Hebrew School


Walking in different Jews
August 28, 2008, 11:43 am
Filed under: jews, music | Tags: ,

Benetton-esque Kenneth Cole advertisement featuring reggae singer Matisyahu. Text to the lower right reads, “Matisyahu, devout Hasidic Jew.”

Is the only way to find success and earn a living these days, as a musician, to become a value-added proposition for a private concern? Is there necessarily anything “unorthodox” about an advertising scheme which stands to gain revenue by singling you out as a “Jew?” I do not know, nor am I about to suspend roll call on the floor, but sometimes I do wonder.

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Hebrew School moves!
August 26, 2008, 8:48 am
Filed under: administrative hooey | Tags: , ,

Hebrew School put its yarmulkes and hard candy into boxes yesterday and parked itself at a new domain, hebrewschoolsounds.com, which is actually where you are now thanks to a redirect.

All your old WordPress bookmarks, feeds, etc., should continue to work and you should not miss a beat. But please let me know if you experience any difficulties!



Last Night: The Ex with Gétatchèw Mèkurya, Either/Orchestra with Mahmoud Ahmed and Alèmayèhu Eshèté, Extra Golden at Lincoln Center

via Trent’s flickr.

My goodness, what a show yesterday at the Damrosch bandshell. Hebrew School was stuck at his desk with his Mapai-era ink blotter but managed to telecommute in while fervently texting with folks on the scene. Apart from general encomium about the music, the SMS Mossad reported fantastic audience vibe despite a crisp late-August chill that’s already beginning to hang in the air, inspiringly frenetic African dancing on stage, and Thurston Moore walking through crowd, no longer good-looking. (The last item perhaps not breaking news, but do we not dare to dream?)

I see that EEPEEYEEP has managed to YouTube the plurality of the Ex’s set– here’s the first of eight parts:

And, for what it’s worth, WFMU’s simulcast was excellent, replete with live interviews of many of the musicians between sets. I did take some exception to Katherina Ex’s on-air diss of DJ Rob Weisberg (though I’m somewhat– somewhat?!– biased for having met this sweet fellow and having had the honor to play on his show.) Then again, if the stage announcements were correct and this was truly the Ex’s largest American show in their 30-odd-year history, I can stand a little Dutch edginess. Also, at the time of interview, I think they had about 10 minutes to take the stage.



Jew-tube roundup, Summer ’08

Hitler plans burning man.

Kim Gordon of Ciccone Youth performs Robert Palmer’s “Addicted to Love” at a Macy’s video booth.

Seu Jorge, “Rebel Rebel”

Amanda Lear, “These Boots Are Made for Walking”

A Bollywood version of “Hava Nagila.”

The Raymond Scott Fascination Machine, soothing sounds for baby.

Bisc1 performs “Yours or Mine” at Southpaw.

Michel Polnareff, “La poupée qui fait non.” Apparently, Jimmy Page is playing guitar on this 1966 recording. (Also see his 40th anniversary version— the man had a vision, a white-goggled one, but my introduction to this song was actually elsewhere, in English by a band called the Birds.)

KETC segment on Janis Ian.



Office Naps returns!

After announcing an indeterminate hiatus six months ago, Office Naps returned last week with a new post, met by an outpouring of gratitude from DJ Little Danny’s loyal fans. Danny has posted an incredible collection of soul, funk and psych 45s, principally from the ’60s and ’70s. His posts are well-researched and impeccably written, and his knowledge of the music scenes he writes about is astounding. In the past, he’s focused on the lesser-known projects of the somewhat-better-known elsewhere, honed in on the historical doings of industry-noted L.A. session players, and unearthed the riddles hidden in the cryptography of those faded, misprinted circular labels.

The audio blogosphere, after half a decade of vacillating levels of acceptance and reproach within the status-quo music industry, relentlessly perseveres in dishing up the obscure, the forgotten, the overlooked, and the otherwise yard sale-bound. For every brow that’s furrowed, there are thousands of ear drums, thirsty for sound that would likely have never been heard.

With so many items on a given record label’s back catalog going out of print or disregarded in favor of the new and shiny, or the gapingly deficient remastered compilation, I’d venture to say that these blogs carry out an important social function in audio preservation. Where profit-driven labels may claim to do just that via selective reissue, it’s the actual music enthusiasts ripping out-of-print vinyl and putting up mp3s that prevent a processed revisionism of music history. And placement on a well-regarded blog can be much more of a boon for the undiscovered new artist than being approached by a questionable label representative in a seedy club.

That said, here are some more offerings from my aggregator. Enjoy!

Crud Crud – Scott Soriano productively rationalizes his vinyl hording, remembers to eat and sleep.

Diddy Wah – Podcasts, themed posts, and artist posts around an ecumenical array of genres.

Dinosaur Gardens – Retro cold war fear mongering, Jamaican indie, porno 8-tracks

Lost in the ’80s – Sick of the nostalgic wax of this decade? Try the underbelly.

Record Robot – Recent features include a bizarre children’s record, nationalistic “synth ditties” from a marginally-known indie godfather, and a Christian-overtoned night club act singing a CCR medley.

The Strange Experience of Music – Amazing blog, in French (you can always Babelfish it for a rough translation), primarily dealing with ’60s psych of both American and European origin. They’re most known for compiling their own French and Italian versions of the renowned Nuggets compilations.

Sweet Thunder’s Tape Findings – A fascinating collection of found sound, mostly in the form of kids making home recordings on cassette tapes. Listen to the likes of junior high girls extolling the dreaminess of Peter Criss, and a boy from several decades ago wreaking havoc on his little brother while talking about how he threw up at Disney.

Waxidermy – A blog that remains distinctly weird despite its popularity.

WFMU’s Beware of the Blog – Just because.