There is an appealing (yet phony) superiority that goes with thinking of oneself as a "purist". Which is why I always feel a little bit shamed when ordering a Hawaiian pizza—an ordinary pizza with red sauce and mozarella cheese, but also with chunks of pineapple, slabs of ham, and (sometimes) minced up bits of crispy bacon. Isn't that just another example of poorly-thought eclecticism, if not just routinely catering to the LCD crowd? Peruse the slices on display in any college town pizzeria and consider the stomach-churning parade of toppings like baked ziti, falafel chunks, fried chicken, and hard boiled eggs. I don't approve of any of that unless it's 2 AM and you are a drunken fratboy. (In which case, my disapproval delves far deeper than your contemplation of the "He-Man" or "Taco-Bacon Supreme" slice.)
But back to the Hawaiian conundrum. Some quick research reveals that the pineapple and ham phenomenon has nothing to do with actual Hawaiians, but is in fact a creation of the crafty Germans (Strike One!) According to Wikipedia, it is also the most popular pizza in Australia, accounting for a shocking 15% of all pizza sales. (Strike Two!) I was in Hawaii last year, where I sampled the local pizza sold in a nearly empty cocktail lounge. While it was being prepared, I ordered a drink and was chatted up by a damaged-looking woman who in hindsight I believe may have been a prostitute. In spite of the geographic convenience to the Dole plantation, no pineapples were offered as toppings that evening, and even if they had, it would not have changed the fact that said pizza was quite possibly the worst I have ever encountered.
So let's get down to it. In the classic style of content providers who suddenly panic over their lack of an interactive social media plan, I offer the following five second survey. Do pineapples and ham have any business being on top of a pizza? Use the survey box below to choose your answer.
Well, it's freezing cold in NYC and it's apparently going to snow again. With such grim realities knocking at our collective door, what better excuse to hide inside with the lights off, basking in the stunning and particular genius of this Bunny Sigler slowjam from 1980. For the Gamble & Huff collaborator and Philly Sound progenitor who was once nicknamed "Mr. Emotion", this weirdo detour into laserbeam sound effects and cough-syrupy production values stands as a largely unknown career highlight.
No foolin', the phone rings off the hook every time I play this on the radio.
I just heard the recently reactivated Dismemberment Plan's interview on Weekend Edition and decided it would be a good time to chuck this into the ether again: bandleader Travis Morrison's great/hilarious written account of one of the band's myriad U.S. tours embarked upon during the apex of their success. This tour diary originally appeared in Green Means Go! fanzine, which I co-edited between 1994 and 1997. Sometime last year, Travis mentioned to me that he and his bandmates were considering using this piece for liner notes to their just re-upped Emergency & I LP. I guess that didn't happen, but if you're one of the seemingly zillions of folks for whom that record is such a touchstone, this is sure to get you good and frothy.
Here's audio of "OK, Joke's Over", a song which I can not hear without immediately recalling one of the coldest crosstown walks I have ever endured. (To see the Dismemberment Plan's first ever NYC show, circa 1995, with about 10 other people. Can I get an amen for Sunday nights at Under Acme?)
My wife is officially crazy. Not because she married me (zing!), but because she stayed up all night to hand craft a swarm of candy butterflies for our daughter's first birthday party cupcakes.
That a woman of such epic patience agreed to spend her life with a man who recently came close to putting his fist through a wall at his inability to assemble a ladybug-shaped tent is a remarkable thing indeed. (Note to non-parents: tasks such as "baking thematic cupcakes" or "assembling whimsical indoor tents" only became regular components of our lives after the arrival of our daughter. You should think very carefully about this before you start easing off the birth control.)
Anyway, chalk these cupcakes up as more proof that I don't have the patience for baking. I work in broad strokes, not pointillism. Nevertheless, I'm happy to stuff my face with the fruits of someone else's labor and find thematically suitable music for the occasion in the FMA. Use the player below to stream or download UK hip-hop trio Godmanwho perform the awesome "Slight Butterflies."
Click here to listen with your preferred media player.
The Telescopes - "Dsm-iv axis 1307.46 (Night Terrors)" - Every Noise has a Note * [compilation] White Noise Sound - "Don't Wait for Me" - White Noise Sound * Mattison - "Oval" - Leaves Bunny Sigler - "Let it Snow" - Let it Snow Lame Drivers - "Working Song" - Various Deficiencies Vol. 1 The Fall - "The Classical" - Hex Enduction Hour * The Wellington Arrangement - "Love" - Glimpses Vols. 1 & 2 * [compilation] Timmy's Organism - "Ugly Dream" - Rise of the Green Gorilla * Tuxedomoon - "No Tears" - No Tears EP Soft Drinks - "Pepsi Cola" - The Thing from the Crypt (I Nearly Died Laughing) [compilation] Negativland - "Drink it Up" - Dispepsi Big Blood - "She Sells Sanctuary" [A cover of The Cult] The Fans - "True" - Squares Blot out the Sun [compilation] Jesse Winchester - "Step by Step" - Let the Rough Side Drag Latyrx - "Bumpin' Contraption" - Solesides Greatest Bumps 4xLP [compilation] Gal Costa - "Da Maior Importancia" - India The Silver Jews - "The Poor, The Fair, and The Good" - Tanglewood Numbers Tommy McCook - "The Shadow of Your Smile" - Trojan Rocksteady 3xCD [compilation] The Plastic People of the Universe - "Kanarek (The Canary)" - Magical Nights 2xCD * Viktimized Karcass - "The Heat is Gone" - Turn of the Grindstone [compilation] Twinkeyz - "Sweet Nothing" - Aliens in our Midst: Complete Recordings 1977-1980 Earth - "Divine and Bright" - A Bureaucratic Desire for Extra-Capsular Extraction * The Hank IV - "Garbage Star" - III * Konono No. 1 - "Paradiso" - Congotronics Encre - "Flux" - Flux Monolake - "Plumbicon (Sleeparchive Interpretation)" - Plumbicon Versions EP Forest Swords - "Glory Gongs" - Dagger Paths EP * Swell Maps - "The Helicopter Spies" - ...in "Jane from Occupied Europe" Nikki Sudden - "Midget Submarine (Swell Maps)" - Live on WFMU [Download the whole set here.] Boards of Canada - "Peacock Tail" - The Campfire Headphase Martin Luther King - "I Have a Dream" Vera Lynn - "Yours" - The World of Vera Lynn
One of the selfish (but great) things about being involved with WFMU is how it's repeatedly granted me the opportunity to interact with my musical heroes. I'm no starfucker, but there's something to be said for dancing right nextdoor to the fantasy, and how doing so often reveals details of Our Most Exalted Rock Gods which are strangely absent from the written histories. For instance, did you know that Joe Strummer smells of tobacco and peppermint, Donovan is a bit like a leprechaun, or that Anton Newcombe is actually a really sweet guy?
In other words, there are the people, and then there is the mythology. But within the sacred confines of WFMU, the crossroads of those two competing concepts never resonated with greater poignancy for me than in the case of Nikki Sudden.
In the early 1970s, Nikki started a band with his brother called the Swell Maps, who somehow married the disparate influences of Krautrock and T. Rex to spectactular and lasting effect. His next band, the Jacobites, made no less a statement, albeit with very different ingredients in the cooker. And then there is the decade's worth of amazing solo albums and the memorable NYC-area shows that Nikki played in support of them. I made it a point to see him perform every chance I got, so by the time schedules finally granted him time to swing by my radio show for a live set on March 20th 2006, it felt like a meeting that was long overdue.
Nikki Sudden passed away unexpectedly less than a week after that performance, and it remains a crippling testament to what was a truly wonderful night of music in Jersey City. I wrote a short piece about the evening for the Brooklyn Rail several days after the news broke, so no need to go into all the sad details again. I'm just glad the tracks from that session are finally available for everyone to enjoy. Hosting Nikki on the radio was a years-long dream of mine, and I'm still humbled and honored to have spent some time in his company.
Eternal gratitude to Rob Watts and Danny Hole. Thanks be to Nikki. Stay bruised.
Xposted on the FMA here. Check the other Nikki sessions just made available there, too.