James Brown Is Dead

  James Brown, the singer known as the Godfather of Soul, died last night at the age of 73. Brown was hospitalized with pneumonia at Emory Crawford Long Hospital on Sunday and died around 1:45 a.m. Monday. Though his life was often plagued by trouble with drugs and the law, his music influenced disco, rap, and funk and his dancing inspired performers as diverse as Michael Jackson and Mick Jagger.

“‘He was dramatic to the end—dying on Christmas Day,” said the Rev. Jesse Jackson, a friend of Brown’s since 1955. ”Almost a dramatic, poetic moment. He’ll be all over the news all over the world today. He would have it no other way.”

Darren Ressler’s 5 Favorite Albums (in no particular order)

rjd   1. Lotus / The Strength of Weak Ties (Harmonized)
This Philly-based instrumental outfit stepped up to the plate and embellished their jam band inspired brand of dance-rock with flourishes of jazz, world music and—gasp—even a vocal.

2. Sissy / All Under (Global Underground)
This might be the most emotionally wrenching albums since Portishead’s Beth Gibbons declared, “Nobody loves me, it’s true.” A sly produced trip-hop/downtempo classic that slipped through everyone’s cracks.

3. Blowoff / Blowoff (Full Frequency)
The combination of former Hüsker Dü vocalist/guitarist Bob Mould and remixer Richard Morel was a former punk kid turned electronic music fan’s dream come true. Forget about Jay-Z and R.Kelly—this is the best of both worlds.

4. Unearth / III: In The Eyes of Fire (Metal Blade)
On their second, angriest, hardest and most melodically challenging album, producer Terry Date (Soundgarden, Deftones) steers Unearth away from Killswitch Engage’s emo-metal angst into gloriously heavy—yet musically provocative—territory. This is controlled musical chaos at its best.

5. Lamb of God / Sacrament (Epic)
Instead of trying to outsmart the din of metal mayhem they created on Ashes of the Wake, LOG bring the noise on edgy songs that add a new dimension of possibilities to the genre. Vocalist Randy Blythe’s shriek is destined for the Heavy Metal Hall of Fame.

Biggest musical disappointment: Neil Young’s Living With War. Neil, you’re a genius, and we agree with the political sentiment, but what the hell were you thinking?

Worst album of the year: Paul Oakenfold’s A Lively Mind. Prediction: The Geneva Convention will outlaw its use on captured Taliban fighters.

Guiltiest musical pleasure
: Justin Timberlake’s “My Love.” Like I’d admit it.

Most anticipated album of ’07: LCD Soundsystem’s Sound of Silver. James Murphy hits the nail on dance-rock’s head with a spirit, unironic affair.

Most anticpated tour of ’07: Ronnie James Dio reuniting, recording, and touring with Black Sabbath. RJD has a better voice than Ozzy, and he doesn’t require a teleprompter. I’ll feel 13 all over again when I see ’em at the NYC show.

Daria Arao’s Top 8 Albums of 2006

daria   1. Blowoff / Blowoff
Breaking up is so painful and beautiful, but the mix of Richard Morel’s beats and Bob Mould’s yearning guitar is just short of heaven.
2. Depeche Mode / The Best of Depeche Mode
Electro-pop riff after the riffs from the masters of the genre.
3. Lady Sov / Public Warning
Yes, I will make a way for S-O-V!
4. Sissy / All Under
Dark and delicious downtempo
5. MSTRKRFT / The Looks
They’ve got looks to back their dance-rock sound
6. Massive Attack / Collected
Dark. Very dark.
7. Soulwax / Nite Versions
These skinny Belgians are a delight.
8. Justice / Waters of Nazareth EP
Nice and noisy

Props: Bill Maher

maher   At the end of his weekly HBO show Real Time With Bill Maher that aired on October 13, politically incorrect comedian Bill Maher delivered one of his best closing diatribes (see transcript below). If only his New Rules segment were as poignant….

If you think the worst thing Congress doesn’t protect young people from is Mark Foley, wake up and smell the burning planet. The ice caps are cracking, the coral reefs are bleaching, and we’re losing two species an hour. The birds have bird flu, the cows have mad cow, and our poisoned groundwater has turned spinach into a side dish of mass destruction. Our schools are shooting galleries, our beaches are cancer wards, and under George W. Bush — for the first time in 45 years — our country’s infant mortality rate actually went up.

Read the labels on your food. It turns out the healthiest thing you can put in your body is Mark Foley’s penis. He was probably the first fruit those pages ever came into contact with that wasn’t drenched in pesticide.

But that’s America for you — a red herring culture, always scared of the wrong things. The fact is, there are a lot of creepy middle-aged men out there lusting for your kids. They work for MTV, the pharmaceutical industry, McDonald’s, Marlboro and K Street. And recently, there’s been a rash of strangers making their way onto school campuses and targeting our children for death. They’re called military recruiters.

More young Americans were crippled in Iraq last month than in any month in the past three years. And the scandal is that Mark Foley wants to show them a good time before they go? When will our closeted gay congressmen learn? Our boys aren’t for pleasure. They’re for cannon fodder. They shouldn’t be another notch on your bedpost. They should be a comma in Bush’s war. If I hear a zipper, it had better be on a body bag.

Why aren’t Democrats and the media hammering away every day about who we’re supposed to be fighting for over there and what the plan is. Yes, Mark Foley was wrong to ask teenagers how long their penises were — but at least someone on Capitol Hill was asking questions. We’re the predators. Because we have an entire economy built on asking young people what they want, making the cheapest, sleaziest form of it they’ll accept, and selling it to them until they choke on it and die.

You know who’s grabbing your kids at too young an age? Merck, Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline, by convincing you they’re depressed, hyperactive or suffering from attention-deficit disorder and so they must all get medicated. The drug dealers hooking your kids aren’t in South America, they’re in the halls of Congress handing out campaign donations to your congressmen. Mark Foley says he never slept with those kids, and I believe him, because American children are so hopped up on pills I doubt any of them could get it up.

From 1995 to 2002, the number of children prescribed antipsychotic drugs increased by over 400 percent. Either our children are going insane — which we might look on as a problem — or, more likely, we have, for profit, created a nation of little junkies. So stop already with the righteous moral indignation about predators — this whole country is trying to get inside your kid’s pants because that’s where he keeps the money Daddy gave him to stay out of his hair.

I don’t care if Mark Foley had been asking boys to describe their penises because I have some sad news for you: Your kid is so larded out on Cheetos and Yoo-hoo, he can’t even see his penis. We live in a country where the ultimate consumer is an obese 16-year-old hooked up at one end to a Big Gulp and at the other to a PlayStation. So many of our kids today are fat drug addicts, it’s almost as if Rush Limbaugh had had puppies.

In conclusion, we can pretend that the biggest threat to “our children” is some creep on the Internet, or we can admit it’s Mom and Dad. When your son can’t find France on a map, or touch his toes with his hands, or understand that the ads on TV are lying — including the one in which the Marine turns into Lancelot — then the person fucking him is you.