Latest Blog Posts

by Jason Mendelsohn and Eric Klinger

18 Mar 2011

Klinger: Now here’s a real puzzler of a record for our Counterbalance purposes. Most everything we’ve covered so far has either been an immediate game changer or has had an impact that’s reached far beyond its initial standing. Television’s 1977 album Marquee Moon, although charting modestly in the UK, is an LP that’s seldom discussed outside the realm of critics and rock nerds.

But regardless of its relatively minor cultural impact, Marquee Moon is like nothing else we’ve covered so far musically. Combining the precision and flair of Hendrix, the street smarts of Patti Smith and the Velvets, and the nods to pop tradition of Ziggy-era Bowie and the Clash, Television feels like a culmination of everything that makes albums great. So is it sheer musicality that’s brought Television into these lofty heights?

by Sean Murphy

17 Mar 2011

There must be some misunderstanding. Is he in or out?

(“You’ve got to get in to get out . . .”)

Not the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which Genesis was finally—and correctly—inducted into last March (by a very nervous Trey Anastasio). The question is: has he hung up his sticks forever? Has he set foot on his last stage, never to sing into the mic again?

(“Hello, I must be going . . .”)

It’s tough to say, based on the man’s recent remarks. Earlier this month there were conflicting reports: is he retiring from music to focus on his family, or not? Is it temporary or permanent? And most significant: who cares? Well, I do, of which more shortly.

Last year, due to medical concerns, he disclosed that he was unable to play the drums (inviting smart-ass types to inquire how long it had been since he had played the drums anyway, if he ever did). Due to a dislocated vertebrae in his neck, his hands were affected and presumably that explained the setback. Optimistic fans could assume that once he fully recovered, he could resume his musical aspirations. The bigger question was: does he have any? Considering it was the same year his band was enshrined, it was distressing to see him in various interviews expressing more ambivalence than pride regarding a career where he shares exclusive company with Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney for selling more than a million records with a band and as a solo artist.

by Stefan Nickum

16 Mar 2011

This week I return to bring you a strong trio of electronic gems, as usual in the categories of an official release (album or EP), a DJ mix from the week, and an unofficial, free, or bootleg track, hopefully available to download. There is clear overlap between these three selections, something I make no apologies for—I like what I like, but the influences coming in on these artists music are notably varied, and connecting those dots will, I hope, be the fun part. 

FaltyDL - You Stand Uncertain (Planet Mu)

Brooklyn a la London producer Drew Lustman a.k.a. FaltyDL put out his second LP for the Planet Mu imprint this week, the follow-up to his 2009 debut Love Is a Liability. What was clear from that record—and a series of EPs he put out leading up to that release—was that 2-step and UK garage were the focal point of Lustman’s rhythmic palette. But despite the obvious nod to these sounds in his productions, they always seemed to be informed greatly by avant-garde jazz drums and hip-hop, two great reasons to choose New York as your jumping off point, and even greater reasons to flesh out a UK breakbeat already greatly indebted to hip-hop and its roots.

by Zachary Williams

15 Mar 2011

Bud Powell was one of, if not the, greatest jazz pianists we’ve ever known. Most likely, you’ve never heard of him. The man they called ”the Charlie Parker of the piano” had his career damaged by many unfortunate events. The most disheartening were at the hands of the police. At age 20, a drunken Powell was brutally beaten by cops going far beyond the acceptable call of duty. Following the incident, Powell was institutionalized for several months.

Later in life, a marijuana bust was perhaps the last straw. According to his NPR’s Jazz Profiles: “In 1951, Powell was arrested with Thelonious Monk for drug possession. Charges against Bud were dropped, but he was sent to a psychiatric hospital for a year and a half. Finally, it all caught up to Powell and his life took a turn from which he would never fully recover”.

by George de Stefano

14 Mar 2011

“Shake for Me” is a rocking blues that packed dance floors—on Chicago’s South Side and elsewhere—when Chess released it as a single in 1961. “The Red Rooster”, with its slower tempo and down home lyrics, takes the listener back to the origins of Howlin’ Wolf’s music, the Mississippi Delta. “I have a little red rooster, too lazy to crow for day”, Wolf announces. He repeats the line, and then informs us that the titular fowl “keeps everything in the barnyard upset in every way”.

“The Red Rooster”–also known as “Little Red Rooster”—has attained classic status in the blues repertoire. The song is credited to Willie Dixon, but the rooster—a symbol of male sexual potency—strutted his stuff in the blues long before Dixon and Wolf recorded it, in 1961. Charlie Patton, Howlin’ Wolf’s mentor and running buddy in the 1920s, released his “Banty Rooster Blues” in 1929. Memphis Minnie’s 1936 “If You See My Rooster” also seems a likely model for Dixon, her lyric “If you see my rooster, please run him on back home” nearly identical to Dixon’s “If you see my little red rooster, please drive him home”.

And why does the red rooster need to get back home? Well, “there ain’t no peace in the barnyard” since he’s been gone. Puzzling, no? How can this rooster, who’s too lazy to crow, keep the barnyard upset and be its peacekeeper, too? “Watch out strange kin people”, Wolf warns, “the little red rooster’s on the prowl”. Who are these strange kinfolk, and why should they be wary of this prowling yard bird? Good question. All I can say is that the elusive (and allusive) quality of the lyrics is a big part of the song’s fascination.

//Mixed media

Indie Horror Month 2016: Executing 'The Deed'

// Moving Pixels

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