Saturday, March 31, 2007

Hip-Hop Nation Takes It On The Chin: Modest Mouse Debuts On The Charts At Number One

...not that I think that Modest Mouse is rock n' roll's ace in the hole but isn't it amazing that their new release 'We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank' (the title is indicative of how ponderous a lot of their songs are) debuts on this week's Billboard Top 100 @ #1? Who'da thunk? I mean if any single rock-friendly artist were to give The All-Powerful Hip-Hop Machine the heave-ho this week I would think it would be this year's suburban breakout band The Kaiser Chiefs. I'm listening to their 'Yours Truly, Angry Mob' right now as I write this and it's pretty fucking fun: The jagged guitar lines are sleek, the harmonies are a tad bubblegummy and it's all very retro-British Invasion, which is white hot right now,...they're either The Knack or The Raspberries of 2007. And trust me, that's not a dig...I'm all about The Knack and The Raspberries. All three bands have an unshakable sense of melodic horndog-white boy 'la-la' choruses and who doesn't love 3 minute power pop singalongs? 'The Angry Mob' is so catchy it's like a well-earned case of morning-after crabs. The Kaiser Chiefs have razorburns that The Killers can't muster but they'll never be mistaken for a nihilistic band like The Cockney Rejects. In other words they're easily digested anarchy.

Modest Mouse is a whole other animal however...they're more kissing cousins to Tom Waits and Captain Beefheart then to Chris Daughtry or Nickelback and they have almost nothing at all in common with smarmy, arch teenbait Fall Out Boy (praise god) other than a producer with a sketchy resume (Counting Crows?!). Isaac Brock's obsessions sound immediate and compulsively put right out there on the table in front of mom and god. I want to say that there's a New Sincerity afoot because The Arcade Fire wear their hearts on their sleeves as well but at this point I may merely be seeing what I want to see. In short, I'm encouraged by this spike in diversity on the charts. This week Top 40 hip-hop is just no damn good whatsoever...with the exception of Baby Boy Da Prince's 'This Is The Way I Live' which is so mushmouthed and drawly that you have to wonder if Baby Boy Da Prince can ever get it together enough to wipe his own damn ass. Off the charts is Houston MC Devin The Dude...who is so gacked on weed and malt liquor he pukes, cries and croons like a Christian Wingnut Country Cracker on his new c.d. 'Waitin' To Inhale'. It's all just so. wrong.

Let's see what else broke-ass Satisfaction Pony is listening to:

Macy Gray's 'Big'. Macy's a whole lotta crazy under that frosted wig. Reefer-wracked Macy Gray should chill down south with Devin The Dude, I'm sure they've got a lot to raspy jibber-jabber to yammer at each other, although they should maybe refrain from breeding for the good of the unborn souls in the queue. 'Big' has a lazy, string-laden 70's AM radio vibe going for it but the songs are just so...lazy. Every track but three feels like 'novelty'-ish Dr. Demento fodder. The three tracks worth the effort are 'Finally Made Me Happy', a duet with Natalie Cole that is so uncanny the twosome should consider future collaboration, 'Slowly' which is an actual song instead of MacyCrazy Shocktart shit, and 'Everybody' which is just flat-out Sly Stone anthem greatness. 'Everybody' is a mixtape must.

Joss Stone's 'Introducing Joss Stone'. Joss Stone can blow, dawg. Her phrasing is preternatural for a white woman her age...she has greatness in her. But right now she's a crashing bore. I can't even guess what's going on with her bogus, strip-mall Janis Joplin aesthetic but more than likely her 'Piece Of My Heart' duet w/ Missy Etheridge has a whole lot to do with it. It's all very unfortunate and I'm sure she'll pass through this phase and move on to better things. Thankfully, this time around she's blessed with a savvy producer, Raphael Saadiq, so her bland, bubblehead lyrics are repotted in some crisp Northern Soul backbeats. It all sounds so delicious but this poor creature has absolutely nothing to say for herself except for martianfart, pre-teen diary-doodle. She needs somebody to step in and give her some substance to back up that great big black-velvet voice of hers. And tired-ass, Bon Jovi bitch Diane Warren should stay the hell away from her. There are two stellar singles here: 'Tell Me 'Bout It' and 'Headturner'. 'Tell Me 'Bout It' would be the 'Crazy' of 2007 if it had a thought in its head but as it stands it's right up there with Amerie's 'One Thing' and that's good enough.

Devin The Dude's 'Waitin' To Inhale': Hysterical, disturbing...example: "This dick is so clean/You can serve it with lima beans"...this guy is something else. If Spank Rock and Devin The Dude are ever on the same Smokin' Grooves Tour I am So, So There.

Kings Of Leon's 'Because Of The Times': 'Fans' is jaw-dropping, arena-thumping, southern boogie greatness, maybe as transcendent as 'Sweet Home Alabama': It's just that raw. You've got to hear this track. You'll be pumping your fist in the air like the shop-class meathead you feared and loathed in high school. The rest of 'Because Of The Times' is just as good. These guys are mythic.

I guess that's all for now. Avril Lavigne's 'Girlfriend' isn't that bad but I don't want to talk about it. *shame*.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

From DJ Satisfaction Pony's Stack Of Stuff: Warlord/Death-Merchant Declares Homosexuality Immoral!

In a discussion with editors of the Chicago Tribune, General Peter Pace said, "I believe homosexual acts between two individuals are immoral and that [the U.S. military] should not condone immoral acts...I do not believe the United States is well served by a policy that says it is okay to be immoral in any way...As an individual, I would not want [acceptance of gay behavior] to be our policy."

Senator Sam Brownback (R-Kansas) chimed in with a resounding 'amen, brother!'. Senator Sam Brownback is a Republican candidate for 2008's Presidential election.

As of March 17th, 2007, more than 3,200 U.S. troops have died as we approach the fifth anniversary of the conflict in Iraq. In January of 2007, President Bush (who appointed General Pace as Chairman Of The Joint Chiefs Of Staff) put forth a plan to dispatch an additional 21,500 troops for duty in Iraq.

Jesus would do that...right?


So now that we're all being held hostage at gunpoint on the last Greyhound to Crazytown, I propose that we all put in our iPod ear-bud-thingys, close our eyes, and summon for ourselves a playlist that transports us to that zen-y zenith of transcendent insanity; that special place where nothing or nobody can hurt us anymore. Here's mine:

"Just A Friend", Biz Markie: "Youuuu/Got What I Need/But You Say He Just A Friend...". Funkless, tuneless, utterly batshit and yet it scaled the charts in 1989. I played it out the other night and the lesbians looked at each other, giggled, kinda smiled their mysterious, sexy little half-smiles and promptly got diiiiirty (NOTE: Doesn't take much these days). Oh, snap!

"Denis", Blondie: A mash note to unshowered Euro-skank replete w/ gratuitous French phrasology and girl-group 'bee-doo's. This track is like an aural Strawberry SlimFast brain-freeze and after the fade, if you're feeling a little more wordly but also just a tad're totally forgiven: Me too (bee-doo).

"Faith", The Boy Least Likely To: The world needs a jug-band rethink of George Michael's 'Faith' just as much as it needs Edie McClurg and Crunchberries. Absolutely essential.

"Attitude Dancing", Carly Simon: "It don't really matter if you stretch or shake..." The cowbell-banging Simon & Schuster publishing dynasty heiress advocates doing The Hully Gully in the mirror while trying on different attitudes. 'Haughty entitlement' works for me...PUBLISH MY ATTITUDE DANCING ASS!

"Home Is Where You're Happy", Charles Manson: Manson croons it up like he's Jack Jones (The Theme from 'Love Boat' guy) and you know what? I'm sold! Home is where you're happy! Where do I sign up?

"Sticky Green", Devin The Dude: Devin The Dude loves to blow weed and he's nice enough to teach us how to roll a blunt. I'm too shy to ask at parties and so my man Devin has done me a real service. Thanks, dude.

"So, Do The Zonk", Donna Loren: Yes, there's a comma that prefaces this directive to perform some sort of sinister, jerky, grunty, bottom-heavy routine to a song that name-checks exotic locales such as The Congo and Cucamonga. Does the comma imply that I have the option of doing The Zonk or not? Is Donna merely hinting that perhaps I should maybe consider doing The Zonk but if I opt out, that's perfectly fine? Why so nonchalant? Should I Zonk or not? So many questions...

"Around The World", DuJour: All issues addressed by this boy-band as fronted by Seth Green and featured in the horribly underrated big-screen adaptation of Josie & The Pussycats are ass-centric (download DuJour's "Backdoor Lover") and so I think we can all agree that this Top 40-friendly ode to analingus is about as subtle as a closeted Joint Chief Of Staff attacking that little piece of himself he hates most of all. Analingus should be celebrated, after all. I mean, at the end of the day, isn't that what Dusty Springfield's 'Breakfast In Bed' all about?

"Ballad Of Bitter Honey", Eef Barzelay: The song kicks off with: "That was my ass bouncing/Next to Ludacris" and after a troubling couplet reporting the effects of class disparity, Eef kicks into a twee 'bah-dah, bah-dah-bah-bum'. The whole thing is a miserable listening experience but I have to tip my hat to Eef and his balls-to-the -wall willingness to explore the outer limits of lyrical subject matter: He's a white guy plugging into the mindset of an MTV video rump-shaking hoochie momma. Quite a stretch, but he pulls it off.

More to come...

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

I'm Starting With The Man In The Mirror...

I've posted my profile pic (at the behest of absolutely no one) so you who've experienced DJ Satisfaction Pony in the flesh more than once can understand why I always wear hats. Look at that hair. LOOK AT IT! It's like some kinda fucked up comb-over that didn't quite get combed all the way over. The shit is kitty fur and once it makes contact with 'product' all kinds of follicular digressions result. If I had Vicodin at my disposal I'd pop one (to quell The Jimmie Leg) and get it all shaved off.

But Children Of Men put it all in perspective for me. Yeah, my hair refuses to co-operate but things could be much worse for me, for all of us. We could wake up one day only to discover that we're infertile illegal aliens scrounging for Strawberry Cough in a carbon blue dystopia (whatever you do, don't pull Michael Caine's finger!). Children Of Men had me riveted and I'm convinced that it is truly cinematic art on a par w/ Stanley Kubrick's Clockwork Orange, only twice as involving. Kubrick alienates me which I'm sure was his intention.

Everything about Children feels simultaneously new and old: Julianne Moore's band of terrorist insurgents are outfitted to resemble Spanish Civil War-era revolutionaries, London is all smoke-belching Dickensian but with hi-tech flourishes, and the soundtrack is flush with psychedelia, from Donovan to Deep Purple to Radiohead. I will never again hear 'Ruby Tuesday' without thinking of Jasper, Michael Caine's wonderful 'Shanti' chanting crank. John Lennon's 'Bring On The Lucie (Freeda People)' is featured over the closing credits and a song I once thought of as representative of Lennon's worst excesses is given an elegaic poignance. I still think a psychedelic set would wash in the right loungey setting which is why Children Of Men gives me hope that my 'Profoundly Incredible Tentacle' party will one day turn-on a whole new generation of drunks. Possibly there's a Human Project for d.j.s with well-intended but unmarketable ideas.

It's 69 degrees here in Brooklyn and I found an extra $20 in my wallet which never happens to me so, as of today, there's hope.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Heart Need Healing? Get A Load Of Jill Cunniff's 'City Beach'.

It troubles me that dead souls like Ann 'The Man' Coulter still have the power to hurt my feelings. As you may or may not know, she more or less called Democratic Presidential Candidate Jonathan Edwards a faggot, much to the delight of a roomful of neo-cons, and the resultant press coverage has clued me into the fact that a simple juvenile epithet such as 'faggot' still merits the subverted approval of the status quo. As a gay man I'm left to stew in my juices and marinate in self-pitying tuneage.

Jill Cunniff is balm in gilead for all that nonsense.

God knows I love Arcade Fire (more about 'Neon Bible' later...I'm still absorbing it, processing it, crying to it, cursing it...) but sometimes the heart just needs to unwind and throb without scrutiny or judgement and thats precisely what Luscious Jackson's Jill Cunniff allows for with her new Italian ice taste-treat, 'City Beach'. Clearly she's a healing creature and god bless her for that. All she wants to do is love us up like she's Mexico with some sweet, summertime lopey beats and gently psychedelic mind-diddling. It's like really good foreplay: Such a breath of fresh air as opposed to all the rampant dance-floor hating (sorry Lily Allen...I dig you but you do need to lighten the fuck up, you're like twelve or something after all).

I recommend 'City Beach' with a full heart. It's a reason to get out of bed and set yourself up with some Lucky Charms and jelly toast during these drowsy-grey, late-winter days of black slush and big city hater-ade.