29 March 2009

all over but the listenin'

Here comes the series finale...

AC/DC - undeniably, classic rock all-stars! Everybody knows a pile of their hits and recognizes them instantly... Nobody understands the lyrics, and nobody cares. The git riffs and solos are perfection. All he has to do is scream "yeeeeaaahhh!" into the mic, and everyone goes nuts. It couldn't possibly get much better for this band. They're TNT - dyn-o-mite!

Ace of Base - highlighting that the nineties were often as nongood as the eighties... Don't forget, she's gone tomorrow!

I remember hearing "The Sign", "All That She Wants", etc., on the radio at the swimming pool around 15 years ago. Sadly, I liked them then, and more sadly, I'm still slightly addicted. The nineties are sufficiently retro/roots for those my age, right?

Afrika Bambaataa - funk/rap/electronics masters. Renegades of funk, even. I particularly appreciate that they have typical goofy 1990 rap themes, rather than going on and on about crunk. As old school hip hop was supposed to be, they spent half of every song doing name checks. Yesss.

Bonus for tagging up with Überzone on several tracks for the Über-album Faith in the Future. "What is this electrofunk that's drivin' y'all crazy?"

Alarm Will Sound - a classical orchestra who focus on performing symphonic remakes of quite non-symphonic contemporary music. Their main album has been Acoustica (I suspect a play on the term "electronica"), which is a collection of Aphex Twin songs turned symphonic (catch Aphex about ten bands further down in today's post). It's impressive work - though Aphex Twin uses sounds that obviously do not occur in the natural world, AWS still pulls some slick moves with a bit of creative license (ok, more than a bit) to imitate Aphex frighteningly accurately. There are plenty of "you can do that on a cello?" moments, de veras. I would have liked to hear them try something completely out there - "Come to Daddy (Pappy Mix)" and "54 Cymru Beats" (yes, Jo, the broken printer song) come to mind - but that might be asking a little much.

Courtesy of these guys, I must always have a brief chuckle when I see the signs on fire exits. Naturally, it scores me some questioning looks from passersby, but oh well. It's a drop in the jl-is-a-freak-show bucket.

Alec Empire - yum, more digital hardcore! There's absolutely nothing to like about this guy: he's way offensive; the beats aren't foot-tapworthy, danceworthy, or even raveworthy; the bass electronics aren't pleasant; there's constant electronoise; his samples are a bit frightening; he doesn't even have the slightly cute appeal of EC8OR's female rant machine.

Citing all of that, of course I love it! My favorite sample: "besides, I felt that if I smiled one more time tonight, my face would crack." Thanks, Alec.

Alice Donut - obscure as punk can get without it being down the street in your friend's basement. Mr. Knight probably won't bother reading this, but I recall our pal Bill asking years ago, "hey Ray... Uh, have you ever heard of Alice Donut?" I think that, unless you are a member of the Donut, the answer to that question is fairly obvious. Even I only know about them from Bill.

The All-American Rejects - yes indeed, I sometimes devolve into a faux-punk emo fan. Let's keep that our dirty little secret...

Amy Winehouse - further proof that no quantity of drogas can keep people from making pretty bad music that still somehow becomes popular. I'll give her credit for her unique, Motown-esque sound, but I'll promptly take away such credit for still being so bad.

They tried to make her go to rehab, [and] she said no, no, no... But they made her go anyway.

Andrew WK - what a fun style, very standard rockish with just a dash of punk! They're very energetic and fairly positive, and their songs imbue something happy-go-lucky. However, like our pals from Nickelback ;-) , they suffer from one-song syndrome; every track they record sounds exactly like every other. "Let's have a party party party hard party party fun hard party and we'll party hard, party hard!" Repeat as necessary.

Anne Feeney - weee, current-era protesty folk. She's obviously passionate, but if you don't stop and at least pretend that there is an inkling of justice in the world for the occasional song or two, people can only listen to so much. An essential characteristic of music is the fun factor, and unfortunately, her factor is zero. Also, she falls a tad further in my rankings by reminding me of Janis Joplin... However, she is ranked very highly as a person because I deeply respect her knowledge, passion, and true concern for those who indeed feel the injustice of the world on a regular basis.

Antipop Consortium - quite the creative rap clan. I don't know much about them, but I appreciate their use of both bizarre and thoroughly everyday samples - a song on Arrhythmia lays down thumps and rhymes over recordings of a game of ping pong. Pretty slick!

Credit by association for appearing when I search for the Primus album Antipop.

Ape - a guy with a Casiotone, something akin to cartoon music... I have one album, and every song is about monkeys. I'm not kidding - one is a parody of [the wicked] Wilson Pickett's "Land of 1000 Dances", entitled "Ba-na-na-na". One of the best lines on the album (if you can call it that) is "ooh ooh ah ah ooh ooh ah ah ooh ooh I'm an ape". Delicious! It's probably pathetic that Ape made it onto my mp3 player...

Aphex Twin - the original Tim-inflicted electronica in my collection, and still my favorite. The music is just irritating to most, but it's also genius. Read up on background info. Richard D. James is quite the oddball. He wrote his own audio software...

Anyway, this stuff is the real "beeps 'n' clix". He never really caught on in the USA, where we don't really have a club scene, but his weirdness became somehow popular in his native England and the rest of Europe. Not bad, sir.

Rather than rambling more, I reco listening to "54 Cymru Beats", "Bucephalus Bouncing Ball" (my favorite), and if you're brave, "Ventolin (Video Version)". I heart.

Aquabats - stole my sweater. Not the green one, which Weezer took and then lost; no, the Aquabats made off with the red one. Ska is strange sometimes, eh?

Archies - oldies masters who are surely diabetic. Candy girl, stop pouring your sugar all over them!

Arlo Guthrie - alllmost "oldies", but I think he's more like Vietnam protest-era, along the line of but not as angry as Country Joe and the Fish (that's who he sounds most like to me, a menos). He's most well-known for the slightly-protesty, 18-minute storysong "Alice's Restaurant" (you can get anything you want there, excepting Alice), which gets radio airtime every Thanksgiving because the song's antics take place around the fall holiday.

More enjoyable, though, is Arlo's "The Motorcycle Song", where he rhymes "pickle" with "motorcycle", among other "clever" lines... I simply recommend hunting this song down for at least one listen. Remember, dumb = fun.

Art Paul Schlosser - be my valentine, oh twanger of comedic anti-folk.

Artless - because "beer is better than girls are"... They are most nearly classified as "punk", I guess, and they quite live up to their name. That doesn't mean they're not fun!

Atari Teenage Riot - not to be confused with the Ataris, we have one more dose of digital hardcore. ATR is possibly the least unlistenable of the digi-core bands I'm mentioned. Though there's still excessive noise and lots of rant/yell, they're occasionally melodic, the synth-bass is clever (as in slidey), and every now and then the lyrics are a bit witty. It's no EC8OR, that's for sure.

Of course, Kyle disapproves of their Berlin Wall-era mockery of Deutschland. If it weren't for that, you'd be a huge fan, right K Griz?

ATR supplied my theme song for my trip to Portugal - I recall listening to "Start the Riot" during our descent into Lisbon, and subsequently over and over in the hospital. It's a disturbingly appropriate metaphor for the journey...

"I would die for peanut butter!"

Autechre - semi-ambient, extremely intelligent electronica. Rarely conforming to the standard four-beat notion of rhythm, or any notion of rhythm whatsoever, Autechre requires an unbelievable load of thought and concentration to grasp the essence of their ideas of music. Thus, few actually like this stuff.

Further, "ambient" music usually tries to recreate the beauty of nature, or some garbage like that. Autechre? Not at all. They seem to aim for reproducing the synthetic world with their more ambient works. For example, "Foil" reminds me of being in the MRI machine. Again, few would choose to listen to this, but the rest of you are missing out.

Finally, mad props to my brother for teaching me to appreciate these "beeps 'n' clix".

All done! And ha, I actually did it! Time for a break, then catching up on what I've been putting off all month. Thanks for reading, and add in the comments porfav!

28 March 2009


Spread your sails to take in the wind. Happy birthday, Ms B!

The B-52's - mm, shacks and lobsters... My friend Nate and I - not bass player Nate, but the only other person in jazz choir who could sing down in my preferred range - used to sing "Love Shack", except with parts inverted; that is, we'd sing the girls' parts way low and the guys' up there in the clouds, with ridiculous falsetto and all. It was a sight to see. High schoolers are dorks.

Bachman-Turner Overdrive - b-b-b-baby, d-d-dumb = c-c-c-catch-ch-chy = pop-p-p-p-pular. Rock trick #2571416: if you're out of lyrics, stutter.

Bad Brains - I'm not familiar at all, but Les Claypool pointed them out as "real punk rockers" when we were talking a few years ago, and I'll take his word for it.

The Bangles - so we did "Walk Like an Egyptian" in high school pep band...including a verse where winds were supposed to put down their instruments and whistle the melody, just like in the real recording. Epic fail. High schoolers can't whistle a tune, particularly a tune they don't even recognize!

Along that line, I'm completely making this up, but bonus points for inspiring DeVotchKa to include whistling in several of their songs. He is incredible at it, btw, like a true instrument (not making that up). I'm sure they would cite the Bangles as one of their major influences...

Barry White - the subsonic love/soul crooner. I don't think I'll analyze why most people will put a Barry White album on the stereo... Only, Barry = deep, sexy voice + deep, sexy love themes.

(Math nerds: could we factor that to "(deep, sexy)(voice + love themes)"? Are those terms relatively prime? Are spoken languages groups as such under the concatenation operation? Linguistics nerds: would this make it a regular language? [answer there: no sir.])

After trying out for the high school musical freshman year and singing the tryout song "White Christmas" an octave lower than the norm (including that low C in the end, at "and may all your Christ-mases be white"), I picked up "Barry White" as a nickname. It caught on enough that my grandparents got a B-W CD for me for the holiday that year, which is how I know any of his music in the first place. I must say, his voice was absolutely subterranean. I could do it once upon a time, but my voice can't quite cut it since the tracheostomy. Sadface.

The Beastie Boys - my first rap exposure, and still probably my favorites in the genre. They've cranked out many a hit, all loaded with smart, nerdy lyrics: "I'm the king of Boggle, there is none higher \ I gets eleven points off the word 'quagmire'". Better yet, catch their brilliant observations, such as the completely non sequitur "White Castle fries only come in one size", inserted into "Slow and Low" on Licensed to Ill. They're also known for their oddball music videos, from cop show mockery "Sabotage" to giant robots in "Intergalactic" to yelling at a camera in the ground for "So Whatcha Want". Go look stuff up if you need any more background info.

I remember driving around with Tim in the Jeep, listening to the aforementioned Licensed to Ill tape and making cracks about their inarguably clever (or dumb) lines. Good times. This is when I memorized "Paul Revere", and I still know it - "I said howdy, he said hi!" We could have entire conversations with just Beastie quotes... Good times indeed.

I had a difficult time not being an idiot/jerk in several classes in college; one of my professors' names could be abbreviated to "Mike D", and it was all I could do not to make constant cracks and BB references that nobody would follow. Whew, close one.

The Beatles - you know who they are, and my stories are no doubt weak compared to yours. Help!, Revolver, and "The White Album" shaped my childhood and provide more memories by a long shot than any other music, listening to our scratched record say "Rocky Raccoo--into his room"... Though devoid of #1's, Rubber Soul has also been extremely important in my musical history.

Speaking of Beatles chart-toppers, their "1" compilation was the only single-band permanent disc in the van's CD changer. Though there were actually 27 #1 tracks, that CD was an 80min disc filled to the brim; we only had 74min blank discs at the time, though, so to make a copy I could just leave in the car, I had to leave out two tracks... So sorry Yoko, nobody likes you or your ballad with John, and "The Long and Winding Road" wasn't that great either. Thus, I don't know those songs very well, but my friends (mostly Jeff) and I know every single note and cough of their other 5^2 number ones.

Also to Beatles+van credit, they ushered in that vehicle's 100,000 mile landmark. It couldn't have been better - we were in the middle of "Piggies" and watching the odometer, and it went in rhythm even, "clutching forks and knives \ to eat the bacon! [click]" Marvelous.

Moving on, props to Paul for playing lefty basses. Some of us have to be backwards to be good!

Penultimately, you must ask jarmstro about this band. He is an encyclopedia.

Finally, a mini-survey: do you prefer the early Beatles style, their later sound, or something in between? Or, do you hate their entire collection? Sound off in the comments, pretty please!

Beck - delicious grunge and nonsense. You might know "Loser", "Devil's Haircut", "Odelay", or various others. The dad constantly tells me they sound like War (the "Low Rider" people), and indeed they slightly do.

Kudos to Beck for writing songs with utter nonsense for lyrics, landing these songs on the Billboard charts, and then getting everyone to memorize the nonsense. Have you ever paid attention to the words to "Loser"? They're not even sentences. But, the trick is that you know them by heart. Surprise, eres el perdido.

Beyond that, thanks for teaching me some other gangster Spanish, and for making me ask Texans if their trips to Houston are for pants.

Béla Fleck [and the Flecktones] - this is how you shred on the banjo.

Ben Folds - piano rocker, either solo or with ska instrumentation (but most definitely not the ska sound). "Philosophy" was one of the first songs I picked up from the Emily influence, and its intricacies/raw passion are a main reason why I liked him in the first place. He's a bit more sarcastic and a bit less passionate now, but oh well. He writes a lot about downstate Illinois; consider the recent album Way to Normal, named after the town next to Bloomington. Go ahead, math nerds, pile on the "perpendicular" jokes.

Mr. Folds is an awful lot of fun live! He came to IWU (in Bloomington) in the fall of 2004, and it was a blast. He took requests, talked to people in the crowd, poked fun at State Farm (whose HQ is on the outskirts of BloNo); he even did his usual singalong rendition of "Army", splitting the crowd down the middle to sing the sax and trumpet parts in the bridge. What fun.

Extra credit for featuring Cake's John McCrea on "Fred Jones, Part 2", and Regina Spektor on "You Don't Know Me". Duets for everyone!

Ben Harper - recommends that you not come around.

Benny Goodman - jazz/big band clarinet legend. Though I think Louis Prima wrote "Sing, Sing, Sing", Benny is the one who made that song popular. Thus, he can take credit for sparking my interest in jazz band. That drum solo still slays me.

Big and Rich - if I sang someone every Willie Nelson song I knew, we'd be moving on to the next line rather quickly. Nothing wrong with that.

The Big Bopper - he may not have any money, but...but...but...oh baby, you know what he likes. It appears to have nothing to do with personality.

Bill Aper - one of my favorite drummers for rocking hard and weird. Hunt him down solo, with Turf Surgery, etc. on MySpace!

Bill Withers - no need to wonder, for he has quite reiterated that he knows. He needs more sunshine, that's for sure.

Billy Joel - another weirder, more sarcastic keyboardist, and sort of an inspiration for Ben Folds. Everyone knows him for "Piano Man", but I'd rather hear dumber tracks like "Captain Jack" or "Movin' Out (Anthony's Song)". We also did "And So It Goes" in high school jazz choir. Anyway, add your stories in the comments, because I'm not the one who knows.

BJ Thomas - get him to rehab, he's hooked on a feeling. Is that a sitar I hear in his version of the song?

Björk - yes, she's weird, her music is cacophonous, her Icelandic accent is somewhere between cute and incomprehensible (doesn't matter because most of the lyrics don't make sense), and she has a swan suit... So, what's not to like? My favorite is "5 Years", which sounds like she's singing and playing Space Invaders. Oh well. Nothing I say will change your opinion of her in either direction. Just remember, she's the hunter. She'll bring back the goods.

Umlaut bonus!

Black Sabbath - a classic rock staple, with ubiquitous hits such as "Paranoid", "Crazy Train", "Iron Man", "War Pigs", and on and on. Extra credit for inspiring an infinitude of covers, and for selling their souls for rock and roll. I'm obviously a novice, but they had to be mentioned.

Blind Illusion - in reverse alphabetical order, we have the final Claypool band of the list. To be honest, they barely qualify as a Les band - he only appeared on occasion, and there are only two or three spots on their album where you can hear a Les-brand bass trick. Rather, they're just eighties thrash metal, and pretty poor thrash at that. Their album is pretty obscure and necessary to complete a Claypool collection, but I'm here to say it's not worth a listen. Sausage and Oysterhead aren't that hot, but at least they're obviously Les; Blind Illusion could be any crummy thrash metal band. I consider it appropriate that I accidentally typed "trash metal" above. Listen to Antipop if you need Les metal.

Blondie - is the name of the band. Oh, the eighties...

Blood, Sweat and Tears - not my favorite oldies group out there, but they did create the excessively catchy "Spinning Wheel", a CHS jazz band classic, as well as the excessively goofy/awkward "And When I Die". Oh well.

Blue Man Group - the famous crew of improv musicians/showmen, known for their impromptu crowd involvement, use of giant PVC pipe constructions as musical instruments, mime-like humor, and duh, painting themselves blue. I recommend finding videos of and articles about them, rather than having me attempt to describe them further.

In my OT sessions in Detroit, we would do what we jokingly called "blue man" therapy. That is, my therapist would put a random assortment of equipment and objects in front of me, and then I was supposed to come up with something creative and challenging to do with the stuff. This is a pretty effective way to come up with OT tasks, and actually conveys the idea behind the Blue Man Group fairly well.

Blue Öyster Cult - needs more cowbell! I can't imagine how sick they are of that SNL joke. Gold star for capital O umlaut.

Bob Dylan - every band in existence since around 1961 has covered a song by Mr. Dylan, the timeless titan of singer/songwriters. For further commentary I once again defer to the jarmstro and his blog, as he has already written volumes on the musician and will hopefully pen (err, keyboard?) volumes more. Bask in his glory.

Bootsy Collins - a founding father of funk bass. Enjoy the wiki-p for detailed background info.

Have I mentioned before that I've gotten to talk to this wonder on the phone? For a few years, my bro Tim lived in Cincinnati. Bootsy is also a Cinci native, and a huge supporter of the Bengals. He performed their theme song, and can often be found around town at promotional events for the team. Tim ended up going to one of their smaller events in his neighborhood, actually hoping to have some Buckethead stuff signed - Bootsy collaborated with Mr. Bucket quite often, appearing on at least two Buckethead albums. So, he went down to the restaurant where the event was being held, and there weren't many people there, so Tim got to hang out with Bootsy for a little while. Bootsy actually got a pretty big kick out of Tim bringing Buckethead albums; most people had just been bringing in football stuff, so seeing such obscure goods caught him by surprise. (I have those autographed albums now, btw)

As I said, there weren't that many people at the moment, so Tim wondered, "hey, can you talk to someone on my phone for me?" Bootsy said sure, so Tim called and said, "John! I have someone who needs to talk to you!" I said, "um, ok...", he put Bootsy on, and we schmoozed for a bit - my phone at the time had a terrible speakerphone, so I couldn't really tell who it was. After a minute or two, I asked who it was, and he dropped his signature "ah, the name is Bootsy, baby"... My jaw hit the floor. How are you supposed to respond to that??


The Box Tops - just received some important mail.

Brahms - ha ha, the original sleep music.

Bread - heartfelt folk rockish stuff...making it that much more ironic that Cake did a deadpan, sarcastic cover of "The Guitar Man". The guitar tricks are cooler in the original, so it's hard for me to choose which version I prefer. You'd think choosing between Bread and Cake would be easy!

Brian Eno - I spend loads of time talking about electronica/ambient artists who are skilled, weird, innovative, or otherwise interesting enough to be worth a listen. Brian Eno is none of these. His most well-known recent work is the "composition" of the startup sound for Windows 95. I recommend microwaving every CD and deleting every Eno mp3 you can find. There are so many better artists out there, even if you're just looking for ambient non-music to break silence. Just back away from the Eno.

Brian Setzer Orchestra - newer big band tunes that are still very true to the old school sound. They even appeared on the pop charts with decidedly not-pop tracks; "Jump, Jive An' Wail" comes to mind (also a prime example of gorgeous twelve-bar blues).

The whole band has some talent, but they are most thoroughly distinguished by their title man/front man/lead singer/virtuoso guitar slinger, Mr. Setzer. He's ridiculous - another one of those miracle workers who can't seem to play a wrong note. These people are so frustrating to the rest of us! His jazz shredding is prominent on all of their tracks; one of the best examples of his virtuosity is their cover of Santo & Johnny's "Sleep Walk". Wow.

Another worthless piece of minutiae is that he was supposedly obsessive/compulsive about cleanliness, always washing his hands and his axe almost to the point of sterility before playing. If you're that good, Brian, whatever floats your boat.

Bruce Channel - hey, hey Brucey! I want to kno-o-o-ow: is it pronounced "shuh-nell", French-style, or "tcha-nul", like what you flip through on TV?

His one hit was a van classic, as well as another pep band disaster; we'd play through the main part once on our instruments as written, then repeat with everyone dropping their instruments and singing the melody on top of the drums and bass line. Times like those make me glad I switched almost completely to bari sax for pep band.

Bruno Coulais - soundtrack composer for "Les Choristes". Purdy choral chansons, though I find little boys' choirs a bit irritating, and a pretty good French study aide.

Buckethead - virtuoso, at both guitar and oddity. Bucket and mask aside, he's unstoppable on guitar in any genre. In fact, buying a new Bucket album is a difficult task - if you don't have the opportunity to listen first, there's no guarantee whether it will be shreddy (Decoding the Tomb of Bansheebot, Kaleidoscalp), riffy almost classic rockish (Pepper's Ghost), airy lite-rocky (Colma, Electric Tears), pure acoustic mushy (Population Override), or what you're hoping for, which is unfathomably weird (Giant Robot, Monsters and Robots). He can do it all.

Let the bonus points roll. To start, he's collaborated with everyone: Bootsy Collins, Bill Laswell, Serj Tankian, Les Claypool, Travis Dickerson, That 1 Guy... Not to mention the groups Primus, C2B3, Guns 'n' Roses, Praxis, etc. Look at "Buckethead & Friends" for concentrated collaborative efforts, as well as the many I'm skipping.

Ok, I'm pretty much out of time, so I just recommend playing Guitar Hero II and unlocking "Jordan". Guitar Hero and real guitar are hardly comparable, but you should get the idea. eek.

Busta Rhymes - another one of my favorite rappers, for his ever-present humor and wit, as well as his constant about-to-flip-out vocal style. Woo haa! Further, he's hardcore like Quick Draw McGraw (btw, that supposedly rhymes).

One more day!

27 March 2009


Cab Calloway - where would we be without the tale of Minnie the moocher? Hi dee hi dee hi dee hiii.

Cake - "alt-satirical-country-grunge" is what I will call them, and they are my second-favorite band (behind the Les Claypool meta-band conglomeration). They're catchy, musically intelligent, simple-yet-complex, skilled at melody/harmony/bass/trumpet/solos/drumthump/etc., and sarcastically satirical as can be. Most importantly, their tunes are a blast to sing and play. As you've noticed by now, I pretty much always opt for their straight-faced, ironic covers over original songs.

Bonus points, as if they need any, for Les Claypool picking up one of their drummers, Paulo Baldi, to play in various Claypool bands over the past few years (and currently). I love having him as part of the Fancy Band and such - though their songs are obviously Les-dominated, Mr. Baldi always sounds like pure Cake. Smiles to that.

Otherwise, I don't feel like sharing any personal stories; just let it be known that my love for them is entirely Emily's fault, and that she and I have clocked many, many hours having loads of fun Cake-style. Pues, learn to buck up!

Finally, Cake is a major reason why I'm still determined to play bass again. It will happen. No "perhaps" about it.

Canned Heat - hmmm, anyone familiar want to pin a genre on the Heat? They're sort of blues bluegrass or something to that effect, I guess. Their lead vocalist, a huge guy in person, has a ridiculously high voice that juxtaposes rather comically. Score random flute and jaw harp, for added confusion. They might be an early "jam band"; several of their records have just one song on each side ("Parthenogenesis", "Refried Boogie"). All of that aside, you probably know them for either "On the Road Again" or that one about "goin' up the country" (I forget the title), which was on some car commercials a few years ago.

Remember the "600-Minute Reading Club" back in elementary school, which tried to get children to read more by offering Six Flags tickets to students who read 600min (10h) over a certain period of time? Sure, ten hours of reading doesn't seem that daunting, but try getting a second-grader to sit down with a book for ten minutes! Anyway, my bro Steve and I did that every year because Six Flags is magical, and I remember piling into our Jeep and always popping in the dad's tape (from vinyl) of their eponymous album to start the ~2h journey down past STL... "On the Road Again" was our travelin' theme.

I'm glad I didn't have a particularly normal childhood in the realm of music.

Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band - my only contribution here is that the Cap'n was incredibly bizarre, along the lines of Mothers of Invention and other Zappa work. Could be because Beefheart and Zappa worked together intermittently, with Zappa helping produce Magic Band albums. Don't take my novice word for it, though; read through jarmstro's backlogs and harass him for more info. He's an expert.

The Cardigans - yes, the girls from the nineties pop era, and they're a secret jlink vice. "Lovefool" is still the musical magnetic north to my south. If you've never heard their elevator musicish cover of Black Sabbath's "Iron Man", you're simply missing out on some quality laughs.

The Cars - eh, everybody knows them, I hope? I think they caught the tail end of the classic rock period, sounding fairly classic, but with a heavy eighties/New Wave aftertaste. Their instrumentation was a bit imbalanced, with a bassist, a drummer, keyboards every now and then, and about a dozen guys on guitar for any given song (ok, slight exaggeration). They had at least as many hits as guitarists, including "Just What I Needed", "My Best Friend's Girl", "I'm Not the One", "(Let the) Good Times Roll", to name a few. Like Herman's Hermits, they're one of those "sleeper" bands who, though they don't stand out as mega-popular, can still make a greatest hits album full of songs you know.

Those dudes from Six Ways 'til Sunday may have mutilated "Just What I Needed" into a ska cover... Someone needed to teach that front man to sing in the right octave. Yet again, "not as broken as Lance" Armstrong might have something to add.

Cat Stevens - continuing the "many flavors of weird" theme, here's another one! He had a handful of normal "hippie" hits (don't deny it, that's his sound), i.e. "Wild World", "Peace Train", and "Moonshadow", but he earns weirdo points for recording the Christian canticle "Morning Has Broken" and subsequently changing his name and converting to Islam. Figure that one out. Check with jarmstro here, too.

The Causey Way - insanity! They're sort of indie-punkish-oddball; the songs that matter have Mr. Causey singing/talking/wailing wacko lyrics, high in both pitch and speed. This stuff is pure crazy. What other descriptors could I provide? Their Wiki-p article is useless, but you should hunt them down elsewhere on teh internets. They pretended to be a cult.

I had a good time in Discrete Math 135, where our book was written by someone named Causey; nobody else cared, but I liked to imagine we were learning the Causey way.

Also, their song "Word Problems" aligns eerily with the Beatles' "One After 909"... Compare "everybody I know wants to know my brother's girlfriend's name" to "my baby said she's travelin' on the one after 909". It's like Pink Floyd and The Wizard of Oz.

Charles Mingus - jazzalicious, "Moanin'" bari sax-led work. He plays it rough and growly, as it should be. If you're looking for "elegant" or "pretty", you aren't looking for baritone saxamaphone.

The Charlie Daniels Band - some of the most popular bluegrass (and country) out there; also known as "the fat guy with the fiddle" (sorry, Charlie). Everybody knows his "Devil Went Down to Georgia", full of witty, clever lyrics and, umm, pretty busy but pretty sloppy fiddle shredding. Not as many know his (intentionally, I hope) dumb rhymes like "sittin' on a barstool \ actin' like a darn fool", which is too bad. Chuck D's band, though completely out-of-genre for the jlink, is enjoyable stuff.

Extra credit for inspiring Primus to do a cover of "Devil Went Down to Georgia", complete with hilarious claymation music video, Claypool upright bass flair, and an unknown fiddle player who actually plays in tune, for better or worse. Which recording/video is a matter of personal preference, though, as they both have their highlights. "Boy said!"

Further extra credit for using a very common meter for the lyrics; in Primus music alone, lines from "Devil Went Down to Georgia", "Jerry Was a Racecar Driver", and "Wynona's Big Brown Beaver" can be mixed interchangeably... Go to town with those.

The Chemical Brothers - masters of überstructured loops and insanely heavy beats in the electronica/dance/house/club world. Most clubbers recognize a fair number of their songs, though probably not by name.

First of all, they're waaay structured. Everything comes in units of eight - you know exactly when samples will come in and drop out, and when the beat will change. It's delicious. In fact, they poke fun at themselves for this tendency: "Loops of Fury" is so rigid, you don't even need to listen. This makes them great for dance... no surprises!

Also glorious is the extraneous window-rattling bass thump. To demonstrate, find someone with a big subwoofer and have them play "Under the Influence". See if you can get things to vibrate off the table, but don't break any windows!

Thanks to Tim for teaching me to appreciate the nuances of something otherwise extremely close to "techno".

Chicago - offbeat experts, to the point of irritation. Does anybody really know what time it is? (Does anybody really care?)

Chopin - one composition: etude, opus 25, #10 in B minor. Nobody but my brother has big enough hands to play that song so deftly. I can still hear him wail it out...

The Clash - ah, back when punks were really punks. They should stay; they should not go.

The Click Five - ha ha, what is this emo garbage? "Cool as a" what??

So I listen to Greetings From Imrie House at least once a week. It must not be that garbaginous. They did do a decent cover of The Thompson Twins' "Lies"... Your fault, Kyle! I'll take my chances.

Cliff Nobles and Company - creators of the oldies instrumental "The Horse", and inspirateurs of the first and only organized drum solo dance break in CHS pep band history.

The Coasters - all I can say is, don't talk back.

CocoRosie - sisters ("Coco" and "Rosie"), doing drugs and recording albums in their bathroom. If you can find Emily anywhere, interrogate her about them, as she is the resident expert.

Colonel Claypool's Bucket of Bernie Brains - a "supergroup", and creators of my second-favorite album in existence (after the Frog Brigade's Purple Onion, of course). The band consists of Les Claypool on bass, Buckethead on guitar, Bernie Worrell on keyboards, and Bryan "Brain" Mantia on drums (hence the band name). For a brief history and such, enjoy Wikipedia.

Their sole album, The Big Eyeball in the Sky, is profoundly bizarre. Each member is both weird and extremely talented, and the whole is far greater/weirder than its parts. Les uses his whole bass collection (no whamola on the album, though), Bucket uses all of his pedals and buttons, Bernie breaks out every keyboard trick known to man, and Brain explodes with creativity on his tiny minimalist drum kit. As far as lyrics go, there are actually several instrumentals, but the words to the rest of the songs are as weird as you might predict. There's a song just about Buckethead; there's a song about Thai noodles. Most of the songs are overly political, and now obsolete...

As awesome as the album is, the concert was even better. I have no reservations in saying that it was the best concert I have ever attended, and will probably be the best concert experience of my entire life. My brother, two of my school friends and I went to see it at the Riviera in Chicago, three days after the album release (concert on 25 September 2004). Actually, it started out a bit lackluster - Gabby La La was the opener, and you may have gathered from G* day that I'm not a Gabby fan. Further, I was extremely anxious to see C2B3, so any opener would have been at least slightly frustrating.

The C2B3 set was great. They played long, bizarro-jam-heavy versions of all the best songs from the album, with Gabby coming out on occasion to play sitar or provide backup vocals. The rather surprising part to me was who [my bro and] I ended up watching the most. With any Claypool show, you expect Les to be the highlight; especially, as a bassist, I'm generally locked on Les' busy hands. However, as the show progressed, Tim and I found ourselves gravitating towards the Buckethead side of the stage. As amazing as Mr. Claypool was, Bucket was simply mesmerizing. What a shock to me that was.

Anyway, again, the set was great. They were a bit sloppy, as this was the first stop on the tour, but oh well. Like a dream to me, the show culminated in my favorite song of theirs, and one of my favorites of all time - "Hip Shot From the Slab". I remember after Buckethead played about an 8min solo montage, Les walked out on stage with his six-string fretless and this ridiculous "alien with a moustache" mask on, bent over to his bullet mic, and asked, "whatcha gonna do about it, huh?" (the only lyrics to the song, repeated over and over)... Tim and I turned to each other and shared possibly the biggest grin ever. It was like a dream to me.

Squint at these dark, blurry pics from the end of the show, taken with my poor little Treo 600. One's of Buckethead - you can see his eye and mouth holes on his mask - and the other is an extremely blurry one of alien-masked Les. Consider how close we were, given that I didn't use the zoom. Enjoy!

If ever there has been inspiration to play bass again, this is it.

Combichrist - a mix of the ideology of digital hardcore with metalelectronica sound. Yup, pretty irritating. But with albums like "What The **** Is Wrong with You People", what's not to like? Thanks, Tim!

The Commodores - mmm, bass-focused seventies-era funk/soul/almostdisco. Just lettin' it all hang out.

Creedence Clearwater Revival - "southern rock" foundations. Oh, Fogerty, has anyone ever understood a word you've said?

CSS - is my favorite mistress.

26 March 2009

delicious bands ahead!

It's comb jelly post time day, by the way. I'll explain someday.

The Damage Manual - very heavy-handed "digital hardcore", but I'd call it electronica, as it is a bit too pleasant and more focused on intricate beats than angry noise. Oh well. Courtesy of the bro, I like 'em. There's my noisy two cents.

Danny and the Juniors - yup, "At the Hop", and that's about it. However, that song is mind-bogglingly catchy, and classic enough that it held a spot on one of the permanent CDs in the van's changer. Further, after listening hundreds, even thousands of times, I make the conjecture that he says "get your lips on a wet chicken at the hop!" It has to be true!

(Ha, you know that when you sing along, all you say is, "you can hm a bop a huh n ha and hm n he de da da at the hop" for almost every line...)

Danny Elfman - TV/movie soundtrack royale! He composed scores for approximately all of Tim Burton's films, from Pee-Wee's Big Adventure to The Nightmare Before Christmas to Batman. He also did copious TV themes, including [whatever the Pee-Wee TV show's name was] and The Simpsons, and even Desperate Housewives.

That cursed Batman theme was unbelievably hard to play back in pep band - high schoolers can't count - but ohhh, so cool. Note #2, our friend Mr. Claypool revered Danny's music, often trying to compare various Claypool bands to Elfman's work. At the Primus shows I attended in 2003 and 2004, random Elfman songs were used for pre- and post-show music, as well as intermission filler (pure trivia: on the official recording of Primus' show at the Aragon in Chicago, 7 Nov 2003, you can hear a few seconds of the main Pee-Wee theme before Les moseys on stage playing the intro to "To Defy the Laws of Tradition").

The Dave Clark Five - I've said over and over and over again, dumb/irritating/goofy = popular. Come on, let them show you where it's at... Flunking people in grammar class since the sixties.

Death Cab for Cutie - oh, Death Cab, how you melt me... I first knew about the Postal Service, falling in love with the lead singer (and copious electronics); at the time, I was ideologically against dcfc. Then I accidentally heard some random Death Cab song, and I freaked out. Since then, I have been addicted. He is like a dream to hear. I cried at their concert last summer. I am such a weenie. Let's move on already.

Deee-Lite - cranked out a few house/club ditties in the nineties. I must admit, I only care about "Groove is In the Heart", featuring not only a dude from A Tribe Called Quest (was it Q-Tip?), but more importantly [to me], a certain Bootsy Collins on bass and occasional vocal interjections. The song is just plain fun.

Back in eighth grade, I got to go to Disneyworld for some award thing, and I remember that for the intro to one event (same time I saw/met Christopher Reeve), an a capella group did a rendition of "Groove is In the Heart"... Brains hang onto the weirdest memories.

Deep Purple - providers of the one song everyone can instinctively play on guitar/bass, regardless of experience. Try it.

Dethklok - the stars of Metalocalypse on Cartoon Network's nighttime Adult Swim lineup, and everyone's favorite made-up metal band, in the vein of Spinal Tap. They're surprisingly good for being a comedy show first and a band second. Obviously, their songs are tongue-->cheek and hilarious. Their album, The Dethalbum - yes, they released an actual CD - is worth consideration for both fans of the show and Adult Swim-agnostic metalheads alike.

On the show and in the studio, almost all of the voices and instruments are done by Brendon Small, who also created the original Adult Swim show, Home Movies, and has appeared on nearly every AdSw show at some point. He gots da skilz - a modern polymath of sorts. Whew, comma overload.

Devo - equals eighties "New Wave". Try to detect it! It's not too late!

Die Fantastischen Vier - what's better than electro hip-hop? Electro hip-hop in German! Pretty catchy stuff. It means "The Fantastic Four", btw; I have no idea how they avoided copyright infringement on that one. Thanks, Tim! He said he used DFV as a study aide for colloquial German... Maybe not the best choice.

Dillinger Escape Plan - overly organized noise rock. I appreciate their cover of Aphex Twin's "Come to Daddy (Pappy Mix)", which is ironically already very much noise electronica. They will eat your soul, too.

Dire Straits - the Sultans of... classic rock. Impressive acoustic guitar work, and extra credit for inspiring some Weird Al covers. Plus, the chicks are free.

DJ Keoki - not exactly an astronomical DJ in my book on his own, but Überzone remixed a few of his tracks, so he is at least vicariously outstanding.

DJ Soul Slinger - as you may have gathered by now, the Slinger is omnipresent in the scratch world, and a jockey deity. His standard work is impressive, sampling and mimicking myriad genres, but I most adore his continuous mixes - that is, albums with one giant hour-long track of beats. He explores the turntables as if spelunking immense caverns of sonic creativity, and as is mandatory for the best electro-anything, he's not afraid to apply excessive window-rattling bass. Yesss.

Finally, extra extra credit for being inextricably tied to my bro, who first exposed me to the "continuous mix" concept. I am forever grateful.

Donna Summer - queen of the syncopated disco afterbeat. It's pretty hot stuff.

Donovan - because electrical banana is bound to be the very next phase. Saffron, anyone?

The Doors - eloquent crooner + drugs + drugs + drugs + even more drugs = this band. No complaints! Can you believe I'm highlighting a group who were ostensibly sans bassist?? A+ for Morrison's vocal range being close to mine.

I remember seeing the video associated with "The End" way back when, and being absolutely freaked out. The song still scares me. I saw the movie at too young of an age as well - eek. So much for innocence.

Tim and I rewrote "Love Me Two Times" as "Wash Me Two Times", a PSA for proper shampoo use... Nerd alert!

Doris Day - I know nothing about Ms. Day, other than that she did the original "Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps", ostensibly covered by my number two band, Cake. As usual, if you are first familiar with the deadpan, satirical Cake version of a song, the original rendition is even more comical. Perrr...haps.

Dr. Dre - as far as I can tell, the Doc has been involved with every rap album ever created. Empirically, so far so good...

Clearly I don't have much to contribute, but I refuse to be accused of forgetting about Dre!

Dream Theater - more prog/experimental rock "sleep music", which is a high honor in my collection. Sometimes they are distractingly mind-bending, but I can tolerate that!

Add please? !

25 March 2009


The last of the easy days!

The Eagles - we can stab them with our steely knives, but we just can't kill this beast...

EC8OR - remember waaay back when I mentioned the world's abhorrence of the "digital hardcore" genre? Well, EC8OR is some of the best, if "best" is even a valid descriptor. This is intentionally a ton of vaguely musical electronic noise with people talking/yelling/ranting over it. So as you would guess, I love it. Plenty of song titles are thoroughly obscene, but consider one of my favorites, "Gimme Nyquil All Night Long". That pretty well conveys the idea, but if you can find that gem online somewhere, you'll know exactly the target sound of these tunes.

My brother and I decided rather scientifically that EC8OR (and similar "artists") are human repellent. If you have people around whom you wish would go away, five minutes of EC8OR is sufficient, and usually overkill. This is an empirical fact. Again, if you can find any of their songs, you'll understand.

Audiophiles will find it humorous that I re-ripped my EC8OR albums to FLAC (lossless), as if lossy mp3 somehow introduced unacceptable noise...

Edith Piaf - an old school artiste française, whom we learned about/listened to in high school French class. The only song we studied was "La Vie en Rose" (interpretively translated, "life through rose-colored glasses"). It's une chanson très jolie, and a great way to pick up some colloquial sweetheart French, but the best part is rewriting it as the homophonic "La Viande Rose" ("The Pink Meat"). French nerd alert.

Edwin Starr - protestist[?]/pacifist/gruntist songwriter extraordinaire. "War - hnnh! yeah! - say it say it say it"... He indeed got his message across. "Good God, y'all!" I predict he had high blood pressure.

Einstürzende Neubauten - pretty weird German (obviously) music that I think counts as "industrial"... Sometimes they sound like Skinny Puppy turned Deutsch, but it's generally quite unique. Frequently they loop samples of maybe choral performances?? I do know that they make most of their own clanky industrial-grade instruments, which automatically bumps them up in my book. Further, they make it onto the umlaut radar!

Electric Light Orchestra - vintage Who-ish, Allman Brothers-ish keys-n-stringsy classic rock fodder. I mostly appreciate their subtly-nonsensical name. Thoughts?

Ella Fitzgerald - helped me through a lot of high school. She was involved with everything in the jazz/big band era, recording solo versions of a vast array of famous big band and semi-classical (read: Gershwin) tunes, as well as working with Louis Armstrong and other greats of the time.

I most appreciate Ella because of her atypical vocal range. Her voice was just a bit deeper than the average jazz chanteuse, so her recordings were done a few steps lower than usual... Sound like anyone else here? It turns out that her range and mine were almost exactly the same (modulo a few octaves); thus, I always knew I could pull off an Ella arrangement of "Blue Skies", "Summertime" and the like. Curse you, sopranos! She had that swing, so I guess it meant a thing.

Elvis Costello - über-famous, often controversial, lyrically lexicographic, and royal in the realm of emo glasses. I have never gotten that much into his music beyond reading a metric buttload of articles about him, but hey, my aim is true.

Elvis Presley - Elvis = controversial, it seems. What can I say that you don't already know? Share some stories! Did any of my readers ever see him, in concert or otherwise? Has anyone been to Graceland?

Eminem - hmmm... I'm not a huge fan, but cred is due for an endless supply of clever/satirical rhymes. Bonus points for the Detroit native! Otherwise, I'll usually go for Matheatre's "Without Riemann" before his "Without Me". I couldn't skip him, or my lists would feel so empty. Any readers catch him in concert?

Eric Clapton - labeled a king/master/whatever of guitar; true, I suppose he's not been too bad over the years. Not many are aware, but he ended up doing a ton of acoustic work post-Cream, rewriting many of his famous tunes unplugged... They're good/catchy enough that I generally prefer them to the electrified originals. Extra credit for duetting "Give Me One Reason" with Tracy Chapman, and for being omnipresent on vinyl throughout my childhood. She don't lie, you know.

Estradasphere - yet another odd one, along the lines of Mr. Bungle and such. I don't know much about them and I'm not about to research, but Quadropus is a fun listen. Go hunt 'em down if you're interested, and thank Nate for the exposure!

Eurhythmics - eighties stuff that became fairly popular with their one hit, inspiring myriad covers in every genre... They did it right for bands and fans alike, and who am I to disagree?

Evanescence - ha ha, suckers! They're not on my expected radar at all, but I love this stuff, the lead singer's voice is amazing, and even though she's waaay too soprano, I still sing along when nobody's around. Just ruminate on that for a while.

Eve 6 - like Green Day, a bit too pop-punkish for me, but they did do an [awful] "Alison" song... Oh well.

Contributions, porfav?

24 March 2009

f: this noise.

The Faint - "indie" harder-than-normal rock, featuring occasional violin and a heaping helping of guitar pedal aptitude. Does he say "c-c-c-c-company trucks"? Extra credit for reminding me how to count to eight auf Deutsch, and for being permanently attached to Kyle in my mind.

Fantômas - this is easily some of the most "huh?"-inducing music I have.

For aficionados of the weird, consider their initial lineup: founder Mike Patton (Mr. Bungle, etc.) on "vocals" and other random stuff, Buzz Osborne (The Melvins) on guitar, Trevor Dunn (Mr. Bungle) on bass, and of all people, drummer Dave Lombardo of Slayer(!). Just imagine what this supergroup of sorts would invent, and you're pretty close.

For the less music-nerdly, the sound is just nuts. Our favorite online encyclopedia calls them "avant-garde metal", or more accurately, "absurdism" (oh no, I did more research!). It's loosely-organized, slightly metalish noise. All of their original tracks are fairly short (<2min) bursts of noise from the instruments, combined with occasionally melodic nonsensical vocal explosions.

Each album is themed weirdness. Suspended Animation has 30 tracks, each named for a day of April 2005 (the album is still only 40min or so). The Director's Cut is a bunch of Fantômas-ized covers of themes from movies, like the main title from The Godfather series. Never would you think of these songs like they did them.

To me, Fantômas serves the same purpose as Melt-Banana, providing brief ??? interludes within otherwise normal randomized playlists. I must admit, it's hard to listen to them for more than a few minutes at a time.

So, "huh?"

Fatboy Slim - the well-known DJ/knob-turner of the Big Beat genre, though I can't think of anyone else who qualifies as Big Beat. You at least know "The Rockafeller Skank", with its agonizingly repetitive sample "right about now, the funk soul brother \ check it out now, the funk soul brother", from its infinitude of TV commercial and movie/game soundtrack inclusions. You might also recognize "Weapon of Choice" (extra credit for featuring Bootsy Collins) from its hilarious music video showing Christopher Walken dancing and prancing along to the beat through a giant hotel.

Listening to enough Fatboy songs (three or four), you can pick up on his standard songwriting formula, but oh well. Even if the constructions aren't that innovative, every track is frustratingly catchy. He's got that whole rhythm thing down, for sure. "Slash dot dash dot slash dot dash dot slash dot dash dot slash dot com!" somehow becomes fun...

Norman Cook (the sole Fatboy DJ) is also famous for remixing other people's work, either on his albums or on the original artists' releases. For example, as I mentioned quite a few letter-days ago, he redid Steve Miller Band's "The Joker" on the album Palookaville (more bonus points for featuring Bootsy on vocals again!), and he appears on the Beastie Boys' anthology, as well as Groove Armada's Vertigo, to name a few. The remixes are notoriously better than the originals - compare the terrible original "I See You, Baby" with the slightly less bad Fatboy remix. Eh, I guess that's a bad example...

People tend to have a love/hate relationship with the Slim; most songs are patently repetitive into submission, so popularity revolves around the irritation level of a song's featured sample. For a well-hated song, check out today's next artist. But I argue, isn't repetition part of what makes music what it is?

Oh well. No matter what, "Fatboy Slim is [something] in heaven - [something] in [something] in [something] in heaven". Hmmm, maybe that's why people don't enjoy.

PS, Tim's fault.

Five Man Electrical Band - überhippies who wrote that song "Signs" back in the day. Unlike most people, I don't really like that song. Also unlike most, I prefer Fatboy Slim's "Don't Let the Man Get You Down", which samples the first line - "the sign says long-haired freaky people need not apply" - into submission, Fatboy-style.

Focus - go hunt down the closest thing they had to a hit, "Hocus Pocus". There are many brands of weird, and this is yet another. Thanks, Nate!

Foo Fighters - fightin' foos! I don't care about their music, but I greatly appreciate the deep coffers of Foo-related puns.

The Foundations - fans of the Powerpuff Girls, it seems, as Buttercup built them up (just to let them down).

Frank Martiniq - not particularly unique electronica, but A+ for consistently releasing albums on vinyl. Remember what "records" are?

Frank Zappa - I already mentioned his main outlet, Mothers of Invention, but Zappa by himself is worth mentioning for zillions of other reasons. He created music in almost every genre out there, from hard rock to "huh?" to classical. He was good enough on guitar that they released an album of just his solos, cut out of the middles of songs. He has asteroids and animal species named after him. Two of his children are Dweezil and Moon Unit. Anything else to add?

Frankenstein Brothers - the duet of Buckethead on guitar and That 1 Guy on his "Magic Pipe", drum rig, etc. etc. etc. Their instrumental album, Bolt On Neck, is technically impressive, but disappointingly nonweird. You would be shocked by their normalcy, Madi!

Frankie Yankovic and his Yanks - yay, pure accordion polka! This counts as one of the more publicly-pleasant flavors of weird. She probably won't appreciate this disclosure, but the mom can play accordion.

Fred Astaire - he's really a famous dancer from the days of yore, but his rendition of "Cheek to Cheek" was indeed a ubiquitous van tune. What a high voice! eek.

Frou Frou - we started the day with "indie" from Kyle, and we finish with more. Frou Frou is a bit more relaxing and "pretty" than The Faint, but oh well. Just as there are many flavors of weird, so are those of good.

23 March 2009

G&G and the g*'s

This round brought to you by the grandparents Link. (+a)

Gabby La La - a multi-instrumentalist (mostly sitar, but also tiny guitar, toy piano, and theremin) who slowly worked her way into the world of Claypool. As far as I can tell, her first appearance was a tiny cameo as a child's voice at the end of "D's Diner", on the Frog Brigade's 2002 album Purple Onion. Next were her backup vocals on the album "The Big Eyeball in the Sky", by Colonel Claypool's Bucket of Bernie Brains. She also opened for C2B3 on their tour in 2004. After that, she released her own solo album, one of the few non-Claypool artists to appear on Les' label (though Les plays drums and bass on most of the tracks). Following that, she played a major role on Les' 2006 CD Of Whales and Woe, subsequently touring for two years or so as part of "The Fancy Band". She is currently, umm, off the radar.

Ick. Her appearance on the C2B3 album was tolerable, but her concert performances with them were, uh, not that great. Her album does not qualify as tolerable. It's utter nonsense, so you would assume I would love it, right? Nope. Sorry, Gabby. Again, she fit in well on Of Whales and Woe, adding some slick sitar and theremin, but again again, I thought she was irritating on the Fancy tours. Further, she butchered a solo so badly at one of the shows I saw that the band had to stop and figure out what was going on. oops!

Galactic - waaay funky! Relatively new, too; it's a double-take to catch that they've been busy in the 21st century. I don't have too much to mention, but ugh, the funk is unstoppable.

Garth Brooks - yee haw!

As a holiday present for my roommate freshman year, I learned "Friends in Low Places" on the acoustic guitar and sang it for him. An octave lower than Mr. B, of course. Moral of the story: I'll never be a country star.

Genesis - only here to acknowledge their splinter skills, as they broke up to make solo groups for, umm, pretty much every member. This doesn't imply that any of them were good, though. They can't even dance!

George Clinton - lord, king, ruler of all things funk. His deliciously deep voice can be found rumbling under any group with "Parliament" or "Funkadelic" in the title; in fact, those are usually proceeded by "George Clinton and the". Beyond that, he of course has solo work, as well as co-ops with newer crews like Snoop Dogg. He's everywhere, warning, "failure to stomp will cause hazard to your booty!"

And of course...

"Think! It ain't illegal yet!"

George Gershwin - though he wrote such fully-orchestrated masterpieces as "American in Paris" and "Rhapsody in Blue", the double G is my favorite pianist, dare I say, hands down. It's 100% my brother's fault. I remember so well him whirling out those preludes with absolute perfection... At the end of prelude #2, there is a pretty walk all the way up the keys, a note in the middle, a long pause, and then a soft note way low (C#1) to close the piece; when Tim had mastered that song, he taught me to play that note and expected me to play it for him every time. That was my note.

I tried so hard to learn those preludes, but I could only get the relatively easy second one by the self-teach method. The first and third are just incredible. Someday.

George Thorogood and the Destroyers - make sure to say their name in the monster truck voice! George and his nihilistic pals are classic rock/blues rock essentials, though it's a bit sad that so many of their famous jams are covers. However, it's also quite amusing what they covered that didn't climb that high on the charts... "Willie and the Hand Jive", anyone?

Mr. T can solo quite thoroughly - he has that "can't hit a wrong note" maladie - but it's amazing/amusing/convenient that their songs are so ridiculously simple. It's either twelve-bar blues, or it's just one chord (verify with "Bad to the Bone"). Are they the Ramones of blues rock? I must confess that, minus the "good solos" part, this is inevitably what my non-bass guitar noodling became within five minutes of starting a session. G-C-D major chords for everyone!

The Ghetto Boys - because it feels good to be a gangster.

Glenn Miller - equals big band. "In the Mood", "American Patrol", "(I've Got a Gal In) Kalamazoo", "Tuxedo Junction", "St. Louis Blues March", "Little Brown Jug", and on and on and on; these songs defined the time. They also defined about half of every jazz band's repertoire.

Thanks go to Primus for creating a complete non-cover: "a b c d e f g h I got a gal and she ain't from Kalamazoo"!

Gloria Gaynor - I won't reveal anything overly touching about this song (you know which one), other than that I prefer the deadpan Cake cover, and that I used to play Cake's bass line along with the original (eek, much faster) Gaynor recording. Dorkalicious.

Goldfinger - hmmm, fairly whiny ska. Isn't that why we like it?

Gravy Train - [no] thanks to mle for this techno train wreck. It makes me nervous.

Green Day - a bit too pop-punkified for me, but thanks for remixing "25 or 6 to 4", err, "Brain Stew".

Green Jelly - A+ for introducing Rambo to the story of the three little pigs.

Groove Armada - the name says it all, as far as style is concerned.

Tim gave me this album and told me to listen to "At the River", an extremely laid back song whose only words are an incomplete sentence: "if you're fond of sand dunes and salty air, quaint little villages here and there..." He said, "you know, the song doesn't make any sense, but by the end I'm thinking 'yeah, I like sand dunes...'" He's right.

Guns 'n' Roses - mandatory mention for being ludicrously popular, but your stories are better than mine.

Gwar - so maybe they're excessively obscene and unpleasant "shock rock", and maybe they dumped human excrement on their fans at concerts, but ignoring those minor details, they're great! "Penguin Attack"? "Vlad the Impaler"? Verses such as "dirty, filthy, dirty filthy filthy filthy dirty, filthy, dirty filthy filthy filthy"? Come on. "Why don't you just admit it?", they ask. Ok, they're awful.

Gwen Stefani - that's right. I like it. I can spell "bananas", too. She even gives Japanese lessons. Bring it.

That was awful. Please help.

22 March 2009



Handel - as in George Frederic, as in the creator of "The Messiah". I admittedly don't care too much about Christmas music, or the holiday in general, but this is Christmas.

The Link fam has accidentally (and incidentally) misinterpreted and rewritten most of this masterpiece. I like sheep, too! You're missing out.

Hank Williams, Jr. - surprise! I think Bocephus qualifies as "real country". You know, how they do it in Dixie. Yee haw.

Harold Faltermeyer - a popular, prolific TV/film composer in the eighties... Ok, as far as most of us know, he just did "Axel F", the theme for Beverly Hills Cop. There's nothing wrong with that, though, since everyone on the planet knows that song.

Playing "Axel F" in high school pep band was nothing short of hilarious. Any time there is a clapping interlude, there will be a riot. How deliciously dorky. Further (not bragging), since I switched between xylophone and bari sax as necessary, I knew the bass line and the melody and would play them both simultaneously (yes, rather poorly) on the xylo or vibes... If clapping interludes are dorky, then self-duetting on top of the dorkiness is loser squared.

Harry Connick, Jr. - the second junior of the day earns a mention for his rendition of "It Had To Be You", which happened to be in the same key as the arrangement we did in jazz choir.

Two things: first, this song held the distinguished title of track #1 on the permanent singalong disc in the van. Who knows how many times we mutilated this little ditty, brass solos and all. Second, my apologies to our JC director for always singing the melody an octave too low, where only I could reach... You know I couldn't resist; that low C is just begging to be rumbled out.

Heart - the nutso classic rockers responsible for "Magic Man", "Crazy on You", and ooh, "Barracuda". Wow, she has a high voice. Chalk up credit for strange slidey tricks on guitar during the main riff of "Barracuda", but pass some cred to Rasputina for turning that song into a cello duet.

I'm not about to look anything up, but if you read through some ancient posts on the jarmstro's logs, you can find some quality Heart tales. Song titles lead to endless punning.

Henry Mancini - jazzster/composer of the theme for the Pink Panther. All I really have to add is that, as "normal" as that song may sound, it is an incredibly bizarre composition to play... Chromatics + sharps = confusion.

Herbie Hancock - not just a Chris Farley joke, it's a real person! In the jazz world, he's relatively popular for infusing funk-style rhythms and such into common chord progressions, as well as writing weird parts for normal instruments and vice versa ("Watermelon Man"). Forget all of that, though, because every musician of the past few decades instantly recognizes, and knows his/her instrument's part for, "Chameleon".

Herman's Hermits - pretty popular weirdos of the "oldies" era, eh? Unlike most of the one-hit wonders I've mentioned from that time, the Hermits could actually fill an album with real "greatest hits". Scary, since one of them is inevitably "I'm Henry VIII, I Am". No Sam!

Herman and friends often found themselves in the van-bombing CD collection, though they appear frequently enough on oldies radio that putting the disc in the changer was a bit redundant.

House of Pain - completely out-of-genre for today's post, it seems, we have a dash of rap/hip-hop/hard rock. I know them best from my brother's comically-censored tape of whatever album was so popular... Put on your fish kickers and kick some fish!

That was unexciting; any contributions?

21 March 2009

isn't many...

An inkling of I*.

Imogen Heap - solo work from the front [wo]man of Frou Frou. If Frou Frou is indie, this is indie squared. She uses some neat vocal effects, and the songs are catchy and well-written. I know this isn't typical jlink fare, but it's easily worth a listen. Thanks, Kyle!

Incubus - ahh, the complex beast that is Incubus. Where to start? They generally use standard rock band git-bass-drums-vocals instrumentation, plus a quite masterful DJ scratching along. The guitar dude also plays some bizarre stuff every now and then - is that the lute on Morning View? Bonus points for citing Primus as one of their major influences!

Further, recog to the front man for mastering the "front man dance"; you know, that stuff lead singers do when they're not lead singing... It's a fine line between standing there like a moron and prancing around or whatever, also like a moron, but he's got it down.

I like their early stuff, i.e. S.C.I.E.N.C.E., quite a lot. It's crazy, busy, fairly atonal, pretty funky, not serious at all... To be sure, there is some of this brand of Incubus on every album, but it's more present in their early stages. I also like the DJ madness found in songs like "Battlestar Scralatchtica" and "Magic Medicine". Furthermore, though they gradually drifted from "nuts" to "pleasant", I was pleased with their general return to craziness on A Crow Left of the Murder... - see "Priceless".

Unfortunately, I'm a bit bummed with Morning View and Light Grenades. Morning View is almost completely devoid of atonal insanity, and, while there are a few wild tracks (the title track) and some viciously clever lyrics ("Quicksand"!), Light Grenades is also overly sane. Oh well.

In summary, A+ here! Plus extra credit for being permanently attached to my friend Dr. Mandenstein. Go ahead and rip me apart, Miss H.

Iron Butterfly - "In a gadda da vida, baby, don't you know that I" have no clue what you're talking about. A mention not for creating a catchy, popular song, but for making that song seventeen minutes long.

Isaac Hayes - a tough guy of R&B/soul and the occasional megafunk (the theme from "Shaft"), akin to Barry White... Whose vast collection of grooves is completely overshadowed by his role (and abandonment thereof) as Chef on South Park. Fair trade. Hello there, children!

Add as necessary!

20 March 2009

just a few

Hey pals! Today's pretty brief - most of the J* artists I pulled out are from what you might call "a little before my time", and I don't feel right saying much. It seems as though people assume I'm somehow magically an expert on everyone I mention, but I know nothing compared to most of you when it comes to the true rock era. Ha ha, you're old ;-)

The Jackson 5 - hmmm... Better than any of them solo? Who knows. If so, blame it on the boogie.

Jaco Pastorius - maybe partially responsible for the start of fusion jazz? He played bass for Weather Report for a while, among others, but I prefer his crazy "solo" work, by far.

A little back story: Jaco was, surprise, a bass player. His defining moment to me was prying the metal frets out of his electric bass and smoothing out the fretboard, making his own fretless bass (that he slowly destroyed over the span of his career). That's hardcore. He borderline abused the slidey tricks available without frets, as everyone should, but he was also ridiculously good at the technicalities of jazz, as well as a master at complicated harmonics (see "Portrait of Tracy").

Anyway, I guess that pretty well describes his music style. With the "help" of lots of drugs, he made some impressive, mind-bending sounds, and has no doubt inspired the destruction of many a bass guitar.

I remember trying to learn some Jaco songs - after all, my first bass was indeed a fretless (mostly Les' fault). Let me summarize by clarifying further: wow, he was good.

Jalopy Art Murder - continuing the "John's cronies" series, j-a-m is another Emily creation. This won't help at all, but it sounds kind of like a cross between Portishead and CocoRosie... Find them/her on MySpace. I have some skilled friends.

James Brown - one of the original nonsense yellers! He might qualify as a foundation of funk, but I'm not so sure. He's famous for 1) cranking out an endless supply of hits, 2) being a total jerk. But, what would the world be like if he hadn't kicked Bootsy Collins out of his band??

Janis Joplin - raspy ole Janis. I'll give her credit for being one of the most famous protesty folkers. Someone please get her a Benz already.

Also, was she the first to do "Me and Bobby McGee"? Or was it bizarro country master Roger Miller?

Jay and the Americans - come a little bit closer, there, Jose. What a weird song. Why did he run through the window? What kind of cafe is this?? Is Jay implying he's not American??? Oldies are awesome. That song ("Come a Little Bit Closer", their only hit that I know of) was definitely a van staple.

Jerry Lee Lewis - goodness gracious, another in the van bombing soundtrack.

Or, as Robot Chicken would say in a Flintstones parody, "my goodness cretaceous!"

Jerry Reed - to those my age, Mr. Reed is probably only known for "Amos Moses", if that... Yay, early bluegrass. Reminds me of Charlie Daniels quite a bit, except more humorous. Make it count, son!

Bonus for Primus covering the aforementioned "hit", and bonus bonus for having the Primus cover be somehow less funny.

Jethro Tull - classic/prog rockers responsible for Aqualung, a pile of other not-so-popular albums, and their ubiquitous flute lead. Though we think highlighting the flute is an odd thing to do in current "rock", it was even further out there in the Tull days... Thanks for clearing a path for Karl Denson, I guess? Rather, thanks for pushing multiple envelopes at once.

The Jimi Hendrix Experience - speaking of envelope-pushing, here you go! There's nothing I can say to do Jimi justice. Some of the best musicians are lefties, eh?

John Williams - composer extraordinaire. Overlooking the vast majority of his work, I give him infinite credit for creating hours of instantly-recognizable music for the Star Wars movies; fans intrinsically know their entire soundtracks, but even Star Wars haters (or the completely SW-agnostic) are familiar with the various themes.

On top of the infinite credit already earned, tack on some extra for leading me to waste hours on the piano and xylophone learning the "Cantina Band" music, and a bit more for inspiring Buckethead to do the same on the gee-tar. Time well spent.

Johnny Cash - ick! Go find his cover of The Beatles' "In My Life" and Nine Inch Nails' "Hurt". Hurt, indeed.

Johnny Rivers - mostly known for "Secret Agent Man", but also a high profile victim of the rockin' pneumonia... Both of those earned permanent spots in the van CD changer, to be ruined by a crowd of high schoolers for years.

Your turn! I'm waiting for some killer Hendrix stories. Hand 'em over.

19 March 2009

kickin' krews

You have no idea how hard it is for me not to substitute a k for each q and hard c in this post, rendering it kwite kompletely inkomprehensible. Let's get Kraken!

Karl Denson's Tiny Universe - light, yet groovy "prog jazz"? They're notable to me because of their combination of a fairly typical jazz ensemble with copious DJ scratch action and a lead... flute! I don't know if you can "shred" on such an instrument, but if not, this is as close as it gets. Anyway, this is really fun, happy (meaning lots of major thirds), maybe even danceable stuff. Extra credit for "touring" alongside Les Claypool on part of the Jam Cruise series.

KGC - that's Sascha Konietsko (KMFDM and anything related), Dean Garcia (Curve), and Lucia Cifarelli (KMFDM, Drill). They made a very industrial album in 2006. As with anything so closely associated with my brother, I hope you dislike it so I don't have to share.

Kiss - yeah, you know 'em. Well, aside from "Rock and Roll All Night", most of their songs aren't immediately recognizable. However, their face paint, crazy hair, and Gene Simmons' tongue are instantly familiar. There aren't too many groups out there with that backwards identity of ubiquitous members and thoroughly non-ubiquitous tunes. Nice work, rock stars.

Kling Klang - "experimental rock", they claim to be? Whatever that is. The band consists of a bunch of guys on synthesizer, as well as - of all instruments to be not synthesized - a drummer. You might correctly guess from the name that their music is heavy on noise, but when they're being musical, it sounds like a distorted classical organ quartet (plus drums, of course). They're not the easiest listening out there, though I think normal people could tolerate. Mad props for opening for Portishead in 2008.

KMFDM - the father(s) of industrial rock. Also my brother's favorite band/obsession (if you remember your analogy notation, that's "John:Les Claypool::Tim:KMFDM"), so feel free not to like, such that a select few of us can keep them to ourselves.

They recognized Tim on sight, and even figured out who I was when we saw them in Cleveland, November 2004. Speaking of, here is a happy brother:

The Knack - o-o-of "My Sharona" fame. I could not care less about anything else they produced; I would buy a CD with 14 repeats of that song (16 if it's an 80-min disc). It's dumb, it's repetitive, a flock of kindergarteners could've written and played it, and I love it.

Yes, I'm that pathetic.

Kool & The Gang - also most well-known for a dumb, catchy song, "Jungle Boogie". eek. To their credit, they started out as a very pure, deft jazz group before being sucked into the funk/disco black hole of 70's pop. Hunt down "Summer Madness", among others. Thanks to Nate for exposure to their early jazz style.

Korn - ok, so I'm not a true Korn fan, but I am a huge fan of "Freak on a Leash", which starts out like a normal metalish Korn ditty, but about halfway through devolves into massive bass and frightening, completely nonsensical noises yelled by their main vocalist. Noise and bass seem to be keys to my musical heart, so this is a two-for-one deal!

If I recall correctly, the song also had a pretty cool "bullet time" video - ha ha, remember when MTV actually played music?

Krev Kor - another one of jl's musical friends. We clocked some hours noodling around in Bill's basement back in the day. He didn't even bother tuning his guitar. It was delicious.

That's it from me - your K submissions, please?

18 March 2009

les is mor

Here goes...

Lamb of God - overly unintelligible-screamy metal. Ergo, their studio material isn't the most interesting shredding out there. However, one of their live albums, cheerfully named Killadelphia, is great. It sounds like they're pretty talented all around in the live setting, and the screaming is even slightly less incomprehensible! Most importantly, just like Pantera's concert recording 101 Proof, the 'tween-song interstitial commentary is a riot. Duh, none of it is appropriate for quoting here, but let it be known that the most frightening metalheads are intelligent, funny, normal people too. Sort of.

Laura Fleming - a college friend with an album out! I'm beyond jealous. Check her/it out on that giant digital music store, or appreciate high quality music and get the real thing.

Le Tigre - mmm, anti-folk/indie-something/???, whatever genre you feel like at the time. I enjoy what appear to be interspersed recordings from feminist protests. No, not musical performances at protests, just protesting. [compound sentence fragment!] Truly riotous.

Led Zeppelin - a pillar in my musical Pantheon, and a muscle of the Atlas carrying classic rock. Insert other analogies as necessary.

On that note, I've been disappointed lately upon discovering that a rather large heap of Zep songs are covers. For the longest time, I was under the impression that these guys were magical with absolutely every aspect of music (sure, every artist covers Bob Dylan at some point)... Turns out that some of my favorites that I thought were pure Led Zeppelin are nearly exact covers. Sadface. I'm not going to list any because having the wool pulled over my eyes was much better than knowing the facts, so spoiling Led Utopia is your decision.

To their credit, they covered sufficiently obscure songs that even music dorks like me don't catch them right away, though this may be different for people who were around a few years earlier than I. Also, Jimmy Page + anything = amazing.

Led Zeppelin IV aka Zoso aka Symbols aka The One With Stairway To Heaven was the first non-kiddie CD in my collection (long after my Nirvana tape died, if you were paying attention)... Houses of The Holy was the second. HOTH (not the planet) is still one of the most common players in my library. These discs accompanied me on every fresh/soph basketball bus ride, back in that strange world where I hadn't heard of Primus yet. They were probably better days, eh?

---Les at the end!---

Lightning Bolt - rare bass-focused metalish stuff. From the assortment of people I've interrogated about the Bolt, I gather that only bassists like it. Prove me wrong!

Liquid Tension Experiment - part of the quasi prog rock sleep music arsenal. Their technical skills are a bit sleep-distracting, though.

Liszt - ha, another classical composer! Surprise. Liszt earns a mention several times over. As is almost mandatory, he focused on piano work. Further in that direction, [I assume that] he was possibly the most skilled ivory-wailer in existence: note that much of his work that he would play solo, i.e. the Hungarian Rhapsodies, appears in still-difficult duet form today. For that matter, note Hungarian Rhapsody #2 again, which you know from "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?" Finally, observe his wide variety of "evil" compositions; he wrote all sorts of Faust-related stuff, as well as the funeral dirge. Yum.

Loggins and Messina - because once upon a time, mothers didn't dance, and fathers neither rocked nor rolled.

Louis Armstrong - quite sufficiently famous trumpeter and growly crooner, such that I need not elaborate. Louis and Ella Fitzgerald tagged to create some monster jazz, too.

Louis Jordan - beans. Cornbread. Repeat.

Louis Prima - points for cranking out some impressive jazz, even though people only care about his role as the orangutan in Disney's "The Jungle Book" cartoon movie...

The Lovin' Spoonful - did you ever have to make up your mind? Do you believe in magic? They sure asked a lot of catchy questions.

Ludacris - also rare on the radar, here comes some more rap. I quite dig the constant humor (gasp, wit!), as well as his technical skill at simply cranking out English clearly and quickly. Of course, there's the offensive tax, but that's part of the comedy; such is the same with regard to the brag quotient. Take it as you will/must, I suppose.

Les Claypool ["solo"] - hmmm... Purple Onion has rewritten my life. That's a pretty good summary.

Way too many stories to shoehorn into this space. Maybe I'll dodge the task with a photo or two? You can find a Claypool tale here just about any day...

Right-o, some whamola. Fancy Band, June 2007, courtesy of the blurry Treo.

Have I mentioned a million times yet that we killed time after that show?

And that he signed my sixer? Ahoy!

Finally, a gorgeously blurry shot from the darkness of the show LAST NIGHT.

PS, that's my excuse for such a poor post today. Rocket.

17 March 2009

mucho ahora.

Evidence that my posts are time-shifted...

MAN Incorporated - a fairly unhappy guy with a kick drum, a bass guitar, and a large stash of four-letter words. He'll gladly tear anything and everything apart. The sound is as basic/simple as you can get and probably counts as "punk", but he does some entertaining vocal stuff while he's talkyellsinging about whatever is making him mad at the moment. You might have gathered by now that he's far away from fam-friendly.

Manu Chao - mostly non-English multi-genre music, stealthily about drugs most of the time. In one of the rare Eng-lang songs, their lead singer claims to be the king of the bongo?? I don't think any of their songs are truly serious, but, though I know it's mostly Spanish, their accents are thick enough that I rarely catch unas palabras.

Marcus Miller - another slap-n-pop bassmaster. He has been known to duet with Victor Wooten, combining to make way more bass noises than most can grasp.

Marilyn Manson - oh no, another sort-of-popular artist? I particularly like his crunchy guitar songs like "Wormboy" and "Irresponsible Hate Anthem" - in fact, I'm surprised at how much of his arsenal I truly do enjoy, and watching him live is thoroughly entertaining. However, it's still predominantly not that great. Further, it doesn't really matter what I say, because everyone dismisses him as some Satanic baby-eater anyway.

Marvin Gaye - my all-time favorite soul-based funk artist. Four words: "Let's Get It On".

Talk about a van classic!

Matheatre - so a guy with a master's in math ed and his pal create "Calculus: The Musical". The songs are all mathematical rewrites of famous numbers ;-) To name a few:

"Five Sizes of Number" (Beatles - "In My Life")
"Differentiabul" (most well-known is They Might Be Giants - "Istanbul")
"Without Riemann" (Eminem - "Without Me")

They're not the most in-tune singers out there, but the songs are great memorization tools and downright catchy. I didn't get to see the show; Tim and Steph caught it out west and got me the CD. Yessir, I am a nerd. Sing along with the main part of "Istanbul (Not Constantinople)":

f of x plus h minus f of x
all over h as h drops to zero
is the formula to find the derivative
to find the slope at one point

you'll never forget.

Maynard Ferguson - trumpet machine! Maybe I'm a dork, but works like "Gospel John" were some of my favorites in high school pep band and jazz band. He also did some fantastic trumpetized versions of songs from all across the genre universe, such as "Spinning Wheel", "As Time Goes By", "Chameleon", and even "MacArthur Park" and a Star Wars medley. On the trumpet, there are average notes, there are high notes, there are ridiculous notes, and past all of those, there are Maynard notes.

MDFMK - as you might guess, this was a one-album side project from the people of KMFDM. I'm pretty sure this was my bro's favorite album in existence, and I hope you hate it so I don't have to share. I only ask, "do you know who owns and controls the station you're watching? Does the truth you know rely on something? Does it matter?"

Meat Beat Manifesto - very very VERY bass-heavy electronica. Strange and not dance-friendly. Thanks, Tim!

Medeski, Martin and Wood - low-pressure jam/funk/bluegrass. They gots da musical skilz. Have a listen, and find Nate for stories.

Melt-Banana - Japanese girl singing/rapping/yipping nonsense over cleverly bizarre and catchy noise guitar. She sounds like a little toy-dog barking, and I love it. The best "songs" weigh in between ten seconds and a minute thirty, named something random like "Chicken Headed Raccoon Dog" or "Flash Cube, Or Eyeball". Very huh?-inducing, which appears to me my kind of noise.

Men Without Hats - can spell "safety". Everyone look at your hands.

Metallica - surprisingly enough, I am not that familiar! I did listen to "the black album" on a daily basis way back when, but fans won't appreciate that. Stuff before that disc was/is comical to me because of Lars' attempt to be a drummer... Then again, everything after that album is Lars-humorous too.

The Meters - yet another funkdamental, though they're a bit less structured/more jam-bandy than Parliament. For bonus points, Primus covered their delicious mini-jam "Tippi-Toes" on the Miscellaneous Debris EP.

Michael Jackson - "the king of pop"... Whoop dee doo.

Michael Manring - bends minds with his bass guitars. I can't tell a whole lot just from listening, but it's obvious that he likes alternate tunings and hates common chords. Beyond that, go listen!

The Mighty Mighty Bosstones - ska legends with a sound closer to rock than the Reel Big Fish brand thereof. Horns sadly take a back seat to guitar-bass-drums most of the time, though there is the occasional brass 'n' sax job. The lead singer's signature voice is deep and raspy - again, much different (and easier to fake) than the way-tenor vocals coming out of pretty much everyone in RBF. They have quite the collection, but the only one Average Joe might recognize is "The Impression That I Get", aka the one about knocking on wood.

Those guys from Six Ways covered a pile of Bosstones ditties, from the aforementioned "Impression" to "The Rascal King" to "You Gotta Go"... Merrily mutilating lyrics as necessary.

Ming & FS - on their own, or as friends of DJ Soul Slinger. They find some of the best samples in the real world: "is there honey in that box?", asks Winnie the Pooh over and over. Riiight.

Ministry - maybe industrial? Mostly just really fast guitar with truly creepy samples and occasionally comprehensible vocals. "...There was only one thing that I could do [...] was dinga ding dang my dangalong ling long." That's as clean as it gets.

The Misfits - punk punk punk! Real punk, though, from some of the originals. Dig it.

The Monkees - "hey hey, we're" catchy, but not quite up to par with The Beatles, and Neil Diamond wrote most of our songs...

Morphine - grungelicious, but not the same grunge as Nirvana. To start, they were a bari sax, drummer, and magical bassist Mark Sandman; note the lack of guitar. Then the music was very much groove-oriented, with wonderfully gritty/honky sax, tight drums, and Mark's unique slide bass and baritone vocals.

Mark played some tantalizing bass riffs. He used a normal bass guitar, but with just two strings, usually tuned to the same note. He also used a slide on his fretting hand, bending from note to note to make music with mandatory foot-tapping. To top it all off, he sang through an old-school bullet mic, combining with his deep voice to make an amazing timbre. It's just plain gorgeous.

Mr. Sandman died of a heart attack on stage at a concert in Italy.

Whose fault is it that I've been so addicted to Morphine (pun intended)? Is it Jo's, because she is related to Mr. Sandman? Is it Nate's, for first playing their music for me? Or could it be Les Claypool's, as he uses a bullet mic for effect, explicitly as a tribute to the Sandman? The world may never know.

Mothers of Invention - coming early in the chronological encyclopedia of weird. They were skilled, though, which doesn't always go along with weird. I can't really explain; just dream up a co-op between Frank Zappa and Captain Beefheart, then call a vegetable. Any vegetable!

Mötley Crüe - worth mentioning twice, for two umlauts! And by that I mean worth not mentioning at all. They are/were indeed megafamous glam rockers, but I think Tommy Lee wins for trumping his Crüe fame by doing something else - precisely, "something", ali! He's the one they call Dr. Feelgood.

Motörhead - by the umlaut metric, only half as good as the Mötley ones, and on par with Björk. Hmmmm, maybe I need a different scale of band quality.

I don't have much to say about Motörhead, but I do have something to say about accented characters. Since I write these posts in HTML in a text editor (PSPad in Windows, Kate in Linux, FYI) and then paste into the online Blogger interface, I have to use code to make accents. It makes words with accents impossible to read - forex, Björk is spelled "B j & o u m l ; r k" (without the spaces). What's sad is that I've memorized all of the useful ones. Nerrrrrrd! Anyway, back to music stuff.

Mr. Bungle - pure oddity, with ska-like instrumentation. They're really talented musicians; however, what comes out is mind-boggling. The lyrics are mostly gibberish, but at the show my bro saw, they did the whole thing - including covers of pop songs - in Italian. Nuts.

Mr. Oizo - irritating, crunchy, lo-fi electronica. Few enjoy these gritty "beats". That's about it.

Muddy Waters - big name jazzster, whom I mention just to clarify that there is also a bar/restaurant in the STL area with the same name, and that my shirt is sadly from the bar, not the musician. (Rather, the shirt is from a thrift store, but once upon a time came from the restaurant.)

You're not having as much fun as I am right now.