A Curated Christmas 2011

A Curated Christmas 2011

Happy holidays! This year’s ACC is available as a download (featuring some extra songs) and also as Spotify and Rdio playlists (featuring fewer songs due to music biz stuff). Hope everything is bodacious!

  1. Outkast — Hold On, Be Strong
  2. Bryan Ferry — Casanova
  3. Black Moon — I Got Cha Opin (remix)
  4. The Proclaimers — Over and Done With
    Apparently this is in Bottle Rocket–which, shamefully/weirdly I’ve never seen. It makes me feel better that Wes Anderson cosigns on this jam.
  5. El Guincho — Bombay
    They play this song a truly astounding amount on Sirius/XM.
  6. Terius Nash — Long Gone
    This album is free and better than other albums he has released as The-Dream. True stories.
  7. The Beat / The English Beat — Twist and Crawl
  8. Little Dragon — Please Turn
  9. The Mekons — Memphis, Egypt
  10. Spiritualized — Stop Your Crying
  11. Minnie Riperton — Come To My Garden
    Epic.
  12. Young Jeezy, Jay-Z & Andre 3000 — I Do
    This song was apparently released over a month ago and I hadn’t heard it until tonight (12/20). I listen to a lot of mainstream rap radio and don’t know how that’s possible. This also reminded me that Young Jeezy once rapped about the spinach dip from Houston’s which is just as amazing as our country putting a man on the moon.
  13. Sands Hollow — The River’s Edge
    THIS IS SO GOOD. This band is two people I know only in passing from Austin who released an awesome EP on Monofonus and really, really need to release more. I’ve listened to this EP roughly a kajabillion times. Apparently they have like 40+ finished songs. Seriously, what is the hold up? I might start a letter writing campaign.
  14. Alicia Myers — I Want To Thank You
  15. Anita Tijoux — 1977
    I think this was in Breaking Bad. Let’s talk about how terrible Walter is now.
  16. Lucinda Williams — Minneapolis
    This year, I got really into Lonesome Dove, Lucinda Williams and Downton Abbey. This is the year I lost any last vestiges of street cred.
  17. Les 4 Guaranis — Hasta Otro Dia
    If you don’t download obscure, amazing albums from Ghostcapital you are missing out on jam-after-cuckoo-jam.
  18. The Tradewinds — Real Ones
    I moved to Phoenix this year and heard this 72 second pop punk confection on the best/worst/most confusing radio station, KWSS. Then I put it on repeat for 72 hours.  Their EP is free.
  19. Joe Bataan — My Cloud
  20. Why? — Into The Shadows Of My Embrace
  21. Bleached — Electric Chair
    A real scorcher.
  22. Megadeth — Dread & The Fugitive Mind
    Did I tell you I moved back to Phoenix?
  23. Leonard Cohen — Everybody Knows
    I first heard this song as a kid in Pump Up The Volume. Did you know Pump Up The Volume takes place in Phoenix?
  24. Lord Crowley — Night

Yom HaShoah

On September 11th, I was in a studio art class drawing something of very little quality with charcoal. NPR broke into the middle of a recorded piece to report on a plane that hit the World Trade Center. Everyone was confused; our teacher told us to get back to work. Then the second plane hit. I ran into the hall to call one of my best friends who was supposed to fly out of Boston that day.

“Seriously–seriously–this shit isn’t funny.”

It wasn’t. All the more terrifying: Ricky is able to see humor in anything.

As dutiful and panic-inducing as the NPR reports were, nothing could have conveyed the images we’d all soon see on the TVs rolled into hallways: faculty and students sitting on the floor together watching our world crumble.

“Michael, do not ride the bus.”

“Mom, I don’t think they’re going to target Austin.”

“The President is from Texas! Who knows where they’ll hit!”

It seemed silly, logically, but every time I rode the bus after that, the backpack in front of me would explode. For months, I had a fiery death right before getting off at 29th and Guadalupe.

Last night, Osama bin Laden, the originator of all our fears, was killed and our nation rejoiced. The Ur Revenge was complete. Jeffrey Goldberg cribbed from Proverbs: “When justice is done, it brings joy to the righteous but terror to evildoers.” I understand the relief and certainly don’t mourn bin Laden’s passing, but my celebration seemed a bit hollow.

Our revenge has resulted in 5,885 U.S. military deaths. As President Obama solemnly noted, the legacy of lost loved ones and incomplete families will play out for years to come.

In Iraq, ~105,000 civilians have lost their lives; in Afghanistan: 34,000. However just or well-intentioned you believe our goals to be, our methods and unexpected consequences have been blunt. After living through our nation’s worst day, it is hard to imagine the mind frame of nations who have lived through their worst decades. Our country has also spent $1,188,523,000,000 (that’s 1.19 trillion dollars) on these wars.

The same fear I felt riding on the bus became the basis for a lot of things in the past 10 years. At first, it was unity. It soon splintered into revenge, hate crimes, jingoism, rendition, a war with false rationale, a war on French fries, wiretapping, a rainbow of oblique terror threats, another war, secrecy, torture, a loss of civil liberties, a loss of civility, conspiracy theorists and, ultimately, disunity. George W. Bush was mocked for telling us to go shopping in the immediate wake of the attacks, but the call for getting back to “normal life” was prescribed no matter what your politics were. Except we didn’t: we went shopping and forgot all about our civics.

Compare these investments and compromises–societal and fiscal–to those of the 19 insane hijackers bin Laden deployed. The return on investment is startling. Are the evildoers really cowering in fear from our justice when the effects of their crude missiles are still disrupting our normal life?

I’m not a pacifist (or warmonger, for that matter) but it’s hard for me to believe that investing in education or other non-combative reforms would not have endeared ourselves more to these countries and changed things just as much. It’s hard to disinfect without any sunlight. That version of revenge may be less visceral, but it may be just as effective.

Since it’s been 10 years, it may have been just as immediate, too.

This morning, on the occasion of Yom HaShoah, I received an email forward from my Mom (via a cousin, via G-d knows who) imploring us to all never forget the atrocities of the Holocaust. It was a PowerPoint laced with horrific photos of the Jewish walking dead right after the liberation of the camps and an inaccuracy about current life in Sharia Law United Kingdom. Its purpose was to stoke suspicions and panic for just a slide or two–something palm-to-the-forehead ironic and sad on this day of all days. Nevertheless, it is a reminder to never forget that people–oftentimes acting out of genuine care and real fear–are wont to present situations that will elicit the most action.

Sometimes, there are no great options: We should just make sure that we’ll still have our spirit intact after whatever we do.

A Curated Christmas 2010

A Curated Christmas 2010

Happy holidays!
Download these jams!
I hope 2011 is totally tubular for you and yours.

  1. Kate Bush – Wuthering Heights
  2. Owen Pallett – Lewis Takes Action
  3. Kanye West – Chain Heavy (feat. Talib Kweli & Consequence)
  4. Au Revoir Simone – Shadows
  5. Prince – When You Were Mine
  6. Esquerita – Maybe Baby
  7. Rita Hayworth and/or Anita Ellis – Put The Blame On Mame
  8. Ngozi Family – Chisoni Kwanztu Azimbabwe
  9. Total Noise – Jealous Lover
  10. Melanie Fiona – It Kills Me
  11. Dire Straits – Romeo And Juliet
  12. Vera Ward Hall – Black Woman (Wild Ox Moan)
  13. Godley & Creme – Cry
    This video is so good.
  14. Graham Gouldman – We’ve Made It To The Top
  15. Wiz Khalifa – I’m Gonna Ride
  16. Pharoahe Monch – Push (Ft. Showtime, Mela Machinko, Tower Of Power)
  17. The Thermals – Never Listen To Me
  18. Knife In The Water – Rene
    I’m still looking for the album with “Sent You Up” on it: If you have this, how ’bout you holler?
  19. Samuel L. Jackson – Stack-o-lee
    The movie Black Snake Moan is totally underrated.
  20. De La Soul – Dinninit
  21. The Foreign Exchange – The Last Fall
  22. Gangstarr – You Know My Steez
    R.I.P.
  23. George Harrison – Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth)

In what way does the author’s use of the prison symbolize the protagonist’s struggle?

Ferris Bueller

There is a subset of movies I’ve now watched so many times (through childhood, through working at a video store, through having basic cable since I was eight) that they are hard to review in an objective manner. They are some of my favorite movies not because I think they are the best, but because they were formative and are now sources of comfort more than pure entertainment.

The list includes Die Hard, Big, The Princess Bride, The Breakfast Club, Field of Dreams, and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

As a child growing up amidst cul de sacs–opposed to being a rogue cop battling terrorists or midwestern baby boomer with a midlife crisis–Ferris Bueller’s Day Off had the most direct influence on what I believed “cool” and adolescence to be. If not for my almost-always temerity, it would have likely served as the template on how to actually act.

Obviously, this influence was not unique to me: John Hughes supplied a world of quotes, clothes, and music to a generation. In the middle of a Tuesday afternoon, I skipped out on work and watched Ferris Bueller at the Paramount with some of his progeny. All of us–and there were a lot–took the bait of playing hooky because we were still trying to fulfill the fantasy of being rad, carefree, and charming. Some brought their kids.

Seeing the movie alone and on the big screen for the first time allowed me notice some things I hadn’t before: The kid picking up his bag by himself in the hallway, Rooney quoting the from Burial of the Dead to Sloan, and the truly amazing Zapp song when the trio discovers how many miles have been put on the Ferrari. These are incredibly minor things (I have already seen this movie probably 50 times, after all) but they add even more. The things everyone remembers and know so well (Cameron staring into the Seurat, the parade, Ben Stein, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera) hit as strong as the first time. In the writing, acting, and editing there is amazing sense of timing. In part, I imagine this is due to Hughes’ obsession with mix tapes.

Unable to replicate the personality of a Shermer, IL kid, I tried to replicate Hughes’ ability in building something anew through other peoples’ songs. This actually got expensive, and embarrassing, when the habit culminated in releasing a ska compilation during high school.

And yet, the three-quarters-selfish, one-quarter-giving urge to make a mix and some tangential mythology of my own remains. Just this summer I fretted long and hard over what songs to put on a mix for Some Girl in Lousiana via the International Mix Tape Swap. Were these songs too well known? Too obscure? Too hard? Too soft?

I wanted some of the validation John Hughes had, but Some Girl in Lousiana never wrote back to tell me what she thought. The cycle of fantasy and reality John Hughes tapped into so well continued.

After the movie I went back up the street to work.

Pretty in Pink and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off will be showing at the Paramount Theater as part of their Summer Film Series on Wednesday, August 4, 2010.

I want to swim in a cool, cool place.

Download “I want to swim in a cool, cool place.”
(Originally made for the International Mix Tape Swap)

  1. No Age – Everybody’s Down
  2. Damien Jurado – Arkansas
  3. Lil’ Wayne – La La La
  4. The Black Keys – The Only One
  5. Madness – On The Town
  6. Pinchers – Agony
  7. Lindstrøm & Christabelle – Keep It Up
  8. The Mekons – Club Mekons
  9. Total Noise – Stay
  10. Nas & MF Doom – Street Dreams
  11. Teddy Pendergrass – Set Me Free
  12. Godley & Creme – Cry
  13. Jill Scott – He Loves Me (Lyzel in E Flat)
  14. Ray LaMontagne – I Still Care For You
  15. George Harrison – Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth)
  16. Raekwon – Pyrex Vision
  17. Joanna Newsom – Soft As Chalk
  18. Robert Palmer – Woke Up Laughing

EVEN MORE–FRIENDS’ BANDS EDITION: Total Noise (also on the above mix) told me it was fine to share their debut album. I have been listening to it a lot and really recommend it. While not available for free, Jack Dolgen’s also awesome and catchy-as-anything album will be available through iTunes on August 24, 2010 (pre-order available). As a compromise between downloading and buying, you may stream Love Inks’ debut EP that will have you feeling wistful and joyous at the same time. Finally, Soft Healer is going to be releasing stuff soon and you should definitely get it and see them play your town as they are great, too.

Graham Reynolds and Wings

Graham Reynolds
Graham Reynolds

This Wednesday (6/23/2010), Graham Reynolds–leader of Golden Arm Trio and the Golden Hornet Project–will perform a live score for the film Wings as part of the Paramount’s Summer Film Series in Austin. We sat down for a little interview wherein I learned that I have to get better at interviewing and Graham Reynolds is a nice dude. You may ascertain these facts for yourself below:

[audio:http://mew.maufrais.us/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/grahamreynolds.mp3]
Direct link to MP3.

Wings retroactively won the first Oscar for Best Production/Best Picture (the only silent film to do so), is about World War I, and isn’t currently available on DVD in the US of A. All of this means you should quit your fiddling and your faddling, buy a ticket, and come see a pretty special event Wednesday.

Come and let’s debate whether we understand why Clara Bow was a sex symbol or not!

cvs Propranolol

Allow me to re-introduce myself

Possibly egotistical title is really just serving as an excuse to post a Jay-Z clip.

At the start of summer I applied to become a Paramount Film Series publicist. In exchange for free tickets/popcorn, the volunteer publicists were expected to talk about films happening at the theater for Paramount’s Summer Film Series. I realize this might be like payola with popcorn instead of actual dollars–and therefore somewhat morally questionable–but I a) am not a journalist and b) figured I would be spending my summer income at the theater regardless and I might as well try and save some bucks.

A few weeks ago I was notified that I had been picked as one of the 6 publicists and really could not have been more excited. Perhaps this speaks to me needing more hobbies, but we will not talk about that for now. After receiving notice, I further morally absolved myself of any selling-out qualms by remembering that the Summer Film series is honest-to-goodness one of my favorite things about Austin. It is also, historically, criminally under-attended and any small part I can play in trying to keep it going is fine with me.

Last summer I repeatedly got my head blown by films like American Madness (totally unexpected), City Lights/Modern Times, Singin’ in the Rain (which led me to recently purchase a class card for Ballet Austin), From Here to Eternity (so much more than the rolling on the beach scene, ferreal), and many more (I saw The Godfather for the first time last summer; I have gaping holes in my pop knowledge).

Without fail I would watch these movies and be amazed at how current and strange and intense they would all be. It was awesome.

I was out of town for the first movies of this year, but last week I managed to see Psycho (for the first time), Frenzy, and Batman (1966).

Psycho was, as expected, radical.

But Frenzy–a good-but-not-great-but-totally-interesting later Hitchcock film full of boobs, rape, and, ugly men sweating in ugly clothes–and Batman–a pretty amazing comedy (I thought it was un-intentional cheese as a kid)–were the just the sorts of surprises that I fell in love watching over the past two summers.

With all that being said, I’ll be writing more often about awesome old movies for next few months. If that’s annoying, I apologize, but I really recommend you come out to the Paramount and get the same feelings I get at least a few times before the summer ends. I’ll hook you up with some popcorn.

A Curated Christmas 2009

A Curated Christmas 2009

Hope you have a fun, safe, and better 2010! Get these jams.

TRACK LISTING

  1. Gene Kelly & Betty Noyes – Would You?/End Title
  2. Jens Lekman – Run Away With Me
  3. Crooked Fingers – What Never Comes
  4. Johnson, Hawkins, Tatum, & Durr – You Can’t Blame Me
  5. Devo – Gut Feeling (Slap Your Mammy)
  6. Prince – U Got The Look
  7. Dâm Funk – Mirrors
  8. BK-One featuring Aceyalone, Myka 9, and Abstract Rude – Mega
  9. UGK – 7th Street/Texas Ave (Uncleared Sample)
  10. Talking Heads – The Big Country (Alternate Version)
  11. Solange featuring Bilal – Cosmic Journey
  12. R. Kelly – Be My #2
  13. Aural Exciters – Paradise
  14. Sparks – I Married Myself
  15. Roxy Music – Avalon
  16. Sleater-Kinney – Modern Girl
  17. Camille Saint-Saëns – Aquarium
  18. Van Morrison – And It Stoned Me
  19. Smokey Robinson & The Miracles – Way Over There
  20. Prince Buster – Ghost Dance

The New Romantics – Volume II

The New Romantics - Volume II

The second part of an incomplete survey concerning sexuality in urban music. Parental advisory, explicit lyrics. Download here (Mediafire). The first volume may be found here.

TRACK LISTING

  1. Maxwell – Bad Habits – 2009
  2. Jay-Z – Girls, Girls, Girls – 2001
  3. Little Brother featuring Lil’ Wayne – Breakin My Heart – 2007
  4. Prince Paul featuring Breezly Brewin and Heroine - The Other Line – 1999
  5. Destiny’s Child – Say My Name – 1999
  6. R. Kelly – Real Talk – 2007
  7. Aaliyah – Are You That Somebody? – 1998
  8. UGK featuring Outkast – Int’l Players Anthem (I Choose You) – 2007
  9. Tray Loc – Once Upon A Freak – 1995
  10. A Tribe Called Quest – Find A Way – 1998
  11. Murs – The Pain – 2004
  12. Lauryn Hill – Ex Factor – 1998
  13. Grand Puba featuring Sadat X – I Like It (Blend Mix) – 2000
  14. Nas – Poppa Was A Playa – 2002
  15. Ghostface Killah featuring Carl Thomas and Raekwon – Never Be the Same Again – 2001
  16. Janet Jackson – Any Time, Any Place – 1993

The New Romantics – Volume I

Volume 1

An incomplete survey of sexuality in urban music. Parental advisory, explicit lyrics. Download here (Mediafire).

TRACK LISTING:

  1. Sisqo – Thong Song (Acapella) – 2000
  2. Splack Pack – Shake That Ass Bitch – 1993
  3. Kelis - Milkshake (Remix) – 2003
  4. J-Kwon – Tipsy – 2004
  5. Outkast – We Luv Deez Hoez – 2000
  6. Lil’ Wayne (Featuring Static Major) – Lollipop – 2008
  7. David Banner – Play – 2005
  8. Ludacris (Featuring Shawna) – What’s Your Fantasy – 2000
  9. Khia – My Neck, My Back (Lick It) – 2002
  10. LL Cool J (Featuring LeShaun) – Doin It – 1995
  11. Dr. Dre (Featuring Snoop Doggy Dogg) – Nuthin’ But a “G” Thang – 1992
  12. Missy Elliott - Work It – 2002
  13. Lil’ Jon & the Eastside Boyz – Get Low – 2002
  14. The Notorious B.I.G. – Big Poppa – 1994
  15. Young Money – Every Girl – 2009
  16. T.I. – Why You Wanna – 2006