Thursday, June 30, 2016

#45 - El Venado

Doe—El Venado, a female El Venado. Ray—a drop of golden sun. Me. 

side one:
01. Saving All My Love For You - Whitney Houston
02. Dr. Glass - Deerhunter
03. Songs Without Words - Op.19, No. 6: Venetian Boat Song - Felix Mendelssohn; piano: Daniel Barenboim
04. Snakeskin - Deerhunter
05. Thinking About You - Whitney Houston
06. Songs Without Words - Op. 53, No. 6: Flight - Felix Mendelssohn; piano: Daniel Barenboim
07. Rainwater Cassette Exchange - Deerhunter
08. Indian Love Call - Fred Lowery
09. Didn't We Almost Have It All - Whitney Houston
10. Songs Without Words - Op. 85, No. 3: Delirium - Felix Mendelssohn; piano: Daniel Barenboim
11. Coronado - Deerhunter
12. Vox Celeste - Deerhunter
13. Songs Without Words - Op. 85, No. 4: Elegy - Felix Mendelssohn; piano: Daniel Barenboim
14. You Give Good Love - Whitney Houston
[ listen ]

side two:
01. Songs Without Words - Op. 30, No. 1: Contemplation - Felix Mendelssohn; piano: Daniel Barenboim
02. Punk (La Vie Antérieure) - Deerhunter
03. Sunrise Serenade - Fred Lowery
04. How Will I Know - Whitney Houston
05. Lake Somerset - Deerhunter
06. I Will Always Love You - Whitney Houston
07. Songs Without Words - Op. 67, No. 2: Lost Illusions - Felix Mendelssohn; piano: Daniel Barenboim
08. Neither of Us, Uncertainly - Deerhunter
09. Sentimental Journey - Fred Lowery
10. Where Do Broken Hearts Go - Whitney Houston
11. Songs Without Words - Op. 53, No. 3: Agitation - Felix Mendelssohn; piano: Daniel Barenboim
12. Moon Witch Cartridge - Deerhunter
13. Greatest Love of All - Whitney Houston
[ listen ]

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Alejandro Barrios Martinez / Conjunto Casino

Artist: Conjunto Casino
LP: Via Cuba
Song: "Si No Eres Tu (If You Aren't There)" 
[ listen ]

That mass shooting at the gay dance club in Orlando two weeks ago is still weighing on my mind. I bought a copy of People magazine at the grocery store the other day because it features profiles on those who died at the club that night. 

I don't normally read this magazine, and I swear I'll never read it again. It took me a while to even find the Orlando story as I leafed through the magazine's seemingly endless pages of trashy pop-culture reporting. I finally located their headlining article covering the mass murder of 49 club-goers sandwiched between a Trend Report on statement sleeves...

...and a detailed interview with Kim Kardashian about how she got her body back. 

The fact that the featured article about all the people who were massacred was buried beneath so much mind-numbing shit-fluff struck me as callous and offensive. Still, I read through the mini-biographies that People had gathered, half surprised that they didn't include a report on what each of the victims had been wearing at their time of death. The magazine's layout of incredibly brief biographical sketches on the victims concluded with this unsettling footnote: 

I felt terrible for Alejandro Barrios Martinez's grieving friends and relatives who might also have picked up a copy of People at the grocery store. And, of course, I wondered who this guy was. Why had People magazine not been able to find any information about him? Who knows.

Anyhow, according to his friend Sarai Torres who spoke with the Orlando Sentinel, Alejandro Barrios Martinez was a friendly and upbeat young man who came to the USA from Cuba just a few years ago. He was still learning to speak English and he always had a smile on his face. A report in the Bradenton Herald tells us that Alejandro expressed his fear of dying and also swore his everlasting love in the heartbreaking final messages he sent to his partner from the club. 

Alejandro's mother, who lives in Cuba, was swiftly granted a visa so she would be able to come to the U.S. to bury her son. 

The New York Times features detailed profiles, along with recollections by friends and family, of all 49 people who died at the club in Orlando; you can find those here. Conjunto Casino's "Si No Eres Tu (If You Aren't There)" from their 1957 "Via Cuba" LP is my meager tribute to Alejandro and the others who were killed in Orlando, and all those who were injured too, who I'm sure will be haunted by the memory. So pointless, so infuriating and so sad. 

[ Alejandro Barrios Martinez ]

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Hermanas Aguila

Artist: Hermanas Aguila
LP: Algo Diferente - Vol. II
Song: "De Colores"
[ listen ]
Song: "Algo Tonto" 
[ listen ]

Work has been pretty stressful lately. Today in the men's room there was a young man standing at the urinal who was using both his hands to send text messages on his phone while at the same time as he was urinating hands-free! This only added to my stress, somehow, and also made me wonder how many text messages I've received from men standing at urinals with their wieners out. Anyway, I'm finally back at home, and I'm relaxing to the grandmotherly Guadalajarian warblings of Hermanas Aguila, who do a lovely rendition of "Something Stupid." You can read about these beguiling Mexican ladies in English here and there's even more about them in español here

[ Marias Esperanza y Paz = Hermanas Aguila ]

Sunday, June 19, 2016

George Michael

Artist: George Michael
LP: 7" single
Song: "Father Figure" 
[ listen ]

While getting ready to post this one I kept feeling compelled to purchase overpriced '80s men's cologne. But where's the tear-open sampler scent strip? Happy Father's Day to fathers and father figures everywhere!

Saturday, June 18, 2016


Artist: Breathe
LP: 7" single
Song: "Hands to Heaven" 
[ listen ]

My friend Gene said he went to see the new Ryan Gosling picture with a date who wanted to see it, and it was so goddamn awful it made Gene want to stop dating the guy. I thought, "Oh, it can't be THAT bad." After all, it's got a rating of over 90% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes! But Gene was right. I went to see the film this morning, and now I don't want to date that guy either. 

Set in Los Angeles in 1977, the film involves two self-employed private dicks, both rough around the edges, who team up to find a missing girl who seems to have been somehow involved in artsy pornography and the American auto industry. Or she may just be trying to piss off her mother, who's the Los Angeles Country Prosecuting Attorney or something like that, played by a lifeless and completely unconvincing Kim Basinger (and I was really rooting for you, Kim—I loved 9½ WEEKS!). Anyway things get complicated and so there's lots of gunfire, and Ryan Gosling's nosy young daughter, who fluctuates between acting ages 7 and 35 (isn't that cute!) keeps getting in the way. There's no point in describing the plot further, but the film includes a number of typically "shocking" '70s Hollywood parties, a bunch of "witty banter," and people regularly plummeting from "balconies."

There's a scene in Ryan Gosling's daughter's bedroom where you can see four Nancy Drew mystery stories perched conspicuously on her bookshelf, as well as a huge Sex Pistols poster on the wall above her bed. Now I ask you. Were cutesy, meddling and precocious 13-year-old girls in 1977 L.A. already buying Sex Pistols posters to pin to their bedroom walls? This sort of thing plagues the entire film—it's all just kinda 'off.' Throughout—especially when it comes to the dialogue and behavior of the youngest members of the cast—you can see, hear, smell and feel careless, creepy, and overly-clever contributions by screenwriters, set decorators, wardrobe people, etc. all poking out like sore thumbs as Ryan Gosling, his mixed-up daughter, and that other guy, the Australian actor who's gone completely to seed, go running around on screen, dodging bullets and falling from balconies.

I shouldn't let this shitty film get me so wound up. I saw it early, right after breakfast, so it only cost $5. But how can I calm myself down? I know. I'll put my hands to heaven and Breathe.

[ gross! ]

[ Breathe ]

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Faron Young

Artist: Faron Young
LP: Limbo: Talk About Hits!
Song: "Don't Let the Stars Get In Your Eyes" 
[ listen ]

Faron Young's version of "Don't Let the Stars Get In Your Eyes" certainly has a lively spring in its step. According to the liner notes below, by the time Faron recorded the song for this 1959 "Talk About Hits!" LP, it had already propelled songwriter Slim Willett into the national spotlight after both Skeets McDonald and Perry Como took turns flinging it up the country and pop singles charts, respectively. The first time I ever heard the song was in the 1980s, when k.d. lang stuck a rendition on the back of her "Lock, Stock, and Teardrops" 45

Known as the Hillbilly Heartthrob, Faron Young had a string of country hits between 1952 and 1980, though his drinking and public behavior began getting out of hand toward the end of his career. He was charged with assault for spanking a girl in the audience at one of his concerts in West Virginia in 1972. Suffering from poor health and depression, Faron committed suicide at the end of 1996. You can read more about the Hillbilly Heartthrob here and go here to find his obituary in The NY Times.

[ Faron Young: February 25, 1932 — December 10, 1996 ]

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

The Feeling of Love

Artist: The Feeling of Love
LP: Petite tu es un Hit
Song: "Jailbait, I Need Free Entrance"
[ listen ]
Song: "Dad = Eat / Mum = Die" 
[ listen ]

The Feeling of Love is noisy, but they're not one of those typical and derivative noisy bands, as you can probably tell from their group photo included below. Most noisy bands pose like this (or sometimes like this, or even like this) because they're just usually not very clever. They pose the way bands are supposed to pose—especially if you've got tattoos! But not The Feeling of Love, who also sometimes pose like this and occasionally even like this. Admittedly, they have at times posed like this and, as a special favor to a deer friend, they did once pose like this. So, ya know.

[ The Feeling of Love ]

Monday, June 13, 2016

The Trinidad Serenaders w/ Mike Quashie

Artist: The Trinidad Serenaders
LP: Limbo: The Latest Party Dance Craze
Song: "Old Lady Walk a Mile and a Half" 
[ listen ]

If you've never thrown a limbo party of your own, I suggest you give it a try. You can just use a household mop or a broom. Limbo instructions are included below, along with notes and a demonstration by Mike Quashie, the original King of the Limbo from the 1950s, who holds the world's record for shuffling under the limbo bar when it's held just 7" off the ground. Mike's only real competition during his reign as Limbo King was former Topeka cheerleader Betsy Dalrymple (featured on the cover of this 1962 LP) while she was vacationing in Trinidad with her family in 1959. Miraculously, Betsy was able to scoot beneath the limbo bar at just 8" off the ground, despite having lost her right leg in the Kansas City carousel catastrophe of 1957. During her three-week stay in the Caribbean, Betsy's one-legged limbo routine dazzled fellow tourists and Trinidadians alike, as you might well imagine. 

There's a heartwarming New York Times City Room blog entry about Mike "King of Limbo" Quashie here, in which Mike and one of the dancers he worked with in his heyday reminisce together after being reunited in a Bronx nursing care facility. Of course now Mike's knees and back are totally shot, poor guy.

[ Mike Quashie — King of the Limbo ]