Another week, another installment of my internet mixtape.
Filmmaker Kevin Smith (Chasing Amy, Clerks, etc.) once said about Robert Rodriguez: “When I get up at 10, somewhere I know that Robert has already done a dozen things.” Rodriguez is a true renaissance man…writer, director, artist….watch the credits on any of his films and notice how many times his name comes up. He even writes and performs the score for his films. Recently, he started a band as a fun side project. The band, Chingon (Spanish for “Bad Ass”) has a couple of CDs out, and has performed live at a few clubs. Quentin Tarantino liked one of their tracks, so he used it in Kill Bill Vol.2, and it appears on the soundtrack: Chingon – “Malaguena Salerosa.”
I told you that I was going to give you a sample of the opening act for last week’s Duran Duran concert, so here’s one of my favorite bits from the album: Stimulator – “How Far Would You Go? (Die For Me)” They also do a brilliant cover of “Magic” (originally by Olivia Newton John), but I prefer the original, so that will probably appear next week.
Before the band Underworld became the electronic-music darlings that featured on the soundtrack to Trainspotting, they actually began life as a late-80s alternative-synthpop band. I bought their debut album on cassette back in 88, and I finally tracked it down digitally. Some of you have probably heard the eponymous single from that album, “Underneath the Radar,” but here’s the first thing I heard when I popped in side 1, which still is my favorite song on the album: Underworld – “Glory! Glory!”
In the early 90s, the band Dream Theatre represented one of the last gasps of Progressive Rock. They had a small degree of success with this single, which I have to admit I like…prog-rock’s tendencey towards bombast has always been more than balanced out for me by sheer virtuosity, and if anything, these guys can PLAY. Dream Theatre – “Pull Me Under.”
The first time I heard about this, I cringed, with memories of celebrity-vanity-project albums dancing in my head (I’m looking at you, Bruce Willis). However, who’d have thought that an Italian supermodel singing songs she wrote in French would be so lovely? The whole thing comes of as a Gallic accoustic-guitar singer-songwriter vibe….aside from the fact that she just also happens to be stunningly beautiful. Carla Bruni – “Raphael.”
Speaking of singer-songwriters, this is a track from one based in New York City, whose major label debut, Soviet Kitsch wins the award for my favorite album title of the year. Regina Spektor is quite good–her voice and piano chops lead to inevitable comparisons to Fiona Apple, but I think that I actually prefer her arrangements better, especially in this track which features some really lush backing from a string section (which I’m an absolute sucker for): Regina Spektor – “Us.”
I found another mash-up that had me moving around a bit, so I figure I’d share. Ignore the annoying 5-second ad at the beginning for MashupRadio.com, the provider of the mp3, and listen to this mix of the Bee Gee’s “Stayin’ Alive” with Will Smith’s latest single, “Switch”– Cheeky Boys – “Switchin’ Alive (Bee Gees vs Will Smith).”
Enjoy, little monkeys. Back to work for me.