A soundtrack to hack to

I am getting a little freaked out by this blogging stuff. I have just realized that a number of people were listening in on the conversation I thought I was mostly just mumbling to myself. Any sane person would just shut up, oddly enough I am drawn on. So to chase any hooners away I thought I would spew forth on music for a change.

When I am on my laptop (>12 hours a day) I need tunes. For me, the ideal conditions for logical thinking are a separation of mind and body - a separation characterized by a rhythmic bobbing of the head to some sort of low frequency rhythm. As my head bobs, the code flows.

I find the best source for music is a public radio station in Los Angeles called KCRW. They are basically an NPR affiliate but they also do a lot of music - cutting edge, non-corporate, non-mainstream, and absolutely beautiful. They offer an all music stream which cuts out the news, and I streamed this constantly when we were living in Oxford. Thanks to StreamRipper I managed to save hundreds of hours worth of KCRW music. Its a bit low brow to point proudly to your music collection which is just a modern version of cassette tapes copied from the radio with DJs, advertisements, jingles and all - but that is what I am doing. Sadly I haven't been able to update my collection in 9 months, but recently I discovered another KCRW groupie here in Lilongwe and she has access to a satellite connection (grumble, grumble, spit) at her work (US government). I have taught her how to save the streams, so as soon as I get our laptops together and music transferred I will have new music to groove to.

Apparently a lot of artists get their first play on KCRW. Dido, Nora Jones, David Gray, and lots of Latino bands are on the KCRW first play Curriculum Vitae. So I thought I would mention a few songs/bands that I don't think will go onto Britney Speardom, but struck me as quite crazy cool. Apologies if any of these have indeed reached Britney Speardom - I have been out of it for a while.

Firs two bands. I wouldn't be surprised if these two have gone a bit mainstream, but I think they are both great. The Dresden Dolls have a sort of Gothy feeling - and I really like "Coin Operated Boy" - a song expressing frustration about the shortcomings of human relationships with lines like "Love without complications galore" remind me of Isaac Asimov's I Robot.

Next is Le Tigre - a butch lesbian band that absolutely rocks. Oddly some of their music kind of sounds like cheerleaders rapping to a disco beat. I totally dig it.

Now to the songs, most of which I have no idea who sings them, but who cares when we have google.

Portland, Oregon. I have no idea why I like this song so much. The rough female vocalist sounds straight out of backwoods Oklahoma, and I think she is what makes this song so unique. It opens with her rasping, "Well Portland Oregon and Slow Gin Fizz, if that ain't love then tell me what is". The guitar work and blend of sounds are fantastic. They get drunk and fall in love. End of story, play it again Sam.

If Jesus drove a motor home. I love stuff that takes Jesus out of the confined religious rhetoric of 2000 years and paints him as the kind of person that would be best friends with a bunch of rough illiterate fishermen. This song isn't attempting any kind of seriousness, but somehow it speaks to me:
If Jesus Drove a motorhome and he come to your town
would you try to talk to him, would you follow him around?
Buddha on a motorcycle
Mohamed on a train
Here come Jesus in the passing lane
But everybody smile cause everybody groovin'
Ain't nothing like feeling the movin'
With a bonafied motorized savior
We'd be cool wherever we roam if Jesus drove a motorhome

Summertime Girlfriend - This is a completely random song about one guy's girlfriend and the free-spirited seasonal devotion he has to her. It is a feelgood, forget about reality and fade into meaningless kick-back beach bumdum. With a simple rhyme of, "She's my summertime girlfriend, I hope summer never ends" and the classic "I dedicate my life to her tan lines" I was hooked.

Honorable Mention
Rabbit Hole by Lizzie West

There is also some killer drum and bass and techno that find their way onto the late night shows like Metropolis and Nocturna. If I didn't have a night guard watching me and the human need for sleep I would just dance under the moon all night every night.

Finally the show Chocolate City with Garth Trinidad is a cultural treasure. He transcends hip hop, plays meaningful rap, and exposes authentically African music, but I think the gems are when he integrates spoken word artists into his set. LA has quite the scene for African American spoken word poetry, and you can bet your ClearChannel corporate losers that you won't hear it on any frequency but Chocolate City's.

Thanks KCRW.

1 Response to A soundtrack to hack to

  1. andrew says:

    actually le tigre was picked up by... hmm hold on I think Universal...

    yeah This Island was the first one on Universal.

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