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.


  1. I'd like to add Common because he is, or at least was, pretty cool.

    Also, Charles Mingus is sweet, especially "Hog Callin' Blues."

    Thanks for linking me a thousand times or whatever so more people will access my terrible blog. Two more days!

  2. A few I have to add here are: Chris Tomlin, Casting Crowns, and Steven Curtis Chapman. All 3 are christian artists which I had the pleasure of seeing in Champaign years ago. You may remember because I got a flat tire that night while we were attempting to leave for the concert. Soooo, I called in a favor to the jlink, since he had previously borrowed my car, and he lent me his caddy.
    What a chum!
    el fin.