October 18th, 2006



it’s coming


A little backstory: each year my little brother Kenny Schwartz and I extend a warm invitation to the good people of Huntington for our annual “Parents are away in Hawaii so lets drink and smoke drugs” extravaganza we’ve dubbed “SOULFUCK”


It’ll be just like any other party (beer pong, keg, hard liquor, underage drinking) with some exceptions of course. SOULFUCK is defined by three specific things:

1. Sesame Street’s classic 1984 film Follow That Bird is played on our TV on a continuous loop.

2. The official drink of SOULFUCK is Hi-C’s Ecto Cooler. It still exists!

but most importantly…

3.  The soundtrack of SOULFUCK, as you may have guessed, is a 5 hour mix of classic and obscure 60s and early 70s grimy soul. Joe Tex, Otis, Lou Johnson, Lyn Collins, Candi Staton, O.V. Wright, Vicki Anderson, Betty Everett, Betty Harris, Betty Wright, Irma Thomas, 100 Proof Aged in Soul (fuck yes!) etc. etc. etc!!!

You see, I luuuuuuuuuuuuuuuv grimy soul. I’m not exactly O-Dub but I’m no slouch either. So in celebration of this forthcoming extravaganza I present three, count em, three, of my favorite jammy jams you’ll be sure to hear while my uncle mops up my shattered 40 oz.


Marvin Gaye - Yesterday (Beatles Cover)

I’m not usually one for hyperbole but this is pretty much sublime perfection and one of my favorite things in this world. Taken from the rather obscure and frighteningly disappointing Motown Meets the Beatles. Don’t buy it. It sucks. Although Stevie Wonder’s version of “We Can Work it out” is equally badass.

Bettye Swann - Don’t Look Back

We’ve already devoted a full post to Candi Staton but Bettye Swann’s compilation is almost every bit as good as Candi’s reissue compilation. She fucking nails this Smokey song and the acoustic demo included as a bonus on the album might be even better. 

Andre Williams - Girdle Up




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Purify yourselves in the water of Lake Minnetonka … oops!

August 29th, 2006

Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to get through this thing called life. Electric word, life. It means forever and that’s a mighty long time. But I’m here to tell you there’s something else - the afterworld. A world of never-ending happiness. You can always see the sun, day or night. So when you call up that shrink in Beverly Hills, you know the one, Dr. Everything’ll-Be-All-right, instead of asking him how much of your time is left, ask him how much of your mind, baby. ‘Cause in this life, things are much harder than in the afterworld. This life you’re on your own.

I’m at work . I only hear the faint swelling organ a little bit on my boss’ pocket radio and a tinny minnesotan monologue

“Is that “Let’s Go Crazy?”



I’m your boss

“Not for the next 3 minutes”

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every little memory has a song

August 28th, 2006

In 2003, a younger more vulnerable version of myself had this to say about Ted Leo 

(ACHTUNG! things might get a little sticky :-/ ):

“If there were some Weird Science computer program developed specifically to create the perfect 21st-century songwriter, it would spit out Ted Leo. Punk ethics, indie cred, boundless energy, sophisticated lyricism, pop hooks and maniacal guitar work - Ted Leo is everything you could ask for.”


Painful-to-re-read hyperbole aside I still stand by my initial assessment of the guy. Ted Leo and the Pharmacists will probably never get the credit they deserve for the simple fact they are pretty much the most reliable indie rock act around this side of Spoon. Dude tours his fuckin ass off, whether its to promote his latest mostly fantastic album, support the screening of a Joe Strummer documentary, test out new material, or simply rock the South Street Seaport and all of Pizzaria Uno’s lucky patrons as he did Friday night. 

We marry the reliable ones but we don’t fuck them; there’s no glamour in championing the cause of a Ted Leo when we can rep Guy Smiley and the Unicron’s Tears and whatever the fuckshits new band from Brooklyn with a cockring in his Price Club guitar and EP of mostly 4-tracked squall. And I swear to god Voxtrot can go fuck themseles.

Anyway TL’s got 6 new tunes. All mostly a bit underdeveloped so far. One of them sounded like “Eye of the Tiger” and that’s hardly ever a bad thing. I got faith if dude teams up with Chris Shaw again he’ll bang out his 4th awesome album in a row. I’ma ride til i die.

Chisel - Do Go On

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August 18th, 2006

Outkast - When I Look In Your Eyes

So every now and then I DJ Swing Night at Tavern on the Green in Central Park. Am I lying about that? Kinda.

But last night around 11:14 I was seriously running out of Michael Buble; I had to improvise. Thought of playing some old Teddy Riley and Guy but “New Jack Swing” probably wouldn’t go over too well with the passive aggressive battleaxe who approached my booth to say (my interior monoloque’s response in parantheses): ”Um, we can’t dance to this (prolly cause yous a white-ass biatch with some rickets) and we’re here to dance (no shit Oldie Hawn) so play something we can dance to (I’ll play something you can dance to on the skinflute).” These aren’t new jacks. These are old jacks. Or jacks as it were. OG’s

So I break out this diddy, which manages to swing more than the genius king of swing himself Harry Connick Jr!!!!

Witnessing 20 senior citizens unknowingly get their groove on (relatively speaking) to Outkast was the highlight of my summer.

What was yours!?


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I’m so awwwkward!

August 12th, 2006



Now that I’m back in the features game I’m doing a lot of interviews again. I suppose I would consider myself a pretty decent interviewer. I know a good quote when I hear one and I like to stay prepared so I’m fairly capable of having an informed conversation with the subject.

However, I’m also one of the most awkward people you’ll ever meet. So every now and then my very presence can shift an interview into dark territory. Still, I’m not so sure this is all my fault. For instance just the other day while beginning my interview with Candi Staton this guy with a gigantic video camera starts filming me.  WTF! I CAN’T WORK LIKE THIS!!

But mostly a lot of these so-called artists and celebrities I speak to are either a) boring b) have absolutely no idea what the purpose of an interview is, c) forget they’re being interviewed or d) smell my fear.

So in celebration to my reluctant return to features here are some of my favorite awkward moments from my interviews over the years. Lets see what happens when you combine an awkward pear-shaped kid with celebrity egos!

Me: So tell me about what it was like working with Owen Morris.
Adrient Barrera of The Hiss: Oh man! It was fucking awesome!

Me: “Are you going to kill me?”
Henry Rollins: Are you going to ask me some real questions, man?

Me: Yeah, I’ve heard Ours but I kinda thought they were just ripping off Jeff Buckley.
Alex Band of The Calling: Oh, I think the dude from Ours is much better than Jeff Buckley.
Alex Band of The Calling: hello?

Me: You said hip-hop is about obtaining knowledge on your own so what’s so hip-hop about you coming to our school and telling us what’s what?
KRS-One: Ha! Um, well you see … the universe contradicts itself …

Me: Would you say you guys put a lot of pressure on yourself to top Is This It?
Fabrizio Moretti of the Strokes:Under pressure … doo doo doo dodododooooo do doo doo doo dodododooo!”

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Candi Reign

August 10th, 2006



Candi Staton - Take My Hand, Precious Lord

Candi Staton - Heart on a String

Yeah, so pretty much a fantastic show.

Each year now it seems another ignored-but-not-forgotten soul singer gets the oh-yeah you-were-actually-pretty-freaking-incredible revival treatment: Solomon Burke got a good look, Bettye LaVette got some aging newspaper crits to rub their tummies.

But this Candi Staton stuff. Holy shit. I picked up the re-issue a little over a year ago (along with the re-issue from Bettye Swann which might be just as incredible) after jacking her “best of” from my main man Wesley Milton, a 43-year-old 80s soul obsessed former colleague of mine over at Henry Schein Inc. who I’m sure is more than proud to be counted among my 2.5 black friends.

That first song up there ”Take My Hand, Precious Lord” just absolutely bowled me over, and truth be told it’s no easy task to get a Jew, let alone one who has renounced Judaism, to become maddeningly obsessed with a gospel hymn. After I heard it I had to hear her early stuff, thankfully it existed and holy effing mother of god is that not the most absolutely perfect southern soul you’ve ever heard? 

Legendary FAME producer Rick Hall and his awesome handle-bar mustache were in the house last night chilling in the balcony so when Candi pointed him out to the crowd it really was one of those goosebump moments. These two people, Candi Staton and Rick Hall, made PERFECT music.

Not really good, great, excellent … 


The response from last night’s crowd couldn’t have been more appreciative and it’s undeniably satisfying to see an artist so thankful for an audience’s appreciation. You almost get the sense she doesn’t realize how good her music really was/is. Given the hardships she’s endured over her career her performance last night at the Bowery Ballroom, her first in NYC in over 20 years, couldn’t have been seen as anything less than a triumph.

Also Rosie Perez was there looking kinda fine as hell.

“You know what a quinth ith Billy!? Itth a foooooood Billy! … a food that startth with the letter Q! And I got theven more”

Anyway, without further ado, here are a bunch of Candi Staton songs that somehow manage to sum up my evening.

1. “I’m Just a Prisoner” - I finished my interview with Candi for Stylus (peep that next week) at 7:30. The show started at 10. I wanted to get a bite to eat but the hardasses at The Bowery Ballroom stared me dead in the eye, pointed their scepters at me and howled ”NO RE-ENTRY!!!”

2. “Do Your Duty” - The Bowery Ballroom remains the only club in NYC where I feel comfortable going to the bathroom. This could be because in 2003 I got what was essentially a private soudcheck performance of “Lover’s Spit” by Broken Social Scene while I was on the can.

3. “I’ll Drop Everything and Come Running” - Got a text from my old high school buddy and well-known blogger/journalist Sean Fennessey that he was leaning against the bar. So I shimmied on over to say hi. Sean and I have been threatening friendship for nigh a decade, so that was fun.

4. “Too Hurt to Cry” - Sean later told me to “show him something” before he added me to his blogroll. OK.

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The Last of the Ings

August 7th, 2006



I play right field

It’s important to know

You gotta know how to catch

You gotta know how to throw

That’s why I play in right field

Way out where the dandelions grooooooow

(makin it great)


This is post is dedicated to everyone who had/has Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on VHS

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bigger than lollipops!

August 2nd, 2006



Justin Timberlake - My Love (Shoot Yourself in the Skull version) 






It’s looking up folks! After the “huh” of “Sexy Back” (face it, if you dig it you’ve merely convinced yourself to) we got a hot joint, featuring TI to boot. Gee, I wonder what record label he is on and whether or not they are interested in clearing his appearance. Hmm…

In the meantime, I simply can’t wait for that movie Edison he starred in to be released last year …. wait a minute


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Feeling Charitable!

July 29th, 2006


Clever Song Titles I Came Up With That Disco Vietnam Can’t Use But Panic at the Disco! And Fall Out Boy are More Than Welcome To

1. “Why Should I Have a Girlfriend When I Can Just Fuck Yours”

2. “I Don’t Want To Have To Mow the Lawn Today. Oh, Good! The Lawn Has Already Been Mowed”

3. “I’d Like to Debit That … Really? Swipe It Again. Hmm. Ok. Let Me Just Run Out to My Car (Never to Return)”

4. “This Recipe Calls for 5 Cups of … Fuck”

5. ”Not All Babies Are Cute. Some are Ugly. For Instance Your Baby is Ugly”

6. ”Napalm Sunday, Succatash Wednesday”

7. “People shit on Back to the Future: Part III and This Is Grossly Misguided”

8. “Yeah, Se7en is Awesome, and So is Fight Club. But, Dude, Have You Seen The Game? Dude, The Game is Fucking Awesome! I’ll Let You Borrow It Sometime. No, Wait I Already Lent it to Somebody. Agh! Ok As Soon as I Get it Back I’ll Bring it Over (Don’t Forget)” 


not a greatest hits but these would be good for some filler songs I think.


You’re Welcome!

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Natalie Portman is trying to kill me

July 27th, 2006




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