Wednesday, February 18, 2009

I want fuckloads of diamonds. I heard people die while they're trying to find them.

I've been really warming up to Lily Allen recently. It's always hard to like celebrities' kids when they first start producing stuff. But I think it was a combination of finally seeing the video of "Smile" (who hasn't ever wanted to pay little hooligans to smash a boy who has wronged you's record collection?) and liking the sense of humor as well as the various juicy gossipy things surrounding her (weight, miscarriage.) I admit that latter factor is terrible-- why should reading about her insecurities on my newsfeed make me like her music more? Shouldn't it stand on its own? I think it does, though. I think what it did was convince me to give her stuff a chance, and I've been pleasantly surprised ever since. I think she has a nice style, too. Except the whole tennie-runners with dresses things.

"The Fear" is the first single off her recently released album, It's Not Me, It's You, which I haven't had a chance to listen to the whole way but is getting good reviews. The song is about celebrity culture today, but is easy enough to pick up gems that not only relate to your life ("everything's cool as long as I'm getting thinner") but also make you feel very naughty for sniggering at (ie, see the title of the post. Hilarious.) The video is also good- has dancing presents.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

"Creator of iconic Obama portrait arrested"

I've been casually following this story (read the article) for the last few days, and since I've posted some of Shepard Fairey's art (the Obey guy) on here before, I thought I'd take a sec to address it and see how others feel. The basics are that Fairey admitted to using an AP photo to create the Obama piece that you couldn't avoid seeing for the last year or so, and AP has decided now (after the inauguration) to step up and demand compensation. I'm not sure about the legal wranglings about all that-- frankly, that will have to be settled however they settle it. Considering how much money both parties have, I would expect some kind of settlement or agreement.

The thing about the arrest is that Boston police arrested Fairey on charges having to do with graffiti. My attitude toward graffiti is ambivalent- and I make a clear distinction between so-called "street art" (at its basics, more often found in gentrified areas) and graffiti/tagging (including such species as dumbass graffiti and scary gang tagging). The law sees both as vandalism, which, admittedly, it is, and I figure if you get caught, you need to face the consequences, whether or not you feel the charges or the law itself is fair. Social contract and whatnot. But Fairey is a well known commercially popular artist and a public personality strongly associated with street art culture if only for his conceptual influence; clearly they could have arrested him a long time ago, or at any point during his career. Now seems awfully convenient. I don't believe "artists" are above the law, but the timing is way too blatant. Ah, cops. If AP hadn't brought Fairey to national attention, the arrest wouldn't have happened. Meanwhile, who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? Apparently the Boston PD is too busy to find out and stop all the other crime.

The other issue I think is interesting is that because Obama's campaign and the consequent beatification (it's getting out of hand; the man is a politician and will have to face a reality that is not in good shape), imagery such as "Hope" played a massive role in the face of the campaign. Fairey helped Obama's marketability, and it seems like bad form for AP to be throwing a hissy-fit now. On behalf of the original photographer, I don't know what to say, but if there is any settlement, it should be between the two individuals. Of course, this is not how copyright works.

I like Fairey's stuff. I think kids who are all about Obey are obnoxious, but his prints and designs are good, pop-commercial pieces. I especially like his Joe Strummer prints, (aw hell, I might as well post it here again; I mean, it's pretty fucken sweet) and I'm interested to see how this pans out.

.5 V-Day Mini Mix: And Good Riddance.

Well, since it's halfway to Valentine's Day, I thought I'd post a mini-mix that I slapped together awhile ago and never posted. Enjoy :) (A reminder, if you click on any of the links, it brings you to a playlist where you can listen to all the songs in the row, and download any of them.)

an excuse for another picture of joe

I realized Joe hasn't been around here much lately, but if you need to fill in the blank spaces in your library, P-Motion has got the Joe Strummer discography up right now.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Lux Interior Dead at 62

The godfathers of psychobilly, having coined the named by taking the term from a Johnny Cash song, the Cramps are really the ones who do it perfectly-- the majority of those following in the psychobilly footsteps could never duplicate the perfect marriage of sounds that the Cramps achieved. And almost none of those bands had a lead with that old school NY punk voice that could achieve those Elvis acrobatics with their voice. In much the way everyone fails to ape the Misfits (who came after the Cramps started their monster movie vintage brand of fun), nobody is able to duplicate the level of violent, sexual, campy vibe and subject matter that the Cramps managed. Read more from the mtv obit.

That said, the Cramps have always been a band that I appreciate and respect but for all that can't sit through an entire album. But once you find the tracks you like, the rest is easy enough. Here's my favorite Cramps song from my favorite Cramps album, Stay Sick! Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Hump Day Happy: Oscar Season Edition

Well, embedding is disabled, but take a look if you're not familiar with it, because, frankly, I think this woman deserves an Academy Award. And when I say Academy Award, I mean the special one they create for television roles after seeing this stunning performance (and that shopping bag action.)

don't look now but i secretly like the (relatively) new spinnerette track.

Don't get me wrong- I'm still not impressed with the group. Brody Dalle's voice is processed to the point where she could be anybody (and, really, she could), and the songs aren't anything new. They're pop-- catchy hooks and well-placed "heys!"-- and listening to them makes you think, well, I guess this is what Courtney Love would be doing right now if she wasn't so busy being Courtney Love. Influences sited on the band's myspace include Roky Ericson and Black Flag, which are about as present in these tracks as warm weather is out here right now. (Frankly, it seems like Brody heard Mr Ericson and said, OMG he thinks of demons, and I sing about personal demons; we're twins!)

I would place these tracks ("Ghetto Love" and "Valium Knights"- the former being superior) under predictable but danceably grungy pop; "Ghetto Love" has a good heavy beat and "Valium Knights" is a more produced Distillers track, like if the Strokes had gotten to it. (But don't bother with the lyrics.) If it wasn't evident before, Brody Dalle feels like the vehicle, by virtue of her voice, for some better-than-standard pop, so don't expect too much.

Check it out, you might find something you like-

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Some croonin for your Tuesday

As promised, though slow in coming, a little more Bing for ya! Bing Crosby is the premier male vocalist of ever, and don't let anyone try to tell you otherwise. Unfortunately, his fame nowadays is mostly around Christmas time, but Bing Crosby is definitely an all-year-round kinda guy. Every music collection should have a little of Der Bingle. Face it: having the Rat Pack on the jukebox makes you classy. Can't really argue with that. Having Bing on there? Makes you a classy motherfucker with good taste. A little bit on how awesome Mr Crosby was-

One of the first multimedia stars, from 1934 to 1954 Bing Crosby held a nearly unrivaled command of record sales, radio ratings, and motion picture grosses. He is cited among the most popular musical acts in history and is currently the most electronically recorded human voice in history.

Crosby is also credited as being the major inspiration for most of the male singers of the era that followed him, including Frank Sinatra, Perry Como, and Dean Martin. Yank magazine recognized Crosby as the person who had done the most for American G.I. morale during World War II and, during his peak years, around 1948, polls declared him the "most admired man alive," ahead of Jackie Robinson and Pope Pius XII.

Also during 1948, the Music Digest estimated that Crosby recordings filled more than half of the 80,000 weekly hours allocated to recorded radio music. Clarinetist Artie Shaw described Crosby as "the first hip white person born in the United States" [source].

This tracklist has a lot of famous standards that are essential listening, including "Birth of the Blues," "Along the Santa Fe Trail," and "Yes, Indeed!" one of my favorites. The disc is off a wonderful collection that C got for Christmas a few years ago, and at $25 for three discs of great music it's not a bad purchase at all. I've never seen it in stores; I believe it's a UK product, but it is available through

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Gift Ideas for Valentine's Day

I don't make a big deal out of Valentine's Day, but like any holiday, it's up to you to decide whether or not you do something. Most holidays I consider an opportunity to have a little fun, and while some of these gifts are a little on the pricey side, you might see something that inspires some ideas. Everybody says that you shouldn't wait til Valentine's Day to show someone you appreciate them, but since you've hopefully been appreciating that/those someone/s (be it friends, significant others, family) all year round, you might have the time to do something a little special- even if it's stealing flowers from the park or drying out some old roses and putting them in a milk bottle or baking cookies for your friends.

Clockwise from top Left: Valentine Fondant & Cutter Kit [Williams-Sonoma] | Copper Cookie Cutter Heart Set [Williams-Sonoma] | "Flowers and Sparrows" Day Bag [Lux de Ville] | Sweet Heart Vase [J. Mendicino] | Clean Cartoonists' Dirty Drawings by Craig Yoe [] |


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