Let the Beat Build #26: January 2015
Spotify: Let the Beat Build #26: January 2015
Diversions: LTBB #26 Diversions
1. “That Time” - Regina Spektor
KW: This song has rattled around in my head for a few years. Before the other day, when it popped to the front of my mind, I probably only heard it once, when it was new. Maybe let’s go wide into half-remembered stuff from the backs of our closets. JW: I like this song. It sounds like Courtney Love + Kim Deal.
2. “Stole My Check” - R.L. Burnside
JW: I think I was looking for someone else when I just dug up Burnside. But listening to him again, I’m thinking of the early 2000’s when Moby and RJD2 and others were serving up old blues with beats. I had listened to Burnside before, but not much. This song is so simple and yet, so delightful. There’s as much story here as “For sale: Baby shoes never worn”.
3. “You Don’t Want To Fuck With Me” - Ol’ Dirty Bastard
KW: It’s been a minute since I dropped some ODB. Frankly, I have little idea what the narrative arc of this song is. But it’s damaged and perfect. It has some of my favorite hip hop self critique, most notably the invitation to sing along “YO FUCK Y’ALL! EVERYBODY!” That still kills me. It’s better than “Gnome Sayin’?” because it’s not overt. But I guess “Gnome Sayin’?” is covert in a different way. This isn’t deep enough in the back of my mind. Take two.
3. “A Song I Know” - Bling Kong
KW: I was looking for a good track by Diehard, a band Ghost Ghost used to play with, but their later stuff isn’t on Spotify. I looked up Liz Schroeter from Diehard and found out she used to be in Bling Kong. I should have been in Bling Kong, just based on its name, or the fact that they are fucking crazy and I used to be crazy too. Anyway, as mysterious as “Stole My Check” is, this is the opposite. Very, very clear.
4. “Mr. Noah” - Panda Bear
JW: I don’t really know what this is about. But I can’t stop listening to it. Also, check out this video. My kind of crazy. I had been meaning to spend more time learning this album. Just never did it. Still want to. KW: The thing I dig the most about Panda Bear is probably his harmonies, followed by his drumming. So far, I don’t think he’s topped the harmonies of Person Pitch, or the drumming of the early AC records. But he’s always interesting, which is I think the greatest compliment a musician can get.
5. “Water Fountain” - tUnE-yArDs
KW: tUnE-yArDs is obviously dipping into the same cauldron as Panda Bear, at least that seems obvious to me. I’ve been meaning to check out tUnE-yArDs for a while now. She’s a crazy live looper, like I used to be. Anyway this is dope.
6. “Nothing To Worry About” - Peter, Bjorn and John
JW: I’ll try not to keep picking songs with awesome videos, but I might not try that hard. This song hits a variety of mental metatags: Photoshoot Music, 1+ hit wonders (oh yeah, Young Folks), The 2000’s, pop/folk/electronica. This was sort of my Don’t Worry, Be Happy of the last 10 years. In actually, if the few times that I was stressin’ about something, and I thought this phrase to myself, this song and the chorus would pop into my head, and actually wash me with cool calm. Then I’d think of the video, and I’d get a short surge of power in my cremaster and face my problems with a new attitude. So I hope one day they know that. That they were a meaningful influence on my cremaster. KW: Cremasters aside, Wilco’s “Camera” (the loud ass synth version that they didn’t put on Yankee Hotel Foxtrot) is probably that song for me.
7. “Shake Shake Tambourine (Black Tambourine) - Smallstars Remix by Adrock” - Beck
KW: This may be my favorite track off Guerolito. It’s just nasty. Now, I really liked the original--any good arrangement with multiple drummers usually gets my attention--but this eclipses it. Instead of a funky rock song, it’s a big ass beat/synth workout. Guerolito was the last Beck record that I loved start to finish. I’ve been meaning to spend more time with his later records.
8. “Root Down (Free Zone Mix) - Beastie Boys
JW: The original Root Down was the anchor to Ill Communication. But my friend had this remix/EP and we listened to it every day. Actually, we did listen to it every day. We were in college and had to drive every morning to or from campus for some reason that escapes me. In particular this track sounded exceptional in his stock Jeep Cherokee sound system. I don’t know why. Sounded better than anywhere else. So I guess this track is my nod to Adrock, to remixes, to all those Singles/EP’s/B-sides I don’t buy anymore, to half-remembered stuff.
9. “Everything’s Gone Green” - New Order
KW: I think everybody forgot how awesome this song is. It’s missing from the Best of New Order compilation. This was the secret New Order jam that sealed the deal for me. Lately I’ve been feeling that all dance music should be as dope as the best of New Order.
10. “Hypnotize” - Notorious B.I.G.
JW: Do people forget how amazing this song is? I mean, it’s right under our nose. Also, a classic dance track. I was talking with a coworker yesterday who cited this as her bad mood antidote. I asked if she’d seen the footage of his funeral procession. She hadn’t. We watched it. It’s SO LIVE! Reminiscent of the Fight the Power video, except later, and realer. This song has made me go back and listen to Life After Death again. It’s been too long. You should do it. Do it now.
11. “No Pause” - Girl Talk
KW: The Public Enemy over Heart segment in this track is one of the best things I’ve ever heard. I want every DJ ever to drop this.
12. “[My First] Big Break” - Cut Chemist
JW: A different kind of DJ, but truly one of the greats. I was a huge J5 fan at the time, but didn’t follow his solo stuff enough. I had the Mix Master Mike album, a bunch of Z Trip sessions, J Rocc and Babu, Rob Swift. Someone must have a name for this era of DJ’s. There’s generally not one big drop moment (though Z Trip’s o.g. mashups have a bunch of classics) but there’s this other thing. Percussion isn’t the hero, DJing is the hero. Cutting is the hero. I want more of this.
13. “Never Hear Surf Music Again” - Free Blood
KW: I love when after the intro, or maybe the second intro, the fake horns come in. That’s my jam. I feel like someone should just build a whole song around that.
14. “Make The Road By Walking” - Menahan Street Band
JW: We got intro horns. We got a second set of horns too. That second set is the real moneymaker. Actually, that’s the truth, because as the story goes, they built a studio for themselves with the royalties they got from Jay Z’s Roc Boys (which is also a good video). The food web that touches this band is really impressive: Dap Kings, El Michels Affair, Budos Band, Antibalas. Also that fantastic Charles Bradley album. Man! We need to hear more from these folks.