One of the unfortunate aspects of a limited access to the internet is that I seem to miss out on a lot of the great new hip-hop singles. Lucky for me, the laid-back, nostalgia-drenched “Grown Up” by Detroit oddball found its way into my consciousness. Though I appreciate, dare I say enjoy, Danny Brown’s more vulgar tracks (see, “I Will” or “Die Like a Rockstar”), I’m glad to see him stretching his repetoire on this track and laying down rhymes that perfectly suit the mood built by the gauzy beat. Plus the young “Danny Brown” in the video does a pretty great job at exhuding the appropriate swagger. Free download here.
Danny Brown, “Grown Up” (2012)
Filed under Hip-Hop, Music
I’ve been a big fan of Roadside Graves since I discovered them via Aquarium Drunkard a few years back. My choice album was typically My Son’s Home (2009) for the more organic and acoustic instrumentation, as well as the epic track “Ruby,” and I had appreciated the blend of Arcade Fire and Drive-By Truckers that their first album, No One Will Know Where You’ve Been (2007), showcased; however, my appreciation for their more recent work, the 2010 EP You Won’t Be Happy With Me and last year’s full-length We Can Take Care of Ourselves, had been tempered by my opinion that they lacked the alt-country tones that had initially attracted me to Roadside Graves. Feeling experimental on a drizzly day, I put on You Won’t Be Happy With Me it finally clicked. I’ve been an addict for the seven-minute long “Liv Tyler” ever since. The epic structure of the song is based around several distinct movements that each build the driving rhythm and lyrics to end in a glorious cathartic binge of howling electric guitar, thundering drums and insistent piano. I love when I realize how wrong I am about songs this good. Enjoy!
The Roadside Graves, “Liv Tyler” (from You Won’t Be Happy With Me, 2010)
With apologies for the unannounced hiatus, I’d like to welcome myself back to the web, with the caveat, however, that this post and any that may follow in the next couple days will likely be a mere deviation from the current trend of not posting. That said, the blog should be back in full swing at the end of the summer, when I return to the civilized world and a high speed internet connection. But let’s get to the matter at hand: Duke Ellington’s excellent 1927 composition “East St. Louis Toodle-Oo.”
I’ve started watching Ken Burns’ Jazz lately to educate myself in a genre that you may notice I appreciate, enjoy and respect, but know very little about, outside the work of Mingus, Parker and Gillespie. (And even then…) This educational journey has led me to start developing my knowledge of the early greats: Louis Armstrong, Sidney Bechet, Jelly Roll Morton, King Oliver and, of course, Duke Ellington. This platter from Ellington caught my attention, for obvious reasons. “East St. Louis Toodle-Oo” has a great dark plodding vibe cut through with a beautifully menacing and somehow “knowing” plunger-muted trumpet, courtesy pioneering trumpet-player Bubber Miley. The ascending minor-key melody has a haunting sway that just kills me. Dig it.
Duke Ellington and his Orchestra, “East St. Louis Toodle-Oo”
I’ve been watching HBO’s Treme lately, and my favourite musical performances are definitely of “Big Chief” Albert Lambreaux and his Mardi Gras Indians doing drum practices. This cut by Bo Dollis and The Wild Magnolia Tribe captures that amazing percussive exhuberance of the Indian practices in Treme, and kicks it up a notch with a rollicking piano and a funky bassline.
The Wild Magnolias, “Handa Wanda”
I recently acquired a vinyl copy of the Willie Dixon Chess Box, with the intent of being able to scratch my 1950s Chicago Blues itch with one vinyl set, as the Dixon set includes tracks by Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Little Walter, Sonny Boy Williamson and Bo Diddley, among others. My preliminary listen through has given me a new appreciation for Little Walter, who I had previously disregarded as a generic Chicago Electric Blues artist. The Willie Dixon Box includes the Walter’s excellent “Mellow Down Easy” which, with its pots and pans percussion and sparse arrangement, has the feel of an excellent backroom primitive blues stomper, with a touch of swing. Enjoy.
Little Walter & The Jukes, “Mellow Down Easy” (1954)
Tittyshakers is website dedicated to the sounds of sleaze, or more politely “lo-down and dirty rock n’ roll or equally gritty Jazz.” The website is filled with provactive period images and retro-stylings that really match the overall mood of the music they discuss. Now keep in mind, of course, that this website has no relationship to the types of music that might accompany a contemporary erotic dance, but rather to the skronking, saxophone-filled, bluesy-jazz, rock & roll tracks that might have featured in some dingy, dead-end strip club circa 1959; a genre that bears a certain relevance to Nick Waterhouse’s recently discussed aesthetic.
Of most interest on Tittyshakers is the three Jukejoint pages that each feature about an album’s worth of tracks that fit that delectable description: tittyshakers. If you’re still having trouble grasping the concept, I suggest you give a listen to The Untouchables’ sleazy classic “Crawlin’ (The Crawl)” below, which serves as the perfect archetype of the genre. While each Jukejoint presents each of the song with a description and stream, the individual tracks themselves are scattered across many sundry compilations, which poses a problem for anyone wishing to recreate these Jukejoints in their own musical library. When I first read about Tittyshakers on Aquarium Drunkard, I gathered all the tracks from the first of the three Jukejoints, Crawlin’, and put them together as a compilation, Tittyshakers Jukejoint, Vol. I. Lucky for you, I’m uploading the compilation to save the leg work for anyone who’s interested.
Give a listen to the first track, the aforementioned Untouchables number, below and grab the complete first Jukejoint here.
The Untouchables, “Crawlin’ (The Crawl)”
Because I’m back in the West, I’ve got access to Satellite Radio once again. I heard this little garage-rock gem on Sirius XMU the other night. White Fence is a project put together by Tim Presley, and his new album, Family Perfume, Vol. 1 was released earlier this month by Woodsist, to be followed by Vol. 2 on May 15th. Anyways, enjoy this fun little track, and pick up a copy at your local independent record retailer.
White Fence, “A Hermes Blues” (from em>Family Perfume, Vol. 1, 2012)