Travel Tunes: Kíla: Suas Síos

Kíla's music has been a huge part of my life for decades.

In January of 2015, I was preparing to travel to Costa Rica, and Nicaragua to take some time away from the damp of a British Colombian winter and undertake a bit of travel writing. I'd read online that Kíla had a new album ready to pop. I was desperate to have a copy of it to use as my soundtrack for my 14-day trek. Contacting the band via Twitter and, later, by email, I explained to them how important their music was in my life and that, a trip to a new continent needed to be accompanied by their new music.

Three days before I was set to fly away from Vancouver Island, a small parcel from Ireland showed up in the post: it was a CD copy of Suas Síos. I quickly ripped it to throw on my iPhone and sent them an emailed thank-you which I'm pretty sure wasn't nearly eloquent enough to capture my gratitude.

The woman, who is now my partner in life, was working in Costa Rica as a dive master. We've been together for close to five years now, and married for almost three of those. I consider Suas Síos the album and, consequentially, Suas Síos the song, to be good luck charms, of sorts. I never leave the house for a pop down to the shop or an adventure like our upcoming trip to Morocco, without them.

I hear tell that Kíla's got a new album on the way. Read the rest

Perfection: "Frère Jacques" featuring Ricky Gervais' infectious laughter

A delightful moment of "Frère Jacques" performed by composer Luke Thering and comedian Ricky Gervais. More of Luke and Ricky below:

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Singer/Songwriter Kirsty MacColl was killed 19 years ago this week

Many may only know her voice from hearing The Pogues' Fairytale of New York, but beyond that timeless tune, Kirsty MacColl's career as a singer and songwriter was as full and respected as you're bound to hear of. She was lost to us, at the age of 41, close to two decades ago, this week.

While on holiday in Mexico with her partner and children, MacColl was killed, and by some accounts murdered while on a diving excursion, off the coast of Cozumel. According to the Irish Post, a  boat entered the warded-off area where MacColl was surfacing from a scuba dive, at high speed, striking her light out of this world. She'd still be with us if she hadn't, as a final act, pushed her 15-year old son out of the path of the speeding boat. The vessel belonged to a Mexican multimillionaire. When's there's money had, a coverup may be bought: It's rumored that the boat's owner was the one driving it when MacColl was killed. However, one of his employees was paid to take the fall for him.

Fortunately, her music lives on. In this documentary, the BBC explores MacColl's career with insights from Shane MacGowan, Billy Bragg, Johnny Marr, Bono, French & Saunders and Steve Lillywhite. Read the rest

I miss ska-punk

Funny how I can understand all the words now.

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Watch Wham's "Last Christmas", the second-worst Christmas song, in gorgeously remastered 4K

A symphony in polyester sweaters and feathered mullets, now in splendid 4K. [via Input] Read the rest

Listen to Brian Eno's beautiful cover of Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire"

In 1990, Brian Eno and John Cale made a wonderful experimental pop/art rock record called Wrong Way Up, released by Warner Bros. Records. At the time, the label would send out 7" records to alt.rock/college radio stations to promote their new releases. The promo series, called Soil Samples, featured different artists on each side of the record performing songs that weren't included on their new albums.

Above is Brian Eno's contribution to Soil Samples #3, a sublime cover of Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire," originally written by June Carter and Merle Kilgore.

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Private equity looters startled to be called out by name in Taylor Swift award-acceptance speech

Taylor Swift has been embroiled in a terrible dispute with Scooter Braun, who acquired Swift's former label for $300m, delivering him control over Swift's first six albums. Swift says that Braun had bullied and tormented her for years, and that the owner of her original label, Scott Borchetta, had sold the label to him in order to punish Swift. Read the rest

Ki ki ki, ma ma ma

In honor of today, please enjoy Harry Manfedini's "Overlay of Evil/Main Title" from the score to Friday the 13th (1980). And as a bonus, here is the evolution of Jason Vorhees's handsome mug:

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Whole album just the sound of classic mechanical keyboards being typed on

Taeha Types' Mechanical Keyboard Sounds: Recordings Of Bespoke And Customised Mechanical Keyboards is the album of the year. Roaring into life with the kinetic Apple M011A and the hard-rocking Chicory KB5160AT, it gives way to the delicate ballad Fjell before leaping into the perennial classic HHKB Pro. Granted, some tracks on the flipside might be filler material—the poppy Keycult No1-65 lacks energy and IBM P70 has all the hallmarks of a slapdash b-side, but it all comes together nicely in the soaring Verne, sure to be a spring hit. Read the rest

DJ Riko is back with the 18th annual Merry Mixmas mashup album!

We love DJ Rijo's annual Merry Mixmas albums, and for the 18th consecutive year, the legendary mashup DJ has released an album-length mashup of Christmas rarities (MP3), just in time for your holiday parties! Read the rest

Trains perform Pachelbel's "Canon in D Major"

Vigilant trainspotters will notice Thomas the Tank Engine sitting in with these real world trains. Delightful editing by Pavel Jirásek using source material from the video below (and elsewhere):

(via The Kid Should See This and Kottke) Read the rest

Minor Problem: a punk anthem about Donald Trump's mockery of Greta Thunberg

Balazs Sarkadi from the Hungarian band Bankrupt ("a refreshingly energetic blend of 90s indie, hip hop and punk rock") writes, "President Trump mocked Greta Thunberg in a recent tweet, which sparkled the idea of a song in which he elaborates his point of view on climate change in a Twitter rant addressed to Greta. The mash-up music video of Minor Problem by Bankrupt is a funny and at the same time cringey compilation of Trump's most awkward moments and loosely associated footage. Read the rest

"Let it Go," sung in Klingon

Jen "Klingon Pop Warrior" Usellis records covers of pop songs, translated into Klingon, the apex of which is surely her rendition of "Let it Go" ("yIbuSQo'") from Frozen. (via Borderlands) Read the rest

Listen to Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross's minimalist cover of David Bowie's "Life on Mars?"

This lovely cover was heard in the seventh episode of the new Watchmen TV show, titled "An Almost Religious Awe." The track will appear on Reznor and Ross's album "Watchmen: Vol. 3 (Music from the HBO Series)" due out December 16.

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Johnny Depp producing a musical about Michael Jackson's sequined glove

Johnny Depp is producing a musical about Michael Jackson's sequined glove. Well, it's actually about Jackson's life but told from the perspective of the glove. Surprise, the Jackson estate has not authorized this production. Titled "For the Love of a Glove: An Unauthorized Musical Fable About the Life of Michael Jackson, As Told By His Glove," the musical opens in Los Angeles on January 25. From Broadway.com:

The musical is described as a "look into the strange forces that shaped Michael and the scandals that bedeviled his reputation." (Playwright Julien) Nitzberg first collaborated with Depp's production group, Infinitum Nihil, on a biopic about 1960s singer Tiny Tim.

For the Love of a Glove will open in advance of Broadway's new Michael Jackson musical, MJ, which will feature a book by two-time Pulitzer winner Lynn Nottage (crafted with the blessing of Jackson's estate) and direction/choreography by Christopher Wheeldon (and starring Ephraim Sykes).

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Short documentary about famous live concert bootlegger

Today is Black Friday Record Store Day and The National released a three-cassette box set titled The National: Juicy Sonic Magic, Live in Berkeley, September 24-25, 2018. But this isn't a typical soundboard recording. The National commissioned archivist Erik Flannigan to record their shows using techniques developed by famed bootlegger Mike "The Mic" Millard who died in 1994. Millard's recordings of concerts by the likes of Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, the Rolling Stones -- which he never sold himself, although they were sometimes resold by others -- are considered some of the greatest concert bootlegs of all time. Above, a short documentary by Flannigan and filmmaker David DuBois about Mallard's life's work and The National's release. The illustrations are by my pal Jess Rotter, animated by Eben McCue. In the liner notes, Flannigan wrote:

Millard’s legend is built in part on the cunning and subterfuge he used to get his nearly 15-pound cassette deck and microphones into venues like the The Forum, Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, and The Roxy.

For years I have pondered what made Millard’s recordings so good, and eventually I had an idea: What if you recorded a concert today with the same equipment Millard used in 1977? Would it sound like his tapes? Would it tap into his Midas touch?

The National was kind enough to let us test the Millard Method for two concerts at the Greek Theatre in Berkeley, California last September. These live recordings were made with vintage AKG 451E microphones and a restored Nakamichi 550 cassette deck which are identical to those used by Millard circa 1975-81.

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Sale on the Voyager Golden Record LP and CD sets and The Family Acid: California photobook!

After producing the Voyager Golden Record: 40th Anniversary Edition, my buddy Tim Daly and I launched a record/publishing label, Ozma Records, to publish creative works at the intersection of science, art, music, and consciousness. Today through Monday, we're having a special holiday sale on all of our releases! This is a rare opportunity to save 15% on the Voyager Golden Record 3xLP Box Set, the Voyager Golden Record 2xCD-Book edition, and our new limited photobook The Family Acid: California!

Voyager Golden Record 3xLP Box Set

In 1977, NASA launched two spacecraft, Voyager 1 and 2, on a grand tour of the solar system and into the mysteries of interstellar space. Attached to each of these probes is a golden phonograph record containing a message for any extraterrestrial intelligence that might encounter it, perhaps billions of years from now. Experience the Voyager Record the way it was meant to be played.

• Three translucent gold 140 gram vinyl LPs, containing all of the original Voyager Record audio, in poly-lined paper sleeves • Three heavyweight jackets, gold ink on black • Full-color 96-page softcover book containing all images included on the original Voyager Interstellar Record, gallery of images transmitted back from the Voyager probes, and a new essay by Timothy Ferris, producer of the original golden record • Gold foil print of Voyager Golden Record cover diagram, archival paper, 12" x 12" • Voyager trajectories turntable slipmat, gold ink on black felt • Full-color plastic digital download card for all audio of the Voyager Golden Record (MP3 or FLAC formats) • Housed in a deluxe record box with pull-ribbon, gold ink on black • Includes free Voyager Golden Record diagram pin! Read the rest

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