Friday Music

The storms have moved through, the 80-degree mugginess is gone, I’m sitting in my office with a window open, loving the cool breeze and the fact that it’s Friday.

Let’s get some music going, shall we?

In honor of how I’m feeling today, I’ll give you this, which is one of my all-time favorite classics: Bill Withers – “Lovely Day”. Because, well, it is.

This track is an amazing bit of chill downtempo breaks-and-beats stuff, which sounds to me like a sample-based soundtrack to a Rat Pack movie. Herbaliser – “Song For Mary”. It’s from their latest CD, Take London, which also features some amazing alternative-hip-hop as well, but more on that in another entry perhaps.

I discovered this band thanks to a recent LJ post by Angus Abranson. Actress Juliette Lewis has a band in L.A., called Juliette and the Licks, and damn if they’re not pretty fucking good. Those of you who remember her performance in Strange Days as a strung-out rock singer are probably not surprised by this, as her performances in that film were pretty cool, too, and now she’s backed by a band which includes ex-members of Hole and H20 backing her up. The released an EP already, and their full-length album, You’re Speaking My Language is coming out in May. Juliette and the Licks – “Got Love to Kill”

Remixes are a tricky thing. Too often, they’re just needless tempo changes and thumps added for dance-club success…but there are some folks out there who truly demonstrate that remixing can be art. Take for example this track: Nina Simone – “Black Is The Color Of My True Love’s Hair (Jaffa Remix)”. Using Jazz vocal legend Nina Simone’s simple voice-and-piano arrangement of the traditional Scottish folk tune (which eventually crossed the Atlantic and became a staple of Appalachian music), Jaffa (David Kakon) – a classically-trained pianist in his own right– augments the number with funky drum breaks, washes of strings, and his signature keyboard riffs, creating a wholly different mood without obscuring Simone’s brilliant vocals.

For a change of gears, here’s my favorite track from The Go-Go’s – “Head Over Heels”, which proves that songs with hard-driving piano riffs are TEH HAWT. It was pretty much the swan song of the top female New Wave act, too….pretty soon, Belinda Carlisle would go solo.

Another kick-ass mash-up that I’ve found: Stevie Wonder vs Destiny’s Child – “Bootystition”…and yes, as you’ve probably guessed, it mixes “Superstition” with the vocals from “Bootylicious”…and does so marvelously. It’s like a chocolate and peanut-butter kinda thing.

This one is specifically for Yosa and Laura, but I suspect a bunch of you will appreciate it. You know the song if you’ve seen the world-famous “Numa numa Dance” flash video, which featured a pudgy computer guy lip-synching and dancing to this song. Well, here’s the actual song: O-Zone – “Dragostea Din Tei”, which is a Romanian pop song about a guy calling his girlfriend on a cellphone.

Those of you who know my religious beliefs will find this one a bit strange. Mindy Smith – “Come To Jesus” is an alternative-country track, which I absolutely LOVE, despite the Jesus-y subject matter. The whole song as this mournful high-mountain Appalachian vibe to it which is simply stunning, and, as you listen to the lyrics, the realization (in the last verse) that it’s being sung by someone who is already dead is creepy as hell….but in a good way.

We’ll finish up this week with a special New Wave tribute in honor of the new Pope Benedict XVI (who was the guy who wrote letters to American bishops during the election urging them to deny Communion to any Catholic politician who supports abortion rights, and just yesterday urged Spanish Catholics to go against that country’s new law allowing Gay marriage and adoption): China Crisis – “King In A Catholic Style”.