Wednesday, 30 January 2008

dinosaur jr - 'the pickle song'

this one goes out to blog-buddy jon b. at unhemmed, who is in a pickle. chin up, jon!

'the pickle song' is from dinosaur jr's 'take a run at the sun' EP, in which they pretended to be the beach boys for the film grace of my heart. for a band that spent the rest of its two-decade career trying to sound like dinosaur jr, i think they do a cracking job.

and here's the title track:

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

swing incongruity with those pesky tindersticks

i'm all for the tindersticks, who haven't released an album since 2003's waiting for the moon. that's all going to change in 2008 when they release the hungry saw, just in time to compete with nick cave for the best-dressed maudlin album of the year. listen to a song from it on their myspace page!

but while you're here, why not try this video for 1997's 'rented rooms', which is tagged on youtube as 'swing incongruity'. it sure is!

Saturday, 26 January 2008

GMS presents: movie madness

i love a good tune. i also love a good movie. put the two together, and you get glitter starring bubbly american songbird mariah carey.

i asked mariah about doing a week-long GMS series on glitter, maybe a 33 1/3 series book too, but she yelled at me and hung up, so you'll have to make do with the following top tunes from top films instead.

'l'amitie' is by francoise hardy and crops up at the end of the barbarian invasions, so you'll have to watch the whole thing to hear it, which is a rewarding experience in itself. or you can hear it here:

'farmland tour' is by angelo badalamenti, who would win in a fight with ennio morricone. it's from david lynch's straight story, which is great. i'm surprised more people don't make this kind of music - like an americana godspeed offshoot.

francoise hardy
straight story OST
barbarian invasions
straight story

Friday, 25 January 2008

verse of the week: crooked i - 'takeover freestyle' (plus the other 42 freestyles)

crooked i tends to get self-conscious about his crooked eye

crooked i
is the '92-era david gedge of freestyling west-coast rap hopefuls, inasmuch as he releases a handy, hard-working freestyle over a popular "club smash" every damn week.

to prove he's not cheating, mister i always refers to an event from the past week, like patti hearst reading the latest jeff weiss article in the la weekly to prove she's still locked in her cupboard. having received my news "podcast" in handy, digestible "rap" form, i feel happy to tackle my local pub quiz's 'in the news' round.

this week, crooked i tackles the devastating, doors-sampling beat from jay-z's 'takeover'. i reckon he does rather well. of course, like 'daytona 500' or 'all about the benjamins', you'd have to be mc rove not to sound tasty over 'takeover'. but after 43 weeks of this project, i think we can let crooked i shoot at an open goal once or twice.

crooked i is also kind enough to make all of these freestyles available for free. being a "boss", however, he might come round your house with his goons to call in any "debt" he thinks you've incurred. like, money for a kebab and a bus fare or something.

here's every one of them. scroll to the end to hear 'takeover', or start from the beginning, or whatever.

Wednesday, 23 January 2008


a lot of liquor on the ground at GMS HQ.

RIP Heath Ledger - gay cowboy, misogynist bob, method-joker

RIP Abdul Latif - curry record holder, Viz regular, Lord Harpole

piss-poor, i reckon.

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

"reclaiming the right to feel": cat power and the hot boy$' gendered experience of the south

hey, this is nice. a new gadget that sits on my blog, letting you listen to pop without having to open a new window, or to steal it. let's hope it works!

folk tend to stop me on the street and say, "ass hat, i come to your great blog for two reasons - cover versions that don't really work, and that picture of lil' wayne with the iced out skull". knowing myself, as i do, i'm only too happy to oblige.

here's 'i feel', from the bonus disc of cat power's new covers record, jukebox.

jukebox isn't as good as her first covers record, the covers record, but it is better than i'd expected, given her karaoke-heavy performance at last year's all tomorrow's parties. like most cat power albums, it's really okay, but trails off a bit. the best song is the one she wrote herself, 'song for bobby'. it's not the best album of 2008: the best album of 2008 is by black mountain, and also by a silver mt. zion. still, here's how to buy jukebox.

'i feel' is a cover of 'i feel' by the hot boy$, whose album artwork is as bad as cat power's. the original features a less-than-byronic verse from wayne, but has a good bassline, so it does. buy guerrilla warfare too.

Monday, 21 January 2008

New Orleans as Hellespont redux? Continuity and contiguity in the poetry of Lord Byron and Lil' Wayne

"For me, degenerate modern wretch,
Though in the genial month of May,
My dripping limbs I faintly stretch,
And think I've done a feat today."
Byron, 'Written After Swimming From Sestos To Abydos'

"I'm pro'lly in the sky, flying with the fishes,
Or maybe in the ocean, swimming with the pidgeons,
See, my world is different."
Lil' Wayne, 'Ride 4 My N****s', Drought 3

This week, GMS was interested to read the following quote, from bumfluff-sporting anticon nerd-rapper Sole:

“When I was living in Spain, I’d read Byron all the time, and his rhyming was just ridiculous, like seven syllables. It’s not like I traced rap back to Romantic poets, but I started thinking of rhyme as something more than just clever ... [Lil' Wayne] did this one mixtape thing, The Drought 2: it’s, like, him rapping for two hours. He uses his New Orleans drawl to make shit rhyme that you never think would.”

Although the seven-syllable thing puts Byron in the Kool G Rap bracket, maybe this Solo chap has a point. They're hated-on by straight-laced middlebrow moralisers and homophobes alike, but are they two peas in a pod? GMS puts the flamboyant rhyme-happy libertines, self-publicists, counter-cultural icons and victims of pretentious critical deconstruction head-to-head:

Romantic cult of personality

J. McGann, 'Byron, George Gordon Noel, sixth Baron Byron, 1788-1824, poet', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography:
"Byronism made an impact, too, on the images assumed by some of the more outrageous rock stars of the 1960s. The fast rhythm and excesses of his life that became synonymous with Byron are now recognized as part of the pattern of celebrity. The continuing appeal of this glamorous aspect of Byronism reflects the intense cultural interest in the individuality of the self that lies at the heart of Romanticism."

Lil' Wayne, 'I'm Me', The Leak EP:
"B***h, I'm me, I'm me, I'm me, I'm me
Baby, I'm me, so who you? You're not me, you're not me
And I know that ain't fair, but I don't care
I'm a motherf**kin Cash Money millionaire
I know that ain't fair, but I don't care
I'm a motherf**kin Cash Money millionaire."

Post-modern cultural authority

McGann, 'Byron':
"Byron's afterlife in popular culture was a crucial factor in his re-emergence after the Second World War in the high-cultural venue of post-modernism where parody, satire, wit, and an ethos of irony regained cultural authority."

Ryan Dombal, review of Drought 3,
"While introducing his revamp of T.I.'s "Top Back", Wayne clarifies, "T.I. is the king-- don’t get that shit twisted/ And me? I am the best rapper alive." The difference-- divine right vs. tireless politicking-- is spelled out through Wayne's regional-poaching as high-art stumping."

Intoxication as a locus of the divided self

Byron, MS fragment rel. to 'Don Juan' canto I:
" ... I write this reeling
Having got exceedingly drunk to-day,
That I seem to stand upon the ceiling."

Lil' Wayne, 'I Feel Like Dying', Carter III Sessions:
"Swimming laps around a bottle of Louis the 13th
Jumping off of a mountain into a sea of codeine
I’m at the top of the top but still I climb
And if I should ever fall, the ground will then turn to wine
Pop, pop, I feel like flying, then I feel like frying, then I feel like dying."


Political engagement

Byron, 'When a man hath no freedom to fight for at home':
"When a man hath no freedom to fight for at home,
Let him combate for that of his neighbours;
Let him think of the glories of Greece and of Rome,
And get knocked on his head for his labours."

Lil' Wayne, 'Ride 4 My N****s', Drought 3:
"I got the 40 cal. tucked in my P.R.Ps.,
What do you expect? I'm from New Orleans,
The majority of my city is riders,
They tried to make a brand new map without us,
But the tourists come down and spend too many dollars,
And no matter how you change it, it will still be ours."


i asked somebody who knows, and they told me that erudition is more important than a good conclusion with these sort of things. so let's just enjoy the music. and poetry.

Sunday, 20 January 2008

representing the uke...

do you live in leicester? if not, you have slightly less than three weeks to get there, in order to catch william tombs' what the lobster shouted as it boiled: a mystagogue expounds, the best one-man philosophical ukulele show i think i've ever seen. lookee here, i even said so on my blog. it's at the midas cafe on saturday 9th february, as part of leicester's internationally renowned comedy festival, so it is.

read this in order to obtain "more info", then to "buy tickets". hurry up!

Friday, 18 January 2008

"anger, identity and reward": rap in the pre-steroids era

before the trade in anabolic steroids caused rappers to lose their tempers and made their shirts fall off, our favourite mcs had to earn their gigantic bodies filled with rage. hence the boo-ya tribe.

boo-ya tribe & faith no more - 'another body murdered' (from judgment night OST)

what were the boo-yas so angry about? water rights for the indigenous peoples of boo-ya? missing out on the part of chong li in bloodsport to bolo yeung, and not getting to go to the kumite?

but if you're not happy with boo-ya angry, what about onyx featuring biohazard angry? onyx were so angry their hair fell out and they had to go to prison, where they met biohazard. i don't know why they were so hell-bent on ire, but the presence of biohazard suggests that "the system" might have had something to do with it.

onyx & biohazard - 'judgment night' (from judgment night OST)

by 1993 de la soul were not angry, just disappointed, which isn't what happens when you're on steroids at all. teenage fanclub looked quite cheery, possibly because they'd just released badwagonesque and someone had let them make a pop record with de la soul.

de la soul & teenage fanclub - 'fallin' (from judgment night OST)

if you want to make a pop record with a rapper these days, you have to be ripped, like maroon 5 or that chap from coldplay. is this progress?