Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Disco Volante - Born Under Punches

In many ways, 1980’s Remain In Light represents the Talking Heads at their creative apex. Band leader David Byrne, along with fellow Talking Heads Tina Weymouth, Chris Franz and Jerry Harrison, luminary utility players like Nona Hendryx and Robert Palmer, and visionary producer Brian Eno collectively gave birth to a masterpiece of experimental pop music.

Fusing such seemingly desperate source material as African poly-rhythms, Kraftwerky electronica, dour, Joy Division drone and Parliament/Funkadelic, Remain In Light is a vision of the world at once frightening and exhilarating, the sound of technological America colliding with the Third World.

The persona Byrne adopts to introduce us to this bizarre universe is something like a revivalist preacher, something like an ex-CIA agent, something like a circus clown. He is a thin man, a man so harried and uncertain, that the mere fact of breathing is even in question. He is dangling on the edge of a nervous breakdown, on the verge of achieving spiritual ecstasy. Born Under Punches (The Heat Goes On) is my favorite song on the album, and the first on this week’s playlist.

MP3: Disco Volante – Born Under Punches (right-click-save-as)

1. Talking Heads - Born Under Punches (The Heat Goes On) (5:49) 2. Ted Leo & The Pharmacists - The Ballad of the Sin Eater (5:20) 3. MF DOOM - Curls (4:09) 4. Electrelane - The Valleys (5:20) 5. Caetano Veloso - It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding) (6:07) 6. Maria Muldaur - Midnight at the Oasis (3:46) 7. Piero Piccioni - Colpo Rovente (3:43) 8. Fela Kuti - Expensive Shit (13:14) 9. MC Lyte - Stop, Look, Listen (3:20) 10. The Emotions - I Like It (1:59) 11. Erykah Badu - The Cell (4:20) 12. Otis Brown - Boneless Chicken (1:45)

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


I have a friend who grew up in Brooklyn in the late 1990’s, back when Mos Def was just a neighborhood MC, and he remembers the hype being almost deafening. He was the next big thing, all anybody could talk about. And it would be hard for any hip hop fan to deny his talent after listening to his 1998 collaboration with Talib Kweli, Black Star, an instant classic. Whether or not he’s lived up to his potential is debatable. After that first (and so far only) Black Star album, he released an excellent solo LP, Black On Both Sides, but his subsequent releases, The New Danger and True Magic haven’t quite lived up to the standards of the first.

These days it seems like Mos is more interested in acting than rapping, after several appearances on The Chappelle Show, an Emmy nomination for Something The Lord Made Me, and co-starring as Ford Prefect in The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy. I even saw him on an episode of House on Monday!

But I’m really excited for his upcoming The Ecstatic, (mostly because of this Youtube video which shows Mos rattling off MF Doom rhymes, he’s a true hip hop fan!)

On this week’s opening track from the 1998 Lyricist Lounge compilation, Mos is joined by Q-tip and Tash from the Alkoholics for a really fun song, Body Rock, which features Mos at his early, laid back best.


MP3: DISCO VOLANTE – Body Rock (right click "save as")

1. Mos Def - Body Rock [feat. Q-Tip & Tash] (5:11) 2. Tom Waits - Way Down in the Hole (1:44) 3. Animal Collective - Leaf House (2:42) 4. Savath & Savalas - Apnea Obstructiva (4:55) 5. Nouvelle Vague - This Is Not A Love Song (3:47) 6. Cornelius - Brazil (3:27) 7. Komeda - Focus (3:38) 8. Jack Logan - Shrunken Head (2:54) 9. Pavement - Black Out (2:10) 10. Shuggie Otis - Inspiration Information (4:12) 11. Jaga Jazzist - Soumi Finland (7:28) 12. Jaga Jazzist - Real Racers Have Doors (3:32) 13. Majesticons - Parlour Party (3:18) 14. John Lennon - #9 Dream (4:48) 15. The Tragically Hip - Eldorado (3:47)