Wednesday, March 30, 2005


Fugees: The Score

Okay, register my standard complaint about all hip hop records being a few songs too long (BQ and I were talking about it in the kitchen tonight, reaching the conclusion that it’s hell of cheap to record a hip hop LP because the beats and tunes are all scratched/pre-made- less takes, and less cash, than recording a full band in the studio.) Got it? Good. Now we’ll move on.

Lauryn Hill is an amazing talent- her rhymes are sooooooo good (Wyclef and Pras are no slouches either.) So what does Ms. Hill base her much-hyped solo record on? The weakest moment on ‘The Score’ (the cover version of ‘Killing Me Softly.’) A shame.

Funeral Diner: Difference In Potential
Funeral Diner: The Wicked EP

Dropping the Fagan: making any cultural reference that alienates at least half the people in the room. Originated by Ned one night on the back porch, when he namechecked Donald Fagan from Steely Dan- “So, on the Donald Fagan solo record…”- at which point I mentioned that Ned was ‘totally dropping the Fagan.’ Right up there with the Total Kenobi.

It’s very seldom acceptable to use the word in its verb form- Faganing- although it can happen on occasion, particularly when Fagans are dropped in large groups, e.g. ‘Me, BQ, Ned, Terry G. and Ed were all Faganing pretty hard on the back porch last night.’ It’s preferable to mention the particular Fagan being dropped, ex. ‘You just dropped the Krautrock Fagan.’ If there’s a Fagan that leaves everyone in the room scratching their heads because the reference made is just too obtuse, the Fagan is upgraded to a Branca (there is dissent in the ranks as to whether this particular phenomenon is called a Branca Fagan or simply a Branca- I like the last one, but I seem to be in the minority.)

I’m not sure whether I’m dropping a screamo Fagan or a screamo Branca by mentioning that I saw Funeral Diner play the basement of 8 Wadsworth a few summers ago, checking out the show partially because bassist Andy used to be in proto-screamo/Ebullition heroes Portraits of Past. (Probably the screamo Branca.) Regardless, it’s the genre done right- the vocals are hoarse, of course, a shredded larynx producing one grating sound despite the fact that the insert says that the lyrics are ‘For thousands of miles I waited for you/walked backwards through landmines/but time changes everything/I wished impossible things on blue stars that never came true/ I’m still waiting.’ The music is way more proficient and dynamic than so many examples of the genre- too often the members of such bands spend more time worrying about how their hair is or how their jeans fit (tightly) than actually playing. Funeral Diner veers towards Louisville with their arrangements and their pretty/loud-soft bits that precede the vocals kicking in. The EP, in particular, shows way more range and beauty than the bulk of the mindless San Diego black dye hordes knew was possible.


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