Come on, smile!

Friday night, I was a last moment fill-in DJ for the Your Latest Crush gang. Cheers again to Aaron, Debbie, and Stuart for having me on. For the uninitiated, Your Latest Crush is an indiepop club night held on the last Friday of each month, over at the House of Shields in San Francisco. Definitely head down there and check it out. Those guys all know and love their indiepop. There are always at least five or six "OMG I can't believe you played that song!" moments, and the rest are "Oh, wow! What's this song?" moments. It's great fun. Also, House of Shields is one of the oldest bars, if not the oldest, in San Francisco and has a very cool atmosphere. So click the link up there and you'll discover pretty much all you need to know about Your Latest Crush.

This is the setlist I played.

Asobi Seksu > Merry Christmas, I Don't Want To Fight Tonight
The Four Pennies > When The Boy's Happy (The Girl's Happy Too)
Perfume > Plastic Smile
Lush > I Wanna Be Your Girlfriend
Irma Thomas > Break-A-Way
Nick Lowe > So It Goes
Cloetta Paris > So Serious
David Bowie > Rebel, Rebel
J.J. Jackson > But It's Alright
PUFFY > Sayonara
Lesley Gore > Look of Love
The Clash > Hateful
The Pixies Three > Cold, Cold Winter
Yo La Tengo > Today Is The Day
Calexico > Love Will Tear Us Apart



The rich get richer, the poor are getting poorer

Speaking of old stuff, I downloaded this classic the other day. I don't even know why I thought about it. Fuck, I used to love this song. It still sounds pretty good to me. 1984, I remember I bought the 12" at Tower Records in North Beach after hearing the song being played in the store. I had to go up to the counter to ask what it was. I think this may have been the first time I heard hip hop mixed with rock. When did that Run DMC/Aerosmith track drop? They were probably pretty close to each other. In any case, I'd pick this if I were forced to choose. It's just more edgy and full of rage. Kick ass.

Time Zone > World Destruction


A Summer Long Since Passed

I was kinda half-watching some movie on AMC (I think) last week. I really don't even remember what it was, being more absorbed with what was likely a computer game or something. So at the end of the movie, the credits rolled and this faintly recognizable music caught my ear. I had to pause whatever I was doing and actually pay attention. Seriously, this one was buried deep down in my brain and it took me a few minutes to dig it out and it was....Virginia Astley's A Summer Long Since Passed, from her 1986 album, Hope In A Darkened Heart.

I initially discovered this album in a roundabout way. I liked Ryuichi Sakamoto a lot (I even got his autograph a few years ago!) and he produced most of the album. At the time, Astley was compared to Kate Bush, whom I adore (you already knew that), so that was kind of a no-brainer. Also, I had read her name previously as she contributed the piano on Pete Townshend's single,
Slit Skirts. His album, All The Best Cowboys Have Chinese Eyes, was another one of my favorites at the time. So I bought her album based on all these factors and it was like being rewarded for faith. And I don't think I've ever met anybody else who likes this album or even has heard of it. I'm not trying to out-obscure anyone, it's just one of those albums that might seem like it should attract more fans. Everybody knows of an album like that, this happens to be one of mine.

Also, David Sylvian appears on the track,
Some Small Hope. He was a pretty big name at the time as he was in the group, Japan, and eventually started off what is now a long solo career. I knew a few peeps who were into him, but I really only know of him by name alone.

I spent many a night listening to this album, and falling asleep to it. The vocals might be too precious for some people, but I think her voice is lovely. The production is a bit dated, you can tell it's an 80s album, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. So back to last week. I hear this song on the telly and when the recognition hits, it's like WOW! I hadn't heard that in forever. I used to have it on vinyl, but all of my vinyl was stolen years ago. I poked around on the net to see if I can pick up a copy, but the prices are retarded import prices. I figured I didn't even have a chance of downloading it anywheres, but I finally found it. It's been so nice rediscovering this album.

I just had a look around and it seems she's still sorta active, although her site, virginiaastley.com, appears not to have been updated in nearly a year. Interesting. So here are a couple tracks; the first is A Summer Long Since Passed, which is the one that inspired this post. It totally sounds like a fading summer, silhouetted figures running on a hillside, a girl on a swing. I love the wistful feeling it conjures up. The second is called So Like Dorian, which is a sweet sounding, but venomous ode to her lover whom she no longer likes. My favorite part is when she sings, "I've heard all your lies, your boring tall tales/I've tasted your tongue like a worm from the grave/Had you inside me and then like a rock beside me". Jeez, I'd hate to be THAT guy.

Virginia Astley > A Summer Long Since Passed

Virginia Astley > So Like Dorian


We gonna kick down all the doors

Hey, I just realized it's been a while. I've been in some kinda mood lately and have kinda been hiding out, hence the lack of activity. I will say this, however. Today at work, I was listening to PJ Harvey's Peel Sessions 1991-2004 album when her cover of Willie Dixon's Wang Dang Doodle, came up. I really like this track, so I turned it up a bit and kept on working. I swear, I got the shivers when she sang "We gonna knock down all the windows, we gonna kick down all the doors". I had to stop and listen to the rest of the song. Anyways, when I'm back, we gonna pitch a wang dang doodle. All. Night. Long.

PJ Harvey > Wang Dang Doodle


Dream Fighter

Ooh! New Perfume song! I think the single drops sometime this month. Jennifer, if you're reading this, the one with the shorts reminds me of you. I think it's the hair. I'm not sure if it's exactly the same, but it just reminds me, that's all.

It's a beautiful cookie day!

Thanks to Jim, I ran into this Shonen Knife interview the other day over at J-pop World. The girls are still going strong and they have a new bass player, Ritsuko. I've professed my love for Shonen Knife in the past, so I'll spare you the gushing. My favorite part of the interview (I'm guessing it was conducted by email) was where the guy asks Ritsuko, "What does playing music mean to you?" Kind of a standard question, but her reply was most amusing; "I can't realize. Playing music is an exciting thing like eating a giant cake during my whole life."

Although Ritsuko is a new member of Shonen Knife, her response, in my mind, kinda sums up the entire existence of the band. These girls are having fun and eating a giant choco cake while they do it, and it shows. And they want you to be happy and have fun with them. Awesome. I suspect they're gonna keep going until they absolutely cannot do it anymore. We need more bands like them, more power to Shonen Knife.

They have just released a new album,
Super Group, in Japan. Hopefully it finds its way into my greedy little paws. In the meantime, listen to choice tracks here, and check out Cookie Day from their 1998 classic, Happy Hour.

Shonen Knife > Cookie Day


The higher you fly, the deeper you go

I just read Kristin Hersh's blog. Today's post is kinda strange. On one hand, it's very charming and self-deprecating. On the other hand, it's kinda sad. Heartbreaking sad, not pathetic sad. It's as if she exists in her own bubble, unable to connect with most people and unable to master the available technology to connect with people around her. Perhaps I'm reading too much into it, but that's how it comes off to me. Thankfully, she's able to use make music which can connect with people. She also does pretty cool covers, as well.

Kristin Hersh > Everybody's Got Something To Hide Except Me and My Monkey


Hey Morrissey, I have something to say to you

You once sang:
In America
The land of the free
they said
And of opportunity
In a just and a truthful way
But where the president
is never black
female or gay
and until that day
you've got nothing to say to me
to help me believe

Time to retire that song, eh buddy?

To quote Flavor Flav:
Step back, we got a black quarterback!

Morrissey > America Is Not The World



I dunno who's reading this anymore, if anyone at all. Lately, I've been getting these lame, racist and nasty spam comments, so I've activated the comment moderation. So if you do happen read this and you do happen to comment and it doesn't show up right away, that's why.


30 Days of Night

I couldn't sleep last night, so I spent my insomniac hours playing around with this. Laugh if you must, but I do like 30 Days of Night. I like the colors, dark with cold shades of grey, almost sorta metallic. Portishead's Machine Gun has the same feel, I think. It's cold, metallic and industrial. It sounds like Beth Gibbons is singing in a factory. To me, the song fits the film perfectly.

Also, please note that this might be a little graphic for some peeps.