2006-02-15

Chicken Butt

Medium: 5" CDR
TRT: 78:19
Made by: me
On or about: Fall 2005
For: P. again

Another mix CD.   I'll put up some real mixtapes soon.   Trouble is there's fewer and fewer people I can make tapes for anymore, cuz nobody's got tape players!   Come on now.   Fuck a iPod; get a Walkman.   Because you dont really need to carry around 35,000 hours of music in yer pocket.   All you need is one of my tapes.  (Boom.)
Initially I had a pretty simple concept for this mix: songs that make ya shake ya butt.   But as each song flowed from the last, I ultimately ended up with a lot of stuff that doesnt necessarily induce booty shaking.   Many of these tunes are more likely to inspire a different move: the chicken neck.   Thus the name "Chicken Butt".   So I got here some things that are fonky and some that are just fuckin spazzy and some that are both.   All on one long side--

(1) Enon "Knock That Door" (2:53)
Source: "Lost Marbles and Exploded Evidence" by Enon - Touch & Go 2005 - a collection of singles, promos, and related bullshit.
This odds n sods collection is pretty much only for Enon's hardcore fans.   Of which I'm not one.   Enon is a poofy-headed Brooklyn hipster trio that appears to use drum machines and samplers in addition to guitars and (real) drums.   I hear they've killed a lot of lesser bands onstage, and I believe it; but their records tend to be a little boring.   The songs Toko Yasuda (that is, th gurl) sings tho are the brightest spots in those otherwise somewhat dull proceedings.   And "Knock That Door" is just plain dope.   This is the type of song that makes me thro a tape in the deck and hit record and then go looking for some more songs that are equally cool.   (Yes I did start with a tape.   Oftentimes before I make a ceedee I'll make a tape as a draft.   That helps me get a feel for it, then at some point I'll load the songs onto the computer and start rearranging them there.   The idea for a mix usually starts with a single song, like this one did.   Then instead of grabbing a tape, more often I'll grab a pad and a pen.   I'll look over my collection, make a list, and the thing will start to come together in my mind.   Hopefully one song on the list will jump out as the lead off--side 1, cut 1--and that'll get me rolling.   If there's not an obvious first song I might get boggd down for a while.   Fortunately, in this case the song that was the germ of this tape was itself the first song, so I c'd forgo the list and the tape just flowd like a stream of consciousness.   More than you wanted to know about my "process"?)   Ms Yasuda sings along with herself about seducing somebody on the dancefloor.   Or so I surmise.   I cn only understand evry other line at best.   A slutty bassline echoes the vocal melody.   A funky beat.   Some really well placed cymbals, handclaps, and even finger snaps.   A perfect opener.
(2) Ultramagnetic MCs "Travelling at the Speed of Thought (Hip House Club Mix)" (4:22)
Source: bonus track on Roadrunner Records’ 2004 reissue of the 1988 classic "Critical Beatdown"
As one Amazon customer-reviewer wrote, "I wish people would quit hating the Hip House Mix of Travelling at the Speed of Thought."   Word.   Well, actually...it is kind of overblown.   But it fits.   That's what counts.   The right context can redeem a shitty song.   That's what mixtapes are all about, suckers.   (The crossover between rap and house in the mid/late 80s is an inneresting thing but I'm hardly well-versed enuf in either of those genres to speak much about it.   Some rap groups like Ultramagnetic borrowed things from house music [see also Jungle Brothers].   I'm sure it must've gone the other way too, house borrowing from rap.   Later on tho, it seems it became trendy in the rap world to hate house music.)   Somebody hit this record with a kitchen sink of samples, typical funk licks and JB yelps that Ultra popularized.   I'm sure this version moved some butts at the club.   (In any case it's better than the other, rock-style remix offered on the Roadrunner CD.   Not gracing us with the original version of "Travelling at the Speed of Thought" was one of the only bad decisions they made when they put this thing together.)   Wave yr hand in the air like the disco queen you know you are.  
The Critical Beatdown was a revelation to me, the missing link in mid/late 80s rap.   When I discoverd that Ced-Gee of Ultramagnetic also produced most of Boogie Down Productions' landmark album Criminal Minded (or so he says), it all made sense.
(3) James Brown "Think" (1:57)
Source: CD reissue of 1962’s "Live at the Apollo" (I guess the ceedee differs some from the original LP, which I aint hoid)
A mother truckin barn burner.   So fast but so relaxed.   Now there's a horn section.
(4) Roy Orbison (and the Teen Kings) "Ooby Dooby" (2:13)
Source: "Roy Orbison The Sun Years 1956-58" Bear Family 1989
Moon-faced Roy’s first record and one of his only ones that really rocked. (I’m not dissing his later records: Roy the crooner worked better than Roy the rocker.) It’s Billy Pat Ellis’s drums that make it.   He’s great.   Seems a bit out of place here maybe (tho it’s a surprisingly good follower to the James Brown) but I really wanted to put this song on a tape for this person.
(5) They Might Be Giants "(She Was A) Hotel Detective" (2:10)
Source: the 1986 self titled album as collected on the double ceedee "Then: The Early Years" - Restless 1997
The early version of TMBG--two guys and a reeltoreel--enthusiasticly pounds out a cage-rattling riff.   Remember the video? in which their cartoon alter egos cause even skyscrapers to shake their steel and concrete booty.   When TMBG traded the tape machine for a real band, I remember somebody on a message board writing, "I miss how badly John Linnell played barry sax."   (Dont worry tho, he still plays it onstage.)
(6) MC5 "American Ruse" (2:31)
Source: "Back in the USA" by MC5 - Atlantic 1970
Lines like "They told you in school about freedom / But when you try to be free they never let cha" might not have sounded quite as stoopid back in 1970, hard as that is to imagine. But anyway this record is hugely fun.   This is Rock N Roll yall.   The tinny sound of this record recalls 50s Chuck Berry type shit even as it looks ahead toward the punk/new wave shit that would follow a few years later.  
I’m kinda proud of how these last 3 songs go together--Ooby Dooby, Hotel Detective, and this one.   You wouldn’t think of them going together really, but I went with a gut feeling and they ended up sounding really good.
(7) Devo "Sloppy (I Saw My Baby Gettin’)" (2:40)
Source: "Q: Are We Not Men?...A: We Are Devo!" by Devo - Warners 1978
Proceeding in fits and starts, this record has a lot of adolescent energy, and adolescent anxiety, which has nothing to do with the age of its creators, cuz they hadnt been adolescents for a long time when they made this.
(8) Minutemen "Maybe Partying Will Help" (1:56)
Source: "Double Nickels on the Dime" by Minutemen - SST 1984
A blink-and-you’ll-miss-it existential assault (I can't believe I just typed that shit)....   More-focused adolescent anxiety, with funky bass licks.   How strange and unbearable it is to live in this world.   AAA!! People in other hemispheres are suffering because of me!   What the hell can I do about it? I dont know! AAAAAAA!!! Maybe partying will help.
(9) Poster Children "Western Springs" (2:49)
Source: "No more songs about sleep and fire" by the Poster Children - A Hidden Agenda 2004
Even-more-focused adult anxiety.   Nobody rocks as hard as these robotic fuckers.   On this cut, they stop on a dime, leaving yr booty suspended in mid swing.
(10) The Streets "don’t mug yourself" (2:39)
Source: "original pirate material" by the streets - Vice/Atlantic 2002
A brief, entertaining story rap with a message for geezers who are trying to shag birds, from before he gave up making good beats and instead started doing album-length epics about his dead mobile-phone battery and his busted telly.   This song serves to break things up a bit, throw in a new flavor.   Otherwise it would be too much guitar shit in a row.   While some (Nick Hornby--I'll sort him out later) advise against combining different styles, I want my mixtapes to be at least somewhat eclectic.
(11) Buzzcocks "why can’t i touch it" (6:34)
Source: flipside of "everybody’s happy nowadays" single - New Hormones 1979 - reissued on "singles going steady" - IRS 1979
Good groove; we’re slowing down a bit now.   A little long, but I dont mind.   And while the last Buzzcocks tune I mentioned here contained nothing resembling a steady beat, this record, released 14 months later, with its hypnotic, reggaeish bass work, sounds like it could be a loop.   In fact I bet it is a loop.
(12) The Smiths "You Handsome Devil" (2:45)
Source: "Hatful of Hollow" by the Smiths - Rough Trade 1984
Stevie seduces a minor. Recorded for the late John Peel’s radio show.
(13) The Apples in Stereo "The Bird That You Can’t See" (3:59)
Source: "The Discovery of a World Inside the Moone" by the Apples in Stereo - SpinArt 2000
A bonafide bomb track.   If this sucker had a side b, this is where it w'd begin.   These cats sounds more like the Beatles than Oasis ever did.   They also sound like XTC, The dBs (both of whom sound like the Beatles a' course, and round and round it goes...), the Beach Boys, those guys who did "Green Tambourine", and almost evryone else who's ever sung about a tambourine or a rainbow or a red rubber ball.   But this tune is very much a Beatles-type groove (thang).   Like 66 or 65.   But I dont think the Beatles would ever use a baseball metaphor.   All the American groops sh'd sing about baseball and all the British groops sh'd sing about tea and crumpets so I can keep their nationalities straight.
(14) The Rentals "Please Let That Be You" (3:33)
Source: "return of THE RENTALS" Maverick/Reprise 1995
Ups the tempo just a little.   Gorgeous bouncy synth pop, cool boy/girl harmony singin.   A well-composed pop song: the verse promises what the chorus delivers.   A sincere sentiment that we cn all relate to, waiting for a friend to come and save us from our boring selves.   "Please let that be you / Knockin on my door so loud just like you do" . . . "Please let that be you / Ringin my phone right now like I wish you would do / Calling with some big news . . . "   Who can't get with that?
(15) Basement Jaxx "Red Alert" (4:17)
Source: "Remedy" by Basement Jaxx - Astralwerks 1999
More synth.   From the first Jaxx album and the only one worth having, and it’s only worth having if you steal it.   These guys can impress the hell out of me with some little 5-second loop, but a whole album by them is kind of pointless.   These guys were part of that whole late-90s "Big Beat" thing.   Some of that stuff was good.   But most of it was crap.   Remember when "electronica" was going to be the Next Big Thing?   (Somebody's going to take me ta task for even using that woid.)   Anyway, this song fits.   After I laid down a few songs for this tape, I thought, which song on Remedy is good? cause it would fit well here.   Funk.   Stops, false starts.   Good beat, good slap bass...cheesy, pointless vocals.   They got some disco-diva type vocalist.   I cn dig on that sort of thing if it's used right and not overdone; but in this case I'm not really feelin it.   The rest of th track is good enuff to make up for it tho.
(16) Prince Paul "Boston Top" (3:12)
Source: "People Searching for Peace of Mind through...Itstrumental" as conducted by Prince Paul
Hilarious Jamaican-style rap spoof about a donut.   (L. sez: "It’s not really about a donut."   Well, the donut could be a metaphor.)   With the sort of slammin beat you can STILL! expect from Prince Paul.   It is good to see that Hip-hop innovator Prince Paul (see Stetsasonic, De La Soul) is still out there doing his thing, as talented and hilarious as ever. nbsp; He's an experimenter, and not evrything he puts out these days makes it.   (Be careful of any album that comes with an explanatory note in which the artist implies that anyone who doesnt like it must not understand it.)   But he is still well worth paying attention to.
(17) Talking Heads "Born Under Punches (The Heat Goes On)" (5:48)
Source: "Remain In Light" by Talking heads - Sire 1980
The first cut on the Talking Heads' most mind-blowing album.   Fast yet calm, this song is not fuckin around about shaking butts.   I’m not a drowning man, and I’m not a burning building.   Dig the synthesizer noises that are ever so slightly out of time.
(18) Beck (and his unbelievable band of shapechanging superheroes) "Mixed Business" (4:10)
Source: "Midnite Vultures" by Beck - Geffen 1999
I Knew I needed something from Midnite Vultures   A mediocre album, at least by Beck’s standards, but good for mixtapes anytime you may need four minutes of over the top silliness that makes all the lesbians scream.
(19) Soul Coughing "Bus to Beelzebub" (4:33)
Source: "Ruby Vroom" by Soul coughing - Slash/Warners 1994
The machine noises at the end of "Mixed Business" flow into the more melodic machine noises at the beginning of this record which reveal themselves to be that familiar manic riff often used in cartoons and Danny Elfman scores.   This was Soul Coughing’s first "hit" and has come to be dear to me tho I thought it was quite laffable when I first heard it.   (My ears wernt real open to it at that time cuz I wz waiting for a way better band [that I’d paid a few bucks and driven a fair way to see] to take the stage.   I thought they were a joke and heckled them from almost the front row.)   The general goofiness and kinda awkward rhythm of this record are a nice transition into:
(20)They Might Be Giants (with the Band of Dans) "Clap Your Hands" (1:22)
Source: "NO!" the first children's album by They Might Be Giants - Idlewild/Rounder 2002
You didn't know TMBG had breakbeats, but they do, sucka.   And some "wacka-wacka chicka-wacka" Superfly-style guitar.   Uh-huh uh-huh.   "Clap your hands / Clap your hands / Clap your hands / Clap your hands / Clap your hands / Clap your hands / Stomp your feet / Stomp your feet / Stomp your feet / Stomp your feet / Stomp your feet / Jump in the air / Jump in the air / Jump in the air / Jump in the air."   (You'd better do it.)   This is not the first of my tapes to pair this tune with the strikingly similar:
(21) Pixies "La La Love You" (2:43)
Source: "Doolittle" by the Pixies 4-A-D/Elektra 1989
Though I’d heard Doolittle many a time, I never gave any special regard to this song until a couple friends (or maybe that should be couple-friends) put it on a mix they gave out as party favors at their wedding.   The other selections were equally sappy of course.   Sappiness aside tho, it’s a simple and steady drum beat you cant argue with (much) and an exhortation to--guess what!--"Shake ya butt!! (...not too hard!)" Plus a mellow crooning--oddly not screaming--Black Francis, softening the mood a bit and setting up for:
(22) Yo La Tengo "Moonrock Mambo" (4:49)
Source: "Summer Sun" by Yo La Tengo - Matador 2003
Soft, unhurried, almost a throwaway track but one of the liveliest moments on that whisper of an album Summer Sun.   (That title seems ironic especially since the cover shows the band in hoodies and the like under a gray New Jersey sky.)   Quiet, casually funky, and filled with nonsense lyrics, this is just the thing as the tape winds to a close.
(23) Minutemen "Love Dance" (2:02)
Source: "Double Nickels" again
A rather mellow, for these guys, and highly smile-inducing instrumental.
(24) Unknown song by influential South African producer and pennywhistle-player West Nkosi (2:22)
Source: a friend, P.2, who probably downloaded it from god knows where, put it on a ceedee for me.
As somebody once said, "It’s from the Internet, so nobody knows what it is."   When was this record made, where, and with whom?   I need answers to these questions, always.   I can't just listen to a piece of music without knowing these things.   But these days evryone downloads their music from gawd knows where, puts their iPods on random, and doesnt give a shit.   I cant live like this!
Nonetheless, an easy little ditty to end this tape with. I love the Les Paul-sounding guitar.

1 comment:

  1. Green Tambourine was by The Lemon Pipers.

    ReplyDelete