Music

Deerhoof: Bibidi Babidi Boo

Michael Metivier

Deerhoof cap off their most successful year with a downloadable live treat, recorded in various sundry locales around the globe. Ain't nothing like the real thing baby.


Deerhoof

Bibidi Babidi Boo

Label: Self-Released
UK Release Date: 1969-12-31
Amazon
iTunes

Whenever I listen to Deerhoof, I think about my closet -- specifically that it doesn't contain nearly enough costumes. I have it on good authority that audiences in San Francisco are much more ostentatious in their rock show attire, and with homegrown acts like Deerhoof, it's easy to see why. The words "pensive", "brooding", and "reflective" are moot here; ironic t-shirts and button-studded denim jackets do not suffice. Away with your gloom! These are songs for superheroes, radish spirits, and salt canister girls. On the heels of their March release, Milk Man, Deerhoof offer up the live document Bibidi Babidi Boo for free download on their website. So whatever crazy garb you feel like donning, you can do it up in the comfort of your own home or cubicle.

Most of Bibidi Babidi Boo's 10 songs represent Milk Man, starting with "Dummy Discards a Heart". As Milk Man made its debut in March of '04, the decision to release these songs free via internet was the right one. The songs were recorded in various locales, from live shows to BBC appearances, and varying degrees of sonic quality and clarity bear this out. "Dog on the Sidewalk," recorded in London, sounds a little thin, Satomi Matsuzaki's pushed back and muffled in the mix. In bootleg terms, it's a cut above audience-quality, but just a cut. The recording does have a charming club feel, but one wishes it had as much punch as "Milking" and "Giga Dance". But then, would one be wishing too much for a song barely over one minute in length? Its miniature spindliness is effective in studio form, and in person at a show, the crowd is sucked right in. But there's just no compelling reason to listen to Bibidi's versions over Milk Man's.

Even the best songs can be a bit redundant. The sinister Dracula-like stomp of "Giga Dance" is nearly as infectious as on the album proper, with its rhythmic breaks and dynamic shifts. The choppy guitar fills up the speakers, and the gentle vocal breaks are pristine, but following so closely on Milk Man's heels it's a teaser at best, designed to spur your ass to the real thing. Or, if you're coming at Deerhoof for the first time, it's a quick glance at what they do, a treat, a bonus, a freebie in the age of fingerwagging downloading authorities. And it's still undeniably fun. "Rainbow Silhouette of the Milky Rain" could've been the sleeper dance hit of the leap year. Bibidi Babidi Boo won't replace having an icy cold one amongst pogoing hipsters, but Deerhoof is always inventive, smart, and playful, and you can never really have enough of that.

From drunken masters to rumbles in the Bronx, Jackie Chan's career is chock full of goofs and kicks. These ten films capture what makes Chan so magnetic.

Jackie Chan got his first film role way back in 1976, when a rival producer hired him for his obvious action prowess. Now, nearly 40 years later, he is more than a household name. He's a brand, a signature star with an equally recognizable onscreen persona. For many, he was their introduction into the world of Hong Kong cinema. For others, he's the goofy guy speaking broken English to Chris Tucker in the Rush Hour films.

From his grasp of physical comedy to his fearlessness in the face of certain death (until recently, Chan performed all of his own stunts) he's a one of a kind talent whose taken his abilities in directions both reasonable (charity work, political reform) and ridiculous (have your heard about his singing career?).

Now, Chan is back, bringing the latest installment in the long running Police Story franchise to Western shores (subtitled Lockdown, it's been around since 2013), and with it, a reminder of his multifaceted abilities. He's not just an actor. He's also a stunt coordinator and choreographer, a writer, a director, and most importantly, a ceaseless supporter of his country's cinema. With nearly four decades under his (black) belt, it's time to consider Chan's creative cannon. Below you will find our choices for the ten best pictures Jackie Chan's career, everything from the crazy to the classic. While he stuck to formula most of the time, no one made redundancy seem like original spectacle better than he.

Let's start with an oldie but goodie:

10. Operation Condor (Armour of God 2)

Two years after the final pre-Crystal Skull installment of the Indiana Jones films arrived in theaters, Chan was jumping on the adventurer/explorer bandwagon with this wonderful piece of movie mimicry. At the time, it was one of the most expensive Hong Kong movies ever made ($115 million, which translates to about $15 million American). Taking the character of Asian Hawk and turning him into more of a comedic figure would be the way in which Chan expanded his global reach, realizing that humor could help bring people to his otherwise over the top and carefully choreographed fight films -- and it's obviously worked.

9. Wheels on Meals

They are like the Three Stooges of Hong Kong action comedies, a combination so successful that it's amazing they never caught on around the world. Chan, along with director/writer/fight coordinator/actor Sammo Hung and Yuen Biao, all met at the Peking Opera, where they studied martial arts and acrobatics. They then began making movies, including this hilarious romp involving a food truck, a mysterious woman, and lots of physical shtick. While some prefer their other collaborations (Project A, Lucky Stars), this is their most unabashedly silly and fun. Hung remains one of the most underrated directors in all of the genre.

8. Mr. Nice Guy
Sammo Hung is behind the lens again, this time dealing with Chan's genial chef and a missing mob tape. Basically, an investigative journalist films something she shouldn't, the footage gets mixed up with some of our heroes, and a collection of clever cat and mouse chases ensue. Perhaps one of the best sequences in all of Chan's career occurs in a mall, when a bunch of bad guys come calling to interrupt a cooking demonstration. Most fans have never seen the original film. When New Line picked it up for distribution, it made several editorial and creative cuts. A Japanese release contains the only unaltered version of the effort.

7. Who Am I?

Amnesia. An easy comedic concept, right? Well, leave it to our lead and collaborator Benny Chan (no relation) to take this idea and go crazy with it. The title refers to Chan's post-trauma illness, as well as the name given to him by natives who come across his confused persona. Soon, everyone is referring to our hero by the oddball moniker while major league action set pieces fly by. While Chan is clearly capable of dealing with the demands of physical comedy and slapstick, this is one of the rare occasions when the laughs come from character, not just chaos.

6. Rumble in the Bronx

For many, this was the movie that broke Chan into the US mainstream. Sure, before then, he was a favorite of film fans with access to a video store stocking his foreign titles, but this is the effort that got the attention of Joe and Jane Six Pack. Naturally, as they did with almost all his films, New Line reconfigured it for a domestic audience, and found itself with a huge hit on its hands. Chan purists prefer the original cut, including the cast voices sans dubbing. It was thanks to Rumble that Chan would go on to have a lengthy run in Tinseltown, including those annoying Rush Hour films.

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