Thursday, January 31, 2008

Gender Discrimination Week: hiding from the women.

Well kids. It's one of those nights. I have actually been working for 3 hours, wrote one of my papers, and then with great drama and a few tears DELETED IT ALL. One of those nights. Got two papers due tomorrow (I guess it's today now), luckily in the afternoon, but still. . .

On the other hand, that means I'll be posting more music! Cos I can't focus! Time to make more tea! Time to stare out the window! Check my e-mail! Should I go to the vending machine? I hafta say these late nights are the ones that put on the extra pounds. Not the beer. Nor the pasta. And not even the Nutella straight out of the jar. Though today, I put it on a banana instead. Yes! I am indeed a smart eater. All-nighters are also prime time for online shopping! 20% off coupon? I better buy something cos I'll be saving! . . . No, no, doesn't work like that. . .

In the meantime, please enjoy these tracks, a small collection, by no means exhaustive, of ladies who consistently make it onto my playlist.

Gender Discrimination Week: And God Created Woman

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Gender Discrimination Week: Dorothy Lamour

Gender Discrimination Week continues! I'm gonna cop out and paste a bio from TCM down there. I've got a lot of work tonight but wanted to make sure to get this up.

Dorothy Lamour is a family favorite, as most of us are big fans of the Crosby-Hope Road to films. She has a stunning voice, warm, sexy, friendly and she can play anywhere from exotic to the girl-next-store, and even if the acting takes time to become fine-tuned, she gets heaps of credit for keeping a straight-face between Hope and Crosby and for even getting a word in. As regards this collection, I can't figure that "Sentimental Sandwich."

Engaging, alluring female lead and singer, a beauty contest winner ("Miss New Orleans" of 1931) who became an instant star at Paramount with her debut appearance in "The Jungle Princess" (1936). With her dusky, sensuous beauty, Lamour was often typed in exotic roles requiring her to wear a sarong ("Aloma of the South Seas" 1941, "Beyond the Blue Horizon" 1942, John Ford's superior "The Hurricane" 1937). Despite her typically sultry, sometimes deadpan expression, though, she generally approached her roles in a good-natured, slightly self-mocking way. Most often cast in musicals or comedies, Lamour performed well in occasional change-of-pace dramatic films such as "Spawn of the North" (1938), "Johnny Apollo" (1940), "A Medal for Benny" (1945) and "Wild Harvest" (1947). She is perhaps best remembered as the glamorous romantic cornerstone of the seven "road" comedies she made with Bob Hope and Bing Crosby, beginning with "Road to Singapore" in 1940. [TCM]

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Gender Discrimination Week: Soeur Marie Keyrouz

Termed "une des grandes dames de la musique sacrée" by and I'm sure many others, Sister Marie Keyrouz of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church, truly has an amazing voice and fantastic source material, here songs and hymns from Holy Week rites of the Eastern church. Like any sacred music or really any type of music, you don't have to be a believer to understand the beauty and power of the art. I'm trying to get my hands on this album, and I'll put it up if I can find it. If you want to hear more, there is music available for streaming on her site.
Among the single best single Byzantine chant recordings available, by one of the finest Byzantine chanters alive today. Sister Keyrouz has a voice that is transcendent; a virtual mystical experience. She captures and conveys all the agony and suffering, the sorrow and joy of Holy Week and the Passion. The chorale that backs her provides a wonderful ison, and this is among the best extant examples of the glory of Byzantine liturgical music [x].
I would also like to apologize as I do not have the 1st track. I downloaded this album awhile ago, and big thanks to the original uploader, but do you always put a picture of Donald Duck in place of the first track?

Monday, January 28, 2008

Gender Discrimination Week: Dinah Shore [Guest Post!]

Guest post! from the awesome lil sis, Caitlin:

I bought this CD used off Amazon after sitting through the not-so-good, very ridiculous but somewhat entertaining WWII Danny Kaye movie Up In Arms on TCM, that I watched after seeing Flags of Our Fathers in theaters (making for a very interesting contrast). Dinah Shore was in it and sang "Tess's Torch Song" which I really liked and is my favorite ever ever ever-- more or less anyway, and I went on a quest to find a copy of that song. (Upon reflection, Flags also had a Dinah Shore song--"I'll Walk Alone".) After not finding it online, and not finding any Dinah Shore to download, I up and bought it, not really knowing what the rest of it would sound like and somewhat afraid that it would be somewhat schmaltzy.

She's got a nice light voice, and I like singing along with her, though I'm sure everyone in this household hates me for it. The songs on here are selections from her various radio programs of the mid-1940s, notably Showtime, Dinah Shore's Open House, and Dinah Shore's Ford Show. My favorite songs from it are "You're A Builder Upper" (which, the liner notes tell me, was used to open the "Showtime" program), "Shoo Shoo Baby," "I Walk Alone," "Tess's Torch Song," and "Tallahassee" which is a very cute duet with a singing Woody Herman.

"Laura" makes me think of Spike Jones (we are currently listening to this track in the house and my dad just walked by and made a Spike Jones train sound at the line about the train), and though I've never seen the movie, I do adore Daniel Raksin's theme.

But anyway, here is my sparknotes on her career, mostly from Wikipedia: Dinah Shore gained popularity in the '40s, and continued her singing career into the '60s, supplemented with her television career (as a variety and talk show host and singer) into the 70's. She had a high profile relationship with Burt Reynolds in the early 70's. Yup. Here's what B had to say on her [ed: over AIM, which I think explains it. . . and the fact that I'm kinda an idiot in general.]: "dinah shore is cool. download it because the music sounds good. she has a good voice and that's why the music is good. PEACE."

I applaud her for conciseness? Anyway, here is Dinah's Showtime.
Heads up! More Dinah at Singin' & Swingin'!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Gender Discrimination Week: Devil Doll

"I’m not your fuckin’ cadillac"

Devil Doll, or Colleen Duffy, just released her second album, and it reminded me that I never posted the first one, of which I am a big fan. Though it could have benefited from tighter editing, or at least somebody to tell her to not include every song she ever wrote, and maybe save it for another album to be released in interim 4 years between the first and the second, it's, as JD Weis, who was kind enough to censor him/herself, says on, "smoky, sexy, jazzy, punkish, brassy, b#llsy, b$tchy." It's appeal comes in that it avoids going all the way to cunt-y (that's not a word, is it), by being vicious and exposed at the same time. There are songs are about uncompromising women who must make the decision to compromise (usually in love), though there's never a sense of whether they're doing the right thing. Then the other songs are about being generally kick ass, but it's still tempered by that depth.

Standout tracks include the opener, "St Christopher," "Walk With Me," "Liquor Store," "Bourbon In Your Eyes". . . Actually, pretty much everything on here. When I say it's too long, it's literally because it's too long, and that's a shame because by the end it's not so much that the quality hasn't decreased, rather, it's just hard to focus that long in general. The only false step on the album is "Don't Lose Your Faith in Love." Nice sentiment, but overly long and drawn out. The rest is energetic, great music (she has a great band behind her), and lotsa fun.

I haven't given The Return of Eve as careful a listen yet (sat through it a few times while doing other things.). It seems to have more of a twang to it, and even a fiddle! And just as flirty ("St Patrick"-- You can show me just what kind of saint that you can be) and tough ("The Curse.") as Queen of Pain. I don't know if the sophomore release suffers from the same length problem, but it has 4 less tracks, which is about the number the first album should have cut off and released as, I dunno, an EP.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Chicago Style

No, not that. For the last half hour I've been copying and pasting some reading I'm supposed to be doing from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th Ed., into my word processor, and since every section is a separate webpage, it's slow going. I can't find a printer-friendly format, and I'm pretty sure that's on purpose, so it's either copy-and-paste, go down to the library and photocopy it (more trouble than even what I'm doing now), or just buying a copy of the manual. It's not so much the cost (or maybe it is. . .), has it at $20 off and if it's something I'll actually use for a long time (or until the 16th ed. comes out) I'm willing to pay the price. But I don't know if I'm going to use it that much, especially if it would just be for quick reference as I go, which is what the online subscription is for. My big hangup right now is the size. According to Amazon, it's 900+ pages and hardcover. That's a big scary book that I'll have to store and take out every new semester or carry home with me if I run out of room. Looks more like something I'd have if I were in grad school. . . But in the meantime, I figured I'd upload some music to be posted throughout the week, and this time, there's a theme. Women!

Got your attention! I noticed I rarely post female vocalists (besides Ella.) Unintentional, but I do have some fantastic female-fronted groups and soloists that I'd like to share. Of course, posting exclusively ladies for a week is discriminatory, but what the hell. I'll keep it up for a week and then go back to gender-blind posting :) So look for that soon, starting with Devil Doll.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Brahms & Bruch Violin Concertos

On the heels of the last post, thought I'd throw this up here because it includes Brahms' Concerto in D Major, used in There Will Be Blood to great effect. While watching the movie I could not for the life of me remember what the song was, but I could remember it was on the same CD as my copy of the Bruch, which is included in the file and is as awesomely awesome as violin concertos get. Great stuff, fun to listen to and even more fun to play. This is the Hoelscher version, but there are a lot of other versions out there available. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

There Will Be Blood

Hey guys. I was really happy with the feedback on I Am Legend. Discussion and opinion really stimulates the content and it's great to hear what people think. Thanks!

So first things first, I tried my first shandy last night though not after first making the mistake of asking for a Bass (Very Nice Bartender: "No, Smithwick's."), and I rather liked it (and I liked the Smithwick's, which I hadn't even heard of before, no surprise, I'm darn near illiterate in this field).

Before that I saw There Will Be Blood at the ACM at Lincoln Center, the one with the weird facades and the billions of escalators. We had been planning on Sweeney Todd, but that didn't work out.

The closest I've gotten to a Paul Thomas Anderson film is having a class with the kid who pees in his pants in Magnolia. And the only other film I've seen Paul Dano in was the admittedly fun but definitely overrated Little Miss Sunshine, and consequently was not all that impressed. And I've never read Oil!, or any Upton Sinclair work. So when I say this movie exceeded my expectations, I was coming in with a fairly uninformed viewpoint.

So first off, Paul Dano's performance was surprisingly impressive. At first it was somewhat awkward and uninteresting, which I wrote off to the character, but the moment the film got to the exorcism scene, things really got going. Dano threw himself into the character, his energetic performance making what was one of the most interesting scenes in the film.

And of course Daniel Day-Lewis did an excellent job as oilman Daniel Plainview, and I've decided that the man looks a lot better with a mustache and when he's not wearing things like this. Not only does he dominate each scene, as per his character, but he does an excellent of showing the slow unhinging of Plainview over the years across which the film literally sprawls.

The soundtrack, by Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood was good but not very impressive in terms of originality. It was, however, very effectively used to create a deep atmosphere of tension and macabre anticipation. I'd go so far as to say the film would have suffered without such heavy-handed use of musical suspense motifs, would have been a lot more dull without the buildup the music provided.

The violence, which there isn't a lot of and was mostly blunt trauma type stuff, was brutal and was really making the audience cringe (except for the guy across the aisle who was snoring). They got some gorgeous shots in, especially when Kevin J O'Connor and Day-Lewis are surveying-- fields, orange groves, fantastic color and light/shadows. In terms of the plot and story, it's an epic, covering three decades and lots of land. Most everything works though the deafness part was underdeveloped and could have been handled better. All in all, I definitely recommend the film. It's heavy and slow, but there's enough to keep the story moving and the viewer interested. Though it is one of those weighty movies that I won't be seeing again in the near future.

It's Thursday and I'm afraid of the Cold. And the Communists.

So finishing up my first week of classes, classes don't look too bad. I'm saying that now but in a week it's gonna be Oh, how I hate my classes. We'll see. What I do hate is when Communists, or are they socialists, or maybe they're Trotskyists, standing outside the student center asking people if they want to take their publication and then when you try to be nice and just take one so they feel better, then they decide to tell you it costs 50 cents. Guess y'all haven't gained the means of production yet huh. The paper is named the Worker's Vanguard, I believe, a concept that I have never been comfortable with and is mentioned only once by Marx and not well explained in the text, and mostly advanced by Lenin, I think, again. It's been a long time since I took my Soviet Union class and even longer since I read the outrageously priced Marx-Engels Reader.

Anyway, enough about me and the Trotskyists. It's freezing here and my hands hurt and my face feels like it's gonna fall off. Walking from the movie theater to the bar last night my teeth were actually chattering. But of course, this place had weather in the 60s while I was away. Here are a trio of songs that have to do with the cold. Sorta. Anyway, we got La neige, ice, and melting, which is what doesn't happen in the cold. For more Marilyn Monroe files, check out Doc Macro's page.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Rock N Roll Soldiers: The Two EPs

So I'm back on the freezing cold East Coast and I'm having a lot of trouble adjusting to the time change, more so than usual for some reason. But posting should be back at a normal pace, just with a three hour lag :]
This isn’t a bad effort from the Rock ‘N’ Roll Soldiers, but there’s a lot of potential improvements to think about for the next go ‘round. They’ve got solid elements in place, and a great lead singer, but something needs to spice up the middle of the album, which drags a bit. And it’s not copying the beginning of other artists' songs (“Everybody’s Gotta Live” starts out almost identically to Green Day’s “Jackass”). Maybe next time, guys.
Remember how about three/four years ago, a lot of these bands were getting radio play with punk-inspired, danceable, noisy, energetic wacky vocals, all in skinny jeans and terrible hair? I guess the Vacation was kinda leading the pack (what happened to them? I'd rather be posting them, but I can't find the album on my computer, I'll work on that) and Towers of London were just being embarrassing. (Okay, I never listened to them so maybe I'm making a snap judgment, but they opened for the Pogues a few years ago and boy were they awful.)

Rock N Roll Soldiers call their stuff "slinky glam punk," I'll go ahead and call it good and for the most part fun. I agree with the Punknews review that as an album it starts to drag, but picking out songs gets you some good standalone tracks. Favorites are "Anthem," "Funny Little Feeling," sing-a-long "Everybody's Gotta Live," "Barbarian" and "Habits I Have" (Briefs-esque confession of bizarre behavior.) This release is two EPs smashed together, "The High School Sessions," and "The Weak Blame The Strong." Enjoy!

Monday, January 07, 2008

I Am Legend

Okay, so I finally saw I Am Legend. To its credit, it has great production design- I heard some NYU kids were bitching about the area around their school being shut down, but I mean, seriously, suck it up. Having a street closed down for filming is irritating, but NYC offers major incentives to film in the city, so there's no use in complaining. The city, weed-choked, streets filled with abandoned cars, bombed out bridges, is impressive and visually seamless. And it has some seriously spooky moments-- the mannequins really got to me. And, to his credit, Will Smith is able to keep things moving as the only guy on screen. And like Cast Away, the sense of isolation, this time in the immense emptiness of a dead Manhattan, is overwhelming and mutes all the other emotions coming from the screen, making it otherworldly even without the zombies (I dunno what they were). I feel like that's the point, though. And there's a dog instead of a volleyball and I like the dog better.

Now the bad. The Bob Marley stuff felt a little awkward. I consider myself moderately a fan of the guy, and considering that the majority of us are probably moderate to not really a fan (like my dad, who got dragged to see the film with us), I wonder how that part carried off, especially with people who have never really listened to him. It was nice, though, to hear "Redemption Songs" during the credit, my favorite of his songs. And let's face it. It could have been worse. It coulda been Eric Clapton singing "I Shot the Sheriff." But the symbolic weight of the Bob Marley songs, as well as the butterfly and the idea of coincidence being indicative of greater plans felt glossed over, not incorporated in enough nor with enough investment. And here's where I begin the other movie comparisons. Signs does an excellent job with this idea, dealing with it throughout the film rather than just at the end and in a manner that is not as self-aware, through the characters and the filmmaking, as I Am Legend ended up.

And then, the ending, the infamous ending. Not so much the religious themes that came in (again, see Signs, no heavy-handedness or awkwardness), but rather the peppy-uppy-ness of it. Without giving anything away, both 28 Days Later (those army guys at the mansion) and the new Dawn of the Dead (haven't seen the old one, shame on me) deal with the idea better. I do hesitate to make those comparisons because the nature of each "safe zone" in each film has a lot to do with the unique plot, but I think it would have been interesting to not have to justify the "character development" (and by that I mean the you-know-what of Neville's character), and to have just chopped off the entire ending in Vermont. But then that would leave loose ends and would be no fun, I guess.

My disappointment comes with the altered nature of the Legend. The legend of Matheson's novella refers to Neville's status as a legend amongst the new vampires. In the film, it's pretty much the opposite, and has lost the chilling revelation that the book provides.

That said, there are some great scenes (running down the baddies in the car, the entire warehouse scene, the super creepy mannequins) and Will Smith, as always, puts his entire self into the job, especially interacting with the dog and everything else that isn't actually alive. I think it had more potential especially considering the source, particularly the ending, but as a movie on its own, it's fine.

Ooh, and while I did not see the film at the IMAX, I did see the Dark Knight preview and it looks rockin' but I'm still not so sure about Heath Ledger. I do trust the people making the movie, however, so we'll see.

Avenues & Alleyways: B-Sides, Covers, Remixes

Okay, so it finally stopped raining here and, stuck inside with nothing to do but watch TV, read, load the dishwasher, unload the dishwasher, and watch more TV, I decided I like the Avenues & Alleyways comp more than the official one. I can't remember where it came from, but many thanks to the fella who originally posted it. It has a lot of stuff the C-Sides release has got and then some, including excellent covers: "Cheat" (Clash), "If the Kids Are United" (Sham 69), and "I'm Against It" (Ramones). **As well as, with thanks to Northern Jon for the heads up: "My Life" (Sick of It All) and "The Harder They Come" (Jimmy Cliff).**

Also, I'm glad McCrank dropped by because it reminded me that I had meant to link to a post he did over the summer- Rancid Live in Miami, great stuff, check it out! Also, X Siempre Joven has a demos collection up, haven't grabbed it yet, but someone out there might be interested. Have fun!

The good stuff:

Friday, January 04, 2008

B Sides and C Sides. .. & MMB

Everyone is always wary when it comes to these types of releases. This one has a lot in common with the Avenues & Alleyways boot, and was released last year (aka like 5 days ago). Still, it's meant to keep us going til the next Rancid release which is supposed to be in the works (not that they've been sitting around and twiddling their tattooed thumbs.) I actually don't know what a C-side is, but I guess they made 3 sided records while I wasn't paying attention. Anyway, just looking at the list, some of my favorites are "Sick Sick World", "the Brothels", good stuff all around, and unfortunately, "That's Entertainment" is still not a Jam cover (When I first saw the track on another comp, I got really excited, and I still can't get over how much I wish they'd have covered it- would love to hear that.) Okay, enjoy, lemme know what you think!

Also, from the same site linked way up at the top, a Mighty Mighty Bosstones reunion might be in the works (yeah, I know, same with the Kinks). Regardless of whether that'll happen or not, check out the boys doing "Rudie Can't Fail." It's like having a very scary hitman sing it to you, and I mean that in the nicest way possible. I love Dicky Barrett's voice, specifically his speaking voice, which we got to hear a lot of when Indie 1031 was running the Mighty Morning Show. Now I know the station started going downhill before this, but I think we can say the big turning point was when they fired Dicky (Jay-sus, Bridget, you're still posting that link? Yes! I'm very upset!)

The good stuff:

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