cartwheels into your heart

Saturday, December 31, 2005

At the Diplo/Books show tonight:

Me: How do you feel about arm-wrestling?
M.I.A.: Eh, whatever, I'm not really ... not now, there's not a good surface ...
Me: I'm asking because I arm-wrestled Lady Sovereign a few weeks ago.*
M.I.A.: Oh, I can fucking take her.
Me: Then let's see what you got!
M.I.A.: [rolls up her sleeves, proceeds to shame me]

I related this story to Amy, and then said, okay, so who do I go for next? Her answer: Annie. Of course. It's the holy trifecta of blogger-beloved international female pop stars.

*Not entirely true!

Friday, December 30, 2005

I've also got an article up on Stylus detailing my top 10 remixes of 2005.

Some otherwise fine remixes that didn't make the cut: Missy Elliott, "Lose Control (Jacques LuCont Remix)"; The Juan Maclean, "Tito's Way (Lindstrøm and Prins Thomas Remix)"; Mike Jones, "Still Tippin' (Diplo Remix)"; R. Kelly, "Sex in the Kitchen (Remix)"; and Spoon, "I Turn My Camera On (John McEntire Remix)."

So I've put together a best-of-2005 mix. Last year's mix was 72 songs, but I found room for 110 tracks on this one, spanning hip-hop, R&B, Europop, dance-punk, emo, country, indie rock, house, and freak-folk, among others. Depending on when you're reading this, I might still make a substitution or two, but most of it's set. And once again, if you'd like a copy (preferably a single mp3 CD, but I can also do six audio CDs), let me know.

1. Lady Sovereign, "Random"
2. Gwen Stefani, "Hollaback Girl"
3. Rihanna, "Pon de Replay"
4. Daddy Yankee, "Gasolina"
5. M.I.A., "Bucky Done Gun (The Claps' NoMeansMaybe Remix)"
6. Trick Daddy ft. Cee-Lo and Ludacris, "Sugar (Gimme Some)"
7. Ying Yang Twins ft. Mike Jones, "Badd"
8. 50 Cent ft. Mobb Deep, "Outta Control"
9. Common ft. John Mayer, "Go"
10. Ludacris ft. Bobby Valentino, "Pimpin' All Over the World"
11. The Game ft. 50 Cent, "Hate It or Love It"
12. Kanye West, "Diamonds"
13. Three 6 Mafia ft. Young Buck, Eightball, and MJG, "Stay Fly"
14. Missy Elliott ft. Ciara and Fatman Scoop, "Lose Control"
15. Basement Jaxx, "Oh My Gosh"
16. Mariah Carey, "Shake It Off"
17. Brooke Valentine ft. ODB, "Blah Blah Blah"
18. Ciara ft. Ludacris, "Oh"
19. Lil Jon and the Eastside Boyz ft. Usher and Ludacris, "Lovers and Friends"
20. Natalie, "Goin' Crazy"

21. Mary J. Blige, "MJB Da MVP"
22. Amerie, "1 Thing"
23. R. Kelly, "Sex in the Kitchen (Remix)"
24. Stevie Wonder, "What the Fuss"
25. Jamie Lidell, "When I Come Back Around"
26. Jeff Parker, "Toy Boat"
27. James Carter, Cyrus Chestnut, Ali Jackson, and Reginald Veal, "Blue Hawaiian"
28. Feathers, "My Apple Has Four Legs"
29. Stereolab, "Interlock"
30. Beck, "Earthquake Weather"
31. Nouvelle Vague, "A Forest"
32. Feist, "One Evening"
33. Sam Prekop, "Dot Eye"
34. The Books, "Smells Like Content"
35. The Futureheads, "Decent Days and Nights (Max Tundra Remix)"
36. The Russian Futurists, "Why You Gotta Do That Thang?"
37. Fiona Apple, "Extraordinary Machine"

38. Robyn, "Be Mine!"
39. Tahiti 80, "Changes"
40. Snoop Dogg ft. Justin Timberlake and Charlie Wilson, "Signs"
41. Gnarls Barkley, "Crazy"
42. The Knife, "Pass This On"
43. Jens Lekman, "You Are the Light"
44. Electric Six, "Future is in the Future"
45. Bumblebee Unlimited, "Lady Bug (I Just Wanna Be Your)"*
46. Madonna, "Hung Up"
47. Rachel Stevens, "Negotiate with Love"
48. Supersystem, "Born Into the World"
49. Out Hud, "How Long"
50. The Juan Maclean, "Give Me Every Little Thing"
51. Gorillaz, "DARE"
52. Architecture in Helsinki, "Do the Whirlwind"
53. Spoon, "I Turn My Camera On"
54. Of Montreal, "Wraith Pinned to the Mist and Other Games"
55. New Order, "Krafty"
56. The Killers, "Smile Like You Mean It"

57. Bloc Party, "Like Eating Glass"
58. White Rose Movement, "Love is a Number"
59. Kaiser Chiefs, "I Predict a Riot"
60. The Futureheads, "Hounds of Love"
61. Art Brut, "Emily Kane"
62. The Hold Steady, "Your Little Hoodrat Friend"
63. Kelly Clarkson, "Since U Been Gone"
64. Low, "California"
65. Chevelle, "The Clincher"
66. My Chemical Romance, "Helena"
67. Lindsay Lohan, "First"
68. Queens of the Stone Age, "Little Sister"
69. LCD Soundsystem, "Daft Punk is Playing at My House"
70. Death From Above 1979, "Black History Month (Alan Braxe and Fred Falke Remix)"
71. Nine Inch Nails, "Only"
72. Mario, "Here I Go Again"
73. Stephen Malkmus, "Pencil Rot"
74. Trace Adkins, "Honky Tonk Badonkadonk"
75. Gretchen Wilson, "All Jacked Up"
76. Brad Paisley, "Alcohol"

77. The New Pornographers, "Jackie, Dressed in Cobras"
78. Tegan and Sara, "Walking with a Ghost"
79. Death Cab for Cutie, "Soul Meets Body"
80. The Decemberists, "The Engine Driver"
81. Sufjan Stevens, "Casimir Pulaski Day"
82. Edith Frost, "Emergency"
83. Emiliana Torrini, "Next Time Around"
84. Eric Ziegenhagen, "Is That Star Wars?"
85. The Mountain Goats, "Pale Green Things"
86. Antony and the Johnsons, "Hope There's Someone"
87. Coldplay, "The Speed of Sound"
88. The Doves, "Black and White Town"
89. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, "In This Home on Ice"
90. Sleater-Kinney, "Jumpers"
91. Broken Social Scene, "7/4 (Shorelines)"
92. M83, "Don't Save Us from the Flames"
93. Stars, "Ageless Beauty"
94. Petra Haden, "I Can See for Miles"

95. Imogen Heap, "Hide and Seek"
96. The MFA, "The Difference It Makes (Superpitcher Remix)"
97. Chelonis R. Jones, "I Don't Know"
98. Isolée, "Pictureloved"
99. Lindstrøm, "I Feel Space"
100. Justus Köhncke, "Timecode (Edit)"
101. Kelley Polar, "Here in the Night"
102. Rex the Dog, "I Look Into Mid-Air"
103. Vitalic, "Wooo"
104. The Killers, "Mr. Brightside (Jacques LuCont Remix)"
105. Boards of Canada, "Chromakey Dreamcoat"
106. Caribou, "Hello Hammerheads"
107. Super Eagles, "Love's a Real Thing"**
108. Devendra Banhart, "Long Haired Child"
109. Animal Collective, "Grass"
110. Dungen, "Festival"

*orig. released in 1978; appears on Annie's DJ Kicks
**orig. released in 1972; appears on Love's a Real Thing: The Fuzzy Funky Sounds of West Africa

Friday, December 23, 2005

You always hear those stories about rock critics hanging out with big-time musicians -- Lester Bangs on tour with the Clash, for instance -- and wonder what it must really be like. This photo is hilarious. Next time I see Tom Breihan, I'm buying him a drink.

I just returned from an awesome mixtape-swap party, where everyone brings two copies of a mixtape (or CD) they've made, and then leaves with two other mixes. Unfortunately, I accidentally left my newly acquired mixes at the party (it was hosted by Eric, AbbyG, Shelley, et al.), so I can't tell you about what I picked up. But I can tell you what I left:

1. Imogen Heap, "Hide and Seek"*
2. Phoenix, "Too Young"
3. Chelonis R. Jones, "I Don't Know"
4. Kelley Polar**, "Here in the Night"
5. Out Hud, "How Long"
6. Saint Etienne, "Nothing Can Stop Us"
7. Belle & Sebastian, "We Are the Sleepyheads"
8. Bumblebee Unlimited, "Lady Bug (I Just Wanna Be Your)"
9. Althea and Donna, "Uptown Top Ranking"
10. Isolee, "Schrapnell"
11. Robyn, "Be Mine!"
12. Joni Mitchell, "Help Me"
13. Beach Boys, "Busy Doin' Nothin'"
14. Shuggie Otis, "Aht Uh Mi Hed"
15. Young Marble Giants, "Final Day"
16. Life Without Buildings, "PS Exclusive"
17. Sonic Youth, "Sunday"***

* For whatever reason, I really wanted to start with this track, which I discovered via the Stylus singles list and keep going back to. I mean, c'mon: it's a great lead-off track, right? I didn't follow up with anything from here, though.

** Yeah, so Love Songs of the Hanging Gardens was the album on the Stylus list I blurbed for. I'm actually surprised it didn't finish higher than #21, since I figured anyone who voted for Junior Boys last year (a top-ten finisher) would also be voting for Kelley Polar. (And actually, for as much as I love the album -- it's my number one of 2005 -- I'm a bit embarrassed about voting for what's basically this year's equivalent of Last Exit, my number one of 2004. Especially since when I first read the descriptions of the record -- on ILM, probably -- I kind of knew already how much I'd fall for it.)

*** For all the criticism that A Thousand Leaves gets -- some of it deserved -- there's also part of me that feels like "Sunday" is, like, the quintessential Sonic Youth single. Doesn't hurt that, amidst its noise derailment, it's also so compact.

Monday, December 19, 2005

The Stylus Top 50 Albums list begins today, although the blurb I've written won't show up until later in the week (not sure when).

For their part, Pitchfork just crowned Antony and the Johnsons' "Hope There's Someone" as their top single of the year, which I never would've guessed ("1 Thing" is #2). It's a song I've liked since I first heard it, but I've been paying more attention to it lately, and that swirling coda, with those pounding piano chords ringing past each other, sounded so beautiful as I drove down the sunny hills of eastern Pennsylvania into the New Jersey sprawl a few days ago.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Is "Hollaback Girl" the only pop song this year that uses the future perfect tense ("not just gonna have been like that") in its refrain?

EDIT: Scratch that.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Maybe it's the novelty factor, since I certainly don't listen to much of the genre, but a country song is once again the best single of the week. Of course, it's no "All Jacked Up," but it's pretty fun regardless.

Meanwhile, I'm the only critic that admitted to liking "Seasons of Love." Is the song really that bad, or does the fact that it comes from a dopey, played-out Broadway musical work against it here? I mean, when I saw the Rent trailer -- the one where "Seasons" just plays out in its entirety -- I kind of got the chills, you know?

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Right, so:

You all know I love Gwen, but I'm so over her now that I almost arm-wrestled Lady Sovereign on an icy sidewalk the other night. I say "almost" because she is apparently too cool for that. But we did playfully jab at each other before she scampered away.

At any rate, the confrontation was probably instrumental in her later helping me and Evan get into the VIP section at her afterparty -- although in the end, all that really had on offer was Pitchfork gossip and free pizza.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

If you haven't been following the Stylus Top 50 Singles countdown, you should. I wouldn't dream of spoiling anything, but just so you know, the song that I was assigned to blurb (my #5 overall) appears tomorrow.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Here's a Stylus article I wrote about Vincent Gallo and the music of Buffalo '66. I sort of wished I'd been able to talk more about Gallo's solo album When, which I discovered while researching the article: it has this creepy, dreamy 1950s feel that reminds me of David Lynch a bit, like it's so banal it seems unhinged.