adrian is rad


nice mash ups

Filed under: — adrian @ 4:19 pm

As Chris at gorilla v bear says, you probably need more mash ups like you need a heart attack, but these are some good ones.

Who would think of mashing up Jose Gonzalez, the Swedish/ Argentinean equivalent to Iron & Wine, with hip hop tracks? Not me certainly. But some dude did. And I like the results.

Go here to get them. I like 2 Words better (Kanye + Jose).

I tend to like hip hop in mash up form better, because sometimes I feel like the music part of hip hop is sometimes done without paying much attention to it. In mash ups, especially with songs that I know and like, there is attention paid to the music part, at least in equal parts to the lyrics in this instance.

And I like hearing soft acoustic music with hip hop drums on top.


best producers

Filed under: — adrian @ 1:03 am

Producers do a lot of things from picking studios and engineers, to fleshing out arrangements, to picking/ writing the songs.

10 great producers and why:

  • John Vanderslice – JV’s produced, mainly, his own recordings and the Mountain Goats’ last two records. Listen to Cellar Door (“Promising Actress” or “Pale Horse”) or Pixel Revolt (“Peacocks in the Video Rain”) for examples of his inventive his use of instruments and many subtle layers or the MG’s “Against Pollution” for simple and perfect production.
  • Brian Wilson – the main Beach Boys music writer (he wrote very little of the lyrics) and producer, he was renowned as a nut, basically, but there are few whose recorded output as a record producer is more respected. Start with “God Only Knows” or “Good Vibrations” to hear his multi-parted, intricate compositions with a huge range of instruments playing, seemingly, exactly what each should.
  • Phil Spector – Spector is famous for his Wall of Sound, his technique of having a very dense, many layered, mono recording. He mainly used this through the girl groups of the 60’s. He also used Spanish/ latin elements and huge, reverby drums. Some of my favorites of his are The Crystal’s “He’s a Rebel” and the Ronette’s “Be My Baby.”
  • Juan Garcia Esquivel – Renowned for “Space Age Bachelor Pad” music, I listened to this guy a lot when I was in high school I was afraid to listen to him again, thinking I might not like him any more, but I still do. He’s got just about the wackiest arrangements of anyone. He’d often take jazz standards and arrange them in his own style, using the full limits of the stereo, which was pretty new at the time. He’d often use incongruous instruments, like a punchy bassoon preceding a hawaiian guitar over a wall of shaking brass. Start with “Sentimental Journey” and “Mucha Muchacha.”
  • Holland-Dozier-Holland – I love Motown so it was only a small amount of time before I got into some Motown producers. These three wrote and produced so many fantastic songs. Their style is the Motown sound, in a way, utilizing the Funk Brothers, with strong bass, steady drums, tamborine, and vibes. One of their best certainly has to be the Four Top’s “Bernadette,” with those sustained chorus notes, pregnant pauses and so much tension. Other notables include Martha and the Vandellas’ “Dancin in the Streets”, the Supremes’ “You Can’t Hurry Love” and the Miracles’ “Mickey’s Monkey.”
  • Smokey Robinson Another Motown producer/ songwriter. He could get on this list for his production for his own songs only, but he was also the producer of songs like the Temptations’ “My Girl” and the Marvellettes’ “Don’t Mess with Bill.” One of the best produced and most inventive Motown songs has to be Smokey Robinson and the Miracle’s “Tears of a Clown” with its awesome basoon/ flute beginning, basoon/ baritone sax base for the groove, and harsichord. This song is like an onion there are so many layers.
  • Steve Albini – Though he usually labels himself as a record engineer, I’m going to include him on this list. He tends to just perfectly record artists at their best. A very good example of this is Songs:Ohia’s Didn’t It Rain (start with “Blue Chicago Moon”). It’s either a huge coincidence, or it’s a testament to his skill that seminal albums by the Pixies, Superchunk, Nirvana, and Low were all recorded by Albini. Other examples to check out is Low’s Things Lost in the Fire (try “Sunflower”) or Palace’s Viva Last Blues (try “New Partner”).
  • Chris Walla Walla’s the other main guy in Death Cab for Cutie, but he’s also worth noting as their producer and as an independent producer (working, often, at John Vanderslice’s Tiny Telephone Studios or his own Hall of Justice). I’ve seen Death Cab play a few times on live TV (Carson Daly, SNL) and they always sounded, well, like crap—the mix sounded all wrong, the voice and the instruments sounded too separated. I finally figured out that this has to be, in part at least, to the fact that they sound so good on record, thanks to Walla. He also uses some uses some pretty inventive techniques to get crunchy drum sounds (“Title and Registration” by DCfC or Nada Surf’s “In the Mirror”). Other times, it’s just a how’d-he-do-that, like the claps and stomps on “Sounds like Settling” by DCfC just sounding so huge. Good examples include the above DCfC songs, Nada Surf’s “Always Love” or the Velvet Teen’s “Radiapathy.”
  • Dave Fridmann He’s worked with a number of bands, but, to me, most notably with the Flaming Lips, Mogwai and Weezer. Have you listened to how huge the guitars sound on “Do You Realize?” by the Flaming Lips? (or most of the rest of Yoshimi Battles…?) And certainly there must be some talent put into making those sparse/ soft to dense/ loud transitions on Rock Action by Mogwai (check out “2 Rights Make 1 Wrong”) sound so good.
  • Rick Rubin He did some amazing work with Johnny Cash in Cash’s final years. I can’t really talk about most of his recorded output, but he stripped everything away and let Johnny Cash make beautiful music again. Check out Johnny Cash’s “Hurt”, “Solitary Man” or “I See a Darkness.”

So that’s a likely incompletely and not-necessarily-well-thought-out list of some people who, in my opinion, are/ were the best producers.

Feel free to add your thoughts.

you should all buy

Filed under: — adrian @ 1:01 am

USA Curling hat to support their first ever medal!

Way to beat the Red Coats, Team USA!



Filed under: — adrian @ 8:53 pm

One thing I noticed in Mexico is that they call coke “coca” and diet coke is “coca light.” In Germany, you want to ask for a “kola.” In America “coke.”

What do people call it in other localities?


mexico pt. 2

Filed under: — adrian @ 5:52 pm

I just got back from my company’s trip to near Playa del Carmen, Mexico. I got to hang out with Mr. Jon “j-dawg” Werberg.


  • highlights: Chichen Itza, cenotes, a bar with swings instead of stools, hanging out with coworkers, and hanging out with Jon
  • donations: giant backgammon board, to jon; glasses, to the Caribbean, initiating the longest (non-sleeping) period without vision correction since probabaly 1993. This reminded me of a thing Caglar used to say while walking around without his glasses on: why see reality clearly when reality is blurred? I thought it was crap at the time. Maybe it’s not. It was an interesting twelve hours, through airports and customs and whatnot. Once I reached our office, I had to use my perscription swim goggles to drive home, leading to a situation frighteningly similar to Hugh Grant in Notting Hill:
  • new items: steelers super bowl champions glass mug, old steelers tape with fight song, steelers key blank, “4 D” triceritops puzzle, all from jon
  • my spanish: it still sucks, but I understand more
  • injuries: cut on my knee, from a questionably useful wind surfing training tool; nicks on my knuckles, from sharp rocks in a cenote
  • read: How We are Hungry by Dave Eggers. A pretty fantastic book of short stories, many of them about, seemingly appropriately, traveling to 3rd world countries.
  • first world countries: can I learn anything from being a tourist in first world countries?
  • weight: no better way to gain five pounds than a few days in an all-inclusive resort


no write

Filed under: — adrian @ 6:00 pm

I’m not going to post for a couple days because I’ll be in Mexico, leaving tonight. Be back on Monday.

Enjoy your Washington’s Birthday weekend.


marching bands are cool

Filed under: — adrian @ 10:36 pm

This is the year of the marching band, I tell you. Gwen Stefani has one, I was talking about my indie rock marching band idea and now Kanye West and Jaime Foxx have one on the Grammy’s with them.

Maybe I should start this indie rock marching band now to catch the trend.

for the love of pete

Filed under: — adrian @ 7:16 pm

The federal holiday on Monday is called Washington’s Birthday. Please refer to it as such.

I love Lincoln as much as the next guy, but let’s get it right.

how to celebrate valentines day right

Filed under: — adrian @ 6:54 pm
  1. drink
  2. watch Lost in Translation
  3. order crap online

it’s tradition.

for science

Filed under: — adrian @ 4:29 pm

For science, people, for science.


Night Rally in Pittsburgh, Philly, NYC

Filed under: — adrian @ 1:38 am

My friends in the Night Rally will be in Pittsburgh March 6 at the Garfield Artworks with the Triggers, Luke Doucet and My Sexiest Mistake. It’s $6, so you should consider going if you’re around the area. You can check out mp3s of Night Rally. Anyone know the other bands?

I’ll even pick out an mp3:
Night Rally – Humor is Non Sequitur

Here are other tour dates for those of you in other parts of the world:

03.07.06 in Bloomington, IN TBA

03.08.06 in Philadelphia, PA @ The Manhattan Room

03.09.06 in Boston, MA @ Bill’s Bar

03.25.06 in New York, NY @ Sin-e

03.27.06 in Cambridge, MA @ The Middle East (Upstairs)

These guys play good music and (as of last time I saw them at least) sport some serious and enviable facial hair. My friend Farhad, aka Yahktoe, is a fantastic drummer and producer (just check out his production on the hip hop album, Onomatopoeia on which I played trumpet on a couple tracks) and now plays some fantastic bass on the Night Rally stuff. Devin and Luke are the other two. Fantastic people. Devin and sometimes Luke would cohost my show back on WMBR a few times way into the early hours of the morning.


Tsotsi, the book

Filed under: — adrian @ 8:55 pm

In yet another South-African-book-now-made-into-a-movie-which-I-haven’t-seen is Tsotsi (the other ones are Cry, My Beloved Country, which I’ve since seen the 1995 movie version, and Country of my Skull). I got the book back in South Africa in October 2004, but it’d been sitting in my stack of books until I saw a preview for Tsotsi, which has since been nominated for an Oscar. So I decided I should read it before it’s out in the theaters.

It’s by Athol Fugard, known mostly as a playwrite. I’ve read and enjoyed a couple of his plays, including Sorrows and Rejoicings. This is his only novel.

It’s about a young thug in Johannesburg in the apartheid days (published in 1980, it was written in the 60s and set in the 50s, though it’s pretty timeless). His life changes when he is left with a baby after a woman he’s accosting runs away. Similarly to Cry, My Beloved Country, though it’s not about the conditions under apartheid, there is a lot that reflects on and reveals those conditions.

It’s a largely psychological novel with relatively little dialogue. The characters are very well fleshed out . The descriptions of events, people and places throughout are sometimes a little much but are always thorough. The ending is a bit unsatisfying, but in a book like this, the ending isn’t as important as the journey.

I like this book a lot. If you want a more narrative story from South Africa, you might want to start with Cry, My Beloved Country.

Slightly related note: is there an equivalent to IMDB for books? Wouldn’t that be useful?

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