Mouse on Mars & Bjork Reviews

The two CDs take look like they're not going to be leaving my stereo anytime soon: Mouse on Mars' Radical Connector and Bjork's Medulla. First Mouse on Mars. I think this album is their best one to date. It's solid, not one bad track. It's also their first album without any instrumentals, with vocals from Dodo Nkishi and Niobe. So far, everyone's been talking about the opening track, Mine Is In Yours (previously called Mine Disappears), but if I had more web space to use for mp3's, I'd post Send Me Shivers. It's not their most complex track, but Niobe's vocals are perfect.

And speaking of vocals, then there's Bjork's new one, Medulla. The truth is, it's not as reported, an entirely vocal album, although it's pretty close. But there are a few instruments on their. There's a piano on a couple of tracks and with some of the electronic sounds, it's hard to tell whether the source material was a human voice or synthesizer. That said, I do like the album a lot. The influence of Bjork's collaborators is always obvious. Fortunately, she picks really good people to work with. In this case, they include Matmos, Mark Bell, Dokaka, Razhel and Olivier Alary from Ensemble. There's a pretty wide range on this album, from more electronic sounding tracks that could all be potential singles, to the more serious acapellas, many of which are sung in Icelandic (I think it's the first time in her solo career that she's put any Icelandic songs on a full album). A lot of people don't know how to feel about it after the first listen. I say, give it a chance. I don't know if I can call Medulla her best album, but it's very honest and Bjork did an incredible job with it overall. If nothing else, it's at least an interesting angle for an album. My only complaint is that she apparently doesn't want people to have an easy time reading her lyrics, what with that black on black style she's got with this one, but in a weird sort of way, I think her hair actually makes up for it. Standout tracks are Mouth's Cradle, Ancestors, Desired Constellation, Vokuro, and Oceania. I think the album deserves a listen, so this week my betterPropaganda pick is a streaming file (no download, sorry) of Oceania, which Bjork played at the opening ceremony of the Olympics in Athens.

click to go to stream: Bjork - Oceania


Roommate stories//DJ Spooky

I've told a few people about my roommate search and the Vietnam guy. A lot of people have reacted to them by either saying that it has made them feel better about their problems or by telling me far worse stories of roommates past. So I'm gonna you all a chance to vent, quasi-publicly, about your experiences. So if you have a good story, post them in the comments section of this post. I'll start. My past roommate, a friend of mine previously, decided to get married and have his wife move in (with her own key and everything), without really considering the lease violation this involved. Mind you, weddings are usually a hectic affair and somewhere in the craziness of the planning everything, they sort of forgot to tell my other roommate and I certain small details, such as the facts that they were getting married or that she was moving in. Needless to say we weren't invited. Perhaps our invitations were lost in the mail. So who else has got a good story?

Recently DJ Spooky showed Rebirth of a Nation in New York. It's something interesting that I'm very sorry to have missed actually. The idea was to remix D.W. Griffith's Birth of a Nation, a classic of early American cinema but sadly, filled with racist ideas and a very misguided view of America's beginnings. By remixing the film, he "hoped to create a counter-narrative, one where the story implodes on itself, one where new stories arise out the ashes of that explosion." Essentially, the idea was to counteract the racist content. And of course, there was also original music composed for the film. Here's a piece of it.

DJ Spooky - Rebirth of a Nation, Movement 1 (Rough Cut)



Why God Hates Me Today//RJD2

Avid readers of this blog may have noticed the disappearance of a recent post about my roommate search. The short version of the story is this, one of my roommates left without giving us very much notice, so we scrambled to find a new one. I had a Vietnam veteran call me with interest in the room. He was a little strange (the age difference alone was a little strange) (to any veterans, I don't hold it against all veterans, just this guy creeped me out a bit). That was basically the concept of the old post. I took it down because he was starting to freak me out a bit, and suddenly I didn't feel like taking the one in a million chance that he actually knows someone who reads this blog and that it might cause him to snap. The reason he was freaking me out was that he wouldn't stop calling me, even after I asked him to stop and told him that I'd get in touch with him. Yet this still did not stop him from calling me four times in the span of a half hour. By the first call of the night, I called him back and told him that we'd found someone else (a lie). He need told me that he had already changed his address to reflect ours despite the fact that we did not give him the room and I had told him repeatedly that other people had been looking at it. Apparently he has mail coming here, but I told him not to pick it up, that I would forward it. So that's some background for this situation.

But God hates me, you see. No, that's not really true. He just likes to create funny little scenarios, many of which involve me, because He knows I'll blog about them. So my friend and her boyfriend were considering taking the room. I told them to come over tonight to see the place and meet my other roommate. We agreed to all meet about 8 pm. So I'm at work and I was asked if I could work late. I agreed with the condition that I be out of there by 7, giving me enough time to get to Penn station and catch a 7:30 train. They said that would be fine. Next, my roommate calls me up and says that he may be late. Next, my friend calls me up to ask me if they can come early. I tell her that the earliest I can get home is a little after 8:00 and that my roommate won't be home until later. So we agree to keep the same meeting time. (This is all building up to something, I promise) So now, I must be home by 8:00. Further complicating this is that I'm going to out of town for a few days, and since there's no other time to show them the room, it's between me being home at 8:00 or living with the creepy Vietnam veteran. It gets to be 7 and I'm getting ready to leave. By this time, most everyone has gone home. Only a few people are left in the office. Among them is the cutest girl by far that my company had the good foresight to hire. She comes up to me and in an appaling lack of good timing, tells me that they're going for drinks that I really should come with them. Immediately my mind starts screaming profanities while evaluating this situation. I could go and have a really good time with an amazing beautiful girl. Unfortunately the price to pay for this is a huge let down for my friend as well as paranoia of potentially putting my and my roommate's life in danger for the duration of our year long lease. So... I made my decision (damn it, damn it, damn it, damn it, damn it, damn it, damn it, damn it, damn it, damn it, damn it, damn it) and the good news is that I may have some good roommates soon. But the bad news is... Well, let's not talk about the bad news. I'd like to take this oppurtunity to publicly apologize for all awful things I must have done in previous lifetimes. But let's have a good betterPropaganda track to cheer things up.

To anyone who says that hip hop is dying, I present to you RJD2. I saw this guy perform live, opening for Prefuse 73. Admittedly, Prefuse overshadowed him a bit (but hey, it's Prefuse 73 after all). Still RJD2 should not be discounted, as he's been gaining notice in the underground hip hop community over the years. BTW, there may not be any updates until next Tuesday as, like I said, I'll be out of town. So if you haven't already, that should give you time to hear the eDMX mix from yesterday's post.

RJD2 - Exotic Talk




Google, in their constant attempt to keep us all from getting anything productive done has added a new feature to Blogger. As you've probably noticed already, blogspot blogs now have those toolbars on the top of the page. It's kind of cool that we can search them now, but what really upsets me is the "Next Blog" button. Because of this, I know that I'm now going to constantly be going to all sorts of random blogs that I would have never bothered with before. It's just too damn easy. Of course, because it's a random system, I usually end up on some pretty bad blogs and after a few hits, I'll get very bored. But there's always that possibility that if I hit it again, I'll discover the most amazing blog ever. A blog that will answer all my questions in life. Unfortunately, the most stimulating thing that the "Next Blog" button has brought me to so far as been pictures of Angelica's garden, so the search continues (Damn you Blogger!). Of course if you're getting sick of the "Next Button" madness (it doesn't take long), you can check out the new mp3 blog in the blogosphere, Heraclitus Sayz. For your regular fix of nice, lo-fi indie rock.

Stop me if you've downloaded this one already, but for those of you haven't, here's eDMX from DMX Krew. I still maintain that this guy does some great pop music. Not something that's going to find itself soon compared the Britney's of the world, but still completely and unashamedly pop. His new release, Collapse of the Wave Function, can be found over at Rephlex Records (yes, I do link to them a lot). This is a 70+ minute continuous mix that he did a little while ago.

eDMX - dj mix



RNC & Billionares for Bush

Sorry this blog does tend to get a bit political from time to time, I've just had a lot of stuff on my mind. Like this... They're building these bridges for commuters to use during the Republican National Convention in NYC. See, Penn station inconveniently spits the commuters out right where the convention is. And since these politicans don't seem to want to mingle with the commuters, these bridges are being built. Looking at this image, three things come to mind: 1) Perhaps there are other cities that they could have gone to where the security threat wouldn't be quite so high, because let's say they're more welcome there, 2) How much is going to cost to build these things? Granted, they're not the most elaborate bridges or anything, but still. And who's ultimately paying for it? and 3) I really hope that MSG still has that Alien Vs Predator poster up during the convention.

Billionares for Bush, a satirical group whose goal is be mistaken for hardcore Bush supporters, is planning The Million Billionares March the day before the election. Click to see how you can join and how you can be a billionare too. They also have some radio ads that they're trying to get on the air .


Stereo Total

Today's downloads come from kitschy, multilingual pop rock group, Stereo Total. You know those albums that you hear the first time, kind of forget about it, and then later when you hear it again it suddenly strikes a cord with you? Well this happened to me with Stereo Total in a sort of unfortunate way. I was given a copy of their album, which I listened to once and then forgot about. Then one day, back when I was working at a CD store, I decided to clear out my collection a little bit to make some room. So I sold the Stereo Total CD along with a few others. But then I would see my used copy of this CD sitting on the shelves while I was at work and I started to regret selling it. I had even briefly considered buying it back even though I would just been throwing my money at the store for no reason really. One day a couple came in and started browsing the used section, looking generally uninterested, until they came across my CD and talked about it like it was a sort of Holy Grail of used CDs. I had to ring them up for their purchase. There was a part of me that didn't want to sell it to them, but they seemed like nice people so I didn't have the heart to tell them no. Anyway, this is the band that I foolishly let slip away from my collection. There's more available on their web site.

Stereo Total - In/Out

Stereo Total - Ex fan des 60ties

Stereo Total - Party Anticonformiste



Anti-Bush Game//Gravenhurst

When you don't blog for a little while, you tend to miss a lot. Like the break up of the Beta Band, leaked Bjork tracks (Mouth's Cradle being my current favorite, and this. An anti-Bush video game. Here's the premise, the Bush administration has a plan to unveil their new secret weapon, Voltron, which is controlled by the five keys of the black lion. Each key is held by a different member of Bush's cabinet (but what, it gets better). So Hulk Hogan, a cancer-ridden Mr. T and "fat-ass He-man" must get the keys and defeat Bush, along the way teaming up with leftist politicans and celebrities and learning about how Bush basically been fucking up the world. In other words, it's an educational video game that features a character named "fat-ass He-man." It's an amusing game if you have an hour or so to sit and play it. I think there should be a link to this on John Kerry's web site. (thanks to Scissorkick for finding that)

Things have been sort of hectic lately and probably will be the rest of the month, so lately my mood has called for some lighter music, more of an acoustic folk sound. A bit like Kings of Convenience, but slightly darker. Enter Gravenhurst, one of the newest signings to Warp Records. This is from their new album, Flashlight Sessions, available at Warpmart and bleep.com.

Gravenhurst - The Diver



Exploding Dog//cLOUDDEAD

Exploding Dog used one of my title suggestions last week (btw if you don't know about this site, may I recommend that you visit right now and see what it's all about). I happened to be listening to LCD Soundsystem at the time. I think this could have made for some good cover art for Losing My Edge single.

In the spirit of telling you about things that a lot of you probably already know, I present (like many of the other blogs before have) cLOUDDEAD. I'm presenting it for anyone who might have missed them when their last album came out on Mush Records, or for anyone who heard Dose One's voice or cLOUDDEAD's unique style of hip hop and didn't quite get it the first time around (to be honest, I didn't love it the first time I heard it). So here it is, again. Because, dammit, I'm still pretty into that album.

cLOUDDEAD - The Velvet Ant



Democracy and rhythm/Screamin' Rachael

Well it's been a rather hectic (both good and bad) week for me, so again I'm late with updates. But as it appears that my job hunt will probably not produce anything before the Republican National Convention, a-protesting I will go. But I'd really like to do something different with this protest. I've been talking about this with a good activist friend of mine. She lives for protests. Never does she seem happier than when we are criticizing Bush, Fox News, or many of the major corporations. So we were talking about the idea of bringing music to the event, to entertain and inspire the others there. We're planning out mix cds that we can play on a portable cd player during. The cds may have either political, experimental, or world songs, each with there own purpose. The exact details have yet to worked out, but she has an idea of where she wants to be when that week. But I thought this would be a good thing to blog about, to see if anyone is interested in either joining us or starting their own. To me, this protest isn't about being anti-Republican. It's about the people's rights to choose their president. It's about having an honest leader who remembers that we are technically a democracy. And it's about having someone in office who can actually address the threat of terrorism and its roots, rather than just invading any country we please. Thoughts, interest, criticism, song suggestions? E-mail 'em all to me. More details as we work them out.

Back in the days before Aphex Twin, before Squarepusher, before Josh Wink even, the Chicago house scene gave birth to something new. Many of you have probably already heard the stories about Roland's failed attempt at a bassline synth that sparked the acid house movement in the mid 80's. It was a exciting time for dance music. The sounds both confused and excited the crowds. Sadly, before Rephlex came about to breath new life into it, the genre quickly died out. The originals, done by the likes of Phuture, DJ Pierre and Farley Jackmaster Funk, are very simple and at times a bit ridiculous, but the new release on Trax Records has decided to bring you back to the old days, where you could let yourself get in the strange new sounds. Here is a track that didn't make it on the album. Not an acid house track in the traditional sense, but the TB-303 sound makes it clear where this song came from as far as influence.

Screamin' Rachael - Extacy



These images didn't turn out to great, but this was something I saw yesterday. I passed a Starbucks in Manhattan (at 35th & 8th I think) where water was literally pouring out into the streets. It looks like a pipe had burst inside, sending water gushing down to the floor, pouring like a facet on full blast and ripping a hole through the ceiling on its way. I personally had always figured that it was only a matter of time before God started to punish us for having too many Starbucks, so I posting the images as prove that the rapture against the coffee giant may have begun. Watch out for your frappuccino light blend turning to blood.


Prime Time Debauchery/Mouse on Mars

Obviously Atlantic City has its fair share of trashy shows, but I think this was one of the worst I saw down there last night. Although I didn't actually go to see it (it doesn't start until tomorrow), but the very concept speaks volumes. Anyway, a night in AC has left me pretty tired, and seeing as how I've got a 7 am shoot to go to tomorrow, I think I'm just going to skip right ahead to the mp3...

As amazing as Prefuse 73 is, Mouse on Mars had the glitch-pop style down for a lot longer, although in slightly a different way. Their upcoming album, Radical Connector, seems to have some of their most accessible stuff to date, with vocalist Dodo Nkishi now considered the third member of the group. The original verison of this track, called Mine Disappears, was featured on a Thrill Jockey sampler cd that came out a while ago. This new verison is set to the opening track from the new album.

Mouse on Mars - Mine Is In Yours




Today has been a crazy hectic day, so unfortunately I don't have time to search for some good mp3's. Fortunately, Music (for Robots) posted some amazing Aphex Twin tracks yesterday, Xtal and his remix of Saint Etienne's "Your Head My Voice." If you don't know these tracks already, you really need to download them.

No post tomorrow. My company is doing a shoot in Atlantic City at the Taj Mahal (which is what I was busy preparing for today). It's a two day shoot, which means the hotel room's all paid for. Sometimes being an intern isn't all that bad. But I'm planning some (nonviolent) activity for the Republican National Convention, so I'll have more about that later in the week (as well as more music).


Freelance subversion/Alias

A bug was in my apartment. Well, it still is, but it's dead now. It fell from the ceiling and landed right inside my printer. I witnessed this, it looked exactly like the scene from the beginning of Brazil (which if you haven't seen, you really should). I'm not really sure what to do about it. I tried to shake it out, but it's really in there. I'm not sure what would happen if I tried to print something. I've decided not to worry about it at the moment. So chances are I'm probably doing to forget about it until one day, I go to print something and discover a large squished bug splattered across my new resume. I'll be sure to blog about it. But on to the music...

Somewhere in between hip hop, glitch and indietronica lies Alias. These tracks come from his releases on Anticon, the label that cLOUDDEAD uses to release their solo records. Unseen Sights, my favorite of these tracks, features Markus Acher of Notwist.

Alias - Unseen Sights

Alias - Eyes Closed

Alias - Pill Hiding