Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Playlist/212: Jesse Fox Mayshark

OK, guys. Since I know so many people with far more eclectic music taste than yours truly (which, admittedly, is not that difficult so long as your library goes beyond Bananarama and Blondie ...), I thought it would be fun to start a regular PLAYLIST feature, highlighting what my friends and loved ones are listening to. I hope you enjoy ...

Our debut list comes from my pal Jesse Fox Mayshark, who -- among many other things -- writes for No Depression and Metro Pulse. Jesse writes:

No particular pattern or theme here, it's just stuff I like & have been listening to lately. You can listen to the whole mix above or in a new window HERE.

1. “The Recession (Intro)” Young Jeezy
Title track from the new Jeezy. “It's a RECESSION/Everybody broke” -- he won't even make it rain (“Bitch, is you insane?”). When the gangsters are cutting back, you know it's bad. (The real news on the album comes at the end, with the much anticipated Young Jeezy presidential endorsement. Who needs Colin Powell?)

2. “Metrosexual” Amandititita
My favorite music-video channel these days is mun2, which is a lot of Mexican and Spanish-language pop, rap and rock mixed in with an oddball assortment of English-language stuff. There's plenty of crap, but there's also things like this. Amandititita, whose name I cannot spell, is a chunky-sassy nu-New Wave chica who mixes Mexican folk music (dig the accordion) in with her pop-rock. I'm not sure what this song's about. Metrosexuals, I guess. Video: HERE.

3. “I Wanna Be Your Gun” The Mayflies USA
Underappreciated '90s power-poppers, the Mayflies were (are? not sure if they're still around) a North Carolina quartet with a Big Star/Teenage Fanclub-type vibe. Nice melodies, sweet harmonies, lots of chiming guitars. “I don't want a shot/I just wanna be your gun”.

4. “Steely” Marnie Stern
Marnie Stern is one of my favorite things of the last few years: noisy naive/visionary indie guitar heroine. Like if the Breeders were actually Rush or something. All the guitars and voices are by her; drumming is by Zach Hill. “I'm like a raging animation...” This is from her new album, which is called (take a breath) “This Is It and I Am It and You Are It and So Is That and He Is It and She Is It and It Is It and That Is That.” Play it loud.

5. “Keyrum Yfir Island” Sprengjuhollin
There's supposed to be an umlaut over the o there, because they're from Iceland. Which I hear was a nice place until they crashed their banking system. Oh well. They've got their health – all those fish must help -– and they've got stuff like this: catchy Nordic mod-rock, like a track from Wes Anderson's lost Viking epic. I'm sure the lyrics are about girls, scarves, herring or credit default swaps.

6. “You Got to Feel It” Lonnie & Floyd
I'm not sure who Lonnie & Floyd are or exactly how this ended up on my hard drive (honest, officer), but it's a nice piece of '60s Southern soul.

7. “Is'alni Ana” Sofia Marikh
Sofia Marikh is from Casablanca, but she got to be a star via some Lebanese TV show that sounds like a combination of “American Idol” and “Making the Band.” Like a lot of Arab pop, it's more pop than Arab – lots of club beats and synthesizers -- but the melodies and vocal inflections all scan as Middle Eastern. Video HERE.

8. “Break the Token” Mellow Candle
Stumbled on these guys a little while ago while looking for something else. Irish prog-folk-rock. They only released this one album, in 1972. The female hippie harmonies are sort of Mamas-and-Papas-ish, the music is in the ballpark of Fairport Convention/Pentangle/etc. I like.

9. “Would You Lay With Me (in a Field of Stone)” Tanya Tucker
Love this song. Sort of goth-country - “field of stone” sounds very sepulchral. And, uh, “wipe the blood away from my dying hand”? Written by outlaw crazy-man David Allan Coe, sung by a 16-year-old Tanya Tucker. It's pretty foreboding for a romantic ballad, but that's Tanya. Other songs of hers I considered putting on here were the one where a drunk dies in the street trying to find his daughter (“What's Your Mama's Name?”); the one where a 10-year-old watches her father kill her mother and the man she's cheatin' with (“Blood Red and Going Down”); and the one where a sweet young thing grows up to be a prison nurse so she can murder the inmate who raped her (“No Man's Land”). Welcome to the Real America.

10. “Hey Jude” Assagai
And to end on a gladder note, from 1971, a ridiculously cheerful South African transposition of the Beatles tune. Assagai were one of several offshoots of the fantastic '60s Cape Town jazz band the Blue Notes, who fled apartheid for exile in Europe. Take a sad song and make it better.

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