Mark Zip  
PoOPlist '04

Shitmat - Full English Breakfest
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Shitmat - Full English Breakfest

I'm fond of saying that this sounds like a couple of 7-year olds off their Ritalin, saying “what can we fuck with next?”. But it's more than that. The CD is wall-to-wall noise with barely room to breathe, each track propelling the next. Yes, this can seem wearing; indeed, I'd say it's not easy to listen to (a good thing), but with not an iota of wasted sound, it's a rarity for me today: a novelty album which gets deeper with every listen. Contents: Noise, turntables, samples, grooves, psychosis, ADHD, curiosity.

Diplo vs MIA
Diplo vs. M.I.A - Piracy Funds Terrorism
rjd2 - since we last spoke
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RJD2 - Since We Last Spoke
dj shadow - live
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DJ Shadow - Live! In Tune and on Time
The first might not be a “real” record, it might be a downloadable mashup only. Whatever, M.I.A.'s “Galang” was one of the great singles of the year and Diplo is one of the great beatmasters of the age, so why not put them together? RJD2 is consistently on the ball, but will have to break out something new for the next one. And DJ Shadow has hubris to spare. His “live in performance” DJ record is accompanied by a DVD of the show, including the light show and graphics!
Wiley - Treddin on thin ice
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Wiley - Treddin' On Thin Ice
Dizzee Rascal - Showtime
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Dizzee Rascal – Showtime
Two members (one current and one ex) of the Roll-Deep crew. The first full length CD from super-producer Wiley (the current one) has beats, beats, beats and some rhymes. To the extent that grime DJs and producers make noise for the sake of the MC, this takes me back to the “golden” age of hip-hop. Pete Rock, Eric B and DJ Premiere all made beats which could stand on their own, but which really came into their own with an MC riding the flow on top. Wiley's “Eskimo” is not on here, but the beats derived from it are. Wiley's CD appears to have different cover art in it's US and UK versions. They both suck! Dizzee's second LP is the still the sound of the UK ghetto, braggin', unwilling to yield to the gray weather, gray jobs, gray clothes, gray housing and gray government. Oh, and plenty of the beats on either of these records might come from fucked-up game consoles, when I play them for US DJs they invariably look at me and say “great beats, but what the hell are they saying??!!”

bjork - medullah
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Bjork - Medullah

The hype that this is her “vocal” album is not entirely true, as there are some “proper” keyboards and drums in addition to the vocals processed to sound like them. But the overall effect might as well be that of a purely organic sound, which this patently never is. For me, that is the real achievement here, making voices into machines into voices again. And the beats rock too.

venetian snares - huge
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Venetian Snares - Huge Chrome Cylinder Box Unfolding

Aaron Funk moves away from the 'ardcore noise he's known for and moves on to glitch electronica. This is profoundly disturbing when turned up loud. Skittering and broken beats, hints of non-existent melodies and odd left-field noises combine to make a sound I don't know that I've heard before (even from Squarepusher). When you don't turn it up loud it sounds like there are mice running around inside your CD player, possible inside your brain too.

Buy from amazonShock G - Fear of a Mixed Planet

Shock G was last on our radar screens as one of the Digital Underground, but that seems such a long time ago now. This CD takes his fun rhyming and serious ideas several steps further with unsentimental songs about booty, funk and the all-conquering power of the love (and booty).

The Streets - A Grand Don't Come For Free     Buy from amazon

Of all things, a concept album. Or, rather, a story-song CD. Even though I know the outcome of the story, the getting there is always interesting.

The Pixies - Gouge Away (bootleg - Big Easy, Spokane, WA April 24, 2004)

I didn't get to see them on the reunion tour, of which this is a document of the second date. But I did see them several times years ago and this feels very close to that. Sure, being so early in the tour there are some mistakes (a false start on the very first song! wrong bass intros!), but the velocity and energy are there and when Frank steps back and lets Kim loose.... well!

Trouble Funk - Live & Early Singles Buy from amazon

I can't decide if Trouble Funk are a better live band than Chuck Brown and the Soul Searchers. It's fun listening to the records to try to figure it out. This 2 CD set has one CD with a live performance and one CD with a bunch of lesser-known singles.

V.A.- Grime      Buy from amazon

Rephlex called this comp “Grime” and it is sort of that, but without the now essential element of MCs. Times have moved on from that and the one grime comp you really want is called “Run the Road”. It'll be out by the time you read this.

Elliot Smith - from a basement on a hill      Buy from amazon

It's almost too painful to hear this. Songs telling us what was to happen with the added tension of wondering what else he would have layered into the sonics...

PJ Harvey - Uh Huh Her      Buy from amazon

Perhaps not as immediate for me as “Stories from the City...”, this time I'm not in awe of the events that made her write the songs. This time I wonder about the events that caused here to fall so comprehensively out of love.

Libertines – Libertines       Buy from amazon

Well, yes, the hype was deafening and the stories of their break-up are true rock'n'roll. But it would only be properly annoying if they did not deliver the good. And they do.

Records which make me wish I still got free CDs:

(or, records which I like to dip into from time to time)

Steve Earle - The Revolution Starts Now       Kid Spatula – Meast       Tres Chicas – Sweetwater       Dr. John - N'Awlinz: Dis Dat Or D'Udda       Rob Sonic – Telicatessen       Aberfeldy - Young Forever       Morrissey - You Are the Quarry       Lhasa - Living Road       Loretta Lynn - Van Leer Rose       Stereolab - Margerine Eclipse       Handsome Boy Modeling School - White People       Beans - Shock City Maverick       Mory Kante – Sabou       Bebel Gilberto – Bebel       Delgados - Universal Audio       Los Lobos - The Ride       Robyn Hitchcock - Spooked       Sadies - Favourite Colours       V.A. - Rough Guide to Brazilian Hip Hop       Alter Ego - Transphormer       Franz Ferdinand - Franz Ferdinand       The Magnetic Fields – I       Papa Wemba1977-1997       Beastie Boys - To The 5 Boroughs       Johanna Newsome – Milk-Eyed Mender       Dogs Die In Hot Cars – Please Describe Yourself       Saint Etienne – Travel Edition 1990-2005 (comp. + 1 new)       Tegan + Sarah - So Jealous       Postal Service – Give up       Dirty Dozen Brass Band - Funeral for a Friend       Neko Case – The Tigers Have Spoken       Nouvelle Vague – Nouvelle Vague (French, bossa nova covers of new Wave touchstones, alternately wonderful and horrific, depending on one's mood)

Records which make me glad I dont:

Arcade Fire - Funeral Wilco – A Ghost Is Born (Poco for the 21st Century) Velvet Revolver – Contraband Citizen Cope – The Clarence Greenwood Recordings (he was in Basehead, what happened?) Madvillain – Madvillany – The official release is weaker than it was intended (find the leaked mp3 tracks if you can)


John Peel – It's almost impossible to overstate the importance of this man in my life and in the lives of many many others. Vast areas of “popular” and “alternative” music since 1976 have been influenced by various scenes in the UK, and Peel influenced and encouraged those scenes along the way. If I look through the LP and CD stacks in my house it's difficult to imagine them looking the way they do without him in my life. From listening to him on a transistor radio through my pillow in boarding school in 1977 to weekly appointments with him on broadband, the list of interesting bands and the amount of vital music he brought me is inestimable. Plus he played stuff for the fuck of it too. There are many many tributes on the web, here is a pretty good one:

Ray Charles – I saw him play live only once, at the Friar Tuck Inn in Catskill NY. The crowd wore more jewels than I had ever seen. More furs too. I felt very out of place until he hit the first couple of notes on the organ and opened his mouth. That voice came out and each and every person in the place knew that it was all gonna be alright.

I'm not a reader, but here's one book that all PoOPsters will laugh at (or should laugh at):

Neal Pollack – Never Mind the Pollacks      Buy from amazon

Wherein the fictional rock critic Neal Pollack recalls his ups and downs in the rough and tumble world of every single rock and roll turning point over the last several generations. Spinal Tap fans take note!

Mark Zip, Box 568, Woodstock NY 12498-0568

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