Sunday, February 28, 2010

It looks like the International Noise Conference went out of its way this year.

I missed the International Noise Conference in Miami a couple weeks ago but came across this bit of performance from Cock ESP on the Roofless Records blog:


If that's not art I don't know what is.

Learn more about Cock ESP at their Web site.

Posted via email from Stephen Feller

Friday, February 26, 2010

The Soft Pack - C'mon

C'mon by The Soft Pack  
Download now or listen on posterous
01 C'mon.mp3 (3547 KB)

I liked The Soft Pack better when they were called The Muslims. It had a better rock and roll ring to it.

Despite the fact that it's not offensive, the band's original name makes people think it might be. Which is dangerous and awesome. Of course, when you get to their lyrics, you find out that they're practically motivational speakers.

"C'mon" is the first track on The Soft Pack's self-titled debut full legnth, and first anything with the new moniker. Like first single "Answer To Yourself," this dancey  rock is of the variety that makes boys move and girls throw off their panties and scream in a good way.

So go ahead: nod your head, tap the gas down farther, give the wife that hard, hot stare... whatever. The Soft Pack, like The Muslims before them, are cool as long as you just make it happen.

Posted via email from One Stupid Mop

Thursday, February 25, 2010

I am completely down with this thought about 2010.

Everything that is wrong with pop culture today... 

(This despite my not-always-ironic appreciation for Miley Cyrus and her alter-ego Hannah Montana.)

Posted via email from Stephen Feller

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Rolling Stone turns on "Dark Side of the Moon" and The Flaming Lips in one short review. They're wrong for lazily doing so.

Download now or listen on posterous
03 Time _ Breathe (Reprise).m4a (10409 KB)

Rolling Stone has got it all wrong, or at least Christian Hoard got it wrong in his review of The Flaming Lips full-album cover of Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon

If you read Hoard's review before continuing, understand that I'm not even going to address the part about the original Dark Side's "dull spots" because, honestly, it's preposterous - though it may explain where the rest of his review was coming from. Or starting out at.

I wasn't so sure about the idea of covering Dark Side, start to finish, and then releasing it as a studio album. I couldn't even come up with a reason and didn't reasonably expect it to be worth a second listen. 

I limped through the album the first time; stopping and starting it, equally baffled and disgusted. The thing is, once I got through the whole thing I immediately scanned back through parts of it at random because I couldn't get a few squelches and screams out of my head. And I wasn't even sure I had heard "Money," despite knowing for sure that I'd seen the title on my iPod screen.

Since it was 3 a.m. when this happened, I waited until the morning to dig around for my copy of Floyd's Dark Side. When I found it, with the sun having been up for maybe 30 minutes, I put it on first. What I needed was to refresh my memory because despite how burned into my head that album is, I just don't listen to it that often any more.

As I listened to one of rock and roll's most carefully crafted albums it dawned on me that what I needed to do was stop comparing everything on the Lips version to the original and instead see it as an interpretation instead because the two are not the same thing.

The original album focuses on sanity, greed and wasting away. There's more going on there, because you've got to be able to see a lot more of Waters' and Gilmore's lives reflected in the lyrics. I started thinking about this after noticing what was not there in the remake of "Time"...

Floyd's lyrics: "Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way."

Lips' lyrics: "Hanging on in quiet desperation... (big breath)."

That breath sounds collective to me. Like a country waiting, which I can't help but feel America has been doing since at least the middle of the last decade. The Flaming Lips can be a messy band, and since messy is the American way, I taking bigger leaps toward thought about this each time I've played the album. 

There's a lot more going on in America as we enter the the second decade of the 21st century. The squelching noise and vocodered vocals of "Money" are the aural equivalent of greedy pigs obscuring their deeds; The dead sounds of this "Us and Them" is a culture war that hasn't moved because nobody realizes what is going on and doesn't really want to engage in it; Peaches' wailing on "Great Gig In The Sky" is exactly what you think it is; even the inherent menace and pound the Lips have given "Breathe" in place of the perfectly pitched jazziness of the original speaks to something strange between the shores of America.

Look, I could be ascribing my own Oz-like reading to the Lips remodeled Dark Side, but the more I listen to the album, the less it seems like a clever gimmick. The Flaming Lips have always loved a good gimmick, but I'm sorry, a mediocre cover of one of the most loved albums in the history of music doesn't work.

I get the theory that nobody wants to listen to an album over and over until they get it any more so I'm sure that most people, being disgusted by the attempt at a cover, haven't even made it all the way through the Flaming Lips version of this classic. 

At some point I'll stop listening to the remake of Dark Side of the Moon and stick with the original if for no other reason than it is clearly a significantly better piece of music. I'm just saying it shouldn't be written off as a worthless bit of psychedelic wankery without being given a second, third or thirtieth thought.

(And no, I can't blame any of this on drugs. The only mind-altering substance I've had the pleasure of consuming is beer, because I know you're all wondering if I was off my ass on something when any part of the above hit me.)

Posted via email from Stephen Feller

Beck, Jeff Tweedy & Feist take on a Skip Spence track. Sounds to me like they won too.

Beck has been doing the Record Club project since last summer, jamming out with friends on full album covers of the Velvet Underground and Leonard Cohen. This is a Skip Spence track called "Lawrence of Euphoria." 

<p>Record Club: Skip Spence "Lawrence of Euphoria" from Beck Hansen on Vimeo.</p>

At some point, Mr. Hansen is going to do another record of his own. You've got to wonder if this is not akin to a writer rewriting his favorite novels as forced inspiration for new, original work. Or maybe he's just having a good time and putting off the inevitable creation of his own work. Either way, this shit rules.

Check out covers of the rest of the Skip Spence album Oar - and the other cover projects - at

Posted via email from Stephen Feller

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Butter 08 - 9mm

9Mm by Butter 08  
Download now or listen on posterous
01 9mm.mp3 (3216 KB)

If I was just going for an easy bit of 90s nostalgia, the pick from Butter 08 would have been the track "Butter of '69," which made it onto 120 Minutes pretty regularly in the heady times of 1996.

Frankly, that was a good time for music. The fact is that the Alternative Nation was flowing strong and side projects such as Butter 08 - basically Cibo Matto and the drummer from the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion - were abound with greatness.

To boot, the Butter released their only album on the Beastie Boys label Grand Royal, which was probably the only place that such a perfect melding of funk, rock and comfy groove could have come out. There's as much smooth groove on the album as there is post-hardcore noise-rock. 

Aside from the serious musicianship and creative artistry present here, there's an element of brilliance that isn't often found nowadays. Halfway through the tightly wound Cuban-tribal pounding of "Dick Serious" - a song whose only lyrics are that name - one of the Cibo Matto girls utters the most telling statement of the album: "He said dick." That's my kind of album.

So why do I choose "9mm" instead of the pseudo-hit single? That's easy. I like listening to those girls scream. When the chorus crashes and they start screaming about having more than 9 millimeters it makes me want to stand up and create something for the entertainment of my downtown musician friends to enjoy, whether or not anybody else gets it.

Every once in a while, I wish it were still the 90s. Yeah, I said it. I think I'm gonna go dig out my Blues Explosion records now.

see also: Butter 08 - Butter of '69

Posted via email from One Stupid Mop

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Company Flow - Patriotism

Patriotism (Street) by Company Flow  
Download now or listen on posterous
04 Patriotism (street).mp3 (7765 KB)

I was going to write up a whole examination of this song but instead I'll just post it as a eulogy to Def Jux Recordings, Company Flow member El-P's apparently now-defunct label

Despite the fact that this track wasn't released anywhere near the existence of the label, it's probably a better way to ease into this world. If, of course, it's possible to ease into it at all. (Yeah, I'll have to post something later that actually came out on Def Jux. But, you know... whatever.)

Company Flow was one of the groups that came out of 90s hip hop that helped push forward the underground - even if they flamed out after one brilliant record. They were smart and sounded like nothing else. Or, nothing else on MTV at least.

That one record notwithstanding, "Patriotism," was Company Flow's contribution to the front-to-back mindblowing Soundbombing 2, put out in 1999 by Rawkus and mixed by J-Rocc and Babu of the Beat Junkies. The mix included early efforts from Eminem, Pharoah Monch, Mos Def and more, with this being one of the true standouts.

Packed with vitriol and sarcasm that reflects the lying-to-your-face state of America both then and now, you'd be well-advised to read the lyrics while listening to the song. Actually knowing all the words adds a level of studiousness to an otherwise lyrically bare-knuckled shot to the face, perfected in lock-step with El-P's production. You might want to back up a step or two before pressing play.

Lyrics to "Patriotism"

Posted via email from One Stupid Mop