drwex: (VNV)

Another "Blank on Blank" piece that is nominally about Smith's feelings of having her record bleeped (censored) by the production company because she sang "fucking shit". But it quickly turns from that into a meditation on poetry, performance, and interpreting meaning.

I never saw Smith perform; I'm not even sure I would've liked to, if I'd had the chance. But listening to her talk I feel a direct line - which I'm still not fully able to articulate - between her ideas and Bob Mould's performance. Part of why I wanted to see Mould live (despite loud shows not really being my thing) and why I was so unhappy with the sound mix was the sense that I was missing out on the poetry Patti Smith is talking about.
drwex: (VNV)
The day started out with the ongoing insomnia. But I did manage a nap in the morning, so that could have been worse.

D&D was fun. And by "fun" I mean I (apparently) turned purple from laughing so hard. [livejournal.com profile] sweetmmeblue had to caution one of the players to "stop breaking the GM". We haven't had a session like that in a long time. I miss [livejournal.com profile] mrf_arch, [livejournal.com profile] woodwardiocom, and [livejournal.com profile] harlequinaide who used to play with us and brought regular sharp witty humor. But we still manage to have a lot of fun when we can get together.

I reminded people we needed to end on time because we had tickets to see Bob Mould that night, leading Pygment to say "What?" Apparently when Ticketbastard created the calendar event for the show it set the visibility to "Private" rather than "Calendar Default." So I'd been merrily assuming we both knew what the plan for the evening was and she didn't see anything on the calendar. Fortunately no other plans had been made and the kids could be left alone so THAT could have been worse.

Then as we were cleaning up and getting ready to head out, Thing 1 took a tumble on the stairs down to the basement. I will here elide the number of times his know-nothing old man has previously warned him not to goof around on the stairs, especially while carrying a laundry basket. Fortunately he seemed to land mostly on his ass and elbows, not smacking his head, nor breaking any actual bones. He was a little shaken and had to ice his ass but all in all THAT could have been worse.

We checked him repeatedly for signs of concussion and saw none. Still, we left him with strict instructions that if he fell again, felt too dizzy to do things, or threw up he was to call 911 first and us second. Then we went to the Paradise, where we discovered we had no cell reception. After the opening act Pygment called home to find things had settled down, so THAT could have been worse.

Then we got to see Bob Mould at the Paradise. Note I say "see" because "hear" was not so good. I really utterly loathe that venue. The sound is terrible, the floor didn't actually squelch this time, but was distinctly sticky, there was no AC to speak of, and I ended up being annoyed that I could not really hear him doing most of the songs I came to hear. OK, this is Bob Mould so you sort of expect you're going to need earplugs - this is the guy who anagramed his own name to "loudbomb" at one point - but this was just bad. About 1/4 of the way through they replaced the foam cover on Mould's mic and that helped some. I actually took out the plugs so I could hear a couple of my favorite tracks unfiltered but had to put them back in.

Mould was in fine form. I've been listening to his stuff since late Husker Du days in the early 1980s and never seen him live. He's a couple years older than I am and he just blasted his way through a 75-minute set with essentially no breaks. The other two musicians on stage with him had to be half his age and they were working to keep up. I'm really glad I got to see him after listening to his work for all these years but I don't think I'm going back to the Paradise anytime soon. So it wasn't a great concert experience, but it definitely could have been worse.

Then we headed home, Pygment driving. On Storrow we hit a slick patch under an overpass near the Hatch Shell and spun out. The car hit the concrete pretty hard and one tire/wheel is pretty trashed. We went over a curb that no doubt did some undercarriage damage but managed to get the car to side of the road. No property damage, nobody hurt, and no other cars involved in the collision. We were both a bit shaken (she worse than I) but not significantly harmed.

I will not enumerate the number of ways THAT could have been worse. Trufact: Storrow Drive is remarkably busy at 11PM on a Sunday night.

We called AAA and they eventually figured out how to get a tow truck to us. Pygment was particularly underdressed for standing on the roadside but it wasn't freezing and it wasn't pouring so THAT could have been worse. Car's at the body shop, she has a rental, insurance processing is underway. Some months ago Pygment had questioned whether we wanted to maintain our AAA membership - we've had some financial rough spots and done belt-tightening in a couple areas. I decided to keep it and had the card in my wallet (like I always do). So THAT could have been a lot worse, too.

Life lessons you can walk away from are usually the best kind.
drwex: (VNV)

For those not Boston-local I should explain. The Paradise is a very popular show venue in town. Lots of acts come there. It's a horrid place to see a show - sightlines are bad, acoustics are awful, and the floor squelches. No, I'm not making that up. But still, they book a lot of acts, including Bob Mould.

I'm going to see him there on May 1 - if anyone wants to join me (us) please do. He's that good.
drwex: (VNV)
I have two half-formed posts in my head and am not having much luck fully baking them. So like I do when that's going on, I listen to music. This set of links isn't planned out so much as "a set of musical coincidences".

Florence is coming to town. I was a big fan when she first got played on this side of the pond and have dropped off considerably since then. It's not like Infected Mushroom where the music has changed. Nor, I think, is it the old fogey of I-can't-like-anything-once-it-gets-popular. Florence is still doing her thing, except with a big stage now, bigger budget, and the trappings that come with that. In this live recording from last year you can hear her with a big-stage quality drum kit backing, two backup singers, a harp, and a full live horn section. I'm left wondering if that makes her (act) better or not. What attracted me to her was the combination of her voice and the deep weirdness of her lyrics. It has been a very long time since I've seen a show at a place so big they needed Jumbotrons - I forget what stadium-concert sound is like. She's very clearly having fun, though, and that's a strong incentive to try and see her when she comes around. Of course, the ticket price is likely to make me balk, but it's a thought.

Also coming to town is Bob Mould. I've written about my admiration for him a few times in the past. Going to see him would be a no-brainer except it's at the Paradise, a venue I despise. Their sound quality is uniformly terrible, sight lines are mediocre, and it's never comfortable. But it's Bob Mould, and I'm going to go in part because we've lost some great talents recently and I feel like I want to appreciate the really great gray-haired performers who are still with us. And because, duh, it's Bob Mould.

This was one of the fine tunes in the New Year's Eve party soundtrack. The host who had programmed that night's set has different musical tastes from mine, but there's a fair degree of overlap to the point where it's enjoyable for me to notice something they've picked and inquire, or to suggest something they can check out. Here is Melosense with a deep chill track. Very 'night music' and slinky acoustic sounds.

While we're still in the mellow part of this post, let me also introduce you to Phutureprimitive. This track came off Pandora's recommendations from my modification of [livejournal.com profile] sweetmmeblue's Glitch Mob station. The resemblance should be clear - bass electronica, with a strong beat and some stutter programming. "Kinetik" is also an acoustic-only track.

Vicetones continue to supply me with lush, sweet club sounds. It's a house track, like their other work, but it's also uptempo and melodic (despite the title). As so often happens I wish to complain that the track clocks in at under 3 minutes - feels more like a teaser than a fully developed track.

Back in 2014 I noted that RAC mixes have this habit of slipping by unremarked. And somehow I managed to go all of last year without blogging any of his work. My bad - I do follow it but don't always notice and mark his entries in my stream. This one reaches out and grabs you (well, if you're me) entirely because of the vocals. Frida Sundemo fronted this track for Morten originally and this is RAC's mix. Her voice is excellent - I particularly like how she handles the minor-key bits without sounding whiny.

I hope you've had enough of relaxing because the last two items are going to break that mode. First up is DJs from Mars' year-end megamash. This is the extended mix - I linked the original when it came out last month but I like this better. You get an extra minute and a half of ear teasers as a bonus and where I thought the end of the original mix was kind of a letdown, this one goes strong right up to the last 20 seconds.

About a decade or so again there was a thread in club music that was just generally called "hard". It featured very fast beats, electronica with distorted edges, insistent repetitive phrasing, and a lot of the tropes of club music at that time - sound samples, manga or Japanese animation elements, using horns or whistles as found sound, and simple message-oriented vocals. The first link is a recording of Marco V doing his hard anthem "Godd" recorded in 2005. I had forgotten all about this track - and really never was much of a hard fan - until a version of this got sampled in a DJ set I was listening to last week. I have no idea where the memory is from, but I remember thrashing to this track until my shirt was soaked with sweat. (I believe the track first came out in 2001 which only broadens the possible places/occasions - my best guess is one of the poolside parties that used to happen at Disclave.)

The second link is the V-Dubb remix of "Godd" and it's what started me on this as it was sampled in the DJ set and something in my brain pinged. This mix has some of the elements of the original but I think I can see how the edges are starting to soften and evolve into what house music would become in the years after. If you don't like hard techno you're not likely to enjoy this mix any more than the first, but for me it's a nice reminder of where EDM used to be when I was first dipping my toes into the waters.
drwex: (Troll)
As with Day 4, I knew there was a right song for Day 5's theme but it took me a few hours to remember it. Here:

It's one of my favorite of Bob Mould's solo tunes.

I see a little light, I know you will
I can see it in your eyes, I know you still care
drwex: (Troll)
Looking back in LJ it seems like I only managed one music post in September. I lost a week to travel and have been catching up on my podcasts so there aren't a lot of open tabs to work with. Let me see what I can share with you.

How this avoids being an epic trainwreck mix is beyond me, but Luckyexplorer pulls it off. It feels mostly like a Genesis remix because the consistent vocal is "Land of Confusion" but in fact the music is all other samples, including a brilliant in-mix of "Last Night a DJ".

Bob Mould's new album shows he's still got it. Here's this bald, gray-bearded man rocking hard on stage with guys half his age, sweat soaking his shirt just like it did 20 years ago. I still love his voice and the drive of his music. When he sings, "Listen to my voice - it's the only weapon I kept from the war" I get chills. I heard that Mould absolutely killed it as a dance club DJ; I'm just glad he's found a way back to his roots as well.

DJ Steveboy's "Spacebreaks" is psy-trance based but infused with funk, breakbeats and some lovely vocal bits. It also has a couple of surprises at the end that I didn't think would work but he pulls it together nicely.

Digging through links I found this from three years ago. Mashup Germany taking a P!nk track and laying it over 9 other elements, including a favorite Daft Punk.

Another oldie that I just found: two years ago DeeM & Mister Nono did a nice three-way mash-up based on the music Tomoyasu Hotei did for the Kill Bill movies. I loved those movies and the soundtracks were excellent so it's fun to hear the music being used for other things.

Blogging this almost entirely for the novelty. Kate Bush remixes are rare; mash-ups nearly un-heard-of. I'm not sure this one entirely works, but it's not awful either. Johnny Mashits is working with one of Bush's best-known and most pop-friendly tracks and he seems to understand how her voice works - the mash preserves that. Waddaya think?
drwex: (VNV)

Some music things deserve their own posts. Bob Mould is a brilliant guitarist and lyricist. I used to say he "transcended" punk but that made it seem like punk was a lesser thing. Now I sort of mumble a bit and make people listen to a track or two.

If you have no idea what I'm talking about, start here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dDnNr6lNxvc
and here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q8rmOX0H44M
drwex: (Default)
Due to holidays and absences and associated business I haven't had time to put a music post together. This time I want to bring to your attention two long-form listens that I haven't done in a while and talk about some new things as well. Plus there's the return of two long-absent voices you absolutely should hear.

I used to blog DJ Steveboy's sets regularly, then stopped for a variety of reasons. With any long-form set there are many chances to dislike it and I've felt that his sets haven't held together completely. There are good tracks and bad tracks and often I found myself stopping or skipping. Not this time. This is deep house done to perfection. The set is called "Roll Program" and among other things it's a tribute to the late Neil Armstrong, featuring samples of NASA audio and giving you that feeling of deep expanses of space, without drifting into annoying spaciness or irrelevance. I found this set immensely comforting for the moods I've been in.

Featurecast (http://soundcloud.com/featurecast) are offering a free stream of their first album and it's funkalicious! It's also got a wide mix of styles (electro jump around anyone?) and a lot of good featured performers. One of the best things about this album is that its variety exists not just for the sake of difference, but to promote the different styles. Within each style, though, there's solid funk and soul groundings and rapid-fire vocal expressions that tie the whole thing together. I'm only on my third listen-through and it's really hard to pick out a favorite track - they're all good.

Reset (http://www.wearereset.com/about/) are a five-man Italian music collective that nevertheless manage to give us an absolutely splendid fast-paced reggaeton track. My only complaint is that the version rendered for the video is too short and sort of broken up. It could easily stand to be a 4:30- or 5-minute track.

Ruinmytune has been doing a number of mash-ups lately that I haven't been all that impressed by - he hasn't seemed to be adding anything to his excellent starting tracks. This, however, is a hot exception and worth a listen. I admit to a personal weakness, as I really like the Blur tune he's working from ("Boys and Girls" - does anyone NOT like this one?). The mix is four main tunes plus samples and it's got depth and you can hear the main tracks all the way through. Really a nice mash.

What do you do when one of your favorite acts goes on hiatus for 12 years? You move on, of course, but you also remember how the music affected you and changed you back then. I remember in 1987 when their third album came out and a friend brought it over - they were hard to get in the US back then. When he found out I'd never heard of them he sat me down and had me listen all the way through the first three. It was intense and he never quite understood why I loved Lisa Gerrard's singing and really just tolerated Brendan Perry. If I'd heard this track, which is classic-style Perry at his best ever, I might have had a different opinion. The music is also classic DCD, with sweeping orchestral themes and tribal percussion, intensely layered and richly produced.

Bob Mould is another one that lots of people haven't heard of and that's really a shame. Husker Du were one of the first bands to evolve a punk sound (which I didn't like) into an alternative approach (which I adored). They never lost the thrash and drive of that early music but they stopped being afraid of melody and harmony and Mould's voice grew to equal his guitar chops. His project, Sugar, first hit the air 20 years ago (man, I'm old) and in my opinion there aren't any hardcore alternative albums as good as Copper Blue. This is the first single off Silver Age, a new album that's said to be in the old style. Yeah, Mould still has it, despite the balding and the gray beard and the glasses.


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