muckefuck: (zhongkui)
How is it that I never knowingly heard this song before today?



(Led here by a mention in the Ken Bruen novel that I'm bingereading at the moment.)
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Mar. 2nd, 2015 10:44 pm

Pall cof

muckefuck: (zhongkui)
In the summer of '92 I was burglarised. It was not nearly as bad as it could've been. When I saw the screen pushed up on the window I'd left unlocked, I dreaded getting inside and finding my roommate's computer gone. But it wasn't. They'd only taken what was within reach of the window, which happened to be a cheap walkman and a case full of cassettes. One of the two I had and, perversely, the one with the more obscure items. Among the odd mixtapes and such was a treasure from my trip to Wales that I'd played the shit out of during my tour of Europe, a compilation of tunes by bands from the Welsh-language alternative music scene like Ffa Coffi Pawb and Tynal Tywyll. My favourites, though, were a track called "Animal Farm" by a band whose name I no longer remember and the title track, "Hei, Mr DJ", by Welsh rock legend Geraint Jarman.

The Internet gave me hope, and then took it away again; intermittent searching over the years has led me to the sad conclusion that I will never find another copy of the album to call my own. But today I did happen to search Jarman's tune and found it available on Amazon music for 99¢. It was only $6.99 for the whole album, so on a whim I bought it. Imagine my disappointment to play a track I haven't heard in nearly 23 years but can still sing the chorus of ("Gwranda arna i 'nawr / Mae'r to yn dod i lawr") only to find that, musically, it's practically a cover version of Alpha Blondy's "Brigadier Sabari". A killer tune, to be sure, but in my memory it had always been something more special. Oh well; there's 13 more tracks in the cache. Maybe there's a new favourite lurking among them.
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muckefuck: (zhongkui)
There are mondegreens, and then there mondegowans. This one of my all-time favourite tunes from The Pogues:



This is how I thought the chorus went )
This is what they're apparently singing )
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muckefuck: (zhongkui)
Okay, I think I may be getting a little obsessed with this remix of Hunters & Collectors' arty early 80s classic "Talking to a Stranger" by modern sampling gods The Avalanches:



H&C is a band I remember loving in high school, yet when I listened to them again recently, I couldn't hear what I heard them. This version sounds like the ideal of them I carry in my head.
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muckefuck: (zhongkui)
Feeling chronically uninspired. Time to post a Swedish rap video and ask a question:



Can anyone identify the song(s) they've sampled for the backing track? I can't quite identify it and it's annoying me something awful.
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muckefuck: (zhongkui)
Today's Aha-Erlebnis: Finding out that the one member of the band who did this song:

Did this song:

And another member did this song:

and this song:


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muckefuck: (zhongkui)
The break-out moment for nibling cuteness came the night before I left when their parents were out and I was helping Mom watch them. OGI had had a late nap so we abandoned all hope of putting him to bed at 9 p.m. and let him watch some sparkly Disney confection until he simply gave out. Long before that happened, he paused it for some reason and I, seeing my chance, tried to think of some music video that I could play which would grab his attention while remaining within my sister's strict guidelines. I came up with this:



I forgot that doing well on this can be as bad as doing badly: naturally he wanted to watch it again and again. (The next day, I tried interspersing the OK Go video with the dogs between reps; he patiently watched it then asked for "the other one again".) The third or fourth time, IMI happened along. Now, whereas OGI still watches videos with complete and mute absorption, his older brothers have learned to be a bit more interactive. IMI didn't let the fact that he didn't actually know any words to the song stop him from singing along. I tried my best to prompt him on the "HEY!s" but he only hit them about half the time.

Actually, they all had moments of real sweetness that night. When I walked in the door, relieved to have break from entertaining my father 24/7, ECI suddenly clung to me like a limpet. He's the brightest and often most restless of the boys, but when it comes to being affectionate he really runs hot and cold. But what was übercharming was watching AWI stepping into his role as the oldest. Earlier, when they were all playing video games but AWI had already exhausted his allotted time, he instead focused on helping OGI play his. (And I mean really helping, not pretending to help while playing the game for him.) It was less charming that he kept interrupting my conversation with Mom to draw my attention to game animations, but he took it well when I told him, "You know, this is a lot less compelling than you seem to think it is."
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muckefuck: (zhongkui)
At work we're learning something called "Resource Description and Access". You don't really need to know anything about it except that it's exactly as tedious as it sounds. To keep awake during our weekly discussions, I have to focus on any shiny bit of fluff that blows through the room. Recently, we were tackling the sticky subject of how the standards apply to compilations and collections. Some of our examples were songbooks and one of the song titles which leapt out at me was "The House Carpenter". I made some smartalecky remark about it and a colleague of mine responded, "I actually know that one."

A couple days later, [livejournal.com profile] nihilistic_kid posted this:
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muckefuck: (zhongkui)
Sean-nós singing is one of those (like calligraphy or infusing vodka) that I've always wanted to get into but have never quite managed to. I have some appreciation for how it's supposed to work, but the aesthetic is so very different from the mainstream Western tradition that I know best that I've struggled to find a point of entry. There's a superficial resemblance to Baroque opera (which I also came to relatively late) in the weight laid on ornamentation, but the composition style is completely different.

That said, looks like I may have found my gateway:



Lyrics and translation here: http://www.celticlyricscorner.net/compilations/aisling.htm. As luck would have it, he is a native speaker of precisely the variety of Irish that I've studied. Man, if I could only have one tenth the blas he does, do gheobhainn mo bhas mar fhear atá sona sásta!
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Sunday night, for reasons which are now obscure to me, I was joking around with the Old Man about state symbols. For instance, I told him that the State Rock of Missouri was something called "mozarkite" and asked him if he knew what it was for California, his home state. He said he didn't, although he thought it might be a botryoidal form of jade. I considered this for a moment and said, "I know! It must be yosemite!" (Actually, it's serpentine.)

Then I started teasing him about the State Song. "O Clementine"? "That's not about California!" he protested, prompting me to belt out:
In a cavern, in a canyon,
Excavating for a mine
Dwelt a miner forty niner,
And his daughter Clementine
I hummed "Do You Know the Way to San Jose?" and he said, "That's not about California, it's about San Jose."

At which point I pointed out that there are essentially two kinds of compositions which get designated official state symbols: Well-loved songs associated with a state, which are likely to be rather more specific in their references (since the better songs of that era tend to tell stories, and it's unlikely you'll have a tale which just happens to namecheck all the important locations within a state) and songs commissioned especially for that purpose, which tend to be awful.

No prizes for guessing which of the two Illinois has. (Here's a link to the lyrics. Anyone who can get through more than a stanza without feeling the urge to vomit probably deserves some sort of prize.) [livejournal.com profile] monshu pointed out that a fair number probably consist of some shitty poem composed by a local greengrocer's wife which were later set to music. As it turns out, that's pretty much the story of California's selection.

My home state, by contrast, went the "well-loved" route, which brings with it its own problems, given how much sensibilities have changed in a century. Wikipedia describes the "Missouri Waltz" as "essentially ... a minstrel song" and the original version includes this noteworthy stanza:
Way down in Missouri where I heard this melody,
When I was a Pickaninny on ma Mammy's knee;
The darkies were hummin'; their banjos were strummin';
So sweet and low.
The bowdlerised version in current use (no date for when that happened, but I'm willing to bet it's mortifyingly recent) substitutes "Mommy" for "Mammy", "little child" for "pickaninny", and "old folks" for "darkies", but nobody's fooled--particularly with the words "Dixie" and "Dixieland" intact. No wonder I never once heard the song growing up, let alone learned to sing it.

Could be worse, of course: my birth state's song was written by a bonafide Confederate, leading to such choice lines as "Huzza! she spurns the Northern scum!" (sung to the tune of "O Tannebaum" for maximum cognitive dissonance). Colorado actually had a perfectly respectable tune in "Where the Columbines Grow", which I imagine became a little awkward after the effects of April 20, 1999; it's now co-official with John Denver's "Rocky Mountain High" and I don't think I have to guess which of those is more commonly performed.
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In general, I'm not impressed with the algorithms YouTube uses to suggest videos I might be interested in. This, however, was spang on target:
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Today around lunchtime my workplace staged a performance of John Cage's 4'33" in honour of the centennial of his birth. They did it DIY-style, so it had some of the feel of a happening. One of my colleagues brought a surf guitar. (Requests to play "Miserlou" or "Rock Lobster" fell on deaf ears.) Another had a didgeridoo. The head of Africana played a vuvuzela. There were two people with tin cans and a length of string.

The conductor used the same time intervals as in the original performance, i.e. 33", 2'20", and 1'40". He signaled the start of each movement with a downbeat and the end by lowering the baton. Some performers held their instruments on their laps, others readied them as if to play. Pablo held a set of headphones attached to an iPod queued up for Lou Reed's Metal Machine Music (which he played during the tune-up phase). At the beginning of each movement, he turned on the power to the headphones, and shut if off at the end.

The silence would've been exquisite if not for damn fool photographer shooting it all with one of those antique cameras with a mechanical shutter. I seriously wanted to ask him to knock it off. Afterwards, a young guy asked my big bear colleague for a try on his didgeridoo. Whereas BBC failed to get a decent tone out of it, this guy played a mini concert in-between explaining his circular breathing technique. I was so rapt I clean forgot about the cheese platter in the next room.
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What the hell: That botanicoetymologicomusical conversation at Buck's is worth expanding on a bit.

As per our wont (and thanks to Nuphy's early arrival), we had secured one of the two tables on the back deck, with a commanding view of the patio and easy access to the main trafficway. At this point, we were six: JP and his hubby had shortly joined me, [livejournal.com profile] monshu, our former boarder, and Nuphy. The place was filling up, so several men sat down on the bench directly beside us, which abuts the surrounding fence. The fence is overhung with vines and one of the men said, "I hope that's not poison ivy."

"It isn't," I volunteered, "it's Virginia creeper."

"You must have some botanical knowledge," said one of them, a clean-shaven chaser in his early 30s.

"My father taught horticulture," I replied, "so I know some plant names."

He turned out to have a background as a naturalist. I told him about my father's recent trip to the Bootheel and he mentioned that he and his lover were heading down to St Genevieve shortly. But before all the getting-to-know you stuff, he'd asked me what the scientific name was for creeper, and I'd had to admit I didn't know.

Later, when I was distracted by another conversation, he looked it up on his phone: Parthenocissus quinquefolia. We both knew the meaning of the second term ("five-leaved"), but the generic name had us stumped. "I think the first part is 'virgin'," I volunteered and struggled to recall who the Parthenon was dedicated to. Nuphy was inconveniently absent buying drinks at the moment, and I told my new buddy, "He'll know for sure, he minored in Greek."

He did know which virgin goddess the Parthenon was named for. (Athena--how could I have forgotten that after only two drinks?) But "cissus" had him as baffled as we were until he broke out the Liddell-Scott Greek Lexicon on his phone and discovered that it was a Latinisation of κισσός "ivy". So "five-leaved virgin ivy".

I couldn't think what the origin of that could be unless it was a reference to parthenogenesis, which naturally recalls for me the chorus of the Shriekback song "Nemesis". I thought JP, being of my generation, would remember it, too, so I sang a line or two with the intention of bringing him into the conversation. Blank. So I spelled out the name for him to look up on YouTube, and he set his phone in the middle of the table so all of us could enjoy the cheeseriffic 80s video while I sang along for the benefit of those who might've had trouble making out the lyrics. (Oddly, the outdoor speakers were not on, prompting one of the employees passing our table to say, "Finally, some music out here!")

Oh, why not:


[Apologies for the gratuitous Tracy Morgan.]
muckefuck: (Default)
Cocktail Night took an odd turn somewhere about the second round of mint juleps. I don't know why Mazeppa was talking about the parody of "Tom's Diner" that mashes the song up with the "I Dream of Jeannie" theme, but I overheard enough to shriek, "I have that album!" before running downstairs to pull a huge box of CDs from the closet. Amazingly, it was in only about the third layer from the top, but I kept whipping out other favourite discs and holding them up to various guests to appreciate.

Soon after, we were gathered in the sitting room listening to some forgotten parodist sing "And Jeannie always means well / But they get in wacky trouble / She folds her arms and blinks her eyes / It's kind of like Bewitched". I went into the kitchen to mix another julep and the next song I remember hearing was from ABC. Always interesting to hear which bands someone will defend to the death and which they wish they could kill with fire, to find out which secret adolescent pleasures of yours were shared by someone halfway across the continent who you wouldn't meet for another pair of decades.

We were late getting to the bar, which didn't bother me because, despite the unholy convergence of Bear Night, Cinco de Mayo, and the Supermoon, there wasn't much afoot. I barely stayed an hour before returning to sup on TUMS and listen to a few tunes before heading to bed.
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Jan. 9th, 2012 04:04 pm

Hard Wood

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[livejournal.com profile] monshu has a new computer installed in his downstairs work nook, one with a screen large enough that it's actually pleasant to surf artsy blogs and browse eBay. Much of the time he was doing that on Sunday, I was tapping away on the PC upstairs. But the laundry couldn't be put off forever and so, on one of my passes through the den, he pulled me over and put the earphones on me for this song:



I'll confess, pretty soon I was playing less attention to the music than to the pretty-eyed hunk singing lead. His name is Chris Wood, a modern folkie with an Estuary accent but Yorkshire roots. If you didn't get a good enough look at those icy blues in that video, here's a closer look:



Again, not a song that would normally interest me much, but the title nicely sums up its effect on me.

[Countdown now running till the moment one of my UK informants like [livejournal.com profile] oh_meow or [livejournal.com profile] richardthinks tells me that everyone there thinks him a total cock since he was picked up on Hurst Street whacking drag queens with Morris sticks after he drunkenly hurled a scrumpy bottle at a Bangladeshi during a folk festival or something.]
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Now if I couldn't get my crap together to get myself to a party in Oak Park, you can bet your sweet tuchis that I wasn't going to make it a party in bleedin' Peoria. It's a credit to [livejournal.com profile] aadroma that I gave some serious consideration to the idea before bowing to the inevitability of my lameassedness. [livejournal.com profile] monshu, of course, couldn't be dragged downstate even if you pickled him in vodka and lashed him to a sledge for anything, much less Eurovision. He confessed that he didn't even really know what Eurovision was.

And that's where the fun began.

I don't know if he ended up listening to all of the selections online, but he got through a goodly portion of them. I had been doing some listening of my own, but with a different aim: to find some of the most cheeseball nominees from ESCs past with which to torture my friends on Facebook. That's how I stumbled upon this absolutely cringe-inducing number from big Swedish bear Roger Pontare. (I just couldn't do it to them.)

Of course, YouTube is like a bitter ex that never forgets a bad turn you've done it, so when I checked in today, I found it had a little recommendation for me:



At first, I thought the nagging familiarity could be put down to what [livejournal.com profile] monshu was complaining about yesterday, the numbing derivativeness of the bombastic "Eurovision style". But after a minute or so, I realised that the familiarity was first-hand: I had actually heard this song before. But where? Last Advent, during my brief excitement for all things Swedish? Nah. Then when?

At last it dawned on me: Ursavision 2006. If only I had the video and not just the audio, I suspect I never would've forgotten!
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The trip back to Chicago was as smooth as supermarket yoghurt. Southwest said my plane was ten minutes delayed, but after my Christmas debacle I refused to believe them and in fact it left on time. I caught the Orange Line by a whisker and the Devon bus as well, getting me home in good time for the best meal I've had in a week. (Last night I ate reubens; tonight we toasted our own multigrain pita chips and then spread them with bleu cheese and honey-soaked walnuts and pinenuts. I don't mean to dis hospitality, but seriously no contest.)

Much to blog about Missouri, including the complete wildflower roster from our day in Ha Ha Tonka and the freshly-updated Crazy Report (executive preview: lots more crazy!). But of course I'm exhausted so all I have for now is this charming video from Diego and Uncle Betty. Never heard of Manel before, but I'm interested in hearing more. And Sergi López has never looked hotter!

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That's what I asked [livejournal.com profile] monshu for last night as I was preparing the couscous and this is what he came up with:
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