A Dub Tape For Alex

This one’s for you.

Tracklisting :

01) Dub Specialist - Bionic Dub
02) Linton Kwesi Johnson - Brain Smashing Dub
03) Augustus Pablo - Son of Jah Dub
04) Grace Jones - She’s Lost Control (Dub Version)
05) Joe Gibbs & the Professionals - Chapter 3
06) Scientist - Untitled Dub
07) Israel Vibration - Crisis Dub
08) King Tubby & the Aggrovators - I’m Gone Dub
09) Pieces - One Of these Days (Dub)
10) Prince Jammy - Magic Version
11) King Tubby - Straight to the Boy Prince Jammy’s Head
12) Winston Riley - No Call Me John Boops (Dub)
13) Sly & Robbie - Love Is Where You Find It (Dub)
14) The Messengers - Slim Cut
15) Steely & Clevie - Nightcrawler
16) Lee Perry - Dread Lion
17) Dub Trio - Casting Out the Nines
18) Aashid - Unwasted Time (Dub)
19) Serge Gainsbourg - Dub From the Stars

November 27, 2006. Uncategorized. 3 Comments.

Sometimes I Remember Where I Live Now (Pt. 2)

K! found this tacked to the archway:

Nice.

We own no dog. Our landlord (one flight up) is guesting a rather loud one. And yes, the dog in question kept me and the K! from sleeping to any great extent these past couple days. But JEEZUS XIST!

November 23, 2006. Uncategorized. No Comments.

Hot Hotter Hottest Turkey Day

Milennia ago our forefathers chased the Indians across this great land, infected them with syphillis, and wore ridiculous-looking hats. It’s debatable whether they stuffed turkey with bits of bread and sausage, dumped unappealing cranberry-flavored gelatin out of cans or visited despised relatives as opening salvo in the one-two-three punch combo of Thanksgiving / Christmas / New Years. They certainly didn’t do what I’m doing. Finding myself alone and in H-town on my warmest T-day ever, I’ve concocted a melange of dishes from hot cultures to enjoy: (*-denotes recipe shown below)

On the left - basmati rice with cumin seeds and scallions, a cauliflower & chickpea curry,* tabulleh (store-bought) and hummus (home-made) with whole-wheat pita from Droubi’s. The small container at the bottom is the extra marinade / sauce for the chicken (see below next image).

The feature player - jerk chicken, a recipe adapted from here, which you should already own. To the right is simple curried potatoes,* above that homemade chai* and a fine (and psst cheep!) Cava, Cristalino. Champagne is for people with more money than sense - we opt for Cava and Prosecco when celebrating. Plus, they’re less dry on the palatte and make even better Mimosas than Champers does, not that there’ll be any left over tomorrow.

Recipes :

Cauliflower & Chickpea Curry

This is less a recipe and more a method - I’ve stolen this from my dear friend Kai, and made it so many times I’ve lost count. Every time should be a different permutation of the same basic idea. You make it when Cauliflower heads are on sale, or when you have extra chickpeas floating around, or just whenever. Sautee onion, garlic and ginger in peanut or canola oil ’til tender, then add 1 head cauliflower broken into pieces. Saute for about a fiver, then add spices - usually a healthy dose of ground cumin and coriander, curry powder, maybe some black mustard seeds, turmeric, etc. etc. I often throw in paprika and cinammon as well. Next up, add some tomatoes - prefferably fresh romas - some hot chiles, roughly chopped and some almonds, slivered or sliced. Add some pre-cooked chickpeas as well at this point. Give that a minute and then add enough water so that it covers the dish about halfway. Turn the heat up a notch and cover the dish partially with a lid or another pan. Let this cook down until the fluid has thickened and the cauliflower is tender. Then add some more seasonings to taste - salt, pepper, more cumin and coriander, turmeric, oregano, etc. Add currants for an extra sweet treat. You can also add apples or bananas at the same time you put the first batch of tomatoes in (I put a green apple in this time). Speaking of tomatoes, you should have some fresh tomatoes to add here, whether or not you added them earlier. Cilantro also does this dish wonderfully at this point, as does fresh thai basil. Toss over rice and you’re good to go.

Simple Curried Potatoes

3 medium-sized russet potatoes
1 medium white onion
olive oil
canola oil
1 tbs. butter
1 tsp. black mustard seeds
curry powder
salt

Peel potatoes and chop into bite-sized pieces. Chop onion into large dice. Preheat oven to 375 F. Toss potatoes and onions in enough of a half-and-half mixture of olive and canola or sunflower or safflower (etc.,etc.) oils to coat. Add salt to taste, black mustard seeds, and curry powder to taste. Stick them shits in the oven until they taste tender BUT NOT TOO SOFT, turning in oil every five minutes or so. Fifteen minutes in, stick the butter on top of the taters and adjust for salt. Once done, let sit until you’re done making the chicken or turkey or pilaf or whatever. They’ll still taste good.

Homemade Chai

4 cups water
1 tsp. coriander
1/2 tsp. cloves
1/2 tsp. whole allspice
1 tsp lightly crushed cardamom pods
2 cinnamon sticks
1 1/2″ piece of ginger, UNPEELED and sliced

Combine above ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil, then cover and keep on medium heat and simmer for a half-hour. Then add:

1 cup milk or half & half
5 teabags Earl Grey (me use Twinings)

Lower the heat again and simmer, covered SLIGHTLY for another ten minutes or so. Then cut the heat and add a heaping helping of honey. Strain the solids and drink or chill as desired.

Soundtrackin’ :

V/A - Dynamite! Dancehall Style (Souljazz Records)
Ali Akbar Khan - Raga Chandranandan / Raga Gauri Manjari (Conneissuer Society)
Augustus Pablo - Rockers Meets King Tubby’s In A Fire House (Shanachie)
Francis Beybe - Lambarene Schweitzer (unknown)
Bebe Manga - Ami - Oyomiya (Star Musique)

Happy Freakin’ Holidays, People!

November 23, 2006. Uncategorized. 2 Comments.

Sometimes I Remember Where I Live Now…

And it goes like this:

November 23, 2006. Uncategorized. No Comments.

DJ Camille Presents - Girls Just Wanna…

Tracklisting :

01. Robyn - With Every Heartbeat
02. Bertine Zetlitz - Midnight
03. Annie - The Wedding (Lindstrom & Prins Thomas Remix)
04. Cansei De Ser Sexy - Alcohol
05. Maria Daniela Y Su Sonida Lasser - Miedo
06. Beyonce - Get Me Bodied (Remix)
07. All Saints - Rock Steady
08. Sugababes - Easy
09. Lady Sovereign - Love Me Or Hate Me
10. Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Gold Lion (Diplo Remix)
11. The Slits - Typical Girls
12. Allez Allez - Allez Allez
13. Lindstrom - Music (In My Mind)
14. Sally Shapiro - Anorak Christmas

Sequenced and volu-mized for iPod.

November 18, 2006. Uncategorized. No Comments.

The Burden of Expectation (AKA Mallory’s Week In The City)

Without naming names and starting pointless fights about what is (like most things, really) nothing more than a matter of opinion, I’m finding certain colleagues reactions to the recently leaked Bloc Party album both a) disarmingly vague and irritating and b) exactly what I expected. Given the level of (deserved) praise Silent Alarm received, it doesn’t take a genius (or a well-heeled monkey with a protractor) to anticipate a critical slashing of its’ follow-up.

Needless to say, the early word on this is precisely what I imagined it would be - the most conservative so-called critics are ready to give it the boot, while a few people who (shock-of-the-month-club) took the opportunity provided by Silent Alarm to become fans are willing to listen twice, maybe even three times to their new record.

What are they finding, these lucky few?

Well, they’re finding that the 192 kpbs .mp3 files that have illegally escaped the clutches of the record company are of a muted, rather poor sonic quality. No! Do go on!

They’re finding that the songs on A Weekend in the City are different from those on Silent Alarm, yet obviously written and performed by the same band. “Do you see what I did there?”

They’re also finding that some of the quirks and flaws inherent in Bloc Party’s sound are still intact. For instance, Kele still exhibits moments and passages redolent of third-form poetry (vampires are mentioned twice, Sudoku once, and Bret Easton Ellis is both alluded to and quoted). The band still uses the same loud/soft patterns and punching/soaring alternations. They’re still crippled by an enormous debt to minor chords and certain comfortable progressions.

They still have those kinda goofy backup vocal stylings a la “Helicopter.” And I’m not sure if that’s a flaw or a virtue, actually. So it goes in the middle.

They’re finding that the virtues exhibited by repeat exposure to Silent Alarm are still here on its sequel. Kele still sings like a tense “ordinary man” accustomed to cloaking his vulnerability in a sense of retributive pride and world-weary dismay. The band still packs a rhythmic punch, even if its somewhat lopped short by a weak (hopefully-not-the-final) master which is heavy on compression and low on seperation. The songs still soar along in a manner evocative of U2 but without the latter’s pernicious self-righteousness. There are still moments of intense ugliness alternated with flashes of beauty.

In short, it’s the new album by Bloc Party. And just as haters (and those regrettably shorn of their ears) declared the album inferior to the (rather lopsided) EP, those quick to follow popular opinion will regard A Weekend in the City as Silent Alarm’s leftovers. Fine with me. That’s just more room at the feast-table for the rest of us.

Bloc Party’s debut album was an unexpected explosion that ranks as one of the classics of the naughties despite its flaws, just like a hundred great records before it. Its successor builds on the debut without rewriting the book overmuch, yet adds elements and influences which weren’t as obvious on the first record. It’s the textbook example of the follow-up: consolidating ground, winning few new converts but not alienating the fans. Or it would be if we were retroactively judging, say, the second Ramones record. Instead, certain crusties are taking out their alienation from youth culture by binning the second record by the buzz band of 2005 on the basis of an un-finalized leak. Which they would be doing regardless of the quality of said record or said band.

Congratulations, ladies and gentlemen. You have officially become your elders.

I’ve been listening to A Weekend in the City almost constantly since getting it - several times in the car, a couple at home, etc. It’s a great second record, with many valid high points (”Hunting For Witches,” “Waiting For the 7.18,” the Cure-like “I Still Remember”) and nothing jaw-droppingly embarassing.

And… (wait for it):

It’s not as good as Silent Alarm. You know, the album that effortlessly ranks amongst my ten favorites of the decade thus far.

What, were you hoping for a miracle?

Hell, I’m cross-posting this one too.

November 15, 2006. Uncategorized. No Comments.

The Slits @ Emo’s in Austin, 11.11.06

“Do you know what it means, the Slits in Texas on Veteran’s Day?”

No. And we never found out either. Which suited me just fine - the Slits were at their best when carving out a space based on the commonality of sexuality’s terrors (”Or What Is It?”) or a appealingly trite rejection of consumerism (”Shoplifting,” with its gleefully anthemic “I pay fuck-all!”), rather than grandstanding about the usual political suspects.

Original Slits Ari Up and bassist Tessa Pollitt led their merry band of fellow travellers (six Slits in toto) through the changes at Emo’s (lol) in Austin on Saturday night. In attendance were myself and fellow FF7ers lady k! and senor shoup - another merry band, though slighly less large and dread-y. (Budgie was no where to be seen.) It must be said, the audience didn’t seem to know quite what to make of things, a rather vocal contingent up front excepted. Perhaps it was the band’s determination to avoid nostalgia (Cut dominated the proceedings somewhat less than expected), perhaps it was their repeated demands upon those in attendance to make “bird sounds.” Most likely it was a sense of being completely dominated by Ari Up’s alarmingly fit, nearly stentorian stage presence, which seemed to treat the audience as though it should, you know, actively become involved in the performance or something. Goodness. End result - the thrashing or at least happily bopping majority had a good old time, the rest went home to sit in front of their X-Box.

The band’s sound vacillated between old-guard punk, trad reggae, punky reggae, and some indefinite other, in which something even more deliciously, suffocatingly primal than their Earth Mother riddims began to rear its head. This was made most clear when the Slits alternated rebel rock and lover’s rock within the context of individual songs, and when they played material from their daring and overlooked second album, Return of the Giant Slits. All told, only three songs from Cut, the only album most concert goers could be reasonably expected to have heard, made the… setlist (”Typical Girls,” “Shoplifting,” and “FM”). Instead, the crowd was treated to a new song (”Slits Tradition”) from the quickie EP Revenge of the Giant Slits, an oldie (”Number One Enemy,” available on that release and the shoddy Live at the Gibus Club) and some more traditional reggae material, such as Ari’s rasta polemic “Kill Them With Love,” which originally appeared on her solo record of last year. We were also treated to some rather odd statements, such as the one that the Slits “invented New Music.” I think Schoenberg and Stravinsky, among others, might have had a thing or two to say about that, but we’ll let that pass for now.

But don’t you let them pass :

Not so much a live show as an event,
the remaining dates for Slits Tour 2006,
an uproarious and almost dangerously wholesome good-time:

11.16 Thu - San Diego, California. The Casbah
11.17 Fri - Los Angeles, California. Troubadour
11.18 Sat - San Francisco, California. Mezzanine
11.19 Sun - Oakland, California. The Uptown
11.20 Mon - Eureka, California. Synapsis
11.21 Tue - Portland, Oregon. Dante’s
11.22 Wed - Seattle, Washington. El Corazon
11.26 Sun - Chicago, Illinois. Logan Square Auditorium

In the meantime, treat yourself to two songs from their undervalued sophomore album:

“Earthbeat”
“Animal Space / Spacier”

Cross-posted with the FF7 ‘cuz it’s like that.

November 15, 2006. Uncategorized. No Comments.

Sally - That Girl

Up & coming Swedish popstress Sally Shapiro drops her debut album Disco Romance this December. She’s already gifted us with summer anthem “I’ll Be By Your Side,” and two new tracks, single “Anorak Christmas” and “I Know,” both of which are excellent. Think of her (if you must and can’t simply listen to this ish) as more Agnetha than Anni-Frida, more Annie than Robyn. Then imagine a classic Italo-Disco backing and you’re all set - sweet, emotional longing and dancing your underpants off.

Tomorrow finds her producer, Johan Agebjrn playing unreleased Sally and classic Italo on German Intardnet radio station Welt-am-draht.

Today finds you watching the video for the “I’ll Be By Your Side” Remix:


November 1, 2006. Uncategorized. No Comments.

“You Look So Absurd / You Look So Obscene / Oh”

Yeah, so I ain’t exactly painting the town tonight. But as a frustrated pre-teen rap fan trapped in a frustrated little goth boy trapped in a frustrated rapidly aging I don’t know what all, Halloween has to be the best holiday, like, ever and shit.

Wow, that made no sense… neither does this:

Ministry - “Everyday Is Halloween”

For those of you playing the home version of the game, that’s the early, gay, synthpop Ministry when Al Jourgensen spells his name Alain and affects a totally bad Brit accent. Before he started doing smack and mucking about with animal carcasses and all that.

Right.

Time to go get more bourbon.

For the love of Christ, please have a safe and joyous Holiday and stuff.

Cross posted with the FF7 ‘cuz I’m a lazy ho.

November 1, 2006. Uncategorized. No Comments.