East Bay View (a blog about several things)

now 98% free of substantive content

Friday, May 09, 2008

Top ten: Hook of the dead

1. The Roy Campbell Ensemble, "Akhenaten (Amenophis, Amenhotep IV)": This is bookended by some highly melodic, pseudo-Egyptian unison playing between Campbell and Billy Bang. In between, Campbell's flugelhorn solo is distinct yet downhome. Bang, probably the finest jazz violinist ever, is more amped-up. Surprisngly useful: vibe player Bryan Carrott.
2. Colombiafrica: The Mystic Orchestra, "Sambangole/Tres Golpes Na' Mas": Yeah, you know I have a soft spot for out-of-tune vocals. Parisian Lucas Silva mashes up Colombian funeral singers ("The Happy Ambulances") with soukous guitar to which Vampire Weekend can only aspire. Incongruous and maybe unsettling, but it's some kind of celebration.
3. Randy Newman, "A Few Words in Defense of Our Country": Newman would never say "God damn America", not just because he's too ironic, but because he loves the damned country, as much as the current adminstration would disavow the form his love takes. Me, I came here by choice, that's how much I love the place. But respect is pretty much out of the question.

4. Big Boi ft. Andre 3000 & Raekwon, "Royal Flush": Yeah, you know I have a soft spot for Three Stacks. Dre gets most of the airtime, and he responds by staying somewhere near the rhythm for once. He posits a metaphorical hokey pokey ("one foot in and one foot out") as a way of keeping up with the kids with Wiis. Call me a Swede, but I note that a decent student allowance scheme would make this unnecessary.

5. Kleerup ft. Titiyo, "Longing for Lullabies": You can also call him a Swede, because he is. Kleerup's first single was one of the greatest ever recorded, so I can't blame him for making his second the same basic song, only dreamier. The song describes what happens if you don't follow Robyn's example, and look back. The distance may be such that it only hurts with every third or fourth heartbeat, but the pain is still there.

6. Toumast, "Ikalane Walegh (These Countries That Are Not Mine)": Ishumar, the album by these Tuaregs, is coloured by French producer Dan Levy's multi-instrumental contributions, and again, unusally, the Western tinkering helps matters, on this track particularly through Levy's bass funking up the guitar of unrepentant former insurgent Moussa Ag Keyna. US tour schedules for September; good luck with those visas.

7. Amy LaVere, "Pointless Drinking": Yeah, you know I have a soft spot for drinking songs. Of course, even the Eagles knew almost all drinking has a point. Some drink to remember! Some drink to forget!

8. Kate Nash, "Mariella": Loud, weird young woman sings about silent, weirder little girl.

9. Los Campesinos, "You! Me! Dancing!": "If there's one thing that I could never confess, it's that I can't dance a single step" -- identification!

10. Vampire Weekend, "M79": I started the backlash; I might as well be first to call it off. It doesn't matter if they'd be laughed off the stage in Kinshasa if they can write this concisely.

Fifteen more: Mary J. Blige, "Just Fine" and "Grown Woman" (ft. Ludacris); Colombiafrica, "Jaloux Jaloux"; Daft Punk, "Around the World/Harder Better Faster Stronger"; Dear Jayne, "Rain"; Drive-By Truckers, "A Ghost to Most"; Holy Fuck, "Super Inuit"; Amy LaVere, "Killing Him"; Lykke Li, "Little Bit"; Nas ft. Jay-Z, "Black Republican"; Kate Nash, "Foundations" and "Birds"; T2 ft. Jodie Aysha, "Heartbroken"; Vampire Weekend, "One (Blake's Got a New Face)".



Post a Comment

<< Home