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ft. the beatles, aretha franklin, neil young, dr. dre, serge gainsbourg, duke ellington, the kinks, jimi hendrix, pavement, the clash, smog, the smiths, al green, the rolling stones, cat power, dusty springfield, yo la tengo, antony, wilco, elvis, talking heads, elliott smith, r.e.m., ray charles, otis redding, the monochrome set, randy newman, the cure, gillian welch, queen, stevie wonder & more


"mtv makes me want to smoke crack." -beck


see the archives & a random post


"i just happen to be here, and it's okay." -caetano veloso


"sing a simple song but keep the swing strong." -de la soul


"think straight, keep a clean plate." -joanna newsom


"keep a clean nose, watch the plain-clothes." -bob dylan


"keep your feet warm, but keep your clothes on." -harry nilsson


"it took me about three or four weeks to toilet train my cat, nightlife. most of the time is spent moving the box very gradually to the bathroom." -charles mingus


"think about something else. was art tatum talented?" - shoot the piano player


"she had a chihuahua named carlos that had some kind of skin disease and was totally blind." -tom waits


"he had a huge room with nothing in it except this huge vast hammond organ, right next door to the police." -david bowie


"he's got a mind like a sewer, and a heart like a fridge" -elvis costello


"you can't hold the hand of a rock 'n' roll man." -joni mitchell


"lou's jukebox spun for love and many other things, too – beauty, pain, history, courage, mystery" - laurie anderson


"hey there, hey now, well, you can make a pacemaker blink, easy thing, make a man's heart go bibbity bom. -john cale


"i’ve still got things inside me, sad things, happy things, that people don’t know about." -loretta lynn


"to try to maximize the relationship of listening to a record through promotion is like experiencing driving a car by reading about stimulus programs." -bonnie 'prince' billy


"after cheesecake with all of your friends and family, who's gonna front the bill? me... say you want to take first-class trips, well i want to work those first-class hips. yes i do." -r. kelly


"too much cheesecake too soon! old money's better than new" -roxy music


"my mother used to tell me about vibrations. to think that invisible feelings, invisible vibrations existed scared me to death." -brian wilson


"i'm a lunatic, and you are so super cool." - george jones


"i'm an idiot for you." -iggy pop


"i mean every letter in the words in the sentences of my quotes." -lil' wayne


"lyrics choochoo from my mouth like locomotion." - pato banton


"i'm going to boogie my scruples away." -lowell george


"i drive a rolls-royce, cause it's good for my voice." -t.rex


"i'm dealing in rock and roll. i'm not a bonafide human being." -phil spector


"phil approached me with a bottle of kosher red wine in one hand and a .45 in the other, put his arm around my shoulder and shoved the revolver into my neck and said, 'leonard, i love you.' i said, 'i hope you do, phil.'" -leonard cohen


"they’d whisper at each other and look at phil and whisper at each other. finally this lady, tanked, comes over to phil and says, 'alright, sonny, what’s your problem?' and he said, 'premature ejaculation, what’s yours?'" -tom wolfe


"i bite my nails and if that fails i go get myself stoned, but when i do i think of you and head myself back home." -gram parsons


"i would say groucho marx, to name one thing, and willie mays, and the second movement of the jupiter symphony, and louis armstrong’s recording of potatohead blues, swedish movies, naturally. sentimental education by flaubert, marlon brando, frank sinatra, those incredible apples and pears by cézanne, the crabs at sam wo’s, tracy’s face." -woody allen


"where have you been all my life?" -emmylou harris, to my brother tommy


brian eno songs that will make good book titles for my 10-volume memoir, in order: here he comes, baby's on fire, golden hours, brutal ardour, taking tiger mountain, events in dense fog, through hollow lands, some of them are old, everything merges with the night, dead finks don’t talk


ry cooder albums that every man should own: into the purple valley, boomer's story, paradise and lunch


"really, we don't want people twiddling their goatees over our stuff." -radiohead


thelonious monk's middle name: sphere


#1 song on the white album (tie): long long long, happiness is a warm gun


"the only word is love." -john lennon


"i love songs about horses, railroads, land, judgment day, family, hard times, whiskey, courtship, marriage, adultery, separation, murder, war, prison, rambling, damnation, home, salvation, death, pride, humor, piety, rebellion, patriotism, larceny, determination, tragedy, rowdiness, heartbreak and love. and mother. and god." -johnny cash


"i could even find it in my heart to love mike love." -belle & sebastian


"the moon is clear, the sky is bright, i'm happy as the horse's shite." -the pogues


"i hope that you all out there, young, old, tall, short, fat or thin, quick or slow, no matter what kind or color or shape or person you are, if you like to make music, why, go ahead.” -pete seeger


"chuck berry isn't merely the greatest of the rock and rollers, or rather, there's nothing mere about it. say rather that unless we can somehow recycle the concept of the great artist so that it supports chuck berry as well as it does marcel proust, we might as well trash it." -robert christgau


mashable says about us: "expect the unexpected with this awesome gem. groovy." and 33 1/3: "nice to have someone steer me in a worthwhile direction"


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the olden days: 2008 j. f. m. a. m. j. j. a. s. o. n. d. 2009 j. f. m. a. m. j. j. a. s. o. n. d. 2010 j. f. m. a. m. j. j. a. s. o. n. d. 2011 j. f. m. a. m. j. j. a. s. o. n. d. 2012 j. f. m. a. m. j. j. a. s. o. n. d. 2013 j. f. m. a. m. j. j. a. s. o. n. d. 2014 j. f.


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#982: furry lewis - furry lewis’ blues and other songs (1/2) (1968)

when furry lewis says at the beginning of this mysterious and wildly beautiful film, “i’m going to give you furry lewis’ blues tonight,” it’s true for two reasons. the first is that the first song of the twelve wildly beautiful ones he plays is called furry lewis’ blues, not mr. furry’s blues or even furry’s blues from the late-1920s recordings that you know and love. instead it is filthy and sly, like early chuck berry songs—and like chuck berry furry plays furiously: when he really gets going, with four fingers and a slide pulsing on the fifth, the guitar sounds like awestruck. 

"i’ve got a new way of spelling memphis tennessee: double-m double-e great god a y nor z," he says twice, and both times it’s thrilling. and then he starts hitting his guitar as beautifully as anything that’s ever been hit. 

it’s also funny because “furry lewis’ blues” also means furry lewis is playing his own music, which is as true as joni mitchell played hers. and joni mitchell singing jazz-rock choruses about furry lewis singing the blues isn’t close to furry lewis actually singing it. 

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#801: joni mitchell, mama cass, and mary travers - i shall be released (1969)

whoa.

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#754: joni mitchell - my old man (live, 1970)

i’ve been feeling a lot feelings about joni mitchell’s feelings lately.

even her monosyllabic lyrics are dandelions: the way she sings the my in my old man the second time around is the best pronunciation of the word in live music history.

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joni mitchell in 1968: i cropped out a smiling and mustachioed david crosby from this photograph, out of respect for his bandmate graham nash’s pretty song about her, our house, and, more importantly, for what his other bandmate stephen stills does to the second half of her song blonde in the bleachers.

joni mitchell in 1968: i cropped out a smiling and mustachioed david crosby from this photograph, out of respect for his bandmate graham nash’s pretty song about her, our house, and, more importantly, for what his other bandmate stephen stills does to the second half of her song blonde in the bleachers.

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any woman who could stand next to good old rick danko with arms akimbo and pursed lips is either joni mitchell or a very cold lady or both.
update: i am sitting here at the otherwise empty roy’s pizza on eighth avenue, where, i kid you not, beethoven’s late quartets are playing on the radio, and it’s dawning on me that joni mitchell’s arms are crossed and not on her hips, and therefore are not “arms akimbo.” we regret the error and our umbudswoman will be looking into the matter immediately.
update 2: well, someone named scott rafer noticed the error as well and is none too pleased. unless his twitter photo is a gag, mr. rafer seems to like sitting with his hands folded near his chin into one of those hand bridges so that he can better concentrate on criticizing the nouns that other people plunk into captions of nice mid-70s photos.

any woman who could stand next to good old rick danko with arms akimbo and pursed lips is either joni mitchell or a very cold lady or both.

update: i am sitting here at the otherwise empty roy’s pizza on eighth avenue, where, i kid you not, beethoven’s late quartets are playing on the radio, and it’s dawning on me that joni mitchell’s arms are crossed and not on her hips, and therefore are not “arms akimbo.” we regret the error and our umbudswoman will be looking into the matter immediately.

update 2: well, someone named scott rafer noticed the error as well and is none too pleased. unless his twitter photo is a gag, mr. rafer seems to like sitting with his hands folded near his chin into one of those hand bridges so that he can better concentrate on criticizing the nouns that other people plunk into captions of nice mid-70s photos.

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Neil Young Helpless w/ The Band
by ivaxavi

#53: the band (with neil young) - helpless (1976)

wouldn’t you know it, martin scorsese made this film while handling a serious cocaine addiction. and was the band using with him? actually, backstage there was a room painted white, decorated with noses from plastic masks. an audio tape of sniffing sounds played on a tape. seriously. really. truly.

when neil young came out to sing helpless, he had the most famous glob of cocaine in rock history hanging from his nostrils (which was erased by scorsese in post-production). that didn’t stop mr. young from being as gorgeously delicate as always, singing a velvet canadian harmony with joni mitchell, who has hidden off-stage behind a curtain.

legend has it that the band kept her hidden because her complex romantic dalliances with the musicians were bumming everyone out. but the band has since claimed that it was only so that her later appearance in the show, singing three songs solo, would be more exciting. all things considered, it’s probably because she was a wildwoman.

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good band picture #6: before cat power’s bangs there were joni mitchell’s bangs… and all joni mitchell ever wanted to do was knit you a sweater and make you feel better, to talk to you and shampoo you and renew you. because you’re her cause, and when she thinks of your kisses her mind see-saws.

good band picture #6: before cat power’s bangs there were joni mitchell’s bangs… and all joni mitchell ever wanted to do was knit you a sweater and make you feel better, to talk to you and shampoo you and renew you. because you’re her cause, and when she thinks of your kisses her mind see-saws.

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#32: joni mitchell - california (1970)

today i’m in a serious joni mitchell mood. and that might be a problem if you, the viewer, don’t happen to be. what if you see this and think, “pffmmmph, joni mitchell?” if that’s the case, then shame on you, sir, shame on you.

maybe she comes up in my mind today because herbie hancock’s “river: the joni letters” was named album of the year last night at the grammys—or maybe it’s because of this romantic week? or maybe it’s because today is the coldest, sharpest, most melancholy day of the year so far.

in any case, joni mitchell’s long hair, pink dress, appalachian dulcimer and hippy falsetto is enough to make you believe in holiness, at least the holiness of the state of california, which seems very far away right now.

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#16: joanna newsom - clam, crab, cockle, cowrie (2007)

last night i saw one of the most ecstatic, lovely shows of my life. this is what i wrote for the new york observer:

The hummingbird-voiced harpist Joanna Newsom played the first of two shows with the Brooklyn Philharmonic at BAM last night, and it wasn’t cutesy or quirky or kitschy.

It was glorious.

But four years ago, when she was 22 years and two months old, Ms. Newsom’s debut, The Milk Eyed Mender, an album of squeaky folk yarns about bridges, balloons, beans, books, peaches and plums, came awfully close to irritating. Here, the whimsical top-of-her-range squeals (“But ships! are fallible, I say/ And the naut!ical, like all things, fades”) were gone, and her soprano and harp glistened together.

Her album Ys, a five-song epic named for a flooded mythical city, was huge and pristine onstage: violins, voices, the harp, horns and harmonies shook and bent and swelled together until everything bulged and burst, and bubbled up again.

Whimsey is out, grandeur is in. The orchestra, arranged by the pop maestro Van Dyke Parks (he collaborated with Brian Wilson, produced Ry Cooder’s debut, and once declined to join the Byrds), has turned Ms. Newsom’s music around. She now sounds less like Joni Mitchell and more like Duke Ellington.

And, oh, did the beautiful Brooklyn audience like it. There were three standing ovations from the swooning young crowd. In the span of five rows, Amy Poehler and Seth Meyers sat with Andy Samberg (rumored to be dating Ms. Newsom); David Byrne was dressed in white with a yellow helmet, and was that Francis Ford Coppola filling out a BAM questionnaire alone?

The orchestra left for the second half, when her band—a drummer and a violinist who both sang, plus a banjo player that sometimes switched to a tambura—played old songs and two new ones. It was even prettier: “Inflammatory Writ,” the most irritating song on Milk Eyed Mender, had a honky-tonk lull; “Clam, Crab, Cockle, Cowrie” became a Tom Waits-worthy lullaby.

Even the banter was good. In the second set, the barefoot drummer held up an Obama shirt: “He has a more liberal voting record, more progressive, than Kucinich, even!” Ms. Newsom said. “My friend Jamie went to Nevada. We really love Barack Obama.”

“If anyone wants to talk,” the drummer said, “if you’re leaning in the other direction, just give me 30 seconds. I went door to door in Iowa!”

The world tour for Ys, backed by different local orchestras, ends tonight at BAM’s Howard Gilman Opera House.

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