I just got an email from a French journalist (in response to yesterday's year in music article on Salon) with the subject line "Thomas Bartlett's naiveté." In challenging the statement that our culture is "increasingly politicized," (which was actually not something I wrote, but a last minute addition by my editor—one I didn't object to), she writes "Maybe you should come spend some time in the Harlem ghetto—where I live."
I'm listening to Art Tatum solo stuff, and, as usual, feeling both dazzled and exasperated. Chill the fuck out, dude!
Just before, I was listening to the marvelous Duke Ellington/Ray Brown duet, "This One's For Blanton." Duke is an improviser much closer to my heart, so spare and intense, so pleasingly blunt and lucid. I'm almost certainly alone on this, but I enjoy him more as a pianist and improviser than as a composer.
Before that, Paul Bley's "Closer." The opening track, "Ida Lupino," is just magic, a perfect miniature.
Here are the top ten lists, for those who aren't Salon subscribers, and don't feel like clicking through an ad:
Top Ten Records
1. “Cherry Tree EP,” The National
2. “Funeral,” the Arcade Fire
3. “Real Gone,” Tom Waits
4. “Flashpapr,” Flashpapr
5. “Madvillain,” Madvillain
6. “La Maison de Mon Reve,” Cocorosie
7. “Cee-lo Green Is The Soul Machine,” Cee-lo
8. “Rejoicing In the Hands,” Devendra Banhart
9. “Abattoir Blues/ The Lyre of Orpheus,” Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds
10. “Misery Is A Butterfly,” Blonde Redhead
Honorable mentions: “Medulla,” Bjork; “Not Going Anywhere,” Keren Ann; “Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes,” TV On the Radio; “Heroes To Zeroes,” the Beta Band; “The College Dropout,” Kanye West, “Uh Huh Her,” PJ Harvey.
Top Ten Singles
1. “This Love,” Maroon 5
2. “Naughty Girl,” Beyonce
3. “99 Problems,” Jay-Z
4. “Toxic,” Britney Spears
5. “Art of Noise,” Cee-lo feat. Pharell
6. “Slow Jamz,” Twista feat. Jaime Foxx and Kanye West
7. “Happy People,” R. Kelly
8. “Through the Wire,” Kanye West
9. “Pieces of Me,” Ashlee Simpson
10. “Over and Over,” Nelly feat. Tim McGraw
Indigo's set was incredible. Just four songs, but one of the most beautiful shows I've heard this year.
Pastorini was amazing as always...but it was very late at night (started at about 1:30), and I was a little too tired to fully enjoy it. Listening to his music requires a lot of concentration, as well as a lot of decision making. It would be impossible to take all the elements in at once, but since there aren't recordings of it, you have to take in as much as you can. But you could just listen to his lyrics for a show, and be completely satisfied. Or just the interaction between the two guitars. Or just the crazy melodies he sings.
Life in a Blender is astounding.
Saturday Night: The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou.
Best summed up as the movie that the protagonist of Rushmore would have made, if he'd had a 30 million dollar budget.
Most of the music for the movie is a guy sitting around on the boat with an acoustic guitar, singing Portugese versions of David Bowie songs. Genius.
mp3's up eventually, if they sound good enough.
There's two kinds of exciting coffee to be had, just one block away from this apartment in either direction. Cafe Rakka has great Turkish coffee, with loads of cardamom, and Nicky's has Vietnamese coffee (made with Cafe Du Monde chicory coffee). But neither of them open until noon! 27 minutes to go.
Jake and I were just out postering for the Doveman show, and also for the Amnesty Benefit concert Friday night at Piano's. Putting up posters along Avenue A, mostly on lamp-posts already covered with posters. And we were stopped by two policemen!
They told us that what we were doing was illegal.
We looked surprised and said that we hadn't realized that.
We pointed out that all of the lamp-posts in the East Village are completely covered in posters.
"Those were put up by people we haven't caught yet," they explained to us.
They asked for our IDs.
And ten minutes later, emerged from their police car with summonses for both of us!!
We have to appear in court on Feb. 3rd. They suggested that we tell the judge that it was our first time postering, and we just hadn't realized that it was illegal.
And then they gave us some helpful advice: "If you go into some of the cafes around here, they'll probably allow you to put up a poster inside."