Strong as the San Diego Street Scene lineup was, there was little doubt that seeing the National was my main event. (Side note: After Black Crowes canceled as the Saturday headliner, why not bump the National into that role instead of adding an old, withering Devo? Seriously, now. Devo?)
There’s really little doubt at this point — my fourth time seeing the National (though not once in my own home state) — that this is my favorite band, though I take some exception to the group all but abandoning pre-Alligator songs in its live set. At least give me Murder Me Rachael.
For what it’s worth, singer Matt Berninger looked like your college geology professor when they took the stage in San Diego — dark-rimmed glasses, navy blazer. It all looked very studious, until, of course, he became a tad unhinged during Abel.
For a more composed picture of Berninger, check out these performances from the Bandwidth podcast (via Stereogum). Here, Berninger remains calm — perhaps because he’s in a kitchen? — wearing dark glasses, like he’s singing himself out of a hangover.
As Delicious Vinyl continues to open its vaults for remixes far and wide, I’m torn at how to feel about it.
On the one hand, it’s a great way to breathe new life into older material and, more important, introduce these artists/albums to a new generation. But, at the risk of sounding like curmudgeon, can’t we leave well enough (or, in the Pharcyde’s case, perfect enough) alone?
Case in point: Hot Chip’s remix of Passin’ Me By. Weiss and I had a little back-and-forth about this one. I think it’s fair to call this track a classic, an influential hip-hop love story if ever there was one. So why risk its reputation in what turned out to be (in my opinion) a remix that sucks the soul out of the original?
That said, DJ Nu-Mark (formerly of Jurassic 5) then comes around and gives me faith in the art of the remix with his reworking of 4 Better or 4 Worse.
From the opening bars of the soulful piano line to the head-nodder of a beat, it simply feels like Nu-Mark had a better grasp of what the Pharcyde was about, like he’d been waiting for years to remix one of their tracks.
One of these days, I will post a Pharcyde all-remix post, as I’ve got a few gems on vinyl. Until then, enjoy Nu-Mark’s wizardry. And you can pick up the Runnin’/4 Better or 4 Worse single – with a cappellas and instrumentals – at eMusic.
The Pharcyde | 4 Better or 4 Worse (Nu-Mark remix)
I’ve been on a DJ Shadow kick of late since reading the 33 1/3 book on Endtroducing … . (In short: Informative but could have done without the Q-and-A format for the entire book; seemed to lack proper context for such an important record.)
So I spent some free time on Tuesday checking out solesides.com, always a favorite. That turned up a remix Shadow did for the Flobots song Handlebars.
To be honest, I haven’t spent enough time with Flobots – from Denver, home of one of my favorite bloggers – to really know what they’re about, but I heard their Tempe show earlier this summer was pretty packed. You can hear the original track at their MySpace. Is there much of a variation in the remix? I’m not hearing it.
A friend suggested that maybe Shadow phoned it in on this one. Thoughts?
Now I suppose you’re going to tell me there’s some unreleased version of Scenario floating around out there. Oh … whuh? Really?!
The news of this for any Tribe fan is amazing, considering Scenario was really a flashpoint for the group — they performed it on Arsenio! (Can I get a little for the Dog Pound!)
Seriously, if you wanna talk posse cuts, Scenario blew my mind. A Tribe Called Quest + Leaders of the New School? The possibilities seemed endless – sorry, this was before every friggin’ rap song featured someone. It was exciting to see Tribe share verses with Leaders and vice versa. Then there’s Busta Rhymes – still his best verse ever, just after he teases us in Q-Tip’s spot (“I heard you rushed and rushed and attacked.”).
That makes four versions of the song I have now – including the original and a couple remixes – and supposedly there’s another version. Damn. (I’ve also got the “cassingle.”)
I’m really glad Phife revisited his verse from this unreleased version. “I use nouns, adjectives, pronouns, verbs.” Yeeeeeah. Although, the Koko B. Ware name drop is priceless.
The band’s latest promo stop was on BBC’s Radio 1 Live Lounge, where they performed (with a string trio) two songs, including a cover of Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black. It’s a very sympathetic and endearing cover.
Clearly, Winehouse has the band’s respect if singer Guy Garvey’s introduction to the cover is any indication: “This song probably defines last couple years in British music. Also, it’s an opportunity to say the artist is someone who’s in the press an awful lot. And I think you should only go on your experience of people. Having met her a few times, I just know her to be a a very sweet girl who works very, very hard.”
Elbow | Back to Black (Amy Winehouse cover on Radio 1 Live Lounge)
Elbow | One Day Like This (on Radio 1 Live Lounge)
LL Cool J | Mama Said Knock You Out (DJ Z-Trip remix)
NOT REALLY RELATED AT ALL: I’m headed to New York on Monday for a week. For those that don’t know, I’ve worked at The Arizona Republic the past five-plus years (my second time around after working there part time in college). Well, that all ended after I took a job with MLB.com, the Web site (and its team sites) of Major League Baseball. Thus, my trip to New York for training.
I’ve already got some good recommendations for record stores for whatever spare time I’ll have. I’ll take any other suggestions for music, restaurants, shopping, etc. Unfortunately, I’m working nights, so I won’t get to any shows.
Besides feeling blessed for working for the professional league of the sport I’ve loved since I could wear a hat, this also means I’ll be doing some freelancing about town here, including for, yes, The Republic. My first bit of work was a review of the Kills show last Thursday.
If you grew up in the late ’80s/early ’90s, there was no avoiding Young MC’s Bust a Move. It was a hip-hop hit that crossed over to the highest degree – it might blow up and it did go pop. (Personally, I preferred Principal’s Office, but that’s neither here nor there.)
So it only seemed like a matter of time before Delicious Vinyl commissioned a little remix action on one of the biggest hits of its catalog. The label has digitally released Bust a Move RMXXS – no vowels is so cool – followed by a release on 12-inch vinyl. (Get the digitals at eMusic.)
Frenchman Don Rimini and Mad Decent’s Diplo update Bust a Move for the 21st century.
This is one of those cases where a remix isn’t really necessary, but if it draws a new generation of kids to the original, well, then I’m all for it. (Grab Marvin Young’s classic Stone Cold Rhymin’at eMusic.)