IU used to be known as the little sister everyone wish they had in Korea. Then last year, the just-turned-20 star was caught having relations with an “older man” (Super Junior’s Eunhyuk, who was — brace yourselves — six years older than IU at the time), and suddenly she became the little sister everyone in Korea wish they knew. Ridiculously, she was still pleading for forgiveness in the Korean media more than half a year later — and even moreso, that’s lucky by Korean standards. The notoriously chauvinist community of K-Pop “netizens” have recently rained hellfire on the careers of girl groups for things as benign as looking at someone the wrong way, crying on a radio show for being pressured to make cute faces, and misusing the term “democratize.” So yeah - add senseless witch hunts to the Korean music industry’s tally of strange evils.
Fortunately, IU seems like she’ll be just fine. It helps that her comeback single is pop at its most earnest and sugar sweet. Title aside, “Monday Afternoon” sounds more like a lonely night beneath the disco ball; its progression, a “Viva La Vida,” reimagined on piano à la classic house. The fake strings sigh with just the right wistfulness; IU’s chorus shouts fall on just the right side of twee. It’s a beguiling, evocative little tune, not exactly the IU I’m always hoping to glimpse again (i.e., Korea’s best answer to Shina Ringo, as heard on “4AM” and “길 잃은 강아지”), but a fine addition to one of the better idol pop discographies around.
Don’t Go Into That Bad Night
Usually outta nowhere, my good pal and long-time musician idol Rob Magill tosses his new tracks at me for a first-crack listen, which is way humbling in a public Choco post kinda way. This time he sent me Don’t Go Into That Bad Night, a three-track burner, including “The Bad Night,” “The Drink of Love,” and “This Song.” They hot off the recorder and sizzling raw. I gave it five listens straight through the first time I gripped it digitally (‘cause I can do that), and each time my ears caught something different.
First time reminded me of how much I love recorded music straight from inception to conception to file/cassette/reality, sort of like the new El Topo cassette. Second listen I was in chills, thinking about an ex who has a remarkably similar voice to that of Fanny Ali singing on this here Don’t Go Into That Bad Night. Third round captivated me by the way each member (Rob Magill on sax, Brett Childs on guitar, Nick Ali on drums, and Dustin Emery on bass) took it upon themselves to strive for singularity on their instrument through equal symbiosis. Fourth lap was more of the title’s Don’t Go Into That Bad Night reminder of that one Moondog track “Why Spend A Dark Night With You” (humor, hi!). Fifth and final for the day was all about my pop and his love for motion in music, and I’m just imagining the feel of this music, how it looks being played.
• Rob Magill: http://rob-magill.bandcamp.com
Sigtryggur Berg Sigmarsson
Sun of Late Afternoon [excerpt]
Where you are; what you are doing there. Serenity is a matter of perspective. The sun of late afternoon, it means exactly nothing good if you’re going down, if you can’t at the time tell which direction is up. Black boxes are actually orange.
You can’t even locate the sky, much less the sun of it. You point “up.” It’s an educated guess. You are underwater. You croon your neck around a compartment corner to shout for help. What does your station say, sir? Sir, that’s your domain, tell us, your station is flashing, sir. Hmm. Everything okay down there? Shout for help again. He dropped the “sir” that time. Are we sinking, sir? Yes, we are sinking, sir. Alarms now, or sirens. The control panel’s static: when it is silent, you are silent. Dead when it is dead. Alarms/sirens shut up: no mythology of man where men aren’t.
But if a tiny war is over, serenity, one can hear it now, emerges. You are flotsam. Others jumped. Jetsam. You survived. The sun of late afternoon is nice. The ocean without all those men on it; it is very peaceful and wow very nice. No one is here anymore. No one is doing anything here.
Sun of Late Afternoon is a cassette release by Icelandic musician and visual artist Sigtryggur Berg Sigmarsson. It is dedicated to The Old Man and the Sea, and it is available here via Hanson Records.
“Got to Give it Up (James Sison Remix)”
Blah blah blah Summer 2013 blah blah blah Robin Thicke is silly blah blah Pharrell Williams is cool blah blah Marvin Gaye lawsuit blah blah. Oh, wait. Marvin Gaye. Whether or not his estate wins money from this notorious litigation, I certainly think we do all owe that dude a cultural debt. Summer 2013 did kind of demonstrate that it had soul, though exactly just how pure is up for debate. But there’s no doubt about Gaye. Regardless of whether you think we collectively danced all over his claims to intellectual property, his influence did add a measure of gaiety to our year.
Live For the Funk has turned us on to a new “Got to Give it Up” remix by London producer James Sison. That’s right: a remix. A good, ole honest tribute, attributions included. While Thicke has pushed this song into the year’s cultural consciousness by blurring Marvin Gaye’s voice with his own, Sison does the opposite: the remix, masterful in its restraint, is a crystal-clear showcase for Gaye’s vocals. Almost immediately, this remix makes Gaye’s performance sound like it’s undeniably inimitable. Whether it is: who knows. Really, everybody deserves a pat on the back for paying respect to a guy who deserves it.
“All in a Line” / “Already There”
In July 2011, Moon High pleased folk-vibe-feeling audiences with Six Suns, which is the only album I own that my girlfriend gets up to spin. So, they’re a little bit sentimental in my life. On top of that, they remind me of autumn in Columbus, OH, where I went to university, and you know EVERYONE likes the fall. Oh, they also formed in Columbus, OH. And I’ve probably seen Moon High play live at STRICTLY the best spots: a dingy Columbus basement in low light, a venue where a tree trunk grew straight through the low-light center of the audience, and at a giant studio in Bushwick where rent was crazy low and lights were still… low. Or maybe my memory makes the lights low. Yo, and I think I made g-beats with them foot pedals that the flautist is taping on in the videos below!
Welp, I’m super jacked Moon High got involved with The Mug & Brush Sessions, who popped two new videos of their tracks “All in a Line” and “Already There” off their up-coming album Take it Down. The Mug & Brush Sessions is a collaboration between the Columbus Mug & Brush barbershop owner Jim Morris, audio engineer Keith Hanlon’s Scioto Music, and the video crew from FWD: Video & Social Branding. The intention of the series is to create an intimate take on national and local musicians in a vintage-type of environment. “All in a Line” features some smooth walking-drumming, slinking guitar strumming, and a refreshing turn of events toward the end of the song. “Already There” freshes some fine fluting, deep bass pedals and drumming, finite lyrics, and tender picks of the string. Watch them come to life below:
Better Off Dead [mixtape]
A year after dropping D.R.U.G.S., Flatbush Zombies are back with Better Off Dead, their tweakiest and trippiest venture yet. Featuring guest production from Harry Fraud and Obey City, and always-welcome appearances by Action Bronson and Danny Brown, the 19-track mixtape showcases a sinister shift in Flatbush Zombies’ aesthetic. Their usual silly stoner antics having grown wearisome, Meechy Darko and Zombie Juice would rather ingest a rainbow of drugs, curl up on the ground, and sink into nothingness, as they do on standout cut “Bliss:” “Fuck money, fuck friends, fuck family/ Fuck pussy, fuck drugs, fuck sanity/ I don’t give a shit, Why?/ Cause ignorance is bliss, right.” Indeed, the finger-flipping cynicism runs thick on Better Off Dead as does the aggro; Cypress Hill-style taunts abound, as goofy as they are grim: “I crack your fucking skully/ Use it as a bowl for cereal,” Meechy chirps on “Death 2.” Flatbush Zombies are actually starting to sound scary. I’d lock my doors if I were you.
• Flatbush Zombies: http://thegloriousdead.com