Sunday, June 27, 2010

New Episode!

Season 3, Episode 2: Some things will always be great.

Playlist order w/ interstitial info

1. Art Brut - "DC Comics and Chocolate Milkshake"
2. the Modern Lovers - "Dignified and Old"
3. (talking over) Hermann Szobel - "Mr. Softee"
4. Orange Juice - "L.O.V.E." (Al Green cover)
5. (talking over) Yo La Tengo - "A Giant Ass Panda" (from Adventureland score)
6. Josh Rouse - "It's the Nighttime"
7. (talking over) Weather Report - "Birdland"
8. No Kids - "at the grove"
9. Quasi - "It's Raining"
10. (talking over) Geinoh Yamashirogumi - "Doll's Polyphony" (from the Akira score)
11. Electric Light Orchestra - "Telephone Line"
12. the Apples in Stereo - "Hey Elevator"
13. (talking over) Nuno Canavarro - "Cave"
14. Alex Chilton - "Te ta te ta ta" (Ernie K-Doe cover - live in Anvers, 2004)
15. Alex Chilton - "Claim to fame" (Frederick Knight cover - live in Anvers, 2004)
16. Alex Chilton - "Blue Moon" (Demo for Big Star's third album, from the Keep and Eye to the Sky boxed set)

Thursday, April 8, 2010


Here's the new loo-loo! A change in format, but even better content. No more blathering, just tunes arranged in a pleasing way. Instead of blathering, here's some writing!

1. John Bender - "31A4" - Cincinnati-based guy essentially self-released some weird, minimal synthesizer stuff like this in the early eighties. The only one I've been able to find is "I don't remember now," an outstanding collection of what I'd almost call "synth raggas" - these meditative, circular, hympotic little tunes that percolate for up to six or seven minutes at a time while Bender talks, sings, and intones various little mantras through copious amounts of tape echo. I heard about this in an old issue of "Option" magazine that I got when my friend Tim bought me the entire collection of "Option" (hundreds of issues!) as a present two years ago and was shocked to actually find it for download. In a world where rich white chicks are starting labels to re-release stuff like this, I wouldn't be surprised if someone pounced on this record with a deluxe reissue because it's truly just otherworldy and is unique even among the masses of "minimal wave" or "minimal synth" stuff from the era.

2. Silicon Teens - "T.V. Playtime" - one of only two originals on their essential-listening "Music for Parties," this has always struck me as a more whimsical version of "TVOD" (the b-side of the epochal "Warm Leatherette" single by Silicon Teen Daniel Miller under the name The Normal). Such a creepy little thing...

3. Laura Branigan - "Self Control" - I've developed the habit of falling asleep to my clock radio playing the local Adult Contemporary station's late-night programming. Somehow I made it through my entire life without ever hearing this song, and I heard it for the first time half-asleep and it was basically the greatest thing I've ever heard in my life; half dreaming, half-awake, hearing the perfectly witchy synth arpeggios and that chorus!

4. Nu Shooz - "I can't wait" - I could almost just write "see #3" here because I had an almost identical experience, except this one involved grabbing my phone to Shazam the hell out of this track to find out what it was. Weirdly, it turns out that my friends have had a Nu Shooz 12" framed on their wall for years as decorative art because it has a wacky cover. I thought I had heard that name somewhere! I've rapidly devoured this husband/wife band's entire catalogue; t it perfectly captures that late-eighties "let's get a drum machine and some orchestra hit samples, and your sister's friend Becky can kind of sing...LET'S MAKE SOME RECORDS!" zeitgest.

5. the Pointer Sisters - "Automatic" - My synth-friend Matt turned me on to this record ("Breakout") as the pinnacle of big-budget polysynth and LinnDrum production. I was all, "yeah, yeah, I've heard 'I'm so excited,' what's the big deal" but then I dug into it and the whole record is just ridiculously tight. Weirdly subversive and left-field at times, too ("...all I can manage to push from my lips is a string of obscenities"). guessed it, I realized they were constantly playing "Automatic" on late-night Adult Contemporary radio. So, this one links back to #4 and #3 too. I suggest listening in bed when you're barely awake for the full effect.

6. No Kids (ft. Fudge Elverum) - "Prisoner of Desire" - I have so blatantly, obscenely fallen in love with No Kids, aka Nick Krgovich. I'll tell you right now that he's the next Stephin Merritt, maybe - the guy just can't write a bad song, and should really be writing 70 or 80% of the next Beyonce and Alicia Keys records, but he's sort of stuck/sequestered in the Indie Rock scene so for now it's going to be more like "Bro from Sunset Rubdown covers him sometime or whatev." In No Kids, he basically just writes this snakey, intricate, gorgeous little R&B songs that sound like nothing else in the universe. "Fudge Elverum" here is, you guessed it, Mount Eerie himself. No Kids toured as the opener and then part of the Mount Eerie band on the fall '09 tour, and that's how I found out about them. We'll be hearing from him again before the end of the episode.

7. Laura Barrett - "Consumption" - Laura was the opener for the Magnetic Fields on their recent tour, so I saw her two nights in a row. The first night I was a little irritated with her overly NPR/McSweeney's/Neo-Sincerity Pweciousness Culture War schtick, especially the song "Robot Ponies" which was pure soul-sandpaper. But by the second night, I realized that I was kind of completely in love and willing to forgive all faults. She plays kalimba (think "thumb piano" or googolplex it) for the most part and writes witchy, mystical little songs like a spookier Joanna Newsom that might be reading Robert Anton Wilson and stuff. This song is my second-favorite. Go buy her record Victory Garden immediately.

8. Gigi - "Alone at the pier" - Surprise, this is Nick Krgovich again! (see #6) There's a long story behind this record, but the short version is that Nick and this other guy got some plate reverbs like the ones used on old Phil Spector-era recordings, then decided to use that as the impetus to make a whole record under the name Gigi, with a bunch of guests, capturing the vibe of that era. THE ENTIRE RECORD, Maintenant, IS COMPLETELY PHENOMENAL AND I LISTENED TO IT AND NOTHING ELSE FOR ABOUT TWO WEEKS STRAIGHT. Ahem. Singing here is Rose Melberg, formerly of Tiger Trap and the Softies, as well as her own solo career. For obvious reasons, she belongs to that rare category of human being that I could just listen to reading the phone book or takeout menus. There aren't enough hearts in the world.

9. Dub Narcotic Soundsystem - "Monkey hips and rice" - Just such a classic jam. Calvin Johnson is a near-religious figure in my life. I just love this song and found myself listening to it recently when it started to feel like spring around here...and then I realized how perfectly it fit into this mix.

10. Color me Badd - "All 4 Love" - Nothing wrong with that. Pop perfection.

11. Hunx and his Punx - "Gimmie gimmie back your love" - I have fallen in love with Hunx and his queer garage-punk fuzz. The video for this (search yewtube) is that weird breed of camp that just turns something in my brain into pink and green stars in the best way. A friend of mine summed this up as "Gay Reatard," and Hunx' proximity to Jay Reatard doesn't hurt at all when it comes to earning my unabashed adoration. The whole record (Gay Singles) is fuzzy pop perfection.

12. the Cramps - "Like a bad girl should" - I love the Cramps. Same song over and over for an entire career and who cares; it's always just right. Speaking of youtubeable videos, you need to hit this one up as soon as you're not at work and no one's around. It'll either rock your world (and that's Poison Ivy in '97! She was what, 55?!) or make you realize that, as another attendee at the party where I saw it playing a few weeks ago exclaimed, "I'm definitely not straight!"

13. Henrietta Collins & The Wife-Beating Child-Haters (Henry Rollins) - "Ex-Lion Tamer" (Wire cover) - One of two solo records that Rollins did between Black Flag and Rollins Band, this is a pretty straightforward cover of my favorite Wire song. For such a great song, and for one of Wire's more accessible and straightforward songs, it's always surprised me that there aren't more covers of this out there. It seems like you should be able to find 20 or 30. It should be a standard. Stay glued to your TV sets!

Monday, March 30, 2009

That new-new

Life After Records Podcast Volume 2, Episode 2 is now available. Twice in one month! Are we back for real?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

New Episode!?

What on earth? There's a new Life After Records episode? Hasn't it been like 9 months since the last one?

Yes, and yes.

Download it here. Streaming version coming soon.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Tha Carter 3.1

So it's inevitable that people out there in the Humanity 2.0 web of deceit are going to start creating their own custom versions of Lil' Wayne's Tha Carter 3; between all of the false leaks of the album over the past year and a half to all of mixtapes, to the officially-released EP from late '07, there's about a milli (pun intended - pun intended!) songs floating around. While it's an outstanding record by any measure, and specifically one of the better rap records mainstream or undie of the past several years, there are some real clunkers on the final released version of Tha Carter III, so it's only natural that alternate fan-created versions are going to start appearing. Here's mine - let's call it Tha Carter 3.1, with a mild nod to the Windows 3.1 that I grew up with.

1. "I'm me" - from Tha Leak, this is a perfect album opener that sets the tone for everything to essentially introduces the record and the tone of the record, and acts as a brilliant opening statement. It replaces "3peat," which feels like an inferior re-working of this song to begin with).

2. "Mr. Carter" - album version. No problems here, and continues the flow. I'm me...who am I? I'm Mr. Carter!'

3. "Talkin' about it" - from Tha Leak, this continues the pomp and pageantry of the record's opening salvo of self-definition, boasting, and declaration, looking back a little bit at where Wayne comes from and who he's become.

4. "A Milli" - album version. Straight battle rhymes with a mixtape vibe. He's spent three tracks telling us how great he is, and now he flexes.

5. "Kush" - from various mixtapes and also on Tha Leak. Lighthearted but celebratory stoner jam moves us into classic Wayne weed ventilator territory, and a perfect summer jam for a record that ultimately came out in June. Endless quotables here and cross-references with later tracks..."Keep a bandana like a ninja turtle/I'm like a turtle when I sip the purple." And who can STOP saying "Captain Crunch, these niggas is froot loops!" after hearing this?

6. "Phone Home" - album version. "We are not the same, I am a martian." Goes from the weed and sizzurp of "Kush" into straight outer space with the album's sleeper hit.

7. "I feel like dying" - from several mixtapes. Seems like a mixtape throwaway, but added to the album creates the perfect hangover and low to finish out the drug trilogy of "kush" and "phone home." Also brings things down a notch for the first time - "tie my hands" will do this again later. Remember when records has peaks and valleys?

8. "Dr. Carter" - album version. Not my favorite "concept" track, but I'm a sucker for Axelrod's "Holy Thursday" whenever it makes an appearance in any form. And besides, who do you call when you feel like dying? Dr. Carter!

9. "Prostitute Flange" - from mixtapes, and while I've also seen it appear as "Prostitute Fling," I like "Prostitute Flange" because it sounds like a Pere Ubu song title and there's some nice flanger on this track. A true love ballad as only Weezy could twist it, and its inclusion gives the record more sonic and emotional nuance.

10. "Comfortable" - album version. The perfect response and chaser to "Prostitute's" declaration of unconditional love. I'm not the biggest fan of Kenny's 00's work, but it works here.

11. "Tie my hands" - album version. Robin Thicke's embarrassing blue-eyed moans almost knock this off of the record, but it provides another quiet interlude and an emotional interlude and sets up the New Orleans stuff for...

12. "Gossip" - from Tha Leak and live at the BET awards. Probably Wayne's strongest and most emphatic moment to date, and I was shocked that it didn't make it to the final version of the album. Raw, emotional, angry, and riding on that gorgeous, tense, and epic beat. "Stop!"

13. "La La La" - from various mixtapes. Not to be confused with the final album's David Banner throwaway "La La," this is an incredibly breezy and nostalgic moment drifting on a languid piano loop and some gorgeous vocals. Completes the "New Orleans Trilogy" of "tie my hands" and "gossip" with a fond look back.

14. "Lollipop" - album version. No real commentary needed, other than that having "lollipop" on the album singlehandedly allows the user to remove inferior club capitulations like "got money."

15. "Mrs. Officer" - album version. Song of the year? Continuing from the sex rap hilarity of "lollipop," Wayne rewrites Prince's "Lady Cab Driver" and forever changes how we hear the phrase "fuck the police."

16. "Let the Beat Build" - album version. Bringing things in for a triumphant close, this is part one - the celebration.

17. "Love me or hate me" - from Tha Leak. The final declaration and the perfect bookend to "I'm me." I'm's who I am. Here's why. Now love me or hate me."

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Episode 5 is up. Cleaning out the closet, the best song not on the new Weezer record, plus a 10-minute house workout and the greatest album opener in recorded history.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

All our Noise

Life After Records is now proudly syndicated over at All Our Noise! Go there, check out the site, and you can stream LARP episodes right from your browser instead of having to download them. Cool! New episodes will be posted to this blog and will appear over there in a significantly prettier and more user-friendly form.

Also, as a bonus, here's the first episode ever, which was only really shared with friends and wasn't mass-circulated. Flashback!

Episode One - get it before it expires!