Sunday, September 14, 2008

Interlude: Late Night Playlist

I recently was up late and messing around with iTunes, and I came up with this playlist. I like it, and I feel like sharing. Consider it a snapshot of my current music tastes as opposed to the late 90's / early 00's fare featured here (and yes, I really do like Steely Dan, and not in an ironic way). Youtube versions are linked whenever possible.

1) Steely Dan - Babylon Sisters
2) Azure Ray - These Bright Lights Will Bend to Make Blue
3) Ladyhawke - Paris is Burning [I am obsessed with this song]
4) Tilly and the Wall - Reckless [youtube audio sounds it was recorded at the bottom of a well]
5) Sufjan Stevens - Say YES! to M!CH!GAN! [very odd, unofficial youtube]
6) Paris Combo - Interlude Potzi
7) Jens Lekman - A Man Walks Into a Bar [live youtube]
8) Laika - If You Miss
9) Squarepusher - Hello Meow
10) Yo La Tengo - Can't Forget
11) Ellen Allien and Apparat - Rotary
12) Joe Jackson - Real Men [shout out to my sister, who is the source of this one]
13) Annie - Heartbeat
14) Everything But the Girl - Low Tide of the Night
15) Badly Drawn Boy - River, Sea, Ocean
16) M.I.A. - Paper Planes

Dishes Disease / Rancid

Artist: Breakbeat Era
Album: Our Disease / Rancid [Single]
Released in: 1999

So, yes, Breakbeat Era only have one full album, but they also have a small cluster of singles. Apparently, I own this one. I only have two comments on it.

  • Listening to Rancid again made me realize I should have included in the list of good songs below. It's quite enjoyable, from the Portishead-like guitar in the beginning to the searing vocals. And maybe I should have been less harsh on Breakbeat Era since three good songs is not an inconsiderable achievement.
  • The rest of the EP is a couple of remixes and one B-side. The remixes are not credited to anyone so they're presumably by Breakbeat Era itself and they're kind of .... boring. My harshness in re: Breakbeat Era's boring beats remains in place.

Sunday, September 7, 2008


Artist: Breakbeat Era
Album: Ultra-Obscene
Released in: 1999

Breakbeat Era are DJ Die, Roni Size and vocalist Leonie Laws. They only ever released this one album -- my (completely unfounded) guess is that DJ Die and Leonie were a couple and then they split up. The one time I saw DJ Die spin in person (in 2002?), there was no Leonie Laws backing him up, but there was a similarly small, dark and attractive woman MC'ing.

Anyway, I had fond memories of this album, but listening to it now I find it rather disappointing. The basic sound is the darker, hard-thumping side of 90's d'n'b that's also found in Reprazent (no surprise there, given the personnel overlap). Laws is on vox, and man, is she angry. She snarls, threatens, tosses around insults (Here's to another / crap weekend / You lied to yourself / And you s*** on all your friends), and generally goes to town. This works on the songs Bullitproof and Time 4 Breaks where her voice and the beats really work together to create a powerfully emotional package (please ignore the anime montage behind the youtube video for Time 4 Breaks...). The rest of the time, Leonie's just going on up there and not only do her lyrics get more enigmatic/inane (Emma may look like a man / but she sucks spice[?] / she sucks my life), but I feel like the guys are letting her down in terms of the beats. It's the same boring breaks over and over. AMG doesn't seem to mind, but Pitchfork calls it a disposable album. I'm leaning more towards Pitchfork.

P.S. If you're reading this, comment. Please. Just 'hi' is fine.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

New Dishes

Artist: The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band
Album: New Tricks
Released in: 2000
Provenance: England

I was dreading this moment in the Dishes Project. A friend from England burned me a copy of this CD, I was a bit put off by the band name, and I ignored it for apparently the seven years that have elapsed since. However, I had not fully realized that the Bonzos are to be filed under humor (cf. Flight of the Conchords). I was pleasantly surprised by the silliness (watch The Intro and the Outro), the adept satires of British pop genres, and the very Monty-Python-like Shirts (not on youtube, sadly). Seven years later, thanks Amy!