Change of pace

January 28, 2009

nice-smooth

Here is a treat for all of you today:

For those who do not know, I am an avid fan. I called myself a moderate to medium listener of it to someone only to hear “thats a lie” from a friend, so yeah. I’m pretty into it.

One of my favourite Hip Hop duos that either goes under the radar or doesn’t get the respect it deserves is Nice and Smooth. My introduction to Nice and Smooth starts at 2 points. 1.) Reading about them in the Hip Hop 101 column in SOURCE magazine, a terrible publication that I buy for that one column, and I always get a laugh out of the fly honeys in the back. I mean I guess it was a tough time to come out and really get recognized. Smooth B says in this column that “You had Slick Rick, KRS-One, Kane, Public Enemy, Chubb Rock, and everybody is coming on up to Naughty By Nature. I think what made these guys stand out in the New York hip hop scene was their lack of seriousness but biting rhymes. I mean their first lp “Nice and Smooth” is definitely cluttered but stand out tracks like “Funky For You”, “No Delayin'”, and “More and More Hits” defined their style. You had Greg Nice, who really was half mc, half hype man, while Smooth B was exactly what his name says. Smooth. It also probably helped that they got a spot on the 2nd Big Daddy Kane LP on a well known track “Pimpin’ Ain’t Easy”, a song ruined by Big Daddy Kane claiming to be “strictly anti-faggot”… Daaaang.

The Second point was the fact that they were on the infamous Gang Starr track “Dwyck”, a song I didn’t fully appreciate until i watched the music video 50 times.  Gang Starr also appear on their album “Ain’t a Damn Thing Changed” using an old Gang Starr sample, possibly Words I Manifest if I remember correctly. …Changed is a solid LP all around. Continuning the trend of fun songs about essentially being in effect, drugs, sex sex sex, and the like using the same kind of party samples, and definitely dabbling with the new jack swing sound. And of course, the tracy chapman sampled song “Sometimes I Ryhme Slow” definitely earned them some respect along with probably the quintessential Nice and Smooth song “Hip Hop Junkies”. Funny Story about recording Dwyck:  Smooth B smoked sixteen blunts during the recording process. Nice and Smooth is the essential soundtrack to a party, to a sunny day, they’re even alright at night just hangin around. They are definitely up there in my favourite groups for hip hop, one of my favourite duos. I have strange taste though where I’d rather rock Fat Boys than Run DMC, and Heavy D over Wu Tang (no connection between the 2, Wu-Tang just sucks Adam).

They now live on publishing money, since they secured their shit before their label went under. My copy of Ain’t a Damn Thing Changed is seeing hard times, I think I should just buy a repress just for a clean piece of vinyl to spin.

And I leave you with this crucial piece of awesome:

THE NICE AND SMOOTH SLANG HANDBOOK:

Day at the Beach: When a man is a pushover for a woman

Dead Out of Order: Wrong, Incorrect person.

Dip — Or Honey Dip: Pretty young ladies with golden brown complexions, sweet-looking, tanned –women in general

Fat: Largeness, when concerning many things e.g finance, power, prosperity, lifestyle.

Flake: Not being for real, unreal person

Highell: Corporate Women

On Point like a Needle: Precise, accurate.

P-Noid Like Sigmund Freud: Paranoid, whether naturally or under an influence.

Picnic Down by the Cake: Tells of one man dating two or more women and the women treat him to dinner, shopping spree, movie, etc.

Sex on the Beach: Drink.

Skins: Specifically shapely women, who know the flavour, who never front on activities.

Whip–Auto: Your Car


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January 26, 2009

jon-lovitz

Everytime I come home from work, mainly after my 9 hour Saturdays, my knuckles look like they have just been involved in a scrap. Bleeding and crackin’ on the constant, the only cure is to wear magic gloves after smearing your hands in Vaseline before bedtime. I’ve been trying to cut back on late nite caffeine consumption, or just consumption on the C overall. I grew up living in a house full of Diet Ginger Ale, and I can not drink regular Ginger Ale, so I buy Diet Canada Dry. The trade off of carbs for aspartame is a fair one, right? An 18-wheeler driver accidentally grazed along a bail of cardboard, and I love how it is assumed the driver was foreign, except it was a white driver to comes to the store every morning to hook us up with bread. Speaking of Bread, I’ve been digging on toasted Prebiotic whole wheat with grains, with some Natural Peanut Butter. Makes for a great snack. At Christmas, one of my good friends Corey bought me a Do the Right Thing Poster, and instead of holding off until i bought a new frame, I rolled up my Casablanca after pulling it out and put in this more colorful poster. Its nice for a switch. Two Things: 1.) Wings of Desire is receiving the Crtierion treatment. 2.) I want a Wings of Desire Poster.

If you went to a Red House Painters show in 1996, and were a casual listener or didn’t have the slightest idea of what you were getting yourself into, I’d feel for you. The set length would have ranged from 1.5-3 hours. You would have to deal with covers of Classic Rock bands, and 16 minute versions of Make Like Paper or River. I’d give anything to see some sort of video bootleg of a set. All I have is all these audio takes, and I thought what’d I’d do tonight, is make an upload of great live cuts, mainly for the Jason, but I guess other readers (Colin.. Meghan?… Uhhhh). The upload will contain 7 Tracks, from 1996/97 since to me that is the most crucial time for live cuts for them:

-Albuquerque (Neil Young Cover)
-Sundays and Holidays
-Uncle Joe
-Grace Cathedral Park (better than the studio version)
-Evil (20 minutes long, enjoy)
-Make Like Paper
-Lord Kill the Pain (same style as you have jason, but different set, i like it more, but not whining about monitors)

The key to these live tracks is I find theres more personality to the way played live, than the studio cuts. Even Sundays and Holidays, which sounds perfect on the the EP sounds much better strummed live, as opposed to fingerpicked, but I mean I love both ways. If you listen to Evil in its entirety, I will be proud of you. Mark has a gift of hiding his true vocal talent on alot of studio songs, which makes him shine even more at concerts, which I’ve stressed in past updates. Apparently on the latest Sun Kil Moon stretch of dates, they have been jamming river, and I often fear his voice is too low now to pull it off, which gets me curious. Also, they have been heavy on April, playing 8 or so songs from it, which would be really cool to see. I think April is a sweet album, and its cool how they played Lost Verses on Californication, along with a Kozelek original, Metropol 47.

Here is the link, some of the songs may require you to turn up speakers:

http://www.mediafire.com/?gwenvbyqyoc

madonna-trueblue

My stomach has the sting like it has just been sucker punched, and maybe it was from the few potato chips i had 8 hours ago, or the peanut butter stone wheat toast i ate 5 hours ago. Jason, you should drive me down a burrito and then stay to snuggle.

Lets do a rundown of my 5 favourite covers that the Koz has done. I like lists, because i like to reflect on them a year later when i care more about college rock and hip hop records than i should:

1.) I am a Rock (Originally by Simon and Garfunkel): Here’s an example of great lyrics sadly written by a duo that truly suck no matter what you might say. Their songs are as boring as Joyce, and my hatred only grew more viscous after I watched The Graduate. Its not like when you watch Do the Right Thing and you love “Fight the Power” even more after hearing snippets 15 different times during the movie. This slowed down haunting cover is topped with Mark’s more middle register singing, and not holding back when singing the chorus.  It sounds much more full, with an almost shoegazing strum pattern. And the denouement in the last 50 seconds, is just oh so nice.

2.) Lazy (Originally by Low): If you listen to the low version, it sounds so sadcore to the max, the lines suggesting that it is about not putting in the effort towards love. You still get a bit of that vibe from this cover, but it also sounds much more upbeat and not as pain-stricken. You’re better off picking this version if its nice outside and you want to feel good with someone.

3.) Green Manalishi (Originally by Fleetwod Mac, written by Peter Green): What kind of fan would i be if I didn’t pick a cover that you can only hear on live bootlegs and shit. Though often thought of as Priest song, Kozelek seems to sing the lyrics more like the Mac one.  The cover itself sounds like it could have fit on Ghosts of the Great Highway, since that was when he was rockin’ the tune, and of course its re-arranged and usually the arrangements sound similar to whatever he is writing at that point. When he plays it going into Glenn Tipton it works well, and if you don’t know why, use google.

4.) All Mixed Up (Originally by The Cars): Just listen to the original, and you’ll understand why this one is better.

5.) Celebrated Summer (Originally by Husker Du): I’ve explained this a few posts ago, this version sounds nice and sweet, and the lyrics are easier to pick up because they are not drenched in that bob mould fuzz we all love (which became more and more scarce once flip your wig happened, but no disrespect, i love everything up to warehouse)

This was a pretty stupid post for me to make, so I like it. I bought some new jeans, and I went vegan, and my Magnificent Obsession (Criterion Collection) came today, and the present I got for Jason for just being there came and he is going to love it. A Smiths 12″ and a wishingwell youth of today record is coming. Stuff is OK over here, it will be better in 6 months when things goes wrong and feels like home. If you buy me a Japanese pressing of True Blue, I will give you a hug.

Why Won’t You Stay?

January 9, 2009

eitzel4601

You gotta give credit where credit is due, so lets hand some out:

You can argue that Red House Painters wouldnt be what they are without the help of Mark Eitzel of American Music Club. If memory serves me correctly he is responsible for Ivo having a copy of the demo on his desk.
It took me a while to warm up to American Music Club. I don’t know why either. I only really rock one album at the moment, and that is Everclear, which i’m pretty sure is the quintessential record when it comes to them. It got alot of critical praise and I’m pretty sure Rolling Stone had major boons for it (STOP THE PRESSES! Rolling Stone likes your band). They have a song about aids on it called “Sick of Food” and its a real good song. I’m pretty sure Mark Eitzel is gay, I wonder if he would get offended by the Koz making “fag jokes”. Almost every song on the album, minus crabwalk because it throws off the pacing of the record, is a hit. There is such a mature sound to it, like it was written by adults. Its like how when you listen to loveless you can tell its by people who are presumably in their young 20s, though its such a polished record, there is something that separates it from the maturity of a band like AMC, or Blue Nile, or shit like that. This album is totally slowcore, or sadcore, or nonstop brooding, whichever you prefer. As much as I love Red House Painters, I don’t think they reached the time of maturity until Ocean Beach. For me it was probably just the shift in lyrics and a more focused sound that makes me say that.

stand out tracks on everclear:
sick of food, why won’t you stay, the royal cafe, what the pillar of salt held up

There are a few bands like this that are good. I like AMC, and Idaho is cool, and Ida is cool, and Low is cool but Colin you shouldn’t listen to low, and Ivo is the head of 4AD records. 4AD records is great, they released all the good cocteau twins stuff, some bauhaus, and This Mortal Coil. Apparently i’m the only person i know who actually loves this mortal coil. Lets not forget they released the pixies too, and pixies are great.

And the mountain goats! they’ve released some mountain goats stuff. I should get on the 4ad label just to scour the warehouse for Red House Painters ephemera and records.

That whole slowcore style, it seems like a west coast thang. AMC and RHP were both from San Francisco. San Fran seemed like it would have been a cool music scene to be part of in 1992 and stuff.

So yeah man, listen to AMC and send me albums i don’t have please.  Jason, give them a chance because I like them and we love eachother.

karate-dog

Hope your break was good, holidays good, presents good. I’ve started watching Miami Vice. Sometimes they don’t act well, but goddamn it is entertaining. Everytime Don Johnson speaks it always sounds like he is about to dive into a monologue. I saw a pretty crucial girl for the first time in maybe 3 years, and i got Girls I Got Em Locked on vinyl. So I guess i’m alright. I got the x files box, that is also cool. I turned on the recorder on new years eve while everyone was out enjoying themselves, and I strengthened a relationship worth strengthening and I’m proud to call him one of my best friends.

So if you read this, which you don’t, you know that Down Colorful Hill was 6 songs hand picked by Ivo (well maybe not just Ivo) from their demo. The Demo is definitely on the internet and whatnot, and its neat to check out. Most of the songs somehow found a way on a release. Rollercoaster and Bridge collected the last of them, or at least the ones they decided didn’t suck. The last one to make an official red house release, was an instrumental version of Million + 8 Things, which comes after the acoustic version of Shock Me aka the last song on the EP. One song that never made anything though it should have is Waterkill. Waterkill found its way on disc 2 of the retrospective, along with a couple other demo songs (at least demo versions of songs that made it on albums) to mainly just show the raw sound of the demo. Waterkill was considered for Down Colorful Hill and it should have been there. If they had scrapped Lord Kill the Pain and put that song on instead, that album would have made everyone who listened to it want to totally hang themself, because the album would be an all out assault of Sad. Waterkill is easily one of the darkest sounding songs in the vein of Medicine Bottle, Japanese to English, Mother, etc etc. But how can I go and say take Lord Kill the Pain off DCH. Could you imagine that album without that song? Maybe its hard for me to because every song on that album is crucial. In fact, every song on every album is crucial. In my angry youth/pre sad bastard days I would make playlists of songs re-arranged and decided that would be better. I’d argue Bridge could have never happened and take a few of the best hand picked songs off that and make Down Colorful Hill a double LP. Now that i’m an adult I have learned to stop being rash and rather be brash. Keep in mind, i probably said these things a year ago, so I haven’t really grown up at all. Also, if your tracklisting of Down Colorful Hill is: 1.)24 2.)Medicine Bottle 3.)Down Colorful Hill 4.)Japanese to English 5.)Lord Kill the Pain 6.) Michael… change it. Play it the way the LP plays which is basically the same except switch Down Colorful Hill and Japanese to English. The album plays better, and when you think about it, it definitely makes side 2 of the lp a little bit more relaxed. Maybe not relaxed, but its definitely not as hitting in a brooding kind of way.

The first chunk of lyrics in waterkill are worth mentioning:

it isnt great
trying to breathe from the bottom of the fate lake
i feel the vibes as feet of christ go by
large and small and fast they fall
under melting summer sky

The song has a great turnaround with the fading in of an acoustic guitar, and I love when songs have fun turnarounds. Its what made me grow to appreciate Mother. The turnaround of Mother is pretty neat for the time in which it happened, but now sounds like something I could do/have done in Cool Edit, but that album definitely has a “this was recorded in the 1990s and we love flangers and shit” feel to it.

A few songs that never surfaced past the demo are Bridge, Heart Attack, 21, and Headsore. A few of the songs you will listen to and think “Yeah, I can see why these were definitely shelved”. Headsore isn’t too bad, it sort of reminds me of Uncle Joe but doesn’t deliver as well.

Actually, if I could trade Waterkill for a studio song, I’d pick Funhouse. Its listenable, but its definitely my least favourite song by Red House Painters. Hopefully you don’t love that song Jason, so that way I am not offending you.

I’m unable to stay on one idea. All i’m good for is useless facts and bootlegs.

On a lighter note, the new springsteen single “Life Itself” had me suprised.