262: “Clashing” by Drums & Tuba

Tom Hanks' bald lookalike puts nose in armpits.Drums & Tuba MIGHT have been the name of a Big & Tall clothier. However, it was quite a literal label, in the mid-nineties, for two dudes (Brian Wolff and Tony Nozero) who began selling their time by busking in Austin, TX, exploring the full range of sound permutations that can be created using only drums, a tuba, some electronic effects tools, and two human beings. For spare change and kicks.

Now, they’re gazillionaires that sip whisky off rare monkeys’ toes.

Actually, I am quite sure that’s not so. Drums & Tuba’s last album as Drums & Tuba came out in 2005 and the chaps now pursue other endeavors. So buy their music and help fund the best Big & Tall clothier/musicians there ever were.

Enjoy & Comment.

Song: Clashing
Artist: Drums & Tuba
Album: Mostly Ape
Label: Righteous Babe Records
Buy from: Amazon | iTunes
Listen: MOG | Spotify
Watch: YouTube

255: “Variation Cybernetique: Rhythmic Pataphysic Part 1” by DJ Spooky

DJ Spooky, Mac DaddyIf you think drum loops and hip-hop bravado when you see the abbreviation “DJ” in the beginning of a musician’s name, then you might want to rattle your head around, and try to knock loose a few preconceptions.

One of my first encounters with DJ Spooky was his 2002 album, Optometry. On it, Spooky collaborated with a handful of avant-garde jazz musicians (Matthew Shipp, William Parker, Guillermo E. Brown and Joe McPhee). When I originally listened to the album, I was expecting some jazz-infused beat pageant, like DJ Logic was doing at the time. I was way off in my expectations. So when I first listened to it, I hated it. Shelved it. I hadn’t figured out the method it would take to successfully approach the music inside Optometry.

Some music you must approach in the same way you would approach a cat. The timing has to be right, or no good can come of it.

After some rattling in my head, my eyesight changed (or maybe I just knew a little better what I was looking at…), and Optometry made it into rotation.

Good kitty.

The samples in the track I’ve selected are recordings of mostly classical instruments, and their assembled form is nothing short of magnificent. It’s a sublime and stark beauty, like a towering cloud or the color-coded map of a viral outbreak. Beauty, stark or otherwise, is everywhere, if your eyes are healthy and focused.

Enjoy DJ Spooky’s “Variation Cybernetique: Rhythmic Pataphysic Part 1” the title of which explains the song much better than I ever could.

Song: Variation Cybernetique: Rhythmic Pataphysic Part 1
Artist: DJ Spooky
Album: Optometry
Label: Thirsty Ear
Buy from: Amazon | iTunes
Listen: MOG | Spotify

228: “Misterioso” by Anthony Brown’s Asian American Orchestra, Steve Lacy

Brown rice.Anthony Brown has harnessed some rice power and fueled a Thelonious Monk cover machine into a frothy tempest on Monk’s Moods (2002). He calls his league of musical assassins, Anthony Brown’s Asian American Orchestra.

“Misterioso” is my favorite Monk tune, and these guys bring it with sauce (see links below).

MOG mistakenly attributes the Asian American Orchestra performance exclusively to Steve Lacy, soprano saxophonist, who is featured on Monk’s Moods, but who also put out his own cover of “Misterioso” in 1985. Steve’s solo version is available in the YouTube video below.


Song: Misterioso

Artist: Anthony Brown’s Asian American Orchestra
Album: Monk’s Moods
Label: Water Baby
Buy from: Amazon | iTunes
Listen: MOG | Spotify

Artist: Steve Lacy
Album: Only Monk
Label: Soul Note
Buy from: Amazon | iTunes
Watch: YouTube

199: “The Dump” by Soul Vibrations, Lettuce

"The Dump" was the nickname of the Soul Vibrations' drummer.I recently stumbled across the original version of a song covered by Lettuce on their 2002 album, Outta Here.  Lettuce is partially composed of members of the band Soulive, and the band was named for their early days when they had to beg for equipment and playing time… “let us use your drum kit,” or “let us play.” Hence, “Lettuce.”  The original version of “The Dump” (1973) is by a band called Soul Vibrations, and you can still get their version on re-released vinyl.

Wrap your hips around “The Dump” and shake it around.

Two versions below for your Friday enjoyment.  Getcha some.

Song: The Dump
Artist: Soul Vibrations
Label: Now-Again Records
Buy from: Discogs
Watch: YouTube


Song: The Dump
Artist: Lettuce
Album: Outta Here
Label: ESC Records
Buy from: Amazon | iTunes
Watch: YouTube

193: “Sweet Smoke” by Mr. Scruff

Tastes like it smells.It’s Friday. Time for a party in your pants.

Dance Instructions:
Test your perception of reality against reality.
Wait, that’s for everything else in life.  On the dance floor, you needn’t analyze.
Just gather your family around you. Lift your knees. Wobble your legs. And make it move.
For life is but a dream.

Mr. Scruff is another one of these Ninja Tune cats who insist on approaching music with the stealth of a Navy Seal, and performing some unilateral maneuvers on its ass.

This song is only available on vinyl, which is the perfect medium for analog jams, and grandma couch covers.

Mr. Scruff is a British mammal, with a lot of cartoon videos on YouTube that my 9-year-old son tends to enjoy. Mr. Scruff draws them himself!

Getcha some, and enjoy.  Happy Friday.

Song: Sweet Smoke
Artist: Mr. Scruff
Album: Sweet Smoke
Label: Ninja Tune
Buy from: Amazon
Watch: YouTube

99: “Getcho Soul Together” by Breakestra

Mama mia, mama mia, mama mia, let me go.Words of wisdom from one of the best “funk orchestras” around, Breakestra.

I got this from a compilation entitled Peanut Butter Wolf’s Jukebox 45’s (2002).  The video is great!

You need to get down.  Enjoy.

Song: Getcho Soul Together
Artist: Breakestra
Album: Peanut Butter Wolf’s Jukebox 45’s
Label: Stones Throw Records
Buy from: Amazon

59: “Fight Test” by The Flaming Lips

Wayne Coyne, lead singer of The Flaming Lips, after being stung by bees.Here’s an anthem for anyone who’s ever backed down from a fight and regretted it.

From a real tough-guy band, The Flaming Lips.


Song: Fight Test
Artist: The Flaming Lips
Album: Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots
Label: Warner Bros
Buy from: Amazon | iTunes

57: “Thugz Mansion” by Tupac Shakur

Tupac was Aunt Jemima when Aunt Jemima wasn't cool.Tupac.  Love him or hate him.

But remember this… even thugz cry.

Not safe for Mom. (Not safe for my mom, that is. Your mom might be totally down.)


Song: Thugz Mansion
Artist: Tupac Shakur
Album: The Best of 2Pac – Pt. 2: Life [Explicit]
Label: Interscope
Buy from: Amazon

39: “Slim’s Return” by Madlib

Mad Science LaboratoryMadlib is a hip-hop producer.  In 2002, Madlib took a bunch of classic Blue Note jazz recordings and remixed them on Shades of Blue.

“Slim’s Return” is a smoking example of the type of abstract style that Madlib has contributed to humanity’s development as a species.

The official video is below, and the song is only available on the album, which is only available for physical purchase, and not for download.  Which is the case for too much music, in my opinion.  Bring it online!!

Open your ears and, enjoy…

Song: Slim’s Return
Artist: Madlib
Album: Shades of Blue
Label: Blue Note
Buy from: Amazon

2: “Breaks” by The Black Keys

The Black Keys Don't Look At The CameraThat’s the breaks, kid.

The Black Keys have a recent release entitled Brothers (May 2010), named so perhaps to signify their solidarity after frontman/guitarist Dan Auerbach released a solo album a few months earlier.  The “brothers” who make up The Black Keys are Dan and drummer/producer Patrick Carney.

But I share here a classic from a previous album, The Big Come Up (May 2002).  The Keys have filled out their sound a lot on Brothers, adding keyboards, rhythm guitar and more, but this old skool track shows what the duo can do with little more than drums, guitar and a soulful voice.


Song: Breaks
Artist: The Black Keys
Album: The Big Come Up
Label: Alive Records
Buy from: Amazon.com | iTunes
Listen: MOG