8/28/08

Playlist 39 Has Miles to Go ...

I've spent the past week switching between the Democratic National Convention and reading about our nation's biggest fiascoes (see Oops below). I couldn't help thinking about all the oops moments our current president has had over his very damaging eight years in office.

With Gustav barreling down in the Gulf, let's hope that the president, the rest of the federal government -- as well as all those governments involved -- and the residents themselves do the right thing. To all those in the potential path, Godspeed.

Here's Playlist 39 ...

Miles from India. Various Artists.
Here's what you have: A group of well-respected Indian musicians lay down a foundation for a series of Miles' Davis compositions. Half-way around the world, a group of American musicians, most of whom have played with Miles in the past, do the rest. The result is ambitious, rewarding and exciting. Though Miles from India focuses mostly on Miles' fusion work, the highlights of the two disc-set are the revisions of three songs from the seminal Kind of Blue, especially All Blues, in which Miles' trumpet is replaced by a sitar.

Read my full discuss of Miles from India and Henry Kaiser's Yo Miles! project on my latest post on the Princeton Record Exchange Blog.

Oops: 20 Life Lessons
from the Fiascoes that Shaped America. Martin J. Smith and Patrick J. Kiger.
It's hard to take seriously a book that paints Thomas Midgley's invention of ozone-killing CFCs with the same brush as the XFL -- the football league that promised violence and showed off cheerleaders who looked a little too comfortable around poles. OK, so it's not a history text book. But Oops is a fun trip. Smith and Kiger aim to learn a lesson from such dumb decisions as the Cleveland Indians' riot-inducing 10-cent beer night and Dick Clark Productions' decision to have Jimi Hendrix open for the Monkees. And we all know Thomas Edison as a brilliant inventor. But he was also a trash-talker who played very well the nasty ad game our politicans have since perfected?

Midgley
is the subject of our Weekly Wikipedia link. He was once considered one of our great inventors. However, historians are more likely to focus on the negative impact his work has had on our environment. As you'll see in the Wikipedia entry, one historian has remarked that Midgley "had more impact on the atmosphere than any other single organism in Earth history."

Take the Oops quiz.

Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea. The Silver Jews.
Things are looking up for David Berman. On the outstanding 2005 release Tanglewood Numbers, he sang about being stuck in a K-Hole. On Lookout, Berman is still trapped, but it's in a Candy Jail. Yes, this latest release lacks the intensity of Tanglewood, but it is a welcomed return to a more country-rock sound. Heck, Berman even sounds like Johnny Cash on a song or two. The album is downright fun with silly songs about Aloysius, Blue Grass Drummer and a Party Barge. On the rockabilly-like San Francisco B.C., Berman spouts a long tale about murder, love and a "killer haircut." My favorite line: "She said, you don't make enough to provide for me/I said what about the stuff that we quote believe." For those unfamiliar with the Silver Jews, they're a lo-fi indie band with a slight alt-country sound. But Berman's lyrics are always the highlight. The CD provides those lyrics, worth the album price alone, as well as the chord progressions for the songs.

Spent. Joe Matt.

Joe Matt grew up in the same small suburban Philadelphia town where I worked as a reporter. It's suffice to say that Matt's Robert Crumb-like autobiographical panels would've never made it into our family newspaper's comic section. In Spent, Matt depicts himself as a cheap, self-absorbed, porn-addicted jerk who has little to no social skills. He lives in a cheap boarding house where rather than run to the bathroom he shares with four other people, he pees into a bottle in his closet and then laments breaking up with his girlfriend four years ago.

1 comment:

Sue Katz said...

The great thing about your blog is that it gives us, your readers, a taste of your cultural explorations - and you do all the work. I never heard of the Silver Jews or of Joe Matt and I'm not certain that I'm gonna run out and get Spent, but I feel just a bit more cool knowing about it (thanks to you).