Archive | January, 2011

Lemon Zest

17 Jan

I was originally going to post a Martin Luther King, Jr. related piece, but somehow my mind ended up in the gutter instead.  Here are two blues songs, both from 1937 and both “borrowed” by Led Zeppelin for “The Lemon Song.”

It’s funny, but I don’t usually think of lemons as a sexual euphemism, but then again I don’t usually discuss squeezing lemons till the juice runs down my leg.  I’m not adverse to it though.  Let’s try to bring this into everyday conversation.  In fact, next time someone says the annoying “When God gives you lemons, make lemonade” to you, I dare you to come back with that line.

You can download Robert Johnson’s “Traveling Riverside Blues” here and Art McKay’s “She Squeezed My Lemon” here.  You’re welcome.

Oh, and Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day!

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Chapel of Love

16 Jan

Do me a favor.  Go see ‘Abstract Expressionist New York’ at MoMA.  Seriously, right now.  GO.  Oh, they’re closed now.

To tide you over, here’s one of the pieces that Morton Feldman wrote  in the 1970s for the Rothko Chapel in Houston.  Rothko is my favorite of all the Abstract Expressionists.  And that’s saying a lot, since I love so many.

It’s is a polarizing place:

His chapel is one of the most overwhelming syntheses of art and architecture in the world. It is as compelling as the great Italian religious interiors he admired, yet as terrifying as Munch’s Scream. It is a tragic theatre of emptiness, death’s antechamber, the self-expression of a suicide. As such, the Rothko Chapel was destined to be misunderstood. Had it been understood, it would not have been built. (Jonathan Jones, The Guardian)

I’m dying to go there to see for myself.  And when I do, I’m going to be listening to this in my headphones.  I love me some cello.  I love me some Feldman.   I love me some Rothko.  Download here.

UPDATE:  Read more about why you should see MoMA’s amazing show, here.

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A Night at the Opera

15 Jan

I saw Tosca at the Met last night.  Let me clarify:  I saw Tosca from 4th row center seats at the Met last night.  It was that controversial Luc Bondy staging that apparently tore the opera community to pieces last year.  I’m guessing it is only controversial to the most traditional of opera enthusiasts.  I don’t understand why people would be outraged that the sets were pared down and the situations more modern.

Munich also staged this version and here’s a trailer from their production.  Tosca is sometimes dismissed as being too melodramatic and boy does this clip embrace that.   A telenovela for the upper crust!

This doesn’t do it justice.  See it if you’re able; it’s wonderful.  And here’s Tosca’s greatest hit for your downloading pleasure.  It really is one of the most beautiful arias ever.

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Violence Grows

14 Jan

Right now I’m watching yet another report on the crazed mind of Jared Lee Loughner.   And I realized I was singing “Violence Grows” by Fatal Microbes while doing so.

My brain might just be as weird as his, only in a totally-super-positive-I’m-not-going-to-shoot-anyone sort of way.    This song is more applicable in 2011 than it was in 1979 when it came out, dontcha think?  Sadly.

If you listen to/download it here, you’ll be singing it too by the time the 6 o’clock news rolls around.   I can pretty much guarantee it.

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Giddy-Up!

13 Jan

A couple of months ago I had a free day in LA and decided to spend it at LACMA.  I had nearly arrived when all of a sudden this amazing song came on NPR.  I’ve since referred to this as “the moment that changed my life.”

First there was the VOICE.  And then the crazy Thai girl background singers.  And, to top it off, it was a cover of “Paint It Black.”  How had I not heard this before???  I had to pull over and wait for about 20 minutes until they finally announced who it was:  Soy Cowboy.  For those of you sex vacationers, you’ll recognize that as a play on Soi Cowboy, an area in Bangkok which you’ve probably frequented often.

Anyway, I became obsessed.  It turned out I couldn’t buy this song anywhere.  Anyone who knows me could predict what happened next:  I stalked the Cowboy.  Apparently the Rolling Stones wouldn’t let him release the song, which is something I don’t quite understand, and I can’t divulge how I got it or from whom, but this holy grail of Thai-Western covers of “Paint It Black” has been located and you are the lucky recipients.

There’s a ton of interesting tidbits that I learned from my new friend.  A young Tarsem directed his very first music video for a different Soy Cowboy song back in 1990.  And all the “Silent Hill” video game singing and music is done by my hero as well.  Plus I got a Soy Cowboy tee shirt which I wear night and day.

Oh, I did arrive at LACMA but by that point was so distracted (and life changed), that I didn’t even feel like being there.  Change your life here.

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The Killing Fields

12 Jan

One late night I was in the emergency room at Sarasota Memorial Hospital and noticed they had a poster about all sorts of common plants that could be fatal…and in what quantity!  I know it was probably made as a warning, but to me it was a manual on how to kill someone and get away with it.

Pokeweed was on this poster for sure.  It’s as toxic as can be, but for some crazy reason people south of the Mason-Dixon are determined to ignore that.  They’ve discovered over the years that the young leaves can be boiled three times and as long as you discard the water after each time, the toxins are reduced.  Reduced. They then take these thrice boiled leaves and make polk salad.  It must taste amazing to a) bother and b) risk it, no?  Or maybe they just had nothing else to eat.

Still seems weird.

But I’m glad they did because now we have Tony Joe White’s super Muscle Shoals gem, “Polk Salad Annie.”  Download here.   If you ever decide to kill someone using pokeweed, please make sure to sing this song while doing so.

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Nerve-wracking

11 Jan

98.5% of the time I have no patience for electronica.  The other 1.5% is taken up primarily with “Slip in Electro Kid” by Timo Maas.  Hypnotic.

But here’s the deal.  You can only download it if you promise to listen to it with headphones.  It’s the only thing that has ever made me want to direct, only because I’m dying to use it as a soundtrack.

Okay, here. Remember…headphones!  You promised!

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