It's been a while since their last album, which I loved but lots of people hated. After years of "Bloc Party might be breaking up", here they are again with a new set of songs. Bloc Party is streaming its upcoming album on their weird, overdesigned, inscrutable website. Very excited to listen to this and see them live in a few weeks.
Today's song is so epic that I had to take a day off of blogging to prepare for it. That's my official explanation for missing yesterday's scheduled post. Okay, let's get to it.
Girl Talk. How somebody can go from this complete pile of crap to the best album of 2008 in just two years is utterly beyond me, but Gregg Gillis (aka Girl Talk) managed it with the life-affirming Feed the Animals. Girl Talk takes the mashup mentality to one of its logical conclusions: why just put two or three songs together when you can put the best eight-to-fifteen seconds of a few dozen songs together instead? This strategy is risky, to say the least -- if the samples aren't awesome, if they don't mesh well, if the listener is sensitive to the rampant obscenity Girl Talk favors, it just comes off as a horrible mess (see Girl Talk's aforelinked 2006 album Night Ripper for just how bad this can get). But with Feed the Animals, which incidentally has a fascinating commercial history (it was originally sold In Rainbows-style but now can (and should) be purchased at Amazon's MP3 Store), Girl Talk managed to make an album I'd put up there among the very best of the last five years. It's lively, funny, artful, and assertive, and incredibly compelling. And, for what it's worth, it's the best music to run to (up-tempo and continuously changing).
Now I think I'll let my judgmental friends over at Pitchfork say a bit:
Unlike mash-up makers in it to figure out the lamest way to combine two song titles, justify their existence with cheap mp3 blog Diggs, or wind up in a Cobrasnake shot with some Olsen twin look-a-like, Gillis just really likes stuffing tons of his favorite FM moments into bursts of Top 40 overload. "I'm a pop music enthusiast," he told me. Hailing from the anti-flash city of Pittsburgh, Gillis has sidestepped the Absolut-sponsored stigma associated with of-the-moment party starters ever since 2006's [mediocre -ed] Night Ripper sent him on a never-ending tour of sweat-stained clubs. While his live set changes with the ebb and flow of the Hot 100, this is Gillis' first major release as a semi-popular act. Unsurprisingly, his new record, Feed the Animals, comes off like the ultimate July 4th rooftop soundtrack. Seems like those stage-crashing dates made the unassuming former biomedical engineer even more eager to indulge his hungry followers. As the recognizable samples zip by at a dizzying clip, it's as if Gillis is standing tall above the fray, screaming: "Are you not entertained?!"
The album is so good that picking which song to play for you came down to an awesome, awesome tiebreaker. That tiebreaker is Wired Magazine's impressive and thorough graphical breakdown of the 35 (!) samples in today's four-and-a-half minute song:
I hate to pick a favorite part of the song, but it's probably the segue from Outkast's "Miss Jackson"'s "for ever ever?" to The Jackson 5's "ABC. It's sickeningly good. But honestly, the entire album is so great that it climbs into your skull and punches its way out right through your face. In a good way.
Okay, you can download the song here or just stream it below (warning, there are copious swears): What It's All About - Girl Talk
Another remix today, AND another mashup today. And the best part is they're both Biggie jams! First the remix, by our old friends Ratatat. I have nothing to say about this except that it involves a bubble goose and a lot of obscenity, and it may be Ratatat's best remix work. Here you go: Party and Bullshit (Ratatat Remix)
And second, here's a mashup that pretty much epitomizes the phrase "guilty pleasure". It combines the aforementioned "Party and Bullshit" with, well, let's just say that Miley Cyrus is involved. Check it out, internet: Party and Bullshit in the USA
Tomorrow: best. mashup. ever.
Unrelated Postscript: Archer is funny. It's deeply obscene, irreverent, and morally bankrupt. And the son from Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist voices the protagonist. It's the closest thing we have to Arrested Development, at least until Dayman returns. You should probably be watching it, friends.
Whoops. I swear I didn't forget about you guys. Although I totally did. But let's not dwell on that, let's dwell on today's song, which is a remix involving the Beastie Boys. The incomparable Fatboy Slim puts on a hell of a mediocre live show. But, more relevant, he is good at repurposing other people's work (examples A, B, and C). So anyway, here's his remix of "Body Movin'": Body Movin' (Fatboy Slim Mix)
We have one more Beatles mashup, by dj BC, who made a couple of albums blending the Beatles with the Beastie Boys (the albums are purportedly the work of The Beastles). Today's selection, "Tripper Trouble", is a really solid production mixing the Beatles' iconic "Day Tripper" hook with the Beastie Boys' born-to-be-remixed "Ch-Check It Out" . The result is pleasing, if uncomplicated: Tripper Trouble - dj BC
Today we have yet another mashup, one of those simple compositions that takes two complementary songs (or portions thereof), puts them together, and steps away without too much trickery. The song combines Portishead's best known song, "Glory Box", with the Beatles' "I'm Only Sleeping", a song so obscure that I hadn't heard until 20 seconds ago, when I searched for it online so I could hear what it sounded like. Turns out it's pretty good, but the mashup clearly samples the highlight moment (the first 10 seconds or so of the first verse). The mashup is cleverly called "Sleeping", and from what I can tell it comes from a 2006 mashup album by CCC dedicated entirely to Revolver--the mashup album is called Revolved (that links to a surprisingly not-defunct website with unsurprisingly dead download links).
You can download it here, or stream it below: