Wednesday, September 05, 2007

I'm Gonna Make You Shine

Greek Salad, two ways
Originally uploaded by bridgeportseasoning.

I was browsing through the job boards at mediabistro this afternoon when I came across a posting that could be used as an example for the definition of "irony." Fox News is looking to hire a "fact writer."

I hear Karl Rove is available.

In one of the instances where I found myself fucking off instead of working yesterday, I spent hours on Myspace looking for people. I should probably put something on my profile that keeps away the mediocre white rappers, jam bands, and barely legal webcam girls from wanting to add me as their friend. Something along the lines of "Don't come to me, I'll come to you." But I fear it might just increase the amount of requests I receive.

It goes without saying that Myspace is used as a marketing tool for bands (and other artists) to varying degrees of success. My "friends list" is not without a load of bands. If I got rid of all the bands listed in my network, I'd probably be down to under thirty actual contacts.

But I was browsing the bands and I started thinking that I could fill a pretty damn good jukebox with what their music. Like when Tuman's was TUMAN'S, Holly would put the space-age bachelor pad music of Esquivel next to Diamanda Galas' "Masque of the Red Death". Or Screaming Jay Hawkins' "Constipation Blues" would be a few clicks away from some Pantera's "Cowboys From Hell."

So, in the interest of having a virtual jukebox in a virtual bar with a virtual Holly and me serving virtual hard drinks for virtual people who want to get virtually drunk fast, I've listed some of the bands in my Myspace network and their corresponding Myspace pages for you to check out for yourselves. You know you'd want to drop twenty in the slot and pick songs if this were real. Don' t lie to yourself.

  • Motörhead: They play rock and roll and are fronted by a speedfreak bass player named Lemmy. Need I say more?

  • Bantam: Classic down-tuned, power-trio rock fronted by Gina Volpe of Lunachicks fame. Avril Lavigne wishes she could sound this hard.

  • Baby Teeth: A single degree of separation in the corporeal world with this band. Drummer Peter Andreadis is a HotHouse alumni. He was the chief sound engineer when I hired on. This is baby making music for the retro crowd.

  • Spanking Charlene: Here it's vocalist Charlene McPherson doing the spanking. This is one of my favorite new eMusic downloads, courtesy of some great songwriting and the production of Eric "Roscoe" Ambel. "Field Trip" is a look at "scared straight" programs from the point-of-view of juvenile delinquent.

  • Patty Griffin: The heir apparent to Emmylou Harris and one of the best songwriters in America, period. If you can't shed a tear listening to "Impossible Dream" then you're a heartless bastard.

  • Motep: another genius, another HotHouse connection. Motep draws his influences directly from the well: Richie Havens, Bob Marley, Nina Simone, A Tribe Called Quest, Gil Scott-Heron. Full of flava. If you're reading, Tankboy, we should so snag him for one of the Chicagoist Ctrl-Alt-Rocks.

  • e.s.t.: Every jukebox needs some killer jazz for when a devil's rain passes through. Ensbjörn Svensson Trio fits the bill, and I've written about them before. Another HotHouse connection.

  • Antibalas: Probably the best value on the jukebox, next to Fela (once I add his tribute page). Throw a buck in, play five Antibalas tracks, and sit back for an hour. You'll leave a Marxist, to boot

  • The Blacks: 'Cause you never know when Gina or Nora might walk in.

  • The Brand New Heavies: When acid jazz is done right, it's excellent. Even today, listening to "Heavy Rhyme Experience" takes me back to memories of late nights shooting pool and drinking Amstel Light with Early Times chasers at Magnolia's Steak House in Norfolk, Virginia, hustling co-eds from Old Dominion University in ways other than the pool table. The Heavies got wise and realized that the only way folks really want to hear them is with N'dea Davenport on vocals. They're at the House of Blues tomorrow with Macy Gray opening.

  • galapagos 4: For years one of the hardest working hip-hop collectives in the city. Ryan Fernandez (a.k.a. "Offwhyte") was HotHouse's IT coordinator.

  • Cibelle: Every jukebox needs some chill tunes for the dope smokers, and Cibelle's mashup of Brazilian, folk, and emo fits the bill perfectly. Did I mention that my jukebox is a Dave Matthews-free zone?

  • Catfish Haven: Sweaty, blue-eyed white boy soul music for the last call hookups. My friends Tina Howell and Avery R. Young sang backup on their record "Tell Me."

  • Cassandra Wilson: Back when my friends and I were Wicker Park royalty, Cassandra Wilson's "New Moon Daughter" record was what I put on the stereo when I was really digging the moment or the woman I was with. She's aged with time like wine since "Belly of the Sun." Check out her live version of the classic Robert Johnson blues number "Come into My Kitchen," which is the perfect blend of Delta blues and hard Brooklyn funk.

  • The Mighty Hannibal: If you don't know the Mighty Hannibal, you better learn about him quick. The lone song offered on his Myspace page is the cherry high that most junkies wax poetic about.

  • Betty Davis: A funk trailblazer who was too much for Miles Davis to handle. 'Nuff said.

  • Allison Moorer: My perfect woman is a redhead from Alabama. Too bad this one is married to one of my idols. She's just starting to come into her own as a singer and a songwriter; I recommend her albums "The Hardest Part" and "the Duel."

  • My Damn Butterfly: If you haven't figured it out by now, the HotHouse staff was one talented bunch of folks. the all-female a capella group My Damn Butterfly has among their ranks the previously mentioned Holly Stevens as well as Courtney Glascoe, two of the best people I've ever held down a bar with.

  • Marah: "Kids in Philly" and "20,000 Streets Under the Sky" are enough to overcome "Float Away with the Friday Night Godz." IMHO, "Kids in Philly" is a desert island disc for me.

  • The Bottle Rockets: Deserve inclusion for "Radar Gun" alone. "Song of Sahm" just puts it over for me. The Bottle Rockets would be my soundtrack if I had to fight my way out of a bar.

  • Mary Lee's Corvette: The backstory - it was Halloween 2K2 in New York City and I was on vacation there, largely to work out some post-9/11 issues about whether or not I wanted to strike out there or stay in Chicago. Mary Lee's Corvette was the featured band onstage that evening at the Lakeside Lounge on Avenue B and 10th (Mary Lee Kortes' husband, Eric "Roscoe" Ambel, also produced the Spanking Charlene record, is Steve Earle's guitarist, and owns the Lakeside). She came onstage and did a track-by-track recreation of Dylan's "Blood on the Tracks" that had to be seen to be believed - you can preview her cover of "Buckets of Rain" on her Myspace page - it was so polished. Turns out it wasn't the first time she did this. I own the proof of her first time re-creating "Blood on the Tracks" at Arlene's Grocery in Manhattan, which she released as a full-length album. Incidentally, Dylan praised Mary Lee's version.

  • Corey Wilkes: Watching Corey come into his own as a musician and a man have been two things I've been blessed to witness. If I had to choose something for the jukebox, I'd go with some bootleg Art Ensemble of Chicago performance, to catch Corey fully giving in to the moment (you know they're floating around, Wilkes).

  • Binky Griptite: Earns inclusion for being the guitarist and emcee for Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings shows (another inclusion once the request is accepted) and for having to put up with Amy Winehouse's cracked-out bullshit.

  • The Head Cat: What do you get when you put Lemmy, Slim Jim Phantom of the Stray Cats, and Danny B. Harvey of Lonesome Spurs together? A novelty, sure. But a novelty with surprisingly strong legs and faithful adaptations of classic rock 'n roll and rockabilly. Remember, Lemmy has a soft side; he wrote the lyrics to "Mama I'm Coming Home" for Ozzy Osbourne.

  • Solaris Earth Pipeline: Raven Mack used to write this DIY zine called "The Confederate Mack" where the words and stories were so vivid they flew off the page. He's also a fan of old school hip hop. If you want to know what it sounds like, read his "sounds like" passage on his page. You'll get a feel for both the music and his writing.

  • Manishevitz: One night a few years back Manishevitz opened for Wilco at the Auditorium Theatre. They came by HotHouse afterward to continue the party, and Adam Busch got so belligerent praising Television's "Marquee Moon" that I thought I'd have to knock his ass out in order to shut him up. "If you don't have 'Marquee Moon' in your record collection, Chuck, you're a fucking poseur," were his exact words. Yeah, I'm glad it didn't have to come down to that, because I love Adam like a brother. And I'm not exactly close with my brother.

  • The New Outlaws: A new addition to my network, but worthy at such a short stage. There could be countless bands calling themselves "The New Outlaws" out there, but if I saw these folks onstage at, say, Robert's Western World or Tootsie's Orchid Lounge in Nashville, or Carol's Pub here in town, I'd pay a cover to see them, and possibly pass around the pickle jar around for tips, depending on how many bottles of PBR I had in my system. Now, for a personal connection that is NOT HotHouse related, one many people probably don't know. Years ago, when my mother first remarried, we left Chicago and lived in Tennessee for a few years. I actually went to middle school and my first year of high school with the keyboard player in the New Outlaws, Mendy Bob Casabella (née Waddell). I don't think anyone ever had a bad word to say about her, to her face or behind her back. Now that's something.

There are a few more I could list, but I need to save them for later, as a surprise.

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