Only An Expert Can Deal With The Problem

I have to really respect that there’s at least one or two people on the earth who have made a career out of non-rhyming spoken word, and I’m pretty sure Saul Williams and Laurie Anderson have at least brushed against it.

To do it, you have to be able to say some really smart shit, and deliver it just right.  Laurie Anderson has been doing this since, what, around the time of new wave?

What kind of person do you have to be to be married to Lou Reed?!

An easy entry to the album is Only an Expert, which just gets better and better as she develops her theme:

[audio:|titles=Laurie Anderson – Only an Expert]

And if you’re willing to dig in a little more to Homeland, the long and strong, slowed down and creepy, where she does what she calls “audio drag”, Another Day in America:

[audio:|titles=Julie Anderson – Another Day in America]
categories: Albums, Reviews
link to this post: Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

Cold Wars

I noticed recently that both The Morning Benders and Janelle Monae released songs called Cold War on their new albums.

Both are great:

Janelle Monae’s:

[audio:|titles=Janelle Monae – Cold War]

The Morning Benders:

[audio:|titles=The Morning Benders – Cold War]

So, I started wondering what other songs were out there called Cold War, since it seemed like a potent theme.

Not surprisingly, there were quite a few in the 1980’s, so I listened to all I could find, and thought Snobby readers might find them interesting.

First of all, the venerable Devo, who actually just released a new album, from their album Freedom of Choice:

[audio:|titles=Devo – Cold War]

Then, The Vapors (of Turning Japanese fame), with a pretty damn likable Cold War song:

[audio:|titles=The Vapors – Cold War]

And, a kind of lukewarm Styx (of Mr. Roboto fame) version:

[audio:|titles=Styx – Cold War]

And an intense 2000 dark techno version by Funker Vogt:

[audio:|titles=Funker Vogt – Cold War]

Also wouldn’t want to leave out a remix of The Morning Benders version (Called the Winter Remix) that I really like:

[audio:|titles=The Morning Benders – Cold War (Winter Remix)]

Last, and kinda least, but worth a mention, a rareish 11 minute The Antlers song recently called Cold War (a minor work, but still interesting for completeness):

[audio:|titles=The Antlers – Cold War (Daytrotter Session)]
categories: Songs
link to this post: Monday, July 19th, 2010

Some Bedroom Covers

I’m really loving The Morning Benders, and crying that I didn’t see them when they were here in Seattle at the Crocodile.

But, I’m on their mailing list.  And they actually have good stuff on their mailing list.  Case in point: they released a little free album of covers called The Bedroom Covers.  Here are a couple of my favorite Bedroom Covers:

Dreams, a pitch perfect Fleetwood Mac cover:

[audio:|titles=The Morning Benders – Dreams (Fleetwood Mac cover)]

and Lovefool, a Cardigans cover… and the perfect match for The Morning Benders… they should do an album version!

[audio:|titles=The Morning Benders – Lovefool (Cardigans cover)]

Also, just a reminder that their recent album Big Echo is just the shit, and worth 100 listens.

categories: Albums, Reviews
link to this post: Monday, July 19th, 2010

Focus: An Astounding Jazz Album That Thrills Me

Stan Getz – Focus

In my early 20’s, I first got exposed to jazz, and still love most of those crowd pleasers, including one I’m sure everyone’s heard of: the so-smooth-as-butter that even the Starbucks generation has it on their iPod: Getz/Gilberto.

Girl From Ipanema has been so played and covered and tastefully coffee shopped that it’s hard to remember sometimes that Stan Getz did amazing and different stuff both before and after the Bossa Nova thing. He could have easily ridden that train until the end of his days.

But it’s not Getz/Gilberto, or even his later work that I want to turn you on to.

It’s his 1961 masterpiece: Focus.

Allow me to set the stage.  Another album I love is Joanna Newsom’s 2006 Ys album.  In Ys (pronounced like “ease”), Joanna sat down on pedal harp and recorded 5 long original songs in very few takes.  Once the recording was finished, she worked with composer Van Dyke Parks to create an orchestral score to lay behind her recording.  It’s an amazing accomplishment, and I think it’s kind of cool that Stan Getz did kind of the reverse on Focus.

Getz commissioned big band composer Eddie Sauter, to make him an album of modern classical pieces for strings, bass and harp, which Sauter delivered.

Now, I don’t have the liner notes in front of me anymore, and can’t find them on the internet anymore, but as I remember it, Getz laid down his saxophone takes on his first listen of each track!!!

I liked the whole album, but I remember about a minute into Night Rider just having a feeling like all the air was being sucked out of my chest.  Have a listen:

It’s well known that the sax is improvised, but if it’s true that he improvised the first time he heard the recordings, then it just blows me away, that he was able to create this level of excitement and invention without any planning at all.

Also worth listening to is another exciting track, I’m Late, I’m Late:

And a mellower ballad, I Remember When:

You Can Listen Again seemed like the best thing since sliced bread… it allowed me to embed almost any song I could think of on the site, and I used it to let people listen to about 40 songs on the site… until Apple bought them and immediately shut them down.  Boo!

So, for a while all those songs showed up on The Sweet Snob as No Longer Available.

Well, yesterday I finally uploaded each and every song, so now you can go back and listen to the songs on several old posts, like my little tour of Jimi Hendrix, or Songs That Make The Most of Few Words.


categories: Self-Referential
link to this post: Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

The Great Ahmad Jamal

Ahmad Jamal – At The Pershing / But Not For Me

My dad turned me on to Poinciana the other day… holy crap, what an amazing jazz song.    So, for starters, just listen to someone take a jazz piano standard and turn it into something definitive:

[audio:|titles=Ahmad Jamal – Poinciana]

This is just a fantastic merging of percussion and piano.  I wish there was video so I could see if they had halos over their heads or something.

Another spectacular one, Woody’n You:

[audio:|titles=Ahmed Jamal – Woody’n You]

A more chilled out but equally impressive Moonlight in Vermont:

[audio:|titles=Ahmad Jamal – Moonlight in Vermont]

It was hard for me to pick out highlights, because I’ve just been listening to the whole album over and over again.

categories: Albums, Reviews
link to this post: Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

Soundtrack for a Futuristic Samurai Movie

Forest Swords – Dagger Paths

I’ve been slowly but surely listening to this short-but-sweet album from the UK Band Forest Swords.

I’m a big fan of the spare, spooky music from the old spaghetti westerns and I’m sure Ennio Morricone would approve of Dagger Paths.  The album starts with Miarches, eerie echoing surf guitar and dubstep-like female vocals.

Holyoke Mist could seriously could be the soundtrack to a modern spaghetti western, with dramatic drums and spooky strings.

[audio:|titles=Forest Swords – Hoylake Mist]
categories: Albums, Reviews
link to this post: Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

ceo – Come With Me

What a sweet little song, and weird little video. If you like this, the rest of the “White Magic” album will probably work for you too.

categories: Reviews, Songs
link to this post: Friday, July 9th, 2010

A Summer in 3/4 Time

Oh Jens, this is divine!

Jens Lekman, normally writes and sings his own lovely songs (and tells insanely cute stories about how they were written while he sings them).

But he also remixes other people’s songs like Au Revoir Simone’s song “Shadows”.

While he was remixing it, he decided to convert the song from straight 4/4 time, into a more waltz-like 3/4 time.

While he was playing around, he started thinking of all these other songs in 3/4 and 6/8 time, and decided to make one big 28-minute Girl Talk-y-mashup-in-slo-mo of them all as a waltzy summer jam just for us.  Thanks, Jens, it is just lovely.  I love that he adds a significant part of The Morning Benders’ Excuses, because I just love that song.

Feel free to listen to it right here:

[audio:|titles=Jens Lekman – A Summer in 3/4 Time]

And it’s also worth listening to the Au Revoir Simone remix itself.

categories: Reviews, Songs
link to this post: Thursday, July 8th, 2010

The Sweet Tweet

I was twittering as @danieltalsky back in February 2008 before Justin Bieber could even COUNT to 140.  Check out my tweet 16 (first 16 tweets) back when the idea first inspired me.

Now, 182 New York Times and Wall Street Journal articles later, no one in the industrialized world hasn’t heard of it.

I sometimes do music there, but I’d rather have a dedicated account for when I find an amazing song or video, or just have some tiny musical insight.

If you do twitter, please follow me at @thesweetsnob

categories: Self-Referential
link to this post: Thursday, July 8th, 2010
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