Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Song of The Day #104

"Wake Up, Niggers" by The Last Poets

The Last Poets were the coolest cats in town back in the day, progenitors of hip-hop hellbent on both subversion and equality. Their "Wake Up, Niggers", a well-written call to blacks everywhere to stand up and fight for themselves and to whites everywhere to back the fuck off, is especially cool and radical--radical as in maverick/revolutionary, not as in "that's rad, bro!" Although it is pretty rad, bro.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Song of The Day #103

"Ladyflash" by The Go! Team

I think most of us kind of pushed The Go! Team to the back of our hard drives and forgot about them a year or so after Thunder, Lightning, Strike came out. It was a great album, a fun album, a relatively unique album. And while this might just be my own personal experience, the hype for the group seemed to die a pretty quick death. That said, when I heard "Ladyflash" yesterday for the first time in probably two years, I swiftly remembered why I loved the band for a (brief) period of time. Sounding almost like a live version of an Avalanches song, "Ladyflash" goes through several stylistically unique parts deftly and enthusiastically. It's fun, it's happy, it's different. Though I maintain that the band as a whole is (was?) nothing too earth-shaking, this song is.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Song of The Day #102

"Church of The Poison Mind" by Culture Club

Cool fact: Boy George and I share a birthday. That might be why I think Culture Club is criminally underrated. While I'm yet to really explore their discography, I must say, I love their hits--and I think "Church of The Poison Mind" is my favorite. It's catchy and it's surprisingly complex musically; the song has a lot of different, diverse parts, and they work together quite nicely.

Poll Results: Cities, Dance Music, etc.

This past poll asked you which city's indigenous style of dance music you like best. Was it Detroit's techno, Chicago's house (or perhaps juke), Berlin's minimal, London dubstep/wonky/other, or something else (such as B-more club or Miami bass or something)? We had a tie at the top between Chicago and Detroit, which both earned 40% of the votes. I'm glad those two were at the top because, well, those are both cities close to my heart, and Detroit techno and Chicago house have informed much of the dance music I listen to.

Berlin, with its minimal techno aesthetic, pulled in the remaining 20% of the votes while London and its ever-changing scene based around dubstep failed to receive any votes. Poor London. It's a nice city, but I agree that some of that wonky and whatnot is pretty lame.

So that's that. This next poll asks you, in anticipation of Pitchfork's 200 Best Tracks of the '90s, what your favorite '90s one-hit wonder is. I'm giving a handful of choices to pick from, but there are about a million one-hit wonders from that decade, so feel free to choose "other"--and if you do, please leave a comment.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Song of The Day #101

"Virginia Reel Around The Fountain" by The Halo Benders

A latecomer to The Halo Benders, I was kinda shocked at how freaking good they are. Sounding like the cross of Beat Happening and Built To Spill that they are, their music is complex and juvenile at the same time. It's funny, it's weird, and, I gotta say, I prefer them--I think--at least to Built To Spill overall. This song, especially, is a gem. With its sprawling post-rock guitarwork and double vocal performance (sometimes reminiscent in the best way possible of "Lady Godiva's Operation") "Virginia Reel" is really, truly awesome.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Song of The Day #100

"Schizophrenia" by Sonic Youth

Yes, we made it. Song of The Day number 100. Il Buono's centennial. What a glorious day. Truly though, I'm guessing you didn't think I would keep this up like I did--I know I didn't. But here we are: at number 100.

I thought it fitting to commemorate the big one-oh-oh with one of my favorite songs of the day ever by one of my favorite bands ever, Sonic Youth; none of the previous 99 songs are by the band. And "Schizophrenia" is a true masterpiece. The opening track from Sonic Youth's work-of-genius, Sister, "Schizophrenia" is a cool, relaxed bit of noise-rock that's at once chaotic and beautiful, wild and peaceful, unruly and collected. One might venture to call its constant mood swings--both lyrically and texturally--schizophrenic.

Anyhow, I've decided to include a listing of all the songs of the days, listed 1 through 100. They are blocked off in 80-ish minute chunks in case you want to burn all of them onto CDs and make a collection of 8 super-awesome mixtapes. See them all after the jump:

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Pitchfork's Top Music Videos of the 1990s

I don't know about you, but I'm always in the mood for a new Pitchfork staff list. (Especially when it involves videos and I'm sitting here on my couch on painkillers 'cause I just got my wisdom teeth out.) The site's most recent list counts down their 50 favorite music videos from the glorious decade that was the '90s--a list that comes complete with one of their best gifs ever.

Song of The Day #099

"Like Gold and Faceted" by Earth

We celebrate number ninety-nine with what is probably the most utterly massive Song of The Day yet. From the name of the group, Earth (pretty massive), to the length of the piece, 30 minutes and 20 seconds, to everything in between: low-frequency, heavy, beautiful drone metal. It's the kind of drone that, when played a the proper volume (that is: extremely loud), you feel in your chest, in your gut, in your bowels. And it feels good.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Song of The Day #098

"Earth People" Dr. Octagon

In honor of me getting my wisdom teeth pulled today without any complications, I thought I'd pay homage to doctors everywhere by making today's song of the day a tune by everybody's favorite doctor, Dr. Octagon. While Octagon is an octagonecologyst and not an oral surgeon, I thought it'd be a fitting choice. Plus, it's one of the best and weirdest songs by one of hip-hop's best and weirdest MCs.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Song of The Day #097

"Loose Booty" by Sly & The Family Stone

For a while I wasn't sure if that urgent backing voice in "Loose Booty" was actually saying "Shadrach/Meshach/Abed Nego"--as it's saying when sampled in the Beastie Boys' Paul's Boutique gem, "Shadrach"--but upon doing some extensive research (i.e. a Google search of "Sly stone loose booty lyrics"), I learned that they do, in "Loose Booty", say the names of those fiery furnace-going Bible characters. Now I have to rethink the meaning of this whole song. Why the Biblical allusion? Isn't the song about booty? I'm confused. (And this is why Sly & The Family Stone are one of the best bands ever; they're weird and funny and always more complex than they seem.)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Song of The Day #096

"Senza" by Camille

I don't know too much about French singer Camille, but I like her album Le Fil, and I know that the lady does neat things with her voice--such as on "Senza", a wonderful example of what multiple vocal tracks can do.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Song of The Day #095

"Actual Proof" by Herbie Hancock

This jazz-funk gem from Hancock's underrated post-Head Hunters masterpiece, Thrust, provides "actual proof" (tee-hee) that Herbie was and still is one of the greatest composers, in jazz and in general, of the twentieth century. It's nine and a half minutes of pure synth- and horn-driven funk, sure to make you dance and think at the same time.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Song of The Day #094

"My Disco" by Big Black

A Big Black disco song? What could be better? One of the greatest bands offering their take on one of the greatest genres... Well, Big Black's "My Disco" isn't exactly Gloria Gaynor-type disco. Or even Daniele Baldelli-type disco. Or even Lindstrom-type disco. Or even... you get the point. It's not really disco at all. It just sounds like a Big Black song, and, at the end of the day, that's always a good thing--even if it's not disco.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Song of The Day #093

"Milkshake" by Kelis

I think it speaks for itself...

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Song of The Day #092

"Always Coming Back To You" by Scott Walker

Better known by the modern hipster as the source material for that twinkle in Panda Bear's masterful "Take Pills", "Always Coming Back To You" is masterful in its own right. Hailing from Walker's solo debut, Scott, this track seems more or less like a slice of delicious MOR pie. But it, like a few of Scott's other tracks, is definitely a little bit weird, which foreshadows Mr. Walker's subsequent descent into completely crazy avant-garde music.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

My Favorite Untitled Songs

Seeing a blank space or the word "Untitled" next to a number on a tracklist isn't an occurrence one should regard as peculiar; artists often choose to leave a track or so untitled. Why? Are they lazy? Do they forget? Is it an instrumental with no words and thus no title? Do they feel that by not giving it a title it increases its intrigue? Or does it communicate that the song is transient, meaningless? Who knows.

Untitled songs (and poems and works of art and yada yada yada) have always intrigued me because of those questions posed in the previous paragraph--your other songs have titles, so why not this one? is a question I find myself asking. Mostly untitled tracks seem like afterthoughts, short instrumental ditties that don't really add or subtract to the album as a whole. But some untitled tracks are fully realized, awesome songs. Below/after the jump are my twelve favorite...

Poll Results: Arcade Fire...

This past poll asked the (somewhat convoluted and confusing) question: Does Funeral's greatness negatively skew how we view all other Arcade Fire albums? Because their subsequent albums are not as good as their debut, are they worth our time at all?

The majority of you folks that voted have faith in the Montreal band. 63% of voters can look past Funeral and appreciate Neon Bible and The Suburbs--and whatever will come next--for what they are: great albums. The other 37%, though, can only think one thing when hearing Bible and The 'burbs, and that's "this just isn't as good as Funeral, ergo it's disappointing."

Whatever your stance, we can all agree that Funeral's a masterpiece and, even if they're a bit disappointing in comparison, Neon Bible and The Suburbs are pretty darn good.

The next poll, which should be on the right side of your screen where this past poll was, asks about dance music. Specifically, which city's dance music is your favorite? Detroit (techno), Chicago (house), Berlin (minimal), London (dubstep et. al.), or some other city altogether? Those four cities are four of my favorite in the whole world--for dance music and in general--and I'm wondering how you all feel.

(If your answer is Other, leave a comment on this post or any post hereafter.)

Song of The Day #091

"0011/0349" by This Is Head

Neither this band nor this song is particularly unique, but I like them and it.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Song of The Day #090

"Platinum Rows" by Tyondai Braxton

I'm sure you've heard the sad news: that Tyondai Braxton is leaving Battles. And while Battles' other members (John Stanier, Ian Williams, Dave Konopka) are incredibly creative and talented musicians, Braxton was the band's "frontman" and, in my opinion at least, greatest talent. That opinion of mine is bolstered by songs like this song of the day, "Platinum Rows". Braxton follows in the footsteps of his father, Anthony, creating relatively unclassifiable and extremely complex music. This song moves all over the place, showing off Braxton's assuredness as a composer. He's an amazing musician, and I hope that Battles doesn't suck now.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Song of The Day #089

"Krautrock" by Faust

One of the masterpieces--along with "Hallogallo", "Halleluwah", and more--of its titular genre, "Krautrock", kicks off as though it's already been going for a few minutes, which is to say it has plenty of driving psych-rock inertia right from the first downbeat. The next eleven minutes and fifty seconds offer more and more, heavier and heavier churning rock n' roll. It shares an aesthetic with drone music, but there's too much movement--wailing guitars, tambourines, etc.--to actually classify the piece as drone itself. There's really only one way to classify this song, and that's as "krautrock".

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Song of The Day #088

"Old Europe" by Robert Wyatt

What starts as a simple, weird, French pop song ends as more of a free jazz exploration, albeit a weird, French-tinged one. Such is typical though with Wyatt's music, which leans heavily on both old European styles and jazz. This track, from one of his best albums Cuckooland, showcases the man in his modern element, creating pop music from another planet that sounds like the past without actually sounding like anyone.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Song of The Day #087

"The Path" by Jenny Wilson

Jenny Wilson's music covers a lot of stylistic ground...in the span of each song. "The Path" is not an exception. Running the gamut from faux-hip-hop to musical theatre to avant-garde in the span of five minutes, this song is thoroughly weird. That said, it's also catchy and moderately endearing.

Monday, August 9, 2010

My Favorite Acts at Lollapalooza

Lollapalooza! It's a fun word to say at first, but after you hear it shouted multiple times by every band you watch and you see it plastered everywhere from your bus card to your wrist, it gets a little tiresome, annoying even. The festival itself can also get a little tiresome, annoying even. With its massive size--which was even bigger this year--massive heat, massive throngs of douchebags, massive ticket price, and massive corporate marketing, the festival takes a mental and physical toll on you. It really does.

But it's all worth it. As terrible as Lollapalooza can be, it's always been worth it and, I think, it always will be. There are always plenty of great shows to see, great people to be with, great food to eat (especially this year--all I can say is "pork belly tostadas from Big Star"). Obviously, though, it's a music festival. One goes to see music. Especially for someone that until recently was under 18 and could hardly go to any shows, Lollapalooza is always worth it for the music; even if a lot of the bands truly suck (this year's batch was definitely one of the worst), enough of them are great.

Naturally some acts are better than others: some people surprise in a good way, others disappoint (cough, Lady GaGa, cough). I missed some acts due to scheduling conflicts that I regret missing (Strokes, Fuck Buttons, Jimmy Cliff, Jamie Lidell, Mavis Staples). But I did see a lot of good shows this weekend. These are my favorites, after the jump:

Song of The Day #086

"Basket Case" by Green Day

Sorry for the last two song-less days; I was at Lollapalooza. And this song of the day is dedicated to one of the festival's best (and most surprising) acts: Green Day. (Read more about Lolla in the recap to be published imminently and posted above this.) I've loved "Basket Case" since I was eight or so, and it's still one of my favorite bursts of pop ever recorded.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Song of The Day #085

"Casimir Pulaski Day" by Sufjan Stevens

I've never really bought into the whole Sufjan Stevens thing; I don't think his music is much better than that of his contemporaries. But I like this song, and not only because it's named after one of my favorite holidays. (It's just an Illinois holiday by the way for you out-of-staters.) I like it because Sufjan is indeed a great storyteller--I'll give him that much--and, well, this particular song is very pretty and nice to listen to.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Song of The Day #084

"I Guess I'll Hang My Tears Out To Dry" by Frank Sinatra

I often feel jaded; I can't appreciate music unless it's wildly complex or different or weird or...you get the point. But then I hear songs like this one, which was released a decade before anything by The Stooges or The Velvet Underground, two decades before Joy Division, and before that showcase of lyrical complexity that is In The Aeroplane Over The Sea. "I Guess I'll Hang My Tears Out To Dry" is perfectly simple, perfectly un-shocking. And because it's message is so simple, so obvious, it's far stronger and more heartbreaking than most of these fancy, metaphor-laden indie rock ballads. Obviously the song benefits from Sinatra's voice, which is of course one of the best and most emotional voices in the history of music--maybe the best--but what I want to highlight is the simplicity of the songwriting and how it helps to cure my jadedness.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Song of The Day #083

"Spaced Out" by Cloud One

There's an article in this month's The Wire on "space disco." And while you can certainly call the magazine pretentious for trying to define and create genres (see: hypnagogic pop), their articles are often very good and full of suggestions of things to listen to that are, well, very good too. The space disco piece traces the history of the so-called genre, by examining the tracks and people that made it happen. As someone who loves disco and Italo-disco but didn't necessarily know much beyond Moroder; Baldelli; and Soccio, I greatly appreciated the article. One of the gems I took from it was this song of the day: Cloud One's "Spaced Out". An early example of space disco--it has "space" in the title, after all--this song is funky, cosmic and loads of fun.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Welcome Back, Polls!

In case you're new to Il Buono--or have short-term memory loss--we used to have weekly polls that asked relatively pointless (but nonetheless contentious) questions. Those polls are going to come back, I think. Why did they leave? I don't know. Why are they coming back? I don't know. Doesn't matter. Anyhow, they are back, and the first one asks a question that has been on my mind since the release of Neon Bible: will all Arcade Fire albums be disappointing because Funeral set the bar so high? Even if the band continues to put out great music (such as that on their latest, quite good The Suburbs), will said music be dismissed as passable because it doesn't measure up to the group's instant-classic debut? That's the question, now you give the answer.

Song of The Day #082

"Radiance I" by Basic Channel

How can you go to Berlin and not get a Basic Channel record? You can't, plain and simple. "Radiance I" is one of my Berlin souvenirs, and, like most other Basic Channel tracks, it's very good and very minimal. There's not really a concrete beat here, which is to say it's less dancefloor-ready than some of the group's other work, but the track is propelled by a low, repeating synth line. Lo-fi synths of varying intensities float in and out, it sounds like there's some phase-shifting, and next thing you know: it's over.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Song of The Day #081

"Slow Light" by Ikon

If you were wondering why Il Buono's been a little, well, Il Blank-o lately, it's because I've spent the last ten days on holiday, soaking in the sights of Stockholm and Berlin. Amazing cities, both of them--culturally, historically, and, of course, musically. In addition to eating plenty of potatoes, seeing plenty of amazing contemporary art, seeing plenty of amazing buildings, and learning plenty about twentieth century German history, I also heard plenty of great music, including this song of the day. (Also, because of my absence from the United States I'm a little behind on current music, so Album of the Month and Song of the Month for July won't be up for a few more days. I need time to process.)

Not much is known about Ikon, even in their native Sweden; I suppose they want to let their music speak for itself. And it does for most part, particularly on "Slow Light", the first track on their semi-self-titled debut. (It's called Ikons, with an "s".) True to its name, the track builds slowly, getting bigger and bigger over the course of its eight minutes. It definitely owes much to krautrock, echoing the synth textures of a Klaus Schulze or Popol Vuh while moving forward with a motorik beat and corresponding bassline. But it manages to sound new as well and serves as a good calling card for this promising Swedish group.