Best Song of the Decade (so far)

Marconi's Radio (mp3)

If heaven's just a calming blow
Then I think I'd rather know
Although it's hard to say that nothing's wrong
When nothing's changed

And yet if God were here alone with me
And I could say anything
I believe I could rest assured She's quite the same

But when people fight to stay inside
What I don't understand
We could leave today, tonight
We'd be fine

'Cause there's something that we define
There's no end in sight
Could you please save us all the time?

Forget about what never was
The point, I guess, won't ever come
'Til you're certain, we can all agree
We'll see

You get scared and I get angry
Being lost, feeling lazy
Not at all like you
Not you

But if emptiness is all we've got
And understanding doesn't help at all
Still you're certain there's a place for me
We'll see

We're going to make a radio
We'll make you stay home and say so

-from the Secret Machines' EP "September 000"

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Mid-day at the grocery store

Dear friends,

1. If you're free tonight be sure to hit up Subinev's holiday party at the book-lined and posh Union Hall featuring a performance by friends El Jezel.

2. I know I am so lame but this just keeps. being. funny. I especially love Timberlake's "Yeah-wah wah wah wah" melismas on the fade. Thanks Kristie!

I was actually singing it at the copier this morning, when one of my colleagues, who is also the editor of a respected (read: interesting but occasionally dry) critical magazine stopped dead in his tracks and looked at me like I had rabies.

3. Jeff K has his Neon Lights wrap-up on Merry Swankster. Go read it!

Love, D

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If you know you live

Dear friends,

You know what? I'm still completely confused by the sudden mad love for Clipse from the white indie crowd. Don't get me wrong, I am a Clipse fan, I have loved their hilarious, insolent-voiced tracks from back in the day and I mourned their absence in my own spectacularly confused way*. And now they're back and everyone's a fan! I hear that it's 'cause most other hip hop releases this year were "STRAIGHT garbage and even white people know that"** OR that Clipse's underground appearances hither and yon started getting people rabid again. Whatever the reason, it doesn't really matter, the cross-cultural popularity's well deserved. Welcome back fellas. Enjoy your Best of '06 list reign!

When The Last Time/Clipse

I love this video. To most, it's your standard club hopping, hood rats poppin' type of clip and they wouldn't be wrong. But the thing I always remember is Kelis wearing those crazy ass pants, sitting on the hood of that car, singing the subtle la la la hook that goes under the chorus like a little girl at a recital, surrounded by dudes who are like "Yeah, sing that la la la shit." Wtf?!? It is so completely bizarre and unexpected. That hook got stuck in my head and set up shop. Eventually I caved and bought Lord Willin' at the now nearly dead Tower Records*** on 66th St and Broadway. Hmmm. I should probably pay the old mausoleum a visit before they tear it down and put up a parking lot...

Anywho, nowadays I like to play this song whenever The Monkey rents a car, so I can turn up the volume, rap along badly, seat dance and just generally annoy the shit out of him.

Mr. Me Too/Clipse

The new video. It's comforting to know that six/seven years later, Pharrell still loves himself, word.

Love, D

* Every now and then I'd look up and say, "What happened to Clipse? I need to look into that..." then promptly forget. I am a space cadet.

** Thanks Luchi!

*** Former high school workplace. AND college too. Though the latter wasn't in NYC. Yes, I was that extremely unhelpful salesclerk in the Pavement t-shirt who sneered at your purchases.

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Nothing can stand in our way

LATE EDITION NOTE: Today an anonymous reader pointed out that I don't know my right from my left and had tagged the photos below incorrectly. To all of you who were confused and thought that the bass player in Bell's name was Olga or that Marina from The Ballet's name was Greg, my apologies. It's fixed now!

Dear friends,

1. Matt Earfarm, who ultimately chose to hug rather than fight his DJ opponent Colleen Crumbcake, wrote a very nice re-cap of the Neon Lights presents...* inaugural show HERE.

Also, if you're still not trusting my rabid frothing over Bell, this is what Rachael Underrated, whose 'The Blog Show' on Breakthru Radio you really need to check out STAT, had to say:

"...was there in time to see Bell, a female singer/songwriter donned with a keyboard and a very Regina Spektor-esque voice. I thought she was, in short, fabulous. Extremely likeable in her presence and with a voice that echoed throughout the small stage, I think everyone there was pretty captivated. It was catchy with a certain charm. As Borat would say: very nice..."

True dat.

Check Merry Swankster on Thursday, as the non-foot-in-mouth half of the Neon Lights team, Jeff K, will tell you about his side of the night which I'm sure did not include "freak dancing" on the Delancey stairs with members of our crowd. And uh, club staff.

(Clears throat. Randomly moves papers on desk.)

Some photos of the Neon Lights presents... show courtesy of Devon B. Enjoy!

BELL (l-r: Olga, Jason, Mike)

LISMORE (l-r: Penelope, Ingrid)

THIEVES LIKE US (l-r: Björn, Andy, Pontus)

THE BALLET (l-r: Greg, Ginger, Marina)

2. Sorry, it's been on my mind!

Magic/Olivia Newton-John

Love, D

* Oh yes, befriend us on My Space! I keep forgetting to say that!

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Destroy the story, write something real

Dear friends,

1. It's a fact! I was in such a state of rabbity, single-minded nervousness at the first Neon Lights presents... show that I don't think that I am capable of writing any kind of recap of the event. So I'll leave that to Jeff K since he can like, write and stuff.

2. I can say this: it was a success! Big thanks to all the people that came, the bands that played, Bell, Lismore, Thieves Like Us and The Ballet, the DJs that spun, Earfarm, Colleen Crumbcake and Fluxblog and of course, everyone at The Delancey. We love every single one of you and since it's pretty much a guarantee I didn't talk to you because I was busy working door with a panicked look of, "Who me? Count? Stamp? Huh?," please forgive me. I am socially inept in every possible way.

3. The beautiful and talented Devon B. took photos. They will be up soon and we shall direct you to them.

4. The winner of the night's most embarassing moment is....ME! For grabbing the hand of Ginger, violinist of The Ballet, convinced she was Ingrid from Lismore, whom she LOOKS NOTHING LIKE, and chirpily telling her "Great job tonight!" And she hadn't even been on stage yet! I'm so awesome! Yup, that was the bit that kept replaying in my head, on a loop, the next day. Followed by a repeated self-smacks to the forehead.

Oddly enough, the moment that could've been the most embarassing, when I went up to Prince Paul and shook his hand like there was no tomorrow, was not. Prince Paul was spinning some magic upstairs and I had to tell him so. And I managed to, without swearing or saying inappropriate things. Go me!

5. The winner of the night's most unexpected and unintentional stylistic homage goes to Penelope from Lismore who was rocking a jaunty Olivia Newton-John in Xanadu*, ** army cap. I think that I'm not alone in wishing out loud that SOMEONE would cover something from Xanadu. Magic? Suddenly? Make it happen people!

6. The winner of the night's most unexpected and totally shouldn't have worked but it SO DID cover goes to Bell for taking on Skee-Lo's I Wish complete with choreography, ringtone melodies and an extended run through the "Name my kid ghetto names...Little Mookie" line.

What? Don't remember that jam? Check it:

I Wish/Skee-Lo

But mid '90s covers aside, all you tired, whiny, I'm so old I can't go out on a Friday, WAAAAH folks, need to make sure that you catch Bell's next show at the Sidewalk Cafe on January 6th because Olga and her cohorts most definitely live up to the promise of her online mp3s. While there was a light smattering of tech issues involving a borrowed keyboard, Olga easily overcame them with her charming and warm stage presence and of course, that beautiful voice. Backing rhythm team Jason Nazary and Mike Chiavarowere were stellar, with special commendation going out to Nazary for his smooth electronic to live drumming transitions. Jessica Martins from Via Audio provided back up vocals and dancing(!) throughout the set. I was wondering how the doubled vocal effects from Bell's songs would be handled in their live set, since her vocals are so distinctive it would be hard to match them. Luckily, Martins' warm tone paired up nicely and provided lovely vocal counterpart, especially on a rousing version of Expanded File.

Now I've told you to your face, I put the songs on a mix, I booked her for a show and I even played it on the radio! What more do I have to do to convince ya? Trust me, go check out Bell STAT. You will fall in love and promptly start planning your future together. Befriend Bell on My Space.

Love, D

* I actually haven't seen Xanadu since I was 5. I loved it so much that I'm kind of afraid to see it now and realize how much it sucks. I want it to remain a soft focus, disco roller skatin' masterpiece in my head.

** Eh, I just read the following on Wikipedia, under Xanadu: "Xanadu opens as a Broadway musical at the Helen Hayes Theatre in May 2007 starring Jane Krakowski, Ben Vereen and Cheyenne Jackson." Excuse me...JIGGA WHAT?!?

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And at the fall of night this city's made of lights (LATE EDITION)

Dear friends,

1. Because like, DUH!


This beautiful flyer is by Jessica Martins, of local faves Via Audio. I have just found out that she will be joining Bell onstage tonight. I know I've been telling you that you shouldn't miss Bell's set at 8PM, and now you have further incentive, no?

2. Because he is definitely the better writer of the Neon Lights presents... team, be sure to read Jeff K's handy profiles on Bell, Lismore, Thieves Like Us and his interview with Greg Goldberg from The Ballet, which features the question, "There are collaborations on the (Mattachine!) album from members of Voxtrot, The Baskervilles, and The Aislers Set. How did these come about?" I actually read that and went, "Huh, I did not know that. How did that come about?" Out loud. Like an ass.

3. Because you know how I like to say, "If you see me, say hello?" Do it!

4. Because if you're friends with me you already know that if I don't see you tonight, I'm going to call you a pussy next time we meet and punch you in the arm.

5. Because I'm classy like that.

6. Because it's the freakin' weekend AND the holiday party zone.

7. Because DJ Earfarm and DJ Colleen Crumbcake have been talking so much schmackity schmack about how they're gonna destroy one another in their epic DJ battle and someone needs to be there to judge the event. Applause-o-meter!

8. Because getting DJ Fluxblog to leave the rural Flux=Rad estate and play a bangin' red alert causin' set is like Christmas and Hanukkah all rolled up in one.

9. Because if you don't love Björk covers, keyboards, sissy pop and getting down, it's not too late to start.

10. Because if you don't know, now you know.

Neon Lights/Kraftwerk

See you tonight!

Love, D

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Into a dream

Dear friends,

I will be at the Crackers United presents Friction showcase at Sin-e this evening to catch my buddies, The Muggabears.

(I love the fierce arms akimbo pose that Emily Muggabear is rockin' in this pic.)

Song to seek:

I'm Coming True/The Muggabears (YST link)*

Don't let the cuddly name fool you, this trio has a ferociously elegant simplicity. No jam band nonsense here; just lean mean post punk. Befriend them on My Space.

Buy their e.p. Teenage Cop.

I haven't heard the other bands on the bill but those Crackers United fellas always put on a good show. See you there!

Love, D

* You wanna know how nerdy I am? I have a dance that goes with the little guitar squiggle motif that starts around the 1:21 mark. No, I will not do it for you. Come up with your own moves.

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Y'all did it

Dear friends,

1. Year end list? Bitch, please.

2. Okay, fine. Young Folks by Peter, Bjorn and John. Every time that whistle hook gets in my head, I involuntarily do the Snoopy Dance.

This tune is an mp3 blogger favorite and I've read a million descriptions of it. So heeeeeere's another! It's a pop duet, sure. On the surface, almost a sly Scandinavian inversion of I Got You Babe. But what makes this song so much more for me, is that while the aforementioned Sonny and Cher chestnut was a declaration to everyone, of "Look! We're in love! Go us! Watch us be in love!," Young Folks is not interested in you. Its so-insular-it's-on-purpose, padded sound comes off like a private teenage conversation between you and someone that's AMAZING. You're at a party, off in a quiet corner having that type of exchange that runs easily from goofy chit chat to way more personal admission, and save for the distant sound of the stereo in the other room, everyone and everything else has disappeared. Because this giddy, fizzy shaker egg excitement is all about you and this other person; not about anyone else. And who needs them anyway? We're talking about me and you.

This song sounds perfect anywhere, at a party, in your headphones on the train or in a car. It's always sublime. My favorite song of the year by far.

Dance, Snoopy, dance!

3. Mandatory moment to remind you to be at The Delancey this Friday, December 15th for Neon Lights presents Bell, Lismore, Thieves Like Us and The Ballet and some extreme DJing excellence from DJ Earfarm VS DJ Colleen Crumbcake and DJ Fluxblog. Thanks to my incessant pestering, I've heard some of what the DJs are cooking and you know what? There will be some furious getting down.

4. I did not sleep a wink on Sunday. This has been happening more and more lately. Luckily for me, I have On Demand cable. On a related note, I've been watching this show and let me stress most emphatically that I have no business talking about said show. (Which of course, doesn't mean I won't.) For one, I'm really, really bad at remembering names. I couldn't tell you the names to my favorite songs, this is not a joke. My memory, in all its alpine laced glory, simply wasn't meant to store that kind of information.

The show I'm referring to, The Wire, has about a bazillion characters, and in deference to my poor memory, I've given them my own names. One hangdog faced, unhappily demoted drug dealer, D'Angelo Barksdale, I call "Maalox," on account of his perpetually sour tummy/worried look. Another, a cop named Herc, is simply "Dumbass." As you can imagine, this makes it difficult for me to discuss the series with other Wire fans. In further 'I have no business talking about this show, part deux,' The Wire has been on for about a beellion years (to go with the bazillion characters) and I've only seen a handful of episodes, out of order, along with the current season, which I've seen in its entirety. My sense of character arc isn't quite there yet. Though judging by season one and the current season, which just ended on Sunday night, the writers love making sly allusions to the past*. In a way, watching it like this is like assembling a massive puzzle and it's infinitely more entertaining to not know what's going on immediately. This is a show that rewards attention to detail, irrespective of where you start.

So why have I never committed in the past? Why now and not several years ago, when all my other Homicide/Oz friends were telling me to watch it? I'll tell you why. It's the kids. The Wire is a show about Baltimore, specifically about the drug corners and the cops that work 'em. This season the writers have brought in public schooling to the mix, showing you just what those surly packs of brats have to contend with while they're being "educated" to pass standardized tests that have no bearing on their lives. Before you read that and think "Gee, that sounds terribly dull," let me just say that if you can take the time to get yourself involved with reality show haps then you could certainly try spending some time with this particular group of adolescent boys and their tiny joys and struggles. While The Wire specializes in the study of failure; the failure of institutions to effectively fight 'the war on drugs' and poverty (which certainly sounds dry as hell) they never do this at the expense of its characters. In the past, I could never quite connect with these cops and dealers and all their various power plays but these kids are something else. Probably because the show, which essentially blames EVERYONE, including the viewer, for the failure of the system, finally focused on a somewhat blameless group. You couldn't write 'em off yet and you couldn't predict an unhappy ending for them yet either. A mirror up to nature bit of art that should not be missed. If you have On Demand cable, view this current season. If you don't, rent this show.

Love, D

* They killed off a long standing character much to a cop's dismay. I just saw their first scene together in Season One. Before names are even exchanged, the newly departed justifies his future death.

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I know it's for sure

Dear friends,

1. For those who only know heartonastick from a certain heated, murderous rant about visiting CMJ acts, head over there and read his lovely review of the Low show at Bowery Ballroom. The softer side of blogdom.

2. For a song that traffics in electronica, Tremolo by Lismore isn't a song particularly concerned with movement. Rather, it's all about mood and it sustains a a warm wash of atmospherics throughout. Like a narcotized version of Chrissie Hynde's protagonist in Brass in Pocket, the girl in the song sounds like she's forever standing at the window dreaming that the world outside will take her away. But it doesn't really matter whether it does or not, the beauty lies in waiting.

Video to see:


Lismore is playing Neon Lights presents...* at The Delancey on Friday, December 15. Befriend them on My Space.


Good work Caridee! Okay, time to find another reality show to watch...

Love, D

* Non-traditional Disclaimer: Yes, I am one half of the organizational team for this event. I wasn't paid to do it and no, I'm not making any money off of your possible attendance. I just want your ears. And possibly your legs for dancing. I've been working on my worm. Still in the middling stage but it's getting better. HOLLA.

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Like you when you're sober

Dear friends,

I often wish I lived in the UK. Especially if it meant I could see a cover band made up of the three ladies from Bearsuit and their three keytars in action. Befriend Keytarded on My Space and if you happen to live near Norwich, go check 'em out.

Love, D

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You talked until your tongue fell out and then you talked some more

Dear friends,

1. I've become obsessed with getting my moms to move. It isn't the knife wielding muggers targeting the block or the gangs that are waging not so West Side Story type battles in the front of the building (well, maybe a little) but also, because I'd like her to live closer to me. I'm seeing the lines on her face a little clearer, I guess.

The songs below have nothing to do with this situation but everything to do with my mom buying me Staring at the Sea by The Cure on cassette back in the day when I whined and whined for it. I'd rewind these two numbers over and over again as I waited for the bus for school. The former, The Exploding Boy, is a straightforward pop song with perm fried acoustic guitars and sax versus ghost keyboards. Robert Smith could be talking about a quarrel with a friend or a lover but that hardly matters. Despite his weary, up all night delivery, he seems resigned with the outcome. The latter is something else entirely. A Few Hours After This sounds like enthusiasm as experienced by an extremely pessimistic individual. They are possessed by the elation that good fortune brings and then they can't help destroying it by directing its conclusion. There is almost TOO MUCH happening on this track what with the fussy faux orchestral arrangement and the lone tambourine marching along solemnly as Smith sounds increasingly strangled and that's part of its loony toons charm. The boy in the song is beyond help. You can only watch as he progresses from wonder to despair, all for your amusement.

Songs to seek:

The Exploding Boy/The Cure (YST link)

A Few Hours After This/The Cure (YST link)

These songs are not available on the CD version of this album but they are available on Join the Dots: B-Sides & Rarities, 1978-2001. Click here to buy.

2. Jeff K wrote this post regarding the Neon Lights presents... show we're putting on Friday, December 15th at The Delancey. He includes additional downloads for The Ballet, Thieves Like Us, Lismore and Bell. Go give 'em a listen!

Love, D

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