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Favorite Album From Each Year of My Life

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Don’t sleep on my throwback Cardinals (???) long-sleeve T. I was this total baseball history nerd in second grade, so maybe I got this for like the Stan Musial factor but my guess is it was more like, on clearance at ‘The Sports Authority’ and my dumb-assed grandma knew I liked old baseball and picked the shit up. Oh yeah- this “Favorite Album From Each Year of My Life” thing…everybody’s doing it, so here’s mine. With a bonus rap-only list.

1984: Husker Du ‘Zen Arcade’
1985: New Order ‘Low Life’
1986: Arthur Russell ‘World of Echo’
1987: Saint Vitus ‘Born Too Late’
1988: My Bloody Valentine ‘Isn’t Anything’
1989: Beastie Boys ‘Paul’s Boutique’
1990: Bathory ‘Hammer Heart’
1991: Talk Talk ‘Laughing Stock’
1992: Pharcyde ‘Bizarre Ride II’
1993: Sleep ‘Holy Mountain’
1994: Common ‘Resurrection’
1995: Goodie Mob ‘Soul Food’
1996: UGK ‘Ridin Dirty’
1997: Wu Tang Clan ‘Forever’
1998: Outkast ‘Aquemini’
1999: Jim O’Rourke ‘Eureka’
2000: D’Angelo ‘Voodoo’
2001: The Microphones ‘The Glow Pt. 2′
2002: Cody Chesnutt ‘The Headphone Masterpiece’
2003: Kevin Drumm ‘Land of Lurches’
2004: Kanye West ‘The College Dropout’
2005: Horse the Band ‘The Mechanical Hand’
2006: J Dilla ‘Donuts’
2007: Jesu ‘Conqueror’

1984: Run DMC ‘Self-Titled’
1985: Mantronix ‘The Album’
1986: 2 Live Crew ‘Is What We Are’
1987: Eric B & Rakim ‘Paid In Full’
1988: Slick Rick ‘The Great Adventures Of…’
1989: Beastie Boys ‘Paul’s Boutique’
1990: King Tee ‘At Your Own Risk’
1991: Nice & Smooth ‘Ain’t a Damn Thing Changed’
1992: Pharcyde ‘Bizarre Ride II’
1993: De La Soul ‘Buhloone Mindstate’
1994: Common ‘Resurrection’
1995: Goodie Mob ‘Soul Food’
1996: UGK ‘Ridin Dirty’
1997: Wu Tang Clan ‘Forever’
1998: Outkast ‘Aquemini’
1999: MF Doom ‘Operation Doomsday’
2000: 8ball & MJG ‘Space Age 4 Eva’
2001: Dungeon Family ‘Even in Darkness’
2002: GZA ‘Legend of the Liquid Sword’
2003: Jay-Z ‘The Black Album’
2004: Kanye West ‘The College Dropout’
2005: Three-Six Mafia ‘Most Known Unknowns’
2006: J Dilla ‘Donuts’
2007: Kanye West ‘Graduation’

Written by Brandon

July 12th, 2008 at 8:22 am

Posted in Lists, lazy post

Leaf: A Twisty Story of a Baltimore Record

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The best record store in Baltimore, True Vine sends out a weekly sometimes more than weekly e-mail “digest” that lists all the great new releases and new, old LPs they got in and is often, accompanied by some engaging and exciting descriptions or anecdotes about those LPs, from co-owner Ian Nagoski. In the latest digest, he wrote about the discovery of a break from an obscure Baltimore artist and how it went from some weird record in his store to just recently showing up on a Breaks compilation. It’s an interesting and affecting read and because I don’t think its available to anybody not on their digest, I thought I’d copy and paste it here. If you are or know Mr. Nagoski and would like it removed, please contact me and I will do so. Oh yeah, just for the sake of clarity- when he mentions “The Golden West”, he means this restaurant a few stores down from True Vine.

If you’re ever in Baltimore or the area, I’d highly suggest checking out the store.-brandon

‘LEAF: A Twisty Story of a Baltimore Record’ by Ian Nagoski of True Vine

On a sweltering afternoon two summers back, a guy – white, about 50, with several gaudy rings and one ear superglued to an expensive cel – walked in with a box of records for sale. There were a dozen more boxes in his car, and I helped him load them into the shop while he told me that his uncle had died and this had been his collection. I flipped though them, found the stuff we could sell, and made an offer, based largely on the presence of a stack of local 45s that looked good. The man got his money, and I started sorting the stuff in the boxes. Most of it was shot – just in lousy shape -and a lot of it was junk, but the first thing I noticed was that the earliest stuff was hard rock, dating to the early 70s and the last of it was pop-r&b piffle from the mid-90s. No way this was the collection of an older family member of Mr. Fancy Cel. Whoever owned this stuff was about 15 in about 1972, making him not yet 50 years old in 2006 – about the Verizonmeister’s same age. But it wasn’t HIS collection, since he didn’t watch me go through it. Everyone who sells their entire life’s record collection wants to see what the Record Store Guy pulls out of the boxes. Even if the decision has been made to sell everything, it still matters whether the collector’s taste is being affirmed by the buyer. This is always always always true. This guy’s body language gave away that he probably didn’t know or care what was in the boxes. So, it registered that I had been lied to, but whaddaya-whaddaya. People have millions of reasons for lying to strangers. You think I’m the monk in Rashomon, agonizing over the morality of mankind? Nope. I buy records, and I sell records, plain and simple, and I just notice when things are weird, and I file it aways for future reference.

One wierd thing about the collection was the profound predominance of two personalities: George Clinton and John Lennon. Over and over, the visionaries of P-Funk and the Fab Four looked out from the stacks. Whoever had collected these things worshiped those two to a discomforting level for an adult. But again, healthy or not, wacky hero-worship is just part of the job in the record biz. So, with the first level of sorting done, I got to the good part of any big buy: listening to the stuff I didn’t recognize. And in this case, it was a couple local 45s by a band called Leaf. Right off the bat, it’s a good name for a band, cause it’s clearly the name of a band that smokes weed, right? And aesthetics aside, just in terms of sheer market-demand, stoned records are salable records, because anything “psyche” is in demand, because serious record-heads are, generally speaking, serious doobie monsters, or at least guy with a lot nostalgia for their days under the old smoke tree.

So, in one hand I had a stack of about twenty copies of one 7″ by Leaf and in the other hand, I had half a dozen of another of their releases plus a 1/4″ mastertape reel with their name scrawled on it. Clearly, I was dealing with the collection of one of the band members. (Musicians always have odd and interesting record collections.) The title that was only the half-dozen copies strong was a four-song EP, released as a Christmas record in 1982 here in Baltimore and dedicated to John Lennon, according to its title. The music was goofy power-pop, notable only for an out-of-nowhere lyric instructing the listener to “throw your tits up and down” during one track. (Whut thuh?) The other record, however, issued earlier the same year felt immeadiately like something special. Each copy was sealed across to the top of the white paper sleeve with one sticker and had another sticker on the front, orange with a picture of a cleaver in a slab of meat that said “PRIME CUTS,” clearly taken from the meat section of a supermarket. Inside, there was a xeroxed sheet printed with info in an awkward/awesome combination of type-writer and handwriting. Side A was labeled “Funk” (good sign!) and was titled “Food Stamps” (‘nother good sign!) I put the needle on it and smiled at the first sound of a wah-wah guitar comping. The recording was a crude basement affair, but the damn thing swung hard like too-fast Go-Go with some seriously funky in-the-pocket drums. The singing was inept, but the vibe was fun and loose. After a harmonica solo that sounded like it must have been performed after the player had first picked the instrument up about two weeks earlier, all of the instruments dropped out except for that funky drummer. This, in record parlance is what they call an “open break,” and on a scarce, locally-produced independent record, for hip-hop heads, producers and diggers, it is pay dirt for hundreds of hours of listening. Before the track was over, my tounge was hanging out as I starting hitting all the big web sites for rare records and drum breaks looking for a trace of “Food Stamps.” And I got nada. Nothing. So, then I flip the record to the side labeled “Rock” and lo-and-behold, it started with another giant, heavy open, mid-tempo drum break before decending into some oozing fuzz-guitar riffing nearly worthy of Jungle Rot-era George Brigman and what one friend described as “glazed, sub-Ozzy basement vocals.” A closer look at the credits showed that both songs were penned by a certain Billy Senger and that he played all the instruments except for the drums, which were played by Joe Senger – Billy’s brother, I guessed. I kept listening to both sides and started to really dig the good-times-in-the-basement party vibe – boys having fun, playing at being rock stars and cranking out some wicked-sounding stuff.

Within 20 minutes, I had called every psyche and funk 45 collector I knew and asked them what they knew about Leaf. Again, nothing. In a few hours, several collectors and arrived to hear it. Almost everyone agreed – it was the real thing, a monster. Several people called everyone THEY knew. But no one had heard of it, and no copy that anyone knew of had ever sold, so there was no established price – an unknown commodity. So, over the next few weeks, I started playing it for collectors and beat diggers, and I sold about a half-dozen copies for about the cost of a dinner at the Golden West or the cost of a new CD. A few months later, I started getting phone calls saying that those copies were already changing hands for a hundred bucks a throw. We consigned a couple copies to an ebayer who posted them with soundclips of the drum breaks and sold them for more than $100 each. Here’s one of them:

Around that time, we had a visit from Joe Vaccarino, the author a Baltimore Sounds, a beautiful, labor-of-love discography of local bands from the 50s to the early 80s. I asked him about the Leaf record, of course, and since he didn’t know it, offered him the mastertapes (which turned out to be for the inferior EP, rather than the killer “Food Stamps” single) as a gift for his archive and asked whether he wanted to buy copies of the records. He listened carefully to the records but left quietly without even taking the the tape. A month later, though, he emailed me and asked if I had seen that month’s issue of the free local music rag – Maryland Musician or something, I forget the name. I hadn’t. He said there was a letter to the editor from the Leaf’s drummer, saying that his brother had recently died and that his landlord had absconded with his posessions, including the only tapes of their old band, and would anyone with information on the whereabouts of documents of the band please contact him. So, I sent Billy Senger an email and said I had a master reel and copies of the two 7″s, and he was welcome to them. He wrote back, very gratefully, and said that he’d be in Baltimore in a couple weeks and he’d meet me at the shop then.

Sure enough, a two weeks later Joe Senger and his sister arrived mid-afternoon in business clothes. They had come to Baltimore for a court date in an attempt to sue Billy’s landlord for theft of Billy’s possessions. They’d lost the case. I gave Joe a copy of each of the 7″s and the mastertape, and in exchange he told me a little about his brother, the author of the records. Billy had worked for years at the Mondawmin branch of Bernie Schwartz’s 25-year record shop/institution Music Liberated. Over the course of the 90s, he lived down by the Enoch Pratt and kept getting himself into trouble while he dealt – and failed to deal – with some serious mental health problems and pretty well alienated everyone in the family with cockamamie middle-of-the-night calls to bail him out of some bullshit or other. So, when he finally succumbed to his demons, his family didn’t hear about it for some time afterward, in which time the landlord – appearantly Mr. Celphone – had grabbed Billy’s earthly posessions and started selling them off, partially to recoup backrent I would guess, and partially cause the landlord was a louse. Joe lives in Florida and continues to play drums and plans to reissue what he’s been able to salvage of his old brother’s life’s work. Joe has a myspace page, which includes a tune called “Guardrails in Heaven,” which I take to be a tribute to Billy:

A bittersweet story, ending in resolution for the talented kid brother and the gratified record dealer who was still sitting on about ten copies of a record that he was selling periodically for $100 a throw. Until last week, when I got a call from a well-known DJ and record dealer in England. He asked if I was still in touch with the fella from Leaf. I said I was, why did he ask? Because “Food Stamps” had been reissued on a breaks comp. Turns out the copies we ebayed had gone to a DJ named Mr. Thing who had included the “Funk” side on a comp called Strange Breaks & Mr. Thing. The first of two discs had a bunch of profoundly obscure tracks; the second disc was a continuous mix using the breaks from those same tracks. He said that Joe Senger ought to contact the label and collect his royalties on the release. “Gee, I feel really loyal to Joe Senger, but BBE has done a lot of great stuff, too. I hate to cause trouble for them,” I said. “No trouble,” he replied, “he writes to them, and they’ll have money for him. Simple as that.” So, I wrote to Joe, and he wrote to BBE, and he should be seing a check from Jolly Old England in the near future.

So, the music lives on. And we got in copies of the Strange Breaks 2CD set, now available for $17 – the cost of dinner at the Golden West – and it’s got a bunch of nice stuff on it. They did a great job cleaning up the sound of the Leaf record. Or, for $100 you can still buy a sealed copy of the real thing and get that shitty xerox insert and that “glazed sub-Ozzy” basement sound on the B-side.

Cyrus Alexander’s ‘Black Terminator’ Trailer
And while I’m pushing other people’s great shit. Producer Cyrus the Great, who I wrote about a bit on this entry Some Ol’ Terminator Shit, made a movie based on his song ‘Black Terminator’! Cyrus somehow found my entry and contacted me and told me that indeed, my dream of a cheap, blaxploitation-esque movie to match his song was already in the works! Here it is:

This just looks really, really incredible. I like how it’s funny, even hilarious at times (“270 with the coat”) but never winks at the audience too much. I’m very excited about the finished product of this…the camera work looks really good, there’s lots of quotables just in this trailer and the acting is the perfect for the project, and the music, which I’m assuming Cyrus made is fucking amazing, these warm, fuzzy synths and gurgles that emulate the original ‘Terminator’ score really well and kinda ups it because it more on some John Carpenter ‘Escape from New York’ shit…

Written by Brandon

February 27th, 2008 at 7:02 am

Spin It Like A Helicopter South Cackalacka!

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This is why Youtube is great. While looking for the apparently-deleted ‘Mr. Big Dick’ video, I found this. The mosaic effect is NO JOKE.

CHOICES: The Election
-Why are the media ignoring Mike Huckabee’s remarks about the Confederate flag?
-There’s something pathetic and embarrassing about our obsession with Barack Obama’s race.
-Why Romney needs to talk about his faith
-Why on earth would we choose to put the Clinton family drama at the center of our politics again?

Written by Brandon

January 27th, 2008 at 7:17 pm

Charles Burnett’s ‘Killer of Sheep’ on DVD


I started a new job and it’s from 8pm-5am, so I’m a little short on time as I get my shit readjusted…I’ll have a new blog up for Friday but until then…dig this re-post about ‘Killer of Sheep’. The movie gets a DVD release next Tuesday and should sorta be mandatory viewing…-brandon

Charles Burnett’s ‘Killer of Sheep’, completed in 1973, sort-of released in 1977, has since then, been an unavailable film-dork rarity. The movie’s legend grew as it won a few awards and was declared a “national treasure” by the Library of Congress, yet there were still major obstacles preventing a commercial release. A black-made film about working-class blacks and absent of guns, gangs, and violence and equally absent of overt politicizing is not very marketable. Furthermore, because Burnett made the movie for film school and not for public consumption, he developed an idiosyncratic soundtrack without the consideration of legal music rights issues.

A few years ago, Milestone Films stepped-in and began the campaign to for ‘Killer of Sheep’s official release. They obtained most of the music rights and restored the movie. A few weeks ago, I was able to see ‘Killer of Sheep’ at the Maryland Film Festival, with the heads of Milestone presenting along with the lead actor Henry Saunders.

‘Killer of Sheep’ takes the rawness of the era’s blaxploitation films but leaves behind their violent stereotypes. The movie is without plot, instead providing loosely connected vignettes and scenes in early 70s Compton/Watts. It is framed around Stan, who works at a slaughterhouse, and his wife and children. Nothing big happens, no one dies, no big secrets revealed. As a lazy writer, I want to drop a grotesque cliché about how the film is about “regular people” and move on, but that’s not accurate. Burnett’s movie is about people one might actually meet but the implication of “regular people” is a romanticization or idealization of the regular, which it is not.

Nothing is idealized in Burnett’s movie. Children do not play peacefully or even, wildly organized as they do in other movies, they run around and kick up dust and throw rocks and yell things that you can barely understand. One of my favorite moments is one where Burnett, during a scene of children playing, holds on a little boy standing on a roof, hit by a rock, just standing there crying. Burnett holds on the boy, who grips his arm as he tears up but we do not hear his crying or the continued playing of the indifferent children we only hear the soundtrack playing (I think) Faye Adams’ ‘Shake a Hand’. Another scene shows Stan’s daughter singing along to Earth, Wind, and Fire’s ‘Reasons’, her voice mixed as high as the song’s.

I fear that even these scenes denote sentimentality that isn’t present in the film. Maybe it’s the black and white film, and Burnett’s tentative hand-held camera, and the naturalistic acting, and the perfect mix of irony, sympathy, and empathy but ‘Killer of Sheep’ never feels cheap or sentimental. A scene early in the movie presents two characters approaching Stan in front of his house, asking if he would like to help them kill somebody for money. He angrily dismisses them and they respond first to him and then to Stan’s wife with the “I’m just getting’ mine” speech that stands in contrast to everything Stan works for and believes. The interaction is played-out in a realistic manner and so, the thugs’ speech is never too articulate or overtly evil and Stan is both proudly proclaiming his not being a criminal and growing angry/insecure because he sees why it would be easier to be a pimp or hired gun. The movie is a series of reversals and then re-reversals like this, confounding and frustrating viewers.

When I saw the movie, the inevitably uncomfortable after-movie discussion briefly devolved into a white woman suggesting that the movie enforced certain stereotypes and generally dismal “ghetto” living. She cited a scene where Stan and a friend purchase a car engine for Stan’s truck from a Pimp. He barters with the Pimp, eventually buying it for 15 dollars. Stan and friend carry the engine to the truck and as they place the engine on the bed of the truck, it smashes Stan’s friend’s finger. Stan is left humorously trying to balance it on the edge of the bed as his friend shakes his hand, bouncing up and down in pain. The friend, having just dropped an engine on his finger, is sort of done with carrying and tries to tell Stan it will be okay on the end of the bed which it obviously will not. Against his better judgment Stan does not argue, and they jump into the truck. A wide-shot reveals the engine teetering off the edge of the truck-bed and just as the truck begins moving, the engine falls and smashes in the street.

This woman cited this as portraying the stereotypical lack of intelligence of black people, which is what she wanted the scene to be about. A “knowing” viewer will find what looks like stereotypes all through the film. What the scene is really about is Stan’s kindness, his sympathy for his hurt-fingered friend extending so far that he doesn’t want to force the friend to move the engine even though he risks breaking the engine. Burnett plays with the audience as the scene is set-up like those unfortunate Little Rascals ‘Our Gang’ episodes (something like Stymie continually throwing a rock in a tree and it hitting him in the head), echoing these racist comedies but ultimately, having nothing to do with them. This outraged woman can only perceive black movies in terms of their supporting or negating a stereotype; she refuses to see the humanity and psychology of black characters.

The title ‘Killer of Sheep’ explicitly refers to Stan’s occupation in a slaughterhouse but I believe it also points towards Stan’s opposition to a sheep-like mentality. The first scene of the movie is Stan yelling at his older son for misbehaving. The son is something of a specter of trouble in the movie, fooling around, harassing his sister, not coming when his mother calls him; there’s a sense that this child, when he grows older, might become one of the unsavory pimps we see in the movie. Often those pimp characters are given startling close-ups and we see their eyes, eyes disinterested in care or hard work; dead eyes. After the movie Henry Saunders, who played Stan, discussed the visual parallels between the sheep’s eyes in the slaughterhouse scenes and the eyes of certain characters throughout the film. The pimps and criminals of the movie are the sheep, blind followers of a code, believing they are individuals because they don’t work a conventional job.

Of course, Burnett is also a killer of sheep, destroying the audience’s sheep-like gravitation towards simple answers and interpretations in regards to black movie-making. As I was watching, I thought about what I’ve read about the movie, the way it is said to be one of the most well-wrought portrayals of black people on film but about halfway through, it occurred to me that I don’t think there’s a movie about “average” white people this well-rendered either.

Written by Brandon

November 15th, 2007 at 9:20 am

Graduation Is Really Good…

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-More on ‘Graduation’ next week. I’m going to do “Kanye West Week” because my previous week-long themes weren’t total disasters or anything…

-A New entry on Masta Ace for my Biographical Dictionary of Rap project/thingy. It’s written by DocZeus and it’s really great. He touches on Masta’s history, reinvention in the past decade, and briefly goes autobiographical, discussing when he “discovered” Masta Ace. Doc also added a “Songs You Should Have On Your iPod” section to his entry, which was a great idea and if anyone plans on contributing, feel free to do the same. I’ll probably go back and do it with my Beanie Sigel entry. If you haven’t been reading Doc’s blog Not a Blogger, you’re missing OUT.

-My conceptual Kanye posts didn’t really work out. It was supposed to be a joke or partially a joke. The way Kanye mentions so much about reactionary bloggers and how Kanye himself talks out of his ass and is honest to the point of it not even being honest anymore. I was sort of doing that but it ended up being about as successful and “deep” as ‘T.I vs. T.I.P’ (just kidding, still haven’t heard that album)…I don’t know, they can’t all be winners, alright? But next week, I’ll go all-out with ‘Graduation’, should be fun.

-I’ll be back with a real entry around 3am, Wed. Morning when I usually update. I go back to teaching English tomorrow so I should probably start preparing some sort of lesson or something…


-‘Caedom’ (from Beezer B’s ‘16 33 45 78′): Beezer posts about a bunch of records of authors reading from their own work. I’d rape my mother for that Hemingway one. The cover is great too.

-‘A Sunbeam in the Abyss’ (from Matt Soller Zeitz’s ‘House Next Door’): This is a really smart piece about Owen Wilson’s recent suicide attempt. I’m a big Wes Anderson fan, especially ‘Bottle Rocket’ (wrote an Undergraduate thesis on the movie as a matter of fact) and always find Owen Wilson entertaining and affecting. Seitz just really kind of “gets it” and is very respectful and smart.

Written by Brandon

September 4th, 2007 at 12:41 am

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Just Some Good Videos

Written by Brandon

August 24th, 2007 at 6:14 am

Posted in lazy post

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Links and Lots of Stuff Unrelated to Rap…

First, shameless plug…if you haven’t checked out my article at, please do.

Second, I got a cool link about my Kanye entry over at film critic Matt Zoller Seitz’s super-amazing House Next Door. It means a lot because to be linked by anybody is nice but especially because Seitz, a former film critic for the ‘New York Press’, along with Armond White (still a critic for NY Press), are two of the first writers I ever read that seemed fearlessly intelligent. I was in 8th grade when I got the internet, exposing me to movie stuff beyond what my local library and ‘The Baltimore Sun’ critics had to offer and these guys blew me away…still do.

I feel like an outsider for a number of reasons among bloggers, particularly rap-bloggers, the foremost reason being I’m not really like, a fan of journalists, especially music writers and I’m not internet-saavy. Breihan and Noz were the only guys that made me think “I want to do this!” and the other two journalist-types really would be Seitz and White. I’m an old-fashioned pretentious douche so my writing influences, if I were to be honest, pretension be damned, would be like, D.H Lawrence, Friedrich Nietzsche, John Ruskin…but it’s really the two music writers and film critics mentioned above.

-Souled-On Music also gave me a nice link. It feels self-important to “thank people” but it means more than I can really explain when people link me or give me a compliment about the blog. It’s also pretty great to see that I have a decent-sized group of readers/fellow-bloggers who always expound and complicate things in the comments section.

-The Ed Zone (from Baltimore’s City Paper): A very interesting article about a very interesting man connected to Baltimore. Ed Norris, actor on ‘The Wire’, former Police Commissioner, current radio talk show host, held a press-conference announcing his crime plan in response to our pretty-much totally retarded mayor’s non-crime plan.

I generally try not to get too emotional or sincere about political issues but the rising murder-rate in Baltimore is nothing short of tragic. I was discussing it with my father the other day and just the thought of so many lives lost, due in large part, to state government incompetence and disregard, brought me to tears. It truly isn’t fair and its criminal the way this issue is being ignored or downplayed.

-Cute Overload: Pretty self-explanatory.

-‘We Want Weezy’: This is so amazing and it has nothing to do with being a Lil Wayne fan or non-fan. Despite what so many Wayne stans seem to think, I don’t hate the dude. My entry just said he isn’t “Great” and I tried to say it in a way that is a little more respectful than the way Dallas Penn said it.

But yeah, this guy making an entire album of Weezy parodies is incredible. Like ‘Outsider Art’ incredible. It would be easy to make a parody SONG but to do a whole album, wow. Also, it’s so well-done and accurate, yet hilarious, it moves beyond being malicious or anything. I personally like ‘I Need Baby’ and ‘Because of Baby’.

Please Rent: ‘Holy Mountain’

The above clip is from this movie ‘Holy Mountain’ by Alejandro Jodorowsky. It’s really great. You should rent it. I’m generally opposed to artsy-fartsy hippie shit but this movie somehow, did it for me. It’s ultimately kind of about how all that mystical stuff doesn’t mean jack and it has a never-serious tone mixed with a less harsh, less self-important instructive side. To me, it seems like a lot of people have snatched a lot from it. I think unlike other surreal or “experimental” directors, Jodorowsky cares about people and his movie’s contempt is slightly different than most movies as he has less contempt for his satirical targets and his audience because this movie is never boring or tedious or even that obvious.

I may go buy the box set because I’ve never seen his other big movie ‘El Topo’ and it comes with the soundtracks as well, and the ‘Holy Mountain’ soundtrack by Don Cherry was great, especially this broken-saxophone lamenty-esque song that played as the Woman whose planet is ‘Mars’ climbs out of bed with her bald, lesbian lovers.

-‘Severed Ways: The Norse Discovery of America’: THIS MOVIE LOOKS AWESOME. Too bad it will NEVER play anywhere really. The trailer posted here makes it seem even better.

Written by Brandon

July 1st, 2007 at 2:00 pm

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Check. This. Out...Thanks-a-million to Jay Smooth, he put me in with people waaaayyyyy out of my league.

Sorry for no posts still. Monique’s got a really good one brewing. I’m still coping with this school stuff. I might even drop out of this bitch. My ‘Film Analysis & Research’ class entails writing one twenty-page paper in the entire six weeks. Fuck is this? E-Z. Is this Grad. school? It does give me more time to blog, so once I get out of the initial shock of this program eating a dick, I’ll get on it. This blog, OhWord,; that should excite me.

This is what you look like living in Roanoke, VA, when your brain isn’t stimulated.

Written by Brandon

June 20th, 2007 at 3:56 am

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Links & Lists

I’m in Roanoke, VA for the summer, beginning my Masters in ‘Screenwriting & Film Studies’ which is exciting but also annoying because seriously, the only thing I hate more than “hip-hop heads” are people into “Film” (sorry guys, but they are MOVIES). At least hip-hop heads have good taste, you know?

So yeah, I’m a little busy, so you get a fake post…

-‘Political Song for Paris Hilton’(from ‘Voguing to Danzing’)

“Also, we’ll need a rapper. Have you met Lil Wayne? Dude’s put out 125 mix tapes this year so far, never seems to sleep, and is apparently down for whatever. I know this because on a whim I sent the teen pop, zydeco, and bluegrass mixes of this song to his email addy – along with a zip file of Lightning Bolt’s Wonderful Rainbow – and a month later I got a freestyle tape from the guy where he’s freestyling about hobbits and unicorns and shit. I mean, he’s rhyming about buying coke from Shrek and hunting gnomes and Emerald City detainees testifying before Judge Wapner! Apparently our collabo – I Can’t Feel MySpace – has been downloaded 2,899 times, so even though you’ve yet to put your inimitable stamp on the track, it’s already blazin’ hot on the streets! Or Same thing.”

- ‘The Beauty of Sean Kingston’s ‘Beautiful Girls’(from ‘Excite the Feds’)

“Kingston gets involved in a relationship, goes to jail (OK, maybe that’s not so innocent) and then tries to work it out with the beauty. Of course, it doesn’t work and he’s “suicidal” over what she does to him – mentally, physically, etc. I’d like to think 99% of men were once at that point. Incarceration aside, the topic at hand is refreshingly blithe and universal. And just like Lil’ Mama’s excellent single “Lip Gloss,” Kingston uses no double entendres or blatant sexual euphemisms to appeal to an older crowd, making the song pure and that much more enjoyable.”

‘He Was Right, You Really Can’t Tell Him Nothing’(from ‘Until the Train Stops’)

“Kanye West is the most relevant rap artist in popular music today. Well, Timothy Mosley might argue otherwise, but he transcended rap—i.e. got sick of it—a long time ago. Then again, I’m sure ‘Ye would be disillusioned with rap too if he was surrounded by rappers the likes of Magoo and Sebastien (familial ties or not). But forget Curtis “Interscope” Jackson, and forget President Carter. Definitely forget Weezy F. Baby (please say the Baby!), who for all his recent MF Doom-meets-French surrealism-meets-southern-fried-rap verses has yet to make a meaningful dent outside of rap (though this could well change with Tha Carter III). Kanye is the one working with pop artists—and making good music with them—and is probably the only rapper under the lens of the mainstream who can honestly claim to be making important music. So Kanye West Singles are important events, and lend themselves to be endlessly critiqued. Because it’s not just the forthcoming Graduation that’s riding on the success of his singles—hip-hop is too.”

‘Astounding New Theory On Why Rap Sales are Sinking’(by Sacha Orenstein, from ‘Oh Word’)

“But I have a radical new theory. Something that’s going to crack this case wiiiiide open. This is something the industry has never even contemplated before. It’s proof that rap can be fixed if they listen. But what I’m going to say now will rock music to its very core…All current rappers are douchebags.”

‘Puritan Blister #27′(by William Bowers from

“A guy in Cosby sweaters with an appalling toupee, who talked constantly of Elvis’ singularity, had lent me his vinyl copies of Abbey Road and Let It Be, which I replayed and replayed, and which spun themselves in my brain while I did chores or rode to the corner store for bubble gum cigarettes on my thin, banana-shaped skateboard. After my mom broke up with him, he came by for the albums with a dour expression, refusing to enter, and making me pass him the records through the cracked screen door.”

Dunno if this is interesting to anybody but one of the hardest things about moving for only six weeks, was choosing which records to bring. I tried to make the rule “bring only 25% of your collection” but I ended up, somehow, bringing less than that. Anyways, I thought it was interesting to somebody, somewhere. I know I love lists no matter how boring or banal…

-Pete Rock – Petestrumentals
-Field Mob – So What Single
-Raekwon – Only Built 4 Cuban Linx
-J Dilla – The Shining Instrumentals
-Eric B & Rakim – Paid In Full
-dead prez – R.B.G
-Death Comet Crew – This Is RipHop
-Common – Resurrection
-Del Shannon – Runaway
-Emerson, Lake, & Palmer – Tarkus
-Gastr Del Soul – Camofleur
-Geto Boys – Mind Playing Tricks On Me Single
-Rolling Stones – Sticky Fingers
-Arthur Russell – Calling Out of Context
-Arthur Russell – World of Echo
-Keith Fullerton Whitman – Schoener Flussengel
-Modern Jazz Quartet – The Sheriff
-Marty Robbins – Gunfighter Ballads & Trail Songs
-Outkast – Elevators Single
-Nice & Smooth – Sometimes I Rhyme Slow Single
-Mount Eerie – With Wolves/In the World Single
-New Order – Substance
-Charlie Parker – Bird Is Free
-Camel – Rain Dances
-David Bowie – Heroes
-Gene Pitney – Looking Through the Eyes of Love
-Charlie Parker – Archive of Folk Music: Jazz Series Vol. 2
-Talk Talk – It’s My Life
-Donny Hathaway – Extension of a Man
-Fennesz – Live in Japan
-Goblin – Dawn of the Dead OST
-Gustav Mahler – Symphony No. 1
-Sven Libaek – Inner Space Compilation
-Thelonious Monk – It’s Monk’s Time
-Christopher Cross – Self-Titled
-Beach Boys – Surf’s Up
-Camel – A Live Record
-Spinners – Mighty Love

Written by Brandon

June 18th, 2007 at 7:20 pm

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Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah.
Yeah…another lazy post…sorry, I’ve been kind of busy…
-Armond White’s Review of ‘Knocked-Up’: Speaking of good in-theory, I have a similar ambivalence to ‘The 40 Year Old Virgin’ and what I’ve read and seen of ‘Knocked-Up’. I WANT to like these movies because I like the idea of offensive comedies that also deal with real emotions but I feel like these movies always fall short…they also have a weird predilection towards kind of offensive black jokes (which according to the linked review, happens in ‘Knocked-Up’ as well). I’m aware of Apatow’s career and I used to love ‘Freaks & Geeks’ but now I sort of see it as the kind of show that is a) only good becuase it’s on television (that’s like being the tallest midget) and b) makes its viewers feel smart. Anyways, Armond White’s review highlights a lot of my conflicts with these movies. Also, his unfair, curmudgeonly, asshole writing style is something I’ve no doubt, stolen a lot from…

-‘Excite the Feds: Wes, who commented on the Lil Wayne entry and works harder for his college newspaper than any one else EVER, started a blog. He’s got a good entry on Lil Wayne that acts as a kind of contrast to mine. Check it out.

-The Kanye ‘Can’t Tell Me Nothing’ Mixtape has got me excited as balls. Seriously. I take just about everything back that I said here and here. I’m going to have a review of it for Monday.

-Besides the Kanye mixtape, the only new thing I’ve been listening to is ‘Cendre’, a collaboration between electronic musician Christian Fennesz and composer Ryuichi Sakamoto. It’s basically Fennesz playing shards of electronic noise and buzz underneath Sakamoto’s super-clean piano playing. A lot of douchebags are worried about it because it sounds too “new age” and of course, that’s not very cool. The reality is, if you love this glitchy, farty-sounding, pleasant electronic music then you’d be full of shit to not like some (SOME) new age-ish type stuff. Fucking hypocrites. I couldn’t give two shits about Wilco anymore but it’s similar to people complaining that the new one sounds too close to the The Eagles. What’s wrong with that? Does everything have to be cool or avant-garde? Fuck everybody.

It also is hardly new-age music because it isn’t designed to make you relax. It’s really weird, even scary at times. Sakamoto plays some Three-Six Mafia-esque horror movie chords and when you put Fennesz’s bubbling menace of electronics underneath it…there aren’t a lot of good vibes. I think this was the intention of the album: make scary new-age music. Everything about it seems designed to offset one’s ears. Sakamoto’s piano is mixed way too high and Fennesz’s noise too low, so your ears are always bouncing back and forth, trying to hear one or drown-out the other and it really kinda fucks you up.

The only actual complaint about ‘Cendre’ is, it doesn’t make me want to gobble painkillers like sweet tarts and totally bliss-out like the other Fennesz releases. However, it is good for driving or walking, especially around 8:30-8:50 here in Forest Hill, Maryland, when the sun is setting and it gets grey-blue-orange out; what my friend Jesse called ‘Maryland Vice’…

Written by Brandon

June 1st, 2007 at 3:59 pm