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Updated: 2018-04-23T07:55:42.429-04:00

 



A few words with tUnE-yArDs

2010-08-22T16:45:41.155-04:00

Photo used with the kind permission of David AtlasMerrill Garbus' tUnE-yArDs project was one of the late, great musical surprises of my 2009. Sean over at Said The Gramophone included Hatari on the Gramophone's best of the year compilation and I was well and truly knocked out by its adept mix of ragged DIY garage rock, African vocal flourishes reminiscent of Letta Mbulu or Dorothy Masuka and respect for melody. A close listening to the excellent BiRd-BrAiNs LP followed and the album has stayed on heavy repeat in my home for over nine months now.Immediately following a live NY performance, Merrill was kind enough to speak with The Tofu Hut for a few minutes. Here's some of the high points of that conversation.[NB: This transcription has been edited for clarity, with an eye toward maintaining meaning. Errors should be traced back to your humble narrator, not Ms. Garbus.]Tofu - Where did the tUnE-yArDs name and the funky upper/lower case spelling come from?Merrill - The name came from an early song of mine where I describe a "tune-yard" as a place where I can go and harvest my music, to pluck it from the ground. I like to think of songs as living independently of me; instead of having to feel the pressure of creating something solely from my own experiences, I can go and cultivate the finished product from the tune yards. My work is to manifest songs somehow, rather than make them from scratch.The capitalization was just to draw peoples' eyes on MySpace, back when that's where my music was. It was an attention-getting device and also a way of making people have to slow down when they wrote about me; every time they typed my name they had to really think about what they were doing. I like being a little abrasive and sticking in people's teeth that way. [Laughs] And there's certainly many people, many writers, that have expressed their annoyance at that choice! But you know, I have never actively enforced that capitalization. It's not in my contract or anything.Tofu - Do you have any regrets? If you could go back and give yourself another alias, would you?Merrill - No, I really like my name now. It's big enough to encompass a lot, which is what I hoped it could be.Tofu - What's your background with African music?Merrill - I spent time in Kenya studying music abroad with an emphasis on taarab, one of the predominant African East coast styles. I was playing violin at the time so I met and played with taarab musicians and poets in Africa, trying to better understand and explore the culture. I also learned the basics of the Swahili language. Exposure to both sounds and pattern of a different tongue and a different style of composition absolutely affected the music I'm doing now.When I visited Tanzania, I got turned on to the famous Tanzanian musician Hukwe Zawose. Zawose was a huge influence on me in terms of how he used his voice to bring himself and the audience to a different place, a spiritual plane. He used sound to mold a different reality.More recently, I've been listening to pygmy music from Central Africa. I had been unknowingly emulating some of their sound in Hatari. When I was first recording that song, I had jost lost my voice from overuse so when I hit the high notes, I couldn't do a smooth scale up and had to kind of yodel to reach. While I was flipping my voice like that, a friend said to me "that sounds like pygmy music" so I hunted down some recordings to compare and I really loved what I heard. Since then, I've been training my voice in that style.African music is absolutely important to me and I know that shows in my music. I'm intrigued by rhythms and melodies that aren't Western, that stretch my capability to understand and follow. A lot of that pygmy music, just for example, I can't comprehend what's going on musically or in the minds of the singers but it's so tremendously compelling.Tofu - I hear that African grounding in your music; the lyrics are in English, but the phrasing is not.Merrill - Yeah, I like fucking with language! Whatever makes a thing awkward or imperfect in a [...]



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2009-02-21T14:14:42.479-05:00

=================================================================glisten: The Work of the Father 3More info on my father and the background on how this piece came to be is available here.I'm pleased to be able to play host to this piece; an exploration of the mostly unknown musical ties that bind The Golden Gate Quartet and Elvis Presley and a peek into the complex history of the traditional spiritual ‘Swing Low Sweet Chariot’. Dad promises more on the latter in a future post.Again, here's Pops.a few words on THE GOLDEN GATES and ELVISIn the course of conversations with Orlandus "Dad" Wilson, the great Golden Gate Quartet bass singer, I was surprised to learn of an impromptu backstage jam session the Golden Gates had with Elvis Presley at the Casino de Paris early in 1960, and the reverberations from that encounter in Elvis's subsequent recorded repertoire. For example, "Elvis Is Back!," Elvis's first LP following his military service, includes a version of the Golden Gates' secular hit "I Will Be Home Again," recorded as a duet with Jordanaires' tenor Charlie Hodge.The lead singer on the Gates' original 1945 version of "I Will Be Home Again" is Alton Bradley, Willie Johnson's post-WWII replacement. Pianist Conrad Frederick and guitarist Abe Green provide a dreamy accompaniment to this rather atypical Golden Gates' smooth ballad. In a 1982 interview with Ray Funk, Conrad Frederick said "I Will Be Home Again" was "the biggest record that [the Gates] had. In fact that was the only record that moved in a broader area than the spirituals."left to right: Orlandus Wilson, Alton Bradley, Henry Owens, Clyde RiddickOrlandus Wilson reunited with Conrad Frederick, The Gates’ old piano accompanist, at U.G.H.A. Hall of Fame ceremony (NY, April 1994) The Golden Gate Quartet - ’I Will Be Home Again’ (Okeh 6741)Elv1s Pres1ey – ‘I Will Be Home Again’The following excerpt from a 1995 interview with Dad Wilson is, unfortunately, somewhat disjointed. A rough transcription follows with Mr. Wilson's comments italicized and my own in bold; you can listen to the original recording of our conversation by clicking on the link."Do you remember what dates it was that Elvis visited you in Europe? Was it soon after you'd moved to Europe?""Yeah… It must have been in the beginning of the spring of 1960. He came on leave to Paris, from the military. He was doing his military duty in Germany. He came on leave to Paris, weekend leave. And as I understood it, he said he was walking down the street and he saw this theater and on it he saw "Golden Gate Quartet," and he saw the photos that were displayed, you know. He walked in and he asked if he could see the Golden Gate Quartet, if he could meet the Golden Gate Quartet. So they said, 'Well, no, because the show is on and it's almost finished now, so you can't see them.' So at the time the husband of Line Renaud, Loulou Gaste, he heard the conversation. Because the people didn't understand him [Elvis] plainly, because the people didn't speak English very well. But Loulou Gaste overheard what he was saying, and so he walked over and he said 'Do you know the Golden Gate?' He said that Elvis Presley told him, said 'Well, I know them very well, because they are my professor.' He said, 'Your professor? Well, the show is going to be finished in a few minutes. If you want to, I'll take you back and you can meet…'""He didn't know he was talking to Elvis Presley at the time?""No. He said, 'You can meet my wife, because my wife is the star of the show.' … After the show finished he brought him back. First he carried him to her [Line Renaud] room you know. He was talking with her, because she spoke very good English too. He was talking with her. He had two men with him. Then he [Loulou Gaste] said, 'Oh you want to meet the Golden Gates. OK, I'll get them and bring them down.' So, we had changed clothes and everything. And he brought us down to Line's dressing room and he said 'This is a young men, he said he know you,' and so forth. So we said, 'Well, yeah. This is E[...]



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2008-11-02T22:40:42.989-05:00

=================================================================glisten: The Work of the Father, part twoMore info on my father and the background on how this piece came to be is available here. I'm pleased to be able to play host to this piece; the interview puts Lomax's work with The Golden Gates into an interesting perspective and the previously-unheard releases that make up the post's musical component are catchy, pitch-perfect and a rosy look back to FDR-era folk music.Again, here's Pops.The Golden Gate Quartet from the 2/8/1941 Norfolk, VA. Journal and GuideLeft to Right: Earl Robinson, Clyde Riddick, Henry Owens, Willie Johnson, Orlandus Wilson and Burl IvesThe Golden Gate Jubilee Quartette made their first stage appearance in New York City at Carnegie Hall, as part of John Hammond's historic "Spirituals to Swing" concert in December 1938, which led to an extended series of engagements at Barney Josephson's exclusive Café Society in Greenwich Village. It was at this time that Library of Congress folklorist Alan Lomax began to make use of the Gates' talents in radio shows and concert/lecture/demonstrations. In 1995, I had the pleasure of speaking with the great Golden Gate Quartet bass singer Orlandus "Dad" Wilson, who joined the group in 1934 and remained a member until his death in 1999, about the Quartet's experience working with Lomax. A rough transcription follows with Mr. Wilson's comments italicized and my own in bold; you can listen to the original recording of our conversation by clicking on the link."The first concert we did like that with Lomax, this was what they called the Pan-Am Music Festival, which took place in Mexico City. We went to Mexico and we spent about three weeks doing that music festival and a few of the cities in Mexico. This was in '39. And then in 1940 we came back and we did the concert at the Library of Congress in Washington, D. C. We did a few of these concerts like that. We did one at the college, Columbia University in New York. And we did one down in the Village at one of the small theaters that they had down in the Village. These turned out to be very successful musical concerts. Then we came to Fisk and we did the one in Fisk in 1941."They were in the form of a demonstration? Lomax would lecture…""Lomax would do lectures. He would talk about the folk music and the connection of the blues and the folk song. Because in this we had Josh White with us doing these concerts. And we did demonstrations on the stories of the things that arrived with the spirituals, in connection with the folk music. And we did the sketches. We did things like 'Mr. Rabbit' and things like that. We did the dramatic story behind this. Because we had spirituals that we used to sing, 'Then my little soul going to shine, shine,' 'Then my little light is going to shine, shine, shine.' In the folk version of this it was about Mr. Rabbit, they'd say 'Mr. Rabbit, Mr. Rabbit, your ears are very thin. Yes, bless Lord, I've been splitting the wind. Then my little soul going to shine, shine.' And we did dramatic stories about this. Clyde Riddick was playing the part of the rabbit and Willie Johnson he was playing the part of the hound dog that was chasing the rabbit. And I was narrating the story, trying to get Mr. Rabbit and the hound dog together you know. All this sort of thing. At the end of the dramatic thing we would go into this song, 'Mr. Rabbit, Mr. Rabbit…'"Here, following a brief introduction by Lomax, is 'Mr. Rabbit', recorded on December 20, 1940 at The Coolidge Auditorium of the Library of Congress.The Golden Gate Quartet - 'Mr. Rabbit, Your Ears' Mighty Long'Orlandus Wilson with his wife, Gun (1994)"Was that a song that you all knew, or did Lomax introduce you to that song?""We knew the spiritual version, 'This Little Light of Mine is going to shine, shine, shine.' In the folk version the words was about the story of the animal kingdom.""Lomax taught you that song?""Yeah. He was doing this folk music series called 'Back Where I Came Fr[...]



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2008-08-25T13:56:25.739-04:00

=================================================================glisten: The Work of the FatherMy Pops had been a Metro bus driver in Nashville for some time and it didn't suit him well. While visiting family in New York City, he passed by the now-venerable House of Oldies and spied a record in the window selling for a hundred dollars. Earlier that year he had picked up a copy of the same disc for two bits. He hadn't been aware that there was a market for such stuff, a coterie of vinyl and shellac obsessives willing to pay far beyond top dollar for rare and historically important recordings. A light went off. Pops, a Yankee expat living South of the Mason/Dixon, saw the potential for a potentially lucrative hustle that played well off a lifetime of fascination with music. In 1975, the year I was born, my father decided to buy and sell antique records for a living.In those pre-bay times, Tennessee was a collector's paradise; over a half century of music and radio industry unique to the area produced literally hundreds of thousands of undervalued records left unused or forgotten in garages, parlors, basements. A curious crate digger could find warehouses filled with untrammelled pickings. Initially, Pops would cart bulk piles of 45's and 78's into the city to sell but he quickly adopted a business model that would require less hauling and a different sort of focus.Once a year, he would print and mail a thick pamphlet of the thousands of meticulously graded records and musical memorabilia he had acquired (or, as eventually became more common, that he was selling on consignment) to an international community of several hundred select buyers. Those buyers would send their lists of requests along with a price they were willing to pay for each of their picks. A month or so later, Pops would pull all the high bids and write the winners to confirm purchase. They would send checks. He would clean and pack the records then drive vanloads, many vanloads, of boxes to the local post office. Everybody at the post office knew him by name. In the background, while he's working, he's always playing an eclectic mix of music; sometimes favorite albums but more often whatever it is that he's just found to sell. Seventy-five percent of my childhood had an ever-changing soundtrack.Pops has run this mail-order auction for over thirty years in pretty much the same fashion I've detailed above. It fills six to eight months of his year, every year, with packing and cleaning and grading and acquiring and mailing. I've watched him do it; it's a numbing sort of grind that often left him frazzled and irritable; hands cracked from the rubbing alcohol he used to clean the records, shut up in a home office walled by cardboard and vinyl, burning early morning hours appraising disc after disc. He has always done all this work by himself and continues to do so. His main mechanical aide well into the late nineties was a typewriter. He has a computer now but he uses it solely as a word processor. To the best of my knowledge, he has never opened Excel; all his financial mathematics are done on paper or with a calculator. He does not have an internet connection.Pops realized early enough that simply selling records wasn't going to fulfill his needs; he needed to add a creative or educational element to this work to make it worthwhile. When my father began his business, there were limited resources available to learn more about the artists and groups that populated his favorite songs. Constant exposure to the people who sold and bought these sort of records brought him into contact with a mostly unwritten history that caught his imagination. He began to form an identity as an independent musical scholar in the styles of music indigenous to the South: blues, rhythm and blues, bluegrass. He was particularly taken with the vast and rich tradition of Southern gospel recording, the race records of the twenties through the late forties. Many of the artists h[...]



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2008-07-10T17:44:18.541-04:00

Go Celtics!=================================================================glisten: eluveitieEluveitie - Gray Sublime ArchosEluveitie - Anagantios(apologies for the tacky megaupload links; I'm trying to get my server issues fixed; see below in clicky for more details...)It was Elisabeth who told me that I really shouldn't miss Paganfest (you can read her Time Out New York piece on the tour here) and after a few listens to the myspace tracks, I understood her enthusiasm.By far the most exciting band I saw that night was Eluveitie; a nine man ensemble featuring the traditional metal staples of drum kit, multiple guitars, bass and a cookie monster vocalist along with the less predictable inclusion of a viola, a bagpipe, two flutes, what I took to be a lute and an honest-to-god hurdy gurdier who alternated playing the instrument with helicopter headbanging.These shakycam movies from the show I attended don't really do the evening justice, but they should give you a sense of the exuberant spirit of the performance. Watching eight hundred hyperactive kids throw up the horns and crowd surf to pennywhistle is the sort of thing that sticks in your memory; it was certainly among the best shows I've seen this year.Recently signed to Nuclear Blast Records in the States, Eluveitie (pronounce el-WAY-tea, it means "I am The Helvetian" in Etruscan) are a Swiss band that combine ancient Celtic folk music with the trappings of death metal. This is less convoluted than you might think; Switzerland, founded in the fifth century BC by the Celtic Helvetians has long been a matrix for nationalistic heavy metal bands such as Celtic Frost, Samael and Krokus. Perhaps all that emphasis on peace has led aggressions to come out in music... or maybe it's something in the soil?The tenor of Eluveitie's work is strikingly non-nihilistic and positive; they describe themselves as "a neutral band on topics such as politics and religion". The band has gotten minimal buzz on the aboveground blogworld (even Toni Basil has a bigger footprint on hype machine), which leads me to wonder if I'm missing out on some solid, not-for-profit, single user driven Metal musicblogs. Lord knows that Elisabeth, Steve Smith and Ian Christe are among the very few regularly publishing journos who take the genre seriously; I'm not sure if this is solely an American way of viewing metal or if it's a real academic lack. Let me know in the comments if you know of some places I ought to be checking out and I'll post them here in a future Hut.The two tracks I'm offering today are representative of the band's ostensibly wildly divergent paths; 'Anagantios' is a sublime string instrumental that reminds me of James Bryan and Carl Jones' 'Last Look at Lonesome Rock', while 'Gray Sublime Archon' has more of the aforementioned thrashing-to-recorder, "peanut-butter-in-my-chocolate" blend of traditional melody and blast beats. Both are engaging, robust and (I think) of interest even to people who would generally eschew anything metal sight unseen.Give these a listen; you may find yourself pleasantly surprised.=================================================================tell me moreEluveitie's albums are for sale on eMusic, iTunes and Amazon and readily available via the usual suspects for try-before-you-buy exploration. Suffice it to say that you should absolutely try to catch them live for the full effect when and if they make it out to your town.-Youtube offers a considerable host of Eluveitie videos; official, live, bootleg, fan built or otherwise.A few of the better live tapes include this 2007 take on 'Slanias Song', this surreal impovisational bagpipe and bass duet and this nicely captured performance of 'Tegernako'.I also strongly recommend taking a gander at the video to Eluveitie's current single 'Inis Mona'; it captures the band at its best and most moving.-Need more than the Eluveitie homepage has to offer? The MySpace and Facebook not doing it for you? C[...]



a few words from our sponsor

2008-05-27T17:25:08.923-04:00

(image)
Hi.

I've been thinking about the moments in my personal history when I have experienced the golden spark of unexpected connection. There have been a lot through technology, most of them on the web. The vehicles are an odd mix of off and brand names: Bittorrent, YouTube, AudioGalaxy, Google, Ultima Online, IRC, Project Gutenberg, Netflix, Tivo, Metafilter, Blogger. They've all left me a little breathless from what Kierkegaard calls "the dizziness of freedom". Expectations of restriction and boundary are overturned and there is literally no end to what you can find. On an ur-level, this is what it means to be a child, to be in a constant state of amazed discovery at every leaf or toy or Werner Herzog short that shows up on the plate. The problem comes when I find myself in a state of media gluttony; it's a rare moment when I'm not immediately offering myself up to engage with some sort of art. There are repercussions, a sort of creative torpor. Sharp flavors dull and bright colors blur a bit. Expectations of self decline: while Aristotle was supposed to have read all the worthwhile opinions of his society, I can't even read half the magazines I subscribe to. Context wobbles in and out of focus; when the music that reminds you of your old country home in the Ozarks is Afro-pop and Tuvan throatsinging, where are you really from? It takes work to be curious and even more work to be excited all the goddamn time. I write less and less until eventually I'm not writing anymore.

When I started The Tofu Hut some four years ago, there was a premium in the newly burgeoning 'music blog' scene on either finding the newest new stuff or on finding really rare tracks. Personally, I aspired to being more of a shadchan, a matchmaker for ideas and interested minds. I've never been interested in being a critic; why should I tell you what to think about something that you can just as easily listen to on your own and form your own opinion? And, incidentally, fuck a 'tastemaker'; that always struck me as the sort of term you'd use to describe a coffee machine. Scarcity is a fun novelty, but it means less and less as the celestial jukebox starts filling up... and you don't need me to tell you that new tarnishes faster than it can get on the shelves. So why bother at all?

I've been paralyzed with diversity, with being unsure whether what I have to say matters, with the recognition of the time and effort it would take, with the fear of my own amateurism and lack of polish. But to be that golden spark for someone else? To give them a new idea that carries them somewhere down the spiderweb that I can't even see? It's still something worth aspiring to.

All this is a rambling, roundabout way to say that I've been listening and watching and reading over the past year and I have a few nice goils you should meet. I'll trot them out for you now. Thanks for waiting for me.



the secret history of Betty Davis

2007-08-14T00:02:06.679-04:00

listen to the lady herself================================================================tuwa's-dayIf ever there were a good reason for this site to lurch back from the dead for the gazillionth time, it would be the revitalization of my ongoing relationship with the admirable Tuwa and his Shanty. Tuwa drops by the Hut today to grace us with some knowledge and hot traxx from funk goddess Betty Davis. Show him some love in the comments section and who knows? Maybe we could even see more of him in the future.Betty Davis -- If I'm In Luck I Might Get Picked UpBetty Davis -- Shoo-B-Doop and Cop HimMiles Davis divorced Betty because she was too wild. She's known for that and less for her music, which is a shame, and even less for her cooking, which is another. Between living in New York and living in Pittsburgh she used to have this restaurant in New Orleans, a hole-in-the-wall, dive-looking place that paid okay but cooked even better. It specialized in soul food: hush puppies, collard greens, fried chicken so greasy you couldn't lift the napkins off the table without help, you know the scene. That was where she worked after her first couple of records: they were some real hot stuff, sassy and in your face, hot like I said, hot like you'd expect today from Macy Gray or somebody but funky too like P-Funk and Sly Stone. Those were good albums but didn't get much attention, and Betty, she just figured hell with it and set up her restaurant. She did what she wanted to do and then she wanted to do something else. If you haven't heard 'em, well, I'll tell you something more about her cooking and that'll tell you about the music.This restaurant started to get a reputation for itself, till one day this music critic from New York came in after one of the concerts--Irma Thomas and Allen Touissaint and Eddie Bo, that crew. Betty'd gone down and performed a couple of songs with them even though she didn't fit in too well, and then she came back to take the meatloaf and cornbread out of the oven even though I could have managed it just as well like on any other day. She seemed peevish about something, on edge, so I just ducked my head and tended to my tables. And the place was starting to fill up when this dandified critic walked in, cutting early from the concert, and ordered a reuben. Betty told me later he'd been standing there near the front row with his notebook out, and I guess that's what got under her skin. He didn't help things coming in later asking for a reuben."A reuben," she said."Yes, I think I'd like a reuben.""You came into a soul food restaurant and ordered a reuben.""Do you know how to make a reuben?"By now Betty had her head back and one hand on her hip. "Do I know how to make a reuben? Hmph. Oh, you'll have your reuben." Then to me: "Jimmy, go get some some Swiss cheese and some rye bread." And back to the critic: "you want something to eat until then?"So I went off to the grocery down the street and came back, and Betty buttered a plate and sliced the bread and took some corned beef she'd intended for a hot hash and she put it on one slice on some Swiss cheese, and put some Thousand Island on the other. And she put the two sides together and brought it out to the critic like that and set it across the table from him and he just looked at it."Not yet," she said. She was wearing this short tight skirt and a form-fitting blouse--she liked to advertise herself a bit, you know--and she had an afro in those days with some hoop earrings, and she sat at the counter catty-cornered from the critic and his sandwich, her elbows back on the counter with her legs crossed, one foot bobbing absently like she was still listening to Eddie Bo play an encore. She had her chin back a bit, her dander up, you know, and she turned her head slowly, giving that critic and his sandwich a look like you wouldn't believe. And the butter began to sizzle and the c[...]



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2007-06-06T10:37:45.458-04:00

PLAY LOUD UKULELE=================================================================glisten: son of tofu hutSon of Tofu Hut is a collaboration with The King Open School of Cambridge, Massachusetts. King Open is a mix of races, ethnicities, social class and nationalities; a melting pot of opinions and perspectives. I've been sending discs of music to King Open to have them played to a class of seventh and eighth graders; the kids give them a listen once or twice and then write a brief critique of what they've heard. I'll be compiling their responses to present you with music, links (when available) and lightly edited (spelling and obvious typing errors are corrected, grammar and slang is not) teenagers' responses.Jake Shimabukuro - 'Heartbeat / DragonJohn sez: In addition to being a grand virtuoso, Jake Shimabukuro is one of the nicest and most completely genuine people I've ever met. I've seen him play live three times now and he's absolutely floored me every time.I was first exposed to Jake when I did a capsule review for his album, Dragon. I was struck by how much I wanted to listen to the man on the uke play solo and ditch the modern jazz production that mucked up his fascinating intricate fingering. You can imagine how overjoyed I was to discover that his readily available on the internet live shows generally consisted of Jake with an amplified uke and nothing but.Gently Weeps, which Heartbeat/Dragon hails from, is an entirely acoustic album and, while it makes for an interesting listen, it simply can't compare to the exhilarating experience of seeing Jake live. If he ever comes to your town, don't miss him.Student 1: Boring. The begining is too long and sounds like old fashioned chinese music. I dont like it. It is boring and... god, it is boring. Very asian-ish and very boring.Student 2: The song sounds like some one is very sad. It makes me want to cry because it gets me into a really deep thinking point. I am happy this song has no singing in it because singers would mess up my train of thought. If i were really sad or was bored, I might actually listen to this song. I really like it. Wow, I can't believe this song is played on a ukulele, oh my god!!!!! But I still like this song.Student 3: This sounds like a traditional Asian song. I would listen to it to relax. This guy is really talented. I like the sound of the heartbeat in the beginning.VISITMYSPACELISTEN 2 A JAKE FULL-LENGTH LIVE SHOWBUY 'Gently Weeps' direct from JakeStudent 4: The instrument in this song is lovely but it has too much of the same beat at the start. It's like a song that you would listen to if you wanted to cry because it sounds so sad.Student 5: This sound like a person is going to a open mic stage to perform and that person is just bobbin' his head back and forth.Student 6: At first it sounds like a heartbeat and then it sounds like an Asian beat, but then it gets more clear and has different kinds of beats to it. I think the beginning is just too long. Can't it just get to the singing part, like oh my god its wasting my time. Anyways it sounds kind of calming in one way then fun and move-y in another way. I like the different beats it has to it, like it's pulling one way then another. It seems like a song you would meditate to.WATCH JAKE PLAY DRAGON LIVEWATCHWATCH MOREStudent 7: This song is very relaxing. I feel like I am in a life-sized zen garden. It sounds happy and remindes me of "A Princess Bride" (that movie is also great). It sounds as if fairies and elves are playing the harp (I know, that was cheesey, but it's true). The beginning of the song really does sound like a heartbeat. The ukulele is beautiful! I didn't know it could sound so relaxing! Student 8: This song is very calming, something that you would listen to when you need to relax. I think that the maker of this song is trying to get you to come out of yo[...]



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2007-06-06T10:37:19.453-04:00

lol cat is hueg=================================================================clickyLOLCats are so May. LOL80's, that's the wave of the future.Want to read all the Jack Chick tracts but worried about the awkward conversation you may have to endure to get them from the lady in the subway?The Internet, as always, has the answer.Street Fighter II: Turbo Buggy Nostalgia EditionI particularly like the Vega/Blanka infinite pit of doom.Related: the (bonus) stages of death in video gamesThanks to the always enjoyable Snarkey Malarkey for turning me on to the flamboyant world of Chris Crocker.This dude is straight killin' it; kid is the internet age's Tennessee Williams.The hidden link between Randy Savage and Justin TimberlakeEnglish Russia: a fascinating peek into another world.What's new in indie audioblogs: iweenie, standard lipsum, Berkeley Place, All Things Go, Bootlog, Blanathema, Sound As Language and The Alternakids78 RPM Youtube Jukebox with over 400 songs!I only wish it were more easily searchable.Gorgeous carniceria decorative art and mindboggling work from Moira HahnProbe Is Turning-on the People! is one of the best audioblogs I've found in ages; understated, elegant and with a real sense of style. Go check it out!Giger's Alien in a TuxObsessive and nuts and I like it.The CardStackerSo i am going to put my super old TV out on the curb. i think. maybe. now.I love wacky narcissistic self-journaling, especially when Photoshop gets involved.www.creedthoughts.gov.www\creedthoughtsI really hope they maintain this."The entire food industry depends on the fact that evolution doesn't happen..."Glad we could clear this up.Killer robots? Check. Lightsabers? Check. Hasselhoff?Check.The Starcrash fanfic site has been shut down; didn't ANYBODY mirror?C'mon internets! Don't disappoint me!clicky is back as a weekly function of the Hut and I welcome any and all readers to contribute links for audioblogs of note, general weirdness or neato stuff. You can send links in to the email listed over at the top of the page with the subject heading "CLICKY" and I'll give 'em a once over. Promise.[...]



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2007-06-04T09:15:02.696-04:00

The Gold Standard=================================================================glisten: walkie talkie Time for my weekly round-up of Joe's Pub interviews; those of you somewhat in the dark as to what this is all about are welcome to get all the details in the first of these posts here.Mudville mixes soul, blues, electronic, jazz and rock, among other genres, to create a sound that defies explanation but tickles the eardrums.On the internet providing a porthole to the inner workings of musicians' process:Marilyn - "There's always room for a shoegaze mentality, to be the 'mysterious artist'; we know people like that and that's part of their creative persona. It can be done well."Ben - "I think people really like the personal connection and they want to tear that wall down. No one wants stand-offish, larger than life rock stars anymore."Listen to Mudville's EternityWatch Mudville perform live in NYCVisit Mudville's websiteBuy 'Iris Nova' direct from Mudville===================================Jenny Owen Youngs is a folk rock singer songwriter out of New Jersey. Her debut album, Batten the Hatches, was released earlier this year.On distributing full-length tracks online for free:"I come from an indie-label background and I feel like hoarding music and making people pay for every single thing they get is kind of more of a major label mentality. It's more important to me to gain visibility and anything that can help work toward a critical mass of people who know who you are and what you sound like is worth doing even if it's financially unprofitable."Listen to Jenny Owen Youngs' Fuck Was IWatch Jenny Owen Youngs liveVisit Jenny Owen Youngs websiteBuy 'Batten the Hatches' direct from Jenny===================================Roberto Rodriguez is an instrumental innovator who synthesizes his Cuban roots with traditional Jewish music and avant-garde jazz.On his mix of traditional Cuban and Jewish musical influences:"I think it is a natural connection. I came to the United States and I lived in Miami with the Jewish community, so I was able to vacillate between the two cultures. In Caribbean, as well as South American sounds, we look back to Spain and there's a connection with Judaism there. I realized later on in my life that there is a line there that crosses all the borders..."Listen to Quinteto Roberto Rodriguez's Wolfie's CornerVisit Roberto Rodriguez's websiteBuy 'Baila! Gitano Baila!' from Amazon===================================M. Nahadr is an internationally acclaimed performance artist based out of New York. Her shows combine singing, movement, multimedia and theatrical overtones.On the impact of her albinism in her work:"My condition is the condition of humankind: we all have differences. To realize that difference is to celebrate it and to know our union. Since my difference is so starkly presented, I revel in it."Listen to M's AnymoreWatch M perform an excerpt from her rock opera 'Madwoman'Visit M's website.Buy 'Madwoman' from Amazon===================================[...]



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2007-05-31T10:29:55.044-04:00

Shhhhh...=================================================================glisten: son of tofu hutSon of Tofu Hut is a collaboration with The King Open School of Cambridge, Massachusetts. King Open is a mix of races, ethnicities, social class and nationalities; a melting pot of opinions and perspectives. I've been sending discs of music to King Open to have them played to a class of seventh and eighth graders; the kids give them a listen once or twice and then write a brief critique of what they've heard. I'll be compiling their responses to present you with music, links (when available) and lightly edited (spelling and obvious typing errors are corrected, grammar and slang is not) teenagers' responses.Afroman - HushJohn sez: Afroman's debut LP is generally somewhere between slept on and reviled, but it's something that I find myself coming back to every now and again. This oddly engaging and sweetly endearing take on the traditional spiritual is leavened with stoner humor, chicken squawks, Afroman's lengthy reminiscinces on his childhood visits to Mobile and a persistent elastic bassline.I was pleasantly surprised to see that the students pretty much all loved this one; who woulda thunk it? Certainly Afroman can only take so much of the credit; there's no denying that 'Hush' has withstood the test of time. Here's a few bonus tracks (that the kid's didn't get to hear) to give you a clearer ear with this song: a much more straight ahead mid-40's rendition by gospel legends Golden Gate Quartet and a funkier, dirtier cut by Hugh Masekela.It's a helluva trifecta!The Golden Gate Quartet - HushHugh Masekela - HushStudent 1: This song sounds like those songs you would hear when watching a LA gang movie and something good just happened and you would get out your movie seat and if you knew this song you would sing it. This song is like a dedication to the community. You would start having to help the community even if you didn't want to and then you ended up liking doing work alot. This man sounds like he was in a church choir. If I was growing up in a bad place, this song would really cheer me up.Student 2: This song sounds like gospel music. They are singing about jesus. It has an R&B type of beat, like jazz but after u hear it for a while you can catch the beat. I like this song but in one part, the singer adds too much feeling.Student 3: I like it because it's old school and I think it's really fresh. I need this song on my ipod for sure. I like the meaning of the song, how it's kind of new with a hip hop beat and then it sounds really old school. This song is good. I just really like how the song starts with the guys saying who they are.VISITLISTEN 2 MOREAMAZONG Afroman's 'The Good Times'Student 4: This is something I can relate to a lot because I listen to a lot of songs like this at home. They are very calming and they make you want to get up and get your freak on. It's very cool. Just the name afroman is cool. Student 5: I can't figure out what kind of music this is. It sounds like early hip hop and acapella and Gospel. I like this song because it makes me feel like I am at some kind of concert in New Orleans. I like the humming at the end as well. It also sounds kind of like a slavery song. I wonder when this song was written. i would be very interested to know where this band is from.Student 6: It is very nice music. They want people to be quiet because somebody is calling their name and it is jesus. It has many melodies to it and the fact that it is about jesus connects to what they are saying. My teacher Lynn was just dancing to it and I think that she has the warmth to this music. This is just like gospel rap. Gospel rap is cool. I give this an A plus!!!!MYSPACEWATCHListen to this drivetime morning radio interview and this "ma[...]



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2007-06-02T12:37:10.568-04:00

From photographer Denis Darzacq's beautiful collection of falling bodies=================================================================clickyThe sad effects of real world Tetris in Grand National's 'Drink To Moving On'Catchy song, better video.Jumpstyle dance falls into that difficult to pin down area between clogging and breakdancing.All I know is that everyone's doing it and that this video is terrifyingly awesome.Now if only the music wasn't so soulless and uninteresting..."Like something out of science fiction, the fruiting body of the cordycepts fungus erupts from the ant's head. It can take three weeks to grow and when finished the deadly spores will burst from its tip. Then, any ant in the vicinity will be in serious risk of death."Next time you're feeling sorry for yourself, just thank god that there aren't any killer zombie mushrooms that prey on the human race.Well, except for mucormycosis. And for the love of god, don't GIS that.ZeFrank interview on the nature of creativityHe's a rare talent and a good example of the simultaneous empowering and compartmentalizing effects of the web; it's crazy that there are folks in entertainment who don't know ZeFrank but can list all the songs Sanjaya did.Tiny, gothic Japanese girl throws mighty chokeslams, to the LUM theme, no less!We need an American version, pronto.AH HAS A NETIHonestly, it's one of the most major change-of-life purchases I've ever made. I'm strongly recommending my fellow allergy/sinus infection/nasal issue sufferers give this sucker a try.Just don't don't pour booze up there; that's just dumb.Tangentially related: extreme enema tales in the Guardian.NOT for the faint of heart.Some music: electronic from Nevenen, multiculti funkpunk from CONGOPUNQ, scattered covered smothered tunage from The Waffle House Music Machine, Yung Joc's awesome banger 'Coffee Shop' and Jonathan Coulton's 'Code Monkey'.Doctor fish cure your psoriasis by eating your skin.I'm betting this'll be a feature at a New York spa before the end of '08.Online gametime with Onslaught.Got six hours to kill?[...]



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2007-05-29T00:54:59.696-04:00

image courtesy laura aura and the shoy shoy boy=================================================================glisten: walkie talkie Time for my weekly round-up of Joe's Pub interviews; those of you somewhat in the dark as to what this is all about are welcome to get all the details in the first of these posts here.German born Ute Lemper is one of the most critically acclaimed and commercially successful cabaret artists in New YorkOn her place in the New York cabaret scene:"I never even thought of myself as a cabaret singer until I was called one in the New York scene, after I finished my Broadway run. I was a singer, a songwriter; I did concerts and recitals but it never fell into the genre of cabaret until it was cast that way. Then, I was like 'Oh that's weird; I'm a cabaret singer. What does that mean?' I find myself not really belonging to that scene."Listen to Ute's 'Tango Ballad'Watch Ute sing Weill's 'Je ne t'aime pas'Visit Ute's website.Buy Ute Lemper's Blood and Feathers: Live from the Cafe Carlyle from Amazon===================================Selan is a Queens-born new wave soul singer songwriter who actively dabbles in producing. His upcoming debut EP, The Selan Sessions, is due out this year.On soul music:"Soul music is something very genuine, it's _from_ your soul. It shouldn't have any other specific connotation. The beauty is that it can spread out into different genres. Soul music and R&B has been really stagnant and predictable and boring, but I see a lot of artists experimenting with soulful feeling in rock, hip hop, punk, electro and I think I incorporate a lot of that in what I'm doing."Listen to Selan with DJ Spinna in 'Back 2 U'Watch Selan in the studio.Visit Selan's myspace===================================Howard Fishman is a guitarist, singer, composer and bandleader who works in a variety of styles and influences into his music, from Romanian traditionals to New Orleans big band to Hoagy Carmichael.On Werner Herzog:"You can't put his work into a genre. Take a film like Wild Blue Yonder. It's part documentary, part science fiction, part nature film, part oratorio... I'm that way too. I think about the feeling that I want to express and whatever tools I need. I'll use different idioms, but those are like colors that a painter would use. Whatever's at my disposal that I need, that's what I'll use."Listen to Fishman performing 'When I Grow Too Old To Dream', 'Best Is Yet To Come' and 'Moonlight'Visit Howard's websiteBuy Howard's new album, 'The Basement Tapes' directly from him===================================Sarah Shannon is perhaps best known as the lead singer of the 90's indie rock band, Velocity Girl. She's just released her second solo album, 'City Morning Song'.On performing on the Sub Pop label during the early nineties:"We were sort of the others. We were pretty peppy compared to the rest of the roster at the time. We differed a lot from the Seattle grunge movement, so we were a little bit on the fringes there."Listen to Sarah's 'Near and Far'Watch Sarah with Velocity Girl in the video for 'Audrey's Eyes'Visit Sarah's websiteBuy Sarah's 'City Morning Song' from Amazon===================================[...]




2007-05-16T16:55:36.465-04:00

You can't spell "meme" without me=================================================================clickyVintage 70's Nostalgia Iron-On TransfersYou could certainly make make your own, but it's hella difficult to get that Foxy Lady calligraphy just right.Funky 16 Corners, the long-running soul audioblog, just wrapped a successful pledge drive and is committed to another year on the air. Stop by and sample the fruits.. and drop a tardy dollar or two in the handbag while yer at it."I read boing boing too" dept: What 2.5 million bottles looks likeThe plastic bag one especially messes with my head.David Banner's That Crook'd SippPentangleAudio that's as eclectric as it wants to be.MY GRAMMA MADE THIS BEATThe Jason Foxx track is nice enough too, but Gramma SNAPS.See also.Cortex from MeFi writes:"I helmed the creation of a compilation album of music by MeFites last year, and released it around the beginning of December. It's good stuff, and the money from sales is going to charity; we've sold about 300 copies and cleared costs and then some, but have the balance of a 1K-unit run languishing. Think any of your readers might be interested in purchasing a copy if they got a chance to listen to some of it?The album is pretty all-over-the-board -- the tracks have a decent mix of genres, but it's hard to condense it with a small selection. There's a lot of background on the MeFiComp site -- liners/lyrics/contact info and so on. There's a collection of 30-second or so samples linked here and, special for your tofu-folk, here's a handful of full-length cuts from the disc."Peggy Lee, Brian Eno and Th' BoredomsLoving th' scrolling .gifs, Jon.Onion Interview with Devin the DudeI've already trumpeted my appreciation of Mr. Copeland in Newsweek, of all places, so I won't go on again about how awesome dude is.But he's awesome. You should be getting Waiting to Inhale immejitly.Catching him this Friday at the Knitting Factory; the last show I saw of his was one of my all-time faves and I am, of course, mucho excited! Get tix while you can!1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10, 11 12!The Full Revelations of a Professional Rat-catcher by Ike MatthewsWoody Allen interviews Billy Graham"May I ask what your favorite commandment is?"Woody's guess about his marital status turned out to be pretty much on the mark!Angry Duck Tofu Racing Honestly, I had no idea.clicky is back as a weekly function of the Hut and I welcome any and all readers to contribute links for audioblogs of note, general weirdness or neato stuff. You can send links in to the email listed over at the top of the page with the subject heading "CLICKY" and I'll give 'em a once over. Promise.[...]



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2007-05-15T13:12:58.442-04:00

how high's the blood, mama?=================================================================glisten: son of tofu hutSon of Tofu Hut is a collaboration with The King Open School of Cambridge, Massachusetts. King Open is a mix of races, ethnicities, social class and nationalities; a melting pot of opinions and perspectives. I've been sending discs of music to King Open to have them played to a class of seventh and eighth graders; the kids give them a listen once or twice and then write a brief critique of what they've heard. I'll be compiling their responses to present you with music, links (when available) and lightly edited (spelling and obvious typing errors are corrected, grammar and slang is not) teenagers' responses.3 Inches of Blood - 'Destroy The Orcs'John sez: I actually meant to send the kids the version of this song on Advance and Vanquish, not from 3 Inches earlier album Battlecry Under a Winter Sun; the Advance rendition is much cleaner and sharper. I'm posting the copy here, mostly for consistency's sake.3 Inches brand of D&D metal is Wonderful, silly fun; who couldn't get behind an orc killing rampage? Kitsch value aside, their songs are catchy and ramshackle fast. It's good stuff for running or lifting.They're also a hella good time live; I enjoyed myself tremendously leaping and banging around to this song at the Knitting Factory last year. I'm definitely looking forward to catching them when they (presumably) make the rounds to support their upcoming album, Fire Up the Blades. Track titles like 'The Goatriders Horde', 'The Great Hall of Feasting' and 'Rejoice in the Fires of Man's Demise" suggest no great deviation from their sword and sorcery dork metal beginnings, which is all good by me.VISITLISTEN 2 MORE BY 3 INCHES OF BLOOD: 'Deadly Sinners'AMAZON 'Advance and Vanquish'Student 1: The title of this song sounds like a song used in a video game. Once I heard the song, I loved it. I like rock and heavy metal, usually. I like this, because it's really energetic and beyond upbeat. I like some morbid things, mostly books. Very good. I also like the name of the band: Three Inches of Blood. I like most morbid things. Some morbid things are somewhat intriguing, because sometimes I find it easy to relate to. Like if you or a friend have experienced something morbid, like death or a terrible disease, you can understand what it feels like. I don't know if that was at least an okay explanation. I really enjoy this song. I would definitely put this on my iPod.Student 2: ZZZZZZZZZZZ. This is so so so BORING it makes me want to fall to sleep on a pillow or take a nap and I hate taking naps so that's how boring it is. There are some things I like about it but its kind of weird. I like the screaming part and stuff like the "wwhhoooooaaaaa". Umm yeah, it sounds like a song some punk or rocker type chick/dude would listen too. Just not ME.Student 3: THE ORCS ARE AFTER ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YOWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!!!!!!!!!!! They are destroying their instruments. Get them a dictionary and teach them proper etiquette. I still dont know what they are saying.PLAY ALONGLISTEN 2 AN INTERVIEW WITH THE BANDMYSPACEStudent 4: YAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ROCK OUT MAN!!!!!!!!!! YA!!!!!!! I wouldn't put this on my i-pods, but it's a cool power metal song. It has an awesome beat and I find the screaming quite amusing. I hear the band's name is "Three Inches of Blood". SWEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEET! hee hee...Student 5: Once our teacher read the lyrics to the group, I really liked them! That was so cool... Blood....Student 6: The title sounds interesting, like a title from a movie or video game. I like this. I[...]



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2007-05-14T08:36:53.043-04:00

terrorizing the interviewer=================================================================glisten: walkie talkie Time for my weekly round-up of Joe's Pub interviews; those of you somewhat in the dark as to what this is all about are welcome to get all the details in the first of these posts here.Hey, all you digital artists and photoshop wizards: I'd love to have a stockimage that I can use every week to go with this walkie talkie section. if anyone can think up an appropriate idea, realize it and mail it to me at the address located to your immediate right, I'd be happy to feature it here. Lemme know!Sinead O'Connor is a Grammy winning singer songwriter and one of Ireland's best known recording artists. Sinead's eighth full-length album, the double-disc Theology, is scheduled to be released in America on June 22nd.Responding as to why she stepped away from music in 2003: "I felt unable to carry any longer the burden of being the Sinead O'Connor person who everybody seemed to be enjoying kicking around the place. I had dealt with years of being abused, basically, whenever I went to work. (Lately), I've noticed a vast improvement in terms of how people treat me; I think aging helps in terms of having respect. Around this album, I've probably done maybe twenty, twenty-five interviews. Out of those, I've felt uncomfortable or humiliated by about five of them and the rest have been very respectful and uplifting."Listen to Sinead's 'Jeremiah (Something Beautiful)' from her new album.Watch Sinead's live performance of 'Jeremiah (Something Beautiful)'.Visit Sinead's website.Buy 'Theology' from Amazon.===================================Country Joe McDonald is the co-founder of the pioneering psychedelic rock group Country Joe and the Fish. With over 30 albums and hundreds of original songs under his belt, he remains an active recording artist.On his listening habits: "It'll be a very rare day when I listen to any sixties music, I'll tell you that. I like rap music a lot: De La Soul and Mixalot, Digital Underground, NWA. Rap music has become the musical scapegoat for the 21st century. Rap music is held to blame for every social ill and crime that we have in America today. Everyone from Oprah Winfrey to Laura Bush has jumped on that fuckin' bandwagon."Listen to Country Joe's "The Fish Cheer".Watch Joe perform live, from 2006.Visit Country Joe's website.Buy music, guitars, "notions" and ephemera from Joe's 'Country Store'.===================================Jen Chapin performs a hybrid of folk and jazz music that is at once gentle and powerful.On her father, Harry Chapin: "My dad wouldn't have had a career today, I don't think. He was signed to an eleven album deal with Elektra and I don't think they have eleven record deals anymore. His passion was in live performances and that's where he was truly alive. In the studio, well that's where we differ. I love the tedium of it, the details, the overdubs. My dad didn't have patience for all that stuff; he was too interested in engaging with people as opposed to with machines or with sound."Listen to Chapin's 'Time'.Watch the video for Jen Chapin's 'Let It Show'.Visit Jen Chapin's website.Buy Chapin's 'Ready' from Amazon.===================================Morley is a singer/songwriter who leaps genre boundaries of jazz, folk, pop and global music.On one of her favorite moments performing: "There were fifteen or twenty children singingwith me and when I taught them the song,they were singing from their whole being. One thirteen year old girl with us said 'May I sing it? May I stand next to you and sing it?' I said sure and she sang it right to my face, before we e[...]



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2007-05-10T00:16:54.335-04:00

"a celebratory mountain of notes"=================================================================glisten: son of tofu hutSon of Tofu Hut is a collaboration with The King Open School of Cambridge, Massachusetts. King Open is a mix of races, ethnicities, social class and nationalities; a melting pot of opinions and perspectives. I've been sending discs of music to King Open to have them played to a class of seventh and eighth graders; the kids give them a listen once or twice and then write a brief critique of what they've heard. I'll be compiling their responses to present you with music, links (when available) and lightly edited (spelling and obvious typing errors are corrected, grammar and slang is not) teenagers' responses.Clifford Brown and Max Roach - 'Daahoud'John sez: Man, you just forget when you listen to Cliff Brown how goldurned YOUNG this cat was. To believe that he was not twenty-four when he composed and performed 'Daahoud' is a straight-up mind boggler. The mastery of the horn and the impact that kid left behind after no more than four years playing is stunning; it's a terrible tragedy that we didn't get to hear him at forty, at sixty, at seventy...'Daahoud' is a total standard now and, along with 'Joy Spring', one of Clifford's best known composition. The apple-tart quality of Brown's bright, slightly fuzzy intonation on his feather-soft and labyrinth-complex trumpet solos slays me every time. It's insanely deep and emotive as hell and purely joyful.ANYONE reading this who has not yet had opportunity to fully ingest the wonder of the 'Clifford Brown and Max Roach' album really MUST go get it now; as much as any album has left a permanent footprint on my taste and love for music, that one has.VISIT A CLIFF FAN PAGEREAD ABOUT CLIFF (1)READ ABOUT CLIFF (2)WATCH CLIFF LIVEEXPLORE CLIFFORD'S DISCOGRAPHYREMEMBERING CLIFFREAD MORE ABOUT IT (I liked this book, BTW)LEARN 2 PLAY LIKE CLIFF (1)LEARN 2 PLAY LIKE CLIFF (2)GIVE BACK IN CLIFF'S NAMEStudent 1: This song reminds me of the blues. I like the drum solo. I would like to learn how to drum real good. Do you know how to drum? Do you? If you do, then teach me.Student 2: Oooooh! Very swingy! I like this a lot. The percussion is just perfect and the trumpet is great! I feel like I'm at a chic bar eating shrimp cocktail and sipping a martini from a fancy glass. I can almost see the waiters rushing by to serve Donald Trump and his wife their $10,000 food. I would definitely put this on on my iPod.Student 3: This sounds like the blues and I have to tell you I dont like the blues when they are slow. I don't like this because I think this song will put me to sleep. When I listen to music, I want to dance to it and when I do I'm happy with that. WHEN MY TEACHER SNAPS HER FINGERS it is like my grandparents dancing to this. This is good for my mom and higher but not for me. Sorry!READ ABOUT MAXWATCH MAX WORK OUTLISTEN to Cliff and Roach rip up 'Cherokee'Student 4: At the begining of this, it sounds like you are at a very fancy rich party. I don't like jazzy music, because it's too slow. I'm all bout the fast music!! This song has no singer in it. It's the kind where you just hear a bunch of music and just meditate.Student 5: Sounds like the kind of music I would hear at a jazz festival. I don't like jazz. It's too.... uneven? No. That's not the word I'm looking for. Hmm.... something like uneven, but not. I can't think of the right word. It's not coming to my head. This kind of song might also be heard at some kind of restaurant that has colorful lights and nice tables where you can eat or just have a drink and the p[...]



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2007-05-09T12:53:55.624-04:00

rollin' on 20s=================================================================the return of the deadly clickyGlenn Danzig leads a guided tour through his library"This is great... there are lots of great werewolf stories in here. All documented. All true."Wonderful ILX compendium thread of dogs in costumeA nice bookend for the infamous "Imagine: your dog, cat or other pet in full military regalia."Honestly, pancake astronaut is never going to stop cracking me up.sampleur sample offers brief snippets of contemporary rap or electronic songs and equally brief snippets of the songs that are being sampled to make up the new ones. Think of it as a before and after collection where you can hunt down the origins of hooks that you've enjoyed for years. Best part is that there are over eighteen hundred of these to choose from. That combined with the sites excellent googlability makes sampleur sample a real boon to anyone looking for tricky progenitor track info. I hope they go on forever.This Blog Gets the Gas Face has rock and punk bootlegs from Jesus and Mary Chain, Nirvana/Melvins doing Flipper covers, Mozz, Bad Brains, Velocity Girl and the such.Lost-in-Tyme is a multiple-user blog with a monster collection of overlooked wonders and out-of-print classics. There's so very much activity on Lost-in-Tyme that they've spread the blog out in four different URLs: one that covers psych-pop, acid-rock, folk music and garage rock, one for krautrock, prog, classic rock and blues, one for alt-rock, punk and new wave and one for funk and soul, jazz and world. Lost's multiple blogs engage in two methods that I've long been ambivalent about: YSI/RapidShare/MegaUpload type file-sharing rather than hosting one's own files on a dedicated server and zipped full-album downloads. My distaste for the file-sharing utilities is unlikely to bridle anytime soon, but at least the albums that Lost's members are sharing are obscure and difficult enough to find to somewhat justify their full-length posts. I'm gonna stay on the fence on the legitimacy about full-length album sharing; as long as the disc is completely unavailable and out-of-print (as most, if not all, of Lost's albums are), I have a hard time seeing who's being hurt by bringing the material back into the parley.The best thing Lost has to offer is great hivemind taste; the worst is the paucity of commentary for the albums. Text is often cribbed completely from AMG or wiki and when it is not, it's difficult to tell. If these guys ever step up their writing game, they're gonna be a daily must-visit and a force to be reckoned with.Speaking of forces to reckon with, Weirdomusic has undergone a recent facelift that has it looking ten years younger and ten times more navigable. Scope their downloads section for links to any number of excellent sites trafficking in what they call "sharity" and what I call "mucho eclectric tunage".Google Video has Brass Eye!Five years old and still vastly more risky than anything else on television before or since. If you've never seen Channel 4's cracker-dry, acidly funny, mock-Dateline show before, you're in for a treat.The magical wonder of K. ChinMore information here and here; outside of an ILX thread I started some time ago, I can't find any appreciation sites on the web. Anybody wanna point one out to me? I'd love to get some hi-res K.Chin desktop images.One last note: I'm planning on bringing 'clicky' back as a weekly function of the Hut, so I welcome any and all readers to contribute links for audioblogs of note or general weirdness. You can mail links in to the email listed at the [...]



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2007-05-09T21:31:26.551-04:00

the main line=================================================================glisten: son of tofu hutSon of Tofu Hut is a collaboration with The King Open School of Cambridge, Massachusetts. King Open is a mix of races, ethnicities, social class and nationalities; a melting pot of opinions and perspectives. I've been sending discs of music to King Open to have them played to a class of seventh and eighth graders; the kids give them a listen once or twice and then write a brief critique of what they've heard. I'll be compiling their responses to present you with music, links (when available) and lightly edited (spelling and obvious typing errors are corrected, grammar and slang is not) teenagers' responses.I commented in last Son of Tofu Hut that I would address some of the differences in the style of writing I brought to these entries. My nature is to take my time, anguish and pore over my entries on th' Hut. I'll continue doing that kind of work when I'm seeking auxilliary material to provide you with more background, but my commentary for the Son of Tofu Hut tracks is my attempt to level the playing field somewhat: my responses are formed over one or two listens to the track in question. It's the same constraints I'm forcing my collaborators to follow; so it only seems fair.The Gospel Harmonettes of Demopolis, Alabama - Jesus Is On the Main LineJohn sez: I wrote a lengthy post about the Harmonettes over two years ago (my god, that long?!?) which covers my astonishment at their vocal power and sadness that they appear to have split for good. It's one of my favorite things I've done with the space; I received more uniformly positive praise for the Harmonettes music than for any other songs I've posted before or since. It does my jaded ol' heart some good to see that the next generation of listeners (well, with one notable exception... "what flys eat", indeed!) seem equally flabbergasted by the sheer emotional epiphany that makes up the Harmonettes repertoire.This song is one of the bands dozen professionally recorded tracks that I did NOT put up in that original post, which is not to say that it is not soul-scraping, achingly awesome. The ending, where the female soloist (I believe that's Annie Wilks) moves into the crowd and away from the microphone, culminates in one of the most joyful sounds I've ever heard.Basically, every time I listen to this album I'm dumbfounded and I have to remind myself why I'm listening to anything else. It's something short of sinful NOT to share something this beautiful. As the album itself remains unavailable two years after my last stab at bringing this stuff a greater audience, I've come to the decision that it's time to throw this precious bread out onto the water.Full album is here.Read the first Gospel Harmonettes Hut post.It's still the only link I can find with info about the band.Student 1: OH MY GOD!!!! I LOVE THIS!!!! This sounds a lot like Sweet Honey in the Rock! So many young childhood memories are coming back! My moms used to play this kind of music to get me to sleep when i was sick. I remember them putting me to bed, tucking me in, and turning on my little tape player. This song makes me feel like i am sitting around a warm campfire, and singing with my loving family. When i heard this song, i almost started clapping along.Student 2: It sounds too gospel for me. I think this would only be popular on a gospel radio channel or church. It's not really my kind of song, because It's too slow... Kind of.Student 3: this is a very cool song and it sounds like the Temptations. Do u kno[...]



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2007-05-07T00:27:50.517-04:00

"it would just be a waste of time"=================================================================glisten: walkie talkieTime for my weekly round-up of Joe's Pub podcasty-type interviews; those of you somewhat in the dark as to what this is all about are welcome to get all the details in the first of these posts here. It was a good Friday and I had a nice chat with all the folks involved.David Brown of BrazzavilleListen to Brazzaville's 'Madalena'Visit the Brazzaville website.Watch Brazzaville's video for 'Star Called Sun'===================================Jason Swinscoe of The Cinematic OrchestraVisit The Cinematic Orchestra's website.Listen to The Cinematic Orchestra's 'To Build a Home'Watch The Cinematic Orchestra's fascinating video for 'Man With a Movie Camera'===================================Eric Donnelly of The Alternate RoutesListen to The Alternate Route's 'Ordinary'Watch The Alternate Routes perform liveVisit The Alternate Routes website===================================Kevin MichaelListen to Kevin Michael's 'We All Want the Same Thing'Watch Kevin Michael perform liveVisit Kevin Michael's MySpace===================================Alyssa GrahamVisit Alyssa Graham's MySpace page.===================================Luke TempleListen to Luke Temple's 'People Do'Visit Luke Temple's MySpaceWatch Luke Temple's 'Private Shipwreck[...]



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2007-05-06T16:34:30.435-04:00

I gotta start stocking up on my new favorite food=================================================================glisten: walkie talkie Time for my weekly round-up of Pub interviews; those of you somewhat in the dark as to what this is all about are welcome to get all the details in the first of these posts here.I wasn't able to connect with too many people this week, but there is a little surprise at the bottom for those of you curious (and masochistic) enough to go fishing for it.So without further ado:Colin ChannerColin is a bestselling author from Jamaica who has published several books on Caribbean life. He occasionally reads his own work as a theatrical performance and is currently performing a piece drawn from the experiences of his own family life called "How To Beat a Child the Right and Proper Way".Visit Colin's official homepage.-Read another interview with Colin.===================================Danny RiveraDanny Rivera is a legendary singer who has been performing for almost forty years. He's especially revered in the Puerto Rican community.Watch Danny perform Michael Bolton's "How Am I Supposed to Live Without You" in Spanish and make it sound quite nice.Big Pun fans may be more familiar than they think with Danny's song 'En Un Rincon Del Alma'; it's the basis for 'It's So Hard'.Read a brief bio.===================================Sean HayesSean Hayes is a singer/songwriter with a folk sensibility. His new album 'Flowering Spade' is due out in a few months.Listen to a full length track from Sean Hayes called 'Calling All Cars'.Visit Sean's official home page.===================================Eleni MandellEleni Mandell is an L.A.-based singer songwriter who's long been a critical favorite. She's in town to promote her new album, 'Miracle of Five'.Visit Eleni's official site, but mind th' flash.Listen to a full length track from Eleni's new album called 'The Make Out King'.===================================Me?Yes, me. I got a lovely phone call from a fellow who is a Music Management Student at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts who's writing his dissertation on audioblogs and he wanted to follow up on the points that were brought up a few years ago in the Morning News round table interview. Mostly it's me running off at the mouth without much to say, but I figure turnabout is fair play, so here it is if you want it. I do ramble on like a fool and if I were you, I'd stick to blisspop... so don't say you haven't been warned.[...]



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2007-05-09T21:31:53.129-04:00

the kids are alright=================================================================glisten: Son of Tofu HutWell, this certainly took a while. Son of Tofu Hut is a project that I've kept on the back burner for quite some time; I'm very happy it's finally getting to see the light of day.This new song series represents a collaboration with The King Open School of Cambridge, Massachusetts. King Open is, according to the teacher I've arranged this project through, a salmagundi of races, ethnicities, social class and nationalities; a melting pot of opinions and perspectives. I've been sending discs of music to King Open to have them played to a class of seventh and eighth graders; the kids give them a listen once or twice and then write a brief critique of what they've heard. I'll be compiling their responses to present you, noble Hut reader, with fresh music, links and our only lightly edited (spelling and obvious typing errors are corrected, grammar and slang is not) teenagers responses.I'll be talking about some of the reasons I'm taking on this project (and a slightly different authorial voice) as we go along, but now I'm anxious to just jump right on in.(Oh, and respect due to Gaylord Fields, who coined the 'Son of Tofu Hut' moniker.)4Hero with Jill Scott -'Another Day'John sez: This was the first song I ever heard of 4Hero's and it made enough of an impact that I went out and found a copy of Creating Patterns (the now-out-of-print album that this song first appeared on) and listened to it for a week or so. It's a real shame that Creating is so hard to find; there's quite a few nice tracks on it, notably the duet with Alma Horton called 'Hold It Down'.I haven't had a chance to listen to the new 4Hero album yet; it's on a long list of things I need to put on th' hi-fi.Jill Scott is really perennially underrated; it's a shame that she's had to go abroad to get the attention that she deserves.Obviously, the sentiment of this track hits home for me as well. I'd rather be playing Guitar Hero than typing this right now myself!STAY HOME + PLAY VIDEO GAMES PLAY SOME MORE.KEEP PLAYING. NOT TIRED YET? KEEP GOING.Student 1: only part i don't like about this song is that it is telling you to get up and sometimes you don't want to get up. but i would if i could try to record the part of the song that says that you have to get up. but, yea, i like this song! Student 2: It's so peaceful and relaxing, especially her voice. There's just something about it that makes you want to start singing it. When you're telling yourself to wake up constantly when your eyes just won't stay open. THIS SONG ROCKS and I love it.Student 3: Wow ! I am impressed. I like this even if it is slow. It has a slow mellow to it and not many people do that anymore and that's y I like it that much. The words sound so real like she is right by my side and that is a great feeling. I wonder who this is. Yeah, who is singing? Anyway, she has a veeery nice voice and I give her my respect to that. The words "got to get up "makes me feel the same way as the girl who is singing because she seems lonely and needs to get up to search for a friend. This also has passion to it and I really like the beat. I think this song has many meanings to this song and it's good for little kids. No offense, but this song also can put people to sleep because it is slow and if it is just a baby. I give this baby a big thumbs up!!!! Cool like a pop star!VISIT 4HERO 4HERO MYSPACE LISTEN 2 MORE 4HERO [...]



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2007-04-23T23:17:48.603-04:00

charlie rose or jon stewart, i ain't=================================================================glisten: walkie talkieThose (few?) of you who follow the Hut on a regular basis may well be wondering what I may have been up to as of late. The answer is "quite a lot"; much of which I hope to be able to share with you shortly, but let's start out with a heaping dose of my always-interesting, always-busy day job.As you may remember back in issue 236 (it was a sponsored- by- Hostess one-shot special), I spend my 9 to 5's (or, more accurately, 11 to 8's) working at Joe's Pub. The Pub is a New York music and theater venue that brings in a pretty impressive array of artists from all over the world and all over the spectrum. It's open seven days a week and averages about three shows a night, so there's been plenty of opportunity for exposure to all kinds of tunage; I thought I was pretty knowledgeable when I started the gig, but I'm reminded every day now that it's all but impossible to have a comprehensive grasp on the entirety of popular music... and that's great! Or at least as good a reason to go on as I can think of...Anyways, one of the reasons they hired my punk ass in the first place was presumably because I'm "down" with this blog stuff that's got the kids all riled up and they wanted to stay "on that new media flippity flop". To that end, I spend a good chunk of my work day/evening punching up the Pub's handy-dandy website. My own inclinations are always to show more so than tell, so we've started posting what I consider to be de rigeur media with every booking: decent-sized, smilin' pictures of the band; embedded YouTube video (live shows when available, videos when not); full-length fully-downloadable MP3s and links to the artist's personal web page. It seemed to me that the best way to get folks interested in a live band they might not otherwise know was to allow them to listen to the music and see video of them perform in advance so that they'd have a basis to form an opinion. This may sound pretty elementary, but it's also largely unheard of; there's no performance venue websites with anywhere near as much downloadable media as we're maintaining at th' Pub that I know of... but, incidentally, if any of you weisenheimers know of any other clubs that are doing similar promotion, please leave a link in my comments, cause I'd love to talk with other people who are walking the walk of the try-before-you-buy mantra.So as I say, this all struck me as pretty elementary and once I set up some systems to help properly channel this media online as quickly as possible, I was left with an interesting question: what now? My experience has been that the web is all about content and that the best way to attract folks, keep 'em happy and keep 'em coming back to your website is to offer as much worthwhile content as possible. The gold ring, of course, is exclusive content; something special that only your site/blog/sewing circle/smithy/bakery can provide. That's when I hit upon the idea of recording informal one-on-one interviews with our artists.Currently, there's just under a hundred of these interviews up on the Joe's Pub site; they're anywhere from five to twenty minutes long. I get a great deal out of doing them and have decided to start sharing them with you on the Hut as well. I record new conversations every Friday, so I'll start posting new interviews (as long as I keep doing this project) every Monday. In the futur[...]



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2007-05-09T21:32:11.175-04:00

Polk Miller picture courtesy of Richmond, Virginia: Then and Now================================================================glistenThe Old South Quartette - Pussy Cat Rag (Broadway 5031, 1928)Polk Miller and The Old South Quartette - Rise and Shine (Edison + Edison Germany, Standard 10333; 1909)Polk Miller and The Old South Quartette - Old Time Religion (Edison + Edison Germany, Standard 10332; 1909)The Old South Quartette - Bohunkus and Josephus (aka Tobias and Keechungus) (Broadway 5031, 1928)================================================================="Who the hell are Polk Miller and His Old South Quartette?" - Robert ChristgauOne of the benefits of growing up with a music historian as a father is that I was exposed as a stripling to a wealth of music that would otherwise (until the relatively young age of the Internet) be utterly out of reach. I listened to many songs for many years at a tender age that, secreted away by scarcity and lack of public interest, I have never yet heard again since I moved out of the family home. It is with great excitement that I discovered, perhaps some twenty years after my last listening, Ken Flaherty's reissue of the complete works of Polk Miller and The Old South Quartette, 'Music of The Old South'. The disc is a remarkable time capsule of fine Southern gospel, ragtime and proto-blues from the birth of recording, but it is the story of Polk Miller, how these songs came to be recorded and the history of The Old South Quartette that compels me to post this music today.Polk Miller was born on a Virginia plantation in 1844 to a wealthy, slave-owning family. As a child, he learned to play the banjo from slaves and immediately began amassing a collection of black vernacular music to add to his playing repertoire. Polk was something of a prodigy whose skill at mimicry and performance was noteworthy even at a young age; an pre-Civil War diary account from adjoining Augusta County (found at the Virginia Valley Digital Archives) holds a sixteen year Miller up as an exemplar, stating that another white imitator's "beaming face and banjo music and 'darkey' songs could not be excelled by Polk Miller himself." Miller's willingness to embrace certain readily available elements of black American culture apparently set him apart from other, less artful imitators of the time; his ability to vocally and musically blend into a black band is evident in the extant recordings.Miller joined the Confederate Army during wartime and served as an artillery private. After the war, he founded a pharmacy in Richmond and went on to create a successful company devoted to nostrums and remedies for domestic animals which he named Sergeant, after his hunting dog, Sergeant (Sergeant's continues on today as a popular pet food and medicine corporation, though they're understandably cagey about Miller's Confederate background). Late in his middle age, Polk was a respected Southern gentleman and a prominent businessman, but a restless interest in entertaining would not quit him. In 1892, Polk handed off control of his business to his son and took to the road to began performing full time, exhibiting an act comprised of banjo picking, singing and the revisionist rose-colored retelling of an Antebellum Eden.The liner notes to Flaherty's reissue CD tell the story of these stage exploits and Miller's intentions better than I can; hereafter follows an edited excerpt:During the 1890's Miller [...]



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2007-05-06T19:44:17.247-04:00

"an engagingly surreal stage presence who carries the audience along with his misguided enthusiasm"=================================================================glistenReggie Watts and Yungchen Lhamo - 'Pieces'I've seen performance artist/vocal acrobat/Andy Kaufman award-winning stand-up comedian Reggie Watts perform live three times now and each show has been completely different and completely engaging. Watts' stuff is groundbreaking and non-sequitur filled; his stage persona is random and simultaneously ren-fair emo geeky and spine chillingly soulful.Today's selection is a more restrained look for Reggie: a duet with talented Tibetan songstress Yungchen Lhamo. 'World In Transition' hails from the recently released album Antibabel, a four-track EP of vocal worldbeat jazz. The music is crafted more for instrument than for voice; Yungchen sings something close to an erhu's part and Reggie beatboxes drums and sings bass and auxilliary strings.It's been a lovely and enjoyable album for me to relax with for the past week, though it's hardly indicative of Reggie's broader body of work.... so, since I've already got your attention, let's take a closer look at this up-and-coming performer.Reggie's diverse schtick blends obtuse comedy, beatbox, singing, electronic sampling and improv in a way that's more difficult to explain than it is to show, so why not just explore this video collection of essential Watt-ages before you read further? I can pretty much guarantee you'll be blown away.'Out of Control' - Five minutes of awesome freestyle multi-tracking.'I'm Scrotor' - The best song about a tiny genital-tugging robot you'll hear today.Freestyle with Curt Weiss - Riffing on 'War Pigs'Live at The Jazz Cafe in London - A nine minute best-of compilation guaranteed to tickle and confuse; featuring the family favorite 'What About Blowjobs'tell me more about it...Buy Antibabel from Poptech.Fifteen bucks puts it on your stereo. You can even count it as a charitable deduction; the entire purchase price of the album is donated to Machik Inc. "a non-governmental, non-profit organization whose mission is to support innovative strategies that promote the sustainable development and strengthening of local communities in the Himalayan region and neighboring areas".-Visit Reggie Watts online or at his myspace.-Reggie's very pro-taping which leads to him linking to an extensive collection of downloadable material both through his own site and on archive.org, which offers solo shows and full-length concerts with his sometime collaborators Soulive and rock/rnb project Maktub... lots of great stuff to explore!-My New York peeps can see Reggie live next Sunday, February 11 at Comix.Reggie's recently relocated to NYC and this is his second gig at Comix; he's definitely deserving of an obsessive fan following. Get on the bandwagon early and you get lollipops!-Visit Yungchen Lhamo's official page, realworld records site and her myspace.-Read this interview with Yungchen.-Check out some Yungchen Youtube.-If you want more beatbox in your life, you should also seek and find Rahzel and Kenny Muhammad; if you're digging the multi-track human orchestra thang, go scope Dokaka and Kid Beyond.clickyGeorge Washington's Rules of Civility clearly state "Let your Recreations be Manfull not Sinfull" so I'm going to skip telling you how much I enjoyed Puppy Bowl III and just note instead that while I do love the blac[...]