Monthly Archives: February 2011

Tyga’s Chilly Raw Cheesteak

There are a lot of reasons to ignore Tyga’s “Really Raw,” from his forthcoming album Careless World. Some real clunkers of lines (which is more cringe-worthy? Tyga’s “Ever seen Piranha? It’s like the movie Jaws again” or Pharrell’s “Watching pornos on the iPad, thats really raw”). Snoop Dogg’s unnecessary presence. Even though he’s at his best, the reminder that The Game is still around. Tyga’s confusing “Chilly raw cheesesteak made up in Philly.” Inquiring minds want to know: which cheesesteak shop is selling raw cheesesteaks? My money’s on Geno’s.

But… Jesus. The way Tyga raps himself around the production. That detuned guitar. The horn hits. Pitchfork calls it “a cocktail bar cover of classic RZA, an almost cartoonish Cuban Linx tribute.” That sounds about right. Against all odds, the Neptunes are back, and they are, iPads or no, really raw.

Tyga, “Really Raw (ft. Pharrell, The Game, Snoop Dogg)” [Buy other Tyga tracks]

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While We Were Lost in the Eraserhood: Music News We Missed

While we were busy, lots of great music got released. And we're pretty sure that Cut Copy was influenced by this Estevez/Sheen gem. Wait, what Men at Work were you talking about?

We were a little busy the past 10 days or so: doing a week of posts on David Lynch, getting hacked, scheduling a trip to check out San Fran and Portland’s music scene, and planning a show in Philly on March 19th (more details shortly). So we missed a few releases and tidbits. To sum up:

  • TV on the Radio announced a new album, Nine Types of Light, though no release date yet. This A) makes our list of most anticipated releases of 2011 hopelessly outdated and B) makes 2011 absolutely jam-packed with tremendous releases. Year end lists are officially going to be a clusterfuck.
  • Destroyer’s album, Kaputt, was a pleasant surprise. Who knew this much ’80s sax could lead to one of the best releases of the young year? The 4/4 show at the First Unitarian with War on Drugs is a show not be missed.
    Destroyer, “Kaputt” [Buy]
  • Cut Copy released an album that’s kind of all over the place (including Men at Work territory, below). And we’re not sure if that’s a good or bad thing. Worth checking out.
    Cut Copy, “Take Me Over” [Buy]
  • LCD Soundsystem announced a final show at MSG on 4/2. Oh, and the pre-presale sold out in about four seconds.
  • Iron and Wine released an album that, while uneven, has some amazing moments. And is way, way, way more funk and Elton John-influenced than we would have predicted.

    Iron and Wine, “Me and Lazarus” [Buy]

  • Pitchfork continued to befuddle me with their love for James Blake. Update: I, and my half-assed listen of James Blake, was wrong. This album is growing on me like Ebola.
  • Hercules and the Love Affair released an album that did not live up to our ranking them in our most anticipated list. As did John Vanderslice.
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John Barry: 1933-2011

With all the posts about film music for David Lynch Week, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the passing on Jan. 30 of John Barry, an Oscar-winning film composer best known for his work on the 007 franchise.

I’ll make this post short and sweet — my three favorite John Barry themes:

Basie Meets BondCount Basie Orchestra, “From Russia With Love” [Buy]

As recorded by the Count Basie Orchestra for its 1965 album Basie Meets Bond. A very Basie interpretation of one of the best Bond themes. I first heard this on the Ultra-Lounge compilation Crime Scene (one of the best Ultra-Lounge discs), and immediately began hunting eBay for the then-out-of-print LP.

John Barry, “Body Heat Main Title” [Rare original available here; or buy the 1998 re-recording]

Kathleen Turner, Body Heat, 1981As steamy as the South Florida heat, as sultry as the young Ms. Kathleen Turner, fully in the noir idiom, but with enough tasteful synthesizer to let you know it’s from the early ’80s. That’s Ronny Lang on alto sax, a soundtrack veteran who can also be heard in Peter GunnTaxi Driver, and other classic film scores.

John Barry, “Midnight Cowboy” [Buy]

A bittersweet, lonely, loping theme, featuring exquisite harmonica playing. It’s just as memorable as Harry Nilsson’s version of “Everybody’s Talkin’,” which plays as Joe Buck is “headin’ up New York City, ma’am.”

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Catching up with Work Drugs

Last time we checked in with Work Drugs for an interview, they had only released one track. Sure, anybody can roll with a one hitter, but were Work Drugs in it for the full bong? Two tracks later and the answer is a definitive yes. Gauzy beauty follows:

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TalkNarc: Interview with Spencer from Incan Abraham

I’m not sure if people in LA even understand how February starts to wear down us East Coasters. The snow. The biting cold. Don’t get me wrong, we love it: those late nights drinking thick beers. The tracks across town to see a sold out show that snow has turned into an intimate event. But seriously: we’re getting stir crazy. And the fuzzy sunshine that Incan Abraham is laying down, alternatively sounding of Animal Collective and The Walkmen, isn’t helping things much. Incan Abraham’s Spencer Mandel was kind enough to answer a few questions for us stir-crazy East Coasters.

Sometimes it feels (aka, Pitchfork makes it seem) like the entire LA scene happens at The Smell. Care to teach a Philadelphian something?
No disrespect to the Smell, but it’s just a room downtown that doesn’t even serve alcohol. Yes, No Age came out of there, so it deserves some credit. But there are other better Los Angeles venues. Venues in the Silver Lake/Echo Park neighborhoods in Northeast LA have produced lots of stuff, like Spaceland, which helped popularize LA artists like Beck and the Brian Jonestown Massacre, the Silverlake Lounge, whose cross streets the Silversun Pickups took its name (Silver Lake and Sunset Boulevards), and the Echo (http://www.attheecho.com/), which is probably the most important venue in the area nowadays. West LA’s The Troubadour, where Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, et. al. would play during the 60’s-70’s, is still around, and still relevant, but less so for indie rock than the East Side venues. The Hollywood “Sunset Strip” scene, home to 80’s hair metal, is entirely dead, thank god. That’s LA in a nutshell.

One of the obvious comparisons, and I’m sure you’ve got this before, is Animal Collective. Do you worry about their influence on electronic pop in general/your music?
Animal Collective is one of the most unique acts of the past decade, and the comparison is fair. However, our other electronic influences are more ‘electronic’ than ‘electronic pop’, such as great Warp Records acts like Aphex Twin and Squarepusher.

Have you heard Philadelphia’s Sun Airway? You guys would make beautiful babies together.
Haven’t heard of Sun Airway, but we’re always down to make babies. Thanks for turning me on to them.

When you think of Philadelphia, you think… (not endearing answers: cheesesteaks, Rocky)
Philadelphia. City of Brotherly Love. Besides my endearing answer that I enjoy “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”… Giuliano’s uncle used to work at Drexel University, for one. Haha, that’s the best I can do… never been. Please educate me.

We’re about to head to San Fran for a Noise Narcs roadtrip. What should we check out there? Yes, I’m aware that’s liking asking a Philadelphian about things to do in Pittsburgh (for the record: Primanti Brothers, Andy Warhol Museum, leave).
San Francisco’s a different world than LA, but unlike other Southern Californians, I don’t participate in the rivalry. It’s a beautiful little city full of open minded people, so I don’t think you can really go wrong. Need to spend some more time in SF myself… but we’ll be up there for Noise Pop festival this month. Grab some Chinese food, it’s supposed to be very good there

Any plans for an LP in the near future?
Yes, we’re stockpiling great new songs now, in the event that we fall into some more money, and are able to produce an LP in the foreseeable future. We’ll let you know when that happens.

Incan Abraham, “Third Man” [Free Single Download]
Incan Abraham, “Helium Eggs” [Free EP Download]

Well, we at Noise Narcs are hoping for an LP’s worth of a windfall. I’m sure we’ll be hearing more about Incan Abraham soon. Head over to their Bandcamp for more free goodness.
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Staten Island Girls

No, not the Katy Perry parody that lit up Islanders’ news feeds last summer…

The Bad Mouth Betties are a quartet of talented young ladies from the fifth borough. Boasting three superb singers who regularly swap lead vocal duties, the Betties are at their best when performing close, tight harmonies and nailing classic girl-group backup vocal arrangements.

They released a four-song EP in the fall, and recently debuted a video for the single “Sunglasses,” written by my good friend and longtime bandmate Nicole Pignatelli.

Bad Mouth Betties, “Sunglasses” [Buy]

“St. George,” a gospel-pop number penned by the group’s keyboardist/multi-instrumentalist Tina Kenny, is the other standout track on the EP.

Bad Mouth Betties, “St. George” [Buy]

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Three reasons Noise Narcs Is Rooting for Green Bay

1. Big Ben
2. We’re pretty sure it was a Steelers fan who hacked our site this weekend because of our “laying a pillow down where we’re going to post a song” policy
3. Lil Wayne exploding all over Wiz Khalifa’s track: “I’m a Cheesehead, y’all n***** Cheez Wiz”

Let’s go Packs.

Lil Wayne, “Green And Yellow”

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The Day David Lynch Didn’t Have to Use His AK

In honor of David Lynch’s release on vinyl of his single “Good Day Today” (and our love of all things Lynch), Noise Narcs is posting on the music of, for, and about David Lynch this week. See our intro post (and claim of Lynch as a Philadelphian) here, and see the rest of the DLW posts here.

Order Good Day Today / I Know (plus remixes) at http://GoodDayToday.info

During David Lynch Week, we’ve discussed how Mr. Lynch has impeccable taste in musical collaborators and popular songs, inspires freestyles, and is even a formidable songwriter in his own right. So it should have come as no surprise that when Lynch released music, first on the Sparklehorse/Danger Mouse Dark Night disc and now under his own name, that it’d great. But even so, I was taken aback.

The two singles Lynch released on vinyl and CD this week, “Good Day Today” and “I Know” are far, far too good for the work of a director. Woody Allen is certainly a very good clarinetist, but he’s far from the vanguard*: he’s just good for a director. Lynch’s music, however, is just plain good. “I Know” pulls a neat trick: a solid impression of a late-Dylan blues barnstormer played drafting through the Black Lodge.

David Lynch, “I Know” [Buy]

But “Good Day Today” is the killer track. Fully on-point electro-pop, pulsing and vocoded. Amid menace, a plea for solace. Transcendental meditation meets the machine. And the floating repetition of the synth drives you through it all.

David Lynch , “Good Day Today”

But, wait? What the fuck were those gunshots at the two minute mark? A song. Involving guns. About having a good day. That can mean only one thing. A brilliant director. A great songwriter. An accomplished electropophead. And to beat it all, the man’s an Ice Cube fan?

Ice Cube, “Today Was a Good Day” [Buy]

Mr. Lynch, your surprises never stop: you’re welcome to come back to Philly any time. We’ll promise you a good day: no break-ins, no murders. And to the rest of you, thanks for enduring our Lynch obsession this week. Take a Lynchian hint, and have a good weekend this weekend. And for the heck of it, the one Joanna Newsom song that I can stand also happens to be about a good day. No guns, though.

Joanna Newsom, “On a Good Day” [Buy]

* But he was at the Village Vanguard, where he performed some of his early stand-up.

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That Asian Chick, What Was Her Name

In honor of David Lynch’s release on vinyl of his single “Good Day Today” (and our love of all things Lynch), Noise Narcs is posting on the music of, for, and about David Lynch this week. See our intro post (and claim of Lynch as a Philadelphian) here, and see the rest of the DLW posts here.

Given the luminously high quality of the David Lynch posts so far*, I figured it was about time for me to come in and lower Lynch Week’s overall average by at least 2.0 standard deviations.

I wanted to write something on Lynch’s use of popular music, but gave it up when I realized I’ve only seen Twin Peaks and about two and half Lynch films, and I didn’t feel like going on and on about obvious moments of genius like “In Dreams” and “Sixteen Reasons” alone. Even if they are, perhaps, two of the all-time greatest uses of early ’60s pop in entertainment history (“Mad Men,” eat your heart out).

No. Instead, I decided to post my friend Pete “Sugglife” Sugg’s 90-second “Twin Peaks” freestyle.  This was delivered at an after-the-wedding party on a back porch in Hood River, OR, and Sugglife, I promise you, had absolutely zero advance notice of his freestyle topic.  It doesn’t have MC Chris’s sweet Badalamenti sample, but it’s still a pretty awesome party trick. Enjoy:

Sugglife: Twin Peaks Freestyle from Matt Karp on Vimeo.

* Is there anything more insufferable than a group blog filled with posts praising the other group bloggers’ entries?  Dave, don’t feel bad, your latest concert review was also luminous.

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“Sing Hallelujah, Come On Get Happy!”: Performing Pop in the Worlds of David Lynch

In honor of David Lynch’s release on vinyl of his single “Good Day Today” (and our love of all things Lynch), Noise Narcs is posting on the music of, for, and about David Lynch this week. See our intro post (and claim of Lynch as a Philadelphian) here, and see the rest of the DLW posts here.

When thinking about the music in David Lynch’s works, the first element that comes to mind is, of course, Angelo Badalamenti’s composition. A close second is the director’s fondness for foregrounding his characters’ performances of classic, 1940s-1960s, pop.

“Twin Peaks”

Leland Palmer is the most conspicuous pop performer in the series. Actor Ray Wise’s manic performances of familiar and well-loved pop music brilliantly heightens the comedy and tragedy of Leland’s breakdown. An early and important example is his heart-wrenching dance with Laura’s photograph to the Glenn Miller Orchestra’s 1940 hit “Pennsylvania 6-5000.”

But for a more exuberant performance, we fast-forward to the first episode of the second season, when Leland’s hair turns white. He sings the 1943 novelty song “Mairzy Doats,” made famous by the Merry Macs.

Then later in the episode, at dinner with the Haywards, he makes a request — the Harold Arlen classic, composed in 1929, “Get Happy.” [Sinatra’s version of the tune, from his 1954 album Swing Easy!, is below.]

Blue Velvet

One of the most haunting and indelible performances in Blue Velvet takes place at the end of the scene where Frank (Dennis Hopper) and his entourage pick up beer (“Pabst Blue Ribbon!”) and stop by Ben’s house. This revealing scene, as sexually- and violently-charged as any in the film, culminates in a performance from Ben (Dean Stockwell) who lip-syncs the wonderful, and complex, 1963 Roy Orbison hit “In Dreams.” It’s utterly transfixing, for us and for Frank. Here’s the NSFW (unless you use headphones) scene. If you haven’t seen the movie in a while, watch the entire scene. Notice how Lynch foregrounds the sound effects of Frank popping in the cassette and Ben clicking on the light. “In Dreams” starts at 5:20.

This is another example, like Leland Palmer playing his “Pennsylvania 6-5000” record, where a character selects and plays their own recorded music. But in this case it’s Frank who starts and stops the recording, giving us another glimpse at the dynamic of his relationship with Ben.

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