Saturday, July 30, 2011

Africa, Rise!

Seun Kuti: Live From Festival Chorus des Hauts de Seine from KF Records on Vimeo.

With From Africa with Fury: Rise, Seun Kuti creates an album that makes a direct connection and almost extension of his father Fela Kuti's work. While his previous albums did a notable job carrying on the Afrobeat torch, with this one he has really hit the nail on the head. In so many ways, Rise looks, sounds, and feels like his father's soul has a direct hand in its creation.

Pick up the album. Just look at the cover of the album. Look. And you'll see graphics that immediately draw you back to Fela's albums, and for good reason. For his latest release, Seun called upon Nigerian artist Lemi Ghariokwu, the same artists who created many of Fela's most well known covers.

Open up the album. Listen to the music. Backing Seun is Egypt 80, Fela's old band. And while all the members may not have directly played with Fela, the core of the band is a direct channel to the center of Afrobeat.

Listen more deeply. You'll find the heart of Afrobeat: protest. Songs of rebellions. Songs questioning the status quo. Songs seeking to address wrongs. The fuel that drove Fela and now his children.

Visit his website, his label Knitting Factory Records, and become his friend on MySpace.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sunday Soul - Sad Song

I keep singin' them sad sad songs y'all,
Sad songs is all I know.
I keep singin' them sad sad songs y'all,
Sad songs is all I know.

It has a sweet melody
anybody can sing it, any ol' time

It got to your heart, put you in a groove
and when you sing this song
it will make your whole body move

Otis Redding - Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa (Sad Song) : Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa (Sad Song) 7"

Otis Redding - Good to Me : Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa (Sad Song) 7" B-side

Find them both on The Otis Redding Story.

Friday, July 22, 2011

ubiquitous, adj.

ubiquitous, adj.

When it's going well, the fact of it is everywhere. It's there in the song that shuffles into your ears. It's there in the book you're reading. It's there on the shelves of the store as you reach for a towel and forget about the towel. It's there as you open the door. As you stare off on the subway, it's what you're looking at. You wear it on the inside of your hat. It lines your pockets. It's the temperature.
     The hitch, of course, is that when it's going badly, it's in all the same places.
-from The Lovers Dictionary, by David Levithan 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

candid, adj.

candid, adj.

"Most times, when I'm having sex, I'd rather be reading."
     This was, I admit, a strange thing to say on a second date. I guess I was just giving you warning.
     "Most times when I'm reading," you said, "I'd rather be having sex."

-from The Lovers Dictionary, by David Levithan

(I'd rather have both.)

Fleetwood Mac - Book of Love : Mirage

Friday, July 15, 2011

Last Summer, last night

A few days ago I wrote about the new Eleanor Friedberger album Last Summer that, contrary to the title, just came out this summer. Last night I was able to check out Eleanor play solo at the Lizard Lounge in Cambridge, MA for 45 or so minutes. The performance was in sharp contrast to the last time I saw her and her brother play as The Fiery Furnaces in 2006. With just her on the stage (if you want to call it a stage - the picture above was taken from the table I was sitting at about seven feet away from her, with no step up to the "stage," which was really just a carpeted section of the lounge) the selections were obviously stripped down. Also unlike the previous time, on this occasion, by herself, Eleanor was awkwardly enchanting in her own way, which perhaps explains my previous impression of her. She's been a musician for a while now, but it was clear that she felt out of her own trying to singularly interact with the crowd, which is incredibly revealing and intimate, when you think about it. My appreciation for her increased.

While only playing for 45 minutes or so, Eleanor managed to work through a rather wide range of tunes, both her own (from this new album - I Won't Fall Apart on You Tonight (which she opened with), My Mistakes, Early Earthquake, Scenes from Bensonhurst, Heaven and some even newer songs not on the album) as well as Furnaces' songs (from as far back as Gallowsbird's Bark - Tropical-Iceland, Bitter Tea - Police Sweater Blood Vow, and their latest, I'm Going Away - Staring At The Steeple and Lost at Sea). She stumbled a few times while playing her new songs, but considering she's just hit the road in support of an album that came out days ago, that's to be understood. The time flew by all too quickly, with mention of a return visit soon with her brother and band. She also has some remaining solo dates coming up which you can find below. I'll be looking forward to seeing her again, with memories of the first time assuaged.

The Fiery Furnaces - Police Sweater Blood Vow : Session Planet Claire 05-04-06 (studio version appears on Bitter Tea)

Visit her website and her label Merge Records.
Upcoming tour dates
Sat, Jul 16, New York, NY @ South Street Seaport - The Village Voice / 4knots Festival
Tue, Jul 19, Toronto, ON @ Horseshoe Tavern
Wed, Jul 20, Chicago IL @ The Hideout
Sat, Jul 23, Portland, OR @ Neumo's Crystal Ball - Capitol Hill Block Party
Sun, Jul 24,Seattle, WA @ Doug Fir Lounge
Tue, Jul 26, San Francisco, CA @ Hotel Utah Saloon
Wed, Jul 27, Los Angeles, CA @ The Satellite 

Tears of A Clown

Now if there's a smile on my face
It's only there trying to fool the public
But when it comes down to fooling you
Now honey that's quite a different subject
But don't let my glad expression
Give you the wrong impression
Really I'm sad, oh I'm sadder than sad
You're gone and I'm hurtin' so bad
Like a clown I pretend to be glad

Now there's some sad things known to man
But ain't too much sadder than
The tears of a clown, when there's no one around
Uh hum, oh yeah baby

blemish, n.

blemish, n.

The slight acne scars. The penny-sized, penny-shaped birthmark above your knee. The dot below your shoulder that must have been from when you had chicken pox in third grade. The scratch on your neck - did I do that?
      This brief transcript of moments, written on the body, is so deeply satisfying to read.

-from The Lovers Dictionary, by David Levithan

Pictures and Sound - Everything Leaves A Mark : Pictures and Sound

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

ardent, adj.

ardent, adj.

It was after sex, when there was still heat and mostly breathing, when there was still touch and mostly was as if the whole world could be reduced to the sound of a single string being played, and the only thing this sound could make me think of was you. Sometimes desire is air; sometimes desire is liquid. And every now and then, when everything else is air and liquid, desire solidifies, and the body is the magnet that draws its weight.

-from The Lovers Dictionary, by David Levithan

P.J. Harvey - Is This Desire? : Is This Desire?

Last Summer, this summer

I've been a longtime fan of The Fiery Furnaces, through their their more listeningly challenging output and the three songs that aren't. Just kidding. You'll find their music way back in the first year of this blog, as well as a concert review that was a mixed bag. All that being said, my curiosity was piqued when I found out that Eleanor Friedberger, one half of the brother/sister duo that comprises the core of The Fiery Furnaces, was putting out a solo album. Sure, the two did sort of do their own things (together) on the digital only Take Me Round Again, but I was interested in hearing what Eleanor would do on her own album.

Well, it came out today, but I've had a chance to give it some listening over the last week or so. I'll say that I've been auditorily enjoying it for its relative straightforwardness...that is compared to some of her Furnaces' work that makes one work to experience it. It still wears that Friedberger touch proudly with its vast array or instrumentation that produces an equally wide range of sounds, but its discordant moments flow by a little more smoothly, I guess much like the last Furnaces' album.

In fact, I'm looking forward to seeing Eleanor play on Thursday with less trepidation than I would have predicted after seeing them the first time around. She's got something of a mini-tour planned over the course of this month, dates can be found below. Check out the opening number, My Mistakes, from her new album, Last Summer, below.

Visit her website and her label Merge Records.

Upcoming tour dates

Thu, Jul 14, Cambridge, MA @ Lizard Lounge
Sat, Jul 16, New York, NY @ South Street Seaport - The Village Voice / 4knots Festival
Tue, Jul 19, Toronto, ON @ Horseshoe Tavern
Wed, Jul 20, Chicago IL @ The Hideout
Sat, Jul 23, Portland, OR @ Neumo's Crystal Ball - Capitol Hill Block Party
Sun, Jul 24,Seattle, WA @ Doug Fir Lounge
Tue, Jul 26, San Francisco, CA @ Hotel Utah Saloon
Wed, Jul 27, Los Angeles, CA @ The Satellite

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Sunday Soul - All the King's Horses

We sat on the wall of happiness
We sat on the wall of love
We sat on the wall of security
So high above

With his arms all around me
It was like a fairy tale
Two people so in love
Tell me how could it fail

The wall started shaking
I heard love cried out
Happiness is giving away
Security is coming down

He fell, I fell
And all there is left to tell

Is all the king's horses
All the king's men
Couldn't put our two hearts
Together again

Aretha Franklin - All the King's Horses : All the King's Horses 7"

Aretha Franklin - April Fools : All the King's Horses 7" B-side

(Good article on Aretha in the New York Times published last week. At one point she says "“Falling out of love is like losing weight. It’s a lot easier putting it on than taking it off.”)

Monday, July 04, 2011



Down the narrow streeets
I can feel the breeze
Going small and tired, like me
Drink some more of this
Feel the morning bliss
Songs of airplanes in my head

I shouldn't be here
Twenty-four hours
I have to keep walking
Twenty-four hours of searching

Searching for my life

Kate Havnevik - Sleepless : Melankton

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Sunday Soul - Fill This World With Love

everybody's got a reason for being here
sometimes it's hard to find
you maybe doing all of the right things
but doing them at the wrong time
and if your reason ain't good enough for you now
try this feeling of mine
i know a way we can all be free
come on everybody sing along with me

got to fill this world with love
we got to fill this world with love

Ann Peebles - Fill This World With Love : Fill This World With Love 7"

Ann Peebles - It Was Jealousy : Fill This World With Love 7" B-side

Find them both on The Hi Singles A's & B's.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Le Tour!

For those of you who care, THE bike race of the year started today. I haven't watched it yet (I'm waiting for the 9:30 showing), but I"m itching for the Tour de France to get rolling in my household.

And for those of you who might not have ever seen or heard of it, The Triplets Of Belleville (pictured above) is an excellent animated movie that is tangentially connected to the great race. Don't let the French scare you away, there is actually very little dialogue, but yet so much is conveyed. Well worth a rental and a bag of popcorn.