Thursday, June 28, 2007


No-one really knows how the song known to millions as "Popcorn" originated. Yes, ancient people, but which ones? Even native American Indians who have performed the song for ages admit that the Great Elders brought them the song. Who were these Great Elders? Indian ancestors? An ancient, forgotten race? Some have even interpreted this to mean that space aliens gave mankind the tune, claiming that no human artistry could produce a song so catchy. In any case, when Western settlers first arrived in America, they heard a version that sounded something like this:

Cab City Combo - Indiancorn

Explorers quickly took the song back to Europe, where it became a drawing-room favorite. The song was known by many names at first, but the phrase "Popcorn," a phonetic version of the Indian words, become the most commonly used.

Trios corpo di Bacco: "Popcorn" (European folk version)

Meanwhile, rural American musicians, upon hearing the Indian versions, started performing the song on folk instruments. It became a hillbilly standard.

Tom Adams "Popcorn" (banjo version)
GlasBlasSing Quintett: "Popcorn" (jug-band version, excerpt)

In Europe, it was spreading from the drawing rooms to the most elegant ballrooms and concert halls. The king of Luxembourg demanded it played at all royal festivals.

Boston Pops: "Popcorn" (orchestral version)

As the 20th Century dawned, New Orleans-based musicians playing a new style called "jazz" adopted it for trumpet. Supposedly, Louis Armstrong would play it, but only after smoking far too many reefers.

Vincent Malone: "Popcorn" (very retarded trumpet version)

Performances of the song were getting increasingly upbeat and danceable. In the Big Band era, it was an a oft-requested dance orchestra number, one of those "songs that got us through World War II."

Tokyo Kosei Wind Orchestra: "Popcorn"

By now, a snack (made from corn kernels) named after the song was becoming popular, and in the '50s and '60s, the youth were going mad for a new hard-driving style called "rock'n'roll." Once again, "Popcorn" was said to be the driving influence behind the movement. Even as greasy-haired rockers proclaimed "Popcorn is the MOST, daddy-o," politicians were investigating the song's powerful hold. Some even declared it to be a Communist plot. But that didn't stop it from being the soundtrack to countless beach parties, toga parties, hullabaloos, and shindigs.

Treble Spankers: "Popcorn" (surf version)

The invention of the synthesizer brought the song a new burst of popularity in the late '60s and early '70s. One electronic music pioneer, Gershon Kingsely, even gave himself writing credit when the song appeared on albums by his First Moog Quartet. Previously, it had been considered folkloric, "traditional."

First Moog Quartet: "Popcorn" (Moog version)

The '80s and '90s brought r'n'b, rap, techno, and reggae dancehall into the clubs. Not surprisingly, "Popcorn" was considered the inspiration: Afrika Bambatta insisted that "Popcorn" was the blueprint for hip-hop. In Chicago, clubs would play the song over and over for as long as six hours each night, waiting for house music to be invented.

RIAA: "Here Comes The Hot Butter" (Ini Kamoze's "Here Comes The Hot Stepper" vs Hot Butter's electro version of "Popcorn")

Even Britney Spears has the song to thank for one of her biggest hits:

Master Cylinder: "Oh Baby, More Popcorn"

"Popcorn" is, of course, still poppin' to this day. This was only a very rough sketch of the song's development. Hopefully, the recently announced Harvard University Department of Popcorn Studies will shed further light on the immortal tune.

(The preceding work of fiction was inspired by the amazingly thorough Popcorn-Song website, which details everything you need to know about the song. WFMU's Popcorn page doesn't have much info, but it does have alot of mp3s.)

Monday, June 25, 2007

BOOTWERK - A Bastard Pop Tribute To Kraftwerk

Here's a various-artists mashup collection inspired by one of my favorite boyhood bands (not to be confused with boy-bands!), techno-pop pioneers Kraftwerk. Germany's finest really are one of the most visionary groups in history. For decades they were cutting-edge, anticipating a remarkable number of genres and movements - starting with '70s prog, on to New Wave, hip-hop, and eventually rave, they were always relevant and seemed slightly ahead of their time.

Times have caught up with them - home computers aren't quite as futuristic a concept now as they were in 1979 - but those old records have aged very well, if ya ax me.

"Bootwerk" features a host of internet stars (and M4M faves) like Earlybird, DJ Zebra, Dunproofin', ATOM, and ToToM dragging Ralf, Florian and the gang into the new millennium.

RIAA: (Models Gotta) Fight For Their Right (To Mambo) - Kraftwerk - The Model vs. Beastie Boys - Fight For Your Right vs. Tito Puente - Oye Como Va. Probly sounds better after a few mojitos.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Beach Blanket Bootlegs

Here's A non-stop dance party mix of the best surf music mashups the web has to offer.

Beach Blanket Bootleg

(intro) RIAA - Holiday Inn: Cambodia
LCO - Rock Lobster Taffy
Party Ben - Wipeout Taffy
RIAA - Tricky Wipeout
The Who Boys - Fun & Bass
RIAA - Can't Touch This Surfin Safari
Pilchard - High5Music
BuG - Wiggle in Hawaii
The Who Boys - A Song Called Bob
King Cutters - Surf Route Dub Down 101
MarkJ - John B's Holiday
Instamatic - Godlife
DJ Entropy - Rockin Down The Girls
dublxero - Energency of Kokomo
SlackJawedLocal - You Know My Number
Eve Massacre - Red Alert Bird
Messur Chups - Trashmen Upgrade
JetSetAlex - I Like Nitro
DJ Clive$ter - Hawaiian Krupa
RIAA - Aloha Rock

Friday, June 22, 2007


Had a request to put this back on line. I did...last week. And I forgot to mention it here. DUH.

Here is the original post. Or if you just want the music, here's a zip file of the whole album:

"Moog Breakbeats"

I didn't remember exactly how the original album went, but here's how it goes now:

01 Electronic Concept Orchestra - Grazin In The Grass
02 Walter Sear - Love Child
03 Enoch Light - Pass and I'll Call You
04 Herbie Mann - Pick Up The Pieces
05 The Moog Machine - Jumpin Jack Flash
06 Jerry Styner and Larry Brown - Orbit III
07 John Murtaugh - Slinky
08 les baxter - rachmaninoff prelude in c# minor
09 Robert Byrne - Donna
10 Zeet Band - Gimme 5 Cents Worth Of Love
11 Martin Denny - Yellow Bird
12 claude denjean - na na hey hey kiss him goodbye
13 Enoch Light - Sittin On The Dock of the Bay
14 Hugo Montenegro - Yo Yo
15 Sounds Galactic - Spinning Wheel
16 The John Keating Space Experience - Solitaire
17 Electronic Concept Orchestra - Mah Na Mah Na

For something I just threw together after hearing Robert Moog had died, this certainly has been popular. Perhaps that's not too surprising considering how criminally little of this music has been reissued on CD.

Thursday, June 21, 2007


A black country band?

Cowboy Soul are just that. Some might call these guys the worst kind of Uncle Tom sell-outs. But I think they're keepin' it real, dawg: as we discussed back on the Cowboy Troy post (see the comments), an examination of early American folk music shows plenty of back-and-forth between black musicians and their hillbilly neighbors. The music industry's practice of segregation created the artificial distinction between blues, cowboy and hillbilly styles, or, as the music biz renamed them "race" and "country/western" musics.

From Leadbelly's "I Am A Western Cowboy," to Ray Charles, Charlie Pride, and Los Angeles' own Cowboy Soul, black folks keep butting into country music whether it likes it or not. It's still weird, though, seeing five bruthas, including one in dreads, sporting cowboy hats, string ties and vests, and singing country songs. I just saw these guys today as part of downtown LA's Pershing Square free summer concert series (how's this for rapid reporting, folks?) and I can assure you - they're no joke. No "crossover" rap or drum machine songs, no gimmicky novelties. Just straight-ahead gee-tar twang.

Cowboy Soul - "Worse 20 Minutes": Funny, and quite catchy actually.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


"Porn for the Blind is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to producing audio descriptions of sample movie clips from adult web sites."

Eighth Street Latinas

From Cambridge, MA - home of Harvard University...

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


For some utterly silly reason, Tim from Radio Clash asked if I had a copy of "Bugs and Friends Sing The Beatles," a collection of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Elmer Fudd, and other Warner Bros. cartoon characters singing the Fab Four. Why would he think I could possibly own such a ridiculous album? I mean, I do, but that's besides the point! Honestly, I've been meaning to trade it in for something serious. Maybe some Leonard Cohen. That's how serious I am.

Well, since I went to the trouble of pulling out this album and ripping some of the tracks to mp3, I may as well post one. And so, with a scowl, I present this very serious Beatles song, disgracefully obliterated by an Acme truckload of cartoon sound effects.

The Roadrunner: "The Long and Winding Road"

I shall now return to reading Nietzsche. Good day.

Friday, June 15, 2007


Everyone thought that the Internet would bring a wealth of variety to the culture. Yeah, well, there's a million music blogs out there now and they all write about the same things. People are still sheep - that hasn't changed. For instance, who else is writing about the Venezuelan electronica scene? WHO, I ax ya? Just Music For Maniacs. Damn straight.

HUGE Hefner is the hombre who hepped us to the kooky cumbia cover of John Lennon's "Imagine" a while back (for which there is now a video). Now he unleashes _HELIOS.EXE on us gringos with an on-line EP courtesy of the 'net-label FanZinatra. Supposedly, all the songs are remixes of the same song "Kissing Time" ("Besande el Tiempo") but since each track has such a radically different sound you'd never know it. The first "tune" obliterates the sweet female, almost Chipmunky, vocals with such a blizzard of insane electronics and video-game bleepiness I felt like I was riding in a washing machine. I love the contrast between the cute lyrics about kissing and the unpredictable weirdness of the music:

_HELIOS.EXE: Abriendo El Tiempo (Lets_Go_Kissing_Pepper-C64-EOW_Mix)

This one focuses more on the vox and less on the crazy:

_HELIOS.EXE: Pachekando El Tiempo (Pacheko_Mix).mp3

and Boleteando El Tiempo (Dont_Break_My_Core My_Love_Is All_You_Wanted_Mix) has
jagged bits of Manu Chao, Xtina Aguilera, and REM sticking out of it. Yummy like flan.

Friday, June 08, 2007


The internet IS the new CBGBs. And you are all as cool as Joey Ramone or Debbie Harry just by being here. Fave new toe-tappin' copyright-violatin' sound collages as follows:

The Bran Flakes have a new odds 'n' sods collection on-line called "Bubbles" that certainly has whet my appetite for their long-awaited new album. Has it really been 5 years since the last one? Well, Flake-in-Chief Otis Fodder has been a busy little beaver lately, what with the 365 Projects and Comfort Stand Records keeping him out of the studio. This tune is a great example of their thrift-store plundering trashy mashups:

The Bran Flakes:
Countdown To The End (Choo Choo Mix)

David Schafer is a New York-based contemporary "sound-artist," which suggests someone perhaps using "concepts" as an excuse to not make listenable music. Well, this track is both a great concept and a sublime soundscape: "Kenny G's music is ubiquitous and represents an idea or state of mind of being on hold, in the waiting room, or in an elevator. It also might suggest a kind of anxiety of empty spaces and technology, a pathology that is manifested regarding the need of filling spaces, and the fabricated desire to sooth, and to be pacified at all times..."Forever and Forever in Reverse" is the superimposition of the forward version with the reversed version of the song played at the same time."

David Schafer:
Forever In Love In Forever The blandness of Kenny G miraculously transformed into Eno/Fripp-ish droney loveliness.

And finally, RIAA presents two Afro-groovers for summer: The reggae standard "The Harder They Come" performed by Rocker's Revenge over some smokin' Afro-disco courtesy of Manu Dibango - "Aloko Party":

RIAA: "The Harder They Party"

and some fonk-ay jazz: The Beastie Boys' "Shake Your Rump" over a sorta-remake of it by Hammond organ cat Ruben Wilson and P-Funk legend Bernie Worrell.


Both tunes take the acapella and chop it up like a dj scratch attack. Nothing conceptual with these - just bootie-shakers.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

419 State of Mind

Section 419 in the Nigerian criminal code refers to internet scams, and a recent trend in that African nation's large hip-hop scene is songs about perpetrating such frauds. They are often told with the same bravado as American gangsta tales, although, of course, coming from a completely different cultural perspective.

Mode Nine is one such group, and their song "419 State of Mind pt2" offers a lot to chew on - it's funny (I like their British victim: "Cor blimey!"), informative, and serves as a warning to potential suckers even as it offers a morally questionable rationale for these crimes based on the old con man's excuse "You can't cheat an honest man." The effect is ultimately chilling. And I don't mean "chillin'."

Mode Nine: "419 State of Mind pt2"

Thanks to

Saturday, June 02, 2007


In all the hoopla this week over the 40th anniversary of The Beatles' "Sgt. Pepper," lets not forget the greatest version ever of the album's title song: by actor/comedian Bill Cosby.

I bought this album (which came out on CD last year) at a church rummage sale for a quarter 15 years ago or so, and honestly didn't think the Cos would actually try to sing. I figured he would do a kind of comedic talk/sing kinda thing. I put the needle on, he started singing, and my jaw hit the floor. I knew then and there that this was the one of the all-time great celebrity records. We're talking Shatner-riffic.
At least he had the good sense to use Charles Wright's Watts 103rd St. Rhythm Band, one of the great underrated funk outfits of the '70s.

Listen/download HERE.

Of the seven notes in the Western music scale, he hits all six wrong ones.

The liner notes of the album say that fans walked out of his music shows because he didn't tell any of his usual comedic stories. Uh, you sure that's why?

Friday, June 01, 2007


Thank God(zilla) for the internet. Otherwise, if I wanted to hear rare oddities and obscurities from the Czech Republic, I'd have to actually go there, spend hours in thrift stores and not now what the hell I was looking at. Fortunately, we've got a fascinating new blog called:


Scroll down to the bottom for an early-'80s Czech version of Pink Floyd's "Just Another Brick In The Wall," a song I normally associate with nothing more important then Valley stoners, but hearing it from the perspective of people living behind the wall of Communism certainly gives it more profundity. There's also a horrible bit of disco, some "official" Commie music and the funniest thing I've heard lately, a ridiculously upbeat Heino-like version of the reggae standard "By The Rivers of Babylon." If there are Oktoberfest celebrations in Jamaica, this is what they play.