Archive for the 'monday mixtape' Category


monday mixtape kryptonite

June 17th, 2013 Posted by david brothers

I was telling a friend last night that I don’t think I’ll ever stop being impressed by rap. I was talking specifically about the lyrics at that point, but it goes for beats, too. There’s always gonna be something to rock my world. Example:

Left Brains produced this Hodgy Beats joint, making it a de facto Mellowhype song. “Sale” sounds tinny and bad on Youtube for some reason, but the bass is way deeper on my headphones. My first thought was “I need to hear this in a car” when the beat started up and that bassy rumble started. I don’t think I was expecting a beat like this on Hodgy’s Untitled 2, which made it even more hot.

Over on the lyrical side of things, Fabolous has bars. I’ve listened to “We Get High” from The Soul Tape 2 dozens of times at this point. Video:

My favorites are at the top of the second verse. “How high? How high? Just came from the O.G. man/ My eyes so Redman, that M-E-T-H-O-D, Man!”

The skill needed to make good weed songs is an increasingly rare talent. Curren$y can knock them out, maybe, but most cats are slacking. Fab, right here? He’s doing pretty good.

-I read and enjoyed Cheryl Lynn talking about that new Kanye. She’s right about Yeezus, I think. The beats are super hot, or at least interesting/baffling in an interesting way when they aren’t hot, but Kanye is just not good enough lyrically. He’s not that dude. And it’s starting to show.

-I read and enjoyed Jeff Parker talking about Man of Steel. I haven’t seen it, but he makes it sound like a movie I’d want to see.

-I read and enjoyed a Jog two-fer–first an old look at Frank Miller’s The Spirit and Zach Snyder’s Sucker Punch, and then a piece on After Earth, Watchmen, Man of Steel, and more besides. I’ve only seen Sucker Punch and The Spirit, so I guess today is the day I recommended essays about movies I haven’t seen.

I posted this last year, but I put “dice-k” up on my stories site. One night in the life of a yakuza, shortly after the death of his uncle.

-It’s been slow running here on my part as I get caught up with this new job. I’d intended to write this weekend, but instead I saw a movie, bought some clothes, and managed to spend Father’s Day sleeping and playing Metal Gear Solid Peace Walker. Much-needed weekend of nothing, I think, but now it’s time to get back at it. Full service to resume if not this week, then next.

This Is The End was really, really funny. Michael Cera stole the show, then Danny McBride stole it back, and then James Franco snatched it away in the final minutes.

Open thread. What’re you reading/watching/hearing/enjoying?

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monday mixtape lazy

June 10th, 2013 Posted by david brothers

No mixtape or fast essay this time. I just wanted to say how much I like this video for Buraka Som Sistema’s “Up All Night,” which is probably mildly nsfw for having the sexiest people in the entire world in it. It’s erotic without being a real bore about it like most videos like to be. I like the gimmick of this video, the live webcam dance party. It’s very fun, and it reminds me of Vines, the little six second videos that you can record and post to Twitter now. I know a few people who do vines, and I’m always impressed when they manage to get across a whole idea or mood in that short period of time. I love dance videos anyway, and this is one of my favorites.

I like this video, too. Description:

Cho Cho Cho is the first song and music video produced and written by the youth of Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo. Created in a Beat Making Lab, the song was inspired by a popular call-and-response chant in Goma, and the video was filmed during Yole!Africa’s SKIFF Festival dance competition.

I read and enjoyed this excerpt on the subject of Magical Girls and the influence of Sailor Moon. The full piece is over here. I like reading about paradigm shifts in genres and mediums, things that forever alter the landscape. It makes me wonder how much of it is bandwagoning and how much is someone realizing that a door they thought was closed or didn’t exist is actually wide open. A lot of the post-1986 stuff in comics is like that, I feel like. People out there read those books and realized that they could actually push the envelope and evolve in new directions and there was a market for it and worth in it.

I read and enjoyed this piece on a Latina teen “coming out” as black. One thing that gets lost in the conversation a little is how internally diverse each race is, and how the lines between them are often blurred thanks to… basically everything, really. I’m interested in how other people view the fine lines and subtle gradations that go hand-in-hand with race as a concept.

Jim Rugg’s Flickr is must-viewing.

-I got a new job! I’m Content Manager at Image. Sort of a Flo Steinberg, quality assurance type of situation, with a little more besides. Someone asked me why Image and I talked about that some. Last week was my first week, and it was pretty interesting. BUT I’m basically gonna stop writing about comics for a bit, especially industry nonsense or recent books. I still owe people reviews for a few comics, but I’m gonna put those off for a few weeks while I get settled and figure out the best way to do that while distantly or implicitly representing the company. I’ll probably do more stuff like this parallel I noticed between a couple books I like and this question about the current best cape comic, but definitely no news and nothing that would make me drown in conflict of interest. I’m still figuring this out—bear with me.

-If I ever become one of those braggy “Oh look what I just read that you can’t see yet” types of dudes (outside of like, a legitimate critical context, I mean) feel free to smash me into a thousand pieces. I don’t want to be that guy. I’ll still be enthusiastic about stuff I dig, but I hope it’ll never come from that place.

I wrote about a family friend who passed away some time back, and my reaction/lack thereof.

I caught up on Arrested Development over the past week or so. I didn’t want to binge on it, but I did find myself wanting to watch it, so I did a couple episodes a day after work. I’m surprised by what impressed me. I thought it was pretty funny, but much, much better-written than it was belly-laugh funny. It was still plenty funny, especially anything involving Maeby, Ann, or the Michael/George-Michael stuff, but the writing was what grabbed me more than the laughs. A few of the parallels only hit me as time went on, from the various walls to how much of the series was about people explicitly trying to get something from someone else without tipping their hand or giving up anything valuable. I appreciated it more than I laughed at it. I’m really interested in how it was made now, too. They successfully nailed an incredible juggling act, editing scenes down to equally significant slices of time and then organizing those slices into a greater whole. Everything had to work when it was obscured, partially revealed, fully revealed, and integrated. There’s something really impressive about that. I like complicated or intricately constructed shows, but I don’t think any of them have managed to walk that line half as well as Arrested Development. I’ll have to wait a few months and check it out again to see what reveals itself.

Open thread. What’re you reading/watching/hearing/enjoying?

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monday mixtape kingpin

June 3rd, 2013 Posted by david brothers

monday mixtape kingpin from brothers on 8tracks Radio.

Eight songs, random order, you know the dealz.
-Jay Electronica – Exhibit C – Exhibit C
-Aloe Blacc – I Need A Dollar – Good Things
-Busta Rhymes – Everybody Rise – Extinction Level Event: The Final World Front
-Kid Cudi – We Aite (Wake Your Mind Up) – Man On The Moon II: The Legend Of Mr. Rager
-Emanuel Laskey – A Letter from Vietnam
-Estelle – I Can Be A Freak (Pon Di Floor Remix) – #IAlmostMadeAMixtape
-Dilated Peoples – Right On feat. Tha Alkaholiks – The Platform
-Freebass808 – Rewind feat. Jovi Rockwell – Liquid Love Spacedust

I like the connect-the-dots part of rap a whole lot. It’s a minor little thing to pay attention to, but it’s fun mental exercise and a nice way to discover new things to enjoy.

Like, Aloe Blacc’s “I Need A Dollar.” It’s a catchy song, it sounds real soulful, it’s real cool. I dig it. Jamaal Thomas does, too. The video for “Loving You Is Killing Me” is heat rocks:

So you’re interested in Blacc’s work, and you look him up online. He works with another guy named Exile as part of a group named Emanon. Exile works with another cat named Blu as Blu & Exile. Aloe Blacc sings on Blu joints sometimes, too. Blu and Exile are a good duo, a nice match of beats and rhymes. Somebody named Miguel Jonte sings with them sometimes. He dropped Kaleidoscope Dream a while back and it got a lot of acclaim as part of a new wave of R&B. Back up to Blacc a little — “I Need A Dollar” was the theme song for the (pretty good) HBO show How to Make It In America. That features Kid Cudi in a featured role, and from Cudi you can dip to Chip tha Ripper, Kanye West, and more besides.

Pretty much ever since I was a kid, I discovered new music by looking at liner notes to see who the artists I liked worked with or shouted out. It isn’t foolproof, but when you factor in how easy the internet makes things now, it’s definitely worth trying out. A lotta times you find little gems or weird pathways back to familiar ground, like when mainstream and underground artists collaborate.

It works for pretty much anything. It’s not really different from reading interviews to see who your favorite writer or actor was influenced by, I don’t think. It’s just a little more indirect. Part of the reason I stay so behind on new music in general is that I put albums aside until I can really listen to them and see if I need to google anybody new.

-I like how that Kid Cudi song is barely a song at all, just a… mood or sound. I like to see that sorta thing. Don’t overdo it, but give me something new any day of the week.

-Remember Jay Electronica? Jay Elect-chronically late, am I right or am I right fellas? Eh? Eh?

-I’m not much of a dancer probably, but that FreeBass 808 song really makes me wish I was.

-In “Right On,” J-Ro says “we all up in the house like cocky roaches.” It’s my favorite thing in the entire world at the time of this writing. Just say it aloud and maybe mull it over a little. Let it sink in. I love rap so much.

I read and enjoyed Tucker Stone and Abhay Khosla’s ComicsAlliance tribute. These guys are consistently some of my favorite dudes writing about comics, and this piece is just next-level. I like seeing CotW twist itself into new shapes week after week.

I read and enjoyed Andy Khouri in conversation with Kelly Sue DeConnick, with art commentary by Emma Ríos. I’ve been looking forward to Pretty Deadly. Eager to see what they come up with this year.

I talked to Sean Witzke about movies a few weeks back. I could look it up to see if I linked it already, but trust me: it’s worth listening to again. I really like these chats.

I wrote a story about a mother that kept a secret from her daughters. It’s inspired by a real-life tale that I’ve linked at the bottom of the story. I hope you dig it.

Y’all see that Jason Statham/Jennifer Lopez Parker?

Weird thing about this movie: it’s terrible. Every time Lopez is on-screen, you’re reminded of how good Out of the Past was, is, and will be forever. The cast is astounding, easily an impressive collection of individual talents if you like the stuff I like (you do), but they’re given mush to work with. It’s too nice, too slow, and too weak. I read the book after I saw the movie. It’s exponentially better, but still not great. There are also a lot of really visual action scenes that got left on the cutting room floor.

But I would totally see another. Despite its faults, the casting was genuinely good, certain action scenes were dead-on (the hotel room fight, for instance), and a lot of the tonal stuff wobbled, but tended toward being what I want out of a Parker film. I can see that Parker DNA in there. If it did well enough for a sequel, I’d check that out, no questions asked.

Open thread. What’re you reading/watching/hearing/enjoying? Enjoy the holiday.

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monday mixtape justice

May 27th, 2013 Posted by david brothers

monday mixtape justice from brothers on 8tracks Radio.

Eight songs, random order, you know the dealz.
-Statik Selektah – Mr Popularity feat. Consequence – Mr. Popularity CDS
-Glasses Malone – Respect Mah Gangsta – Drive-By Muzik (mixtape)
-Mobb Deep – Eye for a Eye (Your Beef Is Mines) – The Infamous
-Quando Nara Ri – Kassin+2 – Futurismo
-Nas – Fast Life feat. Kool G Rap
-NERD – Rock Star – In Search Of…
-Masta Ace – Dear Diary – Disposable Arts
-Gang Starr – You Know My Steez (Three Men and a Lady Remix) feat. The Lady of Rage and Kurupt – Full Clip: A Decade Of Gang Starr

Semi-random selection here. I chose songs that caught my eye on a fast flick-through of a random playlist. But it’s a holiday, so let me make this quick:

-Glasses Malone has an ill voice for a rapper. It’s perfect for gangsta rap, which Malone definitely makes. He’s like a west coast Trae tha Truth, in terms of being recognizable.
-Nas should be considered the greatest rapper of all time just for having the guts to follow G Rap on “Fast Life.” He should be knighted and sainted, because he ran a real risk of being martyred on that joint.
-“Full Clip” is the GOAT compilation album. I forget how ill Gang Starr was sometimes. I only started buying my own music around when Moment of Truth dropped (though Premo’s production never went away) so I think they were a little before my time, but every time I bump this album, man. It’s something else.
-“Mr Popularity” is one of my most favorite beats ever.
-Listen to The +2s. Trust me.

-Um… pass! I’m sure you all wrote very beautiful things last week that I read and enjoyed but apparently I was so preoccupied with real life stuff that I didn’t keep track.

-I did read and enjoy Fist of the Blue Sky, a Fist of the North Star prequel by Tetsuo Hara, Nobu Horie, and Buronson. It’s set in 1935 Shanghai, which is already a dope setting, and stars Kenshiro’s uncle. It’s good. I have two volumes, but the third is OOP and extra expensive. One day…

I wrote about the fact that this week is my last week at the job I’ve had for around eight years, if you count time spent freelancing, and how I’m not as over it as I thought I would be. Cold as ice, ready to sacrifice, etc.

Furious 6, in a word? Fantastic. It was the sequel it needed to be, with a tighter script, impressive economy of storytelling, a few different hooks for entertaining spinoffs… it was a capital M MOVIE, is what I’m saying. Totally worth theater prices and blu-ray prices when it hits home release.

Who knew we’d get six of these?

Open thread. What’re you reading/watching/hearing/enjoying? Enjoy the holiday.

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monday mixtape intocable

May 20th, 2013 Posted by david brothers

monday mixtape intocable from brothers on 8tracks Radio.

What the blood clot you niggas dealing? You crash dummies! Cash rules, still don’t nothing move but the money!

-Killer Mike – 10 G’s – I Pledge Allegiance to the Grind II
-Fabolous – BITE – The Soul Tape II
-Junior MAFIA – Get Money feat. The Notorious B.I.G. – Conspiracy
-Gucci Mane – Get Money Nigga feat. Meek Mill – Trap God
-Re-Up Gang – 20k Money Making Brothers on the Corner – We Got It For Cheap 3
-Jay-Z – 1-900-Hustler feat. Beanie Sigel, Memphis Bleek, Freeway – The Dynasty
-Ice Cube – Get Money, Spend Money, No Money – Raw Footage
-Royce da 5’9″ – Get Money Freestyle

Eight songs about one thing. Four of them have basically the same title. I thought about doing eight tracks named “Get Money,” but I figure four is cool. I left off 50’s “I Get Money” because apparently I don’t have that mp3 and just watch it on youtube all the time. Here’s the video for that one:

It’s corny how much I like this song.

Anyway, the love of money in rap is directly related to the love of money in America. The American Dream is to make a bunch of money so that the people who screw with you can’t screw with you any more. It’s reflected in rap to a large degree.

I think it’s easy to look at the commercialism in rap and see poison, but that’s just a surface reading. You can look at how these people rap about wealth and examine the subtext of what they’re saying. Nothing is ever just surface-level deep, you know? Everything means something.

I think my favorite joint in this mix is “1-900-Hustler,” featuring Jay-Z, Memphis Bleek, Freeway, and Beanie Sigel as the secretary. It’s a fun hustle song with plenty of jokes, but the rhymes and scenarios are on point. Freeway steals the song, but Young Memphis’s “Listen shorty, you wanna roll just give me the word/ I ain’t got time for a sentence, all that shit is absurd” is fantastic.

I was thinking the other day about storytelling in rap. I was listening to Killer Mike and El-P’s “Jojo’s Chillin'” and just marveling at how he paints this entire story with a series of phrases that feel like they’re just four or five words long. It’s like an ultra-compressed story. Memphis’s line is like that. Just hearing him say that sparks something in your head. “I ain’t got time for a sentence, all that shit is absurd” is a nice double entendre. I like taking it at face value, though. Memphis is a busy dude, so keep it simple, stupid.

As a great man once said, “They say money ain’t everything — you fuckin’ right, nigga, it’s the only thing; in God we trust, the Holy thing.”

Get money y’all. Pledge allegiance to the grind.

I read and enjoyed Michael Peterson talking about Papa & Yo. There are some spoilers, but screw it. Go and read.

I read and enjoyed Liz Barker typing about Kanye and stuff. His new songs are ill, her thoughts are interesting, and I left a too-long comment in her comment section! I’m definitely going to be revisiting Kanye’s stuff on this site once I get my hands on that album. Kanye is cool in part because he’s such an easy person to view through whichever lens you prefer. He’s such a big personality, I guess is the best phrase, that everyone finds something else to latch onto. For me, it’s the work ethic and craft. For you, it’s something else. For Liz, it’s the myth of Kanye… I dig it. Let’s all talk about Kanye to the West.

I read and enjoyed Ghostface talking about his favorite songs. I quoted this one the other day, in that big rap piece.

I read some other stuff between this post and the last one, but I forgot to keep track of them. Rest assured that they were life-changing and life-enriching.

TRUE STORY! Two or three months ago, my PS3 and main hard drive died in the same week. Last week, my new HD died Monday morning before work when I usually put these posts together. So I called it on account of equipment failure.

I got my uzi back, though, and now we’re back at it. So:

I wrote a story about Monkey. I like the legend of Sun Wukong a lot, more than I really expected, so I wrote an homage piece.

I wrote a piece about how stressful flying is. I dunno if it’s funny or not, but I hope you dig it.

I saw Star Trek Into Darkness. I thought it was really silly in parts and I got more of the fanservicey jokes than I expected to, but it was pretty fun. The fight scenes needed better direction, but the spectacle was on point. I’ll probably never watch it again, but it was a nice way to spend two hours with a friend. It’s a warm movie with a lot of weird choices, but it’s never boring, which I appreciate more and more in my dotage.

How amazingly good was that Elementary finale, tho? That’s how you do TV. More like that.

I’ve been ultra-stressed and trying to dodge an emotional downswing (well… more of one) lately, but I’m looking at the light at the end of the tunnel. I have a hard time sometimes, when things go south and my mood turns cloudy. I was talking to a friend about it recently, and I told her that it feels like my head is full of angry bees that are all saying the same thing. It’s like thinking through a filter, in a way? I know what’s up, but I have to pass through this fog before I’m okay with it.

One thing that helps me is that I made a rule for myself. I wake up early enough that I can dedicate an hour or two in the morning to writing for myself (meaning 4l!, freelance, fiction, whatever). I go to work and do it 9-5. When I get home, usually around six? I do nothing. I’ll sit on my lawn chair on my balcony and read in the sun, or until it gets too windy to be comfortable. I’ll chill on the couch and play video games. I’ll cook. I’ll do anything but work.

Keeping that time sacred hasn’t worked wonders, but it gives me an escape hatch when I need it. I’m a fast enough writer that this works for me. It may not for you. But give it some thought. I know how it feels to grind and grind and grind, but I realized I was just wearing myself out. Carve out some space for you if you haven’t already. That other stuff will happen or it won’t, and it has a better chance of happening if you can re-center yourself when you need to.

Open thread. What’re you reading/watching/hearing/enjoying? what it dew

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monday mixtape haterism

May 6th, 2013 Posted by david brothers

monday mixtape haterism from brothers on 8tracks Radio.

Eight songs here, which should play in random order. The list:
-Curren$y – Armoire feat. Young Roddy & Trademark – The Stoned Immaculate
-Aesop Rock – Getaway Car feat. Cage, Breeze Brewin – None Shall Pass
-B-Rock & The Bizz – My Baby Daddy
-Angel Haze – Realest – Reservation
-Copywrite – Light’s Out feat. Catalyst – The Jerk
-Johnson & Jonson – Hold On John – Johnson & Jonson
-The Alchemist – Flight Confirmation feat. Danny Brown & Schoolboy Q – Russian Roulette
-Joell Ortiz – Nissan, Honda, Chevy

I spend a lot of time listening to the same ol’ songs. I have a little iPod Nano I use for music, an eight gig joint, and I tend to keep it stocked with favorites, albums I want to revisit, and new mixtapes or albums. The downside is that after a day or two, I realized I know everything on the iPod by heart, so if my mood changes and I want to hear a certain sound, my choice is to either listen to something hot that I’ve temporarily played out or to just deal with it.

So I changed things up. I made a smart playlist in iTunes, told it to populate randomly, and gave it a size limit of five gigs, so I could still have a few favorites loaded up. I’ve got something like sixteen thousand songs, but only a fraction of that stays in heavy rotation. This is a way to correct my course and rediscover things I forgot.

This mixtape is a semi-random selection of eight songs from my 5 GB playlist. I pretty much flicked down the iTunes list and grabbed the first ten songs that caught my eye, and then pared it down to remove dupes. It’s tilted highly in favor of rap (no surprise), but also toward the past five years, which was a legitimate surprise. I don’t listen to a lot of ’80s rap, but I love joints from the ’90s and early ’00s. That’s not represented here, I don’t think. I am pleased at the diversity of styles, prestige, and content here, though.

Aesop Rock’s “Getaway Car” has one of my most favorite beats ever, and Aes Riggedy Rock, Cage, and Breeze Brewin go in so hard, and the Camp Lo sample is disgusting. It’s ugly, a mean mug of a sample that’s just the best thing ever this morning. I’ll show up for Breeze anyway, but it’s lovely this song is so ill in general.

“My Baby Daddy” was the jam when I was a kid. I guess I was 14 or 15, but that song goes now just as much as it did then. Maybe you had to be there, like with “Ya mama smokes crack rock!” “Mama, please stop, ’cause they pickin’ on me!” Be careful out there, tho — a lot of people think it was JT Money (including my iTunes, for some reason), because of his single “Who Dat.” “My Baby Daddy”‘s music video is super ’90s too.

Here’s the answer song from Anquette:

I always liked answer or sequel songs. “No Scrubs” vs “No Pigeons,” or how Beanie Sigel’s “In The Club” came out of Jay-Z’s “Do It Again.”

Copy’s “Light’s Out,” featuring Catalyst, has one of my favorite aspects of rap music: when the beat drops out at the end and the rapper just keeps going. Copywrite is nice — “if it ain’t MHz or Weathermen it’s a piece of shit!” — but Catalyst getting those extra few seconds is spectacular. I know it’s calculated or whatever, but it feels like just unbridled creativity spilling out. It makes the raps better, even if they’re just aight, and I’ll never stop loving it. I react to it like I reacted to Canibus kicking 100 bars in a row.

Johnson & Jonson (bka Blu & Mainframe)’s “Hold On John” actually has an iller sample than “Getaway Car.” It’s a perfect pairing of sample, tone, and subject matter. It should go without saying, but Joell Ortiz can spit, too.

True story: I had this big plan this year to go full freelance. I’ve been doing freelance since 2003, and it’s mostly been a side gig to a day job, or a way to help pay my student loans. It’s never been enough to live on, and I’m starting to feel like I might have missed that window, thanks to a combination of bad timing, comfort, and… probably pride. Definitely pride.

ComicsAlliance closing caught me by surprise, because it’s one of a couple things I took entirely for granted when drafting this big plan. I sort of assumed that the site, and the money, would be there while I looked for more. I placed a few singular pieces elsewhere around the internet (I placed five pieces at four outlets that were new to me), but nobody’s biting for what I’m best at or a regular gig. And now CA is gone, so I don’t even have the homebase I was hoping to hang onto while I tried to branch out.

I’m pretty discouraged. I hadn’t realized quite how much until late last week, long after the praise online had died down and I had a chance to think about it. I utterly hate when plans bend and warp, especially when I felt like I had a chance to hit the mark. On top of that, I apparently alienated a few close friends by writing about comics, the money was never great (it was more than welcome, don’t get me wrong — I’m still very grateful for the chance and the checks), and my difficulty elsewhere has me thinking like… “Is it worth it?”

I dunno. I’m still processing. I think I was too ambitious, maybe, but also too focused, in terms of what I can write about. But I’ve spent enough of my time feeling bad. Now it’s time to do something else.

Once a week, for as long as I can hold out (months, looking at what I’ve got banked and planned), I’m going to post a new piece at I’m thinking of alternating fiction and non-fiction, but don’t hold me to it. The first story’s about Karen. I hope you dig it and come back on Friday for the next one.

Thanks for reading.

The Following‘s first season ended last week. I’ll have a longer post later, I think, but here’s a short review of the last episode:

Open thread. What’re you reading/watching/hearing/enjoying?

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monday mixtape garou

April 29th, 2013 Posted by david brothers

monday mixtape garou from brothers on 8tracks Radio.

Eight songs here, which should play in random order. The list:
-The Smiths – Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now
-The Verve – The Drugs Don’t Work
-The Verve – Bitter Sweet Symphony
-Joy Division – Love Will Tear Us Apart
-The Smith – There Is A Light That Never Goes Out
-The Stone Roses – Fools Gold
-Blur – Trimm Tabb
-Blur – Under the Westway

My friend Amy hooked me up with a playlist she called “Madchester and Manchester.” You can listen to it here if you have Spotify. I was going to embed it here, but it turns out you need Spotify to hear the songs, so… I did a lot of extra legwork and turned the tracks I like best (plus two more) into an 8tracks mix.

I say I like britpop, but what I really mean is “I like Damon Albarn-led or -related projects, like Blur, Gorillaz, and so on.” Albarn’s work has been the main way I’ve experienced britpop, even down to it being the lens through which I learn about britpop history. Oasis exists in relation to Blur. I was introduced to Justine Frischmann not through Elastica but via “Oh, she’s Damon Albarn’s girlfriend, some songs are probably about her, and the best Blur albums are post-breakup.” It’s not that I’m a superfan — I own a lot of his stuff and I figure his name is enough to get me onboard, but I wouldn’t say I’m obsessive about it — so much as I’m ignorant of the context. I wasn’t there, I was a kid when all of it was going on, and frankly, there ain’t a lot of young black kids in Small Towne, GA listening to The Smiths or whatever. I didn’t even hear an entire Beatles song, and recognize that it was The Beatles, until high school.

So I reached out to a few friends who’d know. Amy hooked me up weeks ago, and it took me forever to listen for stupid reasons. (I wanted time to be able to really listen to figure out what I liked, which is typical of me.) I got Ron Richards to kick me a lot of album recommendations in a few different genres, too, since we have so little overlap in taste.

I’m trying to broaden my horizons, and the best way I know how to do that is to do something new and then see how it makes me feel. In this case, I took Amy’s playlist and listened to it a few times on shuffle while walking around the city and commuting home. After an hour or so, I started starring whichever songs caught my ear for whatever reason. Maybe I liked the melody, maybe I liked a particular line, or maybe I liked something more ephemeral.

Whichever way it is, the star means I need to pay attention, and paying attention means either checking out more songs from the album the song originates from or asking friends what else sounds similar.

I don’t really have an endpoint for this. I just wanna know more, and spider-webbing my way to more seems good enough to me.

Thanks Amy. Sorry it took so long.

The two songs I added to round out the mix are a couple Blur joints I like a lot. The only Blur album I don’t own/haven’t heard is The Great Escape, I think. I passed it over when I was heavy into Blur, by accident maybe, and haven’t had a chance to go back yet. Which is weird of me, but hey.

I wrote about Frank Quitely & Mark Millar’s Jupiter’s Legacy. It’s soft like baby butts, but also the best comic Millar’s written in recent memory.

I wrote about Ananth Paragariya and Yuko Ota’s Johnny Wander. I like it a lot. Website.

ComicsAlliance is closed. To my knowledge, it wasn’t because of hits or performance or controversy. It didn’t fit, or something. Dunno. Either way, I spilled 477,770 words on 317 posts over about three and a half years.

-I watched Matthew Vaughan’s Kick-Ass finally, the adaptation of the odious Millar/JRjr comic. It was eleventy times better than the comic, but still pretty dumb. It’s like they intentionally shied away from making a good movie in favor of a weird quirky… thing. Hit-Girl was the most interesting part, and they botched every single action scene with her, including the big introduction where she rescues Kick-Ass.

It’s weird. It wanted to be an action movie, but the action was shot poorly almost as a general rule. The hallway run toward the end had so many good parts, like Hit-Girl dodging bullets, but it was delivered in the laziest, stupidest-looking way. Why cut every time someone moves an arm? I mean, maybe it was because they needed a stuntman (stunt-girl?) for Hit-Girl, but people have been using stuntmen for decades without it look like crap.

Anyway. The trailer for Kick-Ass 2 was funny, but ehhhh. Figure I’m good.

Open thread. What’re you reading/watching/hearing/enjoying?

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monday mixtape futuristic

April 15th, 2013 Posted by david brothers

monday mixtape futuristic from brothers on 8tracks Radio.

Eight songs here, which should play in random order. The list:

-Bone thugs-n-harmony – No Surrender – Creepin On Ah Come Up
-Method Man – Meth vs Chef – Tical
-Notorious BIG – The What – Ready To Die
-OC – Time’s Up – Word…Life
-OutKast – Funky Ride – Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik
-Soundgarden – Black Hole Sun – Superunknown
-TLC – Switch – Crazysexycool
-69 Boyz – Kitty, Kitty – Nineteen Ninety Quad

Y’all remember 1994? I barely do, personally. But, here’s a few joints I was feeling at the time, a mix of predictable choices and maybe a couple dark horses. (I got “Black Hole Sun” off Beavis & Butthead.)

I have a dumb Method Man story. When I was a kid, I didn’t know that songs got edited for radio and music video play. I mean, I knew there were songs with cuss words, and songs without cuss words. I just didn’t realize that there were also songs that had at one point had cuss words.

At the time, I was really into that “All I Need” video with Mary J Blige. It was creepy and weird and Mary J’s part was beautiful, so when I found out my uncle had the CD, I snuck into his room when he was at work (or maybe college?), turned the volume knob way down on his receiver, and loaded it up. I went straight to “All I Need,” ’cause that was the move.

AND WHOA. Is this the same guy? This guy is cussing all over the place. I listened to some other songs — more cuss words? Maybe it isn’t the same guy? So I put the CD back where I found it, confused.

A few days later, the music video came on while I was chilling with my uncle and I found it in me to ask about it. I don’t entirely remember the whole conversation, but I remember being pretty smooth about it. But I was probably ten years old, so I couldn’t have been that smooth. I was like, “Hey, is this the guy whose CD you have? The scary one?” and he said yeah. “But… he cusses?” Yep. “Oh.”

Their name sounds like a joke today, but it’s hard to overestimate how big Miami Bass was at the time, especially 69 Boyz. Nineteen Ninety Quad is the 1994 equivalent of like Rick Ross’s Teflon Don or Jay’s Blueprint Who Cares. It was all bangers, and every day on the way to school, we were singing either 69 Boyz, Tag Team, or them Bankhead Bounce dudes. Or making our own radio edits — “We don’t need no water, let the mother mother burn!”

TLC’s CrazySexyCool is one of the hardest albums ever. It’s cool if you disagree, but go back and re-listen to it. It’s super good. Despite a childhood ban on cussing, me and my cousin knew all of Bone’s “No Surrender” by heart. We wore that tape out. Liquid Swords, too.

-I liked Dylan Todd talking to Jim Rugg about Rugg’s new project Supermag. Rugg is one of the sharpest dudes in comics, in terms of both talent and knowledge, and it’s nice to see somebody interview him who can keep up.

-I liked this drawing Angie Wang did of a Billie Holliday lyric.

-I laughed at this story of goons getting scammed out of a bunch of money because they wanted to hook up with AKB48 girls, even though I understand that it is technically a bad thing. But it’s so funny. I have so many questions.

-I liked Sloane Leong talking about tips to avoid getting murdered by a slasher. Must-read. Take it to heart.

-I loved this Russell Westbrook photospread in ESPN the Magazine. Westbrook been knowing how to dress.

-Writing? I didn’t write ANYTHING this week.

-Psyche, I’ve been on tumblr, thinking out loud. Rick Ross dropped a line about rape in a song, backlash ensued, and eventually he apologized twice and Reebok dropped him from a sponsorship deal. It was a whole thing, I guess, but it sorta bugged me. I’ve spent some time trying to talk through it on tumblr, so follow the bouncing ball: here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and then it stopped because some dumb Apple apologist wanted to be a dick to me but didn’t realize I invented being a dick, and then ends with this, on Rawse & Context. Maybe you’ll dig it? I dunno, but I wrote it.

This weekend, I watched Place Beyond the Pines and Seven Psychopaths. Pines was really very good, sort of aimed directly at my heart (it’s about daddy issues and criminals). Psychopaths was still good the second time around, and it was nice to catch things I missed the first time. In hindsight, it’s not so much a crime movie as a Hollywood movie, which is interesting. I’d say more about Pines, but it’s totally worth going in cold. The most I knew about it was Liz Barker’s review, which you should also probably read, if you’re curious about what the movie feels like.

My dude Mahershala Ali is in there, too. I like that guy a lot, whenever and wherever he shows up. Eva Mendes, too.

I also started rewatching Chappelle’s Show, which is still absurdly funny. I think I’m well into season two at this point.

Open thread. What’re you reading/watching/hearing/enjoying?

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monday mixtape edification

April 8th, 2013 Posted by david brothers

monday mixtape edification from brothers on 8tracks Radio.

Eight songs here, which should play in random order. The list:

-Esperanza Spalding – Black Gold – Radio Music Society
-Lana Del Rey – Off to the Races – Born To Die
-Bobby Womack – Dayglo Reflection feat. Lana Del Rey – The Bravest Man In The Universe
-Otis Redding – Satisfaction – Live On The Sunset Strip
-Curtis Mayfield – Miss Black America – Curtis!
-Charlotte Gainsbourg – IRM – IRM
-D’Angelo – Cruisin – Brown Sugar
-Jessie Ware – Wildest Moments – Devotion

Strictly sangers this time.

I missed out on Lana Del Rey when her hype machine was in full swing. The machine didn’t make her music sound like something I wanted to hear, I think. The sticker on the vinyl I bought said something like “’50s Hollywood style with emcee swag,” which is as repellent as it is nonsensical. Worse than that, the vast majority of the criticism I found tended to be about how she’s a faking faker with another name, and a bunch of other dumb ideas I don’t remember. I think I caught that weirdly sad SNL performance on youtube, too. So I tabled the idea of paying attention to her.

She showed up, of all places, on Bobby Womack’s album. It was my first time listening to her, as opposed to just hearing her. It was nice. Her voice is in that range that puts me in mind of other lady vocalists I dig. I poked around on Twitter and people said her album was pretty good, but I still held off.

Liz Barker wrote about digging Lana Del Rey recently, and she made her sound very cool. I like the idea of “sexy music that feels like being asleep,” so I checked out Born to Die and was pretty impressed.

Liz nailed the feel of the album. Her piece got me into the right space to appreciate it, and I copped the vinyl shortly after I listened to the album. I’m into it. I was surprised to hear “Y’out there? Louder!” on the first track, since that’s one of my favorite rap samples. I don’t usually associate that with singers, even today, so that was a nice surprise. It’s mixed way down in the track, too, which is interesting.

Now that I’m comfortable with this album, I want to know more. I want to know what’s up with her album having two separate references to Nabokov’s Lolita, assuming you include the bonus tracks. That seems like a lot, right? There’s something there. I’m on the look for more now. I liked this Jessica Hopper piece my dude Chris Randle linked me. I need to find more. I kinda wish I lived near the musically-inclined people I like online. I’d love to be able to just sit in a dark, smoky room and chew the fat over this and everything else.

I love Otis Redding’s performance on “Satisfaction,” from the intro to the outro. Curtis Mayfield’s “Miss Black America” makes me wish I had a daughter.

-This week was short on reading material. I’ve been doing research for a big project, which means reading, rereading, watching, and rewatching things that are hard to link. In the meantime:

I dig Strawberry Fields Whatever, created by Jen May, Laura Jane Faulds, and Liz Barker. They’re all really good, and I’m routinely impressed by how they approach music and the way they talk about music’s place in their life. They’ve been really helpful to me, both directly and indirectly. Even when I don’t know the nitty-gritty of what they’re talking about, I dig the way they talk about it. I learn things.

I dig Maura Magazine, edited by Maura Johnston. Johnston is a writer whose work I’ve dug for a while now, and she launched this iPad magazine earlier this year. Thirty bucks gets you a year of weekly issues, $0.99 gets you a one-shot issue. Each issue has a new roster of writers and new subjects grouped under a loose umbrella idea. The magazine, like SFWhatevs, routinely writes about things I’m ignorant of, but I eat it up. There was a piece on teenaged girl Olympic swimmers that was fascinating, and I’m not the type of guy who particularly cares about Olympics or competitive swimming.

I dig Comics of the Weak, written and organized by Tucker Stone, with regular assists from Abhay Khosla and Nathan Bulmer. Abhay absolutely murders the Rick “Hobo Piss” Remender situation this week. I have a lot of thoughts on that even still. But I hate talking about it, so I’m going to try and just leave this here and leave it alone.

I did like this read on being sober for a year by Kristina Wong, though.

I wrote about David Hine & Shaky Kane’s Bulletproof Coffin Disinterred for ComicsAlliance.

-I saw Jurassic Park in IMAX 3D this weekend. It’s not as life-changing as it was when I was a kid, but it’s still an incredibly ill movie and utterly enjoyable. Even if you can’t see it in 3D, you should probably watch it again pretty soon. The animatronic dinosaurs aged extremely well. The CG ones still look good, but not quite as good as they once did.

There’s one shot I love, when Lex is in the grates above the control room and the raptor bumps the grate she’s crawling on and then the camera cuts to an overhead shot of her falling through while the raptor recovers on the ground. Makes me smile every time I see it. It’s so immaculate.

Open thread. What’re you reading/watching/hearing/enjoying?

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monday mixtape david

April 1st, 2013 Posted by david brothers

monday mixtape david from brothers on 8tracks Radio.

Eight songs here, which should play in random order. The list:

-Adina Howard – Freak Like Me – Do You Wanna Ride?
-Aesop Rock – 6b Panorama – Float
-Anthony Hamilton – Sucka For You – Back To Love
-Arrested Development – People Everyday – 3 Years, 5 Months And 2 Days In The Life Of…
-Asher Roth & Nottz – Gotta Get Up – Rawth
-Atmosphere – Good Times (Sick Pimpin) – Seven’s Travels
-Angie Martinez – Live at Jimmy’s
-Al Green – I Want To Hold Your Hand – Love Ritual

Originally, I had wanted to make this eight songs about death or dying, but then I woke up this morning and it’s gloomy out, so instead these are eight songs about enjoying your life, though some songs are more down than others. That strain runs through it, though — “life is beautiful.” It’s why we put up with all this nonsense that life throws at us. One day somebody pretty is gonna smile at us, we’re gonna see some movie we like or hear some song we love, and smile by accident.

Aesop Rock’s “6B Panorama” is one of my favorite songs. I love storytelling joints, and this one isn’t a story so much as a scene. It’s just what Aes Rock sees when he looks out of his window, and it’s so simple but deep that I can’t help but love it. I honestly love Aes’s delivery on “I saw a blind man with a dog screaming ‘someday I’ll see it all’/ and then he sat down with his hammer and saw.” It’s delivered like the stinger at the end of an episode of Peabody & Sherman on Rocky & Bullwinkle.

“6B Panorama” is about appreciation, I think, and that’s something I have a hard time with. When I’m in a bad mood and everything tastes like ashes and I hate everything I love, I wallow. I try to focus more on appreciating what I see on a day-to-day basis these days. I moved last year, and while I can’t see the sunrise or sunset, I can stand on my balcony and still enjoy the morning. There’s always something to look at and appreciate, right? I forget that sometimes.

It helps that “6B Panorama” is a killer bit of writing from one of rap’s best writers, too.

This mixtape is smiley face music, even if it’s a sheepish smile. “People Everyday” is probably the outlier, but it’s such a happy-sounding song about whipping somebody’s behind that I couldn’t resist, not to mention that flawless outro.

The instrumental version of Atmosphere’s “Good Times” was my alarm for two or three years, and it’s strange how weird it sounds to me now. I associated it with snapping awake and being late to work for so long that just hearing the opening of the song makes me physically anxious, though I know in my head that it isn’t a big deal. It’s like a spike of anxiety that slowly fades into suspicion. Basically, don’t make your favorite songs your alarms. I ruined Aesop Rock’s “None Shall Pass” that way, too.

I do a mean version of “Live At Jimmy’s.” Get at me.

Alex Pappademas interviewed DOC for Playboy, with a hat-tip to taterpie for the link. This interview? It’s fantastic. It’s wide-ranging and it put me up on things that I never even knew. I had an uncle who was into MC Breed as a kid, and finding out that DOC worked with him was a revelation. This is must-reading, but maybe not if you’re at work.

I liked Kiel Phegley interviewing Jim Rugg about his new project Supermag. Rugg is ferociously talented.

I liked Andrew Wheeler & Joe Hughes’s take on the Rick Remender Hobo Piss Avengers thing. It’s got an… academic approach, I guess is the best phrase to use, that I’m no good at. I don’t process this kind of conversation that way, which is why I rarely (a brief search says “never” on 4thletter! and mostly in jokes on twitter) talk about like, “white privilege” as a concept. It’s not what I’m good at, but Wheeler is, so give it a read. I also dig this more fan-oriented take.

Here’s a link to a transcript of the diversity-oriented panel I was on at ECCC, if’n you’re curious. I think the panel was pretty good, but I also think that I talked way too much. It was nice, though. The panel is continuing over here on Tumblr, if you’ve got questions/want to discuss things.

I reviewed Gabriel Bá and Fábio Moon’s BPRD Vampire, which is very pretty but thin. I wrote about a scene I like a lot though. It’ll be a good book, I think, but weak first issue.

I wrote about… me? Kind of. It’s about learning to trust my taste and accepting the connections my brain draws between otherwise disparate projects. My brain’s smarter than I am. Next week’s I’m David will focus on a similar subject, but with a bulletproof twist.

I saw GI Joe Retaliation. Here’s the first trailer I found on youtube:

I still love that reaction to the North Korea joke. “Bro! What?! C’mon! I just GOT this job!”

I loved it. I’m sure people are gonna say it’s stupid or “turn off your brain” or whatever, but trust me: stay engaged, especially if you’re into the Joes. It’s a treat, and it’s exactly what a toy/comic movie should be. Is delightful a weird word to describe a movie? ’cause GI Joe was a delight on par with Fast Five or Dredd/The Raid. It’s a proper action movie, basically, with some devastatingly good jokes, shockingly solid casting (keep an eye out for dude who played Dick Casablancas in Veronica Mars, for instance), and some well put-together action scenes. A few fights were a little too blurry for my tastes, but by and large? Utterly, completely enjoyable. I saw it in Imax 3D and had a time.

Open thread. What’re you reading/watching/hearing/enjoying?

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