Friday, April 28, 2006

Here Diamanda Galás, and She's PISSED!

Four tracks from Diamanda Galás' live performance of Plague Mass: 1984-End of Epidemic.

The pieces (some of which can be called songs) are:
  • Were You a Witness [Part 1]
  • I Wake Up and I See the Face of the Devil [Part 1]
  • Let Us Praise the Masters of Slow Death
  • Let My People Go

A bit about Galás , mostly lifted from Wikipedia's article on her:
"Diamanda Galás (born August 29, 1955) is an American-born avant-garde performance artist, vocalist, and composer known for her distinctive, operatic voice, which has a three and a half octave range; Galás has been described as "capable of the most unnerving vocal terror". Her pieces are constructed from the ululation of traditional Mediterranean keening...whispers, shrieks, and moans; she often howls, and seems to imitate glossolalia in her performances.

"Her work first garnered widespread attention with the controversial 1991 live recording of the album Plague Mass in the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine in New York. With it, Galás attacked the Roman Catholic Church for its indifference to AIDS using biblical texts. In the words of Terrorizor Magazine, "The church was made to burn with sound, not fire." Plague Mass was a live rendition of excerpts from her same-titled trilogy which began as a response/homage/indictment to the multitudinous effects of AIDS upon the silent class - of which her brother was a member."

I had not listened to the Plague Mass in a few years and I was surprised that it was more moving now than ever, particularly the political commentaries. With the recording having been made years before protease inhibitors rendered AIDS less fearsome--a tamed, treatable chronic illness, not the death sentence it was in the 80's--I wondered if its urgency and relevance might have been diminished. But this is not the case; AIDS was not cured, but instead subdued, facilitating apathy in a world already fatigued from caring about HIV/AIDS.

Her blistering attack on government, drug companies, the church and individual listeners for their apathy, greed, intolerance and bigotry is a message whose obsolesence we should welcome, as it can only be irrelevent when we reach what Galás envisioned in the album's subtitle : the end of the epidemic.

Plague Mass can be moving, fascinating and sometimes almost comical, but it's not exactly danceable or easy to listen to; still I hope you will get some enjoyment out of these tracks.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Trapped in the Oven pt. 1



For ribs:

1/2 cup margarita mix
1/2 Orange juice (not fresh squeezed)

For rub:

Brown sugar
Chile Powder
Garlic powder
Thyme (ground)

For glaze:

1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon espresso powder/instant coffee crystals
1/3 teaspoon cayenne

For posterity (i.e. for when I inevitably lose the photocopy I have of this recipe). First, the rub: the recipe I have says 5 parts brown sugar, 3 parts chile powder, 1 part garlic powder, 1/2 part thyme, 1/4 part cayenne, and 1/4 allspice. I like mine spicier than sweet, so I only use 2 parts brown sugar and then jack up the cayenne and garlic powder. I think it can be pretty improvisatory anyway.

Rinse the rack of ribs and pat dry with paper towels, then thoroughly rub on that rub. Put meat side down on a big ol' sheet of foil and fold to create a packet. Fold long sides into the middle of the ribs first, and then fold up the short sides. Refrigerate for 6-12 hours, sleep, party, get hungry, etc.

When you're ready to roll, preheat the oven to 350 and get out the rib packet. Unroll one end and pour in the margarita mix + orange juice. Reseal, swish around, and put in oven (middle) in a roasting pan (or whatever's handy, it shouldn't get too messy because of the foil). Cook for 1 hour, then reduce heat to 250 and cook for another 2 hours. Turn on a movie, perhaps Kansas City.

Now remove from oven, unroll one end of the packet, and drain the juice into a sauce pan. Add the honey, ketchup, worcestershire, espresso powder (or rather the Folger's instant coffee crystals that I had to substitute), and cayenne. I pretty much free-handed these ingredients and it worked out fine. Bring the mixture to a boil, whisking frequently until "reduced to a glaze that coats a spoon."

Move oven rack to the next-to-top position and turn on the broiler (high if you have a choice). Cut the ribs into four equal sections using kitchen shears and place meat-side up on pan. Brush with the glaze and then broil for 2-3 minutes. Reglaze and repeat until the ribs are "a dark mahogany color". Careful, it seems like the top is apt to blacken pretty quickly at this point. Flip 'em bone side up, glaze, and broil for another minute.

Serve with mashed potatoes or fries and then enjoy the food coma.

Note: Even though the recipe is for one rack of ribs, I was able to use pretty much the quantity of ingredients specified for the rub and glaze for two full racks.

Monday, April 24, 2006


"Try to Make It" by Sloan

Saturday, April 22, 2006

OMG this weather!

Friday, April 21, 2006

Madison Pizza Dough


1 cup lukewarm water
2 1/2 tsp yeast
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
4 cups flour
1 tb olive oil

cheese (optional)
red peppers (optional)
red pepper-infused olive oil (optional)

We usually let the dough rise in the oven with the heat off but the light on. Never roll it out, just stretch it out in/on the pan by hand. Then make some motherfuckin' pizza.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Giving Jordan The Knife

Jordan, here is the repost of that Knife song Jenny posted. It prompted me to download the whole album (which is freaking great), so I am posting my current favorite song off of it as well. "They said there was a communist in the family. I had to wear a mask."

The Knife - We Share Our Mother's Health

The Knife - Forest Families

Friday, April 14, 2006

Just Don't Go Getting Face Tats After This

So here's the Earth Crisis song I really like and where I indirectly got my ILX name from. Objectively, this is very bad hardcore. Heavy-handed, po-faced, and not particularly inventive. Nonetheless, this band serves a similar purpose to the Darkness for me. Granted, they are completely different in their aims, but they are both possibly ironic listens for others that are completely unironic for me. Anyway, this is mostly for those who had no point of reference for the conversation we were having. The rest of you can simply laugh at me.

Earth Crisis - Firestorm/Forged in the Flames

Saturday, April 08, 2006

We Share Our Mother's Health

People, this is my cut, my jam, my favorite song right now. I DARE you not to dance:

The Knife: We Share Our Mother's Health

She's Poetry in Motion

Friday, April 07, 2006

A taste of the Fake Fictions

For Evan:

The Fake Fictions: We Could Destroy You

Bring On Da Funk

Wichita Lineman - The Meters :)
Here's the Meters version of "Wichita Lineman." I guess I like it better than the original, but I haven't heard either very many times.

The Very Best of Booker T. & The MG's
John, this one's for you. I'm expecting only the best in journalistic excellence!

Also, if anyone has "She's a Bad Mama Jama," I would be SUPER GRATEFUL for a blog post of it. Was it you, Kenan, who was talking about it some time ago?

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Every Last Windmill Shall Fall - The Kent Randell Reggae SEX-plosion

This is a (for lack of a better description) "bedroom pop" record made by my friend Kent Randell in I think 1999 or 2000. Most instruments are played by Kent with some friends filling in on random parts. He's a big fan of Radiohead, Neutral Milk Hotel, Heavy Vegetable, and Finland. This record actually garnered a positive review from Buddyhead, which is no mean feat. It has many folky, rocky, and noisy parts, as well as reggae parts envisioned by a white guy who doesn't really like reggae. Lots of fun.

This is self-released, and I'm pretty sure he would be excited as hell to have new people hearing his stuff, so no worries about copyright issues. If for some reason he finds this and is pissed: Kent, I authorize you to kick me in the nuts next time our paths cross.

He has put out some other recordings under the same name. ELWSF website:

YSI link: here


And after all...

Mike Flowers Pops, "Wonderwall"

You all know I have a major soft spot for lounge-pop, and this is one of the best kitschy easy-listening cover songs I've heard -- partially because the Oasis original is already sort of devoid of meaning. Mike Flowers, who took this version to #2 on the UK charts mere months after the original came out, pinpoints the silliness of the chorus as he makes that final line -- "You're my wonderwall" -- sound like a Saturday-morning cartoon theme, complete with peppy instrumental punctuation.

Ryan Adams, "Wonderwall"

Ryan Adams, on the other hand, goes in the opposite direction with his cover, treating the song with even more po-faced determination than the Gallagher brothers do. The effect this has is sort of interesting: it's both incredibly and hauntingly pretty (oh man, the fingerpicking plus the desolate atmospherics: swoon city) and also, as Adams strains the vowels on "maaaay-beeeee," nearly as camp as Mike Flowers. The first time I heard it, I was stoned and it was kind of the best thing ever.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Introduction to Wu-Tang & Ghostface (Killah)

Amanda, this is for you...

Here is the mix that introduced me to the Wu-Tang Clan (just this past summer!). It was made for me by Boomer, one of the fine gentlemen over at Hyde Park Records. I swear, that place saved me from even deeper depression than I did experience during the summer. Here's hoping for a better one in '06...

Wu-Tang Clan: Ain't Nothin' To Fuck With

1. Bring Da Ruckus
2. Da Mystery of Chessboxin'
3. C.R.E.A.M.
4. Iron Maiden (Ghostface)
5. Daytona 500 (Ghostface)
6. Tical (Method Man)
7. Release Yo' Delf (Method Man)
8. Shimmy Shimmy Ya (Ol' Dirty Bastard)
9. Baby C'mon (ODB)
10. The Stomp (ODB)
11. Liquid Swords (GZA/Genius)
12. Cold World (GZA/Genius)
13. Knuckleheadz (Raekwon)
14. Criminology (Raekwon)
15. Reunited
16. Triumph

The first 3 are from the first Clan album, and the last 2 are from the second, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) and Forever, respectively. Of course, the names in parentheses are the names of the Wu members upon whose records (solo debuts all, except in GZA's case, where Liquid Swords was his second album but first to come out after the Wu-Tang was formed and released their debut) the songs appear. I included some of this information in the iTunes tags, but whatever. So, yeah, if any of those songs tickle your fancy, you'll know who to get into next.

As far as the other members go, Inspectah Deck is great on Clan songs (he provides the opening verse on "Reunited), and I have yet to really explore his solo stuff, although I've heard it's less strong. U-God has the deep, robotic voice, and apparently has really shitty solo output. Also very good on group records, though. Masta Killa is kind of forgettable except for the fact that almost all of his verses contain some permutation of his own name (e.g. "looks like the work of a master"). Even he has a hot verse or two, though. RZA is the one who sounds like he has marbles in his mouth and a sore throat. He's actually my 3rd favorite Wu MC, after Ghostface and Method Man, respectively.

The "concept" behind this mix is that it encompasses all the biggest singles from the first two group records as well as the solo records released between them, which all came out during a period of about 4 years, between '93 and '97. So basically, this is the first generation of Wu releases, where everything is of pretty much only the highest quality. After this, things become more uneven, except for Ghostface, who is pretty much always on point.

So I've included some of my favorite songs from his later releases. Supreme Clientele is his sophomore album and widely acknowledged best (although I'm not COMPLETELY sure I agree, but probably). "Cherchez LaGhost" was the big single from the album, and "One" is just insane. "Run" is from Pretty Toney, which came out in 2004 and is his most recent before Fishscale, the new one (and fifth total, Fishscale, that is. I'm totally skipping Bulletproof Wallets, his third and least known to me and also kind of recognized as his worst). It's [larry david voice] pretty... pretty... pretty... pretty RAW. [/larry] The last 3 Ghost tracks are from his newest one, Fishscale. "The Champ" and "Be Easy" are my current favorites, but I also included "Whip You With A Strap" to show his more sensitive side. He's got the widest range of them all, and "Strap" is a pretty funny and real song. Brings back memories. Don't worry, I'm okay now. :-)

Cherchez LaGhost (from Supreme Clientele)

One (from Supreme Clientele)

Run (feat. Jadakiss) (from The Pretty Toney Album)

The Champ (from Fishscale)

Be Easy (feat. Trife) (from Fishscale)

Whip You With A Strap (from Fishscale)


P.S. Please let me know if you have problems with any of this stuff, as I've been having a bit of trouble with StuffIt (mostly in getting it to actually compress things as opposed to just saving folders as .zip files).