Tag Archives: reggae


~ 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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favorite singles of 2014

Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now — McFadden & Whitehead
All the Sun That Shines — Peaking Lights
Another Heartbreak— Peter Gordon
At Last I Am Free — Robert Wyatt
Blind — Frankie Knuckles
Coastin’ — Cities Aviv
Everybody Wants to Rule the World — Tears for Fears
Frontin’ — Pharell
Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! — ABBA
Got to Give It Up — Marvin Gaye
Guitars, Cadillacs — Dwight Yoakam
Happy — Pharrell
High Hopes — Mawkus
I Ain’t Got Nobody (And Nobody Cares for Me) — Louis Prima
Jack — Breach
Life Is Something Special — New York Citi Peech Boys
Lord of the Dance — The Dubliners
Never Catch Me — Flying Lotus
One in a Million — Aaliyah
One Two — Sister Nancy
Rapture — Blondie
Reach Out and Touch (Somebody’s Hand) — Diana Ross
Royals — Lorde
Shake It Off – Taylor Swift
Shake That — Eminem
Single Girl, Married Girl — The Haden Triplets
Situation — Yazoo
Spacer — Sheila & B. Devotion
Tell Me That I’m Dreaming — Was (Not Was)
Together — Disclosure

American Beauty
Breaking Bad
Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey
Godzilla: 50th Anniversary Edition — Akira Ifukube

blue danube
american in paris
appalachian spring
lux aeterna
also sprach Zarathustra
Má Vlast Continue reading

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my top ten albums of 2014


Blacklisted — Neko Case
Chicago Transit Authority — Chicago
Chronological Calloway Vol. 1: The Early Years 1930-1934 — Cab Calloway
Do It Again — Röyksopp & Robyn
Dreaming of You — Selena
The Feast of the Broken Heart — Hercules & Love Affair
January 07003 | Bell Studies for the Clock of the Long Now — Brian Eno
Los Angeles 6/10 — Daedelus / Teebs
Lost in the Spectacle — York Factory Complaint
On the Water — Future Islands
Suicide — Suicide
World Psychedelic Classics, Vol. 4: The Existential Soul of Tim Maia: Nobody Can Live Forever — Tim Maia
Yellow mY skYcaptain — Paz Lenchantin Continue reading

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buncha dudes in b&w

Screen Shot 2014-12-06 at 13.58.35 Continue reading

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my friends have marvelous taste in music, which they sometimes demonstrate via pay-what-you-want demos

i once had an uncle who firmly believed that any bodily ailment could be cured with a little hot water. cut yourself? no alcohol, no hydrogen peroxide, no antibacterial nothing… just rub it under some hot water for however long you can stand, and you’ll be just fine. inflated lids? aching tummy? broken bones? hot hot hot!!! fucking water. his fascination with the miraculous effects of steaming fluids flew far beyond the even relatively acceptable realms of reason. suffering from heartbreak? get in the shower, and don’t come out until you’ve stopped crying.

oh wait… it wasn’t my uncle that believed that stuff. it was me!

god all i ever do on this fucking thing is write about myself.

Christ. i just did a fucking search (lord why the fuck do i swear so fucking much?) of my entire blog, and found zero instances of the phrase “Radio Lily.” how the hell did i get to like post 4,073 and never mention Radio motherfucking Lily. Radio Lily, which broadcasts live daily from a small spot in New York City, does this exact thing 24 hours a day, seven days a week:

that is, it spins curvy reggaeish music.

a girl named Sara introduced me to Radio Lily. i am eternally grateful to her for the gift… so much so that i often think about her and wonder whether she’ll actually visit me in SF like she’s promised on several occasions. i just want to pull a blunt w her again and blast Lily on Lily. that’d be nice.

i write the strangest things on my phone’s notepad, like this: “nobody’s whiter than Jack White, no matter the clothes he wears nor the grow he hairs.” i was high on white and weed watching the very man wank around onstage when i wrote the lines, so i have very little insight into what the fuck i was actually trying to say. maybe you can guess?

outside lands was so good. extra sweet because of the free vip pass for the entire weekend. sheesh. here are some other amazing acts i caught:

huh? what? there were all these, like, legendary dudes gripping their legendary weapons, and then, like, you break the pattern with some legendary dudes gripping their weapons too far in the distance for me to notice and some horse banner thing. some crazy horse banner thing. and then i’m just, like, standing here holding this harmonica, listening to pretty aery girl pick her banjo like a badass, and i’m like, what? huh?

what makes me so sure that any of this is worth publishing on the Internet?

here’s another note from my phone: “how is a string of hair a dj?” see, the funniest thing to me about all these notes is how nonsensical they are even to me, the supposed author. the vast majority of the time i’m compelled to pull my phone out of my pocket, tap ‘Notes’, and scrawl down some craziness like “how is a string of hair a dj,” i am pretty fucked up on at least one thing. and every one of those times, without fail, i convince myself that i can get away with writing something like eight words to convey the thousand page manuscript of an idea exploding inside my head. i convince myself that, with just those eight words, i will be able to reconstruct the manuscript at a later date. this is rarely, if ever, the case. how is a string of hair a dj? only god knows now.

just below that nonsense, however, is something that makes sense to me. it’s the name of a song i started singing one night:

it came directly from the heart. crawled out of my bloody valves, climbed up my esophagus, and collapsed a spineless critter on the span of my tongue, the song. i had spent the entire day, evening, and night w a girl and her friends, but i couldn’t be w them anymore. they were drunk and couldn’t stop singing songs. it wasn’t about pounding corn to the rhythm of the sun or strumming strings to the pleasing of our guts, no no no. it was all about hitting a note at the proper time and coming up with clever lyrics to match the proper rhyme. i was bored and/or lazy. so i retreated into the stranger’s house, being house sat by a bunch of irresponsible vagrants like us, and scraped the critter off my tongue w my iphone. the operation, to this day, has resulted in zero complications.

beneficial ape”

i have no idea what that’s about either. i thought it may have been an artist and album, but i can’t find anything of the sort.

201206241522. i’m listening to the original version of “Blue Monday” as performed by the illustrious New Order. i am rocking and dancing and shaking my head, as i am apt to do when listening to a single considered to be the best-selling 12″ of all time, when i hear the line “those who came before me.” i then have a thought. an idea. specifically, the development of an idea. you know how the catholic church used to have everybody at mass, including the pastor leading the fucking thing, facing the same direction? and then they changed it to the priest facing the congregation. well, the next step is everyone facing each other. OH WAIT THAT’S ALREADY EVERY DANCE PARTY EVER. okay, i get it; i think a little too catholic. so stab me.

Itty Bitty Nitty Gritty Heart. Continue reading

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favorite “new” singles of 2010

Donna Summer – “I Feel Love” (1977)

ooh… i feel love i feel love i feel love i feel love i feel love….. consider me an official convert of the Church of Bellotte, Moroder, and Summer, because this shit is seriously the meaning of life and death right here. singing, moaning lovely, simple poetry over a repetitive, thumping synth line that could have come out yesterday, Donna Summer proved to me in just under six minutes why she is called the Queen of Disco. said David Bowie in 1989: “One day in Berlin … Eno came running in and said, ‘I have heard the sound of the future.’ … he puts on ‘I Feel Love’, by Donna Summer … He said, ‘This is it, look no further. This single is going to change the sound of club music for the next fifteen years.’ Which was more or less right.”

Carly Simon – “Why” (1982)

before 2010, all i knew about Carly Simon was that she was some alright white chick from my parent’s time that made one popular song which my favorite band from high school managed to incorporate pretty interestingly into my least favorite song by them. oh, but now, she is so much more. i think during the summer, Stalker posted a YouTube link to this song on his Facebook, and i am so fucking glad i caught it. it’s eight minutes of Simon singing “why. does your love. hurt so much. don’t know why.” over the most bombastic drum and bassline of all fucking time, highlighted by colorful keys in dub rhythm. what. the. fuck. it goes on forever, it sounds the same the whole song through, but it never gets old. fucking blast it.

Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five – “The Message” (1982)

this track needs no introduction. well, it shouldn’t. but it took me until january 2010 to discover this musical gold. “don’t push me ’cause i’m close to the edge, i’m trying not to to lose my head. it’s like a jungle sometimes it makes me wonder how i keep from going under.” and quite possibly the most superb beat ever produced. or at least the first (this shit preceded Dr. Dre’s chronic tunes by a decade!) i hardly give a shit that he’s rapping about something “real” because i’m too busy bobbing my head in sonic ecstasy. i think i’m seeing a trend here. i like my singles to be BASSY.

Boney M. – “Rasputin” (1978)

god look at all those sparkles on that album art; Music & Lights, that’s where it’s at. so where Grandmaster Flash sung about the hard-knock street life, Boney M. sings about… a Russian mystical legend named Rasputin, in the silliest way possible. i’m really not sure if these guys had any other hits, but it doesn’t really matter because “Rasputin” has everything: delicious disco beat (based on a Turkish folk song), male and female duet, a chorus that you can’t not sing along to, and motherfucking handclaps. hey! hey! hey! hey! hey! hey! hey! hey! let’s fucking rebel against the system! and fucking dance at the same time!

Thieves Like Us – “Drugs in My Body” (2007)

okay, i’ll just throw this out there. maybe, just maybe, i wouldn’t love this song so much if Jacob hadn’t thrown it on while i was on the peak of my very first roll. oh god i’m so glad he did though. i was a free-floating space effigy, representing everything horrible in the world, and i was fucking burning. burning burning burning burning and dancing like a desert phantom with mind-altering ice cubes melting at a million miles per second in the palms of my hands. “go downtown with the drugs in my body, step back up i’m the life of the party, come back home and we’ll get something started, stay up late put some heat in my heartache.” yup.

Panda Bear – “Drone” (2010)

i’m starting to think that singles even more than albums draw their power from nostalgia. this was the very first song i heard Panda Bear perform live. Andrew D. mailed me his Pitchfork ticket, i hopped on a plane for free with my mom’s passes, flew to Ontario (a nice place to potentially get “stranded”), flew to Chicago, took the L downtown, walked into Union Park with a backpack carrying a couple days of clothes and sunglasses hiding yesterday’s ophthalmologist attack on my eyes, walked up to Noah’s stage (after securing an actual roof to sleep under [love you, Nora & Erin]), bummed a puff from some kids, and bowed to the awesome unintelligible sublimity that is “Drone.”

Donna Summer – “Love to Love You Baby” (1975)

ohh… love to love you baby… sound familiar? yes, it’s Miss Summer singing about how lovely love is, but this time she does it for seventeen minutes (the version above is a ridiculous three minutes, so unfortunate), and instead of doing it over a track that is the future of music, she does it over the music that fits the era better–smooth, funky disco perfection. half the time you can’t tell whether she’s singing or orgasming. (Wikipedia said the idea at first made her uncomfortable, naturally enough.) half the time you can’t tell whether you’re listening to music or orgasming. i wonder what it’s like to have sex to this song…

Four Tet – “Love Cry” (2009)

nine minutes of crying, “Love Cry.” i played this for a friend who knew and enjoyed Four Tet’s older material, but to this he said something like, “what is this dancy house bullshit?” oh yes, all electronic musicians must bow down to the Great Disco Ball in the sky at some point in their careers, it is inevitable. i first downloaded this when it was released at the end of 2009, was reminded of it at senior week in San Diego, and it cemented itself in my soul at Treasure Island, when Kieran Hebden performed it as the San Francisco sun set behind the city, leaving only cold and clouds. Love Cry… Love Cry.. Love Cry.. Love Cry..

Panda Bear – “Tomboy” (2010)

i’ve come to realize that i am (at least) a complete sucker for two qualities in music. one, music about music. two, Minimalism. now, “Tomboy” is probably even closer to just plain old rock than the ~Minimalist work i mentioned in my last post, Fly Pan Am, but if you just focus on the guitar portion of the song, you might see what i’m seeing. first chord first measure, second chord second measure, third chord strum for four measures. repeat. it’s as if the first two chords are flight preparation and the third chord is the spiral into infinity. listen to it loud on headphones. i’m a stoner and i can’t fucking wait for Panda Bear’s LP to come out this year.

The Toyes – “Smoke Two Joints” (1983)

you didn’t really think Sublime wrote their own music, did you? just kidding. i’m going to spare you the WHICH IS BETTER THE COVER OR THE ORIGINAL? argument (though, for the record, i ordinarily prefer the original), but this version of probably the best stupidest smoking anthem ever is just undeniable reggay goodness. gone is the Reefer Madness sample, gone are the endless bong rips, gone are the turntable scratches, all that’s left is sincere stoned singing and a rocking band burning happily for a few minutes. now i just want someone to tell me why Sublime cut quite possibly the greatest lyric from their cover: “i smoke two joints when i play video games and at every 10,000 points (i smoke two joints).” Continue reading

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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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when my soul starts growling [archive]

everything’s so crazy. i’ve just been rethinking more intensely than i have for awhile that i’m actually in Athens. i guess i stopped thinking about it as i settled in more, but the arrival of my family (minus danny) on sunday really just brought it all back.

following two days of awesome class trips (but also early class trips), i thought i’d take advantage of saturday night and get tanked. Elaina, Hannah, Sam and i taxied up to the Maddy-Xanthe-Caitlin place where we all had a little whiskey, a little vodka, a little tequila, before heading out to monastiraki. i don’t remember what the original plans were, but the revised plans involved this place called spirit. thank god i had drunk myself into at least a hint of aggression and said Fuck. No. We are going to the dirty alley.

oh, the dirty alley. monastiraki bustles with night life, but there’s this one dirty little sketch alley that intrigued me from week one in this ancient city, but i’d only gone there once, when andreas’ friend took me. so we went. and it rocked. a small bar, rock & roll, cool people, and enough girls to make me think i found a lesbian bar (it wasn’t). a few minutes after arriving, i get a call from my dad saying he just landed at the airport. ! i had no idea, i thought they were coming sunday afternoon. i tell him where i’m at and to give me a call when he gets to his hotel, a five minute walk from the bar we’re at.

a couple drinks later i get the call and billy and my dad come down to meet us. i’m still pretty trashed and it blows my mind to see people i associate with a different half of the world. anyway, they came back to the bar we had all been at, it’s blasting music still, and my dad buys me and my six friends a round of drinks. he has a cigar with a beer and looks sooooooooooo cool. i go between talking (yelling) with them and dancing with the girls. crazy weird funny great night.

on sunday i woke up early (10am) to meet the family by 11. i tried to be a good tour guide, but i haven’t even done half this stuff myself. and this is actually the reason. i know i’m going to have many opportunities to visit the Acropolis, so why bother doing it until the super-tourists come? we saw the beauty that is 2500 years of decay, walked through the ancient Agora and then the new one, where they have a ruckus of selling instead of ruins. we got some delicious lunch, lazied around in their hotel, walked through the National Gardens to my apartment, where we lazied around some more before visiting a local cafe and enjoying life. everyone napped and we met later (i brought Elaina) for dinner in psiri.

today i fucking aced my mythology midterm. maybe i really should stop being so cocky about it. i might end up being severely disappointed. in lit, we’re back to poetry. we’re reading Giorgos Seferis, one of the most important modern Greek poets, greatly influenced by Ezra Pound and T.S. Eliot, among others. i hope you’re ready for some excerpts. from The King of Asini:

And the poet lingers, looking at the stones, and asks himself
does there really exist
among these ruined lines, edges, points, hollows and curves
does there really exist
here where one meets the path of rain, wind and ruin
does there exist the movement of the face, shape of the tenderness
of those who’ve waned so strangely in our lives,
those who remained the shadow of waves and thoughts with the sea’s boundlessness
or perhaps no, nothing is left but the weight
the nostalgia for the weight of a living existence
there where we now remain unsubstantial, bending
like the branches of a terrible willow tree heaped in unremitting despair
while the yellow current slowly carries down rushes uprooted in the mud
image of a form that the sentence to everlasting bitterness has turned to stone:
the poet a void.

i’ve been really fascinated reading this stuff, because of the references made to ancient Greek mythology. you find the references throughout all the famous literature of the world, but it’s different here. it’s like the poets are grasping with how they should identify with their, if not blood ancestors, then at least their geographical ancestors. decay of great civilizations, everything to nothing, who am i? from Helen:

Nightingale nightingale nightingale,
what is a god? What is not a god? And what is there in
between them?

man? man, from Last Stop:

‘The same thing over and over again,’ you’ll tell me, friend.
But the thinking of a refugee, the thinking of a prisoner, the thinking
of a person when he too has become a commodity —
try to change it; you can’t.
Maybe he would have liked to stay king of the cannibals
wasting strength that nobody buys,
to promenade in fields of agapanthi
to hear the drums with bamboo overhead,
as courtiers dance with prodigious masks.
But the country they’re chopping up and burning like a pine tree — you see it
either in the dark train, without water, the windows broken, night after night
or in the burning ship that according to the statistics is bound to sink —
this is rooted in the mind and doesn’t change
this has planted images like those trees
that cast their branches in virgin forests
so that they rivet themselves in the earth and sprout again;
they cast their branches that sprout again, striding mile after mile;
our mind’s a virgin forest of murdered friends.
And if I talk to you in fables and parables
it’s because it’s more gentle for you that way; and horror
really can’t be talked about because it’s alive,
because it’s mute and goes on growing:
memory-wounding pain
drips by day drips in sleep.

i think this has actually been my favorite poet so far. maybe it’s because he often uses words like “abyss” and “everywhere.” i like that. on wednesday i have to present on his other poems in relation to the Wasteland, by Eliot. wish me luck.

want to know something funny? i’m already working on a mix for the summer. i love you, Adam, for starting this last summer. i am already so pumped: i’ve got 5 songs, 16:40, 2007/1970/1971/2009/1981, electronic/rock/reggae. i hope you’re all as excited as i am.

by the way, they are teaching robots to love. how does it feel to be human? Continue reading

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skanking it easy [archive]

last night was the second night in a row that i went out against my own will: this time because it was an opportunity to hang out with actual Greeks. a couple days ago i mentioned that i met my friend Andreas’ cousin Theos and this girl(friend?) of his. well he invited me out last night, so Elaina and i went up to monastiraki, met up with him, and made our way to a small, loud little bar. i had been in this neighborhood before and i had specifically seen the dark alley before where you can find this bar. i’m glad i actually went there this time. i think the place plays different music depending on the night (last night we were promised live music and disappointed by the lack thereof) and last night it was all punk/reggae/ska. i knew the Sublime song, the Toots song, and recognized the Flogging Molly and Offspring. Elaina pretty much named every single other song with no problem. after leaving, the punk and i went to her apartment and bullshitted around for awhile, before i sleepily walked home.

i love music! i love music projects! Dan commented on my last.fm yesterday, suggesting that we exchange lists of “the greatest albums of all time. that means: most personal, most unique, most mind-boggling, most catchiest, and by far the most important of all, most ‘you need to hear this album before you die’-est…oh, one more stipulation. if you (or i) see an album we haven’t heard, we have to immediately download and listen to it. that’s how good they oughta be. and i say this with around a dozen+ gigs of unlistened music…” i love this kind of shit! you’ll notice we’re trying to avoid the insanely obvious (The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, etc., although Dan kind of cheated with Piper). i’m passing on his list to you because it has a lot of great music on it:

  • (1971) Bob Marley and the Wailers – African Herbsman
  • (1968) The Zombies – Odessey and Oracle
  • (1977) Wire – Pink Flag
  • (1970) Nick Drake – Pink Moon
  • (1967) Pink Floyd – Piper at the Gates of Dawn
  • (1980) The Raincoats – The Raincoats
  • (1979) Public Image Ltd. – Second Edition.
  • (1991) Slint – Spiderland
  • (1971) Can – Tago Mago
  • (2002) Broken Social Scene – You Forgot It In People

lacking surprises, here’s my list:

  • (1996) Tool – AEnima
  • (2007) daft punk – Alive 2007
  • (2005) Devendra Bahart – Cripple Crow
  • (2001) Aphex Twin – drukQs
  • (1969) King Crimson – In the Court of the Crimson King
  • (1970) Miles Davis – Live-Evil
  • (1998) Boards of Canada – Music Has the Right to Children
  • (2007) Panda Bear – Person Pitch
  • (2002) Nine Inch Nails – Still
  • (2004) mum – Summer Make Good

i find our picks interesting in their differences. the most obvious difference is genre. Dan’s run the (post)punk/rock route while mine features way more electronica. i guess it comes down to the years. i ran the numbers and the average year for Dan’s list is 1977.6, whereas mine is 1995.9. number and genre games aside, both of these lists feature absolutely stellar music and you should download every single one you don’t have and don’t listen to anything else ever. if you want to get in on this fun, just post some albums on my last.fm. stick to maybe ten, since that’s the precedent that Dan set (and i don’t want to download a million more albums….. or do i?). Continue reading

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Athina [archive]

my roommate is sleeping, it is 1022, and i don’t know what to do with myself. i went to sleep last night extremely tired after nearly 10 hours of airport time, almost 15 hours of airplane time, and a whole day of realizing that i don’t know where or when the hell i am.

the first flight from SFO to JFK was on/off sleep-wise. around 20 minutes before landing i wrote the following piece in my moleskin:


i didn’t know it was going to be this long when i arrived there, but i had a 7-hour layover in JFK. i would’ve gone downtown if i had realized. instead, i sat around mostly. i did at one point find some power and watched Annie Hall on my laptop. a fantastic comedy recommended to me by Andrew Dugowson, i am now recommending that you watch it.

once on board my flight to athens, i took my place in a lone exit row, with all the room in the world just for me. the plane was filled with students in my program, and i ended up talking to a few sitting next to me for awhile. i listened to a bunch of albums that start with the letter I:

  • Immolate Yourself – Telefon Tel Aviv
  • In My Eyes – Minor Threat
  • In Rainbows – Radiohead
  • In the Aeroplane Over the Sea – Neutral Milk Hotel
  • In the Court of the Crimson King – King Crimson
  • In the Dark – Toots & the Maytals
  • In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida – Iron Butterfly
  • The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of NiggyTardust! – Saul Williams
  • Innervisions – Stevie Wonder

the first was a great recommendation of c. caceres, the second is fucking in-your-face punk, the third is everyone’s favorite album, the fourth is everyone’s pretentious friend’s favorite album, the fifth is pure bliss, the sixth is good reggae, the seventh is hilarious psychedelia, the eighth is Reznor / Williams to the end, and the ninth is fantastically fresh funk.

after i arrived, i took a taxi with the one guy in my apartment who got a single (bastard). after figuring out how to open the door, we met our two other roommates (who somehow decided to live together). so i was stuck with the surprise roommate who wouldn’t arrive until later. his name is Cameron and from the 2 minute interaction i had with him yesterday evening, he seems very chill. he’s still sleeping, but i don’t blame him. i don’t know why the hell i got up so early. i wanted to sleep forever.

here is my course schedule:

  • Ancient Greek Mythology & Religion
  • Deconstructing Zorba: The Search for Identity in Modern Greek Literature
  • Modern Greek
  • Aegean & Ancient Greek Art & Archaeology
  • Attic Tragedy (in translation)

do you think i should drop one?

it feels like college and high school and middle school and elementary school and preschool and life all over again. unsure of place, unsure of time, unsure of space, unsure of rhyme. who are my friends and who are my enemies? everybody, nobody.

i’m going to go shower and take care of stuff at the school (textbooks, bullshit, etc). peace. Continue reading

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