Top Ten Stuff 'n' Things - 7/30/07 - International Flavor

| Tue Jul. 31, 2007 1:53 AM EDT

This week, the Top Ten celebrates music from around the world, mostly even outside of, like, California! Also, I manage to restrict myself to only one track that could qualify as French techno (More about Daft Punk's live show later). So come take a round-the-world trip on Riff Airlines, no carbon offset credits necessary.

10. Manu Chao - "Rainin in Paradize" (from La Radiolina, out 9/4 on Virgin)
A perfect track to kick off an internationally-themed top ten, the uptempo beat of "Paradize" contrasts with its darker lyrical themes. Polyglot Chao here gives voice to various "calamities" and "atrocities" from Baghdad to Zaire, with repetitive lyrics that take on the aura of a kind of chant, or a prayer.

mojo-cover-mumiytroll.JPG9. Mumiy Troll - "Ru.Da" (from Amba on Real) (mp3 via their site)
Vladivostok combo Mumiy Troll (Мумий Тролль) are saddled with greatness: ten years ago, they made Morskaya, a near-masterpiece of an album that perfectly captured the excitement of post-Communist Russia. While their latest effort isn't quite as inspired, single "Ru.Da" leaps from Pixies-reminiscent verses to an epic chorus.

mojo-photo-optimo.jpg8. Various Artists - Optimo - Pitchfork Mix 01
(download here)
This set from the Glasgow DJs redefines "eclectic," effortlessly mixing from Brazil to Germany to Norway to, er, Sonic Youth. While the duo are known for favoring "psych-rock," the hour-long set is, at its core, utterly groovy, in the best possible sense.

mojo-cover-mis.JPG7. Mexican Institute of Sound - "El Microfono" (from Piñata on Nacional) (listen on his MySpace page)
MIS is basically a one-man band (Mexico City's Camilo Lara); he brings together hip-hop and electronic sounds as well as more traditional Mexican influences on his new album. "Microfono" has a quirky, loping sample and mellow feel, over which Lara delivers a laid-back freestyle rap.

mojo-photo-typsy.JPG6. Various Artists - Typsy Gypsy Mixes
(mp3s via 'T Nieuwe Werck, more info at Boing Boing)
Belgian DJ Typsy Gypsy (of the Balkan Hot Step Soundsystem) has put together two mixes featuring a fusion of Klezmer and Balkan sounds with electronic beats (which, the blog brags, all come in over 150bpm). Hopa!

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Classically-Trained Hipsters Release New Album

| Mon Jul. 30, 2007 10:20 PM EDT

The world-renowned "little orchestra" known as Pink Martini recently released their third album, and it's damn good.

What started out as a a quintet playing fundraisers for causes such as affordable housing and public broadcasting in 1994 is now a 12-piece ensemble that tours the world as Portland, Oregon's "international ambassador of culture."

Check out Mother Jones' review of their new material on the Arts and Culture page.

Taking the Rage a Bit Far?

| Mon Jul. 30, 2007 10:13 PM EDT

I'm sure that all of the "aggressive, shirtless, white males" that saw Rage Against the Machine perform at the Rock the Bells hip hop concert in New York this weekend were stoked to see the Grammy-winning political metal-rap band back together after a seven-year hiatus.

But were they expecting lead singer Zack de la Rocha to say that members of the Bush Administration should be hung and tried and shot for war crimes? Yikes!

I mean, I'm all for mixing politics with music, but really? After seven years off, you'd think the band would have prepared a better statement.

This is the same band that, 10 years ago, took on social justice issues by making an album cover from a picture of a Vietnamese Buddhist monk protesting the murder of fellow monks by self-immolation in Saigon in 1963. This is also the same band that has spoken out against the death penalty in front of the United Nations, donated concert earnings to social justice organizations, and performed benefit shows for American political prisoners like Leonard Peltier.

I'm not sure what the band was hoping to accomplish, but de la Rocha's comment got author Ann Coulter and rocker Ted Nugent to agree that there's a limit to freedom of speech rights.

Breaking: Sen. Ted Stevens' House Raided by FBI, IRS

| Mon Jul. 30, 2007 9:58 PM EDT

My oh my, look what I found on the series of tubes.

The FBI and IRS have searched the home of Republican Sen. Ted Stevens in a ski resort in Alaska as part of an investigation into his links with an oil-services company, officials said on Monday.

Stevens, probably the biggest porker in Congress, once threatened to resign when the Senate challenged a frivolous Alaskan earmark in order to help rebuild New Orleans after Katrina, so it's not like anyone will miss this guy if he ends up getting taken down. But that won't happen if the hulk tie has anything to do with it.

For background on the Stevens scandal, see TPMtv.

Alaskan Erosion Creates Oil Spill Risk

| Mon Jul. 30, 2007 9:16 PM EDT

Arctic sea ice does more than provide habitat for polar bears and reflect sunlight. It also acts as a barrier between the rough ocean and delicate coastlines, like those of Alaska. With softening permafrost and disappearing sea ice, Alaska's coast is eroding faster than ever and may result in old oil wells actually slipping into the ocean.

In particular, the coast of the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (a 23 million-acre area managed by the Bureau of Land Management and a plum drilling site, according to Bush) is eroding faster than ever, a new US Geological Survey study found. The BLM has identified more than 30 oil wells in danger of being reclaimed by the ocean, each of which will cost $20 million to clean to ensure that, if they do get sucked into the ocean, they won't spill even more oil into the state's ecosystem.

Atlantic Hurricanes Doubled Over Last Century

| Mon Jul. 30, 2007 5:57 PM EDT

About twice as many Atlantic hurricanes form each year on average than a century ago. This according to a new analysis by researchers at the National Center for Atmospheric Research and the Georgia Institute of Technology. Warmer sea surface temperatures (SSTs) and altered wind patterns associated with global climate change are fueling much of the increase. The analysis identifies three periods since 1900, separated by sharp transitions, during which the average number of hurricanes and tropical storms increased dramatically and then remained elevated and relatively steady. SSTs have risen by about 1.3 degrees F in the last 100 years, and other studies indicate that most of the rise in Atlantic sea surface temps can be attributed to global warming. "Even a quiet year by today's standards would be considered normal or slightly active compared to an average year in the early part of the 20th century," says study author, Greg Holland.

By the way, the current period has not yet stabilized. So the average hurricane season could be even more active in the future. . . The planet lives and breathes in powerful ways. Here's an amazing video recap of some of the 2005 hurricane season. Stunningly beautiful. Terrifying. JULIA WHITTY

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Monday Fun Links

| Mon Jul. 30, 2007 4:01 PM EDT


  • UK producer Mark Ronson is the first to officially remix Bob Dylan; check out a clip on his MySpace page.

  • Led Zeppelin will finally allow their music to be (legally) downloaded. Your move, Radiohead.
  • The Guardian gives us a brief history of Shoegaze, in which Creation Records founder Alan McGee calls My Bloody Valentine a "joke".
  • A fascinating look at Michel Gondry's slightly, erm, obsessive process creating the mind-blowing video for the Chemical Brothers 2002 single "Star Guitar." Watch 'til the end to see the prototype video made with oranges and shoes and stuff.

  • Iraqi Soccer Captain: "I Want America to Go Out"

    | Mon Jul. 30, 2007 3:08 PM EDT

    To build on Elizabeth's post below, the captain of the victorious Iraqi soccer team isn't terribly happy with the American presence in his country.

    Iraq's 1-0 victory over Saudi Arabia on a 71st-minute header by captain Younis Mahmoud was an inspirational triumph for a team whose players straddle bitter and violent ethnic divides. After the game, Mahmoud called for the United States to withdraw its troops from his nation.
    "I want America to go out," he said. "Today, tomorrow, or the day after tomorrow, but out. I wish the American people didn't invade Iraq and, hopefully, it will be over soon."

    Reminds me of when the Iraqi Olympic team rebuffed the president's attempts to use it in campaign commercials.

    "Iraq as a team does not want Mr. Bush to use us for the presidential campaign," [Iraqi midfielder Salih] Sadir told through a translator, speaking calmly and directly. "He can find another way to advertise himself."
    Ahmed Manajid, who played as a midfielder on Wednesday, had an even stronger response when asked about Bush's TV advertisement. "How will he meet his god having slaughtered so many men and women?" Manajid told me. "He has committed so many crimes."
    They also find it offensive that Bush is using Iraq for his own gain when they do not support his administration's actions. "My problems are not with the American people," says Iraqi soccer coach Adnan Hamad. "They are with what America has done in Iraq: destroy everything. The American army has killed so many people in Iraq. What is freedom when I go to the [national] stadium and there are shootings on the road?"
    At a speech in Beaverton, Ore., last Friday, Bush attached himself to the Iraqi soccer team after its opening-game upset of Portugal. "The image of the Iraqi soccer team playing in this Olympics, it's fantastic, isn't it?" Bush said. "It wouldn't have been free if the United States had not acted."

    The article, originally from Sports Illustrated in 2004, is well worth a read.

    New Order Back-and-Forth Continues

    | Mon Jul. 30, 2007 2:53 PM EDT

    mojo-photo-neworderx.jpgThe, ahem, bizarre love triangle (sorry) that British synth-pop band New Order has become got even more bizarre over the weekend, as (former?) bassist Peter Hook threatened to sue the remaining members if they continue under the New Order name, reports

    Hook had previously announced that the band (a three-piece after Gillian Gilbert left in 2005) had split up for good; this prompted remaining members Stephen Morris and Bernard Sumner to issue a statement saying that, in fact, they had every intention of continuing under the New Order name, with or without Hooky.

    Hook then posted an angry rant on his MySpace blog, saying, "This group has SPLIT UP! you are no more new order than i am! you may have two thirds but dont assume you have the rights to do anything NEW ordery cos you dont ive still got a third!" He then adds, somewhat cryptically, "But am open to negotiation."

    Can people please learn to spell? I know it's just a blog, but still.

    Victory in Iraq!

    | Mon Jul. 30, 2007 11:53 AM EDT

    (And not a doping scandal to be found.)

    Okay, so not in Iraq, but for Iraq, and the unity was short-lived, but still. Duct tape and soccer, they hold this crazy world together.