Sunday, January 07, 2007


I'm blaming it on Eileen - mostly because it's her fault and partly because it's just fun to say 'I'm blaming it on Eileen.' The other day, she posted about emusic's awesome offer of 100 free downloads if you just sign up for their monthly service. You can even cancel anytime - including before you actually even have to pay anything. If you find yourself needing 100 free downloads, you can go here for their offer.

So far my downloads have fed this weird hip-hop obsession I've been having lately. I downloaded a new album produced by Hi-Tek - Hi-Teknology, Vol. 2. It's got a crazy, awesome mix of talent on it. There's Ghostface Killah and Raekwon, Talib Kweli, Dion, Judakiss and a lot more. And, as Eileen so astutely noted when I told her about it, Hi-Tek hails from the 'Nati. The jury's still out on how much I like this album, but I think I dig it. It will take a couple more listens to be sure though.

Downloaded a Talib Kweli album too - Right About Now. It's pretty good too. Talib Kweli is sort of the thinkin' man's flow artist. He pops out some great poetry for sure, but has never really hit it big on the hip-hop charts. It's his rhymes that set him apart if you ask me. People in the business love him though. All the big names point to him as a great artist who deserves more recognition.

Haven't had much time to listen to this one yet, but what I've heard I like a lot. I'm finding that I'm becoming a big fan of Kweli. Everyone who likes them some hip-hop gone likes them some Kweli.

Also picked up 2K6: The Tracks. It's an RJD2 offering. I owe Josh for the RJD2 intro. There are a lot of talented artists on this one too. It's an okay album, but maybe not top of the list. It might grow on me...if this hip-hop kick keeps up.

Downloaded Camera Obscura and TV On The Radio too. Not so much excited by Camera Obscura, but it could just be my mood. Haven't listened to TVOTR yet, but Gregg tells me they're awesome. He's been ready to call them the next big thing since he heard them a while back. I guess a lot of people have been saying that, but I totally missed out on them. This will be my attempt to get on the bandwagon.

And what download frenzy would be complete without some classical music? I choose some Bach for my listening pleasure. Oddly, I've never owned any Bach. Weird. Well, that's taken care of now. I'm hoping it's some good versions. That's the worst thing about classical music. You never really know if you're going to like the interpretation until you buy it and listen to it. I've had some pretty annoying disappointments over the years - Nigel Kennedy, I'm talking about you and your ridiculously pompous work.

I still have 22 tracks to download, so I'm open to suggestions. Let me know if there's something I need to get.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Francoise Hardy - the model of French cool

When I was growing up, there was still a bit of lingering French cool. Traces of 60s France lingered on in movie soundtracks and sort of off on the edges of my conciousness. I didn't know it at the time, but everything I thought of as French cool was to be found in Francoise Hardy.

Hardy was in the top ranks of French Ye-Ye in the mid sixties. Ye-Ye was pretty much a movement of hip, bubblegum, girl singers that swept French pop in the sixties. Their music was pretty much, pure, un-cut pop shot directly into the veins. Ye-Ye was probably the closest thing to mainlining pop music that ever existed - although some might argue that Swedish pop is perenially pretty gooey and Japanese schoolgirl pop is over-the-top perky too.

Amid this, stood Francoise Hardy - part of it, but apart from it. Hardy was the smoking brunette in the sea of blonde and her long, slim, model look set a new standard for French beauty. And, yeah, her voice is darn sexy too.

For a sweet look at Hardy then and now, watch this last one - a video featuring Hardy and Jacques Dutronc. It's beautiful portrait of youth and maturity, and maybe just a good example of how to age gracefully.

Monday, January 01, 2007

New Year

The New Year always offers a sense of new hope for the upcoming year. It's a bit like a candle flame actually - a shining beacon of warmth in the dark night and, yet, so very easy to put out. May the candlelight of your hope be protected from the wind and may it guide you forward to a bright new year.