I found this absolute gem for a dollar on 86 Street in Brooklyn in a weird sort of store that had home goods and CDs. Apparently, the CDs were not selling so fabulously well, as everything was a buck a piece. Admittedly, I bought this CD solely for the joke value of "MC HotDog"; I expected nothing from it and was pleasantly blown away by the album when I finally popped the disc in to give it a listen.
I've since gotten several other CDs by MC HotDog and he has, to date, failed to disappoint.
Here's another song from the CD, an incredibly poppy-yet-foul-mouthed ode to Taiwan women:
A mix I recently made of especially fabulous twee pop from Hong Kong. Most of this was found at P-Tunes & Video, the store on Chrystie Street featured in the header image of this blog, though a few songs were found on CDs I picked up at other Hong Kong CD places on the Bowery and there's one or two things I found online.
It shocks me that there's no Pitchfork, Spin or Rolling Stone article out there on Hong Kong twee. The music is exceptional and hip, some if not all of it is available through western channels and, last but not least, the artists mostly sing in English. While I've found individual reviews of a CD here and there, there's just no 411 out there about the movement as a whole.
So, as you'd imagine, my own entry into it was purely random; I found this CD, which features a number of the artists you'll find in the present mix. I then spent the next two years combing Brooklyn's and Manhattan's Chinatowns, Flushing, Queens, and--yes, I'll admit it--the World Wide Web--searching for more.
Okay, I've gone and done it. Given that I've got somewhere between 500-1,000 Bollywood soundtracks from the 1940s-1960s, it seems a shame not to share them all with you. So, in addition to this blog, I've started another: Bollyvault.
A friend recently told me he'd just seen Abigail Child's "Mirror World," a short experimental film that I collaborated on with Abby several years ago. You can watch it here. My contribution was limited to (a) choosing the source film (or several Bollywood films, from which, Abby chose Mehboob Kahn's epic early color film "Aan") and (b) supplying the language, which was all "found"--literally just subtitles from various other Bollywood films.
That reminded me that I hadn't posted many Bollywood soundtracks recently, so I decided to post the soundtrack to the film that serves as the basis for "Mirror World." Like most Bollywood soundtracks on CD, it comes with two soundtracks; in this case, that of a much later film, "Kohinoor." The great Naushad Ali composed the music for both. Singers include Mohammad Rafi, Lata Mangeshkar and the insanely underrated Shamshad Begum.
I was interviewed about a month or two ago by a brilliant Anthropology grad student, Portia Sedon, who is writing her Master's thesis on music blogs. She interviewed a number of music bloggers, wanting to get at our motivation for blogging and our general philosophy, if any, behind what we do. I confessed at the time that, while I love doing the hodge-podge that is Bodega Pop--it's really, to me, a blog as much about New York City and the immigrants who make their home here, as it is about fabulous music--part of me would like, someday, to do a more focused blog on Bollywood soundtracks.
I have hundreds of them, mostly from the 50s-60s, the "golden age" of Hindi film. Poking around online this evening, I couldn't really find anything out there now that focuses on this incredible treasure trove. So ... I'm thinking.
I won't abandon Bodega Pop. But I'm thinking I might launch a second blog, dedicated to this music. It seems like it would serve a genuine function, providing listeners and scholars (*cough*) alike with a vault of some of the most incredible pop music ever made. [Wipes tear-of-inspiration from eye.] In order to justify it, though, I feel like I'd have to include full track listings, composer(s) names, lyricist names, singers, etc., etc.--in other words, make it data heavy, and well-organized, so people could actually use it as a reference.
What do you think? Should I do it? Would it be too much like having a second job? I'm on the fence; it might be a lot of work but I can also see how it'd be enormously gratifying. Also, I kind of already came up with a sort of cool name for it. Ergh. Ack! Gawhd. Can't ... decide ...
I was never a big fan of Turkish superstar Sezen Aksu--not, at least, until I discovered this CD at Uludag Video in south Brooklyn. This particular CD is a reprint of her first album, Allahaismarladik ("Farewell") from 1977 along with a few bonus singles from 1976-79.
Enormously popular and influential, often referred to as the Queen of Turkish Pop, Aksu has sold more than 40 million albums worldwide. Listening to this powerful early work, it's not hard to understand how that happened.
Most readers of this blog probably don't know this, given that most of you are in Europe or Asia and probably don't read much American poetry, but back in late 2000 I began writing a bunch of crazy, somewhat offensive poems that I began to call "flarf." In the spring of 2001, a half-dozen friends and I launched the Flarf email list, which ultimately grew to about 30-40 participants.
You can read a short history of the movement here and an article about us that appeared on the front page of the Wall Street Journal here.
Over the course of a decade or so, my friends and I put on a number of performances--in New York, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Maryland, Minnesota, Washington DC, and elsewhere--and at a few of these performances, flarf poet and jazz musician Drew Gardner put together impromptu Flarf Orchestras, made up of both local professional and completely amateur (or altogether non-) musicians, who provided music for some of the readings.
This CD, just released by DC flarf poet Rod Smith's Edge Books, features 10 of those live performances. For those curious about this blog author's "other life," I should warn you that I'm not one of the featured readers, though I do play a plastic blow-into-it sort of "keyboard" on one of the tracks. That said, the music is solid, often fabulous and, as is the case with the sample tracks above, offers an occasionally transcendent mix of language and music, the likes of which I'm guessing you've probably never heard.
This 1996 CD from early in the Prince of Rai's career completely blew my head off the first time I heard it after plucking it from the now-gone Princess Music electronics and Arabic music store on 5th Avenue in Brooklyn's Bay Ridge.
His last CD was released five years ago, in 2006; he says he plans to continue performing and recording, though I don't know whether he's begun to do so yet and/or how audiences will respond to him today.
Japan's love-affair with rockabilly is, of course legendary. Taiwan's? Not so much. This solidly rockin' record was my first indication that anyone else in Asia beyond Japan even cared about the sub-genre.
Found in P-Tunes & Video, the ultra-fabo DVD/CD store on Chrystie Street in Manhattan's Chinatown featured in the header image of this blog. This is the only CD this band ever produced, which is disappointing, considering how much it doesn't suck.
Posting this largely in anticipation of seeing the 188.8.131.52's at the Mercury Lounge later this month.