Monday, June 10, 2013

Siamese Ghetto | Siamese Ghetto


Freshly reupped here.


[Originally published June 30, 2012. The NY Times piece never materialized.] Last night after work I met up with a writer who is interested in developing a story around music blogging and/or bodega digging in New York. He lives in Woodside, a couple of neighborhoods to the south east of me, and we decided to meet at Thailand's Center Point (63-19 39th Ave). I'd never eaten there and was told that they sold CDs. Given that my other sources for Thai CDs have all dried up, I showed up 15 minutes early so I could dig through the goods. (Plus, it would give the writer an opportunity to see the obsessed music collector in his element, forehead sweating, hands shaking, fingers slowly becoming black from the grime-and-soot-covered cellophane CD & VCD wrappers.)


We had a great time over dinner; for one thing, the writer brought along a six-pack of Brooklyn Summer Ale, which we quickly sucked down between entrees, each hotter than the last. (The entrees, not the ales.) When at last a dish arrived that neither one of us was able to take more than two or three bites of, it was so intensely spicy, we settled the bill and I went back through the CD stacks looking for something interesting. Given that everything was half-off ("CDs no longer sell," the waitress working the register told me, a fact underscored by my once-again blackened fingertips), I was admittedly a bit liberal what with the purchasing.


Once outside, we both noticed, on the next block and across the street from Sripraphai, a smallish Thai grocery store. I gave my dinner companion a quizzical look and we marched over to check out the goods. And there, in the glass casing beneath the register, I spotted the CD above.


I know nothing about Siamese Ghetto, other than that this CD appears to be their one-and-only full-length album and that they sound a bit like Thai hip-hop superstar Joey Boy, but with some of the playful, satiric energy of Hong Kong's Fama


Whether or not the article works out, I owe my near-neighbor in Woodside a thank you for a wonderful night of beer, ridiculously spicy food (which I'm paying for at the moment, if that's not TMI), great conversation ... and for leading me to this utterly fabulous album that you, in your gentle but persistent wisdom, dear reader, will have no doubt finished downloading by the time this sentence is complete.

7 comments:

Carol said...

Oh god I LOVE this kind of music!

There's a smattering of I Love You Boyz in here too.

Thanks so much for continuing to post some of the most interesting music around. :)

John B. said...

I love Sripraphai and go there every time I'm in NYC. So, is Thailand's Center Point another restaurant? I'll have to try it!

Gary said...

Carol! I knew you'd like this one and glad you saw it.

John! Thailand's Center Point is indeed a restaurant, and a really great one. On the next block over from Sripraphai.

richard said...

Very nice! In addition to Fama, they remind me of the Osaka hip-hop group Insist. Do you know them? They share instrumentalists with the funk band Osaka Monaurail.

Gary said...

Richard, I don't know Insist, so thank you so much for the tip. I plan to celebrate some of our our country's "independence" searching for whatever I can find about and by them online. I also have a book on Japanese hip-hop somewhere that I should probably crack open--maybe there's something about them there, too.

richard said...

If it's Ian Condry's book you're thinking of, no, I don't think they're in there--he spent his time in Tokyo. Insist is pretty findable on youtube by their Japanese name (韻シスト), and by "Insist" on iTunes and Amazon. Osaka Monaurail is pretty hot, too--they backed Marva Whitney on her comeback album in 2007. Have fun!

Gary said...

Thanks again, Richard. Yes, it's Ian Condry's book and, you're right, they're not in there. I did manage to find one YouTube video by them and will look for others now using their Japanese name. Thanks!