why – Carly Simon (1982)
with this one, i have no trouble just listing the single. i’ve already played this for most of my closest friends, and most of them get this look in their eyes like they’re repeating the lyrics to me (“why does your love [of this shitty ass song] hurt so much? tell me why”) i don’t know guys. it’s more than the sum of the parts, it’s more than that ska-like cheesy piano, it’s more than those crash ass drums you can only squeeze out of an 80s synthesizer, it’s more than Carly Simon’s sultry voice, it’s more than those eight minutes, it’s love for disco after the death of disco. thank you Evan.

Smoke Two Joints – The Toyes (1983)
relax, this is the last single for sixteen years. but who knew Sublime did covers? well i guess there’s that Toots cover. oh and the Grateful Dead. do Gershwin songs still count? ANYWAY, since we all know originals are always the best, in every circumstance, with no exceptions, you shouldn’t be surprised to hear that the Toyes’ legit reggae version of “Smoke Two Joints” just plain rules. let’s just say, Sublime made the sad mistake of leaving out two crucial characteristics from the original: 1. the bassy chorus, singing, “smoooookeee twooo joints!” and 2. amazing lyrics, like “i smoke two joints when i play video games and at every ten thousand points (i smoke two joints)” and “hey would you rather smoke two joints or would you rather do your homework? … i knew you were going to say that!” yeah! fuck homework!

Taking Drugs to Make Music to Take Drugs To – Spacemen 3 (2003)
the dates on this one are so fucked, i don’t even want to deal with it. but i guess the bulk of the album mostly originated from 1987, so i’m putting it here. with the oh! cleverest of titles, Spacemen 3 confess what everyone’s known for millennia: music sounds good on drugs. and psychedelic space post-rock sounds extraordinary on drugs. so many times over the past few months did i find myself so stoned that the mere prospect of having to choose music to play for myself and my friends proved incapacitating, until i scrolled past this delicious little creature, which never failed to calm my senses. hey man, amen.

Spirit of Eden – Talk Talk (1988)
so many good things came out in 1988. like me and half of my friends. i’ll be honest, i really don’t know this album that well. i got it in that huge download-every-Noah-Lennox-influence-ever phase i went through. after having listened to it about five times, only the album’s first song has really stuck with me (as a song), but it’s the entire work as a whole that elicits a complete positive feeling. it lives in its own world of soft spirit. combining elements of ambient, classical, jazz, and rock, the album has been said by critics to anticipate post-rock and pave the way for bands like Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Mogwai, Radiohead, and Sigur Ros. so far, i believe it.

Son of a Gun, Dying for It, Dum-Dum – The Vaselines (1987, 1988, 1989)
the Vaselines are an indie pop band from Glasgow, Scotland. need i say more? well, if i must, then let me say that they are a CATCHY indie pop band from Glasgow, Scotland. they write SHORT catchy pop songs from Glasgow, Scotland. ONE MAN and ONE WOMAN sing together on the short catchy pop songs from Glasgow, Scotland. i’m really dragging this out. if you like pretty little ditties, get their whole discography and be done with it.

Is This It – The Strokes (2001)
i guess i’m skipping the 90s. whoops. what is this, anyway? garage rock revival revival? i don’t know, but i fell in love with this album again on a lousy fun trip to LA with Shanleigh last semester. maybe Thee Oh Sees set me up for it by reminding me how awesome garage rock really is. like a garage rock album should be, this guy’s got eleven cuts, around three minutes each, verse chorus verse, straight to the point. “Is This It,” “Someday,” “Last Nite,” jesus, Casablancas is a 21st century early 1960s Beatle.

Alcachofa – Ricardo Villalobos (2003)
another Panda Bear recommendation (and looking to be a big influence on the new album, if a planned Kompakt single has anything to say about it!), Alcachofa is sweet, wondrous microhouse by Chilean producer Ricardo Villalobos. though i’m not feeling it anywhere near as much as Vocalcity (yet another Panda Bear rec, yet more microhouse), i think it’s easily on its way. the beats are just so weird! and that has to mean something coming from me.

Diverse Systems of Throb – Bassnectar (2004)
Bassnectar just has this particular sound. Rachel, the girl who gave me this album, and i were talking about how Bassnectar, like Boards of Canada, has this particular sound that seems otherworldly. but otherworldly in the 2001 sense: pink sequin deserts, planets with rings of fire circling them, upside down forests, you know? the most absurd images we can conjure, still earthly, but still fantastical. dubby, glitchy, and kaleidoscopic, the man has chosen an apt name, because his music is beautifully bassy and sexily sweet.

The Campfire Headphase – Boards of Canada (2005)
i warmed up to Boards of Canada besides Music Has the Right to Children without even noticing it! one day i just realized that the other albums actually had a lot more plays than i ever imagined them to have, and when i went through track-by-track, it dawned on me that i could recognize most of the songs. weird. though i still can’t (and may never) put this one on the same level as that earlier ambient techno masterpiece, The Campfire Headphase is nothing but solid dreamy soundscapes. “Chromakey Dreamcoat” is driving through inverted California, “Dayvan Cowboy” is falling from heaven, and “’84 Pontiac Dream” is swimming in a rainbow-colored sea alongside monolithic serpents and fish with bus-sized gills.

1983 – Flying Lotus (2006)
i first discovered this shit back in my sophomore year when i had this motherfucking sweetass radio show called ElectronicAfternoon that everyone and their mom listened to for the latest hip hop and r&b. but back then i really only listened to the title track (which i still consider untouchable) and track 7, “Pet Monster Shotglass.” oh, but there’s so much more to this album. if i could do it all over again, i’d play the whole thing all the way through. after all, it’s only half an hour in total and each track flows seamlessly one to the other. but really, i feel like i get Flying Lotus now. it’s stoner hip hoptronica and it’s meant to be chilled to, not taken too seriously, and just enjoyed for what it is. nothing more, nothing less. it’s just hearty Los Angeles goodness. damnit.

Prayer of Death – Entrance (2006)
it’s like the 60s all over again except we’ve lived through disco psychedelia, cocaine-addled 80s, angst, and we’ve finally decided that the Beatles were right about sitars, peace, and all that jazz after all. although, i’m not quite sure what Blakeslee would think of me saying so about his music. i love this album because fearlessness of Death permeates the whole thing. the Grim Reaper, Silence, and the Dark rest in peace on all eight tracks, heavy, slow, light, fast, but always surrounded by the main man’s untortured voice. “I want to die without fear / How I want to die rejoicing.” thank you Elise for making me tell some old dude without a cell phone to pick me up early for the Oh Sees show. my life will never be the same.

Sound of Silver – LCD Soundsystem (2007)
this one’s LONG overdue. thank you Jacob for that tiny little push i needed. ever since high school, i have been absolutely obsessed with LCD’s two-disc debut self-titled. i still am. thankfully, the world of LCD Soundsystem doesn’t stop there, because Sound of Silver is magnificent James Murphy dance punk. i still can’t say anything on here matches the perfection of “On Repeat” or “Losing My Edge” (oh, the irony [fittingness?]), especially since the album loses its luster in the final tracks. but there’s no denying the awesome power of “Get Innocuous!” and “North American Scum.”

Reset – Flying Lotus (2007)
a short 17 minute ep released just a year after 1983, Reset is pretty much more of the same way, but that’s not a bad thing in the least. the opening track, “Tea Leaf Dancers,” even with the addition of a vocalist, manages to be even more hypnotic than anything off of 1983. listen with headphones.

FabricLive.37 – Caspa & Rusko (2007)
“how does he do it?” “my dear boy, do you ask a fish how it swims?” “no.” “or a bird how it flies?” “no.” “no sirree you don’t, they do it because they were born to do it!” thus begins what’s probably the first-ever dubstep album to really grab me by the balls and not let go. probably fitting, since both the DJs involved are, i think, getting legendary for popularizing dubstep. wahwahwahwah wahawawowowohoohowowowohowoohw. like some other albums on here, this one’s not about any individual songs (though the opener does always remind me why i’ve returned). it’s about the experience of the album. my recent obsession with singles has sort of made me forget what it is that draws me too albums, but all’s not lost.

Love Cry – Four Tet (2009)
the first and only single from Four Tet’s slightly disappointing latest, There Is Love in You, “Love Cry” and its experimental b-side may just about make up for the rest of the album. it’s not astonishing or anything new, really. but it does what it does nicely and it does it for a long time–nine minutes. simple four on the floor, ethereal vocals, whomping bassline, trembling melodies, snapping snares. i liked it from the first moment i heard it on Pitchfork, but i didn’t realize i loved it until hearing it blunted at senior week with Rachel, Alex, and co.

Tomboy – Panda Bear (2010)
god, i’m so predictable. or am i? though it might have seemed obvious that i would conclude this list with the newest Panda Bear single (by dropping the fact that half the new albums i like i only know because of the Person Pitch liner notes), at the same time, i was practically setting myself up for disappointment. i was too excited to hear new Panda Bear. but it’s ok! “Tomboy” is great! mysteriously, it draws from all three of his other albums: simplicity of the first, acoustic guitar prayer chants of the second, and kaleidoscopic sound collage of the third (is that someone puking in the first two seconds? disgusting). Continue reading

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Zombie – Fela Kuti (1977) [archive]

everything Fela Anikulapo Kuti touches turns to gold. such is my analysis after listening to seven of his albums from the 70s. but there’s one album in particular that flows, breaks, and crashes with the unmatchable fury of an unfathomable … Continue reading

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