Thursday, December 26, 2013

Books - (Read In) 2013



** Re-read

The Diary of a Young Girl - Anne Frank
Lionel Asbo: State of London - Martin Amis
Thirty-Eight Witnesses: The Kitty Genovese Case - A.M. Rosenthal
Sugar Blues - William Duffy
Vampires in the Lemon Grove - Karen Russell
Winnie-the-Pooh - A.A. Milne
The Midwich Cuckoos - John Wyndham
The Walking Dead Compendium 1 - Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard, Cliff Rathburn, Tony Moore
Breakfast at Tiffany's - Truman Capote
Kick-Ass - Mark Millar, John Romita Jr.
Shopgirl - Steve Martin
Mo' Meta Blues: The World According to Questlove - Amir "Questlove" Thompson
Blood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West - Cormac McCarthy
The Walking Dead Compendium 2 - Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard
Salt, Sugar, Fat - Michael Moss
You Are All Sanpaku - George Ohsawa
The Little Prince - Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Things Fall Apart - Chinua Achebe
Steve Jobs - Walter Isaacson
How to Win Friends & Influence People (In the Digital Age) - Dale Carnegie
Impossible Odds: The Kidnapping of Jessica Buchanan and Her Dramatic Rescue by SEAL Team Six - Jessica Buchanan, Erik Landemalm, Anthony Flacco
Gone Girl - Gillian Flynn
The Time Machine - H.G. Wells**
Levels of Life - Julian Barnes
The Good Lord Bird - James McBride
The Stranger - Albert Camus

Some notes:

Steve Jobs will confound you. You'll hate him when he treats people like shit; and then be amazed and inspired by vision and passion for quality and design. This back and forth made Walter Isaacson's biography my favorite read of the year. I'm a slow reader, but I got through this book (656 pages) in about two and a half days. You've probably heard a lot about this book already, but read it anyway -- it will make you think you can do anything.

I should read more children's books. Authors are able to do some amazing things with words when they bring their thoughts and words down to the level of a child. I laughed loudly several times reading Winnie-the-Pooh, and The Little Prince (this is a children's book, right?) is a beautiful tale.

Was very happy that Karen Russell received a Genius Grant from the MacArthur Foundation. She's extremely imaginative and some of her short stories are amazing, in particular the one about the silk factory (felt Miyazaki-esque), and the one about horses.







I powered through some books I hated (Kick-Ass, Shopgirl, Gone Girl). Never again.

I teared up while reading a book for the first time. Didn't know a thing about Captain Phillips before I read Jessica Buchanan's story, so the kidnapping experience was entirely fresh to me. It frightened me; made me lose hope; and finally exhausted me by the end of the book. The rescue by SEAL Team Six is absolutely amazing.

Blood Meridian is by far the bloodiest and bleakest book I have ever read. There were times I asked myself "What is the point of all of this?"

I love this book cover. I'd also like to see an on-screen update of this story. (1960|1995)


  
Things Fall Apart made me very angry. Religion...

Matt and I exchanged emails on the Questlove book. We didn't get to finish our conversation because he had some real life things to deal with, but I might share some of our thoughts in a future post.

Looking forward to another year of reading. If you have any suggestions, feel free to suggest.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Prince - Wonderful Ass

"The Revolution will be heard."

During the past month, I've been exposed to a lot of Prince's unreleased material from the 80s, and this particular title stands out to me as a favorite.

From The Prince Vault:
Wonderful Ass is an unreleased track recorded in early 1983 at Prince's Kiowa Trail Home Studio, Chanhassen, MN, USA. The track is a pop-funk track with synth lead lines, a drum machine beat and rhythm guitar. The track's lyrics were supposedly inspired by Vanity. One section of the song is a list of verbs rhyming with "...ate": "educate", "tolerate", "negotiate", "communicate" etc. This was likely inspired by fellow Minnesota singer-songwriter Bob Dylan's song Subterranean Homesick Blues (from Bringing It All Back Home, 1965, also released as a single in 1965). It is unknown if Wonderful Ass was intended for any project at the time of recording. 
Lisa Coleman and Wendy Melvoin worked on the track further in early 1986, most likely at Sunset Sound, Hollywood, CA, USA, adding vocals and other instrumentation. Again, it it not known if this song was intended for any project at the time of additional recording. 
The track was later planned for inclusion on the Prince and the Revolution album Roadhouse Garden album worked on in 1998-9, but the album remains unreleased. 
During Prince: A Celebration in June, 2000, computer screens at Paisley Park Studios offered names of a selection of tracks which users could vote on for inclusion on Crystal Ball Volume II, and while Wonderful Ass was chosen by fans, the project was ultimately abandoned. The song remains unreleased.

I've heard a couple of theories as to why he disbanded The Revolution (needing to challenge himself, wanting a better trained band), all which seem pretty reasonable, but I always enjoyed his collaborative work with Wendy & Lisa. It hit that right spot of creativity and pop sensibilities.

Here's hoping they'll work together again in a meaningful way.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Vanity - Video Soul Interview (1984)



My man Donnie is sweating.

Good on him though for mostly keeping it together because...yeah...




Some have speculated that she might have been on that Rob Ford in this video.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Bobbi Humphrey - Baby's Gone



Nothing better than tripping over a sample source, especially when it was used on a favorite by one of your favorite artists. (#9 on my unpublished list of 10 essential Extra Prolific songs)

1:37 - 1:43 was sampled by Extra Prolific on the track Having Fun.

Tyler, The Creator and 9th Wonder were mentioned in the YouTube comments, so I'm assuming they sampled it too.


Thursday, October 17, 2013

Frances Ha (Noah Baumbach, 2013)



A lot of award contenders are being released now, so I want to give a little tip of the hat to my favorite release from earlier in the year.

You're gonna look at the trailer, see white and quirk, and automatically think the H-word. There's more going on here. Outside of what I personally took away from this film (adjusting life plans and expectations, figuring shit out), I thought it was well written, edited (Matt?), and shot beautifully. It feels very...French.

It's getting the Criterion treatment in November (if that means anything), so if it seems like something you would enjoy, check it out.



And here's a not overly interesting interview with Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig conducted during The New Yorker Festival.


Monday, October 7, 2013

A Tribe Called Quest - Check The Rhime (Handwritten Lyrics)

A bit of history.

I've always been interested in the process of writing back and forths. In this case it looks like Tip wrote the bits before the main verses.

The eight bar in his verse is also interesting where he made a note to sing sad and alone. I wonder if that particular line was originally an interpolation of another song.  

Good job on the quick re-write, Tip. That snot line...



Photos courtesy of Q-Tip.

I once did a podcast with Matt Fish discussing The Low End Theory. You can peep that here.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Kanye West - Zane Lowe Interview (BBC Radio 1)


"This is what frustration sounds like."

A really interesting interview.

There will be people who pull the crazy card, and no doubt there's a lot going on with him, but I find him to be extremely passionate, inspired, and because of that, inspiring. If you haven't watched the videos (I'm sure most have), check it out.







Monday, September 23, 2013

The AuteurCast on Amy Adams (The Master)

Icy.

Amy Adams is one of my favorite actors.

My favorite performance from her is in Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master. (She's a bit terrifying)

The hosts of The AuteurCast are also fans of her work in the film. Here's what co-host West Anthony had to say about her performance.



The AuteurCast: Link

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Til Infinity: Celebrating 20 Years of the Souls of Mischief






 Project Information:

Director Film maker Shomari Smith has conducted over 50 interviews with notable emcees, producers and DJs for this project. He has spent the past two years traveling the country to document the lives of the Souls of Mischief as well as capturing moments with some the most highly respected players in the music industry.

This documentary will show the Souls as you have never seen them before. They share childhood stories, give an inside look into their early creative process while making their legendary demo tape, they share personal stories about each album track from “93 ‘Til”, and they discuss the single “93 til infinity” and it’s longevity.

Having had the opportunity to grow up with the Souls of Mischief and seeing the impact that 93 Til Infinity had on the hip hop community, Shomari felt compelled to tell the story of their journey from the perspective of a fan, filmmaker and lover of hip hop.

Although we are near the finish line, we need your help in the final stages of postproduction. As an investor, your contributions will provide the necessary funds to secure a colorist, a sound engineer and cover the cost of film festival submissions.

Indiegogo-ing here: Link

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Danny Brown - Side A (Old)



Been seeing this face a lot over the past year or so. Blogs, GQ Magazine, Nardwuar, Kathy Griffin...he's everywhere. During this period I never heard a single verse or rhyme from him. I actually started taking pleasure in having a Seinfeld type streak going.

I've now heard a Danny Brown song.

The streak was a result of laziness as much as it was disinterest, but yesterday while browsing a message board, I found a new post on the artist with very little replies. Perfect. I wasn't required to read through a lot of arguing and opinions. So, I clicked the link, peeped the song, and...I like it.

It wasn't the type of sound I was expecting. To be honest, I had no idea what to expect. A few people who responded to the message board post seemed surprised by this track, so I'm guessing it's not totally representative of his sound. Either way, he now has my attention. Not enough to go back through his catalog (yet), but if word of mouth on his new album is good, I'll definitely peep.


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Hieroglyphics - Video LP (1993)

Performing 93 'til Infinity (Souls of Mischief) and No More Worries (Del The Funky Homosapien)

Interview by Sherry Carter. 



Snupe.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

12 Years A Slave - International Poster



So good.

Looks like we may have a two film race for best picture between this and Gravity. Maybe three with August: Osage County?

Love this time of the year for film.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Put This On: Season 2 - Episode 6: Consolidation


What happens when a hundred artisans become a few global megacompanies? We went to Milan, Italy, to talk to small-scale makers who work in the shadow of fashion conglomerates like Prada.

Take Antonio Pio Mele, a cobbler who makes shoes by hand in a small shop in central Milan. He's grateful that huge brands occasionally hire him to make samples, but he's angry they rarely pay him on time and that their "bespoke" operations are rarely genuinely bespoke. Scholar Alex Pietrogiacomi provides some philosophical context, and photographer Simone Falcetta explains how consolidation has changed the fashion world.

We also talk to Milanese dandy Pino Pipoli, Dave Hill offers a rudiment about black suits, and the beautiful Valentina Galbiati gives us a guided tour of Milan's most influential and beautiful boutique, 10 Corso Como.

---

Executive Producers: Jesse Thorn & Adam Lisagor
Director: Benjamin Ahr Harrison
Host / Writer / Producer: Jesse Thorn
Rudiments: Dave Hill
Producer: Gianluca Migliarotti
Director of Photography: Daniele Vascelli
Sound: Daniele Belli
Editor: Todd Thoenig and Benjamin Ahr Harrison
Subtitle Translation: Giovanni D’Amico

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Maison Martin Margiela x Converse





I know exactly what you're thinking, and you're not wrong: it is (or isn't).

Still...I'd cop.

Those socks are dope too.

Details.

via: High Snobiety

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Thursday, August 29, 2013

TIFF 2013

Still need to make a few more cuts, but my final list will be chosen from the following titles:


The Armstrong Lie - Alex Gibney

Blue is the Warmest Color - Abdellatif Kechiche

Dallas Buyers Club - Jean-Marc Vallee

Devil's Knot - Atom Egoyan

Finding Vivian Maier - John Maloof, Charlie Siskel

Gravity - Alfonso Cuaron

Night Moves - Kelly Reichardt

Prisoners - Denis Villeneuve


Long list:

12 Years a Slave - Steve McQueen
Belle – Amma Asante
Can a Song Save Your Life – John Carney
Child of God – James Franco
Closed Curtain – Jafar Panahi, Kambozia Partovi
Cold Eyes – Cho Ui-seok, Kim Byung-seo
Enough Said – Nicole Holofcener
The Eternal Return of Antonis Paraskevas
Fading Gigolo – John Tuturro
Hateship Loveship – Liza Johnson
Life of Crime – Daniel Schechter
The Mayor - Emiliano Altuna Fistolera, Carlos Federico Rossini, Diego Osorno
The Past – Asghar Farhadi
R100 – Hitoshi Matsumoto
Sarah Prefers to Run – Chloe Robichaud
A Touch of Sin – Jia Zhangke
The Unknown Known – Errol Morris
When Jews Were Funny – Alan Zweig
Why Don’t You Play In Hell? – Sion Sono
The Wind Rises – Hayao Miyazaki
Witching & Bitching – Alex de la Iglesia
You Are Here – Matthew Weiner

Friday, August 23, 2013

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Tears For Fears - Ready To Start



"Having appreciated artists like Kanye West, Katy Perry, Kimbra, Nas, Gary Jules/Michael Andrews, Adam Lambert & Dizzee Rascal covering & sampling our songs over the past years, we agreed that some reciprocal cross-generational love was in order. We decided to give Arcade Fire a twist of TFF. Enjoy."



I'm very happy right now.

Monday, August 19, 2013

J-Zone - Peter Pan Syndrome





Loving the production here. The drums are so good.

Available September 5, 2013: here

Monday, August 12, 2013

Monday, August 5, 2013

JAY Z - Picasso Baby: A Performance Art Film / MCHG


This might have been a little more interesting if he had more to offer to the participants than rapper hands.

I don't believe I've publicly shared my opinion on Magna Carta... Holy Grail yet. I don't like it.

Actually, Picasso Baby is the only song on the album I like, and even this one feels a little gross. Jay is that friend you don't want to be around when he discovers or experiences something new. The one who gets married, and all of a sudden every conversation somehow revolves or touches on marriage, in the process making you feel wrong for being single.

The rest of the album just feels...old; from his performance on Tom Ford (should have got a rap kid to do the hook), to the overarching messaging on the album. Yes he speaks on his child, marriage, and something on Oceans, but mostly it's still I, Me, Mine JAY Z, which is kind of hip hop I suppose, but on your twelfth studio album?

To draw a comparison to television programming. I've always said by the end of the 3rd season, you should know most of the characters, and most of the their actions and arcs become predictable. By the end of the 5th season you get the feeling that the show can probably wrap things up, and anything more starts to feel unnecessary.  JAY Z (is the all caps things official now?) is far past season 5 at this point. I need a change in programming.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Simulacrum


[sim-yuh-ley-kruh m]

1. a slight, unreal, or superficial likeness or semblance.

Origin:
1590–1600; simulācrum
likeness, image, equivalent to simulā ( re ) to simulate + -crum instrumental suffix



Wu-Tang Clan - Meteor Hammer (Featuring Ghostface, Action Bronson, Termanology)


Anotha Level - Phat-T (Featuring The Pharcyde)


Camp Lo - Swing (Featuring Butterfly)



There are probably a few more examples that I'm missing.

Feel free to add in the comments section.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

RAPPERS ARE TAKING OVER; or, The Fatigue of the White Man



Thought this was a little interesting.

Jon Caramanica in a discussion with Ben Ratliff about the latest Pitchfork Festival, touched on attitudes of some indie rockers who seems a little put-off by what they're seeing as a possible climate shift in their audience.  People are having more fun watching Lil B!

My advice to them...do better.


Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Akinyele - I Luh Hur





Some foul things are said, but I interpreted it as immediate and crazy thoughts of someone who just got hit with the news of an unwanted pregnancy. Reading Ak's response above, I wasn't far off. Of course I had the benefit of listening to the song with adult ears, and I wouldn't deny Sista's right to be offended, but yeah...I love the song.



Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Zhigge



One of my favorite remember them? groups from the 90s.

Remember them as in groups who were dope, but largely unheralded probably due to lack of hype or promotion. Was nice though believing that I was one of the few in the know.

Just recently discovered that they're still active as a crew, working on a new project (music?), and will be performing with the Jungle Brothers in August.

Along with their fresh steps and styling, I was always appreciative of Zhigge's Harlem, which (along with Alphabet Soup's A Sunny Day In Harlem) humanized the neighborhood for me. Previous to this -- I was young at the time -- my only source of information was Bad News Brown.










For news and updates you can follow Zhigge on Facebook: Link

Friday, June 21, 2013

Black Classical - Astrosonics Doctrine Spiritual Jazz Vol. 2


You better click that remember playback position option in iTunes.

18 hours of jazzy niceness.

Download: here

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Graffiti Rock 30th Anniversary



Project Information:

In 1984, I, Michael Holman, was successful in producing and broadcasting the first ever, nation-wide, Hip Hop variety television show, Graffiti Rock. The show featured Run DMC's greatest televised performance ever (of "Sucker M.C.'s"), as well as Kool Moe Dee and Special K of The Treacherous Three, The New York City Breakers, and a studio dance crowd that included the likes of young Vincent Gallo (Buffalo 66, Brown Bunny) and Debi Mazar (Goodfellas, L.A. Law, Entourage). 
Soon, it will be the 30th Anniversary of the airing of Graffiti Rock and through your contributions, we will re-master the 1 inch broadcast video tape of the show (on to DVD) as well as produce a new, feature length film called Graffiti Rock: The Untold Story. Graffiti Rock: The Untold Story will be an in-depth documentary that captures the memories and reactions of today's Hip Hop celebrities to first seeing Graffiti Rock, and how it impacted their lives. The documentary will also capture the "behind the scenes" making of Graffiti Rock, as well as my own personal experiences and accomplishments as a Hip Hop Pioneer, helping to introduce Hip Hop Culture to New York's Downtown Art Scene and eventually to the rest of the world.

Kickstarting here: Link

Michael Holman recently appeared on The Combat Jack Show, which you can listen to below.


Friday, May 24, 2013

Lukey Cage & Aoi - Captain Marvel



Monday, May 20, 2013

My Mayor is White



and (reportedly) a crackhead.

The story broken by Gawker, (substantiated by local newspaper the Toronto Star) made wor;d headlines over the weekend and brought attention to our dirty little secret: our mayor is a buffoon...and has substance abuse problems. (reportedly)


A lot has been written about the story, but if you want to follow along, Toronto citizen Trevor Coleman has been keeping track of the reports on his Storify account.

Trevor Coleman: Link

Also, Gawker is raising funds to purchase a copy of the video, so if you would like to contribute, please do so here

Shinehead - Gimme No Crack

Monday, May 13, 2013

3rd Bass - Microphone Techniques


A felt their second full length release was a little bloated, but most of the tracks on side two (including subject of this post) were winners


3rd Bass - Microphone Techniques (featuring Nice & Smooth)






Make it happen.
Also, if you haven't checked out Ryan Proctor's interview of Pete Nice, you should. It's really in-depth.

Peep: Link

Monday, April 29, 2013

K.M.D. - Contact Blitt



Swiped this from Ladybug Mecca.

I believe it is from the tour that inspired this track:

K.M.D. - Contact Blitt

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Legend of Sora



Not an informative or (overly) opinionated post, but a tip of the hat to the songstress who niced-up a number of Hiero tracks during their post-classic(?) period in the 90s.

The producers in Hiero used her well. She never belted like, say a, Blue Raspberry or Tekitha, but her voice always sounded sweet in the cut.

Souls of Mischief - Fa Sho, Fo Real


Del The Funky Homosapien - Love Is Worth (Demo)**


Extra Prolific - Having Fun (featuring Pep Love)


Casual - Later On**


Extra Prolific - Outro


**Sounds like her, but I'm not 100% sure.

---

UPDATE #1


The inclusion here of Love is Worth was a bit of a stretch on my part, but I am a little surprised about the Outro to 2 for 15. It does sound like her, and she was credited on the track according to Discogs. I'm also aware that the Internet is not always accurate, and in this case it might be better to take the word of one who had more involvement, if not directly so.

Shouts to Domino for the correction.


UPDATE #2


A-Plus notes she appeared on a couple of songs on 2 for 15, leading me to believe that it is indeed her on the Outro. I don't believe I overplayed her role in the collective, though some might say a post for a session vocalist might be a bit much. Sometimes I'm a bit much.

Shouts to A-Plus for the additional information.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Elisabeth Moss



I'm mad, y'all.

From the jump (well...season 2) I've been trying to tell people that Peggy Olson was the baddest chick on Mad Men, and everyone thought I was crazy. Now because GQ did a little profile on her, you want to jump on it?

Nope!

You fools did the same thing earlier when I spoke about Mad Men's best couple, Peter and Trudy Campbell. I was on Alison Brie before you Community nerds started coming to me with this Annie talk.

Yup, I'm gonna act all my band first.

Go back to your Big Red worship.

Elisabeth Moss Photo Shoot: GQ

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Hurting - Album Art


“I was asked by the band to sit for the picture when I was five or six. My mum took me to the studio in London. I think I was a bit freaked by all the cameras and stuff. There was a giant roll of white paper I had to sit in front of and I remember thinking if the paper in London is this big imagine what the pens must be like. Anyway in the image you see I’m supposed to be crying but actually I couldn’t stop laughing.

Some time later Curt and Roland came to visit and my mum told me they had a special present for me to say thank you. I excitedly tore open the big brown paper flat thing to find a framed gold disc of the Hurting. I’m not sure how well if at all I managed to hide my disappointment - I guess I was expecting a toy or some sweets?

Anyway, 30 years on I can appreciate it a lot better so thanks and congrats!”

Gebbie Serafin-Jaeger

Via: http://tearsforfears.tumblr.com/

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Boogiemonsters - Ali & The Devil (Demo)

My mother is a woman of faith.

Growing up, she never pushed religion on us, but throughout our apartment you could always find pamphlets, framed scriptures, and multiple copies of the bible. As a child, I loved reading, and knowing this my mother purchased a book of illustrated bible stories. Naturally, I ate it all up. The stories were fascinating, and the few times I did attend Sunday school, I had a sliver of understanding of the lessons being told. There is one thing however that I will never forget about that book of bible stories, and that's how terrifying some of the imagery was. The stories were written for children, but the illustrations looked like this:

Sodom and Gomorrah

or this;

Jonah
  
the stuff of nightmares.

I bring this up because the first time I heard Riders of the Storm: The Underwater Album by the Boogiemonsters (1994), those childhood memories resurfaced. Some of the lyrics and music in songs like Juggernauts, and Mark of the Beast sent chills down my spine. Not to mention Old Man Jacob's Well, which  is on a short list of creepiest hip hop songs ever. 

A little over a week ago, Vex (from the Boogiemonsters) posted a link on his twitter, a YouTube video containing unreleased music from their debut album. Again, the lyrics, guitar, bassline...those bible stories have me scarred me for life. 




"Would you rather be in paradise, or these ruins?"