Sunday, June 24, 2007

Toadies - Hell Below/Stars Above

Hell Below/Stars Above
(Rapidshare)

If you couldn't tell, I'm really strapped for time this week (work, work, and, uh, work!), so I'm going to be brief.

When I think of overlooked albums that should be reconsidered and granted near-classic status, I think of Miltown. Kidding! I really think of the Toadies's misunderstood and certainly underexposed sophomore release Hell Below/Stars Above

These Texas boys seemed happy enough to mine grunge after the fallout, forging it with the kind of post-hardcore that was beginning to really build up steam at the time on Rubberneck, the band's one moment o' fame (that moment being the charting single "Possum Kingdom"). But, nothing (even a six year wait!) could prepare the world for Hell Below/Stars Above, a slice of muscular, aggressive rock that was as catchy as all get-out and compelling at every turn. Not only was it incredibly well-crafted, but it burned with the kind of passion that you just don't expect from a band's second album.

Unfortunately, the mainstream never caught on (probably because it took six damn years), relegating this prime slice of 21st century rawk to blogs like this one that happily sing its praises. Worth a look, trust me.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Kagrra - Gozen

Gozen
(Megaupload)

If you couldn't tell, I'm really strapped for time this week (work, work, and, uh, work!), so I'm going to be brief.

In Japan, there's an artistic movement dubbed "visual kei." From Wikipedia:

Visual kei (ヴィジュアル系, vijuaru kei?, literally "visual style") refers to a movement in Japanese popular culture characterized by the use of eccentric, sometimes flamboyant looks. This usually involves striking make-up, unusual hair styles and
elaborate
costumes, often, but not always, coupled with androgyny or distinctively feminine or bishōnen aesthetics.


Kagrra sorta/kinda fits in with these groups. Why bring this up? Just a friendly warning before you fall in love with these, uh, "beautiful creatures"* like my friend accidently did with Dir En Grey (whoops!).

Anyway, the pull of Kagrra, for me anyway, has been the music, an irresistible mix of western pop/rock with incredibly catchy hooks and a slight nod to the heritage of Japan. It sounds distinctly Western, yet something that could only from Japan at the same time. At times, it's gorgeous, filled to the brim with a certain melancholy that's easy to translate even if the words and the band's look aren't. "Ihoukyou" is the standout, starting out like a cheesy rocker and evolving into something that's sublime by pop standards, a perfect anthemic chorus and a bridge that rocks in a special Eastern kind of way.

A must.

*Friend's words, not mine.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Steve Reich - Drumming

Drumming
(Megaupload)

If you couldn't tell, I'm really strapped for time this week (work, work, and, uh, work!), so I'm going to let AMG's D. J. Hoek lead you through this one:

Following intensive study of West African music at the University of Ghana in 1970, Steve Reich returned to the United States with a heightened interest in polyrhythm and the desire to compose his first large-scale work. The resulting composition, Drumming (1971), requires more performers, employs greater variety in instrumentation, and — at ninety minutes in length — is longer than any of Reich's earlier works. This more expansive approach represents the culmination of Reich's experiments in phase shifting and positions Drumming as one of the first masterpieces of musical minimalism.

Although Reich's time in Ghana introduced him to the music and traditions of another culture, his studies there were most important in reinforcing his own predilection with repetition and slowly changing patterns. While the shifting polyrhythms of his compositions at the time seemed foreign to Western art music, Reich found similar manners of organization in African drumming, and this sense of musical heritage encouraged him to continue his experiments.

In Drumming, a single rhythmic pattern provides the source material for the entire composition. Although this sort of economy also characterizes most of his earlier pieces, Reich develops this cell not only through rhythmically shifting repetitions, but also through varying timbral combinations.

Each of the four parts that comprise Drumming — performed in sequence without pause — features a particular instrumental-vocal ensemble: Part One is written for bongos and male voice; Part Two is for marimbas and female voices; Part Three is for glockenspiels, piccolo, and whistling; and Part Four, the composition's apex, includes all the instrumental and vocal forces from the previous sections. These instrumental combinations would prove significant: the instrumentation for mallet percussion appears in a number of Reich's later works, and the textless vocalizations recur in Music for Mallet Instruments, Voices, and Organ (1973) and Music for 18 Musicians (1976), as well as in many works by fellow minimalist Philip Glass. By melding the crisp precision of percussion with the inherent lyricism of human voices (which are at times extended by whistling and the use of the piccolo), Reich creates smooth transitions between sections of contrasting orchestration while maintaining the timbral and textural interest that enhances Drumming's fundamental rhythmic momentum.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Miltown - Miltown

Miltown
(Megaupload)
Here, Jonah Jenkins (Only Living Witness, Milligram) joined future mega-producers Brian McTernan and Matt Squire on this, their first non-7" release. And what a promising release it would be, a great glimpse of a band whose life would be cut short by label bullshit and lame music politics. It's a bit like late OLW with the catchiness amped up, stitting comfortably alongside the rest of the bands that were a part of that 90s post-hardcore explosion. Worth it just to hear Jonah in fine form (dude nails The Cure cover, "Jumping Someone Else's Train"), but also worth it because it seriously rocks, as thick, crunchy guitars with a hint of groove make up a meaty backbone. How this band continues to get overlooked is beyond me. Ten years later, this lost Boston export still packs a punch.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Dälek - Abandoned Language

Abandoned Language
(Rapidshare)

As the year '07 rolls along, few things look like they're going to be able to top this gem. Combining hip-hop with hints of industrial and a near-obsessive interest in the sound manipulation and layering techniques of ambient/soundscape legend Thomas Köner, Dälek is an extremely intelligent look at human culture and its language.

AMG's Marisha Brown:

The songs on the album have much more time and space dedicated to instrumental wanderings than to words — "Lynch," in fact, has no lyrics at all — as if he and co-producer Oktopus realize that there are things that just can't be said, that are better conveyed through notes and chords, that sometimes "tongues stick" and stories are "scripted" and "the words we speak are mad tarnished," that mortality and flawed humanity get in the way of pure communication.

Brilliant. We'll be revisiting this later this month as we look at the top releases of the first six months of the year.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Life in Your Way - The Sun Rises and Sets, And Still Our Time is Endless (By Request)

The Sun Rises...
(Megaupload)
Even though I’ve become such a jaded bastard thanks to my early habit of simply over-consumming when it came to music (I devoured everything, and now these tired ears are paying the price), I’m still happily pulled in by the magic of the debut. There’s nothing quite like a hungry band desperately looking to make a mark, a desire to leave it all behind in the studio. Because, who knows when that next chance will come? This is often why debuts are head and shoulders about the rest of a band’s discography, as they can never reclaim that nervous energy, that urge to pull out all the stops.

Life in Your Way fits in perfectly with that model. Later entries would become more polished, but they just don’t have the drive nor the heart of their debut, the clumsily titled The Sun Rises And Sets, And Still Our Time Is Endless. Sure, it’s standard melodic metalcore, a band that wears their Shai Hulud and 7 Angels 7 Plagues influences proudly. They end up somewhere close to contemporaries like Jairus, just with a greater interest in the typical hardcore makeup (gang shouts, etc.). Is it outstanding? No, but the band’s naïve exuberance will win anyone over, especially fans of the genre.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Sutcliffe Jügend - When Pornography Is No Longer Enough

When Pornography is No Longer Enough
(Sendspace)
Please forgive me, but after a week of computer problems, I really wanted to put up something violent and barbaric, and few things are as violent as Sutcliffe Jügend.

A part of me believes that few others have done more for opening my mind to the eternally raging question “What is music?” than Kevin Tomkins and Masami Akita. Here, Tomkins takes a break from fellow power electronics project Whitehouse to explore an even darker and more sinister realm. Sutcliffe Jügend, particularly on When Pornography is No Longer Enough, is another entry into a subsection of art that makes you question your limits. Does a concept album about the hunting, raping, and killing of women cross some invisible line that separates acceptable self-exploration and deranged exploitation?

Well, that’s completely up to you, but When Pornography is No Longer Enough certainly doesn’t make it easy. It’s one of the most difficult listens I’ve ever encountered, both musically and lyrically. The distortion and menacing low-end wooshes--truly white noise miasma--are only punctured by Tomkins shrill screams. As a chaotic cacophony of broken synths labor under “Second Victim - With Brutal Force - My Pleasure Your Pain,” Tomkins, with demented delight, verbally assaults the audience and his imaginary victim with chilling howls. “I wish your fucking mother was here to see this!” Are your limits pushed? Yes.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

V/A - Electro Breakdance: Real Old School Revival

Electro Breakdance: Real Old School Revival Part 1

Electro Breakdance: Real Old School Revival Part 2
(Rapidshare)
Electro has the unfortunate distinction of sounding dangerously dated (innocently so, though) yet still miles ahead of what’s currently being offered up for mainstream consumption on the radio. Sure, the cheap sounding bleeps and bloops of, say, Egyptian Lover cries nineteen-eighties, but the arrangements and, perhaps, the intent still sounds futuristic, especially in a world where innovations seem to come at a much slower rate. So, unfortunately, electro sounds like a failed avenue of hip-hop, one that was slayed by g-funk and the post-Golden Age boom. Shame, because the contradiction it’s now known for (so out of style, yet so far beyond present fads), makes it sound even more inviting in this day and age.

Electro Breakdance: Real Old School Revival isn’t an electro comp, not really. Instead, it’s a fun overview of what got the kids poppin’ and lockin’ and breakin’ back in the day. The name does mislead, which would be more of a problem if the track selection wasn’t so damn solid. Leading off with the Prince penned “Feel For You” from indelible diva Chaka Khan, Electro Breakdance is unbelievable well-sequenced and, in the words of Swingers, just plain money. The first disc might be of more interest to the nouveaux hip-hopper, with classic material from The Jonzun Crew (the endearingly goofy “Space Cowboy”), The 45 King & Louie (the old-school party anthem “900 Number"), and the original 12” mix of the World Famous Supreme Team’s “Hey DJ” (Mariah Carey fans are urged to see if they can place that piano line). And then, there’s Tyrone Brunson’s “The Smurf,” with keyboards that feel so good, it’s amazing that more people haven’t mined it for its sheer samplability.

With recognizable material from Herbie Hancock, The Sugarhill Gang, Erik B. & Rakim, Afrika Bambaataa, Grandmaster Flash, De La Soul, Public Enemy, Run-D.M.C., and Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock, Electro Breakdance: Real Old School Revival almost plays like a best of, but don’t mistake it for a stuffy history lesson (if you want a history lesson, please go hunt down the collections put together by Kurtis Blow and Rhino), it’s more of a fun party album, a great stroll down memory lane for those that lived it and for those that want to know just a little bit more. And, amazingly, unlike some hip-hop, this material holds up extremely well, not just because the songs have become sample fodder for so many newer acts, but because, at their core, these songs are just so well written. Maybe people didn’t know it at the time, but these songs were written to last and that’s what makes them such a joy to hear, even two decades later.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Nostromo - Hysteron - Proteron

Hysteron - Proteron
(Megaupload)

Ever since Alice in Chains scored big with Jar of Flies and Nirvana transformed the Unplugged series into a soul-bearing artistic journey, extreme-minded acts have (unsurprisingly) gained an interest in giving their tried n’ true older material the ol’ acoustic reimagining. But, few seem to cut the acoustic EP for the right reasons, using it as more of a stopgap between recordings, a way to get out of contracts, or a way to just suck more money out of their fans’ wallets. What could be exciting, bracing listens that reconnect and revitalize the original compositions are usually just crooning over uncomplicated campfire chords; essentiality, calculated crap looking to cash in.

Nostromo’s Hysteron - Proteron was different though. In hindsight, it was the farthest thing from strumming for shekels as it turned out to be the band’s farewell statement, and what a statement it is. Hysteron – Proteron is one of those rare albums that not only forces you to reexamine their previous material in an entirely different light, but actually trumps those older recordings in musicianship, execution, and passion. Their previous Meshuggah-esque chugs have been reformed to smoothly fit this acoustic recasting, dropping the amplification and stripping down the percussion. The undeniable highlights are the new textures that are just downright gorgeous. But, the thing that is truly impressive is the way that Nostromo juggles both of their angel and devil sides, as hushed tones give way to violent screams. The music never loses intensity even with the shifting of timbres and, in fact, it becomes that much more intense because of it. You realize just how much melody and just how dynamic these songs are and, given Nostromo’s history, that’s no small feat. Brilliant.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

John Pike

1983 - 2007

I always thought we’d meet up in an airport someday. We’d recognize a familiar face across the terminal, excitedly exchange overdue hellos, hit a seriously overpriced bar filled with lonely salesmen and frightened first time flyers, and catch up. We’d go through the usual conversation topics, the Do you remember that one times, the I can’t believe I forgot thats. Just us, talking like there never was a gap, like it hadn't been five years since we last chatted on the phone, like I hadn’t been gone for nearly ten. You’d tell me about your recent successes, I’d let you in on my recent failures. We’d share a laugh, share a hug, and share a promise to do a better job of keeping in touch. At the very least, we'd make the attempt, even though we’d both know that we’d be inconvenienced by our everyday lives, our thoughts too consumed by the present and future to dedicate much time to the past. But, at least we caught up, at least we renewed a bond that had been dormant ever since I moved, at least we’d know that a friend, a friend that was such a big part of our childhood, was alive and well and prospering.

I didn’t want it to be like this. I didn’t want to wake up to an IM from another old friend telling me that you had passed, that I’d never get to see you again. It didn’t matter that you had been absent from my day to day for that long, it was still a shock. Time may dull our memories, it may eat away at the who, the what, and the how, but it never touches the emotional connections. And that’s what makes this so painful, not just knowing that I lost a friend, but knowing that a line has been severed.

After receiving the news, I did what everyone else probably did. I remembered the stories, I looked at the pictures, and I read what everyone else was writing. They all said the same thing, how you were a wonderful person; courteous, considerate, charitable, caring, all those big C words that might get you a gold star in grade school, those words that you don’t realize are so important yet so rare when you reach adulthood. They all wrote about the John I knew, the John that I remembered, the John that I wished I’d run into one day.

I’ve been dealt enough death these past two years to know that the pain will eventually subside, that the demands of the daily grind are far too great to let my daydreams linger, to spend all my time thinking of what could’ve been and maybe what should’ve been. But, right now, it hurts. It hurts pretty badly. Not just knowing that you’re gone, but that we’ll never get to catch up, that I will never get to hear about your life from you instead of the hundreds of people that are currently feeling this same hurt, that are currently fighting desperately to remember every detail, every moment of life that you made even a little bit more tolerable.

No, we won’t have the airport, John, but I have a feeling that I’ll still be looking, searching every face for the friend from my true home, the one that helped me become the person I am today. And, while it’d be nice to be downing cheap brews, watching countless souls descend from the heavens, and laughing at those same jokes that had us in stitches ten years ago, at least I got to know you. I guess what I’m trying to say is that while we never got to trade our quick goodbyes under the departures board, at least we shared some time together, however fleeting. At least I can tell anyone that asks about the kind of person that John Pike was, one of the best friends I’ll probably ever have.

But, I hate writing these "at leasts" when it should've been so much more. It’s so hard to comprehend life without that chance encounter, our airport reconnection. For awhile, I’ll have to chalk up your nonappearance to you catching your flight, to me just missing you. And, damn it, hasn't that been the story of our friendship these past few years? Me just missing you? And, damn it, do I ever miss you…


Ra Ra Riot
MySpace

Friday, June 8, 2007

Joe - Ain't Nothin' Like Me

Ain't Nothin' Like Me
(Rapidshare)
Modern R&B has always been marred by stupidity (T-Pain and his straight-from-the-libido lyrics) or unintentional irony (Bobby Brown getting arrested while singing "Roni") and that's what makes Joe such a treat. On his sixth album, the crooner kills it with consistency, never turning out a dud. From the opening cameo by Nas to the fine hump-a-thon inciting slow jam "Life of the Party," Joe focuses on the things that make R&B great: the hooks, the production, the singer’s soul. Of course, you'd expect someone to have their craft down to a near science if they've been around since the new jack swing era(!), but the reason that Ain't Nothin' Like Me works is not because of Joe's professionalism but because he infuses these songs with a strong sense of self. Joe is the opposite of Tank, a horny baller that sounds oddly detached from his tunes, like he's focusing on the orgy later instead of what he's recording. That's not to say that Joe is George Jones, but Ain't Nothin' Like Me takes on a more personal feel than modern R&B fans are used to, like Joe had a hand in making all these songs. Sure, nothing quite measures up to "Stutter" or "I Wanna Know," but in this day and age, the overall quality of this album is a real rarity, something that will be sure to catapult Ain't Nothin' Like Me into many year end lists.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Marcia Ball - Live! Down the Road

Live! Down the Road
(Megaupload)
Couple months back, PBS replayed one of their Sierra Center Stage gigs. Held at the Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. in Chico and with an older crowd itching to dance, it took on the air of one of those nauseating pharmaceutical commercials (“I won’t let my arthritis get me down on a Saturday night!”), the kind of place that ethnic hacks salivate over as they ready their hack quill on their tired material notebook (“Man, white people so awkward!”). But then, Long, Tall, Marcia Ball hit the stage.

Right off the bat, she exuded that rare strength and confidence, the kind that you can almost smell on a person. You’re simply transfixed by their presence. And, as she sat down at the keyboard with a natural ease, you knew that the sweat and the pain of the intense practice needed to birth this stunning virtuosisty was carefully pushed inside and hidden, so the audience would focus only on having fun instead of breathlessly watching the playing, the mark of a true performer.

Separated from the visual, Live! Down the Road loses some of its impressiveness since you can't gawk at her advanced skill level, but it somehow becomes even more fun because of it. Without the visual, you're just left with the music, and damn, what music it is. Marcia Ball’s band runs through song after song of her trademark blues, boogie woogie, rock n’ roll, zydeco, and a mess of other feel-good genres hybrid, all mixed together to get you on the dancefloor. And, to show that she’s mastered the live show, she expertly slows the whole evening down with a fine read of Randy Newman’s “Louisiana 1927,” played with the kind of heart and compassion that makes you forget that it appeared on Newman’s venomous Good Old Boys. Throughout, you get the feeling that Marcia Ball is easily able to turn any song into a rip-roaring good time or something that boarders on soulful exploration, and when she does, life’s downers are drowned out by the sound of your foot tapping along.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Roskopp - Roskopp

Roskopp
(Megaupload)

Sharing a member of fellow Aussies The Day Everything Became Nothing, Roskopp finds the middle ground between the crusty grinding of a band like Assel and the midpaced groovin' and gurglin' of your typical goregrind act. But, Roskopp's endless energy is what makes this 7", a nonstop barrage of buzzing guitars, pitch-shifted vocals, blasting drums, and seriously downtuned bass. It just never lets up and never lets you catch your breath. And, in a genre that has been content to fill up on filler, it's nice to finally get an album that's all killer. There's a real sense that they're flying by the seat of their pants, with just enough skills to barely pull this material off, and that makes Roskopp such an exciting and bracing listen. Plus, it contains a cover of fellow crust meets grind blasters, Phobia. How can you go wrong with that?

Pick this one up from Crucificados Pelo Sistema Records if you dig it and help keep this underground band going.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

György Ligeti - Atmosphères/Requiem

"Atmosphères" and "Requiem"
(Megaupload)

A few months back, I read an interview with Spanish doomsters Orthodox. It really wasn't that interesting, just your usual generic Q&A, until they got to the section on their influences. There, very unexpectedly, György Ligeti's named popped up. The band claimed that their select segment of doom n' drone, including all fellow sustained tone <3ers, Orthodox got me thinking. Got me thinking about a lot of things, actually. And, you know, I have to say that they’re right. I do hear a lot of “Requiem” in not only the experimental drone metal hybrids that have been making hipster lists for the past couple years, but in the twitchy, nervous outsider black metal movement that has been trying to amp up the disjointed creepiness factor.

Collected here for you to study are two of Ligeti’s more well known pieces, “Atmosphères” and “Requiem.” Ambient enthusiasts will be interested in “Atmosphères,” because, as is written in everyone’s favorite online encyclopedia, Wikipedia:

Out of the four elements of music, melody, harmony, rhythm and timbre, the piece
almost completely abandons the first three, concentrating on the texture of the sound, a technique known as sound mass. It opens with what must be one of the largest cluster chords ever written - every note in the chromatic scale over a range of five octaves is played at once. Out of the fifty-six string players ushering in the first chord, not one plays the same note. The piece seems to grow out of this initial massive, but very quiet, chord, with the textures always changing.

Ligeti coined the term "micropolyphony" for the compositional technique used in Atmosphères, Apparitions and his other works of the time. He explained micropolyphony as follows: "The complex polyphony of the individual parts is embodied in a harmonic-musical flow, in which the harmonies do not change suddenly, but merge into one another; one clearly discernible interval combination is gradually blurred, and from this cloudiness it is possible to discern a new interval combination taking shape."


But, in my mind, “Requiem” is his masterwork. I’ll let AMG’s Jeremy Grimshaw take the stage here:

Ligeti's Requiem, which he began composing in 1963 and finished two years later,
in many ways bears the edgy, modernist characteristics general to his most prominent works. At the same time, as the title suggests, it also positions itself in relation to musical tradition, as if applying the composer's pioneering sonorities to the service of "expression," in a more visceral and subjective manner than modernism usually admits. Perhaps the most striking feature of the work, which is scored for two choirs, orchestra, and two soloists (soprano and mezzo-soprano) is its vibrant, quivering surface. The individual parts comprising his chromatic clusters are often too close to each other to be individually discerned, but their motion adds a distinctive, acoustical glimmer. Melody, then, is generally subsumed by the work's texture, but contributes crucially to its character. This technique also becomes a variant in and of itself, as the pace of the work and the character of the various liturgical sections or texts are often established by the register and relative opacity of the contrapuntal clusters. One startling effect, perhaps inspired by the creepy bass intonations of
Varèse's Nocturnal from a few years before, is the use of two low men's voices in near unison, their pitches offset enough to create a hauntingly beating effect. Likewise, when one of the high female solo voices breaks through the thick chromatic pall of the orchestra and chorus, the lucidity of her line is cast in brighter relief. These contrasts, coupled with extremes of dynamics and articulation, reach their apex in the carefully disjointed Dies Irae. Thus, despite Ligeti's unique and complex musical language, the ultimate result of his work is not entirely different in principle from the large-scale requiems of previous centuries, which projected grandeur, intensity, and intimacy through the careful deployment of their vocal and instrumental forces.


Basically: free up some room on your Halloween mixes. Divorced from Kubrick’s 2001, “Requiem” sounds even more menacing; a shadow world where something sinister lurks behind every note. It’s an absolute psychological mindfuck, so it’s not surprising that it gained favor with some metalheads, whether, as Orthodox so keenly points out, they knew it or not.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Frankie Smith - Children of Tomorrow

Frankie Smith's debut album
Children of Tomorrow
(Rapidshare)

If we’re to believe Wikipedia, Frankie Smith is now a delivery truck driver[1]. Seriously. That might not mean a lot to you, unless you live in Philly and the dude gets stuck in traffic, but to me…okay, not to me…but to some, that’s a damn shame. Alright, maybe it’s not really that surprising of a career development. I mean, the guy turned out one big sellin’ hit[2], a one hit wonder that’s now relegated to nostalgic novelty mixes and the odd request fill on those rhythmic top 40 stations that like to dig through the vault every now and again[3]. But, to a certain segment of 21st century hip-hop culture, "Double Dutch Bus" was a little bit more than a forgotten smash.

One wonders what Frankie was thinking when whitey finally caught on to Snoop’s –izzlin’ and it entered the cliché hall o’ fame[4]. See, back in ’81, after cutting out a nice musical legacy by penning some tracks for The O’Jays[5] and The Spinners[6], Frankie asked some neighborhood kids to lay down some of their ca-razy slang on his new track and, thus, “double dutch” became “dizz-ouble dizz-utch.” Sound familiar? It should since Timbaland took such a liking to it that he sampled the song on Snoop’s “Snoop Dogg (What's My Name, Pt. 2)” and Missy’s standout “Gossip Folks.” So, there you go. And now the guy is driving trucks. C’est la vie my ass, that’s just bullshit.

Unfortunately, unlike a lot of one hit wonders, the tales surrounding the construction of the song are about as dull as Howie Mandel’s sex life[7]. As AMG’s Ed Hogan writes[8]:

Under the pseudonym Franklin Franklin, Smith recorded a 19(8)1 Paramount single, Double Dutch, based on the children's jump-rope game. With session time left over from a recording session for Fat Larry's Band, Smith had Fat Larry record a drum track. (Bill) Bloom took a copy of the track home and came up with a keyboard part. Two weeks later, a bass part was added to the drum and keyboard tracks. Earlier, to make ends meet, Smith had applied for a bus driving job with the city, but was never hired. Still smarting from the experience, Smith recorded an expletive-laced improvised rap about a "double dutch bus." The engineers laughed and told Smith that they couldn't use that and Smith re-recorded a cuss-free version of the rap. He kept in mind the huge crossover success of Kurtis Blow, who had a million-selling single with The Breaks… Smith recorded the rap at about two o'clock in the morning, giving the vocal a groggy, froggy flavor. The track became extremely long, with co-writers/co-producers Smith and Bloom having singer BeverlyJohnson add some vocals. The two decided to split up the track, with "Double Dutch" featuring Johnson being the A-side of the single and Smith's version, titled "Double Dutch Bus," becoming the B-side. WMOT favored Smith's track more and instead made it the
A-side.

*snnrk* Huh…what…oh. Right, can’t sleep, still blogging here. Jesus, like you euthanasia supporters needed Kevorkian out of jail. Just give a CBS watcher a glance of that and Son and Daughter no longer have to pay nursing home bills.

Anyway, the one thing that is interesting about "Double Dutch Bus" is that it's essentially about a trend that never really caught on with the public at large in ’81 (jumping rope), yet was still able to provide the groundwork for one of the most easily recognized hip-hop clichés of this century because of those charismatic youngsters. So, a song about jumping rope suddenly translates into modern hip-hop cred? Talk about a total "whaaaa?" moment.

But, hey, want your mind blown further? Instead of reaching mainstream appeal through a disgruntled bus driving applicant, it took a perpetually baked gangsta who almost got nailed with a murder charge to bring the iz to its popularity boom[9]. Somebody flash the "The More You Know..." animation, because that is amazing.


[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frankie_Smith
[2] Two million copies, according to some sources.
[3] 99.1 KGGI here. But, we desert folk are backwards people.
[4] Dude, my mom is aware of the izzle.
[5] Not “Back Stabbers.” Sorry.
[6] Not “The Rubberband Man.” Sorry.
[7] I can’t imagine the sex life of someone afflicted with OCD and mysophobia is balls out fucking crazy. Girl: Are you rubbing bleach on yourself? Howie: BACK OFF GERM SLUT!
[8] http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=11:ajfrxqqgldae~T1
[9] See: Murder Was the Case.