Gal Costa - Gal [1969]

Gal Costa - Gal [1969]
Wow, this is amazing.
Coming from DHint's recommendation, this might be the coolest piece of psychedelia I hadn't heard before. I honestly have a hard time believing that this is from 1969.

The fuzziest, wahiest guitars jump in and out from the driving drums and delayed vocals, while woodwinds and tight percussion keep it all grounded in Tropicalia.

Goddamn, this's been a fun genre to explore.

Arthur Verocai - Arthur Verocai (1971)

there was some chatter in the comments for Will's Stan Getz post regarding Brazilian late 60s tropicalia, so i thought i'd up one of my favorite records from that era. on his self-titled debut, Verocai wrote songs combining folk, pop, psychedelia, soul, and jazz sounds and paired them with lush arrangements (which he did himself, classically trained as he was) and instrumentation that included a 20-piece string section and brass ensemble. the result is a kind of agile orchestral psych-funk with the immediacy and intimacy of folk-jazz teamed with scrumptious backing textures. it's a quick hitter, only 10 tracks and clocking in at about half an hour, but it will probably leave you wanting more. unfortunately, there isn't any... although, some of you hip-hop heads might recognize No Boca Do Sol and Seriado, which were appropriated for MF Doom's Special Herbs series.


BK One - For the Love of Music (2004ish)

i picked this up seemingly ages ago (when ill! was just a little sniffle) at a Rhymesayers show in Boston - i believe it was a tour-only mix from BK One, label dj and beatmaker extraordinaire. a wide range of hip-hop is obviously represented here (from KRS and Kweli to Snoop and Redman and everything in between), but there are several tracks dedicated to an assortment of funk/soul and reggae/rocksteady. oh, and it's structured around samples from High Fidelity (aka the music snob's magnum opus movie) and it closes with William DeVaughn's "Be Thankful For What You Got," which is an absolutely perfect song in my estimation. the concept may sound pretty rote, but the execution is what makes this a mix i come back to over and again without fail.

it's my go-to cooking record, for what it's worth

Dr. Timothy Leary, Ph.D. - Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out [1967]

Here's some trippy shit.

Dr. Timothy Leary and co. narrate a sort of acid meditation ("Galactic time has labored to produce this moment. Exquisite. All things, all images, move slowly within shimmering nets", etc. etc. etc.). Backing this is a melange of '60s hippy culture--sitars, folky guitars, odd sound effects, bird songs...the whole album would come of as incredibly goofy if it wasn't so goddamn sincere. The record as a whole is a fascinating artifact from a time when psychedelic exploration still had cultural validity.

*just kidding.

Henry Mancini - The Pink Panther [1963]

Henry Mancini - The Pink Panther [1963]
Everyone's heard the title track from this soundtrack. You're humming it to yourself right now, don't even fucking deny it.

Even though the first track has historically overshadowed the rest, the whole thing is essential. If you don't know Henry Mancini well, this is a great introduction. His sound incorporated big band swing, Les Baxter-style exotica / lounge, and jazz. Full of interesting (unique, but never gimmicky!) tone colors and sounds, Mancini was a perfect choice of composers to score the quirky, wonderful movie that is The Pink Panther.

This is primo lounging music.



Stan Getz - Getz Au Go Go [1964]

Stan Getz - Getz Au Go Go [1964]
This is a recording of the great tenor sax player Stan Getz and his band, performing live with the wonderful bossa nova singer Astrud Gilberto. One thing I love about jazz, and particularly about the jazz of the 1960s, is its ability to be mellow and relaxing without sacrificing complexity or depth. This record is a stunning example of such. Listening to it now, I can just feel myself decompressing (and I just fucking woke up).

One of my favorite parts of this record is the amazing vibraphone. Lacking a piano, the vibes (courtesy of jazz master Gary Burton) are responsible for holding down the chord changes. As such, Getz's warm tenor solos seem to be floating on air, as the vibes drift through the songs.

DJ 2-Tone Jones - Shaolin Jazz [2011]

DJ 2-Tone Jones - Shaolin Jazz [2011]
This one shouldn't take a lot of explanation.

Classic bop recordings + the Wu-Tang Clan?

Yes please.

This is one of those rare mash-ups that works just as well as one would like. What makes it click so well is that it's not just a bunch of one-bar loops with some a cappellas (hyperlink leads to some etymology that I found mildly interesting) slapped on top. Rather, the beats are constructed in such a manner as to compliment the vocals fantastically.

Bonus points for how many of the samples you can recognize.

Extra: Logan Walters designed the series of covers which inspired this album. Check out his page for some other equally-wonderful graphic design.

The Bug Vs. Rootsman + DJ /Rupture - Split [2003]

The Bug Vs. Rootsman + DJ /Rupture - Split [2003]
I always had a hard time understanding the "dub" in dubstep. However, when you go back to the right places, there it is, staring at you in its dubbed out glory. This is a fun little split in that it's neither really dub nor dubstep, but whatever it is, it's fun.

The first half, The Bug vs. Rootsman is heavy, distorted, noisy and furious. If you don't know The Bug already, his tracks on this split are pretty indicative of what he would go on to do. Ferocious overdriven electronic snarls, backed by broken dancehall riddims. The vocals are excellent too ('cause what would a The Bug track be without some guest vox?), propelling the piece.

The second half is DJ /Rupture, one of my favorite DJs. His set is meticulously crafted, as always, with the spoken word samples, beats, and ambience.

The split EP is a great pairing, though not one I necessarily would have thought of. Both /Rupture and The Bug have a sort of apocalyptic feel, in this case The Bug is the apocalypse, and DJ /Rupture is whatever comes afterwards.

SOPA Blackout bandwagon

so everyone is finally getting a wind of SOPA (thanks Ford!) and the blackout date is today. We aren't doing that because of several reasons (#1 being this is blogger and a music blog,, with #2 being just how annoying it is trying to access wikipedia). anyway, this post is just to let you guys know the USAs government loves lobby money and that they are trying to setup something similar to the "great firewall of china (clever rite)". so go and tell your senator etc that you dont want anything to do with SOPA and oppose it, want to repudiate it et. al.

Beck - Hell Yes (Remix E.P.) [2005]

Beck - Hell Yes (Remix E.P.) [2005]

Funky 8-bit remixes of a couple songs from Guerro, by some of the same people that did the Hell Yes remix on Guerolito. Tight, dancey gameboy sounds, but made more organic by Beck's voice. Poppy, but bizarre. I think my favorite track off of here is "Bad Cartridge (E-Pro).

I want this on vinyl so fucking bad (it was released as a 7", I believe). There's something hilariously useless about an analog representation of digital data. And the cover's fucking sick.


Quincy Jones & Bill Cosby - The Original Jam Sessions 1969 (2004)

Quincy Jones & Bill Cosby - The Original Jam Sessions 1969 (2004)

Yeah, you read that right. In 1969, Quincy "I Fucking Produced Thriller" Jones was the musical director for The Cosby Show. This album is him jamming with the tight ensemble he put together to use as background music, and it's awesome. But, I suppose I should elaborate.

I don't know Quincy Jones well--his only albums that I can say I've listened to thoroughly are this one, Thriller (it's pretty underground, you probably haven't heard of it), and his big band stuff. All of them are awesome, but I really don't have a clear picture of who he is a musician through these. But, I'm not even worried about it, 'cause they're all formidable beasts of jazz, funk, funky jazz, jazzy funk, et cetera et cetera et cetera.

This one is just laid back, jazzy, funky soul jamming. Groove heavy and mellow, it's not hard to imagine Bill Cosby sitting in his comfy chair (I can only assume he brings one wherever he goes), puffin' on his cigar and tapping his foot approvingly. When he gets up to join in the jam session, in one of the alt takes for "Hikky-Burr" he's on fire--making goofy Bill Cosby noises perfectly within the jazzy context, takin' the band for a ride.

But yeah, rambling aside: if you like funk, vintage jazz, Bill Cosby, soundtracks, sweaters, or tight rhythm section jamming, this is one for you.

John Coltrane - Coltrane (1957)

Trane's first record as a bandleader, recorded while on a "break" from Miles' band (smack is bad for you?). incidentally, he was only paid $300 for this (about $2,300 in 2011 $s), just in case you thought there was ever a time when labels weren't predatory... anyways, it's clear that his time in Miles' group had an impact on Trane, as his economical statements of the head melodies are worlds away from the sheets of sound that are hallmarks of his later playing. the easy swing in his phrasings and the silky tone of his tenor ooze heartfelt sentimentality and emotional content, especially in the ballads. also of note is the rhythm section of Paul Chambers (also from Miles' quintet) and Albert Heath, who effortlessly lay down some tricksy grooves (like the hemiolas in the fiery opener, Bakai). if you're more keyed into stuff like Blue Train rather than Ascension, this is for you.

chronic blues

George Benson - The Other Side of Abbey Road (1970)

George Benson - The Other Side of Abbey Road (1970)
This was a newly-discovered gem for me. Recorded just three weeks after The Beatles's "Abbey Road" was released, this is a fantastic R&B infused, jazz re-imagining of a few Abbey Road songs.
Jazz guitarist George Benson is joined by some fantastic folks, including legends such as Idris Muhammad on drums, Herbie Hancock on the keyboards, and Freddie Hubbard on trumpet. Benson's vocals are used fabulously--snatches of lyrics here and there, obscured by reverb, pop in as if to remind you of the Beatles' song that inspired their jamming. When you throw in a string section, great arrangements, and a lovely production job by Creed Taylor, and you've got yourself a fantastic listen for a lazy afternoon.

Darkside - EP (2011)

Someone suggested this in a comment, thank you.

Nicolas Jaar's sideproject with Dave Harrington. All the airy, sexy, electro-magic of Jaar, but with some even sexier guitar in the mix.

How many times can we say sexy? This is really good sex music.

Mugison - Mugiboogie (2008)

An oldie but a goodie. Forgot how goodie, till it just came on shuffle.

Slightly eccentric Icelandic man, making raw and heavy blues which recalls the Black Keys' early good stuff. A couple of tracks bite, but for the most part they're all excellent, and the title track is to die for.

Rock outttt

Fnessnej - Stay Fresh, Ey (2008)

Fnessnej - Stay Fresh, Ey (2008)

Fnessnej is a five piece instrumental group from Germany. That's the easy part to describe. What do they play? Some sort of crowded, chaotic, improbably poppy blend of synth-pop, 8-bit, post-punk, math-rock kinda music. It doesn't work out on paper, but holy shit--this is a fun album.
Constantly dancey, with styles falling away as soon as you recognize them, this is an album you'll immediately put on repeat, if only to figure out what the hell you just listened to. Due to their style being so very everywhere, the album stays fresh throughout. Enjoy.


Itzhak Perlman - Paganini's 24 Caprices for Solo Violin (1978)

Itzhak Perlman - Paganini's 24 Caprices for Solo Violin (1978)
well screw you avax...

I've been on a big Paganini kick lately. For those not familar, Paganini is known primarily for his virtuosicly fast and notoriously difficult violin pieces. I'd argue that it's the classical equivilant of Buckethead, taking classical violin far outside of it's normal comfort zone.

Playing on this recording is Itzhak Perlman, who can (as required) tear his fucking violin to shreads with his lightning fast bow.

This album is Paganini's 24 Caprices for Solo Violin. Each piece studies specific (bruatally fast, impossible) techniques. That said, there's as much to enjoy aesthetically as they are technically. They're light, fun, and energetic.

I think that y'all'll like this one.

BONUS ROUND! Does anyone have a copy of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra's recording of Aaron Copland's Appalachian Spring from 1978? I need to listen to it for my thesis...

Total Freedom - The Banging Bells of Hell (2010)

it seems i'm always hearing good things about NYC's Ghe20 Goth1k, probably the most frequently lauded club/party of 2011. more than the word of mouth love, this mixtape solidified GG's rep in my mind. it's telling that in a bounce-back year for hip-hop, a mix released in 2010 never left my rotation. the lesson here? the combination of apocalypticism, 808 breaks, and Southern drawl is always a killer.

6 feet long gone, 666 bitch

Røsenkøpf - Dispiritualized (2011)

demo tape (and i mean tape) from psych/noise/goth outfit Røsenkøpf scored them a deal and they're currently readying a debut 7" that will likely blow similar genre releases out of the water in the first quarter of 2012. residing beneath the hiss is a compelling blend of swirling guitar, driving bass, brilliant drum sequencing, and Martin Swope-ian live vocal editing that's as exciting as anything i heard last year. can't wait to hear what's next from these guys.

ground floor

Detektivbyrån - Wermland (2008)

Detektivbyrån - Wermland (2008)

Detektivbyrån, meaning "The Detective Agency", is a folky, electronica-y group from Sweden. Immediately recognizable due to their spectacular instrumentation (lots of accordian and keyboards, therimin, toy pianos, glockenspials...), their instrumental music evokes nostalgia and wonder.

The album flows well, exploring Swedish folk in several ways. Though the songs are all fairly similar, in terms of structure and form (you better like 6/8!), each one's instrumentation is different enough to keep it interesting. Unfortunately, the group is now defunct, and this was their only full length album.

This is a good album with which to ring in 2012. Listen to it while taking a walk in the snow.

2012! 2012! 2012!