The Freelance Mentalists.
Thursday, December 30, 2004
 
PAZZ AND JOP PREDICTIONS?

Hey all - long time member, first time poster.

So - I threw this question up on Pop Life but I wanted to put this towards the FM clan since I'm sure most of you will be voting in the Pazz and Jop. Who's gonna chart on the Top 10? As I noted, this has less to do with your own personal favorites and more to do with guessing what the P&J consensus is going to end up with.

A personal shot in the dark, in vague order of ranking (but don't hold me to it)

1 & 2) Kanye West and Franz Ferdinand.
3, 4 & 5) Brian Wilson, The Streets, Loretta Lynn
6, 7 & 8) U2, TV on the Radio, Modest Mouse
9 & 10) Dizzee Rascal, Danger Mouse
 
Wednesday, December 29, 2004
 
Rollie's Top Ten Most Uncharacteristic Songs From 2004:
The Wreckoning

hey, this is my first foray into this collective, so let's do a list says my brain. this thing has songs that are mostly from 2004 but some of which are not. yeah, pal. it's stuff that for random reasons, i might not have liked at all in 2003.

10. Franz Ferdinand "Michael"
being someone who is actually not gay, this is about the peak of my less-than-eternal-flame. i hear this song and think that maybe if the feather boa i put on has racing stripes, it might just mean i'm aggro-flamboyant. aggro-flambo sounds like a greek meal with flamingo in it.

9. Dizzee Rascal "Give U More"
did you know that there was a short period in late 2002-early 2003 where i couldn't stand dizzee rascal? i don't really remember why. i might've just been sick of hearing about this guy everywhere or something. i had only heard 'fix up' and i was like 'it's alright, but put your pants on'. it clicked when i first heard 'cut em off' in a record store. from then on, i'm super fan all of a sudden.

8. The Fiery Furnaces "Quay Cur"
it's not that i wouldn't normally like it or something. it's just i was totally taken aback by how powerfully this album smashed me.

7. Snoop Dogg ft. Pharrell "Drop It Like It's Hot"
if you were to tell me last year that snoop would make one of his personal top three all-time singles in 2004, i might've actually pissed right in your mouth. i'm seriously a wild savage and i'm known to do that sort of shit, especially when talking about singles.

6. Lil' Wayne "Cash Money Millionaires"
i was never one of those indie rap-crits who got into cash money and decided that their rampant opulence was sort of a subversive message about the failings of commercial rap's self-destructive mechanism. i hate when people do that. i just thought they were all shitty rappers and that the beats were a little too bright for my tastes. but mannie 'money' fresh, who said to moog out and fucking CRASH THE PARTY, dude? i heard this in a car ride to norfolk looking for homecoming parties and it magnified the windows-down head nod several fold. THIS JACKET THESE SHOES DON'T COME OUT THIS YEAR 'go dj' is great too.

5. Ludacris "Number One Spot"
i hate songs that are a bad idea and i hate songs that are outdated. this song is actually both. it samples the austin powers theme and this album came out like a month ago. now, chris 'really fucking short in person' bridges, what makes you think i want to hear you do this stupid song in 2004, when tonedeff DESTROYS the same sample and idea and was supposed to be on the actual soundtrack for one of the films a few months ago? well, actually, turns out your incredible delivery and the great chop-and-go southern hi-hat shit from dj green lantern (how unforeseen) works like a solid song. please get more timbaland. thx xo roland

4. Brandy "I Tried"
while watching a brandy video with my sister a couple years ago, i once told her that not only would i kick brandy out of bed, but if i were in a situation where i could do it, i'd kick her out of a plane. i think she's actually pretty awful at singing, has contrived lyrics/songwriters and is a total no-talent. but this song is a burner!@!! obviously, timbaland supplies a genius beat that melds sample, synth and what i can assume is live orchestra for an insanely textured, nuanced production. this same guy can make beats like this and then drop some pretty one-note shit like 'the potion' by ludacris. whatever.

3. Joanna Newsom "Peach, Plum, Pear"
rollie in 2003: "holy shit, how did this witch fly into my stereo? GET IT OUT"
rollie in 2004: "hey brandon, you gotta hear this witch that plays the harp, it's pretty fucking awesome"

2. Billy Joel "Movin' Out"
It's a funny story, actually. I originally only got it to figure out what the sample from Cam'ron and Juelz Santana's "U Oughta Know" was saying. Now I've vowed to make it my karaoke standard. 'He's trading in his Chevy for a Cadillacacacacaacacac!!!!!!!!!!!!!'

1. Kate Bush "Boobushka"
I got this song because ILM said that hip hop loves Kate Bush and because i love hip hop and Russian terminalogy, i gave it a run. pretty cool song. i sampled it and i have sung it pretty loudly in the past year. the song is a weird idea though. sending scented letters, showing up and stuff, fake names, it's all manipulative and the husband would have to be a dumb ass to be tricked into all this.
 
 
SOME CHANGES AROUND HERE

first, comments should now be on, so cross yr fingers and tell us the truth

secondly, we have a whole bunch of new writers who kick ass, so stay tuned for a link section

thirdly, we are hoping to blow yr mind in the new year, write us an email to tell us how to do that

PAZ Y LUZ EN EL ANO NUEVO
 
Monday, December 27, 2004
 
Ten.
1. Lil' Jon and the rise & rise of the south:He's a maniac, and what seemed a textbook one trick pony has sprouted the most fiendish legs. Check just the beginnings of his 04 hitlist: Yeah!; No Problem; Get Some Crunk in Yo System; Goodies; Let's Go; Toma; What U Gon Do. People have been popping shots at Jon, saying he's pure business, or that he can't rap. The former charge is ridiculous, the whole game is about dollars, everyone's trying to sell you their record, fool, it's just the degree to which they conceal it. The south has always had an admirable degree of candour about this aspect to their business (Luke Skyywalker invented it, Ca$h Money honed it, Lil' Jon's publicly listing it), but the real issue is still musical, those records all bang like Hiroshima. And saying he can't rap, well that's even dumber. It isn't even rap music, it's thunder and joy and the born soundtrack to execution and procreation, trying to compare it to classical NYC rap is like comparing The Godfather with Bad Boys II, and as long as Lil' Jon's addictively profane nonsense is running radio I'll keep blowing bass-bins with it.
2. Kanye West and a play for the soul of hip-hop:Kanye ran the year just as much as Jon, he just timed his run a little badly (hey, he was on debut), and let that savvy southerner steal a little of his shine. No matter, his work with Twista, Jada, Jon Legend, Brandy and, most emphatically his damn self will live forever. Saying he's the most honest mc ever would be total bullshit, really, but he seems the most regular, the one whose neuroses and general demeanour mostly closely resemble our own. Alone, enough, but to match that to a set of productions which display a virtuoso's ability on the heartstrings, well now you're starting to look a whole lot less human, kid. And shit, if Never Let You Down was his sole contrubtion to recorded music, he would still be a titan.
3.Brian Wilson at the Aotea Centre Theatre, 19/12/2004All year we'd been subject to endless reports of this rapture, filtering down to the bottom of the earth, carrying the dead certainty that it was history that would once again never make it this far south. But this was truly awe-inspiring. 19 of the most inspiring, sympathetic musicians, carrying those celestial harmonies and in a mix that defied belief, with Wilson the eternal bruised and bemused teenager, trapped in the lumpy, ill-fitting trojan horse of a paunchy 50ish man. He seemed faintly other-wordly, making strange, impenetrable hand gestures and mostly oblivious to anything beyond his autocue. Smile was mystifying, delightful, a glimpse of the purity and purpose of Wilson's world, but it couldn't compete with the limitless well of longing and emotion that the Beach Boys catalogue, so lovingly played, represented. A moment so rare you're incredulous that you even bore witness to it, but now I believe in magic.
4. Black Chiney- Supa Chiney Vol. 8.1So dancehall couldn't get near matching its monstrous takeover in 03, somehow Chiney managed to make that all irrelevant with a mixtape of spectacular audacity. Okay, so that opening blend of the Scooby Doo theme with Elephant Man's rapturous interjections seems like kids stuff, but the genius is that it never rises above that level. It makes idiocy a virtue, and in so doing plays directly to the manifest strengths of dancehall in 2004. Namely volume, repetition and melodic spasticity. So while few of the rhythm's contained therein could be called truly first rate (Kopa, Dancehall Rock, Coolie Dance and Perilous excepted) Willie Chin found the buried treasure, sequenced it immaculately, gathered some outstanding dub-plates and intersected the whole thang with the finest blunted phone calls to create a true Jamaican pearl outta a year when it seemed a long-shot at best. Plus those versions on Toxic are not far off the most thrilling sonic dichotomies of the year.
year.
5. DJ Buddha- Caribbean ConnectionWhile Dancehall seemed to fall back a little, Reggaeton reared up from nowhere and frankly, who knows where this might end up. A scene so full of barely tapped potency it’s hurts your head to even think about for too long. I must confess to knowing dick all about this mostly impenetrable scene, except that it sounds like the most vibrant new Pop Music to have emerged in 2004, and that Buddha’s blend of it with the years baddest JA vocals (What A Tragedy; Picture This, Bounce It Right) made for a mixtape that just wouldn’t quit. And while you lose half the fun of MCing when the language barrier’s erected, that’s over-compensated by the boundless pleasures of the island cadence bursting ecstatically over those ostensibly similar productions. Plus having the sense to understand that Bun Bad Mind exists outside all earth music and thus (if it makes your tape at all) must necessarily be the last word. Word.
6. Phelps & Munro- Live at the Kings Arms
I think subconsciously most of us already knew that Slash’s solo on November Rain was about the pinnacle of humanity’s artistic achievements. We daren’t admit it to ourselves lest it render all of our carefully maintained obsessions instantly obsolete, so we squirreled the fact away, dismissing our disturbingly euphoric reaction to its airing as a strange quirk that would disappear with studied inattention. It took true courage for Phelps & Munro to laser in on the core lunatic appeal of the piece, to lovingly disassemble it and then piece by piece re-organise it into this towering construction. Initially synthesizers whir, evoking nothing but vorsprung durch technik, a focused mechanized efficiency, and for many glorious seconds only an oddly ominous tone pervades the air. But something’s brewing, there’s a ghost in this machine, and when it rears up, apropos of nothing but signaling the demise of empires it is a glorious aural explosion, as that pompous, melodramatic masterpiece is regurgitated in fascinating new forms. The crashing stadium drums reverse and submerge without rhythm or reason, the fabulously empty LA dispassion of the crescendos chop and collide like the oceans at Cape Horn, rendering a familiar pattern newly exhilarating as it endlessly deconstructs itself.
Then as suddenly as it came, it is gone. The story of a hurricane.
7. Xiu-Xiu and Electrelane and TV on the Radio and The Streets and Usher
Not the most obvious quintet but hang back in the cut a minute, please! Cuz last year there was a worrying preponderance of hella hip, mondo danceable and all-round super records that had not one part per million of regular human emotion associated with them whatsoever. The DFA, those No Wave revivalists, the Tigerbeat6 squad, all put out some great records with a huge bottom end and no feelings. So it was extremely gratifying to hear some soul bearing records, utilizing entirely different methodology but always cutting right to the very core of just how mystifying, unpleasant and occasionally magnificent it is to have a heart.
8. There is no eight.
9.Todd Rundgren’s A Wizard, A True Star
I remember reading about this record a long time ago, and filing it away as something to be eventually located when I came across it. Like you do with millions of old records, but this one took forever. But finally Hamilton’s messy, fiscally retarded, Hindsight Records did me a helluva favour in dropping a vg/vg copy into my lap for NZ$4. And was it ever worth the wait. I dunno, maybe I missed the bulletin where this was hailed as an all-american classic from the pantheon waah waah, u know the listing, I never seen it anyway. But it had me jaw agape from day one, epic, tear soaked balladry, space rock galore, pearlescent AOR and sonic bravado that remains astounding even at this distance. But mainly an all too rare sense that music is vast and impenetrable and that if one is true to it then your record shouldn’t sound anything like anyone else’s. And the only record that remotely gets near the sprawling magnificence of A Wizard, A True Star is the Faust Tapes. Now, don’t get me wrong, those Germans were utterly peerless, but right now, sober and seated, AWATS seems wilder, truer and more so in every respect.
10.The re-election of George W. Bush
Because when the citizenry are unhappy, they make the most wonderful sound. Scant reward, in many respects, but we’ve had four musical years that brutalise Slick Willy’s blasé 90s, and well, I could do with four more. Nothing good can come of this time politically, economically or legislatively, but well, we are gonna get some phenomenal records between now and 2008. Sonic Nurse, American Idiot and One Beat were all products of raw indignation, and the general climate is such that music has not been in such rude health across the board since I don’t know when. Maybe Vietnam. And when you’re grasping at straws, knowing that the administration’s activities are likely to have the unintended consequence of many more exceptional records (both explicitly and implicitly political) over the next four years might be cold comfort, but it’s better than no comfort at all. Right?
 
Thursday, December 16, 2004
 
Top Ten of Most Annoying Things

1. Rammstein: Every time I hear a note of their music, I want to run for cover. Neue Rawk für stumme Leute. Note to the R-lovers: You are obv on drugs or lack a few braincells. I used freedom of speech and good taste when picking this as top offender.

2. Franz Ferdinand: English Scottish art academy fops go Top of the Pops. Sorry, I quit university for a reason. I just don't like fey Academic Pop. I like my music to come from the pelvis shooting bubbles of hormones.

3. Who didn't die this year? From Robert Quine to ODB, every month had a clutch of people leaving us.

4. Chique Trash Chixor, Paris Hilton, covers David Bowie's Fame. That's so not hot. Vanilla Ice come BACK! We forgive you! Stick with what you do best, namely skeleton porn.

5. Reunions vs Breakups: What was the worst? Guided by Voices breaking up or Duran Duran producing a record to cure insomnia? After a lengthy tour throughout the US - did Pollard consciously forget about me and the other European fans - Guided by Voices breaks up in a million solo projects. There won't be any teenage suicides, but we'll still be hugging our Sandbox.

6. Dimebag Darrell gets killed on stage. I was never much of a Pantera fan, but WTF is up with shooting your hero because you can't get over the breakup of Darrell's band?

7. MTV has forgotten about the M. The last time I watched MTV, I had to wait half an hour to see Blue. I am not interested in Real Life part 51237 nor how many badrooms Hillary Duff has in her cabana. I want music. Now. Oh, I have an iPOD. YAY.

8. Wiley rules. The crowd disagrees.

9. Ashlee Simpson's humpty dumbadee dance. Who cares if she lipsynchs? Give the punkafied popstar a break, she has reflux. More importantly: if she's a former ballet dancer, who was her teacher? Shoot the man in the kneecaps.

10. I hate top tens.
 
Wednesday, December 15, 2004
 
Top Ten Tracks Of The Week From The Top Ten Compilations, Reissues, And Best-Of Albums Of The Month. As Of Today. None Of Which Are New Or Guaranteed To Be In Print Or Easy To Find.


Kim Fowley - Underground Animal (Dionysus/Bacchus Archives) - Genius or charlatan? I say genius. If there had been a market in the 60's for teen polka instrumentals, Kim would have been on the phone with a guy who knew a guy who could play the accordion in a heartbeat. He was quick, shameless and weird. Three attributes that come in handy when your calling in life is the novelty record market. This comp has some great quickies on it from Boystown, Ason Martin & The Moon Discs, The Bush, The Doll House, and Vito & The Hands. What's your pleasure? Ersatz girl groups, ersatz surf, ersatz Beatles, ersatz psych? There is something for everyone. My pick is "Astrology" under Kim's own name. A struggling Bo Diddley beat, back-up vocals courtesy of the Mermaids and Kim's inexplicable Count Dracula vocals help push this ode to astrological charts and their efficiency in determining one's significant other over the top. My guess about Kim's vocals: He took what was basically a 50's-style girl group pop tune and added a little ghoulishness just in case it got mistaken for the next "Monster Mash". It didn't, but hey, you never know!

Johnny Dodds - "Spirit Of New Orleans" 1926-1927 (MCA) - Whether with Jimmy Bertrand's Washboard Wizards, Jimmy Blythe's Owls or with his own Black Bottom Stompers, punk clarinetist Johnny Dodds always took Nawlins jazz out back for a thrashing. He didn't mess around! A seriously emotive trudge thru "Wild Man Blues" by Earl Hines and a moonlighting Louis Armstrong nearly steals the show on this set, but top tune for me would have to be the barnburning "Joe Turner's Blues". Great orchestration and swinging solos all around. This is vital stuff. Also of note: "Clarinet Wobble", the vocal take of "After You've Gone", and the faultless structure of "When Erastus Plays His Old Kazoo".

Fast Product - Mutant Pop 78/79 (PVC) - This is one of those comps of post-76 new wave excitement that still holds up nicely. The faves for many would be Mekons "Never Been In A Riot", Gang Of Four's "Love Like Anthrax" or maybe Human League's "Being Boiled". And rightly so. But today it's a toss-up for me between "Adultery" by Scars (those groovy drums kill me every time. Shake those sticks, Scars drummer-dude!) or "After Dark" by Flowers. "After Dark" has that breathless immediacy that spells excitement the first time you hear it or anything like it. I probably felt the same sense of discovery when I first heard Siouxsie. And maybe you felt it when you first heard the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Hahahahaha!!!! I'm sorry. I'm not laughing at you, I'm laughing WITH you! What do you mean you aren't laughing? If it makes you feel any better, I'm an old fatso. Sheesh, the difference between Mekons of October 29 & 30, 1977 and Mekons of November 29, 1978 is surpassed only by the difference between the sound of the music Mekons were making in late 1977 and what music sounded like when this comp appeared in 1980. It was a whole 'nother world by then. Hell, I was gearing up for an ant invasion by 1980. What a difference a little over two years makes.

Girls In The Garage Vol.4 (Romulan) - Everyone should own the entire Girls In The Garage series. Essential stuff. The best track on Vol.4? Hmmm, another tough one. "Ringo, I Love You" by Bonnie Jo Mason a.k.a. Cher? "Me & My Miniskirt" by Minnie & The Kneebones? "Surfer Stomp" by Kay Bell & The Tuffs? (For the record, surf music sung by gals is 1000 times more adorable than anything has a right to be. If the ladies had taken over the scene, it would still be a viable genre today.) "Mr.Genie Man" by Society's Children? (Solid fuzz, tough garage vocals. I would kill to hear more from this group.) And the winner is: "Fraternity U.S.A." by The Ladybugs! Faux British accents, faux Beatle beat, and multiple shout-outs to all the Greeks on fraternity row. But really, it's the faux British accents that make this record indispensable.

Best Of The Gap Band - Gap Gold (Total Experience) - I'll go with "Shake" this week. I've been mainlining disco drum & bass lately. The tighter, leaner, and meaner the better. Percussion breakdowns in the middle of a song are a plus right now. Cowbells optional.

The Bee Gees - Rare, Precious & Beautiful Vol.2 (Polydor) - "I Was A Lover, A Leader Of Men" has that great aussie Beatle twang guitar on it. As simple as outback dust. And the cool creepy organ coda. "Claustrophobia" has the deathless line: "But I get claustrophobia, cuz there's too many boys on your mind". "Theme From Jamie McPheeters" is a great aussie wagon train anthem about California. Maybe. "Could It Be" is great aussie Dave Clark 5 jangle. But "To Be Or Not To Be" has a slamming drum beat and valid notions of what a rave-up should sound like.

Fuzz, Flaykes, & Shakes Vol.4: Experiment In Color (Dionysus/Bacchus Archives) - The Rock Shop can't stand the pain any longer. His Majesty's Coachmen don't want to see you. The Trojans Of Evol ask: Why me? The Canterbury Fair are worried about the man with the glove in his hand. The Soultans wonder how anyone could even exist without soul. The Blues Company don't care where you live. The What's New ain't got no use for anything. Jeez, so much for peace & love. Buncha downers. So why beat around the bush. The track to beat is unknown Sonny Villega's "I Cry". Punchy organ, snappy, twisting, fuzz guitar-work, and Sonny's utter resignation and acceptance that he has blown things big time. Wait, I lied. The track to beat is "If You Want Me" by The Menaces. So tentative, sad, and downbeat you could kill yerself to it with a smile on yer face.

Jackie Cain & Roy Kral - Jackie & Roy (MCA) - They made it look so easy, didn't they? Man oh man, the way their voices intertwined and rode and surfed the rhythms and melodies. Like something graceful in flight on a clear day above the clouds. A bird? A balloon? A plane? A kite? Maybe a bird. Jackie solo is a dream. ("Angel Eyes" is such a great song. I'm gonna have to dig for some solo albums. She must have made some. Never thought to look. Just as I can't get enough of Keely sans Louis, I could go for some straight-up Jackie. Not that I don't love Roy! I love Roy! He's the coffee in her cream. The cat in her pajamas. They're "Two Peas In A Pod"- which gets my vote for Jackie & Roy tune of the week. But there is so much to choose from. Where's my Bear Family boxed-set!?) "Like Tweedledum & Tweedledee, my pal, you're lost without me"....

The Poets - The Poets (Immediate) - They were poets! And they knew it! They were Andrew Loog Oldham's next big thing and they did okay in the beat group sweepstakes even if not many remember them now. I say pick this up if you see it. Some wonderful melancholy tunes in a Scottish mood. Their frilly shirts masked the hidden depths of brooding loch dwellers. "Now We're Thru" has that great percussive acoustic guitar that beats down like a hammer. It truly doesn't sound like much else around at the time. There were literally thousands of bands in the 60's that had one or two shining moments in the sun. The Poets had 5 or 6 of them.

MC5 - Human Being Lawnmower (Total Energy) - I buy most MC5 odds & sods collections that I see cuz I'm silly that way. Apparently, there just aren't enough unreleased live cuts, studio outtakes, and assorted ephemera to satisfy me. They are always fun to hear. The live "Motor City Is Burning" on here is only beaten for sheer sweat and energy by the live "I Believe To My Soul" which is only toppled by the instrumental alternate take of "Looking At You" which is ....you get the picture. Rama la fa fa fa, motherfucker! Oh yeah, um, the live "Rama La Fa Fa Fa" is tops on this set.


 
 
my top 10 list of favorite moments in 2004

1. The moments on Ely Guerra’s "Te Amo, I Love You" when it changes from being floaty trip-hop slowjam into total rawk beast, courtesy of some slammin’-ass guitars from Ely and Pancho Lelo de Larrea and Ely wailing like a cranked-up banshee: "Yo arriba! Por favor! Mi amor, déjalo!" Actually, all the moments on the album (Sweet & Sour, Hot y Spicy) where she loses control and becomes the Mexican Janis Joplin, or Ann Wilson, or Robert Plant, or whoever she’s channeling, because DAYUM SHE SEXY, all cinco feet nothin’ of her, fine fine woman in an afro wig

2. Jadakiss with the simplest best line of the year, maybe: "You know why they made the new twenties? Cause I got all the old ones." I don’t know why I love this line so much; it’s less political than all the other lines, it’s probably jacked from something else, etc. But I just love it, especially because I know Anthony Hamilton is lurking around the corner to beat that chorus into submission.

3. The loop on Luiz Gayotto’s "Hilária," composed of people laughing in Brazilian Portuguese (is that possible?). This album, Fragmentos de musica livre e espontaneo, is like Brian Eno in the 1970s, just great pop music composed by a loony avant-garde genius, but I love this track in particular, especially when he starts tweaking the loop ever so slightly, making it into blips and bleeps and bops over that insistent beat.

4. Chingo Bling’s telephone conversation with the shoe guy who wants him to endorse "Air Chingo" sandals, and Chingo doesn’t want to sell out (the skit is at the end of "Fuck a Major Label," after all) so he makes the corporate tool guy yell "Chow me de moneyz!" like he’s Cherry McGwire. All of The Tamale Kingpin is pretty funny like that – even better is the skit where Chingo is president and the reporter asks him why he built a plywood room onto the White House for his abuelita.

5. Driving through town with my brother Jeff listening to Lil’ Jon’s "Stop Fuckin Wit Me," which is like the dude from Suicidal Tendencies’ "Institutionalized" grew up and now has child-support and employment issues. We had the windows down in the cold so we could yell "All I wanted was a Pepsi!!!!"

6. Finding Carlinhos Brown’s Alfagamabetizado for $1.00 at the Frugal Muse Outlet Store. This was like my Holy Grail moment of 2004, comparable to finding the original vinyl of the Four Season’s Genuine Imitation Life Gazette for $.99 last year.

7. Watching some corny awards show with my daughter a couple of months ago when Alicia Keys came out and went into "Karma," just tearing it up. Emma and I looked at each other and just nodded, all serious, like "Aw yeah, that’s our girl!" She just got the album last night for Hanukkah, and I hope she opens it soon so I can hear it.

8. Bursting into tears, late at night, listening to "Believe You Me" by Allison Moorer, when I realized how far ahead of all other country songwriters she is right now, which is to say "all other American songwriters."

9. Somehow becoming the go-to guy for Sao Paulo musicians who want their stuff to get reviewed in the U.S. There was a period where I was getting a brown-paper package every other day with weird scrawls on the outside and weird wonderful wild music on the inside.

10. Hearing the most beautiful song I have ever heard in my life: "Hecho en Buenos Aires," by Bersuit Vergabarat.
 

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