Okay, so there’s a reason this one has probably stayed buried, but Gary Lucas’s archives have unearthed probably the most unlikely collaboration in the history of Downtown New York collaborations. Behind the decks in legendary producer Arthur Russell known for his avant-garde disco tracks and eccentric takes on pop that only now sound like the curve has caught up to him. On the microphone though was a young upstart named Mark Sinclair, who eventually went on to become the actor Vin Diesel. As a lost Arthur Russell track, its a bit of an embarassment and as a Vin Diesel hip-hop freestyle, it’s about what you might expect. Still, a noteworthy curiousity for those who love meaningless trivia or trying to establish meaningless “six degrees” connections.
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December 2010, the subject of our latest look at the year’s biggest events in music, was full of honorees and year-end lists.
The list of nominees for the 53rd annual Grammy Awards was released. Eminem, Bruno Mars, Lady Gaga, Jay-Z, and Lady Antebellum were among the most nominated artists. Details on the biggest categories, like Best New Artist and Album Of The Year, were announced on a live TV concert special.
One half of the Digital Cowboys, Alex Shaw, took recent aim on his show at geek on geek snobbery. In a brief screed against what he perceives as divisions within the geek subculture, Shaw (with his usual passionate but still thoughtfully measured approach) considers the hypocrisy of how folks who feel alienated themselves sometimes all too easily judge others that feel the same sting of ostracism.
For those unfamiliar with the Cowboys, Alex Shaw and Tony Atkins produce a weekly podcast on video games that also sometimes touches on other aspects of geek-related culture.
If Shaw’s rant piques your interest, you can find more of he and co-host Atkins’s musings on video games and video game culture at The Digital Cowboys web site. They are well worth a listen. Digging in with episodes like their one on death in video games or one on sex in video games would be a good place to start and should give a pretty good idea of what they are all about. In my estimation, they present some smart, engaging stuff.
Both the concept album and musicals are fodder for write-offs and ridicule, but developments this year have returned some credibility to these forums of expression. Once seen as an indulgence of prog rockers and something only tourists and old people could ever really love, respectively, 2011 has seen PJ Harvey turn the concept album into something very deep with Let England Shake, while South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone have revived the musical and made it into something for everyone (excepting the easily offended) to love with The Book of Mormon.
Now, the Indelicates—the UK’s great unsung indie-pop subverters—have taken on both the concept album and the musical with their third album, to be released next week. In true Indelicates fashion, the concept they’ve chose is a heady one; they have made a concept album/musical on David Koresh, he of the 1993 Waco Siege, and have entitled it David Koresh Superstar. And if preview track, “Something’s Goin’ Down in Waco” is anything to go by, it’s going to be a mind-blower. While disembodied voices and unusual subject matter set to a beguiling cabaret rhythm may not be the ingredients for the perfect chart-topper, The Indelicates could just win over a few idiosyncratic hearts with their singular—and pretty catchy—vision.
[Listen to “Something’s Goin’ Down in Waco”]
I’m down with witch house, even though its not particularly witchy or housey, but Salem have always struck me as being the most unlikely of the genre’s superstars in that they’re not really that good. Their records to these ears much resemble their public persona- lazy, fucked up, and disinterested. Which is not even to mention their contributions to the mystifying trend of rape ballads. Then again, I was never one for their most prominent antecedent, DJ Screw. So, I wait in anticipation for the tipping point of this obsessive record-screwing (this decade’s substitute for the mashup), even if there have been some quality results of the drag phenomena (the 800x slower Justin Bieber track, AIDS-3D’s mixes).
With that said, I’m as baffled as you are that it this latest Screwed version of Britney Spears’s single “Til the World Ends” is actually quite good. Even better is this video, which draws out the apocalyptic potential of the lines “keep on dancin’ ‘til the world ends” along with night vision footage of anonymous bombing activity in a desert region. Even the simple addition of SFX scream in the mix adds great leverage to the footage. Thanks to Kek-W for the tip-off on this one.