Tag Archives: rock

Rediscovering The Velvet Underground

Some Apple Music playlists seem bot-made, but its Velvet Underground Essentials is a proper journey, and a masterfully curated introduction for anyone who doesn’t already dig this seminal rock band. (The Velvets are the only hip band I can confidently say I introduced many highschool and undergrad friends to.)

In this playlist — which for some reason made for perfect holiday listening yesterday — the songs are perfectly sequenced (for instance, following “Oh sweet nuthin,” a deeper but critical cut, with “All tomorrow’s parties” is inspired); the versions are judiciously selected (for instance, here’s the proper take of “Sweet Jane,” with the bridge); and if there are some omissions (like “The Murder Mystery” or “Cool it down”) there are more essentials (“Here she comes now”), and even some delightful surprises (how have I never heard “Foggy notion” before?).

I’m sharing a pic of the playlist for those who don’t have Apple Music but can source the tracks otherwise and sequence them this way. For Apple Music users, here is the playlist link.

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New DJ mix: Drum & Bowie – a tribute mix

This mix is a tribute to David Bowie, selecting some of his fast music from the 1980s and after, especially his forays into drum & bass, which debuted dramatically on Earthling (1997) but didn’t end there. Despite their common tempo in this mix (about 169 bpm), the musical diversity of these tracks demonstrates the extraordinary breadth and depth of Bowie’s creativity.

The resulting mix is an eclectic, uptempo trip through a vastly eclectic oeuvre.

And it’s a modest way to say: thank you for the changes, and safe travels among the stars.
As a friend remarked, Bowie “taught a few generations how to break norms, dream, just dance, sing out one’s fantasies and imagine a better world. … I think our world will not be the same without him but it is different because of him and maybe this is all one can ask for.”

Track list
1) 00:00 DJ Skratch Bastid, “Let’s Dance” turntablism routine
2) 01:24 Davy Jones, “A Better Future” (Heathen, 2002)
3) 05:11 David Robert Jones, “I’m Deranged” jungle mix (Outside, 2007)
4) 11:27 David Bowie, “The Last Thing You Should Do” (Earthling, 1997)
5) 15:39 Major Tom, “I Took a Trip On A Gemini Spacecraft” (Heathen, 2002)
6) 18:36 Ziggy Stardust, “Dead Man Walking” (Earthling, 1997)
7) 21:48 Aladdin Sane, “I Would Be Your Slave” (Heathen, 2002)
8) 26:14 The Man Who Fell To Earth, “Real Cool World” (Songs From The Cool World, 1992)
9) 30:14 The Thin White Duke, “We Prick You” (Outside, 1995)
10) 34:14 Halloween Jack, “Sue (Or In A Season Of Crime)” (★, 2015)
11) 38:35 Jareth The Goblin King, “Little Wonder” (Earthling, 1997)
12) 43:42 Major Tom, “Dancing Out In Space” (The Next Day, 2013)
13) 46:48 The Man Who Sold The World, “Telling Lies” (Earthling, 1997)
14) 49:06 David Bowie, “Modern Love” (Let’s Dance, 1983)

Fun fact: Mixcloud’s Terms of Service both a) prevent a full tracklist from being displayed before playback, and b) regionally restrict playback of mixes featuring more than 4 songs by any one artist. Conveniently, Bowie was many artists.

Ten Anthems of the Aughts

It’s the end of a decade
In another ten years’ time
Who can say what we’ll find
what lies waiting down the line
in the end of ’89?
– ABBA, “Happy new year”

The season for reflective (and arbitrary) “best of” lists and canons is upon us, and this year we get a whole decade to reflect on. Here’s my entirely idiosyncratic list of ten of the best songs from the young century’s first decade (“The Aughts”). My (wholly personal) criterion for choosing each as a year’s “anthem” is just that it evoke, more clearly than any other song, that year and its experiences.

2001: Basement Jaxx. “Where’s Your Head At?” XL.
2002: Freelance Hellraiser. “A Stroke of Genie-Us.” n.l.
2003: White Stripes. “Seven Nation Army.” Elephant. V2.
2004: Shapeshifters. “Lola’s Theme.” Positiva.
2005: The New Pornographers. “Sing me Spanish Techno.” Twin Cinema. Mint/Matador.
2006: Scissor Sisters. “I don’t feel like dancin’.” Interscope/Geffen/A&M.
2007: Feist. “1234.” The Reminder. Cherrytree.
2008: The Ting Tings. “That’s not my name.” We Started Nothing. Columbia.
2009: Imogen Heap. “Hide and seek” (Enigma remix). n.l.
2010: The xx. “VCR.” The xx. Young Turks.

Notable mentions:
2003: Black Eyed Peas. “Where is the love?” A&M; The Raveonettes. “That Great Love Sound.” Sony.
2007: Wintersleep. “Weighty Ghost.” Welcome to the Night Sky. Labwork.
2008: Bruce Springsteen. “Girls in their summer clothes.” Magic. Columbia.
2009: Deadmau5. “Ghosts n stuff” (original instrumental mix). Ultra.
2010: OK Go. “This too shall pass.” Of the Blue Colour of the Sky. EMI.