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July 02, 2010


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Sal C

Throw Debris by the Faces in there while you're at it:

And this beautiful one by Fairport Convention as well:

As Neil Young once said, "It's all one song, man."


Actually, this song is built around a sample of "Can You Get to That" from Funkadelic's Maggot Brain album. Proof: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8rrOdcnFbAY

Glenn Kenny

@ Rodney: Indeed it is. A chord change that resembles the one from the Newman record, which also predates that of the Funkadelic. And as it happens, I know EXACTLY where my copy of "Maggot Brain" is. However, note that the post is called "Thoughts on first hearing," not "Thoughts on hearing and then doing some digging into finding the exact provenance of the sample," etcetera, etcetera. The way the Sleigh Bells tune loops the chord change makes it sound a lot more like "Something" than "Can You..."

In any event, I'm sure all this is lost on any number of the Twitterific Kidz™ who have been dribbling over the tune of late. And also, what Sal C said Neil Young said.

Ed Howard

Funkadelic >>>> pretty much everything else

I've been listening to them, especially Maggot Brain, so much lately.


I'm not sure what your ongoing war against Twitter has to do with "Rill Rill." It's a terrific song, it's been a shitty year and I couldn't really ask for more right now.

In other words, I'm not going contrarian. For once.

jim emerson

I don't know why but I've always associated "Something in the Air" with "Spirit in the Sky." The titles, sure, but I figure it must have had something to do with 1969 and those spacey guitars and those names: Thunderclap Newman, Norman Greenbaum, which sounded like one-hit Wonder Jews to me. Love those songs.


Loving the whole Sleigh Bells album... even if I like the rougher, sparer version of this song (then called "Ring Ring") that was leaked last year. Fave album so far in a weak year.

Chris O.

I've always liked Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers' rendition of "Something In The Air" as well. It's faithful, but with more cymbals. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QJoZ2cvA3pE

Chris O.

Sorry, that one had a technical glitch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2OUCpKzMAbQ

Glenn Kenny

@ Vadim: Relax, kind sir. As Billy Batts says to Tommy in "Goodfellas," "I was just bustin' balls a little." As I expected the "™" might have indicated. And if I can't bust balls on my own g-ddamn blog, then where, oh where, CAN I bust balls? As it happens, I think "Rill Rill" is a cute little ditty. That happens to sound like a few other cute little ditties. Making such observations is one way I get my kicks. Another, on occasion, is cheap sarcasm. And if I'm actually in a war against Twitter, I've already lost. Several times over.

@ Jim: Funny, I never put those two songs together. Completely non-complementary chords/keys, thematic affinities aside. I guess in certain ways I make associations based on music more than words/themes. Which is interesting. To me.


Sorry, I've been punchy today. Just moved and am on *very* thin ice financially because of the move/deposit. (It mostly sounds like The Soft Bulletin to me, honestly.)

But have you heard These New Puritans' "We Want War"? A seven-and-a-half minute epic equally influenced by Steve Reich and Benjamin Britten, featuring taiko drums? It's pretty unprecedented in my opinion.

Jack Gibbs

Unprecedented? Sounds like someone learned the lessons of Radiohead, and didn't get a passing grade. And I can't fucking stand Radiohead. Unprecedented? Van Dyke Parks. There are countless bands who have been influenced by Steve Reich, and other 20th Century composers (John Cale wasn't just goofing around in The Dream Syndicate and Faust weren't just having a laugh when they recorded numerous hours of music with Tony Conrad. Or Kevin Shields etc etc), but what many of those do get is that it still has to be good. The allusion ain't enough.

Both of these, Sleigh Bells and These New Puritans, sound like the aural equivilant of staring at the emperors naked ass. Reference rock. Or, trend rock.

Jack Gibbs

FYI "someone" = TNP, not Vadim.

Jonathan W.

Cute song indeed. And an ok album (made up of meh songs and better songs that they had already released) that's primarily saccharine, though a kind of saccharine that can sustain a vaguely interesting argument about aesthetics - noise as noise vs. noise as ballast for teen-pop. This coming from someone who loves Kevin Drumm's Sheer Hellish Miasma as much as Miley Cyrus's "Party in the USA" (though unfortunately not her other stuff that I've heard).

Yeah, yeah, yeah, dying music/this year isn't stellar...always the same comment. Lots of fantastic reissues, as always - Sublime Frequencies especially is on a roll this year, also as always, and the Human Skab collection is vital - and great new things from Fabulous Diamonds, Big Blood, Ariel Pink, Tonetta, Jeremy Jay, Little Women, Zs, E-40 (his Day Shift album, not Night Shift), Dum Dum Girls, Sun Araw, Wolfgang Voigt...the list could go on. I just don't like seeing "this is an off year" posts. I guess this reads as "look at my taste", in part, but good music is worth mentioning.


I can't really get that worked up about it. Of course, every band on the fucking planet references Steve Reich if they want to seem like good scholars (up to and including Phoenix, of all people), or one of the other stand-bys — Satie, John Cage, whatever — but the idea of Benjamin Britten of all people was what sucked me in. That is not someone I hear being integrated very often, and I was more surprised to learn they weren't kidding. I don't expect much in the way of originality, but as a synthetic compound that was different.

Then again, I've never gotten so worked up about any piece of music ever to refer to it as "the emperors naked ass," so carry on.

Glenn Kenny

Yeah, I think I'll check out these Puritans fellas on Vadim's recommendation. I remember back in the day, when I was a younger man, and I and my arty buddies would get all excited over the fact that David van Tiegham was playing with Steve Reich AND Laurie Anderson AND Peter Gordon's Love of Life Orchestra at the same time, more or less. The contemporary classical and semi-popular music worlds were, for all intents and purposes, merging, which made us guys who had the Deutsche Gramaphone recording of "Drumming" on vinyl very excited indeed! The Performing Garage was...happening! In any event, inasmuch as popular culture applies to me at all anymore, I do like a band with a scholarly bent. Always did. And I'm chuffed in a kind of sentimental way (among other ways) to contemplate the fact that this season's Next Wave festival at BAM will feature performances by Anderson...and My Lovely Wife (the latter as part of the ensemble for Mikel Rouse's "Gravity Radio," speaking of artists who merge worlds).

Jack Gibbs

If there was a field of criticism where overzealous hyperbole is an established form music criticism is it. Can't say I was too worked up, just a turn of phrase. New clothes and all that. That said, I still think both Sleigh Bells and These New Puritans are empty. References and allusions mean nothing if the songs stink. And to these ears...

And if people didn't get worked up over music, much like they do about movies or Emily Gould, we wouldn't still be enjoying Bangs, or Giddins or Christgau or Coley (talk about a fall from grace) etc etc today.

Chris O.

Speaking of Anderson, Zorn...


(Not to be the D.Z. of Some Came Running. Sorry, Glenn... just realized this is the third or fourth link I've posted in the last couple of weeks. They're usually apt, though.)

Glenn Kenny

No sweat, Chris O., that's a pretty funny story. Hey, I didn't know JD Considine had moved to Canada...

I also like the comment from the guy who called the concert (of course) "pretentious, elitist" what have you. "Yes, there were those who claimed to enjoy the cacophony of discordant noise lacking melody, style, beauty or skill." Wow, you'd think the guy had never in his life heard "Sister Ray." And if he hadn't, what on earth was he doing there?

Chris O.

"Sister Ray" brings to mind Tom Wilson, which reminds of "Like A Rolling Stone", which prompts me to quip... maybe this'll be free jazz's "Dylan-at-Newport" moment. But somehow I doubt it.

Jack Gibbs

I think free jazz's Dylan at Newport moment may have been Ornette Coleman at The Five Spot in '59. We may be 50 years too late for that moment to be happening now. And if it is only happening now, well, 2012 can't come soon enough.

Chris O.

The '59 story could make for an interesting little film. Someone should get on that.

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