Friday Music

I’m quite pleased with the mix this week — there’s a lot of good stuff here. “All killer, no filler,” as they used to say on cheesy rock stations. Anyway, here goes:

I’ve been watching “The White Rapper Show” on VH1, which has been, by turns, both pretty damned good and cringe-worthily awful. It’s hosted by MC Serch, who, back in the early 90s, was part of the group 3rd Bass. Here’s their most popular track, which bashed folks like Vanilla Ice (famously portrayed in the video for this song by Henry Rollins) for stealing the elements of hiphop for pop-music self-aggrandizement, instead of promotion of the culture. As I listened to this recently, I noticed the sophistication of the backing track. The foundation sample is, obviously, Peter Gabriel’s “Sledgehammer”…but what I had never noticed before was the layering and mixing of other samples into it, and as the song progresses, it morphs into a hook from The Who’s “Eminence Front.” Very cool, and some wicked rhyming as well: 3rd Bass – “Pop Goes The Weasel.”

I once described Kula Shaker as “music from an alternate universe where the psychedelic movement had stuck around and formed the basis of modern music.” This is my favorite track by them, from their second album, Peasants, Pigs and Astronauts — it has everything: distinct movements, revelatory lyrics, brilliant instrumentation and soul-girls-from-the-chorus-of-“Hair” backing vocals. Brilliant. Kula Shaker – “Great Hosannah.”

Trent Reznor is brilliantly using the internet to promote Nine Inch Nails’ forthcoming album, Year Zero. He “accidentally” left a USB stick with this song in a bathroom at one of his most recent tours. Naturally, it’s all over the ‘net now. Good stuff, too: Nine Inch Nails – “My Violent Heart.”

The Fratellis are a new Brit-rock band, whom I first thought were named after the bad guys in “The Goonies.” Turns out that Fratelli was actually the bass player’s last name, and they all changed their names to match his, as a gimmick. Regardless of the source of the name, the music is great. Hook-laden and catchy as all hell: The Fratellis – “Chelsea Dagger.”

Al Jourgensen is still plugging away with Ministry. From their early days as a New Wave act (I have a couple mp3s from this period) to the pinnacle of their industrial success with “Jesus Built My Hot Rod” — and here, from their most recent album, 2004’s Sanctuary. This anti-Bush song was later pulled from the album, and re-released in an alternate version, due to problems surrounding the use of samples of “O Fortuna.” (A lot of groups use it assuming that it’s classical, when it’s not, and still under copyright) Naturally, I’ve managed to get you a copy of the original: Ministry – “No W.”

I’m a big fan of Nikka Costa. She’s the daughter of producer Don Costa, and Frank Sinatra was her godfather. She recorded several platinum records as a child, and then launched an adult career which combined elements of funk, soul and the blues. I’ve shared a couple of singles from her in the past, but here’s an album track from her 2001 album, Everybody Got Their Something: Nikka Costa – “Tug of War.”

There’s a genre called “sleaze rock” which I’ve been giving an ear to recently. It’s a subgenre of glam, featuring a rough less-slick, underproduced garage-band sorta sound. Here’s a great example: Nashville Pussy – “Atlanta’s Still Burnin’.”

Lastly, here’s a brilliant bit of musical satire from French artist Marthélène. She’s written a great bit of music, totally accoustic (violins, chello, tuba, guitars, etc.) except for the use of a drum machine, and sings about how she doesn’t like dance music, while managing to produce one of the best dance tracks I’ve heard in quite a while. Marthélène – “Je n’aime pas la dance-musique.”

There you go. Long one this week. Hope you liked it.

4 Replies to “Friday Music”

  1. I could have sworn you posted Great Hosannah before in one of your Friday Music entries. Not that this is a problem, because it really is Kula Shaker’s best :-)

  2. I’m pretty sure I did, actually — hard to remember, since I’ve been doing these for so long. I guess there are bound to be some repeats.

  3. The new NIN makes me very hopeful. If the rest of the album sounds like that, I will be a very happy Theron. Also, according to several sources on the web, if you run the static at the end of the track through a spectroscope, you get an image of a spooky hand.

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