Songs »Bluette

30 Day Song Challenge – Day Eighteen: Best Song to Put on When You Have to Smoke a Cigarette and Think About a Dame:

Bluette by Dave Brubeck (1961)

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Posted on May 18, 2011

Songs »I’m Hurt Bad

30 Day Song Challenge – Day Thirteen: Best Song to Get Creepy With for Friday the 13th:

I’m Hurt Bad by Angelo Badalamenti (1990)

PS – Twin Peaks, possibly best TV show ever now streaming on Netflix Instant!

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Posted on May 13, 2011

Albums »Sleepwalk

by Santo and Johnny

Slide guitar reminds me of two things: Hawaii – to which I’ve never been and High School Proms – well, OK, not MY prom where I had just broken up with my date and Toad the Wet Sprocket still ruled, but you know, the fluffy dress, Enchantment Under the Seas kind of prom.

No one was as prolific on the instrument as the Brooklyn born duo Santo and Johnny, whose collection Sleepwalk, Vol 1 has been brightening my days lately.

They lend their musical styling to a variety of songs, so that in the end, you’ll be taken on a slide guitar journey that goes beyond Hawaii and Proms while still making a stop at each with Sweet Lelani and the excellent title song respectively.

You’ll hear hints of the Old West in one of my favorites, The Wandering Sea, and be able in envision a David Lynchian scene with another favorite, You Belong To Me.

You’ll be whisked away to a groovy party via Watermelon Man, think you’ve just turned on a 1970’s variety show with the musak-y glitz of Volare and even say hello to a sunshiny Christmas with Twistin’ Bells (Van’s current favorite – the boy loves Christmas music).

This just seems like the perfect music to be listening now during the fresh air days of May.

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Posted on May 12, 2011

Songs »Countdown at 6

30 Day Song Challenge – Day Nine: Best Use of Baby Babble:

Countdown at 6 by Perrey and Kingsley

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Posted on May 9, 2011

Songs »Honky Tonk

by Bill Doggett (1956)

Honky Tonk is an early classic of instrumental rock and roll. The kind of tune that makes you want to sway by the jukebox with your bobby sox, cute straight cut bangs with a beer in your hand and a bad boy in your sights.

I am not surprised to find that Bill Doggett, who made the song a hit before the Beach Boys adopted it later, was the pianist and arranger from one of my favorite 1940’s bands, The Ink Spots.

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Posted on January 23, 2011

Albums »Polyfonia

by Apparat Organ Quartet (2010)

If you took the biggest movies of the 80’s (specifically Conan the Barbarian and Beverly Hills Cop to name a couple) and set them in the future (I can tell you already like where this is going) then asked a talented avant garde orchestra with rock and roll leanings to write a score, then let video game musicians play it – you’d end up with something like Polyfonia, a bold, instrumental album from the Icelandic band Apparat Organ Quartet.

According to founder Johann Johannson, a think tank leader (of a group called Kitchen Motors) in his country, the band’s latest release is “more suited to the musical tastes of the masses” so even us common folk will find it enjoyable.

Before you think their band name was just chosen by the latest facebook game, they are in fact a quartet of organ players (plus one drummer) who use old, cast away keyboards, synthesizers, and other machinery. Fellow young and talented Icelander, Siggi Eggertsson is the artist behind the sweet cover.

Thanks to Shaun for introducing me to this unique album.

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Posted on January 12, 2011

Albums »Cannibal Holocaust Soundtrack

by Riz Ortolani (1980)

I’ve yet to see the movie Cannibal Holocaust (I know, I know, it’s a exploitation classic) but even without firsthand knowledge, this is certainly not the soundtrack I expected from it. Featuring amazing song titles like Adultresses’ Punishment – which sounds like Hammer style dread in outer space, Cameraman’s Recreation – a groovy porny song that leads into a childlike romp, the video game sounding Massacre of the Troupe, and the surprisingly melodic and catchy theme, it’s more than a mere novelty but something quite listenable, unique and enjoyable.

True, at times it treads close to calls to mind muzak from the seventies (see Drinking Coco) – which in turn calls to mind the kind of wall paper that use to have bits of mirrored gold in it – something from my childhood perhaps – I think ice cream was involved… but I digress.

Overall though, this album is so much more interesting and nice to listen to than it needed to be. I mean, it’s a soundtrack for a film that caused outrage over its killing of actual animals on screen which was banned in many countries for indecency and extreme gore. And yet, I have been playing the soundtrack for my baby for days.

All the praise for the music goes to Riz Ortolani, a composer of mostly b-movies and genres flicks who obviously put his heart into even the most unusual of jobs. I have friend and weird movie connoisseur Matthew to thank for this soundtrack making the rounds in my iphone. Several others have been released and I am sure I’ve be writing about them soon enough.

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Posted on November 28, 2010

Songs »En Glissant

by Yvette Horner

The haunting En Glissant by Yvette Horner came to my attention via family on facebook and is one of the songs shot for the Scopitone, which friend Marcus explained to us over on RC a ways back. Horner, virtually unknown in America was a French accordion star.

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Posted on August 22, 2010

Albums »The Life of Clutchy Hopkins

by Clutchy Hopkins (2006)

The neighborhood corner Aussie gem, Five Leaves has much to recommend it (a brilliant chicken sandwich, pavlova, muesli, gravlax, and excellent coffee to name a few) but aside from the food and an affable staff, there’s always good tunes playing. I am usually familiar with what their spinning, and sometimes pleasantly surprised (True Stories by Talking Heads is woefully forgotten and underplayed). This morning though, a music I was thoroughly enjoying was unknown to me. It ended up being a one Clutchy Hopkins, a man whose very identity in in question and the stuff of mystery and legend.

Considered a dj, his music is an amalgamation of styles and sounds and as far from the monotonous stuff that inspires squatting, hoola hooping in McCarren Park (anyone else privy to that display Saturday?) that I usually associate with the term “dj”.

The album is self produced and likely to become the soundtrack to the rest of my summer. Very lovely stuff.

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Posted on August 15, 2010

Songs »La Dolce Vita Theme

dolce vita coverby Nino Rota (1960)

Nino Rota made beautiful music for films, and never more beautiful and fanciful than when working on a film by Federico Fellini, and never more whimsical and wonderful than his theme to the classic La Dolce Vita.

It’s a piece of music that can whisk you away to glamorous and magical worlds.

Fellini said of Rota, “He was someone who had a rare quality belonging to the world of intuition. Just like children, simple men, sensitive people, innocent people, he would suddenly say dazzling things. As soon as he arrived, stress disappeared, everything turned into a festive atmosphere; the movie entered a joyful, serene, fantastic period, a new life.”
Click here for the rest of La Dolce Vita Theme

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Posted on November 22, 2009

Albums »The Heretic Soundtrack

Exorcist II: The Heretic has the reputation as “one of the most notorious disasters in movie history” but it boasts an impressive Ennio Morricone soundtrack. Lacking even the great Brad Dourif and the image of an old lady crawling across the ceiling that factors so heavily into the enjoyment of part three, most people agree that the haunting music is the film's only worthwhile element.

I've been informed that this is a rare find, my friend Shaun purchased his CD at the excellent treasure trove Amoeba Records, but you can also pay a higher price on an Amazon import. If you're a fan of creepy Morricone dissonance and haunting melodies, it's worth the investment and time to track it down. It bounces from soft, almost romantic sounds to frenzied intensity. Definitely makes the work day more dramatic.

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Posted on October 26, 2009

Songs »Angela (The Taxi Theme Song)

Bob James's huge success with the album Touchdown officially confirmed that the men and women of 1978 wanted their music to rock them about as hard as a Holly Hobbie rag doll.

It's not inspiring per se, but Angela (The Theme to TAXI) does have a soothing, muzaky quality that takes my mind back to pediatricians' waiting rooms, where I can remember playing with Monkeys in a Barrel; the album's cover reminds of the basement rec rooms of friends' dads.

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Posted on September 7, 2009

Albums »Tubular Bells

It was great going into Tubular Bells knowing very little. Like many of you, I was aware of Mike Oldfield's masterpiece for the beginning of the piece that was used to evoke dread in The Exorcist. If you think you're in for an hour long horror movie soundtrack, though, you are in for a surprise. Tubular Bells changes tones every few minutes and takes you from mountain top jamming, to spoken word, to folksiness to the sailors horn pipe and more.

It's one wild ride that I've had a hard time describing to people for it's sheer variety and uniqueness. I found out after a week of listening to it that the artist was a totally hip and handsome musician, friends with personal favorites John Cale and Kevin Ayers. This composition broke new ground?with what allmusic calls “arguably the finest conglomeration of off-centered instruments concerted together to form a single unique piece”.

Tubular Bells, which prompted Richard Branson to begin his own label, Virgin, after established companies dubbed the music unmarketable. It was a global success and began the whole new age music genre.

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Posted on August 17, 2009

Albums »Crime and Dissonance

ennio morricone crime and dissonanceI doubt there's many familiar with the work of Ennio Morricone who would argue his genius but, for those of you still unconvinced – or unfamiliar – there couldn't be a more compelling argument than the recent Crime and Dissonance collection. Compiled from several scores Morricone authored throughout the '60s and '70s by “What is it?” querying singer Mike Patton and friends, the films selected include Verushka, L'Uccello Dalle Piume Di Cristallo, and (in a rare instance of breaking my and repeating recommendations) Una Lucertola Con La Pelle Di Donna.

It's a truly transportative collection that jumps from emotional landscapes and inventive musical techniques. In one sitting I took notes of the images the music conjured in my head as it washed over me and they include: the ethereal calls of a siren (Ninna Nanna Per Adulteri), sitting atop a lonely Himalayan mountain (Ric Happening), the flight of an insane bumble bee that grows melancholy (Il Buio), the lair of the phantom of the opera (Postludio Alla Terza Moglie), and being trapped in a German clock with wooden kids who then go on a groovy trip before being drafted into the army and getting married – just listen to Ricreazione Divertita and see if you still think my interpretation is crazy. The composer is also an expert heavy breather, which is highlighted in L'Uccello Con Le Piume Di Cristallo and Forza G (Quella Donna).

My absolute favorite number is the Jew's Harp-heavy Rapimento In Campo Aperto which, my friend (who used to work at Ipecac, the label that released the compilation) informed me, was the track selected as the radio friendly single. I know it's hard to imagine, but it seems that most stations just couldn't find a spot for it?

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Posted on April 6, 2009

Albums »The Goblin Collection

goblin Italian horror movie soundtracks.
They did all the music for Dario Argento.
“Tenebre” is particularly good.
Amazingly enough, this is in the jukebox at the Phoenix.

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Posted on November 7, 2005