11.18.2008

Charts and Graphs: Huey Lewis and Mya Edition

A new theme for the blog will be charts and graphs.  Enjoy.



(click on an image to enlarge)
(nod to Greg for the Mya idea!)

11.16.2008

My Favorite Documentaries about Music

1) Latcho Drom
Seemingly an ethnomusicologist's rite of passage, Tony Gatlif's film tells the story of the historical journey of the Romani peoples through glimpses at musicians in action in contemporary daily life. Moving westerly from India to Spain/Portugal, the viewer gets glimpses and sounds from the various musical traditions that have developed over time, a large part due to the Romani's influence.

I was obviously most attracted to the Gypsy-Swing portion, and I think Gatlif was, as well. His 2002 film, Swing, showcases this music culture while telling a coming-of-age story. For another great music documentary about this music style, check out DJANGOMANIA! - a fantastic look at the international appeal of the Romani's brand of jazz, made most famous by Django.

2) The Devil and Daniel Johnston
A great look at "Outsider Music," in general, and a good talk piece for how various people articulate and negotiate the term "genius" in relationship to musical production.


3) Danielson: A Family Movie (or, Make a Joyful Noise HERE)
A fantastic glimpse into the wide world of music where artists, fans, critics, and institutions engage in discourse about musical style and issues of religious belief (read: why I'm still in school).  The Danielson Famile (sic.) are members of a family and are members of a band.  Beyond that, definitions get interesting.  It's great fun to watch people's reactions to the band and the ways in which both the band and others attempt to classify Danielson in terms of both their musical genre and relationship to Christianity.  Also, for some of you fans, there are several Sufjan sightings.


4) Young @ Heart
While a bit of a sap-fest, this movie is still pretty hilarious, provoking, and inspiring.  While it really deals much more with issues of aging and loss, it certainly has a core musical thrust that is quite amazing.  Watch the trailer below to get the gist of the plot, but for those that want a reminder or a spoiler for those who haven't seen it, check out this climactic scene that you have to see the whole film to truly appreciate.

5) DiG!
A great look at how idiotic rock stars can be.  The film highlights the ups and downs of two bands, The Dandy Warhols and The Brian Jonestown Massacre.  I'm not a fan of either group and the movie left me feeling even further from their music and especially their personalities, but the movie itself is a compelling investigation of vanity, substance abuse, and image in relation to the music biz.  If you doubt their ridiculousness, check out their attempt to get a sweet  record  deal at an industry showcase.  


Honorable Mentions: Moog, and in the same vein, Theremin: An Electronic Odyssey, as mentioned, DJANGOMANIA!, Saturday Night/Sunday Morning: The Travels of Gatemouth Moore, (hope your nearest University has a copy of it) and Air Guitar in Oulu (not Air Guitar Nation).

Intentionally Absent: Buena Vista Social Club and The Last Waltz

Your move TR.

11.13.2008

My Favorite Maps

I've always been interested in maps and geography.  So much so that I would bite out the shapes of all 50 states from one piece of American cheese as a kid (I'm not kidding).  So, here are a few of my favorite maps.  Many can be found at strangemaps - a great blog!  Maybe if pH still reads this blog he can add some others.

1) Area Codes In Which Ludacris Claims to Have Hoes
There is a great write-up about this here.

2) Music Map of the United States
View big here.
Looks pretty good. However, I think they forgot Speed Garage somewhere in California.

3) Generic Names for Soft Drinks by County
I'm sure you've seen this, but it is pretty awesome.  If there was a way to isolate my house, it would be skewed by my dad's use of "Pepsi" to refer to all soft drinks.

4) Prevalence of States Mentioned in Country-Music Lyrics
I was shocked there's no mention of New Hampshire in Country!

5) Percentage of Light Hair in Europe
This is mainly to challenge my wife's claim to Swedish ancestry.

11.10.2008

Jazz Guitarists I Like...And Music You Might Use For Sleeping or Studying

Just so you know...

1) Wes Montgomery: He's to me as Django was to Emmet Ray. Love the thumb and especially the octaves!


2) Ed Bickert: Unbelievably beautiful comping. Check him out with Paul Desmond on Pure Desmond!.


3) Lenny Breau: My favorite at artificial harmonics. And comping for himself.


4) Ted Greene: Great harmonic grips.


5) Django Reinhardt: Duh. I did a fairly extensive transcription of this solo even noting his left hand fingering should anyone be interested.


Sure there's some obvious omissions. Next in line would be something like: Joe Pass, Grant Green, Howard Roberts, Charlie Christian, Jim Hall, etc. I guess I lean towards some of the standard "greats." I also lean towards some fingerstyle, dense compers like Breau and Greene. Two other great fingerstyle players: Tommy Crook and Martin Taylor (best guitarist name ever). Biggest shocker: two Tele players in the top 5! It also appears I lean away from some newer, more out there stuff. No negativity towards that. Just preference. Hope you enjoy some of the music.