….so here is the deal.  I have been on a bit of a hiatus but I think I’ll be back stronger than ever in the new year albeit doing things a little differently.  I’m still collecting youtube videos over on my youtube channel BUT with the help of some new little toys I picked up for Christmas this year, I’m going to be doing real mixes – not just song playlists, but actual DJ style mixes of the music I like the most.  Still not sure if I have the space to host those here, but I’ll let you know where the final place will be that those mixes will reside.

This is a huge step for me – the one thing I wanted since I was a young kid was a set of turntables as I was HUGE into making mix tapes for people at a young age – from lining up albums, to 8-tracks carefully rewound to the exact spot needed to start the track on cue , to crude cassette “remixes” to custom CDs and iPod playlists.  Early on I saw the value of two turntables and a mixer but at no point in my life did I ever have the money to invest in something like that until I got older and by then I had taken the leap into making music and the money for something like that was spent on instruments instead.  So this year I purchased a MIDI DJ set up with Traktor Pro that will allow me all the mixing tools of a traditional turntable set up, but with the added flexibility of being able to capture any sound in my collection – both digital(MP3s) and analog(records, tapes).  I’m still in the learning stage of figuring out a work flow and how to crossfade tracks smoothly but I’m shooting to be up to speed to start some mixes soon with the intent to make those available for people to listen to immediately.


So with that, I will see you around soon with lots more to share.  Take care.


So much to do, so little time

…and really – who needs another music blog?  Still listening to lots of music, but I’m giving up on talking about it in lieu of writing more music.  Maybe I’ll log back in and share a few of my tunes in the near future.


The soon to be obscure

…just thought this was a cool video and song that will probably be forgotten in the near future.  The guy who posted this on youtube apparently makes/edits videos.  Here are a few of his videos.  I’m guessing he is from Austin because most of the bands he works with tend to be local/former local bands.

Trunk of My Car by Volcano, I’m Still Excited – a former Austin band(who I assume are now defunct).  In a weird way, the first guy’s voice has a little bit of an awkward Chet Baker quality to it.  I really appreciate that.

Handful of Billions by Sound Team – this one is edited to clips from the movie “Network”.  Of course Sound Team is excellent but the now defunct Austin band with the spectacular rise and fall.  I was really sad to see them break up and fear they may too slip into obscurity.  I had several unofficial recordings of theirs through a friend of a friend of a friend and their demos and unreleased stuff were even better than their rather good recordings.  It’s a shame to see that output gone although the members have mostly all rejoined in various projects in other bands around Austin(most notably Bill’s {{Sunset}} project).

Chet Baker – You Don’t Know What Love Is – okay, I couldn’t resist a little vocal Chet Baker video since I mentioned it above.  His voice has a very sad quality to it – very smooth but dangerously vulnerable.  I guess it easily follows that he was one of the more heartbreaking(if only because he lived through the addictions) cases of a jazz great who succumbed to an out of control drug addiction.  Baker lived a HARD life because of it…but back in 1956, he had it all – the horn, the voice, the looks, the sound.


The Very Best Post

…so sometime early last year Gorilla vs Bear started pushing this new discovery of an album in the works – an London based artist from Malawi collaborating with English producers on a true world influenced album – that is to say, drawing on influences not just outside of the English speaking world, but inside of it too(funny how “World music” translates to “not our world music” to most Americans/English).  Anyway, he highlighted various teaser clips and remixes from Esau Mwamwaya and Radioclit and updates on the new album.  Well it was finally released late last year and is truly one of the few things in the over saturated blogo-sphere that has actually lived up to the hype.  Best of all, the great music comes at no cost – you can download it for free here. I have noticed he has really started to catch on with people familiar with the original songs that he reworks on his album (tackling MIA’s mega hit Paper Planes and giving Vampire Weekend’s Cape Cod KwassaKwassa a song suitable for it’s namesake).  Regardless, for free it’s worth checking out.

Kamphopo by the Very Best – catchy as fuck.  This reminds me of a story.  Back in college I once drove 3 days to the Yucatan in Mexico.  On our way back on the last day of travel our car broke down a few hours south of the Texas border – essentially in a sparse stretch of dessert in between a couple of towns.  After sitting on the side of the road for a few hours, a helpful family stopped and offered to drive to the nearby repair shop to get us a radiator hose(our’s had split which was causing the car to overheat).  In exchange they asked if we could help them drive a little more comfortably to the border town we were also going to be traveling through.  An hour later with a new radiator hose, we were on our way to Matamoros with two of their kids quitely riding in the back seat.  On the way, we decided to put on some music to avoid the awkward situation.  We decided to let the kids in the back pick the music and their choice was the Doors greatest hits.  One of the boys(who knew no English) gleefully sang the entire album perfectly all the way through – not really knowing what he was singing.  I would like to think of myself as much like that boy as I sing along to this song sung in Chichewa.  By the way, the backdrop for this song is an Architecture in Helsinki song.

Heart it Races by Architecture in Helsinki -I think maybe now your starting to understand why it’s a free album.  I’m sure these bands dig the reinterpretations of their work, but I bet the record labels have a different opinion.

Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa by The Very Best – hey, that’s a Vampire Weekend song…right?


The Authors pick their top albums of 2008

…posted this in a few places but didn’t even think to put it on this blog.  Anyway, the band I am in is called the Authors.  Justin and I put up our top releases of 2008 and for the interest of the music lover who might stumble across this blog, it’s listed below.  Most of these have already been featured here although I need to get on the ball and put up the “Very Best” Esau videos(thanks to gorilla vs bear for turning me on to them).

1. Cut Copy “In Ghost Colours”
2. Friendly Fires “Friendly Fires”
3. Vampire Weekend “Vampire Weekend”
4. Fleet Foxes “Fleet Foxes” & “Sun Giant EP”
5. TV On The Radio “Dear Science”
6. Esau Mwamwaya + Radioclit “The Very Best Mixtape”
7. Hercules & Love Affair “Hercules & Love Affair”
8. Kanye West “808 & Heartbreak”
9. M83 “Saturdays = Youth”
10. Crystal Stilts “Alight of Night”

Ben’s top 11 in no particular order
Cut Copy – In Ghost Colours
Vampire Weekend – S/T
Fleet Foxes – S/T
Hercules and Love Affair – S/T
M83 – Saturdays=Youth
Dr Dog – Fate
The Ruby Suns – Sea Lion
Chad Van Gaalen – Soft Airplane
Little Joy – S/T
Women – S/T
The Walkmen – You and Me

Honorably mentioned
Vivien Girls – S/T
Atlas Sound – S/T
Nigeria 70 (compilation)
Esau Mwamwaya + Radioclit – The Very Best Mixtape
Crystal Stilts – Alight of Night


Cuban Doo Wop

It’s news to me too.  I present Los Zafiros.  As it turns out there was a documentary released on the group early last year(08).  NPR covered the story here.  I intend on checking it out sometime.  It’s so amazing that doo wop was being made this well in Cuba of all places although it’s noteworthy that Los Zafiros’ career started in the 60s when Doo Wop was already ten years old in the US.  I’ll have to do a post in the future about great international acts doing American music.  I have a compilation somewhere of vietnamese artists doing psych rock songs in the 70s/80s although it might be difficult for me to find something like that on youtube.

Y Sabes Bien by Los Zafiros

Bellecita by Los Zafiros


Stuff white people like – the music video edition

…someone mentioned the #11 thing that white people like (Asian girls) and it reminded me of these 80s songs. We had a thing for cheesy rip offs of vague asian melodies in the 80s huh?

Hong Kong Garden by Souxsie and the Banshees – you have to go to youtube to see this one since embedding has been disabled. So much for trying to promote someone’s 30 yr old music…

Turning Japanese by the Vapors – there used to be a rumor that this song was about masturbation because if you imagine someone making a face where they squint their eyes and curl their lips to expose the upper incisors, resembling the stereotypical image of a Japanese person, it would be during masturbation and orgasm. The songwriter however clarified that the song is about loving someone so much that you feel like your turning into someone else entirely.

Fish Heads by Barnes and Barnes – wait for it…1:35 into the video, “Rolly Polly fish heads are never seen drinking cappuccino in Italian restaurants with Oriental women.” Yes – I know it’s a stretch but where else does fish heads fit in except in a Dr Demento post and Barnes and Barnes would be way too obvious for that one.