Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Top 10 ALbums of 2008

1. David Byrne / Brian Eno - "Everything That Happens Will Happen Today"

This collaboration is the first for the two since the My Life in the Bush of Ghosts record came out in 1981. The material is as fresh and anything else that's out today, and that's no small task considering the innovations in the music over the past 30 years. It's nice to know that in a world populated by temporary musical fads that two veterans made the best record of the year.

2. James Pants - "Welcome"

This synth funk, space age hip-hop, out on Stones Throw Records was a real surprise. It comes off like something Devo would have made if they had more soul, or something Rick James would have made if he had more of a New Wave sensibility. This is a truly unique record, something that stands out in the sea of noise that came out this year.

3. Flying Lotus - "Los Angeles"

This record came out in a blaze of glory. His debut on Warp Records set the bar for everything else that dropped this year. The production style is like creeper smoke. It sounds instantly familiar, beat drops, you start to hear the breaks and then, WHAM, something hits you that is completely unexpected.

This is a supremely fresh take on psychedelic hip-hop. His great Aunt is Alice Coltrane, so it's almost in his DNA.

4. Daedelus - "Love To Make Music To"

LA's very own Alfred Darlington, aka Daedelus, has been making some waves for sometime. This record, which features collaborations with Paperboy, Michael Johnson, Taz Arnold and Om'Mas Keith of Sa-Ra, 1200 Techniques' N'fa, Erika Rose, and his wife Laura Darlington, is his most sonically dense and most diverse record to date. His skill as a multi-instrumentalist really shines through on this record and the variety of the production styles really show a kind of artistic development that's rare in most of his contemporaries. Ninja Tune knew what they were doing when they put him on the roster.

5. Single Cell Orchestra - "Celldom V2:Arc"

Even though this record technically came out in 2007, it's been in wide circulation here at the A&H camp all year. This record takes the "ambient" music template and turns it on it's ear. While SCO has always been known for his use of fierce beats in his production, the sparse use of the "Knockout Drops" here is like the anticipation of something really good. Rumor has it that that he'll be dropping some new tracks in 2009, so maybe you'll see his name on this list come this time next year as well.

6.MGMT - "Oracular Spectacular"

OK, I have to be upfront here and say that I really, really didn't want to like this record. Maybe it's because I saw the press photos before I REALLY listened to the record, and that's my bad. I mean, to be honest the photos remind me of some hipster, fashion, trust-fund, urban outfitters photo-spread... but I'll be damned if this record isn't an amazing freak-beat, psychedelic roller coaster. Dave Fridmann, Flaming Lips producer, sat at the producers chair for MGMT's debut record and you can tell, it has that Tarbox residue all over it.

7. Zomby - "Where were U in '92?"

This kind of falls in the category of "guilty pleasure" for me, but for a very good reason. This is a jacked-up on E, glow-stick waving, unabashed homage to 90's rave music with a glitchy twist. You can listen to this record in a couple of different ways. Make it the soundtrack to a good party, and you've got the perfect backdrop for your own rave, or you can take the headphone route. Do a little "deep listening" with this record and you've got something so technically interesting, that you'll want to dig out your old Aphex Twin records to compare and contrast.

8. Deastro - "Keepers"

I've heard this record called "fantasy dance pop," but this doesn't do justice to what Randolph Chabot, aka Deasto has done here. Now, I will say that there are moments that conjure up unicorns and dragons, but doesn't all good space rock do that? I think what's amazing about this record is it's ability to transcend the trap that most other records of this genre fall into. It does not repeat itself, it does not feel tired after more than one listen, but still manages to play like Zelda anyway. I'm looking forward to more work from the up and coming producer.

9. Why? - "Alopecia"

I'm a big fan not repeating what others has said (and in this case NUMEROUS times). This is a good record, go buy it, download it or do whatever you kids do these days.

10. Meat Beat Manifesto - "Autoimmune"

This is another artist who's been around long enough to know how to drop a record that can outlast this weeks Pitchfok forecast. This record is Meat Beat Manifesto's 20th anniversary release, and finds Jack Dangers mining similar sonic territory with amazing results. The mix of dub, dubstep, psychedelic noise, hip-hop and industrial come together like Voltran to form something much greater than it's parts. It's amazing to hear something so fresh from Jack and I'm not alone when I say that I can't wait to see what's next. It's in my brain now.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

DJ Stephen R. Christmas Mix 2008


Cheech and Chong - Santa Claus and His Old Lady

King Stitt - Christmas Tree

James Brown - Soulful Christmas

Dan The Automator/Dean Martin - Jingle Bells

Berlin Symphony Orchestra - Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy (Red Baron Remix)

Afroman - O Chronic Tree

Sub Santa - Feliz Navidub

Peggy Lee - Winter Wonderland

Martin Mull - Santa Doesn't Cop Out On Dope

Merry Christmas Chickenheads!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Dear Santa

OK, I'm going to make a confession. I'm a KISS freak. I was Gene Simmons for Halloween for 3 years during my grade school years, and proudly restarted the tradition this year. At the top my Christmas list this year is the 1977, #1 edition of the KISS comic book (printed in REAL KISS blood). If you want to hook me up, you can order it here.

Friday, December 12, 2008

RIP Bettie Page


From Reuters

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Bettie Page, one of America's most photographed pin-up girls during the 1950s, died in Los Angeles on Thursday from pneumonia, her agent said. She was 85.

Page was a ubiquitous sight during the 1950s, propelled to stardom when she posed for Playboy as Miss January 1955. Soon her image was gracing playing cards, record albums and bedroom posters across the country.

She stopped modeling in 1957, retreated from the public spotlight and turned to religion. She enjoyed a renaissance of sorts in the 1980s, as a new generation of fans became obsessed with her legacy.

Her agent, Mark Roesler, said Page was admitted to a Los Angeles-area hospital four weeks ago. She never regained consciousness after suffering a heart attack earlier this month.

With her dark bangs, alluring blue-gray eyes and wide smile, Page cultivated an innocent girl-next-door persona. The one-time school teacher was nice, but clearly also naughty. Some of her photos featured spanking and bondage.

"Bettie Page embodied the stereotypical wholesomeness of the Fifties and the hidden sexuality straining beneath the surface," authors Karen Essex and James L. Swanson wrote in their 1996 book "Bettie Page: The Life of a Pin-Up Legend."

Page professed to be mystified by all the attention, saying she never felt particularly attractive and had to wear a lot of makeup to cover up her large pores. After she found God, she was initially ashamed of having posed nude.

"(B)ut now most of the money I've got is because I posed in the nude," she told Playboy last year. "So I'm not ashamed of it now, but I still don't understand it."

Bettie Mae Page was born on April 22, 1923, in Nashville, one of six children. She and two sisters were sent to an orphanage after her father went to jail and her mother could not cope on her own. Page later described her father as "a sex fiend" who started sexually molesting her when she was 13.

Page, armed with an arts degree with Peabody College in Nashville, did her first modeling work in the 1940s after moving to San Francisco with the first of her three husbands. After they divorced in 1947, she pursued modeling in New York. Photos from a shoot with Miami photographer Bunny Yeager ended up in the pages of Playboy.

The layout featured Page winking at the camera wearing only a Santa hat as she decorated a Christmas tree. Playboy founder Hugh Hefner described it as "a milestone in the history of the magazine," which he had founded less than two years earlier.

Later in life, Page was furious that Yeager made a fortune from the photos and never compensated her.

Some American lawmakers were not as impressed with her modeling abilities. Page was served with a subpoena to appear before U.S. Senate investigators trying to discover a link between juvenile delinquency and pornography. Page never appeared. Soon after, she completely disappeared from the scene.

After two other brief marriages failed, Page battled acute schizophrenia beginning in the early 1970s. Her comeback gathered momentum with the 1991 movie "The Rocketeer," based on a comic book where the hero's girlfriend was Page. Fan clubs and websites proliferated, and Page made a good living signing memorabilia at conventions. On the rare occasions that she gave interviews, she insisted that she not be photographed.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Audio Dregs has a Podcast... & a Possee

The Audio Dregs folks in Portland have been steady in making their left-of-center aesthetic known to the world at large. With a steady stream of music coming out on a regular basis, E*Rock and his clan of under the radar artists have managed to take their goods to the masses. There are WAY too many good things happening over at Audio Dregs camp to not check out their site.

XML for the Geeks
MP3 for the Tweeks

Episode 01 is a Portland themed mix by DJ Copy that was made for the Portland issue of XLR8R magazine.

DJ COPY: 86 'Til Infinity (aka PDXLR8R):
01 Nu Shooz "Point of No Return" (Atlantic)
02 Glass Candy "Etheric Device" (Italians Do It Better)
03 Strength "Wilderness" (Community Disco)
04 Arohan "Darkunderground" (Previously Unreleased)
05 Hedford Vachal "Toys" (Tirk)
06 Atole "Satyricow (Copy Remix)" (Previously Unreleased)
07 Yacht "Summer Song" (DFA)
08 The Blow "The Love That I Crave (Strategy Strata Mix)" (Holocene)
09 Solenoid "Runway Relocator" (Failing)
10 Copy "Breakfast" (Previously Unreleased)
11 Panther "Violence, Diamonds (E*Rock Remix)" (Kill Rock Stars)
12 Dat'r "Innercom/Innercalm" (Hush)
13 Starfucker "Holly" (Badman)

more coming soon!

Blank Blue & Kutmah: Free In Store Saturday 6pm @ PooBah in Pasadena


Thursday, December 4, 2008

The world's most important 6-sec drum loop

December 2008: Top 10 for holiday travels and spending too much time with family

1. Jon Hopkins - Symmetry

2. The Passions - I'm in love with a German film star

3. The Very Best - Esau Mwamwaya and Radioclit are The Very Best

4. NASA - Soul Bossanove NASA Remix

5. Blixaboy - Nova Tones

6. Single Cell Orchestra - ynot

7. Jeff Parker - Get Dressed

8. Jon Herndon - Rinse and Spit

9. The Summer of Flux - Radical Math

10. Jenny Lewis - As Hannah in Troop Beverly Hills

Throwback Mondays 12/01/08 - The Passions: I'm in love with a German film star.

I know it's not Monday, but...