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The iJAMMING! HITLIST
JANUARY 2005
"THEY ALMOST GOT AWAY"
the best of the rest of 2004

ALBUM OF THE MONTH

THE SOCIETY OF ROCKETS: SUNSET HOMES (Underpop)

Fans of alt.country/Americana and drone psychedelia alike should put down what they're doing and invest in Sunset Homes now. Seriously. Emerging from the demise of the Bay Area's Shimmer Kids Underpop Association, the Society of Rockets are an altogether more organic proposition, with Joshua Babcock's angelic voice invoking no less a comparison than Neil Young at his Harvest Moon peak, while his eight (count them) band-mates contribute everything from accordion and squeezebox to slide guitar, melodica and space echo. (Not to forget obligatory guitar, bass, drums and keys.) And yet, on a ballad like 'Cure For Cancer', the Society come across as gently as Low on a mellow day. When they do up the tempo – as on 'Untitled' (oh, you rebels) – they rock with the self-assured modesty that was once part of Californian's fertle music space-country landscape.
Highlight: Against a lyrical rampage that recalls Bob Dylan in mid-sixties stream-of-poetic-consciousness, 'Too Many Thorns In Your Bed Of Roses' has the singalong jam session sound that Brits (The Zutons) and Irishmen (The Thrills) have long been trying to emulate.
Quote: "We tried to make a record in the spirit of some of our heroes – Will Oldham, King Tubby, Neil Young…" Any Americana artists who can throw dub reggae icons into the mix are alright with me.
Web Site: Sadly both the label site (www.underpop.org) and the band site (www.societyofrockets.com) are bare bones operations. You can listen to snippets of the album here
Wine? It's too obvious. They're simultaneously delicate and forward. Their music is disarmingly pretty yet almost deceptively complex. They recognize that California is a land both of space (i.e. technology) and country (i.e. nature). And their front man is called Babcock. So sit back (on your porch swing, if you have one) and listen to Sunset Homes with a glass of Babcock Tri-Counties Cuvée Pinot Noir 2002 in your hand, and for a moment, presume that all is right with the world.

ALBUM: TEN FRIENDS ECLECTIC!

JONATHAN BEST – THE M.A.D. LINGUIST (Bubble)
I wrote about my old Food Co-Op co-worker Jonathan Best a couple of years back; I'm glad to see he's staying busy. The M.A.D. Linguist refers not to Best himself (though it could), but to a venue in his new home of Flagstaff, Arizona, where he recorded this album live. That format perfectly showcases his impressive ability to overlap instantly created loops above, beneath and around his jazzy piano playing and seemingly ad-libbed lyrics. A cover of 'Like A Rolling Stone' even manages to breathe new life (and lyrics) into the otherwise tired classic.

THE TELEPATHIC BUTTERFLIES – SONGS FROM A SECOND WAVE (Rainbow Quartz)
Opening song 'Bonhomie' shamelessly cops the melody to the Who's 'Disgusies' – but what a melody to cop. The power trio from Winnipeg, Canada delivers the rest of its second full-length in much the same vein: psychedelic tunes, power pop harmonies, and Beatlesque guitar riffs all writ delightfully large with barely a nod to the new Century.

SCHIZO FUN ADDICT – THE ATOM SPARK HOTEL (Canarsie)
If you like your psychedelia lo-fi, you will love Schizo Fun Adict: they make some of the DIY singles from 1978-79 sound positively over-produced by comparison. (An aural situation only exasperated by pressing this album on clear vinyl.) But there are a couple of lovely Sundays-like pop songs fighting to be heard here, namely the opening version of the title track and side 2's 'Solon' (which you can hear here). A few psychedelic jams and the cheerfully messy rap 'Jellstar' help round out a charmingly chaotic album.

THE OCCASION – THE OCCASION (SayHey)
Think of The Occasion as a (mostly) acoustic Secret Machines, or better yet, as a New York version of Society Of Rockets: there's that same enthusiasm for space-rock Americana, but here it's infused with the claustrophobia of The Big Apple. With a fondness for electric piano and eastern melodies alike, The Occasion grow steadily noisier and more progressive across the course of this debut album, until the the Floyd–like finale 'Annika' itself peaks after eight minutes, turning in on itself with Spiritualized-like intensity, loops of crowd applause and the final chords then forming a rhythmic backbeat to a brand new song… that never quite arrives. A breathtaking conclusion to a highly promising introduction.

LUNA – RENDEZVOUS (Jetset)
Since releasing the superb Romantica two years ago, Luna have appeared to be on a crative roll. And now they've called it a day. There are those who will be confused by this apparent contradiction, but I've always believed in getting out while you're on top. Rendezvous, their swansong, is not as consistent as Romantica, but it has its moments, and even though one of them ('Astronaut') already appeared on the EP Close Cover Before Striking, 'Malibu Love Nest' and 'Broken Chair' find Dean Wareham in his finest voice. And listen to 'Star-Spangled Man' and tell me that the Bunnymen couldn’t play it like 'Bring On The Dancing Horses.'

DOGS DIE IN HOT CARS: PLEASE DESCRIBE YOURSELF(V2)
You can hear XTC and Talking Heads at their most charming (as opposed to their most purposefully obtuse), in this Scottish band's debut – though when they start giving their songs such titles as 'Apples and Oranges,' you wonder if they realize that not only does the song sound like Swindon's finest, but that XTC released an album called Oranges and Lemons, and another called The Apple Venus. Still, every now and then, they make sounds you can identify as their own, too: 'Lounger' and 'Paul Newman's Eyes' have humour and rhythm.

WEST INDIAN GIRL: WEST INDIAN GIRL (Astralwerks)
Somewhere between trip hop, subliminal pop, U2's emotive excesses and the rampant abuse of psychedelics, the nomadic American post-rave duo of Robert James and Francis Ten make beautiful music about 'Hollywood' and the 'Northern Sky' and invite us to join their (road) trip.

DAVID HOLMES: OCEAN'S TWELVE (Warner Bros)
DFA may deride his talent, but they can't deny that former Belfast DJ David Holmes has earned himself a nice little niche in soundtracks. For Oceans Twelve, as per the rest of the movie's team, he repeats the Oceans Eleven formula: newly-created spy-funk/soul by Holmes, alongside obscure renditions of the same by a variety of mostly forgotten artists. As a Back To Mine compilation, you'd never peg it for a soundtrack. Uncredited instrumental loops at album's conclusion raise the question: will he sue if we sample them?

SWAYZAK: LOOPS FROM THE BERGERIE (!K7)
The British team's fourth album of tech/dub/house songs is understated, but far from underwhelming. And though the use of four different vocalists makes for inconsistency, the instrumental textures underpinning it all are sublime. Recorded in the south of France (at a Montpelier house known as the Bergerie) this grows better with age. Listen to it in another three years paired a similarly-aged wine from the Languedoc and I'm sure you'll feel satisfied with your investment(s).

DOWNTOWN – DOWNTOWN (Coup de Grace)
By management's own admission (and maybe the band's?), this might have been more successful as a second or third album than a debut. The Downtown (New York) duo of Robert Kaeding and Eric Brendo make sophisticated psychedelic electronic country of considerable substance – a little like Society Of Rockets with a groove going on. And repeated plays will undoubtedly bring increased rewards. But there's not enough immediate attention-grabbing content to inspire the return visits. As New Yorkers, Downtown must be aware of the modern music fan's limited attention span, and how even those who eschew the mainstream's demand for insistent beats and immediate hooks require some kind of back story to inspire their interest. Sadly, this quality debut may just prove too subtle to cut through the surrounding noise.

MIX CD OF THE MONTH

SANDER KLEINENBERG: THIS IS EVERYBODY TOO (Thrive)

Of all the mix CDs I received in 2004 – and there were a lot less than in previous years, that's for sure – this one got the most play on the home system, portable CD and car stereo. Sander succeeds in building a mood, telling a few stories, and combining many a style (though primarily retro electro and tech-house) while keeping two CDs almost constantly humping and bumping. He does it all without the benefit of well-known artists, relying instead on the likes of The Junior Boys, Infusion, Christian Kleine, Deepsky – and, like all multi-tasking DJs, several of his own cuts too. More mix CDs of this caliber and the genre would not have fallen into disfavor.

RETROSPECTIVE OF THE MONTH

22-PISTEPIRKKO – THE NATURE OF 22-PISTEPIRKKO 1985-2002 (Bare Bone Business)
No, I hadn't heard of them either. But here's opportunity for us all to catch up. Long before Scandinavia came into garage rock vogue, this Finnish trio were knocking out superb singalong retro anthems highlighted by a spectacularly cheap Farfisa organ sound: the first CD here is chock full of such minor classics. (I particularly love 'Hong Kong King.') Then they bought MIDI equipment, a beatbox and began to experiment: the second CD finds them getting remixed, moving into soundtracks, taking on a continental European ambient/trip-hop vibe and ending with proper post-rave dance on the track 'Rally Of Love'. So many sounds from one unknown band. And so good, too.

EPs: THREE FRIENDS ECLECTIC

THE SOFT EXPLOSIONS – EP (canarsie)
The record label – named for its Brooklyn base community – describes the band as "like Steppenwolf meets The Flaming Lips with a female Hendrix on guitar." I hear a heavy dose of baggy shoe-gazing psychedelia in here too, especially on the songs 'Desert Gold' and 'Reverberate.' That might just be because band members came down to my DJ gig at Atomique a coupla months back and displayed enviable knowledge of all things Madchester.

THE DEARS – PROTEST (AceFu)
"This is the summer of protest," they sing, somewhat after the event. It's certainly the winter of this content: The Dears sit (un?)comfortably alongside other acts on this page with dreamy, experimental, psychedelic space rock that soothes even as it soars – and placates even as, per the title of this four-song, thirty-minute EP, it protests.

LANSING-DREIDEN – A SECTIONED BEAM (Kemado)
The oddly-named Brooklyn collective produces visual art as well as psychedelic music, offers no individual identities, conducts no interviews, list its tracks by Roman Numerals, and proclaims online that "All Lansing-Dreiden projects are fragmentary, mere stones in a path whose end lies in a space where the very definition of “path” paths." Pretentious? What, them? Hey, at least the music's good. This three-track follow-up to last year's debut full-length, A Sectioned Beam, is surprisingly cheerful for such an icey combo, and what it lacks in hooks it makes up for in texture. Still, take a chill pill, eh fellas?

HUMOROUS PRESS RELEASES, TOPICAL SONGS - AND GOOD MUSIC IN THE BARGAIN

Unless you work as a music journalist, you have no idea how tedious are most press releases. Not so with 'Former Sparks, Jet and Radio Stars composer/bassist Martin Gordon' – who could, admittedly, do with a more contemporary headline than one which exclusively references his 1970s resume. Still, once I got stuck into his biography, I couldn't help but admire his self-effacing cynicism. "Upon his return to the UK," it states, "he hit upon the considerably more lucrative concept of working for other people." (The names are published with the witty run-on, "the list is interminable.") After a detour with Boy George to India and Sezen Asku to Turkey, Gordon "provided bass for the 90s revival of semi-legendary proto-punks John's Children, until they recently embarked upon the inevitable, slow walk back to the pavilion." After which, in what must surely be his fifties, Gordon finally hit upon the novel concept of a solo career with a 2003 album called The Baboon In The Basement.

So, ok, he's a little old to start in on solo pop stardom. But his new album The Joy Of More Hogwash is nonetheless a garden of perverse delights. After all, has anyone half his age had the smarts to write as catchy a song as 'Oh No What Shall We Do (Daddy Lost His Head In A Coup)' about the 'Nigerian Internet banking scam' we've all been subjected to in our In-Boxes (several times over)? Does anyone else have the balls to cover the purposefully bad 'Love Power' from The Producers? And is there anyone else out there using former John's Children and very occasional Keith Moon stand-in Chris Townson as his drummer? As with all slightly pompous, psychedelic, power pop music that tells humorous stories (imagine John Otway fronting Queen in relaxed mood and you've got an idea of what's occasionally in store; otherwise the song 'Cheap Trick' provides a clue), the concept frequently sounds better than the reality, but still I can't help singing along to 'Land Of Nod' and 'Her Daddy Was A Dalek, Her Mummy Was A Non-Stick Frying Pan.'

Martin's website contains enough additional useless information – about Sparks, Radio Stars, John's Children and moles (the animals, not a band) – to keep you occupied for hours while you search fruitlessly for a free MP3 and an opportunity to actually buy the album.

FRIDAY JANUARY 21

FREE SWAG IS THE NEW OPEN BAR

From this week's Village Voice Fly Life Q&A with the irrepressible Dan Selzer?

Q: Why did you start NYHappenings?
A: To promote my and my friend's parties. I had hoped to be such an authority on nightlife that everyone would go to the shows and parties I recommend, but instead people just want to find out where the open bars are.

Too true. The NY Happenings list often seems to focus more on drinks specials than on featured artists. But hey, back when I was young (hee hee) I too would take a $10 cab across town for a 'free' beer that would have set me back all of a buck at the local deli. Now I drive to most events in Manhattan and therefore I'm less concerned about free drinks, and much more interested in …. Free swag.

I didn't need NY Happenings to remind me that Melody Nelson's Atomique night at Bar Eleven has shifted from Mondays to Thursday: I check her site regularly and she e-mails me info twice a week. Her latest invites mentioned an Ian Brown listening party and, somewhat unusually, free clothes. I got to Eleven early enough last night not only to acquire yet another copy of the Ian Brown album Solarized (don't worry, I give them all to good homes), but also to witness that New York rarity: truth in advertising...

For reasons that absolutely and completely escape me, The2HeadedDog decided to distribute several boxes worth of swag to the fifty-odd people like me who would surely have shown up for the party regardless. I swiped several woolly caps and a couple of hooded sweatshirts – extremely useful given that it was about 300 degrees below freezing on the city streets – along with a bunch of long-sleeved quality t-shirts that my wife received with great gratitude this morning, as they're apparently ideal for sitting up in the middle of the (freezing) night breastfeeding your baby while your hubby's out on the town.

I've since checked The2HeadedDog web site and it is, if you don't mind me dropping into hip-hop vernacular for a moment, some mad shit. Warning: Don't follow this link – or this one – unless you have broadband and a LOT of spare time to sniff for drugs and watch the world Strip Poker Championship.




Meanwhile, over at the Warp Records night at Rothko (an event I did learn about from NYHappenings), Drop The Lime was already on stage, exorcising all manner of personal demons as he ranted and raved along to his own Laptop-sequenced mutant drum and bass. The soccer shirt-wearing Lime boy had a group of friends dancing frenetically down the front and as I moved forward to take pictures one of them stomped (accidentally) on my big left toe that's already black and blue from a bad fit in the ski boots. I can still feel the bruise right now. I watched the rest of his set from several rows back and concluded that if I was 21 and raised on rave I would probably think this was punk rock, too. (Any younger than that, I'd have needed a fake ID to gain entry.)

Drop The Lime drops his bombs at Rothko. Can anyone identify his footie shirt? I think it says Valencia...

Jimmy Edgar plays it shy by comparison (and keeps his scarf on). Do you think the modern generation of Laptop artists show up to gigs and ask the headliners, "Do you mind if we use your Powerbook?" Just wondering...

I'd gone along to hear Jimmy Edgar, the Detroit native who follows that city's techno tradition of a) actually going by his real name, and b) being something of a prodigy (as opposed to The Prodigy), having delivered his impressive debut EP last year at just 19 years of age. Like almost everyone on this scene, Edgar delivered his live set through a Mac Powerbook, but unlike Drop The Lime, he didn't step in front of it to make a fool of himself. In fact, he didn't do very much at all, trusting that his only slightly mottled techno would communicate for him. And it did, for a while, encouraging the mixed crowd to shake their booties as generously as possible allowing that most of them were either wearing or carrying heavy coats to protect against the Arctic outdoor air.

Unfortunately – and oddly for someone making minimalist music – Edgar has yet to learn that when it comes to feature-less live shows, less is more: after 45 minutes, he'd worn the crowd down to around half its original size. I was among those who decided to call it a night around 1am, before Rephlex artist Cylob could take the stage. (I've got a baby at home: what's your excuse?) Had Rothko stuck to its original advertised intent and included DJs downstairs all night for free, the crowd might well have itself stuck around. Did the promoters wrongly presume that people would stay at home because of the cold? After all, New Yorkers are a hardy bunch and will regularly brave inclement weather for a good techtronic party. Or an open bar. And in my case, especially for free sports wear.


Returning to Melody Nelson, who is now rivaling Dan Selzer and Pascal Wyse (damn!) for frequent mentions at this site, she and her friend Jenyk are hosting a benefit at Rothko next Tuesday, not for Tsunami Relief (there were at least three such events going on in Manhattan last night that I knew of), but for a SpinArt label employee who's come down with a rare disease. Among those who've volunteered their services to aid their friend's future health are the city's exciting new Radiohead impersonators Benzos, DFA's James Murphy as DJ … and, iJamming!'s very own belated cult hero, Ted Leo. Tickets are just $15 up front, $20 on the night.

The Lovegod has posted a link to a Ted Leo session in The Pub. Otherwise it's been a little quiet in The Pub this week: what with the cold, I would have expected the New Yorkers to be staying in and logging on with their hot toddies/lovers' bodies beside them. Unless they’re out collecting free swag, of course

Check back on the page later today. I'm posting a massive round-up of Those That Almost Got Away from 2004: almost 20 truly eclectic, iconoclastic artists whose albums will brighten your winter. I assure you.


THURSDAY JANUARY 20

THE IJAMMING! INTERVIEW: THE FIERY FURNACES vs. THE WHO

For a Q magazine Special Edition on Icons, published in November 2004, I was commissioned to write profiles on Pete Townshend and Joe Strummer. To distinguish these pieces from the dozens of other similar features already out there, I was asked to interview musicians who were either similarly minded to or clearly influenced by my subjects. For the piece on Pete, I talked to Matt Friedberger of The Fiery Furnaces and Wayne Kramer of The MC5. (The Wayne Kramer interview is archived here.) Friedberger had many interesting points to make but, perhaps because his group are still mere critics' darlings and not yet popular icons themselves, his quotes were not used. A shame.

But that's where a writer's web site comes into play. (And indeed, it's why I initially set up iJamming!: to archive interviews like this.) And so, on this page, is a mostly unabridged transcript of our phone chat, with Matt talking almost exclusively about his attraction, as a kid growing up in Chicago in the late seventies and early 1980s, to The Who in general, and Pete Townshend in particular.

Matt Friedberger (pictured with sister Eleanor) on Pete Townshend: "The height of his virtuosity was making the instrument malfunction - as dramatically as possible."

Regular iJamming! readers will be aware how enamored I am of The Fiery Furnaces. The brother and sister team (Eleanor Friedberger sings and plays guitar; other musicians join them in concert), who moved from Chicago to Brooklyn a few years back, have released two remarkable albums on Rough Trade: Gallowsbird's Bark and Blueberry Boat. Gallowsbird's Bark came complete with an in-sleeve bio that referenced Matt's love for The Who, as follows:

"Matthew had only liked The Who. He had Who records and videotapes, and as a youth, down in the basement, he tried to make Who noises. "

Gallowsbird's Bark is a remarkable album. (You can read my review here.)But Blueberry Boat is even better – and, as I discussed with Matt, it displays an evident considerable late Sixties Who influence. You can read my full review of Blueberry Boat here. You can listen to a couple of cuts from that album at the group's otherwise out-dated web site, here. You can read my live review of The Fiery Furnaces' show at The Bowery Ballroom, October 2003, here. The live photos are from that same show.

I'm posting this transcript in January 2005, the same month in which The Fiery Furnaces have released, both in America and the UK, a new EP called, as the sexy sleeve makes apparent, EP. It gathers together assorted British singles and B-sides along with a couple of new tracks, one of which is entitled 'Here Comes The Summer.' No, it's not a cover of The Undertones' single of the same name, and yes, January is the wrong month to release it, unless you're in Australia, in which case it's already too late. Still, it's their most commercial offering to date. Assuming that sibling rivalry never gets the better of them, there's no reason for The Fiery Furnaces not to become our very own (alternative) Carpenters of the 2000s – and I mean that in the nicest, most complimentary way. CONTINUE HERE FOR THE INTERVIEW

The Fiery Furnaces' two albums - and new EP - are available online through amazon.co.uk and amazon.com


WE R IN NEED OF A MUSICAL REVOLUTION

President Bush is inaugurated for a second term today and I plan to mark the occasion by thoroughly ignoring it. Well, almost. I'm painfully aware of the President's claim that he has been handed a 'mandate' and I know that, assuming the touch-screen machines with their mindnumbingly mystifying absence of detail were accurate, he received more votes than any other Presidential candidate in history. Let's just remember – while forgetting for a moment all the impediments faced by many voters in poorer communities on Election Day – that John Kerry received the second highest number of votes of any Presidential Candidate in history. His 57,000,000+ votes would have even trounced Ronald Reagan's 1984 re-election landslide.

I am also now aware that, while Bush now joins an elite club of two-term Presidents (something his father, who now looks almost Saintly by comparison, could not achieve), he did so with "a poorer showing than any sitting president has made since the public turned against Woodrow Wilson in 1916." I checked that claim against the voting figures (here and here) and it's true. (There were also extraordinarily close elections in both 1960 and 1968, though in each case the sitting President was not up for re-election.) By strict definition of the term, Bush can claim he now has a mandate – though he got less votes in 2000 than Al Gore and acted like he had a mandate then, too. It's going to be a long four years.

As I've said before, I feel like I'm living back in the Britain of my youth, when Margaret Thatcher managed to get re-elected (twice!), with absolute Parliamentary majorities allowing her to do as she wanted, despite pulling a steadily lower percentage of a minority public vote in each of her re-elections – and in the face of widespread public hatred. Unlike in Britain, and unless Bush rewrites the Constitution - ahem - we can at least look forward to the prospect of a different President in four years from now. Small consolation.


WEDNESDAY JANUARY 19

ARMY OF ARMIES...

Synergy? Synchronicity? Mere coincidence? Or too freaky for words. No sooner are we talking of Army Of Me mixes than a band called Army Of Me shows up at the Brooklyn venue Southpaw, which they'll be playing tomorrow night. The DC group already has friends in this city: Army Of Me is cited in this week's Voice as having "already accomplished its goal of writing smart catchy pop tunes." Both The Voice and the Southpaw booker make references to Radiohead. Judge for yourself by listening to them here.


45 REVOLUTIONS PER MINUTE...

I'm on a roll today, so watch out. One of my fave people in New York, Dan Selzer, has finally received the star treatment he's long deserved: a feature all to himself in Tricia Romano's Village Voice Fly Life column. He even found time in his busy schedule to be witty in his comments.

What question do you wish people would ask you but never do?
"Will you accept money for DJ'ing or do you have to do it for free?"

Classic. I'm assuming Dan needs no introduction, by the way. If you visit iJamming! and don't know Dan, you ought to be visiting more often. He gets plugged here almost as often as Pasc. (Damn, there's another one.) And if you live in NYC, go out at nights, and don't know Dan, you're going to the wrong places. Believe me.


WE R IN NEED OF A MUSICAL REVOLUTION, Part 2

The current Newsweek has a feature on hip-hop executive Steve Stoute and his lucrative new exercise in "hooking up pops tars with big marketers." He's partnered Beyonce Knowles with Tommy Hilfiger, Jay-Z with Reebok and Gwen Stefani and P. Diddy with Hewlett Packard. But the following pairing takes the biscuit.

'"Stoute's work for McDonald's had an intriguing twist. Typically, consumer brands will license a classic hit (the Rolling Stones' "Start Me Up" for Windows 95). But Stoute lined up (Justin) Timberlake and superstar producing team the Neptunes to record a single titled—you guessed it—"I'm Lovin' It." Jive Records, the singer's label, released the record to radio. Then McDonald's launched the campaign with ads featuring Timberlake and images from the music video for the single. The campaign is "about music, entertainment, sports and fashion ..." McDonald's wrote in its annual report."'

It's about making money, period. I don't expect anything less from the mega-corporations of this world, i.e. McDonald's. But Justin Timberlake can go fuck himself. (And The Neptunes can join him.) And I hope all the dance-heads who decided that the post N*Sync solo superstar Timberlake was cool and hip are consigned to a hell of eating nothing but McDonalds for eternity.


For another take on how the likes of Stoute have sold out the hip-hop ideals, see Greg Tate's anger-ridden recent Village Voice cover story essay, Hip-hop Turns 30. It's essential reading for anyone who ever thought hip-hop had the power to change urban America for the better.

"Problem today is that where hiphop was once a buyer's market in which we, the elite hiphop audience, decided what was street legit, it has now become a seller's market, in which what does or does not get sold as hiphop to the masses is whatever the boardroom approves....

Oh, the selling power of the Black Vernacular. Ralph Ellison only hoped we'd translate it in such a way as to gain entry into the hallowed house of art. How could he know that Ralph Lauren and the House of Polo would one day pray to broker that vernacular's cool marketing prowess into a worldwide licensing deal for bedsheets writ large with Jay-Z's John Hancock? Or that the vernacular's seductive powers would drive Estée Lauder to propose a union with the House of P. Diddy? Or send Hewlett-Packard to come knocking under record exec Steve Stoute's shingle in search of a hiphop-legit cool marketer?"


TUESDAY JANUARY 18

REVOLUTIONS...

"I'm so sick and tired of the shit on the radio
And MTV they only play the same thing,
no matter where I go, I see Ashanti on the video,
I want something more."

'We R In Need of A Musical Revolution', Esthero, from new EP of same name on Reprise Records


...REMIXES...

On Friday, I wrote about the various Tsunami relief fund-raising concepts, noting that Bjork's appeal for 'Army Of Me' remixes for an impending double CD was perhaps the most original and entertaining. I should have expected that one the thousands of bedroom musicians to take up her challenge would be my mate Pascal Wyse, who shows up on this site with enough regularity that either I'm going to have to start paying him royalties or he's going to have to start producing the payola.

Anyway, not only did Pasc and a couple of mates do their damndest to give 'Army of Me' an English Morris Dance feel, but Mr. Wyse then wrote up the whole story for the Guardian Arts Section, which in turn provides a link to the remix itself. (That's synergy for you.) Be warned: it's weird! As he describes the process....

"We were heading for larks ascending, church bells pealing, and the gentle putter of a lawn mower. Cheering the track up was one thing; turning it in to an episode of The Vicar of Dibley quite another."


You can't tell from the remix, but Pasc can actually play the trombone – and bloody well. You will, however, get proof his brass on 'Don't Stop 2005', the new recording from the impending Going Up In The World: The Best Of Apocalypse 1982-83. Come to think of it, I didn't pay Pasc for playing on that track, so scrap the bit about payola.


...REMISSES...

Last Monday, making some belated observations about the Tsunami, I asked aloud whether the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center had actually 'paid for itself,' so to speak. Once I got rounding to reading the magazines that had piled up in the aftermath of our Noel's birth, I saw the answer had already been published in Newsweek, and it is "yes". The PTWC has successfully predicted all five Pacific Tsunamis since its inception after a 1946 Tsunami that swamped Hawaii; it also issued another fifteen "false alarms." You would hope that kind of average – one out of four – would be high enough to save lifes, but humans are a strange breed. When the PTWC "correctly predicted that the magniotude 9.5 earthquake off the coast of Chile on May 22, 1960 - the most powerful of the 20th Century - would generate dangerous tsunamis in Hawaii... 61 people in Hilo drowned when they apparently failed to hear, or heed, the warning to head for higher ground."


...AND RECORDS.

We also talked a little last week (well, I did anyway) about the current British and American charts. In doing so, I offered the caveat that "sales are usually low in January, allowing new acts to poke through." I hadn't realized just how low they had sunk in the UK. This week, Elvis Presley notched up the 1000th UK Number One Single – and rendered the triumph somewhat hollow by scoring a second, um, record: the lowest one-week sales of any of those 1000 singles. His 'One Night' made it to the top spot this week (36 years after doing so while the King was still alive) on just 20,463 sales. The previous lowest-selling number one single? Last week's Elvis Presley number 1: 'Jailhouse Rock,' with 21,262 sales.

If you're wondering why anyone should be rushing out to buy Elvis singles all over again, apparently these have been strategically re-issued in a limited 30,000 run – ensuring that Elvis collectors snap them up on release. In case that does not seem "fair" (though the British record labels stopped following MCC rules many years ago when it comes to hyping the charts), you may want to pause to consider what would have happened to the charts had Elvis not been around this week (musically speaking, of course): the number 1 single would instead have been 'One Night' by the Manic Street Preachers, with… 12,753 sales.

Hopefully, these depressing figures will not dampen the spirits of iJamming! Pub Regular Chris Charlesworth, who has stealthily been preparing a book called 1000 British Number 1 Hits, to be published by Omnibus as soon as possible. (i.e. Next week!) In the meantime, if you're impatient to read up about 'Christmas Alphabet' or 'Hernando's Hideaway,' you can do at this web site., which has currently reviewed some 17.8% of those 1000 Number One singles.


MONDAY JANUARY 17

CLOSED FOR MARTIN LUTHER KING DAY

2005 MUSINGS:

Jan 10-16: Tsunami observations/relief efforst/fund-raisers, Best Wines of 2004, British vs. American charts, Alba Chambourcine wine review
Jan 3-9: The Best Of 2004 - Albums and Singles; Biggest Disappointments of 2004; Minutes of A Miracle: Our Son Noel; New York Club Nights

2004 MUSINGS ARE LISTED HERE
2003 MUSINGS ARE LISTED HERE
2002 MUSINGS ARE LISTED HERE
:


iJamming! Site Copyright Tony Fletcher 2004




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WHAT'S NEW IN iJAMMING!...

The IJAMMING! Interview:
Matt Friedberger of The Fiery Furnaces on Pete Townshend

2004: THE YEAR IN REVIEW
1) The Best Album & Singles
2) Most Disappointing Albums
3) Best Wines of 2004

FEATURED WINE:
ALBA VINEYARDS
Chambourcin 2002
New Jersey, USA

THE DECEMBER HITLIST:
Album reviews of Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen, John Cale, Nick Cave, The Scumfrog, Freq Nasty, DFA, Grip Weeds, High Dials

OLD EUROPE, NEW WINES
Modern treats from Italy, Austria and France

THE IJAMMING! INTERVIEW:
Wayne Kramer on Pete Townshend

HOLIDAY WINE REPORT:
Six all-Americans for the Drinkking Season

JOHN PEEL: A Tribute

THE OCTOBER HITLIST:
Fiery Furnaces, Green Day, Bowling For Soup, Paul Weller, The Go! Team, Fatboy Slim, R.E.M., Kevin Tihista, Brian Wilson

FESTIVE MEMORIES:
A report from THE V FESTIVAL, Stafford, England, Aug 21-23

ABSOLUTE AFFIRMATION:
A NEW YORK HITLIST
(10 new Albums)

The SUMMER HITLIST:
More culture than makes sense

From the Jamming! Archives
THE HOMOSEXUALS, 1979

DVD REVIEW:
JEFF MILLS - EXHIBITIONIST

BOOK REVIEW:
SONGBOOK by NICK HORNBY

HIGHWAY TO UNHEALTHY:
Why Fast Food depends on Cheap Oil

THE JUNE HITLIST:
12 featured albums, 15 more in rotation, three 12" singles and a handful of books.

FEATURED OREGON WHITE WINES:
Foris Vineyards Gewürztraminer and Witness Tree Pinot Blanc.

THE APRIL HITLIST:
MUSIC, BOOKS, FILMS, TV, BEER, WINE AND FOOD-JUICE

THE UNDERTONES
Live in New York

THE MARCH HITLIST:
REISSUES REVISITED

From the Jamming! Archives
TONY PARSONS on BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN, 1984

The biggest night out that you'll ever have in." Jockey Slut
"Hedonism will have you gripped from start to finish, guaranteed." International DJ


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