It Gets Worse

Some of you may have been witness to the typical right-wing response to those expressing outrage at the warrantless surveillance of Americans. The usual party line goes something like this: Make it look like the fuzzy-headed liberal is freaking out about OMG TEH GOVT LISTENING IN ON MY PHONE CALLS!!!, when “obviously” this is a case of surveillance being performed against legitimate targets, and not average Americans.

The idea here, of course, is to make the liberal look like some kind of conspiracy nut.

Well, not so fast, there, Mr. Right-Wing Apologist: It looks like your hypothetical argument to make someone look like a nut MIGHT ACTUALLY BE THE CASE.

The Boston Globe is reporting today that the NSA has probably been using computers to monitor ALL Americans’ international communications, and filter for the specific material they’re looking for.

Take a minute and let that sink in.

All Americans. You, me, everybody.

All international communications: Phone, Internet, etc.

How much more of this are we supposed to put up with? How much more, before we actually do something about it?

Big-ass Friday Music post

You guys are getting a lot this week, because I will not be posting any music next Friday (the 30th)…mostly because I will not have time in the coming week to find stuff to share with you.

Now that I’ve said that, here’s your final Friday Music post of 2005:

First off, as I told some of you, I returned to composing during this past week. One of the cool things that I discovered is that in addition to being able to record with digital instruments directly to the hard drive, I can also record vocals using my iMac’s built-in mic! So this song features the first time that I’ve sung anything on one of my own tracks…nothing big, just a vocal loop that says “this is not what we are; this is not what we do.” So, without further ado, I give you: @nubis – “American Taliban.”

This is one of the album tracks from Dresden Dolls, and it’s one of my favorites. For this song, they drop the Brechtian punk cabaret thing, and manage to do a take on early 60s Motown girl-groups. The lyrics are hilarious…all about the feeling one gets from seeing the same car that your Ex used to drive. Dresden Dolls – “The Jeep Song.” “I guess it’s just my stupid luck, that all of Boston drives the same black fucking truck.” Love it.

Cheb i Sabbah is a legendary Algerian-born, San Francisco-based DJ who creates what he calls an “Outernational Mix,” of dance music, mixing Arabian, African, and Asian sounds with the latest in electronica. I absolutely love his work, and I can’t believe that I’ve gone this long without including something from him. Cheb i Sabbah – “Kese Kese.”

To completely switch gears: I am a complete score-nut. I loves me some film music. This has led me to discover some really interesting stuff. For example: Lisa Gerrard, the female vocalist for Dead Can Dance, who has done film score work with Hans Zimmer on Gladiator, among others, worked on an amazing score for TBS’ fairly pedestrian mini-series version of Stephen King’s “Salem’s Lot”, which came out last year. (The one with Rob Lowe). The score is much better than the film itself: Lisa Gerrard – “Salem’s Lot Aria.”

Here’s a little present for and her girls….as well as , since this is her favorite song from the show: A lovely little ditty from “The Simpsons”, from the episode with the Burlesque house, La Maison Derierre. The Simpsons – “We Put The Spring In Springfield” I think we should come up with a Canterbury version of this song. “We put the canter in Canterbury”, perhaps?

A bit of lovely, dark, grind-y electronica: Massive Attack – “Angel.” Some of you may recognize this, since it’s been used in a number of films, notably Guy Ritchie’s Snatch.

I’ve been really impressed by the stuff that I’ve heard from Sufjan Stevens. I need to pick up more of his stuff. I posted “Chicago” last week. This week features another track from the same album (“Come on Feel the Illinois”): Sufjan Stevens – “The Predatory Wasp of the Palisades Is Out To Get Us.” He’s got some goofy titles, that boy. But the songs are simply beautiful.

Absolutely rip-roaring rock-n-roll– the new single from The Strokes grabs me instantly with the “Peter Gun”-esque spybeat bassline, and then throttles me into submission by its sheer kickassitude. The Strokes – “Juicebox.”

Hip-hop doesn’t get much better than Jurassic 5. They came from the alternative side of the genre, and for a long time were a purely underground thing. They’ve flirted with mainstream success here and there, but generally their stuff is too smart….not enough bling-and-bitches for pop success. Layered over classic jazz and soul samples, structured by two of the best DJs in the world (Cut Chemist and DJ Nu-Mark), each member of J-5 (Akil, Zaakir, Mark 7even and Chali 2na) lay down some of the most amazing rhyme riffs I have ever heard. The sheer verbal dexterity and rhythmic inventiveness of the rap floors me….on every single track. These guys put serious thought into what they’re saying…no Diddy-esque “Uh-huh Yeaahhh” over recycled beats here. Jurassic 5 – “A Day At The Races.”

…and lastly: I decided against making this a Christmas-themed Friday Music, figuring that you can hear tons of holiday music all around, anywhere you care to look. That said, I did feel like I should include one Christmas song. This one is very dear to my heart…’s just very much “me.” The Kinks – “Father Christmas.”

Hope you enjoyed my weekly mix tape in 2005. More will be coming in the New Year.