Monday, April 26, 2010

the (experimental) monkees

In recent days I've started to develop a new craze that involves both television and music combined. I downloaded the two seasons of a fun-loving TV show starring four young men, made up as the american version of the Beatles. Just like the Fab Four, each had a distinctive attitude, charisma and sense of humor. Together, they were a riot, loved by the teens, hated by the establishment who labled them as "long haired weirdos". Today the format and style might be a little bit dated, but "The Monkees" is the kind of show that could never be forgotten for what it was: no-sense/made-sense.

What's more interesting is that through the pass of the years, they evolved from a prefrabicated pop band, made for record selling purposes, to a full on quartet full on ideas to make their very own type of music: poppy, surrealistic and revolutionary. Sure, they'll never make it to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (honorary member, Rolling Stone magazine editor Jann Wenner banned them from entering), but their music is endless, weirded out, but endless!

MP3: The Monkees - Pleasent Valley Sunday
MP3: The Monkees - Randy Scouse Git
MP3: The Monkees - Porpoise Song (Theme from Head)
MP3: The Monkees - Goin' Down
MP3: The Monkees - Daily Nightly

MP3: The Monkees vs. The Beatles - Paperback Believer
MP3: The Monkees - Tapioca Tundra (2009 Remix)

Monday, April 12, 2010

monday monday, or should I say, music monday!

Today should be a crappy day: I slept only 4 hours and a half, still not woken up (don't like coffee so I don't even bother), got to work late due to HORRID subway delays...Anyway, it's just temporary zombie-like mood, like any Monday would be, but i'm not depressed, sad or stressed. I'm happy and willing to give more than my share. That's why this post is for you, new and old music for the young folks!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

the urban legend of city hall

It seems surreal to even say this, but there was a time when our beloved/hated Caracas had little to envy the biggest metropolis in the world. Especifically, in the 1970's, the oil boom and economic prosperity made Caracas look bigger and better than ever: modern streets, modern buildings, and an even modern nightlife. The hot tropical and dancey spots situated in Sabana Grande and the Libertador avenue were suddenly eclipsed by large venues, where more people could dance and ravish on their south-american expressions of chic.

A young and handsome entrepreneur named Jose Hernandez took notice on the expansion of Venezuelan lifestyle of the late 70's and, with an investment of 1.500 bolivares (a modest figure at the time), arranged a big space inside the Ciudad Tamanaco Mall (or CCCT for the locals) and made his very own miniature version of the madness that was Studio 54 in New York, with the help of architect Miguel Beloso.

With much fanfare, "City Hall" opened its doors in early 1980. In just a few days, it was the most talked about, saught after discoteque in Caracas. Around 2000 people could enter in the lighted space every night but it didn't come easy. Although there were almost 300 ladies and gents waiting in line outside, it was a pretty exclusive club of "select people", as Jose Hernandez sugested in an interview "We don't want tough guys (malandros), or people being too young. We just want over-25 years olds". The prices were also a bit select: a lucrative 100 bolivares per month for the right to get inside the club, a bottle of whiskey costing 350 bolivares.

Certainly "City Hall" provided the goods (music was shipped from New York every week, via Viasa, to get the people dancing all night) and also recieved goods (making daily sales of over 40.000 bolivares, a definitive fortune!), so their owners decided to make the best of it by holding society events like fashion shows for charity, toasts and even the presentation of disco diva Gloria Gaynor (a show which costed 350.000 bolivares).

The Gaynor show must have been the beginning of the end for the short lived City Hall. As expected, a large number of people showed up, not to mention excesive charging of the tickets and complaints from disco-goers, all of which reportedly violated rules of the Municipal Counsil of Sucre. Troubles aside, the parties continued, with a series of unforgettable albums released every year by the now defuncted Beta Records, which included songs played on "City Hall", adding boost to the club itself.

But the end of the good living era, both in Caracas and in whole of Venezuela, was just around the corner, and "City Hall" was no exception. The disco boom slowly faded away, with strong House, Dance and Electronic sounds pushing doors. The feeling wasn't the same as previous years, and all it took was a bang (or lack there of) to make it even more evident. In june 1983, a presumed bomb caused alarm at "City Hall", where the first lady was invited to a cocktail-runway show in benefit of the PTJ Crime Museum. The result was a big scare and front page news. But the damage was done. In few months, "City Hall" was over and was replaced, in the same space, by "Palladium" and "Winners", which suffered similar fate.

Even though several parties tried to celebrate the legacy of "City Hall", they failed to even recreate the original vibe. So what do we have left? Only the memories of a fun filled time, with fun filled music to go along with. Those were the days my friend, we thought they'd never end...
MP3: City Hall 1 (A SIDE / B SIDE)
MP3: City Hall 2 (A SIDE / B SIDE)
MP3: City Hall 3 (A SIDE / B SIDE)
MP3: City Hall 4 (A SIDE / B SIDE)
MP3: City Hall 5 (A SIDE / B SIDE)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

darky mood


Curses, Invocations
Weird bate-headed mongrels
I keep expecting one of you to rise.
Large buxom obese queens
Garden hogs and cunt veterans
Quaint cabbage saints
Shit hoarders and individualists
Drag strip officials
Tight lipped losers and
Lustfull fuck salesman
My militant dandies
All strange order of monsters
We welcome you to our procession.

Jim Morrison

Saturday, April 3, 2010

i'm your operator with my pocket calculator (songs about technology, machines and anything in between)

First of all, my public apologies for not being able to refresh this blog constantly as you deserve, but work has been killer ever since my return to the country. Hopefully this will not happen again. That is, until I get to fly again.

Let's begin.

Modern technology is designed to help us ease our daily struggles and simplify them. It's unbelievable to think that our lives have changed drasticly during the past decade or so: from big we went to small. Small computers, small mobile telephones. Everything is smaller these days, and we sure like it. But sometimes, even the smallest and easiest thing or device could be extremely overwhelming.

I remember one day that a journalist trainee went to my workplace to learn about what we do everyday at the radio station. It only took about 15 to 20 minutes for the guy (a 40-something fella) to call us for help. He only minimized the window and got really worried and thought he did something wrong. Later, he confesed to us that in his previous job he only got to use electronic typewritters. Clearly, this man was not ready for the kind of job that I do. Not only that, he was not ready for computers and modern technology in general, and that's a shame really. But I kinda understand him. Maybe he was more accustomed by what we now consider as obsolete. But we were there, in his shoes: starting our computer techniques with Windows 3.1, with "Solitaire" and "Paint" being our sole entertainment purposes, in an era where Internet was a distant luxury instead of an actual need.

Now I wonder, did all that tech-talking i planned out made sense? at all? I'm not sure really, just wanted to have some sort of context to the songs I wanted to share today. From big to small, from pocket calculators with sounds to ordinary funny computer-like noises that could make us want to dance or more.

MP3: Kraftwerk - Pocket Calculator
MP3: Joe Jackson - Stepping Out
MP3: Propaganda - Machinery
MP3: Depeche Mode - New Life
MP3: Grovesnor - Taxi from The Airport
MP3: DAT Politics - Magnetic Attraction

Bonus MP3: Two Door Cinema Club - Something Good Can Work (The Twelves Remix)