Posted by whitneymcn April 24, 2009
Posted to mashups 
270 plays so far

DJ Schmolli vs. the Johnny Cash & His All-Star Band - God’s Gonna Cut You Down

I can’t decide whether this one is going to gain or lose followers for themusic, so I’m just going with it and hope for the best. Yesterday I saw the following exchange on Twitter:

povertyjetset: listening to Sigur Ros Vs. Mobb Deep - Shook (Emancipator Mash Up) http://hypem.com/track/803842

jimshreds: @povertyjetset what’s next mashing up johnny cash?

povertyjetset: @jimshreds it’s really not bad! but yeah, I hear you. some things are sacred. lulz

As anyone who’s checked out my last.fm stats knows, I (and my 4 year old daughter) have a healthy obsession with Johnny Cash…but it’s a good question: can the awesome power that is Johnny Cash come through a mashup?

What if, for example, the mashup has the man in black singing over a riff created from Led Zeppelin, the Beastie Boys, Ted Nugent, and the Beatles? I mean, if you’re going to attack the sacred, why not go all the way, right?

Judge for yourselves, and happy Friday, all.

Posted by whitneymcn April 21, 2009
Posted to openers  most memorable 
333 plays so far

Mike Watt - In The Engine Room

I don’t actually know what Watt the Widow Babies had in mind when they wrote the song Mike Watt Created the Universe with a Bass Solo for their Mike Watt EP, but the riff that opens this track (and Watt’s album Contemplating The Engine Room) is what comes into my head.

Variously described as a punk rock opera [Watt’s term], a concept album, and a song cycle, the songs that make up Contemplating The Engine Room explore Watt’s personal history, from his home and his father’s life in the Navy through the relationships that made up the Minutemen and Firehose.

In 1997 I saw Watt perform the album before I’d actually heard the recording, and the bass riff that starts In The Engine Room, which returns throughout the album, was immediately fixed in my memory.

If this is a new one to you, give yourself a little time to adjust to Watt’s voice, listen a couple of times, and then sit down and soak up the entire album. I made the happy discovery that the live show I saw is available from the Internet Archive, so give it a listen. Please.

Posted by chewablevitamins April 8, 2009
Posted to one plus one 
210 plays so far

Leadbelly - Goodnight, Irene

Goodnight, Irene was first recorded by Huddie Ledbetter in the early 1930s.  By most accounts, Leadbelly learned this American folk song from an uncle before landing in prison, first for murder and later for assault.  He developed and recorded Goodnight, Irene at Louisiana State Pen.

I discovered this song when I picked up Ken Kesey’s Sometimes a Great Notion in middle school.  I opened the cover and the epigraph read:

Sometimes I live in the country
Sometimes I live in town
Sometimes I take a great notion
To jump in the river and drown

The song is commonly described as a story of a troubled love and a murky past.  For me, it’s always been about wanting to do it all and feeling overwhelmed with having to choose between experiences that will never be the same. I want to live in the country and I want to live in the city, I want to be everywhere while I’m young, I don’t understand a reality that makes me choose, and sometimes the frustration feels like too much to take.  That made my head explode as a teenager and is still a kick in the gut half a lifetime later.

Lead Belly’s vocals + twelve strings = one plus one.

Posted by daryn April 3, 2009
Posted to stylish jackets 
Call & response #2: Kruder & Dorfmeister (1993) channel Simon & Garfunkel (1968) .

Call & response #2: Kruder & Dorfmeister (1993) channel Simon & Garfunkel (1968) .

Posted by whitneymcn April 3, 2009
Posted to stylish jackets 
A great musical tradition: call and response.

A great musical tradition: call and response.

Posted by whitneymcn April 2, 2009
Posted to on second thought 
109 plays so far

Gomez - Las Vegas Dealer

Gomez has gotten a fair amount of blog love for their just-released album, and rightly so: they’re a good band. They’re also a band that I spent much of the last dozen years completely ignoring.  I honestly don’t know why, in retrospect, there was just something that bugged me about their music.

Then a year or two ago a friend passed me a mix that had Las Vegas Dealer on it. The song absolutely grabbed me and so I started digging back into their albums…and was totally unable to remember why I didn’t listen to them. Give this track a try and see whether you want to hear more — I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

Posted by whitneymcn March 23, 2009
Posted to mashups 

Eclectic Method - A Rock Mix

Not just a “mashup”—this is a decade-spanning audio-visual megamashup. Sweet, and I think we can expect to see this all over the Internet for the next 72 hours. Just remember that you saw it here before you were tired of it!

Posted by whitneymcn March 17, 2009
Posted to obscura 
100 plays so far

Death - Freakin’ Out

Since Death was written up in the NY Times this may now (happily) be a stretch for an “obscura" post, but it’s great music and a great story: three brothers formed the band Death in the post-MC5 Detroit of the mid-1970s, almost-but-not-quite got a record contract, and then split up and went on to other things. Their total output was a lone self-released 7" single.

Thirty years later: one of their kids heard that single (which had become a cult collector’s item as very early punk), his dad dug out some of Death’s old demo tapes [packrats FTW!], the kid mentioned the demo tapes online which got the attention of a record collector with connections to Drag City…and then, 30 years after they broke up, Death’s album was released.

In an alternate universe these guys could and should have been sharing bills with the Stooges and the Voidoids. Listen.

Posted by whitneymcn March 16, 2009
Posted to one plus one 
199 plays so far

Billy Bragg - Saturday Boy (live)

I do not—I can not—blame Billy Bragg the the generations of emo singer/songwriters he begat. His album Back To Basics is a showcase of earnest, personal, beautiful songwriting…and yes, I listened to the album virtually nonstop for a long period in the mid-1980s.

This live recording from 2006 shows off a Billy Bragg who is much older than the one who wrote this song, but who can still perform it with the same conviction he had on the record, while letting in the perspective and humor that the years have brought. Listen.

Posted by pootytang March 10, 2009
Posted to obscura 
189 plays so far

3 Simmons - You Are my Dream (School Time)

This isn’t a particularly timely track, but as I hear it for the first time I feel a strong complusion to spread the joy.  This is just a feel great track, and I’ll place a bet that it makes you smile.  I just looped and I’m loving it even more the 2nd time.

From Numero Group’s “Home Schooled”:

Home Schooled, the 16th record in Numero’s library of the lost, looks at the unknown side of the early 70s kid soul revolution. Beyond the Osmonds, the Five Stairsteps, and the Brighter Side of Darkness lay hundreds of aspiring children (or parents) bent on becoming the next Michael. Numero has selected seventeen of our favorites. A detailed and photo stuffed booklet breaks down the history of the phenomena, while the disc straddles the line between historical artifact and wild mix tape.