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Monday Morning Music: “Don’t Like Mondays”

June 22, 2009 Comments off

For my friend DKW, who is an even bigger House fan than I am:

(Actually, being something of a happy idiot, I like Mondays. But it is a very catchy song.) 
Shamelessly stolen from TwoBlueDay.

Categories: music, Reviews

A piece of Mister Parker’s Band

November 17, 2008 2 comments

Steely Dan is a musical duo with, so far as I can tell, no equals.  For starters, how many multi platinum-album groups are named after a dildo?  Or rose to fame on songs of historical and mythological themes?  Or even tributes to other musicians?  Here’s something to get your Monday Morning going…  (You might want to minimize the video and just listen)

But if you like Steely Dan, you’re used to people saying; “Who?”  Their music is rigorous – it demands a lot from the listener.  An acquired taste, don’t you know.  At least, every Dan fan has said something like that over the years.  So I totally cracked up at this link sent in by Lucas, The Onion: Donald Fagan defends Steely Dan to friends.

Hey, Don, I know exactly where you’re coming from, man.  Except for all the drugs and stuff.

(And here’s a mythological reference, considerably more laid-back than the previous example)

Categories: music, Reviews

Monday Morning Music: Deodato’s Zarathustra

October 27, 2008 1 comment

I’m re-watching Sagan’s Cosmos, and the first episode had a snippet of a somewhat jazzed-up Also Sprach Zarathustra.  Which reminded me of my favorite version of that theme, by Eumir Deodato.  I had it on stereo cassette in my hopped-up VW back in ‘77, pushing the boundaries of safety and sanity on back roads of East Tennessee:

Let this one play while you get ready (the video is quite superfluous) and hit the week with rhythm and verve, baby. 

Categories: music, Reviews

Monday Morning Music: “American Experience”

October 13, 2008 2 comments

American Experience: It’s difficult to imagine a more emotional piece of music only 43 seconds long…

Tonight’s episode is about Richard Nixon.  The episodes I’ve seen so far have been just stunningly excellent.  The whole Presidents series Roosevelt, Truman, Johnson, Nixon, Carter, Reagan and Bush is available as a set.  I hope they also do Eisenhower, Kennedy, Clinton, Bush II and someday… Obama.

Categories: music, Reviews

Monday Morning Music: Theremin Crazy

September 29, 2008 4 comments

What’s a theremin?  Sure, it may sound like a vitamin-enriched hot drink for flu relief, but it’s actually a rather futuristic musical instrument invented by a Russian of the same name.  It has the distinction of being the only musical instrument that is played without being touched: the performer moves his or her hands within an RF field, which feeds back to the instrument as an astonishing range of sound.  Here’s a thereminist playing Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy”.  Watch how the performer moves his hands:

If you have heard the original vocals it’s almost impossible to hear this version without being struck by the resemblance to a particular human voice.

I’ve often wondered, if you showed the outre video of the original song to an audience back in, say, 1920, what would they make of it?  How much of the virtue we find in a given work of art is universal, and how much contextual?
(HT Lucas, who finds the damndest things)

Categories: music, Reviews

Monday Morning Music: SPIN

April 28, 2008 1 comment

Some very funny stuff:

(Hat-tip to Greg Laden)

Categories: music, Reviews

Secular revival hymn

January 29, 2008 2 comments

I have a confession to make: I really like Natasha Bedingfield’s Unwritten.  It’s uplifting and fun, and so is the very clever video that goes with it.  So un-fashionably un-cynical.

And here’s the acoustic low-budget version of Unwritten

She’s really easy to look at, too, which I won’t pretend not to enjoy.  But that seems to be a major factor in the success of female artists nowadays.  Is the ubiquity of video acting as a music selection filter?  How much wonderful music are we missing from women who just don’t look that ‘fabulous’ on camera? (It seems to be OK for men to be visually rough)  And how much of the video production is driven to have the great-looking artist on screen?  In the highly ‘produced’ version, notice the level of abstraction needed to say something visually beyond “Man, isn’t she great-looking?” 

I love that scene in the “Pink” video Don’t Let Me Get Me where she says; “LA told me, You’ll be a pop star, All you have to change is, Everything you are…”

Damn, there’s that cynicism kicking in again.  Oh well…

Categories: music, Reviews

Monday Morning Music - Gnarls Barkley CRAZY

January 7, 2008 1 comment

This intricate video has a lot of unexpected visual tricks, including jarring reminders that absolute facial symmetry is unsettling, and can go either way emotionally depending which side of the face is used.  And Thomas Callaway is an incredible singer.

And what the hell, I like this one because it’s really fun, if a trifle disturbing:

I’m really glad these two got together.

Categories: music, Reviews